Monday Musings: Wet start of the week

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It’s been raining in New York. I woke up to the pitter patter of rain and grey skies. So I’m grateful that today was a Monday that I had the opportunity to stay home, instead of schlossing my way into the city. It did stop for a bit last night, affording me a chance to go and walk in the evening. It’s not quite as easy walking in rain boots but I didn’t want to punish my sneakers. That pair has served me well since I started my 10,000 steps a year ago.

Focusing on the sewing. While I still wasn’t able to fully stay away from the postcards this weekend, I did devote a fair amount of time taping together sewing patterns for two pieces I hope to work on in the coming days. I almost succumbed to getting more fabric because of a sale on sale over at Mood Fabrics, but a glitch in changing passwords kept me from buying more. (What a relief!). I’m going to do some practice pieces and see how they turn out.

I’m working on free patterns from Mood Sewciety where you can pick up quite a couple of staples. These are essential pieces that can get you going as you try to practice your sewing skills.

I’m getting on with Tom Clancy’s “The Cardinal of the Kremlin.” I have been a lifelong fan of Clancy and can boast of an autographed book, and actually having met him in person before he died. It’s just surreal listening to this audiobook which is partly based in Afghanistan and set during that time when the Mujahideen was fighting their Russian occupiers. Although a work of fiction, the book gives an insight into that part of the war ravaged history of that country which is now in crisis. It is a very emotional issue even for someone who is just a spectator many thousands of miles away. I cannot imagine the sense of fear and chaos in that part of the world right now. I try to check on developments in the news at the beginning and end of my day, and I’m not taking sides. All I know is my heart goes out to the people now caught in the turmoil in that part of the world.

It makes me stop and think and wish that people who enjoy the freedoms that they are born with would appreciate that more. And that they would cherish and responsibly exercise it, but not to the detriment of others.

I don’t want to get political. I never have, or tried my best not to. Human lives are at stake here, and any human life in whatever shape or form, is precious.

So we are off to another week– the sun is supposed to come back and bring the heat back on.. in a few days, we welcome September .

Monday Musings: Of Busy Weekends and Rainy Mondays

Monday musings in paper and ink

It’s been a while, I know.

I have a blog post on postcards ready to see the light of day, but I’m trying to get some graphics in. I keep telling myself on Fridays and Mondays that I will start writing more purposefully again, and not waste this space I have here. My Monday Musings and Friday Five sections are, after all, supposed to be the blogposts that require the least effort, but it’s been a struggle. Well, today I write.

It was a busy weekend. Since returning to work (part of the week) in Manhattan in April, I’ve also returned to my pre pandemic routines. Certain people do my grooming best — and eyebrows are a tricky matter. So I hied off to the city to visit my nail technician. While there are nearby salons within walking distance from my home, I felt a sense of loyalty to Helen and wanted to help her out as she was still not working the full week at the salon. Little things like that can mean a lot to certain people in our lives, more so during very trying times like the ones we are currently in. The best part of the trip to Manhattan on a Saturday, though, was walking into a concert of the New York Philharmonic in Bryant Park ad I headed to the bus stop. I couldn’t stay longer than the time it took for me to get a quick bite, but I sat and I listened and it was just heavenly. This is one of the things I love about this city I live in.

Saturday with the NY philharmonic in Bryant Park

Sunday at the Postcard Club and show. After their regular monthly meeting had to stop because of COVID last year, the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York has resumed their meeting and I finally made it! I made it a point to try to catch the afternoon hours as I was afraid I’d get carried away with the postcards for sale, but I think I did good. Caught the last two hours of the very light crowd, but it was nice to see how things worked. I’ll write more about that in a full blog post another time.

Sunday at the postcard show

Reading with intention. I tucked my latest issue of TIME magazine in my purse and I browsed, coming upon the recommended summer reads. I was actually tempted to stop by Barnes and Noble on 47th to check out some of the recommended titles, but MUJI got in the way. (I am actually glad I didn’t go further than 42nd or else I would’ve totally missed out on the NY Philharmonic.). I’ve been reading more deliberately these days and I think it’s help to relax me and keep my brain alert. Still in the thick of a second pass at “Without Remorse” on Audible and the English translation of “El Filibusterismo,” I think I will be able to do better than the goal of chalking up 6 reads by the end of the year.

