How I encourage myself to drink more water -and it has nothing to do with any apps!

Water is basic stuff.

I mean we all know it- we cannot survive without it- but since daily life for most of us offers so many other thirst quenching options, there needs to be a reminder from time to time of this wonderful green, organic, healthy, frugal substance.

I’ve seen people where I work that manage to drink only coffee (many cups of it though) throughout a full 9-10 hours of work, and wonder why they are jumpy, their eyes twitch from time to time, their skin looks tired and they have head-aches or even migraines.

Some of my family  lived for years on diet coke or Pepsi and forget that plain simple water even exists. this is not only a questionable choice health wise- but I think there is no place for questions and the answer is quite clear on the frugal side of this matter. this is why they stopped and began drinking water.

By the way- those family members understood that drinking too much soda is not exactly recommended for young children, but had  a hard time trying to implement no diet soda rules on their children while they were deep into the habit of it…

So I gathered some of my tips and tricks- that work quite well at our home:

*The first tip I have to enhance your water consumption is quite simple – just carry water with you at all times.

When fresh water is accessible you will drink more.

If you are (like me) an ice-cold water drinker- then arrange for your refillable water bottle to be constantly filled with fresh cold water, and don’t be lazy about refilling it.

*In the winter time- get some fresh lemon-grass or mint leaves -or ginger with lemon- put in a glass near you and keep it filled with hot water all the time. 

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(mint leaves in my garden).

I found out that no matter how much I drink at work, I tend to finish my 1 liter bottle on my way back home, especially on hot days.

*This is why before going home, I make a stop at the water cooler and fill my refillable water bottle.

*By the way I carry my water bottle with me every where- on long- and even short rips.

You never know when you’ll be thirsty.

This tip has saved me from so many situations of being terribly thirsty/having to spend too much money on bottled water.

But isn’t it boring? water water water all the time?

I drink 2 cups of coffee a day, and no diet soda, ( I do drink an occasional glass of sparkling water -with or without lemon in it) ,but sometimes I want a change, something different to drink.

In the afternoon I always drink a glass of hot water with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar– the organic type”with mother “(that sounds horrible by the way- who wants to drink the poor vinegar’s mother???).

This is something I read long ago in a book about “life after 50”.  I only turned 50 now but I think you already understood that I like to be prepared, so I implemented some healthy changes to my diet before actually turning 50, and I must say that I think they work pretty well. the acv is supposed to be very healthy for you- read online if you wish.

Another one of the changes  I made was -surprise- to drink more water.

This I believe to have helped my skin look better ( some might say “glowing” but I have no idea where those people are).

Drinking more water has helped me lose weight, feel good during and after exercise . I forgot to mention that before I start any exercise I fill my 1 liter bottle with ice-cold water and only then I start working out- and yes- that also applies to yoga sessions. some might think- why bother- I almost never sweat doing yoga so why fill my water bottle- but this is a huge mistake- yoga takes a toll on your body, a good one of course but still one that calls for a good drink of water during- and afterwards.

I mean this is my opinion- as usual- do whatever you want. but why not drink water? its healthy, tasty, frugal- what are the downsides of it?

There is another tip concerning water I found out.

*When I am stressed -on the verge of developing a panic attack or a stress headache I quickly go and grab a glass or two of water.

I’ve found this to be very helpful.

you are welcome.

Another tip I use- is when at home, after my shower getting settled to read – I pour 2 glasses of hot water infused with tea leaves or ginger&lemon to this glass bottle I got for myself, and sip those glasses ( I  often fill it up a couple of times more) before going to bed.

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Relaxing +a way to ensure I drank enough water and wasn’t distracted by anything or misled to think I am not thirsty by air condition in the summer or cold weather in the winter.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

yoga! yoga? what the **** is crow pose???

This is a crow.

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I mean- fine. so he is standing on his 2 feet and looking at you.

There I was, doing really good on my (great!) down dog yoga app ( My 7 days a week exercize routine- all for 30$ a month (!?)). moving up the ladder from beginner 2 to intermediate 1: when all of a sudden this crow pose was born, along with  its evil twin- lolasana.

