June

Trace
I can’t believe that tomorrow is the first day of June. June always seems to be a busier month for me. Tomorrow I’m meeting a friend for dinner who happens to be in the city for an appointment. Monday I’m going to a luncheon at church. A dietician is giving a talk on nutrition and cooking for one. It’s a lot easier in better weather since I can walk to the farmers market and get fresh produce but my issue has always been buying too much stuff. Cut melon is more practical for one but it costs twice as much.
June is a roller coaster of emotions for me. It’s full of memories. Three weeks tomorrow is our birthday. It’s not just my birthday it will always be ours. Mom and I would go to the cemetery. It may seem weird to some people but it was my way of acknowledging that it’s her birthday too. After my Dad died we would put flowers on for both. I try to avoid card shops because it’s full of Father’s Day cards. Of course there are commercials and all the flyers…Dad needs a new BBQ. At the same time June 26 is the day we went outside at parkwood and wheeled him around the gardens. It was the first time he had been outside since his tumour grew back. It’s a memory we all cherish.
Facebook reminds you of the day of a friend’s birthday. When I wake up in the morning I will probably have a few posts on my wall. I have twin friends who will include Janet in the post which is special. It’s a day where I feel really loved. But at the same time I don’t “celebrate” because it just isn’t the right word. I honour our twinship.

Filling my day with treats

Infuse
Yesterday I was going to make tacos for lunch. I had all the ingredients except for the soft tortillas. This morning I decided to go to the mall as I wanted to go to the library too. Healthy items purchased then I window shopped as I walked down to the library which was at the other end of the mall.
I wandered into Bentley luggage because I’m on the look out for a smaller purse. One that is crossbody, big enough for cellphone and keys. I kind of like the wrist wallet ones but they are just wallets. She was showing me different styles and of course all of a sudden I find a red one. Ever since I got the red couch it seems like red is everywhere. I was going to buy blue and red patio cushions but my friend said no these are you. Maybe it’s Janet’s way of being with me as I shop. I shop a lot online so I don’t have to shop alone.

I was looking for cookbooks for one or low carb but I was so confused about all the different ones. And they were all celebrity cookbooks. Paleo, gluten free, vegan. Then they had exercise videos beside and self help books. I think I’ll go online and place a hold since I need to update my library card pretty soon anyway. The last couple of years I have been so busy that I’ve forgotten to do it the month of my birthday. My Mom went to the library often. My Uncle goes once a week. It was different when it was a routine. I don’t have a neighbourhood one since I’ve moved.

As I was walking back I saw a foot spa in the window of the home health store…it’s an off shoot of Shoppers Drug Mart. I have been looking for one online but I didn’t know what brand to buy. I figured if it’s in a health store it must be ok. AND I could use my Shoppers points…win win.

I titled this post filling my day with treats. Today it will be warm enough to sit outside and read. I may have a foot soak tonight. They aren’t huge things but they are treats for me.

A moment in time

Survive
This is actually the photo challenge for this week but how do I possibly choose just one?
That’s what photos do…they capture a moment in time.
There is a whole album of photos of family checking out the new babies. My Moms brother went through a whole roll of film…we were sleeping in all but one.
I have pictures in an album from a picnic and Janet was in a mood. I have heard the story so many times it’s like it is my memory despite the fact I was too young to remember.
Playing in the snow, my first teddy, all of us piled up in Janet’s bed reading. Graduations, weddings.
I thought of the first time I saw my niece. Those pictures are precious. One of my favourites is back at the house after Moms 70th birthday. Although it also made me think of her baptism. The photo would be titled “little miss cranky pants” because she picked up on all the frenzy of the weekend and cried a lot. But that’s life. We were trying to get this perfect family photo and it has a screaming baby. It’s part of the memory.
I remember going on vacation before digital cameras and praying that all the photos would turn out. There was usually 5 or 6 out of a roll of 24 that didn’t. I made a photo book for my friend for Christmas and each photo had a memory associated. I can’t look at the photos from Gastown without thinking of the story that goes along with it. It’s not just photos it was a dream fulfilled.
After someone dies photos take on a different meaning. The photo of the balloon release is bittersweet. Her last church photo. We had a family portrait done the December before my Dad died. The men didn’t want to do it but somehow I knew that this may be my only chance. It’s displayed prominently in my front hall just like at the house.
Obviously I wish there were more moments. I know many people who would say the same. But all those photos are a gift because they come alive in them.

First Impressions

Impression
Don’t judge a book by its cover. You only have one chance to make a good impression. Doesn’t one seem to go against the other? I think we all judge people on first impressions. Growing up I was taught by my grandma to always dress nicely because that is the way you present yourself to the world. I didn’t get it then. I just knew that we didn’t dress like the other kids. But it stayed with me as an adult.
It’s one thing I don’t like about casual Fridays at banks. Men never really get to dress down but women do. Even as a teenager I could pick up on who treated customers equally and who was only looking out for their own interests. I guess you could say that made a “lasting impression” because I still do it.
Looking for an apartment the first impression is what I went on. I was predominantly looking online so I would look at the floor plan and photos. When I went to see one I kept telling myself to look beyond the clutter but I just didn’t have that gut reaction. When I went to see this one I knew immediately. There was also the difference of superintendents. One treated me like a number and one treated me like family. Everyone’s home has a different vibe.
First impresssions are also deceiving. My Dad drove a Ford, my brother drove a BMW. But now he drives an SUV…not a van because that’s a MOM CAR…his words not mine. We see a certain car and think of the type of person that drives that. Some people can be very charming and then you dig a little deeper and realize it’s all an act.
I’m a what you see is what you get type of person. Janet and I had our handwriting analyzed at a women’s show one time. We were both the same. I had a twin friend tell me that I took after my Mom and it was a wonderful compliment.

Sounds of spring

Catapult

Last night I had my patio door open because I roasted a chicken for supper and well it was “roasting” in my apartment. I could hear the birds chirping. A little while later I could hear a skateboarder going by. Yesterday was Victoria Day so I could hear fireworks too although they weren’t close.
It’s interesting how I can sit outside now and it’s fairly quiet and at my house I often had to come inside because someone was playing their music really loud. We could often hear people arguing. The sounds of summer…they would be using a leaf blower or someone would be cutting their grass. I get the convenience of a leaf blower but they are so noisy!
When I walk to the Farmers Market I take the route that goes by the park. I can see the fountain in the distance. It’s a little longer but it’s more open. A friend asked if I had the same route when I went for a walk and I do. In my former neighbourhood Janet and I would sometimes walk along the path beside the river.
Last year at this time I probably had the a/c on. There is nothing like the whoosh of cold air coming out of the vent. Right now we are enjoying a pleasant spring. Some years we seem to go straight to summer.
I can’t believe in another month it will be summer. I have been looking forward to it but the time seems to have flown by. The sizzle of ribs, the sound of kids playing in splash pad. The smell of fresh fruit.

Anchors

Adrift
1. My family. My grandparents. They were there to turn to for advice. They taught me the importance of looking after each other. My parents. My sister. I know I took this for granted. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized not everyone had this.
2. A home. You know that feeling when you come home from vacation to sleep in your own bed? It should be a refuge. Looking after my parents home wasn’t an anchor because I needed an escape. In my apartment there is a place for everything and life is calmer when there isn’t clutter.
3. Friends. They have come to my aid many times when I have needed them. And different people at different times. Some not physically here but their emails to check in helped too. They allowed me to feel what I needed to feel. They were the people who told me it would be ok.
There is something really special about watching my friends with their partners. They are each other’s anchors.
4. Photos. They are something to hold onto. I can look at a photo and the memory is so clear. I also have to include the drawings my friend includes in my birthday or Christmas card.
They are reminders that I am anchored by LOVE

Quiet

Descend
Yesterday I happened to catch a segment on a local talk show where the ladies were talking about cancelling plans. Is it alright to do so. All but one has children and they all said sometimes they have to if their life gets busy. They said that you shouldn’t go to something out of obligation if you don’t think you are going to enjoy yourself. It got me thinking about how I used to do that. At one time I had 4 people that I rotate having coffee with. 2 of them would come in like whirlwinds and I would come home exhausted because it was such an effort to keep up with all of the stuff that they were doing. At the time I had enough chaos in my own life going out for coffee was supposed to be a break.
I was talking to a friend recently who asked about my day and I said it was quiet. I almost feel guilty for saying that. “Almost” because I think I have earned the right to have peace and quiet. I don’t have the running list in my head anymore. My Mom was not the type of person to turn the radio on in the car. At home she was happy with a good book. She used to say we didn’t need a whole lot of toys like the other kids we were just happy playing by ourselves.
Even my building is fairly quiet. Oh sure I can hear people “descending” in the elevator or even the stairs but it’s like any place you become accustomed to the noises of the building.

