ENTHUSIASM

The other day I emailed my coffee buddy to see what day we could go for coffee. Since she had to go into school to do some prep work she suggested today and then we could go to the market. I was so excited because I haven’t been for almost 2 months. I noticed yesterday that there was someone moving into the building which would be a problem with cart but I would cross that bridge when I came to it.
It definitely feels like fall today as it was 11 degrees Celsius at 10am. I always feel a little sad when the season is over because every year I feel like I didn’t get enough balcony time. I don’t think I would be the only person that thinks our summer was too short! When my friend and I were having our coffee she looked outside and told me she couldn’t believe how many vendors there were. I pulled out my grocery list and she saw that it was even separated by vendor. I always have a general idea what I’m going to buy but this way I don’t spend more than I need to. There is something really special about going to my usual produce person and she knew I hadn’t been for a while. She said when my regulars aren’t around I get worried. She is like everyone’s grandma she is so sweet. Since she knows I’m going to buy a lot she told me to point and she would pack. I bought 2 pints of raspberries, 2 of cherry tomatoes (OMG they are so juicy) and yellow beans because I love them. I bought some pickled onions which I add to a salad. I allow myself a treat from one of the baked good tables. I didn’t realize I was a regular until the woman told me I was late today. The unfortunate thing was she was almost sold out of everything but I was able to get 2 slices of banana bread (put one in freezer).
Since we went later we passed Glenda’s sliders on the way into the market. I couldn’t resist so I decided to buy 2 for lunch. Despite the fact that it was a little chilly I even sat outside for lunch.
I was going to buy some sunflowers but they were all taken so I bought a bouquet of lovely burgundy flowers. They look gorgeous on my table. A friend of mine lives near the farm where they grow them so she bought some on her way home from work.
I so needed today. Life has been really sad. There is nothing like a sunny day, a good coffee and a friend to share it with.

Sad


A friend from public school posted this on her Facebook page this morning. This 3 min video so beautifully reflects what I feel right now. Parents that created a home for their baby (or in my case babies).

Words

I was thinking yesterday about how there are times in our lives where there are no words to describe certain situations. When I told a friend via email about what happened she used the word “disappointing”. While it is I told her I don’t think that is a strong enough word. There is a scene in the tv show Bones where Booth and Brennan are talking about a mother that has to bury her son at Christmas and she says “isn’t it heartbreaking”. He says “you always tell me that the heart is a muscle it can’t be broken it can only be crushed” She answers “isn’t it heart crushing”. So powerful. Yesterday I passed my supers in the hall and I told her what happened. After he went off she told me she totally got it. She is such a caring lady.

The word for today is written and it made me think of this. For me the written word is what I have used for many years to help process the things that I couldn’t.
I always knew that my Mom was very pregnant when they bought the house but I had no idea that she gave birth 4 days after this cheque was signed. She always joked that she got out of moving. My Dad moved in on his own and she had to rearrange some things in the kitchen because she couldn’t find anything.

When we came home from the hospital there are so many photos of relatives that came to visit. Our living room had cream coloured wallpaper with gold decals. Kind of like a club on a deck of cards. We even had drapes to match. Hey, it was the 70s. Our couch was a hand me down and it was so rough. If I look through the albums we always had a lazy-boy or more accurately described as “Dad’s chair”. If you were sitting in it and he was downstairs or outside as soon as he came in he would tell you to get out of his chair. Even friends knew that was his chair.

When we were young we spent many hours sitting on the living room floor playing Monopoly. Our brother ALWAYS won. Even when you think it’s mostly luck yeah it’s not. There is a picture of us sitting on the couch in our brownie uniform. You know when people do the first day of school photos…yeah we never had that. When I was going through photos I think we have 1 of our house from the front.

It was a great neighbourhood to grow up in. The street next to us had a lot of kids the same age as us. Most of the parents still live in the house our friends grew up in. We lived close to our public school and high school and I still friends with many public school classmates. I can remember going to their houses trick or treating. When Janet and I would go for walks we would usually pass people that we knew. And even if we didn’t they would still say hello.

My last birthday party in the house was when I turned 35. It was really special to see my friends around the table supporting me. I write all of these memories down and it makes me smile. The written word is a powerful thing sometimes.

A suspicion

Yesterday I saw a story online about a grad party (gone wild) at a home in my former neighbourhood. There were 7 youths charged (some minors) and they did $80,000 worth of damage to the house. According to the story it was at the other end of my street which didn’t seem right based on the types of houses at that end. They are all single family homes with older couples living in them. Later that evening I was talking to my former neighbour who I still go for coffee with and she said she heard the owners name on the radio.
It’s a lot to process that the home that I grew up in is now being used as an Airbnb…or to put it more accurately party central. A week ago a 23 year old drove into a house causing an explosion and millions of dollars worth of damage. We have “adults” who basically think that Mommy and Daddy will bail them out. I never had that. We were responsible for doing our own laundry in our teen years. If we wanted something we paid for it with our own money.
I was talking to a long time friend (who actually lived in the neighbourhood when we were young) and she told me that they can’t take away the memories. While I know that in my head my heart feels sick about what is happening. There is a part of me that feels like I let my parents down. I know it’s ridiculous because we did the best we could in a difficult situation. The sooner we sold the house the sooner the estate could be settled. I couldn’t have known what was going to happen. I have a copy of the cheque that my parents paid for the house. I also have the deed in a drawer. My parents paid the mortgage off in 5 years which is a huge deal. I kept the book that my Dad doodled the design of the backyard in. It’s falling apart but it’s a part of my Dad.
Last night I was trying to find a picture of the front of my house so that I could use it on Facebook. The funny thing is I don’t think we have any. We have tons in the backyard because that was Dad’s domain. Us playing on the swings, standing in front of the flowers, sledding in the winter.
When I was going through my photos on my computer I came across a photo I took of Mom standing in front of cupcakes she was taking for Halloween for her Seniors group. She didn’t really want her picture taken either. The kitchen counter was still full of groceries that hadn’t been put away. The dining room table still had breakfast cereal on it. But when I look at it all I see is love. There was a whole lot of love in that house. That is what I have to hold on to.

Real people

Yesterday I wrote about how the news has not been good the past few days. It made me feel really discouraged. I went online and saw that there was a group formed to support the families that lost their homes in the fire. When I saw the news I thought what would it feel like to lose everything that I owned. Thankfully no one was hurt but it isn’t just the physical items it’s also the emotional toll of having to replace ID and photos that can never be replaced. Memories made in that home. So many people have written how unfair it is. This young woman damaged so many peoples lives for the cost of taking a cab home.
People in London have been incredibly generous. Businesses have brought food to the community centre. Even people that can’t physically donate someone else will come and pick it up from them. Kids will need backpacks and school supplies. People have offered to give gift cards so that the families can buy their own clothes.
As I see all of these posts across Facebook it fills my heart. It’s a city/community coming together to help in any way they can.

Newcomer

Honestly this is one of those days where I really don’t know what to write. I feel very disheartened reading the news of the past few days. The city is doing construction downtown. Some is regular maintenance replacing sewer lines etc and some is cosmetic. Because of the construction there is less foot traffic which means there have been some break ins. So not only do the businesses have to put up with less customers, the inconvenience of construction work they also have to pay to fix broken windows and lost merchandise (although it’s probably covered by insurance). A couple of days ago there was a story about a fight in a neighbourhood. Then late last night there was a woman who was driving the wrong way on a one-way street and hit a house which caused an explosion. Many people had to be evacuated and half a dozen are now homeless.
It makes me sad because this doesn’t represent the city that I live in. Recently there was a link to a story on the CBC page where someone wrote about the things that he loves about London. So they asked for people to comment underneath what they love about living in London. One woman wrote that she needed to read that because she was cursing the construction and all she could think of were the negative things.
For me it has always been about the people. Yesterday while I was waiting for my cab my super came out to ask how I was. When I came back her husband was talking to a tenant and then we got talking about our ailments. Of course he makes me laugh. Yes my apartment is spacious and I chose it because it has everything I need. But the fact that these people made me feel welcome was a bonus. The sad thing is they are the exception and not the rule. Shouldn’t every business treat you like you are valued? Those are the ones that we are going to go back to.
I’ve lived in London my entire life so I can’t look at it from the perspective of a “newbie”. I have nothing to compare it to. It’s home.

