About Me

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

May 2015 bring you health, happiness and joy!

It's been a month since I wrote last time. I have been very busy and have lost my mojo.

Financially, things look good. I think I will exceed my overall financial goal a little despite the unexpected money I had to give away.

Next year my not be so good due to reasons I do not want to disclose here. Not yet anyway...

So, I will be setting a modest goal. I hope to be able to fund my retirement account to get the maximum Government match. May be I will make a yearly lump sum payment in January. I am not too sure yet. It all depends on the cash I will have on hand in January but, I think I can make it.

Next week, I will make my yearly calculations and set my new goals for 2015.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Random Ramblings

I have decided to take the week off since I could not recover fully. I am well rested now and I can feel the difference however, I am still not at 100%. May be at 75%.

I will keep on resting until Monday and I hope to be able to shake this sickness off for good. Feeling miserable for over a month is insane.

Today, I was checking my accounts and my financial situation in general and looks like I shall be able to meet my year end financial goals or miss them by about 1% or so. That is great especially given that I did incur some unexpected expenses and had to help someone in the family. There are still a few weeks to go so, I shall be cautious though.

My sister is being transferred to another city by the bank she had been working ever since she graduated College. Her husband was transferred there last December and she had refused to go there without getting her promotion. Unfortunately, she is still not getting the promotion although she has been promised "soon" as if she hadn't been promised that many times over already.

Her husband had rented a small one bedroom apartment and they will make it do over there for a while before moving their own apartment which is a pretty big 4 bedroom. She is very hesitant whether they should move and rent the place out. They own it free and clear. To me keeping an apartment that big empty for a long time does not make financial sense but hey, it is not my finances. They do not know whether they will be able to return to their hometown before they retire which is many years away. Life just happens...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Still Sick

My doctor had prescribed me an antibiotic couple of weeks ago. It seemed to work as I took it but I started having problems with my already problematic achilles tendon. A quick search on the Net let me to the information that, antibiotics with fluoroquinolone may cause tendinitis or even tendon rupture even after giving up the medicine. Ouch!

I found this out after I took the entire bottle for 7 days and after I finished it, I started having flu symptoms again. Yesterday it got worse and I started running a high fever with a terribly sore throat.

Now I am on a different antibiotic and hope to feel better soon. I also would like to part with this dreadful cough.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sick, busy and bored...

I have lost my motivation to post. I have been sick for a while and could not figure out whether it was a bad cold or my allergies. Went to the doctor the day before yesterday and it turned out that, I needed new allergy pills, a nasal spray, a box of antibiotics and some cough medicine. The doc told me everything got mixed up and I should have been having really bad headaches. I told him, absolutely no headaches and he was surprised!

The current job is going so so, with our contribution very minimal at this point. I will be glad if the customer keeps us until the end of the year just because of the money not because of job satisfaction.

After this project, I think, I may write a satirical novel on how not to run a project... I tend to think this actually a good idea.

The opening statement could be: "If you decide to run a project with a foreign company, make sure you appoint a Project Manager with real bad language skills and a huge ego. This should be your priority".

Sunday, October 12, 2014

64 meat patties and a broken deep freezer

My small 3-drawer upright freezer died a couple of weeks ago. Luckily the freezer section of my fridge could hold everything in it. There were stacks of frozen tomato puree only.

I looked up the freezers and the prices seemed to be a bit inflated due to a religious holiday coming up. That was a week ago and as I figured, the prices starting coming down. For the moment the freezer section of my fridge is full. I just shoved in 64 meat patties I made today. I like to buy fish in season and freeze them for summer months. This is an unexpected expense and I am still contemplating whether I should get a new freezer. What to do, what to do?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Credit Card Annual Fee refunded just by asking

I have been using a credit card from a bank for the last 22 years. I have been very happy and to this day I did not care that they charged an annual fee. However, looking at my bill I noticed that they upped my annual fee by 50%. Also, recently many people are filing complaints about annual fees and they are getting refunds due to some new regulations.

I decided to ask nicely and wrote them a message. I told them that I have been a very good customer for so many years and that the current fee is not something I would like to pay. I also asked them not to tell me to commit to spending a certain amount to lift the charge because I have no reason to spend more than I do now.

This was two days ago and I got a message from them telling me that the annual fee is lifted after a close inspection of my records.

Super nice! Isn't it? The fee was 150 TL, about 66 USD.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Crossing Continents each day

I live on the Asian side of Istanbul and my current project is on the European side. My options of going to work are as follows:

1. By car, through either of the bridges
2. By car to the nearest Subway Station, Subway, Ferry, Funicular, Subway
3. By car to the Ferry, Ferry, Funicular, Subway
4. By car to the Sea Bus, Sea Bus, Subway
5. By car to Marmaray (under the sea), Marmaray, Subway

I do not like the idea of travelling under the sea so, number 5 is not a real option.

Options 2-5 take at least an hour and a half and they all require me to walk long distances to connect carrying my laptop case and heavy purse.

I get up at 5:30 a.m. and if I leave home by 6:30 a.m., it takes me only a half hour to drive. So, I started getting up early each day, reaching the office very early. I do my usual online banking, reading the blogs and what not which I used to do at night. My living hours have changed.

If I leave home any later than 6:40 a.m., the traffic becomes a nightmare.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Too busy, too tired

I am very busy these days and too tired. Nothing to talk about...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Customer = Too Much Work

I was MIA for sometime. Well, there are some new stuff going on...

During the summer, business was slow and I was not bringing in any extra income to supplement my passive income. That was not a big problem because, my passive income covers my basic expenses and frugal budget. However, I need to save money for the future. So, 80% of the extra money goes towards savings in my book.

We just started consulting on a very big project and the customer wants us five days a week! That is a full-time job I was not looking forward to. Besides, usually we have to stay until 8-9 p.m. for meetings.  I need to cross either of the bridges to get to work and the morning traffic in Istanbul is plain crazy.

Today it took me an hour and a half for 25 Km or about 15 miles! So, I must get up very early. If I leave home by 6:30 a.m., I can get to work in about a half hour but going home late, sleeping very little and getting up early in the morning is a killer. When I made the conscious decision to leave a full time job, this is not what I had in mind.

However, I do not expect this to go on forever. I work with two other people on this Project and we are pretty much on very different pages. I like a direct approach and taking on responsibility and acting because I come from Operations and my colleagues are very conservative and they like to keep a distance and create lots of pretty much unnecessary outputs just to show that we are working. (!?) Typical Consultants, I must say... The guys who hired us had made it very clear that they needed our experience to steer the project on their behalf. This is not what we are doing thanks to my colleagues. So, I am assuming the guys who hired us will soon fire us. That will make me feel terrible but, if the owner of the company whom I work with wants to run his business the way he does, he may as well be my guest.

While we are working on this project, I will give it my 100%, tell my colleagues what I think is right but, I will not stress over this.

If we fail as miserably as I think we will, I will review my decision to work with these people. I will most probably;

Either look elsewhere
Try to figure out doing something by myself

However, in order to work alone, I will need some cushion in my savings so that I can do some business development. Hope, we can survive about 6 months or so...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What am I? A tightwad, a miser? Or just plain frugal?

Today as I was folding laundry I noticed that one of my T-shirts had a hole under the arm.. The stitches came off and since it is a stretchy fabric, I cannot fix it properly. So, I decided that the T-shirt would be going to the rag pile for house cleaning. As I was walking to the balcony, I suddenly decided that the T-shirt was still good for exercising at home. After all, I am using a recumbent bike for all of 25-30 minutes 3-4 times a week and tossing the t-shirt and the shorts that I wear to laundry.

So, now, that T-shirt has become exercise clothing.

Do I need to wear a T-shirt with a hole? No... I have many other T-shirts to wear. Besides the nightgown I am currently wearing has a hole too. Nightgowns are coming out of my ears, I own so many of them and yet I stick to this raggedy one because it is oh.. so comfortable...

Why do I do this? Am I a miser?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Financial Update

With just 4 months to go before the end of the year, I have reviewed my financial status and things are not looking pretty.
I lost some of my savings because I needed to help a family member. I do not expect to see that money coming back. I do not resent this since, it was something that had to be done.

The friend I loaned some money last year told me that she would be paying me back in October, so that is a good thing.

The business was extremely slow during the three summer months but the months ahead look somewhat better.

I will not be able to meet my year end savings goal with a big probability but oh well...

I have enough so, that is a big blessing. I would have liked to save more though...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

20 pounds of delicious local tomatoes....

So, I went to the Farmer's Market today and got 20 pounds of tomatoes. I came home, scrubbed them really well and started processing them in my food processor. I put 3 soup ladles full into ziplock bags, flatten them out and freeze them.

After I process everything, I will see if I need some more. These are the last days of local tomatoes. Later on, they will become tasteless, sigh...

Anyway, I think I am ready for cooler days and soups. I haven't had a soup since....... late May?

OK, got to work now.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Order! Please!

If stuff falls on you when you open a cupboard, you know it is time to organize that place or else...
There is a small cabinet in the kitchen which insists to keep open due to overflowing aluminum foil, cling wrap, sandwhich and garbage bags. I know it is not really full but, rather lacking organization.

Besides, I truly don't know if I am out of something like baking paper or if I have many boxes of aluminum foil that I barely use nowadays.

