JCPSLP Vol 18 No. 1Mar 2016

This Easter we caught up with my cousin and her husband in a small country town. We shared many stories, had meals together over a few glasses of wine and enjoyed the serenity. I love reading crime books, but I can get confused if there are too many characters. I have started making notes on the characters and how they relate to one another. I take time out to lie on the hammock with a book and my dog. Sometimes there is little reading. Usually there’s lots of snoozing. At other times I don’t want to do anything and that is okay with me. 7. Find a purpose or a new project Joining a writing group has given me deeper understanding of the structures which improve writing. I’m learning through the comments and questions asked throughout the lesson. Every year there is a competition which I participated in last year. I was accredited with a commended certificate. I’m writing children’s stories. My daughter-in-law is illustrating them. Two picture books are at the draft stage: Animal School Antic, which is about bullying and Hoover and the Princess, a story showing the behaviour of our dogs. I love to cook something special for friends and family, but not for a crowd! It’s great to catch up over a meal. Also the grandchildren love to cook when they stay with us. They bake pizzas, biscuits or make play dough. Ken and I work with the children in the workshop. We both watch over them as there are sharp machines and tools. They choose from a short list what they want to make, which is: wooden race cars, jungle jeeps, cheeseboards, etc. Interestingly, lots of family and friends received a jarrah cheeseboard as a Christmas present. Over time we will build up the list. 8. Stay connected with friends and family Usually on Monday and Friday morning I walk with a friend and our dogs. After the walk we have a coffee and the dogs get a treat so they don’t feel left out. Over the school holidays or on the weekend I try to catch up with my teacher friends. We have great conversations about the students and the staff we have worked with. My sisters and I meet at someone’s house or at a cafe. Three of my sisters live close by, which provides an opportunity to stay in touch. Ken and I love to go out to dinner with our friends. Regularly we have family holidays. Our children, grandchildren, Ken, and I have camped or shared a holiday hut, always somewhere near the beach. This year we went to Jurien Bay. Our twin grandchildren asked me if I wanted to go skydiving. I had told them many years ago that skydiving was on my bucket list. Their mum, my daughter, the twins, and I had a tandem jump. It was fantastic! The dads and grandad had the job of supervising the little ones while the big girls experienced the freefall. Recently I was pleased to be invited to my sisters-in-law’s home to join their regular catch-up where a beautician- hairdresser comes to her home to create miracles on us. 9. Identify your enablers Ken is my highest and biggest strategy. Generally, Ken has a part in most of the other strategies. He looks after me. He is cabinetmaker. I’ve become his assistant. Learning to work with wood has been great. Ken will show me how to use the tools and machines. Some tasks are repetitive, like getting the nails out of the recycled jarrah, but I’m happy to

would do the same. Face-to-face conversations, without too much background noise, are preferred. Phone calls are more successful when I have a script before calling a business or a friend. I carry two information cards in my handbag. They explain my speech problem. One was created in the Gutsy Girls Program. The card explains: to listen, give me time to correct my speech and ask me questions about the topic. The second card was provided by my neurologist. It has my name, the diagnosis, and how that affects my speech. It also includes the neurologist’s name and phone number to call if there is a need for more information. 5. Know your limits and ways to reduce stress levels Learning to set limits keeps me healthy. We’ve many events with our family; birthdays, babysitting, and watching sport or concerts. I record these events on the calendar; however, I don’t take it with me. When I’m called to babysit, it’s always, “Yes!” Unfortunately, I’ve double booked. Now I have my diary with me and I check before committing to anything. Being organised helps to reduce my stress levels. Completing my Masters was a priority. I enjoyed the readings and open conversations at university. The researching was thought-provoking. Presenting my theory to the lecturer and the class of students become embarrassing due to my speech. Finding time to finish assignments was a struggle. Although resigning was the right choice for me, it was upsetting. Similarly, it was hard to give up teaching after thirty years, but sometimes I love a sleep-in, especially on a school day. I am still interested in teaching. When I catch-up with my teacher friends, I join in the teacher talk. Christmas is my favourite celebration. For many years Ken’s family gather on Christmas night. One of his sisters or I will host the dinner. Recently, the sisters have handed over hosting to their children. It is time for us to follow suit. I realise organising is hard work and stressful. Also I have set limits for driving. Recently, I decided not to drive to Perth on my own. The communication group was held in Perth. The first week, I drove while Ken sat nervously in the passenger’s seat, but he couldn’t let me go on my own. I was pleased with my driving even though going through the city was a challenge. Now, when both of us are going to Perth, we share the driving. On some occasions when Ken isn’t available, I’ll catch the train, and ask a friend to pick me up from the station. 6. Give yourself permission to do the things you enjoy Ken and I have a dingy. We have fabulous times out in the estuary and the rivers. When the weather is right, we go crabbing or fishing. Our family love to join us on those occasions. We go walking with our dog. Over the last few months, we have been looking after a friend’s dog. If we’re out of bed there will be grunting that rises to barking. The dogs know the routine, feeding and walking. It’s wonderful to have an important reason to walk every day. The dogs are teaching me to be content with a simple life. Gardening is wonderful when the pests stay away. Ken and his son have set up a vegetable garden in our backyard. I am the gardener, although I’m reminded to water the vegies or what to plant. I love to share the produce. Ken and I take time to just relax. Last year in October we went to Bali to unwind and be pampered with massages.


JCPSLP Volume 18, Number 1 2016

Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology

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