I blog because..

I have tried to stay regularly involved with The Daily Post  which is really helpful to bloggers like me who are trying to improve on their skills on the web — be it photography, writing, web design or networking.  I haven’t been able to post as regularly based on their prompts of late, but I definitely recommend that you pay them a visit if you are not familiar.

I am subscribed to the daily prompts and the idea is to write a post and tag yourself in a comment following the post, so that you and other like-minded bloggers can give their two cents’ worth on the subject matter.  There are times when the prompts are very easy to write about like today. The question is, Why do you blog?

.. it helps me to chronicle not just my every day, but the thoughts and feelings that visit my mind and heart, and doing so enables me to see the world around me more clearly.  I have been blogging for 11 years now and it is always a journey to go back to older posts or even last week’s.  Be it to remember or look back or relive something that had come to pass, my life in words has been a way for me to reflect on what I have and what I once had.  Those times I look forward and instead dwell on what I want to do or plan to do, writing about how those plans are going or have changed keep me on the path I want to take.

.. I like to remember the things that made an impact on my life — people, places, things and feelings.  It can be something as simple as a beautiful sunset that just had me mesmerized at the end of the day.  Or the imposing Manhattan skyline that I say goodnight to as I head home.   They remind me of where I am and of how precious it is to take the moment to stop and look and just breathe.  I write about them or use that snapshot as a reminder of that moment, and even if I don’t go back to that post until years later, when I do, the feelings come back and I get to relive that happy thought or awesome point in time I just said wow.

.. I believe that we all learn from one another, and my experiences and thoughts can help someone as other people’s words have helped me.  I get many inquiries about law school and dreams about being a lawyer — proof of which is that my most read posts are those relating to this topic.  That was one big part of my life that I had lived through and had left behind, but whose lessons have enriched me in ways beyond learning about the law.  I am happy to have helped others who had questions that needed answering — perhaps a simple prod to go after one’s dream like I did.  I have met people in real life who have stumbled upon my little corner of the blogsphere, and I have been enriched with those interactions in ways I cannot count.

.. it helps me think out loud, and listen to my inner voice better.  That’s the reason why one of my most robust categories in this blog is “Just Me Thinking Online”, which, as of this writing has 365 posts under it.  It really is as random as it sounds — it’s not about anything in particular — just me speaking my mind out.  And I think we often forget there’s that inner voice inside us.  We often fail to listen to the one authority on us that we should really pay mind to: ourselves.  We get caught up with listening to everyone else but the heart that matters — because we think we should be last.  One of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned in the recent years is that that is one of the biggest mistakes we can make: to forget that we should take care of ourselves, too.  We have to trust that we have the inner wisdom to know what is best for us, even when it’s not that easy a thing to do.

I have always said that I blog for very selfish reasons — I blog for me, myself and I.  That others find my words worth reading is a nice pat on the back, but it won’t stop me from writing as I write now, or prod me to go in another direction.  There is writing just to write– and that’s why I’m here.  That’s the reason this blog has existed and will continue to exist for as long as I can spew out the words that find themselves online.

Stories that need telling

#Imagine the #stories these #parkbenches have heard and lain witness to.. Just before the #park closed at #SaintStephensGreens in #Dublin .. #gothamchickindublin #Ireland #InThePark #workcanbefun #lovewhatyoudoI can’t believe it’s been almost 20 days since I successfully published anything here. Again, not for lack of trying. I have a draft post that started as a “Monday Musings” entry (one of those weekly habits I am trying to keep rather unsuccessfully..=(.. ) — and which is still languishing in my “draft” folder here. Anything that “old” will usually be deleted. Maybe.

Once again, life, work and everything else has taken me over.  But I’m in a very good place.  Getting to the “good place” doesn’t always entail ease, but being there is an accomplishment in itself.

So I woke up before 5am this Friday morning.  It wasn’t the sunlight because even now, the sun is still struggling to be seen beyond the clouds that are supposed to be with us all day today.  A quick scan of the weather says cloudy all day, and I’m not complaining because there’s no ‘rain’ icon in the day’s forecast.  I guess I was meant to wake up early.  I grabbed my phone, turned on the computer and here I am.

