An account of the holiday season – 2019

I have had a long and positive Holiday season this year. I had to work on Mondays and Fridays, but this did not prevent me from feeling relax and peaceful, and enjoying my life a little bit better.

Notable positive experiences include:

  • cleaning the house – which took three days but was worth every minute & huff and puff
  • decluttering and donating unwanted or unused items – which felt great. It was like many of the unnecessary burden have been lifted off my shoulder and my life was in order again. Highly recommended
  • visiting a sick friend – which felt great
  • purchasing some items from thrift stores that made my life brighter, easier, and enjoyable. Among them are a little night lamp that fit my bedroom so well, a food processor that I wanted to have for a very long time; now I can have carrot salad more often; a porcelain teapot that I have been trying to find for a few years to replace my current highly battered one; and several pots that are adorable and admirable – this is always a unique pleasure. I feel like I have got the best of pots from thrift stores
  • finding time to recuperate and feel less pressured and stressed; watching Netflix and enjoying my time; cooking wholesome food with pleasure now that I spend more time on my 1st floor thanks to the new TV and Netflix
  • having an account of the past year and entering the new year with hope, great plans, and determinism
  • reflecting on my relationship with my family

I feel lucky to be able to find the items that I have been looking for with such an affordable prices.

I feel great to have assesses my last past year and see how much I have accomplished.

I feel proud of having a routine more like a “normal life”.

I feel encouraged to make even further changes and improvements in my life.

These are all positives.

I feel, however, conflicted about the thoughts and feelings I am having on my relationships with my family members. At one hand, I love them so dearly. But on the other hand, I resent. I realize that I feel guilty for not being there with them and caring for them. This is especially true for the parents. This is not something new, but facing it that raw is.

I came to a point that it will be better for me to accept this guilt and move on. I have done my best to keep contact with my family and help whenever I can while also tried very hard to build a life for myself. Having a family somewhere else with expectations from me and frustrations about myself have always been nagging and dragging me down…. The more I sought for acceptance, I think the farther possibility it became. Or, it was always there, but I could never expect it and, hence, could not see it. Hard for me to know. But this explains why I always felt like not settling anywhere and feeling low self-esteem as a person. Family approval, believe or not, is so important in one’s development. But I am at an age (around half a century) where I can let go off this need, right?

Right.

As, I said earlier, it will be challenging to accept this guilt and end seeking approval from family and their consequences, but I must.

With these in my mind, I also have great plans and wishes for 2020. I plan to pen them later in the day.

I wish you all a great relationship with yourself, your family, and the world as a whole in 2020! πŸ™‚

1st day of a 4 day long-weekend

I slept and woke up thinking “I am free”.

I had no need to rush; no bus to catch; no meeting to get ready for; no stress to handle; no plan to follow.

I was free πŸ™‚

I enjoyed my coffee; responded to some emails; talked to family; and then took off to a thrift store.

I was lucky – I found a couple of adorable plant pots and a lovely blouse. All for 14 bucks – how come 14 bucks can make you so excited and happy πŸ™‚

Thrifting is exciting. I still am not completely comfortable with thrifting certain items or being seen while thrifting (I know, I know….), but the excitement of treasure hunting is real (where else can one find all very unique items at one place?) So is knowing that I am saving chokes of money (where else can one find great clothing, books, houseware, small furniture, fabric, purses and so on all so affordable?. Sometimes they are even unused..).

Later, I returned home, cleaned it, and cooked myself some meal. Tonite I will be joining some friends to celebrate the birthday of a friend. I am looking forward to it.

Tomorrow?

Well, tomorrow is another day. I have no plans, but will likely end up doing some house chores – like laundry. I really would like to, however, cuddle with a nice novel and drink some hot chocolate! πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend everyone πŸ™‚

 

 

all the good things – check

more or less a positive day, which made me appreciate it.

