Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Tea light candles have become a stable feature in our lives.

We buy 100 tea lights in a bag as cheaply as possible.
I only want the kind with 4 hours burning time.
Quality is not important.
The tea lights are burned in an open ceramic tray.
The tray is filled with ten to twenty tea lights as the time.
We light one per evening unless we have guests or want to be fancy.
I always let the tea light burn out, I never blow it out.
We move the candle with us into the bed room if it has not burned out by bedtime.

Quality is not important, all brands, also the very cheap, do their job. The fire risks might decrease with the quality, I do not know, but the risks are still there so all precautions must be taken anyway. Besides being an open flame, tea lights also have a nasty habit to ignite the molten paraffin in the pot. The fire risks are real. The risks also increase with certain, closely contained tea light holders so be aware. We use an open ceramic tray.

I only buy the kind that burns for 4 hours. The reason is that we use them in the evenings when we are at home. Our evenings are usually not longer than four hours between dinner and bedtime. I always let the candle burn out by itself. It decreases the fire risks, and as the light usually can not be re-lighted (unless there is more than half of the candle paraffin left in the pot) I will get more out of each candle that way. If the candle is still burning when we go to bed, we just bring it with us into the bedroom for warmth. Carefully and always placing it away from the curtains of course.

Our living room can be closed and the warmth generated from one single tea lights makes a difference. Maybe not enough for us to turn down the heating in the evening but at least enough so that we do not have to increase it for the evening hours. This is also one of the benefits of not living in an open plan house. Each section can be heated for different purposes. When we go to bed, the bedroom is cooler and we sleep better. (Yes, the heating is turned off at night.)

The little remnants of paraffin in the tea light cup I save for the next candle. Either by just placing the little slivers on the next tea light to melt into the cup (increasing the time of the candle to burn) or by saving them in the paraffin and old candles stash for when I melt it all down and make new candles (usually early winter, although not last year).

With 100 tea lights in a bag, less than seven candles per week (not a candle every night), the 1-2 euros for the bag, will last more than 16 weeks (calculating 100 candles/usually no more than six candles a week). In total the 2 € bag will last for more than four months and the spending for the extra heat, comfort and cosiness, will be 50 eurocents for one month, or less than 2 eurocents per evening. I think that is worth it, but the cheaper the bag of tea lights, the less spent each evening.

Occasionally, if we can get them, we buy and burn long stemmed candles in fancy candle holders. But then we also dress up, cook fancy food, set the table and eat of the fancy plates to make a memory of it. Usually we do not, because then it would not be a special evening. It is important to make a difference between every day and special days, between normal and a treat.

Monday, 14 March 2016


Voluntarily living as if we have no money, gives us some immediate benefits.
Not only the benefit of saving and holding on to money.
Not only the benefit of enjoying the little things in life.
Not only the benefit that there are so many little things in life to enjoy.
Not only the benefit of patience, adventure, curiosity and learning.

We also have the benefit of when things go bad, we don't care.
We care that it will cost money.
We care that we can not make plans.
We care that people are stupid.
We care that things do not go our way.
But we have no mortgages to care about, no financial worries, no deteriorating property, no career ambitions to manage.
There is no lack of laughter in our lives.
There is no lack of love in our lives.
We eat fun things and we can still light a tea light every night.

We will stay on the path as it swerves.
We can be like willow and just bend when the storm hits.
In the eye of the storm, we can rest.

Thursday, 3 March 2016


I have dropped the kitchen scales. And I have dropped the kitchen scales again.
And again.

Eventually the scales decided that not even its love of the man was going to stand the abuse any more, and refused to participate any longer.
The man pretended that it didn't matter and that he didn't need scales.
Still he kept digging the broken scales out of the electronic waste collection bag again and again, pretending that they were fine.
So, consequently, I had to get new scales in the house.

I used the same process for this buy as all other buys.
First a list of needs was identified (scales for kitchen, handling at least 1 kg, able to set to zero, not looking too ridiculous)
Second it had to be cheap.
Thirdly it had to at least pretend to look reliable.

I started looking for it in the second hand shops, but no luck.
Secondly I went through all cheap shops, starting somewhere in the middle unfortunately without luck. The look was fine but the price was just really too many times too high.
I then went the rounds through the cheapy shops and had luck. One looked really good look, seemed very reliable and was just just above the price limit.
It actually cost €2 less than the ticket price for some reason I did not stay to enquire about.

The scales are now in the kitchen, sprucing up the entire decor. The man is very happy.
It is so new, the newest thing we own. 

