back to my frugal self this week

Seems like I have had enough of the over-spending spree that has been happening since July.

Except one, all my deadlines are met, a large volume of work is done, and I completed two over-seas business trips.Β My stress levels are low (knock on the wood) and I am feeling like having a simple and frugal/resourceful life is easy now πŸ™‚

Accordingly, this week my spending was way below my weekly allowance. A first in the last 3 months….. I am proud and very excited about this πŸ™‚

Cannot wait to feel the joy coming out of frugal life and collecting all the savings that I will use for my advantage, such as having mortgage pre-payments πŸ™‚

 

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back from Europe

I am back from business trip / vacation at a European country. Greece to be exact.Β 

While it was great to be away, the business meeting went really well, and I much appreciated the opportunity to just sit and see a museum or two, I must say the corruption of the cab drivers (they extra charge and they are not ashamed about this, or not turning the meter on, or picking up a second passenger and collect fees from both you and them!!!!!) and the hatred of the Greek people towards some nations/immigrants threw me away very strongly this time.

I plan to not go there again.

Sorry, not sorry.

I know many nations that promote hatred and many nations do not. Be more like those which do not.

Shame on all of you countries/governments/cultures, who do promote hatred of others.Β 

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Other than this I think I am okay.

I was in a pretty edged-shaped right before I started the trip, and the first two days of it I constantly and very annoyingly fought with everyone in my mind! It was so strong that I needed to just sit down and self-therapy myself.

Here is a excerpt from the self-therapy:

………………………..

it is okay to know

it is okay not to know

it is okay to be angry

it is okay to think

it is okay to feel

…………………..

It was very effective. Instead of labeling things as “good” or “bad”, being neutral to anything in life may be boring but also does not create any expectation or frustration. My new realization πŸ™‚

It is okay to feel, and it is okay to be angry, and it is okay to be okay…..

πŸ™‚

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Today I am slowly back to my routine and I really am enjoying it.

I hope you all have had a great week and are enjoying the weekend πŸ™‚

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less is more…

I have come across a horoscope on the internet today. I do not believe in horoscope or estimating future. So my relationship with horoscopes is quite rejecting. But I could not help but read this one, which ended with the phrase “less is more“.

It is talking about not only physical but also mental clutter. I am good at keeping my home minimally cluttered. But, how about my mental clutter?

I am guilty of mental clutter that often drags me down.

I tried many times in the past to effectively block this mental negativity. Exercise is good, reading an exciting book is good, making plans is good, working is good.

I work big time, especially nowadays, but it is actually a resource for the mental clutter. So what do I do?

While quitting my job crosses my mind, logically I do not want to do this. I have commitments for the next 3 years, so it is out of question. Plus, I have no better alternative right now, so it is not a feasible option.

Then, what is my solution?

I do not know but a break and de-stressing would be awesome. Timing could not be better – I am going away for a couple of days for a business trip. This will give me much needed break from office. But it will not be a permanent solution – as soon as I returned back, I will find myself in the same stressful and on-the-edge situation.Β 

Removing negative people from my life would be a good option to tackle. I have a friend and colleague who is quite negative and constantly complaining about the work and other colleagues. As a good friend and senior colleague, I listen. I have been listening to for years now, and I cannot take it anymore. Time to keep my distance….

Setting a time aside to meditate each day would be an amazing thing to do. If done properly, this “doing nothing” state always made me feel better and more optimistic.

And being grateful for my job. Just yesterday I realized that I had missed to be grateful for my job….. There are so many things to be grateful for it. I make a living thanks to my job. I am a part of a big organization and train young professionals thanks to it. I have benefits and vacation time thanks to it. I save and invest for my future thanks to it. I have a place in my community thanks to it.Β 

There are countless things to be grateful for my job.

I think remembering these will help make this difficult times turn around.

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cannot believe it is October already..

The year has passed very fast.

Last October I was trying to get a good deal on my sewing machine. It was an exciting ordeal πŸ™‚

Then I shopped for gifts and my own needs by taking advantage of the sales.

Then came December and the holiday season. It was nice.

A year later here I am not knowing how to process this speedy pass of time. I managed to live one more year. I also became a year closer to my own death. Hmmm..

Maybe I should keep this in my mind and sweeten my life a little bit.

 

joy journal – Oct 1, 2017

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up in relatively good mood. I am feeling better today, with no obvious negative thoughts or stress. Lovely πŸ™‚

2.Β I am grateful for my coffee πŸ™‚ This drink is a great start to day, waking me up and giving me an instant satisfaction and pleasure. It is great that we have means to prepare coffee anytime anywhere at an affordable price.

3.Β I am grateful for cooking chick peas πŸ™‚ I had put around a pound of peas in water yesterday. I was not expecting them to cook in 30 min πŸ™‚ My mom was right – if you simmer them after they start to boil, it helps them to cook faster. Counter-intuitive, is it not? But give it a try. I am sure you will be surprised as much as I was πŸ™‚

4.Β I am grateful for baking two great sourdough loaves today. I feel abundant and joyful.Β 

5.Β I am grateful for working at home, nice and easy. I could not as much as I wanted to do, but I have done good. This takes some of the stress away from me.

6.Β I am grateful for not chickening about a document I am reviewing. It is a kind of critical document that requires my full attention. I cannot make a mistake, or ignore a detail. It has been going well, knowing that I am doing my best and it is pretty good. My experience with this document helped me to develop some kind of confidence in my ability to handle critical assignments. There happened in me some kind of acceptance that it was difficult, can have significant negative consequence should I not do a comprehensive and thorough review, but it was what it was. An opportunity to grow.

7.Β I am grateful for the kefir cheese I made from kefir yesterday and today. It is healthy and tasty. Both my sourdough bread and kefir cheese seem to be resistant to microbial growth, which is quite pleasing.

8.Β I am grateful for my internet connection and computer that make my life easier and fuller.

9.Β I am grateful for getting used to silvery tone of my hair. Right now I do not feel like I am old. Who knows what I will feel tomorrow, but I will take this positive thought right now.

10.Β I am grateful for the safe home and neighbourhood. It is quite and peaceful. The only noise I can hear is from my internet and keyboard.

11.Β I am grateful for having the night to myself.

12.Β I am grateful for speaking with my family today. They are always nice and supportive.

13.Β I am grateful for feeling courageous today. I needed this feeling.

14.Β I am grateful for the gray weather that helped me to stay at home and work.

15.Β I am grateful for making beet pickles yesterday πŸ™‚ I thought they would take a lot of time, but I was wrong. This is my second or third time making them. I noted the ingredients and their measurements (that my mom told me) to help me in the future.

16.Β I am grateful for my notebooks, pens, and paper that make me write on. Writing always relaxed me. Like this moment, even though it is an electronic text.

17. I am grateful for all the food I have in my fridge and pantry.

18.Β I am grateful for having no pain today.

19. I am grateful for being grateful and taking my time to note these here.

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Things that I appreciate about myself:

  1. I appreciate the fact that I keep going, no matter what
  2. I appreciate the fact that I am not scared of difficult tasks
  3. I appreciate the fact that I keep a quiet life
  4. I appreciate the fact that I keep my contact with my family
  5. I appreciate the fact that I cook simple but healthy food the majority of the time
  6. I appreciate the fact that I enjoy the scenery of my yard
  7. I appreciate the fact that I make an attempt to keep my home clean
  8. I appreciate the fact that I always take at least 2 hours per day to chill down and relax
  9. I appreciate the fact that I am a good friend and ready to help my friends
  10. I appreciate the fact that I have been kind to myself nowadays
  11. I appreciate the fact that I floss and enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

baked two sourdough loaves today :)

I baked two loaves today – my freezer stock has been depleted. One always need a decent home-made sourdough bread πŸ™‚

Both loaves have been sightly sticky, risen at room temp for about 18 hours (at round 17 C). For the baton loaf, I used a pot to rise, whereas the other one was risen in a mixing bowl. The latter was slightly more sticky in the next morning and required quite a bit of flour to handle. I also needed to use a lot of flour to keep it from sticking to baking clothe while proving. This inevitably resulted in a pale looking loaf. I have risen the baton loaf on parchment paper between a couple of stuff to help keep its shape.Β 

The prove time was 4 hours for the round loaf and around 5 hours for the other. I baked them at 350F for around 55-65 minutes.

The end results are good with lots of air pockets. The big pockets in the round loaf are worrisome, telling me that I did not do a good job deflating the dough in the morning. The baton loaf had a much better crumb, which was very pleasing.

Bon appetite! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Saturday morning musings

Another Saturday morning filled with fresh coffee, music, and “me” time πŸ™‚

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It is a kind of chilly day that deserves staying at home and finding ways to enjoy the day. I have no plans to shop or go out for other reasons, so this suits me well today.

I must, however, do house chores, my necessary yet un-joyful weekly activity, which continues to break into my day time plans. It is a great reminder of what needs to be done in order to have a comfortable house life. And, I will do the chores, knowing that after them I will feel great about myself, my home, and my life overall. So give me justΒ  another hour to reach this level of serenity.

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The optimism I have had last night continues. I keep repeating in my mind the past experiences that always lifted my life after a period of hardship. I will be fine. I do not know when and how, but life will be good to me again. There are times that we must change things or ourselves, but resist or cannot do. Eventually life takes it at its own hand and puts you in a period that is challenging, anxiety-creating, and uncomfortable. We must go through this time, which maybe we were supposed to be with our own efforts, but did not. Life corrects us.Β 

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They say wisdom comes with age and I kind of believe in this now. Our past experiences not only develop us, but also help us understand how life works and have hope for the future.

I have had many hard periods of life as well – it was not fun. Once upon a time (a.k.a. when I was younger), I had had a sense of adventure that made me curious about life and future possibilities. The entire world was under my feet, I felt strong, able, and good. Those times have left me a while ago. I think it is my current conditions that I prefer; living in a small city, having a once-permanent and great job which is hard to leave, etc. that made me feel living in a much smaller “world”. Aging and having past medical conditions exaggerate this feeling as well – I find myself asking and wishing for a stable and comfortable life conditions. So my choices are limited.

What are my choices?

For today?Β 

For tomorrow?

For the next few years and beyond?Β 

I want to be responsible for my life and life-style, the way I think and process information, and the way I act.Β 

Considering the difficulties I have experienced currently, making different and better choices is gonna be hard to do, but I know that once I start it, just like my house chores, it will likely move on.

Best to everyone out there who is struggling one way or the other.

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trusting life during hardship

Our work place continues to be toxic and putting lots of pressure on us. One of my colleagues and I were having a conversation today and we both are fed up.

I cling because I have no interest in losing what I have built in the last decade here. I also do not wish to lose my financial stability and benefits. Honestly looking for a job does not sound so exciting, either. While I still think about resignation time to time, I silence myself and keep going.

I know that this is a very challenging time. The last one year has been quite stressful and pressing. The last three months I have been working too hard. I have lost my daily routine, budget, and healthy life-style and scummed into high levels of stress, junk food, and financial waste. I am not pleased with this, but at least a part of the work is going well.

This is not the first challenging time of my life. Before I found this job, for two years I had lived in financial limbo, not knowing what to do. I had jobs but they were just enough to keep going, without making me happy or excited. Then I have got this job, which is decent but comes with lots of hardship. These previous times I was like right now, not knowing what the future would bring and how I could find a solution… It hurt, but eventually these times were followed by my current job, which solved at least the financial part of my problems.

Tonite I am kind of thinking that perhaps the current difficult time is a transition to a much better time…. The future can actually be an adventure….. It can be a much better job, a change of location, and finding what I had longed for but forgotten or failed to attain in life.

Why not?

Yes,Β I have a kind of optimism that I hope will last πŸ™‚

I believe that these difficult times will lead to a brighter future, and I am being excited about what the future may bring πŸ™‚

For a usually skeptical and pessimistic person I welcome this change in my perception.

I think I just trust life now.

πŸ™‚

my new hair – II

After 8 weeks of first treatment (e.g. dyeing and highlighting), I have visited a hair salon for the second time as part of my saga to transition to my natural, gray hair (you can find a picture of my hair at around 10 days agoΒ here).

It took around 3 hours to foil the highlights (platinum) and dye the rest of the hair to a neutral dark gray/light brown colour, followed by application of toner.Β 

I must say the new dresser was awesome; very understanding and positive. When I saw my new hair, I have had a reaction similar to previous treatment, but much milder and much more positive……Such a change is not easy to take. I feel like my hair will never have a dark colour anymore (feels like an end of an era… it is saddening…).

I also look old.

Much older than I thought I would look…

I can always start dyeing my hair, so that is a freedom that I may or may not exercise. We will see.

My new colour is much lighter than any other time in my life, very close to dark gray. My roots (which were not treated today) nicely mix with the new colour. I have strong platinum highlight at around my face, which I specifically asked for. There could be no better way to transition to my natural hair. I am rationally very, very pleased.

It is just that I must get used to this hair. I also think that if I smile more or change my make up, I may look better. Not a mid-age and tired woman, but a mid-age woman gracefully comfortable in her own skin……

IMG_2390

IMG_2389

 

my perfect life

Working very hard, feeling agitated and dealing with negative emotions related to mostly work, I feel more and more the need of sitting down and reflecting.

I have some inner work to do, which I have been neglecting, because almost all of my energy and time has been spared for work in the last three months. There are many warning sings, like being on the edge, having high blood pressure time to time, and lack of patience generally. I must stop and reflect.

This morning while trying to win the mental judo in my mind, I asked myself what would be my “perfect” life?

I know there is no such thing.

But I also know that I can always strive for a better life and more inner peace.

To reach that level, I must change the level of attention I pay to issues and peoples’ behaviors (that bother me). I must bring myself to my core, the loving life force, and open my eyes and mind to the bigger picture called life. I must set aside a time to just breathe and connect.

Even the idea of “setting time aside” puts me off.. When did we become so busy that we cannot even assign a few minutes a day to our own natural needs and abilities? When did centering our mind around life as it is become something unattainable? When did we become so full of work but lack of life? Why are we so competitive? What are we afraid of?

Sometimes I want to move to a deserted but safe place, like an island in central America, cut out all communications with outside world, and “lose myself” with just doing nothing. No phone or internet talk, no work or social obligation, no project to start, execute, or finish, no place to visit or explore. Just sit, gaze at the sky, and let my mind find itself.

sometimes trying something hopeless pays off

Yesterday I have prepared two sourdough; one can be found here; it was prepared by a starter that was rigorous and with a long rise (around 16 hours at room temp) with 4 hours of proving, following my regular recipe. It turned out to be a lovely loaf with a great oven spring.

That loaf will be given to my friends that I have seen yesterday night. So upon returning home at around 11 pm, I decided I needed a loaf for myself so I prepared a small dough using the left overs from my starter that I resurrected this past week. These left overs are those that needed to be removed and replaced with fresh flour and water while feeding the starter. I did not want to put it in garbage, so I thought I could find a use for them (like tortilla), so had kept around 3/4 cups of them in my fridge. They were not necessarily the best starter, but I took my chances with my second loaf.

The second loaf had 9 hours of first rise with limited stretch and fold (1 only) at room temperature and 5 hours of proofing. Honestly it did not look good when I put it on parchment paper (it did not keep its shape). Anyways, in the oven there was some kind of spring. So I was still not very hopeful. But when I cut it, I was very surprised; it has the largest air pockets I have seen in my sourdough! It is soft and the sesame seeds give it an incredibly nutty flavor πŸ™‚ Although its rise was short, I think dough being slightly sticky helped it to turn into this beautiful loaf.

