Recipe Time Again: Steak

I fell out of the habit of posting recipes for meals, which is a shame because I’ve only got pictures of some interesting creations now. Photos aren’t always enough to describe something new or experimental.

I’m going through the photos – I labelled a bunch the other night with their “meal” names in the “Food” folder of my Photos section. Time for more sharing… I am actually going to try to catch up a bit now and then stay caught up.

I’ve learnt how to do a nice steak, especially when marinated with garlic and mixed herbs in a couple of ways.

An uncooked piece of steak sits on a red chopping board with garlic and mixed herbs smeared liberally over it.

The first way is the pic above – grab your steak and put it on a flat surface then smear each side liberally with garlic and mixed herbs. It’s easiest to do one side on the flat surface before cooking, then heat up your oil/ etc. and put that side down to cook first. You’re left with one un-prepared side facing up at you which you then prep in the pan. This minimises wastage.

 

Two pieces of delicious steak frying in garlic butter in a small black non-stick frypan.

Next we have this pic above. I’m not sure if it’s got mixed herbs on it because as you can see the prepared side would be face-down. I do know that there’s garlic there because I’ve chosen here to put the garlic in first before the meat, while the margarine I used was melting. I know it’s margarine, not oil because of the colour.

Cooked steak with fried potato wedges and steamed cut veggies (orange carrot, purple cabbage, white cauliflower, green silverbeet) sits on a round white plate with green edging

Finally the finished meal. Steamed veggies (fifteen minutes in a steamer pot), fried potato wedges (also with mixed herbs on them by the looks) and a nicely-cooked steak.

I read of a method a while ago that you can also find online. Basically: for a 2-cm-thick steak, cook each side 2-3 minutes for rare, 4 minutes for medium and 5-6 minutes for well done. Turn it only once. I favour cooking it for between 4-5 minutes. Very yummy.

It has made me think about cooking times and turning when cooking other meats. I usually only do one turn now, unless I’ve misjudged how long the meat needs which happens. I’m also trying to remember that when steaming veggies I need to look at my watch and take them off after fifteen minutes or else they become a bit overcooked.

 

 

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What now for Manus?

Urrrrgh.

I bloody hate this situation.

I’ve made phone-calls, including to Peter Dutton MP (Minister for Immigration and Border Protection). I’ve also sent an email to my local member, Bill Shorten MP (Opposition Leader) and Shayne Neumann MP (Shadow Minister for Immigration).

See that below. This sickens me…. and I feel so hopeless and helpless about it.

Check out the statement from Shadow Minister for Immigration here:  http://shayneneumann.com.au/news/immigration-and-border-protection/former-manus-island-regional-processing-centre/ A lot more mealy-mouthed than I’d hoped for. Luckily I saw it when looking up his contact details and could address the icky bits in my email (they’re the bits in red). In the email, when I speak of the “current situation” I’m referring to the situation today. The angle I took was influenced by a phone-chat I had with a staffer from Shayne Neumann’s office.

 

Dear Mr David Feeney MP, Mr Shayne Neumann MP and Mr Bill Shorten MP,

My name is Clare Keogh and I am a young university student living in [suburb], Victoria. I am deeply concerned about the situation on Manus Island that has been unfolding for several weeks and escalated today. I am also keeping the people detained on Nauru in my thoughts, as they should not be forgotten either.
I know that the current situation is not Labor’s doing and that the centres, when Labor restarted them, was intended to be used for regional processing rather than indefinite detention. 
 
However, the fact remains that the current situation is not the responsibility of PNG but of Australia. There have been reports of AFP involvement in today’s crisis on Nauru, after all. 
 
By what right are the men’s phones being seized? By what right are their few belongings being taken and destroyed? By what right have their only means of getting water and shelter been destroyed? By what right has their access to even the most basic medical aid and food been removed? Why has Behrouz Boochani been arrested?
 
