I hope you had a great Australia Day long weekend. While the date of its celebration is a vexed conversation at the moment and with great respect to the First Peoples of this land, I am a proud Australian and it was lovely to spend the day amongst friends. One of the highlights – as cheesy as it sounds – was singing Advance Australia Fair and as a patriotic Australian, it is the one song that always gets me choked up when I reflect on what it means to me in terms of its underlying themes about fairness and egalitarianism in what is still largely a very lucky country for most. As an Asian Australian whose great-grandparents came here with nothing, I feel nothing but gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had in my life in terms of education, a career, family and friends and I have wondered on occasion what would have become of me if they’d stayed living in abject poverty in rural China.The highlight of the day was going for an evening swim with my family and looking up into the pink sky to see a kookaburra in the enormous tree next door – a highlight only surpassed by seeing a koala (with a gum leaf stuck to its nose) on the road near the Korumburra general store on Australia Day a number of years ago while driving with Mr Rosanna on a regional road trip. There seems to be an influx of Australian animals at the moment as one of the best sights this summer break was Mr Rosanna and my eldest son seeing a large grey kangaroo hopping down Lower Plenty Road while picking up takeaway pizza from Pasquale M. I’m just glad the roads were quiet!
A few wonder women I wanted to mention today before the madness of the school year starts. My good friend and Iyengar Yoga teacher Nik Hills is taking a special yoga class ‘Yoga For The Girls’ to raise funds for girls’ education in Sri Lanka next Sunday afternoon at Laburnum Primary School in Blackburn. It’s a $20 entry fee and you will see me there if you go – please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register and BYO mat and shawl/blanket. I am also returning to regular weekly yoga classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga in Ivanhoe as well as training classes with Nikki Ellis at Cinch PT in Macleod and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. They are both good indoor disciplines to take up given the heat of summer at the moment. Stay cool!
People of a certain age will remember the film Xanadu, or at least the soundtrack, featuring Australian singer Olivia Newton-John and if you are a fan of old school roller skating you might be interested in the Collingwood Underground Roller Disco being held this Saturday from 3 – 10pm at 44 Harmsworth Street in Collingwood. If you are hanging around for the Australia Day long weekend, this child-friendly event (kids under 14 are free but all children must be supervised by adults) sounds like a lot of fun.
When I worked with chef Shane Delia last year he mentioned an SBS documentary he was filming at the time, which has actually been screening on Thursday nights called Shane Delia’s Recipe for Life. I’m yet to watch it but it’s now on my list as well as having dinner at some stage at his restaurant Maha. I’m in the middle of cobbling together another Bold Thinking Series lecture on Food later this year but this one will have a different flavour (pun intended!).
I hope you are staying cool this Summer – for me the year doesn’t really begin until after this upcoming Australia Day long weekend when everyone is back at work and reality, and routine, set in. Interesting too the ongoing debate about Australia Day and the date on which it’s celebrated. I had coffee last week with Darebin Councillor Susanne Newton where we discussed the topic at a bit more length but it’s definitely a larger conversation that’s happening around the place.
Given we had a staycation this Christmas, it’s been good to do a bit more exploring locally. There are a couple of cafes I’ve only recently discovered and am yet to visit but they include Silas Coffee in Watsonia and The Chairman Cafe & Foodstore in Heidelberg Heights. We’ve also been looking more at local coffee roasters including DC Coffee (formerly Ducale Coffee) in Preston and Dimattina’s in Reservoir now that we’ve got a Rancilio coffee machine.
If you’re after some pretty summer fashion then you may be interested in ili (I love it) in Station Street Fairfield which stocks a number of different Australian labels including Elk Accessories, Viktoria and Woods, Skin and Threads and Cable Melbourne. As for me, I’ve got my eye on a tan handbag by Status Anxiety and a leather jacket by Luxe Fashion Studio so may be saving my bickies for a while this year.
Bundoora Homestead Art Centre currently has a couple of jobs on offer if you have an arts marketing, hospitality, retail or curatorial background and are interested in working for Darebin Council. And if it’s arts you love, Puesta del Sol is being held poolside at Montsalvat in Eltham tomorrow night with Art by Twilight at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen on 27 January.
Christmas feels like ages ago now since returning to work. I was very spoilt in that I received a lovely Angus and Celeste hanging planter from Mr Rosanna which is now taking pride of place on the deck and gives me great pleasure whenever I look out of my kitchen window, but that after almost 10 years of being here – we finally had the money to upgrade our coffee machine. Our Breville machine has been great but after having had it once repaired, it sprang another more recent leak and has finally been retired. So we found ourselves at Coffee-A-Roma in Camberwell over the holiday break and brought home a Rancilio Syliva coffee machine. We weren’t the only ones upgrading to an Italian coffee machine – there were a number of people all lined up inside trying out the coffee (which was an experience in itself) and many of them were buying ‘lifetime’ machines – the Rancilio Sylvia seems to be the base model for those who can afford to upgrade to a Rocket – another Italian maker whose machines look like a million dollars (and so they should given their price!).
We’re now taking our time learning how to use the machine properly as it can be finicky and more involved than an automatic machine. I’ve always been a bit old school when it comes to machinery in general so have been very happy to finally have one.
We did spend New Year’s Eve day in Melbourne’s CBD before the crowds descended for evening fireworks and it was great to feel like a tourist in our own town visiting the Eureka Skydeck (it’s cheaper and faster to buy online tickets beforehand and it’s over an hour’s wait if you choose to do The Edge (glass bottomed experience) instead of just the Observation Deck. We were too late to get a table on the very chic Arbory Afloat pop up floating bar on the Yarra as they’d started NYE preparations (which would have been my pick for New Year’s Eve) but did get late afternoon coffee and cake at the newly opened Brunetti’s at 250 Flinders Lane almost opposite the CAE and Journal Cafe. Our New Year’s Eve was actually spent at Coburg Drive-In as our children didn’t realise there was one in Melbourne and while it was pretty tame – we had a great night out under the stars seeing in the New Year from twilight to midnight.
We’ve been parents of a fur baby, Gypsy, now for over three months and that’s changed the way we holiday so for the first time ever, we booked a pet-friendly place last-minute down at Ocean Grove and luckily discovered that Barwon Coast on the Bellarine Peninsula has a large dog beach given you can’t take your dog to the main beach. We wisely invested in a beach sun tent on sale from Anaconda and spent a number of mornings at the dog beach where both the children and the dogs could all frolic – it was a very funny sight.
We spent our last morning at the monthly Rotary Summer Sunday Market at Ocean Grove where we could take our furry friend on leash and indulge in coffee, mini donuts and fresh free range eggs. I also ended up buying this hand-made ceramic utensil holder (similar to my vintage salt pig) from a local potter based in Queenscliff.
Summer is here and it’s nice to be spending time more outdoors. There is a pop up Skate Park currently on in Watsonia but if something more leisurely takes your fancy, weekly casual Tai Chi classes outside in the sculpture garden at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen have also started. The Coburg Summer Sunday Sessions with live music at the Coburg Olympic Swimming Pool are also on every Sunday in January from 3 – 5 pm. Enjoy!
Hello! Welcome to 2018 – I hope you’ve head a great start to the forthcoming Year of the Dog in Chinese astrology but more on that another time.
I’m not referring to instant gratification in my post title above but more about dreams becoming reality. Procrastination, fear and general laziness can stop us from going after what we truly want sometimes right here and now, not at some future point somewhere in the distance. I think it’s important to go after what you want more of in your life, do what gives you the greatest sense of joy and purpose (whatever that may be) as well as find time and space to lose yourself in – ‘follow your bliss’ as the yogis say. This is not always easy given the realities of work (you are lucky if you can incorporate any of the above into your day job) and caring for others but I’m determined to spend more time doing the things I love with the people I care about the most in this coming year. Mr Rosanna and I talk about flow – the need to move more in the direction you wish to head by spending more time doing that activity in general as well as being persistent – ‘persistence beats resistance’ is another one of our own sayings. People often give up too easily. Patience and persistence are good long-term habits to cultivate.
My word for last year was ‘expansion’ and this year it’s ‘consolidation’ – I admit not terribly sexy sounding but I feel the need to capitalise on the opportunities I was given last year and build some kind of foundation from there in which to move forward again. It’s also good to stop and smell the roses and while I don’t want to rest on my laurels or be complacent, ambition without some kind of end goal isn’t terribly useful nor is continuing to push yourself to make things happen when everything happens in its own time – it’s good to live in a state of acceptance. I think it’s also important to appreciate how far you’ve come, what you have already achieved and where you are currently at – we have much to be grateful for, if you happen to be reading this blog in our particular part of the world. Do you have a word for the year?
When I was at the Leading Now leadership summit in NSW last year, keynote speaker Dr Jason Fox also mentioned his archetypes or characters he creates for himself to inhabit which again, is an interesting exercise in itself. My character last year was the ‘magician’ which I found helpful as the person who makes things happen by bringing thought leaders together in a public arena, in terms of my day job. Again, you may like to create your own character this year! It’s good to have something to inspire you.
Lazy days in the sun are here even if you are back at work this week like me. We had a great Christmas and New Year here in Melbourne and down at the beach and I’ll be back with more later this week.