I Keep Relearning This

My taste is off, well, it’s not off — it’s just that I want things that don’t seem to exist. I want some website art work done, no one wants the work for some reason? And I want fabric with a big sun for my kitchen, can’t find what I want there either.

So, the conclusion is that I’ll have to do it myself!

To that end, I intend to take some photoshop classes online. Both things can be done with photoshop. If I knew photoshop well enough, I would have done them already. I don’t. I don’t think that way, so I have to learn how. I can do really basic manipulation of things, but not to the extent that I need for both projects.

The website stuff is easy, once I get it done, I load it and it’s there. The other I’ll have to make into fabric. But I know where to do that, spoonflower.com. All I have to do is figure out how their tech works well enough to use it. That’s all!

Being weird is expensive sometimes.

J

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Email Update

I’ve been purging email all along. Just so you know, there’s 1,3xx emails in my trash and 25,2xx in my main in box. Still going down and I’m going to keep it that way!

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Photo by Web Hosting on Unsplash

The messages to “increase my file size” have also mostly stopped, thankfully. But I’ve gotten in the habit of deleting unwanted emails every day, and see no reason to change that!

J

Busy… And!

  • Been working hard at the culling/cleaning effort, as I’d said. You can see that here
  • Got a contract in my inbox this a.m. for the memoir. I’d be shaking or something, if it felt real I think? So far, it isn’t.
  • Need to get back into the food tracking. We’re in full summer glut from the farm, there’s no way I’ll remember what I’ve got, what I intend to do with it, etc. without some sort a plan.

So I haven’t gone away, I’m just busy!

 

I Have Been

Working hard — on the house. I’ve been following my cleaning plan.

It seems to me that a major shift is in order. Instead of trying to sell the memoir as a psych. program auxiliary piece, maybe what I need to do is sell the cleaning plan and make the memoir the back piece to that.

It would solve the problem of the memoir just not having a plot, being first-person, too short, and a mess of other issues. Of course, I still haven’t heard from my publisher, but my feeling is that I will not. Not now and not in the future. It will be as if it dropped into a black hole and vanished… poof!

This has completely stopped the work I was doing on the memoir. I had even talked to a friend about coding it for an ebook. Okay, fine.

I can’t sell the cleaning plan if I can’t use it, right? I can’t set myself up as an expert on anything unless I can actually DO whatever. (Well, that’s not true. These days the woods are full of blow-hard know-it-alls who make pronouncements about any and everything. EVERYONE is an expert, about anything they feel strongly about!)

But I was raised by someone who genuinely was an expert in his field. My brother is. My husband is too. I have been surrounded my entire life by men who are really good at their jobs, and became “experts.”

So I have standards about about what it takes to BE an expert:

  • You must know what you’re talking about.
  • You must be able to do something rather than just talk about the subject.
  • You must have some sort of track record, that is a history, of successfully being able to do whatever it is.

My dad taught aeronautics  and designed airplanes for 40 years, my brother has worked in his field for the same amount of time and he’s still teaching and writing about it, my husband has been in his field since the field started, about 30 years now.

Me? The only thing I’m expert in is the inner workings of my head. The memoir is 50 years of life & learning and took me 10 years to write. The cleaning plan started in one way when I started this blog in 11/2011. I’ve been whacking away at the problems since.

I couldn’t do the memoir until I did the trauma work.

I could write, but not use, the cleaning plan until I did the memoir.

So, we’ll see if the next step is what I want/hope it to be? That is, using the cleaning plan, make it  a habit, and a book and/or app is the next step. (Habits take 90 days to be established.)

I sure hope so! I don’t know that I have the patience to spend 10 more years on this project.

So, I’ve shifted gears. I was all set to publish the memoir, whack away at the cleaning plan, then when I finally got it to work, get it ready for publication.

Nope.

Doing it the other way around. Going to get the cleaning plan working,  finish up the writing related to it, get DH or someone to make the app I have in mind, then publish the CLEANING PLAN, with the MEMOIR as back material.

