Breaking the silence

13 August 2018 - A day of sunshine on a cloudy day..
It seems that a hundred and one things have happened since the last post dated June, and I am so mad at myself for failing miserably to get more active posting here.  The thought is always in my mind, and yet I end up wanting to kick myself awake to start posting every time I realize how I’ve fallen behind.

So I’m doing one of these quick updates and check ins or what not.  I want to get things rolling again.  Here and in my other spaces on the web which started off with such high hopes and lofty goals of blabbing away here online.  Sadly, the same pages have fallen silent for ages because life, as always, had taken me over.

Not an excuse, I know.

For starters, I’ve been happily (officially) single again for a year now.  It continues to be an adjustment, but more on the parenting side.  I was once single before I took on someone’s name and made those vows that somehow didn’t quite work for him and me.  Transitioning back to that mindset of “being just me” wasn’t difficult at all, more so because I sought it and had craved it the whole time my heart broke into a million pieces and then I pulled everything together again and healed.  It was a process, but I am happier where I am today.  (Okay, so maybe being single again made me float off into spaces that somehow made me want to wallow in the bliss of being with me, myself and I.)

I’ve been heavily investing in learning and being able to sew, but my sewing projects were put on hold when dear bro and niece arrived sometime end April.  The brother left after three weeks but my niece stayed, so it was a lot of sightseeing and doing things the New York way for another couple of weeks more, and then..

There was Manila in July.  (Another half a dozen posts on that.)

I’ve been around.. I’ve been busy.  I just haven’t been writing.

I have even slowed down big time on Instagram, but I’m trying to get posting again!  I guess you can say I’ve really slacked off and lost track of just how long I have been quiet here.  I am hoping (for the nth time) that I will be able to get going on all fronts.

Fingers crossed.

Updates

I know I’ve been absent for two months.   Yes, two whole months — and that was after a promise of posting more regularly.

First, the excuses.

Well, technology got the better of me as firewalls and security protocols made it impossible for me to log on to the site to post.  That could be my best excuse but it’s not the only one.

I have not had time to write.  Sad.

So enough of the reason why, and let’s begin with what I have been up to the last 8 or so weeks I have been out of circulation.

I turned 52!  Where did the year go… When I was younger, I used to think that getting older would be such a sad turn for me, but as 51 and now 52 came, I actually feel pretty good about it.  I am in a better place.  I am happier.  And I think I’ve achieved a sense of calm in my life which has helped me to cope better with life in general.

I’ve started sewing.  A while back, I enrolled in two sewing courses over at Mood U that gave me the basic knowledge I needed to actually make a sewing machine work, read and cut patterns to make an actual piece of clothing, and I am hooked.  That doesn’t bode well for my other crafts but I am thoroughly enjoying myself.

I’m one of those people with odd shaped bodies that isn’t a perfect size anything.  One part of me is another size and the other half is another.  So it’s always been a challenge trying to find something that fits well.  It also helps to know that something that would cost me $300 off the rack can cost me as little as $100 or much less if I patiently made it myself, so sew away, I am happily doing.

Reeeeaaaadddddiiiiinnnnngggggg again.  I’ve finished one book, I’m reading a second and inching away on another.  The thing is, I am reading.

Let me hit “publish” because this ends up withering away in my draft box again.  With any luck, I will be back again tomorrow.  (Yay!)

 

Monday Musings: And Summer is (almost) here

I woke up to a grey morning which I had expected thanks to the weather forecast from the previous evening.  I’m not complaining, but I could’ve used a bit more sunshine to start the week off.  But I’m never one to dwell on the negative.  I have always tried to see the positive — telling myself that the glass is half full — and what better way to reinforce it than to try and get the posts rolling on this side of the web.  I thought I’d keep it short and sweet and this being a Monday, here you go with the latest and greatest Monday Musings from Pinay New Yorker.

Monday Musings are actually supposed to be a snapshot of the things that are brewing in my head.  It’s a list of disconnected thoughts that will hopefully spur an actual full length post sometime during the week.  I’ve tried to keep it a regular to do here but haven’t been quite successful, but when I do write a post on the topic, it serves as a start of the week warm up that gets me to the next post.

Summer is (almost) here.  I like the warm weather because it’s always hot from where I came from, and when it rains it really pours.  So this hot and cold and hot and wet days we’ve been having are not new to me.  I just wish that it will stay hot if it’s “warmer” we’re heading towards, instead of seesawing between the two ends of the thermometer, depending on Mother Nature’s mood.  So we’ve been having hot and cold days with no discernible pattern, and I’m just glad that the forecasts are more or less on point.  Time to get the summer planning going.

Busy crafting.  My creative spirits have been bouyed by business picking up in my Etsy Shop.  Half the time I’m reposting inventory that had expired and posting what is already finished.  I’m trying to keep myself from creating new items until I’ve taken cared of most of what’s in the existing inventory, but I’m hoping to keep the orders coming in.  It’s not as simple as creating the items and then listing it.  There is a whole process to being an etsy seller, and while it can sometimes entail a lot of work, it’s nice to see my items available for sale.

