Those Facebook Memories

I don’t do Facebook as often as I used to for several reasons, and I don’t usually catch much there given the number of friends I have racked up through the years.  While I am going to seriously trim that list at a future time, I have to make do with what I am able to catch when I open the app on my phone or those few times that I actually open it on my PC.

Don’t you just hate and love those Facebook memories that keep popping up? Love them for the warm memories they bring, and hate them for reminding me about how I looked and was so different years ago– I am truly happier with the older and better me now.   Sometimes being reminded of how our feelings and life in general have changed can be both good and bad.

But I was struck by how something I said 7 years ago has changed meaning from black to white. Definitions have evolved. Feelings have changed. The world is now so different. “Family” then is so different from what it is now. But while I thought I was happy then, I realize now that I am in a happier and better place.

Those Facebook memoriesOne thing those Facebook memories do for me is show me how my little guy has grown.  I have those pictures tucked in my virtual or hard drive somewhere, and I do gush and turn misty-eyed occasionally when I see him as a baby or a toddler, or even as a grade schooler… He HAS grown.    For those moments, I am grateful to Facebook.

Monday Musings (Random thoughts on another day I woke up before 5am)

It’s still pitch black outside even if it’s already 10 minutes to 6:00.  I finally gave up trying to go back to sleep after waking up at past 4am and crawled out of bed to brew my morning cup.  My brain is still trying to wake up all it’s circuits so I thought I’d just write up a list of disparate thoughts which, I hope, I can or might develop into a full blown post somewhere along the way.

Monday usually finds me feeling like I’m floating from the weekend to the rush of the new week.  I do look forward to the start of the week and the thought of Monday as a reboot to the weekend just ended helps get me on my way.  I wish there was a third day to the weekend, but then at the same time, I often find myself wishing the work week itself was 6 instead of just 5 days. (I know I’m blabbering, but I make no apologies because it’s a Monday — an EARLY Monday morning.)

Facebook  (and my BFFs mom) yet saves my day (and pulls me out of the hole) from a missed Cindy Lauper concert promised to BFF Fe some moons ago..  We all make promises.  I try not to.  More so when I know there is a good chance I won’t be able to keep it, because I not only hate to disappoint the person I’m making a promise to, but worse, I disappoint myself.

I had an unplanned trip home in March 2012 (right after the Christmas visit of December 2011 and before the last trip this December 2013) and it so happened that Cindy Lauper was playing in Manila.  I promised Fe we would go, but we didn’t.  And I know she’s felt bad about that since .  But over the weekend she posted something that sort of saved my neck (although not entirely).  I’m sorry, Peps… even if you say I need not apologize.. I am.  I knew you were looking forward to that concert and a promise is a promise.  For whatever it’s worth, I have never enjoyed attending and dancing at a concert like I have with you — remembering that Side A concert we saw courtesy of you-know-who way back when I saw a lot of concerts and fashion shows.

Moving to New York in 2000 — (and I’m suddenly hit with “Wow — it HAS been THAT long!”) — I have always been content with the lifestyle choice I made when I started working here — until now.  Knowing what I am and what I had accomplished before I moved here, and then taking that giant step back to adjust to my new life in New York, I wonder if I had not short-changed myself in embracing the “family is the reason I came here in the first place” bit in choosing the career path I took.

In many ways, I realize now that that choice was noble and pure and is still true in my heart (and all I have to do is look at the boy who unabashedly proclaims his love for me at every turn) — but I wonder if that choice had boxed me into a role and persona that was much, much smaller than the real person I am.  (That’s a thought for me to ponder, and not meant to be answered here.  Monday.. musings.. get it?)

I have come to realize that while ACCEPTANCE does not exactly equate to FORGIVENESS, it does help to push one forward to go past what one has no control over.  I’ve always been an “I will fix this” kind of person.  I don’t know if it’s arrogance or simply my bull-headedness about being able to control things  and not letting things control me.  For the past year, I’ve been grappling with a festering wound within that I have somehow managed to tuck deeper in my heart in a vain attempt to simulate healing.  People ask me how I’m doing — I say I’m okay.  Not exactly better, but I’m okay.  That, in itself, is already “acceptance” in a sense — knowing where I am and where I’ve landed after the rollercoaster ride of the last year.