Then the lack of “plot” or “arc” or sex, drugs, rock n’ roll won’t matter. I’m not selling the memoir; it’s explanatory material, I’m selling the cleaning plan. Want to know why I set the cleaning plan up the way I have? Read the memoir and you’ll find out.

street signs

Image is not mine, not sure where I got it. Sorry!

Thank you WordPress

I just spent 20 minutes writing a blog draft, all but finished and what happened? Well I accidently closed the window. It isn’t in my drafts, so the work is lost. If I want to write the post, I have to go back and start from scratch.

It used to be that anything you wrote was saved, many times, automatically. I’ve done this sort of stupid thing before, who hasn’t?, but since WP last upgraded, I guess they stopped auto saving so much.

ARG!

J

Figuring the Cost

Farm food It occurred to me that I should figure out how much we actually spent on the farm food? I knew what the total was and how long the food is available, but haven’t done any kind of costing for it this year.

Every week we get a slug o’ veggies, usually some herbs, etc.

A week ago, Tuesday, we got: spinach, mixed greens, pea sprouts, and lettuce. We had soup 2 nights from the spinach ( a cold spinach/avocado soup, a spring tradition here, yummy!) and I used the mixed greens in salads, cooked some of it, etc. We had spinach and lettuce salads with other veggies. The last of the mixed greens and spinach were dealt with yesterday.

Yesterday I got spinach, 2 heads of lettuce, a bunch of radishes, kale, bok choy, chard, argula, cilantro and dill.

Last night’s dinner was HM hummus, with lemon and dill. The salad had a little cilantro in it, and more of last week’s lettuce. Tonight’s salad will use the end of last week’s lettuce.

Despite my not keeping track last week because I was still sick, I have figured it out. The farm costs about $28/week, which works out to about $4 a day, if you only do dinner with it. That’s almost exactly what the allowance for food on SNAP (food stamps) is.

However, because we both work at home, we frequently use some of the farm food for lunches, but don’t always. So, say we use the farm food for 3 other meals a week, that’s 10, which drives the cost per meal down to $2.80, or $1.40 for each of us, daily.

This doesn’t include whatever food I manage to put aside.

It hadn’t occurred to me to start with the $ amount for food stamps, but it’s a good idea! If, God forbid, we ever end up needing that type of help, then our expectations will already be there. The problem is of course, that the $4 a day should cover EVERYTHING, veggies, meat, shampoo, etc. And to get there, I have a LOT more adjustments to make!

What I’ve done with the menu plan idea (See here.) is to greatly reduce the amount of prefab, frozen, and restaurant meals we’re eating. Making better use of what we have (Also see this.), wasting less, etc. It all helps. Anything I set aside from the summer glut or grow here is also a bonus, as it reduces the expenses. But I need to do better reducing the other costs!

Meat I pretty much have done this with the new menu plan, we only eat it 2x a week, on Friday and Sunday. I’ve discussed how I reduced what we pay for already.

That leaves everything else: anything other than meat and vegetables. And that’s a lot! Paper products, frozen foods, baked goods, health/beauty items, pet supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.

Frozen foods here are ice cream, meats, and vegetables. I have an ice cream maker, I always plan to make ice cream during the summer, but don’t always do so. I need to more often this year, like weekly. Being us, we buy expensive ice cream, so making our own will be cheaper, almost guaranteed!

Baked goods here are mostly bread and crackers. DH has been making bread every couple of days. We actually don’t do much other baking, although yesterday I found organic blackberries on sale, so this morning I’ll make a blackberry cobbler.

Paper products except for costing out and trying janitorial supply sources, I haven’t seriously tried to find a way to reduce our costs here. I located a janitorial supply company that sells to the public nearby. I keep meaning to, and keep forgetting, to buy a roll or 2 of TP and paper towels (our usual paper products) to see if we like them?

Health/Beauty items I’m not sure how else to reduce costs here. We’re using up the end of a bulk shampoo buy I did 2 years ago. I’ll have to buy shampoo again before the year is out, but that’s the first time in 2 years. (There was a good sale, I had lots of coupons and they doubled coupons up to $1 So I bought every bottle I had a coupon for.) I get bar soap from a friend who raises goats and makes artisan soap. She makes a 10 lb block for me about every 18 months and I cut it into bars. We also use Dr. Bonner’s baby soap, cut in 1/2, for DH’s shaving soap and at the kitchen sink (my hands dry out in the kitchen, I wash my hands too often). Deodorant is the only other thing we buy regularly. I buy it when I find it on sale. I’ll have to buy some of that soon, we’re using the last tube. Toothpaste we buy about once a year, the rest of the time we use the samples provided by the dentists.

Photo by Crystal de Passillé-Chabot on Unsplash

Cleaning products — this is an area I can work on! Because I’m so scent sensitive, I’m careful about only buying unscented products. The availability of these ebbs and flows. Six months ago, there were 3 different types of unscented dish soap at our local market. Last time I looked, there was 1. This means I tend to buy mulitples when I can afford it, because I may not be able to find the product in the future. I wouldn’t mind decanting a gallon of dish soap into smaller, more usuable containers, if it didn’t make me sick! Laundry detergent I have the same issue. I should check with the janitorial supply company for these. Wood cleaner/polish I finally found a set of products which doesn’t make me sick. Also fortunately, their office is nearby. My plan is to stop by before winter and see if I can’t buy a gallon of the stuff! And then there’s trash bags, but I finally found a cheap source of those, UNSCENTED, at our local cheapo market. Dh bought a box of hefty bags that is so stinky I opened it outside 2 months ago. They still stink! He can use them for workshop stuff, NOT bring them in the house or put them in my car to go to the dump! After 2 months outside, open, they STILL stink!!!

The usual/standard advice in “save money” books is to make your own cleaners or buy whatever is on sale. I do make some of my cleaners and use vinegar, baking soda, etc. as much as I think is sane but I can’t just use whatever is cheapest because of the scent issue. This means that except for buying in bulk or from a janitorial supply company, I really can’t cut here, unless I’m willing to live in a house which makes my allergies worse.

No one has convinced me yet that microfiber cloth or essential oils actually clean things. As far as I can tell, microfiber cloths are just fine terry cloth and essential oils just make things smell good! I can and do mop my kitchen floor every now and then with lemon oil and water, but it’s not to clean the floor, it’s to make the kitchen smell good! I do it AFTER I’ve swept and then mopped the floor!

Fortunately, I can use some scents, as long as it’s scented with natural oils, like lemon. I do this myself, because it’s just not worth it to use something that’s supposedly all natural scent to discover the binder, which they didn’t count, is something which I react to!

This cost/expense reduction project needs more work!

More Food Planning/Use

Today is the day I usually go to the farm for our week’s food. If I’d been home yesterday, I would put aside whatever remaining foodstuffs from last week I didn’t think we’d use.

I’ve started that effort today instead, but it IS being done.

I’ve also planned what I’ll get at the farm, that makes food use a bit less random!

Finally, I go right by our favorite markets on the way home, so I’ll do the weekly shopping. There’s a package of chicken thawing in the fridge for tomorrow and Sunday.

Tonight’s dinner is probably a cheese omelette and salad, or that’s the plan. This is subject to DH’s input, how much and types of cheese we have, etc. We had HM hummus, freshly baked bread, and green salad. It was too hot to cook and I’d been gone all day, no interest in cooking at all!

I culled 2 jars from the pantry as their contents will be replaced, starting today.

This is working! We’ll see if I can keep it up. DH and I have had a few discussions about the “menu plan,” and he thinks it’s a good idea and agrees with my long-term goals: getting us used to smaller, cheaper meals like we’ll have when he’s retired, spending less on restaurants/prefab food, less meat, more veggies, better use of the veggies we’ve paid for (from the farm), and less food waste.

Photo by petra cigale on Unsplash

And for me, the kicker is that this isn’t so rigid that I resent it and it takes away the creativity I normally use when cooking. The I don’t know what to make with what I’ve got randomness is the only piece of cooking I really like: taking a bunch of random ingredients and using up what needs it in a meal.

I know people who sit down and plan a year’s worth of menus at once. I couldn’t do that, any more than I could do something similar to Once a Month Cooking or Mega Cooking. I tend to put pieces aside, not meals. (For example, cooked rice and stems from greens for soup.)