Feedback on feedback: You made my day, Lawyer Wannabe

I had just ended a video call with the family back home when I started scrolling through my email, still lying on the couch Sunday morning. It’s a bit nippy out there but I’ve made my mind up to head out a little later than usual so I can walk to this Asian grocery 5.000 steps away to get some moon cake. (And the store didn’t carry any!). This is me, trying to stick to my Noomin’ and planning for a special treat later today. My excuse: it’s seasonal.. (yeah, yeah..).

And this is what greeted me as I refreshed my inbox, which totally beats any special treat I was thinking of earlier. Talk about a major pick me up, and a heartwarming reminder of one of the reasons this topic is always near and dear to my heart. This email is being shared unedited, save for the omission of the identity of the writer.

Ateneo only has two classes at most (and maybe I’m wrong now because it’s been ages–) and in any case, it is easy to identify someone even by mere initials.. so here goes…

“Dear Pinay New Yorker,

Hello there. Four years ago, I wrote to you because I was worried about getting into Ateneo Law as a waitlisted applicant or as a student who wasn’t a graduate of Ateneo in college. I honestly don’t remember which of the two. I do remember being extremely insecure about my credentials and that I was anxious about not fitting in. You were kind enough to indulge my concerns and you gave me valuable advice.
I remember that  we exchanged a few emails (aside from addressing my concerns on your website). You even invited me to lunch since you were visiting the Philippines. I don’t remember what happened next but I do know that you really helped me when I needed it.  This wasn’t the email address I used because the goal was to keep myself anonymous. Unfortunately, I can’t find the email thread now.
I just wanted to randomly send you a thank you note for helping a stranger out. Just to let you know, I will be graduating from Ateneo this year. I wouldn’t have made it here without you so thanks again! ☺
(Name withheld for privacy)”

Touched. Speechless. Grateful.

Related posts on the topic of law school and the pursuit of a legal education based on my personal experience can be found in this section: Lawyer Wannabe

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Is the weekend really over?  The next long weekend we are looking forward to is not for another couple of weeks, but I have better things coming up like  a trip to Manila to pick up my son before the next holiday.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I have been focusing on moving forward and have been taking care of “me”.  With my little guy back in Manila, it has been easier to focus on taking care of the one who takes care of him most of the time.  I’m finally able to concentrate on the things that I usually gloss over, or those things that have to “wait” when I have to worry about dinner or homework or giving in to having him sit on my lap.  Instead of focusing on “‘Me” time after 10pm or so, I’ve devoted a whole weekend to doing just that.  And while I do miss my son, I have enjoyed the “alone” time.

I have been sorting through things and trying to discard what needs to be thrown away, and further sorting through the things I want to keep.  And I’ve also been packing.  I have seen things I had forgotten I had — not just craft supplies but mementos that are now being tucked into a box for safekeeping.

I end my weekend feeling grateful.

…for the flowers blooming all around me.  One thing I truly enjoy about summer is that all the blooms come to life in seeming shifts.  The tulips may be gone but the hydrangeas in their pretty colors are here to stay.  I even have a bunch all dried and yet still lovely in a small vase on my ledge at work.  They color our lives in a different way — and I have always loved how they remind us that life goes on and on and on.

…for sunny days.  Yes, even the ones that start out dark and grey with some rain.  It’s been a glorious weekend celebrating freedom and we have been blessed with sunshine.

…for summer.  This is really my time of the year.  No matter how punishing the heat may be, I love this season and all the energy it brings.  Everything comes to life — the trees that are bare in the winter are heavy with their greens.  You find yourself taking the time to walk a little slower to look up at the blue skies.  It’s not too cold to stop and sit in the park.  You can actually enjoy the outdoors even if you’re not outdoorsy like me.
#ThisIsMyCity #NYC #mynewyork #mynyc #manhattan #fifthavenue #Myny #mynyc
…looking forward to Manila.  I had a good trip home last April — short as that was.  I usually stay 3 weeks but managed only 2 1/2 weeks then.  It will even be shorter this time around because I’m really going home just to pick up Angelo and bring him home.

He had been requesting to spend summer there because that would mean a longer stay, and no homework for a change.  He has refused to go to summer camp the last year or two, so I thought it wasn’t that bad an idea to give in this year.  I can never go home too often with my entire family still there.  Just spending time with my Mom is incentive enough.

