Goals Updates – March

To see the start of this series, click here, and then there’s Jan Update and Feb Update.  My weeks are based on Monday through to Sunday.  But where a week ends mid week, I do funny things as you’ll see below!

Financial

$20k target by 22 Dec – on target with planned contribution of $165 per week.

Last month: $12,130
This month: $12,950 *Despite borrowing from this for my ‘generosity’ target, I’m still on track for my $20k goal :D*

Generosity target of $100 p/w – 100%+ achieved

Last week of Feb: additional $20 (+ 9hrs volunteering)
week 1 – $25 to church +$100 petrol in someone’s car, $50 for beer (which I don’t drink) <- this last one might be a stretch!
week 2 – $70 to church (+1hr volunteering)
week 3 – $20 to church + $10 for sympathy flowers + $465 to a friend in need (this was calculated to get me to a complete $100 in this month and the last)
week 4 – $20 to church + $70 gift

Exceeding my planned per week goal, for the year. Having a set ‘amount’ per week makes me less resentful than I used to be. So whilst it might seem perverse to track my generosity, it IS helping me to feel and BE more generous, and that’s exactly what I wanted!

Health

Cook at home twice a week: I’ve started tracking the spend on my part for meals out – some I’m paid for, others I pay for both/all

Last week of Feb- ?? (Thu)
?? (Fri)
Steak and Mash at BF’s (Sat)
Mac/tuna/cheese with Roast Vegies (Sun)

Tuna bake mmmmsource: taste.com.au
Tuna bake mmmm
source: taste.com.au

week 1 –
leftovers (mac&cheese) (Mon),
Thai out$10 (Tue),
Sushi out – thank you dinner $0 & beef curry made(Wed),
Pizza out $50 (Thu)
Mexican out $20 (Fri),
Pub food $0 (Sat), KFC $18 (Sun)

week 2 –
leftovers (curry) (Mon),
Dinner at parents (Tue),
Beef, bacon and egg pies (Wed),
Omlette’s at BF’s (Thu)
Mexican pub food $15 (Fri)
Pizza at BF’s (Sat)
Indian out with parents $0 (Sun)

week 3 –

Tuna pasta bake (with GF substitutions for me!) (Mon)
Dinner out at a South American resturant $45 (Tue)
Cheesy garlic pizza (Wed)
Chorizo & Leek risotto (Thu)
Brazilian BBQ out (Fri)
Homemade pizzas (store bought bases!) (Sat)
Sausages at a friends (Sun)

**both weekend days, I had lunch out – French 3 course for a Hen’s on Sat ($36) and with a friend from out of town on Sun ($20)**

week 4 –
Udon noodles (Mon)
Chinese out – it’s my bf’s fave place/dish and we’ve not been there since Jan, so I figured it was a good dinner before his week away (Tue)
Birthday dinner for brother at my parents (Wed)
Udon noodles (Thu)
Leek & Chicken Terrain and focaccia (Fri)
Leek & Potato bake (Sat)
Vietnamese noodles with prawns (Sun)

Sugar – I haven’t been ideal for lent. I’ve broken lent for multi course (prepaid) dinners, twice. And nibbled some brownies I made for Easter. And a Caramello Koala passed my lips in a bought of cramps and general frustration with the world. At least each slip up, I was mindful of why I had recommitted to no sugar (Lent) and that’s at least part of the purpose.

Train for polo – 0% on water polo, but encouraging on the exercise front.  So let’s say… 40% achieved. Sigh – no, I decided a house guest got me off the hook, even though she ended up having the night out with another friend. So that’s a no for the first week.  And now the season is over, maybe I should adjust this goal for gym sessions? Given I want to run a half marathon, as part of my 12 in 2 goals, I should really start being accountable to y’all (and myself) with how I’m going!  I did play polo the Sunday of Week 1, then a gym session Mon, Tue and Thu – cardio and weights.  From then on, I’ve been training for my half marathon goals, with a run every second day – which I blogged about last Friday

Cultural

– 2 films a month – 100% achieved

Side effects – great movie, though not the pick me up I was hoping for, seeing it was a lot about depression. That being said, it was cleverly written.

