Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Flooded Guest Room!

Istanbul has got nothing to do with the massive hurricane hitting the east coast of the US. We just had some rain, may be a couple of hours, not more. Early this morning I walked into the guest room to get something and realized that there was  quiet a bit of water. It is a laminate surface and luckily I had not put the carpet back which I had rolled and put away while I was not living here. The carpet is nothing fancy but it still is a handwoven Turkish carpet and it belonged to my uncle before he had passed.

I ran to get towels and dried it off and started looking around the window to see if there is a leakage but, it was all dry. Then I examined the wall further and realized that the water is somehow seeping through the wall! Don't ask me how, I don't know.

The stupid contractor is totally behind the schedule with the insulation project and before they were able to complete the whole apartment complex, rain season started and I am the one who has to suffer!

As soon as the clock hits 9:00 a.m. I am calling the super and showing the mess I got. I do not care if they have to re-schedule their work but that wall gets prioritized. This has never happened before and I am in shock as to how that could happen. I am very very pissed. If they do not act quickly, I will have a lawyer friend call the management office although, in this country lawyers are not as scary as their US counterparts.

I hate to say this aloud but, I am not sure if these idiots will be able to fix it. I am so glad that I have postponed the interior paint project till spring. Before everything is fixed outside, I am not painting the interior and ending up with chipping walls. Arrrrrgh!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I have friends living on the east coast of the US so, I am worried about them. 

I hope everyone will be safe and the hurricane will not be as bad as predicted.

Be safe everyone!

7 hour driving adventure

I had to go to Ankara to help my sister and her husband a little bit because they were overwhelmed with caring for his family. Mom is trying to help them out by staying with them a few days to cook and supervise the cleaning lady but, there is only so much she can do and she is old too.

Actually mom had an episode of a nose bleed herself too but luckily hers was not so bad and possibly due to the blood thinners she has to use.

I came back yesterday and it took me 7 hours to drive back which usually takes no more than 4 hours. I drive a stick shift so, imagine driving in stop and go traffic for over two hours as I approached Istanbul. I need pain killers for my aching legs but I need to work so, I do not want to feel drowsy. There was a religious holiday and a lot of people went away and it looked like everyone decided to return on the same day. Today is a national holiday but I guess people wanted to come home a day early and rest.

I was totally drained but as soon as I got home I hung up my flag for today. October 29, 1923 is the day Turkey became a republic and a new country. At that day, the new constitution replaced the old Ottoman constitution by the Turkish parliament. It is a big deal for those of us who are keen  followers of Ataturk, his principles and ideals and who believe in secularism and the modern Turkish Society. I am not going to talk about politics here but I do not like where we are headed for the last few years and I do not appreciate the present prime minister.

I had cooked for long holiday but since I had to go to Ankara, I took all the food to my sister's which she really appreciated. I must go shopping but I think I will do it tomorrow with other errands. Today, I will make do with what I have at home since, I must work and complete a report.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Caring for the elderly

I had mentioned that my sister and her husband are having a tough time because of her MIL's cerebral hemorrage. She has been in the hospital ever since and things are not improving. It is unlikely that she will get better and walk again. She is not much aware of the situation or her surroundings either. Some days she recognizes people, some days she can not. She is unable to speak and move her right hand and right leg.

My brother in law is devastated. He is an only child and his mother's situation is very difficult for him. His father was staying at the hospital during the night and he was staying during the day but his days off are limited and he must get back to work soon. His father recently had an episode of high blood pressure and a massive nose bleed. Since he was at the hospital, they were able to treat him quickly. He is 74 and is totally drained so, my sister and her husband hired someone to stay with the patient at night. 

It looks like they will require 24 hour care at home and at the hospital so, today I e-mailed my yahoo groups to see if someone can recommend an agency or care-takers that they know of.

Nursing homes are not popular in this country and they are always considered as a last resort. 

I keep praying for the family. I hope I will pass quickly and never need any care when it is time. May God have mercy on everyone...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

One shopping tip that does not work for me...

You know they always tell you never to go grocery shopping when hungry. I agree with that because, I realized more than once that whenever I shopped hungry, unhealthy snacks hop into my cart. That's bad. However, when I'm full, I tend to not buy even necessary things because they do not appeal to me. I came to realize why that happens.

I do not plan menus at all because, my mood changes even during the day let alone the week. Being a Gemini may have something to do with that but, I do not know really. When I tried to come up with menus for the whole week, I almost never stuck to that list. That means many things get thrown out. That's very bad.

So, my shopping list would have entries like fruit, veggies, meat but does not go into details as to which fruits or veggies or whether I should buy chicken, red meat or turkey. I look for good prices and fresh looking veggies and fruits. When I am full, nothing looks good. So, I end up buying very few items and when I get back home and when it is time to cook, I have not much to cook... Now, how do I deal with that?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hair... No, not the musical!

