Wednesday 26th January 2022

Wishing. 51/51. #LifeThisWeek. 132/2021.

Wishing. 51/51. #LifeThisWeek. 132/2021.

Wishing you all, dear readers, bloggers and friends, a very happy festive season.

Whether you celebrate or not, or believe in the Christian version of Christmas, or perhaps celebrate a different season in your family and beliefs’ calendar, you are wished:

GOOD health…always

GOOD prospects for the year  ahead

GOOD news all the way….(a bit fanciful but it is about wishing, right?)

GOOD fortune.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

The post today is light on…I have added Telling My Story : Christmas Memories into the link up…and filled with good wishes to you all!

See you back here, if you are planning so, on Monday 3 January 2022. Life this Week. 

My current image background. My two kids in left and right pics…me with 3 oldest Gkids in middle, and those three with one son of my son!

Denyse.

Four songs from “MY” Christmas memories.

My oldest grandkids – see photo above “loved” Hi Five way back.

 

My fave to sing along in the car since 2014:

And the song which helped me ‘get through’ hard times at Christmas 2017 in recovering from my 2 (then) head and neck cancer surgeries.

See you soon…in two weeks exactly.

Denyse.

Started Life This Week Link Up. Sept 2016.

Life This Week. #271.

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Share Your Snaps. #10. 50/51 #LifeThisWeek. 131/2021.

Share Your Snaps #10. 50/51 #LifeThisWeek. 131/2021. 

Before moving on to Sharing My Snaps for the final time in 2021, big thank you to everyone for this year’s support of the link up.

 

As already announced, here, #LifeThisWeek returns on Monday 3 January 2022.

No prompts unless you want to use any I have come up with. I am not sure if I will have a word of the year for 2022 but there is always that option.

Next week, the final link up for 2021, WISHING, I am sharing a post I didn’t know I needed to write called “Telling My Story: Christmas Memories”.

Do link up for one last time in 2021 if you have a post, old or new to share.

 

Sharing My Snaps #10 is from mostly scenes of nature I have noticed and been within…to really see, experience and enjoy. Few words! For once.

From the past month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Places to visit and see with my husband included the Boardwalk at Terrigal on a surprisingly sunny day for once, as a repeat visit.

Thanks from us both for your kindness and support of us blogging and sharing life with you all from our, ahem, very different perspectives.

and he expects me to ask for selfie these days…even if we don’t quite get it right….ha!

Bernard & Denyse.

The Head and Neck Australia Christmas Choir is going live (live!) and I guess I will see it once I am up and about…the link is here:

 

But wait…it appears there is MORE…and words too.

  • P.S. Not from nature itself but very much about human nature and more is this book. I couldn’t wait to get the, ahem, cheaper copy so went to local QBD for this and I have already invested myself into the very different ways in which Brene Brown is both sharing and doing her utmost for us all to come to an understanding of all that makes us emotional human beings. I am a fan already but this work is different.
  • I am also tuning into her podcasts called Unlocking Us , here,  about Atlas of the Heart and awaiting the audible version in February 2022.

  • P.P.S. In big news (nah, not really!) I am getting somewhat better at my zoom game. I just haven’t used it (and haven’t need to) much but many others have I know.
  • So, I got some practice and was able to be part of a zoom meeting to assist in great head and neck cancer awareness and sharing with CEO Nadia Rosin, from Head and Neck Cancer Australia and Dr Mike Freelander MP, a Federal MP from Macarthur region in Sydney. I even managed a background which both commented on. See second photo!

 

 

And then, I got some kind of virus and was not able to meet up with my local federal MP and the CEO of Head & Neck Cancer Australia…we will catch up in 2022.

I did get to have an unexpected 8th ( I think) Covid19 test instead. I have had this many as most were required for me to attend doctors’ surgeries and to be admitted to hospital for surgeries in 2020.

And as I recovered on Friday, I felt well enough to venture out, driving to Porter’s Creek to enjoy some peace by the river and to notice nature. Of course.

A lovely friend and blogger, Katherine, who has shared here many times, now lives in San Francisco and as it was her birthday when I went here, I made a mini vid for 20seconds of Aussie bush sounds. She told me she felt the breeze too!

Take care,

Denyse.

I will be back to comment after seeing Dad in Dee Why today and I am also dropping in some Christmas treats to my brother and sister-in-law on the way as they live that way too. They do the heavy lifting in terms of any errands for Dad or taking him to appointments. I still do Christmas treats as gifts although my interest and motivation is slowly waning.

My Christmas treats: mini cupcakes and brownies. Some are for individuals, others for families.

Link Up #270.

Life This Week. #270.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a kind thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

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Monday 20 December: last link up for 2021. Wishing.

See you back here then, I hope.

Link Up recommences in 2022 on Monday 3 January.

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Telling My Story. Christmas Memories Edition. #FestiveBonBon. 130/2021.

Telling My Story. Christmas Memories Edition. #FestiveBonBon. 130/2021.

When I read that my friends from blogging, Debbie from here, Sue from here, Jo from here and Donna from here too, had a plan for a one-off Christmas related link up, I could not resist.

I am definitely a Christmas ‘Kid’ with memories galore.

Team #FestiveBonBon even has a cute photo and questions. And link up icon IN CHOCOLATE colours. Nice one!

I will do my best to respond, and as I am not only a Christmas sentimentalist, but also have a LOT of photos as memories, then I think I have some ideas.

 

Christmas Tree – do you have one, when does it go up, who decorates it, is there a theme or is it miss-matched?

YES.

  • Traditionally (my traditions) ours went up the weekend before my birthday (30 November) because after that it was close to my Mum’s birthday and we didn’t want to take over her date. BUT more importantly….sorry Mum, is WHO decorates/d the tree?

 

  • EVERY grandchild does. At least those I can corral. Back in the first years/decades of being grandparents I admit I hyped the whole “Christmas at Grandma’s and Papa’s” decorating Sunday (mostly) and asked the parents to leave…or at least help Mr W with the myriad of lights, outside decorations and more to be adoring the house.

 

  • IT WAS FUN…frantic and the best.

Christmas music was played: Holly Jolly Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and occasionally more traditional music – see next question. I still have many CDs and playlists and they are now my car accompaniment during December.

I digress. Not a chronological post. Sorry. Not sorry.

  • Grandkids started happening for us in 1996 – the first born 2 days before Christmas that year. She got to add the star to the tree in 1997. My rule? Youngest puts star on tree. (Sadly, this year in our house, it was 71 year old me!)

 

  • I bought a new decoration for each grandchild each year…so 1996 one had many more than say 2013 born on. We have grandkids born in 1996, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015. I labelled each one with date too. Some had photos in them. Before we moved house, and downsized the Christmas tree, giving our 1994 one to our daughter and her 4, I gave each grandchild their tree decorations from our house in a special box for the family Christmases ahead.

 

Christmas carols & songs.

I have enjoyed singing both the carols of Christmas (traditional and Australian themed ones) since I was in a church choir – I think I went to be social and I loved the singing, and got to learn some teaching skills helping little kids at Sunday School- aged 12 t0 14. Dad always had music playing in house at Christmas but can’t specifically recall Christmas songs.

  • I love to sing and in a group or teaching some kids and I may not have been a keen musician nor able to read music but I could hold a tune and loved teaching songs at Assembly and for Christmas concerts.
  • I particularly enjoy the Australian carols: The North Wind, The Silver Stars are In the Sky and more.
  • Remember for us, teaching in outback NSW was a very hot time as school ends and yet, we still put on traditional Christmas plays, songs and Santa always visited.

I have, as mentioned earlier, a huge number of CDs and even great songs from Hi Five and The Wiggles (all part of grandparenting back then) bring me joy. Santa Wear Your Shorts is one I recall kids singing at school carols too.

In a Rusty Holden Ute is one I remember a class doing back at RPS when I was principal.

I have very eclectic taste. Obvs.

 

Christmas books.

My favourites are always those I read to my kids, then their kids and to some classes. Way back I used to share a golden type book about the story of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. I had a collection of various Father Christmas story books, and Santa Claus ones too. They are now all in other people’s houses, and I hope still being enjoyed.

I loved reading them to little ones and seeing the sense of awe and wonder.

I don’t have any that are mine nor am I really interested. However, I recall a series of short stories, Maeve Binchy perhaps, about coming home and Christmas. Long gone like my memory.

 

Christmas movies.

As mum and then,  Grandma I would watch movie length cartoons on TV as we had broken up for the year, and it was a nice distraction to have on a hot day inside while I probably made Christmas gifts.

And here’s on oldie. Back in the early 1960s Mum and Dad entertained neighbours and friends on Christmas Eve, and Dad would drop me and bro up to local Cinema in Balgowlah to watch White Christmas or something similar. I liked it. I must ask my brother if he recalls. We must have been collected by someone, and with no RBT, and within 2 kms of home anyway maybe having a festive driver do that didn’t matter.

And then in mid 2000 teens, I found Its a Wonderful Life. I like it so much it IS my go-to each Christmas to remember ‘why we each are important to each other’

Christmas cake.

I love(d) eating small amounts of home made Christmas cake. Made my own for a few years back in the 1980s and certainly enjoyed those my mum made back in the day. I liked the tradition of making them when the kids helped stir the cake mix. For photo purposes only. Neither like(d) Fruit Cake!

I also recall Christmas puddings made by Mum and wrapped in pudding cloth. Back in the day  1950s I recall the threepence and sixpence you might find in a slice of pudding…and not break your teeth. My paternal grandmother kept pudding coins I recall. Mum’s recipe here…and no I have never made it but it’s in Mum’s handwriting so treasured as a memory.

Chocolate nuts or fruit.

Now I can physically barely eat any, but cherries (black more than red) are part of Christmas, lychees  and so are mangoes.  And watermelon. We always had fruit and a variety of fresh nuts on the table. With a nutcracker. Seriously. Only ever used at Christmas.

Christmas traditions

See above…

However, there were some when our kids were young.

  • Christmas Eve I was always tired out – school had just broken up, and husband was finishing off whatever jobs he was doing around the place, so I took the kids to Christmas Eve Mass. I know! I did it because…tradition (and I became a catholic to be same as husband and kids, none of us are no longer practising) and I loved the music and the nativity…and then we got Maccas for tea. Still a novelty in 1980s.

 

  • Home with takeaway & after eating,  and some last minute preparations by kids for carrots out for reindeer, one of my orange biscuits or piece of shortbread for Santa, and quite possibly a can of Coke. Honestly I can’t recall but B liked drinking Coke then.

 

  • Kids laid out their Santa Bag (pillowcases) and Santa Stockings under the tree…and then off to bed. We watched/listened to Carols from Melbourne whilst trying to equalise sizes and presents for kids. Not wrapped ever. But if son seemed to get more (volume wise) I would remove for his birthday in 3 weeks.

 

  • We then waited…and bit the carrots and poured out the water, ate the treats, drank the drink…and hopefully kids were asleep and we left sack at bottom of their beds. Tired out.
  • When they woke in the morning, I was there with the trusty camera and it was a very special start to the day. As the kids got older (7 years difference, so one was 14, other 7) I sometimes actually ‘woke’ them because we often had a busy day ahead.

 

  • I used to make gifts for family, friends and even our doctors…(still do, actually) and one recipe honed by me back in 1990s I call “orange biscuits”. These are still much loved by my daughter and as she was turning 50 in covid lockdown, I made a batch and sent them to her. I “will” make some for her Christmas too. I also used to make Almond Bread. Yum. But not anymore as my mouth couldn’t bear it.

 

What’s on the table?

So many memories here.

  • However, musts for us were Christmas Bonbons to pull open, wear the silly hat, and share the silly jokes. I made placemats some years. Even a Christmas Trivia Quiz.

 

  • There were always festive treats on the table before any food was served! Cherries, lollies (and liquorish allsorts were a must, along with chocolate almonds), something savoury maybe like home made cheesy biscuits and some prawns in mayo on jatz, and some smoked salmon on rye bread would have been served before lunch.

 

  • I used to drink Mimosas too,  Orange juice and champers…As a wee kid though, MY Papa would have cold little bottles of Cherry Cheer for his 2 grandkids

 

  • Then there was LUNCH.

 

  • A mix of hot meal and cold too. So much food.

 

  • Always (back then) hot chickens, leg of pork  and many roast veggies, gravy, and some cold ham, turkey,  and salads with bread rolls. And later, slices of pudding for those who liked it, with home made brandy butter (yum), cream & ice cream and for others, something from the freezer ice cream selections.

 

  • On a hot day we were always grateful for air conditioning if available! And a pool too….

This was at LUNCHtime…and then, by about 6 p.m. we might serve up some leftovers too before, hopefully, all went home (with leftovers) ….sigh. Food coma.

Before & after head & neck cancer & adapting to no family at Christmas time.

 

One of the BIG Christmas Days…where Mum – see waving hand would have cooked a lot at home and brought it with her and Dad. Happy & sad memories here as my Aunty, back, second from right, would not be with us the next year.

Christmas memories.

  • They started at Dapto in 1950s for me, with the old fashioned Christmas lunch and all the spoiling that grandkids (me and bro) get. Then to dad’s Mum in Wollongong  for Christmas dinner/afternoon tea. Not as enjoyable though.

 

  • By the time we moved to Sydney however, and in early 1960s, my parents agreed we no longer wanted to spend Christmas day in the car, so Christmas would be at our place, and relatives were welcome to our place.

 

  • We became adults, and after marrying B & I  had a child by 1971, so Christmas and having the lunch at Mum and Dad’s was great as we were staying on school holidays and then over time, we moved to sharing some of Christmas Day with B’s family.

 

  • We bought a house, had teaching roles  and stayed in Sydney from 1978, with a second child added, and we still trekked to my parents most times until one day, Mum tired of it all, 1985 when her sister died suddenly, and I was given the family gig. It was fine, even though the reason my mum stopped was borne of grief and the need to pass the baton.

 

  • I probably did this closer to 2010s ish in our family if they wanted to do Christmas. Sometimes it became very complicated with extended families so we might share present opening instead on Christmas morning.

 

  • Over the next decade, we would have hosted, or gone to my brother’s and sometimes to my husband’s family. It becomes complicated for sure as families grow, change and move away.

 

  • Early 1990s we had a brand new  (big!) house and wanted to share the new space, and did Christmas then.

 

  • Grandchildren’s arrival changed so much for Christmas traditions, see above, but none more memorable than 1996, when the parents of newborn J, had ‘day leave’ from the hospital to have Christmas Lunch.

 

  • Grandkids, families changing and more meant that there were MANY more variations to Christmas Days until 2014 when, as we had sold our house in Sydney (and all those Christmas memories 1997-2013) our daughter did family Christmas.

Now?

The stories are as above.

And with no further ado, I am going to use this post for a Special One-Off Edition of Telling My Story!

The Christmas Memories One for the LAST #LifeThisWeek “Wishing”

I hadn’t thought of that till now. Thank you ladies!!

 

 

All I want for Christmas is…

The writing of this post has given me a better and greater appreciation of my Christmas memories as a 72 year old, and for that I am

G

R

A

T

E

F

U

L

May your dreams and hopes for Christmas and the Holiday season come true.

May you all go well.

May you be happy.

May the new year hold good health for you and yours.

I am very grateful for the blogging community always.

And for my continued good health post head & neck cancer!

Denyse.

On Monday 13 December 2021, @HeadandNeckCancerAustralia’s Virtual Choir for Christmas will be launched.

A first for Australia! I am in it too.

 

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Word of Year Revisited. 49/51. #LifeThisWeek. 129/2021.

Word of Year Revisited. 49/51. #LifeThisWeek. 129/2021.

Before going on, it was my husband’s words, on a birthday card envelope that reminded me to smile.

I then considered he was right …(I should tell him as he thinks I rarely admit he is right)….I also know that my upper prosthesis makes my smile the nicest one I have ever had. For those who may be new here, I had all of my upper mouth and part of my top lip removed in July 2017 when cancer was found. The whole story is here.

From my post in January 2021 about the word of the year.

Why “SMILE”?

  • A smile is a valuable form of communication and connection.
  • I know for some people smiles can be hard to manage depending on the time and circumstances and not everyone is a ‘smiler’. That is what makes the world go round, we are all different.
  • I too do not like being told “smile!!”. Umm. No, unless I have the emotions that warrant a smile, I may be able to slightly fake it but truly I prefer the genuine smile.
  • I know there are many more muscles used in the face to frown and far fewer to smile and that can be a suggestion as a mood lifter.
  • In fact, the old adage of ‘fake it till you make it’ can work as a psychological tool at times. Try it.

How Did Smile ‘as a word of the year’ Help Me?

  • I know it made me ‘smile’ when I thought about the word, and knowing I needed to act it. And as it says above, it works!
  • Nevertheless, there were non-smiling times in 2021 because things turned tough, and lockdown was not something I enjoyed 100% every day!
  • However, not smiling did not help at all, so it was within my best interests not only to FIND reasons to smile but for my health’s sake…and that of the man I live with…it was better to smile, than frown…most of the time!
  • It made me find small things to be grateful for and to reminisce about happier and fun times with grandkids to bring that smile back
  • I know getting out into nature, and doing a selfie or 4 reminded me to smile and be grateful to be vaccinated for Covid19 and well.

My Mouth Looks Better with a Smile.

  • It really does.
  • At rest, my mouth shows the rigours and remains of the loss of so much of my top lip and that the area has receded.
  • However, it can hurt a bit to smile because it is stretching the mouth that was reconstructed over the years 2017 into 2018.

 

Did I Always Smile? 

Mostly, but there are, for reasons of me not liking how I looked then, fewer photos. What a shame, because now I realise I was trying to hide what I felt ashamed of…my size and my smile. My teeth, before the bridge was added were uneven. Now, I say to myself that “I” need to let go of those old stories. I did what I could as I lived a very challenging and full life of work, career, study, care and commitment.

How Did My Smile Come Back?

Surgeries x 4, T I M E in between, careful work by my prosthodontist (right) over many, many long hours for me ‘in the chair’ at Westmead Oral Sciences…and an upper prosthesis of teeth that IS my smile now, some 14 months post first big surgery aged 67.

And My Smile Is From Mum! 

It’s the saying in our family that Mum could turn on a smile. And she did. However, she was not always happy but looked like it when the cameras where out. Seriously though, Mum had all her teeth (as does Dad still)…I got the rotten teeth gene there. And she smiled. Here’s a compilation from the photo collage I made for Dad that he has in his Unit.

Mum’s smile for me….72 years ago.

Some Familiar Smiles

…and yes, some are more like my Mum’s but ALL are smiles from those I love….

Happy Birthday Mum…born 6 December 1924. You’d have joined Dad as a 97 year old today…the day I post this but you are not, and to be honest, you’d have found very old age…hard yards. Love this photo- from a family dinner celebration. 

Noreen’s Smile

 

 

Did you have a word of the year too?

I am not sure about next year.

As per usual I will wait….

Thanks for reading and commenting today.

Denyse.

Link Up #269.

Life This Week. #269.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a kind thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

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Self Care Stories #7. 47/51 #LifeThisWeek. 127/2021.

Self Care Stories #7. 47/51 #LifeThisWeek. 127/2021.

The Last Of These 2021.

With images and some a lot of words, I will bring you, my readers, up to date with self care!
Here we go.
Mental Health
I got to do this after lockdown ended on 11 October for us here on Central Coast N.S.W….and second day in a row made it even better.
Celebrating wellness, and cafes being open..and sitting to have a coffee (double shot small latte) was a joy.
 
Had my final visit to psychologist too- had 2 in total this time round – as I had already been implementing quite a bit I had learned via my first psychologist (2016-17) and “life” experiences, reading & listening, AND having a trained counsellor husband for some “tips” and listening…
 
My own words as takeaways for me:
 
Allow time to pass. I learned this over & over again between head and neck cancer treatments…
 
Some voices and messages from so-called authority figures in my past told me information that was not helpful and fed the shame I carried about parts of my life….
 
I have the tools I need in my toolbox of strategies
 
My time in Covid was made ‘easier’ because of what I learned as a head and neck cancer patient
 
Allowing myself to feel the feelings…acknowledging them and letting them go is good practice for me
 
My self-awareness and understanding of what can be holding me back is improving as I acknowledge it too
 
That’s about it.
 
Oh and there is no shame in seeking psychological help at any time. I did this via a GP Mental Health Care Plan.
Making slow and minimal changes for me (no-one else!) re weight and activity.
And How Life Went for Us in Photos!
We used to have morning tea dates way back, now, each fortnight, we are trying out mini excursions. The one overlooking M1 is from a back road which wends from Ourimbah through rainforest! This is less than 25 mins from home. We continued to explore last week, driving to Terrigal (about 45 mins from home) to experience the new Boardwalk from the Haven to Terrigal Beach. Lovely! Not crowded as a school/work day and drizzly.

Self care is not selfish. We know that, right?

I would like to admit how much I feel the benefits of cutting back my blogging and my commitment to some of the social media groups and more that I think I felt far too much pressure (me, internal) to continue. As stated in last week’s blog post, I am making changes to 2022 plans for blogging and and thanks to you, the readers and sharers of your blogs, for understanding my ‘why’.

The Ageing Thing. 

It’s true for me, and my husband, that turning 70 and beyond has brought new issues to deal with in terms of physical health.

Ones that need check ups, some that need (different/new) medication and other test and referrals. We have a fantastic GP team where we have been going since April 2017 and in the very unlikely event that we ever had to move, the worst part would be if we could not continue to see this group. Mind you, no plans to move AND hope to continue renting here for as long as the owner allow.

Recently I’ve had an opthalmologist changeover as the person Mr W and I had been seeing since our 40s, finally said “I’m retiring”. Fortunately the practice we go to remains at Morriset, about 30 minutes drive away and they have all our records. I had some reassurance when I thought I was having a sight problem. Dad has macular degeneration so I keep up to date with how my eyes are going. The new Doctor told me there was a little bit of tissue behind the right eye that had its cataract replaced in March 2020 (left eye too) and he lasered it away in the surgery, and whilst I had some reactions with light sensitivity and still some blurring, I know my eyes and sight are in good order.

Annual Bloods and Other Tests. I always wonder how these will be as low iron has been a problem till the iron infusion in February 2021. Results are in: marvellous in all areas of health. I am incredibly grateful for wellness and, even with my cancer, to have good health. My iron, was 11 before infusion in February, rising to 200+ in March 2021, and now at 170 ish.

Feet! The podiatrist sees me every 6 weeks and things are going well with no dramas. I have had to accept the fact that the skeleton and muscles and tendons in my feet are ‘in pretty poor’ shape so shoes/walking wise I must always wear something, even around the house. Barefeet, my previous practice, can over time, and walking on hard floors cause plantar fascitis.

Hair. Well, now that I knew it was back to good health and thick (or so thick!) before I had it cut, I am relieved my hair health is back to good.

Breasts. I had an unexpected mammogram and ultrasound because of some pain but all clear, and strangely enough, pain went too. Now next one is in 2 years.

Any Follow Up For Rectopexi? Nope. Best decision ever to have that long-delayed surgery and to never be worried about bowel incontinence again. IBS has basically disappeared in the nasty diarrhoa form I used to get so very pleased with change in life style this brought.

Ears. I probably have some hearing loss but not needing testing at all…yet.

Heart, kidneys, lungs etc. All good via my GP’s test.

Cancer! Oh that. Mouth goes well. I hope to see my prosthodontist in the new year as he hasn’t seen inside my mouth for 7 months. Pretty sure my care is fine. And, my “last” (sob!) head and neck cancer check will be in September 2022. Why sob? Love my Prof and Nurse. Will Miss Them!!

Teeth. Yes, the remaining 8 on the bottom are going well thanks to me and my dentist up here.

Emotional Health.

My cup is already full of love for and love of our family.

Our daughter, solo mum, relieving Assistant Principal, turned 50 this year and just keeps on going. Very caring person and her three adult children benefit from her love every day. Miss E, aged 9 does too of course..when not asking a million questions!

Our son, solo dad, and psychologist, doing all he can to work on his new business helping Dads, maintaining a terrific physical health program via his local gym, and being the best dad to his four kiddoes aged 14 to 6.

We missed seeing them all, as did all people with loved ones in covid, and so our daughter and her youngest visited the first weekend of freedom, our eldest granddaughter the following weekend, and then we drove to Sydney to see our son and his four at his place.

This is how hearts are filled with joy, wonder and love…..

Minding H & R in 2011

 

Now here they are…R is off to HS in 2022, her brother into Yr 9.

And it was, as always good to see my father even though his sight is not great and he is weary, he can still enjoy a chat (it’s inherited by me) and we enjoyed some reminiscing and some morning tea. Afterwards, I drove to Manly to enjoy the views from the Wharf end. Growing up here was not even seen as anything special back in 1950s and 60s but as time has passed, I know I am grateful to have this as part of my life’s history.

And I will leave, with this… a great horizon shot!

How’s your self care coming along?

Share in the comments.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Denyse.

Link Up #267.

Life This Week. Link Up #267.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 48/51 Taking Stock #5. 29 Nov. Link Up #268

 

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Zoom. 46/51. #LifeThisWeek. 2022 Plans for My Blog. 126/2021.

Zoom. 46/51. #LifeThisWeek. 2022 Plans for My Blog. 126/2021.

I’m 72 in 2 weeks and one day.

This is my profile for a birthday fundraiser for Head and Neck Cancer Australia. Donate $5 if you wish to help with patient info packs. See my facebook profile. Thank you! Link here to my personal page: set on public. https://www.facebook.com/denysewhelan…p.s.  I am not keen on asking for $ but at times, this is how it is for charities!

How amazing to be well, celebrating life and sharing my thoughts and experiences (along with pics) on ‘this blog’ since I was 60.

A little bit of nostalgia here:

What’s next?

The good thing, for me and I hope for my blogging friends is that Denyse Whelan Blogs continues into 2022 and so does Life This Week!

Yay. However, there are some changes and I will do my best to share the why!

New Avatar: Thank you Tanya.

  • LIFE THIS WEEK link up continues on Mondays, as for now, open at 5.00 a.m Mondays (Australian eastern time) and closing 5.00 p.m. Wednesdays.

 

  • My plans are for ‘no plans, and no prompts’

 

  • But a bank of prompts will be on the home page for anyone needing ideas.

 

  • I want to feel less restricted by weekly topics hence: NONE..’sorry Lydia’.

Why?

  • Initially when I was considering plans for 2022 I came up with a range of groups of prompts and thought that might work.

 

  • However, when I reviewed them I was totally uninspired.

 

  • But at times, some of us might need a prompt and I thought make a ‘list’ and don’t add a particular week for it.

 

And then there is this:

  • My blog post will be on Mondays and there will be a link up.

 

  • I will write or share whatever is on my mind or I want to share

 

  • And because I am slowly coming to realisation the blog and continuing to maintain it may change

 

  • So, I am thinking I will see how I am feeling about continuing the link up by end of March 2022.

 

  • It’s quite possible I will want to continue but I am giving myself a bit more of a break from internal pressure …

 

And of course, THIS:

 

  • I want to continue the blog to share my health updates & to keep the website live for any people with Head and Neck Cancer to find here

 

  • To share some of my stories of life as an older retiree

 

  • To continue to support my friends here on line &  via facebook, twitter and instagram

 

and, I never want to feel this is a chore.

Has this been enough news?

  • I hope that it is received with understanding.

 

  • I gave myself  a few months away from blogging more than once a week and I have to admit, it’s been great for my health in that I am sharing my day with more than ‘being on-line’ and trying to comment and catch up where I have linked up.

 

  • Mind you, I am incredibly grateful for the on-line friendships and those which have made it into real life.

I recognise now, that after 12 years, I can make some better choices for me.

  • So, from the first blogging Monday back, the link up will open on Monday 3 January 2022.

 

  • And of course, you add a post, old or new. But just one!

There will be a range of prompt ideas listed from today towards the bottom of the home page. Use them, don’t use them, mix them up. They might be in list form, but there is no order. This is the January to March group. Should the link up continue (pssst… I suspect it will) then a new group will go up: April-June.

 

Life This Week

2022 by Denyse Whelan

Optional Prompts: Life This Week.

Use them, don’t use them

Take a pick ….Not in any order!

Jan- March

Beginning

Fave Colour

Taking Stock

A Special Memory

Share Your Snaps

Mondays

Hobbies

What I Love To Do

Self Care

My Favourite Food

How I Self Care

Mindfulness

Life Is

What I Dislike

These Days I

 

Well, that is quite enough…and I won’t be back here to read comments today as I am…off to Sydney to see Dad. I have home cooked meals from me to add to his freezer, morning tea on board and of course….the time to chat and share photos from recent time. His sight is significantly impaired (thanks Macular degeneration) at almost 98. I know. What longevity!

See you back here when I return

Thank you all for your on-going interest and support for Life This Week.

Denyse.

Link Up #266.

Life This Week. Link Up #266.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: Self Care Stories.

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Share Your Snaps. #9. 45/51 #LifeThisWeek. 125/2021.

Share Your Snaps. #9. 45/51 #LifeThisWeek. 125/2021.

This is the second-last Sharing of Snaps for 2021 on the blog. I know, how did we get here?

I have amended Optional Prompt 50/51 to this:

50/51 Share Your Snaps #10. End of Year. 13 Dec. Link Up #270

What’s been happening for me over the past little while?

  • I will admit I am enjoying spending less time blogging and being away from the computer more.
  • It’s been good for me and my connections in real life too.

Daily calm and daily reflections continue to help me ponder my life and my days ahead….

That morning’s reflection from Daily Calm….when I decided to:

…and had my first surf at the end of October and was so glad to have done so.

I had not been right under the water in the surf for years, and I was delighted that I did…and could maintain my balance.

JOY and more were emotions I felt….

Lockdown lives and beyond.

Where we live we have been out of lockdown for well over a month.

I admit I didn’t venture out much at all in the first few days and when I did eventually take myself to the local large shopping centre for the first time, I got sick persevered with showing QR codes and showing my vaccination status but it reduced my browsing.

HAIR drove me ‘crazy but Mr W got his done first as I had to wait for my hairdresser’s place to open.

First visit to Sydney to see Dad.

On a wet day and unpleasant driving on M1 it was worth it for the visit as Dad was pleased to see me to chat  and his freezer got stocked up.

 

Loved seeing the memories via the paid app called SlideScan.

Loved being back in time to check out what was what then.

The discovery of this app to help me download slides from my life way back and into our first years as parents.

And I got a greater sense of being the mum to our daughter…and what it was like to become a mum so early in life and our marriage.

 

Opening up for more including going out for a coffee (and sometimes something to eat) and then finding I had not quite got the budget for this happening too often. So it’s more of a treat every week than a habit.

Happy to be able to meet up with friends for coffee!!

Those who want to…and can, let me know in the comments!!

My Fave BluJ’s back open again!

Learning how to make a video of me singing, to be able to share it to a newly created pop up choir from Head and Neck Cancer Australia. Probably cannot share yet until the whole event has more on-line sharing.

The new words for Head and Neck Australia. E for Excellent!

And that’s where I will leave it. I would have liked to shared but I will wait until the choir becomes known via the website at Head and Neck Australia.

And family reunions.

We’ve had our daughter and youngest to lunch, our eldest granddaughter on a solo trip another time for lunch and we visited our son and his active four at their place for morning tea. Happy Smiles On All!

What about your recent snaps? Any to share?

I look forward to seeing them.

Denyse.

Link Up #265.

Life This Week. Link Up #265.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 46/51 Zoom. 15 Nov. Link Up #266. I’m sharing my blogging plans for 2022. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


 

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Young. 44/51. #LifeThisWeek. Mr W. Happiness Myth. 124/2021.

Young. 44/51. #LifeThisWeek. Mr W. Happiness Myth. 124/2021.

Welcoming back my husband for his final contribution in 2021. And, for your info: there are “only” 7 more weeks of Life This Week in 2021!!

 

Content Warning: Mental Health, Self Harm, Suicide, Addiction. Information at the end of this post.

 

THE HAPPINESS MYTH


I’m always amused by the overwhelming focus our society has on happiness as members scramble like hell to acquire material possessions. How many times has the question, “What do you want in life?” been asked with the response, “Oh, I just want to be happy!”

The entrepreneurs have swooped on this pointless wish and produced enough books and programs on how we can be happy to fill the state library a couple of times and then some.

Do this or do that and you’ll be happy as if ‘happiness’ is a constant state that we all ought to be aspiring to. It’s bunkum! It’s a myth and it can be a dangerous trap!

Life today is more treacherous than it was for our tribal ancestors who were cave dwellers. Their sabre-toothed tiger can be likened to our internet that crawls with users, claws out and ready to pounce on some prey. Life today is painful, often disheartening and seemingly without hope. Bureaus of Statistics universally share some scary statistics in relation to its manifestations.

  • About 264 million of the global population are clinically depressed. Generally, people who are depressed also have an anxiety disorder.
  • 20% of us will go through a period of depression.
  • A quarter of us have, has had or will have an addiction.
  • 3 adults in 10 have a recognised psychological disorder (bi-polar, borderline personality disorder, autism, schizophrenia, etc.).
  • Of all the people you know over half will give thought to suicide. 1 in 10 will attempt to take their own life.

Don’t be alarmed by these statistics.

They simply serve to demonstrate that contemporary living is bloody hard and that those happy spikes have a more random occurrence than the sad troughs. This is not helped by our naturally occurring negative bias evolved to help us survive the hungry rage of that sabre-toothed tiger. Unhappily, it has left contemporary us in that state of alert which, when triggered ignites distorted thinking and has us going down the catastrophic slippery slope of fear and uncertainty.

Hence the need to live in the now!

Happiness is a temporary state of emotion in response to a specific stimulus.

On the lower or negative side of the continuum is sadness, also a temporary feeling but a more prolonged state. Above the centre continuum is happiness, its peaks less prolonged than its counterpart’s. Think about the screen of an oscilloscope as it depicts sound waves.

The peaks represent the happy moments and the troughs the sad. What you may notice is that neither remain around for long. What you may also notice is that, over a period of time, they tend to even themselves out.

That happy spike you felt last Sunday when you and your partner engaged in the most joyful of intimate moments will spike with maximum height and intensity. While you might want the feeling at its peak to go on and on, we would simply be unable to psychosomatically sustain it.

Even continued happiness at a lower level is unsustainable. The greater the ‘up’ feeling the more they offset the down times. The resultant flattening out will, with a number of other effects, leave us in a state of CONTENTMENT!  That’s what we need to aspire to!

Contentment – What’s That?

“Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Contentment is the state of peaceful well-being resulting from taking what life is offering ‘now’ and working with it. It is attending to and respecting the reality of the present in order to live a rich, full and meaningful life. In so doing, those happy moments integrate with the sad times leaving us in a pleasant state of contentment.

So, What Are Its Characteristics?

The person who is truly content will demonstrate the following attributes:

 

  • a kindness and compassion to him/herself and to others;
  • a general satisfaction with life that finds joy in what we have;
  • an understanding that all feelings are temporary;
  • a lack of envy for what others have;
  • a satisfaction with our possessions, status and situation;
  • humility that recognises the temporary nature of life and its material things (sic transit gloriae mundae – Latin for ‘thus passes worldly goods’);
  • doesn’t measure success in terms of material acquisitions;
  • doesn’t try to find fulfilment through the acquisition of more material possessions – how much of anything do we really need;
  • self-discipline in managing one’s life and affairs; and,
  • an abhorrence of greed and the thirst for power recognising the destructive capabilities of both;
  • lives a rich, full and meaningful life.

 

Can You Show Me a Picture?

 Sorry, I can’t show you a picture. But I can do the next best and show you a simplified graphic representation.

The following sine wave provides a general idea of what happens with our emotions during the course of a time interval. The blue line represents our happy and sad moments that peak and trough.

Its frequency is much less even and varied than in the representation. However, it’s a very good illustration of how our emotions jump around randomly in response to thoughts, memories, urges, etc.

The most important line is black centre line. It is our line of contentment. The blue feeds the black so the more positive and rewarding our experiences are, the thicker the line of contentment.

 

How Do I Enrich My Line of Contentment?

 Life for the contemporary citizen is based around ‘doing’. This is not unexpected because the updated brain is always in the ‘doing’ mode ready to solve your next problem for you. The big problem with that is that the brain cannot solve a problem of the heart.

So, when the next feeling dilemma arises, the brain tries to think its way to happiness or instructs you to resist that feeling. Both are not solutions.The first because it’s impossible as the brain seeks only rational solutions and the second because the undesirable feeling will persist and even grow hungrier.

Hence the need to have our minds override the brain and allow us to just BE.

We are, after all, human BEINGS!

In the BEING mode,

  • We allow all feelings, even welcoming the more painful ones. They belong to us and are therefore our responsibility. We name them and neutralise them by recognising their temporary state. They will pass.

 

  • We are being MINDFUL of all that’s going on in the ‘now’ – just ask Leo Tolstoy, he’ll tell you that it’s very important to pay attention to the ‘now’. After all, there’s more than enough going on in the ‘now’ to keep us busy without looking for trouble from the past or future. So, it’s important to be aware, open, attentive and curious in the ‘now’ in order to capture all moments.

 

  • Reflect on your values. They have formed the basis for doing what matters to you. If you’ve hit a roadblock or are in a roundabout with no exit, be willing to change what’s not working for you. Maybe you are basing your behaviour on the expectations of others. Check your own rulebook. Our lives become more content when we operate on our values-driven rules. If something is not working for you, do what does by changing the dynamics of the pesky rule!

 

  • Give yourself a grading on self-compassion. Being kind to, and caring of yourself is as important as being compassionate to others. Think of it as a two-way street.

 

  • When in doubt about how to defuse a critical thought – sing! Here’s a little exercise to try. Think of a thought that’s causing you pain, e.g. “I’m not good enough” or “I’m a loser!” Sing that song to a familiar ditty such as ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ and observe what happens. You’ll discover that you’re not who you thinks you are.

 

  • Contentment relies on authenticity – being true to who you are. This is defined by your values that also inform what really matters to you. The transgression of your values, by yourself or others, creates pain.

 

  • Contentment loves gratitude. Reflect each day on what you are genuinely grateful for. The question, “what am I grateful for”, triggers a release of chemicals that our body loves and feeds our feelings of inner peace and contentment.

 

  • Both Denyse and I get great joy and feelings of contentment viewing this rose that has been growing in the front garden for years now.

As a final thought I offer you the following based on the AA prayer.

“ Give me the courage to solve those problems that can be solved, the serenity to accept those problems that can’t be solved and,

The wisdom to know the difference.”

“Happiness is self-contentedness.” – Aristotle

Thanks to Bernard for his final post for 2021. We have some great conversations about how I add the posts to the blog. All good!! Photo collage above expresses my gratitude for his love and presence in my life since October 1970. We’ve had our ups, downs and in betweens through a marriage of over 50 years but I know that “I” am feeling more contentment with my life as it is now because of my experiences and some of the teachings Bernard has helped me learn. Denyse. 

For those who may need to reach out to organisations based on this story’s content these are Australian-based sources for help.
Your Family G.P. can be a helpful person to listen and make referrals.

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636

Phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for 24 hour assessment, referral, advice, and hospital and community health centre contact details

Qualified Psychologists can be found by visiting https://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist/

Australian Counselling Association is on 1300 784 333 to find a counsellor

 

Link Up #264.

Life This Week. Link Up #264.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: Share Your Snaps! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


 

 

 

 

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