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!

Reading again

I am hoping I am well on my way to starting on my 6-book quota for the year.  It’s July (yes!) and almost August (!!) and I have made a promise to myself I WILL do the 6 books AT LEAST.  (Ambitious, I know..)  It’s not for a lack of books to read.  It doesn’t help that I have the books in my Kindle which I’ve barely opened in the last couple of months.  I also received some books from cousins and friends from the last visit to Manila.

And while the hardbound books I so love are such a load impinging on my 100-lb baggage allowance for the trip home, I also managed to get Armida Siguion-Reyna’s book.  I had to seriously debate with myself about getting Enrile’s tome.. but I managed to get that somehow in the last couple of weeks, straight from National Book Store.  I know, my politics are showing here, but I am always in for a good read.  I am hoping that these two will be part of my 6 for the year.

I had gone to Barnes & Noble last weekend to get some books requested by my nephew and my niece, and the one requested by Audrey, A Work in Progress: A Memoir by Connor Franta was being offered on a “Buy-2-get-the-3rd-free” table so I had to make a decision on which other two books I was getting.

After going through the books displayed on that stack, I decided to pick up The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky which I am currently reading, and The Shell Collector: Stories by Anthony Doerr (for later).  What’s interesting is that as I was paying for my purchases at the counter, the young lady at the cashier gushed about Chbosky’s book and told me she reads it over and over again.  (Comments like that make me think about one of two things: the books IS that great.. or she is seriously messed up for not wanting to read something else.)  Well, the book has been made into a movie which I will watch after reading it, and that the story was picked up for the big screen (not to forget that it spent a considerable amount of time on the NY Times Bestseller’s list) should say something about how good a read it must be.

If you’re expecting a book review, this isn’t one so I’m sorry to disappoint.  I’m merely reporting what I am reading and what’s up next.  It’s not a heavy read but I’ve learned how to reserve my judgment for how heavy or light a story is for until after I close the book for good.  Some of the better books I’ve read have taken me on a journey from one emotion to the next, and there is no single feeling to describe the story that was told.

It is easy to read because it’s written from the perspective of a teen.  Another lesson learned is not to dismiss young adult reading as being “juvenile,” more so after I’ve read the entire Twilight Saga.  And yes, I’ve read the Harry Potter series, but I have stuck to one reading of all these books.  (I can’t understand why one would read something over and over again except if it’s Holy Bible.)  But again, who am I to judge.

I don’t have the luxury to  sit down and read it uninterrupted, but I’m savoring the fact that I’m actually holding the book in my hands.  There is something about reading the old-fashioned way, much as writing in longhand these days is a unique experience, that makes reading a book fulfilling.  I’m not saying I’m not ever going back to the tablet — I will.  But from time to time, it pays to actually hold the words in your hands.

I like the break that my mind gets from the real world when I have a book in my hands.  For a moment in time, I am part of someone else’s story that plays in my mind and heart as if I were watching it on screen.  And yet there is a profound difference in the way the scenes and feelings form inside me because of the words written by the author.

You should try it again some time if you’ve been enslaved by your reading tablet or worse, if you haven’t been reading at all.  (Horrors!)  Wish me luck with this one.

Then again, on second thought, I think I’m good.  Let me get back to my reading..
the Perks of being a wallflower

Having myself a Fab Summer

I was listening to Coldplay’s “Til Kingdom Come” for probably the 5th time while my bus was crawling out of the Midtown Tunnel yesterday when the title above came to mind.  I almost forgot that I was having a difficult time drawing my right eye with a flick — and before finishing the second, I clicked on the WordPress app and started writing.  (Eyes have been taken cared of..)

So how’s your summer been?

Those of you in New York City know we’ve gotten lucky with  moderate temperatures until this week, and even that has been a break.  We haven’t really had the sweltering heat of the past summers and that was unexpected.  The previous winter, mild as it was, tends to make us expect a harsher summer.  And we haven’t had that– yet.  Of course we’re just hitting the midpoint of summer and I could be speaking too soon, but I’ve always been a “warmer climate” person considering where I was born and raised.  Manila’s heatwave gives you good training for the hot summers of New York, but then it’s dry heat here.  (Imagine walking into an oven.)
#HappyFriday, #NewYork.. The #weekend is here.. take time to #recharge and get some #metime..#youarelmportanttoo #empirestatebuilding #lookingtowardsdowntown #sunnyaummerday #manhattan
I’ve been exploring more of the city during the weekends and lingering on later in the day.  It helps that the little guy is in Manila enjoying his summer break with his cousins, so I need not rush home to make dinner.  It’s been a time of new beginnings, plans and things that need to be done.  It’s also a time of renewal.  (More on that in another post.)

Unfortunately, I see the summer slipping by with some things falling through the cracks.  I will hopefully get to do a check-in on my 15 things for 2015 although I’m almost dreading it because I’m afraid I have missed out on many of the things I had hoped to accomplish, and half the year has slipped by.

The good news is I’M READING AGAIN.  I am actually so thrilled about actually lugging a book in my purse these days that I have taken to having the book within arm’s reach just so I can look and touch its pages.  (We call that shallow or mababaw back where come from.)  Simple thrills.

#MissionAcconplished, @juliaatolentino -- I couldn't actually remember the title andmfor@some@reason the pic or the message from @neo.phil.ia about it had disappeared -- but I found it in the #Buy2GetThe3rdFree table and snapped it up!  😀😉#bThe truth of the matter is, I had schlepped down to Barnes & Noble to buy some books requested by my nephew and niece.  I am always drawn to the tables where books are laid flat, enabling you to see stacks of it on top of each other.  There were no Minecraft books as requested by the nephew, and for the life of me, I couldn’t find the photo sent by my sister-in-law for my niece’s request.  So I walked around towards the tables and lo and behold, the book was right there: A Work in Progress: A Memoir by Connor Franta.  The thing was it was on a “Buy-2-get-the-3rd-free” table so I found myself walking around trying to decide if I will just get the book for my niece or if I will get two more.  Of course I got two more!  (Have to get that Barnes & Noble membership going!)

I have missed reading and the thought that I am finally getting down to doing some serious page-turning makes me kind of giddy happy.  Kind of.  At almost fifty, (yes, the Pinay New Yorker is THAT old) — I have discovered that the things that make me smile are no longer as profound or earth shattering or remarkable like they used to be.  These days, when a stranger says “Beautiful dress!” or “What a lovely necklace..”  from out of nowhere, that is reason enough to smile.  (This is the same dress that has seen a lady walk up to me at a grocery to tell me what a lovely dress I was wearing.  I am NEVER parting with this dress even when it is no longer age appropriate!)  Or maybe talking about movies or music or GoT.  (And if you don’t know what that stands for, then you aren’t in our ‘circle’.)  It’s being able to mention something from the 80s and know that you won’t get a puzzled look that tells you you’re from two different generations.  (As my brother who is only 3 years younger than me would say, that would be a generation gap.)

So what is my fabulous summer all about?  

Have a #cone-olli at the #NutellaBar in #Eatalynyc.  Your choice of #gelato atop a #nutellafilledcone, rolled in #roastedhazelnuts.  #yummy ! #foodporn #icecream #Itsliansdoitbetter #musttry #lovedit #dessert inNewYork #FlatIronDistrictIt’s about the Nutella Bar in Eataly which seems to have a hypnotic hold on me now, every time I’m in the area.  Not even the usual lines or throng of people going in and out of the place has deterred me from making a quick stop whenever I can.  On the contrary, it’s all those people walking around and the anonymity of walking in that crowd that kind of makes me feel at home in this place.

No, it’s not that sweet — even the sweet cream needs a little bit of nutella in it to make it really sinful.  I find it to be a good palate cleanser, though.  (Excuses, excuses!)

