Slices of tomato sprinkled with salt and a piece of sourdough is the best breakfast ever 🙂
This might be the only time that I really enjoy tomato.
Have a great Saturday 🙂
Slices of tomato sprinkled with salt and a piece of sourdough is the best breakfast ever 🙂
This might be the only time that I really enjoy tomato.
Have a great Saturday 🙂
It has been a fine day.
What a luxury.
I am for sure grateful for today enormously.
The day started before 9 am with a good night sleep and not so negative thoughts rushing in my mind. The Sunday morning routine, which consists of shaping my sourdough loaf and then drinking coffee nice and easy while also browsing the news and emails, went without any rush or stress. It was fully relaxing.
A couple of things that I have done differently than my routine weekend activities were speaking to my family a little bit early, dressing up for the afternoon funeral, taking the bus to go to office, and working there for a few hours without any distraction or humans around.
This may sound weird, but not having anyone around gave me peace today.
I then walked to the funeral home nearby and paid my respect to the deceased person I knew. She was lovely person with a genuine interest in anyone she met with. I hope she had had a lovely life and lots of laughters. She sure was loved.
At the funeral home, I gotta meet with a few colleagues of mine and found a chance to talk with them as well. It was nice to feel like a community and supporting our friends during these difficult times. Togetherness means a lot in these situations. I am glad I have showed up there today.
While I stayed longer than I planned, I left there feeling at peace. The walk back to home was around 30 min and relaxing. The chilly but clean air makes a positive impact on me – it was one of these rare occasions lately that I just walked effortlessly and without any work related issues in my mind. There was no stress today.
I keep thinking that I am not a funeral person. I believe this was the 3rd funeral I have ever attended in my life. I know this is weird, but I am not used to death even though I am mid-aged. I have a tendency to get emotional, break tears, not know what to say, eventually feel like a drama queen who thinks that she behaved like everything was about herself, rather than a concerned person who supports the people who have lost a loved one. I find myself ridiculous, in summary. But I also like the fact that I am aware of my behavior or naiveness. I know that next time I will become closer to what I think I must do and support those people with words, actions, and care.
It occurred to me once again today that I did not attend my father’s funeral almost 2 years ago. Not that I did not want to. I could not. It would require me to fly around 24 hours to reach to my home country and then an additional 12 hours to reach where my father used to live. I could not see myself doing this trip without breaking emotionally. So I rather stayed here and lived every single pain, concern, and true sadness of this new reality of my dad.
One of the colleagues I met at the funeral today told me that we come to life alone, and we leave life alone. How true. It is this part of the journey that made me sad more – the process of death and going through it all alone. Did my dad know that he was dying? Was he scared? Did he need me or someone else? I will never know. But I know that by giving my full attention to him in my thoughts I at least felt like I was with him then.
Death changes you. That is for sure. It is so powerful. But so is life. Another colleague of mine I saw today said that it was all about what we wanted in life and whether or not what we have right now was it. If not, what were we waiting for? Let’s make that jump to start the journey towards what our heart wishes.
How interesting to hear this from someone else today.
I told her what has been on my mind for sometime – I know that this was not what I wanted, but I did not know what I really wanted and hence cannot take the steps. Yet.
She smiled and said – its time would come eventually.
I believe in this. Life is precious. My life. Your life. Anybody’s life.
Frugality means a lot of things to many people. For me, it is all about abundance.
Is it strange that the less I spend, the more able I feel?
There are two things I guess;
1) frugality enables me to spend my money on things that most matter. I remember the first time I very strongly felt that: I was eager to purchase commercial baking yeast, but it was not on sale. The cost was around 7 bucks or something. For some reason, this sounded to me like too much 🙂 Argh…
Was 7 bucks a lot of money?
I used to have at the weekends breakfast with a cup of coffee and bagels costing around 10 bucks back in the day. I thought about these two costs and I decided it was time that I leveraged my money, considering how much I was interested in buying the yeast (my baking adventures 🙂 ) . So that weekend was the first time I did not have my weekend breakfast (my favorite treat for years), and rather spent the money on the yeast. It felt good to trade expenses after that.
2) Now that I spend less, money becomes more valuable. Strange, is it not? Only a week early I used to pay around 100 bucks/week to cab rides. I knew it was a lot of money, but did not care much considering how easy it made my stressful life. Today, I bought lots of great food and my weekly self-treat of chocolate for under 20 bucks. When I looked at how they made me feel, I knew that I felt happier and excited.
20 bucks versus 100 bucks…
This is what I call abundance.
Long live frugality 🙂
I will be attending a funeral tomorrow for someone I knew.
Like many of us, I have many minor things in my life and thoughts that actually do not matter most in life; work-related issues and people’s behaviors would be the top two. I stress and hurt myself over these.
What is the purpose of all these fuss that clogs our vision and prevents us from seeing what really matters in life? I do not know. Maybe we are taking it too serious. Maybe we need to secure our physical, mental, and financial well-being before we can let go or enjoy life. Maybe we are conditioned too much or scared unnecessarily? I do not know really.
Will it matter eventually?
Soon it is gonna be two years that I have lost my dad – may he rest in peace. I had realized only after his death that in reality, one day we are alive and the next day it is done.
Thus, the question: What really matters?
I have not posted these checks for a while.
Now that I am making a serious attempt back to my frugal life-style, here comes this week’s account:
Weekly allowance expenses: $119, including grocery, cab fare, treats at the office, and junk food. My weekly allowance this year is 100 bucks/week, so I over-spent this week.
Fun funds: The fun funds so far are at the negative side: -$596.
Fun funds are those that are left from my weekly allowance starting each new year. Last year I had used the fun funds for things that my heart wished for and a pre-payment. This year I am looking forward to bringing this to a positive balance, but I am not sure how fast this can happen 🙂
Other savings: $7
Health related expenses and donations: $23.5
I am hopeful that next week will be a much better one, if I can continue with my frugal and simple life saga.
I have done something nice and made a pre-payment order today. I likely will need to tap into my chequing account really deep for this payment…. Normally, I like to have a healthy level of funds at the chequing account, but this payment will drop it significantly. I thought unless I challenge myself like this, I would not have enough motivation to save more and limit extra expenses. So, the weeks ahead will be somehow challenging and interesting.
I am up for it!
I hope there will be no additional expenses in the next few weeks 🙂
I wanted too 🙂 I really did – I wanted to come home early and get that junk food again..
It was an internal struggle really. I thought “it would be such a shame if I lapse right now, after a great day of frugal and simple life yesterday“.
Thank goodness I remembered that my computer does not run well nowadays and if I had come home and worked here, it would be a disaster. So, I stayed and did some work in the office. My craving for the junk food got subsidized at the same time.
I know in a couple of days I will forget these and will not even think about the junk food or other additional expenses I make to feel good in the midst of all the stress and hard-work. I know if I can go through a couple of weeks frugal, it is gonna be just easy after that.
Today I have been completely expense-free; I took the bus in the morning even though it was icy on the road; I did not treat anyone at the office with food or coffee; I walked back to home in the evening; and I did not buy the junk food that I have had an habit of eating every day since July (aka the busy work season).
I saved $30.5 today by these today.
$30.5…. in a single day…
It feels like a lot of money for me today (although I did not care doing these expenses every single day in the last 7 months..).
I feel like during only Monday-Friday this week, assuming that I will keep repeating my frugal life-style today, I will be saving over 150 bucks of mine. This is like 15 x 10 pounds bread flour (more than a year’s of what is needed to bake a sourdough loaf every Sunday); 3 weeks worth of grocery; >1/2 sewing machine (new); a night at a hotel; around 50 bus trips to work; around 8 generous thrift store purchases; or a lovely pre-payment.
Can you imagine how abundant I feel???
Very abundant and wealthy indeed!
I am so excited and so proud of myself.
I love Saturdays!
Usually I am free on Saturdays – I can get up at a time I feel like, do whatever I want, and go to bed whenever I want. It is the taste of freedom.
How lucky we are to have such a day every week? 🙂
This is a crucial question.
What am I supposed to learn from all of these work-related failures and then shape my future accordingly?
Two important applications of mine have been rejected recently, one being today, making my hard-work in the last few months nill.
I think I am kind of catatonic because I am not even feeling the sting of this situation.
Things are not going well, re: work and my career. I understand that I must learn something and move on, but what the hey is that? When will I know what it is?
I kinda believe that I must stop all my attachments to my current work and whatever I feel is necessary or important (except my family and my well being), so that I can open roads for wider opportunities. Maybe I am not supposed to continue here, but move somewhere.
Where is it?
Maybe the future is bright, but I realy do not know..
Will it reveal itself to me?
How many more times must I feel like I am making one last effort to turn things around?
I have not given up yet, but it would be nice if I could get something out of all of these hard times..
I was reading a blog post somewhere which gave me this idea:
What would be one or two things that life this year could have presented me with the best yet?
I like this idea 🙂
Not everything can be bad. I guess within all the fog, we have some kind of lovely flowers growing somewhere out there.
What is it that this year has given you the best yet?
1. I am grateful for sleeping well and peacefully. I had no dreams and my morning was easy and without negative thoughts crossing my mind.
2. I am grateful for working till noon and learning some important and complex information that will be very useful tomorrow in a meeting and three other meetings the next week.
3. I am grateful for baking my sourdough and eating it warm with butter 🙂
4. I am grateful for eating fruits today.
5. I am grateful for chatting with one of my neighbours.
6. I am grateful for not working a lot in the afternoon and enjoying this freedom
7. I am grateful for listing the work I must do for each of the day of the week. I have important deadlines this week and I cannot miss any of them. This kind of lists help me a lot keeping track of things.
8. I am grateful for speaking with my family today; it was a nice and lovely talk that brought laughter to my life 🙂
9. I am grateful for getting interested in affirmations. I know that my mind listens to itself a lot and my mind usually focus on negative issues or problems. Why not the opposite? I am making an effort to read some lovely affirmations and reflect on them.
10. I am grateful for one of my colleagues not sending me their comments this morning. I feel free to move on without the need to integrate their comments in my report and the need to deal with the frustration and negative feelings their words would bring. I really dislike this person. I must exercise forgiveness to remove these feelings from my life. Or, remove this person from my life. Which one is easier?
11. I am grateful for having a safe and sound home; power to heat my home; clothes, furniture, and all other things that make my life safe ad comfortable. I surrounded myself with great items that I like or use. All is welcome in my life.
12. I am grateful for listening to the fearful voice in me during my anxious moments. Although it is hard to listen to it, it helps with extracting information that will be useful for me to prevent future events. That can be the main benefit of anxious thoughts…. So be it.
13. I am grateful for feeling free and knowing that I can do whatever I want to do!
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
I was trying to find the ways to reduce the proofing time lately: one thing I have tried in the last two weeks is proofing the dough in an oven (not turned or warmed up; no lights , either) to see whether this relatively temperature-wise stable environment would help reduce it.
This dough was only proved for 3 hours (in contrast to my usual 4-6 hours proofing). It was almost flat when I placed it on the parchment paper and scored. But there was a great oven spring (just like last week), so it turned out to be just lovely.
I think the in-oven proofing helped. I also think that maybe in the past I was over-proofing my dough..
Of course, the hydration levels of the dough makes a difference in terms of the yeast activity – this was a slightly sticky dough. This may be another reason for the short proof time working with this loaf.
In any way, I am just happy to have this loaf 🙂
Today was an interesting mix of feelings: I have been feeling kind of better one moment, and the next moment, feeling the same as in the last months when I was quite stressed and anxious.
In the middle of all of these “transitional” feelings, I felt like it would be so nice if I had closed this chapter in my life and open a new one; after all, thinking about what happened or did not happen would only make me feel frustrated, resentful, or anxious while thinking about how I changed and what I learnt along the process would only make me energized, freed, and hopeful.
Choice is quite clear.
Somethings will likely continue: I will still have to work hard and long hours; deal with issues and find solutions; deal with people; and deal with stress.
But I will also keep saying no to extra work; lose my perfectionist attitude on un-critical tasks; turn off my email when I need to focus; delegate some of the tasks to others; pamper myself with little indulgences (such as chocolate); be kind and supportive to myself; read inspirational or positive news and stories; and spare time for myself and my daily routine. I would also not dwell on the past issues or experiences and make my mental space less toxic and foggy.
How does this sound?
