Saturday 20th January 2018

Art Kits, Materials & More. Part One. 2018.6.

Art Kits, Materials & More. Part One. 2018.6.

Introduction.

In 2013 I was looking for something to give me some level of contentment. It was a pretty stressful time in my life and it was a shout-out from Deb Dane who blogs here that changed my life for the better.

That IS a big call, I know!

A R T was it. But back then I was both curious and shy. I had ALWAYS enjoyed creating colourful and crafty classrooms for kids, and then as grandchildren came along I joined the scrapbooking phenomenon of the 1990s and beyond. I also did a college class on sketching when I first retired.

But A R T for ‘arts-sake’ was surely for more talented people than I am. 

Finding My Place as an Artist.

Oh seriously it took some time to apply this term to me but as one of my art gurus said ‘what are the rules for this?’. Rule-maker and keeper me realised I was the one limiting myself. Deb suggested I join the group on Facebook called DaisyYellow and take part in their Index-Card-A-Day challenge from June to July every year. In 2013 I joined, became a devotee, even signing on as a moderator in 2015 and 2016. In 2017 I did the challenge until it was time for my cancer surgery in early July.

This post explains more about it. I thank Tammy Garcia, the founder, for much of her encouragement of my art. Some examples here of my interpretation of the daily prompts in 2016. These are all created on (old speak) 6inch x 4 inch index cards.

What’s An Art Kit?

I credit learning more about art from being a member of this on-line group as above. It’s a free website and there are minimal costs for certain activities. However, as in all things in life, it was time for me to decide what I wanted in an art kit and what would be its purpose.

You know when you are caught waiting in a room for an appointment or sitting in the car waiting for someone and whilst you could look at your phone or read an old magazine there is this idea! An Art Kit.

I always had small one in my bag when we lived in Sydney and then somehow when we moved and I was mainly being at home, I got out of the habit of keeping one. It was when I had to go to hospital last July I thought I needed to take some art materials for when I was recovering AND cognisant. I was right! In 2017 I was obsessed with mandalas! I was designing and drawing them, making patterns to colour later. They were (and still are) a very MINDFUL activity for me. I made a large version of an art kit with my A4 book with pre-drawn circles and some lines on many pages, added in some Unipin pens, some colouring pens and I was set. I did not watch TV at night in hospital, I drew mandalas and they helped in my mood and physical recovery as I relaxed!

Now I am getting dress with purpose every day, one thing I do is go out for a solo coffee. I have been doing that for more than 2 months now and I am loving it. I get to people watch, sip a favourite coffee, sometimes try to eat something nice, and play with ART. Here I am last Friday at a local cafe. By the way, it took me about two goes not to feel self-conscious so now it’s second nature!

Next post I will add more details about:

  • materials I use that might be expensive initially but ‘pay for themselves’ in terms of lasting and quality
  • some ways in which art has helped my emotional health improve
  • how all of us can make art in a way that is meaningful to us and how to shut up the critic’s voice
  • ideas for colouring-in those lovely patterns and pictures in books and freebies on-line
  • and anything you might choose to ask me questions about in the comments!!

I hope this has been helpful.

I wrote this post as a response to Vanessa Smith’s comment recently and she blogs here. Another blogging friend, also named Vanessa and blogs here  is now colouring mindfully and this post may be of interest but the next one will be more so I think.

Happy Art-ing everyone!

Denyse.

 

Joining Kylie Purtell here for I Blog On Tuesdays and on Thursdays I join in the Lovin’ Life Linky with Leanne here.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Favourite Weather. #LifeThisWeek 3/52. 2018.5.

Favourite Weather. #LifeThisWeek 3/52. 2018.5.

Last Sunday, 7 January,  the temperature outside our house on the Central Coast rose to 43 degrees celsius. Lucky us, we thought, at least we have ducted air-conditioning! THAT, unfortunately did not last. No, like many others, our house lost power.

An outage that lasted 70 L O N G minutes where we both did our best to survive inside.

Just as decided to leave the house, to get in the air-conditioned car to go somewhere for a drive, the power kicked back in. Oh. My. Goodness. Fortunate for sure. However, given that the worst days of Summer heat are yet to arrive, as they did last year in February then we MAY not be feeling as comfy as we were. In fact, the management of Ausgrid who manage the electricity services here came out and said words to the effect of “it is highly likely there WILL be further outages with extremes of heat which put pressure on the electricity grid”. Great. Not. Later in the afternoon I DID go for that drive and it was STILL hot!

Wondered why I chose this optional prompt and then I realised I have been obsessed by the weather and its extremes for years. We lived and taught in Western NSW for 8 years and with little or no air-con, we survived. Is it an age-thing? In 1978 we bought our first house and the affordable area of Sydney then for us was in the north-west and so, knowing we needed our comfort levels at home for both cold and heat, we put in ducted air. From then on wherever we lived, we have managed weather extremes at home as well as we could (and a swimming pool always helped too) …but not when it came to work in schools.

