Things I like (but not enamoured)

Enamored
1. My coffee maker especially first thing in the morning. Nothing beats a strong cup of coffee to wake me up. And an afternoon cup is nice too.

2. The convenience of online banking. I can remember my Mom transferring funds to her brother and my brother and at the time you had to go into the bank with the account number and the person had to have an account with that bank too.

3. Online shopping. I can also email my grocery list and have it delivered to my door as well.

4. I hate having bloodwork done because I have deep veins but I love the convenience of being able to keep track of my results online. I can look back at previous ones and see an improvement. My A1C is down .7% in 2 months which I’m really happy with. I’m at 8 and normal is 7.
It’s a huge change in a year…even in 6 months.

5. Perfect summer days. A good book and farmers markets.

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Saturday

Today is market day. It’s a beautiful fall like day without a cloud in the sky. A little chilly at 9am but comfortable with a fall coat on (although warmer in the sun). My neighbourhood is doggie central since I passed 2 on the way there and 3 on my way back. I could hear what sounded like a concert but I wasn’t sure where it was coming from.

I look up the vendors the night before I head to the market and this week a vendor that is usually there on Thursday was going to be there today. It’s called Gonzo chefs and they make individual sized ready made meals. When I got there I couldn’t find anyone so I wandered around and she was back when I had finished. I bought a quiche and what is called rib mash. I also bought some beans because they are so much better than frozen. I also bought a bouquet of sunflowers…they were calling my name. I often stop at the booth Made from Scratch. She had date coffee cake…looked so good but I passed. I’ve learned I have to get there early for that booth! She has different items every week. I do see some regulars.

It’s an array of colours. Yellow and green beans, gorgeous red tomatoes, black berries. There is nothing better than local tomatoes this time of year but a basket is too many for one person. My grandmother would can peaches and make jam but she didn’t teach us.

This has been a short summer as we had rain and it hasn’t been very warm. I don’t mind as it’s been a comfortable temperature to walk to the market. It hasn’t been warm enough to sit outside but I know there will still be days where it will be.
Simple pleasures.

Being Me

Inhabit
A couple of days ago I posted my blog on my parents anniversary on Facebook. A fellow Twinless Twin commented that I should write more for the newsletter. I had someone suggest that I include the link to my blog when I submitted an article but I knew there was a reason I held back from doing it.

When I went to my blogging class she went over the content of our blog…think about who your audience is. When I started blogging it was an extension of journaling and I didn’t share it with anyone else because I was writing for me. Eventually I started participating in the daily prompts and got followers. A couple of friends started following and it made me think about the fact that now they were my audience. Would I want my friends to read personal stuff? But I also thought these were people who were with me at the most vulnerable moments of my life when my twin died and for my church friend when my Dad was undergoing cancer.

I titled this being me because I write from an honest, raw place. Underneath the name of this blog it says My journey as a Twinless twin”. This blog has changed as I have travelled this road. Many friends have said I’m happy. The word I would use is content. This blog is about what I have learned along this journey. Being happy in my own skin.

Synchronize our watches

Synchronize
Last night I went out for dinner with my cousin and Uncle. We had agreed on a time and now have a funny story to tell on why she was “late”. It’s one of those stories when I wish I could tell Mom about.

We went to Red Lobster which was one of my Moms favourite restaurants. I think the last time I went was for my birthday. The first time we met my brother’s girlfriend who would eventually become his wife we went there. Their biscuits are so good I had to stop myself from having one and a half.

We shared stories about our mutual aversion to camping…none of us like to rough it. My great Aunts love of kitchen gadgets “they didn’t make her cooking any better”. Overcooked meat. To me it feels like making up for lost time. After my grandparents died my cousin moved with her Mom to a city that was 4hrs away from us. We didn’t reconnect until 10 yrs ago on Facebook. Her Mom wrote letters so we knew what was going on in their world but I know we both felt bad that so much time had passed. Because of Mom my uncle and I have a relationship. We don’t talk openly about our loved ones with my Dads side of the family so it’s nice to be able to do so with Moms side.

The word for the photo challenge this week is CORNER. My cousin isn’t from this city so I had to give her directions to my place. My Uncle gave her directions to the restaurant. We laughed about how people use landmarks but they aren’t really “helpful”. Although I don’t drive my Mom always said I could give directions well. But it also depends on the neighbourhood. Because there are one way streets around me it took me a while to navigate depending on which direction you were coming from. For my house I would say Turners is on the corner. Or if you were coming from 401 Pizza Hut was on the corner. Nowadays we don’t have to do that because we just google it. It’s how I found the apartment I’m living in because I typed in an intersection and found this.

Neighbourhoods are made up of the corner store, the local coffee shop or in my case the bakery down the street. Things that make your little corner of the world home.

How do we show love?

Today is my parents anniversary. I took a cab to my blogging class this morning and got the chatty taxi driver who calls out “good morning young lady”. He asked what route I would like to go and when he said Riverside I thought perfect I can go past the cemetery. In the course of conversation I told him that it’s my parents anniversary and he said in November he will be married 48 years just like my parents. I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. He kiddingly told me I don’t know how she put up with me that long. We got talking about family and values. When we got to our destination I was kind of sad for our conversation to end. He says “sorry I talked your ear off”. Living alone I don’t mind.

On Facebook a few years ago I posted my parents wedding picture. They are walking down the aisle and looking lovingly at each other. It was one of my Moms favourite photos. My parents met at a dance. You know when people share the story of how the guy proposed and they have this really great story…well that isn’t my Dad. He just wasn’t the type.

As I have mentioned my Dad wasn’t demonstrative in showing affection. He was very protective of his family. He provided for us. I remember the only time he bought us Christmas presents on his own, how proud he was. When I helped him do yardwork he made sure I took breaks and would tell me ok that’s enough for today.

I’ve been thinking about love today. More specifically how we show love. I also caught my superintendent coming into the building. She was laughing about her pants being too loose which is a problem I currently have. I always stop and chat to them. Love is asking how your day was. Opening the door for someone or a Mom buying a cake pop for her child. I was surrounded by little moments of joy today.

48 years ago my parents were married. I am a continuation of that love.

I can do this

Recite
When I thought of this word today the first thing that came to mind was the skit on SNL

I am currently reading the September issue of the Oprah magazine. Many of the articles are about empowering woman. To be “selfish”. We grow up listening to the outside voices and we have to recite whatever mantra works for us. “I am capable. I am strong”.

Solitary daily prompt

Solitary
I was thinking about this word as I sat in Starbucks this morning having my morning coffee. This is a place where I am surrounded by people but I am eating alone. But to an extent it is a solitary place because of people on their laptops. Even people sitting together aren’t talking they are both on their cellphones.
Because I grew up a twin I never had to go anywhere alone unless I chose to. Coffee was shared. We would go to Red Roaster or the 3 of us would go to Tim Hortons after grocery shopping. We would meet friends for coffee. When Moms health was declining the hardest part was knowing I was going to be alone.
Moving to this apartment has been such a blessing because I’m not alone. A week ago my superintendent phoned me in the evening because she hadn’t seen me around and was worried that I was sick. I ran into a fellow tenant and she was joking that she actually had company who didn’t run into the supers. Don’t get me wrong coming from a house it took some getting used to but I like to think Mom made sure I had people looking out for me.
I have had to tell myself that I’m not alone. I have friends to rely on if I need help with anything. I went for tea with a friend on Wednesday. This has been a very social summer. At the same time it’s nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy a good book.
After Janet died I wrote a poem “alone in the crowd”. For many Twins that is what it feels like…we always had someone else there. It took me a while to adjust (I’m not sure that is even the right word) to a different dynamic. Janet knew what I meant. I had to speak differently. There were times when I would go somewhere and everyone was “partnered”.
I think it just depends on the day whether alone is a good thing or not. I have learned that I have friends that have taken me into their family. My parents and sister are still with me too.

Making memories

Grainy
10 years ago today my status read “leaving on a jet plane”. I reconnected with a friend after Janet died. This was before Facebook so we sent long emails catching up on each other’s lives. In one email she asked if there was something that Janet and I always intended to do and I said Vancouver was on the list. At the time I didn’t really realize what a big deal this was flying across the country less than a year after my twin died. Staying with a woman that I hadn’t seen for almost 20 yrs. I remember thinking that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations because I was so excited to go but it did and more. I saw all the tourist spots but my friend made sure that Janet was included.
Today I went for high tea with a friend of mine at Eldon House. Finger sandwiches, scones and dessert. I made sure that we got a picture together. Next week a cousin of mine is coming to visit. Around the time that would be my parents wedding anniversary so I think it’s neat that we will be going out to dinner then. I’m not sure where yet as we haven’t talked about it. She came to visit a a few years ago and was glad that she got to see Mom.
This summer I have been lucky enough to spend time with friends and coffee with Uncle and dinner with cousin soon. Reading a fellow bloggers post on time made me think. I remember what it felt like not to have enough of it. When I was a caregiver I had to give up going out to the movies or seeing friends. Thankfully friends stood by me. I don’t take it for granted that I can go to a class at the library, go for a fancy dinner.
The prompt for today is grainy and the word makes me think of pictures. I look at the picture of Mom sitting in the airport and the memory is as clear as if it was yesterday. I remember how pleased Dad was with the gift I brought back for him (he was a hard person to buy for). I don’t need a picture to capture the memory because I carry it with me in my heart.

How soon is a jiffy?

Jiffy
Growing up in a family of 5 getting ready to go somewhere was scheduled if we all had to have a shower. Quite often Mom would have one the night before, Janet and I were morning off and the men were afternoon depending on if it was dinner or wedding. Makeup was applied in the bathroom on the main level or what Mom referred to as the powder room. My grandparents had a full length mirror on one of their doors so my Dad attached it to the hall closet door. It was good for final touch ups to make sure everything was in place. My Mom could still tell you the story of when my cousin got married in 1995. My brother had hit a growth spurt so he had to buy some new pants. They were too long so he had them hemmed the day of. As we are getting into the car Mom says “thank goodness we live 5 mins from the church”.
Because my twin and I both had short hair it was what Mom called wash and wear. For many years Mom had a perm but after her transplant the medication made her hair very course so she didn’t do it anymore. She didn’t dry her hair. I remember going to church and the times when we were rushed was usually when my pantyhose would rip. I would have to hunt in my drawer and sometimes ask Mom for another pair. All the while grumbling “this is why I don’t wear nylons!”
My parents were the types that always arrived early to something. My Aunt was the same. His youngest sister was “fashionably late” always half an hour.
At my house if I was being picked up by someone I would sit on the stool in the kitchen because I could see out the window tonthe driveway. Now I have to arrange a time so I can be down in the lobby. If the person is early they buzz up to let me know.
When my Mom and I went grocery shopping we would split the list and I would do one side and she would do the other. I would come back and she would say “what’d you do run around the store?” Because I knew where everything was I could do it very quickly and if you were in my way look out!
With technology we can get instant replies. We can get next day delivery of packages we order from Amazon. But at the same time I have friends that are camping or just sitting out on the patio. Time to read a book. Time to spend with friends and family. That can’t be hurried.

Organize

Organize
Think about all the ways in which our lives are organized. Yesterday I got a phone call about a booking I filled out online to go to Eldon House for tea with a friend so I put that on my calendar (on my Ipad). Then when I was scrolling down I saw a diabetes appointment on September 11 which means I should probably have my 3 month bloodwork prior and go to GP. My requisitions are all together on a shelf. I do online banking and my expenses are automatically withdrawn from account. My paperwork isn’t that organized…something that wasn’t passed down from my parents!
I don’t know whether technology makes it easier to plan things or not. Because we have more technology we almost have to double check which form we used to contact someone. I know my friends home phone number off by heart but not his cell. I’m terrible about remembering to charge my phone but at least I remember to carry it now!
This morning I went to the grocery store because I am running low on sweetener for my coffee and coffee in the morning is a must! I organize my list according to aisles and then try to organize the bag according to what has to go in freezer or fridge. I keep a basic list on my Ipad and then just add to it when I run out of things. It makes it easier to email my list to my grocery person. My friend teased me that Saturday is market day. Thursday was grocery shopping day for Mom. Monday seems to be laundry day for most people. Monday is cleaning day because Tuesday is grocery day so I make sure kitchen is clean. It’s the day I take out recycling because it’s picked up on Tuesday. In a house we had an 8 day garbage collection and how glad I am that I no longer have to worry about what day it is! Or have to clean out the stinky pail or worry about yard collection. On Wednesday I sat outside and read a book. Many of my friends have posted photos of them doing the same thing.
For me moving into an apartment meant a clean slate. It could be organized the way I wanted. Our house was organized to an extent but I only had my room to put my own stuff. I have a coffee cupboard. Carafe on bottom shelf with sweetener, cups and travel mug on middle shelf and coffee pods on top shelf. I knew when I did the tour of apartment that is where my coffee maker would go.
I have 2 bathrooms so some stuff is in one bathroom and some in another. We didn’t have vanities with drawers so this makes it much more organized. I know where everything is! Cleaning products are in the guest bathroom and I have 2 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner because Mom did that so she would always have one in each bathroom.
This post could also go with yesterdays word which was delivery. It seemed like all I did was wait for furniture to arrive. As I went along I realized oh I need this or I can wait on getting that. Having lived in a house all my life I only purchased one piece of art for my room when I redid it. A lot of Mom and Dad’s art was given to them. The mirror over the mantle was actually a painting which had a really cool frame so grandma took out the picture and had glass put in it. The one over the couch was a wedding gift. I am sorely lacking in art but it’s like everything else in my place I want something that I love.
Last year I organized a get together for friends in September to honour my twin. It helped to have something to look forward to. A calendar is a way to be organized but it’s also a reminder. A twin friend once told me it’s easier to have a plan.