Women’s Work is Never Done

TableRecently we went to the launch of Be Enterprise, an innovative social enterprise program of Logan Women’s Health and Wellbeing Centre. The evening combined the launch of the program with a healthy amount of fund raising. The invitation to attend had been extended to me by Liz Irvine, Chair of the Board, and since I’d had a role in her being on the board in the first place it was an offer I really couldn’t refuse.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a women focused event and it was great to step outside my normal routine. I felt recharged after the night as I listened to women with conviction and passion speak about the work they do to make a difference to women’s lives.

Shannon Fentiman MP – Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Member for Waterford reminded us that the gender pay gap is still alive and well, with woman being paid, on average, 17% less than men. I thought of a recent conversation Continue reading

60 years of loving

How has life, and the way we date, changed since Rhonda and Arthur met and married?  This couple, my inspiring parents-in-law, Stevens loving Mum and Dad, and wonderful grandparents to my children married on 1 October 1955, 60 years ago.

P1080380 (2)They met on a blind date.  For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s where friends set up a date for you with someone you don’t know.  Kind of similar to Tinder except you didn’t get to stalk their Facebook page to see what they looked like.

Rhonda and Arthur courted.  The definition of courting for their time would have been “be involved with (someone) romantically, with the intention of marrying”.  The urban dictionary today gives the definition as “traditionally courting would include no sexual activity but today that is not usually followed”. I didn’t ask them which definition they followed, and I don’t ask my kids which kind of courting they do either.

Sixty years ago Continue reading

The unconventional baby shower

P1140475 (2)For most of my life I would probably have described myself as a non-traditionalist. While I’ve always enjoyed celebrating Christmas and birthdays I’ve never felt the need to eat the same food with the same people at the same time each year. To celebrate Christmas I’d be happy if it was a great curry and a bunch of friends and family on Boxing Day. Nevertheless, I have always enjoyed and relished the times when people come together to celebrate momentous life events and holidays. I love these rituals of connection and Sam and Erin’s unconventional baby shower delighted my heart.

The grandparents to be cant wait
The grandparents to be cant wait

We had been expecting an invite to an October wedding but that had been cancelled with the impending arrival of a baby girl. Instead the baby shower invite arrived and offered “Beer, Bubbles and Barbeque” at their place in Sydney. At first we weren’t going to go. We thought it was a bit over the top to get on a plane and fly to Sydney for a baby shower. As the date of the celebration came closer we felt more and Continue reading

Losing my comfort in the vortex of change

P1140494 (2)I’ve been back at work for five weeks now and feel as if I’m stuck in the spin cycle of the washing machine. The organisation I work for quadrupled its size in the last two months after winning a government contract. There are lots of new offices with minimalist fit outs in new locations, new staff, not enough staff and IT systems that just can’t keep up with the new demands.

The story of my laptop illustrates the chaos and frustration I have experienced since I’ve been back.  On day one I asked for a laptop to be issued back to me. I need this to do my work as I was told there was no computer for me at the offices I was assigned to.  Apparently this was quite an outrageous request in this new world of work. Continue reading

The best thing about travelling

Beautiful view from our home
Beautiful view from our home

I have often said that one of the best things about travelling is coming home, and I still find that to be true.  I walked into our home and relinquished myself to the comfort and familiarity of a space that is ours. I am so full of gratitude for our windfall in the lottery of life that has us living in Australia, it’s not called the “lucky country” for nothing.

P1140404 (2)For the last week we have both sunk into the couch, with a distinct unwillingness to move for any real amount of time. We returned to a cold Brisbane winters day where the daytime temperatures only got up to about 19°C and night time was as low as 7°C, I know that’s like summer in some places. The apartment gets no sun in winter and the tile floor, which is better suited to a hot summers day, is cold underfoot We venture out for small excursions before once again curling up on the lounge, Fonzie the dog at our feet and the heater on.  We are reluctant to return to “normal life” too quickly so we do it in bite sized pieces.  We sit wrapped in the comforting cocoon of our home.

Fonzie welcomed us home
Fonzie welcomed us home

I have spoken to my boss and the reality of returning to work Continue reading

Eight things I’ll never do again while travelling.

  1. ticketI’ll never protect my airline ticket with my life. Airline tickets used to be as valuable as your passport and they were difficult to replace if you lost them. You couldn’t just log onto a computer to get another copy.  Each flight sector had a separate voucher and carbon copy which were pulled off when you checked in. If you were doing a lot of flights you were almost carrying a book with you.
  2. I’ll never request a non-smoking seat.  When I first started travelling you could smoke on planes.  Not being a smoker I would request a non-smoking seat however the smoke didn’t seem to respect the demarcation line.  I was shocked to discover that planes were not all smoke free until the late 1990’s. Flying is now much more pleasant and there is no need to request that non-smoking seat.
  3. travelllers chequesI’ll never regularly queue at a foreign bank. Gone are the days when you queued at the bank to cash in your travellers cheques. For those that don’t know, this was how you carried your money.  You obtained your travellers cheques before you left to travel and signed each one of them in the bank. You then went to the foreign bank when you were overseas to exchange them for local currency, signing them again in front of the teller.  It was a challenge to work out how much money you’d need for a trip and obtaining extra funds was expensive and time consuming, but at least you didn’t run up a credit card debt.
  4. I’ll never restrict the number of photos I take. Film used to come in 12, 24 or 36 rolls and depending on where you were travelling it could be difficult to obtain, and even more difficult to develop. You also had to choose the type of print you wanted when you bought the film – slides, colour or black and white. In the digital age we always take that extra photo, just in case, it’s so easy to delete those 100’s of unneeded photos, but often we don’t. I’ll just keep clicking away.
  5. booksI’ll never load my luggage with a pile of books. I am a fan of the mini ipad to read on.  I love that no matter where I am in the world I can download an ebook or an audiobook from my local Brisbane library, or buy one.  Though I do live in fear of a flat battery and a long flight with no reading material.
  6. Sadly, I’ll never swap books with a stranger again. Depending on where you were travelling getting your hands on an English book you hadn’t read was like finding gold.  My reading repertoire expanded extensively in this way as I would read whatever was available.  I remember obtaining Freedom at Midnight through swapping a book with a fellow traveller in India.  This powerful book described events in the India independence movement and ended with the death of Mahatma Ghandi.  What a wonderful way to get an education, reading that as I travelled by train through India.  Digital reading has stopped this sharing, I don’t even know what Steven is reading.
  7. I’ll never loiter outside a post office. Before emails, Facebook and Skype the only way to stay in contact while travelling was through the occasional long distant phone call or treasured letter from home.  Family sent letters “poste restante” to a city that you anticipated you would travel to.  Mail would be held for a month and you needed to show your passport to collect it.  Long distant phone calls would also be made from the post offices.  In those days the post offices of major cities were hubs of emotion as you lined up either to be delighted at receiving a letter or devastatingly disappointed by no mail.
  8. aerogrammeI’ll never write an aerogramme. An aerogramme was a thin, lightweight, blue piece of pre-folded and gummed paper for writing a letter.  The letter and the envelope were one in the same and it was much cheaper to send this than a regular letter. I have a treasury of aerograms and letters that Steven and I exchanged when he went travelling not long after we met.  I wonder if we will re-read digital love emails in the same way.

What have I missed? What will you never do again while travelling?

Fuelling my Papier Mâché fantasies in Mexico

P1140377 (2)
Mexican Day of the Dead papier mache sculptures

About three years ago I started making papier mâché “things”.  First I made a small garden dweller, then a larger fortune teller that I titled “Looking for certainty in an uncertain world”. Next came a range of fantasy type plants made predominantly from newspaper and discarded nepresso pods because I love the colours they come in.  Until three years ago I had never done anything artistic and my work is very “primitive”.

P1140379 (2)I still don’t really understand why I ended up doing papier mâché but I love the process of taking what others see as rubbish and making Continue reading