#JeepneyStories ; #BiyahengDivisoria .. #missingManila yet again and thinking of all the sights and sounds that make those of #FifthAvenue and #ChampsElysees but a squeak. This is how we do it in #Manila and this #NewYorker wants to go #home. #jeepney #pu
…for dessert.  I have an insatiable sweet tooth.  And I find it sad that though we all eat as a matter of necessity, the surge in health consciousness has caused this part of the meal to be shunned and treated as optional.  The way I look at it, that’s much too much of a deprivation and I’d rather skip the main course if it would allow me to indulge.  Life is too short, everyone says.  Some things I just can’t do without, and dessert is one of them.

Yay for butter pecan ice cream, the yummy milk or white chocolate wafer-thin slice (which I would much prefer over truffles but they are most welcome, too..), the Bailey’s double on the rocks I want to nurse through the end notes of a conversation after a good meal.  And dessert is best shared with another– like this light but still decadent Il Floutille from the 4th of July brunch with my dear friend, Peter, at A.O.C. New York.  I make a mean Leche flan myself which girlfriend Mily will swear by..
I think of all these things and I can’t help but smile and feel so lucky to be at this place where no matter how crazy life may get, I know I am blessed with so much. So tell me .. what are you grateful for?

Thank you, 2014.. Hello, 2015!

Thank you, 2014, for the lessons learned, the challenges and the joys, and the reminders that I am so blessed.  That no matter how much hurt came my way, I had much more to be grateful and thankful for when calm finally found me again.  And while the storI have been trying to sit here and finish a post to welcome the new year, but I have been lazy throughout the holidays and have been writing in stops and starts.  Now the rendering of word art, however, has been a bit easier, and I have three to four works in progress I hope to finish today.

I needed a new ‘THANK YOU’ graphic and I suddenly remembered I had this gorgeous handmade paper from the Philippines which I had bought some years back which I still have half a sheet of.  Sometimes you just have one of those things you keep saving, and before you know it, they are no longer the same or are not of any use as you had originally meant to keep them.

I am trying to get into 2015, but things keep pulling me back to 2014.. so like most things, let’s do baby steps and say thanks to the year just passed, and say hello to the new one that has just begun.

I’d like to save my “Thank you, 2014” post for the “other” blog where all my thank you’s are meant to be posted.  (It has been languishing in limbo the last half of 2014, but I promise to jump start it before January is over!)

So, hello, 2015!  

For starters, here’s a list (not of resolutions that we end up breaking anyway!) of things I hope to do in 2015.  For brevity and to make my life a little simpler and the goals more achievable, I’m keeping it short.  No write ups, just a list.. and let’s see how I get on with this as the year goes.  (I just found my 14 for 2014 list, but that’s another blog post altogether.)


1.  Read six books (one every two months should be doable)

2. Take a trip to visit old girlfriends from SPCP/SPCQC — on my own — so that’s either Boston or California.

3. Do another craft fair and learn new techniques.  (Visit one, not sell in one.)

4. Take my little guy to ComicCon 2015.  (A request that was made just today and which Mommy committed to make happen.. note to self: buy tickets early!)

5. Take at least one actual class beyond online.  (Yes, Elaine.)

6.  Watch at least 1 concert — hopefully Billy Joel’s at Madison Square Garden.. MAYBE day after my birthday.

7.  Watch at least 1 play or musicale on Broadway.  (Yes, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from where I work and I didn’t watch any last year.)

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.)

9. Lose another 10 lbs at least before April.  (Lost over 20 in 2014!)

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

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

12. Spend a Saturday a month, on my own,just roaming NYC or some other place nearby.  (Do something “only in New York”..)

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

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month.

15. Write one letter long-hand every month.

So let’s see where this list goes.  I just went over last year’s list and I don’t think I did too bad against that one.  But as I said, I’ll get to that in another post.

Happy new year, everyone.. Let’s try to make this a “happy” one, indeed, whatever “happy” may be for each of you out there.


Thank you postcards are here!

First of the batchWe’ve all heard it said that we should count our blessings and see how fortunate we are rather than dwell on the glass being half empty.  One of my favorite singers from back home even wrote a song — a Christmas song, at that — about counting one’s blessings instead of sheep.

I’ve been trying to get this project off the ground for a bit now, but I had been momentarily distracted from doing it sooner.  I never stopped production, though, as I have been constantly producing the bits and pieces making up the postcards.  Before the week ended, I had finished no less than 6 pieces, ready for mailing.  (One each reserved for Raine and Kat back in Manila.)

I want to do a test run of the postcards’ integrity as a mail art piece before launching the project.  (Pia, and anyone else interested to be part of the test run, please e-mail me your address at gothamchicketsy @ and I will send you one as a test piece.)

Each postcard will be numbered, signed and documented on the project web site.  I am still trying to decide whether I will use a generic scan code for the project (which, I already have) or if I will generate one per piece (which seems daunting as it is!).  The postcards are already in my Flickr gallery for you to view and I will write a blog post on the first set in my craft blog, Gotham Chick before the weekend is over.

