Thursday, 10 May 2018

Tsp

Working through the May assignment to work through the kitchen,
I suddenly realised that for a household that only uses the 100ml/about a cup/ to measure porridge oats every morning or smaller measuring spoons for sushi or cake baking (both occasional events with its own tool sets) we have a lot of measuring spoons.
Beyond the porridge spoon, no other of them are actually in the kitchen!

I dug through and found these sets of measuring spoons.

(Missing is the porridge cup and the tsp from the transparent set, the last one currently operating as a scooping spoon in the sugar pot.)

The sushi spoons are white and red and live with the sushi tools. They live the feng shui tools.       ... because...

The left-over transparent set lives with the even more occasionally used kitchen tools such as corn on the cob holders shaped as corn on the cob cobs and orange peeler's (both tasks are performed by our hands in our simplified kitchen).

The metal, the red and the white set live in the "doubles kitchen box" with kitchen things on top of a book case in the office. It contains kitchen things either never used such as my lovely tea pot and vase made from a champagne bottle, things we had two/three/four off when I moved in and we just stored for later, gifts as well as nice decorative items but not on display right now, such as my African guards, elephant (cow horn) napkin holders and cast iron tea light holders. It is all wrapped up for protection in my aunt's 1960's dresses. ...because...

As known, I am not a minimalist, I am a frugalist and I will not throw out things I like or that there is no current use for, just to buy new stuff again later.

Five measuring sets are however too much. The white set had the TSP and the tsp spoons measured and marked as 15 ml and 5 ml respectively and added to the kitchen drawer for more regular use. (They had to be marked with actual measurements as we cook from French, Dutch, Scandinavian, German, UK and US recipes and actual content is essential.)

The metal set went back in the "doubles kitchen box", I really like those in style. The sushi set went back with the feng shui stuff or I will never find them again.

The larger spoon of the transparent set (half a decilitre, 50 ml) went into the camping box as the existing measuring spoon in the cooker is cracked and will need replacement soon).

The rest went into the - I should say - the "on the way out" box, shouldn't I? I really should have.
The spoons are all 5 ml and smaller, all tsp or less. I do not ever cook with margins that small - or portions that small.
Unfortunately, I put them back in the "doubles kitchen box" until next time. The rest of the occasionally used kitchen tools went in there too, freeing up space and gathering similar with similar.

The good thing is that I know know what is in that box.
How many sets of measuring spoons did you find going through the kitchen in May?

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Bicycle shorts

Oh, yeah, so schexchy!
I walk around with extra padding on my bum.

I have bought bicycle shorts (greatly reduced price and paid for in part with a gift card - of course).
All in preparation for the new bicycle and the planned and prepared long bicycle trips we plan to do this year.
They are black and tight and padded in the sensitive saddle touching areas.
They are a very comfortable already on my comfortable saddle on the iron horse city bicycle.
On the new touring bicycle, they will save my bacon. 

I bought bicycle shorts without a waistband, they are basically dungarees.

They are not sexy. Not one bit.

They are however much more comfortable to wear during heavy bicycling.

They are also easier to hide under regular clothes. Yes, I am still prudent enough to not walk around in skin tight clothing among strangers. Nor have I any intention to let anybody ever see me looking like this:

They hide all bacon rolls, muffin tops and extra tires around the waist efficiently.

They are also limiting bathroom visits to only the most essential and urgent needs.

Nobody cares, cycling season is here and the bicycle roads around here are filled with people who dream about Tour d'France and Giro di Italia - and have nightmares about Tour de Ardennes. I am joining them, I don't know what has happened to me. I have turned into a cyclist.
                                                                                                                                        Photos happily copied off the internet.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Sunglasses 2018

Summer is here - in the beginning of May.

Sunshine is here and I need sunglasses.

The pleasure of wearing is motivating me to pay for lenses although regular glasses would be so much cheaper. I wore glasses from the age of 15 until around 2009, and I do not miss them.
Sunglasses have their disadvantages but for me, they are a pleasure I will not do without.

I made an inventory of all sunglasses in the house this week. I even got the man to dig through his boxes. He has given up on lenses as his eyesight is too bad and is now living in hats during the sunny season. (As he should anyway, wearing glasses or not, as he needs to protect his hair less head.)
I was gifted his remaining pair of sunglasses.

That left me with five pairs of sunglasses.
Blue were an emergency buy from last years bicycle trip are perfect in all ways except that they are blue.