I hate going to the hairdresser's. I hate when someone washes my hair, gives it a cut and styles it. I feel like running away from it if I can.

Some women love going to the beauty parlor. They soak their feet in water, get a pedicure (yuck!), get a manicure and have their hair done. If they have the money, they would probably go every day. I'm not like that. I have a manicure occasionally and try to prolong it's life so that I do not have to go back. I dye my own hair and have a very simple cut so that it only needs to be trimmed may be twice a year.

You guessed it: It is that time of the year. Actually, it is way past the date I should have had my hair trimmed. I postponed it for too long and now my hair is unnecesarily long. During the summer, I could get away with air drying it but from now on, I need to blow-dry it because it is getting cold. Besides coloring it is also a hassle. I need a good 3 inch trim if not more.

One of these days, I will have to go. Arrrggh!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pizza for One

I like pizza very much but I am tired of the commercial pizza out there. So, I have decided to make my own pizza at home and tried a few recipes and came up with this simple recipe for just one person:

Dough:

1 cup flour (next time I will try half a cup whole wheat, half a cup regular)
1/2 package dry yeast (4-5gr.) (about 0.15 oz. or so)
1 table spoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Warm water enough to make a soft dough

Sauce:

Tomato sauce or puree
Oregano
pinch of salt
garlic or garlic powder

I knead the dough a couple of minutes and then shape it into a ball and put it in a bowl in some place warm.

When the dough doubles in size, I knead it for a few seconds and pat it onto a pan, on baking paper. No rolling pin is necessary.

I place the pan in the oven at around 400-420 F or 200 C for about 6-7 minutes.

I take out the pan and put the sauce on the semi-cooked dough and put my toppings. On the top I sprinkle the shredded cheese. I put this back in the oven till the pizza dough is nicely browned for about 15-20 minutes. If I make more, I tend to eat more so this is a perfect size for a filling portion of pizza.

It is also very easy to double,triple or quadruple this when you have company or if you want to freeze some dough for later.

I like vegetables for topping and use what I have on hand. If there is not much, then it is just a cheese pizza:)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Until Further Notice Thou Shalt Not...

Until further notice I am banning myself from purchasing sheets and towels with the exception of bath towels for guests. I have noticed that my guest towels are no longer soft and fluffy so, I will be on the lookout for deep discounts. Remember T'Pol: No sheets, no towels!

Today, I have arranged my towel and sheet drawers and purged quiet a bit. It feels very good when I'm done with such chores but I almost always procrastinate before I start. When I'm done with this post, I will polish the shoes.

I think, I need to give up a few more pairs of shoes because, I am running out of enough space. My limit(spacewise) is 34 pairs and I am over that. Truth be told, I only wear about 5-6 pairs constantly. The rest wait for a special occasion or a time when my feet are not swollen. No shoes until winter sale season too! I am going to need to replace a couple items during sale season.

This week I am going to see an orthopedist since my feet are killing me and I would like to start long walks in order to lose weight. However, I do not want to hurt myself trying to walk on problematic feet.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shoes!

I finally attacked my shoe racks today. I should have checked the shoe polish before I took down all the shoes. All my black shoes and boots need a good polish and I'm all out. Tomorrow morning, I will have to run to the store and get some. A couple of pairs need some minor repair so, I can also leave them with the cobbler.

It looks like I shall donate two pairs of shoes and a pair of suede boots I have not been able to wear due to my swollen feet.

Monday is the day I go to the charity I donate my stuff. I think I have more stuff to wear at home than I need so I may take another hard look at my closet during the weekend.

I cooked today so, I am all set for the weekend. I have a few hours of work I need to do and some chores.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

My New Office: Starbucks

The insulation project at my apartment complex is still going on and today the workers are drilling holes on my walls again. I think the noisy part of the process will be over in a day or two for the front of the apartment but the back will be done later.

I needed to work so, I escaped from home to Starbucks again. This place is becoming my new office. They have nice work tables and plenty of electrical outlets for the laptops. I am happy and believe it or not I get more work done this way. Thanks Starbucks!

I was complaining about their prices but the amount of time I spend here justifies that. After all, you cannot sit at another cafe for four hours when you just order a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. The place is very large and it is never full so, I do not think it is unethical. Besides, I haven't heard Starbucks complaining about their customers for remaining too long.

You can see professionals having meetings, doing some work on their laptops, students studying and people busy reading, writing you name it. This place is very accomodating.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chores and Work

When I brought more of the stuff I had left behind, my apartment turned into a chaotic place one again although it's not as bad as it was.

