Sunday, 26 June 2016

Serious

Politics is serious stuff. Politicians deal with real issues.
Somewhere, somebody, some people just realised.

With fifteen years towards, in and about decision making in the European Union, I never doubted.

Pom pom pidom -
My financial future is a little risky at the moment but my current money are safe.
I suppose I could always got back to the EU business. 
The work market within the EU just got better for those of us who speak English good enough to be native - but are not native English speakers.
And for the Irish.
And the Scottish independence is looking more likely than Bonnie Prince Charles ever expected.

But what about Jersey?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Worn out

There is a current theme of items not only wearing out but actually breaking and needing replacement. Does anybody know whey it all happens in the same week?

My adored but rarely used heavy hiking boots have been taken out of 'storage' to be used during this summers adventure. I have worn them a few weeks to get my feet used to them again. It turns out, they do not want to play any longer. The rubber is releasing the glue and will not accept any new glue.  Even out best shoe repair shop would not give it a try. I will try one more time with bicycle tyre glue but it that does not work, I will have to give up. I may possibly just tape them together to use them for the few weeks they are urgently needed this summer. I also really do not want to go looking for hiking boots with urgent needs. Those decisions need to be thought through carefully. It is a large investment and I seriously expect them to last a very long time
I don't understand [add blond look with big blue eyes here] these boots were bought no later than 1993!

At the same time my rain trousers started to show symptoms of not wanting to be rain trousers any longer. They now insist of sucking water into the fabric as a sponge, especially in the crutch and inside leg area. The fabulous double layer, light weight rain trousers that have been my constant companion are betraying me. Where will I find a replacement with long enough legs, durable and water proof (not only resistant) with a few weeks to spare? I am experimenting with some bottles of old impregnation (for tent or for rain jackets) that I dug out of the man's stash. I am not certain that I will trust it enough. Since I live in a country with a lot of rain and am going to spend a month in lovely, rainy Ireland this summer, rain trousers are a must. I have bought a pair of cheapest possible PVC rain trousers that will possibly be good enough for the trenches this summer. A new pair of fitting, light weight rain trousers that are completely reliable need to be found, but that too is a purchase not to be hurried.
I don't understand [insert big blue eyes here] those rain trousers have been good since at least 1986.

My lovely brown three season jacket lost its zipper this spring and I am urgently looking for a new one in a none too odd colour to put in. I bought it spring 2008 and I have re-waxed it numerous times but it is really too good, and too well fitting to get rid off. I have high hopes to be able to use it several more years.

I also got stung by a bee on top of my head yesterday. I walked past a bee keepers working on his hive and a bee got stuck in my hair. Instead of calmly standing still to let the bee get itself out of the hair, I tried to help and shook my head. It of course thought the white flower opened up and crawled into the the scalp. When I stopped shaking, it was trapped and stung me. Eventually we parted ways and I did a dive into the emergency medication in my bag for antihistamines and ibuprofen. I also got ice cream. One for me and one for on top of my head. After an hour, it stopped hurting and an hour later, I was fine again.

Poor bee, it thought it had found the peony of its life and it turned out to be a death trap.


Friday, 24 June 2016

Wearing out

I do not buy clothes. I stopped about five years ago, I think. I have been given a bit from the trash gods however. This last year a sweater, a tank top and a pair of summer trousers, so there is no real emergency.
Actually I did buy a little last year but in general, I never think of buying clothes or of ever needing to buy clothes.
I still have a lot of clothes.

Five years ago I had even more clothes. I knew it would last me a long time to wear it all out so I sorted all clothes in two groups: 1) wear now until it wears out and 2) wear later when 1) is worn out.

I donated anything that made me unhappy for some reason, including never having fitted well, but I kept everything that fitted and was okey-is, regardless of how many of each I was left with. Honestly, in reality, this took probably close to two years to do and finish.

I still have some clothes in group 2) but the storage is rapidly shrinking (not the pile of tank tops though, that will last me an eternity. Why, how did I end up with so many? I am not a minimalist, just cheap, so I keep them until I need them.

I have by now also created another group: 3) clothes that I am not allowed to wear out of the house any more. This includes a pair of street-found Ralph Lauren shorts of excellent quality in my perfect size that however are so incredibly unflattering for my figure, only the man are going to be allowed to see then in the future. It also includes the trousers to my much loved pair of suits bought in 2008 for a new job. Man, was I smart looking. Now I wear them to the park. Actually, by now they are not even fit for the park. Not in daytime. They fit like a glove and are so comfortable but the knees and the bum area are threadbare and I really should not let even my neighbours see me in them.

