Sunday 13th June 2021

Public Holidays. #LifeThisWeek 24/52. 2017.79.

Public Holidays. #LifeThisWeek 24/52. 2017.79.

I know that we have quite a few Public Holidays in Australia but I’ve decided to keep my focus on this one….

The June Long weekend  ( Public Holiday is Monday) – for the Queen’s Birthday  in New South Wales & some other states in Australia, it has rained and rained for the past two, including this one!
As I write, it is only Friday night and the rain is pouring down.

Earlier today I ventured out as I had not been anywhere for a few days thanks to the weather. I caught sight of my first whale spouting in 2017 and also captured a bird in flight as it was escaping the rain in our backyard this afternoon.

Reminiscing about the June Long Weekend of years and years ago I recalled that it was Cracker Night.

Until the government decided that people were getting injured by the fireworks..and fires…and so, it became banned. For the 1980s though, we still had a bonfire in our backyard (in suburbia) with the bonfire constructed safely, and fireworks were set up on the fence and on the grass outside. Our kids were still very young, so the mums and kids would stay up on the verandah for the fun. It WAS noisy and we had to make sure animals were inside. A few years later, the only fireworks that were allowed were those at organised functions which became fundraisers for schools and the like. Mind you, we couldn’t even buy fireworks then but as a  kids in the 1950s and 60s we could. I was not a brave person, so throw downs and sparklers were my limit. Oh and you can still buy sparklers at the supermarket.

https://crackernight.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/

 

https://asampler.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/

Did you have fun with fireworks when you were a kid?

What are your memories of public holidays?

Denyse. Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

I hope you link up here for Life This Week too!

* 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! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “First Concert”.

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View From Here. #LifeThisWeek 23/52. 2017.77.

View From Here. #LifeThisWeek 23/52. 2017.77.

I love to get out and about with my iphone for photo opps that come my way and sometimes I like to add one of the cameras too.

Knowing that I won’t be able to get ‘out and about’ soon following my forthcoming surgery (still no date) I went to my favourite local beach on the last day of Autumn. That beach is Soldier’s Beach located at Norah Head on the N.S.W. Central Coast about 90 minutes drive from Sydney.

Sure it was windy and much colder than my last visit but it did my heart and soul good to be there, in the elements, admiring the:

View From Here:

The steps from the surf club down to the sand…and the beach.

Look to the left (north) ….to the rock platform.

Half-way point down the steps looking east. Did not see any whales but the migration north has already commenced!

The view to my right and to the south. The wind and clouds made exceptional patterns.

This view…a more distant one south, showing the rugged beauty of this beach.

Yes, I did beach writing: Cancer Sucks.

Looking back up to where the carpark is…the west. The dunes get a workout in the extremes of tides at times.

Yep. A selfie..while I still have the top (fake) teeth. Wind coming from the south!!

Have you been out and about in your local area recently?

What’s the view from where you are?

Denyse.

Joining in with Alicia here for Open Slather and with Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

* 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! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “Public Holidays”.


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What Is #CelebratingWomen? 2017.76.

What is #CelebratingWomen? 2017.76.

I recently read about Celebrating Women when a friend’s profile was on social media and then I read more about how this project came about. Here is the information about the person who began Celebrating Women, Dr Kirstin Ferguson:

Dr Kirstin Ferguson is a leading businesswoman and company director, international authority in health and safety leadership and corporate governance, and sought after commentator on gender diversity. Dr Ferguson is also the creator of the widely acclaimed global #CelebratingWomen campaign.

An experienced company director and Chairman, Dr Ferguson has experience on ASX100 and ASX200 boards, private company, government-owned corporations and not-for-profit boards. She also sits on the Advisory Panel of a tech start-up incubator, and is the Chairman of the judging panel for a prestigious women’s leadership award.

Dr Ferguson began her career after joining the military aged 17 and went on to become the Dux of her Air Force graduating class at the Australian Defence Force Academy. After being posted to an F-111 Squadron, she studied law and spent almost a decade in leadership roles in a corporate law firm. Dr Ferguson then went on to become CEO of a global consulting organisation providing health and safety services in the mining and resources industry before commencing her professional company director career.

