I’m ending my NoBuy Year and try out becoming a Minimalist.

in 2020, I wanted to explore minimalism more, not with the goal of becoming one of these trendy people who have empty apartements and capsule wardrobes, but with the goal of reducing “noise” and overstimulation from my direct surroundings.

Then came the Sars2 Pandemic and all my “NoBuy” and minimalism plans were put on the back burner while I needed to learn about what to do, needed to learn to live in a society struggling with the new virus.

While many people stayed at home, I had to continue to go to work, and additional stuff needed to be taken care of, so I could not use additional free time to transform my home into a more minimalist wellness space, but now in this period of calm before the (hopefully mild) second wave here in germany, I’m diving into minimalism and decluttering inspirations once more.

I always thought that to be a minimalist, I need to have only a small amount of posessions. I find now that’s not true. The number of my posessions or the amount of empty space in my room are not what matters most in this question. I go more with Marie Kondo here, who says that after doing her decluttering method, you will end up with the amount of things which are right for YOU.

On this blog “becoming minimalist” Joshua Becker writes “minimalism is intentionally living with only the things I really need”. And that is the point I disagree with. For me, minimalism is more what Youheum from “Heal Your Living” says: “Minimalism is the practice of conscious limitation that leads to abundance and prosperity in other areas”.

And exactly this started when I went on my no-buy Journey (and I’m now in year 2 of buying nothing and in year 3 of buying no new yarn for my knitting hobby). I automatically paid more attention to stuff I already have, and decluttering my stuff, I automatically ended up with stuff I really like and like to use. And I ended up actually using the things I own and doing what they were there for, so my focus shifted from having things, to doing things. For example, instead of having 3 nice yoga mats, one can actually do yoga.

So as a beginner minimalist, my goal is to come to the place where I truly feel I don’t have too much stuff. I’m not there yet, but that’s what my conscious limitation is about. I don’t know where it leads from there, or if there will be a journey further into minimalism, but that’s not what I worry about at this time.

I will never be the person with an empty room, because I’m creative and like to do lots of things with my hands. Therefore, I have lots of supplies and tools.

  • sewing stash (fabrics and supplies)
  • knitting stash (yarn)
  • spinning stash (fiber, fiber processing tools and spinning tools)
  • art supplies
  • bookbinding stuff
  • witchy stuff
  • musical instruments
  • outdoor camping gear
  • some things needed for sports/exercise

while I certainly overaccumulated things in every category, I don’t think I’ll end up getting rid of a whole category of supplies. My goal is to keep doing these things mentioned above, but having smaller, better curated stashes with things I like to use.

I like the mode I’m in during a “NoBuy Year” and I want to make this mindset a permanent one. And instead of calling it a permanent Nobuy-Period, I’d rather just call it minimalism.

NoBuy Check-in

So that is at the same time my NoBuy Check-in after half a year. I haven’t paid much attention to not buying stuff, but I haven’t bought anything except for a couple of ebooks, a yoga towel, and a paddle for the inflatable boat my parents found on their attic. And I replaced some broken bicycle parts and an old, worn down shower curtain. that’s all not spectacular and I find I have nothing to talk about any more on my nobuy-journey.

So, while some end their noBuy-Year to go back to responsible shopping and spending that is actually good for them and serving them well (also a very good idea) I’m trying out minimalism. Because, really – I have everything I need for my hobbies already, I don’t know what I would need to shop for anyway.

I just went to my Nobuy-Year wishlist and looked at what I had wanted to buy and had put on the list to wait to see if the wish to buy these things was long-term. I just crossed out the 2 bigger things (an e-reader that is not by amazon, and a TWSBI fountain pen). I decided to keep using the e-reader I already have and that I have more than enough fountain pens already. And the rest were little everyday items like darning needles. Really – who puts darning needles on a NoBuy-Wishlist! I think I exaggerated a bit here.

So yes – Goodbye NoBuy, Hi Minimalism!

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Corona und das Praxiskollektiv Reiche 121 (reblog von indymedia)

Vorwort: Ich habe schon vor 2 Wochen einen Link zu diesem Text im Psiram-Forum gefunden, da war er über indymedia aber nicht erreichbar. Jetzt ist es auch gerade schwierig, indymedia zu erreichen, ich finde den Text aber wichtig und deshalb veröffentliche ich ihn so wie er ist auf diesem Blog. Ein ganz großes Danke an die Autor*innen “Peacock Mantis Shrimp” für die Recherchearbeit und den Diskussionsbeitrag!

Lizenz: CC-By-SA – Autor*innen: Peacock Mantis Shrimp – ursprünglich veröffentlicht am 29. März 2020 (!)

Eines der ältesten Praxiskollektive Deutschlands, die Kreuzberger Hausärzt*nnen Praxis Reiche 121 veröffentlicht verharmlosende Informationen über die Corona-Pandemie und stellt sich die an Seite zweifelhafter Expert*innen, die auch in rechten Medien veröffentlichen. Der Artikel beleuchtet die Argumente des Kreuzberger Praxiskollektivs und versucht diese zu entkräften.

