I had a feeling

Premonition
Last night was the start of season 14 of The Voice. I’m not a fan of the winter Olympics (I much prefer the summer sports) so I’m glad that all my shows will be returning this week. When they bring on a new coach you never know what the dynamic is going to be like with the four of them but Kelly seemed to get along with everyone when she was a mentor so I thought it would be ok. Last season I didn’t even watch it partly because of the coach they had on but mostly because there wasn’t anyone that wowed me. I go on the facebook page because they post one or two singers as a preview. Finding someone like Jordan Smith is like capturing lightening in a bottle. People complained about the new block feature but I think it’s a neat idea. Isn’t the whole point for the singers to learn and grow while they are there? Yes it’s about the singers but it’s also a competition. The coaches are trying to get that one person who could win the show.
Last night I laughed so hard. Blake bantering with Adam and making fun of Kelly talking too much (sucking all the oxygen out of the room). I don’t remember when Mom and I started watching but we would both laugh at their antics. It’s fun and with all the bad news in the world sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

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Imagination

Imagination
I love watching home shows. The commonality to both Property Brothers and Home Town is when they are showing a property they say “imagine what it COULD be, not what it is”. The thing I find cool is when they take an idea board and transform it into a home. How do they know what kind of art the person likes or what colour couch? Erin has a way of making each home well “homey”. Family pictures and heirlooms, rugs on the floor, their china.

These are before and after pictures. The first one was just after I moved. I had imagined a sectional along the wall but unfortunately it didn’t fit. I should have thought of buying one in pieces but since this was my first time buying on my own it didn’t occur to me. I looked online for inspiration but they just didn’t feel right. It’s what we do when we go and look at houses is imagine ourselves living there. We imaging our stuff on the walls, baking cookies on the island, sitting on the back porch (or in my case balcony) with a cup of coffee. We take that blank canvas and make a life in it.

Congregate

Congregate
The first thing that comes to mind for this word is all the people in my apartment building congregating outside when the fire alarm goes off. We have had 4 since I’ve been here and it hasn’t even been 2 years. I remember one time the firemen said get to know your neighbours and the funny thing was this was how I got a sense of who lived in the building. One person left a pot on the stove on the floor I live on so the smell was awful.
This word also makes me think of going to the Grand Theatre with Mom and congregating in the lobby during intermission. This is usually when we would see someone we knew. We always took the bus since it was convenient. One day when we were waiting one of the cast members came out the side door. Of course everyone remembers him from Polka dot door. My brother used to say he was the best one. He was so gracious and recognized that for our generation that is how he will be remembered.
Yesterday I walked to the market. Although it was still a little chilly the snow is all melted and the sidewalks are dry. The park near me is flooded so I passed someone who stopped along the walkway to look. They have an indoor farmers market in the wintertime but it’s definitely different than congregating outside. There is one table that I always go to and they sell individual frozen dinners. I also got a vegetable tart for lunch. I was leery of buying it when she told me it had brussel sprouts in it. I think we’ve had the over cooked steamed variety but roasted it’s not bad.
Of course there is also congregating in the aisle at the grocery store. Because we went to one that was frequented by people we knew inevitably we would see someone we knew. The aisles are small (and getting smaller with all the extra stuff they put at the end) so I would usually go on and pick stuff out while Mom found a spot to chat. Apparently my grocery guy and I have the same pet peeve with people who block the aisle with their cart. Mine is also the person who stands in front of the thing that I need wondering whether they need it or not (cause you know they didn’t write out a list).

She knows too much for one but not enough for two

Conversant
My Dad had the saying he knows too much for one but not enough for two
I guess you could say my Dad was conversant in limericks and all sorts of sayings. After he died we found a book of limericks that he had typed out. When he was in the hospital I recited the Mary had a little lamb one and he laughed and said I bet Anna’s never heard of that one.
As a child I used to think my Dad knew a lot about everything. He knew more than the people at the banks or investment places. He knew everything about plants.
When I get weighed at the Dr office it’s in kgs so the woman was trying to figure it out in her head so I said multiple 2.2. I told her it’s what my Mom told me when we were picking out a turkey that’s how we could tell how much it weighed. Kind of a weird way of looking at it. I guess you could say I’ve lost a good sized turkey in weight. HA
Although my parents knew a lot the one thing that they would admit they knew nothing about was technology. My Dad was sent a debit card because they had a joint bank account but he never used it. If went out to eat my mom would pass over her debit card and I would do it…although more often than not that was because she didn’t want to get her glasses out and she couldn’t see the numbers without. The idea of transferring money electronically would have been unheard of for my dad. My mom didn’t get the idea of a chat room, Skyping etc. But she did love the convenience of online shopping. I’m pretty sure she would think ordering in swiss Chalet was sacrilegious.
I’m sitting here typing this blog post waiting for the doctor to come back in. The last time I was here the assistant was looking up something on his phone and showed me how to get online. It really helps to have something to occupy myself. Even when I got my iPad it was trial and error. Last night I had to look up where the alarm was. The funny thing is I woke up five minutes before it was going to go off.
I wrote a blog post called grief for dummies. Although we are all going to experience loss in our lifetime many people know nothing about loss. I’ve learned that when I go for visitation there is nothing to say…a hug will suffice.

Constants in life

Constant
1. Cleaning. Yesterday I had to clean my sticky, grimy counters and then this morning I cleaned the floor. I spilled bread crumbs at lunch and dropped a piece of cantaloupe that I cut for my evening snack. There always seems to be something to do.
2. Laundry.
3. Every Tuesday is grocery day. 3 meals a day, 7 days a week requires enough food in the fridge. Of course there are regular things that are on the list like milk, eggs, cheese and bread. I’m doing better at figuring out how much lasts me the entire week.
4. Coffee. Yep I gotta have my coffee
5. Emails from clothing stores I’ve purchased from, Via (since I purchased tickets online) and notifications for my blog.
6. Bills and taxes
7. LOVE unconditional love means that even when a parent, sister, grandparent is disappointed or annoyed they will always love you

Things that aren’t constant
1. Weather. Right now it’s raining again but it’s
February so the weather is ever changing
2. Money unless you have it in a very safe investment it’s going to fluctuate
3. As much as I wished my family could be with me forever people are going to leave us.
4. Friendships. I would consider my coffee buddy a constant in my life. I can talk to her about anything. Sometimes friendships ebb and flow and sometimes the people who you thought would always be there aren’t. Dynamics change.

In life sometimes we have to compromise

Compromise
What an appropriate word for Family Day. It’s a holiday that the government of Ontario introduced (as the name suggests to spend time with family)
In a family we have to learn to compromise. In our family Dad was the boss so for major purchases he had the final say. Our last car was a 2 door and he did admit that a 4 door might have been more convenient. Not a lot of head room for someone who is 5’8″. When our tv wore out Mom and Dad went to the store to pick out another one. I think the one we had was about 21″ so he was going to get the same size and Mom said “no lets get a little bit bigger one” and thankfully Mom won. I’m still using it. Nowadays people have 40 inch or larger tvs. I could have a larger one on the wall but unless you are in a media room I find I’m sitting to close.
I still remember going to Jumbo video and my brother made up the rule that whoever had the idea of getting a movie had to pay. Of course going with 3 girls and a boy chances are he probably won out on what movie we picked out. Going out to dinner you have to compromise because one person might want Swiss Chalet, another person Red Lobster and another Chinese.
When my Dad repainted my room I had to compromise on the colour. My Dad wouldn’t let me pick a darker yellow. When I redid my room after he died I picked yellow rain coat. Think the colour of a sunrise, a child’s rain boots or as my friend teased “a school bus”. My Mom didn’t like it at first but she grew to like it. Yes, it was bold but even on the cloudiest days it was sunny in my room. At the time I needed a little sunshine in my life.
My Mom was a name brand shopper and I’ve found I am too. She used to say you get what you pay for. There are some no name brands where you can’t tell the difference but somethings are just worth the money…like garbage bags!!
When I was looking for an apartment I had a list of things that I HAD to have. Controlled A/C, a dishwasher, 2 bedrooms. It had to be on a bus route that went to the hospital (for Dr appointments). Of course the large kitchen and ensuite were nice bonuses. On Saturday I was talking to my super (or more accurately he was talking to me) and another tenant came into the building. They really are so friendly.
This afternoon I’m going out with my monthly coffee buddy. She teaches so I have to go when it’s convenient for her. I eat early (around 5) so going at 3ish means I have to plan what I’m going to have for supper beforehand. Thankfully I have leftovers. In any relationship sometimes we have to compromise. Just don’t compromise on the important stuff.

Not present

Present
This afternoon a friend from high school is hosting an online shopping event. I titled this not present because anyone that she has invited can attend but they are in their own home. She kiddingly said you can even shop in your underwear.
It made me think of how many of these types of parties I’ve been roped into. Tupperware, pampered chef, epicure. My food storage containers are bought on sale or at the dollar store. The big thing nowadays is Essential oils. I’m sensitive to some scents so it just isn’t for me. Thankfully I’m the type of person who can go to these things and not buy anything. I’m going for the social aspect…and the food. If I do decide to buy something it’s usually the cheapest thing they sell. This was long before online shopping so the person hosting ordered the stuff and then you had to pick it up from them. With the event today is gets shipped to your own home.
I’m not a parent so I don’t have the notes sent home where they are selling fruit, chocolate bars etc. A friend of mine was doing a walk for MS and Friday I got another envelope in the mail with address labels. That’s how they get you.
The other day I went to make butternut squash soup and I got out my immersion blender to whiz it up…nothing happened. To be fair it was a Christmas present from my brother purchased when he was in University at least 20 yrs ago. It made me think about how everything in my home has a purpose. Someone suggested using a potato masher and I don’t even have one because I don’t make mashed potatoes for one. When I went through the drawers in the kitchen preparing to move I had to think would I use this?
Right now I would rather have the experience than a present that would be put in the closet.

Courage

Courage

This drawing is probably the best representation of the word for today. I actually asked my friend to draw something for my brother I didn’t know she was going to draw one for me too. She said she struggled with it.
These are the words that she decided on. Janet is courage because it takes courage every day to live my life without my twin. She is the person who always had my back. It took courage to start a blog post and attend a writing class. I had to read my stuff out loud to strangers. I didn’t know how my blog was going to be received. It takes courage every time I have to walk into the hospital for a Dr appointment because it’s where I lost 2 important people. I am able to speak up for myself. When I was planning the party for the anniversary of Janet’s death I had to answer the family question. I had to have the courage to walk away from the only family I had left because I didn’t want to lose the person I had become.
She gave Dad strength. My Dad grew up on a farm and he was a letter carrier so physically he was strong but it took a lot of strength to decide that he wasn’t going to have treatment when his cancer returned. To face cancer on his terms. The strength to be able to talk about things that non of us ever want to talk about. This took courage for me too because I knew I was going to lose my father less than 3 years after Janet.
Love. Well truthfully this is a word that could go with all 3. My Mom was selfless. She taught us how to be good people by example. She was someone I could talk to.
I was never someone that liked change so it took courage to accept pretty rapid change. To accept that I had changed. To be true to myself.

A city kid

Rube
I had to look up the word for today. Growing up my Mom used to say we were such city kids so you could say I’m the furthest thing from a country bumpkin that you would find. Janet and I belonged to guides and we had to go camping. We had to cook our food on a fire and sleep in a tent. That part was doable but I did not enjoy having to put boots on to go and use the “outdoor facilities” in the middle of the night. And don’t forget having to carry a flashlight. I wear a night shirt to bed so I had to wear pajamas there. And poor Janet always got eaten alive. I can hear my Mom in my head…”I’m never going to live that down”. My Dad grew up on a farm and had 6 siblings. Mom used to joke that they must have had 2 outhouses one for the girls and one for the boys.
Growing up “roughing it” was the fact that I had to do dishes by hand and we didn’t have air conditioning. We always had a rough in for the dishwasher but for some reason for years my Dad never got around to purchasing one. I remember the year the furnace went out we were so happy because we knew it meant we were getting air conditioning. After Dad died we had to replace the hot water heater and it really made me think about all the things that we take for granted like hot water and heat.
When I was looking for an apartment I wanted one with a dishwasher. I had people wonder why would you need one for one person but it’s so much easier. I had to have controlled a/c because I didn’t want to worry about putting in and taking out a window one. The fact that it has an ensuite and a washer and dryer is a bonus.
Although I live downtown surrounded by apartment buildings I have 2 trees outside my windows. I live next to a park and within walking distance of another one. Growing up with a huge backyard I still wanted that same feeling. The people I know who live in small towns know all their neighbours and they could rely on them for help. But living in a small town also means they have to drive everywhere. I can take the bus to the mall or Dr appointments.
I like my city. It’s like Goldilocks…it’s just right.

How can I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?

Costume
Last week I went out for lunch with my cousin. It changed from coffee because the weather was bad. Going for coffee is easy because I just put on what I would wear around home. It was very cold that day and I couldn’t decided what to wear. Going to lunch at a nice restaurant means there is the fine balance of looking respectable but not too dressed up. I tend to go out for lunch in the summertime so I have plenty of clothes for that season. I usually go out for my birthday, last year I went for tea with a friend and I might do lunch and a manicure. Summer is easy a pair of white capris and a nice top.

I remember looking in the mirror after I was all dressed and accessorized for my brother’s wedding. I didn’t recognize the person that was staring back at me. There are pictures from birthdays or lunches and it’s me only “enhanced”. There have been a couple of weddings I’ve attended where it does feel like the bride is wearing a costume. I think they go with what is traditional or what people would approve of but it doesn’t really reflect her.
Clothes are the way we present ourselves to the world. When I go into a bank I prefer the men to wear a suit. The women should not have flip flops on and I don’t want to see cleavage.
Mom used to get dressed up to go to church because she said it was the only time when she wasn’t in pants and a t-shirt. In the past few years at her church and mine we both noticed that people dressed more casually. Women didn’t wear a skirt anymore. They were dressing for comfort. Growing up I wore panty hose even in the summer time because my grandmother and mother always did. I think grandma thought it was more ladylike. Plus Janet used to say “nobody wants to see my white pasty skin”. The last time I wore panty hose was for the wedding. Oh and don’t get me started on the spanx.
There have been a few times when I will put on a shirt and think Janet would have looked good in this. Recently I put on a shirt and had a cry because it would have been what she wore. It’s strange because we never used to wear the same things. Going through the closet after Janet died and then my Mom was the hardest job. They aren’t just pieces of clothing but they are items that they wore. They hold their scent.
Nowadays my costume is jeans and a t-shirt but I love having the opportunity to having a nice dinner and wear fancy clothes.