Research participants required

The dilemma for positive ageing lifestyles and wellbeing examined through the introduction of a social media foundation to facilitate and enhance creative decision making. There comes a time in everyone’s life when self evaluation and assessment is needed. There seems … Continue reading Research participants required

Eulogy for Gwendoline Frances Stevens

A life cherished

Mum would sit by the window in the last few months of her life and watch the blossom turn on the tree outside and the birds play. She would be annoyed that she could no longer paint or embroider her teddy bears however she could still read. So she did that.

The last book she read was titled ‘Death of a nurse’ and she had a school girl twinkle in her eye when she showed me. It was being read just before that final fateful hospital trip.

A comedian til the end.

It was during that last hospital trip, and after we learnt she was to go home to palliative care, that she wanted to reassure me that she’d had a wonderful life and that we’d all be OK. But she was ready to go. She disliked COVID a lot and the isolation it created.

On reflection, she was right about her life.

86 wonderful years.

Her eldest sisters are Sheila (watching via Zoom from Swan Hill with her daughter, my cousin, Kathy), Joy (now deceased but who lived in England) and Valerie (the youngest sister who still lives in Queensland).

She was the loving wife of Eric – who she used to call Steve

She is the adored mother and mother-in-law of…
Susan and Dean (who live in Clare)
Maureen and James (who live in Swan Hill, Victoria and are also watching via Zoom)
And twins – Helen (Charlie – me) and Wade.

She is the cherished Nana of…
Sally and Rhiannon – the children of Sue
Ramon and Karrina – the children of Maureen
Amber and Jessika-May – my children

She has 5 great-grandchildren who she loved very much – and with who she cherished her visits, letters and facetime chats with.

Like in any lifetime, for mum there were ups and downs. We all have our moments, some that are perfect, and some that are not.

It’s very true that it had saddened me over her final years when people spoke to her differently (or like a child) because “she was living in aged care” (especially in the hospitals) because in the main, to me she was still as sharp as a tac and the “she who must be obeyed” mother from my youth.

There were the occasional moments of failings sure, generally when her health faltered, but it wouldn’t last. She was very sure of herself and her mind, right til the end.

Reminiscing these past few days has reminded me again of the wonderful life she gave us.

It brought home fully that she was sooooooo much more than her aged care years which have been such a huge part of my own life and focus these past 10 years.

Growing up we had a firm but fair upbringing. Dad was firm. Mum was fair.

She was the one who made our house a home. She baked cookies, held discussion groups around the kitchen table, learnt all the kids names, drank Sherry with the school teachers, made clothes, patchwork quilts and teddies, and sent us to sunday school so she could have a sleep in on a Sunday.

She was human.

But she was heaps of fun to have as a mum and she encouraged us to always do the right thing. Of course we all had our moments when we didn’t do the right thing, and the odd slipper would follow us down the hall (its ok she was a bad aim).

Doing the right thing included her expectations from her aged care home. We counted no less than 30 feedback forms in her room PLUS she kept a book of dates and times when they didn’t live up to those expectations.

She didnt have expensive standards though – just simple comforts.

I recall one of the stories from her youth, was when her Uncle Wink (her mums bother) let them (Gwen and Eric in early married life) use an old bakehouse to make into a flat. They painted the walls and installed a fireplace and chimney, and managed to get it ready for when Susan was born.

Then, when Maureen was born they moved to Horsham for Eric to complete the serving of his five years in the Army Reserve. They then came to Australia when Sue was four years and Maureen one. Once in Australia, they worked and saved enough money to buy a block of land on Kingborn Avenue, Seaton. Mum used to talk about the orange crates they sat on.

Mum was a crusader of creative thought, writing, reading and the arts, saving the environment, deep conversations and singing, even if or when we couldn’t really sing.

I remember dancing around the lounge room on a Saturday afternoon with the record player blaring – her favourites were Helen Ready, Glenn Campbell and Bos Scaggs to name a few. Of course there are others… David Hobson came later.

She was a forward thinking conversationalist who loved being around people.

