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Archive for February, 2010

tsunami

February 28th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

What terrible news about the earthquake in Chile. It seems lately that there is more bad news than there is good.

Closer to home, over the past week, a 22 month old toddler drowned in a dam 40 metres from his home, an 8 year old girl was abducted from her bedroom, murdered by a 19 year old boy, and found 12 hours later dumped in a drain, two separate car crashes have claimed the lives of 6 young people, a 13 year old boy was stabbed to death by another boy at a school, two men died trying to rescue a mate who fell over a cliff, who also died, and a man may have lost his eye after being glassed outside of a pub...


It's times like these that should make people realise just how much they really have, and if they can, to give a little to those who have lost a lot.

And to not take so many risks. So many people lose so much sometimes when unnecesary risks are taken.

A report on the radio this morning talked about the fact that our area had a tsunami warning from the Chilean earthquake, the beaches were closed for the day and people were told to stay away. Instead, crowds of people gathered ON THE BEACH. Sure, nothing happened, but are people so ridiculously STUPID that they think nothing bad can ever happen to them???

i told my dad, so now i actually have to go through with it!

February 25th, 2010 at 12:21 am

I told my dad about my plans to enrol at uni in November, and sent him a link to the course outline (Bach. Commerce) etc etc.

I think I'm doing this, actually, I KNOW I am doing this, so that I actually go through with it. I feel a little like I'm standing on the edge of something, about to jump, with no idea of what I'm jumping into! Scary! Frown

My best friend is not happy with my decision. *shrug* At least she is honest right? I have to separate her concern with the fact that she probably doesn't want me to leave our workplace, which is where we met, and where we both work. I know she's concerned because I've expressed on occasion that the thought of Uni makes me want to cry/sleep/scream out of boredom. However, it really depends on my mood, like with anything for any normal human being.

Take cooking for example. Surely most of you have experienced joy at some stage in your life out of preparing food, and probably a lot of the time it's been a chore too.

Anyway, I'm getting off track. It's impossible for me to explain to her my future plans, because she's one of the types that has to 'do do do' all the time and doesn't see the need to lay foundations, everything has to be instant or it's not worth it, and on top of that, she thinks everyone should do what they want to do. (I'd love to make a career out of watching Scrubs re-runs, however, I don't think it's entirely possible, nor profitable...)

*sigh* does anyone get where I'm coming from? I mean, I'm aware that the next 3-7 years isn't going to be exactly glamourous, but, I know it's going to give me insight, tools and security to allow me to eventually do what I want to do - which is something I am unable to do 'right now' at this very moment.

Anyway, the point of this post is to say that yes, I told my dad. So I think it's actually going to happen. DF is excited about it for me too Big Grin

The semester starts in November, so over the next few weeks I am going to look at the things I have to do regarding HECS-help and the actual applying process. *eeek*

I am also going to give my boss a few months more RE: the Apprenticeship. I don't have high hopes, but it could possibly happen. I can't remember exactly when I asked the first time, but I am sure it was around November last year.* If I give him til June, then I know I've waited long enough, right? I think? I don't know! What would you do in a situation like this? How long are you supposed to leave something on the table before changing your mind? How long do you leave the ball in your employers court before deciding that it has been ignored for long enough???

* EDIT: I checked through my entries, and I asked my boss on the 19th of November.

fighting off a cold

February 24th, 2010 at 11:53 am

I have had the beginnings of a cold/flu/whatever for the past couple of days. It started with a massive headache, then the next day a sore throat, sneezing and sinus. It has not progressed past that, and a bit of tiredness. A pretty terrible flu has been going around so I hope that my intake of ginger, garlic, lemon, honey, zinc, vitamin c and ecinacea over the past few days is what has stopped it progressing!

It is rather odd, this happened last time everyone else got a flu bug going around - I thought I was getting it, but only got the minor stuff. Which is great! I'm not complaining!


updates

February 21st, 2010 at 10:56 am

I have been generally sticking to the meal plan that I made for myself about a week and a half ago, which is great Big Grin We have not had takeaway and other than running out of coffee and milk, I haven't really had to go to get supplies for anything other than on shopping days.

