A new car…

I’ve never owned a car outright, as long time readers might recall from this post. That’s all about to change!

I have decided at the ripe old age of 31, that it’s time to buy my very own car.  It due to some frustrations by the limitations of work’s car – I can only drive it to and from work, and for work.  So it limited the flexibility to do things ‘on the way home’.  And playing and training for water polo is a little tricky! I used to have a team mate live locally, but no longer.  So car pooling is out.

I started with a budget, of course.  Then I knew I wanted some convenient features – being reversing sensors and steerin gcontrols for the radio, and hopefully Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phone calls.  OH, and I realised I forgot to say – I was only going to buy a used car.

Initially I thought about a hatchback.  They are very adaptable to large bootloads of Ikea furniture – I know from all my years sharing a Hyundai Accent.  Dad and I went to, coincidently a home I’d inspected when it was for sale, to inspect a BMW 118i.  It was priced high for what it offered in terms of kms and age.  I offered a fair price, but the sellers were successful in getting their asking price.  I can’t fault them on that!

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via

However, after looking at the profile of many of the possible hatchback options, I didn’t like the profile.  I didn’t love the car I inspected.  I just felt… ho hum.  It’s pathetic, but then, there’s so much choice in the car market, I figured I would be better to buy something I loved!  I’d always liked the rear profile of an Audi A4.

So this past weekend, I planned to inspect a few A4s, and encouraged by my parents, I put in an offer.  There was some back and forth, but I’ve now put down a holding deposit on a silvery blue 2009 Audi A4, which is coincidentally diesel.  The car I drive currently, the Hyundai i30, is a diesel, and I have no issues or concerns with it.  I have paid a holding deposit, and the coming weekend will be an independent inspection.  Part of me is steeling myself for ‘bad’ news, given the car is 110,000km under it’s belt.  But better to know what I’m putting my money into, now and into the future.

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I’ll be the first to admit – I’m mildly terrified.  It’s a HUGE lump sum payment.  It’s like buying property.  It’s ultimately easier to damage badly, at least I think so! Although, I keep recalling, it’s JUST a car – I can just as easily sell it if it doesn’t work how I’d hoped.  And if I realise I went too big, or it’s too hard to park, or uses too much petrol, I’ll at least have tried and failed at the car I’ve long admired.  You can only learn through failure.  I much prefer that idea to the idea of always wishing I’d got what I ‘really wanted’

It’s hard to imagine the flexibility and freedom a car will provide me.  At any time, I can go anywhere.  In any weather.  I look forward to having the open road, and suburbs, and choices open in front of me!

Gliding (fixed wing…)

So like a plane, except, extra long wings so that you can cut the engine and glide.  The BF got this as a Christmas gift, so it made my 2016 Goals, and struck something off the bucket list.

2016 Gliding 063

That’s my pilot tinkering

 

I was pretty darn excited:

Excitable clapping also occured
Excitable clapping also occured

Here’s the inside:

Instrument collagae

Let me show you some ‘up in the air’ pictures

2016 Gliding 032
The church my pilot, Bill, was married in.
2016 Gliding 023
Coming in to land, with no engine on Far off on that horizon line is the Blue Mountains, and snow!
2016 Gliding 038
My bread and butter – substations (this is outside my company’s area tho)
2016 Gliding 046
A valley/flood plain

Here’s some shots of the sexy beast I flew in

2016 Gliding 010 2016 Gliding 005

In the airfield, there was gliders from another ‘club’ which don’t have engines (they get towed up).  Seems the embedded engine is preferable – less manpower needed, and less ‘vehicles’:

These gliders can't 'self propel'
These gliders can’t ‘self propel’

I loved it! My pilot was super helpful, let me ‘fly’ and took right back over when the nerves got the better of me.  He also told the BF I squealed (true).  I have a real fear with steering a glider, or a jet ski.  But then no fear/freak out with hang gliding or parasailing (both of which I did ‘pre blog’).  I think it’s to do with being able to imagine a sudden, horrible outcome with the former two, and less so with the latter?

