21 for 2021: The Wrap Up

I tried to write a mid year check in sometime in July of 2021, but failed to finish the post. I’m actually glad that happened because I managed to do some major catching up in the second half of 2021. For the first time in a long while, I was able to accomplish more than what I had hoped to do at the start of the year. (Yay for me!) So here is how I fared against my list at the beginning of 2021.

1. Read six books. For the first time in the last decade, I actually made my 6 book goal and even exceeded it. I’m so proud of having listened to more than just one or two audio books, but I managed to read several to add or pick up from my personal library. It really feels good to not be putting this one in my “wish I could’ve done more” list for a change.

Read more books this year

2. Learn something new via an actual class. The language pursuit has momentarily been set aside, but not totally forgotten. I managed to go midway through an online watercolor class offered by Nikki Traikos on her website. It’s been a refreshing course for a beginner like myself — and of course, the first thing I have learned is that everything I was doing with my watercolor painting was actually wrong. I am getting there and hope to use what I learned (and am learning) in my art journal which I hope to work earnestly on in 2022.

3. Continue exercising and dieting to take better care of myself and reach my original weight goal which is currently 10 lbs lower than my post holiday weight. This has been more of a struggle but the good news is, even if I gain weight over a period of days, it hasn’t been too big of a gain to be insurmountable. I have managed to go back to my pre pandemic weight, so yes, halfway done with the 10lb goal below my post holiday weight, but still struggling to lose it.

Health concerns have made me focus not so much on the calories these days, but rather pay heed to the portions and food I actually eat to keep my numbers healthier. No alarms just yet, but at this age, it is good to be vigilant about taking care of ourselves.

4. Visit Central Park all four seasons. I am happy to report that although I failed to do all 4 seasons, I was able to explore Central Park in a more in-depth way than previous years by joining a guided hiking tour courtesy of The New York City Hiking Tours Meet Up Group last September. I regret that I didn’t get to write about it soon after I did this as summer was about to end, but I have a renewed appreciation of this behemoth of a backyard for the city that never sleeps. I saw parts of the park that I didn’t even know existed. While I will attempt a separate post on this sometime early this year, I am hoping to do more with this group when I get the chance to and when it’s warmer.

Hiking in Central Park 2021

5. Crafting: Organize my supplies and try new methods in jewelry making and personal art. Continue my Art journal. I am trying. Unfortunately, the art journal has been a side thought. I haven’t really worked on it as diligently as I worked on my 2021 journal. I ended up setting it aside which at this point is such a big disappointment. As far as the jewelry making is concerned, I did create a few pieces but they were within my safe zone, not allowing me to be more adventurous.

I am trying to get back to jewelry making, because despite my lack of focus on the shop, I’ve been racking up some sales that were totally unexpected. I can only imagine how things would go if I were more prolific in creating new pieces. Focus needed, I know.

6. Continue to find a new home for the items that I no longer have use for, but which can be of use to others. I had managed to destash so much in 2020 that I feel like I could’ve given it more effort in 2021. I ask myself if, perhaps, I have given away enough in the year prior, but the truth of it is, I have more I can actually do well to part with. So hoping I can get more done in 2022.

7. Work on the Gift of 55. Ever since I turned 50, I have tried to prepare gifts to give away to coincide with my birthday. It was a way of celebrating myself while giving to others. In connection with the lessons I learned in destashing items in 2020 as mentioned above, I had hoped to focus on something more meaningful in 2021 as I turned 55, but miserably failed. That means 55 acts of kindness to celebrate which will now be 56 for the coming year.

8. Keep writing. I think I managed to maintain a presence here although there is always that wish to write more. I am getting there. The problem is keeping the momentum going. I am trying. There’s been a better focus on writing these days, what with everything that’s been happening around me in a social and personal level. So it’s a matter of ramping up.

