Monday Musings: Waiting on Spring

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I had about a dozen ideas lighting up in my head between the last post on February 7 until today. I decided I would spend my lunch hour typing away as spontaneously as I can, even if I’m not too happy about the fact that I’m writing about my Monday Musings again.

While most of the workforce is enjoying a long weekend, I’m here with that half of corporate America that doesn’t observe President’s Day as a day off. Luckily, I remembered to check the bus website to track my ride and made it in time to catch an alternative route which involved a longer —- but very pleasant walk—- down Park Avenue. I wish I had more time to spare, though, as I was just so taken by the sculptures dotting the islands between 34th and 42nd before I ducked into Grand Central station. I have quite the 30-second clip to upload to my Tiktok account later, and I have already vowed to take a more leisurely stroll down the avenue to capture all of the sculptures. (I had to skip some to make time to say hello at my favorite Park Avenue Catholic Church on 38th).

Park avenue

Kismet. Fate – or destiny.. or the universe speaking. Perhaps it’s simply age, but I’ve learned to be more accepting of what the universe lays on my feet. For example, if I am rushing out and find that I left something, I don’t fret about it or upset myself unnecessarily. I just say I wasn’t’ meant to be on that bus, or I have to be on the next one. Years ago, I would’ve run back to retrieve what I had left behind, and huffed and puffed my way to the bus stop to try to make the schedule work. Or I would be disappointed when something I thought would happen doesn’t happen. Just not meant to be – at least not yet, I tell myself. It leads to lesser and more manageable disappointment, if at all. And makes for a happier and less aggravated me. In no longer hold promises as a pact set in stone. It will come to be, in time.

My day in 30 seconds. Just as I blog for my own personal benefit (attempting to create a written journal to go back to at a later time), I’ve taken to summarizing my day in short clips I’ve been uploading to Tiktok. Why? Personally, it’s my way to appreciate or sum up the day. From my usual walk up to my perch in Midtown to maybe a lunch or dinner, a special project, or simply something that caught my eye on any given day – it’s a quick glimpse into what transpired. Those 3-second shots or longer clips actually serve a purpose and have a meaning only I really understand. It’s been fun trying to catch snippets of my day and weaving them together in such a short clip.

Palindrome Tuesday. Defined as “(a) word, phrase, sentence or number that reads the same backward or forward,” Tuesday, February 22, is a palindrome date. “2.22.22” backwards or forwards is the same. I participated in a group swap with the Philippine FB group and offered some to swap to a handful of others. I’ve slowed down considerably the last couple of weeks and have been doing other things. Time to start putting away the postcards? Not quite there yet, and don’t really intend to.

Palindrome postcard

Sewing away. So the fabric has been cut, and I’m searching for my interfacing. I’m trying to get this project going so I can move to the next. I still haven’t quite decided on the lining but I know I have more than enough to choose from.

Where art thou, Spring? One of my favorite parts about winter is actually putting away the winter gear and storing them until next year. We are nowhere near that as temperatures over the weekend dipped to below freezing yet again. But there are warmer days up ahead, even if uncharacteristic of the season. I will take any warmer weather I can get until spring finally makes it here.

21 for 2021: The Wrap Up

I tried to write a mid year check in sometime in July of 2021, but failed to finish the post. I’m actually glad that happened because I managed to do some major catching up in the second half of 2021. For the first time in a long while, I was able to accomplish more than what I had hoped to do at the start of the year. (Yay for me!) So here is how I fared against my list at the beginning of 2021.

1. Read six books. For the first time in the last decade, I actually made my 6 book goal and even exceeded it. I’m so proud of having listened to more than just one or two audio books, but I managed to read several to add or pick up from my personal library. It really feels good to not be putting this one in my “wish I could’ve done more” list for a change.

Read more books this year

2. Learn something new via an actual class. The language pursuit has momentarily been set aside, but not totally forgotten. I managed to go midway through an online watercolor class offered by Nikki Traikos on her website. It’s been a refreshing course for a beginner like myself — and of course, the first thing I have learned is that everything I was doing with my watercolor painting was actually wrong. I am getting there and hope to use what I learned (and am learning) in my art journal which I hope to work earnestly on in 2022.

3. Continue exercising and dieting to take better care of myself and reach my original weight goal which is currently 10 lbs lower than my post holiday weight. This has been more of a struggle but the good news is, even if I gain weight over a period of days, it hasn’t been too big of a gain to be insurmountable. I have managed to go back to my pre pandemic weight, so yes, halfway done with the 10lb goal below my post holiday weight, but still struggling to lose it.

Health concerns have made me focus not so much on the calories these days, but rather pay heed to the portions and food I actually eat to keep my numbers healthier. No alarms just yet, but at this age, it is good to be vigilant about taking care of ourselves.

4. Visit Central Park all four seasons. I am happy to report that although I failed to do all 4 seasons, I was able to explore Central Park in a more in-depth way than previous years by joining a guided hiking tour courtesy of The New York City Hiking Tours Meet Up Group last September. I regret that I didn’t get to write about it soon after I did this as summer was about to end, but I have a renewed appreciation of this behemoth of a backyard for the city that never sleeps. I saw parts of the park that I didn’t even know existed. While I will attempt a separate post on this sometime early this year, I am hoping to do more with this group when I get the chance to and when it’s warmer.