I have to try and stay on point with my lists better.  I have stopped doing the Friday Five habit only because I ended up not doing anything on that list.  (I have this blog staple where I list down five doable tasks for the weekend and the week ahead..  Maybe I should go back to that?  Maybe not.)  The idea was to keep my focus on those five simple tasks to enable me to accomplish some things during the weekend.

This is a summer of new beginnings.  I’m trying to stay positive and embrace the new with a sense of optimism.  There is a lot that I had put on hold which I need to go back to.  And there are many things which I have to tuck into my attic and list as “done” and move forward from.  It’s like going through one’s closet when you’re trying to trim down what you have.. you have decide what to keep, give away, or throw out.  (That, in itself, is already a blogpost.)

I have many stories that are waiting to be told.  (One, my accidental foray into Eataly one Sunday I went into the city for yarn.. Two, my new favorite place, Flying Tiger… and three, my recent trip to Ireland.. Four, a gnawing yearning to learn to sew — ! — .. and five, doing free form crochet .. and then six, maybe returning to my jewelry making.)

Ah… new beginnings… and also picking up from where I left off.  I wish writing here was as automatic as thinking.  With all that’s been happening in my life, it would be nice to just be able to write something spontaneously and see it published.  But there have been times when that can be difficult given all that life entails.  There are things that are too close to the heart that are difficult for me to just declare to the world with wild abandon.  (Someone used to say I blog about everything.. not true.  Spontaneity sometimes engenders a sense of openness but there are many things that I still prefer to keep tucked deep in my heart.)

Seven – I have books waiting to be read! Don’t even get me started.  Halfway through 2015, I haven’t read a single book which means I have to catch up on at least 6 quickly.  The goal was to do one a month — at least!!  I need to get that list going.  One of the things I often find myself wishing I did more of was read.  These days, though, I have been watching more movies in my spare time, going through a list of “must watch” movies recommended by a friend.  (eight)

It’s 6am and I have to get ready for work.  Curious about what I’m counting?  Blog posts / stories that are waiting to be told.  (Yet another list!)  I can hear the birds chirping happily outside, and the rest of my New York must be up and about if not waking up to this Friday morning just about now.  Time to get going.

And Yolanda has passed..

First, thanks to all who reached out asking if the family back home is okay.  I am thankful to God that they are.  The storm has passed.. Yolanda is off to some other parts.  My brother was in Cebu and my mother was in Sorsogon (in Bicol) at the time the storm hit.  Everyone else was in Manila.  My brother and mother got hit tangentially but did not suffer the indescribable damage that the province of Tacloban had to deal with.  We are blessed.

Secondly, I’m back.

Thanks to JJ for his comment asking me how I have been.  I have been “around”, but the urge to write wasn’t there.  Suffice it to say that I went back to longhand writing in a journal when I could find reason or the inspiration to write.  When I needed to write, I wrote elsewhere.  We all have our secret place — I have mine.  There, I write not as the Pinay New Yorker.. I write as someone who doesn’t have a ‘real’ identity you can walk up to on the street.  There I can be angry or sad without fear of unburdening my heart.  Yes, that’s my secret place.

Third, I can’t believe that autumn is here in it’s full glory.  It’s the season that I find both hopeful and sad.  Hopeful because the leaves change colors into beautiful shades of fire, as if taking a final bow at the end of a fashion show to the applause of a totally captivated audience.  Sad because it’s nature making way for the cold and dark of winter.
Autumn 2013: Central Park

I sought solace in “silence”.  I didn’t think I’d be able to bear writing and editing myself so heavily so I said, why write at all.  Hence, the one month haitus from this space.

But life goes on.  I’m trying to go on.  I have gone through the last month in stops and starts.  I am trying to define my direction, and while I have been accused of wearing my heart on my sleeve and writing about everything and anything happening in my life in this blog, I will not be denied my voice in this space where I reign as Queen.

Yes, that’s me — the Queen.  (That thought made me smile…)  And the Queen has her private space where I need not fear censure.  So here, I can write about what the Pinay New Yorker is all about.  Here, I can try to aim for a sense of normalcy in my now highly abnormal life.  It makes me hopeful that there will be a “normal” again.  It makes me think this, like everything, will pass.

