April 2009 archive
Back in the routine. Long days at uni, get home in the dark, catch up on news, email and blogs, work on assignments. Sleep. Repeat.
I’m thankful BF is here to help ease the load and take care of things around the house. And I’m SUPER grateful that he’s not studying as well. Imagine how he’d get under my feet if we shared a computer for assignments. Luckily, he can use the laptop all he wants next year, as I’ll be at work during the day and can get most of my internet stuff done there as well. And I’ll be free to help him with assignments and so on – I imagine I’ll find myself giving him tips next semester when he enrols in New Start, but I definitely won’t be able to give that my full attention.
Right now, our workload is crazy busy! I’d say it’s doubled from last year, and a lot of the coursework is assessed in this half of the term. I’m finding myself constantly hungry – I just can’t eat enough! Nothing keeps me going for long. By the time I get home I’m starved and lightheaded and just want to inhale my food. And I invariably get frustrated while eating because dinner is too hot and burns my tongue. Dumb, I know, but I don’t have the time or inclination to wait for meals to cool down…need to learn to relax.
Still, at least I don’t have the Mondays from hell anymore. Back in first year when I was working 20 hours a week over four weekdays, along with classes, I was stretched ridiculously thin. Mondays were a 12 hour day, plus two hours of commuting. Work from 8.30 to 12, a one hour break from 12 to 1, then three straight hours of lectures until 4, then a dash to my second job from 4 to 8.
You can imagine how fast I wolfed down my lunches during that precious one hour!
Tags: uni, work
Apparently we in NZ are the third most indebted country in the OECD. That’s scary. No wonder we don’t get 0% financing here, or ridiculously low mortgage rates or car loan rates. I guess that’s why the default rate for a regular Visa or Mastercard is 19.95%.
It’s sort of reinforced to me how important it is to save. Single Ma had a really interesting post recently- she wanted to go to the Food and Wine festival, but decided she couldn’t afford it.
Even though she has money in the bank and a fully funded EF.
So a commenter wondered, why would she say that? She can obviously afford. Surely at least she could pull a little from her savings.
But that’s dangerous. Where do you draw the line? A concert ticket here, a road trip there, a shopping spree….keep withdrawing little amounts “just this once” and you could easily have nothing left, FAST.
An EF is for emergencies. Fun things like shopping, holidays and festivals should be budgeted for. They should have their own savings account, not be taken from your long term account. And how do you know if you can afford it? I thought about this for a little while before coming to the conclusion: If it doesn’t work into your day to day budget, you can’t afford it.
Like that commenter said, it’s the kind of thinking “but I have enough in the bank to cover it! I deserve it!” that keeps you living the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
I think that’s where BF is still at, and I hope to teach him otherwise.
Tags: budgeting, money
I find that the older I get, the more aware I am of race, culture, and ethnicity – not just me, but others around me.
Recently I’ve realised that a lot of bloggers I follow and look up to are of varying ethnic backgrounds. This has come through in different viewpoints on wedding gifts, attitudes towards money, and attitudes towards supporting family. It’s been really interesting to read all the followup debate, and learn more about customs which mean so much to people of certain cultures.
I think it’s interesting, though, that my default perception of people is to assume that they’re white. What does that say about me? And society around me? Have I been conditioned to think that white is the “norm”? I really shouldn’t have been surprised; we live in a diverse world, and I went to a school with something like over 30 different nationalities.
But I’m glad to have realised this. It’s hard to not see people who look like you represented in the media. To not have role models to inspire you. To be considered an “ethnic minority” for the rest of your life. It’s nice to feel a little more at home in the blogosphere.
Tags: culture, prejudice, race
I’ve been using Cetaphil on my face for a few weeks now, and will probably continue to do so. People seem to either love it or hate it. I can’t say I love it, but it does what it’s supposed to, and doesn’t aggravate my skin!
It certainly is gentle. I still don’t understand how such an artificial formula can be so non-irritating. But it is! It even makes a good body wash for rashes or otherwise irritated skin, which is handy. The downside: it doesn’t always feel like it’s cleansing. It won’t deal to heavy makeup, but luckily I don’t wear much, and it’s usually worn off by the end of the day. Sometimes I feel like it’s leaving residue behind. Maybe that’s just because it’s not stripping my skin, but my Sukin organic wash was super gentle without feeling icky.
Then again, when using Cetaphil, I actually don’t feel like I need a moisturiser afterwards, which is in theory a good thing. I usually do massage in just a little moisturiser, because after awhile my skin feels a tad tight, but I could live without it, which is something I’ve never experienced with any other facial wash. My skin is moisturised, calm and POSSIBLY ever so slightly less red in the cheeks. Seriously, when I can afford it, I’m going to see a dermatologist. I’m pretty sure I have rosacea, and surely there’s something I can do about it. I mean, it’s not terribly extreme, but it’s noticeable, and it would be nice to have an even skin tone rather than permanently pink/red cheeks (though at least I’ll never have to buy blush, haha).
4.5/5. It’s more substantial than my Sukin cleanser, comes in a much larger bottle for the same price, and is nonirritating. Plus you can use it on the rest of your body, especially if you have eczema or anything like that.
The other new thing I’ve been using is St Ives Apricot Scrub (the blackhead version). I like it as a scrub: it’s gentle, smells nice and is a pretty orange colour. The granules and walnut shell irritated a lot of reviewers, but as long as you’re gentle and aren’t scrubbing hard on your face, I haven’t found any problems with it. You do need to make sure you rinse thoroughly, though.
I don’t normally leave it on for a whole minute as suggested, although the longer it stays on my face, the more likely the salicylic acid starts to tingle. Which means it’s working….only, I haven’t actually seen a difference. WAHHHH. My blackheads haven’t budged, although my skin feels nice and smooth and hydrated. I may as well have bought the normal formula.
3/5. It’s a nice exfoliant, but doesn’t do the blackhead removing thing it claims to do.
Tags: beauty, skincare
Today I realised something: I really, really badly need new underwear.
And a new bag.
I’ve had my silver handbag for, oh, three years? It only cost me about $15 and has held up pretty well, but is starting to wear pretty heavily. The fabric is fraying and the underlayer is showing through around the seams.
Maybe something along these lines…
As for underwear, well, when when things start to lose their elasticity and go seethrough…..
And I’m due for a couple of new bras – just can’t afford it!
The $60 refund I received from DTR came through, but it’s going to have to go towards just paying the bills this week instead of paying for new contacts.
Why? Well, mainly because of our huge power bill. Now that we know the culprit (the evil power sucking water cylinder, soaking up electricity yet not heating our water…what’s the point of paying exorbitant power bills if it’s not delivering you any benefit?), once it’s fixed our bills should return to normal. Yay!
Tags: shopping, wardrobe
BF might be studying next year.
Yep, just as I graduate, he might be entering uni.
He’s thinking of doing teaching – primary, intermediate age. Maybe secondary later on – apparently with a B.E you can also apply for certain secondary positions, and I’m trying to get in touch with the faculty to find out more.
If he did early childhood instead, he’d get a free ride plus spending money. ECE is an area of major shortage at the mo; or he could do a technology degree, then a one year grad. dip., and get that paid for as technology teachers are also in demand.
But he doesn’t want to do either of those, so we’d have to look at other scholarships. And of course, student loans.
I know in the States there are lots of grants for First in Family….people who are the first in their family to attend uni.
Can’t find any in NZ, although I’ve only had a cursory look.
Anyone know of anything like that?
(I think because anyone can finance their degree with a loan here, scholarships are way less common….)
He’d probably do the New Start course part time next semester, to ease him into the routine and get him entry into next year’s intake.
It’s just over $300 and is only one day a week. It also covers a range of topics, so it should be fun and somewhat interesting. I’m sure he can achieve a B+ with some work. It’s held at the city campus, although they also hold classes out west in Te Atatu at Rutherford College, which will probably suit better…free parking…closer to home, possibly. Although, who knows about traffic….he’d be in rush hour, going the wrong way…
Apparently they’re having record numbers sign up though – with the economy the way it is, everyone’s wanting to retrain.
The administrator said there are so many showing interest, they may have to cap their numbers! So he should enrol early.
So, exciting prospects….
Tags: career, study, uni
A couple of my friends dropped in last week when I was sick. I wasn’t super pleased at first, cause I looked and felt like hell, was unshowered and sitting in bed in my daggy old PJs. But the thought was appreciated, and then we got into watching random shit online. Like this UK ad for shavers (thanks Ginger) which I originally heard about in this column by Tracey Barnett, but was too lazy to hunt down myself…imagine how stoked I was to stumble across it without any extra effort in the blogosphere.
If you haven’t I recommend you check out the Evolution of Dance on YouTube – def good for six minute of entertainment! (Apparently part two sucks, though)
And then we got all retrospective and hunted down old 90s – mainly one hit – bands.
So if you were into 90s cheesy pop, kill some time and watch these!
For your pleasure…
Dream - He Loves U Not
O-town – Liquid Dreams
Lfo - Summer Girls (Seriously, whoever wrote this should be shot)
NSync – Bye Bye Bye (I still think this video kicks ass :P)
Hanson – MMMBop
Spice Girls – Wannabe
S Club 7 – S Club Party (Never a good idea to namedrop yourself, let alone in the title)
Steps – Tragedy (BeeGees cover)
I love me my classic rock and glam metal, but 90s manufactured bubble pop has a special place in my heart. Not ashamed to admit it!!
Tags: boredom, media, music
One of our neighbours is a really old guy. Apparently his wife died a few years back, in that house, and he won’t leave it. So, his kids are waiting for him to die, too, so they can sell the house.
They must think the time is near, cause they’ve been doing up the house. A spot of landscaping, they buffed and painted the entire house (it’s weatherboard). It’s a really nice property. Always tidy and meticulously maintained. He also has a weekly cleaning lady, and someone keeps the lawns mowed. I’m jealous. Still, if I had the choice I’d have a cleaner, and my second choice would be a cook or chauffeur.
But I digress. I just wanted to share, cause I thought that was really sad. Him staying in that lonely old house (it’s fairly big, and I assume he lives alone…but I could be wrong) waiting out for the end. I am in no way comfortable with my own mortality, and nobody close to me has died yet, so it’s a really uncomfortable topic for me. I don’t like to think of people passing away, and just ceasing to exist. BF said if I was to die before him, he’d do the same. Stay in our house until it was his time, too. But odds are I’ll outlive him, because men die what, six years earlier than women on average? I know both my grandfathers died way before my grandmothers. Like, twenty years earlier.
Tags: death, mortality, neighbours
I think Saturday has become our default shopping day. It used to be Sunday, but somewhere along the line we started running out of food earlier in the week and now need to buy food by Saturday. Today we went to the Lim Asian supermarket in Mt Albert, and I love it! It was inspiring – all the sauces and gravies, all the different spices and world flavours….it actually got me excited to food shop! We got SO much for $50….and then we swept through Pak n Save, expecting to come out happy as Larry, because we didn’t need much after getting our meat and veg.
HAH! Apparently not. We spent $150, instead of our usual $120. Was I gutted! I freaked out at the checkout
But I figured I really need to get a grip and stop being so depressed about going over budget. Realistically, if we want to eat remotely well, it’s going to cost more. I need to rework the budget. Sure there’ll be weeks when we eat pasta, and nachos with beans, and chili, but weeks like this we want to make stew (which includes produce, which jacks up our bill) and curries and so forth. And we just can’t do that on $120. (Plus I want to start eating better lunches once in awhile. I thought mac and cheese was an acceptable lunch, but apparently not! But you know, a girl at work was heating up chicken nuggets one lunchtime, so at least I’ve never got that bad.)
We also got way overcharged at the checkout for my Nice and Natural muesli bars. Now, they were on one of those massive aisle end displays for 2.79. There were two kinds of bars, original, and the sweet and salty (or whatever it’s called). I snagged the second kind. They came through at 3.69 on checkout. The girl made a call, told me that it was only the ORIGINAL flavour on special, and got a guy to run and bring me one of the boxes that WAS on special. He was there in a tick, beaming and holding it out to me. Except by then I’d had so much time to freak out over the fact that we were $30 over budget, and I couldn’t work out why, that I just brushed him off and told them to forget it.
Seriously, if you advertise something at 2.79, MAKE it 2.79! There were a TON of the new flavour on that display, so they should honour it or take them off the shelf.
Here’s some of what we bought at the Asian supermarket, and some of what we got at Pak n Save.
6pk pork buns 7.70
550g pork mince 4.96 (8.99kg)
870g chuck steak 7.86 (8.99kg)
410g diced beef 4.55 (10.99kg)
390g pork rump 3.52 (8.99kg)
Onions – 1 bag 1.49
Shanghai veg 49c bunch
2 Royal Gala apples 28c (89c/kg)
500ml Lee Kum Kee soy sauce 2.99
Spare rib sauce 350g 4.90
Some ridiculously good prices!
At the supermarket…
Norths bread 2 for $3
Budget coco puffs 4.29
Sealord tuna, plain 1.99
Pams fruit salad 1.29
Just creamed corn 1.09
Watties pasta sauce 1.69
1L Just Juice 1.75
12 Farmer Brown eggs 4.00
Beef stock 1.89
Coconut milk 1.49
10 Pams tortillas 3.95
1kg jasmine rice 2.99
Watties soup 2.59
Green curry paste 99c
Kraft peanut butter 1.99
Self raising flour 1.5kg 3.59
750g cheese 5.99
3L milk 4.45
680g kumara chips 3.99
1kg potato mash 4.95
Flora margarine 2.79
Pams fresh ravioli 3.29
On the upside, we should eat fairly well this week and our cupboards are stuffed full.
BF is funny. He started talking about how he would just eat noodles for lunch all week, and how he’d make Two Piece meals like he’d seen on Oprah. I’m still not sure what he was on about, but apparently it’s a way of cooking, designed for people who’ve just moved out on their own/into the city/something like that. How sweet of him.
Tags: food, groceries, spending
Front page in the Herald today, and making headlines around the world……
Miss Universe contestant! Outrage! Skin and bones!
She apparently weighs 50kg, and is nearly 6 feet.
That’s around how much I weigh, as far as I know, but I’m only 5’5.
I understand what it’s like to be thin. I’ve always been skinny. Sometimes you get crap for it. I totally get what it’s like to not gain weight, and yes, I am grateful that I don’t have to watch what I eat.
But honestly? She does look skeletal. Hopefully she is happy and healthy, like she says, but it’s not a good look and I don’t think she looks healthy. And I don’t think it’s a good message to be sending out to impressionable girls. I don’t think that’s beauty.
Tags: beauty, media, models, pageant