Friday, December 31, 2010

A Final Look Back via Facebook

10 Lessons I've learned in 2010, and will probably continue to learn:
1. Sometimes, things are really difficult.  But there's a lesson to learn from all the difficulties.
2. I am generally a cheerful person, but when I am depressed I need to be able to ask for help.
3. Setting goals is not just about visualizing.  It is mainly about action.
4. I'm pretty good with kids...but I love my teens.
5. Home is the people, not the places.
6. Love comes in all forms.  Sometimes it's in the form of 2 fuzzball kittens, even though you've been considered a "dog person."
7. Connections matter a lot when it comes to getting a job.
8. To appreciate where you're going, you have to appreciate where you've been.
9. If you have found a great travel partner, you are extremely lucky.
10. Hugging is extremely important.

Thanks for the opportunities, 2010.  You were extremely memorable.  But I'm glad to see you go.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Goals!

In the past year, I set out to focus on 5 goals.  I'm proud to say that I had accomplished 3 out of 5 2010 Goals.  But I know there's still more I need to work on.  So, in addition to continuing my remaining goals from 2010, I am adding on 5 more for 2011.

2010 Goals Continuation
1.  Focus more on being healthy and eating smaller portions rather than the number on the scale.
But I also wanted to add that I will not look at the scale as my enemy.  I need to use the scale as a tool, a means to the end rather than just the end.
2.  Learn to let go and move away from things that might be holding me back.
A huge part of this is recognizing what is holding me back, and perhaps moving away from it before I get in too deep.

2011 Goals
1.  Get a full-time job that I feel excited and passionate about.
2.  Go to Mexico with the Goddesses in October!
3.  Learn how to budget and handle my finances better.
4.  Move into a new (and slightly larger) apartment or remove larger pieces of furniture from this apartment to make it seem more roomy.
5.  Relearn basic conversational Tagalog and Spanish.

What are your goals?  Share them in the comments below OR email me and I will post a special blog post dedicated to you.  That way, you can refer to the link throughout the year.

I think it's so important to have accountability partners.  So, I would be more than honored to be yours.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Travels: Maine in a Blizzard

The day we were leaving for Maine happened to be a day when a major blizzard was going to slam the Northeast.  Luckily, the storm was still making its way up through New York before we were on the road.

The boyfriend's dad and step mom live up in Pittsfield, Maine.  They have a gorgeous house that overlooks the Sebasticook River, and there's even a bit more of a pond where they are.

From my previous post on my toesies, I did mention the blizzard.  But here's how it looked from their kitchen window.
In the right side of the picture, you can somewhat see the roof of the sauna.  What's kind of funny is that I seem to have a habit of making my way into the snow during a blizzard.  This year was no exception.  We took the dogs for a walk, and then I made my way into the sauna and back.

There was so much snow that we needed to strap on some snow shoes if we didn't want to swim through it.
Dress, leggings, boots, and snow shoes.
Luckily, the blizzard finally let up on our 3rd day up there.  We were all excited to see the sun, though the wind was still quite biting.  Here's the same view on the following day.
No more blizzard!
When the blizzard let up, the boyfriend's sister and step sister planned to head back to Massachusetts, but we were staying one more night.  This allowed for some girl-time shopping and bonding action with the boyfriend's step mom, step sister, and her two older teenagers before their departure.  It also allowed for some extra time with the family pets.

Maggie and Sophie
It's been nice to have such a full house with the boyfriend's family, young and old and furry.  It's somewhat comforting to have so many animals around.

But we had our own crazy animals to return to.

On our way back to Boston, I pleaded with the boyfriend to make a stop at the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport.  I had been eying 2 coats on their website, mainly because of the price and practicality, but I held back quite a bit mainly due to my finances.  But considering that they had great reviews on the website, and it was on the way, I couldn't resist.

Also, there was a GINORMOUS boot I needed to get a picture with!
L.L. Bean 90th Anniversary Bean Boot
Truth be told, the L.L. Bean style is not really my personal style.  I was really hesitant about going into the store, and I could tell that the boyfriend was hesitant for the same reasons. 

