Lists

Faded
The theme for this weeks Discover challenge is lists. It’s interesting how people that live in a house think I don’t have as much to do as they do but I still have a list of things to do! Today I’m meeting with accountant and eventually I should do the legal stuff for myself. I have been doing this stuff for over a year and I don’t really want to think about it anymore but that’s also like sticking my head in the sand. It will give me piece of mind knowing stuff is taken care of.
I also need to go shopping. I don’t like going to the mall this time of year but my Uncle always bought my Mom a funny Christmas card and I want to continue the tradition with him. Shoppers Drug Mart used to carry a few but haven’t found any. I’m undecided about gifts for a couple people but I don’t like just waking aimlessly around the mall either.
Of course I still have to put up my tree. Probably this weekend. I have a few friends that have already put theirs up. It will be much easier this year because everything is in one place.
This time of year I would be bringing out the Christmas card list. Most of my friends I’m going to see anyway so I don’t need one. I do need to buy a box and that’s on the list too! I miss sitting at the table with Mom writing cards.
Everybody has lists.

Honouring love

Culture
A fellow blogger made a comment on my blog post about Christmas. I went over to her blog and she ended it the same way that it isn’t Christmas without love. Even though my family isn’t physically with me anymore the love is still there or should I say ALWAYS there.
Last night I was talking to a family member whose husband died Christmas Eve. It’s sad because for her the season will always be tied to that day. It makes me sad though because I believe our loved ones would want us to be happy. I’m not saying it’s easy because after Dad died Mom and I went away. When Mom died I couldn’t wait for it to be over. But eventually the good memories come flooding back if we let them.
Christmas isn’t happy for everyone. My former neighbours son got laid off, the first Christmas without a parent, sibling, spouse.
This was the first song last night on The Voice. I think it’s a good way to end blog

Words

Vigor
A friend of mine sent me a picture of my niece and my brothers wife sitting on the beach in matching swimsuits and underneath it’s titled “twinning”. When my niece was 6 months old they took her and her cousin to see Santa. They were accidentally wearing the same outfit. Of course everyone thought it was cute but I was reminded of Janet and I dressing alike for years. Memories of us when we were little. But these things continued. Other people would comment underneath “twinnies”.
It was so disrespectful because I am still a twin. It’s like it takes away what makes Twins special. But she’ll never get it.
In my family after Janet died we weren’t allowed to talk about her. Until I went to the Twinless Twins conference in Toronto I thought I was no longer a twin. It took me a long time to learn how to honour her. I didn’t care anymore if it made people uncomfortable because I was going to talk about her.
Maybe this is why this blog is so important. People used to say we were shy. Oh we always had things to say now I have a forum to do so.

It’s not Christmas without

It’s Not This Time of Year Without…
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A couple of years ago I wrote a poem for a Christmas party for writing class. I titled it Traditions.
Growing up the season wouldn’t be complete without cards, baking, a Christmas tree, presents, Christmas music. When we were teenagers we ushered for the Christmas Eve service. Afterwards we usually took a drive to look at the lights. Janet and I would often go for walks in our immediate neighbourhood. We would actually critique the houses…that one needs more bows or that one would look better with white lights instead of coloured.
Growing up we always had our dinner between 12 and 1 it gave us time to digest. We would graze in the afternoon and dig into Dads chocolates. At 6 or so we would have appetizers and a salad and squares.
It wouldn’t be Christmas morning without the Fireplace channel. It was a station that just showed a fire while Christmas carols played. My brother thought it was dumb but it was very soothing and this was my Dad’s tradition.
We also watched Days of our Lives hanging of the Christmas ornaments. Makes me cry every time. It doesn’t matter that the characters aren’t real it’s what it represents…family and the people that aren’t here. Janet and I bought ones at a Christmas bazaar at centennial hall many years ago. Now they take on a whole new meaning. The year Janet died my father didn’t understand why I was putting her name on the tree but since I was decorating I did it anyway. I purchased a Christmas in heaven ornament and that went at the back because I didn’t want anyone to know…only I did. The following year Dad asked if I put Janet’s name on the tree. I like to think now he knows why I did it.
The mice ornament is one I purchased a few year after she died. It was our tradition that I got her mice ornaments from hallmark. I saw this one and knew I had to get it. Of course the sales lady asked if it was a gift and I just said yes. I don’t tell anyone it’s in memory of my twin.
Now Christmas brings with it sadness. It always will because I miss my family. I miss sharing the season with them.
Christmas means spending it with friends. Going to see the lights in Victoria Park. Hot chocolate at Starbucks.
It’s not Christmas without LOVE

