Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Knife part 2

The new knife has entered my life.
After ten minutes, it was as if it had never been gone.

My last pocket knife was confiscated by customs leaving England earlier this year. It was fair and they treated me very kindly. (It is also about the seventh pocket knife I have lost to customs since 2001).

For my birthday, I was treated with a present from my work. I picked a pocket knife (and with some kind negotiation, a substantial gift card for the out door shop of my choice.)

I picked the same pocket knife I bought some time in the mid-1980's and had in my pocket every day until 2001. Swiss Army knife (now Victorinox) with the combination of tools that I personally need.
It fits perfectly into the pocket of my Levi's 501's.

Nothing much else has changed since the 1980's.
Except the waist measurement.
And the belt. That one is from 1991.
Now since the weight reduction, the original strap is again back on.

Add a football jersey for my national team and I am ready to rock as if it was 1994.
(Where did my 1994 World Cup shirt go?)

Monday, 25 June 2018

Brake iron


Oh yes, I did.
I broke the iron.

Watching football while sewing and ironing, I dropped the iron on the floor.
No problem, the floor can handle it. I didn't think much of it.

Next time I tried to iron however - water everywhere.
Standing up, no problem. Using, holding it flat, water pours out from the inside.

I will need a new iron, but not right now.
I think can survive ironing without steam for a good while (I don't iron much these days).
I don't know how the man will feel about that, but he is generally less fussy than I am. He has years and years of experience to iron without steam as he was using a spray bottle or a wet cloth when I met him and introduced him to a steam iron. I don't even know if he uses steam these days (he does his own ironing whenever the occasion a smooth shirt is required).
I am technically a better ironer than he is but he really likes it a lot more. Especially ironing handkerchiefs can put him into an almost trance like meditative mood.
Something with the handiwork and the pride of the finished product, I think.

Sorry for publishing this post half written yesterday.

Colander part 2

There is a new colander in the house.
The colander with the broken handle has been removed from use as a colander.
I see from the date of the above link, that we have lived with a broken handle for year.

The new one is plastic, maybe it is more of a strainer. It doesn't matter. It does the same job.
It also has no handle that can be broken off so it will last us a long time.
The new one is also without cost. Which is important.

Not because we can't afford a new colander. We could buy a new car for cash tomorrow.
Not because we thought we didn't deserve a new colander or any of that sort of self-depreciating thinking. We are not defined by the things we own.
The broken colander worked, almost without annoyance.
We almost bought a new one but since it was not entirely perfect, we refrained.
And serendipity gave us a perfect colander for free.
This is a colander design that is currently not for sale on the markets where we live. 

By not spending money on a new colander, we saved very little.
But we also kept ourselves out of the consumption mode for the last year.

We also did not buy a car, speed boat, or train. We didn't buy take-out coffee or food. We bought no toys or collection items. We didn't use money to satisfy our cravings or to dull pain.

We never buy anything on the spur of the moment. We never go out to buy something without that something being identified, analysed and researched. We often go out to buy a specific item and come home empty handed when that item is not satisfactory or when it is unavailable.

We spend money on activities that create healthy bodies and memories for life.
We spend money to save us from bad situations.
We spend money to replace expensive essentials when they break in our lives.

The rest we repair or try to live without until it becomes necessary or free.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Midsummer

Midsummer, summer solstice, the pagan party weekend of fertility and vodka.
It has passed.

I went to IKEA, stocked up on sill (picked herring) and Kalles kaviar. I bought knäckebröd, butter, small fresh potatoes and fresh dill. The flags and the decorative may-pole came out. The vodka went into the freezer, the beer into the fridge. The man baked a cake for dessert. I baked a cheese-asparagus pie just to be fancy.

Everybody ate as if they had never seen food. All children loved fishing for their own piece of herring out of the pot (nono, of course not, I served it at the table straight out of the pots). The food gourmet parents loved the potatoes with a piece of butter on top and some salt. Dill. A simple salad. Small pieces of desert cake with a strawberry on top with a stick.
We all enjoyed ourselves and I made everybody sing for their vodka.

If you don't sing for your vodka, you don't deserve it.
If you can't sing for your vodka, you've had enough.
If you flavour or mix your vodka, you can go home. Not drinking is fine but there is no need to be wasteful or disrespectful.

Now the longest night is here, and we are all a part of nature.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

New bicycle

The new bicycle has been delivered.

After two weeks of heart break, I have accepted it and started using it.
It is still a painful experience. 

The company makes a very unusual bike, exactly what I needed and how I wanted my first new bicycle in forty years. I could get it in pink with immediate delivery or wait three months for the same bike in black. I was willing to wait three months to live a life without a pink bicycle.

The bike was delivered on date.

The wrong bike.
The new updated version changed it into a different bike.
Different design. Different weight and most importantly; a completely different break system.
Several of the things that was on the "must be" list.

The company answers my bike shop who placed the order: "we change and upgrade without giving notice" and "we will have no further contact with the customer, and refer to customer service". The customer service answers without investigation that "you must have ordered the wrong bicycle".
They will not deliver the bike with the brakes I want, or in the version I ordered.

I could have refuse the bike.
I should have refuse the bike.
I need a bike.
I want a bike now and there are no alternatives on the market.

I had to swallow my pride, my respect, my everything I have ever learnt about honesty, trust and quality in how to make deals, contracts and agreements and take the fffing bike.
I am not happy. The company won, and I will be riding around on a bicycle forever reminding me how they royally screwed me.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

WC with culottes

World Cup!

Football!
All day, every day for weeks and weeks.
I am so happy!

If you do not know football, it is the international sport played with feet and a ball.
Everything else must be called Australian, American, Welsh or any other regional form of ball -
or feet.
This is international football.
The World Cup is only played every four years with teams who have survived an almost two year qualifying process. They come from every continent (except Antarctica, they did not qualify). The traditional European and South American dominance is broken and Asia and Africa are now represented with equally strong teams on the field.

I have a lot to do.
I follow three Scandi-countries, three previous home countries and four favourites just because I love the way they play.
There are countries I would love to have had included (Norway and Finland - hyvää gutta!), some countries that think they ought to have been there and several who dreamed about being there but wasn't prepared to do the work to get there during the extensive qualifying round.
We all know who I'm talking about.

I have watched two to four games per day every day since last week.
There is more to come and I am rationing, trying not to watch everything.
But I follow everything, and read everything.
I have a complete schedule on the wall that I keep updated.

I have started sewing again just to avoid to sit and eat in front of the telly for days at the end.
In my underwear (or even worse: sans-culottes).
I am making an advanced style of culottes in green cotton twill that can possibly be called skorts or jupe-culottes (similar to Burda 6905). They have so many tricky steps that I can do a little thing after another with plenty of thinking and ironing in between.

The old house-rule never to watch commercials on the TV is actively pursued.
Whoever is caught, or catches one self, watching the commercials, is to do ten (or as many as possible) push-ups on the floor.

And of course, I still go running.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Replace your running shoes!

I have learned a hard lesson and I have some urgent information.

If you have injuries, inflammation, aches or pains when walking, or attempting to jog or run -
immediately replace your shoes.

It does not matter if they are almost unused.

Get new shoes. Get cheap ones to start with if you want, but get new shoes.
New cheap shoes are better than old expensive shoes.

I have tried to start running the last two years. Every time I try, something happens.
Inflammations. Pains, Walking problems. Limping from knee pain or foot pain. Pelvic inflammations.
Anything you could imagine.

All, all, every single one of the problems I have had, all if it has been due to my running shoes.

They were perfectly good shoes. Brand name shoes. Almost unused. Even clean.
But ten years old.

I mistakenly went for a short run in my hiking boots.
It was wonderful.
Ridiculous but wonderful.

I went running in my regular old walking shoes. Wonderful.
I went running in my new walking shoes. Flying like the wind.

I have now followed the NHS Coach to 5k running program for almost two months and I have ended week five this week. It means I have advanced into running (a.k.a. slowly jobbing) from thirty seconds to five minutes at the time and now have been motivated mentally so that I could do a slow but steady twenty minute run.
Meaning, I can not only run for the bus, I can run to the next bus stop.

With this progress, I will start the process of finding a serious pair of running shoes this month. It will require some serious money and some serious investigations.
I think the man has made me into a runner.
How did that happen?

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Vacuum

The wheels are busted and the handle is draggin'

It is a line from a song, a chant I learned while working for the American girl scouts, starting "You can't ride my little red wagon, 'cause the wheels are busted and the handle is draggin'..."

It is also currently the description of our vacuum cleaner - as the language of the song would call it, or the hoover that I never have been able to start calling it, being a brand name and all...
Or the Abhorrence as it is called in Josephine Tey's book Miss Pym disposes (1946).
As they climbed the stairs Henrietta paused to point to a piece of mechanism on, a low trolley, which filled the well of the staircase. "That", she said, "is the most famous College character of all. that is our vacuum cleaner; known from here to New Zealand as the Abhorrence." 
"Why abhorrent?" Lucy asked. 
"It used to be Nature's abhorrence, but it became shortened to The Abhorrence. You remember the tag one is taught at school: Nature abhors a vacuum." She looked a moment longer at the monstrous object, caressing it with her eyes. "It cost us a deplorable sum, The Abhorrence but it was money well spent.

Aaaanyway, the wheels have come off our vacuum cleaner!
It is not rolling any more. It is dragged on its belly over the floors. The axel is broken and the wheel heads are bust so there are no repairs possible. It doesn't seem to be hurting neither the floors, thresholds or the vacuum cleaner so I have decided to keep using it. At least until the current bag is filled and needs replacement.
I am 1st vacuum cleaner in this house (since I am the only one with hair) so I make these decisions.

Also, there is an spare identical vacuum in storage. Even though the man already had a vacuum in perfectly good condition, I brought mine when I moved in. Too good to throw out, to bad to get any money for when selling. The spare went in under a book case and has lived there ever since.
When the now wheel-less vacuum cleaner gives up entirely, the spare will be dug out.

I hope it starts. At least it has wheels.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

June 2018 - Winter

The task for the month of June is to go through winter clothes and bedding.
"Clean, wax, impregnate, air and hang back into the wardrobes all cold weather or winter clothing. Air all bedding, blankets, mattresses, covers, etc."
I am hoping it will be an easy task, considering the bedroom has had a thorough clean through this spring and that the bed was in the living room for a week. 
Considering we also went through the walk in closet during the winter, where the other bedding is being stored, I want to think that there will not be much work for this task.
How much more airing could the bedding need?
Probably more than I ever give it, but possibly not as much as this task would have required a few years ago. 

These tasks used to be very hard work, but with every work-through, it becomes easier and easier.
This year, I have even had all my camping gear out which also doubles as guest bedding in our house.

Winter clothes, coats, gloves, hats and scarves and such, on the other hand, that must come out in the air and the sunshine. 
Since that could be done in an hour or at least during a day, should I possibly add another task for June?

 

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Kitchen - May 2018

Check - the May task is done.
the kitchen cabinets are all wiped out and gone through. It really is a task that becomes easier and easier with every year, even though I still dread it every year.

The bag with unused, unloved, useless kitchen paraphernalia is packed by the door to be taken to the second hand shop. It is not very large. We only have four kitchen cabinets to begin with, and a food cupboard with a rack of shelves for food and books.

We got rid of a single Martini glass (if I drink Martini, I think I can use a normal French wine glass).

We got rid of a single pink champagne glass (I wish not to explain why I own this but I think it involves a walk home through town a late new year's eve (late morning new year's day). There will never never ever be a need for it. We have other champagne glasses (two of them, almost similar) for the moment there is ever champagne in the house that cannot be drunk out of normal French wine glass.)

We got rid of a ravioli maker (I did this, there will be no ravioli made in this house ever as there has been non made the last fifteen years. I highly doubt there ever even will be pasta made in this house since last the time when we had tortellini hanging on the laundry drying rack for two days. The pasta machine itself was however saved from the cull by the man claiming he was going to use it for some printing project. I highly doubt that too, but I gave it six months as long as the machine was put on display as a constant reminder. It now sits on top of the kitchen cabinet with lots of space inside.)

I also decided that a box of chamomile tea we were given by somebody who didn't like it, was going to be thrown out as that brand was truly disgusting and we will never drink it either.  A lot of food stuff bought or given as experiments were also creatively eaten during the month. (Including a bag of out of date Japanese tempura breading flour that with an egg and a little butter, made five or six wonderful ginger flavoured sponge cakes.)

The row of cook books has not been gone through yet; I think it is the only thing left to do. When it will be done, nobody knows. The books in the kitchen are not mine so I am not able to dictate which stays and which goes, or even to go through them and make suggestions. It will happen. Just not this month.

The man did however clear and clean the chaos cabinet. My sushi paraphernalia got its own box and the rest was re-stacked. I doubt anything was culled, but that is not my problem. I have nothing to do with this cabinet beyond throwing things back in after washing them.

I did however keep all my measuring sets, but I did go through the box of extra and double kitchen stuff so that I now know what is in there. 

In the bag destined for the second hand shop also went a small stack of books, films, and clothes that I sincerely hope I will never fit into again.

Into the garbage bag went thousand bag zip ties that somebody thinks would come in handy one day. Worn out plastic boxes and extra lids went into our plastics recycling.
I also would have thrown out any cracked china but could not find anything this time around.
Possibly because I get better at cracking china and now break things thoroughly first time around.

Monday, 4 June 2018

From 38,52 to 37,47

Somebody let a failed business man run the international trade on industrial goods.
Somebody without a macro perspective and with a micro perspective that fits in a pocket.
If not his own, at least an individual person's pocket.

From 25 May to 4 June my financial independence number (asset values divided with my annual budget) fell from 38,52 years to 37,47 years.
Over a weekend.

I can only hope that the asset values of somebody else were increased in equal measure.
(I doubt it.)

Still, I am very happy with the result of the choices I have made previously in my life.
All the not-spending, education, hard work and repayment of debts with the accumulation of savings little by little by interest rates and investments and safe funds.
I am now eight years into some more serious frugality, working less and less, having taken pay-cuts with each change of jobs and focusing more and more on life with less attention to the career.

However, looking at the stock markets is worrying. I try to stay off the ticker as much as possible.
It is easy to do after a long bicycle ride, sitting in a tent stirring hot water to powdered mashed potatoes with a can of beans open next to it.
Waiting for the next thunderstorm, hail and rain to come crushing down again.
Enjoying the permittivity.
Living the life.

Truly enjoying it.