We both worked in un air-conditioned schools and it was always HOT in the summer months and late Spring months. I remember dreading presentation days out west where I would be dressed in my best  and seated on the stage. I was an avid watcher of the TV weather reports and those on radio long before the internet told us everything. 

So hot most times in December. I was (and am) an avid weather watcher. In fact since the extreme heat of February 2017 where the temperatures stayed around 38-42 celsius for 5 days I have subscribed to Higgins Storm Chasers. Not sponsored but for annual  membership the warnings and forecasts these guys send are better than the Bureau of Meteorology for me. Here is the link to their site.

So What is My Favourite Weather?

Unsurprisingly it is the warm days of Autumn and Spring with some breeze blowing. I also don’t mind warmer days in Winter where I can sit and feel a little warmth on my back.

However, in contrast to the equilibrium found above, I also like following some of the extremes of weather to take photos and to be part of it.

I take care of course, but I do like visiting the coastal areas when there are big surfs and windy conditions. Something about being in the elements that takes me out of my head and into the whole senses’ experience.

My weather pics show what I like here:

So, what is your favourite weather?

Hoping you have linked up today and remember the posts can be old or new, off or on prompt too!

Cheers,

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for her Open Slather link up.

Join in here today for #LifeThisWeek 3/52.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s optional prompt: 4/52. What is Kindness? 22/1/18.


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

January Days. Now & Past. 2018.4.

January Days. Now & Past. 2018.4.

Happy New Year!

Welcome Back!

Here’s to a great 2018 for us all.

This year, as I counted backwards on my fingers, is the 8th year I have been blogging. I started towards the end of 2010.

I blogged a lot in 2011  as newbie but who was completely engaged by blogging once I went to the first Aussie Bloggers’ Conference in March 2011.

And I was  even more engaged in blogging in 2012.

I slowed down as 2013 drew to an end and blogged most infrequently in 2014.

In 2015 I re-calibrated both myself and the blog to help me in the transition to retirement by blogging every day for 365 days. I did.

In 2016 I added some categories to blog within and by September 2016 began my Monday linky called Life This Week. Sometime later that year, I cut back my full-time blogging to only blogging on some days.

Into 2017 I was still blogging up to 3 days a week, then over time it reduced to 2 days. Mondays and Tuesdays.

This year I shall see how things go. I may add another day as some bloggers are coming up with another linky on Wednesdays.

What does that have to do with January?

Not a lot because, as much as I would like to share what I wrote back in those earlier years, I let those posts go when my blogs were filling up my account with my hosting service and I had to decided to delete two of the three blogs from 2010-2014. I did keep some of my education and schooling posts and have them in draft form if I ever want to refresh them.

In January  I often wrote about Back to School here and for many others. I am no longer doing those as I have fully retired from paid and upaid education roles. It is also time for others to take those tasks on and they will be more up to date.

So, to kick my post off for the first I Blog on Tuesdays & the second Lovin’ Life link up, I am going to add some photos from around this time of January for the past few years. January can be quite a busy time for many of us even if we are still on holidays or retired!

This week I will be meeting my daughter and her youngest who will be starting school this year and we will be buying her school shoes. That is a January tradition in our family.

I will travel to Sydney to see Dad for his 94th Birthday on Thursday taking him some goodies for a birthday morning tea which we will share with a couple who have been very kind to Dad during his time at Oceangrove.

As I write, it is the end of the most awful Sunday of HOT weather everywhere in most of NSW. We copped a temperature of over 40deg C and then…the worst thing happened. The power went off for around 70 minutes. It was close to hell on earth for us. Fortunately it kicked back on – there were district outages – and my hub could watch the Ashes and I could relax a little. Later on I drove over to the beach and the temperature was actually less than it shows in the photo.

Every day, for the past 5 weeks I have been enjoying getting dressed for a purpose. In other words, taking greater care of myself and having fun in the meantime. I also take myself out for coffee most days too. Sometimes I can even find something to eat that my poor mouth can manage. I often do a little art and journalling when I am out. It is a great experience and it sure is continuing in 2018! It’s the ultimate self-care.

I am committing via Instagram to post, on most days, a maximum of 3 photos:

1. Outfit of the Day. 2. Art/Creative 3. Noticing Nature.

So, how about you?

How has January been for you so far?

I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Denyse.

Joining my friend Kylie’s link up here called I Blog On Tuesdays.

And on my Dad’s 94th Birthday, I am linking with Leanne and friends here for Lovin’ Life.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

My 2017 in 365 seconds. 2018.2.

My 2017 in 365 seconds. 2018.2.

Those who know me well – on-line and off – know that making memories via photography is something I LOVE to do!

Last year, 2017, was 365 days filled with emotions, memories, experiences, challenges, love, sadness, creativity in between boredom, activity and fun. Does that sound like your year too?

