A blank page

Blank
I love going to a bookstore. Even if I’m not buying anything it’s fun just to wander. Although I have to admit I rarely go out of a bookstore empty handed! Because I don’t drive I tend to order items online.
There is something exciting about cracking open a new journal. When I was putting my books on the shelves I now have a place to put my journals. I had forgotten about a journal that my friend bought me for my birthday. It’s purple with black flowers. I have different journals for different purposes. This journal was to write my hopes and dreams. It was what I called my joy journal. Sadly I put it in a drawer and it has very few entries. I remember talking to a friend who told me that I didn’t have to write some momentous thing it could just be the joy of a coffee or a card in the mail. When I put it on the shelf I realized I need to get it out more.
When I went to writing class the teacher told us to journal everyday. Most people don’t do it. After my sister died and when my Dad had cancer it was my only outlet. I could write what I couldn’t say out loud.
Blog entries start out as a blank screen. I’m amazed that I have now written over 500 posts.

Orderly

Orderly
I grew up with a father who was a Type A personality, everything had to be in its place. My mother was organized in some things and not so much on others. My twin was a slob but she went out of the house looking neat. I take after my Dad although I wish I was more organized with paperwork. I have all the estate stuff in a briefcase so I know where it is.
Yesterday I was able to empty three boxes and put books on the shelves which means I can see the floor again in the office. I still have to get printer hooked up to computer!
My kitchen I’ve laid out very much like home although I no longer have a pantry/cold room in the basement so I use a cupboard to store my tins and dry food. Of course I have a cupboard just for my coffee, mugs, sweetner and napkins (which my friend found in the back of a cupboard). When I first moved in I forgot where I put stuff. I think that’s why I kind of laid it out like at my house so I’m going in the same pattern.
I have all the emails with regards to the estate in a folder labelled Mom. The ones for the House are obviously titled House. I have the Hyrdo and gas bill left on counter because I will need the account number to cancel.
I have tried to keep my surroundings orderly the past 8 months because my life has been in turmoil. In January I did Peter Walsh 31 day Declutter challenge. It was so helpful. A couple weeks ago when my friends helped me clean out junk at home they had one box for keep, a bag for garbage and a bag for goodwill. We accomplished a lot in a couple hours. I learned in this process that I had to be brutal in deciding what was kept and what was given away.
i don’t think life is ever “orderly” but friends will come along for the ride.

Personalizing my space

Epitome
image
Bookcase was delivered on Thursday but super had to assemble in stages as he only had one hour chunks in the day. Came Friday night this morning for about 40 mins and finished just after 1 when he came back again. It’s a really heavy piece of furniture.

It was like it was made for that spot because it fits perfectly! The sign on the top is my first housewarming gift from a friend. The mouse is a gift from the same friend last Christmas. Janet collected mice so it’s in memory of her. The bear was a gift for my 35th birthday. The bookends I found in the basement and thought they were kind of cool. As I emptied out a box half of the books were Janets, there were study books from church, journals and small books I got as gifts.

It’s no longer a blank wall. It’s a place to display things that mean something to me.

Homes

Fork
Yesterday I got an email from my brother with things that I needed to get for lawyer. Dads death certificate and property survey if I had one. I knew I had saved a digital copy but had to hunt a little for it! I had seen a survey at one time but didn’t come across one. Found out later it’s ok. I have the deed to the house and in amongst the papers was their mortgage and receipt for the sale of the house. It was official on June 19, 1974 two days before we were born…we were born a month early. I’m going to frame the cheque and put it in my bookcase. The house cost 20,000 and my parents had it paid off in five years even with three kids! That wouldn’t happen nowadays. A mortgage equals debt so the sooner you can pay it off the better.

A little over a week ago I had a dream about my Dad with regards to the house. I know that subconsciously I am working through all the emotions involved in selling the house. My Dad was so proud of his home, this was his castle. Before he died he had work done because he wanted Mom to be taken care of.

I was talking to a friend of Moms yesterday who mentioned that my birthday is coming up (her sons is three weeks today). Yippee. I think I’ll just have a few friends in for cake and ice cream.

Countless Memories

Countless
Today my bookcase is being delivered. I am so excited to be able to display my things so I can personalize the space. Cleaning out my closet in my former bedroom I found a little teddy bear that my sister gave me for Christmas. They were selling them at the grocery store at Christmas time and there was a set. I’m going to put other bears on there too. They aren’t just “objects” they all have memories attached.

My brother took a bag of photo albums to my Moms brother. He posted a couple on Facebook. My profile picture is of me and Mom on the cruise. My twin friends usually post their favourite photo of them and their twin on their birthday. We all want to remember that happy time that we shared with them. At the same time it does make us sad because they are no longer with us.

The year after Janet died around the time of my birthday we got a flyer advertising a lobster dinner at the inn down the street. Dad decided that he was going to treat me for my birthday. I had never had lobster before and told him I didn’t really want him to spend that much. But once he got something into his head there was no changing his mind. The hydro went out soon after we finished our meal so we were lucky. Looking back it wasn’t about the food but the fact that he wanted to make the day special.

As I write this I have tears because memories are happy and sad at the same time.

