June 2011 archive
Image by Ricky Romero via Flickr
As you may have inferred from this post, among others, T and I are from different sides of the tracks. It became obvious early on that family and money issues would probably be our biggest ones and if any the ones that could break us. (Initially, I wished they were my family. That was shortly after I first moved out and was still not on great terms with my family. But I’ve come to realise that demonstrativeness and liberalness are not more important than security and stability – in fact they might be less so. I am at least grateful to my parents for setting responsible examples and being good providers despite their shortcomings.)
I will not hesitate to call off the wedding if it becomes apparent that T is bent on a path to financial destruction by continuing to help out family who can’t help themselves. But I have good reason to believe he’s not. He is, to my shame, unabashedly materialistic. Remember when we were robbed (never ever forget to lock up, people)? I didn’t tell anyone because I was so humiliated. He preferred to brag about our new and slightly bigger TV. *rolls eyes*. He wants an iPhone, a motorbike, a project car…he wants all those toys and he wants them NOW. And letting family bleed him dry is not going to help him achieve that.
We agreed we had to pay this bill, because it’s his name and his credit at stake (there goes about a quarter of his savings). She says she’ll pay him back, but who knows whether that will happen. T says he doesn’t want to have this come between him and his sister…as if her idiotic actions hadn’t already seen to that. I still don’t know where her $450 went; it went to Telecom, but not to the correct account. Who knows, who cares – it’s not worth our time and trouble trying to chase that up or, more accurately, chase her to sort it out. The problem of course is broke people often move around a lot. And if they’re irresponsible, sometimes companies don’t always know their latest address. So all these debt collection letters have been going to the wrong house.
It was extremely hard for me to deal with from the sidelines. I went from putting my foot down (“this will NEVER happen again” – to which he said the only person he would ever do this for is his mother – who doesn’t exactly have stellar credit either – because, he says, she at least has a decent head on her shoulders and pays bills on time) to a more gentle “I hope you’ll talk to me if anyone ever asks you again” to which he said I’ll just say hell no (Much better. ) Like I say, he really has made every financial mistake and I think once in this case is enough, especially given the public humiliation PLUS all the subsequent drama with Vodafone bureaucracy and trying to get the damn iPhone. Which he finally has, along with an assurance the the first month will be waived. (Ironically, I’m still waiting on my work phone).
T is increasingly getting frustrated with his sister, and has had strong words to her more than once recently, apparently telling her that enough is enough from him after this latest debacle. It is hard when there are kids involved. And of course they will always be taken care of. But ultimately nobody will put us first except, well, us.
Five years from now it will roll off his record, and in five years we’ll be 28 and probably only just scraping together a down payment in this overpriced city. I’d much rather this have happened now, than later on.
Tags: money, rant, reflections
Image by stevecadman via Flickr
From time to time, bus drivers tell me “Ni hao”. Or people in the workplace will ask me if I know Japanese/Korean/Mandarin, etc. They are often kindly old men, or working-class types to whom I am obviously somewhat exotic.
I don’t get upset in these instances. Perhaps a little puzzled. Bewildered, and disappointed that I couldn’t help. But not angry, even when others tell me I would have been within my rights to slap the person in question. I suppose this is a form of racism, albeit one that is not deliberate or hateful.
But heck, I can barely tell various Asian ethniticies apart at a glance. Sometimes it’s more obvious than others. But I’m not of the breed that can take one look at a person and declare “That is a mainland Chinaman” (Mum…). Although if you hail from Malaysia or Singapore, I will recognise your accent.
After all, I don’t get angry when random Asians on the street accost me in the hope that I speak their language (although to be fair, maybe every one of those approachers has actually been Chinese. Maybe to them it’s obvious).
So, I don’t really know. Am I underreacting? For those of you who experience this, are you insulted when it happens?
I came across a great post last week, 10 myths about introverts, and just had to share my take here!
