Play on

As the global economy continues its state of free fall, it’s been hard to let go and accept what is has brought. It has been a somewhat grim week ending with disrupted Anzac Day celebrations where our thoughts have been with those who fought for us in the past and those fighting for us now – all frontline workers including the four police officers so tragically killed on the Eastern freeway. There is a local fundraising event Run Rosanna for Vic Police on Saturday 2 May if you are in a position to give.

Me at the Ivanhoe Harriers 6km handicap last month before the shutdown

Speaking of which, I have gone cap in hand this week personally asking a number of alumni to donate to the La Trobe Student Crisis Appeal which ends on 30 April – I am hopeful of reaching our $550k target given there’s less than $30k to go. While I generally work in the volunteering space asking alumni to only give back their time and talent, this week I have asked for treasure in the form of money and have had success, so maybe yet I will make a fundraiser.

More seriously, depending on what happens with the higher education sector and any kind of government support (none of which looks forthcoming at this stage) – stand downs and redundancies may be on their way and it has given me pause for thought regarding what next if need be – potentially a return to study if Mr Rosanna can hold on to his job. While I have previously seen my long term future in this sector (and in Alumni Relations and Advancement), Covid-19 has completely turned many of us on our heads as the jobs and security we knew and took for granted are carried away into the ether. Unfortunately, more pain lies ahead but it has given me a chance to practise equanimity and live in the present, which I get to unwrap each day and enjoy with grace and good humour.

Despite the physical restrictions of now, there is freedom of thought and no-one can take away your values or dignity in the words of Asylum Seeker Resource Centre CEO and La Trobe alumnus Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM – who made such a powerful speech and impression on me at one of last year’s graduations ceremonies. We have all been forced to pivot and innovate and perhaps be re-born on the other side of this pandemic. The planet and wildlife – our creatures in the sea and sky and on the earth – are being given a chance to re-generate and renew and my hope is we move to a more sustainable existence as restrictions slowly end in time. We are still in such a position of great privilege compared with many of our overseas counterparts and I think this time of living a simple life in this make or break year has made many of us question – how much is enough and how much do we really need in order to be happy?

Like my current Director, I am a fan of many sporting analogies including quotes sprouted by past AFL football coaches along the lines of no matter where the game is – just do something, do anything but continue to play on and worry about the inputs not the outcomes, which will take care of themselves. I hope like me, no matter what your current circumstances are, you will continue to play on in the game of life and be happy now.



Luxury may be hard to come by these days but it’s still nice to dream. Tiffany and Co has launched its T1 range of rose gold (with silver to come) jewellery (pictured below) and I’m loving the bold design representing courage, strength and optimism – tres bling! I’ve also loved their more modern HardWear collection launched a couple of years ago, which symbolises New York – a place that is doing it hard at the moment but one I still hope to visit at some future point when life returns to normal.


Like many people, I’m now staring down the barrel of reduced pay or hours (or both), which is better than losing my job altogether. Many people are struggling financially and otherwise and I’ve been making hard choices regarding which individuals and businesses to support with the money I have as I’m sure is the case with many of you too. International students are doing it particularly hard given the situation they now find themselves in with the government putting Australians first – it’s pretty dire for those missing out on any kind of support. Beyond the health crisis, the government and big business in particular will need to lead the way out economically on the other side. We are lucky to be thinking along these lines given how well we’ve been able to contain the coronavirus, buying ourselves time to prepare and plan. Interesting to see some of the opposition’s comments this week criticising the Chief Health Officer (which they’re fully entitled to do) but I do think now is a time for solidarity and political bi-partisanship and it’s not going to win them any favours. We all need to be playing for #TeamAustralia regardless of which way we normally swing.


I’ve spent this week on leave de-cluttering my house. After 12 years in Rosanna, it’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate. It’s been good to distract myself and show something for my time off although there are no judgements here if you are spending your time just putting one foot in front of the other. It’s been challenging for many people who have children supervising their home schooling on top of working this first week of term 2. I still have more de-cluttering to do but I think the physical act of creating more space has been good mentally for me – it’s good to live light.

I love linen bedset

I’ve also had a number of catch ups with friends and family – this week having a special Zoom session with over a dozen of my University friends – some of who are based interstate and overseas in Asia and Europe. It was like The Brady Bunch on steroids with each of us getting floor time to talk about ourselves – what we are doing now and how we are coping at this time. It was quite cathartic to share how we were feeling over two hours and as one friend commented, it almost felt like an outing. We will catch up again soon and it’s an incredible privilege to be in a position to do this.


Mother’s Day is coming up and while I’m on the topic of indulgences, I am going to put linen sheets on my wish list – something I’ve never had but always wanted. I love linen do some beautiful sets and you can order free samples to check what colours look like in real life prior to making a purchase. I also bought some of Endota Spa’s Signature Blend hand and body lotion (pictured above) last year after having a treatment while on holiday and it’s been a great reminder of the spa experience using it daily at home.

A number of Melbourne’s fine dining restaurants have pivoted to takeaway including Di Stasio and Shane Delia’s Maha Go and if you have the budget, it’s a great opportunity to order delivery meals from places you wouldn’t ordinarily visit. Locally, Mercers in Eltham is also offering takeaway if you have a special occasion that you now have to celebrate at home.


While I bought some hairdressing scissors this week and had a go at my fringe (with limited success!), my friend Jonno from Valiant Barbers in Heidelberg Heights has cautiously re-opened if you have big or little men who need a haircut and you’re prepared to risk it. Local florist French Blue Flowers on Burgundy Street has also re-opened and selling beautiful bouquets and tulip bunches. These beautiful dahlias from Club Creek Bulb Farm are also being sold for $12 a bunch (pictured above) at the Alphington Farmers Market if you’re looking for a pop of colour to cheer you up.