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This- is crow pose in yoga, apparently.

Looking at the first picture above, I saw an innocent crow just standing there, minding its own business, not jumping or straining his arms or quads, as shown in picture 2. what happened?

I tried looking on-line for explanations all I found were instructions on how to get yourself to this strange situation where your whole bodyweight lies somewhere between your knees and your elbows.

instructions -how to do crow pose

At first- I was deeply discouraged. this looked so hard and I felt I could never do this.

If you are expecting me to say that I nailed those poses a week later (or by now) well I didn’t. I am still scared of those poses . but now I am looking at them as a chance to improve. as a challenge.

I believe There is no point in exercising if there is no progress.

Like everything else in life- since time keeps going forward at the same pace’ if you are not progressing you are in fact- going back.

So now this is my yoga goal: to nail those 2 difficult poses and be a proud crow.

Other then that- if anyone is mistaking yoga to be an easy stretching ‘feminine” thing for “after  long run” or “after a long weight lifting session at the gym”- well- speaking only from my experience- this is a practice to be respected by itself as a whole body- mind-strength-flexibility-core engaging exercise.

I feel new parts of my body I didn’t know existed, I feel stronger, more flexible, and on saturday, my swim welt easier somehow.

This great yoga app is free, and very user friendly, and why go on any further- just try it. grab a mat. (as usual- no affiliated anything or money made from promoting this. I simply like it. a lot.)

down dog app

enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

Living in a (fairly )small house and how I upgraded my toilet for (almost) 0$

We live in a fairly small home.

117 square meters. we have a nice big garden that we had no intention of destroying in order to build more rooms so we can accumulate more stuff.

We have 3 children we raised for most of their lives in this small house. 2 of them are now grown-ups – my eldest has a partner and a home of her own, and the other one is traveling now and has other plans than coming back home to live with us.

Which is great in my opinion.

I know many young people move back home after college in order to save some money , and I personally think this is a very bad idea.

Before you start screaming that I am an egoistic b**** that doesn’t care about her kids and their difficulties-I believe that is not the case.

I care deeply for my kids, and make a great effort to save money that will help them get education and a good start on a home.

However- I also believe that a grown child should try to live on his/her own-for their sake- for their parent’s sake-and for the relationship between them and their parent’s sake.

I believe that once they are grown and have left home for college /university, going back home is a regression, and I generally don’t favour regression in life.

On the other hand’ dealing with the difficulties of living on their own- both mentally and financially is a very important life skill that they must develop if they ever want to live apart from their parents.

It is one thing if this regression is imposed on you- then buckle up and get your act together to deal with the situation, but the wish to save some money at the expense of your parents is -in my opinion- a cognitive decision and not a force major.

Other than financial skills- I think once a child grows up and develops some kind of freedom from his parents-having to go back home however free minded and non-demanding his parents may be- old patterns sneak back, can’t avoid them. you have built a relationship for so many years in which there is a very clear distinction between “parents”- and “children” in which the parents are responsible for their childrens wellbeing-food-clothing-education- and the children are expected to respect the house rules . when leaving home for the first time- this distiction didn’t actually change- so once going back home after college-the family is retreating to the old situation- from chores to cleaning the young adult’s room…

This is not a very liberating situation for someone who has already felt the sweet smell of freedom from house rules and the need (totally unnecessary to him/her) to clean their room. having to bring friends -and romantic dates-to your parents house- is awkward to say the least. again- this is my own opinion- and I respect frugal reasons very much but there is a limit to frugality in my opinion- and I draw the line where freedom (or lack of) is involved.

From the parent’s side I can say that I couldn’t wait for my son to get on the plane before I confiscated his room (here is the post explaining why and how :The second birthday present I gave myself. (part 2)

Raising my kids was- and is- a very rewarding and enriching experience, I love them dearly and deeply, but a parent that tells you it wasn’t difficult is either lying or a total saint- or a true hippie parent- I am none of those three .