It’s about dreaming of learning how to sew (finally!) — but knowing it’ll have to wait for when I return from the next trip home.  So in the meantime, I’m focusing on hair accessories and trying to get my creative juices flowing to enable me to bring some pieces to give away as gifts in a week and a half.  I’ve startred sorting out my jewelry supplies as well with a more determined plan to actually revive the store on Etsy.   And no, I didn’t forget about my newfound interest in crochet — freeform crochet to be exact — as I featured in my craft blog, GothamChick just a few weeks back here and here.

I’m starting to go back to music that I love — jazz, in particular — and learning along the way.  It’s music that soothes and draws me to a time way back when I got so immersed in learning about modern jazz.   Back when they had a record bar (which is where they used to have shelves upon shelves of vinyl and stacks of cassette tapes), the lady in charge would lay out the latest releases and make her recommendations.  It is because of her that I heard of Eloise Laws, Donald Byrd, in addition to the staples of Alphonse Mouzon, Earl Klugh, Noel Pointer and Seawind to name a few.  Now I’m listening to Avishai Cohen who I was looking forward to watching “Live” in NYC but I just heard his tour had been altogether cancelled.. (Bummer..)

Summer’s been a time to enjoy movies, old and new, that friends have been recommending.   Don’t you just hate it  when people start talking about some title and ask you if you’ve watched it and you realize you’re way behind?  I never pretended to be a cinephile but I do appreciate good films.  I just haven’t had the time to sit in a theatre or find out what’s new.  (I miss Mr. Moviefone ..)  The good news is I am now raving about Everything Is Illuminated, Fading Gigolo and the original The Producers (1968).  I am not a film critic nor one of those people who try to dissect the “layers of acting” or the “depth of the story”.  I watch movies to enjoy them and I always try to sit in front of a screen with as little expectations of the story or the acting or directing.  I think we, as members of the audience, should just sit there and enjoy.  Every film, even those that are retellings of stories we already know are meant to entertain but will only succeed in doing that if we let them.  Save the popcorn — I’m still working my way down a list of other great movies.

I’ve made the effort to reconnect with friends from waaaaaayyyyyyy back.  As a friend from gradeschool wrote me, “(I) am happy to know that you are well on your way to getting to know yourself again and that you’re making strides where reconnecting with old friends is concerned. We do tend to lose ourselves when in relationships and though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it is at times unhealthy. ”  (Bernadette aka Bambi has always written so eloquently.)

The sad part of being here in New York is that although some people maybe in the same neighborhood, connecting can take a lot of effort.  Sadly, we don’t all give it the effort it deserves.  Sometimes all it takes is an e-mail, a message on Facebook, or a chance encounter when you’re on the bus and you see a familiar face fiddling with her phone at street level.  (The Universe speaks, again.)

I miss my little guy but I am grateful for the break to focus on myself the last couple of weeks.  It makes me look forward to being with him again when I go home to pick him up in Manila in just over a week.  And there is so much to look forward to when I return to my home, New York, and ride out the last days of summer as we go into my next favorite season: Autumn.

Here’s to a wonderful rest of the summer for everyone.

Book Signing: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Book signing: Kareem Abdul-jabbar I wasn’t really going to go but I thought I’d check out the line at half past noon at the Barnes & Noble a few blocks down, and lo and behold there was none, so I bought my books and walked up to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Before I headed down, I already knew that there was a 3-book maximum for Pick-up Posse Book One: Sasquatch in the Paint (Streetball Crew), and I wanted to make sure I picked the book for the proper recipient.  One, of course, was for my personal collection of first edition autographed books.  The second and the third was a toss up between several young men I knew were into basketball, and who would probably appreciate getting an autographed book from one of our all-time basketball greats.

I hadn’t really made up my mind by the time I went to the top of the line, and then I got stumped when one of the Barnes & Noble personnel asked for a name for personalization.  This is usually not offered during book signings, so I had to think quick.  My 4 or so young basketball hopefulls had to be trimmed to two.  Hmmmm…

The first one was easier, the son of a dear, dear friend of mine from way back when I was in College.  It so happened that this was a friend who was tough to get a present for because he literally has everything and more than I could ever hope to get for him.  His eldest boy is now grade school (or is it high school) and is part of the basketball team, and while I have never met the young man, I feel I know him because it’s his Facebook account I’m part of as his Dad has none.

