Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Health 2018/19

Health is my primary target.
A few years ago work and money and happiness and such things were more important.
Then I had health issues and my priorities changed.

In 2015, I started the process to increase my movements with a daily walk. In 2017 I started the process to reduce weight (there is no loosing in weight, there is only dedicated grinding off the excess). In 2018 I finally managed to learn how to run.

After years of dedicated attention, I am proud to start 2019 at 50 years old with the same weight I had before 40, and the same weight as at the beginning of 2018.
The 15 kilos I took off in 2017, I have kept off for over a year. Deal with physical health issues, taking off the over-weight off is a good start for a serious approach to health - even though my heart problems are completely unrelated to weight.

I start 2019 having run for 30 minutes at a steady pace and ending it with a rush and energy to spare.
I have had two long breaks in the running training in 2018 (both over a month each) for a cold and an injury but that does not matter. The only thing that matters is that I have come back to it again. The success is in doing it, not in how it is done. Re-start is the success.

I also start 2019 with an eighteen month track record of daily morning belly exercises. By now, both the man and I are so completely into the routine of waking up, drinking coffee, changing into sports clothes, showing furniture aside, doing bellies on the floor, preparing breakfast, showering, dressing, eating that it is more like brushing teeth than an exercise. It is just done. Success is only measured in doing it, not how well it was done or even if it felt good. Over 18 months, we have progressed from five minutes to ten minutes in a free training app  and adding personal exercises before and after. There is no space to skip rope in our apartment but I figured out a way and can now do over fifty hops in a row. Without breaking anything. Still working on the 100 hops'.

2019 will also be a continuation of our eighteen month long vegetarian eating. There has been meat eaten in the time, and the man eats more than I do, but it is more on a monthly basis than daily or even weekly. I try to eat fish once a week but probably don't and then mostly canned sardines or salmon anyway. The veggies have been an important part of reducing calorific intake to reduce my weight and to keep healthy intestines. As the man is struggling with his now, food has been an enormous issue for the last months. As we cook almost everything we eat from scratch, we pay attention to what we eat. We still wait for final test results although we know the problem isn't related to lactose, gluten, sugar, fibre or any additives or preservatives - which is good.

The health target for 2019 is to end it as it has started. On weight and running 30 min a few times a week. Mental strength will be my next training target and I will look around to see if I can find some training version that I like.
How do you prioritise health in 2019?

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

FI35,47

From a financial independence number of 35,81 on 1 January 2018 to a financial independence number one year later, today 1 January 2019, of 35,47 doesn't sound so bad, does it?

It is as if I have kept my assets at an even level, lived off my income and not saved anything.
But it is not so.
Instead I worked hard and saved lots of money by living cheaply and consciously and I have nothing to show for all that work.
It is also as if all previous years of savings and investments had stagnated instead of increasing during the year to a high of FI40,08 on 1 October.
Instead the last months of the year suddenly wiped out every increase in the uncertainty of the political and financial future. Financial markets - and me - like certainty.
Straw men and short sighted politicians are not predictable or reliable.

My last day of employment in the year (14 October) was also the last day of the financial increase. Retrospectively, I should have sold all financial instruments then and converted it into something else. But I didn't. No not angry, not bitter - just disappointed.
The positive aspect is also that I have assets whose value can be increased again.
I also do not own a house to pay through the nose for while property prices decrease nor a car that costs both to use and not use. There are many burdens of other, quite normal people that I don't have to worry about.
My student flat keeps or increases in value every year with the growth of the nearby university. The apartment where the man and I live on the other hand is rent controlled. Housing will be fine. I do not include the value of my flat in the calculation of my assets.

Food costs and taxes are increasing and the annual budget will be difficult to keep in the coming years. This is one of the reasons why I also do not include future pension payments or similar assets as their value cannot be estimated until they start paying out (and by then there might not be much left - or worth much.)

There is no doubt that financial concerns are on my mind, especially since I do not have any income any more and do not know if and how I would gain any under the current business climate. What I did professionally is one of the tasks that gets cut quickly but on the other hand, I also could just go and eat humble pie with my previous employer and have my old job back - or not (gughrrr - sudden nausea just hit me). There has to be another way than that!

On the other hand, I have a free university master degree to finish this coming year and the daily thesis writing makes me very happy. My new "title" is much more comforting than my previous one (although there is no hope of paid work in my "new" field.)

The man and I are also very happy together and that does count for a lot (a bloody miracle it is). The health concerns we are dealing with at the moment are manageable and although we would prefer them cured, they are not life threatening. We humbly accept that we have made choices a long long time ago that we are now reaping the benefits from - even if it means cabbage for dinner every day.

