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 🙂

good neighbours

My next door neighbours are the best I have ever encountered in my life – it is a couple at 60s and young son at around 30 years of age. I have seen nothing but help and kindness from them. They are also the only people that I consistently and lovingly gift during the holidays. Considering the fact that I am not into gifting at all, you may rightfully realize that they must have deserved this somehow. And they do.

After the snow storm yesterday I took my time to enjoy my coffee and go through the emails. I then decided it was the time for the dreaded shoveling of the front door area. My neighbor was out and had already done my door! This is not the firsts time she does that – she says she loves shoveling, which is an extra exercise for her. For a women in her 60s, this is amazing.

I helped her moving the snow at around her vehicle and we chat along the way. The neighbour from across the street also mowed the snow around our houses. We had a little chat and said thanks. The white stuff brings sometime the best out of people.

Snow storms may be a nauseating experience, but the feeling after this out there shoveling, chatting, and having a laughter or two is priceless. I love this feeling of being a part of helpful neighbourhood.

Wishing everyone a great neighbourhood! 🙂

snowy and windy night

We have got our first snow storm – yay us! 🙂 

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It is quite windy as well making me nervous. There are a number of trees in my yard that have tall and shaky branches. Why did I not get them trimmed the last summer/fall?

I will answer that:

I was busy, even though the idea crossed my mind several times. Bad choices. Or bad priorities.

Anyways; as soon as weather becomes bearable, I will call someone to see whether we can do this now.

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The wind is shaking the house a little bit and is worrisome. Last year we survived a wind storm that moved the roofs of some houses in my area. What an incredible experience. This time we are crossing finger that over night the wind and snow will subsidize and things will turn okay. Okay means less snow but snow and less wind but not this wind. We shall see.

I was naive the other day when I said that I loved seeing it snowing. Obviously forgotten how it felt to shovel in cold and while the rain or snow batters my face. I walked to a nearby store this noon to pick something and I thought this was the end of it. Humans seem to forget the nasty weather easily, especially when they have a warm and long summer and fall, like we have this year. Naive=silly=there is nothing much to do=suck it up.

Hmmm.

I can hear a vehicle outside hoping it is the snow mover. But no. Must be someone brave or in urgent need to go somewhere. 

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Does that occur to your town too? When there is a warning of bad weather like snow storm, do people raid the grocery stores and get everything they can find? Last year I was not able to find milk one time and half of a huge store was gone. We all have food, but I think sometimes it does not feel enough. Panic? Maybe. An alternative opinion, which made perfect sense to me, was that people would go grab stuff thinking that the new ones may not arrive soon after because of the weather. That can explain a part of it, though I must admit I never thought like this and shopped.

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Anyways, I turned my lights off knowing that in some areas people had lost power. In this chilly weather we could preserve whatever we can to help the others. I have had black out twice here. In both cases it lasted less than 24 hours but staying warm in unheated house and trying to keep calm and not thinking whether this would last longer and if so what could be done. Panic and lack of hope is not something we are looking for.

Where ever you are, take a moment to be thankful for being warm and well-sheltered tonite.

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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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random thoughts

I always found March-May kind of tricky; they feel like spring but then they are not. As you can guess, yes we are expecting another snow storm tonite. I am sure it is not going to be a snow day, but boy, do I really want the freedom to walk without thinking about the snow banks or ice? Well, looks like I will wait for sometime for that.

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Nevertheless, I walked this morning and it was a pleasant walk. I had my dental cleaning appointment, which went well. Only that I have been cranky lately and that meant I was not complying with everything. For example, my dental hygienist suggested that I have an additional X-ray, which I refused. She might have had a good reason, but I am not getting an X-ray unless it is absolutely necessary or recommended by a dentist. I am proud of myself for saying NO, which is easier when I am not in the mood. Also, it helped that the hygienist made me extra annoyed by asking all bunch of personal questions, spending time like this, and making me pay for an extra time. Next time, I am making clear that I am keeping the time to make sure I will not be charged more than the required, especially while also being subject to a ridiculous conversation. So, that was how I started my day….

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Anyways; after that it was better. First, I felt hungry and bought some muffins/baked goods and ate them with great appetite and enjoyment 🙂 Since I usually do not have breakfast, this was a nice change that I appreciated very much – I can do this more often 🙂

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The rest of the day was not eventful, for which I am grateful. I walked back home and prepared myself a healthy meal. I still have 10 pounds to shed (that I gained lately), which bothers me. Yesterday, for example I was miserable thinking about it…. Yet, I want to feel positive, rather than negative, and believe in myself that I will take the necessary steps to start removing extra fat from my body… This evenings’ meal was a good example of healthy meal (cracked wheat salad with lots of onion, tomato, celery, pepper, and parsley 🙂
Hope I will keep this determination up 🙂

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random thoughts

What a boring weekend.