I always have my iphone close by for memory-making and connecting too. So, when I came upon an app called 1SecondEveryDay I was “IN”.

So, the end product here is over 5 minutes long and whilst I loved looking back you may not and that’s OK. I couldn’t load it fully onto my facebook page of instagram so a friend suggested here.

I made it into a Youtube clip and here it is. No musical accompaniment here. Some sounds were captured: for one second!

Mostly visuals.

Happy Viewing!

Denyse.

Happy 2018 to my friend and blogger Leanne here sharing her Lovin’ Life Linky.


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Bye to 2017. #LifeThisWeek. 1/52. 2018.1.

Bye to 2017. #LifeThisWeek. 1/52. 2018.1.

It’s New Year’s Day 2018 and for me, I need to move slowly into the new year before I let go of the old as I need to reflect and comment as I do. Some years we are so glad to see the back of, and others we may be holding on for as long as we can. In my case, I am in the middle as far as 2017 is concerned as its lessons taught to me have taken me further than I ever might have gone without those lessons.

Being the teacher and liking things to be done in an orderly fashion, I am going to approach this post month by month. Hold on, here we go.

Oh and it’s long. As usual I have a lot to say and photos to match. Grab a cuppa! Cheers and Happy New Year!

JANUARY 2017.

Memories of making a ‘word’ for the year: Kindness and deciding each week to have an intention as a direction in my life started 2017. I had begun the month on  a personal level at high anxiety status, and typically of me, wanted to do more to help myself. The ways in which I chose were not that helpful as I resisted (thanks brain!) strongly and ended up being stuck. Not helpful. In fact, harmful to my emotional health too. My mouth and gums were sore. Often. Visits, under difficulty for me thanks to stress/IBS, were made to my dentist and a periodontist in the hope that my mouth would be better after deep cleaning.

FEBRUARY 2017.

On the blog it was a great start with #LifeThisWeek link up and I was posting quite often each week. Over time, however, I know this was not sustainable and as different events in my personal and family life impacted me, I knew that I needed to self-care moreI completed my first #takingstock and it was replete with more negatives than positives which is a portent to what I was experiencing. Knowledge of a  family crisis impacted my physical and emotional health. I cannot share this news but to someone who feels her emotions it was a big shock to my system. Over the year as it has gone on, my responses to this have eased.

MARCH 2017.

If there is a way to try to explain what I know I was going through emotionally whilst trying to live intellectually then I would. Suffice is to say, that this month, as in the previous ones and back into 2016 I kept trying to discover not only what made me tick but to seek out people who could help me be a better friend to myself. I listened to a lot of people and found their philosophy on life simpleaccept what cannot be changed and that life is suffering. Simple to write but hard for me to practise.

Luckily I had have a very patient listener and teacher, my husband and his words always repeated: stay in the present. And all the while, my IBS was prominent, I could not leave the house for long. I certainly could not visit my father in Sydney. I was in so many ways stuck. Oh. And my mouth hurt. A LOT. So much so that I finally got the dentist to agree to taking my front teeth which were attached to a bridge in April. Before we go there, here is what I wrote about the first 3 months of 2017.

APRIL 2017.

For those who have read my blog and updates you may already realise the significance of what I was able to achieve, despite being fearful and unsure, in April. I had been told way back in January that for me to gain further skills in being able to take my thoughts  and challenge them by actions I would need to do some exposure challenges as I re-framed them. In other words, being dead scared of doing something can be fear-based and have no connection to the reality of the situation but still we can STOP ourselves by thinking the brain is right. By early April my mouth was painful all the time, it smelled and I had troubles even getting to the doctor I had found in 2015 at Wamberal. I knew I needed to do something and bravely I DID.

With the help of my husband who had already found us an amazing GP only 5 minutes from home who began his first consultation with me telling me he could help me with some meds for IBS. Wow. As arranged in March, on 6 April, I was the passenger on valium and some immodium to reassure me I would be OK, in the car when my husband took me to our dentist some 20 minutes away and I bravely (with 2 mini-breaks) had the painful bridge and teeth removed. The healing time took ages but the deed was done. I had done this. I later was able to drive myself to subsequent check-ups….and best of all for my confidence, to see Dad in Sydney. Go me! And I posted this.

MAY 2017.

I started this month with some trepidation about the continued state of growth in my gums so visits to my GP for the last time saw her GASP at the sight of them and promptly order CT and X-rays….and to the dentist the next day in early May for his opinion which was “biopsy asap” and the next day (Friday before Mother’s Day) for that to occur at the oral surgeon’s place on the same day as the scans etc. Phew, I thought the Monday after Mother’s Day when I was told all was clear.

Then…..it was the phone call no-one wants to take…..the news from the further investigation by the pathology team that squamous cell carcinoma was found in the gums. I have written about that here. From that day it was FULL-ON with trips to Sydney to see the Surgical team at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and to Westmead to the specialist dentist who would assist in my mouth re-construction over time. To say my exposure therapy was tested is no exaggeration! My GP and my dear husband did all of the supportive things they could but in the end it WAS up to me and through my tears and fears I managed!