The BF also signed his life away and went up too:

2016 Gliding 012

It was a pretty awesome way to spend Saturday morning.  We were really lucky to only book this date in, many people have been repeatedly rescheduled – the airfield was under water a month ago!

The pilots are all part of a club, and volunteer to take us city folk up (DINKs and the like who buy RedBallon vouchers).  The ‘profits’ for this are ploughed into the club, which owns to gliders and a little trailer/office/hut thingie.  There’s air traffic control at the air field, as there’s private planes and other dinky planes, but we also saw some super fighter jet take off too, as there’s an air force or cadets group that train there.  Anyhow, it’s a pretty ‘cheap’ hobby for the club members with the offsetting of once off flyers.  The other pilot there on the day had taken his grand daughter ‘up’ before us, and planned to take her again.  Nothing like the indoor sky diving costs (did I blog about that?)

Weight loss update

Let’s start by saying – I’m envious of Dar’s fitness post today. Driving home, I thought ‘if she can do it (and she’s in a place with all that snow, and she is older than me) then what’s my excuse?’.  So I set up my laptop, and still channeling Dar – I put on her fave instructor Jillian Michaels.  I heard Jillian speak on the radio the other day, as she’s in Australia – what a champion.  Of course, I had no idea about her personal life and her new reality show…  So one 30 day shred session down!

Otherwise, I’ve done two Barre Body classes, and I weighed in today at 76.6kg, though I have been down to 76.0kg within the past week.  Honestly, my eating hasn’t been well regulated with a birthday at the end of January.  And with a big storm mid January, I threw my ‘no ice creams’ plan out the window.  Stress is definitely a ‘reason’ I give myself to eat rubbish! Shame on me!

I’m incredibly torn – I have something coming up before the end of the month that’ll blow my healthy plans out of the window – just wait, I will tell you, once the surprised are aware 😉  Oh and it’s not a baby, as much as I’d love it to be 🙂

So for this week’s menu, we went easy.  The butcher in our shopping centre has some ‘ready made’ meats and I feel more comfortable about these than the ones we often buy marked down in grocery duopoly.  Here’s what I got:

  • Chicken involtini
  • Pork noisette
  • Satay chicken skewers
  • Lamb kofta skewers

The BF’s pretty impressed by the meat haul. All up, it was around $50 and then I spent $40 at the grocery store, which brings us on par with most weekly grocery shops.  For vegies, I bought one ready made coleslaw mix and vegies to make a vegie lasagne.  I figure the lasagne is enough as a meal for me for lunches, and a ‘side’ for our evening meals.  All in all, it’s a pretty easy menu, so that’s a start!

Jillian - a side lunge is weird, but Lulu's got your back (via)
Jillian – a side lunge is weird, but Lulu’s got your back (via)

So with exercise – it’s one thing I struggle to pay for as I struggle to commit!  I’m good with playing water polo – but not training.  I could get a weekly or more membership to trampoline exercise ($15 per class or $19 for a weekly sign up for 8 weeks or $135 for 10 classes).  Barre Body is $25 for a casual class or $220 for 10 classes over six months, or $35 per week for two classes or $50 for unlimited number of classes.  Does anyone see how I could find this + my commitment issues = confusing!  And neither of these are particularly attractive when it’s super rainy outside either!

So, I’m not going backwards, but I’m not steaming forwards very quickly.  I do look good in my new work out top though!

2016 Goals

What would I like to achieve in the next year?

Health

I will get (and stay) below 70kg.  I’m currently 78.7kg.  I plan to reward myself as a help to motivate me.  I do need to ‘plan’ around all my excuses, so perhaps that’s tomorrow’ post.  I would like to have toned upper arms and a stomach I wouldn’t mind being shown to people (ie in a bikini), and minimal cellulite.

