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Showing posts from January, 2016

Rain Clouds

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The calm after the storm

The weather has settled down in my neck of the woods.  I took some pictures while being brave this afternoon and going for a half hour walk.  Still fires and floods in the rest of the state though and our emergency workers sound stretched.  Very glad we have them and back up from other states and NZ.

I'm sure my walk took me longer than my normal thirty minutes because I am still a little on the invalid side with a taped up bung ankle.  It's not quite so obvious now I am walking minus the crutches.  I am keeping them for the moment, they are on loan, just in case I find that I push my ankle too far and need them to get around.  That's already happened once!

We did the family dinner thing today.  Thankfully, I slept in, which I admit makes me feel like I am lazy but the chronic fatigue has been flaring up something shocking.  I had canceled the Netflix service and reinstated it during a particularly nasty night.  My subscription at the moment is 9AUD per month which really …

Raining cats and dogs

The rain is very welcome when living on a hill.  I do however have sympathy for those trapped as a result of the deluge and flooding around Tasmania.  TAS Alerts and Tasmanian Police websites can be checked for information along with the Bureau of Meteorology to keep up with weather warnings and forecasts (see below for websites and phone numbers).

Having successfully placed cars under shelter, after advise from the authorities, the possibility of hail has passed (for the moment, another storm front on the way).  I am incredibly grateful to spared from the hail that has damaged other parts of Tasmania.

Stayed off the roads today.  Grateful to be safe and inside today.  I cut my Netflix membership but with weather like this I am tempted to buy a month or two.  Very tempted.

Bureau of Meteorology:
www.bom.gov.au

Keep up to date with emergency warnings for Tasmania here:
http://www.alert.tas.gov.au/

Tasmanian Police Community Alerts, here:
http://www.police.tas.gov.au/community-alerts/

F…

Listening

https://open.spotify.com/track/69TyXr6xt5AYz1i0meGlvz

Rain, rain and more on the way

Bad storms heading our way in Tasmania. 

Northern Tasmania has been hit by floods, storm cells and damaging winds.  Some people have already had damage to houses and business but only minor injuries have been reported by media. 

I'm writing this while I have access to power.  Glad we are getting rain, concerned about the possibility of hail and strong wind.

Beat Centrelink (Australian Social Service)?

Housing reform petition (now closed)

Could not have put it better.  Worth reading about the unaffordability of housing: https://www.prosper.org.au/2014/08/22/petition-for-genuine-housing-reform/

Unthinkable indeed

Caught The Head Gardener in tears a few hours ago, when it was actually night in my neck of the woods.  Her head was stuck in the book "Unthinkable: The Shocking Scandal of the UK Sex Traffickers" by Kris Hollington.  I probably should not have then taken the book with me to bed.  I am kind of regretting giving up the Netflix, because I doubt I would be as wired after watching fake people, with fake dramas playing out.

Hollington writes about the abuse and inaction over decades in the UK that has led to the abuse of thousands of minors who rarely receive justice for the mass exploitation, often including gang rape and the unfortunate abortion of children, by children who never asked, or wanted to make an adult decision.  Horrifying, shocking, and well worth reading and understanding.

Unthinkable, really the word does not do the evil done justice.  There's a reason I believe in hell.

Nothing to do

I just went for a walk outside with the clouds teasing us all, again, with the possibility of rain.  Being a born and bred Tasmanian the lack of rain is making me tetchy. 

If there is one thing that annoys me about some people that move to Tasmania, it is the complaint that "there is nothing to do".  I walk, a lot, because even if there was entertainment on every corner, I would not spend my time or money on most of it.

There's always something to do in a place like Tasmania, it's just that it requires effort.  Yes, we lack theme parks and movie theatres on every corner, and apparently there's never enough shops.  What we lack in shopping (my idea of torture if I do it too often) we make up for in libraries, cafes, book shops, parks, beautiful beaches, bush reserves, National Parks and walking tracks.

I love the lack of shopping facilities, although there's never been so many shops in Tasmania.  I think that there's never enough shops for some people.  G…

Walks around in cirles

A few days ago I managed another short walk down the hill, and lived to regret the walk.  Today, instead of walking down the hill and having my ankle request we stop, I walked around in circles for a kilometre or so until it protested.  Thankfully, I really do not care what the neighbours think of me.

