holidays diary – Day 3

The day was kind of wasted, or this is how I feel about it.

I meant to finish cleaning home (which I have, YAY!), get the cable technician fix my cable issues (got the appointment a few weeks back), and the go for a little shopping.

So, I waited, waited, and waited, and called the company twice, only to be told that he would show up. Well, he is 6.5 hours over due, so I do not think he is showing up. This also means that sadly I missed my opportunity to get out of home and do some shopping for my own enjoyment…. I am not only frustrated, but also fed up with that company. In a year that I want to take things easy, that may mean I am looking for a new company soon, for which I am not sorry.

The same for my VISA card – I want to change it. The hefty annual fee is not making me happy. The points I get in turn are not worth it. This bank is the only one I work with and I have been paying all the interest and shoot (intentionally changed the word here – I am a kind person and for a bank, I will not change this quality in me). Plus, this year the bank rep refused to waive my annual fee twice. Twice! He offered me another credit card from their bank, which I will gladly refuse. I will be shopping for a credit card soon and I deserve this. Thank you very much both of you the companies – you clearly sock (again, intentionally changing the word here).

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Since this is the 3rd day of the holidays already and I have not done much for myself, like reflecting or reading, my feelings are exaggerated towards emptiness. I have the entire night in front of me, which I can use to my advantage. The truth is reflecting the year without reflecting about the work is not possible, and I do not wish to think about work just yet. So, for tonite, I am putting this aside as well.

I can watch a movie, I can browse the internet, I can read about plants. The usual stuff that I always do anyhow. What however interest me is to find a new topic to explore an learn. Something I have not tried before; not sewing (I shave sewn some place mats and washing clothes today, by the way – YAY again!); not plants; not books or poetry; not jamming, pickling, or baking.

Something new!

What is gonna be?

I have the entire night to figure out.

Let’s remember that the new year is the year of Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation.

Happy nights everyone 🙂

 

 

 

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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.

three weeks to holidays

Three weeks to holidays when we have 10 days off.

Every year I would be very excited about this. Except this year I have not come to that point yet.

See, I have been working non-stop since July and it kind of became a daily habit. Today I have submitted an important report, a third one in the last 6 months (which is very productive). I must be excited and relieved, but not yet, I see. I think it is because I have a short trip to make this week for business and I have some more deadlines/tasks to complete in the next few weeks. I should not be complaining that I am still on the “work” gear – it is very useful for me and my work. I just wished my mind was rather focused on the 10 days of off time, start making plans, and get excited about them 🙂

I kind of think that two weeks later I will start slowing down. This would mean wrapping the little works, making and documenting projects for the new year ahead, and finally cleaning the office for once and best. this would mean dusting it, putting aside all the paperwork, or better yet dumping all in the garbage. It is my favorite thing to do at the office! What a great closure to a year of hard-work 🙂

And as per the off time, my plans are more or less the usual; clean the every bit of the house, especially the floors; declutter nice and easy; donate the unwanted/unneeded items; shop and get stuff that I need, socialize with friends; read a book or two (have not done this for some time – it is the time that I get the pleasure of reading again); thrift; sew a piece or two; and reflect.

I have lots to reflect this year. As per work many things happened, first demoralizing/toxic organizational things and then the hard-work I have been doing since July. I have had three trips this fall (including the short trip I will make this week) and the one in Athens was particularly memorable. Also, I am getting used to my gray hair and do not even care about it anymore (what a strange thing that is….).

After celebrating and noting cherishable memories and experiences, it will come to this : “What do I want to change or improve then?”

We shall see 🙂

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my love affair with self-sufficiency

Life is interesting.

I have never been interested in cooking or being self-sufficient.

In the last two years, however, this has change. I still do not like cooking but baking, pickling, and jamming have been awesome. I could not be more excited 🙂

Fermented food

Sourdough: I first became interested in baking bread and I now even have a sourdough starter that makes wonders every week 🙂 I have not purchased any store-made bread since May 2016. I also shared my sourdough and commercial yeast loaves with my fiends. What a joy 🙂

Kefir: I then was gifted by kefir grains within 2017 and i not only fell in love with kefir itself, but I made cheese/spread from it and even used it in baking bread 🙂 Drinking kefir makes me feel good and I know that it gives me the calcium that I need at my age in addition to many nutrients. I am very happy with it 🙂

Pickles: I did pickles before thanks to my mother, but I have never been this interested in it until recently – I love the beet and cabbage pickles I make! I think it is the benefit of living in a cold climate that the pickle lasts long without going bad and this way I always have a jar or two in my kitchen. I made three batches of beet pickles this fall enjoyed by myself and my friends 🙂

Sauerkraut: And tomorrow I will try my first ever sauerkraut! 

How about this? 

I think I am moving in the right direction 🙂

 

Jam/marmalade:

And just within the last 5-6 weeks, I started experimenting with making jam; dried fig jam first, then orange and tangerine, and today the raspberry jam/marmalade 🙂

I feel like I am doing such a great job refraining from additives and chemicals in store-bought jams/bread/pickles. I must be rightfully proud of myself and I am!

