About Me

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Almost ready to hit the road

Yes, Project Clean Fridge is done! I tossed some condiments with passed expiration dates. I should be more diligent about this. So proud of myself because I did a good job even better than I expected from myself! Haha... I added more items on my future shopping list. I think, I will have to have a delivery and a personal shopping when I come back since the list is pretty long. Or may be not because, I am thinking of spending a few weekd in November at my sister's. We'll see.

I also cleaned up my kitchen, changed my sheets and put a thin duvet on the bed. I am sure, it will be pretty cool when I get back home. It has significantly cooled down in Istanbul and Ankara but, I know, we shall have pretty good beach days down South. Today I felt the nice, crisp and fresh Fall weather. I do not think, I will be able to sit at home with all the windows open from now on. With Fall being my favorite season, no complaints though. 

Since I have cleaned up everything, dinner will be a cheese and bologna sandwich and two nectarines. I haven't eaten bologne in ages. Trying and doing a good job staying away from stuff like that.

Just had a cup of coffee. Need to get back to packing. Now I am packing toiletries and medicines which to me is the worst bit. I almost always forget something and end up having to buy it. I think, I shall be done in about half an hour. 

There is a volleybal game I would like to watch at 6 p.m. While I watch it, I will give myself a mani and pedi. Then I will have my dinner and just realx before going to bed. I will hit the road when I wake up without the help of an alarm clock. It is a 4 hour drive all on highway to Ankara. I do not even stop most of the time.

On Monday I will have dinner with the friend I am going on vacation with plus another childhood friend and her sister in law. On Tuesday, I may take my BIL for a late birthday dinner. His birthday was on the 2nd. Wednesday is the start of our vacation/road trip. 

Wish us luck and lots of good weather please.

I do not think I will be able to blog during my vacation but, I promise to take tons of picture to share later on. I am not dragging my laptop with me for the first time in many years. I am not even taking my tablet PC. 

Wishing everyone a great weekend! Stay safe and be well. 


Friday, September 3, 2021

For HELOISE!

I hope, Heloise sees this post. She has been very kind to reach out to me to see what she could do for the people who were affected by the fires in Turkey earlier in August. She was as sorry as I were and I believe she has a heart of gold. Since she does not have a blog and I do not have her e-mail address, the only way I can reach out to her is here through my blog.

Today, I saw a wonderful news on Facebook. A group of British nationals living in the area decided to get together and purchased a number of sheep and goats to gift the villagers who lost their livestock in the fires. I am so touched by this. I thank them with all my heart on behalf of my people. 

See the pictures that were shared. Such a heart warming gesture! 



Thursday, September 2, 2021

Busy busy busy....

I am almost done packing. Now it is the small but, important stuff that needs to be packed.

The best news is that I have received my passport from the US Consulate for my 4th 10 year visa. My last visa had expired in April. People were saying that it was taking a long time for new visas due to the pandemic working hours so, I had decided to wait. 

I checked the US Consulate Web site early August and found out that if the last visa had expired within the last 4 years, an appointment would not be necessary and that the whole process could be completed online. So, without thinking it through, I applied for it. They haven't asked for any additional paperwork other than my new passport and the old one on which the expired visa was stamped. Great! Easy peasy! Then I noticed that I would be leaving for Ankara soon and I panicked. I thought the administrative process might take a long time and that I would not be here when my passport was returned to me.

Well, to make a long story short; I have my passport and my new visa. Yay! Not that I will be going to the US anytime soon but, who knows? Right?

Tomorrow I will be completing my packing and will clean the fridge. I think, I will leave on Saturday. My BIL is in Ankara. He has arranged for a medical visit at home for his mom, took his father for a much neglected health check, got the medical reports extended, filed the paperwork for the Georgian caregiver of his folks and some other things that required attention. It is already a productive week for him. His medical leave will be ending on September 9th so, my friend, my BIL and I will be leaving for Izmir on the 8th.

Trying to eat up the last of fresh stuff and whatever is on hand generates weird combinations. Today's dinner is decent though. I will use the last two eggs I have to make Menemen. To make it you need to finely slice peppers, dice tomatoes and sautee them in a bit of butter or olive oil and crack the eggs on it. Cover and let it cook a little bit depending on you how you like your eggs. I will leave them a bit soft so, I can dip some bread in it. I normally mix the eggs and pour on top of the sauteed veggies. Easy and healthy. 