I think sometimes keeping the faith and trying something that does not look much hopeful pays off πŸ™‚

 

 

Four seasons

Fall is upon us. It is my favorite season.

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The season of energy and renewal (summer) has come to an end, leaving its place to this gorgeous season.

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Fall always remind me of “closure”; evaluating and finishing things, even they are only thoughts, and move on with a period of quietness and break, and then bury or leave those that do not serve you anymore during the hibernation season of winter.

Winter is a season of survival, though. It is often harsh where I am and our daily lives are somehow dictated by the weather; will there be snow today? Will I shovel? Will there be a snow day? Can I really go to that store to pick up something? Will my power be restored, if it is cut due to some reason? What if I want to walk but cannot make it because the sidewalks are full of snow banks, or even worse, ice? Am I warm enough?Winter thus makes me feel like I must rather focus on the physical world than my inner world.Β 

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Spring, on the other hand, is a kind of time of re-birth; the time of new ideas, new adventures, new plans, new hope…. There is something awesome about the awakening of the nature that inevitably makes me feel like now I can do what I have not done or could not do before.

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The cycling nature of “nature”, whether that is snow, plants, trees, or flowers that flourish, animals populating, or simply changing temperature and daylight, is thus a reflection of our lives.

Maybe our lives is a reflection of nature?

I do not know really.

But we all are connected.

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Saturday morning musings

Listening to a piano piece, and drinking and enjoying my coffee on this quiet and sunny Saturday morning. What else would I need to feel grateful for this morning?

 

This is a day full of house chores, shopping, and interactions with family and friends. excpet the first one, you know, all is exciting πŸ™‚

I am not sure why I do not enjoy house chores. But I kept thinking that I may not be the only one feeling this way. Shout out in the comments area if you are like me.

There is a beautiful , serene feeling coming after the house is cleaned and tidied a bit. It is brighter, more peaceful, and certainly more enjoyable. While I do start house chores out of necessity (one of my almost consistent house rules is to clean the house on Saturday mornings), but the positive feelings I experience after I see it cleaned, organized, and decluttered for the week is amazing πŸ™‚

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As per shopping, I must visit a number of stores today. I plan to get some paint to help finish re-staining my porch, some dried food from a retailer, and yogurt from another nearby store. Thankfully all stores are close to each other and there is a bus stop close by. I am so grateful for the public transportation system that enables people like me to go around their lives easily and affordably. Many people assume that a professional like me would have a car. It is always interesting to see their reactions when I said this was not the case πŸ™‚ I wonder how many of them see is as a limitation on my abilities or choices, rather than a good choice economically and practically….

That reminds me another memory where one of my colleagues was surprised that I had bought a house only after 5 years of moving here. He said he bought his house within two weeks after moving here. I had to tell him that I did not have a down payment at that time. While that was absolutely true, I did not mention that my main reason was that I was not interested in purchasing a house. I have never been and now I am a house owner (ahem…)…. I am still feeling a little bit sour about this; re; feeling the pressure to make an explanation……People can be very judgmental when comes to others. The same colleague was quite judgmental about our work yesterday, not knowing the importance and meticulous nature of it. That pisses me off.

Why do we speak up our minds and evaluate others’ situations without giving a thought on it first? There are so much to learn if we do reflect and think about possible reasons for choices made by others. If not, listening to others can help expand your thinking capabilities. Let’s reflect on this for a moment. I certainly do. I am not excellent about it either, but at least I constantly remind myself and get humble about things. That is one Β more thing to be grateful for today.

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I am also grateful for my family, who were always there for me and mostly supportive. They did not get my circumstances and thus are not able to understand the reasons behind some of my choices, either, but at least they are trying after. This is priceless.

Go hug a family member today πŸ™‚

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reflections

Today I have not worked like crazy as I have done in the past 3 months. I rather took my time to reflect and I needed it. This was mostly motivated by the fact that yesterday I almost collapsed emotionally. My nerves are fried and I needed a break to go back to a healthy level of exhaustion (if there is anything like this ever) and feel good (because I deserve it, like anyone else).

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Life is bigger than what we experience and in order to expand our experiences, we must stop this wheel of routine and un-focus for a while, and look beyond where we are. It is exciting and refreshing. I am glad I have found a chance to do so today.

One thing I keep notice in such times is that I actually do better than I think. For instance, in the last 3 months I have re-arranged the furniture in my living room and kitchen, and they both look lovely and more functional. It was hard to move everything by myself, but I made it and the end results are excellent πŸ™‚

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I also made quite a progress in my yard. I digged the high part of the yard and placed the digged soil on the lower parts. I have four stalks of mint that are flourishing in the yard. I have planted seeds and grew beautiful flowers. New flowers and plants appeared in my yard this year, which are a delight to look at. I filled the sides of my yard with soil in the last two days (commercial soil) and now I have a wider-looking yard and the side sections are ready to be planted next year. It was tiring and challenging to carry those soil bags (30 liters each) from store to home, but I made it. I planted potato, garlic, and onion and all flourished and yielded (I have collected around 1 kg of potato; can you imagine my joy?)? I planted 35 cloves of garlic last week for harvesting next year and mulched over with dried leaves to protect them from frost during the winter. My neighbours renewed their part of the fence with fence similar to mine, and as such the yard looks really good now. Also the next door neighbours painted the exterior of their house and it looks beautiful. I have been lucky to have had all of these improvements this year πŸ™‚

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As per work, I have done really good, even though it was stressful. At least my efforts produced results, which is extremely satisfying.

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I have points to improve still, but I am not worried about them. Only because I know I am capable of doing them, too. One recurring issue is eating better and a variety of food. I am making an effort again nowadays. we will see how this will work out. I must reduce or eliminate my extra expenses that are made only to feel good in such a stressful time of my life, but I am slowly getting there. I must also regularly do my lower back exercises to keep it healthy. A manageable list of aims that I am sure I can do. It is just a matter of time.

Today I have taken steps to improve in these areas. I ate veggies and fruits at the office; I took the bus rather than cab; I made an appointment with my physiotherapist to help me get on track with my lower back. I ate junk food in the evening, but I am assuming this too will be gone sometime. I accepted the fact that sometimes change occurs over time, rather than when I want it. Acceptance brings serenity. Nevertheless, I must keep trying and making these changes occur.

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multi-purposed items are very useful :)

I like having items (such as in the kitchen) that I can use for multiple purposes. For example, Β glass mixing bowl can be used for serving salad as well as for mixing items together. I also like to use items for different or multiple purposes so that my home will not be cluttered and I will have a more or less resourceful daily life. Good examples could be using shopping bags as garbage bin liner, old clothes/t-shirts as cleaning cloths, and my shopping cart.

The shopping cart I have was purchased almost 15 years ago when I was in Toronto. It is not big and also foldable, so it is a practical item. It was incredibly useful in carrying groceries which I often bought from the Kensington place. Carrying a cart full of groceries and walking from there to my home (around 20 mins of distance on foot) was easy and peasy.

When I moved from Toronto to where I live right now, I got it transported with my furniture but I do not remember using it for grocery at all. While decluttering my home a couple of years ago I considered donating it but later decided that I could rather use it as a container for extra items in the laundry room. It serves this purpose very well.

Today I used it for shopping! My yard has some uneven surfaces, particularly on the sides. I have been planning to fill these parts with soil so that my yard would look wider and I could have flowers lining my yard. This weekend I noticed that the garden soil wason sale (buy one, get one free; hello!). I was skeptical at first because they looked heavy and I do not have a car to transport them home. I did not want to ask my friends to help me with it, either. Then, I came up with the idea of using my shopping cart and voila! I bought four bags of 30L of soil in two store visits. Bags were heavy and I still had a difficult time lifting them and placing in the cart and pulling the cart to home. But it is all worth it – I placed the soil on my yard and I can see myself planting flower seeds in that area next year!

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I cannot wait! πŸ™‚

I could not make this happen today should I have not decided to be resourceful and use that cart for another purpose πŸ™‚

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I am lucky…

I continue to feed positive messages to my mind right before going to sleep or when I wake up during the night. Last night the phrase that came to my mind and repeated many times was “I am lucky“.

I am lucky to be given a life. I am lucky to be alive. I am lucky to have every material I need.

There is a house with a little yard on my path to office. A couple of months ago I saw men dumping soil on it. Then little things sprouted out of the soil, which turned out to be clover. They grew incredibly well and are now around 10 cms. I love looking at that yard while walking.

Today I saw one with four leaves!

It was huge πŸ™‚Β 

I was amazed and deeply amused.

Am I lucky or what? πŸ™‚

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graceful acceptance of failure and mistakes

I have had a comment from an experienced colleague of mine about a work I have done which also included his involvement. Looks like I have missed some critical information in my report, which he drew my attention to.

I fully agree with him that these information should have been there. So in contrast to my regular self who would become defensive, I realized he was right, and thanks to him the work would be better presented now to others. I gracefully acknowledged this.

I was surprised with my reaction, but I am equally pleased with it. Admitting a negligence and mistake is a good thing; I like it when I see it in others. Today was my turn.

I must say this is a great experience for me. I had had another meeting on Friday, which had some heated arguments. I am not afraid of arguments, but creating a negative air around myself and the room. I realized that with today’s experience I would have managed the Friday’s meeting better. It is too late for it, but next time I will be better.

This experience tells me that there is always a possibility and opportunity for spontaneous growth and one can fail but can also accept it gracefully. I like this newfound wisdom.

transitioning to gray – 6.5th week after first treatment

Here is my hair after 6.5 weeks of first highlights and dyeing my hair close to its natural colour.

Highlights finally show up, which is a blessing (I am still fuming about the invisible highlights right after the hair salon visit).

My hair grew like an inch.

Between grays and highlights, there is a dark stripe (the dye applied last time, which gives an additional oddity to this hair…).

Honestly this hair does not look good at all (why did I not at least comb it before taking the pic?)….

The roots are annoying but not as much as before – I think the hair dresser was right – after a while highlights help soothe the gray roots. Only problem is that now I have my natural colour (dark brown), latest dye (lighter brown), grays, and yellowish highlights in addition to previous hair colour of red!

More is better!!

Argh.

I have an appointment in two weeks to get it dyed again and hopefully with better highlights this time. I would love to have wider streaks of platinum highlights to help with the gray hair coming off the roots. I hope this dresser will be able to give me what I want. Honestly, I am not very hopeful, but I will try as much as possible to demonstrate (with pics from internet) what I really want and expect.

I must say despite everything, this is a much better feeling than previous.

I previously very much disliked seeing the gray roots after 2-3 weeks of dyeing. Now it is 6.5 weeks and I am feeling okay with the roots. This is I believe because I have much bigger problems in that hair than only the gray roots…

I know this is a long journey to take up to a year, but I already have had the first 6.5 weeks, so I want to just keep going and get this transition done.

Wish me patience please. Because I may as well chop the entire thing and start from fresh!

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joy journal – September 15, 2017

I figured that if I have a positive mental state right before the sleep, then I wake up feeling positive! This is such a priceless experience. Thus, here comes today’s joy journal entry:

1. I am grateful for waking up around 4 am and getting up around 5 am. These are very early hours for me. I enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee and found a chance to work at peace. Lovely πŸ™‚

2. I am grateful for sending out a report to other parties. We have been working very hard on it in the last few months and I am glad we are close to its final submission after the revisions.

3. I am grateful for taking the bus this morning. Weather was nice, cool, and dry, which made waiting for bus a possibility.

4.Β I am grateful for working quietly at the office.

5.Β I am grateful for for eating a pear and two apples at the office. Fruits is nice and healthy πŸ™‚

6.Β I am grateful for sitting in an afternoon meeting for 4 hours and despite the lower back ache staying till the end. I wonder how we can do this.. Sitting for so long… How is this even possible to have the mental clarity to contribute to such a long meeting? I have some ideas to shorten this time, which I hope to propose next time.

7.Β I am grateful for walking back to the store close to my home and purchasing some items on sale. they are good for me on the long rem. Price was the lowest I have seen in that store and was very comparable to other sales in distant stores. I feel lucky to have found these items today.

8.Β I am grateful for eating a healthy meal with lots of iron in it (beef liver). My iron levels are down again, which worries me. I am not anemic and my energy levels are good, but I am worried about having a disease that can cause this. I hope it is just diet related. This makes sense to me because I keep eating the same things and rarely any meat, which is a good source of iron. I am making an effort now to eat more diverse than before. the trick is to aim high (more than 10 different food sources and at least one meal with red meat per week). I usually do not stick to this kind of plans, but I hope this time it will work out for me on the long run.

9.Β I am grateful for eating salad full of a variety of raw veggies and lemon juice. Yummy πŸ™‚

10.Β I am grateful for trying to resurrect my sourdough again… This is the second time that I have forgotten to spare starter lately. I am feeling upset about this, but keep thinking that my mind is so focused on work that it can be normal to forget trivial things..

11.Β I am grateful for having my window open and letting fresh air in.

12.Β I am grateful for having plans to shop tomorrow! Yes, I plan to shop and get food. I also plan to have my hair cut tomorrow – let’s see how this will work out.

13.Β I am grateful for having the night to myself and enjoying the dark and quiet environment. It is so peaceful right now….

14.Β I am grateful for everything I have at home; furniture, clothes, shoes, kitchen items, light bulbs, comforter, my computer, and internet access that make my life easy safe, and comfortable.

15. I am grateful for making an effort to fill my mind with these beautiful experiences, rather than negative encounters πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

where is my resilience?

I feel on the edge the majority of the time. My nerves are firing and sometime for the little things. It is time that I take a break.

I have another 3 weeks of speedy work schedule after which I will have another business related trip followed by a couple of days for rest in Europe. I am really looking forward to this break. When I return I have another month to go with stress and high work volume, but I am assuming that the break will help heal my nerves. I keep telling myself I must find a way to manage my stress. The best way, in my experience, is cardio exercise, aka martial arts. At my age?? I am hesitant…

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My other alternative is to sooth my nerves with junk food.

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What is it gonna be?

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joy journal – September 11 2017

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up early. I was at the office before 8 and it was a productive time of the day.

2. I am grateful for having the money to take the cab in such a heavily raining day. I may not like wasting money but today it was well needed.Β 

3. I am grateful for working fine and being satisfied with it. It is great to appreciate my own efforts.

4. I am grateful for doing the right things. I am known with my meticulous nature and always striving for doing the right thing. Many people may not find it pleasant but it is very important. That reminds me one of my previous mentors who was especially not happy about it. It is strange how different people have different work ethics. I thank myself for always trying to do the right thing in the right manner.

5. I am grateful for having laughter while watching a comedy movie πŸ™‚

6. I am grateful for having a strong house that endures all the harsh winter and now the heavy rain. I appreciate this so much.

