caffeine

Is My To-Do List Specific Enough?

Is My To-Do List Specific Enough?

Is my To-Do List specific enough? I like to keep agendas broad, just in case something unexpected pops up. But in keeping it broad, am I defeating the purpose of having a To-Do List? After the meeting on Tuesday morning – the one I forgot I had – I agreed to meet with a few colleagues at 9 o’clock yesterday morning. The meeting wasn’t on the horizon when I planned the week, but it would serve a very practical purpose. I hadn’t met one of my colleagues before and the meeting would provide the opportunity to meet, and get to know her. Let me digress a little…

We are all retired.

To use the word ‘colleagues’ sounds a bit technical in the formal sense. But, even though we are all retired, we are on various committees in our ‘retired-ness’, so technically we are colleagues.

Back to my To-Do List

At least I was prepared for yesterday’s early start. I even washed my hair before rushing out the door. There wasn’t enough time to do due diligence to the making of my first-coffee-of-the-day, so for the third day in a row, the coffee vending machine won. The coffee doesn’t taste as good as Josh’s, but hey – coffee beans are coffee beans when you are desperate. As long as they  contain the essential ingredient (caffeine), that’s all that matters. So with coffee in hand (tick off Item One on the To-Do List), the meeting began (the meeting wasn’t on the To-Do List – so I couldn’t tick it off). Writing was on my To-Do List for Wednesday, but with the proviso of ‘hopefully’. The plan was to pack and start the drive northwards early in the day, which would leave plenty of time for writing when I got there.

It Didn’t Happen

As usual, after any meeting, there is a need for cofffee. A trip to Re Cafe Nate solved that problem.  By then the day had warmed up a bit so I decided to indulge in a Milo Malt with double malt and a double shot of Espresso. It tastes just like a chocolate milkshake – only caffeinated. The team at Re Cafe Nate have nailed this – I get my cafffeine hit, as well as my milk shake fix, all in one container.

The To-Do List for the week

By the way, when I tuned into SBS on Tuesday night to watch Who Do You Think You Are?, it wasn’t on. It seems the series has ended. I hope the producers are busy making the next series or there will be very little need to have a TV in my house. So I can cross that part of Tuesday night off until then.

Coffee Time

I doubt there will ever be a day when I don’t tick off Item One – Coffee. As I’ve said before, no day starts without it. Without coffee, I’m showing up – but there will be no meaningful participation. Packing and driving north were on the list, but with no assigned time. In my mind though, I had envisaged doing both before midday. The strategy of keeping the list broad is to allow for the unexpected. And lots of the unexpected happened yesterday. One of the advantages of living where I do is the like-minded people who share the love of our twenty-eight acres of bush land. There is always someone to connect with during the course of the day. And yesterday was no exception. When a neighbour brought a piece of paper to my door with the words ‘The best of Hot Chocolate’ written on it, and the question ‘How do I buy this CD?’, the only solution was to fire up my iPad, find the CD online, and hit the ‘Buy’ button. Some a lot of my neighbours don’t have Internet – in fact – they don’t even have computers. And since we don’t have a store in town that would be likely to have the CD, online buying was the most feasible solution. But it wasn’t on my To-Do List

It was a long drive to the North Side

The drive was easy, for most of the trip. And then there were the roadworks that turned the highway into a carpark. The traffic was going nowhere, and I was stuck in the middle. But with the car-radio tuned in to Question Time in Parliament, there was enough entertainment to keep me occupied while I waited. When I arrived at my destination I was tired, and it was just about dinner time. I did manage to squeeze in about fifteen minutes of writing before dinner, but I just couldn’t get it finished before turning off the light at sleep-o’clock. There’s a danger in pushing yourself beyond a reasonable day, with your iPad and keyboard within reach. I have been known to fall asleep with my fingers precariously hovering over the keyboard, only to awaken to find a whole lot of gibberish typed, or half a page deleted. Either way, it isn’t a good look and can often be deadly. So writing came to an abrupt end,  only to be resumed after first-coffee-of-the-day today – which may have been closer to midday than would normally be acceptable. But hey, retirees shouldn’t have deadlines, right? Would I stay on task more easily if I was more specific about the items on my To-Do List? I’ll work on figuring this out and let you know….

May All My Deadlines Be Flexible

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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 0 comments
And The Sun Came Out Today At RedWing Cafe

And The Sun Came Out Today At RedWing Cafe

The Long Way To RedWing Cafe Coffee

Because there is no rain (yet) and to prove that RedWing Cafe coffee isn’t the only thing I think about, I actually took a slightly longer way to the RedWing Cafe this morning. The comparative warmth of the sun peeking through some dark clouds in the distance, and lighter ones close by, made it an easy choice to take longer to get there. In the process, I took some photos of the beauty of this part of Seattle. We’re staying at Ranier Beach and almost every direction we take as we leave the house has a fabulous view of the water.