OK it's time to go and hang the last bit of laundry. My friend told me that evenings are cool in Ankara and it will also be cool at the first place we shall be going. I decided to pack my fleece jacket and a pair of jeans. 




Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A week of Planning and Packing

I will be hitting the road on the 6th to go to Ankara. That is our starting point for the big road trip ahead of us. This is the first time we shall be vacationing together with my pram (or stroller) buddy. Imagine knowing someone since you both have been literally infants. 

My sister left my BIL in Ankara yesterday and drove back to Izmir on her own. She did not want to take additional days off since her husband is just fine after his procedure. They had extracted 11 moles and only two turned out to be carcinomas. So, that is good. He is still on medical leave. While he has this time on hand, he will try to take care of some stuff related with his parents. When my friend and I are leaving for our vacation, we will take him with us to Izmir next week. It was our first stop anyway. We just decided to go one day earlier.

So now, I have to come up with my packing list and start packing my stuff. The road trip will be long so, I am guessing I need lightweight, easily washable things that will not require any ironing. I always start my list with the medicines I must take and some optional stuff. 

I am still contemplating whether I should take one large suitcase, or two smaller ones. I am definitely taking my beloved backpack which I also use as my beach bag and a bag for shoes. My car is a Ford Escape so, if you are familiar with it, it does not have a very large trunk. Plus, we are both taking our folding chairs, a beach umbrella and a small folding table.

It is hard to plan for such a long trip.

Today, I took out the suitcases and the things I will be packing but, I had left most of my beach stuff back in Ankara. Some of the clothing items have been sitting in a drawer or a closet for a long time so, they were smelling a bit musty. I am putting them through a very quick cycle of 15 minutes just to freshen them up. 

Meanwhile, I have been consuming the meat products in my fridge and I can say, there will be nothing left. That means a big shopping trip when I come back. I have been noting pantry items that need to be purchased as well. 

From now on, I will try to keep only the healthier versions of pantry items. For instance, no more regular pasta, white rice or flour. I love pasta but, the regular kind is something I should not be consuming. I still have some on hand and once those are gone, they will be replaced with whole wheat pasta. That will be less tempting anyway. 

Before I leave I would like to clean my fridge. I can never clean it after I come back from a vacation. Lesson well learned. 

As for the freezer, there will only be the tomatoes and tomato sauces plus the beans left in it. All those were intended for the winter anyway. I decided against freezing more tomatoes. I will need the space for meats when I get back. Also, since I do not eat a lot of bread anymore, I need space for a loaf and some small whole wheat tortillas too. I used to have a separate under the counter freezer in the past but, when I re-did the kitchen, I had to part ways with it.

Today, I took out the suitcases and the things I will be packing but, I had left most of my beach stuff back in Ankara. Some of the clothing items have been sitting in a drawer or a closet for a long time so, they were smelling a bit musty. I am putting them through a very quick cycle of 15 minutes just to freshen them up. 

Wish you all a very good week!

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Lazy Saturday

Today is a hot day. The breeze started to cool me down only around 4:30 p.m. Before that it was only making it warmer.

I declared today a lazy day but, I also knew there were a few things to take care of. Since, I hate wasting food, I knew I had to cook some string beans, some eggplants and a forgotten zucchini. 

I sauteed onions in olive oil, added some chopped tomatoes and cooked the string beans in my pressure cooker. I like this cold but, it can also be eaten warmed up. I am going to pan fry the eggplants and the zucchini. I have already cubed them but, the eggplants are soaking in salty water to get rid of the bitter taste. This will also be a cold dish I think I will have this with garlic, yogurt sauce. These are for tomorrow. I should pull out a frozen steak for tomorrow from the freezer.

Tonight, I am having Tom Kha Soup, some mushrooms (broiled in the toaster oven) and the remaining okra (in the oven too).

So far, it has been a successful week in terms of eating out of the freezer. I have two steaks, two portions of frozen falafel and a bag of frozen okra left to be consumed before my trip. The falafel was too salty. I am not going to buy that brand again. As I go through stuff in my freezer and pantry, I am making a list of groceries that I should buy after I come back home. I have a little butter and a little olive oil left. I need to stretch the olive oil till I go on my vacation. I have 3 cans of olive oil, 2 lt each but just do not want to open one and then leave for 6 weeks. Not that it will go bad or anything, but, still...

While I was cooking today, I dropped a bottle and broke it into a million pieces. Ugh! I hate cleaning up broken glass but, I had it coming. I should have just put the bottle back in it's place before tackling the veggies. Thankfully, it was empty. 

I better go get started with the eggplants. Hope, everyone is having a great weekend.


Friday, August 27, 2021

Small Victories!

I haven't been exercising as much as I should and wasn't paying attention to what I ate during the last 4 days. Sabotaging myself is an important issue of mine. Usually, I let go a lot longer than 4 days but, this time I decided to issue myself a warning and go back to tracking my food and exercise.

I got up today and weighed myself. Guess what? I lost another couple of pounds. So, since May, I have lost a total of 18 pounds. I know, I know, some people lose this much in a month. Well, I can't. 

Actually, looking back to old records, I think, I kept losing and gaining the same 20 pounds over the course of last 6-7 years. So, if I break this and lose another 10 pounds, that will be a mid-size victory. 

The childhood friend with whom I am going on the roadtrip has a weight issue too. I hope, we will influence each other for the better and not for the worse. 

I hope, I will lose another 2 pounds in the next 13 days before we start our road trip. 

Today, I had smoked salmon, capers, a soft boiled egg, half an avocado on toasted rye bread for my first meal of the day. 650 calories in total. A small celebration :)

I am going to have a salad for dinner with the remaining salmon (need to finish it up) and baked okra. BTW, thanks Anne for the okra recipe!

I made Tom Kha Soup for tomorrow. I also have some cold chicken which I will put on my dinner salad. 

Today, I had bread, but most days I do not. Decreasing the amount of bread, pasta and rice I consume and having only two meals a day made a big difference. My poison is pasta. I love, love, love it. I will limit pasta to once a week and feel not deprived.

I have been eating from my freezer lately. I do not want to leave any meat or cooked meals in it. Last week I bought some tomatoes. I sliced and froze some of them and put the rest through my food processor and scooped them into zippie bags. One year I made too much of this and ended up using them till August. This year I was cautious but I guess, I should make some more. Not too much but may be another 5 pounds or so. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Locks and Lock Freaks

I am the kind of person who locks her apartment door as soon as she gets home, as soon as something is delivered, as soon as it has to be opened for any reason. Mom and SIS called me the lockfreak because, you can hear each time I lock the door. It is loud. Cluck! Cluck! There is a deadlock and there is a normal lock.

Well, yesterday around 9:30 p.m. as I was talking to the friend whom I visited today, I hear someone trying a key on my door! WTH? I told my friend to hold and loudly yelled "Who is it? Why are you screwing with my door?" The only people who have keys to my apartment are my SIS and uncle. So, I knew it couldn't be them. They know better to call before coming for a "surprise" visit.

I went by the door and demanded who it was without opening it. It turned out to be a contractor who failed to deliver some items during the day. He had the keys to the other number 4 in the next building. I knew that apartment was sold and was going through some serious renovation. The guy was more freaked than I was. I told him it is the other building and he went away and apologized several times. I can see the other apartment from my windows so, I looked to see if he entered the empty apartment and turned on the lights. He did. So, he was not lying.

The apartment complex I live in has 9 apartment buildings. There is a fence all around with cameras installed. Every floor has cameras and actually on my floor, the camera is installed right over my door. If someone wants to come visit or deliver something, she/he needs to go through the security guard who will call me to confirm if I am home and if I know this particular individual. Once he lets the person in, she/he will need to come to my building and ring my bell. I see who it is on the screen of the Intercom and buzz the person into the building. So, it is actually very safe. However, I guess the new owner of the other apartment gave the contractor not only the keys to her/his new apartment but also, the buzzer token all tenants use to come into the complex. This way, the security was bypassed. I did not have time to bring this issue up to the Management's attention today but, I will do so tomorrow. 

If my door was unlocked and if the person who meddled with my lock had sinister purposes, my apartment could be broken into. So, am I right to keep my door locked at all times or not? 

My SIS says, if the expected earthquake hits Istanbul, I may not be able unlock the door because it may get jammed. Well, I guess a steel door can be jammed in such a situation even if it is not locked. Yes, my door has wood panels on both sides but, it has a thick steel piece inside. The frame is also steel but painted a matching brown. When I first moved in, we did not have the fence or the cameras so, it was a necessary purchase.

Uncle has a different argument. He says, if I fall at home or get into any sort of medical trouble, keeping the doors locked would make it harder for the emergency people to get to me. Well, I leave that to luck I guess.