Sunday, 31 May 2015


How long do you wait?

If you are Jewish, living in Castile in 1483, how long after orthodox Catholicism and the inquisition have been introduced, do you wait for improvement before you leave? And where do you go?
How long after 1933 if you are living in Germany and you are Jewish, gay, politically leftist or in any other way not living up to Aryan expectations, how long do you wait before you leave? And where do you go?
How long do you, as my office landlord, wait for the recovery of your business after its financial viability has run out before you start making changes? And what changes do you make?

What is the bottom line and where do you reach your limit? When can you not stand it any longer and when is enough, enough? 
What else has to happen in the workplace, in the relationship, in the country, the house, the car before you decide to chuck it and get out?

When do you reach your goal? How much money do you have to have saved to go get a different lifestyle? When does frugality become a lifestyle and not only means for a future, far future in the unknown? Are your safety requirements in your decision making holding you back? 
Who me?

Don't be the frog in the pot enjoying the tepid water. It can get hot very quickly. Good and bad!
Get ready and know where to to.


För att städa i den lägenhet, där jag just nu befinner mig, har jag följande utrustning och medel:
En rulle stora sopsäckar
1 golv trasa
Svinto (lite)
En scrubber, en disktrasa, 
Propplösare (lite)
Jif cream scrubtvätt
Allrengöring (spray)
Sopborte och skyffel med långa skaft
2 stora hinkar, 1 liten hink
Moppskaft, mopphuvud
1 dammsugare (dåligt reparerad men fungerar)
Tvättmedel, oxivanish medel

Alla produkter är köpta före 2014 (det vet jag för de kommer från det nu sålda huset och sedan dess har jag inte köpt städutrustning.)
Nu är det upp till mig att använda dem. Hurra, vårstädning!!
När allt är använt och slut i framtiden, hoppas jag att jag behöver färre produkter.
Miljömärkta givetvis.

Thursday, 28 May 2015


What luck that Romulus won the competition over Remulus.
Otherwise the city would be known as Rema, and that would be silly.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


I have, I think, only one brand identification. It is Levis 501.
I am going to have to deal with this soon.

I have a new pair of jeans on my wish list. I plan to start looking for them after the summer.
Delaying buys gives me the opportunity to use up all other alternatives. I have a number of raggy trousers for summer wear. Besides, I mostly wear shorts anyway in summer. It also gives me the possibility to plan and to organise.

The main question is: Do I want to buy Levis 501 just because my early 20's me decided that that was who I was then? Am I still a Levis girl; a biker, hiker, cowboy, rocker, a regular raggedy cool chick in jeans and attitude? At 47? Four sizes bigger than in 1988? Since Levis has changed its identity dramatically during the last 30 years, maybe I should too? 

I will be in jeans forever and I will never ever ever wear blue jeans. But do I want to stick with the brand?
What I do know however is that jeans are needed and at those jeans have to be black, dyed black, with no visible stitching.
They must have a 36" inseam.
They must fit and fit nicely.
Preferably, they should not be €100. Preferably I should get five pairs for that amount of money. Probably, that will not happen.

My last pair was bought in Brussels 2008. Full price and yet another waist size larger (damn hors d'oeuvre's). They have a faulty thread over the knee that I am trying to pretend is ok. What will 2015 bring? Is it worth it?

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


I have had a savings account since I was six, a bank card since I was fourteen and had my own financial control since I was sixteen. Still, establishing a savings account is a good advice.
It is all about the savings part of it.

Banks are not always to be trusted, but the purpose is to get into savings mode. Keep the money saved and to make them make babies. Money in a savings account make money.
How much you can save is up to you, half of your salary is a good starting point. It may take a while and maybe you end up deciding that you are not interested in saving. That is fine, it is up to you.
Do at least have a couple of months budgets saved for those days when it really rains. It is very, very expensive to fix problems without money, even more expensive than saving the money in the first place.
Think again about what I just said and make sure you understand what that means.

The best favour you can do for your future self is to keep the saved money saved as long as you can.
Invest it if you must in something permanent. Education? Property? Avoid investing it in holidays and potato chips.

Keep your savings and the babies of your savings unlocked as long as you can. Meaning you keep them in financial instruments available for you, that you understand, that you trust (-ish) and that you can sell/ move around at will. Don't lock them until your retirement. You live and change now and your choices of tomorrow are completely unforeseeable for you of today.
Trust me on this - this I know. This is why I pen these advice in this blog.
The future is beyond your imagination of today. Get ready!

Monday, 25 May 2015


The oldest and most worn question in a work place interview is:
Where do you see yourself in five years?

You know you are going to be asked it so of course you have prepared a suitable work related answer. 

But personally, where do you want to be in five years? Not only work but with your health, knowledge, accomplishments, mental views and assets. What do you want to have done with your life if we talk again in five years?

