Lucky

Do you make your own luck or is it something that just happens?  All I know is that while bad things happen to good people, a lot more good things happen to good people and that most people in the world are good as I tell my children.

I had a colleague who attended the recent La Trobe PG Expo with speaker Todd Sampson and her take out regarding his advice was that we apparently grow more arrogant and inflexible as we get older.  All the more important I think to stay flexible (and active) in mind and body, to stay humble (and grateful) and to stay brave.  We can lose courage as we grow older and grow more fearful but I think that’s the challenge of life and the journey that life itself presents.

Lucky is the name of the exhibition that opens at Bundoora Homestead tomorrow that explores the history and effects of gold mining and the pursuit of wealth in Australia interrogating the Australian dream of finding a better life – a fair go – in the context of cultural, racial and political inequalities.  It sounds absolutely fascinating and given that my ancestors came here in the time of the gold rush, a very relevant one for Asian Australians.

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Speaking of political, my lecture with the Honourable Julie Bishop MP is now completely sold out but you will be able to watch the livestream.  I am looking forward to meeting her next week and hearing what she has to say, particularly her personal reflections on leadership, lessons learnt and being a female politician.  She held nothing back in her recent talk at a Future Women event where she said, ‘If you’re trying to be a man, it’s a waste of a woman’.  Strong words indeed…

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To Sisto with love

Like many Melburnians, I was shocked late Saturday night to find out that it was Sisto Malaspina from Pellegrini’s Cafe in Bourke Street who was fatally stabbed last Friday by a mentally unwell person.

True story* Mr Rosanna and I actually first met at Pellegrini’s and were regulars there for a time when we both lived and worked inner-city.  Sisto would always greet us from behind the bar with a big smile on his face and we would order coffees with their signature pastry or have the pasta or minestrone soup made by the mamas who worked out the back.  We went back there on our wedding day to have photos taken inside the cafe (below) and outside the front of the Melbourne icon that is Pellegrini’s – a 1950s style cafe that was one of the first places to bring European cafe culture to Melbourne and one that hasn’t changed in all that time.

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I remember one day taking my very beautiful, blue-eyed fair-skinned Italian Australian friend Daniela there and Sisto making some kind of comment under his breath about her appearance when we sat down at the bar not realising she was fluent in Italian and the look on his face when she said something in response.

The fact that Sisto died in his inimitable warm and friendly style – trying to help someone – makes his story all the more heart-breaking.  Melbourne will never be the same without you Sisto.  A light has gone out and there is a new star in the sky.

 

Jimmy Diamond

I’m really hoping it’s Friday – I think shorter weeks can sometimes be more intense than normal ones.  Given I had to work Cup Day, my highlight was winning ‘Fashions on the Field’ (make that campus) in our Marketing and Recruitment Division (below) although the odds were in my favour with reduced staff numbers working and not that many choosing to dress up!  You can take the girl out of fashion….

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I did have a number of friends attend Derby Day and Oaks Day and have liked the boater style hats as well as floral and other headbands, oversized head bows (like mine) and other departures from the ubiquitous fascinator in terms of headwear this year.  I was briefly in at David Jones today and am a fan of Australian brand Aje. if you’re looking for a special outfit for Christmas.

It’s takeaway night and if you’re local you might want to try Diamond Chinese Restaurant at 122 Burgundy Street in Heidelberg.  It had been recommended to me before but it’s taken 10 years for Mr Rosanna and I to venture in and I’m glad we did.  I met Jimmy last Friday night who’s been there 44 years and plays table tennis against my Uncle George!  If you’re a fan of old school Cantonese food, I think it’s also a good place to go for a quiet Friday night meal and it was starting to fill up when I left.  My Media & Communications team and I also had lunch at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna (below) during the week which was a lot of fun – it’s good to get off campus sometimes given we spend most of our working week there.

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I did want to mention a few local happenings.  The Banyule Art Salon opened earlier this month and Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe is one of my favourite places to visit.  If you’re into local arts and culture – check out Banyule Arts and Culture‘s Facebook page. If markets are more your thing, the Heide Makers Market is on in Bulleen tomorrow as well as the Melbourne Ceramics Market in Collingwood.

On Sunday, which is also Remembrance Day, the Heidelberg Primary School fete is on.  It was nice to see poppies being sold at Westfield Doncaster today – I can’t help but feel how lucky people are in this part of the world to be buying shiny, pretty new things at these big shopping complexes when things were very different earlier this century.  I’m hanging out to see a grown up’s movie (can’t call them ‘adult’ movies!) and it’s a toss-up between A star is born or Bohemian Rhapsody – I am a fan of Queen and Freddy Mercury and his performance in his all white outfit at the Live Aid concert is still seared in my memory.

Disclosure: Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Hunter Lane Cafe

 

Find your fierce

Easy to say but not always easy to do.  It’s my trainer Nikki Ellis‘s mantra and tagline on the window of her new Cinch Training studio at 1 Orr Street in Heidelberg Heights.  For locals, it’s the old Shu-Way shoe store completely transformed into a one stop health, wellbeing and fitness centre right next door to Jam and Cream cafe (where you can work off any scones eaten).  My photos don’t quite capture how spectacular her new space currently looks but I love the aqua feature wall and Nikki’s sense of style.  And yes, while Nikki sponsors this very blog, her studio was one I already went to as a new customer a number of years ago and I have followed her ever since.  When you do find the right people for you, it’s important to stick with them and Nikki’s been part of my entourage of warm, supportive and inspiring people in my life for  a long time now.

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I’m happy to say it’s been a pretty seamless move from Macleod to Heidelberg Heights for her and the  new Cinch studio space is more than twice the size of the previous one allowing for lots of room as it used to get pretty tight in the old studio.  Nikki herself looks amazing particularly on the back of a recent procedure and a business trip to San Diego.  As for her mantra, I think it’s hard to separate mind from body – if you cultivate a healthy and fit body, the mental benefits are priceless and you see this in something like the recent Invictus Games for those injured or ill after serving their country – Invictus meaning ‘unconquered’ and if you can conquer both your mind and body, there is nothing you can’t achieve.

The format for Nikki’s new classes is a bit different in that you’re given your own worksheet to follow so while it’s a bit more self-directed, it allows your respective trainer more time to check and correct technique and frees them up from having to facilitate the entire class.  This format is also considered optimal for results as much as it was fun having different themes every week prior to the move.  There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple and consistent.  I expect to be feeling it in my arms tomorrow!

Have a great long weekend for those of you lucky enough to have both the Monday and Tuesday off work – spare a thought for those of us at Universities who don’t get Cup Day off!

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Disclosure: Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch Training

Spooktacular

Some late breaking news…the Halloween Spooktacular is on in Ivanhoe tomorrow in Upper Heidelberg Road from 3 – 5.30pm where kids can dress up, have their photo taken and get their own free magnet souvenir finishing off with trick or treating to win a Shop in Ivanhoe gift card. Primary school aged kids and younger must be accompanied by an adult and the event is limited to the first 400 participants.  Free pumpkin buckets will also be given out for treats for those lucky enough to make it.  Happy Halloween!

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Creepy and kooky

Yes, it’s Halloween this Wednesday night and there are a number of local events taking place including the two sold out events Trick or Treat on Were(wolf) Street in Montmorency and HallowSCREAM at Montsalvat in Eltham (get in early next year people!) plus Watsyvania Halloween in Watsonia let alone the many local neighbourhood streets that take part in the annual celebration of all things scary.  My two children are nothing if not inventive creating both zombie and witch doctor costumes (below) last Halloween crafted from other bits and pieces we had in our costume box.

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As for me, I’m now gearing up for my last Bold Thinking Series lecture for the year on 22 November at The Sofitel featuring former Australian Deputy Leader and Foreign Minister – the Hon Julie Bishop MP (some think she should have been PM) and have also been dealing with her office the past couple of months.  La Trobe (and other Universities) sometimes gets accused of being very left-wing so it’s great to have some people on the right involved in this one including Emeritus Professors Judith Brett and John Carroll as well as incoming academic Andrea Carson.  I will be very interested to hear Ms Bishop’s reflections on life, leadership and lessons learnt.

Until then, there’s lots going on although I was a bit incredulous over the weekend walking into both Bunnings Northland and Leo’s in Heidelberg who’ve already brought out their Christmas food and decorations!  It’s a bit premature when we’ve not even had Melbourne Cup week but I think it also reflects the current state of Australian retail, which is still doing it pretty hard.  I’ve already started buying early Christmas presents and will be buying local wherever possible.

Mr Clever

I’m really hoping it’s Friday as it’s been a massive week.  My team held the Rudd on the PM Years Melbourne book launch at the Sofitel on Wednesday night for close to 400 people and it was a big night.  Love him or hate him, Mr Rudd tends to elicit fairly strong reactions from people and it has been an interesting exercise for me in relationship management and diplomacy both within and outside the greater University with this one.

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La Trobe University image by Savs Photography

As I mentioned last year when I worked with his office, whatever you think of him, Mr Rudd is an exceedingly clever man.  I consider myself more literate than the average punter but my breath was taken away by his everyday vernacular – his vocabulary is quite extraordinary.  You can have a listen on the Bold Thinking Series livestream if you’re interested in the conversation where he spoke on democracy, disruption to institutions, Australian media ownership and more.  He did go a little off piste given the remit we gave him in terms of topic but the predominantly young, Uni student audience lapped it all up and queues were out the door for selfies and book signings with Mr Rudd after the event, when I left the venue after 10pm.  He leads a cracking pace too in that his team flew out the next morning at 5am bound for Sydney.

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L-R: Mr Rudd & MC Patricia Karvelas – La Trobe University image by Savs Photography

 

For me, it was lovely to look after MC Patricia Karvelas who did a great job despite being a little bit under the weather and to spend time in the green room with La Trobe academic and former Triple J broadcaster Lawrie Zion having a chat.  No rest for the wicked in that I had my Is democracy broken? panel discussion (picture below) last night at the State Library with VC’s Fellow and Fairfax columnist Tony Walker and the panel he’d assembled including Mark Textor, Michele Levine, Katharine Murphy and Geoff Walsh.  All were outstanding speakers who very generously lent their time and expertise to the event – Katharine Murphy’s insights into political journalism and how the industry has been completely disrupted were probably the most fascinating to me given my profession.  She has also written on the subject with her On Disruption book (only $15!) currently available at independent bookstores.  Again, you can see the whole conversation on the Bold Thinking livestream page.  And yes, I did buy a copy of Mr Rudd’s book – the bibliophile in me couldn’t help myself.

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L-R: Mark Textor, Michele Levine, MC Tony Walker, Katharine Murphy, Geoff Walsh and Professor Nick Bisley

There were some tech issues with both events on the night – event-management is definitely not for the faint hearted – but the show always goes on no matter what.  The Eaglemont Artisans market in Eaglemont Village is on this weekend as well as the Textile Art Community Spring into Fashion event with the Bell St markets in Heidelberg West.  The Darebin Music Feast is currently on as well as the British Film Festival at Palace Cinemas. Enjoy your weekend – I’ll be taking it easy…

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