Trying to be an informed voter

Last night I looked online for the video of a debate held recently for Ward 13 and 14. I’m in 13. A friend posted a link from our local paper that had an article on our candidates. For each person there were things I liked and things I didn’t. I’ve checked out the candidates social media (although not all of them have a Facebook page). While this is somewhat helpful it’s like reading a resume without ever meeting the person you are going to hire face to face.
I had met one of the candidates who came to my door. Although I wasn’t 100% decided I respected the fact that he came to the door. He has been going to events in the neighbourhood. And then he got up to speak. He was so stiff. I don’t think he even looked up from the podium once. I saw a segment on The Social about public speaking in school and should you be forced to do it. While we aren’t all going to use it in real life public speaking is a big part of public office. There was one candidate who has a large online following but when she was speaking kept tugging at her skirt and talked so fast I could barely hear her. Part of being an informed voter is voting for the person who is going to do the best job not based on gender! When I was at the market a couple of weeks ago I picked up a pamphlet from one of the businesses for one of the candidates. I have to say I thought it was a little weird endorsing someone but I knew nothing about him so I picked one up. It’s interesting how someone comes across differently on paper than on tv.
According to our local media there are 4 front runners for mayor. As someone who has helped with federal campaigns this is a little tougher decision because there is a part of me that goes into it knowing they are telling you what you want to hear. As mayor you represent the city so out of those people who would be the best choice? A guy that attended the same high school as I did has thrown his hat into the ring. I respect the fact that he is running because he has a different perspective than the others. We are falling behind other cities.
To be honest transit doesn’t affect me since I only use it for Dr appointments and occasionally for bloodwork. Since I live downtown I just take whichever bus comes first. It is such a contentious issue at the moment. Nobody has said if they decide to scrap BRT what happens next?
I “guess” I’ll find out October 23.

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A reminder

When I opened my email this morning and saw that the word for today is “GRUBBY” it made me smile. It was a word that my Mom and sister used. Oh Janet has her grubby clothes on she must be going to do work. Although for me sometimes it was because I had to do laundry and it was the only thing left. We all have those clothes that we wear to clean. The tshirt that is stained or stretched out. The track pants that have holes in them…which I am currently wearing. To my defence they are tiny.
Yesterday’s word was oasis and it’s not really feeling like that for me with the sound of construction around me. I’m currently sitting on my balcony and I can hear the beep beep of trucks backing up. The street I live on is down to one lane because of construction on Dundas. My friend asked me on Wednesday when we went for coffee if I had plans for today and I don’t. I did think about going out for lunch but I didn’t feel like eating by myself.
I had a couple of friends ask how I am and I can’t explain it. I told my friend September is a big ball of pain. It’s comforting knowing I don’t have to sugar coat it with her. I can buy myself flowers, go for a walk or a little retail therapy but it doesn’t change the fact my best friend isn’t here. It’s 12 years today that she died and that number seems so big. I think about all the changes since that time. On Wednesday I passed my childhood home. It doesn’t bother me as much going by anymore but it took time.
My friend said it best when she said it’s not just September, it’s Mother’s Day, June, holidays. Days where their presence is missed more.
It’s why the little signs from above are such a comfort. It’s a poke saying I’m here.

A routine

I don’t have a schedule but I think everyone has a routine. I start my morning with breakfast and a morning coffee. On Thursday and Saturday I have cereal when I get up and then coffee and a scone or muffin when I get home. I love being able to sit on the balcony with my coffee and write my blog post. Although right now with the construction it’s not a quiet place to think. Last night I was sitting in the office and a driver had their radio in the car turned on full blast.
Yesterday I saw a commercial for a new drink at Tim Hortons. You couldn’t call it coffee as it’s a pumpkin spice iced Capp. With whipped topping and caramel sauce. I know they are trying to cash in on the pumpkin spice craze at Starbucks but I can’t even imagine how sweet that would be. It’s funny seeing friends post their drinks on Facebook because you are either one or the other…you either love it or hate it. When we went to Tim Hortons Mom would get a pumpkin spice donut. So yummy. There is something comforting about the smell.
A couple of weeks ago I tried the cold brewed coffee that they sell at the market. It was ok but I honestly couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. It’s amazing how many brands there are around.
A couple days ago I signed up for a writing class through a program run by the city (Spectrum). The great thing is it’s within walking distance for me. I will miss my Saturday routine as that’s the day it’s held. Since it’s in the morning I will bring a coffee with me. I always get my bag ready the night before so I don’t have to scramble in the morning.

Tantalizing


As anyone that has read my blog knows I am a frequent customer at the Farmers Market in my city. This is a picture of some of my purchases from last year. When I walk to the market I can smell bacon from one of the restaurants near by. Last Saturday I purchased beets from one of the vendors and had 2 for supper. I was trying to decide what to do with the rest when I wandered around and decided I would make a beet salad. I ask at one of the tables that sold cheese which one would go with it and he let me sample a piece. I’m not sure what else I’m going to add to it but I’ll figure it out before shopping day on Tuesday. I know kale is supposed to be good for you but it’s too strong for me. It made me think of Janet who was the more adventurous cook in our family. How she should be walking around with me and trying all the new things that I get to try. That’s the thing about grief a little thing like food can bring on sadness. At the same time I know that she would be proud of me for not only trying new things but eating healthy too.
The hard part about going to the market is there are a lot of vendors with baked goods. I allow myself a muffin or scone for breakfast and then something for a snack like buddha balls or an energy ball. My Uncle buys lemon bars every week. Date squares were my favourite but they have too much sugar for someone who is diabetic. On Thursday I bought half of a watermelon and it was HUGE! It would probably be comical watching me trying to get the thing out of my grocery cart as it was kind of stuck in the bottom. I’m sure Mom would be shocked at the person that never liked cantaloupe is now spending her own money buying one. I now know the reason I didn’t like it was buying it in the grocery store they weren’t always fully ripe. I bought a few peaches which I’m going to add to pork for dinner.
I find I’m an emotional eater in September and there are days when I don’t really feel like cooking. Thankfully there are 2 tables that I go to. One has quiche and that’s usually my lunch on Sat. The other one has AMAZING single serve meals. Oh my goodness the week I found out she had pizza I was so happy. I had given up take out and store bought pizza because it’s loaded with salt, carbs and fat from the cheese. My friends all laughed at me going on and on about it. When she has them I buy 2 so I can keep an extra one in the freezer.
Yesterday I purchased a dozen eggs from one of the vendors inside the market. I cracked one into a bowl and it had 2 yolks. Ok…then I crack the other one and it has 2 yolks too. I would have taken a picture but I was too hungry! It made me smile because that was definitely a sign from above!

Let the tears fall


For most people the month of September is the beginning of something, the start of the school year. Maybe starting a new job. For me it represents the end of something because it’s the month that my sister and Mom died.
I titled this post “let the tears fall” because it’s a time when there are reminders everywhere. A commercial, the word prompt for the day, a certain food. Their absence is felt everyday but around the anniversary it’s felt stronger. I know that they are with me but there are so many times when I wish I could talk to them. I wish I could give them a hug. Oh how I miss hugs.
Absent is a good word because there are events that they are absent from. Weddings, babies being born, birthdays, Christmas. It’s why I tear up when my friend draws Janet in my birthday and Christmas cards because she is included.
I wrote a post titled laughter doesn’t fill this house anymore after my Mom died. I pass my supers quite often and there is always something that brings a smile to my face. Yesterday I walked to the market and I was feeling sad but there is always someone that brightens my day.
LOVE ISN’T ABSENT. IT CAN BE FELT ALWAYS

How can I soar with eagles when I’m surrounded by turkeys

This was my Dad’s saying and it’s certainly appropriate for the “inspired” people at city hall. Last night they had a segment on one of the areas of the city that will be important in the election. I forgot about the work that will be done on the Forks of the Thames (which is within walking distance). I’m not sure if they have approved a plan yet or not. Of course they talked about the buses that are now on King street instead of Dundas but they didn’t account for cyclists. It’s not surprising since our city seems to contradict itself on this subject. They are spending money to make Dundas pedestrian friendly, debating bus rapid transit and then build a 55 million dollar community centre in the middle of nowhere. IMO libraries should be accessible by public transit. I was wondering what was going to happen with the Westmount library and it will close. Wow, what a waste of money.
Thursday is Market day and I pass construction every week. I mentioned to one of the vendors that I will be glad when construction is over. She said it’s been really slow lately. There was only a handful of people there this morning and it’s a beautiful sunny day. Most of downtown is under construction.
There is a lot more traffic on my street because of the detours.
As of yesterday we are 2 months until the election. I’ve been going online and checking out the candidates sites. A woman who is running for Mayor has been attending a lot of events in the city if her Facebook page is any indication. It should be an interesting race!

REMEMBER


This song was played at the balloon release for the Twinless Twins conference in 2010. It “resonates” with me because it makes me think of my relationship with Janet. “I’ll always think of you and smile. I was there for you and you were there for me”. Of course griefs means that there are days when the tears come but as the song says I’m left with the memories.
A friend mentioned that she went to a meditation class last night and it reminded me of the time we went with Mom to a bible study at church and the minister started out with chanting. I went to bed wishing that I could tell Mom and Janet. Those are the things that I miss being able to share in a laugh that only they would get. Truthfully it was probably inappropriate to laugh at chanting but we laughed all the way home.
A friend of mine was inspired to make banana muffins when she saw my photo from the market on Saturday. My Mom usually made banana loaf with the ripe bananas but I preferred muffins because it was easier to make. The loaf called for walnuts and yogurt which you had to fold in. It made more dirty dishes. When my friend said that her house smells wonderful it made me think of coming home from somewhere to the smell of baking. I think it was a stress relief for my Mom because she always went to comfort food. And when my friend said she had to wait for the muffins to cool I thought of my Dad who didn’t have the patience to wait.
When I think of the blog posts that resonate with people they are ones that talk about who my family was. Ketchup is not a food…how my Dad put ketchup on a lot of foods. How Janet was a tell it like it is person. Remembering moments shared together. Remembering special people and the love that lives on.

Being thankful.

Thankful for…
1. I’m thankful for rain. Even though I had to step in a big puddle on the weekend and it means I have to postpone an errand until tomorrow. So many areas are in desperate need of rain.
2. Clean sheets and towels.
3. A grocery guy, a full fridge and debit machines to pay
4. Coffee and a muffin on the balcony
5. Markets, farmers and dessert ladies.
6. Online shopping. I bought a book yesterday that I saw on a fellow bloggers page and a small Christmas gift for a friend.
7. I found a writing class and it’s within walking distance of where I live. I’m thankful for my friend who is so supportive.
8. Libraries
9. Insurance. I know this may seem like a strange one but an apartment building near me had a pipe burst that caused water damage. Now imagine if you didn’t have renters insurance. I pray I never need it but I’m thankful it’s there.
10. Elections. I’m thankful for the people who care enough about our city to run. There is a guy who I went to high school with who is running for mayor.
11. I’m thankful I don’t have to cut the grass or take out garbage in the rain!
12. I WILL BE thankful when construction is finished!

Simple pleasures

Blue skies, a slight breeze and a coffee enjoyed outside.
Today is Market day. As I passed Harris Park my supers were coming back from a walk. They had to leave apartment as they are getting carpets cleaned. So he starts singing…”to market, to market to buy a fat pig”. Yeah he’s a character. I had to gingerly go around 3 geese who were standing at the corner across from the court house. I will be glad when construction is over so I don’t have to cross the street and then cross back again. They actually have a sidewalk so that’s progress.
I passed a hockey play area on king and Ridout and then they were having 3 on 3 basketball at the Market. Quite the busy place.
Although there certainly weren’t a lot of customers for it being a Saturday. I went with my friend on Thursday and my frozen meal table was sold out of the fish dinner so I was able to get one today. When I bought a quiche the woman asked if I have it for lunch or dinner and I always have it for lunch. I don’t have to cook on Saturdays. The great thing is it’s all homemade so I know the quality of ingredients. The frozen meals are usually made with ingredients purchased at the farmers market. On Thursday I bought a butternut squash and it made me sad because it’s a sign that fall is coming. Although I like the fall too because it’s cooler weather, the leaves changing colour and soup for lunch.
When my Mom went into the hospital and after she died I no longer found pleasure in cooking. I would nuke a potato, cook a pork chop and have some sort of vegetable and quite often I would buy a pre made salad. I know I made the right choice of where I live because every Thursday and Saturday I wake up excited to buy fresh fruit and veggies and something for lunch. I’ll buy a tomato tart or a breakfast bowl. That one was “ok”.
As much as I would love to sit outside a while longer coffee cup is empty and laundry basket is full.

Attitude


When she was young Janet was what we termed crabby…just look at the pout. There were days when she was mad but she wouldn’t tell anyone why she was mad. My Mom used to say she couldn’t win in our family because she raised 3 stubborn kids. The Rudd side is incredibly stubborn. My Dad’s siblings were all opinionated. It makes for interesting dinner table discussions but it’s not easy when one person has to stand down. We still live in a society where it’s alright for men to stand up for something but woman are seen as the word that starts with b. But looking after my parents and navigating the health care maze being strong willed helped a lot.
When my niece was a baby there were times when I could see Janet in her because she had a pout too. There was a photo of her first day of preschool and my uncle wrote that kid has spunk. My friends and I know where she gets it.
Having the right attitude comes in handy sometimes. When I was looking after the estate my friend told me this too shall pass…it will pass like a kidney stone but it will pass. My friends helped when I was disappointed I had to send back the couch I ordered. A friend told me you’ll find an even better one. Friends are the people that keep us grounded.
I’m currently enjoying my morning coffee and muffin purchased at the market. There is not a cloud in the sky, perfect temperature. Life is good.