No replacement

Replacement
This morning I had to go to a new Dr. Because this was my first time they went through family history…that was fun. The weird question was whether I live alone and then the Dr asked if I had any family. It will be 2 years since Mom went into the hospital tomorrow. It’s not like I knew but my body knew. It hurts to have to say it out loud that I don’t have a family. Because as much as I have wonderful friends the Drs aren’t asking that.

I miss going for walks with Janet. Helping Mom do the crossword in the newspaper. Watching our favourite tv shows together. The other day I thought of something and how Mom would have told me “now, now don’t be catty” but sometimes she would do it too and then we would laugh so hard. She wasn’t just my Mom she was my friend.
My Dad was the person who taught me about money. He taught me about family loyalty and I definitely get my organizational skills from him. He was type A personality.

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Yellow

Yellow
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It’s pretty obvious I like yellow. I was thinking the other day how our jumpers were made in yellow and red. We were 4 so my grandma must have picked out the colours. Did we gravitate to them naturally? I know it later years when we picked out our own clothes we still wore the colours. One would think because we were twins we could wear the same colours but I don’t look good in red. Janet could wear gold but not a canary yellow. She was more warm tones and I would be more cool tones.
When I was really little my room was painted light yellow with yellow curtains with white kittens on them.

When I redid my room I picked out a paint chip that is called “yellow raincoat”. My friend teased me that it’s school bus yellow. I remember when I was having the room measured for new carpet and the guy told me “so many people are afraid of colour. I like it”. I told my twin friends that I lived in a world of grey at the time after losing my twin and my Dad that I didn’t want my room to be. It reminded me of the colour of a sunrise. Even on the cloudiest days it was still sunny in my room.

The quilt on the bed is one I bid on at an auction at a Twinless twin conference. I saw it on the wall the first day and knew I had to have it. There was a moment when I thought am I crazy to bid on this but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. When I got it home I noticed that it has my favourite colours yellow and purple and Janet’s red and hunter green. It really was meant to be. It’s now hanging on a wall in my living room.

Yellow is a happy colour. Daffodils, rubber duckies, smiley faces. It’s the colour of the sun (although I haven’t seen it for a long time!)

Not simple

Filter
Yesterday I was looking up the bus route for a friend from out of town. I had used it to go to the hospital but wasn’t sure exactly where the stop was for where she wanted to go. Because I googled it I saw that the one bus only comes every half and hour. I thought “wow, when did that happen?” It’s the only route that goes directly to Victoria Hospital and Parkwood. Luckily she can also take one that comes every 15 minutes. Fairly simple for me but not so for someone that doesn’t live here.

Last night I was watching the news and they had a segment on LRT or rapid buses. Honestly I can’t remember which one is in the running (no pun intended). The mayor and whoever is on the transit board was meeting with the governors of the University. A bunch of old guys who have probably never taken the bus in their life is going to decide something that will have an impact on students. Apparently there was a consultation process but it’s never obvious how much that is. And there were “conditions” to them agreeing to it. The mayor called them situations and someone else called them “points”. The guy that was reporting the story could barely keep a straight face.

Janet and I both took the bus to college. We would usually take one and then transfer downtown. Thankfully we left early enough that if the bus was full we would wait for the next one. If I have to go for a Dr appointment between 9 and 10 I take a cab because the bus is full of university students.

I remember a guy on council that did an experiment to see if he could get around during the day by bus. Because they had a late night meeting he actually had to get a fellow councillor to drive him home because it didn’t run that late. But I admired him for seeing for himself that it isn’t really easy getting around depending on what area of the city you live in.

I really wish people in authority would think about the things that would make life easier for people. A grocery store downtown, a department store would be helpful too. I’m thankful that I have the means to have groceries delivered or I can order stuff online. Not everyone does.

Reminders

Ten
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Yesterday I had a Dr appointment at a hospital. Because I get my lab results online now I can be more prepared for when I go…ask questions. Some of my levels are up which affect other levels. This Dr was also Moms Dr when she was in the hospital. In the course of conversation we got talking about Mom and I started to cry. January has not been an easy month for me and I think it all just built up. Grief is funny that way because there doesn’t have to be a reason or a date it just comes.

After I was finished I took a cab to a coffee shop near me. If I take the bus the route goes past the house I grew up in and I couldn’t handle that too. I brought my IPad so I could write my blog. When I went to log in I could only come up with one where you needed a password. The person working there said no it says guest. Had no idea what I was talking about so I just drank my coffee. When I was getting my coat on she said that they forgot to plug in the wifi. Their customer service is not great but it’s a quiet place to write and a five minute walk to where I live. But let’s just say the day was not getting off well.

The flowers in this blog I purchased at a flower shop that is on the corner of where I live. I walked in a couldn’t really decide what I wanted but I always get gerbera. Usually I get 6 but I decided to get 12 because it makes a bigger bouquet. The really neat thing is the one flower is red AND yellow. My friend called it HEAVEN’S MAGIC. Yellow is my favourite colour and red is Janet’s. When I was waiting for her to make up the bouquet I stood there and just took a big sniff in. It smelled like my Dad’s garden. It smelled like spring.

I emailed my former neighbour and she said we all should buy ourselves flowers once in a while. The wife of a cousin of my Mom wrote that those would brighten up a gloomy day. They really do. They make me smile.

Doing the right thing

Conventional Wisdon
Growing up my Mom would often tell Janet and I that something that we didn’t want to go to might not be as a bad as we think. Often she was right. Granted there were things that turned out as bad and sometimes worse. Growing up we were taught if we committed to something we had to follow through. When we were in our early twenties Dad told us that if we were a volunteer we could quit if we wanted to. A friend of mine once told me to look at it as leaving something that didn’t work for me instead of “quitting”.
There was a time in my life that it seemed like every time I tried to do the right thing it didn’t turn out well. Often it actually ended up biting me in the butt. I came to realize that it wasn’t just doing the right thing but figuring out what that meant to ME. Because doing the right thing often has consequences for someone else. Which brings to mind another cliche that my Mom used…if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. There are times when each of us has to stand up for ourselves. There is a way to be honest with someone without hurting their feelings. People who are bullies will never hear it. I was made to apologize to a family member even though I wasn’t sorry. Did he accept it…of course not. the greatest compliment my Dad ever gave me was when he told my brother that I can fight my own battles. It meant he could trust me to do it on my own. That I knew when to battle and when to back away.
When I was looking for a place to live I had so many people tell me that I didn’t need a 2 bedroom, I should stay in the same neighbourhood etc. I quickly tuned them out because this was MY place and therefore MY decision. The best thing I was ever told at a bereavement support group was that we shouldn’t SHOULD on people. You should do this or you should do that. It’s very freeing

Yesterday

Successful
When Donald Trump got elected I was hoping that all the divisiveness would die down. I was going to write “better” but that amount of anger has to go somewhere. Yesterday there were many marches for women’s rights all over the world including in my city. I read some of the comments on the news site and it was downright hateful and it wasn’t just men.
While I don’t consider myself a feminist I do know that it scares me to live in a world where the leader of the US embodies everything that I fought against. I was raised in a family where men had all the power. I was bullied by men in my family. When I was dealing with Moms estate I came across so many people who thought my brother was handing the money stuff because he was a guy and university educated. It’s 2017 for goodness sake. Half of marriages end in divorce. Women have to be self sufficient.
My friend is afraid to travel to the states with her husband because of his ethnic origin despite the fact he was born in Canada. That just isn’t right. I remember sitting in the library watching the inauguration of Barack Obama and how proud people felt. I didn’t feel that on Friday.
I truly hope things get better. I want to my nieces and my friends kids to grow up to believe they can do whatever they want. That they will be treated the same regardless of their skin colour or sex.
I want to believe there is always HOPE.

Belonging

Privacy
Growing up a twin I never worried about belonging because I had an automatic beat friend. We hung out with kids in the neighbourhood but we were just as happy playing by ourselves. If you look in my Facebook friends list a good portion of them are from public school. High school was just a place where we went to learn and went back home. We weren’t artistic (although Janet was really good in art), we weren’t in the band or choir and we weren’t “academic”. We were teased because we were different. It’s cute being twins when you are young but not in high school.
I have one really good friend from college and we talk often by email or phone. We get along because we have the same values.
Yesterday I went to a coffee shop with about 6 people from our writing class. Unfortunately the one woman is going to be away in the spring so we aren’t having one until fall. Going on the libraries website most of the writing classes ware specifically for seniors. It’s supposed to be for people who are going to give it as a gift for their grandchildren. I’ve been to a couple of workshops where I can tell people think what does someone your age have to write about?
When I got home I wondered when we get to a point in life where it is no longer like high school. Because every group that I have been to recently divides into groups.
I started this blog because I had a need to tell our story. I started doing the daily prompts and developed a following. It makes me feel good when I know I can help other people. I love when someone who is a twin or knows twins follows because it’s a way for them to get to know what it is like to be twinless. Many counsellors think it’s the same as having a sibling but it’s not. She was my other half. She was and IS my best friend.

Memories in a recipe box

Overworked
Last year I did Peter Walshs decluttering challenge. Although living in an apartment I no longer need to do it I still look at it because his videos are funny and the comments are funny too.
Today’s is to go through cookbooks. Oh goodness this is something I have been meaning to do to find healthy recipes and see which books I know I will no longer use. I don’t have many and I have them on the top shelf above the sink. But in his video he was flipping through recipes that he has printed out…his Moms plum pudding and sea salt caramel. It’s interesting how recipes can bring about so many memories. Someone once commented it’s because smells evoke emotions. At the end of the video he said to take a picture of a favourite recipe. I kept my Moms recipe box because it has recipes from my grandma, my aunts, Mom. I know that its unlikely I will be making the layered salad or date squares but it’s recipes that have their handwriting. I made date squares a couple of times. It was rare that I did it myself because Mom always made them. My job was to cut up the dates. She had scissors that she used but I could only do so many before I had to rinse them off because they got really sticky. When I made them mine wouldn’t look as nice as Moms. Mine were more marbeled instead of with the layers separated. But they still taste good. Once Mom went to her seniors group at church and one woman brought in date squares for snack because they were her specialty so Mom got to bring home a couple for me. Every week I would ask what they had. If I found out she had these and didn’t bring any home for me she was in big trouble.
I made my Aunts pumpkin loaf for a church bazaar. The recipe called for raisins but we didn’t have any so I substituted dates.
My grandmother was a good cook and made excellent pies. The pastry skills skipped a generation. Mine isn’t always pretty though. I don’t crimp the pie crust I just use a fork. Sometimes that was Janet’s job and then I would wipe down the counter. I must be the messiest pie maker because I have it all over the counter, usually on the floor and all over my apron. I consider it a good day when I only have it on the counter.
There are some things that I’ve made often enough I don’t need a recipe. I once watched Martha Stewart cut her bread for stuffing into one inch cubes. Who cares IT’S STUFFING! That was my job to break up the bread ends for stuffing. We had a recipe that used cranberries. Eventually we changed to apples.
My brother and my Dad were the ones where we knew if we did a good job or not on a new recipe. If they had seconds it was a keeper.
The last time I went out for coffee with my uncle he mentioned about an Italian restaurant near me. He said he usually gets lasagn because there are some recipes you can cook for one but that isn’t one of them. So true! It was something we always made when my brother came home from university. It made nine pieces and he ate three!
My grandma made the best mac and cheese it was so creamy.
That’s the great thing about recipes they are just ingredients until you add love!

Greatest things

Aesthetic
The Discover Challenge was to write about the greatest thing in the world so it made me think of all the things that are great.
1. A really good haircut.
2. A clean Apartment
3. Freshly laundered sheets
4. A good book except when I get to the end…then it’s finished
5. The smell of coffee in the morning
6. Dinner shared with a friend
7. Packages in the mail
8. Naps
9. Hugs.
10. The biscuits at Red Lobster and the bread at idlewyld
11. Steak
12. Puppies
13. A full fridge. Not so great when it’s almost empty
14. I think my friends are pretty great!

People who make me laugh

The Greatest _______ in the World
Last Friday I had to go for fasting bloodwork for a Dr appointment next week. 4 pokes in order to get it and my bruise is turning a lovely shade of green. I also have to do something else in preparation too. I have not been a happy camper.
Tuesday is my grocery delivery day. I have had assistants but today I got my usual guy. He comes in and always says good morning and is so cheerful. When he asked how I am I said that I will be glad when January is over. We talked about our ailments and how we turn into bears when we are hungry.
I can’t get out of the building without passing my superintendent. He reminds me so much of my Dad as he likes to tease me. He does it with everyone.
I was watching a segment on The Marilyn Dennis show around Christmas time about a self cleaning toilet. I sent a text to my friend and she is laughing out loud in the mall. Last year around this time she developed a pain in her foot so I sent her an email that I would trade her the pain in the foot for the pain in the “butt”. She sent me 5 😂.
My sisters job was to make me laugh. Even when I would be annoyed with her she would put her face right up to my face and then I would laugh. See you’re laughing you can’t be mad. No I’m mad. Often we would get in trouble in church for laughing when we weren’t supposed to.
Laughter just makes a day better. Friends that make me laugh are special.