It’s In The Bag and Constance Hall’s Queens.

I recently shared how I had read two Australian novels that included amongst their common themes, domestic violence. These books motivated me to participate in Share The Dignity’s “ It’s In The Bag” Christmas Promotion.

The concept behind this promotion is that women fleeing from violence often leave the scene with absolutely nothing. By filling a handbag with some basic daily necessities, such as a hair brush, tooth paste and brush, shampoo and personal hygiene products you give these women something that is theirs, something to help get them back on an even keel, something to remind them that we care. Refer http://www.sharethedignity.com.au.

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Amongst the essentials I’ve also included a diary, calendar for appointments, and pens. I really struggled to find an appropriate book to include for those down times over the holiday season, and finally settled on Like A Queen by Constance Hall.

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Controversial, I know. Not sure if women over fifty will appreciate as the language is pretty confrontational and colourful. Hall not only calls a spade a spade, she calls it a f******* shovel. Younger women seem to think this is “authentic” and “real”.

Not heard of Constance Hall? She is a blogger with half a million followers on her page, Queens of Constance, and has shared her thoughts on parenting, body image, post natal depression and sex, all totally without filters. No topic is off limits which has been polarising especially with a recent marriage breakdown, new relationship and new baby.

At one stage Hall and her followers, known as Queens, were involved in a slinging match with another Mummy Blogger who tagged Constance, “Slummy Mummy”. No comment from this end.

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Like A Queen is not an easy read in that it seems to need a good edit. Hall tends to get her message across better in short blog pieces, though I do believe that Hall’s genuine intent is to “keep inspiring women to treat themselves better and treat other women better too!” It’s the self esteem message that won me over…..

It’s not an easy task finding an appropriate Self Help book for the victims of Domestic Violence, a book with a message yet is still light and fun. I should know – my work environment has me surrounded by books about the benefits of drinking your own urine, eating the placenta after childbirth, and finding your inner child.

Is there a book that you would recommend?

NOTE:
Since the beginning of 2018, 67 women and 18 children have been killed in this manner in Australia.

Updates and Fluff

I’ve been reading “fluff” over the last week or so. Sometimes a girl just needs too because that well in the head runs dry. So I sit with the fluff, with a glass of white and my music. It keeps me grounded.

There’s a preloved book sale all this weekend, run by a local Service organisation. Because it’s so local the books keep being recycled – you buy them, then take them back, and so on – which keeps the prices really cheap. $2 is an expensive book. I tend to fill a bag for five. Blame the Depression parents, okay…..Normally the funds raised go towards literacy projects. This year the funds will go towards rebuilding the Scout Hall where the event is held each year. An arsonist torched it a few weeks ago which is a shame as the building had been gifted to the Scouting movement from the American navy, when it was Macarthur’s port of call, and was relocated after the war. Although architecturally insignificant it was one of our last links with that era and has been a well used community space for yonks.

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Buying books under the shade of the towering Gums should be fun. Fingers crossed for a coffee van, hey…

I have a market stall coming up in a few weeks in conjunction with my friend, The Geranium Lady. All funds raised will go towards Wounded Heroes which is a very hands on organisation that helps our exservice personnel get a hand up and means I have only a few weeks to make more Basil Salt and Rosemary infused Olive Oil. The poor plants need to buck up as despite being 2 months into Autumn the days remain warm and humid. Hottest April ever recorded! My daily singing to the Rosemary shrubs to boost their growth and morale is beginning to annoy the LOML – can’t even imagine what the neighbours think.

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Here’s a chilling statistic I read today :

From The Age, 31st December, 2017.

“An estimated 84 defence force veterans committed suicide in 2017, sparking an attack on the Federal Government for allegedly failing to protect them.
Veterans’ advocates say the toll is a “conservative estimate” based on notifications from families and police reports.”

That means I will continue to sing to my plants!

The Poppies I planted and envisaged blooming for Remembrance Day in November have not survived. Blame the heat. I have purchased another 2,000 seeds, though am unsure if it’s worth the effort to replant. Blame the Gemini astrology : easily distracted.

 

And lastly, the Little Street Library:

Talk about Bigger than Ben Hur! The latest from the local Men’s Shed, who volunteered to create the structure which will House all the books and magazines in the local parkland, apparently had trouble fabricating the steel. The local Council gave them a grant to purchase a $3,000 machine to do whatever was necessary, so my little box on the wall, fuelled by the goodwill of so many, has become an expensive little exercise. Thankfully, it will be finalised within the fortnight. Emotionally and intellectually I am swinging from “bloody idiot – why did I ever get the Council involved” to “ fantastic, the expensive gadget means they’ll have the machinery to build Little Libraries all over the community.”

Here’s one I spotted recently:

 

Have a good weekend, one and all…….

“An Awkward Truth”, Vegemite on Toast, Basil Plants & Cheongsums.

