Friday, January 31, 2014

Heading Home..

I am heading home tonight just for one night. On Sunday, I must go back to Ankara and spend the week there. I shall be working 4 days out of 5 which is a good thing. The week after next, I shall be traveling again between three cities.

Tomorrow, I will need to do laundry, run the vacuum cleaner, dust a bit and then hit the shower and go out at night. So, a crazy busy day is awaiting for me at home.

Gotta go now... I hope everyone has a nice, fun weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fish Prices

A blogger friend of mine wondered about the fresh fish prices I have talked about in my previous post so, here is what the current prices are and what I think is appropriate:


                                          Current               My Buying Price
Sea Bass (Levrek)                USD 10/ea       USD 5-8./ea
Sea Bream (Cupra)               USD 10/ea       USD 5-8/ea
BlueFish (Lufer)                   USD 16/ea       USD 6-9/ea
Mackerel (Istavrit)                USD 6/kg.        USD 3-5/kg.
Bonito (Palamut)                  USD 14/ea.      USD 5-8/ea  (This one is not in season currently, that is why it is expensive)

The above are my favorite fish but there are many others I like. One fish usually means at least a pound (454 grams), mostly more. None of the above are farmed fish. Farmed fish is inexpensive but not very healthy. Besides the farms are corrupting our seas so, I prefer not to buy farmed fish.

I almost always broil the first three types of fish. I cook the mackerels in a non-stick pan with very little oil. Bonito is not very tasty if you broil it so, I saute lots of onions and tomatoes in a wok and then put in the sliced fish and cook it over stove top with a lid on.

I try having fish two to three days a week in season when the prices are good. Fresh is the best but, after April, frozen fish is the only option.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Food and Energy Costs

I love cooking things in the oven. I think, they come out much tastier as opposed to other methods of cooking. However, electricity is expensive and today I realized that my electricity bill is much higher than usual this month. Then, I remembered that turkey which required 7 hours of roasting time, and all those things I baked for the New Year dinner. Taste comes at a price for sure:)

I have my freezers stuffed with pre-cooked meals so, I decided I should eat off the freezers for a while to decrease my electricity bill next month. I re-heat the pre-made stuff over my gas stove and it is much much cheaper. When I am cooking, I usually use my pressure cooker which also saves time and energy.

I usually start stocking up on fresh fish in January because fish hunting period ends in April till September and fish is fresh and inexpensive in the winter. However, this year the weather was unusually warm up until this week so, fish supply is limited and fish is expensive. We are also alarmed about a possible draught this year which is a very bad news. Hopefully the weather will turn cold and bring in some much needed snow. This way, I can stock up on fish soon. Eating out of the freezers is a very good idea at this point to make room for the fish. Last year I bought around 30 pounds of fish and it provided a nice variety in my meal plans.

My gas stove uses very little energy especially because I use the pressure cooker so often. Too bad turkey doesn't taste as great when cooked in a pressure cooker. Besides a whole bird will never fit in it.

I am away from home today and tomorrow so, I will be eating out tonight. Mom is at my apartment and she is enjoying the pre-made meals which she contributed to making.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Signs of Aging

This past 6 months my period has been out of whack and I had been put on a medication for a while. Also, I have been nearsighted for the last 39 years but, this year I also started having trouble reading with my prescription glasses.

My energy level is still OK which I attribute to my healthy eating habits and diet but I have some small aches and pains for no good reason from time to time.

Also, I think time is passing faster than ever.

I think all of the above are signs of aging. After all, I shall be 47 going on 48 in June.

I like my life as it is. I have a real small family but, a great circle of friends. I live in a great city, have a nice place to live, enough money to be content with. Sometimes aging freaks me out but, in general I think I am happy. This is a good thing, right?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Drying Racks and Lines

I have never owned a dryer, nor did mom. They became available late 90s in this country and they were expensive. Many people did not have enough space at their homes. Stackable models came out but they were really expensive so dryers never became popular as they are in the US. Although I have the funds to afford one now, I do not have the space.

While I lived in the US early 90s, I thought they were the best thing ever. I basically owned two sets of sheets and only a few towels for the three years I lived there. Now I own way too many of those but for different reasons:) I admit, I have a thing for sheets and towels.

When we were kids, since mom was working, she would often do the laundry during the weekend. There would be loads of laundry that would need to dry. In the summer time she used lines in our big balconies but, during the winter everything needed to be hung indoors. Mom is a creative woman so, all over the apartment there would be lines/ropes which I could not even imagine where they were tied to. She would yell at us to stay away from the fresh laundry which was pretty much impossible.

Drying racks became popular early 90s and they were affordable and foldable so, space was not an issue. I have always owned a drying rack. I do laundry any day during the week so, my rack is sufficient. However, couple of weeks ago I ignored the laundry a bit and I was busy so, mom decided to help with it. I don't know where she found the rope but, I realized that she put it up all over the small apartment that I have. It was as if I was 10 again. She kept yelling at me to stay away from the fresh laundry:) Good times...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: I looked at my wardrobe and discovered that many pants that I was unable to wear in the past, since they were too snug, now fit me well. However most are casual pants and one work pair was faded so, I just bought a pair of black pants size 22 from Evans (20 US). It was 60% off. I was wearing 26 last year. So; YAY me!

The Bad: I think I have hit a plateau and I am unable to lose weight nowadays. I am going to weigh in on Wednesday and we shall see. My motivation is somewhat down, too.

The Ugly: Some of my old pants are falling off and they really look ugly on me. Sooooo, I am washing them and putting them away for donations.

My goal is to become a size 16 UK (14 US)


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grocery Store

Yesterday I went to a meeting and coming back home I hit traffic. Think 8 miles in an hour and a half! According to our diet list, it was a white meat and salad night so I decided to take mom out to IKEA. Their food is decent, not great but inexpensive and diet appropriate. After dinner we decided to go into the nearby grocery store to look at the discount isles. Here is a tally of what I got:

2 drain cleaners
2 toothbrushes
Regular dishwasher detergent (small pack so that I can use up the catalyst at home. I now use the all in one tablets)
Dishwasher cleaner
Pocket Tissue 2 x 10 packs
4 pairs of knee high nylons for mom
2 boxes of hair dye for mom
2 x 28 packs of panty liners
2 pounds of turkey wings
2 packages of linguini
all for about 32 USD

I have vacuumed the bedrooms and I will cook the turkey I bought yesterday. I need to prepare a presentation for next week. So, off I go!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Time to hit the road again

I started working with a new customer in Istanbul last week but, that might turn out to be a short assignment. Different sector, different client profile.

Tomorrow, I will be going to Izmir to my other client for two days. These trips are tiring but, I have no complaints. I wouldn't mind averaging 14-15 days a month for the next 6 months or so. That would help me build a sweet cash cushion. A third client would be great so, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

There is no news from the real estate broker yet. No January rent from the tenant either. Tomorrow I am going to give the broker a call. He is probably not checking his e-mail regularly. An old fashioned guy...

I better go pack my bag to avoid rushing in the morning.

Toilet Paper Disappointment

Whatever you imagined when you read the heading, it is not like that:)

Today, I saw an unbelievable price on TP and I grabbed two 32 packs but alas!, at the self-checkout, I realized that the price was not what it was marked so, I asked for help. It turned out that there was a marking error. Now, if we were in the US, they would give me the products at the marked price as a courtesy. Not in this country... So, I left both packs there. I really do not need TP for a while but the price was so good, I wanted to stock up on it. Oh well...

I bought the following for about USD 30.

1 lt. EVOO (for salads)
2 lt. Virgin Olive Oil (for cooking)
1 dozen free range eggs
1 kg. carrots
2 packs of baking paper
3 lt. milk
100 count tea bags

The fridge and the freezer are well stocked so, I guess there will be no more grocery shopping with the exception of some veggies this week.  The oils will last well over three months since I have some at home too. The eggs and the carrots will last for two weeks because, we eat them occasionally based on our diet lists. The baking paper will probably last till next year since I bake only during the winter months. The milk will probably last for two weeks. The tea bags will last more than 6 months because I brew tea and do not like the bagged stuff. It is just a convenience for when mom and I feel lazy.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rental Property Decision

I have done some research and evaluated my options and have decided that, renting the apartment is a better choice than selling it due to some regulations in this country. Selling the apartment before 5 years have some tax ramifications which I do not like to deal with.

I have e-mailed the broker about my decision and asked him a few questions.

Making a decision is comforting. Now all I have to do is wait.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My tenant is moving out...

I have a rental property in Ankara, a 2 bedroom apartment which will be paid for in full in May 2014. The rent was part of my regular passive income.

Apparently, when the tenant decided to move out, he decided to call the real estate broker instead of calling me so, I got this news from the broker. He thinks we may have a better chance in selling the apartment now that it will be vacant. I have mixed feelings about selling the apartment. Although I do not like to deal with a tenant and be concerned about whether the rent will be paid on time or not, real estate is real estate.

What will I do with the money if it is sold? Should I buy another property elsewhere or should I just invest it? If I invest it, will the return on investment be worthwhile? Should I find another tenant?

I am no longer able to earn as much as I used to so, it is not likely that in a few years I would be able to invest in a property at a better location.

Hmmmm... What to do? What to do?