all the good things – check

  • enjoying the good weather and phasing out may times, looking out of the window and the nature around my building – check

Spring is here, friends. It is here. My daffodils are coming out, sky is blue, and there is no snow on the ground. I feel different. Immensely different. Hopeful. Positive. Changing naturally. Enjoying my connection with nature.

Realizing once again that after any dark season will come the light….

They may tell me this millions of times, but unless I came to this realization myself, I would never buy it.

I like the fact that by observing nature I can in fact make reflections on life.

Priceless.

  • enjoying the plants on window sill in my office – check

I have three new plants there. They are green. Their pots are nice and colourful. Just another sense of Spring and hope.

  • eating apples and being grateful for it, knowing that it is healthy – check
  • attending an award ceremony for a team member of mine and being incredibly proud and happy – check!

these are one of my favorite times πŸ™‚ it is all worth it! What an honour. What an excitement πŸ™‚

  • munching on food served at the ceremony and not feeling like I must cook at home tonite – check

talking about being lazy or disliking to cook πŸ™‚

  • enjoying the warm and smooth breeze in the back yard – check
  • being aware and excited about feeling good and positive – check, check, check! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

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very random thoughts

I have hardly anything to write about in my mind right now, but who knows what the next minutes will tell. So, here I go.

I am having another episode of high-focus work and as such am highly irritable and somehow easily bored and agitated. The last weekend I went to shopping twice and while it made me feel good, my bank account is not doing well.

As a matter of fact, when compared to last year I am spending much more and the truth is that I find all bunch of excuses to do so. How is this serving me, I am not sure. At one hand, I have instant gratitude by taking the cab (rather than walking or taking the bus) and by eating junk food. On the other hand, I am hardly grateful for these and rather feel sorry about not keeping my money. It is a dilemma that I have experienced many times and I am sure I am not the only one.

My relationship with money has been always interesting. I am known to be able to save money since my childhood. It makes me feel good and more secure. I keep a simple and modest life. I am not into material. The money I spend on cab or junk food is not high; under different conditions I could as well be spending the money on a car and its maintenance. So, what is the problem?

Problem is that if I want it, I can cut out these expenses quite efficiently.

My problem is my own preferences, which are often getting expensive when stressed or need to work really hard.

My significant problem would be home-ownership and the mortgage and other expenses coming with it. It is a significant portion of my income.

My other problem would be the bad economy that is eating up our incomes with extra taxes.

My most significant problem would be that I started saving for my retirement quite late in life and as such whatever I can save right now is golden for later.

My problem is with myself and how I feel about money, the comfort it brings and the comfort I may not get in the future as a result of spending it today.

It would be so nice if we all have had universal income. Or go back in time to my youth and make better career choices.

Whatever you do, my friends, try to save and invest as soon as you make money.

 

 

 

random thoughts

Interesting times.

I am working like h..l again, but at least I can get motivated about it. I have two project applications to make in two weeks and it makes me excited only because I am almost done with one of them, and another one is nearly 50% done. I feel that one of them will get acceptance – is this realistic?

No.

But hope is a beautiful thing.

Hope Please GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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It is my conclusion that only 10% of my efforts are to move forward…. This is a very conservative estimation, but it does not hurt. As a matter of fact, accepting the fact that many of my efforts will not be fruitful is somehow healthy; it helps me with dealing with the rejection.

There is a strange relationship between anticipation and hope and reality and feeling insensitive.

One or the other; hope versus insensitivity. Anticipation versus reality.

Which one do we want to have?

Hurt GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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all the good things – check

  • sleeping well, dreaming long and vividly, and getting up early – check

I remember the dream, a part of it particularly. I jumped into a sea with someone I know and started to swim away. I was fearless, but then I came to my senses and I said “I do not want to do this, let’s go back”. And we did. I was not fearful (as I would be in reality), but the idea was certainly not a good one. Where were we going? Would we be able to make it to the land across from us (a mile or so)? Why this adventure? Why this risk? Was it peer-pressure or the need to comply with just because we tend to prefer being nice than being chicken? Was it something I really wanted to do?

This was a very realistic dream and I do not know how to interpret it (not that I am interested in interpreting it unscientifically). But the wishes of ourselves as an individual and all the sacrifices or bad decisions we have made in order to comply or “fit in” the social/professional circles is real.

I have been thinking about this for some time. At work, we experience this a lot; at committees we serve or with partnerships we have, we often are not vocal about our own needs or preferences in order to make collective efforts work. One committee I serve is particularly resistant to not comply with the majority of the members with seniority. I started to make my own points and vote against things that do not make sense to me lately. It does not serve me well in terms of fitting in, being liked/approved, or considered as being pleasant.

But, what shall I do? Do what feels right, or the opposite? At what expense? Self-respect versus acceptance.

You tell me.

  • being confused and feeling down again by a recent rejection of one of my work proposals, and not knowing what to do or how to start feeling confident again, starting to focus on what actually I have accomplished in the last one year – check

work-related rejection is killing my morale and taking a significant energy out of my mental wellness. This has been happening for some time and I should be immune to it for now. But, I am not. So I started listing all the efforts I have put in and slowly I started to see how much I have accomplished. Yes, not everything I tried and put enormous energy and effort in worked out, but the rest did. This “rest” was important to remember.

The period of extraordinary work and struggle to keep doing well has not ended, I see. I will continue, it seems. It is hard and demoralizing but I can keep going till I cannot go any further. I think that is the major point f all of these experiences. Change.

Change the way I think and work

or

Change the direction of my work

We will see how this story ends.

  • seeing what a wonderful sourdough I have risen over night and getting excited about it whole day – check!

I baked two loaves, my best so far. I think the warming temperature helps the starter and it shows on the dough. I will give one of the loaves to a friend – I am sure she will be delighted πŸ™‚

  • working shaky at first but then pulling it around for around 5 hours and starting a new proposal – check, check, check!

I actually worked quite efficiently and drafted around 8 pages long draft. This is a significant progress. I feel like I may be able to pull this around and make an application by deadline (which turned out to be just 2 weeks ahead). What a magnificent turn of mental clarity for me today – in the morning I was all lost and in the afternoon I had mental zone that let me generate and find some kind of relief and motivation to do more πŸ™‚

  • sending an email to someone to fix a problem with a scheduling of a meeting – check

this is my second email to this person, who had disregard the initial one and circulated with others the schedule that was not suitable for me and possibly the majority of the other members. I am chairing this committee and I fell that I should ensure the participation by making sure that the time is good for everyone. I feel like I am constantly putting effort and it is side-tracked. How am I supposed to deliver if I cannot make sure participation by others to contribute?

Team work is great but not when one cannot make it work as the chair. There are lots of lessons learnt for me this year….

  • remembering that I have a morning appointment – thanks to my email calendar – check!

I had completely forgotten! How great is technology? πŸ™‚

  • enjoying a comedy show – check
  • being excited about my succulents – check

this is a new interest for me! I have three of them (one haworthia and two jade plants). I cut out some stems and pulled leaves from my jade. They are drying up for now and will be planted this week in new containers. I hope to get more of these beauties over time – what a joy!

Garden Plants GIF by Sharpie - Find & Share on GIPHY

  • having new interests, like sewing, gardening, bread-making, jamming, and succulents, developing over time and making me excited and happy about life – check!

Not everything in life is unpleasant. Finding those that give us joy is priceless πŸ™‚

Happy Very Funny GIF by Disney Zootopia - Find & Share on GIPHY

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all the good things – check

  • deciding to feel good as nothing much in our daily/work life matters that much – check

I have had a kind of relaxing but also somehow nerve-pitching week. All work related issues of course. On the other hand, weather has been incredibly nice and Spring is really here. I have been feeling awesome about this – there is a real feeling of “hope” and “new beginnings” induced by the arrival of Spring. Should I be wasting these great feelings with focusing on shitty things and behaviors?

No.

