multi-purposed items are very useful :)

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

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

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

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

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I cannot wait! 🙂

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

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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.

Cooking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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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Sunday morning musings

This Sunday morning too I am plain lazy on purpose and focused on lovely activities.

For example, my usual and long (3-4 cups long) rendezvous with coffee is going well and very enjoyable.

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I have already walked around my small yard with my coffee mug in my hand to see how the seeds and flowers were coming out after the long rain yesterday (and they are all good).

I have had a light breakfast with the beet sourdough loaf I had baked last week and strained yogurt, which makes me feel quite light (not bloated).

Weather is great outside, warm and inviting and there is sunlight everywhere which opens my spirit and joy box.

And I am listening to some songs that I have not for years, which makes me nostalgic and wanting to do more of enjoyable things today and the days to come.

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I have little plans shaped for today. I think I will talk to my family first thing first and then go out for a walk and to buy some sewing stuff. I am really excited about this opportunity – hopefully what I need are all available in the stores that are open today (not too many choices, but we will see). As usual, I will bake my weekly sourdough loaf (with kefir – the first ever trial of mine – we all will see how that will turn out tonite). I will also cook a nice dish with minced beef and eggplant. It is great that summer is here and reminded me about this dish. I am guilty of not cooking great recipes that take time and require care, but yield the best taste ever. This one I am really looking forward to.

Cooking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Now let’s go find something to do that comes spontaneously and makes me feel like on top of the world! 🙂

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on thrift stores, spring, and gardening

I continue to be excited after the thrift store treasure I hunted yesterday 🙂

I keep thinking; is it becoming more of a normal for me to shop at thrift stores? 

There are two thrift/donation stores at walking distance that I seem to visit frequently only lately. I am not comfortable with the idea of buying shoes, undies, trousers/shorts, sleep wear, or any other personal items (like towels or bed linens),  but shirts, blouses, jackets, sewing notions/fabrics, and books are okay.

I still seem to be reluctant “to be seen shopping at these stores” (talking about social pressure that I need to deal with in my own mind…) and to buy things that will give me an urge of “cleaning intensely’ before use. No offense meant to anyone with the latter point – I know it is just a personal thing; realistically any of the items at this stores can be cleaned and used, and I have not heard of a case that a serious harm occurred because of an item purchased from a thrift store. In contrast, in terms of limiting waste, recycling, reusing, and protecting not only the natural resources but also the unfortunate and poor, I am clear that it is the most responsible thing to do. Also, the variety is much better than any store we have around here and prices are very, very reasonable. I have not passed that “cleaning” stuff just yet. Anyways.

I was thinking; then why did I not do that before and shop at thrift stores?  

I have no answer to that, other than the fact that I think it just fits my current budget and life-style much better than before and I do see an additional personal benefit in terms of the excitement of browsing the stores (there is always something new), finding something that I can really like (and I mean that – the three blouses I purchased lately are incredibly exciting for me to have and wear), and the ability to purchase them without breaking my current lean spending plans (three blouses cost me 13 bucks so far….).

When was the last time I was so excited about something that cost me so little?

You got it.

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It is a kind of gray and rainy day. Nevertheless, I enjoyed a short walk in the morning. The winter has been hard on us but nature is awakening with trees getting greener and the air feeling a little bit more fresh, more Springy… I am really excited about walking becoming so easy and second nature to me. 

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I want to do better with my yard this Spring. I would love to have a herb garden and some nice flowers. We will see how it goes, but today I am proud to say that I planted 6 potato which had sprouted in my kitchen. My mom advised me to cut them in 2 or 4 and plant in the yard 5-10 cm below the surface. I have done this and i hope that I will see them grow into more potatoes 🙂 I have also planted the roots of fresh mint that I had purchased this week. I really would love them to survive and thrive – so far I was only able to grow mint and peas in the last 3 years…..

Let’s cross the fingers my friends 🙂

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kind neighbours

A couple of weeks ago I was working in the yard and I said hello to my neighbour from the other side. This was the first time we ever talked. She is a lovely elderly lady who was nice and kind. She said “it looks like you like plants. We are in the process of dividing some yard plants. if you wish, I can give some of them to you – I could hang the pots on the fence“.

I said sure – I would love this and was happy with the kindness of the lady. I must admit I not necessarily expected that she would give me any plants, but that was okay.

Well, it turned out I was wrong; today I found 4 small pots on the edge of my yard, close to her side. Is that not awesome! 🙂 She did not forget and took the time and energy to place/throw ( 🙂 ) the pots in my yard :). I happily found a suitable place and planted them. I made a mental note and when I am back from my vacation, I would love to give them a loaf of home-made bread 🙂

Now the waiting games starts to see what kind of plants they will turn in to 🙂

drying flowers

File:Dried flowers.JPG

photo credit: Nguyenthibeut at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dried_flowers.JPG

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I just needed another project for myself 🙂

I chose to dry flowers from my yard 🙂

I have dried some flowers given to me when my dad died. Miraculously, I could dry them up (within two-three sheets of paper pressed in large heavy books), some of them even retained their colours. They are now cherished a lot and an hung up on my wall. They remind me my dad… May he rest in peace.

I said “miraculously”, because I had tried to dry some yard flowers last year, only to find them have gone bad with mold and everything (moisture looks like a factor). After the success with my dad’s flowers, I checked the internet to get ideas and I will try a couple of them to make sure I can:

a) air drying

b) paper/press drying

c) oven drying

d) water drying

I would love to dry up lilacs, dandelion flowers, white daisy, and hopefully the tiny forget-me-nots, in addition to some green plants 🙂

Wish me success! 🙂

mowing, birds, trees, and lilacs

Despite the fact that I truly do not enjoy mowing the yard, there are two great pleasures coming out of it (other than accomplishing this unpleasant yet necessary task):

1. seeing little birds coming to the yard and munching on the cut grass or whatever is now  available to them; nature feeding nature and making these lovely creatures visiting my place is amazing. I should not be taking credit for this, but giving something for the birds makes me feel grateful and excited!

2. standing underneath the trees and listening to their leaves whooshing with the little breeze, which reminds me how strong, silent, and peaceful the trees are. I should be doing this more. I sometime think that trees talk to us. Not literally of course 🙂 Trees have a very relaxing effect on me, which makes me automatically awed with the beauty and the peace around me.

And when the lilacs show up, it is extra beautiful…

(totally) random thoughts

the dandelions in my yard flowered; I love these sturdy, yellow flowers. I used to buy the dandelion leaves to eat in salads. This year, I am planning to eat the leaves from my yard. So, until next week before which I will harvest the leaves, I am not mowing the grass.

I have been checking the seeded areas in the mornings and evenings since I planted them. I have some seeds coming out (the flower area); they are too small to recognize and I am not sure whether they will survive and thrive in this climate – but I really, really hope at least one will do. I may have some stalks coming out in the herb section – but I cannot be sure whether they are the herbs or other plants which were in that area previously. Only time will show. But I am kind of hopeful about the mint (grocery shop kind) stalks I had inserted into the soil. They did not yet gone bad, but they did not show any sign of rooting/blooming there, either. I may take one of them out; but I am not in favour of disturbing the little things. I think in one or two weeks, I will be able to see how my seeds have done.

I walked around an hour this afternoon. I needed to go pick up a package sent to me from the post-office. Took a route I was not very familiar with and figured out how to find the post-office. Unfortunately or fortunately (because I have to walk there again 🙂 ) the package was not delivered to the station yet, so I have to go there again sometime this week. But the walk was awesome; I did sweat. It was healthy.

joy journal – May 24, 2015

1. A truly exciting and blissful day; it was sunny (although windy too) and energizing. I am grateful for every moment of this day.

2. I am grateful for not sleeping in late. I got up around 9 am, which is great. At first it did not feel so exciting, since the breakfast place does not open till 10am, but eventually I made it to 10 am and then the rest of the day was long and full of things to do!

3. I am grateful for the breakfast and the chats I have had with the staff. They are young bright people who are just going thru school and part-time job at the same time. It is kind of difficult; I remember my own years. but they seem to do both just well and are incredibly nice people to interact with.

4. I am grateful for shopping and getting shocked by the receipt!! It was not too much, but then it was.. I liked the fact that I reacted negatively to spending that much today. This tells me that I am really in the “conscious spending” mode and I am very happy with that. I am extra grateful that I left one item prior to checking out.

5. I am grateful for buying the glues my sister wanted for so long. I am also grateful for the shea butter hand cream I bought for myself; it smells good and feels very smooth. It was above my budget but I bought it anyways to treat myself. Conscious spending does not mean I need to constrain myself to the degree that I cannot enjoy my own money, especially for something that is good for my body.

6. I am grateful for the healthy lunch and dinner I have had today. yes I have eaten bread too (which I am trying to cut), but at least I have also eaten veggies, either raw or canned.

7. I am grateful for spending time in the yard, getting mesmerized and fascinated by the young trees, checking the seeded areas for growth, and removing some dandelion out. I could sit whole day out, breathing fresh air, listening to the trees and birds, and feeling the sun warming my bones. I am lucky I am to have a yard and I am very thankful for that.

8. I am grateful for walking twice today; first while going to the store to purchase stuff and then in the afternoon. The nice thing about nice weather is the energy and wish to be outside it gives. I could not help myself but put the shoes on and went out. walked to another grocery store maybe 10 min away. Since last year I have not been there – it is a relatively small store but the fresh produce is fantastic. I did only buy a pack of chocolate-biscuit I was craving for and enjoyed it while walking back to home.

9. I am grateful for having an upbeat, relaxing, and energizing weekend. This weekend was truly a blessing. My mood is high and I am looking forward to a productive work week ahead of me.

10. I am grateful for TV and the movies I have watched this weekend.

11. I am grateful for having the love in my heart to give to the trees, the plants, and anything else in my yard.

12. I am grateful for speaking with my family and my best friend today; their support is always useful, sincere, and strong.

13. I am grateful for deciding to take a longer route starting yesterday to walk from office to home in the afternoon. The change of scenery should feel good and it will give my body a better exercise.

14. I am grateful for all the food I have at home. My pantry and fridge has more than enough food to let me go through the week.

15. I am grateful for the blogs I have read today – I learn so much about gardening, budgeting, and crafting. Learning and curiosity are the sources of excitement 🙂

16. I am grateful for being relaxed, positive, and grateful today.

random thoughts

it is the Victoria day, but for people holding my position, it is interestingly not a paid vacation. Thus, I was at my office this morning.

I worked around 4 hours, in which I was capable of taking care of many tasks. One of them I dread so much that I can hardly do on time; I have been delaying for 1.5 months and finally today it is finished. But I must say I really needed to combat with my mind to do it 🙂 When done, of course, I was happier and feeling better. Now I can focus on other stuff. Good job.

It is a little rainy day today. I like the rain only every once a while; today I like it because I believe this light rain is good for the seeds and plants I planted in my yard during the weekend.

Happy growing you little things. I hope at least one of you will survive and when I see you, I will be able to get crazy motivated to do more in the yard 🙂

yard-work

I did some more yard work today. I do not have abig yard, only a small one with a number of young trees. Last week I had started to dig the soil to level high parts with low part (my house is on a slight hill, reflected on my yard as well). It is the at the end of the yard where this is more pronounced, but the soil is so soft that I have no trouble manipulating it.

I also started to clean it. Last year was my first summer at my place and first time dealing with a yard. Together with my lack of knowledge, usual laziness(!), and the ridiculous amount and types of debris left by the previous owners, I had not done much in the yard. This year, although I am surprised with myself that I left all the debris in my yard till now, I am also glad that I am doing it. So far I was able to get rid of some weird metal  stuff, a bent spoon, many pieces of broken glass, and old clothes! the more I dig, I am afraid the more stuff I will find 🙂

Anyways, I had seen a neighbour of mine trimming some branches of trees. While I have no intention to hurt the nature, especially trees, today I had to remove some damaged and awkward (small) branches out of two of my trees. It also helped me to clean space for my vegetable/herb/flower bed as these trees are young and thus their branches are low – now I can use that area more effectively.

And I planted seeds for herbs; parsley, mint, rosemary, and basil! I have no idea whether they will germinate and grow here, whether I have used the right place (sunny or shady) for their optimum growth, I have no idea… I admit I was somehow careless, but I am hopeful! Something will come out 🙂

Tomorrow I will continue to clean up, remove old/damaged branches from trees, and plant flowers. One of my favourites will be to plant garlic and onion! let me start with these and next year I hope I will do a much better job and have raised beds for other veggies such as lettuce and others.

One last thing; being in the nature is an amazing feeling. I stood there for a minute and admired all life forms existed in my yard and listened to the birds. I now understand better when people insist on having a house with a yard. There is something wondrous about being with the nature.

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