I understand that, as you are in Opposition, it makes it harder to make concrete change. But you and your colleagues should speak up about the situation still. Perhaps you are advocating for them behind closed doors. Can you explain, concretely, how? 
 
I am particularly concerned by some of the information that has been presented in the statement produced by Mr Neumann an hour ago: 
 

The situation at the closed Manus Island RPC could have been avoided if Malcolm Turnbull was clear from the start about refugees’ access to essential services at the alternative accommodation in PNG.

Turnbull has a moral obligation to work with PNG to deescalate tensions and guarantee the ongoing safety and security of these people.

Labor accepts that the former Manus Island RPC has closed as the result of a decision of the Supreme Court of PNG.

The men at the closed centre need to relocate to alternative accommodation – such as East Lorengau – to access security, health and welfare services.

Footage and reports from advocates who have visited the East Lorengau site make clear that the “alternative accommodation” at East Lorengau is not ready. No water, toilets, or showers. No power. Inadequate shelter for the tropical conditions. No security and no safety. The locals do not want them there. After all, Manus Island is a tiny part of PNG, with scarce resources for the local population.
 
Has anyone from Labor attempted to go and see conditions for themselves? Where has this idea that the offered alternative accommodation is acceptable come from? Why is the onus on the men to move there, rather than the violence to stop? The men have been asking us to listen to them about this. Why are you ignoring their voices? 
 
 
Nauru is also a small place that is struggling to care for all of its people. Yet today I heard news of a new contract being given to Canstruct to build more facilities (described as “garrison-type”) for those held there. There are children and vulnerable women on Nauru. Can nothing be done for them? 
I thought Australia was better than this. It makes me sick at heart to think of this going on, when it would be so much cheaper and more humane to fulfil our international and moral obligations and either bring them here or resettle them in another country who are willing and able to take them – like New Zealand – while working with other countries in the region to create a viable long-term solution. 
 
The idea that these measures are in place to “save lives at sea” or “protecting Australian borders” is rubbish. There are far cheaper and better ways of preventing people risking lives on boats to Australia, like investing in real regional dialogue and processing, providing support and resources to countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, where the boats set out from. 
 
The current situation is a punitive measure created to encourage asylum seekers to think that going to Australia is worse than staying where they are. Now that has led to desperate people being treated like animals, denied even the most basic human rights. 
 
Please do something. This is a major sticking point for myself and many others in terms of voting. More than that, making a stand is the right thing to do. Have some political courage, listen to those who are experiencing the crisis, and act, please. The situation has gone on for far too long! 
 
If you reply, please don’t use an automated response but something real. 

Central Australia trip report #7 & 8

Wow. I didn’t realise I’d forgotten to upload the last two days of these.

 

Day 7

The next morning we were up and going early. We soon arrived in Alice Springs.

View out the front of a car windscreen from the passenger side, showing two red stones with "Welcome to ALICE SPRINGS" written on them. Sky is blue and everything else outside is red.

We saw the sights and had a drive around. Including Charles Darwin University:

Foreground has red dirt and yellowing grass. Then the black sign with white words stands in front of some buildings with blue sky behind.

And a place called “Anzac Hill”, a memorial to those who’d died and served in war.

At the top, I realised that I’d been up Anzac Hill before – when I went to Central Australia with school, some seven (!) years ago now.

Then:

I'm standing in front of a steel fence two bars across. Behind me is Alice Springs town. It's a close-up photo and I'm wearing a black t-shirt with "Hong Kong" and a gold dragon on it, with tan/grey shorts. My hair is out and long and I'm wearing my "jillaroo" wide-brimmed hat.

…and now:

I'm standing in front of a steel fence - two bars across. Behind me is Alice Springs town. I'm wearing a blue collared t-shirt and jeans with my "jillaroo" wide-brimmed hat. I'm standing next to a green shrub and the sky is clear blue behind me.