Right. πŸ™‚

  • walking to the office in the morning – check

I have been walking in the last few days from home to office in the mornings. This feels great really πŸ™‚ Last year was the first time I had made it a routine activity to walk in the mornings (weather permitting). It makes me feel calmer, energetic, happier, and healthier πŸ™‚

  • working without much of stress and taking care of a tricky document – check

I knew that it was gonna be tough but I also told myself repeatedly that I would do overcome this too. The last year has been particularly very challenging in terms of work, stress, agitation, changing myself and my work attitude, growing my gray hair (I did not update you on this, did I? Man, I have gray hair alright – looks better somedays than the others, but I am still resisting the idea of dyeing it πŸ™‚ ), and undertaking new professional roles. One of the benefits of it has been to go through really tough time and tough decisions, so no new challenge is a big deal (at least so far) – great! πŸ™‚

  • taking my time to enjoy the plants on my floor – check

it has been a pleasure really, looking at all the beautiful plants and flowers that have been around me for so long but have never been cherished or recognized by myself. I feel awesome now that I know each one of them. Plants are amazing, friends. There are so many different types of them, they do survive with little help, and they make one feel great emotions and joy…. Go hug a plant πŸ™‚

  • walking to a nearby store and buying groceries – check

there have been many food that I needed and were on sale this week – I feel lucky πŸ™‚ I want to get some succulents nowadays. There were some aleo vera that were on sale in this store, but I did not want to buy them this time. There is a store 30 min away on foot that I can go check sometime to see whether they carry succulents. Even reading about the succulent made me feel excited and happy yesterday πŸ™‚

  • drinking fresh kefir – check
  • eating good home-made food – check
  • making a conscious effort to not dwell on negativity – check
  • enjoying a comedy show – check
  • having a simple life with minimal expenses today – check, check, check! πŸ™‚

Daisy GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/flowers-TFA5yuQIIoVUc

carrot jam :)

I did not even think that it was possible or tasty, but I was wrong. Carrot jam is must to try πŸ™‚

I was looking for an interesting jam/marmalade to try and it was the carrot jam that intrigued me. Thanking bloggers out there who have posted their recipes. I improvised my recipe and I am very pleased with the end result.

Addition of orange to this jam kind of masks the “veggie” smell/taste of carrot. Next timeΒ  I want to try it with some nuts, like walnut, for a much tastier and crunchier version.

Ingredients:

  • 8 mid-size carrots
  • 1 extra large orange
  • 1.5 lemon
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 tbs salt

Recipe:

  • peel the carrots and cut in thin stripes – julienne (my new mandolin slicer did not work out well, what a waste of money, so I cut them using a knife)
  • peel the orange, scrap off the white coat, piece and add to carrots
  • add 4 cups of sugar, mix, and let stand for 1-2 hours (continue to mix it every once a while – it should get juicy at the end of the waiting period)
  • add water and salt, and bring to a rolling boil, continue to boil for 30 min at medium heat
  • add the orange peels (once the orange is peeled, put the peels in 1/4 vinegar/water mix, let stand for 30 min, scrap off the white coat, and slice thinly) and 10 tbs of lemon juice
  • boil for another 25-30 min, until it reduces to 1/3 of the initial volume and thickens
  • pour down the sterilized jars, close the lids, and rings.
  • Water or pressure can for long-term preservation. If not, keep it in the fridge and consume within weeks.

Bon appetite!

all the good things – check

  • sleeping well and long, and seeing my dad in one of my dreams – may he rest in peace – check
  • having my favorite breakfast with tomato, sourdough bread, and coffee – check
  • walking in the yard and seeing a number of bulbs I planted in the Fall sprouting – check πŸ™‚
  • working on a new report and almost finishing it – check
  • pulling a muscle or somehow aggravating my sciatica – not check! But it has been a much manageable episode so far, and my pain and muscle relaxants were around and effective – so let’s check this one too πŸ™‚
  • baking a meat pie and enjoying it – check
  • drinking fresh, frothy, and tasty kefir – check
  • watching a series that makes me laugh – check
  • having the day off – check
  • realizing that my sciatica is turning into a chronic problem, unless I take better care of my back and strengthen my core with the exercises given to me. I should also be careful in my movements. This one came without any warning, like the previous ones. It starts usually when I try to pick something from the floor. This must be something I must particularly be careful about. Also, no matter what I must keep having medications available so that I can manage this better. Being aware – check!
  • having almost no work-related stress – check πŸ™‚
  • having a good weather and feeling the Spring – check
  • being excited about the lives in my yard and planing to plant more flowers and bulbs next year – check

Spring 2009 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/spring-2009-1Zxx18lm3dqlW

 

 

 

 

 

 

a long weekend is coming….

A long weekend is coming and for the first time in a while, I do not have a plan.

Is this good? Bad?

Sometimes I see this as an opportunity to be spontaneous, which would be awesome to exercise this week. Maybe I would see a friend or invite over a couple of them. Maybe I will go visit a thrift store again – always fascinating πŸ™‚

Sometimes it just makes me bored or feel like I am wasting a great opportunity (3 days off, come on! this is a great time to enjoy) only because I did not long for it. This past week has been light in terms of work and stress, and as such, I have not dreamt of how great it would have been to have an extra day off from work. Anticipation, they say, is a joyful experience. I now know what they mean πŸ™‚

It is not too late to have the aim of enjoying this long weekend.

  • Maybe I will try a new recipe. As a matter of fact, I have become interested in yet another fermentation product, kvass. Maybe I will try it πŸ™‚
  • I can make some more parsnip and carrot pickle – the one that I made last weekend was amazing. Parsnip has a sweet smell that makes me excited about it.
  • I may try a new type of jam or marmalade, and share with friends. I want to try something unusual and challenging. Orange, clementine, berry marmalades are not interesting at this point (done that, been there). If you have any recommendation or recipe for a different type of jam, please feel free to let us know in the comment area.
  • I may visit my yard and maybe help it rejuvenate. I think I have seen the bulbs I planted last fall coming out a few days ago! Our winter is not over, but it has been such a mild one that I am not surprised to see them sprouting πŸ™‚ I am excited to see how they will come along.
  • My mom suggested that I give a dig or two around my garlic shoots. Yep, I have around 35 garlic that I had planted in fall and seem to be coming around πŸ™‚ What an exciting experience! If this experiment works well, I am sure to plant more in fall. Cannot wait πŸ™‚
  • Perhaps I can sew a couple of cloths to use during baking. I have had many, some of which were thick and really useful. Sadly they have got old and not usable anymore, but I am sure I have fabric here and there that can make my new cloths from. Let’s do this πŸ™‚
  • This week is also one of these weeks when I am attempting some kind of pantry challenge. I have a lot of food in the pantry and in the freezer – it is time that I consume them and open space for fresh ones. This will also help me save some money – I really need to do this so that I can have a healthy chequeing account while also I continue to regularly invest and finance my vacation in summer.

poetry and love

I am listening to a song from a few decades back. It is beautiful.

A part of the lyric says something like this ” do not let anyone to see you, before I do see you“.Β 

This kind of words affects me romantically and quite deeply. The pain and fear of losing the loved one,Β the innocent jealousy, the sincere admission of all of these raw feelings and only for our loved one.

Love is a great thing, my friends.

It literally gave me wings once. Joy. Zest for life. A hint of purpose. A different world. A different life. A different me.

I miss these feelings.

The only thing I could not experience was jealousy.

I have never been jealous of my loved ones. Why is that, I wonder. Was I unafraid of losing them, did I not love them, or did I just not have them at the first place?

Hard for me to know.

Say Goodbye GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/say-goodbye-DMcw6ORJNchCU

pickled egg and parsnip & carrot pickle, and easy lazy peasy pasta trials

I have been meaning to try a new pickle recipe and decided to try pickled eggs πŸ™‚

After a search on the internet, I improvised the following recipe:

  • 10 hard boiled egg, peeled and placed in a clean jar. AddΒ a pinch of saffron and around an inch of cinnamon stick (do not ask me why I added this πŸ™‚ I think I wanted some sweet fragrance in it). Saffron gives a bright yellowish colour to it, which I loved πŸ™‚
  • brine: 2 cups of white vinegar, 3 cups of water, 1 tbs of salt, 1 tbs of sugar: boiled for 5 min or so
  • Pour down the brine in the jar (leave around an inch of space at the top), close the lid and rings.Β 

They say we should wait a few days, if not a week, but I am leaving it to you to try πŸ™‚

IMG_3757

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Since my brine was more than what the pickled egg jar would take, I decided to try parsnip and carrot pickle. I sliced 3 small parsnip and one mid-size carrot, boiled in the brine for 2 min or so, added 3 grated garlic and 1 tsp of chili pepper in a jar – cannot wait to try this one. My first parsnip pickle trial πŸ™‚ As you can see my brine was too much, but I will take it πŸ™‚

………………………………………………….