But we were both impressed by the winter coats and shoes.  I'm super excited to be more warm this winter!
Super warm!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tosies of the Month - December 2010

There was definitely a moment where I wasn't sure if this was going to happen.  At some point, I just realized that I would be fairly busy, and might not have time to sneak in a pedicure.

But, I managed to sneak one in between a job interview and getting my best friend from South Station.

I was in the Government Center and Downtown Crossing area of Boston, so I had Googled nail salons before leaving the house.  I didn't check up on the reviews at all, and figured that I would just take the chance on the first one I came to.

Well, I'd have to say that when you get a good nail person or salon, it's really hard to find another that lives up to it.  The place I went to definitely left a lot to be desired.

I love my nail color, though!  I ended up painting my fingers on my own prior to official holiday festivities.

Now, I didn't get a picture of the pedicure until earlier today, though I actually went on last Wednesday, the 22nd.

Okay, so I personally feel that if a nail technician brings me a bunch of design samples and asks me to choose one, I get a bit disheartened.  I've talked about how I prefer to have the nail technician do whatever design on their own.

So, since I was getting this for the holidays, I picked a design that looked kind of like fireworks.  But here's what they actually look like.
Designed by Katie at Nail Time, Boston, MA
Color: Sephora by OPI - 212 Sephora
Occasion: Holidays
December 2010
I will explain more about this picture in a second.

The nail technicians were so lucky that I LOVE this color!  Here's a better view of it via the Sephora website.
212 Sephora
It's described as "opaque smoky black with iridescent, gold and copper chunky glitter."  Absolutely a fabulous color for the holidays, in my personal opinion.  To me, it's all about that glitter.  To me, it's my light within the dark - something I'm still holding onto in the midst of the unemployment.

Alright, now for the picture explanation.

The boyfriend and I are currently in Maine, and his dad has built a sauna on their property.  I'm generally not much of a sauna person, because I get a bit claustrophobic and unsure whether I'm actually breathing.  But I wanted to be adventurous.

Now, considering that we were in the midst of a blizzard, it felt somewhat appropriate to go down to the sauna.  I believe we were in there for almost an hour, but I kept wussing out and needing to take a break in the changing area.  The boyfriend's dad and brother-in-law were more brave than I could ever be and would dive into the fluffy snow.  But I would just step out onto the steps for a bit.

Considering how hot it was in the sauna, the freezing snow was almost more refreshing than anything else.  Then heading back into the hot steaminess was also great after the freezing cold.

So, this was proof of my slight braveness in this crazy winter weather.  Perhaps a sign of things to come in the upcoming year?  Perhaps more light among the darkness and more bravery?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Traditions

As the boyfriend and I drive up to Maine with a blizzard on our tail, I am looking forward to closing my first Christmas away from my family with his family.

In being on the East Coast on my own, I've had to really create my own little family and traditions here so that I wouldn't be so lonely.

While I have some summer traditions like the August party in Vermont and checking out free events, I haven't really had too many winter traditions.  I enjoy spending time with my family for the holidays, expecially for the massive amounts of food and guaranteed good times.

Well, I'd have to say that it's been a wonderful Christmas of building new traditions.

With my best friend visiting from New York City, she really helped me to feel the cheery spirit of the holidays.  She captured it perfectly when she said that she got to see family and then felt ready for the holidays.
Then I got to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my Boston Family.  There was Polish and Indian food cooked at home, and different types of cakes.  There was lots of laughter, lots of stories, and new faces.

Being the youngest of the group, I had the job of handing out presents.  When my family hands out the presents a little after midnight, we usually hand out all the presents and then everyone opens it all up at once.  It's like a really fun free-for-all.  But I had to learn a little bit of patience, since everyone got to open up their presents one at a time.  It was neat seeing what everyone got.

I also got to participate in a Yankee Swap/White Elephant, which I had always watched my older relatives participate in.  It was exciting to be included in the appropriate age group this year.

On the night of Christmas, I got to participate in some "Jewish Christmas" action in one of Boston's many Chinatown restaurants.