For us, our luxury living in this part of the world is regular ‘forest bathing’ as a family in the secluded Banyule Flats (above) where you can still find yourself largely alone despite the number of people now visiting parks. Bliss…

The luxury of time

Happy Easter. It’s a different kind of Easter celebrating at home this year. From the sentiment I’ve picked up on social media, it has not been an easy week for a lot of people dealing with the subsequent fall out socially and economically of Covid-19, coupled with being confined at home with their family or housemates if they live with other people. Many people live on their own and self-isolation can be even more challenging for single people, given we are social creatures.

Some of my friends are questioning the severity of stage 3 restrictions but personally I’d rather go hard, go early than experience what New York or Europe has in terms of infection and deaths. I guess we’ll never know, but history will be the judge. And for those complaining about how difficult things are, The Project’s Waleed Aly issued a good reminder this week as to why we are still the lucky country. Things are hard relative to what we’ve been accustomed after almost 30 years of good times in Australia. We’ve been extremely fortunate to live in an incredibly privileged and affluent country, which is why the hardship we’re experiencing now is such a shock for so many people.

Trying to see the pink supermoon from our deck on Wednesday night

I keep returning to that conundrum of when you have time, you have no money but when you have money, you have no time. Whether you still have a job or not, all of us now have time on our hands and time to choose our own adventure regarding how we spend the next six months (and beyond). A lot will be determined by our own strength of character and our attitude, as the challenge will be largely mental. Instead of chasing after what we want in the external world, we have to turn this around and want what we already have inside the four walls of our home and in our own minds. I’d like to focus on what I can do and use this time more productively (as someone who has previously questioned and complained about the busy-ness of modern life) with time being a precious commodity not even the richest person in the world can buy more of (which Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have discussed in the past).

Mr Rosanna’s landscaping handiwork

It is a chance to live life in the slow lane with a focus on the local and sustainable. A chance to read or write that book, do that course to re-skill or upskill, take up an art or craft, start that herb garden or veggie patch, raise some chickens, clean up or do up your place in whatever way you can, exercise, beautify, create and bake. There’s been a massive pivot to all sorts of online entertainment and courses and in some ways, it’s a blessing to be heading into Winter where it feels more natural to be inside, as much as getting fresh air and spending time outdoors will continue to be important.

People are already embracing this time spent cocooning, there’s been a run on building, nursery and hardware items, activewear, lounge wear and comfy clothes, bread tins, puzzles, beauty products and hairdressing scissors! Food-wise, I’ve been told the Coburg Farmers Market is still on as well as CERES Joe’s Market Garden. You can also now order and pick up fresh fruit, vegetables and other groceries from the Open Food Network with the Melbourne Farmers Marketplace in Alphington until online grocery services are up and running.


I’ve now done a couple of Zoom yoga classes and had to improvise in terms of props (as you can see above) – I always knew that sociology text book would come in handy one day! Needless to say, I have ordered myself some yoga blocks and a belt from iyogaprops for home practice. My work colleagues have also started doing pilates and HIIT classes on FitOn. There’ll be no excuse not to emerge from this time fitter rather than fatter…

Let everything happen to you

How has your week been? It is life, but not as we know it trying to adjust to the new normal. For me, this included trialling online music lessons for my kids and their music teachers, and doing an online yoga class with my girlfriend Nik – whose business has actually increased with the amount of private clients she can now accommodate irrespective of location.

My new office

I’ve also had Zoom and FaceTime catch ups with friends and family although some are concerned about data privacy with Zoom and prefer Google hangouts and Skype. Whatever platforms you are using, I hope you’ve been connecting with your tribe online – it will become increasingly important as time goes on.

I’ve had a less intense week at work but the situation is precarious in higher education and now, in the professional classes who may have thought they were immune (no pun intended) from the coronavirus. The La Trobe Senior Executive Group made a decision late last week to take a voluntary 20% pay cut – something which has already been instituted in large management consultancies like KPMG. It is sobering as all of us have to deal with the health, and economic, flow on effects of this pandemic. It will be a different world when we come out on the other side.

It’s been great to see Woolworths Priority Assistance and Pick Up service now up and running and I am hoping online grocery shopping with all the major supermarket retailers comes back soon. Mr Rosanna and I dropped in to Leo’s in Heidelberg this morning and while it was quiet when we got there, it ended up being very busy by the time we left mid-morning. While some people were definitely practising social distancing and wearing gloves and/or masks, it was disappointing to see others completely oblivious. I ended up giving a clearly frightened elderly couple our spot at the front of the check out queue so they could leave as quickly as possible and I hope more decency, courtesy and thoughtfulness is shown by all of us at this time. I’ve found it abhorrent that some people of Asian background have been singled out for racist treatment (which is not my experience of most Australians) and that behaviour absolutely should be called out – it is completely unacceptable, un-Australian and out of step with the times.

If you’re not wanting to physically visit a supermarket, Biviano and Sons (fruit, vegetables, bread, meat and dairy) are doing home delivery as well as Organic Origins and the now weekly Alphington Farmers Market is on Sunday (which also offers a pick up service). The flu shot is also out and you should book in as soon as possible with your local GP or pharmacist.

Daylight savings ends this weekend and darker days and nights will soon be with us. It makes it all the more important to keep your spirits up, keep exercising, keep in touch and keep going, whether you feel like it or not. That rainy day has indeed arrived so eat off your good china, break out your best bottle of whatever you have stashed away and dance while you can. My family have been entertaining ourselves by streaming movies and finally watched Jojo Rabbit the other day – it’s a very timely movie if you haven’t seen it and the line from German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s Go to the Limits of your Longing, which ends the movie, is absolutely beautiful and meaningful right now.

Let everything happen to you. Beauty and Terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.