#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?

#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…

 

Back to the keys

#ArtJournalEveryDay: cut out of Venus by Botticelli on an altered book page..  I've been listening over and over to Adele's version of "TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE" and I have been totally inspired by its haunting and sweet melody.. Thinking of my little guyI have been listening to Adele’s version of Bob Dylan’s “TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE” over and over again, thinking of my big boy.  I’ve found inspiration in its haunting yet sweet melody, and today I made a decision to purchase the sheet music and look up rehearsal studios near my place of work so I can learn the piece.

Lots of flats but that never really intimidated me before, and the piece looks and sounds easy enough to learn.

I’ve been meaning to hit the keys again over time since I got here but I have never really gone beyond planning to find a rehearsal studio for starters.  I have even brought home some of my piano workbooks and pieces from Manila the last few times I went home for a visit, but they’re tucked away somewhere in the attic.  (Have to find them!)  I started taking piano lessons when I was 4.. stopped when I hit high school briefly and then started again before I went to college.  It was because of my basic understanding of piano and later chords on the organ (yes, the one with the foot pedals) that I was able to easily learn the flute and teach myself how to play the guitar.

For the longest time, music has been present in my life only through the music of others.  I would occasionally tip the keys back home, or when I saw a piano here somewhere at some party perhaps.  And at the back of my mind, I always said I’m going to find a rehearsal studio, get a room with a piano and sit.  I think I’ve finally found the proper motivation with the right piece, the great voice of Adele bringing this Bob Dylan classic to life, and a personal reason to actually learn and maybe sing the song one of these days — even if only to myself.. in some rehearsal studio in Midtown Manhattan.  Soon.