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 #18

If we were having coffee I would tell you that life has been very busy lately. I have started having a weekly in person coffee catch-up with a long time girl friend, I used to only see once a year. It’s a great way to end the week, we are having a walk and investigating the where the good coffee is around my local area.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last weekend my husband and I  went on road trip last weekend for his birthday. The weather was really hot so although we originally planned to go into the country, we decided to stick to the coast. We went and looked at the Myall Lakes National Park. It’s an area on the mid north coast of New South Wales that I had never been to before because it’s a bit off the beaten track. It was beautiful with massive sand dunes and an amazing view of Broughton Island off the coast hiding over the hill. I’d love to return to the area when I have time to explore it further, taking a tent.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how amazed I was to see a giant eagles nest on one of the power poles heading into Forster. The first time we missed photographing it which was a shame as the eagles were sitting next to it. However, when we returned they had gone but the nest its self is still impressive.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that preparations for Christmas are going reasonably well although it will be a much quieter affair this year as our new house is to mixed up with our renovation work to put up a proper Christmas tree with all the trimming.  My daughter has bought her first Christmas tree and put it up in our old home. It looks great. Then just to rub salt into the wound she sent me a photo of our old house covered in lights for Christmas, something I have always wanted to do. I’m so jealous, but very proud of her creativity.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how frustrated I was spending literally all day trying to get my new free 6 month subscription  to Apple music to work on my new phone.Neither Telstra nor Apple have wanted to take responsibility and I can’t believe it still isn’t fixed. The whole experience has really tested my patience but everyone who has used Apple music tells me it will be worth it. I got it to at least work around midnight, although I’m not sure if it is the correct way. Meanwhile Telstra will get back to me on Wednesday, so here’s hoping they can work out if its correct then. I’m astounded it’s this hard.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am still waiting to have my first swim of the season as every time I have been to the beach it has been too cool to swim or the beach wasn’t patrolled by life guards. I love the beach but as I am not comfortable with my ability to read the dangerous rips I won’t swim in unpatrolled waters as the power of the ocean can turn very quickly.

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 #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 #11

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I am this week to finally have enough energy back that I plan on returning to aqua aerobics this week. Although it hasn’t been all bad as it was very easy to justify not going out in the cold and wet when I wasn’t feeling up to par.

If we were having coffee I would tell you what an inspiring week I have had being a full-time writer. Prior to this I have written and edited most of my book in whatever spare time I have had. This week by being able to just spend all my time on my book, I have noticed my focus change. Now I think I am much more creative. Every day I come up with new ideas as to how to improve its flow. So, this week when I had to stop to complete other important tasks I didn’t want to. After having the weekend off to work on my blog and family life I am excited to see how much closer to completion this week takes me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about our cats first experience with a kookaburra this morning. He regularly walks up and down our side fence keeping guard making sure we are safe from predators. Today however in the gum tree just off our boundary a kookaburra came and sat. Yes, the kookaburra was sitting in the old gum tree as the Australian classic song suggests, minding his own business. Out cat however wasn’t happy. He stood under the tree on the fence and looked like he was going to attempt to get him, although the reality was the distance was too great. We decided however in the interest of encouraging our new friend to visit for longer, we would distract the cat.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I enjoy books. I always have and I always will. So much so that when we move I plan on making myself a library room where I can enjoy all of my books together in one place unlike scattered throughout the house like they are now. Yesterday, as part of this challenge I began sorting the first of many bookcases. As I put the books into boxes to move I have decided to divide them into 4 sections:

  • Children
  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Reference

Going through my books I enjoyed many memories as I remember the circumstances of each book either as a purchase or as a gift. Something tells me I am not going to be very good at throwing many of them out as I’m too much of a sentimentalist.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I am loving the readability score in WordPress. I challenge myself to make sure all of my posts stay in the green or good rating. Should they slip into an orange or red ranking I rewrite the sentence until the readability improves. This is definitely helping my writing style and minimizing my need to edit later.

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


Coffee Catch-up # 8

If we were having coffee I would tell you it seems like forever since our last coffee catch-up, although the reality is that it has only been 3 weeks. During this time, most of my time has been taken up completing the Blogging from A – Z challenge. It was fun, although some days the pressure to come up with inspiring posts took over my world. But in the end I was happy with all of them even X, which for me was the difficult one. I certainly enjoyed putting the “I survived blogging A – Z banner” on my blog as I feel like I earned it. Next year, I think I will do a lot of pre-planning in the hope that makes this challenge easier.