I'm still trying to figure out what traditions I would want for my own, but it was neat to participate in others traditions this holiday.  It gives me a bigger basket to choose from later on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse and Winter Solstice

Almost as if to remind us that today is the official start of winter, it finally snowed in Boston yesterday.

It was weird for me to feel like I really needed to see some snow on the ground, especially considering that I knew I would not enjoy walking through it.  But it was a pleasant sight to see.
First snow!
There's something about how quiet the city seems to get when it's snowing.  Though part of it might be because people are staying indoors, I feel like there's a certain serenity to watching the snow fall from the sky.  There's also the fact that the first snowfall is so clean.  It's almost like a cleansing ritual.

Then, in the early hours, there was also a lunar eclipse.  For the first time in over 370 years, the lunar eclipse coincided with the winter solstice.

Truth be told, it's hard for me not to hope that it means that the tides are changing.  Considering that the days are just going to get longer after so much darkness, I'm really hoping it's some metaphor for life right now.  Perhaps it's a good time to consult the tarot cards.  Perhaps it's a good time to start changing our perspectives on all the negative things that have happened in the past several months.

Here's to the hope that this solstice is bringing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Gloves

Apparently, I have strangely bionic thumbs.  I have these awesome pair of gloves that I've loved for 2 years, but my thumbs have managed to burrow a hole out of the thumb part.

Now, the gloves are woven wool, with a felt lining.  Super comfy, super cute, and matches with all my outfits.

I've asked several friends to fix them, but my thumbs still manage to burrow a new hole.
Sad thumbs...
I guess I could invest in more intense gloves.  But I love these gloves.  They keep me extremely warm and they're really cute.

I got them 2 years ago at the Cultural Survival Bazaar.  This weekend, I returned to the Cultural Survival Bazaar to seek a new pair.

Well, I am happy to say that I found myself a new and better pair!
Happy thumbs!
These gloves, while not necessarily all green like I'd like them, have thumb flaps!  So, if my thumbs were to attempt burrowing out of the gloves, they could just un-hood themselves.

Friday, December 17, 2010

In the Next 2 Weeks

Sometimes, I lose sight of the awesomeness that surrounds me, and I'm reminded that the people are really a huge part of why I'm still on the East Coast.  My friends here are a true testament of the awesomeness of humans.

I feel like my holidays are now completely full of awesome.  And it started with a good friend who gave the boyfriend and I are short strand of Christmas lights.

Truth be told, I teared up a little bit in the backseat of his car when I saw what he gave us.  I had been really sad about not being able to really decorate since the kitties would probably just attack anything I put up, but I also didn't want to have to spend too much money just to decorate.  But this helped to get me energized for the Holidays.

While I couldn't justify buying a tree, I thought that my Bamboozle would be a great alternative.
Oh Bamboozle
With that, I'm feeling more ready for the holiday.

I realized that I couldn't just isolate myself and fall further into depression, so I reached out to my dear friends and now I feel like my remaining 2010 is full.

December 22nd - 23rd - My best friend is coming up from NYC!
December 24th - 25th - Cooking, baking, feasting with my lovely fellow BUSSW friends!
December 26th- 29th - Feasting, snowman building/snow angel making, sauna-ing in Maine with the boyfriend and his family.
December 30th - Prepare for New Years.
December 31st - January 1st - Ring in 2011!

There are 2 full weeks left in 2010.  And now I have a plan to spend it hugging, eating, and laughing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Won't Be Home for Christmas

This past weekend, I realized that this Christmas was going to be extremely different from previous years because this would be the first year that I would spend it away from my family.

Since the boyfriend hadn't seen his dad and stepmom since September 2009, I thought that he should definitely spend it with them.  I also wanted to try spending Christmas on the East Coast, and hope for a white Christmas.

Unfortunately, his family dynamics are quite different from mine, and I knew that he wouldn't really reach out to them unless I was coming with him.  So, I had been pushing for him to find out what the plans were for Christmas.  It was taking him a while to get in touch with his dad, and he suddenly admitted that he was just worried that there would be family drama.