9. Keep writing those letters. I started writing people randomly during the last quarter of 2020. It has been a gratifying and heartwarming experience hearing from the people I’ve written. Beyond the Christmas cards, there were letters that actually made it out of my writing box. And I already have around a half dozen letters waiting to be written. I know that I will surpass my goal of writing one card or letter a month, so I am not going to put a minimum. I will just keep writing and sending those letters and cards out.

10. Get the podcast on the air. One of the projects that I got all excited about during the first months of the pandemic was getting a podcast on the air. I had the title, a friend so generously provided me with original music in different cuts to use, my niece rendered a graphic for the show and my first three shows were cast with guests that had so readily said yes. And then work and life got in the way, and I didn’t want to just broadcast haphazardly. I’m focusing on this anew in 2022 if only because I have since thought of another half dozen topics to broadcast and people to feature. It’s a project halfway to done.

11. Buff up stocks in the Etsy Shop. Like I mentioned, one thing I found rather surprising was the traffic I was getting, and the actual sales made during the pandemic. I wish I had the time and the energy to post more actively, but a newfound interest in raw materials to use for my pieces has sparked new inspiration. Still not quitting the day job, but this is definitely getting a new focus from me.

12. Sew at least one coat / jacket before spring, and another before winter. As you can see, I’m already looking at 2022. I see my sewing machine and I sigh in frustration, regretting that I have yet to finish another coat since I did one for my sewing classes at Mood University way back when. I have the materials.. I did manage to work on the cut up fabric ready to be sewn into masks. There was a time I went (a bit) crazy buying fabric on sale — and they are all neatly stacked and stored in my bins. Waiting to be sewn into something I will wear. Two pieces, minimum!

13. Fix my attic. I have a huge storage space that has stacks of boxes of stuff that need to make it to the waste bin. I’m thinking the best way is to devote an hour every month at least — in increments of 15 or 30 minutes, just to move things around. I’ve managed to do some tidying as I pulled out the Christmas tree and decorations for this year — and there is a semblance of order in one corner, but there are other corners that need touching. And I will get to that in 2022.

14. Sort my postcard collection. Going through the things that had lain hidden in boxes and bins through the years has made me rediscover postcards in my collection. I actively returned to postcard trading via some postcard groups on Facebook in 2020, and zoomed in particularly to Postcrossing Philippines, a group of Filipino postcard collectors. I’ve already started gathering the ones that really have no room in my collecting interests and have started giving them away. I received more than 200 postcards from this group alone, with problem less than a hundred from other swaps.

In some ways, this was a big distraction for me in 2021 but it also allowed me to socially interact with other collectors. It has been a time consuming aspect of my passions, though, which I hope to balance out with my other pursuits in 2022.

15. Catalogue and photograph my Starbucks Mug Collection. It came rather late but I managed to add some mugs to the collection after a trip to Maine with some friends (something noteworthy for 2021!) and a renewed interest in the holiday collection. It was a big disappointment, though, that I didn’t get to acquire the anniversary mugs that coincided with the 50th anniversary of Starbucks. (Hello, eBay, I guess.). I will try and devote time to cataloguing the collection, and am actually in the process of finding a suitable case to house even just part of what I have.

16. Put my family photos in an album. Some years back, my mother gifted me with an old style photo album from back home which I stashed in the attic. The good news is, it’s downstairs now in one of my craft bags. I just need to gather the photos and work on it.

17. Create the wall art I’ve been meaning to do the last year or so. I actually have two items I was hoping to create but beyond the main board I was hoping to put these works on, I haven’t really done anything. And this got stuck in limbo. I am seriously contemplating on whether or not I will forget about this or try to give it a go in 2022 again.

18. Finish, frame and hang a cross stitch project featuring Our Lady of Perpetual Help that I started more than 16 years ago. Long story…so I did find the original pattern but never quite got down to picking up the thread and needle again to finish this, but this is priority for me in 2022.

19. Set my affairs in order. One thing that 2020 made most of us do is make us face our mortality and the uncertainty of the future. I keep saying I will write my will and do my living will — but beyond identifying my emergency contact and giving immediate instructions to that friend, I haven’t really been able to set this down properly.

