So that was 2017

This is one of those posts that’s more for my benefit than for any reader out there, because it’s an annual self check I’ve been doing annually.

For the last couple of years, I had picked up the habit of writing a list of things as the year rolled out which I hoped to do in the coming 12 months. There were years I managed to go back to the list before the year ended, and at times the list just lay dormant. 2017 was one of the latter.

But I like keeping this lists in the hope of setting goals for myself for the rest of the year, and no matter how minimal my success has been, I like seeing how hard or how I hardly tried. It’s by no means a hard and fast goal as you will see in the progress report below. Reading it now, much of it will stay with 2018’s 18 things to do, with a few minor tweaks. There is always the hope that I will be able to have more success this go around.

1.  Read six books.  I want to beat myself up over this because I have the books, both electronic and hard copy. It’s really finding the time to read that stumps me. I am hoping that I can actually do more than my goal of six books this year.. let’s see.

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – Sydney in September. Last year, I had specified Boston as a destination, only to find myself flying all the way down under to Fiji to meet with my high school BFF, Donna, who also turned 50.  I met up with her and her family and we had a grand time just catching up and celebrating together.

Although I am planning a vacation with her again sometime end of the year, I’d like to make a simpler plan closer to home, but outside the immediate environs of New York.  So anywhere outside the tri-state area will do.  One trip, that’s all.  Keeping it simple and open ended like that is easier to aim for. I made it to Sydney in September and managed an overnight stay in Manila on the way and back. Other than that, I’ve stayed pretty local but looking forward to doing this when the weather starts improving. We are at below freezing temperatures as I write this!

3. Learn something new via an actual class.  I already know that I want to learn how to properly knit, and I am just trying to find the time to actually do this over at the Lion Brand Yarn Studios here in Manhattan.  I would also like to learn another language, but not have to pay for it.  (Yes, I’m being a cheapskate, but these classes can be expensive!)  And there’s the Intermediate sewing class which I skipped as the third installment of classes last year at MoodU over at Mood Fabrics here in Manhattan.  As you can see, my learning calendar is in pretty good shape, so it’s all a matter of really getting down to it. – This is one item where there was no movement at all so I guess it’ll have to be in 2018.

4.  Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight.  Exercising.  What’s that again?  LOL  No more excuses, and hoping to give it more effort.  I had better luck with the weight control last year compared to the year before that, except that the trip to Fiji and all those full breakfast buffets made me gain 10 lbs.  The good news is I have a better grip on the weight loss effort, so I’ve been able to lose the weight.  The downside is, I have failed to break my plateau (which is top secret!) and I am hoping that I finally get to do that in 2017. This is a work in progress.

5.  Visit Central Park all four seasons.  A New Yorker for almost 17 years now and yet I cannot boast of being a Central Park regular all year round.  And note that I have always worked within walking distance of the park, although it’s a good 20-25 minutes away from my Midtown perch.  I keep missing Spring when it’s supposed to be the second most colorful season of the year.  To some, it actually IS the most colorful, but I am a fan of fall.  I have done winter two years ago, and although it was at the tail end of the season, it actually snowed.  I am a regular in the fall, and one summer, I couldn’t go beyond the periphery because it was too hot, but I WAS there.  I have been wanting to do Spring all these years — maybe this year, finally. – I always see the edge of Central Park from Avenue of the Americas but sadly will have to admit that I visited the park only once, towards fall, when my friend Lynda visited from PA. I have been tempted to go as the temperatures dropped, but alas, I failed. another one making it to the 2018 list!

6. Crafting reboot.  Crafting calendar.  This is one area where I am having quite the jumpstart with me sorting out my supplies and actually creating new designs.

I have been crocheting winter accessories since late last year and have so far NOT bought a single piece.  All my hats and scarves and now fingerless gloves are my own handmade creations. The leather gloves and fabric scarves are all from last season.  I haven’t even used my blanket scarf yet.

I have been rediscovering my beads and freshwater pearls and am having such a spike in creativity.  Hopefully, this will translate to items for posting in the shop.- While I didn’t do too well with following my craft calendar, I have been able to work on reorganizing my materials and continuing with the crafting . My shop has been an area of focus and I’ve been seeing an uptick in sales compared to the long lulls between sales in previous years. I hope to continue to pick up the pace and get more crafts done.

7. Destash more systematically. It has always been difficult for me to throw things away, so last year, I came up with the idea of destashing by giving away things I no longer use.

I’ve set aside a box where I will put away the things that I want to give away and label them accordingly.  To make it a conscious effort as well, I am going to record what I actually give away.  I’m going by the simple rule of thumb that if I  hadn’t used or touched something for a year, I will find someone who can make better use of it. I think I did quite well in this area and I’m hoping to continue in 2018. Yes, even if parting can be heavy literally. I’ve managed to set aside old kitchenware that I don’t and won’t use, as well as other things I think others can make use of.

8. Finish the Gift of 50 and begin the Gift of 51.  Sometime before I turned 50 in April, I wrote about doing 50 good deeds.  I have to sit down and list what I have already done so far, and while most will be repetitions (like literal gifts in the name of #GiftOf50), I have certain tasks to complete which I hope I can help to complete it.  And of course, I turn 51 this April.  Hence, the next list. – The gift of 50 was a huge success but the 51 part sort of stagnated. I am reworking this for 52.

