coffee

Weekend – What Weekend?

Weekend – What Weekend?

Weekends: those magical hours between Friday night and Monday morning. You close the door of your office on Friday afternoon, and look forward to two days of blissful R&R – that’s Rest and Recuperation in old Military terms. There’s nothing like waking up on Saturday morning, knowing that you can roll over and go back to sleep. The weekend looks good from any angle!

But what happens when the weekend loses its lustre? What happens when the weekend becomes just like any other day? 

We call it Retirement!

When you close the door on the office for the very last time, you know you’ve hit retirement. The defining line between weekdays and weekends disappears. Timetables are for bus and train trips, and reports only relate to weather. Work!, becomes a dirty, four-letter word (anyone remember Maynard G Krebs’ reaction to the word?)

Retirement – the new phase of your life where – Yes!, the world really does revolve around you. Possibly for the first time in your life you are free to make decisions that are best for you: “Will I go out today? Nah… I think I’ll sit on the verandah, drink coffee and read a book.” I can do what I want, when I want.

When you settle into retirement, either every day is now a weekday, or every day is now a weekend. I chose the latter. Those days that start with M are no longer feared or dreaded. 

Cup Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Mine was always at least half-full, but since I retired, my cup is closer to full (usually with coffee). I have filled it with all the things I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. While I was working, every time I came across something interesting to do, or new skill to learn, I promised myself that I would do it when I retired. Needless to say, the list of things to do and learn was pretty long by the time I closed the door on my work-life.

Working my way through the list!

The first, and most important task was to learn to write creatively. My career was filled with factual report-writing. And there’s nothing like report-writing to stifle any creativity that you may have had prior to your career. Reports: a case of re-telling ‘the facts, and nothing but the facts’. Not much wriggle room for being creative.

And now there’s my Blog – where I get to try out different styles of writing. There is still a lot to learn, but I think I’m slowly moving into a zone where I feel more confident. I can relax a little, and really enjoy the whole writing experience – well – as far as my experience has taken me so far. I’ve only just started flexing my creative muscles so I know I have a long way to go, but I’m definitely enjoying the journey. 

Being retired, and being the centre of my own Universe, means I can be flexible. I can write when I want to – not when I have to. 

But What About the Challenge?

Ah, yes, the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Where am I up to? 

Day 6

As a blogger/writer, do you take the weekend off? 

Paul Taubman – Ultimate Blog Challenge

I had a bit of a chuckle when I read the topic for Day 6 – which is roughly where I am up to – despite it being the tenth day of October. My first thought was, ‘Weekend, What Weekend?’. Every day is a weekend. 

And I guess that answers the question…

I have posted Days 1, 2 and 3. I’m skipping Days 4 and 5 of the Challenge – until later. So that means I’m up to Day 6. Just saying….

Maureen
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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Writing, 2 comments
The Dawn of a New Tomorrow

The Dawn of a New Tomorrow

The bell signals the end of learning for another day. Students make a rush for the door, and the temptation to join them is overwhelming. You sit down at your desk and dream of the dawn of a new tomorrow. A tomorrow with no bells; no lesson plans; no marking; and no report-writing.

When you are a teacher, the lines between day and night are blurred. Three o’clock signals the end of learning for students, and the start of paperwork for teachers.

It’s going to be another long night. Before you start tomorrow’s planning, today’s marking screams at you. Thoughts are sloshing around your head – and they need to find their way into the books to be marked, before they settle into a pool of useless, random words. Leaving the marking until later never ends well. So you open the first book, pick up your pen – and start.

Image from Pixabay.com

And Lunch?

Image from Pixabay.com

Your stomach reminds you that playground duty kept you from the staffroom, for yet another lunch break.  Along with the empty feeling in your stomach, you crave coffee. Another one of life’s simple pleasures that eludes you in your teaching day. Hot coffee and students don’t mix – Workplace Health & Safety posters adorn the staffroom walls.  No chance of forgetting. You make a mental note to stop by the coffee shop on your way home.

When is Enough, Enough?

The teaching weeks roll into teaching months. Before you know it, you’re beyond retirement age, but you are still on the treadmill. Love for your job, and dedication to it, are no consolation for the tiredness you feel. That weariness that chases you down at the end of each long day. Your non-teaching friends are in bed at a reasonable hour – you are up late, planning and writing reports. It takes its toll. Your health starts to flash warning signs – Enough is Enough!