I did identify my medical proxy and just need to let that person know. With all that’s happened around us due to Covid and everything that’s still going on, my own mortality has been staring me in the face. Will to be written before my 56th birthday in April.

There you go.

I published this list with two of the 21 unwritten. I never got down to finish the list. I will try to do better with the 22 for 2022 which I will begin writing as soon as I hit publish on this one.

All in all and with everything that was going on around us, I still think 2021 wasn’t all that bad. Personally, it was a good year if you consider how my son and I managed to stay healthy throughout the year, despite health challenges suffered by other family members back home.

I returned to work in April and eased myself into a semblance of normalcy in my old perch, but in a new space. I lost the view but still have a convenient spot in the middle of Manhattan.

I have been blessed. Indeed.

Work in Progress: my altered book

I have been blessed. Indeed.

PS. This is a recurring topic I’ve tried to do every year, and previous lists have a home on a special page in this blog. Happy new year from Pinay New Yorker!

19 for 2019 – An Update

For the past couple of years, I’d start the year with a list of things I wanted to accomplish, and I usually revisit it sometime during the middle of the year and before the year ends just by way of a personal check in.  Life’s been hectic, so I don’t have an update before today, and I don’t have a ton to report as accomplished, but I like going back if only to remind myself about the things I had hope to do.

1.  Read six books. – Take two. (Or is it three?). Reading has been slow.  I am trying.  Just to move this along, I’ve also started reading on my apps, but still crawling away.  And no, I’m not counting the audible stuff because listening is not reading.  (Plus, I do tend to fall asleep or wander off when it’s the spoken word.)  I am currently reading three books — so I am hoping that gets chalked up to the first half of the six.

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – BFF Donna is planning to visit the US again with her family sometime in the summer had to cancel plans for a US trip so instead, I went back to Sydney for a quick stop during this year’s trip home.  Still hoping to do something different before the year ends, visiting another place outside the tristate area.

3. Learn something new via an actual class.  Working on this.

4.  Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight.  So I did get on the Keto Diet (which is begging for a series of posts) and I lost the weight.  I dropped down to a number that made me my lightest ever in practically the last 5-6 years, but there was a big BUT to the whole things.  Long and short of it is, I’ve dropped the diet, gained a few back, and trying to eat healthier.  I haven’t done as well with the exercising bit — but there is hope that I will actually find myself in the gym one of these days.

5.  Visit Central Park all four seasons.  I actually haven’t had the chance to visit Central Park all year, although I was at the periphery once or twice.  Fall being my favorite time to visit, (and practically the only time I regularly visit, at that), I will definitely drop by and try to come back each season hence.  (On to 2020)

6. Crafting reboot.  Although I haven’t been as diligent writing in my craft blog as I am with updating things here in my personal blog, I  have started crocheting again.  The jewelry bit needs a jumpstart, and I have to get on with the sewing soon.  Much progress here!

7. Destash more systematically. Still working on it, but I have been able to identify a lot to give away.  I need to work on the books, and the other things that I can just leave out for others to enjoy.  The ex had left a dinnerware set or two with me which I have absolutely no use for.  Time to leave them in the community dumpster with a sign and hopefully there will be takers.

8. Work on the Gift of 53. Epic fail.  The birthday came and went and I didn’t quite even get to anything close to doing what I did when I hit the big five -oh.  I am hoping the Gift of 54 will be a way for me to make up for being remiss.

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.) –Although I have not posted once a week, I’ve tried to be more disciplined about writing and of challenging myself to write more.  I just concluded the 10 Day Writing Challenge which saw me writing spontaneously everyday for 10 days.  I must say I’m proud of myself, and am now looking at doing this for 30.  (!)

Work on my other social networking accounts by doing scheduled posts at least once a week.  Thing have rather slowed down, maybe because I try to be more deliberate with my posts instead of just writing something for the heck of it.  Still, my social media accounts are moving..