I believe many parents find themselves waiting for the peace and quiet of a children-free house after long years of having to be responsible and available for them and cleaning after and maintaining a larger family- teenagers are known to be food monsters and dirty creatures that always have time for their friends but seldom take out the trash- even if this is their only house chore…

(Ok that was harsh and unjust . I know. my oldest child wasn’t anything like that. but my second one was-is , and I must tell you that from talking to other parents I hear this is the situation at their house too).

I am aware there is a syndrome specific for parents that find it difficult to let go of their grown up children leaving home- (empty nest anyone?) but sorry- not here.

ok so how did I upgrade my toilet room? (I know there is no real connection between the subjects unless anyone is going to be really mean here.. )

As you can see this is a very small- you might call it minimalistic- toilet room. nothing fancy, of course.

I asked my partner to hang a wooden shelf and he used a piece of wood he had in his shed, I took some candles I got a long time ago, washed them up (yes with soap and hot water -does a great job cleaning them) , spread some smooth pebbles I had in my garden, a vase full of flowers I picked (read here how I get my flowers every friday: Why I bring myself flowers every friday (and how I do it frugally!) added a spray bottle full of water +a few drops of dr bronner’s tea tree castile soap (great smell and a great natural cleaner- very expensive but little does go a long way with this stuff!) and voila.

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No need to neglect this room and stuff it with newspapers or cleaning supplies. every one who uses the bathroom sprinkles that soap-scented water -it cleans the toilet handles and keeps the room smelling nice and fresh.

told you-(almost) zero cost.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

Can you always be prepared?

I am a control freak.

Plain and simple. ok maybe it’s not that simple but there it is.

*I am also an introvert, which in my experience complicates things even more, since I rely only on myself to help myself-and have a great deal of trouble asking anyone for help.

(I can prove I am a qualified introvert- read here how: 5 reasons why being an introvert is actually beneficial -and a useful tip)

I am absolutely positively sure that being prepared can save you from getting into trouble many times, and get you out of the trouble you got into- on the occasions trouble wasn’t prevented in the first place .

Ok maybe that was (a bit of) an exaggeration- “keep you out of trouble and get you out of it ” but it can definitely help you prevent many of life’s “misfortunes” -which many times have nothing to do with the god/goddess(?) of fortune- but mere lack of preparation on our side.

Getting to the airport and discovering your passport is missing/expired/no visa, going shopping and forgetting your wallet at home, forgetting to take your packed lunch to work and eating junk hence having zero wish to exercise afterwards, forgetting to take b12 (hi vegans! ) and after a few months feeling weaker, eating junk and gaining weight, not exercising and getting out of shape- I think by now you probably got the general idea.

Actions (or lack of) have consequences.

You spend your time searching ebay and amazon- fine. enjoy. that is your money to spend therefore your privilege to do whatever you wish to do with it.

The only privilege I think you do not have– is the privilege of being surprised/annoyed that you are not saving a dime and your early retirement is but a distant dream and might stay a dream.

Being prepared has many sides to it- in this post I want to examine the (frugal!!) point of preparing your medicine cabinet.

I have a general dislike for medicine, hospitals, illness and bad health in general.

I am sure there is more than one person who agrees with me on this particular subject.

Being an introvert + a control freak does not make this easier. surprise I know.

Why? because as I said I do not like to rely on anyone but myself to take care of me -and being unhealthy kind of makes you dependent on your family, doctors, and pills . the situation is out of my control.

I believe eating healthy, exercising, resting , sleeping, drinking water ,keeping your environment clean and getting checked once a year on all important parameters ( blood works, obgyn (for ladies, naturally ) , oral hygiene and any special tests you require according to your age and personal situation)- and generally taking good care of yourself on a regular basis- is a key element in preventing sickness.

But sometimes this is not enough.

For instance- the flu is spreading in your office and people just had to come to work and spread the virus all around instead of staying home and resting ( where I live justified sick days are always payed for so really people there is absolutely no excuse for this behaviour- you do understand that the person in who’s office you just sneezed might go home and infect his kids too, and they might infect their teacher -who might infect his/her children- and so forth-just go rest ).

I also have family members who don’t mind using conventional medicine whenever -so we have a medicine drawer.

In the past this was a mess, a mixture of new and expired medicine, and every time we went to the doctor’s and got a prescription for anything- we went straight to the pharmacy and bought it- since we had no idea whether we had that medicine at home or not.

Also when a child suddenly woke up in the middle of the night with a fever or an ear ache- it took a few frantic minutes to find the right medicine and to check- blurry eyed (in the middle of the night) if it had passed it’s expiration date or not…

Do yourself a time saving-frugal and minimalist favour and organize your medicine cabinet every once in a while.

then make a list of the medicine you have including quantities and keep that list in your bag-or on your phone.No more buying double medicine and extra “just in case we don’t have it at home” expensive medicine. no more over crouded drawers with expired pills and those socks you really love and forgot where you put. no more frantic nights looking for that paracetamol or whatever.

By the way expired medicine should be taken back to the pharmacy and disposed off there. they have special bins for that.

This picture is the result of my suddenly remembering to go through my medicine cabinet last week. the drawer is a 14-year-old Ikea drawer , repainted by us a few years ago-looking at it closely now maybe its time to repaint…

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I know the subject of preparing ahead is a huge topic and not an easy one to tackle.

I addressed the very specific angle of “medicine cabinet preparation” but we are all aware that preparation has to do with everything happening in our lives-not only specific mild illness, but our whole attitude towards life- our well-being, our family relations, our romantic relations, our work, our money management, life in general.

For a control freak like me, accepting that there a some (ok many) things that being prepared cannot prevent is difficult.

This , for me, means that the level of control I have over my life is limited, meaning things might happen to me or to my loved ones, that I will not be able to manage .

I might fail in overcoming those things, and failing is not supposed to happen to me. I try so hard to prepare for everything, I try to be a good person, I worry about things going wrong and make long to do lists trying to prevent those possible catastrophes, why shouldn’t I succeed?

Well- because this is just the way it is.

The school of life-a very successful you tube channel led by the philosopher Alain de bouton has a great episode on this subject exactly. why none of us can ever escape catastrophes.

click on the link :school of life.

another great episode explains the philosophic concept of stoicism: school of life on stoicism.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

My 7 days a week exercize routine- all for 30$ a month (!?)

Wait -please don’t jump on me shouting “what?? 7 days a week?? what about rest days? at least 2 of those every week!” and all that. I am well aware -and by the way so should every one be- over exercising is very bad for you- please consult with your physician before going about any exercise, and please remember my disclaimer here. I am no doctor and not a certified anything ( not entirely true- I am a lawyer -but that has nothing to do with the topic of exercise so).

My exercise routine is what my body endures at this moment. this can change any day -or even today for that matter.

I cannot sit quietly for long, my body loves to move, so after a lot of thinking, trial and many  errors, I understood that versatile mild exercise every day of the week is what my body reacts best to.

So If your body is different- and everybody’s body is different-and even if your body is not different at all– make your own choices and decisions– this is why we are born with that brain of ours- and we all know that owning something and not using it is not minimalistic. at all.

Back to the point:

I used to run quite a lot- I did 5 half marathons and the training towards those was not easy on my body. my lower back showed signs of disagreement and I became sick with all kinds of flues and colds and what not.

Not acceptable.

Exercise is made to make you feel better not the opposite. so-finally a few years ago I understood I needed to find out what is good for me– at my age and physical condition.

*I am now 50 and in good condition. because I haven’t retired yet I will not enclose a picture of myself- but in my humble opinion I look good- and saying this is a true improvement for me- after having suffered from eating disorders throughout my youth , and years of being dissatisfied with how I looked (no matter how I actually looked- everybody has “good times bad times” as led zeppelin say- but for years- actually up untill becoming vegan 5 years ago- I was never really pleased with the way I look.

