Saturday

Dramatic
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Yesterday was a busy day. First thing in the morning I always check emails and facebook. A friend of mine was having a garage sale and posted photos. She said if anyone saw something they liked to message her to let her know. I was looking through her photos thinking she might have something I could use as a nightstand and found this. I messaged her and she said it was still available. When I said I would have to arrange for someone to pick it up she offered to drop it off for me. It needs cleaning so if anyone knows how to clean the wood let me know!
About an hour later my new chaise arrived. It’s comfy if a little slippery. I’ll probably have to move it around a little when the couch comes.
It had called for rain yesterday but although it was cloudy it hadn’t rained and was quite pleasant temperature wise so I decided to walk down to the park for
Ribfest. Oh my goodness I could smell it as soon as I got a few feet from my apartment building. There was an article once in the paper that gave the advice to go to the one with the shortest line so that’s what I did. They are all award winning ribs. Janet and I went to Ribfest and chose Boss Hogs but they had the longest line this year. I took a plastic bag with me so that I could carry it back to my apartment. About half way home I looked up to the sky and said “see Dad I made it to Ribfest!” Every year he would ask if we were going. It was the last event in the city that Janet and I went to. I got a roll of film developed after she died and there she was eating her ribs. Even something as simple as ribs has a lot of memories for me. A few years ago I got pulled pork sandwiches after church for Mom and me.
No Drama, just a pleasant Saturday afternoon.

How far I’ve come

Admire
Two years ago today I wrote something for a friend of mine to give to her. I started three times before I decided on what I was going to write. In June my writing teacher gave us the assignment for homework to write about someone who inspires us so I wrote about my friend. I took the letters A to Z and described her with each letter. A was awesome…of course. B was beautiful. When I started it was hard because I wanted to do her justice but I was also scared of taking on a task as personal as this. When I read a little bit out to class my teacher said it was like nothing I had written before which was true. Of course I knew that my friend would like anything given from the heart.
Why does she inspire me? She’s artistic, smart, beautiful, funny, caring. She passionate in what she believes in. She’s adventurous which I am not. And yet she’s inspired by MY strength. She encourages me so much in my writing.
I realized this morning how far I have come in the past two years. I’ve learned what doesn’t work for me. I’ve become independent. I’m finding my own style with furnishing my place. And found a place on my own.
I’m proud of myself.

Narrow photo challenge

imageNarrow
This is the first photo that came to mind when I saw the photo challenge for this week. It’s the narrowest building in Chinatown in Vancouver, BC. When my friend took my picture a guy came along and said “narrowest building!”.
I was very lucky when I went to Vancouver 9 years ago that it only rained one day in almost a week. The day it rained makes for a good story because I got a very wet bum sitting on the ground watching the whales outside the aquarium. It also gave us…ok ME…an excuse to take the tour bus around the park instead of walking. My Dad couldn’t believe I walked as far as I did. Trust me my feet could tell him I did.
This is just one of many awesome pictures of a fabulous trip.

CHANGE

Unstoppable
What is the one thing that is impossible to stop or prevent? Change.
After each loss in my life I have changed. When Janet died I fought it because I wanted to remain the person that she knew but that was impossible because I could only be that person with her. I don’t laugh as easily anymore. I’m not as trusting. There are times when I’m not confident making decisions because she helped me.
I’ve become more guarded. Most of the time when I go out somewhere I will pass my supers in the hall and will be asked where I am going. That still takes some getting used to. But at the same time it’s a lovely community atmosphere.
Going to the bank is probably the biggest change. Because I still remember starting an account for the first time with a couple hundred dollars when I was a teenager. I grew up with an allowance. We got some little things for Christmas and perhaps one big thing like a CD player or a new outfit for church. I haven’t changed but their reaction to me certainly has. There is a sense of power that comes from money. But I also realize that when in Rome I have to act the part.
Time is unstoppable. In a little over a month it will September the month I dread. Made harder because it will be one year for Mom and ten years since my twin died. How is that possible? A couple new twins that I met told me I gave them hope. I dont have the answers. September will always hurt. There have been years where it physically hurts like a kick in the stomach. That’s something nobody tells you that some days grief is unstoppable. The memories come flooding back or there is a trigger and all I want to do is punch something.