Resume my handwritten projects.  Journaling has always been such an outlet of release for me but I haven’t been doing it. Hardly did any in 2018. I am hoping I can go back to this in 2019, but I have not been able to despite a few slow starts.  I am thinking of doing something this last quarter, even if only to provide a springboard for 2020.  Let’s see.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  I have around 5 cards written, but I really want to write the letters, and as of today, I am writing — just haven’t sent.  So this will surely be a happy ending when the year closes.

11. Rebind my art journal, begin a new one.  I just caught a glimpse of my art journal which I finished more than a year ago.  Almost two years now — and like I wrote up there, I haven’t been able to start a new one.  I am hoping to — soon.

12. Sample something new or visit a new restaurant or place (i.e., museum, intallation, etc.) and write about it.  I have visited a few restaurants but haven’t been able to write about it.  The museum visits continue to remain as plans.  Let’s see what happens for the rest of the year.

13.  Publish a postcard set.  I have the photographs but I haven’t quite gotten to this.  I am thinking this is better done in 2020.

14.  Visit at least one lighthouse.  At the start of the year, I wrote : “I would love to visit the Montauk lighthouse which I have visited maybe 3 times since I became a New Yorker, but which I last saw more than a decade ago.”  I’m actually looking to do this sometime soon, making plans, and hopefully doing it on the fly one of these weekends.  It is truly something I’m looking forward to doing for many reasons, and maybe this time, I might even catch a sunset there.

15.  Encode my poetry.  Another project in limbo.  The good news is, I’ve started writing again, although not quite as much as I used to.  The point is, I’m writing again.  After years and years of silence, that is good news, indeed.

16.  Visit more blogs / IG accounts. I joined “Medium” a few months back, and although I haven’t written anything in that forum, I have enjoyed reading others who right with a purpose, and who intimidate me into my corner by their writing.  It’s always a good read — and I’m just afraid that if I start writing there, I might actually lose focus here.  So, yes, reading other people more — and it’s been a fun journey.

17.  Do a fundraiser for Barangay San Vicente.  “My mother hails from a very poor community in Sorsogon in the province of Bicol.  x x x I want to be able to do a fundraiser for the young children there in time for the school opening. If not, for the Christmas season when my mom used to do a gift giving celebration for the young kids.”  I actually got to visit Barangay San Vicente this July after my mother fearlessly declared she wasn’t coming to Manila even if my son and I were arriving.  (And of course, in the end she did.)  It was quite the trip to get there and back — and I did take pictures, just not as much as I wanted.  And yes, I’d still like to do the fundraiser — just not hitting 2019.  For 2020 then.

18. Watch a live show or concert once a quarter. Another miss.  I have one quarter left — and hopefully will get that one show.. or two.

19. Undertake some home improvement projects. I’m almost at that time when the Christmas decorations need to be put up again.  I am seriously thinking of reconfiguring my living room, but it’s a little more complicated than moving the TV because I might actually have to reconfigure the cable connection.  And yes, the bathroom needs more work.. and the kitchen, too.  And I haven’t even started figuring out the budget.  Short of going DIY, I hope to get a few things done.  There is hope.

So that’s more or less where I am with the list right now. I’m not exactly disappointed but I think I’ve done okay. Plus, I do have a quarter of the year to go so all is not lost.

The return of the Friday Five

Friday5

Five goals. Five tasks. Five things to keep in mind this weekend. More for me than for anyone else.

It’s a really cold, cold Friday in New York with freezing temperatures greeting us this morning. I think I’m going to stay close to home and keep myself busy. Here goes..

1. Put away my christmas decor. I’ve started getting the boxes ready for my christmas balls, and I organize my christmas lights a certain way. Although i’m going to go at this solo, I don’t think it will be that hard a task.

2. Take a stab at beginning a pencil skirt. I’ve had the pattern for quite a while now, but I’m trying to determine which size to make. I hope to at least get to that this weekend.