At that point, I really realized how different this year is going to be.  While I'm sure it will be an enjoyable and happy holiday, it is definitely going to be different from what I'm used to.

I'm used to tons of (Filipino) food, tons of people, tons of gifts, gift opening at December 24th/12 midnight/December 25th (not the morning of the 25th), loud conversation, and lots of laughs.
Christmas 2009
Last year, the boyfriend got to spend Christmas with my family, when the previous year he had to spend it by himself (due to some family drama).  I figure I need to spend Christmas with his family as well.

With some things coming up for me in terms of my family, I've talked about how I've felt like separating myself a bit.  But, I'm also nervous about my expectations getting in the way of my enjoyment.

I do miss my family, and I'm sad that I'm not going to be with them this year.

But on the other hand, I feel like this is part of growing up.  If I were married, we would have to negotiate the holidays, especially considering that I couldn't expect my partner to be family-less or to not spend time with his family.

I have tons of friends who are already spending holidays away from their families.  This is just the first time I'm doing so.  And really, it's up to me to make it something of my own with my own little family on the East Coast.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Without Family

For a while, I've felt that something was wrong.  Something didn't feel right in my world.  I wasn't sure what it was, and I didn't know how to ask about it.

Then today, I got confirmation.

For a while, I knew that my family was probably not happy with how I dealt with my grandmother's passing in February.  I'm sure that part of it is that I was living across the country, and didn't have to see her diminishing.  However, I also had the clearest head about it.

In her final 2 months, my grandmother was having health issues upon health issues.  She was less and less able to climb the stairs to our room.  She was forgetting things and she was regressing a bit.

It's not the kind of life I would want for any of my family.

I was extremely sad to see the end of her life be so painful.  I knew that her body needed to be at rest, and I anticipated it much easier than a lot of my family did.

While I anticipated that some of my family would be angry at me for mourning differently, I didn't anticipate that my actions would be misunderstood by my family.

Being the eldest of my 2 siblings, my natural inclination is to be the caretaker.  I'm sure that is what has lead me to my chosen profession. 

So, I knew that my inclination was to be the strong caretaker when my grandmother passed.  I wanted to make sure my siblings were okay, that my cousins, aunts, and uncles were okay, and that my mom (most of all) was okay.

The weekend of my grandmother's wake was a busy weekend.  Emotionally, that is.

On Friday night, I took the Fung Wah Bus to New York to be with my best friend.  Saturday morning, we drove to Connecticut to get her things from her ex-husband's house.  Later that evening, I took the bus back to Boston.  Early Sunday morning, the boyfriend and I flew to Los Angeles to join my family for my grandmother's wake.
Skies Over Flights
As we drove to the funeral home, I could feel the exhaustion.  It was going to be a long day, and I had a lot of people to be strong for.

At some point, the boyfriend wanted to go back to the house to watch the Superbowl.  He's a huge football fan, and he didn't want to miss the game.  I drove him back and decided to take the opportunity to rest my eyes and my energy just for a couple of hours.

Then after having some food to regain some energy, I rejoined my family at the wake.

Well, apparently, some people in my family assumed that I left the wake to watch the Superbowl and be with the boyfriend instead of with them.

Actually, I'm sure that some of my family members were angry that I even brought the boyfriend at all.  But he and I were staying in Los Angeles for 2 weeks after the wake to house sit, so of course he flew out with me.

So, okay, fine.  I suppose I didn't need to take a nap from such an exhausting weekend.

But, if they were angry at me for leaving them, why did I have to find this out in December?  If they were angry or frustrated or disappointed at me, why didn't they bring it up to me when those feelings first came up?

I'm hurt that that's what they thought of me.  I'm frustrated that my trying to stay strong was misunderstood.  Sure, I anticipated that they might not understand that I chose to be strong in front of my family, while I cried and mourned privately.  But I didn't anticipate that they would hold on to their misconceptions for so long.

I'm disappointed that they didn't feel like they could talk to me about those things.  But what am I supposed to do that about it?  I can't change the way they mourned and I can't change the way they want to deal with their emotions.

All I can do is speak for myself, on my behalf, and hope that I wouldn't be misunderstood.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Microwaveable

When I was younger, I marveled at how my mom knew just how long food items needed to be microwaved.  It seemed like she just had this sixth sense about it.

For some reason, I assumed that it was just some magical power that one acquired when they became a mom. 

Now that I'm older, I obviously don't think it's any magical power anymore.  Instead, I've learned that it's a lot of trial and error.  And in our old apartment, it's a lot of waiting time since we can't microwave for more than 1 minute or 1:30 at a time.

However, I so appreciate when our dishware is microwavable.
Microwave safe!
We have a random assortment of plates, some more functional than others.  But, if we were in need of a quick reheating of our food, not being able to find a plate or bowl that we can heat up our food in can get a bit annoying.

One day, when we have less of a college/bachelor-assortment of plates, I look forward to owning an arsenal of practical, microwavable, and stylish dishware.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

City Sights - All Lit Up

December 2010
Western Ave, Cambridge, MA
My friends and I debated whether it was about baseball,
or if there were actual bats.
We were all wrong:
Hacked Sign

December 2010
Winchester St, Brookline, MA
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.
You even know Rudolph.
But did you know about Delphy the Christmas Dolphin?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Late Because of Busy

Well, I am glad to say that I didn't have enough time to sit down and write this blog post on Sunday.  So, here it is on Monday.

But that is actually what I'm feeling was pleasurable.  Quite pleasurable, in fact.

As I cataloged in my last blog post, I had a full weekend of activity.  I'll be the first to admit that there was a moment (specifically at 2 in the morning on Sunday when Mencken would not stop having a crazy fit around the apartment) when I wasn't sure if I was going to survive the weekend.

It's been a long time since I've felt useful, productive, and busy.  I'm usually a workhorse, and I will push myself quite far before I realize I need to take a step back.

But this weekend, as full as it was, also left my heart incredibly full.  With a show, a gig, a shopping experience, and a party behind me, I am feeling a wonderful glow that can only come from having a successful weekend.

I'm still feeling extremely proud of myself for doing as much as I did this weekend.  I'd like a little more of that, please.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Rush

I don't know what it is about the holidays that makes the days just completely blur by.

Whenever the first of the month hits, I'm never ever prepared for it.  The sad part is that I usually never remember that it's the first of the month until I'm waiting for the T and realize I don't have an updated pass.
T-pass! Git yer T-pass here!
This December 1st seemed to start off in a similar fashion.  I'm lucky that I have an extra T-pass that has some cash on it for when friends have visited.  But I was nearly in a panic as the bus showed up, and I wasn't sure if I would have enough to get me where I needed to go and back.

As December 1st closed, I realized that the month has basically gone by in a flash just from booking and planning different events throughout the month.

This first weekend is going to be crazy busy!

Friday:  Dress Rehearsal for Raks Nativity
Saturday:  Raks Nativity show, then a dance gig at a friend's birthday party
Sunday:  Bizarre Bazaar, then an Athena's party

I have to admit that I started feeling nervous about how well this upcoming weekend is going to go, especially when I realized that I ran and got on the wrong bus.

But on the other hand, it's extremely exciting that things feel like they're busy and productive.

There are days when I wake up, and just lay in bed for a couple minutes almost dreading all the free time.  Though I know I have a lot of different things to do (like work on my nonprofit idea, or apply for jobs, or work on my Athena's stuff, or practice dance, or work out), it just feels difficult working without a schedule.

I'm still trying to write my own schedule, but it feels so strange.  I know most people would kill for a chance like this.  I'm really quite appreciative that I actually have time to actually fill up, as opposed to being so busy that I don't even have time to hang with my boyfriend.

But it still doesn't necessarily fix my lack of financials.

Still, and I know I'm starting to ramble a bit here, I'm quite excited to have such a busy weekend - one in which I will be making money.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Goddess Holiday Promotion

In my "other life," I am hosting a 12-day special where folks can get 20% off their orders.

So, please check out my other blogger persona at sea goddess dancing for the rules and to enter.

Thanks folks!

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