I will however continue to wear the suit jackets with jeans and t-shirts (squints my eyes really hard and refuse to see that they too are threadbare). I wear the silk blouses out camping. Scarves are used as light weight camping towels. Chic winter coat is kept for special outings, and then worn with boots. Any replacements are colourful and casual to fit with my new life style. Most of it goes rather well with my old clothes. The only thing I do not wear are the office shoes. So-so-SO uncomfortable after five years in light athletics shoes and boots. Posh I was though.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Finished

The repainting project in the kitchen is finished.
Finally.
The last part of the radiator was painted, the covering plastic cleared out and the paint pots packed away.
From start to finish the project took three years (planning and pondering), five months to paint (effective time four evenings) and an hour (last part, three months later).
And it even included painting the ugly black piping in the hallway.
As well as one of the radiators in the living room. Astonishing!

All but one paint pot was packed away.
Because when the paint brushes are wet, the next project was initiated.

This time all available electrical outlets are taken off, cleaned from old paint, the insides vacuumed and the part of the wall around the edges of the outsets painted.
(Almost all our walls are white so it is easy to repaint seamlessly.)
When all is dry, the plastic especially, the outlet is screwed back on again.
If I do four at the time, the first has completely dried when the last is cleaned.
The last is dry when the floor is cleaned.
Everything can be reassembled. It is clean and white and just melts into the wall unnoticeable.

Now I just have to keep it up and get all done before the brush dries up on me.
(I keep it wrapped up airtight.)
Five more electrical outlets and switches to go.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Vacuum

It is better to have vacuum than nothing at all, as the blond said.

It is even better to use a broom.

Have you seen the price on vacuum cleaner bags? Horrendous.
And with so many different models and types on the market, the risk to buy the wrong kind is enormous. With the potential cost of course even higher.

We had two vacuum cleaners when I moved in with the man. Just to let you know how similar we are, we had even bought the identical vacuum cleaner! One is in "storage" waiting for the first and most used to break down. We have had to buy a new hose as they both have broken down, but I see that we easily are set with vacuum cleaners for the next ten years. 
Cost Zero -
If it had not been for the cost of the bags.
Chocking.

I am using the broom with a shovel more and more. It is quick, easy, empties straight into the trash without extra cost and, to be quite honest, also means the floors are cleaner. 
As yours truly does her job more often.
Win-Win-Win, what is wrong with that?

What do you do to avoid the cost of cleaning?

PS Yes. As I have hair, I am in charge of cleaning the shower drain daily and to vacuum when needed, or at least once a week, or so    approximately.
PS2 My grandfather only ever used three jokes and they were used every time the related topic came up. I am turning into my grandfather.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Spices

Interesting weekend. Instead of filming, we got a road construction crew. Hours of fun watching them from the window. (I love watching other people work!) It turned out I had the dates of the filming all wrong. Good thing though, football has taken up most of the time. Besides none of my preferred teams doing well (actually, no team is doing particularly well) I also sliced a piece of my own thumb with my own kitchen knife. Blood everywhere - Fortunately first after yesterday's bonanza of meatballs. 

Because yesterday I made meatballs.
40 lovely tasty meatballs out of one kilo of half pork-half beef mince meat. I also used home made bread crumbs made from leftover bread from a party long ago and my own secret mix of spices.

I make great meatballs, not as good as my grandmother's though, but a lot better than my mother's.

So I had to get all the spices out of the cupboard. Not only to spice the meat with but primarily because they live in our second largest oven form and that one is used for the meatball making.
Consequently, I looked through all the spices. The man came past and was pressed into action too.

Now, I will admit that I do not consider the best use by date on spices particularly relevant for the decision to keep or to use spices. Taste, taste, taste is the key.
However, if it has not been used for three years and the best by date is not even in the last decennium, I will question why we keep it. 

We ended up throwing out five different spices, including the sesame seed as they did taste rancid. The oldest had its best by date in the year 2000.

Left in the cupboard are 24 different spices, not including a quite disgusting spice mix in a pretty jar that however can be used when cooking beans and lentils.
They can stay another year. They are all used.

How many spices do you have? Do you use them.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Hitman's Bodyguard



Tomorrow, when they are filming The Hitman's Bodyguard outside my house, would it be polite to invite Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Gary Oldman for coffee?

Or do they prefer tea?

