Tuesday 21st September 2021

Leaving 22/51 #LifeThisWeek. 67/2021.

Leaving 22/51 #LifeThisWeek. 67/2021.

When I saw this optional prompt, my mind went to writing more about “leaving my role as a school principal” and then I thought, I have already written about that here and here.

Sometimes we can leave without knowing it will be the last time we do that.
I find that a challenge in some ways. Sad, but true.

This is my late mother on Dad’s 83rd birthday making sure there was a cake for celebration. She could no longer make one but a store bought one sufficed and my daughter and her kids, along with my niece were there…11 January 2007.

We did not know how unwell Mum actually was until the following couple of weeks which were a quick succession of trips to ED, back home, admission to private hospital, MRIs & more and then….a diagnosis. My mother had secondary brain tumours with within 2 months of this photo she died. She, along with Dad and her family and her treating doctors agreed ‘no surgery nor treatment’. We never did know the primary source.

Whilst we, her family, did expect that her health would deteriorate rather rapidly, it was always her wish to “stay at home” but she admitted to Dad, that she knew this was all too much for him as she became bed ridden  and incontinent and she agreed with his decision, made with her long-time G.P. that some kind of palliative care at a local private hospital would be the best for her.

So, Mum left, in an ambulance that Friday morning and was admitted. Dad and I agree NOW  that the Friday was a poor choice – no proper staff who could make decisions about her room and her care until Monday – but he too was exhausted.

She left here:

Then when she died it was from a room here: I can actually guess which one, but I won’t point it out. She died in the latter hours of Monday 5th March and Dad had been told to go home. She waited till then.

 

Leaving to meet a new sibling! As grandparents, back when we lived close to our family and were caring for the grandchildren we had no more privileged role on a special day in 2013 than to collect a grandson (from school) and granddaughter (from pre-school) to take them to meet their parents…and their new sibling…

 

And preparing to leave Sydney took a lot of doing.

The house we lived in had been ours brand new from 1998 onwards. It did though date itself over time, and as we had decorated and changed room configurations. Because my husband is one very talented renovator, he began the process in 2013 even though we were yet to firm up that decision…which in its own way had to be made at the right time…and it was in 2014..more on that here.

 

I wish I had known just how much leaving our home of many years,  our family, friends, my career ….and so on, would affect me emotionally. But…I know now that leaving as we did, affected me later, as my psychologist in 2016 told me ” emotions/feelings take longer than the events and decisions” to catch up with us. More about that in this post. and here too.

Fast forward to leaving hospital after my BIG cancer removal and mouth reconstruction in July 2017. What a happy day to be leaving…surgery done, lots of recovery to come and time….but LEAVING!!

And I cannot finish a post for 31 May with leaving a small tribute of love to my Aunty as it was her birthday. She would be 98 today.

Known as Poppy. Much loved aunt and great aunt. She gave us “the world”…even though she did not have much, it was always with love.

Have you found leaving is hard or is it a pleasure?

Denyse.

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Link Up #242

Life This Week. Link Up #242

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.

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What’s The Story Behind These Images? 8/2021.

What’s The Story Behind These Images? 8/2021.

Quite some time ago, years in fact, I began buying images from Dreamstime for use on the blog. I accumulated many and have used few.

I guess I have not used them in more recent times because the focus of those images was for my education category which I blogged about with frequency in 2012-2015.

I was also an Education Specialist assisting families and educators who were part of a group of pre-schools in the northern and norwest suburbs of Sydney.

I was very careful to only use approved photos from the organisation so I tended to add some of these images where there was a correlation between my written messages and the images.

Today, I am using my imagination to write something as I might see as the story behind the images.

Image One.

Here are the students in Year 9 who were asked to look as if we are reading and be interested too. However, you can see that that two of them who were excluded from being seated. Huh? Stand against the shelves and look like they are reading? We can do that. Still not sure what we are reading though. Guess if the teacher is smiling it might be a funny book?

However, in all seriousness it is good to see reading AND being in a library of interest. Far too much these days, books from libraries and students being able to access a library within a school setting is being denied. Something, something, funding! Rubbish. I wrote a post about it here.

Does your child’s school have a library and a trained teacher librarian?

 

Image Two.

This one is a very familiar image. Boy, in image, gets what they are supposed to be doing, as requested by the teacher, leaning over another student at a computer in rear of image. This is how it does happen in many schools. There is a computer lab or bank of them set up. Truly, it can be quite the challenge to keep this kind of lesson under control in terms of the students’ searches. Fortunately there are security set ups via the schools’ systems.

With a whole class of 30 this kind of lesson is exhausting! Back when I reckon this was the kind of way teachers may have “ticked” the boxes of computer education. This is less likely to be the kind of work done by students now as each classroom has a range of set ups for technology including interactive white boards. High school students have laptops and ipads too, as do many primary schools.

Do you remember this kind of lesson?

 

Image Three.

Taking the hand of an older and trust adult to be safe in terms of being outside, in a crowd, approaching the road, or even starting school. It is both reassuring and kind to the child as he or she makes changes that need some parental or adult support. However, of course, there can be hand-holding refusers and with those little ones, there needs to be a firmer grip…a kind one.

Did you know children need adult supervision to cross a road up to around the ages of 8-10. It is something to do with developing peripheral vision.

 

Image Four.

This is quite an homogenous group of four. Interestingly for me as I reviewed some of my images, I realised back when I was selecting them my unconscious bias took me to the familiar for me. White and anglo in appearance. I am quite surprised now that I look back and know that even acknowledging it is better than continuing this.

Do you think play and children’s ability to let off steam outdoors is allowed enough for these days?

 

Image Five.

I loved the connection of these two children as I imagined in this image. They seem comfortable with each other, and are moving along a bridge-like structure to another area. The simple parts of childhood can be forgotten in the hustle and bustle can’t they?

How much do children really get to play and explore within a relatively safe space. Food for thought.

 

 

And now for my images….I think I am missing return to school time in some ways but agree it is not something I could do practically nor emotionally but I still have the love of teaching in me.

My M.Ed. Graduation from CSU Wagga Wagga in 1991. My daughter used ‘the same cloak’ for her Masters of Education (Teacher Librarian) when she graduated in 2017.

 

Images Six, Seven & Eight.

Image Nine.

My Education Collage: Where two teachers met, our trip back to the area, farewelled by the Deputy Secretary of NSW Dept of Education, My Service Medal

Image Ten.

On 27 January 1970 this is where I began teaching. The classroom in background was mine, teaching a K/1 group. My image here: 50 years later we re-visited Barraba Central School.

That’s my  post about the stories and the images. It was thought-filled and a bit of fun as well as a trip down memory lane!

Did you enjoy being at school?

Tell me more.

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne for Lovin Life Linky here on Thursdays.

And here too for Natalie’s Link Up: Weekend Coffee Share

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Back To. 3/51 #LifeThisWeek. 7/2021.

Back To. 3/51 #LifeThisWeek. 7/2021.

Around this time of year, mid January for over 50 years,  this was it for me:

Back To School time.

With my principal’s hat back on and teacher one too, in case it’s helpful I have a post about going back to school and starting school here and believe this is still relevant. I always like to share this graphic too: courtesy of Kelly Exeter and me.

 

Not the actual ‘back to school’ but getting ready for being a school student, staff member, teacher, assistant principal, parent or principal.

This video link to a timely post about starting school is helpful.

It’s a reminder from the calendar here in my southern hemisphere that mid-Summer school holidays is also:

‘Back to’ …time.

 

Back to Normal.

Here’s something we have heard a LOT in COVID times.

  • “When can we be back to normal?”
  • “Is it possible to be back to normal once the pandemic has taken over?”
  • “What might normal be like?”

Did we take ‘normal’ for granted pre-COVID?

I am guessing if you are thinking a bit like most of us, and I am one, that there is no ‘back to pre-covid’ times which means, of course, what we took for granted as ‘normal’ is not happening.

I met my daughter for brunch recently. We both had masks on before sitting down to eat. We both needed to check in via the Service NSW app. We were in a restaurant that is part of a book store. In fact, I had a small morning tea here for my 70th birthday. This time round, the seating was different and more spaced out. No long table.

I think, as many are, that the term ‘new normal’ whether we like it or not is here to stay.

Back to Work.

Last year many of us (OK not us retirees) learned that there was a different way to work. That is if our job could be done from home. Working from home became the ‘normal’ and now, here in Australia, in our 10th month of living with the different states’ and territories’ rules about travel, transportation and working face to face who knows what “back to work” in 2021 looks like.

Back to Having Visitors In the House.

At the time of writing and publication N.S.W. rules under COVID health restrictions are that “we” the household of two, can only have 5 visitors to our home on one day. We live on the Central Coast, counted as part of the greater Sydney area. Governed by this, and with a hefty fine for non-compliance ($1000 each) we now have to hold our much-longed for Golden Wedding Anniversary lunch for our family over 2 days: one group on Friday 22 Jan, the other on the actual date the Saturday. It will be done according to the rules but still won’t feel as celebratory without each of our family being present. But…you do what you have to do.

Our Wedding Day. 1971

 

The last word on ‘Back to’ is that we can never recapture what was.

Just as we might long for it, time and circumstances along with we humans all change over time.

I hope your week, whatever it contains, goes well.

Stay safe, everyone.

Denyse.

Link Up 223.

Life This Week. Link Up #223

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.

* 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: 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.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week: 4/51 Cannot. 25 Jan.

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Telling My Story. Chapter Twenty Five*. 2020. Pt.3/3. 103/2020.

Telling My Story. Chapter Twenty Five*. 2020. Pt.3/3. 103/2020.

Well over 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...Chapter Twenty Five*. Part Three of Three.

So, in keeping with my ethical approach to all things, I am making the chapters about MY recollections to various changes in life for me, and us, and life as we knew it. I hope I can continue sharing the story without any intentionally negative or hurtful references to others who are in my life as friends and family members.

To read the earlier two parts of this Chapter go here for Part One (January, February, March & April) and here for Part Two (May, June, July & August).

 

WHAT A YEAR! 

Let’s get on with the final part of Telling My Story….2020.

SEPTEMBER.

But first, here’s to the Dads in my life:

Father’s Day Collage

I did not expect to be continuing to be recovering from surgery but yes, that is so. I was treated at home for 3 weeks by a Wound Nurse who took care of checking the wound, changing the VAC machine that helped heal me and then, as I did so well, signed off so I could visit my GP’s Nurse three times a week. Gosh people. Life is good…hey!

I could not drive (again) because of the machine and its attachment to me, so my dear husband (yet again!) drove me to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for my 6 month head and neck cancer check with my surgeon.

It was the first time my husband had been back with me here since early 2018. Certainly COVID had made some differences in protocol but not to the great ambience we both felt with my head and neck surgeon Jonathan and his surgical assistant, Cate.

Here’s the story of that visit!

It’s always good to see my team. I love them! And the best part of that visit was when Jonathan said “See you in a year!” WHAT? Blown away. I am doing well!!

Mind you they had some fun at my expense with the VAC system I was carrying! Thanks to social media Cate knew about my surgeries. I was advised that my CT scan of chest and neck was fine and to go see my prosthodontist when I could. I did.

 

With My Prosthodontist: I was back in a few days with mouth pain, but with some anti-biotic treatment it went away!

SPRING WEATHER & MEMORIES!

OCTOBER.
What a special month!

October is special because we have a grandson’s birthday and my husband and I celebrate the anniversary of our meeting each October. Just sneaking into October, I was able to say “bye bye” to all wound care. On 6th October I was F R E E. The body, the doctors and  nurses, the VAC system and I had healed me. Hallelujah!

We had a school holiday trip to our son’s place on the outskirts of Sydney to celebrate an early birthday with H and listen to the stories and share much with R, E and M. We loved it.

OUR HOLIDAY!

On 17th October 2020 we celebrated our fiftieth anniversary of meeting. Now, for the first time in over 5 years we planned a short trip to the north western city of Tamworth where we met. We set off on the Monday, venturing into the country roads we remembered so well and with shared driving the trip was most enjoyable.

The next day we went to the top of Oxley Lookout to take in the view of Tamworth and then drove the hour or so to my first school at Barraba. We had morning tea and did a small tour of the spots important to me. They were the house where I lived in 1970 and to the school where I taught.

The town itself was less active and we could understand that. Both of us were worn out too by some of the emotional memories that flooded back.

One was of where I gave birth to our daughter in 1971 and we realised that we had seen and done enough of the memory lane and came back to our most comfy house. Glad to have done this trip.

And back into our retired lives here on the Central Coast of NSW.

PHOTOS, FLOWERS, RIVER & MORE.

OCTOBER into NOVEMBER. 

My improved physical health, fewer restrictions in NSW thanks to good COVID numbers meant I could be out and about more and enjoying what IS retirement now, post my head and neck cancer surgeries and treatments. But first, Beyond Five changed their name to Head and Neck Cancer Australia. Congratulations to them and I remain a very committed volunteer Ambassador into 2021.

 

I was also delighted to have these kind words written about me by Nadia Rosin CEO of Head and Neck Cancer Australia on the occasion of my great outcome at my September visit to my surgeon, Professor Jonathan Clark AM who is the Chair of Head and Neck Cancer Australia.

SNIPPETS & MEMORIES

Time To Renew My Photo Collage for the Blog and On Facebook.

NOVEMBER

  • I remembered my parents’ wedding anniversary: they last celebrated together in 2006 for their Diamond (60th) Wedding Anniversary
  • It got me thinking about “our” up coming Golden (50th) Wedding Anniversary in January 2021.
  • So, then my thinking got me…interested in lots of Etsy, convincing my husband to go along with my plans (he said yes!) and then lots of in-person visits to so-called cheap shops – buying up golden type decorations as there was a bit about for Christmas…
  • And finding places on Etsy which made amazing posters. I am going to save sharing these till the actual anniversary but let me tell you, there are clever people out there and how well they can make items for display for a special occasion
  • My husband and I had fun too ‘getting the info’ we wanted to share: how many places we had lived in, how many cars…and the like.
  • I also started getting more memories out that could prove useful for my version of the day when we celebrate.
  • We settled on a family lunch here because the actual date IS  Saturday 23rd January and we will welcome our two adult kids, their kids and one partner of a grandchild. We will be a lunch party of 13. Our daughter is making the cake (to her dad’s likes) and we will put on a pretty easy cold lunch.
  • Dad lent me the Golden Wedding Anniversary Scrapbook I made for him and Mum for 1996 to read over too. And the 60th one as well.
  • After seeing Dad one time this month, I visited Uberkate Jewels and left my precious Ubercircles chain to have a very small circle added. I have it now and it is very special.
  • Our 2 eldest granddaughters visited for a photo shoot of us for our 50th. What fun we had.
  • I recalled the lovely day a year ago when I met my blogging friends to celebrate my 70th.
  • On my birthday this year, my husband drove us both to see my Dad as he had not done so for a while, and we had a lovely morning tea for me. I brought it but that is fine!

The two of us.

Sometimes something surprising happens when you look outside. This was that! From our glass kitchen splashback one morning.

 

DECEMBER

Could we believe that we might be able to celebrate Christmas “with” COVID still hanging around? Yes, we could.#perhaps not. See below.

Along with:

  • remembering social distancing: 1.5 metres between people
  • limits of numbers at gatherings (mind you, this keeps shifting like the proverbial goal posts!)
  • use of masks where social distancing cannot be practised…except basically no-one but a handful at my local shops are doing this..and that includes me.

However….that said, Australia is grateful to be an island surrounded by sea as is our next-door neighbour New Zealand as it’s because of that, and the closing of our respective countries’ borders early that we have done reasonably well. But even that sounds crass and not empathetic and many people lost their lives in COVID times, with the state of Victoria having the most. I truly send my condolences to all here and around the world where you have been personally affected.

At the time of writing, the first vaccines are being administered in the hardest hit country (to date, my thinking) U.S.A.

It is also the place where the current President whose names rhymes with rump will not accept he lost the November 2020 election to Joe Biden. Mr Biden will be sworn in on 20 January 2021.

FAMILY. 

When I was at Dad’s place on 30 November, I did a walk around the walls where he has many of the family photos and some of them are large collages made by me for him to have memories on his walls. It was interesting for me to re-visit them to regain a renewed sense of gratitude for my life, the lives of those who went before me and to my parents. In fact my very first post for Telling My Story is this one: About Mum (Noreen) and Dad (Andrew).

L:Mum’s parents. Dad & Mum. 1946. R: Dad’s parents.

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES & MORE.

As I write it is mid December with just under 10 days till Christmas Day. This year we are driving to Sydney to enjoy Christmas lunch with our daughter and son and some of our grandchildren. Back in our days living closer we often entertained on Christmas Day and I was pleased to do so. Before I took over the reins for our side of the family Mum and Dad hosted. This is how it works for us. Not doing too much (although I used to..of course) and it really IS about getting together.

UPDATE: Covid…..

If anything was going to change our year, it was “this” quiet and unseen danger.

 

The trouble with COVID19 is that it is:

#invisible

#most places

#highly contagious

#can be asymptomatic

In the time I want to  publish this on Wednesday 23 December, 2020, it could be that life with COVID in Australia, particularly NSW where I live, could have changed what our plans might be…again.

I also got to see some of the family who live in Sydney when I visited my prosthodontist for a sore mouth check on 22 December. My mouth’s skin is sometimes irritated by a tooth of the prosthesis but I can see why more and know, as he said my management inside my mouth is great. Phew.

What I will do, however is UPDATE this post over the days till the end of 2020 if needed.

I do wish you all the very best time ahead. It IS meant to be fun, festive and family and friends time and I hope that works out for you too.

And be kind…..to yourselves first.

Denyse.

To my twitter friends: this was lovely to make. The first circle apparently people I tweet with most and so on to the outer circle. I love my twitter friends.

 

 

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My First Job. 22/51. #LifeThisWeek. 61/2019.

My First Job. 22/51. #LifeThisWeek. 61/2019.

By the time I was 14 I was already booked for babysitting gigs with our neighbours. I sometimes stayed overnight so I could tend to the darlings while the parents slept in. I think my love of kids and helping them started then. I was paid and I continued to do this, social life and school life not withstanding, until I left home to teach in country N.S.W.

Dad, who had/has the protestant work ethic insisted I come and work in his office (he was chief accountant in a relatively large company) as a ‘mail girl’. Sounds sexist now but back then it was a role for a younger woman. I became a kind of extra for some of my school holidays once I reached 15. I liked a couple of things about that role. It was a paid one AND even though I had a lot of errands to do walking or by bus, I got to know the layout of Sydney’s streets which serve me well to this day! Except that the GPO is now a hotel, and the Bank of New South Wales is now Westpac etc.

But those were not the real first jobs.

Just before I finished my first job, came graduation as a teacher in 1969!

My First Job.

I was a jewellery shop assistant for each of my school holidays in Year 12, and then in my teachers’ college breaks for 1968 and 1969.

It was a family-owned business, and again, Dad had the connections because this family and his were from Wollongong. My place of work was on the Corso in Manly just four shops back from the beach. In those days, the Corso was not a pedestrian mall at any point and the pace of Manly was much more cruisy and not “quite” so touristy.

Brickwoods Jewellers was, I think, where the icecream shop is now, past the vodaphone sign

I learned how to wrap parcels well here. I also learned how to clean the shop windows effectively with newspaper and metho. I also learned that cleaning was a large part of my day. Still, the family was lovely, and when it was time for me to go teaching in the country I was farewelled and treated well.

Then I met my now husband and we became engaged in late 1970.

Where did we go for ring selection? Back to Brickwoods in Manly.

I had always been a silver girl (never gold) and knew my rings would be white gold. I wanted a particular style in the engagement ring. It had a diamond in it but for me, I wanted a sapphire. Fiance said whatever I wanted but gave me a dollar limit. It was, ahem, $90 I think or maybe $100. My jeweller arranged for it to be handmade in the city and the night it was ready to be picked up, we enjoyed a drink at the old Menzies hotel on 23 December and my fiance left me….

To go to Jerilderie for a family Christmas and to discuss the wedding…which was coming up in the following January. To read more about all that, go here.

My job taught me a lot about jewellery over the years that has stayed with me. I may not have much jewellery but my photo here shows two of the rings bought from my former workplace. They have been adjusted size-wise up and then down. They are very special. The eternity ring was made some 20 years later by a jeweller near our then Sydney home.

I have such fond memories of those times. Some lunchtimes, then boyfriend (not the fiance) would arrive at lunchtime when he was on Uni holidays and we would go for a drive to North Head for lunch. Ah youth..what a time.

What was your first job?
Did you like it?

Denyse.

Kell also has a Monday linkup here. Join in!

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!

23/51 My Best Birthday Cake. 10/6/19

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I Remember. 46/52. #LifeThisWeek 2018.117.

I Remember. 46/52. #LifeThisWeek 2018.117.

This post, originally written last week for Share Your Snaps was not sitting right for that prompt and then I saw this one.

I Remember.

 

I have noticed in the years past that I get tense, twitchy and tetchy in November. I used to think it was because I was tired and the end of the school year is nigh. I no longer have that reason. I now think and feel it is related to my birthday on the last day of November.

My birthday approaching brings a mixed bag of feelings:

  • sad (older)
  • contentment (glad to be here post cancer)
  • regret (not appreciating some of the people in my life more)
  • resentment (because some of those people, hello my parents, raised me in a way that I felt special BUT I perceived that was the case only if I was/am thin, achieving, managing financially)
  • anticipation of both negative and positive aspects of the day which celebrates me.

I know this might sound grouchy and somewhat mean-spirited but instead of pretending and pushing my November feelings and thoughts away, I have admitted them…and along with these pictures, may help heal me  for future Novembers.

November is:

  • my parents’ wedding anniversary
  • armistice day – this year 100 years since 11.11.1918
  • anniversary of my aunt’s early death
  • getting ready for Christmas
  • remembering my teaching/principal roles at this time of the year
  • my birthday

 

Do you have memories of any times which leave you somewhat like my birthday month does?
I am deliberately choosing to post about gratitude this November and so far these are the images.

Share your photos and your stories anytime here!

Denyse.

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!

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

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 47/52. Best Cake I Have Eaten. 19/11/18.


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Letter to 20 year old Me. #LifeThisWeek. 40/52. 2017.115.

Letter to 20 year old Me. #LifeThisWeek. 40/52. 2017.115.

Prefacing my letter with this photograph. My eldest granddaughter is the age I am writing about. In fact she will be 21 before year’s end as I was too around this time of year. Thanks J for the inspiration and the LOVE you share with me and many. In fact, by co-incidence, J has posted her Sunday night vid on You Tube about her at 20! Neither of us knew what the other was up to. Love this.

 

Dear Denyse,

I remember you being 20 so well. It was the last year of teachers’ college. You were acing the pracs at the schools you were sent to and in fact those schools were great but you had something else on your mind. You were ready to flee Sydney weren’t you as your boyfriend of almost 3 years was going to a regional area for his first job after graduating Uni?  No longer a Northern Beaches girl like your friends from school, you were about to go BUSH…in fact to Barraba NSW that January 1970 but wait. There is a little more to remember before you became loaded with class teaching responsibilities and being ‘dropped’ by the long-term boyfriend….and not being sure of what was ahead after that.

Graduation as a teacher aged 20. End of 1969.

Social life aged 20. Uni balls were the best!

Teacher’s College mates and yes, pigtails on me.

So, in 1970 you had some highs and lows. However, you also had one of the best times socially as in the country back then teachers tended to group together and have dinners and parties and it was good. On October 17 1970 something VERY important to you then and now happened. You met the man who would become your life’s partner. He was a young 21 year old in his 3rd year of teaching in a small school beyond the mountains where you were teaching. But once the love grew and GREW, you no longer wanted to be apart. In fact, after becoming engaged just before your 21st birthday something else grew. A wee baby was on her way – we did not know that yet – and even though that was a surprise, we both knew…we are together for life!!

Wedding Day 1971. Dad, Mum, Bro, Gran, B & Me, Poppy, Papa

It was not an ideal beginning to our marriage but you know what, Miss 20, you chose well as did your B. Despite some criticism from your parents, in particular your mother, you shone. Marriage is a hard road and you learned that early. B was and is always a great life partner and you know what? In all the ups and downs, health scares, financial matters, relationship changes with our kids, welcoming grandkids into our lives, having to retire early, and more, we have shown that OUR decision to be together for the rest of our lives was the BEST. Coming up to 47 years since we met this very week!!

So, a little bit of what was ahead for you in some snapshots. Gosh look at you. You have always been self-conscious of your weight. Do you remember in teachers’ college PE class you rated yourself fat? I know, a bit of something wrong there. I think though, that you also thought you were NOT a fashion plate like your Mum and that you actually enjoyed learning and education whereas your mum was the true home-maker mum who never worked once she had kids. Your dad supported you there but both parents often made you feel a little less than OK by veiled and actual comments about your weight. Yep. Always there and even now, as you have been diagnosed with cancer and lost a lot of weight I can tell that you ‘worry’ about putting it back on. Many women, in case you did not know, have similar battles in their hearts and minds, so take comfort and be kind. As your B would say “treat yourself like a friend”. I didn’t know how to do that properly until I was 67 so sorry, Miss 20 and beyond, you have had a rather torrid time with self-talk.

Let’s go with the show!

I would love to add some photos of our children, Miss 20,  but for privacy reasons I cannot.  We had two children in the end. Ironically after falling pregnant with our daughter it took another 7.5 years for our son to come along. I had a lot of medical and then surgical intervention for that to occur. I would add too, that as a young mother about to turn 30 you had another significant challenge in life occur when the severe and chronic illness of your B meant he was medically retired from teaching. The next 4 years, until he steered himself towards better health and recovery, were exhausting and busy to say the least. In fact, your parents stepped in to help out in  ways which supported  you so you are grateful for those times even though it is still hard to let the ‘judgy’ times heal and let go. But this time saw you embark upon more self-education and career path moves and you completed two degrees, B.Ed and M.Ed, along with raising two kids (by now B was at home helping majorly both in a physical sense as he managed the house and started a tutoring business) and going for a 3 work promotions where you eventually became a school principal.

Then came retirement for you. I know. In this day and age retirement is nothing like you saw for your dad. In fact, you retired a few times. Once in 2003 after having a health breakdown at work and not being allowed by your doctor to return, second when you had gone to a teaching role in 2004 and then by age 60 in 2010 had decided enough was enough…and thirdly in 2015 when you surrendered your part-time roles at University teaching pre-service students, closed your business as an education consultant and ceased working for NSW  BOSTES.

I know that at 20 I would have had no idea of what a blog might be or of course social media. But what I did know, into my late 50s is that I am an early adopter. I like technologies that work for me and do not need too much technical prowess from me. I also know that at 20 I loved photography but not nearly as much as I do now.

So, this next and current life stage Miss 20, is getting a little bit easier but also a little bit scarier as I approach 70. OK, not for 2 more years but hey, it happens. Life. And of course, death. You’ve experienced the deaths of 4 of the people who loved you from the photo at your wedding. Dad remains well and in fact praises you now. Yes. He has written you some healing letters and often shows his appreciation for you as his daughter and is proud of you. He tells you that! So, remember it. And in terms of new life…Miss 20 GD above might have been first, but since then you have become Grandma (Miss 20, I love that name!) to 8 children. 6 girls and 2 boys.

Of course, no-one ever wants to get sick, Miss 20 do they? You have always been fearful of that. The past few years saw your anxiety levels skyrocket as you made 3 major life transitions and your well-known IBS decided to return. It all helped you lose weight but that was not the point. Then, knowing your teeth were always trouble some you had gum problems. These were found to be cancer and you had major surgery. I am delighted to say it is highly likely the cancer has gone. But you will continue to need check ups just as you need more surgeries soon.

It is hard to decide where to end this letter so for now, it will be open-ended. I am hopeful that my recollections can soothe my 67 year old self as I recount some of the stand-outs told to my 20 year old self…and that you remember you are LOVED by many so it’s time to add you to that list too.

All my love,

Denyse xx

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

Thank you for joining this week’s link up here:

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!


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My Mondays. #LifeThisWeek 19/52. 2017.65.

My Mondays. #LifeThisWeek 19/52. 2017.65.

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Mondays do have a flavour all of their own don’t they? I’m going to tell about some of My Mondays. As a Principal. 1999-2003. As a Grandma. 2008-2014. As a Retiree. 2015 – All three Mondays have memories for me, and of course, the present status as a retiree means that this one is the freshest!

As a Principal. 1999-2003.

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Mostly Mondays would actually start on Sunday afternoons and evenings as my planning for the week ahead continued and I heard from staff members who may need to be absent the next day. I would spend Sunday night getting ready for my Monday mornings and from memory, not one was ever the same!

  • Leave home after breakfast and reading at least the front page of the paper and drive the 30 minutes west to school. No mobile phone so no idea of what might lie ahead when I arrived.
  • Often 2nd to arrive in the carpark as one staff member was always there before me!
  • School was unlocked as the cleaners were still there. Phew, no evidence of any vandalism over the weekend meant a less stressful start to the day.
  • Into my office, unpack my bag and computer and check that the morning’s organisation (and the week ahead) was on the whiteboard and planner for staff as they arrived.
  • Say g’day to most people as they arrived via the staffroom and grab myself a cuppa on the off-chance I might drink it hot. Put lunch in fridge and hope to actually have it at lunchtime.
  • Out to the playground as the children and parents start arriving to say hello, and to see that all is as ‘ship shape’ as it can be in an ageing play area and in classrooms.
  • Once the line-up bell goes, I’d step up the microphone and lead the school in the weekly anthem, flag raising and announce any messages, wishing everyone a ‘good morning’ as the classes and teachers left for their rooms.
  • Walking back to the admin block and office, chat with my staff and see what phone calls I will need to return and what mail (snail) there is to manage. Emails were only starting as I finished up as a principal.

As a Grandma. 2008-2014.

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Even when I had returned to work part-time (after my principal role had finished) we offered to care for our grandchildren while their parents worked and studied. For more than 6 years this was a part-time role and much loved. We cared for up to 3 grandchildren at one time. When some came to us they were as young as 4 months. It was a learning curve again but much loved. My most recent memories of Mondays are documented here!

  • In the years gone by the children’s parents would bring the kids to us but in 2013-14 the crazy roads of NorthWestern Sydney meant that the parents would battle traffic twice getting to us, then getting to their workplaces, so I made the offer to drive to their house on Mondays to do ‘pick-up.’
  • Leave home after breakfast and reading at least one part of the paper to arrive and pick up two little people I love and help them into car seats and hopefully have a non-tearful departure. Most times it was.
  • Drive slowly home to our place via places with no traffic…we’d sometimes drive out to Riverstone and the back of Rouse Hill (this is pre-BIG developments) and see the horses and the animals in the paddocks.
  • At our place and warmly greeted by their Papa and into the house.
  • I would have placed the various toys and activities out for the day and the children would head for where they were.
  • A morning of play, chat, snacks and engagement with our grandkids mean outside, inside and sometimes to the park.
  • Morning tea of course and time for a cuppa for us.

As a Retiree. 2015 –

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It still is quite a shock that my Mondays are ’empty’ of roles and activities based on other people’s needs as well as mine and it actually makes Mondays not as distinct as the beginning of the (formerly) working week. However, there are some routines and that is always helpful I find in retirement.

  • With no reason to be up nearly as early as in my previous life, I might be up around 8.00-8.30.
  • Morning paper brought in by my husband who will have been up for a while and had his breakfast.
  • Every 2nd Monday he goes to his brother’s to do some outside renovation work so I am alone for the day.
  • After my breakfast with the paper…which I can read all the way through as I have time, I turn to social media.
  • The blog needs attention and as it is Monday and my hosted Link Up there is some work to be done.
  • Later in the morning I will meditate as is my daily practice.
  • Morning tea might be quite late – but is often a cuppa with something homemade and I may read some of the magazine supplements from the weekend.
  • Art will be something else to do and perhaps a walk outside in the garden.

So, what do your Mondays look like? Ever had Monday-itis?

I am joining Alicia here this Monday for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

Denyse.   Thanks for linking up today for Life This Week. 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 “Favourite Junk Food”.


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