Awkwardness

My mom is still sick and she needed to go to an ER to get some serious care today. She is still waiting in the ER. After more than 12 hours, and all alone, as the hospitals are working on full capacity.

I am not sure which one I am more angry at: COVID-19 pandemic policies, or those who refrained from believing this pandemic’s seriousness, did not mask or vaccinate. You all have blood on your hands. There I said it.

I also have a strong dislike and confusion toward myself. Since the news broke, I have cried a few times. But I am unable to feel much sadness and sorrow expected from a loving and immensely loved daughter.

I keep asking myself, WTF is wrong with me?

I am likely gonna lose my mom to an unknown medical condition, as we were not able to find a suitable hospital in the last few weeks. She is strong and resilient, but she is not in good shape. How long can you go against the ocean’s tides?

And, WTF don’t I feel much? Do I not love and care about my mom? Did my father’s passing prepared us to death? Is it the anti-depressants I do take? Is it my foster cat Mona that gives me unconditional love and joy, no matter what? Is it work that keeps me busy? Am I just a self-absorbed shit? Have I detached from the reality? AM I repressing my emotions?

Or, are these all an illusion, and when the time comes, will I break into two? Perhaps I am denying the situation? Perhaps I am still hopeful.

Does not matter.

I cannot understand myself.

If there is any positive out of this, it is the fact that I find myself supporting my family members in an unexpected way. See, I am the youngest, so they always provided support to me. This time, I am the one who gives hope, different perspectives, and appreciation for their efforts.

Still.

I must feel like shit. Yet, I do not.

Curious about the future days.

While I cannot decide, I can nevertheless assess

Pertaining to my last post, I have been taking steps to see the feasibility of a short trip home to see my mom. I really want to see her and I think it would also increase her morale. I talked to my boss and got a compassionate response, I worked hard to finish urgent work matters, and arranged for a covid test that may be needed to board the plane. I have a list of things to do before I leave and things to pack with me.

I am ready to purchase my ticket.

Goodness knows starting to take these steps was a hard one. I know from my anxiety past that making a decision that can change the life for ever is hard and sometimes paralyzing as well. I was more functional as I took one step for the trip. I cannot explain it, but I think I was just too overwhelmed by all the things I must do for leaving Canada and entering my home country, and then coming back. Damn pandemic…….

Anyways, I talked to my siblings today and while they recognize my wish to see my mom, they also recognize that it could be of little help. I have been contemplating about this – my thinking shifted after this.

What is best for my mom?

When I think about this, my thoughts get clearer. It is not about me, but my mom and my siblings who are caring for my mom now. What is good for them? Is my wish to see my mom more important than my mom’s wellness and treatment?

Certainly not. We may be looking for a short disease or a long one. We may lose her soon, or she may recover. I may regret not seeing her in the first case. But, what if instead of seeing her I focus on what is best for her?

See, I think what is good for her is getting the best medical care possible and comfortable life. My siblings will be burnt out soon, so their comfort is also important. I can spend a week traveling, or I can use the efforts and energy (and funds) it has been taking to make a decision and have the trip to their benefits.

Evey minute is a new opportunity to realize and feel. I think now that the most logical thing is to think about their wellness (but not my emotions). While I like this rational thinking, I know from my past experience that tomorrow, I may feel differently, and may want to go again. So one day at a time…. If this is the right decision, then, it will be stable over days. We shall see, my friends.

I feel like a parent making the right decision, not the emotional one, for their kids while they are growing. I do not have kids, but I think this is what it is.

We wanted to be brave, but we were not

My mom is sick. She suddenly became ill and has not been getting better. We hope that she will see a really good doc in the coming days and will find some relief.

My minds does all the tricks. It is as if I either accepted the fact that she will be gone soon, or there is nothing wrong with her. Neither of them are evidenced, but this is the reason I hate my reasoning so much nowadays. It is as if, I do not care.

But that is not true, either. I do care. She is my mom. She is the only person who treated me well.

So, why are my emotions so frozen? I wonder whether it is a trauma caused by the thought of losing my mom; the antidepressants I take; or the fact that my dad’s death 5 years ago prepared me for death of yet another loved one.

I wanted to explore life and overcome challenges. I wanted to have a life and have a job here in Canada, but not in my home country. I built a life I was more or less content with. I was, this year, finally feeling good, with the introduction of my foster cat and antidepressants to my life. I was brave when I was young, then got scared (aka anxiety), and I could not be brave enough to solve my problems with my family and build a life there.

I am sorry that I have not spent more time and be with her when she needs me most. I am also ashamed that I lost my courage in life, thanks to traumatizing events and anxiety, and could not fix these issues earlier in life.

I am just dropping these thoughts here to let it go.

Please do not leave any comments. I know you will be supportive.

But right now, I need to face my emotions as they are.

Change is good and is here

Happy Sunday, folks – I hope you all are safe and well.

Do you know this feeling when you constantly run from one thing to the next and wish you could just stop and process what has been happening?

Run Away GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I bet you do.

Those who follow my blog knows that I have an intense work that makes me run from literally one meeting to the next, from one task to the other.

I hardly have that life-work balance, and work most of the time, even when I am exhausted.

The good thing is that I have been taking a couple of days off here and there, and this gave me the much needed opportunity to just stop and process.

Relaxing Space And Time GIF by Mya - Find & Share on GIPHY

What did I find during these self-reflection moments?

I have done so well within the last few years, and especially since the Holidays since when I was non-stop working. Yes, things are slower and requires much more effort and time (working from home..), but I have actually done quite a lot, and also entered into new areas and experiences professionally, so I actually admire my interest and resilience now.

I also found out that I was in peace with my past and was peaceful in the present. Whether this is because of my age and wisdom coming from it, or something else (like my antidepressant medication), I do not know. What I know is that I feel good and I am aware that everything happened and every choices I made, even the bad ones, brought me to today.

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I also realized that I had changed a little bit, especially during the pandemic. I can so “no” more easily and reduce my workload (and stress). I can stop being too meticulous on things that do not matter that much. I still do a great, high quality job. I just better sort what needs my meticulousness, time, and efforts at full extent, and what does not.

And, I found out that I need to change a couple of things in my daily life. I struggle with eating a variety of food – I tend to eat the same greens and fish all the time. Recently shopping became just an automatic act, picking up the same things all over week after week. I always fell into this routine. I made a mental note that I could make an effort to diversify the food I am consuming, and make cooking and eating a little bit fun.

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I also need to care more about my bones, muscles, and flexibility as a mid-age lady. I know walking is great but it does not help much with the bone density, so light weight training as well as stretching need to be an integral part of my daily life. These are not new aims – in the past I was able to keep up with them for sometime, and then they slowly slipped out of my routine. Why? Because I have so many things in my to-do list. By having a me-time, which will help these permanently integrated in my life. is thus more important than ever.

Workout Gym GIF by Petter PentilΓ€ - Find & Share on GIPHY

My weight. I was always a big girl, which I do not mind. But with age came the fat in the belly area, which I do not like. I know what makes me lose weight and what makes me gain weight. Exercise will not make me lose weight, only what I eat. So more greens, less starchy food, and more protein. That is my best dietary strategy to lose the fat. Since I many times in my life wanted to lose weight but never kept it, perhaps this aim is now more important than ever. Why not to make the weight loss one aim that will stamp my mid-age years? Worth trying πŸ™‚

Professionally, I looked at my to do list and I have seen a couple of things only πŸ™‚ That means I can start new projects, undertake new roles, and develop more as a professional. I am very excited about this πŸ™‚

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Somethings however does not need to change. They are well established in my life and they are good. for example, saving, investing money for my retirement. Cleaning the home regularly. Visiting the thrift stores for items I may need and use. Helping others in need, such as family or animal shelters. Limiting waste, especially food waste. My furniture or other items in the house. All good for now.

The moral of the story is that sometimes we need to stop and help our mind bring us what needs to be cherished and what needs to change. Both are good. Take that time off, folks.

Has the pandemic helped save money?

I have seen a couple of articles suggesting that Canadians saved a tons of (billions) of money during the pandemic.

Some of the expenses cited as cut, and hence, saved money from, were child care, extracurricular activities, and commute-related expenses.

For those lucky ones, like myself, who kept their work and salary, things might have been better than those families and individuals who struggle with affording daily essential expenses. That is for sure.

I know many people lost their jobs and many businesses had to spend extra money to adapt to pandemic style business. So, hearing that we have overall saved billions of dollars during the pandemic sounds a little bit brutal to me.

I do not have kids or dependents, so the first two factors do not make a difference in my life. I take the bus or walk mostly, so commute, or lack of it, did not help me save a good sum of money. But I still did save money during the pandemic. My income also increased because of my recent promotion.

My most important expense is my annual visit to my family overseas, which used to cost me around 5K each year. I have not traveled in the last two years, so my major savings was the lack of these trips.

While I am not very social and hence do not get together with my friends frequently, I nevertheless had a few lunches or gifts to pick, so while there is some sort of savings in this area, it is not substantial.

My innocent yet kind of expensive interest in thrift store hunts, however, seems to make some sort of difference. I used to visit thrift stores every two weeks or so pre-pandemic, so while the prices are quite affordable, you can imagine the annual expenses.

On the other hand, I think like many, my food and personal care/cleaning products expenses increased. This is mostly because of working from necessitating use of the cleaning products more; starting fostering a cat; and the inflation or increases in the prices just because of the pandemic’s effect.

I am one of the lucky ones who comfortably has gone through this pandemic financially. I am feeling lucky and grateful, but you know, things will not get better anytime soon, the economy will continue to be unstable, and who knows what will happen to our investments or jobs.

Until, then..

Random thoughts

What a beautiful morning.

I took my time to get up, at the expense of feeding Mona, my foster cat, an hour later than usual. She only eats wet food and that means it needs to be replaced or removed after 2 hours or so during the day. Naturally in the mornings, she is hungry. Yes, my consciousness is not clear and I have had a huge debate in my mind about this, but eventually let the guilt go. Every once a while, I simply cannot get up as early as usual.

Hungry Cat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I took yesterday off and made it a long weekend, which feels great. It gives me freedom and time to recuperate. We have had a hard year and very intense work schedule since my last break (Holidays in December). There were many times I was simply exhausted yet continued to complete work. Now is a great time to simply rest and enjoy the gorgeous summer we have.

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Where I am in Canada, often we have cool summers and a little bit rain. But this year has been exceptional, like last summer, with lots of sunshine and a little bit higher than normal temperatures (and yes climate change is a real thing). The blue, clear sky lifts the mood immediately, and the nature around my neighbourhood and yard makes it even more beautiful and appreciable. If you have a good summer and opportunity to enjoy it a little bit more, please do so.

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I am at an age where I know that today may as well be the best day of my future life. I know that I am alive and my family is well, for now. But there is no guarantee, right? Things change like this – bam. We have had a global pandemic just like this; economy is shitty and many lost their jobs; there is social and political unrest here and there; and yes, the climate change is already showing its disastrous effects and unless we take radical moves to stop and reverse it (is it even possible to reverse it?), we are looking at a huge disaster. even the Hollywood movies and their heroes cannot save us, believe me.

I am reading about Indigenous worldviews (what wonderful views, by the way – if you are interested in please check it out) and how west and Indigenous nations (at least in Canada) are approaching to all living and non-living things in our environment. They got it right – human is NOT on top of the hierarchy to exploit and harm its environment for its own benefits. Rather, human is a part of this ecosystem with a role to honour, respect, and protect it.

We have done so much harm – to nature, to animals, soil, sea…

Without a healthy environment and ecosystem, there is no human.

And, we all have played and are still are playing, a huge role in this.

Climate Change Environment GIF by INTO ACTION - Find & Share on GIPHY

Simple fact.

Let’s take a moment to re-align our views.

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Sunday morning musings

Happy Sunday, everyone – I hope you all are safe, well, and having a joyful day.

My coffee mug next to me, ABBA songs on the background, my sourdough loaf in the oven, and my foster cat Mona on the floor, I am all good πŸ™‚

Life has been good, though I know I can attribute it to both Mona and the antidepressant. In any case, I will take this feeling and cherish it.

I cannot believe I have been feeling like shit for almost half a decade…. Such a long misery to endure, especially when we have medication or pets to help overcome it. I am glad that finally life was too much, or I was too tired to try ways to feel good, think positive, and so on. Sometimes, the remedy is what you refrained from. Irony.. Nevertheless, I am proud of myself for trying relentlessly to feel good for a long time, and then eventually quitting this endeavor and try medication (of note, I also tried therapy – it was great but not affordable..).

I feel like I must say more about my experience with the anti-depressants for folks who may be looking for perspectives of patients.

I was depressed and experience anxiety quite frequently. Thoughts would run around my mind, and lately my sleep was affected and I was sleeping maybe 4 hours a day. I was extremely functional, however, working, doing things, and doing well. Of course, with depression and anxiety comes self-questioning and loss of sell-esteem, in addition to the attempts to feel better. These attempts included a variety of coping mechanisms, from junk food consumption to reading self-help books.

It was simply a continuous struggle. But I have never lost the interest to feel good, My only mistake was that I thought I could handle it. Over time, finally, it became apparent that whatever coping mechanisms I was applying – while they worked in the short term – were not permanent solutions.

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There is only that much one can endure. Eventually, this fall, I decided to talk to my family doctor. Surprisingly, they were VERY supportive and prescribed me cipralex. The first dose did not make much difference, but I was thinking all the time that there was hope that this feeling of being and feeling like shit would eventually come to end. It was therapeutic in a way. I was feeling great about finally asking for help.

Here, I must also mention that this was not the first time I asked for help. A decade ago, I asked my then different family doctor for antidepressants, and they were like – try a vacation. Oh, goodness. I did that and back to square 1, of course.

Then, when it became so much, especially the anxiety, I tried counselling. Found a great therapist. The only think is that my current health insurance plan covers like maybe 3 sessions a year. So, where do we go from here??

So, in a way I am grateful for my current family doctor. They said “life is too short to suffer”… Imagine how I felt when I heard these words from them… What a great physician, for whom I will be always grateful. I am now on an increased dosage, which works phenomenally. I experienced no side effects, and sleep and feel much better. I can handle stress better and I find myself enjoying life better.

My doctor is about to reduce the dose and then stop it. I was scared of this at first, but when I accidentally forgot taking the pill for a couple of days and feeling no side effects, I have some sort of naive hope that I will manage the withdrawal symptoms, if ever. But this part of the story will have to come later, when I reduce and stop the medication.

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Please go ahead and volunteer at or donate to an animal shelter. Adopt or foster. Animals are simply fantastic and we owe them a lot. More than we can think of…

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Father’s Day

Happens to be Father’s Day.

My dear dad – I miss you…and I love you… I have not forgotten you, as I was afraid of in the initial phases of grief. I am very happy with this πŸ™‚ Till I see you again, rest in peace.

Happy Father’s Days to all fathers, all who want to be a father, and who were once a father.

You are loved more than you can imagine.

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stop the rush

I am taking a break today from work. Yes, I am.

I have to.

There are many things are happening, some of them just amazing and one of a life time opportunity. They need to be digested, cherished, and became a part of who and what I am.

Rather, what happens is that there is so many other things in the to-do list that as soon as one is taken care of, I move hastily to the other tasks in the list.

I know. I know. My bad that I do not take a moment to cherish what is accomplished.

True.

Luckily there are two things that help – first, my body requires some care, so I take time. Good body – always there when the limit is reached.

Second, the nagging feeling that straining myself by over-working takes the joy out of everything. With experience I got to learn that something that looks like a mountain can be climbed in an hour, if I am refreshed and bored enough from work-free time. So, why to spend more time on something in a straining mood, while it can be taken care of much easily and in a shorter time later?

Ambitions are great, but having the joy and confidence (and mental clarity) to work is even greater, even at the expense of some urgent matters. Urgency I create for my own ambitions, and urgency others I work with create by the quality or timing of their work.

This brings me to people I work with. We work with a lot of people, all fascinating and highly talented. I must say that it is really amazing what we can do together. The group dynamic is something strange though. Do you also find that often in a team, there is one person who is lifting the weight and moving things and people up and forward? I am that person, almost in all teams I have worked with.

Often times, I am happy and proud of doing this. There were many projects done, many teams and people lifted up. I have so much satisfaction out of this.

But sometimes, just sometimes, it becomes unbearable.

First, when people do not follow the things and it is reflected on their comments and the work that I lead.

Second, when they ask or need me to update them, or worse, do their part.

Third, when with their non-understanding, they put me in a position to defend things, decisions, and actions.

These are the moments when I really question what a team work is for some individuals and how do they feel making comments or work that have no relevance to the situation at hand?

So, today I am taking a break mandated by the need to reflect on this and how to move on in my future activities.

All good, in other words.

How is your day going? Wish you all a wonderful, safe, and joyful Wednesday.

No plans for the long weekend, and this does not feel right

Boy, one more day and then we have a long weekend. But, where is my excitement?

I think I am not tired anymore, and as such, having an extra day caving in at home does not excite me. You know what they say; anticipation makes it all better. Yeah, I have no plans, and as such, nothing much to anticipate or get excited about. So, here I am, thinking how to take advantage of this long weekend.

I think I will make sure that I bake sourdough this weekend. It has been sometime. Since the lock-down, I think I baked once or twice. I love sourdough, but I did not want to have yet another item in my to-do list. This is just one indication of how difficult and busy the last one year was….

Another thing I want to do is to clean a little bit deeper this weekend. Maybe I can dust the blinds as well – damn things collect dust like a vacuum πŸ™‚ Will be great to get rid of the dust this weekend.

Yet another thing I want to do is to visit a thrift store. In the last one year, I think I visited it once. ONCE!! Imagine. I cannot wait to check the stores and see whether I can find something for my and Mona (my foster cat)’s use. One thing I would like is a wood shallow container/furniture that I can turn into a bed for Mona. She has two make-shift beds, but I think I would love something better, which I can also decorate. But, I really am not in the mood of getting in places and being in a crowd. So I think I will pass this idea for now.

I also would like to cook something new. I keep eating the same things over and over. It is, interestingly, not boring. But I would like to eat different things, for a change, and make it a some sort of celebration meal. So, when I go for grocery shopping, this should be in my mind. Perhaps a pastry, or an eggplant dish (which I love), or meatball. And, I cannot wait to put my teeth in watermelon (oh, summer – please come quick).

We shall see πŸ™‚

breaks, break-throughs, and burn-outs

Whatever they say or you say to yourself, I hope you are good at taking breaks.

I am not.

The only time I took regular breaks were last Spring when we were working from home, and I could walk around the neighbourhood during the day, to take a break and enjoy the Spring.

Certainly, it made me happy and relaxed.

Then came high volume of work, well because, hello! working from home is so inefficient for some tasks and things started to pile up on my to-do list. Then came winter, and the to-do list became longer and more painful.

I have been tired since the beginning of the month, and am hoping to take some time off in April. But the lagging works, uncompleted work – some urgent and critical -, the stress and un-satisfaction coming out of all of these naturally have brought me to near-burn-out.

I can work with great energy 2-3 days a week (rather than 6 days a week, as before) now. Still good performance, but not good enough. Since I am tired, I want to rest during the weekends, but if I do not work even for a couple of hours each Saturday and Sunday, my week work load gets bigger. And I am back to square one. Tired, but cannot rest to prevent further tiredness, or goodness prevents, a future burn-out.

I try to be compassionate and tolerant with myself and with people I work with or need for my work. My stress levels are manageable, thanks to the antidepressant medication I have been taking and my foster cat Mona, but my frustration is at high levels. The demands from us gotta reduce. The aftermath of this lock-down and its effects gotta be considered quite seriously, and risks to people’s not only career progress but also mental & physical health/well-being need to be addressed in any future professional plan.

It is insane. What we are going through.

It is also insane that organizations and some colleagues behave like nothing prickly has been happening, we all adapted with maximum efficiency, everything is going well, remote working is an opportunity and only an opportunity (what?????), and things are moving forward well. All sugar-coated mess.

Insane.

Since I cannot reduce the quality of the work I do, I reduce the quantity of the work I am asked to do. Many of these are voluntary roles. I say no more often and it feels great. Last week I notified a committee that I was only gonna look at one part of the document, but not the rest, as I have no time. It felt good.

While I had started to say no occasionally in the last few years, it is becoming more “normal” for me. I do not feel guilty or apologetic anymore. Just the other day, a departmental administrative assistant, who was supposed to help me draft a document, gave me directions to draft the document – all format related – and that. was. it.! Did not follow the directions and sent it as I drafted, leaving it to them to figure out whether I formatted it as they wanted, and to format it themselves as they wanted. Honestly, is this my job, too?

No it is not.

Words of compassion. Words of kindness. Words of support.

What needed from leaders is deeds. Walk the talk. Help people go through this difficult time without further damages to our health, abilities, and motivations. Reduce the expectations. Increase genuine support. Have future plans at hand to minimize the long-term effects of this lock-down and frustration. Otherwise, honestly I am not sure who you will find to work – with adequate experience – and expedite things.

patience

The moment we think that one thing is over, something else appears.

You may remember that my foster cat Mona was scheduled for a vet appointment for an ongoing issue. Well, the good news is that it is something benign, so it is great news!! Felt like she would be great for ever and would be sending her new home – upon adoption – with tears, joy, and happiness.

The bad news is that now she has some sort of discolorization on her skin and I am freaking out. She is not a very timid cat, so looking and examining her belly is not an easy task. It is great that the vet actually examined where the discolorization now is, so I am assuming unless it gets worse, it is normal. but I cannot be sure…I tried to get pics to send to the rescue organization, but one thing and the other, it seems I forgot to turn the camera on. I will look into it again to this again tomorrow in the daylight. Hope she will be okay till then.

Patience is something I am familiar with but I easily fail to practice it. I know that I need to trust the process – neither assume that once one thing is fixed, nothing else (aka, bad) will happen, nor not celebrate the good news because of future possibilities of bad things. But I cannot help but feel like anxious and disappointed by life because of the possibility that she may have something serious that I may be late to report and late to get vet care for Mona.

It is silly but I am glad I never had a child. Imagine how I could react to daily adventures of rising a child.

My goodness. Perhaps Mona came to my life just to fill this void, just to learn patience and trust the life a little bit better. I would be grateful for this, I really would. But I pray that this life lesson will not come at the expense of Mona.

Start of a new month

Tomorrow is March 1st.

I am glad that the harshest months of winter – January and February – are behind us. Yet, I feel like time flies and I have some sort of grief coming with this.

Nevertheless, I think we must celebrate reaching to the middle of winter. Spring is always joyful, and makes us feel much better. Nature awakens; yards, tress, and birds become alive and joyful. Having a window open and getting fresh air in are certainly priceless and delightful.

This weekend was fine. I worked in the morning and am ready for the week. I must say the weekdays continue to stress me and weekends continue to relax me. They say so much about the life-work balance. I wonder if this balance is ever achievable?

What is that balance, anyhow?

