Coffee Catch-Up #21

If we were having coffee I would tell you that instead of coffee today we were having champagne to celebrate Inspiring Max turning 3 recently. Wow! I can’t believe how quickly that time has flown. When I started I knew nothing about blogging or where this journey would take me but I am so glad I took the plunge and dived head first into the deep blogging pool. I have learnt so much and love the sense of community out there in the blogosphere.

I love it when I connect with new blogs. My geography has also improved as I discover someone from a small country or island I didn’t know existed has visited Inspiring Max. Thanks for being part of my world and I hope our journey continues to deepen.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about our recent visit to Copeland Tops State Conservation Area, just outside Barrington Tops National Park. We walked the Hidden Treasure Loop Track, a 2 hour bush walk through a dry rain forest. The area is an old gold field and is scattered with old mine shafts throughout, so it is essential to stick to the path or risk serious harm or death. The highlight of our walk was Hidden Treasure mine entrance. Despite it being sealed up, with the help of flash photography we could see the old quartz seams that had once held gold. It was quite spectacular in its natural forest surroundings, but I wouldn’t have wanted to walk that distance to work every day.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I am enjoying working in my garden at our new house. I have always wanted to develop a vegetable and herb garden, but I’ve never had the time to devote to it. Now with only working part-time and not having children to run around my time is my own so I’m hoping to prove I have green thumbs. This week I began by making a herb garden, which so far is going well. I also bought a modern version of the Yates gardening guide to help me prepare for Spring planting. As Winter starts in Australia next week I’ll be planting soon enough. I am interested in any advice you may have of things to do or not do when growing my produce.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about King Street Boutique Motel, the accommodation my husband and I stayed at on our recent trip to Gloucester. It was created from one of the old homes of the area and contained a communal lounge, dining and kitchen area with 4 rooms on each side of the communal real. It was great value and our fellow travelers were friendly. Our room also had a little verandah that overlooked the driveway and from which you could see the  mountains in the background.

 

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch – Up # 20

If we were having coffee I would tell you I can’t believe its nearly 5 months since our last coffee. Doesn’t time fly when you don’t keep an eye on it. Today I was also struck by how quickly I have lost my writing skills. From writing nearly everyday in my old life, I am struggling for inspiration today. I know it is purely because I haven’t written anything for a while, so I’ll make a commitment to myself to get back on track as I have missed you all.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that back in March my husband and I finally got our furniture delivered from Sydney. It was very exciting to see the big truck pull up outside. Finally, our move was complete. So we did what anyone in our situation would do and had a glass of bubbly (champagne) to celebrate. Yes, it tasted good.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I love the Sydney Royal Easter show.I love to spend hours walking around the pavilions — arts and crafts, food, leisure and kids — they are all amazing. Some people are so talented. I love the creativity especially in the fruit and vegetable displays every year. Each area creates a display using the fruit and vegetables they grow in a design that depicts where they are from. This year  my 3 favourites were

 

If we were having coffee I would tell you about my brother and his partner’s housewarming party. It turned out to be code for secret wedding. It was very exciting and caught many family and friends of guard as they had dressed for a backyard BBQ and ended up having their photo taken with the happy couple. Fortunately, my father who was in hospital was able to get a leave pass so was able to attend. As for me I was very suspicious they were up to something and was very happy to be proven right. I loved their wedding cake — chocolate mud cake topped with cute umpa lumpas to match the chocolate factory theme of their house warming.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you how great it has been catching up with family and friends since moving back to Newcastle. Recently we meet some of our diving friends for dinner at Valentine Bowling Club and while the catch up was great, the sunset over Lake Macquarie was amazing. I had forgotten the joy a simple sunset can bring.

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If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch – Up # 19

If we were having coffee I would wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2016 has been an amazing year and I have loved sharing it with you.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that Christmas 2016 had a green theme for our family, which was a great success. My sister who organises our family celebrations really should start a party decorating business. She does a spectacular job matching everything to the colour theme and we all help by coming dressed accordingly. It’s a special and memorable day for all who attend.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that life is getting exciting as our painter is slowly transforming our house into a home. The more work he completes the happier we are with our colour choice of grey/lavender walls and white gloss trims. Interestingly, when the family voted on next years colour theme for Christmas, they chose Gravender (a combination of grey and lavender), so we should have a head start on inspiration.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how nice it was to have Christmas bush back in our life. Our Newcastle property has an old Christmas bush tree and we have enjoyed giving some to family and friends again. Australians love Christmas bush and it helps bring the country to the city.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I enjoyed the preparation for Christmas this year. From the shopping to the baking I have loved the planning and execution of each task. Many of the things I now do have become my tradition but I don’t think I realised it until this year.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I would love  to see the rain falling on Ularu at present. Due to the dryness of the area, rain on the rock is a rare but spectacular event.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch-Up #17

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I can’t believe its been two months since our last coffee. Moving and having no or limited internet access changed my world and blogging wasn’t a simple task. It made my world quieter but didn’t stop me from connecting with my fellow bloggers, by reading their blogs during my limited windows of time. I finally have the internet connected I plan on getting my blogging back on track as I think it helps me communicate more efficiently in everyday life. By this I mean I waffle less because I focus more on short concise sentences. It feels great to be back and I realise from your kind words how well we all support each other.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been at my new job three months and I feel very much a part of the team. I am also slowly learning the differences between the two hospitals. It has been weird but freeing to go from knowing most things at one hospital to knowing little and needing to build up my knowledge source at the other. I think I am winning although I definitely still learn new things daily.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather is warming up in Australia and I am looking forward to my first swim of the season. I was excited about a month ago when I realized that according to Dr Goggle, the beach is only half an hours walk from my house. I definitely hope he’s correct because what a great encouragement to walk regularly. In Sydney I never got to the beach because it takes hours and parking especially is a big hassle.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was last Friday to have my new washing machine delivered. Talk about small things amusing small minds. Wow! What a difference having one on site makes. I think I definitely took doing the washing for granted before. It was just something annoying that needed to be done. My new washer I have made my friend and it even tells me how long before the load is finished—a very helpful tool. Another thing related to washing that I had forgotten is how cool Hills Hoist Clothes lines are. They move around in the breeze, carry a lot of clothes and dry the washing so much faster. Mine may be an oldie but its a goodie.

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

If we were having coffee I would tell you how our new house was robbed over the October long weekend. They broke through forcing the door and cherry picked there way through the small amount of belongings we had left at the house to begin work. Its funny the thing that made me suspicious that something was wrong was the fact that I couldn’t find the old radio tape player to give me music whilst I painted.  So, I did what wives do. I rang my husband assuming that he had moved it and together we realised what had happened as he listed things and I tried to find them. The worst part was that I then had to wait alone in what was now a scary house for me for the police. I couldn’t concentrate on painting so I read but the police didn’t come. Eventually I rang the police assistance line again only to be told that they would be coming the next day and had left hours ago but nobody bothered to tell me. I was annoyed but at the same time relieved to be able to go to the safety of my mothers house.

The next morning I arrived five minutes before the policewoman agreed to meet me and walked around the back only to find the back door wide open. I ran, panicking to the safety of my car  and willed her to come quickly. Fortunately she was on time. She then lead the way through the house to find that whoever was there had definitely left. She finger printed the back door and showed me how she believed they had gotten in. Now our house is locked like Fort Knox but at least it feels safe again. On reflection it gave me insight on how some people must live, as while a few things may have been sale able, most of what they took from us was edible, drinkable or for home care.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Its been a while so I hope life has been good to you. Let me know in the comments.

 


Coffee Catch-Up #16

If we were having coffee I would tell you what an interesting week I’ve had. Working less opens up more exciting opportunities that I would have normally missed out on.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about Parramatta Toastmasters 50th birthday celebrations on Thursday night. It was a special night with stories from Russ Walkington, the gentlemen whose ideas and  hard work made it to happen in the first place. What a dynamic speaker. He said it took a lot of convincing however once Parramatta Toastmasters Club started in September 1966 it had been a great success.  I was a little surprised however that for the first 25 years it was a men’s only club, with women not allowed to join until August, 1990, actually 2 days before my wedding. The women joining of course brought them even more success and in 1996, Parramatta Toastmasters Club was recognised as the fourth top Toastmaster club in the world.

Also at the dinner were many past members who have gone on to do great things as well as a few charter (original) members. One of my favorite thing was the parade of past Presidents of which there were 19 of the 49 present on the night. They were piped in by one of the current club members wearing his kilt and took up 3 lines on the stage.

Happy Birthday Parramatta Toastmasters Club

Happy Birthday Parramatta Toastmasters Club

If we were having coffee I would tell you how exciting it was to hear Toastmaster’s 2016-2017 International President Mike Storkey, DTM speak at Parramatta’s 50th Birthday. He was an inspiration and encouraged everyone to focus on the future not just  live on past successes. I agree. Life is definitely a journey, with the more interesting views coming after a challenging climb.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you what a great day I had on Friday at Better Homes and Gardens Live. Better Homes and Gardens is  Australia’s favourite TV show and magazine, which brings together ideas for renovating, decorating homes and gardens as well as advice about pets. From the shows stars I learnt about chalk paint —making furniture restoration fun, quick and easy desserts and how to cook the perfect roast pork. Once we have finally settled into our new home, I look forward to testing out these and other ideas from my day out.

Education aside, I would have to say the most fun was had at the end of the day with Fast Ed attempting to make pigs fly. He attached helium balloons to his pig shaped shortbread cookies and willed them to fly. In the end it took 3 helium balloons to finally get lift off and they kept going until they rested on the ceiling.

Flying pigs

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If we were having coffee I would tell you about supporting my husband yesterday by going to the cinema with him to see The Beatles Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years. This documentary by Ron Howard  made sense of the Beatles Journey. Prior to this my knowledge of the Beatles was minimal however they really were game changers in more than the music scene. The movie is based around their 815 shows in 4 years performed around the globe. It was fascinating to see from old footage, the impact The Beatles had in a very different world and to consider problems like early crowd control. At the end of the movie came half an hour of seeing the Beatles live at Shea Stadium, New York concert. It was the biggest ever concert at the time involving 55,000 people. Amazing results, especially when you consider that they couldn’t hear where they were up to in the songs because of the loudness of the fans screams. If you get the opportunity, even if your not a big Beatles fan, take a break from today’s world, travel back 50 years and take in some history. Its well worth it. Ron Howard, you did a great job.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch-Up #15

If we were having coffee I would tell you how strange it felt returning to Sydney yesterday after living and working in Newcastle for the last 2 weeks. Sometimes I forget my current home is still in Sydney as Newcastle feels so natural to me as it is my childhood home. On the train as I approached Sydney, I was suddenly aware of people. They were everywhere which is very different to slower paced Newcastle with its population of  about 400,000 compared to Sydney’s 5 million people. The irony is that Newcastle is actually the 7th largest city in Australia and New South Wales’s second largest city.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how 2 possums got caught in one of our courtyards at the hospital on Friday and couldn’t get out. This meant we had to call in the a special possum wrangler to catch them and hold them for the day until he could release them into the bush in the local area later that night. He said he couldn’t release them earlier as they are attacked by other animals. His job was quite tricky, giving him a good work out, however after a few attempts (our possums put up a good fight) he caught them without injury.

Tom Possum

The photo above is of the possum who comes to visit us at home occasionally not the possums caught in the courtyard at work.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it was weird doing night duty again for the first time in 12 years however I surprised myself by actually enjoying it. I am sure working more than one night in a row may be too tiring in my old age but who knows we’ll see if the opportunity arises. Working casually does make it harder to plan one’s life but it is also giving me more spare time.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was to watch my AFL (Australian Football League) team GWS Giants defeat the Sydney Swans (minor premiers) yesterday in their first finals match ever. The Giants are only a young team who played their inaugural game in 2012 and I was fortunate enough to be at their first game. Back then they were described as the easy beats because they lost most games but over time they have grown into a force to be reckoned with.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that my husband and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary since our last coffee catch-up with a nice lunch and a visit to our Newcastle house. It was only brief as although it is empty we have not had it officially handed back from the real estate yet but dreaming and planning for our future extensions was fun.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch-Up #14

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was to welcome my 800th follower to my blog this week. My current goal is to have 1000 followers by the end of 2016. I enjoy my blogging community and I have learnt a lot over the last 2 years as I’ve visited your blogs. We are all unique and together we make each others world’s brighter.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I enjoyed working at my new hospital. They are a great team although they use a slightly different system to what I am used to. However, I quickly settled into my new rhythm and was lucky enough to work a few more shifts than I was originally booked for, which helped expedite my knowledge of how things are done.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I enjoyed my birthday last Tuesday. My husband made me breakfast before he had to leave for work so I took myself shopping.  I even managed to get myself a $20 birthday discount when I bought myself some new clothes. Bonus! I then caught the train home with my daughter who taught me how to hunt Pokémon before cooking me dinner. The one thing that I was looking at when shopping was a Fitbit however I have yet to decide if I would use it enough to justify the cost. If you have one what has been your experience?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was grateful on Thursday night after Toastmasters to be able to watch the Semi Finals of the Toastmasters International Convention 2016 from Washington DC. What amazing speakers. It was also exciting to be able to cheer on one of our fellow members, David Griffiths who came third. It was hard to pick the order of the winners although I do think that the 3 people who placed were the best speakers.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have enjoyed the bits of the Olympics that I have seen and was particularly excited to see some of the people my children used to compete against, do personal bests and in some cases come home with an Olympic medal.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last night we enjoyed cooking pizzas in our outdoor pizza oven and chimney. The smokey flavour was awesome. One problem we found with the pizza oven was that it was too small to cook the bigger pizzas in. We solved this problem by using our chimney but it wasn’t nearly as effective at cooking them as the pizza oven. So with our new-found knowledge, when we move we have decided to buy a new, bigger pizza oven that takes all pizza sizes. We also secretly hope to be able to cook other foods in it using our various sized camp ovens. Cooking over fire – there is nothing like it.

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2016-08-20 19.37.22If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch-Up #13

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am looking forward to my first shift at my new hospital on Monday. It’s been 8 years since I have worked as a nurse on the floor helping patients and I didn’t realize how much I had missed this special contact.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I meet with the collaborator of my book last Monday for the first time in 3 months. I was pleased she loved the changes that I had made because it gives me confidence that my thoughts on the book progress are true. Although, it feels like the end is getting closer, I know there is still a lot of work to be done. However, I am still aiming to finish my part by end of this year.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I had a fun time at the supermarket this morning seeing if I could guess the amount of sugar in the foods I normally eat. I was pretty accurate so I think I will be able limit my sugar intake to 24 grams daily most of the time. If you are confused by this statement you can catch up here http://www.inspiringmax.com/the-power-of-sugar/ Today is day 3 and I am feeling good this morning as I slept so much better last night.

If we were having coffee I would tell you this week I that to insert my drawings into my book this week I discovered that I need to draw them in Microsoft’s Paint program. I have never used it before but as I get better at using it, this program will leave me with a more professional drawings, which will be good. I would also ask if you have used Paint and have any tips for me. Just for fun I’ll show you my first very basic drawing on Paint.

Mountains

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I won my Toastmasters Club Table Topics competition last week. This is an impromptu speaking contest where you are giving the topics literally seconds before you speak to it. I think my blogging experience helped me and now I move to the Area competition at the end of September.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch-Up #12

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I enjoyed my job interview last Monday and am very excited to start work at my new hospital in early August. The unit has a calm feel to it and I am pleased to be back working in my home town, although I have been happy living a free lifestyle for the last 2 months.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how surprised and in some ways saddened I was, to hear on Friday nights news that they were closing the wooden escalators in both Wynyard and Town Hall Stations over the next 12 months. Apparently there are only 7 wooden escalators left in the world — 4 at Wynyard, 2 at Town Hall and the other in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Of the 4 at Wynyard Station, 3 were opened in 1932, the same year as the Sydney Opera House and the 4th in 1952. The Wynyard wooden escalators were the first in Australia and over 80 years later are still working hard carrying over 150,000 commuters daily.

Growing up I remember that I loved to ride on the wooden escalators in David Jones stores as they had a warm and inviting look to them which made me feel like a part of history. Unfortunately, these escalators were taken out over a decade ago and since then using the escalators is just a means to an end. My mission now will be to make sure that I get to Wynyard Station before they close the wooden escalators for one last ride and reflection.

Wynyards wooden escalators

close up Wynyard Staion Wooden Escalators

If we were having coffee I would tell you about the walk my father and I went on, from his house along Throsby Creek to Newcastle Harbour and back again. With stopping off along the way to explore, our walk took us 2 hours and as you can see it was  a magical winters day. I couldn’t believe the growth that has occurred in this part of Newcastle including the formal walking trail includes many beautiful sculptures like the large lounge shown below.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I can’t believe how quickly this year is going. Tomorrow is the 25th July which means that it is exactly 5 months till Christmas Day. Wow! Then I think about how much I hope to get done between now and Christmas and that is when I get truly exhausted. Start a new job, pack up one house, do repairs to our Newcastle house before moving in, move in, finish book, catch-up with old friends, shop for Christmas and plan a trip to Japan to visit our son. Think positively is my motto so I am sure it will sort itself out for the best. After all, its amazing what one can achieve when motivated to do so.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world?


Coffee Catch-Up #10

If we were having coffee I would tell you how glad I am that it is now July because what a month June turned out to be. On top of everything I spoke about in my last coffee catch-up this month has continued to serve up curve balls to challenge us and make us stronger.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the reason I missed coffee last weekend was because I was in hospital after a major allergic reaction to antibiotics.  I am rarely sick so the fact that I got an infection from an unknown source that wouldn’t go away was frustrating. Then, after a week of not getting better to change antibiotics, get sicker and end up in hospital was an eye opener for me. Initially, I looked very beautiful with my swollen face however with time and treatment my face has returned to normal. Each day I feel better, however I am looking forward to getting all my energy back soon.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I taught myself to use Publisher this week. It has always been on my bucket list of things to do and I have looked at it many times before, but always gone back to Word – for me the simpler option. This time I persevered and once I got a handle on it I liked it. In fact, I liked it so much that I have decided to transfer my book to Publisher when I have finished this last edit to see how different it looks and increase my knowledge base of this tool. I may even use You tube and see what other secrets it can reveal. With a coy smile, I would also ask you if you have any Publisher experience or handy hints to share with me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that despite everything I am loving the simpler, slower pace of life at the moment. Not having to rush anywhere, use what food we have and shop minimally is turning out for me to be very rewarding. Instead of buying a large amount of food on the weekend to make feeding the family quickly after a busy day commuting and working possible, we have made a daily plan together about what we eat based on what we have and suddenly we have so much more time. Because we aren’t rushing for some bizarre reason it takes us even less time to cook, we spend hardly any money on food and we are more creative with our ideas. Who knew?

If we were having coffee I would tell you how on the last day of June my husband discovered that the cat had a swollen left neck. We are so pleased June has ended as we don’t want any more surprises. Turns out the cat just wanted to be like me so he got himself an infection that needed antibiotics. No problem, a quick visit to Uncle Tom (his vet), a big needle and he was sorted.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how interesting it was for me to write my curriculum vitae this week. I have lost all previous copies so had to start from scratch and remember 30 years of history, experience and knowledge. It took me a day and a half but in the end I was very pleased with how it turned out. I am also grateful because I am moving back to my home town city and working on semi retirement, hopefully I won’t need to fill out another one, but hey never say never. None of us ever knows what the future holds. If I didn’t believe this before the June I’ve had, I certainly know it know.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was to be presented with my Toastmasters Triple Crown Award by the District Director at last weeks changeover meeting. It is a difficult award to achieve as you need to complete 3 educational awards. Last year I decided I was up for the challenge and I set it as my goal during my year as President of one of my club’s. I needed to keep focused and plan well but in the end everybody won and I have a super fancy pin to wear whenever I need an extra boast to be the best I can.Triple Crown Award

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world this last fortnight?

 

Coffee Catch-Up #9