Blogging has always been a means of coping for me.  No matter how I try to edit myself and how I try not be too honest here, I know it comes out.  And I like being able to go back to those times when life was teaching me a lesson so I can reteach myself that lesson.. that is one major function of blogging to me — the account of how my life has gone from day to day eight years ago or yesterday helps me to go forward from today.  When I am in need of courage, I go back to those times when courage was aplenty.  When I need to be cheered up, I go back to the fun times and the good memories I wrote about.  Even this post will one day be a source of  “learning” and reflection for me.

And Yolanda is gone… that makes me hopeful.  I am heartbroken by the devastation she had wrought upon my home country.  I had visited Tacloban once — 20 years ago.  It wasn’t quite as urbanized as it is now, but I remember its people and its sights and sounds.  The people of Tacloban are a kind and happy people — life is a celebration to them.  They are always dancing — they love to party.. they are always full of hope.  It is my hope that even if there is not much cause to celebrate in the midst of their hardship and grief, they will find reason to dance again sometime soon through our help.

The world is watching… and the world is reaching out.  It brings us all back to the innate goodness of man.

Taken from The Huffington Post, here’s how you can help:

World Food Program.  WFP has allocated an immediate $2 million for Haiyan relief, with a greater appeal pending as needs become apparent. The UN organization is sending 40 metric tons of fortified biscuits in the immediate aftermath, as well as working with the government to restore emergency telecommunications in the area. Americans can text the word AID to 27722 to donate $10 or give online.

The Red Cross.   Emergency responders and volunteers throughout the Philippines are providing meals and relief items. Already, thousands of hot meals have been provided to survivors. Red Cross volunteers and staff also helped deliver preliminary emergency warnings and safety tips. Give by donating online or mailing a check to your local American Red Cross chapter.

The Philippine Red Cross has mobilized its 100 local outposts to help with relief efforts.

AmeriCares.  The relief organization is sending medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. AmeriCares is also giving funds to local organizations to purchase supplies.

World Vision.  The organization is providing food, water and hygiene kits at the evacuation centers. World Vision was also still actively responding to last month’s earthquake in Bohol, which luckily was not struck by the eye of the storm.

Salvation Army.  100 percent of all disaster donations will be used for relief efforts and “to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors.” Text TYPHOON to 80888 to Donate $10 or give online.

Daily Prompt: In the beginning

Daily Prompt:  Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different direction than you’d planned?

I started blogging in August 2004 after having given birth to Angelo earlier in May.  Before that, I had an online journal in my personal website which had been more about my postcard collection and personal photo albums from before I arrived in New York.  The blog-alike was just a portion of a bigger website which honed my skills in longhand HTML encoding.  I had started putting up some of my postcards there and was more brazen about actually publishing personal photographs, albums and sentiments.

When I started blogging, I focused more on chronicling my day-to-day life.  I also shied away from putting up too many pictures and even now, try to limit actual photos of me from appearing in my posts.  I guess you can say it was a recognition of the publicness of a web log.  My first post, dated August 4, 2004, simply said:

“Having read so much about all that’s going on with the different weblogs out there, I thought I’d sign up for a freebie to try it out even if I have my own webpage (which is now a dead link after Geocities was effectively closed by Yahoo) somewhere out there in cyberspace.  Perhaps it’s a need to express myself and just record my thoughts for me to go back to at a later time.  So let’s see where this goes..”

After almost 10 years here, my blog has changed homes only once.  I had originally started the blog at Blog.com, but I kept getting error messages when too many people were trying to access their servers.  Between typepad, wordpress, and blogger/blogspot, WordPress appealed to me because many of my blog friends were on this platform.

Nothing much has changed.  I still blog for my own personal benefit.  I chronicle my day-to-day existence here, and while there was a lame attempt at trying to commercialize the site (and I still try with the links on my widget bar), I have come to terms with the reality that commercialization and staying true to keeping an online journal just don’t work well together.  If I go commercial, it would have to be done on a blog specifically put up for that purpose.  If I am to stay true to the spontaneous writing I have done here for almost a decade, I have to accept that popularity is not something I can put on top of my priorities, and I’m quite happy with that.