7. I am grateful for having a nice and positive conversation with the cab driver this afternoon. He was very positive and it was infectious – I felt lucky to have exposure to his positivity πŸ™‚

8. I am grateful for resting in the evening and feeling energized and well.

9. I am grateful for eating a nice potato salad with lots of great raw veggies – very healthy and yummy πŸ™‚

10. I am grateful for making a mortgage pre-payment this evening πŸ™‚

11. I am grateful for the cool temperature at home; last week it was very humid but in the last few days it is plain cool and it is the most magnificent temperature ever πŸ™‚Β 

12. I am grateful for realizing that I have had an extra week of work before a significant deadline! I was a week ahead of real time! This illusion has happened once again a couple of weeks ago. When I realize that I have more time than I thought I have had is an amazing relief. I do not know why I am feeling a week ahead of time.. I think it is because I am stressed and hyper because of the work-load.Β 

13. I am grateful for developing as a professional. I have been challenged quite a bit by some bossy and manipulating colleagues lately. It is a sensitive balance to keep a good work relationship and being assertive at the same time. I swallowed things a few times and I was assertive a couple of times. But the journey has not ended yet. The future possibility of dealing with such situations stresses me, but I try to talk myself out of this. “Learning and developing, and I will know better to handle such situations in the future“. Thus is what I keep telling myself. Experience… It is an hurtful experience but will help with next ones, right? They always do.

14. I am grateful for being healthy and energetic.Β 

15. I am grateful for the night being peaceful and lovely. Nights have always pacified me – what is it about them, I wonder? Is it the darkness? Lack of the daily rush? Tiredness? Closure of the day? Silence?

16. I am grateful for my computer, internet access, and TV/cable that make my life easy and entertaining.

17. I am grateful for my new trousers that fit me well and keep me warm. they are more suitable for winter but they look so good that I am happy to wear them.

18. I am grateful for yogurt. It is one of my most favorite foods. I eat too much though; sometimes around 750 ml per day… Too much of nothing can be good, so I would like to take a break from it for some time.

19. I am grateful for my moisturizers that keep my hands and face moist and healthy.

20. I am grateful for my floss! I love flossing. The trick is to have the most suitable floss for your needs. I use a three-liner that works wonders for me.Β 

21. I am grateful for my perfume. I do not wear it often, but yesterday I wanted to and it was a delight.

22. I am grateful for realizing, after all the stress and issues with collaborators, that inner peace is an important thing. It may have been stretched a bit nowadays but it will heal and be fine once this is over. I wonder why I cannot take things easy and be relax at the face of this kind of adversities. I need to focus more on seeing the big picture and caring for my inner self. This journal entry is serving just this purpose.

23. I am grateful for my flexible work hours that allow me to work at home when I need it.

24. I am grateful for needing this journal, remembering things, events, people, and experiences to be grateful for, and making a conscious attempt to feel good about myself and my life.

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Added after the post:

I forgot – as of Jan 2017, I aim to note at least 3 things that I appreciate about myself.

Here is today’s list:

  • I appreciate myself for resisting the bad and negative
  • I appreciate myself for working hard
  • I appreciate myself for eating better today
  • I appreciate myself for being healthy
  • I appreciate myself for taking time to rest
  • I appreciate myself for contemplating and learning about myself and others
  • I appreciate myself for soothing myself by self-care
  • I appreciate myself for taking steps and starting/continuing with the plans that are important for me
  • I appreciate myself for loving the nature
  • I appreciate myself for enjoying the sound of rain
  • I appreciate myself for finding joy in writing and reading this journal

 

 

 

 

 

a proud moment

After almost 2 months of senseless spending and lack of frugality in my life, today I made a pre-payment for my mortgage (only $404, but better than nothing, is it not?). I saved this money by my humble daily savings in the last 2 months. I am feeling extremely happy, proud, and excited about this πŸ™‚Β 

Sometimes planning is not good enough and one must take steps to move. This was an important step that I hope will help me come back to my frugal self.

I plan to pay another $6,600 till the end of December. This will mean that I will have paid an extra ~10K as pre-payment this year. Of course I still need to make these payments…. So before I get excited for no real reason, I must keep my eye on this prize and find the motivation that I so much needed to move even more forward πŸ™‚

what would I do when I retire?

I want to retire in 8-11 years only to get rid of the stress and ridiculous issues that I deal with everyday at the office.

A few minutes ago I thought about this: what would be my retired life like?

It would be free of work related things, I would have some kind of financial stability/security, but then how would I fill my life? What would it be like?

This is an unknown situation. As someone living alone, I probably would need some human interactions. I think I would have a part-time job. That would also give me some pocket money. I can switch jobs easily too if I do not like the environment. That is a relief.

What else?

I think I would travel a little bit with tours. I have no interest in going around the world by myself at that age. Too much stress. Tours, on the other hand, would make this experience easier. I would love to go see the South America and Europe.

What else?

Would I write a novel? Poems? Where would I publish them? Would they be good? If not, why to write at all?

What would I do really??

Would I be free of stress? I think not, but at least I would not have the stress of work. I think I would be stressed about other things.

My health for one. I would probably stressed about health problems. Right now I am free of chronic diseases, but heck, anytime something may show up. So..

Life does not wait and time flies. I think I should stop thinking about retirement and rather focus on how to have a better and more fulfilling life.

What would make me more joyful and fulfilled now, I wonder?

Spending good time with my family. Having laughter. Feeling energized and hopeful for the future. Being more in the moment. Caring less about work and more about my life experiences. Being more positive. Seeing opportunities more. Taking opportunities more. Changing things that do not work. Removing toxic experiences and people from my life. Caring less about money and having less anxiety about future financial well-being. Being more spontaneous. Joking with life. Dancing with life.

Do I want too much?

 

 

joy journal – September 10, 2017

It has been a long time that I wrote in this journal. I miss it almost everyday but it is hard to find time to put the words out. Today I am taking my time as I made a conscious choice of being grateful and, as a resultΒ feeling good.

Not all days and moments are joyful, or without any problem or hurt that bothers us. But we/I could find some time to remember the things, event, experiences, and people that makes our lives better, safer, and enjoyable. This journal has served me well in this sense, I hope you too will start your own and benefit from it at least as much as I do.

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1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up at around 9 am. It was not too early or too late. Just right.

2. I am grateful for my morning coffee which was just right. Every once a while I get the temperature right and today was one of those times. With a little bit of sugar, it was the most enjoyable drink I have had in the last while πŸ™‚

3. I am grateful for not getting crazy over the rain. I was planning to shop today but it rained whole day and made my plan a future plan. I do not need anything urgent, but shopping would be very therapeutic and help me with feeling good and excited. Ah, shopping…. πŸ™‚

4. I am grateful for baking a sourdough loaf today. I run out of the bread in my freezer and I was so craving for fresh bread πŸ™‚Β 

5. I am grateful for speaking with my family today and for their well being, health, and happiness.

6. I am grateful for working today. I worked around 3 hours reviewing a report and drafting a report about it. I still have work to do on it, but I started and this is good. I must finish my report in two weeks and I have ample time now that I progressed quite a bit today.

7. I amΒ grateful for being assertive with a dominant and bossy collaborator of mine. He changes things or involves more people in without consulting me on matters directly related to me. I swallowed a few incident like that in the last one month and today he did it again and I said it is time that we talked. I asked him to call me, which he did and we talked. He admits that I am a control freak (who did not know this?) and he was too negligent of others’ opinions and priorities. We talked like two mature individuals with understanding and without yelling or getting mean, which was nice. I am not naive enough to think that this talk has solved the problem for ever; no, as long as I work with him, we will come to the same point again and again. But I am happy that I talked without fearing negative consequences (I actually need him for a project of mine), and formed a more respectful bond between us. This is good enough for now and we can always talk in the future should it be required.

8. I m grateful for the kale meal I have cooked yesterday. At one point in the afternoon I took a supplement that upset my stomach. I ate the meal and it was okay after that. Should I not have the meal ready, I think I would suffer longer while trying to cook something new. Long live kale! πŸ™‚

9. I am grateful for my windows being open and having fresh air in. I love this about summer and fall. One of my treasured activities at home. I feel so lucky πŸ™‚

10. I am grateful for listening to a relaxing music that is great for my fried nerves…. Many years ago I used to try to mediate listening to this kind of music. Seeing the bigger picture in life and feeling safe and well in it in the moment are priceless. I should try sitting meditation someday again, but honestly it is the most boring thing for me (I know many people can do it – hats off!!).

11. I amΒ grateful for stepping out for a short time and purchasing yogurt. I love yogurt!! I can eat an entire tub on a single day; it is creamy and healthy. I should make better choices and opt for low fat variety next time. My doctor informed me that my bad cholesterol is a little bit high. I am still at low risk group, but it was consistently increasing in the last year, so I must be careful with it.

12. I am grateful for realizing my needs and short-comings. I Β just had a birthday in the last few weeks. Between the trip to Rome and the busy and stressful work schedule, I could not reflect on my new age except in a few short moments….. I have been looking forward to a quiet time to actually reflect and figure out how I feel about my age and aging, what changes I must introduce in my life, and how content I was with everything else. But this is not happening yet, and I feel annoyed by this… I know that I am changing as a middle aged individual. I know my dreams and plans are changing. I know my days are getting shorter and shorter and so are the days of my loved ones. My chronic disease and death probability is also increasing with each passing moment. These demand significant changes in my attitude, my life-style, and the way I look at life and my priorities. I know my health and my family’s health are the most important thing, but ask me how I contribute to either of this and the answer will be very lame. I am so focused on turning work around and dealing with antsy bitsy issues that I cannot find time to think big or be positive. What a shame…. I am rationally aware of what I must do, yet still cannot or do not take the steps to better my life and spend more time with and cherish my family…. It takes one step to start this journey… I wish that I can start it right now… I may or may not, but at least I am aware of my need and wish and who knows, maybe I will take that step sometime soon.

13. I am grateful for having the day to myself. I plan to watch TV after this and enjoy my time.

14. I am grateful for the cat of my neighbour’s who spends time in my yard a lot. It is a beautiful black and young female cat that keeps hunting and surveilling the yard for pests and moth. She killed a little rat a couple of weeks ago in my yard, which was a scary sight at first. But I am so grateful for this mouser that keeps my yard free of pests. She and I do not interact much except that we both look at each other whenever both of us exist in the yard at the same time. I respect her presence and she respects mine. We are a good team πŸ™‚

15. I am grateful for the food in my fridge and pantry; all the clothes, shoes, furniture, and everything else in my home. They make my life easy and comfortable.Β 

16. I am grateful for making a conscious effort to have a healthier lifestyle as of today. The last 2 months have been crazy stressful and I lacked the time, energy, and willpower to pay attention to my own health and well being. I almost left home today for a convenience store trip to get junk food, but stopped at the last minute and I am very happy about this.

17. I amΒ grateful for being grateful and finding time to note these here today πŸ™‚

Sunday morning musings

A quiet and rainy Sunday morning that gives a feeling of solitude and healing.Β 

Coffee with its unique smell and taste is also very helpful.

I usually do not enjoy rain, but sometimes it helps you to stay in and recuperate with warm drinks and slightly dark day. Β Sometimes it is depressing, sometimes healing. You choose.

We are looking for a week full of rain according to the forecast. It will be too much but we will survive. Heck we survive 6 months of winter here, what is a couple of cups of rain, right? πŸ™‚

Weather with its unpredictable and uncontrollable character is something that teaches us to accept life as it is. We often adapt it to well. Except that the hurricanes going on in the South, damages they make, and the fear they create are alarming. I wish everyone a safe evacuation or a strong shelter during these hurricanes. When I was in the USA I never have experienced an evacuation and I keep wondering whether I could ever make it as I do not drive. I kindly ask everyone who is able to do so to pick up people that are not capable of evacuating themselves.

Wishing everyone a safe and joyful Sunday! πŸ™‚

 

random thoughts

I slept till 10 am and felt energized upon getting up. My plan was to start the day with coffee and the usual house chores. A work-related email asking for an urgent document ruined these plans. So I worked in an intense way and in the afternoon it was sent out. That is a big relief. And the house chores are done after that. talking about breaking the routine! πŸ™‚

I have done well and prepared myself a nice lunch with kale. I must re-instate my plan to eat from diverse array of food. I keep eating the same things and a s a result I believe I have some vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Not good. So today’s lunch was a good step towards this plan and I feel fantastic about this πŸ™‚

I am excited about another thing. I placed lettuce and celery in water last week and voila this week they have little growth πŸ™‚ This is so fantastic! I love nature and how it does miraculously! My mom suggested I could plant them and grow at home. I need a pot and soil and I have no idea when I can find time to purchase them, but this system itself is so magical that I feel truly elated πŸ™‚ Thanks those who posted about this which inspired me to try.

πŸ™‚

 

 

short-term memory problems

I have been having short-term memory problems (or absent mindedness) in the last one year or so. For example, I just went down to my living room and thought about picking my notepad and rather come up with the idea of taking a tub of yogurt from the fridge. Then I came back to my room and realized I forgot to get the notepad!!! This kind of things have been happening almost everyday. Should I be worried?

I am kind of worried because one day I had the stove on to boil water and I almost forgot it. Luckily the hood was on so I felt like checking it. I could have easily forgot the pot on the stove and create a fire hazard should the sound of the hood did not get my attention. This kind of possibilities are terrifying me.

I am mid 40s now and I think it is quite early for a serious disease, such as Alzheimer’s. I was looking for this online (not a good idea I know – there is so much information and often not even accurate when comes to health, but…) and one of the possibilities is the onset of menopause. Now, is that fair? Nevertheless I will prefer this as a reason than a neurological problem.

I am doing well in other areas, especially at work. So I am assuming it is not a generalized problem. Maybe my mind is too occupied. Maybe I feel the need to distract myself frequently, which cause me to forget things that appear in my mind just a minute ago. I do not know. But I will continue to monitor my symptoms and make a mental note to be more in the moment. Being too much thoughtful and distracting myself do not benefit me.

Why am I writing this? Because I wanted to logically face this problem. Writing is the best way to do so for me and I am glad I can look at it from a healthy angle. Maybe I will get better in dealing with my absent mindedness.

 

 

 

 

what a wonderful trip I have had to Rome :)

I have been back from my short trip to Rome and what a beautiful trip it has been! πŸ™‚

I have had a great time away from work and office, and all the ridiculous problems I have been dealing with at work lately. It was a business trip and as such I have had work related activities, but they were rather joyful and successful encounters, and as such I feel good about myself and my work again. This was much needed πŸ™‚

The transatlantic trips are long and inevitably make me tired, but they are so good for my mind. A fresh look at life as it develops right in front of me is a great experience. I tried new things this time and instead of taking the cab, I mostly took the shuttles and bus. It takes more time, but is certainly a great meditative activity – you gotta find out how to get to somewhere and how to get the tickets etc. A great activity that forces you to be in the moment. This is an amazing relief for the mind. And seeing once again that I was capable of overcoming hurdles in a country language of which you do not know (thanks to its residents who know some English) is a boost for my confidence πŸ™‚ And all the money I saved for my organization by not taking the cab is anther plus! I am pleased with myself. A lot.

I gotta go around the city (Rome) the first day and I found myself really relaxing. It is so beautiful with its history and art. I wish I could retire there πŸ™‚ Dreams are powerful and I realized that I have attained some of my dreams of young age; I am in a profession that I loved so much, obtained good credentials and positions, and I am living in Canada, one of the best countries in the world now. Realizing these during my trip gave me some kind of satisfaction that I cherish even today.

Italian food is not my favorite (i.e. pasta, pizza), but I managed to have wonderful lamb and vegetable dishes. I am grateful for making good choices in food and eating all the fresh produce. I ate peaches, my friends! Where I am, it is almost impossible to find – how lucky I have been πŸ™‚

I am back to work and I feel energized. I have a busy 2 months in front of me that will require lots of attention, focus, and hard-work, but I think I will be fine.

