Real people

Yesterday I wrote about how the news has not been good the past few days. It made me feel really discouraged. I went online and saw that there was a group formed to support the families that lost their homes in the fire. When I saw the news I thought what would it feel like to lose everything that I owned. Thankfully no one was hurt but it isn’t just the physical items it’s also the emotional toll of having to replace ID and photos that can never be replaced. Memories made in that home. So many people have written how unfair it is. This young woman damaged so many peoples lives for the cost of taking a cab home.
People in London have been incredibly generous. Businesses have brought food to the community centre. Even people that can’t physically donate someone else will come and pick it up from them. Kids will need backpacks and school supplies. People have offered to give gift cards so that the families can buy their own clothes.
As I see all of these posts across Facebook it fills my heart. It’s a city/community coming together to help in any way they can.

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Newcomer

Honestly this is one of those days where I really don’t know what to write. I feel very disheartened reading the news of the past few days. The city is doing construction downtown. Some is regular maintenance replacing sewer lines etc and some is cosmetic. Because of the construction there is less foot traffic which means there have been some break ins. So not only do the businesses have to put up with less customers, the inconvenience of construction work they also have to pay to fix broken windows and lost merchandise (although it’s probably covered by insurance). A couple of days ago there was a story about a fight in a neighbourhood. Then late last night there was a woman who was driving the wrong way on a one-way street and hit a house which caused an explosion. Many people had to be evacuated and half a dozen are now homeless.
It makes me sad because this doesn’t represent the city that I live in. Recently there was a link to a story on the CBC page where someone wrote about the things that he loves about London. So they asked for people to comment underneath what they love about living in London. One woman wrote that she needed to read that because she was cursing the construction and all she could think of were the negative things.
For me it has always been about the people. Yesterday while I was waiting for my cab my super came out to ask how I was. When I came back her husband was talking to a tenant and then we got talking about our ailments. Of course he makes me laugh. Yes my apartment is spacious and I chose it because it has everything I need. But the fact that these people made me feel welcome was a bonus. The sad thing is they are the exception and not the rule. Shouldn’t every business treat you like you are valued? Those are the ones that we are going to go back to.
I’ve lived in London my entire life so I can’t look at it from the perspective of a “newbie”. I have nothing to compare it to. It’s home.

Intentional

This morning I went to get a much needed haircut. I decided to go to my semi-regular place so I could get a few things at Shoppers and have a coffee. Since I went to a different salon the last time I didn’t know that they changed their hours from 9AM to 10. Whenever I go for coffee with my friend I try to remember to bring my travel mug in order to cut down on waste. While I was having my leisurely coffee I paid attention to how many people had their own mug. It wasn’t very many.
Last Thursday they had an event at the farmers market where you can bring in your extra reusable grocery bags and they will put them in a bin for others to use. Most people use a cart or bring their own bag but it’s a fabulous idea.
I recently came across a fairly new store called Unwrapped Marketplace. They are having an eco-waste workshop in conjunction with the market so that is how I found out about them. I sent a link to the business page for a friend of mine since I know that she is trying to reduce her plastic use. Last year during the municipal election one of the candidates was asked about green bins. I thought I read somewhere that it was going to be phased in next year but according to the CTV facebook page it’s at least a couple of years off. There are smaller cities than ours that already have them. Sure you can argue that if you live in a house you can have a bin in your backyard, but not everybody does.
A small thing might seem like a drop in the bucket but we have to start somewhere.