JUNE 2017.

After the shock of May’s news, this month was surprisingly quiet but there was always an undertone of tension, anticipation and wonder about what the surgery ahead might mean and my future after cancer. We had visits from our family in Sydney and that was special as we had not seen some of our grandchildren for almost a year. I did find the most amazing support from  my blogging community and facebook friends both met IRL and those not. The outpouring of care for and about me was overwhelming at times but always appreciated.

I took myself out and about when I could knowing there would be few chances for independence once a surgery date was set. I also did some reluctant shopping (because of the reason!) for undies and nighties. I made meals in batches to help me eat once I could again. I went to my GP and psychologist who both told me they believed I was managing my emotional health well. My husband of course, helped me in so many of the not-so-good times. There were a LOT of tears and fears!

JULY 2017.

The month it all happened. I did wonder IF it ever would ….the major surgery I mean as it was a wait of 7 weeks. In the meantime the associate professor was happy to answer my MANY questions via email. This was because in the 2.5 hours consultation and planning for surgery appointment ONE day after learning I had cancer I could not think of anything then as I was processing what on earth it would be like to have this surgery AND to spend time in ICU and have 10-14 days in hospital.

The photos below and captions tell the story of July. Some of it anyway. I did have 11 hours under a anaesthetic and only 3 days in ICU but it took a toll on me mentally so I could not even add comments on IG and I certainly did not blog for two weeks. I wrote here and here for those who did not read the posts then.

AUGUST 2017.

My recovery time at home was mostly unremarkable as they say but that does not mean there were no times of a bit of anxiety as I feared any sign I may not be recovering according to the doctors’ predictions. At the end of July we went back to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for a post-surgery check up where I learned that whilst my cancer had been found in the jawbone it was the head of the team’s opinion that the cancer was gone and no follow-up treatment such as radiotherapy was needed. This was GOOD news but of course I needed to remember that TIME for healing from this surgery and needing more surgeries for mouth reconstruction were ahead.

My right leg, which was the place that gave my upper mouth bones and flesh needed regular treatment and care by the community nursing service. My leg was sore and it was hard to stand or walk much but I am a determined person and made sure I did what I was told but also had some initiative. Blogging sustained me and gave me connections to the world outside I loved. I blogged about my reflections about having cancer. Here and here. By the end of August my right leg no longer needed the boot and I was able to drive. I would still need covering of the wounds for showering and fewer visits by the nurse into September. Full independence was on the horizon!

SEPTEMBER 2017.

This was a GOOD month where my new normal became more aligned with my needs and wants. I had greater independence and by mid-September my leg wounds were so well-healed the community nurse visits stopped. I got the green light to have a shower without covering my leg wounds sometime later. I became completely independent in meeting my meals needs rather than my husband helping out. I made many mini-meals of foods I could eat for the freezer and me! This blog’s Monday link up turned one.

My GP continued to encourage me in my recovery when I had some moments of doubt and needed some professional advice. Needing to face my worries and fears I used my skills in exposure training to drive to Sydney, solo in my red car, in mid-September to see my Dad at Dee Why. He was amazed at my recovery and my appearance did not bother him at all. Maybe this is just me, I think. I had been sending him updates with photos and blog posts too along with chatting regularly. This month was when I returned to the beach to dip my toes in again. Marvellous!!

OCTOBER 2017.

Moving into this month with the beginning of the 6 months of daylight saving. I don’t mind it but I liked it better when it was for 4 months. I blogged about this and many other topics of course but also slowed down the number of posts per week in keeping with the the fewer numbers of link ups. Enjoyed linking up each week with Kylie Purtell for I Blog On Tuesdays, Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit, Kell from All Mum Said andAlicia from One Mother Hen . The blogging community is a very caring one and I have been delighted to make IRL and on-line friends there!

My link-up will continue in 2018 with each 5 weeks being photography-centred. Had one visit to my professor at Lifehouse for my first 3 month cancer check and to tell me there would be a second surgery in November. Bring it on, I say! Good friends from the last school I worked at visited me for lunch and it was wonderful to see them again.

NOVEMBER 2017.

I had been unwell from the end of October until early November with a nasty flu-like virus that was not the flu. So it kept me quiet and at home as I recovered. I must admit I was not the most patient patient as I had enjoyed my newly regenerated independence. Nevertheless I recovered to visit the specialist dentist in Westmead in preparation for the second surgery and then on 15 November we left home at 6.00 am for me to have day surgery that morning. It went for 2 hours and adjusted the free flap to expose the implants and add some skin from my right thigh into the area as well as abutments to my implants. Whilst I came home on the same day, the new ‘moving things around in my mouth and stitching them in’ hurt more over time and slowed the ways in which I could eat.

