Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Home sweet home!

I am back home! What a relief!

I did two loads of laundry and mom cooked dinner. Now, I need to work a little for my consulting gig.

The weather is now nice and warm which means we can have our meals at the balcony from now on.

Ohhhhh! I love sleeping in my own bed...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Getting back to my normal routine...

My sis and her husband came back from vacation. Tomorrow mom and I will have some routine bloodwork done and on Tuesday we shall head back to Istanbul. I have missed my home badly. While  in Ankara, I had to go to Izmir twice and living out of a suitcase is no fun.

We just got some more work for two months. This new Customer is also in Izmir so, it looks like for two months, I shall have to be in Izmir 4 days a week. Moneywise, it is a good thing but, I am sure it will be very tiring.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for a new customer in Istanbul:)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy Children's Day!

Today is a National Holiday (April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day) dedicated to children in Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. It is also the commemoration of the first opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1920. My mom's grandfather was one of the representatives in the Grand National Assembly. Our family is very proud of this.

Children's Day started to be celebrated worldwide since 1979 recognized by UNESCO. Turkish Radio and Television Corporation sponsors the TRT International April 23 Children's Festival every year. More than 50 countries participate each year and children from all over the world come to Turkey and stay with families that have similar aged children. They participate in week long festivities, playing games, performing their national dances and sight seeing.

The celebrations take place in many different cities in Turkey and it is a joyful event with the motto:

LOVE, FRIENDSHIP and PEACE

So, I would like to say:

Happy Children's Day!  


to the children of the world.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

On Duty

My sister and brother in law are away for a vacation which they have deserved. My sister's MIL has been very very sick since last September and their lives were basically planned around her in laws just to make them comfortable and happy.

My BIL is very upset about his mother's situation and he is an only child. He was very reluctant to go away leaving his family behind but he certainly needed a break and so did my sister. So, I had promised to be in Ankara while they were away. If his parents need anything or if God forbid, there is an emergency, I will be here to attend to them. In a way I am on duty for the week. I really do not need to do much other than just being here in Ankara so, it is not a big sacrifice or anything like that. I love my sister and I like doing things to make her happy.

Today mom and I will visit her in laws to see if they need anything and keep them company. They have a live-in caretaker but Sundays are her off day. Mom and sis have the same cleaning lady. My sister hires her on Sundays so that her father in law is not alone with the patient.

Sis and her husband are at a resort they go every year by the Mediterrenean. Yesterday they opened the swimming season of 2013. The weather is still lukewarm but that never stops our family. We all love to swim in cold water.

Hopefully this will be an uneventful week and they will rest well and get back energized.


Friday, April 19, 2013

A good and busy week, almost over...

I put in 4 days of work this week. One of the Customers is in Ankara so, it was not too bad. I came back to mom's home to a ready dinner but the other is in İzmir so that meant a short flight (yes, I am back to flying but that's another story) and a hotel stay. I am feeling very tired and staying home (at mom's) today.

I have already put in 9 days of work and there is 2 more to go. This is going to help my budget in a big way especially for the home improvements I am planning.

On the other hand, my computer is showing signs of age and I must get a good hard drive to back up everything. The company I had been working with is planning to give me a new computer so, I will not have to buy one myself. I just don't know when though. Once they do, I would like to get an inexpensive tablet. I just need something to surf the Net, read the papers, look at e-mail and use as a GPS. There are some inexpensive ones which I had been eyeing for a while but I will wait a little longer, perhaps until after I am done with the home projects. I am not planning to exceed my budget but you never know when you take something down at home.

I have a certain amount of money in my savings account and a portion of that money was earmarked for the home improvement projects but, if I can put in enough days of work until June, I will not have to touch that. That is something which will make me very happy! So, I put on my frugal belt and will not be purchasing anything that I do not truly need.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston

I watched the news regarding the attacks in Boston in horror.

My heart goes out to those who lost their lives and who got injured.

I hope the perpetrators will be found soon and brought to justice.

My prayers are with the victims.

Monday, April 15, 2013

No more fizz!

I gave up fizzy drinks. I haven't had one in 3 months. I used to drink an occasional soda until I was 22. When I went to the US to live there for over three years, my diet changed drastically to include at least two cans of diet soda if not more which resulted in weight gain. Top that with an inherited thyroid problem, you get obesity. For many years I struggled with my weight and although I lost some, I gained more. This year I hit an all time high as my weight is concerned and decided that this is it.

Before I started seeing a dietician, I gave up soda and all sorts of artificial sweeteners. I may occasionally have a Turkish coffee with a little sugar, or a small dessert but, artificial sweeteners are out! I drink water with meals 90% of the time. I drink ayran with some meals and I love it. As for filter coffee and tea, I never use any kind of sweetener. I like regular milk in my coffee and that's it.

