Thursday, January 31, 2013

February Challenge: In Which Blogger Won't Let Me Use Symbols

I’m calling my February challenge "Heart/Love Symbol" Strong. Besides it being completely adorable, it’s timely and appropriate considering it’ll be Valentine’s Day, however commercialized that is. But before I go into details about what "Heart/Love Symbol" Strong entails, here’s a recap.

 January was a mixed bag. I could have been nicer to baristas. I could have exercised more. (I didn’t even go to the gym once!) Surprisingly, I’m not beating myself up over not meeting or starting certain goals as much as I normally would have. As long as I keep trying and never give up, then I know I’ll be fine!

For the Triumphant moments, there were a couple of stand out moments. I cooked a real Filipino meal for a houseful of people and no one got sick! I also started attending a monthly Writers Group! It was nice to have a rough draft of a complete short story!

My Commitment to Literacy is going well. Volunteering at the Children’s Book Bank has been, for the most part, rewarding especially when the people are incredibly passionate about books. Working at Green Bean Books has been great even if I do feel exhausted sometimes. A little girl said “Thank you, Mr. Book Man” to me after I rang her up the other day. It’s those little moments that remind me why I love books and why I want to promote reading as much as possible. My other blog, “Chronicles”, has gotten 34 replies so far this year which means that almost 3 dozen books will be donated!

And, now, for "Heart/Love Symbol" Strong.

The first aspect is Relationships. While I’ve decided to not to be so closed off (as in, for the longest time, my mindset was to be single forever), the real focus here is still Family and Friends. I’m looking forward to hanging out- and making plans to do so. I’ll be buying my plane tickets to Vegas once I cash my paycheck! “29 Again” will be Festive!

The second aspect is to be Heart Healthy. I’ve asked my friend for an easy-to-prepare Vegetarian meal I can make. I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables (at least one serving of either one every day) and less fast food (probably, no fast food at all February 10-28). For my monthly cooking challenge, I was thinking of baking some sort of chocolaty dessert but perhaps I’ll make carrot zucchini muffins instead.

Of course, I’ll have to make of an effort to exercise more. While I probably can’t afford a gym membership again, I can exercise in the comfort of my room everyday. Goals aren’t effective without specific, quantitative points so I’ll have to figure this out more.

The third aspect is to Do What You Love. I’m excited about writing again. I love being a bookseller and I just want to keep getting better at it. I just have to manage my time better to do everything I want! Plus, if I’m serious about going back to school to be a teacher, I need to look into that more. (Of course, I also need to do something about finding an additional job!)

And, I just want to say thank you to everyone who takes time out of their busy lives to read this and replies to my Facebook or Twitter pages or any of my blogs. Like when I was feeling bleh, and you guys shared the goals you were working on and the books you were reading. That made my "Heart/Love Symbol" "Happy Face Symbol."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

IN WHICH you’ll eat what may be the best or worst food of your life

No one has reported getting food poisoning so I’m going to declare the dinner a success.

One of my goals for the longest time had been to learn how to cook a meal. And I finally went through with it!

I always thought I would make some sort of Italian dish- fettucine alfredo with chicken and vegetables- since that’s my favorite. But I think it’s because I’ve also been trying to reconnect with my Filipino culture that I decided on pancit and lumpia. Those were definitely food I remember growing up and which I enjoyed eating.

I also decided to invite a few people since I didn’t want to go through all the trouble to cook for myself. Where’s the fun in that? In the end, there would be 16 people (including myself) and I’ve got to say I was overwhelmed. But I’m so appreciative to everyone who came to the dinner, brought a meal or drinks, helped out, actually ate the food, and didn’t get sick. (And, thanks to my Mom for giving me the recipe and instructions!)

The best part for me wasn’t being able to finally cross this item off my list but seeing people come together. Thanks, again!

Filipino Fun Facts cards that I made so there would be an educational component to the evening!

Filipino Fun Facts cards- Basic information
Filipino Fun Facts cards- A very abstract rendition of the Philippines

Filipino Fun Facts cards- The flag

Filipino Fun Facts cards- The alphabet

Filipino Fun Facts cards- Someone said I should have mentioned Corazon Aquizon, the 11th President of the Philippines, and the first (and, so far, only) woman to have held that office.

Filipino Fun Facts cards- Phrases

Filipino Fun Facts cards- Phrases

Filipino Fun Facts cards- A little information about the food being served

Filipino Fun Facts cards- Some more phrases. I tried to pick ones that people might actually end up using in everyday life

Ingredient for the pancit

Ingredient for the lumpia

Lumpia wrappers

Carrots. Not fingers.



My super helper of the evening!

Another helper! Another Asian!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


2013 will be TRIUMPHANT! I know I used the term already during my Season of Service, Summer of Spark challenge in August but that was one of the best and productive times of my life. And since it worked so well then, I figured I might as well continue it throughout the year.

One of my focuses is to DO LESS but with MORE MEANING. Last year, I volunteered 315 hours. I’ll continue to volunteer. I have my regular shifts for Multnomah County Library and the Children’s Book Bank. Helping out at so many organizations has taught me (1) to try new things and (2) what I like and don’t like to do. It’s helped me realize that I should be focusing on what I want and like to be doing.

I read 324 books last year. Because of my multiple reading challenges (Caldecott, Dr. Seuss and A to Z Picture Book Series), working at a children’s bookstore, and just because I enjoy those kinds of books anyway, 247 were picture books, including 9 board books. My goal was to read at least 60 books and I ended up reading 77. This year, I want to get more out of the books I read.

As I’ve mentioned in my other blog, “The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer,” my other focus is my Commitment to Literacy. If I can get everyone I know to get a library card and/or (but preferably and) to read at least one book this year, then I’d be happy/ happier. If this post has made you do any of those things, let me know. If you already have a library card, tell me. If you’ve read a book this year already, please share your thoughts on it with me.

Also, for every comment on that blog, I will donate a book to the Children’s Book Bank. (I have blog goals as well which you can read there.)

I want to be better at my work. I love bookselling and I love recommending titles to our customers so a way I can do this is to read books we get in store. Another thing I can do is to figure out how to let people know about us.

I want to be a better board member. Stepping up to chair the Marketing and Membership committee, I need to get more members to join and more people to like our Facebook and Twitter pages.

I want to go back to school and get the degrees necessary to become an educator. I’m sure I’m still going to be a writer (eventually) but while that’s not happening at a pace to my liking, I figured I’d focus on something I’m equally passionate and interested about. To me, they tie in together with my Commitment to Literacy.

Here are some of other my goals:
-Remember people’s names
-Be nicer to baristas
-Be less gossipy (Although, I think I tend to share information or opinions more than I actually gossip)
-Lose 10 pounds
-Exercise more- at least 45 minutes and doing other things besides walking and the elliptical
-Eat less fast food
-Build my savings back up
-No more lending money
-Read more local and new authors
-Complete my Agatha Christie collection
-Buy from a local bookstore once a month
-Read at least 60 books that aren’t picture or board books
-Read the books in my bookshelf
-Finish my A to Z Picture Book Series Reading Challenge
-Read all of Eric Carle books
-Learn how to cook
-Watch the Star Wars and Brat Pack movies
-Monthly write
-Go to Vegas for my 30th birthday in April
-Send out new Christmas cards
-Go to San Francisco for Christmas?
-Save money to go to the Philippines Christmas 2014

Please feel free to share your resolutions with me!

I know that most of my accomplishments are in part due to people helping, encouraging, and supporting me and I know that will continue to be the case. Here’s to a TRIUMPHANT year to all of us!