Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Hope 2017 will be a year for humanity to take a turn for the better...


HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cannot believe how fast!

I have no idea why time passes by so fast as I age. Weeks go by without me even noticing and the end of 2016 is right here.

In June 2017, I will be 50. Say what?

As a child, I was hoping that the world would have been a much more modern place with the effects of religion minimized, peace and technology prevailing in the world. I used to believe, human kind would be building star ships and exploring the universe. (Yeah! I am a Trekkie!).

Alas! I could not be more wrong. The world has not become what I expected.

Very bummed about wars, terrorism, hunger, abuse of natural resources...

I think humans are like viruses and cannot help but think, we should be wiped out of earth so that the earth can be a hospitable place for other species.




Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Lazy Weekend

I had breakfast with two former colleagues and good friends on Saturday. One lives in Istanbul, the other was visiting. It was nice to catch up with each other.

After breakfast, the visiting friend and I went shopping. Her son is a busy young man and is also working on his Master's Degree so, having no time for shopping, he had asked his mom to get him a couple of shirts for work. I helped my friend pick the shirts. When it comes to men's fashion, I am pretty good.

I did some shopping too and after we were done, I dropped my friend at the Metro station and headed home. The rest of the weekend, I did absolutely nothing other than preparing myself food, coffee and tea. I rested and took it extremely easy.

I should have taken care of some much needed tasks but just did not feel like doing them.

I guess the best part of living alone is that, one has absolutely no obligations around the home. It is my life, my schedule, my budget... I am thankful that I have the skills, means and health to be able to make my own life. I hope never to be dependent on others even in old age. Amen!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Adult Coloring Books

I have been thinking of buying an adult coloring book since I have heard that they were quiet stress relieving.

Yesterday night I went to a big bookshop and chose a coloring book, a set of 24 coloring pencils and a pencil sharpener.

Since I had a book to finish, I did not start coloring last night but I think it should be a fun activity especially for weeknights. I do not have a TV in the studio. I sometimes watch Netflix on my cell phone but mostly read. Just finished a novel; I Can't Begin To Tell You, about the Danish Resistance and British Intelligence during World War II.

I have always been fascinated by WWII stories and documentaries. The heroism, underground resistance, bold and brave military personnel, the horrid conditions under which people make do with what little they have...


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Papers coming out of my ears!

Over the last two weekends, I attacked every file, every organizer, every drawer and every purse at home to sort out the papers, receipts, documents no longer needed. I filled 3 BIG TRASH BAGS!

My God! When did that happen? How did I accumulate so much paper?

I have sorted through everything I had and made new folders to keep the necessary documents. Feeling. So. Much. Better!

It was an overwhelming task. I hope, I will never let that much paper accumulate again.

Today, when I came to work, I have realized that my desk was also very cluttered too! So, while I was in the mood, I took care of that as well. never knew how satisfying these stupid tasks would be.

May be, it is time to attack my wardrobe and shoes some time before the year is up. That task has been neglected for so long that I do not even remember when was the last time I had everything sorted out.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Many uses of Flannel Pajamas and the memories associated with it

The other day I was thinking about my grandma on my mom's side. I loved her more than anyone in my family. Literally, more than even my parents.

She was a very frugal person since she always had a small budget to work with. She had lost her father when she was just two months old and never had extra money to spend on wants. She always had to operate on a modest budget from one income raising three children after she got married.

She never purchased ready pajama sets up until she could no longer sew. She would buy flannel pajama fabric in bulk and would sew both my grandfather and my uncle their pajamas for winter and would use a lightweight cotton fabric for summer pajamas. They never had more than two pairs of pajamas for any season because they did not NEED more. When one set was washed, the other would be worn.

When the pajamas started getting old, she would cut them up to use as rags for various cleaning jobs and would tear parts of the pajamas into strips to tie beanstalks and tomato vines.

She would always salvage the buttons and zippers to use them again on other sewing projects.

Despite being so frugal, she was no hoarder. She never owned more than necessary and never had to throw out excess which did not exist.

