This week I was very excited to see the publication of my first paper as last author. I smiled when I saw the little envelope next to my name, signifying that I was person designated as the author to whom correspondence should be addressed. This was the first time in which I have acted as team leader, bringing all the other authors together to write a manuscript that was acceptable to myself, my pharma company, and the two rigorous peer reviewers. The study was initiated in 2010, so it feels great to see it now formally published and part of the scientific body of knowledge on epidemiology and health economics.
May 14 2013
Mother of the Bride is Adrienne Sallay’s second novel.
The protagonist, Francis Mainwaring, is a librarian in Acquisitions at the State Library of New South Wales. Her “absolute obsession” is women’s unpublished writings: “Letters, journals, recipe books, shopping lists, notes to children on scraps of paper, love letters to beloveds, hate letters to mothers… how many unread, unsung words have been written with such excitement, desperation, fatigue, passion.”
The reader gets a glimpse into these lives from the excerpts that the author weaves into the story. Sometimes these extracts are from well-known figures, like botanical illustrator Ellis Rowan, and some are treasured family recipes scribbled on the back of an envelope.
Francis struggles with smartphones, underwire bras, her daughters’ vegetarianism, and her distant husband Phil. Despite working full-time, she still cooks porridge for Phil every morning, makes him sandwiches for work, and keeps his dinner warm in the oven when he comes home late. When her happy-go-lucky daughter Angie announces her engagement to Chen, she wonders to herself if Chen sees his bride simply as “a woman who will cook and clean for free, produce babies for him and bring them up to look after him in his old age.”
The story follows the preparations and aftermath of her daughter’s wedding, as Francis looks to the future and asks herself “do I want my life to be different?” How will she define herself when her daughters have left home and her husband always seems to be somewhere else? Mother of the Bride celebrates friendship, examines the meaning of family, and explores the quest for the perfect dress.
The tale is set against an authentic suburban Australian backdrop. If there’s not a total fire ban due to the scorching temperatures, the family may light up a barbeque on the weekend, followed by scones, ice-cream cake, or pineapple upside-down cake. Holidays are often spent at the beach, surrounded by magpies and frangipanis during the day, and underneath the Southern Cross at night.
This novel gave me a glimpse into the struggles of previous generations of Australian women. The excerpts of their writings emphasised their great struggles and minimal acknowledgement, while the narrative itself underlined the distinct gender roles that are still apparent in modern Australian society. I would recommend this book to anyone who was looking for a light-hearted yet insightful account of the lives hidden inside those Californian bungalows of Sydney’s suburbs.
Available in paperback from Ace press and Australian bookshops, and Amazon kindle worldwide.
Apr 30 2013
I think that this month’s Brussels Girl Geek Dinner was the best I’ve ever experienced. When I read the description, I signed up instantly, glad to get onto the list while there was still room. Meeting other women interested in science and technology at the Hard Rock Café while playing with Lego bricks? Count me in.
The event was held on the fourth floor of the café, decorated with fascinating self portraits from members of bands like The Beatles, The Who, and U2. The windows opened up to the beautiful Grand Place, even more spectacular with its ever-changing technicolour display. We were welcomed by organiser Clo Willaerts, who gave us all a free copy of her latest book Altijd Naakt (Always Naked) on managing ones online identity.
We then met Erik Talboom, the co-founder of co-learning.be, and were introduced to the idea of co-creation using Lego Serious Play. Co-Learning helps companies build teams, design meetings, and improve innovation by leading targeted, fun, and innovative workshops. He grouped us into tables of five, dumped a pile of lego pieces in front of us, and asked us to create symbols of our best friend, our hobbies, and finally, the optimal Hard Rock Café experience. Plus, I was lucky enough to win a co-creation workshop of my own with the fastest tweet of the evening.
The evening ended with a chat with the Sales & Marketing Manager Guillermo Castells and Master Chef Arnel Del Rosario, and I learned that the Hard Rock business was sold to the Seminole Tribe of Native Americans for $965 million in 2007. We helped the chef construct our Legendary Burgers, and then sat down to enjoy dinner and some excellent conversation about artificial intelligence, linguistics, and corporate responsibility.
Thanks to @bnox for another fantastic evening.