Linke sind meist keine Mediziner*innen. Das ist ein Grund von vielen, wieso die aktuelle Corona-Pandemie viele Genoss*innen etwas ratlos zurücklässt: Soll ich nun aus Solidarität mit Risikogruppen härtere Ausgangsbeschränkungen fordern oder den Verlust bürgerlicher Freiheiten in Zeiten der Kontaktsperre anprangern? Welche Position bezogen wird, hängt auch maßgeblich davon ab, für wie gefährlich man das Corona-Virus hält. Der Hunger nach Informationen über das Virus und der Verbreitung von Covid-19 ist groß. Der Virologe Christian Drosten von der Charité ist mit seinem täglichen Podcast seit Wochen auf Platz 1 der Apple Podcast Liste. Doch bietet Doc Drosten keine linke Perspektive auf die Pandemie und hält sich mit politischen Einordnungen zurück. Anders das in Berlin bekannte Praxiskollektiv Reiche 121 in Berlin Kreuzberg. Kaum ein*e Genoss*in aus Kreuzberg oder Neukölln, die nicht schon mal in der Reiche 121 vorbeigeschaut hat. Die Schlange vor der Sprechstunde wird in der Erkältungszeit zum Szenetreff. Umso enttäuschender sind die Veröffentlichungen des Praxisteams zum Thema Corona-Virus. Das Kollektiv beklagt auf seiner Homepage „die Überflutung von Laien mit epidemiologischen Zahlen, die ohne Vergleichszahlen mit dem “Normalen” dann eben oft geradezu apokalyptische Visionen entstehen lassen und vor allem eines tun: Angst und Panik verbreiten“. Weiterhin diagnostizieren sie ein „Übergewicht von Meldungen und Berichten, die das worst-case-Szenario in den Vordergrund rücken“ und prangern das Aushebeln von Freiheitsrechten an. Auf den ersten Blick durchaus nachvollziehbare Kritik an der aktuellen Berichterstattung. Sie schreiben weiter: „Wir sind der Meinung, dass aufgeklärte Menschen sehr wohl zu einer Einschätzung der Gefahr und einer Schlussfolgerung für den Umgang damit in der Lage sind“.  Das ist eins der Probleme des Textes: Sind Menschen nun Laien, die von Zahlen überflutet werden, oder aufgeklärte Subjekte, die selber entscheiden können? Oder will das Kollektiv sagen, dass die Mainstream-Medien uns am Aufgeklärt-Sein hindern?

 Schauen wir uns an, wie das Praxiskollektiv aufklären will. Es beruft sich auf eine Vielzahl von Expert*innen, die eine gelinde gesagt optimistische Einschätzung der Pandemie vertreten. So weisen sie auf Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi hin, der in einem YouTube-Video erklärt, dass nur 10 Prozent der mit dem Corona-Virus infizierten Menschen überhaupt krank werden. Quellen dafür nennt er nicht. Das Robert Koch Institut beruft sich auf drei Studien und schätzt, dass 51-81 Prozent der Infizierten durch das Virus erkranken.[1] In einem anderem Video setzt Bhakdi auch die Todesrate viel zu niedrig an. Es stimmt, dass am 18. März 10.000 Menschen in Deutschland mit dem Corona-Virus infiziert und bis dahin 28 Menschen gestorben waren. Bhakdi rechnet dann die Zahl der Toten auf 30 Tage hoch und kommt auf einen Toten pro Tag. Wieso er aber 30 Tage für 28 Tote ansetzt, wo doch die ersten beiden Todesfälle am 9. März zu beklagen waren, sagt er nicht. Bhakdis geht in seinem worst-case Szenario von 1 Million infizierten und 30 Toten pro Tag in Deutschland aus. Diese Zahlen sind deutlich zu gering. Die Zahl von über 800 Toten pro Tag bei 92.400 Infektionen in Italien und ebenfalls über 800 Toten pro Tag bei 78.000 infizierten Menschen in Spanien zeigt, dass der Virus weitaus tödlicher ist als Bhakdi behauptet.[2] Auch in Deutschland, wo das Gesundheitsystem noch nicht zusammengebrochen ist, waren allein am 28.3.2020 90 Todesfälle registriert worden.[3] Prof. Bhakdi ist also ein schlechter Aufklärer für das Praxiskollektiv, wenn man positivere Szenarien der Corona-Pandemie für wahrscheinlich hält.

Eine andere Expertin, die das Praxiskollektiv ins Feld führt, ist Prof. Karin Mölling. Diese gab Radio Eins ein Interview, von dem sich der Sender anschließend distanzierte, weil er Teile des Interviews für zynisch und verharmlosend hält. Karin Mölling ließ sich nicht beirren und vertritt ihre Thesen nun in der verschwörungstheoretischen Radiosshow KenFM. Moderator Ken Jebsen behauptete in seiner Sendung unter anderem, dass der Women‘s March on Washington 2017 vom jüdischen Investmentbanker George Soros gesteuert wurde, damit die Anzahl der Abtreibungen zunimmt und Soros am Verkauf toter Embryonen an die Pharmaindustrie verdienen könne. Eigentlich keine Person, der man gerne ein Interview geben würde. Doch ebenso gern gesehener Gast bei KenFM ist Wolfgang Wodarg. Auch er wird vom Praxiskollektiv Reiche 121 als Experte herangezogen, der die Corona-Pandemie als weitgehend harmlos einschätzt. Nur ist Wodarg ein Experte? Wolfgang Wodarg schrieb seine Dissertation 1974 über die psychischen Erkrankungen von Seeleuten. Seitdem ist keine wissenschaftlich Publikation von ihm bekannt.[4] Wodargs Ansichten sind vielfach wiederlegt[5]: So zum Beispiel seine Meinung, das Corona-Virus sei nicht neu, also nicht neu vom Tier auf dem Menschen übergesprungen. Das ist deshalb wichtig, weil es vier Arten von Corona-Viren gibt, die beim Menschen endemisch sind und gegen die das menschliche Immunsystem gewappnet ist. Bei einem neu auf dem Menschen übertragenen Virus besteht keinerlei Immunität in der Bevölkerung, es gibt keinerlei Impfung oder Medikamente und er verbreitet sich sehr schnell. Das ist es, was den Virus so gefährlich macht.

Wodarg vertritt seine Ansichten auch im Interview mit der rechtspopulistischen „Journalistin“ Eva Herman. Das Praxiskollektiv nimmt Wodarg in einer neu hinzugefügten Stellungnahme explizit in Schutz. Das Kollektiv schreibt u.a.: „Seine Entscheidung, auch umstrittenen Medien Interviews zu geben, kann kritisiert werden, ihm deshalb eine Nähe zu rechten Verschwörungstheoretikern zu unterstellen ist abwegig.“ Ernsthaft? Wer KenFM und Eva Herman Interviews gibt, kann man keine Nähe zu Verschwörungstheoretikern unterstellen?