I want to be able to do more as. I get older and be more deliberate about it, rather than just keeping a rule of thumb of being kind to others.  Kindness is an abstract concept that we need to see more concretely.

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. I was absent from this space for over a month towards the end of the year so I need to work out my editorial calendar.

Work on my other social networking accounts by doing scheduled posts at least once a week.  – I have redistributed my focus and have had better success with this one in 2017. I just have to keep at it.

Resume my handwritten projects.   2016 came and went with nary a post in my art journal which caught me by surprise when I opened it to begin writing again.  It never even occurred to me that I had not written anything there at all.  I have to admit that I am one of those people who still prefer to write things long hand.  While typing things out allows me to keep pace with transcribing my thoughts as they race through my mind — there is a different creativity spurred by the literal written word.  One thing I hope to do is carry tiny notebooks made from scratch paper that I can pull out of my bag and write on wherever and whenever the inspiration hits me.  I tried it with post its and it didn’t quite work. – No art journal for 2017! Horrors! I think I spent too much time trying to make up my mind about the form. I think I will go back to simple doodles this time.

Bestie Dino also suggested that if I meant to write my book (an ambitious project that has been burning in my being for ages now..), I should keep my handwritten drafts.  So keep them, I will.  That’s why I’m trying to keep the scratch notebooks a decent size so I can eventually compile them into bound material that I can keep for posterity. – Again, form. More on this in 2018.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  – That means 12 pieces for the year.. easily doable!  I might even start something here or on my Instagram account with #GothamChickOnSnailMail. – I think I will fulfill this quota for 2017 and 2018 together by first quarter of 2018. I didn’t really write much but have a couple to do now..

11. Finish my art journal, begin a new one. –  Like I said, I was surprised and saddened to see that I had NOT written anything in 2016.  – I am definitely starting a new one in 2018.

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 tell me about new places to try and visit… I keep hearing about things to do or goods to sample.  I have a separate account on Instagram under the banner of @GothamChickShopper which I had put up specifically to make product recommendations and all that.  A blog exists somewhere under a similar banner inmy main account, but I really haven’t done much.  (Writing here has been such an effort as it is, so I thought Instagram would be easier to maintain.).

But we keep wanting to do all these things without even really trying and suddenly, we find ourselves losing time and we end up with the “want” being just an “afterthought”.   I want to have more of the “done that” instead. – @GothamChickShopper got off the ground but still needs work. Getting there.

13.  Publish a postcard set.  I am a postcard collector and I’d like to think I take good photographs.  Of course I’m biased.. but one thing I’ve always wanted to do was to actually be able to make my own postcards — as in printed and not handmade — as a means of taking my postcard collecting a step up. -one for 2018

14.  Visit at least one lighthouse.  I have always had a love affair with lighthouses, and not only in postcards as one of my collecting interests.  There was a time when I took vacations when we would seek out lighthouses in the area and actually visit them.  I don’t remember now when the last time was that I saw one or visited one, so I think it would be nice to actually aim to visit one this year.

I have visited the famed Montauk lighthouse many times, but there are several near me I can actually aim to see in person soon.  This should be one of the simpler ones. – Success! I actually visited 2 in Wollongong, Sydney.. happiness!!!
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15.  Encode my poetry.  I started writing poetry at age 7, and I have surprisingly been able to keep the scraps of paper and assortment of notebooks and journals I had written them on.  I even brought them here to New York during one of my trips returning for a vacation in Manila.  They show the evolution of my penmanship, the maturing of my inner voice, and the change in writing style and depth.  From pencil scribblings to typewritten compilations, I have them tucked away.

Encoding them into a private website or maybe even a public one will take time, but I want to start doing that this year.- I am proud to report that I have actually started with this and what’s more, I’ve started writing poetry again..

16.  Visit more blogs / IG accounts.   A blog friend recently left a comment after visiting and was so surprised that I was still writing.  We have never met but used to be part of an unofficial community of Filipinos who blog at a personal level.  I enjoyed reading about their hobbies, life events, and day-to-day rants and raves.  It was all about the writer writing what he or she wanted.  I found out he’s reviving his blog which makes me happy– and I look forward to that and more.. but that’s another post. – will try harder!!

17.  Do a fundraiser for Barangay San Vicente.  This is a very personal cause close to my heart, because it is a cause my mother has pursued time and again.  She hails from a small town in Bulan, Sorsogon in the beautiful southern province of Bicol.  She was born and raised there but had to leave early on to work and help support the education of her two younger brothers.

I had the chance to visit several times in my youth, but I haven’t back in ages.  She now lives there and has built a modest home I hope to one day visit.  Every year, she would throw a simple party for the children and try and get them a new outfit for Christmas.  This can be a hundred or so children of different ages.  For many, it is the only time that they get to attend a party where they eat some spaghetti and a ham sandwich, and maybe some candy in a loot bag.  When she was still earning, these parties were funded from out of her own pocket.  These days, she solicits (mostly from us, her children) and still comes up with a simple celebration, although she has missed the last two Christmases.  Maybe this year, we can bring it back. – This is still on my list and I hope to do a good one for 2018.

