Tuesday, June 24, 2008

ANZ rewards for stupidity

I'm very conscientious about paying off my credit card on time, mainly because interest rates on the card are now over 20% - more than twice that of home loan rates and nearly 3 times what the banks will pay depositors parking their money in a term deposit.

I keep on thinking I should change, especially as ANZ Rewards just aren't what they used to be.  We now have to spend $1.50 to get one point (it used to be 1:1).  And one has to wonder about a bank that can't event do basic mathematics.

For 2,660 points, you can get a $20 Myer or David Jones gift card.
For 13,320 points, you can get a $100 Myer or David Jones gift card.
For 13,300 points you can get 5 X $20 Myer or David Jones gift cards

OK, it's only 20 points but that's an extra $30 on the charge.

Do they think their customers are as dumb as they would like them to be?

Believe it or not, this is a massive improvement on their previous "offer" where one could save over 100 points by cashing in for two $50 gift cards instead of one $100 one.

It's also a bit of a scam given that you have to charge close to $20,000 on your card to earn a $100 gift card.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

20-year school reunion

A few weeks ago I went to my 20 year school reunion. Aside from the girls I came with and who I have met up with regularly a couple of times a year, I only recognised a handful of people.  I didn't even recognise many of their names.  Yet there they were in the Year 12 photos, so I know I must have worked and studied alongside them for four years.

Then there were the stuck-up bitches that I did remember - and can report that they still are.

As one friend said, the reunion proved that we had kept up with whom we wanted to keep up with and once every 20 years was more than enough time in regards to the others.

Yet that wasn't quite true either.

I've lost touch with some lovely people who didn't attend the reunion, and there were others I would have been fascinated to see where they have got to.  The internet tells me that Catherine got her well deserved doctorate and has worked in several major universities but now she seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.  My friend Preethi has also vanished after moving to LA with her husband and doing a fellowship at UCLA.  And what of those girls who would never rock the earth but are the sort of people who ensure it keeps on turning.  What are they doing now?  Where are Michelle and Sarah now?

Many of the girls had their babies in tow or pictures of young kids on hand.  For the most part , girls in our year partnered later in life and had children in their late 20s and 30s.

I was very disappointed to learn that the school brain - we were all smart but she was on another planet compared to the rest of us and was the person we all thought would win a Nobel Prize and change the world - who did attend the reunion, was now working in HR.  What a waste of her talents.  Yet another girl who I had always dismissed as being very silly had clearly found her feet and was in a job managing a department of 70 people!

The most tragic stories belong to a former classmate who committed suicide a couple of years after graduation, and one who had ad either a stroke or some kind of acquired brain injury and was now confined to a wheelchair.

Most of us, however, had muddled through life with some degree of success in academia, careers and/or family.  We didn't all achieve what we had set out to do - but most of us have had a pretty interesting journey along the way.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Good health, so-so knitting, bad blogging

My insulin levels have dropped from 40+ (very very bad) to 6 (very very good) over the past 4 months.  I guess there is something in that resistance training. 

My favourite four-year old rejected the Cash Island hat on the basis that he has plenty of hats, much to his parents' horror.  Got to love the honesty of kids!  I'm trying to work out if it is worth unravelling.  The ZigZag scarf in the same yarn is progressing nicely.  I alternate between knitting it and reading on the trams.  So far, reading is winning.

The official recipient of the pink merino supreme wool hat didn't turn up to the final sessions of our group.  I ended up donating it to another girl whose sister is going through chemotherapy.  I then felt obliged to knit another hat for the girl who missed out on her kris kingal gift - she is a red head, so pink wasn't suitable.  I have made a nice browny tweed beanie out of Cleckheaton Country Silk.  Both J and another male friend are eyeing it and she didn't sound too thrilled about brown, so the question is, can I be bothered knitting a third hat in green.

I've started a nice brightly striped hot water bottle cosy for my Aussie Knitters' swap pal using 8-ply yearn from my stash!  Yay.  I still want to do something Star-Trekkie but am not sure what exactly.

I have been admirably restrained during the Clegs 10% off all yarn sale.  I bought an extra ball of the brown Cleckheaton Country Silk (to make a second beanie) and two balls of Naturally ME merino/cashmere in green.  I won't mention any purchases that may or may not have been made at the Tapestry Craft sale that may or may not have involved 30 balls of discontinued black merino supreme wool...

I haven't been doing too much of this.  Still having trouble uploading photos.  But that's no excuse for not writing.

Now that the Big Girls' Group is over, I need to ensure I keep effective exercise up.  I'm walking with the girls once a week and trying to get to the gym 2-3 times.  I did a BodyStep class last week which was pretty full on; I did half of it off the step but at least I kept moving.  I've bought a fit ball and pumped it up; now to exercise properly on that!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Some completed projects (knitting and otherwise...)

Well all my resolutions to sit down at home and upload photos onto my blog were thwarted by Blogger last night , which steadfastly refused to accept any pictures.  So until I can get myself organised and Blogger in a cooperative mood, myself, the bots and anyone who stumbles onto this site is stuck with mere words.

Projects completed:

The Patchwork Scarf - which has also been given to its new owner, only six weeks after her birthday.  I have photos of both the scarf and the approximately 5 million yarn ends that had to be sewn in - fortunately this could be done while watching several episodes of Star Trek Voyager.

A 2X2 ribbed hat in pale pink Merino Supremo (80 stitches, 5mm needles).  This is a gift for one of the other girls in the program at Royal Women's Hospital.  It's all drawing to a close this week and we are doing a "Kris Kringle" style gift giving ceremony tonight.  We had to choose a gift costing $10 and explain why we chose it for that person.  I was lucky; my nominee sometimes wears a pale pink top and the very first time I saw it, I thought "I have some yarn exactly that colour in my stash".  The Merino Supremo usually retails for $7.95/ball but I obtained mine for half-price as the yarn is being discontinued (I don't know why; it is so soft and luscious to knit with).  Anyway, I had exactly two balls plus a few scraps of pink Merino Supremo and I've noticed that nearly everyone has a use for a woolly beanie at some stage.  My nominee also catches a lot of public transport and we are heading into winter now.

We had an "unofficial" gift-exchange on the weekend.  One of the girls organised an Intimo lingerie party on the weekend with a consultant who specifically caters for larger sizes.  I ended up buying a matching pewter-coloured bra and undies set.  Plus received a free pair of beige - or honey as they call it - knickers.  I was really sceptical as to whether there would be anything in my size but they seem to go in for vanity sizing  - everything is cut at least one size bigger than is usual - I wasn't even the largest size.

A few of us had also cleared out our wardrobes of anything that was either too big or too small or that we just didn't wear but was still in good condition.  One girl had a huge suitcase full of clothes in sizes 14-26 due to a hormonal condition that led her on a roller-coaster experience of body sizes.  I brought a regular shopping bag full of mostly unworn clothes, all too big, and some still with tags.  I wasn't expecting to bring anything home but ended up with a jacket, 2 jumpers, a cardigan, a couple of tops, 2 skirts and some pants.  Many were in styles I would never have considered buying for myself but were quite flattering.  It wasn't until I was trying on item after item of clothes in sizes 16-20 which fit me - and had to discard several lovely tops that were just way too big for me now, that it finally dawned on me that I must have lost some fat (I won't say weight as there has not been much movement there).  I had already noticed that more than half the clothes I had bought recently at the MySize sale were a little on the large side but it wasn't until this weekend that I appreciated that I really and truly was a "new" size (albeit one that would be considered way too large for comfort by most but who cares).

I had my "end of program" blood tests also this weekend and am really curious to know whether they will show any improvements.  I've decided I won't be too fazed whatever the numbers are because, after all, they are just numbers, and I feel so much fitter and healthier anyway.  I was just very relieved I didn't have to do a glucose tolerance test for diabetes (where you drink a huge revolting sugar drink and have blood taken over a three hour period to see how your body responds to it).

I wrote some feedback on the program but am not sure whether I will post it on this blog.  Overall it's been great but I could see a couple of places for improvement; while most of the staff were fantastic and focussed on empowering us so we could take responsibility for our own health and work towards being as happy and healthy and active as we can, a session with one of the doctors who focussed only the negativities of being overweight without any of the information that I know is out there about the benefits of making small incremental changes was very depressing and negative.  Rather than inspiring us to make positive changes, we then had to (again) fight against the "there's no point even trying; I can't loose 40kg" feelings that exacerbated many of our weight issues in the first place.  I still haven't lost that 40kg but I know I am much healthier and more active now than at the start of the program.  Which was actually the point.