I was reading an essay about it the other day, and the author claims that there is no such thing as a balance, as there is no true border between work and life. Also, the term itself implies that either our work or life – or both – are miserable and unbearable.

Truth.

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In my profession, having this balance is almost impossible. We work anytime and any day, as we always chase for new things and have serious obligations. The expectations increase day by day, especially happened during the COVID-19 pandemic for some unsensible reasons – as we have a highly competitive job. So either we will perform normally and risk being called and feeling unsuccessful and a failure (duh! even with a little bit of or work, we do amazing and incredible things), or hurt ourselves with countless of hours of work, stress, thinking, writing, reading, discussing, training, and presenting. All to feel competent and successful. Whoever has implemented this self-inflicted, unhealthy, and counter-intuitive system must be very proud of themselves. There seems to be no way out of it, unless the vast majority think the same way and stop slowing.

Slowing down is a term I have been associating with the pandemic. I heard it from many of my friends and colleagues, and it kind of makes sense. I believe that I could be not only healthier, but also more creative if we could slow down a little bit.

On the positive side, I feel like I have slowed down somehow and tipped to scale towards the life part of the work-life balance, especially now that I have a lovely foster cat with me. Spending time with Mona, even feeding her or cleaning her litter box are giving me much needed mental brake. I am determined to continue with fostering even when she is adopted. My beautiful girl. May she always have the best, kindest, and most compassionate people around her, the best meals and cleanest litter box, and the best vets.

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long weeks

Some weeks feel, like, consisting of 30 days or something. They are full packed, lots happen, and yet it is just the beginning or the mid of the week.

The last few weeks have been feeling like this. I am not sure why. Perhaps I am doing good not working during the weekend too intensely, and rather work harder during the week, or a lot of things come to conclusion and this makes me feel like accomplishing a lot. I think it is a little bit of both.

Working from home is hard. It is good every once a while, to focus on the work at hand without distraction. But not continuously. Cannot believe it has been almost a year that we have been doing this. Except a few times a month, I almost always worked from home, myself, with my team remotely, and with all bunch of committees I am a part of. Lots of things have not happened on time. Lots of things lost their priority as new ones merged. Things that we could normally do in a year expanded into two or more years. Some things have just needed to be cancelled altogether.

Since new year, some mid size projects have been coming to conclusion and new ones have been emerging. This is one reason why I feel like lots are accomplished, and as a result, time becomes longer. Good. Very good.

The overwhelming feeling of the pandemic and working from home are getting a toll on us. I know I am not the only one. I want to say, no scream, STOP sometimes. To all new obligations, new requests, new roles. We cannot breathe sometime – where are we going like this?

Many people are behaving like all is okay. Let me tell you something – it is NOT ok.

Organizations are good at saying compassionate things, like how much they appreciate our hard work during this difficult time. But they keep pushing us to the limits. Adapting to changes takes time and sometimes it is not even possible. How do you train new staff for specific work tasks, some of them requiring high tech applications? How do you correct processes that go wrong, which can only be corrected by hand and by being there physically? Not everything can be done remotely, and not everything can be done good remotely.

These being said, sure, there are positives about working from home. Comfort of the home is a good plus. Ability to take breaks when needed. Remote learning opportunities, which are now more wide spread and more affordable. Having fresh lunch (which is a treat for me). Not combing the hair unless it is required for a meeting or something πŸ™‚ The pj’s and slippers (I feel like my feet got longer – do you have a similar feeling??).

Anyways, the moral of the story that we have challenges and less needs to be expected. If you are a boss like me, remember it. Also make sure your bosses know – just saying it is important to take care of ourselves while going thru this difficult time is not enough. They need to demonstrate lower expectations and obligations from you.

My two cents.

having a foster cat – VI

Cats certainly train you.

Scratching the head: They signal when they want a head scratch. They certainly make it clear when it is too much or not done appropriately πŸ™‚

Cat Kitty GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Attention: They let you know when they want attention. They just sit there with their paws next to each other and look at your eyes. Or, they will walk around your legs, touch your hands, or head-butt. You cannot miss these signs.

Attention Pulls GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Food: They will let you know which food they like and which they do not. There is nothing to miss here. Mona just sniffs once and decides whether it is good for her royal stomach. The way that they turn their head and start walking the other way makes me feel like a failure, but that is okay πŸ™‚ Sometimes, she is simply not hungry, although she likes her food. I believe these are the times she does that covering act with her paws. I know that she will come back and enjoy her food later. No need to dump the food yet πŸ™‚

Mona is on wet food. I found that there is no one type of food she likes or dislikes for ever. Sometimes she likes shred meal, but mostly patee is her favorite. If your cats does not like a type of food, do not give away the food. I did that at the beginning, now I learnt after a while that she is ready to eat again most food she once rejected.

Bored Cat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Litter and litter box: I have had no litter problem with Mona, so I cannot comment on what they like or not, or why litter box problems occur. I clean the litter 3-4 times a day and dump the entire litter every 2 weeks. I take that she is happy with our litter situation. Whether you would use a closed or open litter box is mostly dependent on you. At first I considered it to contain the smell, but then ruled it out. I prefer to replace the litter box and closed boxes are quite pricey. And there is no way that I am washing those litter boxes.

These being said, I found that the level of litter is somehow important. Initially, I think the litter was shallow. Mona, although she intended to, could not cover her excretions. Sight of a pooh is not pleasant, but after a while I get used to it. Just recently I started to fill the box a little bit higher. This cause litter scattered around the box, but at least Mona seems happier as now she can cover her poops. I also noticed that the bottom of the box stays cleaner longer, and so does the scoop. So I after 3 months appear to have improved our litter situation quite a bit.

Does your cat use the litter box when you are around? A couple of times Mona decided to use the litter box while I was washing my hand in her bathroom. I found it strange – aren’t they supposed to be private animals? Not in our case, it seems.

Cat Box GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Water: Mona is not a fan of water. I think I have seen her drink from the bowl once or twice in the last 3 months. One of my friends suggested adding water to her wet food, which has been working out well, She does not like it if it turns into a soup, but you can try if your cat’s water intake does not seem adequate.

Catnip: We use catnip in toys and sometimes just to let her relax a little bit. Seeing Mona enjoying her time is really fun. Stress gets to the best of them as well, I think every living thing deserves a break.

Cat Time GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Cat grass: Cat grass is something she enjoys as well. Mona is a short hair girl, I regularly groom her, and she never vomited a hairball (I heard that it is not for the faint heart to watch a cat vomit a hairball).. So I try to grow cat grass using kits. She likes eating them. In moderation. I was fascinated to learn that cat grass was not a specific type of plant, but rather the sprouts of oats, barley, wheat, and so on. Easy to sprout and grow at home, especially if using a cat grass kit (all required things come in them, including the soil, seeds, containers, and directions).

Tuxedo Cat Fitness Goals GIF by A Magical Mess - Find & Share on GIPHY

Exercise and play time: Somedays are better for exercise, and some other days are not. I try at least twice to work her body a little bit. Since she is currently over-weight, that seems to be especially important. She likes laser pointer but I need to be careful with it – you may also know that laser if applied directly to eyes can hurt the retina. Please watch it out, for yourself, for your cat, and everyone else around you. I just bought new toys yesterday, so hidden the other toys. I hope that she will get interested in them again once her excitement around the new ones passes.

Cat Kitty GIF by Kraken Images - Find & Share on GIPHY

It may be true that most cats like boxes, except Mona πŸ™‚ But she enjoys her closed bed (a make-shift carrier turned into a private bed) on top of a chair.

Scratch post and cat towers: A scratch post is essential, but Mona rather uses it as something to sleep on. Her favorite is my stairs’ carpet. I heard that this is common for cats. I have no problem. She sheds tinny nail clips πŸ™‚ She also has a cat tower, but Mona has never been a fan of it – interesting fact. Not all cats like the heights, it seems.

Groomer: I accidentally bought a groomer from a dollar store, and she loved it! We use it abundantly, as Mona asks for it by lying in front of me and rolling on the floor. It massages her and collects the shed hair. Win-win πŸ™‚

Conversations: Mona loves it when I speak to her. She listens to me and I feel like the tone and volume of the words attracts her attention. It is a great bonding activity and a lot of fun for me πŸ™‚

Purring: The best way one cat can indicate their pleasure is those magnetic purrs. Mona is a great purrer πŸ™‚

Ecstasy Happy Kitty GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Cat behavior fascinates me!!

Happy fostering πŸ™‚

Foster Adopt GIF by Best Friends Animal Society - Find & Share on GIPHY

having a foster cat – V

I bought some interactive toys for Mona today. She still prefers to play with me, though πŸ™‚

I think playing to break boredom, and interacting and bonding with your companion are not the same things for cats. They definitely enjoy socializing and being with you. They also like to play and explore themselves – that is for sure. But thinking that some toys will be enough for them to entertain themselves may not necessarily be correct for these magical creatures.

Kittens Lol GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Cats are social creatures

They may be independent and selective, but they do need some time with you. Some cats need more than others. Traumatized and scared cats will not let you touch for sometime. Others will just come to your right away. Mona was quite friendly with me from the beginning on. She loves me scratching her head and grooming her fur. But I held her only twice – both to put her in a carrier, and she ended up in my lap only once. I do not force her to come to me and be too close. After 3 months together, yesterday night she slept 30 cm away from me. That was the closest. I was thrilled πŸ™‚

So while she likes petting and playing with me, she does not like to be handled.

I respect her wishes and do not force her in any way. If she wants, I welcome her. I also like this, to be honest. I am not a person who would like to have a clingy cat around. My free space and freedom are also respected by Mona. We are good together.

Fluffy Patty Cake GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

While fostering, we do not know which kind of cat we will end up with.

When I had visited the shelter/organization (consisting of a large office space with maybe 9 cats leaving there and tons of supplies for fosters) I was lucky to see and pet two other friendly cats cared for by the organization. I loved them right away. They are obviously very comfortable with humans. I felt great love towards these felines – shamelessly I thought maybe after Mona I will get these two to shelter..

Sometimes the organization is looking for emergency fosters to look after cats who were just rescued from the streets, or have had a surgery. Those who have had a surgery needs an comfortable place to heal. Those who just got our of street need to adopt to indoor life. Nothing is impossible, but some patience or experience may be needed.

Cat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

So, if you are new to cat care and fostering, what tips can I give?

  • When I decided to foster a cat, one of my friends asked whether I asked that the cat is litter-trained. Never crossed my mind!! If you do not have time, experience, or interest to go through this training, please feel free to ask (luckily, Mona was trained)
  • Kittens, I heard, are more energetic and have health vulnerabilities different than adult cats, so consider learning more about their care if you decide to foster kittens
  • Whether neutered (for male cats) or spayed (for females) may be another thing you may want to ask – Mona was spayed and I did not have to go through the heat season, but I heard that it may be annoying to some people. Un-neutered makes may mark the house/furniture with their secretions (there is a name for this that I cannot remember now), that – I heard – may be quite annoying to some people. So feel free to ask their status
  • Diseases can be something you can ask about as well. I had not. I am not sure whether there are diseases that pass from cats to human, but I would not be surprised if there are. Also if you have little kids or other animals, or are pregnant, I think there are certain conditions that need to be considered. These all should be talked prior to fostering agreement
  • You can ask whether the vet and medication expenses, as well as litter and food are supplied. In my case, our organization provides them (with I making some contributions voluntarily). Ask just in case to prevent unexpected expenses. The first shelter I contacted required us to bring the fostered animals to vet ourselves. Our organization send volunteers and for someone like me who does not have a car, this is a significant advantage
  • You may also ask for how long the fostering period is. Sometimes it is for short time (a couple of weeks to recuperate from stress or sickness), and sometimes it is until a forever home is found.
  • Age or health of the cat may be something you may consider. There is a difference in care, time, and effort needed for a cat with a condition, and a cat that is just healthy or young.
  • Be prepared to do more cleaning, especially if the cat is shedding. Mona is shedding lightly and grooming her controls it to a degree. But I do more vacuuming and cleaning, especially her litter room (aka my extra bathroom). I often have an extra laundry load as well, for Mona’s blanket and other items

I have not thought, or asked about any of these, except the expense part prior to agreeing to foster Mona, I did not care whether it was a young, healthy, or sick cat.

I just wanted to help.

I am glad I have.

Animal Rescue Cat GIF by Rewire.org - Find & Share on GIPHY

having a foster cat – IV

The fact that I started taking antidepressants right around the same time as I started fostering Mona makes me question whether I feel better compared to before because of the medication or Mona?

I have no answer to that…..

I am continuing the medication because I am feeling better and it seems to make me take things lighter and have more time for myself. I can handle emotions easier and get stressed less.

Today I am convinced that she is an enormous support to my emotional health. She has been my support pet for the day and possibly many other days.

I am very grateful for Mona and the shelter organization that allows me to foster her.

May she always be safe, loved, cared for, free of accidents and fear, and have the cleanest litter box and finest meals.

Cat Sniffing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Mona has minor health issues, like constipation or some other small stuff. We are following vet’s recommendations but time to time she gets it again and it worries me. The fact that I love her so much means that her wellness related matters are painful for me. I am scared that I do not understand if she has a serious issue and cannot take the appropriate steps (like contacting the organization for a vet visit), or they will quit on her.

How painful are these thoughts?

Love is meant to be joyful. But pain is also a part of it. I find serenity in making sure that I follow all recommendations and report all issues, even if they seem small. They are experienced and can decide whether it is a serious issue or not. I also find serenity in praying and asking for protection, support, and love for her and improved understanding for myself to help Mona.

I sometimes feel guilty because I am a hard-working professional and especially during the day I cannot pay the attention Mona deserves or asks for. But evenings are ours and so are the nights. We spent quite some time, play, and interact. I love her when she listens to me and falls into sleep. I love her when she wakes me up in the morning when she gets hungry by walking on my pillow.

Cat Spock GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

Just today, I seriously considered adopting her. Emotions are high πŸ™‚ The hard reality is that I am capable of doing this, but I have to choose between her and my family – the only reason that I am fostering is that when I start traveling for extended period of times, I cannot take her with me. What will happen to her? Where will I leave her to? Fostering helps with this.

These being said, sometimes I think that life is too short to think about such things and we really do not know what the future will bring. Just today Canada announced that they plan to quarantine all Canadians returning from out of country. The moment I thought things were getting better (with the vaccines being administered now), now we have more restrictions for travel. I feel strained because I was hoping to visit my family next year. But who knows what will happen then?

Sometimes, there is no perfect solution that we can come up. Sometimes, life turns in unexpected ways. I will leave it to life to decide…

Cats Hugs GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

having a foster cat – III

My sister just joked that “once Mona finds a forever home and leaves you, you may fill your home with new cats, but none will be like her. So be ready“.

International Cat Day Cats GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

There is truth to this.

I am emotionally attached to Mona and I believe she and I have a great bond. She trusts me and I trust her in turn. She has never been an issue for me. She did not scare me, bite me, or hiss at me. She did not break anything at home. More importantly, she is not interested in counter tops and stove, so I keep my sanity (stove is the one that I am most scared off. Cannot imagine her or another cat jumping on and hurting their wonderful paws….)

My sleep is much better since she joined my household. I love talking to her at night and being woken up by her in the morning. She is not an early bird, so 7-8 am is our time. I spend around 5-10 minutes petting her and scratching her head, which she loves. Then comes cleaning her water and food bowls, and adding fresh food and water. We have a comfortable routine in the morning that works.

While she asks for attention sometimes during the day, she lets me work. Not even once she interrupted or asked for attention while I was having online meetings. She is not a fan of the computer or the keyboard either. Absolute, golden luck for a busy professional like me.

The love I feel for her is very strong and makes me happy. I always have known that she would leave one day…. But when she leaves, it will hurt. Until then.

It is impossible to have a magical creature like a cat at home and not bonding or being emotionally attached. I am sure I am not the only one who fosters a lovely cat and one day will let her go.

My fear has always been not knowing whether she is sick/uncomfortable or healthy and well. It is hard to know what they feel. What if I miss an otherwise important, silent clue and she gets hurt? Not one thing that I can risk. That is why it is really awesome that the shelter organization is very attentive to my questions and provides me with info and support whenever I need it. Nevertheless, I continue to fear (not in a way that it creates an anxiety., but in away that I keep watching).

Anyways, considering her wonderful character and our bond, my sister indeed made a great point. Since I was so lucky to start fostering by a cat like Mona, do I really think that other foster cats will be as mild, joyful, and non-problematic as Mona?

What about those stories we hear here and there about cats chewing cables; breaking TVs; ruining furniture; being hostile or aggressive; being clingy or too active; and so on?

These are potential experiences as well, with the future cats. Thanks sis, for making me realize things a little bit better.

I also keep in my perspective that it is also possible to foster other cats like Mona in the future, and each cat has many wonderful characteristics that will continue to awe me.

Cats GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

having a foster cat – II

Some of you may not know the difference between adopting and fostering an animal. I did not know the difference for a very long time.

Simply put, fostering is a temporary care of an animal, in this case, until my foster cat Mona finds a home.

Fostering does not have to cost you anything. The organization that rescued Mona is supplying or covering all vet, medication, food, and litter and other expenses. Supplies are delivered to my home – imagine!.. All other things, including the litter box, scoop, and scratch post as well as blankets or a toy were also provided. Since I am free to donate to the cause, I buy litter sometimes and wet food. I buy toys, catnip, and cat grass kits myself. Since it is my decision to replace the litter box and scoop every two weeks, I supply these myself as well. And, believe me, it is just joyful.

So, if you are interested in, think about this cost-free and highly meaningful experience.

As a foster mom (dad, person, and so on), you have moral and legal obligations. For example, I signed an agreement that I cannot arrange for adoption myself – this needs to go through the organization. If there is any emergency or any unusual health situation, I must give a call to the organization immediately, day or night. Morally, I must take good care of the fostered animal and provide a safe space. I should give the organization a couple of days to bring me supplies and so on. Nothing too much or too demanding. Just making sure that the animal will be cared for.

My relationships with the director of the organization/shelter and the volunteers who take her to vet and bring in supplies are very good. I increasingly become grateful and inspired by their volunteer activities and serving for such a great cause. We also made friends – this is an extra bonus πŸ™‚ Whenever I have a question, I contact them. Together we make sure that Mona is well. It is a great team.

For someone who is meticulous, have a high sense of responsibility, and is kind of naive and un-knowledgeable about cats, their care, or health issues, I had to do a lot of google searches (only reliable resources – I have no time for vegan diet for cats who are natural carnivores and need high levels of protein, or herbal treatments for FIP kind of serious diseases). Many of my virtual friends here and in social media are also great help. My family also provided many useful tips. It is doable, friends – do not be afraid to foster and help an animal.

Animal Rescue Cat GIF by Rewire.org - Find & Share on GIPHY

Many people are appreciative of fosters, and shower you with gifts and supplies. Do not be surprised by these lovely gestures. I was surprised myself – it is so good to know that there are many individuals out there who share the same interests with you.

It took me maybe 2 months to establish the most practical and easy approach to litter situation. Eventually, I learnt the difference between a litter mat and a regular mat; importance of having a separate litter garbage box in the room (to temporarily store the poop and pees in poop bags); having yet another garbage can (to dispose unconsumed food and food cans); dumping soiled litter every day to keep the room fresh; importance of small, poop bags that are life-savers; the different types of bowls (porcelain is the best in my opinion); not letting Mona eat a wet food after 3 hours of serving (it is cold here but nevertheless the food not only may get spoiled, but also chemically react); mixing water with wet food to increase liquid intake (Mona is not a fan of water); watching the litter box usage to get a sense of her regular bowel movements (constipation is a real issue and can be quite serious after 24 hours), and so on. Now I feel like we have a good system that works for both of us.

Cat Box GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Giving a medication to a cat is a real art. I learnt that some medication can be crushed and mixed with the wet food, but not all of them. Some medications seem to have a protective coat, which, if disrupted, release the medication too fast. Keep this in your mind. Always consult a vet. Some liquid medication can be mixed with the meal, but in my experience if it smells or tastes differently, cat may not be well receptive. If you can, orally administer the medication using a syringe (which I could not, but you should try). Some pills also need to be orally administered. We had difficulty with one pill. I could not do it myself, so I had to find a way to trick Mona. So you can use pill pockets, or if they do not work, you can hide the pill in something soft that your cat likes. For Mona, that was cheese. Some other cats, it may be something else. Get ready for the experimentation πŸ™‚

Mad Grumpy Cat GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

Many house plants and human food are toxic or poisonous for cats. Do your search and comply with the recommendations. Mona ate a plant at home, and got sick. It turns out I mis-labelled the plant even though I had checked its toxicity status. It is good to be on the safe side. Interestingly, Mona is okay with drinking milk and eating yogurt – so I take this as she is not lactose intolerant. Moral of the story – you never know what cats can eat or not, and whey eat, what might be the consequences πŸ™‚

Cat Kitten GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Our shelter/organization does not recommend treats. The way I see there is a lot of information out there for their potential mis-use/over-use, and health effects. Treats, as their name implies, is supposed to be given only every once a while, and they are not necessary. I used it to suppress the smell of a pill. Otherwise we are good with no treat.

The wet food is more expensive than the kibbles (hard or dry food), yet for cats they seem great – their water contents is high and they have generally less carbs than kibbles. Carbs are not so good for cats and can lead to obesity. Too many health problems are associated with obesity/over-weight in cats. Mona has become overweight under my watch, so now she is served less food than before. For her health.

Lil Bub Eating GIF by Omaze - Find & Share on GIPHY

To be continued

having a foster cat – I

You may remember that since late October I am fostering a cat, Mona.

She has been my first foster cat and I could not be happier.

You may ask why I decided to foster.

I wanted to foster for a very long time, especially after I gave back my cat (whom I adopted a few years back and sadly had to return to shelter after 5 days… I know.. I know.. I am heartless. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. But I was not good enough and could not bear the idea of putting him in a kernel while I have extended trips. Luckily in a couple of weeks, he was adopted. Or, so I was told….).

How did I finally start fostering?

Anyways, my next door neighbour is a big fan of pets and adopting animals as much as she can. So, she encouraged me for years… So did my family… Eventually this Fall, right before I asked my doctor to prescribe me an anti-depressant, I took the step and contacted a shelter. They said they had frozen the program and would open again in a week. My neighbour said – do NOT wait. So I contacted another one. Long story short, I was interviewed in a couple of days, signed agreements, and in a week I had Mona transported to my home πŸ™‚

Cat Lady Cats GIF by Jeannie Phan - Find & Share on GIPHY

Then, she arrived.

It was too soon, but in the meantime, luckily I had prepared my home and removed the sticky bands, secured the cables somehow, and prepared a room for the cat. I was planning to keep her in the room a couple of days until she felt secure. But it did not work that way. The vicious cat needed to be let go off the carrier right away, otherwise she would be hurting herself. That was a good thing indeed – she immediately checked the place and found herself a comfy place (the top of the couch). The fact that she did not display any fear or did not hide tells me that she was okay.

She also was friendly with me and did not hiss or otherwise show any aggressive behavior. I showed her her litter box, gave food and water, and let her be.

The fact that I am not interested in showing big attention to anyone helped.

I remember the next night she placed herself on my bed and groomed herself. I remember petting her (I was afraid!!) lightly and learning right away that there was a limit to how many times you can pet a cat πŸ™‚ (answer is that, you gotta stop after 5-6 times and if she wants, she will signal you to do it. Otherwise, be prepared to face an unhappy and determined cat).

How do I take having someone at home and arrange my life around them?

I never felt disgusted or tired of cleaning her litter box, washing her bowls, and giving her food (all wet food) or water. I continue to dump the litter everyday to keep air fresh at home, and dump the entire litter, litter box, and the scoop every two weeks. I vacuum the carpets and floors, especially the litter room, frequently and wipe with wet wipes (sometimes, but not always, with antibacterial wipes. Too much chemicals..). I play with her at least twice a day, generously scratch her head and groom her body. She often sleeps on the foot area of my bed during the nights, and during the day.

The smell of the litter / pooh made me annoyed once or twice, I had to learn to use a small amount of baking soda with litter and better aerate the house.

I was scared to give liquid medication orally by a syringe, which I could never managed to do.

I was scared when Mona got sick and needed to go to the vet.

Other than these, I am simply grateful that she is in my life. She wakes me up in the morning for meal (thank goodness, and let me pet her. I love my mornings now πŸ™‚ I talk to her, always wishing positive things and telling her the difference she has made in my life. She listens.

Happy I Love You GIF by Rebecca Hendin - Find & Share on GIPHY

She has a great community of people caring for her. My friends gave her many gifts and often send their love in messages. My family fell in love with her. She is loved, cared, and admired.

Why fostering gave me a huge satisfaction and has a deep meaning?

I started fostering by the idea of having a cat – I admire them – in my life.

But I had never thought how meaningful and satisfactory is to actually help an animal. Mona was a stray cat and had a rough start in life. She is now in a safe place, loved, fed well, and cared for. Fostering her till she is adopted is most certainly helping another cat to be rescued from the streets, or from abusive owners. To be able to contribute to such a great aim is incredible.

  • To be continued

Sunday morning musings

Good morning everyone – I hope you are enjoying this day.

We have a bright day outside, which is always a treat for us folks during winter. I plan to walk a little bit and get fresh air. Seeing snow all white and fluffy (sometimes; some other times it is just that dirty snow banks – ugh) gives me some sort of serenity. I love it and cannot wait for my walk.

China Snow GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I am currently enjoying my coffee. I have already browsed through the news and social media. Feeling connected and informed by what have been going on around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic is going on (duh!). Many folks are still in lock-down, some have stricter, some have more relax regulations. It is hard to believe that it has been almost 10 months for us…. I remember the initial days – how I sent my team members to home earlier, advised them to take personal items with them, and make sure their personal computers can function to continue work. I have been used to work at home, so it did not affect me too much, but going out and shopping was the one that bothered me most.

Loop Health GIF by xponentialdesign - Find & Share on GIPHY

Then came the news of more deaths, more people affected. International borders being closed and travel becoming a hurdle. We all hoped for vaccines to come along, which now are available to lucky countries and bunch.

The moment we thought we had hope with the vaccines came the news of the new variants. At first they said that there was no evidence of the new variant being associated with higher mortality, only higher infection rate. The last few days I have been hearing that now there is some sort of evidence that it may be more deadly.

One wonders how long we will go ahead like this and worry about ourselves, family, friends, neighbours, and global population overall.

I think the answer is as long as we all can.

Michelle Obama Hope GIF by Obama - Find & Share on GIPHY

The other question everybody has in their minds is how we are going to recover economically, socially, or otherwise. I have no idea… Today may as well be the best day economically. For example, we expect some job cuts soon. Will it affect me personally? I have no idea. But it will affect many people, if it has not already. So, let’s enjoy what we have already, folks. Tomorrow we may not have jobs, or our salaries and benefits may be cut, or we all may feel like doomed. Let’s not let this get into our ways. Not yet.

I had heard once that a library was looking forward to the diaries that pen down the experiences of individuals during the pandemic. What a great idea. I feel like we are in the middle of a historic moment in human history. I expect many novels, collections, and movies describing our experiences in the future.

But more importantly, how we all have adapted to this situation. What worked and what did not. Just like the 1918 flu pandemic, perhaps we will leave important clues for the next generations, for the next pandemics and infectious diseases, or catastrophes.

I am aware that none of these are new to you, so this blog entry is rather meh (at least this is my own assessment). But I felt like writing these down. I am lucky that I have not lost anyone I know to COVID-19 and live in a place with rather low numbers of active cases. I am one of those lucky people, who just happened to be in the right place in the right time. I feel guilty rather than lucky, to tell you the truth….

The other day I was having a conversation with an acquaintance and she reminded me that we are all connected – all life forms. We in fact are.

Stay safe and connected.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Loved Ones Love GIF by University of Florida - Find & Share on GIPHY

I am speaking

Recently I used these words to stop someone, who kept interrupting me during a conversation.

I immediately felt pride in for standing up for this behavior we often experience during professional meetings.

Later, I felt remorse because I was like “what if I interrupt others while they are speaking?”

I do not know the answer to that, but I sure will watch myself in the next while. If I do interrupt anyone, I should stand back.

I learn these words from someone else. That was the first time I had heard them and I thought they were much powerful than saying “Let me finish”, or “Do you mind if I continue”, or “Can I finish my words?”

What do you think?

It is Friday

Happy Friday, folks

I have had relax and somehow un-busy two weeks since the start of the year. I kind of find this strange, considering my often quite busy schedule. Perhaps this is a good thing.

For example, this afternoon I was able to clean my home in between meetings. I now partition my cleaning, with vacuuming both floors and cleaning of kitchen and bathrooms happening at different times during the day. Since I am fostering a lovely cat, vacuuming the floors and carpets as well as the floor of the litter room (aka my guest bathroom) has become routine. I also bought an additional vacuum so that I do not carry vacuum in between the storeys. Life is much easier this way and cleaning is not overwhelming so much.

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My foster cat Mona needs some medications and it has been quite a hurdle, to be honest. I got liquid medication to squirt into her mouth, which I could not. I then mixed them with her wet food, which she refused to eat. Then, we got pills for one of them and pill pockets. Again, she refused. Tonite I will be trying to cover the pill with cheese and follow with a treat. I hope for the best. The next solution is likely asking her to be cared by someone else during the next two weeks till her medications are administered completely.

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I gotta read and learn quite a bit about different ways to give medication. Some pills can be crushed, others cannot. The best way seems to be administer orally by syringe or putting the pill behind the tongue, yet that requires someone who has got the confidence. I do not have that. Mona senses that I am tense and gets even more tense, so trying to hold her, opening her mouth and placing the medications seem a very distant dream to me. Perhaps with some sort of help by another person, I could get to learn how to administer medications, but this will have to wait till the end of the pandemic.

How is your pandemic going on, by the way? We are still working from home and we are quite safe where I live – the case load is low and I could not be happier. I still dream for the day that I will get the vaccination, though. And I hope my family will get it soon as well. It is so surreal… This entire ordeal… I now know 3 close relatives or friends who contracted the virus. Most were okay, but one of them needed hospitalization. It is so scary to know and experience this. Please be safe, friends, and keep practicing the public health measures.

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I am looking forward to a fresh day tomorrow when I would like to just chill down. Honestly, un-busy or not, there is so much out there in life to experience and learn that I appreciate any day without the pressure of work. I hope you too will have a great, relaxing Saturday.

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Random thoughts

I hope you all have a great Holiday Season and a happy New Year’s Eve!

First, a note on New Year’s Resolution. I have been seeing on social media people mocking others for having New Year Resolutions. I do not understand this – resolutions are hopes and objectives for many people, and some actually can reach their objectives. Many cannot keep up with their resolutions, so what? Let people hope and plan. Whether it is time for them to reach their destination is none of our business.

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Second, I wanted to think about what I would like to change in New Year myself. I noticed that there were two things that have been in my list, like for ever. One, to lose weight. Two, to exercise more. Should I focus on these two? Absolutely. Even, for a short time if I eat reasonably (I am old enough to know what my body likes and what makes it lose fat…) and take my time and creativity to exercise, it will help me. I do not plan to become a model or an athlete. So, keeping my plans light and my expectations small helps, even if I fail to keep my resolutions.

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Third, I realized I had less to change this year compared to previous years. Why was that?

I thought maybe I already reached or integrated the necessary changes in my life permanently (like, being fugal, making good savings and investments every year, making pre-payments, and so on), or I trust myself that when a change is needed, it finds a way to get in my life anyways. These thoughts actually made me happier and gave me a sense of freedom that I had not felt at around other New Years. Liked it – I think aging with wisdom has been happening with me. Cool πŸ™‚

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My 13 days of Holidays break is ending tomorrow. I managed to work only a few hours during this break and enormously liked it. Having time myself helped me clean and declutter my home; donate what I had but did not use; shop and purchase great food and other necessities; and change the face of a couple of corners in my home.

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For example, I never knew how larger was my entrance deck than I thought until this Holidays. It is because I keep my coats and shoes out, rather than hanging them in the cabinet, and sometimes the recycling bags, too. I thought enough was enough, and found one of my racks and placed in on the wall. Now, my scarf, hat, and coat are nicely hanging there, right behind the door, without the need to use the cabinets (I am too lazy to open the cabinet doors to take my coat out each time I am out – simple truth…). Also, I placed all of shoes in the cabinet, and left two boots that I use during the winter out in the deck area. The space I have and the welcoming feeling this gives me is truly astonishing πŸ™‚

More over, I put three of my favorite plants to the entrance deck. It could not be more beautiful than this. For a person who is into plants so much, the fact that I just now could think about this baffles me. As, I said above, finding time for myself during the break has been an amazing experience for me. It also made me get excited about retirement – imagine all the new great things I can integrate into my life? πŸ™‚

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Overall, I truly enjoyed my break and am ready to start the work tomorrow. I am grateful for everything I could do and the rest I have taken during the last 2 weeks.

————————————————-

I believe one of the reasons that many cannot follow their New Year’s Resolutions is that we are simply too busy in the rest of the year….. To integrate things, like eating better or exercising, we need to find “time”.

One may say that we make our time, but if you are like me and have a highly competitive and high-energy job, then you will also understand that focus on work always takes over focus on myself. Time cannot be generated or saved. Not in such a society where the demands on ourselves increase constantly. So if there was one thing that the pandemic and lock-down did teach to many of us is that status quo of hard-work and not having a true, healthy life-work balance are not good for us, but are the norm.

I hope we will change this, though, I am less than hopeful, knowing there are always overly ambitious people and profit-oriented companies that will drive the glamor of over-work in the future as well.

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Happy New Year!

Folks,

I wish you the greatest year and wonderful experiences ever in 2021!

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I know the situation is far from being normal and positive, but we must keep the faith in wonderful things happening and our hope that it will get better with time.

I feel selfish to note this here, but I think 2020 was one of the best years of my life. I know… I am sorry that I can say this…..But finding good things in our ordinary life, slowing down, daring for things that I wanted but did not (aka fostering a lovely cat), and making good progress in some areas – both personally and professionally – are all what make me feel grateful for the lock-down.

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These being said, I continue to be worried about my own and my family’s health and safety during the pandemic. I also feel the burden of being one of the survivors of this pandemic, while millions have died so far in 2020…..It is a real burden.

  • Those who are affected by this virus or have lost a loved one, I hope you will find peace in being better now and in good memories with loved ones.
  • Those who are affected by the lock-down and lost their jobs/closed their businesses – I hope you will get support during these difficult times and receive opportunities to keep going.
  • Those who has got knowledgeable about the racism, double standards, femicide, domestic violence, homelessness, addiction and mental health sufferers during the pandemic – I hope you will continue to feel these people’s pain and do something, really something, to prevent further injustice.
  • Those who are working from home, while also caring for elderly or kids – I hope the child care will be free for all of you real soon. I know it is hard one to wish for, but I do genuinely wish this for you.
  • Those who got bored during the pandemic/lock-down and started new hobbies and life-styles with positive outcomes – I applaud you and I hope you will show this plasticity in the future and bring the best of creativity to your lives.
  • Those who sacrificed for the rest of us; the essential workers from healthcare providers to grocery clerks – I hope you realize your importance for the globe. Thank you for all you have done for the rest of us.
  • Those who has found something positive out of all of these uncertainty, pain, and worry – I hope you will keep going and share it with everyone around you.
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This last one is particularly important – let’s always remember that labeling 2020 with hardship and pain only, and wishing it be gone will not change anything…. Pandemic is here – people suffer and have suffered. We do not know what the next day will bring.

But, maybe it will bring A GOOD thing.

Let’s remember to remember the wonderful things happening in our lives and in others’ lives. We owe it to our collective well-being.

Have a great 2021 and stay safe.

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Holiday Season break starts this evening :)

I think I am done! I did close up a number of items/projects with my team members and we are ready to start the Holiday season. Yahoo πŸ™‚

Honestly, I was just struggling to finish all of these. Or, this is what I thought. It turns out that we actually did very well and things went well today as well. So, I have nothing left to do tomorrow. As of this evening, the Holiday Season Starts for me and my team.

Completing what you planned to do right before a break is one of the most satisfying feelings. I could not be happier πŸ™‚

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Today I also got notifications for the approval of a report by our group and the approval of a project of mine πŸ™‚ It is as if today was supposed to be a blessing for me. Let me cherish this for a moment…

Yest, despite all of these positive and satisfying experiences, I feel less excited than I normally would. I believe this is the phase where you are so tired that you cannot even enjoy your accomplishments.

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To commemorate this evening and the accomplishments of the day, I cooked fried beans and I am in love. Such a creamy and tasty meal. This was my second trial of friend beans and as a beans lover, I cannot imagine how much I was missing by not eating this food more routinely. It has become one of my top food in the list.

To further enjoy the start of my Holidays break, tomorrow I plan to go visit a thrift store πŸ™‚ Now, this is indeed very exciting – cannot wait!

Friends – hope you all are gonna have a relaxing, happy, and comfortable Holiday Season. Please take care of yourself and those around you and those who need help & support. Stay safe and all the best.

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Holiday season is here :)

We have 3 more days to work and then will have 11 days off – how fantastic is this?

Cannot wait πŸ™‚

This year is different than previous years. I will likely not go to any functions or meet with friends. But I still will do a couple of things.

  1. Gift my neighbours. The only people I consistently and lovingly gift during Christmas is my next door neighbours. They are wonderful and I could not ask for a better neighbour. I picked something nice for them. I hope they will like it
  2. Summarize my financial expenses and savings within the last year and make plans for the next year. I keep records of my expenses, which helps me to see where my hard-earned dollars are going. Some years and better than the others, but I think it was a good year and I was able to increase my net worth. It is also a good opportunity to look at where I spend most and see whether I can do better. I am planning to do these in the next weeks, Exciting!
  3. Clean and declutter the house!! I am unmotivated to do this, as it takes a big chunk of my holidays. I clean every corner and the carpets – by hand – which takes so much time and energy. Decluttering, however, is fun! I decluttered 3 cabinets last weekend and I have a lot of items to donate. I like this. I also cut up old clothes and made myself a nice chunk of disposable cleaning clothes. I am particularly excited about these πŸ˜‰ My plan is to clean two empty rooms hopefully tomorrow so that I can spare one day from my holidays
  4. I do not wish to work or check/get crazy about work emails during the holidays. Folks – it is such a freedom and I deserve it. You, too
  5. Clean the email boxes and organize & store the bills to open space for the next year’s bills.
  6. Copy the pictures and important documents in an external drive – you never know when the computer will crash (lesson learnt many years ago in a hard way) – highly recommended
  7. Call relatives and friends that I have not spoken in a while.
  8. Visit thrift stores!! I cannot wait – I went to a thrift store only once since the lock down started. I am excited about the prospect of visiting one again. I will also bring in my donations at the same time – win-win πŸ™‚
  9. Spend time reading a book or two, or binge-watch some Netflix series. I deserve this πŸ™‚
  10. And make pastry to celebrate the new year. It is my tradition to have pastry with beef for the new year’s Eve. I cannot wait – yummy πŸ™‚

how is my foster momhood going on?

It is going very well πŸ™‚

Mona has been with me almost over a month now.

She changed my life for the better and I certainly feel a positive aurora around the home and pleasant feelings in my mind. Loving, petting, caring for, and talking to Mona have certainly helped me have positive thoughts and emotions. I have tons of good wishes for her and time to time, I tell them to her.

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I got used to clean the bowl each time I give Mona food and cleaning her water bowl every morning. Scooping the litter does not bother me at all, I often clean it at least twice a day. I think Mona likes this dedicated service πŸ™‚

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Cleaning the litter box, however, is another story. At first, I replaced the litter box, scoop, and litter after two weeks of use. Then, somehow she got constipation and I decided to have a second litter box on the other level of the house. I think Mona loved this as well. I liked it too, because I think it helped with limiting contamination of the floors with litter, pee, or pooh pieces (I think while digging the litter, sometimes she steps on her excretions).

The litter box and scoops are from Dolarama, so they are very affordable. I had no reason to bother myself clean them and use again. The only problem is that when last time I visited Dolarama, I found scoops, but not litter boxes. Hence, I had to clean the litter boxes today….

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Boy…

I am not doing this again.

I am lucky that I have an unused bathroom at home and a bath tub, which was helpful in cleaning and disinfecting the boxes. But it was not kind to my back, and I did not enjoy working on two litter boxes for around an hour of washing, rinsing, disinfecting, rinsing and washing again, and drying. Not to talk about disinfecting the bath tub once all were taken care of.

While I am hopeful that I can find litter boxes next time I visit Dolarama, there is no guarantee for that. So, I currently have one litter box for use for Mona. Hope she will be okay with this. If it goes negative, I will set up the second litter box. Then, they will have to be replaced in two weeks. That means this or the next weekend, I will be hunting for litter boxes πŸ™‚

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Mona is an incredibly gentle and easy cat. I think as the first time foster mom, I have been very fortunate. She just is asking for food whenever I eat something πŸ™‚ and started not to like every food I serve her. That is okay, I guess – she has the right to have favorite food types.

While the food, litter, and vet expenses are covered by the organization I volunteer for Mona, I often buy wet food and litter to help the organization, Mona, and myself. It is a pleasure shopping for her with excitement; great to change or add fresh litter frequently; and see her happy and comfortable.

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A different kind of hope

For decades, I have lived with anxiety and depression. I have done or tried everything I can; from exercise to supplements to psychotherapy (which was very useful, but is also very expensive) to reading many, many books about the topic and trying different approaches to feel good.

I thought if I there was a solution, I would have already found it.

My great doctor did not hesitate to prescribe me anti-depressant after I told him that I was not feeling well for a very long time, I was struggling to keep up with the demands of life and work, I could not feel joy, and I could not afford psychotherapy.

I am highly functional, but sometimes I force myself to do even a simple thing. The pressure I put on myself to do many things eventually becomes unbearable.

It is also unnecessary, my doctor said.

I resisted the idea of medication for a very long time. Now I think that was silly. As my doctor said this may be a simple chemical imbalance. If the body cannot produce it, there is nothing wrong with supplementing it with medication.

My doctor’s positive attitude and support made my day.

Medication gives me hope. We do not know whether this particular drug or dose will be useful or not. But at least there are other dose and medication options. I have hope now.

Leaving resistance to use antidepressants behind and being open to support are additional incredible developments on my side. I feel like I can apply these to other parts of my life and at work.

I have hope.

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Caving in today

The day has been strange. I have been feeling tired in the last few days, so I got up late. First thing first, I replaced the water and food for the foster cat, Mona. She is doing well, well adapted to home and me, does not bother me at all, and very loving and loved πŸ™‚ She is lovely and I am lucky.


I worked well in the morning, but in mid-noon, I have become overwhelmed. I felt weak, shaky, hopeless, scared, and feeling like the only solution to all problems I am facing was to quit my job.

This is not something new. I react badly to all negative emotions work-related issues create. I want and deserve a better quality of life.

Will I be able to feel absolutely better for ever if I quit job?

No. If it is not the job issues, then I am sure there will be issues in other areas in my life. Like family, or other relations. Will I quit them too? (No).

So, when I think like this, I start to find myself responsible for my feelings, which somehow hurts me. My thoughts in these situations are “I should be dealing with things better, I should not let annoyances and annoying people annoy me and put me in this emotional state, and I have not been able to do this all these years. Am I weak? Am I broken?

What is it? I do not know. Maybe I need a vacation (who does not?), therapy, or some medications.

The positive thing is that I want to feel better.

The negative thing is that I frequently feel like sh.t.

Maybe it is time that I ask my doctor to prescribe me an anti-depressant. They usually do not want to, but if I ask, there is a chance. We shall see.


These are the days that I “cave in” in my bedroom. For some unknown reason, spending time here helps me gather myself up, for which I am grateful. It mends me. Now that I also have this wonderful cat snoozing next to me :), I think the healing power of this room has grown quite a bit. Wonderful.

Mona has been good for me. Today is the first time I have had emotional collapse or stress since she arrived here. I always wondered how I would react with a cat at home. One restriction I felt was I did not feel free enough to do whatever I want to do to soothe my nerves. Other than that, I think she is an angel, heals me, gets me, and loves me.

I wish the best for Mona. I hope she will find a great permanent home soon. I will miss her and cry quite a bit when she leaves, but I will get over it eventually. I feel like her eyes are reading me, so I cannot look at her eyes for too long – can you imagine?? πŸ™‚

If only animals had spoken – we would learn so much from them.

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Sophie’s choice

Sophie’s choice is an amazing, heart-breaking, and quite an emotionally intense book.

I first got to know about it through its movie adaptation.

Since then, whenever I face a hard choice, I remember it.

A part of my anxiety is because I cannot decide what is the best choice. Shall I notify someone before I cc them in an email? Shall I take this collaboration, or leave it as it is? Shall I say something or not?

These may sound like easy choices, but when you try to calculate risk of your steps and cannot take the risk associated with either of the solutions, it becomes a trouble.

To be clear, I take risks. When I hire someone, when I step up for something, when I go for an interview, when I submit a report, when I want to move in a new direction, live in a new country/city, and when I decide what is best for me in life.

It is a some sort of dilemma that while I can take these risky moves, I sometimes cannot decide what to do with relatively less important things.

The idea of the book is that even you are forced to make decisions that are otherwise seem impossible, sometimes the end result may not change or differ. Not everything is in our power – it is sometimes highly dependent on other parties involved. Sometimes it is just screwed in any way.

Knowing this does not relieve my attention on the hardship of some decisions.

Let me hear your thoughts and advice.

one of these hollow days

It is one of those hollow days where no activity is stimulating or satisfying, and there is nothing much to be done. So boredom sinks. I know that this is a transition period, and I will pick up in a few days, if not the next moment.

I went to my office today for a few hours and it was good to be there. The empty halls, offices, and common areas are sad to see, but knowing that these measures keep us safe is wonderful. We are lucky in the sense that we can work mostly from home. It is somehow inefficient but we manage, and things move on at work, albeit at a slower pace.

While I was there, I had to attend a remote meeting online. It is a new group we are joining to. Observing how different certain things are has been interesting, but I was expecting this. The group dynamic is always something that interests me – there are many people who are quiet, some people who are pissed, and some others not knowing what to do when things heat up. It is strange that despite all the civilization our humanity has gone through, sometimes we all find ourselves subject to uncivilized attitudes or personal attacks (whether or not the attack should be taken personal does not matter – an attack is an attack). In those cases, I always miss a unifying voice that calls for unity, civility, and respect. There is not many people like this I guess, but all committees need one. A calmer. A negotiator. A leader.

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These are the times I also find myself needing to remind myself – be tactical. Smile. Think something else. What a waste of human potential and emotions. Do you also feel the need to change and fit in at your work? Sometimes being authentic does not work out well, even though it is the best and the right thing to do. The way our work environments shape our behavior and impose stress on our well being is very strange…..

These are the moments that my intention to resign intensifies. What is important? A livelihood and otherwise highly satisfactory career, or my well being? It is a silly idea to just stop and lose income, but I can always look for jobs as they appear in my life. I think this idea at least frees me and gives me a sort of peace.

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Nevertheless, it is beautiful outside. We have a bright sunny sky with cool temperatures. I enjoy such weather very much. I cut the grass in the yard and I saw birds and insects feasting on the cut grass. There is something great about the nature that we are missing. I was reading a blog the other day by someone who just retired and was making connections with nature again. I felt impressed by and happy for this person.

Freedom and wisdom, at last.

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Saturday morning musings

Happy to type this post this morning; it has been a while that I put my heart, mind, and words here.

The great news is that it is a beautiful morning where I feel no rush to sip my coffee or start doing home chores. I am not in rush… What a powerful, positive, and attractive feeling.

There is this bird that I woke up to each morning. She sings like nothing I have heard. Incredible melodies, maybe 2-3 different tones. Remembering it even puts tears of joys in my eyes. My daily walks around my neighborhood continues to delight me – there are so many new trees, yards, and plants that I got to notice, admire, and love. It is these moments spent in nature that I realize the one organism messes up with much is sadlyΒ  human.

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What is going on in some countries with COVID-19, all the suffering and deaths, failure to control the pandemic and support people, and resistance to use even the simplest public health measures makes me angry, disappointed and disgusted. This is human life we are talking about – can you not implement policies that others are already successfully doing? Can you not put on a mask, or practice physical distancing of 2 meters? Can you not realize this is not FLU.

Rant over. But I needed to do this for the memory of all those who lost their lives needlessly to COVID-19.

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The effects of this pandemic is continuous, of course. I continue to feel depressed, but not sure whether this is due to pandemic and the changes it implemented in my life, or other things going on in my life, especially related to work.

It has been a mixed feeling at the beginning. I had enjoyed having a break from office and working fully from home. It was doable and I was feeling advantageous because working from home is not something new to me. BUT over time people I worked with could not keep up. We started to fall back and my productivity decreased considerably. This sucked. Only lately I feel like I am finally completing the lagging tasks and I can look forward to new, fresh ideas and projects. This is at least a great development lately.

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I also feel like I must take a break and I am starting with a few days the week ahead. I plan to do what I want to do most – contemplate about what is important and what is not. In life and at work.

Remarkably, it has also been a time of change for me. I try to remove my perfectionist attitude and relax the measures a little bit, which makes an awesome difference in the work load I shoulder and give others more responsibility for their action or inaction. There are other changes. I think I will write about these changes and the positive effect they have on me later. Change is an opportunity and gives me hope, makes me excited, and absolutely less depressed.

I think I am feeling depressive because there are things that are not working for me anymore. That is why change is powerful, needed, and feels hopeful.

I also feel very strongly about the fact that I have been feeling like shit for a very long time and it was time that I choose to feel better.

It is gonna be alright.

This too shall pass.

When it does, it will be much better.

I believe in it.

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Feeling down, but looking up!

I am feeling down today, a little bit more than usual, but I keep my chin up and look up as well.

I think I am just tired and vulnerable to feel nervous, shaky, and to have low self-esteem, or my nerves are fried to a point that I cannot even see what the reality in the issues I deal with is.

The first one can be remedied by a break, self-pampering, and so on,

The second one can be fixed by therapy.

Or, by quitting all the struggles, all the issues, and this effing job environment.

I admire those who quit everything and followed their dreams by making drastic changes.

I did follow my dreams but ended up with this job. It was the dream job once, but not anymore.

It is time to find another dream.

I actually have it – retirement. Early retirement that I am eligible to take with a little bit of pension is 5 years away.

I cannot survive comfortably with early retirement, but I can stop at least for sometime without thinking income. I can move to a cheaper country as well. I can. I can get out of this environment.

5 years is a long time.

This is not the first time that I thought about resigning my job. I think it was always there, the most serious ones being in the last 3 years.

3 years passed since then – can 5 more years pass?

It sure can, especially if I can survive this time. Pandemic – duh…

But imagine staying in this toxic unhappy environment and missing life somewhere else?

Take a leap of faith, be brave, and conquer the dreams and life?

or,

Take a huge risk, create and go through more anxiety & hurt, and be even fail ?

The problem is we do not know which one is actually better – here or the future place – what if it is bad as well?

What is it that I must choose?

…………………………

I know that eventually this too will pass.

I know that the real issue is why do I care so much about the toxic work environment and relations?

As soon as I think I let go and uncare things & people, I can have less emotions nagging me and I can be happy where I am and in my life.

Why can I not do this?????

random thoughts

How you all been doing?

I feel like this pandemic has got on my nerves quite a bit. Self-isolation, working from home, limited social life, limited store visits, and limited fresh food all suck.

There.

I said it.

It sucks!!!!

Today I went to a store just to pick a box of pastry. I felt victorious and free. I decided to do my grocery shopping every week to buy different food each time. I decided to eat better and a variety of food. I decided it was not yet a disaster situation. It was still safe where I was. And, it was okay that I get some sort of normalcy and provide my body and mind some sort of a relief.

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Summer is here and I love it. My yard is good – I cut the grass almost every day to control it. My trees are blooming and I just love nature and what it can do. It is the best time of the year.

I have saluted each tree, each plant in my neighbour during my daily walks. They are pretty – how come I have not noticed them earlier? This pandemic is allowing us to approach life a little bit different. Not necessarily a bad thing, as this new ability to pay more attention to our surrounding shows. Some says the current social activism around #BlackLivesMatter movement and the protests were able to involve more people because many of us are away from the workplace. I think there is a truth in this.

What is happening regarding the #BlackLivesMatter movement is certainly an interest to me. I hope that the words will be followed by actions by allies, public members, governments, and organizations, and things will permanently change and equity will be everywhere and racism, discrimination, oppression and increased violence and poverty and so on will cease to exist. I know it is not going to be easy or in a short time, but we can strive for these objectives. It has been a long time that these hurt and harmed. It is up to us to end and turn things around.

Let’s do it.

Let’s act.

Genuinely.

Persistently.

Happily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

anger

Today I am angry.

It is as if there is a huge rock on my chest that makes it difficult. Like I am carrying a lot of weight around. What is going on?

I am angry with all the people who conveniently leave their work on me and pretend like themselves are great and successful.

I swear to something – if they ever come close to me again!!!

I want to resign again, but should not. First of all, what am I gonna do without a job during a global pandemic? Second of all, why do I leave my post but not those assholes?

I have had it enough.

They make me sick.

Sick!!!

Assholes.

All bunch of them.

Get the fuck out of my life and work.

 

random thoughts

I have been having interesting days. Overall, things are going well, with me head-butting an issue that creates an anxiety. yesterday and today – it has been solved. I am really happy with this. I am not afraid of it anymore, as I figured that the issue does not even exist… Sigh…

This is what anxiety does to you. It is debilitating and limiting. I cannot conquer it, but sometimes I can attack it. I mostly attack when I must. Otherwise, I just wait and continue my mental torture. What a ridiculous situation…. Fear of fear is the most paralyzing of all.

Also, yesterday I learnt about Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) from a blog, and it all made sense to me. Like a miracle. I also learnt that I was not the only person who cannot meditate and silence my mind, and maybe it was because it was the wrong thing for me to practice.

IΒ  believe I get anxiety because I do not listen to my inner voice. Since I do not listen to, I miss what it is trying to say, until the situation or possible future event becomes probable. No wonder why when I hear it, my inner voice is almost always alarming and panicking. How else would it get my attention??

I work all the time. I keep my mind busy all the time. What do I expect? I must take regular breaks and let my mind speak to me. Safely. I need inner connection. I do.

Yesterday I also have had fun with meeting my IFS components; the exiles, firefighter, and manager. I can easily see each one of this, as well as my Self, in my mind as of yesterday. They are all lovable. To be able to do this exercise was amazing. I am grateful.

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I cannot count anymore – has it been 2.5 or 3.5 months that we have been self-isolating? I find my work getting less and less efficient. I want to do more, but I do not know how else to kick my arse really. When will we be back to normal, if we will?

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The weather is awesome, and walking is a delight. The nature is awakening, and greeting each tree and flower on my neighborhood has been a cherished activity. Each one of them are beautiful – how do we still deserve and compare to animals and plants? When has human become the most destructive of all?

I continue to limit my meat sources to fish, and occasional chicken hotdogs. I have some minced beef and chicken in my freezer. When they are consumed, I wish to eat any meat other than seafood only when I truly crave or get sick (chicken soup). I may not be a strict pescatarian, but I sure am trying and keeping it the majority of the time πŸ™‚

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I am watching the news on #BlackLivesMatter in horror. I stand in solidarity with the oppressed, discriminated, and hurt. I stand together with the Black community and friends and colleagues. I stand together with all who experienced such nonsense in their lives. We must change how we approach one other. The worst is racism and other discriminating/stereotyping behavior to be institutionalized and politicized. You know that it is not one group or other, but many groups of human beings are treated unjustly. I stand with all of them.

Kindness.

Compassion.

Fairness.

Justice.

Love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude for ever

I started writing gratitude journals years back to help remind myself all the great things that was happening in my life. Writing these almost always makes me feel good. That is for sure. It is therefore one of the ways that I help reduce the emotional distress coming out of anxiety or depression. For example, just to be able to remember that I walked in a warm and quiet day with blue sky (and, hence, not only enjoyed my moment but also did something good for my health) sounds great, is it not? It is. Obviously, it also says that I made a good choice that day. Extra gratitude!

But, this kind of approach is fragmented – I start everyday again and again, as if it has no link to previous days or the future.

A couple of days ago I realized that there may be additional things to consider while practicing gratitude journaling.

If I restrict things to write about to experiences, choices, and activities of the day, I almost always lose the continuity and being grateful for things that are continuous. For example, having the freedom to pursue my dreams. Having the ability to change things. Having the ability to feel happy.Β  Reminding myself that even the worst thing shall pass one day.Β  Good memories. Good friends. Good experiences.

There are things better and bigger than what is happening a day in one’s life.

Let’s focus on this greatness. Boundless opportunities. Bigger picture. The full life. The whole experience.

 

 

Happiness IS possible

I was happy for the entire morning yesterday. Really happy.

I was excited about the day. The great weather. The ability to walk, The ability to work. The ability to survive and do all bunch of other things. I had a life and it was going well.

Since it does not happen all the time, it was precious! It was beautiful! It was energizing!

πŸ™‚

………………………………..

Then, what happened?

Well, work related shit happened and I had to find a solution to a confusing situation that directly relates to me. It is important that I find the best solution so that I can feel that my interests are protected to best.

………………………………..

I increasingly realize that finding solutions to complex situations is one thing that drains me and stresses me…… Since it is an intense mental process, and I cannot help but have that urge to find the solutions right away, it means that my work and life are interrupted and I feel heavily overwhelmed until that solution miraculously shows up in my mind.

If only I could develop some sort of confidence that I am capable of finding solutions without getting into an intense thought process.

Another thing is when I need to write an email. Sometimes I find myself revising it so many different times until I find it making the point clearly and without giving away more than what it is intended to. With work-related emails, there is always a chance of being mis-understood or having negative consequences if the email does not sound right. So I draft and sometimes revise them multiple times, which is another annoyance for me. BUT today I realized that I revise them to make these emails better, which is better for me – so I should actually trust my instinct, keep revise until I am satisfied, and be happy to revise at the same time.

It appears that a change in the perspective is something I can benefit from.

And, the more I analyze, the better I can see why I experience certain annoyances…. This reminds me my worry journal that has been therapeutic. Time to get the dust off it.

………………………………..

Regardless of what, though, it has been great to remind myself yesterday that happiness was possible.

πŸ™‚

the benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic

It sounds odd, but there are benefits to this fatal pandemic.

Our lives have been interrupted and changed. We do not know what the future will bring, and whether we and everyone else we care about will survive this virus.

We do not know whether we can keep our jobs and mortgages, and put food on the table, and if so, for how long.

We do not know.

Every morning I get up with one thought on my mind – that we are in fact going through a disaster. Some of us, like me, are experiencing it mild, some others are experiencing with daily death and suffering around them.

It is a very depressing and anxiety-creating situation. But, I think I am also good at keeping myself busy and pretending that nothing is happening. This must have kept me sane so far.

I feel horrible writing these words, but this pandemic has been good to me. I realized that I have a high quality of life in my personal life, but low quality of work life.

While I knew that I had a stressful job, I did not know that my life outside of it was a blessing!!!

There are things at work that I fully dread and would love to get rid of, like some roles that drain me but bring me little or no recognition or benefit in return. There are some colleagues who are the worst and I would not like to see or interact with them anymore. This is in fact a great time for me to shake shit out of my shoulder.

It is also strange to be happy that I am not going home this year (my flight has been canceled). I am not feeling bad about this. I will enjoy staying here and experiencing summer. The good weather. The peaceful working from home order. I will. I want to.

All the good things – check

It has been sometime that I posted in this topic πŸ™‚ Lots to be grateful for!

  • sleeping well and getting up early – check

as I had expressed a few times before, the self-isolation and working from home have been good for my work-related stress and insomnia. I am very grateful for the restful sleep I get almost every night and the optimistic mornings πŸ™‚

  • enjoying my morning coffee and afternoon tea – check

coffee may be the most exciting treat I can ever give myself. Every single morning I find it loved, enjoyed, and wanted. Isn’t this real love?

And tea with lemon, honey, and ginger. It can be the second best treat I can give myself, almost every day now during the pandemic. I kind of feel that it is therapeutic and I am so eager to have it. A very soft, enjoyable drink. We are lucky indeed to have coffee and tea in our lives.

  • walking an hour while also enjoying the soft, bright, and cool air around me – check

it was delicious. The walk. The softness of the air around me. The feeling of being surrounded by a healing air….Delicious.

  • working from home and making things happen – check

it was yet another day where I was able to handle a number of things nice and easy, and bring solutions to them. I was not stressed at all, and things went well.

  • being anxiety free so far today – check

I have not had fear or anxiety-creating thoughts today – how wonderful is this? πŸ™‚

  • for completing mulching my yard – check

yes, I have completed the mulching saga! I think it is good, but I will have to see how the mulch stays and behaves over time. I have additional bags of mulch in case I will need them – this makes me feel good. I want to buy some bushes and plant flowers in pots and place them around the yard. I hope I can do this this year. Looks like we will have a warm summer and I would love to spend some time in my yard. It is going to be so good πŸ™‚

  • speaking with my family and having laughs – check

I spoke with mom, sis, and bro – the complete family πŸ™‚ we had great laughs. They feel the stress of the pandemic as well, but are trying to keep things and minds in place. It was lovely to be with them, even through internet. It is funny how now online meetings are becoming a norm…...

  • eating healthy and tasty food – check

I ate a broccoli salad

(steam it; add garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, sesame seeds, and vinegar together and whisk into a sauce, and Voila! – you have a beautiful, healthy salad)

and my specialty soup

(add 1 cup of red lentil, 1/3 cup of wild rice, 1 potato (diced), 1-2 tbs of butter and 2 cups of water, and cook till the wild rice is soft – and Voila! you have a hearty and healthy soup that will fill your stomach and make your body happy!)

It was awesome to have these two together – give it a try πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

cabin fever is real

I have had it enough.

The revolution started this week (e.g. making the decision to do the grocery shopping every two weeks, rather than every three weeks so that I can eat and enjoy fresh produce) is continuing.

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Today I made the decision to go to store AGAIN and get some more fruits.

And what did I see?

Mulch being 50% off.

Whaaaat? Forget the fruit.

I have been meaning to get mulch for years so that I can make my yard look a little bit better. Friends, since I do not have a car, I needed to make multiple visits to the store and get around 12 bags of mulch. Luckily I have had a shopping cart that can handle 2-3 bags at a time. It was tiring, but I made it πŸ™‚ Tomorrow, I will start cleaning the areas in the yard where I want to place the mulch on. Hopefully what I have will be enough – if not I will make other visits to the store. It is going to be awesome. I am excited πŸ™‚

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But before I forget, I must say the most revolutionary step I have taken. All multiple visits to the store today were made without a mask on. That is right. I made the decision to not put on the mask. Maybe a stupid idea, but I wanted some sort of normalcy in my life.

Protecting yourself every minute sometimes creates its own stress. I wanted freedom.Β  Luckily, nobody sneezed on me or talked to me.

I am still scared of this virus – do not get me wrong. I am not trying to be reckless and increase my risk of contracting this virus. Please don’t take my lead and forgo putting on your mask. Do what you need to do to protect yourself.

I was just scared of that feeling of having a limited life, being limited/isolated, and eating limited food. It has been 2 months.

This thing called COVID-19 affects us in more ways than I initially imagined.

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COVID-19 (May 13, 2020)

I am sick of eating canned and frozen food.

I want fresh produce and I am going to shop this Friday. While I am very much scared of catching this virus, I am also scared of the quality and nutrition value of the food I am getting. So, instead of every 3 weeks, my decision today is to do the grocery shopping every two weeks.

It has been only 2 months and I feel like it has started to get on my nerves.

Netflix diary – May 11

I have watched two series on Netflix lately.

The first one is Lucifer. I loved it generally speaking, the Lucifer character is interesting. I do not think the actor who plays Lucifer, Tom Ellis, is particularly handsome, BUT he and the character, is indeed incredibly charming……. Very interesting.

I was not very enthusiastic about the relationship between Lucifer and his love interest – Detective Decker, as it did not give much of an excitement to the story.Β  Not so much and until now, at least. The crimes that they solved together were not hugely challenging, either.

I loved the therapist character, Dr. Linda Martin; she ended up being a psychotherapist for most of the main characters in the show. It is delightful to watch these scenes.. I kind of learnt a few things out of her talks with her patients. I also loved the interest of Lucifer changing and longing for acceptance – whether he was able to have these is a matter of question. In terms of character development or so, Lucifer would be the only one that I would be interested in following.

The other character I loved was the tough girl-demon Mazikeen. Despite all the toughness and being familiar with the evil acts and torturing/paining, both Lucifer and Mazikeen bring in human qualities of caring, insecurity, love, failure, and courage to this show.

The second one is Marianne. This is a French horror series. I find it really horrifying. which tells me that it serves its purpose well. The acting is amazing, so is the certain parts of the story-line (e.g. Marianne not being able to tell a lie about its name). The book pages turning every once a while as a transition point is very refreshing and creative. I love French art – there is something very strong and cinematic about it. The acting of the lead, Victoire Du Bois, is amazing and worth every single moment watching this series. I hope we will see her in many other great pieces in future.

There! I did my first reviews πŸ™‚

 

Sunday morning musings

I came to realize that;

  1. I am tired and need a break
  2. I have filled my plate with more things than I can handle – again
  3. I secretly wish that this pandemic and social isolation continue like this for at least a year so that I can take my break, make my mind, and finally start doing things differently

 

I have been longing for changes or so long – this pandemic may be my opportunity to do so.Β  This being said, I have been on this quest for so long and it is strange that I have not moved up a bit (okay, maybe a little bit). Why all this waiting?

Sometimes a drastic step taken in a new direction without much thinking and saying good bye to status quo is the way to go. I want that. I just do not know how to do it…….

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With my summer vacation went out of the window, now is the time to plan a home-vacation……… The predicament is that – what different things can I do to make it a vacation? Challenge?

Oh, on a second thought, I like it πŸ™‚

Just like the song below – isn’t it wonderful everyone?

There are things that energize me. Like Freedom. Freedom to sleep, freedom to watch Netflix, freedom to speak, freedom to get up late, freedom to walk, freedom to not do what I do not really want to. Like walking – honestly it is one the best things that I can do to my body and mind. Like eating healthy food and keeping a healthy body. I am good at cooking and eating generally speaking healthy food, but not necessarily keeping my body fat down. Like journalling and blogging that help me vent out, realize, and reflect. Like doing exciting work and completing important tasks.

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At work, I am completing some things, some others are still hanging out, and new tasks keep appearing (mostly generated by myself). I have been kind of slow in the last two weeks. It felt needed and okay, but I think it is time that I speed up now. I know that every once a while I slow down, and when I come back, things go very efficiently. So, I take this as one of such mini breaks. Tomorrow, I can start again and move fast and high. This feels great, my friends.

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Do you think we can continue with this altered life style for another year or so, until we have a vaccine that works? Assuming that we will survive this time period, of course (I really hope so!). Or, do you think the negative effects will accumulate and come to a point that it will become quite a strain on systems, governments, and businesses that we will see an incredibly drastic changes and hardship?

This last hypothesis is kind of cruel, and also not so much realistic – I would say. The world has seen worse things, like the 1918 flu, conflicts, two world wars and countless of other wars, famine, lack of services, diseases, injustice, shit and bit – we always found a way to come back and stand up.

Have we not?

Viens, viens… Come, come………

random (morning) thoughts on anxiety

Good morning World – I hope all are doing well in this beautiful Saturday morning.

The Spring has been showing its face in the last while. We have shinier days. Being outside is fun and comfy.

I have been feeling kind of anxious lately. It is one of these episodes that I easily get irritated and scared. They say growing is always painful, but pain is an indicator that something has been tried/done and once you are over the pain, you are wiser. Better.

I hope so.

In addition to its pain, anxiety and irrational fear also stop you or limit what you want to do. After all, trying to move away from the fears and worries is only natural.

The other option could be to de-sensitize myself to criticism, failure, worries, and fears. I have been trying that by undertaking bigger roles (which can create more issues) and by addressing challenging issues. I kind of think that the more issues I have to deal with the better I can sort among what is important what is not. I sometimes, just sometimes, can achieve this. Is this a progress or just lucky encounter, I do not know.

What I want to know is what is best for me?

Am I doing good pushing myself like this, or should I just omit things that bother me? The latter option is really tempting, but I also know that one worry-some thing goes, and then another one comes. So changing the perspective and the attitude seems to be the best way.