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17 in 2017

And so we’re on year three!

I started something in 2015 which saw me going back and forth to a list I had written at the end of the year before (2014).  I didn’t want to just write the so-called New Year’s Resolutions that often get broken or forgotten at the very least.  It was a list of goals I wanted to accomplish — from the mundane and ordinary to first time things I wanted to do.  I did periodic updates and tried to be guided by that list, and while I didn’t quite get to successfully accomplish all of them, having the tasks served as a reminder of my focus for the year.  So here is this year’s list, partly taken from the previous year’s.

1.  Read six books. – Take two.  Just finished last year’s second book which, I guess, I’m counting as my first for 2017.  While I had promised myself I wouldn’t get any new books until I had sufficiently gone through my current stack of books, two colleagues had recommended one written by a former CEO of the company I work for.  So yes, I am into that now, and I am just so stoked by how the reading seems to be getting on at this point.  I might actually do better in 2017 if I keep up this pace.  (#6BooksIn2017)

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – Last year, I had specified Boston as a destination, only to find myself flying all the way down under to Fiji to meet with my high school BFF, Donna, who also turned 50.  I met up with her and her family and we had a grand time just catching up and celebrating together.

Although I am planning a vacation with her again sometime end of the year, I’d like to make a simpler plan closer to home, but outside the immediate environs of New York.  So anywhere outside the tri-state area will do.  One trip, that’s all.  Keeping it simple and open ended like that is easier to aim for.

3. Learn something new via an actual class.  I already know that I want to learn how to properly knit, and I am just trying to find the time to actually do this over at the Lion Brand Yarn Studios here in Manhattan.  I would also like to learn another language, but not have to pay for it.  (Yes, I’m being a cheapskate, but these classes can be expensive!)  And there’s the Intermediate sewing class which I skipped as the third installment of classes last year at MoodU over at Mood Fabrics here in Manhattan.  As you can see, my learning calendar is in pretty good shape, so it’s all a matter of really getting down to it.

4.  Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight.  Exercising.  What’s that again?  LOL  No more excuses, and hoping to give it more effort.  I had better luck with the weight control last year compared to the year before that, except that the trip to Fiji and all those full breakfast buffets made me gain 10 lbs.  The good news is I have a better grip on the weight loss effort, so I’ve been able to lose the weight.  The downside is, I have failed to break my plateau (which is top secret!) and I am hoping that I finally get to do that in 2017.

5.  Visit Central Park all four seasons.  A New Yorker for almost 17 years now and yet I cannot boast of being a Central Park regular all year round.  And note that I have always worked within walking distance of the park, although it’s a good 20-25 minutes away from my Midtown perch.  I keep missing Spring when it’s supposed to be the second most colorful season of the year.  To some, it actually IS the most colorful, but I am a fan of fall.  I have done winter two years ago, and although it was at the tail end of the season, it actually snowed.  I am a regular in the fall, and one summer, I couldn’t go beyond the periphery because it was too hot, but I WAS there.  I have been wanting to do Spring all these years — maybe this year, finally.

6. Crafting reboot.  Crafting calendar.  This is one area where I am having quite the jumpstart with me sorting out my supplies and actually creating new designs.  

I have been crocheting winter accessories since late last year and have so far NOT bought a single piece.  All my hats and scarves and now fingerless gloves are my own handmade creations. The leather gloves and fabric scarves are all from last season.  I haven’t even used my blanket scarf yet.  

I have been rediscovering my beads and freshwater pearls and am having such a spike in creativity.  Hopefully, this will translate to items for posting in the shop.

7. Destash more systematically. It has always been difficult for me to throw things away, so last year, I came up with the idea of destashing by giving away things I no longer use.  

I’ve set aside a box where I will put away the things that I want to give away and label them accordingly.  To make it a conscious effort as well, I am going to record what I actually give away.  I’m going by the simple rule of thumb that if I  hadn’t used or touched something for a year, I will find someone who can make better use of it.

8. Finish the Gift of 50 and begin the Gift of 51.  Sometime before I turned 50 in April, I wrote about doing 50 good deeds.  I have to sit down and list what I have already done so far, and while most will be repetitions (like literal gifts in the name of #GiftOf50), I have certain tasks to complete which I hope I can help to complete it.  And of course, I turn 51 this April.  Hence, the next list.  

I want to be able to do more as. I get older and be more deliberate about it, rather than just keeping a rule of thumb of being kind to others.  Kindness is an abstract concept that we need to see more concretely.

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 know I might be giving people the impression that I write a lot, but I am often hit by the disappointment of finding too long a stretch between posts.  I am trying to approach this with more discipline, and at the same time weave it into my other social networking efforts to boost my internet presence.  No, it’s not a late blooming need to be a media celebrity — I just want to maximize my brand as a small business with the Etsy Shops (GothamChick and PaperKrafts), and hopefully get some revenues rolling in.