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
Carl argues that we simply don’t bother talking unless we have something to say – and on topics we care about, we won’t shut up. This is true. But personally? It also depends on the person I’m talking to. Some just kind of draw you in. Others, you can’t wait to escape from no matter what the subject of conversation.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Well, I am shy. And yes, I am a little afraid of people, and very socially nervous. Making the first move, approaching people, reading gestures and navigating conversational flow – I die. (I am very good when people tour the office however; all I have to do is say my name, smile, make a couple of smart/funny comments, and then they move on. No time for awkwardness to ensue.) But I get what he means – shyness is not a prerequisite for introversion, although they do often go together.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Carl reckons we have no patience for social pleasantries and find them exhausting. For sure! Small talk can be incredibly draining. But it can also be quite rewarding, that feeling that you’ve connected with another human being, on whatever level. I still find the “Hi, how are you?” routine awfully tedious, but I can play that game (it’s easier to fake on the phone). I used to have a lot of issues with maintaining eye contact, and I still can’t stand still without shuffling and fidgeting – plus I never know exactly how to stand or what to do with my arms, which can definitely come across as rude or bored.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
Er. I’m torn on this one. There are a lot of people I don’t like, which I may have decided upon meeting you once or twice, or many times. But sure, the good people, I love. Which I suppose goes for anybody, introvert or extrovert.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
I think it’s universally agreed that we don’t have a problem with going out per se, but that we can’t sustain it indefinitely. We need to go home, process it all and recharge. By ourselves. I also like this: “They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.”
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
See previous myth. Also, we often do better in one-on-ones and small groups. Plus we like ourselves enough to enjoy our own company. Not all the time, but a fair bit of it. T hates being at home alone. Me, I look forward to getting back to my haven.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
You say tomayto, I say tomahto. I don’t think I’m weird, I’m just not a socialite and while most people my age prefer to party it up on a weekend, I’d rather try my hand at making yoghurt, for example.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Carl: Introverts are people who primarily look inward… It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them. I have to admit, I’m not the most observant (and I partly attribute that to my lack of multitasking ability. Also, a terrible memory). If I don’t care about something or I don’t find it interesting, I’ll ask questions – I’m a journo – but I can’t fake enthusiasm. This also reminds me of how, when I was younger, I would pretend I was a living book character, and as I went about daily life, I narrated events in my head. “She stared blankly past her father, focusing instead on the patch of wallpaper peeling away from the doorjamb…”
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Everyone’s definition of fun varies. And yes, mine sometimes involves dancing and laughing and somewhat social activity, but 90% of the time it’s quiet, individualistic pursuits – baking, blogging, playing music, reading, taking photos.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Do I even need to?
Photo meme time! (I’ve done a fair few, but I think they’ve all been Q&A based, so this is a first). Hat-tip A Lotta Lettuce for the tag.
Here’s the lowdown:
1. Go to the fourth folder where you store your pics in your computer
2. Pick the fourth photo in the folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same
If it looks a little pixellated, it might be the fact this was originally a film photo (remember those?) scanned into my computer. That’d be us circa 2006 when I visited T at Burnham military camp. It was bloody effing cold down there. I still have that scarf and jeans.
And now for the tagging:
Clare at Never Niche
Serendipity at Serendipity’s Guide to Saving
Dana at Pushing Thirtyy
Tags: about me, random
I have had Buffy‘s last three seasons on DVD for about six months.I have only just finished one of those seasons. While my generous friend is very patient and polite, I feel he thinks I’m taking an unreasonable amount of time to get through them.
What can I say? Clearly Buffy is not a priority for me as much as I want to finish the series. These are my first few actual weekends off, and they’re being spent catching up with friends, couple time, long overdue errands and general life/house keeping. I’ve still not yet been to the dentist (planning to wait till after our holiday, though this damn ash cloud is casting doubt over that!!!), the farmer’s market, made bread, or even picked up my guitar. I want to do everything. I also know that this is impossible. I think learning CSS will have to wait (I thought the new job was a perfect impetus to get going on that but if I have many more weeks like this, there just aren’t enough hours to do this properly) and photography will also have to go on the back burner for sure.
