January 2017 RECAP #MonthlyRecap

Don’t know what to make of my first month of blogging in 2017, but here is the recap. I think I did okay enough. I chilled, but I never forgot to post at least once a week. Give me a new laptop and unlimited access to the Internet and you can bet I can do this more regularly. So until then….

Here’s a recap of my January 2017:

Blog-wise:

(1) Hash potatoes!!!

#MondayMemoirs – (see GASP! I Cook?!!!)

#MondayReviews (none)

#TuesdayTunes (none)

#TVTuesday (see “I am Wonder Woman”) – New hash potato, yay!!! I surprised you with this new hash; surprised myself, too.

#AskWednesday (see (Not My) Interview with Neil Gaiman and Oh, My 2016! (Not My) Interview with Myself) – Still waiting for my friend’s answers to my questions, but I’ve got a lineup and it now includes an event organizer/host.

#WhatsupWednesday (see Best of the Best Philippine Comic Books)

#ThursdayTips (see 5 Ways to Make Use of Google AdWords)

#FeatureFriday (none) – I am honestly annoyed with myself because I don’t have anything for this, GRRR!!!

#FridayFlashdance ( see Bleedin’ Love & Single Ladies)  – As mentioned some months ago, I was going to allot a day featuring dance, so here it is, the first one 🙂

#AnythingDay (see HAPPY 2017!!!!!, Sorry, Augie…, and The A to Z Challenge Announcement)  –  Any day could be about anything. The first one was my first-ever actual video where I spoke directly to the camera just to greet you all a “HAPPY 2017!!!!!” It was a happy post. Unfortunately, what followed was my post saying sorry to our dog, Augie (+RIP)…I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling sorry…The third’s about, well, it’s kind of self-explanatory already, don’t you think?

Considering how many blues I’m seeing above, I think I should be happy as I had been enough of an active blogger. The stats go up and down, but I’m not beating myself up over it as this blog is not a business. I do need to come up with an actual system when it comes to handling blog-related emails, blog visits, and social media accounts, and actually WRITING. If I had all day, I could do all really well. But I don’t.

(3) My Trending Stories. Nothing much to share for now. I mentioned in my imagined self-interview that I’m trying to find my mojo again. That is totally true. I am re-orienting myself again with writing on paper. I restart this month.

(4) A to Z Challenge. I thought of a theme already and have planned out what/who to feature for each letter. But until I am sure I can deliver, I am not revealing anything or giving any clues. And as Plan B, I am also actually listing down ideas for another theme. Aren’t I so focused? ~L~”

Social Media Reach-out:

More bloggers to share, yay!!! If you’re not here, chances are, I’ve already mentioned you in past recaps. But if I haven’t mentioned you yet, nothing personal, okay? Will get to you. This is a mix of regular followers, new followers, and bloggers I follow though they don’t follow me, WordPress or not. I tell you, the way I do things sometimes…

I’m not exactly following a system here. It’s all random. I want to give opportunity to everyone so I mix them all up. Here are my awesome online friends, would-be friends and some wish-I-were-friends-with-but-I follow-them-anyway peeps, in alphabetical order:

 Alice,     Annette,     Anamika,     Basil,     Dee,     Gerry,     John,     Lesley,     Sally,     Sarah

More bloggers to come.

Fiction/Story- and Poetry-writing:

We’ll see what happens.

Literature:

I shared a poll last time, unfortunately, it’s still a tie. Please break the tie and kindly take the poll. Whatever the result after this, I will follow. Cast your vote for me?

Personal:

I said it last time and I’ll say it again: We really wish to have a much better year this year. Had to repeat it because so far, we’ve had two to three negatives to count. We hope for more of the positives this time.

Once Upon a Time, there lived…

I am done talking about The Walking Dead here, but that’s mainly because I now have a hash potato to take care of that,  he he. Meanwhile, again, can you recommend any good series? It doesn’t require a poll, just your contribution in the comments section below. I read somewhere that Once Upon a Time is good. And one blogger I follow actually posts updates on it.

Your thoughts? 😉

Oh, My 2016! (Not My) Interview with Myself #AskWednesday #ThrowbackTwenty16

It’s near the end of January and Chinese New Year’s really near. Thought it’s time to post my 2016 review that I had been intending to do.

However, I did not want to do it the traditional way. And because it’s Wednesday, I thought why not an interview? Not just an interview, but an imagined one with myself. Not just an imagined one, mind you! I asked a few peeps last night (your Wednesday morning, I suppose) to ask me any questions regarding my 2016. Some of them actually gave it much thought. A few silly questions here and there, but we all need silly from time to time.