It sounds and feels great to me. I am ready to forget past feelings and replace them with a clean sheet of mental and emotional space.
I am releasing the negative thoughts about the people who gave me hardship; I am releasing the negative thoughts about myself; I am releasing the negative thoughts about life.
I am welcoming the opportunities; lovely people; success; calmness; peace; hope; and self-appreciation.
I feel like I must write these last sentences over and over to make my stubborn mind digest them 🙂 I may or may not be able to do these right away, but I know that I am moving away from negativity towards a new chapter in my life, and away from feeling like s.it to feeling stronger, determined, and hopeful 🙂
Life is interesting.
I was talking to a cab driver this morning who told me for an unrelated (economy-related) issue that “it cannot go worse than this; I think we hit the bottom of the rock, it can only get better from here – up“.
I believe in this and had said a similar thing to a friend about my own recent stress and struggles. Together with my experience with my friends yesterday (which helped me to actually demonstrate myself that I have had the confidence to stand up for myself), hearing this from a stranger today has helped my mind to materialize this hopeful attitude.
With these positive experiences, as another step towards making myself less stressful, I decided on an important report that it did not have to be perfect. It was already in a good shape and as such, I submitted it today. Additionally, I finished another one tonite, which will be submitted tomorrow 🙂
Two big jobs that have been on my list for weeks are now done.
I did it.
These are the second and third imperfect (but perfectly in good condition) work that I have submitted in the last two weeks or so. What a beautiful change in how I approach my work and personal wellness. I feel relieved and happier.
I have been hard on myself for taking the cab (rather than the bus), but I guess life has had its own way of telling me that sometime what we think as bad can actually be pretty good for us.
Ok. So you think you have friends and tell them that you are not feeling well. Two of them take you out for an afternoon coffee and they start lecturing you about how you should not feel this way or that way; how you should do this or that. And when you react to what they say (which is mostly not relevant to me or the situation I am in), they mention that your perception of things and their efforts are affected by you not feeling well, and as such, is distorted.
Well.. Well.. Well..
In order to understand the person across from you, you must first listen to, rather than questioning or lecturing. Over-generalization of everybody and every situation is NOT a good practice. I understand that my friends were trying to be “friends” and “helping”, but this is not the best way to demonstrate these.
I rather wished my friends asked me how I think they could help or what I would need from them.
Let’s keep this in mind next time when we have a friend who is going through a stressful time.
On a separate note, I am glad that I stood up to my grounds and expressed myself.
A very busy day, it is well worth it. This week seems like a highly productive week with many long term tasks/projects being coming to an end, as such, is highly charged and satisfactory – I could not be more stressed and excited at the same time! 🙂
We woke up to 15 cm of snow dumped during the night. The roads were in bad shape, but the cabbie made it to my building safe and sound. It was quiet around the building, which I assume is because of the many people not showing up to work. I do not blame them – I hope they have had a lovely day away from work.
My anxiety levels are down, but I keep feeling overwhelmed. I feel the need of winding down and showing compassion to myself. That means no work for the next few hours. I plan to reflect on the positive things that has happened lately and realize how I fit in the center of all of these. Hard work pays off eventually; my efforts are met with results; I turn the work around to my best; and I feel less stressed as a result. At least, I must 🙂
I had read many years ago on a newspaper of a newly appointed manager of a unit. He had expressed that “he was looking forward to the challenges everyday may bring“. I never understood this, as challenges do not sound pleasant or easy to deal with. One of the constraining issues for me was a new addition to my team, which requires a lot of attention to help them keep moving. In some ways I feel pressured to spend time and train personally, because the skills this staff wants to develop requires my direct involvement. How do I deal with this “challenge” in these time-pressuring times? By further stressing and feeling inadequate, of course.
The last few days I was trying to think differently and open myself to “opportunities” out there. I did not necessarily think about the new staff, but I think this case is developing into an opportunity; she sent me some information (which she developed herself) that solves some of the problems and also demonstrates that they can develop these skills without much involvement by myself!! Is that not wonderful? 🙂
When the mind is strained, it is so easy to close ourselves and turn blind to the opportunities and rather move towards challenges, I guess.
By the way, last night two of my previous staff emailed me; one became a mom and her baby girl is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen 🙂 The other one wants to see me sometime, just to catch up and I could not be happier to do so 🙂
These are the moments that make this job something I thank for.
It has been a good day.
1. I am grateful for sleeping late but waking up early. I woke up with things to do in my mind, which was overwhelming. Yesterday night I decided not to resist to this idea – after all if I resist something, the annoyance increases. I will see how well this will progress in the coming days.
2. I am grateful for taking the bus – my hero! Right on time 🙂
3. I am grateful for working with a team member of mine the whole day; we are finalizing a project of 3.5 years and she has done an amazing job. Understandably we are very excited about this. We will continue on Wednesday again, but what we have done today was a wonderful work 🙂
4. I am grateful for treating my team member to tea/coffee and snacks. These absolutely help us to have a more cozy work environment and provide some comfort while doing a serious job.
5. I am grateful for walking back to my home this evening; a first in a while. I am coming back to my routine slowly… I feel accomplished with each of these small steps; re; taking he bus, walking, not taking the cab, eating better, etc. Yay! 🙂
6. I m grateful for working at home in the evening of another report due next week. I am kind of late but have moved it very well. While walking to home I was thinking that I did not know how to fix it, but as soon as I sit in front of the computer and opened the document, it just moved on.
7. I am grateful for working at the office till 6pm, not coming home early to work, and hence stress myself further at home. Not leaving the office early to come home to work is one of these small steps that makes me feel good and makes me feel like I am back to my routine.
8. I am grateful for eating a large potato salad filled with green beauties. Very healthy and it was yummy 🙂
9. I am grateful for turning my email off while we worked at the office today. This is my second or third time doing this. I did not even missed it. What a distraction it seems… I am very proud of myself for doing this change as well.
There are a number of changes I have implemented lately and I will be happy to state them here again:
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
Isn’t it beautiful 🙂
This was the first time that I tried 3 hours of proofing. When I took it out of the shaping bowl and scored, the dough was almost flat. But in the oven it showed a great oven spring and one of the largest air pockets I have ever seen. It even cracked itself on top even though I had slashed it, which tells me that yeast really worked hard this time.
Will continue like this – it has been a great experiment.
Yet another beautiful and quiet Sunday morning cherished with coffee and a lovely music at the background.
What is it about Sundays that makes us so hopeful and positive? Absence of work? Family/me time? Or just the feeling that like the rest of the (most of the world), we are too entitled to chill, wind down, rest, and do nothing on this day? Freedom to do anything we want or do nothing if that is what we want is a great feeling. Let’s immerse ourselves in this freedom today.
Being free of obligations and things that stress/strain us important. I increasingly have realized the importance of this lately. I like being free and not rushing from one job to other at work/home; I like being free from the stress and the need to think and find solutions. I like being free from the requirement of being at one place rather than the other; I like being free from negative thoughts and stress.
Is it easy to attain?
I was reading somewhere else that at this age, we are required to be competitive and put more strains on us than before to produce. Produce services, products, or ideas. I have such a job, which under different conditions (without the pressure) is highly satisfactory, valuable, and lets me get the best out of my skills and knowledge Yet, the pressure hurts my creativity, happiness and maybe health, and reduces my personal space and priorities to a minimum. Is this right?
I do not think so.
Without the personal wellness and satisfaction, how do we expect ourselves to function well in a competitive job/work environment?
It would be awesome if the organizations had flexibility in the expectations from their employees; some are hard-workers, some are creative, some are meticulous, some are visionary, and some are good managers. It is important to find such organizations and positions I guess.
This being said, I kind of understand the pressure my organization is under. It is supposed to deliver what it promises, is supposed to do these with the right budget, set of employees, and expected outcomes. When I think from this point of view, my heart aches for my organization. This is economically difficult times and everything suffers as a result (well, maybe not too wealthy).
So, what shall we do?
I would love my organization and others to create a supportive environment and work through carrots, not the sticks. If we are together, we may function better and in unity. And in unity is the strength, understanding, and solutions. Working towards a common goal is a beautiful feeling.
I was joking the other day to a colleague of mine that my last report before retirement would be about this kind of things; experience and understanding gained as a result of the work experiences and how it shapes our lives, profession, and future ideas. There is a growth alright – however difficult it could be – that makes my understanding better. I am hopeful that in the future I will come up with my best ideas, experiences, projects, and reports.
I hope I will continue to be that hopeful and positive.
1. I am grateful for sleeping till past 9 am; I was surprised with this but obviously my mind or body needed this rest. So it is welcome.
2. I am grateful for enjoying my coffee and feeding my sourdough starter; it had risen well and was smelling very fresh and sourdy 🙂 Good baby!
3. I am grateful for speaking with my family and being happy altogether – what a great feeling to be happy together with the people we care.
4. I am grateful for reminding myself that I will make an attempt to not let others hurt me with their greed, unkindness, and mean and demanding attitudes. This is very important for all of us; why do we permit this kind of people or their behavior in our lives? I know at work it is important to keep these people in our circles for our work, but is there not a better way? There is. I will find it out. I am determined to keep reminding me this and make an effort to find ways to manage mean or negative people.
5. I am grateful for walking to a store and buying eggs and other items that were on sale and I had needed. It is important to be able o care for ourselves – whether this is food, exercise, or pampering ourselves, let’s do it!
6. I am grateful for treating myself with chocolate today 🙂
7. I am grateful for working on a report and then stopping to enjoy my evening. I meant to reflect and nurture myself by reading a book. I have read for a while and now it is time to chill in dark, writing my journal, and listening to music.
8. I am grateful for eating healthy with eggs, tomato, garlic, and sourdough bread. It was a light but tasty dinner.
9. I am grateful for liking my graying hair 🙂 What a wonderful feeling!
10. I am grateful for liking to care for myself; I love shopping and getting things that I need or consume; I like making my own bread and eating it with love; I like cleaning myself, my home, and my clothes; I like functioning and still kicking and never ever ignoring my own needs!
11. I am grateful for being abundant and having everything I need being available or accessible to me.
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
I have had ups and downs today, but I know that writing here will make me focus on the positive and I feel better good after that! 🙂
1. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up on time. I have not used an alarm clock for so many years that come to think about it, it is amazing that I wake up when I need it ! 🙂
2. I am grateful for taking the bus; good for my pocket, good for environment, good for the community. yay! 🙂
3. I am grateful for encouraging a team member of mine who feels over-whelmed by a new task he needs to do. I am frustrated myself that it is not done yet, but sometimes a little bit encouragement can go way above and beyond. I shall see.
4. I am grateful for coming to home in the early evening to work and getting stressed. Honestly it makes me more stressed than being at the office. So I must stop this and embrace my office full time…
5. I am grateful for starting reading and revising a long report. I have been dreading this, but I have started and it will go on. My plan is to fix it hopefully tomorrow and move on. It is a report written by three of us, two of us being seniors. The other senior and I have different approaches and different levels of meticulousness. It creates and has created problems for both of us. I want this to be over before we get more annoyed with each other and hurt our relationship further. I ask myself; why is it me who is taking it low and still do her part? Is it because I walk what I talk, or because I am silly? Do not answer that :)))
6. I am grateful for doing grocery shopping in the evening. I bought all bunch of fresh produce and also fish. I love fish nowadays 🙂 I am feeling better after eating it with a large bowl of green salad. I cannot thank enough for these food.
7. I am grateful for feeling excited about tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday; I will first drink my coffee and browse internet for emails and news, and then clean the house. At noon I want to go shopping and take advantage of some sales in a nearby store; I would love to get some eggs, butter, and paper towel.
8. I am grateful for feeling a little bit angry about my efforts and being appreciated by others. As such, I have got more confident (or pissed off and does not care anymore). next time somebody tries to walk over me, I sure will stand taller.
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
A relatively good day and I am happy to share these with you:
1. I am grateful for getting up a little bit earlier and catching an earlier bus this morning 🙂 It was a chilly morning but I just made it to the bus stop. A minute later my hero bus showed up and it really made me feel lucky and happy 🙂
2. I am grateful for having a very quiet time in the office before anyone showed up. It was beautiful and gave me much needed stress-free time 🙂
3. I am grateful for keeping calm the entire day, decluttering my office and opening space for new paperwork, relieving myself from stress induced by lots of things around.