Work on my other social networking accounts by doing scheduled posts at least once a week.  Am I spreading myself too thin?  I think not.  I can write, and I have something to write about, and I’m trying to explore other avenues to grow as a writer and an entrepreneur.  I’ve found that online presence is integral to self-promotion, and I have passed up so many opportunities that might have been economically viable if I just went about it with my marketing savvy.  (Yes, once upon a time, I was into marketing and advertising.. public relations included.)

Resume my handwritten projects.   2016 came and went with nary a post in my art journal which caught me by surprise when I opened it to begin writing again.  It never even occurred to me that I had not written anything there at all.  I have to admit that I am one of those people who still prefer to write things long hand.  While typing things out allows me to keep pace with transcribing my thoughts as they race through my mind — there is a different creativity spurred by the literal written word.  One thing I hope to do is carry tiny notebooks made from scratch paper that I can pull out of my bag and write on wherever and whenever the inspiration hits me.  I tried it with post its and it didn’t quite work.

Bestie Dino also suggested that if I meant to write my book (an ambitious project that has been burning in my being for ages now..), I should keep my handwritten drafts.  So keep them, I will.  That’s why I’m trying to keep the scratch notebooks a decent size so I can eventually compile them into bound material that I can keep for posterity.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  – That means 52 pieces for the year.. easily doable!  I might even start something here or on my Instagram account with #GothamChickOnSnailMail.

11. Finish my art journal, begin a new one. –  Like I said, I was surprised and saddened to see that I had NOT written anything in 2016.  So surprised because I had basically pulled that art journal together in 2013, but had written the bulk of its content in 2014 and 2015.  I have at least the first two months of the year to put into what’s left of the current journal and then I can begin the next.  I’m even thinking of actually doing a loose one and then “binding” the pages together later, creating a journal from scratch.  The first one was an altered book which was an experiment of sorts and a first for me, but it is now falling apart.  I will end up rebinding it anyway, so why go through that again if I can pull a journal to write on using recycled materials?  (#ArtJournal2017)

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 tell me about new places to try and visit… I keep hearing about things to do or goods to sample.  I have a separate account on Instagram under the banner of @GothamChickShopper which I had put up specifically to make product recommendations and all that.  A blog exists somewhere under a similar banner inmy main account, but I really haven’t done much.  (Writing here has been such an effort as it is, so I thought Instagram would be easier to maintain.). 

But we keep wanting to do all these things without even really trying and suddenly, we find ourselves losing time and we end up with the “want” being just an “afterthought”.   I want to have more of the “done that” instead.

13.  Publish a postcard set.  I am a postcard collector and I’d like to think I take good photographs.  Of course I’m biased.. but one thing I’ve always wanted to do was to actually be able to make my own postcards — as in printed and not handmade — as a means of taking my postcard collecting a step up.
14.  Visit at least one lighthouse.  I have always had a love affair with lighthouses, and not only in postcards as one of my collecting interests.  There was a time when I took vacations when we would seek out lighthouses in the area and actually visit them.  I don’t remember now when the last time was that I saw one or visited one, so I think it would be nice to actually aim to visit one this year. 

I have visited the famed Montauk lighthouse many times, but there are several near me I can actually aim to see in person soon.  This should be one of the simpler ones.

15.  Encode my poetry.  I started writing poetry at age 7, and I have surprisingly been able to keep the scraps of paper and assortment of notebooks and journals I had written them on.  I even brought them here to New York during one of my trips returning for a vacation in Manila.  They show the evolution of my penmanship, the maturing of my inner voice, and the change in writing style and depth.  From pencil scribblings to typewritten compilations, I have them tucked away.  

Encoding them into a private website or maybe even a public one will take time, but I want to start doing that this year.

16.  Visit more blogs / IG accounts.   A blog friend recently left a comment after visiting and was so surprised that I was still writing.  We have never met but used to be part of an unofficial community of Filipinos who blog at a personal level.  I enjoyed reading about their hobbies, life events, and day-to-day rants and raves.  It was all about the writer writing what he or she wanted.  I found out he’s reviving his blog which makes me happy– and I look forward to that and more.. but that’s another post.

As a blog reader, I try to steer clear of blogs which have a commercial slant, because then you find yourself reading advertorials and soft sell pitches which can be educational and entertaining, but aren’t my cup of tea.  

I like learning about and getting to know people in their writing.  Visiting a blog, to me, is like visiting a very intimate part of the writer that is usually not as obvious even when you are standing next to each other.  I should really browse more.  

I also enjoy the entertainment that Instagram brings and as I try to grow my own following, I’m trying to discover more Filipinos in that social media platform and go back home via their posts. 

I haven’t quite decided if I will revive my blog roll, but I am thinking of that.  (again, that’s another blog post!)

 17.  Do a fundraiser for Barangay San Vicente.  This is a very personal cause close to my heart, because it is a cause my mother has pursued time and again.  She hails from a small town in Bulan, Sorsogon in the beautiful southern province of Bicol.  She was born and raised there but had to leave early on to work and help support the education of her two younger brothers.  