3. Create 5 pieces for the shop and post at least 2. I have some necklaces to post but the photos are really giving me second thoughts about posting or not. I have the materials and just need to sit with my tools and my beads.

4. Cook some ox tail stew. (I am thinking Kare, but I’m not sure I have enough peanut butter.) I am being brave. I have put the meat in the fridge to defrost, and tomorrow, I will try and get it started. Or maybe Sunday.

5. I will be art journaling. So excited!

I’m trying to keep warm and beat the clock before it hits midnight. Here’s to a quiet and cozy weekend for everyone.

#16in2016: An update

16in2016 (2)So at the start of the year, I had written a list which, if I’m not mistaken, I haven’t really revisited yet.   It was something I wanted to be able to focus on, so much so that I created a page for it on my navigation bar.  It seems I haven’t really gone back — hence, this check in.   (That is, unless my search button is failing me miserably by not turning up the posts I’m looking for.)  With half the year done, I think it’s about time I revisited what I had written down there and just do a quick check of where I’m actually at.

First of all, I’m not going to make excuses.  I already saw at least one that is long overdue and still dormant (read: nowhere near done), but that is the point of going back to the list for a quick check.

Secondly, I’m just doing a random update once again just to check on my own progress and remind myself I had set these goals at the start of the year.  While there are posts that

1.  Read six books.  I am still struggling to read the first of the six but hope to get going once done.  Why the struggle?  Time?  My eyes?  (Of course, there is no excuse when you are not reading a hard copy, but the one I’m struggling with is one.)  I have not quite given up on this and will hopefully chalk up at least one by the end of September.  I have one classic to read with my little guy for the summer reading assignment, and that should count for one.  Maybe.

2. Plan my trip to Boston.  I have already coordinated with my friend that this will be a day trip.  Lunch in Boston?  That would be nice.  Targeted for the fall.

3. Learn something new via an actual class every quarter of 2016.  “Every quarter” was a bit ambitious, but I have attended one beginner sewing class and am about to enroll in the next class for the fall.  It’s a continuing learning experience working the sewing machine, and there’s the jewelry class on stringing that I am hoping to enroll in as well. (Too many classes!!)

4.  Watch at least 1 concert.  I have long given up on the Billy Joel concert I had hoped to catch… and this is not really one of those “Musts”… nice to have or do but not necessarily a dealbreaker.

5.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) … next!

6. Lose another 10 lbs at least by April this year.  (Lost over 20 in 2014 and maintained my weight in 2015.)   It’s now August and I have gained and lost and gained and lost, but haven’t quite hit anything below the weight I had plateaued at. (Sp?)  I am just glad that I am able to get back into shape although I haven’t been as earnest about it as I had hoped to be.  I will say it again, I am a work in progress.

7. On positivity: Get the ball rolling on the Thank You Postcard Project – I just revisited the Instagram account I had set up for this and am seriously rethinking the project.  While one component of the undertaking which is my Paper Flower Garden has grown exponentially in the last couple of months, the very core which was a postcard project has been frozen in limbo.  I haven’t quite given up on doing it as I had originally intended to execute the project, but I am thinking I will need to rethink the whole thing to make it work this time.

8.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again.  This has been a year’s effort which has been thwarted by other undertakings that occupied my weekends.  I’m thinking that with the new sewing class on Saturdays, I might actually get to squeeze something in finally.   Perhaps restudy my old Fur Elise piece which I brought home with me or finally get to learn the “To Make You Feel My Love” piece I bought online.  Trying!

9.  Work more earnestly on my craft blog.  I have been trying to write more but have not been as earnest as I should be.  There is a lot riding on the craft blog with my plan to repopulate the shop and to do other projects related to it, so I have been trying to be more prolific on that side of the web.  Trying is still the operative word but at least it’s not as dead as it used to be.