Dr Ferguson is one of the world’s foremost experts in safety governance and leadership having completed a PhD in the field for which she has received numerous awards. As well as a PhD in leadership and governance, Kirstin also has Honours degrees in both Law as well as History. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a graduate of both the Company Director Course and International Company Director Course. Dr Ferguson was also admitted as a solicitor in Queensland and New South Wales.

Dr Ferguson created the viral, global campaign called #CelebratingWomen in 2017. Using social media platforms to see more celebration and less denigration online, Dr Ferguson committed to celebrating two women, from all walks of life and from anywhere in the world, every single day in 2017. The response to the campaign was overwhelming with women from more than 25 countries around the world participating in the project. The #CelebratingWomen campaign has been widely recognised for demonstrating the positive power of social media while making visible women as role models who may not otherwise have been seen.

An advocate for gender diversity and equality in the workplace, Dr Ferguson is a member of national and international women’s organisations including Chief Executive Women, Women Corporate Directors and the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia.

 

One day I thought I would investigate further and on a whim, found the site on-line and answered the prompts, added 4 photos of mine and almost forgot I had done this. After I saw some other women’s profiles I went down that path of self-doubt and not worthy. Anyone else know what I mean? But then I was told I had cancer. What a game changer that ended up being, in so many ways.

This week, after a few on-line convos with Kirstin we decided it was up to me to continue to be part of it and I decided ‘YES’ because my story WAS important and that I would add the newest info about me: cancer.

How about joining in and sharing your story with #CelebratingWomen.

Look for @celebratingwomen or @kirstinferguson to see how!

I highly recommend it. There are 4 questions and you supply 4 photos. 3 of these below were ones I sent in. Here’s what appeared via social media on Wednesday 31 May about me:

This is Denyse #CelebratingWomen (Profile 298)

Denyse is a retiree, who now blogs, and is learning to navigate life after 40 yrs in education. Denyse has been married for more than 46yrs, is a mother and grandmother but has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Since the age of 11 Denyse knew she would be a kindergarten to year 2 teacher. Her career path in education let her to become a Primary School Principal.

Using three words to describe her life to date, Denyse says it has been challenging, interesting and successful.

Denyse hopes to inspire women to know there is a life to be made past the roles of working, caring and parenting. After her cancer diagnosis, Denyse says she is inspired by the love & best wishes for her recovery she has received online & in person.

Denyse Whelan Blogs.

Have a great First Day of Winter those readers who are in the Southern Hemisphere!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne here and friends who blog when it’s the link up called Lovin’ Life.

On the weekend I celebrate life with Sammie and blogging friends here for The Ultimate Rabbithole.

 

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My Cancer Journey Begins. 2017.75.

My Cancer Journey Begins. 2017.75.

A while back I decided that to best describe the life stage we were at was to use the word ‘journey.’ For some people and their reasons, journey is not liked. I happen to like it and will be using it for what is now being added to this life stage!

Thank you to the many people who commented here last week and on Facebook when I made my news public. Sharing has helped me!

Whilst I do not intend to blog every week about the cancer that is here within…I will for now as it helps me!

The cancer journey continued with a trip to Westmead Oral Health on Wednesday 24 May for a consultation, examination and measurement session with the Dental specialist who will be part of the surgical team when I get my cancer cut out. I admit I was stressed. I still am. It is such an unknown and my mind needs to be more calmed. However, as my GP said when I saw him after this big session on the Friday “Denyse, you are doing very well indeed!”. Today we are back to Westmead for a follow-up with the Dental Specialist and scans on my neck and head to ascertain all is well for the major surgery and on my leg where the bone and skin will be taken for the reconstruction and skin graft.

Sigh.

Still mentally criticising myself for the meltdowns, the tears in front of the professionals and more….yet it is a situation of such immense emotions and I was already struggling somewhat. I am still going about my days at home with as much normality as possible.

In the meantime, I am making art, taking photos, blogging, chatting on-line, reading, walking, tending the garden and talking to my lovely husband and being mindful to eat as well as I can even with my sensitive gut.

On Thursday I made a trip to Budgewoi to take some photos and these help remind me of the journey and that it is, like everything in life, one step at a time.

I am not sure as I am writing this when  I will be making the journey across this bridge again on the way to Chris O’Brien’s Lifehouse. I shall update.

Thank you for reading thus far! I am encouraged along the way via the comments and support.