 

Sewing

Okay.. I have not been as productive as I wished, but since I purchased my lovely sewing machine last year, I have done small stuff, including lots of covers for jars and discloth/cloth for the counter and window sills. I am yet to undertake a serious project, like a blouse or a quilt, but I know when the time comes, that will happen too 🙂

 

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These are newfound interests for me and they have been enriching my life, providing me healthy and affordable food/items, and I feel increasingly “able”.

I really am excited about this change in me.

 

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fried nerves and the Don Quixote syndrome

I woke up feeling like I was ready to charge and take down anything and everything that bothered me.

After an hour or so fuming with annoyance and having two productive meetings, this feeling thankfully subsidized.

I blame my fried nerves and extended period (since July) of non-stop working, shouldering every single problem at work, and resentment created by finishing tasks that others can do for this recent Don Quixote syndrome episode.

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I just decided to take a week off from work to recuperate. I have a business trip to make soon, but after that I think it is best that I soothe my nerves by being away from the office and its problems, by reading books, by baking, jamming, and pickling, and by sewing the blouses that I was meaning to since last year but never found time to sew. Great plans!

Have a wonderful night everyone!

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in preparation for the long weekend

We have a long weekend coming up – The Remembrance Day in Canada. We remember once again all the armed forces that died while protecting us. May they all rest in peace. What a sacrifice..

Hence the next Monday is a holiday. This is the last one before the holidays. Needless to say I am excited about it. Here are my plans:

  1. Make orange jam! Yes, my first trial of this type and second trial of jam 🙂 Exciting!
  2. Work. I will take this opportunity to do some more work, now that I have a great acceleration. Things are moving and I feel fantastic about how creative I am nowadays. Very much appreciated.
  3. Sew something? I have not been able to find time to sew anything lately. Even jam covers would be nice – let me try that 🙂
  4. Thrift store visit. I want to do that so hard 🙂 Time to renew my wardrobe a little bit and purchase clothes that are more active-style like. I figured with my new short hair (which seems to make me look young) and the gray hair growing fast (which reminds me constantly that I am not young anymore), I find that an active style makes me feel better about myself. 

 

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!

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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 🙂

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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.

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random thoughts

After 6 months or so, I did some back and ab exercises yesterday and today I feel like my big belly has shrunk! 🙂

I am serious 🙂

I know I did not lose whatever fat I have but I must admit that the ab muscles do an awesome job keeping things in place and firm once they are active. 

My belly is all tucked up very nicely and my posture is a lot better. I even feel taller.

You know when the abs are strong and supportive, these are all expected to occur.

I used to be physically very active and quite muscular in the past, prior to starting my current job. I know that muscles have their own memory and they are quite forgiving. So if you want to remind your muscles how great they can be, go ahead, take a walk, lift a weight, or just find a way to use them. You will know the difference.

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I have had a good day today. I got up at around 9 am, did the laundry, talked to family, and prepared an interesting dough (sourdough with kefir – cannot wait to see how it will turn out tomorrow).

I wanted to get out and buy some sewing notions but boy, do we have a rainy day? It is raining cat and dog, and I hope tomorrow we will have a better day. On the other hand, I am grateful that it rains – my yard and seeds/plants needed it. Had I mentioned that I have potato plants? Yes, I do and this is such a fantastic feeling! 

Anyways; back to sewing. Sewing relaxes me, even thought I am not sewing frequently or with confidence. Nevertheless this afternoon I felt like I needed to sew (that is a strange feeling; it is like the need to eat… the need to sew… strange but true…), so I have sewn two simple pieces of clothes to be placed over my washer and dryer. They are cute but can be cuter if I can find nice ribbons (which I hope to find tomorrow). They will keep the dust away from my machines and also make that area look a little bit homey. My washer and dryer are in small room with boiler, ventilator, and garbage bin, so this area does not traditionally look or feel nice at all. But after these cloths it feels a little bit better. I also am interested in sewing a nice cover for the garbage bin – maybe with a flowery fabric so that it may look and feel better too! Many can find this idea weird, but I have been meaning to do this for some time and I believe that it is gonna look cute, so I am all for it 🙂

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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! 🙂

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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?

random thoughts

Our storm continues with heavy rain, rather than snow, and with high winds. It has been a wet, cold, gray, and miserable day, but luckily not a snow-day. I worked whole day at the office and one of my co-workers gave me a ride back home. What else do I want from such a stormy day? Maybe a cup of tea 🙂

I am determined to try to sew a collar again this weekend and start a new blouse project. It is the collars that screw everything most – once I do achieve sewing one acceptable prototype, I know I can keep progressing….. But  there were three trials so far and all were fails. I know I should be more patient and keep going. Eventually I will know how to best handle it. After all, there are so many people who can do a collar. Is there any particular reason why I cannot make it?

I did not think so.

Confidence and determinism are rare traits sometimes.

I have watched a number of youtube videos. There are many different ways to sew a neck line. I can do this! 

