I am terribly aware that I have not been within the blogging radar for nearly two months now and I have been remiss in my efforts to be consistent with The Short Story Initiative. I've missed blogging and my blogger friends, including you. Please allow me to make it up with you (I have something exciting for you, my dear friends!). Before anything else, though, let me take you a bit to what I and/or Simple Clockwork was occupied with in the recent weeks.
A birthday party. My birthday is Dec. 2 and I always have a small party at home. For the first time, with my boyfriend’s family’s help, I organized a modest dinner gathering of friends last Nov. 30 outside of my home, so I was pretty much swamped with the preparations. But I must say, my loving boyfriend did most of the hard work.
|My friends (some of them)... |
My cupcakes (baked by my good friend, Rhia de Pablo)...
and my gifts!
My first public poetry reading. I was invited to read a poem (my first time in eight years) during the second branch opening of La Belle Aurore Bookshop last Dec. 1. Other bloggers present were Mark Monta of www.facecebu.net and Geezelle Tapangan of www.geemiz.com. Geezelle is my partner in Cebu Book Club. Anyway, to sum up the experience, I was so freaked out with stage fright I was not even sure I’ve read the poem, Ili-na by M. de Gracia Concepcion, properly as it deserved. Talk about bloopers!
|Photo by Mark Monta, founder of Cebu Bloggers Society Inc. (www.facecebu.net)|
My uncle’s death. Shortly right after, my uncle died in his sleep. He was having serious health problems. Although we were not very close, he is my father’s brother (and that is still something). As among those directly related, we have to observe several funeral traditions and preparations.
Typhoon Pablo’s terrible onslaught. Despite the weather forecasts, my hometown, Cebu, was fortunately spared by the strong winds and rains brought by Typhoon Pablo during the first week of December. As a staff member of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., a non-government organization (NGO), I assisted in disaster risk reduction and management preparations for Cebu. But Pablo was cruel; it ravaged Compostela Valley in the Davao region of Mindanao (southern part of the Philippines) where hundreds died, banana plantations are forced to close, and many more became jobless, facing a bleak new year. If you wish to help, the Ateneo de Manila University continues its call for donations for the typhoon victims.
World Blogathon. The Cebu Bloggers Society Inc. (CBSi) held a blog-for-a-cause initiative called World Blogathon last Dec. 8 when several bloggers and NGO representatives (including me) gathered to share our organizations’ causes.
Last quarter work-related preparations. Many of us know that the last quarter of the year in corporate entities and NGOs is usually dedicated to planning and budgeting for the following year. I did just that with my team. As I recall, it was head-splitting... so let us just skip this part.
Blogger friends in need. CBSi audit head, Dr. Narciso Tapia, who is considered Cebu’s first doctor blogger, is suffering with polycystic kidney disease, a life-threatening hereditary disease characterized by numerous fluid-filled cysts that damage both kidneys. He is raising funds so he could undergo an operation that will prolong his life. I am knocking on your kind hearts to help him. Here is his story and here is how you can help. Another CBSi member, Bert Padilla, is now confined in the hospital due to dengue. His platelet count is awfully low. As we seek friends who will make compatible blood donors, be with us in prayer for Bert’s speedy recovery.
Book shopping and reading. Christmas would definitely not be Christmas without books as gifts. I happily and gratefully got many of them since last week (and I’ve already finished two of them):
From my parents - The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
From my boyfriend - The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart (this series is really awesome!) and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
From myself - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Love Letters for Strangers. Have you seen Hannah Brencher's "Love Letters to Strangers”? Following her unique concept, my favorite bookstore, La Belle Aurore Bookshop in collaboration with Cindy Velasquez, a Literature and Humanities teacher of the University of San Carlos, organized a Christmas project called "Love Letters to Strangers." It encourages the public to write love letters to anyone. It is heartwarming to know that the bookshop was able to gather bags (bags!) of letters. I made and dropped two (one for a mother and another one for a child with cancer). And in return, to my surprise, I got two lovely letters from strangers for a stranger.
|My love letters to strangers|
Employee-turned-entrepreneur friends. A friend and her mom opened Kireina Salon and Spa last week and another friend will be opening a disco bar called Outburst sometime soon. I volunteered to help promote their businesses.
Christmas parties and causes! I attended several Christmas parties, donated some 20 books to the Cebu City Public Library and some 20 more to St. Theresa’s College-Cebu Library (my alma mater), and helped my boyfriend’s family distribute packed food to 30 street children. Also, I sit as a member of the panel of judges for the prestigious Best Cebu Blogs! Congratulations to all the winners!
Writing for a magazine. I will be a book reviewer for XYNC Magazine, Central Visayas’ lifestyle and leisure magazine. I already have two assignments (and I’m working on them already). Wish me luck!
Yes, it has been a breathless and (other times) exciting two months. What’s even more exciting is that in this post, I’m going to give away $10 worth of a short story collection you’ve been wishing for quite a time now. This is only open to bloggers who have participated at least once in The Short Story Initiative. If you win, you can order and have the short story collection delivered via Book Depository. All you need to do is leave a comment in this post with your email address. The winner (only one) will be selected by random.org.
I look forward to catching up with you and blogging more in the coming days. Thank you and Merry Christmas!