Stranger Things

What a weird week it’s been in Melbourne. I think we’ve all got some understanding of what it feels like to be discriminated against, at the moment being a Victorian with other states not wanting us to visit. I can also understand and think we’d be doing the same thing if there was a second COVID-19 peak happening interstate but it’s definitely a strange feeling to have all this going on here.



The winter sun has made things bearable as well as the freedom to exercise outside and I’ve managed to almost return to my pre-self isolation weight although I’m getting pretty tired of eating tuna and kaleslaw for lunch. The next fortnight is traditionally the coldest two weeks of the year so we should all relish our time in the sun when it is out. Mr Rosanna has been enjoying the return of footy and I stood outside at the local oval today watching the Banyule Bears train in 5 degrees! It was definitely beanie and puffer jacket weather.


This coming week sees the opening of many of Melbourne’s cultural institutions and if you are having a staycation these school holidays like most of us – it’s nice to know they’ll be open even with social distancing measures in place. While I’ve felt a bit reticent returning to public spaces, it’s been interesting to know that it’s been more family gatherings and house parties, which has resulted in spreading the virus.


Home is where the heart is for those of us lucky enough to be living with other people in functional relationships and healthy family dynamics. I think the pandemic has forced many people to re-appraise their lives and what’s important. I’ve been reading about people spending more on homewares and furnishing their living, dining and outdoor areas given the amount of time most of us are now at home. I do have a house obsession and have enjoyed seeing what The Block’s Kyle&Kara have done with their forever home in Sydney’s northern beaches (that spiral staircase!), while closer to home I think the renovation done by the builder owner at 19 Dwyer Street in Macleod has been a masterful one – very now and very wow!


I’ve had a pretty full on week at work to end the financial year with La Trobe University announcing voluntary redundancies and staff agreeing to take a pay cut for 12 – 18 months in order to save over 200 jobs. Sadly, there will still be forced redundancies to come but hopefully conducted more strategically, rather than indiscriminately, now that the Uni has bought itself time to determine how best to move forward. Interesting too to see the price hike for arts and humanities degrees on par with law and medicine – I do wonder if there will be unintended consequences in doing this.


Mr Rosanna and I are both proud Arts graduates and our degrees have allowed us to hone our critical thinking, problem solving, relationship building, communications and many other skills that have well and truly set us up in our careers and our lives. I met a former Pro Vice Chancellor last year who also had ‘only’ an Arts degree as do many of our leading politicians and journalists – their accessibility and inherent value can’t be underestimated.


On a much brighter note, I will be happy to see our new ‘Reunions’ brand campaign air on TV tonight if you’re watching Master Chef and I had a small part to play in helping select and introduce a number of our best and brightest young alumni who feature in the campaign to my colleagues in Marketing & Recruitment. They did an outstanding job filming everyone on campus with our agency the week COVID-19 hit and we all went into lockdown – I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Let there be light

My past week has been pretty turbulent and I was glad to celebrate the solstice today with a potluck dinner with friends outside on our deck in front of the fire last night. Given the rise in COVID-19 cases in Victoria, the continued state of emergency and tightening of restrictions, it’s been a rather shaky week. I hope we manage to suppress the virus again if we remain vigilant and play by the rules. Mr Rosanna and I expect to stay working from home for an indefinite period of time.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

I’m always glad to see the end of the shortest day of daylight and this past week has been world meat free week and today is the International Day of Yoga. Our friends who came over last night have long been pescatarians so we had soup and fish for dinner. I bought Hetty McKinnon’s latest cookbook ‘Family‘ (below) on sale a while ago on the recommendation of another vegetarian friend who has a couple of Hetty’s other recipe books. When we were in the office, I would often have food envy looking at her lunch creations! While we are not completely meat-free, Mr R and I have incorporated more plant foods and seafood into our daily diet and I have managed to lose some of my iso-kilos from lockdown although still have a while to go.


I’ve been running as well as continuing to practise yoga over Zoom during this period and think that anyone who owns an activewear brand has probably done well over this time and I do love some of the designs of Pip Edwards’ Australian brand PE Nation – a little bit 80s and a whole lot bold (below). A reminder too local people that my friend Nikki Ellis’ Cinch PT studio will re-open from tomorrow if you’re also needing to get into shape and shed some of those iso-kilos!