The other day I tried some kind of soft and large pasta.

I addedΒ 3 cups of all purpose flour, 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs salt (use less – mine was too salty), 1 tbs of baking powder, and 1 egg,Β  and formed a shaggy dough.

I then let it rest for an hour at room temperature. After that,Β I did knead it for a minute or so (it comes around pretty neatly) and rolled using a rolling pin at a desired thickness, cut in stripes, cooked in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, and took aside.

On a hot frying pan, I added vegetable oil,Β  black bean and soya sauce, let boil for one or two minutes, added the cooked pasta, and mixed for a few minutes.

It was soft and very tasty πŸ™‚

IMG_3742

 

all the good things – check

  • feeling really positive and excited about life -check πŸ™‚
  • taking time to rest in the morning and getting up kind of late – check
  • catching the bus – check
  • enjoying my coffee – check
  • not being stressful at all and looking for something to do at the office – check!

this was very important. I have had time! I took this opportunity to discuss the work of a team member, who seemed to have done really well. I understand his work, which is in fact very complicated. And this gives me extra confidence in his work. Priceless πŸ™‚

  • finding 30 bucks in a pocket of my purse and getting excited about this – check

This is wonderful! it is a lot of money. I have been meaning to buy jars, the little wide mouth ones, for some time. I think I can now get it with a peace of mind πŸ™‚

  • getting a tax return more than I thought I would – check, check, check πŸ™‚

Is that not wonderful? It is πŸ™‚ I plan to make it a pre-payment and further reduce my mortgage. Very exciting! I feel like money comes to me from many different resources. Timing is great as this week I have been really frugal and did not spend more money while also keep living comfortably. I had missed this feeling and I am very excited about it.

  • eating yogurt – check
  • relaxing whole night and not working at all – check
  • buying long, green, and hot peppers at a nearby store – check

this kind is hard to find around here and this is the second time that I found it. My mom would love these peppers, especially if fried. i am not that into hot peppers, but with the seeds removed, the taste and the look of these peppers are just amazing. I feel lucky πŸ™‚

  • having no meeting tomorrow – check
  • planning to visit a thrift store tomorrow afternoon – check

this is very exciting for me πŸ™‚ I have not been to one for a long time. Browsing through all bunch of interesting stuff is a great relaxing exercise for my mind. While I am excited about this plan, I am also conscious about the bad weather outside – it is raining and we expect some storm. If the precipitation is not bad, I still can make it tomorrow – we shall see πŸ™‚

  • having a no-spending day – check

that is right – this was the 5th day that I did not spend anything except the bus fare. I am abundant. I am well. I am proud.

 

generosity of a mentor

I read somewhere today that being a mentor/teacher means first and most being generous.

You know that I have been kind of self-centered lately, trying to keep my head above the muddy water,Β  and trying to care for my own wellness and work-related development and performance.

In the last few days, I have been feeling much less stressed and ready to take new challenges and tasks. Today one of my team members reminded me that before new challenges, I must turn my efforts to the development and progress of my team members.

My team members are all young and doing very well themselves. The intricate details and expectations from our work necessitate intensive training, however. That is why I spend a lot of time, especially in the initial years of my team members, to teach them. It is demanding and over time gets frustrating, but we all do well at the end. I have been doing much less of such training lately than before and giving independence to my team members. I must say some of them flourished duringΒ  this time, some of them are lagging and require my support and push, and some others do great, have incredible potential and character, and can do even more excellent if I side by them. The team member of mine who reminded me today to be generous with my time, support, and effort is of the latter type.

She is visiting my team for a short term. At first I was not overly enthusiastic, but I can see I was wrong. She is independent, very smart, and very enthusiastic. The work she has been doing is new to her but she grasps the concepts and does the work nicely. Today she brought me a gift (an inexpensive – thank goodness – but unique item that came directly from heart) to express her appreciation of me as a mentor and I was speechless. I do not accept gifts from my team members, but rejecting her gift was upsetting her very much, so eventually I decided I would accept it with the condition that she would never give me a gift again and I would get her a gift myself.

What bothers me is that I at least for five minutes drilled her for getting me a gift (could I not just graciously accept it and make her feel good at least?) and she got me a gift because she thought I was a great mentor (me??)…. I had not even spent enough time with her and with her work! How could I do that? Why was I so self-centered and did not care about her development as much as I normally would? My consciousness is bothering me big time.

From tomorrow on, I will start praising and further supporting the team members who are doing well themselves;Β  I will start tightening the work schedules of others who are lagging without my push or support, and I will find extra time to further train and develop the team member who reminded me that generosity in terms of sharing my time, expertise, and wisdom is the best I can provide and what I should exercise as a mentor.

Star Wars There Isnt A Day I Wish George Lucas Hadnt Done More With These GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/star-wars-obi-wan-kenobi-anakin-skywalker-yFTEVvsVh6ceI

all the good things – check

  • sleeping well and dreaming…. a lot – check πŸ™‚

Only sometimes I remember my dreams and remembering three dreams in the morning was absolutely interesting!

  • waiting at home for the bus so that I could continue my frugal, simple, and responsible life style I missed so much – check
  • feeling happy when the bus comes – check!

Our buses runs every 30 min – give me some credit for taking them, please :)))

  • working nice and easy during the day without much of a stress – check
  • giving a small loaf of sourdough to one of my friends and seeing her joy and excitement – check, check, check πŸ™‚

I am grateful for this feeling of happiness coming from sharing my bread, marmalade, or pickles – looks like my friends really like and appreciate them, and this just makes me hugely grateful! How did I come up with the idea of baking bread? making marmalade or pickle? Boredom, which motivated me to try these endeavors, has been good to me indeed πŸ™‚

  • coming home early and taking a new yoga/stretching class – check

I dedicated this session to appreciating myself more (wow – I am really getting healed here πŸ™‚ ) and I spent the entire one hour by focusing on all the good things and appreciating my ability to do so. One of the best 12 bucks spent ever πŸ™‚

  • eating home-made food and a large salad – check
  • having a no-spending day – check!

I am excited about this. I think I am slowly coming back to my frugal self. Today is the second day of being frugal in a very long time and it feels fantastic. If only they did not expect a snow storm soon – that may mean that I may need to take a cab to or from work. We will see how weather will develop.

I plan to do some sort of pantry challenge next week so that I can consume what I already have. This will help me with saving some money and also enable myself to consume what I already have and replace them with fresh ones. I really need this so that I can get my chequing account back to a healthy level, which always feels good. Time to do this!! πŸ™‚

  • Being calm and relaxing this evening – check

I am not working tonite and it feels good to me. I know time to time it gets really heavy but nowadays I feel like I deserve a break and I aim to cherish it while it lasts

  • interacting with only lovely friends and colleagues today – check
  • eating yogurt – check
  • being excited about all the good things and people in my life -multi-check!

πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

changing for a better me, for a better time

So this past year has been hard on me – it was highly stressful; I worked long hours; I was skeptical and suspicious of my professional future; I have got my blood pressure peaked a couple of times and almost got panic attacks; I have got my self-confidence shook very very strongly; and I have mostly ignored my daily, personal, simple, and frugal life so that I can channel my energy and time to my work-related efforts and use my money to comfort myself during this hard time.

Got GIF by Game of Thrones: #PrepareForWinter - Find & Share on GIPHY

The hardship started last summer when I realized that our work-place was getting more and more toxic (mostly because of financial issues) and they were openly making comments about firing people. How demoralizing? Very indeed. I worked so hard and did so much for my work and this organization that after all of these, if we get this kind of treatments instead of appreciation, it was time to think about what to do with my future.