By October, I’d been as low as 75kg. I had got into more regular Barre Tone classes, and really felt more toned in my upper arms, and upper legs.

Australian owned sportswear
Australian owned sportswear

I will only drink two nights per week.  I think this will help with losing weight – I don’t ‘love’ to drink so therefore setting an arbitrary number allows calories for things I’d prefer (like sweets!)

I feel like I have generally applied this.

We will eat vego twice a month.  I think this is healthy, and if I’m smart, the BF may not notice… we’ll see.

Twice within the last 24hours! I can’t say more broadly how well I’ve done with this.  I have found myself prepping a vego meal for my lunches from time to time.

Fun

I will visit Russia, Romania and Bosnia this July/August with my younger brother.

See all the posts (posted from August through October)

Pretty Russia
Pretty Russia via

I will go canyoning and abseiling in the Blue Mountains – a Christmas gift from the BF. Done

Work

I will develop 3 staff to be able to do duties in the office, which gives them options in a very volatile time at work.

I really feel I need a few more goals in this space, so something to ponder.

Social

I will catch up with two (non-local) friends per quarter. I didn’t succeed at Christmas cards in the quantity I’d hoped, so I might try to be better year round.  A skype call or an email.  Something other than radio silence!

NYE in Brisbane via
NYE in Brisbane via

I will travel to Brisbane.  Perhaps also the Gold Coast, either as a tack on, or a separate trip.

I will travel to Melbourne.

I will contact both brothers at least twice EVERY week as one is in the US and one is in the UK.

Money

Save $40,000 in the year.

Invest a further $2000.

What do you have planned for the year ahead?  Which do you think will be the hardest one for you to achieve?

Sea Plane flight

For my birthday celebrated in February, I was generously given two ‘experience’ vouchers, and a while ago I redeemed some of one for doing Trapeze (did I blog about that?).  The remainder of the vouchers went on a sea plane flight, rather on a whim.  What a way to start a weekend!

I will not share all 134 photos graphs and the few videos I took.

Acting like a clown - I was exicted
Acting like a clown – I was excited
Pre flight briefing
Pre flight briefing
Some young cargo
Some young cargo
2015 Sea Plane flight 121
That weird view from the pointy end of the plane
2015 Sea Plane flight 036
Botanical gardens, a pool, a cathedral
Bondi beach - we flew far enough I could see the Sculptures by the Sea crowds
Bondi beach – we flew far enough I could see the Sculptures by the Sea crowds
The Pacific Ocean!
The Pacific Ocean!
Looking over the pilot's shoulder
Looking over the pilot’s shoulder – and suburbs who’ll wait a long time to worry about rising sea levels
The million dollar shot
The million dollar shot
2015 Sea Plane flight 060
Just love the colour of the water
2015 Sea Plane flight 020
Bigger boats as we come down to land
A boat and a plane...
A boat and a plane…
Even a sea plane pilot needs a handsfree iPhone
Even a sea plane pilot needs a handsfree iPhone
So this is still an international airport - can you imagine the 39 stops to London of yesteryear?
So this is still an international airport – can you imagine the 39 stops to London of yesteryear?
Oh so chuffed
Oh so chuffed

It was about 15 minutes in the air, but it felt like ages.  We went out past the harbour heads and flew down to Bondi beach, before turning around, allowing the other side of the plane a view.  Once back inside the harbour, we climbed up high so we could fly towards the Harbour Bridge.

Landing was a fun challenge with all the Eastern Suburbs private schools having their little sailors out in the water!

I’m kicking myself I didn’t think to add this to my 12 in 2 list – but then again, I had some spaces, so there’s nothing like adding to a list, only to strike one item off!

A new 12 in 2

I’m feeling a little stuck in a rut, so I thought I might set some ‘fun’ goals to help me look forward to things that are out of the ordinary.  I started with my Bucket List.

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So here’s what I’d like to try and enjoy in the next two years (the numbers below are from the bucket list):

Struck through means they were done!

