Monthly Archives: June 2019

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.)

Sunshine!

One, I finally feel NOT sick, which is a real blessing after 2 months of being sick!

Two, it’s a not too hot, not too cold day out there. The bean trellis got planted yesterday, it rained so I didn’t have to water the seeds in. The greens I’d planted last week are starting to sprout. Although I won’t get any where near as many plants as I’d hoped, all my seed is at least 3 years old.

The plan this year is to use it ALL up, and start fresh next year. This is what happens when you don’t do a garden for 2 years….

The car is loaded with flea market items going to the storage. At the moment, I’m waiting on the chimney sweep guy, who’s supposed to be here in the next 1/2 hour. After he leaves, I’ll haul a load to the storage and a load back (there’s no room in the storage for a car full, so something has to come back too.)

But, it’s also DUMP DAY, so a load or three of leaves and books and asst. stuff will go to the dump today. And that, if nothing else, will create a small hole in the pending stuff waiting to be dealt with. Hurrah!

There are 3 rugs on the lawn waiting for DH’s help to shake them. The 2 smaller ones will come back in the house, the bigger one is slated for the flea market, and will go into the car.

It’s spring, I don’t feel wretched, and I’m finally getting things done I’d planned to do two months ago. Hurrah!

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Photo by Linda Xu on Unsplash

This Week & the Neat Muscle

This week is going to be centered around the upcoming flea market. (If you’re local and want info, let me know!)

Afterwards, I hope to have a hole here AND a hole in the storage. As with April’s flea market, I’ll set aside a wadge of the unsold items to donate, hopefully to the thrift shop down the street. If we can’t donate it there, I’ll put it in storage to donate it elsewhere or take it to the dump’s swap shop.

A major purge: a box of books and 10 bins worth of leaves, that’s 260 gallons were taken to the dump! There remains 2 small leaf piles I missed on the lawn and a larger pile next to the compost heap, I just had to get them off the grass!

Today’s work:

  • The bean trellis needs to be anchored further and the beans planted. That’s the next step in the veggie garden. Of course, more leaf raking.
  • The dryer is acting up, so clearing the porch under where the clothes line is getting put up for the summer is another. Moving the dryer away from the wall and see if the drain is plugged? DH did this. The dryer is back in place, hopefully usuable — I had a large load of rags, kitchen towels, etc. to wash and did so!
  • The living room also needs to be cleaned, amongst other things, our chimney will be swept Weds.

Other projects:

Dining Room & Rug:  The rug effort made great progress yesterday. I got the 3 rugs stitched together and started on the first border. I need to do 2 sets of border stitches. Then I need to clean up the stitching, knot and tie off the ends. THEN I’m done! Still several hours away, but definite progress!

The rug effort required the dining area be cleared out a bit, which it was. Still more to do there as well, quite a bit, with the furniture move I have in mind, but it will happen, eventually! We are loaning our old table to a gallery, that will help, but the table top detaches from the legs, so that’s only 2 pieces in what is an overcrowded room. Still, every bit helps!

Electronic Purge: Re the electronic purge? I have about 2800 emails in my email’s trash folder. They are purged automagically when they’re there for 30 days. That leaves approx. 25,300 in my in box.

We went to the dump THREE times yesterday, so aside from the 10 bins of leaves, there are definitely fewer items here!


Much of this process, which now has gone on for years, has seemed futile. I keep relearning what I’ve happened on every once in a while. That is, that the people with neat houses make it a priority. To them, the mess is simply unacceptable. For me, for years it was inevitable and another sign of how “flawed” I was.

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Photo by Kristian Seedorff on Unsplash

I’m not flawed, I just need to learn to think in new ways. The bins being used in the leaf effort is an example.

The bins were bought to hold twigs and other kindling. Fine. Most of them were empty on the porch this spring, making a bit of a mess, but not much, they stack. However, I’d run out of trashcans, used most of my reusable leaf bags, and still had many piles of leaves in the yard. A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that a summer use for the kindling bins could be holding leaves before hauling them to the dump’s leaf pile! And the yard became instantly more attractive as the full bins were stacked in front of where the cars park and the leaf piles disappeared.

I just don’t have the “neat muscle” yet.  But I’m working on it!