my worry journal practice

I have been looking for doing something different the other day and I found a book of mine about worrying. I have had the book for over 4 years. I had forgotten it existence.

One of the things this book suggests (the author, to be exact) is to have a worry journal where you jot down whatever goes through your mind during the episode. By analyzing and logically facing the situation/thought that creates the worry, instantly it helps with the feelings. I have been trying it for two days now and I carry a little journal with me. It is amazing how fast it fills, but not everything is negative. I happen to also note down potential solutions and how well I can take things.

Today and yesterday I have had 2 worrisome thought trains each day. They are separate issues and mostly related to work. My worries, as they seem so far, happen both at home and at the office. Most of the time, they are logically manageable. They also humble me and help me develop/remember compassion not only towards myself but others. Writing helps see and materializes these.

I like the fact that I am looking for ways to make my life and mental health better. I love the fact that so far this practice has been going well and useful. I hope to be able to see the patterns over time should I continue to keep journaling.

One of the ideas of this practice is also to identify the triggers and noticing body sensations. I for the first time noticed how faster my heart pounds when I go through a worrisome state.

Another way to deal with worries, this book suggests, is to have a “worry space”. There is an example in the book about a lady who chose a fire escape at the work place for this purpose. By attaching this particular place with the worrying, the lady was eventually able to not worry outside of this place. Is this not wonderful?

Not everything is dark. There are positive things happening at the same time, if we just can look at the situation with a logical, but not emotional mind. It is not easy or possible all the time, but it is worth giving it a try.

The book’s title is “The Worrywart’s Companion”. The author is Dr. Beverly Potter.

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benefits of the day

Today is a good day, surprisingly. I do not know whether it helped to sleep till 10 am. A first in a very long time, and a very welcome change.

I tried a new thing and baked my sourdough directly without proofing after an over night rise. Surprisingly, it turned out to be just awesome. I usually would not try such risky stuff if I have an established system, but today I did not care much and gave it a try. This experience tells me that sometimes not caring much help find new and easier ways. I like this.

I have glanced at a book or two today. It seems I am not in the mood to hear what others are saying (that should be okay). But one thing I like reading was the dominance of mind over our lives, which makes us disconnected to our heart’s desires.

I cannot fully interpret this right now, but I know that my mind is quite analytical and likes structure and logic, yet not everything in life works this way and a little bit thinking out of the mind’s box would help. This is where my heart, or this deep down, no matter what loving, nurturing, and supportive part of me, comes into play. As a matter of fact just the adjectives that I use to define it tell all. Heart is here all the time, and when not shut down by the always thinking mind, may provide me with the wisdom, emotions, and support I need most. I do not know how to do this right now. But at least knowing that I in fact have this natural resource with me gives me hope and excitement.

Another thing was reading something about finding a “balance” in life. One of my colleagues, whenever she sees me tired and stressed, recommends me about “having a balance”. I hate to hear about it as I cannot have a balance between work and my daily life. Yet, today I felt better about it. For some reason, I realized that I do not want to react to having no life-work balance, but when I need a break, then I can let myself have that “balance”. This would mean that I would not be feeling bad about resting or taking a break, or enjoying the moment or the day, even in the midst of the hard-work and pressuring deadlines. Giving myself this right feels pretty empowering today. It is not about “finding” it anymore.

One more positive thing: I cooked for myself and had a decent meal as dinner. Don’t you love it when you take time for your own enjoyment and self-care?

Have a great Sunday night everyone.

 

 

 

Reference letter for myself

I wrote three new reference letters for my past team members or a new colleagues in the month of January. I have said so many wonderful things about these three people that it was incredibly positive and joyful experience. Nevertheless, I wish that noone else asks me to write a reference letter anytime soon, as it takes time to be write these letters and I desperately need my time for myself.

The book that I purchased in the weekend had a section about self-esteem where the author suggested that we say things about ourselves like we would say for others. What a great idea!

Why did I not think about this before??

I start writing a reference letter for myself tonite. It is gonna be long, but hey, we will go through it like a champ!

🙂

 

holidays diary – Day 11

New Year is here – welcome 2019.

I am very indifferent, as you can see. I slept around 10pm last night and woke up not so enthusiastic about the day or the year, or anything else for that matter. My moody mood continues.

Anyways; I worked today as well. I did not have anything better to do – everywhere is closed. In the afternoon, I called my family for a quick chat and then focused on finding a good book to read. I reviewed maybe 10 books before I finally found one that clicked. It is by an author who has a highly demanding job and she says all the things I want to hear or see; she says what seems unbalanced for many maybe your balance (true – I prioritize work to reach my goals, so I work hard and long. Even I got in to thinking “I should have a balance” trap, but why should I? Nothing I do is something that will keep me from my goals (except those that are somebody else’s responsibility, which I need to shoulder to keep work going). Rather, I work hard to reach my own goals the majority of the time.

Why should I complain about this? Why should I feel tired about this? Why should I feel frustrated about this? Why on earth should i feel negative about this????

My attitude is not right. Hmmm. Will seriously consider to change this around.

Never fall into the trap of believing in somebody else’s truth – find and own your own truth. That is the lesson I have learnt by reading this book today.

Funny thing is that I had this book for many years. I am glad I did not give it away. Today was its time to mean something for me. Well done.

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I must work and finish things, but I think tomorrow I will rather enjoy my life. I am thinking about going to thrift stores tomorrow. I will look for books and extra-ordinary/unusual pots. It is always fun to be able to look for these items and exciting to bring one home. I do not need to spend a lot of time. I certainly do not need any of these, but I would love to enjoy my life for another day, without thinking about the 5-10 bucks I work so hard to earn. Considering that I spend around 5K each year to visit my family (yes, I am still angry with them), I think this amount of money I spend on myself is very minimal. And, I deserve what my money can buy for me.

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I am in a frugal and minimalistic budget again, which is great. My plan, my very ambitious plan, is to be able to save 500 bucks from my every pay cheque – this is after RRSP and TFSA contributions. I know it is not realistic; last year I tried the same, but I was not able to save more than 400 bucks at a time, and often times I was able to save around 200-300 bucks. Nevertheless, it is okay to ask for and it is okay to hope. 

I hope 2019 is treating you with Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation.

 

 

 

Saturday morning musings

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

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

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

The following certainly does not apply to me 🙂

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I think three things influenced this change:

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday morning musings

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

Somethings can help:

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and

 

 

Go lose yourself 🙂

 

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start of the “work staycation”

I am taking the next week off to work. Am I funny or what?? 🙂 

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

My plans are as follows for the next 9 days:

Work:

3 documents to develop and/or finalize

2 speeches to finalize

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

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Personal life and home:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a great Friday night everyone!

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random thoughts

It has been a long and productive day. If you are like me and have a busy work, please make it a priority to have no meeting or other commitments for at least 2 days a week. Do what is important for you and your work in those days. Nice and easy. And enjoy being independent of others and free of distractions.

I recently started this prioritization and benefiting quite a bit of it. I am also planning to remove further unnecessary tasks, commitments, and activities from my calendar now. We must care for ourselves if we want to be happy with our own performance, and helpful to others. After many decades of reading about time-management, I am curious why now I have come up with this plan for myself. I must have had it…. I am glad I have had it because this is working for me.  

I was bored of being home early (around 5 pm) so I thought I would either sew something or read a book. I oped out for a book and guess what? I re-started reading The Class of Kings, the second book in the A Game of Thrones book series of GRRM. Boy, it has been a year that I left it in the middle as it is one of the most boring book I have ever seen. Would you, would I expect this from this series? Noooo… But it is so true – officially this is one boring book. I have been told that if I can finish it and move on with the third book, things would get better. So let’s hope that will turn out to be true for me. All these things I have done for the Jamie Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Sansa and Arya Stark, and Tyrion Lannister :))))

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Weather-wise, we continue to have snow and rain and everything else in between. Those of you who have sunshine, blue skies, and warm temperature, please take a moment to reflect how lucky you are. You really are lucky 🙂

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joy journal – April 1, 2017

There I am – writing to my joy journal again today 🙂 

It is because in the last one hour or so, I started to feel a lot better. I was reading one of my self-help books that opened my eyes again. The message is that “the more you dwell in negative experiences, thoughts, and emotions, the more they are pronounced in your life.”

How true.

I knew it. Yet, I needed to be reminded it. 

The opposite is also true – the more we dwell in positive experiences, thoughts, and emotions, the more they are pronounced in our lives. I realized that while I am scared of being fired, I actually have no reason to be fired – I am productive, creative, and very well contributing to all aspects of my organization, as expected from me. So why do I have this negative self-suspicion about my own worth? I am worth it; I deserve this job as much as anyone else, even sometimes more than many. I should start pushing away my inner critique and other poisonous people around me.

Very well.

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1. I am grateful that I have not given away the book that I am reading when I decluttered my books last year 🙂  This is a book that I bought in 2015 and it seems timeless and very beneficial for me. Thank you whoever wrote, published, distributed, and sold it.

2. I am grateful for waking up early this morning, around 7.45 am. Quite early and that means the day is long and opportunities are limitless 🙂

3. I am grateful for the coffee I brew at home and enjoying it. I like my morning routines – coffee, browsing the news, and checking the emails before I start doing more serious work. Lovely routine 🙂

4. I am grateful for cleaning my home and doing the laundry. This is my Saturday routine and it works well with me. I am lucky that cleaning my home is usually very easy and does not take much time or effort.

5. I am grateful for speaking with my mom and sister and having lots of laughter. I told them what one of my co-workers said to me this week. I was having a stressful and defensive conversation about something that negatively affected both of us and my co-worker said ” life is so big“. He did not continue but when I heard what he said, I knew how I interpreted it “life is so big and this is such a small issue. Like a little point in the entire universe“. What a beautiful thing to say!  Visualizing this little point in a big circle puts everything in a realistic context for me and many little issues lose their importance right away (do you want to give it a try? – see below).

 

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look at this beautiful upbeat life symbolized by the circle and the small “issue” symbolized with the dot; is it really worth focusing on it so much while there are so many other “points” in life? What is this dot’s worth really when compared to the whole life?

6. I am grateful for taking the bus and going to a mall. I broke the frame of my eye glasses and luckily could find the same frame. All I need to do is now to have the glasses fit in a store.

7. I am grateful for buying canned fish (that I snack at the office), personal care products, and canola oil from a store today.

8. I am grateful for preparing two dough today; one sourdough and one commercial yeast dough. Tomorrow I plan to bake 4 mid-size loaves; two for myself (the sourdough) and two plain bread; one for my neighbor and one for a colleague of mine. It was too much trying to deal with both of the dough at the same time, but both are looking very strong and it will be exciting to see them in the morning all fluffy and risen 🙂

9. I am grateful for the healthy meals I have had today; I did not eat for breakfast, but I have had beans and rice for lunch and quinoa salad with greens and turnips in the evening. The fact that I eat a variety of food that are usually prepared in a healthy way (e.g. not fried or so) should be credited for. I should credit and appreciate myself for these healthy choices.

10. I am grateful for consuming up quinoa! My goodness, I am not buying it again. Such a tasteless and expensive grain. Good bye! 🙂

11. I am grateful for trying to fix a collar that I messed up a while ago. Basically I wanted to see whether a binding tape could make it better and it looks like it is not a bad idea. I just need to make sure to stretch it a little bit so that the collar will hold itself well. This is a progress – there is hope, my friends! I will make it! One day! 🙂

12. I am grateful for having lots of smiles on my face this evening 🙂

13. I am grateful for feeling a lot better today; very positive, and content. Even a little bit silly but yes, I am feeling good and this feels fantastic. Feeling good is a birthright – even though I am guilty of being a perfectionist and a worrying type of person, and thus, usually not feeling good. This being said, it does not mean that I do not enjoy and appreciate it when I feel great. This evening is such an evening. After feeling down for a long time, and dealing with one issue after the other since new year, I take this opportunity to breathe well and put a smile on my face. Till next time.

14. I am grateful for having the night to myself and tomorrow. Tomorrow my plan is to get up early again and walk to a store to get milk and eggs. Then I will bake my breads and a cauliflower dish. I also would like to try another neck line to improve my skills. Yes – sounds like a good Sunday 🙂

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I appreciate myself for the followings today:

  1. I appreciate myself for being healthy
  2. I appreciate myself for having books and benefiting from them
  3. I appreciate myself for re-realizing my worth and the great things about myself
  4. I appreciate myself for taking excellent steps to ensure that I eat nutritious and healthy food
  5. I appreciate myself for not having expensive hobbies or wants
  6. I appreciate myself for constantly expanding my understanding about myself and life
  7. I appreciate myself for smiling 
  8. I appreciate myself for not making unnecessary expenses today
  9. I appreciate myself for being lighter today than yesterday (by one pound)
  10. I appreciate myself for laughing together with my family today

Excitement

Excitement…

Excitement is an integral part of life, is it not?

