This letter I wish I didn’t have to write

Earlier in the year, one of the things I had put in a list of things I called 19 for 2019 that I had hoped/wanted to accomplish in 2019 was to write some letters — the old fashioned way.  I finally had a list of people to write, and the stationery is ready — but life has been a tad hectic.  I am hoping that one or two of those letters head out to the post office before the year is over.

On a professional level, I like being able to express my thoughts in writing, be it to compliment someone or to lodge a protest or complaint, like the letter below.  There are times when verbal communication fails us, more so when we are trying to clarify or explain something.  More so when we are upset.  We end up saying things we don’t mean, or things we end up regretting later on.  I find that writing my sentiments help me to more carefully flesh the facts out and be clearer in relaying my thoughts and feelings.

I have a friend who is my “Goodness meter,” because she is that one soul who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt and has an immeasurable stock of kindness.  I always said that anyone who lands on her bad side would have to be really nasty — because she almost always never thinks ill of others.  Ms. Goodness meter has time and again told me that it’s all in the delivery.  Some people don’t realize that there are many ways to relay a certain message, and sometimes it comes with negativity when none was needed.  Today, I was unfortunately on the receiving end of bad delivery.

I tried to reach Ms. X below but the clinic wouldn’t give an email out.  So I backtracked a bit and went the old fashioned way — I asked if they had a fax number I could send my letter to, and I wrote this and hit send.  It should be self explanatory.

I can write all the names and identify the establishment, but that is not my point in posting this missive here.  I felt writing the letter was like writing a blog post.  You expect your doctors to treat you with a little compassion because one’s health is always a personal issue — and we look for that kind of care, more so since it’s not free.  So here it is.

———————————–

Good afternoon, Ms. X —

First of all, I hope this message finds you well, and let me say on the outset that I am writing and have tried to reach you only to clarify what I believe was a mistranslation of my request to you. I just want to clarify the question/request, and wanted to relay to you what I was told in a rather disturbing call this afternoon.

I have seen you only once before which was repeated to me by a lady who called me with your response. I am seeking to see you this time around in relation to a previous visit with the Dermatology department where they had done my bloodwork.  My iron levels were apparently too high, and my Vitamin D terribly deficient at a level of “#” when normal was “##”. I was put on a Vitamin D regimen – ##k units for 8 weeks, and now #k per day. Dr. Y  advised me to see my GP about these levels, which is why I’m trying to see you. I am going to see my regular dermatologist later in the month for my dermatological issue.

When I requested for the appointment with you yesterday, I had the lady put a question through if you could look at my bloodwork from 90 days ago and I told her the Vitamin D regimen I’ve been on (which I trust would’ve been in my records), and I was volunteering to come in for bloodwork if needed, so you can see the difference in levels if any. It was not a demand to have my bloodwork done ahead, I just wanted to save us both time given the tightness of schedules, and I don’t want to keep drinking my Vitamin D if I didn’t have to. So what I specifically stated was, “Can you please ask the GP if she wanted me to come in for the bloodwork before the appointment and I will make time.”

I received a call today from someone calling on your behalf saying that you said that per policy, I had to see you before I could have bloodwork done – I understand that part. I asked if you were told about the matter regarding my previous bloodwork, and I was told you had seen me only once for sore throat. That is a fact. However, that seemed like someone telling me off that I don’t know you – but I was told you had access to my reports as this was all done in the same (Name of an uber famous doctor’s facility) location. Then I was told YOU SAID THAT IF I WAS HAVING A DERMATOLOGICAL ISSUE, I SHOULD SEE A DERMATOLOGIST. And that is what gave me pause.

So I realize that that might not have been you talking, and I certainly hope not. I also don’t want to come across as being a difficult patient, because it was a question, but I believe half of the question was inaccurately relayed or not relayed to you at all. Just to set the record straight, I am trying to see you regarding my iron levels, and my Vitamin D deficiency. Both, I believe, are within your expertise and practice, and not dermatology.

Again, I am just trying to set the record straight. I don’t want you thinking I am trying to insist on what I was asking. While I have seen you only once, I was struck by your being personable and a caring medical practitioner. That is one reason I’m coming back to the practice for this other inquiry. And I understand if they relayed the initial message sans some important details, leading you to misunderstand what I was asking. It was a clarification / suggestion / question. I wanted you to be able to appreciate that with the correct facts stated. Thank you and I wish you a happy thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

(One disappointed patient — of course I signed my name..)