Insgesamt liest sich die Liste der Expert*innen und Links in der Veröffentlichung des Praxiskollektivs wie direkt von Wodargs Homepage abgeschrieben. Doch auch diese Expert*innen widersprechen sich. Ein zentrales Argument Wolfgang Wodargs ist zum Beispiel, dass der PCR-Test auf Corona-Viren noch gar nicht validiert sei und viel zu viele falsch positive Ergebnisse angebe. Das würde die Infektionszahlen in die Höhe treiben. Der ebenfalls vom Praxiskollektiv zitierte Virologe Hendrik Streeck hält den derzeit verfügbaren PCR Test jedoch für den „Goldstandard“, auch wenn er Maßnahmen wie Ausgangssperren sehr kritisch gegenüber steht.

Das einzige fachliche Argument, welches die Mediziner*innen aus dem Praxiskollektiv selbst ausführen, dreht sich um die Situation in Norditalien. Das Kollektiv legt nahe, dass es sich dabei entweder um eine regionale oder gar keine Besonderheit handelt. Es listet eine Reihe von Faktoren außer dem Corona-Virus auf, welche die Situation in Norditalien hervorgebracht haben könnten. Diese Faktoren sind mal mehr, mal weniger valide: So ist es plausibel, dass der marode Zustand des italienischen Gesundheitssystems zu einer Überlastung und damit zu einer höheren Anzahl von Toten beigetragen hat. Weniger evident, aber zumindest nachvollziehbar ist die Behauptung, die regionale Luftverschmutzung sei ein entscheidender Faktor für die hohe Todesrate. Es gibt darüber aber keinerlei Studien und der „Beleg“, welchen das Kollektiv verlinkt, ist lediglich eine Karte der Luftverschmutzung in Europa. Wenig glaubwürdig scheinen jedoch die Faktoren „Massenpanik, ausgelöst durch die Berichterstattung (staatliche Institutionen, Medien)“ und „veränderte Wahrnehmung und Einordnung der Situation durch Ärzt*innen“ zu sein. Hier wird suggeriert, dass die Menschen in Norditalien quasi an Realitätsverlust leiden, während die Mediziner*innen in der Reichenberger Straße einen kühlen Kopf bewahren und die Wahrheit erkennen können. Auch verliert die Aufzählung von vermeintlichen lokalen Faktoren als Ursache für die dramatische Lage in Norditalien an Plausibilität, wenn in Spanien derzeit ebenfalls über 800 Tote durch Covid-19 gezählt werden (Stand. 29.03.2020) und auch im Großraum Paris mittlerweile Intensivbetten und Beatmungsgeräte fehlen und in China neue Krankenhäuser aus dem Boden gestampft wurden, um die vielen Erkrankten behandeln zu können.

Insgesamt ist die Darstellung der Situation in Italien widersprüchlich. Denn der selbst gesammelten Faktoren zum Trotz behauptet das Kollektiv ebenfalls, dass die Situation in Norditalien eigentlich dem Normalzustand entspeche:Ihr zentrales Argument ist, dass ein Teil der mittlerweile ca. 800 Corona-Toten pro Tag in die normale tägliche Sterblichkeit von 1.800 Toten in Italien eingerechnet werden müssten. Das Argument lautet zusammengefasst: Diese Menschen wären sowieso gestorben, sie hatten unter anderem eine Corona-Virusinfektion, aber die muss nicht ursächlich für den Tod gewesen sein. Selbstverständlich ist es nicht immer eindeutig, ob zum Beispiel ein Herzversagen durch die Covid-19 Erkrankung ausgelöst wurde. Doch zu behaupten, dass die Virolog*innen und Epidemiolog*innen von China über Südkorea bis Großbritannien und Deutschland in ihren Analysen und Modellen einfach vergessen hätten, dass in einer Gesellschaft immer Menschen sterben, klingt absolut unplausibel. Das Kollektiv stützt seine Argumentation mit einem Verweis auf die Sterblichkeitsrate in Italien, die in der Zeit der Corona-Krise nicht angestiegen sei. Mittlerweile ist das Praxisteam in dieser Hinsicht etwas zurückgerudert und gibt an, dass es  wohl doch einen Anstieg der Sterblichkeit in Italien gibt. Diesen Anstieg setzen die Autor*innen jedoch mit der Grippewelle von 2017/18 gleich. Hier werden Äpfel mit Birnen verglichen: das Kollektiv listet Faktoren für die besondere Situation in Norditalien auf und es stellt die Frage, ob es überhaupt mehr Tote in der Lombardei als in den vergangenen Jahren gibt. Dann argumentieren die Mediziner*innen aber mit der Sterblichkeitsrate für ganz Italien, in der die Toten in der Lombardei offensichtlich weniger durchschlagen.  (Randnotiz: Noch gibt das Kollektiv das mittlere Alter einer verstorbenen Person mit Corona-Virus in Italien mit 81 Jahren an. Mittlerweile ist dieser Wert auf 78 Jahre gesunken.)

Das Kollektiv macht in ihrem Statement ein Stück weit das, was sie anderen vorwerfen: Sie picken sich selektiv Expert*innen heraus, die ihre Position bestärken, stellen unbewiesene Vermutungen an und blenden aus, was ihnen nicht in den Kram passt. Zudem begeben sie sich in schlechte Gesellschaft: Als Linke sollte es doch mindestens stutzig machen, wenn man Expert*innen zitiert, die von Rechten hofiert werden und sich fragen, was dann mit der eigenen Meinung nicht stimme könnte. Das Praxiskollektiv hat Recht damit, wenn es betont, dass wir sehr wenig über das Virus und die Krankheit wissen. Es ist wichtig, dass wir staatliche Maßnahmen hinterfragen und Mehrheitsmeinungen in Diskursen auf ihre Stichhaltigkeit prüfen. Die wenigen Linken, die gleichzeitig Mediziner*innen sind, tragen in dieser Situation eine besondere Verantwortung. Kritik an staatlichen Maßnahmen und Strukturen darf nicht auf der Grundlage von Verharmlosungen erfolgen, und diese Verharmlosungen dürfen nicht mit Hilfe von zweifelhaften Expert*innen und fragwürdigen Argumenten legitimiert werden.

