In life sometimes we have to compromise

What an appropriate word for Family Day. It’s a holiday that the government of Ontario introduced (as the name suggests to spend time with family)
In a family we have to learn to compromise. In our family Dad was the boss so for major purchases he had the final say. Our last car was a 2 door and he did admit that a 4 door might have been more convenient. Not a lot of head room for someone who is 5’8″. When our tv wore out Mom and Dad went to the store to pick out another one. I think the one we had was about 21″ so he was going to get the same size and Mom said “no lets get a little bit bigger one” and thankfully Mom won. I’m still using it. Nowadays people have 40 inch or larger tvs. I could have a larger one on the wall but unless you are in a media room I find I’m sitting to close.
I still remember going to Jumbo video and my brother made up the rule that whoever had the idea of getting a movie had to pay. Of course going with 3 girls and a boy chances are he probably won out on what movie we picked out. Going out to dinner you have to compromise because one person might want Swiss Chalet, another person Red Lobster and another Chinese.
When my Dad repainted my room I had to compromise on the colour. My Dad wouldn’t let me pick a darker yellow. When I redid my room after he died I picked yellow rain coat. Think the colour of a sunrise, a child’s rain boots or as my friend teased “a school bus”. My Mom didn’t like it at first but she grew to like it. Yes, it was bold but even on the cloudiest days it was sunny in my room. At the time I needed a little sunshine in my life.
My Mom was a name brand shopper and I’ve found I am too. She used to say you get what you pay for. There are some no name brands where you can’t tell the difference but somethings are just worth the money…like garbage bags!!
When I was looking for an apartment I had a list of things that I HAD to have. Controlled A/C, a dishwasher, 2 bedrooms. It had to be on a bus route that went to the hospital (for Dr appointments). Of course the large kitchen and ensuite were nice bonuses. On Saturday I was talking to my super (or more accurately he was talking to me) and another tenant came into the building. They really are so friendly.
This afternoon I’m going out with my monthly coffee buddy. She teaches so I have to go when it’s convenient for her. I eat early (around 5) so going at 3ish means I have to plan what I’m going to have for supper beforehand. Thankfully I have leftovers. In any relationship sometimes we have to compromise. Just don’t compromise on the important stuff.


Not present

This afternoon a friend from high school is hosting an online shopping event. I titled this not present because anyone that she has invited can attend but they are in their own home. She kiddingly said you can even shop in your underwear.
It made me think of how many of these types of parties I’ve been roped into. Tupperware, pampered chef, epicure. My food storage containers are bought on sale or at the dollar store. The big thing nowadays is Essential oils. I’m sensitive to some scents so it just isn’t for me. Thankfully I’m the type of person who can go to these things and not buy anything. I’m going for the social aspect…and the food. If I do decide to buy something it’s usually the cheapest thing they sell. This was long before online shopping so the person hosting ordered the stuff and then you had to pick it up from them. With the event today is gets shipped to your own home.
I’m not a parent so I don’t have the notes sent home where they are selling fruit, chocolate bars etc. A friend of mine was doing a walk for MS and Friday I got another envelope in the mail with address labels. That’s how they get you.
The other day I went to make butternut squash soup and I got out my immersion blender to whiz it up…nothing happened. To be fair it was a Christmas present from my brother purchased when he was in University at least 20 yrs ago. It made me think about how everything in my home has a purpose. Someone suggested using a potato masher and I don’t even have one because I don’t make mashed potatoes for one. When I went through the drawers in the kitchen preparing to move I had to think would I use this?
Right now I would rather have the experience than a present that would be put in the closet.