I kept myself distracted as much as I could and it was within November & into the next month that found myself again in terms of physical care and outward appearance. I continued to post photos everyday of what I wore and had fun choosing the clothes (and buying some new ones!) and accessories. I no longer saw myself as OLD, FAT and  having CANCER. I saw myself as many others do, through the eyes of pride, love and achievement and it was a game-changer. Turning 68 I donned a dress for the first time in 15 years and we celebrated my birth with a cake I could eat in the company of our eldest granddaughter.

DECEMBER 2017.

Almost the end of the year as I write and this will be published on the first day of the NEW year. This month has been one for reflection and for me to consider the many changes I have made for myself. I can say it has been on some levels harder than I imagined to deal with my anxiety and IBS but also easier in some ways to manage the news that cancer was found and what I had to do to recover from it. Determined person I am, I have been getting on with life and taking myself out for a coffee each day somewhere different in each week. I am finding I am good at finding bargains in the clothing department. I drove to Sydney to see my Dad and brother and that was good.

I am finally, as I wrote here, admitting all that was challenging me in my life as a fat person. One big event for me was to attend our granddaughter’s 21st in Sydney. Back in January I felt my anxiety was too high for me to manage such a trip, but I did with NO problems and the bonus was seeing each of our 8 grandchildren. I have missed this contact with one side of our family and it made my day to see them. I sure hope we get to do more of this as 2018 unfolds. We had a quiet Christmas Day as we expected. Then our 3 oldest ones visited for morning tea and my specialty of cupcakes were back on the menu.

ALL-YEAR ROUND……

The depth of love and appreciation I have for my husband of almost 47 years can barely be measured. He has endured calmly as I suffered almost crippling anxiety and fear even though he knew what I could do, I did not believe it for quite some time as I said earlier. His patience is beyond anyone’s I know. He is my best friend, my rock and the most loving person who, despite his discomfort and pain from physical ailments always finds time to help me and encourage me. His strength and wisdom and downright practicality cannot be underestimated in the recovery process for me. Thank you to my husband. Sending all love your way as always. Denyse xxxx P.S. He is my IG photographer for my every day style too! Love him for this especially!!

Well, if you read this far! Thank YOU for your interest and support. It did take me a few days to write and in turn it helped me recognise the significance of 2017 for me. So, the first post for 2018 is up. And the first link up for #lifethisweek is open.

I welcome you and hope that you continue to join in the link up each Monday! It stays open from Monday 5.00 a.m. until Wednesday at 5.00 pm (previously it was Thursday). On or off prompt posts are welcome as are old or new ones. The list for the first 10 weeks is on the home page here.

Denyse.

This post will also be added to Leanne’s Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursday.

#LifeThisWeek. 1/52. 2018.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: Word or Intention for 2018. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

A Very Personal Post About My Weight. 2017.134.

A Very Personal Post About My Weight. 2017.134.

In this, my last post for 2017, I am finally unlocking what I have kept inside more than I have let out. Into the world beyond my conversations with my husband who is my trusted confidante.

This is about my weight and what I see and think about the place it has had in my life as an adult. We are talking over 48 years.

Mid 2014 Left. Recently 2017 on Right.

It has been always, and yes it is a not very good analogy, the elephant in the room.

I do not mention my size, weight or fluctuations other than in written form in my diary or in saying something to my husband.

So, where to start with what I want to say….it’s here. As a young woman.

My Twenties.

  • I was 20 when I left home to teach in north-western NSW. I was free to be me. Well, in some ways and I do know I had the first sense of freedom around food. I believe I was a less than normal eater in my teens, still living at home and preferred ‘junk’ food over the better food.
  • I think my parents did what they could but in some ways, I had/have that sweet tooth which I used to calm and comfort. I was not overweight at all but like many young women moving into their 20s I saw the faults of hips and thighs. In fact, being told by a teaching colleague I had child-rearing hips was not taken as a compliment. In the photos above you can see I was a normal  looking young bride and then mother.
  • However, the very first notion that I needed to diet (i.e.) lose weight came at my 6 week post-pregnancy check up where the OB told me I needed to get those (back then in pound/stones) half a stone off me to be back to wedding day weight.
  • Thus it set something off in me about not being good enough AND to add to this, I was one miserable stay-at-home mum (very isolated in the NSW bush for 8 hours a day for 6 months) so I comfort-baked and ate.
  • Onto a new school and a new house and our baby grew to be a pre-schooler and my weight did too. I ate to soothe. I ate to calm and I ate, interestingly enough, because I could not fall pregnant even though the first time round was too easy!
  • We moved to an even more isolated area where we were both on staff: hub was the principal and I was the teacher and our daughter started school with us. We enjoyed the teaching stint because it was incredibly challenging but in the meantime, and the downtime I baked for ourselves and others and I put on even more weight.
  • When I saw my parents, family and friends in the school holidays  it was not a topic for conversation but my imagination took over and there were many judgement of ME by others (that they never said but I imagined). I was already ashamed to be the size I was but I was not going to talk about it to anyone. Some diets were tried to limited success and as someone who hates deprivation it was never going to last.
  • The doctor who told me I would never fall pregnant without losing weight was hated by me. I did so much want to have a second child but it appeared not to be something that would happen so I accepted the fate of one child.