The second was tougher because I have several nephews I was thinking of, all who are not actually related to me by blood, but who are favorite “nephews” by choice.  I had to think quickly because the guy was waiting to write the name it was to be personalized to, and I came up with a young man who just requested me to get him some Nike KD socks in recent weeks.

It is my hope that they will find some form of inspiration in the book and Kareem’s message to the young.

And that was that.  I think I’ll take a stab at reading the book even if it’s obviously juvenile reading.  I’ve learned not to knock the genre because The Hunger Games Trilogy is originally of the same target audience.  My son refers to this as ‘chapter reading’ now, compared to the elementary story books the younger kids read.

After he signed the books, I was given an autographed trading card which was an unexpected treat — in hindsight now, I think I should’ve pressed for another one.

Alas, no pictures of me with Kareem, but I did manage to snap up these pics of the basketball legend.

Book Signing: Kareem Adbul-Jabbar
Book Signing: Kareem Adbul-Jabbar

Kareem takes a break

Book signing alert for Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue next week: October 1, 12nn

Osteen
Break Out!: 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers
and Live an Extraordinary Life

Catching up on the reading: My Bookshelf, My Kindle

I have actually vowed NOT to buy any books until I can jumpstart my reading again, and while I have been cradling my Apple iPad and my Kindle  and keeping them handy in my tote, I haven’t really done much reading in the last couple of months.  Not good, I know.

Right now I have around 5 hard bound books waiting to be read, and I’ve gotten nowhere with Betty White’s “If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t)(Note to self: Hoping to finish THIS weekend!) and I’ve practically given up on Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods: A Novel(One more try?).  What I’m raring to start reading (which is going against what I just said I had vowed) is George R. R. Martin’s third installment of  “A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) which I just downloaded.

So maybe — just maybe — I’ll finish American Gods.. and get on with reading Agassi’s “Open (which was actually Ofie, my sister’s pick), and get on with catching up with the Grisham books I have yet to read.  (Soooo way behind with that one, too!)  I know I want to read more than I actually manage to.  I can certainly do better.  With theKindle just a touch away, I really have no excuse.  And there are the other books I downloaded which I hope to eventually get to.. if I can get a 48-hour day.  LOL

My books have always been a source of solace and pride for me.  Solace because they have provided me with a place where I can enrich myself without actually going anywhere and spending for more than what the book would’ve cost.  Pride because I count them as a personal accomplishment when I think about the books I HAVE managed to read.  It makes me feel as though I am actually doing something proactive to keep my brain cells alive and kicking. =) Let’s see how many books I will manage to finish reading this 2012. 12? That’s a modest and reasonable goal. Let’s hope I meet it.

Kindle with Me: Reading Goals, 2011

I got my Kindle last Christmas and have looked at it with a sense of fulfillment and pride each day, even if I haven’t sat down to earnestly read longer than a half hour. “Dinna’s Kindle.”. (I type that and a smile forms on my face.)

Last year was a big disappointment in the “Catch Up with the Reading” department, so much so that the “Bookshelf” app on my Facebook account seems to have disappeared for being inactive and untouched. (Yes, my El Fili in English has disappeared somewhere in the coat closet as well.).

One month of 2011 has gone and I haven’t chalked up anything read as yet. The good news is, I have quite a few under “being read” so I thought I’d start a widget here on the blog sidebar for books I am reading now. I am hoping that will be a visual reminder of my longstanding goal of getting back to the habit of personal enrichment through reading.

I will not set any goal beyond finishing a book every month. So between this weekend to the end of Feb, the goal is to read two books.  Reasonable enough.

The great thing about Kindle is that its e-book library offers many classics for free, that is why I’ve downloaded Pride And Prejudice and Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Thanks to the influence of my friends Fe, Jher and Jerome — I am intrigued by Mr. Darcy.

I am optimistic that this time around next year, I will be able to chalk up 12 books read (AT LEAST), hard copy or otherwise.

Wish me luck!