My Neighbourhood

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These are a few pictures of my neighbourhood. It’s such a small representation of what my neighbourhood is. I live near a park that has festivals almost every weekend in the summer. Sunfest, Home County Folk Festival, Ribfest. Of course I have to include lighting of the lights at Christmas. My friend have started the tradition of going for a walk around Victoria Park when she comes. I live near Eldon House which is a beautiful mansion that they open for tours and tea on the lawn in the summer.
The first picture is of the coffee shop near me. A friend of mine went to a coffee shop in Wortley Village yesterday which is the neighbourhood I used to live near. Janet and I frequented the other coffee shop. It’s interesting how we all have our spots in our own neighbourhood. Growing up obviously I didn’t pick the neighbourhood I lived in but I liked it. We used the local library a lot. We went to Gathering on the Green (local crafts, games, music). I found lots of cool gifts at a little gift shop. It changed though and lost that quaint vibe that it used to have and is now more upscale. Think avocado toast.
I think maybe we grow into the neighbourhood that we call home. When my Mom died I thought I would stay in the same area but like Goldilocks this is just right.

People I admire

1. My grocery delivery people. When this all started they had to quickly adapt. They would still deliver to apartments when many businesses wouldn’t even come inside.
2. People who work in restaurants and coffee shops. They have all had to adapt really quickly. I love how the coffee shop around the corner is still able to maintain that friendly neighbourhood atmosphere. I also have to include the vendors at the Farmers Market.
3. I admire parents. In 10 days parents are supposed to register their child for school to say whether they are opting in or out. Parents and teachers are following the press briefings by the premier and the education minister. 10 days to make a decision for your child or children which is basically like tossing a coin into the air and choosing heads or tails. There are so many questions.
I admire the parents that are trying to make this summer as normal as possible. My friend set up a projector on her front porch to have family movie nights. Going to the beach and stopping for ice cream. Finding a nature trail in the city.
5. Children. They are all making do. They are living in a time that is scary and uncertain. They are learning LIFE SKILLS
6. Teachers. My friend teaches high school and we have talked many times about how the job is more than just teaching. She helps students who are dealing with the stress of parents divorcing. Helping them through their grief of losing a classmate while also holding together her own grief. In a month all of my friends that are teachers will have to wear a mask all day. Ensure that all safety protocols are being met while trying to teach in a very sterile environment (in more ways than one).
7. My superintendents who are still helpful and friendly socially distanced.

Trip to the market

This morning I finally made it to the market. For a while I wasn’t sure about going because I wondered if it would have the same atmosphere.
I will admit that it’s different. The entire perimeter is roped off and there is only one entrance in and out with a security guard at the table. There is hand sanitizer although he didn’t even say anything as I walked past after using it. There are no arrows on the ground and I wouldn’t say it’s entirely social distanced. If there is a line up it’s assumed that you go to another table. All the customers had masks on and the majority of the vendors did too. I had to put a new mask on today as my others are dirty. It was a little heavy but I did appreciate that I could adjust the ear loops.
I’m trying to be more organized this year and put some fresh produce in the freezer for the winter months. I currently have a bag of blueberries and yellow beans. I LOVE yellow beans and you can rarely find them at the grocery store. I was so glad that they had debit so I could get lots more than I usually would. It was great that almost all the vendors had tap so that they don’t have to handle cash and I don’t have to worry if I have enough cash! Although for me it means that I will probably buy more than I intended since I can just pay with debit…and I did. I always tell myself that it’s healthy eating and I’m supporting local business.
I had it in my head what I was going to buy. I wanted to get some pickled onions which I put on salads in the summertime. Blueberries, strawberries, some sort of nut (either walnuts or sunflower seeds) and lemon poppy seed dressing. Unfortunately they were all out. But they did have granola. I put a handful on some yogurt for afternoon snack. I’m seriously considering joining Instagram because the majority of the businesses use that for their social media.
Going to the market used to be my weekly routine but that’s unlikely this year. It’s interesting how something can be the same and yet at the same time different. I think that sums up what this year has been like. For me going to the market is all about the sights, the smells. The sound of musicians outside the door going into the market. Watching a mother and child enjoy their breakfast treat at the patio table.

Share your world 07-27-2020

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/07/27/share-your-world-july-27th-2020/

QUESTIONS:
Are you a clean or messy person?
I’m a clean person (although don’t look in my spare room at the moment). Living in an apartment it’s much easier to clean than a big house.
As I have mentioned in other blog posts my twin was messy. She wore her clean clothes out of the laundry basket and when it was empty it was time to do laundry. She was a messy cook and would drip on the stove and countertops (and I would go along and wipe up after her). We never fought but this was one thing that irritated me.

