A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

You Can Do Whatever You Set Your Mind to Do

My mother always told me, "You can do whatever you set your mind to do".

For the most part, I believed her, and I still do.

I do know there are limitations; we all have areas of weakness, and talent does come into play in a lot of instances, but all in all, there are a lot of things in life you can achieve if you simply decide to make it happen.

I don't get to watch much TV these days, but I do try to watch The Big Bang Theory replays on the internet. In a recent episode, Penny decides that she's going to give up her job at The Cheesecake Factory to focus all her attention on her acting career. Surprisingly this move is fully supported by Sheldon. Penny asks if he thinks she's being an idiot for making this move and his response is that no, he doesn't think so. He says:
"The best way to achieve a goal is to devote 100% of your time and energy to it. Now when I decided I was going to be a physicist, I didn't take some other job in case it didn't work out...which wasn't easy because there was a lot of pressure from Miss Pearson for me to be chalk monitor that year."
This episode really hit home for me, because I realised that when I put my mind to something, that's exactly what I do, I dedicate all my efforts to achieving that goal. In the past, although I have achieved career and education goals, a lot of my goals have been money-oriented: 
  • When I was 13, I earned money helping my parents paint apartments so that I could fund a trip from Alberta back to Ontario to visit my older brother, my auntie and my old neighbourhood.
  • I used my part-time earnings to fund 50% of my senior-year school trip to Russia.
  • When I met Will, and he had to leave Canada after his visa ran out, I worked two jobs to pay off some student loans and earn the airfare so that I could join him in New Zealand.
  • Will and I both worked two jobs each in Australia, saving up for our trip around Southeast Asia and then on to London.
  • After the money ran out and once again we were parted by visa limitations, I stayed on my own in London and saved up the airfare back to Australia to join Will.
Now, as we're trying to save up for a house of our own, I am focussed wholly on achieving that goal. Of course, it's a lot harder now that I have three other people to consider and only a part-time income, but I am confident that we will be crossing the threshold of our own home within the next five years. Why? Because I have decided that it will happen.

There is an important point that I haven't mentioned. The key to making something happen is that you have to REALLY REALLY want it. It won't work otherwise; your motivation for achieving your goal has to be all-consuming. I've been focussed on this goal for four months now and I don't feel the motivation waning at all, so I must really really want this.

Do you have something that you really want to achieve right now?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

FYLP - Robert Cray: Music for a lifetime

When I met my husband all those years ago, amongst his meagre possessions as a backpacker in my native Canada, was a yellow Sony Walkman and a dozen or so cassette tapes. One of those cassettes was The Robert Cray Band's Strong Persuader.

This tape was played repeatedly throughout our travels around Southeast Asia. Then when the tape carked it, we bought the album again on CD. We still listen to the CD in the car and we never tire of it. Even the kids sing along to a few of the songs - although I'm glad they don't really pay attention to the lyrics.

Funnily enough, we have no other music from Robert Cray; but we have seen him live at Selina's nightclub at the Coogee Bay Hotel in Sydney circa 1997 - two of the best hours I've ever spent.

Will came home the other day all excited that Robert Cray has released a new album. I immediately called it up on Spotify and we've been listening to it all weekend. 

I love that the songs on this album seem more positive than in Strong Persuader. Instead of stories of breakups, cheating and heartaches, it's about love and being in love. 

Even though I could listen on my computer on Spotify, I think this music's going on my Mother's Day/Birthday wishlist so that I can listen to it in the car and on my iPod. This will be another album that will get a lot of play around this household.

Here have a listen to You Move Me:

Do you have an album that you've had for a lifetime and still enjoy listening to?

Monday, March 24, 2014

5 Reasons Why It's Not About the Money

Being employed to do an outdoor physical job has its benefits. I've realised this since taking on the catalogue (flyer) delivery route.

1. I'm getting fitter

The area that I'm responsible for is made up 2/3 of flatter streets with a gradual slope towards the other 1/3 of 'kill-me-now' hill climbs. There are streets on my route with the words like 'panoramic', 'summit', 'hill' and 'view'. You get the picture.

The first time I did a hill climb, I thought I was going to die, but now, I'm finding it easier to recover after tackling one. It's still tough going when I'm right in the middle of trudging up to the 'summit' but when I'm up there, it now only takes seconds to get my breath back. Also, I'm rewarded with views such as this.

View from the top of a 'kill-me-now' hill climb

2. I am losing weight

I went to put some shorts on the other day and was able to pull them up over my hips without undoing the button and zip. I think I've lost about three or four kilos in the same amount of weeks.

3. I get to appreciate the beauty

Some of the houses on my route are very well cared for. There are a lot of beautiful flowers and some colourful shrubbery. Birds are twittering, and the sun is usually shining. It's as good as a walk on the beach for me. I am uplifted by being outdoors. And every now and then I get to have a brush with one of nature's creatures, such as this brush turkey that crossed my path the other day.

Brush turkey on suburban street

4. I can zone out

I don't have to use a lot of brain power to do this job, so I get to listen to music while I make my way around the neighbourhood. I can get lost in the music and when I 'come to', I realise I've emptied my trolley of all the bundles and need to go back to the car to load up again. This time with music is a blessing when the car ride home from school pickup is usually filled with the sounds of kids bickering and requests for time on technology.  