Reading El Fili

“Sew” happy to be sewing again. I started sewing again early last week, working on cut up fabric that were meant to be masks for the return to work. I actually have enough in my “arsenal” and NY is relaxing mask restrictions in most open space situations, but I’m not taking my masks off anytime soon out of an abundance of precaution. I‘ve decided to tweak my patterns and can’t wait to wear them in the coming days. More importantly, I want to go back to sewing garments — since that was the original plan of getting into the sewing classes and getting my own sewing machine. Plus, there’s the fabric stash waiting to be worked on. Baby steps, as I always say.

Paint my world. I have been doing an online watercolor class. I was not surprised to learn that everything I’ve been doing so far is wrong. Well, that’s the point of taking the class, after all. Thank you, Nikki Traikos, for setting me right. It’s been an enjoyable journey so far and I am grateful for being able to take the lessons virtually. At the start of the year, I had set the goal of being able to do at least one class. This certainly gets that off my to do. I’ll share more later.

Back to almost normal. I’m writing this as my express bus is crawling into the midtown tunnel. Every morning I go to work, one to two times a week, I try to take pictures of Grand Central to show how light the crowd is. It is still very far from what it used to be. The traffic that has us stopping and going through the crawl this morning, though, is normal. So I’m hoping this means that there will be more people in today. Perhaps. New York is hoping to go to 100% capacity by the Fourth of July. and while I don’t think the usual crowds of workers and commuters will be back by then, we are slowly but surely easing back in to as close to normal as we can get.

The bus is making its way to the first stop on 36th and 3rd, and I must head up to my perch. The pavement is wet from the morning showers. I’m hoping it spares me a wet commute later tonight, but I’m ready. The lady in the fuschia pink trench coat came with some plastic slides to walk in, if needed, and there are my short galloshes. Almost forgot to check in with my morning health app before I badge in! Off to start my week right in pink, indeed.

When the weeks roll by

A note from Pinay New Yorker:  Some links in the following post are connected to my Amazon account which might mean a commission for me if you choose to make a purchase based on the links..

One month to the last post here.

I have been coasting by and have been preoccupied by work (moved buildings, still the same job) and life in general..  I promised myself I would post here, come what may.  The spirit is raring to write but the hand is too slow.

The good news is, I’ve been making strides on other fronts.

I have also finished reading Benmosche’s Good for the Money, and now starting JPE’s memoir.  It’s literally a tome, and I discovered today, printed in small type, so this will be quite hefty reading for me.  This will make my third of my six book target for the year and I think I’m ahead of schedule.

Reading again has been a very relaxing task that I am trying to make a habit of, like before.  I am hoping to develop the discipline of actually setting aside time to read from day to day.  While there are the hard copy books I love leading through, I really should try to go back to using my Kindle account which still has at least 3 ebooks waiting for me to read.  The point is, I’m continuing to read.

I’ve also been actively organizing all my supplies — art and craft supplies, in particular, sorting the paper and the pen and the beads.  It’s still a long way from being all set, but I am making progress.

I just wish I could have more time to stop and breathe.

I usually take my morning quiet time as a time to regroup and look at the so-called bigger picture.  I sit at the breakfast nook, and I take the time to go through my magazines which sometimes lie untouched for weeks on end.. or I go through the news feed instead of typing away.  I’ve taken to looking at other Instagram feeds I follow which allow me to sort of get updated with what’s happening in other fronts.  I find that taking the time to sit and do things in a leisurely fashion helps me put my day in focus.

I try my best not to linger, though, and I always make sure I am conscious of the time.  That’s how my typical day starts.

From time to time, I will attempt to begin a post here,  but I have to get the hang of spontaneously writing without the temptation of editing and expanding my posts.  I should start something that I can just write in one sitting.  I wish..

And so I must send this off before I lose track of how long it’s been sitting in my draft folder like I am usually wont to do.  Here’s to a better week ahead — waiting for spring and all.

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!

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#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!

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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!

#ThingsToDoIn2016: This year’s list

16in2016 (2)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.  It was a list of goals of things 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.  Right now I’m in the middle of reading the second book of what I had hoped would be six last year.  I have the month to finish that and hopefully get this done in 2016.  (#6BooksIn2016)

2. Plan my trip to Boston. – Boston has officially given me an invitation to visit and I am planning to do that, but hopefully when the temperatures ease up a bit.  While it has been a temperate winter, you never know how much snow is in the horizon and they get a ton of it on that side of the coast!

3. Learn something new via an actual class every quarter of 2016.  I’ve been hit with a slew of “I want to learn..” moments, and among these are (1) sewing, (2) proper pearl stringing, (3) proper knitting.  I have all these projects churning in my head and if I find the time, I know I can get to it.

4.  Watch at least 1 concert.  I will try to make this a less ambitious task by actually not specifying which one.  Maybe I will get to do it in 2016.

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.) – After losing half the weight I gained over the holidays in the first week of 2016, I am inspired to think this is something I can definitely do better at this year.

6. Lose another 10 lbs at least by April this year.  (Lost over 20 in 2014 and maintained my weight in 2015.) – I have a few more to get to my pre-2015 holiday weight.  I think 10 before April should be reasonable, unless I go berserk again when I eat.

7. On positivity: Get the ball rolling on the Thank You Postcard Project – I must confess that the concept is there but I am a having a difficult time zeroing in on the mechanics.  So first quarter, figure that one out.  Q2 produce the postcards.  Q3 and Q4, roll out.

8.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again.  Hopefully in the spring.

9.  Work more earnestly on my craft blog.  It pains me to see that my last post in that corner was in October yet.  I had promised to post regularly and unlike here where I post spontanously, I tailorfit my writing to take on a certain slant over there.  52 posts in 2016.. that’s the goal.

10. Work on creating one piece every week, whether for sale in the shop, a gift for friends or to wear myself.– That means 52 pieces for the year.. easily doable!

11. Leave one pre-loved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. –  I am going to get this going by choosing the 12 books to give away.  I think one reason it was forgotten was that I never got down to doing that and I didn’t make a conscious effort to get it rolling.  Now that I am actually trying to declutter, I think I’ll make this a weekend project and start it off this month.

12. Write one long hand letter or card every month.  As someone who loves to receive handwritten notes or letters or cards, I actually enjoy writing them as well.  Besides trying to keep the post office relevant

13.  Start a new Art Journal.  The Art Journal I’m working on has been a work in progress since September 2012.  I think it’s about time I closed it but there are still some layouts left to be done.  I haven’t written or drawn there as much as I had hoped in the last couple of months, but I’m trying to catch up.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  I am so ready to part with things and I had sent two balikbayan boxes home with old clothes and things I no longer have any use for.  I think for 2016, I will create little packages to send to friends who I know will enjoy them more, or to leave behind for strangers to find.

15.  Write poetry again.  I have not written any poetry since I arrived here in New York, 15 years ago.  So that’s a lot of catching up to do.

16.  Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.  I saw an ad yesterday morning which had this blurb: “Simply waking up is amazing.”  Isn’t that so true?  We really need to appreciate life more by giving back.  I’ll keep it at that for now.  But I truly believe that one good way of showing how grateful we are is by sharing what we have.  I don’t have much, but I think I have enough to keep me in good shape, and I have just enough to still be able to share.

Wish me luck on this year’s list — but somehow, I’m doubly confident that I will get more accomplished.  It can only get better.

#ThingsToDoIn2015: The final scorecard

Blog graphicI’m going to do this update separate from my new list of #ThingsToDoIn2016 and will be as honest as I can be about where I landed.  No explanations, just a status report for my benefit.

1.  Read six books. – Read one.  I tried.  I do have the six I can start with in 2016.  #FeelingOptimistic.

2. Take a trip to visit old girlfriends from SPCP/SPCQC — on my own — so that’s either Boston or California. – Boston is definitely on my list.. at least once.

3. Do another craft fair and learn new techniques.  (Visit one, not sell in one.) – Hoping to do this in the Spring.

4. Take my little guy to ComicCon 2015.  (Epic fail!) 

5. Take at least one actual class beyond online.  (Yes, Elaine.)  Definitely in 2016. Whether it’s an actual sewing class with Peter U or a course at FIT or at the Lion Brand Store, I will.

6.  Watch at least 1 concert — hopefully Billy Joel’s at Madison Square Garden..

7.  Watch at least 1 play or musical on Broadway.  And I saw God… =)  – Act of God, actually! HAHA!  Happiness..  Done!  I am actually going to drop this for 2016 because I am already slated to watch a musicale this coming Saturday with my little guy.

8.  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.) – With all the weight gained over the holidays, this is a MUST.

9. Lose another 10 lbs at least before April.  (Lost over 20 in 2014!) – Need to work on this seriously in 2016.

10. Tweet/Instagram at least one positive thought every week.  (I thought “everyday” would be too big a commitment to make.) – Very good with this one!

11.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again. – I have actually found the studio.. just haven’t found the time.  Hoping to do this first quarter of 2016.

12. Spend a Saturday a month, on my own, just roaming NYC or some other place nearby.  (Do something “only in New York”..) – This has been one of the easiest to do.

13. Leave one preloved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. – I must choose the books I will part with so that I can get this act of sharing books going.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month. – I have started — sort of?  Well, I need to be more systematic about this to make this work.

15. Write one letter long-hand every month. – Did not get to do this every month but did my fair share of longhand letters.  Happy with the effort and the results but hope to do more in 2016.

I know it looks like I didn’t get anything accomplished given the updates regarding the 15 on my list, but I’m happy to have been able to focus on trying to get these things done.  From the very beginning, I have tried not to be too hard on myself in keeping to the list, but I think the lack of progress should goad me to be more focused on what I will set out to do in 2016.

As I wrote on my Facebook wall as the year ended:

” 2015 had its challenges but I’d rather look at the gifts it brought my way like the lessons I learned. Some friends find it weird that I am thankful for the bad things that happened or the people who caused me so much pain and sorrow, but it is because of them that I found the courage to stand up on my own and be brave. I am in a better place now and I am much happier. I end the year knowing I am at peace with who and where I am. I am thankful for the love of family and friends which kept me going. To those who were there even when it was awkward, when they didn’t know what to say but who never left my side or let go of my hand, to those people I least expected to reach out and offer their kind words and support — I wish you and the ones you love the best of 2016. I am not quite there yet– my journey has just begun– but I am happy to be finally on my way.. Happy new year from Angelo and I.”

And while I have always kept our photos private — being careful not to post personal photos here, here’s one that I think is safe enough to share with the whole world as we bid 2015 goodbye, and say hello to 2016.

 

Fotor_20160102172624068

#ThingsToDoIn2015: So it’s now November and..

Blog graphicAfter the August check in which followed the one  in March (the first quarter), I thought it was about time I gave an update about the list of 2015 “to dos” I had made in the beginning of the year. With 2015 almost ended, I am not going to kill myself over the things I didn’t get to do, but will at least try and move that to 2016.  (Me procrastinating again!)

1.  Read six books. – Don’t shoot me.  I’m on my 2nd book, but hope to make it to the 6th before the year ends..  I know this should be easy, but it hasn’t been.  It hasn’t been for lack of books to read — it’s just that finding the time can be such a challenge.

2. Take a trip to visit old girlfriends from SPCP/SPCQC — on my own — so that’s either Boston or California. – Boston, I am still hopeful about.  California is out of the question now, although I got a last minute invite to join my friend Peter in San Francisco.  Never been and had always hoped to go, but the fare and time spent flying to and from would be akin to taking a flight home which is on sale.  The only thing keeping me from jumping on that bargain to spend even just a week in Manila is that I have been home twice this year already, so that means while my Mom would love to see me again, she would kill me for the extravagance.  Ha!

And I did meet up with some fellow Paulinians over dinner in Manhattan which quite the warm hug to the heart.

3. Do another craft fair and learn new techniques.  (Visit one, not sell in one.) – So I missed out on all the nearby craft fairs of Heirloom Productions.  There’s one happening around Christmas time organized by another group but I am still thinking about that.  Been there and done that.. but it’s always a nice experience for crafters like me.

4. Take my little guy to ComicCon 2015.  (Epic fail!) I thought I’d be on top of this but I failed to score the tickets, so no ComicCon this year.  He did get to see Wizard World in Chicago with his Dad, and I alerted them to the WalkCon happening in NJ this December, so the tyke is happy.

5. Take at least one actual class beyond online.  (Yes, Elaine.)  Uhm.. next year perhaps.

6.  Watch at least 1 concert — hopefully Billy Joel’s at Madison Square Garden.. – It looks like Billy Joel won’t be this year.  Still hopeful.. still planning.

7.  Watch at least 1 play or musicale on Broadway.  And I saw God… =)  – Act of God, actually! HAHA!  Happiness..  Done!

8.  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.) – Uhm.. next please.

9. Lose another 10 lbs at least before April  the year ends.  (Lost over 20 in 2014!) – I’m not going to try to make excuses.  I have managed to lose weight gained in the intervening months — and I am still at my current which is good — but working on breaking the plateau.. hopefully before January now.

10. Tweet/Instagram at least one positive thought every week.  (I thought “everyday” would be too big a commitment to make.) – Very good with this one!

11.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again. – Next?

12. Spend a Saturday a month, on my own, just roaming NYC or some other place nearby.  (Do something “only in New York”..) – While I have been spending the weekends at home of late, I’ve been good with the “roaming NYC” bit.  So this one is good..

13. Leave one preloved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. – Soon!

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month. – The good news is that the items to be given away have been set aside, I haven’t really been good with the giving away except one or two items as I come across them.  I am still trying to figure out the best way to get rid of my unwanted postcards — those not in my current collecting interest of Philippines, New York, Paris, both vintage and modern, lighthouses and maps.  Do I sell them?  Donate them?  Alter them and send off?

The ATCs, I have already decided, will go to some friends back home who are still into ATCs.  Books — I have multiple copies of first editions of a book series I thought I’d invest in.  Still thinking about that one.  And I’m getting rid of some household items which have been hidden in the cupboard or in the attic.  I need the space and I’m sure someone else can use them.. eventually.

15. Write one letter long-hand every month. – While I still need to write one this month, this has been one of the easier ones considering how I love to write letters.  I actually found a Christmas card I had meant to send off a while back but never got to, and I’m hoping to surprise my friend with the early Christmas greeting and a letter to boot.

I’m not feeling particularly victorious with the year almost ended, but I’m not feeling like it was all a waste of effort to even try to come up with the list.  It’s helped me to sort of focus which is good — and I’m hoping to do another list for 2016.  How’d you do with yours?

 

 

#ThingsToDoIn2015: August update

Blog graphicI have been meaning to do a self check of this list for a couple of weeks now, but the trip home (yes, the second this year) and life in general, have gotten in the way.. My last update was in March (the first quarter), in reference to my first post at the beginning of the year.  It just feels but fitting to check on how I’m doing from time to time to actually get things going.  So where are we so far?

1.  Read six books. – Progress… I actually managed to finish a book while in Manila (Yay!) and am hoping to get on with my second… and I am positive I will make the 6 as promised.  It was actually refreshing to work through a book at a leisurely pace (read: mostly bathroom reading) and still enjoy a fresh read.  I have some serious material to go through in the next couple of weeks and hope to do some real reading to complete my goal of 6.

2. Take a trip to visit old girlfriends from SPCP/SPCQC — on my own — so that’s either Boston or California. – With two trips home and hardly any vacation days left, I’m going to edit this one and revise it to be just a simple meet up nearby — for now.  Planning something with some fellow Paulinians in my neck of the woods in the next couple of weeks.  Maybe a brunch or drinks?  Just to reconnect.

3. Do another craft fair and learn new techniques.  (Visit one, not sell in one.) – There’s only one more left for the year from my favorite craft fair organizers, Heirloom Productions, and it’s this October in York, PA.  So I’m a little iffy about even going given that I have a ton of craft projects on my planning board right now — and going will be craft heaven for me, but it will throw my current plans out of whack.  So unless there’s a craft fair closer to home, I think I will end up passing up on this one.

4. Take my little guy to ComicCon 2015.  (A request that was made in March and which Mommy committed to make happen.. ) – I would’ve wanted to buy tickets early but I wasn’t able to.  (Epic fail, I know..)  But all hope is not lost —  I’m still waiting on Midtown Comics to announce when they will sell tickets — and I’m almost afraid to even make a plan to go and grab a pair for my little guy and I when they do.  Everyone — and I mean EVERYONE — seems to be waiting on the big day because they are the only source for tickets this year that will still sell any.  Best effort..

5. Take at least one actual class beyond online.  (Yes, Elaine.) –  With the fall term coming upon me soon, I need to make a decision.  In the past couple of weeks, I’ve made a decision to try and learn how to sew, but I need to have my sewing machine serviced first.  (I do well by hand, but I need the real deal to make what I hope to make.)

6.  Watch at least 1 concert — hopefully Billy Joel’s at Madison Square Garden.. – It looks like Billy Joel won’t be this year.  Still hopeful.. still planning.

7.  Watch at least 1 play or musicale on Broadway.  And I saw God… =)  Actually made a spur of the moment decision (budget be damned!) to watch “ACT OF GOD” with the fabulous Jim Parsons via TKTS.  I landed on the front row and right in the middle within kissing and spitting distance, but so LOVED every moment of it.

8.  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.) – Uhm.. next please.

9. Lose another 10 lbs at least before April.  (Lost over 20 in 2014!) – While I had managed to keep my weight at bay through most of the middle of the year, the trip home always throws me off and I am currently in the process of trying to lose all that I gained.  Not a happy topic to discuss but I’m not killing myself over this one.  It’ll happen — soon enough.

10. Tweet/Instagram at least one positive thought every week.  (I thought “everyday” would be too big a commitment to make.) – I haven’t been keeping tabs, but I think I’ve been pretty good with this one.

11.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again. – Music sheet… check.  Rehearsal studio research… check.  (Found me one nearby..)  BUT — haven’t quite gotten down to this.  Promise, before winter.

12. Spend a Saturday a month, on my own,just roaming NYC or some other place nearby.  (Do something “only in New York”..) – This, I’m very proud to say, I’ve been very good at.  Even made it to Brooklyn Heights last weekend.. YAY!

13. Leave one preloved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. – It’s probably because I’m such a book lover that I find it so hard to part with my books — at all.  But again, I want to get this going, specially in the spirit of finding a home for the books I would rather not keep.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month. – Still trying to get this down pat… like I had written a few months back, I have been good with the “give away” part, but have been slow on the 5.  I have successfully set aside half a balikbayan box full of Angelo’s clothes — time to do mine again.  I did a first wave sweep in March before my first trip home April 2015, but I have been finding others that I need to give away to someone else who would have better use of it.  Plus I’ve been shrinking in size, so I need to stick to the smaller and leaner me…

15. Write one letter long-hand every month. –  Yes, still happily writing.

While most of my list remains in the “to do” section of my life, I think I’ve made quite a bit of progress given where I was last year.  I’ll say it again, I’m in a much better and happier place.  One of the lessons I’ve learned is that “better” is not always synonymous with “happier”.  But that doesn’t mean they cannot be used in the same sentence or spoken in the same breath.  It’s a matter of choice, a matter of priorities —  namely, prioritizing yourself above the other more important things you feel should go before you even think of you.  And after a long, long while when I thought self sacrifice was the ultimate in motherhood and a person’s existence, I have let go and can say I am better and yes, happier.  One last quarter to go and we’ll check back at the start of 2016 and see.  Getting there…