Sunday, 30 August 2015


I am a hiker, not an athlete. I do not do sports regularly (although I have been know to go running lately). Still there is sports equipment in my house.

Two hand strengthener
One weight that fits around the arm
One long rubber band for exercises
Three exercise DVDs
A case with four relaxation tapes (yes, cassette tapes, but irreplaceable)
One thick exercise mat, think something for yoga (bought in an emergency on a camping trip and now used for exercises)

In the house there are also three dumbbells, one balancing board and a balancing ball (the man uses them regularly).

One of the exercise DVDs is really really very good. It is a Pilates DVD that came with a magazine I bought probably around the mid-2000. I have used it hundreds of times in my different living rooms and hotel rooms. The exercises give me very nice arms and it is so slow that I can only do it when my life is relaxed. (When I am stressed, I do not have patience with her, then she just bugs me. And I know that I have to go and do the relaxation tapes instead.

Both of the other DVDs also came with magazines in the mid 2000s, one is sleep improving yoga and one is proper stand-on-the-floor-jumping-up-and-down-doing-exercises exercises (I have yet to use either of them.)

I probably will hang on to all of this as I seem to either use them regularly or to return to them in periods (when I decide that I want to do sports - it lasts a few months (weeks or days) but I hope they do some good that short time).

Thursday, 27 August 2015


As a migrant worker (although of a quite different kind), I have settled into an extreme frugal life-style. 

I usually have no access to a fridge and most days also no stove. This creates some challenging choices when buying food. I am also moving from place to place and this developes some interesting experiences. Most of the time however, there is access to hot water by using a kettle water cooker.

As it is not uncommon to aim for a simple lifestyle or a life on the road, (I am inspired by Vantrekker)
this is how I eat and what works for me:
Breakfast is oat meal porridge with salt and made with hot water. If I double the amount of water and let it sit in the bowl 5-10 minutes, the porridge turns out perfect. Sugar (comes with occasional take-out coffees) is added on top for days when I feel sorry for myself, but I do not need it.

Lunch is a lot of dark, heavy whole grain bread (pumpernickel, Schwarzbrot or something similar dense and filling) with a can of sardines in oil. The fish and the oil adds essential nutrients and minerals and keeps me full a long time. I alternate with tinned liver pâté and knäckebröd.

Dinner is a choice from couscous, noodles, instant pasta or mashed potatoes from powder with a sauce made from a soup in a cup portion or mixed with can of beans in tomato sauce or tinned veggies.

Snacks during the day and especially in the evening consist of vegetables, primarily raw carrots or a jar of pickled gherkins (but I admit, there will be sweets too when I am feeling sorry for myself). If I can, I hard boil 6 eggs and take with me. They last several days if it is not too warm. Nuts would be an easier choice but they do not agree with me.

I drink instant coffee with powdered milk or tea but mostly water from the tap into my water bottle. 

If I can, I go out for beers, pizza or pick up half a grilled chicken from the market. 
However, I do not have to. I can feed myself straight out of my handbag.

This diet is cheap (dirt cheap) and simple Unopened packages can be carried through all customs, onto planes or without consequences be left for next visit. 
Additionally, it is very filling and very healthy. 
I am not a "prepper", just organized and flexible.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


For the second year in a row, MFF has entered the Champions League through the qualifying phase.
It is wonderful!
I am ecstatic!

Yes, it is football. 

photo: Daniel Nilsson


I have placed all my most important items in a safe box.
In case I have to run out of the house and there is a minute for grabbing the most important things, this is what I will bring.

My Safebox is nothing but a glorified shoe box. However, it collects the items to be easily available (and there is less risk of being trown out in one of my thorough de-cluttering clear out sessions).

My Safebox contains my mother's jewellery and other small items of value. (It sounds great but it is only a necklace and a bracelet that I will never wear but also will never sell for cash as well as a mourning broach made from my dead grand-mothers hair). I also keep a USB stick (thumb drive) with my university thesis(es) in there, but only because I am a complete nerd.

The USB stick with copies of insurance paper, vaccines, diplomas, pass port and drivers licence as well as a list of more important pass words, addresses (in case of information especially). There should be a spare identity card too but I have not figured that out yet.
The box also contains some (but a very limited amount) spare cash in different currencies (this must be replaced regularly as as paper currency changes regularly).

The Safebox also has a handwritten list of passwords for on-line accounts and sites for safekeeping. 

What else should I keep in the Safebox? What do you have in yours?