However, I appreciate what I have. Despite having to listen to various interns talk about their six-week semester break, having also seen a couple of people lose their jobs recently (the reality is I could very well be made redundant at least once in this industry), I realise I would rather have too little free time than too much at this stage.
Also, thanks to Stupid Cents for hosting this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance! Yours truly is in there with this cautionary tale explaning how your credit is like your virginity.
Love this highly motivational post on reframing the way you think about money. “Look at it this way – there is someone in your field who makes ten to twenty times as much as you do, and she does this using skills that are better – but not actually ten to twenty times better – than yours. That woman was born a drooling, incontinent baby just like everyone else. So, there’s nothing she’s done that you can’t. But you won’t become her if you keep doing the same damn thing for the same damn amount of money all the damn time.” (I like how Jen also puts paid to the “finish your plate because there are starving kids in the world” argument.)
Young and Thrifty ties in the Vancouver riots with her take on why she’d rather not grow up wealthy.
Lessons learned from the NFL lockout, via You Have More Than You Think.
New homeowner Tracey asks how long it took before your newly-mortgaged budget loosened up a little.
A Lotta Lettuce kicks off her series on planning a wedding on a budget.
Amanda argues at some point, it’s time to settle down and pick a career path for practical reasons.
What do you do when work invades your dreams? Also, see “how to manage your boss“.
Yes, yes and yes! Just because it’s a hobby doesn’t make it a career path (via After Graduation).
At Get Rich Slowly: Hourly or salary – which do you prefer?
As someone who also sits at a desk for most of her working day, I enjoyed Funny About Money’s post on standing desks and slow death.
Fellow lifelong readers, you should read Amanda’s loving homage to books – it really does sadden me to come across people who don’t enjoy reading at all.
Jasmine and I apparently share many of the same problems which hinder us making new girlfriend bonds (Seriously, I think I could have written that post).
Also see this from Amanda at Stratejoy on engineering your own happiness (which you might have seen me tweet about).
Cate shares another vegetarian goodie: falafel patties! I just bought a food processor, so I’ll be trying this.
From Iowa Girl Eats, a bright and colourful summer salad including bacon.
Make your own curry powder with this Ten Ingredient Project recipe.
Image via Wikipedia
I’m starting to get excited about my upcoming tropical birthday trip. In my usual rather haphazard fashion, I think I will print out some info for possible bike hires/fishing charters etc – but not make any solid plans. The basic itinerary reads something like: relax. eat. walk. snorkel. sunbathe. drink from coconuts. sleep. Perhaps one bona fide activity every other day, leaving us with nothing to do but explore and laze around on the others.
At the same time, I’m really nervous. So many things could go wrong! I’ve probably mentioned this before, but the last time I left the country was about 8 years ago. With my parents. So for the first time in nearly a decade, I will be boarding a plane as a grownup, just T and I. There are so many points at which we could trip up. Forgetting to pack something. Getting to the airport. Getting on the plane. The transfer to our resort. Feeding ourselves (it’s hard to tell but I think there are fresh markets every day). Overspending (although I don’t think we’ll be doing anything expensive. I reckon a $100 a day budget should do us). Some accident befalling us. Getting back to the airport. The flights home. Getting back to our place.
What kind of holidaymaker are you – go with the flow or planned to the T?
Image via Wikipedia
Talk about amateur hour. First time booking flights – and I manage to book a return flight on the wrong date.
See, I’d been wanting to go back to Wellington since our March trip. So when Jetstar had a $37 fare sale, I jumped on it immediately. I even paid by bank deposit – not by Visa, despite my love of reward points – because airlines now charge extra fees for paying by credit card.
When my payment cleared a couple of days earlier, my itinerary was emailed to me. And somehow, I’d managed in my Friday afternoon frenzy to overlook the fact that I’d booked our return flight a week after our departure, not a day later. This had to be an overnight trip. Crap. I know how it happened, too – I was scrolling back and forth between dates, trying to get the best flight times during the sale window, and the Jetstar interface isn’t the most responsive – but I just can’t believe I didn’t notice the date discrepancy while checking out.
I managed to find $37 seats again, but I had to pay for them once more. Plus a booking fee of $8, because for some reason I couldn’t pay by bank deposit this time. Our cheap seats didn’t end up so cheap after all once that$80 was tacked on! Also, our homebound flight is now a morning one, meaning we arrive Saturday just before noon and check out right after breakfast. We weren’t planning to do tons down there but it would be nice not to be in a rush to leave. I thought our original 24-hour itinerary was nigh on perfect. I can’t help feeling like it’s almost not worth it, but since it’s now paid for, I guess we’re sticking to the plan.
Paying “stupid taxes” hurts! (Both the wallet and the ego.) Tell me your tales of stupidity!
Tags: money, personal finance
Mystic River – Dennis Lehane
Summary: Murder brings three old friends together in adulthood (tragedy also pulled them apart in childhood). A haunting, bleak tale of lost innocence in working-class Boston.
I first watched Mystic River in high school for English. And when I watched it again recently, it left me wanting more. I had heard the book was much richer and more rounded, and I wasn’t disappointed. There is only so much you can fit into a film, and the novel goes a long way toward explaining the actions and motivations of Celeste, Jimmy, Annabeth, Sean and most of all, Dave. This novel made me grieve for his soul and the boy who never had a childhood, a good, but troubled and downtrodden man who never believed in himself. Lehane (apparently he also wrote Shutter Island, another movie I enjoyed) paints his city and characters with a familiar hand – the prose truly comes alive, even without the benefit of visuals.
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
Summary: Two women of different generations are thrust into each other’s lives, and form an unlikely friendship. As tumultuous Afghanistan is thrown into war once again, they demonstrate how far one will go for the people they love.
This book is brutal and depressing, and also somewhat educational (fiction set in foreign lands is fast becoming one of my favourite genres. Did you know there were once gigantic Buddha statues in Afghanistan? I didn’t. I wish I could have seen them before they were destroyed – during a time I was old enough to remember, even). It prompted me to find out how the Taleban differs from the al-Qaeda, why the Soviets were in Afghanistan…It enraged me, and reminded me how lucky I am to be a woman living in a liberal country. This is a proud testament to the human spirit, to the strength and independence of women in Afghanistan (and other similar places) who refuse to be cowed. And finally, it led me to wonder just how much the human race could achieve if we could stop killing each other, repressing females, and focus our energies on more productive tasks instead.
Firefly Lane – Kristin Hannah
Summary: Two best friends take entirely different paths in life – the girl with the troubled childhood becomes one of the biggest TV journalists/talk show hosts of all time, while her foil Kate (living somewhat in her shadow, even marrying a man who used to pine for Tully) chooses a quiet life as a suburban housewife.
Let’s keep this short. Enjoyable – not particularly original, perhaps, but a pleasant, undemanding read. If you have super close female friends, or you lived through the 70s and 80s, perhaps it will resonate more with you. For me, what stuck most were the observations of life in journalism and the demands it makes on you – demands which Tully embraced and Kate shrunk from. Others have said it resembles a Lifetime move (“TV for stupid people!”) so take from that what you will.
Here’s a question for ya: What numbers do you know by heart? Your phone number, obviously (well, unless you are also known by the title of eemusings’ fiance). Your age. Your total of serious relationships. But do you know your bank account number? Your credit card number? Your IRD (or social security) number? You driver’s licence number?