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I have not posted my “weekly budget check” this week. It has been similar to previous weeks where I saved by shopping items/grocery on sale, minimizing anything else. The only difference was that this week every morning I have taken the cab to the office. This was partly because of the bad weather and partly because of my need to feel good about myself. For some reason, I am not sorry. Perhaps one or two days I could rather take the bus, but in the other days taking the cab was the right decision. That is why I am not sorry. And the fact  that money is not everything. And the fact that it is okay to prioritize comfort every once a while 🙂

I wonder what the future years will bring. If our economy was not this bad, in the coming years we would expect to get salary increases. This would be nice and help me to make further plans to pay the mortgage off. I have a little increase coming in April, for which I am grateful. But knowing that our salaries will probably not increase, in contrast, may even be reduced after that, I am feeling disappointed.

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The other day I was thinking: what other expense I can reduce in my life? How can I get more income? One of the options is to get a roommate – but this will not happen without sacrificing my comfort and freedom. I wish I had a basement apartment where I could rent. At least that would feel like some kind of freedom. But in terms of the expenses, I cannot cut my cable-phone-internet combo; I sure can walk more frequently to office once the weather becomes more permissive; I cannot sacrifice from my grocery and food any further. None of these can happen without reducing the quality of my life or my life style. I can reduce the expenses related to my social life, but hey it is already not too much. So what do I do?

Nothing much. Cherish what I could achieve so much, aim to save as much as possible (possible is a great word here) while also enjoy my life. That is pretty much it.

2017 has been the leanest year in terms of my spending so far. Since it is March 31st, I thought it would be a good idea to check my finances. I usually do this at the end of each year, but it is good to know how I am doing in terms of budgeted categories.

Notable financial accomplishments/facts are as follows: 

1. I am spending much less money this year than before

2. I am walking in the mornings whenever I can – the first time in winter this year (well, okay this is not completely a financial achievement, but an important change in my life this year – so I will keep it in the list 🙂 )

3. I have made an effort to consume the food in my pantry and freezer and it worked really good for me

4. I started to make mortgage prepayments this year and it has been going well. I am more motivated than ever to keep saving, however  little it can be, and use it to make a pre-payment

5. My weekly allowance (of $120) has never been over-spent so far and I am constantly saving in my fund funds (these are the funds left from the weekly allowance). If it continues like this I will have an extra $2,000 – 2,500 at the end of the year in my fun funds account. This is additional to what I predicted that I could save this year. Maybe I will use it for my enjoyment, or maybe I will use it to invest/pay mortgage. We shall see 🙂

6. Of $6,000 funds budgeted for socials, personal care and cleaning products, hobbies, medications and other health-related expenses, gifts, and all expenses other than my weekly allowance, I spent around $1,000 so far. Considering that it is the 1/4th of the year so far, this number is good. I should keep going frugal in these areas, as I happen to shop a lot during the November-December to take advantage of the sales. I hope to keep within this budgeted amount this year.

7.  My chequing account is healthy, above $0, and as usual, I continue to contribute to my RRSP and TFSA investments biweekly. The only thing is that despite all the frugal life-style, regular savings to improve the chequing account has been quite difficult (because of the increased tax, pension contributions, and mortgage payments) compared to the last year. Nevertheless, since it is in a good shape, I am grateful for whatever I can do and I am determined to keep going. 

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random thoughts

We are waiting for yet another storm in a couple of days and naturally I shopped this evening and stocked up some fruits and veggies.

I am not looking forward to this storm yet; I am not interested in shoveling, not going to office and not taking care of the work, and spending another day inside. 

But what can I do?

Nothing much. So, I may as well choose to enjoy it, should we get another snow day or two. As a matter of fact, I think it will be a good opportunity to try sewing a simple blouse again. We shall see how this will go.

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There are talks about “firings” to happen in my organization. The provincial situation is really bad and it shows itself in the lay offs. The morale is low and the future uncertainty and the fear of being without a job or its benefits are giving me a chill. I feel for the people who are laid off so far. Sometimes I think if that to happen to me, rather than feeling saddened by it, I should gracefully accept, collect myself and my belongings, sell my house, and go for a trip for a year or so. Just to find myself; just to figure out what I want in life. What I need in life. Without too much of thinking – like I have always done. Freedom should feel good. It always does.

This being said though, I would not like to lose my job. I do not wish to lose my job. So, I hope this kind of freedom will have to wait till my retirement. 

Since the current provincial government is pretty interested in increasing the taxes, firing people, and reducing the contributions for important services, such as schools or hospitals, our future looks pretty gray, including pension plans.. One wonders how this government could take such extreme measures and created such a depressing outlook for our current life and the future one? This feels so surreal; not having the safety/security and hope for our future while we put 100% of our minds and hearts in to our works and the daily economy. I am very disappointed. Perhaps it is for the best if they let us go and we find jobs and lives somewhere else. That crosses my mind so frequently. But, I should stop giving the wrong messages to my subconsciousness. I like my job and I would like to stay. I do not wish to lose my job.

Looks like my mental judo about the prospect of bad economy, seemingly impossible retirement, chance of being fried, and a currently secure/safe job, and my need for it and everything else it does bring (salary, benefits, a sense of meaningful life and efforts) will continue some time. I hope the future will bring positivity rather than desperation.