  • sleeping well and getting up only after 8 am – check

this is mostly because I am tired. So I let myself go back to sleep even though I woke up frequently at night. In the past few months, I did get up around 5 am and worked under much stress. I miss my early morning productive and distraction-free work time, but I am able to keep working during the day, so eventually all is well

  • working well during the day and surviving 3 separate meetings, all with positive ends and productivity – check

it is a rare opportunity to be able to say that the meetings were productive! It was my lucky day all 3 meetings went well and progressed the issues at hand – this is wonderful πŸ™‚

  • loving my all natural gray hair and being excited about it – check

it is amazing that after 1.5 years of letting my natural hair grow, I see it healthy, shinny, and just beautiful. If somebody had said I would feel this way, I would have started the gray hair saga much earlier! I do not know any other hair style that I cherished this much. It is also amplified by the fact that I do not have bangs now, as such, my hair has a distinct, mature, and very good looking style πŸ™‚

  • being excited about my laptop case that I thrifted this weekend for only 3 bucks and carrying it around like a jewel – check

honestly it has been sometime that I was so excited and happy to have a material being. The case is the right colour, right size, and very useful. The price I paid for it makes it extra sweet πŸ™‚

  • feeling better overall and with less stress – check

this is an amazing feeling and I could not be appreciative more!

  • asking for a discount and getting it for a service my organization needed – check

this is pretty awesome. I am not into asking discounts from companies for my work, but sometime it is worth it. I tried it this time and got over 1K (~20%) discount. My boss is happy, which makes me feel like positively contributing to the organization! Talking about confidence πŸ™‚

  • getting an email from a committee that I had dumped this year and learning that they desperately needed my knowledge and expertise – check

huh! how about this? πŸ™‚

last year the person who sent this email was criticizing and pressuring me for my work related to this committee. This lack of appreciation was one of the main reasons that I had decided to leave the committee, even though I had liked and enjoyed my role in it.

I do not know what to think about the invitation. I personally do not wish to be there anymore, yet I have a sense of duty that wants me to go and benefit that committee. I think I can still be there, yet I do not plan to undertake a lot of work or an active role. With this in my mind, I will know tomorrow morning how I feel and then will respond to this invitation.

This is the second example in the last 4-6 months where people who tried to trash and insult me came back and asked for my help later.Β 

Is life a master of correcting bad behavior and treatment?

I would like to think so.

 

 

money can buy happiness

Yesterday I treated myself with a thrift store visit.

Those who follows this blog know well that it is one of my most favorite past time activities. It is always exciting to go through the shelves finding treasures. I purchased a number of useful and lovely things over the last few years, and it helps me support not only others, but my own purse as well. It is wonderful in so many ways.

Yesterday I was not looking anything particularly, with the exception of a book or two. Well, I bought a book that inspires me to think positively – which is a real treasure. The positive and encouraging words are just what I needed in a state of “having fried nerves”. I feel hopeful, positive, and more welcoming whatever life throws in front of me after reading the pages of that book. It is amazing that 6 bucks can create such positive experiences. It was well worth the money.

I also purchased a new backpack that I have been looking for for some time. It has never been used (my guess based on a critical assessment), has a good size, and multiple pockets that will make its usage effective. I feel lucky to have found this back pack. No more the old, battered backpack that I have been feeling very conscious about. What a relief πŸ™‚

I also purchased a what appears to be a laptop case that I use to carry my documents and paperwork. It is brand new (again based on my critical assessment), has a great colour and shape, and takes up all my hundreds of pages of paperwork that I often carry with me between home and office. Just thinking about it making me excited – what a find – pretty and enriching/easing my life. I am lucky indeed.

I also got a sugar dispenser. For the past 3-5 years I have been using an old dispenser at the office. It was not in good shape and often spilled sugar whenever I handled it. Cleaning sugar granules after it was something that I dreaded, but despite for looking for a better dispenser for many months, it was not until yesterday that I was able to find one. Hello easy life – I like you! πŸ™‚ It is amazing how small things like the old dispenser was taking my energy away. Now, I fixed that problem and feel relieved, however small it can be.

Better yet, guess what?

It turned out that there was a sale on the items I purchased so I got all of these for a total of 20 bucks with 50% off. I did not even know that there was a sale yesterday and everything I purchased made a positive difference in my life. Wow…

I have been thinking; 20 bucks often may sound a lot. What is the worth of:

  • being able to get rid of the old problematic dispenser that needed me to clean after it every single time I used it;
  • feeling positive and hopeful after reading the book,
  • having the excitement and comfort the laptop case gives me, and
  • the relief coming with the backpack, which will help me get rid of the sub-conscious judgment I hold against myself (for having such an ugly and kind of cheap-looking backpack)

You got that right.