So, tomorrow's mini organization project is to attack that cabinet with a vengeance...

I also intend to vacuum the whole house and wash the bathroom and the kitchen floors tomorrow. I have a dentist appointment in the afternoon so, may be that is a bit of a stretch for my lazy (for house chores) self.

I have completed my report for tomorrow. It still needs to be edited and worked on but at least now it is a presentable first draft.

Now on this peaceful Sunday night, I am going to watch Arrow and sip tea.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pantry for the Fall

As the Fall is approaching, I got into the "preparing for the winter" mode again. I took inventory of my pantry to see what I needed and went to shopping yesterday. I was out of many baking supplies but, I had that let go since I do not bake at all during the summer. So, I bought baking supplies, canned tuna, rice, spices and pasta along with some other necessities.

Next weekend I intend to go the Farmer's Market to buy local tomatoes. I process them and use them for soups, stews and pasta sauce all winter. I also saute bell peppers and tomatoes to make a simple egg dish. This year, I think I will make a home made pasta sauce to freeze as well. Last year I had frozen beans and I still have two packs in the freezer. I think, it is wiser to use dry beans during the winter. Besides, the fishing ban will be lifted September 1st and I intend to buy lots of fish in season at good prices and freeze them so, I need freezer space for the fish.

It is still to hot to get into the Fall mode but, something in my brain has already switched...

Photo Courtesy of: http://all-free-download.com/

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Small lie...... but why?

A friend of mine has a hobby of designing jewelry. She is using nice semi-precious stones and mostly silver accessories. She gifted me really nice necklace a while ago. That was a nice gesture and I am thankful for my necklace.

A few weeks after she gifted me the necklace, she was visiting me with her 8 year old daughter. My friend stepped outside to take a phone call and I was preparing tea and cake while her daughter was with me in the kitchen. I pointed to my necklace and asked her if she remembered the necklace her mom made for me just for small talk. She immediately said: "She didn't make it. She bought it." I was surprised but didn't say anything or ask further questions. I just let the thing go.

I am still wondering why she told me she made it. I would be equally happy and thankful if she had told me she saw the necklace and decided to get it for me.

I mean we all tell white lies; even if I am not feeling well, I usually tell mom I'm OK, sometimes I do not want to socialize so, when someone calls me to have a night out, I may say that I am not feeling well to go out just to avoid insistence and such...

However is this lie similar to those white lies? Or is it kind of different?

It is not something that would come between me and my friend since she is a really nice and thoughtful person but I am just wondering, why?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Laziness makes money fly off from your pockets...

I admit I have been overwhelmed with work and had been ordering food lately. Today just as I was going to order a sandwich and a chocolate muffin, I suddenly realized that I could buy food that would be worth many meals for the same amount of money and to prove my theory I walked to the grocery store.

I was going to get;

A large Original Schlotzky's Sandwich 16,90 TL
A chocolate muffin 5 TL
Total: 22,90 TL / USD 10,60

Instead I got;

Turkey Breast (enough for 4 sandwiches)
4 whole wheat rolls
1 salmon steak
A package of salt
1 avocado
A candy bar

Set me back a total of 23,60 TL / USD 10,92

Now that is five meals and a snack plus the salt that I needed.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Butterflies in my stomach...

I am designing a complicated process for a customer. There are 15 phases and I was hoping that I would be done by tomorrow night. Well, no such luck!

It turned out to be a way more complicated work and I have to read and go over many documents. Sometimes I must go back and re-write some of the stuff.

I also like to discuss my work with colleagues before we present it to the customer. So, today I woke up with butterflies in my stomach with minimal and stressful sleep. I immediately reached out to one of my colleagues to share the situation and learned that the customer meeting is postponed to Monday so I have more time to do a good job. Yay!

I must concentrate.... I must concentrate...

Thankfully the weather turned and it is nice and cool today so, it is easier to work at home.

Friday, August 15, 2014


I had an appointment for a filling replacement today. It turned out to be two filling replacements and took the poor young dentist an hour and ten minutes. It was very tiring for me too because I had to keep my mouth open for so long.
The young lady dentist was very nice when I told her that I was very scared of root canals and that I suspected one of the teeth she was going to work on would end up a root canal. She assured me that technology and procedures are evolving and even if I needed a root canal she promised me absolutely no pain.

She also kindly suggested that I should get the implant I had been avoiding for years and recommended a surgeon at the same university hospital.

I have one more cavity that she needs to take care of so, I got an appointment for that and while I felt courageous enough I made an appointment with the surgeon. Yay me!

I paid USD 150.- for two fillings which were pretty big. One of them was like three fillings in one tooth. Their prices are very reasonable and I like the fact that this is a university hospital.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Such a hot summer!

Istanbul usually gets too hot during the last two weeks of July but even then, I do not feel it much when I am home. My apartment is strategically positioned so that my spare room gets some direct sunlight may be for a two hour window during the day. My living room, kitchen and bedroom never get direct sunshine. So, I have never needed an air conditioner. I have a portable fan that I used may be three summers in Istanbul during the last 14 years.

This year is different. It is so hot an humid that the fan works many hours during the day. It is almost mid-August and usually this is the time when we start sensing that fall is in the air. Not this year! I have trouble concentrating on my work so I think, I will go to a Starbucks where I can work comfortably with the air conditioner running.

Weather.com says it is 86 degrees fahrenheit and we feel it like 93! Yikes!

Just Thinking about life choices...

I consider myself a nice and outgoing person. I love my family and my friends. I hate debt and being dependent on someone.

I never got married. My ex-BFs were OK I guess, since all of them are happily (?) married for years now. Probably I am a difficult person to share a life with. I accept that.

Although my friends tell me that I am a very nice and thoughtful person, I consider myself a bit of a control freak. I also think, I am selfish. I need a very big space for myself. I never ever wanted to have kids. Mom recalls that even when I was eight years old, I would say that I would never marry and have kids. I am 48 now and I guess, I have been pretty consistent about the life I chose to live.

I had a very loving family and a great childhood so, my decision to never have a family of my own cannot be attributed to a bad childhood or a dysfunctional family. My parents were truly the best. I guess they did not raise me and my sis the traditional way. All we kept hearing was that a good education and being independent is the key to life and that we should always stand on our own feet. My sis is married because she does not like it alone but she and her husband decided not to have kids both due to some health issues and love of freedom. I cannot wrap my brain around living with other people. Mom comes to visit and stays for longer periods of time now that I am working part-time and even though I love her to the moon and back, I sometimes feel like I need my solitude.

Why am I rambling? Well, I am and avid reader of many PF blogs and Blogging Away Debt is one of them. One of the bloggers there has two kids of her own and two adopted kids plus 4 pets. She is a single mom and has some debt that she has to get rid off. She has lately gone into some trouble about her housing situation and she had to make some tough choices. Once she wipes her debt, she is considering to adopt more kids. She is also home schooling her kids and working two jobs from home. That is so overwhelming for me. I admire her for being such a loving parent but, I just cannot imagine her life.

I love my independence and I cannot imagine any other life. Some people have a different perspective on life and they are more giving, nurturing type of people. These life choices are so personal, so unique that I think that's what makes this world interesting.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Red Eye!

No, I am not talking about a flight here. I woke up this morning with great discomfort in my right eye. It was stinging like hell and dripping constantly. Every once in a while this happens to me especially if I stay in the wind for too long, or rub my eye or just sit close to the portable fan I use these days. This time I think it was the fan. Although it oscillates, I guess my eye doesn't like the direct wind exposure.

Thankfully I keep the drops handy. I always have an unopened package of the drops the doctor told me to use when this happens. Now I feel much better but not 100%. It will take a couple of days before my eye is completely healed. I also treat my eye with tea. This helps tremendously.

I basically stayed in bed all morning and tried to relax because my eye was feeling better when closed. Now I am up checking my e-mail, some blogs and I will need to work for about an hour on drafting something for a customer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Store Credit

Last year as I was having my bathroom renovated, I had returned something and the home improvement store had issued me a store credit which needed to be used latest by September 9th this year.

Since I really did not need anything from that store, I just held on to the store credit and forgot all about it until yesterday. Good thing that I decided to clean up and change my wallet. Knowing myself, I decided to use the store credit since there is a good chance that I could miss the deadline.

I needed a bucket to save water before I take a shower. It takes a while for the water to get warm and I hate waste especially that the Istanbul water resources are extremely depleted this year. I also needed a set of soft hangers. Since I did not NEED anything else specifically, I decided to walk around the store to find things that I would use anyway.

So, here is the tally of what I bought for approximately USD 55.-

A set of 5 soft hangers
100 pack of exam gloves (I use these in the kitchen chopping onions and garlic)
1 new immersion blender on sale (mine is very old and no longer doing a good job)
1 bucket
3 pack light bulbs
1 vegetable knife

Not bad I think.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Car Maintenance: A regular budget item

I have my car serviced every 15,000 Km as per the maintenance guide. I always take it to the same place so I have a good relationship with them. It is the same dealership where I bought my car back in 2010.

I calculate how much I would need to spend every maintenance and budget it. This way, car maintenance is a regular budget item rather than a cause for surprise. I had budgeted 800 TL for my 105,000 Km maintenance but it came to only 627 TL even though they had to change the battery, some belts and a lamp outside the regular oil and filter change and other regular things. They cleaned the engine thoroughly and it looks brand new.

