Alive in my heart


Last night I had a dream where my Dad and sister were in it. I don’t know where my Mom was…maybe she went to get the car. We seemed to be at a wedding because it was outside next to a gazebo. Have you ever had a dream where it feels so real and then you wake up and realize it wasn’t. I always find these dreams comforting because we are all together.
There is something about a picture that transports us back to the time when it was taken. Our grandmother made our costumes and this was our favourites. Janet went as an old lady. I don’t know where she got the wig but the rest was my grandmother’s clothes. The cape that I wore was what my Mom wore when she was pregnant with us. The picture was taken at our grandparents apartment and it brings back so many memories. We would go around the neighbourhood and end at our grandparents building for candy. The would sit in the lobby and we would sit and chat, go over our stash and then walk across the street to our house. We were standing in front of the cabinet which she used for a pantry. We called it grandma’s grocery store because it was where we ran if we didn’t have something for dinner (soup mainly).
I also included my friend’s drawing because she drew Janet walking with us through Victoria Park. When I went to Vancouver I wrote a note to Janet and put it in a box at the Museum of Anthropology. There were many moments when I could feel her with us.
Sharing stories is how we keep our loved ones memories alive. It’s what we do at a funeral. We share who they were. My brother shared the story of Mom teaching him to drive (which her brother had never heard). We share the good and the bad because that’s who they were. My cousin had no idea that my Dad’s favourite meal was ham and scalloped potatoes. For my friends that had never met my Dad he came alive in our shared memories. My friend called it shared love.
A friend of mine is moving and sorted through stuff. The things that bring back memories. Why do we keep a birthday card, a scrap of paper or a ratty teddy bear? They are things that our loved ones touched. Their handwriting is on it. It’s a reminder that they were a part of our lives. The THING might not have value but we loved the person who gave it to us beyond measure.

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Prioritize

Prioritize is a good word for me today as I feel like I am catching up on my tasks that I neglected when I wasn’t feeling well a couple of weeks ago. Since it’s another wet weekend I did some cleaning. I usually get together with a friend for coffee once a month and looked at the calendar and realized the month is almost over. After I got a much needed haircut I went into Shoppers Drug Mart and saw a sign for flu shots. Yet another thing to add to the list. I’ve started seeing Christmas commercials (TOO EARLY!!) which means I have to start thinking about gifts. It’s getting harder and harder to think of a small gift to exchange with my friend.
A friend of mine recently wrote a blog post about making time to do things we enjoy. It made me think about what we put at the top of our list. Some months it isn’t easy to schedule a date to go for coffee with a friend who teaches and me with Dr appointments. I booked a dinner with my friend near Christmas months in advance after she told me when they would be available. I look at friends who both they and their husband work and have kids and I wonder how they do it all? I think we all have friends who we grow apart from because we aren’t on their list anymore. It hurts at the time but I try to tell myself that it’s not worth it to spend time on someone who doesn’t want to spend time with me.
We have to make ourselves a priority. There is a line in the movie THE HOLIDAY where Kate Winslet’s character tells Arthur “you should be the leading lady in your own life”. SO TRUE!

How do we get the public engaged in politics?

It is now the day after the election and because of ranked balloting we are still waiting on results. Today is grocery day for me and my delivery guy told me he worked a polling booth last night. He shared that we had a voter turnout of 39% (which I happened to see online). That means 60% of eligible voters didn’t bother. We discussed how this is the one that most affects us.
A friend of mine recently got Australian citizenship so that she can vote. Apparently in Australia you are required to vote. So the million dollar question is how do we increase our voter turnout? Personally I think it starts young. I grew up in a family that talked about politics. We didn’t always agree but they were lively discussions. Janet and I attended a bible study at the time we were volunteering for a federal campaign. One of the guys was really interested. Because we had met some of the candidates in our friends ridings they would ask our opinion. We used to tell people that you either vote for the party or you vote for the candidate that you like.
Because of social media the way people campaign has changed. Many people didn’t even receive information in the mail. I remember asking at a rally for the federal candidate we were helping how were they going to get more young people out to vote. The MP who was a guest said he wished he had an answer for that.
I went to the city hall website to see if I was on the list to vote. I wasn’t but it was very easy to put my name on. I reading online that there were a lot of people who didn’t receive a voter card. One year for a federal election I didn’t receive one but as long as you have ID they can add you on the day of. When I went to vote I wasn’t even asked for ID. This is something a friend of mine talked about one time. Many people aren’t trained properly. It should be the same across the board.
I wrote recently about the services that I use in the city. In 2 months I will be walking through the park to look at the lights with a friend. It makes me think of standing on the observation deck at City Hall looking at our beautiful city.

Why I didn’t vote for the “Fab Four”

Today is election day. Polls open at 10AM so I left my building around 10. No line up for my table (O-U alphabetically). I handed over my voter card and was surprised when the woman didn’t even ask for ID. Municipal it’s kind of hit and miss, sometimes I am and sometimes the voter card is sufficient. This year we have ranked ballots where you can choose a 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice so the woman who handed me a ballot asked if I understood it. I had seen someone demonstrate it when I went to Sunfest and honestly it’s not that complicated. The hardest part was figuring out who to vote for!
Why did I title this post the way I did? I researched candidates online by checking their webpages, twitter if they have one and facebook pages. I’ve watched the local news and read comments on their facebook page. I found that CBC had the most unbiased reporting so that was the one I stayed with. They were the only ones that actually covered all the issues and not just BRT. I read a few comments last night and many people felt it was a “lack lustre” campaign. Even the day before many people were undecided. This is the first election in many years where I wasn’t 100% certain either. I watched an interview with the top 4 on CBC and while I listened to what they said it was also what they DIDN’T say that really struck me. The fact that only 2 of the candidates actually listened while the other person talked. I want a mayor that respects someone enough to not just fidget until it’s their turn to talk. Over and over again people would comment that there are more than 4 candidates in the race when the media would print articles titled that way. The person I voted for I believe cares for the city. I was really turned off by the ME, ME, ME mentality of it all. I did consider not voting but I was raised in a family that believed voting was important. We always talked about politics at the table.
I did rank the people for councillor. I have a feeling I know who is going to win since she did a lot of door to door campaigning. She has a huge social media presence as well.
I remember how we felt 4 years ago. How there was such optimism about the new Mayor and a new council. Unfortunately it definitely didn’t turn out exactly as we hoped. They are voted in BY US. TO REPRESENT US. Hopefully enough of them get in that actually remember that!

My week

This has been kind of an up and down week for me. Tuesday is grocery delivery day. I was putting some stuff away in the cupboards before he came and realized I forgot a couple of things, one being cereal. I phoned him but unfortunately had to leave a message and by the time he got it he was already in the car halfway to my place. He saunters into apartment and informs me that he doesn’t have a debit machine as he is having technical difficulties. Ok, I’ll send you an e-transfer. He asked what I forgot to add to the list and said he could bring it back later. In the end it all worked out but it was definitely one of those days where I felt unorganized and a little frazzled.
Wednesday I had a Dr appointment. I woke up to the sound of garbage trucks going by so I decided to get up. I was sitting in the office at 7:45 and all of a sudden I notice this incredible orange glow. I was nervous about going wondering whether the Dr would hear my concerns and this gave me a great sense of calm.
I got an email from a friend that morning too. She is one of those friends who has shown up in my life. I don’t mean physically (although we go out once a month for coffee) but someone who listens. Who tells me stories of her honorary neighbourhood nieces to cheer me up.
If the weather is ok I usually go to the Farmers Market on Thursday. Unfortunately the woman who makes frozen meals was going to take the day off. She tells me “but I’ll be there on Sat”. I signed up for a writing class which happens to run 10-12. The outdoor market closes at 1 so it would be a little tight to try to get there by then. And chances are she would be sold out by the time I got there. It’s just nice to have meals in the freezer for days I don’t feel like cooking.
As I write this it is 3 days until the municipal election and I’m still undecided for Mayor. Last night I was watching the local news and the reporter asked a young woman at the market who was running for Mayor. Got help us she didn’t know. There was an older gentleman and he said he hadn’t gotten any information in his mailbox from the mayoral candidates at all. They talked about how the way they get out information has changed. They used to have neighbourhood debates and all candidates meetings and that has been replaced with rallies and social media events. It’s something I have noticed. Someone can have twitter, a fb page etc but it doesn’t mean there is anything of substance on there.
Oh yes mustn’t forget the bane of anyone living downtown which is construction! They have FINALLY opened Talbot street so now I can that way to get to the market again. At the same time they have closed off another street so we can’t win! I get that infrastructure needs to be replaced but doing all the arteries at the same time is a traffic nightmare and I don’t even drive.

Ring


The first thing that comes to mind for the word ring is a wedding ring. For most people it’s the only ring that they wear. My Dad worked as a letter carrier so he didn’t wear one because he was afraid of losing it. Plus he just wasn’t comfortable wearing one. I used to tell Mom that it’s ok we know he’s taken. When my Mom died I got a call regarding her wedding ring. What a hassle that was as I had to go up to the head office and show ID and I didn’t have any on me. It was all I could do to hold it together as I was either going to cry or scream. There was a moment when I honestly wondered if it was worth it.
My grandparents were married 50 yrs. My grandfather had to replace her wedding band as it had thinned from wear. She still kept it in the original box in her dresser. My Dad’s eldest sister got a larger engagement ring after 25? years of marriage. At a point when he could afford to get her a bigger one. My Dad’s sister in law had one too. Even in my early 20s I didn’t get it. To me it’s the symbolism of the ring that you are given when their husbands asked them to marry them. Maybe it’s romanticizing it but I know my Mom and I felt the same way. The second ones were considerably “larger”.
I remember having breakfast with my brother the morning after their wedding. It felt weird seeing a ring on his finger. Despite the fact that I saw them exchange vows this somehow made it more real.
In a wedding ceremony the officiant (minister/priest) says until death do you part and for my family members they meant it. The ring is a symbol of love. A circle that has no beginning and ending.

Comeback

Last night I was watching THIS IS US. It centered around Jack’s death. How the choices that they made were influenced by that event. How that event defined their lives. I thought about how this is true in my life. Don’t get me wrong I’m not talking about being defined by the day but by the fact that I lost people close to me. Comeback is a good word for today because it’s having the strength to comeback from losses. Choosing not to hide from the pain. Having an open heart to receive gifts from above.
Going to my first Twinless Twins conference I met many people that helped me along the way. Honestly I don’t know what I would have done without being able to talk to twins on chat when my Dad had cancer. I would sit at the computer and laugh and it was something I hadn’t felt in a long time.
Going to Vancouver came about because a friend asked if there was anything that Janet and I had always wanted to do.
I had journaled since Janet died and had considered writing a blog but it took me about a year or more to get up the courage to do it. Would I be writing a blog if things hadn’t happened that I needed to write about…probably not. I can look back at my blog posts and see the change. The point where there is more joy. The death of my sister and father made me realize that life is short. Take lots of pictures. Play in the leaves. Have a picture taken with Santa at 42.

To brine or not to brine

This morning I was watching a little bit of the Marilyn Dennis show. They have 4 chefs on who are making a thanksgiving dinner. The lone guy had the turkey deboned and he brines his turkey. One of the women did a dry brine ((which I’ve never heard of) and then a spice rub. Since my Mom had to avoid salt she basted the bird. I had to laugh when they were arguing over whether you stuff the bird or not. Half did and half didn’t. My grandma did both so you got the juices from the bird mixed with the slightly dryer dressing. Apparently it’s stuffing if it’s in the bird and dressing you cook it in a casserole dish. The reason we did it separate is you can cook way more that way. Although when one person has 3 helpings there wasn’t as much leftover as one would think. My Mom would go to a certain place to get her apples. She would get a huge box of cortland. I would get a basket of honey crisp and a basket of pears for my Dad. Oh and apple butter. Dad grew up on a farm and they would take their apples in to be made into apple butter. It’s the best on a slightly warm biscuit or crusty bread.
I have never made my own cranberry sauce so I had to laugh when Rodney talked about how they should find some way to make the mood for when it comes out of the can. The nice clean plop. The woman from Ireland said she has never had cranberry sauce out of a can. So he jokingly said we will have to get that through customs for you too (along with her maple syrup). It’s funny how a comment about cranberry sauce can evoke the memory of standing in the kitchen with all the dishes on the counter. Sitting at the dining room table.
On the webpage for the market they listed the vendors that will be there on Saturday and the dessert lady (ad my uncle calls her) is going to have tons of pumpkin goods.
I’m so glad that it looks like we are going to have beautiful weather next weekend. I may even be able to sit on the balcony. A lot to be thankful for,