We drove on through and around the town and found other things to see. Like the monument to four people who died during the “Inaugural Cannonball Run” in 1994. You can find out more information about the race and monument here. (It’s located to the south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway.)

Red rock and mortar creating a fence with a raised corner which has a dark stone triangle on it. On the stone triangle is a plaque dedicated to those who lost their lives during the "Inaugural Cannonball Run"

We also took a squiz at the Cultural Centre and town square. We’d had the luck to visit during NAIDOC week, so there were events going on. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of those.

Eventually, we had to travel on, aiming for Uluru.

Sunset over scrubland, creating a layered effect of blue, pink and orange-yellow stripes on the sky's horizon. The half-moon is bright and small high in the darkening sky above.

Day 8

The next morning, we awoke early. We’d spent another night “free-camping” just outside the national park (Uluru campsite itself – Yulara – was full), to take the total to three. We had set our alarms to wake us before dawn. I remembered seeing the sunset at Uluru last time and wanted to experience a sunrise with family.

So off we went.

We found a good spot in the designated viewing area (they have different ones for sunrise and sunset), then set up to take photos.

Hello, Uluru.

Photo of me in puffy black coat (with fake-fur-rimmed hood), standing in the foreground with Uluru, a bit of grasslands and trees/ shrubs behind me. The sky is blue.

I’m so glad the climbing ban’s been placed… There are plenty of different ways to experience the place with respect.

We took photos of the distant Olgas too.

It would’ve been nice to do a ranger-guided walk around all of Uluru, as I’d done with school, but time was against us. The tour started too late and went too “long” for our purposes, due to a scheduled flight. Before I left on that plane though we went close to the Rock at Mutitjulu waterhole and did a little walk, exploring the story told there.

We visited the Uluru cultural centre and saw the displays. Including hearing a talk by a ranger and Indigenous people about various tools the Indigenous people of the area use/d. Hint: boomerang is not universal. The Pitjantjatjara people call it a kali. (For more words, see this link: Pitjantjatjara words – Tools.)

A sign at the entrance to the cultural centre, first in Anangu then English: Yunkumytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara Traditional owners say, 'Welcome to our place'. Listen to the insects and birds, look at and feel the land as you walk down the paths to the Cultural Centre. Enter through the display. Exit near the cafe."

And then we were off on the road again, for the last time on the trip together…. (For context, I had made the decision to fly back to Melbourne while others continued back down the highway, because it got me back in time for placement with a couple of days to regroup.)

Before long, we arrived at the airport…and it was soon time for boarding.

Red runway from the plane's window, also showing the wing and red dirt.

Then lift-off.

As we were told at the start of the flight by the pilot, the flight took us south of Coober Pedy, near Leigh Creek (? At least, I think that was the name of it), over Lake Eyre North, south of the Flinders Ranges, above Mildura to Bendigo then over the outer suburbs to land in Melbourne. In other words, I reflected, it used a similar route to our trip. I liked the symmetry of that.

Here’s Lake Eyre North:

The flight was pretty good. Before long though – quicker than I’d expected – we were flying over the outskirts of Melbourne…

Ready for landing.

But my journey back wasn’t yet complete. I went out and had to choose between the SkyBus then train, or a PTV bus and ended up choosing the latter (cheaper and not much longer). After another hour and a half, I was back home.

 

A black, grey & orange Smartbus is driving on a road. Its destination is Melbourne Airport 901

An image sourced from Google as illustration – obviously going the opposite direction than me!

 

Book Review: Letters of Love

My weekend was busy in some aspects – travel here, do this, travel there (with an early start), do that. But it meant I got to see family (yay!) and then, at the end of it all, I spent a lazy late Sunday afternoon reading and chatting with housemates.

The book I read was a non-fiction one. It was a series of letters written by Prominent Australians, to people and things they love. Including their older and younger selves, their children (currently born or yet-to-be), football (Aussie Rules), childhood, love, parents, partner, friends, grandparents, Australia, and more.