10. Visit Russia <-July 2016!

11. Visit Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia/Romania <- AUg 2016
25. Get hypnotised (ideally to solve a bad habit!): three times for my cuticle picking with limited success and much expense
26. Ride a segway
27. Drive on a race track
36. Go cave diving <- went canyoning in March 2016, which I think is similar oh and we visited caves
45. Build a bonfire and make S’mores
61. Try barre body classes (ballet with yoga/exercise)
65. Fly a glider <- gifted a voucher (thanks BF!); completed in June 2016

That’s eight… hmm I feel like i need some that take time to achieve.  Something academic or endurance… thoughts?

Sunday eating

So to bore you all, I’m going to blog a week of my eating.  The aim is to get me to eat BETTER knowing someone will know – the internet!  And if I lose weight, that’ll be awesome.

So, Sunday, we started with

  • a mocha – full cream milky coffee with chocolate mmm

We went on a drive to the Northern beaches hoping to try a burger at a well known place, but it was closed. So we settled for a burger by the actual beach, but less famed.

  • Egg & bacon burger and two hash browns

I did the think I was getting ‘mini’ hash browns, like one often gets chips, but they were two normal sized ones!

  • Dulche de leche chocolate from the Rocks Markets

If any of my international readers EVER make it to Sydney, spend some time one weekend in the historic Rocks area, and enjoy the very ‘arty’ markets.  I love the photograph vendors the most, but there’s a lot of food (fudge… nuts… chocolate) and much more ‘Australiana’ like coins inlaid with wood, stamps, historic photos, puzzles, you name it, every souvenir one could want.

I walked from this ‘end’ of the city up to Broadway, which is about 4kms with my dilly dallying this way and that.

The pasta company's looks nicer than mine! via
The pasta company’s looks nicer than mine! via
  • spinach and ricotta cannelloni – so there were the tubes to use up and lasagna sheets, so it was hybridized.  Yummy and warming
  • Jarrah hot chocolate – so far watery looking, warm though!

Sorry to bore you all – what are you eating for dinner? Lunch? Whatever meal you’re up to?

Zorbing in Phuket – 12 in 2 list

Ready or not, we roll!
Ready or not, we roll!

At long last, after posting about my 12 in 2 goals here, here and here, and then finding out that the Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, closed down their zorbing, this looked like a goals I might just never get done!

Post watery zorb
Post watery zorb

Alas, Phuket has what they call ‘Roller Ball’ which is zorbing – putting fully grown human in inflated balls and rolling them down a hill. Being Phuket, I naturally went with water inside the ball (I can’t imagine doing it without the sloshing water to help move me and the BF around.

Ocean views with adventure
Ocean views with adventure

 

Verdict? AWESOME!

It was over quickly, and it was pricey for the duration, but not the $110 I’d estimated to do in Australia originally. I think it was about $40 each if I remember correctly? As often is the case, it also came with a ‘free’ t shirt in orange. I declined. They were confused. I didn’t take it, nonetheless.

Twists and turns
Twists and turns

I laughed the whole way down – and we were on a crooked track not the straight one, which you can see above, and I think that made it more fun too!

So a quick run down of the 12 in 2

I did everything (still learning to surf, two lessons down and one to go) except: prepay my funeral, visit my friend in New Zealand (she moved back to Oz) and go on a silent retreat.  But I did start to meditate, so that’s a step towards the last one.  Nice work.  Time for another 12 in 2, you think?