I feel much better and energized when I am excited about something. Maybe it is my saving and budgeting efforts. Maybe getting stuff on sale with really good deals. Maybe it is baking a great bread and making plans for the next ones. Maybe it is walking in the mornings or finding a great book every once a while. Maybe it is accomplishing something at work, working efficiently, and getting good news/recognition. Maybe it is the nice weather and awakening of the nature with the coming of Spring. Maybe it is the coming vacation to be spent with my family. Maybe it is blogging and knowing that I am a part of a meaningful, informative, and supportive community.

Whatever it is, I increasingly realize that excitement is a good thing for me.

My budget has always excited me, occupied my mind with its ups and downs, and with its progressive and nowadays stable nature. To tell you the truth now that I am spending much less than before, and know and apply saving strategies that work for me, I am not as excited about it as before. OK….

Books still excite me, but I have got used to be on shopping ban for them and the fact that I have many books at home to be read, including the GRMM’s A Song of Ice and Fire, I am not really excited by the idea of buying books. The only book I can buy is about how to make bread – that is all. And I guess I will wait till my vacation to buy one or two.

Work has been exciting today as I could work efficiently and with less than regular distraction. I am moving a good project and that feels good. Also, my colleague from yesterday and I interacted quite positively today, which removes any stress about our potential conflict. All to be grateful for and yes I am excited about these.

I do not wish to walk in the mornings nowadays and I am okay with this. I know when I feel so, I will walk. I am not pressuring myself and I kind of take it as it happens. I am also excited about this lack of pressure and comfort I provide to myself.

Spring, of course, is amazing and I continue to be excited about it. I gave water this evening too to the seeds that I planted at the weekend. I also am happy to see my rosemary is looking considerably healthier that the weekend, thanks to watering it every morning. i am excited about this, too.

I am yet to feel excited about my vacation as I am more focused on finishing things at work prior to leaving. I usually start feeling excitement the day of my travel – I cannot wait for that. there is something awesome about leaving everything behind and taking a break to focus on what is important in my personal life for a change.

I am excited about trying breads, yet I develop that fear of running out of ideas or recipes to try. I know this is not a realistic fear as I am sure there are tons of recipes out there. But, I guess what this tells me is that I like to figure things out, try and experiment. Once I figure things out, then they are not that interesting anymore. So I constantly come up with new plans – like making my own pasta (which I will try some other time). I am also excited about the prospect of purchasing cookie sheets, dough scrapper, and a nice mixing bowl.

Luckily, I get to search for and identify the items on sale each week by checking three store in my close vicinity – that excitement is thus permanent.

I realized that anticipation seems to be a common theme in my bread-making, planted seeds, work, and budget adventures. An interesting driver of excitement.

I realized that once I got something integrated in my life, like my budget, I am not that excited any more.

I realized that some of my excitements are temporary, such as Spring and my rosemary.

I realized that maybe that is why I need to keep look for other activities/things/hobbies to keep myself excited.

Oh well..

Nonetheless, I would like to remind myself that I have time and resources such as internet – I can figure them out.

Who knows what they will be and how they will change my life. Now this idea is exciting!

🙂

breaking the routine – April 16, 2016

This morning, I surprised myself by, instead of going to the same cafe for the same breakfast, going to another cafe 20 min away on foot. I think my mind was busy with thoughts and my feet just started walking towards another direction. When I noticed that I smiled and took this opportunity to visit a cafe I have not been to for some time.

Breakfast (consisting of my regular coffee and bagel combo) was not the best, but I appreciated the change of place. From there, I visited the bookstore and immediately liked and purchased a book about abundance. I then sat at another cafe next to the bookstore, ordered myself a cup of nice coffee, and started reading my book.

After, I decided to visit a local store or two to buy some food. I am particularly excited about the beef bones that I bought and that make awesome soup base/stock! Cannot wait to consume them.

It was a great morning and a great change of routine for me. Nothing feels better when you break the routine, stop doing the same things and visiting the same places.

It was long overdue for me and I was feeling the weight of the boredom lately. I am glad my feet drove me to another direction this morning and I am glad the weather was nice and I had a thin french-coat on me rather than the winter coat, which made walking not only easy but also pleasurable.

have a great Saturday everyone! 🙂

random thoughts

Finally the week is over!

Boy.. This week has been on a roller coaster. Unproductive, long meetings and many documents to draft and submit in a short time. But we have done it!

I walked under the blue sky back to home. I shopped on the way and bought a couple of food. I have bought fruits that I have been craving since yesterday. This has been a great improvement considering my unhealthy eating habits lately.

I have no particular plan for my weekend. I think I will decide as I go. I must clean my home and do laundry tomorrow. But i wonder whether I can have my breakfast at another cafe tomorrow. A change of scenery would be nice. I may visit the bookstore as well. Who knows? perhaps I can get a nice book to read. This is always exciting.

When I think about buying new books, I remember the ones that I have. I could not finish the “A Clash of Kings” by George RR Martin, for instance. When am I going to get re-interested in this series of books, I wonder 🙂

Tonite, I am focusing on relaxing and enjoying my time. Watching a nice comedy would be nice:)

Have a great Friday night everyone!

 

 

gifts and treats for myself

Feeling down lately, I found myself missing in my life some of the things that make me excited.

deals: I missed to find a great deal. A nice shirt or a jacket with a great price. Bringing it home and feeling grateful for it. Feeling excited, too. It is so nice to have something that one can love. Mall time?

reading books: Reading mystery books or my “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of books. Man, the second book slowed me down – I have 0 motivation to read it. Why cannot I just go ahead and get the pleasure of reading it? I either will give a serious attempt to read this book, or go buy a nice book this week. I will read it, too.

hair cut? Now that I have a large fun funds at my disposal, I should be finding ways to spend it. For some reason, I have lost my interest in spending, too (go figure). I was supposed to have a hair cut last week, but I was lazy and did not do that. A nice haircut would be awesome – will I try it this week?

buying books: I sometime think that I get the same pleasure by buying a book as reading one. I may walk to the mall this week and look for sales. I may also visit the thrifty stores; they usually have a large used books section. I should be able to find some interesting mystery books, right? I hope.

art work/decorative items: I missed finding a nice art work/decorative item that I can use at home. When was the last time I have tried that? New year? Time to start looking. Who knows? I may be able to find something nice.

flowers: Shall I get a new plant? After the last experience (the plant’s soil turned out to be nest for tiny fruit flies; like 100 of them. I know because I killed them using sticky pads…), honestly I do not wish to get any. But, I have seen some flowers on a blog this evening; They were so nice. I may buy a nice, colorful flower.. Flowers remind me my dad – I guess I would like something. Maybe daisies. Maybe violets. But something colorful. Let’s keep this in my mind.

eating out: I may eat out as I am not spending my weekly allowance, so I have funds. In addition, I am not eating well and eating out may in fact be helpful. I may treat myself to a lunch this weekend. I would like it to be a nice one, not a food court type of food. I had it last week; while I was grateful it did not excite me.

What else?

Maybe I can get inspired by your selection – what gifts/treats you give to yourself?

 

today’s bits

I have done something different and went to a cafe 20 min away from home. I did not take my laptop with me, either. So I have had a great coffee (I like their coffee the best) and two bagels. I also read the newspaper the cafe have had. I sat in front of the window and enjoyed my breakfast and life for sometime.

It was well worth to visit this cafe. Plus, its prices are more affordable than my favorite cafe; so better coffee+free read of newspaper+better affordability = I should be going to this cafe all the time!! 🙂

There is another catch with this cafe; it is just next to my favorite second hand bookstore. I admit; I wanted to visit the bookstore and possibly buy a book; that is why I went to that cafe (first visit since december or so). And I am glad I have. I missed being there and going thru all the interesting books….This is an amazing feeling. I know I have been on shopping freeze for books for some time, but every once a while having this pleasure of being there and buying a book should be okay 🙂

I bought a book. It is about finances and investing. I enjoy reading this kind of books. Considering it is my objective to save and invest as much as possible for my future, I am glad I have bought this book. The book does not say anything new we do not know;

1. start saving and investing early

2. invest in stocks; stock market eventually corrects itself

3. invest over time and regularly (such as monthly or biweekly)

4. invest when you have money and wish to invest; do not wait or delay

5. do not try to time the stock markets

6. buy and hold rather than buying and selling frequently, unless there is a very good reason (what would that reason be, I have no idea)

7. work with financial advisors or investors

8. buy, if you can, when the market is low (just like nowadays…)

9. maximize your company retirement plans (401K if you are in the USA) and take advantage of the company matching plans (For my fellow Canadians, that would translate into maximizing the RRSP contributions)

10. do not try to pay off your mortgage in a short time by extra payments or by increasing the mortgage payments; rather invest the extra payments or keep cash at hand so that if you need it, you can use your own money.

Okay; this last one is tricky and after I read it it made some sense to me. Yes, by paying the mortgage early we do save from the interest and it feels quite exciting to be able to have the “home” in nearer future. Yet, nowadays the interest rates are really low and one wonders whether if investing the money would bring a better return? I really do not know. I for one lost confidence in the market as they are volatile and they are predicted to go even more down as the countries struggle with their economies as well as the aging populations.

This being said; I am  planning to increase my mortgage payment by a small amount in the fall, only because I am getting a little salary increase at that time. But that is pretty much it.

BUT, I love the idea of keeping my own money should I need it (for repairs or other urgent matters of life, like health problems etc.) rather than making it my day and night effort to pay the mortgage off first. As a matter of fact this is what exactly I am trying to do for now; accumulating an emergency/house contingency fund in my TFSA account. My prediction is that after maybe 2 years or so, I will be comfortable enough to divert my money to investments for retirement, or to reduce my mortgage by extra payments.

I keep telling myself I should be patient…

Time will show 🙂

 

 

GoT – why can I not read it as much as I wished?

Reading the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series by GRRM has turned out to be a long and tedious job for me.

Why? I wonder.

When I have ordered them, I could not  wait for them to arrive. And when they did a week later, I started reading them right away.

This has been a month ago. I just finished the 1st book – A Game of Thrones – last week and I have read the first 76 pages of the 2nd book – A Clash of Kings.

Pretty slow reading I have here……

Why can I not feel the excitement and the enthusiasm to dwell into reading these books?

I have three hypotheses:

  1. The fact that I have seen the show, I am kind of not interested in the books that much (although I also recognize that the book is deeper and gives more or additional details and points of view, dreams, or thoughts than the TV show)
  2. Since the author GRRM places seemingly unimportant yet critical-to-understand-the-story-type-of-clues here and there frequently, I want to pay attention to each sentence, which is tiring…
  3. I have favorite characters, like Jamie, Tyrion, Arya, and Brienne, and the rest of the characters unfortunately bore me. This hypothesis is more likely to be true as I am really bored about and not that into the Daenerys or Salsa characters. As a matter of fact, I believe I dislike both of these characters. There, I said it.

Unfortunately it looks like Daenerys is an important character in the story and as such there will be no escape from her. The same for Sansa.

Argh…

Maybe I should just get an HBO subscription and watch the Season 6 starting in April rather than going thru this “OMG-how-come-I-can-not-read-a-book-I-am-so-interested-in” dilemma.

 

a slow read: A Game of Thrones

I have been meaning to read the 5- book series of the “A song of Ice and Fire” pretty soon after I have got them; this was 3 weeks ago.

well, I am still on the 1st book, “A Game of Thrones” and all I could read was the first 466 pages…

I admit that I am not reading it as frequent as I thought I would during these holidays, but when I read I gotta read it slowly, with paying attention to any word or sentence. And that takes time.

Why reading it slowly?

The author George RR Martin has an interesting writing style. In a short paragraph something very critical for the story can happen (e.g. pushing of Bran out of the window by Jaime is merely 4 sentences in two short paragraphs (which also includes the famous phrase “The things I do for love” (page 85; A Game of Thrones, GRRM).

Do you see what I try o say? It is impossible to read these books without reading and digesting every single sentence.

These books demand absolute commitment from the readers.

This is writing in excellence. Hats off to George RR Martin.

,

joy journal, Dec 20, 2015

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and taking a good rest.

2. I am grateful for the breakfast I have had at my favorite cafe; I hope to explore other cafes during the holidays to get a change of place and perspective. No matter how convenient or pleasant the usual places are (cafe, restaurant etc.), after a while, all gets too familiar. I will take the holidays as a great opportunity to go other, far away cafes.

3. I am grateful for the salad I have had; healthy and delicious.

4. I am grateful for working nice and easy today and taking care of a number of stuff. the more I complete my tasks, the better I feel. If I can handle the rest of the tasks prior to the holidays, that means I will have many days, hopefully a week, without thinking or doing work. That feels great 🙂

5. I am grateful for cleaning my email account; there is still more cleaning to be done, but hey, even progressing thus far has been feeling good 🙂

6. I am grateful for the blueberries, yogurt, and honey I have mixed together a few minutes ago. They form together a very tasty and healthy snack.

7. I am grateful for the grocery shopping yesterday; I bought a number of great veggies and other food. Some of the stuff was on sale, which made my day even better 🙂

8. I am grateful for talking to my family members today; knowing that they are all well is a blessing.

9. I am grateful for all the pens and papers/notebooks I have that makes working a pleasure.

10. I m grateful for the warmth and safety my home provides me with.

11. I am grateful for not watching TV for some time. I do not know why that makes me happy, but it has been a welcome change in my daily routine.