Mum would look to the community for activities to keep herself busy and for example, was elected to the Woodville Library Friends committee. When I was working at Woodville library, I persuaded mum to join the Book Discussion Group and she agreed, but only if the discussion group was based on non-fiction books.
It’s not surprising as she was doing the cryptic crosswords right up until the end of her days. In fact, it was her eyes which failed her, not her mind!

Continue reading “Eulogy for Gwendoline Frances Stevens”

Coronavirus: 5 ways to manage your news consumption in times of crisis

Republished Victoria Heath/Unsplash Mark Pearson, Griffith University Thousands of employees internationally are already working from home in COVID-19 self-isolation because of their recent travel, related symptoms or immune system vulnerability. But to do so while habitually checking the news on … Continue reading Coronavirus: 5 ways to manage your news consumption in times of crisis

RUOK? Good mental health is a sense of well-being, confidence, and self-esteem.

So, are you OK? One day yes, the next day, not so maybe? Being “depressed” or down can be normal for all of us at some time or another, and it is most often a response to grief and loss … Continue reading RUOK? Good mental health is a sense of well-being, confidence, and self-esteem.

SPEECH | Aged Care Workshop; Creatively addressing the aged care challenge

Thank you for having me. For those I have not yet met, for your knowledge, I have worked with Ron Corso since 2010 through the UniSA Idea Generation class. We have written two papers specifically looking at the combination of creativity and … Continue reading SPEECH | Aged Care Workshop; Creatively addressing the aged care challenge

Let’s share mother’s day again; via an app

Mum has always loved getting my postcards sent to her via Touchnote. If you haven’t heard of it, Touchnote is a postcard-sending service. #hattip Touchnote first came into my world via Helen Sanderson. The Wiki explanation of Helen is this: she … Continue reading Let’s share mother’s day again; via an app

What should have been said in my ABC Adelaide interview

Being onair (radio) is a curious process. In creativity processes, ie idea generation work, we often talk of the “thinking behind the thinking”. In fact it’s a quote Ron Corso (my UniSA research/paper writing partner) is famous for. So, when I … Continue reading What should have been said in my ABC Adelaide interview

This socially responsible group have every reason to celebrate their 10 years in the making… and it’s all in the aide of mental health this time.

The Inaugural Vintage Ball **Note from me – this has been written for an external media audience, however, in the spirit of sharing moments, here is the media release: 10 years in the making… The South Australian founded social club … Continue reading This socially responsible group have every reason to celebrate their 10 years in the making… and it’s all in the aide of mental health this time.

Storytellers of a Modern Age; Using the Selfie on a Journey

We’ve been using the social medias to share and have conversations for years. What is emerging are distinct members of our community who are excited to embrace the visual storytelling it provides for others eg “follow my journey” or “have a look … Continue reading Storytellers of a Modern Age; Using the Selfie on a Journey

Driving in #adelaide to music

I love driving to music. Do you ever experience that feeling of floating in your seat? While still being fully aware of your surrounds? You kinda just immerse yourself in the sounds and all the negativity and distractions of the day just bustle away. It’s kinda like a bright floating light in the sky… a pretty relaxing place to be.   Just quietly between you and me 🙂 Continue reading Driving in #adelaide to music

Inspiring Movie | The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Firstly, feast your eyes on a whole raft of inspiring actors. Judy, Maggie, oooh, just all of them – they are simply divine. Secondly, sit back and relax and let the movie’s striking presence and ambiance take over you. From beautiful scenery – to loud noisy streets… if you don’t get the culture, why we are different and how to celebrate that, I’ll go “heee”. We are different and yet the same and this is wonderful. Best fun I’ve had at an adult, feel good movie for a long time! In fact, I challenge that you to won’t come away feeling … Continue reading Inspiring Movie | The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

18 Truths to Start Telling Yourself

QUOTE | Everyone has something amazing to offer. – Accept people just the way they are.  In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try.  If you give them a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer.  Open your mind, arms and heart to all people; we are united in our differences, and stronger together because of them. From Charlie | I’m so glad I read this today. You know, in most cases I look at these types of comments and critise myself for how I treat others. I am hard on myself – the hardest … Continue reading 18 Truths to Start Telling Yourself

