17 in 2017

And so we’re on year three!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.  Write more.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to an even brighter and better 2017!


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.

First "ber" Month almost ended

I can’t believe that September is just about to end, with tomorrow being the 24th already. That’s three quarters of the year gone.

I’ve been trying to make room for another 6-compartment shelf I’ll be assembling in a while. So I haven’t really created anything today except for a set of ATC backgrounds I’ll be working on tonight or tomorrow. I have some postcards to pull together for swaps due tomorrow and an envelope to decorate in pink (which should be a breeze!), which reminds me, I sent out two pairs of envelopes yesterday.

Handmade Envelope: Make an Envelope #7  Handmade Envelope: Make an Envelope #7

I created these handmade envelopes with materials that I had in my stock of paper and painted and pasted on them. I hope they are not far too simple for the swap. I tried.

After mass this morning, I just wanted to rest. I’ve tried but I have the shelf to worry about. It’s almost 6pm and I’ve done as much as make room for it and cleaning up around the space where I will put the pair of shelves. I will assemble it tonight when things “quiet” down after dinner. (Which, by the way, I haven’t planned yet.)
Dinner was poached tilapia fillet with olive oil and soy sauce with sliced green onions. I added a side of bacon-wrapped scallops (which were so big I had to halve them.) I had a bola-bola siopao with my scallops, and I’m now winding down, getting ready to attack my shelf project. I did a few backgrounds in my altered book. That project is progressing rather well. Just browsing online for “happiness” quotes pushes up my happy quotient a notch or two higher with each passing day.

Last week was pretty busy for me socially, what with Cousin M (engaged to be married in a few days) now a New Yorker down in Brooklyn, and my new friend Elaine who moved here in May to join her husband. Brings me back memories of 12 years ago when I landed here myself… We had lunch… I brought Cousin M to Woodside and gave her the Phil-Am Store tour. Elaine came down to see me another day and I gave her the bead store tour. (Something I’m seriously considering getting a license for and making money out of.)

This week it’s going to be all work for me. (The boss is back from his week-long business trip.) I did get a lot of cleaning up done the previous week, and there was no stopping the meeting requests that come with or without the boss in the same timezone.

Well, time to get organizing. I am wrapping some hard boxes with pretty paper to use as stock boxes in the shelves I’m assembling, although we bought those foldable cloth bins that fit beautifully into the shelves. I am also such a fan of those see-through shoe boxes for my craft supplies, so I have a couple that would fit nicely into the compartments of the shelves.

I don’t need to buy all the bins I will use. There are some that are better made at home using the color scheme and the materials I prefer. For one, I don’t throw away shoe boxes unless they are beat up. I am using stationery boxes, though, for the bins I will wrap up. Did one last night and I’m more than happy. I might yet get to do another later. (Keeping my fingers crossed.)

Sunday’s getting on rather slowly. I like that. No pressure. The boy’s ready to hit the sack and I’ve cleaned up after an early dinner. I’ll get down to assembling in a few minutes and hopefully get a few more “me” things done before I turn in for bed.

On the way home last Friday, I made a list of 12 things I had hoped I would get to do on a sticky I put on the cover of my altered book. I’ve crossed off around half which isn’t too bad. I’m going to try and do a list of three things I need to get done every day for the rest of the week to focus on my goals. That will hopefully get me doing more instead of “lingering” or floating from project to project.

What I regret I haven’t done is write the letters I had hoped to write today. Well, I have the lunch hour tomorrow.

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!