12. I am grateful for my computer and internet connection that makes learning and entertainment easy and fruitful.

13. I am grateful for today being a sunday and having the rest of the night to myself; there is more relaxation and positive thoughts to come 🙂

14. I am grateful for my “A song of ice and fire” series of books by GRRM. I could not read them as fast as I thought I would. And I do not think I will be able to finish all 5 books (more than 5,000 pages) during the holidays, either. But knowing that I have them and I can always read this fantasy story to expand my imagination and have great time with the characters and the fictional events make me feel happy and excited.

15. I am grateful for being grateful! 🙂

random thoughts

A fine day, my friends. I hope you have had a similar experience.

What are the highlights of today? I do not know. How about:


  • being alive, well, and sound
  • working nice and easy
  • being grateful for the work I have done
  • being aware that I have the entire evening and night to myself
  • having the “A Game of Thrones” book waiting for me to read
  • eating a nice healthy meal
  • not being in the lazy mood and still planning to work hard till next Wednesday, including this weekend
  • feeling abundant and peaceful
  • loving this opportunity to share these with you.

have a great night everyone! 🙂

 

GoT – “The things I do for love”

I have finished the chapter in the “A Game of Thrones” yesterday, where the character Bran is pushed off the window of an old building by the character Jamie Lannister.

I must say there are a lot said about this event by others (check the internet); it is a horrible thing to attempt to murder a 7-year old child (Bran). In cold blood and with no remorse or contemplation observed or expressed by Jamie.

Long story short, Bran likes to climb over trees/buildings and one day, despite the efforts of his mom, Lady Catelyn and others around him, he manages to climb over an old building, once half destroyed by a natural event and now is vacant. As he climbs outside the building, he hears a conversation, which is related to his father, Ned Stark. He cannot deduce the individuals by just their voice so he, even though is a little bit scared, looks thru the window with an awkward and difficult grip on the outside wall. There he sees, without understanding what exactly is happening (in the book, Bran thinks that a man and a woman was “wrestling”), the characters Jamie Lannister and Cersei Lannister/Baratheon having an intercourse. The fact that Jamie and Cersei are twin brother/sister and that Cersei is married to the King Robert, the situation is of course pretty nasty, immoral, and as such being a witness to this act puts Bran (unknowingly) at a very dangerous position.

Cersei once sees Bran becomes quite anxious, they stop, and Jamie goes towards Bran. Cersei declares that “he saw them”. Jamie first puts him at ease by giving Bran a hand to stabilize his grip of the wall, and then initiates a cozy conversation by asking him how old he is. Bran tells Jamie his age, and I assume by thinking that he is safe from the fall (that he saw as the danger; the innocence of kids are so amazing…), loosens his other grip off Jamie’s arm. Cersei, perplexed with Jamie’s help of Bran, reacts negatively and feels the urge to remind Jamie. Jamie turns to Cersei, says the famous “The things I do for love” and while loathing also pushes Bran off the window.

Loathing, but no apparent remorse.

We face, for the first time, directly the character of Jamie as a practical and cruel one. In a single paragraph for that matter.

Literally, in the book it was a very simple description of a scene. As if it is a regular thing to do in life, a regular thing to write in a novel.

The HBO series differs a little bit from the book. In the series, Cersei’s anxiety is well emphasized and palpable. I believe Cersei’s more pronounced reaction and anxiety was added to create a “thrill” to the scene and it did work; I could see how desperate Cersei felt. Additionally, the Jamie character is annoyed by Cersei’s behavior/talk/reminders but does not show any feeling of loathing or dislike for pushing Bran off the window; he is very comfortable making this decision to silence the little child and attempting to kill him. This served well I guess, as now we all hate this horrible character and almost call it a psychopath.

My take: the book does not convey the terror and suspense of this scene real-time; everything happens very fast, simply, and easily. But, when we realize what just happened, then the reader I am sure is as shocked as the viewers (of the HBO series). In other words, it is written in such a way that it does not alarm the reader beforehand, the scene happens, and the reality and the cruelty strike only after a while. Like an aftermath. Well done GRRM.

Of course, through the evolution of the story and characters, we yet to see the more features and perhaps the multiple faces of these characters and maybe become sympathetic to Jamie. But, I do not think anybody ever forgave the Jamie character for trying to murder a kid.

I certainly did not and that is what makes the Jamie character even more interesting – the internal conflict this character creates in the reader/viewer towards this character; how do we forget the horrible things Jamie has done? Are the reasons of his behavior/acts, however brutal and cruel they seem, serve a bigger and interestingly, favorable purpose? How and why do we forget or forgive his actions? Is there a possibility of redemption for Jamie, and anyone else for that matter?

—————————————

PS: Not to forget Jamie and his sister’s relationship, which is another nasty/immoral behavior to deal with. In the world the stories develop, this kind of relationships seem to be acceptable to some extend, though not within the social circle of Jamie and Cersei. Considering the fact that many events/behaviors in this fantasy stories are not existing or acceptable in our current world, I will let this one go, too, without further dwelling on how bad, disgusting, and unacceptable it is. I feel like I must do this to have an objective attitude towards the literary value of these stories.

 

First 50 pages of “A Game of Thrones”

I have read the first 50 pages of the 1st book, A Game of the Thrones, in the series of “A Song of Ice and Fire”.

Boy…. I am amazed how much the HBO series kept close to the book, even the sentences or the events. I am so pleased with this. I have seen the HBO series twice and as such developed visual memory as well as knowledge on the characters and events. I did not get everything, though. Now the book fills all of these blanks.

I had missed, for example, the sword of Ned Stark called Ice. I know in the later books, it has a critical role (learnt while surfing sites about the books). I also had never paid attention to the character Rhaegar Targaryen before.

Anyhow, I try not to miss any details about the lives, life events, and history of the characters or the houses in the series. This way, I hope to get a good idea about the author and the stories depicted.

I am glad that I have watched the series before and has been reading about the story-line and character on the net. Now I have a basis to further expand.

This is quite contrary to what I would do usually – I generally would not show such a deep interest in a story that I would have known about. Yet, here I am all excited and eyes and ears, reading the books. The mind of the author GRRM. The style it has been written with. And all the details that have not been captured by the TV series. Or, by me.

I do not know why these books/stories captivate so much….

Imagination? Richness of characters and events? Unexpected twists?

I do not know, but life is good 🙂

 

random thoughts

Well, after a long work day at home, I am finally settling down and trying to enjoy by reading stuff about, well, yes my latest interest, Game of Thrones 🙂

I know that for all things that are interesting or loved with such a tense interest eventually come an end.

I thought this morning that I would lose my interest in the books soon if I continue to keep reading about  them. My books are about to arrive next week and I heard that they are long and many (5 to be exact). Will I lose my interest? Will I get more interested in? I do not know. But I sure would like to read these stories and write about the characters.

It is very interesting though – now that I have seen the TV adaptation (twice) and read about a couple of characters mostly on the internet (Jamie Lannister and Brienne of Tarth mostly), I wonder what I am going to find in these books? All the details I was curious about? The characters as they were written by the author GRRM? How the HBO series and the original story did differ from each other?

Possibly all these.

On the net, I have found many excerpts from the books, which were not reflected in the series. Remembering this actually makes me keep interested. This per se should be enough for me to eagerly wait for my books and start reading them with affection and amazement until I am done with all.

Until, the next book in the series comes along of course.

They say the release date of the next book in the series is not known. It was initially scheduled for late 2015, but who knows what is going on. Even GRRM says the HBO Season 6, which will air in April 2016, is likely to be earlier than the book #6. Considering the fact that the Season 6 is based on book #6, it is weird…. If I was the publisher, I would have a trouble with that.

As a reader/audience I have a problem, too. Man, my problem is a) how to watch the Season 6 now that I have no subscription to HBO, and b) I am assuming the book #6 will be expensive and if I want to order it right after it is published, I will have to start saving money for it.

Well…. Let my only problems be these 🙂

 

 

Jamie Lannister – initial thoughts

I have not read the books of Game of Thrones TV series, yet here are what I am thinking about the character of Jamie Lannister:

  1. He is twisted (has a relationship with her twin sister), trolling, talented, misunderstood, arrogant, and many other things. Yet, it is the only character that is constantly changing (from a bad and misunderstood character to a more decent one, albeit still twisted) and evolving. I wonder why?
  2. His name is one of the few names in the series that is “usual” in today’s life. Another one is Jon (Snow); I wonder what his name, if ever, signifies or signals.
  3. I wonder why he never made a case about himself after killing the Mad King to protect the others, especially the civilians. Does he not care or does he like his own misery (I am inclined to think so)?
  4. What exactly did he mean when he said “we do not get to choose whom we love” and “all these things I do for love”. I wonder the meaning of love for this character; love for his sister, kids (from his sister by the way), father, brother Tyrion (which is palpable), and others.
  5. What exactly does he find in Brienne that he did not find in others? What is the nature of the bond between these two characters?

It is possible that none of these are relevant, connected, or meant to be this important by the author George RR Martin. I really would like to know whether Martin initially planned the Jamie character to develop this way and with this speed and consistency?

I am not curious about the fate of this character in the novels, as the author Martin has already trained us the fans that only one thing is certain; that everybody dies and there is no guarantee for any of the characters in this story.

Yet, selfishly, I would like this character to survive a little bit more so that we can get to know it.

Games of Thrones and thoughts

I have been silent lately as I am busy watching Game of Thrones (GoT) 🙂

I could not resist and purchased the 5 books in the series – as a gift. I plan to read them during the holidays. Cannot wait!

This series of books (as they say) as well as the HBO TV series are full of violence and amoral behavior. I am not in favor of these and not going to further dwell into or discuss these aspect in detail. If you are interested in, many others did discuss these; just check the internet; there are many colorful discussions. Thus, I must say my interest in GoT is not about how wrong and cruel some of its contents are, but how creative and original are the stories and the imaginary world and time (the author George RR  Martin did a great job), and the questions it creates in my mind.

For one, GoT is no fairy tale where everything eventually gets better, good people triumph over the bad, and love always is cherished and wins. The dynamics of the stories is very shocking as no character is immune to violence, injustice, or death. The lives of anyone can be turned up or down any minute, anywhere, by any means.

This story, hence, more than anything else tells how unpredictable life is. Life we all can know, and even though the life in GoT cannot be comprehended fully (the rich array of life experiences described, some of which can only be known by reading history books, meshed in a creative tale that develops in a time and place that we never can know, perhaps unless we read the books), we can still relate.

A couple of characters are easy to admire (e.g. Ned Stark), some are easy to hate (e.g. Cersei Lannister, Joffrey Lannister), some are easy to relate to (e.g. Brienne of Tarth), some are easy to entice us by their wit and intelligence (e.g. Tyrone Lannister), and some are confusing, somehow disgusting, somehow humane, and continuously developing (e.g. Jamie Lannister).

I have been mostly interested in the interactions and influences on each other of Brienne and Jamie lately. The character development in the case of Jamie is interesting; such an easily hateable, in some ways disgusting (by today’s values), and sadly (as it is revealed later in the story) mostly misunderstood (as he never felt the need to make a case about himself) and vastly manipulated (by his own weaknesses) character can work on changing and redeeming himself is very, very interesting.

There have been a couple of things I have learnt/liked from the interactions of Brienne and Jamie in the story. Honor, loyalty, values, conflicting priorities, success, defeat, comradeship (the main theme later in the Brienne and Jamie story), support, kindness, and love (not only the romantic love) all of which can be and should be interpreted within a context. Context dependency, which is one of my interest in real life, makes all of these way more interesting than usual for me (this is the reasons why I noted above that reading the books that describe the world and time when these stories develop may be the only way to understand these stories).

Some fans on the internet say that Brienne and Jamie are in love with each other; most think it is obvious in the case of Brienne, but Jamie’s case is not clear. I am not sure about this yet. I think these two have a special bond; they both find something in each other that they did not experienced with others. Yet, I do not think it is a romantic love. Not yet.

One thing struck me about their relationship though; I started to think about the different types of love, even so called romantic love. The poem I have written yesterday directly reflects this. It does not always happen that I start re-evaluating things and experiences in life as basic as love – that tells me that these books and these two characters somehow help develop my understanding. That, too me, is both surprising and priceless.

It looks like you will hear from me about GoT in the coming days and months. Just let me get my books 🙂

what is so nice about shopping freeze and decluttering?

I can answer this question quite easily.

Shopping freeze is a temporary lack of purchase of a specific item(s). For example, I first started with having one on books (that I used to purchase every week) for 2 months only.

At first I did not think I could make it, as it was one of the most beautiful and happy experiences in my life. But I did. This does not mean that I have not occasionally bought books; I have. But not every weekend. Not too many (a maximum 10 books in the last 5 months; which is way lower than 2-3 books/week I used to buy)…

The fact that it was temporary made this possible for me. I knew at the end of 2 months, I was able to return back to this activity. I did not feel deprived of this enjoyable activity. I did not feel restricted for ever. These helped with sticking up with my shopping freeze.

Since I was saving money by not buying books every week and since I was not feeling totally restricted by this, I could continue; I later decided to extend this freeze till the holiday season.