Italian Spaghetti Meatball Cookoff

We had a big italian spaghetti meatballs cookoff on a hot Saturday afternoon… and by BIG we just mean we all sit around and join in the cooking and then eat! The mama cooking up the storm was Ron’s – and he ran around the kitchen looking after her (well, she is 80) whilst he also made up batch after batch of cocktails (mostly for himself). We talked traditions and family values, what we want for our kids and how we pass these traditions down when even we don’t know them ourselves. It was a lovely afternoon/evening, one enjoyed over … Continue reading Italian Spaghetti Meatball Cookoff

Inspirational posts are my favourite, but…

But… they are also hard. Each day we see what motivates each other. Sometimes I think to myself “oh just get on with it” and other times i think “yep, couldn’t have said it better myself”. Then there are the days when you don’t want to read, or in fact, see anything motivational and inspirational. Even though you know you should, because you just need to stop for a moment and absorb. Absorb your feelings. Feel. We need to do this. I reckon it’s actually OK. It’s OK to stop, to feel, feel hurt, love, pain. We’re human and and … Continue reading Inspirational posts are my favourite, but…

a brothers love, 2

sharing secrets, adventures, water bombs in the park, laughs, cross words and giggles. brothers. i remember so many special times with mine. he just happened to be my twin… sleeping outside under the stars when hot, chasing and racing each other on our bikes. away in the january school holidays we would disappear from mum and dad for hours. hours and hours of fun. doing crazy stuff, making other friends and just hanging out. he was my protector, my rock. he was smart, funny, good looking and one hundred percent completely and beautifully arrogant. he had the capacity to frustrate … Continue reading a brothers love, 2

The age of conversation and 12 year olds

…basically means video chat, 12hour days, conversations, laughing, meetings, discussions, videos, face-to-facers, phone calls, txt messages, skyping, twittering (not old enough to facebook) and pretty much any other mechanism you can throw at them, they will share, exchange, encourage, listen to, and have a conversation about!!! They LOVE quotes! And cute pictures of animals. Fortunately I have a healthy relationship with my 12 year old and I have been included… she listens, she understands limitations and she works it… just DON’T stop the conversation.   Ever. Continue reading The age of conversation and 12 year olds

12 Lessons in 12 Months: The Twelve Teachings.

So, if we can’t do it daily… why not do it monthly? #awesome!! My 2011 year was a shocker. I have said this a few times I know (so I won’t drum on)… but I’m very glad to see the back of it. In fact someone said to me that there had been a nine year cycle and we were coming out of it. I would have to agree wholeheartedly that we need to!!. The year Twenty Twelve holds so much expectation for me that I dearly hope “it” and “I” live up to these expectations. However, a year seems … Continue reading 12 Lessons in 12 Months: The Twelve Teachings.

Best of Photographs for 2011 – what’s yours?

The usual round of links covering the best photographs for 2011 (typically from the professional journalist photographers) are delivered via the news stream however it’s not often you stumble over a blog post of similar style from an artist you have never heard of before and think “yep, I love them“. This one I did just that… through the social networking interwebs that keep us thriving and striving for unearthing that next gorgeous piece of information and clue, this one came to me and I was captured. Each image is gorgeous, yet different. Such a vast variety of style. Each … Continue reading Best of Photographs for 2011 – what’s yours?

Who is that person inside you? My inner rock chick moment…

People who know me in close friendship circles, know I talk of my “rockstars“. They are the people who are my “rocks” and so, my “stars”. They are everything. They are there if I need them and they are dear to me. Of course, the group has widened over time to include some social media bods, overseas and others – just because it’s fun and all part of developing me as a person… but the essence of the group remains same. This name, “rockstars”, comes from my love of black skinny jeans, dark smokey eyemakeup and a passion for live … Continue reading Who is that person inside you? My inner rock chick moment…