I begin writing this blog in 2007. I tell a little of the backstory and the journey on. My blog is under Meanderings – travels in mind and body. Other archives of the various dimensions of my life are under the other top menu links. Thank you for visiting.
MY LIFE IN BRIEF
Born in 1959, I live in the town I was born. For ten years I actually worked a mere several metres from the maternity ward in which I was born.
At the end of 2007 my family and I made a pilgrimage to Baha’i Holy places. We travelled to Singapore, Malaysia, Frankfurt, Turkey, and Israel. I have written of these travels in Meanderings.
In January 2008 I began a new venture in educational theatre with a business called Phoenix Functions. It was a very modest start but I am hoping the little spring of fresh inspiration and endeavour will grow into a meandering river. I felt that metaphor became more apt when I found myself working with The Wilderness Society of Australia on an educational theatre project about Cape York Wilderness, Animals and Wild Rivers, for State Schools in North Queensland. The trial production of “Cape York Critters and Wild Country “went into a school in December 2008. Video clip from the latest production of ‘Cape York Critters and Wild Country” at Trinity Anglican School in April 2009 (read more below).
2008 ended with the marriage of my son, Nathan, to Danielle Akhtakhavari from Los Angeles. They met while doing volunteer work for the Baha’i House of Worship in New Delhi, India in 2006. Their marriage has created a few more tributaries in the river of our family with connections now to the Arneson family of Hay, Kansas, USA; and the Akhtakhavaris of Yazd, Iran and everywhere else in the world they have migrated. The wedding videos: Entering the ceremony; ‘Eagle’ sings love song in ceremony, then later keeps the dancers on the floor; The happy couple make their vows; Reception speeches.
I was proud to have been the convenor of the National Rural Health Conference (May 17 – 20, 2009). It was a fabulous event with 920 delegates in the Cairns Convention Centre. We submitted 19 Recommendations to the Australian Minister of Health, Nicola Roxon.
I was glad to have made the effort to attend the 2009 Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival. It was a great weekend and, apart from the intrigue of the many dance groups from across Cape York, got to speak to visitors from OS, and visited with the Chair of the organising committee, Tom George, from the Laura Aboriginal community. I also took a walk to Split Rock art caves.
As of mid 2009, on the eve of my 50th birthday , I resigned from the boards of SARRAH and the NRHA, to take up another look at that mountain of the reconstruction of the mind and spirit. I figured, as my 50th year turned over, I might have another 30 productive years in me. I certainly felt that I have a number of undeveloped potentialities that need a mind more free of the cornered animal.
My biography in pictures:
As August 2009 came around, I found myself having to play a major role helping an elderly Aunt (Aunt Rae) move into an aged care residence. She has moved into an aged care residence in Gordonvale, a small town south of Cairns. My work to sort out the house she left and her finances took a hold as, in September 2009, I lined up for the first of 2 eye lense replacements. By December 2009 I could see perfectly long distances for the first time in over 40 years.
By Jan 2010 I had cleared her house out ready for sale, then cleaners and painters took a few months. Finally on the market, and, in a very depressed market, made a reasonable sale by August 2010, one year later.
In January 2010 I began two new projects.
One, a motor skill training activities class, a mesh of my professional expertise in neuroplasticity and performing arts training exercises, and aimed at people who can’t participate in usual fitness formats. The motto: If you can’t exercise, ‘Fake It’. ‘Fake it’ community class ran between Feb – April 2010 with 8 participants of various disabilities. ‘Fake it’ also ran for two months at the Carinya Aged Care Hostel, and rough evaluations suggest it was beneficial in lifting the balance abilities in mobile residents.
The second was organising two events on the staged area of our small local CBD – one themed, ‘The Child”, the other themed, “Critters”. The aim was to trial method for using the arts to engage the community on important current issues that will require change. Called ‘Philosophical Friday’ the events encouraged expression by local performing artists, multimedia presentations, booths. Philosophical Fridays were modestly successful, and taught a lot about the nature of my community in the CBD on Friday afternoons (especially that it is much quieter than I expected).
And that became two more projects.
Through the networking I did for Philosophical Fridays, around May 2010, I was asked to organise the Children’s Festival of the Tableland Folk Festival for 2010. This has been an immensely rewarding exercise. The Children Festival is a free venue the Folk Festival establish, It enthuses children with all sorts of activities and is a venue for development and training of youth performers and technicians, and showcases some major performers to the festival. And I have met a whole new bunch of wonderful people involved voluntarily in the organisation. It was a tremendous success. I accepted to be the organiser in 2011 and am happy to be supported by a core team of 4 woman and a growing group of interested contributors.
