Monday, August 24, 2009

Wonga: How the Net Should Kill the Finance Industry

 Having worked in banks for 18 years of my adult life, I know all about some of the nasty that goes on behind the scenes. What with the whole financial crisis doomsday scenario and with that aforementioned experience knowledge in hand, I am lately all about wanting "bad bankers" to be taken down and about new ways for the public to bank being found. 

I accordingly found this article pretty interesting and I really hope this idea takes off in some other spots around the world - we surely need it .......

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Room Rules: What’s Reasonable?

Room Rules: What's reasonable?

Excellent question that and it reminds me of the transition I have been making from being the Mother of a child to the Mother of a teen.  Good Heavens, my daughter KNOWS how to create a mess and she knows how to do it in short shrift.  Now, this has not changed but her willingness to do something about it afterward has.

It is as if she uses her mess to get my attention and then show me that she won't do what I say no matter what the punishment.

My older family members such as her grandmother and grandaunt tell me it's normal for teens and that I am being unreasonable but I seem to remember the both of them pulling their hair out when my cousins and I were growing up too.  I also seem to remember that I understood that a plate under my bed for three days was DISGUSTING!

Every single day with my child brings new lessons as to patience, tolerance and understanding of different - all great life skills - she must be a soul mate.  I cannot think of a bigger transition than the one she is dragging me through and yes, on this count I must admit to being dragged :)


I am rather snobbish about education because I am rather snobbish about who I spend time with - my husband calls me an elitist - chuckles.  It's just that I genuinely believe that time is my most precious resource and I accordingly wish to use it wisely.  I have found that the better educated folk are, the more interesting and informative they are and hence, the more time I am willing to invest in them.

That probably sounds incredibly selfish but hell, if we can't be selfish about how we spend our short time on this planet, if we cannot choose with whom, then what is the point of it all?

On that note, I have striven to be fairly well educated myself - forfend the thought of being a hypocrite after all - :) and am also particularly angst-ridden about ensuring that my daughter gets the best education I can provide for her. 

This got a bit difficult when I changed countries as I obviously had no idea how things worked in the new place.  Enter a Google search and the discovery of what I consider to be an absolutely invaluable resource in this splendid website

If you find yourself wondering how to go about deciding on education institutions, I sincerely suggest that you try this site - I have been using it since I got here, still get newsletters and couldn't be happier with the direction I have been steered in - in all my glorious snobbishness!


I used to be an aerobics fiend .... and a squash fiend ..... and a field hockey fiend - really I think I was just fiendish. It was all about being buff and able to keep up and o, ok, it was also about being competitive. I have always had a thing about doing something until I can beat most other people at it and that includes just being generally speedy or fit.

I used to do 2 to 3 aerobics, step or spin classes in a row and might fling in a nice lunchtime squash match with some hockey practise twice a week and a match on Saturdays - and that was just when I was being my normal self. High stress days meant even more time committed to pounding myself into shape literally and figuratively - I think exercise was my very first addiction - before shopping and then men and then drugs ..... (note work was NEVER an addiction - chuckles)

Then I had my daughter and despite all of my naysaying, she really DID change my world and my me. I simply DID NOT have the sort of time I used to have and my then husband was simply not able (nor I suspect willing) to babysit and fill in when I wanted to indulge my exercise and sport fanaticism. Course he was perfectly ready to indulge his own in front of any given tv but that is fodder for another blog methinks!

Slowly but surely I gave my "indulgences" up until an hour of gym after work every night was all I could manage. Needless to say I became more and more resentful and this resentment eventually led to my suing said husband for divorce mid 2000, just after my father died. What does that have to do with exercise and being a warrior you no doubt shriek? Well, I reply, the combination of high stress and a smashed body eventually led to my both spraining my left ankle and tearing all my ligaments in my right knee in the same year. Being in the state I was in, I NEEDED my outlet and so never waited quite long enough for anything to heal which meant that lots of scar tissue was built up firstly and secondly, that I got DAMN scared of playing squash or hockey, doing kick boxing or step and even of your basic spin class because I kept popping either my knee or ankle out again. The whole financial disaster that divorce is also eradicated any ability to fund a monthly gym membership or membership to anything else mind you My addiction had been curtailed whether I liked it or not.

I spent the next few years growing wider and more unpleasant (in my honest opinion and everyone else's too though they were all probably too scared to tell me so - :) ) and kept trying new things. First I tried running - winter rains in Cape Town made that sort of difficult for about three months of any given year not to mention security concerns. Then I tried running with a friend in Summer (to keep me on track and target) and strength exercise during the inclement times in Winter. The friend bailed fairly regularly because I kept breaking into wild sprints to beat her - chuckles and I could never find a happy medium when I strength trained - I either over or underdid it every single time and I didn't have a DVD player or a VCR for one of the programs one can buy - what to do ..... what to do ....

I then began working from home and bought a treadmill just around the time my aunt also passed on her fairly delapidated yet trusty stationary bike - I began alternating those whilst watching Dr Phil at lunchtime and filled some Coke bottles with sand as my makeshift weights whilst subscribing to's exercise walking newsletters. Not a shabby program but certainly not delivering the results I wanted most likely because I wasn't that persistent and often stopped in horror during Dr. Phil - chuckles

I then emigrated last year and my new husband purchased a Wii as my combination arrival/wedding/birthday present - he got off bloody cheap come to think of it - should have demanded a flock of sheep or something - I am African after all!! LOL

Anyways, the Wii, o the WII!! I HEART my Wii I swear. I heart it so much my heart beats and pounds lumpy custard about it. When I got the Wii Fit and My Fitness Coach for Xmas, that did it. I have subsequently had many many many epiphanies and have also lost some 15 pounds in the last 6 months - going strong still too.

Thusly then my beloved home gym consisting of my Wii, Wii Fit, My Fitness Coach, a yoga ball and a set of 3lb weights. The source of my salvation from my ever encroaching fat. You don't need the Yoga ball or the weights because both the Wii Fit and My Fitness Coach have programs designed for no equipment but I keep adding to my little gym collection every now and again and those were my first additions.

Wii Fit has a little bit of everything and keeps a nice record of your weight and what you are doing exercise wise for you not to mention being pretty good as a startoff tool. I absolutely adore My Fitness Coach though. You can set the length of your workout, the frequency, the area you want to focus on and et voila - you have your own coach - seriously! There are little health tips throughout and if you can't follow this program and stay motivated you were not meant to exercise. There are little fitness tests every 14 exercise sessions during which body fat measurements are taken and fitness levels so that the program can be adjusted. You are also constantly asked to rate difficulty so that adjustments can be made on that basis as well.

I reckon I am quite a jockette albeit a broken one and I tell you, this thing works. I feel a whole lot better about me, I am in control and finally, FINALLY, I have found a way to re-establish balance in my "physical life sector" - what more could ANY warrior Wii or otherwise, ask for?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Your Self Esteem is Up to YOU

 In order to transition successfully and at will, one has to have self confidence in one's ability to be whatever the new thing is that one is changing to be otherwise the fear might hold one back forever.  Self confidence depends on self esteem and so this article is pretty wonderful in that the directions given as to how to take control of one's own levels of self esteem are so easy to understand and accordingly follow.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Family Caregiving: Working Things Out At Work

 I came across this wonderful article about how to transition into being the caregiver for your parents as you all age which of course moved me enough to write about it seeing as I like to write about change and preparing for it.

In the June of 2000, my father died after he had been diagnosed with lung cancer some two weeks earlier - it was shocking as you can no doubt imagine and it was also an epiphany for me.  Life really, truly, seriously, is short.  I learnt the hard way that there isn't time to dwell on the past and thereby not catch hold of the present properly nevermind not plan for the future properly.

Nowadays, with my mother at 63, I just don't get as annoyed as I used to.  I make the time for her when she wants to talk to me no matter what it's about and I do the same for the other ageing relatives that I adore.  I do it for everyone that I love actually because age isn't the only thing that causes people to be taken away from me or from anyone and I want to appreciate them.

I want them to know how grateful I am to have had the momenst with them that I have had.  I want them to know how much they have affected me and impacted upon my life and most of all, I want them to know how much I love them.  What shows love more than giving away your time?

  Should my mother or anyone else in my life ever need me to take care of them as they age, I will do it, I will be proud to do it because it will be a sign of respect and it will be me loving them, as best I can.  To be able to do that, I need to plan - just in case - though I know not one relative who would surrender their independance very easily.  Hence my impressedness with the article - it details very nicely just how to do such planning.

Family Caregiving: Working Things Out At Work

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Friday, August 14, 2009

*Being Your Best

 Seeing as this blog is all about transitioning, I thought this article was fairly insightful with regards to what stops us from making the transitions that life really is all about.  I need add nothing because it's THAT good ....

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I have read and watched a good few things about manifesting and thus far, the jury is out as to whether I think it's just another hocus pocus or whether I think it works.

I think that mainly, I do believe that we are totally in control of our life experiences in that we control our response to them, our perception of them so to speak. With this in mind then, I do believe that we can control that response and accordingly our appreciation of the world and what is happening in it around us.

It makes sense that if you work toward a goal you will manifest it because you will be taking the steps in the direction that you need to be going. On that basis then, I don't believe that one can just sit about sending out some sort of force into the universe and making things happen in that way and I think that that is the part of the story that doesn't sit well with me.

Actions speak louder than words but thoughts lead to words and words to action - I think that that is the true basis of manifestation. On that note then, herewith a very good article directing you to watch how you speak ......

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


LOL - OK,not really but still, when you first start living according to a budget having been spending like a drunken sailor before that it's worse than any celery and carrot stick diet and I'm sure anyone else who has been compelled to do either type of diet, ie, a food or a money one, will corroborate that for me.

If you have financial goals though and remember those can be all about spending your money on a certain special thing, the very best way to hit them is with a good budget.

The husband and I have had a small war about budgeting because our priorities are obviously different and we have managed to compromise with the help of wonderful YNAB which I'd recommend to anyone who wants something but really hates the idea of haivng to save for it. It works a charm - we never feel deprived and it's incredibly easy to use.

We've transitioned into excellent savers from being the wild hedonists of 2008 and I'm telling you, anything that helpful for a transitioning has to be worth a look.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Yesterday we FINALLY completed our move out of our old apartment having been making that same move for the last month. We have tended to hate going back there because it basically meant cleaning horrible things like the oven and the fridge (so that we can get as much of our depsit back as possible of course) but I must say, it was sort of bittersweet yesterday.

The apartment was our second home in the US but we stayed there a lot longer than we did in the first apartment we occupied so it was much more of a home. My daughter completed her first year of US school there, we bought all our furniture while living there, we got married whilst in this apartment, I got my permission to work there and we got our green cards there. That's A LOT of stuff, BIG stuff, that happened in this place.

Of course we were also constantly driven insane by the interminable renovations which meant that our water was switched off for at least a day once weekly, the noise and dust almost never ended, we were sans pool and exercise room for 4 months even though our massive rent incorporated the use of those facilities blah blah blah.

Still, as we left yesterday, I felt a slight touch of a lump in the throat and a warm feeling in my eyes because there is a sentimental connection. I know why we moved, we wanted a better school for my daughter, we wanted more space, we wanted a garden and we wanted a better neighbourhood - we got it all AND amazingly, for a cheaper rent. The pros are there and we have, in effect, hit every single one of our goals and priorities for a home with our move ..... still, a touch of sadness.

This is the usual measure of change and moving on. This touch of regret, of sorrow about the state of life that you are leaving behind, the people, the things, the walls, the smells with the intentional self-reminding of WHY you are doing that.

Change, transitioning, it is that much easier if you know where you are going and why you are going there, if you have planned for the change and the transition. The great thing is that if you get the mindset right it even works for unplanned changes and transitionings and that is a life skill bar none.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Inside Story on Stress and Worry

 I am most enamoured with Guy Finley and his writings and this post validates that faith in so many different ways.

In order to transition, there must be a sense of the ability to simply change one's mindset from the old to the new but therein lies the true issue with change - the idea of it being simple because very few things are as simple as they seem and change is truly a shining example of that.  All I have to do is remember the various complainings I have uttered in my life and the plethora of "well why don't you JUST do this, that or the other" 's that I have received in response and the many "buts" I have then countered  with to show the complexity of the mindset or set of circumstances creating the pain, to see how my own life experience as proof of that mantra.

But then I consider this writing and it seems to me that it isn't that hard at all.  What may well be hard is giving up the need for drama as he explains and I suspect that it is also hard to admit, even to onesself, that one has been wasting a lot of time and energy on a thing that was easily fixed - it tends to make one feel foolish and inadequate - and I speak from experience.

Guy Finley explains in every single writing of his precisely how we keep ourselves rooted in any given spot and once you know the description of what is keeping you in whichever rut you are in, you can usually then work out how to either change or disable it so that you can move on to where you really want to be.

Once you've done this once or twice, practised it, it begins to get easier and eventually you have to wonder why you enjoyed being miserable so regularly in the first place at all and happily, I again speak from experience :)

Friday, August 7, 2009


We've been moving for the past month and are paying double rental (GASP AND HORRORS!! simply because we had to ensure that we had THREE utility bills for proof of residence in order to transfer my incredibly reluctant teen into the new school district. Moving is stressful at the best of times but the financial pressure has been no fun either. We discovered that we had to acquire transcripts and something called a withdrawal form from the old school ourselves (despite an exchange of information permission slip) and so had to wait for same school to re-open at the beginning of August before we could begin the actual process of getting this show on the road.

So finally we manage to snaffle an appointment at the old school as of yesterday and I must admit, despite the 30 or so mile travel need, it was efficiently handled to say the least. Filled with excitement at the prospect of actually getting this sorted for once and for all, we proceeded directly to the district office, copies of everything except recent x-rays of our internal organs in hand, only to be told that my dear teen's vaccinations were not up to date enough for her to go to school - SIGHS!!!!!

In South Africa, we have our vaccinations done when we are babies, we have a clinic card until we are 6 and basically, all is complete by then. Just to enter the States last year was a bit of a medical disaster with said teen having to have SEVEN vaccinations (which she had already had of course) administered all at once, so that the Embassy appointed doctor would approve us as being clear and non-infecting healthwise for us to do our emigration. My rant about how unnecessary I found all of that is best left to another blog, suffice it to say that I regard it as a money-making scheme of the highest degree. The teen got very very very sick just before we left South Africa though, no doubt, because of being injected with all sorts of rubbish to make her "healthy".

Bearing all of that in mind, I am sure you can imagine how utterly offended I was that she was "not up to date" with vaccinations and that this is apparently good enough reason for her to not be allowed to attend school despite the attendance at school apparently being legally obligatory.

Needless to say, she was vaccinated again today and having had some time to calm down (it usually works with me) I believe that the silver lining is that she had a medical examination and any worried mommy moments I might have been having about her health have been attended to as all is in good working order. Still, doctor's appointment, more needles stuck into my child and all this, to get her into school. I'm a touch troubled by the system ....... has Pharma gotten to the government in this regard too? Can it really be that the state of California, which has no clue about worm infestations, truly knows more about vaccinations and the necessity of them than South Africa does? Somehow, I just don't know ............

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How to Get 300 Hours of Education a Year

 I'm absolutely of the belief that life is about learning constantly.  Whether we realise it or not, every single day brings new lessons.  Of course, learning is also about taking in whatever new information is necessary to enable you to pursue whichever goal you happen to be after at the time as I discussed in this earlier post of mine.

Life is incredibly busy though and having never attended formal college or university but having always obtained whatever qualification I was striving for at the time whilst working at the same time not to mention running my household and raising my daughter, I wholly appreciate any ideas with regards to planning to accomodate such studying.

Enter this very interesting post from Karyn Greenstreet the other day.  I think it's an absolutely solid idea and I am applying it in my own world - I'm already a little more clued up! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pay Attention

 My vision of myself as being an adaptable sort led me to naming this blog as I have.  Over the years, I have indeed, as I am sure we all have, transitioned through many life phases and sets of circumsrtances.  Truth be told, I happen to believe that that is the entire point.

To transition successfully, however, one has to be able to focus on precisely where one is so that the leap to the new space is executed correctly else one might well find oneself falling, perhaps fairly hard and far.  Now, a fall isn't the end of any given world and it is true that when I was younger, I tended to quite enjoy the sensation of weightlessness and utter terror that accompany one.  Still, as one ages, one realises that one takes damage with each and every fall and one learns that it is better not to do it that often and accordingly begins planning one's jumps a little better.

 So what does it take to plan for a jumping or a change?  It takes knowledge of the circumstances and position one is jumping from and the exact same knowledge (or the very best one can do in that regard as one sometimes hops into an unknown spot) for the new circumstance and position.

Once I established the above principle, I spent a few years really trying to research all options intensively before I did anything and I found myself lurking about in one batch of life circumstances trying to plan for the next batch, for far far far too long.

This splendid post "Pay Attention" from the greatly enjoyed blog Lateral Action explains what I discovered to be the solution.  It is about both planning and paying attention.  A little bit of both goes ALL the way if you are trying to make changes.  If you are truly focusing on what you are doing, the foreknowledge I used to seek so desperately is no longer quite as vital. 

I am now brave enough to take more chances, to try new things, to be a little different and that is precisely what a Transitionist should be.