This book is a beautiful treasure, a tribute to life in many forms and often thought-provoking. It left me feeling calm and reinvigorated, as well as making me reflect on what things I would say to different people in my life if given the chance. It makes me want to create that chance and write letters to them.

I highly recommend the book.

Front cover of book. Red, with shadow imprint of a heart behind white words, "letters of love". At the top of the cover is written, "Alannah and Madeline Foundation presents". Below the title are the words "words from the heart penned by prominent Australians".

Life Update

Today is a day of sunshowers, of the sky going from “partly cloudy” to “overcast and drizzly” and back multiple times. Glad I didn’t end up doing any washing today!

This week has been a case of doing “a little of this, and a little of that”.

I’m really enjoying just doing stuff with earphones in, listening to playlists. It’ll be even better in a couple of weeks when I don’t have to have earphones in in order to listen.

One of those little things this week was the re-opening of documents relating to Lily’s story. I’ve re-familiarised myself with the characters and their timelines. Next step is to look at the Plot Synopsis and then open the actual story document. Slowly, slowly…

I need to type up some more recipes.

I’m still making my way through the Captain Awkward blog archives. I’ve come across a few old threads which have been good to read and reflect on. Like the one about a person’s clumsiness and seeming disorganisation leading to a discussion about the labels we give ourselves and the way we believe them (i.e. harmful or helpful?). It also mentioned owning our mistakes. Then there was the one I read this morning about anxiety and coping. Lots of interesting things to think about for me in them.

In that light, it’s worth noting that I’m getting better at making phone calls to Important People or for Important Reasons because extracurricular activities like being LaTUCS President have forced me to become better. It’s alllll about the scripting and note-taking, for me at least. When it’s got to be done, it will get done and each time feels a bit better.

Watch this space, too, because LaTUCS and other choirs I know are preparing our Christmas offerings. Too early in the year for you? Not for me! 😛 At least, in this sense.

Ooh, and while we’re on the subject of choirs – you have EIGHT days to go before Early Rego closes for MIV2018. Better get to it, if you want to join us….

Oh yeah….and I was reminded this week (for the first time in a while) – just because it feels minor, doesn’t mean it always is. A cough is sometimes just a cough and sometimes it’s bacterial pharyngitis (inflamed throat caused bacteria). Don’t be me and just “put up with it” for weeks until you realise it has been weeks. (Though, yay for good immune system to keep it feeling minor all that time – and thanks, health system for good GPs and costs.)

Of course, the issue I blogged about on Tuesday, the situation of the men on Manus, is still very much at the forefront of my mind. I hate, hate, hate the fact that politics is so hamstrung about it. It’s maddening. 😡

So that’s me. How about you?

Book review: Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods

Hi everyone!

About a month ago, I heard about an interesting-sounding book from a friend of mine. I decided to read and review it. The book is a new release by author Tess Woods, called “Beautiful Messy Love”.

Front cover of the book, "Beautiful Messy Love". We see a white woman's legs in high-heeled sandals and pink-and-white checked dress. Woman is walking, holding a bunch of red roses, with some rose petals falling. Title of book is in pinkish red, with subtitle in black: "what happens when love and loyalty collide?" Author's name, "Tess Woods" is at the bottom in capitals.

Front cover – I like it. I had to edit the photo so you can see all of Tess Woods’ last name over the library barcode!

It’s a romance story – but more than that. It’s about identities and relationships, traditions and cultures (of family, sport, religion) and how they influence our connections with each other. It tackles footy culture, family cultures and expectations, the all-invasive presence and power of the media (including social) and more. How do we find ourselves, our place in the world, amidst the competing woulds, shoulds and coulds from well-meaning family and friends as well as broader societal/ cultural expectations? How do we find love, negotiating those expectations?

The novel is set in Perth, Australia and centres on four characters – brother and sister Nick and Lily Harding, with Anwar (Anna) Hayati and Toby Watts – and their families and connections.

  • Nick is an AFL footballer for the “Western Rangers” (team colours: red, white and green 😉 ) and he’s a bit of a “bad boy” turning, or turned, good, trying to find a place for himself between footy and the real world.
  • Lily is “Yes Lily”, a medical student who’s two years from finishing her six-year degree but struggling with whether it’s really what she wants to do, or whether she said yes to others’ desires without standing up for herself again.
  • Anna/Anwar is a young Muslim refugee, who has had to grow up too quickly after the tragedies that led to her residency in Australia – as a consequence, she’s very wise and adult in some ways but shy and curious about others.
  • Toby is a man who’s experiencing personal tragedy and has big dreams held down by a sense of duty to others’ dreams.

Huh. Writing that, I can see why Toby and Lily are drawn to each other – they’re both “yes” people. Anwar/Anna and Nick are drawn to each other because they each see and honour each other’s pain and the different worlds they’ve experienced.

I knew I was going to enjoy this book from very early on. I remember sitting on the train, beginning to devour it and probably making other travellers very curious or exasperated as I giggled at a funny moment, then awwed in sympathy the next. I think the thing that sold me on Anna/Anwar and Nick was when Nick asked (at their first meeting) what “leviosa” meant after reading Anna’s t-shirt (“It’s LeviOsa, not LeviosAR” 😀 – I want it!). Anna/Anwar is so surprised he’s never read the series or watched the movies that she gives him her copy of Philosopher’s Stone. Then the way they arranged their first date…

I think it wasn’t long after that point that my brain said, “okay, they better have sorted their inevitable culture clashes et cetera out by the end of the book and still be together”. Or something. They’re so cute! I’m a sucker for romance the way Nick and Anna/Anwar do it. Of course, there are annoying parts too, bits when I wanted to grab one and say, “ugh, do that thing already!” But overall…. *dreamy sigh*. Anna/Anwar is someone I relate to with her feelings about Nick and compassion for others, and I’m sympathetic to her trauma-related struggles. Nick is sweet and footy-mad and dedicated and down-to-earth.

Lily and Toby’s relationship is more “eh” for me, because I think I relate to them less – and I don’t like rebounds much tbh. Apart from the pie-baking scene and other small moments, I found Toby a little annoying at first. Idk if he’s really my type. Therefore his story arc didn’t matter as much to me. Lily is relatable enough: the “Yes Lily” nickname resonates, as assertiveness is something I’m thinking about these days. Also the “crying at the drop of a hat” feeling. I hear you, Lily! She’s also very much the caring sister – as an older sister myself, that made me connect with her. But her personality comes off as a bit flaky to me at first so I only warmed up to her properly as the story went on.

The fact it was a “footy story” allowed for a really good exploration of fame and media and cultures clashing. As established on this blog, I’m a bit of a “floating” footy supporter, largely tied to my family team. I live it vicariously. But I’m also a consumer of media so I’m aware of the downright stupid stuff that footballers can get caught up in. So my lens was coloured by that when reading. Though I should note that Tess Woods wasn’t intending it to be a footy exposé. Just an interesting setting.

Another thing I loved was the way familial and platonic relationships of the four main characters with their family and friends worked. There were plenty of different personalities who all felt real. This was apparent when we saw the same character viewed through the eyes of more than one main character. That’s possible because each chapter is narrated in first person by one of the four characters. This story device can be hit-and-miss, but it works well in this novel. Each character has a distinctive voice and so the alternating insights are welcome. I loved the different perspectives – of the main characters and the supporting voices, especially when advice was given.

