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March has been such a crazy month! Oh my goodness.

It was going to be a big one with International Women’s Day on the 8th.

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Pretty poster from Google Images

We watched the ‘Until the Violence Stops’- The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler- I recommend everyone watches it here.

382277_10151367814706359_1029120348_n(1)International Women’s Day- Across the bridge with Soroptomist International

LauraTalking at Tasmanian Community Sector Workforce Development Plan Launch (what a mouthful!). I talked about how I enjoyed my job at Hobart Women’s Shelter and how I think other young people should get into community services work. I was so nervous but I felt great afterwards. I ❤ my job!

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And.. I met Anne Summers today! I was so star struck my boss had to whip in and introduce us because I was literally speechless after hearing her read excerpts from her new book, The Misogyny Factor (being released this May). I can’t wait to buy her book! Eeeeh.

I gave her a copy of BettyMag and she said she was going to read it on the plane! Hehe.

I forgot to tell her I have a commemorative stamp of her.

Apart from that I’ve been practicing my mantra: TREAT YO SELF.

il_570xN.423682772_o91fLib and I attended a few ‘special’ events this month.

First was the launch of the new Mona ROMA-1 catamaran. It is simply amazing! Had the most fun dancing to the Sin and Tonics all night and met some really interesting people. Later in the month we attended the Ten Days on the Island launch of the festival and after party at the newly opened Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. For the launch we saw The Select: The Sun Also Rises, a play adaption of Ernst Hemingway’s first novel from New York company Elevator Repair Service. I hadn’t been to the theatre since I saw Ross Noble last year so it was great to do something different.

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On a less busy note, I dyed my hair back to brown last week and I had a fantastical Saturday night with Ruby and Felic but more about that in March part 2!

What exciting things have you been up to this month?

x

From the 14th to the 20th this month is Anti-Poverty Week.

When I think about poverty, I cant help but contrast in my head the line outside Shiploads Glenorchy on opening day with people queuing outside apple shops for new iPhones.

There is already a Shiploads in Cambridge, 15 minutes drive from the township of Glenorchy. It has been open for over a year. There (was) also a Chickenfeed around the corner from where Shiploads opened. Why would people be so excited for Shiploads to open when there was already one so close?

Because these people don’t have cars, because they cannot afford the bus fares to get to Cambridge, because they probably didn’t even know there was a Shiploads in Cambridge because they don’t have the means to travel so far, because they can only afford things from discount stores, because to them, reduced food, gimmicky items and cheap homewares is just as exciting as cutting edge technology to rich folk.

Whenever I think about that time I drove past the Shiploads queue (and it was lonnnnngggg) I feel really disheartened and guilty. I don’t know whether it’s my middle-class-privilege-guilt or the fact that many of the clients I support live these lives without the choices I have.

I see poverty everyday in my job at a woman’s refuge.

When I mean poverty, I mean women and children living in cars because they have no safe place to live, cannot afford cheap accommodation and have no social supports. I mean generations dependent on parenting payments from the government. The payments are not much, they are more than my pay but for a single woman with two children they get around 750 a fortnight which is nothing when that is meant to include everything. Everything; nappies, baby formula, school fees, new clothes every few months as children grow bigger, food and rent. It means not enough money for traveling, for study courses that are not subsided, for big purchases. It’s not ideal, it’s surviving.

Preparing for tomorrows launch of Carpets for Communities in Hobart has got me thinking about extreme poverty in parts of the world and my own life chances.

I would not class myself as materialistic, but I am definitely sentimental when it comes to my belongings. I spend little money on food. I have had the same Nokia phone since 2007. I don’t like to buy clothes new. Yet these are my CHOICES; if I wanted to spend more money, I have the option of working more and buying more, because I have the work experience and the education to gain more employment and to make these choices. I only support myself.

I am so grateful that I was born with the socioeconomic life chances I had. My father slaved for ten years at medical school to spend most of his money he has made in his working life on my siblings and I. I grew up with my father having (and still does) three convertibles, I grew up with a pool, I grew up with a shack and I grew up with overseas travel every few years.  I am INCREDIBLY lucky.

My mother had a childhood filled with poverty. I remember her telling me of her embarrassment when she was around ten years old having to wear her school uniform to a birthday party on the weekend because she had no clothes. She shared a bedroom and her shoes with her four sisters.

She has also instilled in me a sense of thriftiness which I am so grateful for.

Tomorrow’s trivia night is going to be amazing. I hope we raise so much money for the women in Cambodia, and I hope one day to travel there to meet them.

Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Laura

From the archives, Em Mum and I, 2007

My first week of Frocktober done and dusted, what a hectic week it’s been!

(Lady date with my ladies; peppermint magazine, squid rings and sunshine. Photography by Libby)

Whilst wearing a dress I have managed to jam into my week:

  • Exam study, a results presentation for my cognitive neuroscience class, test revision and an experimental report write up
  • Three days of work with the lovely Susan
  • Watch Looper in Gold Class (my Gold Class virginity has been taken- thank you to Damon, Trent and Fran for the support/lollies/free tickets)
  • Watch Final Destination 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (the first 3 were alright, then it all went downhill)

All whilst wearing a dress for a great cause.

I’ll admit it, it’s been hard. A few times I’ve come home and put on my polar fleece pants for comfort. Little things like matching socks, co-ordinating leggings and cardis are just so much harder with a dress.

I’ve raised $220 for Ovarian Cancer research and I’m hoping to have raise $300 by the end of this coming week. Would you be so kind as to donate?

How was your week? 🙂

xo L

SO, the last few days have been HECTIC.

I’ve been filling in for one of my favourite co-workers who is sick at the moment, and it’s the school holiday program…which means two weeks of scheduled activities for the children.

Yesterday was the first activity, a crafting workshop hosted by the beautiful Kristan of The Craft Hive.

The children made ‘god’s eye’ crafts, or Ojo de Dios.

These are magical objects made by the Huichol peoples of western Mexico.

The four points of the craft represent earth, fire, air and water.

It was such a soothing workshop, sitting back and watching the children and their mums creating.

After work last night, I had my first taste of working on a stall for Carpets for Communities.

Carpets for Communities is an organisation which essentially teaches poverty stricken women in Cambodia basic business skills so they can sustain themselves and their families into the future.

The first introductory project is teaching the women to weave up-cycled t-shirts and hessian rice sacks into carpets. These are then shipped to Australia and sold through the expansive volunteering network across Australia, with the profits directed back to the families.

I think one of the most appealing things for me with regards to this organisation is that you can actually look online at the woman and read her story about where your money is going.

The rugs are cute, affordable and the process is ethical.
All-round, feel-good-feelings I say!

So, whilst the crowd last night was wrong for carpets, I have about ten beautiful rugs in my car ready to sell this Friday at a night market and a good feeling.

I’ll keep you posted on how I go!

L

Spring is here! I can feel it in my bones.

Today it reached 19 degrees, the warmest it has been for months. Blossoms are blooming and daffodils are in full swing. It’s the best time of year, only three days in to spring and my winter sads are already lifting.

Today I went to work in the morning for some FISH training and team meeting. Myself and three other women are going to be organising a march next week to honour the lives of women lost to domestic violence and as our way of saying the issue is still prominent in our society.

soft afternoon spring light

I’ve just jotted down on my calendar what is happening in the next two months. September and October are going to be super busy!  Along with helping out with Hobart Slutwalk organising, Bettymag publishing, Betty book club organising, uni work, fem-tasm presenting and work I’ve just signed up to volunteer with Carpets for Communities, an initiative which teaches women in Cambodia the skills to make rugs which are sold here in Australia and the profits are sent back. I met the lovely Laura who is the Tasmanian chapter president today who I instantly bonded with. I’m looking forward to helping out with the upcoming events such as night markets, movie nights and trivia nights!             It seems like such a worthwhile initiative.

Oh, and D came back from skiing yesterday; he spent the weekend with friends over on the mainland getting snowboarding time. He has the cutest, peely burnt nose at the moment. We are planning on going away to his parent’s shack for our 1 year anniversary in a few weeks, gosh I cannot wait.

I’ll keep you posted on everything, of course. I hope you’re having the best Tuesday!

L

Today my work colleagues and I attended a FISH workshop facilitated by my boss. FISH is a philosophy about changing your attitudes towards work and adding elements of productive, silly fun into your day. It is based on four key principles; being there in the moment, play, changing your attitude and making their [clients] day.

I got a lot out of it actually. It was great fun.

Being a child and youth worker, I try to incorporate a healthy dose of play into my days at work, afterall, it’s essentially my job to give respite to children who have been living in unstable, usually violent homes. I love my job and I’m looking forward to implementing some little changes into my workplans over the coming months. I think it could be just the change in workplace culture our organisation needs.

One of the FISH activities we did today was to write something about how we admire or something we respect about our co-workers, and place it on their back anonymously. After everyone was done we were able to read what everyone had said. This made my day! My favourite one was from my boss who said she loves my passion for women (I can tell by her handwriting!). Little compliments like these certainly made my day.

Have you been complimented on your performance or another aspect of your life recently?

L

A webcam picture of some of the compliments from my work colleagues. This is something I’ll treasure for a long time to come