multi-purposed items are very useful :)

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

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

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

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

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I cannot wait! πŸ™‚

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

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I am lucky…

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

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

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

Today I saw one with four leaves!

It was huge πŸ™‚Β 

I was amazed and deeply amused.

Am I lucky or what? πŸ™‚

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graceful acceptance of failure and mistakes

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

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

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

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

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

transitioning to gray – 6.5th week after first treatment

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

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

My hair grew like an inch.

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

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

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

More is better!!

Argh.

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

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

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

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

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

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joy journal – September 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

where is my resilience?

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

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

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

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What is it gonna be?

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joy journal – September 11 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Added after the post:

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

Here is today’s list:

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

 

 

 

 

 

a proud moment

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

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

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

what would I do when I retire?

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

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

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

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

What else?

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

What else?

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

What would I do really??

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

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

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

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

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

Do I want too much?

 

 

joy journal – September 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday morning musings

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing everyone a safe and joyful Sunday! πŸ™‚

 

random thoughts

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

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

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

πŸ™‚

 

 

short-term memory problems

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

what a wonderful trip I have had to Rome :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Viva Italia! πŸ™‚

 

dreaded chores

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

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

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

Now, I am free.

Wednesday morning musings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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pretending

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

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

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

We will see how it goes.

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leaving everything behind soon

They say anticipation is more exciting than attaining something.

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

I will be free.

Something marvelous at last πŸ™‚

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today’s sourdough was a failure

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could you not just bring Mulder back??…

What a mess you producers have done.

Truth about sourdough

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Saturday morning musings

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

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

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

The following certainly does not apply to me πŸ™‚

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I think three things influenced this change:

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

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

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

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

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

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sometimes the time just flies

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

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

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Why do I like thrift stores that much?

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

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

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

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

 

Here is the list:

Frugal activities:

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

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

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

Waste-free life:

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

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

Simple/self-sustaining life:

1. I baked my own bread.

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

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

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

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

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

Decluttering and minimalist activities:

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

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

slowly slowing down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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I want to go back to my regular self

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

It is not good to eat junk.

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

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

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

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

I really do.

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

when spending feels alright

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

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

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

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

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

If only I could have such a day….

 

Sunday is the day of sourdough

Here is my sourdough loaf for today πŸ™‚

on life, death, and nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Sunday morning musings

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

Somethings can help:

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and

 

 

Go lose yourself πŸ™‚

 

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On The X-Files and love

Let me tell you something about the X-Files.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love should be spontaneous. Un-calculated.

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

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back to my routine

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

This feels good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Routine is good my friends.

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Life has shown goodness to me nowadays

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know that well now.

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your body let you know when you need to slow down

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

Where am I going like this?

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

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

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

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

Action item 4: Get out of the house.

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

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

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

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

Action item 9: Cuddle with a nice book.

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

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random thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My potatoes potated! Yes, they have!

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

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a relief after all

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

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

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

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

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

C’est la vie?

hardship teaches good lessons

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

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

Today I realized that:

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

joy journal – August 14, 2017

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

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

2. I am grateful for not resigning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14. I am grateful for trying.

15. I am grateful for having loved ones.

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

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

Saturday morning musings

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

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

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

So I repeat this sentence since yesterday:

“Everything will be great”

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

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

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joy journal – August 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

let me end this unfrugal spending scheme

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

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

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

The only purchases acceptable are:

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

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

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planning retirement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

what the day brings, you take it – II

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

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

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

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

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

I today believe in this.

 

The curious case of…… my life’s purpose

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

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

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

What are they?

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

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

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

What an interesting question.

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

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

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

 

 

 

why do we need to feel good?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the solution?

Keep going?

or

Forget these or forgive ourselves?Β 

 

is there something called being desensitized to adversity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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how you get assertive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need no this or other shit.

resurrected sourdough starter

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

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

I could not ask for a better one πŸ™‚

IMG_1846

start of the “work staycation”

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

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

My plans are as follows for the next 9 days:

Work:

3 documents to develop and/or finalize

2 speeches to finalize

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

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Personal life and home:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a great Friday night everyone!

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weekly budget check

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy and fun to do!

Bon appetite!

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what the days bring, you take it

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

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

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

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

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

Carbs too.

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

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

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

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

The situation, my friends, is that dire.