The man must wash his hands before using it. 
I should not use it at all or I will break it.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Micro exercises

For John especially:

When ever I think I am fat, unfit, generally flabby, ugly or really should get a grip of my life -
I do little exercises.
When I watch tv and see fat, unfit, generally flabby people I do exercises.
Instead of talking down to myself, I tell myself I can do something about it.
And I do.

What are the micro exercises?
Situps on the floor, in the sofa, in bed or sitting up in the chair.
Bending legs if standing.
One leg forward, arms up.
Contracting buttocks.
Lifting arms.
Rolling feet.
Lifting thighs off chair, sofa or bed.
Straighten the back and roll the shoulders.
Whatever makes any muscle warm and a little tired.

Note that I know nothing about physical exercises and you may need to read or talk to somebody about which exercises that are suitable for you and your physique.
All I know is that moving more is moving good. 
This is not instead of physical exercise. This is only for us lazy who do not do anything else.

I started doing ten of each exercise and now I am doing fifteen. Even if I have to pause, I have to do fifteen. If the muscles start burning, that is even better.
Or actually, I started doing one. The first one.
The hardest exercise is not the last, it is always and always going to be the first one.
The first one is usually the one that never gets done.

I have a friend who planks on the floor during all commercials. I do not know how long, but he does it (his wife told me) and that is the most important part.
I bend my knees (legs apart) and dip my bum when doing dishes. I try to do the same while brushing my teeth.
I do situps in bed and sofa (lift legs a little, lift upper body a little and bend, keep going without lowering feet or upper body back entirely. If back hurts, scotch around to find a comfortable position.)
I contract buttocks while waiting for something to load on the computer.
I do arm exercises, mostly with a little weight while reading or watching TV. After my injury last year, I got arm exercises to do from a physiotherapist. Instead of paying her to help me do them, I do them myself. Not only is my arm just about healed, I also have really good looking upper arms for the first time in ten years. It cost me nothing after the one visit to the physio to get the exercise right.
I lift and rotate my arm over my head while working. This was an advice I got when I broke my arm 1987 and always remembered, unfortunately not always doing.

The point of micro exercises is not that they are in any way a new way to get fitter. The point is to do them. Do ten of the exercises you know, do them several times a day, and do them every time you talk down to yourself.
You do not have to go anywhere. You do not need any equipment. You do not need to change. You do not get sweaty. There is no viable argument for not doing little exercises during the day. None at all.
You know that you can do one belly contraction. At least that I know that you know how to do.
So do it now. Now. And then keep going until ten.

And if you didn't - you really need to work on your mind control rather than your fitness routine.
How about now then?

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


All is well in viking land and all is well in the land where the viking roams.

My lifestyle is still focused on the daily laughter, the weekly celebration of something random, the treats, the fun, the small adventures. The targets for 2016 are on track.

Family members in the viking lands is old and older they get every day. One is doing fine and having a jolly good time (or at least manages to pretend to, which is a good first step). The others are busy happy or being cared for by caring, loving people. I do my best to cheer and care for the carers. The ones cared for have lost most of mind. I think of the times that were had. We must all go in the end.

Friends are equally in hard times. I cheer and send silly messages and it seems to be all that can be helpful. Some things just require hard work to get through and we around them just have to ease the burden while they are doing the hard work. The hard work still has to be done and by them only. Lovely people all of them though. I could use a few more local friends though. The language barriers are being worked on so the only remaining task is to find my kind of people.
Anybody here close to Mokum?

Health is still my important priority. The amounts of fibre has been increased with good results. Eyes are currently a concern but hopefully be sorted.  The summer adventure of 2016 has been visualised and the formal plans are just weeks (week?) away to be completed. It is an adventure. I am already a bit scared. It will be not only a memory for life but possibly also the beginning of something completely different. But we are old(-ish), and I wonder if I am fit enough. So I do my daily micro exercises and work to get the stamina going too. More daily dirty dancing possibly? Weight is fine, not great but I fit into my new jeans.

Studies are better this year than last. Although the topic is not my personal choice (its a mandatory masters course) the involvement of students and professors makes it interesting. My personal reading topic is focused on the summer adventure which unfortunately does not have much to do with the official studies.

And work is good. The bosses are nice. I got a good raise, I will get professional qualifications, we are hiring and there is currently not very much to do - for me.
Finances is picking up too. Today's calculation gave a FI of 28,20 years so in all not too shabby. No major tax payments are expected for 2016 so the financial independence number should stay stable this year.

I have time for the man, he's fine (very excited about the summer adventure, it is almost scary) and we are good. The weather is even better. All is relaxed and here and now in the present.

This is what less TV and even less blog reading creates. I keep an eye on some but very occasionally. They are fine too, or will be (looking at you, hip-lady).