  • This was one of the nicest things I have got out of this experience – that I was better than this and I deserved recognition by my work-place, not depreciation like they tend to favor.
  • I also did not want to spend my time trying to prove myself over and over. All these years and after all I have done, what else do they want?? (they do want lots of thing, by the way. It is never enough for them).
  • Most importantly, I realized that I was better than my current work-environment let me be and I was longing for developing further and reaching my personal and professional potential.
  • I applied for a job, for which I did not receive any response back. But that is okay. The important thing was I had started to react to my work/position here and I was being detached from it. This was wonderful – I never thought that I would leave my current job. Great experience!
  • I worked harder and on different topics, which took time and required a lot of courage. I did these. They have not yielded outputs yet, but I am hopeful and determined that they will.
  • I took new roles. That meant lost of time and reading/discussions/practicing to learn new things and taking new risks. It has been tough, but I am moving on smoothly.
  • I exercise new leadership roles and I am developing and discovering about myself in such roles. While this is emotionally challenging (a lot is expected from leaders and knowledge and experience together are required for effective leadership), there is so much I learn about myself that it is amazing πŸ™‚

I also aimed to change myself.

  • I realized I did not want to do what others were in fact supposed to do (my job requires a lot of this if we want things to move – sad truth is that as a project leader you shoulder a lot of the burden others should) and starting to say no. I first said no to reviewing a report, then another, and then another. I try to save my time for the things I want to deal with now.
  • I raised concerns and demanded better working conditions when my work place came to me with a silly tasks to be done (which can be done by someone else pretty easily).
  • I started to distance myself from the colleagues who ate up not only my time, but also my nerves with their negative, demanding, and belittling attitudes. This is one of my most significant victories….
  • I started raising my voice when my friends or colleagues unfairly criticized me – they think twice now I guess. I found that generalization is very easy and people tend to do this pretty frequently. However, seeing the view from the other side is necessary to understand things better. Many people miss that. I am vocal about this now when it comes to me or my work. I won’t take unnecessary and unfounded criticism that easily.
  • I say no to socials with people whom I do not wish to spend yet another minute.Β 
  • I started to value my time, energy, well-being, professional efforts, skills, and performance more than ever (talking about confidence that my work-place was trying to diminish with the talks of firing us.. What a nice turn of self-opinion? πŸ™‚ )
  • I started to be a little bit more smart and took steps to strengthen my position in my work-place while also developing myself further. I have two positions at my union’s committees and I am not only learning about our rights as workers, but also how to support myself and other workers against any organizational or professional issues. I feel safer and well supported. And in many ways, also protected. I will continue to work in one of these committees in the coming years, which I know is very beneficial for me. It is like a shield that can defer many silly attempts on me and other vulnerable colleagues. I am loving this.
  • I recently realized that I was very content and pleased with my efforts, hard-work, development, and changes. With this comes confidence and shutting down any effort to belittle me or my work. This is, my friends, priceless.

After all, this hard time is turning into a better and more pleasing experience. Like winter ending and Spring flourishing.

Across The Universe Spring GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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all the good things – check

 

1. sleeping well and calm – check

2. getting up at a time good enough to catch the bus on time – check

3. working well in the morning, getting stressed at noon, but keeping the work till evening – check

4. almost being finished with some work that has been on my list for so long that its heaviness has been extreme – I want it to be done. Hopefully soon πŸ™‚ – check

5. enjoying the warm and bright day and getting a feeling of Spring – check

6. walking back to home in the afternoon – check

7. saving around 20 bucks from cab fare by taking the bus or walking today – check

8. doing grocery shopping and appreciating everything I purchased – check.

I have got a big bag of potatoes and lemons. I consume lemon quite a bit, potato – not so much. But it is more or less durable and potato meals, soup, and salad are all very enjoyable food. I am feeling good about having food the next few weeks and I feel quite abundant πŸ™‚

9. eating fish and a big healthy saladΒ  – check.

Lately I have been trying to award myself by eating fish or any other fried food (before someone starts about the unhealthy habit of fried food; for some reason they make me feel good the next day. once a week should be okay, right?)

10. Keeping calm – check.

It is strange to remember that in January I have had almost panic attacks. A very stressful time it was. I have come so far, slowly but steadily. I am very gratefulΒ  – check!

11. Finishing the lose ends of many small tasks and reports, and feeling energized about thisΒ  – check.

I have a number of small things to finish this weekend. Once they are done, I hope I will start bigger and newer projects. It is so exciting!Β  – check

12. Did I mention that I said “no” again yesterday? Face-to-face this time.

A colleague of mine thinks that she can interrupt me anytime while working alone orΒ  with others to ask or talk about what she needs or wants. How is this acceptable? yesterday I was working in my office with a team member of mine and that person just stepped in my office and start talking and asking me things, with no acknowledgment of my team member or us being working on something. Very rude, self-centered, and selfish. I decided it was the time that I take control and indicate need to respect my team member, and I asked the person to talk later. Can you imagine? I did it! And I did not even feel bad after that!! I am on the right track, my friends πŸ™‚ -check, check, check!

all the good things – check

1. not working like crazy and taking my time and phasing out for an hour or so at the office – check

2. sleeping well and waking up with not so many negative thoughts – check

3. delivering a very interactive presentation, connecting with the audience who was hesitant and passive at the beginning but became cozy and excited about the presentation later, and making it a memorable experience for everyone – check

4. taking a cab and making it an easy and comfy experience to pick a card for my team member who will leave soon for another job – check. I have been meaning to do this for sometime. It is strange that when we look for a nice card they are nowhere to be found. I picked a nice one that I am very happy with and wrote a nice thank you and appreciation note for her. I hope she will like it!

5. eating grapes – check

6. eating a previously frozen home-made soup – check

7. attending an odd yoga class that aims to release muscle tension and finding it one of this interesting life experiences – check. My goodness; it was a crowded class, there were a lot of people shaking, making noise, breathing aloud, and making sure that we the rest of the pack laugh uncontrollably as a result :)))))

8. looking good with a new hair cut today – check. it is strange that a hair cut can make such a positive change in our outlook and how we feel. I will remember this and will use it as a means of therapy in the future πŸ™‚

9. Being hungry and planning to eat something in a bit. It is getting late but I appreciate having appetite – check

10. watching an old movie that I always loved and enjoying my night – check πŸ™‚Β 

 

 

one of these awesome days

One of these days that I am calm and feeling good about myself and the work.

One of my team members and I finished a big project today, which was on the go for 3.5 years. I cannot believe. She made that happen and she is leaving soon to move on with a better career. I could not be happier and more proud of her. May she always find success, happiness, and support in life. She has got my full blessing.

I feel like accomplished now a little bit and am feeling hopeful and excited about my work again. Results of this project will be used in many other projects and noone in the world has ever produced such results. The more I think about it, the more I am realizing what a unique and exciting project this was. I must be happy and proud of myself as well!

This realization brings me some sort of confidence and excitement – I have done very well indeed. There is hope that I will sign under the many more difficult and exciting projects. This is such a much needed feeling for me. I would not be surprised if I shed some tears out of joy πŸ™‚

Now I have space for future projects and my calendar is more permissive to move on with others that I have been planning. Happiness! πŸ™‚

I have four presentations to do withing the next four weeks – two of them being this week. I am ready for them. The other two, on the other hand, needs work. Ok – I can do this! After that my next biggest task will be writing a new type of report, which I am looking forward to. It will be challenging at the beginning, we have been keeping it under the radar for some time, and now I will have time to work on it. Something fresh, interesting, and developing me further as a professional. Excitement!

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I was telling one of my friends today that I wonder how I and my life will develop in the next three years. I know that I have been changing my approach to others at work, becoming a little bit more focused on my own interests and reducing my commitment to others’ work, being interested in challenging and developing myself by taking new roles and responsibilities, becoming more assertive, and most importantly, questioning my own look at my life. I told my friend today that I sometimes think about resignment. Not that I want to but I guess it is one way to free myself from all the little issues and attitudes that bother me. Thinking about resignment gives me some kind of relief from the current issues. It also helps me with un-attaching myself from work. I was always overly committed to work and as such have ignored the other important things in life.

What are the important things in life?

Certainly my family is important.

I am important.

It is time that I let these realizations sink into my mind…

It is exciting that I am curious about my future, don’t you think? πŸ™‚ This is certainly becoming an exciting anticipation for me – I want my future to be better, happier, healthier, and more meaningful. I want to have dreams and plans. I want to do different things. I want to feel good about myself and my frequent efforts to do so!

May the next days bring joy, success, happiness, health, and good people, experiences, memories, and opportunities to all of us πŸ™‚

 

Spiderman sourdough :)

IMG_3691
Spiderman is here!!!! πŸ™‚

Does it not look like the face of Spiderman – one of my favorite characters? πŸ™‚

This loaf was the last and the best one I baked with multigrain bread flour.