On top of that; think about this – my cab fare from the office to home is 10 bucks. There are times that these rides provide me with comfort, but when I think about all the other items that I can get with that money that will free my time, provide comfort to me, or make me feel better, I ask myself how to better use of my money.

That is why I also purchased a soap with a lovely scent yesterday (from another store). It is slightly expensive than my regular soap, but day after day, it will enrich my life experiences.

Verdict is clear and loud. Money can make one happy.

 

 

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

Boy, we are done – back to work! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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?

————————————————————————————————————————-

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

holidays diary – Day 8

Today I allowed myself to fully focus on my own enjoyment and it has been great πŸ™‚

First of all, I slept till 9 am – wow! Insomniacs like myself would know that this is huge – I am grateful.

I decided that I would spend the day at thrift stores and left home before noon. While saturdays are my weekly house chores day, you can predict that I let go of it today. Today I only focused on my enjoyment. What a change? I believe I am getting really relax and free of self-imposed necessities – how lovely πŸ™‚

Before thrift stores, I visited a store and bought two gifts while they were on sale. I am pleased with them. I think one of them will go to a friend of mine who has been very generous with me. I hope she will like it. The other one will be a gift for the next year – I am usually not into gifts, but at work we do have one or two socials with gift exchange each year, so buying one right now feels great and will save me time and money later. So, I was very excited about this as well.

Then I visited the first thrift store. I bought a great set of mugs still in their boxes and apparently never been used. I cannot wait to use them. I also purchased a pitcher that I have been meaning to get for some time – it will be great in the office. What else did I buy? A small pot (of course) for hanging plants – it is cute and I plan to have it in my office, if not in my bathroom. A little spider plant would fit in it just well. It is very cute.

Then, I walked to the second one (I am so lucky that both of these stores are at walking distance to each other). There I spent more time (it is bigger than the first one) and it was delightful πŸ™‚ I bought an oven tray in excellent condition for only 2.99 bucks (what a steal – it is hard to find that type of trays here). I will bake many sourdough loafs in it πŸ™‚ I also bought a wooden tray to put my spice jars in on my counter. It fit like a charm and no more bits of spice on my counter that prompts me to wipe it regularly πŸ™‚ Of course, I also found a very unusual type of pot with pink/lavender colour, which will be an excellent company for my coleus. I also bought two books, which I am enjoying reading.

My good luck continued on the way back and after waiting for only a minute my bus arrived! Today was kind of wet with snow and rain, so I could not appreciate it more. I then went to another small shop around my home and finally got a fresh batch of cumin and black pepper – I have been meaning to get them for a long time and I am glad that I have done this today.

I continued to care about only myself today and cooked myself yet another healthy meal πŸ™‚ One of the greatest part of the holidays was that I cooked 3-4 meals and they were all healthy and nutritious. I feel like I am taking care of myself and this makes me feel extra excited.

Tomorrow I am baking two sourdough loafs – one for myself and one for a good friend of mine. She invited me over and I will be happy to see her tomorrow. I had also bought gifts for her in early December – I cannot wait to bring them to her. So, tomorrow will be a great day, too πŸ™‚

Lets’ remember that the new year will be the year of Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation.

Happy Saturday everyone!

 

 

holidays diary – Day 6

My goodness – almost a week of the holidays vacation is over.

At least today was a little bit better. I went to office today and worked like 5-6 hours. It felt good. I love how my office looks now, clean, well organized, and full of beautiful plants. Honestly after 5 days at home, seeing the sky from my office window was also priceless. I felt “hopeful” :).

Then I took the donation items with me and went to a charity/thrift store. I am grateful that I was able to share my now-unneeded items with others – what a blessing. I also shopped there – I bought two blouses and two planters πŸ™‚ One of the pots took my breath away when I saw it – again, I feel quite lucky. My new blouses are great-looking and, hey they were 50% off today πŸ™‚ How lucky one can get sometime πŸ™‚

I was also fortunate enough to purchase notebooks that I use so frequently. They were on sale as well. I had imagined them to be on sale and purchased during the holidays. My imagination turned to be reality today. I feel fortunate and very excited about all these positive experiences today.