So, here it…

(Not My) Interview with Myself

Was 2016 good for you?

Yes and no. It’s funny that most of the world unofficially officially declared 2016 as a bad year, The Worst Year, even The Worst Year Ever in History (well, maybe modern history). I understand. 2016 was mean to me and my family and the world in general.

I am rather amazed, though, that I’m not hating on 2016 all that much, regardless of the fact that the negatives certainly outweighed the positives. Must be because I mindfully kept trying to be positive. No more letting depression in my life especially now that I have people counting on me. Maybe that should be my annual goal.

Who were your inspirations in 2016?

MY FAMILY. Family is never cliche, and I know a lot of people would give the same answer because that is the truth. Difficulties and issues aside, family is most precious to me. My husband, our kids, my sister…

Were your finances okay/great?

On the contrary, my dear Watson. Sadly.

What improvements did you do to yourself?

Work-wise, I added a few online-related skills, thanks to our company. On a more personal note,…

  • I read a little more.
  • I blogged more and wrote a little more, though most writing I did was for work. You can check out my monthly recaps, just search for #MonthlyRecap.
  • I opened up more by sharing more personal stuff. Hey, I even made public my Blogspot, although that’s not really making me famous either, LOL!.
  • My bad temper lessened. Change was not easily noticed, but I promise you, it’s there. You can’t really rush these things.

Tell us anything totally new/surprising that you did last year.

  • Became a contributor to My Trending Stories. I’m supposed to say “regular contributor” but I’ve stopped. Just trying to put my mojo back on.
  • Joined a poetry-writing contest. Didn’t win, but at least, I got in.
  • Joined the Cherished Blog Fest for the first time.
  • Raised my voice at half of a fourth-grade class and told them to keep their act together…in front of their mothers! I’m not ashamed. I needed what needed to be done and, by George, it got done! One day, I’ll tell you this little story.

Did you learn something new about yourself? What?

Change is always constant, but I’m probably basically same old-same old. I did learn something quite trivial. I have a terrible sense of direction. That’s not really what I learned as I’ve known that for years. I did learn I’m not just one of a few, rather, there are many of us.

The struggle is real! We become lost to the point of looking stupid. What bothers me, though, is finding out it may not have been always like that, but the brain could have suffered some kind of damage (big or small) that was enough for it to not function the way it’s supposed to. I told you, I can really relate with the woman on that BuzzFeed video.

Best advice you received last year?

“Be patient with the kids.” I have to admit, I still need to keep heeding that advice.

Who would you like to thank (basing on 2016)?

I always thanked people. I really appreciated those who helped me in some way, be it in material ways or just through giving me moral and spiritual support. There were some who gave help without batting an eyelash and demanding for more explanations. There were even those with whom I just happened to tell my problems and they surprised me by volunteering to help. And some, they weren’t able to help in the material sense, but they lent their ears to listen and offered great advice and prayers.

They’re very good people, in my book. They did not willfully ignore me or give me the runaround or criticize me even (a few did, so thankfully, I now know how they are).

What was the biggest fear that held you back in 2016?

Fear to offend certain people so they would not get mad at me and we could keep that little amount of peace among us. In my efforts to avoid conflict, I let them force certain “rules” on me that they actually violated themselves from time to time — how selfish was that? I only did that to keep the peace even though it seemed I was becoming a pushover.

Nevertheless, as I expected based on past history, I may not move an inch from a corner and they would still find something to complain about and try to enforce more rules on me. Worse, they included others in the issue that they put those others’ health, well-being and own relationships at risk. I would not stand for that. So I let them know that I could be civil to them but would not be a pushover.

Of course, I know they are mad right now. Honestly, it’s them creating their own ghosts and problems. I’m just trying to deal with them as civilly and peacefully as I can.

What was the biggest challenge you overcame last year?

Losing my second baby. I really wouldn’t call it “overcoming”. It was something that happened and did not leave me any choice. I still think about her almost everyday. I don’t even care that I’ve got a big tummy now because it reminds me of her. I’m not even sure I’m willing to overcome this. The real challenge is to not be sad looking at babies.

How many Koreanovelas (Korean dramas/TV shows) did you watch?

I’m not exactly a fan of Koreanovelas in general, but I do watch from time to time. Last year, I watched two with my closest roommate (I live in a boarding house on weekdays as I go to work). Watched Healer and Oh, My Ghost. I’m currently kind of following The Queen of the Office (a.k.a. Goddess of the Workplace), Korea’s version of an original Japanese show.

Most embarrassing moment in 2016?

I was thinking about getting ignored, criticized and the runarounds, but no, those were humbling experiences. I can’t think of any answer at the moment, truthfully.

