Zero waste – things I learnt today

So I think I’m doing ok on my waste situation, but today I stumbled on some great things I hadn’t considered, and will look at starting to do.

Plastic funnel

Admittedly, I don’t currently have any funnels – I think I’m a pretty good pourer!  (I also don’t have a potato masher or a pastry brush – might have to acquire the former!).  However, I was made aware by Sarah at Suburban Pioneers that you can make them out of old plastic bottles.  BRILLIANT!  I’ll get on that with some of my excess recycled plastic bottles.

Simple and smart!Source: simpleliving-sherrie.blogspot.com
Simple and smart!
Source: simpleliving-sherrie.blogspot.com

Rubber Bands

I do have a stock pile of rubber bands from eating produce (if you read Sarah’s post, it’s quite funny as she suggest if you’re not collecting them you’re either not eating healthy or well.. not eating healthily!).  But I never thought to make them out of rubber gloves.  I don’t use rubber gloves to wash up anymore, but recently I’ve seen the damage it’s done to my hands.  So at least when I next buy gloves, I’ll have a ‘reuse’ in mind.

Fly paper

I don’t buy this, but I’ve been starting to think I might/could/should.  There’s some pesky little flying things, I’m not sure where they come from, but they aren’t leaving.  So I shall entice them with honey and sugar laden paper (cause I’m certainly not making a dent in my supplies of either over lent).  Trash Backwards had a great how to here.

Trash Backwards

Cling Wrap

I already don’t have cling wrap (though parchment paper and alfoil still hang out at my place).  I do have two ‘Abeego’ wraps (sadly I lost the most versatile large one), which are a company that make beeswax impregnated food wraps.  Now I know I can  DIY reusable food wraps myself.  Admittedly if I’m mailing ordering beeswax, perhaps it’s easier just to order the wraps from Abeego from Canada.  They do send lovely little messages on the invoice!

So versatile source: www.abeego.ca
So versatile source: www.abeego.ca

Furniture Protectors

Oh my, I’ve been to Bunnings Hardware FAR too often, and sometimes for little felt ‘feet’ for my dining chairs.  They come with velcro on one side, and felt on the other.  Weirdly the packets offer ‘extra’ felt, but not velcro, and I got sick of the excess felts, so bought a string of velcros – but of course I only need one side.  No matter which way I’ve been playing it, I’ve had surplus.  So, I was delighted to realise – i could use old thongs (flip flops to those that think I was talking about intimates there!).  My most recent dead thongs have long since done to landfill back in Oct, and my new thongs are going strong.

Door Stops

Now, I only have two doors in my house – the one on the bathroom and the entry.  So doorstop needs are limited.  But I did buy one rubber one, and it’s still going strong. However this is WAY nicer, and given all shoes live near my entry, it would work so well!

Trash Backwards' great idea  source:http://blog.trashbackwards.com/2012/06/01/trash-hacker-worn-out-footwear-to-doorstop
Trash Backwards great idea at http://blog.trashbackwards.com/2012/06/01/trash-hacker-worn-out-footwear-to-doorstop

The best part of the Suburban Pioneers blog was Sarah saying if you’re so good that you don’t generate any of the things for reuse, your neighbours or friendly surely do! Awesome, and oh so true!

My list of banks

I have more bank accounts than is usual.  But, most are suit a practical purpose.  For those that are in semi retirement, I wonder whether I should declutter them, though they are costing me nothing and causing me no grief.

ANZ ANZ

My main financial institution in the ANZ bank.  It’s one of the ‘big 4’ in Australia.  It’s also my father’s former employer – which is how I came to have my very first account with them (that I still have to this day).

I also have my mortgage with ANZ.  I flirted with all banks when I started looking about two years ago.  I dated Heritage Building Society pretty seriously when I put in an offer for another loft apartment.  Sadly, HBS were scared of the long term commitment.  Despite pre approval, their valuation of the property (which also includes  a risk analysis of a number of factors), came back lower than what I’d offered.  The timing of my offer was around the same time I was heading to Israel and the US for a few weeks, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to move to another lender, and recommence the loan process.  It was  a shame that HBS didn’t come through, as I liked the idea of supporting a building society.

By the time I got serious again about buying, rates had changed, and a Big 4 came out looking VERY competitive.  I knew I wanted a fixed 2 year term, so it was simple to compare.  There are SO many choices in a mortgage, I intentionally narrowed the field early.  I’m well aware there are pros and cons of every loan type, and this suited me best then (and now).

I also have an E*Trade account which is ANZ’s trading account.  This was something I got into in 2009, and haven’t really actively pursued since.  I basically have an itty bitty portfolio – money I don’t miss, but know is silently sitting there, perhaps growing a little as I reinvest my dividends.

