21 for 2021: The Wrap Up

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

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

Read more books this year

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

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

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

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

Hiking in Central Park 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There you go.

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

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

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

I have been blessed. Indeed.

Work in Progress: my altered book

I have been blessed. Indeed.

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

Goodbye, 2020 !

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It’s the second day of 2021 and I am just now, saying goodbye to the very eventful and different year just ended. This is all about my 2020 — the year that marked such moving changes in the way we all lived, and continues to do the same in the new year. As a fitting goodbye that I can speak to, this is all about what the year was for me. It touched us in different ways, some good and some bad, but everyone was moved in one direction or another by all that transpired.

My son and I were thankfully untouched by Covid, and for that I am grateful. There were the brushes with positive tests from people my son had interacted with, but his own tests always returned negative. It has taught us to be mindful of our interaction with others — and although the anxiety it brought upon was unwelcome, it was enough to get us to be vigilant about protecting ourselves.

I have managed to make working from home actually work for me, and although my company has moved return to office plans from January to May, I am not raring to go back to the office anytime. We adapt. And so far, it has worked well, even when my boss had to return to work in October. I am lucky that she herself insisted I work from home, and that we will keep the arrangement as long as we can for my safety and my son’s.

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The pandemic that claimed so many lives has actually made me take a harder look into how I’ve been keeping myself healthy. I walk my steps everyday now, and while the holidays has thrown a curve ball into my diet, I know that I’m on the right track. As one of the people considered “at risk” for being over 50 years of age, and one who has pre-existing conditions like asthma, everything that has happened has given me pause. You have to stop and think what needs to be done to keep yourself safe and healthy. The masks can only do so much, and your body can only take so much as well. This is one of the positive things that 2020 has given me.

I regret that I was not able to go home in 2020, and I honestly don’t see myself crossing the seas anytime soon. It just feels like it’s too much of a risk to put myself and my son in, and there is so much that it entails on both ends of the journey. I can force it if I wanted to, but I don’t. An audible sigh just escaped my lips, and my thoughts were interrupted for a second or two there.

Not being able to travel this year to see my Mom is actually the biggest loss I have felt as a result of the Covid pandemic. I know that this is almost insignificant compared to the lives lost, and the loved ones they left behind. I consider myself fortunate that this is all that I have to sigh about. We will be able to travel again. While I am not counting on this being anytime in the near future, I know it will happen, and I will get to see my family again. I can wait. For all the excitement the thought brings me, I shudder to think that I might be the one bringing them more harm than them doing the same to me, so I will wait. I tell myself: in time.

One thing that I did more of was talk to my mom via video calls — even just to say goodnight or good morning, and have her see that we are well here.

So much has changed in the way we live. I have had the chance to go to the city occasionally the past couple of months, and nothing is the same. So many businesses have shuttered their space for good. Many have lost their jobs. While there is still a stream of people and the occasional tourists (yes, they are still there..), there is such a pronounced thinning of the usual crowds.

I find myself fortunate to be in a state that enforces mask wearing inside establishments. A sign by the door will always greet you saying you cannot enter without a mask. New Yorkers, for the most part, have taken to wearing masks as part of their daily attire. You will still come across people who sometimes wear it below their nose or on their chin or not at all — but rarely. People will usually put it up on their faces when they see someone approaching. That, to me, is a matter of respect for others. It’s not all about what you think, or the discomfort of it all — it’s about being mindful of your neighbor. After the thousands of lives lost in the earlier part of the year when we experienced the worst of it in the big apple, New Yorkers have learned that prevention is key.

It wasn’t an easy lesson to learn. We experienced grocery shortages — and just recently, a second wave of the disappearing toilet paper and other essentials hit us, but things have settled back to a semblance of normal. Back in March, I felt the panic when I saw the meat section practically empty. My grocery delivery had shortages even of the most basic items like diet soda. I succumbed to my own version of hoarding but quickly let it go. If I had rice, cereal, snacks for my son and some canned goods in my pantry, I felt a sense of security. In the beginning, I did not venture out of the house except to get essentials every 3-4 weeks. I relied heavily on contactless delivery. Then we relaxed. When the fear of the virus settled and numbers in New York went down, we let go of the gloves and just kept a bottle of sanitizer in our pockets handy.

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I went from season to season with most of my usual wardrobe unworn. I went through my closet and realized I had more items than it could hold so I started to weed things out. I didn’t quite go the Kondo way, but I went by the simple rule of asking myself if an item was something I’d wear again. There is a second round in the offing. I also stopped shopping for clothes, save for the activewear I needed to go on my walks, and only because I really never had any. For the holidays, I bought one dress to wear. This winter was the year I was retiring some of my winter coats which had served me well the last four to five years. I was planning on sewing coats and buying one more, but all that has been put on hold. My winter coats are still here, and I have really not worn them outside.

I discovered an entire world of New Yorkers who are down on their luck and asking for the most basic necessities. I joined a Facebook group focused on New Yorkers and there was just such an overwhelming sense of need. I did my part and helped a handful — something I will write about separately. I shared this with my son to show him the reality of an existing problem that was magnified and made worse by the pandemic. But while the local government tried their best to continue to help despite the pandemic, there is only so much that they can do.