What new life lessons did you learn from 2016?

I tried to rack my brains out, but to be honest, I don’t think I learned anything new and substantial. If anything, the year only emphasized to me what I already knew, be they good or bad. Okay, maybe because of this, I did learn something: to never be complacent about things. 2016 was my eager reminder.

Some reminders:

  • Keep positive.
  • Prioritize family.
  • Don’t be sensitive–deal with it gracefully.
  • Always say thank you to kind people and be sincere about it.
  • Say sorry and be sincere as well.
  • Keep calm, but don’t be a pushover.
  • Recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing and never forget they are around.
  • There will always be people who will put you down either face-to-face and mostly behind your back, so don’t mind them much. It’s their time they’re wasting.

What makes you thankful for 2016?

Just the fact that we are still alive and kicking.

 

That’s it, my 2016. So, how was yours? 🙂

#ThrowbackTwenty15 #atozchallenge2015

First, let me greet you a…

I know we’re so in the second month already of the non-Chinese calendar year, but hey, it is just a few days after the Chinese New Year  🙂 I hope 2016 is treating you all well, so far, better than 2015 did, regardless of whether it was already a great 2015. We always have room for greater things, don’t we? 😉

2015 for me was…for lack of a better term, weird. Weird in the sense that there were stuff that really made it great, and there were parts that made it worse. The good thing is it wasn’t worse than my 2013: The Depression Era. 2015 was a year of highs and lows, gains and losses.

Let’s see…

Last year started great — I got hitched! Yeah, it wasn’t at church, and it was pretty inexpensive and all, and there were several glitches along the way, but it was the happiest day of my life! You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Five more years, or at least, sometime in the future, we’ll probably tie the knot in church this time.

One year after, I gotta say it hasn’t been all-smooth sailing, in fact, it’s been more rough than smooth so far, but I have never, for a second, ever regretted my decision to stick with him through thick and thin. And I don’t think he has either. He’s been very sweet and loving and understanding of all my mood swings and shortcomings…And I just checked his Facebook message for me just now after typing what I just said and I am teary-eyed, and that’s a good thing 🙂 You should see our daily text messages, it’s like we’re still singles in a relationship 😉

Well, January 2015 also brought in something wonderful in our lives. We conceived and we didn’t even know until the second month…Sadly, we didn’t meet her after nine months — she had to leave us in March. I’d like to think it was a she, but really, it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t, if only our Jamie survived.

Can you imagine feeling elated after finding out you’re having a baby, then learning after a week that s/he doesn’t seem to have a heartbeat anymore? Can you imagine the additional stress of waiting after another week to check if the findings are the same and then they are? Now imagine going for a second opinion, getting yet another ultrasound test and still, no heartbeat… (Death, Denial, Depression)

The miscarriage brought in more problems financially-wise. If not for the good people who helped us and are still helping us, my friends and my officemates in particular, there would have been more problems. We are very grateful to them to the nth level.

My medicines did make it tougher to save anything. I had to take this and that to recover. I wasn’t the type to just pop in a pill for anything bothering me so this was kind of a lifestyle change of sort. But while on my two-month recovery, I still got sick at one time, had to visit another OB for that, then got to visit a cardiologist for possible hypertension. That meant more meds.

To make my “vacation” more interesting, for the first time in my entire life, I decided to take on someone’s dare for a physical fight. *GASP!!!* It would be too long to elaborate why, but I was willing to fight for my new family’s honor. I wasn’t going to let anyone wrongly accuse my new family, much less bully or threaten us because of such a lie or false accusation caused by her malicious son. I also did that to actually  avoid more trouble — rather than have her husband make good her threat and challenge my husband, I thought I’d dare the woman instead for a one-on-one between us. After all, she was the one looking for a fight and putting everyone in a bad situation. We weren’t in good terms before, but at least, they just passed by our house and we let them walk.

Take note, I was still somehow in recovery stage. The funny thing was, for all her loud-mouthed personal insults on me, even trying to hurt my feelings by saying I would never have my own child–I wasn’t hurt, by the way–the more I advanced towards her as I challenged her, she kept telling me to come over but she kept retreating. Ha!!! She was all-talk, no walk. Well, she was more like run-away. My poor husband had to keep telling me to just stop it because, of course, he was worried. I know it was not a wise thing to do, but it was better than to just shut up and let them walk all over us. I think I won the battle that day.

