I love blogging! I drafted this post, and then I thought, ‘it’s a little disjointed’, ‘why this book isn’t with that book?’. So after completely reorganising my books, hopefully now they are stored in a way that makes sense to you – it certainly makes more sense to me! Oh and I decluttered two books that I wasn’t entirely proud to have listed :p
Firstly, books are largely hidden in my home, after spending a time in a room with a wall lined in books. I just find the visual too cluttery. So here’s what’s on show in my home:
Beside the radio
In the same shelves, above the radio
And on the bed ledge
These are the ‘plan to read’ books.
Israel is Real, Rich Cohen
Each peach pear plum
An intelligent life
Holocaust sites of Europe
And here’s what’s hidden behind closed doors
French Books (in French or about France)
12 steps to find a job
The game master (Le maitre du jeu)
If it is a man (Si C’est un homme)
Improve your French
Poland <- a gift from a Polish friend when I studied in France
The Bronze Horseman <- from an Aussie friend who visited Russia. I read Paulina Simons ‘The Bronze Horseman’ and so I asked for the original poetry. But I can’t read cryllic!
Honeymoon with my brother – Franz Wiesner
The Christmas Mystery – Jostein Garder
Plan B – L.R. Brown <- all about alternative ways in life. Like no flush toliets, and Chinese meat consumption and global warming
The Back Row
The holocaust odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando
Night, E. Wiesel
Eyewitness Aushwitz, F. Muller
Among the righteous, R. Satloff
Ester and Ruzya – Masha Gessen, Masha Gessen
The Seamstress – a memoir of survival, S. T. Bernstein, L.L. Thornton & M. Berstein Samuels
Auschwitz, Auschwitz, How can I forget you
Safe Passage – Ida Cook
American Heroine in the French Resistance
Mister God, this is Anna
Growing to Maturity
The mindful way through depression
Striped book – Inspirations book from 2006
Spiral bound black book – more inspirations
Photo album from high school
Blue display book (empty)
First travel journal from 2006
Second travel journal from 2006
Third travel journal from 2007 onwards
Plastic case of brochures for future employers etc
Binder of bank statements from France – 2006 onwards
Stamp collection (Australian)
Stamp collection (foreign)
Binder of floristry assignments and remaining notes
Tax envelope for this year’s receipts
Receipts of clothing spending, electrical items, scooter related costs
Writing paper and envelopes
The Sweet Poison Quit plan
Humourous check list
Journal from 2011-12 (with lists to move house etc)
There you go, I think that’s about all of the permanent resident books in my house. There’s a constant cycle of library books, of course. I pretty much won’t buy a published book now days – between the library, my mother’s house (which feels like a library) and my uncle owning a book store, I have an endless source, it would seem! I will only buy 2nd hand books when I am heading overseas, and leave them there. How do you think I did? Minimal?
Settle in, this is a long one! The end of month summary will be next week, when all the interest is in. Feels silly to post before the ‘dust has settled’. This post was inspired by comments to this post
When I was nine, I had a very serious conversation with my mother on her bed, during afternoon nap time in our big Queendlander in Brisbane. I needed to decide, right then and there, my future career. I didn’t want to leave it to chance. Make the wrong decision. Close doors inadvertently. And I haven’t changed a bit – I still have absolutely no patience!
Mum and I discussed what I liked in life. I loved travelling – I was lucky that my parents saved and took us overseas. In 1992 I was taken to the US to visit my aunt who was doing a PhD there. We flew JAL via Tokyo, and on every leg this cutie asked for an upgrade. Would you believe it, we got one from Tokyo to Cairns! In 1993, my whole family upped and moved to the south of France for 15 weeks, which my parents had their long service leave. So in 1994, when we had this discussion, I already had a taste for travel.
Mum directed me that I’d be best to be a pilot or diplomat.
Both those are admirable careers, but I struggled with the ‘how to become a diplomat’ question. It’s not that simple, you might get a law degree, and then get into it, but you just as likely might not. And I don’t like those odds! So pilot it was. I dreamed of joining wherever I wanted, and once I got there, enjoying it, unlike the passengers who might have the scurry off to business meetings. I thought, wow, I can just up and leave husband and kids and take a break and call it work! Cheeky, wasn’t I?