I want to continue to like life.

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the 8th day of the staycation

Wow!.. Days pass quickly. I cannot believe that I have 6 days left before I return back to office and start a work-marathon….This thought somehow depressed me, but I will let it go.

I have had a fine day with shopping and nothing else in particular. I am making an effort to have free time so that I can reflect rather than keep myself busy with doing house chores or other activities.

The year 2016 has been quite an interesting year for my life. I felt happiness quite a bit; especially when I started yoga/stretching classes in January. It was going well, I was feeling connected to my body and appreciating it, but then one night I pulled a muscle on my back and I quit those classes. Alas..

I under-estimated how bad that lower back problem was and even though I was recommended to see a physiotherapist I did not and two weeks later I pulled it again. I had no chance but to take it serious. And I have. I attended physiotherapy, my work-place purchased me a standing desk, and I have been doing my back stretches/strengthening exercises  quite frequently. My back is feeling alright, but I am not naive to think that it has been healed completely. I will keep taking care of it.

Then late February my dad passed away and sadness engulfed me. if you follow my blog, you know I am grieving quite a bit… He was a gentle soul who deserved much better. I wish our lives were different.. May he rest in peace.

My relationship with my family strained a little bit after my dad passed away and we are trying to mend it. I never thought that I could have such a serious issues with my family members, but I did. Just recently I decided to go visit them this summer – I hope things will be back to normal. Love is stronger than anything else, even though time to time I too succumb into disliking things and people. Nothing changes the fact that my family is important to me.

In October, I went to a European convention and got strained there for two additional days because of a labor issue in the host country. The stress and anxiety I felt was palpable – would I be able to find a hotel room to stay? When could I return back safely? . Eventually it turned out to be okay, but this incident changed me a little bit. perhaps next time I can handle it better (not that I wish another adventure like this…). During those times I accidentally stepped on a song by Sia – Chandelier, which remains to be one of my favorites since then. I believe there has not been a day that I have not listened to it. The voice is captivating (though I am not sure what to think about the video).

 

In May I started to bake my own bread and in september I started my own sourdough starter 🙂 these two have been quite interesting adventures and  I am so happy that I have them in my life 🙂

And lately in November or so, I also became interested in sewing; I bought my sewing machine and have been collecting all the notions and supplies since then. I am not good at sewing yet, but I hope I will be over time 🙂

And, as per my budget; I have had the greatest budget at the beginning of 2016; it was the leanest budget I have had in the last 7-8 years and it did wonders for me. I was able to significantly reduce my spending, bring my chequing account to a positive balance, increase my RRSP contributions and my mortgage payments. During summer I succumbed back to spending unnecessarily, yet I hope the new year will give me a chance to keep my budget on track.

And finally; I lost around 15-20 pounds during the the past year. I suspect that baking my own bread and my lower back problem both contributed to it. I am feeling good about it and wish to keep losing some more fat in the coming year.

As per work; it continues to stress me out and I perform well, however, less than before. There are times that our interests change and I guess it has been the case for my work too. I still do a considerable amount of work, but there were times that I wished I could retire. Retirement is a distant dream, but it is such a freeing dream… I wonder what else I would discover and get interested in….

This year was also one of these that I made an attempt to be more social. I hosted a few times at my house, but it worked out well. I socialized with friends and colleagues and enjoyed them to some degree. Honestly I am not very interested in hosting or socializing again anytime soon, but I am glad at least I tried, made an effort to enjoy these occasions, and realized once more that solitude is the best life-style for me.

Quite a busy and influential year, is it not? 🙂

7th day of the staycation

cannot believe it has been 7 days that I have not been working… 7 days is a huge number. I was not working at the office but i was working at home and busy with socials. I really am looking forward to resting now..

Anyways; as per my sewing adventures; I have been trying to sew a dish cloth to have my water pitcher to rest on. It usually drips some water when filled and when I put it in the counter, sometimes it drips all the way down to the outside of the drawers. I was very aware of the water damage and I thought that should be the first thing I should be trying.

And I have. The end result was funny:) one side longer than the other (no wonder why I do not have its photo here); while I liked the colour (lovely and fresh-looking yellow) and the use of it, I thought I could fix it by appliying a bias tape. So yesterday I tried that and the end result was horrible. Sewing is difficult friends!!! 🙂 I tried it again today with a larger bias tape – again the same problem – the corners not done well.

I was very frustrated and was about to dump it in the garbage and start a new one. Then I wanted to give it another trial. The corners are not the best, but it seems slightly better than before with a much larger bias tape. I was happy and wanted to make it better. So I tried a decorative stitch around it. This time, though, the tension was not good so the back thread showed on top, the back thread needed to be replaced in the middle, and it went all messy after that. decorative stitches are diffiult to fix in the middle of the way… So I thought I could cover it with a lovely ribbon. Okay.. It looks not great, but honestly I love it and I am using it 🙂

By the way, yesterday I also tried a larger dishcloth this time to have my flour jars on it. It turned out to be not devastating, though I must confess I messed up with the corners again. I tried cross stitch to cover this mess, which made it even worse. So my only solution was to have those ribbons again!! Do they not look great? 🙂

I need to hear “good job” to feel good about myself and keep going with sewing. I tell ya; sewing is hard… it is not for the faint hearted like myself.. So please let me hear “good job!!” :))

the fifth and the sixth day of the staycation

Finally I feel like I have done quite a bit done today 🙂

Yesterday I baked three different loaves for a social I was invited to, cleaned some more parts of my house, had great time with four kids and four adults at a lovely dinner.