Hiking in Central Park 2021

5. Crafting: Organize my supplies and try new methods in jewelry making and personal art. Continue my Art journal. I am trying. Unfortunately, the art journal has been a side thought. I haven’t really worked on it as diligently as I worked on my 2021 journal. I ended up setting it aside which at this point is such a big disappointment. As far as the jewelry making is concerned, I did create a few pieces but they were within my safe zone, not allowing me to be more adventurous.

I am trying to get back to jewelry making, because despite my lack of focus on the shop, I’ve been racking up some sales that were totally unexpected. I can only imagine how things would go if I were more prolific in creating new pieces. Focus needed, I know.

6. Continue to find a new home for the items that I no longer have use for, but which can be of use to others. I had managed to destash so much in 2020 that I feel like I could’ve given it more effort in 2021. I ask myself if, perhaps, I have given away enough in the year prior, but the truth of it is, I have more I can actually do well to part with. So hoping I can get more done in 2022.

7. Work on the Gift of 55. Ever since I turned 50, I have tried to prepare gifts to give away to coincide with my birthday. It was a way of celebrating myself while giving to others. In connection with the lessons I learned in destashing items in 2020 as mentioned above, I had hoped to focus on something more meaningful in 2021 as I turned 55, but miserably failed. That means 55 acts of kindness to celebrate which will now be 56 for the coming year.

8. Keep writing. I think I managed to maintain a presence here although there is always that wish to write more. I am getting there. The problem is keeping the momentum going. I am trying. There’s been a better focus on writing these days, what with everything that’s been happening around me in a social and personal level. So it’s a matter of ramping up.

9. Keep writing those letters. I started writing people randomly during the last quarter of 2020. It has been a gratifying and heartwarming experience hearing from the people I’ve written. Beyond the Christmas cards, there were letters that actually made it out of my writing box. And I already have around a half dozen letters waiting to be written. I know that I will surpass my goal of writing one card or letter a month, so I am not going to put a minimum. I will just keep writing and sending those letters and cards out.

10. Get the podcast on the air. One of the projects that I got all excited about during the first months of the pandemic was getting a podcast on the air. I had the title, a friend so generously provided me with original music in different cuts to use, my niece rendered a graphic for the show and my first three shows were cast with guests that had so readily said yes. And then work and life got in the way, and I didn’t want to just broadcast haphazardly. I’m focusing on this anew in 2022 if only because I have since thought of another half dozen topics to broadcast and people to feature. It’s a project halfway to done.

11. Buff up stocks in the Etsy Shop. Like I mentioned, one thing I found rather surprising was the traffic I was getting, and the actual sales made during the pandemic. I wish I had the time and the energy to post more actively, but a newfound interest in raw materials to use for my pieces has sparked new inspiration. Still not quitting the day job, but this is definitely getting a new focus from me.

12. Sew at least one coat / jacket before spring, and another before winter. As you can see, I’m already looking at 2022. I see my sewing machine and I sigh in frustration, regretting that I have yet to finish another coat since I did one for my sewing classes at Mood University way back when. I have the materials.. I did manage to work on the cut up fabric ready to be sewn into masks. There was a time I went (a bit) crazy buying fabric on sale — and they are all neatly stacked and stored in my bins. Waiting to be sewn into something I will wear. Two pieces, minimum!

13. Fix my attic. I have a huge storage space that has stacks of boxes of stuff that need to make it to the waste bin. I’m thinking the best way is to devote an hour every month at least — in increments of 15 or 30 minutes, just to move things around. I’ve managed to do some tidying as I pulled out the Christmas tree and decorations for this year — and there is a semblance of order in one corner, but there are other corners that need touching. And I will get to that in 2022.

14. Sort my postcard collection. Going through the things that had lain hidden in boxes and bins through the years has made me rediscover postcards in my collection. I actively returned to postcard trading via some postcard groups on Facebook in 2020, and zoomed in particularly to Postcrossing Philippines, a group of Filipino postcard collectors. I’ve already started gathering the ones that really have no room in my collecting interests and have started giving them away. I received more than 200 postcards from this group alone, with problem less than a hundred from other swaps.

In some ways, this was a big distraction for me in 2021 but it also allowed me to socially interact with other collectors. It has been a time consuming aspect of my passions, though, which I hope to balance out with my other pursuits in 2022.

15. Catalogue and photograph my Starbucks Mug Collection. It came rather late but I managed to add some mugs to the collection after a trip to Maine with some friends (something noteworthy for 2021!) and a renewed interest in the holiday collection. It was a big disappointment, though, that I didn’t get to acquire the anniversary mugs that coincided with the 50th anniversary of Starbucks. (Hello, eBay, I guess.). I will try and devote time to cataloguing the collection, and am actually in the process of finding a suitable case to house even just part of what I have.

16. Put my family photos in an album. Some years back, my mother gifted me with an old style photo album from back home which I stashed in the attic. The good news is, it’s downstairs now in one of my craft bags. I just need to gather the photos and work on it.

17. Create the wall art I’ve been meaning to do the last year or so. I actually have two items I was hoping to create but beyond the main board I was hoping to put these works on, I haven’t really done anything. And this got stuck in limbo. I am seriously contemplating on whether or not I will forget about this or try to give it a go in 2022 again.