I had the chance to visit several times in my youth, but I haven’t back in ages.  She now lives there and has built a modest home I hope to one day visit.  Every year, she would throw a simple party for the children and try and get them a new outfit for Christmas.  This can be a hundred or so children of different ages.  For many, it is the only time that they get to attend a party where they eat some spaghetti and a ham sandwich, and maybe some candy in a loot bag.  When she was still earning, these parties were funded from out of her own pocket.  These days, she solicits (mostly from us, her children) and still comes up with a simple celebration, although she has missed the last two Christmases.  Maybe this year, we can bring it back.

So there goes this year’s list.  A tad ambitious but hoping for at least half.. 

Here’s to an even brighter and better 2017!

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The Gift of 50 – an Update

So the new year is upon us and my 50th year on this earth is more than halfway done.  Time to do this more systematically, so in the following weeks down to the first week of April, I’m hoping to do a report on the specific tasks I have set out under this banner.  I had written about the idea rather haphazardly in February of last year, and then I had updated this as of the 13th of April.  There are already a few I had sent out and done, but which, I have not been able to write about.

As I write this, I actually have around 4 in the works, and I hope to send out more after the weekend.

Back in February, I wrote:

We always underestimate our ability to make a difference in someone else’s life.  And I think that we have to start thinking small and doing things that are easier but not any less impactful than the millionaire philanthropists out there who can change tides in one fell swoop.  A simple greeting in the morning can change the way someone’s day turns out.  I know it has worked for me, so I imagine it can mean something to others as well.

I know it sounds so cliche to say that we can all make a difference.  But we actually can.  And I think we’ll all be more successful in doing that if we start thinking about the everyday things we can do and do them more often.

There is a sense of purpose that goads me into actually doing this, and sometimes, just seeing a smile on someone’s face is enough to keep me going.  Knowing that something I want to discard can actually make a difference in someone else’s collection makes me stop and put that something aside.

I still can’t help but wish I could do more, and in time, I will.  There is always the next year.. let’s take care of this one first.

This blog has a page dedicated to this topic for regular updating.  I haven’t been too good with that but I’m trying to keep up and catch up.

16 in 2016: The Final Report

I had long ago resolved not to make excuses for not being able to deliver.  I used to be so hard on myself that I refused to swear or make promises I knew I would have a hard time keeping.  So I tried, and I learned along the way.  Just days to the weekend and the end of 2016, here’s the final tally before I put up 17 in 2017.

I did find it useful to have this list of goals to guide me through the year, and while I did not accomplish much from the list, there were a lot of other things that I managed to chalk up as a point towards doing something.  I wouldn’t consider the list a total failure.  On the contrary, it was a good list to go by, and to aim for, and I’m pretty happy with that.

1. Read six books. How many books did I actually manage to read?  One.  And even if I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, I’m actually still not quite finished reading it yet.  (Oops.)  I owe five more on this, but I will stick with 6… who knows?   Reading Never Let Me GoAt least the good news is that I’m still reading and that I managed to chalk up at least one book.  I have a half dozen others lined up, so all hope is not lost.  And yes, this makes it back on the next list, and I’m sticking with 6 again.  I am always optimistic that I will find the time to get to my book pile and actually get my reading list going.

It’s not even about getting more books because I do have the books!  It’s more about finding the time and the energy to constantly move from page to page and chapter to chapter, and hopefully eventually, from book to book.

2. Plan my trip to Boston. While I had started the year thinking I’d do my first trip alone to Boston, a bigger trip actually took its place with my first ever solo vacation to meet up with BFF Donna and her family in Fiji, so I guess you can say I just went a notch higher with this one.
Another day in paradise... @warwickfiji @warwickhotels #warwickhotels #warwickfiji #DinnaDonnaAt50 #GothamChickInFiji #FijiAdventures #filipinosInFiji #pinaynewyorker #PinayNewYorkerInFIJI #BarangayJimenoPlusOne #FIJImeno #FijiPinoy

Traveling is something that I wish I could do more.  But when you think about the cost and the effort in terms of setting aside time out of my vacation bank, it’s not an easy plan to execute.  Plus, there’s the problem of my little one.  (Well, not so little one anymore, but still..)  School calendars can be quite the challenge, even when I’m not taking him with me.  It means timing vacations so they don’t coincide with any major projects or tests.

On the drawing board is a similar plan towards the latter part of 2017, somewhere in the same direction, not necessarily heading home.  I’m thinking I will plan a day trip or two as well.

3. Learn something new via an actual class every quarter of 2016.  Two classes in two quarters.  Not bad.

So there was the beginner sewing class, followed by the intermediate sewing class, both at Mood University over at Mood Fabrics.  There is a third Advanced sewing class which I decided to forego because I wanted to create another coat, and maybe yet another, so I’m putting the next class on hold until maybe summer 2017.
Mood U NYC sewing class

There is a lot beyond sewing that I want to get on with, so I’m hoping to make a more realistic goal of doing another two classes for the year, including perhaps a language class.  Maybe.

4.  Watch at least 1 concert. This was a little harder to pull off.  First, I completely forgot about it.  Secondly, I was torn between trying to organize something I can do with a friend (or two) or maybe, as one list suggested, do this on my own.  That should be an interesting option if I do go alone.  We’ll see.

5.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) Epic fail.  And I won’t waste space or effort writing about this… (crawling away..)