Wie es anders geht, zeigt das Bündnis „Krankenhaus statt Fabrik“. In seiner Stellungnahme zum Corona-Virus kritisiert das Bündnis Jens Spahn und das kaputtgesparte Gesundheitssystem, ganz ohne sich in halbgare Spekulationen über die eventuelle Harmlosigkeit des Virus zu verlieren.[6] Ein paar linke Mediziner*innen gibt es wohl noch.


[1] https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Steckbrief….

[2] Zahlen vom 29.3.2020. Infektionszahlen nach https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

[3] https://www.welt.de/vermischtes/article206504969/Coronavirus-In-Deutschl…

[4] Zum Vergleich: Christian Drosten wird in über 300 peer-reviewed Artikeln als Autor oder Co-Autor aufgeführt.

[5] https://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/medizin/coronavirus-die-gefaehrlichen-falschinformationen-des-wolfgang-wodarg-a-f74bc73b-aac5-469e-a4e4-2ebe7aa6c270

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/faktencheck-wolfgang-wodarg-verbreitet-thesen-die-wichtige-tatsachen-ignorieren/25654104.html

https://www.swr3.de/aktuell/Faktencheck-Coronavirus-Video-Corona-kein-Grund-zur-Panik-mit-Dr/-/id=4382120/did=5578566/1x656ik/index.html

[6] https://www.krankenhaus-statt-fabrik.de/53183

Weirder Bike Scavenge

On my beloved Masto Instance (well, it’s not mine, I am just on it and love it there), Rabbithearth started the “Weirder Bike Scavenge” as a fun activity during the Corona-Times, where you have to do social distancing but can go outside alone with your bike. Here are the rules: https://weirder.earth/@rabbithearth/103855696639729671

And here we have the challenge – Part B: https://weirder.earth/@rabbithearth/103963691967758696

So this is my part A and because I took more pictures, also one pic of part B.

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This first pic was a8: 3 colours of flowers in one shot. I thought this would be hard, but it actually was the first photo I took. I took it in the community garden in my neighbourhood. I gardened there 10 years ago. Nice to see it’s still thriving. I have no idea what these flowers are but I like how unspectacularly they show their colours on that lawn.

This is a bonus picture. It was not part of the challenge. It shows my bike on a small city square under a blooming magnolia tree. I love those.

A2: an abandoned bike. This is weird, because there is the frame of the bike, the handlebars, a bike basket and the rear wheel, and the rear wheel has no spokes and is tied to the rear fender with wire. So I think this bike was probably used for decoration before it was thrown out on the street..

This is accidentally the Challenge Part B1: Stairs, which you carried your bike up. I took this picture because of the beautiful pinkness of the stairs. And I did carry my bike up those stairs, but after the shot.

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A7: Your bike somewhere a car definitely wouldn’t be: This is my bike, and me, and my partner on a terrace under a building, which is hanging over the terrace and it has metal mirrors on its bottom, so we are seeing our own reflections when we look straight up at it. Fittingly in the corona crisis: the umbrella cover next to us looks like a giant roll of toilet paper. I love this photo.

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A6: A body of water. This is the Spree river and our city districts main sight: the Oberbaum bridge.

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A3: A pro-indigenous graffiti. I had a hard time finding that in Germany, so I chose to look for a pro-refugee graffiti. the hashtag #leaveNoOneBehind is about evacuating refugees from a camp in Greece where they live under terrible conditions, and give them safe housing and healthcare in the EU. So far, the EU is not doing what they need to do to save lives. Also the windows in that house look like a face.

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A1: A plant growing in an unlikely spot. This is an unlikely plant for this setting, but I didn’t look up which one it is, it is not the usual “break through the asphalt” species. I admit I didn’t find a plant that grows in an unlikely spot. This was the best I could do.

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A4: Something that looks like a face, unintentionally. This is the red colour on a wall of a (now temporarily closed) club in Berlin, it has come off in part and the remnants look like Darth Vader. Ok it’s not a face since Vader always wears a helmet.

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A5: A fungus. This is a tree fungus growing in the local park on the trunk of a dread tree.

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A9: Something that reminds you of a friend (call them out): This is an advertisement for a “Ostalgia” (GDR-nostalgia) restaurant in Berlin, and it reminds me of a friend who is also very prone to GDR nostalgia. But this friend will remain anonymous here!

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I just had to take this pic because the place was quite magical. By chance it also fits the B-Challenge. B6: A place you’d never set foot before, within a few miles of home: It’s an empty amusement park ride (“Boxauto”) and in the background a ruin maybe built in the 1980ies where letters read “Haus der Materialisierung” (house of materialization). It is close by where I live, but I never have been here before!

NoBuy Year 2020 – Febuary check in

February is over and I went over my budget.

People I talked to told me that 200€ were a lot of money for a month and in my experience, that is not the case. In a month with 31 days, that’s about 6,50 per day. And if that is the budget for everything but rent and recurring bills, and has to pay for everything from food to public transport tickets to going to a café sometimes to replacing stuff that needs to be replaced… that’s not that much.

I spent 137€ on groceries, which comes to 4,72€ per day. (January was 3,80€ per day) Also I bought bus tickets in advance, for a yarn festival in Leipzig that will take place in April. They were 24€. I also spent 7€ on replacing a safety reflector vest that I somehow managed to lose, 8€ on a present, and 1,50€ on a measuring cup. The other thing I bought was vitamin supplements for 23€ total, because I’m going 90% vegan this year, after having been 90% vegetarian for the last 20 years. I never really had thought of my nutrient needs. Going vegan is a good opportunity to change that. Lastly, I spent 26€ total on food and drinks in the café where our knitting meetup is taking place and on getting falafels when I had my last tattoo session.

In the end, that made me go over my budget by 23€, but to me, my spending in February still feels very minimalist. In contrast to January, I did not buy anything but stuff that was really necessary. But I spent more on drinking coffee and eating falafel, a little more on food, a bit more on health, and the things I bought were more expensive than the used gadgets I bought in January.

So it is a tiny bit disappointing to have not bought anything, having had the shortest month of the year, and still having been unable to stick to the budget. This won’t be a problem though because I went under my tattoo budget in February and my paycheck for January was a tiny bit higher than expected.