What do I mean by “new family”, though? By that, I mean my husband and his kids who have come to live with me. The kids are nice kids, but I admit, they are quite a handful. I have learned what kind of mom I would be — strict. I could be the coolest given the chance, however, current situation calls for a no-nonsense, no-pushover mom. I have learned how hard it really is to be a parent, a stepmom at that, to try to balance being lenient (the kids translate that to being good) and being strict (and that translates to being bad), to try to understand yet not tolerate. Honestly, it’s currently a no-win balancing act, but I’m–we’re–learning. We are forced to a place where we don’t want to be, but we’re trying to find the best way we can. People, especially those around us who are supposed to be the first to understand, can put us down, judge us, talk behind our backs, shout at our faces, but we will not let them break our family…

fam

Let me stop here for now so as not to bore you and to be able to finally post this (this has been a draft for almost two months now!). Will continue…

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This is my “T” post. Can’t believe it’s almost a year already since I began this challenge, but those who’ve followed me and become my friends here can understand why. Thank you  always, guys!

UPDATE (April 1, 2016): Due to my very recent experience, I have honestly lost interest in sharing and the energy to share Part 2 of this post. I wanted to save the best part of 2015 for last, but that best part, my baby, left us just last week. So I think you will understand why I have decided not to continue. Thanks again…

t1

Well, lookie here! My WordPress Blog Report!

This blog is not popular or anything and will probably remain so in a long time, but I am still happy for 2013’s improvement from 2012. Makes me keep on blogging. Thanks to all the peeps who had been a part of my 2013 blogging journey! 😀

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013: The Depression Era

2013-yearend-reviewI don’t really see the number 13 as ominous. Looking at how my year went, though, I know that the person who most let me down was myself (BTW, I speak in the past tense, given that we have only three days to go before 2013 expires). Granted that many factors contributed to the negative stuff, it was in how I reacted to them that mattered. I started out the year all positive and it’s ending in a not-so-good fashion, all thanks to myself.

To be honest, 2012 seemed all so surreal that it was only in 2013 that things really started to sink in emotionally. I thought I was coping very well with the loss of both my parents and the financial burdens brought by the sad events. But as I learned from experts, one does need to go through the Stages of Grief to be able to move on. They don’t necessarily all happen and they don’t normally happen in an expected logical order, not in the way we want them to.

The five stages do not necessarily occur in order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. Many of us are not afforded the luxury of time required to achieve this final stage of grief.

stages-of-grief

To be more brutally honest, I know I went through the Anger (directed at myself, delving on the what-ifs and why-didn’t-Is even when I knew I already did all I could) and the Depression. Hardly a day went by that I wasn’t reminded of at least any one of my parents. Little things could make me tear up in an instant, especially if they were related to family and relationships. Sad things on TV easily made me cry (although happy things had the same effect on me as well).

I had always been easily moved before but I could keep a straight face and you’d never know. However, for some reason, it became very hard to control the emotions–someone would simply be telling a story or I would be listening to music and I would be wiping my eyes immediately. It was overwhelming and embarrassing at times.

Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck. To be pegged as iyakin or one who cried easily was just okay, but then I let other insecurities get the better of me. Insecurity and grief put together is a totally bad combo that can strain relationships. Most people never noticed this about me, but the people I most often interacted with certainly felt the negative vibes from me. Of course, not everyone understood this; they just thought I was being unreasonably difficult, and I was.

I became a self-pitying fool who unwittingly ostracized herself from others, blamed them for it, and felt quite disliked, which was most probably what truly happened after I acted the way I did. I felt so sensitive to somebody’s comments/criticisms, too, that I started dreading going to a weekly get-together, because at the time, that person unintentionally made me feel so much like a bad person and I started questioning myself whether I really deserved to be there still. My energy was on an all-time low.

It’s so hard to explain to you why I felt the way I did without going into more details. The bottom line is, though, I became so much like the opposite of what I was in 2012. I now dub 2013 as my new Officially Worst Year because it was the year I hated myself the most. Mind you, there were a lot of positive things happening in 2013, except when it came to the negatives, the gravity was so strong, pulling down much of my self-love and -confidence.

original-selfThe good thing was I still had the capacity to self-reflect and realize what a pain I had been, and that the worst part was the wounds were self-inflicted. Little by little, I am going back to the Old but Better Me. I know it is working and I know those around me have noticed the changes. I will plant better seeds in my heart and cultivate until I find my Original Self.

So here’s hoping I tell you a happier story next year. I am hoping you’ll have better stories to tell as well 🙂

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This has been the most personal and revealing post about myself, but I felt I needed this. Quite therapeutic, actually. Would you like to share how your year has been, too? Or do you have any reactions/suggestions? Let’s talk. Just write down on the space provided for comments below and let the words flow.