On the way back home, I was thinking on the bus that I actually like my office, my work place, thrift stores, and the bus. Feeling joyful πŸ™‚

I do not know whether it was getting out of home after 5 days, shopping and finding items that I loved, or some other mysterious thoughts that went through my mind on the way back home, but today I have felt grateful and excited about my life again. I am blessed.

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

 

all the good things – check

Friends – life has been up and down, but at least some things are going well. I must cherish and celebrate πŸ™‚

———————————————————————————————-

  • sleeping longer than the usual 6 hours and feeling good in the morning – check

this has been the 3rd morning in the last week, which really amazes me. It has been sometime that I could feel relax and comfortable enough to sleep in (rather than rushing to work). If you can sleep well, please give your thanks – it is a beautiful feeling

  • working without stress – check
  • witnessing a wonderful work of a staff member of mine – check

this team member did beyond my imagination!! we have been working very intensely about their project in the last two months or so (it did not go well for a year or so…), and today we have had significant progress. All the hard-work and stress pays off! This progress means;

a) I have a great staff that I must elevate even higher;

b) our overall performance is much higher that we or others thought;

c) we are confident and ready to show-case this work and get recognition;

d) the confidence that we have now is amazing (the next time something this big does not work, we will put our 150% into it again and solve it);and

e) we know that we can deliver this project, and as such, a significant load is off my shoulder right now :))))

  • loving my plants dearly – check

what a beautiful and glorious feeling! Looking at them, seeing them grown and thrive makes me feel happy and genuinely excited πŸ™‚ I am so lucky!

  • getting a new succulent prop from a colleague and giving away props to three other colleagues – check

I am lucky in the sense that people gift me with plants and props (young plants) and I in turn lovingly gift them my own plants πŸ™‚ Today I was able to get one new species and give away three others. It feels great to be sharing my plants/props with others, knowing that I have more than I can handle and others will love and cherish them as much as I am

  • buying a nice spider plant, which was on sale – check

yesterday I had seen some green/purple spider-plant like plant in the grocery store. They were on sale (3.5 bucks each) but also not in great shape. I had decided not to buy them, now that I had been also in a shopping ban period.

However, this morning I made a pact with myself and decided that if I took the bus but not the cab in the afternoon, I could rather use the money to purchase the plant! So, I went there and found that there were new and healthy-looking ones, still on sale and grabbed one right away πŸ™‚ I came home admiring its leaves and giving it a good soak of water. I placed it on a window sil for now, but am planning to re-pot sometime soon and separate. Colors are amazing, green on top but purple at the back, which is great for the eye. I plan to combine a part of it with my coffee plant (which has been doing amazingly well) in a new pot, and place in my office. I cannot wait! πŸ™‚

  • planning to go to thrift stores tomorrow and purchase new pots – check

I know, I know.. how is it that I am on a shopping ban and then planning to spend money…?. I have no excuse other than the fact that I want this.. I want to see whether I can get 4-5 other pots and place my rapidly growing plants in them this week. They are my joy and pride, and I love to be able to shop (rather than working) tomorrow afternoon

  • eating two apples in the afternoon – check

it has been sometime that I munched on apples and the ones I have had today were particularly tasty and sweet. I am doing good πŸ™‚

  • having the night to myself – check
  • feeling good – check

going back to a previous point, knowing that I have turned things around with a team member of mine has been very elating and motivating. I know once again that stress that I had to take lately has been for something to come. Efforts pay off and things turn around. I will let this feeling sink in for a moment or two, so that next time I can remember it easily and find serenity…..

πŸ™‚

 

 

thrifting is addictive

I have decided that it was time that I take a break from the thrift stores – they are so addictive!!!! πŸ™‚

I have been to one yesterday and another two today. It is just a great feeling to be able to see all the interesting items and purchase them for affordable prices.

I have purchased from thrift stores so many things over the years, including blouses/shirts, purses, cardigans, pots/planters, porcelain plates for planters, sewing materials, small furniture, frames, decorative items, and many more. I am in love with the idea of having great items and saving money while also helping others. I also love the fact that I do not (usually) buy things that I would not love, use, or need. Yet, I figured that it became my favorite past-time activity, and since the prices are so good and items are so nice, I keep buying.

I do not want to buy anymore. I have a great wardrobe supplemented by thrift purchases. I have around 30 pots/planters already. It is like I am hoarding them now.