FYI – I cannot recommend the multigrain bread flour – it does not rise much. If you are looking for better crumb, either have a warmer place to proof the dough (my kitchen is around 17C during winter and I am not patient enough to wait too long), or use the old, good plain bread flour.

This loaf contains:

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat starter/levain
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 4 cups of multi-grain bread flour and 2 cups of all purpose flour (i had run out of bread and multi-grain flour)
  • 2.5 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs salt

Everything is mixed and I stretched and folded it 4-5 times before I left it to rise overnight at room temperature; these happened yesterday evening

This morning I shaped it and placed in a mixing bowl upside down and left for proofing in the oven for 5.5 hours

Baked at 350F oven (non-prehetaed) for an hour

Delicious!

early Sunday morning musings

It is a Sunday πŸ™‚ A beautiful quiet, peaceful, and relaxing morning.

I woke up early at around 5 am – my unusual habit lately.

I am smelling, tasting, and enjoying my morning coffee;

listening to classic music which I have never listened to before (change is very good);

cooking my chickpeas meal for the day (a portion will be frozen to be eaten later);

planning things to enjoy my day (getting my tax filed would be one of them);

still enjoying the memory of saying “no” to the social yesterday and being proud of myself for that;

liking the change in me and prioritizing my own needs and wellness over others (this is not being selfish – it is being responsible and caring towards myself as I am to others, who can actually do things themselves but for some reason prefer me to do things for them).

It is a beautiful day that needs to be cherished – I hope we all are having a great Sunday πŸ™‚

Sunday GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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all the good things – check

  • sleeping well till 9 am – check
  • having my favorite breakfast with tomato and sourdough bread – check
  • opening a new canister of coffee and loving the taste and the smell of fresh coffee- check
  • deciding to keep the coffee relatively fresh by taking a part of it in a jar to use and keeping the canister secure/unopened – check
  • enjoying the snow outside – check
  • speaking with my family and loving it – check
  • getting gifted by sister and buying my wide-mouth jars – check, check, check! I have been meaning to get them for months now. I had a set purchased before the holidays and I have only 2-3 left, as I had gifted my friends with pickles but hardly any of them were returned. Now I have a new set only for my own use and I will never run out of them again (will not give them to anyone – sorry not sorry)! – check
  • cooking myself a nice meal – check
  • making clementine preserves (recipe here) πŸ™‚ I have been wanting to do these for some time and today was the day! I will gift a small jar to my next door neighbors tomorrow and another small jar to a friend of mine. I will enjoy the rest (which are in my precious wide-mouth jars) – check
  • working, stressful first and then turning things around and being pleased with my performance – check
  • saying no to a social that involves a couple of individuals who get on my nerves frequently – check, check, check
  • being proud of myself for saying “I do not want to attend this event” to another friend of mine, who though I should be attending the social. She is a wonderful person and a great friend. She was surprised to hear this from me, but she understood how busy and tired I was. It felt great to be direct and understood. I know that I will continue to preserve my time, energy, and nerves to myself by limiting my interactions with undelightful people and by not undertaking other people’s work or responsibilities- check
  • enjoying the quiet night and feeling good – multi-check

 

all the good things – check

  • eating carrots and an apple at the office – check
  • not being stressed much – check
  • working nice and easy – check
  • advising three of my team members about their performances – check
  • having the energy to work and keep going – check
  • prioritizing comfort – check
  • saying no to an extra responsibility – check
  • deciding not to attend to a social I am insisted to attend – check
  • finishing up some great projects and opening time for new projects – check
  • aiming to re-prioritize my well being and simple/frugal life – check
  • planning to visit some thrift stores tomorrow – check
  • flossing my teeth – check
  • feeling good about a new team member’s performance – check
  • being vocal about an extra work we are imposed to by the administration – check
  • drinking kefir – check
  • getting a large piece of home-made cake by a colleague and enjoying it with coffee in the morning – check

 

time to slow down

I have been sleeping much less lately.

Last week I woke up around 5-6 am each morning and went to bed at my regular time (around 11 pm). This is like 6-7 hours of sleep per night. Today I woke up at 4 pm after 5 hours of sleep and worked a full 12 hours at the office. Surprisingly I am not even feeling tired.

This is not normal.

I think I am at a heightened state. I knew that I was stressed and working very hard since last July. But I did not think that I would adapt to this prolonged stress situation and perform high. I realize it now that I may be close to a burn out, and thus, I should slow down to prevent it.

I have an important submission to make tomorrow. After that I will have to take care of many things but I will take it easy. I plan to take the Friday afternoon off and have a kind of long weekend. I want to sleep, eat better, and just wind down.

I can do it.

With this, I am not saying that I am capable of doing it.

I am saying that I allow myself to do it.

last week: What do you do in such a situation?

Last week was interesting.

My computer crashed.

What do you do in such a situation?

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Well.

First; keep calm.Β 

Two; get a new computer after making your homework and selecting one suitable for your needs.

Since it takes some time to do #2 above, I spend 3 days without computer at home.

Three days!!!!

What do you do without a computer at home?

————————————-

First; keep calm.

Second; see whether the radio-clock works and you can listen to music/news. It did work, which was a huge blessing. May I say that this was the first time I listened to the radio in the last one decade or so? Well done.

Third: get bored and read a work-related book (that I have been meaning to do since last summer and feel good about this). Score!

Fourth; get bored. And, boy, what a boredom it was. So go to sleep early.

Fifth: since you are going to bed early, be prepared to get up early. 5 am to be exact!

What do you do with all the time at your hand?

————————————

First; you (I) take a cab just because buses do not work at that hour, and work, which is awesome. It gives much needed time to finish a couple of things.

Second; since home is not attractive anymore, you also spend more time at the office, which is great. This way you continue to work and finish tasks.

Third – among all of these catastrophic(!) mis-order of daily life, you kind of realize what an important role computer has in your life. It is the window to the outside world and number one channel to interact with others. It is one tool that helps you relax, read, write, listen to music, and watch TV. It is one thing that keeps your life in order with the planning sheets and record documents. It is one thing other than a human that can make your life easy, comfortable, cherishable, and fun.

Go hug your computer – it deserves it.

 

remembering dad and a few good things

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s passing.

I remember him with his smile, sky blue eyes, nice skin, strong chin, beautiful voice, and presence. I wish things were different and we could go back and fix everything between us. I wish I could be there for him and kiss his cheeks once more. I wish I could say daddy again.

I cannot.

But I also know that he and I loved each other and we would not wish for another dad, another daughter. He showed his fatherhood and introduced us to not only life but also death, and walked through his lonely journey all by himself. Like his dad, like his mom, like his brothers. At least he was not alone.

Rest in peace dad. One day I will find you again. I promise.

Flowers GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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In the last few days I have been getting really tired of being annoyed by some people and my work being the most important thing in my life.

I had to have dinner with two colleagues I really dislike (!) and a third one I somehow like. I hated the idea of spending my time with the people I disliked but the night went okay, thanks to my third colleague. The two continued to annoy me during the dinner and it has come to a point that I do not want them to affect me this way anymore. I do not know why I cannot let go off their ridiculous ways, but this is what it is.Β  I will find additional ways to further distance myself from them. At least the benefit of this highly annoying dinner was that finally I have had it enough. It came to a point that cannot be ignored. And this is a good thing. A large part of our relationship is over.

Melly Goeslaw Indonesia GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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And I have been thinking for sometime that life has been going, I was getting older and closer to death each day, and all I was thinking about lately was how miserable, stressed, unappreciated, and financially insecure I was at work.Β 

One of the changes that has happened this past summer was that I did not want to dwell on small issues and rather use my time, effort, and skills for bigger issues, bigger fights, bigger good. The fact is this: I happen to find issues in anything in life (a professional curse) and dwell on them full force. The question I asked myself was whether I wanted to have a bigger professional life and deal with bigger issues taking similar time and energy, and having similar levels of irritation/stress. The answer is an easy yes. That is why I undertake a lot more this year in terms of leadership and committee work.

I have started to extend this to my personal life. This morning I was talking to my sister and I said since my social life is small, even the little social interactions, if a little annoying, annoys me big time. I said that I have decided to have a bigger life and then get annoyed if I must. Maybe I will learn one or more things. Maybe I will meet great people. Maybe I will find ways to enrich my own inner life. I know it will be better, no matter what.

As part of this, I am excited to say that I re-started my stretching/meditation classes tonite. Just like that I showed up there, purchased my plan, sat on the floor in a quiet, warm, and cozy room with others, breathed in and out, calming my mind and soothing my body. And I just felt that calming my mind was one of the most fantastic things I have ever done for myself lately.

πŸ™‚

Meditation Serenity GIF by giosolARTE - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/giosolarte-spirituality-animation-illustration-art-xT9DPyTQF3Acztr69y;https://giphy.com/gifs/flowers-qfU7P6rsJFCM0;https://giphy.com/gifs/bye-frozen-indonesia-xUNd9Y4kpe3afj9UNW

all the good things – check

  • getting up early and going to work before 8 am – check
  • working with a team member very effectively and finishing a project of 3.5 years – check, check, check! πŸ™‚
  • remembering to celebrate the end of project – check!
  • walking in the evening – check
  • working at home for 3 hours on a report and thinking “what do I do wrong to have this hectic year full of work and stress?” I must change things again – it is the time. I should say no more often. I should write my reports better so that I will not have to revise and change them significantly – this is causing me to work on them more than required. I must look for opportunities to lessen my paperwork.Β  I can set aside time each day for little work that would not require full focus or energy; these could be taken care of really fast and would give me acceleration. I notice that I work incredibly efficient in the morning – so I can aim to get up earlier and do the important work first. From tomorrow on I aim to get up around 7.30. check
  • getting no discount from an international meeting. I did not really want to attend this meeting this year. I asked for a discount in attendance fees and I was not awarded it this year. I feel relieved, even though this is a rejection! πŸ™‚ There will be other opportunities – a new city, a new type of meeting. I am looking forward to the opportunity to find it out!Β  – check
  • being ready for important work tomorrow and having good plans for tomorrow and the weekend – check
  • securing a seat at a committee of my union for another year. This is important for my professional development and feeling more supported and secureΒ – check

Happy Cardcaptor Sakura GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/kawaii-flowers-INlJUYclnafdu

 

all the good things – check

  • missing the bus and walking in the morning to office – check
  • treating myself with a muffin – check
  • working long hours without losing focus or energy – check
  • having a lunch with a friend, a very rare treat for me during the week days – check
  • getting a ride back home by a colleague in the afternoon while it heavily snowed – check
  • drinking kefir and loving every drop – check
  • keeping calm the whole day – check
  • realizing despite feeling largely like a failure, how well my projects created unique outcomes in the last one year and will continue to do so in at least the next two years – check
  • feeling sleepy and getting ready for a resting night sleep – check

all the good things – check

  • not spending on anything, other than the bus token – check
  • eating home-made meal from freezer (thawed overnight) – check
  • walking in the afternoon from office to home – check
  • working till late and taking care of some minor work – check
  • taking “me” time and watching a favorite show – check
  • eating apples at the office and yogurt at home – check
  • being happy for someone dear to my heart, who is having a happy day – check
  • being proud and excited of these – check

Feliks Tomasz Konczakowski GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/dance-dancing-flower-l1J9xjttRT0SmU3HG

 

 

random thoughts in a fine day

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.Β 

———————————–

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.

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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.Β 

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.Β Life is precious. My life. Your life. Anybody’s life.Β 

frugal life-style makes me feel overly abundant

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?

Nope.

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 πŸ™‚ Argh…

Was 7 bucks a lot of money?

No.

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 πŸ™‚ ) . 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 πŸ™‚

 

what matters in life most

I will be attending a funeral tomorrow for someone I knew.Β 

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?Β 

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:Β What really matters?

  • My family matters
  • I matter
  • Making a positive contribution to society or others matters
  • Feeling good matters
  • Feeling free matters
  • Being hopeful matters
  • Being treated with respect and fairness matters
  • Feeling optimistic or in control about my future and retirement matters
  • Seeing things a little bit more clearly matters
  • Developing skills to know what is important and what is not, and to act or change accordingly, matters; if you have any suggestions on how to do this, please drop a line or two in the comments section

weekly budget check

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 πŸ™‚Β 

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 andΒ  interesting.

I am up for it!

I hope there will be no additional expenses in the next few weeks πŸ™‚

I have almost lapsed into extra spending today :)

Almost….

I wanted too πŸ™‚ 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.

Really.Β 

 

 

at last; frugal and simple life again

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 careΒ 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???Β 

Very abundant and wealthy indeed!

I am so excited and so proud of myself.

πŸ™‚

what is it that I am supposed to become?

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.Β 

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..

Please.

……………………..

 

The curious case of “what if this is the best year of something?”

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?

  • Best moments of feeling free (in rare moments in between stress)?
  • Being less perfectionist and saying no at work?
  • Being more outspoken in circumstances that require a reaction?
  • Being a little bit more self-oriented?
  • Actively engaging in changing my approach to life and work?
  • ……………….

I like this idea πŸ™‚

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?

joy journal – Feb 4, 2018

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.Β 

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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:

  1. I appreciate myself for easily having a mixture of both positive and down moments during the day. I survive it and I do not resist it
  2. I appreciate myself for eating better today
  3. I appreciate myself for being kind to myself
  4. I appreciate myself for changing and implementing new ways to enhance my life. For example; I decided social media and news was giving me depressive thoughts – so I will limit my exposure. I will continue to say “no” to unnecessary tasks; I will continue to turn my email off at the office while working; and I will continue to let my perfectionist habit to ease while doing un-critical work. I will handle my interactions with my colleagues better too; I will keep it to professional topics while interacting with them; I will not help or listen to those negative people that drain my time and energy. I will keep thinking about how to do this better. Things will get better. This new chapter of my life, leaving things behind, and being excited about a new life experience is exciting!

 

Sunday sourdough

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.Β 

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 πŸ™‚

 

wish for a new chapter in my life

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

 

 

 

it can only get better from here

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 πŸ™‚

Two big jobs that have been on my list for weeks are now done.

Wow.

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.

 

 

a little rant

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..

Excuse me!

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 whatΒ 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.

 

random thoughts

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! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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.Β 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? πŸ™‚Β 

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 πŸ™‚ The other one wants to see me sometime, just to catch up and I could not be happier to do so πŸ™‚

These are the moments that make this job something I thank for.

 

joy journal – Jan 29, 2018

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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:

  • turning off the email while working on important things
  • leaving my “perfectionists attitude” on un-critical tasks
  • saying “no” more oftenΒ 
  • motivating my team more
  • eating better and healthier
  • treating myself with weekly chocolates and little pastries time to time
  • making an effort to work at the office, rather than at home
  • supporting myself during these stressful times and showing compassion
  • making an effort with positive affirmations
  • making an effort to stop resisting the thoughts that annoy me
  • taking the bus or walking, and protesting the cab company
  • making Fridays “eat fish/meat” day – this has been going on for the last three weeks and I noticed that I feel good about this. Whether it is fish or red meat (which I rarely eat) – I am not sure. In all cases I eat a large green salad, which I suspect is helping a lot too
  • believing that I have time, which reduces my stress, even though that usually means working at nights at home
  • understanding myself, my needs, my priorities, and hurdles – particularly my own criticism towards myself and my work
  • realizing that my daily home routine is important and without it I feel over-whelmed, stressed, and somehow absent…. It is important to spend time without thinking about work and making my mind work on rather other things to give it a break

—————————–

Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  • I appreciate myself for making an effort to feel good
  • I appreciate myself for eating better, pampering myself, and caring for myself
  • I appreciate myself for keeping calm and focused today
  • I appreciate myself for changing and improving my quality of life, especially at work
  • I appreciate myself for taking time to write these, which help materialize them

 

Β 

happy sourdough – III

 

IMG_3460Isn’t it beautiful πŸ™‚

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.

Sunday morning musings

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?

“ell no.

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.Β 

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.

joy journal, Jan 27, 2018

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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:

  1. I appreciate myself for keep going and not stopping my routine
  2. I appreciate myself for letting myself to be happy with my family and others
  3. I appreciate myself for pampering myself with chocalate
  4. I appreciate myself walking to the store even though it was a chilly day
  5. I appreciate myself for eating healthy and not needing expensive or luxurious things to eat
  6. I appreciate myself for realizing the progress in me and in my thinking; I learn; I realize; I appreciate; and I move on.

 

 

 

 

joy journal – Jan 26, 2018

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! πŸ™‚

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 ! πŸ™‚

2. I am grateful for taking the bus; good for my pocket, good for environment, good for the community. yay! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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:

  1. I appreciate myself for working – no matter what I keep going
  2. I appreciate myself for getting more confident, knowing that I deserve a much higher level of appreciation
  3. I appreciate myself for keeping my grounds – I will do that increasingly
  4. I appreciate myself for being excited about shopping and the weekend
  5. I appreciate myself for not getting anxious nowadays and feeling relatively better
  6. I appreciate myself for eating fish and salad
  7. I appreciate myself for helping others

joy journal, Jan 25, 2018

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ It is not bad for a person who has got a lower back problem πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

————————————–

Things that I appreciate myself about today:

  1. I appreciate myself for focusing on work and feeling logical and calm
  2. I appreciate myself for making my self-respect a priority
  3. I appreciate myself for not working tonite
  4. I appreciate myself for learningΒ 
  5. I appreciate myself for keeping up with the ever changing priorities and work dynamic
  6. I appreciate myself for being genuinely happy for a colleague of mine who will take a leave to recuperate after a highly exhausting and stressful work conditions – she deserves this. I wish her well.

 

 

joy journal – Jan 24, 2018

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.Β 

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.Β 

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 appreciate myself for trusting life and still standing tall
  2. I appreciate myself for working till late hours – it is counter-intuitive, but when I have too many things to do I appreciate the opportunity to have time to work on them
  3. I appreciate the fact that I have left my perfectionist work attitude behind – things can get only better from here. I am changing. I have changed. I will continue to change

 

joy journal – Jan 23, 2018

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up with relatively mild thoughts in my mind.Β 

2. I am grateful for taking the bus this morning even though it was really cold and windy. Sometimes I love my persistence πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 theΒ morningΒ (despite theΒ 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?

I do.

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 :))))))

Joking.

But it is a possibility, you know πŸ™‚

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate myself for making an effort to feel good by taking small and simple steps
  2. I appreciate myself for bringing carrot to office – they make wonderful food, especially when I have no time to have lunch
  3. I appreciate myself for working…… At least things are moving
  4. I appreciate myself for being calmer and more confident re; finishing work and figuring out things
  5. I appreciate myself for knowing – knowing myself, my feelings, my abilities, my limitations, and my wishes

 

 

 

 

 

 

joy journal – Jan 22, 2018

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!Β 

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ )Β 

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate myself for enjoying this moment; it is quiet, I feel good, and I still have time to enjoy the rest of the night
  2. I appreciate myself for making an effort to turn things around. Even I relapse, I try again. I respect that.
  3. I appreciate myself for increasingly remembering that anything new at work may mean new issues for me; It may feel overwhelming (and it does), but then I may and will find solutions to them. Maybe I will fail too, but is it not how I learn and grow?
  4. I appreciate myself not working right now and feeling optimistic about life and myself
  5. I appreciate myself for changing or gaining different perspectives, and for not resisting to these

 

joy journal – Jan 21, 2018

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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.

For example:

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.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate myself for eating better, drinking kefir, eating fruits, cooking healthy food, and baking my own bread
  2. I appreciate myself for seeing the positive out of the negative, even though it may not be visible at the beginning
  3. I appreciate myself for exercising my right to say “no” the other day and having no negative feelings about it, which says that it was the right thing to do
  4. I appreciate myself for taking time to relax this evening after days of non-stop work
  5. I appreciate myself for getting excited about my plan to shop next Saturday
  6. I appreciate myself for exchanging nice words with someone I know and feeling elated about it
  7. I appreciate myself for working on my issues; I know I am angry deep down. I will find out why and I will release it
  8. I appreciate myself for mentally supporting myself when I feel like things are too much and I cannot handle them
  9. I appreciate myself for being ready for a busy work day tomorrow. I know what I will do and I am confident that I will do wellΒ 

 

 

Sunday morning musings

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 πŸ™‚

Feeling Good Happy Dance GIF by Originals - Find & Share on GIPHY

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it is time to have some plans

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! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Budget and frugal life-style:Β  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.

WHAT??

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?Β 

I chose Monday – wish me luck πŸ™‚

 

 

 

joy journal – Jan 14, 2018

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.Β 

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.Β 

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 πŸ™‚

10. I am grateful for having the day to myself and so far having a more or less pleasant day and feelings.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate myself for caring myself.
  2. I appreciate myself seeing the positives after negative experiences.
  3. I appreciate myself for being open about my current anxiety and stress.
  4. I appreciate myself for constantly trying to do good and feel good.
  5. I appreciate myself for functioning well despite the mental clutter, stress, and feeling anxious.
  6. I appreciate myself for cooking and baking healthy food.
  7. I appreciate myself for surrounding myself items/furniture etc. that are all either useful and needed, or loved and appreciated.
  8. I appreciate the fact that I donate to charity whatever I am done with and in usable condition.
  9. I appreciate myself for not further pressurizing myself with my own expectations.
  10. I appreciate myself for keeping a clean and well organized home that gives me a sense of peace and accomplishment.
  11. I appreciate myself for taking time to reflect upon, identify, and write all of these great things here.

craving for garlic

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.

finding a balance

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.Β 

Life GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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joy journal – Jan 7, 2018

Th first joy journal entry of the year πŸ™‚

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.Β 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 πŸ™‚ I have more than enough bread to keep me going the entire week.

6.Β 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.Β I am grateful for all the food I have at home. I am abundant and well cared for. What a blessing.

8.Β 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.Β I am grateful for being warm and cozy at home.

10.Β 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.Β I am grateful for tomorrow being a work day so that I can focus my mind into new and fresh topics.

12.Β 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.Β 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.Β 

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.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  • I appreciate myself for trying; trying to keep my head above the water and trying to face my feelings
  • I appreciate myself for working, even though that means I work at the weekends and late nights. At least I am functioning and my professional performance is good
  • I appreciate myself for getting tired of working at home, which is productive but also causing some kind of social isolation. Hope to fix this soon
  • I appreciate myself for eating healthy food
  • I appreciate myself for having past experience that helps with identifying issues and their root causes, as well as mechanisms to deal with them

how blogging changes your life

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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚ 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.

 

Here is to a new year in our lives

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.

 

somethings do not change, others just do

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,Β  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 alongΒ  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 πŸ™‚

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.Β 

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.Β 

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!

 

Happy new year to who?

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.Β 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.Β Live it to the end and live it to the fullest!

Excited Happy New Year GIF by Hazelnut Blvd - Find & Share on GIPHY

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decluttering home and emotional health

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.Β 

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 πŸ™‚ My wardrobe looks slim now and contains only those that I like or am interested in πŸ™‚ Feeling fresh and joyful looking at it πŸ™‚ ThereΒ  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.Β 

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.

do something good today and tomorrow and the days after that

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.

Goodness GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

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year end finances – 2018

Today is the end of my fiscal year. Time to see where I spent my money and how I saved it.

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EXPENSES

Weekly regular/daily expenses (allowance for eligible expenses=$120/week)

  • grocery: $2,796
  • eating out (alone): $166
  • cab: $1,018 (ouch!)
  • junk/unnecessary expenses: $1,621 (ouch!)

when compared to last year, all of these expenses, except eating out, have increased significantly.

Other expenses

  • Expenses related to cleaning and other household and personal care products: $1,494
  • Clothes: $620
  • Socialization-hosting-clothes-health-care-hair cut/dye-gifts-donations-hobbies=$5,268 (around $1,800 is hosting/socials-related expenses)

it looks like this year my social-life related expenses have increased compared to last year.

  • Europe vacation: $1,500

My total expenses not including mortgage, bills, bus fare, house tax,Β  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:

  • TFSA+RRSP+HBP (home buyer’s plan payment)=$19,000.Β  I feel good about these πŸ™‚

Fun funds

  • fun funds (aka remaining funds from weekly allowance): $639
  • fun funds expenses: $270 (anything I wish as extra was an eligible expense)
  • remaining fun funds: $369 (yay! πŸ™‚ )

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.Β 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.

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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.Β 

I cannot wait πŸ™‚

Retirement GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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1st day of the holidays

It turns out today was a paid holiday for me πŸ™‚ Can I be more uninterested in my employee rights? πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚Β 

Excellent start for holidays πŸ™‚

likes and dislikes

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.Β 

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.

For example;

  • I dislike doing others’ works
  • I dislike pressuring emails or words
  • I dislike not being appreciated
  • I dislike people not knocking my door before waltzing in my office
  • I dislike people not doing their parts and leaving me on the limbo or with more work
  • I dislike the sacrifices from my time and energy and work I feel like I must do to protect my team members and to move our projects

I must change.

  • I like shopping
  • I like planning for shopping
  • I like saving money from sales or use of loyalty points
  • I like trying new hobbies, such as jamming, pickling, and bread making
  • I like thrift store visits and hunts
  • I like being abundant and able
  • I like walking and feeling energized
  • I like reflecting and progressing
  • I like being in a clean and decluttered environment
  • I like supporting people in need
  • I like looking at my fridge and pantry and realizing how much I have
  • I like reading a decent book
  • I like watching a nice movie
  • I like being excited about daily and little things; whether it is walking, taking the bus, or being resourceful

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.

 

 

 

clementine preserve

Yours truly tried yet another food preservation attempt, this time using whole clementines.

The recipe is inspired from a recipe of my mom.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 clementine
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3.5 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt

 

recipe

  • wash the clementines and remove the stalk at the bottom
  • insert knife in 8-10 places throughout the clementines
  • add sugar and water, mix, and wait for 50 min
  • put on the stove and cook at medium heat for 70 min

Β  Β  Β  *at this point clementines should be softened and if you press lightly they should feel plump

  • add the salt and lemon juice and boil for another 30 min
  • pour in sterilized jars, close the lids, and rings. Makes 1 x 750 ml preserve
  • water or pressure can if you wish. I do not do either of this. So they will be kept at the fridge and consumed within weeks

Bon appetite! πŸ™‚

three days till Friday and holidays

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚Β 

I plan to finish cleaning and declutter my office on Friday, my traditional activity right before the holidays. What a beautiful plan πŸ™‚ 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 and weekly sourdough bread

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:

  • peel the coating and cut in pieces (mine were around 1-5 cm width and 7 cm length)
  • add 2 cups of sugar, mix
  • add 1.5 tsp salt and 6 cups of water
  • bring to a rolling boil and simmer at medium heat for 40 min
  • add 1.5 tbs lemon juice and boil for another 5 min
  • take the squash bits on an oven pot, add 2 cups of the liquid*, sprinkle with chopped nuts (I have used hazelnut) (optional)
  • bake at 350F pre-heated oven for 20 min**
  • enjoy! (top with a scoop of ice cream if you wish and tell me this was not a good idea πŸ™‚ )

*I have had around 1 liters of the liquid, which is yummy. Drink it as it is, or use less waterΒ 

**You can bake longer to thicken the liquid

Sourdough

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 πŸ™‚

good neighbours

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.Β 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! πŸ™‚

snowy and windy night

We have got our first snow storm – yay us! πŸ™‚Β 

De Blasio Snow GIF by JaegerSloan - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Getting On Hbo GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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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.

Hmmm.

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.Β 

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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.

Crowd GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

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radish pickle with jalapenos and mis-fortune of a strawberry marmalade trial

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!!! πŸ™‚

Radish pickle

  • 600 gr radish; washed and diced as thinly as possible
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, washed, and diced with the seeds
  • 5 garlic, grated
  • 1tbs+1tsp sugar
  • 1tbs+1tsp salt
  • 1 cup vinegar and 3 cups water-boiled

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 πŸ™‚

 

Frozen strawberry marmalade

  • 1.5 kg of frozen strawberry
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of 1.5 lemon (9 tbs)

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! πŸ™‚

 

 

Saturday morning musings

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 πŸ™‚

Saturday GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

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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.

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Now it is time for me to start cleaning the home and hopefully start the pickling and jamming πŸ™‚ I will be trying strawberry marmalade today from frozen fruits and I cannot wait to see how it will turn out πŸ™‚

Happy Friends GIF by Fran Solo - Find & Share on GIPHY

What else to expect from this snow day?

Have a great Saturday everyone! πŸ™‚

Snow Day Winter GIF by Disney - Find & Share on GIPHY

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life priorities

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? πŸ™‚ ). 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.

Stressed Big Bang Theory GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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! πŸ™‚

Joking.

I forgave myself for changing priorities and not sticking up with the most important one.

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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.Β 

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.

Someone GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

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joy journal – Dec 14, 2017

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 πŸ™‚

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.Β I am grateful for going thru the meetings without losing my cool and already thinned nerves.

3.Β I am grateful for shopping this evening and purchasing frozen berries πŸ™‚ 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.Β 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 πŸ™‚

5.Β I am grateful for tomorrow being Friday! Three more meetings to go through and then the weekend will be here πŸ™‚ I plan to slow down next weekend, only finish the ends and bits and welcome the free time after that.

6.Β 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.Β I am grateful for all the socks and clothes that keep my body warm and sound during the cold temperatures.

9.Β 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.Β I am grateful for having the night to myself – no distraction and all peace πŸ™‚

13.Β 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 πŸ™‚ It is one of these little things in life that makes me joyful and excited πŸ™‚

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.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate the fact that I am generous with my team members and friends
  2. I appreciate the fact that I decided to prioritize my financial needs this year
  3. I appreciate the fact that I have become more self-sustaining with my new canning interest
  4. I appreciate the fact that I walked today twice
  5. I appreciate the fact that I keep my sanity despite what have happened at the work-place lately; re; pressure of keeping our positions, increasing our work load, and demoralizing atmosphere
  6. I appreciate the fact that I decided to undertake less of others’ work in the coming years and prioritize my own time for my own work

 

 

 

9 days to holidays and reflections on finances

Counting down the days till holidays πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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.Β Last year has been a great teacher for me in terms of finances and my own attitude.Β 

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.Β 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.Β 

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).Β 

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 –

 

towards the end of year financial calculations

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.Β 

I could not wait and did some preliminary calculations. I have room for improvement and also room for enjoyment.Β 

Overall, I spent more than I budgeted for for unnecessary items (like junk food).Β 

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

 

 

random thoughts

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 πŸ™‚

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.Β 

sourdough loaf with oats and black olives

Here is a fantastic sourdough with a hint of trolled oats and black olives πŸ™‚

This loaf was my first trial of a rectangular shape πŸ™‚ 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:

  • 1 1/3 cup 100% whole wheat starter (fed Friday night and then on Saturday morning prior to saving half in the fridge; used to make the dough in the afternoon)
  • 2 cups water; mixed the starter and water well with the help of a fork until it became kind of frothy
  • 2.5 tbs sugar; mixed well into the starter/water mix
  • 4.5 cups of bread flour, 1.5 tbs salt, and 200 grms of pitted black olive-halved: (approximately 1.5 cups). Formed a shaggy dough, closed the lid, kneaded every 30 min or so three times until dough looked like forming. At the end of folding stage dough was too sticky (must be the olives’ juice), so I added 1/3 cup of rolled oats to help with the moisture
  • let rest at room temperature over might
  • since it was a kind of sticky dough, I decided to place it in a large rectangular oven pot lined with parchment paper
  • sprinkled top with more oats, placed in a nylon bag, tied the ends, and proved for 4.5 hours at room temperature
  • baked in non-pre-heated oven at 350 F for one hour

holidays wish list

I am getting excited about the prospect of having some time off and shopping during the last week of the month πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

8. Thrift store visits. I love these adventures πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ Who knows, maybe I will also find other items that I need or cherish.Β 

What a wonderful list πŸ™‚

 

Saturday noon musings

The beautiful day of Saturday has arrived πŸ™‚

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.

Beach GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

Practice GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Walking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Happy Animation GIF by Chris Timmons - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

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#5 topic for reflection during holidays

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. IΒ  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.

#4 topic for reflection during holidays

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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) πŸ™‚

Goodness knows, maybe I will even go out to musicals or concerts πŸ™‚

#3 topic for reflection during holidays

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.Β 

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.

 

#2 topic for reflection during holidays

I kind of started doing my traditional holiday reflections today; I am early this year πŸ™‚

Anyways.

#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.Β 

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 remainingΒ 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?Β 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.

#1 topic for reflection during holidays

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.

Period.

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

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Excited Duck GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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