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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leaving everything behind soon

They say anticipation is more exciting than attaining something.

I truly believe in this – in a few days I will be flying to Europe for a couple of days of business trip and I must say I was not able to anticipate much till this morning, but I guess I am now and it excites me. I will leave everything behind for a couple of day – all the stress of work, work-place, and issues. 

I will be free.

Something marvelous at last 🙂

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joy journal – Oct 29, 2015

joy 🙂

happiness 🙂

joy 🙂

peace 🙂

Alright, alright… Not everything in life is great, positive, joyful, or useful. I have been struggling with some negative feelings caused by an ugly behavior of a colleague of mine during one of my trips lately. I was ridiculed for no reason directly related to me and I felt quite down. There are a number of blogs I wrote about it and then erased. I am making an effort to put these behind (after developing strategies that I can use next time if a similar situation arises) and choosing to focus on positivity, goodness, kindness, and joy in life!!!

1. I am grateful for coming home after 8 days of two trips done to separate cities with long flights and tiring business meetings. Boy.. 🙂

2. I am grateful for sleeping till late to give my body to take a rest today.

3. I am grateful for seeing a friend of mine today and chatting with her all nice and easy at the cafe. Always great to have understanding and lovely people in my life.

4. I am grateful for the apple I have had this afternoon. I have not particularly eaten well in the last week during my trips. The only things I have done good were to a) eat an apple a day, b) drink milk to get calcium and vitamin D, c) take my iron supplement regularly, d) eat a variety of things, however fatty or carby they may be.

5. I am grateful for the airline that put me in a business class seat yesterday (for no reason) and provided me with hot towels and complementary food. I was hungry and planning to buy something. The food they have given was great and satisfied my hunger. On a separate note, I wished there was no economical class separation on planes. I wished we were all equal. I understand business is business, but…

5. I am grateful for meeting with a long time friend of mine during one of my trips. We had not seen each other for over a decade, yet our sincere and trustworthy friendship continues as if there has been no time gap in our friendship. What a great experience 🙂

6. I am grateful for taking today off and not going to work. I was supposed to be at my office as I have many things to do, but my body appreciated the relaxing and laid back day after the trips.

7. I am grateful for talking to my family on the phone today. I am glad that they are well and sound.

8. I am grateful for all the nice, kind, fair, lovely, and good-hearted people in the world. They do make a huge and positive difference in our lives. They make me hopeful and optimistic about life. They are my role models and I wish to spread their goodness with my behavior.

9. I am grateful for the lovely and smart colleague of mine I met at one of the trips lately. She and I met many times over the years while attending the same annual business meeting. This lovely European lady is certainly one of the kind and nice people I mentioned above and wishing her the best in life and continuation of her good heart and manners.

10. I am grateful for my internet connection and computer that makes the blogging possible for me. Reading all the genuine and authentic posts is a great pleasure. I learn a lot and I get to know really great people. Many of you guys have life experiences different than mine; I would not get to know life and develop a deeper empathy if it was not because of you. Thank you all.

11. I am grateful for keeping up with my conscious spending plan during my trips. I cannot wait till the mid December when I will wrap up this year’s budget and see how much I have spent, and  how much I have saved. I am also excited about designing a new budget for the new year, 2016 at the same time. Hope is a great feeling; thanks to my budget and motivation, I have done well in the last 4-5 months and I am excited that it is very likely to keep going in the future.

12. I am grateful for not cooking today.

13. I am grateful for my new streaming service; I love finding all the movies from the past that I like watching… I am dreaming about sparing one or two days in the future, long after I work very hard and take care of my work, when I will get my hot chocolate and just binge-watch some of these movies for a full day 🙂

14. I am grateful for the pants and the t-shirt I needed to buy last week when one airline lost my luggage and I had to purchase clothes. I liked both of them; I guess they are nice additions to my wardrobe and I certainly am enjoying using them 🙂

15. I am grateful for remembering to smile time to time today 🙂

16. I am grateful for the food I have had today, the coffee I have drunk in the morning, and the clothes I wear and keep me warm.

17. I am grateful for my books. I bought two books at the airports during my trips. I regret buying both of them, though they have let me pass time at the airport. Making a mental note to not to buy books at the airports anymore.

18. I am grateful for my regrets that constantly teach me something.

19. I am grateful for hope. Having hope… Being hope… Giving hope….

20. I am grateful for being grateful! 🙂

joy journal, Oct 19, 2015

joy 🙂

happiness 🙂

peace 🙂

kindness 🙂

joy 🙂

1. I am grateful for stretching for 10 minutes this afternoon. I have been meaning to do it for quite sometime. I am not new to stretching; I used to do it everyday years ago. I am glad I pulled a muscle at my back last week, which prompted me to make it a priority in my daily life.