Companions on the road

Shared Journeys
When I went to the twins conference I willed the cab driver to go faster because I couldn’t wait to get there. I chose to go early so that I coukd relax in the afternoon or just hang out with whoever was there early. As soon as I got to the front desk someone asked if I was a twin. Thursday night I had dinner with a group of people. One woman I hadnt seen since the first conference I went to in Toronto. She sent me a book of short stories after my Dad died. Messages of hope. She phoned to make sure I was ok. I have another twin who sent me many letters after I met her. She’s special because she has never given the platitudes. She says this journey is hard because we miss our twins. She told me once that there are times it’s harder as years go by because there are more things that they miss. My brothers wedding, the birth of our nieces.
Friday started at 7 when I went down to join my fellow twins for breakfast. This is the first year that we got a full breakfast as we usually just get continental. It’s so nice to be able to mingle at breakfast and eat at a table instead of standing up. What my Mom would call “civilized”.
At 8AM We had inspirations for the day. Luckily I came prepared with a package of Kleenex in my purse!! She started with the song YOU RAISE ME UP sung by Selah. The song has special meaning as it is one of Janet’s favourite songs sung by Josh Groban. Then she did a reading called stained glass. About putting our broken pieces back together again and how the end result is different but still beautiful. Ended with the song A LITTLE FARTHER DOWN THE ROAD by Alan Pederson. How it will get better. After Saturday’s message we went around the room giving hugs. There is nothing like a big twin hug!! How I miss hugs!
We always have a guest speaker. She talked about how after our loved one dies all we see is darkness. That all of these people in the room form a chandelier of light. I loved that analogy. She even had a magic wand with her and how she wanted it to work so bad. I remember that feeling. I could really connect to her message it was almost like she spoke to me directly.
Friday afternoon we all changed into our shirts for the Memory walk and balloon release. I chose not to do the walk this time because it was very hot. I did it six years ago and I felt such a connection to Janet as we went for walks in our neighbourhood.
We all stood on the hill and released our balloon to the song “let your heart beat again”. A common theme that kept coming up for me was brokenness. A line in the song says “like a thousand pieces on the floor”. There is something very powerful about watching a hundred balloons float away with messages to our twin or loved one as there were many support people.
Here I am Janets twin, surrounded by people on the same journey.
A fellow Twinless twin came back to stay with me for a couple days. We both felt that it was full circle as we met in Detroit in 2010. We went out for dinner at the inn that I have raved about. Just after the waitress had taken our order JB exclaims that she can see a butterfly on one of the flowers. I once saw two butterflies at Janets grave. When we left I got pictures of her sitting on the bench. But just when we went outside the front door she spots a robin. We were sure that it was going to fly away but she took a picture and then I took one and it was sitting there as if to say I’m waiting for you. Robins mean HOME. The butterfly and the robin are signs.
The great thing about friends who come along on the journey is that they share in the sorrows and the joys.

Perfection

Elusive
If you have been following my posts the last little while you will know that I have had some “issues” (to put it mildly) with finding furniture. At first some stuff was on back order. Couch finally came but too big so had to be set back.
Furniture placement for a long narrow room was a challenge to begin with. Not to mention I wanted the couch to be red. Red is my twins favourite colour. She will always be beside me. A few weeks ago I found a red loveseat. It was half off which was even better. This morning I went out to BadBoy but they didn’t have what I wanted on the floor only online and I’m a type of person who has to try it out before I buy. The store where I purchased the couch was across the road so I went in and got my refund. I wandered around and found a chaise but the arm was on the wrong side because I wanted it on the left. Plus when I sat in it my legs were too long. She showed me one at the back and I like it. It is an ivory vinyl chaise with no arms.
After I paid I questioned whether vinyl would go with a fabric sofa? Why am I so worried about this? I have different coloured wood in my living room but somehow it goes. It’s about picking out things that I like. I’m going to take the pillows off the couch and put them on the chaise and then get accent pillows for couch.
My parents always got the sofa with matching chair. They had two end tables so my Aunt said it looks like a furniture showroom. My Mom didn’t like coffee tables so we never had one.
My furniture is all new except for TV stand and my Dads lazy boy. I still need a night stand or a small side table for my bedroom. I feel like it’s coming along though.
Rooms that are a reflection of me.