I had forgotten how I had missed school and my plans of taking on a course in History until recently, and over the weekend, when I embarked on a new journey of learning.  Procrastination has been a close companion even in my younger years.  Once it clings to me, it is so hard to shake it off.  Not too long ago, I had enrolled in an online history course via podcast from YALE, and while I was sooooo excited at the start, I never went beyond the first lecture.  Over the weekend, I got a new recommended course, this time from ColumbiaX, and I am actually excited — VERY EXCITED — to hit the books again.  (You should see my eyes twinkling at the thought.)  For all the years I spent with the Sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres (nursery to high school), the giant minds that helped shaped my once-sheltered brain to think more broadly at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Philippines, and the most challenging years at the Ateneo School of Law with the Jesuits — one thing I missed the most when I got here was studying and learning and the challenge of reading and pulling together my own thoughts and analysis from a textbook.

I had even seriously thought of auditing classes at NYU (which is why I get their course catalogue every year), but then, I never had the time.. or couldn’t make time.  Thanks to technology and everybody’s rush to be at everyone else’s fingertips, it’s a totally different classroom now, and I can be in it whenever I want to be in it.  So excited for this one!

Some things we lose cannot be replaced — like the 5,000 or so photos on my iPhone (which aren’t on my cloud) — but I can always keep taking photos and immortalize future memories in the next handheld I get.  It wasn’t so much the loss of the iPhone 5S which was part of the technology trove I get from work — but it was all those photos that I snapped away from blog graphics to pictures with my family and precious selfies of my funny guy and I.  The iPhone is being replaced this week — and I’m not complaining even if there’s a company freeze on upgrades to the iPhone 6.  But I cannot help but cringe at the thought of all the photos I lost, and the “notes” in the journal section where I had stored bits and pieces like my morning dose of the Serenity Prayer.  (Which, after a year of saying it every day in the morning, I have yet to memorize.)

It wasn’t such a total loss because a good batch of them made it to my Flickr account, and at least 300+ are on my Instagram feed.  Still.

There were a ton of photos of my altered book which was meant to document the “bare background pages” to the finished journaled layouts which are now in limbo.  Thankfully, my Thank You Postcard Project photos are actual scans of the postcards, so they were not on the iPhone.

I have somehow gotten over the initial disappointment, but it only serves to remind me that I should have backed up the files instead of relying on the fact that my iPhone and I were joined at the hip.  That is, until it fell out of my purse and into someone else’s hand.

6:55 and my day has to move on now.  I have indulged myself enough as I waited for the sun to start rising, and it’s slowly creeping up over New York City.  That doesn’t mean I can just linger here.. which I wish… but cannot.  It’s Monday, after all.  Hope you all have a good start of the week.. I know mine has gotten off to a very good one.

To unfriend or to limit on Facebook

I’ve been on Facebook a while now and it’s been helpful but not the be-all and and-all  of my online or real social life.  When I started out on it, I was just overwhelmed by the thrill of finding long-lost friends, even acquaintances both from school and from work.  To date, I have 600+ friends which was the idea at the start, but which now, is getting to be quite a bother.

With all the changes on FB since, I’m just glad I can choose to limit what I see and who I see.  Still, it’s a tedious process of selecting preferences for each person whose profile, status update, photos, or what not I happen to see when I log on sometime during the day.

I have successfully culled my chat list and only a dozen or so relevant people see me online when I am.  I have been good with avoiding playing games while on FB, too, so I have no “harvests” or “neighbors” to worry about.  The thought of unplugging from FB has occurred to me, but I have to admit that it’s one way I keep in touch with the world I left behind when I moved to New York 13 years ago. (Wow, that long.)  That’s the reason why I’ve thought about it but don’t see myself doing it.

