Conveyor of news

Conveyor
When my Dad’s eldest sister died at Christmas my cousin sent out an email to all the cousins on her mailing list. Nowadays this is how it’s done. It’s faster than phoning but it seems so impersonal. Conveying news in an email is difficult because you also have to think about the fact it could be forwarded to other people. It has to be carefully worded. When my Mom died I had to phone her brother to tell him. Her church friend was a tough one to tell too. I did post it on facebook because I had friends that were praying for her. I remember going down the list in her address book trying to think of all the people that should know. I also sent out Christmas cards to people that she corresponded with so that they would know. Conveying the news in a letter is a little easier because I could cross it out if I didn’t like it.
Of course there are times in our lives when we don’t share news with family or friends because we don’t want them to worry. When I ended up in the hospital with kidney stones soon after I moved I had to tell my brother but I didn’t tell him what it was for. My coffee buddy told me it was body trying to tell me to slow down. I knew that but it was a long time before I was physically able to.
In my Dad’s family we seemed to be the last to know about any news. We were at my Dad’s younger brother’s house and his sister mentioned that he was going to have 2 grandchildren soon and we only knew about one. My Aunt had told so many people that she had forgotten who she had told and who she hadn’t. There is something exciting about sharing good news with friends and family. For us the joys were so much bigger after having so much sorrow.
When I found an apartment I couldn’t wait to tell people. I know the first person I told was my cousin. When I posted the blog post on fb my friends were so happy for me. That’s the fun part. People commiserated with me on my “difficulties” with furniture but they also laughed with me when it all worked out. Decorating on my own I didn’t know whether people would like it but everyone loved the red couch and my bookcase. I was so excited when my friend told me that her Mom retired here so we could spend Christmas together. If I posted the photos here you could see how much fun we had. It was like I was 14 again.
Living in an apartment the news is conveyed on the bulletin board. Of course a lot is just word of mouth. We got a notice about power interruptions but my super was the one who told me a few days before that they were putting in hydro meters. She made sure everyone in the building was on the look out for a skunk that was wandering around the building (and we also had goose). We had a fire inspection one time that even they didn’t know about so the tenants all went outside until the super came out and told us it was a test. I don’t get a paper so I’m currently watching the local news and I went online to get info on the candidates for the provincial election (and I didn’t find much). I sat there thinking how do people get information if they aren’t online? Reading the paper is ok but there is usually a political bias.
There are so many means to convey a message. Phone, letter, email and facebook. This blog is my means of conveying a message.

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Baking

Inkling
Since I zucchini in the fridge that I wanted to use up Friday night I googled recipes for low carb zucchini muffins. Yesterday I went to the grocery store since I ran out of fruit (well technically I forgot to add it to the list but I still ran out!) and picked up a bag of coconut flour. I halved the recipe since it makes 12. Thankfully the measurements were such that I could half it easily. Since there isn’t any gluten in coconut flour you have to use more eggs. I think I put too much zucchini in but how does one measure zucchini? I don’t have an “inkling” whether they will be good or not but it smells good. It’s a different texture than regular muffins so I guess I’ll see.
I haven’t done much baking since my Dad died. My Mom would take date squares or cookies to her church group. Sometimes she would make cookies when she was in the mood but there were times when it was just easier to go to the store. It’s definitely not the same cooking for one. My Dad loved sweets and he had to have something to finish off a meal. My grandmother always had oatmeal cookies when we went to visit.
I have recipes and cookbooks but I tend to find my recipes online. The big thing right now is substituting cauliflower for mashed potatoes or even fried rice. Cauliflower doesn’t agree with me but I also think I don’t care what they say there is no way that tastes like rice! Because I’m diabetic there are a lot of foods that I can no longer have. There are foods that I have to stay away from because of the sodium content. But I’ve also learned that this is a lifestyle. There will be times when I go out to dinner. I will have the occasional treat. Birthdays are meant to be celebrated.

Here is the finished product. Yum!

Coffee shops

Inscrutable
Thursday afternoon my friend and I met for our monthly coffee date. I suggested going to Starbucks since I needed a few things in Shoppers Drug Mart which is in the same plaza. Unfortunately when we got there all the tables were taken. Most with one person on their laptop. As we got back in the car to head to Tim Hortons neither of us could believe that it would be full at 3pm in the afternoon. I stood in line at Tims and was looking at all the yummy treats. I was good and only had a couple of timbits.
I have lived in this location for almost 2 years and although there are plenty of coffee shops around me most are small and only accessible if you are walking. Williams is my go to place but it is also a place frequented by University students so I have to pick the right time to go. My friend and I used to go to Red Roaster in Wortley Village every month but it’s not the same neighbourhood coffee shop that it once was. It was worse than Starbucks for trying to figure out what to order.
I can’t understand how in a city of 400,000 people how we don’t have a neighbourhood coffee shop? I found a cool one online but it closes at 4:30 which is a little tight when my friend picks me up at 3. When we got a coffee maker for Christmas Mom and I would stop in the drive thru and get a muffin and eat it at home. We just thought it was quieter at home. We would allow ourselves the time to sit and chat just like we would if we were in the coffee shop.
When it’s warm enough to sit outside I think that’s what my friend and I will do…sit on the balcony. It isn’t about the coffee but about spending time together.

Outline

Silhouette
Many years ago Janet and I would go with a friend to the Women’s Show at the Convention Centre in the spring. One year we had our handwriting analyzed and they would often have a fashion show. Once they had someone talk on your shape. I never knew what I was I just knew what I wasn’t. If you are an apple you carry your weight around the middle, a pear is bottom heavy. My Mom and grandma were lucky enough to be hourglass. The interesting part was that my friend and I found out we are both rectangles. If you are a rectangle you have to define your shape by wearing a belt or more material on the bottom. When the talk was over we went up to talk to the speaker and my friend asked can you change your shape ie if you lost weight and she said no your shape remains the same.

This is the dress I wore to my brother’s wedding. I love the colour royal blue. I found this dress through Sears (online). Since I’m 5’8″ I have long legs and it shows it off because it’s shorter in the front and longer in the back. I also love a cowl neckline. I don’t like my arms so it provided some coverage. I found a really pretty dress at a store on sale that I purchased for the Twinless Twins banquet. It was sleeveless but I had a sheer top that I wore as a cover up and it matched exactly.
I recently purchased a top that I realized Janet would have worn. When I looked at myself in the mirror I could almost see her. I know it probably sounds strange since we were twins but growing up our styles were very different. Our colour pallet was different too. Is it just coincidence or is she influencing what I buy. I had a cry because so many emotions when through me.
Clothes are one of those things that have sentimental attachment to them. Mom’s wedding dress, her favourite shirt, my grade 8 grad dress which is still hanging in my closet. They are filled with memories of happy occasions.

Buzzing

Trill
Ok, the word I used today is not quite the same as trill but it was what came to mind when I saw the news just before noon. The leader of the PC party of Ontario is stepping down because of allegations against him. Unfortunately, in a political arena it doesn’t matter whether you are innocent or guilty your reputation is tarnished either way. One of the journalists asked where do they go from here and that’s a good question with the provincial election less than 6 months away. Do they just plunk a new person in and read off the previous person’s platform? There is toeing the party line but you also want them to be an individual. Although in this day and age I’m not sure that’s even possible anymore.
When Janet and I first started helping with campaigns many years ago we did it because we thought these people were decent. We believed in the process. We weren’t naïve we knew a relative unknown would not get elected against an incumbent. Because we helped with campaigns friends would ask our opinions on the candidates. Since we didn’t live in the same riding we could share. We would tell them we met these people and here is what we thought. But we would also tell them you have to decide between voting for the candidate you think would best represent you or voting for the leader. It’s not always an easy choice. I don’t know a whole lot about my MPP but he seems like someone who is working for the community. But he belongs to the party in power and our premier is hated.
And then there is a municipal election in the fall. It turned out our mayor was not the person that he professed to be when he ran 4 yrs ago. It really makes one cynical. We elect them. They are supposed to represent US. Thankfully there are members of council that remember that. It’s one of those times when I wish my parents were still here because I’m sure my Dad would have a lot to say about what is going on in the word right now.

Tardy…not me

Tardy
I grew up with parents who were always on time and more often than not early. It was annoying when we went to church and both my Mom and grandfather would leave early in order to get a good parking spot. My father’s siblings were all the same way except for one who was always half an hour late. Mom called it “fashionably late” she liked to make an entrance. When my Mom was planning her 70th birthday party she told my Uncle and my brother that it started at noon and told everyone else 12:30 so they would be there on time.
I’m also a morning person so I try to get my Dr appointments scheduled for the morning. Because they are all close to get to I can do a 9AM appointment. The great thing about going early is I don’t have to wait.
Because I grew up in a family who showed up on time tardiness is something I don’t tolerate well. The people who arrive late value their time over yours. A friend and I arranged for coffee late in the afternoon at a time that was convenient for her. She arrived half an hour late because she was shopping. It’s usually a tipping point for me because being late is just an underlying issue.
I think because I was a caregiver for my parents and didn’t have a lot of extra time I value it more. I have a coffee buddy who I go out once a month with. Sometimes it’s hard to find a date and time that works for both of us but we try. Relationships are work. Being present in someone’s life means showing up, listening and respect.

I might be addicted to my electronics

Candid
I never realized how much of my daily routine revolves around my computer until I had to turn off all my electronics this morning from 9 until 1. They are installing hydro meters in the apartment and there would be intermittent power outages. In the morning I check my email, look to see what the daily prompt is and check fb messages. I type my blog post on my computer or my Ipad (sometimes I go to a local coffee shop and write it there). I had to hunt for some paper so I could write it out “old school”. I thought of going to a coffee shop but it’s supposed to rain quite heavily. Of course it’s also too cold to sit outside to write so I’m sitting at the dining room table. I used to journal quite a bit and now writing this by hand seems so foreign. It’s interesting how some things just become a habit.
The sad thing is Facebook messanger is how I correspond with the majority of my friends. I can’t remember the last time I talked to my friend on the phone. I do have a friend who I have lengthy conversations with on fb. It’s like talking in person. I’ve found most of my conversations are superficial. Truthfully I have found that even when sitting beside someone we seem to have forgotten how to talk to one another. There have been times in my life when it’s easier to talk by computer, it’s something to hide behind.
Facebook is where we post vacation pictures or outings with friends. It was fun being able to show off my apartment online for my friends all over the world. Someone recently commented on my post when we official signed the papers for selling the house I grew up in. I look back at the posts around that time and I was sad, alone and angry. When I look at photos now I seem happier. There are days when it’s a work in progress. This blog is kind of an electronic journal so I can see the growth along this journey.

My strategy…be organized

Strategy
My Dad was a type A personality. While I am not quite like that I know that I get some of my need to be organized from him. A lot of it came out of necessity when I was looking after my parents. There were only so many hours in the day so I had to find a way to make things easier for myself.
My Mom was always one to have staples on hand. It helped that we had a freezer in the basement and a cold room for cans. Eating healthy in the winter means keeping a supply of frozen vegetables and fruit in the freezer. Meal planning is key because of weather I can’t always run out and get something I forgot. It’s why I like going to the Farmers Market on Saturday because I can get fresh fruits and vegetables. They are going to be turning off the power in our building tomorrow morning so I’m going to cook a chicken breast so I can have chicken salad sandwich for lunch tomorrow. I’m going to have to get my grocery list reading tonight so I can send it off before 9AM. I keep a basic list on my Ipad and then add to it as I run out of items. I am not one of those people who go to the grocery store without a list…a pet peeve of mine.
Eating healthy also means trying to remember to drink lots of water. I bought myself a pitcher. It helps in the summertime.
I will admit that there are times when I put my points card in my pocket of my coat and then put on my spring coat and don’t have it with me when I go to buy something. I’ve gotten better at putting all of them back in my wallet. I was able to get $10 off my groceries the last time I went to my “regular” store. Now that I go to the market on Saturday I’m able to go Shoppers Drug Mart for 20X the points. I can’t buy toilet paper because it’s too awkward to carry home (and too big to fit in my cart)
Living in an apartment that has plenty of storage everything has a home. I have every ailment covered…nausea, heartburn, headache, ointment for back pain. It makes me laugh because I get that from Mom. When I moved I didn’t have to buy toilet paper for AGES!
My Mom was one of those people who always had cards ahead for birthdays, anniversary’s or deaths. I did get a birthday card for a friend recently. I learned from Mom to make errands count. If I’m going to get a haircut I’ll go into Shoppers Drug Mart afterwards. I’ll go grocery shopping at the mall so I can do other things to. Of course being able to buy anything I want online is a great convenience.
Last year for my birthday I decided to have a quiet day to myself because the year before was so busy. Having a plan for birthdays or anniversary’s makes it easier.

Time

Blink
Time is the first thing I thought of when I saw the word for today. Sometimes it seems like I blinked and suddenly so much time has passed. I look at my family picture hanging in the front entrance and I can’t believe it will be 10yrs in December since it was taken. 2008 was a big year for our family. It was the first time I went to the Twinless Twins conference which was held in Toronto. It was a time when I was probably journaling every day because there were so many things that I was struggling with. I remember going to a birthday party for my cousin and being strong enough to say that I disagreed with her Aunt.
When I posted last year that I had been in my apartment a year a twin friend wrote already the time flew by. That’s what it felt like I blinked and a year passsed. But it was a year that was so full…moving, taking care of estate etc.
Things change in the blink of an eye. Sometimes blessings come out of something bad. I learned that I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. I am loved by many people.

It costs HOW MUCH?

Shock
Growing up my Dad didn’t have a concept of how much things cost. When our grocery bill started going up he thought Mom must be buying extras. After Mom died I thought my grocery bill would be lower because I was only buying for one but it wasn’t much. Eating healthy costs more because I buy whole grain bread, spinach and I buy cut fruit. My Mom shopped at the same store every week. She wasn’t one of those people who would drive around the city searching for a bargain. My food bill goes down significantly in the summer because I buy produce at the market. Food, rent and phone and cable are my biggest expenses. Many people choose not to have a landline but it’s the way I buzz people into the building so I don’t really have a choice. Plus as long as I keep the phone on the base it’s always charged (I’m terrible at remembering to charge my cellphone!!)
When I was looking for an apartment I was shocked at how much a 2 bedroom went for in my neighbourhood. Some places were a little less but utilities were extra. I remember the first time my friend saw my place when she was helping me move some stuff from the house she was shocked at how big it is. Although I had never bought furniture on my own before I didn’t really think of price. I had to go more on size. I did look online to get an idea of what I liked. I had to buy furniture in stages so I wouldn’t go over my credit limit. I found my couch for 50% off so that was a steal. When I saw the piece of art that is hanging in my dining room I was drawn to it not even knowing what the price was. My friends were shocked initially when I purchased the quilt and the piece of art but seeing it hung they were happy for me.
Out of curiousity I checked the website of an airline to see how much it would cost to fly to the city where the Twinless Twins conference is being held. I actually gasped. Even though there was a cost to holding the event I planned for the 10 yr anniversary of Janet’s death I felt it was appropriate. Not only because the Inn did everything but because sharing stories and being surrounded by OUR friends was healing. For me it isn’t always about the cost but the value attached to the experience.