Here is today's chores:
1.Fold the laundry (half done)
2. Re-organize the sheet and towel drawers
3. Start the dish washer (Done!)
4. Do work related chores for at least three hours
5. Change the bed (I need a lightweight comforter now that it started cooling down gradually)

I will first start doing some work because it is an activity which earns money. I will have a half hour break during which I will attack the rest of the laundered stuff and change my bed. I will make a coffee and go back to work. Sheet and towel drawers may wait a little longer.

Generally speaking I have more chores around the apartment and I will post a long list later on.

I have the TV on with the Easy Listening Channel on. The background is a slide show of beautiful foliage stills. Gotta get to work now.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family and Tough Times

I came back to Istanbul today. My heart feels a lot heavier than it is. My sister's mother-in-law is the sweetest, kindest person I have ever met so, her situation is making my heart ache.

We never consider how vulnerable we are... My heart goes out to my BIL(I actually call him my brother) and sis but practically there is absolutley nothing I can do for them.

Life was not yesterday and is not tomorrow... Life is today, this very moment so, I think we should try to make the best of it while we can.

Few months ago when my sister was helping her MIL, she found many unused sheets, bed covers and such and asked her why she was not using them and she told her, she was keeping them for later. Which later? We do not think she will ever go back to her home again. If she survives this, she will probably need care the rest of her life.

Tomorrow, I will pack my old stuff for charity and pull out my new sheets and new towels and start using them...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bad News!

My sister's mother-in-law had another episode of cerebral hemorrhage the day before yesterday. Her first was four years ago and she had managed to regain most of her abilities. She had not lost any motor skills but this time her right side is completely numb. Yesterday she seemed to be doing OK but today she was not at all responsive. We are praying that she will recover from this one as well.

I postponed my trip back home until tomorrow. I am also upset for my sister and my BIL. Very difficult situation:(

Thursday, October 11, 2012

At Customer Site

I am stuck at a Customer Site till tomorrow evening. It is interesting, a bit challenging and surely time consuming. Time just flies by. The only problem is I have to work on documents generated by others a long time ago and everything needs to be updated and simplified when necessary. That, I find a bit difficult to deal with but, I do have a better understanding of the system now and that's getting better by the day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

RED!

I dye my own hair every two months or so. Yesterday I bought a hair color slightly different than the one I normally use. The color I use is reddish brown. My own hair is boring brown, so I like the reddish glow. It looks healthier, suits my skin color and I like it quiet a bit.

Have I mentioned that I bought a slightly different color this time? It turned out more red than....ever!

I think I might like it;)

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Good Beginning for The Week

Today, I woke up at 7:30 by myself which is incredible because I almost always need my alarm to go off and I had trouble falling asleep last night.

I showered, gathered my things and headed for the nearest Starbucks for breakfast and for doing some work on the project that I am trying to get familiar with. I put in three hours of solid work which was really good. I started to get a better understanding of the project at hand and I started moving a lot faster with what I have to do.

I went to IKEA to exchange some covers I had bought for the love seat and also to pick up a couple of items for mom. After that I went to the REAL right next to IKEA to look at suitcases but I was neither impressed by the quality nor the prices. I picked up some trash bags, Himalayan Salt, hair color and diswasher detergent. They had the store brand on sale so, I am going to give it a shot. It was significantly cheaper than the other detergents.

I dropped by the Pharmacy to pick up my thyroid medication and came home. After resting briefly, I pickled the peppers and the beets I had bought last week. The beets will be ready in 4-5 days but the peppers will need at least three weeks. I made myself dinner and I would like to work another couple of hours after I post this. So, I am pretty happy with what I have done. Oh! And by the way, I walked 5000 steps doing all these chores. I know the ultimate goal is 10,000 steps but after a very sedentary life, I cannot change my ways so drastically.

It also rained quiet a bit today and I feel the temperatures are falling fast. The Fall is finally here. I am sure during my drive tomorrow, I shall be able to see nice Fall colors but, it is never like New England. I miss the Fall of New England. I am hoping and planning a three week vacation next Fall.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Working At Home: Pros and Cons

Working at home is quiet a new thing for me so it does have some challenges. When you walk into an office building, just merely going in there sets the tone for the day and one can concentrate on work with fewer distractions as opposed to working at home. When you are home, there is always something to do around the house such as putting another load in the washer or cleaning the top of the kitchen counter or any other chore you may imagine.

Remember when you were a student, before exams you probably procrastinated as much as possible figuring reasons not to sit down and hit the books real hard? (If you don't... Well we are not all nerds, some people will remember that!!) I find myself in the same situation. Part of the reason is that I am being brought on board a project which has been going on for over two years and the documents I must go through are not complete and it is rather boring. And may be I needed a bit of a down time before I started working. There are still tons to do around the house but this is not a big and real excuse so, I need to pull myself together.

