I am one of those people who were born between 1946-1964, a ‘baby boomer.’ I refer to myself as a ‘late bloomer, baby boomer.’ Many of my dreams, such as graduating from university, did not happen until I was in my thirties. Later in life I gained two Master Degrees (Master of Social Work and Master of Philosophy). I am married to Bill and have a son, Matthew. I am the eldest of seven children and grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland, in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
When I first heard the name ‘Scattered Straws’ I was drawn to it and the symbolism of straw. The stalks of threshed grain have life-giving qualities and straw has a range of uses. Straw is also an analogy for the elements of life that can be weaved or braided together. When I was searching for a name for my blog I discovered that George Essex Evans (GEE) [1863-1909] had a column in the Darling Downs Gazette and he called this ‘Scattered Straws.’ It became an institution in the literature of Toowoomba, Queensland. Here I am over a century later bringing the column up to date with a blog. What would GEE think? GEE was known to have a clever use of the English language and in his column he used this in a way that was often concise and terse. I cannot claim to have a clever use of the English language however I hope my blog articles are interesting to readers.
The greater part of my working life was in human service delivery as a social worker and senior administrator in the Queensland Public Sector. In October 2015 we moved from a rural property in Maleny, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to Toowoomba. There are many beautiful parks and gardens in Toowoomba (known as the Garden City). Every year in September the City hosts the ‘Carnival of Flowers.’ The first event was held in 1950. It as the longest running floral event held in Australia.
Toowoomba City is ‘on the move’ – economically and socially. There is a great café scene which has drawn comparisons to Melbourne. Toowoomba now has a second range crossing which has reduced the number of heavy vehicles passing through the centre of the City. The Wellcamp Airport is another great edition to the City, thanks to the Wagner family.
These days I enjoy spending more time on researching, creating and writing. In 2019 published my first book ‘Caught in the Crossfire, A Memoir.’ The book is also available on Amazon. Many of my short stories have been published in magazines. You will also find a selection of short stories on my website under the category ‘Short Stories.’ My writing goal is to build my portfolio as a freelance writer. To support me in my goal I am part of a Writer’s Group. There are six of us, all women. As we live in different states of Australia we meet via Skype once a month.
Alongside writing, I am a music lover. I enjoy a wide range of musical genres including the Classics, Easy Listening, Jazz, Country and Western, Rhythm and Blues, and Latin. I play the piano and the ukulele.
When I retired from full-time work in 2013, and living on acreage in Maleny, I took up a new hobby – caring for backyard chickens. There is nothing like holding a warm egg in your hand. Fresh eggs from the backyard are so different to those bought in the supermarket. I called my chickens (they are really hens), Princesses. Their title came about due to them being treated like royalty. They got the best of everything from me, their lady-in-waiting. While different breeds of chickens might look alike, all chickens have individual personalities. My chickens added interest and amusement to our lives. I continued caring for chickens when we moved to a suburban block in Toowoomba. But I realised (it took me a while) to give them the ‘good life’ they needed more space to be fully happy. Therefore, in 2020 they moved to a new principality near Esk.
Years ago I noticed that most people seem to define themselves and others by what they do in life, usually measured by an occupation. However, for me it is so much more important about what I am ‘becoming’ than what I have ‘accomplished’ even though setting and achieving goals is a fundamental part of life. Life is a journey and as I travel this season of my life I want to gather up all the ‘scattered straws’ to make the journey worthwhile. Thanks for being part of and sharing the journey with me.