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bread with sun flower seeds

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

 

 

Recipe:

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

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

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

rest at fridge over night

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

shape the dough and rest 5 min

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

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

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

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

Bon appetite!

 

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

random thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

That sucks.

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

Starter GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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

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

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my new hair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My hair after today’s treatment:

IMG_1645

And this was a day agoIMG_1600Β 

 

 

life is unexpectedly good sometimes

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

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

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

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gray hair saga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the sixth day of “work” staycation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The fifth day of the “work” staycation

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

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

I decided to take some more time in August.Β 

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resourcefulness and reducing waste

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Sunday morning musings

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

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

There are things that I realize after the recent ordeal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

I believe it is gonna be a fantastic day!

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Have a great Sunday everyone πŸ™‚

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The third day of the “work” staycation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Am I funny or what?

πŸ™‚

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Making fun of myself always feels great πŸ™‚

Have a great Saturday everyone!

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The second day of the β€œwork” staycation

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know all of these.Β 

Now it is time to believe in them.

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The first day of the “work” staycation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want to feel these.

I want to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These experiences reminded me two things:

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

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

Important questions for me to deal with…

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thrifting becoming a second nature

That is right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life is good my friends πŸ™‚

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Day of the sourdough

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

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

Mediterranean loaf:

 

Plain loaf:

 

 

I may not be perfect, but I am damn good

Why am I so proud of myself now?

Because I worked like 5 hours carrying, pulling, pushing stuff around; re-arranging, arranging, and re-arranging again; sweating, feeling depressed, a failure, and then a genius; and finally there it is; a new living room/dining room with a proper dining table/chair arrangement, rugs freely presenting themselves, andΒ book cases and CD racks finely standing tall. The only thing is that I need to get rid of my recliner, which is an old, heavy thing that does not fit anywhere and crumbling my seating area.

Since I took my dining table from kitchen to dining area and placed my little desk in the kitchen, my kitchen looks quite big now. As a matter of fact the entire living room/dining area looks larger and wider. I have bulky couches – maybe they should be replaced with slimmer ones so that I can have a much spacious 1st floor.

Now; what I want to do is to get new decorative artwork and make my walls smile and talk.Β 

I cannot wait to host at my house πŸ™‚

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Sunday morning musings

Another lovely summer morning – hope everyone is gonna have a great day!

I am enjoying my coffee and the bright day outside. Already walked in the yard to see how the plants/seeds were doing. Some of the seeds germinated alright and my potato and onion plants are growing. It seems like a spider formed his net where my potato plants are. Yesterday there was no such thing. Nature is an amazing thing. Perhaps I should start studying zoology πŸ™‚ The yeast and lacto bacilli bacteria in the sourdough starter, yeast and all bunch of bacteria in kefir, and all the lives in the yard….. I have a little piece of nature here πŸ™‚

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My plans for today is to start re-arrange the furniture in the living room, while also decluttering that area. This is gonna take a number of days as the arrangement in my mind is something new and I do not even know that in reality it will work. So I will take it easy and will come up with alternative plans if needed. But I am determined to change the current face of the room. The items that I bought yesterday from the thrift store are making this room look quite better already. I am so excited about this πŸ™‚ One of the best times of my weekend time spent πŸ™‚

I also am trying a vegetable sourdough today. It smells gorgeous but not sure how I would like it in a bread. We all will see this this afternoon.

And in the evening, of course I will keep watching the X-files! Friends; when I was young I knew about this show but was never mesmerized by it. Now, I am hooked! I started from season 1. Mulder and Scully are so young, so different from each other, but also so sweet and innocent. These actors should have had lots of fun and development during this series.

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When I retire (!), one of the plans I should have is to have a fan review of these and other series and characters (like Game of Thrones). So mesmerizing is this thing between Scully and Mulder, and Brienne and Jaime. Damn!

 

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And, I have reached 1,000 followers today… I never thought that I would have such a large number of bloggers finding something in my blog. What a significant milestone. Thank you each one of you….

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When I started this blog in Nov 2014, I did not know what I wanted to do with it. But I had things to say and boy, did I say them. This is one of the 1225 posts that exist in more than 15 different categories.