Breakfast in the garden this morning which was lovely. Nothing beats the old Vegemite on Toast. We are supposed to be in our second month of Autumn, and though the mornings and evenings are just perfect the daytime temperatures are still hot and humid. It’s those cyclones floating around the far north and Coral Sea causing the havoc.* already wiping sweat from brow.

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Disappointed not to move any plants over the weekend particularly as there will be no further opportunities till next month. When I get back from the Deep South where I’ll be playing mother, I’m heading north to play father’s daughter. Yep, I’m going fishing for a few days.

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( Photo taken 196……*    Oooooops, brain fog)

The Rosemary plants which I was hoping to sell for Anzac Day will now require replanting into bigger pots which is this mornings task.

Then I’m lunching with the Geranium Lady who fundraisers for the same organisation. She has a Christmas in July dinner and trivia night in the works and has approval from the organisation to use their banner for the function. I hope to hold a small plant table on the night which will include the Rosemary bushes and the Basil which are taking over my garden like Triffids. I thought I would add a jar of my Basil salt with these plants as so many people don’t seem to know just how versatile this herb can be. If I’m brave enough I will also try my hand at Rosemary infused Olive Oil.

Have also a couple of flowering exotics on the go which, fingers crossed, in a nice pot will make a half decent raffle prize, as will some Roses pilfered from one of the neighbours garden waste bags.

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I haven’t packed any books for my travels yet and will drop by the library later today.  I’m currently reading about the bombing of Darwin during WW2; An Awkward Truth by Peter Grose. I really don’t know what to make of this one as it defies the very little we learnt about this event in our history.

And I mean very little. Embarrassingly, most of my knowledge came from that dreadful Kidman/Jackman movie titled “Australia”. If you’ve never seen it, don’t bother. Best thing about sitting through this three hours of wasteland was Our Nic’s Cheongsum. Just gorgeous but I can’t wear one – I’de look like a wine barrel!

The raid by the Japanese was bigger and more destructive than that of Pearl Harbour only weeks earlier. Although there was much bravery exhibited saving the seamen blown into the waters of Darwin Harbour, as well as a handful of courageous aircrew and civilians, including a prisoner from the local Gaol with ambulance training, the incident in reality was a blot on the landscape with looting, drunkenness, total ineptitude by Authorities, and an Administrator who lacked integrity, was selfish and an utter…..well, you get the picture.

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This is the Goodreads blurb:

The people of Darwin abandoned their town, leaving it to looters, a few anti-aircraft batteries and a handful of dogged defenders with single-shot .303 rifles. Yet the story has remained in the shadows.

Drawing on long-hidden documents and first-person accounts, Peter Grose tells what really happened and takes us into the lives of the people who were there. There was much to be proud of in Darwin that day: courage, mateship, determination and improvisation. But the dark side of the story involves looting, desertion and a calamitous failure of leadership. Australians ran away because they did not know what else to do.

Absorbing, spirited and fast-paced, An Awkward Truth is a compelling and revealing story of the day war really came to Australia, and the motley bunch of soldiers and civilians who were left to defend the nation.

Fascinating stuff, but I’m finding it difficult to get my head around it. Darwin nearly eighty years ago had only dirt roads and a population of less than 6,000,  the army only had one round of live ammunition per man, sharing their guns in the evenings with those standing guard, and communications were limited. The first sighting of the Japanese planes over the ocean were even identified as Kitty Hawks.

When I visited this northern-most Australian City last winter I felt there was much pride in their military history. I had no inkling of anything other than the general folklore so am feeling a bit conflicted.

 

 

Remind me to order the documentary of the same name from the Library too, please.

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

When my daughters visited from interstate a few weeks ago I subtly asked them about the 17 large packing cartons that I have been storing for them in my garage. Being subtle with girls who are both taller and brighter than their mother is an art form. We managed to unpack and sort through seven cartons, making only another ten to wade through on their next trip.

Fluffy toys, board games, letters from first boyfriends, and a collection of snow domes surfaced from within these boxes, as did a disco ball, karaoke machine and at least one hundred children’s books.

Most of these treasures have been rehomed. Well, except for the pink LEGO set. I have always had great fun with LEGO and this was the first developed with females in mind. I think I can have fun with this one Friday night with a glass of plonk.

The local High School is having a massive Garage Sale this coming Saturday and were only too pleased to be the recipients of much of this gear.

Funds raised will be going towards the Schools Chaplaincy program. The Chaplains are not wholly funded by the Government and as they are non denominational I truly believe they provide a respite, a quiet haven, a listening post, to many a student in need.

My tall, bright daughters attended this school over ten years ago. It is a tough school, a State School. It was the first High School in Queensland where the students held a sit-in on the school oval. I don’t mind a little Bolshoi. Indeed, I think these times call for more of it, but I digress…..

My girls did not utilise the services the Chaplains provided but I was always pleased to know there was an avenue for them should it be required. The vibe was very much “ it takes a village to raise a child”.

Some of the funds raised from this Garage Sale, which will have the local Community Centre full to the brim with furniture, brick a brac, plants, and an additional 100 children’s books thanks to our tidy up, will be donated elsewhere. And I just love this:-

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Funds will be donated to The Library Project which is a group of local schools, churches and community service organizations who have banded together to provide libraries on the South Pacific Island of Vanuatu. This beautiful but poor little Island ranked last in Literacy and Numeracy in a list of South Pacific countries. The Library Project states that “the journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page”.

WOW, is that powerful stuff or what?

Talk about it taking a village to raise a child……And there is a lot more space in my garage too.

 

 

 

Refer http://www.thelibraryproject.com.au

The Colour of my Autumn Days.

All pointers were leading to it being a beautiful Autumn day.

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So I decided to run with it and wore a smashing red dress with a dash of lace, accessorised by a new red bracelet, to the office this morning. I don’t understand this phenomenon that at the first hint of coolness in the air we women of Australia don clothes that are either a shade of dark brown, dark blue or black. That excludes Territorians and inhabitants of the Pilbara, who would battle to identify these colours. And Tasmanian’s, whom only ever wear those three shades, with the occasional addition of grey to spice up their wardrobe. What is that all about anyway?*

Well, I don’t succumb. No one ever said I was subtle. I prefer living in colour.

It has been a huge week. Haven’t picked up a book for seven days. Most of them have been packed up into boxes to allow the new carpets to be laid. From the garage where they are stored some boxes are going to the local High School for their annual Garage Sale to raise funds for the Chaplaincy. It’s very much a “ it takes a village to raise a child” thing with monies raised assisting local students in need, as well as purchasing new books for a Library in Vanuatu that was totally destroyed by a cyclone.

Getting new carpets is no easy task. It requires packing, moving, cleaning and restyling. It’s the cleaning that I’m really impressed with – NOT. Dusting skirting boards and killing Daddy Long-Leg Spiders is not exciting stuff. Neither is climbing up ladders to wipe down the ceiling fans. But you know the worst of it? Having to wash the curtains because they look so in need when all the rooms are cleaned and cleared only to have them fall apart in your hands, as it was the dust keeping them together all along. Yep, new curtains required pronto.

Some say that “a change is as good as a holiday”. Dismiss that as utter garbage – people who say that tend to be idiots.

Anyway, I’m in my pretty red frock, a burst of sunshine at the Railway Station awaiting my transport into the City for the last day of my working week. I throw up. Literally. And there is nowhere to hide in a sea of dreary black and browns. No subtlety about it.

I’m back in bed now. Not surrounded by books, nor cups of tea, nor DVDs, as I’m still living within a prison of cardboard boxes. The Fragonia Oil, with its antibacterial qualities, is in my diffuser clearing my head, and the multicoloured doona cover keeps me buoyed.

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Picking up quickly is a must: I have a date with Menopause The Musical.

And remember : “Life is about using the whole box of crayons.” ~RuPaul

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• Except for my sister-in-law who shears her own alpacas, dying their wool for felting and then creates these outfits that would impress Picasso. Gorgeous, but the colours remind me of those bad old days of the 70’s ……and kiddies’ unicorn parties.

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Updates Only.

News in from the Uniting Church’s Hands Up monthly newsletter states : “January saw the Brisbane Bookfest and what a whopper it was! Over $1.459 million raised to support our 24 hour Lifeline Crisis Support line which was over $200k above the target!”

That’s a lot of preloved books, comics, magazines and CDs sold for charity. And here’s the rub – Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city. What must the figures be like in Sydney and Melbourne? And who said it was the time of electronic reading devices?

We do it all again mid year. I’m already squirrelling my gold coins away!

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The Little Street Library Project which I instigated will be fully functioning by late March. After spotting one of these mini constructions whilst holidaying I initiated the building of something similar on my own front lawn, only to realise that in a cul de sac there would be minimal traffic to take advantage of the facility.

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So I took the concept to my local Councillor who ran with the idea of erecting a mini library in the local parkland. Construction has been completed by the local Men’s Shed as a community project using steel for anti vandalism purposes. The Councillor has arranged for the locking and unlocking of the Little Street Library to be part of the daily tasks of the cleaner, employed by Council, when he attends to his duties each morning and night. So that’s kicking Vandalism’s butt also.

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So why the delay? In an attempt to beautify the area in which the Little Street Library will be installed, and because the surrounding area is native bushland that abounds with wildlife, the Councillor has organised a bushland mural which will soften the look of the building to which the facility will be attached, adding to the total ambience – touch wood.

This is the pattern of the mural:

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The books are ready for inclusion, thanks to friends for donations, especially the magazines and children’s books. I’m wondering if I should add a couple of small family board games…….

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I also have a box of pre loved DVDs and CDs , all very playable, though have concerns about possible claims of damage to electronics. I’m told a couple of blokey sports books would also be appreciated. Yeah, like I have anything of that genre laying around…….

The LOML is donating a couple of books festooned with Dragons, and is adamant that the collection include a book covering chakras/meridians/astrological influences. Because the local Leaf Blowing Brigade will just love that!

Any additions required, you think?