Besides, I knew from the get-go that”Pinay New Yorker” as a blog name would only really click with the Filipino readers who knew what it was about.  Still, I’m happy with the way it has become a brand of sorts for the things I do.  (And I am suddenly reminded by the Chinese intrusion, with a notice and denial of ceasing and desisting from using pinaynewyorker.cn — I still can’t understand why they find it relevant to register the domain name.)

If anything has changed, it’s the things I write about.  I’ve become more participative with the blog community, more so in daily posts like this courtesy of The Daily Post.  I’m still very guarded, often “censoring” myself but my writing is as honest as I allow it to be.

I make no apologies for the things or the way I write — again, my main audience remains to be me.  If you come by my space and find something you can use or find amusing, then that is just a perk of being able to write here like I do.

Literal musings — not whole truths or claimed facts.  These are random thoughts in my head — from the mind of a FIlipina living in the big apple.


Daily Prompt: Goals

When you started your blog, did you set any goals?  Have you achieved them? Have they changed at all?

I started this blog in August 2004 although I already had an online journal in my private domain, sans the blog interface.  I did the page layouts via longhand html and tried to write on focused topics revolving around my life and interests here in New York.

As I’ve repeated time and time again, I blog for the selfish reason of wanting to keep an online diary of my life.  This blog is and has always been for my own benefit.  I am happy to see others find something amusing, educational, or helpful in what I share in my little corner of the blogsphere here, but I speak in my own voice, and I speak about my own thoughts and feelings.

In August 2004, my son was months old and part of my fascination with motherhood was my desire (bordering on obsession) to document everything about him and me.  In many ways, his coming into my life inspired me to be more diligent about writing, because there was suddenly so much to write about.

I write very spontaneously and let the words come freely.  I censor myself only to maintain a semblance of privacy, but as those w ho have read me regularly say, there’s a brutal honesty in the posts.  From time to time I find myself going back to something I had written about and I feel as though I’m pulling a book out of a shelf and reliving the feeing as I read the words I had once read.

I had tried to write to bring in more readers  or to write for remuneration, but in the end I gave it up to return to the spontaneity that I am used to.  I am part of affiliate networks, but I hardly, if ever, utilize the membership to try and bring in some revenue.  Good if I do, okay if I don’t.  I have long ago realized that to continue doing what I’m doing — writing for and about me — going commercial was  not an option.

After almost a decade, I’ve stopped writing “other” blogs, focusing only on this site and my craft blog, Gotham Chick, which is actually slipping into limbo for inactivity.  (I keep promising to revive it and post more regularly there.)  The only reason I’m keeping that separate is I want to have a blog dedicated to my crafts and provide a springboard for advertising for my Etsy store with the same name.

Almost ten years now to the day that I started blogging, I am proud to say I’ve stayed true to form, growing as a blogger but always keeping my personal goal of being able to document my life and to write about the things that matter to me.  My blog continues to be the embodiment of who I am — here, you become a part of my life.  You see where I’ve been, what I do, and what silly or profound thoughts are running through my head.  You see the things I see in the photographs I post.  If you are a regular reader, then in many ways, you know me very well by now.

I just wanted to write.  And here I am still doing that.  The recent move to wordpress has helped me to want to be better at writing and blogging in general — but my goal remains the same: to write for and about myself.  I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to express myself — and I can say that I have achieved the goal, and nothing has changed.  I am proud to say that my blog has kept its focus through the years, and I don’t see myself veering away from that towards another .  When that happens, I will probably close the doors of my tiny place and bid the blogsphere farewell to start a new journey under a new banner.

From Rainy to Sunny

I’ve taken to drafting my blogposts and product write ups on my blackberry while wading through a commute. While I could input directly, a handheld has its limitations as far as functionality is concerned. Besides, I like making use of the 45 minutes to 1 hour commute productively when the sandman gives me the chance to stay awake.

So last night as I was crawling through the last turn on the Avenue of the Americas towards 57th Street, I was hoping I could complete a blogpost before I start nodding towards la-la land. Didn’t happen. (Hahaha!)

I’m on my way to Manhattan now and hoping that my 3-day old draft will finally make it to publication.

The shop has been keeping me busy. I posted 3 items yesterday which makes me mighty proud. It makes staying up until 1:30am well worth it after I stayed up late sewing my latest brooch creation. (Picture below). I’ve always believed that those bunches of artificial flowers could actually be good for something beyond landing in a vase. I just had to re-make the flower and not use it as is.