And one day it all comes to a grinding halt. The plans you made to keep working until your seventies, not that you are too far from that magic number, disappear. You wake up one morning and think “I can’t do this anymore”. And that’s the day the resignation papers fall out of your pocket – onto the Principal’s desk.

The dawn of a new tomorrow

When I closed the classroom door for the last time, I didn’t have time to think about it too much. As soon as I made the decision to fill in the retirement-forms – I booked a cruise. I needed something to separate my working-life from my new retirement-life. And I needed something to console me in the raw days following my departure from the world that had absorbed me for more than half my life.

I poured myself into planning for the cruise from Sydney to Singapore. That trip was to close the door on my working life – sealed shut – never to be reopened; and it worked! I came home refreshed, renewed and excited about settling down into a normal life. 

Or, So I Thought!

The years of getting by on less than eight hours sleep had become stuck somewhere in my Body-Clock, and it wouldn’t budge. I found myself unable to put my head on the pillow before midnight – but I was still waking up at five or six in the morning. The problem was, there was no planning or report-writing to fill the evenings. I subscribed to paid television – but that didn’t work; there never seemed to be anything worth watching. 

I started writing. I had always loved writing and promised myself that one day I would write a book. Perhaps that ‘one day’ had arrived.

The website I dabbled in, while still teaching, suddenly had meaning. It had been sitting there, half-baked, for years. Now it was time to get it into the oven. 

And the idea of a Blog started to gel. I’d been hearing about, and reading blogs, for a long time. 

Writing; Website; Blogging

The three started to overlap, then merge, until it was only natural that they would become one. And from the ashes, my Phoenix arose.

MaureenDurney.com emerged.

My humble musings from the early days are often painful to revisit. But put into perspective, they are a yardstick by which to measure the distance I have travelled. I can see the improvement in my writing, in my website management, and therefore in my blogging.

What has had the most impact?

The Ultimate Blog Challenge!

Writing within a time-frame and to a specific topic has reined in my verbosity. The challenge dictates a blog-a-day for thirty-one days. You can’t allow yourself the luxury of extra words when the clock is ticking away beside you. Well theoretically, anyway. I still need to work on the length of my blogs. And that is a work-in-progress.

MaureenDurney.com is keeping me focused. It is absorbing me – drawing out the passion that I used to pour into my teaching. It is my new life. Learning new skills is exercising my brain, just as Professional Development did in my teaching days. 

And The Book?

The book is another work-in-progress. And the Ultimate Blog Challenge is pre-requisite learning before launching full-on into it. With my long teaching days behind me, and with the dawn of my new tomorrow, I can now devote my life to Blogging. 

MaureenDurney.com is alive and well!

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On That Dark, Dreary Day

The air was frosty cold on that dark, dreary day in Seattle. Like most days, the first decision centred on coffee – the where, not the when. From that decision, all other decisions would follow. 

It was Monday. Had it been any other day, the decision would have centred on the when, not the where. On Mondays, the RedWing cafe was closed. On this Monday, the where led to another place – another suburb. 

Walk to the end of the block on 63rd Avenue – turn right – walk another block – turn left – cross the street. Wait at the Bus Stop. Watch cars passing, thankful for the warmth of a coat that is redundant back home in northern New South Wales. Wait for the bus.

The bus stops – you board the bus and feel the instant warmth from the heated interior. You wish for a traffic jam – anything to delay the inevitable moment of reaching your destination and facing the cold.

Change buses at the Interchange. The cold bites at your heels as you walk to the bus that will take you the rest of the way. Again, the warmth of the bus, albeit short-lived. Only a few stops this time. 

Then, the coffee. Starbucks. Because you know what to order at Starbucks. You know how it will taste. You slowly drink your coffee. But you are not ready to face the cold, so you order another coffee.

You watch the people. The young couple with the four-year-old – Grandparents arrive – they go through the motions. Grandpa wants to be somewhere else. The College student staring at the screen of his laptop, looking for inspiration. People come and go. You stay, until you can’t justify staying any longer. The morning coffee has dragged on. It is almost lunch time.

