A quick, random update. I still don’t sleep early, I haven’t had the chance to try Singapore Airlines’ 8380 plane just yet, driving (especially atras) still bewilders me, I missed all the writing classes given by Barbara Gonzalez last year, and I still am not as shameless and/or thick-faced when it comes to raising funds for the Blood Program of the Red Cross.
The good news is I have fresh flowers around the house more often, Richard and I were able to invest wisely, so I now have a fully-stocked sewing kit (with the DMC threads I wanted in many colors!), I do not eat as much red meat anymore, I have truly hugged and loved a dog (I’m really happy to have you in the house, Lala! Okay, okay — you too, Gaston!), and I continue to hope for, believe in, and expect happy endings in everything.
I am reassessing the list of things I said I would do in 2008, the same one I shared with you around this time last year, and as lists go I have accomplished some, failed miserably at a few, and totally forgotten about the others.
Bravely and transparently, I share with you again my new list for 2009, obviously and in no unnecessary terms an appendage to the ones from last year that I have either only half-completed or not at all. So help me God (I do not say that lightly, by the way). And like I always say, happiness is also the journey, not just the destination. On that note I say go ahead, make your own new list joyfully, truthfully and unapologetically, and take childlike pleasure in seeing your dreams and wishes, both big and small, come true!
1. Scatter perhaps half a dozen scissors in different areas in the house, most notably the kitchen, the bathroom (to open packages, destroy the safety seals on toiletries, cut tags without ruining clothes), the living room, each desk, all the bedrooms. It will save you and everyone else precious time instead of running around, looking for that one pair of scissors that keeps hiding just when you need it most.
2. Settle for nothing less than wash-and-wear hair (find someone who cuts hair really well, whose fingers and talents are worthy of being patented, and stick to that person!).
3. Still on hair, as much as possible use a ceramic flat iron; ceramic will always be kinder than metal.
4. Instead of buying generic and fancy storage boxes, keep an eye out for pretty tins that can be recycled and used to hold everything from extra buttons that come with new clothing items, loose buttons and beads that fall off and need to be reattached, coins, brooches, handwritten notes, ribbons that need to be ironed. The prettiest cans come as special editions from such sweet shops as Krispy Kreme (I bought a darling green and white dotted one late last year), Marks and Spencer (I was there a few days back, looking for tights but instead came across cookies that I wanted so badly to hoard if only for the tin cans that came with them in different vintage designs).
5. Use pretty card stock from generic greeting cards and brochures, cut them up and make them into pretty little gift tags!
6. Wrap presents as soon as I buy them. I love buying gifts the whole year round and I store them in my little “gift cabinet.” That’s where I “shop” when it is someone’s birthday or I need a hostess gift. But I’m thinking that maybe I should wrap them prettily almost as soon as I buy them, stick on little labels for easy identification in the future, and when I do need to grab and go I only have to put on a bow and attach a handwritten note. How easy is that?
7. Experience Claude Tayag’s delicious cooking in his Bale Dutung, try his wife Maryann’s aged vinegar, and be all the happier for doing just that one very fine day. Call 888-5163 for inquiries, or e-mail email@example.com.
8. Buy the Tempur Wedge Pillow. I work on the computer a lot lying in bed and I get so engrossed that, before I know it, my back hurts and my neck is strained. The Tempur Wedge Pillow feels like heaven on my back.
9. Put a vanilla bean pod in the jar of white sugar we keep in the kitchen. That way, simple everyday cups of coffee and sugar will feel, and taste, like an extra special treat.
10. Order custom-made good linen for all our collapsible tables.
11. Buy nice, fluffy white towels. I saw beautiful ones in Egyptian cotton from Debenhams.
12. Go to bed earlier, and be deep in sleep between the 11 p.m. to 3 p.m. window that experts say is the optimum time when our organs regenerate. Heaven help me, I do not remember the last time I was in bed before 11 p.m.!
13. Rediscover my favorite snack — egg — and the many wonderful snacks that can be made using it. Lately, I have just been craving it in simple scrambled glory, drizzled with truffle oil and sprinkled with a little salt.
14. Try a fried egg sandwich, the decadent recipe of which I came across in the book Alphabet for Gourmets by M.F.K. Fisher: in a pan (guiltlessly) fry an egg in meat drippings until the yolk is cooked through and the texture becomes almost leathery; remove the egg from the pan; butter one side only of two slices of bread; fry the buttered side only in the meat drippings; sandwich the fried egg in between, then wrap in wax paper unless you consume it immediately. The sandwich, as a result of being fried on one side only, will be crispy on the outside, soggy on the inside.
15. Try the Monroe bread from Jipan bakeshop. Dunked in hot chocolate, my Tita Inday swears by it!
16. Stretch every morning when I wake up. I cannot reach my toes on straight knees, try as I may, and Richard says it is because the hamstrings on both my legs are too tight. I am so not flexible, but I would like to change that this year. To achieve that, I must take baby steps, every day. Stretching, Ms. Ednah Ledesma (my dance teacher) says, will also help my dancing, making my movements bigger and my extensions better.
17. Buy a little copper pot and learn to make jam from scratch. We received a lovely bottle of homemade mango jam over the holidays, from Tita Lydia Valdes, and we’ve eaten it with everything from crackers to bread with butter, even porkloin with gravy. The thought of learning to make my own jam and marmalade excites me. I’d love to learn how to make tomato jam, too!
18. Enjoy fruitcake the whole year round. Fruitcake has gotten such a bad rap that hardly anyone ever gives it as a gift anymore. But I love a good fruitcake and I feel lucky to have received three good ones last Christmas.
19. Learn to deftly use the portable sewing machine that Tito Dougs gave me!
20. Go to my acupuncturist religiously. I am hoping acupuncture will help regulate my sleeping habits in addition of course to harmonizing whatever it is in my body that needs harmonizing so I can get pregnant with baby number 2!
21. Go to Las Vegas and watch the Pacquiao versus Hatton fight in May.
22. Visit Koh Samui in Bangkok.
23. Learn to make really good biscotti, peanut brittle and butter toffee cookies.
24. Rediscover Lego, one of my favorite toys growing up. I touched Lego again for the first time after maybe 20 years and I felt all weepy with happiness. I was on cam when that happened and I really tried my best to stop my tears because I was just so happy, and it reminded me of such a happy childhood (but who would understand why the sight of Lego made me cry?). I want to buy a Lego house set the next chance I get and just play with it. I will introduce it to Juliana because I don’t think she has discovered it yet. What joy that will be!
25. Guiltlessly enjoy the games Ratatouille and Cooking Mama on Juliana’s DS. I really think there is a cook hiding inside me. Why else do I love food so much, enjoy cooking shows like anything, hoard and get excited at the sight of recipe books?
26. Be more curious about the way things are made and done. A little more knowledge is always a good thing.
27. Not complain even when there is something to complain about. In Joyce Meyer’s The Power of Simple Prayer she says that complaining actually hinders God from pouring His blessings on us. Instead, we should focus on everything that we should be grateful for. It is the latter that will encourage Him to bless us even more.
28. Write much, and more often, even if there are no deadlines to meet.
29. Hang a series of photos in unexpected places, like the curved wall in our kitchen, for example.
30. Update all the lists I love to make and highlight those that already came true! The time to be grateful starts now!
31. Read and reread Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.
32. Be more diligent and prompt in responding to e-mail and sending handwritten “thank you” notes.
33. Staple all the little scraps of paper I scribble notes onto inside a blank book. That way, no idea I have gets lost and I will have a diary of sorts.
34. Go back to Paris.
35. Watch more of Martha Stewart and Ina Garten on the Lifestyle Channel.
36. Pray that Dirty Sexy Money and Gossip Girl do not get cancelled after this season!
37. Turn our bedroom into a relaxing space, where everything has a place and everything is in its place.
38. Watch more movies! Look for the original Wuthering Heights.
39. Find time to work with my hands, give life to all the little craft projects running around in circles in my mind.
40. Have the façade of the house repainted.
41. Fix the garden (again). The pole bamboos have grown lush and tall. But they have also succeeded in blocking the sunlight, thus the grass has dried and died in patches. It is sad. But maybe something can be done…
42. Eat ice cream with milk always. Have you tried it this way? You pour about half a cup of fresh milk in a serving of ice cream. Yum.
43. Have at the ready Soft Batch cookies that I can heat anytime the craving surfaces. I love cookies and I have yet to meet a cookie I did not fall in love with in some way.
44. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
45. Give more of myself, my time and resources to those God sends my way.
46. Continue doing yoga. Kris Aquino and I are classmates, she turned me on to it, and though I have only been there once I truly feel it is something I could do for a long time to come. I love the feeling after and the fact that the one-hour session seems only like 20 minutes is something I take as a very good sign.
47. Learn to do the samba really well.
48. Buy only clothing items and accessories I know I will want to keep and pass on to Juliana.
49. Yes, raise more funds for the Red Cross Blood Program!
50. Always have kimchi from Lee Song on hand.
51. Love more.
52. Stretch my heart to love even the most unlovable.
53. Watch more local concerts, patronize OPM, and buy local products.
54. Be diligent in taking vitamins.
55. Conquer the basement!
56. Have more small dinners at home.
57. Wear perfume to bed.
58. Do the Indoboard really well, so I can strengthen my inner core.