In 2001, my penultimate year of school, I decided I needed to know more about becoming a pilot. I knew I had essentially two options: self funded, or government funded through the defense forces. Whilst my parents travelled, they aren’t in the world of wealth that finances a pilot’s licence with private lessons. So, it was pretty clear to me, at 16, with no real earning opportunities being a boarder, that I would need to go the route of the air force.
I made an appointment with the recruitment office (which is now the Red Cross Blood Bank in Brisbane), and did my hair in the tightest, neatest bun ever. I knew that whilst this was an ‘information’ interview, I needed to look the part. I spoke to a someone – I say ‘someone’ for effect – he told me I’d need to learn all the ranks and all the high ranking official in the Air Force. And all the aircraft. And all the depots/bases. And once I’d learnt all that, I’d have a medical examination too. I’m not the sort of smart that memorises things. I never really have been. Certainly not dry military information. Then, to be told that the medical exam would require me to waddle, in a squatted pose, across the room, to see if I had hip joint issues, I started to think ‘is this all really worth it, and necessary?’ Neither of those reasons are ‘enough’ to not continue, but I wondered if I could endure the 7 years studying, and the further 8 years ‘payback’ obligation in the service. I loved the idea of being paid to learn, and pretty much living a financially easy life, on the government’s dime. But could I commit to 15 years with them (or suffer the repayments if I left early?).
There were too many things that I wasn’t comfortable with. And I decided to listen to that uncertainty, and explore additional career opportunities. As an Aussie, it pains me to big note myself, but I knew I was academically talented enough to study for almost any career I might be interested in. But what did I want to study, and make my career and future? That’s such a hard question to answer at 16, with no experience of Monday to Friday 9-5 pm sorts of hours. All you know is study, with some sport and music thrown in.
I read the course manuals, and attended open days. In the end, I decided I would do Bachelor of Forensic Science in Applied Chemistry with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. My other ‘options’, well I wasn’t really sure. There was some industrial design. And there was some engineering. My mother suggested that pilots are engineers. This is not factually true, but hey, what mother hasn’t told a furfy? And really, I can’t blame her, I’m pretty pleased with where I am in life today!! My mother, being a teacher, spoke to her school’s career’s counselor and I met with her in the school holidays. (My mother and I lived in different states, and I planned to study in the state my mother was in). The counselor offered me a number of scholarship application brochures for various engineering courses. Her advise was for the cost of a stamp and some time, you could be handsomely rewarded. She was right, it wasn’t that hard to church out some scholarship applications on the long and boring days of school holidays (when the rest of my family was at work and school).
Much to my surprise, most universities rejected me. I remember the long, bare footed walk to the letterbox at that house. I got an offer, but the letter wasn’t addressed to my name, but another name at my address (imagine what might have gone wrong there!!). But, the University of Technology, Sydney did want to interview me! Thankfully, not during my planned ‘schoolies’ week – the celebratory booze up that students illegally enjoy!
I arrived at the interview holding room, and thankfully put my foot in it there (rather than later, say, in the real interview) with a lady who’d become my boss for all my years at uni. I said ‘oh yeah, I’d like to do aeronautical engineering’ to which she replied ‘our university doesn’t offer than specialty We don’t offer it because there’s only 2 jobs per year, and the other two ‘big’ universities both graduate 30 students each per year in that specialty’. Wow! Talk about back to reality. Thank you Betty! You saved my bacon, because, of course, I did get offered a scholarship, if I put engineering at this particular university, first on my preferences. (University admission is centralised, it’s all a bit cloak and dagger, and not very well understood).
The scholarship was perfect for my commitment phobic self. It was for one year, it was for $10k and it required a credit average in my first year, and my re-enrolment in second year. As I saw it, I could come away with $5k if I didn’t like engineering, and didn’t sign up for second year. That would have covered my tuition at the very least. Needless to say, almost every year (and it took me six years with the Bachelor of International Studies, and failing only one subject four times) I contemplated changing – to law, to forensic chemistry. Just quitting and becoming a flight attendant and travelling. Eventually, I’d done more than I had left, so I stuck it out, and man did it take *every single once* of willpower on some days. Engineering is not easy but it is rewarding!