One sure fire way to lighten my life is to see a movie, so on Sunday I wedged in a movie between church and seeing my parents. I saw Goddess which is an Australian musical. Let me say, I HATE musicals, but i LOVED this film. It’s very modern, and hilarious to boot. And Ronan Keating taking off his shirt once or twice wasn’t too shabby either. The story is based around the wife, and her frustration at being at home with 2.5 year old twins, so she starts a web cam to keep in contact with her husband (Ronan Keating) whose in Antarctica. Except he never signs on, but the rest of the world gets in on the action! It was a great feel good movie, and just what the doctor ordered!

– 2 books a month – 50% achieved

I started with The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey, and I have a review should you be interested. Thanks to The Exacting Life, and her comments on the last few books I read, I picked up Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto from the library, and reviewed it here. Actually I picked it to read next as it’s slim, so I knew I could get it finished by month’s end. Review is here I’ve also started on another Japanese book – seems to be an (unintentional) theme – called Grotesque.  Reminding me far too much about cliques and exclusion and cruelty in high school!

Social

Somehow this missed Jan, Feb and mid Mar.  Opps!

Call/connect with an out of town friend – well a friend from Brisbane was in Sydney, so we had lunch.  But I think this is a cheating ‘win’ on this goal – that involved next to no initiative on my part 🙁

Career

– Certification – 400% achieved! OK maybe 200% achieved as I haven’t made them all perfect. I added one further episode, so I have only three outstanding.  The last three are pretty tricky, so I might need to meet with my colleagues who are also doing the certification and get some inspiration.  Then I need to improve the 13 episodes I’ve already written, getting them to at least 500 words, and ensuring they are as good as they can be.

Looking for next role Also something I’ve left off on past months.  I’m happy to report that at a water polo BBQ fundraiser, I discovered one of the parents works for a company that supplies materials to my company.  So I spoke at length to him about opportunities at his company.  He’s already sent me the monthly job list, but the only suitable one needed 15 years experience.  So this parent has decided I should meet an engineer in his company and speak to him about what I might be interested in there.  The ‘talk’ shall happen on 5th April.  I’m not 100% sure this company will get me my ‘ultimate’ career, but I’m not accepting a job there just yet, so it’s well worth investigating a little further.

Happy Easter/Passover to everyone! Looking forward to other goals updates out there – can’t believe we’re a quarter of the way through the year!

Love for the loft home

This is adapted from a comment I made a long while ago on An Exacting Life’s blog.

Yes to the following traits:

  • To be renovated from industrial or commercial space – TICK was once a technical school, and there’s all sorts of weird ceiling levels cause of it
  • To give the illusion it’s funky and real, and hasn’t always been chic real estate – TICK (well not entirely sure what was meant with this one!)
  • Industrial elements such as concrete floors or a garage door – TICK (but darn cold in winter, I have carpet on the stairs and in the loft bedroom)
Concrete floor and (a version of) a metal staircase
Concrete floor and (a version of) a metal staircase
  • A row of windows at least as tall as you are – TICK (though not as ‘character’ as I’d hoped, though I did just frost them… just glass sliding doors to my itty bitty balcony which is not common with a loft)
  • Wooden beams, and/or plumbing/heating pipes overhead, or commercial ceiling fans – :( NO (they’ve boxed in all the pipes, but every morning I shower ‘with’ my neighbours… as I hear each of them!)
Exposed beams in the dining area - and a glimpse of my pendant light (the art work is a temporary stop gap!)
Exposed beams in the dining area – and a glimpse of my pendant light (the art work is a temporary stop gap!)
  • Open floor plan – except for bathroom, I hope – TICK – only door other than the front door is for the bathroom (and living alone, I feel odd when I shut it (for company))
  • Room to hang massive artworks – TICK (not for the $$ to buy some! I have hung a scarf that’s almost a metre squared)
  • Pendulum lighting – TICK (I think… I changed from wall mounted, which is common in lofts, to two ceiling mounted pendant lights, looks great imo!)
  • Obligatory sounds of traffic and sirens, and ever-present light from street – YES! I have drug addicts and crazies bickering at all hours… but it’s all part of the charm!

And I have a car space (underground, luxury in the rain!). You made me feel oh so proud with my purchase (I sometimes still have buyers remorse!)

No to

  • Exposed brick on at least one wall – :( NO… could a ‘cover’ a wall in brick faces? Or wallpaper?
  • Salvaged materials such as glass block or bathroom tile – NO
  • Huge scale custom-built furniture such as bookcases or dining table – no… though the bookcase idea tickles me a little… The Dining table is just IKEA, but it’s stainless steel, like the kitchen!
  • Ladders or a metal spiral staircase (if there is an upper level, i.e. an actual “loft”) – :( NO, though I did try to source a ladder for deocartive purposes (old, wooden). I have a staircase, shown in the photo above
  • View of a fire escape and the wall of the next building – No – I have a large playing field… which is lovely. Exposed/external fire escapes are uncommon in Australia
  • Mid-century modern furniture (e.g. 1950s/60s/70s retro) – No, just not my style, though across the road from my building there are many vendors of exactly this kind of furniture and homewares

Long weekend’s to do list

Yay for Easter.  Un-yay for my parents and BF both being out of town.  Alas, the devil makes work for idle hands, and that’s the last thing we want on an Easter weekend.  So I’m forward planning some activities (and, to beef things up, I have listed all the other things I’d like to get done in the near future too!)

DIY stuff

  • regrout bathroom tiles: It’s all yellow :s  And when I did around the bath, I was not a pro, and it looks horrible.  So I will start with the walls, where I can practice without the added complexity/yoga poses, and hopefully brighten up the whole bathroom.
  • make cushion covers: I forgot I bought some fabric shopping with mum one day, and seeing I’m a ‘use it or lose it’ sort of girl, I better get them into a useful shape soon!  As for the other bit of fabric – I don’t have a plan for it yet…  Suggestions welcome it’s only about 1.5m long by 1m wide, if that.
  • paint damaged wall – I moved a canvas print, and it caused some marks on the wall from the adhesive 🙁  The new picture in it’s place doesn’t cover the stains, so I’m going to paint the wall – luckily it’s the smallest wall in my apartment!
Stamp Map of the worldA source (not the original): http://www.designpoi.com/2010/11/stamp-map/
Stamp Map of the world
A source (not the original): http://www.designpoi.com/2010/11/stamp-map/
  • make a map of the world with my stamp collection – a pinterest inspired project (just found this wonderful site, that’s broken it down into a how to for me!)
  • complete contacting the base of my bins cupboard under the sink
  • change shower head back to un-eco-friendly for better temperature control

Nerdage (aka technology based stuff)

The Zippy Shaz (named so due to her SHZ numberplate)
The Zippy Shaz (named so due to her SHZ numberplate)
  • List scooter for sale: It’s been so long since I’ve ridden it, and even though I have crash damage (x 2 – once I was on it, once it was just parked), I’ll see if there’s takers.  It’s just wasting space in my car park, along with all the gear…  Got to this early!
  • Work out podcasts/music downloads on my phone. I’m so un cool, I’ve never had a ipod or the like, and so I’ve missed out on music for years now.

Enjoyment

  • See a movie: Maybe Broken City, or perhaps Great Expectations, or I give it a year, or Lincoln.  Perhaps even Oz: Great and Powerful
  • Watch 3 episodes of Gossip Girl
  • Read in the park or hang out in a book shop
  • Invite my brothers for dinner (and exchange easter eggs!)

Book Review: Kitchen

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto was recommended by my blogger friend Dar, after I read another Japanese book recently: The Wind Up Bird Chronicle

Kitchen by Banana yoshimoto
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

The book is written with two stories – the longer ‘Kitchen’ and then ‘Moonlight shadow’.  The stories are similar in themes and feeling, but don’t share characters.  The themes of death and grieving are pervasive, but it’s interspersed with healing and growth.

Kitchen focuses on a university aged girl, Mikage, becoming an orphan, after her grandmother passes away. (The story’s name of the story comes from Mikage’s peace and love of kitchens – spending the first days of grieving sleeping by the refrigerator) Another family takes her in, a transvestite ‘entertainer’ Eriko and his/her son Yuichi.  As the story unfolds,  Eriko dies in a perverse attack at work, and Yuichi starts to experience the same grief as Mikage had when she’d been living with them.

The second episode is about a young woman, whose name escapes me (like most characters’ and I can’t find now!).  She’s suffereing the grief after her boyfriend, Hirage, dies in a freak accident.  In the accident, Hirage’s brother girlfriend also dies. Both the main character, and Hirage’s brother continue to see one another, and explore their grief in differeing ways – either running or cross dressing.

It’s a short book, and relatively easy ready, with some challenging themes.  It was published in 1988 (I would have been 3!), but I wonder where the world was with concepts like transexuality and cross dressing that this book touched on?

6 reasons I shaved my head

Many years ago, I was watching Oprah in my school holidays (stay with me here people…) and she interviewed some ladies who shaved their heads.  I was inspired.  It helped that these women were really positive about what they’d done – even if the audience seemed a little shocked.  Then and there, I made a silent pledge that if I ever knew someone with cancer, who’d be losing their hair to chemotherapy, then I would ‘lose’ my hair in support.

My grandmother got cancer in 2001, but I don’t think I’d seen the Oprah episode (or remembered it then), so it wasn’t until mid last year, when a Facebook message alerted me that a friend had breast cancer at the age of 31.  Her and a close (male) friend had only started dating in the last year, so the cancer diagnosis really accelerated their life’s plan! There were eggs to be frozen, and an engagement and then a wedding to plan – all around chemo and radio therapy sessions!

I was a little worried about broaching the ‘I’ll shave too’ idea – I’m not sure if I thought they (the couple) would think it was a funny idea, or lame, or just… I’m not sure – stupid/dramatic/overthetop?  So I figured I’d start with the boyfriend – whom I’ve known longer.  When he didn’t scoff at my suggestion, I thought I’d let him relay it back to ‘cancer girl’ and we’d see what happened.  Well… she was delighted! I’d started something!  In mid November, we had a ‘shave day’ – ‘cancer girl’ (who was two cycles in, and starting to lose hair by the clump), her BF, me, another two guys, and two girls.  A further female friend also lopped off her hair – to donate to a wig charity.  Sadly my ‘before’ hair wasn’t long enough to be donated.

Whilst it may seem altruistic, what I did, I thought I’d share all the reasons I was willing to do it (and whether all those reasons turned out as I’d planned)

Shave Day :x
Shave Day 😡

1. To make my friend feel less like ‘the only bald girl‘: seeing we live a few blocks from each other, I hoped the check out staff and other people in our neighbourhood would just think the fashions were changing.  Entirely possible in our esoteric area!

2. To assist in fighting my psoriasis: whilst it’s easier to see (therefore I’m more self conscious about aggravating it), I don’t think it’s miraculously been improved by the increased vitamin D exposure 🙁

3. To save time in the mornings: now I can get away with a much quicker wash.  And no conditioner (and I was fighting to find a good, zero waste conditioner – the bulk one just wasn’t cutting it and neither was the solid bar from Lush).  For almost three months, I didn’t blow dry it either – I just towel dried to the Bart Simpson look! About a month ago, I decided to get it styled (cause… there’s a limit to the length of sideburns even on someone as gorgeous (jokes) like me), and now I blow dry it to style it, so I look more Anne Hathaway than Spike!

4. Making cleaning easier: Oh yes! It is SO much easier.  And I really realised after a house guest (with long hair) had been in my place for a few days – there was so much more hair everywhere!

5. To make sport easier: I play water polo and since November, I’ve not had to wear a silicon swimming cap at all (I still have to wear the funny ear protector playing caps though).  Even my running/gym sessions – I can do without my head band that I used to use to keep the hair out of my face.

6. Personal growth: I think this was the most important reason I wanted to try shaving my head.  I thought it would help with vanity and ideas of beauty and femininity. And somehow, once I’d decided to shave, I picked up a lovely BF.  Perhaps ‘hey, I’m going to Europe for three weeks and when I get back I’m shaving my head’ isn’t necessarily a normal second date conversation – but it is a good way to see if you have a keeper!

One week on exactly
One week on exactly

I was sure I was going to burst into tears when I saw my bald head – but I didn’t.  I felt weird – experiencing wind in my ‘stubble’.  And not having anything to ‘play with’ – you know, put up, restyle, brush…  I’ve had a lot of moments where I’ve looked in the mirror and gone ‘that’s not me’!  But I’ve worked through it.  I’ve had a wig, for when I’ve wanted to feel normal (it was retired about a month ago, when I got my hair styled – even though I’m not 100% in love with the current natural style, I’m 100% over sweaty wig wearing!).  I’ve certainly spent more than usual on earrings.  And worn a lot more make up, to make myself feel pretty on the outside.