The view from Cooper Street

There are so many things along the way that seem unusual for this time of year, apart from the weather of course. I didn’t get a photo of it, but there is a huge Holly bush in a front garden on 61st Avenue S. When I say unusual, I mean it would be  ‘unusual’ in my part of the world, but very ordinary in this hemisphere. Trees stripped bare of their leaves; holly bushes; cloudy skies; cold weather; ivy climbing across buildings; moss and wet leaves underfoot. Nothing that we would expect to see this close to Christmas in the Land Down Under, but here, it just looks and feels like winter. Coupled with the sights and sounds of Christmas all around, the winter scenery brings to life all the Christmas Cards ever sent or received.

View from the end of 63rd Avenue

What Better Way To Spend Winter Than Reading

On long, cold winter days there is nothing better than being snuggled up somewhere warm, with coffee in one hand and good book in the other. The trend towards community libraries is something I have noted lately in Australia and it is certainly a big deal here. Conveniently close to the RedWing Cafe is a cute little library that people can borrow from or share books with.

Borrow a book or leave one to share

And Now, The Coffee…

I could have spent hours taking photos of interesting things along the way, but my first RedWing Cafe coffee of the day beckoned. The usual 15 minute walk had dragged out to almost 25 minutes and I was starting to feel the first signs of caffeine withdrawal. So, with my camera securely stowed in my bag, I soldiered on down the last hill. As I turned the corner from Water Street S into 57th Ave S, the RedWing Cafe sign stood out like a beacon on a starless night. I had arrived.

My second Seattle home: The RedWing Cafe

Yes, the sun is actually out; it just looks a bit dreary because the ground is still wet from the recent rain. First task: order the coffee and some coffee cake. Luckily, my favourite table was empty so I made my way over, taking the first layer off as I walked. With coat securely hung on the peg, I retrieved my iPad from the bag.

Coat securely hung on the peg; I’m ready to write

Once my iPad was set up, I had to decide whether to peel off another layer. Decision made: I’ll just leave my outer jumper on. I’ll wait until the warmth of the coffee warms me from the inside before stripping back to the long-sleeved t.shirt.

With iPad set up, there is only thing left to do

Without coffee, nothing gets written. Period. (Nancy Kress)

That’s better!

And now, with coffee and cake safely delivered, I’m ready to start writing. Life is good!
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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 0 comments
Exploring Seattle – One Coffee At A Time

Exploring Seattle – One Coffee At A Time

In Search Of Coffee in Seattle

When you arrive in a new city, especially when staying out of town, you need to know where the coffee is. My first day in the Seattle area was spent in search of a comfy place to drink my morning cup-of-joe, which has become the ritual for kick-starting my heart and getting my eyes not only open, but functioning as they should. A quick search online highlighted the Stone House Bakery as a place to be able to partake of a reasonable cup of coffee. Google Maps pointed towards the water, which isn’t too far away. But, there were a few twists and turns along the way, including a very steep and slippery path. This was not going to be sustainable long term and certainly not an option for the return journey.

This was a seriously steep and very slippery path

Christmas Spirit

The Stone House Bakery was right next to the bottom of the slippery path. This quaint place reflected the Christmas spirit that is alive and well in Seattle. There is a definite push to go back to the traditional Christmas sentiments of old and this place was no exception. with Christmas spirit hanging off every corner and flat space. Warmth and Christmas oozed from the festively lit windows and we were drawn into the cozy atmosphere that greeted us as we stepped through the door. An Almond Croissant and coffee sufficed as breakfast – both really good – but as good as everything was, there was something lacking that would prevent us making the Stone House our regular haunt for our morning caffeine. WiFi, or lack of, was just one of the sticking points. When I asked the waitress about the WiFi, the response, as she walked away was, “If I could only remember the password…”. We didn’t see her again.

The Stone House Bakery

The Stone House would become our ‘sometimes’ place.

On The Way Home….

We left the Stone House Bakery and walked along the water for a couple of blocks. To our surprise, when we turned left we found another coffee place – the RedWing Cafe. Unlike the Stone House where we were the only customers, the RedWing was full of people. It looked warm and inviting, so we made a commitment to explore it another day. Update: The RedWing Cafe is now my ‘go-to’ place for my morning coffee, except on Mondays when they are closed. On Mondays I will find a Starbucks – not quite the same coffee – but just as good for WiFi and power outlets. It’s all good!
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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 1 comment
Caffeine Fix(er)

Caffeine Fix(er)

Caffeine Fix in Jeopardy

My morning routine is to put the coffee machine on first, then do all the things that mornings are for, like making the bed, working out what to wear, soaking up the steamy water in a long hot shower, etc.. Then, when all the routine things are out of the way, I make my way back to the kitchen to make the first coffee of the day, and thereby feed my caffeine addiction.  Actually, it’s the only caffeine fix for the day – most of the time. Last Friday morning the routine was no different until I got to the part of priming the coffee machine ready to proceed to the important step of pouring a double shot of caffeine. The double shot that kick-starts my heart and de-fogs my brain, making me ready for whatever the world wants to throw at me over the next 24 hours. But disaster struck!

The water refused to pump through the brew head, or whatever that part of the apparatus is called.

I tried it again – nothing! I waited a few minutes and tried again. Still nothing. As I watched anxiously, awaiting the moment when the golden liquid would pour down into the cup, I kept thinking –  ‘I knew I should have had the machine serviced’. The thought had crossed my mind many times over the past few years and still, I didn’t heed the warning and find someone who could check the machine and make sure that everything was as it should be. And now I was standing before my beautiful Rocket Giotto, waiting, and waiting, and wondering if it would ever work again. After switching everything off, I Googled: Espresso Coffee Machine Repairer Gold Coast/Murwillumbah, and was surprised to find a repairer who serviced machines from Brisbane to Ballina, 7 days a week. Given how heavy and awkward the machine is, the mental calculation of picking it up and taking it to a repair shop was daunting, which is probably why the service idea had never progressed beyond the thought process. I phoned Luke at Universal Espresso Repairs and was surprised to find that he would pick the machine up later that day.

All too easy!

Luke Pretki:  owner of Universal Expresso Repairs

When Luke arrived I had decided that the Grinder needed a service as well (trying to be proactive and not suffer the same fate as the Rocket), so I handed over two of my favourite things in the kitchen. I have to admit that I nervously watched Luke carry the Rocket down the steps and out to his van. Every time I’ve moved house – except for the big move back from Central Queensland (CQ) at the end of 2015 – my Rocket travelled with me.  The removalist would carefully place it in the back of my Santa Fe for the journey, and then lift it out at the other end and place it in its new position in whatever kitchen it happened to be moving to. The move from CQ to the Coast was a different matter and I had to trust that the removalists would get it here in one piece – which they did. Over the next few days, Luke kept me updated on the progress of the repairs. Assuming there was a blockage somewhere, Luke had checked and re-checked but found nothing out of the ordinary, so he serviced the Rocket and the grinder, and had them both back to me on Wednesday evening, having had to wait for a replacement light for the Rocket. The old one died a long time ago, and while it didn’t affect the coffee making process, it did have a built-in safety feature – it blinked when the water level was low, so it was definitely a good idea to replace it.

Customer service from Universal Espresso Repairs is second-to-none.

Luke brought the equipment in, turned the Rocket on, and then spent ages making sure that everything was working perfectly and showing me how to get the best brew from the Rocket. Having owned a cafe for 6 years, Luke knows about brewing coffee. I discovered that my double shots of the past were high in caffeine but not as high in flavour as they could have been. Instead of filling the shot cups almost to the top, Luke only half filled them in the same time as it would normally have taken me to fill them. This is where knowing about the grind comes in handy. By setting the grinder to a much finer setting, the shots pulled much slower than I would have done – in the past. The shots looked and smelled divine! Before he left, Luke suggested that I call him if I had any questions about the process – from grinding to brewing – and he would talk me through it or call in to show me.

The cost of the service for both items was a lot less than I had expected

I was really surprised, considering that the Rocket even came back nice and shiny. It looked like new again. Eager to test out the new settings, I jumped out of bed much earlier than usual the next morning to turn on the Rocket. When I made my double shot, only half filling – instead of filling the shot-cup almost to the top, the taste was amazing! It was so good I decided to make a second coffee later in the day (and did the same the next day!). I’m glad the experts are beginning to realise that coffee is actually good for you because I really can’t start the day without a double shot of caffeine. Oh, and a big apology to Josh at Re Cafe Nate, my local ‘best coffee on the Coast’ cafe. Now that I have my Rocket back I won’t be coming in every day for a coffee – but I will still be there at least once a week because the coffee really is the best on the coast – and anywhere in Australia for that matter. Not that I’ve tasted the coffee everywhere in Australia, but Bean Hunters have and they voted Josh’s coffee the 34th Best Coffee in the nation in 2016. Not bad for a small cafe on top of a hill, away from the (sort-of) busy streets of downtown. Watching Josh ‘free-pour’ coffee art is amazing; check out his Facebook page to see how it’s done. And even better, call in, and Josh will show you how it’s done. Oh, and watch the board on the opposite side of the road for inspiring messages. The latest one is: ‘A wise man said – “I don’t know – I’ll ask my wife’.  Very wise Josh! – that should earn you a few Brownie Points. With the Rocket and Grinder back in their respective spots on the bench in my kitchen, and producing the best coffee ever, all is right with the world here in my little part of paradise.

Life is good!

 
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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 2 comments