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  • Well hello, 2011…

    Happy New Year!!!

    {photo}

    How did you see in the New Year?

    I spent mine battling my sinuses for control, out at a house in Glen Eden bush. There were fireworks. There was music. There was Circle of Death, in which I promptly lost my glass of Coke – no, I’m not ashamed to partake in drinking games with a non-alcoholic drink – to a bourbon and coke (which is fine, that was once my beverage of choice), then to a tequila and juice and the dregs of a beer before my glass was returned to me.

    T and I also made it up north to Pakiri, and down to the Coromandel. I missed my weekly Link Love for the first time, and had a couple of days away from the internet. Blissful. Initially I was worried about how I’d fill my eight days off, but with half of those spent travelling, that wasn’t much of a problem at all. In fact… the time flew by. Now it’s time to deal with the crap that comes along with Christmas – gift bags which need storing for reuse, unwanted stuff to donate or regift, etc. And getting back into a semblance of routine; holidays are the enemy of healthy eating, sleep patterns and balance in general.

    Mostly from up north; I didn't snap many pictures on the second trip

    Mostly from up north; I didn't snap many pictures on the second trip

     

    There really is nothing like friendly small-town service. Or a country night sky, literally full of stars. And anti-abortion billboards planted firmly into farm paddocks along the open road. And making the half-hour trek over the rocks and through bush to New Chums Beach in only jandals and a bikini. Or sleeping in a car, the squawking of peacocks faintly audible in the distance.

    I love getting away from the city. But returning to Auckland is just as sweet – to plentiful hot and cold, even drinkable water, to showers, to toilets. Remember my campervan idea? Nix. I’d already kind of decided that when we replaced our old car, but observing the slowness first hand and hearing of the inability of certain toilet facilities to handle number twos definitely hammered that home for me.

    Also, you may inadvertently have seen an old post or two in your Reader. I have no idea why, and apologise for the confusion.

    Finally, thanks to my top referrers for the year!

    Jessie’s Money

    Sense to Dollars

    Serendipity

    Girl with the Red Balloon

    And thank you to every single one of you who keeps on reading. While in some ways I think I need to draw back a little from blogging and online pursuits this year, I just can’t imagine not doing this. Google Reader was, amazingly, my second biggest referrer. So that means at least some of you really, honestly, give a shit. You rock. You. Yes. You.

  • You’re lucky you’re cute…

    Cute toys

    By: Janine

    Remember the days of primary school when boys who had a crush on you would tease you and pull your hair to get your attention?

    That’s exactly how my niece (or T’s rather) shows affection. She’ll walk up to me and give me a gentle smack on the leg. If I’m lucky, she’ll fling a purple plastic flipper at my head.

    It was the first time I’d seen her in a few months, and I was expecting her to have grown in leaps and bounds again – but I think it’s levelled off. She’s still the same toddler-sized creature, albeit a little steadier on her feet, and among her streams of gibberish the occasional word emerges.

    Example: She picks up a packet of cigarette filters. Waves them in her mother’s direction. “Mum!”

    She also has a little brother, although he’s not quite as entertaining. He sits in his playchair (is that what you call them?) drools, and chews on his kingdom of neverending toys.

    But oh, when they cry! There’s nothing like the sound of a distressed child. And they can stem from the simplest of things – not being allowed to follow their big sisters outside to play, for example. It reminds me of how frustrating it was for me as a kid, having to pander to my brother, as the lowest common denominator, all the time. Six years is a big age gap.

    Kids, huh! Especially when they dip their plastic comb into the dregs of a coffee mug and proceed to rub it all over their head.

  • Do I really need it?

    electric kettle

    Image by Julia Manzerova via Flickr

    Look around our house and you’ll see that today, we have a microwave, rice cooker, crock pot, food processor, toaster. But we don’t have a kettle.

    I kept telling T we’d buy a jug once we settled in. It’s been six months. No jug.

    It’s one of those purchases I’ve been putting off because, really, do we need one? We certainly don’t have the room. There’s no cupboard space to store it, let alone counter space. The only reason we’d use it is to make hot drinks. Which is a pretty rare occasion. And the microwave does nearly as a good a job of heating up water.

    We’ve lived without a lot of appliances over the years. A toaster, microwave, kettle (usually all at once). All the other things I mentioned in that first paragraph which we now own are relatively new to us.

    Maybe you use your blender on a daily basis. Maybe you can’t live without your George Foreman grill. Everyone has different needs. For me, it’s my rice cooker. I love that thing like a child. A kettle, not so much.

    Am I nuts? Is a kettle an absolute necessity? What have you made do without?

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  • Things that make me sad

    1. Realising my parents only have limited years left on earth.
    2. Realising that I only have eight years to go until 30.
    3. Seeing people asleep on the streets of my city.
    4. Seeing people do the jobs that nobody else wants to do.
    5. Being dragged into a pet store by BF and seeing the adorable dogs and cats cooped up in a little glass pen.

    That’s my five minutes of wallowing for today.

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  • 50 questions that will free your mind, part 4

    (Click here for Parts 1, 2 and 3.)

    16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
    Because I’m an introvert.

    17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
    Travel. Money.

    18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
    I actually don’t think so. I’m feeling pretty emotionally healthy, touch wood.

    19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
    Not a clue. I haven’t been to enough places yet. Certainly not back to tropical Asia. Nowhere south of Auckland, I don’t think, nowhere colder than here.

    20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
    Is this for real?

