Friday, April 16, 2021

This weekend for sure...

I am definitely going to actually write a proper blog post this weekend. Have planned to do so for at least the last five weekends and enough is enough. This week's Team TOMM Friday focus is Garden/Outside Space but I changed that a while ago to "Table of Doom". Yes, the table of doom is back, although now spread among my writing desk (haven't actually been able to use it for at least two years) and multiple boxes. But apart from the fact that there is a serious amount of filing to be done, the other reason I chose to name this Friday Focus Table of Doom was to remind me of this blog and encourage me to actually get back to it. So here we are. I am currently in work but wanted to look something up and found some horrendous typos in a post from long ago (here instead of hear, and it's instead of its. I mean really!!! At least I can pretend my instead of me was a typo!) and couldn't leave them and since I'm logged in anyway... I will come back tomorrow and do a longer post and also add a photo to this one. I took some quick photos as before photos the last time I was sure I was going to start blogging soon. Looking at the date of the pictures on my phone, that was 6th March. Ah, sure, that's only barely a month ago. Feels like progress. Or something.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021


...does thinking about posting, and half-writing posts in your head count as blogging? Asking for a friend.

Friday, January 08, 2021

3 Posts in 2020

Ooops. That wasn't a lot. I do plan to get back to regular blogging but eight days into the new year it hasn't happened yet. So here's a first very short post and I'll plan to do at least one every week from now on. One thing I have managed to do is actually keep up with the housework. There's still a lot of basic decluttering and tidying that needs to be done. I did the Organised Mum Method on and off over most of last year and after getting more and more done through December (helped by the two four-day weekends, it has to be said), I got up early this morning and caught up on a few things so that I am now on a 6-day streak of completing both level 1 and level 2 jobs. Woohoo. Just need to finish my level 2s this evening after work and I'll have a full week. For tomorrow, I have arranged to have a video call* with a friend where we are going to keep each other company while peeling and chopping veg. I have a big butternut squash I want to use for a couple of different things, two leeks, there will of course be onions, I want to grate a carrot for kidney bean and carrot burgers and, I am possibly going to pick up a small hokkaido pumpkin after work, too. Have a bit of a longing for pumpkin soup. That's it for now. I'm in work and shouldn't be posting from here at all but I had to log in to this account for some reason or other and since I was logged in, I thought I'd take my chance. * Just before Christmas I decided to join the modern world and bought myself a tripod thingy for holding my phone so that I can spare my poor hand/arm getting sore. Looks like video calls are going to remain a big part of our reality for the forseeably future.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

It's hot out there!

We're having a heatwave which means we're on day three of about 35° weather, with at least another week of it on the horizon. Not my ideal operating temp by any means. 

I prepared by going to the supermarket on Thursday afterwork and buying a mountain of crisps, crackers, cheese, quark and yoghurt. And actuallycooking the lentils I had put to soak on Tuesday and then forgotten about. That's enough for at least three lots of lentil salad. Yesterday after work, I stopped at the farmer's shop and bought a huge oakleaf lettuce and some eggs, and couldn't resist adding a courgette and a couple of carrots, too. 

Apart from boiling some eggs, there should be no need to switch on the cooker at all. If I get up very early tomorrow, I might put on the oven to make some soda bread and a quick cake. We'll see. 

Was trying to insert a screenshot of the weather forecast but apparently chose this picture of my aloe vera from the other day instead. Apps, new phones, fat thumbs, what can I say. Anyway, enjoy this picture of loads of new pups on the aloe that I thought I had really actually killed (it didn't seem to enjoy it's last repotting at all).

For now, well, about an hour ago it reached that time of day that still feels surreal for me, having grown up in Ireland. The sun had moved round to the side of the building so it was time to open up the shutters and bilnds in the bedroom. But the temperature had passed 30° so it was also time to close all the windows. Even 12 years of living here has not made this any less weird to me. In another hour or two, it'll be time to close down the shutters in the living room and they'll stay that way until almost sunset. At least I did actually go out and water the flowers and the tomatoes on the balcony properly this morning. Don't think any new fruit are coming but have already harvested loads and there is still quite a lot ripening. 

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Getting back to the simple life

I am having lots of thoughts and feelings at the moment around depression, accepting how severe my depression has actually been over the years and trying to come to terms with how much of my life it has absorbed and the feeling that I have wasted years and years while trying to be kind to myself and accept that it wasn't all my fault, dealing with depression absorbed most of my energy, etc., etc. I have been taking anti-depressants for about a year and a half now and am slowly getting to a point where it feels like I have some energy to spare for just life in general. Very much an ongoing journey and it's going to be a long one. As always, accepting something logically is easier than accepting it emotionally.

In terms of energy, I wouldn't describe myself as full of beans but I am making an effort and managing to get something done every day. Mind you, being on holidays from work helps.

All of this led to me yesterday doing something that I have thought about doing every summer for the last few years but never quite getting around to. I bought two large punnets of strawberries. From a local shop that grows a lot of their own stuff on a small farm on the outskirts of town. And this morning, I washed, hulled and sliced them, and put them into the dehydrator.
Dehydrator trays on scales, 1 punnet worth of strawberries, preserving notebook
I dragged out my preserving notebook to add it in and see, somewhat to my amazement, that the last entry was 2014. Wow. Looking at it logically though, I knew I hadn't done anything since I moved here, and that was 2016. And in the summer and autumn of 2015, I was working my notice at my corporate job, then starting my translating on the side business and trying to recover from years and years of overwork and stress. I'm pretty sure when I moved here I told myself it was ok to not do anything the first summer - I was only working part-time and money was tight, I was trying to settle in and all that. The next summer, I feel like I was determined to do at least some dehydrating but it never happened. I'll have to read back and see if I posted anything in 2018, because I am really not sure why I didn't do anything then, although thinking about it, I was pretty miserable in work and depressed. And then at the start of last summer, I had just switched to my new job, was loving it and starting to really enjoy life when my boss killed himself. It seems hard to believe that that was almost a year ago. I still miss him and think about him, well, not quite every day but on many of them.  Strawberries were his favourite fruit, and remembering the conversation we had when he told me that is probably something that will always come to mind when strawberry season arrives.

When I look back and view it logically, there were almost always reasons why I wasn't getting around to doing some of the things that are important to me in terms of the simple life that I was searching for when I started this blog. It is very hard to accept that it wasn't all just me being lazy or worthless. I'm working on it. Today, at least, it felt good to switch on the dehydrator, and now the smell of strawberries is filling the room. Getting started is always the hardest part and that's done now. So here's to living the simple life I want.

Monday, June 01, 2020

The Organised Mum Method

This will be short, since my phone ate my last return-to-blogging post a couple of weeks ago.

In December a friend mentioned the Organised Mum Method to me. She was very enthusiastic about it and the app you can also get. Note: you don't have to buy the app or the book, everything you need to follow the method is available for free on her website. I was not specially impressed by what my friend told me but a week or so later I checked out the website (mostly so that I could tell her I hadn't just dismissed it out of hand) and actually found it interesting.

I got the app (and the book. And I've pre-ordered the second book.) and am a total convert. But after a bout of depression through most of March and April, it mostly fell by the wayside again. I've been picking it back up over the last few weeks and although I'm not at the stage where I'm doing everything every day, I'm doing something every day. But even if I don't even do all the level 1 jobs every day, every time I do something else it feels good. I may take a while to get to a place where most of it gets done most of the time, but it is true that the cumulative effect has an impact. Would love to get lots of 'you're done for the day' messages but for now I'm just happy every time I tick something off.

Saturday, August 31, 2019


Although I do keep a budget spreadsheet, it essentially serves to make sure I'm not overspending and compared to many finance spreadsheets out there, it is pretty basic. One thing I've never incorporated is a good way to look back at totals at any given time. I can look back and see what my current account balance was at the end of a month but that's it. I just updated the page with the overview of accounts manually on a continuing basis. Perhaps something to work on in the future sometime. I really should do some Excel courses anyway, and it would give me something practical to practice on.

In the meantime, I've decided to just take a snapshot of my sidebars whenever I update them. It's the same story there - I just update them manually on a continuing basis.

I can tentatively say that things are kind of going alright with money at the moment. I do have a small balance on my credit card but will clear that as soon as an outstanding invoice is paid. I could use savings but it's a psychological thing and since it's not a lot of money, I'm going with it. I have been making a better effort to live within my normal salary though - need to stop getting used to having side-income to stop up the gaps. I will use some of my side income to fund a trip or two later this year and to finally do some of that house stuff I've been promising to get done for over a year. Otherwise, I will be using it to pad my various savings accounts and give myself a bit of a head start. And next year, the target will be as far as possible to save all of my side income.

This month, I got to the end of the month with just over €40 in my purse and €45.22 in my current account. So I am calling that the start of the float I have been wanting to have in my current account - well, I have adjusted the totals in my spreadsheet to show less €50 (the 45.22 plus rounding up from this month's salary lodgement). €50 seems to be a good number for me to work with so I'll be trying to add €50 to the float every month by not spending to zero, but rather to €50 and then adjusting my totals to subtract that fifty every month. We'll see how it goes.