I actually almost don’t want to let go of the first set because I really, really like the way they turned out.  I particularly loved how the antique book pages sprayed with ink and then hand-lettered with the “THANK YOU” on the front, embellished by pieced paper flowers and for some, by dried rose petals came together.  (I love rose petals, what can I say..).  I’m still debating about whether or not I will do the edges in gold acrylic paint.  (It not only “frames” the piece but also provides a third sealant on the glued paper.  This had also been a signature of mine when I used to do mail art and artist trading cards.)

So what’s the whole point of the project?  The test run is really very different from what I’m trying to do with the Thank You Postcard Project.  For the test run, I thank YOU.  For the project, I want to help you thank someone else.  (At least that’s how the project has shaped up.)  Is it a social experiment of sorts?  In a way, yes.  But plain and simple, it’s just a pay-it-forward kind of project to help spread some good will.

It MIGHT yet finally get off the ground!

All excited this Halloween Friday, and hoping I can get the back layout finalized.  If not, I can always doodle and zentangle it for the first set.  They are, after all, the very first pieces going out.  Now, which one to keep?


Sometimes colors just come together in an unexpected way at the moment you least expect it in the most unusual place.  #mynyc #mynewyork @onmywaytowork #manhattanskyline #ontheLIEWhen we were children, our parents always admonished us to say “Thank You” and “Please”.  Even now, I do the same to my 10-year-old.  And yet when you look at how we go about our day, there are many things that we don’t say “Thank you” for.  There are a lot of people we don’t get to say “Thank you” to. Sometimes, we crave to hear a simple word of appreciation and we get nary a thanks, when that would have made a world of difference.

This got me thinking the last couple of days and I’m deep into a “Thank You” project.  It’s still in the works so let me leave it at that.  I just find it to be one of those little acts of kindness that can literally mean so much and change the world.

Call it a means of paying forward the blessings I have and continue to be blessed with.  When the challenges seem to be piling up, the best remedy I have come to discover, is actually LITERALLY counting your blessings.  There is so much that we should be thankful for.  And yet as we go about our day, there is so much — and there are so many people — who go unappreciated.  More often than not, we do acknowledge the significance of whatever it is we ought to be thankful for, but we don’t always say it or express our appreciation outright.  How great would it be for someone to send us an unexpected “Thank you”!

I’m pulling together such a project, and I’ll write more about it when I have it in place.

My Thursday feels more like a Friday because of the Fourth of July weekend.  I am actually looking forward to recharging and getting things done — even if we’re not really going anywhere special.  I am also trying to do my Fourth of July weekend differently this year, because the past years have been non-events or days I would rather forget.  So between trying to make ‘new memories’ and trying to forget the bad, I’m trying to focus on other things.  (Like my “Thank You” project.)  Plus, Mother Nature has been pounding us with rain and pummelling us with nasty winds.

Last year was nice because my BFF Donna from Australia was in town.  And yet so many things happened, half of which I didn’t come to find out about until much later, which makes it one of the holidays I am not looking forward to.  So I try and count the positive — trying to keep my outlook bright and praying for the resolve not to give in to negativity.

If you ask me, I’d just like to be by some poolside or beach, sitting in the shade (I am not a sun lover), sipping a cocktail or two, and sleeping the day away.  It’s not even 11pm and I am already raring to hit the sack, so to speak.  Soon.

Still I wish you all a Happy Fourth of July — this great nation is celebrating it’s birthday and toasting the freedom we enjoy today.

Five things I’m thankful for

I know this is something I should be doing more of: thinking of the things I should be grateful for, but life happens.  (Another list I would do well to write about: Things I should be doing more of!)

1.  Friday… (That is why I greet everyone in the office a happy Friday!)

2.  Power — and by this I mean electricity.  (I have “REVOLUTION“, the TV series to thank for that newfound appreciation of something so commonplace in our 21st century lives.)

3.  Pan de sal — it brings me back “home”.

4.  Another pound lost… self explanatory. (HA!)

5.  Seeing my niece, Andreanna, wearing a pretty, pretty dress (or dresses) from Ninang.  Priceless.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Feedback on Feedback and a warm hug to the heart

I haven’t been here in a while to write — hence the Art Journal Every Day posts sans the accompanying blog post.  I guess you can say I’m in a rut again, but trying earnestly to get out of it.

I don’t get too many (legitimate) comments here, so when I do, I take notice.  And since I had started responding to them in blogposts way back when I started, why stop now?  That would be a disservice to those who took the time to leave me an echo of their visit here in my corner of the blogsphere.  Thank you, most sincerely, for letting me know I have more than 5 readers out there. =)  (Kidding!)