But seriously, dude, who stole five annual budgets from me since October?

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Left and leftovers

It is Old Year's Eve Eve, the end of the year is approaching and as usual, I get an urge to eat out the kitchen. Meaning that when all advertisements urge to buy the special this or allow myself a unique that, I go anti and look into our own cupboards.
What have we already bought that should be eaten? What did we buy and never finish? What is there just a bit left out of and could be finished? What has expired although tastes fine and should be eaten first before buying more?
And, what oddities have we brought home as souvenirs and really should eat? (Canned food is our go to way of souvenir-ing.)

I rummaged through, made a list. The man rummaged further and added to it. 
It is a shorter list than previous years. We have been attentive this year.
We now try to plan what to eat based on what is on the list. 
And I get no snacks until I popped all my pop-corn kernels.

On the list are:
Canned mushy peas from England.
Canned courgettes from France.
Fish bouillon from Portugal.
Japanese dashi powder, kombucha, bonito and wake me from the good Asian shop in town - not a need-to-eat but something I need to be reminded to use.
2 leaves of rice paper (seriously, man, you couldn’t make them all?)
Curry powder we don’t like the taste of but gives a great colour so used mostly instead of turmeric .
Pimento - spiced pepper from a period a few years ago when I bought just way too much.
Frozen cauliflower - not worth it in comparison to a fresh head. What was I thinking?
Gluten free pasta, milk-free butter, fasting powders and sugar-free foodstuff from all the difficult food-experiments in December - now all done, no food sensitivities found and while the problems continue for the man, and while the test results are pending, we just eat what we want now. And unfortunately, that includes all those remnants.

Things like that. The list is longer, the shame of some buys go deeper.


But we made Portuguese fish bouillon/dashi, white fish block risotto with spinach tonight and it was glorious. Full pot eaten.
Tomorrow on Old year's Eve we play all games we own, eat portabello stewed with red cabbage and then go and drink New Years' with friends at midnight.
As usual.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Sushi

It is Christmas Eve Eve and I make sushi.

There is no Christmas in this household, very little in this country (unless you choose it for yourself) and none in our group of friends.
So I make sushi.
It is my thing. I am very good at it. I have done it for 25 years now.
I have made it elaborately, using exquisite produce and recipes. I mostly make it cheaply and simply.

This is how I make it, cheap, simple and cheap. I cut all corners and still make really good sushi, (better than most restaurants unless run by professional sushi-chefs).

If you are a gourmet, stop reading, avert your eyes and go away.
If you are a sushi eater, a frugalist and don't want to pay exaggerated prices, go put four hundred millilitre of round rice in a sieve and rinse it with cold water until you get bored. This you should do hours before you want to eat. (400 ml is 4 dl is about 3,2 cups if your cup is sized 125 ml.)

This amount of rice is actually estimated for four people - but it is just enough to put the two of us into a very comfortable food coma. I never make less for two persons.

Rinse the rice until clear, put in a pan at least twice the size and soak in water for as long time as you have. (a day or two is no problem, preferable a couple of hours). Remove any black or damaged rice kernels if you see any.
Rinse one last time, and drain. Add double the amount of water to rice (a little more if you have a hot stove or short memory).

On stove, full heat, until boiling or possibly boil a minute, no more.
Put lid on and TURN OF THE HEAT. Leave on stove for fifteen minutes. LID ON! NO PEAKING! (The rice cooks in its own steam). Just leave it!

In the meantime, mix 90-100 ml rice wine vinegar (that is a decilitre, dl) with 30 ml sugar and 10 ml salt (regular white sugar, regular white salt (without idodine tastes better) and that is it. Vinegar, sugar and salt.  Go easy on the salt. Stir until dissolved. No need to cook it.

Prepare everything, your hands will become very ricey and sticky and you can not do anything else in the next step, so prepare now.

When the time for the rice is up, pour it out into a
ceramic form (not plastic, not metal, possibly wood) and pour the vinegar mix over. Carefully turn the rice to cover it in the vinegar mix.
Cover with clean kitchen towel and cool for half an hour.
Cut cheap frozen salmon and half a cucumber into strips.

Be in peaceful harmony. Stay zen.
Take you seaweed sheets, put a layer of rice on two thirds or slightly less of the sheet, a strip of salmon and a strip of cucumber, a THIN THIN, a mere hyphen of wasabi out of a cheap tube,
and roll the whole thing up. The bamboo mat helps but it is more dare than care. Wet a finger with water and damp the end flap. That will hold the whole roll together.
Rest the roll under a towel while you do the rest.

Or take a fistful of rice, squeeze and make a little pillow in one hand, release and put wasabi and salmon on top. (No zen for this part - just brute force.)
Cut the rolls in mouth sized bits. Use a sharp knife, cut carefully.  Rinse the starch off regularly.
EAT. Dip in salt-reduced soy sauce in a cup (I use little glass bowls that used to hold something else.)
Nothing fancy is needed. Just eat until there is nothing left.
Eat with chopsticks of you can handle them or eat with your hands.
It is perfectly OK to eat sushi with your hands.

400 ml of rice, half a cucumber, one portion piece of frozen salmon, vinegar, salt, sugar and soy is all you need to send two adults into food heaven (and coma). For two the total price is less than 4€.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

FI38,03

"Hahahahahahaha",
I said yesterday Saturday as we came home late after a long day of museums, art exhibitions and free conserts,
"my computer thinks that it it Saturday the first of December today. Isn't that really weird? Does it think that it it 2017 or something. Hahahahahahahaha..."

It took a few to several minutes until we realised that, although we knew that it was Saturday, that the first of December had not only come but also almost gone.

This is what happens to people living outside calendar lives. I have lost the construction of time. Through unemployment I have have been liberated from anger and frustration and salary and I have been paid with liberation from the constructions of time.
I took my watch off several years ago (although I sometimes carry it in my pocket) and date has never been much of importance. I do wonder how long I have been unaware of dates though. Surely not all of November? No, I have been at airports on the correct date several times this month.
Oh, well, it isn't as if the world ends by not knowing the time, date or even the day of the week.
There will always be tomorrow.

So, today Sunday second of December, I have counted my money as I always do at the beginning of each month.

I have already paid rent until the end of the year and I have paid my annual cultural admissions card which is most of my hobby budget. I am also plus in our shared household finances (aka The Bucket) with a lot. Insurance will be paid by the end of December but is 10% less next year than this year. No other costs have been announced to change for 2019 yet, so next years budget is not changing yet.

I have been paid all my remaining salary and that will be enough to keep me until the end of the year. There is a slim change of a slight bonus pay-out during next year (although I doubt the company will reach its targets without somebody in my position - and that has still not happened). For 2019, I will be living off savings and payouts from my private unemployment fund, whenever the paperwork clears. It's not much, but it is mine - I've paid for it so I am going to take it.
I have no debt and no other valuables (that are also not worth anything until sold, such as a car or jewellery. Rented properties should be assessed only as income in my mind, but since I have none, it is irrelevant.)

First (second) of December 2018, the financial independence number is 38,03.

That means that assets in my name has a value they now have that corresponds to 38,03 annual budgets.  (The value of my assets is a lot less after the cheeto got his fingers into the global financial pot and all I can hope is that the US politics is bringing financial benefits to the people who voted for him - on a global scale it brings ruin and ridicule.)
When the financial markets stabilises again, I mean if, the value of my assets could be increased with another annual budget or two, but hey-ho, who can know. The assessment of today is that I can live on the current budget for 38 years until it runs out. My life-expectancy is another 34 years.
All these assessments however contain so many unsure elements, such as price increases, loss of dividends, interests and value increases, that these monthly posts are irrelevant. My monthly calculations are only relevant to my life-style and to the assessment made in the same way last month.
Do yours in your way, but know what you are worth and how independent you are.

I do not include the value of my studio apartment as I always must live somewhere, the forth-coming inheritance or pension systems as their value in the future cannot be judged fairly presently.
I am better off than most, not only due to hard saving and hard working and hard earning in the past, but also due to the lack of catastrophes in the last ten years. I am also better off than most because I already live on a budget more limited than most other peoples budgets.

Being accustomed to less makes more of the future.
Even when I don't know the date of the day in the future.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Dolly

I am so so so so so so happy!

The trash gods gave me a dolly.

I have wanted to have a seamstress sewing mannequin for a very long time but they are so disgustingly expensive.

Last week I found a Dolly in a skip.
After a few days freezing in the bicycle basement, she has been declared clean enough to be allowed into the house.

She is a little worse for wear but clean and nothing a little glue will not be able to fix.
All the screws function perfectly. They are used to adjust her width to fit the size of the person.


She however has no stick up her behind.
The stand is missing, I mean.
Something that does the same job should be easy to construct if the need be. Until then, she can live on the desk or the floor. 

The best thing is that Dolly is not skinny.
Dolly has the size of a proper woman. She can be let out to fit even my body. Her bosom is possibly slightly more elevated and more extended than what I can admit to, but it is easier to fit something too big to a smaller body than the other way around.
Skinny Dolly's are quite common on the second-hand market places (although still expensive) Full figured Dolly's are rare as flies in a fish-pond. But I got one now!

Welcome to your new forever home, Dolly. We are going to have a lot of fun together, you and me.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Treats in life

I currently live an unemployed life with a crashing financial market - and, I am fine.

I bake. I research for my master's thesis. I apply for jobs. I go for employment interviews.
I make dinner for the man who is deep into a project. I pet the cat. I run.
It is not a bad life.

I have practised to make macaroons with the help of a  good book I was given by the trash-goods.


It started by making me baking meringue, which I am already very good at, but in different ways. Then it teaches how to slowly develop into baking macaroons.




The macaroons are not perfect yet but it is a very tasty hobby.


The cook book is in German but I truly recommend it for anybody who wants to learn how to bake these little treats. The author is the French food writer Mercotte. There are several steps required. Each must be perfect but not really very difficult to figure out. After that, it does not take as long time to bake as one might think.  
The man tough me how to make delicious lemon butter cream for the filling. 


 I also still make regular bread. The top loaf is a milk-free bread made from whole-wheat flour. Cheap, quick to make and very tasty.
The man likes his sandwiches more than I do
so I bake what he likes to eat.

This loaf here is a milk- and gluten free made from a bought flour mix. Not cheap but tasted wonderful with home made peanut butter.
The man has some stomach problems so the alternative baking is to see if there is a food allergy causing the disruptions.


We also went to my mother's country for a weekend (and a job interview for me) and we saw some of the ship burials around. This particular one has never been archaeologically examined, just restored, but is probably iron age, 500-1050 C.E. (it could theoretically contain graves going back to 1500 B.C.E. as this is a preferred burial area.)
Yes, there is a farm right next to it. The ship burial is protected but there are hundreds of them around, and although not destroyed, also not enormously spectacular. This one is bigger than most though, so it got a sign.




I also spent a week in Vienna researching,
but beyond this view from my desk with a fat box of dusty 16th century documents, I saw nothing.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

FI37,94


The Financial Independence number of today, the first of November 2018, is 37,94.
It is the Freedom Independence number, as I no longer work.

With a limited budget, my assets hopefully will last me 37,94 years.  I don't include the value of my small studio as I always must have somewhere to live and I also do not include the state and pension rights I will have rights to in seventeen years as their value then, can not be estimated. Assets are also not to be evaluated and neither are budgets but I am banking on price increases to be covered by interests and dividends.

If not, I might be in trouble. I will get another half a monthly salary and a basic unemployment benefit eventually and it will last me the year out of so.
I may still work more, I also may not.
It will not be a rich life, but I have the benefit of already living within my frugal budget.

They days fly by and I have plenty of projects to keep my life interesting.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Baking


This is the result of my new hobby.

Alsassian ginger flavoured biscuits, vanilla Amarettos, a loaf of bread and a pie crust for the man to fill for his lunches next week.

With no stupid job to go to, a focus on my history thesis’s and a wonky hip limiting my running, baked goods is what I am left with.
I love it.

I spend my days in archives, virtual anD real, deciphering 16th century French.
I cook, clean, knit and read books.
It is really a wonderful life, post-work.

Sure, the sudden drop in world market economy is scary. This time not even caused by the cheeto, meaning there may be a reason behind it. Still, all the hard saving have left my with filled coffers, and I shouldn’t worry. Should’t.
Sure, the lump in my breast was scary but it has now been x-rayed, ultrasounded and the entirely natural and harmless cyst was drained with a needle. Completely harmless. May occur again, still harmless.
Sure, the future is uncertain, but now and the next year is fine.


P.S. All the baking was prepared and timed so when the oven went on, it was efficiently used and also made dinner.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Nothing

Nothing to worry about.
The lump in my breast is considered harmless and most certainly not a growth.
It will be photographed through mammography and possibly have the internal fluid analysed but it is not urgent.  It will not be today. We will give it a little more time. The lump is still shrinking.

I can not enough express my gratitude to free public health care. 
I am equally grateful for the rational thinking of the warm-hearted doctor I met. She left me with no uncertainly as to what it could be or what could have caused it, while she also made sure I expressed any worries that I had.
Together these two gifts enables me to just go on with my life.

So I will.