Narrow brown came out of a skip in Paris last year and are not great. Too narrow for me, to lightly tinted and does not really fulfil the task of a pair of sunglasses. I look really cool in them so they are staying.

Brown and gold equally came out of a skip in Paris last summer. Completely scratch free. The size and shape is perfect but the colour is not. I thought they were fakes but a quick internet search revealed they are in fact original Ray Bans and sold last year for over €100,  second hand they sell for €20-40.  I might like them better now.

Black plastic are fine, good, in all ways, and cheap. They touch my cheek though and although comfortable in all other ways, I do not hesitate to stick them uncovered in my backpack. It they break, there will be no loss.

The black with metal frames at the bottom are the hand-me-down from the man. They are currently my favourites and I wore them all weekend when cycling around in the sun all day through the green landscape along the blue sea. Close to 40 km per day on the old bike, training for the new bike.
How many sunglasses do you have - and wear?

Friday, 4 May 2018

Reading 17-18

While struggling with health issues at the end of 2017, I turned, as always, to books.

I only read fiction as an escape (and then the same stories over and over again).

When I want to stay in reality and develop tools to handle reality, I read factual books.
 It is not always works of science or even especially well founded theories - but the texts will be about something, explaining something that at least the author believes to be real.

I started reading all books available in my physical and electronic library on the following topics:
Self-help
Project management
Improvisational theatre

This lead into
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive biological science
Evolutionary biology, geography and geology
Meditation and yoga

Continuing into
Neuroscience
Feng shui
Behavioural psychology

Developing into
Biological evolution
Zen
History of science
Moral philosophy

and now I read
Cognitive theory
Yoga
Philosophy and sociology of religion
Theatre theory and practice

and the waiting stack of books contains
History of ideas
Post-colonial history
Memory studies
Map making

Books I've read through and didn't like - or din't read through although I thought I ought to - went into the "on the way out box". Those books do not go back onto the shelves.
I am keeping a list of all books aquired in 2018 to see if I possibly will reduce the total amount of books in the house (doubtful, but at least I aim to track my addiction).

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Bicycle 2018

Before Project Closet started, and before the chaos of Project Bedroom descended upon us,  I mentioned I was looking for a new bicycle.

One of the main motivations for Project Wardrobe was to use up the floor boards stored in the basement in order to give us more space to store a fourth bicycle. (One city iron horse for each of us, with each having a touring bike for long rides.)

The reason I need want a new bicycle is that my city-bike is a heavy steel-horse. Last summer it proved to work but not really be very suitable for week long bicycle vacation trips.

We want to do much more cycling and far away cycling with our camping gear. Last years two long bicycle trips really made me want more.
Maybe I am turning from a hiker to a biker? Or maybe it is just the Netherlands being so flat and boring to hike in that bicycling mentally becomes the only possible alternative? I still hike though, but if I go for a few weeks, it would be nice to have a change in the horizon (and to stay within the country).

We especially want to go to the mountains. The mountains are far away from here. A steel-horse built to survive inner-city Amsterdam is not built for the mountains. It is also not built to cycle far on.

So I set out a list of criteria for the potential new bike (as I do for every purchase of any significant amount of money or that is to last a long time - or both).
Light: maximum 15 kg
Rear luggage rack
Large frame (for my long legs)
Ladies frame (because I'm a laaaaaaaady)
Lots of gears
Touring styled
Touring handles
Mud guards, covering both wheels and chain
Dynamo charging for lights
Brakes I can adjust myself
Generally repairable on the road by self
Not too colourful
Under €1000

After days and weeks of looking at different bicycles on-line in half a dozen countries, it turned out that weight, frame size and colour were going to be the decisive conditions.

After much thinking and agonising (months of thinking, endless hours of thinking and at least three test rides on a similar bicycle), I finally ordered that one single bicycle on the market that fulfilled the size and weight criteria within budget and in a discrete colour. (Black is discrete right?)
Well within 60% of the budget actually and I was very pleased with that.
It is being built to specifications (of which I can only decide on the frame size).
The delivery time is anyway almost three months (an annoying sing of a cartel market.)

There is still over a month to go before the bike is to be delivered.

I keep looking at the picture of my new beauty - wishing and dreaming.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

May 2018 - Kitchen

The target for May 2018 is to go through the kitchen.