Viva Italia! πŸ™‚

 

dreaded chores

I have taken it quite easy today and mostly engaged in activities that I must have done at home; these included painting the wood trims outside the house. Each year I replace them as they usually peel off. Our harsh climate with generous amount of rain and snow necessitate this maintenance. It took me around 3 hours to do all, but I am very pleased with myself. It is one of these things that I must do and it has been on my list since June. I am glad it is done! I still need to stain the deck, but this will have to wait till next week when I hope we will have good weather, like today πŸ™‚

I also opened the windows and have had the house filled with fresh air. I used to do that more frequently in the past, but I think I have got quite lazy lately. I would like to do a couple of more of this activity in September. I truly believe that a house needs good aeration. I also cleaned the window sills and painted two of them. Also the doors from outside are cleaned – I do this twice a year; one in summer and one in December. Done till December πŸ™‚ Β I feel good about all of these!

There is an incredible amount of relief and happiness coming out of doing the chores that I dread. I do not know why I waited till the last minute (ahem.. did I mention I disliked them?), but these were on my to-do-list for so long that they dragged me down.

Now, I am free.

Wednesday morning musings

I got up very early this morning, partly because it was cold. I am glad I have done this, though, considering how peaceful, stress-free, and enjoyable the morning is.

I have been feeling quite well since yesterday evening; a big work is almost done and it feels good.

I have been on and off on work staycation in the last 6 weeks. It has been stressful to do all the work that dragged me down during this time and I was hurt along the way and exhausted, but now things are getting and looking better.

I still have lots of stuff to do but I have a list that shows which works are done in the last 6 weeks and I am glad that I went thru this time; lots of work is done! In my profession 6 weeks is a short time, and all the things I have done are great things. It was a great decision to do this this year. I am very satisfied with my decision and performance.

At what cost, you may ask? And you are right, stress and exhaustion are not worth it within the big picture of life. But I know if I had not done what I had done, things would have been worse for me and I would be looking for a much longer period of agonizing time to finish everything. Finding this positivity and being satisfied with everything are priceless. And feeling well is above all of these; I am very grateful.

This week is the last time that I am able to take vacation time off this year. That means until the holidays in December I will have occasional flexibility to work from home. I should be okay with this, but somehow reacting to it. It tells me that I enjoyed or benefited from working at home. Another positive thing Β to be grateful for!

On my personal life side, this intense work period was also good; I socialized a couple of times and hosted friends at home. More importantly, I broke my routine, even though I longed for my routine life during the last 6 hectic weeks. Life is interesting. Everything has its own proper time I guess…

I have great plans for today! I will complete some more tasks that have been dragging me down. I am looking forward to finishing them and adding them to my tasks-done-list! What a treasure πŸ™‚

I hope you all will have a gorgeous day filled with positivity, satisfaction, great opportunities and solutions πŸ™‚

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pretending

Ok – I cannot tell lies as a brutally honest person, but sometimes I feel like I must pretend in order to prevent a huge negative consequence.

I have had a very stressful 6 weeks and mentally I am very, very close to exhaustion. My body was exhausted 2 weeks go and 3 days of rest had mended it. But mental exhaustion is something else; you must recharge and cool down and excite with other matters. Or, burnt out is inevitable. It certainly is not an easy deal. I was burnt out once quite badly. It took me almost 3 years to fully recover. This is a very long for a professional with a highly demanding job. I cannot be there again.

Today I emailed two colleagues about a work we are supposedly doing where I am the only one shouldering 95% of the things. I said I am almost exhausted and cannot do more now; would they do their part?

We will see how it goes.

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leaving everything behind soon

They say anticipation is more exciting than attaining something.

I truly believe in this – in a few days I will be flying to Europe for a couple of days of business trip and I must say I was not able to anticipate much till this morning, but I guess I am now and it excites me. I will leave everything behind for a couple of day – all the stress of work, work-place, and issues.Β 

I will be free.

Something marvelous at last πŸ™‚

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today’s sourdough was a failure

I thought I could make it, but I was wrong.

Using all purpose flour in this sourdough loaf was a disaster. They say the Canadian all purpose and bread flours have similar protein content and many bakers are successful in getting decent loaves with all purpose flour, but today I proved myself that was not the case for me. Bread flour it is!

Dough was fantastic, but as soon as I took it from the proofing basket, it spread and leveled. I was hoping maybe once it is in the oven things would get better. But the loaf did not rise, usual oven spring was not existing, and it took longer (1 hour 15 min at 350F) to get a browned crust (I suspect because it was such a shallow loaf that its crust was further away from the top of the oven, which made it longer to brown), and as a result is as dry and hard as brick.

I will eat it, but honestly use the bread flour if it works better for your loaves.

 

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Added after the post: On a second thought, this loaf may as well be just over-proved. The first rise was quite long (around 18 hours) and I wonder if this has something to do with this leveled loaf (aka less gluten structure)… if you have any opinion, please do comment.

The X-files: Mulder leaves, Scully becomes Mulder, Doggett becomes Scully, and we get another Mulder, Reyes

I am on Season 9 of the X-files and boy, do I get bored.Β This show is messed up. I can tell you that.

a) without Mulder there can be no X-files; sorry producers – fans were right. Story completely changed and i.t. i.s. b.o.r.i.n.g.

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b) Scully becomes believing in things, even defending them, that Mulder could not convince anyone in the past. Heck, I did not believe him….Poor Mulder. Anyways, beyond that childish (aka innocent) charm and his pain, it turns out he was right after all. But it is strange that after Mulder leaves now we have someone else pushing the E.T. life and supernatural agenda, and that person is noone other than our once-rational and scientific Dr. Scully.. What an arc…. Awkward……

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c) Doggett is more like Scully we saw at the beginning of the show, maybe even better in skepticism as he is colder and more direct.Β I like the Doggett character.

d) And another addition, Reyes, who even is more exotic than Mulder as this character is obviously reincarnated several times (episode 8 – season 9) and can see or feel “things”, like evil. Brrrr…….

Did we need all these switches of behavior among characters aka the polar bodies (believer or not believer in E.T. life and government conspiracy)?

e) what is up with the romance between Doggett and Reyes??? Why do we always have to have this?

Looks like they tried to create a new couple like Mulder-Scully.

Could you not just bring Mulder back??…

What a mess you producers have done.

Truth about sourdough

I see a number of blogs/recipes using commercial yeast in the dough and calling it sourdough.

Sorry to break the news to some of us, but if you use commercial yeast, it is not sourdough. I guess someone started this and it kind of stuck with some other people.

Sourdough is made from levain/starter that is a totally natural culture of yeast (and bacteria). If you do not believe me, please check internet and see for yourself.

It somehow hurts me to hear that sourdough culture and commercial baking yeast are equalized. They both are fantastic, yet different. So let’s give them the place they deserve.

IMG_1952
this is my sourdough culture that I created a year ago from water and whole wheat flour; it is love.

 

 

Saturday morning musings

It is another quiet and peaceful Saturday morning filled with the great scent of freshly brewed coffee and the excitement of all the possibilities that the day may bring.

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It is rainy outside, which tells me that being outdoors today is not a practical option. It will be a day of home-entertainment I guess, including the dreaded house chores πŸ™‚

I am doing something out of ordinary and have the TV on. It has been sometime that I watched TV. Once upon a time TV was very important for me. So was reading books. Things change I guess. In the last 1-2 years, I switched to writing and reading blogs than doing these activities.

The following certainly does not apply to me πŸ™‚

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I think three things influenced this change:

1) My lower back problem that makes sitting in the couch uncomfortable, so I rather prefer to sit or lie down on bed in the evenings. This means I am away from the living room and hence the TV.

2) Shopping bans on books that started as a short term ban, which later is extended naturally. I used to buy 2-3 books every weekend, which was a great pleasure that I always looked forward to. Two years ago I started my budgeting and frugal life journey, which told me that what I was doing was not a great idea, also considering that I have had many books that I have not read yet. The massive decluttering followed the shopping ban showed me this very clearly.

3) The fact that I am resentful towards the cable provider. I have a package involving phone, internet and cable. While I was able to reduce my bill by negotiating with the company, I must say I am pissed that all of these services cost so much. In addition, I cannot cancel my cable because it is a package, and if I do remove it, phone and internet together would cost me more!! Which kind of a mentality is this? I feel like my cable service is a waste and I do not feel great about it.

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But I would like to encourage everyone to call and negotiate with their service providers; I was able to reduce my internet-phone-cable service and another important service in the last one year. For two years in a row I also get my credit card fee to be waived. I will change my credit card sometime to get rid of this fee altogether. Hoping to get a cash-back one because honestly cards with loyalty points are not great; it takes a long time to accumulate the points and when you collected sufficient points, then the service or item you look for may not be easy to get or available. I was lucky enough to get 3-4 plane tickets and a number of great items through the loyalty points so far, but I keep asking myself whether it is worth it.Β 

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Anyways, back to best of life – I hope everyone will have a great Saturday today! I wish we all can get the best of this beautiful day πŸ™‚

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sometimes the time just flies

Today was one of those days; time flied like nothing before. One moment I was eager to finish work and finally in the evening I realized I will not be able to do what I think I would do. That means this weekend will be a little bit busy with work.Β 

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My plans for the weekend are similar to before; clean the house, do the laundry, pick up milk from a store, prepare sourdough, and keep the yard tidy and free of weeds. And of course, some work…..It has been sometime that I have been to anywhere other than home, office, and a nearby store or two. It would be nice if I could visit the thrift stores or others, but I guess this will have to wait till next week.

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Why do I like thrift stores that much?

I shop there time to time. As a matter of fact some of my favorite blouses and fabrics are from thrift stores. It is affordable. More than that, however, I am interested in seeing different things. Thrift stores in my area are large and they contain more stuff and variety than the majority of the stores I know here. It is interesting to go through these diverse items. I particularly like the old stuff; like old metal objects or frames, which I would like to collect over time. I cannot wait till the next visit πŸ™‚

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By the way, I will be away for a couple of days in Europe. There is something great about the airports; they make me feel like I am leaving every issue behind and am ready for an adventure. This anticipation only should give me enough motivation to finish my work this weekend and the next week πŸ™‚

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frugal, waste-free, and simple-life style activities this week

I want to remember the activities that fulfill my interest in frugal, waste-free, and simple-life style this week; I am positive that they will help me see the brighter side in everything and motivate me to do more πŸ™‚

 

Here is the list:

Frugal activities:

1. I messed up with my budget and frugal life-style big time lately. Nevertheless, I managed to walk to work one day (rather than using transportation) saving myself 10 bucks.

2. I did not over-spend on grocery. As a matter of fact, I have purchased much less than regular in order to eat what I already have in my fridge.

3. I used a coupon. Now, considering I am wasting more than 200 bucks a week nowadays I wonder why I have even cared finding or using this coupon. Every penny counts I guess…

Waste-free life:

1. I continued to bring my tote to stores in order to reduce the amount of plastic shopping bags in my home. There has been a considerable improvement in this and I am happy to say that I reduced the amount at least by 2/3 πŸ™‚

2. I ate the food in my fridge before they went bad. Some of them still did, though, which I resent…. Next time I will be better.

Simple/self-sustaining life:

1. I baked my own bread.

2. I made my own strained curds/cheese from kefir πŸ™‚ I am straining another batch today. I want to try one from yogurt for a change of taste.

3. I did not unnecessarily made my day complicated by filling it in many different activities (only work).

4. I made sure to do other things than just work after 7pm everyday to give my mind a break and enjoy my life.

5. I did not socialize with anyone, which helped me keep my time and energy to myself (yes, this is one of the benefits of living alone πŸ™‚ )

6. I cared for my yard and removed weeds to make sure they will not take over the yard (a preventive measure for a long-term simple life)

Decluttering and minimalist activities:

1. Nothing particular than regular, except that the unnecessary paper that were on my study table are now dumped.Β 

2. I bought no item (other than personal hygiene products and grocery) for home or myself this week.

slowly slowing down

I have been slowing down the work, and stress as a result, in the last two days. I am feeling good and ready to come back to my regular self. Not yet, but soon.

I developed this fear that the moment I will relax, something else will happen. So I am keeping my guard up for any new events to show up. A tiring feeling.

Next week will be busy with drafting and finalizing a project that I have been working on for some time. Including many people in it is an opportunity for a better project, but managing conflicts and everybody’s interest is not something I am looking forward to. I try to convince myself that this is neither the first nor the last time that I will have to handle such a complex team dynamic, so eventually things will be better. Eventually I will forget or move on with a valuable experience. This is good πŸ™‚

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While I am officially off today, I went to office and had two meetings with my team Β members. Since these meetings move our own work, I am happy to show up at the office. However, I realized once more how much I resent doing little work that others can do. What a waste of time for me while more important issues wait my attention/time and my team members can take care of the little points themselves with a little bit effort. That is a dilemma… I guess if I was not such a control freak and aim to do high quality work, I would eagerly let my team members to take care of the fine points. Yet the past experience says that they are still young and not highly experienced, so to ensure that we will have a good product, I feel like there is no other option, but me being directly doing the work… Tiring… But the reward is well worth it… Still resenting it, though…

I finished working at home in the afternoon and was ready to do something different. Honest to goodness, nothing came to my mind.. Shopping? Walking? Seeing a movie? Watching TV? None…. I could not even think about reading a book. I understood that my transition from fast and high-volume work to my regular work load (and mental relaxation) has not finalized yet. Give me a couple of more days…

Yesterday I made a list of things that I have done in the last 5 weeks (the start of my work staycation period). I liked what I have seen :)))) There are so much done in that period of time. Yes, it was hard on me, very stressful and threw me off my routine, but eventually I have done what I meant to do. New issues are emerging and some of my tasks are not done yet, but I keep this list somewhere close to me so that I can look at it and find motivation and satisfaction. That was one great idea that I am glad I have come up with πŸ™‚

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I remember seeing a profile of a surgeon somewhere in Canada. He was just appointed as a director of a large unit. In that news, he mentioned something like “I am looking forward to challenges this position may/will bring and resolving them“. I always thought that this was odd, as I take challenges quite serious and it takes extraordinary mental energy to resolve some of the issues. So, I do not know whether he just said that, as it was expected from a director/leader, or has indeed a personality that can look at challenges without getting emotionally and energy-wise drained. I know some people are better in handling challenges and I want to believe that that person in fact stated the truth. This would mean that there is still room for me to develop and achieve that mental attitude.

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Tomorrow is another day. I will see what the day will bring. Until then, I am off to preparing a nice dinner and watching the X-Files πŸ™‚

 

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I want to go back to my regular self

It is not good to work under stress and undertake too much.

It is not good to eat junk.

It is not good to drink so much soft drink per day.

It is not good to spend money on cab while I can take the bus or walk.

It is not good to feel like nothing I work on moving while they actually do.

I want to be fine again, like prior to 5 weeks ago when I was walking, eating healthy, visiting thrift stores, saving money, and feeling great about myself.

I really do.

I think it is time that I take a couple of days really off and slowly start doing what I used to enjoy; thrift stores will be a good start. Hopefully sometime soon.

when spending feels alright

I continue to spend way more than my weekly allowance with no shame.

I keep saying that my quality of life and mental relaxation are important, so I really do not care.

But I should because I actually love saving money and hate wasting money.

I also have upcoming trips when I will need every saved penny to be at work. It excites me to save money for them.

I know once I start having a lean spending scheme, like before, I will find myself ultra motivated to reduce my financial waste.

If only I could have such a day….