Car ownership is expensive especially in my country. We have the world's highest gas prices. No kidding!

I see some companies have recently begun offering hourly car rentals like the Zip Car. One day, I should sit down to calculate whether it would make sense to get rid of the car and just use a service like that. However, I think I intend to keep my car until it is no longer viable.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What's cookin?

Today I cooked chicken, zucchini and stuffed pepers and tomatoes. I stuffed enough peppers and tomatoes for 9 meals and they are happily sitting in the freezer now.

The zucchini is for tomorrow and Monday lunches. For dinners, I am going to have cold chicken over large salads.

I have some cooked string beans and eggplants in the freezer for Wednesday and Thursday. Only after Thursday I will need to figure out another vegetable dish. I am thinking stir-fry mixed veggies.

I like bulk cooking and freezing. It makes my job so much easier when I am busy and do not feel like cooking. If I have ready meals in the freezer, there is no excuse for ordering take-out or going out.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Meeting? Meh...

We went to the stressful meeting only to find out that these people do not know exactly what they want, and that they want to negotiate our already good price. The project is very big and very risky. I am not even sure we should win it anymore.

Well, I guess we just have to hope for the best.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Tomorrow is a big day. You know that I am a part-time consultant. The company I work with is about to land a really big project. I will have to work full-time for a few months which is actually great for me. However, there will be one last meeting before they make their final decision. So, a co-worker and I will be going to this meeting tomorrow. I am very nervous about this. I really really want this project. Yes, it will require me to work full-time for a while but that means more income which I really need.

I am a big saver but sometimes certain family situations require me to step up and kiss some of my savings goodbye. That is what has happened recently. I do not feel regret or resentment because my family is really tiny and what I did made my mom happy. She is especially worried about this person I have helped and she felt relieved when I intervened. I love my mom and I wish her a long and healthy life. I do not want her to worry about anything.

A big project like this will help me save at a very good rate and I really would like to grow my stash for rainy days.

I am praying for this project. It can make a real difference in my financial life.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Keep losing...

Mom and I went to see our dietician today. Finally we have both lost weight during the last month. She gave us new lists and a three day protein only shock diet to follow in two weeks. This little success boosted our motivation.

Menu planning is easy for us. We eat very basic meals and always cook from scratch. We try to consume everything in season. Nowadays, we consume lots of string beans, zucchini, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. We use only olive oil in our cooking. Our diet menu consists of a vegetable dish for one meal along with whole wheat bread and yogurt and another meal with a large salad and meat. Our breakfasts are pretty standard.

The dietician gives us a variety of snacks that are easy to pack so that we can take them anywhere with us like date palms, dried apricots, figs or some whole wheat crackers. When we feel like it we can have two-three scoops of ice-cream as a snack.

Buying in season has both health and taste benefits. Budget benefits are an added bonus.

Mom will spend the next two-three months at her home in Ankara but we will keep supporting each other over the phone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I am looking sooo forward to the Fall

It is hot and humid in Istanbul. If it weren't this humid, probably we would not feel so hot. My apartment is probably the coolest apartment at this complex and if we stay home, we are fine. Going outside is torture.

We have been home for the last two days but tonight we would like to go out for dinner. We have barely enough stuff to last us till Friday when we are going to Ankara. I will leave mom there and return in a few days.

Work was scarce during the last month. Worse than the previous two months. We have not heard from the big project soooo, the future is a little blurry at this point. This is not bad but not good either. So, I am hoping there will be more work during the remaining months of the year.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Old Style Shopping

Mom and I went to Eminonu yesterday. This place is incredible. There all sorts of shops selling anything and everything. We were on a hunt for white bed sheets. We like bigger sheets than the standard ones usually sold. If we go a bigger size that is too big and requires touch up.

Mom wanted to buy the fabric and make sheets herself but, she was looking for a specific type which she could not find. So, I wanted to get fabric enough for an extra sheet for myself and two new sheets for my guest (mom's) bed. The seller told us if we had a half hour to wait around he could have the sheets sewn! What a surprise! I did not know that they did that. Mom decided to get a sheet for uncle's bed too. For just USD 45, we bought beautiful, crisp white sheets. 3 of them were about the size of a Twin Extra Long and mine was a bit bigger than the US Standard Full Size. So much cheaper than store bought sheets, much better quality too. I love the cool, crisp feeling.

We also bought two fabrics for mom to sew me dresses. She makes simple summer dresses which I wear at home to keep cool during the summer.

We walked a lot, even through the Spice Bazaar but, I hardly ever shop there.

It was a hot, humid and tiring day at the Old City but was so worth it. We plan to go back in the Fall when the weather is nicer.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finally.... The Dentist Edition

I admit that I hate going to the dentist. I postponed this dreaded visit until today but finally, I decided it was time. Social Security covers dental work only if you go the the clinics and hospitals they have an agreement with. Those places usually have long waiting lists and I personally do not like the attitude of the employees there. Of course, there are exceptions.

I decided that oral hygiene is important and I can certainly pay for this out-of-pocket. I also decided to go to a private college's dental clinic not too far from where I live. This place was recommended by many people so, I thought it was worth a shot.

I am so glad I went there. There are gazillion doctors, most of whom are faculty members and the place was very organized, full of employees with a professional attitude and full of brand new equipment. I initially thought, students would be doing the work supervised by doctors and I was a bit worried about that but a friend of mine said that was not the case and she highly recommended the place.

I was taken care of by the Oral Diagnosis doctor first. She examined my teeth and ordered 3 X-Rays one of which was panoramic. She then checked the X-rays and told me that I needed a cleaning first. She also told me I needed two of my old fillings replaced and I should no more delay the implant I need in place of a lost tooth.

So, I went in to get an appointment for cleaning but the nice doctor there told me if I could wait for a half hour, I could get my cleaning right away. I happily accepted her offer. Since I have one extremely sensitive tooth, she had to administer a small dose of anesthetic.

After that I got an appointment for replacing one of my fillings for August 14. OK, I really do not like all that drilling but my mouth was in better condition than I thought.

Diagnosis, X-rays, cleaning with ansthesia cost me a total of USD 134.- I think that is a very good price.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Today we went out to look for a clog for me and get deodorant and hair color. Mom got tired so, we decided to eat our dinner out too.

We also ended up getting Krispy Kreme treats as well. The diet plan? Out the window for today...

So, 3 deodorants, 2 boxes of hair color, a small size vaseline, dinner for two and sweet treats cost me about USD 43.- Not bad...

No clogs for me... I will have to order Dansko clogs from the US as J udy suggested and will pray they will fit... Sigh...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lessons learned from grandma...

My grandmother on my mom's side and I had a very special bond and since I was her first grandchild, we have spent tons of time together. Every summer, I would go to visit them and I used to have the time of my life.

She was a very frugal person by necessity. Grandpa was an Air Force Veteran and with one retirement pension, they lived a simple life.

They had a small house with a good size yard. Grandpa grew lots of vegetables, had fruit trees in his garden, kept chickens and sheep. He would not touch his retirement pension and let grandma take care of every bill. He used to sell excess produce and earn his pocket money along with money required for necessary repairs around the house.

1. Never wasted food,
2. Always made a budget,
3. Knew her prices and would buy produce in season and at good prices when she had to purchase produce that they did not grow,
4. Never let clutter at her home,
5. Owned very few basic clothing items and kept them very neat,
6. Did not care for knick-knacks that would collect dust so dusting her home was a breeze,
7. Sun-dried many fruits and vegetables to use during the winter, made jam and pickles,
8. Made sheets, and pajamas and simple items since knew how to sew and inherited an old Singer from her mom which I now have,
9. Always cooked from scratch, made yoghurt and even made cheese sometimes,
10. Never ate out more than once a month,
11. Re-purposed everything. Old pajamas became rags to dust or rags to tie tomatoes and beans to poles.
12. Watched her utilities and kept diligent records,
13. Never bought anything just because...
14. Saved a little money for rainy days even her income was small.
15. Anticipated upcoming expenses and budgeted accordingly,
16. Never complained about money...

She was the most caring and nicest person I know. God bless her and make her rest in peace...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reader Question from Derya

Derya wrote:

"I have been following you for over a year now and you have been a huge inspiration. I wont say we live totally frugally (hubby myself and 5 year old son) but I have certainly refrained from spending and have managed to save a large portion of our earnings. We managed to buy an apartment with a 5 year mortgage plan. I won't have a lot of cash left over but am definitely interested in any tips you have to grow money in TL. I'm also wondering if you think it's better to pay off the loan early or to save and invest the cash? Best wishes. Derya"

I think they did a great job by buying an apartment at a 5 year mortgage rate. As for paying the loan off early, as far as I know in Turkey there is a penalty for doing that. Derya should check her mortgage paperwork and/or talk to her mortgage lender. So, paying early may be a bad idea.

Before starting investments, I have some questions:

1. Does Derya have an Emergency Fund?  If yes, how many months of living expenses does that cover?
2. When she mentions investments, how far in future she is thinking? Is she thinking retirement?
3. Are there any major expenditure in the near future, say 1-2 years?