4. I am grateful for sitting at a meeting that lasted 4 hours this evening 🙂 It is not bad for a person who has got a lower back problem 🙂 What helps in this situation is that whether it is an effective meeting with opportunities to learn something new and contribute. I have got these today so I am satisfied.
5. I am grateful for eating lots of healthy food in the office; apple and baby carrots being my favorites 🙂
6. I am grateful for changing my cab company today; yesterday one of the cabbies made me think very hard about taking the cab at all – mean people have no place in my life. While one bad apple should not make the entire batch of nice and kind cabbies bad, I felt like I must preserve my self respect. So I decided I did not want to pay another dime to this cabbie and one way to achieve this was to change the cab company. Over.
This will also give me much needed chance to stop taking cab, unless really needed, and rather focus on taking the bus or walk.
7. I am grateful for not working tonite
8. I am grateful for sitting in the dark, listening to a nice music, and writing my journal. It is “me” time, alright 🙂
Things that I appreciate myself about today:
I am calm but not necessarily in the mood. I do not even now what to write here, but I trust that as soon as I start writing it, I will find things to be grateful for.
1. I am grateful for starting this entry for today.
2. I am grateful for feeling calm, although I have things to be angry and pissed off about.
3. I am grateful for submitting a big report today without making it “perfect”. Under normal conditions I would have spent many more hours trying to improve it. I read my report and while I could maybe do a little bit more meticulous work, it was a very well drafted and comprehensive report. So why to stress myself more? This is such a deviation from my regular perfectionist attitude. Because of the stress of heavy work load and frustration at work, I was contemplating about leaving my perfectionist practice and taking things easier. I did it today. A new path is opening in front of me. I am proud of myself.
4. I am grateful for helping my team members by giving them a ride with cab this evening – it was a miserable weather outside and we all appreciated not walking in the rain and on the ice.
5. I am grateful for enjoying coffee and muffins with a colleague this morning and having a nice chat in between.
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up with relatively mild thoughts in my mind.
2. I am grateful for taking the bus this morning even though it was really cold and windy. Sometimes I love my persistence 🙂
3. I am grateful for having three meetings today all with some kind of progress. This feels good. I have a new team member who is visiting our organization for a couple of months. She is nice and intelligent. I hope to be able to make this an enjoyable and beneficial visit for both sides. We immediately identified a technical skill for her to develop, which is one of our strength. This feels awesome. We then have a small project to develop together, which again feels good. If we can work well and if we are lucky somehow, we can make this 🙂
4. I am grateful for working till 3.30pm at the office, which is pretty good for me. I took the cab and ate junk food in the evening, but hey, at least some small goals I have had for myself are done today: sleeping well, taking the bus in the morning (despite the cold), eating better (lots of carrots today), working mostly at the office (till 3.30 pm), not having anxiety was a huge plus, working (albeit at home till late) but nevertheless finishing some work. I now have a “me” time for another 1-2 hours before I go to sleep. That should be okay – at least for today.
5. I am grateful for not beating me up for taking the cab in the afternoon and eating junk food. I came to realize that in order for me to have a life just the way I want it, I must fix the work situation first. It is sad that the stress and time-commitments of the work takes priority over my own personal life. It is really sad…. I keep going in this difficult time; poor budgets, poor conditions, and poor recognition. I have not given up yet but I keep wonder when or if that would happen…..
I will know when it is over. It is not over yet.
6. I am grateful for working; I may be stressed. I may be anxious. I may be depressed (time to time). But I am functional and am giving my 100% to this toxic work-place. I have been working in this field for 24 years now. This is a long time; I studied, I worked, I moved up, and now I am no sure where my career is. Frustration is a common experience with everyone I guess. After all these years and dedication, do you not expect recognition? respect? Some kind of satisfaction and ease?
Maybe that is what exactly I should be grateful for.
7. I am grateful for being safe, healthy, warm, and sane today. It could have been much worse – I could have lost my mind :))))))
But it is a possibility, you know 🙂
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
1. I am grateful for sleeping well. My mind got full of work-related issues and stress right away, but I made a mental note (again) to monitor what I think and let them stop if they are negative. One day I will do this!
2. I am grateful for taking the bus in the morning. What a chilly day it was today… I have not chickened out and taken the cab. Good job!
3. I am grateful for enjoying my coffee at the office and eating two apples. Apples are good for me and they are also very delicious 🙂
4. I am grateful for working really well in the morning without much of a stress. I had a meeting in the afternoon, which went really well and gave me much needed mental break from my own work and issues (would you believe that I am grateful for a meeting? hah ha 🙂 )
5. I am grateful for the bus being at the bus-stop right after I left the meeting and went out of the building. It was great to take the bus in such a windy and cold evening. I am lucky 🙂
6. I am grateful for cooking for myself and eating well.
7. I am grateful for realizing that if I do work well in the office, then I do not have, to or want, to think about the work at home. This is pretty interesting. I remembered that before I started to work hard and for long hours last summer, this is what I used to do; I usually enjoyed my evenings and nights by focusing on my relaxation, reading, writing, or watching movies. I was quite content with my life at that time. Home was home. Life was good. I ate less junk food and I felt better about myself.
I contemplated on this quite a bit this evening. Since the work load is still high, I still need to work at home. I did it today and I will have to do this in the coming days and weeks (if not months). I wonder whether getting up earlier would help with this? maybe instead of 8.30 I can be at the office at 8 and use that extra time to do work? I wake up at around that time anyhow; why not to use this for my advantage? Then in the evening maybe I would have more time for myself?
I hope so 🙂
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up with the feeling that I care about myself and support myself with kindness, understanding, and food. Great food 🙂
2. I am grateful for baking sourdough loaves. I baked two loaves today; both turned out to be delicious. How did I start with baking bread? It is a dilemma really. I remember that my first trials were frustrating. I am glad that I did not give up.
3. I am grateful for speaking with my family. we all love cats and talking about cats make us all cheerful and happy 🙂
4. I am grateful for cooking a healthy meal for myself and eating it with lots of garlic. Garlic became somehow common in my life lately. This crunchy and tasty food is making me feel better, presumably by reducing my blood pressure. I will take it! 🙂
5. I am grateful for seeing a change in my perception of my conditions. I see the glass half full increasingly. For a person who is known to be highly critical and skeptical, this is a wonderful change that has naturally come to my life.
I complained about my work a lot, but what if it is the best job for me for now? What if it is better than other alternatives I may have had should I have made different choices? I may have a stressful patch at work, but it is a meaningful job that allows me to contribute, create, train others, and learn. It also comes with a great salary. Although my salary is eaten up significantly by the taxes and extra taxes, it is still good enough to let me pay my mortgage, have an abundant life, and invest for my future. These may not be as much as I wanted them to be, but when I think that it could have been worse, I can do nothing but appreciate and like it…
The same thing with the city I live in. The economy may not be good and the future does not looks prosperous here, but it is a small and safe city with a very simple life. What if it could have been worse? Full of crime, traffic, and complications? I am indeed lucky to be living here.
Thus, I may have been going through a hard time, but it could have been much worse. I am grateful for realizing this.
6. I am grateful for being kind to myself.
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
There is another quiet and relax Sunday morning!
Weather is chilly, sidewalks and yards are covered by snow, there is a cup of coffee next to my computer, and I keep thinking how well I have started the day.
For the first time in a while, I woke up appreciating, supporting, and loving myself. The thoughts that raced through my mind were counter-acted by the positive and kind thoughts about myself, telling awesome things like “you will take care of these; you have time to take care of these; and you do and must continue to take better care of yourself“.
Very nourishing 🙂
Now that I do not get any more (strong) anxiety, I have decided it was time that I come back to my regular routine by re-introducing my small daily life goals.
They literally make me feel like I am in control of my life, I am capable of taking care of my life and myself, and I am capable of making positive changes in my life.
They may be small, but mighty! 🙂
Here they are:
Working at the office, not at home, during the weekdays: Working mostly at home in the last 7 months made me socially isolated. I now feel better if I am in the office and do the work there. I can and will continue to work at home after hours/weekends, but at least my social health will be better. I will also enjoy being at home – lately I went through too many of stressful times while trying to do work at home. It is time that I experience what “home” means.
Taking the bus and walking: Last week was good in terms of taking the bus in the morning and walking in the afternoons (back to home). I do not want to waste anymore dimes on the cab (although I love it – so easy and comfy. Also the cabbies are always nice and very talkative). BUT I want to keep my money for more important things. I must keep my money for more important things.
Eating better: I have done well in the last two weeks by eating a variety and healthy food. I still sometime munch on candy or chocolate, but I cook more and eat more salad. The lettuce seems to be doing the magic 🙂
Stretching and elbow exercises: My physiotherapy continues and my elbow has been feeling better but not quite healed. I was given a new exercise last Friday that aims to smooth the muscles around my elbow (they are very tight). The effect was instantaneous and I cannot think about not doing these exercises! I feel so lucky and hopeful that my elbow will be like new quite soon 🙂
Budget and frugal life-style: This is a long one.
I have been struggling with keeping up with my budget and that makes me feel bad. Literally bad. I have had a very successful history of highly effective budget and saving as much as I can. Last year was hugely successful.
However, I have not started this year well and I am way above my weekly budget and cannot save much from my pay check. This is ridiculous – I have some payments coming up; one soon for a plane ticket to Europe and another one for an investment account (an annual sum that challenges me each year, but I keep making it knowing that in the future it will be so useful). According to my calculations, unless I save around a good sum of money each month, it looks like I will not be able to make pre-payments and I will have to tap into my line of credit account.
An additional debt? Was mortgage not good enough??
By the way; why did Bank of Canada increased its interest rate? Argh.. Now the major Canadian banks are increasing their mortgage rates and they predict further increases in the future. My term ends in 2 years and with increased tax and no salary increase, how the hey am I supposed to pay my mortgage, invest for my retirement, and have a comfortable life all at the same time ??
Going back to my frugality plan; all I have to do is to start being responsible and motivated about savings again. Which is hard. I meant to do this almost everyday lately. I know that it will happen one day, but when is that day? Tomorrow? Monday? Next week?
I chose Monday – wish me luck 🙂
After an anxiety-filled and psychologically turbulent week, I am feeling a lot better now (and for now). This is a blessing and contributing factors are the followings:
1. I am grateful for my past experiences that helps me with understanding the causes of the anxiety and tackling it.
2. I am grateful for my family and the blogging friends being supportive during this difficult time.
3. I am grateful for the warm weather that makes my life a little bit easier.
4. I am grateful for seeing some plants and flowers still being alive in the yard. It is amazing how resilient they are during winter. It gives me hope that despite the estimations that they would be dead now because of the snow and freezing conditions, some of them still survive. I shall too survive this time and the future ones to come.
5. I am grateful for eating better lately, which makes me feel like at least I am good at taking care of myself.
6. I am grateful for donating a number of items to a charity. I had had collected them from home in the last one year and now almost all of them are gone to be enjoyed by other less fortunate individuals. What a blessing.
7. I am grateful for buying drawer organizers yesterday and seeing that they do their job very well. Now my measuring cups and utensils are in different containers and my drawers are well organized. What a difference they make in how I feel about myself and my life!
8. I am grateful for treating myself with little indulgences; a small bar of chocolate yesterday and another two today. Knowing that I care about myself, try to release some of the pressure off my chest, and support myself is great.
9. I am grateful for shopping yesterday and today. It gave me a much needed mental break from the issues. I also purchased lovely items that I would need, coffee being one of them 🙂
10. I am grateful for having the day to myself and so far having a more or less pleasant day and feelings.
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
Boy.. I am craving for garlic…
Luckily I have a nice bunch of garlic that I have been munching on since yesterday.
I do not find garlic gross at all, but this craving is unusual. Having its crunchy and fresh texture between my teeth makes me feel great; having its smell in my nostrils rejuvenates my energy levels; and having its bitter taste at the tip of my tongue makes me feel alive.
I kind of think that it helps with my feeling down. Maybe my blood pressure has elevated and it helps drop it.
Whatever the reason, I am feeling better by eating it and I welcome this relatively healthy craving.
My recent bout of feeling anxious and down has several causes I can think of. One of them is the re-prioritization of extensive work in the last 7 months of my life; I worked day and night and with great intensity. I have undertaken new roles, new projects, and faced lots of issues to deal with. I have been trying to grow and get stronger professionally. That meant giving my own emotional and physical health a lower priority and some parts of the jobs the same.
Right now what I am feeling is lack of control over my work and personal life. My mind keeps presenting me scenarios of negative outcomes, one being failure. Anxiety I am feeling is real.
I find some level of serenity by facing the issues, realizing what happened and why happened, and getting back to my past experience to predict for the future. My issues are the ongoing neglect on the other parts of my professional and personal life that if not handled soon can create negative outcomes; the reason they have happened is because of the toxic and negative work environment that pushed me to work at a high level continuously and the need to deal with this stress with unhealthy habits or food; and my past experiences tell me that this too will pass if I handle things well now, re-prioritize things in my life, be kind to myself, and the anxiety I feel is often an alarming but useful reminder of these changes.
I may be a control freak and I have no shame in telling this. My job requires a good deal of control for a high quality work, so maybe I am well cut for it. Maybe it makes me this way – who knows?
It is well known that in my line of work, there are many pressures that we need to deal; internal or external. Nothing new to me. I will take one thing at a time. Some things need to be dropped. Other things need to be started. I cannot prioritize my personal life yet, but I will start with controlling the work first (obviously it is very important for me) stating with neglected parts of it, starting tomorrow.
I may also ask for help. My mental health is important to me. If this goes on for a period of time, I will be speaking to a doctor.
In the middle of all of these reflections, I keep wondering how that life-work balance works for everyone.
Th first joy journal entry of the year 🙂
I am feeling kind of anxious and down. My best remedy is, as usual, remember the people, things, and experiences that I am grateful for. So, here it goes:
1. I am grateful for being healthy and well. I am safe, I have a job, and I have financial abilities. My emotions may be over-whelming right now, but I know from my past experience that eventually my anxious thoughts are trying to help me correct or remember things, and my future acts and experiences, thus, are going to be better.
2. I am grateful for talking to my family and their well-being.
3. I am grateful for cooking a large pot of bean meal today. I love beans! They are hearty and tasty. My freezer have 5 containers of bean meal that will be consumed in the coming weeks. It is a peace of mind to know that I have home-made meal to be consumed later.
4. I am grateful for the weather being chilly but not extremely weird. It is winter alright; with snow, cold weather, lots of high winds, and some sunlight in between. I predict that in May we will have a better weather and all these will be over. 4 more months of this… is.. manageable.
5. I am grateful for baking a wonderful loaf today 🙂 I have more than enough bread to keep me going the entire week.
6. I am grateful for feeling what I feel, however un-pleasant it may be, and going through the turbulence. I know that I am at the eye of the thunder, but this too shall pass.
7. I am grateful for all the food I have at home. I am abundant and well cared for. What a blessing.
8. I am grateful for watching a funny show. It feels good to be paying attention to something positive and have a laughter every once a while.
9. I am grateful for being warm and cozy at home.
10. I am grateful for today being Sunday so that I can use the day to deal with my emotions and emotional turbulence. Tomorrow is another day.
11. I am grateful for tomorrow being a work day so that I can focus my mind into new and fresh topics.
12. I am grateful for wanting to resign but deciding not to. What am I gonna do if I resign? Finding a job is not easy and financial strain will be too much. I pray that there will be better days ahead and my mind will cool down. I know I am not calm or well right now. The last 7 months have been very busy and stressful. I prioritized work more than my own personal well being. In addition, I prioritized a part of my job over others. Now it is time to pay attention to other parts. I feel like if I can control the work better, I can control my personal life easier. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I am right. Only the time will show. In the mean time, all I can do is to keep doing my best, be smart, and keep my nerves cool. Wish me luck.
13. I am grateful for realizing that I am not well emotionally. I will use this realization as a start point to pamper myself and find solutions to the situation.
14. I am grateful for having this option to vent out here. Facing the adversary and acknowledging it is the first step to solve issues. I believe in it.
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
I have been contemplating, however late it seems this year, about the changes I want to make in my life in 2018.
Then I realized I have already done quite a bit of changes and improvements that made my life abundant, easy, more self-sufficient, and satisfactory. I think I am good where I am 🙂
The majority of the changes I have made fall in the following categories: frugal life; simple life; reduced waste; and self-reliance.
Let me explain.
The need for frugal live was driven by the home-ownership that necessitated cutting costs and increasing age that require better investments so that I could handle the repair and other costs a house requires (a 100 years old house requires many) and the anxiety and uncertainty about my own future. While I was on the average pretty good in living below my means, thanks to many inspiring stories and bloggers going through the same journey I found some kind of strength and higher level of motivation. Score! 🙂 Frugal life-standards made me appreciate what I have had and the excitement coming out of finding ways to cut cost, better deals, and better financial management. As a result comes the feeling of being less dependent on material and being abundant in so many different ways.
As part of frugal choices, I also switched from automatic take of cab in the morning and the afternoon during the work days. It was a struggle alright and it still is. Bus operates only every 30 min and in our harsh Canadian winters it is not a pleasant activity to wait in an open bus stop. I still take the cab time to time when I am crunched in time or tired. But when compared to previous years, I say the reduction in my transportation cost is an impressive success.
I also walk time to time to work and from work. I am usually good at routinely walking in the afternoon. In summer time walking in the morning is also very pleasant. I feel great after walking 25-30 min and it also makes me proud of myself for having a day relying on my own abilities rather than others. It is one example of self-sufficiency and easy-peasy life style I have developed lately.
Other examples of self-sufficiency efforts are baking my own bread, making my own jams/marmalade, ad pickling. They are not only exciting activities, but I also share them with neighbours and friends, which gives me an extra level of excitement.
The frugal life also brings in reducing waste, particularly food waste. I now am very conscious about what I purchase and I also freeze food. Frozen food is very practical for me as I do not like cooking everyday and a ready meal is always appreciated, especially if they are home-made. I implemented other changes in my aim to reduce the waste. Plastic shopping bags is a good example; I mostly use my tote now. I donate my clothes and other items if they are in good conditions to prevent them from ending up in the landfill (and support people in need). I use mostly re-usable cleaning cloths rather than paper towels. I cut up old clothes (not good enough to be donated) and use them as one-time cleaning cloths. I make use of coupons, while not in great quantity, to help with my expenses. Last, I also purchase items from thrift stores that helps not only me and environment but also the people in need and the organizations that support them.
I also declutter once a year or so to identify the extra, un-wanted, or battered items, and then remove them from my office or home by dumping, donating, or re-using. Excellent activity I must say. What a relief once they are gone out of my life. Additionally, it helps me to see what I already have and make use of them and feel grateful for their presence in my life. How many times I found a pair of shoes or a piece of clothe in good condition that I could use? Blogs about decluttering was instrumental in doing this activity at a more conscious level.
When I look at all of these I kind of realize that they are all inter-connected; frugal life style is powered by decluttering and making smarter choices about expenses and needs/wants; waste and unnecessary expenses are reduced by many small acts; abundance increase by being aware and grateful; and life becomes quite easier once we realize the alternative ways to do the daily activities.
How is blogging related to all of these?
First, we by sharing our own stories and plans somehow support the others with the same interest. Second by sharing our plans, we move one step closer to implementing these plans in our lives. Third we often find new ways to enrich our lives and reach our goals; whether it is through shopping bans, or developing a hearty sourdough starter by looking at the others’ experiences.
My take on my current life style is that I in fact have done very well in reaching these aims and changing my priorities. It took me around 3 years, but I am content at where I am right now and I think this blog and blog sphere have been instrumental in it.
May this year be an opportunity to grow, accomplish our goals, improve our kindness and understanding, and do something that makes a wider positive difference.
May we see the beauty around us more, have less cluttered mind and smaller ego, have fantastic plans for ourselves, family, and community/humanity.
May those need food, shelter, safety, health care and mental support be given these without much of a struggle.
May we, despite our differences in opinions, habits, and ideals, re-find our common ground and focus on being human, being a part of the nature, and strengthen our collective consciousness.
May we take a moment each day and cherish those who are alive and remember those who passed away with gratitude, affection, and understanding.
May we make each day worth living and loving.
Happy new year everyone!
I am in the 10th day of my paid holidays. I have done what I planned to do during this time; did not work or think about it, cleaned and decluttered my home, and interacted with my family always everyday.
One things I have not done is to reflect on 2017, my experiences and having a closure on both the issues and the exciting developments. Each year I have done this, with some success being appreciated, sour points surfacing, and some important lessons learnt along the way. When these doors are closed, there open doors for a fresh year ahead. Overall, it is a healthy exercise.
This does not mean that I cannot reflect right here and right now:
I have had an interesting 2017. I worked really hard especially in the last 6 months of the year, mostly from home. It stressed me but also made me create new ideas, projects, and reports. No day was wasted. I can say that I made an extraordinary effort to turn things around at my professional life. Whether they will turn out to be fruitful is to be experienced in 2018. So, there is hope there 🙂
I have become more assertive and said “no” at work a couple of times. I am looking for many such occasions in 2018, which will be an interesting experience to come. Hope I can do this well.
I have not visited my family this year, which was hard on all of us. We have differences and lack of communication when comes to certain feelings, but I am hopeful that we will continue to have more open communications in 2018. After all, there is nothing more important than my family and their well-being. I just wished I could support them better. I feel limited and incapacitated in this regard, bu who knows maybe in the new year I will be able to change things for the better. I am hopeful.
On the personal side, on the general I have done well with my finances and savings. It was a golden year. But I do not wish money to be my most important focus this year. There are people (like my family) and myself that deserve a much better appreciation and care.
I took time off and stayed in a European city for 5 days, mostly spent with working or dealing with the cold I had got at that time. It was interesting to see how I would deal with things under unusual circumstances.
I have had my nerves fried as a result of hard-work and it has been venting out lately. So one other benefit of the holidays time off for me. I just wished it did not affect others around me, especially my family. We are trying to find a common ground on communicating better, which is very pleasing. I love my family.
And I realized how brave I was because since July I am also transitioning to gray hair. I do not like looking “that old“. This is exactly how I feel. Old. Not wise, not aged well, but old. I keep thinking “when did I passage to this age?” Life is fast if we do not stop every once a while and re-evaluate our lives and choices. I have come to this conclusion many times lately. This must be exactly what they mean by the middle age crises. I am right in the middle of it.
These being said, I am aware that a day, December 31st of each year, is not the only day that we can reflect, celebrate, appreciate, change, or improve things as we wish.
Maybe that was the reason I have not particularly reflected this year until now.
Somethings just change by themselves. I welcome this.
Happy new year!
I have been very fond of my friends and teachers/mentors and every Dec 31st, I would send a short but personalized email to each one of them to express good wishes for the coming year.
I stopped doing this last year. Last year I wanted to see who would email me before I email them. Only one friend of mine and a previous mentor of mine did this. These people deserve the best.
I was frustrated with the rest and this year too I am not going to send my traditional happy new years emails. I want to see who would take their time, remember me, and send me good vibes. I am not very hopeful, but who knows maybe one or two people will be doing it. If not, my motto will be “Let’s declutter that part of life, too“.
The other two, on the other hand, have been emailed or will be emailed tonite. They have a special place in my heart.
And to you all out there, I do not know you personally but I am extending what I would say to my family – Happy New Year! May 2018 be an exceptional year with lots of positive vibes, memories, and experiences. Live it to the end and live it to the fullest!
I have been cleaning and decluttering my home in the last 3 days.
I am not done yet, but I am finally becoming very pleased with the progress.
I knew that decluttering would help me release pressure and old scars; this has been exactly what has been happening.
I have been angry the last three days; I fought with people in my mind; remembered bitter encounters; and became angry and tearful. All while cleaning and decluttering. There is a direct correlation between dumping the physical clutter and dumping the emotional garbage.
The other day I decluttered my wardrobe. I have a nice collection of donations and some hefty cleaning cloths made up of my old clothes 🙂 My wardrobe looks slim now and contains only those that I like or am interested in 🙂 Feeling fresh and joyful looking at it 🙂 There is so much space. It is not crowded and over-whelming anymore. What a beautiful feeling….
Today, I have decluttered my storage area, which is a scary place. Last year I had refrained from getting in there. This year I have done it – I removed all the empty boxes, wrapping supplies, extra and useless paperwork (lost of it) and a couple of useful items that I had forgotten I have had. It looks clean, empty, safe, and fresh. Nothing to be scared of. Just the way I needed to feel.
This is the 4th day of my paid holidays, and finally I feel like I am dealing with my bottled emotions, head butting with them and experiencing them, and then letting them move on.
