30th Birthday prep

Each envelope was made from a sheet of a map - often with the street of the recipient where they were locals!
Each envelope was made from a sheet of a map – often with the street of the recipient where they were locals!
Crazy cropping so I dont share my address with you!
Crazy cropping so I dont share my address with you!
White dinner 214
The front of the invite
White dinner 213
Some of the inside cropped for my safety :p
my FAVE flowers - test run. BTW, two bunches for the price of one I realised once I got home
my FAVE flowers – test run. BTW, two bunches for the price of one I realised once I got home
Heart punch to make a mini set of bunting
Heart punch to make a mini set of bunting
Off to the mailbox!
Off to the mailbox!

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.



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.


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!

Christmas photos

Christmas seems to be the time when ALL my creativity comes out!

I was inspired by Pinterest for the below, but of course I can’t find the reference. Anyhow, with the BF’s help, and countless clear 3M hooks, we made this:

50m of light can make anything look awesome
50m of light can make anything look awesome

Sadly the clear adhesive with 3M hooks isn’t as strong. Or the pressure on ceiling mounted hooks was too great. So our ceiling is bare again, but it will return to this festiveness, as I plan to have the hall of lights for my birthday party.

For my immediate family celebration of Christmas on Christmas Day, I tried something new:

Starting new Christmas traditions. The younger generations aren't as into Christmas Cake, so I tried trifle.
Starting new Christmas traditions. The younger generations aren’t as into Christmas Cake, so I tried trifle.

I had wanted to make a trifle for a year or two, but last year I was in Perth with the BF’s family, so didn’t have a chance. Mum was going to make a sticky date pudding (well, she says she was, I’ve known her to say that, and turn up to see all the ingredients all laid out for ME to make!)

Late on Sunday night before Christmas, this sad picture graced my Facebook page 🙁

Guess who's not a structural engineer!
Guess who’s not a structural engineer!

The suggested solution was to make it the Dinosaur’s fault. In any case, my colleagues managed to pick the lollies off on day 1, and took the following day and a half (with SUBSTANTIAL help from me) to eat the gingerbread.

My friend with kids told me I needed to add a dinosaur. I didn't have a toy, so I made do!
My friend with kids told me I needed to add a dinosaur. I didn’t have a toy, so I made do!

And in non-Christmas craft, I also cross stitched a baby blanket for my friend’s 10 week old baby 🙂

I spent Boxing day (the day after Christmas) without clothes on, in our air conditioned bedroom, doing UAT. User Acceptance Testing is the cool way of me saying I binge watched TV programs, for a clients of my boyfriends! I watched two new series I’d never known, and thoroughly enjoyed them. And I swore off sweets, at least til my holiday, save for a square of choc each night after dinner. So far, so good.

How was your Christmas? Do you have a traditional recipe or thing you cook/make?

Why so quiet?

Well partly cause I can’t recall my password for approving comments.

And work – man, work. We’ve had big storms in Sydney, and big effort for me and my team to get things back to ‘normal’. And then there’s life. Life is full and complicated.

Today was not a normal day in Sydney. I just want to make it known that I don’t harbour any hate. Every human is what they chose to be, or become, and it’s on them, not on their alliances or faith or anything else. And everyone makes wrong decisions, whether they be little slip ups or holding people hostages in a cafe. I refuse to buy into the speculation or hysteria.

So for something more mundane, a to do list
– wrap jars with maps as future votive holders for my birthday!
– put away the washing (at least the lingering socks!)

Inside the invite

– make my 30th birthday invites

Handmade envelopes
Outside invites

– write Christmas cards (that should probably be bumped higher, but it’s a mess factor and maps are everywhere…!)
– rinse out the dirty take away coffee cups the BF used
– buy foam core cardboard for a certain Christmas gift plan
– drop off two pairs of shoes to have their soles restitched on
– coordinate to drop off my hand blender to a friend
– hang up recently bought fairy lights in the hallway

I’m still reading your blogs, but that password issue is even ruining my commenting simplicity :s Sorry! Promise I read it all!

Dramatism is like consumerism

Yesterday I wrote about how I still feel the twinges of desire to acquire things, but mostly I quash them.  I withstand my desire for the new and shiny things and the promise (lies!) of a perfect life.  I can be an anti consumer, or at the very less a low level consumer

However, one thing I seem to buy hook line and sinker from media is the ‘happy’ myth.  Or more precisely, the soap opera of constantly interesting story lines.

There is no soap opera in going to work every day, and sitting at a desk most of the time getting work done.

Well, there is no soap opera about engineers.  Think about that – doctors, nurses, CSI tech, lawyers, Australiam librarians, politicans – yes to all the above.  Engineers – not so much.  The Australian film “3 Dollars” he’s an engineer who loses his job.  Gloomy.

I seem to wish and want my life to have interest.  To have a good story, at any moment to tell.  That perfect tale to tell when someone asks ‘what’s been happening’ who I saw only a week ago.  Put another way, I seem to want a certain level of drama in my life.  Some complication, some struggle.  Those who know me well enough, are honest enough to tell me, my life IS like a soap opera.  Alas, I think (and hope) that’s perhaps not come across in my blog posts?

But it’s a myth, just like the right clothes will improve your self esteem or the right cupboard will solve your clutter problem.  Both those myths I know the truth about!  But the constant drama, the swings and roundabouts of life, I always want just the right sprinkling.  I do not like to be bored.

That being said, sometimes, I get to the end of the dramatic act, and I think ‘Woowa, why did I want into that scene? Why didn’t I just reject that story line?’

It only just dawned on me the other day when a friend said to me “Life isn’t like a TV show”.  He’s right.  I know advertising isn’t real life. But I need to learn that a scripted life is not real life.  For one, they never show them going to the toliet.  That always used to puzzle me as a child!

New Caledonia

Long lazy days – in photos. Oh, long lazy days in PARADISE!

Day one!
Day one!
Another day, another sunset in paradise
Another day, another sunset in paradise
Beach side reading
Beach side reading
The hotel building
The hotel building
Pool side
Pool side
A cocktail is just what was needed!
A cocktail is just what was needed!
Another day over
Another day over

Gosh there are so many more sunset photos!

Halloween Party

The night before we took a week’s holiday in New Caledonia, I co-hosted a Halloween party with a friend (a lovely lovely friend) who I play water polo with.  I feel absolutely horrible that I left the party at a very respectful time (not even 11pm) and didn’t at all help with clean up 🙁  Perhaps parties before morning international flights aren’t ideal.

Here’s the themes food we created:

New Cal etc 178
Ricotta cheesecake with lips and teeth
New Cal etc 177
Brownie square into spiders
New Cal etc 176
Cut pineapple ‘puking’ guacamole
New Cal etc 175
Pumpkin pie (the food that seeded the party) with leftover white choc!
New Cal etc 174
Dried fruit eye balls
New Cal etc 173
Mouths of apple, peanut butter and marshmellows
New Cal etc 172
Ghosts – strawberries and bananas
New Cal etc 180
Expertly carved pumpkin – all carvings by my friend
New Cal etc 179
Carved watermelon

I seem to have a real love for catering, and particularly themed catering! Thanks pinterest. What’s your favourite Halloween food?

Holiday planning

Here’s a post I drafted last August…

I think I want to visit the US this year.  I mean, maybe.  I’ve lately felt a little ‘over travel’ so I’m not going to make myself go.  However, there are some places I love to go, and some new places I just keep reading about.

Like Portland, Oregon.  

How pretty is Portland? via
How pretty is Portland? via

So, as this blog is my memory, I shall link up to the first inspiring post, from Young House Love:


Then there was a much more recent post, again all about food, here:


I mean I think the blogosphere is making it clear that I just MUST stop off there on my next soujourn!

I’d always swing a trip the the Big Apple, even if it’s only to do all I’ve done before – mainly just look in the shops! I could make it to the factory/make your own converse place that I missed last time?  What else?  Try and find some of the spots they filmed ‘Suits’ in – that’s the cheapest thrill ever, finding places used to film things *without* the costly tour – it works well even for lesser known shows now that the internet can help!

Yep, never seen it in real life - but now I will!
Yep, never seen it in real life – but now I will!

I’ve never been to San Francisco, so I’d like to visit (and give all Aussies seems to fly into LAX unless they are doing around the world) it should also be convenient with flights too!

The real question is how would I fill my days?  Something I always struggle with on holidays, home or abroad.  I feel like I have to make the most of the time, or the place or both, and I need a good list for that to happen.  This isn’t much of a list…  HELP!

And now back to real time.  My mother’s just been accepted to a writing course in San Francisco.  So, of course, I agreed to accompany her! Last night’s fortnightly family dinner, we burnt a hole in a credit card (of course, dutifully paid for with cash today) buying two tickets to SFO!

We’re spending two week in the US in January.  Keep in mind I head to Noumea, New Caledonia for a week at the end of this week (and after my Halloween party on Friday night), and then there’s a family Bali trip in September planned.  Gosh, I am lucky.  I keep thinking ‘if I had kids, I wouldn’t have the money to do this’ – so I’m making the most of every opportunity!

So – how should I fill my days? I’ll have most of my time in San Fran, and then we might fly to Seattle, and then drive to Portland.  It’s all a little unclear.  Mum’s got NO idea (or reason) to visit Portland, so I’m going to have to campaign hard there 😉

First kiss

When I was a teenager, and hormonal, I wrote endlessly about love and all the involved permutations.  But I knew I was young and hormonal and who wants to read the same gaff every teen goes on about?  Now I’m in that perfect spot – neither youthful hormones, nor at the sunset of youth (relatively), nor pregnant lady hormones. I feel like I can write about the heady memories of first kisses without a bias 😉

There is nothing more intoxicating than the anticipation of your very very first kiss.  There’s nothing to compare it to.  From those more experienced at school, the most graphic example Sally gave was ‘it’s like licking a plate’.  I think the visual was captivating enough, irrespective of it’s relevance to the actual act.

When I FINALLY (or so it would seem) had my first kiss at 16, it was at a school dance.  I remember the sore hips from a night of swaying back and forth on the same spot.  I was delighted to be told that ‘it looked like the movies’ when Fran reminisced about my first kiss.  Cause if it looked right to an outsider, I mustn’t be doing anything too wrong, right?

source: www.deviantart.com
source: www.deviantart.com

Alas, this kiss was unexpected, a function of luck.  The best kisses are the ones you’ve imagined in every possible combination in your head.  Every moment, in freeze frame motion.  And that started LONG before I was actually first kissed.  I remember spending my first year in high school speculating ways I could ‘run into’ the neighbour up the street.  It couldn’t have been more frustrating to NEVER have him on my train home – how could us two commuters never find our paths met?  (Mostly cause he went to school for an hour less a day, and my school was twice as far away!)  Nonetheless, almost every day I spent 50c on a roll of lifesavers, so should I see him, I’d have something to offer.  A way to nonchalantly strike up conversation.

After my first kiss, but whilst still in high school, I developed a crush.  With it, I created this alternative reality, this happily ever after.  It all pivoted on that first kiss.  When the time finally came to steal a kiss, it was lack luster.  he smelt… like he’s clothes hadn’t dried properly.  There’s nothing I detest more than that musty smell.  It failed to live up to the hype in my head.  (Interestingly, I was told many years after this that I was ‘the one that got away’.  Since then, he’s happily married, so I think all’s well on that front!)

At university, it took about at least a year to get over the awkwardness that comes from eight years in a girls boarding school and into an environment of 95% guys.  I spent a long time expecting someone to rib me for talking to guys, that I might have an ulterior motive, that I was ‘in lurve’.  I also slowly got out of thinking every interaction needed to be working towards ‘a boyfriend’.  Let’s face it, in boarding school you had to maximise you chances, which were so few and far between.

source: www.imgion.com
source: www.imgion.com

Let it be known that I’ve had more crushes than hot dinners, so it will come as no surprise that this thrill of imagining the first kiss is a well worn path in my sub conscious. I remember developing a firm interest in a friend in one particular class.  I think it’s the only time that the reality far exceeded my imaginings!  All the mystery he’d developed seemed to continue despite our first kiss.  I can only assume I wasn’t as skillful (?) as that ship sailed.  Our romance dissolved and we continued to study together with no malice.  Well not much 😉

First kisses.  There’s so many unknowns.  It’s often the gateway to physical touch.  Will it be breathless and heady?  Will it fall flat to all the hype in your head?  Will it come when you least expect it and leave you floored?  To me, there’s so much mystery in a kiss.  A mystery in why humankind do this – and why we found this ritual so intoxicating.  As my little brother mistook it as a child ‘why are they biting each others’ lips?’.  Well, that’s a very good question… One I just can’t quite answer!

More to me than a job

Since the 18th August, so almost a month, in the new role, I’ve been grappling with the added commute.  Today, the boss asked me how I felt about the roll etc.

I am steadfastly unmoving in my rejection of a permanent role with a 2 hours commute per day. 10 hours a week!

My close colleague cannot understand it.

But I must be more than my job.  I must have time to do SES.  I need time to do errands.  To get a script for the GP and then fill that script – other than on my one day off a month (cause you never need it then).  I need to be able to volunteer my time to church or the coop or whatever next piques my interest and fancy.  I need to be awake enough to commit to seeing my family weekly, ideally.  Certainly not monthly! I need to feel like I could go to a movie or a meal on a weeknight, and not be wrecked for the next day and the week that follows.

Jo at All the Blue Day hit the nail on the head about who I am, when I read this phrase in her post today:

extreme busyness (joining the committee of every group we ever belong to, and becoming indispensable)

That can be me.  And in some regards, it can be a bad thing, but it’s part of the whole of who I am and what I do.  I don’t just want to be a worker.  I don’t just want to do good when I’m paid, and otherwise form a permanent imprint in the sofa! And the longer I’m away from home with work, the more I yearn to solely rest and work on the butt print!

The question is – at what level of pay will I be swayed?  The close colleague asked on the train ‘for half the pay, would you take a job closer to home’ – I clarified, half of my now wage (more than ‘usual’) or half of my base wage?

But I’d already done the sums.  I mean, that’s why I love to read personal finance blogs.

With a mortgage (and tenants) I’d need a $50k job to cover my costs.  If I was to sell my property (and not factor in drawing on savings, or the money earnt in that sale), I’d need $70k. So in answer, yes, I’d take a pay cut, and still be able to live in this lovely apartment, have some walking around money ($120 per week) and cover my essentials.  I even factored in $40 for public transport, which is about what it costs now.  I wouldn’t take international holidays without some pain, and I wouldn’t be buying things willy nilly.  But I could do it.

The question remains, at what price does a role exist that meets my criteria – namely, a reasonable commute from home?  Only time will tell.  But I am able, and willing, to put the money back on the table to get what I need.