WEEK 33 CHALLENGE RELIGION

WEEK 33 CHALLENGE RELIGION

 

This week’s challenge may prove a curly one for some people.   Here are some prompts that may help you get started.  This is a very personal question.  You may not wish to participate and that is fine.  This is your life story and it is up to you how much you disclose.

  • Do you have a religious belief system
  • Memories of going to church, Sunday school, church groups or outings
  • Does religion feature in the significant events in your life
  • Did you go to a church school
  • Were you taught by the Nuns or the Brothers
  • Are the celebrations of Easter and Christmas or Hanukah Passover or  Festival of Lights  or Buddha’s birthday more important because of your beliefs
  • Did you have an opportunity to make your own decisions about religion

I will post my responses later in the week, because like you I am a little hesitant in approaching this subject and need to plan this out a little before posting.

Week 32 Challenge – Secret places

Week 32 Challenge – Secret places
As a child did you have a secret place you could go to? Was it real or imagined? Did you feel safe there? Did you share it with anyone else? As an adult do you still have a secret place?
secret-place  Image camera-user deviantart.com
This weeks challenge was sparked by a post on Alzheimers Australia discussing the storyteller in all of us and how to draw that information out and use it as a form of communication. This then led me to a blog,  by Laura Grace Wheldon who used this image to speak about secret places.
For me, this image was so evocative and drew me straight back to my childhood.  The area I grew up in was an emerging suburb. It had undeveloped areas.  I remember the road being surfaced and the sewerage coming through and other houses being built on our street. I remember other areas being opened up and the railway station being built.  But I digress.
There were areas of undeveloped land that were thick with boxthorn trees.  These trees were always a fascination for the children, actually, they were more like shrubs.  They were stunted, boxy and had thorns, they were very prickly. We, the children in the area, grew up in a prickly environment as the scotch thistle was also a constant companion. The boxthorn  fascinated us as the tree grew a bright red berry as its fruit

African boxthorn is a member of the Solanaceae family, which includes other plants suchboxthron1 as silverleaf nightshade, tobacco, and tomatoes. African boxthorn is an aggressive invader and it forms an impenetrable, spiny thicket. It is toxic causing discomfort and irritation but is not life-threatening. The berries, leaves, stems and roots are all poisonous and can cause nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulties and unconsiousness. African boxthorn was introduced into Australia from South Africa in the mid-1800s and was commonly used as a hedge plant.

Dangerous as this plant was with its berries and thorns, as kids we built cubby houses deep in the heart of the shrub and spent many happy hours there shielded from prying eyes. With a blink of an eye, they were a fort to protect the cowboys from the Indians or a castle where we had to rescue a  damsel in distress or the bridge of a ship and we would fight off the pirates. It was even a place to curl up and read a book.  I don’t ever remember being scratched, but I guess I must have been.  I know I certainly was often in trouble for the stains the juice would make on my clothes.  The boxthorn was so prevalent and such a feature of the area that many decades later the local high school was called Boxthorn College.  These boxthorn cubbies were certainly our secret places and we felt safe there. I have no memory of ever being roused out by an adult.

 

Week 31 Challenge -Interviews

Week 31 Challenge -Interviews

Challenge Week 31 … If you were approached by a journalist who wanted to write a story about you; how would you respond and what would you want to interviewed about? We might set a word limit to this one so you don’t get too stressed. Try to write 250 words you can always write more if you want.

I have been interviewed a number of times and once even made the front page (blushing). Usually, it has been to do with a cause that I have been championing, my partners response is to roll his eyes and say “here we go again.” Do I want to be interviewed about something I am really passionate about? Hmm, shall we take a sneak peak at the list?

1/ The Tibet situation – human rights and genocide
2/ The right of a woman to control her body and no means no!
3/ Dementia awareness and advocate
4/ Any form of cruelty to animals – vivisection
5/ Fracking – ecological issues
6/ Sustainable living
7/ Legalising marijuana for medical purposes
8/ Euthanasia and the right to choose
9/ Freedom of speech, the right of access to education, medical treatment and social support
10/Boots for Bali
11/Hope 4 Himalayan Kids
12/Gender parity opportunity and equal pay
13/My family
14/Vegitariaism
15/Genealogy and preserving our history
16/My writing
17/Organic food no GMO’s hormones or pesticides

Now this list is in no particular order and I could go on adding to it, and no I am not a leftist, tree-hugging, greenie, vegan, social worker. I am a person who has strong views, not afraid to speak out and cares for the planet and the beings who inhabit it. I cry at sad movies and when reading a beautifully crafted story. I love Harry Potter and believe that magic does happen, but not always in the way you expect it. So my choice?

The loneliness of dementia. In six days time, it is the anniversary of my father’s death. The following day is my parents wedding anniversary. This year the would have celebrated 70 years of married life. Dad died at the age of 90, not from old age and peacefully, but from complications caused by Lewy Body Dementia or Diffuse Lewy Bodies and in pain. This is the same disease that caused Robin Williams to take his own life. The reason I would choose to be interviewed on this subject is because there is an appalling lack of knowledge and understanding about dementia in both the medical profession and the public at large. You mention dementia and people automatically think Alzheimers. There is so much more to dementia than Alzheimers. There are over 280 varying forms of dementia. Babies may be affected, young children and teenagers can be affected. In these cases, there is usually a genetic cause and it is a part of another illness. Dementia itself is not a disease. It is an umbrella term for a series of identifiable behaviors or symptoms that define a particular disease. Young Onset Dementia is a term applied to someone in their 30s,40s, 50s or early 60s with an illness defined by a set of dementia symptoms.my-dad

When my father became ill the disease was not identified by his medical practitioner who had treated him for over 25 years. We were told it was part of the normal aging process and was to be expected and to stop fussing. This GP would not even provide a referral to a specialist Gerontologist. Not accepting the doctor’s diagnosis of old age. I started to research and realised there was something very wrong with my Dad. We eventually were given a referral and saw the specialist and were presented with a diagnosis of Lewy Body dementia. I had never heard of it and as the years passed I was made painfully aware that neither had most of the medical fraternity or the general public. The disease has a number of unique markers or core symptoms which include fluctuating cognition, REM sleep disorder, rigidity, spasms, hallucinations affecting all the senses, extreme sensitivity to many drugs commonly used with the elderly or psychotic patients.These drugs can cause worsening of the condition and or death. The autonomic nervous system is compromised and in the later stages swallowing and talking cease. The patient is locked in a terrifying world and unable to communicate effectively. Friends and sometimes family fall by the wayside. It is too confronting, and they don’t want to remember the person like that! Nursing staff, caregivers, and medical professionals on all levels require greater education about the treatment and handling of patients with Lewy Body dementias. Dementia is terminal this was identified by WHO in 2006. There is no vaccine, no prevention, no cure, there are no dementia survivors. The symptoms cause the body to shut down and the organs to fail as the brain atrophies as it’s communication pathways shut down. I never miss a chance to talk about dementia and its effect on the individual and their loved ones.

The collage of my father was prepared by his granddaughter as a tribute – Thank you, Amanda, for capturing so well the man we both loved so dearly.

WEEK 30 – THE SLIPPERY SLOPE

WEEK  30 –  The year 2016 has drawn to a close,  where has it gone? Tomorrow we celebrate New Years Eve and welcome in 2017.   In the world of numerology  2017 is an auspicious year as it is represented by the figure 1.

One is a special number, it is the harbinger of great achievements and positive steps forward.  I could do with some of that, what about you?

One is a number of significant strength. It can turn dreams into reality. A powerful force that produces results one that does not accept there are limitations and will not allow anything or anyone to limit its potential. One is aggressive providing the drive and energy or creating and producing.  Wow, bring it on.

What’s this got to do with writing your story?   Well, everything because it is human nature to procrastinate and writers do this better than anyone else.

Our challenge then for this week is to look at some of the blockers and hurdles in our lives that have held us back or squashed our dreams.  Then to flip the coin and look at the positive drivers in our lives that push and support us to live life to the full.

I will start with the positive side of the coin.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who care for me and support me. For an only child, this is a bit hard to take at times as I am a bit selfish in many ways and tend to make decisions without considering the needs of others.  I have always worked on the premise of not asking permission but, doing what I want and seeking forgiveness if it goes pear-shaped afterward.  It works for me most of the time.  My poor husband is the one who cops it the most.

It usually goes like this;

drak-yerpa-meditation-caves-been-there

“Hi Hun I am going to the Himalaya’s for 3 months in March ..that OK?”    or …

“Hi Hun we are moving to Queensland I put in for my transfer today.  Guess we’d better see about packing and a moving company.”    it gets better …

“Hi Hun I have decided to go to Uni to complete my degree” and four years later…

“Hi Hun I enrolled today in my post graduate studies to do my Master of Professional Practice Creative Writing”

I am guessing by this time you are either laughing madly or wanting to reach out and strangle me.

I am lucky I have the best partner in the world who says …

“You are doing what…OK if that’s what you want”

Sometimes he says a lot more but I won’t write any of that here. I am saving that for my book.

On the other side of the coin, the hurdles.  When I was young and at school, the only two careers that appealed to me were nursing and becoming an archeologist.  I failed my Leaving exam, year 11 as it was in those days. Being stubborn and proud at 16 going on 17 I was not going back to repeat a year of school. I got on the phone and rang around to find out what I had to do to become a nurse. Uni was now out of the question. I applied for and was accepted into nursing training at a hospital not far from home. I couldn’t start until I was 17 and three months in the coming April.  It was  December and I was firmly told  I had to get a job. I did and began working for Haley School Wear at 160  Swanston Street, Melbourne.  The company had been in existence since 1922 and is still in the same building today. I was employed as the junior. Every time I see “Are you being Served ” I remember Haley School Wear. It was not a big firm, but very staid from my point of view as a 16-year-old in the 1960s.  They were kind to me and I was probably the worst junior they ever had. My role was to do the sweeping and dusting, make the morning and afternoon teas, get the lunches. Package and invoice the order parcels and take them to the post Office in Degraves Street for posting.  To do this I had to go up and down in the rickety, rumbling,  creaking old service lift and through the alleyways which in those days were rife with rats and their progeny are probably still there today.  I survived and presented myself at Preston and Northcote Hospital  (PANCH) in  April 1967 for induction into School Sixteen, General  Nurses Training.

panch2                                                preston-and-northcote-community-hospital-1958-1998-2panch3

This is where the hurdles come in. I was strong willed, 17, educated by the Sisters of Charity, lived at home, an only child.  In the days of dinosaurs,  we (student nurses) lived in the Nurses Home. My room was  Room 13 on the third floor facing Bell Street.  It had a bench for studying a chest of drawers and a single bed, a chair, and a wardrobe.  This was to be my room for the next 3 years. We were not allowed to live out, be engaged or lock the door to our rooms. Our phone calls and mail were monitored and the hospital took its position as “in loco parentis” very seriously. Weeknights we had to be in by 10 and weekends by 12 and that meant a late pass and coming in through Casualty and signing the leave book.  I loved my time at PANCH  and I was a good nurse,  but towards the end of my first year,  I ran foul of rules and regulations.   I broke the rules and was asked to leave. It broke my heart and I took a long time to recover. There was no appeal, no union, you broke the rule you were punished and that I surely was.  It was not the end of my nursing career but that is a story for another day.

Now it is your turn to remember the highs and lows.

WEEK 29 CHALLENGE – YEARS END

Week 29 -Years End.

Because we are approaching the end of the year and Christmas is only three days away, I am going to pose a question.

How do you deal with the end of the year?  Are you getting ready for annual holidays, hiding from Christmas, embracing the festive season or already preparing for the year ahead?

This is a slightly weird challenge.  We are over half way with the Challenge and I have a number of exercise books laden with notes, pictures, and scribbles. What a bounty of material I am going to have at 52 weeks.  The good thing about this challenge is you can move in and out at will. No pressure, just have fun.

Thinking back as the year draws to a close every year I start cleaning out the house. I have vague memories of my maternal grandmother saying that the house had to be clean and tidy for Christmas and the New Year.  Was that because of the influx of visitors or was it because she didn’t want the wee folk upset by poor housekeeping?

This year has been no different  I have cleaned;

  1. The kitchen cupboards including the plastics/Tupperware cupboard. Where do all those missing lids hide out?
  2. The fridge and the freezer….I must have been mad to grate and freeze 2 kgs of zucchinis in March – I don’t really like zucchini
  3. The Wardrobe – now our house is small. I lovingly refer to it as the shoe box.  The wardrobe I share with Bernie in the master bedroom is not big.  We have cleaned out the drawers in the tall boy,, the blanket box at the end of the bed and the wardrobe. Life Line has benefitted from our overspending on too small or too large clothes. I did try selling some at the market for a gold coin donation – no takers, either the clothes were not their taste or buyers suspected a trap. One lady told me I had to have an ulterior motive because no one gives away good clothes.  Oh my, when did we all become so cynical?
  4. Next on the hit list was the linen press … did I really need that many towels sheets and face washers?  Once again the floor was covered with sheets and towels etc ready to be bagged and taken to Life Line.

linen-presslinenpress2

The study is next and this will be hard as there are 25+ years of collecting books and fabric and patterns to be sorted out.   These will be sold online I need to recoup some of the money I have spent over the years.

The really interesting thing is the cupboards in the kitchen, the wardrobe, chest of drawers, linen press and blanket box all of these areas are closed or behind doors, you can’t see the inside and yet knowing they have been cleaned and pared down imparts a sense of tidiness to the rooms. Hmm, funny that.

This morning I was contacted by someone who liked my blog, thank you, thank you,  🙂  and wanted to know what I had planned for the next 6 months.  I had to admit that although I have an outline it is very flexible and I tend to go where the mood takes me. Lo and behold as you can see the old Serendip has hit me again this morning. Now I am looking at my DVD collection do I really need 300+ DVDs?   Decisions!

dvd-movie-collection-studio-shot-21941822

 

WEEK 28 CHALLENGE SANTA VISITS

WEEK 28 CHALLENGE SANTA VISITS

WEEK 28 CHALLENGE

Last challenge we looked at Christmas and we will stay with that theme. Did you go to see Santa as a child? Have you continued that memory with your children or grandchildren?
When I was a child Christmas seemed to take forever to arrive. I would be taken to Myer Melbourne to see Santa. It was a special occasion. New shoes, gloves, school blazer brushed and then posing for that photo. I don’t ever remember sitting on Santa’s knee always standing. I am not sure if there was a charge to see Santa  back then I was too young to remember. There was, of course, a fee for the photograph.  One was purchased for each set of grandparents.  Money was tight for Mum and dad back then so it was an expensive outing. However, the photos always formed part of the grandparents Christmas presents.  The visit to Santa was followed by lunch at the Myer Cafeteria, usually fish and chips and a chocolate ice cream sundae.  linda-morse-1955-age-5years

The fish was cooked in a special batter and if I close my eyes I can still taste the batter and the flakey fish, and then came the sunday  it was presented in a tall curved glass with a long silver spoon with a small bowl so you could gather up every delicious morsel.  The glass was filled with ice cream, fresh cream, chocolate topping, crushed peanuts and the big glistening red glace cherry on top.  Afterward,  we would go to look  at the wonderful Myer windows. A simpler time in the 1950s. Times changed,  I grew up, married and my children came along and we went to see Santa every year. Sadly there are  no photos as we lost them in a house fire in the early 1980s. My daughter has continued the tradition and has a wonderful record of the boys over the years visiting Santa.

Foy and Gibson Santa photo  Victorian State Library Collection

Santa and Linda  Myer Melbourne December 1955

Week 27 CHALLENGE CHRISTMAS

Week 27 CHALLENGE CHRISTMAS

Week 27 – Christmas is coming only a month until the jolly old guy in the red suit visits. Do you have a special Christmas memory or tradition that you would like to record for your family? For me, two Christmas memories stand out, The Christmas I was given my favourite doll, she was called Joanne she was a walking doll and as tall as me. I loved her dearly. I still have her. She lives wrapped up in an oil cloth on the top of the wardrobe in the family home where my son now resides. She is worse for wear but I can’t part with her. I remember the huge box all wrapped up and tearing the paper off and being confronted with this enormous doll. I fell in love with her, She was a present from my grandparents. My second best Christmas memory is 1970 when my daughter was 6 months old. Her first Christmas. What a joy that was and a story for another time.

joanne