Free food is available for all New Yorkers. I remember walking past the school in my area which is the main distribution hub for meals for kids from 7:30-11am or so, and from 11-1:30pm for anyone at all who was hungry. The lines were long — partly because of social distancing — but people needed to eat. That was a jarring reality for me because I live in a predominantly middle class neighborhood. But people’s circumstances have changed and have been affected by the closure of schools. So I no longer found it surprising when I saw the state delivery of a crate of food good for a few days to one of the doorsteps during one of my walks. You even have the option for Kosher, Latino, or regular food. (There might be more, but those are the only ones I had heard of.).

Hotels in the city were turned into homeless shelters to prevent them from cross-contaminating one another in some of the communal dormitory type dwellings. It was that bad that even the Lucerne, one of the more upscale hotels in Manhattan, was turned into a men’s homeless shelter. It created quite a stir among local residents — dividing them sharply between those who were tolerant, and those who wanted the men moved elsewhere. Only in New York.

I think I did pretty okay in 2020. My days were busy with work most of the time, and they were long days, too, but I am not complaining. I work full time — with full benefits. My son has been doing remote learning this whole time, and I think he’s adjusted to it and has actually been doing well.

There were times during the year when I felt the stress of all that was taking place around me take its toll on my peace of mind. I resorted to meditating and lulling myself to sleep using sleep casts, and I continue to have difficulty sleeping sometimes. “Okay” did not mean not being affected — I just coped better than most and I think I managed to adjust to the demands of this whole “new normal” that we find ourselves in. I managed to work around the restrictions we faced — and found my work around. I talked to family and friends. I wrote in my journals. I wrote here.

I am grateful for that.

I managed to continue crafting through it all, working on my art journal. I started sewing masks feverishly but have stopped the last 6-8 weeks to focus on my jewelry making. I am getting ready to start sewing again, though.

I cooked and baked.. gained and lost the weight. I’ve tried to put a semblance of order to my supplies and crafting in general. It kept me sane and distracted. It got me here.

As we begin a new year, I am full of hope for a better one after the challenges that 2020 brought our way. I am cautiously optimistic — and still taking lots of caution in going out into the world beyond my doorstep. Whatever it is that 2020 brought our way, it is far from over. I am praying for continued good health, peace and love. I think I had a good measure of all of that in 2020 — just asking for a bit more for all of us in 2021.

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So that was 2017

This is one of those posts that’s more for my benefit than for any reader out there, because it’s an annual self check I’ve been doing annually.

For the last couple of years, I had picked up the habit of writing a list of things as the year rolled out which I hoped to do in the coming 12 months. There were years I managed to go back to the list before the year ended, and at times the list just lay dormant. 2017 was one of the latter.

But I like keeping this lists in the hope of setting goals for myself for the rest of the year, and no matter how minimal my success has been, I like seeing how hard or how I hardly tried. It’s by no means a hard and fast goal as you will see in the progress report below. Reading it now, much of it will stay with 2018’s 18 things to do, with a few minor tweaks. There is always the hope that I will be able to have more success this go around.

1.  Read six books.  I want to beat myself up over this because I have the books, both electronic and hard copy. It’s really finding the time to read that stumps me. I am hoping that I can actually do more than my goal of six books this year.. let’s see.

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – Sydney in September. 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. I made it to Sydney in September and managed an overnight stay in Manila on the way and back. Other than that, I’ve stayed pretty local but looking forward to doing this when the weather starts improving. We are at below freezing temperatures as I write this!

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. – This is one item where there was no movement at all so I guess it’ll have to be in 2018.

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. This is a work in progress.

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. – I always see the edge of Central Park from Avenue of the Americas but sadly will have to admit that I visited the park only once, towards fall, when my friend Lynda visited from PA. I have been tempted to go as the temperatures dropped, but alas, I failed. another one making it to the 2018 list!

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.- While I didn’t do too well with following my craft calendar, I have been able to work on reorganizing my materials and continuing with the crafting . My shop has been an area of focus and I’ve been seeing an uptick in sales compared to the long lulls between sales in previous years. I hope to continue to pick up the pace and get more crafts done.

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. I think I did quite well in this area and I’m hoping to continue in 2018. Yes, even if parting can be heavy literally. I’ve managed to set aside old kitchenware that I don’t and won’t use, as well as other things I think others can make use of.

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. – The gift of 50 was a huge success but the 51 part sort of stagnated. I am reworking this for 52.

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 have to work on this one, more so since my blogging has been severely curtailed because I can now blog only via my smartphone. I was absent from this space for over a month towards the end of the year so I need to work out my editorial calendar.

Work on my other social networking accounts by doing scheduled posts at least once a week.  – I have redistributed my focus and have had better success with this one in 2017. I just have to keep at it.

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. – No art journal for 2017! Horrors! I think I spent too much time trying to make up my mind about the form. I think I will go back to simple doodles this time.

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. – Again, form. More on this in 2018.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  – That means 12 pieces for the year.. easily doable!  I might even start something here or on my Instagram account with #GothamChickOnSnailMail. – I think I will fulfill this quota for 2017 and 2018 together by first quarter of 2018. I didn’t really write much but have a couple to do now..

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.  – I am definitely starting a new one in 2018.

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. – @GothamChickShopper got off the ground but still needs work. Getting there.

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. -one for 2018

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. – Success! I actually visited 2 in Wollongong, Sydney.. happiness!!!
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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.- I am proud to report that I have actually started with this and what’s more, I’ve started writing poetry again..

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. – will try harder!!

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. – This is still on my list and I hope to do a good one for 2018.