Put on your coat – leave the warmth – brave the cold. 

Take the bus back to the Interchange; find the bus to Rainier Beach. Feel the warmth of the heated interior.

Leave the bus, turn right and walk to the corner where the solar-powered flamingos stand – waiting to illuminate the path at night. You wonder how solar power works in that climate.

Turn left and walk along 63rd Avenue. Feel the cold, but embrace the experience.

Home – where all other decisions can now be made, on that dark, dreary day in Seattle.

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Day 21 – UBC – Does it Matter Where I Sit?

When I visit a friend or relative’s home for the first time, I usually ask “Does it matter where I sit?”. Everyone has their favourite chair, or seat in the house, and I am wary of plonking myself down on my host’s favourite chair. And one of the most common questions asked of writers is: Where do you write? Like the rest of us, writers probably have a chair or place that they prefer, while writing. I know I do.

Old Habits Are Hard To Break

We all have habits, right? Some good, some not-so-good. And some of us are more bound by habits and routines than others. My morning routine of ‘coffee first!’, is sacrosanct. Pity help anyone who stands between me and that first coffee of the day. Once I’m caffeinated – I’m fine, and the immediate vicinity is once again a safe place to be.


Part of my routine features the chair I sit in to write. My favourite chair in summer is by the door, leading out to the verandah.  The chair is comfortable and rocks just slightly, and with a breeze coming through the door, writing is easy.

My Outside Space

If I want to write early in the morning, this is my ‘go-to’ place. Of course, there’s another little habit that goes with that seat – when I sit out there, I have to have a coffee beside me.

Where Do You Write?

Inside? Outside?

On the Move

While travelling this great planet of ours, I’ve discovered a few places I like to claim as my writing-chair. Top of the list would have to be coffee shops and cafes.

Here are some of the places I’ve sat, with iPad and keyboard stragically placed, and churned out a blog – or two. Usually while sipping about eleven or eight coffees.

My Local

Re Cafe Nate: my neighbourhood coffee shop in Murwillumbah. It can get a bit busy here because the locals all know how good the coffee, food and service are, but it’s a great place to write; thanks Josh, Desley and Don.

West End Brisbane

Between The Bars: West End, Brisbane. This is my home-away-from-home coffee shop. Great coffee and great service; thanks Nick and Mal.

Seattle: WA

RedWing Cafe: Seattle, US. Tucked away in Rainier Beach, this is the best place for just hanging out and writing, on a cold winter’s day. The coffee, food and service are outstanding. And that’s all the encouragement I needed to sit and write. Thank you Anthony, Sue and the fantastic team who kept me fed and caffeinated while I wrote, early this year.

Berhampore (Wellington) NZ

Rinski Korsakov: Berhampore. What can I say? This was just the cutest place – with a table in the front window for people-watching, when inspiration waned. Luckily, there was no shortage of great coffee and carrot cake, when I frequented Rinski’s in September 2017.  Thanks Jet!

Where do Famous Authors Write?

J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, came up with the idea for the series while on a delayed train, but wrote in cafes in Scotland. Could it be the coffee that provides the inspiration?

If you have ever asked a writer – “Where do you write?”, what was their response? Do they favour cafes, or a park bench? Do they prefer a log cabin in the woods, or a bench on a busy street?

My guess is, writers have a favourite place when it comes to the serious business of writing. Inspiration, on the other hand, can happen anywhere.

Write On!

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July UBC – Day Six – Was I Stronger Than I Thought?

July UBC – Day Six – Was I Stronger Than I Thought?

You never know how strong you are until something goes wrong. When life throws all it has at you, you can either crumple, or stand up to it. I found out I was stronger than I thought.

There was a year in my life when everything came apart – it just slowly unravelled, and by the end of the year I knew I had to do something drastic. Without going into too much detail, the problem centred around the job I had at the time. I was a teacher, but I had taken on a promotion position that involved a lot of stress. It’s funny with teaching; you go into it for all the right reasons, but the only way to progress to higher ranks, is to leave the classroom. And in my usual non-planning way, I kind of fell into the promotion situation – temporarily at first – and then for the long haul.

Stress is a Killer!