Ubank

Ubank

This is probably my preferred bank.  They make me happy! They have great online tools, their call centre is in Australia, you don’t need to spend time or energy setting up your first account with them – they use all sorts of modern identity checking methods, without making me get things signed by a justice of the peace.  They also offer tricky checks to move your money – which trip up others when their overseas, but I’m never without my Australian mobile phone,  so I’ve not had a problem to date.

I have several savings accounts with them.  I have my ‘cushion’ account – a nice way of saying it’s an emergency fund, as it will also hopefully grow to be my mortgage refinancing account at the end of this year.  I also dip into it for expenses I can’t cover with week to week pay, but aren’t regular, planned expenses.

I also have my ‘bills’ savings in another Ubank account.  There’s no cost to any of these accounts and I feel more comfortable with this ‘seperate’ from the slowly increasing ‘Cushion’ above.

Finally, I have a third Ubank account that’s currently in the black at the tune of $4.68!  It’s my former ‘holiday’ fund.  I don’t have a clear holiday plan in my head (a date or a location), so I’m not actively contributing to the account.

ING

ING Direct

More savings accounts! Before Ubank, ING Direct was the leader in the field.  At last check, they did also have better interest rates on their high interest savings accounts, but only for new customers (which I am not).  Sometimes, ‘new money’ qualifies, but not this time.  I don’t mind ING, but it’s all about interest in these accounts.  And I don’t think I’ve EVER had to call them, so that is a bonus in my book.

I have two accounts with them.  The first is for ‘Health Insurance’.  I think I thought I should utilise this bank, seeing I had active accounts.  Hardly logically, but still.  I put away money every week for my annual health insurance premium.  I prefer to pay annually than await the direct withdrawal weekly or monthly from the health fund.  At least this way, I’m in control!

The second account has 50c.  I could close this account.  Perhaps I will.  I have now

Bankwest

Bankwest

When I grew up (hahaha) and was moving to France for a year in 2006, I thought it would be worthwhile to have a credit card for emergencies.  I found the cheapest card (ie no annual fees) that offered a competitive interest rate (at least when I was applying).  I applied, with bated breath, as I was a student with a variable, casual job – so my ‘salary’ wasn’t easy to ascertain.  Interestingly, the bank did NOT reject me (as ANZ would have, based on their policies).  I’ve not had any emergencies, but do use the card to tide me between pays, or buy a great deal on an airfare.  I don’t think I’ve ever paid interest!

I also have two one savings accounts with Bankwest – one with 46c and 51c each.  A legacy from times where i would use ING and Bankwest to leverage their ‘introductory’ offers to ‘new deposits’.  Seems like I could declutter these two as well.

I love that when I rang, there was no ‘press this number for this’ and I got right onto a real person.

28degrees

28degrees (GE Capital)

My newest ‘bank’ was for a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees.  I used this as my sole ‘money’ whilst in Dubai/Morocco/France last year.  I was happy with being able to withdraw as a cash advance at no cost with the positively loaded card.  My only disappointment was the delay on showing transactions on it’s website.  Given this lack of functionality, I won’t give up my other credit card, and this card will be left solely for travel (or, if the other card gets stolen with the cash card).

BNP

BNParibas

I still maintain an everyday transaction account with this French bank, from when I lived there in 2006.  The charge an annual fee – my only account to do this.  And I’m willing to pay it, knowing HOW hard it was to GET the account (France is chicken and egg with accommodation and bank accounts – you need one for the other).  I plan to move back to France one day, so this account lingers.  I love that it accesses real money but it’s also a ‘credit’ card at least for booking stuff online.  So modern – this sort of functionality didn’t happen in Australia in 2006!

In summary I have

– 1 mortgage

– 2 credit cards

– 2 ‘everyday’ banking accounts (with cards and direct access to money)

– 1 trading account

7 5 savings accounts

13  11 ACCOUNTS across 6 banks! No wonder I sometimes confuse my passwords. I think this list has made me realise I can cull at least two savings accounts (one each at Bankwest and ING), if not more!

And that’s just what I did – no sense talking about it.  I just did it.  It was so simple as well – just rang both banks.  I think it took more time to ID me than to close the accounts!

Categories of Clutter

Thanks to Cindy’s post at www.365lessthings.com (which I love, and happy to have ‘worked out’ how to get the emailed posts now that I can’t read the blog at work), I’m inspired for another LIST!

