Highlight of My Year

The year 2010 seemed to have just breezed by. 

I don’t know why but as we get older, the days just pass quickly.  You wake up on a Monday (sometimes grudgingly), do your work or your errands… before you know it, it’s midweek already… and then it’s the weekend… and then you’re back to Monday. Unlike when we were young and the days seemed endless.  You stay in school for what feels like a very long time, but in reality, it’s just a school year.  Or remember those endless summer days and nights?  They just seemed, well, endless…

endless days

The last two weeks of December was a blur.  It was a series of Christmas parties, reunions, dinners and lunches.  It was mostly fun, somewhat tiring, and a whole lot fattening.  I think I gained about five pounds just these past couple of weeks.  THAT is definitely NOT the highlight of my year. 

I have to say, though, that I have honed my entertaining skills given the number of times I hosted a Christmas reunion/party at home this year.  Not bad for someone who used to be afraid of having guests at home.  Like I told a friend of mine, I was truly channeling Giada de Laurentiis these past two weeks!

sample of my feast

Right now I am preparing — yet again —  for another gathering… New Year’s countdown this time.  But before I turn on the domestic diva mode, let me recall the things that happened this year (2010) that pretty much stood out.

—  We moved to a new house end of 2009, and was fully settled by January.  Fully settled meaning most of the house is fully decorated.  However, we kept tweaking some parts — add tiles here, put a roof there, add glass and wood on the fence, etc… thus,  basically the relationship with the architect is long lasting.

— I became more hospitable, more welcoming… I learned how to warmly receive guests.  I used to be afraid of big parties at home.  I dreaded having to fix up afterwards.  For some reason, after we moved to the new house, my perspective changed.  I looked forward to having guests.  We have a group that meets at my home almost every other week.  I have thrown countless parties — and enjoyed every minute of organizing them.  One thing I learned, as I opened my house, I basically opened my heart to people, as well. 

— I started to write regularly again.  Thanks to this blog, I am able to do something that I am passionate about.  I may not be able to write as often as I want, but I do try.  And it’s the perfect outlet.  I love, blogging.

— A favorite writer of mine posted a comment on one of my blogs. Yey!  I almost died of shock, but yey! just the same. Did I say I love blogging?!

— I met new friends and got closer to old ones.  My baseball family is really like family.  I believe all those games helped strengthen the bond between us.  It is good to know that there are people who will look after my son when I’m not around… the same way that they can trust me with theirs when the need arises.  I am also thankful for the blog friends that I found this year.  Who would have thought?  I started blogging just with the goal of somehow being read by someone… I never expected I will form friendships along the way.  A big bonus… or better yet, a blessing. 

— We got a dog.  A yellow labrador. Now a big, yellow labrador. A big, yellow labrador that drags me around the garden whenever I am the one holding him.  I used to be afraid of dogs.  I didn’t like the noise, the smell and the thought that they might bite my legs.  But now I know what googly puppy look means.  My big labrador gives me that look and my heart just melts. I love this dog to bits!

— Sometime during the year I realized I was losing some jewelry.  The thing was, I couldn’t just accuse anyone.  Given the number of workers who went in and out of the house (because it has been a work in progress, like I said), I had no proof.  I was heartbroken.  For some time I didn’t know who to trust, how to trust… But then I guess the most important learning that I had given the incident was that after all that has happened, one’s relationships with people are still more important than any material thing.    And yes, I learned to be more careful (and responsible) with my things, too. During that really low point, I prayed for inner peace, more than anything. 

— I counted — and shared– my blessings.  I became more appreciative of what I have.  Appreciative and thankful.  And I learned how to share wholeheartedly… without expecting for anything in return.  I knew that when you bless someone, you will be blessed back.

count your blessings

Moving on… moving forward…

I am thankful for all the days I was blessed with this year, whether good or bad, exciting or boring… Am glad I was given those days.  I am thankful for friends, near or far… from baseball fields to malls, from Ohio to London to Sweden… You guys totally rock!!  I am so blessed, indeed.

And I am looking forward to another year of abundance. 

Happy New Year everyone!  See you next year… or tomorrow. 🙂

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photo credits: beach house and blessings — via weheartit.com;  Sumptuous feast — mine!!!

10 books…

I love reading.  I am a fan of Sidney Sheldon, James Patterson, Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin.  I have shelves and shelves of different types of books.  A cousin of mine once said that my bookshelf is like a “chick lit” section of a bookstore.  I had to point out, though, that I also  have a copy of the Art of War, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, and several Mario Puzo books. Thus, I am not all cheesy.   

Next to writing, reading is another form of escape.  When I want to relax and not think of anything, I get lost in a good book.  When I am engrossed in a book, time somehow stops — or I basically just ignore everything that tries to call my attention. 

This morning I realized that there were five books on the floor beside my bed.  I have this habit of leaving my “current” book near my bed so that I can go back to it whenever I get the chance.  Sometimes I reread the books that I just finished… or I look back at some parts. 

For the fun of it, here is a list of the last ten books that I have read, along with some thoughts and reactions.

10 Books that Kept me Awake These Past Couple of Months (#1 being the most recent)

10.  The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger.  I didn’t watch the movie because I wanted to read the book.  Interesting.  Made my imagination work overtime.  Pretty long, pretty sad. 

9.  Who’s That Girl by Alexandra Potter.  First of the four books by the same author that I have bought and read.  The main character was posed the question, “If you were to meet and get to talk to the young you, what will you say?  What advice will you give?”  It made me think. Big time.  Made me realize that there are quite a number of things I would want to teach my young self… (Which most likely I will blog about soon…)

8.  Be Careful What You Wish For by Alexandra Potter.  Really funny.  Made me think that maybe fulfilled wishes don’t always come out the way we expect them to. 

7. Do You Come Here Often? by Alexandra Potter

6.  Sam’s Letter to Jennifer by James Patterson.  Love story.  Full of love and hope.  Can’t help but wonder how James Patterson can come up with something as cheesy as this and at the same time write about murders and other thrillers.  Talk about being versatile. 

5.  Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  Superson made me read it!  He has the whole Percy Jackson series.  Since he knows that I am quite knowledgeable about Greek mythology, he persuaded me to read this one so we can talk about it afterwards.  Quite interesting.  I enjoyed it, really.

4. Heart of the Matter by Emily GiffinI have read and liked other Emily Giffin books (Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Love the One You’re With), but this one I found quite depressing.   

3. Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan.  After the first book, my son said I might as well read the whole series.  I haven’t finished the second chapter of this one, though…

2. You’re the One I Don’t Want by Alexandra Potter.  Something light after Heart of the Matter and not juvenile like the Sea of Monsters. 

1.  One Day by David Nicholls.  About two people and that one day they spent together right after college graduation.  It’s about a friendship spanning two decades — the hits and misses, the fights, the joys, the missed opportunities.  Could very well be your story, or mine. 

So there.  The ten books that kept me busy and kept me up ’til late these past couple of months.  Now am off to get the next one…