Monday, 24 August 2015


The most sustainably and financially beneficial thing to do is to maintain and repair the items that you already own.
Ownership implies responsibility: You were responsible for digging raw resources out of the ground and now you’re responsible for getting the maximum use out of the object, so there …

There are two things you need to do:

- Learn how to maintain and repair everything you own.
Start with your clothes, your shoes and your bike.
Collect your sewing-kit and your tool-box. Learn how to mend your clothes and darn your socks. Learn how to polish your shoes. Maintain your bike, pump the wheels, tighten all screws. At least look at all the things that are worn or torn on your bike. Lean how it works. Take a wheel off, at least the one that does not have gears attached to it. Learn how to take the tyre off and to repair a flat one. At least look at how the repair shop does it. Ask questions. Then do the same thing with your car, if you have one. A car is a huge investment so care for it as much as you would do your other investments. Then move on to your house or apartment (even if you rent, you will be responsible for the inside of the apartment. Check the conditions of your lease and do a little at the time, instead of the week you move out or when you risk your deposit.)

- Look thoroughly at each item that you are about to buy.
Make sure you know if the item can be repaired.
Ask if the item is repairable and for instructions on how to repair it when you buy it.
Does electronics have screws that you can see and are the screws shaped so that you can open them with a tool you already have? Ask the shop to tell you how to repair it, to change the batteries and how to keep it clean. If you can not change the batteries (Fcuk you Apple I-Pad for not having replaceable batteries!), really think long and hard about the purchase. (You know it will be a use-and-throw item, even if battery power is developing it is still the primary function that will run out and make the item useless.)
Look at the washing label for all clothes you think of buying. All cotton should be able to wash at 60°C (even if you only use 40°C). If the piece of clothing is dry clean only but the fabric used is not, you may want to buy your clothes from a manufacturer who knows what they are doing. At least read the instructions in all the clothes you currently own and learn to understand them.
Think about the shoes you are about to buy. Can the soles be replaced if worn? Is the surface washable or polish-able?
What do the instructions say about maintenance? Nothing? Well, then you know what the manufacturer think about their own products durability!

Do you have durable furniture or are you buying to use and throw? Nothing wrong with that short term ownership if that was your intention. Make sure you do not pay long-term money for short-term use. Cheap should be cheap also in money! Second hand furniture has rarely started in a flat-pack for the simple reason that most of it does not survive a few years. Older furniture can be painted, polished and sometimes even comes for free.

If you need to buy something new, it usually means that you broke something that you own - as surely, you already have everything you need?

Sunday, 23 August 2015


I am off line a lot for a few weeks.
 I am migrating across the European borders and back again and it is not always possible for me to get a connection.

I am grateful for my legal passport, my valid credit card and my skin colour but we are all equally left in line, wondering whoever is going to come out of the train bathroom. We all wonder when the violence is going to hit us. When, not if.

My home-home town is torn apart by very violent gang rivalry, military style criminal actions and individual loose guns. The last week I have arson on one side of my street , stabbings in the middle and random hand grenades thrown on the other side. I am restricted in my movements and I worry about my house. There is no solution in sight.
My mothers home town half burned down last week. Possibly an accident but the 450 year old houses burn anyway. The property owners had disconnected the direct fire alarms due to budget cuts. One dead. National cultural heritage gone forever. Bi-centennial failure.
My new home town is flooding with water and we have had to empty the basement. Climate change dries the land in one part of the continent and drowns the other. Individuals die in the water every week ant it not only the tourists who does not know better.
My old home town is the training centre for militia, military and murderous kamikazie jihadists on crusades only second to those of Richard the Lionheart and Bernard of Clairvaux. Security, police and military on the streets; it will blow again and it will be soon. Today?

I have nowhere to go back to that is safe. I must deal with the risks or find someplace completely new. Nowhere is as safe as the safety I grew up with.

We are them, they are us, we are one, the world is global and it is happening to us.
It is happening to me. 
If it is not happening to you, tell me where you are and I will come and seek refuge there.

Thursday, 20 August 2015


So I hear there are 126 days left until Christmas (the link gives you correct calculation). I hear that Christians for (or was it against?) poverty are advocating to start saving money for the annual Christmas blow-out now.

The advice is to buy an extra bar of chocolate to store, a leg of lamb for the freezer, a couple of extra logs for the fire and to visit the dollar shop for presents.

Here are another tip for you: Start loosing weight so you can stuff yourself in December.
Stop drinking so you can use the weekly units of alcohol during the hol's.
Make yourself unpleasant to everybody in advance to save on presents.

An even better advice is: Cut out that fckn holiday pressure entirely!