Please advice!
I am quite certain Patrick Hughes does not have time for a chat, unfortunately.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Adventure2016

The man and I are going on an adventure this summer. It is good to have something to look forward to, something a bit more difficult or different than normal life. Every second year approximately is a good interval.

I finished my hobby-project, a Bachelor in History, in 2015 and I have now done the first year of the masters course. I like teaching but I am not going into academia. However, the man has been thoroughly corrupted by all this intellectualism and in the last year he has become extremely well read in one very specific area. There are a few topical overlaps to my historical topic and our discussions are sky-high.

Perhaps better said, down under ground.

After MUCH planning and discussions, we have for this coming summer volunteered at an community archaeology project in his topical country, in almost my topical time and covering both of our subjects. We will spend weeks on our knees in mud finding stones and bones not seen in day-light since the 14th century. We leave in a month and the amount of daily knee exercises is steadily increasing.

Volunteering for archaeology combines our love of books, art and history with hiking and camping and (sorry to all professionals out there) is best done with a stable FI to lean on. If we like it, it might be our new thing. We might be starting a new phase in our lives.

Thus, since January we have spent most of our free time reading about Ireland. We have tried to make out the history, the connections and references to other historical times and people we know of. We have walked the area on maps and looked up lots and lots and lots of references. We have tried to read the Gaelic and failed miserably pronouncing any of it. But yes, this is exactly why I will be wearing my Viking ship necklace this summer. I carry a quite hoity-toity British accent when speaking English if I don't pay attention and THERE I do not want to be mixed up with THOSE.
I will work hard on my Helga (from Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein), Inga, Swedish chef and Pippi Longstocking accent until then.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Ambulance

I have had no less than two ambulance rides in my life. 
One recently. Efficient but perhaps a little short

Let me instead tell about the ambulance ride I had in East Germany when they decided I had to come down from the 17th floor with a standing-room only elevator and the ambulance boys looked so worried, I actually stood up for them. And that the ambulance took the way over the cobble-stone roads almost shaking me off the stretcher made from wood without padding and that we THEN got stuck in road works and the man in the back with me opened the side-door and asked the road workers to get us through and I thought I would be helpful by screaming a little while the door was open, and the ambulance man almost fell out laughing? We got through to the hospital and I was cured with yoghurt, dry bread and tea (a proper 'Ossie' treatment) after very high-tech diagnostics. 
Now THAT was a fun ride! 
And free!

Like the wonderful football gift the Republic of Ireland gave the Kingdom of Sweden last night. 
We could not be more grateful. 
Worth a pint!
(In a can from a cheap supermarket of course; we are frugalists after all.)

Monday, 13 June 2016

Scales

We are both fat and unfit.
My weight goal is not going too well and the man has developed the cutest little dough-belly.

This is what happens with illnesses, injuries and is possibly a result from giving away the scales.

The scales had to be lent to a friends mother who suddenly took very ill and needs twice daily weighing. I think it is a permanent lend, and that is fine. It is not quite the same as finding things in the house to give away as presents but one item left the house with a good cause. They had some issues anyway and will be more important for her than they ever were for us.

However, without the scales I am unable to follow my weight goal of coming down from +4,5 kg to 0. I will have to use my old jeans as a measuring stick. (Today they fit and I wear them!)

The man has not been running for a while due to injuries. While I was ill, I lost stamina and muscle tone. He also lost his usual leanness. Consequently we are both hard work doing micro exercises.
We need to strengthen the muscles needed for the adventure in July.

Instead of eating, this is something we do in the sofa and on the floor while we watch two-three games of football per day for the coming month.
Are you doing your exercises while watching football?

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Football

I like simple things in life.

I like sitting on the sofa, with the man with a bowl of food under my nose and my feet up - watching football. I did it last night when Wales won. I did it tonight when Northern Ireland lost.

I will do it tomorrow night when the Republic of Ireland will eat the grass under the feet of the Swedish national team. There will however be no bowl of food under my nose. I will be too nervous to eat tomorrow night.

The captain of the Swedish national team is from the town I call mine. I have seen him play since he was 16. His name is Zlatan Ibrahimovic and I am proud that he is a fellow Swede.
Tomorrow we will take on our first game in the Euro 2016 competition.

I am of course wearing the national football jersey to work tomorrow.
I will have a very very difficult task to focus on work tomorrow.

(By the way, do not call it soccer outside the US. If you have to, call it International football. This differentiates it from American football, Aussie football, Irish football and all the other types of football and identifies that you have thought about what you are trying to communicate.)

Why is football so important? Most of our lives are quite normal and lived without dramatic ups and downs.
With football, in the arena, with the team and the fans, your emotions will get 90 minutes of massage. Your feelings will go from the highest high to, if it is a bad day, the lowest low and the entire range of emotions that are within your range. It may go on beyond the game, including the hours both before and after. There is very little that gets me going as much as football does.

Nothing condones violence in the arena. Everything is about the teams performance.
Everything that draws the supporters attention from the team is a failure for the supporter.
A person who is not focused on the team is not a supporter. A person focused on the opposing team and even worse, on the opposing teams supporters, should go home.

Friday, 10 June 2016

TaskFebruary2016

The task for February is, as it was last year, Jewellery.
Although it is now June, there is no reason to let myself go and get sloppy with my tasks. It is the only way I can ever know what I own.
Besides, I have been in the jewellery box quite a bit lately for strengthening items so it is a suitable task.

My Viking ship pendant and necklace is coming on vacation this year. I normally never wear or bring jewellery when hiking and camping but this years adventure is a little different. It is highly suitable. I will tell more about it later.

My bracelet made with my favourite six-year old (soon seven) is staying as it is often used.

There is a pair of antique earrings that I just adore - but they do not work as earrings for me. I need to find a new use for them. They have been in the "go"-pile so many times and do nothing for me, besides me liking them. Completely irrational. And outrageous. Ah, that gave me an idea...

The necklace with two pillars and the personal device for Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) Plus Ultra has been given a new chain and is now quite wearable. It is always a strengthening sentiment (and it might be useful if I ever end up in an incident of time travel).
I have however bagged my white plastic elephant with an added little heart. Suitable for most suit attires and for when I need to be strong as an elephant or an elephant wrangler (the last very important when dealing with my ex-ex-ex boss who took all the wrangling I had and who still ate me in the end). It is a time well past me now.

I still love the 15th century remakes of ear rings I bought at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam two years ago. I bring them in my pocket and when I need to smarten up, I put them on.
Instant on-off glamour. For me.

So to summarize, in my jewellery box I have 7 bracelets, 13 necklaces, 7 pairs of earrings, 5 brooches as well as an assortment of memory non-precious pendants, old watches and outrageous earrings.
No ring. I wear that one. And my watch.

The outrageous earrings get out more often that one might think.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Lesson

Lesson learned.

Know what you have at home before you buy anything.
Know exactly what you have. Know what it is.

I know what I have. Last year I was absolutely certain I knew what I had. I could have sworn on it. With a long line of carefully strung together curse words, I could have sworn on it.

So, I bought bras with detachable straps. Besides regular white straps, I knew I also had beige, black and transparent straps at home.
When the detachable straps where actually put to use, it turned out, I knew nothing.
Less than Jon Snow I knew. (popular reference I know how to use, but doesn't quite know - either).

Not only did the transparent straps only survive one single use. (How could possibly plastic straps from the 1980s deteriorate into nothing after only one use? *heavy irony*)

It also turned out that what I knew, was no knowledge at all. Completely built on sand.
Shattered by reality
The black strap turned out the be exactly that. One strap. One single black strap.
The beige strap was the same. One strap. One single beige strap.

Instead of having three pairs of bra-straps waiting for use for years, it turned out I have two broken and two single odd coloured straps.

And I have learned my lesson. I know nothing without checking, re-checking and counting.
I really must know what I have, open bags, look at quality and quantity of my assets.
Dang, I wish I would have know it earlier. I wish I would have done my bra-calculation better last year. It has been added again as a task for this year.

Now, the question is; can an almost fifty-year old person wear different coloured bra straps?
I suppose the answer is that nobody should ever show bra straps to the public unless it is intended, so it really does not matter. Odd coloured bra straps will be used to remember that I know nothing.

What do you not know but are sure that you know?

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Success

Saturday 11:20 am I was awarded the feeling of full achievement.
I sat on the balcony, basking in the sun and appreciating all plans and projects in harbour.

Medically I am cleared of all dangers. I would like answers but will settle for being out of danger.
Economically my FI-number has increased although I have paid for our summer adventure.
Intellectually I have finalised both of my masters courses and although not to my complete satisfaction, the result eventually came out more than good enough.
Family is unhealthy and unfriendly but settled safely and all I can do is to ensure it stays that way.
The man is close by so all is well. 

Friends and loved ones have been appreciated and thanked. You are all remembered with thanks.