Along with the stress of the job, I had a few personal things happening as well. It was complicated, and it was really bad timing, but, when are problems ever well-timed? I loved the core essence of my job – the kids – but coping with the other things that make up the sum of what keeps a school going, is hard. Anyone who knows a teacher, knows what I’m talking about. Could I handle another year of stress? Could I handle even one more day of stress? The answer was a resounding, No!

As One Year Ends…

As the end of the school year came hurtling towards me, I  knew there were some tough decisions to be made. There were a few options – okay, they weren’t brilliant, but they provided a faint light at the end of the tunnel. And I was reasonably sure it wasn’t the light of an oncoming train. The first thing I knew for sure, was that at least for a short time, I needed to walk away. Scanning the online job portal became my morning routine for a few weeks. I scoured the pages of jobs, always finding an excuse for not making the call that could take me away from it all. Days turned into weeks, and the situation suddenly had urgency. Then one morning, I made the call that would change my life.

Central Queensland needed a teacher for six months. If I could talk my way into it, this could solve two problems: I would be back in the classroom, and I’d be away from the stressful situation of my current position. Six months was all I needed. Because I already held a permanent position at my current school, I had to do a lot of talking to swing the temporary transfer. Government departments are so technical!

Moving On

The Principal understood my position and had actually suggested I take leave, so he was happy to endorse the move. The problems I had faced were the result of some serious mis-management issues, mixed with a shot of bullying. By the time the Principal became aware of the full extent of it, it had gone too far. My motto throughout life had always been: I can handle this. But I had slipped to one of the lowest points of my life, and would have contemplated resigning from the job I loved, if I hadn’t made the decision to take time-out, instead of leaving – with with my soul and spirit in tatters. This was one time when the I can handle this motto, failed me.

That year was tough, but so was the emotional roller-coaster I felt as I packed up my car, ready to drive the 677 kms to a place I had never been. The trip would take close to eight hours and my car was packed to the rafters, with everything I imagined I would need for the next six months. Yes, I even had my trusty old Espresso coffee machine on the back seat. Thank God I had the foresight to pack it, as I was to discover that good coffee was nowhere to be seen on weekends and late-nights in the tiny town I was headed for. Accommodation was part of the deal, so I only needed the small stuff. My teaching resources accounted for every other available space in the car.

When I couldn’t squeeze another thing in, I headed out of town. But first, a coffee with my best friend. We met at the coffee shop on the brink of the motorway; the motorway that would lead me to one of the biggest changes of my life. Saying goodbye to my best friend, the one who had been my closest ally for the past year, was hard to do. But, I reminded myself that it would only be for six months.

Leaving the sun and the surf behind…

On The Way

As I turned the car onto the highway, a wave of terror descended on me. What could I have been thinking? Was I serious? Yes, it had been a tough year. But, driving eight hours into the unknown? Was I crazy? My mind started doing a juggling act between the lesser of two evils. I kept driving. Ideas rushed through my mind, one after the other, each posing valid arguements, for and against. I kept driving. At one point I almost gave in – I almost turned around. But then, thoughts of the most stressful elements of the past year took hold; I maintained the position of ‘straight ahead – keep going – it will all be okay. I kept driving.

Within days of arriving, the new school year began and I knew I had made the right decision. It was like a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders. From the first day at my new school, I felt like I had come home. The effects of the previous year weren’t easily shaken off, but it did get better. It took at least six months to be able to breathe easily again, and fall asleep without fear of nightmares.

Six Months, And Then….

Oh, and the six months? By June, my new Principal asked me if I could arrange a permanent transfer. That was one decision I didn’t have to think about. I picked up the phone and rang my past Principal – he was happy to sign it off. And the six months? I stayed in that tiny town for five years, and met some amazing people. In my second year there, I was asked to step back into the Administration role, and I was ready for it. That same year, parents and administrators from the six schools I serviced as part of my role, nominated me for a national teaching award. I felt very undeserving, but honoured, and made it into the final round.

There is absolutely nothing like a country town and country people to restore your faith in yourself. You just have to be brave enough to accept the challenge of surrendering the known, in exchange for the unknown.

I did it! And it changed my life!

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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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Meeting? What Meeting? What Day is it Today?

Meeting? What Meeting? What Day is it Today?

Meeting? What meeting? What day is it today? Thoughts raced through my mind as I read the message. No, never mind what day is it, what time is it?