Then there’s the additional task of marketing it on social media — but that’s another post altogether.. more on this for later.

Experiencing New York in 60 seconds.  A week or two ago, I attempted to capture snippets of my day in short video clips I strung together into a minute-long summary of how my day went.   What had started out as a pronounced effort to create something without any fuss turned out to be quite the learning experience for me.  Remember that I shoot only with my iphone6.  I published the videos under my GothamChickshopper monicker where I’ve created a Youtube Channel.  My first attempts were laughable but an enjoyable laughing trip for me, more so after I realized I had shot the videos in the wrong orientation.  I have since corrected the error, but I’m still trying to find the best way to edit the videos.  They are grainy and pixelized and more for viewing on your smartphone.

Here’s one sample below which I like because of the tender moments innocently captured as I panned the camera.

Life changes have taken me over.  I am embarking on a new journey and happily doing so with my not so little guy by my side, but I’m trying to bounce back and even step up my cadence as I begin afresh.

All excited to write about that if I can only get a moment to breathe and hit the keys.  Soon.

Back to Monday Musings (on a Tuesday)

MondayMusingsLogoIt’s a tad frustrating to see that my last post here was mid May and we are getting on with June.  I had unsuccessfully tried to begin half a dozen posts, but no luck.  Rather than write a full post on any given topic or blog prompt, I thought going back to the bullet style update I do under this banner would help me get things rolling.  

What have I been up to?

Summer’s on!  It feels as though we skipped spring altogether and jumped head on into summer!  Is that spring being short or summer coming early?  It’s a little tricky deciding but our days are definitely hotter, and the preview of the heat coming our way is making me wish for fall.  Lighter clothes, less layers — yes!  But then I remember Summer’s past when I had to be creative with commuting to work– I literally had to don something else to brave the heat with and change to more appropriate work clothes when I got there!  Hopefully not again…

There’s a lot of fun summer trends making a come back like off shoulder tops and flowing skirts.  I’m excited because of my newfound sewing skills which I am trying to convert into something I can wear.  I’ll delve into that in more detail in my craft blog, but yes, I’m going to fearlessly declare that I hope to make my own clothes!

Vacation plans brewing.  I am getting ready for a trip the second half of June, but I’d rather write about that while it’s happening or maybe after.  I’m excited for many reasons, but principally because this is the first vacation I’m planning for just myself.  It’s doubly exciting because I’m meeting up with BFF Donna who will be there with her family.

One of my oldest friends from way back when, we only get to meet up when she brings her brood here to New York.  This time, we’re heading closer to her Down Under to get some sun!

I have been putting together my gear the last couple of weeks and have started packing.  Two weeks to go and I’m off!  Blog post coming on what I’m packing and bringing with me.

And of course, I’m still trying to decide when I should actually fly to Manila.  The trips are a little easier and more difficult to do these days now.  Angelo is bigger and is actually a better travel companion, but then adjusting the vacation to his summer schedule can be a bit heavy on the pocket as it’s peak season on our side of the world.  Still, we take into consideration his request to be able to stay in Manila longer so he can immerse himself in the culture, and more importantly, to get to spend time with family on both sides while there.

Make up happy.  I’ve actually avoided writing about this because I hate posting pictures of myself here.  But one thing I will always be is a make up junkie — something I have been since my teens.   My dream as one is to actually be able to sit in Juan Sarte’s make up chair and see myself magically transformed.  The story behind why Juan Sarte is actually rather long and personal, but his artistry should suffice as an explanation.  I would love to be his apprentice if I had the opportunity or luxury but I’d probably have to fall in line behind hundreds of other aspirants.

I’ve been experimenting with lip paint and just found a drugstore brand that compares to the fancier and pricier ones.  (Again, blog post coming.)

At 50 and as an Asian, I get so wowed by the fierce and bold reds and pinks I see in the streets of New York, but I am cautious about the colors I wear.  It’s very tricky when you take into account that the colors you wear should agree with your skin tone, and now at 50, your age, so much so that you just have to be discriminating in what you pick.

But make up has always been a source of joy.  You won’t believe how a quick run through the make up counters back home used to make me giddy happy.  These days, it’s as simple as checking out what’s on sale, and patiently running between the samplers and the make up cleansers in ever busy Sephora.

Sew excited!  Pun intended.  So I wrapped up the 6-week beginner sewing class over at Mood Fabrics’ MoodUniversity.  The next set of classes begin next weekend (June 13 for the Adult Advanced Sewing class), but I am going to have to postpone to the fall due to vacation plans.  And yet I’m all gungho about attempting some sewing for me to wear (yes!) this summer and fall.

More on that on the craft blog!

Legal Eaglets in waiting.  Happiness is completing a blog post here — finally!  Goal for the week: two more posts.  Let’s see where that goes.  I owe two of my 39 readers a reply after I got some very touching feedback via email (pinaynewyorker at gmail dot com) and each one deserves its own post.  Hoping.