6. Lose another 10 lbs at least by April 2016.  (Lost over 20 in 2014 and maintained my weight in 2015.)  I did lose it but after gaining 10 and lost it again and gained it again and shed it.

Rather than bore you with the details of my perpetual dieting efforts, let me just say that I’m ending the year in not so bad a place — just where I started, at a good weight, but unable to lose further.

This time last year, I had gained at least 5 lbs from all the holiday bingeing.  (Not sure about the spelling.. but you know what I mean.)  I think I’ve managed to get a better grip on it because despite the parties and the cocktails and the occasional weight gain, I’ve managed to cut the gain before it went out of hand and work towards going back to my usual.

I’m there and hoping to push that further down, and who knows.  I might yet achieve this coming April what I had set out to do the previous one.

7. On positivity: Get the ball rolling on the Thank You Postcard Project. The greatest difficulty I had with this task is I have been unable to concretely define what it is that I want to do with it.  I had started the postcards, even carved out a site, but this was before I got heavily involved with Instagram, and I’m thinking now that I would want to keep that supported there instead.  Do I do a fundraiser?  Send out random postcards?  Set up trades?  I am hoping to finish figuring this one out the first quarter of the coming year and finally get it going.

8.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again. – I guess I just wasn’t too focused or keen on this, but it is still a thought in the corner of my mind.  I had even bought piano pieces.  Still a good goal to shoot for.. so let’s see.

9.  Work more earnestly on my craft blog.  – Considering the long haiatus that the blog had suffered from the last couple of years, I think I’ve done better in 2016, but hope to do better this coming year.  I am actually drafting a post as I’m writing this, and I’m actively crafting for personal use even if not for the shop.  The traffic on the site is still pretty sad, but I’m hoping to have that pick up with more relatable craft posts (do those even exist?) and better social media marketing.  (Effort is key.)

Unlike this site which is all about me, myself and I — the other site has a focus I need to better develop, and a media calendar will actually help.  I will also try to spotlight the many creative things I find myself doing throughout the year that are just ordinary but might be useful for others.  (i.e., recycling?  repurposing.)

10. Work on creating one piece every week, whether for sale in the shop, a gift for friends or to wear myself.  – I’d like to think that creating again has helped, but I’ve tended to go and sit for extended periods of time with longer lulls in between, and create maybe 3 to 5 pieces.  I’m also looking at the weekly goal as a tad too much pressure, so I’m trying to figure out a more reasonable calendar to go by.

11. Leave one pre-loved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read.  – I have resolved to choose my 12 books for 2016, then leave them out in the open all together in January.  I might even incorporate a game of sorts into this by announcing on Instagram and Twitter, where the book will be.   It’s all about getting those books out there, instead of letting them accumulate dust in my shelf.  It’s even harder now that the shelf has been taken over by a geeky 12-year-old’s collection of action figures and graphic novels aka comic books.  I’m being edged out!

And here’s one for  you — you’d think I’m destashing so I wouldn’t be one to grab a book left out for others to take somewhere in the office — because I can’t even read the books I already have, but this was by a famous author so why leave it there?  (I know… maybe one or two of the three should go with the 12 that will hopefully find a home.)

12. Write one long hand letter or card every month. –  Again, the chance to make up for this one means 12 letters going out with my new year’s greeting card.  Need to list the 12, then write the 12 letters.

13.  Start a new Art Journal.  – While I had hoped to finish my art journal first, I think I have to earnestly work on beginning the next one soon.  I have learned from the previous book and have to go on a quest to find the right book that’s sewn together instead of glued together like the more modern hardbound books everywhere.  I wouldn’t mind something a bit bigger as well.  And of course, I need to bind the first book properly as it’s now busting out from the seams.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  I had hoped to do better with this but have been so bad beyond one major destash when I went home to Manila (a lot of postcards and other ephemera found other homes..).  I refuse to count the preloved clothes and accessories that I had brought or sent to my family as well, because that’s something I do every year.

I think I have to start by identifying an initial list and making sure all that is given away.

15.  Write poetry again. – This was a big success personally, even if I ended up writing only one poem.  It was so deeply touching that I have chosen to keep it private for now.  But at least I can fearlessly proclaim that yes, I did it.

16.  Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.  So this is the reason I’m tagging myself a “golden girl”, because I truly am.  I am still in celebration mode and have actually had some measure of success with this particular part of list.  I am not sure that I can make an actual list of 50, but the deeds I have done in the name of that banner have been ongoing and will hopefully be something I will be happy with when 51 comes knocking in April.

It’s not really anything out of the ordinary, but I’ve made a point of trying to go the extra mile, and being conscious of doing something extra generous as I go about my day.  I’m going to tweak this a bit for 2017 and keep at it.

So there’s my 16 in 2016, and like I said at the beginning of the post, I’m pretty happy with where I landed.  It wasn’t so much that I was able to tick off a lot off of the list, but having the list and trying to work with it has taught me a lot of things about what I wanted to do and how far I’ve come.

More than resolutions, they were plain and simple goals that I set out to accomplish.  Watch out for the next one for 2017.  Happy new year!