      "Clean every cupboard in your kitchen. That means empty every shelf in every cupboard. Only 
      put back into the cupboard what you have used during the year, that works, is clean (cleaned) and 
      of good quality. Put all questionable items, nicked porcelain, more than twenty plastic containers 
       to store food in and anything else you don’t understand in your “on the way out” box."
We have an "on the way out" box already in the kitchen and there are still a few items that doesn't seem to get any action. Not even every year. The useless ice-cream machine was however useless for the last time for new years dinner and is now disposed off without regrets. It took a few years of questioning its performance, but eventually - finally - we kicked it out in January.

We host a large family party every three years and this year it is time again. Unfortunately, it does not take place in May. (Maybe I should move this target for next year to the family weekend?) Anyway, that event will make use of every glass, cup and plate we own and could possibly with my usual dexterity, even break some of it at the end of the day. I know that no drinking glasses, cups, mugs,  plates, or serving trays will be kicked out this year either.

The ambition is however to clean through the kitchen cupboards and all items. While doing it, I will keep attention on each item,  trying to find anything that isn't useful or doesn't feel nice or useful. Hopefully, sometime in the month, the man will feel ambitious and dig through his chaos cabinet.
I also should count the number of glasses so that we know how much single-use glasses and plates we need later this summer and can buy it at the upcoming sales.

This is a monthly task that becomes easier and easier with every year (as long as the breakage equals the acquiring). 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

FI37,35

IT IS FANTASTIC! I can scarce believe it.
I look at the numbers, add them up again and again. I only hoped for this day but it has happened.
My savings have broken a major number and my financial independence number is currently 37,35.

It is the division of my annual budget to the total amount of assets to my name (excluding the value of my tiny studio apartment as I will always have to live somewhere as well as pension rights that I currently cannot access and has an unknown value the day I can). It reads that my current assets could support my current lifestyle for over 37 years with the hope that dividends and interests makes up for price increases and inflation (of which nothing can be know of course).

To be completely honest with myself, the actual FI-number is currently higher but unusual for me, I currently have debts. I owe taxes that must be paid later in the year and I owe the remainder on the new bicycle I have ordered but not yet paid in full. These are debts that I cannot deny and therefore must deduct from my total assets. I have had no other debt since 2010 when I paid off student loans as well as the remainder of my then mortgage.

I am still a little shell shocked. It is an enormous amount of money. 
It is much more than the amount of money I dreamed about in 2010 when I started my ERE-trip. (Use the ERE-labels to read all posts summarising the different steps.)

It is much more money than I possibly need since I still work (although only four days a week).
It is the result of not spending money more than earning a lot of money (or will earn in the future according to the new owner of the company I currently work for).
It is the result of a lot of hard work, a lot of personal decisions, a lot of doing things with a different attitude to money than most.
It is the collected results of a lot of small decisions made every day, every hour.

I will now aim to hold and grow with very little risk and less tax effects for the future.

Again, I never thought I would reach this point and I am very grateful to the 2010 version of myself starting on this frugalist road to less spending and savings using the ERE thinking

Monday, 30 April 2018

Camping equipment - April 2018


Through the month of April, I have walked through the house several times, looking for camping paraphernalia and gathering everything outdoor-related in one place. When we went to England for a week only outdoor equipment was used,  but not the actual camping gear. I did use the 25 litre back-pack, some of the cooking items (collapsible cup and spoon), some of the tiny hygiene items (travelling soap, hair brush and shampoo) as well as drinking system, hiking boots, and all sorts of light weight hiking clothes.

I came home with my boots covered in mud flats mud after crossing a low tide area. One day I will clean them thoroughly.
Not this day though.

I also dug through all camping equipment and I see that there are a few things that I have not used - ever. I got rid of a drinking bottle that is perfect, except that it doesn't work properly, and a container to hold 5 litres of water, except that the cap doesn't attach properly as well as a few pack bags constructed oddly and impossible to use.

At the same time, I read through all my out-door cooking recipes collected through the years. It became quite obvious that my cooking ambitions have seriously slid into the dumps with modern light weight food bags. I used to dry vegetables in advance to use for stews and even bake bread on long hikes. I made a promise to myself to be more prepared and more ambitious in the future.

The camping planned or prepared for this summer are all going to be bicycle trips so there will be room and weight available for more interesting out-door cooking. I have a pair of bicycle bags that I hope will fit the new bicycle too (if not, they will be made to fit because I am not NOT buying new bicycle bags this year). I need to find a new knife first.

Beyond that, there is really nothing we need for camping, hiking or cycling in this season. The tent will be going on for another decade or so, even if it is already a good twenty years at least. My sleeping mattress from last year, my twenty year old warm sleeping bag and my twenty-five year old light sleeping bad as well as my ten year old hiking back-pack will continue to do service. The trusty twenty year old Primus Trangia gas-cooker system stays - until we find a lightweight substitute that will fit with the man's nice modern cooking pots. Hiking boots from the archaeology trip to Ireland 2016 and other clothing is all in good order and needs no substitutes or completing. Coming back from England, we spent our last British pounds buying light-weight camping food that we carried home to use this summer. (Not because that we needed it nor that it was especially cheap, but honestly, the few pounds left over were either spent or donated and I never found a charity box the last day and the shop was open.)

We are now prepared for when weather or vacation suddenly appears.
In just a few hours we can be packed up for a week on the bicycles or on the footpaths.
That is what we have the camping equipment for.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Teeth 2018

Teeth is the one body part I will do my very best to keep until I conk out. My most priced possession.
Next to my eyes, the most practical thing with my body and the one thing I would miss the most if I lost them. Or the use of them.
I am willing to invest both savings and time into the care of my teeth.

I brush two to three times every day. Every single day.
Carefully, professionally trained brush strokes.
Floss, mouth wash (NOT listerine) and tooth pick regularly (and carefully).

There is nothing fancy about my teeth but they are mine.
One is a little crocked but still, also that is all mine. No teeth regulated in my life.
(I inherited genetics from people who didn't get to procreate without naturally good teeth.)

This week I went to see my dentist. I have not been called to a dentist in many years.
The system gives you a dental hygienist as a first visit until they either refer you onwards or it has been so long since you saw one. The system does not even call me more often than every 18 months now. This year however, it was my turn with the (a) dentist. I have never met the same one twice in the same clinic where I have been a patient for close to twenty years.

First: Hua, the price difference!
Second: Stern warnings and instructions!
Thirdly: Spit!
Fourthly: Pay up and see you in 18 months.

It does really pay off to brush, floss and rinse with mouth wash regularly.
Especially if you don't like going to the dentist.
My visit was ten minutes and that is because I answered when she asked me things.

I probably could have saved some money by just grunting.

As a wise man have said: It is good to be fond of ones teeth.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Knife2018

I have a new item on my need list. The list of things I really must have and that needs to be replaced or acquired within reasonable time.

The same item has been on my wish list for a long time.
I am so very excited because...
as well as liking trains, trains, cars, auto mobiles and heavy machinery...
I also like knifes.

I have two very good friends, of which I am related to only one, who are passionate knife collectors.
I restrain myself and only have the knifes I need. The past few years that has been singular numbers of knifes. Very few women past fifty need several knifes.
Want, oh yes, yes, yes, indeed.
Need, no, not so many.

Now I need one. Customs for the Eurostar train confiscated my knife.
It was apparently an illegal weapon.
It had a clasp that held the blade open; that was not allowed onto the train.
That the blade was curved and slightly too long probably did not help.
I tried to look very very sad.
(I wanted to quote Crocodile Dundee: "You call that a knife. THIS is a knife." But I looked sad.
The customs man was a sweetheart and very kind and proper. He also looked sad that he had to take it from me. We both looked sad together.)

(But seriously, it was frikkin' awesome! Carded when buying alcohol and having a knife confiscated within days of turning fifty! How wonderful is that! I was chuffed to bits!
While still trying to look sad.)
(I probably ruined the whole sad looking thing by turning to the man behind me in the queue saying: "Well, you bought it for me", and in the next second stretching my arms in the air saying: "I get to buy a new knife!")
(Yeah! But not lady like much, no.)

The man bought me that knife because I think he borrowed my previous knife when camping and lost it, or broke it or something (I have the shortest memory for these things). Anyway, I know I didn't like the old one either very much, but it was the only one I had left from my collection that was severely diminished after 2001, when customs started to insist no knifes where allowed on airplanes any longer. I had until then lived my entire life with a knife in a pocket or a bag as a true MacGyver, and it took some time to get used to it. Bang-bang-bang: in just a few years they were all gone; all confiscated. I'll tell some of my knife stories some other time.

Anyway, so the man bought me this knife with a great blade. As said, slightly too big and curved but very mean looking. Highly impractical for a camp-site and very good everywhere else.
Now it is gone.

I will soon go to my favourite knife shop and do more than just stare at the cabinets with my hands behind my back and my nose against the glass. No more drooling only.

I take recommendations. 
(Legal pocket knifes only, please.)