If we were having coffee I would ask you where you thought all the smoke haze around Sydney today was coming from. My hope would be that unlike me, you may have listened to the news and have known that it was coming from more than 40 hazard reduction back burns happening all around Sydney especially in the Blue Mountain areas. The smoke was so bad it was playing havoc with the fire alarms in many businesses including the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, where for more than 30 minutes of our aqua aerobics class this morning, the instructor had to yell or mime the instructions. Oh and ironically the alarm stopped at the same time as our aqua class. Who knew!

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this week has been a shocker. If something could go wrong it did. For me, the most frustrating thing was that instead of enjoying myself on Wednesday night, I got to sit and wait for NRMA roadside assist after I quickly discovered that in a moment of mindless thinking from my stressful week, I locked my car keys in the boot. I think it has been over 20 years since I last did this. I also had nothing with me to do, not even a small bit of paper to write a blog post on but fortunately for me it only took them 45 minutes to come instead of the 90 minutes they promised service in. Thank you NRMA.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I enjoyed District 90 First Annual Toastmaster Conference last weekend. It was held at Rooty Hill RSL — the largest RSL club in Australia. I had never been before and the venue, the food as well as the conference’s educational sessions were fantastic. I am sure the other parts of the conference were also excellent, however due to time constraints I was limited in what I went to.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about my work’s cultural lunch this week. This is a regular event where you take a dish from your culture for everyone to share. For me this has always been difficult because being a hospital we are a very multicultural workplace, however I could never really come up with a dish from my life to share that was interesting and easy to share. This time I got it right. My trifle was a great hit and will now be my signature dish. I hadn’t made a trifle in years and I only remembered about them at Easter when I took desert to a family friends house. It was weird not making it with sherry but the sacrifice still tasted yummy.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what you have been up to this last week, let me know in the comments.

Coffee Catch-up #7

 


Coffee Catch-up #7

If we were having coffee I would tell you about how proud I was on Wednesday evening when I was presented with my new Toastmaster badge that places the letter ACB/CL after my name. Although I was pleased to have completed the manuals, the feelings that developed when I actually saw them in print did surprise. They brought home to me the importance of presenting awards as soon as possible after completion. The fact that when I first finished my CC award several years ago, it took me over 12 months to get it recognised by anyone probably also played a part in my feelings.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about my run in with my exercise coach after which he disrespectfully dismissed me and told me I could finish up 4 weeks earlier than my original date. Given the circumstances this was probably the only option as there was no comprise possible.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how I enjoyed swimming, running in the water and relaxing in the members only spa this afternoon for the first time in 8 years. I would also tell you that I am looking forward to the greater options in my new exercise program including aqua aerobics, my long time favourite.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how I am catching up on many long time overdue jobs at work, which is inspiring to think about new systems to make many tasks easier.

If we were having coffee I would tell you what a great meal we had last night with one of my Toastmaster clubs social event at Thai Garden House. The food was fresh, light and flavoursome which is why in 2013, it was awarded Sydney Metro’s best Thai restaurant.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am excited to be back on track with my Blogging from A – Z challenge this week. It has taken a lot of work over the weekend especially as I am also keeping up with my regular features but so worth it. From my experience, the more I write the better and quicker I get at it.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what you have been up to this last week, let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch-up #6

If we were having coffee I would tell you how I am enjoying getting back into regular blogging by participating in Blogging from A – Z 2016. My theme is loosely based around Australia and my travels, so it has been fun remembering and sharing my knowledge and fun. Despite being a bit behind I will complete the task by the end of April.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how surprised I was to find white spots on the underside of the water filter when I finally changed it last night, later than it was meant to be changed. My son is convinced it’s just the charcoal changing colour and I am happy to go with that theory as the thought of me swallowing anything else filtered through my water is a bit much for me to cope with.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this week I clicked over 20,000 views on my blog. When I started Inspiring Max less than 2 years ago I didn’t dream this was possible. Now I ask myself how long will it take me to reach 50,000 views and I tell myself that if I work hard at it, maybe 18 months. I would also tell you how grateful I am for my regular followers as well as random viewers I receive. I would also tell you that I love that my blogging community grows daily.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how frustrated I am with the inconsistencies around new parking laws in Australia. In New South Wales at least I was recently booked for parking less than 10 metres from the curb. The ironic thing was that my daughter and I had discussed in the morning the distance we were parked from the curb and estimated it to be 10 metres. However looking more closely, after the fine, we realized we had parked less than 10 metres from the curb, but we weren’t happy that all the cars parked on the 4 corners of that street should have been booked not just us — no one else was.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I enjoyed catching up with our special friends last Saturday drinking French champagne together. I am grateful to have special friends that even though we only catch-up with them randomly these days due to commitments with life, we always just pick up from where we left off after our last visit.

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If we were having coffee I would ask you what you have been up to this last week, let me know in the comments.