2014 goals review

Reviewing my 2014 goals:

Fun – 12 in 2 list

For 2014, I’ll do the following (some of which I did earmark to do in 2013, but it didn’t happen):

  1. Silent retreat -didn’t happen, but I did research options to do something in San Fran whilst on Holidays
  2. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb I got a voucher as a birthday gift in January 2014!!!
  3. Go jet skiing (done over the Christmas holidays, thanks to the BF!)
  4. Learn to surf: 2015 thanks to a generous gift from my BF!
  5. Dinner at Aria: planned for early February
  6. Read the new testament bible Done in September
  7. Run a half marathon
  8. Plan and prepay my funeral – cough cough, not so fun, didn’t happen, but the cash is there?
  9. Zorbing (a weekend away at the Gold Coast)  The place went out of business…

The other 3?  Well my friend stopped living in NZ, so that was scraped.  One was a dinner at a fancy restaurant, which I did for my birthday in 2013. The third was a knife skills course which I did in 2013

Health – monthly challenges

These were a wash! I started out strong, but then it all went bust!

Jan: Stair challenge start, progress, end

Feb: Drink 3L water per day: start

Mar: Squats and abandoned 🙁
Apr: Push up challenge – increase the number everyday fail
May: Morning stretching/yoga fail – though some attempts made
Jun: Planking challenge fail
Jul: Mental health: daily act of kindness fail
Aug: Mental health: daily gratitude journal fail – though attempts made
Sept: 1 internet free day per week fail
Oct: Ocsober fail
Nov: Coffee free challenge fail
Dec: +1 walking fail

Interestingly, I did have a week or two when I woke to do yoga before work? So that was something.  But generally my coffee intake increased.

Financial goals

I prefer my fingernails bare, but this is amazing, and just like Aussie money source: http://www.morenailpolish.com/2013/01/aussie-nails-show-me-money.html
I prefer my fingernails bare, but this is amazing, and just like Aussie money
source: http://www.morenailpolish.com/2013/01/aussie-nails-show-me-money.html

This is one category I always kick a** at!  So, for 2014, I will:

1. Save $20,000 in my mortgage offset account (in addition to the starting balance) as of mid Septmber, met this, and by the end of the year exceeded it by $8k!

2. Save $200 a week in for holidays yep, it’s all automated, but now bundled into goal 1 so it’s all in one place

3. Save $10 $20 a week for my ‘one day’ dream of a first class holiday to Paris and NYC (First class flights and accommodation).  I plan to spend 20 years saving slowly for this one. $20 per week, cause why not!

4. Save $100 a week for ‘charity’ which I will also withdraw from when I do support fundraising etc. automated too my friend! But kept separate from the pot in goal 1. $20 automatically goes to Church, from this $100.

 

Social

Plan a dinner party or similar once a quarter. Passed

1. Started with a pizza night for water polo girls in Jan 🙂 Easy and fun.

2. Excess cheese? Informal wine and cheese Sunday arvo.

3. Another polo dinner of Nachoes.  

4. Halloween party hosted at a friends home but catered by both of us.

Inspiration for the zen I'll try to create source: www.sheknows.com
Inspiration for the zen I’ll try to create
source: www.sheknows.com

Email my brother at least weekly whilst he’s in South America (until Sept 2014) so so – not 100% success rate on the stated frequency, but we stayed in contact.

Career

Ekk, seeing I didn’t submit my 16 x 700 words long episode reports in 2013, this goal will role over.

I will also start to think more (again) about the next step in my career. Whilst I wasn’t thinking about it, someone was, and I’ve been acting in a promotion of a role for a few months.  And I’ll apply for the position when it’s advertised

Keeping it Creative

I’ve realised that I like to create things, like my gingerbread house, or the candy cane wreath.  I really enjoy mending clothes, or sewing.  I even made a map of the world with stamps!  So I’m going to try and do more of these sorts of things.  One crafty thing per month.  Pinterest and blogs will guide me, I hope.

I’ve covered my router with a hard cover book; made earphone holders out of old plastic cards; cross stitched a baby’s blanket.  Then for Christmas, I made another gingerbread house (and a trifle, but that’s less crafty!).  I also made bunting and decorated jars for my upcoming 30th and did another baby’s blanket!

