About Me

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Holidays!

I cannot write much these days. 

I wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year! 

To those who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Busy Week, No Time to Post

I had a very busy week but I still have a ton to do today. I am hoping to have a productive day.

Tuesday night, I introduced the new CEO-to-be to my team in Ankara. After a brief meeting, we had a nice dinner. Technically, he is still CEO-to-be since, the company hasn't oficially changed hands yet. They are waiting for an approval from a state agency to make sure that competition is not being affected in our line of work. The approval probably will be given before the year is up.

Gotta go now. Hope, everyone will have a nice weekend.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Peaceful Weekend

I have had a peaceful weekend. No mood swings.

On Saturday, I was out shopping for kiddie gifts. I had a ball because I love toy stores. I think I am done shopping. My family and I gave up giving gifts to each other for the New Year because, thankfully, we all have what we need. So, instead I am buying gifts for the children of the guards, the gardener, the office assistant and the office boy. I am also giving gifts to the daughters of the cleaning lady.

On Sunday, I was planning to paint the large piece but did not feel like it. So, that is on hold. As I was waxing the two pieces I have painted, I found some areas where I did not do such a great job. I must touch those up too.

It was a dark and soggy day on Sunday so, I did some laundry, spent time on the couch watching TV and dozing off.

I will be in Ankara tomorrow and Wednesday. I will have only a few hours to see mom but, that's OK. We'll be together for the New Year.

I cannot believe that 2017 is almost over. Personally, it was not a bad year but, I think it was a pretty bad year in terms of economy, unemployment, international relations and general governance of the country. I have a feeling that 2018 will not be much better. The growing tension between the nations for all sorts of stupid reasons make me worry but I will foucus on my life and try to make the best of every single day if I can.

It is time for me to come up with the budget of 2018. I will be working on that till the end of the year.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Mood Swings

I have terrible mood swings these days. Yes, I am a Gemini, yes my company is going through a transition, yes I have lost a colleague a few weeks ago and yes I am going through menopause...

Ummm, I guess I have enough reasons for mood swings.

After I finish the painting job I have on hand, I think, I will take up some knitting. I am not a great knitter but that is not the point.

For those over 50, please let me know any tips you might have for mood swings.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chalk Paint II

Last weekend I tried my hand in painting two small folding coffee tables before attacking the larger piece. Below are the before and after pictures but I haven't waxed them yet. The color is called Versailles and it is not as white as it looks. It has a yellow-greenish tint to it. Once waxed, I think it will look just a bit darker.

I applied two coats of paint and I love the fact that, nothing needs any prep work such as sanding.

I will share better and final pictures hopefully this weekend. So far, I am happy with the result. I just do not know how the large TV unit will turn up.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Chalk Paint

I have a TV stand bought way back in 1998 that I was planning to replace but, I could not find anyting to replace it at my price range. Then I came across Chalk Paint. It apparently clings to many surfaces and seems like a pretty good solution to my problem.I like the TV stand but some of it's finish is scraped over time and since it is not made of good wood, other paints will not work.

I have decided to try my hand in painting this TV stand and two small folding coffee tables. If I can manage it, I will be able to save a significant amount of money.

I like the TV stand but some of it's finish is scraped over time and since it is not made of good wood, other paints will not work.

I am not a handy person but I have watched some videos and decided to try. I will paint one of the coffee tables first to see if I can do it well enough before jumping in to paint the large TV stand.

Some friends of mine are doing a really great job transforming their furniture and I always envied their talent. Wish me luck. I will share photos.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

New Year New Budget

I use an excel file with many sheets dedicated to different aspects of my budget. One sheet shows my monthly income and expenses as my budget. Another sheet contains a graph with my Net Worth. Another one is dedicated to mid and long-term unavoidable expenses which I need to forecast such as renovations around my house, a new car and etc.

I also keep a lot of my personal info on this excel file and that is why it has a strong password.

Now, it is that time of the year again when I start working on my next year's budget. I will up all the expenses since we are being hit by double digit inflation for the last year and the Government is ruthlessly upping the taxes because they manage the resources very poorly. Such idiots!

I am also expecting a salary increase but we shall see. Before I see it in my bank account, I am not counting on it. 

My mom is refusing to go abroad for a vacation. She says she is getting very tired and she cannot handle long flights anymore. Therefore, I am planning two vacations this year. One with her and one alone. I do not know where we shall go together just yet but, I would like to go to Scotland by myself.

Since I am not comfortable driving on the left side of the road, I will not rent a car. I want to stay in small towns; the kind you see in Midsomer Murders. 

Other than getting a couple of things fixed and buying two TV chairs, I am not planning any expenses at home because I do not spend much time there.

I started looking at my budget and I will tweak it here and there till the end of the year.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

And The Change Starts This Week

Today, the Representatives of ACME Capital will come to meet the team and answer their questions.

I talked to the guy who will be sitting in at the new board of directors yesterday to give him clues about what the people may be expecting and what they are uncomfortable about. Gave him hints as to what he needs to mention. The sooner he thinks he can depend on me as a catalyst in this change process, the better it will be to work together.

He and I will have a meeting next week to go over my evaluation. He said since my competency level was beyond the expectation there is not much to work on there. However, you may remember that my EQ turned out to be lower than the normal distribution. So, he offered that if I would be willing to participate in coaching sessions, they will pay for them and I said why not?

Let's see if I can "improve" my EQ. Lol! I see nothing wrong with being very analytical just like Bones or Mr. Spock but, I do not have a problem receiving some coaching either. EQ is a personality trait not a competence item so, I am not sure if I can improve especially after 50. The reason why I accepted coaching was to make sure I was not rejecting what is considered a positive offer on their side.

So, today the team will hear about things from the reps of the Buyer organization.

I am sure they are as nervous as we are. God help us all for a smooth transition.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Boss Said

This is the translation of my boss' announcement to the people who weren't at the office:

Dear Friends,

I would like to share with you that, yesterday I signed an agreement to transfer all my shares in the company to ACME Venture Capital.

Why? Because, the serious illness I had 3 years ago forced me to try to stay away from stressful situations. That is why Miss T'Pol has joined us, and has taken some of my responsibilities over and thus, I was able to cut my working hours as you may have noticed. In addition, switching off my phone and staying away from e-mail from time to time and taking long vacations were other precautions I have taken to keep away from stress and to avoid the recurrence of my illness.

I have taken this decision for two reasons. First, whatever I did, I could not learn to work without stress. I tried but I guess I cannot change that much. Second, I was anxious that my difficulties would slow down the progress of our company. I could not drive an organization which must move rapidly while working the way I was and that would be unfair to all of you.

As a result, I will be with you till the end of this year or till the end of January 2018. Our current operations and team will stay the same and even get larger.