I am assuming she and her husband both work so, can they survive on one salary in case one of them loses a job? If yes, probably an Emergency Fund of three months worth of living expenses may be sufficient. If not I would opt for 6 months and may be even more. Now this money will be sitting in a low interest earning savings account earmarked only for emergencies.

I admit this is painful to set aside so much money to earn very little interest but when an emergency strikes, this provides an amazing level of peace of mind.

After doing this, I can start investing for the future. The key word is future here. We are talking about a long time so any vacation expenditures or new car funds should be saved elsewhere, probably at low-interest savings accounts. So, investing for the future and saving for upcoming expenses are totally different.

For investing for the future, Derya and her husband can do two things here in Turkey: They can both establish a BES account (sort of like a Roth IRA) that they should not touch before the age of 56, or they can invest in individual stocks.

I have a very small individual stock portfolio. I mainly invest in BIST 30 companies. I put very small amounts of money and totally ignore the ups and downs of the stock market. This is highly risky and I do not intend to touch that money in the next ten years or so. This type of investment is always very very risky and I would hesitate recommending it. Besides people get caught up in tips and dreams of high returns in a short time and turn this into a dangerous form of gamble. Buying and selling frequently is a definite no-no!

As BES is a fairly new system, people are skeptical about this. I am past 10 years in this system and I am 9 years away from my BES retirement. So, I maintain a medium-high risk portfolio. The government matches my contribution by 25% up to a certain level. The government match will not be forever so, I take advantage of this as much as I can. This also is affected a lot by the stock volatility but in the long run, I am sure one will get ahead. The trick here is to select medium-high risk funds when you are farther away from retirement and gradually move into lower risk funds as you approach your retirement date. What people do not understand is that the amount you save in this account is the amount you will be paid. There is no guarantee of money for a life time. Also, people would like to put in 100 TL every month and receive 1000 TL when retired. That is an illusion and it will not happen. Before stepping into a BES account, I would read everything about it and be realistic about my expectations.

Gold and USD investments are also popular in Turkey but gold is very unpredictable. USD accounts generate very little return but, on the long run, that may be an idea.

So you see there is not one single good investment idea. That is why I have a BES account, a small stock account, some gold (very little) and some USD besides a hefty EF.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Not a hoarder...

I am not a hoarder. Every spring and fall I go through my closets and shoe racks to donate whatever I am not planning to wear so that those in need get what they can use in time for the upcoming season.

However, sometimes I hold on to some real old pieces of clothing because they are so comfy around the home. This is especially true for some night gowns. I realized that I have holes in two of my favourite night gowns a while ago and yet I kept wearing them. However, I started feeling cheap about this recently, especially after our visit to mom's cousin. I am very neat when it comes to wearing things outside. I never wear anything with a hole or a stain. If I cannot fix it, it doesn't get worn, period!

I have two small drawers for my night gowns and they are stuffed. There are some night gowns never worn. I usually keep two that are brand new just in case I need hospital care (old habit inherited from grandma) but I think I have 4 or 5 that are brand new.

So, after mom goes back to Ankara, I will go through my stuff and cut up things that has holes and donate things that are still in good condition.

Mom is actually great in doing this but she is very impatient and whenever we tried doing a purge together, she took down all the closets and dumped everything on my bed all at once and made this a whole day chore. I like to do things at my own pace. One closet at a time or a couple of drawers at a time. I do not like to do this all day long. So, I am not even mentioning my intention :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Even if you own your home free and clear...

I hated being a tenant. Not because my landlords were bad but, I tought I was just shoveling money out the door so, when I bought my apartment back in 2004 and paid it in full by 2005, I was extremely happy.

Home ownership is great and I am very thankful for God's help in enabling me to buy my current residence. However home ownership doesn't come cheap. There are 9 apartment buildings in my community. Some are 6 levels like mine and some are 10 levels. There are 1-2-3-4 bedroom units.

We elect a management every year and make monthly payments for security guards, gardeners, cleaning personnel and for general upkeep of the complex. It is not a fancy place. No pool or anything like that but it is at a very desirable spot and our apartments are still considered great investments. The buildings are 16-17 years old or so, last year we had to pitch in extra for insulation of all buildings and an external paint job. This year, we are paying for a new heating system. I am sure next year will be something else. I also had an internal paint job and tore down my bathroom last year. Now, the kitchen is awaiting for a complete renovation. So, you see even if you own your place free and clear, it is a money pit.

I am also a landlady. I have a rental apartment in Ankara. That is at a fairly new complex so, I do not have many expenses related with that....yet but, I am sure some time in the next few years, there will be additional money I shall have to shell out.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Early Birthday Present for Mom

Mom's Birthday is August 13th and I was thinking of getting her a Tablet PC because she is having trouble with my old laptop. She is used to using a touch screen since her cell phone is one of those smart phones with a touch screen. When sis bought herself an iPad, she gave mom her old Samsung.

Yesterday after a lot of fussing and mumbling she just had it with the laptop and closed it without reading her papers.

She asked me how much the tablets cost and told me she would get one when she gets paid her retirement pension in October.

I smiled and ordered one online as she was watching TV. Hopefully her tablet will be here today. I am hoping she will master using this better than the laptop. I am also hoping that she will be pleasantly surprised and happy for her present.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Taco Night!

Last night, I decided to make hard shell tacos. I sauteed chopped meat, prepared diced onions, homemade salsa, salad greens and some sharp local cheese. I used Mexican spices and it was easy, relatively inexpensive and tasty. I could not find avocados so, we had to skip my favourite, the guacamole.

Mom usually does not like to try "exotic" things. She is very classic minded when it comes to food but she also enjoyed the tacos although she found eating them a bit messy. I love some Chinese Food, some Thai, some German, most Italian and Mexican dishes. Turkish kitchen is very rich and I enjoy that too. Different regions have different specialties.

The package had 12 hard shell tacos and we used up 6. So, next week will be another taco night.

After dinner we had tea and called it a day.

Today's menu has mushrooms for protein and stuffed eggplants as a veggie dish. Eggplants are ready. I will have to sautee the mushrooms so, that will be easy.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Should I see another orthopedist?

Yesterday I went to see an othopedist thinking that I had Haglund's Deformity. That is a condition which can be cured by surgery and even though I am scared of surgeries in general, I was hoping to get rid of this problem but alas! The doctor sent me for an X-Ray and confirmed that it is tendinitis and there is no cure. I must wear comfortable shoes all my life. So no fancy shoes or even regular, normal shoes for me for life!

So far, I have been wearing a pair of Nike Air Maxes. They do not bother the back of my foot but, what happens in the winter? I do not know...

We'll see how I will handle this issue.... the....rest....of.....my....life :(

I have looked up the condition on the Internet and what I have read pretty much confirms the doctor's opinion but, should I get another opinion? I will talk to my sister who knows many doctors and quite a few orthopedists. May be she can schedule an appointment for me in Ankara.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Istanbul is hot and humid these days. Thank God there is a nice breeze today. We keep all windows open and my apartment is nice and cool. Walking outside is another story...

We bought mom a very firm mattress yesterday. It is this mattress. She tried a few others at a different store but liked this one the best. This was the firmest mattress they had. Hopefully, she will be comfortable sleeping on it.

Then we went to IKEA which is ten minutes from my apartment and strolled around to look at some bathroom furniture. Mom wants to do a little re-modeling right before the paint job in August. I think, most of what she wants is totally unnecessary but if it is going to make her happy, I am not saying a word.

Today I am going to see an orthopedist for my right foot. I think, I have Haglund's Deformity. We'll see what he will say.

Gotta go now...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mattress Shopping

Mom's back was giving her trouble for the few last months and I have realized that the mattress on the bed she is using when she is with me is too soft for her. So, today we are off to mattress shopping. This is an unexpected expense but, it can be built into my budget because I can pay in 9 instalments without interest.

The mattress on her bed hasn't been used much at all since it is my guest bed. There is another one which can be pulled out to accommodate another person. That bed was used perhaps 10 times in 7-8 years so, I have no intention of changing that one. Besides harder mattresses are thicker and it will not fit in the mechanism. So, when I change the upper mattress, the pull-out bed will not be the same level. Good thing is the pull-out part can be detached completely and can be used as a separate bed.

I have looked up two firm mattresses online and I want mom to pick the one she likes best.

We better get going...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

We like it clean...

We are back from our little trip to mom's cousin and I think half the way back we talked about how dirty and cluttered the house was. Mom is a neat-freak but it was even too much for me. I do not mind clutter as much but I cannot stand filth. The windows, the balcony, the kitchen sink, the bathroom, you name it, they have not seen a good scrubbing for very very long.

Her cousin was keeping her clothes on an armchair in the living room and when mom asked her if she did not have room behind the bedroom door or in any one of the closets, she shrugged and uttered something about being it easy that way.

I made up an excuse to make dinner so that I could scrub the kitchen sink and the stove. I even did not want to take a shower there. The shower stall was filled with dead bugs and spider webs.

This lady is a hoarder and a cheapskate. I am using the word cheapskate and not frugal because, I am telling you. I know what frugal is, thank you very much.

However, I am so glad we did this because, if we hadn't, mom would keep on saying that how she always invited us and how I did not take her there in ages. Now, I know she will never want it again. This cousin also has an apartment in Istanbul and she invites mom to that place too. To this day, I never let mom go and stay overnight there because I know those apartments are old and they are said to be not sturdy enough to stand an earthquake which is due any time in Istanbul. I know this is stupid but, hey I have only one mom! I do not think she will ever want to go and stay there now. So, I am fine with this.