Honestly now I think I will never go back to weekly book purchase habit….I think my habit is now changed and I am rather an occasional book buyer (I still read books though – I have many unread books at home and I am planning to borrow from the library when I am done with them).

After the initial success of this strategy, I extended it to other items; clothes, shoes, cleaning produces, etc. (I had occasionally bought cleaning products during the freeze; if they were on sale or if I needed them). This not only helped me with saving more money, but interestingly I also felt my life was easier now as I did not need to think and decide about shopping these items frequently.

Do you know what else helped?

Decluttering.

I found out the books that I purchased but had not read before during this activity. I found out what cleaning products I have had and what I have not. I found out the clothes I had forgotten I have had. I not only donated or throw away extra stuff from my home, but I also realized how abundant I was and what I had possessed already.

My two cents? Try both of these (decluttering and shopping freeze); they can change your habits should you want. You can also save your money for more important needs, feel appreciative of what you have, and know what you really need – you will not be sorry to try them.

 

 

 

random thoughts

I feel like writing about small indulges that make me feel pampered 🙂

Considering that the only expenses bigger than $1,000 were my washer and dryer (excluding my flights to visit my family and my house), I guess I am doing good pampering myself while also looking after my funds.

So here is a list that I can come up with now:

1. Having breakfast: I love having breakfast at the weekends! there is something nourishing about it and the fact that I get to have it on the weekends only, it is my way of start celebrating the weekend. Breakfast does not need to be too expensive (though it  depends on your preferences. Nevertheless, breakfast and lunch are often times much cheaper than dinners).

2. A good book that captivates my interest. There is nothing like a great book that makes your day enjoyable, time frozen, and mind and heart filled with new knowledge, emotions, and empathy. 90% of my books are purchased from second hand bookstores or charity. The only book I have had pricey was a project management book I needed to study as part of a certificate program (time to sell it now). Borrowing books from libraries, of course, does not cost a dime – give it a try.

3. Chicken noodle soup: is there any other food that nourishes the body while also relaxes the mind? What is the cost of this? $3?

4. Taking photos: that is a really fun activity. Other than the cost of the camera and print outs, the cost of all the memories and lovely pictures recorded is basically $0. Plus, can we really put a price on recording memories?

5. A good cup of coffee every once a while. I love caramel or maple syrup added coffee every once a while. There is a cafe that do these in a shopping mall I go time to time. A great way to award myself.

6. Food: food is always a tricky material for indulges. I happen to reward myself a lot by food, especially pastries and bread (though I am trying to limit them lately). My new year eve meal is almost always some pastry I make at home with beef and pastry sheets. Even though I love this meal, I am glad that I do not bake it more than twice a year.

7. Movies: Although I have not done this in years, seeing a movie at a theater is a lovely experience.

8. Tea, apple cider, and hot chocolate: whether black, green, or herbal, tea has a calming effect. On cold winter days, in addition to tea, hot chocolate and apple cider are my favorite beverages.

9. Leisure walking: Although I do not do this as often as I wish to; when I do, I enjoy it very much. Especially those that occur spontaneously where I do not before hand plan for the route, take my time to enjoy and examine the scenery (even looking at different houses and their characteristics can be an interesting activity).

10. Going through the stores at the airport: One of my favorite activities! I love looking at the merchandise and the variety of items. This is particularly nice when the airport is in a different country. As you can guess, the books sold are the ones that get my most attention. but hey, they are great 🙂

11. Browsing the stores: I have a negligible habit of impulse buying thus I am not afraid of going thru an entire store, examining and exploring the items. It is one of the meditative experiences for me when I truly focus and thus get a mental break from daily thoughts and tiredness. Thanks to this activity, I have discovered many different food (e.g. savory I am so fond of) that were not a part of my regular diet.

12. Taking a road trip: I love it when we drive on a car together with friends or family. Have you noticed that the conversations are different, lovelier during road trips? Especially when we all are going to places that we have not explored before. Whenever I have a chance to suggest an activity, i suggest a road trip 🙂

13. Music: Music is… awesome! I listen to it while at home and office. The free music channels and youtube makes it basically free. Could not be happier 🙂

14. Writing my blog and reading other blogs: Very amusing, relaxing, informative, and affordable activity. Okay I need a computer and an internet connection to do so, but these two help with so many activities (listening to music, watching videos, doing research, learning, booking flights and hotels, etc.) that their cost comes really low. Plus writing helped me to learn a lot about myself – how about that as a great benefit?

15. Planning, planning, planning: I have a thing for planning for goals I would like to tackle. Coming up with a question and then designing a step-by-step strategy to reach the goal is always exciting for me. Yep I do mess up with executing the plans sometime (my recent healthy life-style plan that I blew is a good example), but eventually all go well.

16. Sleeping in: every once a while there comes a weekend morning that makes me sleep till noon. This does not happen to much, but I believe it happens when my body needs it. Often times, it is relaxing.

17. Sleeping late: there is something peaceful about late-nights, some kind of freedom… Friday and Saturday nights are my freedom nights when I can stay up till late, reading, writing, or watching TV. Serenity..

18. Spending time in my yard: I have a small yard with a couple of trees; lilacs are particularly my favorites. Seeing them in summer is a beautiful feeling. The same thing with just being in the yard and listening to the sound of trees – the soothing whoosh their leaves make with wind…..

19. Scents: I love my perfume but due to scent-free policy of my workplace, I only wear it at the weekends. Its scent is so lovable I am glad they produced it! The same thing with candles and soaps. I have a soap that leaves a nice scent after each hand-wash. I would not change it at all. When comes to candles, I did not buy lately but I make sure to check them at the stores. One of my favorite one has honey-cinnamon scent.

20. Wearing my best shoes: I am a person of habit, so I keep wear the same things weeks after weeks. Yet, every once a while wearing a different outfit or my favorite shoes makes a difference in my mood 🙂

21. Grocery shopping: I love grocery shopping. Finding fresh produce is a rare and often cheerful activity for me (where I live, fresh produces are hard to find).

22. Shopping after the holidays: this is the season for shopping!. The sales right after the Christmas are unprecedented. Boy, do I stock up? 🙂

23. Thrifty store visits: Even though I often end up not buying as much as I plan to, I love browsing through the shelves in thrifty stores, especially the kitchen items and the books. A good book I certainly will buy. The kitchen items are mostly an interest; to see all the old stuff… I have a thing for old things. They are different and very interesting for me.

24. Ethnic stores: There are so many different things in these stores that I make regular trip to one close to my house. It is a little food store where I can find the most interesting spices, hot sauces, and dried food. Plus, that store is incredibly cheap. I wonder why that is.

25. Soft facial towels: These are priceless; there is nothing nicer at the end of a busy day to come home, wash my hands and face, and feel the soft towel on my skin. I would highly recommend you to get a thick, slushy towels that is a delight to use.

26. Creams and moisturizers: my hands require hand cream throughout the day. In winter, it is almost essential to moisturize the rest of the body. I am grateful for these creams and lotions that not only nourish my body but also smell good 🙂

27. Time spent with family and friends: Do I have to talk about it? It is the favorite activity of many people. Are we not lucky?

I hope your list of things that make you feel pampered is longer than this.

Go pamper yourself in this beautiful Saturday! 🙂

random thoughts

For a book-lover like myself, it is weird that I happen to put notes on their pages. Such an habit certainly makes the books unsuitable for others to read. Plus, it actually a little bit disrespecting to these wonderful, and information and imagination full things that we call books…

Anyways, just yesterday I notice a benefit of this practice. I was re-reading a personal finance book that I am fond of and I came across my notes from years ago; I wrote two major and extra expenses that I was utterly unhappy of. As a matter of fact, whichever personal finance book of mine I look at, I find this recurring expenses and my wish to eliminate them…One of them is taking the cab rather than the bus or walking (to and from the office).

I have a very good estimate of this extra expense; I save $90/week by taking the bus in the morning and by walking in the afternoon, rather than taking the cab in the morning and the afternoon. This corresponds to around $4,500 savings per year. Considering I took the cab for many years (only because it was convenient and I thought I deserved this convenience), the total amount I paid for my transportation unnecessarily adds up to quite a large amount of money….

I knew it then and I know it now. But what I have experienced yesterday is the relief of knowing that this years-long struggle is now ended (as part of my “conscious spending” project I have been working on the last 3-4 months) . While I am still not happy about writing on the books, I am glad I put these notes there to remind me how long I have been occupied with eliminating this unnecessary expense.

An additional, and perhaps more cheerful thing is that I have been working on the second expense that I would like to get rid of. It too has been in my list for many years and I am making attempts to erase it. After yesterday’s experience, I am more confident that when the right time comes, that expense category will go, too. Then I will be able to cross them as issues from my life.

Priceless.

how do you imagine your perfect day two years from today?

I am reading the book “Smart Cookies’ Guide to Making More Dough and Getting Out of Debt” by the Smart Cookies.

This is a personal finance book written based on 5 young women’s initial struggle and later success with money management. It is one of my favorite financial guide type of books.

While I am reading it mostly to get inspired by the ideas and the experiences of the Smart Cookies, I just read a section where the book asks you to imagine your perfect day in near future, a Friday within the next 2-5 years. This exercise is mostly for imagining the future and the things that we believe make our lives perfect; if we knew what we want for our future, then today we could start working towards it (their point of view is finances of course).

Nevertheless, this idea struck me hard.

For some years now, I stop having long-term objectives. Not that I planned it. I did not. I just do not have any plans or wishes for my future life, other than being healthy, happy, safe and well, hopefully together with my family members.

It is great that I have a stable and lovely job, a decent salary and benefits, family and friends, no chronic illness, and freedom to make my own decisions. I am humbly grateful for these forever.

It is just that after reading this book, I keep thinking; maybe I must have more than these; should I?

Should I want to have early retirement for example? Or a better house? Life in another city? Life in a different social environment? What is it that would make my day perfect on top of what I already have?

I think I have the majority of the things I need for a perfect day, a perfect life. At least for now. (What I wished I had more is excitement in my life – something that makes me wake up with a smile on my face, make me hum a happy song. But having my own and my family members wellness is more important than these). Maybe knowing I already have a good life is the reason that I do not have future goals.

It is possible, though, this may not be the case: perhaps I have many future aims to discover but I am just in denial or too occupied at the time being to notice and note them.

I do not know the answer yet; I will continue to contemplate.

In the mean time, if you would like to give a try to imagining your perfect day in 2-5 years, go ahead. Who knows – maybe you will find a great future there 🙂

A list of books that I am fond of

Random thoughtfulness asked about my favorite books – what a great idea. I have been meaning to write this post for sometime; I guess that time has arrived.

The timing is great too, as I just decluttered my books and selected those that I would not give away. Among them, a number of books stand;

Crime novels: I am a fan of the mystery novels authored by Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter. Both of these writers captured my attention by their stories that are highly vivid in terms of suspense. Their writing is easy to follow and I get to learn about medical examination and all bunch of other stuff a long the way. An interesting and to me an excellent part of their stories is that in the majority of the novels, the main characters keep evolving (marriage, parenthood, divorce, and death) and some unknown clues from their pasts are also revealed. To me that is so cool 🙂 That also means that the novels are better read in chronological order if one wants to know these characters in detail (I recommend it but of course any novel as it is is still interesting).

Also, I should not forget Agatha Christie; her plots are hard to beat.

I have not let go any book written by these three female crime novelists.

I also love the crime novels that involve history: so Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is another book that I enjoy.

Other novels: Shogun by James Clavell; Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevski; and the vampire chronicles by Anne Rice 🙂

Self-help books: Recently those about decluttering were among my favorites. I believe my first decluttering book was “Throw out Fifty Things” by Gail Blanke. I at first did not believe I could find 50 things to throw away from my entire house; but now after years of decluttering, I can throw 50 things only from a room of my house. This book not only challenged me to start throwing things away, but there are also chapters in the book about the “mental decluttering” that I find most interesting.

Another series I like are the “Do not sweat the small stuff” (at work, etc.) by Richard Carlson. The book about “the small stuff at work” has helped me many times to forget the pain coming out of dealing with (or not) rude people at the work place.

Budgeting, saving, and investing: My first book on this topic was “Personal Finance for Canadians for Dummies”. I was mid 30s, slowly realizing that I was way behind saving and investing for my retirement. That was the book that I learnt about RRSP, which facilitated me to open an RRSP account for myself (RRSP stands for registered retirement saving plan available in Canada).

Generally I like reading books by Gail Vaz-Oxlade; she is humorous and feels like she is just like one of us (rather than an authoritative figure telling us what to do).

One of my all-time favorites is “The Smart Cookies – Guide to Making More Dough and Getting out of Debt” by, well, the Smart Cookies.

The list can get long, but I will leave it here for now.

cheers everyone 🙂

random thoughts

It was a beautiful September day today; crispy and shiny with a clear blue sky. What a delight 🙂

In addition to meeting with my friends and having lovely time, I also did some more work at the house. First I went thru the books I sorted out to get rid of. I had a feeling yesterday that maybe I overdid it and in fact there were many books that I could enjoy. So, I could not help it, went thru each of them, and decided to take back one book. Only one book! 🙂

See, I guess anyone who is parting with loved items would feel this way; did I make a mistake? should I keep them? How wise was my sorting and decluttering strategy? I am very happy to see that I did a good job with it; taking back only one book tells me that next time I can trust myself more and sort only once. Then, they will be ready to go. No looking back.