Remembering good people


Today is an anniversary for my cousins. It seems fitting that I met my cousin today for coffee. We always get laughing when we are sharing stories. He reminds me of his Dad. Although it’s so unfair that he does not have the grey hair gene. The last time I saw his Dad was when he was in the city for work and came to see my parents. Unfortunately I was going to a friend’s for dinner but as I left I could hear them laughing because they were comparing how much white hair they had. Even at 70 my Dad had a black spot at the back. My cousin had a smile that would light up the room. Whenever I think about my family in heaven (and that includes extended) I think of them laughing together.

The picture I have included is of my Dad and his siblings. He had another sister too but she died before my parents were married. She was the spitting image of her mother. My Dad had a few pictures in his family album. They had a formal wedding picture and it’s stunning.

Sunday is my Uncle Ed’s birthday. He is in the middle of the picture. He and Dad were very close because they were a year apart in age. He would phone Dad for Christmas. If we answered the phone he would always ask was Santa good to you even when we were old enough to not believe in Santa. He phoned Dad for his birthday and the year after he died he picked up the phone to do it and then realized he couldn’t. He sat with Dad when he had cancer. He was the only one of Dads siblings that showed his emotions. The year he died we went to drop off a Christmas card. We were literally going to drop it in thr mailbox but he was outside and wouldn’t let us get away with that. A week later he died suddenly. Mom and I got comfort out of the fact that there was a reason he was outside that day.

My Uncle was a bit of a goofball. He was a wonderful father and grandfather. He was like Dad a very loyal brother.
They were and ARE very much loved.

Feels like summer

Precipice

Yesterday afternoon I finally got my patio chairs out. It has rained a lot since the day I purchased them and it turned cold too. Last night I sat outside and worked on the crossword in the newspaper (I couldn’t figure them out so I gave up). I have 2 trees in front of my balcony and I could hear birds chirping. It felt like I was sitting in my backyard instead of surrounded by apartment buildings.
This morning I went to get my haircut, got some groceries and then went into Shoppers Drug Mart. I checked out the book area and there were a few that interested me so I picked up one for summer reading. What’s a patio area without a good summer book?
I couldn’t decide what shirt to wear and put on a yellow shirt with lace detail at the shoulders. I must have picked the right thing because my cab driver said I look like summer.
I was talking to a friend last night about plans for the summer. It’s not that far off because June 21 is my birthday. I already know I’m going to have tea on the lawn at Eldon House with my coffee buddy. Of course there are always festivals going on.
Ahh summer

Because every home needs a scotch room

Qualm
Last night I was watching Home to Win on HGTV…it’s a Canadian based show. They find a home that needs a little bit of renovating and a group of designers and builders transform it into a “dream home”. They had 2 groups of 2…one designer and one builder on each team. One group was working on the kitchen and they were discussing what to do with this tiny room off the kitchen which was currently being used as a sitting room. They thought they could use it as a pantry. Wow, great idea. Well the other team decided they wanted it too. The designer has very bright red hair with pink highlights…need I say more. She decides she wants the room. She talks it over with the head designer and they make it into a “scotch room”. You know back in the day when the men retired to the drawing room with their port. I just sat there and laughed. Do people really do that nowadays?
In these homes they don’t build separate dining rooms people eat in the kitchen. I grew up in a house with no room for a table in the kitchen. My Dads oldest brother ate in the kitchen and had a formal dining room. Open concept is great but who wants to see all the dirty dishes?
I also watch Masters of Flip. I’m not always a big fan of the colours that she chooses but it’s fun to watch.
I think I’m half and half. My quilt is abstract. I have a red couch. My patio chairs are pretty and practical.
Because at the end of the day your home should look lived in.