I am also trying to be politically correct about my FB conduct, because I find it unnerving or awkward that I’ve been “limited” by certain “friends”.  For some, I don’t really care.  For others, it raises suspicion.  (Why?)  And what amplifies it is that FB now gives you a choice about how much you see of a “friend” on your list.  So the question arises, what is it that you don’t want me to see in YOUR profile?  Hmmmm… of course we can all proclaim “PRIVACY PLEASE”.  Still.

And I have to wonder why I was just not unfriended (or better yet, blocked) and simply limited.  So this person still wants to “see” me but doesn’t want me to have the same view into their world.  Again, the awkwardness of unfriending.  Why would one unfriend me and then risk the chance of being in a social gathering with me again — how does the FB strain parlay into an actual interaction in person?  A-W-K-W-A-R-D.

I have only blocked one person ever – and she will stay on that list only because I’ve made up my mind that her world and my world will never intersect on a social plane.  I’ve “forgiven” whatever it is she had done to m ake me block her in the first place — but I’d like to leave it at that.

Other than that, there’s the “unfriend” option.  The “Limited friend” status — which, if you ask me, should be the norm for everyone.

I am not a very public person — proof of which is that I never put a picture of myself in the “avatar” in all the iterations of my personal blog.  Somehow at 47, and with a good even if grainy picture, I felt it was about time.  Besides, I felt it gave the blog a personality.  Neither am I very private — and you will see that if you’ve read through my posts.  I recognize my being part of larger world.  A recluse, I will never be.  I am too much of a people person to just “disappear”.

FB has had its downsides.  In the hundred of greetings that I get during my birthdays, it hurts when people supposedly closer to close to me don’t even greet me publicly in their facebook profiles or on my wall.  It makes me wonder if that point is that someone shouldn’t see.  So I stopped greeting those who seem to make a conscious effort not to.

Same goes for tagging photographs.  I have the setting on such that any tagging would require my permission.  Again, I don’t want to just be tagged by anyone.  One time I tagged several photos and the tag wasn’t approved, I just untagged and left it at that.

I’m not trying to overthink it.  Just thinking out loud.  And wondering — on this colder Sunday afternoon before folding the clothes that just came from the dryer.

Later.

From rain to sunshine

Rainy afternoon in New York City

I’m probably being overly optimistic with the blogpost title, but it’s stopped raining this Saturday, and the sun is being lazy, hiding behind some clouds.  We were pelted with rain and wind yesterday as you can see from the view from my window above taken late Friday and it rained all night.  It’s just nature taking care of us again, making sure we have enough water to sustain spring into summer.  Thankfully — at least in our area, that is — we didn’t have an over-abundance of mother nature’s blessing.

I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend.  Hoping to create a few pieces, and sending off some Zentangled Mail Art from Swap-bot that you can read more about at my craft blog, Gotham Chick, once I’m able to post (link to be supplied when the post is uploaded…).  I was supposed to mail it out this Saturday, but I ended up leaving my ‘inserts’ in the office.  (Mailing on Monday then!

I did my postcard giveaway video in connection with some lenticular (3D) postcards I picked up from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) which I had picked up this week.  I got so excited seeing the new postcards displayed on their rack when I hopped over the museum shop before meeting up for the ride home, I had to grab a copy plus an extra before they ran out.  I had advertised the giveaway at our Postcrossing Philippines Facebook group and I promised the drawing would be my Saturday.  I wanted to show that it was all done above board, so the video pertaining to the actual drawing is straight-through, uncut, so there are no substitutions, cuts or what-not.  All fair!  =)  I’m sending the winner’s postcard prize (I had them choose the artist) via snail mail with some extra goodies.  Playing postcard santa!

I guess now that THAT’s done, I can look at maybe beginning another Philippine Map hand-drawn postcard before the weekend ends.  (I currently have five finished which I am dying to post but scanning the PC has been too much trouble.  I will try again next week.)

So here’s the video I worked on this evening.  I’m totally bushed after editing it and putting music to it, so no, you don’t have to bear with my narration/spiel.  It was fun to make, though.

If you’re interested to get any of the postcards in the video, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox at gmail.com.

Enjoy!

Beads and postcards on a lazy Sunday

While most of my part of the world is all agog about SuperBowl Sunday, we slept through the afternoon lazily, just enjoying the time to relax.  My back is giving me problems — and I always welcome the chance to recharge which I cannot do as leisurely as I can on weekdays.  Lunch was at almost 4pm — thanks to Pizza Hut.

I had a most disturbing dream, though, about a favorite “niece” (although she is the daughter of a friend and not a blood relative).  Stranger still, I was in Manila.  Well, thinking of Manila is nothing new.  Dreaming of it is.  So I’m making a mental note to write my dear Evita later and ask how she’s doing.

I am also trying to get my creations going, so I sorted through a shoe-box full of odds and ends I had dumped together while cleaning up my work space.  Sorting through the various head and eyepins (that little pin-like metal object that you string beads with) took the early afternoon.  I tried to set aside the half-finished rosary bracelets I had as well which I hope to post in the shop after finishing them and photographing the pieces.  By the time I finished, the sandman was calling.  At my age, I’ve learned that it’s easier to just give in rather than fight it — and it’s more beneficial to me when I let myself take a moment to recharge by closing my eyes for a nap..

I’ve learned to embrace aging gracefully by acepting my limitations while trying to continue to live a productive life.  While I have done rather poorly in terms of managing my weight, I console myself with the thought that that has been a life-long struggle for me. I’ll get to it yet, if only to try and prevent the onset of diseases relating to aging and weight gain.  Something tells me my back problem is, in part, the result of the weight my spine has been punished with.

It’s getting dark outside as the sun is getting ready to set.  The thin layer of snow on the ground is beginning to melt.  It’s still freezing cold, and I just hope that’s all the snow we’re getting.  I have never stopped to marvel how nature maintains a balance and the creatures outside seem to go on unaffected by the brutal cold, being that I can hear birds chirping outside as if it was just any other day.

My first month of Life 4×6 is done, but I’m pulling together the photos with captions and labels.  I still haven’t quite decided how I will pull it into an album.  The 12-photo spread of the regular albums really seems too big, but to go any smaller would mean doing more albums.

I had drafted an extensive post on this the last few days, but since I’m not quite done yet, I’ve held off.  In due time.

ATC: Heart ATC 1Meanwhile, I’ve successfully slowed down on the ATC swaps.  My friend CuriosaKat whom I had bumped into at a Postcrossing Philippines group on Facebook had suggested I join the group.  It’s been a most interesting ride through the last 6 months and quite a learning experience.  Postcard collecting and exchanges have changed radically in the past few years, and I’ve had my bumps and scrapes in returning to active trading but I think I’ve managed to get into a manageable rhythm now.

I gave Postcrossing a try, but to those used to the more defined method of collecting postcards, it can get tiring and costly without the satisfaction of acquiring that which you collect.  It’s good if you are after volume, but I’ve been there, done that.   It would have been something I would’ve embraced enthusiastically when I started collecting almost 30 years ago, but at this point, I want to confine myself to the particular collecting interests I have identified.

Volume is one way to find satisfaction in trades, and if the idea is for you to collect from every possible postmark or country, then Postcrossing is for you.  But if you prefer to receive your postcards unstamped and “naked” in an envelope, then you’re better off with the private swaps or in swap forums like Swap-bot.com .

I participate in the swaps mostly to help me find a new home for the postcards I don’t need.  New York is such a tourist haven that we can never have enough supplies of the so-called touristy postcards, but when you’re sending out to a select group, it makes it imperative that you get a little creative sourcing your postcards.  It also gives me a chance to check out the different offerings for my own collection of “anything New York,” be it modern or vintage.

Postcards from Philippines, The: Map 3So what do I collect?  Maps have always been of special interest to me, although even that particular collecting interest has been “refined”.  Some postcard map collectors will accept street views as “map postcards”, and I used to include that in my collection.  In fine tuning my “wants”, though, I have decided actual state or city or country maps which shows a land formation or routes instead of those implied by streets on a postcard were what I wanted.

To date, I have at least one map from each state (yes, even the more elusive ones), but I have come to discover that there are multiple variations to each state, not only terms of design, but also in size.  So there are states which I have a half dozen different designs for.  Even the Philippines where I come from has produced several map postcards, beyond the very first ones we used to trade in the 80s.  I am still trying to find the time to photograph (as against scanning) the collection, but I’ve managed to upload a few in this album on my Flickr account.

If I were to identify which part of postcard collecting I find most fulfilling, I would have to say it’s going through my vintage postcard collection.  Browsing the prices on Ebay makes me think of putting up my postcards on the auction site, but that is also what makes me want to keep them all the more.

Although my vintage postcard collecting interest is confined to Maps, Lighthouses, New York, The Philippines, Paris and the places we have visited (like Bruge and Brussels in Belgium and Chartres in France), I have somehow amassed a pile of other vintage postcards I need to find a home for.  Soon enough.  I just sent one I successful dated to a fellow postcard collector in Pampanga in the Philippines, something printed in the 30s. (!)

Collecting?  Drop me an e-mail at my postcard collecting account aptly named postcardmailbox@gmail.com

Some "Happy" from Friends and Journaling

I have a “love-hate” relationship with Facebook these days.  I am hardly there, and when I do log in, I pop in and go out quicker than quick.  I browse the updates which isn’t much considering that I now have a few hundred friends (which isn’t so cool when you look at how the feeds go), so I am seriously considering trimming down that friend list.  I’m sure a lot of people also don’t appreciate getting nonsensical updates from me.  I wouldn’t be too surprised to find out that many of them have unsubscribed from my feeds, although there isn’t much going on on my own page.

From time to time, I do come across some gems, like today, I picked this quote up from a friend, co-paulinian and colleague of my sister at work,  Edlynn.  I had to go back and grab the line, post it here, and will be putting it in my happiness journal at a later time.

“The secret of happiness is: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it.” — Dan Dennett

And I got a pleasant surprise when BFF Pia K popped out on the chat — which was quite serendipitous by itself.  (As you can see, I’m still hooked on “serendipity” as I am continuing to work on my Artist Trading Card Mega Swap.)

Pia and I have known each other since the second grade, which is 39 years worth of the Pinay New Yorker on this earth.  I’ve written about it here a while back that we used to be mistaken for sisters back in grade school.  We went to the same high school and landed together most of our four years with the nuns — I think we managed to do it for 3 of 4.  She went to the other branch of the same University I went to and we completely lost touch.  We sort of “got back together” the last 4-5 years which was literally thanks to the post offices on both sides of the world.  And for that, I am eternally grateful to every mailman I see.  Our friendship, you see, was rekindled and kept alive by snail mail.  And I am still trying.

Though I don’t write her quite as often, I continue to try.   Despite the technology all around us, I still believe that the written word on hard copy carries a different kind of magic all its own.

So we had a good chat about how age makes you wake up at odd hours, and how, even if you crave sleep, you end up doing so little of it. (I told her it was age.)  We talked about our kids — which, we agreed, was one of the best accomplishments we can claim in our lifetime.  (Unfortunately, Pia beats me with 4 of her own against my unico hijo.)  And we traded light banter and then FB conked out on us and I had to go back to work.

Somewhere there, though, we talked about journaling.

I told her to just write whatever, whenever.  Journaling should be spontaneous.  The first thought, the first word, the feeling that comes to mind at that very moment.  That is the essence of capturing the moment in words just as you would want to do it with a picture.  I thought I’d come up with some journaling prompts for Pia as she starts this new journey.

1. There’s always a sticky, a tape receipt, a paper napkin handy where you can scribble the date, the time and place, and even a single word like “Thanks.”

2. Think of a happy memory.  Start with “Remember the time…”

3. Grab some words of wisdom.  They might not be your own, but the thought of wanting to share it with someone you love or care for makes it your gift.

4. Cut up a picture, or even a magazine ad or article that reminds you of something or someone and paste it onto the journal.

5. Even a simple “I love you” can fill a whole page with feelings.

Good luck on this new journey, P.  I have always believed you were a great writer — I have always worked hard to catch up with you but have never quite caught up.. =)   Take care, my dearest friend.