I have everything I need right now.

I was once proud of re-purposing and re-using items that I had. Not anymore. I now keep buying from thrift stores.

Time for a decluttering activity, donating what I have extra, and focusing on re-purposing items.

Wish me luck! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

all the good things – check

  • feeling really positive and excited about life -check πŸ™‚
  • taking time to rest in the morning and getting up kind of late – check
  • catching the bus – check
  • enjoying my coffee – check
  • not being stressful at all and looking for something to do at the office – check!

this was very important. I have had time! I took this opportunity to discuss the work of a team member, who seemed to have done really well. I understand his work, which is in fact very complicated. And this gives me extra confidence in his work. Priceless πŸ™‚

  • finding 30 bucks in a pocket of my purse and getting excited about this – check

This is wonderful! it is a lot of money. I have been meaning to buy jars, the little wide mouth ones, for some time. I think I can now get it with a peace of mind πŸ™‚

  • getting a tax return more than I thought I would – check, check, check πŸ™‚

Is that not wonderful? It is πŸ™‚ I plan to make it a pre-payment and further reduce my mortgage. Very exciting! I feel like money comes to me from many different resources. Timing is great as this week I have been really frugal and did not spend more money while also keep living comfortably. I had missed this feeling and I am very excited about it.

  • eating yogurt – check
  • relaxing whole night and not working at all – check
  • buying long, green, and hot peppers at a nearby store – check

this kind is hard to find around here and this is the second time that I found it. My mom would love these peppers, especially if fried. i am not that into hot peppers, but with the seeds removed, the taste and the look of these peppers are just amazing. I feel lucky πŸ™‚

  • having no meeting tomorrow – check
  • planning to visit a thrift store tomorrow afternoon – check

this is very exciting for me πŸ™‚ I have not been to one for a long time. Browsing through all bunch of interesting stuff is a great relaxing exercise for my mind. While I am excited about this plan, I am also conscious about the bad weather outside – it is raining and we expect some storm. If the precipitation is not bad, I still can make it tomorrow – we shall see πŸ™‚

  • having a no-spending day – check

that is right – this was the 5th day that I did not spend anything except the bus fare. I am abundant. I am well. I am proud.

 

1st day of the holidays

It turns out today was a paid holiday for me πŸ™‚ Can I be more uninterested in my employee rights? πŸ™‚

Anyways; I went to office and worked with a team member of mine till noon. I then cleaned the office and looked out of the window to register the fact that I was now starting an off time without much of an obligation….. What a great opportunity to feel free… I just cannot feel it yet, though…. I hope it will occur soon.

I then went to visit two thrift stores. If I remember correctly this is what I had done last year as well – start the holidays with something exciting like thrifting! I found two shirts, a lovely long and soft cardigan, and a new backpack. Altogether they costed me around 28 bucks. One of my most expensive thrift store haul, but then the items are in great condition and the backpack is so cool that I cannot believe how lucky I have been to find it πŸ™‚Β 

Excellent start for holidays πŸ™‚

9 days to holidays and reflections on finances

Counting down the days till holidays πŸ™‚

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

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

I learnt that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– to be continued –

 

holidays wish list

I am getting excited about the prospect of having some time off and shopping during the last week of the month πŸ™‚

Fall is usually a busy month for me in terms of shopping. I usually take advantage of the sales, whether in stores or online, and purchase things that I will need in the coming year.

My plans for this year are as follows:

1. Canning kit and stainless steel funnel. As part of my new interest on jamming, I figures I may make my life easy by getting a kit, including a stainless steel funnel that can be sterilized easily and is durable.

2. Sea salt. This will be nice for my pickle trials.

3. Jars, lids, and rings. I used to have a number of jars but since I give away pickles and jams, I am running out of them. My wish is to get 250 ml jars for jams (so that I can boil and can them), 1 liter jars with wide mouth (to be used in pickling and other adventures), and two 2-3 liters of pickling jars (so that I can make pickles in large amounts to consume over time). I am so excited! πŸ™‚

4. Non-stick frying pan. I replace these very year. No matter how carefully I use them, they always scratch over time.

5. Garbage bags. I love having a number of durable items in stock and garbage bags are one of them. I have enough bags to last another year, but one can never get enough of these bags, right? πŸ™‚

6. Steak knives. After 15-20 years one of my steak knives (I used them for all cutting purposes) got rusted last week. I am perplexed but I guess it is time that I look for a good deal on some sharp knives.