Intentional

This morning I went to get a much needed haircut. I decided to go to my semi-regular place so I could get a few things at Shoppers and have a coffee. Since I went to a different salon the last time I didn’t know that they changed their hours from 9AM to 10. Whenever I go for coffee with my friend I try to remember to bring my travel mug in order to cut down on waste. While I was having my leisurely coffee I paid attention to how many people had their own mug. It wasn’t very many.
Last Thursday they had an event at the farmers market where you can bring in your extra reusable grocery bags and they will put them in a bin for others to use. Most people use a cart or bring their own bag but it’s a fabulous idea.
I recently came across a fairly new store called Unwrapped Marketplace. They are having an eco-waste workshop in conjunction with the market so that is how I found out about them. I sent a link to the business page for a friend of mine since I know that she is trying to reduce her plastic use. Last year during the municipal election one of the candidates was asked about green bins. I thought I read somewhere that it was going to be phased in next year but according to the CTV facebook page it’s at least a couple of years off. There are smaller cities than ours that already have them. Sure you can argue that if you live in a house you can have a bin in your backyard, but not everybody does.
A small thing might seem like a drop in the bucket but we have to start somewhere.

Spacious


Last week I had a new grocery delivery person. As soon as she came in she said “wow, your place is HUGE”. The funny thing is that is what everyone says the first time they come to my apartment. Because I didn’t have a lot of time to look for an apartment I did a lot of research online. Although someone suggested a couple of apartments near me I knew they were too small. I had people tell me an apartment is not a house it’s going to be small but I wasn’t going to settle if this was going to be my forever home.
I grew up in a 4 bedroom home but I wouldn’t consider it spacious. Our living room was big enough for the 5 of us but wasn’t really conducive to company. The master bedroom would fit a queen comfortably but all the other rooms could only fit a twin. I could easily fit a king in my room now with room to spare and my closet is HUGE! We did have decent size closets so that was a plus. Nowadays most masters have an ensuite…we shared a full bath with 5 people. We had a HUGE backyard and we enjoyed playing in the snow and making snowmen. We lived in the house for about 20 years before my Dad had a deck built. My Dad preferred to sit underneath a tree but Janet and I would sit outside after supper until it was dark.
I always find it interesting when people comment on my place for the first time. Even though my apartment is spacious I didn’t want to fill it up. I wanted something that looked lived in but didn’t look cluttered and I hope I found that balance. The grocery person also commented on my teddy bears which I have displayed in my bookcase. I know it may seem weird for a 45 year old to display teddy bears but all the home shows that I watch all say your home should reflect who you are. It’s certainly modern but there are a lot of sentimental touches. My family picture in the entryway. The quilt that I bid on at the Twinless Twins conference. The red couch that is Janet’s favourite colour.

This is my favourite spot. Like Goldilocks it’s “just right”

Surreal

A few days ago I found out that a friend of mine from the church I grew up in is now a grandmother. The surreal part is she is the same age as me…45. I was talking to someone from church (who is also my former neighbour) and we both said how it’s sad that her parents are both deceased. It was one of those times when I wish my Mom and sis were here to share it with. I’ve known her since kindergarten and a lot of memories came flooding back. My coffee buddy said “time flies”.
On Monday when I went down to check for mail I found the latest Oprah magazine in my mailbox. The theme for the month is friendships. The key to long lasting friendships. It’s an interesting coincidence as my friend and I have grown apart. So if I had to think about what the key (or keys) is for me it would start with TIME. How much time does it take to sit down and send someone an email to say I was thinking of you. COMMUNICATION would be a big thing too. And 2-way communication not one sided telling me about you did on the weekend. At one time we would phone to give someone good news, now we posted it on Facebook for our hundreds of “friends” to see. RESPECT. This is one that came up often at the Twinless Twins conference I went to. As adults we get to make our own decisions. We don’t have to always agree with each other but a true friend doesn’t judge.
Of course long lasting friends show up when you need them. My former neighbour brought me ribs on Monday because I have been dealing with a bad back and haven’t been able to walk too far. My coffee buddy always tells me how proud she is of me when I find a way to do something on my own.
In my last blog post I wrote about how my friend took all my thoughts from my head and put them on my card. Yeah that’s kind of surreal how she can do that. True friends can hear the things that you don’t say. It’s being there when times are tough but rejoicing in the good times.