A newspaper collage postcard a day…among other things

Each day that I’ve been scouring the newspapers the last two weeks and more so the past few days that Manila has been under water, I’ve been searching for reporting/coverage of the storm. It seems like there’s just too much happening all over the world for us to land the front page, but we did get this picture in one of the inside pages of The New York Times on August 10, 2012.  (You can view my Flickr album of Newspaper Collage Postcards here.)

A former boss even e-mailed me, concerned about the family back home.  I appreciate gestures like that that show me I am more than just another minion (or ex-minion) to her.  Fortunately, the family in San Juan were spared.

The rains (although greatly reduced from what I imagine poured back home in Manila) have arrived in New York.  My rain boots have been put to good use — and I’m going to take out my light coat soon.

I was going to take tomorrow as a personal day but the past few days have been particularly busy with the visiting top banana I’ve been helping out, and my actual top banana is back even if only remotely — I haven’t cleared as much off of my to-do list as I had hoped to.  I wanted to do tomorrow as a “take care of ME” day, but I guess I can make it a “take care of ME” afternoon instead.

Tonight proved to be challenging and aggravating, but I’d rather leave it at that.  Even thinking of writing about it weighs heavily on me, but hey, it’s part and parcel of life here as I keep reminding myself.  It eventually got resolved, but the worries persist.  What’s important is that there’s peace where it matters — the boy is fine and happy and excited about the weekend, and I’m finally here sitting with enough time to attempt a coherent blog post.

[33] Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - The Wall Street Journal,15Aug2012 #1
How lucky can I get? An article on Lighthouses in New York and a Lighthouse museum in the works as featured by the Wall Street Journal last August 15, 2012

I am making a trip to the post office tomorrow to mail out my postcards — a half dozen or so going to addresses in the Philippines thanks to a FACEBOOK group on Postcrossing called Postcrossing Philippines, Postcrossing itself and some postcard exchange groups.  (Postales/Postcards/CartolinePostcard Exchange, and Postcard Exchange) Of course the kababayans get a special treat.  I am trying to ship a special postcard postmarked, but I’m afraid that if I send the postcard as is, it will be filched in the mail.  So I’m going to try and be creative, taping something in front of it.  The front of the postcard is good to tape something via masking tape onto, so I think I can pull it off.  (Keeping my fingers crossed.)

It’s finally Friday again tomorrow.. =)  And then it’ll be Saturday and we’re going on a weekend trip.  Nothing far, but quite a treat.  No one can be more excited than the boy.

Email me at postcardmailbox@gmail.com if you’re interested to trade.  My postcard collection on Flickr can be found here.

Gotham Chick's Birthday Giveaways

Last call for sign ups on Gotham Chick’s Facebook Fan Page.  We’re celebrating our first year on Etsy with free shipping to the US, Canada and Manila (ending soon!), and giveaways to Facebook users who “LIKE” the GothamChick page we’ve set up.  You don’t even have to be a “friend” — just hit the “LIKE” button on the top of the page next to the title.

We’re giving away a necklace, some bracelets, earrings and all for just putting us among your “”LIKES”.

Click on the picture to the left while you are logged on to FB:

Creative Streak

It’s minutes to 1AM and I’m just about ready to turn in but I suddenly got the urge to log on and write here.

Three bracelets posted for sale, one sold. Four bracelets later (for posting tomorrow), and I’m actually trying to think of new things to make so I can spend the day doing my write ups. Creating the pieces is actually easier and more spontaneous than trying to write a blurb while measuring the materials used to make the description as accurate as possible.

I’ve started a fanpage and am trying to decide which piece/s I will give away as prizes for those who choose the fanpage as a “like”. (15 so far.. no stats to boast of yet, I know.)

My wholesale supplier just concluded a huge sale and I was able to pick up a few items, but I have fallen in love with this gorgeous dark copper dyed freshwater pearls selling originally for $14.95 which went on sale for $2.00 (!) per 15-inch strand. They are 9-10mm rice pearls, some perfectly smooth and some ringed. How I would love to get 10 strands to create a long continuous necklace. I am hoping I can snatch up a few more strands after I sell a few more items on the store. Ideas, ideas!