I have all of those, except the last, stowed away in my brain. They’re pretty handy to have on hand; I even used to know T’s bank details by heart, but haven’t had to bust that knowledge out for a while. I even used to know the number of my eftpos card, because it’s what’s used to verify you when you call up my bank on the phone, but I so rarely use phone banking and those cards are so flimsy that I’ve been through too many since high school to keep up. Heck, I used to call up the ASB line in my telemarketing days when I wanted to look busy but couldn’t deal with actually making a call. Yep, I was a model employee. And now I think back and realise they probably were monitoring our dialled numbers on a screen in the back office. Whoops.
Bigger isn’t always better – Ninja lists a few instances when the opposite is true.
Newlyweds on a Budget blogs about facing up to her own debt.
Fabulously Broke shares the five stupid things she wastes money on.
Walk away if you want to love your job. Via MML.
Kevin walks us through acing an interview by making the most of your seemingly unrelated experience.
Rachel Hills on finding a mentor in the media industry.
Cheryl Yeoh compares the SF and NY areas and explains why she chose not to base her startup in Silicon Valley.
And a nice read on finding your path in publishing.
YES. “There’s such a fine line between being happy with what you have and striving for continuous improvement.” Like me, Laura at Stratejoy has trouble toeing that line.
Stephany recounts a darker side of high school.
Couldn’t agree more. Donna Freedman reminds us why it pays to check your spam.
When is it appropriate to lie to kids? At Perfectly Cursed Life.
If you have any experience with PCOS, you should talk to Caroline, who just got diagnosed.
It’s no secret that salads aren’t top of my list, but this Mediterranean version from Lisa is tempting my tastebuds.
Zucchini lasagne, courtesy of Not Eating Out in NY, sounds intriguing.
And finally, Cate shares a scrummy looking recipe for tomato parmesan risotto.
** Click here for more info on my monthly spending roundups.**
Clothes: Jeez. Well, T got a haircut, and I snapped up some $45 Dickies for him. The rest of it was me, all me. I admit, I did some shopping in anticipation of the new job – tops, skirts, a cardigan, and brown boots. I also got my old black boots resoled; I bought them secondhand, but the leather quality was amazing and I wasn’t ready to give them up.
Dining: A record low. Enough said
Entertainment: Here’s how it went. Get a text offering only $2.99 for any new release movie/game at our local store. Snap up the offer. Realise we have $12 in late fees from previously. Ouch. (This is why we pay for Sky TV/movies…) Also included guitar strings, and pliers/wire cutter things to cut them off. And booze for a party.
Groceries: Hmm. I think it was a five week month, but it’s still a little high. Prices just keep increasing :[ I might do another grocery challenge soon, or weekly shopping recaps.
Home expenses: Bought a cheapie new cell phone to tide me over til I get my work phone (my old one died a sudden death).
Insurance: Contents insurance for the quarter. I should really see if I can pay this yearly and get it aligned with our car insurance.
T fun/lunch: S’okay, I suppose. I definitely feel our financial ship has not been running very tightly, as we actually hardly saw each other at all last month. That’s changed now; and our budgeting is going to get a bit stricter.
Utilities: Pretty average, power was a little lower than usual as I was still partly in credit.
Vehicle: Was actually about $100 higher than this, but it was paid on T’s own card due to eftpos issues at that petrol station. Right on target, ouchly.
Work expenses: I can’t keep up with all the courses/training T has got lined up. Not that it’s a bad thing
This month I made an extra $530, mostly from freelancing (should have been another $27 for a mystery shop, but error first on the assigning end, and then at my end, led to no payment. Here’s how it went: Asked for a survey at either one of two very close locations. Was assigned one of them, which I immediately put in my calendar. I was familiar with the retail chain, so only gave my survey a cursory glance before going in on the day. When I entered the results online, I noticed the heading listed the OTHER store location. Emailed the staffer who assigned me the survey, who replied it was fine and it was the same company. So I went ahead and finished filling it out. What do you know – a few days later I get a call about it. And a few days later, a call saying they can’t pay me. While I should have picked up the discrepancy earlier, I’m not at all impressed with the situation).
How did your May go?
Tags: money, spending