Life changing speeches

inspirational speakerI feel like once, just once, you’re likely to have a teacher or somebody else who stands up at school and gives a speech that blows your mind. Of course, all the odds differ person to person, but among everyone I’ve talked to, once seems to be the consensus. Some people seem to have no idea what I’m talking about, and they’re the people you can’t help but feel a little bad for. For my part, I’ve been one of the lucky ones. For me, it’s happened twice.

I remember both of them with startling clarity. The first one happened when I was fifteen. We were having an assembly at the beginning of the school year, something to get us revved up about the six months to come. At that kind of assembly, they always get the highest achiever from the last year’s final exams to come in and give a speech. Usually, it’s nothing significant. Just some fresh-out-of-school kid, a couple of years older than the rest of us, trying their hand at a little awkward public speaking. But Alice, even though it was years ago I still remember her name, Alice was amazing. She walked in wearing a fashionable, put together outfit, her hair pulled back nicely to frame her face. Her speech was incredible, she took on the role of being an inspirational speaker and just took it to a whole other level. Afterwards, we all walked out professing ‘that is what I want to be when I grow up’.

My second encounter with a life changing speech was a little different. The school had hired out this motivational business speaker to talk to us about getting our foot in the door and becoming a part of the business world. To be honest with you, looking back I don’t even really remember what exactly she talked about during the speech, but I walked out of it at the end and I had made a small decision, that led to a bigger decision, that changed the course of my life.

Life change starts in Lorne

book hotel in LorneI’m not afraid of heights, but it’s not like I want to go skydiving any time soon. I know it’s a strange choice for someone of my background but I want to try and be more adventurous. Life without spice is too depressing a thought for me, a full life is what my mother and my wife want. I’m glad that I am making all the arrangements without putting the burden on my wife.

I know that I’ll be dealing with professionals who will respect my wishes. I mean life counselors are trained to listen and advise after all. I know that I am long for this world, I’ll probably live till I’m 95, it keeps me up at night. I want to sort all this life stuff out before it’s too late. I hate the thought of having regrets, I can’t deal with the idea that I won’t be living each day to the fullest. I’m whisking my wife away for a surprise mid week holiday to Lorne. I recently saw a fantastic tv show about accommodation on the great ocean road. It’ll mean we’ll have to make up some excuse to get off work but it’ll be worth it. Neither of us really like our jobs and it’s time to make a change anyway. No regrets. I don’t want that to happen so I’ve already told my wife that I want her to join me on my adventures, she has my blessing to go crazy. I don’t know if she’ll be angry by the idea but I need her to know that her life can be so much more than it is. It’s not something that any partner wants to think about but it’s important to have that talk. We need to get out there and do crazy things sometimes like book a hotel in Lorne for a romantic holiday. I don’t know much about what happens after you make a huge life change, but I know that I want to take the chance.

Flower show nightmares

frangipanisI have promised Angelina I will escort her to this month’s flower show. She asks me every month and I always make up some excuse but this time she went through my assistant who thought I would want to spend the day with my irritating sister looking at different colour varieties of roses and various native shrub arrangements. Apparently this month, the focus is on frangipanis. Angelina is incredibly excited as frangipanis are her favourite flower and she is hoping to score some rare colour forms. I told my assistant that in the future she is to decline all of Angelina’s invitations unless they are to highly exclusive restaurants that she has gained access to via her absurdly wealthy husband. The last time I went with Angelina to the flower show she spent nearly $1000 on bougainvillea arrangements and mini fruit trees for her front garden. The woman is going to have to invest in a fresh plot of land if she continues to buy plants and flowers at the rate she currently is. Of course, money is no problem for her. In fact, she often spends hours shopping for flowers online looking for extremely rare flowering plants that she can get shipped over from exotic lands. She often spends far more on the shipping costs than the actual cost of the flower, I believe there were six figures being thrown around when she finally managed to procure an exotic bat flower from a remote island in Indonesia. I’m hoping this month’s flower expo will just be quickie, we’ll have a walk around and then get some brunch. Of course, she’ll have to get all her frangipani lulus blood flowers sent home via courier as she has already told me she plans to buy as many as she can. I am hoping she will have booked us a table at the new brunch spot opposite the flower show that has had queues round the block since it opened.

Can we talk about the office party?

corporate functions MelbourneI may be a humble provider of food service, but I know when something’s up. I always could smell trouble in the wind, like a wolf picking up a scent. I suppose I really should’ve been a detective instead of making canapes, but perhaps there’s still time. In any case, I keep my ear to the ground even when I’m serving, because you just never know what you’ll pick up, even in a place that seems as interesting as Melbourne. Corporate function rooms are simply full of news and the likes, the latest information on technology, companies going under, companies on the rise, Judy’s habit of taking parking spaces that do not belong to her. I hear that one a lot, funnily enough…perhaps the lesson here is to be wary if there’s a lady called Judy in your company who keeps eyeing your personal, private parking space as if she’s very much like to lay claim to it. Dangerous name, that is.

But…well, perhaps I shouldn’t say. I don’t often DO much with this information, mind you. I walk through all those party venues holding a silver tray and people just say what they like, as if I’m part of the furniture. Suits me just fine, and I don’t even know most of them. But there was a big fancy corporate function last night for that Lawrence Corp. You know the ones, they’re selling all that cheap, wonderful technology. I still have my mobile from 1995, thanks very much. Anyway, we were called in on short notice because the other catering company folded all of a sudden. So odd…

I didn’t partake in any of the pre-catering drinks- arthritis- but while I was serving, I noticed something very strange. It just seemed that everyone was having the same conversation. Maybe it was a hot topic, what do I know? People in function rooms across Melbourne can talk about what they like, but ALL these hundred or so people were talking about water coolers. Same thing, over and over again. They needed water cooler installation. All I can say is that the folks at Lawrence Corp love their fresh water!

Adore your garden too

bulbs for saleYes, it is true, I adore real estate. I live it and breathe it. It helps that it is how I make a living but I also love it externally to my job. I love what people do with their homes and the different factors considered when purchasing properties. One thing that always stands out to me is the impact the garden has on potential buyers. I have seen people completely fall in love with a house and then step outside, only to do a complete 180 and run out of there as fast as they can. It is not hard to make a garden look as presentable as your house. Some big bold flowers can really do the trick. I have recently been recommending people go online and order some flowers, pre-planted if you don’t have a green thumb. A great option are some calla lillies. They come in all sorts of colours and make a real statement to anyone that walks into your backyard, and they are relatively low maintenance. Just keep watering them! It can really turn buyers off when your garden is just a scrap of grass and a rusty climbing frame. It doesn’t take much effort or cost a lot to order some bulbs, seeds and flowers online and give it a spruce. You never know, you might like gardening and discover your new hobby! The calla lily hot cherry variety is my favourite, it is sophisticated and vibrant all at the same time. You’d be surprised how many of my guests have commented on my lilies when they come over. Investing in some summer flowering bulbs before you get your house on the market for the summer season can end up earning you a lot more money than you spent. A lush flowering bed adds value to your entire property.

Video Game Financier

When Charles first came to talk to me about his future plans I had no idea why. We had never really spoken about anything other than video game releases and new burger places we had tried. He seemed very serious and when I tried to crack a joke that we should just play video games instead of chatting, he did not laugh. Apparently he has decided he wants to become a a video game developer and he wants to attend a video game design course in Melbourne. I told him that’s a great idea but didn’t really have much else to say on the topic. Then I realised why he was really talking to me. He needs some financial help to enroll in the technology course, he needs help with money to live in Melbourne as you would expect. That’s where I come in. I have never seen Charles act so sternly, I half expected him to whip out a financial plan and tell me about my return on investment in the coming years. It didn’t take me too long to come up with an answer. Of all of Charles’ absurd ideas this one is probably the best and most deserving of funding. I immediately wrote him a cheque and stipulated the funds must only be used for the game design course in Melbourne, or related living costs. I had a slight fear that he might turn up in two weeks having been on a blowout in Las Vegas or something but he assured he was very serious about this. I trust him. After we settled all the finances we got to talking about what he wants to do long-term once he gets his video game qualification. He plans to develop competitive sport management games aimed at adults. I am impressed by his determination, and the fact that all this was going on when I thought all he thought about was burgers and sleep schedules.

Home styling market trends

home stylingJohn and I have been searching for somewhere to live for about six months now. We are just not agreeing on anywhere. The place that I loved, he thought was too small and the one he wanted, I thought was way too big! I have very high hopes for an apartment we are going to see this weekend. It’s 5 minutes from my office and only 10 from John’s. It is somewhere in the middle of the two we liked previously in terms of size and it has a communal garden! I don’t even want to think about the drama’s we are going to have when we come to furnishing the place. John’s mum is an interior stylist; she knows all the best property staging companies to advise on market trends when it comes to decorating a home for auction. I know she is going to get very involved in our design choices. A lot of the stuff she likes is actually rather amazing but way outside of our budget and way too ‘styled’.

I prefer a slightly more natural look, a hodge podge of meaningful and personal pieces. I find that all the places we are seeing look the same; the same shades of dark wood, minimal greys, slate, polished concrete and so on. I think John likes the minimal scando inspired look but I don’t want to live in just another new build. His mum keeps sending me images of bespoke woodcraft pieces and vintage candelabras, I fear I am going to have to give in to something. I keep telling her she needs to calm down until we actually find a place to live! At the moment we have no mantelpiece on which to place the exquisite 18th century compass she has found for us. I have just about managed to stop her from coming with us to look at all the apartments, especially the one this weekend. I keep telling her I don’t want to seem presumptuous by showing up with an home styling expert, as I know she would be unable to control her urges to measure things and draw up plans.