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: Take 2

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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

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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!