PE Nation image via David Jones


Finally, Finders Keepers at Home has been on this weekend and if you are in a position to support local artists buying gifts for yourself or others, it’s a good time to stock up. My cousin Beck Ng is one of those artists and I’m glad she’s had other options to sell her wares besides markets and bricks and mortar stores. It will be interesting to see how many retailers stay online and how many go back to physical outlets once the pandemic is over.



Dance like nobody is watching

Well while we may all be trying to live like it’s heaven on earth, I know it’s not exactly been fun times for most of us. My heart is broken for many people who have lost their jobs or had to watch the businesses they’ve built from scratch lose customers overnight. These are trying times and a test of our resilience. Stay strong wherever you are in the journey.


My friend Dani Ahimastos, Economic Development Officer at Banyule Business has put me on to The Fitness Marshall on YouTube for a bit of hip hop action and there’s nothing like a boogie to get you going if you’re feeling down. Speaking of which, the online Leaps and Bounds Music Festival is currently on and the Friday night Bandroom Boogie Series sessions at the Corner Hotel have already started.


It’s been a long wait for live music venues and nightclubs to re-open and I have signed the Save our Scene petition to help keep the music going in Melbourne. One of my all-time favourite bands from my misspent youth is Soul II Soul who were meant to be touring next month. I spent many a night at a club dancing to some of their biggest hits and they have postponed their tour until December in Melbourne shifting their venue from the Palais Theatre in St Kilda to Festival Hall in the city.


Many of you will have seen actor Meyne Wyatt’s powerful monologue on racism on the ABC this week and many people have called racism the virus which tears people and countries apart. The pandemic has brought many things to bear including young people and women being disproportionately affected and the issue of racism towards Asians and Indigenous people. La Trobe’s upcoming online public lectures explore both themes. My events colleagues are holding the Bold Thinking Series: Gender Equality and COVID-19 this Wednesday at 5pm while there will be an Ideas and Society lecture on Asians in Australia on 8 July and I’ll be tuning in to both.

It’s been turbulent times at the University with the higher education sector stuck in the middle of political and economic to-ing and fro-ing between the Australian and Chinese governments. It’s been disheartening and I am hoping some preparedness to make concessions, greater diplomacy and innovative solutions that benefit both countries might help shift the focus.


I hope you’ve had a great long weekend especially if you’ve managed to escape to the country or the beach. While it has been cold, the sunshine and blue skies make all things bearable in winter. I’ve been both running and walking in single digit temperatures trying to stay active. The ‘exercise and socialise’ mantra has also been in my head and I’ve been meeting friends to get takeaway coffees before going for long walks outside – coffee and conversation as well as movement and I have really enjoyed my ‘walkie talkies’ as I call them.

9 Charlton Road Eaglemont – all images via

I had a pretty tumultuous week on the work front last week – it’s never great to make front page news for all the wrong reasons but I will say that La Trobe University is very much still open for business and not about to go anywhere in a hurry. Things are not as dire as what’s been portrayed in the media. The higher education sector in general is hurting with little federal government support nor international student income and there will be inevitable pain ahead, but I still believe in the future of anchor institutions like ours that mean so much to local and global communities, and luckily so do many people in more powerful positions than mine.


The world has felt very much in a state of change with Black Lives Matter protests overseas, interstate and here in Melbourne. While I believe in the right of people to peacefully protest and the need for solidarity, I’m not sure about the wisdom of doing it during a global pandemic but people make their own choices. Life can be fragile and as a ‘person of colour’ – the end of institutionalised and endemic racism is something to aim for especially in multicultural, modern societies like ours. As someone who works with young people, I am buoyed by the fact that they are a lot more open-minded, socially conscious and inclusive in their outlook, values and behaviour.


While we’ve had a staycation this past weekend, it’s been great to have caught up with family face-to-face after so long – my children have loved seeing their cousins before they return to school this week. We also had an impromptu lunch outside at Rockin’ Rolls cafe in Heidelberg (who do a delicious crackling pork Bahn Mi) after a very quick visit in and out of the Asics outlet at Uni Hill in Bundoora to pick up new running shoes for the kids. We did have to leave our name at the cafe which is the new normal and I will be taking it slowly in terms of socialising indoors at public venues as previously mentioned.


In these times of economic hardship, it’s still nice to dream and another house has caught my eye this past week – this Art Deco stunner (pictured above and below) at 9 Charlton Road in Eaglemont. The owners clearly have a love of the monochromatic plus that pool! And I love the walk-in pantry and that glamorous walk-in wardrobe. I wish…