18. Finish, frame and hang a cross stitch project featuring Our Lady of Perpetual Help that I started more than 16 years ago. Long story…so I did find the original pattern but never quite got down to picking up the thread and needle again to finish this, but this is priority for me in 2022.

19. Set my affairs in order. One thing that 2020 made most of us do is make us face our mortality and the uncertainty of the future. I keep saying I will write my will and do my living will — but beyond identifying my emergency contact and giving immediate instructions to that friend, I haven’t really been able to set this down properly.

I did identify my medical proxy and just need to let that person know. With all that’s happened around us due to Covid and everything that’s still going on, my own mortality has been staring me in the face. Will to be written before my 56th birthday in April.

There you go.

I published this list with two of the 21 unwritten. I never got down to finish the list. I will try to do better with the 22 for 2022 which I will begin writing as soon as I hit publish on this one.

All in all and with everything that was going on around us, I still think 2021 wasn’t all that bad. Personally, it was a good year if you consider how my son and I managed to stay healthy throughout the year, despite health challenges suffered by other family members back home.

I returned to work in April and eased myself into a semblance of normalcy in my old perch, but in a new space. I lost the view but still have a convenient spot in the middle of Manhattan.

I have been blessed. Indeed.

Work in Progress: my altered book

I have been blessed. Indeed.

PS. This is a recurring topic I’ve tried to do every year, and previous lists have a home on a special page in this blog. Happy new year from Pinay New Yorker!

21 for 2021

Every year, I’ve reworked the previous list of goals for the new year after reporting on how I fared in trying to keep with what I had written for the one just ended. 2021 will be very different if only because 2020 changed so much in the way we did things due to Covid. So with the restrictions that we are now faced with and the adjustments we must make in our new reality, I must tweak this year’s list drastically to adapt.

Just another one of the many ways that we all must live differently now. One thing that I know I will not change is try to work through a list of goals for the coming year, and yes, 21 for the year 2021 — no more, no less.

1. Read six books. Believe me, I am trying. I started several books in 2020 but never finished one. I think I’ll go back to the old school way of reading one book and not beginning another until I finish it.

2. Learn something new via an actual class. With everything going virtual now, this shouldn’t be difficult. I’m still working on my language classes but those are more of self study and not really a class. I might have something new to report before the month is out and cross this off my list.

3. Continue exercising and dieting to take better care of myself and reach my original weight goal which is currently 10 lbs lower than my post holiday weight.

4. Visit Central Park all four seasons. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to visit once after a snowfall this winter, and get to the other seasons finally. It’s a bit harder trying to get this particular task done, but despite the restrictions and the fact that I’m hardly in the city, it is actually one of those that I think I can finally accomplish this year.

Central Park Summer 2020

5. Crafting: Organize my supplies and try new methods in jewelry making and personal art. Continue my Art journal. Last year was very productive in this respect and I’ve found new inspiration to create different pieces for the shop. On a personal level, my success with the art journal has further inspired me to continue it on to 2021 with a totally new journal. I’ve immersed myself with inspiration from artists I’ve encountered and followed and continue to learn from in the process. As I have tried to get organized, I’ve discovered that I have my supplies all mixed up everywhere and it would really just be easier if I could sort them out.

2020 saw me documenting my year in an art journal, and what I have come up with has inspired me to continue with the journey in 2021.

6. Continue to find a new home for the items that I no longer have use for, but which can be of use to others. I learned some valuable lessons in being able to destash with more purpose in 2020, which I hope to continue to do in 2021. I’ve found two groups to share these things with — one in my neighborhood and the other across the boroughs of New York City. I’ve always hated throwing things out and it was a good feeling to get rid of some of the things i needed to dispose of, while at the same time helping others.

7. Work on the Gift of 55. Ever since I turned 50, I have tried to prepare gifts to give away to coincide with my birthday. It was a way of celebrating myself while giving to others. In connection with the lessons I learned in destashing items in 2020 as mentioned above, I think I will focus on something more meaningful in 2021 as I turn 55. That means 55 acts of kindness to celebrate. I will start working on this sooner rather than later, as April is just around the corner.

8. Keep writing. I think I’m off to a good start with three posts in three days. The problem is in keeping the momentum going. I am trying.. I have started some new writing projects and actually see myself making progress as the weeks go. There’s been a better focus on writing these days, what with everything that’s been happening around me in a social and personal level.

9. Keep writing those letters. I started writing people randomly during the last quarter of 2020. It has been a gratifying and heartwarming experience hearing from the people I’ve written. Beyond the Christmas cards, there were letters that actually made it out of my writing box. And I already have around a half dozen letters waiting to be written. I know that I will surpass my goal of writing one card or letter a month, so I am not going to put a minimum. I will just keep writing and sending those letters and cards out.

10. Get the podcast on the air. One of the projects that I got all excited about during the first months of the pandemic was getting a podcast on the air. I had the title, a friend so generously provided me with original music in different cuts to use, my niece rendered a graphic for the show and my first three shows were cast with guests that had so readily said yes. And then work and life got in the way, and I didn’t want to just broadcast haphazardly. I’m focusing on this anew if only because I have since thought of another half dozen topics to broadcast and people to feature. It’s a project halfway to done.