Ok back to my exercise routine:

So lately Iv’e found this great (and free!!!) app for vinyasa yoga. click on the link and thank me later: down dog yoga app

This app has 2 lovely voice narrators- male and female (hi carlos!) , 5 difficulty levels , 3 adjustment options ( focus on flexibility, on aerobic and no focus) -for free- and I understand there are more options if you go pro- but I haven’t finished enjoying the free version yet .also there are a few options for the exercise itself- full yoga class- including warm up and warm down, just the sequences and yoga flow- the hardcore no warm up or down exercise. I tried only the whole class- I just really like it so why fix it if it ain’t broken? so to speak.

Get a mat and get ready to enjoy your workout-the app has yoga classes from 20 min to 90 min (!) choose what you like according to your day and situation.

so this is sunday to thursday.

friday is my easy 4 to 5 k jogs. I need to keep my energy for cooking and cleaning afterwards and on the way I pick my flowers : Why I bring myself flowers every friday (and how I do it frugally!)

Saturday is my swimming day. this is the only exercise I do that costs me money- admission fee to the pool is about 8 $ an entrance so around 32$ a month.I swim for an hour- 40 laps- 2 k.

I put great music on : read why here- How Metallica stepped up my game at the pool this morning

*(this morning it was dio and Richie Blackmore with “rainbow”- go listen if you don’t know this rock-metal band: great music I promise. )

The thing is by the time I finish my post swim shower I am famished. and I still have a 30 minute drive back home plus food prep time. ahhhhh the agony.

Well no more. I prepare ahead and freeze a protein shake: 1 frozen banana or apple,(here is an example- I know there are a few bananas here)

FROZEN BANANAS

1 date ( again- I am aware there are more than one in this picture -just to show off these medjhool dates that’s all)

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, 1/2 glass of soy milk, 1/2 glass of water, 1 scoop of vegan protein powder- 20180419_105122

this is the result. I add my homemade granola and flax seeds- and a spoon- and eat when I’m done showering .

 

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I admit this is the only type of exercise that gets me that famished. the others get me hungry but not like a wolf. (oh come on- “duran duran”? 80’s?)

enjoy life and enjoy exercising- using your body is a great way to make you smile! (and therefore beautiful).

the cooliflower.

 

 

Why I bring myself flowers every friday (and how I do it frugally!)

I believe everyone loves flowers-right?

I mean- beautiful (have you ever seen a flower and looked away? even those scary “little shop of horrors” type are interesting to look at, not that I come across those every day, or at any day for that matter-wow that brought up memories of that campy movie- “feed me seymour!”.* If you haven’t the faintest idea of what I’m talking about- go check out this absurd frank oz creation, it’s a cult movie, definitely).

Anyway, assuming there is no dispute about the beauty of flowers, and I’m guessing no need to convince anyone that surrounding yourself by beautiful things is a great way to get you to smile and be happy- I’m guessing even the strictest minimalist would agree- though I truly have no clue since I know not that person, and what he/she might like /dislike, so.

So why devote a whole post on this undisputed subject?

Because there were (many) years I was under the gender-twisted notion that I’m supposed to sit and wait for someone to get me those flowers as a sign of love or gratitude or whatever.

Well thankfully no more. It took me 50 years of being around to realize that I know exactly what I like, and how I like it, and most importantly- that I can totally get it by myself.

This may seem obvious to ladies /gentlemen who have been living on their own but apart from a very short period in my life (when I got divorced and before my current partner and I got together) I have always lived with someone.

