Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nineteenth Semester and Babies

Last week, I finally finished my final essay of the semester, clocking up 19 semesters in my uni career! That's ridiculous! Another 8 weeks of commuting, and time juggling with full time work. And late, late night assignment completion. Mum says I have always done that, so I guess I am hardly going to change now!

I was to be off on placement now, with big overseas hopes, but the lag of time to have my 10 years of work experience accepted as my first MSW placement meant that such big plans would not have come together in time. So this time next year I will need to complete the requirement of 14 weeks of Social Work work experience, to meet accreditation. Fingers crossed for something awesome!

And then last Saturday I drove down to Melbourne, having posted my essay instead of driving down and pairing it with a screening of the documentary Babies. French documentarian Thomas Balm├Ęs, follows 4 babies, from birth until their first steps, from around the world. Two boys and two girls, we watch the preparation for the Namibian birth and then the medicalisation of the baby arrival in San Francisco. Baby brought home to his ger in the middle of Mongolia on the back of a motorbike, and the fourth in bustling Tokyo.

With no narration, this film contrasts the 4 children as they interact with their new world. The encounters of animals and siblings in Namibia and Mongolia, and the single child, city experience of the developed world babies, we watch babies being left as their parents are out to work the land, we hear discussions about SIDS correlations and watch participation in singing parenting groups, and the cinema collectively held it breath as Namibian baby picks up anything and everything from the dirt and brings it straight to his mouth.

Clearly the film maker was in awe of the vastness of the Mongolian lifestyle, with loads of wide camera angles, showing the family's ger with nothing else in sight apart from mountain ranges. Once baby Bayar starts to crawl, he is out of the ger door, and seemingly in harms way every moment, with a jealous older sibling, and animals such as goats and cows walking about right where he is.

All 4 babies seem to crawl around the same time, and all four manage their first steps in roughly the same tentative attempts. The doco is such an awesome study of infant survival, the different stressors and practices of parenting and life across the world, and that really, we are all much the same, given the developmental progressions and thriving of these four children.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Great Travel Year

visited 36 states (16%)

I know in January I was making comment about how good 2010 was for me, but come mid-May and this annual post, all that new red on the map just spells out how amazing it was!

Adding Czech, amazing Russia, surprisingly special Mongolia and mindblowing China. One of the best trip I've ever done, with some of the top experiences of my life.

I also visited France, New Zealand and Ireland again in the last 12 month span...AND managed to go to most of the Aussie capitals for the cricket, and drove across the country! Bloody awesome year!

How many have you been to?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Seems Like Old Times

The Love Is A Mix Tape group birthday challenge last year comprised of sending and receiving a picture from a mixer, and making a mix tape accordingly. The picture I got was pretty personal, so I can't share it, but it was of, presumably, father and child listening to music, sitting in their very 80s lounge room, on the floor with headphones on. I am sure many of us can picture it...

The big square speakers of the stereo system, the record player and tape player stacked up, the big black leather ear pieces, the daggy 80s retro clothing on both dad and child, and the dominant browns of such a room, back in the day.

So, this is the collection I put together for it, within the theme of this intimate experience of listening to music with a parent, and also some sentimental tracks to evoke that time.

Homage to my Dad and the ABC – Clare Bowditch and The Feeder Set;
Message to God – Little Birdy;
Seems Like Old Times – Sarah Blasko;
Sons & Daughters – The Decemberists;
Daughters – John Mayer;
Two Of Us – Aimee Mann & Michael Penn;
Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens;
My Old Man – Anika Moa;
Old Man – EJ Barnes & Liam Finn;
Flame Trees – The Sacred Heart School, Cabramatta;
Whatever Makes You Happy – Powderfinger;
When I First Met Your Ma – Paul Kelly;
Katie – Missy Higgins;
The House At Pooh Corner – Josh Pyke;
Weir – Killing Heidi;
A Million Little Pieces – The Good China;
Forever My Friend – Ray LaMontagne;
White Wine In The Sun – Tim Minchin

This is the message I got back from my receipient:
I adore my mixtape!!! It actually brought a wee tear to my eye. I never knew such amazing songs existed, and it's obvious you've put a lot of thought into it - it matches that picture perfectly!
That's pretty cool!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

MDC 2011

Kay picked me up from home this morning, very early, as we made our way to the Lake for the Mother's Day Classic. The temperature read 8C when we got in the car, but awesomely, the weather held with a hint of sunshine for the actual event.

Growing in number, the Ballarat event is put together by 4 volunteer local women, and got just under 2000 participants today, in it's third year. It's also the largest community sporting gathering in Ballarat.

Dressed in our pink for Breast Cancer awareness, we met up with birthday girl and mum, Mel, and also Renee, ready for our walk/run. We also got to catch up with Katie, who was manning her Sharp Kids tent, painting kids faces for the day.

After a minute silence to mark the reason behind the day, and then the sporty warm up, the gathered runners and walkers made their way to the starting line, and were off on the lap of the lake. The 4 of us set a steady pace, and ran a couple of sections, including the final finish for the crossing of the line.

Once home and showered, I headed out again to see my Mum, and Katrina, Jessica and Melissa, and Heath and Greg, for our Mother's Day lunch. Mum is loving having all her girls home together at the moment, and we all tucked into a big feed at the Tokyo Grill House.

Happy Mother's Day to mine, and every Mum! And also a Happy Birthday to Mel!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Prawn, Byron and Surfers

With some sore heads from the night before, Belinda, Lisby and I farewelled Brad, and hit the road in search of a hangover saving breakfast. Back on the road out of Yamba, we set out on the roadtrip back to Brisbane airport and the end of our wedding weekend.

Having passed it in the rain and darkness on the way down, we stopped at the Big Prawn at Ballina for a quick snap. The faded and much neglected prawn is sitting on top of a long closed down fish shop, surely destined for demolition.

The next town coming up with Bryon Bay, and having time up our sleeve, and having never been there myself, we decided to head in to check it out. Stopping up at the lighthouse at Cape Byron, we walked to the Easterly point of the Australian coast, in gorgeous sunshine, before stopping for locally made ice cream.

Another very pretty lighthouse on this trip, we then drove through the main street, before finding the highway again. Tracing our steps backwards, we returned across the border to Queensland, and decided a late lunch stop at Surfers Paradise was in order.

Fish and chips at Broadbeach, on the sand, as the sun started to go down, was a perfect cullinary end to our weekend. We completed the rest of the roadtrip back to Brisbane airport, pushing the limits of the pre-purchased tank of fuel. Then Belinda boarded her flight back to Sydney, Lisby to Perth, and I flew back to Melbourne. Another great trip together!

Wedding of Belinda and Ross

Saturday arrived in Yamba, with blue skies and sunshine! Very happy for the bride-to-be, the four of us drove around to find somewhere for breakfast to start the big day. The Pacific Hotel on the beach fed us, and started the drinks for the day for Bee, Lisby, Brad and I.

After getting ready for the day back at the apartment, we then made our way to the site of the Clarence River Lighthouse, and joined Belinda and Ross' friends and family, overlooking the ocean. One of the most beautiful lighthouses I have seen, I am so pleased that Belinda got to have the ceremony here!

The bride arrived, and made her way up the aisle to Ross. The service was light and funny, with personalised vows making us all laugh. Acknowledgement of new adventures, patience for temper tantrums and recklessness. Loved it!

While the new marrieds were off getting photos done, the rest of the congregation wandered along to the Pacific Hotel for drinks, before being bussed over to the Yamba Shores Tavern for the reception.

The Bride and Groom made their arrival to the party on the decking by boat, which was very impressive. Drinks and amazing food morsels were making the rounds, as the party got going.

The meal was a seafood buffet, with the best calamari I have had, ever. To die for! Speeches were made, and the first dance, the evening was filled with laughter and fun.

Congratulations Belinda and Ross! What a great weekend!

Roadtrip to Yamba

Last Thursday I set out for a big weekend of roadtripping and weddings. Of course, long before the Royal Wedding was announced, I had a 'save the date' on my fridge for this particular weekend, although up until we arrived at our destination, I couldn't have told you where Yamba was!

First I flew up to Sydney, for dinner on Thursday night with the Wilsons. Jess and Andrew picked me up from the airport, and we headed to Marrickville for Vietnamese, and a catch up over drinks. Staying at Casa Wilson again, I then grabbed a taxi out to the airport the next morning, and met Belinda.

Bee and I flew to Brisbane, where we picked up our rental car, and hit the road to the Gold Coast. Travelling down the big lane freeway, Bee managed to spot the sign for Yalata, and so we made a quick detour off the main road, to see The Big Pie. Just sticking out of the carpark at the back of the pie shop, no one but us seemed interested in the Big Thing of Australia - but there were loads of cars lined up in the drivethru to get a pie. Deciding to pass on the pie so as not to spoil our appetite for our lunch date, we hit the road again.

Our Sat Nav with his Irish accent got us to Carl's house on the Gold Coast, where we picked him up to have lunch. Directing us to the Currumbin Surf Club, we sat at the edge of the balcony over the beach, for a great catch up in the alternating sun and rain. Gorgeous!

Back on the road, rather late really, we picked up Lisby just into NSW, and then managed to again fluke the sign for the next Big Thing. As darkness was falling, we drove to the Big Avocado, at a closed Tropical Fruit World.

Impressed that we managed 2 Big Things so far, we then saw the Big Avo another 3 times while we were lost and confused in the back streets of Duranbah and Tweed Heads. Oops! As the rain started the belt down, we found the Highway, and made our way to Yamba, along the north NSW coast.

Arriving at The Sands (after another lost moment), we saw the final moments of the Royal Wedding happening on the other side of the world. Not to worry, seeing the post nuptial commentary meant we knew what to look for in the replay!

We then caught up with the bride-to-be, Belinda, for some drinks, and to hear of the rain for most of the week so far, and the worry and plotting for the back-up plan for the ceremony the next day. Over in Belinda's room, we met many of the girls attending the wedding the next day, and also Brad who had been matched to take the spare bed in our apartment for the weekend. Lucky Bloke!

Back to our apartment to let the bride sleep, we watched Prince William marry his Kate, over wine. So lovely!
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