Anyhow, we are back home and I am doing load after load of laundry. We shopped at the Farmer's market as we were leaving Didim so, today mom and I also cooked for the week. The last dish is in the pressure cooker. Once it is done, I will clean the kitchen! :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014


We are home! Had a light dinner and the second load of laundry is already in the machine. We shall watch two-three episodes of Hawaii Five-O and just take it easy.

It was a looong drive but, we are home to my beautiful, uncluttered and CLEAN home...

More on our experience later...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wanna go back home...

We made it to mom's cousin on Sunday in about 9 hours! I jumped in water right away and relaxed a little bit.

Yesterday was a good day, I swam and pretty much did nothing and mom and her cousin played backgammon all day:) but, both mom and I are not very comfortable. Her cousin is super nice and she doesn't let me help with anything.  I feel like we are causing her extra work and her not letting me help is making me uncomfortable. Mom's discomfort is due to the fact that her cousin's summer home is very very cluttered. Normally, mom considers my home cluttered but there is no comparison. Well, mom is a neat-freak and she just cannot stand clutter. She cannot help herself.

Besides, there is a neighbourhood notion that we do not really understand or appreciate. Last night a neighbour called at 11:00 p.m.(!) and came to visit with her son. Mom and I were ready to go to bed so we just said hello and went to our room. Well it turned out that they came to say "welcome" to us! It is both a bit embarrassing and frustrating. I think mom and I have been city folks for so long that we do not understand the dynamics of small places. In Istanbul, I do not know any of my neighbours and I am fine with that. I certainly do not need people knocking at my door and conveniently inviting themselves at my bed time.

So, I asked mom if she wants to stay longer because I intend to go back home even if I have to work next week. Now that I can fly, it is easy. She said "no" so, I am going to make up an excuse to leave on Saturday. Before we leave, I will take her cousin out to dinner as a "thank you" and to shopping so that she can replenish her pantry. She does not have a car and it is difficult for her to go shopping without the help of someone.

I really want to go back home and be done with the summer vacation thing. I may go some place in the south in October for a few days.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vaca-work? Workation?

Why do I have to make up a stupid header, I don't know...

Tomorrow, I am driving down to Didim on the Aegean to visit mom's cousin. On Tuesday, early morning I will head to Izmir to work two days at a Customer site. On Thursday before I head back to Didim for another few days, I will visit the wife of my lately deceased friend. In case there will be more work the week after next, we will keep on staying with mom's cousin. If not, we shall probably head back on the weekend or on Monday to avoid traffic.

I am glad I can combine some work and some vacation time. Mom will also get a break since we kind of started getting on each others nerves. Lol! Generally we get along well but after a while since we are both very dominant types, we need a break.

I love swimming very much. I must have been a sea creature in a past life so, I am really looking forward to good weather and lots of swimming.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Goals, Budgets etc.etc.

I used to make budgets when I was 8 years old or so. I gave up that habit during my twenties and early thirties. What a waste! I should have known better and kept up the good habit.

Anyway, I went back to good old habits of setting goals and making budgets sometime in my mid-thirties. I had set myself a goal of buying my first apartment by the age of 35 but, I could only manage that when I was 37 due to some bad and hasty career decisions on my part.

After I purchased my current residence 10 years ago, I did not set goals but kept saving money diligently. However, I did not know much about investing so, I probably missed some opportunities. Retirement Funds became available mid 2003 in Turkey and I decided to open an account. It is similar to US Roth IRA. Many people were skeptical about this new system but, having read many PF blogs, I decided to do it. Last year the Government decided that not enough people joined the system so, they announced that they will be matching contributions by 25%. Whoa! That is a great match! So, I decided to fund my retirement account as much as I could. Unfortunately, I cannot fund it up to the maximum allowed. I divert all my rental income to the retirement fund. I am short by about 27% each month. If all goes well this year, I may put in a lump sum before the end of the year.

Speaking of rental income, I purchased my rental apartment back in 2011 when I had moved back to Ankara for about two years. My savings were not earning much money, the rents were too high and I did not want to stay with mom for too long so, I took out a very short term loan of 36 months and put in all my savings to buy a 2 bedroom apartment. That loan is paid of as of this past May.

I am semi-retired and work part-time as a consultant. I collect SS (yes, my country is weird that way, the eligibility age is now much older but I was not affected by much, so I was able to retire at the old age of 45!) and collect rent. Those constitute my passive income which by the way is just about enough to cover my living expenses. So, any money I make through my part-time job is for goals and savings.

My primary goal is to take a month-long vacation in the US driving from NY to Florida and visit some friends in 2015. My other goal is to tear down the entrance, the kitchen and the balcony and re-do those areas from scratch sometime in 2016-17. I have a 2010 Nissan Note which I hope to keep until the end of 2018 if not more and then, get a new car.

Above are my goals and I hope to fully retire in 2023 when I will have full access to my retirement fund.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Changing Preferences

When I was at High School or at College, I needed complete silence to study. I would usually go to bed around 5-6 p.m. and last person at home to go to bed would wake me up. I would then study for 2-4 hours and go back to bed. This worked for me for years.
I am now semi-retired with a part-time job and whenever I need to work on a presentation or a report by myself, I find it so hard to concentrate at home. When I am alone, I procrastinate and when someone is around, I cannot concentrate. Strange huh?

So, I usually go to a coffee shop to work these days. I am still wondering why.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Urge to shop...

I guess some people have a tendency to shop when they go out even if they do not "need" the stuff they buy. My mom is one of those people. She never has debt. She lives within her means and even saves a little bit of her retirement income. However, she likes to spend money.

A few days ago, I casually told her my observation trying not to offend her after she suggested we should look at some shoes that were BOGOF. I do not need any shoes for a very long time. She surely doesn't need new shoes either. She just wanted to get them. I said I was not interested in getting any and since she definitely did not need two pairs, she gave up the idea.

She barely wears everything that she owns. Sometimes she even forgets what she bought and looks at similar stuff and when I remind her that she already owns a similar item, she admits, she forgot.

My dad always worried about money. My sister and I went to private schools and even though both my parents worked, money was somewhat tight. We never felt deprived of anything but my parents needed to watch our finances closely. I think mom felt deprived during those times. She was a young woman who needed to deal with a worrying spouse. Ever since my dad passed away, she is in charge of her own finances and although she did well, she also did purchase pretty unnecessary stuff all that time.

I was watching a TV show the other day and the young woman was telling that she had 78 bottles of nail polish and 27 lipsticks. No wonder she had some credit card debt. Some people are just like that. They cannot hold themselves. This is really a shame because this type of behaviour isn't just bad for the budget but for the environment as well.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Plans

I did not have any summer plans since we had a mini vacation in May and I spent three days on the Mediterranean for my 30th anniversary of High School graduation. Besides, this is a year to save and work is somewhat slow.

My mom has a cousin who has a summer cottage on the Aegean not too far from Izmir. She kept inviting us over and I figured, since I will be going to Izmir for work anyway, we could drive down there a few days in advance to spend some time with her and then I could go to work while mom stays with her cousin. Then I could go back and spend 3-4 days with them and take mom back to Istanbul.

This way, I can get to swim and relax for a few days. Except for the gas money, this can be a real inexpensive trip. So, as soon as my work plans are fixed, we shall plan this trip.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Back to Flying! Thanks to a friend...

I had mentioned previously that I started becoming uncomfortable flying after a bad turbulence experience some years ago. About a year ago I stopped flying altogether because it was making me extremely nervous almost similar to a panic attack. Then I started driving.... a lot. I also starting taking long bus trips. Took 9 hours to get to places where it would be only an hour of flying.

A month ago a very good friend of mine decided that she was worried about me travelling so much. She tried very hard to get me an appointment with a therapist who used EFT and some other techniques to cure phobias and even some illnesses. I had read his book earlier and tried using the techniques but, I was semi-successful.

To make a long story short, I went to just one session and I started flying again. I actually flyed for the fifth time last night. Woooohoooo! Yay Me! I am so thankful to have such a nice and thoughtful friend.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Loss of an old friend...

Last night, as I was perusing FB, I saw some condolence messages about an old colleague and a friend of mine. At that late hour I did not know what to do and could not turn to another mutual friend as to how, when, why, how about his wife, son, etc... I was shocked too. As far as I knew he did not have health problems and he was only 59.

I spoke to him about a month ago. He sounded happy and we talked about meeting sometime in the summer where he lived with his wife.

This morning, a mutual friend called to confirm the news. I am so sad... He was a good person, a good father, a loving husband, nice colleague and a good friend.

It struck me that my only tie with my friends are mostly themselves. I do not know how to reach their spouses or kids. I am single and my friends would not know how to reach my family if something happened to me. Nobody knows my password for my FB account or mobile phone. What happens after we go?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fresh Produce

Today we went to a fresh produce market. It is not a farmer's market since most seller's buy from wholesalers. We bought plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. We go through tremendous amounts of vegetables. Mom and I eat a vegetable meal per day and vegetables shrink a lot when cooked. Tonight's dinner was broccoli and beetroot greens sauteed with onions and garlic. I topped it with plain yogurt. We also go through a lot of plain yogurt since every veggie meal is accompanied by that.

Our other meal is either red meat, poultry, legumes or fish and sometimes eggs. We always have a salad with this meal.

Our snacks are fruits, fresh steamed corn, crackers and sometimes fruit yogurt. Tonight's snack is strawberries.

I have a little leftover from tonight's meal and it will be turned into a frittata on Monday. I like leftovers:)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shopping done! Here is the tally...

As I have planned, I went shopping this afternoon and came home with the following:

5 lt. Olive Oil
2 lt Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cans of 160 g. tuna fish (price was so good, only 2 cans were left)
2 loaves of Whole Wheat Bread
Sweet Cherries
Fresh Apricots
A small watermelon
A pineapple
A dozen eggs
A bunch of garlic
1 kg. of bulgur wheat
A large bottle of mayo
A small bottle of barbecue sauce
A giant container of plain yogurt
2 Norwegian Salmon Steaks
8 Turkey wings (no tips)
2 bottles of de-calcifier
1 bottle of bleach
3 kgs of powder detergent

all for USD 110.- Until the end of the month, I will probably buy only some fresh produce and a couple of meat products.

The oils will last us probably till the end of the year. So will the detergents.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Replenishing Staples

I do not stockpile food items much with the exception of tomato products. I also stockpile fish in the winter at good prices. We have been almost exclusively eating at home with mom lately watching our meal plans made by our dietician.

We shop for fresh produce weekly and for meats bi-weekly. We always have a vegetable dish for one meal and meat for the other. For instance, tomorrow we are having chicken and a salad for lunch. For dinner, we are having string beans cooked in olive oil.

Last time I checked the cupboards and the fridge, I have noted that some staples will be gone soon so, tomorrow is a major shopping day. There are two stores of the same chain right by me but those stores are somewhat more expensive. However they always have better produce and meat. So, I shop there for meat and for produce when I cannot go to the weekly open produce markets all around the city. For replenishing staples like tuna fish, olive oil, cheeses and detergent, I go to another store which is 5 miles from where I live.

I just checked the fliers of both chains and it does make sense to go to the one 5 miles away tomorrow so, off I go to check and finish my shopping list.

Friday, June 13, 2014

New Budget Category

Lately, I have realized that I need a new budget line item to replace things that are broken beyond repair.

For instance, my cell phone is almost 4 years old and still going strong but, it is a matter of some time when it will require a new battery which is no longer available. New cell phones are expensive so it would be nice to have a fund saved just for these types of expenses. Small expenses such as a broken hair dryer or a new kitchen gadget usually comes out of my free spending+grocery budget but a cell phone is expensive.

I have a fully funded EF so, may be I should set aside a much smaller say USD 1,000 fund for replacing broken items? Sounds like a good idea but managing so many small funds is a lot of work. I am thinking of changing the design of my budget a little. At the moment, I have an EF and a savings fund which will be allocated to new kitchen, new car and a US road trip not in that order and a small investment basket apart from my retirement account. There also lots of categories such as car related expenses, taxes, insurances etc. May be I should set aside the savings as a lump sum amount and ear mark certain percentages to different funds... I don't know... I should go work on it a little while...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Frugal Month!

I have decided to make June one frugal month so, I am sticking to my budget. Mom and I eat at home and stick to our meal plans (most of the time:). Grocery shopping is much cheaper than eating out even though, we buy expensive items like fish, steak and etc.

No clothes or shoes for me this month either. I have way more stuff than I need anyway.

This month work is kind of slow too. We are bidding for a major project and I keep my fingers crossed for winning it. Best thing about this project is that it is in Istanbul! Yay! If anyone is reading at all, please wish me luck!

Friday, June 6, 2014

47 going on 48

Today is my 47th birthday... I find it rather strange to be approaching 50. Come on! 50! That is old, isn't it?

When I look at my life, it doesn't look so much different than in my thirties except for the fact that now I can afford to work part time and I have some property that I own free and clear.

I used to go out more frequently in the past. I now spend more time with mom.

I still dress casually.

I used to read a lot of books now, I read a lot of material on the Internet.

I used to value other's opinions of me more, now I really do not care.

I used to have boyfriends and after a while those relationships made me miserable. I am no longer interested in a relationship for a very long time now and I am happy due to less complications in life.

I wasn't used to worrying about the future when I was younger, now, I do. And may be a little too much.

Well... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Life is good. At any age...

Live long and Prosper...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Good Debt versus Bad Debt

I must have been born hating debt. I cannot imagine anything that is more depressing and limiting with the exception of serious health issues.

I started using a credit card back in 1990 and I have never paid a single penny as interest. I have always thought of credit cards as a means of payment not as a source of loan. Credit card debt is a very very very bad form of debt.

Student loans are not a part of life in my country but I understand it may be a necessary evil for Americans. The part that I do not understand is the expectation of income versus the amount of debt incurred. If you are studying to become something that will not enable you to pull lots of money, getting into debt for education does not make sense to me. Besides, if I am not wrong, going to state schools are less expensive in the US.

Would I borrow money to buy a car? Ummmm... No! I never did that but then again, I was lucky to drive company cars most of my career, like 16 years out of 24. I bought 6 cars in my life, 3 used, 3 brand new all with cold, hard cash. I have a 4 year old car which I am hoping to replace in 2018 so, part of my current savings should be allocated to that. A car loan may be necessary for some but not for me. A car loan may be a good debt for some people. For most people I think it is bad debt.

How about a home? Well, that is a big ticket item and it doesn't make sense to wait many years for home ownership. However, I would not be comfortable paying just 25% down even for a home. I once did that but, I had a property for sale and had a very solid full-time job. I closed the bank loan in less than a year selling my other property. If I were in my early thirties and if I had a solid job, would I take along-term loan like a 20 year mortgage? May be, I am not sure. Still that is a very long time for things going wrong.

My thinking is probably due to being single. If I had a spouse, if we could live comfortable on one income, I might be willing to take more risks.

I consider all debts bad with the exception of a home loan. It is a matter of postponing wants. Not an easy task with all sorts of things that are shiny and new around us, with people who seem to have everything but, living within ones means is the key.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

But I want it NOW!

I want to renovate my entrance, my kitchen and the balcony. I would like to take out all the flooring to replace the piping underneath. I want to get rid of all the terrible looking kitchen cupboards and redo it with nice looking cupboards. I need more counter space. I want to change the tile flooring in the balcony with new and better looking tiles.

I want all this............ now but, can I do it now? Well... Yes technically I can but, to do that I must dip into savings earmarked for rainy days. I just had my apartment painted last August and if I rip all the above apart, I would need these spaces repainted with all the renovation. Am I prepared for the hassle? No. Would I feel awkward if I spend my current savings? Absolutely! I would be terrified to know that I do not have my cushion for just in case.

Besides, I haven't quite figured out what kind of new flooring I want, how much would I be willing to shell out for the kitchen and other details. My oven definitely needs to be replaced but not the fridge or the dish washer. I have so many pots and pans. Do I need all that much or can I get rid of some of those. I have checked IKEA kitchens and I know what kind of look I want. I must sit down, figure out a budget, add at least 15% to it.

Right now I am saving a lump sum amount for kitchen renovation, new car and a road trip in the US, not in that order.

Some people may prefer to get a loan for home renovation but with my fluctuating income, I do not see how I can get a loan from a bank. Besides, I am against borrowing for anything except for a home.

It is difficult to postpone wants but it is necessary. I am 47 and I am not getting any younger. I do not know for how long I shall be able to pull in more income. When I will have to solely rely on my passive income, I do not think I will be able to buy a new car, do major renovations or take expensive vacations. So, while I can, I must save, save and save...

I had my bathroom redone and my windows replaced last year. Those should last many years. Once I have my kitchen redone that also should last for very long. So long that I would not to replace them again. I do not think I will live here in this apartment till I die although, I have no plans to move out for the foreseeable future. You never know what life brings along so we'll see.

Monday, May 26, 2014

To all the bloggers I've loved before...

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was sorry to see some of my favorite bloggers gone over the years. I wish them all the best. Here are some of them whom I used to follow religiously:

Boston Gal's Open Wallet: Jane Dough was my favorite blogger at one time. I read how she had invested in solar panels, bought a new car, how she was a landlady. She was (and I am sure still is) a very sensible person. I enjoyed reading her very much. I am so sorry that she is now gone. I wish I could hear about how she did after she quit blogging.

That's udy with a J: She recently quit blogging all of a sudden. I was actually happy that I had found her after she had to change her blog for some reason I do not know. I am so sorry that I couldn't even say goodbye to her. I admired her strong will and the wonderful kids she has raised. I loved the way she was attached to her family and her determination in eliminating debt.

Wealth is Good: The owner was a smart young lady who did not have any money issues but rather blessed with wealth. Still she was careful with her investments and how she handled money.  She openly shared how she handled her income and windfalls. It was a pleasure to read her. She got into a serious relationship and apparently her significant other did not want to so openly share finances. So, she quit blogging.

My Open Wallet: Madame X is a New Yorker. She still posts some updates but very few and far between. I miss her very much but I think she has a happy and busier life now so, I am happy for her.

Moneyapolis: This was a blog where the owner moved to a new city and started a new life with her spouse. I miss her blog too.