I must admit when I put the to-be-donated books away in a cabinet (till we bring them to the charity), my living room looked a lot better, more clear and organized. I could not help but move little furniture around, put a plant here and there, and vola I have a brand new living room. Is that not awesome? I think it is. Change in scenery is always good. And having the freedom to move stuff around (which you can only do if you have enough space free of clutter) is even more exciting.

I am not done with decluttering; in the last few weeks I have done great donating clothes. Now the books. The next items are the CDs and the VHS casettes that I have. I am very fond of the VHSs particularly. But I decided it was best we went different directions in life. I am not sure whether they can be donated anywhere; but it does not hurt to ask. As per the CDs, some of them I really like and would like to keep. But others need to go – there are CDs I have not listened in the last 5-10 years.

The final items to be sorted out will be my shoes… I am scared to look at the shoe boxes as I always find something that is beautiful…

There is something nice about getting rid of stuff. Today one of my friends came to choose among the books I am about to give away. She was surprised apparently and asked me “why are you giving them away?”. I said “so that I can get rid of the old and open space for new ones, new experiences, new interests. Plus, they (i.e. books) would love to have new readers that will appreciate them”.

My friend nodded in agreement.

Have a great long-weekend everyone 🙂

what did decluttering my books teach me?

As part of a few weeks’ decluttering effort, I finally sorted out my books and decided on which ones to keep with me.

I have always been a book lover and as much as I like to read them, I also love to buy books (sometimes even more so than reading them).

Buying books at the nearby second-hand bookstore was a regular weekend activity for me for around 6 years. As soon as I got my breakfast, I would run there, often times with my coffee, and forgot everything while browsing the books. It was a pleasurable and meditative activity, I got to discover awesome books and writers, and going back home with books I knew it would be exciting to read the books.

There were times though I could not find something to my likening; infrequently I left the bookstore without buying any book. But in the rest, I had to buy – I could not stand the thought of a weekend without exploring a book, and the relaxation, and excitement coming out of it.

I know that I have many books that I am assuming I bought to satisfy that impulse – they are not great, they are not exciting, and even sometime the topic does not interest me at all. I now dumped these books. Lessons learnt: I should not buy books if I am not sincerely interested in them; instead I should go check out the books I already have at home now- the ones that I decided to keep are all awesome, timeless books.

It is great that I wanted to declutter my house, that I went thru each of my books and now know them better, and that I have a shopping freeze for books till the holiday season. After seeing the amount of books I purchased and dumped today, I felt bad about piling them around my home and wasting money on them. Do net get me wrong; I think any book can be awesome for someone, somewhere, sometime; but the ones I sorted out were not meant for me.

Happy decluttering, happy appreciating what you have and enjoy, and happy saving money 🙂

That just sounds perfect to me.

decluttering – books

I have been going thru my books in the last few days; I wanted to remove those which did not excite or educate me anymore.

I have purged around 250 books 🙂 They will be donated to charity or to friends. The majority of the books are novels, related to project management, diet or fitness, or self-help/philosophy books. Some of them I realized I bought but did not read more than a few pages. Some of them, especially the novels, are too easy to remember, and therefore cannot excite me anymore (the mystery is gone upon reading 🙂 ). Others are about topics I am not  interested in anymore.

I have kept some unread novels, history-related books, books on budgeting, saving, economy, and investing, cookbooks, and joy and wellness-

books purged and to be donated. My estimation is that there are around 250 books within these 7 large shopping bags. Excellent job sorting out :)
books purged and to be donated. My estimation is that there are around 250 books within these 7 large shopping bags. Excellent job sorting out 🙂

related books. These topics are so interesting to me. I am excited to have them and I sure will read them again and again.

I needed to put around 100 books to recycling – they are the ones that are battered a lot. It makes me sad to put them in recycling, but I am confident that they would not be useful to another person. The remaining 7 bags of sorted-out books I hope will find a new reader who will appreciate them.

random thoughts

Working from home in the last two days was very refreshing and effective – a big document is now almost finalized, which always gives contentment and happiness 🙂

All of a sudden today, the temperature got low. I do not know how low but even the jacket was not enough to keep warm. I will have to wear thicker clothes from today on. I think the summer is officially ended…

There are nice things about fall, though. The cooler temperatures makes me wear thicker clothes, which somehow makes me feel like I am pampering myself. This feeling originally was born when I purchased a dark brown short coat with a feathery-collar. The warmth around my neck was always something I had appreciated. While this coat is long gone, I imitate the feeling with scarfs in fall; it does help feel the same way (i.e. pampered). Also, I love it when the trees change colors; what a nice scenery the fall brings to us..

My efforts to declutter my living room, however slow, continues. I so far checked 30% of the books and sorted out those that will be donated. That translated into 2 large bags of books to be donated. I suspect maybe 3 or 4 more bags to come till I am finished. I feel like I can donate more books, but it is so hard to let them go especially if I have not read them lately. I gotta change my mindset about the books at home; I should see them as a library where there are many treasures to be read. That sure will help me to read them this time. And if next year I find out that I have not read them, then I should donate them, too.

I am thinking about purchasing a domain for this blog; but I am hesitant. When I decease, this blog should not decease with me (i.e. if I stop paying for the domain, they say they inactivate or remove the blog). Any of you have ideas? Cons and pros of switching to a domain? Please leave comments – Thank you.

decluttering, decisions, and the need for change

Mostly because I was tired of the fear of going thru the clutter in my living room (which also includes my study), I have started decluttering my living room this evening; I have not done a super-duper work yet. I just dusted two shelves of a bookcase, went thru each item there, dumped those that are absolutely not necessary, found some items (like USB keys) I keep buying as I need them big time (yay!), and torn down the used-up pages out of my notebooks – that is all (while the work I have done was little, it somehow felt good – see below).

Ironically, this area is a mess right now; with books, stationary items, and others sorted and put in different piles. Even though I do not like having such a disorganized view in my home and I do absolutely dislike having unfinished work once started, to my surprise I am not annoyed. I guess the reason is that I am glad that I started; I know that once started I will keep going. At least the fear of doing this activity is gone…. But more than these, I stopped after half-an-hour of cleaning and decluttering because I felt like I was not making good decisions.

Consider this example: I found 4-5 cards and their envelopes in a box on the shelf. They are in good condition, but looking at them does not bring me joy or excitement. Plus, I had completely forgotten their existence and as well may live without them. My dilemma is: what to do with them? Store for future use because now I am aware of their existence and as such can appreciate and make use of them in future, or dump or give away because I do not necessarily like them and I have not used them in the last, I do not know how many, years…

I pondered about it and I am glad to say that I now decided I would not like to keep them. So tomorrow, they will be in a different pile. Good job.

There are however other, more important decisions to be made: which books should I keep? This will give me quite a head-ache. I am clear about donating the novels, as once I read them I cannot re-read. But what about others? The books I have not read yet are also okay; I will prioritize them to read next time (it is actually exciting that I have books I have not read yet). But among those I read about history, science, personal development, and project management; which one of them should I keep? If I am not keeping books, how should I get rid of them? donate them to friends, library, or charity?

On a interesting twist, I dumped many cards sent to me by friends and colleagues. They were all nice-looking cards with good wishes in, yet they have been on my window trim for more than a year. It felt right to get rid of them, clean the area, and implement a change by placing a nice pot of plants. I am not sorry for this decision – change became that area and it feels good.

nevertheless, I have some lessons learnt from this afternoon’s experience:

1) although I have not read the book (but read many blogs about it), I seem to be embracing the Konmari way of decluttering (i.e. whatever does not give joy should go),

2) it may be scary or unpleasant to declutter a part of the house, but it eventually happens and feels good,

3) as usual decluttering activity helps with remembering the existence of our stuff, and bringing them out for use or donation (either way, it is good),

4) if you feel like you do not make good decisions, stop before you move on, give yourself time, and wait for the clarity that comes with the break, and

5) even for things that we love so much at the time being, there will be a time to replace them with something else (because we crave for change in the scenery).

random thoughts

What a beautiful day 🙂

The handyman fixed my faucet locks and drained my water boiler – they recommend it every year, though the handyman said he did not bother about it at home 😉 Well, that is alright; next year I can get servicing, see whether there is anything that needs to be alarming or going bad about it. Someone had said if I get it serviced, it could last 7 years, if not then change it every 5 years. Sounds good to me; I will get it serviced in the 6th year and get professional opinion.

I made a great change his morning – I went to another cafe for breakfast. Yep, I still ate bagels but this time I have got it with cream cheese, not butters. Change felt good, though I still need to find an healthier alternative to bagels. Does not matter how much I like something (e.g. my favorite cafe), it is good to give a break time to time; it was getting too familiar, too routine. I am happy with my decision to go to somewhere else this morning.

Otherwise, how am I doing? Good. I had a healthy lunch. But most importantly, I went through my kitchen drawers and the pantry. Those teas and spices which are beyond their expiry day are now rightfully in the garbage. I have found 4 cans of food somewhere, 36 rolls of paper towel (why did I keep buying them??), 15 sponges to be used (again, why bought??), an incredible amount of cleaning clothes, and garbage and recycling bags that I had forgotten I had… And, how about the facial tissues that I thought I was running out of? Yep…..

You got the idea; we need to go thru our stuff time to time to know what we have what we need. I seem to buy stuff (like paper towels) out of habit, which now is mounting in my kitchen. And, the fact that I did not look at them carefully and thought some of them were  toilet papers,  I also realized that I am running out of toilet papers.

I have a lot of dried food: dried beans, chickpeas, rice, cracked wheat, dried peppers, okra, and eggplant. I need to, I want to integrate them into my weekly menu so that I can consume them, not waste them. Yesterday I came up with the idea of buying a pressure cooker. It will help with my time and especially with cooking the beans that I keep eating out of the can. As soon as I do my research and decide which one to purchase, I am getting one.

It felt really good to be going thru the stuff, dumping unusable ones, and noticing what I have. I so far did this with the bedrooms, kitchen, and two of the bathrooms. I now am onto the living room, boy, which is gonna be though 🙂 Books and all the paperwork/stationary items that need to be sorted are giving me the chills 🙂 I also need to decide which books and CDs to keep, which ones to donate; that is not gonna be easy, but I will do this 🙂

cheers everyone

15 random facts about me :)

By the encouragement of thesmallc, here I am writing some facts about myself. Thesmallc is a great writer (with no reservation I say this); she has a very powerful and genuine pen and incredible insight into life and cancer. Absolutely one of my favorite bloggers (among many others).

Anyways, here are 15 facts about me; surprise, surprise 🙂

  1. Until I started blogging, my primary hobby was to read books. Books are still my favorite items around the house, but blogging has changed me somehow. In a positive way I hope 🙂
  2. I happen to be a bad cook – no question about that. I am not proud of it but that is what it is 🙂
  3. I have a great job that pays a decent salary, yet since I have spent the majority of my life at schools and with training, I have little accumulated for my retirement, which I regret real good. Be smart and start saving early! Whatever you make, save a portion of it for your retirement. And start doing this early.
  4. I have got a PhD.
  5. English is not my native language (some of you already sensed that, did you not?) 🙂
  6. Even though I dislike it very much, I keep cleaning my home and doing laundry every weekend 98% of the time. I admire my consistency in this regard.
  7. The first story I wrote was named “Joe and his dog”. I was 7 years old, penned it down on a small blue covered pocket notebook that I still remember…. The story, as you can guess, remained unfinished.
  8. I have a very serious look; scary if you will. Not that I mean to. Unless I smile, a lot of people think that I am angry or pissed off. I am not angry or pissed off. Well, at least the majority of the time 🙂
  9. When I was a child, music was my greatest interest. Till now, I tried to learn how to play the following instruments: mandolin, flute, and violin. I must say violin is the most elegant, most challenging, and the most admirable one for me. Of course I have not excelled at any of these instruments 🙂
  10. I am a very practical person – can find a temporary fix for almost anything in a split second (unless I am stressed; then the opposite occurs) 🙂
  11. My stress levels can get real high. I do not like that at all. I found exercise is the best remedy, yet I have been too lazy too tired in the last few years to exercise.
  12. I started martial arts at the age of 35; like many other things in my life I was not good at it but it was very good for me! I would recommend everyone, regardless of their age, to give it a try (should they be interested in) at a safe and serious school (i.e. dedicated to the art but not to giving belts, earning money, or kicking the sh.t out of someone else).
  13. I loved opera, not listening to or watching it, but singing it. I was not good at singing opera either (like many of the things in my life I never perfected this skill), but giving it a try has always made me excited and happy 🙂
  14. I have read a lot about leadership and management; I am more suitable for management positions than for the leadership positions (who would follow me??) 🙂
  15. I think my job is the best thing that ever happened to me (other than my family). It keeps my mind working, I like what I do, and it excites me (yet I still dream about retirement; sigh… 🙂 )

And as I already said this in a comment at thesmallc’s blog, I have to make an effort to know which direction is right or left 🙂 All the cab drivers I put into wrong roads/streets, please forgive me! 🙂

cheers everyone

late-night random thoughts

Dear authors of the books on financial, retirement, or investment planning; there is nothing like the “magic of compounding” in interest-based investment anymore. There is no interest rate like 10, 12, or 15%. Our current economic situation and interest rates nullify this claim. Please adjust your thinking and write more realistic/timely books for folks like myself to benefit from; how shall we invest in this economic environment?