Sorry – I did not mean to rant and depress, but that is what it has been.

I spent the most of yesterday at home because of a snow storm. Argh… Then a couple of friends called and they said they had no power. I invited them over. I was very happy to be able to help my friends and cook for them with the food at home 🙂 Generally speaking I like being resourceful and helpful. Yet, honest  to goodness, the negativity around these people is incredibly annoying. I feel a lot better around positive people – this is a fact. There is nothing more boring and annoying than people who rant all the time and never seem to appreciate anyone. That is a also a fact.

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So while I felt good about myself, I felt negative about my friends. Do I sound like a hypocrite?

So be it! 🙂

And today was okay. I just felt suffocated at home and went out for a short time and got fresh air. It was very quiet and there was ice everywhere…. Walking was challenging, yet quite relaxing. I have even been to the book store close to my house. Interestingly I only spent maybe 5-10 min and left it without buying any book (when was the last time I left a book store without buying a book? hmmmm)….

On a funny side; I baked a 40% whole wheat flour and 60% rolled oat loaf and what others said was true – oat does not rise. I have a brick-like bread to consume, possibly as croutons. Yay! 🙂

I also sewed a little bit yesterday and today. I realized it is stressing me, not relaxing… This needs to be reversed. I am trying to sew a piece of clothe for my mom and I want it to be great, and also enjoy doing it. I have some mental work to do and I better allow room for mistakes and be okay with messing with fabric and projects… At least for some more time….

Considering how boring today and yesterday was and how annoying my friends were, I questioned once again what the hey I was doing here, rather than being with my family? This is a billion dollar question……It should worth for me to be staying here; emotionally, financially, personally, professionally, health-wise, somehow……. I came to this question time to time, though it has been a while that I have had it last time…. Boy, I must be really bored and mad! I hope not to see those people again for some time.

Anyways; Friday was good friends- I have got my taxes done! I have gone there scared and thinking that I had forgotten to take my cheque book and I hope they could accept VISA or debit for the tax I owe to the government, and came back home just happy. I have got a return! I wanted to celebrate this, but for some reason I did not feel like eating out that days. Maybe some other time 🙂

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What do I want to do with my tax return? A new mortgage pre-payment 🙂 🙂 🙂

That sure makes me feel blessed and happy 🙂

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snow storm and neighbours

Snow storm has passed leaving around 2 meters of snow bank in front of my house and making me anxious about whether this snow bank would hurt my house, especially the window facing it…..

It is strange that my neighbors, even the ones across from my house, would shovel their snows towards my house. Where does this come from? Please keep it in your own area. I had to step out a number of times and kindly ask my neighbors to keep the snow on and around their sides… Sigh… One thing that really ticked me off today… Kind of inconsiderate…

I continue to feel agitated mostly because of work-related issues and the snow bank-neighbour issues. Yet, I am supposed to feel good about my life and myself. So how do I find this balance?

I guess it is time that I focus on the big picture, relax, and find the confidence in me that I can handle everything well 🙂

 

 

while waiting for the snow storm

We are waiting for a snow storm.

Well.. This is winter and snow storms happen all the time. So, I wonder whether you asked yourself what the big deal is and why I write a dramatically titled post about it? 🙂

I will tell you what the big deal is.

Everybody is shopping and there is nothing much left in major stores. It is as if we will never get food anymore.

I usually do my grocery shopping on Thursday. So yesterday I have been to my store. The store was filled with 3X more people than usual. And for the first time in my life I could not find milk.

Milk.

How can you not find milk in a store?

 

And how can this continue the next day; obviously some of my co-workers came in work late, stating that they were out shopping and their line was too long. I checked my store this evening to see whether I could get milk and it was the same (except that I found milk this time). The cashier and I were chatting. I told her what one of my co-workers had said this morning; people shop because for a couple of days the transportation (of food) is affected by the storm. So, it ensures that we will have food after the snow. Hmmmmm. The cashier said that this was not true (though I am not sure how independent her thoughts are)..

Anyways.

It is possible that there may be something really catastrophic  happening and we may not have access to external food and other basic needs for some time. But I am hoping the chances of having such a situation is quite slim. So, I am cool about the entire stuff and I am glad that I have food at my house, and I did not get crazy about the entire shopping thing.

 

the lonely storm

there is a storm outside

the sky is bright and white

with snow swept by the winds

from roofs to the ground

it is nice watching the nature

as it evolves tonite

with tea at my hand

warming my hands and inside

as I sip it in

standing next to the window

looking at the street down

with my eyes relaxing

with the dance of the snow

I see a lady rushing

with short, quick steps

a red scarf around her face

carrying a shopping bag

the wind moving her coat

from side to side

I am thankful for being inside

it would not be fun otherwise

wishing those on the street

an immediate safe shelter

and something hot to drink

and a window somewhere

to see what I see

and say to someone nearby

look! how nice it is

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