Northern Living Allowance: This blog is still active but after the owner moved to England, she posted only a few times. I am really curious about her new life and wish her the best. I was intrigued about her life in North America as well. It felt like we were long time acquaintances.

Blogging Away Debt: This blog is active with new bloggers but I am so curious about the old bloggers and how they are doing, especially Tricia and Beks.

There are many more that I miss and wish all of them well.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Articles Worth Reading

I am an avid reader of many PF blogs. I got heartbroken many times when my favourite bloggers decided to call it quits. However, there are still many blogs and web sites out there with good content. Here are some  I came across lately:

Moneystepper: 6 money saving tips – great ways to spend a little less!

Wisebread: 21 Decisions You'll Never Regret Making

The Dollar Stretcher: Living seasonally

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Outlet Shopping

There is an outlet mall between Istanbul and Ankara. As we were returning home, mom said she wanted some towels so we headed into a store that she bought some towels at a decent price. Then I told her I wanted to look into the Nike outlet store. The prices were pretty good though nowhere near US prices. We tried many pairs on. I ended up buying two pairs, she bought one. We also bought a t-shirt each. It was a good chunk of money spent and a splurge but, I believe it was worth it. I do not need to buy anything else this summer except for a couple of shirts and may be a pair of pants.

I wear sneakers all the time and especially when my tendons are causing me trouble like now. I even wear them to work. I always apologize for wearing sneakers and explain that I have some feet issues. Never met a customer who was not understanding. The customer in Izmir is a very casual place so, they do not mind at all. The customer in Ankara is a formal place but they are nice and understanding people. Besides, I dress formally except for the shoes.

I love outlet shopping in the US. The prices are amazing but I know one needs to be careful since not all merchandise is good quality. I remember picking up Crocs at 5 dollars for my sister. That is a price you can never find in here. My favorite outlet mall is Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall in NY. I am so looking forward to going back next year.

Friday, May 23, 2014


I had been traveling a lot lately so the amount of time I spent at home was minimal. I am now back home with mom and I realized that I was out of many staples around the kitchen so I had to hit the grocery store twice in three days. I got whole wheat flour, crackers, meat, fish, olive oil, onions, fresh green beans, eggplants, salad greens, coffee, bread, cheese, fresh apricots, milk, eggs and yogurt

We cooked some stuffed peppers and tomatoes and froze them in portion sizes. Also, three meals worth of meatballs went into the freezer. We eat one dish per meal due to our diet plan. One meal is always a veggie with plain yogurt and a slice of whole wheat bread. The other is a big salad, some type of meat with a slice of whole wheat bread.

Now that we have enough meat dishes in the fridge, we only cook fresh veggies usually just once or twice a week. Sometimes we cook beans instead of consuming meat. Today I am going to start a home-made whole wheat bread and tomorrow I will make yogurt. I normally do not bake bread much. I make my own yogurt whenever I have a good starter and whenever I have time.

We are feeding ourselves rather simply and in a healthy manner so I am very glad. I use only olive oil in my cooking.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back Home!

After my mini vacation I worked for two days and then headed for my 30th High School re-union. It was absolutely fantastic!

I arrived at the hotel on the 17th and headed to the pool side where my friends gathered. We had a jolly good time till after the midnight.

On 18th, I spent some time at the beach and some time at the pool side until it was time to get ready for the ball. It was nice formal evening that I ended much earlier than others. I cannot drink as much as most others and I cannot stand loud music. Besides my right foot was killing me.

In the morning of the 19th after a small breakfast I swam for about half hour, gathered my things and checked out. I spent another couple of hours with friends and then started for Ankara to pick up mom.

Today, we returned to Istanbul with mom. I have absolutely nothing planned for the summer. I am not in a hurry either.

Home sweet home!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Need a Savings Ticker

Now that I am debt free, it is time to concentrate on savings. I have three things to save for:

Long vacation in the US (2015-2016)
Kitchen renovation (2018-2019)
New car (2018-2019)

I must decide how much money I will need for each category and put up a new ticker.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Our mini family vacation is over...

We spent the last week at Alacati, Cesme with mom. Sis was with us for a few days but she had to fly back early due to her job. My BIL joined us for dinners since he had to work.

We swam only on one day and the rest of our mini vacation, it was windy and cold. We drove around quite a bit and satisfied our curiosity about the area. All in all it was nice.

Back to work tomorrow for two days. Next weekend is a long one with my 30th High School Graduation.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Debt Free!

As of today, I have no consumer debt! I paid of the loan I took when I bought my rental property back in 2011. No mortgage, no car payment, no credit card debt!

Yay me!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Net Worth News

My Net Worth steadily dropped from August 2013 till March 2014 but, I am happy to report a nice increase as of today.

Many people have a different approach for calculating their Net Worth. I do not count my residence, my rental property and my car in my net worth calculation. The market price for property in my opinion is not a valid estimate. Their worth is very much dependent on how fast you need to sell them, how many buyers are out there to buy them at the prevailing market prices, luck and many other variables.

I tally up my cash, checking account, savings accounts (TL and USD), gold coins and my retirement account and calculate my net worth. If all goes well, I am planning to keep on working part time till June 2023 when I will be 56. After that I can retire for good. I do not know if I would like to do that though. Seems to me it is rather early but you never know what your health will be like.

I know people are surprised that I am already semi-retired. This is due to two reasons: First, there aren't many full time jobs out there for me anymore. I am both expensive and too experienced. The job market in this country is cruel. After 45, one is considered old. Second, I am single and I have no dependents by choice. I have always loved my independence and my flexibility and made some OK decisions during the first 24 years of my career so that I can now work part-time and be happy with what I earn. I am thankful for my life. I feel blessed.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hump Day Update

April was a very busy month filled with lots of travel. May will probably be the same but after that I think things will cool down. That means less income but, I am OK with that. I would like to focus on my health and my mom for a while. We fell of the weight loss wagon and we both need to get right back on it.

Next week mom, sis and I will spend 5 days at a small boutique hotel near Cesme, Izmir. I have purchased this mini vacation back in January and it is already paid for.

I also have my 30th High School reunion coming up in May. I will be spending two days at a luxury resort with about 130 old school mates. This is only a small fraction of the Class of 84. For two nights, it is a pricey get together but, the money is already in my account to spend. Besides, I purchased a deeply discounted dress way back in January. I just hope, it will look good on me because anticipating that I would lose more weight, I had bought a smaller size. Yeah right! I am going to wear my go to kitten heel suede shoes for such occasions and my black night purse. I have bought costume jewelry to match the dress but now, I am thinking of wearing my mother of pearl earrings and the matching ring with tiny diamonds. Not decided on that one yet.

Tonight I am headed to Ankara for two days of extensive workshops. On Saturday, I will be driving down to Izmir and hopefully relax for a week. The week of May 12th is a mystery. I will find out about my program by the end of this week hopefully.

Gotta go now...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Was I a mobster in a past life?

Although I do not believe in reincarnation, sometimes I suspect that I might have been related to an American crime family in a past life. I like movies, books, biographies, documentaries about the American Mafia. I do not why but I am so drawn to these stories.

I am a law abiding citizen and I am afraid to sin so, I just cannot put my finger on the reason why I love anything and everything related with mobsters. As I am typing this I am watching a documentary about the Franzese family.

I have watched the "Godfather Trilogy" and Donnie Brasco countless times, read many books about the famous five families (Bonanno,Luchesse, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese), and watched many other movies as I came across them.

Interesting huh?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Language or Culture?

I am a Turkish National with a Vulcan nick name from Star Trek because I do feel like an alien in this world sometimes...

I started learning English when I was 11 at a private school, attending a prep class with 28 hours of English per week and then I moved on to secondary school and high school as they used to call them and I had 12 hour English Language Classes along with Physics, Math, Biology and Chemistry in English. Then I attended Middle East Technical University where the entire education was in English.

I spent a little over three years in the US, back in the early 90's in NY and, that brushed up my language abilities as well. A lot of people Turkish and foreign, say that I do sound like an American although, I personally do not think so. May be a little.

Anyway, I have some blogger friends that I follow regularly and whenever I want to post a comment about certain situations I have a tough time wording my thoughts. I used to think that was a language issue but now I am inclined to think it is more of a culture issue.

Let me explain myself with an example: Someone posts pictures of an adorable baby and I want to say something like "May God give her a long and prosperous life"or "I hope her fortune will be good/nice/clear/happy" or "I wish she never crosses paths with bad people/bad influence" but these are really not things that the English speaking world use. It is mostly in my culture to say things like these.

I feel stupid because I cannot express myself in these situations well enough. Strange...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Just got a new tenant!

The real estate agent called me today to tell me that a couple(both working) decided to rent my apartment. I had to discount the rent a little bit but the important thing is that they pay regularly and on time. Tomorrow I get paid my first rent. Nice!

I am sooooo glad. The whole rent money is going to my retirement account from now on and since the payments on this rental apartment will be gone come next month, I feel very relieved.

A cookie and a cup of tea to celebrate!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cheap and effective oven cleaner...

I had been ignoring my oven for a very loooong time. Such a loooong time that I am ashamed to tell how long.