2013 I wrote a five year plan and because of all that has happened, it is time to review it:
- Work in the Y area                       Check! Office in Y area
- Sell the house                               Check! House sold 2014
- Speak/write the new language      Put in more effort. I have come a long way but not finished
- Buy a camper van                         No check, possibly not realistic but the dream is still alive
- Get a B.A.                                    Autumn 2015 at the latest
- Write the book                             The plan is being specified so the plan is active
- Write articles and essays for publication     I started a blog as my forum
- Go to Africa and volunteer          Yeah, I still dream about this
- Have assets above Z                    Assets close to Zx2 so check, check, check

I need to develop a new five year plan from 2016.
Now, where do I want to be in five years?


9 clés pour le plus remettre au lendemain.

1. Activer la motivation:
- Adopter la plan 'cinq minutes'.
- Passer du 'Je dois' au 'Je peux au moins'.
- Vous mettre au pied du mur.
- Vous tendre des perches.
2. Objectiver le temps.
3. Jouer avec l'argent.
4. Accepter les frustrations.
5. Même plus peur.
6. Dégager la voie.
7. Vive les corrées
8. Parfaite mais pas trop.
9. Repetér les manies chrorophages.

Take care of today what you tomorrow will wish would already had been done.

Saturday, 23 May 2015


This winter and spring we started early to prepare for the food growing season.
We had leaned a few hard lessons the previous years and it was time to apply them.
1. We have a small balcony in central Amsterdam. We also want to sit on the balcony in the summer. We have one sunny window sill to grow on. That is all the space available.
2. On the balcony there is a plum tree in a pot and during the summer also a large bougainvillea (with the temper of a teenage girl.)
3. Courgettes and pumpkins are fun to grow but neither them nor the peppers usually mature. Filled courgette flowers are delicious but not really worth the effort of growing.
4. Fresh herbs and spices are lovely but expensive to buy. They are easy and inexpensive to grow. They also do not take up a lot of space. This is what I wanted to grow this year together with lettuce. I am not the one to decide though as I do not do the actually work.
5. Five, five - I don't think there is a five on this list. We are still in the learning stages.

We tried potatoes last year and that works well but it is not worth the space to grow ourselves.

This year we have managed to grow from seeds: peppers in a large box, bell peppers in a small box as well as seven toddler broccoli plants, different kinds of lettuce (ruccola (rocket), leafy lettuce and field lettuce), some wild strawberry plants and our pride - three and a half strong tomato plant. We also grow parsley, basil, thyme and chives. We bought a pot of sage last year that lasted the summer but we may skip that this year.

If we had a garden with healthy soil we would try to do potatoes, different cabbages and onions as well as more fruits and berries. We do not, and if I get to decide we never will. I will not be deciding this though, the man still has a dream of a garden. Me, I'd rather have a shed filled with tools.

Friday, 22 May 2015


Utvecklas till fullo
Bli allt det som du hoppas kunna vara.
Finn jämvikten i rörelse.
Färdas längs vägen.
Njut av färden.
Tomrum är begynnelsen.

(från min anslagstavla ungefär 2003)

Thursday, 21 May 2015


In order to save the money enough for ERE or safety net or F-U money or retirement fund or golden egg or catastrophe fund, it is not enough to be a good saver. It is also important to be a money maker.

Money making can be made large and small. The best is complementing small with large.
Large is however the first focus.

How do you make a lot of money? Risk all you have and loose it all? Not at all.

Make safe money, work and work hard, work a lot, all hours you can get and get higher and higher payments.
You know how to do this. You may not want to do it (and the story of my work career is certainly no happy reading beside the money making).
This is the thought though: If you KNOW you only have to work five to ten years, what are you then willing to do for the next thirty to fifty years? (Depending on when you start).
Don't throw caution in the wind, Stay safe and keep your money safe. But work hard at making the most money you can. (Working also has the direct advantage that if you keep your lifestyle choices smart, it reduces the amount of money spent.)

First step to making more money: Read management guides, books and manuals for managers in the line of work you are involved in. (Boring as hell, I completely agree, but its like eating spinach. It is good for you in the long run.)

Read about being a manager, the tasks of a manager, the motives behind the managers work. Follow the company or the organisations financial and political situation. Learn how do do budgets and time schedules. Even if you do not become a manager (another boring as hell task, personally to be avoided at all cost) you will be so much better at your work if you understand the motive behind the instructions you are given. Learn to speak the lingo of a competent employee/entrepreneur or manager, whatever you do.

If you put all you have into making safe money the next five years, all your hard work on saving money the next five years will be so much more rewarding.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


If you do not struggle with removing things from your life, think if it can be used for something else or to practise developing skills with it, before you remove it through the trash collection
HOWEVER, if you have a hard time tossing, this advice is not for you. Move on, keep on removing and do not think twice about it. Next item.