10. Work on creating one piece every week, whether for sale in the shop, a gift for friends or to wear myself.  Travel and other projects have sort of slowed me down but I am getting ready to get crafting again.  I don’t think I’ve been that off the track with the one piece every week goal, but the fact is that I’ve been busy creating personal pieces rather than for the shop which is both good and bad.  At least I’m starting to create again, but with the holidays creeping up on us, it’s about time I started working on the shop more earnestly.  Also, a recent order (yay!) sort of work me up from a deep slumber reminding me I do have a shop I need to attend to!

11. Leave one pre-loved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. I had hoped to choose the books and leave them out, and I will definitely do this by the fall.  I have been trying to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore, and this is definitely something that I want to do to get my books off to others who might appreciate them more.

12. Write one long hand letter or card every month.  This is the easiest so far!  Done, done and done!

13.  Start a new Art Journal.  I just found my art journal stashed away in my hiding place and just about ready to fall apart at the spine.  I still have a few pages left and am so determined to finish the current background pages, but I will definitely finish this before starting the new one.  First, I want to find the right book which will not fall apart like this one did — it will mean searching for an older, sturdier book in the coming weeks.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  The recent trip home saw me bringing a lot of things to give away and I have made major progress in this front.  There is still much to destash, and I am constantly sorting the ones to be given away.

15.  Write poetry again.   I have only done it once but I did put pen to paper and managed to write what was, on the outset what seemed to be a sad and heartrending poem — but which, in the end, actually rides on a high note that says I will be a better person after all is said and done.  While I would normally share my writings, this one remains too private and personal for me to share at this time — but I am so happy that I have opened my heart again to write anew.  It has been such a drought all these years — with nary a poem written until I found my voice again.  To have actually started writing again is already a giant step — to have finished the poem is actually quite an accomplishment in itself.  More to write soon!

16.  Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.  I haven’t been keeping track but I will do an update on this as well.  It’s an ongoing project, and it’s been moving on quite nicely, although I haven’t really been keeping tabs.  Oops. .. Some of it I have lost track of, but I will try and see where I’ve gotten with what I’ve done so far.

Not bad, don’t you think?

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!

Monday Musings: Soledad and Company

MondayMusingsLogoI’m trying to keep my momentum here, hoping to post more regularly. If the pace at which I’ve been writing is any indication, then you know that things have been going rather slowly on my end.  Not for lack of anything blogworthy to write about — I have just been feeling lethargic.  Could it be the fact that I’ve been waking up between 4 and 5 in the morning most of last week?  Last night was the first straight slumber I enjoyed which saw me not wanting to get up when the alarm rang at 6am.  I was just grateful it was an uninterrupted morning slumber that saw me opening my eyes all fresh and ready to embrace the new week AFTER 5:59am!

Reading again: Soledad’s Sister by Jose “Butch” Dalisay

This is a  bit of a personal journey for me because I am actually reading a signed copy from the esteemed columnist and academician, Prof. Butch Dalisay.   (Read the Wikipedia stub about him here and the Philstar Author Archive of his column, Penman, here)  I had received this book more than 10 years ago from a friend then, but had never gotten around to reading it until now.  It should be a book I can easily finish in one sitting, but it’s a good read you want to savor and take on bit by bit, like that sinfully delicious box of chocolates that you just hope you could keep for the longest.  Funny and witty and truly Filipino, the book brings me home.  I’m still reading, so you’ll be hearing about this one again.

