I succumbed…… to Kindle

Yesterday, I succumbed.  I finally bought…….a kindle.  After resisting for a good year (and coming THIS close to buying a refurbished one from Big W last year), this momentus day I walked into Dick Smiths to buy an itunes card and came out with a kindle.  This is what persuaded me.

I have always prided myself on being a book-loving sort.  Not just any book loving sort, but the type who revels in the smell of the book and the feel of the pages.  I concluded that those who read from kindles were somehow less of a book lover and weren’t worthy book worms.  Add on top of this, the administration of several well-known bookstores.  I felt that life was indeed becoming You’ve Got Mail and I’ve got to do my bit in standing against these supermarket-styled book giants.

In the end, it all came down to costs and storage.

Pre-1923 books are free.  Sometimes you’ve just got to come to grips with the unromantic notion that money talks.  I like classics.  I read classics.  Penguin classics cost me AUD 9.95 per copy.  I easily buy 10 – 20 copies a year.  Download 10 classics and there’s the price of my kindle right there.  In fact, I can MAKE money off the kindle- if I buy 11 classics, it would already be the negative price of the kindle (Warped logic I know.  This is called post-rationalisation).

Storage was the other factor.  I recently travelled to Singapore via Jetstar.  I had a15kg luggage limit – almost one third of which was taken up by the weight of books.  This is not good.  Particularly, when you’re a reader who switches between books depending on mood swings.    

So there we have it.  I am now a kindle-reading sort.  So far, so good …. 

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Tongue Scraper

Tongue Scraper

As usual, my boyfriend is right. He has been telling me for months that one needs to scrape one’s tongue. I thought this was a useless and redundant activity. The mag at my hairdressers proved me wrong.

Healthy Alternative to Ice Cream

My self-control is next to zero when it comes to ice-cream and in particular icy-poles and magnums!  For me, food deprivation is not helpful.  I end up eating twice as many magnums!  The trick is to REPLACE; replace “bad” foods with “healthier alternatives”.  Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate works wonders (a bonus is that they’re easy to make!  That’s saying a lot coming from me…..)

  • Pick a few bananas – not too ripe (otherwise they crack) and not too green (otherwise it’s difficult to push the paddle-pop stick through)
  • Peel the bananas and cut into two
  • Push a paddle-pop stick through each banana half
  • Place the bananas (with the sticks) onto baking paper in a baking tray
  • Place the baking tray (with bananas) into the freezer to freeze overnight
  • The next day…….
  • Put chocolate (broken up into even little pieces) into microwave safe bowl.  I like to use dark chocolate!
  • Place bowl of chocolate into the microwave and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until it is melted (be careful not to burn your chocolate!)  It usually takes about 2 x 30 seconds in my microwave
  • Dip banana in chocolate / drizzle chocolate over your banana
  • Let it set
  • Tadaa – ready to be eaten.  Perfect for a hot summer day!

bananas

Photo Courtesy of Bellen’s Diary.

Mount Feathertop via Razor Back Ridge

Sometimes if you don’t consciously make an effort to do the things you love, life passes you by.  This past weekend, I climbed Mount Feathertop with two kindred spirits.  I’d forgotten how much I love hiking – or simply being outside.  There’s something about having a pack on your back with a singleness of goal.  Perhaps it’s the feeling of unadulterated freedom,  or the joy of re-discovering the vastness of the universe.

What I love about this hike is that although it was difficult at times (some pretty steep ascents and exposure to the elements) – the goal was always in sight.  Most of the trail was above the tree-line making for spectacular 360 degree views of mountains and valleys.

We camped at Federation Hut, waking up at 4:45am to make the ascent to the summit and catch the sunrise.  It was a tough hike, but well worth the effort.  Sunrise on Mount Feathertop truly ranks as one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

One of the take-aways from the weekend is that when the going gets tough (whether in life or in hiking), focus on putting one foot in front of the other.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know precisely how you are going to get to your destination, as long as you know what your destination is.  Without vision, men perish.

the folks at Kinfolk

A few days ago, I participated in some market research slash retail therapy, as a little treat to myself after a slightly stress-filled but productive week at work.  To my delight the supercool (a mobile emporium) popped up at my local shopping center.  It was there that I stumbled across Kinfolk – a guide for small gatherings- created by a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings.  Delightful and very sweet.

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Invest in the human family.  Invest in people.  Build a little community of those you love and who love you.  ~Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

Photo Credit:  Kinfolk

Spring Clean Your Heart – Get Rid of Jealousy

If you live Down-Under, we’re one month into Spring! (Yay – although it barely feels like it).  Whilst most of us will spend some time in our lives cleaning the house, cleaning the car, cleaning the mailbox etc, not many of us will  consciously pause to take inventory of the state of our heart.  Sometimes niggling, not so pleasant, emotions harbour there and can slowly grow into something  which eats away at our relationships with others and also with ourselves.
I used to think that jealousy was a teenage emotion and something which I had grown out of.  However, just last month the green eyed monster reared its ugly head.  The situation was fairly quickly resolved, as the person involved sensed the distance between us and cared enough to initiate a conversation about it.  I came to realise that all my worries were figments of my over-active imagination and that I was doing the other person a dis-favour by not raising the issue with them and giving them an opportunity to speak.

Coincidentally, a couple of days ago, I read this article on Jealousy, Relationships, and the voices in Your Head which fleshes out the undercurrents of jealousy.  I love sharing things that I find helpful.  It’s true, ‘a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.’ (Tim Ferriss)

Go on.  Have that conversation – even if you anticipate it to be awkward.  It’s almost never as bad as the scenario in your head.

Definition of Success

IT’S EARLY September.  Right about the time when Year 12 students start to come undone as final exams draw near.  The fun of the formal fades into a distant memory as the enormity of University choices (or lack thereof) become apparent.  Speaking as one who crackled under this pressure in by-gone years(and survived) and more recently as a tutor…..here are some (useful) thoughts:

1. Writing notes does not necessarily equal to learning.  There is no point re-writing the whole text book if none of it is retained in your memory.  Find out how you learn best and use it to your advantage. 

2. When you study for humanity subjects (English, legal studies, history etc) handwrite your answers.  Yes, the computer is useful and yes, the ipad is pretty….but in the exam you’re going to have to handwrite your answers.  Practice so that you are used to it – we often over-estimate how much we can write when we rely on the computer.

3.  Learn what you don’t know and not what you know.  I know it sounds obvious, but often people revise what they already know because it boosts their confidence.  Be self aware and tackle those tricky ones!  Each new concept you ‘get’ means one less concept you don’t ‘get’.

4.  Don’t skimp on doing practice papers – they are the singular best way to find out how you are going and what you need to focus on!  If you do enough practice papers, you’re likely to get a topic or question in the exam which you have attempted.  There’s only so many ways a question can be asked.

5.  Use the study design to your advantage (I didn’t do this back in Year 12) – the dot points are what you need to know.  They are one of the best summaries and study tools around (but which are often overlooked).

6.  Finally, re-adjust your definition of success if need be.  No one can ask you for more than your best.  When it all becomes too much, try to learn for the sake of learning and not VCE.  Remember any subject is fascinating in itself (although it may not appear so when you have no choice but to learn it).  Knowledge adds to your life – it not only makes you more interesting to talk to, but it helps you to relate to those who are different to yourself.  Give it your all.  But know that if the final result is not exactly as you have hoped, there are many paths for getting to the same destination.  Life is full of second chances!

Below is a poem that my VCE Chemistry teacher gave me prior to my final exams.  I have revamped it a bit by painting a picture with it.  Life is bigger than VCE – although it might not feel like it at the time.