This afternoon I will post another weeks worth of meals. I think we will be eating out on the weekend, as we are staying at DF's cousins house to help her with moving and putting in a new floor at her new house. (DF is making $200 in side money too, which is nice! Technically I am too, as I'm helping. I am dreading it, as every time I help DF with work, my hamstrings KILL me the next day) Smile

It is 4.50am here on Monday, another week of work JUST about to begin. I listed a book on eBay, after selling one last week. But it hasn't had any bites. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I have two more books to list but I have to finish reading one first.

I screenprinted my little sister a shirt for her birthday, I am sending it by express post today. The shirt was $12 and the postage will be about $5 - hope she likes it.

My plan is no takeaway this week again. We did well last week and the week before, our expenses are going well, except my $80 shorts Frown but I wore them yesterday, LOVE them.

DF built Banjo his kennel last week and it's finally sitting next to Jeds. He went in it straight away, and Jed in his. It's so cute. When you go outside they both run out to greet you. Big Grin

all I want is some shorts!

February 19th, 2010 at 03:58 pm

I really don't know why it's so difficult for me to find a pair of shorts that I like, but it is. It's now getting closer to winter which will mean stores will stop stocking them and then I will really be in trouble!

I have had one pair of past-the-knee length shorts and one pair of short(er) shorts for a while now, and the shorter ones are now too big and fall down (butt cleavage = NOT an attractive look) and the longer ones are so threadbare that they ripped in the washing machine a few weeks ago Frown

So I decided this time around I would go for one pair, and go an in between length.

Well guess what, the only pair I can find that I remotely like is EIGHTY DOLLARS!

WHAT?!

I guess I live under a rock re: the price of clothes. I have a lot of clothes and the only time I *usually* buy them is when I don't need them, but I see a good price/deal etc. So I guess when I do NEED something, I am shocked with the full price of things.

I don't think I've ever paid more than $30 for a pair of jeans, and they aren't CHEAP jeans, I just seem to find them when they ARE on sale and buy them then, instead of waiting until it's winter time when I'm in deperate need of something.

Same with shirts and t-shirts. I rarely pay more than $10 for them, usually only $5, and these tshirts normally sell for $40 or more, button up shirts around $50.

But hey. I guess I've resigned myself to the fact that I may have to spend the money this time. I would wait - but there are just some things you can't do while wearing a skirt... Frown

feeling a bit unappreciated :(

February 18th, 2010 at 12:16 am

I'm probably not surprising anyone with what this blog entry will be about; because I've blogged about it several times before.

I'm sure a few of you remember my previous posts on the whole "what am I going to do for my future career/job/employment/study" issue.

However, this time it's different! Because it's not actually my fault for *not* doing anything.

Basically after several years of tossing up between some sort of apprenticeship (chef or pastry chef) or going to university to study something that would result in an office-ey job, I finally decided to talk to my boss about doing a fast tracked apprenticeship so I could get qualified for the job I do now (pastry chef). It was supposed to take 18 months and the details about pay were rather hazy; my boss waved his arms around and said it would be fine and I could just do the same hours and get the same pay I get now, instead of doing full time work for apprentice wages. He said he would talk to the trainer that does everything for our apprentices, and I would probably be qualified in no time.

We started to have a conversation about it last week at work, it actually started because he said that he would be looking to put on another apprentice soon, as one he has is about to qualify, but this time he would put one on that is under 18, as he gets more benefits for them. I jokingly bought up the subject of MY (nonexistent) apprenticeship.

He said that he HAS talked to the trainer, which is a good step. And then he started to go on about how they don't do some things now that they used to do, and something about it taking three years, and something else about reduced pay and 38 hours a week. He then finished with "but you'll be fine anyway, you'll be able to get a job anywhere as a cake decorator."

Which is all fine and dandy, except I've been there for nearly five years and I'd like atleast something to show for it. I also find it hard to believe that it's impossible to work out some sort of individual training contract with me. I'm not asking for MORE money, or MORE work, I'm asking for the SAME thing I have now, only a signature on a slip of paper at the end. I even offered to pay for my training costs.

Basically what I got from the conversation is that it's too hard, they can't do it, and I should probably forget about it.

So this conversation happened last week, and this week I feel rather unappreciated and a bit glum to tell you the truth. Normally I don't mind my job - I'm happy when it's home time, but I don't *hate* being there. But today I just could not wait to leave. Even though I've been there since my boss started the business (he personally asked me to work for him, and poached me from another job I had), I feel like 'just another worker'.

So all this has started me thinking again on the subject of what I'm going to do. I know I'm 'only 22' and that I have 'lots of time' and that 'I don't even have to DO anything at all anyway other than work a day to day job', I just personally feel like, yes, I do have to DO something.

My other option was to study accounting at university. It's a three year course. Sometimes the idea of it bores me to tears, but other times I think it'd be nice. I do *love* figures, money, tax etc, all that. I find it interesting when other people's eyes glaze over at the mention of it. So I know I'd possibly not be *bad* at it.

My Ultimate Goal in life is to open my own cafe with possibly some sort of design/art/book store theme. Maybe.

Anyway, so both of these inital 'career options' I had in mind will help me with this Goal. I will at some stage have to do more study into book keeping if I do this. It's what my other part time job is, but I do it with the knowledge that an accountant will check everything over for me at the end of each financial year.

If I did an accounting degree and got a cushy job at a company, or started my own book keeping business for tradesmen & sole traders, I would be able to a) live reasonably comfortably, possibly get some sort of maternity benefits and even allow DF to stay at home with the kids (a la Monkey Mama style! Smile) and b) save up enough to have a 'starter fund' for my Ultimate Goal.

The pastry chef apprenticeship and eventual qualification would have resulted in more knowledge and ability to create products to eventually sell at my eventual Ultimate Goal - and learn a bit more about the goings on of a hospitality business (though I do have a firm grasp at this point).

However, it looks like the pastry chef thing is a no-go. I've had enough waiting around for other people to get things rolling, I think it's starting to wear me down a bit and I feel a bit restless. I feel like while I'm currently doing what I'm doing now, I need to be doing something else as well. Otherwise I feel like I'm going no-where. You know???

So I'm thinking that mid year (August, I think) I will apply for the Uni course. I think I just need to dive in and do something, even if I do one module and hate it, the $1k the module will have cost me is a small price to pay to make me realise I *don't* want to do that.

So overall it's a fairly happy outcome.

But the main thing that annoys me is that it takes so much effort for me, personally, to ask people for things like that (the apprenticeship).

I get stressed, worried and fear getting rejected. I get this niggling feeling that people will think I'm not worth the effort. So for it to fizzle out like this with no real enthusiasm on my boss's behalf only reinforces my belief that I shouldn't bother, and if someone, anyone, wanted to offer something to me they would have already.

breakdown of property rates

February 16th, 2010 at 07:14 pm

Paid our 6-monthly property rates today. We got a $61.50 discount for paying it before the 19th.

Would you like to know what we get for our property rates? (I mean other than being safe in the knowledge that our council members just approved themselves a 3.2% payrise...)

Water Consumption Charge: $59.40
Water Base Charge: $105.50
Sewerage Base Charge: $258.00
Waste Bin: $93.50
Environmental Levy: $30.00
Public Transport Levy: $10.00
State Fire Levy: $75.60
General Property Rate: $521.50

Total: $1153.50
Less Discount: -$61.50
Total: $1092.00


Oh! The joys of being a homeowner!

hmmm... odd!

February 15th, 2010 at 05:29 pm

Since my rant here a bit over a week ago, DF has cleaned out the gutters, dipped the dogs in flea treatment, mowed the lawn, taken the dogs for a walks in the mornings a few times and started to make salads for lunch again. Big Grin

So either he reads my blog (hello darling! i love you!) or is psychic.

On the weekend I repotted my tomato plants (pictures to come soon!) and my basil and parsley. I also planted some rosemary seeds (again) to see if they would germinate. I doubt the temperature drops below 23C at any time right now, so they SHOULD germinate, otherwise there is something wrong with the seeds!

I can't believe my basil and parsely are still alive. I am a terrible gardener. I get all excited about growing my own food, but then remember to water and feed them about once a month. My mint and marjoram have died, withered into brown dried up clumps. Frown I grew the mint from seed so will try again with that soon.

I have gotten a single cherry tomato from the tomato plants. They are about two feet high and I have staked them. I grew them from seed too, so that's very exciting for me Big Grin There are six plants.

I also planted some more lettuce seeds, this time in a different pot with more room. Last time they grew to about two inches high and then stopped growing. Might be ok if I was a fairy and in the mood for a salad, but I'm obviously not (a fairy, that is.)

I think this weekend I will go to the market and buy a couple more herb seedlings - and this time LOOK AFTER THEM properly.

Meat Free Monday!

February 11th, 2010 at 11:15 am

Every week I get the Goop Newsletter (written by Gwyneth Paltrow) sent to my inbox, which is probably the closest I will ever come to following a celebrity. I find the articles interesting and sometimes I learn new things.

Last week was a letter written for the Goop newsletter by Paul McCartney, about an initiative called Meat Free Monday.

Obviously I'm not learning anything new here, but the concept is great and the facts are interesting. Everyone knows that meat is expensive, so this is where the financial side of it ties in. I thought all you SA'ers might like to read the article anyway! Smile


Ok, here's the story on Meat Free Monday. In 2006, the United Nations issued a report which stated that the livestock industry as a whole was responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole of the transport sector put together.

I found this interesting particularly because people at the UN are not a vegetarian society and therefore, could not be accused of bias. They pointed out the following facts:

The Livestock industry produces gases that are extremely dangerous for the future of our environment.
The two main gases, methane and nitrous oxide, are considered to be more harmful than CO2 (methane is 21 times more powerful than CO2 and nitrous oxide is 310 times more powerful than CO2) so the data suggests that this is causing a highly dangerous situation for ourselves and, more importantly, for future generations.
Methane also remains in the atmosphere for 9 to 15 years; nitrous oxide remains in the atmosphere for 114 years, on average, and is 296 times more potent than CO2 - the gases released today will continue to be active in degrading the climate decades from now.
Livestock production is land intensive: a recent report by Greenpeace on land use in the largest meat producing state in Brazil found that livestock (cattle) production was responsible for vastly more deforestation than soya.
A third of all cereal crops, and well over 90% of soya, goes into animal feed, not food for humans. Eating less meat will free up a lot of agricultural land which can revert to growing trees and other vegetation, which, in turn, will absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Livestock production is water intensive: it accounts for around 8% of global human water use. The estimated 634 gallons of fresh water required to produce one 5.2 ounce (150g) beef burger would be enough for a four-hour shower. For comparison, the same quantity of tofu requires 143 gallons of water to produce.
Livestock production is the largest source of water pollutants, principally animal wastes, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures.
The meat industry is set to double its production by 2050 so even if they manage to lower emissions by 50%, as they have promised to, we will still be in the same position.
With this in mind, my family and I launched Meat Free Monday in the UK, an idea which has been gaining support from people like Tom Parker-Bowles who, after a lifetime of denigrating vegetarians, recently wrote in his Daily Mail column, "I wince at the memory of my boorish "antics" and who pronounced himself "intrigued" by MFM: "There's no doubting the plain common sense of the message…Meat Free Monday is something to really savour". Another supporter is Al Gore who stated that initiatives like Meat Free Monday "represent a responsible and welcome component of a comprehensive strategy for reducing global warming pollution and simultaneously improving human health."

Even a number of schools have already done this in the UK with great success. The town of Ghent in Belgium has a meat free day and, amazingly, Sao Paulo has one even though Brazil is a large exporter of meat. In Sweden, the government is now labeling food to give the consumer the opportunity to understand the dangers of indiscriminate food consumption and there are many more examples appearing online.

The point is that so many people these days are looking for ways to "do their bit" for the environment. We recycle - something we never would have dreamt of doing in the past. Many people now drive hybrid cars but most people understand that we cannot leave this important issue to the politicians of the world. Recently, at the Copenhagen Conference for Climate Change, this issue was not even on the agenda and so I believe it is once again left to us, the people, to do it ourselves.

It's amazingly easy to take one day in your week, Monday or any other day, and not eat meat. When you think about it, there are so many great alternatives, for instance, in Italian cooking, so many of the dishes are vegetarian already and Thai and Chinese cuisine are the same. All it means is that you have to think a bit about what you'll eat that day but, in actual fact, far from being a chore, it's a fun challenge.

Having been a vegetarian for over 30 years, I find it very simple and in fact, tasty and most enjoyable.

So there it is! Next Monday - don't eat meat and do your bit to save this beautiful planet of ours. For more information, ideas and lots of meat free recipes, go to the official Meat Free Monday website.


two more points to the challenge

February 11th, 2010 at 04:00 am

Today I had coffee with a friend, but she paid for me Smile Next time I will pay for hers.
Yesterday I also had coffee with another friend (I know right? I'm a social butterfly...) but I used a reward card that had enough points on it to redeem for a small double shot mocha.

Does this count? If I did not have the reward card, I would have not purchased the coffee with cash, as I wanted to add an extra point to the challenge...?

paid $4.50 for a cup of coffee yesterday :O

February 9th, 2010 at 11:19 am

I have always lived under the general assumption that smaller, sidewalk cafes were cheaper. And GENERALLY they are! I can on most days, get a double shot flat white for under $3.80. (AU)

Imagine my shock when I had coffee with a friend and was told the price was $4.50.

It's not a big deal, but I still felt robbed.

It was a bad day for eating out. Temptation was rampant:

Yoghurt Clusters: $2.97
Coffee: $4.50
Icecream: $2.45

Frown

Saved $3.45

February 8th, 2010 at 08:45 pm

I just switched my mobile phone bill to an e-statement, as they decided to start charging me a $2 fee for paper statements last month.

Also I decided to pay our electricity bill by B-Pay, which saved a 0.6% processing fee (which works out to be $1.45).

Isn't it funny how many fees they try to hit you up with?

In other news, our electricity bill is around the normal cost, which at first was VERY disappointing for us because we have been diligently turning powerpoints off when things are not in use (only thing using power when we are not home/not using something is the fridge - for obvious reasons) etc etc. HOWEVER then I realised that for the same length of time as the bill, we have been cooking with electricity, as opposed to gas which we would have used if the stove or oven was going. So technically our work has paid off... sort of.

health food store shopping

February 8th, 2010 at 05:05 pm

Spent $25.00 at the health food store today. I bought:

dried kidney beans
ground psyllium husks
rolled oats
dried pineapple chunks
whole brazil nuts
dried apricots

yoghurt cranberry clusters

bentonite clay

The yoghurt cranberry clusters were an impulse snack buy, so today I don't get a point for the challenge Frown

Bentonite clay is something I have been looking for. It is used in face masks for cleansing. I bought $7 worth (it is $35 a kg), but it should last me a loong time, as you only need a little bit to make into a paste. I am excited to try this out.

All the rest are for healthy snack bundles for DF's lunches and for me to make my own muesli.
Since we have had no oven for months now, my baking products shelf has been sitting there, contents unused and neglected. Then I realised at the supermarket the other day, as I was contemplating buying a packet of muesli, that I have virtually everything I need, on that shelf (rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts, coconut). I bought some bran for $1.87 and made my own muesli. Big Grin
So I used up some items, and decided to purchase some more to make my breakfasts a bit fun. Hence the dried pineapple and brazil nuts.

I have heard that psyllium husks are one of the best sources of fibre, and it is so over priced to buy it in the supermarket (in fancy containers with exciting names and bright packaging).
This is where some health food stores are great, as this particular one I go to, you can buy it from containers and scoop out as much or as little as you need. I will be adding the ground psyllium husks to my muesli.

Plus everything that I just bought, was certified organic. Smile




Currently Listening To: Warriors Dance - Prodigy

updatorama

February 7th, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Had a good day money-wise, NSD for both of us. Which means another point to the challenge as well! I think that's 3 now.

I took the dogs for a walk today but it was cut short by Jed getting bitten on the paw by a green-ant. Poor thing hopped the whole way home. I tried to put some ice on it, but he just ate the ice Big Grin He's a tough little nut.

After that it started to rain, so I utilised the weights we were given. I have to say it FELT like I was using weights for half an hour... but more like probably 10 minutes Frown

After that I did an hour of ashtanga yoga (with a dvd), had a shower, washed my hair, took an overnight dvd back (Red Cliff) and got home just as DF did too.

He had collected a bench press seat from his grandad. How exciting. I used to bench press weights in school (I know - not exactly a girly thing to do - it was only because a friend of mine had one in his room and I used to go there and hang out. eh. *shrug* the things you do when you're bored huh!)

It has rained for the past four days. It's been beautiful. I LOVE rain.

It feels like the cooler weather is coming soon. Bring on jeans, cardigans, scarves, soups, hot chocolate (with low fat milk *cough*) chai tea, blankets etc... Can't wait!

I have an extra shift this week, only a 6 hour shift, but it will bring me about $122 extra before tax. Yay!

We have started watching TV again. Correction: I have started watching TV, and have therefore forced DF to Big Grin The Biggest Loser & So You Think You Can Dance have both started. They're absolute trash but it's my guilty pleasure.



Currently Reading: Concertina - Susan Winemaker