holidays plans

It is mid December already 🙂

I must be excited about the holiday time-off, but I am not there yet. I have some work to complete before the holidays so that I can take a rest and then start the new year with a fresh feeling. I have 9 more days before the holidays, so I feel like I must speed up. Yet, Murphy’s law – while some stuff are doing well, others are not. So here is to a roller-coaster type of day 🙂

But, I take it easy. This is my new approach to life’s hurdles. There is a lesson to be learnt from everything. Perhaps this year’s lesson to me is to accept the hurdles and delays, and try anyhow. Ok.


These being said, I am looking forward to having some “me time” during the holidays. I just declined a social and I am likely gonna decline some others too. I remember last years that when I attended the socials, I had hardly any time left for myself. This year more than ever, I want to slow down and I want to reflect and decide on new aims.

Some of my plans are the usual:

I will clean the house really well and declutter! It is gonna be awesome.

I may shop, trousers particularly, by taking advantage of the sales.

I may finally finish the place mat I started to sew 3 months ago.

I may reflect on life, my wishes, and needs, and the future.

Most importantly, I want to evaluate the past year (this blog is a good resource to see what I have experienced or thought). I always liked this exercise! How did I develop, personally and professionally? What did I accomplish and what did I fail? What did I learn? What can I do differently? How did I take the change (e.g. changes in my sleep pattern) and how did this change me?

All very exciting questions! 🙂

 

 

 

a long weekend is coming….

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

Is this good? Bad?

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

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

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

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

joy journal – Jan 23, 2018

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

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

3. I am grateful for having three meetings today all with some kind of progress. This feels good. I have a new team member who is visiting our organization for a couple of months. She is nice and intelligent. I hope to be able to make this an enjoyable and beneficial visit for both sides. We immediately identified a technical skill for her to develop, which is one of our strength. This feels awesome. We then have a small project to develop together, which again feels good. If we can work well and if we are lucky somehow, we can make this 🙂

4. I am grateful for working till 3.30pm at the office, which is pretty good for me. I took the cab and ate junk food in the evening, but hey, at least some small goals I have had for myself are done today: sleeping well, taking the bus in the morning (despite the cold), eating better (lots of carrots today), working mostly at the office (till 3.30 pm), not having anxiety was a huge plus, working (albeit at home till late) but nevertheless finishing some work. I now have a “me” time for another 1-2 hours before I go to sleep. That should be okay – at least for today.

5. I am grateful for not beating me up for taking the cab in the afternoon and eating junk food. I came to realize that in order for me to have a life just the way I want it, I must fix the work situation first. It is sad that the stress and time-commitments of the work takes priority over my own personal life. It is really sad…. I keep going in this difficult time; poor budgets, poor conditions, and poor recognition. I have not given up yet but I keep wonder when or if that would happen…..

I will know when it is over. It is not over yet.

6. I am grateful for working; I may be stressed. I may be anxious. I may be depressed (time to time). But I am functional and am giving my 100% to this toxic work-place. I have been working in this field for 24 years now. This is a long time; I studied, I worked, I moved up, and now I am no sure where my career is. Frustration is a common experience with everyone I guess. After all these years and dedication, do you not expect recognition? respect? Some kind of satisfaction and ease?

I do.

Maybe that is what exactly I should be grateful for.

7. I am grateful for being safe, healthy, warm, and sane today. It could have been much worse – I could have lost my mind :))))))

Joking.

But it is a possibility, you know 🙂

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

it is time to have some plans

Now that I do not get any more (strong) anxiety, I have decided it was time that I come back to my regular routine by re-introducing my small daily life goals.

They literally make me feel like I am in control of my life, I am capable of taking care of my life and myself, and I am capable of making positive changes in my life.

They may be small, but mighty! 🙂

Here they are:

Working at the office, not at home, during the weekdays: Working mostly at home in the last 7 months made me socially isolated. I now feel better if I am in the office and do the work there. I can and will continue to work at home after hours/weekends, but at least my social health will be better. I will also enjoy being at home – lately I went through too many of stressful times while trying to do work at home. It is time that I experience what “home” means.

Taking the bus and walking: Last week was good in terms of taking the bus in the morning and walking in the afternoons (back to home). I do not want to waste anymore dimes on the cab (although I love it – so easy and comfy. Also the cabbies are always nice and very talkative). BUT I want to keep my money for more important things. I must keep my money for more important things.

Eating better: I have done well in the last two weeks by eating a variety and healthy food. I still sometime munch on candy or chocolate, but I cook more and eat more salad. The lettuce seems to be doing the magic 🙂

Stretching and elbow exercises: My physiotherapy continues and my elbow has been feeling better but not quite healed. I was given a new exercise last Friday that aims to smooth the muscles around my elbow (they are very tight). The effect was instantaneous and I cannot think about not doing these exercises! I feel so lucky and hopeful that my elbow will be like new quite soon 🙂

Budget and frugal life-style:  This is a long one.

I have been struggling with keeping up with my budget and that makes me feel bad. Literally bad. I have had a very successful history of highly effective budget and saving as much as I can. Last year was hugely successful.

However, I have not started this year well and I am way above my weekly budget and cannot save much from my pay check. This is ridiculous – I have some payments coming up; one soon for a plane ticket to Europe and another one for an investment account (an annual sum that challenges me each year, but I keep making it knowing that in the future it will be so useful). According to my calculations, unless I save around a good sum of money each month, it looks like I will not be able to make pre-payments and I will have to tap into my line of credit account.

WHAT??

An additional debt? Was mortgage not good enough??

By the way; why did Bank of Canada increased its interest rate? Argh.. Now the major Canadian banks are increasing their mortgage rates and they predict further increases in the future. My term ends in 2 years and with increased tax and no salary increase, how the hey am I supposed to pay my mortgage, invest for my retirement, and have a comfortable life all at the same time ??

……..

Going back to my frugality plan; all I have to do is to start being responsible and motivated about savings again. Which is hard. I meant to do this almost everyday lately. I know that it will happen one day, but when is that day? Tomorrow? Monday? Next week? 

I chose Monday – wish me luck 🙂

 

 

 

how blogging changes your life

I have been contemplating, however late it seems this year, about the changes I want to make in my life in 2018.

Then I realized I have already done quite a bit of changes and improvements that made my life abundant, easy, more self-sufficient, and satisfactory. I think I am good where I am 🙂

The majority of the changes I have made fall in the following categories: frugal life; simple life; reduced waste; and self-reliance.

Let me explain.

The need for frugal live was driven by the home-ownership that necessitated cutting costs and increasing age that require better investments so that I could handle the repair and other costs a house requires (a 100 years old house requires many) and the anxiety and uncertainty about my own future. While I was on the average pretty good in living below my means, thanks to many inspiring stories and bloggers going through the same journey I found some kind of strength and higher level of motivation. Score! 🙂 Frugal life-standards made me appreciate what I have had and the excitement coming out of finding ways to cut cost, better deals, and better financial management. As a result comes the feeling of being less dependent on material and being abundant in so many different ways.

As part of frugal choices, I also switched from automatic take of cab in the morning and the afternoon during the work days. It was a struggle alright and it still is. Bus operates only every 30 min and in our harsh Canadian winters it is not a pleasant activity to wait in an open bus stop. I still take the cab time to time when I am crunched in time or tired. But when compared to previous years, I say the reduction in my transportation cost is an impressive success.

I also walk time to time to work and from work. I am usually good at routinely walking in the afternoon. In summer time walking in the morning is also very pleasant. I feel great after walking 25-30 min and it also makes me proud of myself for having a day relying on my own abilities rather than others. It is one example of self-sufficiency and easy-peasy life style I have developed lately.

Other examples of self-sufficiency efforts are baking my own bread, making my own jams/marmalade, ad pickling. They are not only exciting activities, but I also share them with neighbours and friends, which gives me an extra level of excitement.

The frugal life also brings in reducing waste, particularly food waste. I now am very conscious about what I purchase and I also freeze food. Frozen food is very practical for me as I do not like cooking everyday and a ready meal is always appreciated, especially if they are home-made. I implemented other changes in my aim to reduce the waste. Plastic shopping bags is a good example; I mostly use my tote now. I donate my clothes and other items if they are in good conditions to prevent them from ending up in the landfill (and support people in need). I use mostly re-usable cleaning cloths rather than paper towels. I cut up old clothes (not good enough to be donated) and use them as one-time cleaning cloths. I make use of coupons, while not in great quantity, to help with my expenses. Last, I also purchase items from thrift stores that helps not only me and environment but also the people in need and the organizations that support them.

I also declutter once a year or so to identify the extra, un-wanted, or battered items, and then remove them from my office or home by dumping, donating, or re-using. Excellent activity I must say. What a relief once they are gone out of my life. Additionally, it helps me to see what I already have and make use of them and feel grateful for their presence in my life. How many times I found a pair of shoes or a piece of clothe in good condition that I could use? Blogs about decluttering was instrumental in doing this activity at a more conscious level.

When I look at all of these I kind of realize that they are all inter-connected; frugal life style is powered by decluttering and making smarter choices about expenses and needs/wants; waste and unnecessary expenses are reduced by many small acts; abundance increase by being aware and grateful; and life becomes quite easier once we realize the alternative ways to do the daily activities.

How is blogging related to all of these?

First, we by sharing our own stories and plans somehow support the others with the same interest. Second by sharing our plans, we move one step closer to implementing these plans in our lives. Third we often find new ways to enrich our lives and reach our goals; whether it is through shopping bans, or developing a hearty sourdough starter by looking at the others’ experiences.

My take on my current life style is that I in fact have done very well in reaching these aims and changing my priorities. It took me around 3 years, but I am content at where I am right now and I think this blog and blog sphere have been instrumental in it.

 

three days till Friday and holidays

I have three more days to go and then I will be free for 10 days!!

Freedom is something that I really cherish I guess. Just yesterday I was feeling like if I did not have to go to work today, I would have stayed up late and watch a movie. Three more days and I will have this freedom for 10 days 🙂

I thought I was exhausted last week, but this monday I woke up feeling better and having a clear mind. Things did not look so bad to me, so I am working and keep going. There will be many things that I had planned to finish that will remain undone, but some other stuff are being done. Like today we have finalized a document for a team member – she was joyful, and so was I 🙂 

I plan to finish cleaning and declutter my office on Friday, my traditional activity right before the holidays. What a beautiful plan 🙂 I think after this I will go for shopping or visit a thrift store or two. A nice start to the holidays.

All of us deserve to feel light and good about ourselves and the coming opportunities. I hope all of you out there have great plans, positive anticipations, and wonderful smiles on your face.

life priorities

I woke up feeling a little bit lost thinking that my life priorities need to change and I should re-prioritize what are important.

For my entire life, my work was prioritized mostly because I love what I do (mostly).

In the last 3 years or so, I prioritized my personal and financial health over work a little bit after I purchased my home: I was not highly successful in terms of personal health (I had a lower back problem that ended me in the emergency, which still acts time to time; I have not lost the extra weight I am carrying around even though I am 5-10 pounds lighter than 5 years ago; and I have not been consistent about eating a variety of food every week). But I was more consistent with the financial planning, frugal spending/budgeting, and savings.

The last 6 months, I became agitated by the toxic work place and all the pressures. One solution to overcome this feeling was working more (irony, is it not? 🙂 ). So I worked almost non-stop since the beginning of July. I feel tired, stressed, and somehow more accomplished. Sadly, working hard and stress also means eating junk and getting lazy and not walking as much as I would. Also not saving as much as I would.

Stressed Big Bang Theory GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Thus, I realized this morning that sometime setting priorities do not work and we may not be able to keep up with all of them at the same time. It does not mean we cannot try. It just means that realistically it may not be possible and that can be okay.

In other words, I forgave myself for eating junk food! 🙂

Joking.

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

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I know that my traditional annual reflection time (aka holidays ) is coming and it is only natural to realize these now that we are close to it.

For 2018 I would like to prioritize my health and well being, work, and family; they go hand-to-hand. Financial plans will be my least of priorities this year. This does not mean that I will not be budgeting and aiming to save; just reminding myself what is important more.

Family cannot be prioritized enough. We as mortals are here for this moment and may not be the next one. What $ and work can replace the people we love? They will be on top of my list.

I enjoy not having a chronic disease, but who knows what will happen next year? Probability of having one increases with each age. Thus, I will care about my eating, exercise, and lower back as much as I can. 

And work? I can continue to work but maybe a little bit less intense and more effective. What I need is a way to control my feelings and find a venue to vent them out and clarify my mind. The yoga classes offered close to my home always relaxed me, yet looks like they also exacerbated my lower back problem. Goodness knows, I want to start again to feel that way. I wonder whether there are programs designed specifically for people like me having back problems? One thing to check.

Someone GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

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gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/funny-lol-gifs-z8rNTahrkRzsQ;https://giphy.com/gifs/someone-job-nothing-8luKdZnoYWiPK

 

9 days to holidays and reflections on finances

Counting down the days till holidays 🙂

I started cleaning my office yesterday, my traditional activity before the holidays. I am 1/3 done and would love to complete it sometime soon. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday, but maybe next week. But I will be doing it 🙂

I also started thinking about my budget and life-style for the next year. I can see that unless I become more careful I may not be able to save what I want to save. Last year has been a great teacher for me in terms of finances and my own attitude. 

I learnt that:

1. if I do extreme budgeting I get unhappy and all I think about is spending money. I know that because I tried a pantry challenge or something early in 2017 and restricting my shopping experience was unpleasant and expensive :)))) So I should not restrict my already tight budget

2. Work stress makes me feel like I am entitled to make unnecessary expenses, such as on junk food. This is very silly and I need to work on this

3. I need both short-term and long-term financial goals. My overall calculations are for the entire year, but I would feel much better if I can have a soon-to-be-completed goal so that I can keep my eye on it, strive for it, and eventually feel the satisfaction of completing it. I think I will have to work on this idea to keep me motivated. After all, we can aim all we want but unless it is realistic or reachable, we will lose our hope first and then the intention to reach the goal.

4. While I can spend on junk food and rationalize it, I also continue not to over-spend on grocery or other things, which is strange… This must tell me something. Why do I turn blind to unnecessary expenses, which are often much more than my grocery bill? if I can figure this out, I can figure out many other things…

5. I continue to be not cheap when it comes to socials. I notice that many people do not get that generous with me when I host them, so I want to opt for a smaller thing to take with me to socials; a loaf of bread, a jar of pickle, a baked goods are good options.

6. I stopped picking my colleagues’ bills when we go out together, which is awesome.

7. I still treat my team members with lunches or so time to time; this was 2-4 times a year so far. I think I will make it once year now. I will have to really work on this because I really like celebrating their accomplishments. 

8. It is great to be taking advantage of the sales for items, such as clothes, required each year. This occurs often during October-December. I think one thing I should aim for is to save this money way advance; whether it is thru my fun funds or savings from the expenses that I could easily make but do not (like picking up others’ bills). 

9. Talking about the fun funds, I have never been clear about how to use them last year (fun funds are the money left out of my weekly allowance). I think it is time that I handle this better. I think this year I will replace the term “fun funds” with “weekly savings” and I will use these savings as mortgage pre-payments.

10. I will be on shopping freeze for trousers and jackets this year; the only place to shop for blouses/shirts will be thrift stores. I will continue to buy items that are supposed to be personal, like socks, from regular stores.

– to be continued –

 

#5 topic for reflection during holidays

I have been thinking; without taking new challenges, growth is stalled. Why do I not look at the problems as challenges and see how I learn and grow?

Taking issues as challenges will be my #5 topic to reflect during the reflection season (aka holiday season).

I have been dealing with a lot of issues all my life, both at work and at my social life. I  yesterday mentioned about “liking my comfort zone” in the last few years. It is somehow related to this.

I have many work-place issues that I constantly try to solve. Little, big does not matter. They are constantly occurring. There are times that I am free of them, which are blessing. Naturally when one appears after such a period of comfortable time period, I react negatively.

I will try to take it easy next time. Next week I have an important meeting that can change things for me. I trust life. As long as I keep my cool, it is gonna be fine. I suspect that I will have to make a hard choice after this meeting, but it is possible that this choice is the better one. I must trust life. I must trust the unknown.

I will then decide with a soother and more rational mind.

#4 topic for reflection during holidays

This has been something I have been keep visiting but never fully committed to:

#4 topic for reflection during the holiday season for me is to take more risks. Being more bold. Doing things differently or doing different things.

I have had a tendency to move around my comfort zone, both at work and at life in the last few years. This past 6 months I somewhat moved into two new fields at work. It has been a bold step that was hard on me (too much stress and too much of a hard work), but it also helped grow me. Being interested in new topics, challenging myself, and then producing things/reports/projects that look really good gives a huge satisfaction. I would like to keep growing this way at work. Who knows; maybe I will even change my work 🙂

As per my life and life-style, I need to apply a similar mind-set. The trouble is that as I age, I find that I need/enjoy more of stability and less of challenges. Social interactions would be one example – I am getting more and more enjoying a solo life and limited social interactions than before. Good? Bad? I do not know. But this might be one area to challenge myself.

Another area may be changing my style. This past weekend I wished I had worn dresses 🙂 Would that not be amazing? With proper leggings/pants, summer or winter I may be able to enjoy this new style. I think it will be just fine together with my new (naturally silvery, pepper and salt hair) 🙂

Goodness knows, maybe I will even go out to musicals or concerts 🙂

#3 topic for reflection during holidays

Being more assertive is my #3 topic to tackle this year during my reflection season, aka, holiday season.

As I age I found that I got more understanding and tolerant. While these are great qualities, they are not always great. Sometimes we must sit back, evaluate, and then say no. Whether it is our own ego’s or somebody else’s request, it does not matter. 

This past year particularly I have had a number of experiences with my colleagues and work-place management where I was literally taken advantage of and burdened with extra work and ridiculous requests. Since winter I have been distancing myself from such a colleague and I still need to handle another one. Also, for some time now I have been asking questions and not saying yes to everything my management asks me to do. Hear me my fellow bloggers and do not sign anything before you absolutely sure to understand. There is so much sneaky management tricks that may fool you, especially if you are like me and tend to trust. Consult your union, knowledgeable people around you, or a lawyer. This is real.

So I have had some progress in this area and I know that I will keep going until all becomes manageable. There is more to be learnt and I am looking forward to it.

 

DAY 6 – #TheLeanSpendingMonth

It is February 6th, the 6th day of #TheLeanSpendingMonth.

What did I spend money on today?

Nothing 🙂

Not even the bus fare 🙂

Only because it has been a snow day! Yay!

Friends; it is exciting to spend nothing 🙂

But it is also concerning that one day whatever I have at home will be consumed and I will have to purchase them. So there will be purchases coming.

But, until then let me feel this joy 🙂

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Number of no-spending days so far: 3

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Gratefully acknowledging my good fellow-blogger Decluttering The Stuff, who is in this challenge with me and keeping an excellent company!

Hurrah to us 🙂

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magic time

Have that ever happened to you?

That you have worked very hard and for very long to remove something from your life that has been bothering you like a bad habit or a very hard/challenging work project, finally it is done, and all of a sudden you feel like you are floating, lifted up, and you need sometime to just savor the time, stay put, cherish the accomplishment, and perhaps start welcoming the wishes and plans for the future?

That is what is happening to me today. 

I realize that I am at an excellent time of my life and career. 

I realize that I now am free of hurdles and things that have been dragging me down, and naturally I am lifted up. That I lifted myself up.

I realize that I am free to go even higher and accomplish way harder, more challenging aims, make my life and career much better.

I realize that I am free, accomplished, and I am confident that I will do better and much better, both on my life and at my work 🙂

………………..

It is strange how strongly accomplishing a long-term aim affects and changes you….

I have been looking at my life and I have seen what a nice, efficient, abundant, comfortably frugal and waste-free, and simple life I have built for myself over the last few years. I should be proud of myself – quite an accomplishment.

I have been looking at my life-style and I see how healthy my life is when compared to 2 years ago: I walk more, exercise sometime, and eat much better. I am also quite energetic – thanks to my vitamin D supplement 🙂

I am middle aged but free of chronic conditions (thank goodness), able, independent, and working. I love my job the majority of the time. I have lost a part of my interest I have had in the past, but I still am doing quite good and I am productive. 

I m ready to do better, though.

Now is a good time; I want new and energizing things integrated in my life and my work.

I have little idea what these would be: personally that would mean maybe developing a new interest, or risking for something quite big (like developing a company or an organization – wohoooo 🙂 )  Professionally, that would mean developing new areas to work on, or new much bigger roles.

I do not know what it would be.

But I know that I will be ready when an opportunity appears in my life 🙂

pantry/freezer treasure finds from the last 10 days

My plan and efforts to consume the food I have hoarded in my pantry and freezer are going well.

I am happy that I am taking steps to actually implement this plan 🙂

I originally wanted to record how well I have been doing re; eating the “pantry/freezer treasures” in my weekly budget check posts. Last week I have not posted it, so I thought I would have this separate entry here. I also aimed for eating at least one food per week.

Overall, I have consumed more than one item per week. For the last ten days, this list included canned corn, pasta, dehyadrated soup, frozen minced beef, frozen chicken, frozen bread loaf, and frozen breakfast calzone.

I congratulate myself for this highly satisfactory performance and I hope that I will keep doing this in the weeks to come 🙂

the plans for the holidays

I have 11 days till a two-weeks break during the holidays 🙂

I sure have a lot of things to do. One thing I do not want to is to work 🙂 I will have to do light work for a couple of days, but I am okay with this. I will mainly stay away from the office and this change will feel good 🙂

As per my other plans, here is a short snap-shot:

1. Cleaning the house: Yes, yes… The dreaded house cleaning will have to happen this year too 🙂 I plan to dust and wipe very corner at home; wash the shag rugs, pillows, and everything else; wipe the rugs; wipe the stairs’ carpet; and wipe the floors.

The last one will take some time; my floors are mostly laminate, which is hard to wipe. It needs to be wiped with a damp but not wet cloth and immediately dried by another cloth… I can do this the majority of the time without much of a trouble, but the attention it requires is boring… Nevertheless, i will do this and then forget for some time 🙂

I do not enjoy wiping the rugs either; my rugs are lovely but one of them is quite thin, making the wiping a little bit difficult. I must be careful about not applying too much water – that is all. It is gonna happen 🙂

2. Decluttering and re-organizing the house: I have been excited about this! 🙂 Yes, I love to declutter. I am amazed how much I have dumped, gave away, or donated; but there is still a lot to sort out and get rid of.

I am particularly aware of the shoes and the paperwork in my storage. Honestly I dread the idea of getting into my storage area but I must do this…. There are a bunch of stuff from the past that I kept, which I am determined to get rid of this time for sure. I must leave only those that are absolutely necessary and the rest should be dumped. A couple of months ago I had one attempt and thinned things out, including 8-9 containers of half-used paint (which I air-dried prior to dumping them in the garbage). So I have had quite a progress but it was not 100%. This time I should be done with it. When I am done with it, I would like to be not scared of thinking or going through it… Wish me luck 🙂

And the shoes: I do not know what I will do with them. Among everything else I have gotten rid off, shoes were an exception. I have some quite battered shoes that should be dumped and some lovely ones that I should be using… The fact that I have not opened those boxes in many years tells all… They should be donated so that somebody else can enjoy them…. This mentality helps but I still resist the idea of departing with them. Help!!

To declutter, I will star with the easiest part, which is the bathrooms. Then I will move on the bedroom closet; I am pretty sure I will retire some of the socks, pajamas, and shirts this time too… Apart from this, I have no other decluttering planned for the upstairs ( I had decluttered the rest of the rooms/closets a few months back).

On the first floor, I will have some time spent… The study/living room has some declutering needed – it is not too much (sort of mostly paper), so I am sure it will be okay in a few hours. I will sort out the bills for this year and put them in the storage area… This always feels good, opening space for new bills :)))

The kitchen on the other hand will take some time. I bought a new set of dining plates so what will I do with the previous ones? I am planning to donate a portion of the previous set but not everything.. This means I gotta pack or find a place to put them. I will also get rid of chipped plates and some plates that I bought with joy but hardly used.. There are a number of coffee mugs that have the same fate. But more than that I want to have a good look at my kitchen cabinets and re-organize the shelves. I hope to achieve a more lean and efficient system. I have a couple of stuff, like a juicer that I use once a year or two – I must decide what to do with it. The same thing with the waffle – maker; I have not used in 3 years and I just saw it last week while looking for something. I think nobody would miss it if it was gone, right?

3. Going through the pantry and freezer: I will do that not only to declutter but also to identify what I have (and hopefully to consume them without more delay) and to sock up new stuff 🙂 I believe I have frozen veggies I had blanched last year – man, these gotta be eaten..

4. Video-typing of the house and its contents: I have a habit of video-typing the outside and inside of my house for insurance purposes. I do that twice a year to document is condition and to update the record on my stuff. Nothing major, just needs to be done.

5. Shopping!!! 🙂 Yay!! well, I kind of shopped and bought the majority of the stuff I needed, but I still need a couple of things. First pants – I cannot miss the sales and I often catch good deals during the holidays. I cannot wait. I also need socks but nothing that cannot wait – only if I can find really good deals. I will visit the thrift stores a couple of times. After last Friday’s fabric haul, I cannot wait to excitement of checking them again 🙂

6. Sewing adventures. Ahem.. i still do not have a particular project at my hand and am still trying to figure out the tips and tricks of using a sewing machine, cutting fabric, using notions, and coming up with a piece that does not fall off places :))

I do not want to just do something that will not be useful…. Do you know this feeling? I just do not want to sew to sew.. That is strange because without practice how am I supposed to get better at it anyhow?

I think what I am feeling is like I just do not want to stitch the edges of a large piece of fabric and brag that now I have sewn a table cloth… I think what I want to try is fancier, more creative stuff.. Like, I have this wonderful fabric that can be a table cloth but I want to have something sewn around the edges so that it can look more than just a plain cloth. But then I am thinking maybe I can do something at the centre to give it a more character. But what will it be? Also I have like 6 table cloths – what is the point of making another one?

I am, however, for sure sewing a dish cloth for my kitchen. I have been playing with some fabric this afternoon, but decided that I needed more vibrant colours to give it a cheerful air. I also would like to sew a lady with a hat and nice clothes on it, but I have no idea how I will be able to turn it around. This will require some research on the net and figuring out a pattern that I can work on.

I also would like to re-try the blouse I sewed yesterday. It is gonna be so nice – I am excited 🙂

I have another nice fabric that would make an excellent and cozy blouse, yet I have no idea how to design it. I am not that good at modeling or taking measures. I am only at the stage where I can try basic and un-detailed work…

And then?

I do not know… Maybe it is time that I try a quilt?

feeling lucky (again) :)

This past weekend I switched from my lovely canvas purse to another leather one, as the weather started to act and rain is a regular event now. Yesterday I noticed that it has a zipper-secured section on the side. Just out of curiosity I checked inside and found around $22 worth of coins 🙂 I must have put them there last time I used it.

This is the second time I find a considerable amount of money forgotten; once in a coat’s pocket and now in my purse. It both cases, I was surprised quite a bit. But, most importantly I also felt lucky to have them back 🙂

It is not too much of an amount, but, hey I have a sewing machine plan to save money for! Together with a $4 savings I have had from a regular expense today, I have a total of $26 in the sewing machine account. $274 to go 🙂

no spending day

I just realized today was a no-spending-day since I do not know when…

I am so excited about this.

I walked and did not pay for bus and I absolutely bought nothing today; no coffee, no treats, no grocery, no nothing….

I remember last year when I first aimed to have a no-spending day it was so difficult…

I feel like I am coming back to my lean budget as of this week and it is making me feel very empowered and abled. This has nothing to do with my accidental no-spending-day today, but both are what make me excited in terms of achieving my goals.

It is interesting that spending less money can make one that excited about herself 🙂

the mental judo

I am perhaps famous with my “mental judo fights”, where I keep thinking, paining, putting and effort, and struggling about the same issue over and over.

It is not fun; fighting with your own thoughts or choices. Wanting something, trying, putting an effort, and then not being able to continue, be effective, or achieve. Having frustration and lack of confidence as a result. Feeling bad about yourself.

The struggle is usually a habit that I need to change for the better. Take my healthy eating and losing weight saga, for example.

Weight: For my entire life, I struggled with my weight. It is true that in the last 6-7 years, I have gained a lot of weight; 35 pounds to be exact. There are reasons that I can count for this; lack of physical exercise, lack of time, stress, and eating usually unhealthy food or snacks among the top ones.

Walking: When it is combined with the rainy/snowy weather, walking becomes a challenge. I am more comfortable walking in the afternoon than in the morning. When I walk in the morning, it is always a great feeling. But my challenge is to start walking – taking my feet out of the house. When I start it, I enjoy it. When I can walk it, I enjoy it. My day at the office starts better and I feel proud of myself. That is when it is not raining or snowing of course. So I accept the fact that during winter and the majority of the spring, I may not walk in the mornings. Ok.

Gym: Walking is of course not the only exercise I can get. I have gyms at my work place. One of them is quite suitable for me as it is pay per visit and quite an affordable one. I was planning to start it late September; alas 2 months have elapsed and I still did not start it. What am I (not) doing?

Weight loss: In terms of weight loss, I thought by limiting the carbs (which is also good for lowering my blood sugar levels) and by eating better food, like raw veggies, salads, and fruits like apples and pears, I would lose my extra weight….. I thought so because in the past I was able to lose weight. It turns out that is not the case anymore – I have been on a healthy eating journey since September. While I have lost 8 pounds till early October, after that I simply gained them back. It is not working. To lose my weight, I must try another way….

Having these two items, exercising and losing weight, on my “to-d0-list” has been tiring.

It has been years………

I WANT to achieve these.

But there is always something more important to take care or channelize my energy into. There is work, there are issues in life, at work…. There is always A LOT for me to handle. Whether or not they are excuses, I do not know.

What I know is that today I have been thinking; how would I feel if they were gone from my list?

Healthier? Yes

More accomplished? Yes

Freer? Absolutely Yes! 

I today imagined how my mind would be freed of these concerns, attempts, struggles, and issues.

I imagined how energizing this would have been.

I am not naive enough to think that my mind would not fill up with new mental judo activities. And that is okay; at least they would be new, not stagnated ones like these two issues.

Wish me luck as I start planning and implementing new strategies to tackle my weight loss and exercise goals.

 

 

 

assessing the progress re; challenges I assigned to myself

Did I tell you earlier that I love to plan?

Maybe not, but that is the plain truth.

Planning and assessing the progress. Slight changes and modifications to the plan if required. Learning along the way, and hopefully also having fun.

I have had a number of challenges I have had assigned to myself a while ago. It is time to review them, adjust if required, celebrate the challenges tackled, and plan for the next items on the list.

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challenge 1: take the bus (not the cab). DONE! – hopefully I will not give up 🙂

challenge 2: eat better and healthy – cut out the carbs and consume more veggies and fruits. Well, missed that one big time.. NEED A PLAN.

PLAN: have regular breakfast, eat more protein, eat more veggies, cut out the bread (one bag/week) and fried eggs, cut out late-night eating, eat more apples and pears. cook at home; make it fun, and monitor the progress.

challenge 3: walk an extra 30 min at the weekends. NEED A PLAN.

PLAN: have the breakfast at another cafe 15 min away from home. Have leisure walks.

challenge 4: do not buy books for two months. I did pretty good with this, with only occasional buys. I have a new two-months freeze in place. DONE! 🙂 Good job! 🙂

challenge 5: cut out the bagel breakfast- one bagel/breakfast. Could not do that yet. NEED A PLAN – maybe withing “better eating” plan.

PLAN: Overall, I should be skipping the bagels as part of the healthy eating plan… Ouch!

challenge 6: do grocery shopping as required and buy small amounts. Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 7: start listening to music and relaxing 20 min a day; this is done easily now thanks to my computer and youtube/internet sources. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 8: drink at least one cup of tea a day. I easily and lovingly do this during the week. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 9: get up in the morning and smile to yourself and hum a song. well, remembered to do only a few times. NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN: just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 10: look outside the window at the office three times a day – enjoy the view and relax. Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 11: record the progress in these areas in breaking the routine or joy journal categories. Not necessarily in these pages, but I kept posting them somewhere in this blog, good job 🙂 Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 12: increase the contribution made to the RRSP account. Nope. This is not happening. This gotta wait until my chequeing account moves to a positive balance. NEED ADJUSTMENT.

ADJUSTMENT: wait till I accumulate some funds or till I cut  my weekly budget in a sensible way.

challenge 13: during the day remember to smile.  NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 14: lose 15 pounds in two months – record weight and food consumed every day. Missed big time! NEED A PLAN – possibly within the healthy eating plan.

PLAN: See above; challenges 2,3, and 5

challenge 15: stick to the plans – I have done these before and I can do it again. Hmmm. Some success here and there. NEED A STRONGER IMPLEMENTATION.

PLAN: remember the success in other challenges; particularly taking the bus. You can do it!!

challenge 16: comb the hair everyday. I do not need that anymore – have the hair cut short. Yay! NOT APPLICABLE.

challenge 17: spare 5 min every day to breathe – just to breathe. Well, this does not make sense anymore, now that I am listening to music for many hours a day and thus relaxing. NOT APPLICABLE

challenge 18: apply sunscreen every morning. NOT DONE…NOT APPLICABLE ANYMORE (summer is gone)

challenge 19: apply moisturiser every night. NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 20: every week, eat two different food from last week – whether veggies or fruits or others. Change the brands or types of canned food or others I regularly consume.NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 21: take the stairs at the office (2 storeys) at least twice a week. NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 22: write the joy journal every day; no matter how dry or repeating it may feel.  I do not write it every day – NEED ADJUSTMENT.

ADJUSTMENT: I am adjusting this to “write the joy journal at least twice a week”

challenge 23 (previously not listed): have a budget, write down all expenses in each category, do not over-spend the weekly allowance, save as much as you can. DONE!  I am certainly spending less than before and more consciously. Yay! 🙂

challenge 24 (previously not listed): continue to declutter the home and donate the usable items.

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Some big, some small steps.. Let’s see how it will go this time. The ones that I will vent about in the coming weeks (just like my past ventings while struggling with taking the bus) will be the most important ones. I am predicting they will be about healthy eating and losing weight 🙂

Cheers everyone 🙂

future goals

It is an unremarkable day in the sense that nothing highly positive or highly negative happened. It is an unremarkable, but a nice, pleasant day. I think that is a fair conclusion.

While writing this, I wondered about what I expected from my day? From myself?

I cannot possibly control or influence the climate, what will others do or say, what kind of news or emails I will get. I have nothing to do but accept them as they appear. Ok.

I can however influence my life, my thoughts, actions, and feelings. When I think about this, it is so powerful…

What would I like to do with my life?

For a long time now I have not had long-term goals in life. I am not sure whether this is a good thing or not. I used to have goals (such as better work, better living conditions, better life style, etc.) and thinking about them and working through these goals were exciting, interesting, and fulfilling.

I am not sure whether my lack of future goals, at least in terms of better job or living conditions, are because I attained them. I am happy with my job and would not like to change it unless something extraordinary would happen. I have not been even thinking about applying for jobs for some years. It is true that I had reacted to the city I am living in now for 6-7 years for quite a long time (weather, grey sky, its being a small city and as such can get boring… etc.), but in the last one year or so (since I bought my house), this feeling also left me; I do not care about the weather, the sky, or how boring it can be. Maybe I got used to be bored. Maybe that is the main reason. because realistically, yes I am bored of doing the same thing, eating the same (limited types of food), seeing the same streets, and shopping at the same malls.

I have had goals related to my life-style though, which I somehow could not implement yet.

1. Weight situation: I have been thinking about losing the extra weight that I gained since I moved here. 30 pounds to be exact. It is quite a bit of fat that I need to say good-bye to. And, nothing much has been happening (at least permanently). The recent loss of 5 pounds is well received, but I keep wonder whether it is permanent and continuous.

2. Eating better: I think I am eating less and less healthy. Less fruits, less veggies. This mostly happened after I moved to my house. I am not sure what is prompting it; considering that I have a bigger and more functional kitchen. I have no idea…

3. Exercise: Nope; since I came here, my exercise levels dropped to maybe 5% of what it was used to be. In terms of gym/health club/cardio exercise and walking. I used to walk a lot. Now, if I can walk half an hour (from office to home, for example), I congratulate myself. Will the spring/summer help? I think so. Our winters are quite harsh, that is for sure, where we have a lot of snow. Since the snow is lifted off our streets, I have been more active. I think I will be hopeful about the coming months and take the opportunity to walk more. Even going to the shopping malls, browsing the stores, and walking around are better than sitting on the couch.

4. Being happier and relaxer: When compared to past I am. Interesting and appreciated. So this one goal actually seems to be attained! Awesome 🙂

So, the question I would like to ask to myself is then how I can use my power to direct my life and my life-styles to a form that would please me?

Something, a great opportunity, to think about.

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