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  • Keeping in touch

    A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in i...
    Image via Wikipedia

    Like most teenage girls, I spent the vast majority of my spare time on the phone. This was back in the day of dialup internet, no less; it was a battle of wills between whoever wanted the computer, and me, intent on continuing my conversation. I could quite literally spend hours talking to my friends, or in lots of cases, simply doing homework or watching TV together.

    Then I got older. And I eventually moved out. Texting became the norm. I still kept a landline, but mainly so I could have the internet, and in case of emergencies.

    Today, I honestly can’t be bothered tapping away at a tiny keypad to compose messages. My crappy touchscreen phone is a pain in the ass to use, and if I can conceivably get away with not replying to your message, I’m gonna take the lazy route.

    My workday consists of sitting at a computer doing stuff online; I spend so much time typing that my handwriting has become atrocious and the vast majority of my communication is done by email, Twitter or Facebook. And while that works for the people I know in a more professional sense, my personal circle isn’t online 24/7 like me.

    They have classes to go to. Extra-curriculars. (Heck, I am not even sure all of them have broadband at home. And smartphones? Forget about it.) They’re just not all that Web 2.0 in comparison. And I have to make concessions for that. Make the effort to drop them a line, to meet up in person, and touch base with a fellow human being.

    ** This week’s Carnival of Personal Finance is up! Thanks Paul for including my post, Does 60k constitute a high income? **

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  • Another one of those things I never imagined

    I am the owner of a Mont Blanc pen. Quite frankly, I am at a loss at to what to do with it. I ain’t gonna write with it; what could I possibly write that’s important enough to warrant it? No, aside from T and I briefly inking “I love yous” just to check that it, you know, worked, I can’t fathom a good reason to use it. Signing for our own house? Or some kind of million-dollar contract? Our children’s birth certificates? Some other worthy, momentous occasion. But in the meantime, I HAVE A MONT BLANC PEN.

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  • 50 questions that will free your mind (Part 3)

    (Previous installments: Part 1 and Part 2)

    11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
    Start getting flushed, sweaty and worked up. Defend her good qualities. Wonder why I always get put in the most awkward situations.

    12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
    Follow your heart.

    13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
    I sure hope so.

    14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
    I think my first reaction is usually trustworthy.

    15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
    Sometimes I read the newspaper backwards. If I read it at all.

  • 50 questions that will free your mind (Part 1)

    Stephany (who is an awesome blogger with great insight and determination) is currently doing a series of posts based on 50 questions that will free your mind. This was way too good to pass over, so I’m nudging in and answering them on my own time.

    Plus, I love writing about myself (obviously).

    1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

    Considering I’m prone to snotty, teary tantrums when I’m hungry and can’t open the jar of pasta sauce (weak wrists are the bane of my life), about five. Then again, I love routine, quiet nights in, have almost given up drinking, save for retirement, and can’t wait to buy a house (and eventually do the marriage, kids and carriage bizzo). Overall, I like to think I’m more mature than my real age. Say, 25?

    2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

    Initially, I thought never trying, hands down. No regrets. You’ll never know if you don’t make the leap. Plus, that’s the cool thing to say, really, isn’t it? Nobody wants to admit to being such a wuss that failure is their biggest fear. Stephany summed it up perfectly with this: “With both instances, you’re left with regrets. You’re left with what if’s.”
    I think, without ever really having experienced real, serious, catastrophic failure (more on that in the future) it’s difficult to say. But ultimately, I always think back to one of my favourite cliches: better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. If that applies to your personal life, I don’t see why it wouldn’t equally apply to all other areas.

    3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

    I believe the majority of reasons for the former come down either to obligations (societal, familial, etc) and money. Oh, and health, haha. I, on the whole, dislike cleaning. I do it because it’s nasty and unhygienic not to, and I don’t want to look like a slob should people come over. I would definitely outsource this and hire a cleaner…but I’m 22 and hardly rolling in cash. See what I mean? Money and social norms. You might work tons of overtime or take on a crappy project, because you need the money, or to impress the boss (which will hopefully pay off later). We go on diets and do crazy exercise routines to get fit and hot (I guess that’s vanity as well as health).

    Why do we like so many things we don’t do? I’m really not sure what this means, so I can’t think up an answer. Anyone care to enlighten me? (The best I can come up with is perhaps enjoying having money to spend, but not wanting to learn to manage money better in order to achieve that. PF nerdgasm…)

    4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

    When all is said and done, I hope to be remembered. And most importantly, I hope to be remembered not for being good at my job but for having been a good person, and, hopefully, touching the lives of the people I know. I probably won’t change the world in any definitive way, but I hope I’ll have travelled to the places I want to visit, had a family, found fulfilment in my non-professional interests and been financially secure enough never to worry for our welfare.

    5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

    That’s simple. I want more fairness and equality. By that I mean everyone having the basics of life, the necessities: food, water, warmth, a home. To be safe, not to fear for their lives. And I might add, I want there to be less hate. If everyone could get along, stop fighting ideological and physical wars, well that would be just peachy.

  • Sharing the love

    Borrowing from Jane’s identically named post, I invite you to share: What delights have you brought into your significant other’s life, and vice versa? (For the unattached, perhaps substitute best friend for SO, or…I’ll leave it up to you)

    BF has introduced me to Avatar the cartoon; basketball; old films like The Lost Boys and The Mighty; Sunday roast; Buffy and Angel.

    I’ve taught him to appreciate yum cha, pub quizzes, True Blood, and Southeast Asian food.

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