I’ve been reading my magazines, too, egged on by the desire to send clippings to friends. One, it makes me set aside time to actually take paper and pen to write. Two, it helps me to get up to speed with my snail’s pace rate with the correspondence. Three, it forces me to actually read. Four, it’ll keep the postal service busy. (Another haha!)

Work has been a good kind of busy. My only gripe is that it means less if not “no time” to do the things I like to do (like blog). There are even days now when I fail to call my brother Nikky daily using the MagicJack. (Forget about Skype!!). Like clockwork, I know he’ll be playing Tantra on the net before he goes to sleep at midnight. But as I said, it’s a good kind of busy. It means I’m being useful.

The sun finally woke up in full splendor this morning after days of rain and grey skies.  Glorious sunshine! It would be lovely to take a walk down Central Park with my camera on hand to snap away pictures of the early stages of fall. If only I had the time.   One of these days, I will.

Autumn Flower Brooch 1

Click Here to go to my Etsy Shop

Trying to go with the flow

My blog was literally frozen for most of July due to platform migration, and I had lost a lot of ideas which I failed to write about. I know, too, that I lost at least one comment from Mrs. C. =( So now I’m trying to get caught up with the blogging, trying to pick up from where I left off.  Then again, I don’t remember where that was.

So in the meantime, pardon the fickle-mindedness as to the look.  I’m trying to figure out why my ad links are not posting — why there is no tab to click on to check the status of my account (which, I know, I had converted to a “paid” account a while back, giving me more flexibility as to the layout and content.)  I am also trying to figure out how to put up my own header images like I have always done in the past.  I am trying to be patient.  It might be part of the growing pains of migration.  When I first saw the new platform after logging on, only a third of the options and buttons and bars now available were visible.  So maybe tomorrow or over the weekend, that magical button allowing me to see my account status will pop up somewhere on the dashboard or admin bar.

As the title says, I’m trying to go with the flow. 

I’m smack in the middle of summer — and we’re trying to plan for our holiday and road trip in three to four weeks.  Then Angelo moves on to kindergarten.  I keep asking myself where the year has gone.  It’s August now.  Wow.   Angelo is sporting a glowing tan from the days at the pool and the waterpark.  And he is wont to develop another layer as we plan to go back to Splish Splash this weekend.  

Work has been hectic and not.  There are too many things happening in our little corner of Manhattan these days — sometimes, I find myself floating through the day.  We live in challenging times indeed.  Given all the frenzy, I am just wondering why everyone seems to think I bore so easily.  (Could it be because I smile too much and everyone seems to think anything slower than my current pace would give me a heart attack?  Maybe I should put on a poker face for a change.)  Everything happens for a reason as they say, and I have taken that to heart.  I know that all this will lead somewhere, and I will find my place in time.  Meanwhile, I’m holding the fort and conducting business as usual.  When asked how I was doing, I used to answer “I’m hanging in there.”  This week, I switched to “I’m still here..” which has elicited a laugh or a snicker or two.  Ha!  And I get to have the last laugh, too.

I have been immersed in crafts — mostly digital printing and scrapbooking.  I haven’t done anything monumental.  Just bits and pieces.  (Note to self: You owe Mr. C a call about those lessons in computer graphics!)  Small pages and ideas for embellishments.  I have started a love affair with those brown bags — the ones where you have your food to go packed in.. I have discovered they make for good embellishments, particularly for alphabets and phrases or tags.  (Samples coming soon…) 

I have managed to organize beads from years and years of picking up bits and pieces.  It was uncanny how I got stumped when I had them in front of me and I couldn’t quite make up my mind about what I was going to do with them.  

And don’t talk to me about knitting and crochetting.. I am holding off and hauling my supplies to the attic for now.

There never seems to be enough hours in a day, or days in the weekend.  I am typing here and stealing a glance at the screen clock on the lower right hand corner of my laptop.  11:15pm.  Time to prepare the coffee for tomorrow morning.  Dishes have been washed, drying in the rack, and it looks like my boys are happily snoring in the bedroom, off to la-la land together.

Can you believe I actually did a lengthy post here?  Wow.. (again.)  Looks like I found the flow again..