A name brand girl

Last week when I was making out my grocery list I realized that a lot of the products are name brand specifically proctor and gamble. Pantene shampoo, Colgate, Tide. My Mom always bought Royale bathroom tissue. Glad garbage bags. One time I bought the store brand and let’s just say they were “substandard”. You don’t save any money if you have to use two and the handles broke.
Growing up my Mom told me “you get what you pay for”. That it’s worth it to spend a little more on a better quality product. But at the same time she would buy a utility turkey because if you carve it in the kitchen nobody is going to know that it’s missing a wing or some skin. The taste is the same.
A few years ago some stores started charging 5 cents for a plastic bag. I didn’t mind paying for a bag because I used it for garbage. Living in an apartment the kitchen bags are too big to fit down the garbage shoot so I have to help it along.
Yesterday I ordered a couple of pairs of pants online. I generally use the same store because I’m pretty sure on fit. When I was checking out what is available the trend right now is ripped, patched and distressed jeans. No thank you. Shopping is more fun going with a friend.
I enjoyed shopping for furniture with my neighbour and friend. Although going in with a plan helps.
Well I’d better get the Lysol out time to do some cleaning.

Talking about the weather

This post could go with the word for yesterday which was hidden. Have you ever been sitting right beside someone but you know they aren’t even paying attention to what you are saying? We are now a society that always has to have our devices handy. It’s why it’s special when I go out with my coffee buddy or my friend from public school because we just sit and chat. My friend DJ talks about issues at school, her Moms health. Her husband gave me advice when I was looking after the estate. When Janet died my friend TAR and I talked about a lot of things that I didn’t share with anyone else. For me there has to be a lot of trust to be able to talk in depth.
I have a friend who is currently burning the candle at both ends. I was burnout looking after my Mom but I know if I gave her advice she wouldn’t hear it. So many days we talk about the weather.
There have also been times when a friend will ask if something is wrong and I will say “I’m fine” when I’m not. Because I can’t find the words to express it. As much has my friends try to understand they haven’t experienced what I have.
For a one time I didn’t share this blog with friends because it’s personal. But the friends that read it have seen at my most vulnerable. I have shared in their joys. That’s life.


This is actually the photo challenge for this week but I thought it was an interesting word to jump off of.
1. For my sister it would be the satisfaction of finishing a good book. She and my Mom loved mystery novels.
2. For my Mom it would be the joy of opening a new workbook at the beginning of baseball season. Having a clean house. She always said that having a cleaning company come in once in a while gave her a lift. My grandmother sewed so it would be a completed project. My grandfather caned chairs so it would be the same sense of accomplishment. For my Dad it would be getting his hands dirty in the garden.
3. An empty laundry basket! Clothes that are clean and put away.
4. Finding the perfect gift. Yesterday I went shopping to buy a birthday card and to find a small gift. I couldn’t find what I wanted. There is nothing better than seeing the joy on someone’s face when you give them the perfect gift. I’ve been told by a couple of friends that I buy good shower and wedding gifts.
5. When yardwork is finished. A tidy yard and a workout…win win. Now I’m glad I no longer have to do it.
6. When I look around my apartment and realize I decorated it all on my own.
7. Getting a good report at the Dr. Because I was looking after my parents I couldn’t look after myself. It’s nice to see my efforts paying off. Having to buy a smaller pair of pants.

I remember when I made the resolution that I was going to write a blog post everyday for a year. There was such a sense of accomplishment because it was a tough year. Sometimes it’s a little thing and sometimes it’s so huge you want to scream “I DID THAT!”


My Mom used to use the phrase “the pause that refreshes”. It was from a Salada tea commercial. When I think of tea or coffee that is what I think of.
I just finished my morning coffee after going to the mall to search for a birthday card for a friend’s birthday next week. There is something about the anticipation of coming home to a coffee. In the middle of the mall there is a food court with seniors sitting enjoying a coffee together.
I titled this post pause because we would go for coffee after getting groceries and this was our “pause” before going home and unloading. I go for a coffee with my friend and we sit and chat. At my house I never had a morning coffee on the deck but now I can have one on my balcony. I think summer is that time when we allow ourselves the time to slow down. Maybe it isn’t a coffee, maybe it’s a glass of wine or a beer.
I know people that don’t know how to pause they always seem to be on the go. Even when I was looking after my Mom I would take time out of the day to sit and write a blog post. Going full tilt 24/7 is exhausting and it makes me tired just reading about my friend doing it. We have spa days but I don’t think it has to be that grand. So many design shows have rooms for women to have a sanctuary. We all need to carve a little bit of time in the day for ourselves.

Traditional family values

Growing up my father had the rule that we all ate at the table at 5pm. It meant that when my brother started playing after school sports sometimes this was rushed but we kept to it. Even as a child I understood the purpose for this was to sit at the table as a family. As we grew older it was a chance to catch up on the day. We didn’t say grace at every meal but always at suppertime and if we had company. I remember one time we didn’t have too much food in the house and supper was a mish mash and I said “we’re blessing THIS?” When I go to other peoples houses for dinner I always pause for grace and then I realize oh they don’t do grace here.
My father’s sisters did not believe in shortening your given name so they always used the full name for my brother even though he had a nickname as a child and even now only uses the full name for work. Janet was the only one who used the short form and then when I went to the twinless twins conference it sort of stuck after one person used it.
Some people call ministers by their first name but I can’t do it. My Mom couldn’t either. For us it was a sign of respect. It’s also why when I address a card for my friend I use her title. My Mom always taught me that they earned the title so you use it.
I also have values that seem to be going by the wayside. My grandmother and my mother both believed in thank you cards but it’s really not done anymore. I was raised to dress respectfully depending on the situation. Flip flops are not appropriate work attire in a bank.
We had a conversation when one of my cousins got married because she had been living with her boyfriend for 3 years. My parents believed that there was a proper order…you get married, then you live together and then you have kids. Old fashioned in this day and age but Mom was proud that it sunk in with my brother. The thing that bothered them was living together to save money and then having a wedding with 200 guests. My Dad had the rule…well I’m not sure if it’s a rule per say…that you didn’t pick and choose your guests. You invite ALL the family to a wedding then there aren’t any bad feelings.
I guess you could say that the fact that they didn’t believe in keeping up with the joneses was probably a value too. They were practical. When I was young I thought we were so conservative. But now that they are both gone I realize that all of these things have stuck with me. Thanks Mom and Dad. I was listening.


The first thing that came to mind for this prompt was wandering through the mall and the scent of popcorn. It also didn’t help that it was right beside the bathroom so I had to walk past it. I LOVE popcorn. When I went to a movie I always had to get popcorn. Janet and I shared a small one and even then we would have some left at the end of the movie.
When my brother picked me up to go to the lawyers office he said it smells good here. I’m surrounded by restaurants so there is always something cooking. I like the smell of roasted Garlic but garlic doesn’t agree with me. When we went grocery shopping I could smell hash browns because it was beside McDonald’s. We would sometimes go to Burger King for breakfast but Janet liked the hash browns from McDonald’s better.
This summer it’s been cool enough that I have had the patio doors open sometimes. It’s nice to be able to smell the outdoors. I don’t miss cutting the grass or yardwork but I miss the smells.
I love the smell of coffee in the morning but walking down that aisle in the grocery store the scent is overpowering. When I buy cleaning supplies I learned not to buy the ones with bleach. And why are there so many different kinds of dish soap?
Next weekend is rib fest. Make sure you don’t stand in line downwind!

Keeping memories alive

A couple nights ago I had a dream about my family. The last time I saw my cousins was almost 4 yrs ago. In the dream we talked about Janet and an Aunt smiled at me as if she was glad that I am keeping their memory alive. Dreams are funny because it’s presenting something that would never happen in real life. Letting your feelings remain “dormant” is not healthy. It’s comforting being able to talk to my Moms brother and his daughter about my grandparents, my crazy Aunt, Mom and her Mom. We all have different memories but we also have the same experiences. My Aunt was a hoarder and she was cheap. I reconnected with my Aunt on Facebook. They were divorced but I always thought of her as my Aunt. I would laugh st how she called it “the old farts swim class”. She wrote really lengthy letters and was always there to talk to on fb. It was unfair that she died young. She should have been able to retire and enjoy life. They brought back the toblerone for the summer and it made me think of my cousin who said the truffles were not the same.

7 years ago I posted a photo of a quilt that I bid on at an auction at the Twinless Twins conference. I saw it on the wall and just thought it was so beautiful. I didn’t even realize until I got it home that it had Janet’s favourite colours…red and hunter green, and mine yellow and purple. It really was meant to be. I remember thinking am I nuts to spend this much money on a quilt but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. The take away was that life is short. I deserved to have something that made me happy. People told me that but I had a really hard time with the word. Maybe that’s why I was able to frame it when I moved because it was a fresh start.

A friend is having a garage sale this weekend and she posted a photo of a scrabble board. Mom and I used to play and she would play every week at her seniors group at church. One week she came home and told me this lady made the word “fart”. When they looked at her she exclaimed “what, we all do it”. Mom cried when she died because she said it was never the same playing after that. At her funeral they placed her Tilly hat on the casket because that was what she was known for. It’s why we go to funerals or visitations. Not just to show our respect but to share our memories. My Uncle said he learned a lot when my grandfather died from his carpet ball buddies. We know them as one person but there is so much more to them. Sometimes you forget that parents actually had a life before they were married and had kids.


Today is the first official day of Twinless Twins conference. It is being held in Tucson and I don’t do well with heat so I didn’t go. But I’ve been thinking a lot about how do they “tailor” a program to suit everyone’s needs? When I first went there wasn’t as much social time as there is now and I was ok with that because I was going to learn coping strategies. To listen to how other people have made it thru this journey.
One of the big things that they do at conference is sharing our story. And by this it means sharing how your twin died. I attended a bereavement support group and I know why we did it but for me how she died was such a small part of the story. Harder still because it was so public the story was already out there. I have gone to 4 conferences and I can honestly say the only way I found out the story of WHO they were is from Facebook. How bout when we are introduced to someone ask them to tell you about their twin not how they died.

I also have a hard time in group situations anymore, I’m better one on one. I think it’s because I was a caregiver for a long time and homebound. I had a wonderful time at Christmas and Canada Day with people who welcomed me.

I am thankful for twin friends to talk to and who have helped me so much. But I also know there was a time when I didn’t think of the friends who lost Janet too. I am not just Janet’s twin at conference. I’m her twin everyday. I can honour her memory by writing this blog, by living a good life, being happy.

What would she think?

Yesterday my friend and I got talking about lots of things and in the course of conversation I was telling her about my brother’s modern kitchen complete with an island with waterfall tile (according to home shows that’s what it is called) and barn board on one wall. It’s not a look that I like, I think it’s too modern. I know that my parents wouldn’t have liked it and I know what they would say. So then my friend asked what would Janet think? And it sort of scared me to think I don’t know. Maybe she would like it. As twins we were so in sync but we were also different. She was more out spoken. When she died I got cards from people from public school telling about stuff I didn’t even know. I found a monologue she wrote for English class and I had no idea she could write like that. But it also spoke about things she kept private. As her twin I wondered why she didn’t tell me. But I also knew we were 2 separate people.

Last year it was 10 years since she died. I never would have thought that the pain would lessen. To say life moves on seems so trite but there has been so much change since she died. I’ve changed. I’m more independent and I’ve become out spoken. I remember thinking once that the person I was was gone for good but she was always there just buried. I wrote yesterday about the gift of friendship. It’s a blessing to have relationships with friends where it is comfortable. These were people that loved Janet too.

This blog is a place where I can share memories. I have realized that they kind of come in waves. Some little thing will spark it. I’ve come to accept that some memories fade and that’s ok too. Love doesn’t fade.


I was going to tile this post the gift of friendship. I met a friend for lunch today. We went to public school together. We reconnected when Janet died because she wrote a condolence on the website. We emailed back and forth a lot. Janet and I had always wanted to go to Vancouver and she was my tour guide while I was there. I can’t believe it’s almost ten years ago. We both cried when I left to go home. She is someone that has supported me in the ways that I honour Janet. It’s comfortable, even though we may not see each other often we just start up where we left off.

The gift is that I got to see her at Christmas and again for a belated birthday lunch. And I got a birthday card. She draws a picture in it and words cannot express how special it is. I know that Janet is always with me but I think sometimes I need that reminder. The first one she drew I showed my Dad and he couldn’t believe how intricate the detail was. I couldn’t decide what shirt to put on this morning and she drew me with a striped shirt…what I almost put on.

I could wish for more time but that’s what makes any occasion with a friend special. Hugs don’t hurt either.