Monthly Archives: December 2008

Eating Healthy

I’ve come to realise that it’s really hard to eat well on a budget. I mentioned this a while ago, that I’ve stopped going to Revive because as healthful and tasty as it is, it just doesn’t do the job in terms of filling me up. I’m small, I hover at around 50kgs. But I eat A LOT. I really need food to function; when I’m hungry I feel faint and sick and take it out on everyone around me. So it’s in my best interests to stay fed and full. I don’t know why I get so hungry…it’s not like I even work out or do much physical labour (apart from all that bloody house cleaning), nor is my job super stressful or mentally taxing. I guess I just have a high metabolism.

We don’t tend to eat much in the way of fruit / veg. I don’t actually like many fruits, something I need to work on. I like berries and melons, bananas, mandarins and sometimes apples. I don’t like tropical fruits, which I’m hoping to change! I’ll eat fruit salad occasionally. And we don’t eat many vegetables, because like I said, they are expensive and don’t fill you up. Sure a cucumber can be a dollar in summer, and goes nicely in salads but how far does it go? Capsicums are one of our favourites but they can hit $3 a piece. I used to buy bagged salad greens for sandwiches but found they got soggy within a couple of days. (With our new fridge, maybe it’s safe to start getting them again.)

We need to learn how to cook vegetables again. Now it’s summer we can probably let that slide and just collect a ton of salad recipes, but with vegetables it’s really important to plan meals. I know jack about cooking vegetables, apart from dumping them in a stirfry, or roasting them or making potato salad. Oh and my fave, fried cabbage and onions. But that’s pretty limited, and often we just don’t know what to do with greens so we leave them be. And all too often we buy them meaning well, but find them wilted and rotten in the fridge at the end of the week.

This week we did a pretty comprehensive plan which, amazingly, contained some vegetable components! Last night we had a yoghurt, tomato, cucumber and red onion salad. We’ve been getting sick of eating the same old food every week, so we tried to mix it up this week. Our plan looked pretty gourmet compared to what we’ve been eating. Unfortunately, although our taste buds benefited, our wallets didn’t. Each meal contained more than two or three ingredients, so it cost a lot more when we went to the supermarket. Our first meal included meat and a salad – so once we included all the different veges, there were six or seven separate things to buy! All those little things added up (even natural yoghurt!). But I’m happy with that, in moderation…dinners are much more fun, and if we can add a few greens in there a few times a week, all the better.

If no one still believes that it’s PRICEY to eat healthy, check out http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/health/nutrition/04well.html and http://onedollardietproject.wordpress.com; I followed it for awhile and it’s really eyeopening.

Working through Christmas

Got to love Christmas week!

I’m wearing jandals to work! The general atmosphere is just really light hearted and fun, the end of the year is in sight and there’s even Christmas trees to add to the festive spirit.

Although the 24/7, year round nature of the industry can be a pain it’s a boon for me this year; the hours are definitely needed. It was very hard last year being forced to take two weeks off, and then not ending up going away! Two weeks spent at home doing nothing, coupled with a car accident made for a pretty lame break.

Facebook and different generations

Facebook is a really interesting topic to ponder. Just listening in to conversations at work got me thinking about how differently I perceive it, and use it, compared to slightly older people. I’m talking maybe late 20s to early 30s, and older too.

Basically these ladies were lamenting the posting of photos on FB (of them, put up by others). They’re all very polished, groomed women and are always looking their best, especially out and about and at functions. But not everyone looks perfect all the time; by the end of the night your makeup’s wearing off and your hair’s a little wild and you’ve been dancing unabashedly and are a little worse for wear. And they were none too happy with some pics posted on FB of them that they thought were less than flattering.

It really worried them that they couldn’t control this aspect; that others could post stuff about them without their permission. One of them also complained about old schoolmates posting photos of when they were young and awkward (but weren’t we all pretty dorky to some extent back in the day?). I have photos on FB from primary school (posted by someone else) but I really don’t care. I did not enjoy my school years, but thankfully as time passes the bad memories fade. I just look back and laugh. I think it’s hilarious! We’ve all changed so much. I think it’s cute and it’s great that those pics are up there for us to look back on one day.

Although I’m not much younger than these people I guess it’s quite a different mindset, and they are after all in much later stages of life than me. I guess if you’re in publishing or media or politics or have an otherwise high profile, you have to protect your reputation and guard your online identity as closely as possible.

I get why they use cheap industrial toilet paper at work. I mean they must go through masses of the stuff. Fair enough. But must they use industrial strength handwash? If we have to skimp, can’t it be on something else? I just find it really ironic that I wash my hands every couple of hours in the bathroom, then immediately have to apply gobs of handcream to offset the hideous, intense drying effect of the pink goo. Then back to the loo, using the industrial strength detergent, and another application of handcream. I mean, it just seems so pointless! Wasted time, energy and money.

But apparently the whole building is closing at 1pm on Xmas Eve, so that’ll be nice – a half day!

Why I want a house of my own

I really, really want my own house.

Is it weird that I browse ‘properties for sale’ on trademe when I’m bored? When I am still in uni, don’t have a hell of a lot saved, want to travel in the next few years and don’t even have a licence? Lol. Occasionally, to be more realistic, I look at properties to rent, but the sale section is my indulgence. It’s my guilty secret.

I am perfectly aware that it makes NO sense to be even thinking of buying anytime soon. No downpayment. Want to travel. May change jobs….so need to be flexible and able to move. The boy needs to get out of debt and establish some savings. I probably will get a car at some point (shudder). But I really, really want a place of my own…and I can’t help myself. It doesn’t help that prices are almost affordable now and interest rates tumbling. I haven’t looked at the mortgage calculators recently (definitely not since the cash rate started falling) but I assume payments would be more manageable than earlier this year.

Why do I want to own a house? As much as rent is way cheaper than mortgage payments, and it’s putting a roof over me for comparatively little, that’s still over 5k a year in somewhat ‘dead’ money. When things break I want to get them fixed not because we have to but because we WANT to. I want windows that open properly and don’t stick. I want hall cupboards and a real closet in my room. And a dishwasher. I don’t want to be constantly eyeing up every little thing and thinking oh no, that’s going to come out of my bond. Every speck on the carpet, paint chip, whatever. The plywood panel on the front wall of our house is damaged. I don’t know how when or why it happened, I just noticed it one day. and I know that we’ll have to deal with that.

And when we find out there’s a water leak I want to get that sorted promptly, not faff around for months while it worsens and we have to foot the bloated council water bill. When he gets back from his break I’ll have to inform him that the wallpaper in our lounge is cracking and peeling majorly and we probably have water damage…..not looking forward to that. We’ve had no issues thus far, but this is a big thing and I’m sure he’s not going to want to shoulder that. But frankly, it’s a structural thing and we are not responsible. He was pretty good about paying for the cracked shower base (when the PM he had at the time told us to pay for it) so hopefully this too will be okay.

Ever since the dramas of our last flat I know how selfish, greedy and ruthless landlords can be. I’ve learned. As much as our current one seems nice, I know we can’t trust him – especially when it comes to move out time. He’ll want to recoup anything and everything. He raised our rent on us for no reason – when rents are actually holding static or falling…and, I’m pretty sure, tried to con us with that line about his friend being willing to pay an extra $55 a week!!!

There’s just nothing quite like living in a place that belongs to you,IMO.

What am I, Cinderella?

Man, I don’t know how people have families and work full time. Housekeeping is exhausting! It could be a fulltime job in this house.

I’ve nixed the idea of cultivating cute veggie plots in the garden beds out the back. They are weed-strangled; it’s going to be a mission to dig up my garlic. And it’s not worth it! I don’t have the time or inclination to maintain the backyard. We were so stoked to have a full section and garden. But we don’t ever use it. I venture out to the clothesline a few times a week. I had a compost heap out the back for a bit. But otherwise the grass grows freely and goes untrampled. So we’re paying a guy every three weeks to mow everything, and getting no pleasure from it.

It’s just that vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dishes, cleaning to stove and benches, and the toilet, shower and basic gets on top of me. Seeing as we’re staying here another year I don’t foresee any of the workload changing. After that well I hope to be living without flatmates, or with mature ones who tidy up after themselves and pitch in for communal/chores cleaning. That worked here for about a month. Didn’t last long.

One day I shall have a cleaner, who’ll come in once a month to do things like clean the cabinets, stove, oven, windows, and go over the house really well….

Nearly paid off!

I cannot wait to have my bed paid off! For someone who seems to be financially sussed, more or less, this was my worst decision ever. It’s on an outrageous interest rate, and they keep sending me ‘offers’ in the mail (which funnily enough have increased exponentially in the leadup to Christmas…suspect??!) It’s a total waste. They are colour printed cards, wrapped in plastic….much like the insane packaging on PR products sent in at work, I can’t stand to think much is wasted for the sake of marketing.

I should probably ring and opt out, but it’s too much trouble…only a couple of months to go, and come to think of it I haven’t had anything from them for a few weeks. No mailers telling me I’m preapproved for a laptop for 4 years at 20 a week.What a privilege! The boy spotted one of them once, a flash phone caught his eye and so did the $20 a month payment. I had to admit it was a pretty good price, too, which I didn’t like to admit. Until we saw it wasn’t actually a monthly payment…it was weekly. Ouch.

Paper (and virtual) overload

I really need to get more organised with my paperwork. My bank statements only come monthly but I swear those buggers are arriving more like every week. Plus the boy’s, so double that amount. Bills. Letters from uni. Insurance letters. And more.

Bills tend to join the clutter on my desk and float for a couple of weeks until they get paid (always on time, naturally). Bank correspondence does too, piling up for a few months until I have a fit, get out my hole punch and file them away. I really should have a more streamlined process…like, intrays or to do trays…but these are just such small things, surely it doesn’t warrant a full on filing system?

I now have a clearfile for important docs (although a lot of my older ones are still lounging around in my top drawer, unorganised) and a folder for bank statements and the like. Of course, that involves sitting down and hole punching every sheet, etc. And I’m going to run out of space in them soon! Not too sure if I can chuck some old ones to make room, or just start a new one. I think I’d better start a new one, because you never know when you need old bank statements (online only lets you go back 6 months).

Dealing with email is a little harder. I’ve started unsubscribing myself from things as they come. I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe from all my travel alerts though…one day I will be seriously looking to go abroad and they will be useful then! Stuff like Portmans and Glassons I’m on the fence about, cause I like to know about sales when I’m looking for something (but that’s not often at all).

We’ll see how it goes, I guess – I hope to have a clearer inbox this time next week!

Reflections

Thinking back to yesterday, I’m extremely proud of the boy for keeping his cool, managing to impress the judge in a rapidly deteriorating situation. Then again, it’s what he does best, unlike moi. Not one of my best qualities. In fact, I have very few redeeming qualities, and I think it’s good that I can step back objectively and see that! Either that or tomorrow morning I’ll come back and delete this paragraph….

As he calmly explained, we used to live on Rata St, and he had pulled out of the drive and driven away a hundred times before- why would he lose control on this one, dry, night? And why did they only take statements from the other side, and not him? And why on earth did they send him home? Dodginess.

Which….brings me to my next point! I have very little faith in our police force left. I base this on his experiences with the police, which my default are mine also. I did also have a brief brush with them when I left home (a rather upsetting episode, which is thankfully long gone), and was rather unimpressed with one of the cops that day. But then again, it’s understandable, how many teenagers in a snit has he had to deal with? If only he knew this time was different. I’m just grateful I got out that day.

Although I feel that on the whole our police have terrible attitudes, it’s not really that surprising. Cops who ask if you have a licence, and are surprise that you do (or that it’s not suspended/revoked). If you have a job. I guess the majority of people they deal with fail on those counts more often than not, so no surprise that they get jaded, really.

And I’m amazed at how the people who work in the courts can stand it. The lowlifes that pass through there! No respect for themselves, let alone others. One idiot (would describe him, but can’t really, had to be there sorta thing) came out after being sentenced. The clerk(?) lady asked if he had any other outstanding fines, and how much? Seven….and a half…GRAND, none of which he was paying. She gave him the slip with his new fine amount on it. He walked off wordless, screwing the paper up in a little ball as he went, then tossed it away.

I wanted to kick him in the nuts.

People like that are a waste of space.

Back to my topic. The time the boy stood up for one of my friends after my high school talent quest (where we won second place thankyouverymuch), and ended up arguing with a cop and getting arrested. The charge was obstruction, along with two or three other made up charges – something like rioting or starting a riot or inciting a crowd. See, how do they come up with this? There’s being inflexible but doing your job within the guidelines. That’s understandable. Fabricating charges is another ballgame. Using your power for kicks isn’t cool. Maybe you want to assert power over a big stocky Westie who is larger and probably stronger (although rather unfit) than you. I don’t know, whatever. I’m with Rage Against the Machine on this one….

But once they found out he was Army, they pulled all the extra charges, thankfully, and rightly so. It’s amazing just how much discretion they have. I could understand the judge having full discretion, but these were just run of the mill officers.

So he finished his community service, and all was well; diversion meant that was the end of the matter. Until he was pulled over months later and told there was a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court. Yeah, that’s right. The Sallies, or someone along the line, failed to report him as having completed his hours and he was down as needing to come back to court for not completing the requirements. The same thing also happened one night as I walked home from work and he and his friends were in the carpark by our apartment block. Cops were cruising around, same story, warrant still out. I had just had a very long day and was none too impressed, and protested. How could he have shown up  in court if there was no notice given that he needed to go? And why, oh why was this bloody thing dragging out nearly a year later!

So off to court we trundled, me with my notes cramming for my exams, and the judge apologised, and sent us home. Took all of two minutes. They confirmed there had been a mixup and it wasn’t his fault. All this faffing around, him having to take time off work, UNPAID to attend court, and of course, it’s NZ, so no compensation.

And of course, this whole drama of “careless driving”, reached on the word of one party only – despite the fact the cops had every chance to do that one right.

Yeah, I don’t appreciate their bungles, especially after this last one.

After all our time they’ve wasted and stress caused, is it any wonder I don’t think super highly of them? I hope one day they can restore my faith in them. But until then…