Denyse.

Joining Kylie Purtell, celebrating her blog’s 8th Birthday, here and with my friends who also Blog on Tuesdays.

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Hobbies. #LifeThisWeek 22/52. 2017.74.

Hobbies. #LifeThisWeek 22/52. 2017.74.

I wasn’t a kid who had hobbies. I didn’t collect things. I didn’t stick things in albums.

I just liked to READ. Sometimes my  mother would think I read too much and say “Denyse, you can’t borrow any books from the library in term time”. Mum was so not a reader. But I don’t think she ever carried out the threat.

I liked to go to the beach – Manly or North Steyne when I was a teen. But was that a hobby or was I just there to meet up with the girls and the BOYS….mmmm (shhh don’t tell Mum!). This is my shadow just after sunrise on Manly Beach around 50 years later!! Once I was an adult, had kids and was teaching (and often doing admin or study) I really did not have much time for hobbies but for a while, when it was trendy, I did scrapbooking (see the albums that are in the linen press) and the woollen embroidery that made pictures. What were they called? Anyway. That’s it. Oh, one hobby I just remembered. When we knew Sydney was going to host the 2000 Olympics I became a BADGE collector and obsessed by it. I remember taking a morning off school (I was principal!) to line up at K-Mart in Blacktown for a particular set of badges. What did I do with them? I wore ones I was prepared to part with or swap to the Olympics and then after the Olympics my husband made two frames for me to mount the badges. Now they are part of a school’s memorabilia about the Sydney Olympics.

http://www.theimport.co.uk/upload-images/olympic-mascots-sydney.jpg

Now I am all grown up AND retired my hobbies would be the photography and art of some kind. I am very visual and with kinaesthetic being my second preferred learning style, as in last week’s post here, then that makes sense.

So do you have a hobby or more than one?

A blogger has called my kind of blog a ‘hobby blog’ but I prefer to say it’s just my blog.

I love making connections here and thank those who join in on Mondays especially for #LifeThisWeek.

Denyse. Connecting here with Alicia who has a link up called Open Slather and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays. * 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! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “View From Here”.

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I Have Cancer. 2017.72.

I Have Cancer. 2017.72.

Some news I need to share and it’s not great. I have cancer. I remember people telling me I had a nice smile.

It’s bye-bye smile for a while

My dentist has been treating me for some small overgrowth of the front top  teeth since January 2017.  It has grown. More than ever.

Over time it was my choice to eradicate the gum overgrowth by having  my front 6 teeth and  bridge removed, replaced by a temporary denture,  and

the hope was the gums which were irritated would settle. Some 5 weeks later they had not. When I saw him on Thursday 11 May, we agreed I needed a biopsy of the gums. Fortunately the oral surgeon, next door, could fit me in the next day. I also had CT scans and x-rays of my mouth as my GP was getting concerned. The CT scans and X-rays were fine.

On Friday 12th May I had a biopsy and  the good news from the pathology on the following Monday 15th May was unfortunately premature as on Wednesday  17th May I was called by the oral surgeon to say that the top gums where the overgrowth lies are cancerous with squamous cancer cells.

To say it was a shock was an understatement and I am still a little bit that way. I was alone at home but after a quick phone call to my husband counselling at Lifeline meant  he was home within the hour.

The oral surgeon was fantastic because she rushed a referral to the Lifehouse in Sydney, where the specialist head and neck clinic is, and that afternoon the practice manager rang to say I could see Associate Professor  Aradalan Ebrahimi at 3 p.m. in Sydney Thursday 18th May at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Camperdown Sydney. My original referral was for Professor  Jonathan Clark but as the two doctors work together I was fine with that.

http://ad009cdnb.archdaily.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/54406d61c07a801fe7000441_chris-o-brien-lifehouse-hdr-rice-daubney_image1_brettboardman-530×353.jpg

 

It might sound weird but I have had huge issues with worrying about travelling distances in the car on the M1  because of IBS. I was stressed anyway, let alone having IBS come along at any time. But, with some kind words from our local and new GP about ‘take the valium, take the immodium, you will be ok’ I was. My lovely husband drove and stopped at any toilet where we could find one. I was one nervous lady. We got to Sydney (haven’t been for over 2 years!) within 2 hours, found a park under the Lifehouse…and waited only 10 minutes. We left home at 12.30 pm and were back by 7.30 pm. That day the Motorway played nice. Thanks M1. Back to the story. 

A/Prof Ebrahimi was incredibly kind and professional and we are all on first name terms. Mind you he is around our daughter’s age. I had a full exam of the mouth, a light on a cable went down through the nose to my throat and I had a  physical examination of the neck and lymph glands. It is hoped that the cancer is all in the one place. The top gums at the front and there is some spread inside my top lip. Sigh.

As he started to explain what would be involved in the 10-12 hours surgery,  in my mouth where they will take the tissue out and  surrounding areas. I became more and more overwhelmed. There was this too: they will be replacing the inner part of my palate, my jaw at the top and gums with skin/muscle tissue and bone from my left leg. The bone will have implants put in for future teeth to be added. As  I was told that I had quite a melt down at the thought of the hours ‘under the anaesthetic’ most of all…and that is meant this was a BIG operation.

The associate A/Professor kindly gave me a few minutes to go for a little walk with my husband and check out the view from the building’s windows overlooking Sydney Uni, then I was calmed with the help of a half valium before moving on to the details of the surgery itself. By this stage, his ‘boss’, Professor Jonathan Clark came in and together they came up with more details of the plan for the operation.

Mouth (oral cavity) My Cancer area. 

The mouth includes the lips, gums and tongue. The tongue is the largest organ in the mouth and is made of muscular tissue.
The roof of the mouth is formed by the hard palate. Behind the hard palate is the soft palate, which is an arch of muscle behind the hard palate, going into the throat. The soft palate lifts to close off the passageways to the nose so food does not go through the nose on swallowing.  Source:Lifehouse.

 

Prof Jonathan Clarke. http://www.mylifehouse.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Jonathan-Clark-e1461566255963.png

However, the thoughts are as of now – before I have further CT scans to rule out anything unseen by my previous clear CT of my sinuses – that there is no spread but that recovery from this will mean 10-14 days in hospital. I will have ‘two’ areas in my body to recover from: my left leg and my mouth. I may be in intensive care for a while too.

About the Head and Neck Service

The Head and Neck Service at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse brings together over 40 highly skilled medical and allied health professionals including surgeons, radiation and medical oncologists, dental specialists, speech therapists, specialist nurses and dieticians, along with research scientists and data managers.
The Service has a national and international reputation for excellence. More than 450 new patients (200 with cancer) are seen annually and the computerised database of the department is the largest in Australasia.
The Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute (SHNCI), founded in 2002 by the late Professor Christopher O’Brien AO to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment to patients with cancers and diseases of the head and neck, is also an important part of the Head and Neck Service providing funding for two head and neck clinical fellows each year. Source: Lifehouse

After telling our close family, I reached out to share my news with some lovely on-line and IRL friends. Their support was amazing. Now I am making it public here, on Facebook and Twitter because I need the love and support to surround me as I go into something I had not predicted. Ever. Yet, so many of us affected by cancer. I have not once thought ‘why me?’ more like ‘why not me?’

I have the best people in the profession looking after me at the Lifehouse in the Head and Neck Clinic started by the wonderful, but late, Professor Dr Chris O’Brien. He became one of the ‘stars’ of the TV  show RPA (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital).  The Lifehouse built in his name is part of RPA and accepts both public and private patients. I am being treated as a private patient. Professor Clark was trained by Chris O’Brien in this speciality of Head and  Neck Surgery. Chris O’Brien’s vision was that he always wanted cancer patients to be in one place and this is it.

Professor Dr Chris O’Brien. http://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=zJK%2btLzW&id=BC8CED97E14A6AD24D66DE0C67BD5E7B467E25AB&thid=OIP.zJK-tLzW3gePAyHJjObiDAEnEs&q=lifehouse+chris+o%27brien&simid=608053618380309990&selectedIndex=21&ajaxhist=0

 

My operation will be there, I stay there and have my tests and any follow-treatment there too. Mind you  we don’t live in Sydney anymore and  it’s 2 hours from here but that is the price we pay for living in regional NSW.

Tomorrow we will travel to Westmead (Sydney) Dental Clinic where the specialist in oral reconstruction will examine my mouth for the first time to come up with a ‘template’ for reconstruction. I will have a further visit to him for a final measurement, and a big series of CT scans prior to the team involved in my surgery coming together and then sending the details overseas where a software program will plan my surgery. Apparently there will be two teams working in conjunction  with me. No, we haven’t asked for a quote (yet) but we do have top private health insurance and we have asked for a discount where possible as we are on a relatively low income as part-pensioners.

All good vibes, thoughts, prayers and wishes are accepted with appreciation!

Thank you.

Denyse.

Joining with my friends who blog on Tuesday here with Kylie Purtell.

Already lots of  love comes from here…the Lovin’ Life linky with Leanne and friends.

 

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How I Learn Best. #LifeThisWeek 21/52. 2017.71.

How I Learn Best. #LifeThisWeek 21/52. 2017.71.

I am revisiting this post today here with Sammie  for her weekend linky The Ultimate Rabbit Hole on 17.6.2017.

There are some people who like to learn in particular ways and I have always found that fascinating. When I was teaching University students doing their Masters of Teaching I would ask them if they knew their preferred learning style. Some would not until I asked questions such as: “do you want to see everything written to absorb your learning?” (V)

“do you like to talk something through?” (A)

“are you someone who likes to move about, play with the pen and chew it as you are learning?” (K)

Now I understand these are very basic examples of: Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic learning styles. Recently there has been some debunking of the theory but as an experienced teacher and parent I still maintain it is important we know our learning styles and therefore get to know the styles of our  family members, class members, colleagues and so on. But why?

C O M M U N I C A T I O N      and   C O N N E C T I O N   with our fellow humans!

Often we use some of each of the 3 learning styles but there is usually a preference for one. My quiz results (from the link below) confirmed what has always been the case for me: I am V.K.A. Visual is waaaay ahead with a score here of 17, Kinaesthetric scored 10 and Auditory was….1. So, I need to see, read, note and often write as a learn. That way I am using my visual style, and adding in the writing I am using the need to move. I have so many notes that are illegible but by writing I have been using two styles to remember and learn. I am also a picture person. I see scenes, words and stories all the time in my head. Visual.

What I learned a long time ago is “not everyone learns or even thinks like I do” this was a shock but actually it showed my ignorance and I have never made that mistake since. I was in a meeting with my office secretary and staff and we were planning and I asked about imagining some scenario that would help our planning move forward. My secretary looked at me blankly and with some gentle probing I was astounded when she told me she had no idea about visualising anything and she was, apparently, a  kinaesthetic and auditory learner.

I never assumed anyone’s learning style from that day! I also know that I am visually oriented first by my love of photography, reading, creating art and so on. I don’t mind music but I cannot listen when I want to concentrate. My husband is more auditory and kinaesthetic with visual last. He always has music on when studying.

This is a link to a quiz from Swinburne University which you (or anyone) can take but it needs to be printed out first. There is also an explanation about the meanings of the learning styles.

VAK Learning Styles Explanation

The VAK learning styles model suggests that most people can be divided into one of three preferred styles of learning. These three styles are as follows, (and there is no right or wrong learning style):

  •  Someone with a Visual learning style has a preference for seen or observed things, including pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, displays, handouts, films, flip-chart, etc. These people will use phrases such as ‘show me’, ‘let’s have a look at that’ and will be best able to perform a new task after reading the instructions or watching someone else do it first. These are the people who will work from lists and written directions and instructions.
  •  Someone with an Auditory learning style has a preference for the transfer of information through listening: to the spoken word, of self or others, of sounds and noises. These people will use phrases such as ‘tell me’, ‘let’s talk it over’ and will be best able to perform a new task after listening to instructions from an expert. These are the people who are happy being given spoken instructions over the telephone, and can remember all the words to songs that they hear!
  •  Someone with a Kinaesthetic learning style has a preference for physical experience – touching, feeling, holding, doing, practical hands-on experiences. These people will use phrases such as ‘let me try’, ‘how do you feel?’ and will be best able to perform a new task by going ahead and trying it out, learning as they go. These are the people who like to experiment, hands-on, and never look at the instructions first!People commonly have a main preferred learning style, but this will be part of a blend of all three. Some people have a very strong preference; other people have a more even mixture of two or less commonly, three styles.When you know your preferred learning style(s) you understand the type of learning that best suits you. This enables you to choose the types of learning that work best for you.There is no right or wrong learning style. The point is that there are types of learning that are right for your own preferred learning style.Please note that this is not a scientifically validated testing instrument – it is a free assessment tool designed to give a broad indication of preferred learning style(s).More information about learning styles, personality, and personal development is at www.businessballs.com.With acknowledgements to Victoria Chislett for developing this assessment.  Swinburne University.

I chose this prompt today because it is relevant for us all.

It is good to know what your preferred learning style is for any given situation, even cooking!
And if you are a parent it is important to realise that your learning style may not be your children’s and then that can maximise understanding and minimise conflict!
So, do you know ‘how you learn best?’
I hope this has been a helpful post!
Denyse.

Thank you for being part of Life This Week.

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that week. * 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! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “Hobbies”.

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Telling My Story.Chapter One. My Parents. 2017.69.

Telling My Story.Chapter One.My Parents. 2017.69.

Added: March 2018: This was published one day before I knew I has cancer. Once that was diagnosed a lot of change took place for me as I need to focus on my health, surgery and recovery. The story now picks up again…in mid March 2018 here! 

Recently I decided to begin Telling My Story.

Initially it was school-career based in a memoir genre. Then I wanted to tell what had happened in my life once I’d reached 60 and what I had learned. Where I am at now it a mix of all of this! I am going to start here: the beginning of my life, and interspersed with my career will be aspects of my life and how I have grown and changed…over and over!

I hope you will find something of interest. I know essentially I am doing this for me as it helps. However, as a blogger, I would like to think it has enough appeal for you to enjoy too.

Denyse.

Telling My Story.

I was born in the last year of the 1940s.

Photo taken for my Dad in Melbourne.

But before this all happened….

Obviously most memories of early childhood are gleaned from photos and other people’s stories when they tell us too. My life began in a most conventional way, first born to parents who loved each other and already had secured a house. Mum had worked in retail until I was coming along. Dad was an accountant continuing his career started at 15 with Australian Iron and Steel Port Kembla (later BHP) and joining a new company when the old one wanted him to move permanently (with me and Mum) to Melbourne for work. He did not want to leave the familiar and family which was based in Wollongong and surrounds.

Here’s a bit more to that story….

Dad tells me that in my first year of life when he HAD to go and work in the Melbourne office was one of the worst times he could recall being separated from his loving wife and baby girl. He even had us fly to Melbourne for a stay. What a time that must have been for my mum. In Wollongong we had loving and caring neighbours who helped Mum find her feet as a new parent. This family was amazing and I loved that we had a gate between our two places and I always felt welcomed there! Dad found another job, which was in the same company he retired from some 30 years later, and the family was complete when my brother was born AND we got our first car. A Holden FJ of course!

More on my parents before they met…

They were born in 1924 and raised in working class families on NSW South Coast, living through the Great Depression and World War 2 before meeting in the 1940s. My Dad is from Wollongong and my Mum was from Dapto.

Dad’s father died after a workplace accident at The Steelworks in 1935 and his mother was left to raise 4 children. Dad was the second child aged 11 at the time. He did without but his good marks at school and his willingness to become involved in the community which was predominantly the scouting movement meant he developed resilience and knew the power of having some money to survive. Even though he could have done the Leaving Certificate it was his duty to help support his family so at 15 he went to the Steelworks (AI&S as above) to begin in the role of Office Clerk.  Later this would lead to his training as an accountant as he had the mathematics for it! He tells me though, he never ‘got’ algebra.

Mum’s parents worked hard, one in the home, and one outside the home at the coal mine at Wongawilli near Dapto. My grandfather had lost an eye in a mining accident in 1924 so they gave him work ‘above the surface’ looking after the workers’ change areas. They helped raise two families. One, their own, of three children (Mum was the youngest, and 2nd daughter) and the family of two boys where the widower was my grandmother’s brother. It was not uncommon in the 1920s and 30s for this to be the case. Nevertheless my mum remembered it as the ‘boys’ got spoiled and did nothing and we girls did all the work around the house. Mum left school at 15 and went into retail where she thrived.

So how did a young man from Wollongong meet a young lady from Dapto in the early 1940s when there was a war happening? Dad was exempted from war service (age first, then industry reasons) and Mum had only just left school and was working in retail. However, they were both in the Scouting organisation as leaders in their respective home towns and met at Mt Keira Scout Camp Wollongong. After a courtship of some two years, they married on 2 November 1946 at Dapto. Mum’s cub group put on a guard of honour outside the church.

Wedding Day. 1946.

 

Dad and Mum late 1950s. Still in Wollongong.

In 1959 Dad got a job offer within the company he moved to in 1951 and that was of promotion to Chief Accountant at the Sydney office. It was one that could not be refused and this time with 2 children, I was 10 by now and my brother aged 7, we moved to what was to be Mum and Dad’s forever house at Balgowlah Heights.

Snapshots of Mum and Dad over the years…

They had active social and sporting lives, which continued in Sydney. Mum who had been a district rep in Hockey in her youth, went into tennis and played socially and competitively into her 70s. Dad found golf as a sport and business connection and played each Saturday and then once he retired on a Wednesday. Whenever they went away, their golf clubs and tennis racquets went with them as did groups of friends or they would meet up with friends. Mum loved her cards and working for charities such as the View Club. Both supported me and my brother in scouts and guides and in our sporting and school arenas.

Dad retired in 1983 and they spent 6 weeks annually on the Gold Coast, chasing the sun and meeting up with the many friends who had retired that way as well. Mum becoming unwell in the mid 2000s saw the end of that tradition. Sadly too, by the mid 1980s Mum had lost both her older siblings in their 60s. Dad, now 93, is the longest living member of his immediate family of 4.

1980s & 1990s on Holidays on the Gold Coast

 

Mother’s Day 2006. Mum and Dad with me.

Up until Mum’s 80th Birthday in December 2004 she had been quite well. A few so-called minor things were wrong and I know where my worry/anxiety gene comes from. But my mum, just as I do, could put on a smile no matter what.

Mum and Dad celebrate 60 years of marriage. 2006.

We knew Mum was not well but Dad, as her primary carer, liked to see she did as much as she could that she enjoyed in what ended up being her last 2 years. on 2nd November 2006, after the messages from the Queen and many more, for their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, there was  a very special family-only get together, where this photo was taken. After that, Mum’s health sadly declined.

Mum was diagnosed with secondary brain tumours in early 2007  We will never know how much Mum knew about her declining condition but she was the one, back in late January 2007 who said ‘no operation’ when it was offered. The specialist and her doctors  agreed, along with us,  that we would not want Mum to go through that. She spent the next 2 weeks at home and sadly despite Dad’s best efforts to care for her there, she was admitted to palliative care where she died some weeks later. Dad visited every single day.

Moving along….

Mum and Dad have always supported our families over the years and of course, we have been there to support Dad in his new status as widower. He stayed in the family home for the next 4 years. He is still fiercely independent and wanted to be there. He did all the jobs as he was raised to do, and learned via scouting. By the end of 2010 loneliness was prevalent and he announced it was time to sell and move on. Along with family help of my brother, sister in law and me he was delighted to find the best place I could have found. In June 2011, after selling at the downturn in Sydney markets (!!) he moved into an airy and spacious independent retirement unit at Dee Why and has more interactions with people every day than ever. He has only given up driving, and the car, in the past month.

3 years ago at Dad’s 90th Birthday. 3 years ago!

Reflections now…about my parents.

I love my parents and I was always well-cared for and encouraged to follow whatever path I chose. Dad was keen on continuing education and I when I wanted  to become a teacher and remain in the workplace, there was no feeling that I should be at home with the kids. However, my mother, who had always been at home, used to say “Denyse you rush those kids too much”…and sadly I may have but my work at school, along with childcare drop off, was where I was headed. I am more like Dad in personality and less like Mum. Yet I do have some of mum’s anxious disposition and I do enjoy what she did which was to cook and care for her family. She taught me a lot about cooking and I have her recipe books too. She did not encourage me to read, but I did. I was not interested in helping around the house because I preferred to read! I did not inherit Mum’s sporting prowess but I did her smile and the ability to chat with people. I can do that without my mum’s deafness for which I am grateful. More to come in the weeks ahead!

Please tell me if this has been of interest…and if it was too long.

I do know I can ramble on so I may need help!

I welcome your comments and thank you in advance!

Denyse.

 

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