Is where I do prefer to be. I have friends and family who live in the inner west, eastern and south-eastern suburbs but have largely been a northsider since leaving high school (with a brief period house sharing in Windsor during my university years). There’s a new photography book called Northside: a time and place by Warren Kirk which has just been launched by Scribe Publishing with it being a praise for suburbia – where many of us are now working and living our lives in lockdown.
I hope today’s easing of restrictions (and steps being brought forward based on cases not dates) has brought some greater hope and happiness that things will return to some semblance of normal. I’ve been amused reading about scarecrows in Thornbury and it also brought a smile to my face coming across some hand decorated wooden ‘spoonies’ at Rivergum Walk in Heidelberg the other day – there is definitely life in the suburbs!
I’ve been suffering from Covid brain and finding there’s too much noise on social media these past few weeks so have gone back to basics catching up with my handful of ‘heart’ friends I’ve known since my childhood and teenage years. Exercise helps as well as immersion in activities like cooking. We’ve enjoyed watching My Octopus Teacher on Netflix and The story of Science Fiction on SBS Viceland as a family, while Mr Rosanna and I have loved the QuincyNetflix documentary on the extraordinary life and musical talent of Quincy Jones – it’s a very inspiring story.
I completed the first of four online professional development sessions last week as part of my recent scholarship award. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to attend these live given US/Canadian eastern standard time slots but it’s still been a really valuable experience for me as an early career professional in the world of Alumni Relations. All the more interesting was watching presentations from African American education professionals and their segmenting of university graduates not only aligned to affinity ie shared professional backgrounds or disciplines studied, but along race and gender lines with identity.
The changing student demographic in the US will shift from predominantly white Anglo-Saxon backgrounds with minority black and brown groups to the reverse in coming decades, reflecting the greater racial diversity that some businesses and organisations are already preparing for now. Given the recent backdrop of Black Lives Matter, it has felt quite prescient and it’s been interesting to see diversity play out in Australia with the recent Archibald visual art prizes being awarded to Indigenous artists and in the UK and Ireland with the Booker prize in literature. It’s an interesting time to be in the world! I’ve not yet watched the Cathy Freeman documentary with her running performance that stunned the world at the Sydney 2000 Olympics but consider it one of the all time greatest moments in sport.
While it’s been sad to see forlorn pictures of an empty Melbourne CBD, the upside has been renewed suburban life. While my friends Nikki, Luis and Jonno from local businesses Cinch Training, The Pioneer Cafe and Valiant Barbers are all doing it tough at the moment (they’ll definitely be diamonds by the end of this), I hope they may be heartened by the fact that there are so many locals working from home and I’ve never seen so many people walking my local streets and neighbouring parklands. The city’s loss has been suburbia’s (and regional areas) gain but my hope is that Melbourne returns to all her glory in time. The MSO Leaps and Bounds virtual performance last week was uplifting to watch and my heart goes out to the many performing artists who have lost their work this year.
I went for a pretty warm and windy run at Rosanna parklands yesterday and was laughing to myself after seeing a couple of teenage boys sporting massive mullets – it’s been like returning to my ’80s childhood growing up in Bulleen (and I’ve heard roller skates have had just as big a resurgence as bikes). The BMX track has been in high demand and for those of you following the 2020 Tour de France – you might be interested in knowing that SBS commentator Matthew Keenan grew up in Rosanna and still lives locally in the area.
I had a meeting this week with another local – La Trobe alum and Paralympian swimmer Sam Bramham OAM who owns Chei Wen bar in Ivanhoe and Fly Lie bar in Kew. He’s quite the character and like many high achieving individuals I deal with he’s also highly charismatic, but I have been more impressed by his philanthropy (he’s an Accessible Beaches board member) and his positivity despite his trip to Tokyo 2020 not happening (nor his associated speaking gigs) and COVID-19 impacts to his hospitality businesses. The mark of someone’s character is how they behave in the face of adversity and like many people he’s risen to the challenge and focussed on what he can do.
I spent this morning at my current 5km southern border meeting my bestie Jules at Tatin bakery to pick up a takeaway coffee at the Bulleen Road shops before doing the Koonung Creek Linear Park trail walk along the Eastern freeway. It’s been good to get out and about after hitting a bit of a low point during the week reaching the 6 month working from home milestone with 3 months still to go before Christmas, without a proper break. I’ll try not to complain as I’m lucky to still have work, which keeps you accountable and engaged in other ways, but it has definitely been hard to keep going. Like most people, I’m committed to staying the course until things open up late October, but it has been an exercise in resilience and I hope you are also hanging in there.
It definitely feels like that at the moment. While the decreasing daily numbers under 50 are giving everyone hope – it’s a long road out and I have younger friends and friends with young children who are really feeling it at the moment. While suffering is the thing that unites us all particularly here in metro Melbourne, it’s not been an easy time and I see it in people’s faces. As parents, we have to shine the light and provide hope for our children and the next generation who follow us.
It’s not a level playing field and things were already difficult pre-Covid for Millennials (and Gen Z behind them) in terms of job security and stability – something that older generations have taken for granted. I hope as we re-build the economy opportunities for young people (and women) are front and centre in the minds of those who create the policies, systems, structure and future of work. Employability and having a secure and stable job is one of the enablers for a long and happy life. I have seen first hand what happens to those who fall off the wagon whether it be through having children and leaving work, losing a professional job or worse still – never getting there in the first place. Confidence and persistence is key but it gets very tiring to keep going and I know people are suffering from emotional fatigue and burnout at the moment.
That being said, job opportunities are still out there and I have friends and colleagues landing permanent new jobs even at this time. While it is highly competitive and ageism exists, I also think if the opportunity is right and you are the right person for the job, things will happen. I’d encourage anyone looking for work to get on the front foot and reach out to your network especially in industries and organisations that interest you. In my entire working life, I have only ever applied for one job (a zillion years ago) before online times via the paper – all my jobs before and after that have come through my network – through recruiters, agencies and friends and family.
The sun has helped today and it’s been nice to have taken things easy this weekend. I was sad that Andrew’s Books in Ivanhoe closed in March this year and while I have since bought hard copy books online via Readings and downloaded books on my Kindle, it’s not quite the same. Rediscover Local by Banyule has launched to help find and support businesses in Banyule and applications for Banyule Arts and Culture Project grant applications close today if you are a local creative.
I finished readingThe dictionary of lost words by Pip Williams a few weeks ago and I’m now working out what my next book will be. There has been a number of books recently published about race and it’s great to see more writers from Asian backgrounds feature in best selling book lists. I’m wondering whether I go for pure fun and escapism with Sex and Vanity by Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan or some more Millennial fiction with A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu. There has been publicity on the loneliness epidemic coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic and while it’s not perfect, I’m glad the single person bubble starts at 11.59pm tonight in Victoria.
In the country or at the beach, the stars seem so much brighter at night. Like many people, I’ve been dreaming of being able to holiday by the water and if you are planning on booking a beach house for Summer I’d do it very soon. Given the lockdowns in Melbourne with none of us being able to go away, I think many people have tentatively booked a house locally in anticipation of at least being able to go away within greater Victoria.
A Thousand Stars is also the name of Banyule’s Community Art Project making a star or jar lantern to display in our windows in celebration of Children’s Week – the 4th week in October. You can visit the event link to register for your pack, book an online workshop, view how-to videos and download instructions. Lantern Packs are also available to Banyule residents for click-and-collect at Sanctum Studio in Greensborough. Photograph your lantern in a window and post on Facebook and Instagram tagging @1000.Star.Project and using #1000StarProject.
With my beach dreaming, I’ve always wanted to visit a couple of special places in northern NSW including interiors by Anna Spiro at Halcyon House in Cabarita Beach and the longstanding Rae’s on Wategos in Byron Bay, which was there when I backpacked with my girlfriends as a single person in my twenties. While we can’t visit, I have actually bought some tickets for the RSL Art Union raffle to win a beach house styled by Anna Spiro at Palm Beach in Queensland. I’m not normally a gambler but the temptation was too good to refuse!
I’ve also downloaded the Villa Rae’s Spotify playlist put together by the current artist-in-residence resort wear (yes it is a thing) designer Richard Jarman. I can’t afford the clothes so it’s the next best thing and has taken even the most mundane chore this weekend to the next level. It may be a while before we’re able to wear summer shoes but some of you may like the colourful Palmeira Sandals Australia or the crowd funded sustainable Flipside thongs (made in Melbourne).
While we’ve got some way to go, I hope you might be heartened by the road map out of lockdown unveiled by our Premier today. I had a couple of days off work last week and did watch the Lightening the Lockdown Load free parenting webinar by Dr Justin Coulson – a father of 6 daughters with a Phd in Psychology which was helpful in terms of strategies and thinking. My team also watched the new Sport Stadium video presentation by our colleagues at La Trobe Sport and you can also do a virtual tour of all the new facilities. There was a bit of media last week as it’s the new training ground for the Matildas – the Australian national women’s soccer team. Go girls!
I hope you’ve had a wonderful Father’s Day today and this year I am thinking of those who have lost a father in their lives or can’t be with them for any reason. I’m always up for the Pepsi challenge when it comes to creative gifts for Mr Rosanna and this year was no different. His gift from me (above) was a handmade mug by Lene Kuhl Jakobsen, some Olea of Monemvasia extra virgin olive oil (an ode to our Grecian holiday and all things Greek), a couple of bread loaf tins for the baker-to-be as well as some Aussie Bread Bags to store homemade or bought bread from now on. I’m also looking forward to sampling the bougatsa Greek dessert tonight from local baker Harry at Ministry of Cakes.