Notable categories include:

baking bread: which has been an intense interest since May 2016. I failed quite a bit but after a year or so now I have generally nice quality of loaves. Every weekend is an excitement because every weekend is an opportunity to try a new recipe, a new sourdough loaf. Could not ask for a more exciting hobby.

joy Journal: where I write the things that I am grateful for. The most healing experience that I have had for years. There is something exciting and surprising about finding the so called little things and experiences that fill your heart with joy, excitement, and happiness πŸ™‚

Conscious spending: is where I documented my financial hardship, plans, failures, and achievements. It has been 2 years now that I have a budget that ever evolves and bring me not only savings, but also gratitude and joy.

Random thoughts: is where I write about no particular theme, but whatever comes to my mind, often unrelated things and events. It is one of my busiest categories of mine. Truly loved.

Kate’s short story, poems, The life in the diary, Sasha’s story, fiction bits: are my literary trials. I started this blog mostly focused on these, especially Kate’s short story and poems. i am not a professional, but i love writing free style and putting those words that come to my mind without much of a revision. Every once a while something, a sentence, a paragraph, a poem comes along that surprise me. These are precious…

Sunday morning musings: is a new one that I started lately to write solely on the joy, relaxation, and beauty of this wonderful weekend time. It is the most optimistic of all my writings and I really love this. So for so great πŸ™‚

Now I am gonna go there and start my day. But, first let me get another cup of coffee.

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Have a great Sunday everyone!

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a good day today

It has been a fine day πŸ™‚

I got up early and that is why I did quite a bit today. For example, I deep cleaned the upstairs and I am now ready to clean downstairs and re-arrange the furniture. It is gonna be tough, but the end product will be awesome. I am hopeful πŸ™‚ Β And excited πŸ™‚

Anyways.. Most importantly, I have taken the clothes I sorted out while decluttering to a donation centre/thrift store. In turn, I grabbed a lovely mirror, two empty frames, and a great ancient Egyptian figurine. Friends, you would not believe how great I am feeling about all of these! All loved. All looking great. All excite me.

I have painted one of the empty frames. I want to frame a piece I have bought in Athens a couple of years ago. I always thought that I would have a green wood frame for it. I did not have it, so I painted one πŸ™‚ Now, I have it πŸ™‚

I display the dried flowers (those that were sent to me by my work place when my dad died, which I had dried) in the second empty frame. I used to have them in two small frames with white background. But this frame is large enough to have all of them inside. And it has a black background which beautifully contrasts the flowers. It looks so great. It looks so great… As my dad would have deserved. May he rest in peace.

I think this has been a day that I really found awesome pieces by luck. I think it is true what they say that you gotta keep checking them. Many days one may not find exciting stuff, but someday, you get what you ask for πŸ™‚ Β Like Hugh dancing like noone is watching. See, what I say?

πŸ™‚

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PS: this movie was really great πŸ™‚

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benefits of decluttering

…are a lot.

I started doing my bedroom and master bathroom. I already found a nice facial mask, wash cloths, nail polish, other make up materials that I was looking for, and many blouses and t-shirts that I either did not like at all or did not remember that I have had.

So as you can guess, a number of things will be gone soon, either donated or cut down to be used as cleaning cloths. A number of things will find their use too. Hello nail polish! It has been sometime that we saw each other. Now, remind me how it felt to have nice, decorated, and good looking nails. Right? πŸ™‚

hmmm. I have started and I am feeling good. Decluttering always feels good. I wonder what other treasures and trash I will find during the entire process πŸ™‚ I will keep you posted!

random thoughts

We have a summer alright… A nice warm summer with heat and clear, blue sky. Like I have never seen here kind of sky. What a blessing we have had this year! I am grateful πŸ™‚

The week has ended and I feel like time is flying and that is why I am not feeling overly enthusiastic. I have had a look at the important things I must do in three months: three projects to be written and submitted; one report to be finalized and submitted; two business trips to Europe; a short vacation in Europe; a new team member to hire among many others. And I am thinking about taking some days off to work comfortably at home or at the office, while also relaxing somehow, cleaning and decluttering my home, and having some free time to contemplate. How are all these gonna happen? I am feeling stressed rather than joyful, and that is not right.

Thankfully it is true that if I am not distracted and have no meeting during the day, usually I do generate a great amount of work. Like today. This pleases me a lot and gives me hope. I can do all of these if I can be smart enough to keep the distraction by others to minimum. Yep.

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I have had a nice sleep yesterday and as a result in the morning I woke up feeling positive. I wanted to wear something different and eventually tried a white cotton shirt that I had bought years ago. I was surprised when I looked at the mirror that it actually looked pretty good on me and I was lucky to have it! Considering that I was contemplating about donating it soon, this is quite a surprise, do you not think? I wonder what other treasures I will find while going through my stuff during the decluttering activity and what items I will dump/get rid of? I really cannot wait to start this tomorrow πŸ™‚

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My grey roots are showing and seeing them like 50 times a day annoys me big time. I am feeling like I am getting close to visiting a hair saloon and starting the process of grey hair.

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I am conflicted because I want to visit a number of people in a couple of months and I wonder how they will react to me transitioning to grey hair. Perhaps I should leave it to after that time? I really do not know. I think everybody would be okay with me being happy with my new hair.

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I am assuming I will be happy with it, by the way.. Is this a big assumption? Perhaps I should really let this annoyance of grey roots sink so that I can be happy when I no longer have that issue with even a larger patch of gray showing on my head… Who knows?

I was not sarcastic here… No, really.

Anyways…

Talk to you next time πŸ™‚

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taking some vacation time next week on

I jut learnt that I cannot carry my annual vacation time to next year. So I decided life was too short and I could make excellent use of my paid vacation time.

You may think I will be going away, but this is not the case. I plan to spend time, thankfully free time, at work and home.

Let me tell you my exciting plans:

Work:Β  One may say that I am taking time off to finish work and that would be the truth. My expectation is that I will be free to work on my own work without any meetings or commitments to my team members or the committees I work in. I may work at home or in the office – does not matter. I am so looking forward to this and finishing up important tasks that are good for my own success.

Home: I have exciting plans. Let’s see…. I have started decluttering my wardrobe and I would love this to be extended to the whole house. This is very exciting!

I would like to get decluttered items either donated or chopped down to be used as cleaning cloths.

I want to deep clean the house – the last time I could do it was the holiday season.

I also would love to re-arrange my furniture on the living room/dining room. This will take me some time to do but i am very excited about this. Finally it will look like a welcoming house.

I want to buy a new dining table and chairs set, but not sure whether I can find something that I can afford. We will see how that goes.

I want to visit the thrift stores during the weekdays (somebody suggested that there may be new items right after the weekend when people usually drop their donations) and build my new wardrobe. I grew so tired of my current wardrobe πŸ™‚

And I will binge-watch the X-files! πŸ™‚

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Summer heat

You know, being a Canadian is a unique experience;

“eh”,Β  “poutine”, “Canadian beer”, “Tims/timbits”, “Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)”,Β “Canadian kindness”, “universal healthcare”, “sorry – not sorry”, “snow/winter” and many more πŸ™‚Β 

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The most important one, however, is that you may be bothered with heat and sun.

That is right! Β πŸ™‚

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Yesterday was 22 C and I walked to a shopping mall at noon. I believe I have had sun stroke and had to take a long cool shower to cool my body and reduce my heart rate. The same thing today – it was 27 C, sunny, and hot, and here I am trying to cool my body..

Boy, no hesitation here.Β 

I am Canadian and I am loving it.

 

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Sunday morning musings

It is Sunday! Hope every one of you will have a lovely and relaxing Sunday πŸ™‚

We have had a great day yesterday. Two friends of mine, a couple, have just moved in my neighbourhood yesterday. We met in the morning, went to their house, moved their boxes and furniture, and them brought back to their new house. We were around 7-8 people and I cannot believe how smoothly and easy it all went! We had a lot of laughs and excellent meals too. Even though it rained whole day I guess nobody could ask for a better moving day.

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It is great that we can have friends to help us move, friends. I guess it makes it not only an affordable thing, but also memorable and personal with all the interactions, laughter, and efforts done together. Well done πŸ™‚

Now somebody give me a hug because my body is aching from all the carrying and lifting boxes and stuff ! πŸ™‚Β 

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Have a great Sunday everyone!


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weekly budget check

It is a great day my friends; I made a lump sum payment today that I have been saving money for since the new year! I am so happy that I could make it, that I could save money, and that I did not need to use the line of credit to pay it off. I am quite proud of myself! πŸ™‚

This means my chequing account is back to a level that I must keep an eye on and make sure that it increases every time I get my pay cheque. My plan is to keep going like this till December and then make a lump sum pre-payment to mortgage. I am hoping this will be around 4K or something. It is such a pleasure and joy to be able to have such an effective budget, reduced spending, great savings, and ability to feel abundant and not poor(!). I am so happy with these right now.

As per my weekly budget check; in short I have had regular expenses (such as for grocery), bought two blouses from the thrift store, and purchased some medications within the last week, but my expenses were still within my limits and all work out really well.

I have $1,320 accumulated in my fun funds, which I plan to use for a short vacation sometime in October (yay!).

During summer months my salary increases because I guess the CPP payments are done till then and that means there are more money left in my pay cheque. This is a pretty nice sum for me, which always excite me. Together with that extra money, my aim is to save at least $650 from my biweekly salary till December. This money is what I want to use primarily for my pre-payment in December.

This being said, I put a pre-payment order today for next week in the amount of $350. I saved this money in the last 4 weeks by lucky encounters (such as expenses at socials that I did not have to pay for others), having breakfast at home rather than at a cafe, savings from discounts etc. This is the highest amount (other than my tax return) that I put in as a pre-payment this year – this excites me πŸ™‚

I am excited. I am happy. I am proud. I have a budget that works wonders for me, financial aims that excite me and I keep working towards, a simple life-style that makes me happy, relaxed, and abundant, and a great job that pays me good enough so that I can do all the savings, necessary expenses, mortgage payments, and investments for my future.

I Β am very grateful.

πŸ™‚

time to embrace my grey hair?

I have started to have grey hair quite young (in my late 20s, early 30s). Since I started this current job almost 9 years ago, it has been getting worse. I believe more than 50% of my hair is now grey. I have been dyeing my hair regularly in the last 9 years and I can say that I forgot the real shade of my hair. More than that, lately I started to need dyeing my hair every two to three weeks. Boy, who has got time for this. Also and more alarmingly, what the heck is happening – why needing so soon??Β 

I have been meaning to stop dyeing my hair for quite sometime, but it was my mom and sister who convinced me otherwise. They think I am too young to have grey hair and I agree, but the current situation states otherwise. I am one of these people who have prematurely grey hair I think it is time that I embrace it.

I hate seeing my hair half dyed half natural, so I will go to a hair dresser, a good one who is not afraid to cut it short!! (see a previous rant), show her or him some pictures as inspiration, and will get a dark grey colour with light highlights so that my grey hair can blend in well.

I have one last bottle of hair dye of the current shade that I plan to apply in the coming weeks. After a few weeks after that, the time of the grey hair will start. Let’s hope I can find a great hair dresser, can wear the grey hair well, and my clothes are compatible with it.

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an open letter to hair dressers

Dear hair dressers,

I have great respect for your profession and I admire your stamina; standing there whole day and working without a margin of error cannot be easy. But, please cut the hair short if your customers ask it to be so. We would appreciate it when you understand what we want and do your best to deliver it. It is not cool that you argue against things that we ask, especially if it is a short one that we want. There must be a way; come on.

Rant over.

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Tuesday already..

It is Tuesday already….The long weekends make the week quite short. A three day long weekend and a shorter week following it. What do you say? Double win! :))))

We have a great day today, which is supposed to chill down tomorrow. My windows are open. There is something nice about walking through the front of the windows and feeling the cool fresh air on your skin. All these things that I am grateful for during Summer πŸ™‚ Add this list the ice cream and imagine how happy I can be πŸ™‚

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I have some serious work to do within the next 3 months. This means I gotta organize myself well and use my time like a tiger. I must focus on this…. Doing what matters most. It is a challenge for me to do select things rather than everything in my list, but we all will see how this will go. Who knows? maybe I will do this πŸ™‚

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In our interactions with a unit in my organization, we have been having some mis-communications and rejections only because of mis-understanding and lack of standards/clarity. I volunteered to work in that unit/committee with the hope of improving things and also my own understanding. I fear that they will not approve it, but if they do, then this will be awesome. You know I applied for a job last week with mixed feelings, and I wanted to note what I really like about my current job: this freedom to decide myself to undertake new things, and ability to learn new stuff is what make this job really unique and beneficial for my own development. Totally awesome! There is not any other job that can provide me with such a Β great mental stimulation. It will be hard to leave this job.

Good to know! πŸ™‚

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end of long weekend and thoughts on thrifting

The 3rd and the last day of the long weekend. It was so welcome and so refreshing – I am grateful for this long weekend.

Notable activities include the trips to the thrift stores and getting two blouses, a little and lovely decorative porcelain shoe, and some sewing thread πŸ™‚ needless to say, they are all loved and the prices are incredibly good.

This being said, at one of the trips I have noticed the fiancee of a colleague of mine at another cashier. I did not know what to do first. I thought “this is what I always wondered – how would I take it to be known that I shop at thrift stores? I tried to convince myself that shopping at thrift stores is not only good for me, but for the thrift stores/charities, people work there, people benefiting from the charities, and the environment. Yet, I could not manage to not feel “cheap” and thus I left the cashier after 2-3 minutes and went around the store again to give this individual time to pay and leave the store so that the chances of them seeing me and them spreading the word to my colleagues first and then to others would reduce. I hope I could achieve this…

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It turns out interestingly that I am ashamed with shopping or being seen at thrift stores. That is very strange. It is also strange that I found shopping at thrift stores synonymous with “being cheap”. I should stop doing that, but….I cannot help it 😦

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I read in a blog yesterday that the lady explained using thrift stores and purchasing second hand items actually quite similar to staying at hotels and using their bed sheets, coffee mugs, and anything else they do offer you. Goodness know what happened in those hotel rooms and around those items…… That was the best explanation of why the second hand clothing or items are not worse than many other things we do at life. I even told my best friend about this and she too agreed.Β 

My best friend and I agree on a number of things; she like myself would not buy pants/shorts/pajamas, undies/socks/foot wear/shoes and anything else that might have a risk of risking hygiene. But we both are okay with shirts/jackets/blouses, purses, kitchen items, books, sewing notions, fabric, stationary items, and decorative stuff that can be cleaned/sterilized pretty easily.Β 

For me visits to thrift stores is a nice and exciting activity during the weekends. I happen to love old stuff and I like saving money – so it is a win-win situation. I read some inspiring blogs that find really unique and valuable items, like metallic vases and items, which I would like too. I wish I had discovered thrifting long time ago, but there is always a start πŸ™‚ I know I need to work on this feeling of “being cheap” by being there and shopping there. Maybe I will never get over it, maybe I will over time – who knows? – but I am not giving up on this exciting activity yet.

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sourdough loaf with black olive, parsley, and kefir

I wanted to bake a sourdough that was not tried before and I think I managed to do so.

I present you the sourdough loaf with kefir, parsley, and black olive πŸ™‚

Smells like sea! Enjoy!

 

 

looking forward to the long weekend

It is Canada day tomorrow and we have the long weekend with Monday off.

I may be working on Monday but I am so excited for this long weekend! I just feel tired and too strained lately, and I am looking forward to winding down a little bit. This weekend will give me this opportunity πŸ™‚

What are my plans?

Other than the regular stuff (i.e. cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cutting the grass – which I have done this afternoon), I plan to bake an unconventional type of sourdough this week. What could that be? Something that has not been done before…. I do not know really – I will have to really get creative here, or bake a regular sourdough – in any way it will be awesome πŸ™‚

I would like to visit the thrift stores tomorrow and see whether i can find something interesting. I may buy some sewing material.

Sewing… Yes… Why do I not try sewing a blouse again? I have tons of fabric that I hauled last year from thrift stores πŸ™‚ What a great idea – I hope I will not chicken again and do it!

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I may also visit a nearby international food store and get some dry beans and bulghur – these could be excellent choices to prepare office lunch for me. Good idea! πŸ™‚

I also would like to start drying some lilacs from my yard. Β I have incredible lilacs that I have been thinking about drying up for some time. I think it is the time…. Once they dry up, I want to hang them on my wall in a frame. The beauty of the flowers and plants in my yard…. How nice is the nature? I have daisies blooming up. They are all so exciting πŸ™‚

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And other than this, I will look ahead my life, and plan and hope for the best. It is time that things change for the better. Now that I appreciate my life, how simple and easy going it is, and how well it works for me, including my budget, increased savings, and investments. There is a lot to be grateful for in my life. This weekend will give me an opportunity to re-think about them and re-feel my appreciation.

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making a job application tonite

I am making a job application tonite and I am pretty shaken up about it; I feel like they will make me a great offer and another highly toxic thing will happen at my current work place, and therefore, I will take the offer.

For some reason this does not make me happy, even though such a thing would make my leave highly justifiable and me a highly fortunate person.

I do not understand my dilemma. Do I want to go? Do I not want to go? What is it that keeps me from understanding it?