It is also the hardest.

I think I would like to take time this weekend to reflect on this. Who knows, maybe I will realize something, read or think about something.

These being said, these existential issues somehow help me forget about the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation. I shopped after two weeks yesterday. I wanted to shop, as it excites me πŸ™‚ I bought cleaning products and some canned food, and it felt great. But putting on a mask and gloves, and then taking them off once I was out of the store, coming home, changing clothes, washing them up, and washing my hands and face up until they felt all red was not fun. These are the moments that make me realize how serious this virus situation is (duh!). I think I have been ignoring it so that I would not experience the anxiety it creates.

Perhaps the anxiety I am having over other points are actually a good thing – who knows?

I cannot claim to know how life works. But I sure need some guidance and reading to do on anxiety and how to manage it.

 

 

COVID-19 (May 4)

The 5th month into the COVID-19 pandemic – how are you all doing?

Seriously – how are you doing?

Sometimes I think that I am denying the seriousness of this pandemic and keeping myself busy just to not think about it.

Thank goodness, at least I can walk and talk to the people who most matter to me.

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Have I gotten a little bit soft as a result of this pandemic? Perhaps.

Have I shed the emotional baggage off my shoulder? Not yet.

Have I gotten a little bit more determined to turn my life around? Not even close.

So……..

What is happening?

Perhaps the lessons I must get out of this are; a) patience is needed, b) we cannot get what we want all the time, c) sometimes more is needed for something to work out in our lives.

Realizations… Wisdom… All great words… Not so much action.

I need to act on things that have been bothering me.

Sunday morning musings

Good morning everyone.

πŸ™‚

It is Sunday.

Does it make a difference that it is being a Sunday in an epidemic when we self-isolate?

It seems it makes a difference in me. I just slept in a little bit longer today after I remembered that it was a weekend. No matter what, the work continues to rule our lives, it seems.

I am one of these individuals whose work-related stress went down with the self-isolation. I was speaking to a long-term friend yesterday. She said that it has been good to people like me who were always rushing, rushing, rushing. Now we all have to sit back a little bit. She is so right. Do you feel the same way?

Do you feel you have slowed down and had the chance to notice other things about life? Yourself? What is and who is important?

There are unexpected gains due to this COVID-19 pandemic.

This is of course quite insensitive to say when there are thousands of people who have lost their lives to this disease. Or, lost their wages and jobs……

They say that our lives will not be the same even if survive this disease/pandemic. I would like to believe in this. In a good way.

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morning musings

It is early morning πŸ™‚

One of those peaceful times of the day. Do you also find the early and late part of the day the most peaceful, most yours?

I had a very busy day yesterday with a 6 hours of online meeting going up late in the evening. I volunteer in that committee, but I keep thinking why I do that year after year. Maybe next year it will be wise to skip this role.

I am sometimes surprised by my (optimistic) thinking. I am still mostly focusing on work, its stress/issues, and completing tasks. However, I do not even know whether myself or people that I care and love most, will be here next year in the face of this pandemic or another reason…..The ambitions I feel for my job performance and the sourness I feel because of the recent rejection of my promotion request – do they really matter? Will they matter if something happens to me or my family?

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The absolute answer is no. But I must remember this context and ask this question to come to this answer.

The mortality risk due to COVID-19 is real. For someone who has a tendency to be pessimistic and having depressive thoughts, I think I actually try not to think so much during this difficult time. I think keeping busy with work actually helps my mind not focusing on these highly depressive but somehow realistic thoughts.

A strong part of this silent pain is because I am away from my family. I feel trapped, and I would feel kind of terrorized if something happens to them now. I cannot fly, I cannot reach. Goodness help me.

I am sure I am not the only one.

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But, enough with that negativity.

  • I am grateful that my family and myself are safe and well.
  • I am grateful that I have a shelter, food, and a job that pays the bills and mortgage.
  • I am grateful that with each day passing, we are getting a little bit closer to a medical solution to COVID-19.
  • I am grateful that the morning is peaceful and I am free to walk and enjoy these hours all by myself.
  • I am grateful that I have coffee and I enjoy it every single morning day after day.
  • I am grateful that I have this blog that helps me connect with the rest of the world.

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COVID-19 (April 28)

Just yesterday I was thinking how much I enjoy working from home. It works for me.

I am not sure of my work-place’s future steps. So far we all have been increasingly distancing ourselves from work. There will come a time when they will say “hey, what have you produced during all these times? What else can you do for us?“.

I will be ready then.

This is the 6th week. I kind of have a routine. I wake up around 7 am, brew coffee, browse news and emails, and start working. I often continue till 4-5 pm. I also walk twice a day; one short (around 25 min) and one long (around an hour). The weather is permissive, sky is blue, and walking is relaxing. It is one of my quality of time activities.

The other would be tea. At around noon every day, I brew tea with lemon and ginger. Top it with honey and Voila! You have a great, healing drink at your hands πŸ™‚

The news are often negative and pessimistic. While I like to read each day, I try to stay away from thinking too pessimistically about COVID-19. I want to remind myself day it has already been 4 months that we have been surviving this pandemic. We are going through it. My sympathies to all who have lost a loved one to this disease. Or jobs.

I do not know how long the Canadian economy will hold up. I do not know how long my work-place will keep floating, either. I try not to think about the potential lay offs, but honestly. If there is a time that they will attempt this, it is this time. I am grateful for each salary cheque I receive. Honestly. One cheque at a time.

Life has changed so much. I could make plans for long-term investments and so on. Not anymore. I already lost a portion of my investments when the markets went down. I do not want to get crazy about it. I hope that things will get better.

In the middle of all of these, what is more important is that I try to sort what and who is important and what/who is not. It is fun. The best way to do this is to take a break from work. In the last while, I worked almost everyday. I have been meaning to take a break since February. Perhaps next week I will take a couple of days off and read books. Reflect on life. Reflect on issues and wishes.

Stay well, everyone. Wherever you are, I hope you are healthy, have food, shelter, and safety.

 

Good morning

Good morning everyone!

Let’s start the day having good wishes and vibes. Are we not fed up of the news and worries the current pandemic and other life conditions & experiences generate.

Let’s make today a day of positive thoughts and experiences. Whatever our life conditions are.

It is a choice.

I will not work today and tomorrow.

I rather want to cool down, connect, and reflect.

Time to get the mental strength back out of the confusions, disappointments, worries, and other limitations.

Once my mind is clear, I am strong.

When I am strong, I can take care of many things.

When I take care of things, I feel confident and satisfied.

When I am confident, I can grow bigger.

When I grow bigger, I can do more.

But first, I must get my mind clear and free.

Today is the day.

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do you have fun in life?

I was reading a book and I came across a question it asked: Do you have fun with your life?

A STUNNING question.

My answer was no and it was weird, very weird. Why do I not have fun in life??

Because of my ridiculous focus on work in a highly competitive environment, overloaded work, and working with fear rather than enthusiasm.

I do not know when I stopped having fun…. Must be a long time…

Was it worth it? Job I mean.

I know why I work so hard – one part because I enjoy it and one part because I need my job and the security it brings.

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Do you have fun with your life?

 

to hope, or not to hope

This is the 5th week of self-isolation and working mostly from home.

I have been thinking a lot about hope (especially, since the recent rejection of my application to promotion). I think hope is one force that helps us keep going when the conditions are particularly challenging. Whatever we hope for may not happen, but the thought of it happening gives us the wings. It also gives us the perseverance.

So we try. We try our best and take further steps towards the goal even though it is very challenging to get there. Pretty much like needing a miracle, sometimes.

When we get there, it is fantastic.

When we do not get there, it breaks our heart.

So.

To hope or not to hope when the goal is not likely to happen – which one do you choose?

 

 

COVID-19 (April 15)

Yesterday and I today I worked long hours. I am writing an objection letter to rejection of my promotion request.

I know that it will not make a huge difference. Goodness knows, I wanted to quit putting energy in that, but could not. I had to do this.

But I seriously want to quit my job, and I cannot afford it, either. Not yet.

This is how you lose motivation towards your workplace.

I have been to this point a number of times. This is not the first time. But it can be the best time.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Time to finally change priorities.

I want to prioritize:

  1. my survival
  2. my family’s survival and supporting my family during the pandemic and beyond
  3. quality of my life
  4. being grateful for each pay cheque
  5. being grateful for each dime saved
  6. having hope that I will look for jobs once this pandemic is over
  7. dumping all unnecessary work off my shoulder

The rest, like promotion, should not matter.

 

Quality of my life

I have been thinking – what is it that I want from my life?

I am close to 50. It is a significant age.

All my life, I have studied and worked. School and workplace have always had a strong place in my life and decisions. It has been quite stressful, though. Especially in the last few years. You know I developed sleeping problems.

Some of this stress is self-created because there are things that I want to do and there are recognition that I want to achieve. Today I have learnt that my request for promotion has been denied. It does not feel right… I worked so hard and so much, and put in a great application file. I applied because I find my qualifications satisfying the criteria. External evaluators also said the same thing. When it comes to internal evaluators, this is where they rejected the idea. It really hurts that there are negative opinions about my performance within my organization, while outside of here my qualifications are well recognized. What a mess.

But I wonder – is it the most important thing?

I wonder this because for some reason, I do not feel discouraged or down by the denial of my request for promotion.

One thing that I kept thinking while preparing my promotion file was that I would undertake only meaningful and really big tasks once I receive my promotion. I would also care about the quality of my life. Well. I feel like I can do this right now as well (I hope I will continue to feel this way about it). I feel like I have reached that objective of promotion anyhow.

I believe in my qualifications and it does not matter what they say anymore. I can slow down and I can undertake less.

My quality of life.

How to elevate it?

Hmm.

I need some thinking to do.

 

Sunday morning musings

Good morning everyone – hope you are all safe, healthy, and free of COVID-19 related anxiety.

I know, I know….

It is hard not to feel anxiety about the situation; about ourselves, our and other loved ones’ well-being, and the current and future financial outlook.

….

Like any of you, I am getting more and more aware of the global and national situation, issues, and future predictions on a daily basis. The fact that I have been stocking up essential items and food in the last 3 weeks or so states this very well. I sometimes think quite drastically and assume that we will be only dependent on the food that we can grow in our yard and homes. Funny I know, but I cannot help but think about this. We will not have that panic-situation, will we?

I am quite aware of the importance of the cash right now and keeping my job. Goodness…

I wished somebody deferred the mortgage payments for 6 months or so – without interest – so that we all could save some cash and feel more secure…

I do not know what to do with my RRSP and TFSA contributions, either. I keep going as before. Since the market is down, it seems like the perfect time to invest. Yet, I cannot think about yet another blow to the market and the value of the investments getting even smaller. Since I used a portion of my RRSP to pay my down payment, I must continue with my RRSP contributions, but what about TFSA? Shall I rather stop my contributions and keep the cash in my chequing account?

I took so many things granted…Like many of us I guess.

————————————————————————————–

It is a beautiful, shinny, and peaceful morning out there. Perfect time to walk without even thinking about where to go.

I checked on a couple of people who I worked with in the past. I hope they are doing well. It will be awesome to hear from them. It also feels great to reach out to people I care about.

These being said, it is sad that I am away from my family and who knows when I will be able to visit them. I had purchased a ticket for this summer, which I am sure will have to be canceled. Next year? Will this be over next year? if so, how expensive will be the tickets? Will I be able to make it home then? I must confessed that this year I did not want to go visit my family – I have posts about it. I never thought that it would become a necessity like this. Life is so strange.

Over and over, I come to realize that while my mind is busy getting stuck at little pains of the past, it misses the chance of living what is important.

Here is to a painless past and vivid present:

random thoughts

The second day in the row that I am not working. I like this break.

I started watching the Black List on Netflix and I am really enjoying it. I did the mistake of looking for some information about the plots – it really downs the excitement. So a mental note to not do that for future episodes/other shows.

I went to Shoppers today. I had difficulty finding liquid hand soap at Sobeys – my regular store. While I meant to limit my visits to crowded places, I thought it was a good idea to visit Shoppers and get other personal care and cleaning products at the same time. I went there early,Β  waited in the line to get in, and got in together with around 40-50 other customers.

They counted the people at the entrance, which tells me that they allow for a certain number of individuals all at the same time. But I still thought it was crowded. Some people do observe 6 feet distance, many do not. So, it is really up to you protect yourself in such environment. I put on disposable gloves and mask on the entire time. They give you some sort of peace, but it is also uncomfortable to have something on your face. Alas. Shopping my friends, which was fun in the past, is now a hurdle and risky business.

Shopping GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Nevertheless, I am grateful for the eggs I purchased, hand soap, hand creams, and facial tissues. I feel like I have no cleaning or personal care products that I need for at least 3 months. This feels good.

 

gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/animated-gif-3d-animation-nKERd2uhn8hhe

 

COVID-19 (April 9)

It has been a bright day with a beautiful blue sky… Under different conditions, we would have been jumping up and down with excitement. Alas. We have a pandemic to go through this Spring (and beyond).

Despite the negative air it carries with itself, we must find ways to appreciate and love the life we are having right now. It is possibly the best day and best life we can have compared to what we will have in the next while. It is true – we may get sick, we may get more isolated, we may experience financial hardship, and we may lose loved ones. But today we are okay. Let’s appreciate this for a moment or two.

Tomorrow will mark the 3rd week of self-isolation, working mostly from home. 3 weeks – can you imagine?

I think we are doing it. I think we get used to this new life. I think we adapt to it better than we thought we would.

What do you think?

 

COVID-19 (April 8)

How is it going everyone? Hope you are all healthy and staying inside, washing those hands, and keeping sane in the face of anxiety.

Canadian provinces have been projecting numbers based on some models, and the numbers of cases and deaths some of them are estimating are horrifying. I increasingly become aware that we are looking at a long and serious ordeal. Whatever I must do, I must keep healthy, isolated, strong, employed, engaged, and connected.

As long as I have my job, I can do any of these. Goodness help us – my organization has been under financial crunch for sometime. It is, I hope, not the time that they start let us go. I doubt it – they can reduce our numbers to some extend, but I as a moderately senior employee should not be in the immediate line. I hope.

I can continue to walk everyday (around 1 hour), keeping away from others in the street. The majority of the time this is quite possible, but today three gents were walking (they were side by side – are they not worried at all?) and I was not able to navigate my way away from them, as they decided to walk right towards me in the last second. This kind of things make me nervous. Anyways – walking is good for my physical and mental health. So I am looking forward to continuing this activity.

I can continue to eat healthy, drink tea with lemon, ginger, and honey everyday. I like it. In the last few weeks since I started self-distancing, I have been having light coughs and sneezes every once a while (nothing serious). It feels like cold, and what better remedy than tea? I believe tea, ginger, lemon, and honey are therapeutic together and keep my body strong.

I can do grocery shopping only once every two weeks or so, and not go to office unless it is really needed. My plants will dry up, I am afraid.. They were so nice and beautiful. Some of them were just flowering… This is sad. But they drying up is preferred than me getting this virus. So we will take it easy.

I can continue to frequently wash my clothes, gloves, and others that I use while outside. I can sew and put on masks while outside, particularly while shopping. I can continue to wash my hands and keep them away from my face (boy! how hard is this? Just right now both my nose and eye are itching!).

I can continue to contact and communicate with my family, friends, and colleagues. The daily human interactions are for sure important and help me against the threat of psychological isolation.

I wonder whether I can cut out some more expenses. I am pretty frugal anyways, just pumped up shopping lately to stock up essential items. I plan to do yet another big shopping next time, but after that it just must be the food. I cannotΒ  keep fearing the financial hardship to come during and after this pandemic. I think we all feel this one way or the other. As a bank official said today, we will get out of this pandemic “a little bit less wealthier”.

Well.

As long as we get out of this pandemic healthy and with healthy family members, I will be okay with this.

 

 

 

 

 

fake news, unscientific news, and supernatural

Gotta tell you – I just un-followed an account I have been following for some time.

The reason?

If I understood correctly, promoting fake/un-scientific things about COVID-19 (such as it is being caused by 5G) was okay and considered an example of freedom of speech.

Well.

No.

I have no idea what 5G is exactly and whether it is related to COVID-19 (I doubt it, but anyways we need scientific evidence I guess).

However, if it does NOT cause COVID-19, then I know that with such a logic, we would also have telling lies, deception, and making up things related to people, events, and things being okay under the notion of freedom of speech as well.

So.

No.

 

 

Sunday morning musings

If it is anything, it is Sunday πŸ™‚

A day to be excited about. Normally! πŸ™‚

I woke up early, spending the next 1 hour drinking coffee and browsing the news. It is like I expect some miracle good news to show up and tell us that the pandemic is over.

Not gonna happen anytime, soon. Logically, I know. But, hope is a good thing πŸ™‚

It has been two weeks that I have been away from the office (went there only once). I keep myself busy with work and, on the average, 7 remote meetings every week. I kinda feel like I am not feeling the heat of this pandemic yet…For example, I or my family members can contract this virus. They may have medical hardship to deal with it. Heck, we may die.

Sh.t.

I know deep down that I must do whatever I can to limit my exposure to outside world. My family is better than me and thanks to them I implemented some measures, like changing the clothes right away upon returning from outside; aiming to shop only every two weeks or so; wearing masks and using vinyl gloves (yes I have started doing this. Whether they protect me at all is questionable. Whether I protect my mental health and reduce my anxiety; without question the answer is yes. So I do put them on when I go to stores, for example. Then I discard the gloves and refresh the mask.). I wash my hands frequently and clean the fresh product that I purchased, and leave those in cans and bottles three days in a room. After that, they go right into the pantry.

Shopping was once a delight. A pleasure.

Work From Home Health GIF by Joan Kamberaj - Find & Share on GIPHY

Perhaps it is a good thing that I still have my job and we still work remotely. Another fear I am developing is losing my job or significantly reduced salaries and benefits because of this crisis. A lot of people have been laid off their work. Considering the economic hardship the pandemic is adding up to, I would think – similar to politicians and other authorities who are hinting this – that we may be looking at a financially very insecure and tough times. I must do whatever in my power to keep my job and make the best out of my salary and benefits. Will there be a retirement for any of us, I wonder.

Anyways. At least we all will be in the same boat.

I bought a large amount of food and other essential items yesterday. The first time I ever spend more than $200 in a grocery store….I think as the pandemic spreads, and as we hear more of the stores closing due to staff being diagnosed with COVID-19, the more I realize that there may be food shortages as well. I believe I have a good amount of food right now and will not need to shop the next two weeks.

Food Shopping GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Using food wisely is becoming a reality. Can I dry them up? Can I freeze them? Can I grow my own? Can I can food/meals?

Well.

To some extend I can do any of these, but none will be a permanent solution. My freezer has a limit; my yard is still under snow; I do not have a dehydrater or a sunny climate but certainly I can try to dry up some veggies at home; and I can pickle a couple of more jars.

See; self-sustaining communities become more and more relevant and important.

Canning Pickling GIF by US National Archives - Find & Share on GIPHY

if anything friends, grab a cup of coffee or tea.

Have a great Sunday.

Coffee GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

———————————————

 

gufs by: https://giphy.com/gifs/preservation-canning-home-3oz8xRoukXmFtZWc4U; https://giphy.com/gifs/3jVT4U5bilspG;https://giphy.com/gifs/moodman-PjJ1XUXFkp6FRA2SrB;https://giphy.com/gifs/hands-wash-hygiene-d7HWDCV6t72iRm9vPh

COVID-19 (April 3)

Friday.

Yay….

The day started early, which is awesome. I worked a few hours and then spent the afternoon on a 4 hours remote meeting.Β  4 hours…

I walked twice today. In one of these walks my roads crossed with an aggressive big doggy. I screamed in horror when he came literally a centimeter away me and showed me his teeth. He was weird. He seemed to be very friendly. Maybe he was playing – I don’t know. But it was very scary. Luckily he run away for an unknown reason. I was sure that he was going to sink his teeth on me. I am lucky…

I am also lucky as there are friends that check on me. One just emailed. How wonderful is this?

πŸ™‚

It has been 2 weeks that I have been mostly working from home.

While I had decided to do grocery shopping every two weeks, I decided that I better do one big shopping tomorrow. I just heard a grocery store being closed because an employee was diagnosed with COVID-19. If something like this happens to my store, my chances of acquiring grocery significantly reduce (I have no car..).

So tomorrow morning first thing first, I want to grab my shopping cart and purchase as much food as I can. I am not gonna hoard, but will get a significant amount of dry/canned food. I must do this.

 

Stay safe and be kind

First to yourself, and then the others

Give someone in need a hand

Smile at least

 

πŸ™‚

That turned out to be fine,Β  “pandemic poem” πŸ™‚

COVID-19 (April 2)

It has been a more or less pleasant day.

I could not sleep yesterday night. Felt kind of sick and it worried me. But then in the morning all was okay. That is good.

I walked twice today. Once prior to a meeting, around 25 min of walk, It was nice to get fresh air. The second was longer around 45 min. It was beautiful out there, just walking.

My stress levels are low. I think this may be the best thing coming out of this pandemic.

I find that my work communications are kinder and more compassionate. While we still continue to talk about work, we also talk more about how we are during this time. It is good, There is a sense of community in the air. Maybe it is true that once we get out of this pandemic, the entire human species will become enlightened, selfless, compassionate.

I wanna believe in this beautiful picture, BUT I also know that once this ordeal is over, we will likely go back to where we were. I suspect though some things can change. For example, there are more emphasis on caring ourselves and s.l.o.w.i.n.g d.o.w.n…….

Slowing down can be the best thing we can ever do. Indeed!

We are so competitive; always running against time. We always have deadlines – even our bills have deadlines. Our food has expiry dates. Like, what is it with us and time really?

I like the idea of slowing down and savouring it – whatever we are doing.

Let’s slow for a day and savour the moment…

————————————————–

 

COVID-19, April 1

So, Spring is here!

My, my, my..

It should be feeling great, but with what is going on with the pandemic, the sad sorrow and fear it creates, it is hard to get excited about the Spring.

Are we getting depressed?

Sort of…

……….

Maybe just depressive, not depressed.

……….

Let’s keep our chin and hopes high, friends. It is a strange time, but we are going through it.

Brighter days to come.

 

COVID-19 (March 31)

Cannot believe we came to the end of March. Spring must be here πŸ™‚

I slept well again and woke up at 7 am. It was a great morning and I decided it was time that I went to the office. It was quiet there, which is great for work. It was a productive day.

I am tempted to go to office and work there, but I came to my senses this evening. I must limit my risk to be exposed to COVID-19. To do so, I must limit my out of house adventures. I decided that unless extremely needed, I can visit my office once every two weeks or so. Not more frequent. Nope.

Since I walked both in the morning and evening, I felt great today. While I was walking everyday, what is a much better way is to be walking long (around 45-60 min), just enough to break a sweat. This kind of walking is more pleasurable and more relaxing than short walks.

I cooked and ate home-made dishes.

I spoke to family and knowing that they are okay feels great.

I heard from two friends today – one through an email and the other on phone. It was awesome to hear from them and I feel very lucky to have them in my life.

Good night, friends. May you always be kind and loving to yourself and others, including animals.

COVID-19, March 30

Monday.

Really?

It feels like Tuesday already. Have you also lost track of days?

It was a productive work from home day. I also managed to have two remote/online meetings.

I continue to get up early. Today it was 7 am. Have I mentioned that I wear my work clothes? Yup πŸ™‚ I comb my hair as well. I don’t put make up, however. That is a nice break from the routine.

I want to go to office, but the weather is not permissive.Β  I hope that before the end of the week I can make it there. There are a number of things I must do to help my work. Like printing some documents; getting some files; and so on. I also want to have a kind of break to my isolation. A change in scenery. A change in activities.

Anyways; I continue to cook and eat at home. Today realizing the extra weight already put on, I decided to do some light exercise at home. Nothing major but I believe it helped at least stretch my muscles. It was also relaxing. I want to keep doing it.

But really, the weight gain is real. OMG – why is it so easy?

The COVID-19 situation continues to escalate. Some of the stories are very horrific. The rapid deterioration that some of the hospitalized patients showed is what makes me scared most. They say around 30% of the hospitalized patients have now passed away. Is that correct? My goodness – please help us. What are we up to really??

I have been checking online grocery shopping services, and it seems there is one at around my neighbourhood. This is very pleasing. If I must, I can survive at home.

How is our mental health in the midst of this pandemic, isolation, and fatality news?

I am grateful that I continue to work, otherwise I think the situation is not fun…. How long will we able to go on like this, before we develop serious or permanent mental health issues, I wonder. There is peace coming from knowing that we are all in this together. At least there is healthcare. At least we are not out there but inside (some countries did not lock down yet). At least we have connections – online and remotely. The community seems to care about each other and compassion is palpable. And so on. In the midst of this pandemic, it is worth remembering these.

Eventually we will survive it. I suspect, however, we will also be changed deeply. Somehow, I feel like it is going to be something better. I just wished we did not need to have people die for it.

Let’s flatten this curve, friends.

Let’s stay inside.

Wash those hands.

Be kind to yourself and others.

Call a friend.

Connect with family.

Take good care of yourself.

And have hope.

COVID-19, March 29

Sunday is here πŸ™‚

I do not know what I am doing with my days. I meant to enjoy being away from office and finding a chance to actually reflect on life, but this is not happening. Maybe it is not the time.

I had not meant to work today, but I was bored, and eventually, craved for work. So work I did. I am glad I have, as I love the feeling of things working and moving. It is motivating.

I ate more than I want to. I have no solution to this. I never had… Better let go?

I spoke with my family and seeing that they take this virus more serious than me is very inspiring. I am proud of them. While I want to go to store and do my grocery shopping, I think I will look for opportunities for pick up services or online orders. I am sure these will not be easy, as many people will be looking forward to these services. Oh, well. Whatever I can, I will take it.

Tomorrow is another remote work day. With two remote meetings. Somebody needs to abolish all meetings. I mean it. I dislike them. More so now than before. Many professionals love to brag about online meetings. I beg to be more genuine and say they may be good if done sparingly. Nobody wants to spend their time looking at a monitor and seeing the background of other people’s, unless there is a good reason and it is of a reasonable length of time.

 

COVID-19 (March 28)

I am enjoying my Saturday so far. Not to a great extend, but as much as I can.

First; I did not work and this feels great.

Second: I slept great yesterday night as well, and this is fantastic!

Third: I went to a local branch of Dolarama. It was a good walk. There were a couple of people walking, often with their pets. Other than that, it was a quiet and lovely morning. I bought a couple of things, including freezer bags which I now use to store my food in (I dump the store-wrappins as soon as I bring the food home) and pens. The store was awfully quiet. I wonder whether we will ever heal the economy after this pandemic.

Fourth: I did some pickling and strawberry jam/marmalade. The jam turned out to be really cool. We will see how the pickle is in a couple of days.

Fifth: I talked with my family and we are trying to support each other as much as we can. They are feeling the COVID-19 situation hotter than me here in Canada as where they are the resources and public health measures may not be as strong as in Canada. Like me, my family loves to spend time at home and have stocked up food that is enough for some time. But the morale is down, nobody knows when this will be over, and what will happen to us if we get infected.

While I have done implemented new measures to help minimize my risk now – like, minimizing the visits to the grocery store; cleaning the food/changing their wraps at home; keeping stuff in the front porch for 3 days before bringing them in the house; changing my clothes immediately after I come in from outside, and so on, I still am not 100% sure that I am doing my best. As a result, I am scared of getting sick…

Oh, well.

Sixth; over and over I come to the point that I must sort out between what is important and what is not, and this solitary period of pandemic may be just what I need. I have a long way to go, I know, but so seems the pandemic. My painful growth in this important area therefore seems to go on for some time…

…….

Stay safe, friends. Sending love.

 

 

 

COVID-19, Day 8 (March 27th)

A week is over and I could not be happier. I am determined to celebrate Friday!

This week, I worked only from home and it was full and packed. I have had 7 remote meetings and tons of email correspondences, now that everyone feels like speaking through the email and the administration takes this opportunity to tell us what we should do and how they help control things. There is certainly an email fatigue accumulating.

After shopping in the morning and doing some light work, I decided it was time that I let go of things and rather focus on personal life. So, I cleaned my home and cooked healthy meal. Watching Netflix and browsing the internet, if I want.

Today and tomorrow I will just let myself enjoy my moments.

Now that we are working remotely, I feel ambitious and want to get the best out of these times. My team is doing well and their work is going okay, too. But I want to finish a number of things that have been on my to-do list. One by one, I am taking care of them and it feels pretty amazing. This is cool. Once I move on with two or three of them, there will be an opportunity to start something new. This is exciting. I wonder what it is gonna be! πŸ™‚

I must also admit that I need to actually just stop and be with life….. I have been meaning to do this, by taking a break, for sometime, but it did not happen. Perhaps what I should do is to take time off from work till Monday. Two days would give me enough time to relax and rest, and on Monday I could go to office. I think I like this idea. I think I will benefit from the freedom from work, and connecting with life more.

Here is a great, peaceful music that I hope you too will enjoy.

Be kind to yourself and others. Stay safe friends and enjoy every moment.

 

 

 

random thoughts (in a time of COVID-19)

I went to do my grocery shopping this morning.

I figured that if I go early, there would be less people around and as such less risk of getting the droplets that contain the COVID-19. It was in fact quiet and easy to shop. Since yesterday I had realized that this may be one of the best times to even further stock the essentials – before it gets crazy here with the infected individuals -, I went with my shopping cart and I am glad that I have. It was full and heavy. Thank goodness that the roads were free of snow, ice, and slush. I made it home with my newly purchased essentials.

I bought a lot of food, including frozen veggies, canned food, and dry food (e.g. lentils, beans). I am sure I have quite a bit of them, but I found that if this is to go on like this for some and the numbers are to increase day by day, the chances of getting infected is lower now than in the future.

I cleaned and dumped the store wrappings/plastic bags and placed food in new storage bags. The rest of the items that are not required to be in the fridge or freezer are staying in the front entrance. My plan is to keep them there for around 3 days (this is what they say is the time it takes COVID-19 to die on plastic and metal surfaces?) and then place in the pantry.

I also stocked up laundry detergent. I am thinking that I may have everything I may need for around 3 months now….

I believe the only thing I was not able to get was liquid hand soap. I sure will have to get out sometime and grab that…..Maybe this weekend. I do not know.

Other than this, I am not in the mood of work today. I did some critical work and I have a remote meeting in the afternoon, but that is all for me. I think I will just clean my home and then relax.

Some of my friends checked on me today and I checked on two other, one single, friends, through emails. I think it is important to be able to do this and keep connected.

How are you all doing? I know many of you are at home and being creative with your time and activities. I have not just yet become creative and tried something new (it has been a whole week in physical distancing), but I bought some frozen strawberry that I want to turn into a jam. I also have cabbage that I want to turn into pickles. Maybe tomorrow?

Stay safe friends.

 

 

COVID – 19, Day 7 (March 26)

Cannot believe a week it has been that I have been mostly at home, leaving only for shopping and daily walks.

A week.

They say that it can continue yet another 2-3 months. I think we will eventually get used to this and, hey who knows, perhaps ask to work remotely after that πŸ™‚

Things are getting more and more serious. There are more people now infected than before, and more mortality.

I talked to a couple of my colleagues, and it made me get more scared. Well, first they do not leave the house (I have been walking everyday).

One of them said that they would even wait a few days before they collect their mails πŸ™‚ Wow. Never thought of this. Am I naive?

The other one said that they wash and disinfect everything they purchase from the store, including food. What?

Why have I not thought about these??

Do I take it light?

I do not know. But after today I decided to take it serious. I am aiming for grocery shopping every 10 days or 2 weeks. I do not need to be at the store every week. So tomorrow morning I will go there with my shopping cart and fill it with durable as well as frozen food. Then, I will just leave home to walk. Hopefully I will not need anything till the next one.

Stay safe, my friends.

Be kind to yourself and others.

Give someone in need a hand.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Day 6 (March 25th)

Cannot believe that it is the 6th day away from office and in the house (mostly).

We had a kind of rainy/snowy day. As a result walking was kind of not fun, but still okay. I walked twice for short distances, worked in between, and stopped working at around 4 pm. Works is going extremely productive, for which I am grateful. Lack of distractions works for me πŸ™‚

On the personal side; I cooked healthy food but ate a lot. The weight gain is immediate…

My stress levels continue to be low and I can sleep long and deep.

The pandemic is catching up where I am and it is scary. I think the worst is yet to come. Are we prepared?

Am I prepared?

Are you? I hope we all are well prepared.

This feels like a Zombie attack sometime.

 

COVID-19 Day 5

Can’t believe it is the 5th day.

I worked today from home, but nothing too exciting. One remote meeting, some emails, and a couple of correspondences. It was not one of those days where I would focus on something and significantlyΒ  move things. That is okay.

On the positive side; I received a couple of appreciation emails and it really made me feel great. Good vibes are amazing! Send some good vibes to others, friends.

 

On the personal side:

Interesting that I sleep well and long. This break is working for me πŸ™‚

I cook and eat healthy food. Nevertheless, the slight weight gain is obvious and concerning…. Oh, well πŸ™‚

I walked twice again today. In the morning I took a long walk, around an hour. It was good. We have a cool but bright day. I have seen more people walking today than before. Some people make an effort to keep around 2 meters distance between themselves and others. The majority do not. I try hard to keep this distance. Maybe as time goes on, more people will pick it up.

I saw people lining up at around a church, which I believe is soup kitchen or something. It broke my heart to see so many people lining up, and so many people in close distance to each other. Once this virus spreads to less fortunate, you know it affects them more drastically. Prayers and good wishes are on.

My stress levels are low and it is a good thing.

How long do you think we will continue like this?

Wherever you are; stay safe and well, my friends.

 

COVID-19 Day 4

A regular day filled with work from home. Lots are done, which is pleasing. Otherwise, being isolated is somehow starting to get on the nerves. This is how I understand how important is the freedom to do whatever I want to do. If I ever complain about boredom or not knowing what to do at a weekend, please smack me in the head…

Two things I have done well and for my own enjoyment were walking twice during the day and getting fresh air, and cooking a great bean meal and enjoying it. Lovely.

I cannot believe it is only Monday. I decided that I would shop on Friday morning to limit my exposure to people around. Honestly I cannot wait – shopping will give me a chance to see and think different things. Wow. A child who was about to visit Disneyland would probably feel that way…..

The great thing about social distancing is the quietness around. Have you noticed? I feel like my mind is just resting.

Another great thing about social distancing would be limited shopping. As a result, we all are about to save some money, I guess πŸ™‚

I plan to visit my office Friday afternoon to print out some documents. Honestly I am not looking forward to this, but it needs to be done.

I believe the death numbers in Italy are going down, which is making me hopeful and happy for my fellow Italians. Everywhere else the numbers are increasing, though.

Please be safe everyone. Wash those hands. Stay away from people (around 2 meters, if possible), and stay inside. Please quarantine yourself if you have traveled. Follow the Public Health Officers recommendations.

Protect yourself and protect others. Both go hand-to-hand; without one, the other is not possible.

 

COVID-19 Day 3

Sunday is here!

Friends; I continued my day as usual; baked my sourdough (my goodness; can something smell better?), did some work on computer, planned for my week (yes, we are still working), made two jars of pickles (jalapeno and radish pickle), cooked food, and walked twice – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The roads are almost always empty with occasional cars and walking/jogging people. I question sometime whether I should still be out there.

I know my chances of getting the virus from those who are walking on the road is low, as I keep at least 2 meters of distance from anyone, but still; paranoia is paranoia and I tend to think conservative when it comes to serious things. Thoughts?

My plan for this evening and tonite is to chill back and enjoy my time as much as possible. My plan for tomorrow is to get up early – as usual – put my work attire on (it helps to work at home!), attend two remote meetings, and do work that has been on my list. I also want to walk twice again; one in the morning and one in the afternoon to keep my body engaged and get fresh air and sunlight.

Have a great Sunday evening everyone. Wherever you are I hope you are safe, washing your hands, staying away from people, gatherings, and social functions, and taking great care of yourself and others around you.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Day 2

I slept like a child and got up at 7 am.

When you start the day early, the day welcomes you, nourishes you, and slows you so that you can enjoy more of it without stressing for time. I love such days.

I have not worked today. This is a wonderful development on my side. And it feels great.

As usual, I cleaned my home and did the laundry. I also fed my sourdough starter and have a dough to be risen overnight. I have not been baking bread in the last 2 months or so, so having my hands in that dough and working with it was an amazing feeling. I cannot wait till tomorrow and smelling it, right out of the oven.

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I did some more shopping. I feel like I am hoarding. Nowadays my shopping is almost doubled. It is not necessarily a bad thing – my freezer and fridge are full, just in case, and I have all cleaning and personal care products, except liquid hand soap. I feel confident this way and it is a plus on my side, but from this week on, I must just focus on getting fresh food and other essentials, but not necessarily stocking up.

I walked in the afternoon as well. All of a sudden it turned out that I ran out of garbage bags. Now. I was one of those who used the plastic shopping bags as garbage bags. Since they are not offered anymore in the grocery store I often go to, that means I must purchase them…… Okay…. I have. I am good for another 2-3 months – thank you. Who knew?

I found a chance to talk to my good neighbours and they are scared. They are both above 60 but very active people. She said that she could not look at facebook anymore as she only saw scary stuff. Sometimes I think that we must be scared so that we will take it serious. Is this really the only way, however?

The death rate in Italy and other parts of the world – due to COVID-19 – is continuing to break my heart. I do not think anyone see that coming. Or, maybe someone did but many people did not hear or listen to.

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Overall, I enjoyed my Day of self-distancing. But it is just the beginning. I want to feel like this is an adventure (no disrespect to those who get sick or die is meant here). A change in my daily life. Hope that does not mean that I will gain weight, but, oh well…. Just for the record and to keep myself accountable: I am 217 pounds today. Cannot gain more!!!

Also, when I think about the economic consequences, I cannot help but think that if this continues like this – and by all predictions it looks like it will continue for months – what will happen to our workplaces? Will they try to get rid of us? OMG.

But, no.

It is not a time to feel discouraged and pessimistic.

We will get through this.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Day 1

I was supposed to be away from work since Tuesday, but it was not possible. I was called for meetings and I had things to take care of that could be done only in the office.

But today is the day.

I collected almost all of my personal items from my office, leaving plants behind, and walked to home. I am self-distancing myself as of today and will only go check the work-place once a week, or as needed.

They say that we may be on and off this self-distancing for a year or until a vaccine is developed and become available.

This is a scary thought. Are we witnessing history?

Perhaps.

I feel for those who got sick, those who lost lives, and those who lost someone to this disease. I am very sorry. I wish we were in a much better time medically, politically, socially…

…………………..

I am trying to keep my chin up under this situation. I will likely not be able to visit my family this summer. I feel restricted. I also worry for them. Hope they will not get this virus. Please.

Thank goodness that neither me nor my family members have underlying health conditions that make the COVID-19 infections fatal. This gives me some kind of calmness.

I wonder how long I will be able to manage to have such a limited social contact for an extended time period. Living alone is not something new to me (20+ years), but extended periods can be quite challenging to manage. I should get ready and strengthen my social media connections and interactions with family and friends.

I plan to walk everyday, if I can, so that I can get out of home and get fresh weather. Thank goodness that spring is coming and we all can enjoy the fresh air.

I bet that I will gain weight.

Challenging times.

That is okay. We are all in this together.

We will pull this around. Hopefully soon.

Please stay safe and sweet.

COVID-19, Day 0: social distancing and working from home start

Looks like my organization finally decided this COVID-19 virus is worse than anyone wants to think about and they needed to be more cautious.

Yes, as of tomorrow, we will report to work only in the case of emergency situations. Other than these, we are to work from home.

Sure. I have no problem with that.

I only have one meeting on Friday that I wanted very badly to attend. If we cannot make that meeting, many things will be delayed. Will it go ahead remotely?

Other than this meeting; I am looking forward to having some home-office time, having no meetings in my life, having no unnecessary distraction at work, and staying away from office stress. I also see this as the best opportunity for me to learn a software I was meaning to learn for years.

Terrific! πŸ™‚

This evening, just in case, I did some grocery shopping. I stocked some frozen veggies and this feels good. Also fresh cabbage and carrot, as they usually stay fresh longer than any other veggies I know. Since my freezer and pantry are packed with food, I feel secure.

So, here is to Day 0 of COVID-19 home isolation/quarantine.

 

COVID-19 and ambiguous days ahead

Hello everyone,

Hope all is having a great Sunday.

These are interesting times, indeed.

First of all, I am really sorry that so many have died of COVID-19, aka corona virus.

At first, I had not understood the lock downs, but now I understand it very well. China and South Korea have done well controlling the disease so far. The situation in Italy seems bad, with a large number of deaths in the last day or so, which makes me wonder where they have gone wrong.

Experts say that they were late in social distancing and isolation measures.

Pretty much similar to the USA right now. My fellow Americans, Italians, and all other nationalities affected by COVID-19, please be safe. Please exercise vigilant hand-washing and social distancing.

When it comes to Canada, we have cases but overall it seems to spread just slowly yet. My work place has implemented a number of measures, but we still are expected to report to work. I have no problem with this, but wonder how long this will go on. I have a feeling that we may be asked to stay away and work from home soon. As someone who likes to work, I find this somehow annoying.

But come to think about it, it can also be a great opportunity to break the routine, let go off some of the unnecessary tasks, and re-evaluate what is important and what needs to be kicked out – whether it is tasks, committees, or relationships at work.

So, my friends. Let’s stay safe. Let’s take this time to help others and neighbours (elderly particularly – let’s help them keep safer by shopping for them, for example). And let’s take this time to come to our true nature. Free of the clutter and hurdles of the daily life and workplace.

 

 

coronavirus COVID-19

Well. I do not know what to think or feel about this viral endemic (or is it pandemic now?).

I am in a kind of isolated place and my province has no diagnosed cases yet, so I do not think we feel the heat of this virus and what it does to infected individuals. Naive? Silly? Ignorant?

I do not know what I am, but I am getting scared. Have you heard that the entire Italy is now in lock-down and first death from COVID-19 from Canada has been reported today. I read a news yesterday talking about a young physician getting infected and rapidly deteriorating, which made it even more scary for me. As we all want to think that if we are young enough and without serious health conditions, or with the help of the healthcare (hello? In the case of an endemic, finding a hospital bed can be so hectic), we can heal a viral infection. Naive?

I think in this case, yes I am naive to think so.

I am scared friends, for not only myself but everyone else in the world.

Here are some recommendations by Public Health Canada – have a look to get informed and be prepared.

Stay safe.

In solidarity.

How are your relationship with your family?

How are your relationship with your family?

It is clear from my many posts that mine is not great.

I love my family; sister and mom particularly, and to some degree, my brother. But they drive me crazy with their expectations and non-appreciation.

I love my mom, though. She is the only person who treated me well most. I think everyone else broke my heart more than enough. But not my mom. She is an angel.

My sister and I have always had a rocky relationship. We are very different, see. We got close when she got sick like 10 years ago. We have been getting distant again recently. She also has clinical depression, so I try not to care about her attitude. But it is hard sometimes.

My brother…. I could never liked my brother as a person, but I do like him because he is my brother. Do you know what I mean? My brother was not one of those that you would look up to while you are growing up. It was the opposite. I remember him as someone hurtful. I dislike him mostly now because of the way he exaggerates everything. I am also suspicious that he feeds things about me to my mom and sister. Like how much money I make and should be sharing with them, etc. As if I am under any obligation to give money to anyone. Especially when I need it myself. This is how they always have treated me like. It made me feel guilty for so long. I am sick of this.

I hate money getting in between me and the people who are most important to me.

I want my money to myself, honestly.

I want my life being free from them.

I want to spend my vacation time the way I want (I always go visit them).

I did not call them today. I do not want to next week, either.

And, starting next year I want to visit them only once every two years or something.

I want to visit south America, North European countries. I want to use my money to have a better quality of life for myself (rather than around 4K/year of money spent to visit them).

I want freedom from my family.

It is so conflicting. BUT it is necessary.

 

 

on getting pissed, caring and non-caring, forgiving, and not giving a rat’s nose

I have been organizing a professional event in the last while. The amount of time and nerves I spend on it is HUGE. I mean, really huge. Only someone like me who is interested in, determined to deliver, and not giving up easily can go through this without throwing the idea out of the window. Or, a few people. Well, come to think about it, getting rid of the idea is much better and suitable to my character….

Anyways.

You have got the idea that I was furious at one point.

This was because three people have tried to treat me like a door mat along the way. One of them repeatedly showed rudeness including throwing documents almost to my face; another one jokingly said that they will sue me if one of the pieces we work together on was not selected (or something like that), and yet another one decided to change a part of the event without asking me and yelled at me when I asked about it and objected to their plans that somehow put me at risk as the organizer of the event.

Mean Taylor Swift GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

In all cases, I did something I am proud and surprised of, and showed reactions in a logical and cool way. In two out of three cases, I have got an apology. Not that this meant anything – it did not. Anyways. In all cases I did see that I can stand up for myself if the situation arises (honestly I do not get to experience this kind of shit and mistreatment often). But most importantly, this is how one loses respect for others.

I do not care about these people anymore, not more than just any other human being (they used to be close/respected colleagues).

Next time, I am sure I will be less willing to listen to them or speak to them.

I really do not care about their behavior and their problem.

I move on with my chin naturally lifted up without any effort….. (this is beautiful).

I just wished they did not go around and identify yet another good soul to mistreat.

Flowers Spring GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/editingandlayout-118BgDvP27VbSo;https://giphy.com/gifs/flowers-spring-6vg3kRY0Jk3Go

Sunday morning musings

Hello folks,

It has been sometime that I have engaged here. How could I stay away from blogging ???

πŸ™‚

The month of January went fast. Unbelievable. The other day I was telling a colleague of mine – do you also think that as we age the time goes by faster?

This is certainly my experience.

Dumb And Dumber Time GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/reaction-9u514UZd57mRhnBCEk

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 1st

My day has started early, at around 6 am. That makes it a quiet start to the day, which is very enjoyable.

It is January 1st.

It is 2020.

It sounds like a great year to me; I may have got a cold, sneezing and with runny nose, and having headache as a result, but new year is new year, and I am hopeful.

Do you also think that 2020 (twenty-twenty) looks and sounds full, energetic, hopeful, real, and soft to you?

Perhaps it will be a kind year. Perhaps we will finally have that world peace, a positive and global economy, perfect access to human rights, education and health care services we all deserve, and bounty of opportunities and positive experiences.

Who knows?

Hope is hope. There is a reason that hope has survived centuries – these may all happen.

Wishing all of us a great 2020.

Personal plans and excitement for 2020

It is the last day of the decade….

We are closing a year with all the happenings and entering into a new chapter in our lives with great expectations. This day deserves some closure on our emotional world and some new paths in our life directions.

While reflecting during the holiday season this year, I noticed that in terms of having plans for the new year, I felt like floating randomly rather than swimming in a direction towards where I want to land.

Was this a bad thing? A good thing?

Upon further reflection, I have seen that I have achieved quite a bit of what I wanted in the last years, and was maintaining these in my life as well. This meant that I did not need to have specific plans to integrate them in my life. These included my financial plans/savings, being resourceful, keeping hobbies (like books, baking) and work-productivity and all. I had a great job (even though stressful), a house (even though still paying off mortgage), a simple and effective life-style, and was constantly reflecting on life, myself, and my work. I was healthy and did not have a chronic health issue and such. In the book of many, these meant I had a good life.

So, eventually that sensation of floating turned out to be an indicator of a good thing πŸ™‚

It also meant that there were other things to change and improve in my life, I could work towards higher levels of satisfaction and meaning in life.

Eventually, my wishes and plans for my life from now on all came on the following four areas:

  1. Wellness and well-being
  2. Recognition
  3. Success
  4. Sorting out what is important and what is not

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  1. Wellness and well-being
  • I want to lose fat.

I am over-weight. I have always been, I guess. But this is getting a little bit our of hand.

My weight-related issues have controlled me and my life my entire life. I was fat. Ugly. Disgusting. Unwanted. Unliked. Unloved. I feel resentments towards those, including my own family members, that unknowingly sow the seeds of low-self esteem in me because of my weight, and making me resentful towards them.

I want to feel better about myself; I have that years of training – by both the family and society – that I can only be pretty if I am slim. I cannot shake this up. I believe that I will feel better, pretty, and confident if I lose weight.

A second and perhaps a less important motivation is health-related. I want to drop the extra fat so that my knees, back, and feet experience less pressure & less wear and tear. I want to feel strong and able for a very long time. With my lower back issues in the last 4 years and my feet/knee problems since this summer, it is becoming at an alarming level. I believe that it will also help with metabolic disorder – if I have that – and heart health should I lose 15% of my body weight. This is, my friends, 33 pounds.

They say that in order to accomplish a goal, it must be as specific as possible, have a time-line, and be measurable.

My timeline is a year from today; by the end of 2020 I plan to lose 33 pounds off my current body weight.

The plan for this?

I must just control my out eating; when I eat what I eat regularly I slowly lose weight. But when it is the holidays, there is a social, a trip, or visit to home, I eat and eat and eat. End result is gaining what I have been losing.

There must be a way to end this process.

I will also cut out wheat – I will try to bake breads using different flours and see whether this makes a difference. And will be drinking green tea. The rest can be pretty much like before.

  • Exercise, bone health, and supplements

I have been walking steadily almost every day, which is great. However, winter is here and it will be kind of difficult to walk on the icy weather. Nevertheless, I am determined to keep walking as much as I can. In addition to this, I re-introduced my in-home exercises during the holidays. They are light stretches and weight-training exercises, such as push-ups or lifting dumbbells. I also have back exercises that straighten my abs and back muscles. I can feel the sore muscles on my back, abs, and arms which tells me that these exercises, however, light they may be are working πŸ™‚

In terms of bone health – I must pay more attention to taking my Calcium supplement and drinking my milk. I have no hots for the milk, my friends. Yogurt is great, but not the milk. So, I do not know what else can be done, other than reminding myself to take my supplements.

I also have iron, vitamin Bs, and vitamin D supplements. I want to use them time to time, even though a regular use is not needed. Iron particularly may be needed as I am moving away from eating animal meat again. Vitamin D is great as it is the winter season and it helps absorption of Calcium.

 

Β Β Β  2. Recognition and 3. Success

I have been working very very hard and meticulously, and I have made lost of positive contributions to my field and work-place.

I rightfully now accept and welcome all the great recognitions, awards, thank you notes, and letters by my unit, institution, and national and international organizations. I also welcome and accept with open arms the success that I deserve, promotions, invitations, awards, acknowledgments, and all the other indicators of success that are a part of my line of profession.

I have no hesitation to welcome these.

2020 is that year – once again but in a very longtime now – that I lift my chin up with confidence, satisfaction, and pride & be excited about my work and my accomplishments.

 

Β Β Β  4. Sorting out what is important and what is not.

This is a must. Does it take minutes even hours to decide what gift to pick, what action to take next?

Both in my professional and personal life, I do find it increasingly difficult to confidently make decisions for no apparent reason.

I have no plan for this, other than to ask my self each time whether it is worth my energy, time, and mental efforts. I must remember that these are important too and should not be depleted so easily. Luckily, I picked a book yesterday just on this topic – I believe it will be helpful to me.

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With these and with love, I end this post. I wish all of you a great new year, my friends. May it bring to you whatever your kind heart desires and deserves.

Sweet 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An account of the holiday season – 2019

I have had a long and positive Holiday season this year. I had to work on Mondays and Fridays, but this did not prevent me from feeling relax and peaceful, and enjoying my life a little bit better.

Notable positive experiences include:

  • cleaning the house – which took three days but was worth every minute & huff and puff
  • decluttering and donating unwanted or unused items – which felt great. It was like many of the unnecessary burden have been lifted off my shoulder and my life was in order again. Highly recommended
  • visiting a sick friend – which felt great
  • purchasing some items from thrift stores that made my life brighter, easier, and enjoyable. Among them are a little night lamp that fit my bedroom so well, a food processor that I wanted to have for a very long time; now I can have carrot salad more often; a porcelain teapot that I have been trying to find for a few years to replace my current highly battered one; and several pots that are adorable and admirable – this is always a unique pleasure. I feel like I have got the best of pots from thrift stores
  • finding time to recuperate and feel less pressured and stressed; watching Netflix and enjoying my time; cooking wholesome food with pleasure now that I spend more time on my 1st floor thanks to the new TV and Netflix
  • having an account of the past year and entering the new year with hope, great plans, and determinism
  • reflecting on my relationship with my family

I feel lucky to be able to find the items that I have been looking for with such an affordable prices.

I feel great to have assesses my last past year and see how much I have accomplished.

I feel proud of having a routine more like a “normal life”.

I feel encouraged to make even further changes and improvements in my life.

These are all positives.

I feel, however, conflicted about the thoughts and feelings I am having on my relationships with my family members. At one hand, I love them so dearly. But on the other hand, I resent. I realize that I feel guilty for not being there with them and caring for them. This is especially true for the parents. This is not something new, but facing it that raw is.

I came to a point that it will be better for me to accept this guilt and move on. I have done my best to keep contact with my family and help whenever I can while also tried very hard to build a life for myself. Having a family somewhere else with expectations from me and frustrations about myself have always been nagging and dragging me down…. The more I sought for acceptance, I think the farther possibility it became. Or, it was always there, but I could never expect it and, hence, could not see it. Hard for me to know. But this explains why I always felt like not settling anywhere and feeling low self-esteem as a person. Family approval, believe or not, is so important in one’s development. But I am at an age (around half a century) where I can let go off this need, right?

Right.

As, I said earlier, it will be challenging to accept this guilt and end seeking approval from family and their consequences, but I must.

With these in my mind, I also have great plans and wishes for 2020. I plan to pen them later in the day.

I wish you all a great relationship with yourself, your family, and the world as a whole in 2020! πŸ™‚

random thoughts

It is a beautiful morning.

I am sipping my coffee with no rush, however, I have plans for the rest of the day. So I am alert.

First, I will donate the extra house and personal items I found in my home during the cleaning + decluttering saga last week. I plan to take the bus, which will be a challenge. But I will try.

Then I will shop at the same donation/thrift store. I need nothing particular but would love to see whether I can get a great item or two that I will love to have.

Then will come the book store. There is a book that I want to buy. I am hoping maybe it will be on sale this week. Who knows? Unless I check it..

Then I will go back to office for a short time. I did some work last week which I want to check and finalize. It is not supposed to take a long time, and knowing that that work will be done will feel awesome – cannot wait.

Then I am supposed to visit a sick colleague of mine. She is doing well now, recovering, which is great news. But I am invited and I will go. It feels good to be supporting someone in such a stage. I am looking for an elegant visit.

Then, I will find myself in front of the TV watching Netflix. Have I mentioned that I have got Netflix a week or two ago? Yes, I have! Man, what was I waiting for – it is amazing! It helps me empty my mind from the daily clutter of thoughts, spend more time in the living room, cook meals, and go to bed a little bit later than my usual 8-9pm ritual. These are all positive things so far, including going to bed late. I think it actually helps me with my insomnia – that I sleep well till later, say 8 am, rather than 5 am. A shift in the perception of insomnia. It helps πŸ™‚

Netflix means an extra cost in my monthly bills, but it is a great entertainment. So, for 11 bucks a month, nothing better comes to my mind. It was silly of me to think that I was saving money without it – but I know.

Some expenses are good expenses.

Have a great day friends – all and well.

A look at my 2019

I have had an interesting year, for sure.

I remember that at the beginning, I was frustrated with my family a lot and was ready to cool our relationship. Then, a dear family member of mine had a near-death experience, which made me re-think about my stupid frustrations. It was a very rocky and startling start to the new year…

I was working hard and stressed, and frustrated. On top of these, I also had developed insomnia, with 4-5 hours of sleep every night. There were toxic colleagues around, which made things worse. I knew I was going for a tough time, but also kept my hopes high. I took a couple of days off in mid-winter and did not even check my emails during this time. It was refreshing and one of the best decisions ever.

Then I went to visit my family and had a pleasant time with them. It was also quite relaxing for me. Since then I hardly have had insomnia.

Upon turning from this visit, I made important decisions. Two things have controlled me during my entire life – my weight and junk food. I decided to end both of these and take the control of my own life. I succeeded in refraining from junk food (almost 5 months now πŸ™‚ ), but my weight loss saga is far from a success. I am still determined, however.

I continued to work hard and got an international recognition mid Fall. This was one of the best feelings ever. I also took new roles and enjoyed them very much.

One of my most toxic colleagues has left my unit, leaving me with a sense of happiness and comfort.

I saved quite a bit of money, especially after quitting the junk food. It was amazing. My chequing account is now at the positive numbers, and I was even able to make a pre-payment order.

In so many ways, it has been a challenging year – personally and professionally. But I also see many positive developments in me; like taking time off from work, keeping my hope up, pursuing freedom from habits that drag me down, saving a good amount of money and appreciating my family better. I also see how lucky I am sometimes; the toxic people leaving my work environment is a blessing.

There are things, like weight loss, I must continue to work on. But I know I will. There is still a week till 2020 – this is the best time for me to formulate what I would like to change and improve/integrate in my life.

It is exciting πŸ™‚

Financial report 2019

It looks like it has been a great year.

I could save mostly in the second half of the year and boy, was it good πŸ™‚

  • My net worth increased around $62,000 in the last year. More than half of it is my investments and the return; as the markets have been doing good lately, this is reflected as a good increase in my overall net worth. Great πŸ™‚
  • I did not pay any mortgage pre-payments and it shows: I paid only $16,000 off my mortgage year. This feels very little, but nevertheless I am grateful for it πŸ™‚
  • My chequing account has increased to a healthy sum that I had aimed for; it feels amazing as I was hardly able to reach such a goal before. Amazing.. πŸ™‚
  • This being said; right after these calculations I put an order for my first pre-payment in the amount of $5,000 πŸ™‚ It will be in effect next week. This way, I will enter 2020 with less than 110K debt. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you πŸ™‚

I do not know you but we have less CPP contributions starting summers, so the winter means we get less of a salary and as a result, our savings are much less during the first half of the year. As also the power bill gets higher during winter, this translates into small accumulations. Kind of discouraging, but here is my plan which I hope will help me do well:

Continue the following practices:

  • taking the bus or walking, rather than taking the cab
  • continuing to take advantage of loyalty cards and occasional coupons
  • stocking up dry food and cleaning products when they are on sale
  • continuing to shop from thrift stores, especially clothes, trousers, house items, flower pots, and books
  • contributing the tax return, coupon and loyalty card savings, and anything else that comes extra or by luck to make a pre-mortgage payment. I am still not sure whether I will do these payments as I go, or at the end of the year.

My plan for the next year is to contribute $19,000 to RRSP/TFSA and save $5,000 as pre-payment, and have my chequing account increase by $5,000.

Wish me luck πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Year of 2020

I want to make 2020 a year for my own.

I want to be free in 2020 and have a normal life.

Self-centered and caring – these are what I want for myself.

First thing first; I want to break my routine; have a smart TV and Netflix subscription; eat different food; try fancy recipes; wear good quality outfit.

I also want to stop responding to emails at the weekend and helping others achieve at my own expense.

I want my energy to be spent on myself.

 

 

random thoughts

 

I have had three long and unproductive meetings in the last two days. As a result, once again I ask for a world without work meetings.

There.

I said it.

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I have seen a colleague of mine in one of these meetings. She and I hit off quite fast a few years back. Even though we do not see each other much, we seem to get along just fine. She told me today that she has been sick for sometime and she had quite worrisome days. We talked. Our approach to health problems are similar, so I understood her well and treated her the way I would like to be treated if I were in her shoes. As a result, she was relieved and happy, and so was I. And our friendship, thus, got stronger.

And that feels good.

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I have been trying to lose weight since August and I am not losing it…… What is going on, really? How do I reach that goal????

😦

Haaaalp!!!!

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By the way; those that waste my time with these meetings where I am not even needed, do me a favor and get out of my head. I would love to feel rather peaceful and hopeful tonite than remembering and getting annoyed by your memory.

So, here is a beautiful piece of music that just washes my palate and gives me positive vibes.

Good night friends.

 

 

random thoughts

I lack my regular excitement for the upcoming holidays.

Why?

Because I have not been anticipating.

It is true – anticipation of having or doing something makes it more exciting. I still have a week before my 2 weeks of time-off starts.

So I kind of hoping that I will develop that anticipation and, hence, the excitement of the holiday season!

What could be my plans and therefore anticipation items for the holidays?

Hmmmm….

 

1. As usual, I will analyze my spending in the last one year and calculate the savings and net-worth next week. This is exciting.

Planning for the next year will also be exciting. Are there any areas in my financial plan that can be expanded, changed, or improved? How can I save more money? Can I get a side gig and earn some extra money?

Good questions.

 

2. As usual – again, yes – I could look at my life style and implement healthy choices; better eating; more diverse food; losing weight; walking everyday; home-exercises, especially to strengthen my back, bones, and muscles

When can I make them permanent efforts?

 

3. New hobbies! I am getting interested in stained glass now – can I find a workshop on it?

Can be quite exciting πŸ™‚

 

4. Cleaning and decluttering the home – yay!!! My most consistent holiday season activity :((( Hah haa…. or Argh….

I love decluttering, but cleaning not so much. Often times it takes around a week to do this cleaning…… I also need to declutter my computer files and email…. Well. one thing at a time…

 

5. I sure would like to shop.

There are a couple of items I am eyeing now – a TV and stainless steel kettle being the two of them. I can also get some furniture for home, especially cabinets. I also would like some new pants and a purse. These last items may be easily found at the thrift store, which you know I am a regular customer of πŸ™‚ I have not been to the thrift stores for some time, so I am looking forward to this.

 

6. Reading books, visiting cafe houses, eating different foods, and reflecting on the year going by…..

Just stopping will be so good… So good…. There are so many things to be realized and appreciated once I manage to stop running from one task to other, from one plan to the next. Reflecting has always been one of my most cherished activities.

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Reflecting on 2019 and welcoming 2020 with hope, excitement, and love.

Hmmm.

.

.

Yes.

πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

all the good things – check

 

  • feeling awesome – check

Some very positive developments have been happening with me lately. They deserve to be inked here. The most important being less of a control freak and feeling less anxiety. I do not know what prompts this beautiful feeling; my worry journal that keeps me company during anxiety and soothes me? having a good sleep over and over? having a highly toxic co-worker being removed from my work-place? focusing on the positive achievements and moving into a productive new field?

I do not know. But I am feeling great really. Hope to feel like this continuously πŸ™‚

 

  • eating healthy food – check

I have eaten a lot for dinner, but this is alright. At least they were all healthy food. Especially the kale. I sauteed it with lots of onion and it was awesome. I decided that I can try it more regularly. After all, it is considered a highly powerful veggie. Could not be more excited.

Also, finally realized that the bagged apples were not the best apples. I often get them rot (3 lbs/bag) anyhow and they are not necessarily the crispiest ones, so what was my insistence of purchasing those apples? I bought bulk apples this week (5Β  of them) and enjoyed one of them at the office. It was juicy and lovely – my love for apples is being restored again. Come forward you the healthy fiber! πŸ™‚

 

  • working nice and easy – check

I had a productive day at the office. I had a trip last week for a couple of days. Change was truly healing. I enjoyed flying, even though it was tiring; staying at hotels; eating different foods, and meeting with new colleagues. We worked as a team during the trip, even though we met for the first time. It was a good experience for me as well. All is well in my professional life πŸ™‚

 

  • having the night to myself – check

Oh the sweet nights where the only thing I care about is writing my blog and listening to a nice piece of music. Priceless

 

The 4th day of the 4-day long weekend

I took Friday off and together with today – Remembrance Day in Canada – that means I was off for 4 days.

Yes, I have not worked much and did not go to office. I mostly spent my time at home, with the exceptions of a thrifting adventure on Friday and a short visit to Shoppers on Saturday to grab a couple of things.

I often plan for how I am going to dedicate my time during such breaks. I had not planned anything this time, and till this morning this had annoyed me – I had felt like wasting this wonderful opportunity of 4-days.

Well, it turns out it was okay. This morning I understood it finally. I was supposed to stop (duh) and just notice. Well, I noticed a couple of things, some through analyzing my dreams.

I have been in a transitional period of my life where I am moving towards great personal and professional experiences.

I dare more. I focus on great causes and roles. I slowly but steadily change and prioritize myself at work. I gain confidence. I achieve. And, I get satisfied and excited by myself and my work. Again – like in my youth. Amazing.

A new chapter is opening.

This give some peace and also makes me quite excited and hopeful about myself.

I believe my personal life will also be positively affected by these thoughts. My weight saga, for example. All my life my weight – or what it means for the society – controlled me, and made me self-conscious and lose self-esteem. I noticed that as long as I keep my own eating/diet, I slowly lose weight. I gain weight, however, when I eat outside of home or with others. For example, when I have lunch or dinners with others. When somebody treats me with a chocolate/cracker or anything else at the office. When I attend a committee meeting, which offers pizza. When I go visit my family – goodness – I eat so much there. And when I travel to other places.

As long as I keep my own eating/diet habits, I may be just fine. This is something to try!

I also believe that there is someone out there for me. Yes. It is interesting that I am opening to the idea of a relationship, at this age, at this time. But, that is what it is and I think I am completely over my heart-breaks & and those men whom I once loved. Hmmm.

πŸ™‚

I leave you with a wonderful album by Emma Shapplin. When I was a young student, this album was quite popular. I love it to date and am happy to share with you.

Maybe some of you remember it as well πŸ™‚

all the good things – check

It has been sometime that I have noted down my gratitude.

Believe or not, they are right when they say that “it is the little things in life that makes a difference.”

But more importantly, since there are so many “little things or experiences” that are available to us every single day that by just reminding ourselves them and by being grateful for them, it is possible to feel good without needing a huge life event, a lottery win, or a miracle.

Try it yourself πŸ™‚

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I am grateful;

  • for sleeping well and getting up without caring for what time it was – check

honestly, when was the last time you got up only you wanted to get up? For me the last few days were exceptions – other times I always had work to do, an office to go to,Β  house chores to do, a bus to catch, etc. It feels amazing to sleep knowing that you can get up whenever you want and when your body feels it just right

  • for enjoying my morning coffee – check

this drink is the best thing to smell in the morning!

  • for speaking to my family and my uncle, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer – check

my uncle sounds good. His wife sounds hopeful. Or, maybe they are just not aware of what this disease and its treatment course are like. They show little concern. Not sure this is just a visible mask they put on. Nevertheless, I enjoy seeing them upbeat and well. My own family, on the other hand, is quite demoralized by this diagnosis. I try to keep contact and support. One day at a time…

  • for walking and seeing the first flurries of the year – check

we always get the first snow around this time of the year πŸ™‚ I love that white fluffy stuff. It is such an innocent thing. Cannot wait for the first serious dump of snow πŸ™‚

  • for eating a healthy and hearty salad – check

I have eaten too much yesterday, with a lot of junk food…. this shows on my face, which is puffy. I know that I must be changing my relationship with food, especially with junk and easy food. When I am presented with food, I cannot help but eat. Not always, but you know, I am tempted. So even though I steadily and slowly lose weight in my own routine, whenever I travel, eat at airport or at professional meeting meals/snacks, go out for lunch or dinner with friends, am offered a treat at the office, or go out for shopping, I find myself either wanting to eat or eating. I am trying to be mindful of this pattern now.

  • for appreciating the moment and taking everything light and joyful – check

it is strangely beautiful that when you allow yourself to just do nothing and immerse yourself in the feeling of freedom (to do nothing), positive feelings start to fill your heart and mind. Everybody should take “freedom weekends” like these! I certainly must πŸ™‚

 

Have a great Saturday everyone!

 

 

 

 

1st day of a 4 day long-weekend

I slept and woke up thinking “I am free”.

I had no need to rush; no bus to catch; no meeting to get ready for; no stress to handle; no plan to follow.

I was free πŸ™‚

I enjoyed my coffee; responded to some emails; talked to family; and then took off to a thrift store.

I was lucky – I found a couple of adorable plant pots and a lovely blouse. All for 14 bucks – how come 14 bucks can make you so excited and happy πŸ™‚

Thrifting is exciting. I still am not completely comfortable with thrifting certain items or being seen while thrifting (I know, I know….), but the excitement of treasure hunting is real (where else can one find all very unique items at one place?) So is knowing that I am saving chokes of money (where else can one find great clothing, books, houseware, small furniture, fabric, purses and so on all so affordable?. Sometimes they are even unused..).

Later, I returned home, cleaned it, and cooked myself some meal. Tonite I will be joining some friends to celebrate the birthday of a friend. I am looking forward to it.

Tomorrow?

Well, tomorrow is another day. I have no plans, but will likely end up doing some house chores – like laundry. I really would like to, however, cuddle with a nice novel and drink some hot chocolate! πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend everyone πŸ™‚

 

 

Sunday musings

Hello everyone,

We have a gray and rainy Sunday today. I am nevertheless grateful that I have that day to myself.

I needed to work whole day yesterday at a work-place function. It was exciting at first but got tiring in the afternoon. I decided that I could take Friday off, in lieu of the Saturday. It immediately relieved some of my frustration and tiredness associated with working on a Saturday and limiting my time to recuperate.

I also noticed that this was unexpectedly good of me – to be taking care of myself in this way, by taking time off work. I am proud of myself. Looks like my work is not the most precious or prioritized part of my life anymore, and I care about my health!

Lovely indeed πŸ™‚

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The gray weather somehow combined with the clocks being taken 1 hour back today, makes it an extra gray day… Do you feel the same way?

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I am not a huge fan of early set evenings, but I must say that I am looking forward to having some early sun rise in the morning. This is because I mostly take the bus now and before 7 am or so, it is dark and it makes waiting in an open bus stop as a single female difficult and annoying; each car honking, each car slowing down while coming on my way, or each person walking on the street makes me quite aware of the possibility that an unwanted approach may happen much easier in the dark than in the light. It is not fun. But now that the daylight savings started, I may get to take even 6.30 am bus should I want it. This feels good πŸ™‚

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Have I mentioned that I have been back to my frugal self in the last three months, and I have saved quite a bit of money as a result? What a fantastic experience πŸ™‚

I cut my cab and junk food expenses, and voila – it shows very nicely in my purse and chequing account. It feels amazing to have a positive chequing account and not worried about loaning money to pay the credit card balance. I also feel like I will be able to make a pre-payment in late December – I am really am looking forward to this. I know that it will make me feel great about myself.

These being said, some weeks are better than others in terms of savings. Like this week. I have had unexpected expenses this week. A friend saw me walking on the road, picked me up, and offered to have dinner together. We enjoyed it very much but the money I needed to use to pay the bill – which was luckily divided into two – was something that I could rather spend on some necessary expenses, such as a hair cut. Also, I needed to shop and get some coffee and canned food this weekend. While on it, I also bought other items – of course – such as notebooks, stationary items, and whatever else I feel like I would need or enjoy. So, it is true that once you open the purse, it stays open!! For sure.

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Thus, the best to keep saving money is to keep the purse closed, except for those expenses that you know you will and budget for.

I hope to be able to do better in the coming weeks.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

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random thoughts

I have not written in a while.

I have a number posts started and then halted. They did not feel genuine enough. As if, what ever I would write would be just an automatic statement rather than me speaking. Who needs the dry facts and reports? Nobody. But we need conversations.

That is right.

Lots happened since I last posted here. Some good, some not so much, some just meh. Overall, I could say there are positive progress in how I manage things.

For one; I started to lightly delegate the tasks that I am not even supposed to do, but end up on my shoulder anyhow. Very, very light improvement, but quite significant. It feels right and I am happy with it.

Two; I did not work this past weekend, which is again amazing. I rather wanted to shop, see other places, and do things that excite me. Well done.

Three; I did get a professional award, which felt quite good! It is an international award which makes it extra sweet. I feel confident. Much confident and this is so well deserved.

Four; I realized that as long as I continue to react to, rather than manage or just ignore emotionally, the adversaries, I will find myself in the same stressed or over-whelmed state. So, I am head-butting some small challenges, rather than avoiding them. Maybe I will get de-sensitized. Maybe I will get crazy. But maybe I will just float with the situation while also making realistic decisions and taking realistic steps. We will see. This is a classical getting out of the comfort zone trial….

Fifth: I continue to be mortified by death and my own aging. Fearing death has been a recurring theme since my dad passed away. I do not want to die, as I do not know what it feels like, whether I would have strong regrets. Not having the people, or coffee, or plants, or anything else that I in fact love around myself… This feels like horrible to me…. Even though billion and billion of people and animals have experienced this since the dawn of times. I also feel like I have wasted my life as I am now close to 50 and my hair is silver gray. Somethings cannot be done anymore. Some looks cannot be had. There are regrets. There are “what is it that I am missing today?” feelings. This one will require me some reflection and acceptance…..

Death anxiety? Middle age crisis?

Both are real.

So, let’s honour this sweet moment of life and peaceful evening.

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all the not so good things

Life is not all about feeling the positive, right?

Sometimes we must also face the sad, negative side of it.

Especially if it relates to people we care about.

Looks like my great uncle has been diagnosed with cancer. He will visit a specialist this week.

It broke my heart as he has been an important figure in my life. But I also know that he will be fine – he is in good health otherwise and has no other comorbidity. My family is experienced with cancer diagnosis and treatment, so is providing support, information, and access to specialists.

However, I also have a family member who has psychological issues when it comes to cancer and cannot handle this well . She supports my uncle and his family, but she is bored and down. Hope she will find a way to move to a better mental state soon.

I am here and away, and cannot do much other than thinking about and calling people.

Life is… well, life is brutal sometimes.

I am positive that my uncle will thwart this off with proper medical care. I am grateful for feeling this way and believing this full-heartedly.

Love – hate relationships

I have a few love – hate relationships that make me crazy.

I love my family and then they break my heart and here I am, fuming about them whole day and thinking about not calling them tomorrow!

I love my profession and then somebody or many-bodies leave their work to me, do not appreciate my meticulous and hard-work, or try to manipulate or use me, and here I am, complaining about them and almost resigning from my post!

I love my home country and then something happens, and here I am, thinking that it would not hurt to hear negative things about it or defend it if I had not loved it so much, and here I am wishing I had not loved it. But the truth is that this love is the strongest one. The love for the homeland.

I think the philosophers (or was it psychologists?) were right that it hurts if you care. Detachment is the path to happiness.

If only I could.

 

random thoughts

It has been sometime, folks.

I have been busy preparing a dossier that took longer than I imagined. For a person who is well-organized and well-prepared for such tasks (often times way before), this was interesting. The good thing is that I have two more days after which I will be done with this blessed and important dossier, and I will move on πŸ™‚

Somethings are going well in my life. For example, since my vacation In Iune-July, I did not experience anxiety just yet. Thank goodness for this. I am not highly stressed and I continue to work well. I spend quite a lot of time at the office now, rather than home office. My love and interest for plants are continuing, so is my interest for thrifting πŸ™‚ I also walk everyday, in the afternoons. It is beautiful.

Some other things are going without much of a progress. I still have not lost weight. I am eating much less carb and more protein than before, yet I do not see much of a difference in the scale. My carb cravings get strong sometime, but other than this it seems to be manageable.

I look old, considerably older than a few months ago. And knowing that this may not be true; that is, one cannot age so fast in such a short time, I decided today that it must be the style, not the gray hair or aging. I am getting a hair cut, preferably on Friday when I will be done with my blessed and important dossier. What a nice finish to this weeks-long run that I have had while preparing this file πŸ™‚

My friends; I missed blogging. I am refraining from checking the date of my last post – was it longer than a month??? By the way, WordPress sent me notification congratulating my 5th year with them. What? 5 years ago I opened this blog, did I? Wow… I remember that I was not active at first, maybe months, maybe a year, but then I had picked up.

4-5 years is a long time. I am glad I am here, I am blogging, and I have blog connections that I cherish. Thank you all for being a part of this experience πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

give me one reason…

Give me one reason to not eat junk food NOW!!!

It has been a week (today is the 7th day) that I refrain from eating it, and boy, do I crave?

DO… I… CRAVE..?

I crave like crazy – especially at around noon/afternoon.

I somehow manage it in the evenings (by eating healthier food). But the office cravings are sickening me, and making me want to go to the nearest convenience store and purchase bags and packs of junk food.

Will the cravings ever get better before I quit and start eating it again?

Because I can quit RIGHT NOW!!!!

Argh.

 

random thoughts

After a couple of days with temps around 30C, I welcome the cooler and slightly rainy today πŸ™‚

I continue to sleep well – the last 2 weeks since my vacation. I hope it will continue like this for ever. I really do! Insomnia and waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep have been such a recurring and annoying theme, in the last year particularly… I am grateful for the comfortable and easy sleep I have in the last while.

This is the 5th day that I gave up junk food (yes, again. I am trying again).Β  It is hard. Very hard. I know after a few weeks, I will get used to living without them, but the first days are the hardest – especially at around noon. Then, I crave for them. Yesterday and today were particularly difficult. I believe with each day it will get better, but goodness, is there a medication or something like that to get rid of the cravings!!!

It is quite a mental judo. But, I want to be in control of my life and quitting junk food is one the ways to do it. The second one is to lose weight. Interestingly junk food addiction and weight gain are linked, right?

Right.

And both of them have been a struggle for years (or decades). They both made me feel dissatisfied/angry with myself and with my life. Five days ago I decided that I wanted to remove these from my life, be content with myself, and take control of my life back. Do you think I can do these?

No more junk food (how am I going to “gift” myself when I am stressed or want to enjoy my moment?), eating better and cooking at home (I actually do this and enjoy it as long as I have time), looking better with better outfit (yes, I want to buy new ones as soon as I start losing weight; I have not updated my wardrobe in the last while) and a better hair cut (boy, I love my hair but it really does not look good in this humid weather. I want a short, modern cut that I will wear with love and confidence), and feeling more confident and self-pleased as a result.

I really want to do these, but it is hard, especially with the cravings I have for junk food during the afternoon.

I have little confidence in me that I will get over these and reach my objectives, but hey, maybe I am in a lucky period of time.

 

 

random thoughts on a random evening

I do not even know what I will write in this post πŸ™‚

Here I go.

Today has been a good day. It was bright and warm. I worked till noon at the office, taking care of a number of critical things. Then I walked back home (grateful for this decision of mine) and started a new a highly critical work. It went really well till now and I am quite pleased with my performance. Home office works for me πŸ™‚

I do not know how my colleagues interpret my absence from the work office… I sometimes hear things that make me nervous. Once my boss asked why I was mostly absent from the office. It was a couple of years back. The question was careful but made me feel defensive and nervous. I may be the only one who appreciates this opportunity to utilize the home office. I made a mental note to talk more about it. One last thing I want is its working against me. I do so much better at the home office and feel so much better..

I found a chance to chat with my neighbours and it was quite pleasant as well. It is so important to have good neighbours… I am one of the lucky bunch indeed. This is a very satisfying and exciting thought – I am grateful for this as well. If you have good neighbours, go appreciate them as well as yourself – they would not be so good to you unless you were good to them.

It is warm at nights, but it is manageable. I know how hard it can be to sleep at temps above 25C. I could not be happier in this regard. It is great not to need and AC. I am grateful for this as well.

I want to go back to walking. I have been walking almost everyday from office to home, at least. This makes me feel good about myself. I must admit that sometimes it is difficult – I find myself at the bus stop so easily. How do I make the decision to rather walk? Habit? Not wanting to wait for the bus? Finding a chance to relax my mind while walking? Any of them can be quite powerful. The end result, walking, is the best, but I wonder how I make my decisions?

I am such a habit-person, who has a routine and sticks to it; my work days are ordered, so are the weekends. Anything different that needs to be done requires most often a prior planning… Sometimes this is great, sometimes it makes me bored – especially when all of a sudden I find some time at my hand. Dilemma….

Anyways; other good things include eating apple at the office (very healthy), giving away a couple of more succulents to a colleague (always a pleasure to spread the love of plants), having a dinner with home-made chickpea meal and sourdough (yummy), and taking this time and evening to just relax.

It turned out to be more like a joy journal entry, but I am pleased what went through my mind while writing this post πŸ™‚

 

 

Sunday Morning Musings

A beautiful, sunny and warm day!

The day started with thanking all the nice things in my life and enjoying the nature from the back yard. Trees are tall and healthy; bees (or wasps) are around; flowers are dancing with the breeze; sourdough loaf is shaping in the bowl; coffee is brewing in the french press….

Happiness πŸ™‚

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all the good things – check

I have not drafted any joy journal entries in the last few months. This feels weird…

I often do this exercise to remind myself about the beautiful and nice things and experiences I have had during the day – this immediately lifts my mood. Hence, especially when I need to feel better, it is one of the things that helps me. Today, however, I am writing this entry to share the things and experiences that make me feel excited, happy, and elated!

All the good things:

  • sleeping well, safe and sound – check!
  • waking up early, taking my time to get ready, and taking the bus – check

getting up early gives me the freedom to go to office early and do work without any distraction. I am very pleased with this habit (which is newly formed in the last year or so). Taking the bus is great as it helps with my financial plans by saving money. Lovely πŸ™‚

  • walking back to home in the afternoon – check

I have been walking in the last two days. It relaxes me and it is so good for my body; bone, heart, cardiovascular health, etc. I know that it will also help me lose weight. I am grateful to be able to do this

  • enjoying the great cool but bright day – check

We have a cool summer here this year. I do not complain as someone who just came back from vacation from somewhere with a sunny and warm climate. Cool weather (around 18 – 23 C) is the best for me to function. I am happy with this year’s summer!

  • eating a healthy meal at home with raw radish as salad – check

radish is one miracle food for me. It helps me feeling better and with my digestion. I believe it also helps with my blood sugar levels, and as such, helps control my appetite. I love it πŸ™‚

  • realizing that there are too many things to do at work and as such getting a little bit stressed and organized – check

this is a good type of stress that drives me to do what needs to be done smoothly and effectively. After dealing with a couple of things in the evening that are urgent, I now feel much accomplished and less-stressed πŸ™‚

  • taking time to reflect on all the positive things in my life and profession, and being content with them – check
  • opening a new box of a hand soap with a wonderful scent – check
  • drinking a tall glass of milk – check

it is good for my bone health and my doctor recommends taking the Calcium supplements and drinking milk interchangeably to help with my bone density. Will do! πŸ™‚

  • accepting an invitation for a committee membership by a national organization – check

great for my development and to help demonstrate my organization my valuable contributions to other organizations πŸ™‚ Score!

  • taking things easy generally – check

even for a short time, to be able to approach life and especially my work with such a mind-frame is a huge success and blessing! I will savor this feeling as much as I can πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

Life-related objectives following a vacation

I just returned back from a family visit – it was great!

I found a chance to see my family and friends, and I have had a great time. Food, conversations, and visited places were all awesome. I am glad I have done this trip!

I also found a chance to stay away from work, especially in the last half of the vacation. I did not access and respond to emails, which was a blessing! I like this improvement in my approach to work.

My work-induced stress levels were down to zero as soon as I stepped on the plane. I still feel positive and relax. I hope to be able to respond to work related feelings and pressures better. I want to convince myself that I can do this.

One of the best things about having a break from the routine and engage in activities and thoughts that are different than what I usually have (mostly work related issues) is that it is a good opportunity to formulate new plans to remove the negativity of the past activities and have a chance to improve things that do not go so well. Today is a good day to do these:

Aims related to personal life:

1. Going back to frugal and abundant life-style.

I have been quite successful with this a couple of years back and then I broke it with junk food and can-fare expenses… I want to go back to that as of today.

My specific aims are:

  • to spend no more than 100 bucks a week on grocery and other needs (cleaning products, personal care products, etc.). This does not include medication and health-care related expenses (e.g. physiotherapy)
  • to utilize what I already have (dried food, frozen food, etc) to reduce my food cost, while not sacrificing from healthy and diverse food
  • to have another shopping freeze for flower pots, shoes/clothes, books (occasional ones are okay) and furniture
  • to keep all other frugal activities I already have (e.g. use of coupons/discounts, points, etc.) to maximize the value of my money
  • not to make any pre-payments unless an unexpected sum of money finds my way. This is to ensure that my chequing account will remain at a healthy level. I feel quite strongly about this because when it dips, first I pay extra money to the bank each month, and second, it makes me feel like I am in a financial crisis – not a great feeling
  • to eat the food that I have in the freezer and pantry (I have a lot of dried legumes/beans/rice that are waiting to be enjoyed)
  • to save around 7K bucks till December
  • to make a prepayment in December with the money I will save till then while also keeping around 5K in my chequeing account. This is an ambitious but doable aim. I feel like this will give me the best motivation to move forward and keep my frugal spending habits.

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2. Having a healthier body and weight

I have gained quite a bit of weight this year and its negative effects on my health were noticeable during my vacation: my feet ached a lot, my back gave me trouble (twice I have had my back pain/sciatica – they were minor compared to last year, but still I did not like having two episodes in a short time…).

I am aware of two reasons as to why I have gained weight this year: I did not walk as much as I did in the past years (I used to walk from office everyday – rain or shine) and I ate quite unhealthy food (pizzas and prepared food…). I still have two boxes of frozen pizza and some frozen, pre-made dinners in my freezer. I will consume them as well but with the understanding that my priority will be not to purchase them anymore so that I can eat better.

Thus, my specific aims are:

  • not to buy any pizzas or other prepared meals
  • to eat at least 6 different food (veggies, fruits, or dried food) every week
  • to cook meals at least 3 nights a week (I often consume them in two-three days)
  • to eat apples everyday at the office and to continue to eat carrots and radishes that I love so much (for some reason, these veggies made me feel much better and help me lose weight at the same time)
  • whenever feasible, to walk in the morning to office and in the afternoon from the office (this will help me feel great, lose weight, and also save from the transportation – win-win situation!)
  • to shop at the farmers’ market to have fresh local and affordable food
  • to keep take my calcium supplements and drink milk to keep my bones healthy
  • to re-start doing my back exercises to help strengthen my abs and my back muscles
  • to do light weight-lifting at home to keep my muscles and my bones healthy and strong

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3. Heaving a healthier mind and higher quality of life

I wish not to have stress and anxiety to my best anymore…. Work-related stress, sleep problems, and problems related to relations with the colleagues have hit the ceiling last couple of years… I am better at managing my anxiety by means of the worry journal exercise. But in terms of stress management I have not been much successful.

Hence, my specific aims are:

  • to walk everyday, to eat a healthier diet, and to exercise whenever I can find a chance to provide myself a healthier, nourishing way of life
  • to rest everyday. This I noticed is quite important for my stress levels. Whenever I am tired, I noticed I feel more pressurized and over-react as a result
  • to not access the emails in the evenings and the weekends, unless I have a good reason to do so
  • to take things a little bit lighter and not to react to problems when I am anxious or panicky
  • to trust the life and people around me a little bit more
  • to stop thinking that I am the only person who can do things well and on time. This is one of the main reasons that I feel resentment towards people I work with. Often times I have a good reason to think that the work is not done well and corrections/my involvement is needed. However, this also makes me over-work and over-stressed… Perhaps it is time to lower my standards without harming the quality of the work. I can also take it easy with relations. I can be more tolerant and less assuming… (wish me luck with this one. It is hard…. but I must do this)
  • to make it priority to feel calm at the office
  • to feel confident that I have solved many issues in the past and I can do so now and in the future as well. I must remind myself this everyday, especially when I face of an issue
  • to integrate a new walking route or an activity in my life over time – whether this would be going to theaters/shows, visiting a cafe on a Saturday morning, or reading about an entirely new topic does not matter. Something useful and enjoyable!
  • to continue to read my daily affirmations first thing in the morning to set my intentions for the day for the better

For example:

I am calm and can take care of any of the work-related issues easily

I am confident and successful

I have great work-relationships with everyone I see today

I am known by my high quality and meticulous work and I am respected for these

I am kind to everyone I meet today, especially, myself

I have time to do my work

Today has all the opportunities and beauties I may need

I welcome and appreciate the opportunities life can offer me

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Have a great Sunday everyone!

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Sunday musings

Happy Sunday everyone!

With the sourdough loaf being in the oven and giving all the beautiful scents and feelings, I am ready to enjoy my day.

Today, I am not working. The weird thing about this is that I am bored. I have alternatives, of course – such as, visiting a cafe and enjoying a nice cup of tea and a pastry, or visiting a bookstore and browsing the shelves. Yet, these are not appealing to me right now. So, I stay in.

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My TV is on. There is a movie with Meghan Markle in one of the leading roles. It feels weird and somehow exciting as well that her life is completely changed lately. The love she has found, the changes in her social status and obligations, and motherhood. She is a good example of how our lives can change from one moment to other. I wonder when the last time my life has had such an interesting twist…..

There is something boring about doing the same thing over and over – working hard and long, taking the same bus everyday, dealing with varying but constant issues and stress at work, shopping from the same grocery store week after week, and eating the same food. It is equally boring to find no new activity or experience to enrich my life experiences.

I have no solution to this. Simple and smoothly running life at one hand, and lack of stimulus and excitement at the other hand. We all have similar choices in life I guess.

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The little things in life that gives me joy are there. I still enjoy my plants, the awakening in nature with the arrival of Spring, and having a safe and comfortable life. Asking for more may sound like being ignorant to the realities of life and being ungrateful. Where do we draw this line and when do we need to jump over the line to the other side? Million dollar question.

I have read many times in the past about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Simply put, it says that in order to move up our activities and priorities, we must first satisfy the basic needs (such as shelter, food, etc.). I think this applies to my life and I am intrigued to see what my next level of needs will be. But first I must stabilize my mental health.

I am happy to say that my anxiety levels are very manageable and even sometimes non-existent. Yet time to time I experience it nevertheless, which makes me feel like my efforts in this area should continue. With this in my mind, I am cautious to move up along my priorities, but I am also continuing to develop into new areas at work. I just wished that I had showed the same interest in my daily personal life and make it a priority to develop my inner world and experiences. Once I have started this, I know that I will have a much satisfying and exciting life, yet its time has not arrived yet. I dislike the fact that my work takes up the majority of my efforts and thoughts. I wonder why I care about it that much?

Mostly because of the stress it gives me and the feeling I have that I can do much better, bigger impacts should I have had a different work environment or position, I long for my retirement. The earliest I can get entitled to retirement is 6 years later. It will not be a great income at that time and later, but at least I will have the freedom to leave this position and explore other things in life. I also will have to keep working to get income. But I do not really worry about it. I hope that life will be on my side and give me a peaceful and comfortable retirement, where I will also have a chance to reach the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy – Self-actualization.

 

 

 

random thoughts at a random moment of life

Are you one of those persons who would feel thrill and satisfaction by the number of work/tasks done?

I certainly am.

What a waste of precious moments of life…..

I try to remind myself that life is bigger than what I occupy myself with – work, work, work-related issues, stress, and success (eventually). It is such a high octave thing that takes almost all of my focus and leave almost nothing for the rest. Like myself, family, or friends.

Doing nothing seems like something that can connect me back to life.

Just for tonite, I stop listing all the work I have done or will do tomorrow. And focus on doing nothing – how about that?

Let’s see whether I can succeed in this as well.