For starters, Shay surprised me with the sweetest of comments during a time when I felt like everything that could possibly go wrong was going wrong.  I was definitely in no mood to write anything but she made me pause and think and even smile.

Shay wrote in response to “Riding It Out” : “I am hooked reading your blog.. from new to older entries. hope you are feeling much better now.”

The Pinay New Yorker says:  … I am humbled, Shay.  Your comment couldn’t have come at a better time.  I have started reading a book entitled “When God Winks at You” by Squire Rushnell, and I think now that you would be what he calls a “godwink”.  (That’s another blogpost altogether!)

I have a confession to make, though — I actually thought you were someone trying to get me to go back to writing and using a pseudonym to push me forward.  So when I  wrote the e-mail address you provided with a thank you to make sure the address was legitimate, I was pleasantly surprised to get an almost instantaneous reply.  (Almost within my timezone.. !)  And when I replied once more, I even got a hug back!

But what touched me most was the warmth of your response which helped me get myself here tonight and write.  (While I would normally publish it, since it was said in private and was most meaningful for the simplicity of her words of encouragement, I would like to keep that exchange between Shay and I.)  For someone who didn’t know me to get a sense of what I was going through simply by reading my posts was truly amazing and touching.  It makes me wonder if I have become so transparent that my emotions are so easy to read.   But simply to know that people actually read what I write is most heart-warming and keeps me writing — more so during those times when I feel like I want to just clam up and stop churning out the words.

This blog has been my personal journal both during the good and bad times.  Often, there are things I opt to keep to myself, but which I am able to write about in veiled sentences that nonetheless encapsulate the thought or feeling I want to record.  I have always said I blog for my personal benefit — it helps me get in touch with my feelings, enables me to sort out my thoughts, chronicle my joys and pains, and it give me a channel to just plain rant and rave about life in general and MY LIFE specifically.  I find myself browsing back to entries from years ago and it helps me remember the good and the bad, and I recall the lessons learned.  It has helped me to remember the happy ones and relive them in my heart — and remembering the “happy” has helped me to remember how to forget the “sad” when I come across those heartaches.

I always say that you can never go wrong paying someone a compliment, no matter how simple a thought it may be for the most miniscule of tasks that was rendered.  You never know how you can make someone’s day, or change the direction he or she goes because you made nice.  Sometimes it’s not just the “Please” that gets us what we want and which matters — but the corresponding “Thank You” or “Sorry” can make the bigger difference.  (It’s the one reason I always take the time to fill out a customer survey, more so when the service rendered deserves recognition.)

Your words were a warm thank you to this blogger, Shay.  So I am back.. or at least I’m trying.. =)  I’m not quite there yet — “feeling better,” that is.  But asthma has a way of holding me back even if I fight it.  I am no longer “drowning” trying to breathe — I should be back to my usual self in a few more days.

I have been prolific writing longhand letters and cards, though, as well as finishing pieces for my Art Journal Every Day project as inspired by my art muse, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  I have managed to finish two entries which immediately precede this blogpost, the earlier of which saw a fellow “art journaler” (sp?) visiting and leaving a comment.  (I cannot publish or approve a second comment which is not returning a legitimate trace like Shay’s and Susan’s. — trying to check first.)

Again, I am humbled.  Most of these people who art journal with me and Julie are REAL artists in every sense of the word, dwarfing me and my novice attempts at rendering my journaling through my personal art.

Susan wrote: “Love the lettering and the flowers. reminds me of a beautiful garden.”

To which the Pinay New Yorker says:  Many, many thanks, Susan.   I have been learning a lot watching fellow art journalers do their own pages and reading up on their individual process in coming up with their work.  I feel like a kindergartener amongst experts, but I have always said, it’s never too late to learn.  I just might try what you did with the gel pen in a future entry.

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday in 20 minutes.  I can’t believe the weekend’s over and another week unfolds.  In a few days, it’s March.  In another month, I turn 46.   How time flies indeed.

My  bestfriend Fe would say “Life is short.  You cannot postpone happiness.”  Indeed.  Even when you try putting things on hold because your heart seems to have stalled — the world will go on.   So I picked up my pliers tonight (hooray!) and actually created quite a bunch of freshwater pearl pieces in sterling silver findings.  (I am getting adventurous and extravagant, I know..)  I almost wasn’t quite sure I could tweak the loops the right way in the uniform width, but I think I did pretty well.

Another godwink, I believe.  Or if I were to believe Fe, it’s the universe listening.