Tuesday 28th June 2022

The Month That Was: January 2022. 5/51. #LifeThisWeek. 7/2022.

The Month That Was: January 2022. 5/51. #LifeThisWeek. 7/2022.

Welcome to my re-cap of January 2022.

I am no longer creating Telling My Story updates any more. The series can be found here.Telling My Story.

The post next week will be the F for F I N A L one. I decided this because it became onerous and time consuming.

Instead, I am going to plan an “end of month” post instead to help keep my memories too.

It’s called The Month That Was.

January 2022.

Before we said hello to January, we said good bye and many thanks for 2021 even though it sure had its challenges….

Could there have been a more welcomed year than 2022?


Yes, and not this one either it appears as we, and the rest of the world, continued along the pandemic path thanks to Covid and its newest kid on the block, Omicron which has proved its power affecting so many of us. Despite vaccinations too.

New Year’s Day.

I like to get out and about even for a drive and this time, I needed to go to the southern end of the Central Coast, to Spotlight for a click and collect, and after I did that, I ventured into Coles nearby and came out with prized treasures…..

A 5 Pack of Rapid Antigen Tests ($50) and 3 bananas.

I continued not to feel 100% as we say, so took things pretty easily and I do love my drives but I knew my limits.

I loved visiting a very quiet Woy Woy on 1 January and I got to have a little walk around to the water’s edge. Some changes have been made to the ferry terminal and I loved seeing these two flags flying at the CWA. Country Women’s Association.

Over the early days of January we watched some cricket ( OK, B did, I just got updates) and I blogged a bit, and created a bit and tried to get a rhythm into my new:

Self Compassion Focus.

It’s 28 day via an app and very helpful and professionally done. I continue to learn more about the value of compassion to self…first…but life long learnings take time to undo. I listen to a ‘lesson’ each nigth, complete gratitude lists, write in a journal, map my feelings too.

In conjunction with my two Daily Calm Practices and reading up via others’ websites, I am doing quite well. However, a virus, as my GP tells me will play tricks with mood and thoughts so I need to balance that knowledge when considering how I am actually feeling.

And getting out and about remains a goal each day even though it is no longer within a shopping centre for any kind of browsing time. I mostly go locally to nature to observe, take in the beauty and surrounds and breathe deeply to remember what IS important…life is!


And then there were these memories from January 2022.

Family Time Was Special.

It was hard to believe that it was one year on from last year’s Golden Wedding Anniversary and now we would be seeing our family back at our place again. Not everyone could come but we has a ‘full house’ of love, sharing and laughter with both of our adult kids, our daughter’s two (2 adult aged ones were not able to come) and our son’s four.

FOOD: well, I always like to share the home made and other food with a large and appreciative group. I made lasagne from a great recipe I found here. Hadn’t made lasagne for years and it was a ‘just right’ hit for all ages. Home made friend rice, some salad, bread, chicken from the supermarket and a few treats. Of course, I have treats…and take home bags as well. We see these young kids so infrequently now it’s fun to make memories as we did.

NOISE! Yes, it was, but the best kind. Kids having fun, sharing their stories and amusing their grandparents too. A Big Task at each visit is for Papa to measure the young ones to see how they have grown. One, Mr 21, goes way past his Papa now, and off the chart: literally! But he sure could amuse everyone with his keyboard skills and we had a ‘jam session’ that I captured between the laughter. He IS Firelite and a DJ and he is signed up to a label so he is doing well and just announced, he is booked to play in Croatia and has plans for travel!

Then this:

Grandsons at Play…& chat…& no soccer balls over the fence!

And an updated family shot with our son and daughter: grateful for their permission to share.

And some of the distractions I have been using to help time pass…as I wait for…time to pass! Because, sometimes that IS all we can do….

And never missing a session in the morning and in the evening of Calm. These are not double up days. Just one day with 2 meditations on each. Over 2 years in a row. No way could I miss it and in uncertain times like I am having now, even moreso!

Colouring My World is also a daily essential…in photos and art!


Whilst the 26th January can mean different things to the people of Australia, I chose to spend it this way.


27th January is a special anniversary for ME!

The day I began my teaching career here at Barraba Central School. About 7 hours from Sydney. Mum & Dad drove me up with all of my belongings and saw me settled into a share house with other teachers from the school. Dad tells me Mum cried all the way home. I said to him recently “until you are a mum, you have no idea”. True.

And as January came to a close, this happened.

I eventually got back to Dee Why to see my father, who turned 98 on 11 January. He has been quite well and just a little  lonely but also not wanting to do much at all as he is very restricted with mobility and vision. He misses reading but he can see some things like photos and people if they are near him. He was a very social person but prefers to be in his unit now and have just a few visitors.

I drive down, stopping at St Ives Showground for a loo break and then down Mona Vale Road, to the back roads down to Narrabeen (my bro lives there) through Collaroy and into Dee Why. I have morning tea for us with me, and a pack of frozen meals for him made by me. And conversation.

Wanted to show me he’d moved a fave piece of Mum’s here & reminded me, I painted the poppy and wrote out the poem “On Flanders Fields” as Dad’s father fought there.

We are both talkers and sharers of stories so we are well matched…and he is getting better at listening…

And on the last weekend of January….

And a little sharing here of what I have been up to in January creatively:

You know the line from Hamilton is “I’ve got to be in the room where it happens”….well, this is my room/space where the blog happens! And more.

And the finale….we get to stay on as tenants here until at least April 2023. The rent went up significantly BUT we hope if real estate prices ever settle, then it may not be as big a change after then….but I am supposed to be not thinking too far ahead, right?

Wishing all the kids going back to school, starting school and those off to High School my very best…this lovely one is off to H.S. to join her brother, and it’s where her older cousins attended too. We cared for her from 5 months 3 days a week…sigh!

Miss 5 explores the water at Long Reef before  she started school in 2015.

How was your January?


Life This Week. #276. 31.1.2022.

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26/51#LifeThisWeek.Telling My Story. Chapter Sixteen. 2004-06.52/2020.

26/51#LifeThisWeek.Telling My Story.2004-2006.Chapter Sixteen.52/2020.

So, about a hundred three years ago ….I thought it was time, seeing I had a blog, to start writing my story. It was on advice from a blogging friend, now published author (her story is here) that I did. Then, for a long time I did not. Because cancer was diagnosed. Nevertheless, I eventually returned to the story and now I am at…drum roll… Chapter Sixteen.

With yet another photo of me because I keep changing my appearance…thanks to head and neck cancer, then cataract surgeries.

The most recent chapter, finalised how my first and significant career in New South Wales Department of Education ended. Sadly but there was a need for my health to improve and that it did.

L: NSW Teachers’ Federation Badge. R: N.S.W. Primary Principals Ass. Membership Badge.

Why was 2004 memorable?

I went back to school! As a teacher. But first, there is MORE!

I spent quite a bit of summer 2004 recovering from the broken right leg and receiving physiotherapy to get me walking again. We were a two-person household as our adult son had moved in with a friend. I had S P A C E to call mine, and claimed his old room for an art-craft one for me. It also doubled as a grandchild-sleepover space where we installed double bunks and these were in regular use.

My husband, whilst not in the best of health, started to enjoy his music and had a space in the house for that and part  all of the garage eventually morphed into a workshop. We had two vehicles but we were soon to add some home improvements but wait, I am getting ahead of myself.

Around the middle of what would be Term One in schools, I started to feel a restlessness within and to be honest a NEED to do something related to teaching. Having over a year away from schools to try my hand at volunteering and to get better health-wise, the thoughts grew that I probably needed to get my casual teaching availability sorted and out there to my principal friends.

“Would You Like Two Days a Week From Next Term?”

We lived in Glenwood, a suburb on former dairy land in Sydney’s northwest. My friend, D, and I had been colleagues for many years and I heard that the brand new school at a brand new suburb just 10 minutes drive away was where she was the foundation principal. I rang and she said ” come over and have a look at it, love to see you”. I did, with a version of a casual teacher resume in my bag.

After a tour in a modern, private/public built school we sat in her office and I began speaking about wanting to come back to teaching. She knew of what had happened to me at R.P.S. and in fact was one who stayed in touch initially. Before I could say much more, I received an offer, to start Term 2, doing 2 days a week Release From Face To Face Teaching for all of the SEVEN classes (K-6) the school then comprised. By the time I left the school in 2010 the student population had exploded from our original 156 to around 700…and since went close to 1000…if you know the now-densely populated North West area of Sydney, this will not surprise you.