The book is divided into three sections plus epilogue, involving time-jumps. I kinda wish there’d been a fourth one, in-between the second and third, because that jump felt a little too big, especially given what was going on at the end of the “second act”. The intervening time was summed up by the characters but it still felt a little off – I’d have preferred to see a bit more of it happening rather than just hear perspectives about it.  For me, it meant the transition to the climax was a little out-of-left-field (sports reference!) and the emotional-arc resolution for Nick and Anna/Anwar felt a little inevitable and flat, though still sweet.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I recommend it to people who like romance, stories about family and identity and finding your own place, and those looking for a light read that’s more than just fluff. Go and get your hands on it now. 🙂

 

 

 

 

#Iamwatching – For Crying Out Loud, #bringthemhere!

I just spent 10 minutes calling my local MP’s office, as well as the offices of Bill Shorten, Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton to express my “utter disgust” (as I phrased it to Turnbull and Dutton’s staffers) at the current situation on Manus. Why, why, why do people still insist on treating refugees and asylum seekers as political footballs? Why do people not see that using punitive measures creates far more problems than it solves? Our response should be compassionate and respectful. Instead, we have this toxic dehumanising scary situation.

For those of you who are still unaware of what I’m talking about, here’s ASRC’s CEO, Kon Karapanagiotidis:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAsylum.Seeker.Resource.Centre.ASRC%2Fvideos%2F1591307030907437%2F&show_text=0&width=560

As of 17:00 today (i.e. 30 minutes ago), all food, water (drinking and running water, so no sanitation!), electricity and medicine access to the men imprisoned in offshore detention on Manus Island has been cut off completely. The Australian government workers and contractors have walked off the site and left “control” in the hands of the Paupa New Guinean military forces – the same group that has repeatedly threatened and made attempts to harm the men.

Supply is being cut off in order to force the men to move to a “transit centre” in another part of the island. A centre which hasn’t been built yet! If they more there? Well – as Kon says above it’s not the fault of the local people, who didn’t ask for the men to be on the Island in the first place. But moving 816 men into East Lorengau, with a population of 4,000 people, where resources are scarce enough to begin with – is quite frankly a worrying prospect. As Kon says in the video (starts about the 4 minute mark), the locals do not want them to come. They have petitioned against it and also made threats. Now, why would the asylum seekers want to move there?

These men do not deserve this. Bring them here

The men have been imprisoned for more than four years on Manus Island in squalid conditions. There are better ways of “dealing” with them!

Let’s reiterate some facts:

  1. Seeking asylum is NOT illegal, whether you come by plane or boat (or land but that’s not possible in Australia)
  2. Locking the refugees up doesn’t “stop the boats”
  3. Asylum seekers leave their countries because they’re FORCED to – because they’re scared for their own lives or the lives of their families.

Australia will have blood on our hands after this, I fear.

Read more about the current situation here and here and here.

I’ve written about potential solutions before #BringThemHere, drat it! and REBLOGGED: Alternative to Offshore Detention and many others – search my blog using the keyword refugees and you’ll see. I hate this situation.

😦 I wish the politicians would actually behave compassionately rather than punitively. It bloody sucks.

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

Expect to see a lot of these coming up. I’ve finally attached myself to the local library in my new area (only took me eight months haha whoops) so I now have access to books. Including many on hold that I’m picking up, right after I write this post (the book’s due back today).

When Breath Becomes Air is a beautiful bittersweet book. It is a biography of Paul Kalanithi. On the cusp of graduating to being a neurosurgeon, he was diagnosed with cancer. It had already metastasized. Yet he wasn’t done living yet – he had a wife and they’d been making future plans. So he has to decide how to live, in the amount of time he has left.

It shows how he does this by going back to the beginning, from his childhood, through early university and his attempts at discerning what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go – ultimately, who he wanted to be.

The book is very interesting on one level because Dr Kalanithi shared an interest of mine: neurology and how the happenings within the nervous system (especially the brain) affect people. After all, he was a neurosurgeon. I recognise the terminology and the sense of stories.

