The blues

Watching the news tonight I learned that the Farmers Market in St. Thomas is not going to open this season. Apparently it had to get approval from city council and the mayor didn’t think it was safe to open. I’ve been a few times because a friend of mine used to have a table there. It’s bigger than the one in my city but it has the same vibe. It’s much more kid friendly with more activities. The vendors get to know their regulars. It makes me sad because farmers markets are a great way to support local businesses. I know for the one that I attend many seniors go because it’s a great place to shop for single people. People who live downtown can walk there. While many of the businesses have online ordering they sell out quick.

Yesterday our PM finally announced that its “recommended” that people wear a mask when things start opening up again. It’s a relief because some people do and some people don’t and it’s confusing. I wore one when I went to get bloodwork a few weeks ago and people look at you wondering why you have a mask on. Tonight on the news the medical officer of health also announced that hospitals will start getting ready to reschedule surgeries. Not right away but preparing. It made me think what will it look like when we start having Dr appointments in person? Will they have to put up a screen at the reception desk? Will we all have to wear masks? I’ve had 2 appointments over the phone this month and it was ok but it’s definitely not the same as going in person.

It’s now approximately a month until our birthday. Since it’s on the weekend I probably would have gone to the cemetery with a friend. Last year I had a lovely lunch and manicure. I’ll go out for coffee with a former neighbour. I actually bought myself something recently because it reminded me of the quilt that I bought at the Twinless Twins conference. Right now I’m just following the news hoping that we are allowed to have people in. Having a birthday without my twin is hard enough but not being able to see my friends makes it that much harder.

A couple of friends posted a meme on Facebook of Ernie from Sesame Street. “The year 2020 has been brought to you by the letters W,T and F” That about sums it up.

Photograph

It’s interesting how photographs have evolved through the years. Growing up my Dad didn’t have many except when they had big family celebrations and someone would take a group photo. There is only one photo of Dad as a child and I think he’s around 8 or 9. He’s lying down on the grass and his son is the spitting image of him down to the slightly cheeky grin. My Dad had a family album and had photos of each of his siblings when they got married. All professional except for his sister and he is minus one for another sister. Mom told me she’s pretty sure they had a professional one done at the studio but she has never seen one. My parents only had a photographer for their wedding ceremony but didn’t have the person stay for the reception and she regretted that later. Nowadays we have people take pictures on their cellphones and post in real time. My Mom and I are both the type that prefer more candid shots to professional. Many people get the naked baby shots of their newborns…Mom was not a fan.

Photographs capture a moment in time. I have pictures on facebook of people that are no longer in my life but those moments were still special. I posted a picture of our grade 5 class and there are a lot of wonderful comments. I think we all look back and think where has the time gone? When I moved I found an envelope of photos that were never put in an album. We had a picnic at Harris Park with Mom and Grandma. It was kind of a full circle moment since I now live across the street from the park. It’s funny how memories fade with time because I can remember going but I don’t remember much about the day. When I look at the photograph I see love.

Lately I have been taking photos with my cellphone when I go for a walk. The forsythia bush as it was flowering. A couple weeks later I took a picture of the magnolia tree in front of Eldon House. It’s an incentive to go for a walk and it makes me feel a little less alone on my walk. I’ve taken a couple selfies but I’m not that good at it yet! Just imagine the kids growing up now wouldn’t even know what film was. Taking photos with their cellphone will be their way of life.

It’s a twin thing

The word for today makes me think of cooking with Janet. There were times when we wouldn’t even have to say what we needed the other person just knew. Mom would be in the kitchen and Janet would say can you pass me the doo-hickey and Mom would ask “what’s a doo-hickey”. “It’s ok, Jennifer knows”. When she died I lost my rhythm. I burnt food. For almost 20 years we cooked side by side. It’s the thing that I miss the most is having a connection with someone where I didn’t have to speak.
A couple of weeks ago I made quinoa for supper. While I’ve had it at restaurants I’ve never made it for myself and it turned out pretty well. Janet was a more adventurous cook. A twin friend of mine made polenta recently and I thought Janet probably would have liked that. I ran out of bread the other day so I made biscuits for breakfast. I threw in some blueberries and they were good. Janet made way better biscuits than I do. Although a friend from bible study used to say it was love that we put in the cookies that we brought.
I know that I don’t bake as much as I used to because growing up it was such a shared experience. Our grandmother taught us how to make pies (something I did better than Janet). I have ripe bananas and will probably make some muffins. My Mom preferred banana loaf but it’s so much more work. For my Mom it was comfort food. So many memories sitting at the counter stirring something in a big mixing bowl. Getting to lick the beaters.

Good news

I don’t know about you but I could certainly use some!
This morning I went to the Facebook page of the coffee shop that is around the corner from me. When I typed in the name in the search bar I saw that they are now open for take out! I think it’s basically like ordering delivery only you pick it up so it’s all contactless. For someone who doesn’t drive so can’t use curbside pick up this is so great. I told a friend in an email that it’s almost like a little sense of normalcy. I can go and grab a treat in the summer and enjoy it on my balcony. And on days when I don’t feel like cooking I can have a salad bowl or chicken curry. It’s nice to see a small business re-opening even if it’s in a limited capacity. It’s mostly walk ins anyway as the only people that know about it are people that live in the neighbourhood.

A few minutes ago I logged into Facebook and learned that the outdoor Farmers Market is opening May 16. There will be security and screening and they prefer you to do pre-orders if possible. There are more vendors using square (tap machines) but there are still vendors that use cash for purchases. I guess they will have to figure it out as they go along. This is my weekly routine so it’s exciting to see that they are allowing it to re-open. It’s nice to be able to support local business and farmers. I will admit that it’s definitely not going to be the same. Going to the market is a social experience and they are telling people “get in and get out”. A friend dropped off a mask for me so at least I will be able to have that protection when I go.

My friend called them small victories. It’s holding on to that little bit of hope.

Helpers

This is going to be a busy week for me. Groceries delivered Monday, prescriptions delivered today and Friday I have to get bloodwork for a May appointment. I titled this post helpers because on Monday when I got my groceries delivered I asked if they were still doing errands as well. The woman I got told me that they would do anything for me. I have been with the company for 5 years since I was looking after my Mom. While it started out as just getting groceries now I also have them do things that aren’t easy to do when I don’t drive. Some weeks I will be having a bad day and the owner will make me laugh or I will get a hug…when we could still give them.

Yesterday a friend dropped off a mask for me. She and her husband are “givers”. The type of people that would do anything for anyone.

On Friday a former neighbour is taking me to get bloodwork taken for a Dr appointment in May. While the clinic isn’t open the Dr still wants bloodwork. Due to covid 19 public transit isn’t an option. She and her husband helped when I was still living in the house and she has helped if I was sick. She dropped off a meal from rib fest when my sciatica was acting up.

My coffee buddy also emails regularly to check on me. I will send her funny videos to brighten her day. She is the person that I know I can talk to about anything.

It’s also the little things. A friend complimenting me on my selfie, friends who laugh with you. Look for the helpers.

Twin time

Yesterday was my zoom regional meeting. I clicked on the link and could see the leader and other people in the room but I couldn’t see myself. So she guided me through the process and there I was. The only problem is using an Ipad the angle isn’t quite right because I could only see from my shoulders up. It also showed up as ipad and I’m not sure where I was supposed to enter my name in. Oops
While we were waiting for people to join we talked about this year’s conference which would be the middle of July in Denver. There hasn’t been a definite decision but it looks like it will be cancelled this year. I went in 2016 because it was in Detroit but it had changed a lot in the 5 years since the last conference I had attended. I feel sorry for the many people that attend every year but I talked to a fellow twinless twin yesterday and she had decided on her own she wasn’t going.
We went around the room (screen?) and introduced ourselves and told how our twin died. Before we started I quickly ran to get my favourite picture of me and Janet which is on my dresser. When I finished the leader asked about who Janet was so I told about her boisterous laugh. Us going to the hardware store with Mom and laughing about the bag of cow manure called MOO POO. I had forgotten what it was like to share our story with other twins.
I have been to one regional meeting in Ontario. There was something so much more informal about just sitting in our office, bedrooms and chatting. There was a guy from the Yukon, a woman from Nanaimo BC and another woman from Nova Scotia. Since the leader is based in Ontario these people would otherwise never be able to attend a meeting. I teased the one woman that her coffee mug was HUGE and she held it up really close to the camera. I couldn’t even have my afternoon coffee because I only had enough to last until Monday. There is a chat area on the side so you can post a comment to something someone else said. We were talking about how far apart we were and I said Janet was born first but she used to joke I pushed her out. Someone asked if anyone was born premature but I didn’t get a chance to answer to that. We were born a month early. We weighed less than 4lbs but were healthy just small.
We talked about celebrating a birthday. I don’t call it celebrating I use the word honour. I do something to honour the day we were born because it will never be a celebration without my twin. There were people on yesterday who don’t celebrate at all and that’s ok too.
The biggest thing is that other people don’t get that losing a twin is unlike any other loss that you will ever have. She wasn’t just my sister she was my other half, my best friend. I always thought she would be there and then she wasn’t. She was the person who kept me company on walks. My coffee buddy. My fashion consultant. I recently wrote a post titled “resilient” but it took me years to get to that point. I know that Janet still guides me. That she is always near.

Just doing the best I can

A couple of days ago I had arranged with a friend that we would Facetime at 3pm yesterday. She phoned me first to guide me through the process but when I put her name in my contact list and pressed her name nothing came up. We couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong so we talked on the phone. I decided I would try to figure it out after supper. I went online and looked at tutorial videos and realized I didn’t have the audio/video button at the top. So after going to apple support I went into settings toggled off the Facetime re-entered my password and EUREKA it worked. My friend was proud that I figured it out on my own. Tomorrow the Regional Co-ordinator for the Twinless Twins for Canada is doing a ZOOM conference call/meeting at 1pm (what would be local time for me). I have never used the app before so fingers crossed I’m able to figure it out. Technology does overwhelm me sometimes.

This morning I sent my grocery list. A couple of weeks ago I learned that they are only shopping at one store now. They put my groceries just inside the door. Now they are phoning the night before to confirm your delivery date. Every week it seems like something is changing and I just have to go with the flow. I would love to be able to support the vendors from the Farmers Market but I’m not comfortable with deliveries just being left in between the main doors.

For me the most overwhelming thing is not knowing about Dr appointments. I know they are doing phone calls but I don’t know what that entails. Knowing I’m doing the best I can with regards to food since I can’t always get everything on my list. The weather hasn’t been great lately to go for a walk.

I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are working from home and making sure that their kids are finishing their school work. They are tired, stressed and many are overwhelmed. At the same time I see families doing house party or doing a science experiment on the kitchen counter and I’m envious. We all have different struggles right now. I’m really thankful for the friends who have reached out to check on me. My cousins too. We are all in this together.

Potpourri—the good and bad about social distancing

The Good
1. Watching Live with Kelly and Ryan and Jimmy Fallon. I rarely watched either of these programs before but there is something so natural about what they are doing right now. There is a segment where Jimmy’s daughter comes in to announce that she lost a tooth when he is interviewing Russell Wilson and Ciara. It’s so adorable because he stops everything to interact with her and Ciara asks her how she lost it. The rap with Justin Timberlake is great too. CHOIRCHOIRCHOIR made 60,000 in an afternoon in donations for the Canadian Cancer Society.
2. John Krasinski (not sure if I spelled that right). He has a “news channel” which he calls SGN or some good news. It’s funny and heartfelt and that’s what we need right now. I watched his lip sync battle online a long time ago and he is so funny.
3. People helping. Sewing masks, offering to pick up groceries for elderly neighbours. My grocery shoppers.
4. I’m saving money because I can’t go anywhere to spend it. I should also include debit machines in this
5. Technology that allows us to connect to one another. My friend and I are going to have a Facetime chat tomorrow. I’ve never used it
6. Soon it will be warm enough to sit outside
7. A safe place to call home

The bad
1. I NEED A HAIRCUT My bangs have grown out so I’m brushing them off to the side. I’m also wearing a hairband on days when it’s really unruly. Not being able to see my friends or go for coffee
2. 24hr news.
3. People making this political. There will be plenty of time for that after things have settled.
4. Not being able to go to the store. My grocery people are just using one store now so my choices are limited. I can’t just pop into Shoppers Drug Mart to stock up on things. I have one box of hair colour left and I’m going to have to save it.
5. Vandalism or more crime
6. People that don’t respect the rules of social distancing
7. Farmers losing crops and having to dump milk. Whether there will even be a Farmers Market this summer
8. 27 more days. While I know that we are probably going to be doing this well into June actually seeing it in black and white makes me so sad.
9. The possibility that I won’t be able to celebrate my birthday this year the way I would like to.
10. Summer festivals cancelled. I live downtown and that is the highlight of my summer. Although that is also in the good column because Rock the Park might be cancelled. Like the name suggests it is very loud

CAKE

This morning I turned on CBC to watch the daily press briefing by our PM. The journalists were talking about how one of the health professionals said that it’s likely that we are going to be self-isolating until the summer. While I had a feeling that might be the case to actually hear it voiced out loud made me really sad.
While technically this picture isn’t cake it’s a picture of my birthday treat 5 years ago. I booked a room at a local inn to give myself a break after looking after my Mom. I can’t remember what I had for first course but I remember getting tears in my eyes when the waiter put a candle in my dessert. It made me feel so special. I know that there are many people right now that have to figure out new ways to do things. They are having virtual parties.

It’s hard not to think of all the things that we all are missing right now. I miss going out for coffee with my friend. I miss hugs. I’m holding out hope that at least part of the season for the outdoor Farmers Market can be saved.
This has definitely been a roller coaster ride of emotions for everyone. I think today is just one of those days where I’m feeling a little discouraged. I try to tell myself that I have a home, a full fridge and money in the bank. I will be ok. This too shall pass. Right now it just feels like it’s passing like a kidney stone.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #63

Fandango’s Provocative Question #63
When we finally get through this COVID-19 pandemic at some point in the future, do you think the world is going to change from what is was like before anyone ever heard of coronavirus? Or will things quickly return to “business as usual”?
I think this is a multi-faceted question. The world has already changed so I don’t believe it can go back to what it was like before. Last night I happened upon a segment on CBC where the host was talking to Bob Rae and someone else and Rae was talking about how much debt we will be in when this is over. Businesses won’t just be able to go back as if nothing happened. At the same time we need things to go back to business as usual soon so that everyone can make money. I think my shopping habits will change based on who decided that they were an essential service.
I think that is why we all say that we just wish life would go back to normal. We talk about our new normal. The funny thing is it’s a bit like grief in that respect because that is how it is often referred to. Like grief I think it will change who we are if we let it. I think for many people things will return to business as usual. It’s one of those things were you can tell who the helpers are. The people who only look out for number 1. That hasn’t changed. I was watching Entertainment Tonight Canada and Cheryl Hickey was interviewing Jess (something?) she was on a show on CBC. She was saying how she learned through this that it’s really about being present. How I wish the whole world would change to “get” that concept.
Yesterday I ended my post with things that I am grateful for. We have so many things in our lives that we take for granted. If you have a home, a family and food in the fridge don’t take that for granted.