5. Wasting money is no longer an option

When you work your butt off (literally) to earn a few measly dollars, you gain an appreciation for the effort that goes into each and every dollar in your bank account. When I'm feeling lazy, it is no longer desirable to hand over $40 to a fast food chain for takeaway, as I know it probably took me four hours to earn that amount.


One of the guys at Will's work laughs at us for working so hard to earn what equates to 16 cents per house delivery. But we think about it this way, it is $16 per week that I'm not spending at the gym (that I never went to) and I get an extra $50 on top of that, plus I'm getting fit. We're not doing it for the money (although every little bit helps); we're doing it for all the reasons above.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

FYLP - Allen Stone

Sometimes while driving about town, I listen to talk radio. In between the conversations, they throw in the odd song or two. Usually these songs are not mainstream pop, and you can find some real gems in there that you've not heard before.

The other day, they played this song by Allen Stone called Sleep. On top of being apt because I was being tortured with insomnia again, it was a fabulous tune. I love his musical style.

I looked the artist's name up the second I got home and went to his website to download his free track called Millionaire - I suggest you do the same. I'll be putting his album on my wishlist for Mother's Day or my birthday for sure. I need some music for my iPod as it's been ages since I've changed what's on there.

Here's the song that had me dancing in the driver's seat:

Hope that you are able to get as much sleep as you need to, and I hope you liked this song!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pocket Money for Kids

Pocket Money for Kids - Piggy Bank
I've struggled with this for years. I've never had a solution for how to handle pocket money, and my husband and I have, up until this point, disagreed on our approach, so I put it in the 'too hard' pile for a long time.

Recently, I've been reading up on money management and often kids' pocket money is mentioned as a way of helping our kids be financially literate, so that they will be able to manage their finances when they become adults.

The one message that has hit home with me is that, if you start at an early age, to save just a little bit on a regular basis, you will have a substantial nest egg for the later years. The powers of compound interest come to play here. (Oh the wasted years of my youth! I would be rolling in it if I had paid heed to this advice a few decades earlier!)

Now that we've been delivering leaflets again, we have asked the boys to help us with the folding and sometimes with the distribution. For that they get a small portion of what I get paid from the distribution company.

Today, I implemented a system whereby from the money they receive, from any source, 10% of it goes into their savings accounts. 10% goes into their wallets for 'mad money'. The other 80% goes into another savings account (that I neglected to cancel after I found one with a better interest rate). This is where the money for spending goals goes.

10% in Savings
The 10% in their savings account might as well be thought of as gone - it will never be touched until at least adulthood if not beyond. As they build up some wealth to say over $500 - 1,000, we will look into other investments to maximise the return.

10% for Fun

The 10% that we allow them to spend freely, I envisage will be spent at the corner shop on lollies, or for something small when we go out. I think they will enjoy this one, because currently we don't really give them many opportunities to spend their money.

80% for a Spending Goal

The spending goal can be a new toy/video game  - something where they will have something to show for their cash spent. We will be guiding them to look for sales and choose good quality items that won't break immediately.

When I get paid for the deliveries, I'll just transfer a small amount to their savings account, give them some coins for their wallet and transfer the rest into their spending goals account. For any cash amount received for birthdays/Christmas etc, all the money goes into their piggy banks until we add it all up. At that time, we divvy it up 10%, 10% and 80% and it gets deposited into the relevant bank account or put in their wallets.

I don't know how successful this is going to be or whether I've got the right formula, but I do feel so much better that at least we have a system for their savings (that I feel comfortable with), they will be gaining the savings habit (whilst still having fun) and learning to save up for things they want.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

FYLP - Diana Krall

I've spent this week fighting a cold. I thought I had it sorted, and this morning, almost a week later, I've had a relapse and I feel yuck. 

I want to share something quiet that will be easy on my head on this Sunday morning, as I contemplate crawling back into bed for a few more hours of much-needed slumber.

I'd never heard of Diana Krall until my mom passed away, and I found a few of her CDs in my mom's music collection. I kept all the music that I enjoyed listening to with my mother, but got rid of the Diana Krall CDs in a garage sale. Now, having listened to a little more of this music, I wish that I hadn't been so hasty. 

She has such a silky voice and I love this style of music, even though this particular song is sad. I could imagine having her music on as background while I cook a meal, or while sitting quietly with a glass of wine, putting my feet up.

Thanks for indulging me while I nurse myself back to health with a bit of soft and melancholy music.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Funny - Tripp and Tyler

It's Friday, a day for winding down, for looking forward to the weekend. It's a great time for a laugh and a giggle, so on Fridays I like to share something funny with you.

I came across this one on twentytwowords.com this week. If you've ever attended a conference call online, you will instantly relate to this funny video by Tripp and Tyler. I remember a time when a conference call meant putting people on speaker phone while other people are in the room.

Here's A Conference Call in Real Life:

While I was looking through their video channel, I came across this little gem. Warning: it has some toilet humour and is a bit crude, which is what makes this video hilarious. Here's Things You CAN'T Do When You're NOT a Dog:

Have a wonderful Friday!

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