I suspect you do not have a clear or guaranteed ideas either, but at least let’s retire this “the magic of compound interest” thing.

joy journal – June 14, 2015

I have not written in my joy journal for some time. What better way to start feeling positive, grateful, and even happy than writing, remembering, and cherishing the wonderful things, memories, thoughts, and people happening in my life?

1. I am grateful for wanting to write on my journal. I am grateful that I crave to do so to feel great; anytime available 0$ anti-depressant 🙂

2. I am grateful for a nice weekend; my mood was not bad, I was not exhausted or bored – it was just fine.

3. I am grateful for the breakfast in the morning. I went to a different cafe this time, closer to my favorite bookstore. I took my time to go thru the magazines and books (one of them was about Italian food), which was pretty refreshing. I feel a lot better and fully focus on while reading; it is one of the best ways to relax my mind.

4. I am grateful for the time I spent in the bookstore – this time too I did not find an exciting book (or, is it my book-purchase freeze that makes me difficult to choose books?), but certainly the time spent there was well worth it.

5. I am grateful for comfortably walking this morning; great exercise.

6. I am grateful for buying myself a lunch; in the afternoon I was actually pretty bored and wanted to get out of the house. I was also hungry – so I bought myself a meal. Next time, instead of two pieces of fish, I should order one; it was too much 🙂

7. I am grateful for continuing with my budget this week too; I notice that the majority of the expenses occur during Friday-Monday. This somehow makes me nervous; what happens if unexpected expenses show up till the end of week? I really do not want to pass my maximum weekly allowance.

8. I am grateful that I get nervous about my expenses and reaching the maximum amount of weekly allowance – that means I am conscious of my spending and how much funds I let myself use during the week. This feeling I am sure will help me to control the expenses in the remaining days.

9. I am grateful for the healthy dinner I have had; boiled cauliflower coated with garlicky yogurt, topped up by chilly pepper stir-fried in olive oil. It makes my mouth watered! The majority of you may not be familiar with the garlicky and salted (depending on your preferences); I admit that it may not be appealing for everyone – but garlic helps reduce the blood pressure in some people (including myself) and the health benefits of the yogurt I am sure are well known.

10. I am grateful for the relaxing day; it lightly rains today, a little it grey too. But that makes it only a perfect day to spend at home, relaxing, reading, and watching TV.

11. I am grateful for my books; I have found many books about financial and retirement planning that I had forgotten I have had. I have enjoyed re-reading one of them today and I am eyeing another one. I love reading about savings and investment 🙂

12. I am grateful for removing extra grass from my yard.

13. I am grateful for all the food, clothes, shoes, and furniture I have at home. They give me protection and comfort and a feeling of abundance; while following a budget and saving funds, I found one tricky thing is to not let yourself feeling deprived. Identifying what we already have may help with this feeling.

14. I am grateful for the visit I will pay to my family in July – I have some time to finish time-sensitive work till then. Then I can enjoy my full-month of vacation with family and friends, hopefully while not thinking or dealing with work.

15. I am grateful for increasingly wanting to declutter my house. I have so many stuff stuffed here and there; especially the storage area. Even the things around may need to go; the other day I threw away a nail polisher, which changed its colour from transparent to yellowish….. Cannot be still good; I am glad I have noticed it and dumped it. I wonder though how many more stuff I have that are not functional or needed/wanted anymore? Some……

16. I am grateful for my couch and the blanket that make my sitting and reading so comfortable, warm, and relaxing..

17. I am grateful for my house for being mine, old but spacious, having a great insulation and ventilation system, and feeling like home to me… despite its expensive problems.. it is not its fault, is it? I gotta start having more positive feelings about my house..

18. I am grateful for realizing I may be at the beginning of a middle-age crisis….. Time to re-prioritize what I want from my life and how to reach them; drop those not useful or hurtful as well. One life and it is passing really quick..

19. I am grateful for being grateful.

random thoughts

I am reading a retirement planning book; very pleasing 🙂

Not that I am not worried about my retirement, I am; but the author makes a great point re: how financial planners and others use “fear” to make us save and invest for our future and how we all feel like whatever we do/save/invest will not be enough in future; so we are left feeling “oh, well, this small savings today will not make a huge difference in the future, so why to bother on budgeting and saving?”

I certainly have experienced that and I dislike this “fear” factor instilled into us by others. Yes, we gotta save and invest for our future; yes whatever we can do we should do; but MOST importantly, no I do not want anyone to tell me (except myself) that I am not doing well with my current finances or future financial plans.

I am trying; like many of us. I can do better; I know that and I am working on it.

The only time I will let “financial fears” is when I stop being a conscious spender and start spending money mindlessly.

Though I must confess the uncertainty and the current turmoil about the (future) economy make me quite nervous (and almost fearful) – will these savings and investments survive & strive, and work for me during my retirement? How much will be there?

You know that there is no guarantee about the investments and future, right?

Back to the book.

joy journal – June 11, 2105

1. I am grateful for feeling better today.

2. I am grateful for the summer weather – for two days straight we have had incredibly warm (not hot) weather with blue sky. Its positive effect on me is incredible.

3. I am grateful for taking the bus this morning. I needed to wait 10 min at home, which I have. I must admit though the first thought passed my mind was “I can take the cab this morning”. It somehow went away after I managed to keep myself busy for 4 minutes at home.  When I got off the bus, I thanked for the opportunity to walk even for a short distance to my building.

4. I am grateful for eating two apples today. Healthy and tasty.

5. I am grateful for meeting with someone in our organization who provided me with excellent assistance on some project-related questions.

6. I am grateful for walking to and from the meeting (total around 25 minutes).

7. I am grateful for attending a seminar by a wonderful speaker; I enjoyed meeting with her, listening to her informative and energetic presentation.

8. I am grateful for walking to the appointment with the lawyer this afternoon. His office is 5 minutes away from my house and I could easily find it. I did mental-wrestling about taking the cab or walking. Eventually walking won 🙂

9. I am grateful for working at home after my appointment – I worked on an important document, which went really well in a short time. I am pleased.

10. I am grateful for meeting with my friends and having a dinner at a nearby restaurant. We were 5 people, all nice and cheerful people. The meal was great and so was the coffee 🙂

11. I am grateful for not over-eating today.

12. I am grateful for my conscious spending plans – lately they started to make a visible difference in my finances. I am highly motivated to keep going and save a lot more.

13. I am grateful for having a relaxing night – it is peaceful.

14. I am grateful for my plans to work tomorrow and possibly Saturday.

15. I am grateful for the coming weekend. I would like to read books, many of them if I can 🙂

16. I am grateful for keeping up with the challenges I assigned to myself: today I walked in the morning and then in the afternoon; took the bus not the cab; ate relatively healthy; did not make a purchase; enjoyed the view from my office; smiled more and had great time with friends; combed my hair in the morning, and determined to lift my mood, finances, and healthy life-style up.

17. I am grateful for being grateful.

random thoughts

Life is good.

I am working slowly but steadily. My mind is working and thus is happy.

It was a warm day; the evening is young and I have many interesting books and blogs to read; I am happy, peaceful, and slightly excited; just the way I would like to feel.

The effect is mostly coming from the carbs I have eaten for the dinner – I know this feeling so well. I am trying to limit the carbs but their positive effects on my mood is amazing.

Moderation… Moderation.

I have made purchases today, which kind of threw my weekly budget up to the maximum level. I am feeling a little bit nauseated with that, but I know tomorrow is another day, next week I can make it better, and under all conditions, I am constantly striving to do my best 🙂

Sometimes I feel like the effort and having an aim to accomplish is more exciting than reaching the aim itself. I need years to turn things around with conscious spending. Instead of waiting so long, why not to enjoy today and reflect on my experiences?

Yes, Mam 🙂

challenges, budgeting, and recent realizations

I am kinda excited about a couple of things regarding the challenges I assigned to myself:

The main thing is that even though I fall thru the cracks time to time, I keep trying to implement these changes.

Consider my (often painful) efforts to take the bus rather than the cab. Two weeks ago, I did it four day/week but last week none.. This morning I tried it again and I am motivated (for now). Taking the cab is convenience and satisfaction for me, taking the bus is inconvenience but good for my budget (and the environment).

Another thing I do is to keep reading about budgeting, saving, investing and most importantly, preparing a detailed budget and keeping track of it. For years now I kept recording all my expenses everyday. However, I hardly itemized them or gave them a cap amount. This time, for example I have a weekly discretionary allowance of $200 for daily expenses, breakfast, and grocery shopping (this may look like a big amount, but where I am fresh produce is very expensive and this amount also includes expenses related to cleaning products and self-pampering expenses such as the books and stationary items).

With the maximum amount of weekly allowance and keeping track of all expenses using an Excel document, I am very aware of how much funds I have left. So far I have spent 3/4th of my allowance till Friday, so I am not interested in making other expenses yet; I will see whether I can keep doing so for this week and the weeks to come.

One more breakthrough I have had lately, thanks to the detailed budget, was to realize that in terms of having a modest life-style and investing in my retirement plans I was doing above good. My biggest problem was to keep up with the expensive house repairs and to have some funds in my chequeing account. And to do the latter, I really needed to be frugal with my variable expenses, such as my weekly allowance, possibly for a couple of years. This is a long time, but I will see what I can do. I know I can do this and with each increase in the available funds, I am more motivated to move forward. Of course, there is a chance of an unexpected and required expense that may throw my saved funds and motivation out of the window, but until then, let me keep this wonderful feeling.

And just yesterday, I realized I should be considering even saving $200 as a major accomplishment. I have a tendency to calculate yearly expenses or savings, which I do not consider it as a major savings if it is not bigger than $3,000-$4,000. I was reading a book yesterday which said “have respect for your money“. That was the sentence that helped make me change my opinion on the “significant amount”.

Wishing to keep discovering about myself, my spending and saving habits, and my abilities to respect my hard-earned money.

The life in the diary – XI

Fiction

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February 20, 2013

Now that I have mostly recovered from my surgery, my surgeon ordered my radiation treatment. I am to go to the isolation room and spend 2 nights there. Do I dread it? Last time was pretty boring. This time I am experienced. I was told that the room had a TV and I managed to purchase some treats from the giftstore this morning. And a book. A crime novel. By an author I have no idea about. Nevertheless I am grateful for its distractive potential.

I have been to the “library” almost everyday in the last one week. There are around 200 books scattered around. Seeing them, exploring them excites me big time. I was told I was welcome to read as many as I want. I just cannot take the books out of the room. That does not make me happy at all, but I understand. Ten minutes in it and one can see that this room functions more than just being a reading room; this is where the patients and caregivers find a chance to chat with someone else. Maybe they appreciate this opportunity as they forget for a while where they are, what they are. Or maybe they dislike this “opportunity for distraction” as much as I do; in my experience the distraction  disappears as soon as I leave the library and the heavy thoughts and emotions come back full force. There is no escape from them. Only transient breaks.

I am surprised by many of my reactions to this “new” life here. Faded-blue and battered hospital gowns are no longer bothering me, for example. I wonder whether it is the bathrob I brought with me that creates this indifference in me towards the gowns. And the slippers. One gotta appreciate the little pamphlet they give the patients during the pre-op appointment; there is a section about what to bring in…. Anyways, incidentally, my rob and the slippers are also of blue colour. Yet, they are softer. Much softer. I not only appreciate how casual and comfortable they make me feel, but I am also in love with their thick, slush texture that keeps me warm and makes me feel like an individual. Not another patient in a faded-blue gown. An individual. This thought inevitably straightens my shoulders; I am not a victim; I have control over something.

It is almost 10am. They will pick me up for the radiation treatment soon. I should leave with the nurse whatever I do not wish to be contaminated with radiation. These also include my bathrob and slippers.

I feel a sudden rush of shakiness.

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The life in the diary – XI

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random thoughts

I am so far having a good weekend. This morning I spend some time at home prior to getting out to the cafe and doing some work. Sundays are great, yet since the stores/cafes usually open later than usual, it kind of limits the daily activities.

It is nice outside. I had that wish to walk a little bit. So after I returned back from the cafe, I went down to the bookstore. I took a relatively longer path to go there; benefits are two-fold: walking longer is healthy and I gotta see different houses and scenery. I am happy with my decision to do so.

I have not been to this bookstore for sometime. I have chosen 4 books initially. I know myself; if it is 4 books, then I will not even read all of them before I buy new ones possibly next week. So, after some thinking, I left one of them and purchased 3. Funny thing that one of the books turned out to be the exact same book I have bought earlier :). I am still reading it, but that tells me that I better examine the books in more detail to make sure I am not duplicating my books.

I admit that for some books I intentionally get the 2nd book. In these cases, it is only because I love the first copy so much I would like to keep a second copy. You may think this is awkward and I agree with you 🙂 The reason is that I have an habit of underlying sentences/parts of books and also write notes on pages. As you can imagine, that causes the the book to get a little bit cluttered after a while, which makes the second reading attempt a little bit difficult for me. Thus, comes the need for the 2nd copy for those books I really like and would like to read again.

When I bought my house, I had that plan to get 3 nice-looking bookshelves to keep my books in. They would be brownish colour, not light but a little bit dark, and the same size and height. They could be placed on one of the walls in my living room close to my desk and computer. That would be my study center. A good dream that I still cherish, yet it has to wait till my financial situation gets a little bit better.

Working at the yard yesterday and all made me think; if money was not an issue, I would turn this place (house and the yard) in such as nice place. I am not complaining; only knowing that in time I am capable of doing all of these. I just need time and the continuity of my interests.

have a great Sunday everyone.

joy journal – April 18, 2015

It is a relatively nice day with nice activities and new excitements.

1. I am grateful that I got up early (9 am), but not later. That gave me a chance to find something different to do.

2. I am grateful I went to the shopping mall by taking the bus. I am extra grateful that I could wait 30 min at home to catch the bus :).

3. I am grateful that I took my time to go through the stores, enjoyed my latte and breakfast, checked the bookstore and other stores. Even though I have not purchased a lot of stuff, it felt really good.

4. I am grateful for walking around 20 min to a thrifty store from the mall. I generally am either lazy or have low energy and walking even 20 min seems like an extra work for me. Yet, the motivation to check the books at the thrifty store was strong enough to let me walk there.

5. I am grateful for the books I have purchased. One is about a cancer patients recovery from this disease and the other one is about decluttering and simplified life. Cannot wait to read these books.

6. I am grateful I bought myself a meal before I returned back to home.I was not particularly hungry but felt like I pampered myself, so well done 🙂

7. I am grateful for cleaning and aerating my home today; always a great feeling.

8. I am grateful for the healthy meal I have had at home for dinner.

9. I am grateful for three more books arriving on the mail yesterday. It is amazing that the package fit into the mail box. Otherwise, the package could not have been left and I would have to go to the post-office to get it. I have one more book to receive, hopefully in the next few weeks.

10. I am grateful for planning to go to another shopping mall tomorrow. I plan to buy a runner and maybe one or two plants for my new office. I am so excited!

11. I am grateful for it is being a saturday and a quiet and relaxing day. I have nothing to take care of, other than finishing my laundry and reading my new books.

12. I am grateful for my blanket that keeps me warm in this chilly evening.

13. I am grateful for today being a warm and bright day; I almost sweated with the coat on. Spring is almost here, I can feel it 🙂

14. I am grateful for my clothes, furniture, house, job, salary and benefits, food, TV, computer, cable and internet connection.

15. I am grateful that I am feeling alright today and I am hopeful about tomorrow (as I plan to shop again) and about monday (as it will be the first day at my new office) 🙂

joy journal – April 15, 2015

relatively great day; I am thankful for many things today;

1. I am grateful that I slept well. It was comfortable and I woke up easily. I had a meeting at 9.30 am so I could take my time getting up (I planned to arrive directly at the meeting in another building). That also helped me to take the bus, rather than taking the cab. I not only saved some pennies but also walked a little bit to the bus stop and then to my meeting. Great!

2. I am grateful for the person at the desk that allowed me to use their phone to find out where the meeting was. It turns out I ended up at the wrong building and thanks to the phone conversation, I was able to locate the meeting room.

3. I am grateful for 10 min walk from the building where the meeting was held to my office. Morning walks energizes at the end, but I find myself to lazy to walk in the mornings (usually have low energy in the mornings..). I can try more often, knowing that at the end I will feel better.

4. I am grateful for buying myself coffee and muffins for breakfast. Now, brewing my coffee is more practical and affordable (which I do 99% of the time) and muffins are not necessarily healthy; I know. But, it did feel good..(I usually do not eat in the mornings).

5. I am grateful for lightly working (without much stress) but effectively. There was a project that I was working on, writing for almost 3 months. I changed the scope quite a bit as I learnt more about the important details of the work to be done. But today I was able to get a short draft and email it to an important senior collaborator to get his support and possibly involvement. My collaborator would not like to be involved in the project as he is trying to reduce his work load, but is highly supportive of the project and allowed me to use the documents and the work-space for this project. I am forever grateful!

6. I am grateful for having a nice late afternoon meeting, casual and positive conversations, with great colleagues. Always a delight.

7. I am grateful for moving 5-6 more boxes of items from my current office to the new office today. I believe I need another 4-5 boxes to fully carry the items to the new office. I am also grateful that I put an order to move my computer to the new office on monday, but not wednesday, which is my official moving day. That means I think tomorrow is my last day at my current office (friday I have out-of-office tasks to do, so will not be at the work-place). I sure will give my thanks to the office, which has been a home to me in the last 6 years.

8. I am grateful for cleaning some of my (emptied) office furniture today. I still have 3 desks and a bookcase to be cleaned really well prior to the move, but I guess I can do that next week.

9. I am grateful for one of my colleagues giving me a ride back home.

10. I am grateful for having the evening and night to myself. It is peaceful and relaxing.

11. I am grateful for having salad at dinner today. One healthy meal I have had 🙂

12. I am grateful for receiving one of the books that someone I care about asked me to get for her. I found it in my mail box, which is great. Should the book have been big or heavy, the postman would not leave it to my mail box; rather I would have to go to the post-office. I am grateful I did not have to do that.

13. I am grateful for the beautiful day; it is bright yet chilly, but that is okay.

14. I am grateful for having no negative news or experiences today and feeling good. That feeling is awesome :0

15. I am grateful that two bloggers, thesmallc and C. Hills  have shared what they were grateful for yesterday as a response to my joy journal entry! It is really exciting that these ladies adopted the idea of joy journalling and shared own joys! I feel really excited about this and wishing them and everyone else a great experience with joy journalling:)

I need soup ASAP

It turned out that I have a cold.

I was pretty much okay till the last few hours, when my nose started running. A couple of days ago I was feeling cold, but did not think it was something serious. I should have known better, as my appetite has since been suppressed; this does not happen at all :).

Ok, so I will continue to sneeze, have runny nose and nasal congestion, feel headache, maybe have some weakness, drink a lot of liquids/soup, lie on my couch whole day, will not be able to meet with my friends, but I will go to the book store – yes, I will.

Oh, come on! I have been so excited about this long-weekend and the prospect of buying more books, now where did this cold come from? Where did I catch it? I have not been around a sick person, I have not been to an unusual situation/place. How come I got it?

Argh.. I do not know. Info on internet says the first 3 days I am contagious; that means from today till late Sunday.

Soup. I need soup ASAP.

joy journal – April 1, 2015

It has been a good day; here what make today a good day and me grateful for it:

1. I am grateful that I am alive, well, and sound.

2. I am grateful for the healthy meal I have had for dinner. I did not eat bread today, either. Kinda missing it as it has a pacifying effect on me. But perhaps after a couple of days, I will get used to that “withdrawal” symptom 🙂

3. I am grateful that even though I had a busy schedule today as well, similar to yesterday I kept calm and efficient and took care of work well.

4. I am glad I have walked back from office to home. I even did grocery shopping, something less to think about for the weekend 🙂

5. I am grateful for my progress in topics that I tend to procrastinate. Mostly because I do not know what to do actually. Such as finding a construction company to fix minor stuff around my house. I cannot say I have found it yet, but I have started and once I start, I keep going. I will do just fine, with some good luck in finding a good company.

6. I am grateful that the positive effect of the books I have had last week are continuing. I am calmer, more positive (and kinder), and quite functional. As a matter of fact, more efficient. I know after a while I will stop reading them and start other books, but I take this experience as a gift.

7. I am grateful that a task that required some extra time, which was not welcome by the other side is now completed. I have done my best to do a good job, as much as I can under the pressure of timeline. If there are any omissions or mistakes, I guess I should remember I have done my best with it.

8. I am grateful that now I have time to move on with other important projects that have been waiting my attention for some time. It is great that starting next week, I will be able to take care of them.

9. I am grateful that I have got a complementary copy of a business book today; it is a great book, did not cost me anything, and it is free to be used by anyone in my department.

10. I am grateful that Friday is off! I am actually very excited about this! Why? First of all, it is a good break from office – I am sure on Sunday I will be bored and be very enthusiastic to go back to office on Monday and work :). Second, I am aware that on Friday stores will be closed; but that is okay; I can clean the house and do laundry that day. But Saturday and Sunday, I am sure I will visit the shopping malls, mostly the book stores, change the environment, drink coffee at different places, buy new books, and read my books with excitement 🙂 excited!

11. I am grateful that I am grateful today.

joy journal – March 30, 2015

Here is today’s joys 🙂

1. I am grateful that I have waken up easily and relatively early 🙂 When I woke up, it was bright and shiny, and I could see the light beams on the floor. That was such a magical feeling… I think we will get spring sometime soon… Not fully for some more time, yet eventually. Yay!

2. I am grateful that I felt really good in the morning. I really think it is the effect of the books I am reading.

3. I am grateful that this positive feeling continued the entire day; I was calm and totally not stressed, even though it was one of these busy days with maybe 30 min left to myself in between the meetings. I could see that this was possible and I could do it. This is seriously the first time I felt that calm/relax in the face of a busy work day. I am hopeful that I will do that again and I am amazed that it actually occurred to me today 🙂

4. I am grateful that in the evening, I stayed late in my office and worked smoothly. No stress, no regrets, no complaining. Thank you books! 🙂

5. I am grateful that I walked from office to home. Because of the snow storms and all, in the last few weeks I was taking the bus. Today I walked, I remembered how easy it was, sweated just a little bit, got fresh air, and was proud of myself.

6. I am grateful for having a big salad and some other healthy dishes, but no bread today! I am honestly excited about this. gaining independence from bread will be awesome! 🙂

7. I am grateful for relaxing at home tonite. I have not started reading my books that have such a positive effect on my mood, but I know I will start doing so and go to bed in a much better mood than usual.

8. I am grateful that yesterday night, instead of resisting to leave the peaceful atmosphere of the night (that I love so much, which thus makes me go to bed late usually), I decided to be positive about it and did not complain to myself… I guess that helped me to go to sleep peaceful, but not resentful 🙂

9. I am grateful that Friday is off and this is going to be a long weekend! yay! I am so excited about this! I am positive that I will handle work and finish a couple of critical tasks so that I can enjoy my weekend without working! OMG, I will shop again this saturday; books, books, more books! I am so excited about this 🙂

joy journal – March 29, 2015

I had a jolly joyful day so far; cannot wait to share 🙂

1. I am grateful that instead of going to the cafe I always go at the weekends, I took the bus and went to a shopping mall. I usually cannot wait… it is just something about me.. But this morning I managed to spend around 40 min at home without getting crazy (!) prior to catching the bus. I am changing in a positive way. I cannot say I have changed it totally and now I am as patient as anyone else, no. But I can say I did that today and I can do it again. Awesome 🙂

2. I am grateful that I went to a different cafe at the mall and got my coffee. I did eat the same unhealthy breakfast (bagels), which I still need to work on, but I have done something unexpected and tried a latte! It was great and lovely change from my usual coffee. As a matter of fact, latte seems a lot more like a treat than regular coffee. Why not to get more frequently?

3. I am grateful that the servers at the cafe were nice and lovely. I am grateful that I read magazines while having my breakfast.

4. I am grateful that I bought small notebooks; I have a thing for stationary items such as notebooks, pens and others. Make me excited 🙂

5. I am grateful that I walked up to go to a big bookstore! What a nice feeling! There were so many beautiful books and it was bright and nice. I got a book from one of my favourite writers that I did not even know existed. I cherish that book now.

6. I am grateful that even though it was raining/snowing a little bit, I decided to walk maybe half a kilometer to go check a thrifty store. It is sunday so I was not sure whether it was open, yet my motivation to be there was good enough. And it was open. I could not find books that can interest me today there, yet I found 2 bowls that I was looking for. They actually looked like the bowls I have at home, and it turned out to be correct! Now I have 4 of the same bowls that I like and use frequently. I was lucky today 🙂

7. I am grateful that my energy levels were great today. I was not complaining about walking or going from one store to other, not at all. That is a great feeling that makes me more confident about my energy levels. I think I am not lazy or tired all the time. I think they are temporary and I can and I do have an adequate level of energy 🙂

8. I am grateful for waiting for the bus and reading my book at the bus stop. It was a cold/rainy day yet I did not get bored or something and take the cab rather than the bus. I am very proud of myself. I can wait…. This is the second time I waited for something today and again I am really enjoying this change in my behaviour.

9. I am grateful for doing the grocery shopping on the way back home. I bought healthy food and contemplated a lot about whether or not to buy breads. Eventually I did not. My determinism to have a healthy diet is continuing, which is very pleasing.

10. I am grateful for the healthy meal and salad I had this afternoon; that tells me that I am really making an effort to eat better.