19 for 2019 – An Update

For the past couple of years, I’d start the year with a list of things I wanted to accomplish, and I usually revisit it sometime during the middle of the year and before the year ends just by way of a personal check in.  Life’s been hectic, so I don’t have an update before today, and I don’t have a ton to report as accomplished, but I like going back if only to remind myself about the things I had hope to do.

1.  Read six books. – Take two. (Or is it three?). Reading has been slow.  I am trying.  Just to move this along, I’ve also started reading on my apps, but still crawling away.  And no, I’m not counting the audible stuff because listening is not reading.  (Plus, I do tend to fall asleep or wander off when it’s the spoken word.)  I am currently reading three books — so I am hoping that gets chalked up to the first half of the six.

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – BFF Donna is planning to visit the US again with her family sometime in the summer had to cancel plans for a US trip so instead, I went back to Sydney for a quick stop during this year’s trip home.  Still hoping to do something different before the year ends, visiting another place outside the tristate area.

3. Learn something new via an actual class.  Working on this.

4.  Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight.  So I did get on the Keto Diet (which is begging for a series of posts) and I lost the weight.  I dropped down to a number that made me my lightest ever in practically the last 5-6 years, but there was a big BUT to the whole things.  Long and short of it is, I’ve dropped the diet, gained a few back, and trying to eat healthier.  I haven’t done as well with the exercising bit — but there is hope that I will actually find myself in the gym one of these days.

5.  Visit Central Park all four seasons.  I actually haven’t had the chance to visit Central Park all year, although I was at the periphery once or twice.  Fall being my favorite time to visit, (and practically the only time I regularly visit, at that), I will definitely drop by and try to come back each season hence.  (On to 2020)

6. Crafting reboot.  Although I haven’t been as diligent writing in my craft blog as I am with updating things here in my personal blog, I  have started crocheting again.  The jewelry bit needs a jumpstart, and I have to get on with the sewing soon.  Much progress here!

7. Destash more systematically. Still working on it, but I have been able to identify a lot to give away.  I need to work on the books, and the other things that I can just leave out for others to enjoy.  The ex had left a dinnerware set or two with me which I have absolutely no use for.  Time to leave them in the community dumpster with a sign and hopefully there will be takers.

8. Work on the Gift of 53. Epic fail.  The birthday came and went and I didn’t quite even get to anything close to doing what I did when I hit the big five -oh.  I am hoping the Gift of 54 will be a way for me to make up for being remiss.

9.  Write more.  For starters, I want to set a goal of posting once a week in the blogs.   (Which is principally this one and my craft blog.) –Although I have not posted once a week, I’ve tried to be more disciplined about writing and of challenging myself to write more.  I just concluded the 10 Day Writing Challenge which saw me writing spontaneously everyday for 10 days.  I must say I’m proud of myself, and am now looking at doing this for 30.  (!)

Work on my other social networking accounts by doing scheduled posts at least once a week.  Thing have rather slowed down, maybe because I try to be more deliberate with my posts instead of just writing something for the heck of it.  Still, my social media accounts are moving..

Resume my handwritten projects.  Journaling has always been such an outlet of release for me but I haven’t been doing it. Hardly did any in 2018. I am hoping I can go back to this in 2019, but I have not been able to despite a few slow starts.  I am thinking of doing something this last quarter, even if only to provide a springboard for 2020.  Let’s see.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  I have around 5 cards written, but I really want to write the letters, and as of today, I am writing — just haven’t sent.  So this will surely be a happy ending when the year closes.

11. Rebind my art journal, begin a new one.  I just caught a glimpse of my art journal which I finished more than a year ago.  Almost two years now — and like I wrote up there, I haven’t been able to start a new one.  I am hoping to — soon.

12. Sample something new or visit a new restaurant or place (i.e., museum, intallation, etc.) and write about it.  I have visited a few restaurants but haven’t been able to write about it.  The museum visits continue to remain as plans.  Let’s see what happens for the rest of the year.

13.  Publish a postcard set.  I have the photographs but I haven’t quite gotten to this.  I am thinking this is better done in 2020.

14.  Visit at least one lighthouse.  At the start of the year, I wrote : “I would love to visit the Montauk lighthouse which I have visited maybe 3 times since I became a New Yorker, but which I last saw more than a decade ago.”  I’m actually looking to do this sometime soon, making plans, and hopefully doing it on the fly one of these weekends.  It is truly something I’m looking forward to doing for many reasons, and maybe this time, I might even catch a sunset there.

15.  Encode my poetry.  Another project in limbo.  The good news is, I’ve started writing again, although not quite as much as I used to.  The point is, I’m writing again.  After years and years of silence, that is good news, indeed.

16.  Visit more blogs / IG accounts. I joined “Medium” a few months back, and although I haven’t written anything in that forum, I have enjoyed reading others who right with a purpose, and who intimidate me into my corner by their writing.  It’s always a good read — and I’m just afraid that if I start writing there, I might actually lose focus here.  So, yes, reading other people more — and it’s been a fun journey.

17.  Do a fundraiser for Barangay San Vicente.  “My mother hails from a very poor community in Sorsogon in the province of Bicol.  x x x I want to be able to do a fundraiser for the young children there in time for the school opening. If not, for the Christmas season when my mom used to do a gift giving celebration for the young kids.”  I actually got to visit Barangay San Vicente this July after my mother fearlessly declared she wasn’t coming to Manila even if my son and I were arriving.  (And of course, in the end she did.)  It was quite the trip to get there and back — and I did take pictures, just not as much as I wanted.  And yes, I’d still like to do the fundraiser — just not hitting 2019.  For 2020 then.

18. Watch a live show or concert once a quarter. Another miss.  I have one quarter left — and hopefully will get that one show.. or two.

19. Undertake some home improvement projects. I’m almost at that time when the Christmas decorations need to be put up again.  I am seriously thinking of reconfiguring my living room, but it’s a little more complicated than moving the TV because I might actually have to reconfigure the cable connection.  And yes, the bathroom needs more work.. and the kitchen, too.  And I haven’t even started figuring out the budget.  Short of going DIY, I hope to get a few things done.  There is hope.

So that’s more or less where I am with the list right now. I’m not exactly disappointed but I think I’ve done okay. Plus, I do have a quarter of the year to go so all is not lost.

19 for 2019

If you look at my navigation bar at the top of this blog, you will find 17 for 2017, but no 18 for 2018. The truth of it is that I had started drafting the 2018 version in January last year but never quite got to finishing the post. So we’re skipping 2018.

Looking back now, 2018 seems to have been a year when I did a lot and at the same time where I missed out on a lot. I’ve seen myself changing in many ways — not always for the better — but I have tried to consciously check myself where I needed it.

From 2017 to 2019, here goes.

1.  Read six books. – Take two. (Or is it three?). I managed to start a couple of books without really finishing any. I have to really be more disciplined about picking up the book and getting to the final page. With my current library, I don’t even have to spend on anything to get this done. I just need to do it with more determination.

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – I had made plans to visit friends but nothing came of it. However, I did get to visit Hong Kong again after more than 20 years and rekindled an old friendship. (Blog posts coming soon.). BFF Donna is planning to visit the US again with her family sometime in the summer so all hope is not lost for something closer this year.

3. Learn something new via an actual class.  I have been planning to learn another language virtually but have not been able to set aside time. February. Maybe I can also do one academic course via edX.

4.  Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight.  Exercising. This one takes major effort for me and I’m hoping I will be able to take better care of myself , for real, this year. I know that a singe folder, exercising is not just about looking good and feeling good about myself, but more importantly, it’s essential to staying healthy.

5.  Visit Central Park all four seasons.  A New Yorker for almost 19 years now and I really haven’t gotten beyond visiting Central Park in the Fall, and one time, I believe, winter. I think I will put a reminder in my calendar just to get this going. It is one of my favorite places in all of New York, and there is always something different and new to see — but I am always just viewing the fringes from 58th street many blocks down. April.

6. Crafting reboot.  I managed to get started on new projects during the second half of 2018 but hope to keep going on a more regular basis. One project every month is a modest goal. I hope to write about it in my craft blog and it will hopefully get me writing on that side on a more regular basis.