Anyway, I decided to look online for an effective cleaning product that would take years of yuck out. It looks like there are pretty good and very chemical alternatives out there. I was searching for a safer and environmentally better alternative and  I found this on YouTube Video. Although there is dish washing detergent (which I have by the ton) in it, I think this is a more environmentally sound alternative. I even took the oven door out just like she shows. Yay me! Thanks to the lady who posted this.

During the last few months, whenever I put something in the oven a bad fume was coming out and I was thinking of getting a new oven. I checked the prices and they are nowhere near my budget. Besides, I am thinking of renovating my kitchen in a few years.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Next time I am using my brain

I have mentioned that I like deals and that I hoard TP but moving the detergent around and grouping them showed me that I was probably scoring "dealls" without thinking or planning. Thus, without the use of my gray matter.

Here is what I have:

Fabric softener: Got enough to last at least 18 months. I do not use it for every load.
Dish washing Liquid: Got enough to last at least 2 years!? What was I thinking?
Liquid Detergent for colors, All Purpose Cleaner, Dish washing tablets, Shower Gel: Got enough to last at least 1 full year if not more.

Detergent shopping freeze is in effect until further notice! And THIS IS AN ORDER T'POL!

Friday, April 11, 2014

One place for everything

Before my business trip, as I was looking for something at home, I have realized that I have too much detergent of certain kinds. I probably have more than a year's worth of stain remover. Same thing goes for color safe detergent. The problem is that I store these things in three different places and whenever I score a real deal, I buy this stuff without checking my inventory.

I am thinking of moving all laundry detergent to the balcony and the dish washing detergents and other cleaners  under the sink. Gotta go and do that right away...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Heading Home

After an intensive 3-day work week, I am headed home tonight. I need lots of rest. I also know that there are quite a few house chores to take care of. Sigh...

I still can't fly and these trips are tiring me down and jeopardizing my sleep patterns. I am not complaining though because I need the money.

In May, I am having a 5-day vacation with Mom, Sis and BIL all paid way back in January. Breakfasts are included bu,t the lunches and dinners have to be out of pocket along with gas money. I have already budgeted for these and set aside the required money.

I am also going to my 30th High School re-union in May in Antalya. It is a very expensive two-day trip but, it is an important celebration and I have fond memories of High School. The cost is already budgeted as well.

I rarely splurge large amounts on a whim. I carefully plan my vacations, take advantage of early reservation promotions and opt for reasonable accommodations.

I do not have much planned for the summer because summer is the best time in Istanbul. Many people go on vacations and the city becomes somewhat more livable. I may take mom to Chios for a few days. I enjoyed the island very much last year and would like to spend more time to explore it further.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Once debt is gone...

My rental property debt will be gone come May 5th. I will be literally debt free but that does not mean that money is not going to be tight this year. Unfortunately my part-time work will be decreasing as I am told. There has not been a new proposal given to a prospective customer since the beginning of the year. All we have are the current customers and that may not be enough. So, I have tweaked my budget carefully and things do not look terrible, however, I will be extra careful and try to sock away the same amount of money each month as if I will still be paying the debt on the rental property.

I still do not have a new tenant. Once a new tenant moves in, I will be diverting that income to my retirement income.

I am looking at different types of saving accounts offered by my bank. I think, I will set up a 5 year saving account in USDs. I must set it up with a minimum of USD 500 and I must add a minimum of USD 50 per month. The interest rate is 2.60. I do have a USD savings account but this one will force me to put aside some money every month as if I am paying down debt. The question is how much money should I put in that account every month.

I will put the remaining amount that I will be saving in a savings account for easy access in case of an emergency or in case I need to supplement a given month's income.

I am also contemplating to look around for a new job. May be I should network a little bit to see what may be out there. In another post I will discuss my current arrangement and how it is tying me down in some respects so, that may be you guys can suggest a different approach.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Which debt to pay first?

Knowing my interest in personal finance, a young man recently told me that he had a few debts that he is committed to get rid of. He had been checking some PF sites and got confused as to which one he should focus on first.
I told him that if I were him, I would get rid of the most expensive debt first. Paying a high interest is like shoveling money out the door. Some finance gurus tell you to get rid of the smallest debt regardless of the interest rate but I personally do not agree with them.

I am a debt hater. If and when I have debt I feel like someone is choking me. I keep checking my numbers constantly and worry about lots of unlikely scenarios that would keep from paying it down.

To this day, I only borrowed money to buy apartments; my current residence and my rental property. I never took out a loan to buy a car. I was lucky to drive a company car for over 10 years but that is no longer an option being half-retired. My car is a 2010 Nissan Note at 94,000 Km. I hope to be able to drive this car until the end of 2018 if not more.

I must start a car fund as soon as my rental property debt is gone next month. When it is time to get a new car, I would like to have the cash available.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stupid bank! and food for the weekend

My stupid bank does not let me make my last payment on the rental apartment early. The payment is automatically set to be made on May 5th and I wanted to pay it up a month in advance just to feel good since I have the money available. However the pop-up message is telling me that the last payment can be made early only through the specific branch that issued the credit. Now, that branch is in Ankara and my BIL no longer works there. So, I will have to wait until the automated payment to go through on May 5th to declare myself officially debt free.

Well, not a big deal really...

Today I am home so, this is a no spend day for me. I think I will be home tomorrow as well.

Here is a list of what I will be eating off the freezers and the pantry this weekend:

Baked green peppers with garlic yogurt (today's lunch)

Half a simit (something similar to a sesame bagel) and a small cup of ice-cream (afternoon snack)

Stuffed eggplant and rice (dinner tonight)

An orange (snack)

Egg and cheese on a bun (breakfast tomorrow)

Stuffed eggplants and yogurt (lunch tomorrow)

Apple and crackers (afternoon snack tomorrow)

Chili and rice (dinner tomorrow)

On Monday I am leaving for Izmir to return early Thursday morning.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tally of expenses today...

Today I had been stupid. I let my mind wander when I was driving and missed exits twice. Then I drove by the tire dealer and passed it so I had to sit in traffic to go back there. I wasted precious gas today. So, I was stupid...

Anyway, today I had errands to run. First, I went to the dealer to get the winter tires off and the regular tires on. Then I went to get my TSH checked. After that I went to have the blown headlight lamp changed. I came home and craved something sweet so I walked to the grocery store and bought some wafers, chocolate pudding and ice-cream and no, I did not eat them all.

Here is a tally of what I spent today:

Tire Change and storage of winter tires for 6 months:120 TL
TSH Test: 65 TL
Headlight fix: 25 TL
Sweet stuff: 13 TL
Gas: 100 TL (Half a tank)

Total: 323 TL roughly USD 150

I am glad I spent the money to get my TSH checked because couple of weeks ago I had that checked and got a real bad result so I was worried and I made an appointment with an endocrinologist which was going to be a very expensive visit. Then I thought about my last visit to a specialist and suspected the result. (My thyroid had been treated with radiation and it has stopped working for good and the dose of the synthetic thyroid I had been taking has helped me maintain a very stable TSH level for a long time so there was no way, that result could have happened).So, I had another test performed and voila! my test was normal. Looking at the number I realized that the previous place made a decimal mistake which is a big mistake. Never going back there again!

Tomorrow I am canceling the appointment. Soooo happy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Net Worth

My Net Worth was slowly but surely declining during the last 6-7 months due to trouble in the Turkish Stock Market and due to a very slow December workwise.

This month however, I am happy to notice that there is a small positive move upwards. Yay me! This year is going to be tough with very small breathing room if at all.

There is no sign of a new tenant. Whenever I call the real estate agent, he tells me he is showing the apartment but, so far there is no tenant. I think I should tell him that I will take the apartment off the market if there are no serious opportunities. I cannot sell this property before May 2016 due to tax reasons. Every month it costs me about USD 60-70. Bah humbug!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's official: I am a hoarder of...

Hello my name is T'pol. I am a hoarder. I hoard toilet paper.

While I was at home back in Istanbul, I realized that I would need TP some time in two months. So, I started looking for good deals and I scored a 32 roll pack, brought it home. Then I forgot about it.

Yesterday, I walked in a grocery store by my sister's home and I saw TP on sale at a real good price so, I grabbed a 32 roll pack. I popped the trunk to put the pack only to realize that there were already three 24 roll-packs in there. At that moment I realized that I had bought those at least 6 weeks ago and since I had not taken the car back to Istanbul, they kept sitting in the car.

Now: How long will 136+ TP rolls will last me? Especially given that I spend very little time at home due to projects.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Need to spend more time at home!

I miss my home... Since I had to work in Ankara last week and since I need to work here next week, I stayed in Ankara. Monday-Tuesday I will be working in Ankara, and may be Wednesday-Thursday in Izmir but, there are no hotel rooms available in Izmir due to a Marble Event. Although it will be tiring I was hoping to work four days next week but the marble thing will likely require it to be postponed. We'll see.

I am looking forward to spending more time in Istanbul. After April 15th, mom is determined to come to Istanbul with me because, she wants to re-focus on our diet program. Between May 5th and 10th, we have a mini vacation together. After that she will most likely spend a long time with me until August. In August she will have her apartment painted. I love mom and like to spend time with her but I also miss my solitude. I know our days ahead are far shorter than the ones behind so I am kind of torn between wanting to be alone and spending time with her and this makes me feel angry with myself. After all what can be more important than mom?