She sundried apricots, plums, zucchinis, bell peppers and made her own jams from her bountiful garden, made pickled grape leaves to stuff. She knew her prices and would not spend more money for out of season produce.

She was both a great cook and a great baker. She did not like housework but would do it impeccably and be done with it early in the morning so that she could have time for knitting or reading. Was an avid reader.

We had a great routine when I was little. After lunch, she would listen to the news broadcast at 1 p.m. and then we would nap. We would read or do some art projects together until 4 p.m. to have our tea and while we had tea, we listened to children's plays adapted for radio. After that, we would head out to the playground and wait for my grandpa to come back from work and do some gardening before dinner.

Life was simple, enjoyable and full of love. I had the best grandparents ever...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

It is almost that time of the year!

In my country there is quiet a bit of economic turbulence so, it is difficult to know what next year will bring. However, that does not stop me from making a yearly budget and plan my savings.

How do I make my budget? I have a spreadsheet. Each month is a column and each row is either an income or an expense. I group the incomes on top of my columns. Each income ends up in a separate bank account so the rows are named in accordance with those banks. I also group the expenses in accordance with which banks they are on automated payment. This way, I can see at a glance whether I have enough money in a specific account for each expense.

My income sources are: Social Security, Rent and current job.

My expenses are:
Mortgage payment for apartment #3
Rent for the Studio apartment I reside in during the week
Debt taken over from a family member
Electricity, Heat, Water, Administration (Rented Apartment + Main Residence)
Insurance (Apartments 1,2 and 3 plus car)
Cell Phone (mine and mom's)
Cable TV (mine and mom's)
Taxes
Vacation
Credit Cards (2)
Miscellaneous
Savings
Car Maintenance
Home Maintenance
Personal Retirement Fund

In order to save for the future, I have a Turkish Lira Savings account, a USD saving account, a gold savings account and a Personal retirement fund along with a very small stock market portfolio. Oh and a few gold coins that I keep in a safe. All of them constitute my investment basket.

Each month I allocate funds over several investment categories. This morning I bought 7 grams of gold with some leftover money in one of my accounts. Come January, I will be depositing a large sum to my Personal Retirement Fund so that I get the 25% match from the Government sooner than later. I take that very seriously because who gives you 25% interest these days even for a limited amount of money?

The interest rate on TL is 10-11% and the interest rate on USD is 2.50% over here. So, when the Government matches my Personal Retirement Fund investment by 25%, it is practically a very high interest that money generates within a month.

The tricky item for next year is my vacation time. My boss is relocating overseas and I was hoping to give myself a nice vacation in the United States for my 50th birthday in June. I cannot be gone for very long when he is not here. So we will see what we will do about that.

I start making my budget usually by the end of November and keep tweaking it till the end of the year. This year I will have a very small amount of money allocated for house maintenance. I am planning something major in 2018 or may be even 2019.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jewelry to be worn, not to be left in a safe!

Last weekend, my sister and BIL came to visit me. They had bought me a gold bracelet which did not fit me properly. My sister took it back to get it fixed.

We started talking about the nice and real jewelry we have which are always kept in safes and almost never worn. I am unmarried and do not have kids. She is married with no kids. We laughed at ourselves for not wearing our good jewelry for fear of losing them. Yes, me may lose them but so what? What are they waiting for in safes if they are not going to be worn?

I do not have a whole lot of expensive jewelry. Today, I am wearing my ring with sapphires and diamonds. I keep looking at my hand and admiring my ring. Here is a picture but it doesn't do the ring justice since it is really sparkly. My hands used to be nicer but now, they are showing my age.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Frugal Solutions

This weekend, after looking at various options to place the small music set in my studio apartment, I had an "A-ha!" moment. It was temporarily sitting on a ladder I use for cleaning top shelves and high places that I cannot reach. The ladder needed to go back to my master residence last weekend and the music set had to be taken off. So, during the weekend I decided to look for an inexpensive solution to accommodate it.

I looked at several things to decide whether they would be worth the purchase and whether they could be used in the future. However, I could not find anything that met the specs. Then, it hit me! I could certainly move the 3 drawer chest to the opposing wall, put the music set on top of it and use a small folding coffee table that I had at home as a nightstand. I use the coffee table all the time when I am actually living in my master residence but as you may remember, I spend most of my days in the Studio close to my work. I was using the chest as a nightstand but it was too high anyway.

So, I left the store with a stupid but proud grin and went home.

My mother's old washing machine is hopefully going to make it's way to the studio this week. So, I will not have to haul laundry back and forth every week. The cost? Nothing. My company is sending a truck to take care of business in Ankara and on the way back it will have more than enough room to bring it back. I have been waiting quiet a while but it was worth it. I was not in immediate need of a machine and it wasn't costing me anything extra.

There are aspects of my life which may not be frugal by most standards but, everything in life is a trade-off. I am spending money on the studio to save time and sanity. I am spending money on ready-made diet meals to lose weight and save my health.

These things do not tempt me to spend money on unnecessary stuff. I am always on the lookout for frugal ways. This way, I can save money, give to others and still enjoy life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Closeout Sales

One of my go to chain stores decided to quit Turkey and sold it's stores. They offered sensibly priced Plus size clothing. So, I am especially upset.

The shops will remain open till the end of November. I try to look at every store that comes my way before it closes. I have discovered that all stores carry some merchandise another one may not carry. I have already bought over a dozen tops. I am just hoping to find some pants. Even two pairs would help my winter work wardrobe but, I am not optimistic. Everything is half off so, it really is a good deal but the selection is becoming poorer by the day.

Tomorrow, I am going to Ankara and there are a couple of stores for me to check-out. While, I am in Ankara, I would like to check out another plus size store which is very inconveniently located.

I am tall so, not only the size but the length of the trousers are a problem too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

How do you stop giving gifts?

I have a rather small family. Including my sister's in-laws, we are a family of 10. Not all of us exchange gifts either but gift giving has become a hassle during the last few years.

When I travel to the US, I buy gifts for everyone but when it comes to Birthdays and the New Year, it is mom, sis, BIL and I who exchange gifts. Truth be told, none of us need anything. This year, I bought a watch for my sis which she did not need and took mom to Italy for their respective birthdays and will be giving a gold coin to my BIL. Gold coins are a popular gift/investment in this country.

My mom gives gold coins to all of us but I think she is tired of doing even that.

My sister is pretty terrible in gift giving. Last year she gave me a silver ring which I never wore because, it is really not my kind of ring and this year she gave me another silver ring which had a problem so that she needed to return to the store and I did not receive the replacement yet. She is trying but, buying gifts is not her thing. Some people are like that so, I am not criticizing her. My dad was a great gift buyer and so am I. Mom and sis? Not so much.

Mom recently declared that we should stop giving gifts. To celebrate birthdays, we will only go out to dinner and be done with it.

I am fine with this decision. I am sure when I go to the US, I will buy gifts for everyone but, that is my thing. I never expect anything in return. Whenever I am shopping, I come across things that they would like or need and I get them. I do not go out of my way for gift shopping. So, this works for me.

I am so happy that after this last gold coin gift, I will be done with this. Yay!

I also belong to a group of friends that play Secret Santa for the New Year. I think, everyone dreads picking a gift for me because I am overweight. It is next to impossible for them to find a clothing item. Even I have trouble finding clothes so I cannot blame them. I keep getting real nice, good quality shawls and scarves each year. This year I must tell them in advance that I do not need anything in black or gray. Shades of blue and green or a rich burgundy are all welcome :)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Walking Distance!

Last night, I walked to the Studio apartment from work. It took me 34 minutes and 3047 steps. A total of 2.2 km. Well, my back hurt, I was cold and I had to stop to take a break twice! It wouldn't take 34 minutes if I didn't stop.

Today, I called a colleague and told her that I was heading to work and as she was passing by she could stop to get me. I walked more than half of the distance without stopping by the time she came by to get me. So, YAY ME!

I am planning to walk to and from work at least three days next week. I will up my distance slowly since I do not want to overdo this and cause an injury.

I realized that I am in real bad shape. It is not just the weight. I must be able to walk for a full hour without stopping before I start any other form of exercise.

Over the weekend, I am planning to walk too. I have become way too lazy.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Such a Blast!

I've had the best of time during the last four days at my High School Reunion. The resort was amazing, the food, the service were superb but most of all, it was such a great time with my old friends.

We spent the days at the beach and the nights having lots of fun.

I also took the opportunity to relax. I did not touch desserts and drank very little. The sea was a bit wavy but I still went in. The pools were gorgeous and I also had some Spa time.

I came home in the afternoon and decided to take a nap and slept for three and a half hours! At the moment as I post this, the washing machine is on serious duty.

Beautiful people, wonderful time! I am so glad I went. It was totally worth it.

It is time to go back to work and real life...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

High School Re-Union

Tomorrow and on Friday, I am off. There is a 4-day High School re-union at a resort hotel down south on the Mediterranean.

About 140-160 people will be attending. I am just hoping that the weather will be nice enough to spend time on the beach. 

This trip has been paid for months ago and the plane ticket was really very inexpensive. The hotel is an all-inclusive type of place and my only out-of-pocket expenses will be parking at the airport and may be a few extra drinks or something.

I am looking forward to this not only because I will be seeing my old friends but that, it is an opportunity to relax a little as well.

This will be the last trip/small vacation I will be taking this year. 

I was not a popular kid at school but had enough friends and High School was a pleasant experience in my memories. No traumas or anything....

I got to know more people during these re-unions and made friends with them. It is always nice to get together and chat, share a few drinks and laugh a lot. In the past we used to have a formal night but not this time. I rebelled against formal dresses and most of the guys agreed with me. So, I am wearing a pair of jeans, sneakers and a nice top for the Gala Dinner. I may put on a little make-up but that's all. I no longer care about impressing other people. whatever makes me feel good, I do it. Fitting in is not an absolute necessity. I can be different and I am comfortable with that.

Some friends of mine never bring bathing suits because they are fat. I am fatter and yet I love the beach and spending time in the water. I refuse to be judged by other people about my looks and I refuse to avoid something that gives me pleasure just because others may not like it.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Number Crunching...

As we are approaching the end of the year, I decided to look at my savings goals for the year.

I did not like what I saw since, I will not be able to meet my savings goal. Here are the major reasons:

1. I have decided to step in and help a family member and I gifted the money.
2. I have budgeted for a lower cost, in-country vacation but decided to take mom to Italy for her birthday.
3. I went to the US for a business trip and spent some money on shopping which was not budgeted.

I was a bit bummed about this but then I remembered to check my numbers by December 2015 and was surprised to find out that by the end of the year I will have increased my savings by 67%! Now, that is a great achievement.

I will plan more carefully for next year factoring in some unexpected expenses. I should have a miscellaneous category in my budget.

Still it is too soon to be thinking about the end of the year so, I will just focus on spending wisely. May be I can make up for a little bit of the gap between my goal and my end of year outlook.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pictures from our Italy trip!

I am not good with picture taking. But here are some I took during our trip:

 Our tiny rental car. Isn't it cute?

Lake Maggiore


Lake Como

Verona

Torino

Lake Garda (I think!)

Verona


Monday, September 5, 2016

Crazy vacation in Italy!

Mom and I went to Milan for an 8-day trip. We rented a cute Fiat 500 to roam around Milan. It was extremely tiring since I had to do all the driving but, also a great vacation in many ways.

We landed in Milan on a Friday afternoon and got our car and headed towards our hotel. After check-in, we decided to have dinner somewhere in Milan and get a feel for the city.

On Saturday, we went to Lake Maggiore and drove on one shore up to the Swiss border. It was absolutely breathtaking. We stopped at many little towns to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

On Sunday, we visited Lake Como and went to Bellagio with a car ferry. It was also stunning but also very crowded. Como is the "in" place where many famous people own houses. We took a ride up the mountain and saw more spectacular views and took an alternative route back to Milan driving by farms and cheese factories.

On Monday, we drove to Genoa and it's shore a little bit but were less than impressed. I think, we could have skipped Genoa. On the way back, we had dinner in Torino and totally fell in love with that city. It was absolutely very green and beautiful. If I had to live in Italy, that would be the city I would love to live. That was a fun day since we literally had breakfast in Milan, lunch in Genoa and dinner in Torino. I am very much used to driving in a very congested city but, the Italians drive like crazy on the Autostrada (Highway). They drive way past the speed limit.

Tuesday, I did not feel like doing anything. We slept in until noon and then strolled around a mall. Had dinner in Milan at a really nice place where the locals would go.

On Wednesday, we decided to go see Lake Iseo which we instantly fell in love with. I think Lake Como is highly overrated. If I could, I would own a place by Iseo. Such a beautiful and peaceful place. We drove all around it.

Thursday was the day we decided to take the Milan Sightseeing Tour. The Red Line was the best. The Blue and Green Lines were just OK . The Duomo Cathedral and the Castle Sforzesco were magnificent. We were totally exhausted mainly due to the hot and humid weather at the end of the day.

Friday was our last day of vacation so we went to Verona. Took the sightseeing tour there as well. Such a beautiful little city! I am so glad, we did that. It wasn't in our early plans. On the way back to Milan, we visited Lake Garda and had dinner by the Lake.

On Saturday, checked-out, went to the airport and got delayed nearly two hours due to the air traffic not over Milan but over Istanbul and by the time we reached home it was already 7 p.m.

Tried to take it easy on Sunday but there were loads of laundry and a lot of stuff to be put away and I think, I need a vacation to just RELAX.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Why spend money when it is not necessary?

I am planning to spend some money totally unnecessarily but it just feels right. How?

Well, the studio apartment I rented had a very old and filthy junk of a washing machine. Although I have a machine at my principal home, it is not easy or possible to carry the work clothes back and forth every week. So, a washing machine at the Studio is a necessity. I had initially thought of buying a very low end machine and splitting the cost of it with the landlord.

Then, I remembered that mom has an old machine that has very long cycles. She has been complaining about that for quiet a while now. I decided to ask her for her machine and offered to buy her a new one. I will shell out about 4 times as much money as compared to the above option but, this will make my mom happy. So why not?

I am a born saver and a budget maker. I make sure, I have some wiggle room in my budget for occasions like this because I like to make my family happy. I know for a fact that my mom will never purchase a new machine while the one she owns is still working. However, each time she needs to use this machine, she hates it. While I have the means for doing this, I would like to do it.

Now I am on the lookout for a fairly priced nice machine with short cycles. I will make every effort to score it at the best available price.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

How far are you from Financial Independence?

I keep asking myself  this question all the time. I came to a realization that, if it were only me, I would be able to answer that question much more comfortably.

However, I feel responsible regarding some members of my family and I think I should be prepared to help them if I have to. I have made many calculations and projections and came up with three scenarios.

Scenario Number 1: Retire in March 2018 at the age of 51 with some savings and a rental home. This can provide a very modest living with no possibility of travel outside of Turkey. With this scenario, I will not be able to help others if family emergencies come up as much as I would like. So, I really do not like this one and 51 is too soon to retire anyway. If this scenario becomes reality, I will probably have to look for some consultancy or training work like I used to have.

Scenario Number 2: Retire in March 2020 at the age of 53 with a good deal of savings and a rental home. This one will allow me to travel and help others if there is ever a need for that. So, this scenario is a good one.

Scenario Number 3: Retire in March 2023 at the age of 56. Now that is a comfortable living with money to spend, to share and even save. 56 is a good age to retire and I will not have to worry about whether I should get a part time job or not.

So, obviously I target the third option. However, it is not completely dependent on me. As much as I like my job and have no intention to leave it, I am not too sure if my job will be around for me till 2023. My boss wants to relocate to the US and he is looking to sell his business. I am sure the new owners will need me for a while but then what?

So, I am just hoping that I will be able to pull in the same level of salary till 2023 at this job or another so that, I can comfortably retire and feel safe.

Wonder what other people are making their estimations.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hot and Humid weekend filled with Pride and Prejudice

During the last two weeks, Istanbul has been too hot and humid. This week will not be much different I am afraid.

During the weekend I did loads and loads of laundry, folded them and ironed my shirts. That was all I could do. I did not dare going outside at all. My car needs to be washed desperately but, I could not do it. I tried to keep cool by jumping in the shower several times during the day.

I also watched the last three episodes of Pride and Prejudice, the BBC mini series online. While I was at it, I decided to also watch the movie version with Keira Knightley. I must say I like both Darcys the same. Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen were both excellent. I prefer Jennifer Ehle's Lizzie to the one portrayed by Keira Knightley. More sophisticated.

I was supposed to pull the kitchenware together to carry to the studio but that was not done. It was a mostly lazy weekend.


Friday, August 5, 2016

The Pool and What is Left To Do

The studio I have rented has an indoor and an outdoor pool. I usually find pools icky but I have checked it out. During the weekend the pool is a bit crowded. So, on Monday, they have a cleaning routine. I do not think the pool gets much use during the week. A couple of times I was there during the day, noone was using the pool.

So, I intend to use the pool after work during the week. I desperately need some exercise and swimming seems to be a good starting point. It is too hot to go out for walking these days anyway. I know the weather will turn after the first half of August. It always does. Once I build some muscles and when the weather is cooler, I will also start walking.

And here is a tally of what is accomplished and what is yet to be done:
 
- Get the motorized shutters fixed 
- Find a service company for the air conditioner DONE! The A/C is going to be fixed on Monday
- Put the wardrobe together DONE!
- Put the chest of drawers together DONE!
- Put the chair together DONE!

- Prepare the stuff to be moved to the studio

  • The spare kitchen table
  • Kitchenware
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Books waiting to be read:) 
  • Iron
I have spoken to the landlord and we agreed that I should buy an inexpensive washing machine and we share the cost. There are really low priced and decent machines so, I am glad we agreed on this.

Not much is left to be done. Once I put everything in place, I will share some pictures.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Weekend Aches and Pains

I have discovered some muscles I never thought I had over the weekend. Why? Because I am an impatient and stubborn person and decided to put together all the IKEA stuff myself.

It took me about three hours to put together the bed. I also semi-finished putting together the wardrobe because I am planing to stay there this week. The chest of drawers is still in the box.

What have I accomplished?

- Get the place cleaned DONE!
- Get the motorized shutters fixed
- Have the washing machine serviced NOT DONE! because it is not worth it. Will talk to the landlord about that.
- Find a service company for the air conditioner (I am afraid, it may bee too old and dead)
- Put the bed together DONE!
- Put the wardrobe together Half Done
- Put the chest of drawers together
- Put the chair together

- Prepare the stuff to be moved to the studio
  • The spare kitchen table
  • Two chairs and cushions Check!
  • Kitchenware
  • Paper products
  • Cleaning supplies Check!
  • Cooling Fan Check!
  • Tool Box Check!
  • Clothing Items Check
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Medicine Check!
  • Small sewing kit Check!
  • Books waiting to be read:) 
  • Iron
I am hoping to stay here and make do with what I already have. I can make a list of other necessities and bring them next weekend.


Friday, July 29, 2016

When one thinks it's easy when it's not...

When I rented the studio, I thought it would be rather easy to get it painted, cleaned and furnished with a few inexpensive items and that I would be done with it fairly quickly.

Not so....

I have already been to IKEA four times before I placed my order online. There are so many little things to take care of. Here is a tally:

- Sign the contract Done!
- Have duplicate keys made Done!
- Get the place painted Done!
- Take cleaning supplies and ladder to the studio
- Get the place cleaned
- Get the motorized shutters fixed
- Make an appointment with Siemens Service for the washing machine Done!
- Have the washing machine serviced
- Find a service company for the air conditioner (I am afraid, it may bee too old and dead)
- Buy a chair and other odds and ends from IKEA Done!
- Prepare the stuff to be moved to the studio

  • The spare kitchen table
  • Two chairs and cushions
  • Kitchenware
  • Paper products
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Cooling Fan
  • Tool Box
  • Clothing Items
  • First Aid Kit and Medicine
  • Small sewing kit
  • Books waiting to be read:)
  • ..............

Oh my...






Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Studio Apartment

I had the place painted and it will be cleaned on Saturday. I know that painting and cleaning are generally jobs one can tackle herself/himself but, here in this country it is still cheaper to have someone do it. I will do the cleaning myself from now on but the initial cleaning will be done by a cleaning lady.

I bought a Poang Chair from IKEA last night along with a small table top ironing board which you can hang in the wardrobe, cushions for the two chairs I am planning to move from home to the studio. I have a spare kitchen table that I will be taking to the studio along with a couple of other things.

I already have two vacuum cleaners so, one will definitely go to the new place. I can divide cleaning supplies and paper products between the two apartments without having to buy new stuff. I also have plenty of kitchenware that I can take to the new studio.

Today I ordered a really inexpensive bed frame, a firm mattress, a chest of drawers that I will also use as a nightstand and a small wardrobe from IKEA to be delivered. I will do the assembly myself since I am pretty good in that. There is a really old wall type air conditioner and I am guessing it needs to be serviced if it is working at all.

The washing machine needs to be serviced as well. Luckily all kitchen appliances are the same brand and I will need to call just one service company.

I do not know when IKEA will deliver my order but I am planning to move anything and everything that needs to be moved over the weekend.

This place has an indoor and an outdoor pool so I am really excited but first I need to find out the hygiene habits of the pool goers and the pool maintenance. What is more there is a new park very close to the studio with a good walking/running path. They have even lights out there for later hours and it is safe.

I am looking forward to this new step in life.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Frugal or not...

I am a frugal person and I also like to enjoy life and in my own humble opinion, I am doing a good job balancing the two.

Last year, I accepted a job offer that has significantly increased my income. It was a welcome opportunity with one drawback. I have to cross a bridge in Istanbul's traffic to go to work each day. I am spending way more time either on the road or at work just waiting for the traffic to get lighter.

Initially, I thought about moving close to my work but this area is extremely expensive. I would have to pay a rent twice as much of a rent that I can possibly collect on my own apartment.

I gave up the idea and decided to grin and bear it.

However, lately, I have come to the realization that this is eating way too much time and I have no time to take care of myself. Besides, I started feeling constantly tired lately. This affects my work performance as well.

I decided to consider moving yet again but in a different way. I rented a small studio apartment. This costs way less than moving and renting my place out.

The studio I have rented has a full kitchen plus a washing machine. All I need to do is to get a bed, an armchair, a small wardrobe from IKEA. The cost is way less than moving my whole apartment. Besides, when I am done with these, I am sure we can use these things within the family. Or, I can gift them to someone who needs them. Our office will be in this location until the end of 2017. Before my rent is up, I will know for sure whether we would be staying here for another year or not.

Next week, the studio will be painted and cleaned and I will be able to move by next weekend. The rent period will officially start by August 1.

I am planning to stay close to work during the week and go home for the weekends.

This will save me 4 hours of my life every single day. The monthly cost is around 6 per cent of my total monthly income so, it is not so terrible. I wish, I had thought of this before.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

C-Level Titles

I have been working for over 28 years now and I just cannot keep myself from laughing at certain people who are so hung-up on their titles. They totally miss the fact that, they have no power whatsoever despite the flashy title. They could be called anything but, there is little they can influence. Yet they still want "that" title.

Once a sales person had told me she only dealt with C-Level Executives and that she could not get any decision taken by others. I know that is not entirely true. If a sales person does not get the buy-in of certain people at an organization, her/his project is doomed despite the C-Level push.

Having sad that, I must admit I am a Chief Operations Officer. I live with it.

I recently came up with some C-Level titles of my own and just wanted to share them with the few who read my blog.

Here we go:

CRHO: Chief Raising Havoc Officer: This is a person who constantly creates confusion and disruption at the office. Even the stupidest unimportant thing becomes an issue that must be discussed.

CCO: Chief Complaining Officer: This person can never be happy. Everything and anything is a reason for complaint. Nothing is ever their fault so that they can complain all the time.

CSAO: Chief Smart-Assed Officer: Well, self explanatory I guess. In some companies they may be named CKIAO: Chief Know-It-All Officer

Gotta go and resume my COO duties now. Have a fun day!




Sunday, May 22, 2016

Long weekend

May 19th is a National Holiday. So, we told the employees to work at home Friday. While I was home, I did a couple of loads of laundry and picked up clutter.

Friday evening I went out with a couple of friends for beer and came home around 10:30.

Saturday was a lazy day. I mastered making latte at home with a stove top espresso maker from IKEA and a battery operated hand held milk frother from Tchibo.

I went out and did a little grocery shopping. The grocery store had a campaign so I was able to snatch 3 1 liter bottles of extra virgin olive oil at a great price. I will give them to mom.

I am not cooking anymore other than weekends. There is a food service which delivers a 2000 calorie, diabetic menu for the whole day to my office. Since I get home very late at night, it makes more sense for me to have dinners at the office. We have a fully equipped kitchen.

I am not diabetic but I need more protein than carbs so I order the diabetic menu. They deliver breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. It is a bit expensive than what food normally would cost me if I cooked everything from scratch but I never do that. Besides, I am not throwing away food that goes bad. Hopefully this will help my diet if I do not blow it over the weekend.

Mom went to Izmir to stay with SIS and BIL for a while. This year she feels she is getting old so, she declined my offer of a Northern Italy trip. She doesn't feel up to it. I do not know what to do for a vacation.

May be I will take a week on the Mediterranean early October. I cannot stand the heat before then. Late July I may take a couple of days off to spend in Izmir. I can go to the beach during the day and stay at my sister's.

We'll see...

Friday, May 20, 2016

I'm Alive and Well

Yes, I am alive and well and very very very busy. That is part of the reason why I lost my mojo to write.

I have been to Las Vegas for a week early May on business. I had a couple of days of for myself. I was able to shop for summer work clothes and I am happy about that.

Life is extremely busy and there is not much to tell other than that.

My spending has been a bit out of control lately so I have started to watch it intensely.

My boss is trying to sell the company. He is telling me I will keep my job since he will not be completely gone. Also also he is going to be relocating to the US for good by the end of the year so that is why whoever buys it will need me to run the business. He is going to try to be still in the picture from afar. I am thinking he may be too optimistic about this so, I better tighten my belt and save as much as I can.

Even if he doesn't sell, he will still relocate to the US leaving me in charge. God knows what is awaiting me in the long run.

So, I sat down and crunched some numbers. I need to work until June 2018 at my current salary level to be able to retire fully. By then, I will have enough savings to lead a comfortable yet modest life.

If I manage to work until the end of 2019, That will be much better.

The best scenario is to retire in 2023 when I am 56. That will be truly worry free unless something really drastic happens.

As you may know I am already retired and this is my second career but with my current retirement income, plus rental income it is a tight ship.

We will see what future brings...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pheeww!

Life has been overwhelming during the last few months. To give you an idea;

I had my kitchen torn down, had the piping replaced, had new flooring installed, had electrical layout re-designed.

The kitchen order  I gave was delayed 5 (FIVE!!!!) weeks due to an ERP migration at the factory. Some idiots forgot to migrate all the codes necessary to build cabinets and an order could not be properly entered.

Finally, the kitchen arrived... with missing pieces... Then I was told the counter-top would have to be installed a week later. That meant I had to re-schedule installing the new oven, the hood and the stove top.

They delivered the wrong stove top. Another delay...
Finally, I decided not to install the hood before the ceramic tiles so, that will have to wait until next week. The tiles will be put up on saturday...

Meanwhile, I was swamped at work due to end of year issues. Caught the pneumonia but could not rest due to workload so that took a long time to heal. Then my allergies hit me badly because of the mess at home. The doctor told me the house dust mites are my worst enemy after an allergy test.

All the kitchen stuff was put in random places. The cleaning lady was sick, I could not keep up with cleaning chores and ergo house mites!

The kitchen will be completely done by next week and now the white refrigerator and the white dish washer look ugly in the new setting. However, I am not going to buy new ones before these die. They may look as ugly as they like to...

Oh! and I am over the budget by about USD 2.000!

Phewww!