What did I do? Detachable handles on a broken bag became a necklace for a special event. Then they went on another bag where the original handles were frayed and broken.
A broken umbrella had the fabric removed and was used to sew a wash-bag.
An empty jam jar (several actually) was filled with recycled old candle wax with a piece of string (bought especially in a hobby shop) and became a present. One for them, three for us.
It may not save you a lot of money or even any, because what you make may not really be needed.
But I usually have fun, I figure out how things work and I develop skills. I may also get something new for myself which brightens up my day (this can be an enormously important part of a frugal lifestyle) even if they do not stay as possessions for a longer time. 
While doing things, I use my hands and do not watch the telly (and definitely do a lot less eating).

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


By connecting your stuff with your neigbours, you get access to not only more stuff, you also get a local network that can help you with the stuff.

This could of course cover tools, cars, books, DVDs and other stuff but possibly also other utensils. Even houses? Half a summer house anybody? We share an asparagus pot with a friend, it is usually only used a few times a year but it is almost irreplaceable then.

Also connect your stuff by giving it away. Be ready to lend long term (give stuff away). Be open to opportunities to put anything you own and do not necessarily need into the hands of somebody who uses it more than you do. You could give it with the condition that you can come and borrow it if needed.

I lent my old friends a very nice rug in 1999 when they moved into their new and empty house to keep the echo and cold down. (Yes, and I then completely forgot about it until I bought myself a house three years later. By then the rug had become firmly loved by children and cats. Pre-loved is great, however very emphatically loved items better stay where they are.) I got a rug instead from the previous house owner simply by asking about it.

Otherwise, I am not good at connecting my stuff, and certainly not with my neighbour's. This is something I could work on. I am not even good at being connected with my neighbour/s. I find usable things in their trash, but that is it.

The purpose of this task is of course to continue the task of decluttering, to get rid of the unnessessay, to value to possessions and to manage the existing.
Things are also a costly thing to have. You have to pay rent (or mortgage) to house your items and at that point the items own you, rather than the other way around. You are also not free to move around easily should you wish.
I used to have an entire room filled with Billy book cases, extra high, all completely crammed with books. It was me, my pride and joy and my most cherished possessions.

Today, through change and progress, I only own 12 shelves of books. To compare, approximately one Billy book case (possibly with a half-high pile on the side).
I love these books, they are my pride and joy and I try to make myself re-read them regularly.
(In my mind, f you do not want to re-read the books you own, it is a sign that you can start giving them away. (or throw away if you are a heart-less bastard with no soul.) Personal opinion of course.)

What do you have that you have connected with your neighbour? What should I be able to be connected with through my neighours?
EDIT: I just realised, I do have a very intense arrangement where I share my office, not with my neighbour, but with a complete stranger. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015


2013 I accepted a new job.
I was on the brink of financial independence and hesitant to take on a new steady job.
An interview in Nice overlooking the Côte d'Azur with a cool manager changed my mind. 
I took it and I have not regretted it.

The arguments for employment were the following:
I live wherever I want and I get a small, cheap office paid for me.
I make twice the amount of money that I need and I work no more than what I need to make that amount. No more.

Today, I work four days a week and save around 60 % of the income.
No over hours, no commute, no dress code, no stress, pension in a safe country, five weeks annual vacation, flexible hours if I want it and an on-line office environment connecting with my colleagues around the world.

So I am 20% retired. But compared to previous jobs, I work less than half the hours from before.

(Don't ask me what I do, that is irrelevant; these kinds of work situations are always created, never standardised and never advertised. Just become an expert in your field, whatever you do.)

Saturday, 16 May 2015


The art of making sushi

Making sushi takes a little time but requires very few ingredients, all quite cheap. The best result is created when the sushi is made in harmony. (I do not know why, but if you argue with me while I make sushi it will not be good.)
Time and harmony - maybe this is the recipe for most projects in life.

Sushi is one of the cheapest party food you can make.
4 dl of round kernel rice feeds four persons with style (and puts two in sushi coma).

Here is the process.

Rinse 4 dl of rice (do this in a sieve or even better in a pan so dirt and starch floats out with the new clean water comes in)
Let it sit in water for at least an hour (you want it to be white and loose its translucence)
Pour all liquid out (use sieve, don't loose your rice down the drain)
Add 5 dl of water (a little more is better than a little too little)
Heat it up until boiling, put lid on and reduce heat.
Keep under lid on low heat for about four minutes. Use your timer. Do not forget, pay attention!
Do not lift the lid!
Turn the heating off completely (remove the pan from the stove if not gas or induction).
Do not lift the lid!
Use your timer but ok if you forget it just for a while. Not long though.

Make sushi marinade (for 4 dl rice): 2 table spoons white sugar,  1 teaspoon salt (or less), 6 table spoons rice vinegar (or apple cider or white wine vinegar it you are not fussy - not white vinegar!). Slowly stir to dissolve, or heat quickly. I do it cold in a small mortar.

When finished, pour out the steaming rice n a ceramic pan (or plastic or anything that is not metal). Pour your sushi marinade over it. Poke it randomly but carefully with plastic or wooden spatula.
Put a clean towel over it and go and do something else for at least half an hour. Use your timer.

You now have sushi rice.
Put the raw fish, omelet, cucumber, nori sheets, gari flakes in, on or next to it.
Do not taste the rice (you may end up eating just the rice, and that is just a little weird. But only just - it is so delicious.)
Roll it in nori, squeeze it with salmon on top or eat it as it is as sashimi. 

Friday, 15 May 2015


I would not have minded if this text was written about me.

But it isn't - it is a text by Thorkild Hansen, the Danish author, about Queen Margrethe of Denmark:

   "long, wonderful woman, who just cannot contain herself and cannot remain quiet. Difficult to shock, but easy to hurt, obliging but totally with out a trace of coquettishness, soon in conversation with people, and with a direct glance serious and then cheerful, again with a quick response. She seems honest, unaffected, direct, very social, often self-ironic with a tendency toward sarcasm. She is protective and authoritarian at the same time, anything but familiar but more influenced by family than most. And under that maternal air the stirring of restlessness, a vehemence, an intellect, a searching for answers."

All I can aim is to make myself worthy of a similar description.

Thursday, 14 May 2015


Få ett bättre liv - Gör något av detta NU.
1. Sträck på dig.
2. Gör matlåda och fyll termosen.
3. Planera matinköp i förväg.
4. Läs en bok i 15 minuter.
5. Gör egenvård; klipp luggen, färga fransar, fila naglar.
6. Lär dig några nya ord.
7. Meditera.
8. Förbered kläder i förväg.
9. Skriv en dagboksbetraktelse. Gör en reflextion.
10. Rensa en låda.
11. Gör ett kort träningsprogram eller i alla fall tio situps. Nu!
12. Drick vatten.
13. Skicka ett meddelande till en vän.
14. Titta på något vackert och le.
15. Smörj en kroppsdel med hudkräm.
16. Borsta tänderna.
Multitask: läs en bok och kräma fötterna.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


"Diglossa is a characteristic of speech communities rather than individuals. Individuals may be bilingual. Societies or communities are diglossic. In other words, the term diglossa describes societal or institutionalised bilingualism, where two varieties are required to cover all the community's domains." 

"The term polyglossa has been used for situations [...] where a community regularly uses more than two languages."
                             Janet Holmes (in the excellent book) An introduction to Sociolinguistics (p 30, 32)

A polyglot is not necessarily fluent, but is able to speak and use several languages. A polyglot is not always bi(tri)lingual. A polyglot may have only one native tongue or even none. Using several languages may mean that none is learnt from childhood as a native language. A polyglot is not fluent in all languages used.

I have a native language (thanks mother), as well as some fluent languages. I also have professional working knowledge of several other languages and I can comfortably be polite in some more. I have also learnt languages that now are almost forgotten, such as Hungarian.
Szia! Jó napot! Egészségére! Igen, de sajnos, nem tudom - after that I am quite lost. 
                                                    wait, wait - kulch, I remember kulch. Kulch is key! 

Maybe there is even more left after all these years...

Anyway, the point - there is a point - Languages takes time and effort to get, as well as to keep. 
They however never completely leave you. 
Some of what you learnt will always be somewhere in there, but it might take some days of immersion to start tapping it again. 

I learn languages just like everybody else. Through hard work, hours of word writing, translating, talking to my self, putting stickers around the house, using a spare minute to look up a new word and to get back, revise, forget, revise, get back and revise and by never give up. And then I open my mouth with the natives, make a complete ass of myself and remain the foreigner with the funny accent for ever. But I am in.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


I have over 550 university credits (Erasmus style credits). I admit, I collect education.

I am fortunate enough to have access to free (oui, gratuit) and unlimited (oui, unlimité) university education in my mother's language. Most are also available through different electronic, on-line, web-based and distance learning platforms, and administrated through the regular universities. These university courses are commonly also without scheduled lectures (usually pre- or post-recorded) and the teachers and professors are readily available though a range of electronic mail-boxes and chat-rooms.

I graduated university 1994 (1995?) but as I was commuting far with public transport for the first years, I did a few extra courses to take my mind of work. Off and on over the years, mostly off, I did some shorter courses. In 2005 I started looking into what really made me happy while I was doing it, and I realised I liked the life of a student. During these years my work life was crazy, but I did do language courses in the summer and diploma courses in German and French (not at university level though).

I admit, I am not a normal reader or intellectual. I do want to do my test and to get my diploma.
I have a special binder for them and I have collected every certificate since my first swim test.

In 2010 when my work life went from crazy to impossible, I stopped sleeping. My solution was to go to my happy place and I registered for a university course. I would read the books, do the exercises and write my papers during the sleepless hours in the night. It made me feel accomplished and I survived those gruesome years.

Although my life has changed dramatically since 2010, I have stayed with the university courses. All have not been great, and all university teaches have not been worth while meeting. However, in 2012 I realised that I had a Bachelor of Arts within my reach.

Today I have handed in my final thesis (72 pages, and I am not unhappy). There is now only a small theory course left to do, and then I can add another diploma from a top European university to my stash. (Not that it matters, nobody will see it on any resume.)

I feel very grateful but also very relaxed and happy. This is what I do when I do not work.


Grow you own food

When trying to set out to grow you own food, it is important that you note all costs for the project. If you grow you own food with the ambition of saving money and being frugal, the costs are essential. If you grown your own food for other reasons, be clear about what those reasons are.

Mass-production is often more efficient. Grow what works for you and where you will get at substantial harvest. Buy or trade with somebody else who can grow the other things you need

Growing herbs is often most cost efficient if you are substituting the home grown variety for store bought fresh herbs. They are less cost efficient if you are not using fresh herbs now and may not use the herbs you end up growing.

Don’t calculate a price for your work growing your own food, especially if you are using hours that you otherwise would have used for watching TV or reading free newspapers. 

I am not a gardener; I am the daughter of a gardener and the grandchild of farmers. The man however is a keen potterer, in the sense of using pots and as well as not quite finishing things. 
Two years ago I introduced growing herbs as a substitute for buying expensive packages of domestic herbs. This year we will be self sufficient on parsley, sage and chives. Yeah for self sufficiency.
Potatoes and plums from our own tree are also grown on the balcony.
Ruccola (rocket salad), peppers, broccoli, strawberries and leek are attempted this year and the ruccola is already on the menu. 
We may not be able to eat even one single meal out of our own produce but we are slowly learning more and more.

Monday, 11 May 2015


Free things are actually only gratis if you only take what you need.
- Always answer the internal question: What am I going to use it for?
- Only accept presents that you would have wanted to get for yourself.
- Only take usable free products or samples, if you then use them.
- Decline or cancel if possible free samples or presents that are not useful.
Actively recommend companies that you use to give you the choice between a free gift or a discount and then always chose the discount. 
- Only accept hand-outs on the street when you know what it is. Do not accept it to throw it way. If you are given something that you don’t want – walk back and hand it back. 
- Do not take a pen that you are offered for free if you don’t want it. Perhaps you don’t want it because you already have several pens, perhaps even better than this pen?
- Cancel advertisement and say yes only to useful things. If you need paper to use as a fire-starter, accept paper advertisement in your letter box.

Sunday, 10 May 2015


Calculate your net worth in money. Get a number and know where you are financially.

The first step is easy. Count all money in bank accounts, funds, piggy-banks and wallets. These are your assets.
Count all debt for house, studies, cars or private loans and credits. These are your debts. Include everything.

Take your assets and subtract your debts. Is that a negative number? It does not matter, this is your financial truth. Is it a positive number? Well done, you are in minority of the developed world of being solvent. Maybe you do not have liquidity, but that is usually, not always, only a short term problem.

What ever this number is, this is your net worth

Don't bother with the value of items you have debt for. They are not an asset until you have paid the debt, not even the value exceeding the debt.

The same goes for all physical items, including diamonds, cars, houses, horses and collections. Call my old fashioned, but as long as you just own it, or use that car and live in that house, they are worth nothing.

When the net worth is calculated and it is positive, pat yourself on the back. You are rich!
If it is negative, there is not necessarily time to be anxious, as long as you have some income and can get more.

Now take a break and only go on when you feel ready. Be kind to yourself and enjoy everything you own.

Yes, thank you, weekend was lovelies. The brides were happy and it only rained during the night.

Thursday, 7 May 2015


I have a large amount of money in my monthly budget for weekend trips.
The ambition is to do at least one weekend trip every second month on average during the year. The man does not come along for all of these trips. The budget for each month is about €200 per person. Some trips are only over the day, some are for weeks and involves foreign travels (however usually not very far).

So far 2015 I have done 8 trips, but some are trips within trips, as I've been four weeks in another country. 2014 there were 16 trips, including six weeks in one country and a three week hiking-camping vacation. 2013 was a strange year and we managed 8 trips.

(Yes, I do keep track otherwise I will start feeling trapped and start breaking out, clawing the walls, packing up and going to South America. This is a much better way to keep my wander lust in check)

To assimilate in this place I have promised to visit all regions and this weekend we are off again.
I have been bribed and will uncomplainingly attend (and behave) at a wedding. It will also be the years first proper camping vacation (alas, we have no van like a Trekker I know and as we are somewhat old, we do only three season camping).

The weather forecast is rain and thunderstorms but after last years camping trip we fear nothing. (How can anybody have had such back luck with the weather as we did 2014? However the broken tent pole made it even more adventurous than the frequent catastrophe warnings made it out to be, but we were always safe, mostly well fed and occasionally dry. And we are not buying new tent. The pole is repaired and we trust the tent with our ... down sleeping bags.)

The total cost for the weekend trip including travels will end around €100 per person. 


Pack list 2013 has been tried and tested on long and short camping trips in Norway, France, Germany and the Netherlands. It has also been used to pack for trips to Sweden and Switzerland. We have been on foot or with bikes.
We put the tent in one backpack (60 l) while the cooker and the food go in the other (50 l). Each person carries personal items and water. When going alone, all does fit into one backpack with a small water-proof attachment on the outside. For our equipment, our packs weigh well below 15 kg each (including weight of backpack), usually down to 11 kg without water. For clothes the system is Pack 2, Wear 1; this is enough once into the rhythm of camping. Warmer clothes are used if in colder climate but we do not bring more, as change of clothes is less needed.
Bring long sleeves and trousers for warmer climates, it keeps you cool in the heat. 

Backpack or bicycle bags
Sleeping bag and sleeping mattress
Cooker contains pot/s, gas burner, grip, lighter, scrubber, washing liquid, drying cloth, gas adaptor, and repair kit plus eating bowl, spoon and drinking cup (all fits inside cooker pots with strap)
Repair kit contains needle, thread, metal thread
Gas canister if not flying
Water bottle system
Day pack Seating pad
Large Garbage bag (the lightest lifesaving item for wet camping, also tarp for inside tent if needed)

Shoes walking + shower sandals
Trousers (long + short) Rain trousers Belt
Tops (short and long sleeved) all quick dry
Warm sweater
Rain jacket
Pyjama top and bottom (double as long underwear)
Underwear (non-white) + bra (all quick dry, no cotton)
Bathing suit (also to use as emergency underwear)
Hat (warm and/or cold, make sure you can sleep in it) Gloves Silk scarf (also used as second towel)
Compression bag for clothes

Hair elastic Hairbrush (if you have hair)
Toilet paper (or paper hankies) Soap Deodorant Skin cream Sun cream Bug-bite-anti-itch-cream (skip the bug spray, dress properly instead; try it though on skin before you go)
Toothbrush Toothpaste Shampoo Clothes washing liquid (for wool/cold water)
Silk towel Plastic bag inside Toiletry compression bag
Sunglasses Nail file Tweezers Earplugs

Notebook Pen Book Maps Dictionary (?)
Mobile phone Charger Flash light
Knife (not in hand luggage if flying)
Small clothe pins (use tent lines as laundry line)
Lots of good quality woven duct tape (Always bring as much, as much, as you can carry)
Mini first aid kit contains Blister plasters Antihistamines Ibuprofen Lip balm
Lenses Lens box Fluid and possibly mini-mirror (if seeing is needed)

Food bag containing Porridge with salt, Instant coffee, Sugar, Knäckebröd, dry food and if feeling luxurious, a can of Lentils Cuisine

Wallet with money stuff (water proof)
Passport with travel stuff (water proof)

That is it. Now go! Be safe.
This is also the report from the April-Sport challenge.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Mit gamle hus
Ved hemkomst fra et fremmet sprog

Hvor godt at gå om i sit gamle sprog
og bruge dets kogede gange
som dær hvor man kender hvert knast og hver krog
og tingenes efterklange.

Som dèn der er kendt med hvert suk og hvert sus
og véd vordan alting virker -
som dèn der kan gå i et gammelt hus
u d e n  a t  g u l v e n e   k n i r k e r.
                                  Piet Hein           (the Danish poet, not the Dutch admiral)


The man I share my life with would be the world's worst spy. Everybody would know if he has entered a room, opened a cupboard or searched a drawer. You see, it is completely impossible for him to go into a space and leaving it exactly as he found it. He will always leave traces of himself and primarily, all doors and drawers will always remain open if he has opened them. Not only does he not see that they are left open, he also does not care.

Secondly, all things will sit on top of each other, not next to each other as they usually were. He finds it creative when he has to search for things in drawers and cupboards and do not see the need to keep things sorted. This also goes for my things.

We have come to an agreement. No, actually, I have come to an agreement. I have decided not to even try to change him. I will only change me and that change is to not care. Not carenotcarenotcare. lalala

I will quietly close cupboards and drawers as I walk past them because I want them closed. (Possibly laugh about it if he has managed to open ALL drawers at the same time.) I will re-organize my drawers and cupboards that we share (for example in the kitchen). He is the one doing the fancy cooking and consequently all fancy cooking items live in a special cupboard. This is, by me, refereed to as the chaos-cupboard. Not only do I rarely open it, on the few instances when I should put something back into it (for example after having dried dishes), I ask for his help. (Yes, he will snatch the door open, quickly toss the item in, and then close it fast so that nothing falls out.)

I look somewhere else, quietly humming lalalala

In cupboards and drawers that we do not share, such as boxes for hygiene items, my stuff is meticulously organised and his is in a jumble. How would I know if he had a headache? My hygiene drawer would be a mess after he had taken a painkiller. (We now have a shared hygiene box for items we both use. Oh yes, we do. And it is an organized jumble. I do not even sigh about it.)

I happily walk over his underwear on the floor with my shoes. Perhaps even twice. Each time he does laundry, he will come and ask if I have anything else that should be included. Each time I tell him that everything is already in the laundry basket. This has been going on for years.

I did pick him because of his creativity and he does enjoy living in an organized house. We try not to change each other too much.

However, after having been away for a month, I had a lot of cupboards and drawers to close and a lot of stuff to organize when I got back.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


For May, the monthly task is focused on the kitchen. 
First of all: Clean every cupboard in your kitchen. That means that you will have to empty every shelf in every cupboard. One at a time but all of them. 
Only put back into the cupboard items you have used during the year, items that work,  are clean (cleaned) and of good quality. 

Put all questionable items in your “on the way out” box, your gift box or your charity store box depending on where you are in your mental process for each item. Be sure that this process includes everybody else in your house using the kitchen. (If you are the only one using the kitchen and you do not live alone, you may want to put aside some relationship discussion time in your house, but then hey, that is my opinion.)

Anyway... Trash all nicked porcelain and cracked cups. 
Recycle if you have more than twenty plastic containers to store food in for each person in the house. 
Get rid of anything you don’t understand how it works or don't know what it does (and neither does anybody else in your house.)
Cook with everything you own and do not want to give away. Use all those fancy items that nothing else can replace. You don't want to use it? Well - get rid of it then. (This is why we have sushi, fried Camembert, home made ice cream, cake, fondue (especially cheese but bouillon too) and other delights at least once a year. Usually in May.)

I force motivate the cooking man of the house to go through all cupboards with me every year. Every year I attempt to get rid of the champagne glasses (he does not like champagne and I have no class). Every year he wins and they stay. Each year I also question the espresso cups. We still have espresso cups. I do get to remove chipped china, although he does not see the point of it, but since most is now restaurant grade white very chip-resistant china, very little chips. Plurals of items we actually use, get to stay. I mostly rely on breakage to reduce the amount of stuff in the kitchen, but then nothing really gets added these days either.

This task is also a good preparation to start the process of eating out the kitchen and the freezer. We do this in the weeks before we go on vacation, as we always turn of the fridge/freezer when we are gone.

Monday, 4 May 2015


My neighbours put out five paint buckets for the trash collection. After years in the waste sector (literally and figuratively) I could not resist it. I lifted the top one and realised it was still half full with white, high quality water-based wall and ceiling paint. Score! Just what I needed. I brought it home with excitement.

I opened all my boxes of tools and repair things and found a paint roller handle, an old paint roller (used but cleaned) and a small paint brush (likewise used but cleaned). I found no paint tray but I figured that if I was careful, I could paint straight out of the bucket.

I could, I did and I am so proud of myself.
I now have a gleaming white walk-in-closet. (To be fair, it is the kind of walk-in where you have to be thin and hold your arms along your body, not turn around and most certainly do not walk too far before you back out again). Did I mention it also holds my fridge? Anyway, I now have a gleaming white closet. All previous nuances of green poorly covered by the cheapest not-quite-covering paint available that was used for the previous owner's work in there, is but a memory.

It looks fabulous, there is no paint on the floor (water based paint comes off easily if wiped quickly) and I did it myself. (Well, yes, I have painted my way through a five room house several times so I should know what I am doing.)

The most fascinating thing was that the cost for the entire project was 0.
A big fat 0 cost for Project: Closet.
And I still have the roller handle, the roller and the brush nicely cleaned and tucked away for the next project that comes up.

There was of course not quite enough paint to cover the last wall but I think the neighbours will be doing more renovations, and I am ready.

Sunday, 3 May 2015


1940 per person weekly war rations for the UK
(these were the initial rations per person for meat; as the war went on, these rations were cut)
2 slices of bacon
100 gr butter
200 gr lard
12 oz (3,4 dl) sugar
meat for 1 shilling 2 pence:
equivalent to 2 steaks OR 1500 gr cut stew beef OR liver, kidneys etc in quite large amounts
Unlimited domestically grown vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions. Potatoes, fish and fruit were also not rationed.

Further rationing was introduced later on and often changed.
Although it seems unbelievable now, the UK population had never been healthier.
Maybe not a bad example. Definitely cheap.


Jag hoppade på snålmånadsutmaningen för april.
Det blev lite oväntade omständigheter och lite speciella händelser denna månad. Men å andra sidan, så är det ju alltid i livet så kanske det var en normal månad i alla fall.