Ever since I started seeing the dietician, I gave up sugar and white flour. I have two pieces of fruit a day and I consume only real whole wheat bread.

My energy is up and my blood pressure is the lowest it has ever been. I see significant improvement in my health and I am very happy about it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Cleaning: Your Finances

I think there is the idea of spring cleaning in every culture. This is the time when we purge, clean our closets, do some maintenance work at our homes.

This is also a good time to look at your financial status to see if you are on track. Remember those plans made in December or January? Now is the time to check them out. You can also look at your budget to see if you can make any adjustments. After all, the price of fresh produce starts to go down and your monthly food bill may also go down with careful planning and leaning towards fresh produce. Days are longer, weather is better so the use of electricity and the heating bills are supposed to go down.

Can you shop around for better terms for insurance? I did and saved a little. I also tend to use the public transportation more due to better weather and that saves me some on gas and car maintenance expenses.

Better weather also allows us to have some cheap fun outside such as bike rides, inexpensive picnic meals and strolls around parks.

Look at your budgets to see if there is a need for fine tuning. Anything that will help the budget is welcome.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Life is Good!

I  woke up happy today. I had breakfast with mom. We went shopping and then went to sis. We had tea with her and my BIL. After that we went to a farmer's market and bought lots of fresh veggies and a huge, delicious watermelon!

The weather was beautiful, there were flowers everywhere and I felt so good! I feel like I can conquer the world:) Hope everybody is having a wonderful weekend!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Sis!

Today my baby sister is turning 40! What does that make me?

a. 47
b. a dinosaur
c. old
d. all of the above

I remember the very day she was born. I was sick at home and I cried until my father brought her ID papers. I wanted to name her myself so badly:) Well I am not disclosing names here but I would like to say our names rhyme:)

She was very cute and very active as a child. So, I do not know how she became a couch potato!

Since we are seven years apart, there have been times when we were not very close. I was living abroad during her late teens. It took some time to get real close.

Now, I love her to the moon and back! Happy Birthday! I hope you live a very healthy and long life filled with all of the things and people you love!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Busy... Hopefully!


This month looks like it is going to be a busy one if none of the clients slow down or cancel some visits. I have already put in 3 days of work. I will  be putting in 4 more this coming week and the week after that. The rest of the program is not certain yet. Another 4 days would be great. Hoping...

On the 12th, I am leaving for Ankara and I will be there until probably 29th of April. I do not like to be away from home for more than a few days but I have promised my Sis and BIL that while they are away for their vacation, I will be in Ankara to keep an eye on my BIL's folks. They have a caretaker but, if I am around, my Sis and BIL will feel better about being away. Hopefully no emergency will happen and they will have a nice and relaxing vacation that they have deserved.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

13 more months to go!

I have only 13 payments left for the investment apartment! I owe less than USD 7,000 as of now. So happy! Below is a graphical illustration of my debt.

I wanted to get rid of the debt earlier but, that would have put me in a tight cash position so, I am glad I held back. The debt was three parts and I paid the highest interest part early. So, what is left is not so bad.

I am planning to use cash only for the bathroom and the interior doors. I have set a budget and would like to stay within that budget.



DEBT STATUS AS OF APRIL 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Choices

Yesterday I decided I wanted Chinese Food and mind you in this country it is expensive. There are 5 places that deliver to my area and their prices are almost the same. USD 5 for a single serving of Hot and Sour Soup, USD 14 for a single serving of a beef dish.

I know it is delicious and also probably full of ingredients that would negatively impact my diet. I reconsidered this "want" and instead of browsing the menu further, went to load some laundry.

Then I went to the kitchen and looked what I had on hand for dinner. I had meat patties in the freezer and lots of salad ingredients so, I decided to have what I had on my diet menu plan instead of Chinese Food. A big salad, 4 meat patties, 2 slices of whole wheat bread was what I had.. Delicious and satisying.

I took the money that I would have spent for Chinese Food from my wallet and put it in a jar which I will call my Great Getaway Fund. I am planning something big in 2014 or 2015 and will not reveal the details just yet. I can only say that I am planning a very long stay at some place I love.

Every month, I will gather the money, count it and exchange it for some foreign currency (wink, wink:) and put it in the bank in a special account. I can do this all online so the jar will be symbolic. So, basically after I count the money, I will purchase the foreign currency online and put the money in the jar in my purse.

I also cooked some artichokes for Monday and Tuesday dinners. I will have to eat lunch out on Monday but, I will probably have fish for Tuesday.