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I know that I am looking for reasons to make my mind to leave here. This afternoon I have had such a thing occurred at the workplace. I was like “okay, that is it. I do not have to take this sh.t anymore”. But an hour later it was fixed and actually I could see it was not a big deal at all.Β I think I want to make my mind and I want to leave here.Β I think that is why I keep looking for things that can annoy me and make me realize what I do not want about here.

Yet, I also feel incredibly responsible towards my team members and cannot think about leaving them behind. This is huge for me – can I be that selfish and leave them here for a job somewhere else? Can I transfer them to other groups here so that they can still have their jobs secured? Even so, will they want to be parts of these new groups? Do I have the right to do these to them?

If you ask me no, I do not have this right. But when it is actually right to do this – if I cannot be a happy boss, can I be a good boss anyhow? Could they make better at new teams? Maybe I am just exaggerating and in reality things would work out just fine. Really…

Maybe all I must do is to care less about all of these now, go through it as it develops, and make a sound decision if it comes to it. I can even talk to my team members before I make any decision and get their opinion – if they are genuinely okay with it, who knows, maybe I can take the job with a clear conscience.

But before any of these, they must offer me the job and they must offer me a job with much better conditions, salary, and benefits than my current one. I am thinking if the salary is at least 30% more, benefits are more extensive, pension is more generous and transferable from here to there without extra payments, there is at least five weeks/year paid annual leave, flexible schedule, and of course a standing desk at the office :))) I want too much – I know πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Β Am I spoiled or have lost track of reality, or what?

In reality:Β I love this unnecessary but interesting mental judo. It helps me understand my needs and wishes related to my life and career.

Now, I must go and make this application.

Β Wish me luck friends! πŸ™‚

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random thoughts

It is a true summer day; bright, blue, and warm πŸ™‚

I have had a good work at the office but left early in the afternoon as I was trying to find a solution to an idea. I must apply for new projects to get interest in them and then lead them to completion. I am traditionally good about this, but the two ideas that I was brewing lately seem to be done by others, which necessitates me to find new ideas.

Finding new ideas is not the problem, but finding an idea that others will find interesting is. I realize that this is bothering me more than before and I feel at that point again where I just want to quit this line of work and do something that is more interesting, challenging, and awarding. Where I can feel great about my performance, abilities, and work. Enough is enough, is that not?

I am making an application this week. If it comes through I will be interested in making the interview and learning about myself (Will I really want this job? Will I really be willing to leave my job and life here?) and this job. I believe I can do it really well, but the question is whether or not there will be others who can make it better than me, or whether or not the human resources personnel or whoever is going to screen the applications will find me good enough for this position. All these possibilities make me feel fuzzy, but I will go ahead and make this application anyhow because I want to. Also because I can.

πŸ™‚

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My appetite is quite big nowadays, especially today. All I want to do is to eat, especially ice cream. I also want to eat pasta but goodness, if I eat it I sure will gain a pound or two (mostly water retention of course, but…). I think I crave for carbs to feel good…

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One of my aims for the summer was to reduce the consumption of canned food, especially those that I munched on in the office. I have done good so far and reduced my purchase and consumption of canned fish, yet now I feel hungry at the office, and need to bring food from home everyday. I purchased a plastic container (BPA-free) yesterday to put food in and carry it in my purse (it is large enough), and today I have had some veggies and tofu as the lunch. It was great but not enough to curb my appetite. Tomorrow I am bringing in some veggies and canned bean, and I am laughing at myself knowing what an ironic thing that is to be consuming canned food again..

I have serious concerns about this – will I really be able to eat well at the office?

I guess what I need is to plan a little bit better. Obviously the status quo is not optimum and I must refine and revise it. The objective of reducing the exposure to canned food is a good one. Finding alternatives to canned food, on the other hand, is a challenge. What can I bring in? I think cheese and hard boiled eggs as well as meatballs are great options; hard boiled eggs are awesome, I love them, but then I cannot keep eating them everyday. I have concerns re; cheese and if I can make my own cheese then I can have it, but the chances are slim to have this everyday. Meatballs are versatile alternatives and all I have to do is to prepare and cook them at the weekends (see how lazy i can get?). Also, sandwiches. If I must eat bean, the better option is to cook them myself from dry beans. I think this is what I can focus on this weekend.

And I think I should increase my purchase of veggies so that I can supplement the protein source with them.

Sigh…. So much to figure out. All in order to eat better and healthier! πŸ™‚

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