Not chaotic

Chaotic
Yesterday I did some vacuuming and a load of laundry…all in the morning. I can vacuum my entire apartment in no time at all. When I was looking after my parents and house I never seemed to get ahead unless we hired a cleaning company. There is something comforting about having order a place for everything.
It’s a month until Christmas Eve. Most years I would feel great stress about that. I do still have lots of time to buy gifts. I actually got an idea from tv. Monday I took recycling outside and noticed a sign in the elevator for a toy drive. I knew there was a reason I liked my building. I am blessed to be able to spend a little more this year so I will add that to the list. I’m going to pick out something for a boy because I know they say for Salvation Army that older boys are harder to buy for.
The word the other day was anticipation which I think is appropriate because I have been counting down the days until I see my friend since I found out she would be visiting her family this year. When I exchange with my friend DK we have done it at home the past few years. It’s so busy everywhere that it’s quieter. I have to put my tree up soon. Some of my friends already have theirs up. You shouldn’t have it up before advent. My Dad wouldn’t let us put it up until about two weeks before.
I haven’t decided whether I’m going to send out cards this year. I do have to buy a box because I need ones for friends I will be seeing. My Moms brother always gave her a slightly crude one so I’ve started doing it too.
Today is Thanksgiving for my American friends. Never understood why on all the cooking shows it’s three weeks of recipes, turkey to brine or not to brine, what to do if your pie is too runny etc. It’s just one day! Enjoy the chaos and eat lots of stuffing!

Between there and here

Mind the Gap
The discover challenge for this week is MIND THE GAP. I was thinking this over and I thought about how when I share memories about my family here the gap becomes smaller. It’s like they are sitting beside me sharing in the laughter.
The past couple of days they have been advertising a Christmas special on Global for the PC insiders collection. They have maple bacon popcorn. This made me think of how every time we went to a festival in the city with Dad I had to buy caramel popcorn to share with Dad. My siblings liked the plain bettter so this was something I shared with Dad.
My Dad was the hardest person to buy for at Christmas time. There were years he would go out two or three weeks before Christmas and buy a new pair of slippers or a new shirt and we would exclaim “DAD!! We could have bought you that!” On Christmas Day we would hand him his gift and after opening ask “how much did this cost you?” It’s a gift you’re not allowed to ask that. My Mom was the type of person who was happy with whatever you gave her. Although the funny thing is I’m using an item that I gave her that she never used. It’s a bag to keep your plastic bags. It has an elastic bottom so you can pull them out one at a time.
Tuesday is grocery delivery day. When he left I was putting the stuff away and realized I forgot to put freezer bags on the list and I was all out. Then I remembered I threw one in a bag when I moved. Yep, found it! My Mom always had supplies ahead. I found a 6 pack of paper towels and a big bag of toilet paper. When I moved I didn’t have to buy toilet paper for AGES! When my brother was sharing a house when he was in university he came home one weekend and raided our stuff knowing Mom always had stuff in the closet. We filled up a margarine container with laundry detergent for him. Although we both learned from Mom because we both have a closet with Kleenex, toilet paper etc.
When I share the memories I also know how much I was loved.

Movies

Aromatic
There isn’t much on tv Sunday night so I often watch a movie On Demand. The new releases were a choice of crude comedies or comic book action movies. I went to the search area and found a movie titled LOVE HAPPENS. I had never heard of it so did a google search. I also watched the preview because I have gotten caught thinking it sounds ok and it turns out different than the write up. It looked like a sweet movie so I thought what the heck.
It’s about a guy that is based on Tony Robbins…a self help guru. It’s a grief workshop. All the while the guy is masking his own grief.
I read some of the reviews and they called it a tepid romance. I thought it was just right. There is a part in the movie where a man who really doesn’t want to be there gets angry because his son will never get to grow up and do the things that he thought he would do with him. He’s was a contractor but gave it all up after his son died. So they go on a field trip to thr hardware store. One woman comes around the corner with a tool belt. He picks up a hammer and hold it in his hand. He smiles. Complete strangers who came together in their grief to help someone get back on his feet. It’s why so many people commented when I posted that I was moving or when I would post photos of my new furniture. They have been with me through the ups and downs.
The movie doesn’t have a happy ending like you would think. It’s more of a new start for both of them. Totally relatable.

Snow

Scorched
It started snowing about the time that I went to bed and by morning the ground was covered. We are expected to get up to 20 cm. A few years ago Mom hired a company to shovel the driveway. They phoned last year around October wondering if I still wanted it. They even shovel the porches. It was such a relief not to have to go outside in -25 degree Celsius weather to shovel.
Now I live in an apartment and I am so glad I don’t have to bag leaves anymore or shovel snow or take the garbage out in the winter to the curb. I just put it down the garbage chute.
It’s a little over a month until Christmas and I have a good start on presents. I’ll probably put my Christmas decorations on my bookcase. I do miss the mantle. My Dad wouldn’t let us decorate the mantle so after he died I did. We have a huge window in the living room in our house so the tree went there. Now the tree will go in front of the patio door.
I’m actually looking forward to winter. The chance to slow down. I have been running for over a year, playing catch up on some things that I put off. I do miss going to writing class. They don’t hold one until the spring due to weather. It could snow, freeze rain and sometimes both. It’s something to look forward to.

MAGIC

Magic
Christmas 1976
I don’t need a picture to describe the magic of
Christmas. Obviously I don’t remember this picture being taken but it represents everything Christmas was growing up…stockings made by grandma placed on the mantle, presents, family and love. Being so excited that I couldn’t sleep the night before. Running down the stairs to see what Santa brought. That’s part of the magic too is believing that Santa ate the cookies. And knowing that my Dad who was very practical ate the cookies so we would believe. My grandparents got us red sleds for Christmas. They put them out on the balcony and told us Santa left them. How much fun we had with those sleds.
I could have posted a photo of our tree. When I put the ornaments on I can remember when we got them or i remember who gave them to us. Putting our names on the tree is always going to be hard now. I didn’t put up a tree the year my Dad died or last year.
Next Friday is the lighting of the lights at Victoria Park. I went with a friend to the observation deck at city hall one year. It’s so beautiful you can see the entire park. The magical thing this year will be sharing it with my friend.

MONEY

Mythical
Growing up my immediate family would be classified as middle class. My grandfather worked at parkwood and my grandmother was a receptionist at Victoria hospital. By the time we came along they were nearing retirement. They took many trips together, enjoyed going out to eat and buying the occasional treat for their grandchildren. My Dad was a letter carrier and my Mom was able to stay at home and look after three kids.
I still remember going to the bank to open my first account in my name. I think we were 13. When we went with Mom to her bank we were nobodies because we didn’t have an account there. But I’ve also come in contact with the financial planners who all they see is dollar signs. Nobody is going to understand what the money really represents is being an orphan.
We used to go out to the poshest restaurants with Dads siblings once a year. I would sit there thinking oh this is how the upper class gets treated. But I didn’t like it. I naively thought everyone should be treated equally in the world regardless of how much money you have. Dealing with my
Moms estate I quickly learned the world doesn’t work that way. People treat me differently and yet I’m the same person. I’m the person that grew up with parents who taught me the value of money. The money provides me with a nice home and the opportunity to share it a little with friends. This year I don’t have a budget for Christmas gifts. Im going to enjoy spending. I love seeing the look on someone’s face when I find the perfect gift. That’s priceless.