11. I am grateful for my books – I am reading a couple of them, both of which are very easy to read and are positive. I feel the positivity surrounding me.

12. I am grateful that it is sunday and it is peaceful, nourishing, and positive.

13. I am grateful for  not letting one of my friends on the phone bombarding me with negative experiences and all. She says she is very positive but then when she talked to me she always mentions about the negative things. It feels like she dumps all of her negativity on me. I cut the conversation asking for a positive talk. I am proud of this.

14. I am grateful for the road salt I have stocked up at home. In the grocery store there was no more salt today. I anticipate that I may need another one or two bags of salt before the winter clears up. And I already have them. Feeling good 🙂

15. I am grateful for being grateful. If anyone is reading this post, may I kindly ask you to consider trying your own joy journals? It does not have to be a post like this; it can be a computer file or writing on a notebook. I hope writing joys of the day will make you feel positive feelings.

joy journal – March 27, 2015

I think the main reason I want to keep writing to my joy journal is because I am depressed and need to feel good. So; let’s do this one more time:

1. I am grateful that I woke up a little bit earlier this morning. I did not want to; I have such a low energy overall, but especially in the mornings. Usually, lots of things look difficult to me in the morning and thus I prefer the comfort of the office (i.e. go to office right away). This morning though, I had to go to the City. So despite my usual reluctance, I did go there… Come to think about it, I think what helped with that was I needed to shovel the front of the house a little bit… The city trucks cleaned the snow on the streets yesterday night and of course dumped quite a bit of snow to the front of my house. I had to shovel it to open a walking passage. I wonder whether this extra activity in the morning actually helped me to “wake up” a little bit?

2. I am grateful for realizing that my lack of energy in the morning (or overall during the day) may be because I do not move my body and as such my body remains in a relatively lethargic state whole day??? If that is the situation, there is solution to my low energy levels (see also the point 3 below)! I am kind of excited about this…

3. I am grateful for having a conversation with one of my good friends this afternoon. I had mentioned her about my energy levels. She said ” lack of activity/exercise is making us slow and lethargic (at work) and being slow at work means we need to spend more time at work, which in turn limits our chances of exercise – what a cycle..”. How wise is she? Very 🙂

4. I am grateful that the cab driver this morning was one of the regulars, who is kind, positive, and super professional. As soon as I left the cab, I was ready to take the day. Good humans make a huge positive difference.

5.  I am grateful that the people at the City were incredibly kind, nice, and helpful. They have helped me get good advise about what to do with my wall. One of my walls is cracked; it is a straight crack on both sides of the wall. The inspector I talked to was a nice, kind, and highly informative person, who told me that that was somehow normal, the house was moving, and unless I can see through the crack or it starts leaking water, I should not worry. However, she said if I am nervous about it, then I should see a structural engineer. I will certainly do that, first thing on Monday morning! I could not solve the problem, but I have taken time and energy to start working on it – I am proud of myself 🙂

6. I am grateful that instead of omitting that wall-crack, I got worried and took steps to understand it and to get it fixed. It did not feel good; feeling worry never is. yet, thanks to these feelings, I took action to get fix it. Thus, until this moment, I was negatively reacting to the feelings, but this turn of perspective is very welcome 🙂

7. I am grateful that the City was just 50 meters away from the company that files my taxes each year. I have been meaning to get my tax stuff done for sometime; yet it is such a busy time of my work that I was sceptical that I would ever spare time to go there anytime soon. I had all the documents with me for some time, so I took that chance, went there, and a very nice lady filled my tax for last year! It is a relief, the lady was so nice and friendly, and I was able to get my tax refund cheque immediately.

8. I am grateful that my bank is also in that area. I deposited my tax refund, purchased some coins that help me with my daily life, and then went to a nearby cafe to get breakfast. The day was bright and warm, people were nice and helpful, I had taken steps to resolve or took care of two important tasks for my life (e.g. the wall-crack issue and filing the tax), and I was enjoying my breakfast and moment. I thought quite a bit about not to go to the office today, but then felt the pressure of things that I have to take care. I went to office anyhow.. It was nevertheless a very joyful morning 🙂

9. I am grateful that I took the bus after the breakfast to go to the office. the bus literally arrived 1 minutes after I arrived to the bus stop – was I lucky today or what ? 🙂

10. I am grateful that I have taken care of two small but important emails/tasks in a short time, but after that i decided it was time I had some social interactions. So, I went to see a friend of mine – she just moved into a beautiful building with a nice office. I grabbed some chocolates and teas. We both were tired, overwhelmed by work, and had low energy levels. For some reason, we started talking about second hand stores and she said we should go now! what else do I want! of course. and there we went.

11. I am grateful for this second hand store – I have a thing for this kind of stores. They almost always have interesting stuff, one can find nice stuff at a very affordable price, and purchasing things from these stores helps the charity and recycling of items. I bought 5 different books in great condition and I am very excited about them 🙂 I also bought a nice jacket. Unbelievable 🙂 !

12. I am grateful that my friend gave me  ride home and I then bought myself a nice meal as a present.

13. I am grateful for my friend.

14. I am grateful for being able to buy myself a dinner.

15. I am grateful for reading my books tonite, which relaxes me.

16. I am grateful that I have made some healthy choices of food, even though not completely healthy. I am working on it, resisting the temptation to go back to completely unhealthy eating.

17. I am grateful that writing this post made me feel relieved and positive. Joy is here, however temporary it may be….

have a joyful weekend 🙂

joy journal – March 9, 2015

It is good that I feel like writing my joy journal today, too.

I had a habit of writing it everyday, which was quite a pleasant experience. For some reason, I do not write it everyday anymore. I am not sure why, but I am pleased that now I would like to pen them down here.

1. I am grateful for feeling better today; optimistic and joyful.

2. I am grateful for taking mental notes that after every gray day comes lighter ones. mental pain and confusion are transient – eventually things will be okay, as much as they can be.

3. I am grateful for my house, clothes, food, TV, computer, and cable/internet connections. they make my life safe and sound, and connect me to the rest of the world. There is so much to read out there and learn. Share, too. Sometimes, I feel like 24 hours is not enough to satisfy my curiosity. Life is good. At least I have things that attract my attention and make me curious. Vola!

4. I am grateful for sleeping well – I could get up early but I did not. I went to office late and did some light work. I left it early, too. The sky was so nice today; blue and bright, even though it is an icy and cold day. I decided to go enjoy my life by visiting my favourite book store this afternoon. The time I spent there is usually incredibly peaceful and relaxing. i chat with the owner of the bookstore – he also realized I had not been to there in the last 2-3 months! I used to go that bookstore every saturday and sunday. My primary relaxation and enjoyment. I cannot believe I was away for so long, but now that the weather is getting better, I can start visiting it at the weekends again.

5. I am grateful for 3 books I have purchased today. One of them is particularly good and captivating. It is about stress, its effects on the body, and the ways to control it. Considering how stressful and depressive I was last saturday, what the author wrote in that book all made sense to me. I am thanking the author for understanding and writing this book for people like me. I felt “understood”. That is priceless.

6. I am grateful for relaxing today. I understand it from my breath. The quiet and deep breath…To be able to notice is amazing; that means my mind is not busy with many little things.

7. I am grateful for thinking that I can take tomorrow off. I have been planning to take one or two days off for some time, but had not had the chance so far. Today was so relaxing that I think I will take this opportunity and continue to be away from the office while I can do it.

8. I am grateful for a work-related problem being almost resolved today. we still some work to do but it is gonna happen. It is quite a relief and one of the important lessons learnt in my career. Experience makes a difference, lessons create wisdom.

9. I am grateful for being calm at the office today. There has been an unexpected problem, but I did not get upset about it. I accepted that sometime things happen. It is a quite minor stuff, maybe that is the main reason for me not reacting negatively to it. But nevertheless I am happy to see this side of myself. I can be calm! 🙂

10. I am grateful for my pens. I have a set of pens that I bought at a small price. They run out of ink pretty quickly, yet it is awesome to write with them.

11. I am grateful for my decision to go shop tomorrow. I do not have to buy many stuff all at the same time, but it is a great break and I can grab a small number of stuff that I will need pretty soon. I am excited about this 🙂

12. I am grateful for being challenged about a project of mine last week. it did not feel good at that time, but now I can see things more clearly, and as a result, and I can explain things more clearly, too. Is that not awesome! 🙂 It made me better.

13. Now that I decided not to go to the office tomorrow, I can watch my favourite TV series that will start in an hour. Excitement.

14. I am grateful for my couch. yes, it does make me a couch potato, but at the same time, gives me a place to crawl, relax, and feel pampered. My thanks are also extended to my blanket that I have had for almost 5 years. I love its nourishing and warm colour and the warm, smooth texture.

15. I am grateful for life.

breaking the routine – March 9, 2015

here are the things I have done today to break the routine (until the evening):

1. I went to office quite late – after 10 am. It is because of the day-light saving time ending, but however unintentional it was, it was nevertheless was a difference from other days. So it deserves to be in this list 🙂

2. I left the office around 2pm – it is a bright and lovely day, although still chilly and we have a lot of ice and snow on the ground. I catched the bus in the last second (yay!) and went to my favourite book store, which I had not visited almost 2.5 months!

3. I walked a little bit today; from the book store to home, hiking up a hill. Good for my health, too 🙂

4. I had coffee and some sweets at my favourite cafe before I went to the bookstore. I hardly have sweets, but change is a change; helps me to think that it is okay to try new things.

I am sure there will be more to add to this list before I go to bed tonite! cannot wait 🙂

It is a Sunday!

It is Sunday today 🙂

When I was younger, Sundays were full of activities done to get prepared for the week full of school and all. It was always busy and thus boring.

It has been only years after that I appreciated the moment and started to live the Sundays as great days per se.

Time to time I still find it boring as the weekends have their own routine (e.g. shopping, cleaning the house, laundry etc.). I try to circumvent this boredom by the company of a great book – it almost always work for me.

I have selected two books to read today – one is a novel and the other one is a self-help book on efficient working. I will see which one will grasp my attention more and which one will lighten up my Sunday.

Wishing you all a great day and week.

holiday plans – the change is here

Here are my plans for the 12 days off till after the new year;

1. I will have breakfast every single morning – you got it right; every single morning I will go to my favourite cafe and order my favourite breakfast with coffee. That is my dream!

2. The delightful breakfast will be followed by a visit to my favourite book store close by; I can find beautiful books, buy or browse them as I please. Cannot think about a more lovely time spent.

3. I will walk around, maybe check the shops, see whether there is something interesting I may be interested in. Now that I will have spare time, I will take my time going through the stuff and fully engage my mind with whatever is at my hand. A great mental break – lovely.

4. I will call and visit some of my good friends – I am really looking forward to this! Everybody including me is so relaxed during the holidays that it is a perfect time to enjoy each others’ company and laughter.

5. I will go to the malls and check all the sales I can find – now that is one perfect time to find the best items at an affordable price. Since time is not an issue, I can explore in more detail and find and purchase those that I may like. I really would appreciate getting new shirts and trousers for winter.

6. I will visit the thrifty store, too. There are so many stuff that are interesting in such stores. Especially household items, such as old china or kitchen tools and furniture. I have been always fascinated by the fact that if I want to have a sense of the past of the city I am in, the old items, either at houses belonging to the people, or those who are dumped at the thrifty stores, are an excellent way to do so.

7. I would like to knit a nice toque this holiday season – based on my past experience if I can decide of what kind of toque to knit, I can produce it in a single day. I think it will be red and orange yes the colours that give energy during the winter. Great idea.

8. I will clean my house really well – starting the 2nd floor rooms which are much easier to clean. I will clean the floors well – they are in good condition but a little bit of deeper cleaning would be nice to protect them from permanent dust.

9. I will de-clutter the house – yes I will. I can keep things but not those which are not needed any more. That will help my house breathe better; it will refresh it, it will energize it. Together with the unwanted/unneeded items, I will also dump my old scars and painful memories. As I create space for new items at my house, I will also open space for new beginnings and memories. That is the most exciting of all the activities I plan to do during the holidays. This will lift my heart and my mind.

10. I will start implementing better and healthier life style. I am usually okay in terms of eating good and at least walking every single day, but I can do a lot better. I will start daily light weight exercises, I will stop eating refined carbs, and I will start breathing and relaxing with music more.

11. I will call my friends and family members to catch up with people important for me.

12. I will donate the books I am not reading any more.

13. I will clean my email inbox; ever year this is one of the best practices I follow – just delete the unnecessary/temporary emails, organize and store the others that are important. Open space for new emails, new developments, new important communications! Open space! Awesome – so exciting 🙂

14. I will shuffle the furniture around a little bit – I would like see my home a little bit different – just to have a mental stimulation, a fresh look, a statement of “change is here”. You would not believe how useful this kind of changes are in making more profound changes in our lives. Go ahead, change something and find in yourself the courage and wish to change other aspects, whether it is relationship, habit, life-style, or hobbies.

15. I will review my year and note all things that I have been grateful for. That is a great exercise not only to feel grateful, but also to appreciate the year that is ending and to welcome the new one with hope and positivity.

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