Now, I just need to keep up the walking, and stop eating chocolates and other good things.  It's a Monday, so I figure eating a few handfuls of chocolate is fine, right?  Plus the weather's due to get cooler this week, so insulation is needed, right?  I can report that we have had a little rain, and forecast for more.  It will be such a relief when it rains and Tasmania looks green.

Checked the prices of the working class neighbourhood my childhood was spent in, only to find a house last renovated in 1953 or so, with lawn and hills hoist lonely at the back, sold for 315 000 AUD in October.  I can not help but guess, and hope that it signals the peak of the boom.  Given that my pa…

Puts head in sand

I love this article for the comments it has generated.  It would appear that I am not the only one looking at the data and questioning the unquestioning optimism that others seem to pontificate:

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/five-reasons-we-are-not-heading-for-recession-20160121-gmbjcv.html

Gareth Hutchens has written five reasons that we are, apparently, not heading to a recession, and a crowd seem to be disagreeing.  As one commenter pointed out, recession is probably too optimistic, depression seems to be on the cards.  Interesting times, wouldn't you say?

Unchecked optimism

I remain concerned about the economic outlook for Australia.  I look at our historic levels of debt and our low interest rates, intermingled with stories of job loss daily and all I see is potential financial loss.

I am not all that worried for me, because I do not have all that much to lose, and if things go down, then personally, it should provide me with opportunities.  The people who I can see likely to make big losses have set themselves up to fail by believing that "being positive" and never looking at potential risk is the way to succeed.  My observation is that unchecked optimism is the best way to lose a great deal of money fast.  After all, how many gamblers are optimists?  Most would be my guess.

Good business people, people likely to succeed in the long term, are always willing to look at opportunity and threats, not just opportunity.  Show me someone who "can not lose" and I will show you a gambler about to learn a lesson.

When the poor own two houses

Since when does owning two houses, admittedly one with zero equity, have people claiming poverty? I am constantly surprised at the property "investors" that place themselves in precarious situations, and then complain that they are poor.  Show me a property investor, and in most cases, I will show you a person ready to file bankruptcy.

I can not understand how banks allow people about to retire to take out a full loan, usually against a property that has been paid off.  People over sixty should not be allowed to take out twenty five year old loans.

This behaviour is unethical, both by those facing retirement, and banks.  Both are driven by greed and by the insane idea that house prices always go up.  All it does is inflate house prices.  Those of us with savings for a deposit, and a house price reflective of most not selling, find it difficult to complete.  It gives us a false sense of the value of property and makes it ever tempting to pay more than we should for an essent…

A bit of a cliche

Spent most of the night awake along with The Head Gardener.  Thick smoke plumes are not conducive to a good nights' sleep.  Thankfully the smoke has cleared for the most part here, and hopefully it's a sign of fire fighters getting the blazes under control.

The weather is again teasing us with the possibility of rain, yet it is still to break the drought.  It's a horrible feeling waiting for rain.  Though, it's lovely and cool tonight.

Made a simple salad and steamed potatoes which were accompanied by lamb chops on the barbeque.  It's a bit of a cliché, chops on the barbie, but it works.  Made a fresh zesty dressing with a little French mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper and vinegar.

In other news, the new Australia Day advertisement promoting lamb has courted controversy, and free air time.  Complaints against the advertisement have been dismissed, the majority of people polled "love it": 

http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/media/australia-day-lamb…

Attached to kitchen sink

Spent four plus hours this afternoon/ evening in the kitchen.  Well, except when I went outside to pick some vegetables and ate my dinner.

I organised the fridge and cleaned it a little, made a spicy Thai style chicken, vegetable and quinoa stir fry for dinner, processed carrots for freezing and put new carrots in the fridge, cleaned dishes, prepared gluten free bread mix ready for tomorrow which I am proving over night, made coconut yogurt, and yet more dishes.  All of which does not sound like much but did take an awful lot of work.

Listening to the Soul channel on my smart phone and getting some electrolytes into my system to make up for yesterday's unhappy stomach.  Have two jewel colored water bottles from Tupperware on my desk as I type.  I was cynical about them, but definitely worth having.  I can find uses for them now, that's for sure.

Smoke all over Hobart today.  Really not that bad here, still coughing a little.  Keep on hoping for rain, and teased with spitting…

House blend and hot chips

I'm drinking some house blend coffee from a local coffee shop.  Without a ten thousand dollar coffee machine, the house blend at home in a plunger is a happy second.  With a little patience, and a stir or three in the coffee plunger, it's close.  Still very happy with my pod machine, but now I can walk around the house, the kettle and plunger combo are open for business.

My finger and toe nails are painted a cheery metallic.  Painted nails cheered me up yesterday when I had a very unhappy stomach.  I took one of my chronic fatigue treatments a little far.  My standby for stomach upsets worked, after I tried all the other supposedly effective treatments.  Hot chips and more hot chips always seem to work.

I treated myself to a newspaper and watched some more House television episodes.


One of those days

Spent today walking around in a bit of blur of exhaustion and coffee.  Managed really well, and put a lunch together and dinner of leftovers too.

Had to be the neighbourhood adult and nip something in the bud with help of the relevant authorities.  Do get sick of being one of the youngest people living in the area and adults in short supply.

Spent some of the evening people and sunset watching at the beach and managed a small bit of hill walking.

Another day done!

Not a perfect day

Another visit to emergency by The Head Gardener, four and a half hours plus in the kitchen for me today,  a cup of chamomile tea made with my pod coffee machine and chamomile bags steeping as I type.  I walked 1.4 kilometres on the flat around outside in circles before my foot started to insist that I desist, I made a dinner of jazzed up leftover, dug potatoes out of garden ready for potato salad for tomorrow and now I feel almost too tired and wired to sleep.

Chronic fatigue has been nasty today but B12 tablets, large doses of vitamin C and selenium seem to help.  The odd sweet thing on top of that does help, but I hate having it.  Crashed this morning, productive for the rest of the day. 

I am safe, if not really well, recovering from my ankle and moving faster.  I am happy that my physio pushed me a little to get better, so I can help when needed at the moment.  Back to the physio this week and I might try and do some swimming.

Not a perfect day, but we got through it, plenty of p…

Managing the unmanagable

I've done a scary thing today.  On the scale of scary things, it's really not that bad, but I found it difficult to do.  It involved me admitting that going back to work is not something that I will be able to avail myself of, anymore.  It's a bit of a sad moment, but I am at acceptance of where I am.  I still see myself very much with a future, just not one I could have ever planned or envisaged, nor one likely to feature on a reality show.

Yet, look at the news headlines today, I am doing fine, all things considered.  It took courage to apply for a payment that I am eligible and will hopefully give me some new options.

I also learnt that electrolyte depletion is common in people with SEID/ Chronic Fatigue.  That helps me feel better about my approach to manage the un-managable!

It's just as well I got my feet to the point of walking around the house and general snail pace duties, including short drives.  The Head Gardener is out of action, and in quite a lot of pain…

Walk around in circles

At the moment, I can drive myself, at least short distances, and walk on flat surfaces.  For the moment, hilly terrain is my nemesis, or "Achilles heel"!  Which is how I found myself walking around in circles today, on the flat near the house.

I suspect one of the neighbors was pretending to check his mailbox while making sure I was sane!  I think he decided I was, but seemed nonplussed at my non explanation about my earnest circle walking.  If he'd asked me, I would have explained, but most people are not quite as nosy and curious, and willing to ask, as me.  It can lead to some hilarious conversations if you are willing to just ask (assuming it's not too personal a question, and a little tact pays).

I received my stash of beauty products from my online shop, have spent my coffee gift voucher from Christmas, and judging by the economic data and warnings, will be watching my pennies mainline their way into my savings account.  Except of course for the medical bills …

Houses always go, up and then, down

I'm sick and tired of the same spiel by home owners that house prices always go up.  It's the stuff of fairy tales.  Here in Tasmania, around 18% of properties of those listed, sold last year.  That means that over 80% of properties, stay on the market and never sell. 

Yet, listing prices remain at high levels and discussion around real estate is that land is valued at way over the price for my parents first two houses, one of which was a new build combined.  Wages are low, if you are lucky enough to get a job.

I looked at actual employment rates the other day, around 40% of working age (15-69) are in full-time work and 20% are in part time work (where one hour a day is classed as part time) according to census statistics in 2011.   Those on minimum wage and above can not afford a mortgage at current prices, which is why most properties remain on the market, or are never sold.

Dick Smith has gone into administration, Laura Ashley Australia has gone into administration, a hote…

Death by unemployment

While government ignores the plight of young people, and keep unemployment payments for childless people at way below the poverty line, there will always be a price to pay.  Too many pay with their lives.

Forty five thousand suicides a year worldwide are attributable to hopelessness induced by unemployment.  While government refuse to support childless people in Australia, and other wealthy developed countries, they are potentially in breach of international humanitarian law which states the governments are responsible for providing sufficient support to their people in lieu of inadequate employment opportunities.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/11/unemployment-causes-45000-suicides-a-year-worldwide-finds-study

Expecting adults to be grossly dependant on family is a recipe for economic and social disaster.  By providing a paltry sum to adults, the government does just that.  If someone does not have a supportive family, and are unable to access sufficient community support…

Is austerity good for business?

UK retailers are struggling with reduced foot traffic after the festive season, into their stores.  To my mind, that makes perfect sense.  The current political moves to cut welfare payments and rhetoric about decreased revenue, is likely to put a damper on people's enthusiasm to go shopping.  Equally, I can not help thinking, that having survived another family present giving season, that people might feel queasy at the thought of going shopping.

This article, by The Guardian newspaper online, suggests that reasons for people's reluctance to spend, is to do with terror threats, milder than normal seasonal winter weather and conversely storms and rain, keeping people out of stores.  These seem like fairly good reasons to avoid the shops to me.
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/03/high-street-retailers-feel-pinch-shoppers-stay-at-home

It never ceases to amaze me how eager business groups are to encourage welfare spending cuts, and then tend to be flummoxed at the foll…

Five ways to save in 2016

Five ways to save money in 2016:

1) Use less.  It's an old trick, and a very good one if you are a marketer, find ways to get people to use more product.  To save money, do the exact opposite, find ways to use less while still getting the result you want.  It might be as simple as measuring out servings of food, limiting chocolate consumption, buying fewer shoes, decanting your shampoo into another, cheap bottle. 

2) Use none.  Find a way to get rid of some expenses entirely.

3) Find ways to cheer yourself up that cost less.  Plan to spend some of your budget on entertainment.  It's sounds counterintuitive, but regular spending on small frugal pleasures can be all you need to keep the budget in check, for example, 50 cents on a cute mug from the op shop; $3 on ear rings that make you feel good;  A home made vanilla latte on a Sunday morning; buy the weekend paper once in a while. 

4) Create a list.  Keep a list of all expenses for a few months and then review on a regular b…

Tea drinking, on trend and frugal

Drinking my second cup of pure chamomile tea.  I'm hoping it will help me get some sleep soon.  I spent the day drinking black tea instead of coffee this morning.  Not for any money saving reason but because I felt like drinking tea.

I found an article suggesting that the perception that coffee drinking out strips tea drinking, is false.  Tea drinking remains a popular beverage of choice world wide, whereas coffee is a drink that seems to fire city types.

According to this article, tea drinking is increasing in popularity and is a more frugal way to get a shot of caffeine:
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/globe/feature/tea/AJ201302100024

Service = Customers In Store & Pretty

The new thing in cosmetics retailing is to provide opportunities for customers to interact with customer service professionals.  Providing services, and opportunities to play with cosmetics is getting customers in stores.  Physical stores are increasing sales, online is struggling to complete. 

It's really not rocket science.  Provide a reason to visit a store, provide pleasant service when people arrive, and they will reward you with sales.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/priceline-myer-winning-the-lipstick-battle-20151222-gltcq2.html

Every now and then, some retailers in Australia make the news complaining about brick and mortar store sales converting to online.  It's simple, fair price on quality products, fantastic service and a little something special, and the people will come!  Unless they can not physically get to the store, in which case do what the pharmacy I bought cosmetics from online, provide prompt delivery, easy to navigate website, and product samples f…

Beauty 2016

New Year, New You, right?  'tis the season to be looking at updating the wardrobe and adding to the ol' beauty regime. 

It's also the best time of year to find cosmetics on special.  I just ordered some cosmetics to add to my stash and keep me going for at least the next twelve months for around $25, plus some postage.  I am thankful for online shopping given my current predicament (hello crutches!).

I ordered products I know to be good quality, and suit me well.

Here's what I ordered:

Two new nail colours.  A lighter coral and gold flecked colour for a bit of fun.  While I am sitting around, I might as well have cheerful nails to look at!  I bought them in the Rimmel 60 second range because I find with a clear top coat the nails last for a while and I do not like waiting for them to dry! (2 for $5)Rimmel BB cream, essentially a tinted moisturiser with sunscreen.  Easy to apply, economical, and keeps me looking good. (about $8)Maybelline waterproof mascara in brown to …