Despite not buying anything gadget wise, I received a nice gadget as a gift: It is a sigma bike computer. One of the old fashioned ones where a sensor is installed at the front wheel and the computer counts the revolutions of the wheel per second and calculates the speed and distance of one’s ride. I used it to track my bike kilometers in February, and I did ride 304km! However, the bike computer was not programmed to recognize leap years, and it threw my total off a little.

So yay, on to March!!

Stuff I enjoyed in February:

  • Knitting
  • Cooking delicious food
  • playing table tennis with my coop mates
  • taking walks in sunny weather
  • Getting tattoos
  • using the new bike computer that I received as a gift

First NoBuy 2020 Check in: January

So far, it’s going very well!

I’ve been budgeting in order to save some money for getting tattooed and two thirds into the month, I was clearly under my budget of spending 200€ per month for everything. If all goes well, I’ll have some money to save at the end of January, which is next week.

I spent most of my money on food, some staples had to be bought, like soy sauce, tea, or coconut oil, and I got a large amount of potatoes and apples. Now that I’m checking prices much more, I do realize how much cheaper packaged food is in comparison to unpackaged food. One extreme example were apples, which cost 3€ per kilo unpackaged, and 0,70€ per kilo when you bought the 2kg-plastic bag. I thought that was obscene, and so I decided to buy a 5kg carton box of apples for 5€ at another supermarket.

I’m sticking to my low waste principles nonetheless, because this is not about saving money at all costs. It is about not buying unnecessary stuff, and for me, buying low waste is a thing I deem necessary and worth doing. I have given in to buying tofu in plastic packaging though. I want to eat the nice tofu products, and I don’t have time and gear to make tofu at home.

And I think I’m going to stop buying vegetables at our local farmers market. It’s such a posh market that the stuff there is horribly expensive. Most of the time, the local organic store is cheaper and, unlike most vendors at the farmers market, the food is organic, and they get vegetables from a local leftist farmers collective/coop. So… much better overall!

Don’t buy – DIY!

Doing a Nobuy doesn’t mean you have to miss out on nice things, though: I had used up two nice candles that had come in decorative glasses, and I refilled them using wax from burned candles and a wick I had in my stash. Also, I ran out of body lotion and tattoo aftercare, and my hand lotion bar is also almost used up. All of those 3 things got replaced by a homemade lotion bar (link leads to the recipe) I could completely make out of ingredients I had at home! I used beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil, plus a few drops of vetiver essential oil. It turned out that this homemade lotion bar works as well als the super expensive “ClimbOn” hand lotion bar I had before, it soothes itching and moisturizes healing tattoos, and it does a good job as a body lotion, too.

Things I bought which I didn’t “need”

I put need in quotation marks because at the end of the day I needed all of those things. I don’t regret anything, on the contrary. They are more than pure survival, but nothing is just a luxury.

The stuff I bought “in addition” to bare necessities amounted to about 35€. The biggest thing was a used mandolin from ebay Kleinanzeigen for 10€, because I realized eating cabbage was a cheap healthy winter veggie but cutting it was so much work that could be so much easier. This mandolin cutter is a great tool and I don’t regret buying it! It’s also made from steel and very sturdy, the blade can be replaced or taken out to sharpen, so it’s also very sustainable.

The other things I bought were darning needles because I had misplaced all of them and gave up after searching for them on two consecutive days. And a bamboo toothbrush, because the toothbrush I keep at work needed to be replaced and I thought I could get a greener one this time.

The other expenses were 5€ for beverages at the cafe where we have our bi-monthly knitting meetups. Usually I would spend 15-20€, because we get nice takeaway food at Knit Night, but I stuck to my goal and had brought my own food from home.

There were a few stamps – I had decluttered some photos of graffiti of the 90ies and instead of just throwing them away I chose to send them off to someone who was interested in them. Also I miscalculated the shipping costs for an ebay item I had sold and so I had to pay 1€ extra.

And I bought a safety razor which is quite popular in the “Zero Waste” community, because my razor from the 90ies is running out of blades and they’re all throw away plastic parts which I plan to avoid in the future. I got it used on “ebay Kleinanzeigen” for 8 Euros, and even from someone in my neighborhood!

OOPS – unforeseen expenses

Near the end of the month, one of my bicycles’ pedal hooks broke in half. I had to get replacement parts from the bike store, and even though they mounted it for free and gave me a little discount, it cost 20€. There could have been a cheaper solution, but I really like the pedal hooks, with them you can push and pull the pedals without having clickie-pedals. It’s better for the knees.

Free things I enjoyed in January

Me and some folks on Mastodon are doing a sports-along together, and a couple of them are also doing the new years program of “Yoga with Adriene” #YWAhome. Also some folks have set themselves a challenge to walk at least a mile everyday and they’re tagging that with #FrozenFeet2020. I’m doing both, the yoga and the walking, but I don’t manage to do everything every day, and that’s okay.

Another thing I’m enjoying is cooking delicious recipes. I’m trying to eat more vegan this year and because I’ve got a pressure cooker now, I can cook beans and chickpeas really reaaaally fast. This is not really a free thing, but it’s cheaper than buying ready-meals or eating out. We found a nice recipe for peanut sauce and made this a few times now! I also got tattooed and I sometimes bake for my tattoo appointments. That way me and the tattoo artist and their colleague can have a little cake. So I made an awesome vegan banana bread from stuff I already had at home.

And I’m really enjoying working with things I already have, I’ve spread out my yarn stash and checked everything, as I do every January. This is always the time of year when I’m highly motivated to enjoy knitting up all this beautiful yarn.

And finally, I’ve watched all the Nobuy year videos by Hannah Louise Poston on youtube, the beauty youtuber who got this all started. I knew that TQ, who originally got me on board with the NoBuy, was inspired by her. But I hadn’t yet watched her content myself. Now that I did, I have to say that she really dives deep and self reflects on her consumer habits in a very interesting way. And, as a side effect, I learned a lot about beauty and skincare.

Reflections

This month, I encountered difficulties in getting a refund from my health insurance. I’ve been making calls and talking to people about this for one year now and the sum I’m going to get is 160€. Which is a lot of money, but a year of hassle and phone calls?! While the hardest thing was to find out what’s actually blocking the process of getting this refund, now this has changed. Insurance told me what is in the way, and my dentists office is kind of refusing to give it to me, I called 3 times and they promised to help me 2 times, and the third time they emailed me to inform me I’m wrong and didn’t actually need the thing. Now this has become the hardest thing.

I love to feel financially independent, but budgeting and saving money for things I love, plus the setback with this refund makes me feel dependent and bad. Suddenly budgeting and being on a nobuy year isn’t fun, it’s horrible. Next week I’ll try to convince them that I need this paper or try to convince the health insurance that they don’t need it. But right now, I’m waiting and feeling shitty.

I used to have an attitude towards money that didn’t put too much weight on money. “It’s just money”. It’s just a symbolic thing, it’s totally replaceable, it has no emotional value, I don’t care about it!

The trick was not to act as if it was “just money”. I acted like I very much took care of my money, but in my mind I didn’t think like that. This allowed me to be frugal but not feel constrained and bad about “having to” be frugal.

I caught myself clinging to these 160€ which I didn’t even have and feeling bad and constrained and like outside forces literally stole my money (which they did, but that’s not my point). What I have told myself in the past was “It’s just money” and then I took a little break and picked up the threads again a month later, and that is what I need to do now. I need to say goodbye to those 160€, make peace with the fact that I need to work a few shifts more if I really needed this extra money, and then, in practice, continue trying to get it.

This was a really interesting observation for me, because all of my life, I’ve been good in dealing with money. So I never had to learn what exactly made me good at it. I think this is a piece of the puzzle: Act like you give a shit with money, but don’t give a shit in your mind.

Another thing I noticed is that now that the newness of buying low waste and tidying up Marie Kondo-Style is gone. When I stopped shopping in 2019, I could redirect these energies into getting high quality unpackaged food and spending a lot of time with stuff I already owned by Konmarying it. And because both of these things were super fashionable (Marie Kondos Show had just aired on Netflix, and everyone was talking about it) I never felt like deprived of taking part in trends and fashion fads. I could consume a trend by living anti-consumerism, and that seems like a contradiction, but that was what it was.

In 2020 it looks like I have to do the real thing now. And it is time to remind me that while the fancy feeling of novelty has worn off, those things are still here in my life and I can still use them as tools: becoming more picky instead of craving random things, and cherishing what I already have.

Wishlist

Also, according to my rule that I have to ponder new acquisitions before I make them, I’ve started to list stuff that I want on my Wishlephant wishlist. I don’t know if that is wise, because it reminds me that I wanted the stuff and eliminates the chance that I just “naturally” forget about wanting some things.

There are some small things on the list that I’ll eventually get with my monthly budget, and there is a big thing (the e-book-reader) that I will most likely not buy this year, because it is just too expensive, and I already have an e-reader, but it’s a kindle and I want to become independent from Amazon and be able to read books from the library on the reader. That is impossible with the kindle.

Another thing I might need this year is a newer phone. I am currently using an old phone from 2012, wich I got in 2017, it works well, but some apps don’t work with it any longer. I found it very essential for navigation on my cyclingtour in 2018. The only thing I used for navigation then was my phone. The alternative would be to get a used navigation device and continue to use the phone, for telephone calls only and whatever app continues to work. I would have to research the lifespan of navigation devices though. If they aren’t significantly longer than those of smartphones, it makes sense just to find a newer phone.

But – and that is also a possibility – maybe the phone makes it to 2021, with navigation working on it!

Untitled

happy 2020: Some fireworks garbage on the streets on january 2nd, 2020

Hello 2020!

This is just a little diary blogpost.

a bottle of all Purpose cleaner

Today is a holiday and a day off for me. And I finally got around to cleaning my floors. Last year, during my “Zero Waste Challenge”, I set aside a bottle of vinegar and lemon peel to marinate. I finally got around to straining it and out came the most nicely smelling lemon cleaner! So I put that into a bottle and made a nice label for it.

Shaking the dust out of the rugs, sweeping the floors, mopping.. and then the mop bucket broke. It has this mop dryer where you can squeeze the water out of the mop, and is just a regular plastic bucket in an oval form. It was so old that all the plastic softener had evaporated, and just looking at it funny makes it crack.

So it was time to throw out the mop set completely – I have a scrubber-broom and I could reuse the mop’s handle for that, and I have a nice cleaning rag, and I also have a regular round bucket. That will do the job perfectly. The mop was getting old as well and it had become hard to clean with it anyway.

New year, new room – and finally some yoga again. We’re doing a little sports-along in the fediverse, people can join using the hashtag #MoveIt2020.

New years room

Apart from that, I was having a lazy day with lots of knitting, I planned on doing a review of the year 2019, but I don’t know if I’ll do that today. My bullet journal is all set up for January, and I’m very excited to do a real noBuy-Year this year.

New Years Eve was quite relaxed, there were much less fireworks than usual, and I got to spend the most stressful time comforting my cat while sitting in our tool closet. While explosion sounds usually dominate all day and the night, this year it was only loud around midnight. I’m a fan of the new fireworks mindfulness.

Also, I want to get back into my No-Sugar eating, I had taken a break from it for the holidays. Which was a good idea!

NoBuy Rule Addition

since deciding on my Nobuy Year 2020 I have made a financial plan for this year. There are two major things coming up that I need to save money for, which is my tattoo sleeve project and my 3 month sabbatical, where I will not have any income from work. If I’m sticking to my plan, I can make it all come true, but I will have a budget for eating and everything else of 200€ each month.

I also want to keep my low waste lifestyle going, and this means I have to get most of my food organic. I think 200 € per month is fine to live off, everything should work out if I don’t need a new computer, phone, washing machine, etc. I hope that all these mentioned devices will continue working well in 2020.

So my additional rule is: don’t spend more than 200€ a month for food and all other necessities, if possible.

A Walk in the Park

I decided to go for a walk outside on this cold sunny day, before heading to my workshift. It is Sunday and the park was full but I managed to find some lesser crowded spots there.

Park

Up the stairs on “Kleiner Bunkerberg”. It derives its name from a bunker that used to be there. After World War 2, the bunker was buried under rubble from the destroyed city. Everything was thrown over the two bunkers here, and then a park was planted on top of the two rubble hills.

Wintersonne

A bit of greenery in the sunlight

Me

me, almost incognito by being out of focus, with a bottle of hot tea.

Vogelfutter

someone had put a little granola on a stone railing and the birbs were happy to pick it up.

Efeu 2

growth and decay

Bicycle in the park

back with the bike

NoBuy 2020!

How did my Nobuy Year 2019 go?

My NoBuy Year 2019 is almost over. And I mostly stuck to my rules which were: No yarn, no stationery, pens and art supplies, no outdoor gear, no toiletries and bodycare products except for when I run out or something needs to be replaced.

I bought two fountain pens, which was against my rules, and I replaced a set of camping stove pots maybe a tad too soon, and recently I bought a bar of soap after I could not find the bottle of liquid soap I still had. (When I could not find it, I assumed I must have used it up). Other than that, that’s it (except for the stuff I’m forgetting right now) Ah, no – I bought a box of paper for my bookbinding hobby, although I have enough paper already.

But I bought a few other things. Like noise cancelling headphones, a (used) pressure cooker, new shoes, concert tickets, and other things like a (used) shredder (for old papers, I was doing the #Konmari thing) I replaced an old electric toothbrush with a new one and I bought a t-shirt as well. A thing I found annoying: I had konmaried my “electric komono” (sorry for the lingo, komono means “miscellaneous items”) and I had a few battery chargers. But I could not remember where I had put them. So I became certain I had thrown them away and bought one, only to find them again 2 weeks later.

Still, that is not much buying, and all in all my nobuy-year 2019 was very successful.

My goal was to reduce or even stop my “retail therapy” habit, that means, times when I would go and get myself some nice stationery or art supplies or yarn or outdoor gear to make myself feel better.

I also wanted to stop buying things that I craved because they were advertised to me in a very convincing way. I don’t mean big companies with big ads. I mean smaller companies whose stuff is just so cool and trendy and it’s permanently marketed at you via influencers: Zero Waste Gadgets like stainless steel food containers or fancy glass bottles, for example. I already have such a food container and I have enough reusable bottles, I can also just reuse a single-use glass bottle from the store if I want one.

and thirdly I wanted to use and appreciate what I have. I wanted to “shop my stash” instead of shopping in stores.

And it worked. And I want to keep going, because it made my life better!

I was even able to save some money to spend on tattoos, I got a staggering 5 tattoos this year! And I went to two nice concerts, and I did do two amazing cycling tours in 2019. I don’t feel that I have missed out on *anything* in 2019! Hooray!

No Buy Rules 2020

1st rule: Buy nothing. No art supplies for example, no stationery, clothes, yarn, fabric, books, skincare products, electronics, outdoor gear, and also no yoga subscription. Yes, radical! I love it! Instead of defining what I can’t buy, I will define what I *can* buy.

So, here are the exceptions:

things I can buy:

  • replacements for broken things I deem necessary and if I run out of anything, like bodycare products.
  • food, of course. I can buy all kinds of food and that is the one category where I don’t want to sacrifice quality for frugality. What I want to aim for is packing a lunchbox more often, instead of eating out or buying takeaway food.
  • Bike Maintenance and repairs are very important and of course I will get them, because I know a good bike mechanic and I’m very grateful I don’t have to repair stuff myself.
  • I can buy train tickets for going on holiday etc., concert tickets, and get tattooed. The nobuy year serves the purpose of not accumulating useless stuff, and it’s not about depriving me from experiencing things or doing my.. (cringe) ..”tattoo journey”. I will however have to be mindful of money in 2020 so I might cut back on concerts to save money for travelling.

Acquisition rules

  • *If* I buy something, I want to be mindful of it, and that means I want to first repair the things I have, if possible. If repairing is impossible, only then can replacing something be an option.
  • If I feel I really want and need to buy a thing, I want to wait 2 weeks at least, better 4 weeks or as long as it takes, until I decide if I want to buy it or not.
  • If possible, get things second hand.
  • I want to write down what I spend on things.

Finally, I’m curious to explore (very cautiously) minimalism in 2020. I don’t think I will ever become a minimalist, but I always was fascinated by the idea of simple living and I have always felt attracted to it.

The Best Things Are Free: A beautiful stormy sundown scene at the river with willow trees and a small campsite – a place I visited in August when we were doing a cycling tour along the Havel.

3 Years of Bulletjournaling

two bullet journals side by side - my first one and my current one. Bulletjournaling November 2016 - November 2019

I can’t believe that it’s now been three years since I started bulletjournaling! It is actually the first and only organizing system that worked for me over a long period of time. I don’t know why that is, but I’m very glad it does. Because wow, do I need it.

My style of Bulletjournaling

From when I started my bujo in November 2016, I have had what some people call a “Messy Bujo”. I started it all inspired by a friend and a group of people who had a “messy bulletjournaling” group on a now vanished internet platform. Before that, I had only seen examples of fancy, decorated Bujos on social media, and it was not that interesting to me back then. So I watched the intro video on Bulletjournal.com and was fascinated by the simplicity, and I started right away.

Bulletjournaling November 2016 - November 2019

I used the basic elements of bulletjournaling as explained in the video. I made some collections, I started some gratitude pages but I never kept up with them, I tried a food diary and didn’t keep up with that, and then I returned to the basics. Monthly logs, daily logs, a future log, an index, done.

I’m still doing that. trying out stuff and mostly sticking to the basics. Once I tried to do weekly pages, but they became too redundant, either they were a repetition of the monthly log or they were condensed daily logs but without enough space. At the moment, I’m trying out a so called “rolling weekly” where you do not migrate a task from one day to the next, but you write a to-do-List for the whole week. I will have to see if that works for me, because writing daily logs and migrating tasks to the next day is not a bad thing for me: after writing a task for the 6th time, I usually finally do it.

