Friday, December 16, 2016

It wasn't very tasty after all

So much for a potentially delicious new recipe. I was underwhelmed. It wasn't bad, by any means. It just wasn't anything particularly special. Oh well, we'll move on.

It has been an extraordinarily busy few weeks. I've had visitors for two long weekends in a row, had to try and squeeze all of my hours into three days two weeks running because of a bit of a brain fart on my part, have had a few last minute translations and proofreading jobs to fit in at the same time, and earlier this week I found out that my sister had an operation and will be fairly laid up until the end of January. My first instinct is to jump on a train but I haven't been able to talk to her yet. Maybe she'd prefer to be on her own with her husband and kids. We'll see. But it's all been just a lot over the last few weeks. I think I'm ready for a few quiet days.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Potentially delicious new recipe

Just want to jot this down here because it's looking and smelling so delicious at the moment, I feel like I may have just invented a delicious new recipe.

I cooked some chickpeas yesterday but couldn't get enthusiastic about making them into any kind of a dish. So instead I took the pumpkin and leek that I cooked last week but never got around to making into danishes and made it into a pastryless quiche instead. It was about thirty seconds of active work and although I ended up overcooking it slightly, it was really delicious. Note to self: the quantity from the danishes recipes was enough for a quiche made using 5 eggs in the small white dish.

Anyway, this evening, I needed something fast so I picked up some turkey pieces and decided to just have them with some red cabbage and apple, since I knew I had a jar of that and would just need to heat it up. Aaagh, but the chickpeas are still in the fridge from yesterday. So, I put a 250g portion into the freezer, something I always mean to do but forget.

That left 300g of chickpeas. I sliced a couple of onions and sauteed them in some peanut oil and added a teaspoon each of ginger and garlic paste. Then I added a grated carrot (hooray for using up things that have been in the fridge for far too long already) and a tin of tomatoes. And for good measure, a small Tupperware container of Chinese cabbage that I had in the freezer. So pleased I thought of it, as it was the last "old" thing I had in the freezer and I'd been trying to figure out what to do with it. I add two teaspoons of ras el hanout spice and when it has all cooked for a while, I'll add the chickpeas and that'll be two very generous portions or three smaller ones, I think. Really hope it lives up to its promise now. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Procrastinating and pictures

I have a master's thesis to proofread and it is almost hurting my head. It's rather philosophical in nature and that's never my best area. I tend to get bogged down in thinking, don't necessarily have the tools to be doing a lot of that kind of thinking, but I find it difficult to distance myself from the ideas and just concentrate on whether that comma should be there or not. So today (and yesterday), I have been dillydallying and there has been quite a lot of procrastination. For a while early this afternoon I thought I was making good progress but now it's after nine and I still have nearly 30 pages to get through. Aaagh.

On the other hand, as has happened before, procrastinating on this task has meant that I've actually picked up and done, or at least started, a few other tasks that I have been procrastinating on for a while. So I've hung a few pictures up, or at least stood them up near where I want to hang them, to see if they work in that spot. After all of my pictures came crashing down in a pile now long after I moved, resulting in many broken frames and smashed glass, I was faced with the spectre of having to spend loads of money replacing them all. And so I did what I am wont to do in situations like that, pushed them to one side and ignored the situation.

I ordered one frame online a few weeks ago and it felt so good to hang that picture up again that it has been in my mind to do a few others soon. So during the week, I hung the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster that I was given for my 40th birthday (I'll be 42 soon!). I did put that into a frame more than a year ago but never did get around to hanging it. There's a small chip of glass out of one corner from the toppling incident in July but otherwise it's fine. So I went ahead and hung that in my hallway.

The frame on the picture I have of St. Patrick's Cathedral was completely destroyed and it's an unusual size (fairly old and imperial rather than metric measurements) that's hard to find something for here. Today, while clearing stuff from one pile, I found two empty frames that used to hold pictures that I have since gotten more suitable frames for. And it occurred to me that they weren't that much smaller than the St. Patrick's picture. So I checked it out, and ended up just cutting away the extra mounting board (less than two centimetres top and bottom and barely half a centimetre each side) and put it into one of those frames. I am so pleased with it, it actually looks better, I think, than the original frame. Just need to find the perfect spot to hang it now.

And then I hung my Derek Beggs' print. And I've search for and found the music I promised a friend I would give her soon. And found the health insurance form I needed to find. Not to mention that while doing that, I found a whole pile of health insurance and pension stuff that I never got around to filing before moving and that I was looking for recently.

So, I may be looking at a late night working after all that procrastination, but at least it was a pretty productive day.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Languages and teddy bears

So, it's two weeks since I posted last and Fiona asked me a question in the comments, which I also hadn't gotten around to answering. Since my answer started to get a bit long, I decided to make a post out of it.

First of all, about the teddy bear she commented on: I got that teddy bear when I was seven (I think). Around then anyway. My dad had to go into town, an unusual occurence, and I remember it was around christmas and there were stalls on Henry St. Thinking about it now, he was probably picking up a present for my mum, or collecting something she had ordered. I don't remember why I got to go with him, I'm not sure if I just asked and he said ok, or if there was a babysitting issue. That seems less likely though because it was just me and him and if it was a babysitting issue, my younger sister and brother would have come too. At any rate, he bought me that teddy from one of the stalls and it lived on my bed the whole time I lived in my parents house. After that, it came with me, mostly living in a bag of other toys and being dragged out from time to time for a visiting child to play with. That bag of toys was whittled down over the years to really just the ones I couldn't bear to let go of and when I moved to Germany eight years ago it came with me. Except I didn't know anyone with kids when I moved and although a few friends did have kids a couple of years ago, I never really entertained at my place. However, at some stage about four or five years ago when I was clearing up I suddenly starting to feel really bad that poor old Ted, who has been with me for so long, should be shut away in a bag. He was always the first one on my list of toys (yes, even as a child, my penchant for lists and filing was very strong and all of my toys had a name and a number on my list). So, since then, he has perched on top of a cupboard, or now, on top of a shelf. I like to think that at least he gets to see what's going on now. And since he's there, he also gets the occasional cuddle. I've decided that no-one should ever be too grown-up to hug a teddy every once in a while.

Fiona actually asked the following: Do you find the translating very difficult & do you now think in German as well as English?

Funnily enough, someone in choir asked me the same question about what language I think in just a few days later. And the short answer is yes, I definitely do think in German now. I switch between both actually, particularly now that I'm working through English far more. It does make German a bit harder but from a translation point of view it's really better that I regularly think in English, too.

I don't find translating very difficult but I enjoy language so although it can be frustrating sometimes, if you're the kind of person who rarely manages to just look up one word in a dictionary without getting distracted by other words on the same page or led up to looking up more words, then it's more fun than not. I've been learning German for 28 years though, and speaking it for 23. Although I'd love to claim that I was so brilliant at languages I've been able to speak it for as long as I've been learning it, that just wasn't the case for me and so I consider myself to have been speaking it since about two or three months after the first time I lived in Germany.

That ties in with the thinking in a different language aspect, too. The woman from choir who asked me if I think it German wanted to know if I hear what someone is saying, translate it in my head and then reply. And that is kind of what I did for the first couple of months. It made conversation very difficult though because by the time I'd figured out what people were talking about, thought of and translated something to say in reply, invariably the conversation would already have moved on. You just don't really get minutes to formulate your answers in a normal conversation. At some stage I started to understand immediately, without having to pick out words and translate them in my head and as far as I remember that was about two or three months after living here. Admittedly, my first time here meant four months working in a cafe in the small village of Ruhpolding in deepest Bavaria, where the accent is already thick enough to cut with a knife before even taking the dialect into account. It's possible that it might have only taken a few weeks to reach the same stage in a town where most people spoke high German. Who knows.

The only exceptions that I have found over the years are maths and music. But if you think of either of those things as languages in their own right, then it kind of makes sense. I'm not sure I can explain it very well but I know I'm not the only one who has experienced it. I simply cannot add well in German. I can say all the numbers, if you tell me a number I can repeat it to you, write it down, visualise it in my head. But ask me to add, say 25 and 46, and I have to do that in English and translate the answer in my head to get the German answer. I think maths exists at a more instinctive level than spoken language, if you know what I mean. You can think sums faster than you can articulate them. And everyone has their own way of adding in their head. For example, to add 25 and 46 my thought process would basically be, sixty, seventy, one. Someone else might think 25 plus 50 minus 4. But really, you probably think it so quickly that it's hard to say how you got to 71.

Music is somewhat similar but a bit more difficult for me as I'm not that good at it. I did do piano lessons when I was a child though and obviously enough made it into my head to make it partially instinctive. If someone asked me to sing a C, I wouldn't be able to do it. But if you asked me to pick out a C on a sheet of music, I can. If a conductor says, let's start from the B flat, I can find it immediately. But, if a German conductor says the same thing I don't just "see" the note immediately on the page. I have to translate what they're saying into English first. Mostly I don't bother with that to be honest and just sort of figure it out by starting a split second behind everyone else. It's definitely something I notice, however. It just feels like music is another thing that happens at a less conscious, and therefore faster than language, level.

So there you have it. Feel free to chime in in the comments about your own experiences with languages. If you speak a second (or third, or fourth, of fifth) language, do you think in it?

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sunday evening 6th November 2016

Haven't done one of these for a long time but it's eight o'clock, I've just watched a film, and am feeling nice and relaxed and in the mood for something easy and friendly. These Sunday night chit-chat used to be hosted on a blog that I haven't read for a long time but even before I stopped reading it, she had stopped doing them, I think. So now I just see them on The Occassional Nomads and that's about it. Still a fun way to pass a half-hour or so, I think. And I need to get better at remembering the good things happening during the week as well. I've really been trying hard to add to my "little things" page and this is kind of like an extension of that.So, let's start off with a picture, even if it's a few weeks old now.
Still a work in progress but I'm so happy that I painted these shelves. And the tall boy.
This evening I am:
Reading: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong, a book of short stories based on the characters from her 13-part Otherworld series. I read the first two or three when they first came out or not long after and then kind of forgot about them until a couple of years ago when I was delighted to find out there were 13. Well, I think there were 11 at the time and then I just had to wait for a while. There are five books of short stories, too, and I'm enjoying this one. Good reading, nice escapism. I picked up a Maeve Binchy book at the library the other day, so that's next, I think.I finished Radical Homemakers yesterday and will have to pull together some thoughts on that and post soon.The short version is: highly recommend it.
Listening to: Nothing at all, it's all quiet here.
Watching: I got a couple of DVDs out of the library on Friday so today I watched Long Way Down, a film about four strangers who meet when they all decide to kill themselves by jumping off the same tall building on the same night but don't, as one after the other, they've been interrupted. Some funny moments, a cried a little bit at one point, but not overly sentimental. And it is a a great cast. Yesterday I finished rewatching the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice (yes, the one with Colin Firth). I haven't watched that for years and years and had forgotten how good it is.
Cooking/baking: Not much. I made some kind-of-quesadillas earlier (think toasted cheese sandwiches with Thai sweet chili sauce but made with wraps instead of bread) earlier and have some vegetable and lentil soup that I should heat up to finish off. One thing I dislike about my new place is that even though the weather is cooling down nicely, my tiny kitchen is in the middle of the building so it stays fairly warm all the time. Great for my heating bills but not so great for being able to store food, or leave a pot of soup out overnight. Will need to get in the habit of bringing stuff out to the balcony for the winter.
Happy I accomplished this week: Quite a lot on this list this week when I think about it (which is kind of the point, I suppose). I started bullet journalling, with moderate but at least some success. Including actually taking out some crayons and drawing a bit on the inside cover. I also finished emptying a moving box which I had been dreading and kept putting off as it was full of little bits and pieces. Very pleased to have that done now, though. I also got a nice box and gathered all of my Weight Watchers stuff in one place. It was interesting to actually look through it all again, especially my weigh-in cards (I was 98kg, which is about 15.5 stones, or 215 lbs) the very first time I went, which was in my final year of school. How I would love to be that weight now. I may never go back to Weight Watchers but as an historical record of my life, it is really interesting. In particular, all of the tracking diaries for weekly eating, of which I have a lot. Really want to go through them in detail at some point to try and pinpoint some of what has worked well in the past for me. I forced myself to take a deep breath and just go to the monthly dinner of the local chapter of the association of translators on Wednesday - I actually had a pretty good time (and stuck to my plan to eat cheapest thing I could find on the menu and just have one drink) and felt like I'd made some good contacts. And, last night, just before I was about to go to bed, I noticed an email had arrived to my work (translations) account. I opened it and it was a request for a really urgent translation that needed to be done today. I replied immediately and got the job, so spent my afternoon bringing in some much-needed cash. So glad I didn't just leave it and think it could wait till Monday. And finally, the new frame I ordered to replace one that broke during my move arrived and I immediately put the picture into it and hung it up. Place feels a little bit more like home with every small step.
Looking forward to next week: Not a whole lot, I have to admit. But I'm not dreading anything either, so I'll take it. That's all that I really want at the moment - things on an even keel.
Thinking of good things that happened this week: Well, most of this is covered up above I think. Two other nice things were going out to lunch with a couple of colleagues one day and having a lovely meal. We have tentatively agreed to go collecting elderflowers when spring comes around and to have an afternoon making something with them. And yesterday one of the women from my local choir phoned just to make sure I was alright, as I missed rehearsal the last two weeks (I was away the week before last and then at the translators' meet-up last week and the person I told had forgotten). And my friend who normally phones me on Thursday morning wasn't able to but did manage to catch me for a few minutes in the afternoon, which was lovely.
Grateful for: Good friends.
Bonus question: Oh. Well, until Laura posts her chit-chat later on I won't know what this question is. But if anyone has a question, on anything, feel free to ask in the comments!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

New month, spending for October, and NaNoWriMo

Although Halloween is becoming more and more known here (I even saw a few kids out trick or treating here last night), it's not a holiday. In Ireland, they changed things around a few years ago so that the bank holiday is always on a Monday, so this year was one of the few where the bank holiday was actually on 31st October. Over here, however, 1st November is a bank holiday so actually, it makes it perfect for having a quiet start to a month, and a chance to line up anything you want to get done over the month.

For me that means a couple of things. First of all, I'd like to say thank you to those who commented on my "knees" post and for the words of encouragement. I really am trying to not let it set me back and to continue on with some of what I wanted to achieve regardless, so a good start to a new month is coming at a very good time. I took a week off work last week and was in Dusseldorf for a few days. I had an appointment at the dentist and, since I have had lots of dentist issues in the past I at least wanted to go back to the really good one I had finally found one last time. Looks like I will need some work done, however, and spending 80 euro to get to and from every dentist appointment is not very sensible. But I think I am going to stick with him for now. This is one of those situations where at the moment making the decision to spend money is the better choice for now.

During the week I sometimes had that old familiar feeling of "oh no, don't want to have to go back to work", but surprisingly by the time Saturday rolled around I was actually feeling alright, even almost eager to get back to work. That feeling was very unfamiliar. Knowing that my second day back was going to be a bank holiday was just the icing on the cake.

So, I came back home on Saturday and have actually started getting a few things done. First of all, I started laying out a bullet journal (see video above for what it's about). I've been thinking about this since I first heard about it a few months ago and I finally managed to get a pretty good idea in my head of how I could make it work for me. I knew I had a nice, pretty notebook somewhere and it didn't take me long to find it. Extra advantage of having had to look for it is that I sorted through some stuff that I haven't paid much attention to since I moved and it was good to get that a bit sorted (still a lot to do, but at least I know what's where now). So, I've started that. I will stick with my small diary for the daily stuff and the rest of it will go into the big notebook. I wrote a key to the various symbols I will be using in the front of it. I did a FranklinCovey What Matters Most (time management) course years ago in my first real job and I still use some elements of that, amended slightly over time I'm sure. I really wanted to try and incorporate those things that I do already and use stuff that I have been using for years, so I'm not using all of the elements described in the video. I also dug out a box of crayons, coloured pencils, and markers and decorated the front page of my bullet journal. I will not be one of those people who develops their journal into a work of art but I do want to make sure to incorporate colour into it, as I know that is a very useful tool for remembering stuff. And occassionally doing something like drawing should hopefully encourage my creativity in general.

As well as spending time setting up my bullet journal, I started to tackle one more moving box, which is one full of small bits and pieces that I have kind of been dreading. I'm doing just a bit every day and have already dumped a huge amount of paper into the recycling. I know I have kept some things other would have thrown away but I am very happy with the progress I'm making on it.

The other creative outlet I want to try and force myself to do a bit, to see what comes of it, is writing. It is, after all, National Novel Writing Month. While I am not going to try and write a novel this month, I did actually start writing something last month and even managed to more or less get a vague outline for it down on paper. So I am setting myself the challenge of writing 500 words a day. The discipline is more what I'm after really, I suppose. And 500 words is not a lot, really. This blog post is already up to, let me check, 859.Which is probably more than enough for now.

I'll finish up with a summary of my spending. While I did track this pretty well this month, I didn't make a note of everything on the last day and a half in Dusseldorf and I kept forgetting to ask for receipts. Partly that is because I'm getting more and more out of the habit of shopping, which is not a bad thing. I'm fairly sure I remember everything, although I may have been a few cents off on a couple of items. As always, the amount I spent seems to exceed the amount I actually spent, i.e. the individual amounts I tracked add up to way more than the amounts on my bank and credit card statment. I'm going to just go with my spreadsheet having an error in the calculations somewhere. November's spreadsheet is waiting to go and there is already a difference of 5 euro. I know where it's coming from but it's taken account of in one of the formulas so shouldn't show up as a difference, which is why I'm sure that it's my formulas that are throwing up the differences. I'm going to continue just tracking daily spending, as that is currently what's important, and I'll worry about rejigging my spreadsheet again in a few months.

See here for a lengthy explanation post of some of the workings of my budget spreadsheet. Here's how the totals look for October.

Banking section (euro/% of salary/% of total income):
  1. Rent 590 / 60% / 25%
  2. Private pension/investments 50 / 5% / 2%
  3. Various charities 65 / 7% / 3%
  4. Transfer to Irish account 485 / 49% / 20%
  5. Basic income supporter 6 / 1% / 0%
  6. Annual expenses (incl. holiday savings) 0 / 0% / 0%
  7. Transport 39.40 / 4% / 2%
  8. Other house related 0
  9. Dental insurance 36.80 / 4% / 2%
  10. Visa (my old Irish credit card) 0
  11. Phone/internet 32.05 / 3% / 1%
  12. Mastercard 600 / 61% / 25% (used this a lot in September while waiting on payment of an invoice)
  13. Misc. (food etc.) - cash 145 / 15% / 6%
  14. Misc. (food etc.) - debit card 94.20 / 10% / 4%
  15. Bills (not including phone) - 40.00 / 4% / 2%
  16. Tax account 0 / 0% / 0%
  17. Bank charges 0
  18. One-off out 124.56 / 13% / 5% (this includes 49 euro also paid to mastercard, which for strange reasons I had to record here. I left just over 100 euro unpaid, just in case I ran into problems later in the month but should be able to clear it this month)
  19. One-off in 1,409.00 (mostly translation work income with a couple of small refunds)
Cash section (euro / % of salary / % of total income) - this should equal the totals for mastercard, cash and debit card above. It never has yet. I did also withdraw 120 euro from my Bank of Ireland account - I knew it was ambitious to transfer 485 at the beginning of the month but still feel like this was less than if I had tried to not spend it from my German account, planning to transfer what was left at the end of the month.
  1. Transport 49.30 / 5% / 2%
  2. Food - necessities 251.94 / 25% / 11%
  3. Food - luxuries 186.48 / 19% / 8% (this should be higher, I think I miscategorised a lot as necessities - I was away and eating out a good bit this month)
  4. Canteen food 56.00 / 6% / 2%
  5. Toiletries 0.67 / 0% / 0%
  6. Gifts (incl. postage, card and wrapping) 61.27 / 6% / 3%
  7. Clothes 68.99 / 7% / 3% (new shoes for winter, a couple of long sleeve t-shirts and a hoody, as well as a couple of pairs of slippers which will be xmas presents)
  8. House/garden 83.57 / 8% / 3%
  9. Medical 21.39 / 2% / 1%
  10. Other 401.55 / 41% / 17% (however, this includes 276.76, which is the balance carried over on the MC from last month so now that amount is essentially counted twice. However, as the plan is to never carry over a balance, I'm not going to worry about changing that. Other expensive things happening this month were website renewals and travel insurance).
So there you have it. Some might think it pointless to have totals that don't reconcile but for now it's enough for me and, most importantly, I tracked daily spending mostly accurately every single day.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Personality changing?

A few years ago I posted about the Meyers-Briggs personality type test and how I almost always came out with an ISFJ type. Laura over at The Occasional Nomads posted a link to a different online version of the test today and I'm having a bit of a duvet day so I figured, why not?

Interestingly, this test puts me in the INFJ camp, or "advocate". Actually, it places me as INFJ-T, with the following breakdown:
  • 95% introverted/5% extroverted
  • 55% intuitive/45% observant
  • 42% thinking to 58% feeling
  • 59% judging to 41% prospecting
  • 11% assertive to 89% turbulent
The blurb for an advocate goes like this: The Advocate personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As members of the Diplomat Role group, Advocates have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is that they are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realise their goals and make a lasting positive impact.
Advocates tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescured at all.

Not bad either. There's another part of the results that mention many people tend to think of advocates as quiet extroverts rather than introverts and I think that's probably fairly accurate to. Many people are surprised if I mention that I am an introvert.

Might go back and do the other rests again and see if the results of those have changed as well. I wonder if these tests are getting better, I'm changing, or if I'm just being more honest (in part due to not being as stressed since leaving my old job perhaps?) in my answers. Psychology may be one of the least accurate sciences (at least that's what the biologists I tend to hang out with these days often think :-) ) but it's certainly one of the most fascinating to me.

Edited to add: Just did the political compass test again. I do have a list of the results I've gotten from this somewhere I think but no idea where so it's just as easy to make a note of it here for now.

Economic Left/Right: -8.5
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.28



Sunday, October 23, 2016

Moving on

Trying not to let myself get caught in a downward spiral and moving on. Except that I really think I'm sick. Nothing definite, but just not quite right. I've almost had a cold for a good few weeks but managed to keep it at bay. Then last weekend I was miserable with an ear infection but by the time I got to the doctor on Tuesday it was mostly better except for the slight dizziness so there was nothing to do really. On Friday morning my temperature was quite low, 35.5 rather than the usual 36.1 or 35.9. Since I started taking my temperature on a daily basis a few years ago I've noticed that my temperature often sinks when I'm not well. And then yesterday morning it was all the way up at 36.5, which is very close to feverish (if you take fever as being half a degree above your normal temp), during the day it got up to 36.7 and in the evening it was back down to 35.9. This morning it was back up to 36.6 again. Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to dig out a spare thermometer and check with that, too. But I've had a bit of a headache for a few days, too. So I don't know. Just one of those cold/flu-like things that come around sometimes. Undoubtedly not helped by the fact that my diet over the last few weeks really hasn't been particularly healthy.

I know that needs to change anyway so despite not feeling great I did actually get up eventually yesterday evening and made some bolognese sauce. And today I made some leek and potato soup and boiled the rest of the potatoes to have with the bolognese sauce. Finding it hard to get enthusiastic about pasta at the moment. So it's back to babysteps in cooking properly, trying to take it easy and just kick this thing once and for all. I have next week off work so that's something, although I hate "wasting" time off being sick. I took the week off to use up the overtime I built up during our summer school week in August so at least I'm not using holiday days. I have a dentist appointment on Thursday so will be spending a couple of days in Dusseldorf. I've replaced just about every doctor but I'm still hesitating on the dentist. I'm not the easiest patient so having found such a great dentist (for me), I'm reluctant to go looking for a new one here. I know I have to because adding 80 euro in travel costs to every visit to the dentist is just silly but for this first time, I said I'd do it. It'll allow me to catch up with some friends while I'm there. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Looks like I'm a bit too late

I have been overweight for, at this stage, most of my life. Looking back I wasn't half as fat or as heavy as I thought I was when I was a teenager but for various reasons (my toxic stepmother being the main one), I thought I was huge. While I did have a lot of weight to lose, it was still just "normal" overweight. If there is such a thing. During my late teens and twenties it fluctuated. I'd keep trying and do well for a while and then the next crisis or the next bout of depression would hit and my overeating would get out of control again.

Coming up to my 30th birthday I kept saying it was definitely time, had to do it, now or never, at least my skin would still have some elasticity so perhaps I won't have quite as big a problem with loose skin after I lose weight as you see in those tabloid stories. And I did have another phase of losing a bit, making some progress (I was in therapy at this stage so working on other issues but also on the mental side of overeating as well), backtracking a bit, making a bit more progress. And then I moved to Germany.

Weightwise, I actually did pretty well for the first few months and of course then everything went pear-shaped and I ended up having to move to work in the department with the mega-asshole-bully for a boss and, although I did attempt it once more, weight piled on rather than dropped off. Over eight years in total (four working for the bully), working in a very high stress environment, more often than not struggling with depression and generally not doing well at all I ended up gaining about 16kg (about 35lbs, or 2.5 stone for those who don't do kilos).

Once I finally quit that job I really wanted losing weight and getting healthy to be at the top of my list for things to do. At my very heaviest my knees were starting to complain a little bit, although that did go away when I lost the first 3kg. It took me longer to get over that job than I thought it would so that really it was already March before I started seriously going for walks and paying more attention to what I was eating. I wasn't too bad in January and February I don't think but it was all a bit haphazard.

In April then, I got my new job and was thrilled. A move, a close to dream job, a new start, a new life. It might now be more than ten years since I said, "Yep, definitely have to lose the weight now, while my skin is still elastic and all", but maybe it wouldnt' be too late to at least set myself up for a decent quality of life when I get older. I'd have very little money but not working full-time would give me plenty of time to exercise and cook properly every day, once I'd lost a bit of weight I could start a pilates class, lose a bit more weight and be able to start yoga. I might be later starting than ideal but my 60-year-old self would thank me for it. And then the move happened.

That six weeks was honestly one of the most physically and mentally demanding times I have ever been through. I completely overdid it but, on the other hand, there was no other option. It all had to be done and it was just my tough luck that I lived on the fourth floor with no lift. Once it was all done I hoped that a couple of weeks of taking it easy would be enough to get me back to normal so that I could get on with things once and for all. It took more than a couple of weeks but I was determined to give my body all the time it needed to recover and since the weather was so hot anyway, not moving a huge amount was fine with me.

When the cooler autumnal temperatures finally started to arrive a few weeks ago I was thrilled. Finally. I'd be able to get out and go walking. Maybe I'd even give the bike another go. I still started off slowly, incorporating smaller walks into my day. Getting off the tram a couple of stops earlier and that kind of thing. And then I decided to walk to my new choir from work as the bus connections aren't great. It's a 4km (2.5 miles) walk down the river and I enjoyed every second of it, even if it did take me nearly an hour, slower than I was walking back in March. But my body didn't really seem to like that too much. I dialled things back for a week or so but then not only my knees but also my back started complaining and I decided that it really was time to just go to the doctors. Hoping they wouldn't tell me I'd actually torn or damaged something during the move.

After a visit to my GP last week I finally had my appointment with the orthopaedic doctor today. Really happy that I was able to get an appointment in just a week, even if I did have to wait a long time when I got there (about 45 mins after my appointed time then another hour or so inbetween seeing him, waiting, xray, waiting, seeing him again, waiting, and finally getting imprints taken for my new orthotics (since I was there anyway - I've overdue a new pair)). Unfortunately it seems like my grand plans of a new life and a new me and finally getting things under control before my body breaks down are coming just a bit too late.

The move probably did end up being the final straw but it's not anything simple (joke!) like a tear in the meniscus or anything. Nope, it's the beginning of arthritis. I should definitely lose a lot of weight as soon as possible but even so, I'll probably need to have knee replacements at a very young age and basically, will just have to put up with the pain as best I can. Obviously if it got bad enough that I couldn't walk, they would do something but it's all basically just a degenerative thing, too many years of too much strain (due to my weight) and that's that. At least I know that I am allowed to move, I'm not going to prevent something from healing if I do start walking again. It'll just always hurt a bit. He has recommended cycling and swimming as the best activities - they will apparently help more of the naturally occuring joint fluid to be produced. Cycling more than swimming, which is good as I already have a bike and swimming costs money. I could also get injections of hyaluronic acid, which are supposed to supplement/replace the missing joint fluid but unfortunately they are not covered by health insurance and cost €230 for, I can't rember, perhaps six shots? More than I can afford at any rate.

I'm finding it a bit hard to deal with to be honest and am desperately fighting feelings of just wanting to give up. I need to lose weight now more than ever and can't afford to let this throw me. But my old perversity is rearing its head a bit and I just want to....well, mostly I just want to cry and sulk and for somebody else to come and just kiss it all better. Knowing it's all my own fault doesn't make me feel any better about knowing that it's entirely up to me to improve things now. Even though losing weight and getting fit is what was on the plans anyway. Now that I have to do it... My brain is definitely its own worst enemy sometimes.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Graphology

Still have a few boxes to unpack, although I'm not really planning on finishing all of that anytime soon. This evening, though, I had a yen to rewatch Buffy and so I tackled the box that I knew had my small collection of DVDs in it. I don't have the whole set and some of what I do have is on video but I do have the first series on DVD, so I'm good for now.

One thing that I did also find, however, was tucked away in a shoebox that was also in that bigger one. I can't remember exactly from when it is, I think probably around when I was sixteen or so, possibly even a year or two later. I may have had it done at the annual post-xmas funfair in Dublin called Funderland, or it may have been a one-off stand in the local shopping centre. Like horoscopes, I think this kind of thing seems terribly accurate if you're a bit susceptible (which, let's face it, as I teenager I really, really was) because it's so general it fits everyone and you can always find something positive in it. Actually, I'd kind of like to do something like this again now to see how similar the results would be. At any rate, here you have it, the results of a computer generated analysis of my signature (my signature is surprisingly similar today, which is why I think it's possible that I may have been a year or two older than sixteen - the only thing that has changed really is that the "J" at the start of my name has become much more the rounded shape that I wanted it to be):

"You have a dominating personality. You are not inclined to take many chances. Others see your personality as clear and sharp. You possess a sympathetic nature. You have a distinctive and original personality. You tire easily."

There are two graphs at the top of the page as well. One is supposed to show, using the angle of your signature, whether you react more with emotion or with logic. Mine is mostly straight up, with just one letter slanting towards the logical side of things so, as in so many things, I'm average again.

The second graph shows variously different traits and a bar of where you land above or below that line. The two longest positive lines on mine are happiness and communication. After that there are four slightly shorter ones: aggressiveness, judgement, responsibility, stability. And then energetic is only about half the length, with certainty half again as short. Appreciation barely shows above the line but doesnt' sink below it either. And composure is about as much above the line as that but also sinks a good bit below it, too.

So there you have it. "Insights" into my personality, courtesy of an early 90s computer. :-)

Friday, October 07, 2016

Foodsharing

Just a quick one. Not long after I moved here I met a woman who is involved with the local foodsharing team. This is a voluntary organisation that collects food from supermarkets and shops that would otherwise be thrown out, and organises collection points where people can come and take some of that food. The supermarkets save a little on their rubbish charges, less food goes to landfill, and a few people get to (partially) feed themselves for free.

Looks like relatively little?


Yesterday, I finally managed to call to one of the collection points at a time when I knew she would have just been to a weekly pick-up. Now, I know that food waste, especially the amount of food thrown out by supermarkets is a big issue but still. actually seeing the quantities up close was a bit sobering.

Bear in mind that the organiser at already taken out quite a bit, as she has a few families who can't make it to the pick-up at the time but need the help, so she keeps stuff aside for them. So, there were a few boxes worth of stuff already gone.







 
 I couldn't even fit it all into one photograph and although some of those boxes don't look full, there was quite a lot stuffed into each one (the fill the box as much as possible method of transferring a lot rather than the don't damage the produce method of packing).




It does leave me a little bit torn as very little of this was organic and I don't think any of it was local. However, not wasting food is so important as well. And honestly, this kind of suits my budget at the moment so I really shouldn't cavil. So I did bring home a big bag full of stuff and will have to spend a few hours in the kitchen tomorrow cooking.

Peeking out at the back, you can just see the corner of a 500g packet of organic tomatoes. Then there are two packets of two lettuces with the roots still attached in a soil plug. A basil plant (this was the only thing that is very close to past its best, with several blackening leaves. However still plenty to make a batch of pesto for freezer with). Scallions, which are absolutely perfect and nowhere close to needing to be dumped. A packet with three passion fruit. Three bananas, which will be perfect for making banana muffins in the next day or two. A huge butternut squash (1.8kg!). And another 1.2kg of loose tomatoes.
If I had been faster and less takenaback by the whole thing, I could also have gotten some carrots or broccoli.




I won't be there next week as I'll be travelling for work but I will definitely try and make it back about once a month. That feels like a good way to supplement my budget without feeling too much like I may be taking from others who might need it more. But seriously, we live in a mad, mad, mad, mad world!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Keeping track of money - September 2016

After doing so well with tracking almost every single day's spending in August, I managed to do it for a big fat five days in September. And really, it was only three because on one of those days I forgot and afterwards couldn't even remember what I had spent where and on another one I never left the house. I'm glad that the start of October has been a weekend and that I've seen other people posting financials for the end of September as it was a good reminder to me to really try and get on top of tracking again this month. I've just spent the last three days at home (it's a bank holiday here today) and have done just about nothing other than reading, watching a film or two, and a bit less than the bare minimum of housework needed (however I have managed to get washing-up back under control and have cooked two days in a row, which is progress compared to most of September).

Part of the reason for not tracking was some careless spending brought about by me basically freaking out about not having any money. Stupid response obviously but I felt like I was struggling to really not fall back into the habits from the worst of my spendy mid-twenties. And yet, given the amount of stress I have been feeling about my lack of money, I have been strangely ambivalent about finding a second part-time job. I did have an interview at the start of September but looking back, I really didn't do a good interview, and it's not because I didn't find the position interesting (same as now but working in the law faculty for a human rights lawyer - how cool would that have been!?!) but I wasn't simultaneously stressing about money and about having to go back to working fulltime. And part of it was because my current position does want me to increase my hours up to 75% (30 hours a week - it's currently 20 hours/50%), which I told them I was definitely interested in but now I know that the money for that probably won't start until March. At any rate I haven't heard back from that interview and since she wanted to make a decision the week after it, I assume that means she has chosen someone else and is just waiting for the paperwork to be finished before sending rejections for everyone else.

After almost no translation work in July or August (hence the lack of funds - my salary from my office job is not enough to cover any but the most basic of expenses and I had a few non-regular ones come up in August and September), I was very grateful to get a big job from a new client in September. It turned out to be slightly shorter than originally envisaged but a week later they contacted me to translate something else as well. And an existing client turned up with a small job, too. So, I knew there was money coming in but just didn't actually have any. I've more or less depleted by savings entirely, the overdraft on my Irish account was almost up to its limit, and I had to use my credit card to buy groceries where possible, to leave what cash I had free for things that you can't use a credit card for (which is quite a lot in Germany - it's only in the last few years you can even use a credit card in most supermarkets).

I have been obsessively checking my bank account to see if my new client had paid their invoice. It's always a bit tricky with bigger organisations as they can sometimes take a month or more to process an invoice. I know that myself from having worked on the other side. Despite it being a bank holiday today, however, when I logged in, my account was showing that it had been paid. Phew. I really can't describe the feeling of relief. I immediately transferred enough to pay most of the credit card bill (there are a couple of transactions that haven't cleared yet but the amount for the total will just come out by direct debit mid-month as usual - I still prefer to have cleared the bulk of it immediately) and also transferred €500 to my Irish bank account. I will most likely need to withdraw money from that account again, if not this month, then next, but at least that's a bit of a chunk off the overdraft, which I have been finding very stressful to have again.

So, I now have enough left in my normal bank account to cover all of the bills I am expecting for this month and have a bit left over to buy food/drink each week. I will have to be very strict with myself but it's doable. That invoice was enough, so to speak, to cover the shortfall between by salary and what I really need for September and October. Now I need to try and get some work in so that I have something else coming in to cover the shortfall for November. I'm not too worried about December as we get a type of bonus/extra salary paid out at the end of November. It's not quite a full month's extra salary and because of tax, will be a bit less than salary, too, but it'll be enough to cover the shortfall for December. So that's that. We'll see how it goes for October. One thing about not having a lot of money is at least that there's less tracking to do, too.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Appreciating the view

Lazy Sunday morning. Have been reading in bed for an hour and a half and stopping every now and then to take in this beautiful view. Have a few weeks of rushing and somewhat grey mood behind me when I barely managed to even open the blinds most days.
Time to back things up a bit and spend more time being present in the moment. This view deserves being admired more often.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Blog list

Since blogger, for some reason, seems to have messed up the blogroll gadget I've spent a bit of time today searching through cached pages to try and get it all back. I could easily find the ones I read regularly but I had others on the list that perhaps haven't posted for a while or don't post very regularly and that I don't want to forget just because they don't post frequently. And a few that seem to have since been deleted, too, which always makes me a bit sad because even if someone isn't posting anymore, what they've written is often still worth reading. I hate that some people feel the need to delete parts of themselves. While understanding it from a rational point of view, I just really struggle with it at a more fundamental level. Anyway, in the hopes of not losing this information quite as easily again, I'm posting a list here (and saving it all in a separate document on my computer, too).

These are the ones that are gone or blocked. In some cases I know why, but it's still a shame to me and I like to at least acknowledge them instead of just deleting.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Lots of veg but have lost the enthusiasm

I went to the market yesterday and, even though it still bugs me that the one guy there selling veg mostly seems to buy stuff from a standard wholesaler and is not at all interested in my questions on what he has grown himself,* I bought a whole load of veg from him.

None of it is organic and he definitely seems to go for the sell lots for cheap mantra. Such a change from the farmers' market in Dusseldorf, where nothing could be sold that wasn't produced within an 80km radius and there were two organic farmers who were passionate about what they did and, if they did sell anything they hadn't grown themselves, were selling it on behalf of neighbour farmers who didn't grow enough to justify the cost of a market stall. Still, I suppose it did still make for a pretty picture.
I put a pencil in the shot so that you can get an idea of how huge those kohlrabi are, I only asked for two because the ones at the front of the pile were fairly small
That lot cost me €9.80, with the two cartons of free-range eggs and the turkey breast costing another €8.30. I only wanted one salad but he gave me two for the price of one. That made sense at the beginning of the summer when they were still very small but these ones are big enough that one barely fits into my salad spinner. So, as well as the salad there are onions, carrots, red cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi. I plan to slice the kohlrabi and fry it to eat with salad. Sometimes I get tired of just cold salad and like to have something warm to go with it. The turkey will mostly be used for the same thing, although I may use some of it to have a stirfry on Sunday. A couple of the carrots will be used to make kidney bean, carrot and cumin burgers and the rest will last for a whlie. That's just over a kilo of carrots, in case you were wondering.

I want to get some potatoes and do spicy potatoes and cauliflower. Had a real craving for it for some reason although now that I think about it, I must be mad. It's cooler this week but still hot and I want to put the oven on? Madness.

The red cabbage will become it's usual, braised cabbage with apples. There is a little place on campus that sells fruit and veg grown in a community garden not far from the university. I'm going to call in there on Monday and see if maybe that will offer a good alternative for me. And hopefully get some local apples and potatoes while I'm there.

And all of that was really an attempt to get me enthusiastic enough to want to do any of that. After a really excellent week in terms of food, where I actually cooked/prepared and ate good food for three meals a day, five days in a row, I went totally off the rails yesterday. And if I wasn't feeling a bit under the weather today, I think I'd be down the supermarket stuffing my bag full of more crisps and chocolate to do the same again today. But I think I'm starting a cold, I have a bit of a headache and am generally not feeling too good. So I think I'm going to have a duvet day and just stay put.

I worked very late yesterday and came up to find that there was a Seelsorger having a cigarette break outside my front door. A Seelsorger is a type of pastoral worker, literally a "soul carer" and they get called out when someone has died, for example. I didn't think it was appropriate for me to ask her what had happened so we just chatted for a minute or two when she asked me not to close the front door and that was it. But once I was in my apartment I realised that all the noise was coming from next door. I've never met the guy from that apartment. He uses it as his office and lives in another apartment downstairs. Or lived, I should say, as it turns out that he died yesterday. I peeked out the spyhole in my door once or twice to see what all the noise was about and saw them bringing the body out. So once they were gone I waited for a few minutes until I heard someone else and then I opened the door to ask what had happened. The policeman who was just locking up simply said that he had died but at least confirmed that it was the guy who rented the apartment that died. I didn't really have much of a reaction yesterday but it did keep me awake a bit last night and it's bothering me now that I don't know how he died because I'm finding myself dwelling on it a bit. September is, of course, suicide awareness month and in a couple of weeks it'll be my sister's third anniversary. So that's all mixing itself up in my head in strange ways. Would be something of a relief to just know exactly what happened to him, I think but given that I never met him, I'm not likely to ever know. It's very sad though, I don't think he was very old. Am trying hard to translate all of these thoughts and feelings into more impetus to get myself healthy!

*He does grow stuff himself and you'd think he'd want to sell more of that stuff but that doesn't seem to be the case. The most I can say for yesterday's purchases is that it's all German. Can't even say it's all regional. Really, I could have just gone to the supermarket.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Keeping track of money - August 2016

So, following my lengthy explanation post of some of the workings of my budget spreadsheet, here's how the totals look for August.

Banking section (euro/% of salary/% of total income):
  1. Rent 590 / 60% / 19%
  2. Private pension/investments 50 / 5% / 2%
  3. Various charities 65 / 7% / 2%
  4. Transfer to Irish account 225 / 23% / 7%
  5. Basic income supporter - nothing this month
  6. Annual expenses (incl. holiday savings) 340 / 34% / 11%
  7. Transport 39.40 / 4% / 1%
  8. Other house related 0
  9. Dental insurance 36.80 / 4% / 1%
  10. Visa (my old Irish credit card) 0
  11. Phone/internet 41.61 / 4% / 1%
  12. Mastercard 227.36 / 23% / 7%
  13. Misc. (food etc.) - cash 140 / 14% / 5%
  14. Misc. (food etc.) - debit card 44.74 / 5% / 1%
  15. Bills (not including phone) - 40.00 / 4% / 1%
  16. Tax account 300 / 30% / 10%
  17. Bank charges 0
  18. One-off out 896.38 / 91% / 29%
  19. One-off in 2,057.94
Lots of one-off stuff this month. Outgoings were for: BahnCard annual charge, choir subscription, payment for a networking event I attended in July, choir rehearsal weekend in October paid for, annual carsharing membership, work-related magazine subscription, repayment to social welfare due to earning too much in my last month of unemployment. The one-off incoming money included payments for several translation jobs that I did in June and July, the partial refund of the deposit from my old flat and reimbursement of expenses from work.

Cash section (euro / % of salary / % of total income) - this should equal the totals for mastercard, cash and debit card above. It never has yet.

  1. Transport 69 / 7% / 2%
  2. Food - necessities 37.31 / 4% / 1%
  3. Food - luxuries 133.05 / 13% / 4% (I ate a ridiculous amount of crisps and chocolate this month but this does also include two takeaways (which provided me with food for four days))
  4. Canteen food 17.10 / 2% / 1%
  5. Toiletries 0
  6. Gifts (incl. postage, card and wrapping) 31.88 / 3% / 1% (one wedding and two birthdays - the rest of the cost for these were on the mastercard after 10th of the month so don't show up until September)
  7. Clothes 11.85 / 1% / 0% (y'see now I'm thinking I shouldn't have changed the percentages to rounded numbers)
  8. House/garden 106.04 / 11% / 3%
  9. Medical 0
  10. Other (lotto, etc.) 107.23 / 11% / 4% (I really need to take lotto out of this description, since I almost never play anymore)
My unaccounted for difference between the banking and cash sections of the spreadsheet this month is 56.36, which is very high. I suspect I have an error in a formula but will wait until the end of September to see how a second month of tracking goes before trying to figure it out.
There you have it. I don't know if I'll post actual totals again but I don't mind doing it really. I know some people find it useful or interesting to see exactly what amounts we're talking about. If you have any questions or are curious about any of my spending or the figures given, leave a comment.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Keeping track of money - how I (attempt to) do it

I did really well at tracking all of my spending in the first two weeks of August. Then came the week of summer school and I completely and totally forgot to even think about it. I very nearly gave up then but once I got back from Dusseldorf I actually sat down to see what I could recreate. Whenever I have tracked before it has never quite matched up anyway and, to be honest, I've rarely managed to keep it up for an entire month. Rather than just deciding it didn't matter, I've now added another field into my spreadsheet to try and figure out exactly what the discrepancy is and account for it as best I can. My budget spreadsheet runs from Fridays to Thursdays and luckily enough 1st September is a Thursday so the mis-match between the end of the month and the end of my budget month is only one day. I can manage to not spend any money for a day, or at least to use my credit card if I need to get some groceries.

Some general notes: My aim in setting up the tracking portion for cash spending on my spreadsheet was to see what percentage of income I was spending on certain categories. So I have a cash section and a banking section, for what of a better word. The banking section is divided into the following sections:
  1. Rent
  2. Private pension/investments
  3. Various charities
  4. Transfer to Irish account
  5. Basic income supporter (see here for details - I've just started contributing €6/month to this)
  6. Annual expenses (incl. holiday savings)
  7. Transport
  8. Other house related
  9. Dental insurance
  10. Visa (my old Irish credit card)
  11. Phone/internet
  12. Mastercard (my German points-earning credit card)
  13. Misc. (food etc.) - cash
  14. Misc. (food etc.) - debit card
  15. Bills (not including phone)
  16. Tax account
  17. Bank charges
  18. One-off out
  19. One-off in
It's a little bit of a muddle as it has evolved to this over the years but since I'm the only one who has to understand it, that's ok. Some items, for example, visa, really don't need to be there anymore as I only use that visa card as the holding card for the deposit when I rent a car. Not quite ready to give up the card though (want to have €4,000 in savings first, as that's the limit on that card) so here it stays for now.

Private pension/investments: At the moment I'm still just contributing a very small amount to my private pension. I reduced it once I knew I was going to be on unemployment for a while and since I now have some debt, I won't increase it again until I'm a bit more secure, if at all. It's mostly a tax efficicency vehicle so I'll see what my accountant has to say about it next year. I added a field for investments as I wanted to start at least investing a small amount into an ETF fund but still haven't gotten around to setting that up.

Phone/internet at the moment just covers the landline and internet as the topping-up of my current mobile phone happens online and I use my mastercard for that.

Bills is generally just the gas and electricity, although in my new place I don't have a gas bill.

At the moment one-off in includes the income from my translation work and I'm happy enough with that. To the side of my main spreadsheet I have a small box to list the one-off things happening in any month and those numbers feed in here. So at the start of a month I check if any annual or quarterly bills will be due, note if I'll need money for a particular trip or gift and so on. I don't add one-off income until if has actually hit my bank account. Trying to keep it as real as possible. I also use this category to account for any money that I transfer from savings to my current account in order to, for example, pay for annual expenses. Basically this spreadsheet is focused on my current account, in case that wasn't already clear.

In an ideal world, and if I was better at tracking (and accounting, come to think of it), the amounts for misc. cash and misc. debit card would equal the amounts that I track in the daily cash portion of my spreadsheet. As I do sometimes use my mastercard for these expenses however, things were always a bit skewy. So I've now added the mastercard amount to the reconciliation for that portion, as well as including mastercard expenses in the tracking. Much better.

The only thing is that the billing period for the mastercard is different than everything else and I can't change it. So, since it runs from around 10th to 10th (sometimes 9th or 11th, depending on weekends), I track any spending on that card after the bill has been isssued in the following month's numbers. It means I'm not really tracking one month in one place but it's the least complicated way I've come up with, at least for me. I must stress that my spreadsheet is generally focused on helping me to not overspend and to get control of my debt. If I ever move fully into needing something to figure out more than that, well, this should be a good basis for it I think.

The cash section of my spreadsheet is divided into the following categories:
  1. Transport 
  2. Food - necessities
  3. Food - luxuries
  4. Canteen food
  5. Toiletries
  6. Gifts (incl. postage, card and wrapping)
  7. Clothes
  8. House/garden
  9. Medical
  10. Other (lotto, etc.)
So the idea is that every day, I add in whatever I have spent in cash, debit card or mastercard. And all of that should add up to the amounts for these in the banking portion of the spreadsheet. I track a daily and a grand total for these items. At the moment, I have a €79 discrepancy between those two totals and am only certain of the reason for €50 of that. But, I didn't count the money in my purse at the end of last month and am not certain I managed to remember absolutely everything spent during the week I forgot to track so hopefully in future this will be less of an issue.

For all of the above categories, both from the banking section and the cash section, I also have space in my spreadsheet to show me what percentage of income each one is. Of course, everything all together should give me 100% but that has never happened. So it's more of a general guideline really. Not sure if it's my spreadshset or my tracking that leads to difficulties but for now, it's close enough for me. 

So, that grew to be a much longer post than I had planned on. I'll post actual numbers on Thursday when I know exactly how it has shaped up. So far it's telling me that I've spent (or will spend, as non-cleared items are already included in the totals) 91.36% of my income. 

If anyone has any questions about any of that, let me know and I'll try to explain. There are lots of ways I could improve this spreadsheet (starting over from scratch perhaps) but it works pretty well for me so I'll stick with it for another while.