The prose in the book is brilliant. Dr Kalanithi’s way of describing situations makes them crystal clear and also gives them the right sort of grace and gravity. For example:

“When there’s no place for the scalpel, words are the surgeon’s only tool.” (p.87)

“I had met her in a space where she was a person, instead of a problem to be solved.” (p.90)

“Being with patients in these moments certainly had its emotional cost, but it also had its rewards.” (p.97, emphasis in-text)

“If the weight of mortality does not grow lighter, does it at least get more familiar?” (p.138)

“Doctors, it turns out, need hope, too.” (p.194)

He talks about humanity and how it’s revealed in different forms. Death and life and illness. The book is, at its heart, an examination of relationship. The details of people, at the crossroads of what was and what will be. It is also about identity – losing what used to be yourself and having to find and create a new sense of it.

My favourite prose in the book is the last paragraph Dr Kalanithi wrote. It is a marvellous book, despite and because of its subject matter. I’m glad I read it.

 

Phew. And that’s a wrap

My last assignment for Paediatrics is due at 17:00 Friday (today). Paediatrics is the final subject of my third year.

In other words, I’m officially DONE with my third year. I’ve been chugging along since the last days of January so that’s nine months. Whew. I get to rest now, until next February when my final year begins. That’s going to involve a lot more placement work and will no doubt be just as intense as this year but in different ways. But until then – huzzah.

This year, I’ve learnt about and built on so many things. Like how to do SMART goals properly and building on intentional communication; environmental modifications, splinting, adaptive equipment, funding etc.; stress buckets, case formulation, intervention planning; stages of development and different treatments for specific disabilities and situations; many many models applicable in general and also specifically to various client groups – aged, disabled/ chronically ill, mentally ill, children…. and so much more.

That’s a long run-on sentence and it’s been a long run-on year.

But so, so good.

I’m really appreciative of all the opportunities that have come my way this year. I think I’ll give myself a few days off to savour them before organising my summer break.

 

On a different note: Don’t forget – today is the final day to get a replacement survey form for the marriage equality survey. Make sure you’ve voted before the end of Friday next week.

 

Orange Sky charity for homelessness

Got plenty of things to say, but in the meantime (because I ran out of time today), here’s something I’ve wanted to post about for a while.

See, a couple of weeks ago, I went to a fancy dinner to celebrate the year. It was organised through uni. At the dinner, between main course and dessert, we heard a talk from Nic and Lucas, the guys behind Orange Sky Laundry.

It’s a pretty awesome story about community and people helping people. As Nic and Lucas told it, they had an idea, to wash the clothes of homeless people using a mobile laundry service in the back of a van. They had a few setbacks in starting up, but now they’ve got services in different places across Australia. They’ve also started up a mobile shower service that accompanies the laundry.

Here’s a screenshot of the front page of their website, for some visuals. The real thing can be found by clicking here: http://www.orangeskylaundry.com.au/

orange sky homeless charity

The laundry service fills a physical need. It also fills social and emotional ones. It creates community.

 

The way they told the story got me thinking.

It reminded me of the connection I made for a little while with a homeless woman, who used to beg on Londsdale Street near Parliament Station. I think her name was Sally. The first time I met her, I was walking quickly towards the station from the bus stop, on my way back home. It was 2015 I think. I remember, the fact that made me pause was that she had a dog. An old corgie if I recall correctly. As I paused I listened to her telling her story to another person. Over time, through more stops, I’d hear more of it.

She was homeless due to domestic violence. She had had a pretty rough life. It seemed like life had dealt her a series of blows – her own child died young, for example. She lived for her dog; the money she got was first spent on dog-food, then on accommodation for the night, then food for herself.

She had cancer too and had been told she only had a year to live, which dwindled away as I visited.

How do I know she was telling the truth?

I don’t. Not really. But her eyes – the pain in them – I saw that. It felt real to me.

 

I don’t see her anymore. I haven’t done since about this time last year. I think she’s passed on.

I wonder what happened to her dog? That was her biggest fear.