On this strong foundation ACME will invest in "X", "Y" and "Z" to take our company to a new level.

I am sure there is no need to say that my door is open for all your questions.

I hope this will bring luck and prosperity to all of us.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Going Once, Going Twice... Gone! It's Official. We are SOLD!

It has been an interesting, exciting, somewhat stressful and busy process since September. Finally, our boss reached an agreement to sell the company to a venture capital company.

After the closing, he called me at night and told me that the agreement was finalized. I asked him if he was comfortable and satisfied with his decision and he said "yes" without hesitation. So, that is a great thing.

I will miss him dearly as I practically consider him my brother but, I have positive feelings nonetheless. I would like to see this company grow. There is so much potential but, there are also too many risks for just one private owner.

Today, he will make the announcement to the staff and next week the new team will come here to answer all the questions our staff might have. After the Q&A Session we shall go some place to "celebrate" this.

I am glad that the uncertainty is over. The change that is awaiting us is not worrying me. I know I can handle change one way or the other.

From now on, I will be the catalyst between the staff and the new management. I will be answering the staff's questions, helping them get over their anxieties and showing them that business will be as usual. I will also hold the hands of the newcomers and make their integration a smooth one. If I keep a positive attitude about this change and act accordingly, I think it will be so much easier for the others too. If the new CEO or any other management member says or does something which would normally make me mad, I should keep calm and make sure they understand that I am here to help and support them. Being the oldest person on board with 30 years of experience under my belt, I think I should become the trusted advisor of everyone.

As I am typing this, my boss sent me the memo he drafted to share with the rest of the staff who will not be here to listen to the announcement. He asked my feedback. It was beautifully written. Open and honest. I should translate it and share it here.

I wish and hope that this will mark the beginning of a new and exciting new journey.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite American Holiday and I love a good Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings.

Many years ago, my sister and I went to have a two-week vacation in the US. We were visiting two of my friends whom I consider family.

The first friend we visited made a Thanksgiving menu since, she knew how much I liked it. There were plenty of leftovers after the first night. While we stayed there, we ate up the rest of the TG dinner mostly at nights when we were home.

After that first week, we moved to my other friend's home. Guess what she made for dinner?

You should have seen my sister's face. My friend's husband was going to have a surgery the next day and we were there to get the kids ready for school, drop them at school to be picked up by their grandpa every day. So, there were again plenty of leftovers for mostly us to eat for dinner. My sister is not so thrilled about turkey but, at least she likes the stuffing.

I am making a turkey dinner for the New Year this year and today my sister called me to tell that she wants plenty of stuffing if she has to endure eating turkey. Lol! I will also make her favorite cinnamon rolls to ease her suffering:)


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

As we approach the final hurdles...

I think the sale of the company will be finalized this coming Friday.

I have learnt who the new CEO will be. He is someone I know for having done some business. For now, I think, I can have a good working relationship with him. He has never held the title before so, he will be very stressed I am sure. Unless he acts like a jerk because of the new position, we shall be fine. If he is smart, he should behave. If not, I will give him a piece of my mind being some years his senior.

As things need to be finalized, each day there is something that needs to be urgently taken care of. Today is another of those busy days.

Please wish us luck to get through this big change unscathed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


I have an 18 page Contract that I must read very carefully and mark inappropriate paragraphs and ask for revisions.

It is soooo boring and full of BS that I have aready typed up 2 pages of revision requests and I am on page 10. Oh boy!

I had been postponing this work but, today, it has to be finished. I am glad I am not a lawyer. I cannot imagine doing this every day for a living.

I procrastinate a lot when I have something I do not like to do. However, the logical course of action would be getting it done a.s.a.p to get it out of the way right? For instance my grandma on my mom's side absolutely hated housework. Each day, she would get up at 6 to attack all sha had to do and ususally by 9 a.m. she would have cleared off all that she had to do that day. She would then pick-up a book or a piece of sewing or knitting and relax except for meal times.

Are you a procrastinator= Or are you like my grandma?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Diet, Frugality and Stuff in General

I haven't been cooking or doing any grocery shopping for the last two months at all. I had purchased a meal plan that delivers all your meals at a certain calorie, in a box every day. It was nice at the beginning but then after a while one gets tired of eating somebody else's choices. So, after this detox that I am on till tomorrow night, I shall be preparing my meals to take to work.

I will use the lists my old dietician gave me. Although, I was able to lose a bit of weight due to the meal plan, it is not as much as I had expected. I will go back to what worked for me. It is much cheaper to follow her list and yet it is healthy and nutritious.

On Monday, I will weigh myself and then, I will weigh myself only every two weeks and keep a chart.

I will also see how much money this saves me. The meal plan was not inexpensive at all.

I want to have turkey and eggs for protein this week. I will see what I would like for a vegetable dish.

Tomorrow, I will do some cooking to last me till Wednesday night and then I will cook on Wednesday for the rest of the week. I must be very careful about my portion sizes.

After I wrote the above, I went to check my pantry and sadly noticed some items way beyond their "Use By" date. Mostly they are legumes so, I will boil them and put them outside for birds. I hate wasting food and it looks like having two residences is a problem. I noticed some condiments are also past their "Use By" dates. I do not know how Americans keep up with this stuff. They usually have giant pantries and and using everything up before anything goes bad must be difficult.

I then went grocery shopping and got these:

Turkey Leg
Cheese (2 kinds)
American Bell Peppers
6 Tangerines to snack on
Probiotic Yogurt to snack on
Organic Eggs (dozen)
Hummus w/dried tomatoes
Lemon and Ginger Tea (20-count pack)
Pumpkin Seeds to snack on
Smoked Salmon (BOGOF) Enough for 4-6 salads
Listerine Mouthwash (BOGOF)
Toothpaste (BOGOF)

All cost about USD 45 in case you are wondering.

If you have noticed that is a very low carb list. Except for breakfast, I am giving up bread. For some breakfasts, I am planning to eat eggs and cheese to avoid bread further.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Got 2 Days Off

I got two days off to pull myself together. All day yesterday, I stayed in bed and slept. Did not eat a thing until dinner time.

Now, I am on a liquid detox program for three days full of super foods. So, hopefully by Monday, I will feel energized and healthy and out of this mood.

The detox is 1200 calories per day. 5 bottles of vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, lactose free shakes and soups.

I will also start my exercise routine again. It is cold outside and I am still coughing so, I will Walk Away the Pounds by doing the Leslie Sansone videos. They are truly excellent.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I am Tired

I am very very tired of everything. I just need a giant "Me Time" away from home, from phones, from Internet, from anything and everything I know.

Have you ever felt this way?