She mentions categories of clutter, and I’m going to go through each one, and see which I could work on more.  Then I’ll share my little list of identified things to thin out

– things from put off decisions: a little bit,  I do have a ‘use it or lose it’ list (also to come)

– craft supplies: don’t really have any.  I have brown paper for wrapping presents, and a few sheets of white and yellow tissue (the white is reused from a brand that wraps stuff I buy).  I have three types of ribbons (leftover from weddings I did) to make florist style bows on the brown paper.  I have coloured pencils (since I was 12 I think I’ve had those, how much I wanted that 72 set of Derwent Water Colours).  But I don’t have any scrapbooking decorative stuff or the like.

source: melstampz.blogspot.com
source: melstampz.blogspot.com

office supplies: worked hard to thin out the biros I don’t like (yes, I WANT people to ‘take’ my pen when I loan it sometimes….!)

toys and games: I move most puzzles on as I do them. I have two lingering – one a gift from my mother for Christmas (from France) and one I never did that I got from freecycle. Might need to rehome both of those!

books: again, anything that’s not a library book, I try to rehome once read. Mum gave me a book she’d read, Leon and Louise, not sure where that’s got to. And when I’m finished the one I’m reading, I’ll need to pass it on to someone, or donate it somewhere. And I really must decided on the few books on my bedhead – the one about Israel is tiresome reading, and I may never crack it!

papers left over from school: I have a container for ‘school’ and one for ‘uni’. The school one is not 100% closing, cause I have an old uniform and a jumper passed from all my siblings to my God daughter, and I want to keep it (as it’s still 100% usable!).  So I need to thin out that box.  The uni box is rather emptier since I moved my 3 travel journals downstairs, to somewhere more accessible when I want to show someone something.  My thesis paperwork is now all stored in the garage as I never want to access it regularly, but I feel it’s important to keep proof of such a major amount of work.

technical books: I always sold my textbooks from semester to semester to fund the next batch.  I also inherited some from a friend.  Pleased to say, I have NO reference books for my field.  Perhaps this isn’t ideal, but it is what it is!

– career related magazines: don’t have any, but I am fighting my professional organisation to STOP sending me them monthly, as they just end up in the recycling (or making me feel guilty!)

– electronic this and that: I have a drawer in my kitchen for there – charges for AA batteries and  Li Ion battery, plus some international adaptors, earphones.  I also have 2 HDD (at the moment, one I bought last week).  I work INCREDIBLY hard to have a minimal amount of electronics.

– garage items: I have one length of wood leftover from a project, and a caulking gun with silicon.  Both of them bother me, as they aren’t in active service, however it’s rather minimal.

outgrown clothes and toys: I don’t grow out of stuff anymore!  And I’ve mentioned toys above

art supplies: just the Derwents, above, really!

things girls collect: I have some Indian bangles that I seldom wear (they make too much noise), so they could go.  And too many hair clips (and no hair now), so they are in the ‘declutter box’ now.

– unwanted gifts: as soon as I open them, I tend to know.  So the vanilla scented stuff gets passed straight onto my mother (two items recently!).  But mostly, I get cheap jewelry and wine, both of which I use.  Anything that doesn’t suit me, I move on – such as tolitieries not to my taste, books that are… inconsiderate.  There is a travel souvenir from a friend that’s just collecting dust, it may move on v v soon!

– impulse purchases  I am the QUEEN of returns (and store’s policies).  Anything that doesn’t suit/fit goes back for a full refund (even unopened groceries)

THINGS TO DECLUTTER – the strike through items have found new homes since I drafted this! 😀

hair clips (still in packaging)

– excess bubble wrap: why does no one want this when I put it on freecycle?

– two lamp shades: can’t be returned as they were part of a set

– 4 wine bottle gift bags: I never give wine, but I get a fair bit!

– broken (cheap) jewelry: not sure if the bin is the best way, or if there’s hope of fixing them

– travel souvenir from a colleague

Bucket list

First time here? This list started in Feb 2013, and has been a work in progress since – adding items as often as completing items.

This was updated in Jan 2014, to include more details 🙂 I periodically update this, most recently late March 2016! Feb 2017, where I’d done 26 from 65 listed… though a good 10 or so were recently added.

Thanks to Danny Dover, I have a longer bucket list!  I won’t set a deadline though!  And the list isn’t in a priority order either.