Yes, thank you…that would be great. I asked what I should teach in that time. Her reply was ‘up to me’ and in a complete switch for me, I chose Creative Arts: art, drama and music.

Back to School. As a teacher.

On the first day of Term Two 2004,  the day after our second granddaughter turned 5 (huge party with jumping castle and I did face painting) I presented myself to the school…and the first group I would be teaching. Year 6. Now, this was still a very small school and the teachers were incredibly welcoming and friendly. I remain friends with many today. However, Year 6, first up took some courage but I did it. The thing about a brand new school is that the kids in the upper grades have come from different schools with different expectations. I did have some kids who tried me (behavioural and attitude) but we managed. After that baptism, I had the rest of the day…and I think I returned on the Tuesday as my 2nd day. I do recall being on Cross Country duty too as the kids ran around the then spacious grounds.

When a new school opens in a new neighbourhood there are children presenting to enrol every week and over time, this position grew to 3 days a week. By the end of that year however, I got a different role and loved this one even more.

Before I move on. The school had its official opening and that was a privilege to be part of. Some of the work I had done as the R.F.F. teacher in Art and Craft also involved Aboriginal Education (I had some expertise from my previous schools) and the Year 6 group performed at the opening using clapping sticks made by my husband.

The principal now had someone on her staff who she could confide in and even offload on but she did not do this much at all. However from time to time she would ask me “how come you are always so happy?” My answer was, she had seen my need to be back teaching and I was loving it as well as being a mentor of sorts to some …but I no longer had the full responsibility which weighed heavily when I was a principal.

The English as A Second Language Teacher. Me! 2005 & 2006.

I was always a teacher of literacy at heart, and loved working with children at the entry level of school. It made sense then for me to turn what I loved to do into a role I could deepen for myself and the school when there was growing student population of students whose second language was English.

I was able to set up the program, a space for the students and to develop the school’s programs. This was an important part of my role and being a former principal something I knew a lot about. What I did need to learn more about was the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of teaching English to a range of learners. Some were literally just stepping ‘off the plane’ as we used to say, and others had been in Australia speaking and learning English at previous schools.

The ‘language’ of teaching in this field has changed in the past 5+ years so I will use what I remember. The students were assessed, if needed, by me upon enrolment in whichever year they were entering. For example a student coming into Kindergarten and one coming into Year 5 might still be classed as ‘new arrivals’ if they had no understanding of English and would need, at separate times to being in class, some one-on-one or very small group learning.

To that end, I enrolled in a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Charles Sturt University. Part-time and on-line with lots of practical work I could do with the students. This was a great way for me to add to my qualifications and hopefully, as time passed, get appointed to the school in 2007 as the substantive E.S.L. teacher. In the next chapter, I will share what happened.

Flexibility and a program that helped teachers integrate the students into their classes was important and I did all I could on the 3 days allocated to the program – always by student numbers – that year. The school’s population grew and grew, in 2006 there was a need to employ another person like me on a temporary basis. I was not permanently appointed, even though, over time, I hoped that might occur. More on that in the next chapter. 2007 was a big year for me. In many ways.

Family Times, House with ‘New’Mortgage & My First Trip O.S.

Despite the fact that we were now mortgage-free, see chapter fifteen, we became tempted to use the house as collateral for home improvements. Yes, people, we not only were tempted, we went ahead. The house benefitted with the enclosure of the outdoor room and adding air conditioning to it so it was a useable space, a carport, added driveways and landscaping out the front and back. This all helped at the time for our enjoyment. Much later in terms of selling, we had added value but the outstanding mortgage was paid out at the time of sale in 2015, bought new cars (much needed, old ones were literally ‘dying’)  but we did not have enough after that to buy a house on the Central Coast. This has, as it turns out, not been too bad as we have found a couple of options where we may wish, one day, to buy a house. For now, we are, like many, more comfortable as renters in the lovely, modern house we are in now.

Family times in those years became busier in some ways as the first group of grandchildren were changing in terms of ‘growing up’ and starting school. We attended Open Days, School Assemblies, Musicals and other events when possible. We took our two eldest granddaughters on a family holiday to Ballina which was fun and they got to meet some of their extended family and see where Papa grew up and went to school.

We welcomed partners into the family and life continued getting to know extended family members, and share in occasions, as well as support new ventures such as a return to study for one of our kids, with eventually University degree completed and more to come. One adult child continued in teaching part-time and we offered weekend/evening/afternoon respite for the kids in her busy times of responsibilities at school and beyond.

For some time I guess I did consider travelling overseas but never really got the chance. Then my plan was hatched and by crikey, I love a plan. To organise, the research and to find out more..blah blah. It was always going to be a solo trip. The plane ride for my husband of just on 3 hours in 2003 was the deal breaker for him as I wrote last chapter. He couldn’t accompany me. However, I was actually OK to give solo travel a go in a bigger way. I had already done some shorter trips and small breaks away within Australia so I looked at what I thought I could manage flight time wise, and where I was interested in visiting. It was to the U.S.of A.’s west coast but mainly the state of Hawaii I wanted to see. Dad and Mum had been there many times following Dad’s first visit when he was part of Harvard Business Summer School for 6 weeks in 1966.

With meticulous care and with the help of Flight Centre I booked 15 days away from 1 January 2006 to 15 January. Flights on Hawaiian Air, were marvellous and I joined their Premier Club to get preferential seating, extra luggage allowance and use of Lounges at LAX and Oahu. Brilliant. But, I almost went home from Mascot (our airport) before I left.

New Year’s Day in Sydney 2006 the temperature was 45deg. There was no air con working at the airport. My flight was not leaving till 10 pm. I was dropped off at the airport by my daughter…allowing plenty of time and it was actually ‘too much’ time. I was SO hot and over it..but stayed until check in could start…and when as a priority boarder I got to my window seat (then the aeroplane was 2,3,2 in economy)and sat, the aloha music and air con working….I sighed with relief. I probably need to expand this story separately but it went like this: Syd:Oahu, 3 nights. Oahu to Kona 2 nights. Kona to Oahu & onto LAX 2 nights, LAX to Las Vegas 2 nights, LV to SanFran 2 nights. SF to LAX back to Oahu 3 nights…and H O M E.

My Parents. 

In the latter part of 2006 my parents celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary (60 years wed) with a couple of small at-home celebrations with friends, and a family lunch in a local restaurant with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on the following weekend.

I went to their house on the actual day with 60 yellow roses from the local Dural Rose Growers, and Dad already had the cards I had organised from Queen Elizabeth II, the Governor-General, the Premier of N.S.W. and…for Mum especially, my brother organised a ‘congratulations to long time listeners, N & A,’ message on 2GB from Alan Jones. Mum loved it. And he was kind.

Mum had not been well for a couple of years and with an aversion to doctors and investigations, Dad did the best he could to keep her health under check. Mum had some symptoms that appeared to be Parkinson’s related and also a lot of pain in some areas that was put down to be ‘post shingles’ neuralgia.

Mum had a great smile. And she made a lot of effort to do the best she could to look well and co-ordinated, with hairdresser appointments weekly and a pretty regular wardrobe updates. She started to not want to go out much in a lot of 2006 and it became harder to convince her to do so.

Previously Mum had been quite social, independent with her own car and social groups and interests including tennis and cards. But no more. Even their much enjoyed June-July winter stays on the Gold Coast stopped in 2005. But, there were reasons which would not be evident until next chapter: a big one. 2007.

Mum and Dad, taken by me, at the family celebrations for their 60th Wedding Anniversary. November 2006.


That is all…that I remember and CAN write about…with confidence of telling my story without giving away too much. It does get tricky with privacy but I have permissions and try to stay within boundaries set by myself and what is reasonable.

For all of the stories to date, please visit this part of the blog. Telling My Story.

I print each post out and have it stored in a folder for family if they wish to read it.

Thanks for reading.


List of Optional Prompts: July & August 2020. On home page too.

27/51 Taking Stock #3 6.7.2020

28/51 Self-Care Stories. #4. 13.7.2020

29/51 Your Choice. Mine is: World Head & Neck Cancer Day. 20.7.2020

30/51 Share Your Snaps #6 27.7.2020

31/51 Food. 3.8.2020

32/51 Why Did I? 10.8.2020

33/51 I Want. 17.8.2020

34/51 Self-Care Stories. #5. 24.8.2020

35/51 Share Your Snaps #7 31.8.2020

Link Up #195.

Life This Week. Link Up #195.

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