Sunday, 31 December 2017

Targets and goals for 2017

I set annual ambitions, or targets, for each new calendar year within the categories of money, work, studies, health, family, friends and lifestyle.

The financial target for 2017 was actually reached already in March when the stock-markets boomed. It was quantified as the value of all my assets and have remained over that level since then. I increased the target but the value of my assets never reached that high. I am however still very happy that with the resent drop in value, my assets are still above the target for 2017. This target is check. For next year I will re-use the second target of 2017.

The health target had several parts to it. The weight target is check and double check. Heart is what the heart is but with three months of partial sick-leave, that target is a complete fail. The target for next year is set at staying alive and handling the symptoms. With my dark sense of humour, that is a reasonable target if I say so. The physical and mental training is going well, although knee and calf need rest before the part of physical training that is running resumes. For the year the physical targets have increased through the year and is achieved beyond all imagination and beyond all ambitions. The food has changed into vegetables with the ambition of twice weekly fish and once monthly meat and the target is check. Sleep, teeth, eyes, sex and other health targets are all good.

The family target is a fail with death, quarrels and time running out for any possible re-connections. However, a new family member will be born soon (preferably now according to his mother to be). The result is what it could be, sad but accepted. The door will be open and guarded also next year.

The friends target needs to be better quantified and tracked in order to assess its completion. For next year I will add a target to increase the amount of acquaintances and decrease the number of FB connections, preferably to zero. The established target of being in touch with everybody on my friends list at least once during the year will be kept.

The study target has gone well and is a check (which was not at all certain). For next year the target will be to finish the thesis and graduate MA. Right now the progress is not looking good at all.
The language target also will need to be better quantified, but I have been reading in French, Dutch and German during the year so as the target was formulated, it is a check. The four other languages are used for work and are a resounding check. For next year I want set a specific target for Dutch, I speak surprisingly well when enthusiastic and without way out and with some effort and work, that could actually become something.

The pleasure target was not developed much beyond the extensive stay in Lisbon during Februray-March and the visits to Paris - but with two bicycle camping trips in the summer not even the health issues (mine as well as other family members) there has been plenty of pleasure. The plans for events during 2018 need to step way up quickly as currently only our anniversary trip is planned (and not even booked).

2017 was not a great year but it did contain great things and continued to provide a stable basis for progression into 2018 and some targets will be kept for next year and continued attention and ambition.
Which categories do you have for your 2018 targets?

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Bought clothes 2017 - summary

By May 2017, I had bought the following clothes during the year:
2 micro-fibre long sleeved t-shirts
4 standard cotton t-shirts
1 vintage football jersey
2 wool hiking socks
1 blue t-shirt with buttons (trash find)
1 cotton striped long sleeved t-shirt
1 pair of full price original black Levis' 501 jeans

Total amount of money spent: €60 (not including value of gift cards given as payment for on-line surveys nor clothes provided for free by the trash-gods.

Since then, during the rest of the year, I have bought the following clothes:
1 cycling shirt
10 socks
2 sleeping socks
bra (on sale and identical to the one previously bought)
1 light weight fleece for running
1 second-hand wind breaker

Total additional amount spent: €63 (where the running fleece cost €35 and was a comfort buy when the causes of my heart condition was finally identified (diagnosis on symptoms is only half of it). It was worn daily for at least two months and brought much joy.
The trash-gods also provided a few t-shirts, several dresses, a rugby sweater, a pair of jeans and several sunglasses, all still being used.

I bought clothes for a total of €123 in the year. The budget was €10/month, totally €120, but the aim was to spend no money at all. So the spending was kept within the budget but the goal was not.

The year started with no clothes left un-used in "storage" but it ends with lots of clothes packed up, back in storage. Different clothes though. The storage is now filled with clothes that I like, of good quality and style but that currently does not fit me because I managed to lose so much weight. My thin-bags are emptied completely, mid-sized clothes are adjusted and taken in and all my fat-clothes (not nice phrases but we all have those clothes) is packed with clothes a size or two larger than the present body. Unfortunately, the fat bag also includes my brand new Levis' jeans as they were bought at the beginning of the weight loss when I could not imagine that I actually would succeed, or even dream of the extent of the weight loss. (I somewhat regret donating so much good clothes in 2010 just because I never thought I would ever be able to wear it again.)
Currently I am back at my pre-40 weight. This is the weight I steadily kept through my twenties and thirties abut completely lost track of in my forties. I will not pursue a lower weight but keep a keen eye on the scales to keep it steady.

I am going into 2018 with a €120 budget for clothes, again with the goal not to spend it. This must be spend on tight fitting, well fitting, tailored, high quality clothing for my current body. Nothing can be loose-fitting (I have plenty of those clothes, even if it is only because it is on a larger size.) I hope the trash gods will continue to be generous and especially in the region of slim and long jeans.
My clothes wish-list is currently very short, there is very little I need. The only item that I right now want, and almost need but not quite yet, is a second sports bra. 

Friday, 8 December 2017


Today I have completed my fifth walk-run in two weeks.

I run in a pair of white running shoes that are almost unused but at least eight years old. Surprisingly, they seem to function well (normally running shoes only lasts a few years due to material deterioration, regardless if used or not).
Because it is winter, I use hiking socks as running socks. They are padded for toes, heals and shaft but mesh in the instep and top. (I think I bought three for €7 in 2016).
For running trousers I keep my indoor yoga-exercise trousers on and they are at no less than ten years old, probably closer to fifteen. When I go out, add my lined sports trousers from the early 1990's. They are bright blue and bulky but keep warm and dry quickly (and I already have them which is the most important thing.)
While it is cold, I will use cotton t-shirts and fleece sweaters to run in (I am rather warm wet than cold dry). When the weather gets warmer, I'll switch to a quick dry short sleeved and a long sleeved top/jacket to run in (that is if I keep this running lark up until the weather gets warmer).
Over that I put a bright green wind breaker of a fancy brand with a slight oil stain that I bought for €2 in the second hand shop fall of 2017. (I have recorded the buy in my list of bought clothes in 2017, but I have not yet updated it on-line.) It has been a real treat! It keeps me nice and airy while also being light weight and cheerful. Under it, I wear the sports-bra from 2016 (the only surviving sports-bra in the house).
I also wear fleece gloves and a fleece hat (which also holds in place my head phones connected to my phone for the running program). My hair, that nobody sees, is in two pig-tails with elastics off the street.

Wearing white shoes, bright blue trousers, bright green jacket and black gloves and hat with my red cheeks - I am a cheerful sight in the park. Not that anybody cares - everybody just try to run a little bit, move a little more and live slightly better, possibly longer.

I use the free NHS Couch to 5 K program, more information here. I add lights and reflexes if I go after dark. So far no injuries. I could pat myself on the back, but completion is not entirely due to willpower - the man usually comes with me to keep me running. If you keep up your movements without support, you are better than me.

I want another sports-bra, and possibly new running shoes by the summer, but nothing is really needed until then. Free is good.

Monday, 4 December 2017


On the first day of each month I calculate my assets. I count all assets but exclude pension right, the apartment where I live and any assets that I can not control yet. Divided with my annual budget this amounted to 36,14 years. This is less than last month even though I still work and have had savings but it doesn't worry me too much. Knowing that there are assets available for my modest and frugal lifestyle for 36,14 years (with the hope that future price increases will be covered by interests and dividends from investments) is mentally very soothing. I share my life but not my money with the man. He will reach financial independence sometime during next year (when FI reaches 25). Not that it will change his working habits in any way but it is comforting

Health-wise the month has gone from bad to better. The heart condition is almost under control and I am back at work half time. There are good and bad days but it works out so far and I feel optimistic for next year. I am on partial sick leave for the rest of the year just not to force anything. This gives time for lots of serious work including cognitive behavioural mental training, relaxation lessons, breathing exercises, yoga and daily physical training. And knitting. Knitting is very good soothing.

The last week I have added running to the daily exercises and walks. Four expeditions with interval running in the park, most of them together with the man (he is a proper runner) and it is really nice. I don't like jogging but running fast as the wind is fun (for the minute or so that I can do it). Weight wise I have managed to come down to the weight I had when I was between 25 and 40. I will try to keep it so officially the dieting is finishing. (I call this weight -5 kg, meaning it is 5 kg less than the amount I would never go past although I was +6-9kg at the beginning of the year. It has been hard work and although I am no longer following the NHS Weight loss that I used to, I will stay mostly vegetarian with two fish a week. (Cake and mayonnaise only if home and self-made.))

The growing season of the year ended recently with the harvest of the last chilli peppers. Lots of learning and experiences and even some edibles. The freezer is filled with frozen mint for the winter. This year I only planted from existing old seeds and the outcome was mediocre. The tomato seeds did the best though, even when years out of date. We have made a list of things we can and will plant in the future (and an even longer list of what not to attempt again).
Indoor plants have now come in off the balcony and the outdoor plants have been covered up. The temperamental bougainvillea (aka the hysterical teenage girl) of course threw a tantrum by being placed in the kitchen (our coldest room in the winter). She lost all leaves and flowers on the day when only I was at home. I swear, it looked like I had had a go at her with a chain saw. She does not like change. (Not to worry, we've seen it all before and she'll be fine again by next summer.)

In late February 2010 (in the Valentines sale after I had moved into an apartment with a bathtub) I bought a bath kit that also included a brand-name ladies shaver with several blades. For some reason that razor has not gone dull until now although I have used it continuously. But this month, November 2017, it has been replaced with an equally branded razor with several blades. If it lasts another seven years I will be fine until the year 2024. Then I can use the replacement blades for another seven years. (If each head lasts seven years, the thing will end up costing me €0,60 per year and I will not have to bother until 2030 or so. That will be enough.) This replacement razor is the most important buy this month. There is very little is on the shopping list for next year with the exception of more (and smaller sized) sports clothes and the dream of a new (to me) bicycle.

We don't celebrate christmas or any other religious holidays this month. Bu we have set up candles and hung more lights and winter decorations to fight the winter darkness while we dream of spring.