And please do not misunderstand me-

My partner is a great guy and this is not to say “hey read my post and go get me some flowers”- mainly because he doesn’t read my posts but also because I’m trying to make a different point altogether: I have finally reached that age and wisdom (sadly this wisdom in my case came only with age,I hope for you the case will be different) that allow me to be completely sure that I know what kind of flowers I like (hint -not store-bought!!!, another hint-  other than that- I love all flowers), and since we are on the subject I also know what kind of food I like (vegan, home cooked, simple, nutritious and tasty) , what kind of clothes I want to wear, what books I like to read and whether or not I want to watch tv (not. at. all.)I also know what kind of trips I want to take, how I plan to reach early retirement (read my previous post here: Why I want to retire early-and my plan to achieve it

I also know what my finances are about.read here my previous post on :. Why I believe in seperate accounts

Not only do I know all those things (and many more), but finally I have reached the level of confidence that allows me to be so sure of myself that I simply do it. I don’t wait for anyone or anything to happen before I “just do it” as Nike advertises. (I’m not a fan of advertisements but this is a good slogan I must admit).

So I get myself exactly the kind and colour of flowers I fancy that moment.

And this feels great.

So how do I get myself flowers every week the frugal way?

Simple.

I usually go running on friday mornings ( don’t get all excited- a mere easy jog of 4 sometimes 5k, this is kind of my rest day -and also the day I do all my cooking for the week ahead so I need to tread lightly) and approximately in the middle of my route there are huge bushes of bougonvillea- red- white-purple- orange, the lot.

These huge bushes grow along the road in our village and I help myself to a few small branches (from the side, no way I’m breaking the bush itself) and continue running with my small bouquet and a big grin on my face. they are truly colorful and lift me up every time.

*These are a day or two old already. still smashing in my opinion.

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go out there, ladies and gentlemen, pick yourselves some flowers (not endangered or protected flowers, and also please don’t help yourselves to anyones private garden- use your common sense ( and of course abide all laws and state rules where you live- and BE HAPPY!

enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How (and why) I sprout my own sprouts

I love sprouts.

A great source of protein and vitamins, fresh , versatile, yummy . whats not to like?

I eat them fresh (raw as some might call it), cooked as mejadara, cooked as lentil stew, fresh in bean stew and more.

I only sprout ( for the time being) green and brown lentils, I read that red lentils were not made to sprout, and that beans and chickpeas are more difficult to sprout.

I also read that the smaller beans- mung, black-eyed peas and so on- were great for sprouting- but my online supermarket had a great sale on dried lentils so I bought tons of them- and will keep sprouting them till they are gone-and then go on to try all the rest of the options- depending which ones are on sale at the moment.

*Dried beans and lentils , dried fruit, nuts , oil (I buy unrefined coconut oil for my natural deodorant , olive oil for salads and canola oil for cooking) , raw tahini, agava syrup, tomato paste , pasta , grains, T.P , hand soap and dish soap, laundry soap and such-are all things that I buy in stocks when they are on sale. saves me a lot of money-since they don’t mind waiting patiently for their turn, and rarely get infected by ants and such.

*Every once in a while I deliberately dry out my stocks- so I can see clearly what I have and what I need to re-stock on. I discovered that when I get to the habit of stocking without thoroughly checking my pantry and all my shelves- I end up over crowding the pantry . re-arranging and re-counting every thing I have in my kitchen is something that helps me keep it clean and organized. ( ok in a fairly good condition).

Back to my sprouting.

Why bother sprouting at home?

1.Because it’s so easy to.

2. because it makes you feel like a true and genuine farmer even in a one room apartment in a crowded city.

3. because this way you can have fresh sprouts exactly when you want it .

4. because this way you don’t have to start guessing and estimating how old your store-bought sprouts are, and when will they rot. (the answer- exactly when you are ready to eat them).

I think I made a very persuasive argument- if I do say so myself.

So how easy exactly is this?

  1. soak a bag of dried lentils in water for 12 hours. (for the night or as you get up and prepare to go to work-I use both methods).

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make an effort to change the water at least once during that period- I don’t leave work and go home to change the sprouts water but assuming you don’t indulge yourself in 12 hour sleeping periods (ahhhhhhhhh just the mere thought of that) than you can change the water once you get up. in the heavy summer days I soak’m in the fridge.