I am glad the socials are done. I just need to host a friend of mine whose mom is visiting them. This, honestly stresses me out as I am not a great cook. But, then the way I see many people are not, either (a positive outcome of frequent socials in the last few months). So I say – go for it and enjoy! I cannot wait this “task” in my to-do-list to be over (see how joyful I am about this? argh…).

And I am done with cleaning the kitchen, floors, and every single corner of the house today 🙂 I have more space in my fridge and kitchen cabinets now. No need to say that I am dumping a fair amount of clutter and gathering items to be donated. It feels good. I am not done with decluttering, though. I still have my storage cabinet to be cleaned and decluttered. Honestly it always scares me, but I think I will be fine once I start it.

I also need to wash two shag rugs at a nearby laundromat. After that I want to sell them. There I said it… I bought and use them with love, but I think it is time we depart our ways and get new ones…. That also feels good to me 🙂

My rotary cuter and cutting mat are not delivered yet – they were supposed to be here last Thursday, but alas.. I have been waiting for them to start doing some serious sewing but this afternoon I was not feeling well and I decided I could work it out somehow. And I kind of did – I sewn a lovely yellow and large dish cloth to be used on my counter 🙂 It is simple yet lovely and I am sure it will help me keep me my counter dry.

As my to-do-list is being taken care of, my reflection time is coming along…. Somewhere above I mentioned I was not feeling well. I missed my family and I am very aware of the fact that none of us are getting younger. When there is family there is love and when there is life there is death.. 2 + 2 = 4. It is very scary. I love my family and I do not wish to them to die, but this can happen anytime. Heck, I may die myself anytime. Why am I away from them? When am I going to be done with the work and start spending time with them? I was not planning to go visit them this year, but I guess I will do it – I want to do it. I was telling a friend of mine the other day – if I could retire I could quit work, too, but I just cannot. Money is not the most important thing, yes, but it can provide opportunities and some kind of happiness, right? Right.

The past one year I have been grieving after my dad and my relationships with the rest of my family has been slightly strained as a result. I am still grieving for my dad, still feeling the reality of death (some mornings I wake up thinking that “there; one more day of my life to be wasted. yet it is so precious. How can I enjoy i and make it more meaningful?” I have no answer to these questions…), but I have nowadays started to feel the fear of losing my other family members.. This clenches my heart…

I believe it is time that I care about my family members more.

After his death, I developed this strange fear of forgetting my dad, but I know that this will not happen. I think my father too would love me caring for the rest of the family.

Self-reflections to continue…..

 

 

first day of the staycation

Boy… I cleaned my office furniture today and it took me 4 hours or so..I dusted and cleaned everywhere, particularly my coffee station and the desk. Lots of paper is dumped, old projects and scars are let go, and space for new ones are opened….

I also decluttered my emails; I have deleted quite a bit but I mostly archived. I do not know how the heck I am going to find particular ones, but I have done it anyhow considering that I may one day need them. Now my inbox is relax, I do not get an reminder about my inbox being almost full, and I feel good about dumping lots of stuff. Well done 🙂 Considering the fact that I have also cleaned my personal email account in the last week or so, that means one task is done and decluttering started! Yay!! 🙂 Can’t wait to start with the home 🙂

I then left for shopping. It was nice to walk in the crispy weather. I bought a number of scrap fabric, mostly of cheerful colours. I was so excited when I bought them, but now I think as if I am wasting time, money, and hope on sewing. See, the problem is I could not sew not one thing so far. Nada. Zilch. I tried two blouses and they both are messed; I never knew sewing a neck could be this difficult. Darn…..I tried a dish cloth that is also messed up (cannot even stitch straight, my friends)…  I am losing my hope time to time… I am in desperate need of doing something, something with my sewing machine…If I do see one done, I will find some confidence I am sure. Alas, it is no where to be found…. Not yet.. I have not given up yet, but I really need to come up with something nice quite soon. Please wish me luck.

Anyways my friends; I am cranky, yet I must be excited. My staycation for two weeks has started today! Who knows what the tomorrow will bring? 🙂

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?

My first serious sewing trial

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After yesterday’s exciting fabric hunt, I could not help but try to replicate a favorite blouse of mine. I thought that I needed to start somewhere to get a feeling of sewing.

I surprised myself though. Seriously, no it was not a great work, I need to have better neck lines and also desperately need a rotary cutter, but hey do you not think this actually looks great?

It does!

Too bad its cut is small (how did that happen?)

Great that I have more fabric and an idea about how to better sew it next time 🙂

 

exciting thrifty store visit :)

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I have had a blast today at two thrifty stores 🙂

Gals; I was reading that some of you were able to get sewing fabric and notions from thrifty stores. I had not believed in it.