2. I am grateful for the rug in my living room – it is now my stretching post! I can dim the lights, put on the relaxing music, and then stretch on the rug. What a practical solution… I feel lucky and happy for this rug.

3. I am grateful for having a decluttered house with minimal furniture. If I had more stuff, perhaps I could not find a suitable place to stretch in my house. I am not only abundant, but also free by not having many stuff around 🙂

4. I am grateful for walking in the morning as well as the evening. Both cases give me a chance to work my body and eventually relax me. The benefits of walking is a lot; health benefits is one; mental benefits is two; helping keeping my transportation expenses is three; and feeling accomplished after each walk is four.

5. I am grateful for talking to a nice colleague and having lots of laughs in 10 minutes. It is always great to be around positive and joyful people.

6.. I am grateful for all the food I have at home; they nourish me and make me feel abundant.

7. I am grateful for working well today, albeit being stressful I have done well with some tasks.

8. I am grateful for the walking shoes I have; they are comfy and good looking. It is very easy to walk, thanks to them. They make my walking possible and a pain-free activity.

9. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, and youtube for making it possible to search for and listen to relaxing music.

10. I am grateful for all the people that created and produced the lovely music that nourish my mind and heart.

11. I am grateful for being healthy, safe, and sound.

12. I am grateful for taking care of some of the aims in my life so that I can move on with other areas that require my attention. Me controlling my stress levels as well as taking better care of my body are priorities.

13. I am grateful for making many aims of mine a habit (e.g. limiting expenses, walking more, and eating better). Sure, these were a struggle at the beginning, but now they are a normal part of my life (which I do without much thinking and mental judo).

14. I am grateful for my morning coffee; it jump starts my mental alertness and helps my day transition into an enjoyable one right away. It is great that I have many little things in my life that I enjoy and like.

15. I am grateful for wearing my rain coat this morning. It was not necessarily raining but it keeps me also warm. today was a chilly day and it just fit me well. I also noticed that it feels a little bit larger than it used to be last year; am I losing weight? 🙂

16. I am grateful for the up coming trips – they will help me refresh my mental focus and give me a good break. It will be tiring, but nevertheless a great opportunity for me to connect, learn, and explore new places and colleagues.

17. I am grateful for my house that not only provides shelter for me but also keeps me warm during this chilly months.

18. I am grateful for being grateful! 🙂

back from trip #1

I returned back from trip #1 yesterday night; I have been to Athens for a business meeting. I could not find time to go around the city much due to the 9 am – 8 pm meetings, but the weather was nice (around 25-28 C), which is awesome. When my plane arrived here at night, it was 7 C – ouch! 🙂

I also found a chance to get together with friends the day I arrived there (no meeting day); it was amazing 🙂

The long flight used to make me nervous and uneasy (I need my sleep and I do not like the idea of sitting for long hours); yet I was happy to see that my body handled it very well – I am very grateful for this 🙂

I was worried about how I would do with my budget and healthy life – style plans prior to this trip. I have not done amazingly great, but I did pretty good. While  food choices and exercise during the flights and at the airports are challenging, I must say I still cared about what I eat and even walked around 45 min withing the airport on the way to Athens.

At Athens, I walked around 1 hour everyday in the evenings – I did extremely good with that and I am very proud of myself. I have not eaten much of the snacks (usually cookies and other sweet stuff served at the meetings) during the day (I ate only three small pieces over three days) and except one day, I have eaten really well (one day I have had two pieces of sweets, which made me hungry after a few hours and eat later). During breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I refrained from getting a second plate and filled my plates with lots of greens and raw veggies and meat. For someone who likes to eat and who likes to eat carbs, that was pretty good. I am pleased with this 🙂 My current weight is more than what I had prior to the trip, but I am almost sure that it is the water retained in my body, which I hope will go away in a couple of days.

I have bought souvenirs and little gifts for my loved ones and I had to take the cab once to go to the city center. Other than these, I did not have a major expense. These cost me an extra $180. I am okay with this. Considering that I did not even buy many stuff I liked; like a pair of nice boots. I think it is the economic situation; I found it very affordable and I wish I had more time to shop. Alas, maybe next time.

The airport food is not only ridiculously expensive but also quite limited in variety. I will continue to take the snacks and sandwiches I prepare at home with me for my next trips as well – at least they help me eat well for a while.

In sum, overall both my budget and healthy  life – style plans went okay, although not perfect. I guess it is quite a progress on my side that I did not return to my previous eating or spending habits – that makes me happy and proud 🙂

cheers everyone 🙂

a change is an opportunity to change something else

You know I will have a couple of trips this month, which really excites me.

Mostly because I love traveling, seeing other places, and people. Leaving things behind, even for a short term, is a great freedom and the fact that I will also break my overly-routine daily life, I have extra bonuses that add up to my excitement 🙂

Breaking the routine is a great thing as doing the same things, eating the same food, going to the same places for coffee, like a robot every single day is such a boring thing. Do not get me wrong, it is also very useful as it makes life organized and going on smoothly. Finding a balance between the usefulness and boredom is what the challenge is. I have good efforts to break my routine, which I am determined to continue 🙂

Anyways; there is one or two things I would like to remove from my daily life (unhealthy and unnecessarily expensive habits). I have been thinking about them, planning and putting in effort for some time, yet I was not so far able to fully get rid of them. I have confidence that I am capable of doing these changes, but I always find an excuse not to and it is tiring really.

So, I am trying to make my mind, get really determined to make these changes at the same time with my trips; I believe the change of environment and daily routine will help me forget my routine here (that also contains these habits) when I come back. So, this may be in fact a great opportunity for me to achieve these changes.

While logically I fully agree that this can work and it is for my best interests, I am emotionally still hesitant. I feel like I need to focus more on this, write and think about it so that I can really implement these changes. In other words, I feel the need to convince myself further.

Wish me luck in this journey 🙂

how to keep up with budget and diet while traveling?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, wish me luck with my trips.

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

random thoughts

A rainy and misty day 🙂 It is good that I have an umbrella that did not break with the wind and made me safely (and without getting wet) took the bus this morning 🙂

This is a very busy week for me, but it is going well so far. Sometimes I am in “the phase” when I can function well and take care of many stuff. After a while it becomes too much and i need time to recuperate, but I am guessing I have a couple of weeks to go before that happens. That is cool 🙂

A couple of positive developments occurred today, which pleased me. With one of our important collaborators I have had some sour conversations in the past few months. Now it looks like we are mending this – they invited me to have a meeting in October. Cannot wait to talk face-to-face; it is always  a lot better than written correspondence. Plus, I gotta travel for a day or two to the US – trips and taking time away from the office is always a delightful break for me.

I also have a new team member, which arrived from another city last week. he seems to be doing well, settling in and getting adapted to our environment and the system. It is amazing how well young people can take the initiative and take care of stuff related to their living conditions without needing our help (I always appreciated and admired this). I have high hopes for this new team member; based on my initial impression, he looks like a mature and smart person. I think we will do great work together.

Having hope and positive developments always feels good; I hope you also had such experiences nowadays.

until next time

friends, trips, and unexpected expenses of airlines

Something wonderful happened today; my friend who is staying at my place did a great gesture and prepared me a lunch box full of apples and sandwiches – she said considering my recent plans to consciously spend, that would seem about right…. How generous, how considerate of her… Do we not love our friends? 🙂

This lifted my mood right away prior to my trip, as I just realized I need to pay a considerably amount of money for the 2nd luggage. Sigh… The ticket was expensive enough even though I bought it months ago. And now the extra luggage fee? Why do airlines do this? I admit I had not checked the airline, but had rather focused on the date and the timing of the flight. Lessons learnt; I am not flying with them again. Another lesson; if I buy the ticket earlier than usual, then my chances of finding a cheaper flight by a better airline increases.

I am thinking about how to keep up with my budget during my trip. I happen to like to buy books and small gifts for family members, drink coffee and have food at the airports. I used to enjoy all of these 🙂 This time, I will try to make my budget a priority, without limiting myself too much; I still will have my coffee, but I am bringing food with myself this time, and I will not buy books at the airport (rather packed two of them from home), but will buy gifts for my nephew and brother at one of the airports.

I cannot wait to start this trip and see my family in the coming days. I also love the fact that this vacation breaks the work, life-style, and thought routine for me. A nice change that I will not only enjoy but will also use as an opportunity to reflect on my priorities: What is it that I would like to do with my life? How am I doing re; the changes I have been trying to do in my life (budgeting, weight loss, healthier eating etc.)? What else can I do to make my life better?

I hope I will figure out these soon 🙂

Cheers everyone.

random thoughts

A gorgeous Spring day! What a delight.

I have been listening to music non-stop yesterday and today. I had forgotten what a magnificent thing it was. Evoking so many different emotions; from admiration to joy, from appreciation to regretting. Regretting that I had forgotten to enjoy it for some time. Was too busy while take caring of stuff and relaxing.

They say we should stop to smell the roses.

When did our lives become so busy? So demanding?

The activities that excite me most seem to be in the past; meeting with my life-long friends, my family members, going to concerts, visiting new places, singing, falling in love. Ah yes, singing. Art could evoke such a rich array of feelings. Singing almost felt like being awed by life.

It crossed my mind to have a bucket list – have at least one trip a year that will excite me; buy tickets for a show or musical at Broadway; explore somewhere new, like Europe or South America; make plans to meet with friends; stop doing the same things over and over everyday.

Life waits.

Let’s meet.

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