Best thing about living in a multi-cultural, mostly secular country is that THAT fckn holiday is not celebrated in excess. Give me Eid, Midsummer, Kwanzaa or Yom Kippur celebrations any and every day and I will be happy to adhere to the traditions. I do not mind a party, a cultural gathering, a religious ceremony or even a heartfelt belief in higher powers. But wow, how I hate Christmas.
Possibly even more than weddings.
They have the same forced traditions and the same unrealistic expectations.

I started my first war on Christmas when I was 12 and I have belonged to the League against Christmas ever since.

But if you still plan to ruin yourself in December this year too, destroy the family connections you just restored from last years events and get the annual gall stones and suicidal depressions  -
let me tell you
NOW it is time to start saving up for it. Plan, prepare and hopefully survive.

Or you could just not do it. I don't. My gods don't care. My family still loves me. My friends escape to my house for the holidays.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


My August challenge covers electronics. It is not quite going as expected.

Instead of clearing out, we already have had to replace the water cooker as well as the iron. The electricity started to fall out about a week ago, making us very well acquainted with our electricity cabinet and the fuse box. The problem was identified as the water cooker. After attempted repairs, a new cheap one was bought from the same place as the iron. The cooker is now on the same two year parole as the iron.

We have also had to replace two long lasting low energy light bulbs (kitchen and shower room). They could possibly have been between six to nine years old (not any more, as the man has not lived in this apartment any longer and most certainly did not bring used light bulbs with him when he moved in). We are expecting more light bulbs to go but these two were replaced with used low energy light bulbs (I brought my used low energy light bulbs with me when I moved in. No chance I was going to donate them to my previous horrible landlord.) There are still two more used low energy light bulbs in storage as well as a few of the small, old fashioned type. They are all gathered in a separate box (where we also possibly could keep the spare batteries that we never seem to find when we need them, I just realised).

I admit, I do want to keep track of when the light bulbs are changed in the house. But even I can see that that is a bit excessive. So I will live dangerously and not know how old my light bulbs are. It is possibly the healthier option.

I am still working on the electronic content of my computers, but I leave in a few days and "on the road" I will have time to do it. The man has backed up, updated, downloaded and deleted information on the several hard-drives he uses for work. I am very impressed. He even updated our electronic library for music and electronic books.

I have downloaded photos from my phone. At least I did that. I have also tried to use the old digital camera the man owns. Sadly, I promptly destroyed it. The lens now snags and does not retract. I opened it and tried to fix it but with no luck. The same model (as well as fifteen later models of the same digital camera) turned out to readily available second hand on-line for €20-€30.
We decided we do not need a camera. (Except that the camera on my cheap mobile phone is bad and I have almost stopped taking pictures, so I think this decision might be re-evaluated in a few months.)

All my passwords have been checked, updated, recorded and saved in my safe-box.

However, all contact information for friends and family has still to be collected and checked.

The amount of electronics is still to be counted.
However, we have looked through what we have and what we will replace if it breaks: computers, phones and the hand held kitchen mixer especially.
We also discussed what to keep until it breaks: the TV, the kitchen i-pod, the second vacuum cleaner, an electric whisk, the ice cream maker, the kitchen an electric grill, my cassette player walkman and dictaphone, possibly also the DVD-R etc. These will probably not be replaced when they break.
We also discussed what can sold. We identified at least two computers so far but this is the man's job to do ("Hey, you! Now, do it now!") The man possibly owns more electronics than this but I am not involved in that.

I also have a radio, a set of speakers and a nice alarm clock that I am not using but there is no money in it on-line (I have looked), and they are too nice to just throw out .... so I might just keep them. If anybody wants to tell me off for not purging and simplifying enough, you are cordially invited. I probably need some help with these items...

I can tell what we do not have however: we have no microwave. We also have no electric coffee maker.


Tolka ditt sug

Om du är sugen på salt och fet mat, kan det betyda att du är uttorkad. Salt binder vatten och din kropp kanske försöker hushålla med den vätska som finns i kroppen om du är sugen på salt och fet mat.
Fyll en kanna med vatten och lägg i lite hallon eller basilika och drick allt ihop.

Om du är sugen på godis, läsk och choklad kan det betyda att du behöver protein. Utan energi kräver din kropp en snabb energikick och då blir du sugen på socker. Ät kött, kyckling, fisk, linser eller bönor.

Om du är sugen på bröd och pasta kan det betyda att du helt enkelt inte äter tillräckligt mycket. Se till att du äter minst 1200 kalorier per dag. Ät ett mellanmål, en smörgås eller frukt mellan målen och gör det varje dag i framtiden.

Det är enkelt att spräcka en matbudget genom att äta för mycket eller fel sorts mat. Ta kontroll över dina utgifter och ta kontroll över ditt ätande.

Note to self: Use your intelligence, eat what you should, not just what you feel like. You are not 5!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


Where like a pillow on a bed, A pregnant bank swell'd up, to rest The violet's reclining head, Sat we two, one another's best.

Our hands were firmly cèmented By a fast balm which thence did spring Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread Our eyes upon one double string.

So to engraft our hands, as yet Was all the means to make us one; And pictures in our eyes to get Was all our propagation.

As 'twixt two equal armies Fate, Suspends uncertain victory, Our souls—which to advance their state Were gone out—hung 'twixt her and me.

And whilst our souls negotiate there, We like sepulchral statues lay All day the same our postures were,And we said nothing, all the day.

John Donne The Ecstacy

Monday, 17 August 2015


My family did not know, but they named me WAR.

My first or given name is derived from the name of one of the Valkyries. It is a name that was common in the Scandinavian Viking age. It was given to women who fought with the men.
The name does not include any meaning of strategy, planning, sophistication or forgiveness. It is not a name for shield-maidens; it just means WAR.

The name is interpreted as the name of a fighting woman.

That interpretation is lost on today's Scandinavians as Norse mythology has been suppressed by imported Christianity. In English however, the interpretation is still clear.

You see, I share the basic name form with my grandfather's sister.
She moved to New York in 1936.
She promptly changed her name to Kristina.
It can not have been easy to be a model and a beautician with the name Gunn Thomson.

Living abroad, with non-Scandinavians, I too struggle with my name. In most countries it is a completely pointless combination of sounds, only collected to be my personal identifier.
I have given up on pronunciation, spelling and even its use to distinguish that I am a woman (which I do not mind at all actually). But I will not change my name.

I am WAR and ye shall hear me ROAR (in fits of giggles on the floor).

Does your name have a meaning?

Sunday, 16 August 2015


I used to be a great movie fan, I would rent apartments based on location to the closest independent movie theatre. Such as the Styx in Brussels.

I am still a great film fan but around the mid-2000, say about 2005, I discovered the DVD.
I did not have a TV (only ever owned one in my life and it came with an apartment) but I bought a small DVD player (you know the kind for children with a little screen). I rented classics and every famous films I had never seen from the library cheaply and I bought DVDs.

Most of my DVDs were sold off in the great moves 2008, 2010 and 2014, approximately 2-300 DVDs; I shudder at the thought of the amount of money spent, lost and wasted on DVDs (but in that time, we all thought a film library was as important as a book collection were for the medieval monks.)

Today I only own 150 DVDs.
58 DVD in individual original cases plus three binders with around 30 DVD discs in each and three work out DVDS.

This is an horrendous amount of media! Especially since most of my home time is spent in houses with Internet streaming, cable channels and regular television available. At home, in my original home, I have neither TV nor Internet. I should move some of the DVDs there and buy (acquire in some other free way) a small DVD player for them. (My computer does not have a built in DVD player.)

I suppose I should try to get rid of some. However, I doubt there is any money left in the DVD market and besides -
Can I really part with my complete collection of Tarantino movies, Orson Welles, Hitchcock, five series of James Herriot, three seasons of Ørnen, the extended version of The Lord of the Ring-trilogy and almost complete collections of movies with Edward Norton and Sean Pertwee respectively?

How many DVDs do you have and what have you saved after your purge?

Saturday, 15 August 2015


Soup is the standard and traditional way to eating cheaply.

It is of course up to you what you eat but this works for me.

Save all left-over vegetables, all leafs, an onion, or a potato, garlic, red lenses or any other happy or unhappy looking vegetable in a pot.
Leafs include broccoli stems, cauliflower leafs, radish or carrot tops as well as clean potato peals. Yes they are edible if boiled properly. If nothing else, this encourages to buy ecologically grown veggies. Cut it ruff if you have a mixer, nicer and smaller if you do not.

Add fluids from cans of beans, water from boiling spaghetti or veggies; almost anything can go in there. Avoid milk, cheeses and dairy as it doesn’t do to well being boiled. Some leftover fat can go in too.
Keep it in the fridge and keep adding to it until you are hungry. The amount of water should just barely cover the veggies or the soup gets a bit thin.

Boil the whole thing at least 20 minutes. Mix it with a mixer. Salt, flavour if you need to.
Boil another 5-10 minutes. You don’t need a bullion cube, the veggies will flavour the soup together with the salt.
Add small pieces of meets if you want and have it. Cheese on top or a spoon of soy sauce are other alternatives. Eat with a couple of slices of knäckebröd or a couple of carrots.
The colour can be odd but the flavour is almost always surprisingly good.

Not tasting superbly? Who cares!!
It is almost a free lunch.

Friday, 14 August 2015


In Don Quixote, Part II, c. XX, Sancho Panza's grandmother is quoted to refer to el tener y le no tener.

The differeence between those who have and those who have not (tener is the Spanish verb for to have) is not in their rank or their social position, but in whether they have anything to eat.

Hermano, este día no es de aquellos sobre quien tiene jurisdicción la hambre.

Food is a social classification of its own.
The rich eat, and eat to excess, watched by a thousand hungry eyes as they consume their gargantuan meals.

Qouted and inspired by J. H. Elliot Imperial Spain 1469-1716 (Penguin, 1963) p. 311


If you have calculated a net worth number, you can calculate your Financial Independence number.

The next step is to calculate an annual budget, or (and this is not the same thing) calculate the amount of money you spend every year. You can make this an incredibly detailed process but that will take time to get it right. Do it simply, and assess a total amount spent for a year.

This is what you need to have in order to keep yourself for a year (including whoever are in your financial responsibility). I usually think of this as my annual budget. It is common that it varies annually and most certainly between different persons.

If you have a positive net worth, divide your annual budget with your net worth. This is how many years (months, days?) you can keep yourself on your funds.

Do you have pension coming in? Calculate how much that is expected to be and know exactly when it will be paid out.

You may need to work really hard for some years, doing anything you can to make money and save in order to get assets available in order to create a stable financial future.

If you will be able to live on your pension and if your net worth divided with your annual budget reaches your pension payments (or thirty years, more later) you can call yourself financially independent.

It may not be a glamorous life, it is probably not very impressive in the eyes of others, but you are financially self-supporting.
It all starts with knowing your net worth.

It goes on with making as much money as possible to increase the net worth to the point where your Financial Independence number is more than 30.

Thursday, 13 August 2015


As always inspired by An Exacting life I took a look at my recipe book.

It is an A4 ring bound blank notebook (the cover is odd so I assume it was the cheapest one I could find at the time. It still makes me smile inside every time though.)

The book is at least fifteen years old by now and filled about four fifth. The first recipes are of course older as they came out of a collection gathered for a long time. The latest are from this year. The recipes are all put in with small pieces of plastic tape. I do go through the different recipes occasionally and the tape allows me to take out the ones that have become uninspiring.

I am not a great cook, and I most certainly do not follow recipe when cooking. 

The best way to cook cheaply is to start with something cheap and recipes are great for inspiration when buying food...

Consequently, my recipes are organised after their main ingredients. The choice of main ingredient have changed over time depending on where I have lived and how I cook.

The categories are chronological and very jumbled but I can find what I look for quite easily. 

If I sort the categories so they can possibly make sense to anybody else, they are as follows:
Cod - Fish balls - Clams - Squid - Octopus - Salmon - Herring
Pancakes - Eggs - Cheese - Filo - Tortilla - Bread
Chicken - Meat balls (mince meat) - Liver - Lamb
Potatoes - Cabbage - Onions - Fennel - All other vegetables
Red lenses - Beans - Chick peas
Polenta - Couscous - Bulgur - Quinoa
Noodles - Pasta - Gnocchi - Rice

I am a main course kind of person. I do not really eat desserts or sweets but my recipe book also includes recipes given to me as memories.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


Since our vacation in France, the fourteenth century has been the main focus in our house.

Historiographer I am, but I have managed to develop an intense history interest in the man too. (Poor thing, little does he know of his future readings.)

He reads fourteenth century chronographs and we went to see monasteries, abbeys and castles from that period (think the French-English-everybody else at war with each other for the Hundred Year War approximately).

Now we also eat 14th century food. Oat porridge with leek for lunch and porc-cabbage-onion-mustard in a clay pot in the oven for dinner. Spoons and knifes only for eating of course, we are not royalty.

I blame Ruth Goodman and the BBC TV-series The Secrets of the Castle (but that blame is mostly a grateful thank you to her being a role model for all of us history nerds to come out and be practical historians and not only theoretical historians.)


