The Secret Car

vw

While we were on our big adventure trip back in October/November, a thing happened with The Other Half’s car. The airconditioning stopped working. Of course, it was 38-40 degrees C at the time (almost 100F).

We had been talking about what to do with his car for over a year. It was reaching odometer readings that mean you need to do some work on it.

I still loved his car. He was not so much in love anymore. When he told me that – and he told me he often preferred driving MY Volkswagen Polo instead I said well I think it is time we figure out our finances and start looking at other options.

So one Saturday morning we dropped by our local VW dealer and had a chat. The Other Half was unsure about the new auto gearboxes and whether or not he wanted to stick with a manual car, so the awesome bloke gave us a Golf with the same gearbox we would have in a new Polo and we went for a drive.

About an hour later we’d put in an order for our new car. And about a week later it arrived. This car, you guys. This car is AMAZING. It can do things I would never have imagined, and things I actually cannot quite describe. For example –

– When you stop the car at the traffic lights, it automatically turns the engine off. Once you lift your foot off the brake, it turns it back on again.

– It can follow other cars. No, not like a private detective. It will match the speed and brake when that car brakes, so you can drive through city traffic without having to touch a pedal at all – accelerator OR brake..

There are so many awesome features I cannot even begin to type them all out.

I’ve been keeping it a secret from you for nearly two months now, and I am sorry about that. You are not the only ones. My parents found out when they discovered it parked in our driveway as a surprise, about a week after we first got it.

Ford XR5 Turbo, new car

New Year, Same Goals

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Almost the same goals as 2016, because I do not really want to eat less than I presently am. I am aiming for 1200 calories each day.

Move more is back on the agenda after taking a break since late October when I injured my hip. At the moment I am aiming for 30 minutes on the treadmill each day and adding in a minute more of running each day.

Across 2016, I lost over 20kg – that’s 44 pounds. More importantly, I am a lot fitter than I used to be. It has made a huge difference.

This journey to better fitness has not been without problems – I had a big interruption in February 2016 when I had diverticulitis. In September I was diagnosed with thyroid problems – antibodies are attacking my thyroid as a surprise to myself – and I began taking a small dose of Thyroxine daily.

I only need to lose another 5kg to meet my goal weight and I would like to do that by mid-February when I have my colonoscopy scheduled.

The Other Half is having some health issues which required us to reduce our sodium intake. We ate much less processed food in December as a result, and I am cooking almost everything from scratch. Rather hilariously, I’m now having to make sure I get extra salt because I have the opposite problem of low blood pressure.

Happy New Year everyone! :)

2016 Goal, 2017 goal

Going Cashless

travelonpic

Photo credit – travelonbags.com

I remember when I was young and I got my first ever purse and began to carry money with me regularly. It was exciting and slightly scary in a way. There suddenly was a possibility that I could forget my purse, or lose money, or have someone try and take my money from me. I really never became someone who enjoyed purses or handbags. To me they were annoying, something to have to keep an eye on, something to have to hold onto.

I was not into the “fashion” aspect of things very much as a teenager and certainly never owned an expensive handbag – still to this day I believe the most I have ever spent on a handbag would be around $100. Perhaps if I did enjoy fashion or have an expensive handbag I might have grown to enjoy it.

The older I got, the more I wanted to carry with me. Lip balm, hand cream, tissues, a bottle of water, a diary, a calculator back in the days before one had a mobile phone with one, then of course the mobile phone appeared and that became another item to carry. Spare batteries for the mobile, a camera, the list grew and grew until my handbag was quite heavy.

What is worse, I felt like I actually NEEDED to have all that stuff with me everywhere I went. It became an obligation and not one that I enjoyed. Then the stores began with their loyalty cards, and those began to pile up. And up. And UP. I even had loyalty cards from stores in the USA in my purse!

The security of my handbag was another troubling factor, for me. I’ve always been a backpack or cross body bag person, and you do hear stories where the strap gets cut and away goes your bag. Though these are usually in countries I would not be travelling to, there is always a chance it can happen here.

The turning point for me was in early 2016 when I began to go to the pool regularly. To be on the safe side, I did not want to take anything with me. No phone, no purse, no license, no cash, nothing at all. Just a bottle of water and my gym bag with my towel and dry clothes to change into. To my surprise, the world did not end. I actually survived without those things.

This started my mind down a path – what if I actually stopped carrying a purse all the time? What if I stopped carrying cash? Is it possible to go everywhere I want to go and pay by eftpos or credit card? I began to tick places off the list of places I usually go. In reality there were only two places that do not accept cash – the local markets and one local eatery. Though a lot of places at the markets DO now accept cards, too!

So when I saw TVSN having a sale on Travelon which does contain a lot of security features including a strap that cannot be cut and RFID protection, I put in an order. That was back in July, and several months have now passed – all of which, I have been mostly cashless.

Mostly.

I have taken out cash on the following occasions – to get my car washed – to go to the local markets – to go to a food fair. The Other Half carries cash in his wallet so if I go somewhere with him and need cash, chances are he will have some. But realistically I have not needed cash 99% of the time.

What about minimum Eftpos limits?

Some places do have a minimum eftpos amount – this is usually $10. The only time I ever spend less than $10 is at the supermarket when I am running in to get one or two things I need, and all the local supermarkets here allow eftpos transactions at any amount, especially the self serve checkouts.

What about credit card charges?

It really annoys me when the stores charge for using a credit card, but it is not a deal breaker for me. Usually I can just use eftpos instead in those places – eg Aldi – and they tend not to charge for that.

The Best Part Is –

Not having to handle cash regularly. For a germophobe like me, cash is a real nightmare. Cash is absolutely covered in germs!

Overall, going cashless has worked for me. Would it work for you? The easiest way to find out is to just do it. If you want a safety net you can keep a $20 or $50 hidden in a safe place in your bag just in case, you can dispense with the coins entirely and just carry your cards with you.

Happy Snoskred, shopping

Woolworths : The Fail Whale People.

You may recall that I broke up with Woolworths in August 2015. Since then, I have been pretty consistent with my desire to not shop there. When I changed purses recently, I did not bother putting their rewards card in there.

It turns out there is only one thing we actually NEED to buy at Woolworths which we cannot get elsewhere. Don pepperoni. We tried the Aldi version and it was ok, but it was not awesome like the Don pepperoni. Coles do not sell pepperoni in sticks here, you can only get it in packets which does not work for us. So once in a blue moon, we trek to Woolworths and stock up on Don pepperoni.

Over the past year they opened a new Woolworths at Vincentia Marketplace. We visited the marketplace when it first opened and took a look at Woolworths. That store was new and therefore was laid out in the new style. Nothing we saw inspired us to reconsider our decision to break up.

Since I saw the dietitian and changed our eating habits to involve less processed foods and more fresh foods, 99% of our shop comes from Aldi now. We visit Coles for any brand name foods we cannot get at Aldi. Each shop, that list gets smaller and smaller. I do not like eggs from Aldi, so we pick up the Manning Valley eggs from Coles, and we usually get some Don ham there. Some weeks that is all we buy from Coles.

A couple of weeks ago, Woolworths put an ad on my Facebook. They told me that Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets would be 50% off. Ever since Pinchme sent a sample of those, we have been faithful Fairy customers. At 50% off, the tablets are a mere .35 cents each. Usually even on special the best price I will find is .50 cents each.

So off we went to Woolworths, only to find NO Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets on special. I was so annoyed! Clearly I was not the only one, because the next time Facebook showed me the ad, it had the dates that this would be on special.

Our next grocery shopping trip fell within those dates, so we went to Woolworths, only to find that particular store did not stock Fairy Platinum at all. FAIL WHALE.

By now, I was determined I was going to buy those darn dishwasher tablets. Having failed twice, we went to the largest Woolworths in our area and picked up 4 packets. They also had salami on special, and we had just run out. So this will be our last visit to Woolworths until we next run out of salami, which I am hoping will be in early 2017. That stuff lasts a fair while, we only use 12 slices a week on our pizzas.

I don’t care what you advertise to me on the Facebook in future, Woolworths.

I am NOT picking you.

Annoyed Snoskred, bitches, shopping

Election Fever

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Don’t you just LOVE it when the universe decides to have a joke at your expense?

At the last Federal Election, I worked at a holiday town election booth as a declaration votes officer. There were at least two of us, possibly three, I can’t remember. We were pretty busy all day helping people visiting from other electorates to cast their votes. During that day, I had TWO votes for our local electorate of Gilmore, both for people who had enrolled at the last minute and somehow got left off the electoral roll.

So, on Saturday the 2nd of July I unwrapped my votes for the many electorates and began counting them, 5 for each electorate. When I got to Gilmore, I laughed to myself and thought “I won’t need many of those today”.

And the universe laughed with me, or maybe at me, because unknown to me there had been some kind of error with the electoral roll. Some people who were on the roll at the last election suddenly found that they were missing. They had not changed address. They had not changed anything with the AEC. But they could not be found, and had to cast declaration votes.

I had to ask my manager for a pad of Gilmore votes. They are printed in books of 100. I had less than 10 left at the end of the day – add in the 5 I started with, it was almost 100 declaration votes for Gilmore. HA HA, laughed the universe!

There was only one of me this time. There were times where I was surrounded by people at my table. I only had one pen which would work on the envelopes and the polling place manager had to do some pen stealing to find me more. I ended up with four. Even with all four pens being used to fill in envelopes, there were long queues of people waiting for me. I was using one pen – the one that would not work on the envelopes – to write down the things I needed to add to the envelopes once they were filled in.

Handing out votes, saying all the things I needed to say, reminding everyone their votes HAD to come back to me to be placed into their envelopes.. I felt like an election robot.

Just after 5pm, I ran out of declaration vote envelopes. We did not have any more, nor did we have any way to get anymore. We had to send those people to other voting places.

The good news is, this meant I could close my station and begin reconciling. Thank the deities, the vote numbers worked out perfectly. Declaration votes are not counted on election day, they are sent to their various electorates to be counted. The envelopes remain closed until they arrive there. Not even the declaration votes cast within their own electorate are opened and counted.

I was done with my reconcillation by 6:30pm which meant I could join in the counting of regular votes. With one of the best teams of AEC staff I have ever been lucky enough to meet, and everyone pitching in and working hard, we had everything counted by 8:30pm. Another half hour to pack up, 15 minutes to bump out and clean up, and we were all out of there by 9:20pm or so. I was home with my beloved Antony Green on the teevee by 9:30pm. I was in bed not long after that – I recorded him to watch later.

As I type this on the 4th of July, there is no election result in Australia. There are currently 10 electorates too close to call and all the votes – postal, declaration, pre-poll – will have to be counted in order to get a result. By the time this post is scheduled I hope we might have a result, I will update it next Sunday.

One of those electorates is my own – Gilmore.

UPDATE – Supposedly the coalition has claimed victory, even though there is more counting to do.. :/

challenges, elections, work

Thoughts On Things

bananas

The protein adventures continue. I find myself quite often considering whether I have enough bananas in the freezer. My daily protein shake is now my daily lunch and I have to be honest, I quite prefer it to any other food. The other half has gone out to get a gorgeous, locally made hamburger from the local takeaway shop and I have returned home to have my shake.

I tried putting a full frozen banana in there and it turned out like the most awesome – and coldest – thickshake I ever tasted. I could not even notice the texture of the protein. That is going to be a massive winner in summer. I’m loving it in winter too. I’m a bit of a weird one, though, winter is the time I use the most ice in my drinks.

I have progressed up to 30g of protein powder and I am loving it. I ran out of peanut butter powder this week and I have been doing a touch more cocoa powder with a touch more cinnamon, now I think I might alternate between the two flavours once I get some more PB powder.

This weekend is going to be a bit of a problem, though. Usually I do my exercise before lunch then have my protein shake after my shower. I’m working the election on Saturday so my entire routine will be thrown right out of whack. Luckily it is not too far from home, so I can still have my shake.

I will take some carrot sticks and cheese for morning and afternoon snacks, and chicken strips for dinner. Plus plenty of water and my soda water. I’m not going to be able to exercise – other than perhaps take a walk at lunch time, but it won’t be the kind of walk I am used to doing, not in the outfit I am planning to wear! ;)

I did not actually apply to work this election because I knew it is going to be one heck of a tough one, with the changes to voting. But once you are on the list, they will call you if they are running short on staff. I figured if they called me, I would say yes.

For the huge Senate ballot paper (which measures in at just over a metre!) you used to be able to say, very simply – Number one box above, or ALL the boxes below. Now, it is a minimum of 6 above, or 12 below.

Here is a great post from Antony Green about the new changes.

Working the election is a really long day – you start at 7 (booths do not open until 8am) and you finish when the votes are counted *and* fully accounted for. How long that takes depends on how good at maths your Polling Place Manager is. The second time I worked an election, we were delayed by an hour because someone had done some maths wrong. It was late in the very long day, everyone was tired and starting to get a bit snappy and jumpy.

It should tell you everything about how tired everyone was that *I* was the person who figured out what was going on with the maths. I failed maths in school, LOL! We finished that day around 11:30pm.

This also taught me to bring along a packet of chocolate biscuits to hand around for dessert, because by that time of day blood sugar can be running a bit low, so a little treat tends to perk people up a little.

You might be wondering, how do people count – and handle – those massive ballot papers? The first thing you have to do when you open the Senate ballot box is UNFOLD all those papers. This can take over an hour just by itself depending on how many people voted there and how many staff you have on hand. As you unfold, most people tend to pull out votes for the major parties and put them aside, just to make the sorting a little easier when the time comes.

You also put aside any “artistic” votes, completely blank papers, or clearly invalid votes. Listen, people. If you are going to draw genitalia on your ballot paper, USE THE WHOLE CANVAS if you want to impress the polling staff. Do not just draw genitals at the size you are used to seeing them, AKA the size of your parts. You have a metre. Make the most of it!

If you want to write a funny note, the polling place staff are the only people who will see it. Writing in Mickey Mouse does not make anyone laugh. We’ve seen that so many times before, but if that is how you want to waste your vote, totes fine with us.

The things I have seen, I really wished I could take photos of, but that is Not The Done Thing. I’m fine with that, though I feel like the AEC are really missing an opportunity to throw a huge art exhibition with some of the genitalia drawings. Last election there was one enterprising individual who drew a tiny male genitalia in every single box on the huge white ballot paper. Work like that should be appreciated, not just stored in a (large) plastic bag for all eternity.

elections

Goal Met, Part 1

redtime

You might recall me telling you what my goal was for 2016 back at the start of the year. It was pretty simple –

Eat less, move more.

I had also set myself a personal weight loss goal of losing 15kg by June. I achieved my goal on the 27th of May, yay!

goalmet

Eat Less

I limit myself to 1200-1400 calories a day. Since meeting with the dietitian, the calories I am eating are better than they have ever been. I’m on a high protein diet. I’ve switched out white foods as much as possible – aka I rarely eat bread, pasta or rice, potatoes have been switched for the lower GI sweet potatoes.

I’ve begun to see food as fuel for my body and I am much less likely to eat poor fuel these days. I prefer my protein shake to a hamburger. I gotta tell you, I love that protein shake. I would say irrationally love it, but my love for it is NOT irrational, it is quite sane, because that is great fuel for my body.

What does eating less look like? Don’t worry, I still get my dark chocolate treats in there.. ;) for those wanting to know, here’s a recent day.

food1day

You’ll note breakfast is a weird amount of 32 grams – I do actually weigh it out. My stomach is not a morning stomach. It really does not like a lot of breakfast. This particular cereal is quite fluffy and my eyes say whoa, that is enough! When I eat the Weetbix Protein Bites for breakfast, I do get a full serving of 40g. I switch back and forth between these two cereals.

The protein shake is very filling. I used to eat a lunch which was 129 calories but I can no longer fit it in most days, because I have mostly moved my exercise to mornings and I have my protein shake just after exercise. It keeps me full until dinner time.

This particular dinner I like to call savoury beef, it is delicious. If I’m too full after dinner, I might skip the chocolate or the other snacks that day.

food1aday

The rice cakes mentioned above are amazing and have stopped my craving for potato chips entirely. Oranges are in season at the moment so I am eating one a day and enjoying them, sometimes I might switch that out for an apple and in summer it was mangoes all the time, with some greek yoghurt.

The only thing I don’t log is cooking oil – I don’t use much – and spices – I use plenty but the calorie amount is negligible, and I log my two coffees as one coffee in the morning, just to save some time.

Move More

As you saw here on the blog with my recent 5 week challenge posts, I’ve got move more down to a bit of an art at this time. For 5 weeks, I either walked 5km or burned at least 500 calories each day.

The Next Goal

I would like to lose a further 10kg by the start of October. If I manage it, I will reward myself with fake skydiving! ;)

I also want to add in more yoga and pilates before and after treadmill workouts. I did a pilates class which broke me for a week, so I want to build up slowly before trying another class.

2016 Goal, health

Kayak Day

sharkskin

Here are some pics from our recent kayaking day. First up, River, these are my Sharkskin socks. They are specially designed for water sports. Chill proof, sun proof, windproof, neoprene outside, fleece inside. They are the best things ever!

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The view out into Jervis Bay. Just out of the shot, a tourist packed dolphin boat about to leave the wharf. We parked up and watched it. :)

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Looking down Currumbene Creek towards Huskisson.

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Looking back towards Myola.

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As we were heading back to the wharf, the sun came out. I was kinda glad it waited because with so little wind, it got pretty warm out there.

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Reminder to myself – when you do 10km on the kayak and it has been a while since you got on there, the sides of your feet where they rest on the pedal might puff up like you were stung by a bee or bitten by something. Just for fun, maybe one side will puff up first, and the other side might take a couple of hours to puff up, just to freak you out.

Overall it was an awesome day out. Kinda wish we’d headed out into Jervis Bay, but it can go from glass to whitecaps in a fairly quick time out there.. :) The creek is super protected – this is why all the boats are moored in there.

exercise, kayak

The Five Week Challenge – Week 2

gauntlet

Another fitness week! This is more for my own records and to put all of this together in one place, so you can feel free to just skip past this post.

Friday April 15th –

part1

Todays workout was in two parts and was different to the normal. I did 1k treadmill, 10 mins elliptical, 1k treadmill, 10 mins elliptical, then 1k treadmill. There were also some floor exercises for abs. YAY. Above is part 1.

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This is my personal best for a 1km since getting back into exercising. 8:06 – sorry my treadmill quite uncooperative, with the photography! Above you see todays first km..

part2

And here is part 2. 552 calories burned total.

Saturday April 16th –

656kmvincentia

Todays 6.5km walk brought to you by the Volkswagen Polo, plus Psycho Killer by Talking Heads which was the last song that played in the car before we got out, and thus, played in my head the entire 77 or so minutes.

vincentia

Plus, I took a couple of pics, for you. Cloudy day, warm-ish, excellent for walking. YAY CLOUDS!

Sunday April 17th –

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Todays workout brought to you by The Village People, specifically U can’t stop the music – Queen, specifically Don’t stop me now – plus my chicken Rosie who decided this music meant she should make a run for it into an offlimits area! This was a super tough workout involving circuits between the elliptical and the treadmill.

Monday April 18th –

180416restday2

Todays “rest day” slow walk brought to you by episodes 18 and 19 of The Good Wife which I am hate watching now, and Skye from Tinykittens, I am watching and waiting for her kittens to arrive. I got on again for another 16 minutes later, just to get some extra steps in and watch the last of episode 19.

Tuesday April 19th –

190416pbtimea

I don’t know why my iPhone hates me. Every time I think I will walk a little slower, it plays yet another tune of awesomeness that makes me speed up or even run. And today it made me have a personal best ever time! 7.45 for the first 1k, and then this great time for the 5k.

Wednesday April 20th –

aquajog200416

Todays workout brought to you by umpteen annoying boy children at the pool, plus 5 annoying girls. I set a goal of burning 800 calories aqua jogging, and I very nearly did a u-turn in the carpark when I saw this busload of boy children being lectured by one of the adults. But then I thought, piffle, ain’t gonna let no noisy kids stand in the way of my exercise! :) YAY WINNING. There is two tracks – the above one for the jogging and one to follow for the cool down —

cooldown200416

Thursday April 21st –

210416aqua

Todays workout brought to you by new water shoes! Yay 713 calories burned total. I’m showing you a different screen today.

Another highly active week. Weigh in at the end of this week was 83.2.

Week 1 is here.

2016 Goal, exercise, Fitbit