There’s so much more I could write, but at more than 1200 words, I’ll save it! Questions warmly welcomed!
You might remember (if you’ve been following for a long time) that I listed all my house projects back in January, as per Apartment Therapy’s suggestion. I then reviewed them in April for you too. In there, I mentioned the idea of maybe installing floating shelves at my entry. Well here they are!
Can you see the ‘blob’ of blackness at the rear of the buffet? That was my decorative high heels (yes, I know, what?!) and then my wig and my hand bag. I was not happy about all this living ‘on the surface’ – my eyes and head like big clear surfaces.
So, I decided I needed to change things! First up, move the art work
Nekkid corner, you say? How about some super cheap Ikea Lack shelves?
Sadly, this looks simple. Truly? Not at all. The first set of Ramset plugs pulled out of the wall. (You can’t screw into a stud, as the screw heads need to be exactly 22.5cm apart to hang the shelf) I thought it was because the screws were too short to activate the ‘spring’ toggle. So I bought longer screws. Still no cigar. Then back the hardware store for the pricier toggles (which I bought on trip 1, returned on trip 2, then I bought screws on trip 3, and then we’re now at trip 4). Thankfully, these ones held, but sadly proved my super double checked measuring and leveling, ended up with unlevel screw holes, and therefore not entirely ‘flat’ shelves.
So, I’m pretty sure I would NOT leave these for a renter in my place. Which basically means I’ve screwed holes to just have to patch at some date in the future. Sigh. Alas, it is nice to have some additional storage and more ‘clear open spaces’. Do you need clear surfaces to feel calm?
Remember a while back I was sickly but I had a miraculous recovery thanks to a nasal spray, which incidently has knocked my allergies for dead. I couldn’t be any happier. Plus, I had the nasal spray in my medicine cupboard, which means the ‘new’ spray I bought, I took back to the pharmacy and got a refund on!
Before the revival of the magic spray into my life, I was churning through boxes of tissues. There were tissue boxes by the sofa, on the kitchen table and on my bedside. Then a box at work, and a box or two around the BF’s house.
A little while ago, I spent the better part of a day making hankies. I bought two baby wraps and a sheet from the thrift shop (for a huge sum of $5 I think), and cut them into smaller squares (or rectangles/oblongs/weirdly shaped squarish things). All in all, I made more than 90 hankies! Every single one was double hemmed (as I didn’t have an overlocker). To make it simpler I ironed the hems, to make my sewing that much easier. Now I have a (paper) bag of hankies at my bedside, and by the sofa. The last lingering box of tissues is on the kitchen table.
So the loss? Well, the nasal spray is in a plastic contraption, so one day, it too will be in the trash pile.
Here’s some close ups:
To be honest, they aren’t yet as good as tissues. For incidental use, tissues are soft. And they ‘stick’ together nicely, which my hankies don’t. (TMI? Sorry!). Anyhow, I’ve used these hankies to wipe up spills too, so they really are replacing tissues, but they are washed and reused.
Usually, on waste Wednesday, I check in with my weight of non recyclable rubbish for the week. I forgot this morning. No idea why, it was just a normal morning. Anyhow, if you read this before I get a chance to go home, and weigh it, and photograph it, and update this post, count yourself lucky! (I’m pretty sure it’s not the highlight of anyone’s weekly reading :p)
Thanks to Dar, at An Exacting Life and her monthly round ups, I added The World Without Us to my reading list, and seeing it wasn’t already on loan from the library I picked it up almost straight away.
Before I lose any readers, this end of the world book isn’t about zombies, aliens or the like. It’s quite simply about the way the world would ‘survive’ without humans. It looks at what animals might take over, and which might become extinct without our nurturing – and also assesses what mega fauna existed in the past. Why did this megafuana die almost universally, but in some cases, survive in some small pockets? How would soil, farms and forests regenerate?
