Oak Communications
May 2014
oak tree
In This Newsletter

Like me on Facebook
View my profile on LinkedIn



Animals just know. This weekend, as I sat on the couch and read Roz Chast's graphic memoir, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Sapphire sat next to me. She followed me to the couch from my desk where I had magically ordered the book from my desktop computer and it appeared on my iPad. Her tail swished across the keyboard as if telling me it was not yet time to start writing my monthly newsletter.


So, I lay down on the couch. Or is it layed down or laid down? My mom, the English teacher, would have known the answer to this question without having to look it up.


I laughed and cried as I read about Chast's parents and their relationship with each other and with their only child, their idiosyncrasies and Roz's complicated emotions while caring for her parents in old age.


I thought about my parents and what it was like to care for my mom during her journey into and through Alzheimer's disease. And how my dad died in his sleep at 94 years old and relatively healthy to the end.


Many of her cartoons felt achingly familiar and many were laugh out loud funny. "She also played classical piano in a group that, to all the members' amusement was called classical piano in retirement: CPR."


"My mother had a strong aversion to doctors and hospitals. It didn't surprise me that she didn't want to call in the cavalry."

Cavalry is the perfect description of the four men who came to the house after my mom's companion tripped, fell and lay on the dining room floor. They and their yellow overalls squeezed into the room to lift Joe onto a gurney. They were surprised how calm Joe was as they said that the pain from breaking his hip must have been excruciating.


We all have stories, images, and memories of loved ones. Some are pleasant and some still have the power to nip at our hearts.  


Sapphire climbed onto my lap as I read the last three pages of the book. When I was done, she got up licked her paws and returned to her spot alongside my outstretched legs. How does she know just the right time to provide extra comfort? How does she know to stay on the couch now as I am back at my desk and don't need her tail swishing on the keyboard as I type?


Last week, in my role as a hospice volunteer, I spent time with a lovely woman, the sister of the person in hospice care, in her new apartment at an assisted living facility. When I called to follow-up with her today she shared with me that she told her dinner companions that I was a "bon coeur."* I think my parents would be pleased.


* good heart 


With heart, 





Lagniappe (a little something extra) 


I heartily recommend Roz Chast's book, Can't we Talk About Something Else?   




Sapphire sits with me on the couch
Sapphire comforts me as I read Chast's book.



The Key to the Castle   
Key to the Castle: Zen and Travel Stories of Trust



Please "Like" The Key to the Castle Facebook page to learn about future events.

Have you read the book? If so, please consider writing a review on Amazon or Smashwords.

To read reviews of the book, please visit The Key to the Castle web page.

Thank you!


Coaching Services  

Photo of Sue Schleifer
Photo by Robin May


Have you been thinking about working with a life/career coach? Want to connect? 


Give me a call to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation.   


Check out what a few of my clients have said about the coaching experience. 


"Sue truly cares about her clients' goals and brings that passion to her work as a life coach. With her fresh perspective and eye for possibility, she helps me find creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
Plenty of professional and creative people would benefit from working with Sue, and I particularly recommend her to anyone who needs to get 'unstuck'."
Medical Editor and Fabric Artist


"A year ago I met Sue for our first session. Through her probing and listening we pinpointed areas that, with specific attention to my thinking and choices, help me:


  • be personally more effective
  • move towards a more balanced life

My spouse and employees have noticed a positive change, as have I."

Sales Manager-Fortune 500 Company


"Since I first hired a coach I have been a happier person and a more successful businessman. My company has become much more successful, our employees have had the opportunity to grow to the fullest of their capabilities and everyone seems to enjoy each day of life much more than in the past."



I would love to be a resource for you too!

Let's talk. 


Sue Schleifer, M.A.


510.316.3319 - cell
Oak Communications

Lafayette, LA and throughout the country

510.316.3319 - cell

Do you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter? Please forward it to them by clicking on Forward email below.

If you do not wish to receive future newsletters, please click the SafeUnsubscribe link below. Thank you.