Overall, I think I did well on most of my goals.  I really let myself down in the health department, despite doing a three month healthy eating and exercising plan which I paid for.  I lost and gained roughly the same amount of weight, which puts me back where I was.  Again, I’m trying to be healthier since Christmas day, and have cut out almost all sugar.  That being said, I’ve still had juice and soft drink and the occasional taste of sweet things.  But I have tried to eat less than I was in the later months of 2014.

How’d you go with your 2014 goals? Feel free to link to your posts!

Half marathon – 12 in 2 list

Hot on the heels of my harbour bridge climb last Friday, yesterday, Sunday 6th July, I did the Gold Coast Half Marathon.

Talk about a busy month – between the BF cashing in his skydive, to me climbing the bridge (and having a fancy dinner), then the half marathon, and in less than a week, leaving for Osaka, Japan, I hardly have time for chores 😮

My running pal!
My running pal (still asleep?)!

My training program heading towards the half marathon was sporadic.  I had periods of very regular short runs, and I moved from a non runner to 5kms in a period of 12 weeks.  After that, things sort of feel apart, and my running routine was more ‘resistance to running’.  I managed two or three ‘runs home’ which varied from 6-7kms to 13kms, but that’s probably as far as I ran prior to the half.  So I always knew it would be TOUGH!

Usually, I run first thing in the morning, or after work.  Neither times, is it just after a meal.  Despite this, I decided I’d have porridge before the half marathon.  Perhaps a rookie error!  I’m pretty sure all that liquid was the cause of some serious cramping, or stitches I felt in my side.  I just walked them out, but it got to the stage that returning to running was a sure way to shake another stitch into forming!!

Derange 'why am I doing this' face - and we're in C starting group - ie not the slowest!
Derange ‘why am I doing this’ face – and we’re in C starting group – ie not the slowest!

I also run with a heart rate monitor.  This started when I started the Michelle Bridges 12 Week running program, as a way to ensure I wasn’t overexerting myself, and in the early days, I realised I was running at too high a heart rate.  I was shocked to repeatedly see my heart rate at 180 during the half marathon.  I usually want it to be under 172, and in training runs, once it gets to 177-178 I usually walk til I can bring it down.  In the race, I ended up employing the same strategy.

Those speedy gonzalas in front... at the start line
Those speedy gonzalas in front… at the start line

I hoped to run to my usual pace, which is about 9km/hr (5.6mph).  This would have been ambitious, but part of goal setting it to aim high!  This would have had me with a finish time of 2hrs 20mins. Thankfully, the very well organised Gold Coast Half Marathon has pace runners, the ‘slowest’ of whom ran at a target completion time of 2:20.  Sadly, I let them get ahead of me, and never caught up with them somewhere in the middle single digits of the run.

Proud father and daughter duo!
Proud father and daughter duo!

I was lucky enough to run the race with my father, who I ran with for the first few kilometers.  My father has run a number of ‘halves’ before, including this particular race when I was young.  It came as no surprise that he beat me, quite substantially!  He is slow and steady, but he NEVER walks!!  So my father finished with a time around 2hr10!  I however… came in at about 2hrs33 (by my timing – official timing below).

My stats
My stats

To be honest, I’m pleased I made it across the line unaided!  Was it a run?  Mostly not!  I walked a WHOLE heap, and I wish the pain I felt from the stitches, and later my heart, could have made it possible to run more of the race, but no.  That being said, I don’t for a minute diminish the achievement that is finishing a 21.1km course!

Dad's more impressive stats!
Dad’s more impressive stats!

A day on, I’m sore in my hips, the right arm (from the ‘strain’ of holding my phone… I prefer that to an arm strap).  Even my shoulders are achy.  And I spent the whole day after the run sore and tired! Tired beyond belief!

Views to die for!
Views to die for!

The only photo I wish I had to share with you is of my T Shirt – duly handed out once you FINISH the 21.1kms!! I did take this freebie (but not the medal) cause I am gosh darn proud, and feel I need proof I made it! I will wear it on (much shorter) runs in the future, to shock & awe!