This drawing is probably the best representation of the word for today. I actually asked my friend to draw something for my brother I didn’t know she was going to draw one for me too. She said she struggled with it.
These are the words that she decided on. Janet is courage because it takes courage every day to live my life without my twin. She is the person who always had my back. It took courage to start a blog post and attend a writing class. I had to read my stuff out loud to strangers. I didn’t know how my blog was going to be received. It takes courage every time I have to walk into the hospital for a Dr appointment because it’s where I lost 2 important people. I am able to speak up for myself. When I was planning the party for the anniversary of Janet’s death I had to answer the family question. I had to have the courage to walk away from the only family I had left because I didn’t want to lose the person I had become.
She gave Dad strength. My Dad grew up on a farm and he was a letter carrier so physically he was strong but it took a lot of strength to decide that he wasn’t going to have treatment when his cancer returned. To face cancer on his terms. The strength to be able to talk about things that non of us ever want to talk about. This took courage for me too because I knew I was going to lose my father less than 3 years after Janet.
Love. Well truthfully this is a word that could go with all 3. My Mom was selfless. She taught us how to be good people by example. She was someone I could talk to.
I was never someone that liked change so it took courage to accept pretty rapid change. To accept that I had changed. To be true to myself.

A city kid

I had to look up the word for today. Growing up my Mom used to say we were such city kids so you could say I’m the furthest thing from a country bumpkin that you would find. Janet and I belonged to guides and we had to go camping. We had to cook our food on a fire and sleep in a tent. That part was doable but I did not enjoy having to put boots on to go and use the “outdoor facilities” in the middle of the night. And don’t forget having to carry a flashlight. I wear a night shirt to bed so I had to wear pajamas there. And poor Janet always got eaten alive. I can hear my Mom in my head…”I’m never going to live that down”. My Dad grew up on a farm and had 6 siblings. Mom used to joke that they must have had 2 outhouses one for the girls and one for the boys.
Growing up “roughing it” was the fact that I had to do dishes by hand and we didn’t have air conditioning. We always had a rough in for the dishwasher but for some reason for years my Dad never got around to purchasing one. I remember the year the furnace went out we were so happy because we knew it meant we were getting air conditioning. After Dad died we had to replace the hot water heater and it really made me think about all the things that we take for granted like hot water and heat.
When I was looking for an apartment I wanted one with a dishwasher. I had people wonder why would you need one for one person but it’s so much easier. I had to have controlled a/c because I didn’t want to worry about putting in and taking out a window one. The fact that it has an ensuite and a washer and dryer is a bonus.
Although I live downtown surrounded by apartment buildings I have 2 trees outside my windows. I live next to a park and within walking distance of another one. Growing up with a huge backyard I still wanted that same feeling. The people I know who live in small towns know all their neighbours and they could rely on them for help. But living in a small town also means they have to drive everywhere. I can take the bus to the mall or Dr appointments.
I like my city. It’s like Goldilocks…it’s just right.

How can I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?

Last week I went out for lunch with my cousin. It changed from coffee because the weather was bad. Going for coffee is easy because I just put on what I would wear around home. It was very cold that day and I couldn’t decided what to wear. Going to lunch at a nice restaurant means there is the fine balance of looking respectable but not too dressed up. I tend to go out for lunch in the summertime so I have plenty of clothes for that season. I usually go out for my birthday, last year I went for tea with a friend and I might do lunch and a manicure. Summer is easy a pair of white capris and a nice top.

I remember looking in the mirror after I was all dressed and accessorized for my brother’s wedding. I didn’t recognize the person that was staring back at me. There are pictures from birthdays or lunches and it’s me only “enhanced”. There have been a couple of weddings I’ve attended where it does feel like the bride is wearing a costume. I think they go with what is traditional or what people would approve of but it doesn’t really reflect her.
Clothes are the way we present ourselves to the world. When I go into a bank I prefer the men to wear a suit. The women should not have flip flops on and I don’t want to see cleavage.
Mom used to get dressed up to go to church because she said it was the only time when she wasn’t in pants and a t-shirt. In the past few years at her church and mine we both noticed that people dressed more casually. Women didn’t wear a skirt anymore. They were dressing for comfort. Growing up I wore panty hose even in the summer time because my grandmother and mother always did. I think grandma thought it was more ladylike. Plus Janet used to say “nobody wants to see my white pasty skin”. The last time I wore panty hose was for the wedding. Oh and don’t get me started on the spanx.
There have been a few times when I will put on a shirt and think Janet would have looked good in this. Recently I put on a shirt and had a cry because it would have been what she wore. It’s strange because we never used to wear the same things. Going through the closet after Janet died and then my Mom was the hardest job. They aren’t just pieces of clothing but they are items that they wore. They hold their scent.
Nowadays my costume is jeans and a t-shirt but I love having the opportunity to having a nice dinner and wear fancy clothes.

Sweet photo challenge


What could be sweeter than a birthday. This is a picture taken when I went to afternoon tea with a friend for a belated birthday. That year I must have had 3 or 4 celebrations as there was a photo of flowers on the table, a big birthday card from a friend and my balloon release and a birthday cake at another friend’s house. It was fun but I’ve found in the past few years that I’m ok with having a quieter celebration.
When I was going through my photos it made me think of all the things that represent sweet. The first time my Mom held her granddaughter. Her first smile. Mom’s favourite photo at her 70th birthday party. That’s what makes looking at the photos tough sometimes because it’s when joy and sadness combine. Those sweet moments that are reminders of people I love and miss a lot. On Valentine’s Day that kind of seems appropriate.

Have the pancakes

Today is Shrove Tuesday or “pancake day” as it is affectionately called. I belong to a weight loss group on facebook and they are all wondering about having pancakes. The thing that kept popping up for me as I read down the posts was how it was a tradition. I would give anything to be able to share pancakes with my family. I have friends that have photos of their kids in their pajamas making pancakes.
When my sister and I were in a church group when were in our teen years and early twenties we helped every year with the pancake supper. It wasn’t what we deemed pancakes because it was from a mix (ours were always homemade). One year the youth leader wore cow tights and Janet teased him unmercifully. To be fair she wasn’t the only one. The leaders were the ones who manned the grill and we usually served or cleared the tables. He was complaining that he thought the hair on his arms was burning off so Janet teased him just pull some from the top (since he had long hair at the time). When he went to leave Janet said “I guess you have to be moooving along”. Corny but it makes me laugh.
When Janet was volunteering at the kidney foundation one of the workers was looking for a church close by to go to for pancakes. So Janet told him ours was close. Do they have ham or sausage. Oh if you want sausage you can go to this church. Someone teased her wait you are sending him to the competition and Janet said I don’t care.
Sunday was pancake day in our household. We would come down the stairs and Dad would ask are we having pancakes? When we went to the early service we changed it to Saturday morning since we didn’t have time. They were buttermilk pancakes. I don’t make them anymore because it makes a lot for one. I suppose I could make a batch and freeze them but I’ve always found that pancakes are better fresh.
In life I try to go by the 80/20 rule. For the most part I eat healthy but when I went out for lunch with my cousin I had dessert. It’s so pretty but it was good. It’s not about the food or the calories…it’s about spending time with special people. Making memories.

What did I come in here for?

I get groceries delivered and keep a basic grocery list on my IPad of the basics that I get every week…milk, eggs, bread etc. Even though I think I’m fairly organized doing it this way there are still weeks where I will go to the cupboard the morning of and find something I’m almost out of. On Thursday I stopped into the grocery store but didn’t make out a list so I wandered around the store talking to myself trying to remember what I needed. Of course the couple of items turns into an entire bag. Going to my regular place I would probably be good without a list because I would just go down every aisle and once I saw it I would remember.
I have to write out a list if I go to Shoppers Drug Mart because each one is laid out a little differently. Plus it’s not usually stuff I use everyday.
My Mom would buy a notepad at the dollar store to write out her grocery list but because I’m just picking up a few things I just use the back of an envelope. My grandmother did that too.
I used to know my friends phone number off by heart but they don’t have a landline anymore. I had to put someone’s cellphone number in my list on my home phone so that I could recognize it when it came up on caller ID. The bell sales guy put my number in my cellphone under ME so that if someone asked for the number I could find it easily (after all you aren’t phoning yourself). When I was buying furniture I had to give my phone number to the sales person and I had to think for a minute what it was. On envelopes I was still writing my old address for a long time.
I am terrible with remembering passwords. Some are just numbers. Some are letters and numbers. My IPad and apple store, My PC, log into library, Amazon, Twinless Twins membership, my bloodwork lab (so I can get the results online), voice mail and online banking. I’m sure there are ones I’m forgetting too. Wow, no wonder I have a hard time remembering them all!

I insist


When I saw the word for today this is the first thing that came to mind. It makes me laugh every time (and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen it). The reason it’s funny is it’s so true. My friend and I actually did this when we went to Eldon House for tea. Since I arranged it I was going to pay. When the waitress came with the bill and asked is this one bill or separate we both answered at the same time. The waitress teased us that is how you know you are good friends you are arguing over the bill. I told her I hope we are still doing it when we are old ladies. When we first started going out for coffee together we would do a small gift exchange at Christmas. It was probably less than $10. There are years when I spend a little more if she has gone out of her way to help me or she has had a more trying year.

When I go out for coffee with my former neighbour we tend to alternate who pays. It’s not quite even because if we go out chances are she will help me run some errands. When Mom and I went on a cruise after my Dad died this neighbour checked on the house for us. Mom bought her a sarong as a thank you gift. Of course she is the type of person to say it isn’t necessary but for Mom it is. It’s a way to say thank you.

I wrote a blog post titled “sometimes a kindness can’t be paid back” because there are so many people in my life who have helped me at difficult times in my life. My friend who I stayed with in Vancouver. My neighbour. My friend who helped me move. The many friends who let me rant or cry when I needed to. The people who just listened and never tried to “fix” it. True friends don’t keep a balance sheet. A gift is just a token…the true gift is friendship.

Simplify daily prompt

Yesterday my Uncle was mentioning on facebook that he is getting his stuff organized for planning a trip in the summer and he checked to see if his passport is up to date. I sat reading his status and thought oh shoot when I worked out the dates in my head mine expired last year. I checked it this morning and I was right. Thankfully it’s less than a year so I can still renew by mail. There is a camera store in the mall that I frequent where one can get passport photos. The passport office is in the mall too but it would probably just be as easy to mail as it’s a pretty busy place.
I also have to renew my health card this year too. That one I remembered that it came up this year and I’m pretty sure they send you a letter to remind you.
I’m debating getting an Ontario ID card which I can use for voting. Currently I use my passport but I also have to bring a piece of mail to show my address. I usually use a bank statement or something from the government so it’s “official”. It’s a little more work/paper but I didn’t want to spend the extra money on another card. When Janet and I volunteered in a campaign office for a Federal election 12 years ago we would have people call in to ask what they could use for ID if they didn’t have a drivers license. We would turn it over to the higher up people because we didn’t know. There is a list but there are still people who don’t have a health card with their picture on it so it’s very limiting. It’s probably why they came out with the ID card for people that don’t have a drivers license. I don’t remember exactly when it came out (maybe 5 years ago?)
Once a year I also have to renew my library card. Thankfully it’s easy to remember because it’s supposed to be around my birthday but it’s the producing of enough ID that is a challenge. When I would go to my local library I just produced a piece of mail and that was enough because they knew me but unfortunately other libraries are a real stickler. I don’t understand why we need ID to renew a library card??!!
Oh yes AND I stopped to get a few groceries yesterday and I could have changed over my Shoppers Optimum card (since I went to a store that is associated with the PC label) and it was in my other purse. Yet another card. I should have got a basket but I didn’t think I needed that much and I ended up balancing the stuff in my arms. I know it’s just standard for them to ask if I need a bag but if it’s obvious I’m not carrying one then yes I need one!! Mom and I both had crossbody purses to free up hands so when I came back to my building yesterday I had to dig in my good purse for my key and balance my mail and grocery bag.
There are things that I do to “simplify” my life. I have groceries delivered. I buy clothes online. I take a cab. I keep enough cash in my wallet for emergencies. I put all my appointments on my Ipad. I control the things that I can.