My Thirties.

  • I became pregnant! Not by dieting, oh no. The  next specialist I saw once we had settled back into Sydney, diagnosed multiple ovarian cysts and other things inside that were preventing pregnancy and following major abdominal surgery…and a bit quicker than the specialist recommended, I was with child.
  • I was at a lower weight (still around 18 kgs above my wedding day weight) and kept that weight consistently with no increase until the last couple of months of pregnancy. Gave birth, went well, breastfed (the weight did not drop off!) and back to work full-time when the baby was 18 weeks old.

STRESS: This time in our married lives were amongst the worst as my husband was made to medically retire due to ill-health and the next 4 years or so were pretty grim. I was teaching full-time and seeking promotions as I was the only one now in education. Our kids were growing and whilst their Dad did some things for them, he was very unwell and a lot fell to me. How did I cope? Well, good old food. Comfort foods of course. However, noticing that I was getting bigger did not help my self-esteem and I would put myself through rigorous exercise and restricted eating in the hope that would help.

  • And no, I would not talk about it ever. My GP always checked my BP and bloods and even though I did have highish BP medication helped that and it was not weight-related. Blood tests were awesome. I was healthy.
  • But I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror or photos so I stayed behind the lens as the family photographer.

My Forties.

  • As a mum I used to wonder if my kids (who were of so-called normal weight) were ever ashamed of me and I hoped at the same time that they would never mention my weight. They did not.
  • But I sure told myself stories about how my parents must have felt about me as neither of them was overweight.
  • So, there I was on the outside trying my best to look good: I had nice clothes, I had my hair done regularly but my mind told me I looked fat. Always. And that others must be saying that behind my back too.
  • I went on diets at least 3 times. I lost and re-gained the same 18kg each time. Diets included weight watchers (who never could explain to me how NOT to be an emotional eater) and attending a dietitian.

My Fifties.

  • Life was good in many ways. Our children were now adults and independent to a degree and both eventually left home.
  • My husband was reasonably well and we had the trappings of success outwards (new house, cars etc) but there was more happening inside.
  • Interestingly I never ate when stressed but I ate to soothe when I felt overwhelmed or needed what I would call a ‘reward’ or treat.
  • I became a school principal at this time of my life and the days might not have had time for me to eat but I made up for it when I got home.
  • I liked cooking for others and enjoyed sharing my culinary skills with plenty of leftovers, always making I had put aside food for me that I liked too for another time.
  • By now I realised that I used food emotionally. Yes. Crunchy foods helped soothe anger and frustrations. Soft food, like chocolate and cake soothed my sad or loneliness.
  • I visited psychologists about my weight, I went on exercise plans and I did diaries and I even took a prescription tablet to help me reduce my cravings. That worked for a while but it gave me side-effects so off that I went and back on came the weight.
  • By now I decided NOT to be the number on the scales anymore and threw them out.

From a Slimming Mag Article on Me. Early 2000s. Made up me, around 70kg on left, Grandma me in 2001 much heavier on right.

My Sixties.

  • I was in the decade of when my maternal aunt died. This was a bit scary as she was overweight and I know she comfort ate and her death was related to an unknown cancer.
  • I did get blood tests done annually and it was as a result of one of those around 4-5 years ago that I got my first warning of what ageing, lack of exercise and excessive weight could do. I had raised blood sugar and my GP wanted me to have the Glucose Tolerance Test.
  • She really did understand thought that I was trying to live my life without being a number on the scales. But I HAD to do something myself. I then agreed to be weighed and then I asked her to give me 6 months to do something about this.
  • Six months later, and 3 kgs lighter, thanks to more attention to the amounts of what I was eating AND to increase my walking each day, there was no need to have a GTT. Phew.
  • In this period of 2014-2017 I was affected (still am from time to time) by the immense stressors of the trifecta of transitions as I like to call them: selling our house, moving away from family and friends, retiring from all education work.
  • Enter: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) …it had emerged for the first time in my 30s but had gone till now. Suddenly, and over time I found I HAD to limit what I ate. I also found I was…ahem, going to the loo much much more.
  • My GPs (I was still going to one in Sydney and then I found one up here) re-assured me that this unintentional weight loss was OK as long as I was managing OK. I was but not always.
  • Stressors such as loneliness and sadness of the trifecta of transitions saw me settle into a healthier and better eating pattern which probably halved meals on most days.
  • I no longer went out for coffee and cake as I was too stressed to do so but I missed it. However, this helped me too.
  • I often asked the doctors “are you sure this is OK?” and they always said “yes”.
  • It took me a LOOOOONG time to believe (and I still have doubts) that this weight loss could be sustained.
  • Over the 3 years or so I lost around 33 kg. It goes up a bit then down a bit but I have gone from Size 22/20 clothes to Size 16/14. Interesting!

WHAT ABOUT GETTING CANCER?

  • Interestingly, in the 2014-2017 times I used to ask the GPs and even the Gastroenterologist “do you think I have lost some weight because I have cancer?” and this was always answered no!
  • I do not believe my cancer was weight-related either now but I also know that somewhere along the line our bodies can change inside when we are under stress. The last 3-4 years were those for me. My Professor and GP both have no idea why I got this cancer (neither a smoker nor drinker) either but they have said it can be found in older women (check) and is quite rare. Lovely. Not.
  • So, yes since having a cancer diagnosis IN my mouth it was already hard to eat as my gums and the bridge with teeth at the front of my mouth was tender. So, too sore to eat much. Weight comes down. How do I know? Clothes are loosening.
  • Time to get real about food. After the surgery I had to take responsibility for feeding myself with a very limited selections of food that can be soft, easy to swallow and are generally nutritious.
  • It was impressed on me by the dietitian before I left hospital in July that I was not to lose weight. And THAT was something I had NEVER heard in my life before.
  • Staying the weight I was and am is a bit of an up and down juggle and I weigh myself every few weeks. I have not lost much weight and have even gained a kilo or two since my lowest a few months back.
  • The importance of the nutrition in healing and staying well is something I have accepted more easily. I am eating foods I never chose before. Weetbix is my breakfast and I will even eat some scrambled egg with tasty cheese in it. I am adept at slippery and soft foods and right now, mangoes and avocadoes are my friend. Little cakes and some biscuits I can dunk for softness are my treats.

SELF-IMAGE AND CONFIDENCE.

  • I admit it took me at least 6-7 months to realise once the weight loss had settled  it is likely to stay.
  • I did donate mountains of Plus Size clothes to local charities but could not (yet) bring myself to do that with all of the size 16s so they are in a box in the linen press.
  • As time goes on, I can see with the changes I have made since cancer made me eat differently and consider food as nutrition more than for enjoyment (that still counts!) I will not re-gain those 30+kg.
  • I gave myself permission to buy new (usually on special as we have a limited income now!) clothes and over time I have begun to see myself differently.
  • The person in the mirror has more wrinkles than ever (the fat held the skin more taughtly) but she is looking, in her 60s, more like what she remembers her mother to look like. This has taken quite some time as I never thought I could be good enough to look like Mum.
  • Deciding to share my story, in bits and pieces on the blog has been good for me but until this post, I had never explained the WHOLE story.
  • Taking part in a daily outfit challenge for everyday style has given me such a lift as I do get some very encouraging and positive comments.
  • I like who I see in the mirror and in the photos now and I love seeing my husband’s eyes light up when I appear in something he likes me wearing. The day of my birthday when I wore a dress for the first time in 15 years was one such landmark.

WHAT NOW?

  • I need to remember to be kind to the ‘person who was not at an ideal weight’. I need to forgive her and tell her she was doing the best she could at the time. I do.
  • I see the ‘me’ keeping on keeping on. I know so much more about the why of what I was doing. I also think I know so much more about how to stop that continuing.
  • Getting my mouth re-construction completed in early-mid 2018 will be interesting for me as for the first time in close to a year I will probably be able to eat all foods. I have missed crunching and chewing a lot.
  • I know if I am seeking comfort for something I am not prepared to admit or talk about I want something food-wise so I will keep an eye on that.
  • My IBS is well-controlled now thanks to a medication my GP has me taking.
  • My anxiety levels (which were incredibly high PRE-cancer) have reduced by around 90%. In other words, they are not out of control.
  • Telling my story has, for the first time in ages, been both cathartic and brave. I hope, that if you got this far it has proved to be of interest.

Me: Sun 17 Dec 2017. Off to Granddaughter’s 21st and 7 months post- cancer diagnosis. I miss smiling! It will be back next year sometime.

 

I understand this is a tough topic for many of us and it took me a LONG time to own up to what has been going on for me here.

Thank you for reading and let me know what your thoughts are about weight and self-image.

Denyse.

Yes, it’s the last post in 2017! How DID that happen.

Last linky with IBOT and Kylie on Tuesdays until January 2018 and with Leanne on Thursdays for Lovin’ Life. I know Leanne is returning in the same week I am with #lifethisweek. My Monday link-up is back 1 January 2018. Leanne’s is Thurs 4 Jan.

 

 

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Christmas Plans. #LifeThisWeek 49/52. 2017.133.

Christmas Plans. #LifeThisWeek 49/52. 2017.133.

This Christmas our plans are very simple as on the day itself we will be ‘just us’.

And, shhhh, we actually don’t mind that much because for decades Christmas was a day of travelling, entertaining, eating and then resting…on Boxing Day! My lovely husband is going to cook a non-traditional Christmas roast of lamb as that is the meal I was able to eat some time ago. I am making a lemon meringue pie. It does not have to be tradition if I cannot eat something. I have missed Christmas cake, mince pies and of course anything crunchy but I reckon I can last till next Christmas for these!

So here’s a little photo collage of what Christmas is for us, two retirees living away from their adult kids and grandkids:

Every Christmas I get a ‘favourite’ tune or song and LOVE it …so much so it can be all I play in December. I love Christmas songs for their memories of teaching them to kids and being in choirs myself. This year I have found Sleigh Ride. One with no singing. Just this wonderful version added for your listening and viewing pleasure.

 

Then there is this one: only just found for those who like the words and choral voices.

Now, indulge me a little more with my look back at Christmas. I am still a bit of a kid with Christmas and I never actually let on to our kids Santa wasn’t real (he is too!) so I was determined, this year, to get a Santa photo. Here I am last Sunday. I have also included some other examples of Santa pics!

And so this is Christmas. I hope whatever your plans are that things are Merry and Bright.

Thank you all for being part of this community in 2017.

Life This Week is a special place of sharing and caring and it has sustained me through my difficult times.

For that I am most grateful.

We finish on 49 link ups because there is not one on Christmas Day and I was in hospital for 2 of them

We did well though I do believe!

The prompts for next year are on the Home Page and are part of this post too.

All good wishes to you and yours for now and into 2018.

Denyse.

Joining Alicia for Open Slather and Kell for Mummy Mondays for the last time in 2017. Thank you both.

 

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Christmas Gifts To Eat. 2017.132.

Christmas Gifts To Eat. 2017.132.

In my life, Christmas HAS been about sharing of food gifts with family and friends. It was always something I did to thank people who had been part of our lives in the previous 12 months.

These may have been teachers, medical professionals. office staff, family, friends and neighbours.

I always liked the idea of a home-made special gift for others to eat and even though it was preparing, cooking and wrapping at a BUSY time of my school year, it was worth it.

The most popular of these was what I called “Orange Biscuits” but some called them “Melting Moments”. I found the recipe is an old English Woman’s Own magazine and made an adjustment to the recipe (I do that!) and made it in bulk. I would wait till the biscuits were cooled and then put two together with orange-flavoured butter icing. Once they had ‘dried’ out so the icing was stable, I would wrap EACH one is a piece of festive cellophane and then add however many would fit into glass jars. I used to keep an eye out for these over the year.

Given it was very labour-intensive, I made my last batch in the kitchen at Glenwood in 2014 and those who got them also got the recipe! I really miss eating Orange Biscuits even though in this recipe they are called Walnut Cookies. I used to add a blanched almond sliver to each of the biscuits before cooking.

Here it is: nb: the secret to the crispiness of the biscuit (I do not say cookie) is using Fairy or Tulip Margarine. Not butter. Trust me.

Christmas 2017…and what will I give people this year? Actually not doing many gifts at all as we have moved on from that. I still think a home-made treat is good and people who have followed my cancer story know I can eat cake. Not biscuits.

I have been “Queen of the Cupcakes” in the past couple of years, always having some in the freezer for us and visitors. Our granddaughter is 21 the week before Christmas and I am taking a few dozen birthday cupcakes to her 21st Picnic.

That was when I had an idea for this year’s thank yous to a few people using a Christmas theme:

cupcakes with little Christmas trees as a decoration.

So, that is my Christmas giving made. Just need to remember to take them to the people they are made for!

What do you do at Christmas for thank you gifts?

Do you make anything that is YOUR signature gift as mine became?

Share with us below in the comments.

Denyse.

I have a blog link-up each Monday called “Life This Week”. I post prompts in advance for anyone who likes to take up the prompt. Bloggers can post old or new posts, on or off prompt. In 2018 I am introducing a SHARE YOUR SNAPS prompt every 5 weeks for PHOTOS to be the stars of the show! Come on over why don’t you, each Monday!

Here are the first 10 weeks of prompts:

  • 1/52. “Bye to 2017”. 1/1/18.
  • 2/52. Word or Intention for 2018. 8/1/18.
  • 3/52. Favourite Weather. 15/1/18.
  • 4/52. What is Kindness? 22/1/18.
  • 5/52 SHARE YOUR SNAPS 1. 29/1/18.
  • 6/52. Starting School Stories. 5/2/18.
  • 7/52. Who’s a Worrier? 12/2/18.
  • 8/52. February is… 19/2/18.
  • 9/52. TAKING STOCK 1. 26/2/18
  • 10/52. SHARE YOUR SNAPS 2. 5/3/18.

Linking up on Tuesday here with Kylie for I Blog On Tuesdays and here with Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursday.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest