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.