Of course, there is no way I can get away from it all just like that.

What to do? What to do?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Life Style Inflation

A friend of mine just got a raise recently. Apparently some people at her job left for a competing company and in order to prevent her from leaving too, her bosses upped her salary. Talk about manageral skills. Whatever... She had been waiting for a raise for a long time so, she was very excited.

On Sunday, over coffee, she told me how she was planning to put her money to "good use". She is planning to go to the hair salon every two weeks instead of once a month now because she is "oh so tired about not being able to look her best. It would be great if she could go on a weekly basis". She also has been dreaming about adding new pieces to her wardrobe. (Before the sale season? No way in my book!)

I asked her if she did not have the raise, would she be looking for a better paying job. She said no. She feels comfortable where she is and she thinks the people who left are in for a rude awakening once they settle in their new firm.

I asked her what her future plans are with the extra money. She laughed and said "What? spend it of course!" I told her wouldn't it be better if she used at least part of it to increase her savings. After all, if the recent changes weren't made, she would be getting her old salary anyway. Then she told me she did not have a savings account.

Wait a minute!

This woman is 42 years old and she has no savings in her name whatsoever. Every month, she is taking some money off her salary and giving the rest to her husband which is a constant cause of friction between them. She has no idea if he is spending all their money, investing or saving or whatever. Totally clueless! I hope their marriage last till death do them part. Oh boy!

It is not my business to teach or preach people about how to use their money and this friend is especially a person I would not try convincing on anything. I just made a casual comment that I like to have a savings account and ended the subject there.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Remembering Him with Pride, Respect and Love

79 years ago today, the founder of modern Turkey, a true leader, a revolutionary, a great military mind Mustafa Kemal Ataturk passed away. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Uh Oh! Half a day at the Hospital

This morning I had a 9:30 appointment with the cardiologist and a 10:30 with the eye doctor. I figured, I would be out of there by 11:00 a.m. So wrong!

First I saw the cardiologist and told her about my high blood pressure and the stress in my life lately. She asked for a blood test, gave me an ambulator to take my BP every half hour during the day and every hour at night. I had en eco-cardiogram and an ultrasound.

I told the eye doctor that lately I was "feeling" my left eye and sometimes there is a bit of  a cloudiness and a small pain which did not last very long at all. She tested my eye blood pressure and administered some more tests. She prescribed a blood pressure drop for my left eye.

It was past noon when I was finally out of the hospital. Yikes!

Getting old!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Just rested

Over the weekend I did nothing but just rest.I could not believe the amount of sleep I got. I slept and slept. It did me good though. I feel a whole lot better. I think rest was the main cure to my head cold.

I hope this will be a good week. I am going to Ankara on Wednesday both for work and to see mom and the rest of my family. My sister and BIL will be coming for the weekend. My uncle is going to be there as well. This will probably be our last get together before the New Year's Eve.

Last year everyone was at home alone. This year I hope the family will be together.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Stress and weekend plans

I am not feeling stress at the moment at all but, all that has been happening around me must be getting to me somehow.

I am a high blood pressure patient. Despite the fact that I have been taking my prescribed medicine diligently, I started experiencing elevated levels of HBP.

I made an appointment with my doctor next week.

I keep saying I am not feeling stress but when I sit down and think about it; loss of our beloved colleague, the due diligence and the closing of the quarter are all causes of stress.

Today I am at my primary residence and the cleaning lady has come. I rested all day long sleeping most of the time. I am not feeling the tension today and my head cold is getting better.

I need to go buy myself some good pillows. I must give away three old ones and get new ones. Two for myself for both homes and one for my guest bed. Checked all the pillows at home and did some research online and pretty much determined what I would like to get but I must see them in person. Since I am very allergic, my pillows must be washable in hot water. Mom uses the guest bed the most and she prefers cotton pillows. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to drag myself out of the bed and have a somewhat normal day.

I have decided to grab a large trash bag and fill it with random stuff in drawers and medicine cabinet. I know I have some creams and what not that definitely need to be thrown away. I was matching some minimalists the other night and although I cannot become a minimalist, I can throw out what I do not need and minimize clutter.

That is all that I have planned for the weekend. If I can manage more that will be icing on the cake.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Assesment is OVER! YAY!

Yesterday, I walked in the assesment center at 9:20 precisely 10 minutes before my appointment. I was greeted by some nice young ladies who brought me cofee, water and made me comfortable.

First I was given a case study where I had to come up with a day's schedue as a pretend CEO. I had to delegate tasks, postpone tasks and take care of some personally. That was an easy exercise for me.

Next, I was given another case that I needed to study to deliver a Go-to-Market Strategy for a pretend firm as a pretend consultant. That was somewhat more difficult.

After that, I had a role-playing session with a person where I was the boss and she was a difficult employee.

After all these, we had lunch and then the lady in charge gave me THE FEEDBACK. She congratulated me for my competence level. She told me, that was beyond any expectation. I guess the average must be so poor that I, quiet a normal being is treated as such. I am 50 and I have been in the workforce for 29 years. I am supposed to be competent at what I do. It is not an extraordinary thing.

She also told me I had such an analytical mind that I lack EQ. My EQ is supposedly below the average. She told me that I neither read my own feelings nor others' feelings. And I am like what's got feelings to do with all this? Lol! Come to think of it, yeah I do act out of logic.

So, apparently, I have to work on my EQ.

Thank God this is over!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pre-Assesment and Worst Case Scenario

As some of you may be aware, my company may be sold in the next few months. There is still a possibility that it will not be. Either way, my boss is prepared to take his next course of action.

As for me, the next hurdle is the Assesment. The company who will perform the assesment has scheduled a three hour meeting with me tomorrow. On Sunday night, I completed a pre-assesment test online.

I just want this over with.

When I wrote this post some time ago, an Unknown Reader posted the following comment:

"When I'm making a major decision or facing a big change I do what a counselor taught me 20 yrs ago: think carefully and write down The Worst Case Senario/s from this impending change. Write as many 'cases' as you'd like (perhaps you do not get this job offer and/or you are unemployed for a few months and/or you never work again), dig deep into your fears but also be realistic. For each case you then write up what might happen and how you may deal with it. Once you have a plan for your fears you'll feel more in control"

Thanking my Unknown commenter, I have decided to write down the worst case scenario:

Job Loss / No other possibility for a new job by January 2018:

I have adjusted my budget and cash flow Excel Sheet in line with this scenario and happily saw that, even if this happens, I will still be able to stay afloat unless this does not couple with a major health disaster. I have enough passive income to cover my expenses every month.

I cannot imagine taking long and expensive vacations or going abroad but I can have a fairly comfortable life with a small nest egg.

If I move to Ankara and rent out my primary residence, I can even save some money and have some more wiggle room in my budget.

I can also go back to consulting for earning some money to cover the costs of some vacations and needs around the home.

So, there is really nothing to worry about. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Guess who is Santa's wife? Well, you could never guess...

As a family we made a decision that we no longer want to give gifts for special occassions since, it is such a hassle and everybody has everything that they want so, gifts are totally unnecessary. I do not agree with this but I went with the majority's vote. I like receiving and giving gifts.

So, last year I decided that I wanted to buy gifts for the children of our security guards, gardener, secretary and our office boy for the New Year.

We are not Christian so, we do not celebrate Christmas but somehow Santa or rather "Noel Baba" (Father Noel) in our case brings gifts to the children for the New Year on 31st of January. Many people reject and frown upon this idea and do not even celebrate the New Year thinking that it is a Christian thing but I disagree. Besides, I love Christmas and all the festivities.

We even decorate a tree at our office.

Anyway, I bought gifts for all the children during my lunch break and coming back to the office put the gift for the 4 year old son of our secretary under the tree him without seeing it. He was at the office that day because the nanny was sick.

I then pretended that I was talking to Noel Baba on the phone and asked his mother if there was a little boy named let's say Jim around here and when she confirmed that it was her son, I said: Yes Noel Baba, he is here at the office right now. A gift for him under the tree? Yes, yes sure, I will tell him. Thank You! Bye!"

I told the little guy that Noel Baba left a gift for him under our office tree. Since he has a 9 year old brother, he was not very sure if there actually was a Noel Baba. I pulled up a picture of an American friend of mine posted on Facebook. He had dressed as Santa one year for a charity organization. I told him, Noel baba was my special friend. Well, I am serious, I am his mother's boss so, I must be telling the truth right? He totally bought it! :)

Our secretary told me today that he was talking to his cousin over the weekend about Noel Baba and the little girl her age was completely rejecting the idea that there was such a person. Our secretary heard her son saying to his cousin: "No! You are so wrong. There is Aunt T'Pol at my mother's work and she is Noel Baba's wife. She showed me his picture!"

He got his facts a bit jumbled but I got such a kick out of the story that I am still smiling as I type this.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Random Stuff

Last week I decided to straighten out the studio apartment.

I cleared out all the drawers, the closet and looked at the clothing items, folded them, re-arranged spaces, gathered stuff that I will not be using over the winter to take home, vacuumed the place and by the time I was done, I was very exhausted. How much work could that be? Lol!

I finally put together all of the exercise items. This is important because, I like to wash them after one single wear and when I do not know where the next sweat pants are, I tend to wash small loads. That is a waste of energy, water and detergent.

As I started, I was thinking may be I needed some more storage space but, I realized that it was not a real need. I use the place only during the week and I have plenty clothing items to shuffle. If I get bored, I can always take some home and bring others.

There is one drawer left to clean up. I will be taking some books home. I also need to arrange the shoes. I do not need a whole lot of shoes anyway.

The weekend was over very quickly because, I went to the funeral on Saturday and hung around with the family and with my colleagues after the funeral. Due to teh distances, that took all my day.

Before going home, I was able to purchase various school supplies to donate to a school in need.

I need to pack them at work and ship them. Money well spent.

On Sunday, the cleaning lady came and I made sure, my bedroom was cleaned throughly of dust. I had a good night's sleep yesterday night.

My closet at my primary home is in desperate need of re-organization and my be this coming weekend, I will feel like doing it.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Loss of a Colleague

About two months ago, our Senior Account Manager had a heart attack. He was at his summer place and was rushed to the hospital. He stayed at that hospital for a while but they have also found out that he had a stroke too. So, he has been air lifted to a very prominent hsopital in Istanbul and put in the care of a very good ICU doctor.

He had shown some stabilization and had been transferred from the ICU to a regular hospital room. However, lately he started to show signs of heart failure and this morning hours after being re-transferred to the ICU, he passed.

We knew that he would not recover deep down but we kept hoping. He has a 15 year old daughter. So sad.

This has been a very difficult day. The funeral is tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Gold in this part of the World

I have written about keeping gold coins for unexpected bad situations where money may lose it's value significantly or when you cannot access your funds like it happened in Greece few years ago.

I like to keep a very small percentage of my portfolio in gold just in case.

It is also customary to gift newly weds and new babies gold coins.

I prefer to buy cold coins or bars. There are bars as small as 1 gr. Here is what they look like.

I like to buy the three kinds at the top row on the right. The ones on the left are too big. The second row is a bit lighter than the ones at the top row and those are mostly used for gifting purposes. I do not buy any of the third row. Bars are good too.

In rural areas women prefer to buy 22 ca. gold bracelets with minimal workmanship. They dress modestly and they can actually hide the bracelets in their sleeves thinking that it is a good way of safekeeping. Not! Some like to show their bracelets of during weddings, get togethers and other family occassions. They look like these and those:

The heart of gold is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and here is a typical jewelry shop window:

Here is a picture of the gifts of a bride from a very rural, very rich wedding. This is very rare obviously. Besides, I would not wear most of that stuff if I had been gifted them. Too rural for my taste. 

Hope you enjoyed this shiny post :)

Monday, October 16, 2017

End of year savings goals...

I had mentioned that the savings goals I had set at the beginning of the year will not happen. I am going to be off by 2-3%.

I have looked at my cash outflow and realized that the fluctuation is due to two things:

1. I did not anticipate that I would need work clothes due to the fluctuation in my weight.
2. The USD exchange rate fluctuation.

I will be better prepared for the wardrobe items this year. However, the exchange rate is out of my control. Lol! Too bad:)

Here is a tally of the USD/TL parity at the end of every month this year.

31/1/17 28/2/17 31/3/17 30/4/17 31/5/17 28/6/17 31/7/17 31/8/17 30/9/17
3.7875 3.6978 3.6362 3.5504 3.5312 3.5211 3.5226 3.4410 3.5521

As you can see the difference between the beginning of the year and the end of third quarter is about 6.6%. So, it is difficult to estimate this correctly in Turkish Liras.

This year I am going to separate my TL goals from USD goals. 

My savings are in TL, USD and in Gold. You may ask why Gold? Well, this part of the world is not all that peaceful. God forbid, if s..t hits the fan, one may have difficulty in accessing her/his funds. Gold coins are always worth money. So, I like to keep a healthy number of small coins. As a matter of fact, I shall be purchasing some more when I get paid next month. (We get paid monthly). 

I shall be setting next year's goals in December.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Spoke to the Coach

Yesterday I had dinner with my friend who is a coach and told him about the assessment and about my Technical Team Manager.

He gave me many clues and when I asked him, if he would have lunch with my Technical Team Manager to give him those clues in person, he happily agreed. I am blessed with such wonderful friends. His wife and I used to be co-workers and then I got to know him and we have been good friends ever since.

Meanwhile, I have two books that talk about Change Management which I would like to go back and refresh my memory.

Some interesting times ahead of us!

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Meeting

The Meeting went well. He told me a little about the assesment but, he said that I am a critical asset at least five times. He also signaled that the result of the assesment is not all that important.

It looks like they need me and I am happy to stay unless the new CEO is a total jerk lol!

He also told me that my Technical Team Manager will also be assessed. Now that worries me. He is an incredible smart guy, self-motivated, devoted to his job. However as I have been informed, this particular assessor is a bit aggresive and very direct. My guy operates on a somewhat short fuse. I do not want him to flunk this.

I have a friend who is a coach and I am going to visit him tonight to seek his help and pick his brains. May be if he has time, he can sit down with my Technical Team Manager and give him some clues as to have to handle the assesment.

I feel like I am responsible for all of the current staff and that it is my duty to keep them well informed, motivated and also to keep them from being mistreated in terms of salaries and benefits in the new organization. Since this is a major change, the current staff needs to be encouraged and motivated to embrace this change and turn it into something that benefits them. They are good people.

What a challenge this is gonna be! Unless the new CEO is a total jerk (I am a bit old school and have a problem with big egos. I like to be respectfully treated).

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Whenever I walked, I had some back pain which would keep me from walking in the past. Then I went to a doctor to see if I had some real issues. She is an old friend of mine and she told me, my back was not worse than hers. She told me my real problem was a muscle spasm and gave me a shot and I felt 100% better.

Then I really did not walk much because it was so hot, because I felt so tired, because I did not feel like walking, you know all sorts of excuses... I also had convinced myself that I were unable to walk due to my weight.

When I went on vacation I had to walk enormous distances. On the day we went to see the Freedom tower, we walked more than 15,000 steps! In some other days, I walked more than 12,000. So, obviously I was able to walk! What a revelation!

As soon as I came back from vacation and settled down, I decided to start eating healthy and exercise.

Within 6 weeks, I lost 4.3 kg, 9.47 pounds. Some of that might have been water weight but still, even if half of it is real loss, I am content. I have been eating very healthy food and have been almost consistently walking. Some days, it is hard. Yesterday, my back acted up again and I am sitting here writing all this with a patch on my back. Today, I will only use dumbbells to work my arms.

I am using a MiFit Band II and it's app along with a couple of other apps on my phone to track my progress. Believe me, this was such an eye opener. I have discovered that, I was not literally walking even 1,000 steps some days. OMG! Such a couch potato!

I am now taking a short walk at noon right before lunch. About, 2,000-2,500 steps. After work, every other day, I go for a walk for at least an hour. Some days I walk faster, some days I walk slower but the point is I do walk! 

I have the muscle spasm back again but I know how to fight it off. I will apply Tiger Balm or Ben-Gay or something similar before I go out. 

I am terrible during the weekends so, now that is my new thing to work on. I should be more active during the weekends.

I made a promise to myself: I will spend at least an hour each day exposing myself to the elements. Snow, rain or shine, I will spend time outdoors. Working on it.

I have also found out something about myself: I must make something a bit of an obsession so that I can make it a healthy habit. For instance, I had been obsessed about my finances, financial independence and all that. I control my accounts, payments on a regular basis. I have charts to see my progress and to analyze if ı am doing the right things. My financial situation is at a good place now. If I had not been so diligent about that, I do not think, I would have saved as much as I did.

So, tracking progress, checking the count of my steps, my pulse and becoming a bit obsessed about these will help me in the long run and assure my success. Obsession is a negative word but there is a healthy dose of that. 

What do you think?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

An assesment? Nervously waiting...

The head of the project team from the investment company who is buying our company wanted to have a coffee meeting with me on Friday this coming week. I agreed and we shall be meeting.

He sent a message to my boss saying that he fixed a meeting with me and wants to discuss the process, the new organization chart and that they regard me as a critical asset and that there will be an assessment within this month. He is meeting me to tell me about this and support me. Now I am thinking what assessment? Do we just go through my CV? Do they administer personality tests? What do you think?

I just want these things over with.

I have been very happy in this job. I just wish things had stayed the same for another two years. It is not happening. So now what?

People generally have issues with big changes. Up until now, I have always considered myself as a more adaptive person to change than many others. But may be I am not? Why am I worried?

I can certainly walk away from my job come January and be still OK financially. However, I would like to be at a much better spot than simply be OK. Another two years will make a tremendous difference and I want that. Otherwise, I will most probably go back to consulting for may be at least five more years, if I can.

Here is what I want: I want to keep my current job for another two years and then slow down, taking only some select consulting jobs or not working at all.

I am wondering what is going to happen?  I am so nervous! I do not want to discuss these with anyone around me so, this blog is the only outlet that I have. When people ask me about what will happen to me I just shrug it off and say that I am not expecting much change. Playing cool. I am far from cool.

I just want these things over with!

Friday, October 6, 2017

How do you define a "NEED"?

I caught myself searching for a small Microwave Oven the other day. I thought I needed one. I quickly gave myself a shake and asked "In all of 50 years, you did not need one, use one; how come it is a need now?"

My logical self stepped in and took control and I gave up the search. I truly do not need a microwave. I heat my lunch at work and for dinners, I have been using the stove forever. I have small pots and pans that I use to heat up food.

The money I would have spent on a microwave is now working hard for me in my savings account. All is good!

Sometimes people say they need a new pair of shoes when they already have 20 pairs, they need a new TV set for a spare room, they need this or that which really are not needs.

If I said I needed a new pair of pants, that would not be true. I probably own less than most women but still, that would be a want.

All I need nowadays is groceries just for the weekend because, I have started getting the calorie controlled packages during the week again. I also started a new walking routine.

When I was in the US, for a couple of days I thought I NEEDED a Fitbit Charge 2. I have a much cheaper device which is working just fine and which actually does not require to be charged as frequently as a Fitbit. Thankfully, I came to my senses before I made that purchase.

I must constantly remind myself that I do not need a single item of clothing or shoes for the winter. I do not need gadgets or a new cell phone. I actually need a big "purge".

I only need a couple of mats for the entrance of my home and my kitchen at my primary residence but even those are not urgent needs. Also, I need a couple of "good"pillows.

I MUST not spend my money in an unwise manner. I should save as much as possible till the end of the year when the company is going to change hands. It is not 100% yet, but the likelihood of that happening is pretty high.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Photos of Part 3

Magnolia Plantation

Magnolia Plantation PettingZoo

Swamp! There are alligators too!

Old Slave Quarters

An old tree

Typical Charleston Home

Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC

Monday, October 2, 2017

Vacation Part 3- Charleston, SC Unexpected Loooong Drive

My friend living in NY dropped me off at the airport for my flight to Charleston, SC. The friends I were going to visit used to live in Danbury, CT but after retirement they moved South for tax and climate purposes.

I went to the gate and started to wait for my flight. I couldn't help but notice that the aircraft was a small one, kind of like a bus. Well, I do not like those. As I was sitting there, they postponed the flight to three hours later. So, I walked up to the gentleman at the counter to ask why, because the aircraft was at the gate already. He told me it was due to a mechanical failure. Uh!Oh! I became quiet nervous and decided that I would not fly. I immediately cancelled my flight and got reimbursed for it. Apparently Delta is very gentle about nervous fliers.

I rented a car at JFK to drop off at Charleston International Aİrport the next day and headed South. I left the airport at 2:15 p.m.

Meanwhile my friends in SC were nervous wrecks because, it is a 14-15 hour drive. I assured them that I would definitely check-in to a hotel at night and rest.

I drove until 11:00 p.m. with 2-3 short stops and checked in to a hotel north of North Carolina. Next morning I woke up at 6:00 a.m., had a shower and a good breakfast at the hotel. I was at the Charleston Airport by 1:00 p.m.

I actually like to drive in the US so, next time, I will definitely do this with better planning so that I will not feel rushed.

My friends and I had a very nice time in SC. We visited the Magnolia Plantation and Charleston. Most of the time we just sat and chatted because it had been two years since we had seen each other and although we keep in touch via whatsapp, face-to-face time is important.

Photos will follow in the next post!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Still up in the air!

Some of you may remember that my boss is trying to sell the company for a while now. It looks like we are getting sold this time but you never know till the deal is signed and sealed and money has changed bank accounts.

As much as I try fighting this off, it still gets to me. My boss told me that they want to keep me on board but that there will be an assesment within the next three months. What does that mean? After 29 years in the workforce, I am not worried about my resume or who I am as a professional but, what happens after the assesment? Will they try demoting me? Will they offer a pay cut? Or will they offer something better?

I do not believe that any person at any organization is indispensable. Every shoe can be filled in time. I am trying to focus on what I am bringing to the table in case they ask me. I am also brushing up my resume so that once they invite me for the assesment, I will have it ready.

Every month I get to keep my job is a positive thing for my savings so, I will try to be open-minded and cooperative towards the new people. However, I do not know how they will be towards me.

This IS getting to me...

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Vacation Part 2- Newport, RI

I have been too busy to write lately. Starting where I left, I continue;

After spending a couple of days around my friends' beautiful home, we decided to have a trip to Newport, RI.

We booked an inn for a night and headed to Newport. I was still sick and very tired so, I slept through the three hour drive.

We bought tickets to visit two of the Newport Mansions (called cottages by the owners) of the Gilded Age: The Breakers and Marble House.

I have been to palaces and mansions in Europe and these "cottages" were no less in terms of lavishness and in terms of the extraordinary amounts of money poured into them. The families would use these places only for a few weeks during summer months and yet, they were quite the match for French Palaces. Yes, these people earned a lot of money by building railroads in the United States but, spending that kind of money is not justifiable in my opinion. Especially, given that the country faced with the Big Depression in a few decades down the line.

Their heirs unfortunately could not deal with the upkeep of these places and now the Preservation Society of Newport County is making an excellent job to keep the mansions in good shape and entertain the curious crowds visiting Newport.

You may want to pay special attention to the Platinum Panels below and some pictures:

Ceiling- The Breakers

The Breakers

Platinum Panels!

The Kitchen- The Breakers

China Cabinets- The Breakers

Marble House and the rest of my Newport trip will be the subject of another post

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Vacation- Part 1 First Few Days around NY

I got a terrible sinus infection right before the plane ride to the US. I went to see a doctor and she gave me some stuff in an IV to perk me up a little.

I was pretty miserable on the plane and despite my efforts, my ears got clogged.

My friends came to get me at the airport and they were hoping to go bar hopping in Manhattan that very night. Lol! Needless to say we only got as far as the Asian restaurant around the corner.

The next day, we did some shopping and went out to have drinks at night. The following day, visited another friend and had a good time by the lake. (Squantz Pond in CT)

Visiting the Freedom Tower was on top of my list so we did that together and had dinner at the Fish Market and had dessert at Ferrara's in Little Italy. Talk about life on the fast track, right?

NJ from top of the Freedom Tower

WTC Memorial Pool (North Tower)

From the top of Freedom Tower

Squantz Pond

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Best Vacation Ever!

I have had the best vacation in 50 years ever. I am back home safe and sound. Just too busy to write anything.

Will write a loooong post with pictures.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Almost all set to go!

I packed my suitcase and my carry-on. I had to buy a carry-on bag because the airline has a very strict policy about the size of it. It is a cheap bag.

I also bought all the gifts except for some tea and pistachio nuts my friend likes.

Yesterday, I left home at 10 in the morning, dropped my car at the detail wash station. I got on the subway, transferred to a ferry to cross the Bosphorus and then got on a tram to take me to Grand Bazaar. Sounds complicated but it really isn't.

I strolled around Grand Bazaar for over two hours and finally got my friends and their kids gifts. I walked all the way down to the Spice Bazaar got my friend some spices, dried apricots, Turkish Delight. I then went to a museum to grab two books for the guys. By the time I was done and at home, it was past 6:30 p.m. I jumped in a cold shower and checked how much walking I had done: 13.158 steps, 9.1 km! Wow! So, I am capable of doing that. Hence, no reason to stay as a couch potato anymore.

Needless to say, there is no part of me not aching today.

Today, I packed almost everything but I am sure, I will forget something how trivial it may be.

I am really ready to get on that plane!

Friday, August 18, 2017

No more Meetings today!

The investment company came yesterday and we had a long meeting. They interviewed two sales people and our technical team leader yesterday. Today, they have asked for more information in writing. I guess they liked what they saw.

My boss seems content too. He told me that before they met me, they thought I would be OK as a COO but that they would probably have to bring a new boss from the outside. After the meeting yesterday, they said that they found me quite competent in many areas. It is nice to hear that but still, I am not going to think about it any further.

I would much rather stay as the COO and help out a new boss than becoming the boss myself. Too much stress is not something I look forward to.

All I want is to work for a couple of more years. We will see if that will be possible.

It is really hot and humid today. I will finish making the lists of what I will put in my suitcase and what to get as gifts. This weekend, I should be able to close my suitcase and bring it to the studio apartment since, I shall be leaving from there for the airport next week.

I was hoping to prolong my trip for another week but, the airline asked double the amount I had paid to change my return date. Yeah right! I am no idiot. Hopefully, next time I plan to be in the US, I will have no time constrictions and I can stay as long as I like. Why not?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Not bad for a meeting!

I had my meeting with the potential investors this morning. It was pretty good actually. I have no idea whether they would keep me or not if and when this buyout happens but, I have positive feelings about it.

It was one hurdle, I jumped over.

Tomorrow, there may or may not be another meeting. We will see.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hurdles Before Vacation

The company who intends to purchase us is bringing a consultant from abroad. This Thursday and Friday, they will be introducing some of us to this consultant.

I have no idea what they will ask. It's going to be interesting. I am a bit nervous about it.

I am looking forward to not this but the next Friday when I go on vacation. I just can't wait.

The meetings on Thursday and Friday feel like the last two hurdles at a race.

What ifs are invading my brain again. What if we get sold? What if the owner does not stay on board? What if we don't get sold? Soooo many more!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

T-Minus 15 days

I have 15 days to go before my vacation. I know it is too early but, yesterday night, I packed up my medications to last at least three weeks since there is a 50% chance that I may prolong my vacation by another week.

This weekend I will be doing some of my gift shopping. It is extremely hot so, it will not be much fun.

I will be bringing spices, Turkish Bath Towels, some sweets, dried figs and apricots along with some other stuff.

I am so excited and so ready to go.

This time I would like to spend most of my time doing things with my friends. In order to save time from shopping, I ordered everything that can be ordered online to be delivered to my friend's house. I love Amazon!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Smoking is bad for your health and your budget!

We had a stressful month due to some project not going as expected. Although the problem is not on our side and is being worked on, the tech person in charge of the project had some very stressful time lately.

He is a smoker but I did not know how much he smoked. It turned out that last month, he smoked almost 1/3 of his whole month's salary! Wow!

I told him outright that he should be an idiot to do that. He is barely 30, very overweight, very sedentary and a heavy smoker. Now, I am obese too but at least I made it to 50 and have never smoked.

He said, he realized that too and that he would start tracking his smoking. About time!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

I think I will Melt Away

It is brutally hot despite the breeze out there. I am sweating as I sit watching TV. All windows are open.

It is almost 7 p.m. as I type this and the weather web site says it is 32 degrees Centigrade, (89 degrees Fahrenheit) with 74% humidity. I have a feeling that they are lying about the humidity.

Yesterday night, I had a terrible time falling asleep. My apartment never gets this warm so, I never needed an A/C. The studio gets very hot so there is a stupid old A/C. I think, I am going to move to the studio and sleep there tonight.

I haven't been at the studio for the last ten days since I had gone to Ankara and then came back and worked from home. I need to pack up some food items and some clothing items so, I better get started.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The best salad I ever had!

I enjoy salads at restaurants here in Istanbul because they are made with many tasty ingredients. I never buy some of the things they use like some fancy grains, kinoa etc.

I always thought half the produce would go bad if I purchased a variety of salad ingredients but, this week, I have decided to try my own mix without fancy stuff so, I purchased the following:

1 small iceberg lettuce
4 big carrots
2 pounds of baby cucumbers
2 pounds of tomatoes
5 beets
1 pound of sweet peppers
Baby arugula
Dill weed

I have used everything except for the carrots and beets for my first salad. I topped my salad with a good portion of poached Norwegian Salmon. For dressing, I used pomegranate molasses and extra virgin olive oil. I am so glad. It was such a filling and healthy salad. I will make variations of this till I use up all my ingredients.

To make the fresh produce last, I put them in paper bags and wrap them with plastic baggies they come in, just loosely and put them in the produce section of the fridge.

Tonight, I am going to make "kısır" which is our version of tabbouleh. I will use up most of the remaining parsley and half of the peppers. We tend to put more bulgur wheat in it. I eat this not as a salad but as a whole one dish meal. It goes best with tea.

I will use up the remaining cooked salmon tomorrow. Then I will use a variety of cheeses and some eggs for protein over my salads. I promised myself not to eat anything else before I use the salad ingredients.

I had an omelette with cheese and dill weed for breakfast this morning so, I do not need any more protein today. The kısır will be just fine for dinner.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Debt Aversion: Is that a thing?

Some of my favorite bloggers stopped blogging or are blogging rarely so, yesterday I started looking for new personal finance blogs to add to my blogroll.

As I was perusing, I have seen bloggers who are doing financially pretty good in terms of budgeting, setting aside retirement money meanwhile paying down mortgages and car loans. Some debts they had were in the neighborhood of a total of a few hundred thousand dollars. Yikes!

To me it is very scary but these folks were happy and content.

I hate debt. I try to avoid it like the plague. I do not have any debt of my own but, I have taken over a couple of payments from a family member because that person is unable to make those payments anymore and we would like to keep the properties in the family.

Every single month, I look at those payment schedules and look at the money sitting in my savings account and I start itching to pay them right away to get rid of them both.

The sad fact is, one of them is a loan you cannot pay in full. There are exactly 24 months to go on that one.

The other is a mortgage of 10 years and it goes well into 2025. Hate, hate, hate that! The only reason why I am not closing the mortgage is that I can still earn more interest in my savings accounts than the interest on the mortgage. It is 10,53% versus 12%. Not a big deal but still... Logic dictates me not to do it.

For some people debt is a way of life. For me, it is the Plague. If I say, it gives me physical pain, it is not an exaggeration.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Still no city water so, working in pajamas

Everything is ready at work for the utility company to inspect and turn on the city water but, they are taking their time and not hurrying.

All this week is Home Office time. So far, it seems to be working out therefore, I cannot complain. I didn't even have to go as far as the studio. Being home is nice!

I just ordered some groceries online and I am all set till Sunday. Some things will last longer but they are mostly drinks and staples that are meant to last longer.

I am trying to drink as little coke as possible so, I am brewing tea in the fridge. Sometimes, I drink it as it is, sometimes I pour in a little apple juice or some sort of sugary ice tea to make it taste a bit better.

I had to use up some tomato sauce and anchovies so, I made pasta for dinner tonight. The next four days will be healthier with salmon, eggs, grains and lots of salad.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tired of Overthinking

I have mentioned a few times that, that my boss is trying to sell his company. A couple of times, we came close to being sold but, things did not work out. Well, the company may get sold this time.

I was talking to my boss the other day and he was so happy that one of the venture capital firms is interested in buying us out. I assumed, they would buy it but keep my boss in the Management Team but, nope, they want to buy the company 100%. They may or may not want to keep me on payroll when the company is sold. That means my job may cease to exist some time in the coming months.

I am really tired of thinking "what if?" every few months. So, I hope, this time it works out and I get to learn what will become of me. My boss thinks, they will definitely keep me on board but, I am not so sure.

I have decided that I have already thought about my options and there is no use in overthinking. Whatever will happen will happen and I have the savings to deal with it. Now I already feel better!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Summer Heat Go Away, Go Away!

We initially thought the summer would never arrive this year. It was unusually cold during the Spring and in June. Then the summer arrived with a vengeance.

It is so hot and humid that I can feel gills will be soon forming behind my ears.

We had a very bad rain storm last week and most places were flooded. The well at our office got contaminated with backing up neighboring septic systems so now we need to be connected to the city system and giving up using the well.

On top of this, the A/C at the office decided to stop working yesterday. I sent all employees home to work from home until further notice till we deal with all this mess. There are only 4 of us at the office trying to make do with a small A/C unit waiting for different types of contractors.

Have I ever told you that I hate heat? I should have been born in Norway, Sweden or some place cool in the summer.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Unexpected Savings

My vacation is coming up in late August. I lived in the US for 3.5 years back in early 90s and I still have very dear American friends with whom I am in constant touch, thanks to the Internet and all those cool mobile apps.

Few days ago, my friend in New York hailed me on Whatsapp to find out about my schedule. I always rent a car at the airport when I land. Knowing that, she told me, she would come pick me up at the airport and told me that she and her sister planned that we would stay at her sister's the first night, doing something cool the next day. Her sister lives close to JFK and Manhattan. I know her sister for years and last year she and her husband came to Istanbul and stayed with me. Being from New York, they have been all over Istanbul all by themselves during the day and we had great dinners at night together.

My friend insisted that I should cancel the car reservation and save my money. She told me, parking by her sister's is a hassle. Normally, I do not want to drag her around to do my shopping or borrow her car just in case something happens to it. However, she was convincing so, I obliged.

The rental car company and the insurance provider both returned my money to my credit card and my credit card now has a positive amount on it. This is probably the first time ever. Weird.

I will be staying with her the first 8 days of my visit and then fly to Charleston, SC to visit my other good friend.

I also spoke to my boss and told him that I wanted to prolong my visit by another week if he will be around. I have not changed the return day yet. We will have to wait until his plans get finalized.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Price Comparisons Turkey vs USA

Couple of days ago, I left a comment on Linda's post and shared how much gas costs in Turkey. That gave me an idea of making a list of things to share how much they cost in Turkey versus in the US.

My prices reflect the costs of stuff in Istanbul. This is the most expensive city in Turkey. I have taken the US prices from the Internet. So, there may be fluctuations depending on your area.

I have stated all prices in USD using the average exchange rate in 3 months.

         Turkey          USA
Unleaded Regular Gas (gallon) 5.31 2.35
Ford Focus S Sedan 24,132.20 16,775.00
Jeep Renegade Starting Price 34,895.19 17,995.00
Movie Ticket 6.76 16.50
Iphone 7 Plus 32 GB 1,068.97 769.00
Loaf of Sliced White Bread 1.20 2.98
Coke 12 pack mini cans 5.61 5-10
Box of 100 count Earl Grey Tea bags 4.76 16.90
Starbucks Fresh Brewed Coffee 1.76 2.10

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I will be singing in the rain!

The last few days were exceptionally hot in Istanbul. Thank God, today it is raining and it has cooled down significantly. I cannot stand the heat. Last night, I tossed and turned in bed and were able to sleep only a few hours. The AC in the studio apartment is very old and the remote does not control the unit very well. You literally have to go up to the unit and point the "remote" to make it work.

I am not too sure if the thermostat is working properly either. I am going to try and see if it works. Another idea is to move the bed further away from the A/C and keep it running all night.

In any case, I do not think, I will need the AC tonight. Hopefully it will be nice and cool at night due to all the rain coming our way.

At my other home, the apartment I own, I never need and AC. The apartment is situated such that, it is nice and bright, yet it never gets direct sunlight except for a couple of hours. During the summer, it is really cool.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Frugal Weekend and Food Related Decisions

This weekend was so hot that, mom and I went out only for a couple of hours. We had super simple fish sandwiches for lunch on Saturday. The cost USD 5.68 total.

We bought artichokes, sweet cherries, a watermelon and some apricots from a farm Market. The rest of the weekend we stayed home and ate what we had in the fridge and freezer.

The cleaning lady for the studio apartment did not show up. Money saved there too. I have to vacuum the place tonight.

Today I weighed myself and found out that I have gained weight yet again! From today, till I go to the US for my vacation in August, I am only having one slice of bread along with some cheese and olives for breakfast. For lunch, I will be having soup and salad and may be fish and salad once a week.

Every night, I will only consume either some form of protein or veggies. No carbs at night. No sweet stuff with the exception of very little fruit.

Off to the grocery store I go!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mid-Year Assessment of Financial Status

As we have completed the first half of the year, I have decided to look at my financial goals and assess my status.

Although there is still time till the end of the year, it looks like I will be missing my Savings Target by 5%.

Thinking back, I now know that I had not budgeted for my progressive glasses and the need for some new wardrobe items due to unexpected weight gain. My estimate for charitable giving was also underestimated by the beginning of the year. I paid all the real estate taxes (not as horrible as what you guys have to pay) for all the family owned property. That was also not in my budget.

Next year, I will be better at forecasting these expenses. I have already noted them on my budget sheet.

Now the question is whether I should update my goal and move forward or wait until the end of the year to see what the real damage will be or whether I can make up for some of the "loss". Changing the goal seems a bit like cheating so, I am leaning towards keeping everything as is. This is going to be a reminder of better forecasts.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Locking too much money up?

I have realized that I, sometimes leave too little money in my non-interest earning accounts as I approach the end of the month. I am a bit obsessed about keeping nearly all of my money in interest earning accounts.

I just had to shuffle some money around to meet the end of month bills because of that.

Was it due to unexpected expenses? Not really. I just felt like donating more money to a charity this month and I did not have my infamous budget sheet with me so, I used the wrong account to make the donation. Couple of days later, I realized my mistake and moved some money around in three separate accounts. Thankfully, I did not miss any of the automatic payments and ended up being charged a late fee. That would make me kick myself.

In the USA, FDIC insurance is up to USD 250,000 which is great. In this country, it is up to TL 100,000 which is about USD 28,600 these days. So, I have to use a number of banks to keep my money in. I only use reputable banks and usually keep more money than the insured amount. Still, I have to deal with a number of banks and multiple accounts. That makes management harder.

Mind you, the interest rates in this country are around 12-14 % for TL and 2,5-4% for USD. That is why, I try to lock my money in interest earning accounts.