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Sunday Lifestyle

Talismans

LOVE LUCY -

My, oh, my. Where did January go? Is it just me or has time decided to really just whiz by at an almost-breathless speed? January moved like the thoughts in my mind — a series of moments shifting in rapid succession, like the trailer of a potentially good movie. It moved swiftly along with the many dreams I have for the new year, in its wake a slow but sure drip of something that feels very much like this thing called expectations, great and happy ones at that. But still.

Pray tell, how could it have gone by so fast? It feels very much like having slept lightly but lengthily, and waking up knowing that although nothing much has changed time certainly did not stand still. It moved and moved the way a child who cannot wait to grow up can only wish it to.

January is almost all gone, but part of me is still stuck in December, with half a step already in February. Why doesn’t that even surprise me anymore? I am preoccupied still with all the loose ends I need to tie up to fully transition into the new year — not that it is not yet here, I know. I call this my January state of mind, something I do not really quite snap out of until the days are already deep into March. I’ll get there eventually.

I reviewed the wish list I made for 2009. How much of it did and did not happen? I have a 60-40 average, the former representing what I was able to do, happily making up for those that fall under the latter that I did not get the chance to accomplish. There have been happy surprises along the way, too, nice somethings that somehow just happened for me, falling into my lap gracefully, like pretty gifts from heaven.

A glaring fact from my 2008 and 2009 wish list: I have not learned to make jam yet. Really now, why have I not gotten around to doing that? It sort of bothers me already. I want to make kalamansi and/or tomato jam first. The good news, though, is that I have learned to cook, thanks to the lessons I took for a project I did with Magg. Not in an effortless beautiful messy way like the real kitchen goddesses on cooking shows on TV, but in a very careful, neat, I-am-still-finding-my-way way. 

I have embraced recycling somehow more than just a little, using pretty tins that once held cookies and chocolates as a storage box for odds and ends instead of buying organizers solely for that purpose, not coming home from trips to the mall and grocery with plastic bags, opting instead for paper bags or cardboard boxes. Good start, but I still have a long way to go in that department. I made hundreds of gift tags out of generic, impersonal greeting cards and brochures I receive throughout the year, and I continue to do that. It relaxes me, and justifies the pack rat in me. I do love working with my hands! I also now try to stretch every morning to loosen up the stiffness that comes after jumping out of bed. Thankfully, I was able to have the façade of the house repainted but the garden still needs fixing. One day this year, the great Ponce will work his magic and turn it into a most beautiful space. I have high hopes for that. I have yet to conquer the basement also and a quick, honest sweep of the bedroom tells me I need to triumph over that, too. It is just too… busy. It could use more serenity, especially because real life is eventful enough.

Instead of sharing a wish list, I choose, for now, to bare my talismans, wondering as I do what yours are, or will be, for this year. In the strictest sense, according to the Encarta World English Dictionary, a talisman is anything believed to have magical properties, a lucky charm or object believed to give magical powers to anyone who wears it. In my vocabulary, a talisman is and can be anything that makes for a happy thought, a smile; anything that can make me feel good almost instantly, and transform the bleakness of any day or night. I have my rosary beads, the closest thing I have to a real talisman that works, but I have a whole bunch of fun ones, too. Like Red Velvet cupcakes for example, and good butter cake. Why, oh, why am I so happy that I close my eyes when they pass through my lips? Earlier this month also my aunt passed on to me old postcards she had kept, sent by my dad as a young man to his younger brothers while on a trip to Europe. It is as endearing as it is sentimental. Those postcards must be over 60 years old now. I have every intention of framing them in glass, with no matting, so that his loopy penmanship is visible from the back. 

Music can also make for some magic, and taste being relative and all, what makes your day sing could be very different from mine. My choice has always been the standards, and that said, Rod Stewart’s “Great American Songbook (Volumes 1-4)” has yet to be dislodged from the very top of my list of favorites. Love Affair starring Annette Bening and Warren Beatty and The Sound of Music are talismans, too, the latter bringing me back to my happiest days as a child and the former reminding me of the sweeping joy of finding, and keeping, your one great love. 

The image of the Hong Kong skyline, when I think about it but more so when I see it, makes me smile, especially at night with all the happy lights. I cannot explain why it makes me feel all warm inside, it just does.

Surrounding myself with pretty things, like nice stationery, a vase of flowers, pretty paintings and even prettier teacups allows the day to lift from my shoulders, even in a most superficial way. Being with friends who make you think and laugh and remember all that is beautiful about being alive, even as you altogether wonder and agree about how and why youth is always wasted on the young.

Whatever you call them — talismans, a happy list, lucky charms — keep them close by. They make you feel good, even if you don’t always know why.

ANNETTE BENING AND WARREN BEATTY AND THE SOUND OF MUSIC

ENCARTA WORLD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

GOOD

GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK

HAPPY

HONG KONG

LIKE RED VELVET

LOVE AFFAIR

ROD STEWART

STILL

WAY

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