 

 

 

#16in2016: An update

16in2016 (2)So at the start of the year, I had written a list which, if I’m not mistaken, I haven’t really revisited yet.   It was something I wanted to be able to focus on, so much so that I created a page for it on my navigation bar.  It seems I haven’t really gone back — hence, this check in.   (That is, unless my search button is failing me miserably by not turning up the posts I’m looking for.)  With half the year done, I think it’s about time I revisited what I had written down there and just do a quick check of where I’m actually at.

First of all, I’m not going to make excuses.  I already saw at least one that is long overdue and still dormant (read: nowhere near done), but that is the point of going back to the list for a quick check.

Secondly, I’m just doing a random update once again just to check on my own progress and remind myself I had set these goals at the start of the year.  While there are posts that

1.  Read six books.  I am still struggling to read the first of the six but hope to get going once done.  Why the struggle?  Time?  My eyes?  (Of course, there is no excuse when you are not reading a hard copy, but the one I’m struggling with is one.)  I have not quite given up on this and will hopefully chalk up at least one by the end of September.  I have one classic to read with my little guy for the summer reading assignment, and that should count for one.  Maybe.

2. Plan my trip to Boston.  I have already coordinated with my friend that this will be a day trip.  Lunch in Boston?  That would be nice.  Targeted for the fall.

3. Learn something new via an actual class every quarter of 2016.  “Every quarter” was a bit ambitious, but I have attended one beginner sewing class and am about to enroll in the next class for the fall.  It’s a continuing learning experience working the sewing machine, and there’s the jewelry class on stringing that I am hoping to enroll in as well. (Too many classes!!)

4.  Watch at least 1 concert.  I have long given up on the Billy Joel concert I had hoped to catch… and this is not really one of those “Musts”… nice to have or do but not necessarily a dealbreaker.

5.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) … next!

6. Lose another 10 lbs at least by April this year.  (Lost over 20 in 2014 and maintained my weight in 2015.)   It’s now August and I have gained and lost and gained and lost, but haven’t quite hit anything below the weight I had plateaued at. (Sp?)  I am just glad that I am able to get back into shape although I haven’t been as earnest about it as I had hoped to be.  I will say it again, I am a work in progress.

7. On positivity: Get the ball rolling on the Thank You Postcard Project – I just revisited the Instagram account I had set up for this and am seriously rethinking the project.  While one component of the undertaking which is my Paper Flower Garden has grown exponentially in the last couple of months, the very core which was a postcard project has been frozen in limbo.  I haven’t quite given up on doing it as I had originally intended to execute the project, but I am thinking I will need to rethink the whole thing to make it work this time.

8.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again.  This has been a year’s effort which has been thwarted by other undertakings that occupied my weekends.  I’m thinking that with the new sewing class on Saturdays, I might actually get to squeeze something in finally.   Perhaps restudy my old Fur Elise piece which I brought home with me or finally get to learn the “To Make You Feel My Love” piece I bought online.  Trying!

9.  Work more earnestly on my craft blog.  I have been trying to write more but have not been as earnest as I should be.  There is a lot riding on the craft blog with my plan to repopulate the shop and to do other projects related to it, so I have been trying to be more prolific on that side of the web.  Trying is still the operative word but at least it’s not as dead as it used to be.

10. Work on creating one piece every week, whether for sale in the shop, a gift for friends or to wear myself.  Travel and other projects have sort of slowed me down but I am getting ready to get crafting again.  I don’t think I’ve been that off the track with the one piece every week goal, but the fact is that I’ve been busy creating personal pieces rather than for the shop which is both good and bad.  At least I’m starting to create again, but with the holidays creeping up on us, it’s about time I started working on the shop more earnestly.  Also, a recent order (yay!) sort of work me up from a deep slumber reminding me I do have a shop I need to attend to!

11. Leave one pre-loved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. I had hoped to choose the books and leave them out, and I will definitely do this by the fall.  I have been trying to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore, and this is definitely something that I want to do to get my books off to others who might appreciate them more.

12. Write one long hand letter or card every month.  This is the easiest so far!  Done, done and done!

13.  Start a new Art Journal.  I just found my art journal stashed away in my hiding place and just about ready to fall apart at the spine.  I still have a few pages left and am so determined to finish the current background pages, but I will definitely finish this before starting the new one.  First, I want to find the right book which will not fall apart like this one did — it will mean searching for an older, sturdier book in the coming weeks.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  The recent trip home saw me bringing a lot of things to give away and I have made major progress in this front.  There is still much to destash, and I am constantly sorting the ones to be given away.

15.  Write poetry again.   I have only done it once but I did put pen to paper and managed to write what was, on the outset what seemed to be a sad and heartrending poem — but which, in the end, actually rides on a high note that says I will be a better person after all is said and done.  While I would normally share my writings, this one remains too private and personal for me to share at this time — but I am so happy that I have opened my heart again to write anew.  It has been such a drought all these years — with nary a poem written until I found my voice again.  To have actually started writing again is already a giant step — to have finished the poem is actually quite an accomplishment in itself.  More to write soon!

16.  Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.  I haven’t been keeping track but I will do an update on this as well.  It’s an ongoing project, and it’s been moving on quite nicely, although I haven’t really been keeping tabs.  Oops. .. Some of it I have lost track of, but I will try and see where I’ve gotten with what I’ve done so far.

Not bad, don’t you think?

Gift of 50 – Postcards and Chicken Sandwich

Gift of 50Life is good.  I keep saying I’m not quite where I want to be yet– but are we ever? And yet I know I’m getting there, because I’m moving towards “happier”.  It’s a deliberate step forward — I’m not waiting for “happy” to find me.  I’m making it happen.

I have much to be grateful for as I hit this birthday milestone, and a few weeks back I started this project for the year I’m calling the Gift of 50. (Please see the navigation bar.).   I have tried to make a list of 50 “gifts” to give back and pay my good fortune forward in thanksgiving for being where I am now.

Postcards on their way. I have been collecting postcards since I was 17 and have amassed a modest collection, but through the years, I have acquired postcards which are not within my collecting category.  I recently rejoined a Philippine Postcrossing group and am well on my way to finding a home for the postcards I don’t want to keep.

It feels good to be able to give someone a card or two (or more) from the cards in my collection which would otherwise just gather dust and turn yellow without much love from me.  I have found the recipients, so I am sorting and putting away the postcards in “packets”, and have started sending out individual ones to those who prefer their postcards sent that way.

As a collector, I know how it feels to receive something to add to your collection, so I am trying to spread the love so to speak.  I am happy to have had the chance to make new friends along the way, and hopefully trim my collection substantially by this time next year.

Chicken sandwiches are in demand, more so since a Chick-fil-a opened nearby.  So far, two meals given out.  I’m still iffy about writing about it, though, although one was impactful in a meaningful sense because I did it while Angelo was with me.  It felt good, he said — and I’m glad to have made that impression.  Paying forward the blessings by sharing with others is one of my goals in doing the Gift of 50.

It’s not just about being good — but being good in a way that makes a difference even to just one individual.

In the mail.  I  have two snail mail cards in the mail:  one to a friend who celebrated a birthday, and one to a classmate from way back who is currently undergoing medical challenges.  I have a second dear friend in the latter category for whom I have a card which will be going out, too.  I have always said time and again that there is something about receiving something you can hold through the post, in this day and age of electronic correspondence.  Nothing beats being able to go back to what was written and said in the card without having to flip a device.  The correspondence is a gift by itself which one can touch and come back to over and over again.

It doesn’t sound like much but I feel I’m moving in the right direction and actually making this happen.. The lunch I had hoped to have with possibly a newfound friend has been scheduled and I am looking forward to that.  I am making my ear candy and other little gifts.  There is a bigger project or two I’m also working on and hoping to get off the ground within the next 11 months or so.  I’ll keep you posted..

Friday Five: Yay!

Friday5

So, okay, this is much delayed.

Life happens.  I’m not apologizing, and it’s another weekend so I’m feeling all chipper.

I tried to write but I seriously did NOT have the time because my real world had me in chains all week, slaving away.  But it’s Friday!

As always, we start with the updates based on the last list that appeared here two Fridays ago:

1.  Sort the fabrics I picked up from Brooklyn over the weekend.   Done!  I’ve even managed to wash a few sets just to make sure that they are good to go once crafted!

2.  Write five topics to write about here and in my craft blog.  I actually managed to complete this for both blogs, but while the idea was that the “drafts” would help me move forward with the blogging, I haven’t been able to hit the pace I was working on.  Still, it got me posting, and there’s a new post for each site.

3.  Gather the books that I hope to read in the coming days and actually write about it.   I have the books, just haven’t had the chance to list them down.

4. Pull together at least one “care package” from the things I hope to destash and send out.  So I’ve been “cleaning up” but have pleasantly rediscovered things I had made and bought over the past two years which I had misplaced.  So yes, I got the one care package started, but haven’t sent out.

5.  List 10 things in the “turning 50 good deeds” to do.  I didn’t quite hit the 10 but managed to write 6, and wrote about it here.  In addition, I have created a page with the post title, Gift of 50,  (see navigation bar on top please) to keep the updates on one page.

I think that wasn’t so bad — even if it took all of two weeks to actually make progress.  Again, I’m not killing myself over this.  So for this weekend, here’s my Friday Five:

1.  Gather the books that I hope to read in the coming days and write a blog post on it.   I might even start drafting this this afternoon.

2. Care package work-in-progress send out.  One of the sets I have to hang on to, but I think I can actually pack the second and send off before next Friday.

3.  Plan the big five-o celebration.  I’m very big on celebrating birthdays and “big” doesn’t actually mean a huge party — I just want a table of friends to toast the big day.  And it’s right around the corner!

4.  Find the loose postcards I want to work on and actually set aside time to get this project started.  We’ll start with identifying a box they can all go into and then I will write about what I hope to do with them.

5.  Draft a craft project calendar.  I’m trying t plan for the year and get things on track — scheduling christmas cards ahead of the holiday season so that they actually get sent, for one, this time around.

It’s been a very busy week work wise and I cannot be more grateful that it is finally Friday.  It’s been one of those weeks where I was too tired at the end of the day to focus on anything else but catch some much needed zzzzzzs.  But the week is over and there’s finally time to recharge and relax.  Tomorrow.

Happy Friday, everyone!