Around the same time, I put ‘feelers’ out for a couple of writer/actors to collaborate on a project to write theatre for social discourse. Wonderfully, a young actor, Liz Hurley (Falling Petals Sept 2010), and an experienced writer, June Perkins, came on board. We successfully applied for a RADF grant from the Qld Govt and the Tableland Regional Council. The grant committee asked if we could design the project as a community workshop, and encouraged us to submit it to … yep … the Tableland Folk Festival. That project culminated in the design of a script writing workshop for social discourse facilitation, and our own small performance called ‘Rotations of Risk, that had its test run at the Tableland Folk Festival. In January 2011 I had reviewed the workshop and worked it with a group in Atherton.
Now called ‘Out of the Box’ Theatre Workshop it is now available for groups, organisations or communities for facilitation of specific discourses relevant to those groups.
My son, Kelsey engaged to marry Sepideh Tara in November 2010.
As 2011 rolled around Nathan and Danielle went to live in California, USA. Nathan, to work in an agency preparing young adults with mental health problems to return to careers and independent living. Danielle to continue her college education. My youngest son, Reuben, began studies in Construction Management.
Kelsey and Sepideh married on Friday 8th April 2011, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane River. Reception was held in Sebel Hotel, Brisbane City. I wrote and read a poem for the ceremony; and gave a speech at the reception.
During 2010 I was also introduced to Landmark Education and in February and March 2011, I completed the Forum and Advanced Course. This course played a significant role in seeing me play in “The Female of the Species” produced by Malanda Theatre Company from May to August 2011. I also facilitated an ‘Empathy’ Workshop at the International Unity in Diversity Conference in Townsville, August. August to October I coordinated a group of artists in children workshops building giant insects, choreographing dance, writing poetry, for the Children’s Festival of the Tableland Folk Festival. During September and October 2011 I attended contemporary dance training under Jess Jones which culminated in a group performance.
My mother bought them a house in Atherton in April, and began clearing the house. My sister, her partner, and son came to help them move in June 2011. My father has rapidly advancing dementia. The house they bought sits in a suburb developed on land he farmed in the late 1950′s. He remembers it well and talks about it often. After 2 generations of pioneering in agriculture on the Atherton Tableland, our family now has no active farmers. I hold on to my Peanut Company shares for nostalgia sake.
In November 2011 we visited Nathan and Danielle in Riverside, California. We were there for Thanksgiving. Then took a few days in Las Vegas.
Due to serendipitous events, Kelsey and Sepideh came to live on the Tablelands in January 2012. It feels wonderful to have them close.
2012 was a busy year. Early in the year, the Cairns Festival organising team of the Cairns Regional Council asked me to provide them a Children’s Program for a Festival Village. That was a great collaboration through which I found new friends in the Creative Cairns team, Kickarts, InkMasters, drama studies of Trinity Anglican and Trinity Bay Highschools. The Children Village was a great success for the Festival.
I also took the lessons I have learnt in my ‘Fake It’ classes, to design of the ‘Biggest Board Game’, a human size board game. I am trialled the design through a participatory method with residents of the local aged care hostel, Carinya, and the new local branch of the University of the 3rd Age. The participants found it a great fun way to learn about and do exercise. Well that was the intention. A few design issues to work out but I am hopeful to see an installation of the board game or some other form of the product completed for ready use.
In April 2012, Soroor and I took a trip to Bali. Both interesting and disappointing, but that’s a long discussion. Photos through the Flickr link at the right menu.
By the end April 2012 I had written 5 grant proposals with teams of artists, four in contemporary dance and one for a children’s workshop. We were unsuccessful in getting a grant to bring Glen Murray of ‘MADE’ to North Queensland, and to get a contemporary dance group kickstarted in Cassowary Region. However, three RADF grants from Cairns and Tablelands, were successful: a multi-genre children’s art workshop called ‘ Flights of Fancy’, and the Cairns and Malanda ‘Made2Move’ contemporary dance projects. Apart from the team that created some great improvisation for the Children’s Festival of the Tableland Folk Festival, I also began a group for the much older and disabled person. Made2Move has been noticed by major players in the dance industry and through their encouragement I expect to present to the Science and Dance Festival in Canberra next August 2013.
Choosing to attend the SARRAH conference in Launceston, Tasmania, was a fabulous reconnect with a lot of friends I hadn’t seen for four years. It also gave me the opportunity to meet Glen Murray at his home in Hobart and discuss issues relating to establishing over 40s contemporary dance groups.
The Children Festival of the Tableland Folk Festival was a success again.
I would be most pleased if I could visit with you as well, so please leave a comment for me.