It turned out I was wrong 🙂

I took advantage of finishing some critical work early today and despite the slushy roads (which is not fun when one walks), I decided to check my favorite stores; a.k.a. thrifty stores 30 min walking distance from my office. Man, there is so many interesting stuff in these stores.

I have found lovely scrap fabric in great condition 🙂 These were left overs from who knows what project and were on sale. All in great condition and clean, and absolutely do not have any dirt or offensive odor or something 🙂 Some are as long as 7 meters, the shortest is around 1 meter. And I paid a total of $42 for all of these (12 different fabric accounting for more than 30 meters of fabric)!

This is my first serious fabric hunt so far (after I purchased my sewing machine). I am planning to use some as backing fabric for bed cover/quilt trials; some of them I would love to see as tunics, and many of them will be quilt pieces/placemats 🙂

I cannot wait to get my hands on these 🙂

The half full glass of sewing

I became interested in sewing only lately – I believe 3 weeks ago or so. I had used a little toy-like machine to sew around the edges of a piece of fabric to have extra baking cloths. I immediately fell in love with it!  I looked for a good deal, finally got a nice one, ordered a wonderful sewing machine, and eventually received it last Friday:)

Well, there are also expenses associated with it. I ordered additional bobbins, presser feet, and needles; am buying threads and fabric; and am needing other supplies like cutting mats, rotary cutters, scissors, pins, and more threads and fabric. I will possibly need more stuff and notions over time. So, it will cost me money….As a matter of fact just yesterday I have had that dilemma again – is this really worth it considering that I am on a saving adventure?

I do not like this thought at all.

I believed genuinely that sewing was good for me and that is why I bought the machine. I enjoy it and I sure will benefit from it. So tonite, I have been busy trying to list all the benefits of sewing and now I am feeling better 🙂 .

Here is my case for sewing:

1. Sewing is a great, interesting, and exciting hobby: Everybody needs a hobby or two that will distract our minds from the daily stress and issues and make our lives whole and better. I used to read books till last year as a continuous hobby; then started baking bread; and now am moving with sewing. I am in fact lucky that I have these beneficial, positive, and lovely interests in my life!

2. Sewing can help me make my living environment better: Once I got the supplies and necessary trial-error-experience, I can do so much with the sewing machine and improve my home. My long-term plans are to sew curtains, table cloths, bed covers, quilts, pillow covers, placemats, dishmats, napkins, sewing machine cover (yes, I will do this one too 🙂 ), bed sheets/linen, to name a few.

So for all these new and hopefully beautiful things crafted just according to my taste, soon and over the many years to come, am I not supposed to be actually joyful and grateful? I project that these will cost me more money than the factory produced items I could buy, but may not the pride, excitement, effort, and anticipation of making them myself just worth the extra price?

3. Sewing can make me more self-sustaining: I know from my bread baking adventure that it feels wonderful to be able to keep trying and baking my own bread (sometime brick-like, but that is okay), not buying store-made bread any more, and sharing my loaves with friends and neighbours.

If I can sew stuff, including clothes, then I sure will be more self-sustaining and I sure will feel the pride coming out of it. I did not sew till just 3 weeks ago!! Is that not a great ability now?

4. I can repair clothes and household items: I have a number of shirts and trousers that need a stitch or two. I also would like to fix certain problematic areas of select clothes that are in good shape but are not my favorites right now (like sleeves that are a little bit longer than I desire). My other alternative would be hand-repairing them, but this type of sewing has never been very successful with extensive repairs/fixes. So, in fact now I may be able to do these a little bit better. Will this not limit waste and increase savings over time?

5. I can sew clothes: In fact I would love to sew tunic tops; I even have a plan for a green one in my mind (it will be my first serious sewing project). How about pajamas?

6. I can make gifts by sewing and save money: This will be a penny-saver that is for sure. Every year I spend around 300 bucks for gifts. There are people that I love who are away and I do not gift at all (like my good friends). So, why do I not just improve my sewing and craft skills and make them gifts myself? A nice table cloth or quilt is sure to warm even the coldest heart.

In summary, here are the main benefits associated with sewing: better mood, better self-sustaining abilities, limiting waste, reducing a portion of my regular expenses (like gifts), and making my home/clothes the way I want it…

With these in mind, can I really brag about the expenses associated with sewing?

Especially that I am making an effort to identify the best priced supplies and do not do haphazard expenses?

And also, I just remembered: at the beginning of a new adventure like sewing, certainly the expenses are higher because of the additional but durable items required (like scissors, cutting mat etc.). Over time, my main expenses will be threads and fabric.

Overall, what is my verdict?

I will be okay and I should focus on enjoying my sewing journey!

 

sleepless

I have submitted an important proposal today, and as usual immediately after that I felt beat….

That is a usual experience – I think it pressures and stresses me so much that when it is done, I get completely drained…. It is like being mentally exhausted and needing a refreshing break..

As a result, I came home early today and spent time with my lovely sewing machine:) I also cooked a healthy meal and enjoyed it very much.