Overall, I prefer the benefits of short hair to my longer hair (which I always always wore up!).  And, I was overwhelmed by generosity of others – mainly colleagues  who donated so much to support me in my head shave (either that, or they took me literally when I said they couldn’t pay me out unless they’d paid out!)  I was so pleased to raise almost $5k towards the research centre that my friend is continuing her radio therapy treatment now.  ‘Cancer girl’ in now enjoying fuzz, and she has a posse of male and female friends to guide her through the next few years of hair style trials and tribulations!

So, am I vain? Well I don’t think so, but I sat down and worked out how much it would cost should I do everything I think I should do, with my post The Cost of Being Vain

Progress report: Run a half marathon

My planned 7km Bridge Run, as part of Sydney Running FestivalSource: http://www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/
My planned 7km Bridge Run, as part of Sydney Running Festival
Source: http://www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/

In my 12 in 2 list, I have some pretty ambitious goals – like running a half marathon.  Thankfully the idea of 12 in 2 is to achieve 12 different goals in two years, so the half marathon isn’t something that’s likely to happen soon, but I have to start somewhere, right? (I have an upcoming post about how I plan to get around to all my 12 in the 2 years, complete with a plan for the $).

I’ve always been a walker – I walk when it’s the easiest option.  Given I don’t have a car, that’s all the time!  But upping the ante to running? Well that’s another story!  So I discovered that Runkeeper has programs, so I signed up to a 5km program – that trains you slowly to get to up to running 5km.  Once I master that, I can start on a half marathon program.  I started looking at the half marathon programs, and they already expected I could run 5km, so… makes sense to start smaller!

I started small, but I’ve ‘ramped’ it up of late:

Week of 17 Feb – 1.5km

Week of 24 Deb – 2.4km

Week of 3 Mar – 10.3km

Week of 10 Mar – 13.8km

Week of 17 Mar – 19.7km (includes 100% walking (~4.4km) & run/walk combos)

Running progress - towards a half marathon
Running progress – towards a half marathon

Evidently, the first weeks were pretty lame.  My running partner was out of town for a funeral, so I made that an excuse not to do my workout every second day.  But, now I’ve mastered the Runkeeper ‘reminder’ system, and powered on alone.  Our first ‘team’ run is a 3.2km jog, which marks the 13th workout of 28.   Based on the training schedule I’ll be reading for a race on 19 April! I’ve found a 7km run in Sept which is over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, so I’ll do that – by that time I should easily be able to manage a 7km race.

Let me assure you, it’s not been easy.  My Saturday 3.2km run was HARD WORK (after a few drinks on Friday night).  But I persevered, and I was happy to be finished at 20 min 20 seconds!  It was hard, even though earlier in the week, I ran 3.85km in a set 25 minute run target.  Then on Monday, I was tasked with a 45 min walk/jog, and shocked myself with a number of personal bests – getting a distance of 6.1kms in 50 mins (that’s about 7.32kms/h – I ‘walk’ a bit faster on the treadmill, but that’s ‘easy’ in comparison to real life)!  However, back to a hard day on Wednesday, when I couldn’t for the life of me jog at a snail’s pace for the full 3.2kms outside in the real world – instead, there was a lot of walking (and therefore more kms achieved).  Interestingly, Runkeeper tracks elevation, and there’s some 40m ‘spikes’) so that might explain some of the difficulty.

So, I’m on track to get to 5km, a mini goal to getting to a half marathon.  Thanks to a blog, I feel somewhat accountable.  However,  just yesterday, I started getting twinges of shin splints.  So I’ll ice them, stretch more.  I’ll only do it every second day (and try to cut out incidental walking, esp in the WRONG shoes!).  Or I might just take things a little easier for the time being… tough call.

How do you find reaching your fitness targets?  What ambitious goals have you set yourself?

Zero Waste update

The things that are making it into my bin 🙁 I welcome suggestions from readers (as well as offering my own, to date) on how I can keep the bin waste down! (I’ve decided to go without images – there’s no need, you all have imaginations I hope!)

In the trash, there’s been

  • old underwear: well I’m not going to go without, and there’s no way I can ‘recycle’ these, so maybe let that one through to the keeper?
  • muesli plastic bags: I have a preferred muesli, due to it’s low sugar content.  I suppose I could make my own, with all the individual ingredients.  But normal oats vs the oats in muesli are different (from the muesli, I was eating oats everyday for a year or so straight – and I just got fed up!)
  • gluten free snack bars: I love that I can ‘grab and go’ and they are GF and sugar free.  Individual wrappers – not so great.  I need to find a ‘snack’ recipe or 10 so I can make my own and nix the waste – suggestions welcome.
  • dried apricot & date bags: I saw these in the bulk bins at the co-op but the apricots were black (obviously more natural, but might turn the BF off them), and more pricey…. decisions
  • stock cube wrappers: I like that they are small, and shelf stable.  I do not like trying to crush them up!  And of course the waste.  The issue with DIY stock is that I’d need a much bigger freezer… :s
  • plastic mailing bag: thank you to 71toes.com.au and her blogging group for the mail, but the plastic mailing bag, while thin and durable, is just plain waste.  And I can’t help how people chose to mail things to me.
  • meat tray: this is a rare ‘waste’ – as I try to take a reusable container to the butcher.  However, the butcher’s hours are shorter than the supermarket’s, so on this day, I missed the butcher.   I can easily fix this one!
  • cheese bags: how can I get cheese (any cheese) without waste, given I don’t have a local deli or similar?  I admit I could grate my own (rather than buying grated packs) – but whilst all supermarket cheese is wrapped, I’m going for the ‘easiest’ option of the cheeses!
  • cotton buds: I know they are bad for me, but it’s a hard habit to crack – suggestions?
  • floss: both the thread, and soon enough, the container it comes in.
  • tissues: I’m just scared I’ll ruin the balance in my bokashi bucket.

Have you got any miracle solutions to these waste woes?  Anything that’s worked for you?

Laundry routines

Coincidentally, in a 24 hour period I read about washing habits of two different bloggers – The Manly Housekeeper and An Exacting Life.  I was shocked that the Manly Housekeeper can do 6 loads of washing in a day – that’s more clothes than I’d own I think!  I also realised he’s not from the Sydney suburb Manly, he’s just a man.

Generally
– I do a dark load and a light load per week
– I separate lights and darks with two washing hampers

Sorting before washing - two hampers lets me know when I have enough for a load
Sorting before washing – two hampers lets me know when I have enough for a load

– I hang gym clothes over my bathroom tension rail, on hangers, til they are dry, then I put them in the hampers.  This stops the constant need to wash wet and dirty clothes
– I wash in cold (except the occasional hot wash for sheets and towels – but that’d be about once a month)
– I always wash overnight (I have metering that makes it cheaper to do this)
– Everything gets hung out on a rack, or over my ‘balcony’ from the upstairs of my loft
– I treat stains, mainly with a little soap stick. It works well

My washing products: homemade washing powder, wool wash, oxidising powder and my little yellow stain remover soap
My washing products: homemade washing powder, wool wash, oxidising powder and my little yellow stain remover soap

– I do delicate washes as needed – either in my washing machine under a special setting or by hand (such as silk)
– I iron uniforms, cotton shirts and pillowcases (a habit I’m trying to get out of!)
– I fold everything as I take it off the line – making what can be two jobs at my parents, into one job.

I don’t
– use a dryer (therefore the weight of my clothes has never been a big consideration)
– use fabric softener
– use store bought washing liquid

Overall, washing isn’t a chore in my head.  I enjoy having everything clean and sorted.  Actually, I take it upon myself to fold and put away, or hang out washing, when I see it.  It just makes me zen.  Perhaps it’s genetic – my friend’s child calls my father the ‘washing monster’!

How do you do your laundry?  Can you see room for improvement in my routines?  I wouldn’t mind alternative to shop bought wool wash, plastic wrapped stain remover, and the oxidising agent (that I use sparingly, I have more than a box, and I’ve had it a year) – any thoughts?

Book Review: The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey may or may not have been the book recommended by a friend on Facebook.  The small issue of the author was unknown, but I took the gamble nonetheless.