Spacious


Last week I had a new grocery delivery person. As soon as she came in she said “wow, your place is HUGE”. The funny thing is that is what everyone says the first time they come to my apartment. Because I didn’t have a lot of time to look for an apartment I did a lot of research online. Although someone suggested a couple of apartments near me I knew they were too small. I had people tell me an apartment is not a house it’s going to be small but I wasn’t going to settle if this was going to be my forever home.
I grew up in a 4 bedroom home but I wouldn’t consider it spacious. Our living room was big enough for the 5 of us but wasn’t really conducive to company. The master bedroom would fit a queen comfortably but all the other rooms could only fit a twin. I could easily fit a king in my room now with room to spare and my closet is HUGE! We did have decent size closets so that was a plus. Nowadays most masters have an ensuite…we shared a full bath with 5 people. We had a HUGE backyard and we enjoyed playing in the snow and making snowmen. We lived in the house for about 20 years before my Dad had a deck built. My Dad preferred to sit underneath a tree but Janet and I would sit outside after supper until it was dark.
I always find it interesting when people comment on my place for the first time. Even though my apartment is spacious I didn’t want to fill it up. I wanted something that looked lived in but didn’t look cluttered and I hope I found that balance. The grocery person also commented on my teddy bears which I have displayed in my bookcase. I know it may seem weird for a 45 year old to display teddy bears but all the home shows that I watch all say your home should reflect who you are. It’s certainly modern but there are a lot of sentimental touches. My family picture in the entryway. The quilt that I bid on at the Twinless Twins conference. The red couch that is Janet’s favourite colour.

This is my favourite spot. Like Goldilocks it’s “just right”

Surreal

A few days ago I found out that a friend of mine from the church I grew up in is now a grandmother. The surreal part is she is the same age as me…45. I was talking to someone from church (who is also my former neighbour) and we both said how it’s sad that her parents are both deceased. It was one of those times when I wish my Mom and sis were here to share it with. I’ve known her since kindergarten and a lot of memories came flooding back. My coffee buddy said “time flies”.
On Monday when I went down to check for mail I found the latest Oprah magazine in my mailbox. The theme for the month is friendships. The key to long lasting friendships. It’s an interesting coincidence as my friend and I have grown apart. So if I had to think about what the key (or keys) is for me it would start with TIME. How much time does it take to sit down and send someone an email to say I was thinking of you. COMMUNICATION would be a big thing too. And 2-way communication not one sided telling me about you did on the weekend. At one time we would phone to give someone good news, now we posted it on Facebook for our hundreds of “friends” to see. RESPECT. This is one that came up often at the Twinless Twins conference I went to. As adults we get to make our own decisions. We don’t have to always agree with each other but a true friend doesn’t judge.
Of course long lasting friends show up when you need them. My former neighbour brought me ribs on Monday because I have been dealing with a bad back and haven’t been able to walk too far. My coffee buddy always tells me how proud she is of me when I find a way to do something on my own.
In my last blog post I wrote about how my friend took all my thoughts from my head and put them on my card. Yeah that’s kind of surreal how she can do that. True friends can hear the things that you don’t say. It’s being there when times are tough but rejoicing in the good times.

“Party”


There have been moments this summer when I have done things on my own where I wish Janet was there. The first card that my friend ever did in colour Janet and I were in a hot air balloon. It was one of the last things we did together on a roll of film. When I went to Eldon House for Canada Day I thought about how it would have been fun to have Janet to go with. This card represents all of those thoughts and memories in my head. It’s a party on a card.
I have mentioned before how the fact that the drawings now have colour kind of reflected a time in my life where colour came back. Signs came into my life because I was ready to see them. I can celebrate special times in my life knowing Janet is always with me.