What I learned from a shoebox

Grain
Learning
Last night I emptied out a box of stuff. In the box was a shoebox full of cards from when my Dad died. There was a card from a couple that lives down the street that said how Dad was a staple in the neighbourhood…outside gardening…and how it seems unreal not to see him there anymore. We weren’t close to these neighbours but it was really touching that she took the time to write that. There were so many cards that the box was full. It made me realize how many people cared for Mom.
People don’t really know what to say for two losses so close together and they know there is nothing they can say that will make it better. I got an email from a twin recently who said I have a difficult time putting myself in your shoes. At first I didn’t know what she meant and then I realized because she hasn’t experienced it.
I found birthday cards from Mom and our Fathers Day cards the year my Dad died. That was a bad day because he didn’t know who we were but I think Rob and I both did it for ourselves. It was also the same day as my Birthday so it was doubly hard!
A card or a letter is something that we can send to someone to show we care. The sentiment is still there almost 7 years later.

I have learned

Learning
Phase
1. Being a twin meant we stood out. I learned that it changed at different points in our lives. We were cute, in high school we were “freaks” and as adults people were just intrigued.
2. Growing up I learned the value of money. I learned about investing from my Dad although I have a very basic knowledge of mutual funds.
3. My Dad taught us how to run a lawn mower, hedge trimmer and things that most people consider “men’s jobs”. I learned to take pride in the fact that I could do these things.
4. When my Dad had cancer I learned how to fight for him but also for myself. I also learned that life isn’t fair. That as much as we all prayed we didn’t get the answer we wanted.
5. Even though I have no nursing background I learned how to care for my parents.
6. grief is supposed to be over in 6 months. My twin died in September and by January I had friends telling me that a new year meant a fresh start.
7. Grief is isolating.
8. I am stronger than I ever realized. I have also come to accept compliments. People tell me how proud they are of me.
9. I have learned how to become idependent. This also means doing what is best for me.
10. As I am decorating my apartment I am learning what MY tastes are…at the same time it’s still going to be full of things that have meaning to me. Family pictures and mementos.
11. Writing this blog I have learned that this is something that I’m good at.
12. Love exists in many forms.

What’s your occupation?

Dream
On Friday when I went to the furniture store the sales guy asked what I do for a living. Then yesterday when I was signing the papers for the house the buyer had to put down my occupation. So I said for probate it’s listed as caregiver. While I am unemployed it isn’t an accurate term as I’m working at cleaning the house, picking up mail, dealing with banking and legal stuff. For the probate Mom was listed as “homemaker” but she was more than that. She was Dads partner. They made decisions together. Yes Dads decision was final but on money matters they were joint. We were lucky to have a father that could afford to have Mom stay home with us. We had homemade lunches, snacks after school, pizza days for PD days.
The big thing in our news is that the Prime Ministers wife needs an aid for all the work that she does. Tax payers are up in arms because we have to pay for it. While I’m not a Liberal supporter as someone who cared for her mother I don’t have a problem with it. It’s providing someone a job. If she stayed home full time with her kids we would complain that she isn’t supporting her husband. Think about everything that she has to give up. I’m sure she doesn’t go out for coffee with her girlfriends. in 2016 why do we still put so much emphasis on what women’s roles are?
I dream of a day when I am not treated differently by accountants, bankers, Drs just because I’m a woman.

Songs serve many purposes

Sing
Songs serve many purposes.
At the house I would blast music when I was cleaning. Usually uptempo songs. Our tradition was to put on Christmas music when we were decorating the tree…it would get us in the mood. They would have a hymn sing the Sunday after Christmas and Mom would always pick “Go tell it on the mountain” because it wasn’t one we sang anymore but she liked it. People would always pick the traditional hymns.
For my sisters funeral my friends sang “Power of your love”. For my Dads my Mom picked “In the garden”. I come to the garden alone…it had double meaning for me because I wouldn’t be gardening with Dad anymore.
When I felt depleted I would put on Brave or The Climb and just listen to them over and over. Some days I will put on a sad song to get the emotions out. You raise me up by Josh Groban is a song that I associate with my Dad and Janet.
I watch the tv show The Voice. A finalist will pick a song that is associated with a certain singer. It doesn’t matter how well they sing it I comp are it to the original. There isn’t anybody that I have really connected with this season. There just isn’t the WOW factor for me. If I had to put money on it it looks like Alisan Porter.

Furniture purchased!

Brick
I went out to furniture store this morning on my own. I was going to go with friends but neither time worked out because she got sick then I got sick.
I was wandering around and found a sectional that I liked but they were all grey or brown. Finally a salesclerk came over and I told him I wanted a red one. I said I wanted some colour “let me guess it’s builders beige”. They custom order on the one I was looking at. He pulls out the fabric and I picked the brightest one. We head back to his desk and she says “oh It comes with pillows” so had to pick out coordinating pillows. It’s black and red and brown. And it comes with 4. He asked what colour my window coverings are but I haven’t gotten to that yet! I choose red because it’s Janet’s favourite colour. It’s my way of including her in my place. I think she would be pleased.
I also FINALLY got a bookcase which will be delivered next week. Yay now I can display my stuff. The things that will make it Jennifer’s place. Plus all the stuff is stored in the spare bedroom at the moment.
There was something quite grown up about picking my own stuff. It’s fun…well until I have to pay. Although I saved the tax. I think because of the holiday weekend to get people in to the store. I feel relieved that I have furniture for living room on the way!