Essen Sie gute Laune

Wenn möglich, würzen Sie scharf, das hebt die Stimmung. Durch das brennende Gefühl, das Chili, Pfeffer oder Ingwer im Mund erzeugen, schüttet das Gehirn als "Schmerzstiller" (Glückshormone (Endorphine) aus, und wir fühlen uns einfach besser.


Fokusera på att vara för - ägna inte tid åt att vara mot.

Stöd ditt fotbollslag i motgång och hurra för dina hjältars framgångar. Ägna inte tid åt motståndaren och ödsla inte energi på vad de gör.

Hejarramsor har större effekt än bu-rop, även för dig.

Formulera din vision, din dröm, ditt mål och din uppfattning om utopia.
Fokusera inte det negativa utan lägg all tid på att uppmärksamma det positiva.

Titta på dig själv och ditt eget beteende först och främst.
Det är bara om du har överskottsenergi som du kan ödsla den på att klaga på andra 
- även om de stjäl allt du har och kopierar det du gör.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


"In his book How to Win at the Sport of Business,” [Mark] Cuban writes that if you’re in your 20s, you don’t need to share a gross apartment with a bunch of friends, but you should live cheaply, even if you happen to be doing well. Paying off bills, debt, and establishing a nest egg is far more important than indulging in a sprawling home or high-end fashion, he says.
“It doesn’t matter where you live,” Cuban writes. “It doesn’t matter how you live. It doesn’t matter what car you drive. It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear. If you use your 20s to pay off student-loan debt, avoid credit-card debt, and build savings, you’ll thank yourself later. The more you stress over bills, the more difficult it is to focus on your goals,” he says.
Whether you’re using your 20s to build your own business or establish a rewarding career, “the cheaper you can live, the greater your options,” Cuban writes."

This is from a story in Business Insider but the advice is true regardless if you are in your 20s or your 60s or in your 40s.
The longer you can live cheaply, the longer you can live without increasing your income. This leaves your life open for interests outside work, or for taking risks with your job, or to make investments.

Or to put it in another way. If you can stop yourself from increasing your standard of living, any extra money that you can make, will be savings for later.
And you know there will be a day when you will need it.

It is always going to rain sometime. Everybody knows that.

Saturday, 8 August 2015


I want to know how to make everything I need in my life, even if I do not actually make everything myself.

Some things I do want to know how to make, I actually think I should know how to make.
Those things are growing food, storing food, cooking, maintaining my mechanics and electronics, making clothes etc.

The next instalment of the series "I try to learn how to make my own clothes", set of pyjamas has been finalised. Total cost €2.50 and numerous hours.

They are a little too big and do not fit exceptionally well (but well enough to sleep in).
I have learned the following skills:
- Adjusting patterns
- Sewing in jersey and stretchy fabrics (first time in life)
- French seams and different stretchy seams
- Fitting bust and waist pleats
- Sewing elastic waistband in elastic fabric
I have also learned a lot about my temperamental sewing machine and we now get a long better than ever.


Anybody who has endured even the tiniest bit of management training has been tought to set goals using the SMART acronym. It stands for ‘specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bounded’.

Anybody who has ever had even the tiniest bit of life experiance knows to add an F.

Goals must be flexible. If you set yourself to run a marathon and it turns out you can not do it - change the goal. Re-think and re-set. It is not failure.

If you have dreams and visions that seem unobtainable, set a goal to get you towards that dream, not the dream itself. You will change on the way towards the dream and so will the dream.

Allow yourself to be flexible, allow your dreams to change when you do and please for goodness sake, allow for others to change and develope into better individuals in a better world.

Friday, 7 August 2015


I have enormous vocal powers. I lecture in large arenas without microphone and I can comfortably hold my own while singing on the football stands.

But I used to loose my voice with every cold. Most memorable when I was to have been Santa Claus from the North Pole for the Massachusetts Girl Scouts in 1990. Not easy when there is no sound created by the vocal cords at all. Some speech therapy advice was taken to heart and it happened less frequently.

Until 2003 when a doctor told me (and I can still hear her casual, by-way tone of voice): "you loss of voice is not caused by smoking but if you do not want it to happen again you should take the opportunity to stop."

You never know what you say that will really reach a person, but I quit smoking that day.

I have never smoked since. It was not easy, it is sometimes still not easy. But I am not going to smoke right now and that is all I will focus on.

I am fully an addict for nicotine, and I can not handle it. There is never going to be just one for a party or even a chocolate cigarette. I completely understand Anonymous Narcotics/Alcoholics, the only thing that counts is now. And it is now I am not going to smoke.

Tomorrow I will deal with then, but I will go and do something else than smoking right now.
It has worked so far for over 12 years. It can be your turn today. First target is only for today.
Just not smoke that next cigarette.

Thursday, 6 August 2015


I do not buy clothes, I have not bought clothes since 2010, but It is actually a lie.
I have noticed that I still do buy clothes.

This is a list (to be edited) of what I have bought in 2015.

Cap for hiking and to use in rain, from acquired from the friends in Saint Quentin, France €2.50
Blue cotton t-shirt - €2.99 from Vibra
Petroleum silk wedding shirt - second hand I think €7
White bra - €7.50 from Hema
3 pairs of short socks - €5 from Hema
3 pairs of working socks - €1 from Kruidtvat
White running t-shirt - €5 from Decathalon 

Around €31 just frittered away in 8 months. Chocking!
And I have still not bought that rainjacket and the jeans (and possible an Icebreaker hikingshirt) that I so sorely need.
I am going to have to break into my yoopee account for essentials. Oh no ooo

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Belts were one of the first things I cleared when I started minimising in 2010.

I have two (2). One classic jeans style black leather belt and one wider black leather belt with two pins in a black buckle. These are the only two belts I have used the last five years (and to be honest, probably several years before that too.) I spend no money on belts, this is where I consider I am set for a lifetime.

I have been helped by a decision I made in the early 90s.

Around 1991 I bought an expensive black leather belt with a yellow brass buckle and a screw that attached the buckle to the belt.
I was completely fed up with belts that frayed after a few weeks but I was a student and did not have a lot of money. I decided however exactly what kind of belt I wanted and I think I had to look for the exactly right one for quite a long time. I probably bought a few cheap ones in the meantime that I thought would do the job.

The exactly right belt turned out to cost a lot of money and I still remember exactly where I bought it.

During the years of horror (2008-10) I grew out of my belt. The belt was not bought with the intent of becoming fat.
I found second hand a lovely long black real leather belt with a screwed on buckle (the buckle was ugly as hell). The new, longer black real leather belt replaced the leather of the original belt (unscrew the buckle, screw it in in the new leather). The new leather almost fits, it is a few millimetres to wide but it bends nicely in the buckle.

This week, my weight loss has made me reach the last hole in my black leather belt.
I hope to be changing back into the shorter leather strap soon.

PS. Oh-oh - it turned out that the original belt leather still is too short. I will go to the cobbler shop and ask for a new hole to be punched in my current belt.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


Sedan 2002 har jag bott i hus och lägenheter med kök som inte har utrymme för köksbord. Någon gång har det funnits en lucka mellan matlagningsdelen och bostadsytan men oftast inte.
Idag  har jag ett långsmalt arbetskök på ena stället jag bor och kokskåp på det andra.

Fördelarna är enorma.
Priset på ett hus utan sittbart kök är lägre i dagens trend med open living kitchen. Even if there will be fried fat everywhere.

Utanför köket blir umgänge och vila mer fokuserat. Maten och ätandet, istället för matlagningen utan hamnar i frontlinjen och alla andra aktiviteter som inte handlar om mat, får mer fokus.
Vi umgås mer fokuserat när vi inte försöker göra tre saker samtidigt. Gör en sak i taget, använd signaluret, sätt det i halslinningen och gå och gör något annat nägra minuter. Under de minuterna gör du bara det.
Ett arbetskök innebär också att vi ofta ofta saker tillsammans, en lagar mat medan en diskar (eller städar ett köksskåp). När allt är klart, är vi båda klara. Alternativt, jag stänger luckorna till kokskåpet och glömmer allt ihop.

Kokskåp är den bästa uppfinningen för att laga mat och äta billigt. Mat hemma blir inte det viktigaste i livet men alla funktioner finns med lite planering och ett extra bord vid sidan om.

"Hur mycket vi än tycker om att laga mat så är det inte många som ser köket som ett ställe där vi kopplar av. Det är ett rum för aktivitet och arbete även om intensiteten i aktiviteten och arbetet kan variera." Compact living - att bo på liten yta Jane Graining, Richters 2003 (s 60).

Monday, 3 August 2015


The task for August is to go through all electronics. This is good timing for me, not only is it relatively quiet at work, I will also be moving countries soon again. (Only for a few weeks though.) This will give me plenty of alone time to fiddle with computers and such.

With electronics I mean everything that I own or use that needs electricity to operate (easily recognised as it has a cable or needs batteries).

Electronic equipment
How many radios, computers, phones, stereo, clocks and old walkmen, micowaves, rollodex and camping lanterns do you have?
If you want to keep the equipment, take out the batteries and reuse or recycle batteries (so that they do not leak while not in use), alternatively place a piece of plastic between the battery and the contact pole so that the battery does not run out of charge. 

If you have not used the item for the last year it may be time to let it got to the charity shop if it works (wipe it of and tag it that it works) or the collection point for electrical and electronic equipment. 

Electronic content
This task also includes cleaning  your hard drive, including your stationary computer, laptop, your separate hard drive and phone.
Download and back-up the content. Send the most important information in an email to yourself or store it as a draft on your personal email account.

Of course you also clean up all your email accounts. Place the content of the in-box into folders and try to keep the number of emails in the in-box low.  Throw and delete folders no longer needed.

Contact information 
Update peoples contact information into you address book, an electronic or on paper. Remove old email addresses or contacts (people do move jobs and it is embarrassing to send private information to your friends previous IT-department).

The closest of my friends also get their address and email written down in a small but pretty address book made from paper. It simplifies a quick address check for a random post card (which is the cheapest way I know to make sure my friends know I really do like them. Nobody else does this any more.)

In my safety box I have a list of all my passwords on paper. The man is using an electronic tool to invent secure passwords but only works if the electronic tool can be logged on to (don't ask him how we know this, but it is a good story...). (My safe box is a glorified shoe box but it contains all the things I will grab if or when I have to run out of the house in a fire.)

Electronic Photos
Do a back-up of all the content to a separate hard drive, server, USB/thumb drive, disc or cloud storage.

Download all photos from your phone. Print special photos.  Send copies of photos, especially old ones, to the people in the picture. (It is also a great way of reaching out and staying in touch with the people in the pictures).
Send the most important documents in an email to yourself and the people who are on the pictures.

Sunday, 2 August 2015


Since my accident in March when I fell in the shower, my shoulder has been sore. The physio therapist gave me exercises to do and the shoulder improved considerably. During the vacation the last pain subsided. It has returned since I started sleeping in a soft bed again but I have almost full shoulder rotation again. The exercises are done every day, sometimes several times a day. I hope any remaining pain will be gone permanently soon.

However, I am still fearful in the shower. I hold on to things and I lean on the wall to wash my feet. Still, I feel my feet slipping and my balance is not improving.

The decision was made. We needed a shower mat. I did so we did.

Old people have shower mats. Old people and people who does not want to slip in the shower again.

A shower mat turned out to be a) ugly b) really ugly c) huge and the worst of it d) quite expensive.

Some thinking, some roaming around different shops and an attempt for a solution was found.
It works so well I have to brag a bit (but be careful, it may not work for you or your shower).

I got one of those thin plastic materials that are for stopping carpets to slip around on the floor.
Mine came in a roll and is in the colour of hysterical green (yes, it was on a clearence sale).

I cut a bit of it as a trial (around half a meter, two feet approximately) and I am keeping it.
It slips a bit when water is poured over it but it is stable when I stand on it.


Jag håller inte på och små-unnar mig en massa skitsaker i vardagen.

Det är dyrt, onyttigt och jag har aldrig gjort något för att förtjäna det. Jag är inte 5, jag behöver varken mutas eller lockas för att göra helt vanliga saker.

Jag köper det största och det bästa jag har råd med. Jag köper en souvernir, det bästa jag hittar, och oftast är det något som ändå är gratis. Men jag har ett tyg till en kjol från min by i Guatemala, en fler-lagers boll från Jade-templet i Shanghai och en teburk som jag fiskade upp ur en soptunna i Paris.

I do not treat myself. Ich gönne mich nichts. I buy what I need and make that an event in itself.

Saturday, 1 August 2015


Puhu -
I again have contoll over money (Fuck You AVANZA) and although the markets have taken a dip, I am ok.

I count monthly my net value, or as I call it my Financial Independence). It is the sum of all my assets (not counting pensions or the value of my apartment, as I currently live there) divided with my annual budget (a sum that comfortably allows my current lifestyle). My annual budget is low because I am frugal and cheap but is isn't anything ridiculously low and it is a budget many people live with, and are expected to live with. I count only my money and my costs, although some of my costs are lower because I can share some of them with the man (but then so are his).

This month I have a FI  number of 29,31. This means I can live 29,31 years on my current money with the current budget and current level of prices. I do not intend to die rich so the thought is to use up all my money and hope that the annual interests and value increases can make up for increases in costs.

That makes me happy, grateful and comfortable about the future. I have also not yet stopped working but when the FI stays solidly over 30, I may cut yet another day off my working week.