Yet, now I cannot sleep. As a matter of fact I do not want to go work tomorrow. In my case, sleeping late almost always translates into getting up late anyways. Maybe I will take the morning off… I feel like I need that distance from the office….

Anyways, sewing is great, my machine does awesome, I have identified nice projects to start, and I am all excited about it. I just need stuff – like fabric, additional presser foot, threads, rotary cutter, cutting boards/mats etc. I finally ordered a portion of these just a few minutes ago and I plan to shop at the weekend for the rest.

Although it is expensive right now, I believe sewing will open new possibilities and excitements for me. So, it is all good (well.. it would be better if it was cheaper, but what can I do?).

I am kind of worried because I shopped quite a bit lately and I still aim to make an extra lump-sum contribution towards my mortgage before the new year. I am kind of feeling this plan will be difficult to implement, which further stresses me…. I want to convince myself that all expenses I have made lately were for good reasons and were required. Almost all were… Except the sewing stuff of course – but I must also be okay with gifting myself, especially considering how much I gift others, right?…

It is one of these times that focusing on saving money and living the life I want are contradicting each other.

Sigh….

Perhaps I should make that mortgage contribution right away so that I will have a better idea about how much money I have available to me. There is no point in waiting, is there?

With this little self-rant, now I am ready to give another try to sleep 🙂

Have a great night everyone!

is there something called “excitement addiction”?

I feel like I am addicted to excitement and am in constant need of feeling it.

I have been feeling really good, happier, more excited, and calmer in the last 6 weeks or so (I am so grateful for this). These has been mainly because I was able to walk more and see that I have had my energy back; I was able to save more and as a result, buy more (of those that I needed);  I was losing weight and feeling a little bit better; I had developed a new interest (sewing); and I was able to eat better with more diverse and healthier food.

Doing/feeling each of these great things almost every day/week was a constant source of joy and pride that made me excited! 🙂

Yesterday and today I feel like meh for no apparent reason, even though I have so much to be grateful and joyful about.

Is it because these beautiful things/activities became a routine? 

Perhaps it is true – too much of something great may not constantly feel good over the long run. Perhaps I should refrain from and miss those first, for example shopping, to enjoy it next time…Dully noted…

Or maybe, I need to strive/plan/work towards something new?

Oh well.

Maybe all I need is a sewing project 🙂

 

my sewing machine arrived! :)

Well, rather I picked it up from the courier’s office, but that is not the point!

The point is I have got my sewing machine, the first one ever, the one that I bought by catching a good deal, and the one that I am in love with 🙂

I cannot wait to learn how to use it, care for it, and make wonderful stuff with it 🙂

I ordered my sewing machine :)

The day was full of great things, like it is being a wonderful sunny and warm November day; I walking in the morning and the evening, feeling good overall, working nice and easy, and eating healthy.

But one thing stands out as a unique source of joy – I ordered my sewing machine!

I did!

The last one week I was reading about different brands/models and trying to choose one that would be good for beginners’ as well as intermediate users’ sewing adventures. I decided a Singer 7258 was what I wanted. Looks like I can do up to quilting, the purchase includes 9-10 presser feet, in addition to many functions that are useful.

I have been checking online where to get this machine and its price. The price is considerably changing from one resource to other and I can say it is not a cheap machine. I ruled out purchasing a second-hand machine this time (even though I like second hand items).

I was determined and obviously I checked on Amazon for too long, for too many times; they sent me $10 promotion code a couple of days ago. I was hoping that the machine would further discount, especially towards the Christmas. So I was checking it almost everyday and today I have seen yet another discount (around $100 total). Together with my promotion code and free shipment option, I had a chance of getting $120 discount from its original (and the cheapest) price out there.

It would probably go down a little bit more in later days, but I thought; 1) what if it does not? 2) I really would like to get the machine soon enough so that I can start working on projects especially during my 2-weeks Christmas holiday, and 3) I was lucky and able to save an additional $142 this weekend, mostly from purchases/expenses I would normal do but did not.

So, I ordered it this evening – it is supposed to arrive next week 🙂

I am excited!

I hope it is a fantastic machine, I will be able to take excellent care of it in many years to come, and together we will be able to create many wonderful things once I get to learn it 🙂

 

*no advertisement intended.

 

sewing may be my newest hobby :)

Since I used my little portable sewing machine to sew myself cloths to use during baking last weekend, I cannot keep thinking about how enjoyable that activity, the feeling of being capable of and self-sustaining were.

I want to buy a sewing machine!

I can sew table cloths, napkins, bread bags, curtains, pillow cases, and make quilts, embroidery and much more! I can repair my clothes. I can re-purpose whatever I have. I can make gifts for family and friends. After many trials and errors of course 🙂

I really am excited about this idea.