7. Trousers and leggings. I have a number of trousers stocked up, thanks to some sporadic sales. But the boxing day sales cannot be missed. If I can find a good sale, I would love to buy a couple more and also a pair of leggings so that I can start wearing dresses πŸ™‚

8. Thrift store visits. I love these adventures πŸ™‚ My wish list this time includes blouses/shirts, shopping tote, purse, back pack, a book or two on baking and canning, fabric and sewing items πŸ™‚ Who knows, maybe I will also find other items that I need or cherish.Β 

What a wonderful list πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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joy journal – Nov 30, 2017

1. I am grateful for pampering myself in this long and tiring period of hard-work. I eat food my body craves for, I keep myself warm and cozy, and I make my daily life as comfortable as possible.

2. I am grateful for the snow we have had today! The first real snow of the year, which is always delightful to watch. The slow fall of the flakes, the white sky, trees, and roofs, and the need to drink a cup of hot tea. Magnificent! (remind me these in three months when I will be completely fed up with it πŸ™‚ )

3. I am grateful for two productive meetings today. One of them motivated a team member of mine and the other myself. I had asked for a favor from a colleague of mine and she did it during this meeting.Β  I feel awesome πŸ™‚ She was great really.

4. I am grateful for receiving the garbage collection schedule for the new year in the mail. It will help me remember to leave my garbage and recycle bag out on exact dates.

5. I am grateful for the new cardigan I got from the thrift store this weekend! It is a lovely piece, very soft and cozy, and keeps me warm. Come to think about it, this past year I almost renewed half of my wardrobe by purchases from thrift stores. They did not cost me a lot of money, they were fun to look for, and a delight to use. I feel lucky πŸ™‚

6. I am grateful for working at home and finishing up a report. It is due Monday and I think I have done really well. I had decided to draft it just 4 weeks ago, immediately after another big report. I was tired and exhausted then, but was also motivated to start this one because of its benefits. I have got quite a support from my colleagues and superiors who have seen its draft form. These make the time and energy spent on this report just fine πŸ™‚

7. I am grateful for my elbow feeling better thanks to physiotherapy. I never thought that it would be so beneficial considering that I waited like 5 months after the initial injury. Human body is a miracle and medicine is awesome πŸ™‚

8. I am grateful for tomorrow being Friday! I have only one meeting in the morning and the rest of the day I am free to finish small tasks and maybe go visit a thrift store. After all, I feel like I have deserved this break and the excitement to see all bunch of diverse items and clothes. Have you ever thought why we can find more diversity in thrift stores than regular retail stores? Very interesting.

9. I am grateful for being interested in life and work, although the latter has been getting on my nerves a lot lately. While the work place has been toxic, I found an opportunity to engulf myself in productive work rather than resentment. This feels like a good luck to me.

10. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, and everything else I have that make my life comfortable and enjoyable.

11. I am grateful for being grateful.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate myself for working hard and seeing the benefits of it, even though my nerves seem to be on the edge
  2. I appreciate myself for keeping a simple and abundant life
  3. I appreciate myself for saving and investing for my future
  4. I appreciate myself for stretching
  5. I appreciate myself for liking and getting excited about little things in life

 

 

Sunday night musings

Lots of great things happened this weekend πŸ™‚

First of all; I have not worked this weekend πŸ™‚ A first in the last 6 months or so. I am still tired but my spirit is high, so all is well πŸ™‚

Second of all;Β I baked my first corn bread and it was delicious – that is so exciting! I can bake it of my guest as well πŸ™‚ I feel like my baking and cooking skills are significantly improved by this dish… I love this feeling πŸ™‚

Third of all; I thrifted today after a long time. I spent hours going through everything with excitement. I tried on maybe 30 pieces and bought three; one blouse that I was hoping to find (I have its exact same copy, which I love, love, love! I was hoping that I could find a similar one so that I could wear it for a longer time. Today my dreams came true πŸ™‚ ). I also bought two good-looking cardigans that i am sure I will wear with love. A very good day indeed πŸ™‚ I plan to thrift next weekend too.

Fourth of all; I cooked multiple meals for me this weekend, which is awesome. I usually would refrain from cooking or cook one meal to last 2-3 days, but not this weekend. How lovely is this? πŸ™‚

Fifth of all; I found a great deal on my favorite french press and ordered it πŸ™‚ It is expected within a week or so and I could not be happier πŸ™‚ I literally got it 75% off.. WOW! It is good that I have waited so long. Jack pot!

Sixth of all; I re-started push ups and back exercises to help ease my back problems and strengthen my arms, chest, and abs. My muscles are aching – that means my exercises are effective. I am happy with this!! πŸ™‚

Seventh of all; yesterday I used loyalty points for a large amount of shopping (like a hundred bucks) to purchase personal care and cleaning products. I found all items I was looking for and I only bought things that I will use or need. So every point/dime was used for a good purpose and no waste! πŸ™‚

Eighth of all; I am feeling good and lucky with all these positive experiences and this makes me relaxed and happier πŸ™‚

I could not ask for a better weekend!

Have a great Sunday night everyone πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚
  4. Thrift store visit. I want to do that so hard πŸ™‚ 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.Β 

 

sometimes the time just flies

Today was one of those days; time flied like nothing before. One moment I was eager to finish work and finally in the evening I realized I will not be able to do what I think I would do. That means this weekend will be a little bit busy with work.Β 

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My plans for the weekend are similar to before; clean the house, do the laundry, pick up milk from a store, prepare sourdough, and keep the yard tidy and free of weeds. And of course, some work…..It has been sometime that I have been to anywhere other than home, office, and a nearby store or two. It would be nice if I could visit the thrift stores or others, but I guess this will have to wait till next week.

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Why do I like thrift stores that much?

I shop there time to time. As a matter of fact some of my favorite blouses and fabrics are from thrift stores. It is affordable. More than that, however, I am interested in seeing different things. Thrift stores in my area are large and they contain more stuff and variety than the majority of the stores I know here. It is interesting to go through these diverse items. I particularly like the old stuff; like old metal objects or frames, which I would like to collect over time. I cannot wait till the next visit πŸ™‚

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By the way, I will be away for a couple of days in Europe. There is something great about the airports; they make me feel like I am leaving every issue behind and am ready for an adventure. This anticipation only should give me enough motivation to finish my work this weekend and the next week πŸ™‚

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I want to go back to my regular self

It is not good to work under stress and undertake too much.

It is not good to eat junk.

It is not good to drink so much soft drink per day.

It is not good to spend money on cab while I can take the bus or walk.

It is not good to feel like nothing I work on moving while they actually do.

I want to be fine again, like prior to 5 weeks ago when I was walking, eating healthy, visiting thrift stores, saving money, and feeling great about myself.

I really do.

I think it is time that I take a couple of days really off and slowly start doing what I used to enjoy; thrift stores will be a good start. Hopefully sometime soon.

thrifting becoming a second nature

That is right.

Today at noon I found myself wanting to take a break. So I walked to two thrift stores nearby. This was mostly because of the great treasures I hunted this past weekend – i can see how easily it can become addictive πŸ™‚

Today I bought a couple of empty frames, a coffee press, two art work, and a blouse.

Both of the artwork are giving me delight and making me very excited and happy! They were the most expensive things I have ever bought from thrift stores (both over 25 bucks together), but I think this money is well spent.

I have lots of photos to post in the empty frames; I cannot wait to hang them on the wall πŸ™‚ Together with the art works, these frames will help me turn my house into a home. With character. And beauty.

And the coffee press was a great deal; I bet it is new and never been used (i could not detect even a light coffee stain on it or on the filter) and it had the best deal: it was only 2 bucks.Β 

And last but not the least; the blouse I have bought is so cute, so lovable that I am in love once again! This is the 5th blouse I have purchased from thrift stores this year and I could not be happier with my choices.

Life is good my friends πŸ™‚

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a good day today

It has been a fine day πŸ™‚

I got up early and that is why I did quite a bit today. For example, I deep cleaned the upstairs and I am now ready to clean downstairs and re-arrange the furniture. It is gonna be tough, but the end product will be awesome. I am hopeful πŸ™‚ Β And excited πŸ™‚

Anyways.. Most importantly, I have taken the clothes I sorted out while decluttering to a donation centre/thrift store. In turn, I grabbed a lovely mirror, two empty frames, and a great ancient Egyptian figurine. Friends, you would not believe how great I am feeling about all of these! All loved. All looking great. All excite me.