2. strain the soaked lentils and leave them in the strainer for another 24 hours, wetting the lentils every 4-5 hours approximately (I don’t get up in the middle of the night to water the sprouts but as soon as I wake up I water them). put the strainer in a big enough bowl, so the excess water won’t spill all over your counter, cover the bowl with a towel and put in a fairly dark place.

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3. when the sprouts are out there- approximately after 24 hours or so-store in the fridge for no longer than 4-5 days max, I read it can be easily frozen- haven’t tried it- I always finish the whole batch…..

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this is how they look (in a bean stew). pretty!

go soak some lentils.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

Why (and how)I indulge myself at every meal!

I take food very seriously.

I love eating and I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes -and giving them a new and personal twist.

Since I took my vipassana course (read all about the wonderful present I gave myself here: The birthday presents I gave myself-part 1) I stopped eating dinner and I now eat only twice a day- but wow those two meals are such a mindful treat every day. packed full of vitamins and protein, home made to the core , vegan (naturally) , nutritious, flavourful and most important- yummmmmmmmmmmmy!

Preparing delicious home-made nutritios food on a daily basis is a time-consuming task. this is not something you can avoid. This is not a problem or a deal breaker pour moi, I don’t see it as a waste of time- au contraire. I  look at tome spent in the kitchen to prepare a great tasty and nutritious meal- as time well spent.

It is an alternative way for me to be creative- I don’t know how to draw or paint, and my clay “masterpieces” are best not mentioned. so you see there is a hidden artist inside me just waiting to be heard and the culinary route is a very efficient way to express your creativity.

I believe another important  aspect is involved .

Being frugal for a long time in a very consumer minded society might make you feel-at times- as if you are somewhat “deprived” of “life’s pleasures”.

This, of course, is false, but if you are on a deliberately tight budget on account of a cognitive decision to save money and thus promote your chances of early retirement, then you might , at times, miss those totally indulgent lazy coffee shop days or hotel vacations or whatever budget free life style you had before the cut backs.

Indulging yourself in good home made nutritious food is a great alternative  way to feel indulgent without spending money. I ‘ve written about this before here: Why it’s so important to keep indulging yourself and Indulging yourself #2. 

Another lesson I’ve learned (recently) is that the human mind is such a genius device, that the instant I applied for early retirement at my workplace, I found it more and more difficult to go to work .

I’ve been in public service for approximately 30 years now, and my whole life as a worker I never experienced such difficulties to get up and go to work .

I believe this to be the mind’s way to let go gradually of my “get up and go to work” habit, one that has been established after so many years at work.

The mental aspect retirement is not one to dismiss lightly, in my humble opinion. I am no psychologist but I’ve heard many people describe feelings of loss and sadnedss-and yes I am talking about people who asked to retire- not retired against their will.

We are creatures of habit, and although I know fully well that the right thing for me is early retirement- It is important in my opinion to address this gradually and mind fully .

All of this was to say that indulging myself with good food- is a great comfort and helps to make my day at work a much better day.

How do I go about this indulgence ?

It’s fall here, and taking frozen shakes to work doesn’t cut it any more.

here is the great alternative i’ve found:

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from left to right:

raw almonds-given to us by our neighbours

a frozen &cut ahead banana

cooked dried prunes in syrup (homemade )

vegan yogurt (home-made)

mixed granola&ground flax seeds

I use my hand blender shown in picture to blend the frozen bananas &vegan yogurt, add a little granola &flax seeds, add the rest of the granola to the prunes-after heating the prunes for a minute in the microwave- and eat both ever so happily, followed by munching on the almonds.

This is a nutritious , healthy and filling breakfast and it combines ingredients I love and prepared myself.

I take all this to work in my cooler bag , and enjoy my breakfast immensely, although at my work desk and not at home.

today for lunch I had home-made bean stew &self grown lentil sprouts.

healthy&protein packed &tasty.

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enjoy- the cooliflower.

The second birthday present I gave myself. (part 2)

I gave myself a second grand present- for the first time (after leaving home at 20 to go to university) , I  now have my own room. to read, to search the web, to think, whatever-this is my little corner.

One of my grown up kids has left to travel abroad, and I am a bit embarrassed to admit that the minute he left- I took over his room -and confiscated it.

the whole procedure took 2 days- repainting, cleaning (thoroughly……..), and putting up the wooden boards on the walls.

The cost of the whole “renovation” was around 50$-the cost of the wood. I used leftover paint we had in storage, the computer is my youngest’s old computer -we put it in storage when we bought him a new one (the guy is a gamer, the simple computer wasn’t cutting edge enough for him…) and the chair was bought a few years ago and was taken to my office at work, same case with the pictures and plants, and now, since I requested to retire early, I cleaned my office at work too, and took my private stuff back home.

This did leave my office at work looking very dull and empty, but I think of this as a necessary stage on the path to retirement.

*I always wondered about those people who know they are about to retire (even know the exact date months ahead), and clear their desk and drawers on their last day at work ( I even heard of people who had to come after actually leaving to finish clearing up).

I believe letting go gradually of all the status signs and material settings is an important stage in fully  understanding the concept of the big change that is ahead of you when retiring either early or on time .taking the proper time to check each and every document -file-picture-plant- the konmary style- is imperative to your well-being and smooth departure from this world that has been a huge part of you for some/many years.

Back to my present: this is the room in its previous condition:

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and from another angle:

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and after the “makeover”-total sum 50$:

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and from another angle:

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All the pens and markers and recycled envelopes (for memos) are stacked in reused tea boxes /canned tomato cans. the calendar is hand-made (by moi). a marker and a ruler is all it took. and a big thank you to my partner who helped me achieve this long time dream of having “a room of one’s own” as virginia woolf put it so beautifully.

ciao- the cooliflower.

The birthday presents I gave myself-part 1

I am a big believer in no presents policy. I believe I have everything I need, I need no more stuff in my life, and I don’t like the idea of the stressful search people seem to get themselves into trying to find something the birthday girl/boy will like+dont already have.

This year was a bit different because I gave myself a few presents-a few needed help from other people, and I actually asked for that help (very unlike me) but also let the helpers know that help is considered as my present.

I celebrated a special birthday this year, and I believe that the number made it more emotional and significant for me.

I mean- it’s not every day a woman turns 50.

I gave myself 4 presents- and in this post I will share with you the first one:

a 10 day vipassana course . here is a link if you are interested in reading about this wonderful technique that in my opinion shifts the responsibility for a persons happiness -or sadly-sadness- back to the person itself, teaching him/her how to avoid feelings of anger, hatred, aversion- or on the other hand- how to maintain poise at life’s many cravings.

vipassana

I spent 10 days in complete silence- obviously no electronic devices such as phones& laptops-ipads-tv- were non existent, but even making eye contact or opening the door or saying “excuse me” to the other participants of the course was not allowed.

We got up every morning at 0400 ( no problem for me- this is my usual waking hour), and spent the rest of the day -untill 21:00, meditating -with a few hours of rest time, and a taped lecture of s.n. goenka in the evening.

The food was wonderful- vegan and simple-just the way I like it, I had a room only to myself- which considering the emotional turbulence I went through -was such a huge blessing. things just kept coming up and learning to deal with all the emotions without any distraction- at all- was difficult-but rewarding.

I still have a long way to go, but the tools I got at this course were very powerful –for me. I believe the experience had such a huge effect on me because I let it . I simply put my cynicism and judgment aside for these 10 days-and gave all of myself to the experience. and it was amazing.

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When leaving home I picked from the grass 3 fallen leaves from the ficus religiosa (bodhi tree) that was planted near the meditation hall, to remind me of the 3 main words that were repeated all the time- “aniche’-aniche’-aniche'”-everything is temporary- cravings-and aversions, joy and suffering. nothing stays the same, everything changes. all the time.

This was by far the most powerful birthday present I could give myself.

*by the way- the stay at the vipassana centers is based on donations given only when a student has completed his or her course, and you can give as much as you can-feel-want.

the cooliflower.