 

Sunday is the day of sourdough

Here is my sourdough loaf for today πŸ™‚

on life, death, and nature

My mom’s little bird has died after a couple of week’s illness. It was loved, cared, pampered, and cherished.Β 

My mom and sister are feeling the pain of losing something that they loved so much. They feel like they have not done enough to care for the bird and blame themselves.

Nothing could be far from the truth; they cared for it while she was healthy and especially when she was sick. They have got an expensive medical care for the little one and gave water using Β syringe and kept it on their chest when she needed warmth and contact. They monitored it around the clock. They have done more than many people I know respecting and caring for that life. Yet, it was just her time to go and here my sister and mom feeling the blame and sadness.

It is natural to feel the sadness and grief, but I wished they did not blame themselves for what happened to this lovely creature.Β 

I told them what I experienced when my father had died 1.5 years ago. The sadness was nothing like I knew before, grief was overwhelming, I too blamed myself for not caring for my dad while he was alive or while he was dying. I still do. But I remember my wish to walk and see the nature as it is at that time, as life and death are a part of our life cycle and seeing nature I was able to put this in a rational frame. I remember looking at the trees, some naked and dried up, some looking like dying, but I knew that in spring some of them at least would flourish. I also remember seeing a man with a little child…. Life was continuous, only the life forms would be changing. We may lose one, heck, we will lose ourselves one day, but life will continue with a different tree, in a different place, with a different human.

It is impossible not to feel sadness and grief upon losing someone or an animal that we have loved. We have two options; either not love anything/anyone to protect ourselves from this, or love and go through the consequences. That is a natural dilemma of being human and having a consciousness. There can be no good solution to deal with death of a loved one…

But we can care and demonstrate our love while pets and humans are still alive.

After all, life is short and we have a tendency to focus on what we have in our plates at the time being, and forget the reality to come.

Go hug someone, a pet, or a tree today. Tell them or show them you care. Love yourself too and receive the love from others. Do not be shy.

 

 

 

Sunday morning musings

It is another Sunday, another beautiful morning, and another opportunity to get excited and joyful about life.

Somethings can help:

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and

 

 

Go lose yourself πŸ™‚

 

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On The X-Files and love

Let me tell you something about the X-Files.

I am currently on Season 7; why have I been watching The X-Files in the last months or so?Β 

Mulder and Scully – that is all. I like the characters and how they complement each other like Ying and Yang.

But the stories do not attract me:Β I do not believe in supernatural. I do not believe in E.T. I am more like Scully, I guess.

Only things that really attract my attention are the personal struggles and pains of the two characters; I like it when the stories are around them.

However; I do not know what to think about the romantic moments between these two characters that are scattered here and there. Nothing serious up to the Season 6 yet, but a new year’s kiss (somewhere in the Season 6 or 7) somehow threw me… Thankfully this moment was only temporary (although beautifully executed; you would swear that these two were in love so deeply and so unbelievably), as the next episode had no romantic or close encounters between the two. Like nothing happened and it was an everyday encounter…. Meaningless and weird stuff.

Anyways, I do not know whether I want it for these characters. I know that in the future episodes/movies they get together and then they broke up. There is a child that is likely to be Mulder’s and Scully’s. Looks like it is a natural extension of trust, years of watching each other’s back, saving each others arses, and sharing personal moments (like the deaths in Scully’s or Mulder’s family) that bring these two characters together.Β 

If you ask me, the romantic part between Mulder and Scully was unnecessary.

It is because it was like growing to love someone rather than falling in love.

I somehow prefer falling in love than growing to love over a period of time because the last time I did this (a thing, not a person), it took me 15 years to love!!!!!!

Love should be spontaneous. Un-calculated.

I know many people will reject this idea, but this is what I believe.

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back to my routine

Today after a month or so I am finally back to my regular routine; home cleaned, laundry done, sourdough stater fed, and more importantly I am not working.

This feels good.

There is something nice about our daily life and routine. It helps us to pay attention to our regular surroundings and activities. I kinda look around and notice things to be grateful for; my yard for example has considerably improved this year with the new back fence and new plants showing up. I love going around it everyday and noticing how the life in my yard doing and remove unnecessary weeds and stuff. It is great to be feeling content, excited, and hopeful about a part of my life.

I also find a chance to notice things that require care and fix them before they get worse. One of my household plants seem to have too much water in the vase, and as such has started to reek (possibly the microorganism growing in the water at the bottom). I cleaned it well and now hope that the plant will regain its health and vigor. It is a life and deserves the best from us.

I am watching the X-Files and am happy to be doing it.

I will prepare a nice dinner today with healthy ingredients, which will help me to gain my strength back and reduce the toxic effects of ongoing stress.

My windows are open and fresh air is caressing every corner inside.

My street is quite and eventless, encouraging an easy rest at home.

I have had fruits and home-made kefir cheese and sourdough this morning, which gives me the necessary energy and encouraging thought that I am back to healthy life-style.

My kefir grains are doing just fine and my sourdough starter is raising.

I have not got any negative news or annoying emails just yet and I am very grateful for this.

I appreciate this opportunity to just relax and give my mind and body a break.

I am excited for being free this evening and tomorrow and all the things I can do with my time.

And more importantly, I am happy to be with myself and reflecting on life and my life, which was much needed. Like this morning, I woke up with the thought that one day I would cease to be and whether what I was stressing myself about at work or at life would worth it. The answer is no. There are so many other important things to do or pay attention to. Time is given and passes pretty quickly. Life is bigger than what I have been focusing on lately. Loved ones and our own well-being and happiness are the most important thing. So much stress and its negative effects on body and mind are foolish. It is time to have a much wider look at life as a whole and re-adjust the priorities and plans. I have not got much of an idea about what they would be, but I am grateful that I have the metal sanity and clarity at least for this moment to even think about this.Β 

Routine is good my friends.

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Life has shown goodness to me nowadays

You know that I am going through and stressful patch in relation to my work in the last one month. There is too much to be done and too much emotions and exhaustion to deal with. But there has been great things as well, which I should acknowledge.

One of the things about my profession is to be recognized by others in my field as an expert. I have had three invitations in the last one month as an expert. One of them from a national organization that I have not worked with in the past. Another one is an international organization that I had interacted with last year. And the third one I have just got an invitation from is the biggest organization of its kind in Canada. All of these organizations coming up with my name and their trust in my professional abilities made me feel really good about myself; I have national and international recognition after all πŸ™‚

These invitations not only strengthen my own confidence and self-appreciation, but also help me show my own organization that I am a recognized expert. This increase my chances of being respected here.

It is funny that I have had many such recognition in the past and my organization never made a good remark about these. This is strange, but as day goes on, my list is increasing and so does my case to present myself to my own organization. Lovely πŸ™‚

These invitations require me to set up time and evaluate important reports. I am usually good about this and am looking forward to doing good job and writing great evaluation reports. At a time that I have been looking for ways to expand my credentials and move into the directions that will be good to me and where I would perform my best, these additional work only makes me happy and trusting the magical way of life in helping me move forward.

As a high level administrator told me a couple of days ago “when there is a challenge, there is the opportunity“.

I know that well now.

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your body let you know when you need to slow down

My tummy was aching yesterday and this morning, and I have a terrible headache since morning. I have eaten lots of carbs and drank too much soft drinks, and my face is puffy and I feel lethargic. I believe my blood tension is also high.Β 

Where am I going like this?

I may not have managed my work-related stress effectively so far, but I think it is time that I start doing this.

Action item 1. Stop thinking work at nights. Watch the X-files instead. Give my mind a break.

Action item 2: Breathe. Deep breaths. Continuously. For 5 minutes or longer. Try time to time.

Action item 3: Stop drinking soft drinks. Replace it with water. Drink milk.

Action item 4: Get out of the house.

Action item 5: Eat better. No carbs for some time. Eat delicious veggies and fruits for a change. They energize me.

Action item 6: Do not work this weekend, if I can.

Action item 7: Work at the office tomorrow, not at home. Get some human interaction. Get away from isolation.

Action item 8: Write down the things that go well.

Action item 9: Cuddle with a nice book.

Action item 10: Watch these lovely creatures and put on a smile πŸ™‚

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random thoughts

The day has been good and I like being able to say this πŸ™‚

My hair is doing fine. It has been almost 3 weeks since I have had highlights. I have washed my hair a little bit more frequently than usual, and as such it grew faster relatively to past. In the past, 2 weeks after dyeing my hairΒ my roots would start showing up and I would get depressed over the grays showing. This time, grays are showing but it is not that bad. As a matter of fact, I must very carefully look for them to see them. So I would say despite my epic tantrum at the hair saloon 3 weeks ago, my hair dresser was right – the highlights have lightened up and for now the roots are somehow blending in.

Of course it is quite early to have a final conclusion; I noticed that my hair dresser have done a much better job dyeing my hair than myself, and as such the roots are only coming out to visibility. If I have the same good feeling in the next two weeks, I will conclude that whatever she did, she did it right. Time to make the next appointment! πŸ™‚

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Works is stressful, but at least there are nice people who are helping. One of my collaborators and I have good conversations and we are both humbled by our work experiences. It is time to move up and we will be doing this. Good to have support and empathy, even though time to time we have our own clashes with this collaborator. I come to my senses, she does the same, by comparing our relationships with others (which are much more complex, pressing, and sometime even down right problematic). Among all these turbulent work relationships, the one between us at least work and move both of us up.

Also a staff from another unit has helped me clarify somethings; it was needed and solved a couple of issues. This staff and I have had some turbulent moments in the past, a few years back, on similar issues. I was resentful at that time, but today everything was positive and I could not help but think how well and naturally some relationships heal over time, or after a while.

Both of these recent experience say me that not everything is as bad as I expect them to be, and some work relationships are quite dynamic and require a new look and attitude time to time.

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My potatoes potated! Yes, they have!

I have checked one of the plants out of curiosity and there were around 10 mini potatoes at the root πŸ™‚ I am filled with love and awe…. I planted them back, hoping that maybe they will potate later, or could be food for soil animals πŸ™‚

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a relief after all

I have just completed a critical task and I feel the freedom coming out of letting it go. It is not over yet, but knowing that this one step is done gives me an unexpected relief. I will take it.

Work continues to be hectic and stress levels are still high. But at least I am preparing myself dinner this evening. This is a nice change and makes me feel better about everything.

The work will continue, I will fail, and I will go up. Somewhere, somehow. I wish there were no pressure as we have been under that restricts our minds and negatively affects our quality of life. This is one of the worst summers of my life, all because of work stress. Imagine….

The irony is that it has also been the warmest and brightest here where I live.

How do we enjoy what we are given and how we waste our times thinking, worrying, stressing

C’est la vie?

hardship teaches good lessons

They say that difficult things happen and we make mistakes to learn and develop.Β 

While I do not enjoy going thru a hard time on things related to my job right now, I also learn.Β 

Today I realized that:

  1. Me resigning from my position is a silly decision.
  2. I am too much focused on protecting my own and my ally’s/team’s rights that sometime i cannot see the other sides.
  3. I am tired and overwhelmed and my mistake rate is increased as a result.
  4. I must not undertake critical tasks right now, but I have to because of some deadlines. I must do whatever I can to make sure my mind is clear.
  5. Not everything will go ahead as I plan, think, or wish for. So I better get ready for failure as well.
  6. Whatever happens, this is a transition and there will be better days to come.
  7. I will change, the way I think or function at work will too, after all of these, but I will keep going.
  8. I will re-visit the idea of resignation in 2 years, or if something catastrophic happens that cannot be otherwise fixed. But not right now.
  9. I must focus on positive possibilities and positive outcomes so that I can move in such a direction. The more I think about resignation, the more I find myself subconsciously moving in that direction. This is self-sabotaging at best. This is silly.
  10. There will be better days and times to come. There will be positive outcomes. I may not know what they are now, but it has always been so. For example; at work there was a big project that I wanted to undertake and lead. It did not happen and it hurt. Last week we learnt that those who have such kind of projects would have to deal with a much bigger problem than I had anticipated. It is not something that I could easily handle, so I came to think that I was in fact lucky to not have this project that I wanted so much.
  11. In the last few years there has been things at work that did not come to a point that I wished them. The project I mentioned above is one of them. But, is that not true that there is a destiny for me and these are all helping shape it? Maybe I will come up with a better idea? Maybe a better project? Maybe I will in fact quit my profession at one point of my life, but maybe this will be a retirement, not a resignation? Maybe I will find a job all of a sudden and without much of an effort, and take it as an opportunity? Maybe these are all normal thoughts of someone who is under too much stress? Maybe whatever will happen will be better for me on the long run. I should have some faith in future and life. I should have patience. I should relax and be less jumpy. I should and will take one day at a time. I should embrace the opportunities and failures alike. Where is my grace? One can be graceful without quitting early, right?
  12. I must reflect on the goodness in life and around me more. Life is full of great things and people!
  13. I must take a break from all of these sometime soon. Luckily I have a short trip to Europe in a couple of weeks. It will give me some fresh air and mental break.Β 

joy journal – August 14, 2017

I most need to write this journal today; nothing seems to go right and I feel some strange type of being over-whelmed.Β 

1. I am grateful for not losing my sanity yet, despite all the turbulence, issues, and decisions made. All work-related.

2. I am grateful for not resigning.

3. I am grateful for deciding again and again not to resign. Not without finding a job to replace what I already have. Some things are really going unkind and downhill. But no matter what, I cannot resign and leave. It is a good feeling to be able to leave everything behind, but this would not be a wise thing to do; there is me and other people who are dependent on me having a stable life and work. It is easy to quit but not easy to find a job that will satisfy me. Can I change myself? The way I think? The way I cannot handle things? What will the future bring to me? What am I doing right and what am I doing wrong?Β 

4. I am grateful for sitting down and listening to a relaxing music. What the days will bring, I must take it. I just wished I did not have to find myself in these situations. But then what can I do? In all cases I try to be fair and just and do the right thing. Sometimes there are no good thing and sometimes there is too much pressure. I bend under this much of a pressure. I just hope not to bend more or unnecessarily.

5. I am grateful for one of our work being assessed favorably. I got the news in the morning. Our efforts are not completed yet, but at least this is a good sign. I hope the final decision will be favorable or at least manageable so that I can feel better.

6. I am grateful for hearing from an ex-trainee of mine who had worked with me something like 5 years ago. Hearing good memories and how their time under my supervision changed and improved their skills is always a delight πŸ™‚

7. I am grateful for taking the bus in the morning and walking in the afternoon.

8. I am grateful for the coffee I have had at the office.

9. I am grateful for the internet connection and my computer that allow me to work and enjoy my time at home.

10. I am grateful for logically analyzing the difficult time I am going thru and realizing that this is a learning opportunity and it will help me with other experiences in the future.

11. I am grateful for not having anxiety or panic attacks, and keeping my cool.

12. I am grateful for slowing down this evening. Tomorrow is another day. This is a period of time that is supposed to happen.

13. I am grateful for breathing and having a healthy body.

14. I am grateful for trying.

15. I am grateful for having loved ones.

16. I am grateful for hearing bad news from others and realizing I am not in such a bad situation. This may sound selfish, but realizing that there are bigger problems in life brings me back to reality and big picture; I must keep my sanity and well being so that I can help others.

17. I am grateful for my blog for letting me vent my frustrations and confusions, interact with others, and express myself.

Saturday morning musings

It is a beautiful morning πŸ™‚ Birds are flying, trees are washing with the breeze, sun is warming and inviting, and coffee is just great πŸ™‚

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When we grow up we listen to a lot of fairy tales. After a period of hardship, difficulty, and loss of hope, lost of great things, opportunities, and beautiful things happen in those tales. I once or twice reacted to this in my adult life, saying that the reality is in fact not like this and they fooled us by believing in that everything will be beautiful at the end. I felt like these tales were not representative of real life.

Today I think a little bit differently. I think we needed these tales to realize that things can turn to better way. That we should have hope and faith that things can and will be better in the future. It is not realistic to assume this is always to case, but the truth is that there is a chance that it will turn better and we must believe in this and find some kind of relief, hope, and optimism, rather than dwelling into negative chaos.Β 

So I repeat this sentence since yesterday:

“Everything will be great”

To recognize this chance and shift the focus of my mind from negativity to positivity. It worked this morning and may work at other times. I will use my chances. After all life is all about learning, experiences, growing, shifting, and most importantly about noticing and enjoying everything it can offer to us.Β 

And today I enjoy not only my coffee, but being alive, safe, healthy, and the well being of my loved ones.

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joy journal – August 11, 2017

It has been a long time that I have written this journal.

I must remember to do this especially when I am feeling down – there is nothing uplifting more than being grateful for events, memories, things, people, and experiences that give us hope, positivity, happiness, opportunity, and a break from all the chatter and clutter.

1. I am grateful for waking up early today; 6.30 am to be exact. When you wake up so early you have all the time in your hands. Also it is such a quiet time of the day; no traffic no phone calls. Precious.

2. I am grateful for being off today. I worked only lightly in the morning. It was enough. I have had enough. The rest of the day except email correspondences I have not dealt with work. This gave me some chance to just sit down and relax. I was tired too – at noon I have felt quite drained and lied down for a while. It was beautiful.

3. I am grateful for doing routine stuff today; house chores! How joyful it was to be able to engulf in a simple yet effective work for a change! I cleaned the house, did the laundry, did grocery shopping, and finally cut the grass in the yard! The last one was on my list in the last 6 weeks – the time was right today. I feel relieved – one more long-standing task is done and gone (for now, of course; I gotta repeat this in two weeks, but until that time….).

4. I am grateful for the little potato that one of my potato plants have produced! One of the plants turned yellow and I wanted to check it. And there they were, 6-7 little potatoes….. what a wondrous thing to experience… I am awed. Honestly πŸ™‚

5. I am grateful for going through hardship and relaxing into it now. These were all work related and I am gaining somethings really good and losing somethings really important. Losing is not a great feeling, but that prompted to me to make plans for my future. I resist less to the issues and things I have lost, and focus more on what I can gain. I was right about that feeling last week or so; my life is shaping as a result. I hope it to be a good one.Β 

6. I am grateful for the warm weather outside that keeps us warm and windows open. There is something lovely about having the fresh air inside and feel the breeze…. Lightness! Yes, this is the feeling it does give – lightness! Being free of worries and nerve-racking things. Being in the moment and enjoying this simple act. Precious! πŸ™‚

7. I am grateful for being ready for the dinner tomorrow. I will have two couples as guest, good friends. I have everything sorted out and the menu being realistic. Tomorrow will be a busy day but hopefully a fun day, too.

8. I am grateful for feeling better now πŸ™‚

let me end this unfrugal spending scheme

I have made more expenses in the last three weeks than any other time since the new year. I possibly spent 3X of my regular allowance. This does not feel good. Most of the expenses are for junk stuff and cab rides while I was trying to keep my head over work and work issues. Throw in a social and hosting two dinners (one last weekend, one tomorrow) and you can get the idea.

I am determined to pay this mortgage off in the next 6 years. This means I am reducing the time into half. I must and can save more while I have a salary. This must be my priority.

From tomorrow on, I will be on shopping ban; no thrift store or other purchases till October, unless absolutely needed. I will not buy any furniture or clothes, either. Absolutely no cab rides!! I will have my hair done, though, since I am transitioning to gray now. The journey has started and will be completed. I do not expect socials either. At least I will not be inviting over anyone. Well, maybe a couple with lovely kids. We will see.

The only purchases acceptable are:

  • baking items (I will need bread flour and whole wheat flour soon)
  • veggies and fruits
  • milk and yogurt
  • eggs and occasional meat products
  • personal hygiene products

I also am going to do another pantry challenge and focus on consuming the food I already have before filling my pantry, freezer, and fridge again. That will be exciting and I am really looking forward to this.

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planning retirement

I want to quit this job, but logically retiring from this job is the best.

I am looking at another 11 years, I have decided this evening. I can retire in 8 years but the pension is not good enough and the mortgage will be just paid. I need cash in addition to these.

So, my plan is to pay off the mortgage in the next 7 years and then save the mortgage payments I now make as cash. I will in the mean time continue to do my investments (RRSP, TFSA). These should give me some peace of mind. I hope I will not have a significant life event that requires a lot of cash. This plan is dependent on such an assumption.

I currently pay around 15K/year to mortgage. This year I started to make extra payments, totaling around 5K a year. I will make an effort to increase this a little bit more. No more fooling around with stress and making extra expenses, like I have done in the last 3-4 weeks. It is time that I return back to my wonderful budget I started in the new year.

I will make my life work here. I will make my work work here. There is so much I can do and perform. Maybe not what I want to do, but I will focus on what I can do. One year at a time. In two year comes a major promotion that I want to get. That means the next two years I am appliying for projects and forming better collaborations. My aim should be to prepare 4 projects/year.

I decided to become lean in terms of my work schedule and I will be removing myself from one of the committees I am a member of. I also will focus on work during the day and will not think about other stuff. Work is important and I am getting tired. My energy and efforts and time should be better protected.

I will also relax and trust more. Myself, universe, that something great will come. I hope I am not mistaken about this.

My pension 11 years later will not be huge, but just enough. That is good enough for me. I can always start a side kick and get occasional extra income.

I can handle 11 years. It is a definite time period. It has been 9 years that I have moved here. Time flies, but hopefully not so fast till then; I would like to enjoy my life, find my life’s purpose, and feel better about myself and life until then.

The moral of the story is that money is important. It does not matter how young or senior you are, you will need it. Keep it as much as you can while you have it.

 

 

what the day brings, you take it – II

I woke up at 6.30 am with lots of annoying thoughts in my mind.

Quitting and accepting failure crossed my mind, but something also kept me up beat and optimistic. It can be acceptance of the future, belief in a brighter future, or realizing that this is not the first adversity and issue filled time in my life, nor I am the first one to go through a similar time.

Things got better around noon and I realized things are not as bad as I think it would be or were. There were times that I have had similar experiences in the past. I guess our minds are programmed to consider all bunch of situation and focus on resolving the worst possible scenarios. This is taxing, is it not?

This being said, there were times that I thought things were better than they in reality were. Lack of insight? Lack of information? Lack of experience to think comprehensively? You decide.

I really miss my regular routine of walking to office, working, walking back to home, reviewing the flyers on Wednesday to decide my shopping list, grocery shopping on Thursdays, doing house chores on Saturday and sourdough baking on Sunday. Perhaps it is the best. Perhaps I was lazy and fell into the comfort of this routine. It is hard to know. What I know is that time to time life and work can get really challenging. Hold on to life at these difficult times and trust that it will get clear and better. It must be. It always is.

I today believe in this.

 

The curious case of…… my life’s purpose

What is the purpose of my life, if I may ask myself?

I know I am supposed to do somethings that will change life as a whole. I will leave no legacy possibly, but memories and important accomplishments for many. I will leave information, knowledge, questions, and answers. I will leave this blog as long the domain keeps it and it is accessible through the internet.

I believe that I am here for a reason or two. I know, like all of us, I am unique in some ways and contribute to life and shaping it. I know there are many things I could do under the right circumstances. I keep coming to the same point that I am not where I am supposed to be and I am not engulfed in what I am really good at and can make a good difference. I should be wasting my energy, thoughts, and time with things that matter most.

What are they?

I have no current idea, but I know things are shaping in the horizon. Whether in this job or somewhere else I will be evolving to a point that rather than struggle and nerve-wars, I will be flourishing.

My best in life is yet to come. I strongly believe in this. Whether through failure or success should not matter.

I read in two different blogs the same question in the last 1 hour; how would you live if you knew you would die soon?

What an interesting question.

We will die, will we not? What then matters most?

I am a true believer of relativity and the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I know I am at the top of this pyramid now and am trying to figure out my place in life and in my career. I question everything and looking for better opportunities. The use of term “better” should signal that I already have other, albeit less favored, options. I know I can find jobs that may or may not pay as much as what my current work pays. It would be difficult but not impossible. I know I could get jobs in other places/countries. I know I could switch to other professions and maybe just work longer than I have planned. Heck, I can stay where I am.

So the future may be blank and with less favorable circumstances, especially in terms of financial security. That is a risk hard to take. Maybe I will take it, maybe I will not. Only time will show.

 

 

 

why do we need to feel good?

At one point in my life, many years ago, I was feeling really bad. As a result I turned into books to understand these feelings, their causes, and how to better deal with the thoughts and emotions as a result.

One thing that misses usually from my overall look at life is trust; trust that things will turn out just okay. Trust that I will be able to handle things well. I now am somehow better in this area if I can remind myself.

My other big habit is to not let go of things, plans, wishes, or wants easily. I believe that they take quite a time and effort to come up with, organize, and execute. These, if not followed with success, eventually it leads to frustration and self-doubt. That hurts and amplifies the the first trust issue; trusting that I will be able to handle things well. This being said, not being an easy dumper is also good sometime, as many things in life require more than mere luck and rather lots of efforts and patience. I have good examples of relatively big success came by not quitting and constantly working towards the aim.

The third would be to have a sharp focus. This is great when there is a task at hand, but not great while dealing with life issues, which are often more complex and repeating in nature. Seeing the big picture, my own and the issue’s place within everything life offers can be quite illuminating; after all what is the big deal as long as we are safe, sound, alive, and able?

I once was silly enough to complain to one of my friends about my own itsy bitsy issues a few months after she has lost her dad. I apologized when I realized what I was being so selfish and insensitive to my friend. She did something amazing and gave a piece of wisdom; there was no pain little or big enough; pain is pain and it fills us almost immediately; fast and expandable. I love this definition, which is so true. But I still want to get out of the room of the pain and see the other things in life. This change in the perspective is healthy, promotes positivity, and eventually calms me.

if there is another thing that calms me is to surrounder to pain. I was not able to understand the meaning of this for years, but one day it just came; I was struggling to decide on something critical, very, critical, and after a long and painful internal fight, my shoulders just dropped. Decision was made by my body. I had failed to make the decision I so long wanted to make. But I could not take it anymore. Fight was over. Pain was pain, but less than the pain my internal fight created. Failed to make the best decision? Yes. Succeeded in surviving my turmoil? Yes. Life can be this messy sometimes.

We have so many examples of hardship in our lives. So many mistakes and resentful memories, actions, words, and behaviors.

What is the solution?

Keep going?

or

Forget these or forgive ourselves?Β 

 

is there something called being desensitized to adversity?

So much is going on, and a lot of these are going in a direction that I wish they did not. Under different conditions, even upon one such event, I would be pulling my hair and stomping my feet. But not anymore.

I think I passed the initial aggravation with the first adversity and now am going through the continuous agitation and issues with a calmer head. How is that even possible?

One thought that keeps popping on my mind is that “eventually something better will come up“. Β Yes, the things are not moving well, and I have issue over issue to think, plan, and resolve, and yes some of these issues will not be resolved and I will not be able to make things that I wanted to happen. These are all related to work, by the way, which is very important for me but not as important as the well being of myself and the loved ones. This gives me serenity.

There is a saying that one door may be closed but the other may open after that. I love this phrase and keep believing in it. This requires a little bit more care, careful look and research of additional opportunities, but time after time I find myself ripping the opportunities after such hard times. The wisdom of age is priceless. I just wished I knew what to expect from the future.Β 

I am saddened, however, by all the efforts, emotions, and hardship endured during all of these hurdles. Darn transition from one failure to next opportunities is long, too. So my pain has not suffocated yet and brought me to the next level. But I am curious about what will come next and how these and I will shape my future work and possibly life conditions.

Learning about life, myself, my reactions, and my emotions is a continuous process, I see.Β 

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how you get assertive

Basically you are either a natural, or you are pushed for it.

Being a female and international/foreigner professional on a high-competition work line, I have seen too many injustice, unnecessary pressure, back stabbing, sexism, racism, nationalism, mansplanning, bias, discrimination, stereotyping, and all bunch of other shit.

That is the annoying reality, which I hope one day will be eliminated. We gotta do this.

Working with others in such an environment also means that they will try, at one point or the other, to impose these on you, and control you or your work.

I have had a recent experience just yesterday that pissed me off too much. And this morning email reply has been sent; sane, professional, and firm that I will not accept this because of this and that. I am proud of my self for doing this. My consciousness is quite clear. There may be negative consequences, but hey.

Some people will need a break to understand that they are crossing the line. Assertiveness helps you to convey this message to these people and help you keep your self-respect and protect your rights. I never knew how assertive I could be. I am still hugely annoyed by the behavior yesterday, I hate the feeling and experiencing this, but I am grateful for finding the right type of reaction after hours of agitation, fuming, and pain (that is assertiveness, not attacking back, complying, or passive aggression).Β 

By the way ladies, this is a separate experience, but do you not love it when male co-workers cut your sentences? Both my superiors and team members have done this to me and hopefully now have learnt not to cross their lines. Mansplanning, is it?

I need no this or other shit.

resurrected sourdough starter

I managed to revive my sourdough starter from dried flakes! πŸ™‚

The new one is very similar to previous one (that I accidentally used all in a loaf) and has had a great oven spring. Since it will be served to my guests tomorrow, I did not cut it up to see the crumb, but I am sure it is good.

I could not ask for a better one πŸ™‚

IMG_1846

start of the “work staycation”

I am taking the next week off to work. Am I funny or what??Β πŸ™‚Β 

I have a number of things to finish and I am looking forward to this break. I have another 1-2 weeks to take off before the end of August, which is a relief. Maybe I will stop for a couple of days and focus on myself a little bit.

My plans are as follows for the next 9 days:

Work:

3 documents to develop and/or finalize

2 speeches to finalize

Email correspondences and other emergency stuff that will occur within the week (that is correct; I wrote “will” rather than may” because the past years have taught me that emergencies are a normal part of our work Yuppi! More stress hormone! )

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Personal life and home:

Two dinner parties with friends; meaning lots of shopping, cooking, and cleaning. We will see how this will go. Two dinners in a week seem too excessive for me. It is like a marathon! It is great that my friends are understanding. The worst we can do is to take out.

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Staining and painting the patio and the wooden parts of the outside doors and windows; I resent this task, but it must be done so that I can protect my property better.

Reading a book…… It has been almost 2 years that I have not read a full book, from start to end…. I have the Game of Thrones series at my hand, which are so interesting. yet, where is my book love? How did I lose it? How can I get it back?

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Taking more pictures of the natural beauties. The photos I posted in the last few weeks, the photos of the plants and flowers in my yard made me realize what a great yard I actually have. Many of these appeared in the last year or two, and when I first purchased my home, the yard looked incredibly bad. I digged and almost leveled the back of the yard, planted a little maple tree, trimmed some unwanted ones, planted a number of seeds, some of which germinated (let’s see how they will survive), planted potato, onions, and garlic. The potato plants are doing great, onion has almost seeded, but the garlic does not seem to be producing anything (I checked one of them). I had heard about sterile garlics, which I seem to have planted. In the fall, I will plant again, potato as well, to see whether the time of planting makes a positive difference (they say these plants should be planted in fall before the frost).

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I also plan to print some of the photos and hang them on my walls. This is a massive undertaking for me because I want to hang around 15-20 frames…. Since I cannot do this myself, that also means that I will hire someone to put the nails on the walls. Fun stuff…i repeat that we need a “handyman/woman” registry or company that can do this kind of little work for people like myself.

And, I must do some back/ab exercises to keep my back strong. I have neglected these exercises for some time now and I feel like I must prioritize them again. Since at home I sit mostly (rather than using my standing desk at the office), my chances of hurting my back increase. I do not need that type of “emergency” situations, do I? πŸ™‚

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Have a great Friday night everyone!

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weekly budget check

I have not posted in this category lately mostly because I have been spending a lot of money lately.

I am saddened somehow (but not fully) by the fact that I over-spent my weekly allowance ($120) in the last two weeks for the first time since the new year. The total for two weeks is around $400….In addition, I have had my hair done for over 200 bucks and made some expenses for a social gathering. I am not sorry for the social’s expenses, somehow pissed about the hair dresser’s fee but I am ready to forget this for now, and it is my own careless expenses that bother me most.

I made these expenses to feel better about myself the last two weeks, which was a rough time. They helped at that time, but it is time that I go back to my regular responsible, waste-free, and frugal self. Noting this here gives me hope and determinism to do this transition. I hope I will not fail in this.

Next week I am officially off and will keep working at home (my “work staycations” are becoming an interesting yet effective habit now…). But I am going to host friends this and the next weekend at home. I am looking forward to these events because I have seen nothing but support and friendship from most of the invitees. The expenses I will make for these dinner parties should not exceed 100 bucks each with some luck.

On the good side, within the last two weeks I have saved $70 from some expenses I was supposed to do, but did not. Also, my “fun funds” accumulation are around $1,230 as of today. These funds are critical for the short Europe visit I will make in October. I am so looking forward to this trip, which will give me some time to focus on my own enjoyment and relaxation. And it could not be possible without the fun funds πŸ™‚ As a reminder, fun funds are those money that I saved from my weekly allowance since the new year. This is at least a successful product of my overall spending and saving adventure πŸ™‚

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my adventures with plastic shopping bags, kefir cheese, and ice cream

I love ice cream in a hot summer day – there is something child-like about it that makes me look at the world with the eyes of an 8 years old. I love this feeling of carelessness, pure joy, and being in the moment πŸ™‚

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My aim to reduce the shopping bags at my home and not picking up new ones continues with 80-90% success. There were times that I had to get the bags at stores, but at least I do not have an over-flowing amount of them in my kitchen drawer anymore. I am determined to keep only around 20 or so of them at home to use as garbage bin liner, but not more than that.Β 

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And I have been trying kefir cheese for some time. I think I have had my forth one this week. You simply collect 700-1000 ml kefir, pour down a strainer lined by a clean cloth (not necessarily a cheese cloth), and put the strainer in a large bowl where the strainer will have some room (so that the strained liquid will collect at the bottom of the bowl away from the strainer), and place the assembly in the fridge over night. The majority of the whey would have drained until then. You can also gently squeeze the curds/cloth to remove extra liquid.

One can eat this – it is delicious, but if you are looking for a thicker one, then change the cloth (cheese cloth is fine now as the curds are large enough so that they will not be strained through the cheese cloth), and place in the fridge. I found that at that point the liquid drainage is not strong enough and the majority of the draining is actually made by the cloth. So change it frequently to encourage further removal of whey. I sometimes place the cheese/curds between two plastic tubs (the one at the bottom would have holes in it to help drainage) and put weight on the top tub to encourage further drainage. But, I find that this is not necessarily an efficient and practical solution, so I rather change the cloth as it gets wet to help it thicken. It is that simple.

Use it as it is, or mix with herbs or even fruits (like mushy berries or banana).

My next trial will be a ricotta made by milk and whey; cannot wait! πŸ™‚

Healthy and fun to do!

Bon appetite!

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what the days bring, you take it

While I have had a relaxing weekend, the stress of work has already caught up with me. Since yesterday I have been running, running, running again. I can feel all the stress hormones rushing in my veins and my emotions fluctuating. I feel like emotionally unstable, and sometimes, just sometimes, I realize that I must do things differently.

When you work with others and dependent on their commitment, time, and efforts, you know that this kind of work takes more time and there are times that you need to “trust” that the other party will do their absolute best to finish the work with a level of quality required from you. You also know that this is not an optimistic expectation, because in reality a lot of things can go wrong. So, how do we get the best of the other parties? How do we involve them more, and make them do the things on time? Especially if they are your colleagues, or even worse, your superiors?Β 

I do not have the answer to this. If you have any opinions, please leave me a comment. I will seriously consider it.

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I continue to work mostly at home this week, even though I am back to work (i.e. not vacation time). I do not know whether this is good or bad, but it seems to be working for me. I just wished I could do better. But then, who would not?

One of my colleagues could not believe today that I took vacation time to actually work. Is that so weird? I concur that it is weird, but at least please respect my wishes – I too know to just do things out of work and enjoy my life. But with the work-related congestion I have at my hand, finishing the work is going to give me peace of mind. I am so looking forward to the mornings when I wake up feeling good about life, not stressed by the work I must do. My quality of life is important.

Carbs too.

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Among all of these chaotic circumstances, there has been good things as well. First of, I managed to revive my sourdough from its dried flakes. Objectively though it is questionable that whatever is growing in the starter has come from my original starter (I have been feeding it the last four days); it is quite possible that this is in fact a new culture that I captured from flour, water, or air. It is so hard to know. I want to believe, though it is the original one so that I can brag about my sourdough starter lasting for years and years…What a childish but important wish for me. Unfortunately none of us will know the truth. I wish I could do DNA test or something to figure out :)))

Another good news is that with each wash, my highlights are getting more lighter and I am capable of seeing some light patches in my hair here and there. I am still pissed about the highlights not being strong enough, but considering it has been only 5 days since I have got my hair done, I am hopeful that in two weeks or so, I may get better-looking and stronger highlights. I want to believe…..

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Also, I finally chopped down the little trees shooting out of the trim of my house. Somebody told me that they can grow and start damaging the house/foundation. What!! I do not need that. I feel weird cutting little trees, one because they are little, and second, they are trees. Trees are magical and absolutely wonderful. Why do they show up where they do not belong? I made a mental note to plant one to my yard to ask forgiveness from nature.

Last, since I am not eating well during this stressful time, I seem to be losing weight. I am okay with that as long as I eat at least a vegetable and fruit at least once during the day. Β However, it is strange that even planning for one of my weekly pleasures, grocery shopping, is not making me excited.

The situation, my friends, is that dire.

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bread with sun flower seeds

While trying to revive my dried sourdough starter, here is the bread I have baked using the commercial yeast.

 

 

Recipe:

1/2 tbs yeast, 1 cup 2% milk, 1 cup water (warm milk and water together first), 2 tbs sugar; mix well and activate the yeast for 10 min (cover the bowl)

add 3 tbs salt, 9 cups of bread flour, mix and form a dough

cover and stretch and fold 3-4 times (around 20-30 min rest in between)

rest at fridge over night

in the morning. take the dough out and bring to room temp ~3 hours

shape the dough and rest 5 min

work on the shape of the dough, and place it in a bowl with clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of sun flower seeds

put in a large plastic bag and prove at room temp for 4 hours (in the last 30 min I put it in an oven warmed to 100F)

score and bake at a non-pre-heated oven at 375F for 45 min (oven on) and an additional 15 min (oven off)

take out, sprinkle some water over the loaf, and let cool down

Bon appetite!

 

PS: since Β this loaf is going to a friend of mine, I did not cut it out and hence I have no idea how the crumb is. But the oven spring was amazing and the fact that the loaf kept its round shape, I am hopeful that the crumb too is good πŸ™‚

random thoughts

I am back to my normal routine as of today and it feels good.

Yesterday after the noon, I was busy with socials and having great time with friends. That felt good. It was also expensive (the cab ride only took 51 bucks). Add to this the treats and gifts. But what can I do?

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Today I have gone to thrift stores. It was one of those days that I have no interesting stuff to pick. I could probably pick a number of things but none would be something that I would absolutely need. I tried around 20 blouses/cardigans and it is interesting that I did like none of them πŸ™‚ That is okay too – there will be times when I find something really lovely and excited to purchase it.

My hair is doing well. I think because of the exposure to sun today, it looks a little bit lighter. That is what I need to see. I am scared, however, to find out how it will turn out in 2-3 weeks when the roots start to come out. Goodness, help me.

Hair GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Did I mention that I lost my sourdough starter? Yesterday I was about to feed it, but i could not find the glass jar in the fridge. It was an awkward 15 minutes of my life where I just stood there, looked around, tried hard to contemplate the situation, believed that somebody was messing with me, believed that a supernatural creature was messing with me, and eventually I came to the conclusion that with the stress and the agitation of work last week, I had forgotten to spare starter and put all of the fed starter into my loaf last week.

That sucks.

That starter worked really well. Thank goodness, I have had dried it up last January. I have dissolved some of it in water, and fed with flour yesterday and this morning. To tell you the truth, it just smells like flour but not starter. So I do not know what will happen, whether there is an microorganism to revive in the dried starter, and if so whether I will get a robust starter as before. But all I can do is to trying. The worst case scenario is that I start a new starter, even though I really would like my first starter to revive and be present in my life….

Starter GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

My kefir grains, on the other hand, doubled. I think I have got them in May and it was just a table spoon of grains. Now I have double or even triple this initial amount. This has happened lately, in the last few weeks which I think is because of the warm weather. It has not disappointed me at all. I should find ways to preserve these grains; freeze them? Dry them? I gotta look at the internet again.

Tomorrow will be another lovely day. Until then, enjoy your day and night!

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my new hair

Farewell red hair – I will miss you so much….

I have got my hair fixed today. I had prepared myself for quite a light-colored hair, with lots of highlight. I had two options: I would either have it dyed to platinum colour and have dark brown low lights all over. Or, have it dyed to close to its original dark brown, and have lots of highlight. The colorist gave me two options: one: colour correction, which would take multiple visits (and a longer time frame to get a decent hair in the short term), or second: dyeing it to brown and have highlights. I chose the second option.

I was not ready to leave the current shade. I kept looking at the red colour and got very saddened….

It was a meticulous process that took around 5 hours; highlights in foils first. Root treatment second. Dyeing the rest of the hair next. And finally a toner application.

I was suspicious that the hair colour would turn too dark and as a result when the roots start showing up, the contrast would be weird. This is mostly because while washing out the toner, the colorist said that the highlights were somehow dark…. Argh…..

The moment I looked at my new hair was disappointment. All I could see was dark brown and no highlights…. Poor colorist needed to talk to me defensively 15 minutes or so, and try to convince me that the highlights would get lighter in two weeks. I was not convinced. Until she moved me over to the window where there was a lot of light. There I saw what she meant. Yes there were highlights, and yes there were not very strong, but I have had some lightness to hair colour that gave me hope and realize that we were on the right track! I apologized sincerely.Β 

Of course transitioning to my gray hair is a process that will take around a year. There will be times that I will lose my cool again and attempt to change it to platinum or something. But, today I feel like at least I have started the process and so far it is okay. Β 

Tomorrow is another day. Let’s think about it then.

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My hair after today’s treatment:

IMG_1645

And this was a day agoIMG_1600Β 

 

 

life is unexpectedly good sometimes

While dealing with work stress and feeling a disastrous low self-esteem, life has reminded me once again that it is full of surprises and can be indeed a delightful experience.

Today I have given my old (but still quite good looking and functional) recliner to someone I do not know free of charge. She just loved it and the joy was very visible from her own eyes. She thanked me more than once, was very excited to have it, and her joy filled my eyes with tears. This experience literally made my day and gave me an unexpected dose of happiness. Even now I can feel her joy.

I am so grateful that such a wonderful match could happen and I was a part of it.

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gray hair saga

Have I mentioned that I made an appointment for Thursday to get my hair done?

My current plan is to dye my hair similar to its original shade (it is dark brown – that I remember…) and then have low-lights over. I do not know what portion of my hair is gray and what portion has the original colour. I trust that the dresser will figure this out. Β I want to have streaks right around my face. Like in the character in the Addams family movie.. Yuppii!!

Of course that is what I think it is gonna be, but I will also be open for the suggestions by the hair dresser. I hope not to come back with a hair that I cannot live with. Like complete platinum or something – I m not ready for this. I also hope that we will not need bleach and the current reddish/grayish hair can be dyed to brown. I want to believe in this.

This is also gonna be an expensive adventure. Over 200 bucks for a cut, dye, and low-lights. If bleaching is needed, that will be an additional expense. I do not think I can handle bleach. This is already too much of a money to pay and even though I am capable of paying more, my guts say absolutely not!

I called a number of hair saloons today and except one all give estimates around this range. The one with a lower fee was not exactly a good saloon. Even though it would be nice to save some bucks, I did not wish to risk it. This transition for me is important.

I never have had high-lights, low-lights in my life. I cannot remember but I think I did not even have perm. I believe it was only once or twice that I have had my hair dyed by a dresser; both times with bleaching and both times to become a red head. I never had manicure and pedicure at such saloons either. So my consciousness is clear – I deserve this hair and am eligible to pay such a high amount for my hair. My first ever, in fact.

I do not know what to feel about this transition. Will I like it? Will I hate it? Will I look old? Considerably old? How will my mom take it? I do not want her to feel sad. I am her youngest child. Sadly, I am also gifted with early gray hair. There will be a lot of adjustments I can say.

My hair has been red the last few years and I have been loving it. It is sad to know that I will not have such a shade again. It feels like an end…… This is kind of hard to digest. Knowing that not even once in my life I will be a red head gain. This is sinking now. And it is heavy….

Thank goodness that there are also other stuff I can try with my gray hair. I would like to try having the tips dyed to dark blue, for example πŸ™‚ Or, dark brown πŸ™‚ Would that not be fun? πŸ™‚

the sixth day of “work” staycation

The morning went well, but I lost my hope for success in the afternoon again. Being a naturally skeptical and highly critical person, especially towards her own, I am not surprised with this.

I work, work, and work, and only a small fraction of it goes into “recognize me” bin. All these efforts, careful and meticulous work, time, energy, and deals with stress I put into this work seem to wash away and bring me from all the way bottom to all the way top, the feeling of being inadequate. Its pain and heaviness are inescapable.

I wish I could retire. I do not want to say that I wish I was old enough to retire – I have a life to enjoy and explore still. I want to fully immerse in it before it becomes too late to do whatever I can do with my healthy and able body and mind. But nothing makes me feel more remorseful of having only a little amount of money saved, which prevents me from even thinking about retirement.

They say education is great and a must, and what an education I have had. I have got a PhD degree, worked in four different countries, did countless of interesting work. Yet it was not only after 36 that I could get a job with benefits (including pension plan) and only after 38 that I have got a job with a decent salary. I want to ask; where is all my knowledge, skills, and experience now? Obviously while my efforts, tears and sweat have benefited many organizations, countries, and people (for which I am actually happy), here I am at mid-40s struggling with the idea of leaving a job that constantly makes me feel low, stressed, and unappreciated. Where are the benefits of all my education and capabilities when it comes to me?

Low self-esteem should be broken by all means; nobody is as “low” as one can think. I cannot do this in my case, however. This has been like this for years, fueled by my current position. I competed with many talented individuals to come all the way here and here at this position I am not capable of going any further. I cannot blame others or the conditions, but I cannot blame myself, either. I gave my best and countless numbers of hours and brain cells to this work over the many years. I cannot take this feeling anymore.

I want to believe that even without attaining the level of success I wish for myself, I still can and do great work. I know many people at my position going through the same struggle, and even performing less than me. Yet, they are good at standing, talking, and walking tall, in contrast to me. My own hardship on myself, my own expectations from myself, and my own frustration are the ones that drag me down in my own eyes and then in others’. I sometimes think that this job is more about mental stamina and confidence, however false it can be, than having the capabilities, skills, and excitement for creativity, quality, and effective work. I lack that stamina.Β 

I once had told another colleagues of mine at administrative level that I was more of a manager than a leader; I get things done. He was understanding and said that “….a leader is great, but a manager is even greater. Leaders open the way and develop the ideas, vision. Managers are the ones that make it reality….” How great is that?

I am affected by the lack of effective leaders at my organization as well as the lack of transparency, trust, and presence of lots and lots of silos. I need a leader that can open the way for me and provide me with better resources so that I can soar. Yet, nauseating truth is that I am supposed to be a leader of myself and do all of these. Nobody is going to care about my conditions, needs, or improving my morale. It is all on me.

I wish I could just stop resisting this frustration and accept myself as a failure to find some kind of peace and perhaps identify new paths to explore and move forward, but I am not capable of doing this. I have either a competitive nature that I am not consciously aware of, some kind of hope that does not go away and keep pulsing in my mind, or I am in fact better than I think I am. Not necessarily awesome, but just better. Whatever the reason for not accepting myself as a failure is, I am not sure whether I am grateful or not. What I know is that my time did not arrive yet, so I will keep going, even under harsher conditions. Eventually I will figure out how to make “lemonade”.

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The fifth day of the “work” staycation

Today went well, too. I was up and off to office before 8 am. Our administrative personnel was shocked to see me work intensely the whole day. How would one not? I took vacation time, but I am working harder than ever!! πŸ™‚

At least things are going well. I was grateful once more to make this decision to use my vacation time and work at home. Distractions, distractions are huge at the office. I realize once more how many times people come to my office to just chat or ask something. Thank goodness, none of my team members were around (some of them are off too). Otherwise I would have to meet with them, too… It is great to be helpful and have chit-chat with the colleagues, but it divides my attention and time.

I decided to take some more time in August.Β 

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resourcefulness and reducing waste

You know I love being resourceful, self-sustaining, and reducing waste.

I am not 100% in any of these, but I do try; nowadays better than before.Β 

I cut out an old t-shirt and will use the pieces to clean my bath tub. I was not gonna use this t-shirt, it was not in good enough shape to be donated, and I could not let it fill the landfill just yet (horrible, I know… ). So, why not to use it as a cleaning cloth? Of note, it will still go back to landfill after I use it, which makes my heart tightened somehow. When are we going to have bio-degradable clothes?

I have a large amount of plastic shopping bags. I made the decision to rather use a canvas purse during shopping. The last few weeks that is what I have been doing and it is going well. My aim is to keep doing this until I have something like 20 of them left. I re-use these bags as garbage bin liner, so not getting new ones after that will not be feasible, but still at least I will be able to make use of what I already have and save the companies and earth some plastic bags. Feeling good, however little that can be.

One thing I am missing is composting. I have been meaning to do this the last 9 years, but honestly I cannot think about it during winter (when we get a lot of snow and me going in to back yard is usually prevented by the snow at the back door). I thought today that perhaps I can do that only during spring-fall when weather is permissive. That sounds good to me and I will be checking on internet to see what practical options I do have.Β 

 

 

 

Sunday morning musings

It is a bright and warm summer day; who can complain about these? Certainly not me πŸ™‚

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It is a routine Sunday morning, which is good. It feels great to be back to my routine after a couple of agitated days.

There are things that I realize after the recent ordeal:

a) I feel better within my own so called “highly structured daily life”, where every action and activity has a time and meaning. I do grocery shopping on Thursdays, purchase milk on Saturdays, clean the house and do the laundry on Saturdays, read, write, and watch movies/TV series during the evenings, and work during the weekdays between regular hours. I miss spontaneity time to time, but losing my routine when I most need it (i.e. when I am agitated and stressed) is worse than the boredom that I feel when not having spontaneous activities. You may call me old, hey, I may call myself old, but honestly I like the way my now middle-age mentality works for me, and knowing what works and what does not work for me. One can call this wisdom that comes with age….

b) I may need to reduce the amount of distractions I have at the office so that I can focus on what is important for my work. I lead a small team of talented individuals, some of which requires more supervision that the others. I also have collaborations with other groups and roles in committees in my organization. Late Spring, I started to aim for having at least 2 work day with no meeting, which turned out to be quite beneficial for me. I would love to keep doing this with some luck, by saying “no” more often, and by organizing my time a little bit better. I contemplate on increasing the work hours, either during the week or assigning a week night for work. Fridays can be a good option, but I will have to see that. While I am aware of the fact that I must work harder or longer, I also would love to keep my “me” time that relaxes me and lets me engage in learning, writing, and fun activities. I am a strong proponent of having “me” time. I do not wish to let go off this now.

c) The recent agitation was triggered by me being not prepared well in advance. When I realized that the work I was working on was, although bright, not feasible, I felt anger. Towards myself, towards everything and everyone that kept me away from having more time. This is not right and this is not healthy; others have nothing to do with this. It is my own responsibility to protect my own time and manage it better. I should take full responsibility for my own actions, or inactions, and stop being a drama queen. I cannot keep failing myself. This gotta stop.

d) These being said, I must also say that stress sometimes makes me work way productive than the rest of the time. Like the rest 3 days, when I actually fumed a lot but also did a lot. Stress is counter-productive when it is too much, but as the others would also say, it also facilitates some action. Thus, as long as I remind this myself during high stress times, perhaps I could go through those times smoother.

Lessons learnt… Sometimes over and over… But, hey I am a human being with all the fails and limitations.Β 

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I am looking forward to today; there will be a thrift store visit (I hope), conversations with my family, a sourdough to bake and give to my good neighbours next door, and some X-File episodes to watch at night! Boy, the later parts of the Season 2 was just heart-pumping and the first episode of Season 3 is making me jump in excitement! Thank goodness that we have such joys and excitements in life!Β 

I believe it is gonna be a fantastic day!

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Have a great Sunday everyone πŸ™‚

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The third day of the “work” staycation

Today went really well in terms of the work I have been trying to fix. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! πŸ™‚

Honestly the stress levels I have right now is huge. I want to take things one thing at a time, but how do we achieve that when there are multiple things at hand? Challenge… I need more than ever my logical self and sound mental state.

Work GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Overall, though I am feeling calmer and more optimistic after finding solutions to the work at my hand. Until next time…..

I have not dwelled on my Saturday routine today, except I prepared sourdough to bake tomorrow. For some reason I do think that my home is clean enough and the laundry can wait till I run out of clean items (boy, did that ever happen to me? Never…). I did not go pick up milk, either. Luckily I have some at home and my kefir granules are all fed and happy.Β 

Tomorrow is another day and another work marathon, but I must take it as it is. While work-list is stressing me too much, I also find the satisfaction in taking care of them. Those times require complete focus and I do have it for now. But i am feeling like having no human contact and confined to home for extended periods of time will take its toll on me. So I am likely to go to office and do some work there on Monday. Talking about “work” staycation.

I wonder why I always loved my line of work but could not handle stress very well. I know my remedy is cardio exercise. It clears up the fogs and illusions in my mind like a wizard’s rod. Terrific and electrifying truth. So electrifying that I cannot get myself up and do some hiking. How great I would feel! So why is this laziness and reluctance?Β 

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Am I funny or what?

πŸ™‚

Something GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Making fun of myself always feels great πŸ™‚

Have a great Saturday everyone!

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The second day of the β€œwork” staycation

Today went well too; worked more or less without much of a distraction and it felt good to be able to do this.

My anxiety levels are still high, though, and unless I find a way to reduce it, I am afraid it may escalate. So I will be making a good effort to go back to my routine tomorrow; thank goodness it is Saturday tomorrow and I will fill it up with my regular activities, such as cleaning the house, picking up milk from a store, doing laundry, preparing my sourdough for over night rise, and speaking with my family. I must also clean up the yard and pick the weeds and other unnecessary life forms. I never knew how much I would appreciate my daily (and often times boring) highly structured life-style.

I am familiar with anxiety accompanied with shallow breathing and the feeling of being scared of something, someone, a thought. I try to not resist but rather relax into it and mediate the situation with some meditative music and focusing on the positives; I have a great family who supports me; I am doing great work; my home and yard are at a much better shape than last year; I keep budgeting and living frugally; I try to find joy and happiness in little things; there is a wonderful weather outside; I was able to keep my window open the whole day and have fresh air inside; I have good friends who are happy to socialize with me and help me if needed; I have usually a great job that provides me with more than enough money (even though it also makes me feel inadequate – the main reason of my latest anxiety boot).

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I feel angry at the conditions that limits me at work and my performance; i am angry at the funding situation for our projects; I am angry at the endless competition we undergo to achieve something; I am angry at the economy; I am angry at myself for not saying “no” more often and often ending up doing other peoples’ works. I am angry at myself for not focusing on the positive and the big picture we call life, rather than all the little antsy bitsy things that I let to annoy me.

I want to feel good and I know that as long as I have this wish, this anxiety will not go anywhere. Wishing to feel good by running away from what I am experiencing is a form of resistance that makes things worse. It is so counter intuitive. I know there are things that I will change and improve as a result of this experience. I just do not know what they are.

The best remedy for anxiety is to trust the unknown. I need to trust to life, the universe if you will, people around me, and more importantly, myself. I may fail at work according to my own or others’ criteria, I know I will get up being better and stronger out of this hurdle. Maybe I will turn things around by being a little bit more smart in protecting my own time and energy, a little bit more lucky, or by changing my own attitude towards myself, my life, my work, my colleagues, my hopes, and my failures.Β 

I know all of these.Β 

Now it is time to believe in them.

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The first day of the “work” staycation

I am hesitant to call this a “staycation” because I am doing anything but relaxing.

I got up before 8 am and started working right away. I realized one of the works I have been working on the last 1 month or so had a significant flaw. Naturally, I fumed and my agitation that started yesterday heightened again.

I was so pissed and lost my hope in doing a good job that I contemplated about quitting this line of work and leave here for good. Oh, how lovely my life would have been then? (ah, no really… it would come with its own problems that is for sure, but at that time the idea of leaving these behind looked so appealing, so lovely…anyways).

I talked to my family and it was great to know that they were well and sound. Yet I think with my toxic mindset, I negatively affected their morale. Boy.. At least I felt a little bit better. But, at what cost, I should ask. I will apologize tomorrow…

After that fiasco, I realized that I may not be able to solve that flaw just yet, so I moved on with other tasks that I must be taking care of. Two of them have moved quite nice and easy. I must say sometimes being pissed off or feeling inadequate makes me quite productive. After all, if there is one feeling that makes me feel better is to be able to move/progressΒ something.. Anything!Β 

I want to remind myself that all hurdles are an opportunity to grow and do better….

I want to think that realizing that work of mine was bad earlier than later was actually a great thing for me overall…..

I want to believe that whatever I am going through right now will pass and I will feel good again…..

As my sister said today, there are so many insoluble and serious problems in life that these kind of things do not make sense after all.

I want to feel these.

I want to.

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the start of the 11 days staycation and the chicken noodle soup

I am starting my 11 days staycation as of this evening. I am not overly enthusiastic, but grateful for this nevertheless. You know I chose to take these days off to actually focus on my own work (not on others’ like my team members) and to do some work needed at home, such as decluttering, too. Everybody needs a break every once a while.

Interestingly I am feeling kinda sick as of this afternoon. I am not sure what triggered this but I was attending two meetings/presentations this afternoon back to back, and I realized my heart was kind of racing (or the feeling I have had was that, because the physical heart was working just fine – I checked my heart rate), I was feeling down, tired, and worn and torn all of a sudden….

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I felt like something really bad happened to a loved one of mine (my mom came to me my mind; since I did not get any bad news yet I am assuming this feeling was not real….how could it be real, by the way? Am I Β psychic now?? That being said I had felt something at around the time that my dad had passed away.. it is scary.. anyways).

It was like I was having a heavy anxious state or depressive mood. I could not solve it, but I did not like it either. But then years of life experience taught me not to resist but take it as it is and go home and make yourself chicken noodle soup. That is exactly what I have done. I believe in its healing properties – there is something unknown and great about the smell and taste of chicken noodle soup….

When I came to my senses, I thought that perhaps I am feeling down because I have been feeling kind of excited lately. The facts that I have re-arranged the furniture and created a much better living space and found some great stuff at the thrift stores that excited me, I wonder whether this is a way of my mind and body saying “enough is enough, let’s go back to regular”. Maybe subconsciously I realize that my joy and happiness is not hidden in these material things, but is rather internal and this is what I must be looking for. And I think the timing supports this idea because now I actually have time to “reflect” on my life. What are the things that I want? How do I attain them? What is important for me? Is my life really working for me? Do I work well for my life in turn? When and how will I fall in love? Will I leave here? And if so, when?

These are serious questions I must address. No wonder that I have had a little anxiety today..

These experiences reminded me two things:

1) I am scared of being bipolar because sometime after being excited about some good stuff going on in my life, I lose my interest in them (or the excitement they give me). I know that clinically this does not make me affected by bipolar disease, but I cannot not keep thinking about this elation followed by so-felt down experiences.

2) I knew someone that I cared a lot about who had a heart condition. He would go extra miles, 1,000 of miles, to not get excited… he would say the racing heart symptoms that he was experiencing at those times were too painful, too scary.. Poor guy. Like myself, he could not live his life to its full potential. I at least have a chance still… I want to take advantage of this and find my true call. What is it? Where is it? How am I gonna identify and reach it?

Important questions for me to deal with…

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gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/anxious-ExTvY0izaqdk4;

 

thrifting becoming a second nature

That is right.

Today at noon I found myself wanting to take a break. So I walked to two thrift stores nearby. This was mostly because of the great treasures I hunted this past weekend – i can see how easily it can become addictive πŸ™‚

Today I bought a couple of empty frames, a coffee press, two art work, and a blouse.

Both of the artwork are giving me delight and making me very excited and happy! They were the most expensive things I have ever bought from thrift stores (both over 25 bucks together), but I think this money is well spent.

I have lots of photos to post in the empty frames; I cannot wait to hang them on the wall πŸ™‚ Together with the art works, these frames will help me turn my house into a home. With character. And beauty.

And the coffee press was a great deal; I bet it is new and never been used (i could not detect even a light coffee stain on it or on the filter) and it had the best deal: it was only 2 bucks.Β 

And last but not the least; the blouse I have bought is so cute, so lovable that I am in love once again! This is the 5th blouse I have purchased from thrift stores this year and I could not be happier with my choices.

Life is good my friends πŸ™‚

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Day of the sourdough

I have baked two sourdough loaves today: one plain, and one with tomato, bell pepper, and garlic shoots.

Next time I can leave the garlic out, but this sourdough was interesting to bake and eat. I would recommend for those who like a taste of sunny and healthy Mediterranean food πŸ™‚

Mediterranean loaf:

 

Plain loaf: