holidays diary – Day 12 (and the end of it :) )

Boy, we are done – back to work! 🙂

I am ready.

I have had not the usual relaxing and joyful kind of holidays break this year, but some things got done and better; I cleaned my home, decluttered and donated, shopped a few days and purchased lovely things, cut out the junk food significantly, saved quite a bit of money by not eating junk food and not taking the cab everyday to work, did light work and almost completed two important documents, socialized with friends, gifted and got gifted (all great things that I am looking forward to using), slept longer than usual, and experienced much less stress and frustration created by work and work environment. I also let go of self-imposed “must do” kind of attitude and took some house chores and personal care (like, hair cut visit) easy. This last one is quite a change in my attitude, which I surprisingly found health. Well done 🙂

I could not read a novel that I so much wanted to, but hey I can always read a novel in any of the days. So, that is cool.

I have reflected on my life in 2018, but did not plan anything new or extraordinary for 2019. I am not against resolutions. On the contrary, I like and believe in the positivity and hope they give to us, even for a short term. I can always make resolutions, so this is cool, too.

Overall; not bad, eh?

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Today I meant to shop at thrift stores. We had bad weather in the morning with lots of snow, but when the bus started to work, I decided it was okay to go have a good time. I was the only one in the store and I could not find anything for my liking. So, when I saw outside, I understood why there was no one around. A new storm had just started and it was quite miserable outside. I do not know how I could make it to the cab station. Luckily it was a cabbie that I knew and the ride back to home was quite pleasant.

At the beginning it felt silly to have left the home at all, but sometimes we must try and take the chances. This is exactly what I have done. The outcome was something I did not wish for, but I have no control over the storms and I was able to make it home safely. Hence, I take it easy as well 🙂

I am relaxing this evening as well and have my itemized plans for tomorrow. I am ready to work like a golden horse again, until I become tired again. Knowing that all my efforts will be to reach my own goals, I am finding this easier to think about. Deep down, I feel that great things will happen to me this year; lots of awesome opportunities will find my way; success, health, money, respect, awards, and recognition will come to me easily; and I will continue to grow and develop personally and professionally.

I am looking forward to these.

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Hope 2019 is treating you all with Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation 🙂

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holidays diary – Day 4

Cannot believe it has been 4 days already – where does the time go?

Yesterday night I let myself to enjoy the quite and peaceful night, went to bed around 11pm, and got up at around 8 am this morning. Yuppie! It was not 5 or 6 am. It was 8 am. It felt good 🙂

Since I finished my house cleaning chore, and everywhere is closed, I decided to do some work today. It went well in the morning, kind of slow and reluctant at around noon, and then quite productive in the afternoon. This latter part was exciting -when I explore new things that increase my professional skills, I love it 🙂

I must say that today was a day of healthy diet. My breakfast/lunch consisted of sourdough, tomatoes, and coffee, and my dinner consisted of a cauliflower dish I love so much. I even drank two cups of green tea this afternoon. Healthy day indeed 🙂

I have work to do tomorrow, and then I must be at work Thursday and Friday. After that though, for 5 days I want to take a break and see some of my friends. I really would like this. I found that a way to ensure timely progress of work is giving short deadlines for myself; short deadlines, like 15 min, work wonders if I am stuck at something. So, let’s hope they will help me out this week.

With this good wished, I end today’s account.

Let’s remember that the new year is the year or Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation!

 

shopping ban week

Gotta curb this spending habit I have been having lately (mostly cab and junk food expenses… yes, again… time to fix this).

What is the plan?

Well – I budget only $60 to consume till the next pay-day (12 days), including grocery and others. Should I walk in the morning and save the bus fare, this amount may as well increase a little bit. Then I can go buy some more pots from thrift store for my plants.

My choice now 🙂

I have everything I need; my fridge and pantry is full of food; and I have no urgent needs (except the physiotherapy and dental fees that I expect this week).

Let’s do it!

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.

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 🙂

 

 

 

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.

Saturday morning musings

We are looking at a lovely Saturday again and I cannot help but take my time to enjoy my coffee and the hope that the day may bring 🙂

Saturday GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I woke up early today which helps with my “taking time” routine. When there are enough hours in front of us, it is easier to relax, is it not?

I have a number of things to do today and I was thinking whether having lots of things to do is a good or a not-so-good idea. At one hand it helps me with boredom (what am I gonna do if there is nothing scheduled?) and on the hand hand it also makes me feel like rushing to start and complete things. Good kind o f stress? I will leave it to you to decide.

Our weather forecast says that we will have a snow storm or something like this today. Canada has been embracing an early winter the way I know and I am not surprised that our shoveling season will be open as of today. Nevertheless, I keep thinking that we would usually not get snow until after January, except last year we have had a couple of snow days in December. I got to remember that through a post of mine from last year – how wonderful that is? Our blogs are serving as a great memory books for us. At least for me. What a magnificent tool.

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I think I just completed 3 years with this blog. What a great evolution I have had; I wrote poems, short stories, ranted, shared great news, reflected a lot, started bread, pickle, and jam adventures all in front of your eyes. I have also got to know some of you through your posts and interactions at the comments area. I learnt, I got inspired to change/improve, and I laughed and sometimes I cried with you. Virtual communities exist and change us in many ways.

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Now it is time for me to start cleaning the home and hopefully start the pickling and jamming 🙂 I will be trying strawberry marmalade today from frozen fruits and I cannot wait to see how it will turn out 🙂

Happy Friends GIF by Fran Solo - Find & Share on GIPHY

What else to expect from this snow day?

Have a great Saturday everyone! 🙂

Snow Day Winter GIF by Disney - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/disney-animation-animated-gif-winnie-the-pooh-6Jgoyu5xFB5yE;https://giphy.com/gifs/happy-cute-friends-3ohhwkEl6OLXqn7mms;https://giphy.com/gifs/mWrXc8R1CJQxq

 

 

 

 

joy journal – Dec 14, 2017

I have had interesting times lately. I was tired, stressed, and almost exhausted. But then things moved, issues understood, and most importantly I realized my own stamina and the importance of small things in life that attract my attention and give me joy 🙂

1. I am grateful for walking this morning to the office. I missed the bus literally by 30 sec and thought I would just walk. It was windy and chilly, but walking gave me a chance to clear my mind and feel good about life as a whole.

2. I am grateful for going thru the meetings without losing my cool and already thinned nerves.

3. I am grateful for shopping this evening and purchasing frozen berries 🙂 I will be making marmalade with them. I want to do this this weekend but I want to also wait for the canning kit I ordered so that I an start using the kit and water can the jars. I will see how I feel this weekend.

4. I am grateful for walking in the afternoon without difficulty. It feels good to return back to my regular walking routine. It is healthy, free, and quite an accomplishment for a lazy person like myself 🙂

5. I am grateful for tomorrow being Friday! Three more meetings to go through and then the weekend will be here 🙂 I plan to slow down next weekend, only finish the ends and bits and welcome the free time after that.

6. I am grateful for the fresh produce I bought today. I want to cook a couple of dishes this weekend so that I can eat better in the coming days.

7. I am grateful for the frozen meals I have eaten yesterday and today. I had a beautiful soup yesterday and a bean meal today; I had cooked and frozen them sometime ago. It is such a great pleasure to be able to eat home-made food when I am busy.

8. I am grateful for all the socks and clothes that keep my body warm and sound during the cold temperatures.

9. I am grateful for having money at the chequing account that enables me to afford what I need.

10. I am grateful for trusting life and take it as it is sometime.

11. I am grateful for liking to try new hobbies, like jamming and canning, and sharing the food with friends and neighbours.

12. I am grateful for having the night to myself – no distraction and all peace 🙂

13. I am grateful for the internet, my computer, and TV that make my life enjoyable and time passing fast.

14. I am grateful for the three little jars that one of my colleagues gave me. They are cute and cute and cute 🙂 It is one of these little things in life that makes me joyful and excited 🙂

15. I am grateful for being healthy and safe.

16. I m grateful that my family is doing well and they are healthy and safe too.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate the fact that I am generous with my team members and friends
  2. I appreciate the fact that I decided to prioritize my financial needs this year
  3. I appreciate the fact that I have become more self-sustaining with my new canning interest
  4. I appreciate the fact that I walked today twice
  5. I appreciate the fact that I keep my sanity despite what have happened at the work-place lately; re; pressure of keeping our positions, increasing our work load, and demoralizing atmosphere
  6. I appreciate the fact that I decided to undertake less of others’ work in the coming years and prioritize my own time for my own work

 

 

 

towards the end of year financial calculations

I have 8 more days till the end of my fiscal year (next Thursday) when I will add up all the savings, expenses, and the net worth together to see how well I have done. 

I could not wait and did some preliminary calculations. I have room for improvement and also room for enjoyment. 

Overall, I spent more than I budgeted for for unnecessary items (like junk food). 

I also made significant expenses related to a trip/vacation and socials.

I am not sorry for any of these right now, but one thing is clear; if I want to save money, I must be consistent. The first half of the year I have done extremely well, and then started to spend unnecessarily.

And another thing clear to me is that if I want it, I can make it 🙂

I am on the right track, but I need a new strategy, better mechanisms to not make unnecessary silly expenses.

Cannot wait to plan these next week 🙂

 

 

December is coming!

We are about to welcome December soon 🙂

December is always a good month; it signifies the end of our annual work/tasks, there are lots of deals and sales, and the last week of the month is usually off so that we can take a break from work, and focus on closing the year and welcoming a new one 🙂

As usual, I cannot wait till the last week of December – this is a time that I can focus on mostly myself. Not work, not family, but myself. I usually spend it at home, too. 

My usual plans are to socialize a little bit (but not too much so that I can still find time for myself), shop at thrift stores and take advantage of other sales/deals, clean and declutter the house (cannot wait for his – always a delight), and stay away from work (if I can).

I also want to reflect on life, my life, the past year. Lots happened since last new year. There are lessons learnt, decisions made, and memories gained. I want to remember and realize these.

And make plans for future! I want to do this too! It is the most exciting part of it actually; there are things that I must change or appreciate by making new plans. Like my budget, my life-style, or work-related plans!

December is the perfect time to re-start.

Hope we all will have a great time in 2018 🙂

 

a proud moment

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

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

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

what would I do when I retire?

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

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

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

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

What else?

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

What else?

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

What would I do really??

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

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

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

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

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

Do I want too much?

 

 

looking forward to the long weekend

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

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

What are my plans?

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

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

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

Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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

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

Flowers GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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

Music GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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complete frugality

Is it possible for me to be frugal 100% of the time?

I have been thinking about this since yesterday. You know I take the cab sometime and then usually (not always – sometimes I like pampering myself) I resent it the rest of the day.

It is one of these activities that works against my frugal and effective budgeting activities; a ride to office costs around 10 buck – considering how much effort I put to save 10 bucks each week, it is understandable that taking the cab is quite counter-intuitive and counter-productive for me. 

I thought about it and I know there are three other areas in my expenses that are against my frugal life-style;

  • social treats to cheap friends/colleagues (these are the ones that would let me pay for everything, rather than putting their hands in their purses!),
  • gifting (new year gifts, kids, house-warmer gifts, etc.), and,
  • social treats/donations that I must do because of my work place seniority. 

Some of these I can handle better I guess.

First thing first, those friends/colleagues who take advantage of my generosity: obviously I am pissed off by them! Next time I can try to be assertive with them!

Gifting: when I bought my sewing machine I thought I could sew gifts, but now I can see that this is not gonna happen anytime soon. So, I better start shopping for the new year gifts while there are sales. There will be other gifts that I will have to get along the way, like a birthday gift I probably will need in two days  – these I guess can be purchased when they are needed. I am afraid I have nothing additional to do about these expenses.

And social treats/donations that I must do at work: This is also an area of expense that I can hardly limit…. We have annual contributions for recognizing some of the employees’ work with us, which is perfectly fine and I am happy to do these (they so well deserve these). I am often asked to donate to causes that we all care, which I am again very happy to contribute to. And I usually take my team out for lunch several times a year, which is also great because we usually do that to celebrate a significant achievement or a life-event such as a wedding. It is also a great team-building activity. So other than choosing affordable places for lunch, I cannot see much of a thing to change here, either.

Alright. And the rest of my expenses seem to okay (not including the trips I pay to visit my family).

When I look for an opportunity to see whether I can further reduce my spending, I see that this may be possible.

But things that I can do are really small; like making my own detergent (which I do not want to), cutting my hair (which I do not want to), stop dyeing my hair (which I do not want to), buying grains and beans in bulk (like 10 kg bulk) and making them my primary staple (which I do not want to – I like grains and beans a lot but I want to eat fresh produce more), reducing the heating really low (which I do not want to), canceling my cable and risking the good price of internet-cable-phone plan (which I do not want to), not buying occasional awards such as a bar of chocolate or a drink/meal/breakfast for myself (which I do not want not to), and occasional waste like a bad apple here and there.

So, looks like for now, I am at a good shape and have a plan to tackle some of the the unnecessary expense areas. And who knows, once I reach the next level of frugality I may come up with new ways to cut my expenses and become more self-sustaining and resourceful 🙂

After all, there is always a chance of surprising ourselves – just like this bird/crow(?) in the gif below! What a smart animal! 🙂

Food GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/closer-level-3O5ihx3odCq76

 

 

 

 

Spring plans

I used to have posts about the things I would like to change or implement in my life. The majority of the time they did work really well and I have implemented them in my life. I do not think I have done this for some time. So let’s roll again 🙂

1. Eat at least 10 food that I have not eaten in the last one week. I keep eating the same things over and over; apple, tomato, onion, herbs, milk, yogurt, beans, cheese, and eggs are the regularly consumed food. While they are more or less healthy, I am afraid I am missing the opportunity to benefit from other veggies/fruits/dry food. In the past whenever I recognized this, I aimed every week to purchase and eat at least 6 different things that I have not eaten within the last week. This time I would like to increase this to 10 so that I can challenge myself (always fun!).

2. Consume the pantry food that are older than a year. I know what they are; rice, bulghur, and wild rice. I am not into rice that much, but I can make an effort to consume more of it. I will get creative with the others. It will be great to use them up so that I can get fresh ones 🙂

3. Thrift shop for blouses and shirts for a renewed wardrobe this Spring :).  I want to budget 50 bucks to keep visiting the thrift stores and buy blouses and shirts. I am happy with my latest purchases and I have been meaning to renew my shirts for some time (many of them have been in use for at least one year). Change is always good and I am discovering that certain styles are fitting me well. It is exciting 🙂

4. Declutter the wardrobe. After I purchase new tops, I want to remove from my wardrobe those that I do not wish to wear; some can be modified (I hope I can make this with my sewing machine),  donate (those that are in good shape), or dump (those that are old and battered). Since this has been a wish of mine for so long, I think it will feel awesome 🙂

5. Clean the yard and plant veggies/seeds. I do not know how the previous owners managed, but the yard is uneven which requires me to fix it. Also there are broken glass bottle and plate pieces everywhere. I cleaned quite a bit in the past but this year I want to do a better job. I also want to grow herbs and other veggies. Spring is almost here, so I can be busy working at the yard the next few months.

6. Lose another 10 pounds. I managed to lose 15 pounds in Fall. I gained 5 pounds back but I am still keen about losing a little bit more of fat. I know morning walks from home to office as well as eating lots of raw veggies and not eating after 8 pm coincided with my weight loss. So I am interested in replicating these behavior and hope that I can lose another 10 pounds 🙂

7. Drink more tea and reduce coffee consumption. I increased my coffee consumption too much. This coincided with me having my weekend breakfast at home rather than at a cafe. I drink around 6 cups of coffee per day now, which does not sound good to me. I do not experience physiological problems like palpitations, but nothing of too much can be good. So from tomorrow on I will focus on drinking 3 cups of coffee per day at most. The rest of the time I can drink tea. Good plan 🙂

8. Get a new hobby or activity that I do not usually do. Whether it is a sitting meditation or hiking the trails, I do not know.  I have read somewhere about “nature bathing” or something like that. Basically it means sitting in a park or around trees, and exposing our body and mind to the natural beauty and freshness around us. I am looking forward to finding a park and doing this this summer.

9. Surprise myself :). I would like to surprise myself by doing things that I would not normally do. I believe this would help me break my routine habits, or see things differently. No idea how I could do this but having it in the list means I will revisit the idea time to time. Who knows maybe I could come up with something interesting 🙂

10. Sew. I could not focus on sewing yet……. I have the machine, notions and fabric, so all I need is a new project that will help me get excited. Ideas?

in awe and in love

You know what I love most about falling in love, or seeing a historic monument/art piece most?

The feeling of being awed.

The admiration  I feel.

The feeling of being how lucky to have this experience.

Getting all the cells in my body energized.

The mesmerisation, excitement, silly smiles I get. 

Forgetting everything and focusing on a great thing, a great person.

With increasing age I found that these feelings are showing up less and less.

One may not be able to fall in love with planning, but one sure can plan a trip to see what they want to do, what they want to see. I hope all of you guys have some plans for the summer.

feeling more optimistic today

After feeling quite overwhelmed yesterday, I am feeling much better now.

I worked intensely today with two of my colleagues. I was drained but we have done a good job. I decided tomorrow was the day of cleaning the office (dusting and decluttering) as well as cleaning the work email box. After that i plan to leave my office for the holidays and start my break with visiting the fabric stores 🙂 And upon returning back to home, I hope to work on the blouse I have started today and maybe do some laundry to jump start the holiday plans! 🙂

Thursday morning I have an appointment with my bank. I will not make a lump sum contribution to my mortgage that I had planned earlier, but I decided i could increase my payment a little bit and still feel like doing a good job with it (without feeling deprived of money). I think I must give myself more credit; this year I have done really well in terms of my budget, savings, and increasing my mortgage and RRSP contributions even though some of our taxes increased. i will calculate my finances (savings and spendings in each expense category) for the year 2016 soon; I am excited about it 🙂 2017 will be somehow tough because our pension contributions will be increasing too, but I want to go through it. I can always reduce my TFSA contribution should I need cash. I must remember this.

Back to sewing; I started a new blouse project today. I must admit I am intimidated by sewing – there is so much to figure out and to try. It is good that I bought the fabrics at my hand at good price (from the thrift stores); even though they are now mostly wasted by my trials and errors (!), it is a necessary part of the process. Tonite I watched a couple of youtube videos and they were helpful in learning how to best sew a neck… Sewing a good looking neck and fitting the arms may be the hardest part of the sewing for me right now. I will develop over time I hope.

Have a great night everyone 🙂

random thoughts

Three more days till my two weeks holidays time off 🙂 I cannot wait!

Honestly, I am done with work. I have things to do but enough is enough. I have been working very hard and made a good attempt to finish ongoing work. I will make one last push tomorrow and Wednesday, and then I will take Thursday off (even though it is not  apart of our holidays). I deserve this extra day 🙂

I have done the majority of my shopping by taking advantage of the sales, though I still would love to check trousers and get one or two if they are on sale. Other than that, I have no need for shopping and I feel good about this. Of course I have many socials to attend, especially this week, which kind of makes me bored already, but I will go through it. The exciting things will be to declutter my home, clean it up, and get some time for myself.

I have quite a reflection to do and the holidays have always been the best time for me to do so… This year has been full of ups and downs…. While on the average it was one year that I have had felt happy, it was also the one that brought me the most profound sadness; my dad has passed away this year.. May he rest in peace…. I did not know what sadness was prior to this and I had never appreciated life as much I have since my dad’s death…My dad has given me life and also taught me the best lesson ever by his death; that I must appreciate life while I have it…. How could I not feel this before, when he was alive? He has seen me mostly depressed and fed up with life; that feels so unfair to him… But I am sure he would love to see me now with this new zest towards life.

I am also older now and getting close to 50 🙂 hah haaa. I have never thought I would but here I am! With age comes change in the body as well as in the attitude towards anything really. I appreciate my family and I still care about my work, but I want to have a better and healthier life-style overall. I am losing weight slowly but steadily, which is good. My mood is overall better, which is awesome. I must continue to care for my back and keep doing my stretches and light weight training, which have been really good for me. I want to get better at sewing and start doing some serious projects, which I hope the holidays will be a good opportunity to do so. I am still keen about saving and paying down my mortgage, but I am not going to get too enthusiastic about it and would like to make it a priority to enjoy my life and care for people I love…

It looks like I have little new projects for the new year. This somehow bothers me (i.e. does not excite me that much) but I would like to think positive. Perhaps this is an opportunity to go with the flow. Who knows, maybe I will develop new interests and projects without thinking about them? After all my two current interest, blogging and sewing, were never planned and were just spontaneously born 🙂

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?

Aims and plans: 3) eating healthier and losing weight

I continue to tackle my recent aims and plans to make my life better, as I wish it.

The third item on the list was: 

3. eating healthier and losing 25 pounds and keeping it off

I have always been a chubby girl, but not overly over-weight until something like 8 years ago when I moved to my current city and I gained weight – around 30 pounds to be exact. I am not sure what exactly caused this; I am thinking possibly the increased stress levels as well as the reduced physical activity levels. In anyways, two years ago my doctor informed me that my blood sugar levels were borderline and even 5% fat loss would make a positive difference in my sugar levels. I took this to my heart but I could not really implement any weight loss/better diet strategies for a long time. Luckily last time we checked it had improved but I was advised to lose weight if I can and increase my exercise levels.

I have made several attempts in eating better and exercising more over my life. Long story short; I know: a) exercising does not make me lose weight, b) if I can limit my night-eats and if I limit carbs, like bread, rice, or even sweets, I feel lighter, c) there is something about chewy raw veggies that helps with water retention or fat dissolution (not sure which one), d) I keep consume the same types of food, which needs to change.

Knowing these I now am ready to remind myself that I can do better and in fact lose the dreaded extra weight. I just need to get more conscious about these, that is all. And this post will just function to do so.

Plan: 1) Shop for 6 different veggies/fruits that I have not consumed in the last 1 week. I did that in the past with success; it aims to facilitate me consume a variety of food

2) drink not one but two glasses of milk every day – I read somewhere that calcium helps keeping the bone health as well as managing weight. I want to see how that goes

3) keep walking in the afternoons and if I can, in the mornings to the office. Make an attempt to walk at the weekends too, even for 10 min.

4) everyday eat at least two raw veggie in the form of salad or snack: lettuce, onion, herbs, spinach, carrots, tomato, and others. There are many options to choose from.

5) For mid-night snack, continue to choose yogurt, milk, and fruits.

6) Continue with the reduced intake of bread (now that I bake my own bread, interestingly I consume less of it..)

7) Have 2 refined carb-less (bread, rice, pasta, etc.) days per week: I just came up with this idea right now and I wonder how that would work….. Since my weekends are usually pleasure-oriented, I guess what I need is to focus on the beginning of the week. Maybe Mondays and Thursdays – how about that? Exciting 🙂

I am currently 200 pounds (ooops 🙂 ) Let’s see where I am gonna go from here.

Aims and plans: 1) getting a leaner budget and b) paying mortgage early

With this post, I start to dissect the aims I have posted yesterday and focus on my plans/thoughts/ability to achieve them.

————————————————

The first item on the list is:

1. getting a much leaner budget and getting rid of the extra expenses for good

Ok. Now, since June 2015 I have had a great budget that worked wonders for me. Since the new year it has been a lot better, only that since June this year I lost track a little bit and started to over-spend. I am still keeping frugal, taking advantage of sales, implementing a nice no-waste food policy, continuing my shopping ban on books, shoes, and clothes, taking the bus rather than the cab almost every day, and am very keen about designing my meals around the on-sale food every week, yet these extra expenses are draining me.

So what is causing me to spend more?

Stress. It is causing me to consume stress relieving but nevertheless unhealthy stuff. It is crazy how much money (around 70-80 bucks per week) I spend on these junk! I had completely erased them from my life at the new year when I had achieved a great/the leanest budget ever. My savings were up and I had a positive chequeing account for the first time in the last two years or so. It was so satisfying, so exciting to be feeling so. I felt abundant, enriched, and proud.

Now, I want to feel this way again!

Root cause: stress (or lack of will power – you tell me). This is one issue that I must tackle soon and quite effectively.

Consequences: unhealthy life style, harm to my body, and reduced self-respect. I also lack the excitement and other positive feelings associated with not doing these expenses. Plus, my savings have been down lately, which is rightfully annoying me.

Action item: Stop it!!!! Simple and effective (we will see how this goes, right?). I did it once and I would like to think that I can do it again. Please, please, wish me luck with this!

———————————————–

The second item on the list is:

2. making an extra payment to mortgage till new year and increasing my payment after that sometime. My very ambitious plan is to drop it to 100K in 3 years. Likely not gonna happen but whatever I can do is good

My current principal/mortgage debt is 175K… This is a lot of debt, which bothers me. The interesting thing is that in 3 years (sept 2019) with my current payment plan, it is supposed to fall to $132,200. When I think about it, it is awesome that I can drop it to such a much less amount.

But I feel like I can do better.

I have been saving some cash since last Spring, which I had planned to contribute towards my principal. Initially I had planned it to be around 5K, but with the recent extra expenses, it will be around 4k. I plan to make this payment around new year; better before the new year to celebrate 🙂

An extra 4K would make my mortgage drop to $128,200 till Sept 2019. I have always felt like if it is less than $120,000, then I would have a greater motivation to pay faster. Now, I think the best way for me is to actually aim higher and make it drop to $100,000 till then. The question is how am I going to do that?

I am currently contributing to my RRSP (maximum allowed), paying HBP (home buying plan in Canada – basically I borrowed money from my RRSP as down-payment, which I am supposed to pay back in 17 years. I pay almost double the amount I am supposed to pay each year so that I can pay it off early), a small personal retirement plan with an annual payment, and my TFSA.

Since I had taken money out of my TFSA when I purchased my home, my TFSA is not maximized yet. It looks like with my current contribution levels, I will need around 3 years to maximize it. While that would be awesome, I am more inclined to keep it below the allowed maximum level, and rather channelize the TFSA payments to mortgage. My current plan is to contribute another 9K to TFSA (which would take around 13 months or so) and then stop contributing to it for two years (till the end of my mortgage term).

So, 2 years of not contributing to TFSA would mean an extra $15,600 to go towards my mortgage. Together with the one-time lump sum payment I plan to make this december, that would mean at the end of the term my mortgage debt drops to $112,600.

I am not at $100,000 yet but it is possible that I can come up with an extra $12,600 sometime, somehow to make it finally become $100,000….

Action items: Make 4K one time lump sum payment to mortgage in late December 2016. Continue with contributing to TFSA for another year or so, and then stop it to use the money to increase the mortgage payments. Whenever an extra amount of money is saved, use it to pay the mortgage. This last one can be possible if I had got back to my lean budget – one more motivation to start it tomorrow! 🙂

 

 

getting back to aims and plans

I love to have aims and plans to tackle them. There is something exciting and energizing about this.

I am not always successful in my aims or plans, but, hey, I will try as many times as it takes and as much as I can enjoy.

The majority of my aims are around similar themes; having a financial plan; having a simple yet non-routine life; and having a healthier life-style.

I will focus on details later but the particular areas of my life that I would love to work on real soon are:

  1. getting a much leaner budget and getting rid of the extra expenses for good
  2. making an extra payment to mortgage till new year and increasing my payment after that sometime. My very ambitious plan is to drop it to 100K in 3 years. Likely not gonna happen but whatever I can do is good
  3. eating healthier and losing 25 pounds and keeping it off
  4. having a vacation somewhere this year only for my own enjoyment
  5. having a less stressful work life and dealing with work and emotions better
  6. being more social
  7. baking the perfect loaf
  8. decluttering the house and the office again and possibly again
  9. buying a new set of plates
  10. being more aware and appreciative of my surroundings, life experiences, and everything else in life 🙂

joy journal – September 2, 2016

I have had a kind of disappointing day. That means, I particularly need to write to my joy journal! 🙂

1. I am grateful for walking in the morning to the office. In the past two weeks that is what I have been doing and it feels good. It helps clear my mind and is quite useful for my health.

2. I am grateful for having a relaxing day at the office till a meeting at 2 pm. A 1.5 hours long meeting in the afternoon, on a friday, and right before a long weekend is not a great idea… Considering that I am particularly edgy when I am forced to sit longer than an hour and that it was a very boring presentation mostly, I am very disappointed and somehow edgy… BUT I am ready to leave this behind and enjoy the first night of the long weekend! 🙂

3. I am grateful that it is the first long weekend of the Fall. I am very fond of long weekends – they give a chance to relax and do stuff that I could not otherwise find time to do. For example, I plan to do some deep cleaning this weekend, shop, clean the house, do laundry, cook breads, and take care of the yard all at the same time 🙂 Boy; these are all too much, especially since I also need time to relax. Thus, this three day long weekend excites me 🙂

4. I am grateful for doing the grocery in the evening. I have bought fresh produce which excites me. I hope to cook tasty meals this week 🙂

5. I am grateful for walking back to home from office. I have had a chance to help clear my mind after the disapointing afternoon meeting and relax a little bit.

6. I am grateful for my back feeling a little bit better. I have been doing my stretching exercises in the last while and they seem to have helped. In today’s session, I did not hear the “crack” that my back usually yells when I do one particular exercise. It makes me sad each time, as it tells me that there is some type of friction or calcification at my spine. I did not have this problem prior to winter when I have had two episodes of bad back issues. I want it to be gone. I am too young to have such a problem! 🙂

7. I am grateful for chilling at home all by myself. I still long for a cat to be around, but honestly I am not in the mood to be woken up by someone in the morning. Day by day, I am getting more objective about my own needs and how incompatible it is to have a dependent thing around me. Bitter but healthy truth. This being said, I also would like to foster cats for short time, possibly starting mid October or so.

8. I am grateful for the sourdough I have been struggling to form this afternoon. I have got a lovely levain today (started it yesterday), yet the dough is not a great one; it is fragmenting, too sticky one minute and top-dried up the next moment. Honestly I had given up after 3 stretch and fold attempts, and just stuck it up in the fridge, hoping that maybe in the morning I would have a dough which is workable. I just checked it out and it is actually coming along. So I gave it a quick kneading, felt how smooth it was, got excited, and left it to rise in the fridge. I hope tomorrow I will be able to share the pics of a nice sourdough loaf 🙂

9. I am grateful for the music I am listening to right now. I discovered it a couple of days ago and I am hooked. It is relaxing, meditative if you will, and very soft and gentle for the ear. I feel like my frustration accumulated today is melting slowly but steadily…

10. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

 

 

 

 

joy journal – June 6, 2016

1.  I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up for a new day 🙂

2. I am grateful for taking the bus and getting excited about it 🙂

3. I am grateful for my coffee and my office that makes brewing my own coffee easy 🙂

4. I am grateful for my glass water jar that makes drinking water a delight. Water remains cool and fresh – way better than the plastic bottle I used to store my water. I am very happy about this progress 🙂

5. I am grateful for working with a strong focus in the morning and submitting two important documents this afternoon. I am very relieved 🙂

6. I am grateful for walking to home from the office and continuing to work at home.

7. I am grateful for having no mice activity in the last few days. I hope it will never return back!!

8. I am grateful for deciding to pick and dry the flowers from my yard this weekend. Next year, I will bring dried lilacs from my yard (in a picture frame) to my mom as a gift – I think she would like this 🙂

9. I am grateful for cooking a healthy meal and eating with love 🙂

10. I am grateful for the food in my fridge and freezer that nourishes and feeds me 🙂

11. I am grateful for having a lovely chat with my neighbour.

12. I am grateful for reading bread recipes and getting excited about making a new loaf this weekend. I plan to prepare the initial dough on friday and leave the dough in the fridge over night. The next day I will rise, proof, and bake it. I am aiming for a high-hydration bread (80-85%) – let’s see how this adventure will develop 🙂

13. I am grateful for being relax and peaceful today. Since I am taking care of important stuff prior to my vacation, I am feeling more confident that till then I will finish all I aim for. This is a great feeling 🙂

14. I am grateful for not eating too much today 🙂

15. I am grateful for being a couple of pounds than last month. I hope this is a permanent fat loss, but not transient water loss 🙂

16. I am grateful for my facial moisturizer that nourishes my face and skin 🙂

17. I am grateful for being grateful and taking time to reflect on these beautiful things 🙂

 

excitement is a lovely thing

I have been thinking; in the last one year or so I have had a number of things in my life that excited me. Lucky me 🙂

Last June, I started my budget. It was tough and frustrating time to time, but planning for it and monitoring the progress was interesting and somehow exciting.

In the Fall, I have had a couple of international trips. These trips were exciting in many different ways – the change, seeing new places, better weather, being away from the office and everyday routine.

Then in late Fall, I became interested in the Game of Thrones and ordered the first 5 books of the series. I read everything on the net and did complete reading the first book.

Then came the new year and I did two things that excited me; a better budget that allows me to spend much less and save much more. I also started yoga/stretching classes. Both gave me double-dose of excitement with their positive effects on me.

And then in the last two weeks or so, I became interested in baking. I am struggling with yeast-bread recipes but at least I have seen today that I can make excellent tea biscuits. i decided to try baking bread again this week, this time with baking powder. I want to just see that I can make it (recipes seem to be easier with baking powder…). And then I will switch back to yeast recipes. I am determined not to buy another store made bread in my life as long as I am capable of baking my own bread.

I like that. I had not noticed how much fed up I was with the store made breads, especially the toast breads. man, why did I buy and consume these chemical-full and untasty food for so long while I am fully capable of making my own? According to my calculations, it is also way cheaper to make the bread than buying it. Why did I not think about this before?

i wonder what else I can make my own and stop buying.

I am doing my own pickles since last year, too, which is great. I do not consume them too often but when I need it, I know they are there for me. Making my own bread will be something significant and I am very much looking forward to this. One other thing I always wanted to do is to stop buying canned beans and cooking them myself using a pressure cooker. i am scared of that equipment; have heard bad stories with the pressure and steam. But hey, maybe my new project can be that.

What else could I make myself?

Growing herbs or veggies is something that can make me happy. The climate where I am is not suitable for greens, but maybe I can manage to grow potatoes in the yard or herbs inside the house. I bought a small pot of rosemary last week, which I hope to keep and use in baking and cooking. It looks like a study type of herb that I can keep alive.

let’s cross the finger 🙂

 

hope and dreams

One should have hope and dreams. In their absence, eventually, inertia follows and starts to win over intentions and efforts required to move up to a better place, a better life.

As I read and reflected on grief (after the death of my dad in February), I noticed that I previously grieved for my lost hopes/dreams, too. For instance when I lost the hope to marry the person I had once loved. It took me years to completely forget this person and I was in constant pain and missing terribly the happiness I had felt for my future. I had not noticed at that time, but this was one perfect grieving process.

So, what happened?

Nothing much; except that I also lost my ability to dream and get excited about my future life. I also understood what happiness was.

How does that feel?

Not great actually. I am constantly feeling the need to have a zest for life, but I also constantly fail to do so. This recurring, repeating cycle has nothing to offer but discontent, depressive thoughts, and not surprisingly, unhappiness.

Today, I have dreamed about finding the opportunities out there that would help me find a new job somewhere else; this would help me with initiating a new episode of life away from where I am right now. And that dream felt good.

I am not sure what made me feel good more; to have hope after a long period of inertia, or to be able to one day leave here….Anyways…

Do I deserve to be unhappy? Nope.

Do I deserve to be limited this way? Nope.

How many chances do I have in life? One

What prevents me from seeing the opportunities that may be out there? Only me and my mental blocks.

Will I be able to locate these opportunities at once and fast? Probably not.

Am I in rush to find them? No.

So, what should I do?

I can calm down and feel the hope and all the good feelings it brings along.

I can keep dreaming, as dreams are the ones that will give me the motivation and energy to look for opportunities.

I hope I will not lose these, too.

I do not want to grieve for lost opportunities. I want to claim them.

made a decision

I had made this decision many times before but I guess lately I had become okay with the status quo because of the stability of my job here.

My decision is to leave here and move somewhere else.

I am tired of rowing against the current, which is ignorant and insensitive to the efforts I put in.

This current would be my job environment.

I have a great job but I also time to time talk about the stress it creates on me and its challenges. I also rant about lack of diversity and not being from here (thus being stereotyped or discriminated) time to time.

Hence, 2 + 2 and I decided it is not right to continue a life somewhere that does not excite me.

More importantly, it is not right to not put an effort to enrich and make my life better.

It is not right to live and work somewhere where people still think less of me because I am not from here. Even though I do so well. But who cares about the quality and quantity of the work I do while I am (according to them) less worthy?

F. that.

Of course I have triggers. My dad’s death two weeks ago (sometimes, I cannot believe in this…) and how he would like me to be happy. How I resented about focusing so much of work and neglecting my family and myself. And an event here today about work which told me once more how superficial a lot of things here are and no matter what I am capable of or proposing, it would not go thru and make a positive difference in people’s life. So what is all of these struggle, boredom, hard-work, and efforts are for?

Time for me to care about myself and make myself a priority. Not the job. Not this place and this job, no matter how much I love working.

Gotta start looking for jobs somewhere.

I am kind of thinking that it would be better for me if I just give a resignation notice. I believe I can give a notice upto a year before. I am crazy (or fed up) enough to do this, yet I should not do this before I find another job. After all, I have a good salary here…

Boy, I so hope that I will not chicken out and over turn this decision once more. I must put the effort to move somewhere else, hopefully a much better, warmer, diverse, and reasonable place.

Wish me luck

 

 

weekly budget check

well… I…. over-spent…. again…

It was expected I guess: I have over-spent my weekly allowance by $38. In addition to that I have had donation to a good cause and an extra expense (for team lunch) in the amount of $305.

I know time to time, this will happen; that I will have to spend money for good causes. So I will be okay with this…

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to spending less and saving more in the coming weeks. The next week will be busy with shopping, too. Luckily, after that the new year will start and what is better than a new, fresh start with strong motivation to keep up with my budget and save for my future?

We all will see how this will develop 🙂

holiday plans :)

I have posted a similar post earlier, but hey, it is always exciting to think and plan for things to do during a 12 day holidays. So bear with me 🙂

1. I am excited that two days later I do not need to think about getting up early. That means I can stay up late at nights, my favorite time of the day – yay! 🙂

2. I can stay away from the office and the workplace for 12 days; while I like my office and work, this change is so welcomed 🙂

3. I will be able to work at my own pace without anyone interrupting me. I hope I will not get emails that will require me to work at the office. Murphy’s law though – there is always something that comes up during the holidays…

4. I will have breakfast every single morning 🙂 usually during the work days I do not have breakfast (not feeling hungry). I sure will try to visit different cafes, weather permitting.

5. I will find a chance to contemplate about my life, my needs, and priorities. The problem with being a work-oriented person is that I am so focused on work that I often times forget my out-of-work life. This holidays time is great for me to listen to myself and see which kind of life I would like for myself.

6. I will be able to shop! As a matter of fact, I have been on shopping freeze for many items/purchases in the last few months. The sales will be an awesome opportunity to buy stuff that I need (not necessarily the stuff that I want – I am still keen on being frugal, though I must confess I am less frugal this month. Not that I spend too much money on gifts, dinners, or travel; I just feel relaxed and opened the purse a little bit..)

7. I will be able to make plans for the new year – 2016. I always liked this; the planning part of it. Let’s see what has worked this past year (my budget certainly did work) and what did not (my healthy eating and weight loss attempts failed). Time to come up with better plans and new aims.

8. I have started compiling my financial situation in 2015; Thursday I will be able to calculate my net worth, how much I have spent, and how much I have saved. I am excited about this 🙂 I know that I have saved quite a bit, thanks to the budget I have implemented in June. I will be excited to know how well I have done. It is a great, motivating exercise. I also will categorize the expenses in 2016 in more categories. For example, purchases related to cleaning and personal products will be noted under a new category. This will help me to keep up with my weekly allowance, which I usually over-spend and which makes me feel not so good about myself (I used to count such expenses under the weekly allowance..).

9. Socialize! Yep, I will socialize with good friends of mine 🙂 looking forward to this.

10. Cook for myself. Yep, I will. I have a couple of dishes that I love but take time to prepare. Holidays have always been the time for me to cook them for myself. Good food = happiness 🙂

11. I will make myself some pasta. Yep. I will prepare the dough and cut it out in long and thin strips, and let them dry. It makes a great dish, especially with cheese. I plan to make around 2 pounds of this. I am assuming it will be enough for a couple of months.

 

plans for the holiday time off

Each year, we have around 12 days off between the christmas eve and until after the new year.

It is a great time to look forward to. I love planning for stuff that I will do during these days. So here are what I am planning to do during these holidays:

clean the house: yep, it is a great opportunity to clean the house deeply now that I will have more time at my hand. I will clean every corner as well as the electric heaters; I am planning to use a hair dryer to remove dust, if ever, from inside the panels. I dust them with vacuum every week but I am sure there are some dust left inside.

wash the shag rugs, mats, blankets, and couch covers: This one will require me to visit a commercial laundry as some of them are quite heavy and I do not wish to harm my own washer while cleaning them.

shopping, shopping, and shopping: well, yes I will shop! 🙂 My current shopping freeze for clothes and books will end at that time. There are great sales during this time and I plan to take advantage of them. I will also visit the thrifty stores for items like jackets. cannot wait! very excited 🙂

additional shopping: I will also shop for cleaning products and bulk items during this time. the joy of shopping 🙂

visiting friends: I plan to visit a number of friends now that we all have no work but time off at our hands. This is a great time to socialize.

contemplating: I love the end of year assessment of the past year, and make plans or adjustments for the new year. I am not a fan of new year resolutions, but rather this contemplation helps me with what I have done (work and life) in the past, realize how well I have done, re-prioritize things in my life, and plan how I can do better. This is a very valuable exercise for me; each year I benefited from it.

relaxing without the stress of work: I will take this time to totally forget about the work I must do (though I aim this each year, this does not usually happen; I happen to work during these days sometime..) and have my days fulled with random activities, lots of reading, watching movies, and anything else that gives me a peace of mind.

I am sure you too have great plans for this time – may all of them happen with ease and happiness 🙂

 

 

how can I get more savings?

Yesterday while writing another post, I noticed that my net worth at the age of 50 will not be a great one.

It is depressing, which is bitter – sweet. That means I want to do better and I will take some actions.

I just do not know what can be done. If I had not bought my house, I would be in a better shape, but since I know it will require repairs/renovations over time, I am worried. This will be the most challenging part of this planning. On the other hand, I also think that over time paying down my mortgage will become easier as I will owe less and the payments I will make will be mostly towards the principal. It feels like paying of the mortgage as soon as possible will give me quite a peace of mind.

Anyways, I must come up with a better budget and saving plan. I have done well with the budgeting and bringing my chequeing account to a positive balance lately. I am now working on my emergency fund. After that, I will have to find ways to save more and invest for my retirement.

What could make this? I am already having a restricted budget compared to before. I know I can cut some of my expenses too, but will they be enough?

Even a small amount of extra saving will help, I know. My psychology wants big savings, though. What can I do to help myself?

1. Shopping freeze for almost everything, except the clothes and cleaning products till the end of 2016. I am planning to take advantage of the holidays sales. I may as well purchase my cleaning products, in addition to some new clothes, at that time and get over with it. No books, no vacations (except family visits) (well, maybe one or two art work for my home). Occasional books. That looks like the most practical cut of expenses for now. Good.

2. Transportation: Take the bus or walk. Rain or shine. My only hurdle is the morning mood that makes me complain about anything; how can I bypass this long-term habit? How can I find joy in the mornings so that I can be okay with letting my need to have comfort? A miracle is needed…

3. Reducing the weekly allowance to $100; this will cover my grocery and other small daily expenses, such as my weekend coffee at the cafe. It may also include my cab fares should I take cabs. I will not be able to make it at first. I may not be able to make it over the long run – so prepare yourself for frequent rants, dear reader….

4. Mortgage; I am not planning to increase my payments now; maybe in April when I will get a small increase. I may as well put this extra amount into my mortgage. Ok.. sounds like a plan. At least an improvement over what I currently do.

5. Socials and holiday celebrations: Gotta be frugal here; I tend to be generous with the socials and when I am invited somewhere.

Then the question is; what to do with the newly saved funds?

I am more motivated if I can find a measurable improvement somewhere; whether reduction of debt or increased investments.

Beefing up my emergency fund: this is the priority now; I will see it accumulate till it is $8,000.

After that,

Increasing my RRSP and TFSA contribution: I will do this at the new year; it will be a small amount but nevertheless valuable to increase my retirement savings/investments.

After my emergency funds are done, I may increase my TFSA contribution a little bit more.

Planning is exciting, writing is useful and easy, implementing is challenging.

I think we all will see how this adventure of mine will go 🙂

50 things to do before 50

For someone who does not have long term objectives in life, this list will not come easy. Yet, I would like to give it a try.

I love making plans (usually short-term) and then working towards accomplishing my objectives. It is like a little, friendly race. Gives me a sense of friendly competitive edge. More importantly, I believe it gives me a chance to keep my objectives in my life right in front of my eyes; when we are aware is when we notice the opportunities. When I have a chance of getting excited about them. Changing them. Striving for them, Reaching them. These are all possible if I am aware of them.

I do not think I will come up all the long-term objectives right now (I am trying free-writing here, writing whatever comes to my mind. Except the first aim, none of the other objectives below I am aware of as I write these words. Interesting and exciting). So let’s see what I would like to do in the coming years, before my big 50 🙂

1. Visiting South America and spending some time there. Maybe a couple of months. Not necessarily going around from one place to other. But more like a visit paid to a specific city. I am thinking a work-leave for 2-3- months, going to a major city less than a million residents, living the moment with the city, getting to know the culture, history, food, and people of the city. I imagine I will be living on a second storey of a 2-storey house. With a little balcony looking at the narrow street. Where I see myself adoring life and the energy around. I see myself happy and smiling. With a nice dress purchased from a local store. From a lovely elderly lady who hurriedly tries to understand me as I talk to her in short English sentences. So that we can understand each other better. She smiles, I buy the dress and I see myself coming home and changing into the dress and never want to not wear it. It will be a beautiful dress 🙂

2. Reading more about history, especially the ancient and indigenous history. Examining the ancient languages.

3. Buying a black dress and wearing it! I have not done this in ages and I certainly am missing it! 🙂

4. Feeling girly again. Okay… this has been ages as well 🙂 Where did that lovely, quiet girl with nicely done nails, nicer hair, and the black dress go? I want myself back! 🙂

5. Being happier and at ease with life. I have no idea how I will do this, but I am wishing it now so that along the way I can be aware of this wish and note the things that make me happier.

6. Paying 50% of my house. with the current payment schedule, I am capable of doing this. My wish is to go beyond that and make extra payments over time. But this will have to wait a couple of years. So for today, my wish is to pay off the 50% completely till 50.

7. Getting a promotion at work. Promotion in my field is not easy. It requires quite a bit of accomplishment. I am on the right track, but not necessarily a great candidate for promotion. The next 2-3 years are critical.

8. Writing more poems and maybe self-publishing a poem/short story book. Alright; I am not great and I am aware of this, so hush :)). But my experience says that it is with trying, failing, and re-trying the improvement and progress happens. I may as well have something left for the next generations – who knows?

9. Spending more time with my family, even inviting them here: this will be totally dependent on the financial situation. I expect salary increase each year, but I am also aware of the cost of home ownership. But maybe something will come up or change. Maybe it will be possible. Maybe.. Good to keep this in the list.

10. Having a net worth of $300,000 including my TFSA, RRSP, home equity, and other savings (excluding pension plan). This number does not look good even though I have a good salary. I should have saved more, invested more. This is one area that I really need to come up with better plan… OMG… this is alarming actually; I do not have enough for my retirement!!! (ouch)

11. personal life: I may continue as single or get married with a great guy. Wow! I am happy being single, but would not say no to a humble, good-hearted, kind person who would understand me and love and cherish me. It would be nice if I had the same feelings toward him too 🙂

12. Getting a pet, possibly a cat: I can do this! my only hesitation is the lengthy trips I make time to time. Well…

to be continued some other time

joy journal – Nov 5, 2015

joy 🙂

happiness 🙂

self-appreciation 🙂

joy 🙂

1. I am grateful for today; it has been a no-stress and productive day 🙂

2. I am grateful for the warm house, clothes, and the blanket that keep me warm in this chilly early winter night. We have had snow in the last few days, which is quite early. They anticipate a warmer than usual winter yet the reality seems a little bit different. In the last two years we have had harsh winters with power loss and lost of shoveling (more than I have ever done before): I am not looking forward to another one, but I am hopeful that things can turn around – who knows?

3. I am grateful for the 3 bags of ice salt I had purchased last year; they give me a peace of mind. A couple of years ago, the entire city run out of salt and managing ice in front of the house had become quite a challenge. I made a mental note to buy others when I  see them.

4. I am grateful for making a change, taking it easy, and having a breakfast at a mall this morning. I must do this more often; I must go other places at the weekend and see different places, eat different food, walk on different avenues. Good plan! I am also extra grateful that even though I was on a shopping mall this morning, I did not want to buy anything 🙂

5. I am grateful for taking the bus on the way back from the mall to the office; I am lucky that there has been a bus and I only waited for 2-3 minutes.

6. I am grateful for my gloves! They keep me warm in this chilly weather. I should start having my scarfs with me; I really needed one this evening as it was lightly snowing and windy.

7. I am grateful for seeing and chatting a good colleague and friend of mine today; always a delight to be around nice and positive friends 🙂

8. I am grateful for getting another positive feedback about my presentation on monday! Truly one of the a highlights of my professional life! It is so amazing to see what I say and how I say was useful, clear, and understandable. The feedbacks are so useful and so exciting. Do yourself and others a favor dear friends; please say, write, email or report good performances, positive impacts, or useful actions of others; whether they are your own, your family members, students, friends, or co-workers. And hopefully these individuals will start doing this, too. There is nothing more motivating than knowing that you have done well 🙂

9. I am grateful for the milk I have drunk tonite; I know it nourish my body and it is a tasty snack. I am not a milk-drinker, but started to drink it since September or so after my doctor recommended it for my bone health – I am grateful for medicine and my doctor who help me help myself 🙂

10. I am grateful for my boots; they are in good condition, walking in them is easy and safe, and they will likely to be functional this winter.

11. I am grateful for tomorrow being Friday. Fridays are almost always great! This weekend I am thinking about doing grocery shopping and maybe visit a thrifty store – just to have a different weekend experience and perhaps to buy a nice shirt. I know I have a shopping freeze for shirts till holidays, but my favorite shirts are now getting old; it would not hurt to check the store out; maybe I will get a good deal.

12. I am grateful for the food I have in my fridge. I could not consume what I bought last week yet; I would like to not let them go bad; so this weekend I will prioritize consuming the produce I already have. I also would like to buy different things this week – I am thinking avocados, almond milk, tofu or kefir, fish, and collard greens or broccoli.

13. I am grateful for not feeling the pressure to go to bed soon; I love the serenity of the nights and I would like to feel this as much as possible. It is awesome that my job is flexible and I have no obligation to be at my office at 9 am.

14. I am grateful for looking out of the windows multiple times today to enjoy the scenery; the colorful trees, ponds, and the snow all make such a nice view.

15. I am grateful for starting my new budget week tomorrow; now that I have my fresh weekly allowance, I feel abundant and rich 🙂

16. I am grateful for starting to appreciate the good things I do, however small they may be, after each thing that require an effort, I thank myself. After each kindness I show to others, I thank myself. After eating healthy stuff, I thank myself. After making good decisions, I thank myself.

17. I am grateful for having all these beautiful experiences in my life.

18. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

how am I doing with the challenges I have assigned to myself a while ago?

I am too talkative today… I know.. I know… Hope you do not mind! Having a day to myself without working or house chore is really a blessing – it allows me to learn and do new stuff and get excited about the new useful information.

This post is a continuation of a few number of previous posts where I wrote about the changes I would like to do in my life; some of them good for my budget, some good for my mental or physical health. I revisit them time to time to see how I have done since the last time. I also update them, too, and create new challenges for myself.

so let’s see how I have done so far:

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challenge 1: take the bus (not the cab). It was done then!. I am even better since then; I started to walk in the morning from home to office in the last 3 weeks! I am so excited about this and happy to see that I have the energy to do so and open-heartedness to truly enjoy it. I am not sure how long I can keep doing that as the old man winter is about to arrive and it also rains time to time. Let’s cross the fingers 🙂

challenge 2: eat better and healthy – cut out the carbs and consume more veggies and fruits. DONE. I am eating much better compared to before 🙂

challenge 3: walk an extra 30 min at the weekends. NOT DONE – NEED A PLAN.

challenge 4: do not buy books for two months. DONE! 🙂 I have a shopping freeze till holidays and it has been going really well, I am okay with occasional purchase of a great book.

challenge 5: cut out the bagel breakfast- one bagel/breakfast. DONE!

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. NOT DONE yet but now that my chequing account has a positive balance, I am getting closer to implement it. I am planning to increase it in the new year by cutting out some expenses- exciting!

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. PARTIALLY DONE. I have been on a healthy – life style mission in the last 7 weeks; all I have lost is around 6-7 pounds. It is going slower than I had expected, but at least it is happening. So I am happy with it 🙂

challenge 15: stick to the plans – I have done these before and I can do it again. ALMOST DONE 🙂 keep going.

challenge 16: comb the hair everyday. I do not need that anymore – have the hair cut short. Yay! But i can easily change this into a new challenge for my short hair; dye the hair every month but every 6 months, get it dyed in a saloon to get a better treatment.

challenge 17: spare 5 min every day to breathe – just to breathe. NOT DONE. I am re-introducing this challenge again. I will start doing this today – it is always relaxing.

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

challenge 19: apply moisturiser every night. NOT DONE…. It is such a nourishing activity. I should start it now that winter is coming, my skin feels dry.

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. I have been consuming canned beans and others rarely since I started my healthy eating plan. In terms of variety, yes I need to do that and started with it this week – good job 🙂

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

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. The primary reason is I keep blogging about many other topics and it does not leave much time to write my joy journal. nevertheless, all is well and I will keep writing it 😉

challenge 23: 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. I even managed to bring my chequing account to a positive balance. My credit card and cable fees are also down. I am taking advantage of the sales and discounts and I am very abundant. I am proud of my efforts. Yay! 🙂

challenge 24: continue to declutter the home and donate the usable items. DONE! I still need to get rid of the VHSs and CDs, but I have donated my clothes and a large number of books a couple of months ago – feeling good 🙂

challenge 25 (new challenge): learn ways to minimize food waste. I have started this; even though my waste in the past was limited, my aim is to completely prevent it. I will keep reading blogs and websites, get ideas, and implement them as appropriate.

challenge 26 (new challenge): Stretch your body every day and start with light weight lifting activities. Even better, start the gym at the work place to do some free weight exercises. I should be doing these. As soon as I am done with my trips, I will start my free weight training; my plan is to do it twice a week; mondays and fridays. Once I start, I am sure I will be hooked as weights are always fun to work with 🙂

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It is so satisfying to see that I have been noting down the beneficial changes I would like to make in my life and seeing that the majority has been implemented. The flexibility to adjust them and to add new ones, as well as this checks I do time to time help me tuned in and motivated to keep going. Overall, this has been one of my most valuable experiences 🙂

random thoughts

A wonderful, sunny and warm October day 🙂

Now that I have taken care of a bunch of work before I take my next trip, today feels “empty”.

What should I do to fill this boring sensation? 🙂

That is what working at a high speed does; one gets bored when it is finished. Only because our activities and thoughts are so much focused on the things we need to take care of. Naturally, we forgot about the rest.

Going back to my question, re: what should I do now, here are my options:

  1. take a long walk and enjoy the scenery
  2. read a book that I meant to read for sometime
  3. call a friend I have not seen or talk to for some time
  4. browse the TV or the internet for useful information or entertaining programs
  5. plan for the coming days or future ideas related to my life, life-style, or work
  6. declutter the final bunch (CDs and VHSs)
  7. stretch at home
  8. cook a nice meal
  9. drink tea or hot chocolate
  10. be grateful for everything I have
  11. explore a topic I have not tackled much, such as history
  12. make an inventory of what I have accomplished at work to see how well I have done, what needs to be expedited, what needs to be changed/improved
  13. assess my budget and healthy-life style plans
  14. make someone joyful by helping, supporting, or complementing
  15. do deep breathing exercises
  16. write a poem 🙂

Enjoy your Sunday everyone 🙂

how to keep up with budget and diet while traveling?

Looking at the title of the post, you might have thought this post is about the useful tips that can help you.

Well, this is not the case. The title of the post a genuine question I have in my mind.

I have a couple of trips to make in the coming weeks. I am excited about them (I like to travel), but of course the time away from the office means extra work before and after the trip, which can explain my stress levels nowadays 🙂

Anyways, since I am on two plans; budgeting and healthy life-style, I wonder how these trips will affect me.

To tell you the truth, I have a tendency to relax, and eat what I want and buy what I want (mostly little gifts for people I love) during my trips.

I have progressed quite a bit with my budget and it is more or less in the right direction, but I still have a long way to go. In addition, my healthy eating and losing weight plan does not work at all. I need to come up with a good strategy and have some motivation and dedication to keep going with these plans.

I am planning to have snacks, fruits, and sandwiches with me on the first day of my trips; at least I may be able to eat one day good, without indulging into eating at my destinations. I am of course planning to taste different food and whatever I like but cannot find where I am (Chinese and Japanese food for example) once I arrived my destinations.

My other challenge would be how to not eat the free food (to be offered at the meetings I am taking the trips for); they are my weaknesses and I am certainly concerned….. Argh… why the snacks and other food offered at professional meetings are not healthy type? Like broccoli. Or milk. Or, I do not know, something other than the pastries, cookies, and sweets?

The only things I am not concerned about are walking and my supplements (calcium and VitD); i will have my supplement pills with me and I am sure I will find milk to drink wherever I go. Also, generally I am very energetic while on trips, partly because I love to explore the cities I am visiting; so walking will not be a problem, either.

So, wish me luck with my trips.

But at the same time, please tell me if you have any tips and strategies that can help keep my budgeting and eating plans on track while traveling 🙂

random thoughts

It was a busy day, but there were a lot of social interactions and laughs as well. So I cannot complain 🙂

I am very grateful that there are two more work days and they are meeting free. That means I can focus on the urgent work at hand. I think I will have to work at the weekend, but that is okay, too. I incidentally invited some friends over; I am happy to host them although this is going to make my weekend a little bit busier. Nevertheless I am looking forward to it 🙂

This week, neither my budget nor the healthy life-style plan is going well, but I am not going to beat myself about either of them. I know myself – when the right time comes, I will do better. I right now am observing and analyzing; what is happening? what needs fixing? what can I do? I trust myself that with both of these plans, I will eventually do a lot better.

There is something so nice about trusting that the best is yet to come. That things will turn around  good. That I can and will do better. That there is something better coming after each struggle or failure. This has always been like this – frustration just means that there is something better I will get to experience, design, or plan. It is just a matter of time.

That is a good feeling.

I have other plans about my life and work that I would like to implement. I am excited to be able to handle them, too. Knowing that I cannot implement many new things all at the same time, naturally would like these two to work out well first (so that I can move on with the new plans). I have done well with the budget, though I still have a large unnecessary expense to erase form my life. The healthy – life – style plan is going good but not so good; I am generally eating better, cut out the bread and bagels a lot, I walk extra in the mornings; it is just that the weight loss is not there. Anyways, that too will happen one day; I just need to keep going 🙂

Right?

work, Murphy’s Law, and stress management

Today was a stressful work day – but now all is great 🙂

It is like Murphy’s law that whenever I came home early to keep working in the comfort my home offers, I am required to be at the office. Or, that is how I feel.

For one, I had one document review waiting for me, which I had postponed, not realizing it was due today. After reminder emails and voice messages, I came home to focus on it and start reviewing it.

I could not start it right away though; I have got three other emails, all time sensitive and asking for my immediate response. One of them quite serious as it required me revising some documents in my office computer. It is awesome that I can connect to my office computer from home and revise or create documents right on it. But, in the middle of my work, my office computer stopped working and eventually I lost my connection, only to be able to connect it hours later. Arghh :))

One by one I took care of the remaining stuff, but I gotta tell you the stress I experienced was something.

And, as if these were not enough, I also wanted to finish staining my deck. I did that, too.

Why do I do that? I can just relax and take care of stuff on time, without creating more jobs for myself. I could for example delay staining my deck. But no, I had to do it as I had decided today was the day…

I like planning and following my plans, but I guess I need to be spontaneous sometime and implement better prioritization strategy as well.

Or better yet, I may just convince myself that I can take care of stuff without stressing myself. The first part is true; I do take care of stuff. Big time. Managing stress? That is what I need to work on 🙂

have a great Monday evening everyone 🙂

random thoughts

I need a plan to implement more exercise in my life.

That is why now I am trying to “remember” how much I enjoyed walking and exercise. How I felt during and after. How stronger it made my body and mind.

See, the beginning is the hurdle. For example, to exercise, first I must decide about a convenient and affordable place to go. My work place has a variety of work-out facilities. Are they affordable? Well, depends. What are the alternatives? I have no gym close to my home. So going to the work-place gym is very convenient; I can drop by after work, relax and work-out as I wish, and then walk back home. No hurdle here.

Second, I need to remember having some snacks with me prior to the exercise (considering that I cannot even remember packing my breakfast with me in the morning, this one is gonna be challenging). There may be a solution to that, though; I can stock up and keep the snacks in my backpack (which I will use to carry my sports clothes/shoes). Good options? Hmm. What are my options really? I do not want to eat nuts (I already consume them at the office). Granola bars etc. are not good for me (too much sugar). Seriously, what are good options as durable snacks for me?

Ok. Third, I need to decide about the dates; I would love to exercise twice a week for now. Which days? Mondays for sure – after the hibernating weekends, it will feel good. The second day – could it be Friday? I guess so. What other way to close the work week and start celebrating the weekend?

Fourth, when shall I start? The earlier is better, so I am aiming for the coming Monday. Good decision! 🙂

Fifth; where will I cut in my expenses to cover for the fee? Something to think about. The fee is about $35/month. I can do this, right?

Right! 🙂

gratefulness

I have been pretty occupied with my budget and weight-loss journeys lately. They both aim to benefit me and require daily effort and recording/assessing of progress.

Along the way, I forgot to be grateful for life, to notice little thing that make me happy, to note the people, things, and events that gave me joy.. It does feel superficial and empty without being grateful, joyful, and happy; there are so many things out there more important and more valuable than these two plans…. I am happy to note this today.

Do not get me wrong; I am also grateful for coming up with these plans – I needed both. My finances would be much worse, very constraining, and depressing in future (now that I own an old house); and my weight is only going up and this is scaring me.

Those who are familiar with my posts will know what a struggle it is to implement and make these plans more or less established changes in my daily life. I rant, I get excited, I complain…I get excited again 🙂

It is draining sometimes – going through this phase. Especially at the beginning. Later things become alright one way or the other (either done, replaced, or modified to suit the reality).

Today I am not going to rant; I will rather give my thanks for the reasons that made me need these changes; the budgeting plan particularly.

I am grateful for the house I own; it is old, but newly renovated. I love being in this house and in the little yard it has – with all the trees and flowers that bloom in the spring. It is on a great location, helping me continue with my life and work with no problem (e.g. my work place is in walking distance, the bus stop is close, there are restaurants, a big grocery store, and multiple convenience stores in my neighborhood etc.). Last year I had a major roof problem, which took me 9 months to get someone to fix – it was a nerve-breaking experience. And it was expensive – after paying it my chequing account drop to $0. It has been an ongoing battle to have a positive balance since then.

And since last March, I got crazy over a crack on one of my interior walls, which I was told is possibly a foundation problem. I am still waiting for it to get visibly worse (if it gets…) so that we can start repairing it. The quotes given to me are not for the fainted heart.. And I know that there may be other unexpected repairs or expenses associated with the home-ownership (for one example, my property tax just got increased, argh..). That is why I came up with my budget 3 months ago: All the expenses incurred for my house and those that are possible in the future.. I could not see any other way out of this psychological drama.

Yes, it was a struggle, I was not consistent in the beginning at all, but now I am very much comfortable with my budgeted life. I cannot talk for sure about the future, but I am sincerely hoping I will continue like this.

You may ask “why is she grateful?”.

I am grateful because I do see this budgeted life as a continuous life-style that saves me around $10K/year. That is a huge amount of money that sure will help cover the expenses related to house repairs and maintenance over many years. And more importantly, I started not too late so that I can see the savings (however little they may be) accumulating before I face serious repairs. This way, I bought time and am feeling at more ease (this saved funds may not be enough for the repairs, but still are they not better than not having any savings? I could as well just continue like before and throw them away with my spending ..)

While I cannot say I am totally at ease with the possibly huge expenses associated with home-ownership, I can say that budgeting allows me to take the home ownership a little bit easier.

I just needed to reminded this to myself today.

Thanks for listening.

healthy-life style journal – analysis of the eating habits – August 31, 2015

The simple truth is that there are so many details that I need to be thinking all at the same time (work, house, my life-style and relationships) that my mind, whether I like it or not, prioritizes to work on specific issues and targets. And you can also relate, since I have a limited capacity of mental work, depth, or hours to focus on things during the day, these two reasons, as expected, factors in delayed tasks and unfixed issues.

Well, while there is nothing much I can do to increase my mental limits or the hours in a day, there is one thing I am capable of doing (at least time to time): it is to focus on one thing, examine and clarify the issue, reflect on ways to tackle it, design a strategy to take steps, and monitor the outcome after each steps. This “plan” is well implemented if it is clear, set, and remembered (sadly if I fail to remember my plan, it is usually one thing that sends all my efforts in to the garbage).

That is why I like to write, draw, flow-chart, or simply discuss with others my plans; it focuses me, helps me to reflect in more detail, clarifies my mind, and most importantly, makes me remember it.

You are probably aware of all of these based on your experience or education; I simply need to write them so that I focus, design, and remember my plan – so bear with me when I tell you the very well-known story of planning.

Anyways, now that I have the motivation to finally take care of the long-waiting issues, namely healthy-eating and exercise, I need not only a plan, but also something that reminds me about them each day. That is why I am opening the “healthy-life style journal” page, where I will record my daily efforts, accomplishments, weight loss (if ever – grrrr), or struggles and frustrations.

So, what is my plan for healthy eating? I have been thinking about the pattern of my diet that I think is useful in designing my new, healthier diet:

1. Canned food: I noticed that I eat too much canned food (canned beans, chickpeas, lentils, and fish). Too much of a something cannot be good (in this case the exposure and possible contamination of the food with the can chemicals). Second, since they present themselves as affordable and easy meals, I prefer them but that also keeps me away from making an effort to cook and eat a variety of foods. So from today on, I implement a shopping freeze for canned food.

2. Wheat-products: I know what does not agree with my body and makes me gain weight or accumulate water in my body: bread, bagel, or any other wheat products that are conveniently sold in cafes or stores. From today on, I eliminate bagels and others from my diet and limit my bread consumption to one bread/week.

3. Cheese: if consumed in small amounts over time, cheese is very likable. Yet, I happen to eat the entire block in two days if I can. Thus, from today on I limit cheese consumption to 50 grs/a day maximum.

4. White rice and pasta: Nope; they make me bloated and eat more and more. I hardly eat both of these, so I am in good track.

5. Sweets: I do not have a sweet-tooth; thus sweets are not a problem for me (the majority of the time).

6. Candy, chocolate, ice cream, soft drinks, chips etc: I am lucky in the sense that I only occasionally consume these.

7. Meat and chicken: I am not a big meat eater; yet I kind of think that the lack of adequate levels of protein food in my diet may be contributing to my weight gain. So, I decided to eat more of these.

8. Veggies and fruits: I usually consume a limited variety of veggies and more so of the fruits; I think I am malnutritioning and thus need to bring in diversity to the food I am having.

9. Eating pattern: I usually do not have breakfast (except the weekends), light or no lunch, and multiple dinners in the evening. It is not surprising that I am having multiple dinners; one of the dietitians had said long time ago that such an eating style would starve the body during the day and prompt the body to eat a lot later to compensate for all the calories that are missed earlier in the day. So, I gotta start having breakfast like any other person, prepare and pack (or buy) my lunch, and bring snacks to my office. I also need to cook at home nutritious meals.

Now, time to plan.

to be continued

procrastination and venting

Have you ever experienced that you are not taking care of the stuff that you must and have self-destructive feelings as a result?

I am. As a matter of fact, it is a lot nowadays.

I have work-related, house-related, and personal healthy life-style related things to do; the majority of these have been on my to-do list for sometime. As such, the fact that I have not taken care of them makes me feel incapacitated and lazy. I do not like this feeling.

For work-related things: I am way behind some of them, which is really annoying. There were times that I took it light and did not work long-hours with a sharp focus. Then I went on vacation. Then I came back and the weather and the comfort of the home were so nice that I left the office early (though I kept doing light work at home). And eventually, now I am feeling very heavily the weight of the unfinished tasks. I have done a good job today at the cafe and then later at home, but still feeling not adequate… The only remedy is to have a hard-look at the items in my list and start committing my time and energy to them.

For house-related things: I have started some of them, but did not finish them all yet; caulking around the bathroom tubs, re-painting the window trims, staining the patches that lifted up on the front stairs and the back deck are the main ones. What am I waiting for? I do not know. To my credit, I have finished caulking around the windows and between the windows and the siding. Yet, it is not enough… And the weather will turn soon, start raining and all – I must complete these in a couple of weeks.

Also decluttering the house activity: I have done quite a bit; yet the most important one, the living room, has remained. It is the hardest as I have the most paperwork and clutter in this area. Again, what am I waiting for? (I am scared to start it, see; I know it will take me maybe a day or so to do a through job; I do not like seeing piles of stuff sorted out here and there. What is my solution??).

