This is a picture of our 1st birthday. We look so much alike here and in most baby pictures I wouldn’t be able to tell who is who unless my Mom told me. This one I instinctively know because I was known as the imp.
This is my favourite photo of me and Janet. It’s hard to believe it was taken almost 20 yrs ago. It’s the photo I brought to my bereavement support group. Probably 3/4 of the people could tell which one was me but every single person in the room would say wow look how much you looked alike. It was the photo we chose for the memorial card because my Dad said it was the most natural. When I was going through my media library to choose a couple of photos in every picture I was on the right (her left). When we went for a walk I was on the right.
Growing up Janet was not a morning person. She would sort of grumble until she had breakfast. In later years she was a morning person though. She was stubborn and had a temper. I was more the peace maker in the family. She was a good nurse if someone was sick but made a terrible patient. Our grandmother taught us how to bake and she and my Mom were people who followed a recipe. Janet was the type of person who experimented with cooking. If this was good if I add this it would make it better. Although she was a good cook she was messy. My Mom used to say that’s why she had me around. Recently a couple of friends on facebook were talking about cleaning. Janet and I both had chores that we didn’t like doing. Ok Janet NEVER cleaned a toilet. I don’t like dusting so we just did the job the other didn’t like doing.
Janet always had her own style (developed from our grandmother). I think I’ve established mine more as I’ve gotten older. We always had short hair but I decided for my brother’s wedding I wanted to grow it out so that I could have more to work with to style. It was hard at first because there was that feeling of looking in the mirror and I didn’t look like her.
Before we could talk my Mom said we had our own secret language. There were times when we didn’t even have to talk we just knew what the other person wanted or was going to say. There were times in church where we would get the giggles. Janet had a spontaneous laugh but we laughed at the same things. She would say that I was a big goof.
Janet was the only person in my family that called me Jenn. When I went to the Twinless Twins conference the first time a fellow twin called me that and eventually it just stuck. Somehow it seemed right.
1. Another appliance biting the dust. I recently had to replace my immersion blender. The new one I got works great and has so much power. I blended frozen mangoes, yogurt and a banana last night and it was so smooth. But I’m so annoyed at the fact that I have gone through 2 microwaves in 3 years. Friday night I put something in the microwave and all of a sudden it started making a weird noise and sparking. I looked online and unfortunately it looks like it’s a common theme. They just don’t make them like they used to. Living in an apartment is inconvenient though. Plus expensive to replace them often.
2. I colour my hair at home. I used to do it at a hair salon but the last time I did was for my brother’s wedding. I just don’t have the patience to spend up to 2 hrs waiting for the colour to set in. While we are on the subject why do they change the packaging? It’s so confusing. It’s the same brand just in a different box.
3. I don’t mind waiting to get into the Drs office but once I’m actually in he or she should be in the room within 10 mins at the most otherwise I might as well be waiting in the waiting room. When I went to my diabetes Dr I was waiting in the room for 30 mins for her to come in after consulting with the resident. In the meantime I was working on my blog post but I had to quickly finish when they came back in.
4. People who go to the grocery store without a list. If you don’t know what you are looking for at least move to the side so the rest of us can get through.
5. Going to a store and they only have 1 person at the till. Banks are the worst at this and then they get into a conversation with the person when there are half a dozen people in line behind them.
6. Snow! Last week it snowed almost all week. Fingers crossed it looks like the end is in sight. I wish it was warmer. Closer to double digits instead of plus 3.
7. Late people.
8. Soliciting especially sent to cellphone
Last night I watched the season finale of This is Us. When I saw that Kate was dreaming of her parents renewing their wedding vows on their 40th wedding anniversary I wasn’t sure if I could watch it or not. The similarities between my family really hit home. The year my brother got married my parents would have been married 40 years approximately 2 weeks after. My brother was going to plan a party and it would have been a combined celebration. But like Kate it didn’t happen. Of course I cried at the scene where she goes into the ice cream parlour and they don’t have her Dad’s favourite flavour. He offers her a similar flavour and she tells him no it wouldn’t be the same.
When Kevin is giving the toast at the reception he recounts advice Kate gave him. “Kevin if you don’t grieve Dad’s death, it will be like taking a giant breath in and holding it there for the rest of your life.” Imagine taking a breath in and never letting it out. I’ve seen people do it though. In the 2 support groups that I belonged to in time they became social groups. Eventually I felt like I didn’t fit in because grief is work. My cousin wrote how she stayed up after the Superbowl to ugly cry at the tv. I was watching what they call the aftershow that was posted on the facebook page for the show. The producers talked about how we are taught to keep a stiff upper lip (I’m paraphrasing). How the Pearson family feels deeply, they love deeply. They take that pain that we feel after we lose someone close to us and portray it on tv. I was lucky to have parents who guided me. The other day while I was eating a bowl of mixed fruit I was thinking how my Dad wouldn’t eat it without what he called “joy juice” which was sauce that Mom made to put on top. Yogurt, honey and a little bit of lemon juice. I don’t know why that suddenly popped into my head. Such a little thing but it made me smile.
I know that this is going to be a year filled with reminders. It’s ok because I know I can take a deep breath in and let it out.
I’d Rather Be…
Next Wednesday my Mom would be 75. The year this photo was taken was the last birthday Dad celebrated with her. We had a quiet dinner at home with family and his eldest sister. Mom was the one who respected the fact that I honoured Janet on our birthday. I know she would be proud of how much I have accomplished on my own but there are days when I really wish I could talk to her.
Next week I am going out for coffee and dessert with a good friend. It’s a day to celebrate and honour a special person who is forever loved.
Noise. It’s interesting how it’s something we don’t really think about. Growing up in a family of five there was always noise around. Not that we had the tv on just a general hum. The noise of Mom baking or Dad talking on the phone. The hum of the dishwasher. The hydro line was right beside my window so I would hear birds chirping in the spring. Of course it also meant that no matter where they parked birds would poop on the car.
I remember staying over at my Uncle’s house who lived on Lake Ontario and my Aunt asked if we slept well. Of course we politely said yes. We couldn’t tell her if was too quiet. We were used to hearing the bus go by. Maybe it was because it was a different noise.
When my Mom went into the hospital for the first time I would leave the tv on for background noise because I wasn’t used to it being so quiet. My Aunt asked if it bothered me at night…did the noises sound different and honestly it didn’t. I missed being able to talk to Mom. The silence was deafening. That’s the hardest part of living alone is not having someone to talk to.
Where I live now I can’t hear the buses but I can still hear the recycling trucks go by. I live across from the elevator which is good for when my grocery person comes but not so much at 1am Sunday morning. Of course I can’t talk about noise without mentioning Rock the Park which is a concert the middle of July put on at the park near me. The name pretty well says it all. This year I’m planning on going away for a few days to avoid it.
Yesterday I turned on the tv around 3pm to get the results of the Ontario PC leadership convention. There was a little bit of delay so I checked back at 4:30 thinking they would have already announced it. The commentators on cbc had no idea what was going on so they had to basically fill in time. At 6 the guy that was covering it on the floor got some scoops from “sources” and unofficially it was announced who won. I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised based on the 4 candidates that were running but I was. It kind of felt like when Trump won…did that just happen?
As they were filling in time they had tweets scrolling on the right side of the screen. The predominant feeling was if the party executives couldn’t get their act together to run a successful convention how are they ever going to run a province. They made members wait 4hrs to be told just go home. Not only were these people upset (they used the “P” word) they would now have to drive home during Saturday night traffic in Toronto.
The only time I haven’t voted provincially was in 1995. I distinctly remember the year because my cousin was getting married and we were discussing the election. Of course it came out that I didn’t vote. My Uncle told me he could have given me some information. It wasn’t that I wasn’t informed I just didn’t like my options. There is a part of me that knows it doesn’t really matter because the person running in our riding was the federal representative for this riding. Name recognition means something. I remember how proud my I was to be able to vote for the first time. I grew up in a family where voting was important. But helping with a campaign and then watching the stuff on the news it has made me cynical. But reading down the comments I hate to think people are going to vote with the mentality that anyone is better than the premier we currently have. We’ve been there done that and it didn’t turn out well.
1. How my fridge can look so bare when I just got groceries 3 days ago? But I do have lots of coffee
2. Is spring ever going to come as I look outside at the snow falling for the 3rd day in a row. Yes I know it’s still winter. We can get snow in April too.
3. How I have so much laundry for one person. Lately I can’t seem to make it through the entire day without spilling something on my shirt.
4. What I did before online banking. My neighbourhood bank was TD and since it was my main one everyone knew me. I’m now with RBC whose main office is downtown. To them you are just a number.
5. Yesterday I was looking up the flyer for realcanadian superstore which is the one my grocery guy uses. I noticed they now have Instacart and wondered if that will create competition for them. I also wondered how they could charge so little.
6. How I got to be so lucky to live in the place I do.
7. Why some people run away when the going gets tough. And how it’s not always the people you think who end up staying.
8. I’ve had friends and family members tell me that my family would be proud of me. But there are days when I think about the fact that for my Mom going to church was important. It was a community. And I don’t feel that anymore. But my parents always told us while they wanted us to go to confirmation classes it was our choice whether to join the church.
9. Why some friendships are so easy/comfortable and some I thought would last forever don’t.
How to decorate this. It’s the wall in my bedroom
On Tuesday I got my Oprah magazine in the mail. This month the question on the cover is “what would you stand up for?” For me it wasn’t a what but a who. When my Dad had cancer I was the one who went to Dr appointments with him. There was a time when I had to stand up to a Dr and tell him he wasn’t going home without bloodwork. The next day he was admitted to hospital.
Being a caregiver is hard work because not only did I have to advocate for my mother but eventually I had to advocate for myself.
About 4 months after my Mom died I had a Dr appointment. I was eating poorly and it showed. My Dr tried to tell me that I was worth it but I couldn’t hear it. Making myself a priority didn’t happen overnight. It’s appropriate that today is international women’s day because as women we have a hard time putting ourselves first. I can’t say it’s easier since I’m on my own because I had to create my own support system.
What would I stand up for? The right to make my own decisions. The right for a woman to be seen as competent in financial matters. I’ve had to stand up to bullies on numerous occasions.
We all need to do what is best for us.
I grew up in a family that liked baseball. My grandparents listened to it on the radio (they actual preferred them to the people on tv). My Uncle worked for the local newspaper in the sports department so he likes a lot of sports. When I moved the first thing I watched was a baseball game in the afternoon.
These photos were taken at the last game I went to July 11, 2008. I knew it was 2008 but I only know of exact date because it came up when I was searching for the photo on my computer. I remember my Mom trying to figure out who was going to pitch for the game and she had it figured out it would probably be Roy. I was at a Twinless Twins conference in Toronto that started on Wednesday. Unfortunately tickets were all sold out for the weekend since they were playing the Yankees so I had to leave early and go on Friday. We (my brother and then girlfriend) managed to find a place to park that wasn’t too far from the stadium and not overpriced. Parking lots jack up the prices for events. I remember supper consisted of a sausage from a street vendor outside the stadium and popcorn. It was a wonder I didn’t get indigestion!
Rogers Centre was completely full. There is something electric about going to a game live. Since we were playing the Yankees there was some “animosity” towards each other. Every time A-Rod came up to bat we booed him. The entire game lasted 2 hrs and 20 minutes. It would have been shorter but the last guy fouled off 19 pitches before finally striking out. Of course Roy pitched the whole game with a pitch count of less than 100. I remember people jumping up and down and hugging each other. We even had a home run too although I don’t remember who it was.
Photos do tell a story. There is a photo of Janet pouting at a family picnic. I have heard that story so many times. There is a picture of me standing on the stairs on the cruise ship and I’m laughing. The “story” behind the photo is that it took 3 attempts for my Mom to get it because she kept cutting off my head. We all have that “perfect” family photo where it took many many tries to get there. We have a photo that my grandmother took where just at the point where she took the picture I had to sneeze. So on the back she wrote “oops a sneeze”. I’m the type of person that likes the candid photo. The one where they are caught off guard but it’s natural.
This is one of 2 trees in front of my balcony. One of the things I love about my neighbourhood is that I live close to 2 parks and a lovely garden at Eldon House. I can sit on my balcony and listen to the birds chirping and it’s fairly quiet. I say fairly because it’s just like sitting on my deck in the neighbourhood I grew up in occasionally there would be loud music playing or construction or people arguing. Last year I spent many days sitting outside on my patio chairs. I would have my morning coffee or lunch I picked up at the market. Of course summer is filled with festivals which involve food (Ribfest) so those meals are enjoyed outside too.
Our first sign of spring is buds forming on the trees or flowers shooting through the ground. In our backyard we had 2 large trees, one walnut and one cottonwood. They provide excellent shade but both are messy. Walnuts stain your hands and cottonwood has fluff that goes everywhere. I remember my Dad telling me I could pick some lilacs to take to a friend’s house. I pulled down the branch and it broke off in my hand. I thought I was going to get it but Dad just told me go and get a bucket to put those in. When my Dad had cancer his bed was on the main level. I would pick some flowers and put them on the side table. It’s one thing I miss living in an apartment is the scents. Janet’s favourite was lily of the valley.
When I go into the flower shop near me I take a deep breath in because it smells like spring. It’s supposed to snow or freeze rain today and tomorrow so I thought some flowers might be nice to have on the table.
2 weeks tomorrow is the official start of spring. Warmer temperatures, lighter clothing and walks in the neighbourhood.