If I asked you to describe yourself in five words – what would they be?
loyal, funny, stubborn, sensitive, kind

Do you enjoy being out in nature?
It depends on what what we are referring to as nature. If you mean camping in a tent on the ground with no indoor plumbing…NO WAY! Been there, done that.
I like going for walks in the spring time when buds are just starting to come out of the ground. I live near a park and have 2 trees in front of my balcony. My favourite spot at my house was sitting on the deck at night watching the fire flies.

What could you spend all day talking about?
My family

Attitude of gratitude
Last week my super phoned to check on me because she hadn’t seen me around. I’m grateful for people like that!

Restaurants

Today’s prompt is mouth watering and it’s so hard to write on that topic.

As of 12:01 this morning masks are mandatory in all public places indoors. So that means when you go out to eat you wear a mask in, take it off to eat and then put it back on if you need to use the restroom and when you leave. I read a comment that you put your mask in a ziploc bag in your purse and then take it out when you have to put it back on. The picture I have posted is of a dessert I shared with my cousin when we went out to eat at a fancy restaurant that I love. The presentation is beautiful, the food is amazing and the ambience is relaxing. While we are now able to eat indoors I’m not going to rush out to do so because it is about the ambience. I don’t want to have to be served by someone in a mask and gloves. At the same time fine dining restaurants will struggle because they can’t serve as many customers.
My Uncle usually takes me out for coffee and a treat for my birthday. We try to get together for coffee throughout the year. I have gone to the coffee shop around the corner to get an iced drink and treat to drink on my balcony. I think I would be ok with meeting for coffee. This is going to be our new normal for a while so I guess I will have to get used to it.
We talk so much about things getting back to normal but nothing about this feels normal. I was talking to a friend yesterday that it is all about personal choice. Many people aren’t comfortable going out to eat (myself included) while others miss the social aspect of it. We all have to respect each other’s decision. AND WEAR A MASK

Connections


I’ve been thinking about this word a lot the past few days as this would be the week of the Twinless Twins Conference in Denver CO. There are so many people that go every year that really feel that loss of not being able to go. There are probably twins who signed up for the first time and it takes a lot of courage to do that.
This morning I was watching a Facebook live video of a TT doing a memory walk for her twin. Towards the end of the video she talked about going on vacation with her twin and how she could barely keep up with her. It made me smile because although I have seen many pictures of her twin on Facebook this gave me a peek into who she was. This is the thing that makes going to conference so important because it’s the one place where we can share stories of our twins. We lose part of ourselves when our twin dies and no one else will ever understand what that feels like except other twinless twins.
I also emailed the very first twin that I met at conference. The first one I attended was not quite 2 years after Janet died and was held in Toronto. She was an unofficial greeter and I just remember how loved I felt when she gave me a big hug. She is a letter writer and so am I (as was Janet) so we exchanged a lot of letters over the years. I remember when my brother was going to be married I shared a lot of things that I couldn’t share with anyone else. She was someone who had been on this journey longer than I had and then when I went to conference 4 years ago I was the one who gave hope to a new twin.
This is one of those times when I think of the things that covid has taken away. Whenever I went to conference I would tell people I lost count on how many hugs I got. We start off as strangers but go home as friends.

Acquiring new skills

During quarantine I’ve had to learn how to use some technology on my own. In May the nurse practitioner at the diabetes clinic suggested that I get a freestyle libre. While I use Shoppers Drug Mart for my prescriptions I couldn’t go into the store and have someone show me how to do it since there just isn’t room for physical distancing. So I waited until I talked to the dietician and I put her on speaker so she could guide me through the process. The first time I have ever put someone on speaker.
The last time I went into Shoppers in the south end of the city I learned that you couldn’t use the blood pressure monitor (since they would have to sanitize it after each use). I decided I should get a blood pressure monitor. I got the instruction book out to change the date and time, set it all up and hoped that I did it right. I have what they term “white coat syndrome” and my BP goes up when I go to the Drs office.
I got a Wii Fit maybe about 6 or 7 years ago. I got it back out because I can’t use the equipment in the building. Since I live in an apartment I’m going to do the exercises which don’t require me to jump etc. When I first got my Wii about 10 years ago a friend set it up for me but I figured if I could set up my computer I could do this. I couldn’t figure out what the input was supposed to be so I literally scrolled down every one until I got the right one.
I have never thought of myself as that techie. But since I moved I have online banking, I use my debit card a lot more than cash and I’ve even used apps on my phone.
One skill I haven’t acquired is how to take a good selfie…that’s a work in progress.

Coffee shops


Today I learned that the coffee shop in Old South officially opened yesterday. While it is open you can only go in for take out since restaurants and coffee shops can only have patio dining right now. I looked up their Instagram account and found a picture of what it looks like on the inside. Very modern.

Last Friday my friend picked up some gelato on the way at the coffee shop near Blackfriars Bridge. It’s quite small and she said I don’t know how they even fit that many tables in there. In the course of conversation I mentioned that the coffee shop that used to be our regular place is now under a new name. I forget what it was before but my friend and I went once and we were not struck with it. We couldn’t figure out what to order since it wasn’t just regular coffee and it cost more than Starbucks. We both agreed that the vibe was all wrong. After that we didn’t have what I would call a regular place. We started going to Starbucks because at least it was more comfortable than Tim Hortons but it was hit or miss whether it was really busy or not.

The thing that I have noticed with most of the coffee shops in the city is that they are no longer that neighborhood place. So if you are that person that just wants a regular coffee chances are you’ll just go to Tims. One downtown has boxcar donuts. Another one has cruffins.

Last fall I happened upon a post on Facebook about the coffee shop that is literally around the corner from me (picture posted). So my friend and I went. We both really liked it because it’s large. There was hardly anyone else in the place at the time we went but it has space for people at benches, tables and even couches at the back. Even though it’s very modern (since it’s in part of a new condo building) it still feels like a neighbourhood hang out. They have games on the tables. During the winter they had yoga classes on Sundays, a book club and I think they had a game night for another group. I have been a few times since it opened back up and it was quite busy. I will admit that having a coffee shop so close is probably a little too convenient! I don’t know what that magic thing is that makes a coffee shop feel “right” but this one definitely has it.

A sign

This afternoon I finally got together with a friend who I hadn’t seen since February. We were going to go to the cemetery but it’s 40 degrees outside today. Today is the anniversary of my Dad’s death. The coffee shop down the way now has gelato so my friend picked up some on the way. Unfortunately it being really hot it was kind of drippy by the time she got here. She knocked on the door and I ran to get a paper plate to put it on so it wouldn’t drip on my carpet. We sat across from each other although this is the way we usually do so that wasn’t different. She did have a mask on so while it was great to see her there is always that thing in the back of your mind. I cleaned my apartment and put out a separate towel for her to use so we wouldn’t be sharing one.

I had my grocery people pick me up some red roses at the grocery store that my Mom and I always went to. I also needed a few food items that I had run out of. I had put the vase in the middle of the table so I had to put it off to the side so we could see each other. In the course of conversation I mentioned how Dad was frugal and that he would probably think of buying flowers as an extra. Somehow we got talking about ubereats and my friend said your Dad would be rolling over in his grave knowing you did that. Oh yeah the idea of getting Swiss Chalet delivered…oh the horror. I think we all have our parents voice in our head.

This afternoon a twin friend posted the song “In the Garden” sung by Anthem Lights. I sat there thinking wow I don’t believe that is a coincidence since it is the song that my Mom chose for my Dad’s church service. We had a discussion with Dad about what he wanted since he was dying of colon cancer. I had to leave the room for part of it because it’s so hard. He told us he didn’t care what we chose. For Mom it was easy because the garden was his domain (other than his workshop). He couldn’t wait until it was warm enough to go outside and work in the garden. In the eulogy I wrote about him going outside to work in the garden on Sunday. Did I mention that Dad had very strict rules and working on a Sunday was one of them. So I asked him how come you get to do work on a Sunday? “That’s not work that’s puttering”. And everyone laughed. That was my Dad too…he had an answer for everything. To him it wasn’t work to do something that you loved.

Share Your World 6-29-2020

Must we have evidence to know the truth? Nope, it’s called Faith

How much control does a person have over their life?
It depends on what age you are. When you are a child you have very little and get older you get a little bit more freedom. Did I have control over my life once I became an adult? Not a lot. I could buy my own clothes but if my parents didn’t approve of me wearing something to church or out to dinner I had to change. Money while it was mine they put their 2 cents in. I wouldn’t say I really had a lot of control over my life until I had my own place. Right now we are following the rules set out by government for our safety.

What is gravity and how does it work?
What comes up must go down

Can a person be happy if they have never experienced sadness? How about vice versa?
I answered this question in a blog post about the movie Inside Out
Joy and Sadness are lost in the movie. When I got to the end of the movie I realized that it isn’t a kids movie because the concepts would be lost on them. Joy and Sadness have to go together. I know it doesn’t make sense but how do we know what Joy feels like if we don’t experience sadness? When my niece was born the joy was so big because we had experienced so much loss. The joy of a picture drawn from the heart in my Christmas card. The joy of hearing that my friend is coming to London next year after my year of heartache. Even looking at a picture of my Mom on the screen at church yesterday…there is joy in the memory but sadness too.