And for the healthy-life style related ones; implementing an eating healthy strategy is still a challenge. I did not go to office today and rather started working at the cafe. And guess what I have had for the breakfast? Muffin.. Who am I kidding? How am I going to lose weight and also nourish my body while I continue to eat bagels, muffins, and bread rather than whole meals? Why can I not cook meals for myself and refrain from those that I know are not good for me?

How about my walking and more exercise aim? I have not even walked today (only to and from a cafe 5 min away from my house). Why can I not work with the dumbbells at home, or do yoga or aerobic exercise following videos on youtube?

I think there is a little child inside me that prefers the comfort, easiness, and pleasure of not stretching myself to do these…. Even though I know that I must and I can. So who will win?

I had predicted earlier that that I would vent about my lack of discipline or dedication to the changes I would like to make… It is not something new, a consistent struggle, if you will. I am getting tired of this though (which is always a good sign – that means I will start taking steps).

Let’s see how this stage will go.

Once when I had vented here about my performance related to another change that I wanted to implement in my life, some of you had commented saying that I should be kind to myself and take it easy. I am kind to myself, but also have a tendency to choose the comfort over taking necessary items. So taking easy is out of equation – I have been taking it “easy” for quite some time.

I think my main challenge right now is to win over this internal fight, gather my strength, convince myself, and have a plan to follow. I will first start with the list of things I have done so far; at least they will give me a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes I find this as a necessary step to realize that I am already in the middle of the road and I can just keep going, pushing forward. Then, I will have an itemized plan for every single tasks in my to-do-list.

shopping freeze items – August 2015

Going thru my stuff, both decluttering and taking an inventory, was a real eye-opener.

I have so many stuff that will be enough for at least a year that I gotta keep a list of them to have my conscious and unconscious minds taking notes and to apply a shopping freeze.

Here are the items for which I will apply a shopping freeze till the holiday season (I cannot miss the sales taking place during the holiday season :)):

1. Books: every once a while an interesting and affordable book is fine. Other than that, no regular purchases. Books, my ever-lasting love, have been the first items I have had on shopping freeze and it has been going well 🙂

2. Trousers: except I get really good deals. I have so many trousers that I have not even used yet that it is ridiculous to go buy another one.

3. Boots and shoes: I seem to have stocked up shoes and boots. I cannot believe I have so many of them sitting on my shoe shelf.

4. Shirts and jackets: I have more than enough to last another year. Unless I find something really nice and with a small price tag, none will be purchased.

5. Socks, t-shirts, sports pants, and others: Another category of items I seem to have well stocked up. Nope – will not buy one.

6. Cleaning products; laundry detergent, dish detergent, hand soap, shampoo, and other personal care products: I just need to purchase toilet papers, hair conditioner, and hair dye.

7. Stationary items: None needed – pens, notebooks, and paper are all stocked up.

8. Rice, dry food (beans, chickpeas), dried veggies, tomato paste, spices, tea, coffee, creamer: I just need turmeric and maybe creamer – others are more than I can consume off in a year.

9. Kitchen items, cleaning clothes, sponges, and others: Only need bleach – nothing else.

10. Furniture and home decor: Would like to buy 2-3 art-work. Things that will bring joy and excitement to me.

11. Bed linens, towels, and others: None needed.

The list seems great to me. I was first upset about having too many sponges, cleaning clothes, paper towels etc, but now I can see that was done well as I shop them when they are on sale. And they are durable – so I can keep using them for some time. I am thanking myself for making these purchases earlier.

And from the list I can see that I have a small list of items to purchase in the coming weeks, which is alright (I like shopping, right? 🙂 ).

These lists also tell me that the majority of my future expenses (at least till the new year) will be on food, mostly vegetables, fruits, yogurt, eggs, beef and chicken (aaaand maybe some bread please? :).

I should invest in the pressure cooker real soon to cook beans at home (getting rid of can will be a delight for me) and to make my overall cooking efforts easier and more accomplishable.

Let’s see how this plan will go 🙂

cheers everyone

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.

—————————————————————————————

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.

—————————————————————————————

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 🙂

challenging myself

I have been thinking about changes that will enhance my life, my health, and my financial health for some time. I have not done anything substantial yet, which finally came to a point that the entire lack of implementation of changes started to make me unhappy with myself.

I do not need to be unhappy about myself.

The main problem of mine is that even though I know what can work, I have the confidence that they will work (I have done similar changes before), I just have a substantial need of pampering myself. The need to relax; the need to take a break from everything; the need to feel good; the need to not constrain myself. The more I pamper myself, the longer the issues remain unresolved, the heavier they accumulate as an emotional baggage.

In other words, pampering myself  = inaction = bothering myself more over the long run.

I do not need these.

From this morning on I invited myself to several challenges:

challenge 1: take the bus (not the cab) – get up at 8.15am to catch the bus.

challenge 2: eat better and healthy – cut out the carbs and consume more veggies

challenge 3: walk an extra 30 min at the weekends

challenge 4: do not buy books for two months

challenge 5: cut out the bagel breakfast- one bagel/breakfast

challenge 6: do grocery shopping as required and buy small amounts – many stuff perished in my fridge so far – what a sad waste.

challenge 7: start listening to music and relaxing 20 min a day.

challenge 8: drink at least one cup of tea a day

challenge 9: get up in the morning and smile to yourself and hum a song

challenge 10: look outside the window at the office three times a day – enjoy the view and relax

challenge 11: record the progress in these areas in breaking the routine or joy journal categories

challenge 12: increase the contribution made to the RRSP account

challenge 13: during the day remember to smile

challenge 14: lose 15 pounds in two months – record weight and food consumed every day

challenge 15: stick to the plans – I have done these before and I can do it again

joy journal – March 8, 2015

I cannot think about a better way to continue feeling better than writing the things I have been grateful for lately. I do not know what I will write right now, but I know that once I intend to write them, I will find them, I will remember them. That is in the simplistic term an effective therapy for me. Here I start;

1. I am grateful for my family and friends; for their love and support, their well being and health. I love them dearly.

2. I am grateful for today being a sunday. I have maybe another two hours before I go to bed and I can enjoy every minute. This being said, I can enjoy any minute any time; it is my choice and my right.

3. I am grateful tomorrow is a work day – one more day at home would get boring for me. I have the choice of taking a day off if I feel like I may need time for myself, or do not want to be in the office. That freedom feels good.

4. I am grateful for gathering myself up after the depressive day yesterday. I am not sure what happened or how I managed it. It did not happen because I tried something, some way, some strategy (such as meditation, talking to friends, or so); it just happened. I feel like my mind helped itself. It feels good.

5. Despite all issues, worries, or negative things going on in my life, I am aware that I am not the only one, so I feel some kind of relief. Many people have even more dare issues to deal with; sickness, grief, financial troubles, etc. I know I am not immune to life’s challenges. I know that I will go through them like anyone else.

6. I am grateful that I have food, clothes, furniture and a house to live in.  I am thankful that I can afford all of these.

7. I am grateful that this morning at my favourite cafe, instead of working i read a magazine. What a nice change! And change I like. Routine gets boring after a while; seriously does. I need change; different places to see, different colours to wear, different opinions to hear.

8. I am grateful for my blog, computer, and the internet connection that makes this writing possible.

9. I am grateful that I realized I need a break. yes, I do. how wonderful it would be if I could afford a mini vacation, a week maybe away from this cold winter and every day routine.

10. I am grateful that I support myself fully and I am capable of facing things, however scary or annoying they may be. I am thankful that I appreciate myself and thank myself.

11. I am grateful that there are some nice voices, smiling faces, supportive and compassionate souls here and there. it is nice to hear someone offering that they can listen to me if I want to talk it happened here yesterday; many thanks you 🙂 ). I am grateful that the waitress at my favourite cafe yesterday get my coffee ready before I asked. I learnt her name and I have thanked her. That was a high-energy experience. It re-charged me, gave me hope, and energy. Thank you Jessica. I hope when you need it, you will find many people around you to support you and make you smile, like you have done yesterday for me.

12. I am grateful for not being agitated right now; a little bit maybe but not too much. there is quite a relief in accepting things as they are and letting wishes, plans, and any other thing that do not work and bothers me go. That is a great feeling. Some may say it is a failure, I say I am liberated. Point of view.

13. I am grateful for the daylight saving time being started (or ended; I do not know which one) today. I have not enjoyed losing one hour today, but you know what; this one extra hour-long daylight in the evening gave me hope. this one extra hour of light made me feel like, even though it does not show its face yet, spring is about to come. a couple of more months and then things will be brighter. It feels good.

14. I am grateful that while I was depressed yesterday, I did not whine to anyone and reduce their energy by it. All needs their energy to go through their lives. I am happy that I have not negatively affected any one.

15. I am grateful that I realize I take too much to do and along the way get overwhelmed and inefficient (as I have been lately). It is time for me to say no to certain things. It is time for me to stop during the day and do something different. As a matter of fact, that is a great idea! why do I not have a “Change of the day” section here and write down things that I did differently!! That will be awesome! Great idea! even a small thing can make a difference in my life. I am grateful that I have come up with this idea right now. Another great thing about writing my joy journal! :))))

16. I am excited for the “Change of the day” idea and I am grateful for that. Excitement is a great thing.

17. I am grateful for making a list of things that I have done as a change lately: here is my short list:

a) starting a blog ( a few months ago)

b) writing poems and short stories (I hardly did before I opened this blog)

c) buying less groceries

d) eating more carrots

e) drinking tea at home, even for time to time

f) starting yoga and then taking a break from it before it became a routine activity

g) planning to start yoga again

h) starting to work at my favourite cafe

i) not visiting my favourite book store – now I actually wished I had; it is such an exciting thing to go through the books, buying them and bringing home, and then exploring them. Due to winter I could not walk there, but you know I will start sometime soon. So it is great.

j) changing my tooth paste

k) changing my laundry detergent; it smells so good I am very happy about it.

l) not shopping large – I enjoy shopping, buying things that I will need, especially if they are on sale. On top of the things that I need, I also purchase things that will feel like a present to me; a pack of pens, some other little stationary items, something colourful. I have not done that since the holidays because I have everything now. This probably saves me money, but at the same time I should mention I missed that feeling of shopping!

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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