And just like I remove the old, battered, and un-useful items from my home and my life, I become ready to welcome new and exciting items and experiences right into my life.
Let’s do one gesture, help, support, kindness to someone who is in need of it today, tomorrow, and the days after that.
Let’s make it someone who we may know or we may not know; can be family, friends, neighbours, fellow residents, or a complete stranger here at home or somewhere else.
Let’s make it an animal who needs a home, shelter, food, or who just (rightfully) needs respect for its existence from us.
Let’s be human for not one or two days but the rest of the days.
Today is the end of my fiscal year. Time to see where I spent my money and how I saved it.
Weekly regular/daily expenses (allowance for eligible expenses=$120/week)
when compared to last year, all of these expenses, except eating out, have increased significantly.
it looks like this year my social-life related expenses have increased compared to last year.
My total expenses not including mortgage, bills, bus fare, house tax, insurance and other fixed expenses=around $15,000.
Looks like too much for a single person?
SAVINGS, INVESTMENTS, and OTHER GOOD NEWS
Retirement investments and HBP payment:
Mortgage pre-payments=$7,790 (my tax return as well as weekly savings). This was the first year that I have made pre-payments to mortgage. It is amazing to see how little savings can make such a huge difference. I am not sure how much I have saved from the interests, but anything helps really.
Some of the savings this year were because of discounts, coupons, loyalty points, and other lucky encounters. For example, by just following the sales I saved more than $1,100 this past year. I am not into coupons and that shows; only $24 was gained by using coupons. Loyalty points were useful with around $200 worth of discounts. Every bits counts.
Overall: I have done well and increased my net worth quite a bit.
I could do better, but I will let it go. I have done what can be done.
My spending habits changed, but surprisingly I spent more on daily expenses and at socials. Something to think about.
Now, it is time to move on and plan for the next year.
I cannot wait 🙂
It turns out today was a paid holiday for me 🙂 Can I be more uninterested in my employee rights? 🙂
Anyways; I went to office and worked with a team member of mine till noon. I then cleaned the office and looked out of the window to register the fact that I was now starting an off time without much of an obligation….. What a great opportunity to feel free… I just cannot feel it yet, though…. I hope it will occur soon.
I then went to visit two thrift stores. If I remember correctly this is what I had done last year as well – start the holidays with something exciting like thrifting! I found two shirts, a lovely long and soft cardigan, and a new backpack. Altogether they costed me around 28 bucks. One of my most expensive thrift store haul, but then the items are in great condition and the backpack is so cool that I cannot believe how lucky I have been to find it 🙂
Excellent start for holidays 🙂
While yesterday I had felt pretty excited about Friday (start of time off from work for 10 days), this morning I woke up feeling kind of sluggish.
I, as usual, went to office, had two meetings and came back home to finish work at around noon, but I got overwhelmed again; there is so much to do – some I want to do, some I must do, and some just appears out of nowhere. My blood tension increased again I guess.
In the last 6 months, this is the second time I have had my blood pressure increasing. Both are stress related. Both stresses are related to work.
I want to feel good.
I am increasingly noticing the things I like and things I do not like. These will be my compass to re-organize my life and work in the coming year.
I must change.
I will work on limiting what I do not like and enriching my life with what I like in the coming year.
My promise to myself.
Yours truly tried yet another food preservation attempt, this time using whole clementines.
The recipe is inspired from a recipe of my mom.
*at this point clementines should be softened and if you press lightly they should feel plump
Bon appetite! 🙂
I have three more days to go and then I will be free for 10 days!!
Freedom is something that I really cherish I guess. Just yesterday I was feeling like if I did not have to go to work today, I would have stayed up late and watch a movie. Three more days and I will have this freedom for 10 days 🙂
I thought I was exhausted last week, but this monday I woke up feeling better and having a clear mind. Things did not look so bad to me, so I am working and keep going. There will be many things that I had planned to finish that will remain undone, but some other stuff are being done. Like today we have finalized a document for a team member – she was joyful, and so was I 🙂
I plan to finish cleaning and declutter my office on Friday, my traditional activity right before the holidays. What a beautiful plan 🙂 I think after this I will go for shopping or visit a thrift store or two. A nice start to the holidays.
All of us deserve to feel light and good about ourselves and the coming opportunities. I hope all of you out there have great plans, positive anticipations, and wonderful smiles on your face.
Butternut squash dessert
I found a nice butternut squash the week before. My original aim was to make a hearty soup, but I decided in the last moment to make a dessert with it.
here is the recipe:
*I have had around 1 liters of the liquid, which is yummy. Drink it as it is, or use less water
**You can bake longer to thicken the liquid
My sourdough today was kind of sticky dough and as a result did not keep it shape well. But there was oven spring and it looks great 🙂
My next door neighbours are the best I have ever encountered in my life – it is a couple at 60s and young son at around 30 years of age. I have seen nothing but help and kindness from them. They are also the only people that I consistently and lovingly gift during the holidays. Considering the fact that I am not into gifting at all, you may rightfully realize that they must have deserved this somehow. And they do.
After the snow storm yesterday I took my time to enjoy my coffee and go through the emails. I then decided it was the time for the dreaded shoveling of the front door area. My neighbor was out and had already done my door! This is not the firsts time she does that – she says she loves shoveling, which is an extra exercise for her. For a women in her 60s, this is amazing.
I helped her moving the snow at around her vehicle and we chat along the way. The neighbour from across the street also mowed the snow around our houses. We had a little chat and said thanks. The white stuff brings sometime the best out of people.
Snow storms may be a nauseating experience, but the feeling after this out there shoveling, chatting, and having a laughter or two is priceless. I love this feeling of being a part of helpful neighbourhood.
Wishing everyone a great neighbourhood! 🙂
We have got our first snow storm – yay us! 🙂
It is quite windy as well making me nervous. There are a number of trees in my yard that have tall and shaky branches. Why did I not get them trimmed the last summer/fall?
I will answer that:
I was busy, even though the idea crossed my mind several times. Bad choices. Or bad priorities.
Anyways; as soon as weather becomes bearable, I will call someone to see whether we can do this now.
The wind is shaking the house a little bit and is worrisome. Last year we survived a wind storm that moved the roofs of some houses in my area. What an incredible experience. This time we are crossing finger that over night the wind and snow will subsidize and things will turn okay. Okay means less snow but snow and less wind but not this wind. We shall see.
I was naive the other day when I said that I loved seeing it snowing. Obviously forgotten how it felt to shovel in cold and while the rain or snow batters my face. I walked to a nearby store this noon to pick something and I thought this was the end of it. Humans seem to forget the nasty weather easily, especially when they have a warm and long summer and fall, like we have this year. Naive=silly=there is nothing much to do=suck it up.
I can hear a vehicle outside hoping it is the snow mover. But no. Must be someone brave or in urgent need to go somewhere.
Does that occur to your town too? When there is a warning of bad weather like snow storm, do people raid the grocery stores and get everything they can find? Last year I was not able to find milk one time and half of a huge store was gone. We all have food, but I think sometimes it does not feel enough. Panic? Maybe. An alternative opinion, which made perfect sense to me, was that people would go grab stuff thinking that the new ones may not arrive soon after because of the weather. That can explain a part of it, though I must admit I never thought like this and shopped.
Anyways, I turned my lights off knowing that in some areas people had lost power. In this chilly weather we could preserve whatever we can to help the others. I have had black out twice here. In both cases it lasted less than 24 hours but staying warm in unheated house and trying to keep calm and not thinking whether this would last longer and if so what could be done. Panic and lack of hope is not something we are looking for.
Where ever you are, take a moment to be thankful for being warm and well-sheltered tonite.
I wanted to cheer myself up with two new recipes; radish pickle and frozen strawberry marmalade.
It turns out I bought extra packs of radish, so why not to try pickling it? An adventure for me and a chance of limiting food waste. I think it will turn out to be right.
Frozen strawberry marmalade, on the other hand, turned to the dark side right at the end. I decided I could boil the jars to help preserve them. I was wrong – the pot was not deep enough. Then, I turned them upside down to sterilize at least the neck of the jars, and one or two of the jars leaked somehow. Goodness help me…..I aborted the attempt. Sadly, these marmalade will go to garbage now. Nevertheless, I am posting the recipe here because there was a 1/4 cup of the marmalade I had in a jar that I did not attempt to water-can and it is delicious. At least I have got 1/4 cup of it!!! 🙂
Boil the brine (vinegar and water); add sugar and salt – mix
place the diced radish, jalapenos, grated garlic in clean jars (mine were 750 ml jars; it made 2 jars)
add 2 cups of brine or as much as the jar can take
close the lid and secure the rings. Must be ready in a week or so
*added the next day: as being a pickle person, I could not help and try this pickle the next day. To my surprise it was ready and it was hot – thanks to jalapenos. If you are looking for a quick type of pickle, this is a must to try 🙂
Frozen strawberry marmalade
place the strawberry on a container and mix with the sugar; wait for 1 hour util strawberry starts to release its juice, mix every once a while
add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil at medium heat (takes around 15 min)
boil for 15 min and then lower the heat to medium and boil an additional 30 min. It must reduce at the end
remove the scum and pour down the marmalade in sterilized jars (I boiled them for 15 min together with the rings. Lids were placed in hot water); leave around 1/2 inch room
clean the rims of the jars, place the lids, and secure the rings.
if you can pressure-can or water-can, you can keep these for some time. But if you are like me and cannot do this for some reason, then keep it as it is at the fridge and consume within weeks.
I hope you will be able to enjoy these recipes! 🙂
We are looking at a lovely Saturday again and I cannot help but take my time to enjoy my coffee and the hope that the day may bring 🙂
I woke up early today which helps with my “taking time” routine. When there are enough hours in front of us, it is easier to relax, is it not?
I have a number of things to do today and I was thinking whether having lots of things to do is a good or a not-so-good idea. At one hand it helps me with boredom (what am I gonna do if there is nothing scheduled?) and on the hand hand it also makes me feel like rushing to start and complete things. Good kind o f stress? I will leave it to you to decide.
Our weather forecast says that we will have a snow storm or something like this today. Canada has been embracing an early winter the way I know and I am not surprised that our shoveling season will be open as of today. Nevertheless, I keep thinking that we would usually not get snow until after January, except last year we have had a couple of snow days in December. I got to remember that through a post of mine from last year – how wonderful that is? Our blogs are serving as a great memory books for us. At least for me. What a magnificent tool.
I think I just completed 3 years with this blog. What a great evolution I have had; I wrote poems, short stories, ranted, shared great news, reflected a lot, started bread, pickle, and jam adventures all in front of your eyes. I have also got to know some of you through your posts and interactions at the comments area. I learnt, I got inspired to change/improve, and I laughed and sometimes I cried with you. Virtual communities exist and change us in many ways.
Now it is time for me to start cleaning the home and hopefully start the pickling and jamming 🙂 I will be trying strawberry marmalade today from frozen fruits and I cannot wait to see how it will turn out 🙂
What else to expect from this snow day?
Have a great Saturday everyone! 🙂
I woke up feeling a little bit lost thinking that my life priorities need to change and I should re-prioritize what are important.
For my entire life, my work was prioritized mostly because I love what I do (mostly).
In the last 3 years or so, I prioritized my personal and financial health over work a little bit after I purchased my home: I was not highly successful in terms of personal health (I had a lower back problem that ended me in the emergency, which still acts time to time; I have not lost the extra weight I am carrying around even though I am 5-10 pounds lighter than 5 years ago; and I have not been consistent about eating a variety of food every week). But I was more consistent with the financial planning, frugal spending/budgeting, and savings.
The last 6 months, I became agitated by the toxic work place and all the pressures. One solution to overcome this feeling was working more (irony, is it not? 🙂 ). So I worked almost non-stop since the beginning of July. I feel tired, stressed, and somehow more accomplished. Sadly, working hard and stress also means eating junk and getting lazy and not walking as much as I would. Also not saving as much as I would.
Thus, I realized this morning that sometime setting priorities do not work and we may not be able to keep up with all of them at the same time. It does not mean we cannot try. It just means that realistically it may not be possible and that can be okay.
In other words, I forgave myself for eating junk food! 🙂
I forgave myself for changing priorities and not sticking up with the most important one.
I know that my traditional annual reflection time (aka holidays ) is coming and it is only natural to realize these now that we are close to it.
For 2018 I would like to prioritize my health and well being, work, and family; they go hand-to-hand. Financial plans will be my least of priorities this year. This does not mean that I will not be budgeting and aiming to save; just reminding myself what is important more.
Family cannot be prioritized enough. We as mortals are here for this moment and may not be the next one. What $ and work can replace the people we love? They will be on top of my list.
I enjoy not having a chronic disease, but who knows what will happen next year? Probability of having one increases with each age. Thus, I will care about my eating, exercise, and lower back as much as I can.
And work? I can continue to work but maybe a little bit less intense and more effective. What I need is a way to control my feelings and find a venue to vent them out and clarify my mind. The yoga classes offered close to my home always relaxed me, yet looks like they also exacerbated my lower back problem. Goodness knows, I want to start again to feel that way. I wonder whether there are programs designed specifically for people like me having back problems? One thing to check.
I have had interesting times lately. I was tired, stressed, and almost exhausted. But then things moved, issues understood, and most importantly I realized my own stamina and the importance of small things in life that attract my attention and give me joy 🙂
1. I am grateful for walking this morning to the office. I missed the bus literally by 30 sec and thought I would just walk. It was windy and chilly, but walking gave me a chance to clear my mind and feel good about life as a whole.
2. I am grateful for going thru the meetings without losing my cool and already thinned nerves.
3. I am grateful for shopping this evening and purchasing frozen berries 🙂 I will be making marmalade with them. I want to do this this weekend but I want to also wait for the canning kit I ordered so that I an start using the kit and water can the jars. I will see how I feel this weekend.
4. I am grateful for walking in the afternoon without difficulty. It feels good to return back to my regular walking routine. It is healthy, free, and quite an accomplishment for a lazy person like myself 🙂
5. I am grateful for tomorrow being Friday! Three more meetings to go through and then the weekend will be here 🙂 I plan to slow down next weekend, only finish the ends and bits and welcome the free time after that.
6. I am grateful for the fresh produce I bought today. I want to cook a couple of dishes this weekend so that I can eat better in the coming days.
7. I am grateful for the frozen meals I have eaten yesterday and today. I had a beautiful soup yesterday and a bean meal today; I had cooked and frozen them sometime ago. It is such a great pleasure to be able to eat home-made food when I am busy.
8. I am grateful for all the socks and clothes that keep my body warm and sound during the cold temperatures.
9. I am grateful for having money at the chequing account that enables me to afford what I need.
10. I am grateful for trusting life and take it as it is sometime.
11. I am grateful for liking to try new hobbies, like jamming and canning, and sharing the food with friends and neighbours.
12. I am grateful for having the night to myself – no distraction and all peace 🙂
13. I am grateful for the internet, my computer, and TV that make my life enjoyable and time passing fast.
14. I am grateful for the three little jars that one of my colleagues gave me. They are cute and cute and cute 🙂 It is one of these little things in life that makes me joyful and excited 🙂
15. I am grateful for being healthy and safe.
16. I m grateful that my family is doing well and they are healthy and safe too.
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
Counting down the days till holidays 🙂
I started cleaning my office yesterday, my traditional activity before the holidays. I am 1/3 done and would love to complete it sometime soon. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday, but maybe next week. But I will be doing it 🙂
I also started thinking about my budget and life-style for the next year. I can see that unless I become more careful I may not be able to save what I want to save. Last year has been a great teacher for me in terms of finances and my own attitude.
I learnt that:
1. if I do extreme budgeting I get unhappy and all I think about is spending money. I know that because I tried a pantry challenge or something early in 2017 and restricting my shopping experience was unpleasant and expensive :)))) So I should not restrict my already tight budget
2. Work stress makes me feel like I am entitled to make unnecessary expenses, such as on junk food. This is very silly and I need to work on this
3. I need both short-term and long-term financial goals. My overall calculations are for the entire year, but I would feel much better if I can have a soon-to-be-completed goal so that I can keep my eye on it, strive for it, and eventually feel the satisfaction of completing it. I think I will have to work on this idea to keep me motivated. After all, we can aim all we want but unless it is realistic or reachable, we will lose our hope first and then the intention to reach the goal.
4. While I can spend on junk food and rationalize it, I also continue not to over-spend on grocery or other things, which is strange… This must tell me something. Why do I turn blind to unnecessary expenses, which are often much more than my grocery bill? if I can figure this out, I can figure out many other things…
5. I continue to be not cheap when it comes to socials. I notice that many people do not get that generous with me when I host them, so I want to opt for a smaller thing to take with me to socials; a loaf of bread, a jar of pickle, a baked goods are good options.
6. I stopped picking my colleagues’ bills when we go out together, which is awesome.
7. I still treat my team members with lunches or so time to time; this was 2-4 times a year so far. I think I will make it once year now. I will have to really work on this because I really like celebrating their accomplishments.
8. It is great to be taking advantage of the sales for items, such as clothes, required each year. This occurs often during October-December. I think one thing I should aim for is to save this money way advance; whether it is thru my fun funds or savings from the expenses that I could easily make but do not (like picking up others’ bills).
9. Talking about the fun funds, I have never been clear about how to use them last year (fun funds are the money left out of my weekly allowance). I think it is time that I handle this better. I think this year I will replace the term “fun funds” with “weekly savings” and I will use these savings as mortgage pre-payments.
10. I will be on shopping freeze for trousers and jackets this year; the only place to shop for blouses/shirts will be thrift stores. I will continue to buy items that are supposed to be personal, like socks, from regular stores.
– to be continued –
I have 8 more days till the end of my fiscal year (next Thursday) when I will add up all the savings, expenses, and the net worth together to see how well I have done.
I could not wait and did some preliminary calculations. I have room for improvement and also room for enjoyment.
Overall, I spent more than I budgeted for for unnecessary items (like junk food).
I also made significant expenses related to a trip/vacation and socials.
I am not sorry for any of these right now, but one thing is clear; if I want to save money, I must be consistent. The first half of the year I have done extremely well, and then started to spend unnecessarily.
And another thing clear to me is that if I want it, I can make it 🙂
I am on the right track, but I need a new strategy, better mechanisms to not make unnecessary silly expenses.
Cannot wait to plan these next week 🙂
I woke up tired and with a puffy face, but the rest of the day moved on without much of a trouble between four meetings. I am done 4 out of 15 meetings scheduled this week and this feels good 🙂
Meetings are supposed to be beneficial. I always try to get at least one thing that will benefit the rest of the meeting attendees or myself. I have had it today as well. Hence, my consciousness is clear; I have done my best and exercised the regular practice of gaining something out of the meetings. But goodness knows, it would be much better if we did not have meetings for everything. Honestly this year meetings (on the average 13 hours a week and lately even 25 hours a week) got the best of me; I need time to do my work out of meetings as well. I know I am not the only one who thinks this way.
Two things that soothe my nerves are;
1) I decided to not focus on relaxing when I am stressed, and rather decided to focus on being smart. I know I have a hard time relaxing so imposing on myself to relax did not serve me well till now. I am shifting my perception and rather would like to try being smart; behave in a way that will work for everyone and keep the emotions out of things (so that I will not have my occasional bursts during the meetings if I am pressurized – it does not benefit anyone). The plus side is that I do not argue with myself whether I am smart or not. I am smart. So right away I feel like I have the necessary foundation to handle things well. This is quite a progress on my account. Hope I will be able to walk this talk.
2) We are getting close to the off time. From next Friday on, we will have a 10 days off with two days in between being a non-paid vacation time. I plan to work at that time and this is not a issue for me. I often benefit these quiet times at the office. For me, the most important thing is to be away from the pressing issues and my regular work routine. I will be happy to work during these two days. Other than this, you know I am looking forward to the last week of December; I will be shopping, cleaning my home, decluttering massively, and attending socials if the opportunity arises. Add on top of these being away from the work routine and you know that I will have a great time!
Looking forward to sharing my happy and excited experiences during the holidays.
Here is a fantastic sourdough with a hint of trolled oats and black olives 🙂
This loaf was my first trial of a rectangular shape 🙂 I learnt a while ago that sticky dough do not keep its shape well if does not have enough support. So I used one of my oven pots to prove and bake this loaf.
I would do this loaf again; the crust was thin and soft (the way I love it) and it tasted amazing!
The recipe is similar to others:
I am getting excited about the prospect of having some time off and shopping during the last week of the month 🙂
Fall is usually a busy month for me in terms of shopping. I usually take advantage of the sales, whether in stores or online, and purchase things that I will need in the coming year.
My plans for this year are as follows:
1. Canning kit and stainless steel funnel. As part of my new interest on jamming, I figures I may make my life easy by getting a kit, including a stainless steel funnel that can be sterilized easily and is durable.
2. Sea salt. This will be nice for my pickle trials.
3. Jars, lids, and rings. I used to have a number of jars but since I give away pickles and jams, I am running out of them. My wish is to get 250 ml jars for jams (so that I can boil and can them), 1 liter jars with wide mouth (to be used in pickling and other adventures), and two 2-3 liters of pickling jars (so that I can make pickles in large amounts to consume over time). I am so excited! 🙂
4. Non-stick frying pan. I replace these very year. No matter how carefully I use them, they always scratch over time.
5. Garbage bags. I love having a number of durable items in stock and garbage bags are one of them. I have enough bags to last another year, but one can never get enough of these bags, right? 🙂
6. Steak knives. After 15-20 years one of my steak knives (I used them for all cutting purposes) got rusted last week. I am perplexed but I guess it is time that I look for a good deal on some sharp knives.
7. Trousers and leggings. I have a number of trousers stocked up, thanks to some sporadic sales. But the boxing day sales cannot be missed. If I can find a good sale, I would love to buy a couple more and also a pair of leggings so that I can start wearing dresses 🙂
8. Thrift store visits. I love these adventures 🙂 My wish list this time includes blouses/shirts, shopping tote, purse, back pack, a book or two on baking and canning, fabric and sewing items 🙂 Who knows, maybe I will also find other items that I need or cherish.
What a wonderful list 🙂
The beautiful day of Saturday has arrived 🙂
I have been to a short trip yesterday for work and it has gone well. I made new connections, made a great presentation, got people interested in what I was to say, and enjoyed a number of meals and long walks in a city that was surrounded by water. Island cities can be really magnificent.
I was very tired physically prior to this trip but I returned back replenished. My mind particularly. This change has been great to my fried nerves. Hence, I woke up feeling better and with a shoother mind. Things look a lot positive and lovely now 🙂 The lesson learnt is to take breaks if we can and focus our minds to different things on the face of adversary. I know this very well theoretically; I am a difficult learner, but I hope one day practice will make it perfect 🙂
Now I have a lovely day in front of me with no activity scheduled. I need to go shop a little bit, which would mean walking. I have neglected walking lately because of the pressing deadlines, but I will take this opportunity today to re-gain my love for walking. I am kind of reluctant right now, but I know I will find it great once I start, so as soon as I finish this post I will put on my walking shoes, grab my shopping tote, take myself out to street. I am sure the crisp air will make me delighted.
Have a great Saturday everyone!
I have been thinking; without taking new challenges, growth is stalled. Why do I not look at the problems as challenges and see how I learn and grow?
Taking issues as challenges will be my #5 topic to reflect during the reflection season (aka holiday season).
I have been dealing with a lot of issues all my life, both at work and at my social life. I yesterday mentioned about “liking my comfort zone” in the last few years. It is somehow related to this.
I have many work-place issues that I constantly try to solve. Little, big does not matter. They are constantly occurring. There are times that I am free of them, which are blessing. Naturally when one appears after such a period of comfortable time period, I react negatively.
I will try to take it easy next time. Next week I have an important meeting that can change things for me. I trust life. As long as I keep my cool, it is gonna be fine. I suspect that I will have to make a hard choice after this meeting, but it is possible that this choice is the better one. I must trust life. I must trust the unknown.
I will then decide with a soother and more rational mind.
This has been something I have been keep visiting but never fully committed to:
#4 topic for reflection during the holiday season for me is to take more risks. Being more bold. Doing things differently or doing different things.
I have had a tendency to move around my comfort zone, both at work and at life in the last few years. This past 6 months I somewhat moved into two new fields at work. It has been a bold step that was hard on me (too much stress and too much of a hard work), but it also helped grow me. Being interested in new topics, challenging myself, and then producing things/reports/projects that look really good gives a huge satisfaction. I would like to keep growing this way at work. Who knows; maybe I will even change my work 🙂
As per my life and life-style, I need to apply a similar mind-set. The trouble is that as I age, I find that I need/enjoy more of stability and less of challenges. Social interactions would be one example – I am getting more and more enjoying a solo life and limited social interactions than before. Good? Bad? I do not know. But this might be one area to challenge myself.
Another area may be changing my style. This past weekend I wished I had worn dresses 🙂 Would that not be amazing? With proper leggings/pants, summer or winter I may be able to enjoy this new style. I think it will be just fine together with my new (naturally silvery, pepper and salt hair) 🙂
Goodness knows, maybe I will even go out to musicals or concerts 🙂
Being more assertive is my #3 topic to tackle this year during my reflection season, aka, holiday season.
As I age I found that I got more understanding and tolerant. While these are great qualities, they are not always great. Sometimes we must sit back, evaluate, and then say no. Whether it is our own ego’s or somebody else’s request, it does not matter.
This past year particularly I have had a number of experiences with my colleagues and work-place management where I was literally taken advantage of and burdened with extra work and ridiculous requests. Since winter I have been distancing myself from such a colleague and I still need to handle another one. Also, for some time now I have been asking questions and not saying yes to everything my management asks me to do. Hear me my fellow bloggers and do not sign anything before you absolutely sure to understand. There is so much sneaky management tricks that may fool you, especially if you are like me and tend to trust. Consult your union, knowledgeable people around you, or a lawyer. This is real.
So I have had some progress in this area and I know that I will keep going until all becomes manageable. There is more to be learnt and I am looking forward to it.
I kind of started doing my traditional holiday reflections today; I am early this year 🙂
#2 topic for reflections during holidays will be my life.
In the last few years my main personal interest was to have a more frugal but enriched and simple life. I have done a good progress in this.
Life goes on and years pass fast. While I am busy with work and trying to control my finances, many other aspects of my life are neglected. One important thing would be my family. Other important thing would be my health and emotional well-being. It is time that I realize as I get old, things that I can do get limited. What is important for me in the remaining years of my life? I must find this out.
This year, I would like to remove money out of my main focus and rather concentrate on these under-served areas in my life. I know that I enjoy simple and frugal life and being resourceful. If I focus on these, I know that financial stability will follow. It is a shift in perspectives. Hopefully this will work out well.
Additionally I want to have a healthier and stronger body and mind. I missed my weight-training exercises and leisure walking. I missed my push-ups at home and exercises that help strengthen my lower back. Maybe I would care my eyes better; since I keep working and reading, I wear my glasses all the time. This is not good – my vision is negatively affected. I lost some weight in the last year and I can keep doing this by focusing on it. My aim would be to lose another 10 pounds. This is not a huge amount, but can take significant effort. I will see how it goes.
Also I want to keep developing new interests and abilities. Lately it has been pickles and marmalade. What will be the next interest of mine? Will I start writing that book finally this year? Is this my next project? Will I start a side-kick, an additional source of income this year? Will I start or undertake something with a significant impact on not only my life but others? Is it my time to start being an advocate?
What will happen to my work, though. Without the stability it gives me, none of these seems like a possibility. I am seriously fed up with the environment and the responsibilities I have. Maybe I should keep looking for work elsewhere? Other positions? What would it be? Where?
I feel like my life will reach a tipping point this coming year.
I need to protect my time better at the office and let others do their work. Not me. I repeat, I should not be doing others work.
Since last July I have done well preserving my energy to mostly my own work. That costed me my 5 weeks of annual leave being spent at home working hard to do my own work. What a ridiculous situation… I still do not know whether I should be laughing or crying over this.
On the positive side, however, it is good that I have realized this and prioritized my work and performance over other colleagues’.
During the holidays you know I like to reflect to improve things in my life. This will be area #1 to further improve.
More to come.
Three weeks to holidays when we have 10 days off.
Every year I would be very excited about this. Except this year I have not come to that point yet.
See, I have been working non-stop since July and it kind of became a daily habit. Today I have submitted an important report, a third one in the last 6 months (which is very productive). I must be excited and relieved, but not yet, I see. I think it is because I have a short trip to make this week for business and I have some more deadlines/tasks to complete in the next few weeks. I should not be complaining that I am still on the “work” gear – it is very useful for me and my work. I just wished my mind was rather focused on the 10 days of off time, start making plans, and get excited about them 🙂
I kind of think that two weeks later I will start slowing down. This would mean wrapping the little works, making and documenting projects for the new year ahead, and finally cleaning the office for once and best. this would mean dusting it, putting aside all the paperwork, or better yet dumping all in the garbage. It is my favorite thing to do at the office! What a great closure to a year of hard-work 🙂
And as per the off time, my plans are more or less the usual; clean the every bit of the house, especially the floors; declutter nice and easy; donate the unwanted/unneeded items; shop and get stuff that I need, socialize with friends; read a book or two (have not done this for some time – it is the time that I get the pleasure of reading again); thrift; sew a piece or two; and reflect.
I have lots to reflect this year. As per work many things happened, first demoralizing/toxic organizational things and then the hard-work I have been doing since July. I have had three trips this fall (including the short trip I will make this week) and the one in Athens was particularly memorable. Also, I am getting used to my gray hair and do not even care about it anymore (what a strange thing that is….).
After celebrating and noting cherishable memories and experiences, it will come to this : “What do I want to change or improve then?”
We shall see 🙂
Today’s sourdough loaf has turned out to be another happy one with a great oven spring and happy smile 🙂
Life is interesting.
I have never been interested in cooking or being self-sufficient.
In the last two years, however, this has change. I still do not like cooking but baking, pickling, and jamming have been awesome. I could not be more excited 🙂
Sourdough: I first became interested in baking bread and I now even have a sourdough starter that makes wonders every week 🙂 I have not purchased any store-made bread since May 2016. I also shared my sourdough and commercial yeast loaves with my fiends. What a joy 🙂
Kefir: I then was gifted by kefir grains within 2017 and i not only fell in love with kefir itself, but I made cheese/spread from it and even used it in baking bread 🙂 Drinking kefir makes me feel good and I know that it gives me the calcium that I need at my age in addition to many nutrients. I am very happy with it 🙂
Pickles: I did pickles before thanks to my mother, but I have never been this interested in it until recently – I love the beet and cabbage pickles I make! I think it is the benefit of living in a cold climate that the pickle lasts long without going bad and this way I always have a jar or two in my kitchen. I made three batches of beet pickles this fall enjoyed by myself and my friends 🙂
Sauerkraut: And tomorrow I will try my first ever sauerkraut!
How about this?
I think I am moving in the right direction 🙂
I feel like I am doing such a great job refraining from additives and chemicals in store-bought jams/bread/pickles. I must be rightfully proud of myself and I am!
Okay.. I have not been as productive as I wished, but since I purchased my lovely sewing machine last year, I have done small stuff, including lots of covers for jars and discloth/cloth for the counter and window sills. I am yet to undertake a serious project, like a blouse or a quilt, but I know when the time comes, that will happen too 🙂
These are newfound interests for me and they have been enriching my life, providing me healthy and affordable food/items, and I feel increasingly “able”.
I really am excited about this change in me.
Yours truly continues to explore the world of jamming!
I wanted to try berry jam this time and found raspberries on sale the other day – how lucky I am?
Part inspired from others on the internet, part improvised, here is my frozen raspberry marmalade recipe 🙂
Bon appetite! 🙂
1. I am grateful for pampering myself in this long and tiring period of hard-work. I eat food my body craves for, I keep myself warm and cozy, and I make my daily life as comfortable as possible.
2. I am grateful for the snow we have had today! The first real snow of the year, which is always delightful to watch. The slow fall of the flakes, the white sky, trees, and roofs, and the need to drink a cup of hot tea. Magnificent! (remind me these in three months when I will be completely fed up with it 🙂 )
3. I am grateful for two productive meetings today. One of them motivated a team member of mine and the other myself. I had asked for a favor from a colleague of mine and she did it during this meeting. I feel awesome 🙂 She was great really.
4. I am grateful for receiving the garbage collection schedule for the new year in the mail. It will help me remember to leave my garbage and recycle bag out on exact dates.
5. I am grateful for the new cardigan I got from the thrift store this weekend! It is a lovely piece, very soft and cozy, and keeps me warm. Come to think about it, this past year I almost renewed half of my wardrobe by purchases from thrift stores. They did not cost me a lot of money, they were fun to look for, and a delight to use. I feel lucky 🙂
6. I am grateful for working at home and finishing up a report. It is due Monday and I think I have done really well. I had decided to draft it just 4 weeks ago, immediately after another big report. I was tired and exhausted then, but was also motivated to start this one because of its benefits. I have got quite a support from my colleagues and superiors who have seen its draft form. These make the time and energy spent on this report just fine 🙂
7. I am grateful for my elbow feeling better thanks to physiotherapy. I never thought that it would be so beneficial considering that I waited like 5 months after the initial injury. Human body is a miracle and medicine is awesome 🙂
8. I am grateful for tomorrow being Friday! I have only one meeting in the morning and the rest of the day I am free to finish small tasks and maybe go visit a thrift store. After all, I feel like I have deserved this break and the excitement to see all bunch of diverse items and clothes. Have you ever thought why we can find more diversity in thrift stores than regular retail stores? Very interesting.
9. I am grateful for being interested in life and work, although the latter has been getting on my nerves a lot lately. While the work place has been toxic, I found an opportunity to engulf myself in productive work rather than resentment. This feels like a good luck to me.
10. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, and everything else I have that make my life comfortable and enjoyable.
11. I am grateful for being grateful.
Things that I appreciate myself for today:
I woke up feeling like I was ready to charge and take down anything and everything that bothered me.
After an hour or so fuming with annoyance and having two productive meetings, this feeling thankfully subsidized.
I blame my fried nerves and extended period (since July) of non-stop working, shouldering every single problem at work, and resentment created by finishing tasks that others can do for this recent Don Quixote syndrome episode.
I just decided to take a week off from work to recuperate. I have a business trip to make soon, but after that I think it is best that I soothe my nerves by being away from the office and its problems, by reading books, by baking, jamming, and pickling, and by sewing the blouses that I was meaning to since last year but never found time to sew. Great plans!
Have a wonderful night everyone!
I worked a lot this evening and as a result I am feeling hyper now 🙂 Does that happen to you, too?
I am used to work till late, especially lately. It makes me tired and less thinking the itsy bitsy stuff, so actually I love sleeping well and not over-thinking during these intense work periods. Nevertheless, I am kind of annoyed tonite and am looking forward to winding down and relaxing.
While I sleep longer and deeper lately, interestingly I also dream more. Last night I have had two dreams, one about a little child that I met last weekend. He was one of these really kind and lovely kids. I felt quite an affection and protective feelings toward him.
Meeting with him made me think – should I have had kids?
Having a child has never been a real wish for me; it was partly because i was not married and was very busy with my work/career/life struggles. When I met this child, I kind of felt like I should have had kids. The love and affection I felt was awesome really.
Then I remembered what an anxious type of a person I was and what a control freak of a mom I would turn into should I have a child. I know from a friend of mine that when you become a parent, anxiety related to the kids’ welfare, wellness, and happiness become the most important thing for you. It would not be something I could easily master or move on. That is a sad truth.
Or maybe I could. There are millions of parents on earth and some of them must have personality like me. So, if others can manage it, so can I. why not? Right?
Adoption is always a choice. In the past, once or twice I have had considered it and eventually ruled out. Not that I would not like it. But because as a single person I did see it as a difficult task to take. I know from years back a single woman who adopted a lovely girl. She had a busy career as well, but did excellent with motherhood. I wish I had kept contact with her so that I could get an insider’s opinion/experience on adoption and child care.
Sometimes life is brutal I guess. I know what I have become has been shaped by my past choices. if only I was 20 years younger, perhaps I could make different choices.
That reminded me a new year eve 7-8 years back. I had that very strong wish to actually go back in time and re-start my life 10 years earlier. I had a lot of regrets and naiveness around me then. What if stories were true and one could move back in time?
I have a similar, albeit not as strong, wish today to go back and re-start my adult life. I wish we had not lost certain things in life, like our youth. I wish we could have better choices. I wish we lived our lives differently…
Logically I know whatever life I have right now is the best. There is no going back to certain things, abilities, experiences. I am old enough to know that whatever happens, it must be better than a less desirable outcome.
Today, I want to believe in this more than most other times.
We are about to welcome December soon 🙂
December is always a good month; it signifies the end of our annual work/tasks, there are lots of deals and sales, and the last week of the month is usually off so that we can take a break from work, and focus on closing the year and welcoming a new one 🙂
As usual, I cannot wait till the last week of December – this is a time that I can focus on mostly myself. Not work, not family, but myself. I usually spend it at home, too.
My usual plans are to socialize a little bit (but not too much so that I can still find time for myself), shop at thrift stores and take advantage of other sales/deals, clean and declutter the house (cannot wait for his – always a delight), and stay away from work (if I can).
I also want to reflect on life, my life, the past year. Lots happened since last new year. There are lessons learnt, decisions made, and memories gained. I want to remember and realize these.
And make plans for future! I want to do this too! It is the most exciting part of it actually; there are things that I must change or appreciate by making new plans. Like my budget, my life-style, or work-related plans!
December is the perfect time to re-start.
Hope we all will have a great time in 2018 🙂
Lots of great things happened this weekend 🙂
First of all; I have not worked this weekend 🙂 A first in the last 6 months or so. I am still tired but my spirit is high, so all is well 🙂
Second of all; I baked my first corn bread and it was delicious – that is so exciting! I can bake it of my guest as well 🙂 I feel like my baking and cooking skills are significantly improved by this dish… I love this feeling 🙂
Third of all; I thrifted today after a long time. I spent hours going through everything with excitement. I tried on maybe 30 pieces and bought three; one blouse that I was hoping to find (I have its exact same copy, which I love, love, love! I was hoping that I could find a similar one so that I could wear it for a longer time. Today my dreams came true 🙂 ). I also bought two good-looking cardigans that i am sure I will wear with love. A very good day indeed 🙂 I plan to thrift next weekend too.
Fourth of all; I cooked multiple meals for me this weekend, which is awesome. I usually would refrain from cooking or cook one meal to last 2-3 days, but not this weekend. How lovely is this? 🙂
Fifth of all; I found a great deal on my favorite french press and ordered it 🙂 It is expected within a week or so and I could not be happier 🙂 I literally got it 75% off.. WOW! It is good that I have waited so long. Jack pot!
Sixth of all; I re-started push ups and back exercises to help ease my back problems and strengthen my arms, chest, and abs. My muscles are aching – that means my exercises are effective. I am happy with this!! 🙂
Seventh of all; yesterday I used loyalty points for a large amount of shopping (like a hundred bucks) to purchase personal care and cleaning products. I found all items I was looking for and I only bought things that I will use or need. So every point/dime was used for a good purpose and no waste! 🙂
Eighth of all; I am feeling good and lucky with all these positive experiences and this makes me relaxed and happier 🙂
I could not ask for a better weekend!
Have a great Sunday night everyone 🙂
…..thrifting and finding the exact same of a blouse that I was hoping to get 🙂
I literally craved for this since yesterday 🙂
I followed the recipe here with the exception of baking at 350F for 40 min, adding 2 jalapeno peppers (de-seeded and cut), and using corn flour (fine).
My verdict is that it is an easy and delicious bread that can be readied in an hour.
It was a little bit sweet for a bread, but it was not annoying. I would maybe add some more sugar next time to make it like a cake 🙂
Jalapenos could have been lightly cooked prior to adding to the mix, but overall that was one great bake today! 🙂
Since July I have had all the excuses (rightfully mostly, but still excuses) to spend money and pamper myself; take the cab, buy and eat junk food, etc.
I was sorry for leaving my wonderful frugal life style, but at the same time I also enjoyed spending money. I always thought the next week, the next day, after this deadline or the other I would comeback to my regular budget. And sometimes I have done this, too. But only transiently.
Yesterday it finally occurred to me that I could not save enough to make an extra 5K pre-payment to my mortgage by the end of December…. I have planned for this for a year….It was a sad moment….
It still is……
So, I asked myself;
Well, how much can I pay?
3K at most and this is if I stop spending on unnecessary things and start being frugal right away.
And how do I enforce this?
By making 2K as a pre-payment right away.
Now I have no extra cash in my chequing account – I cannot spend money.
My jam-making saga continues!
PS; peels give a bitter taste to jam if the sugar content is not high enough. feel free not to use them. I love rinds because of their texture giving a lovely contrast 🙂
I just finished up working…
My day started at around 8 am.
I missed the first bus and waited for the next while also reading a document at the bus stop. My first ever work at a bus stop!!!
Then I attended a long meeting. It at least had food and continuous stream of coffee, so that I could wake up after an hour or so. The meeting had many speakers and was interesting, but eventually I could not take it anymore and left early. I am not sorry!
I came directly home and worked, worked, and worked until this minute. When there are too many things to do all at the same time, when I cannot finish things at a time that I aimed for, and when time-crunches on me, I just feel inadequate. This feeling does not help. Luckily I have learned to ask myself what I was feeling and why. This exercise helped identify the cause of the stress I have had. I calmed down by reminding myself that this was not the first time I have found myself in such a situation.
Eventually, I decided that I could do this even though it would mean that I would have to work till midnight and sacrifice “me” time. My other alternative would be to have “me” time tonite, which would mean I could find myself in the same situation tomorrow. And the next day to come. And so on…. The right choice was clear.
It was an epic struggle but I am happy to say that eventually I have done it.
Now I am gonna eat something.
Good night everyone – may you never have to sacrifice your “me” time..
Here is my second ever jam trial and first ever orange jam 🙂
I was mostly inspired by the recipe here, with minor changes.
Put the peels on vinegar-water. After 1 hour or so, take out the peels and remove the white coat as much as possible. I found that putting the peels in water helps remove it with the help of a knife. It is not an easy task, but doable. After that, place the peels on a cutting board with inside up and use the knife the scrap the coat – it is surprisingly easy this way.
I washed the jars, rings, and lids in washing machine. Then placed in an oven at 220F for around 40 min in order to kind of sterilize
Verdict: It was somehow too sweet for me, so feel free to use less sugar, but otherwise, yummy :). I love the peels making a contrast with soft orange. I did not water or pressure canned it, so preserve it in the fridge and consume within weeks.
We have a long weekend coming up – The Remembrance Day in Canada. We remember once again all the armed forces that died while protecting us. May they all rest in peace. What a sacrifice..
Hence the next Monday is a holiday. This is the last one before the holidays. Needless to say I am excited about it. Here are my plans:
1. I am grateful for prioritizing my time and working effectively today. That is why I am not sorry for taking the cab from and to my home and making some additional extra expenses to keep myself pampered and time-efficient today.
2. I am grateful for my friends telling me how much they have liked the fig jam I made this past Sunday! It is always a delight to see friends appreciate my food – as a person who does not enjoy cooking this is a great feeling indeed. There is something great about sharing food, too.
3. I am grateful for getting a compliment on my hair today 🙂 Did I mention that I have had a hair cut and now my gray hair is more visible? I was very sad to see them at first but over time I grew to love my hair and the new style. I do not know whether in the future I will have the same feelings, but at least so far, I have not reverted back to dying my hair, which is a significant success!
4. I am grateful for the wild rice soup I have made and consumed today. It is a delicious and completely improvised recipe. I am proud of myself and cannot wait to serve it to my guests.
5. I am grateful for the beet pickles I made last week. They are tasty and give me an opportunity to snack on them, rather than eating bread or other carbs.
6. I am grateful for my kefir grains. They keep providing me kefir and cheese. I am now drying a bunch of them for later use. I hope I will be able to revive them later so that I can always have these magnificent organisms and kefir in my life 🙂
7. I am grateful for doing my physiotherapy exercises to help my elbow heal. It has been since May that I have had the problem. It is sad to see my body needing therapy like this, but hey, considering my age I guess this kind of things are just normal. Nevertheless, I must care for my body and keep it in good and strong shape. Goodness help me! 🙂
8. I am grateful for the flowers in my yard sill striving and flowering. The weather was so nice this year that I am not surprised that they still are alive. I am collecting their seeds with the hope that I can have more of this plant next year.
9. I am grateful for all the food in my fridge, freezer, and pantry. I think I will not need a big grocery haul this week. Time to consume what already have 🙂
10. I am grateful for watching movies and listening to music. They are distracting me when I need most and relaxing me when I cannot take stress anymore 🙂
11. I am grateful for working really hard nowadays. I started a new project last week, which has moved really well in the last two days. I surprised myself with my performance today and I am glad that work is moving well. I do not know whether they will find interest and get approved for us to do them, but designing and writing them are the best thing I can do. The rest will be at the hands of life. Let’s hope for the best outcome 🙂
12. I am grateful for the flexible working hours that allow me to come home and continue to work without distraction.
13. I am grateful for having no disastrous events in my life nowadays. I live in a safe and comfortable city that makes my life easy and peaceful.
14. I am grateful for sleeping well last night. Nowadays my sleep pattern is healthier than last few weeks when I used to sleep for only a couple of hours.
15. I am grateful for this weekend being a long weekend! My plan is to use the extra time to complete some work and also try orange jam! Yes, you have heard right – I want to try another jam, this time something that is my favorite. I may share it with friends should it turn out to be a nice one.
16. I m grateful for being grateful and taking my time to write these.
Things that I appreciate about myself today:
And I present you my first ever fig jam’s recipe 🙂
One of my friends gifted me with 2-pounds of dried Turkish fig a couple of months ago – yum yum yum 🙂 I have been meaning to make jam with it and today was that day, my friends!
I have been inspired by many recipes on the internet, this one and this one particularly. I combined the general recipe of the first one (without the vanilla stuff) and the sesame seeds of the other, and voila here is my first ever dried fig jam!
First thing first, I am enjoying my coffee – what else 🙂 🙂
It is a beautiful morning, quiet and with an open sky. Traditionally we expect our first snow sometime this month. I actually love seeing snow. It is the ice and snow banks on the side walks that prevent me and others from safely walking during winter. Other than that, there is something nice and innocent about this fluffy white substance called snow…
Anyways, did I mention that yesterday I participated in a community event where I and 5 other colleagues/trainees had a booth and distributed information and implemented games/puzzles to draw attention to our work? It was the best thing I have done lately, with lots of small kids visiting us. We have had lots of fun and laughter together. Knowledge exchange and dissemination directly with the public puts a significant meaning to our work and it is highly motivating. We must be doing more of these events!
Since this event took almost the whole day before 5 pm, now I must take care of the weekend chores including doing the laundry. My regular Sunday activity of baking a sourdough is on the list as well. And, today my friends I will try dry fig jam for the first time 🙂 Let’s see how this will turn out. A portion of the jam will go to my colleague who gave us a ride to yesterday’s event (together with the sourdough), to my friend who gave me the figs, and another colleague/friend of mine who has treated me to a dinner last week. I hope that I will be able to get a good jam. I have never tried that before but in my experience the recipes online are good enough and my first trials are always better than second trials! 🙂
And the daylight saving adjustment is in effect as of today and we have one hour longer to enjoy in this beautiful Sunday. I wish all of you are going to have great time and make beautiful memories today 🙂
I have not done these checks for some time. It was because I mostly over-spent since July, but I am almost back to my regular, frugal budget.
This week I over-spent my weekly allowance by $19.5. I have made silly choices and spent unnecessarily but I would love to stop doing this. Let me see what this week will bring 🙂
I made a pre-payment to my mortgage in the amount of ~$1,600 today and I am feeling fantastic about this! I think it reduced the interest by round $50-60 – what better feeling than this right now 🙂
I still have some fun funds left (around $800), which I hope to bring to around $1,000 till the end of the year. These funds will be useful in making yet another mortgage pre-payment. I was planning to make an additional pre-payment in the amount of $5,000 by the end of December, but I am not so sure anymore… I found myself shopping (to take advantage of the sales), I need a new hair treatment coming, and there is at least one hefty social that I must shoulder next month….. I should not lose my hope and keep working towards this goal of making pre-payment. I know that even if I can make half of it, it will be fantastic.
This is the beginning of a new financial week for me (starting tomorrow) and I know that once I set the tone frugal it will likely go frugal. My plan for this week is to be mostly using the food in my freezer and pantry. I have so much food! It is time that they are consumed. I expect this to keep my grocery expenses low this week. This will further motivate me to keep frugal 🙂