New discovery: Bittersweet NYC  – Who doesn’t like surprises?  A friend had gifted me a box of Diwali treats to celebrate this Indian holiday and I loved every morsel of it.  It went on my Instagram feed no less than three times, with these simple pictures of individual delicacies against a white backdrop.  Pictured here is their fairy fudge, a small square of heaven with pink glitter.  Yes, pink glitter you can eat!  If you like to indulge in not-so-sweet and not-so-ordinary but yummy treats, you should give these a try.  I will try to write more about this in my shopping blog, GothamChick Shopper, once I get that rolling.  (Nothing there yet, so don’t get too excited.)  I do get adventurous with my palate and being Filipino, we never shy away from exotic food.  This box of treats reminded me of our own delicacies back home from the many regions that make our culture so rich.  We have our kalamay and other kakanins — and this is not that much different.  One sweet surprise was the spicy chocolate truffle!  I liked the way the spicyness crept up at the end after you got to enjoy the chocolatey goodness of that one bite.  They’re based in Queens but do take orders on their website.  Not so sure that they actually have a physical shop, but they do pop-up stores in Manhattan occasionally like over the holiday of Diwali last week.

And the holidays are here!  I haven’t quite made up my mind yet about what I’m going to do for holiday cards.  I am starting to think of presents for my little guy and the people around me.  Not too many to give away, but I have some things I had set aside to make into present for some people who I’d like to play Santa to this year.

One thing I’m doing differently for Christmas 2015 is that I am thinking of getting a gift for myself.  We always think of the season of gift giving (be it Christmas or Hanukkah) as a time to give to others.  Have you ever thought about you deserving something, too?  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I think one thing we must all do at the end of the year is to remember to take care of ourselves and cherish who we are.  What would be a nice present that would not break the bank, but would make for a meaningful holiday gift?

Lists and more lists.  I received my copy of the favorite list of dear Oprah, and I haven’t really had the chance to go through it — but who says we can’t make our own list of gifts?  (Trying not to make it too obvious that I’m thinking that would make for a good blog filler.)

Another review of my Things to do for 2015 is also in order — since the last update was August yet.  I’m almost dreading that list — because I am afraid I might not have made much progress.  From the top of my head, I know that I have to admit defeat in one or two which came and went and I missed it. (NY Comic Con 2015 for one..=(.. I know, I know..)

And never too early to start thinking of (1) The Lessons of 2015, (2) Things I want to do/accomplish before the year ends, and (3)  Things I wish I had done in 2015.  Okay, maybe not the last.  I’m not too sure that will bring me happy thoughts, but I think it’s a good way to check how one could have done things differently.

So we’re closer to the end of the year and before you know it, 2016 will be here!  This year has flown by… my boy has grown so much I am almost sure he will shoot up in the next 12-18 months and I’ll be looking up at him when I scold him.  Part of me dreads that, and part of me can’t wait.. motherhood.. !

Here’s to a blessed and fruitful week ahead.  I know mine has started off rather well, and I am not complaining despite the cold.. It’s just another New York autumn night..

Friday Five: Rerun

Last week, I said I would:

1.  Find a suitable box to store my gown in.  Still trying to find one.

2. Redo the rose quartz pieces I unstrung.  Started cleaning the rose quartz of the oxidation.  (Yay!  Some progress here..)

3.  Do my own version of the Proust questionnaire. (Blog post in progress.)  Still trying.

4.  Sort the art supplies I got from National Bookstore.  (Chinese paintbrushes and speedball tips!) Found half of them and looking for the rest.

5.  Reboot “The Thank You Postcard Project”. Next?

As you can see, I didn’t quite get anywhere which is sad.  But hey, the week saw me playing Florence Nightingale for the first part, and then everything just got thrown out of whack (schedule-wise) with backlog at work and all.  So I will not complicate things by creating a new list and will instead stick to this one.  Again, trying to keep it simple.  That is the whole point, after all, of doing the list.  It is supposed to help me focus on 5 tasks that will help me feel that the weekend and the succeeding week turns out to be productive.

I have gotten some new comments on my most read posts which deserve a Feedback on Feedback blogpost, but I want to  be able to sit down on this and write — as in really write — a thoughtful blogpost.  Thank you to those who have written, and again, if email is easier, please e-mail me at pinaynewyorker @ gmail.com .  (I still get e-mails at pinay_newyorker @ yahoo.com but I hardly check that account.)

It’s a gorgeous Friday in Manhattan and I am so tempted to stay later and run around, but I have things I need to take care of before the evening comes upon us on this side of the world. It’s been a very hectic week for me and I am looking to recharge (hopefully) this weekend.  Maybe tick off a thing or two from the list above.  Wish me luck.  If I had my way, I’d be in the park with everyone else, chilling in the shade and just enjoying the afternoon breeze.  But work awaits and I just can’t — not today.  It’s one of those days that leave me pining for a 3 day weekend which I know would never be enough.

Enjoy it, wherever you may be.  Have fun and try to do the things that make you happy.  Just be.

Happy Friday, everyon!
Lovely day in #BryantPark this #Friday noon.  Grab your spot-- bet the tables are all taken.. #HappyFriday, #NYC..#41floorsabove #newyork #midtown #Manhattan #lunchspot #lunchtime

 

Friday Five: Some progress

I am not too happy that the post preceding this is last week’s Friday 5 post, but I didn’t quite succeed in writing something in between.  Perhaps this coming week will be more prolific given all that is happening.  The good news is, I have made progress with my reboot  (Yay!)

I’m trying to keep focused on 5 doable tasks during the coming week as a way of trying to be more productive.

So how did I do against last week’s list?

1.  Sort my new supplies from Manila.  Beads, crafting supplies, etc. – Happy to report I succeeded here, and even managed to create a few pieces which I have chosen to break up and redo, but I did accomplish this task.

2.  Sort the ribbons from the M&J trim sale. – Boxed and sorted!

3.  Write one letter longhand. – Written, sealed and stamped and on its way to Australia.

4.  Pull all my new magazines together. – Done!

5.  Find a suitable box to store my gown in. – I had hoped to make a trip to oone of my favorite craft stores to get one of those pretty storage boxes, but I ran out of time the previous weekend.  There is this weekend to do that.  So four out of 5?  Quite a bit of progress like I said.

Here’s this week’s Friday five:

1.  Find a suitable box to store my gown in.

2. Redo the rose quartz pieces I unstrung.

3.  Do my own version of the Proust questionnaire. (Blog post in progress.)

4.  Sort the art supplies I got from National Bookstore.  (Chinese paintbrushes and speedball tips!)

5.  Reboot “The Thank You Postcard Project”.

It’s another weekend but with several milestones and holidays.  Today is my little tyke’s 11th birthday which made Mother’s Day a special one for me since.  It’s his last cupcake party (Fifth grade, finally!) and I am excited to celebrate another birthday…

So if only for all that’s happening this weekend alone, I hope to be here writing away just a bit more. Have a fab Friday, everyone!

Friday Five: Another restart

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I’m not apologizing.  Another try?  The idea is to list five doable tasks for the weekend or even the week to focus on.  I usually begin with an update on the previous week and then start a new list.

I’m starting afresh.

1.  Sort my new supplies from Manila.  Beads, crafting supplies, etc.

2.  Sort the ribbons from the M&J trim sale.

3.  Write one letter longhand.

4.  Pull all my new magazines together.

5.  Find a suitable box to store my gown in.

Let’s see where this goes.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Friday Five: Second go

The idea is to list five doable tasks for the weekend or even the week to focus on.  I usually begin with an update on the previous week and then start a new list.

1.  Finish my papercrafts. – Managed to actually do this and although I wasn’t able to create as many invitations, I did manage to create enough to send off.

2.  Create one jewelry piece. – Got too busy buying ribbons!

3.  Start sorting the things making its way to Manila. – Off the list!

4.  Pull all my new magazines together into one pile. – Not quite!

5.  Choose my gown. – Ordered a couple and will decide once fitted in front of my personal stylist, Elaine.

My current Friday Five:

1.  Sympathy cards.

2.  Start writing cards meant to be given to friends in Manila — when I get to Manila.

3.  Sort the magazines.

4.  Check out the chocolate melts for the wedding.

5.  Start packing.

Easy enough.  Let’s see how this one goes.  Happy Friday, everyone!