Source: http://cityofhidalgo.net/hidalgoweb/the-blade-itself
Source: http://cityofhidalgo.net/hidalgoweb/the-blade-itself

Danny, an Irish American living in Chicago, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, with his mate Evan.  In their late teens, they commit a robbery of a pawn shop.  Danny sees a chance to slip away, after Evan turns violent and severely injures two people.  The book opens with this crime, and then fast forwards seven years.  Danny’s still with Karen, but he’s now straight and in the building trade.  Evan has been granted early release (due to prison overcrowding).  You can almost guess what’ll happen next.  Evan’s spent seven years stewing on the fact that he served time and his mate walked free.  Evan, of course, did not implicate his mate in the crime all those years ago, but now the time to settle the score…

Danny, naturally, wants nothing of his old life, now that he’s happily in love, and earning a great living in construction.  But as Evan starts to threaten Karen, there’s no alternative for Danny but to join Evan ‘one last time’.  The plot is tightly written, and carefully sets itself up for the final scene.  Every character serves a purpose to enhance the story.  I thoroughly enjoyed this easy read, and will be looking to see what other things Sakey has published.

Goals Updates – Mid March

I’m impatient.  It’s just in my nature.  So I thought I would post a ‘mid month’ update, and hopefully right my course on all my goals and targets annually.  To see the start of this series, click here, and then there’s Jan Update and Feb Update.  My weeks are based on Monday through to Sunday.  But where a week ends mid week, I do funny things as you’ll see below!

Financial

$20k target by 22 Dec – on target with planned contribution of $165 per week.

Last month: $12,130

This (half) month: $13, 020 (roughly $1k increase thanks to a big storm and 10hrs of overtime!)

Generosity target – 50% achieved

At least $100 per week :
Last week of Feb: additional $20 (+ 9hrs volunteering)
week 1 – $25 to church, $100 petrol in someone’s car, $50 for beer (which I don’t drink) <- this last one might be a stretch!
week 2 – $70 to church
week 3 –
week 4 –

Health

Cook at home twice a week: hard to call – enough meals made to limit buying lunches, but not the true two per week! Maybe 80% achieved?

I’ve started tracking the spend on my part for meals out – some I’m paid for, others I pay for both/all

Last week of Feb-
?? (Thu)
?? (Fri)
Steak and Mash at BF’s (Sat)
Mac/tuna/cheese with Roast Vegies (Sun)

week 1 –
leftovers (mac&cheese) (Mon),
Thai out$10 (Tue),
Sushi out – thank you dinner $0 & beef curry made(Wed),
Pizza out $50 (Thu)
Mexican out $20 (Fri),
Pub food $0 (Sat),
KFC $18 (Sun)

week 2 –
leftovers (curry) (Mon),
Dinner at parents (Tue),
Beef, bacon and egg pies (Wed),

week 3 –
week 4 –

Sugar – I’d say 40% achieved, cause I’m oh so generous with myself…

I did give into a froyo on the 9th, and again on the 12th (Taro is just SO delicious), and some mazipan was in the date i had on the 10th – as well as any sugar that’s in Simnel cake for mothering Sunday (but I don’t count that). I’m still ‘loopholing’ sugary drinks, but given they are a treat when out, I’m not so concerned. I am disappointed that I’m not seeing a huge physical change, as I have other times I’ve done this, but I think there’s a lot of lent to go yet! Truly, it’s more than 40 real days!

Train for polo – 0% on water polo, but encouraging on the exercise front.  So let’s say… 40% achieved.

Sigh – no, I decided a house guest got me off the hook, even though she ended up having the night out with another friend. So that’s a no for the first week.  And now the season is over, maybe I should adjust this goal for gym sessions? Given I want to run a half marathon, as part of my 12 in 2 goals, I should really start being accountable to y’all (and myself) with how I’m going!  I did play polo the Sunday of Week 1, then a gym session Mon, Tue and Thu – cardio and weights.  Got to 3.2km on Tues!! It’s a start.

Cultural

– 2 films a month – 50% achieved

Side effects – great movie, though not the pick me up I was hoping for, seeing it was a lot about depression. That being said, it was cleverly written.

– 2 books a month – 50% achieved

After calling to Facebook, I refilled my ‘to read’ list with the library. I started with The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey.  I’ll have a review for you on Tuesday.

Career –

– Certification – 400% achieved! OK maybe 200% achieved as I haven’t made them all perfect.

My target was two a month, to be complete by July.  But wow, after a few extra hours in the office (cause it’s better than going home and practically back to where work is (with my bf who he lives closeby my work), I have only 3 more ‘episodes’ of 16 to start. The other 13 aren’t perfect, or long enough, or polished enough. But having something is definitely better than nothing!  So I’m really really happy with the porogress on this goal.