Buttons are small daily objects that quietly connect things. They join things up, they hold us together. This blog features buttons as a way of reminding us of the little things that lie behind the actions we take to build strong communities.
The other part of this blog’s title represents the nourishment we get from participating in community life and that we can offer to others also. It is not the nourishment of the exotic, but the everyday sustenance of regular connections, ongoing work and play – bread rather than caviar.
Yesterday was party time for the choir I am part of, the ‘With One Voice’ choir. We had our end of year concert at Kingston Park, with families and friends present, and beautiful food and more music afterwards. Choir is a very happy weekly uplift for me – Wednesday nights after work, with a bunch of very pleasant people and the fantastic Heather and Michelle at the helm. We have supper afterwards and it has been really enjoyable to get to know more folk local to where I live, and to reconnect with some old pals too. It’s also been fantastic to be part of something that I don’t do much to organise!! Yesterday I provided some of my (over-)large supply of preserves to the raffle prizes, and did minimal other little jobs, but crikey did I appreciate the work of the committee and the other helpers. Without the behind the scenes people in any community venture – in this case doing things like organising food (which was spectacular), setting up the venue, coordinating raffle prizes, getting the sound organised, staffing and setting up the bar, setting up the tables, bringing tablecloths and flowers, printing the song sheets, packing up afterwards, doing dishes, organising the recycling of disposable plates and doubtless many more – nothing would happen. It was a really good afternoon/evening! (Here are some pics – double click to enlarge as usual.)
Warming up before the show
More of the warm up – there are lots of us!
MORE warm up – including Michelle
Some of the crowd before the show
Michelle and Heather, who lead us each week
The raffle table and chief raffle seller!
The bar in the sun
Stephanie and Simone
Fridge full of food beforehand
Salads in process
Flowers on the tables
Jenny and Jenny
Chris – raffle organiser, at the table
Jenny and her sister Lizzie buying tickets
The harpist who played for us after our performance
Liz and Glenyse doing dishes, the troopers
Asian salad being prepared
Patty, kitchen coordinator and chief caterer extraordinaire
Jacqui and her friend
Richard and Dave
More choir people, not sure of all names – Kenny in the middle and Anna on the right
A couple of guests
Krista and Michelle
David and Chris
Food on the tables
One of the guests with a bowl of food
Yvonne, Juan, Alan and Jen
Chris smiling in the middle of her friends
An old friend of this blog, the lovely Pam, sent through an update from her life in WA this week. Pam wrote a number of stories in the early days, including some of our most popular ones including this one about her favourite tree and this one about pottery and change. It was great to hear from her and about her adventures as a wildlife rescuer, and to see some pics of the little joeys she is caring for. Pam has such a great spirit and strength. She has been through a lot in her life, so it is fantastic to hear that she is having some fun now.
Hi all. There are a lot of people on here I don’t know anymore but I wanted to tell you a little about my life. I now live in Albany in WA which is an amazing place. Today is the 5 year anniversary since I left Adelaide. We left with basically nothing – we didn’t even have a clean pair of knickers or jocks but we had the boys bikes and the cat and dog which was extremely important and in this five years so much has happened it’s like I’ve lived two lives. The boys are growing up so much – in this time Mitchell has even left home. Now I have mentioned Mitchell I’ll tell you a little bit about this child. One day he came into the bedroom and said ‘Mum, I’ve been asked to join the junior council members for Albany’ and I said how did you do that and he said I wrote a letter because I was concerned about the suicide rate in Albany and that there was nothing for Albany teens to do so he became a member of the Albany council. There was a picture of him in the newspaper because he got a huge amount of money for a new skatepark to be put in. He organises competitions and lots of other things. I went to watch and there’s all these people going ‘good job Mitchell’, ‘well done’ and I didn’t even realise he was doing all this. He is an amazing person.