Det positiva är att jag för första gången i hela mitt liv haft koll på mina utgifter under en hel månad.

Detta blev resultatet (omräknat till sek):
Lokaltrafik: 416 (mycket mer än vanligt)
Mat och annan föda: 1011 (för en person, matlåda till jobbet, inkluderar även godis, pizza, kaffe både ute och hemma; mycket mindre än vanligt pga snålmånad men också massor av sociala aktiviteter, se lokaltrafik-kontot)
Weekend 1: 1686
Weekend 2: 922
Hygien och hälsa: 1095 (inkluderar denna månad även besök hos läkare, sjukgymnast och tandläkare men är normalt 100)
Nöje: 100
Present: 50
Saker: 40
Kläder: 80 (wow, jag köpte ett klädesplagg!! Note to self: petroleum chintz top for wedding party)
Sammanlagt 4984 för rörliga kostnader.
Det innebär att jag denna månad underskred Whoopee-kontot, hade underskott även i Mat-kontot och överskott i Weekend-kontot. Men det justerar sig över året. Inga mobil-kostnader, det ska bli intressant att se när jag behöver fylla på kontant-kontot nästa gång.
Till detta läggs de vanliga fasta kostnaderna för två boenden. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015


Det har nu gått nästan en månad sedan jag packade min väska med en mycket begränsad mängd kläder. Jag har nu tillgång till en full garderob igen.
Det första som hände var "jag har ingenting att ta på mig"!

Lite för kallt för bara tshirt, lite för varmt för fleece, kavaj ville jag inte ha på en ledig dag och de tre tröjor och fyra toppar jag haft på mig en månad men som hade gett en perfekt kombination, kunde jag ju givetvis inte ta på mig.

Jag grävde fram en halvpolo som köptes i USA 1998 och en kofta min mamma gav mig i julklapp någon gång under studenttiden. Båda svarta och egentligen ville jag ha något färgglatt. En himmelsblå scarf från en tunnelbanebutik i ett kallt Bryssel/Berlin/Rom? fick komplettera regnjacka från 2007 och jeans från 2009/10.

Det är helt klart att jag fortfarande har mer kläder än jag behöver. Det är nog dags för en ny utmaning. Kanske bara tillåta toppar ur ful-högen en månad? Eller bara ur fin-högen? Det är ju dags att skubba av sig och klä upp sig för bröllop nästa helg.


Av någon anledning som mitt 2015-års jag inte helt förstår, tyckte mitt 2008-års jag att detta var så viktigt att jag gjorde ett bokmärke av det. Allt är en del av vägen från då till nu, från där till här.

- ser världen som en scen
- lever ut libidösa begär
- tillåter inre impulser komma till direkt uttryck
- söker och påverkas snabbt av inre stimuli
- stimulans och accepterande
- har en genomgripande bredvillighet att reagera bejakande
- underkastar sig villigt inre och yttre krafter som kräver att få komma till uttryck
- är villig att låta sig påverkas av impulsiva och miljöbetingade krafter 
- undviker eller motarbetar integrerad kontroll av impulser
- uttrycker sig fritt och snabbt
- har få sekundärprocesser som ett filter mellan underliggande önskan och öppen beteendemässig respons
- åtror och söker aktivt känslomässig spänning i sin miljö
- skapar yttre stimuli för emotionalism, nyheter, rörelse, förändring, äventyr.

Jag minns att denna lista gjorde ett stort intryck på mig och att boken om improvisationsteater som jag tror att det kommer ur, har haft stort inflytande på förändringar jag har gjort och förändringar som jag har accepterat att de har skett, sedan dess.

Friday, 1 May 2015

FI 29,13


So the result of this months calculation of my net worth divided with a feasible annual budget minus having paid most of the tax owed is not good. It is not making me happy.
With a financial Independence number of 29,13 years, I have lost more than two years in a month.
On the other hand, it is a very good, reliable, humble number that I am filled with gratefulness that I have it. It means that I can live on my annual budget for 29 years in today's money and hopefully the inflation and price increases are close to interests and profits. I do also have a pension coming that is not included as it is a very unknown entity as it will be very dependant on how much money I put into it. Do your own calculations.

On the third hand, I am back to the FI number I had before the recent stock market increase. This means that I am back to the FI number I had on the first of February.

It does tell me I need to bring home some of the profits from the last months, but since it is also a result of paid dividends and savings (I still work some) there is really no need to worry.

Even if the financial markets do not increase (or do not fall, which is just as likely), I will be back on an FI-number over 30 within the year.

All in all, this is a sobering experience on how secure investments which are placed in very very secure actually are. Meaning, not really. Nothing is really secure. Only I can make myself feeling secure by developing skills and abilities to handle change and risk and catastrophes. For me, being debt free is the fundamental beginning of that feeling of security.