Passage of time


On Facebook there is a feature called Memories that shows your posts from previous years. Today it showed a class picture that I had posted from grade 5 I believe. The picture of me and Janet is taken from our public school graduation which is 31 years ago. I am friends with a lot of my public school classmates on facebook. The passage of time means many are married, have children. Maybe they have moved away or in the case of my friend far, far away. But each person will comment on a picture and even though many years have passed the memories are still fresh. Each person has their own memory. Or there are memories that I had forgotten until someone else brings it up. I stayed with a friend when I went to Vancouver. Despite the fact that it was almost 20 years since we had seen each other it was like no time had passed at all.
Recently a picture came up when my cousin came to visit when she was here for a festival downtown. It was hard to believe that it has been 5 years since it was taken. We were going to go for coffee and Mom suggested that she come to the house. Since we lived across the street from our grandparents she kiddingly said I think I can find it. Those photos and memories became extra special because Mom died a little over a year later. As much as people may complain about Facebook it was how she and I reconnected.
Yesterday a friend helped me with some stuff. We have known each other for years as we grew up in the same church and helped with Sunday School. She was someone where our relationship didn’t change after Janet died.
There are always going to be those people in our lives that are only in our lives for a season. The people that we classified as friends are now acquaintances. Time often gives us perspectives on things that we couldn’t see in the moment. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that it’s inevitable. There is no explaining why some friends stay forever and some don’t. Those forever friends are gifts.

Battery

Some days I feel like this word is the bane of my existence. When I went away I had my cellphone in my purse mostly to use it to see what time it was. When I pulled it out I saw that the battery was lower than I thought and I didn’t bring the charger. Since I rarely use my phone I don’t charge it every day like I do my iPad. When I was on the train everyone around me was on their cellphone. One morning when I was having breakfast outside the 3 people next to me were all on their phones too.
I am old school and prefer to use a camera to take pictures instead of a cellphone. But I’ve come to realize that I’m alone in this. My camera has a battery that you slip into a charger that plugs into the wall. When the light turns green it’s fully charged. I was talking to a friend recently about the fact that everyone uses their cellphones to take pictures and she says she is guilty of that. Does anyone print them off from their phone?
A lot of people don’t have a landline anymore. To save money they just use their cellphone. I need a landline to let people into the building but I also prefer to have a phone that is plugged in.
I hated the job of replacing the batteries in our smoke detectors. The ones in the building must be wired in because they have never changed them.
We often refer to going away on vacation as recharging our batteries. I know for my teacher friends summer is their time to rest. We all need to take time for ourselves even if it’s just a spa day. Electronics don’t run on low batteries and neither do we.

Grateful

I’m grateful that I have people that care about me. Yesterday a friend took me to the Dr because I came home with pain in my right leg. Because I live in an apartment I tell my supers when I go away in case there is an emergency they know I’m not home. She phoned in the evening to check to see how I was and even offered to take me to urgent care if it got worse. When I was looking after my Mom I got used to doing things on my own so it took so time to get used to having people there for me. I don’t know how I lucked out to live where I do and have such wonderful superintendents but I’m thankful everyday that I live here.
I’m really really thankful that I have a fridge full of healthy food again. Of course when I don’t feel well it’s a blessing to have a service that delivers my groceries. I had a new person yesterday and when she was leaving she noticed my family picture. She is the only one that ever has. I told her that it was the first thing that I put up when I moved in.
I told my friend that I am thankful for a walk in shower. Not having to step in and out of a shower is a great thing!
Call display! I think we all have had moments in our lives when someone phones that we just don’t have the energy to speak to. It makes me even more thankful for the family members that truly care. The people I can be real with.
On Friday it’s going to be 45 degrees Celsius or about 110F which makes me glad I have central air. As I write this it’s pouring rain AGAIN. I guess it’s supposed to make us more thankful for the nice sunny days.

The joy of ice cream. I changed my profile pic to a photo of me licking my ice cream at this cute shop across the street from the hotel. It makes me smile because it’s fun.

Breathtaking beauty


I love sunsets. When Mom and I went on our cruise 10 years ago I would take a picture every night. I find it interesting how each one is different. Some nights I will take a picture with my iPad but this day I decided to get my camera out because I could zoom in. It is stunning.
The second picture is taken sitting on the outdoor patio at the hotel in Burlington. There is something about water that I find calming.
Nature provides us with its own beauty. The changing colours of leaves, the colourful bounty of produce right now, the sparkle of newly fallen snow.