11. Buff up stocks in the Etsy Shop. One thing I found rather surprising was the traffic I was getting, and the actual sales made during the pandemic. I wish I had the time and the energy to post more actively, but a newfound interest in raw materials to use for my pieces has sparked new inspiration. Still not quitting the day job, but this is definitely getting a new focus from me.

12. Sew at least one coat / jacket before spring, and another before winter. I see my sewing machine and I sigh in frustration, regretting that I have yet to finish another coat since I did one for my sewing classes at Mood University way back when. I have the materials.. I have cut up fabric ready to be sewn into masks. There was a time I went (a bit) crazy buying fabric on sale — and they are all neatly stacked and stored in my bins. Waiting to be sewn into something I will wear. Two pieces, minimum!

13. Fix my attic. I have a huge storage space that has stacks of boxes of stuff that need to make it to the waste bin. I’m thinking the best way is to devote an hour every month at least — in increments of 15 or 30 minutes, just to move things around. I’ve managed to do some tidying as I pulled out the Christmas tree and decorations for this year — and there is a semblance of order in one corner, but there are other corners that need touching. And I will get to that this year.

14. Sort my postcard collection. Going through the things that had lain hidden in boxes and bins through the years has made me rediscover postcards in my collection. I’ve already started gathering the ones that really have no room in my collecting interests and have started giving them away. As I go through my boxes, I’ve started sorting postcards, photographs and greeting cards randomly, leaving the actual organizing of the three bins for another time. The postcard collection, though, needs particular attention, and I’ve already begun the work.

15. Catalogue and photograph my Starbucks Mug Collection. I haven’t really had any major additions to the collection in 2020 but I managed to add maybe a half dozen mugs. I used to have enough room above my pantry in the kitchen to display them in two rows, but the space has since run out. I also need to “rewrap” the mugs that are still there due to the soot from the stove. (Yes, I packed them well, so they are not grimy on the inside.). Most of the collection is now in boxes in the attic, waiting to be displayed. I’m working on figuring out the best way to display them maybe in the dining room, but I just thought they were better off in boxes until I can find a nice way to showcase what I have.

16. Put my family photos in an album. I know that with most photos now digitally stored, the hard copy photos I managed to bring to New York from my trips home are all the more priceless. I have them in a box and mom had brought me a nice archival photo album I have yet to use. This year, I will get those precious photographs into that album.

17. Create the wall art I’ve been meaning to do the last year or so. I actually have two items I am hoping to create but beyond the main board I was hoping to put these works on, I haven’t really done anything. Even just one for this year will be great. I am rather reluctant to share more details beyond this, but should I finally get it done (hopefully this year!), I will share the final work in this space.

18. Finish, frame and hang a cross stitch project featuring Our Lady of Perpetual Help that I started more than 16 years ago. Long story…first, I must find it to start work on it again.

19. Set my affairs in order. One thing that 2020 made most of us do is make us face our mortality and the uncertainty of the future. I keep saying I will write my will and do my living will — but beyond identifying my emergency contact and giving immediate instructions to that friend, I haven’t really been able to set this down properly. So on my 55th year on this earth, I will.

20.

21.

As you can see, I’m publishing this list with two still up in the air. This might take a bit longer for me to decide, so instead of waiting to complete the list, I’d rather publish now and get on with the year. (Another thing that 2020 has taught me — take care of what you can take care of now, instead of letting the task linger on undone.)

While some of the things I wrote above are more “guideposts” instead of actual goals, I’m actually optimistic I will get half of this list done. (Fearless forecast.). Wish me luck!

Closing out 20 for 2020

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Last year, I vowed that I will not wait as long as I did in January of 2020 (ended up publishing the original post on the 20th), and instead write my next list earlier in the month. But of course, before I can do that, I am obligated to give an update on how the previous list went. (Plus, I don’t have the avatar for 2021 yet.)

I started this list a couple of years ago and even gave it its own spot in the navigation bar above, where you will find the previous lists. As I had written before, this is a list that hasn’t changed much but which I like to keep to sort of give me some guideposts for the coming year. I don’t like making resolutions — I prefer to be specific and set goals. There’s a few staples and an addition or two- just tweaking the list a bit to adjust to the times. Rather than elaborate on each attempt or success, I’ll spare you the agony of reading through my excuses and simple focus on the things I actually did.

1. Read six books. – Epic fail, although I did begin reading maybe 3-4 books. Totally needs work.

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – I was actually planning a day trip, if not an overnight at least, and then the pandemic hit. End of story.

3. Learn something new via an actual class. This one is a work in progress, although I have been taking lessons via Audible trying to learn another language. Marginally a success in terms of the effort, but nothing completed by the year’s end.

4. Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight. MAJOR SUCCESS WITH THIS ONE. (You can see how proud I am of being able to claim this!). I gained 15 lbs during the first half of the confinement of the pandemic in 2020, lost it and another 5 lbs below my prepandemic weight (another yay!).. and now, while I continue to be a work in progress, I am walking 10000 steps everyday and eating better. The weight loss has been thwarted by all the holidays the last couple of weeks, but I can confidently proclaim that I am taking better care of myself now. This is something which I hope to continue into 2021.

5. Visit Central Park all four seasons. Two out of the four seasons was better than last year’s, and I am on track to try for all four this year. The fact that there was a long period of time when I confined myself to my home impacted the spring. I made it there during the summer but totally missed out on fall. And Winter, well, one of these days.

Central Park Summer 2020

6. Crafting reboot. I think one of the things I am most grateful for during our home confinement was that it gave me time to hone my sewing skills in creating masks, and then I found new ways and materials to work on for the shop. Surprisingly, there has been traffic and sales despite the pandemic. I did shy away, though, from other crafts that entailed longer periods of time such as crocheting or knitting. My art journal has flourished and I am raring to start a new one. All in all, it has been a very productive year.

7. Destash more systematically. When I wrote about this originally, I was really thinking of smaller items to destash — like books and shoes, etc. During the last quarter of the year, I’ve actually parted with at least two boxes of clothing and other household items that were otherwise still useful but just gathering dust in bags or boxes. Or I had kept because I thought they might be of use some day — things like those left over pieces from glass sets and plates that were somehow forgotten when we switched to another design. They have found a new home somewhere. Even the coffee table that predated my arrival here in the US has found its way to the dumpster in our community, and who knows, someone might’ve found use for it and taken it home. I will write about this another time because it was not just more space that I got in return, but a sense of goodwill towards others. Happiness.

8. Work on the Gift of 54. This one totally got eclipsed by the pandemic. So there were no gifts to give away to celebrate my 54th birthday. Maybe for the 55th, I might go local after having found a facebook group that caters to New Yorkers in need. Fingers crossed.

9. Write more. I always think of this as being able to write more regularly — and I have to admit there were periods of silence again here in my corner. But on the whole, I think I wrote more this year and I’m not going to beat myself up for not having done more.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month. I was able to send the letters out, but mostly during the end of the year, instead of at the frequency I had aimed for. One thing that the pandemic has made me realize is that we have forgotten how to communicate on a more personal level through the mail, and I will continue writing in 2021.

11. Rebind my art journal, begin a new one. I actually found another art journal I had completely forgotten about, predating the altered book that I had meant to rebind. This is something I hope to do the first quarter, including the art journal I began in 2020 which I will end soon to make way for another in 2021. This was a very fulfilling exercise for me, because I have always wanted to continue expressing myself in my personal art — with all the fold outs and the lettering and all my scribbling.

12. Sample something new or visit a new restaurant or place (i.e., museum, intallation, etc.) and write about it. Again, eclipsed by the pandemic and the restrictions it brought upon us. However, I did manage to continue to find new things to sample, but not quite in the same frequency I had hoped. I’m probably going to let this go this coming year given the restrictions and safety concerns about actually going out and about.

13. Publish a postcard set. One day soon.

14. Visit at least one lighthouse. This was actually part of the trip I was planning during the earlier part of the year. Maybe in 2022.

15. Encode my poetry. Totally forgot about this.. but again, a maybe.

16. Visit more blogs / IG accounts. The point was to read other people more. Epic fail. I did visit one or two but nowhere near the one a month I was hoping for. I need to be more methodical about this.

17. Do a fundraiser for Barangay San Vicente. My mother hails from a very poor community in Sorsogon in the province of Bicol and I was hoping to do a holiday if not a start of the school year fundraiser. Again, derailed by the pandemic, but in my heart and mind.

18. Watch a live show or concert once a quarter. Another time when Broadway reopens, and the concert halls let us in again.

19. Undertake some home improvement projects. Work in progress, but not totally sidelined by the pandemic. I am excited to continue with the work my son and I have started for a new look to our home.

20. Rework the Etsy shop. I have started creating pieces again even as I write this, and I am thinking of new designs to put in the store. It was most heartening that despite the pandemic, there was traffic and actual sales. Imagine how much more if I could just get into a rhythm about producing new items to sell.

So now that I have written my final update on last year’s list, I can work on writing 21 for 2021 — hopefully before this coming weekend. (That gives me 5 days.. plenty of time.)

A third on the “Yay!” Side wasn’t too bad, if you ask me. I will have to let another third (or even as much as half the list) go due to the expected restrictions that will continue to be with us in the light of our new Covid reality, despite the vaccine. So my 2021 list will probably have a totally different thrust — or focus, and I am hoping to put the ones I will take out back in 2022. Maybe.

Friday Five for Memorial Day Weekend

Friday5

Five goals. Five tasks. Five things I hope to do over this long weekend up ahead.

I’m stoked. My day ended at just after lunch because despite the early close (2pm), the boss bid me to log off at noon as she was fine to go. I was grateful for that, even if I knew I would probably not really log off then. Just the thought was enough to help me start the weekend.

So I went to the post office and shipped out a sale, then did my usual stop at the community bake shop to get some treats, but more to help them out with a sale and a bit of extra tip. It’s a small operation but it’s been around for a long time, and the type that makes all the good stuff.

And suddenly the disposable masks are available aplenty! While I have been busy making my masks, I thought I’d buy just a box or two for the possibility of a second wave when sanitizers, masks, alcohol and toilet paper disappear from the shelves. Just enough to be ready– not hoarding. I could’ve bought from the chain pharmacy, but I figured again, I’d like to help the mom and pop stores around. So many businesses are hurting, and every little bit helps.

Here goes my Friday Five–

(1) Produce and post at least one item in the shop. Perhaps it’s because of the stress of working from home and the masks, but I haven’t really been paying attention to the shop. Lo and behold, I didn’t realize I was getting a lot of traffic and actually made some sales in the last week or so. I want to be able to take advantage of that spurt of activity and the best way is to keep posting. I’m being modest so I will aim for only one, but who knows?

(2) Work on my art journal. I actually started working on one spread already but want to get going with my journaling again. It’s a very therapeutic form of self expression for me and I have several ideas brewing in my head.

(3) I’m going to get busy in the kitchen. I plan to bake and cook and I’m particularly excited attempting a rather complicated Filipino / Spanish dish after I picked up one of the essential ingredients from the grocery earlier this afternoon. And there’s my oatmeal raisin cookie craving that needs attending to!

(4) Take the first step in replicating a favorite house dress. First thing’s first– have to create the pattern! I already made some measurements and just need to translate it into paper. I’m not going to attempt the actual sewing just yet. The pattern is one big project as it is.

(5) Start writing those letters I’ve been meaning to write. Talking about snail mail here. Earlier while I was looking for the padded envelopes I ship my jewelry in, I came across more stationery I had made a while back that I have yet to use. One letter at least.

There you go. I’m suddenly intimidated reading through that list, but I think I’ve got my work cut out for me. Like I said, I’m all excited by the weekend, even as I end Friday ready to start relaxing.

Here’s to a restful weekend for everyone.

Friday Five: Take 2

Friday5

Five goals. Five tasks. Five things I hope to do over a cold, cold weekend up ahead.

So two Fridays ago, I wrote my first Friday Five post for the year.  I wasn’t too keen about a follow up the following week because the truth of the matter was, I was distracted over the weekend and didn’t get much done.  But before I write the next, I thought I owed myself a quick rundown as a reminder to work harder on this.

1. Work on the destash. Identify 5 items to give away and clear out some of the junk in my room. – The closet is an ongoing project so this did get done.

2. Go through my shoe rack. This is a rather emotional issue for me which I will work harder on.  Maybe this week?

3. Write a letter. I actually started writing one but didn’t quite get anywhere.  Definitely this weekend!

4. Finish three pieces for the shop. Blame it on the art journaling.  This was totally an epic fail.

5. Pack away.  Off the list!  I actually got to a good start.. and then…

So that was the recap.  What’s for the next weekend?

1.  Continue with the destash.  (Yay!)

2.  Go through the shoe rack and throw at least 3 pairs that need to go to the shoe grave.

3.  Letters and cards that need to be written and sent.

4.  One piece for the shop.  I thought I’d keep the goal modest to actually make it a reality.

5. Sort and store the cards I got from the Papyrus closing out sale.  Sad.  Those who know me well know that I have a thing for paper.. and make up.. but Papyrus is all about paper.  As they cleaned out their shelves on their last day yesterday, the branch here in Grand Central sold the cards for 10 cents each.  I looked at Father’s Day cards not to give or sell but for the components on the card I could maybe use in crafting.  It was scrapbooking and mixed media heaven for me.  And now I have to sort and put them away so that my holiday cardsy can be ready for Christmas.  (Yes, and I regretted having bought my boxed cards for next Christmas when they went on sale.. )

Fridays nowadays always make me think of sleep.. and more sleep.  And yet I cannot even get myself to nap anymore.  I have been throwing away a lot of stuff so I know I am making progress in getting my topsy-turvy world in a bit of order.  I am hopeful it will be a productive weekend for me.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Friday Five: First for 2020

Friday5

Five goals. Five tasks. Five things I hope to do over a weekend when all I’m thinking about is sleeping in.

I’m not a thrill seeker or a restless soul and most weekends find me just chilling at home. Still, I find it nice to set simple goals to make sure I at least work on accomplishing something instead of just vegetating. So here goes..

1. Work on the destash. Identify 5 items to give away and clear out some of the junk in my room. Last week I threw away one bag more than I usually toss into the garbage bin. It get good to see so much being disposed of. For someone who has a tendency to hold on to things, I feel some measure of accomplishment when I am able to dispose of otherwise useless stuff. So more of that this weekend.

2. Go through my shoe rack. I know I’m making progress when I see shoes in the trash bin. There are more that should literally walk out the door, but I seem to have a special attachment to the shoes I have, no matter how they have been neglected or forgotten. Time to say goodbye.

3. Write a letter. I don’t know why it takes so much effort when it’s really something I’m very good at. Plus, I actually have people on a list. One to the post office by Monday.

4. Finish three pieces for the shop. I have actually gathered several unfinished pieces, but I haven’t really posted anything. Time to focus on this.

5. Pack away. I have things that need to be stored in the attic, and while they are boxed, they need to be brought up. I also need to stash things I might be taking in my next trip until I am sure I am taking that trip.

And my Friday is almost done. My bed beckons. Let’s see how this goes when I give my Monday update. Happy Friday!

My art journal

Creating a journal has always been more than picking one out and writing in it for me. Since I finished my first journal spanning 2012-2015, deciding on my next format made for a lot of stops and starts. But after so many failed attempts, I think I’ve finally found something I am happy with.

From the beginning, I knew I was going to use upcycled paper. Sheets from file dividers, used Manila folders, and I zeroed in on a size. 5.5 x 7×5. I toyed with the idea of sewing signatures together, but then decided on working on sections I could compile together instead.

I had started in a totally different direction before the last year ended, but I had a new idea which saw me totally focused on a different design direction. I am quite excited with the thicker and bigger layouts I’ve come up with. And I know that I can still add the rose petal collage embellishments to the existing pages.

I’ve gathered some old art work and materials I’ve incorporated into the layouts. I have even fished out an older basic watercolor cake palette (which is what you see in my section avatar in this post) and began creating basic page backgrounds. Just like my first art journal, I am trying to add fold outs and cut outs to make the book visually unique, starting with a 4-page spread of “2020”.

I found some magazine cut outs I had originally intended for a totally different kind of journal project and this time, I used them in some spreads for embellishing later on. I’ve even pulled out my stash of handmade paper I’ve acquired through the years to use as part of the layouts.

It’s coming out pretty nicely and I haven’t even started journaling.

I’d still like to begin the book by retracing the last 12 months as mini entries. 2019 was a positive year mostly because my world stayed in a good place. You know how people say things can only get better? They did and they stayed good. Nothing remarkable or ground breaking– but sometimes, “good” is okay. And that’s 12 months worth journaling.

I’m giddy happy thinking about how this project, which I’ve tried to get going so many times before and had fallen flat and hanging, is finally taking off. I can’t wait to paint and spray and paste and write.

Journaling has always been about capturing my thoughts and feelings in words and pictures for me to go back to in some future time. When I am in the process of writing down my entry or creating the layout, that is me lost in myself, trying to express what’s in me or memorializing the feeling or thought of the moment. It’s a way of speaking in my own inner voice. It’s something I didn’t get to do last year, but 2020 will be different.  Having gotten this far in just the first four weeks of the year, I know I will be able to tick this off my list this time around.

20 for 2020

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I’ve had this post drafted since the beginning of the year but I have been holding off looking for graphics.  (Note to self: Don’t wait next time.)  Halfway through the first month of the year, I’m hitting “publish”.  This is a list that hasn’t changed much but which I like to keep to sort of give me some guideposts for the coming year. I don’t like making resolutions — I prefer to be specific and set goals. There’s a few staples and an addition or two- just tweaking the list a bit to adjust to the times. And one new addition is a cadence or schedule to just keep me on the ball.

1.  Read six books. – I will keep the books nearer to me to make it easier. Sometimes, I find that I’m too tired and I end up getting sleepier when I open a book. But the goal remains. I am also reading on my devices. As of this writing, I have at least 3 unfinished reads, and I am determined to close one out before January ends.

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – I have a few destinations in mind for 2020, and this is one of the items I find easiest to accomplish, even if it takes some planning. I almost got to do this this first half of January with a planned trip with the family back in Manila to Seoul, but their visas didn’t get released on time. If we do get to go in March, then I will be able to chalk this off my list. Otherwise, my favorite niece is arriving for a long vacation here in the summer, and she and I can do a weekend trip or two together.

The Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters
The Three Sisters and The Blue Mountains of New South Wales, 2019

3. Learn something new via an actual class.  It’s one of a few things, but I just need to plan more specifically. I might start with learning to knit properly, for starters. I actually learned how to using plastic chopsticks and my encyclopedia which had step by step instructions. While there are a ton of YouTube videos that give step by step instructions, I find that learning from a master is invaluable in getting things right.

4.  Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight.  It’s not just looking and feeling good, but the truth of the matter is this is now a necessity given that I’m getting older. 2019 saw me dieting but not making progress with the exercise. Not good, I know. I need to get started before the month is over.

5.  Visit Central Park all four seasons.  We’ve had a very mild winter and one of my dreams is to visit Central Park during or after a snowfall. I did that last in 2015 where I grabbed some gorgeous shots of freshly fallen and still falling snow. Hopefully, I will be able to do this again this year and visit during the rest of the year with more determination in 2020.

6. Crafting reboot.  I had hoped to do more sewing, but I did a lot of jewelry and crochet in 2019, even if it wasn’t for the shop. I’d like to focus more on the sewing to put my fabric stash to good use. Already excited!

Crochet triangle scarf
7. Destash more systematically. I’ve already started identifying the books. My closet is a continuing project. But I think I’m making progress because I’ve started parting with the shoes!

8. Work on the Gift of 54. This tends to creep up on me and I really need to get ahead of it, so I will start working on this the first month of the year, leaving me 4 months to the big 5-4 in April.

9.  Write more.  I started drafting three posts on New Year’s Day so I think I’m inspired. I believe it’s really about keeping it going for the rest of the year. I’m pretty happy where I landed in 2019 although my writing was in stops and starts. This time around, a post a week should be manageable, aiming for 4 a month, and hoping to do even better. I start the year with 10 possible topics with IG title graphics ready. Three of the 10 are scheduled for posting. I’m on track for a good start of the year! (Yay!)

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  It was very gratifying and rewarding for me in 2019. I am going to keep this going in 2020. I already have three letters I’m trying to write after writing twice that number in the last part of 2019. (Yay!)

11. Rebind my art journal, begin a new one.  Currently working on this. It’s right there.. and I am vowing to do a reveal video. I will rebind it myself if I have to. As for the new one in the works, I have two projects in mind, going the junk journal route. Excited about this.

12. Sample something new or visit a new restaurant or place (i.e., museum, intallation, etc.) and write about it.  Visiting the newly renovated Museum of Modern Art is on my list.. sitting in a cafe is another.. I have actually managed to do this in my social media accounts but I need to do this here as well and write about the experience with more purpose and depth. One a month.

13.  Publish a postcard set.  I think I need help with this and will seek the advice and services of a friend who is in the business of publishing and hopefully get a set done. I have the photographs!

14.  Visit at least one lighthouse.  I know which one I want to visit and had made plans in late 2019 but it didn’t quite work out.. I will rework the plans and make it happen soon.

15.  Encode my poetry.  Maybe.

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 REALLY write with 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.”  Again, this just needs a project plan to make execution a snap. I actually got to visit Barangay San Vicente in July 2019 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 a lot has changed in the 20 plus years since I was last there. I’d still like to do the fundraiser — and maybe return.  For 2020 then, and into 2021.

18. Watch a live show or concert once a quarter. Another miss.  I actually enjoyed hitting rush tickets and just need to plan more. Just leaving this to-do here is obviously not working. budget and time-wise.

19. Undertake some home improvement projects. Christmas saw me getting rid of small appliances I had absolutely no use for.  Sometimes I can’t believe why I left them lying around gathering dust when I had absolutely no use for them.  I am going to devote one hour a week to do serious redecorating, whether it’s just clearing stuff out or rearranging things. I was hoping to redecorate in 2019 but I worked on more pressing matters and postponed. Organizing my clutter is priority and I think I’m making progress in that regard.

20. Rework the Etsy shop. Upon Etsy’s prodding, I’ve now switched to free shipping to anywhere in the US, and I’m going through my inventory and taking out the pieces that are just way too cheap to be profitable to be on the shop. One hour every week on this.  I’ve made a definite effort to start organizing for starters, labeling and putting like materials together.  The goal is to devote one weekend to creating pieces and updating the site.

So there goes my list for 2020, and here I am, hopes high.  I am grateful for another year with the sun shining in my corner of the world.  I have a lot to be thankful for in 2019, but then again, that’s another post altogether.  Wishing everyone an even better 2020 — like I said in my holiday card.

As in the previous years, this list has a special spot up in the navigation bar where you will find updates as the year unfolds. I am optimistic this will be a good year for me and this list. Cheers to 2020!

19 for 2019: The Final Score

It’s officially 2020, and before I write my 20 for 2020 post, I wanted to close out on the previous year. No excuses, and I’d like to keep it brief. I last gave an update here on October 9, 2019, and while I didn’t exactly complete the list, I am quite happy with where I landed.
New York Palace
1.  Read six books. – The books are here, and I know I just need to keep reading. I am really, really trying,

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – Done. Visited the land down under a second time and visited BFF Donna.

3. Learn something new via an actual class.  Planning this now. I tried enrolling in an EdX class but didn’t get anywhere. Fingers crossed 2020 will be more productive.

4.  Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight.  I end the year a little heavier but I am where I want to be, but I am aware there is work to be done and working on it.

5.  Visit Central Park all four seasons.  I have failed to visit at all this year. Not good. It’s a very mild winter and I’m hoping to visit before the season is out.

6. Crafting reboot.  Done! Much progress in this regard.. here, I can say, I did get things done. More sewing in 2020 and I am hoping I can focus on the jewelry business more.

7. Destash more systematically. The dinnerware will go soon. There are a box or two of clothes heading home for those who might need it more.

8. Work on the Gift of 53. Epic fail.  I am going to work on the gift of 54 this next two weeks and get a headstart on this..

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.) – trying to be more consistent with this goal and now have scheduled posts, and writing them to start the year off right!

Work on my other social networking accounts by doing scheduled posts at least once a week.   This needs a more scheduled approach but I’ve managed to get things going, principally because I lost track of one, and someone who tried to reconnect with me followed me on that one. Of course, I didn’t see it. I had even forgotten I had that account! Lesson learned.

Resume my handwritten projects.  Working on this before the week is out, and beginning with a summary of 2019.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  Done. I haven’t quite written all the letters I had hoped to write, but I did manage to write quite a bunch of them. Happy with how this one went.

11. Rebind my art journal, begin a new one.  I must do this before it falls apart on me, along with a reveal video clip because I’m really proud of my first art journal.

12. Sample something new or visit a new restaurant or place (i.e., museum, intallation, etc.) and write about it.  I’ve done a few posts on IG of things and places but not here. I need an editorial calendar for my own guidance to get this going.

13.  Publish a postcard set.  Coming soon. I think I will ask the help of a friend who has a printing press.

14.  Visit at least one lighthouse.  I tried to plan a trip before it got too cold but life got ahead of me. Soon. For starters, I already know which one I will work to get to.

15.  Encode my poetry.  Writing more.

16.  Visit more blogs / IG accounts. I joined “Medium” a few months back– yes, reading other people more — and it’s been a fun journey.

17.  Do a fundraiser for Barangay San Vicente.  Major project for 2020. I WROTE, ‘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.

18. Watch a live show or concert once a quarter. Another miss.  Planning better things in 2020, maybe with my not so little guy even.

19. Undertake some home improvement projects. There is hope.

Not too bad, if you ask me.

I am about to write this year’s list and I am starting the year with high hopes for an even better year ahead. For starters, here’s hoping I get even a third done by the first half of the year at least.. and keep things going from there.

2019 wasn’t so bad after all — in many respects, I think it was even better than 2018 was for me. All in all, I am grateful.