I want to be an informed consumer; one thing I would hate would be to buy a machine that would not be comfortable to use, or suitable for my projects. I was looking at the internet and there are so many different brands and models – which one is it that I would like to get? I know I am looking for a beginners/intermediate level model that allows me to sew, quilt, and make embroidery. I know I need a machine that have many stitch options and allows me to adjust the stitch length and width. I will need a machine that fits many different foots suitable for my needs, hopefully coming with the purchase as accessories but not needing extra purchases and thus inflating the cost. I know I can get a mechanical or electrical one, and hopefully with a lot of room on the right side of the needle to help comfortably handle the fabric. I also would love a light machine that does not produce a lot of noise while operating. Something that can handle thin and thick fabric would be nice, too. I will keep reading to find out what else I need to be aware of while selecting my sewing machine.

Information, however, is overwhelming and somehow putting me off; so if you, the dear reader, have any recommendations, please feel free to share in the comment area.

I am thinking I can catch up the holiday sales if I can make my mind till then. I really would love to spend as little as possible. I considered the second hand ones and actually found a nice Singer sewing machine at $60, but I decided it was not worth it. A new one is probably the best bet with all the accessories available with the purchase (if possible). Plus, I can trust that the machine is at good condition.

So, with this decision, my next hurdle is to identify how to save for money to purchase this lovely addition to my life. I am perfectly capable of buying it right now, but honestly there is something nice about saving for it first by cutting expenses in other areas.

I have 6 weeks till the holiday season to save around $200-300. Wish me luck my friends 🙂

joy journal, Nov 5, 2016

I meant to have a great weekend and so far it has been going well 🙂

1. I am grateful for the refreshing and easy sleep. For someone who has had sleeping problem in the past, it is such a wonderful thing to be able to get sleepy, fall asleep at night, and wake up rested and feeling well.

2. I am grateful for the coffee I treated myself with in the morning 🙂 One cup of coffee can sure make me feel pampered and energized 🙂

3. I am grateful for the bagel-like pastry I baked last week, freezing them during the week, thawing over-night, and then eating it this morning with my coffee 🙂 I decided that this was a great practice – I know what I am eating and I enjoy trying new recipes. So I decided to make a batch of bagels tomorrow (my first trial – so wish me luck 🙂 ) to consume at the weekends together with my morning coffee.

4. I am grateful for walking to a store 10-15 min away and purchasing the hair dye I would need soon. Using the coupons, both store’s and manufacturer’s, made it a great deal and an excited occasion for me 🙂

5. I am grateful for meeting with a friend of mine and visiting a shopping mall. We spent around 4 hours there, going around the stores, checking clothes and other items, chatting, and drinking coffee. It was a fine day 🙂

6. I am grateful for the left-over piece of cotton I found at a fabric store today. It costed me $2.30 for 1 meter of fabric. I have some cotton cloths that I us during baking (e.g. to rest or the shape the dough on), but I wanted to have extra ones so that I would not feel rushed to wash them every day. The today’s piece was enough for 4 pieces of cloths 🙂

7. I am grateful for the little battery-operated sewing machine my sister and my mom had bought me a year ago! It is like a kid’s toy but sure does the work! I used it for the first time today to sew around the cloths 🙂 I am not done sewing the baking cloths yet, but it was such a joy to be able to operate this little magical tool and fix my baking cloths 🙂

8. I am grateful for not spending on anything unnecessary today.

9. I am grateful for the meal I have had cooked yesterday, which made my dinner easy today.

10. I am grateful for the sourdough I am rising tonite. I am trying something new and I hope to bake something interesting tomorrow. We will see how that goes 🙂 exciting!

11. I am grateful for doing the laundry today; it is sometimes a chore that I dread a lot…. I am glad that I do not have to think about it for another week 🙂

12. I am grateful for the beautiful day today 🙂 it was warm and shinny and felt like early spring.

13. I am grateful for my plan to shop tomorrow at another mall. I am hoping that the weather will be nice (though the forecast says that it sill be chilly) so that I can walk to the mall. It will take around 30-40 min to do so, but I really am looking forward to this opportunity 🙂

14. I am grateful for having the night to myself.

15. I am grateful for the push ups (today’s set consisted of 30! Wohooo 🙂 ) and the other light weight lifting and lower back stretching exercises 🙂 I am getting stronger and that makes me feel a lot better about myself. This is a great feeling that I had missed for some time. I am very, very grateful for this feeling.

16. I am grateful for not getting bad news today.

17. I am grateful for my back being pain-free. I can turn around without too much of a problem and it does not bother me at all.

18. I am grateful for not getting crazy about gaining 2 pounds the last week. Okay… Okay… Maybe I am… I was losing weight and it was feeling great and then I stopped and then even put on two pounds back. I have not really eaten too much or too different this week, so I am not sure about the cause of this weight gain. I am still conscious about my eating and making really good choices. Sometimes it is what it is I guess. I hope that the next week things will turn alright.

19. I m grateful for the McIntosh apples I have got Thursday. They are my favorites and I had not had them for months 🙂 The sour/sweet and juicy texture of this apple is distinctive. I have been eating two of them per day since I have got them. I hope to buy another bag hopefully tomorrow 🙂

20. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, house, job, salary, benefits, furniture, clothes, shoes, and everything else I have at home and in life that makes my life safe, comfortable, and easy.

21. I am grateful for being grateful and taking time to note these 🙂

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