7. Destash more systematically. Again, I have achieved some progress with this as I’ve weeded my wardrobe of items that even if they fit me, I don’t see myself wearing again. There were also the reliable staples that have weathered years of wear, and which I am choosing to part with and have someone else enjoy before they lose their appeal. I think I will set aside one weekend to do this every month — not just clothes, but supplies and books and other things.

8. Work on the Gift of 53. When I turned 50 three years ago, I did a project I called “The Gift of 50” which were 50 random acts of kindness to mark my golden milestone. That was quite the project which felt good and which I think I should try again for this year’s birthday, even if it isn’t a milestone date.

9.  Write more.  For starters, I want to set a goal of posting once a week in the blogs.   (Which is principally this one and my craft blog.) – I have to work on this one, more so since my blogging has been severely curtailed because I can now blog only via my smartphone.

Work on my other social networking accounts by doing scheduled posts at least once a week.  – I have redistributed my focus and have to do this on schedule instead of on a whim.

Resume my handwritten projects.  Journaling has always been such an outlet of release for me but I haven’t been doing it. Hardly did any in 2018. I am hoping I can go back to this in 2019.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  If I get to mail the letters I had hoped to send out for Christmas in the next 8 weeks, I will have covered the first 6 of 12 letters I’m aiming for. This one is one of the easier tasks.

11. Rebind my art journal, begin a new one.  I had done an altered book beginning 2015 and the pages fell apart and got bulky as I painted and pasted and laid out entries. I actually treasure that first art journal and hope to come up with another beginning this month. As always, the hardest part is deciding on the medium. I am thinking I will do a junque or junk journal — piecing together parts as I go along.

12. Sample something new or visit a new restaurant or place (i.e., museum, intallation, etc.) and write about it.  I have friends who constantly go out to watch broadway shows, and others who go out of their way to undertake an activity that is art or culture related. There is always actually something going on in this or that museum, but I have to keep track. This December, I was fortunate enough to have caught the tail end of Ailey@60 before it ended and I was just bowled over by the talent and the new experience. Looking forward to more.

13.  Publish a postcard set.  Towards the end of 2017, I published one of my photos of the Manhattan Skyline featuring a stunning sunset. I would like to publish a postcard set of maybe 6 during the second half of the year. This project means a lot to me as a postcard collector, and I’m hoping I can finally get this done in 2019.

14.  Visit at least one lighthouse. Maybe I can tack this on to number 2, traveling to a destination outside the tri-state area — maybe somewhere in the Outerbanks. In addition, I would love to visit the Montauk lighthouse which I have visited maybe 3 times since I became a New Yorker, but which I last saw more than a decade ago. It’s just a bus ride away after all.

15.  Encode my poetry.  I started doing this on a separate website but have been stalled for lack of time. Maybe I should just tack it on to this blog as a separate section. One thing I take pride in is how I’ve kept this blog alive for almost 15 years. My poetry even goes further and should find a home in these pages. The oldest poem I have was written when I was 9.

16.  Visit more blogs / IG accounts. In a way, this is connected to number 1 (reading more), but beyond books. I think while social media has basically been more of a channel for my personal expression, I think it should be a networking hub — business wise or personal.

17.  Do a fundraiser for Barangay San Vicente.  My mother hails from a very poor community in Sorsogon in the province of Bicol. As a child, we visited our grandmother there. Now that she is older, my mother has chosen to stay there and now lives there permanently. I want to be able to do a fundraiser for the young children there in time for the school opening. If not, for the Christmas season when my mom used to do a gift giving celebration for the young kids.

18. Watch a live show or concert once a quarter. Watching Billy Joel live last October and then the Alvin Ailey Dance Group in December made me realize how much I love being part of the audience, and how I wish I could do that more! So more coming in 2019. If only I could win the lottery for Hamilton, for one!

19. Undertake some home improvement projects. I began this last year by reconfiguring the look of my tiny bathroom, and all it took was removing the ancient shower doors and replacing them with a double bar shower curtain rod. As I move on with this new chapter of my life, it has been refreshing to make changes in a home that is now mine and my son’s. I am excited!

There..

As in previous years, I tag all posts related to this with #19for2019. I also try to do periodic updates just to keep myself in check. I try not to pressure myself too much with the list. I keep telling myself these are goals.

Have a happy week ahead, everyone!