Bulletjournaling November 2016 - November 2019

I added a tracker or two, I wrote down notes when I read a book, I used the bujo for grocery lists.

Bulletjournaling November 2016 - November 2019

Why does this work for me while other stuff did not work?

Perhaps because it is very practical. I had notes lying around in my room and it was hard not to forget which thing was written down where, and after stuff was done, they got thrown away. Having one place for all those notes? Great! Thanks to the bujo’s index, everything can be found later, so I don’t have to section the book off or write stuff in any particular order. I think that is one big point why bulletjournaling works for me and why I could keep going with it, in contrast to all the other methods of self organization(tm) that I had tried.

It’s also very fast! Before, I had tried digital reminders and to-do-lists like “remember the milk”. It wasn’t sustainable, because really, it takes so much time to unlock the phone, start the app, type in the stuff, and look at the stuff. So I didn’t write it all down, but what mattered more, I never looked at those lists. Doing it digital is just very slow. Opening an analog book takes only a second. And since I’m not a person who is always on their phone anyway, I tend to find it tedious to unlock my phone first.

It’s also adaptable to what you need: In the first year, I never used the monthly log as a calendar, because *that* is something that worked for me digitally. And in years back, my calendars/planners never got used beyond the first 2 or 3 weeks of a year, because the calendar format is not really what I need most in my planner/notebook. What I need most are actually the task lists. (I added the monthly logs/calendars back in later, and stopped using the digital calendar, but if I didn’t want them, I didn’t have to use them.)

The system accounts for imperfection: most times, I don’t get my task list for the day done on that day. Sometimes I don’t get a single thing done. Before, I had written To-Do-Lists and it became frustrating when they accumulated more and more items and they really never got done. The method of migrating a task to the next day or next week is much better for me: A list gets completed, because all the items are either done or migrated.

I have migrated a small task to the next day, and the next week for 5 weeks now, which is shameful, but that’s just how it is. Eventually, I will get to it. This system is very friendly towards people like me who sometimes postpone a simple thing to the next day. and the next day. and the next day. It does not make me feel like a horrible person who’s ineffective, it makes me feel normal, because there’s a method for it, and one that eventually helps me get those things done.

And lastly, the big variety of fancy stuff and ideas and inspiration that you can put into your bujo. While I mostly do keep it basic, I like to watch some fancy bujo videos, and I do like to try out fancy layouts sometimes. And that also keeps me motivated to stay with the system. And when I don’t have time for that? I can always fall back on the bare basics and just write my simple logs with a pen in a simple book.

How effective is it for me?

I don’t think I’m a very effective person. For me, it’s hard to stay organized, and I am very forgetful and often need reminders of basically everything. Before the bujo era, I could remember the most important things and my forgetfulness weeded out pretty much everything else, and if I forgot tasks, other people would have to remind me of them..

Sometimes it feels as if this stayed the same, I am still forgetful and some stuff just isn’t on my mind. But thanks to the bulletjournal method, the amount of stuff that I am able to organize has greatly increased. Basically, I have become much better, while the challenge has become bigger as well. So… same same, but different. yes, all is pretty good!

Bulletjournaling November 2016 - November 2019

what’s in my everyday bike pannier?

#EDC

Some Meta

#EDC or #Everydaycarry is a hashtag that has been around for a while. I encountered it first as the “manly” way to post about “what’s in my handbag”, and as such, I think it’s a bit shitty, and demonstrates fragile masculinity. But, on the other hand, I don’t have a handbag any more, and I think people who aren’t manly bros should perhaps make this hashtag a better place.

but.. have you done a websearch for this? what comes up is preppers, survivalists and bushcrafters, and even though I am a person who loves camping and outdoors and touring and nature and bushdraft, the toxic masculinity of all this is simply too much for me. And there are commercial sites that market wallets, knives and flashlights, clearly to men. And I hate stuff that’s marketed to only one gender.. That’s why I just titled this blogpost “What’s in my everyday bike pannier”.

What do I carry around every day? Winter edition

I’ll start on the top left corner and move to the right: This black object is just a baseball cap. I wear glasses and if it rains, this cap prevents my glasses from getting wet.

Next to it on the top is my “Zero Waste Kit”: A glass jar, two fabric bags, a spoon, chopsticks, and a water bottle. If I plan on ordering takeaway food, I also bring my tiffin lunchbox, but I don’t have it on me all the time. I also don’t have the jar with me all the time, but the fabric bags and the cutlery are small and light enough, I don’t bother to take them out of my pannier if I don’t need them. And a water bottle is always a good idea. This one is double walled and can keep water cool or tea hot.

On the top right corner is this rust coloured bag, and it contains rain pants and rain covers for my shoes for cycling. I can also put a rainjacket inside, but now, in november, I wear the rainjacket anyway against the cold wind, so it doesn’t often make it into this bag.

In the next row from left to right: A patchwork bag with an ebook reader in it. A little black pouch with fountain pens and a USB flash drive in it. Another little bag/pouch with a battery pack and charging cables in it. (My phone is not on the picture, by the way, but it should have been there) and knitted gloves/wristwarmers. I don’t have the wristwarmers all the time, but the gloves, yes.

On the bottom: my purse, a chapstick, 2 cough drops, a bottle of essential oil, one handcream which I got in 2016 and I’m still using up, a “peeing stick” that allows me to pee standing up outside, and my bullet journal.

Sometimes I also have an Opinel knife with me, but lately, I didn’t, for no particular reason.. mainly because I don’t need one in the city.

In my purse is also a tick removal card, that’s a handy tool with which you can pull out ticks, and it has a credit card format. I also sometimes have a bicycle multi-tool with me, but at the moment, I don’t. If I have a puncture or something breaks, I can just haul my bike to the next bike shop or take it home with the subway. Luckily, this almost never happens. I always pack some basic bike tools and a pump when I leave the city, but now, in winter, I mostly only commute.

That’s it! So, what’s in your backpack/bike pannier/handbag/pockets?