The book explores how built environments would crumble – how the constant cooling and heating of the seasons, particularly in places where there’s snow and a thaw – cause havoc on concrete. I loved how it talked about the constant battle to keep the New York Subway from being flooded. This seems positively harmless in comparison to the thought of the 441 nuclear plants slowly shutting down, and with them, a radioactive, boiling hot sludge spilling outwards combined with releasing radioactivity into the air. That’s nothing to say about the storage of all the nuclear waste we have to date, which wouldn’t survive without constant maintenance on the structures that hold it, and the power to keep it cool.
I’m tempted to use superlatives with every sentence, such as ‘the scariest part’ or ‘the most worrying thing’ but in reality, so much of this book was alarming and enlightening. How about all the plastics? This book talked about the micro plastics inserted into shower gels, which, after exfoliating the user, are destined for waterways, and the mouths of small animals – something Beth Terry recently campaigned about. The statistics are harrowing. I’d started to think that my ‘recyclables’ and ‘compost’ were ok, and then this book comes out and says the newspapers don’t biodegrade away from air and water, proving the point by saying there’s a reason we have some 3,000 year old papyrus scrolls from Egypt, or perfectly readable newspapers from landfills dated in the 1930s.
It ends with details of how we could make the world sustainable, with the question on population (something Lois touched on yesterday after Jed Bush’s comments). It suggested a world wide cap of one children per female (obviously we’re talking about humans here!) By 2100, the population would be at 1.6 billion. It’s something that’s unlikely to be popular, but it’s interesting to think that with this simple step, we could return the world to the 19th century times, but with all the technological advancements. We’d cherish every birth, even more so than today. And we’d know that whilst sacrificing a bigger family unit, we’d be healing the earth gradually. (That being said, I’m not sure I’d be ok with having an only child…)
I loved this book (it won out to the negotiation book, but I did also finish the very Australia centric Cheapskate book I mentioned last week). It was eye opening to understand how great an impact we’ve already made on the world, and how long it would take for different things to return to a natural equilibrium. I’d recommend you read this book if you’re at all environmentally minded, or like to think ‘what if’ in terms of the future of the world. It’s incredibly well written, with a light touch whilst incorporating so much data and research. This book, to me, is an example of how I’d enjoy all non fiction to be written 😉
To mark the 100th post, I thought I’d let you know a little more about me… with a list of random facts.
1. I sleep with a teddy bear, Jessie, whom I’ve had since I was 1. I’m 28 now. She’s not doing so well. But I love her (and now, I know the difference between her and she and he and him! Man did I struggle with gender pronouns when I was young)
2. I spent 7 years at boarding school in Brisbane, QLD, Australia whilst my parents lived in Vanuatu and Wollongong, NSW
3. I have a Cert III in Floristry, even though I work as an engineer.
4. I prefer trains to buses, but try to walk if it’s possible.
5. I’ve never drunk Coke in my life – well, not more than a sip.
6. Despite having typing lessons at 11 (in Vanuatu, no summer camps there!) I learnt more typing on MSN at 14!
7. I have 4 email addresses, I think…
8. I played both cello and trombone in school. But not once since. I don’t even really miss it.
9. I’m the eldest of three, with two brothers.
10. I didn’t get my full unrestricted drivers licence until I was 23 (and working in my career – seems like it took me less time to get a Bachelors degree!)
11. I’m liberal minded about almost anything, except illicit drugs.
12. I grew up wanting to be a pilot. After I rejected the air force, and self funding, I thought I’d do forensic chemistry. So… how’d I end up as an engineer?
13. I’ve never owned a car. The one I share with my brother was inherited from my non-driving Grandma, and was ‘bought’ by my mother for $1.
14. I’m scared of swimming with fish. I’m not sure when I ‘got’ this fear, as I snorkeled up to age 12 in Vanuatu without any panic attacks, but since then… well…
15. In school, I played: netball, hockey, water polo, volleyball & ball games (ain’t that quaint?), I also swam and was in athletics in primary school.