Next an update on me. I always thought that my life would be just about kids cause that’s all I ever knew and that’s all I ever wanted to do was look after kids since I was 17. Well I found new things. When the government gave me this house I actually cried because I was so sad and disappointed and thought how bad this house looked there was nothing out the back just weeds. But since then the boys and I put in the decking together. We have put in a pond and veggies, fruit trees and a garden. I have included some pictures for you to see. I have always wondered why I was given this big butt – so that I could shuffle around on it to pull out the weeds!
The other passion in my life is my Joeys. I became a carer for rescued baby kangaroos. I had a mentor who taught me how to look after them; I go to the meetings (yes Elizabeth shock horror I go to meetings!) and I do rescues and I look after the babies afterwards. I adore my Joeys; as you will see in the pictures they take up most of my backyard. They’re always jumping around in the backyard. Over here in WA they go to soft release and then they are set free in the state forest but I know that in South Australia you’re not allowed to let them go. They are an amazing creature and I absolutely love doing this.
Joey pouches on the line. Pam says they go through heaps of them.
I know this probably sounds like a bit of a brag but it’s ok to have a bit of a brag because I’ve done well and I’m proud of what I’ve done and I’ve come along way. There’s a lot of help along the way but you do get there in the end and if you don’t give up it does get better and better until you are living your best life which I am doing. I have had babies since I was 17 and didn’t think I was capable of much else. Well I realise I’m a capable of a lot and yes there are bad days but the good days outweigh the bad so if you are having a struggle please keep going just for a few more days because you never know what day things will get better – but they will. Please enjoy my photos – I have more photos of Joeys than I have my own kids! They are all unique just as our kids are. Thank you Elizabeth for letting me tell you or about my life. Lots of love Pam
Black throated finch
Last week was national bird week. Among other activities, there has been a ‘backyard count’ throughout Australia and there is a vote going on for the country’s favourite bird. It’s a two stage process this year, with a ‘run-off’ second round after narrowing the field to a final 10. I was very chuffed to see, when I voted myself in round 1, that the little endangered finch which is threatened by the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland is in the lead. I gather that lots of conservation and environmentally aware people are using this as a gentle way to raise awareness and make a point. Great!
If you are interested in having a look at the field and casting your vote, here is the link
It was Deirdre’s birthday this week – she had a party yesterday to celebrate. She and David have fairly recently (in the past couple of years or so) bought a house after renting forever. It is a weird transition sometimes; the responsibility of debt a bit freaky in my memory, the ‘permanence’. Deirdre has appeared here before – she is wired for colour and vibrancy – and her new place reflects that big time. One of the benefits of your own place is that you can decorate how you want, and they have taken to the color theme in a bold and glorious way. Yesterday we birthday guests participated in this process of moving from a neutral, ‘tasteful’ palette to something much wilder and warmer. It was fun.
Here are some pics – a kind of before through to after (click to enlarge as usual)…
Layla doing the outline
Becky painting the bottom layer
Layla p the top (with other painted walls in the background)
Becky finishing the bottom layer
Annie having a go
Annie with paintbrush
Annie and Becky in action
Annie, Beck and Layla
Doing the drip line
Deirdre looking at progress
Some of the drips dripped too far! (can you have too far?)
Heart taking shape
John painting the heart
D looking happy/excited, John and Layla in action behind
Layla, Walid and Sophia
Outline of heart and more layers and cumulative drips
Heart and blue layer
More or less finished…
Everyone had a good time – Layla was great as a kind of coordinator and others of us did bits or cheered from the sidelines. I did a little bit of the top yellow layer and some of the yellow drips, but mostly took pics thinking of this blog (a kind of virtual neutral wall that I paint week after week).
Here are some other photos of Deirdre’s colourful place and her succulents…
Back yard with painted panels
Plastic lid art
Close up of a panel
Cushions at the party
Plants and panels
More plants and panels
Bucket with monstera
Cushions and plants (with Black Adder)
Cushion and plants
The lounge, featuring teatowel throw rug, cushion and woollen rug
Walid dancing (fab!)
Luca’s picture and plants
Succulents in front of a panel
Succulent in funky pot
Sound system and funky pot
Basil and tealight candle holder/flower
On the door in the house
Even the folders are fab