My Sanctuary

Sanctuary
Growing up my Grandmothers sanctuary would be her sewing room. My grandfathers would be the living room because that’s where he headed off to when he decided “the girls” were talking too much. He just wanted to watch the baseball game in peace. They had a dinky black and white TV in that room though. Why didn’t they splurge and just get another TV..but I digress.
My Dads sanctuary would be his garden. That’s why when he died my Mom chose the hymn In The Garden. After he was finished his work for the day he would sit under the walnut tree or under the deck.
Janet and I sat on the deck and that was our peaceful spot. Of course our bedrooms were our sanctuary growing up because it was really our only private place in the house. Except for twice a year when my Dad put the screens or storm windows on and then we had to make sure our rooms were tidy. Although in later years he gave us fair warning.
As I’m writing this I realize that mom didn’t have a spot to call her own. My Dad was a restless sleeper so she couldn’t call that her sanctuary. He would get up in the middle of the night and watch a little TV go back to bed and put his cold feet on her legs. But after he died she missed all of those things.
I painted my bedroom a colour called yellow raincoat. It isn’t a calming colour but it reminds me of the colour of a sunset. There is something very calming about water. one of Janets favourite spots when we did a tour of California was Santa Barbara.
When I was looking for an apartment I knew that I had to find a place that felt right. Moving from a house to an apartment I wondered if it would feel like home but it does. I can vacuum my whole place in 20 minutes! Since the living room is long I have a place to put my Christmas tree. It was one thing that I wanted to keep because there are so many memories there.
I posted a photo my friend took at the Inn. A twin friend of mine said I looked so relaxed. The Inn is my sanctuary too. A place that is special.

Watching American politics

Punishment
Having recently returned from a conference that is held in the states I didn’t discuss politics unless the other person brought it up. Since I live in Canada she asked if she could move here. The new President has to be able to work with other nations.
Why is there so much anger? I just don’t get it. Many years ago before I was old enough to vote people voted NDP because they were angry at the guy going to the polls too early. They thought oh he will never get in but he did.
Voting shouldn’t be an either or choice. Although there have been times when I haven’t really liked any of the candidates. But I always make sure I’m an informed voter. But whomever is elected represents me whether I voted for him or her or not.
Personally I don’t think politics should be entertainment. It was why Dad stopped watching question period in Ottawa. Grown men and women acting like children.
Being able to represent your country should be an honour. I wish everyone thought that way.

Slowly learning

Slowly
My parents were private people. There are some parts of going to conference that are hard for me. Sharing the story of how she died even though the story is very public. I wish when we went to conference people would ask who she was instead of how she died. We are all there because our twins died does it really matter how? I learned that I now have labels. I’m Twinless and I’m an orphan.
I had a woman at conference tell me I need a man. I’m slowly learning that some people cant comprehend being ok on your own. An independent woman scares people off. It opened my eyes to how much I have accomplished. It has been five years since the last time I went to conference and I’m not the same person.
I’m not as trusting anymore. People turn out to be different in person than they are online. Being asked if I’m ok at conference just because I’m quiet makes me uncomfortable. But I realize it’s because for so long I’ve had to paste the smile on and fake it or I just avoided people all together. Will this person be scared off? Will this person say something stupid?
I’m slowly learning that I shouldnt feel guilty for having a beautiful apartment and nice things. That this is my life now.
I’ve also learned that writing is something that I do for myself. Many people at conference don’t even know what a blog is. But the fact that one twin told me I have a purpose and to keep writing makes it worthwhile.

Free time

Carefree
What an interesting word for today. I wouldn’t say I’m carefree but as I write this I have no plans for the day. It’s weird to think that I am done all the business stuff, house is sold and furniture is purchased. I do have to go to bank eventually but there is no rush. I would like to get another chair for my place too but am going to wait until fall when it’s not 40 degrees outside.
I was talking to a twin friend about the fact that I don’t really know what free time feels like. He told me that I can now do whatever I want. He suggested taking some writing classes. Not at library like through a school or online courses which is a good idea.
i have time to read a book although I can’t even get a book out of the library as I haven’t updated my card since my Birthday which was a month ago. Add that to the list!
there is always something that needs doing.