Travel

1. Visit every continent (Completed: Australia, Asia, Europe, Middle East – need South America & Antarctica)
2. See Machu Picchu (to think my brother just did this Jan 2014!)
3. See Aurora Borealis (maybe in an igloo?)
4. Visit tulip fields in The Netherlands
5. Go to the super bowl
6. See Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (could do it with the bro in 2014, but alas, I realise I don’t love crowds and big parties, so maybe another time)
7. Go to Burning Man, Black Rock desert, Nevada USA
8. Go to (the original) Mardi Gras in New Orleans
9. Visit The Maldives
10. Visit Russia – see the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, the Bronze horseman, the summer and winter palace  Aug 2016
11. Visit Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia/Romania – sail in Croatia, see where Romanian gymnasts train, visit Sarajevo, Split, Dubrovnik, Belgrade Aug 2016
12. Visit Mauritius
13. Visit Ethiopia – the birthplace of my cousin/god daughter
14. Visit Oradour-sur-Glane, France – a town annihilated by Germans by torching – May 2017
15. Spend Christmas or Thanksgiving in the US
16. Visit Vietnam/Cambodia Oct 2013
17. Visit Scandinavia (no more exact than that yet!) – likely Norway to see friends, definitely go to Iceland (2016 addition)
18. Fly FIRST class – maybe Emirates where I can shower?
19. Stay in Igloo Village – and see the Northern lights
20. Stay in a tree house
21. Live in NYC
22. Ride the bullet train in Japan Jul 2014
23. Visit San Francisco – see the Golden Gate Bridge Jan 2015

Activities (that aren’t location specific)

24. Go zorbing (all the blue things are on my 12 in 2 list!) Apr 2015
25. Get hypnotised (ideally to solve a bad habit!) done 2015/16
26. Ride a segway planned Aug 2016
27. Drive on a race track
28. Go on a ‘big boat’ style cruise (maybe in retirement)
29. Fly on a trapeze June 2015
30. Swim with dolphins in NATURE (not in Dubai…:s)
31. Watch a movie at a drive in (if they still exist!)
32. Go jet skiing  (on the 12 in 2 list) Dec 2013 and I saw dolphins
33. Get my palm read/fortune told
34. Make a gingerbread house Dec 2013
35. Get body painted for an event
36. Go cave diving <- went canyoning and walked in caves in March 2016
37. Be part of a flash mob (thanks Moonwave for the tip!)
38. Complete a half marathon  July 2014
39. Learn the name and location of all the countries in Africa
40. Own a cello for purely decorative purposes (though I do know how to play, as does my bf..)
41. Own a luxury European vehicle (BMW, Audi or Mercedes)
42. Write my will
43. Prepay and plan my funeral
44. Learn to surf Jan 2015 wouldn’t say I ‘learnt’ but ‘tried’
45. Build a bonfire and make S’mores
46. Pay for someone else’s groceries (I LOVE this one, thanks www.lifed.com) Jun 2013
47. Go to a silent retreat
48. Go white water rafting – real rapids, not the ones we built in Sydney for the Olympics
49. Join the MHC
50. Get married (before the children)
51. Have children (thinking 3, BF thinks 2, so compromise is 2 unless 2 the same gender, or twins)
52. Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge June 2014

Newer items (Jan 2014)

52. Visit Portland, Oregon2015 go to the donut place, eat at places mentioned here, shop and eat here.
53. Go zipling2015 did it in Phuket
54. Go stand up paddle boarding
55. Pay off my mortgage
56. Fully fund my retirement
57. A home with a passionfruit vine, a frangipani tree, a magnolia grandiflora… and a vegie patch.
58. Reiki massage 2015

(April 2015)

59. Try kite surfing
60. Try a pilates reformer
61. Try barre body classes (ballet with yoga/exercise) Jan 2016
62. Zero Gravity yoga 2015
63. Go floating 2015
64. Hot stone massage 2015
65. Go gliding June 2016

Remember, not in any priority order 😉

Glaring Grocery discovery

The past week or two, I’ve felt the pinch of my savings goals, and finding it harder to ‘do everything’ with my pay cheque. It also came to my attention that I had another month’s batch of grocery receipts to process (I started tracking in December 2012), so I got onto that today. I’ve stated that my goal is to cook two meals a week, which equates to about 6 serves or more (2 dinners + 4 lunches at the very least). And mostly I’ve been achieving that.

One thing that’s clear – the pressure in my money management is not from home cooked meals! Now this should be no surprise, but I do feel like I’m in IGA all the time. All the servers know me, and almost know that I don’t want a bag, and on Wednesday, I’ll always want cash out. What I find most amazing is that my MONTHLY spend on groceries was 2.9% of my take home pay in December and 3.52% in January (I assumed a simple 4 week month as I get paid weekly). This is incredibly low, given that after shelter (which in Sydney you pay incredibly HIGH amounts for), food should pretty much come next (up there with electricity and running water I suppose).

I haven’t tracked my eating out spend since October, so I can’t confidently say what it is. (I think I stopped when I started dating… cause you eat out a lot more, but the expense is lumpy as to who pays and when etc). I could easily spend 12-16% of my pay cheque on eating out. **In some ways, this is totally out of line with my parents or many people out there. It seems ‘easy’ to go out for dinner. I think we feel entitled (my generation). Or we need only a small excuse. I realise eating out should really be seen as a luxury**

I probably miss most of the my meat consumption (which isn’t extensive) in these two months, as my butcher doesn’t give me a receipt. For Feb, I’ve started marking up the grocery receipt with what I spent on meat.

(in rough numbers, my mortgage has been taking up about 43% of my take home pay, and household bills (strata, electricity, gas and water) & health insurance take up about 15.5%).

EDIT: This post was inspired by Part 2 of the Spender to Saver series that Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily was writing.  Then by magic, Part 3 came out (after this post) and couldn’t have been more spot on.  I only wish I could work out how to comment on her blog!!

Completed Bucket List items

Adventure

– Hot air balloon (Dubai 2012)

Hot air ballooning
– Hang glide (fixed – Tasmania, freely – Wollongong 2011?)
– Sky dive (Wollongong 2010?)
– Helicopter ride (New York City 2011)
– Bungee jumping (really a canyon swing, but similar and less impact on the body 2005)
Go gliding June 2016
– Go zorbing (all the blue things are on my 12 in 2 list!) Apr 2015
– Get hypnotised (ideally to solve a bad habit!) done 2015/16
– Ride a segway planned Aug 2016
– Fly on a trapeze June 2015
– Go jet skiing  (on the 12 in 2 list) Dec 2013 and I saw dolphins
– Go cave diving <- went canyoning and walked in caves in March 2016
– Go white water rafting – real rapids, not the ones we built in Sydney for the Olympics
– Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge June 2014
– Go zipling – 2015 did it in Phuket

– parasailing

– ride an ATV

‘Education’

– Get a floristry certification 2009

Wedding flowes
Flowers for a friend’s wedding

– Get a motorcycle licence (for a scooter) 2009
– Learn to play cello 1995-2002
– Learn to play trombone 2001-2002
44. Learn to surf Jan 2015 wouldn’t say I ‘learnt’ but ‘tried’

Travel

I’m lucky to have nomadic, travel loving parents, so up until 2005, they covered the cost. 2006 was on my own dime. India was at their inspiration. I have left off some of the smaller European destinations (BE-LUX – NE made it in, Andorra)

– Visit New Caledonia – 1988?
– Visit Tokyo (overnight) – 1992 & Japan 2015
– See the Statue of Liberty – first in 1992
– Visit Hong Kong – 1993
– See the Eiffel Tower – first time in 1993
– Live in France – 1993 & 2006
– Visit Barcelona – 1993
– Live in Vanuatu – 1995-1998 (went to boarding school in Brisbane)
– Visit Auckland NZ – 1995/6?
– Visit Bangkok – first in 1996? (my parents LOVE the place!)
– Visit Laos – 2004?
– Visit New Orleans – ?? 1997?
– See the Colosseum – 2006
– Visit Prague – 2006
– See the Pyramids – 2006
– Visit Venice – 2006
– Visited concentration camps (Aushwitz) – 2006
– Visit Singapore (overnight) – 2008
– Visit Germany – 2008
– See the Taj Mahal – 2008
– Visit Cuba – 2009
– Visit Canada (Montreal) – 2009
– Visit Bahamas – 2009
– Sail the Greek Isles – 2010
– Visit Amsterdam – 2010
– Visit Chicago – Summer 2011 & Winter 2016
– Visit Israel – 2011
– Visit Dubai – 2012
– Visit Morocco – 2012
– Visit all major Australian Captials (Brisbane – birthplace, Sydney – current home, the most recent ones were Alice Springs/Ayres Rock in 2011, Adelaide in 2009, Perth in 2011, Hobart in 2009.  Darwin ain’t major… so not been there yet!)

– Visit Portland, Oregon – 2015 go to the donut place, eat at places mentioned here, shop and eat here.
– Visit San Fransisco – see the Golden Gate Bridge Jan 2015 & Feb 2016
– Visit Russia – see the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, the Bronze horseman, Aug 2016
– Visit Bosnia/Romania – visit Sarajevo Aug 2016
Visit Vietnam Oct 2013
– Ride the bullet train in Japan Jul 2014

Experience

– Attend Olympic Games – 2000 for water polo (which I still play, and in the SAME Sydney Olympic pool!) and volleyball (which I did play)
– See penguins in the wild – 2005

– See the Tour de France live  – 2006
– Fly business class long haul (one way Paris – Dubai – Sydney)

Business class

– Go paint balling
– Try acupuncture (regularly!)

– Try cupping
– Donate Blood
– Swim in the dead sea
– Visit Disneyland (Euro in 1994 and US style in 1996 I think)
– 100% debt free (credit card debt) – I never really wasn’t though!
– Go skinny dipping (we had a back yard pool as kids)
– Learnt to use chop sticks (enforced from a young age!)
– See Cirque du Soleil Show
– Order room service (ah, work trips!)
– Make a gingerbread house Dec 2013
– Try a pilates reformer
– Complete a half marathon  July 2014
– Try barre body classes (ballet with yoga/exercise) Jan 2016
– Zero Gravity yoga 2015
– Go floating 2015
– Hot stone massage 2015
– Go stand up paddle boarding
– Reiki massage 2015
-Pay for someone else’s groceries (I LOVE this one, thanks www.lifed.com) Jun 2013

– Get a fish pedicure

Stuff

– Buy a scooter – 2010
– Buy an (gorgeous) loft apartment by myself – Dec 2011!
– Own a luxury European vehicle (BMW, Audi or Mercedes)

12 in 2 list

Extra Organised is a blog I used to read, lost and have refound…  As is often the case, other people’s posts inspire my own, and so without further ado, I shall too make a list of 12 goals to achieve in 2 years.  I have linked above to her specific post.  Sadly for me I can’t comment on this blog (or any typepad blogs) which makes me sad, but hopefully the link will alert her to my interest!

1. Dinner at Quay – done in January for my birthday.  They have the menu online so you can all ooo and ahhh

2. Dinner at Aria – next birthday seems like a good idea!

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – might just happen this month with a Norwegian friend in town.  Otherwise, the BF and parents are getting sick of it being on the gift list so…

Source: http://www.bridgeclimb.com/
Source: http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

4. Go jet skiing

5. Go Zorbing (likely on the Gold Coast) The Gold Coast site shut up shop, so to NZ it might be!

6. Visit Lexi in NZ – if I don’t put this on a list, I know I won’t make it a priority.  And NZ is oh so close to Sydney, I’m not sure why I can’t just DO IT!

7. Do a knife skills course – for cooking of course

8. Learn to surf – I have a friend who seems to be into the idea of doing a camp style adventure!

9. Read the new testament – thought I’d down grade from ‘whole bible’.  I want to ACHIEVE these goals not get down that they are too hard! See my progress

10. Go on a silent retreat – people who know me will wonder.  A friend has done it, so I have an ‘in’

11. Run a half marathon – this is really putting it out there! Anything that’s money based, I seem to have the commitment, but health and fitness, not so much! (Update 1)

12. Plan and prepay my funeral – morbid, but then people call these bucket lists!

To be honest, I struggled with this list.  I feel like I have to have achievable goals.  Things I can actually DO!  Some of my goals aren’t that short term… some are just having stuff (silliness personified!)  And travel destinations (whilst I have one or two) don’t really excite me the way I wish they coulda/shoulda/woulda.  It helps that I’ve been privileged to tick off so many travel based goals I see on other bucket lists – maybe I’ll post of all the bucket style stuff I have already done?

What’s your 12 in 2?

Zero waste home (or the truth about my garbage)

Inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, I thought I’d speak a little more on my aim to be ‘zero waste‘.

Firstly, when I moved into my own place, I bought a Bokashi bucket.  Interestingly, both my local friends also ‘bokashi’ their food scraps.  Alas, both of those couples have gardens.  I do not.  So I need to find a home for my ‘compost’ periodically – either taking it to my parents (and I fear I’ll accidently drive like a maniac and the contents will spill in my car!), or offer it on freecycle.

Photo credit: http://www.bokashi.com.au/bokashi-one-composting/bokashi-one-composting/
Photo credit: http://www.bokashi.com.au/bokashi-one-composting/bokashi-one-composting/

Whilst I like having next to no ‘wet’ waste other than that the Bokashi contains, I’m not 100% behind the Bokashi experience.  It does smell a fair bit, which means every time I open the lid, or drain the liquid (which I then put down the sink as advised).  I wish it was all just a little more pleasant for me!

I also recycle all paper, glass, aluminium and plastic that’s suitable in our council area.

In order to limit my waste I

– use the butcher for meats (I take an ice cream container).  Sadly, meat trays from the super market are not recyclable in our area, even though the materials themselves are 🙁

– buy bulk occasionally – however, I have to take a bus, which is far more planning that the block to the grocery store.  However, where my ingredients come in plastic, my preference is the co-op.  Except, they have EXHORBITANTLY priced chocolate bits (which I use in brownies v v regularly), so I try to get my friends to grab some when they are at Costco.

– refuse – every time I get junk mail from companies I use, I ring them and ask them to stop.  I also have a no junk mail sticker, but it seems take away menus and apartment sales flyers still end up being deposited 🙁

– return – where I get a container such as my chinese medicine, I take it back to them to reuse the container.

– solid shampoo – way simplier in my opinion.  Solid conditioner leaves a lot to be desired, so I just cut my hair off (ok that wasn’t the reason!)

What ends up in the trash?

– Plastics!!! They drive me nuts.  My new work uniforms come with a plastic bag – I try to reuse that as a bin liner.  The ring pulls in some milk cartons.  The little foil/plastic caps on juise bottles

– My choc chip packets from IGA often end up in there – as did the dried apricots I buy for the BF.

– Broken rubber bands from herbs and vegies (I collect the intact ones, but my collection is exceeding my needs!).

– Butter wrappers – whilst I keep them on hand to grease tins, I can’t endlessly stockpile them.

– Cotton buds (or Q tips) – a habit Bea at zerowastehome.blogspot.com suggests I break, but it’s not happened yet!

– Tissues – when I use them (ie when I’m sick)  I think the quantity is far too high to add them to a composting system.  And again, on quantity, it’d be A LOT of hankichiefs!

– Blister packs from tablets – almost everything we get here is in a box and a blister pack, rather than a bottle like in the US.

Rubber bands
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Cotton Buds
Source: cellonline.ordg
Source: www.istockphoto.com
Source: www.istockphoto.com

If I’m honest, a large reason for my elaborate system (composting, sorting recycling from trash etc), is because I’m lazy – I don’t want to have to take out stinky waste too often.  Twice a week, the bins aren’t even in the bin room, they are out on the street, which is even more hard work.  (amusingly, my apartment is physically the closest to the bin room and the street side pick up – just getting there is convoluted!)

I plan to continue to track what I produce in non recyclable waste, and look at how I can continue to reduce it.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t all get too hard!

Attention to detail

I still have my Grade 2 report card.  They were on thick yellow card, and came with pretty line drawings of different skills.  There was of course place for some comments.  Naturally a report card is as much about reporting progress to parents, as it is finding room to grow and improve.  Like life really – it comes with feedback loops.  And it’s great to never be done (ok, who am I kidding, I love a to do list that’s achieved, with countless lines through all the tasks….)  but there IS always more to be done, or more to improve on.

Of course, I couldn't find THE comment on the report cards I could put my hands on...
Of course, I couldn’t find THE comment on the report cards I could put my hands on…

And today, and for the past few weeks, and back to Grade 2, I’ve needed greater attention to detail.  I’m not sure in what task my lack of attention presented itself in grade 2, but the comment was ‘Sarah shouldn’t be in such a rush to finish her work, and should use her time to review her work’.  Wowzas.  As true now, 20 years on, as it was the year it was written.

The key to me is finding out WHY I rush my work, so I don’t do it as much, or as often.  I know that I don’t spend hours proofing blog posts (I’m not sure if that shows, to you, the readers).  I just don’t get any joy in ‘checking’ what I big headedly assume I of course would have done correctly the first time.  And so often you reread things and your mind plays tricks – it puts the word in that you missed, or it rearranges the letters to make the work you meant to write.  And I assume that the reader is smart, and will ‘work it out’

Work it out?

Where’s the respect for your reader?

Why can’t I do my ‘job’ properly?  In my work, I don’t ‘write’ in the same sense.  It’s not prose.  I write documentation with specific rigid language, and I attach diagrams to support what I’ve written.  It seems simple, and with *attention to detail* I could cross check every part of one against the other.  Instead, it seems that I send them along in the chain, and this lovely fellow with a truly unique name, politely lets me know of all the changes I need to make (or he’s generously made on my behalf).  He’s never angry.  He never (appears to) lose his patience.  If I was him, I would have.  A L-O-N-G time ago.  Because 80% of the time, his feedback is something I knew, in some dark recesses of my mind.  In my once over, I didn’t remember that a certain symbol should accompany that change.  Or that something is “always” orientated that way for that type.

How do I never make the same mistake twice?  I could simply record all the mistakes I make.  But the key is to REVIEW this list with every submission (and there’s a few a week on average).  I have made lists of mistakes, a checklist of the more commonly forgotten things.  But it doesn’t seem to be lessening the ‘attention to detail’ mistakes.

All I can do is try to improve my ‘mistake-o-meter’.  I shall try to more rigourously track each one I make and then at least I’ll know how often I’m making the mistake of the same type…

In sickness…

And to improving health!  I’ve been off work most of the week with a cold, as I’m a big believer that rest is the cure to almost all things.  And as per my mother’s strict childhood guidelines, I spent at least the first half of the day in bed.  I was so thankful to have printed out a chicken and chickpea soup a while back, so that I could rustle it up on Tuesday (after my lovely dad dropped by a chicken, as my local grocer doesn’t offer them).  However, my humble home does not have internet.  I have my phone, so I can check my emails and facebook, but I don’t really read recipes, or blogs or the like, from my phone.  It’s just too hard.  So thus the radio silence.

vi-bloggerol-blog-award

In that time, the lovely Dar at anexactinglife nominated me for an award (two awards, one award with two names, I’m totally not sure). Nonethless, I’m so honoured, given I’m such a new blog (though a long time commenter on a number of blogs – well a long time for me!)  So thank you so much for the kind link!

The rules of the award are listed at the bottom of the post, but I shall continue forth with it’s prescriptions here.  Now it’s time for 7 things about myself

1. I have a degree in engineering and arts in international studies.  I also have a Cert II (and almost a Cert III but I didn’t finish the work experience requirements) in Floristry

2. I’m not an animal LOVER (to be clear, I’m not a hater either, I’m just pretty ambivalent)

3. I used to collect birdcages – I just love the structure and form.  However, I downsized from 7 to 3-4 and am looking to suspend them from my double height ceiling in a little corner.  How I’ll do this remains a challenge with a concrete ceiling!

4. People always find me contradictory – not what I say, but who I am and what my values are.  I can’t for the life work out how or why though!

5. I can’t help but always try to divide this by that – so if someone says ‘I saw 56 movies in 4 years’ I try to work out how many a year etc etc… it’s just instinct!?

6. I go to church every week, almost without fail.  But I keep my faith, otherwise, very private.

7. I really do not have a plan in life – either career or personal life.  Despite being ‘a planner’ and being organised, I’m a little unsure of what and when.  On Saturday, a childhood friend of my brothers mentioned she sees a fortune teller when she’s at a crossroads in her life, and I’m starting to think maybe I should give that a whirl.  Even if they are only telling me what they think I want to hear, I’m curious to know what this person might think I want to hear!

Now for my ten nominees (who I TOTALLY do not expect to jump through the hoops if they don’t want to – it’s surely as much about increasing people’s awareness of different blogs out there!)  Sadly some blogs I loved have disappeared from my ‘bookmarks’ and I’ve lost them forever 🙁 If only I had a better memory!

1. 71toes : A lovely SAHM who inspires me with her love and happiness.  Her children are also totally gorgeous (and she’s an awesome photographer).  One day, I hope I’ll have as delightful a family!

2. My 1/2 dozen daily: such a prolific sewer and blogger, and incredibly frugal but upbeat.  No matter how many times she writes that she lives in Canada, I still think she’s in England – brain malfunction!  Sadly I can’t comment on this type of blog – some Google Chrome/Typepad interface issue 🙁

3. 365 less things: This is where my daily appeite for blog reading started.  I’ve been lucky to meet Colleen in person, and whilst we’re a generation apart, reading her blog helped me declutter to simplify my move from my parents place to my own.  And I love Cindy’s guest posts every Wednesday.

4. Young House Love: A DIY family blog that seems to be #1 worldwide!  Ok, perhaps not, but they seem to pop up everywhere, and they are often my first post read for a day.

5. Clover Lane: Another SAHM who I found due to her decluttering efforts.  Again, I just love a snapshot into other family’s lives, especially big families

6. A blog about love: Some how I tripped and found this delightful blog – reading their ‘story’ through their emails back and forth are just amazing (and maybe make me reflect on a little less amazing life), but still, it’s like an epic love story!

7. Zero Waste Home: As the name suggests, an amazing Franco-American family who have a ridiculously small eco footprint with waste.  I’m inspired by them, and continue to wonder just how I could be more like them.

8.  Go Gingham: Well she shares my name (if not spelling) and is wonderfully home made, no nonsense mum.  She really is a perfect balance of pragmatism and fun, with responsibility for the earth thrown in there.

9. Reach Financial Independance: A lovely French personal finance blogger (who write in English) living in South America.  She’s inspired a few of my recent posts on money.

10. Penelope Bell: A bright and cheery country ‘girl’ (she’s my age, we’re still girls right?)  for rural Queensland, Australia who is an incredible artist and fashion designer.  She always brightens my day with her beautiful posts and sometimes an accompanying water colour.

And that marks a diverse collection of blogs I enjoy reading!

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post. **I hope this just means the images?!**
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees.
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs. **I really don’t want to pester people with this ‘chain’ style thing…. hmmm***