I have painted one of the empty frames. I want to frame a piece I have bought in Athens a couple of years ago. I always thought that I would have a green wood frame for it. I did not have it, so I painted one πŸ™‚ Now, I have it πŸ™‚

I display the dried flowers (those that were sent to me by my work place when my dad died, which I had dried) in the second empty frame. I used to have them in two small frames with white background. But this frame is large enough to have all of them inside. And it has a black background which beautifully contrasts the flowers. It looks so great. It looks so great… As my dad would have deserved. May he rest in peace.

I think this has been a day that I really found awesome pieces by luck. I think it is true what they say that you gotta keep checking them. Many days one may not find exciting stuff, but someday, you get what you ask for πŸ™‚ Β Like Hugh dancing like noone is watching. See, what I say?

πŸ™‚

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PS: this movie was really great πŸ™‚

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end of long weekend and thoughts on thrifting

The 3rd and the last day of the long weekend. It was so welcome and so refreshing – I am grateful for this long weekend.

Notable activities include the trips to the thrift stores and getting two blouses, a little and lovely decorative porcelain shoe, and some sewing thread πŸ™‚ needless to say, they are all loved and the prices are incredibly good.

This being said, at one of the trips I have noticed the fiancee of a colleague of mine at another cashier. I did not know what to do first. I thought “this is what I always wondered – how would I take it to be known that I shop at thrift stores? I tried to convince myself that shopping at thrift stores is not only good for me, but for the thrift stores/charities, people work there, people benefiting from the charities, and the environment. Yet, I could not manage to not feel “cheap” and thus I left the cashier after 2-3 minutes and went around the store again to give this individual time to pay and leave the store so that the chances of them seeing me and them spreading the word to my colleagues first and then to others would reduce. I hope I could achieve this…

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It turns out interestingly that I am ashamed with shopping or being seen at thrift stores. That is very strange. It is also strange that I found shopping at thrift stores synonymous with “being cheap”. I should stop doing that, but….I cannot help it 😦

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I read in a blog yesterday that the lady explained using thrift stores and purchasing second hand items actually quite similar to staying at hotels and using their bed sheets, coffee mugs, and anything else they do offer you. Goodness know what happened in those hotel rooms and around those items…… That was the best explanation of why the second hand clothing or items are not worse than many other things we do at life. I even told my best friend about this and she too agreed.Β 

My best friend and I agree on a number of things; she like myself would not buy pants/shorts/pajamas, undies/socks/foot wear/shoes and anything else that might have a risk of risking hygiene. But we both are okay with shirts/jackets/blouses, purses, kitchen items, books, sewing notions, fabric, stationary items, and decorative stuff that can be cleaned/sterilized pretty easily.Β 

For me visits to thrift stores is a nice and exciting activity during the weekends. I happen to love old stuff and I like saving money – so it is a win-win situation. I read some inspiring blogs that find really unique and valuable items, like metallic vases and items, which I would like too. I wish I had discovered thrifting long time ago, but there is always a start πŸ™‚ I know I need to work on this feeling of “being cheap” by being there and shopping there. Maybe I will never get over it, maybe I will over time – who knows? – but I am not giving up on this exciting activity yet.

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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 πŸ™‚

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, IΒ 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. IΒ will get creative with the others. It will be great to use them up so that I can get fresh ones πŸ™‚

3. Thrift shop for blouses and shirts for a renewed wardrobe this Spring :). Β 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 shirtsΒ 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 πŸ™‚

4. Declutter the wardrobe. After IΒ 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), Β 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 πŸ™‚

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. IΒ cleaned quite a bit in the past but this year I want toΒ 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 πŸ™‚

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. IΒ 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 πŸ™‚

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. Β I have read somewhere about “nature bathing” or something like that. Basically it means sitting in a park or aroundΒ 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 πŸ™‚

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?

on thrift stores, spring, and gardening

I continue to be excited after the thrift store treasure IΒ hunted yesterday πŸ™‚

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

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

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

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

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

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

You got it.

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

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

Let’s cross the fingers my friends πŸ™‚

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