It’s 8.30 in the morning!

Coffee, as you know, is the first thing on any agenda I have anything to do with. Today was no exception. Right there at the top of the To Do List was COFFEE. Yes, I managed to go downtown yesterday afternoon and buy milk, so that wasn’t going to be a problem (like it was yesterday). I even had coffee beans.

The problem was the text I received at about 8.25am from a friend.

To go back a step, I’ll explain that I woke up early this morning – around 6am. After checking my emails and Facebook – the important issues of the day – I uncharacteristically rolled over and went back to sleep.

The ‘ping’ of the text arriving in my iPhone Messages woke me from my blissful slumber beneath the warmth of a couple of wool-filled doonas and two thick blankets (it is winter!) . The message was from a friend declaring, apologetically, that she would be late for the meeting because she had just woken up.

Meeting? What meeting?

A few texts later it was glaringly obvious that I had agreed to meet with a few people to go over some paperwork that needed attention. Was the meeting in my diary? Sadly, yes, but having something in your diary is no use unless you actually read the diary. Mental Note: set an alert for the day before, and then an hour before, on any future digital diary entries. I looked at the time – it was 8.32.

9.02am

And there I was, showered, dressed, make-up roughly applied, hair kind-of-done and ready to start the process of reading through the 30ish pages of heavy-duty paperwork that needed attention. It is just as well the proposed meeting was in walking (almost-running) distance from my unit, because I made it just in time.

My eyes were open – they just weren’t functioning very well, even though I had managed to get a coffee from the vending machine on the way. How come text looks much smaller when you haven’t had your coffee quota prior to reading it? Admittedly the words gradually increased to a readable size as the caffeine kicked in, but that can take a while when you haven’t even adjusted to daylight yet.

And so it was, today!

With the paperwork all taken care of I was once again staring down the barrel of the afternoon, with none of the morning’s documented goals met. And I was still desperately in need of a real coffee and breakfast, even though it was now after midday. So what do you do in that situation? You go to Re Cafe Nate, of course. A coffee and quiche later and all was well with the world.

 

Now, where was I on that agenda for today? Oh, behind schedule again.

There’s a lot to be said for consistency

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Oh Crikey, I Forgot to Buy Milk!

Oh Crikey, I Forgot to Buy Milk!

The first item on today’s agenda, as always, is Coffee. All was well until I realised I forgot to buy milk while I was downtown last night. Crikey – because I forgot to buy milk, there would be no coffee! And anyone who knows me well, knows that I HAVE to have my coffee, first thing in the morning.

Without Coffee – Nothing Else Happens

The only thing to do, of course, is walk across the road to Re Cafe Nate and indulge in the best coffee on the planet. And the only problem with that idea is that one coffee leads too easily to another. Suddenly, the big hand on the clock has completed a few too many circuits around the clockface. So now you are staring down the barrel of the afternoon, long before you’ve completed the morning tasks. This is not looking good.

And So It Was Today…

The photos for the article I am writing will have to wait. Which means, the words to go with the photos will also have to wait. And so the day progresses – constantly playing catch up.

  • Does it really matter if I don’t get everything done?
  • Isn’t that what I signed up for when I retired?
  • Shouldn’t deadlines be a thing of the past?

One of my favourite Douglas Adams quotes when I was mid-career was:

 I love deadlines.

I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by

It seems nothing has changed. Even though the deadlines are not set by an authoritative external body, the plans I make are meant to keep me on track, as any deadline is. I guess it doesn’t work any better now than it used to.

It’s All Because I Forgot To Buy Milk!

But the upside is, I met a friend at Re Cafe Nate and together we solved the problems of the world – well – at least our tiny part of it.

The only thing better than coffee, is coffee shared with a friend

Gotta go – need to go downtown and buy milk. Don’t want a repeat of today….

 

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What’s News?Letter – First Edition

What’s News?Letter – First Edition

My What’s News?Letter (first edition) is about to make its appearance on your computer or mobile device screen. Like all new ventures, I imagine the news will get better with time, so you’ll have to suffer through the teething problems with me. A snapshot of the life of a blogger (very broadly speaking) will unfold each week. Don’t forget to subscribe on the form at the bottom of the page.

Tragical History Tour – What happened last week?

The highlight of the past week was making contact with someone I met on my trip to New Zealand last September. Alexis was working at The Churchill restaurant in Wellington, and as usual, I couldn’t resist asking where her accent was from. Alexis hailed from Austin in Texas, so she affectionately became known as Alexis from Texas. I gave her my card and suggested she contact me when she made it across the ditch to Australia on her working holiday.

She did, and we met for lunch at Byron Bay. From there we arranged to meet in my home-town on Friday, and to have Alexis stay over for a night on her way to the Gold Coast. It was really nice to not only catch up, but to get to know Alexis better. She is an inspiration to all who consider travelling solo, no matter how young or old you are.

What’s News?Letter

Getting Down to Business – The Week Ahead

Plans for this week involve a reasonable amount of travel, and given how cold it is today, I’ll be grateful for the warmth of the car as I drive to the north side of Brisbane, mid-week.

Monday: COFFEE. Take some photos for an article I’m writing and spend at least a couple of hours actually writing the article.

Tuesday: COFFEE. More writing. Possibility of driving to the northern end of the Gold Coast to pick up a neighbour who may need a ride home. Pack for week away on the north side of  Brisbane. Watch ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ At 7.30pm on SBS – the only show I’m seriously following on my big screen TV – or any TV, actually.

Wednesday: COFFEE. Drive to the north side of Brisbane. Another coffee along the way – thank God for Drive Thru Coffee. Some writing (hopefully) when I get there. Unpack and settle in.

Thursday: COFFEE. Not sure what will be on the agenda, but I’m hoping it will be some down-time, coffee in hand, as I write from my favourite table at the Beach Shak. I’ll also factor in a walk along the beach (have you ever wondered how little exercise writer’s get?).

Friday: COFFEE. Same as Thursday – probably.

Weekend: COFFEEWatch This Space! No plans made, so anything could happen.

So that’s it, folks. My week, in a nutshell (nutshell – how appropriate!).

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments
Coffee Therapy

Coffee Therapy

If We Were Having Coffee Right Now…..

… like we used to in the old days, we’d be wondering where the years have gone. Wasn’t it just yesterday we’d head to town right after work, order our coffee, and sit and dissect the day? What worked, what didn’t, and whose day was more stressful? By the time we’d finished our coffee the stress would have dissipated, leaving us with just the paperwork, to be completed before the dawn of another day. We’d talk about the planning and marking, printing and cutting. Extra work for those who finished early. Extra scaffolding for those who found tasks more difficult. And just enough for those labelled ‘average students’. And every piece of work marked, not just with a tick but with a comment or explanation – this is right because…; have you thought about….?; great example of ….

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But here we are, living thousands of miles apart. Our lives have taken different paths over the years and although we’ve kept in touch, it just isn’t the same as sitting in that cafe, sharing our thoughts, our joys, our sorrows, over a steaming hot coffee.

If we were having coffee right now, we’d be talking about those missing years. We’d talk about why I moved away to follow a dream, and why you stayed to follow yours. We’d talk about why you eventually moved as far south as I had north, putting more miles between us. We’d talk about the good times and the bad, the funny, the sad.

If We Were Having Coffee Right Now….

… the lost years would melt away and it would be as if we had never been apart, because that’s how it is with us. And that’s how it will always be. Our dreams may have changed, but we haven’t. The bonds of friendship are stronger than the ravages of time and distance.

If we were having coffee right now, we would be what we have always been – best friends – forever.

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The following is the response from my best friend, Kathie, who summed up our friendship more eloquently than I ever could:

If we were having coffee right now the lump in my throat would not be. We shared, we cared and we laughed and we cried, but most of all we supported each other throughout.

Our friendship is bound by love, trust and forgiveness and only grew in strength no matter the distance between us. If we were sharing a coffee right now we would remember and speak fondly of our childhood and aspirations. Our dreams of travelling fulfilled, but sadly never together – CIRCUMSTANCES.

Though both our lives are successful and happy, if we were sharing a coffee right now we could be tempted to discuss regrets, but I don’t think either of us regret our choices, or in any way the choices of each other, because we share a contentment only found in true friendship.

If we were sharing a coffee right now we would have already hugged, and relaxed into a familiar pattern as if no time or distance has gone before.

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments