Dressing for extreme cold weather

Yesterday I had my monthly coffee date with my friend. I didn’t really want to go because it was -30 outside. But if figured it wouldn’t be that bad just going from the car to a building. It’s almost like wearing camouflage because by the time I put boots, a heavy coat, hat and mitts on I’m pretty well hidden. It’s almost comical watching us put on all our clothes to go back outside and neither one of us enjoy putting hats on.

This morning a couple friends on Facebook posted that school buses were cancelled. I wondered why since it hasn’t snowed since Monday and then I figured out it must be due to the cold. Right now we are complaining about the weather. Friends in Australia have the opposite problem because it was hot. Only one more day to go and it will be above freezing on the weekend. Right now there is a coating of snow on my table on the balcony. I know that spring is a long way away but when it’s this cold outside I need something to look forward to. Some people dream of white sandy beaches I dream of mornings on my balcony.

Yesterday was one of those days where I threw the diet out the window and I had a donut. The first half of this week has been a bust healthy eating wise. A little more stressed too.

Because it’s been too cold to go anywhere I ordered a book to read on the weekend. Total chick lit but that’s ok. Winter is a time for curling up with a book, a cup of cocoa underneath a blanket.

Off balance

This morning I had a Dr appointment at the hospital for my 6 month check up with kidney Dr. I didn’t really want to go since we got quite a bit of snow yesterday and I knew the roads probably weren’t that good. I had to stop at the cafeteria as today is grocery day and I was completely out of anything to have with cereal for breakfast and I got a coffee. I just made it in time for when my appointment was scheduled but it didn’t matter as I ended up having to wait an hour to even be taken in to the room. I was the only person there that wasn’t accompanied by someone. Pretty sure I was the only local person too. Usually I take my iPad out to work on my blog post but the people were very friendly today so we just chatted. They have a television in the waiting room that was tuned to CNN. I do follow the news but it’s certainly not something I want to watch and I could tell other people felt the same way.
When I go to this Dr I have blood pressure sitting and standing. The weird thing was it wouldn’t work when I was standing so the nurse told me “you’re a mystery” and I told her my Mom could have told you that. Sometimes I go to the Dr and feel like I’m making progress and today I felt a little disappointed. It’s hard eating healthy in the wintertime.

I had arranged a time for groceries and at 4 pm they still hadn’t arrived so I phoned. They were behind due to weather. Thankfully I had meat in the freezer but let’s just say I am really sick of chicken! I usually get groceries delivered in the morning. It’s frustrating having a new person every 6 months. Customer service is sorely lacking anymore. This person comes into my home and I don’t even know her name. Shouldn’t you at least introduce yourself?

While my day was off balanced there were bright spots. I took a cab because it’s cold and snowy. I got a really chatty cab driver on the way home. I actually don’t mind a chatty one it makes the drive more enjoyable. My super let my grocery person in and buzzed me to let me know. They make me smile. I have a warm apartment and food in the fridge. Tomorrow I’m going out for coffee with a friend. Friends make our life more balanced.


The first time I ever flew in a plane was in 1993 when the three girls went to California and area for a graduation gift. I think Mom paid for the actual trip and everything else we paid for ourselves. This was long before we had a credit card so we paid cash for everything. We took Robert Q (a van that will drive you to Toronto or Detroit airport) to Toronto. I don’t even remember what time our flight was but we probably had to get up early to leave. I have no idea what I used for ID as it was before we used a passport to fly.
My next flight was many years later when I went to Vancouver. It was much easier because we could fly direct from London to Vancouver. My Mom went on a bus tour around BC and I flew out with her. I was staying with a friend for the week but I had to stay at a hotel the first night so I told the travel agent to just book me in to the same hotel as Mom for the convenience. A good thing to as they lost her luggage. Thankfully I had a cellphone so they were able to get a hold of me when it arrived in the evening. I remember walking out to the airplane and the sun was just coming up. I was so excited I kept saying “we’re really going”. We had a short stop over in Calgary so we had a snack before we carried on. They had this giant bear dressed in a Mountie uniform so Mom took my picture beside it. I remember coming home I had just enough cash for cab fare.
In 2011 I flew to Minneapolis to attend a Twinless Twins conference. I actually flew out of London and transferred in Toronto so that Mom could drive me to the airport. I got a little lost in the airport but after asking someone who worked there I eventually found my way. It was about 50 degrees Celsius on the tarmac and we had to wait for a while as someone had to be taken off the plane for health reasons. The actual flight was about 2 hrs. When I got to the hotel the first thing Twins did was go to give me a hug and I would tell them I am so sweaty. Each one said I don’t care. I couldn’t wait to get to my room to change my clothes. Many other Ontarians flew out of
Detroit or Buffalo so save money. But they weren’t direct flights.
2009 Mom and I went on a cruise over Christmas. We flew out of Toronto and stayed overnight in a hotel since our flight was early the next day. The vacation was lovely although we both felt like this was a one time thing we weren’t really cruise people. The flight back was a nightmare as it was the time they had a shoe bomber. Security was insane. My friend worked for a certain airline so she booked our flight…big mistake. We were the last to fly out because they are a smaller company. The only reason I knew what was going on was I texted my brother. There have been many stories on the news with problems related to this company I’m surprised they are still in business.
When we go on vacation flying is one of those things we can’t control. The flight is delayed or it’s overbooked. In my Mom’s case they lost her luggage. But we get to our destination and all of those issues get forgotten (well it took a while for the 2009 trip).

Polar vortex

Right now I would rather not look at the forecast. All I know it’s really cold. Yesterday I took advantage of the fact that it was a little warmer and went to get bloodwork. The nurse must have remembered me from last week because she went and got me a heat pack which was lovely. I’m not a fan of having Dr appointments in the winter time because it always seems to be snowing really hard or freezing cold. Since the clinic is in a hospital there isn’t anywhere to put your coat. Plus I bring a bag for my IPad and travel mug so it’s a lot of stuff to lug around. My friend laughed when I told her they should deduct about 3lbs when they weigh me for all the extra clothes I will be wearing. Next week it’s going to start out -10 and then towards the end it will be -16…and that’s the high.

It’s the type of weather where I dream of the days when I can sit on my balcony. I know it’s a long way off but it’s the only thing that gets me through the cold days. It’s definitely a day for soup so I’m going to make some butternut squash soup for lunch. We all tend to eat based on the forecast. This would be the time of year where my Mom would bake cookies. We make big pots of soup or stew. The thing I miss the most in the winter is fresh produce.

Checking the forecast is something we do all year. Planning an outdoor wedding pray it doesn’t rain and it’s not the hottest day of the year. When my friend and I went for lunch it rained so we couldn’t go to Sunfest but the following year was perfect. I don’t do well with heat anymore so when I walk to the market I go early and won’t go if it’s too hot.

Many of us complain about the weather even though we can’t do anything about it. We like to commiserate together.

Copious amounts of patience and maybe coffee

Right now I feel like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for me. Automated systems are fine for some things but when you actually want to speak to a human being it’s more complicated than it needs to be. Since I don’t drive I had my grocery guy drop off my computer to be serviced at Staples. I phoned Nerds on Site but they didn’t get back to me. A couple hours later I get a phone call that I forgot the power cord. I just assumed that just bringing in the tower was ok. I’m not really technologically savvy when it comes to computers. When I hooked my computer up I had no idea where all the cables went it was more or less a process of elimination but I did it. Thank goodness for my IPad!
Obviously there are things that I can’t control…the weather being one of them. Yesterday it was still minus double digits. I took some recycling out and it was chilly even though it’s covered and I wasn’t out long. Today we started off with freezing rain turning over to rain. The weather always seems to be terrible when I have to go for a Dr appointment.
I’m counting down the days until I will be going out for coffee with my friend. She makes me laugh. I’m thinking of booking a manicure soon. A little self care.
Right now I have copious amounts of laundry to wash!


Yesterday I had my grocery guy pick me up a fruit tray. I am tired of having the same fruit every week and it’s convenient. I know that if it’s in the fridge I’m going to eat it. The trays at Metro are cheaper but the one at Superstore also comes with a cream cheese dip so it’s probably about the same. Every time I open it I think of my Dad who had to have yogurt dip on his fruit or what he called “joy juice”. I don’t know where he picked up that term but nobody else in our family called it that. And yes he was fussy enough if we ran out of yogurt he wouldn’t eat fruit. My Dad liked to have half a grapefruit for breakfast. Unfortunately if you take certain medications you can’t have grapefruit anymore. When I cleaned out the silverware drawer I had to throw out the knife that is specifically used to cut a grapefruit because I can’t have them.
I have been dreaming about my Dad a lot lately. I haven’t had consecutive dreams since he died so I’m sure it’s because of a lot of memories right now. In the one dream Dad was in it but far away and Mom was in the car driving to get us but she never got closer. Janet and I were walking together. I could see how it represented Janet always being with me. It was comforting.
I was talking to a friend at Christmas and she assumed I must have been close to my Dad and truthfully not always. There was definitely a lack of privacy in our family. There were things that my brother got to do because he was a boy. But I respected my parents. They taught me values by example. We were expected to dress up to go out for dinner. You wore decent clothes to meet with someone in authority like a bank for example. We sat at the table to eat. I may not have liked the conversations when we went to my Aunts house but I certainly learned a lot. My Dad taught me that we are to treat each person equally. Im sure he learned it growing up on a farm.
He taught me how to stick up for myself. As a woman it’s not always an easy thing as there are many places where it’s a mans world. But he knew that when he was no longer here I would need to know how to do things.
I can’t believe it will be 10 years since I talked to him.


This is a word that my former minister preached on the Sunday after Janet died. It’s a word I’m struggling with at the moment because there are days when I feel like I have lost a lot of connections in my life. When I joined the Twinless Twins organization 11 years ago I considered it my family. As time passed some people dropped off and I kept the ones that had been with me the entire time. One woman is probably old enough to be my grandmother but we talk a lot. It’s a tough thing to be open and honest with someone and then that trust is broken. Although it has been almost 10 years since my Dad died since I have lost 3 family members after each one I felt like I was starting over. Well truthfully I don’t think I ever started with Janet because my Dad got cancer so soon after. For a long time I felt like I had to hide my grief. The rest of the world wanted me to get on with my life and at the time I really didn’t know how to do that.
This morning I changed my cover photo on Facebook of a group photo at the celebration of life event I held for the 10 year anniversary of Janet’s death. These were all people that were with me at that time and are STILL with me. I needed that reminder today. They have shared the ups and the downs. I’m not sure why some people stay forever and some people don’t. We all change and grow in our lives. I have come to realize that the friends I no longer have are ones that I wasn’t myself with.
Obviously I’m not going to agree with friends all the time. We may differ on the big issues but when it comes down to it I know that there are certain people in my life that will always have my back. It’s hard some days missing my family but I have built a strong community/family for myself.


This is an appropriate word for me this week. I started off the year with good intentions of booking Dr appointments and putting them in my calendar on my IPad. Because I only see one Dr once a year I have to wait until the new year to get a letter in the mail for a clinic date. I phoned and they didn’t have anything, then I get a letter for a date in February then I get a call that it has been cancelled. Beyond frustrating. So the best laid plans go out the window. And then there is the chore of getting bloodwork as I have non existent veins…they are deep and small.
Living in an apartment I no longer have chores like shovelling snow, cutting the grass or maintenance jobs in a house. I don’t have to carry out garbage in the winter! I finally finished laundry yesterday. I have a grocery delivery service which is a chore I can cross off the list once a week. I don’t have to worry about the weather and I can get a full weeks worth of groceries.
When I was cleaning out my parents house I did Peter Walsh’s decluttering challenge. It’s interesting now to look at the challenge for the day and think ok I’m good. I was watching a segment on The Social yesterday where they were talking about a tidy house equals a tidy mind. I had sentimental attachment to items so I had every letter that a friend sent me, postcards, stuff I made in school etc. But when I moved I got rid of everything. I think there is truth in what they say because I know where everything is. I’m sure part of it is that I lived with a lot of stress for a long time. There are things I can’t control but I work on the things that I can.
Speaking of which I have to go take out the garbage.


I guess you could say that these are my collections. The first one is obviously my collection of bears. The little one Janet bought for me at the grocery store for Christmas many years ago. I think there were 3 or 4 in the series that you could buy. He was actually in a box in the closet until I moved to my apartment and decided to display my bears on the shelf. The second one is a gift from a friend for my birthday or Christmas. The white one has angel wings on it and was a present I received in the mail the year after Janet died. I also have a grey bear that I leave on my pillow. He’s a little more worn because he has wiped many tears. And yes he has been thrown against the wall a few times too. Teddy bears are comforting. There is nothing like a great big bear hug from a friend but this comes close. When I received the white one my Dad thought I was too old to have a teddy bear. I’m sure he would be shocked at how many I have now!
The second collection is actually Janet’s and it is the 3 mice on the mantle on the right. The little one I purchased in the States when I was attending a TT regional meeting with a fellow twin. We went out to dinner at family restaurant that also had a gift shop (I can’t remember the name). I picked up the mouse and thought Janet would like this and I put it back. My twin friend was the one who persuaded me to buy it. I was there to honour Janet and our twinship. Because people know that I have a mice collection I have received ornaments from friends. One day after I mailed some Christmas cards I continued down to a gift/interiors shop near me. It wasn’t open yet but the owner saw me looking in the window and opened early. I wandered around and found a whole tree with mice on it. Since I wasn’t planning on buying anything and just headed out for a walk I only had enough money in my pocket to purchase one. I like to think both of these stories are Janet guiding me to these items.
When I moved into my apartment it wasn’t until I put my stuff on the bookcase that I felt my place looked homey. Many friends had the same reaction when I posted the finished product on Facebook. One of my favourite episodes of Home Town was when the guy that had been living in apartments most of his adult life finally was able to display the things that had meaning to him. Records, baseballs. The room was sort of a library/den and was his favourite room in the house. It tells a story. Eventually I want to frame all the birthday and Christmas cards that my friend has given me. The hard part is figuring out how to display them.
All of these things have sentimental value to me. They are a link to family and friends. They might not be valuable objects but they are priceless to me.


There is a challenge going around Facebook to post your first profile picture when you joined (which for me was fall 2007) and your current profile picture. The second picture is summer last year but it was the most recent picture that only I was in. It’s interesting how I don’t really notice how much my physical appearance has changed until I look at pictures. I know the purpose is to see how much you have aged but I think I look the same and I have been told by a few people that they can’t believe I’m over 40. I have a few more laugh lines but I’m proud of those because laughter is good medicine.
My current profile picture is a photo that was taken at a family dinner in 2005. After having a frustrating week I needed to see Janet’s smiling face. I changed it to black and white because both our faces were very flushed because it was very hot that day. They must have had air conditioning at the restaurant but it was not turned up enough. I can even tell you what we wore. I was in a light blue t-shirt with white pants and Janet wore a red shirt with a gold chain and borrowed a matching skirt from me. She had to wear pantyhose because to quote her “nobody wants to see my white pasty legs”.
My first picture is taken at the Rogers Centre in Toronto the summer of 2006. Our last vacation together. It was before I had a digital camera so the film wasn’t developed until September. It was about 40 degrees outside and neither one of us was coping well with the heat. There are days when I look at the pictures and smile and there are days when I can’t believe almost 13 years has passed since that picture was taken. Life changes in 13 years but for me I think I have had more than most. Photos show the changes on the outside not on the inside. I look at the recent picture and she looks content. It took a lot of work to get there but I think my family would be proud.