16. I’ve visited 34 countries (more than one a year, on average)
17. Back to cars, I’ve never hired a car. I used to think it was to avoid the under 25 surcharge, but I’m no longer under 25
18. For years, I thought they said ‘Thank Peter God’ not ‘Thanks be to God’ after the gospel in church (silly billy)
19. I love to sing along to the radio in the car – the louder the music the better really!
20. I’d never want to be famous – I can’t imagine anything worse than my photo on billboards and in magazines, and being interviewed and the like. Maybe that’s why it took me a while to get on the blogging bandwagon.
Thanks to anyone who’s come across from Cassie’ blog Tales and Trenches, and should you be looking for a brownie recipe only, I’d like to suggest mine 😉
I recently shared what was inside my handbag, and Pauline from Reach Financial Independence wanted to know more about what bags I carried things in. Yesterday I showed you them stashed in my buffet, recently repainted, at the front door. Here’s what’s in there:
The current ‘everyday’
It carries work files easily, and was a Christmas gift from my parents, after they saw how much I was wearing my simialr blue bag to death!
The collection of Longchamp bags
The blue was a long serving ‘everyday’ – perhaps for 2 years? The black bag is better for smaller amount of stuff, so on weekends or evenings, where I’m not too fancy :p
“Walking around” bag
Great for markets or a longish walk where I need things, like when I walk to my hairdressers or into the city
The teal bag is the first time I’ve ever thought to call something ‘buttery’. The lining is the softest silk in a creamy colour. Sadly there’s some pen marks, but it still feels divine! Outside is a beautiful teal suede. I feel in lust/love with this bag at first site in Jan 2006 in the streets of Paris. As a lowly student, I’m not sure how I thought I could justify a 80 Euro bag, but I’m glad I did. (I think I attributed it to my ‘grandma birthday money’). And I’ve never looked back and thought ‘why’d I spend so much on that bag’. Every time I use it, I just adore it.
This little cutie was a whim buy at $10 in JFK as I was heading back to Australia. Nothing is that cheap in Australia, so I took a risk that it would match my dark grey evening gown, and huzzah, whilst it’s a different fabric, it tones pretty darn well!
I know some of my readers have no handbags, what about you? Could you do with more (!) or less? I think this is just enough for me!
1. Sand (with fine sandpaper and EVERYwhere, unlike me :P)
2. tape off the area to be primed and painted
3. Prime and let dry
4. Prime again and let dry
5. Paint and let dry
6. Paint again
7. Remove tape
8. Cry that’s it’s not pinworthy, but remember this is INSIDE your cupboards, the best place to fail!
Now, this is not the blog where you will think I’m super woman! Here’s proof!
I think about my trash more than any 28 year old probably should… And then I share these weird and wonderful thoughts here. 😀
So I started thinking about what were ‘repeat’ offender in my trash and what changes I could be making, or need to plan to make. And then there are plastic items that I won’t replace, as I already have them, but am mindful of. Here’s what I have
Things I could improve/substitute
razors: when the disposable type run out (and I do use them for many many more times than usual), I’ll look for a metal handled replacement. Even something that you only change the blades in would be an improvement
floss: silk thread is the best alternative, so I need to purchase some soon. See, it’ll either be unwrapped (and is that hygenic?) or it’ll be plastic wrapped. you can’t win can you! I’ll update you on this in coming weeks – I’ve only tried it once
toothbrushes: when my supply of plasticy French toothbrushes die, I will look into more natural alternatives, most likely bamboo.
cotton buds:The World Without Us was graphic enough to let me know those little plastic tubes are no good, so I’ll buy more from GoBamboo when I find a stockist in this city
tampons: for the few men, I won’t go into details, but I could do without individually wrapped items.
blister packs from tablets: not sure i”ll ever find a work around here!
bandaids: again, is there a recyclable/low waste option
straws: rarely I’ll buy a drink with one. I should ask for them without straws, or buy a metal or glass straw
cutlery: I have a bamboo set, perhaps they should be in the handbag at all times (given you saw what’s in my handbag)
sushi trays: I need to BYO my plate or similar I think… Possible – yes? Probable – no! Still, as I tick things off this list, it might seem easier.
dish sponges: I prefer sponges, and I know you can buy compostable ones from cellulose. Surely there’s a supplier closer than this one in Canada?
sticky tape: there’s paper tape? I need to find out more and get me some! Although it’s main use is gift wrapping which isn’t that often
Things I can’t seem to get around
jars: and the need to put a plastic seal around the rim. Do they not trust the brilliance of the pop top seal?
Compromises I make
Yoghurt and sour cream pots: these come in reusable containers. I know ideally food + plastic don’t work, but I’m just not at the ‘make my own’ stage. And at least I pick the options where I have a container I can reuse over and over, rather than just recycling
Zip Lock bags: Firstly, i don’t buy them. I buy frozen berries and the like, that come in them. Then I reuse them. It’s just so easy to buy bulk flours like this than with a huge (heavy) jar
Pump packs: Like liquid soaps, this is the easiest dispensing method. I just buy them like this, and then refill when I need. Of course the refills are usually also in a recyclable plastic bottle
Longer(-ish) lifespan plastics
Coat hangers: I could have decided to fill my closet with plastic. I could have gone wood/metal and maybe that’s an option for the future. But I like the consistency I have now.
Fan: It was a gift, I would have otherwise sourced a more metal based fan
TV/DVD/Radio: Can you buy these items non plastic? How would you make a remote control? In the meantime, I’ll live with these luxuries
Blender/food processor/hand blender: I just can’t seem to find plastic free options, but two outta three were ‘freecycle’ finds rather than new purchases
Pantry storage containers: I make the (potentially faulty) assumption that i’m not heating the plastics I store flours and other bulk items in, therefore it’s ok?
Waste Wednesday weigh in(s)
Last week, I came in at 254g (compared to other weeks, this is about double, but there’s a reason).
This week 113g (367-254g) <- man is plastic light though!
So that big weight week? Here’s why:
All cause I moved the coffee table to clean – sigh!
So, I have three non fiction library books on the go at the moment –
The Yes Book: the art of better negoiation by Clive Rich,
Debt free, cashed up and laughing: the cheapskates way to living the good life by Cath Armstrong and Lea-Anne Armstrong and finally
The World without Us by Alan Weisman.
I’m liking the multiple book method – the first was in my handbag, the second is my breakfast reading and the third is my favourite, I read before bed, and it’s also migrated into the handbag… Anyhow, none of these are finished and ready for a review. So, what have I got for you today? As some may recall, my 12 in 2 list included reading the bible.
This past Sunday 16 June, marked 1/4 way through this plan (which has a different ‘book’ for each day). Why am I reading the bible? Well, I’ve never read all the lesser known books, even though I know other stories so well, from years of religious schooling and Sunday school. Even if you’re not a christian, it’s hard to deny that the bible is a part of popular literature, and a lot of cultural references are from the bible (or wrongly attributed to the bible). I also felt the need to know what’s really said in passages that are regularly used in topical issues, like gay marriage, sex before marriage and many other contentious issues.
Let me assure you, it’s not all easy reading. I struggled with all ‘someone begat someone’ and this tribe fought and killed all of that tribe/city. That being said, the Psalms can be truly lovely. Job is a great story, and I believe many people would identify with this back and forth struggle with God, and worthiness, and what they deserve. I’ve started to list the interesting passages on the book marks I’ve created (one for each day), so that I can come back and know which were the parts I’d like to reread, or reference. I was defaming the book with pencil underlining, but once the pencil went walkabout, I decided against a permanent scar in the bible :s (I’m sure librarians are in horror I even used pencil!)
Last night, whilst ‘catching up’ on Sunday’s reading, I found this:
And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head–it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.
1 Corinthians 11: 5-6
Seems my bare, shaved headed ways in church might not have been ok! Oh well, lucky I didn’t know this passage :p Thankfully, no one at church has been impolite enough to share this insight with me.
I do however, think reading the actual bible is interesting, especially after reading A year of living biblically by A J Jacobs last year. His experiment eventually summarised that it’s impossible in modern society to stone a man (though he tried), and maintain other more drastic passages of the bible. And I think that’s the key – so many people quote passages of the bible as their reason in an argument, without tempering their biblical decision making with all the biblical activities that are now illegal or barbaric. Simply speaking, everything that’s written in the bible can’t be taken 100% literally.