Gift of 50 – Postcards and Chicken Sandwich

Gift of 50Life is good.  I keep saying I’m not quite where I want to be yet– but are we ever? And yet I know I’m getting there, because I’m moving towards “happier”.  It’s a deliberate step forward — I’m not waiting for “happy” to find me.  I’m making it happen.

I have much to be grateful for as I hit this birthday milestone, and a few weeks back I started this project for the year I’m calling the Gift of 50. (Please see the navigation bar.).   I have tried to make a list of 50 “gifts” to give back and pay my good fortune forward in thanksgiving for being where I am now.

Postcards on their way. I have been collecting postcards since I was 17 and have amassed a modest collection, but through the years, I have acquired postcards which are not within my collecting category.  I recently rejoined a Philippine Postcrossing group and am well on my way to finding a home for the postcards I don’t want to keep.

It feels good to be able to give someone a card or two (or more) from the cards in my collection which would otherwise just gather dust and turn yellow without much love from me.  I have found the recipients, so I am sorting and putting away the postcards in “packets”, and have started sending out individual ones to those who prefer their postcards sent that way.

As a collector, I know how it feels to receive something to add to your collection, so I am trying to spread the love so to speak.  I am happy to have had the chance to make new friends along the way, and hopefully trim my collection substantially by this time next year.

Chicken sandwiches are in demand, more so since a Chick-fil-a opened nearby.  So far, two meals given out.  I’m still iffy about writing about it, though, although one was impactful in a meaningful sense because I did it while Angelo was with me.  It felt good, he said — and I’m glad to have made that impression.  Paying forward the blessings by sharing with others is one of my goals in doing the Gift of 50.

It’s not just about being good — but being good in a way that makes a difference even to just one individual.

In the mail.  I  have two snail mail cards in the mail:  one to a friend who celebrated a birthday, and one to a classmate from way back who is currently undergoing medical challenges.  I have a second dear friend in the latter category for whom I have a card which will be going out, too.  I have always said time and again that there is something about receiving something you can hold through the post, in this day and age of electronic correspondence.  Nothing beats being able to go back to what was written and said in the card without having to flip a device.  The correspondence is a gift by itself which one can touch and come back to over and over again.

It doesn’t sound like much but I feel I’m moving in the right direction and actually making this happen.. The lunch I had hoped to have with possibly a newfound friend has been scheduled and I am looking forward to that.  I am making my ear candy and other little gifts.  There is a bigger project or two I’m also working on and hoping to get off the ground within the next 11 months or so.  I’ll keep you posted..

Friday Five: Yay!

Friday5

So, okay, this is much delayed.

Life happens.  I’m not apologizing, and it’s another weekend so I’m feeling all chipper.

I tried to write but I seriously did NOT have the time because my real world had me in chains all week, slaving away.  But it’s Friday!

As always, we start with the updates based on the last list that appeared here two Fridays ago:

1.  Sort the fabrics I picked up from Brooklyn over the weekend.   Done!  I’ve even managed to wash a few sets just to make sure that they are good to go once crafted!

2.  Write five topics to write about here and in my craft blog.  I actually managed to complete this for both blogs, but while the idea was that the “drafts” would help me move forward with the blogging, I haven’t been able to hit the pace I was working on.  Still, it got me posting, and there’s a new post for each site.

3.  Gather the books that I hope to read in the coming days and actually write about it.   I have the books, just haven’t had the chance to list them down.

4. Pull together at least one “care package” from the things I hope to destash and send out.  So I’ve been “cleaning up” but have pleasantly rediscovered things I had made and bought over the past two years which I had misplaced.  So yes, I got the one care package started, but haven’t sent out.

5.  List 10 things in the “turning 50 good deeds” to do.  I didn’t quite hit the 10 but managed to write 6, and wrote about it here.  In addition, I have created a page with the post title, Gift of 50,  (see navigation bar on top please) to keep the updates on one page.

I think that wasn’t so bad — even if it took all of two weeks to actually make progress.  Again, I’m not killing myself over this.  So for this weekend, here’s my Friday Five:

1.  Gather the books that I hope to read in the coming days and write a blog post on it.   I might even start drafting this this afternoon.

2. Care package work-in-progress send out.  One of the sets I have to hang on to, but I think I can actually pack the second and send off before next Friday.

3.  Plan the big five-o celebration.  I’m very big on celebrating birthdays and “big” doesn’t actually mean a huge party — I just want a table of friends to toast the big day.  And it’s right around the corner!

4.  Find the loose postcards I want to work on and actually set aside time to get this project started.  We’ll start with identifying a box they can all go into and then I will write about what I hope to do with them.

5.  Draft a craft project calendar.  I’m trying t plan for the year and get things on track — scheduling christmas cards ahead of the holiday season so that they actually get sent, for one, this time around.

It’s been a very busy week work wise and I cannot be more grateful that it is finally Friday.  It’s been one of those weeks where I was too tired at the end of the day to focus on anything else but catch some much needed zzzzzzs.  But the week is over and there’s finally time to recharge and relax.  Tomorrow.

Happy Friday, everyone!

#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.