So to be true to the header here are my pros and cons:

Pros:

1. You can work literally in your pajamas or comfy home clothes.
2. You do not need to wear make-up or shave every day.
3. You spend way less money on work clothes.
4. Costs associated with going to work is way down and limited only to those times you need to show up at a customer's office.
5. You eat at home more so that is less costly and more healthy.
6. You can set your own schedule most of the time. Work at night, sleep in until late.

Cons:

1. It is distracting.
2. There is no socializing with co-workers.
3. Most of your friends are working regular jobs so, socializing with them is also limited.
4. I tend to snack more often when I am bored so eating can spin out of control.

Pros outweigh the cons so I am most determined to make this work. Here is my plan:

1. Get up fairly early every day i.e. not later than 8:00 a.m max.
2. Make the bed everyday and never walk around in pajamas or nightgowns. Always be in presentable clothes so that if the door bell rings or if I need to rush out, I can.
3. Set a specific time to sit down and work both in the morning and in the afternoon and stick with my schedule.
4. Spend at least an hour outside even when the weather is bad.
5. Pull out the menus the dietician gave me and stick with those meals and snacks.
6. Go to bed at midnight, the latest.

I wonder how other people cope with this situation. May be I should look up some blogs on the issue.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Progress

So far the apartment looks more normal with the exception of too much laundry. I am hoping to wash, dry, fold everything and put them in all the appropriate places by the end of this weekend.

I have a business trip coming up on Tuesday which will allow me to see my family in Ankara and bring some more of my stuff next weekend if not all. The winter tires are the highest priority on my list. I am pretty sure, I can also bring everything at my mom's. The rest may stay in the apartment's storage.

I am having bad cramps today due to my period but I am also glad that it started today and will be over before my upcoming trip. I hate it when I have my period during trips. Vacations can be planned around it but business trips are not like that.

I am so much used to not having TV that, although I have the cable hooked up, I am not watching it. Today I turned it on scanned the programs a little bit and just turned it off.

Yesterday I ran all my errands as planned and visited and stayed for a while with my friend who had a surgery. She is doing very well and hopefully the pathology results will come clean. That is what her doctor thinks anyway.

I went grocery shopping today and have everything (but coffee) that I need till Tuesday so I do not need to get out of the house at all. If I feel up to it, I may walk to the Starbucks nearby and buy some coffee to make at home. I used to buy Kenya coffee but recently I think I need a bolder flavor so I must remember to look at their web site. I drink one or two cups of coffee a day. If I am outside and if I feel like one, I might have Turkish coffee but I never make it at home. I guess I had made too much of it when I was young, for dad and grandma after every meal at home:) I brew Turkish tea at least once a day and usually have 2-3 cups.

I would like to conquer some house chores and some work related reading over the weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Public Transportation in Istanbul: Frugal and Fast!

As a person attached to her car ever since she got a driver's license, I must say, I am enjoying the public transportation options that Istanbul has to offer. I still do not recommend anyone to try to use the public transportation during the rush hours (yes plural in this city!).

However, if you are flexible as I am, there are plenty of options in this overly crowded and busy city. For instance, tomorrow I have a few errands to run around the city. Here is what I am going to do:

I will take my car to the Kozyatagi Metro station which is about 5 minutes from my home. I will take the Metro (the Tube if you are British, the Subway if you are American) all the way to Kadikoy. I will hop on a ferry to Eminonu or Karakoy and walk to pick-up my prescription glasses. I will then take the Tram to Kabataş and ride the Funicular to Taksim where I will get on the Metro to Mecidiyekoy to visit a friend at his office. Then, I will probably take a taxi to Okmeydani to a hospital in order to visit a very close friend who will be out of surgery hopefully by then.

The best thing is that I use an Istanbul Kart on all these vehicles which makes it real easy.

If I take my car, all these are still doable but the amount of time I would spend just sitting in my car and the stress of finding a suitable place to park does not make it logical. Besides, I love having tea on the ferry crossing the Bosphorus and I will make sure I will post some photos later in the week. And of course, this not only saves time but plenty of money as well.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fresh!

Yesterday night, I changed my bed and took a shower before I went to bed. My hair smelled fresh and so did my sheets.

Today, when I woke up, I opened my window and inhaled the fresh morning air.

For lunch, I had a fresh salad with smoked salmon.

I went to a meeting and when I came back, I found my house nice and clean thanks to my cleaning lady.

October started fresh and I am happy because I am done putting everything in it's place. I no longer need to jump over cardboard boxes or bags.

What a fresh day! What a nice beginning!