Daily Prompt: State of “Me” Post (SOMP – or My Year Thus Far)

Daily Prompt: Write up a mid-year “State of My Year” post.

First of all, this is NOT inspired nor related to P-Noy’s State of the Nation Address which has been front and center in Manila.  The Daily Post put this up as it’s latest and greatest daily prompt and I thought I’d give it a shot.


I’ve been too busy to write of late.  This is my third draft of a blog post (all three different topics) and I am  hoping it sees the light of day.  (Or of the blogsphere.). The current state of “Me” is “all over the place,” but in a good kind of way.

Today sees us officially halfway through the year, and although I don’t have any monumental news or milestones to report, I think I’ve done pretty good so far.  I can definitely say I’m in a better place today compared to the same time period last year.  But with the challenges that 2012 threw my way, anything past those very trying times qualifies as progress. 

Of course there are always things we wish we did more of, or things I wish I had accomplished by now — little milestones or goals I had hoped to chalk up in my to-do list, but one of the lessons of the last year year is that lowering one’s expectations or not having any expectations at all is a big help in managing one’s outlook in life.

I’m happy to report that I finally finished Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) by Dan Brown, and while I am tempted to write a blog post about the infamous mention of Manila in this novel, I’d rather hold off.  I’m just happy to be able to list one book read at least although I wish I had the time and the energy to read more.  I’m trying to get back to Grisham’s The Associate which hasn’t been quite the page turner so I’ve been going in an out to read it for a couple of months now.  I still have a few e-books I really must get to soon, but I’m hoping to do that in the coming weeks.  To make it easier, I’ve gotten back to my good old Kindle which has been easier to lug around. 

Craft-wise, I’m taking things easy and trying to pace myself better.  I am doing a project at a time and no longer stress about projects that have not gotten off the ground.  They will when they will.  Much as I had enjoyed Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Every Day and my Altered Book project, I have put these on hold for now.  I am trying to get my own “Journal on a Journey” on it’s way and hope to send out these journals before the year is out.

I’m back to polymer clay and enjoying it.  I have been enjoying trying new things and researching and learning more about this medium and hope to come up with pieces to wear and sell soon.  It helped that I had committed to make my niece, Andreanna Lux’s first birthday souvenir.  (Read more about it here.)

On the business front, my attempts to revive my store, GothamChick on Etsy have been moving at a snail’s pace, and I’m trying to gear up for the holidays by focusing more on repopulating my listings and hopefully creating more.  (Emphasis on “HOPEFULLY”.)

As for the state of this space on the blogsphere, I’m happy that I’m posting more regularly but hope to post more often.  I wish I could get comfortable with just posting a picture with a blurb, but just as I am very outspoken, it’s  a little difficult to just leave it at that.

Phew.  That sounded like quite a list but the truth of the matter is, I’m just happy I’m here.  I’m happy that I have what I have.  I count my blessings just by looking at Angelo and hugging him, or by looking up at the sky as I walk out of the house to start yet another day of toil.   Every day is a blessing whether it’s scorching hot, gloomily grey, or just gorgeous.

My year so far, to my mind, has been good.  Nothing fantabulously great — nothing outstanding.  “Good” is a good place to be.  I’ve learned not to gripe or rant about the negative, because doing so would only magnify them and bring forth feelings not worth dwelling on.

It’s quieter.  It’s simpler.  The first 7 months of the year continue to be a time of growth and realization for me.  One thing I like is that it’s helped me to get to know myself better. 

Last year, I came to terms with many of my failings and shortcomings.  I realized and accepted the many things I couldn’t do, and I saw those parts of “me” that I wasn’t.  Some people walked out of my life — and I chose to make myself scarce from some.  I’ve learned that there is really no holding on to people — the choice to come and go is always theirs to make, not mine.  The only thing I really have control over is my own presence — so there were doors I walked out of, quietly.

I’m in a better place because these days, I can go back to a painful memory and push it into a far corner instead of allowing it to take me over.  I don’t torture myself as much anymore because I’ve learned to lump the good and the bad and just tuck them away.  I used to be deluded into thinking that you pick the good and keep it and discard the bad.  But the truth of the matter is, they are intertwined.  One eventually leads to the other.  I flip a switch in my brain and I pull a black screen — much like those transition screens or slides we see signalling an end.

I am slowly coming to terms with my mortality.  For the first time, a birthday hit me and I felt the years fall to the ground and the reality hit me that I am getting older.  Not that it’s a bad thing.  I just didn’t quite feel myself pegged to an age until I hit 47.  “Life is short” has taken on a new meaning which hasn’t pushed me one way or the other, but which now looms overhead when I think about the things I want and hope to do.  It hasn’t quite pushed me to do a bucket list — stepping back has meant going with the flow and just enjoying life as it comes.  Lists tend to grab me by the neck and instead of motivating me, gives me a source of frustration.  At my age, I can do with less of that.

I know that I will close the year an even better person than I started it.  Notwithstanding the fact that I started at rock bottom, I know I could’ve stayed there and wallowed, but I chose not to.

Things have fallen into place, and I know this is my place because “here” is where I’ve chosen to be.

100 Ideas 2013: Dear Mom

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28.  Write a letter to someone you admire.

I don’t mean to be cliche-ish but I didn’t want to rack my brain about some popular person among my list of people I admire.  I wanted to make this entry personal and real, and when it came to that, I didn’t have to think about it too long.

Dear Mom,

I know I don’t write you anymore, simply because as I have grown older and I see you growing older yourself, missing you has become even more difficult.  Sometimes I want to write you a note, but I’m afraid that you might end up teary-eyed, because I often do at the thought of how I wish I was there with you.

I have always been a great fan of yours for your strength and resolve to become a better you.  You never let your lack of formal education or your circumstances thwart you desire to make life better for us.  You always put us first, no matter what.  You are my role model as a mother to my son, and as a woman of strength and unwavering resolve.  I know that much of who I am today is because of you.

From the faith in God that you instilled in me to your willpower and strength to overcome that I find in my heart now, you continue to be a beacon for me and my siblings. 

Every time I see you, you seem to age more and more.  And I get reminded by the fact that there will come a time when even that will be a memory.  Even now as I write this, I feel a tightening in my chest.  When I take care of my mother-in-law here, I wish it was you I was taking care of.  I long for our chats in Bicolano — I think mine has gotten rusty for lack of practice.

I miss you, Mom.  I wish you could be here to keep me strong.  But even in thought alone, you keep me strong.  I see you and remember all that you had gone through and all that you had conquered and I find hope that yes, I can do the same.  You kept that optimism alive in our hearts by showing us by example that hope is never-ending.

I love you, Mama.


100 Ideas 2013: Instructions for a simple everyday task: Operating my Nespresso machine

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77.   Create instructions for a simple everyday task.

Every morning, I crank up our espresso machine which is a Nespresso coffeemaker.  Here are the instructions:

*  Make sure that the water receptacle has enough water to make the number of cups you will be making.  I usually fill it halfway through at least if not a little more.

*  Put the espresso pellet in the slot and close the cover.

*  Put your cup under the spout.

*  Choose the amount of espresso you want the machine to spew out.

*  Enjoy!


100 Ideas 2013: My own definition of SLEEPING

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93.   Write your own definition of one of the following concepts, sitting, waiting, sleeping (without using the actual word.)

It’s the action of closing your eyes, whether you are seated or lying down on your bed, and you let yourself drift off to rest and let your body recharge.  You disconnect and let yourself flow out into a “nothingness” where your conscious mind slowly fades away to black.

100 Ideas 2013: Dear Future Me

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2.  Write a letter to yourself in the future.

Dear Dinna —

I think it’s a good time for me to write the future me at this point where I have been going through so many personal changes, and I am rediscovering my potential and failings all at the same time.  I used to think that at 47, I would have figured everything out.  It turns out, though, that learning and discovery, more so about one’s self, is a never-ending process.  I know now that I will never be the whole of who I really am until I reach the end of my existence — whenever that may be.

I hope that you will find yourself standing up tall again one day.  When your shame and guilt and pain would have been assuaged by the passage of time. 

Perhaps it will happen in the next few months, the next year, or not for a couple of years more — but even now as I bow my head down in the process of healing, I remain hopeful it will happen.  That it will come.  And you’d be able to go above and beyond the challenges that you have faced.

There will come a time when you might feel strong enough again.  You’ve done pretty well in the face of life’s challenges.  Others would have surrendered and just chosen the easy way out by embracing a personality totally not their own.  But you have never been one to give in to denial.

You used to be stronger… you can  be strong again.

One day.


100 Ideas 2013: 10 Habits of mine

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94. List 10 of your habits.

1.  I unplug my phones charging on the bedside as I get up and take them to the breakfast counter with me.

2.  I weigh myself before taking anything for breakfast.

3.  I always have to make a stop at the little girl’s room before I leave the house or before I leave the office.

4.  I say my prayers as I walk out the door on my way to the bus stop.

5.  I always kiss Angelo goodbye before I step out the door, or on those days when I get the chance to drop him off, I hug him tight and kiss him before he starts his day in school.

6.  I paint my face in the bus or in the car on the way to work.

7.  I make it a point to greet every security person and receptionist I pass on my way to my desk on the top floor of our building.

8.  I take off my rings and other jewelry as I walk into the house after work.

9.  I have to drink a glass of water before I retire for the day.

10.  I plug my phone (which is my alarm clock, too) and charge it by the bedside.

100 Ideas 2013: The places I have lived in

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37.  List all the places you have lived in.

Unlike some people who have lived from place to place, you can count the places I’ve lived in one hand.

1.  I was born and lived out my toddler years in a lowel level rental (silong) in the town proper of San Juan.  My parents were still starting out back then, and it was a tiny but cozy place good enough for a growing family like ours.  We had a tiny living room that led into a dining room, and then you had to walk a few steps up to our bedroom which housed my parents, my sister and any guests who slept over.  It was in a noisy part right off of what we considered the main street in town, “N. Domingo”. 

2.  By the time I was four, my youngest brother was born and my parents bought what would be our family home for the next 43 years.  It was still in the same town, still off of a street branching out from N. Domingo, but now in a residential area.  It was a huge house which had its own maid’s quarters, and although there was a guest room, my siblings and I grew up sharing one bedroom.  When we hit our teens, my brother got the other room but on the same floor.  It was a spacious home which saw many parties and celebrations.  We just recently moved out after giving it up.

3.  When I first arrived here in New York in 2000, we were renting a two-bedroom apartment in Floral Park, another part of Queens.  We were evicted by the draconian landlord who insisted my arrival violated the terms of the lease for the two-bedroom unit besides the state practice that each bedroom was habitable by two people.  My mother-in-law had shared the apartment with my then fiance and I would’ve simply been the third occupant.  I liked it because it was near some stores, and easily commutable, but it was far from the city.  I wasn’t working yet so that was sort of a bummer.  I could only go so far and had to rely on Alan to take me to and from the city.  I only spent a few months here until we found our own place after we got married.

4.  Around half a year from my arrival, we moved into another first floor one-bedroom unit in a very nice area of Queens called Bayside, which is on the other side of the same community where I am now.  (I am still in Bayside.)  Those were learning years for me as I discovered I could cook, thanks to the Barnes & Noble behind our apartment row where I would spend afternoons to copy recipes, then I would walk over to the Waldbaums next door to do my groceries.  We stayed at this apartment until we had saved enough for a down payment on our own home.

5.  When we finally found our place, we knew it would be in the same area where we last rented, but on the other side.  We liked the cultural mix of the area (Asian and Jewish mix) and the school zone was a prized factor in driving real estate values up.  We have been here for the last 11 years, and we’re not going anywhere.  I like the community and how it makes one feel you are in an enclave away from the buzz of the city, and yet you are not too far away.  I can’t see myself living elsewhere except the city perhaps which is unlikely.

100 Ideas 2013: Me and my Washing Machine

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39. Write about your relationship with your washing machine.

We live in a co-op which, although not a high-rise and instead is a courtyard style group of houses, so we don’t have a washing machine in our unit.  Instead we share a laundry room with the community which is exclusive to the tenants and owners like us who live in there.

So why would I choose this prompt given the so many other prompts in this list of a hundred?  You’ll find it even stranger considering I’m not the one tasked to do our laundry on a regular basis.  I simply fold.  I chose this prompt because I’ve always been fascinated about how I can get hypnotized by the actions and motions of a washing machine as the water spurts in, and the clothes inside get wet… and the detergent starts bubbling up, and the clothes spin in a faster cycle… and over and over it happens, and I sit there and watch.

I would normally pull a chair and just sit in front of the machine where our clothes are.  I wouldn’t even think of pulling the blackberry or the iPad or a book or magazine.  I have to watch.

I guess you can say I am somehow enamored by these spinning machines.  Perhaps it’s a preoccupation with things that are round.. or go round and round.  I have never tried to figure it out until now.  But I like watching washing machines — I have great respect for them.

Go figure.