Fresh air


I’m sure growing up many of us heard our parents tell us go outside and get some fresh air. We lived in our house for 20 years before my Dad had a deck built above the shed. Originally it was only going to be as big as that but his brother persuaded him to build it out to the hill. Despite the fact that we had a deck Dad rarely sat on it. He preferred sitting underneath the tree. It became “our spot”. Unfortunately the air wasn’t always fresh. We lived close to Labatt brewery so there were many days when the smell was overpowering. We also lived beside an apartment building so we often heard people turning the air blue. Or they had their music playing really loud. We loved sitting in the dark watching the fireflies.

My grandparents had a balcony but they never sat outside. They used it to dry their clothes outside occasionally (which I do as well).

A balcony wasn’t a priority when I was looking for a place to live. Since the word for today is air I can say that controlled heating and central air was at the top. Last year I didn’t sit outside as often as I would have liked because of the construction. It was noisy and dusty. I love being able to enjoy my morning coffee outside. Yesterday I saw Pepe le pew walking down the sidewalk. Our superintendent warned people last year. About a week ago I saw it walking right in front of the front door. I remember waking up the smell of a skunk on garbage day so I’m glad I’m on the 3rd floor.

Spring is coming…when the air will be filled with the scent of flowers and freshly mown grass. I will be able to put on a light weight coat. Ahh a breath of fresh air.

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Lost ideas

Yesterday I wrote about how there isn’t much variety in my meals lately. This morning I went to the grocery store and kind of had a sense in what I was going to buy but at one point I was standing in front of the meat willing it to tell me what to make. I’m one of those people that used to laugh at the people who stand in the aisle without a list as if it would magically tell them what they need and yet here I was doing the same thing. For a change I picked up a piece of steak. Chicken thighs were on sale so I’m going to make that into soup. I had to go back and get some celery for it.
I admire the people who do meal prep on the weekend. There are days that I have good intentions but it rarely happens. The other day I ran out of fruit so I made some cookies for my afternoon snack. I knew I had peanut butter and golden Crisco shortening so I looked up a recipe online and I was good to go. I cooked a couple and then froze the rest of the cookie dough. It’s weird because never in my life have I had to freeze cookie dough. They never lasted that long in our house.
For a long time I lost any incentive to cook. I had a piece of meat, nuked a potato and had salad out of a bag. I think it kind of comes in spurts, some days I love it and some days it’s too much effort.
One month today they will be holding events downtown for the Juno awards. There is going to be a block party at the market which sounds like fun. Spring is coming!

Same old, same old

Right now I feel like there is no variety in what I am cooking for meals. Let’s just say it’s a lot of chicken. I love watching cooking shows because they are cooking things I would never think of. My fridge is fairly empty as I didn’t get enough food this week and I forgot to account for the holiday on Monday. I think we all get into a rut in our meals sometimes. I am counting down the days until spring or more accurately when the farmers market starts up again in May because once a week I don’t have to cook.
But it isn’t just cooking I go to the same coffee shop, shop at the same clothing stores, eat at the same restaurant. I guess the variety is in what I order. In the summer I tried a dragon fruit and mango drink and it was good.
If you looked in my closet you would see a range of colours. Purple, yellow, royal blue, rose pink and polka dots. I tend to gravitate to the ones that make me feel the best. Because I’m a rectangle silhouette all my jeans are a straight cut. But one has embroidery and one has sequins. My twin loved clothes and got her sense of style from our grandmother. Although we are twins we couldn’t wear the same colours. Yellow is one of those colours that very few people wear but I love it. It makes me feel happy. At Christmas I wore a blue shirt that when I put it one I actually thought it was more of a shirt that Janet would have worn. It’s interesting how that happens. There have been ones that I’ve had to put back because of that connection to it.
The best time to have lots of options is for dessert!

LOVE NEVER ENDS

When I was watching This is Us Tuesday night I think I cried beginning to end. I loved when Randall and Kate were standing in front of the car and she asked him why they each remember that day differently. He told her you are going to have bad days as parents but you hope the good stuff sticks. When my brother and I were sitting with Mom’s younger brother at the funeral home we all had different memories of Mom because each of us had a different relationship with her. Watching Jack’s brother tell Rebecca a story from their childhood made me cry too because that was probably the toughest thing about losing my Mom the shared stories.
Growing up I wasn’t big on Valentines Day and Mother’s Day. I believed that you didn’t need a special day to tell or show someone that you loved them. Janet and I did not share well. It’s probably because being twins we would be given one big gift that we had to share. One of my favourite memories is going shopping after Christmas and Janet bought me pajamas with her money. In our family if there was one cookie left the person who wanted it would lick it and it was theirs. Although my Dad would break off a piece of his chocolate bar to share.
I came across a blog post that I wrote titled LOVE IS. It’s a list of things that represented love. My Dad was not demonstrative but he showed it in other ways. Taking us out to dinner to our favourite restaurant. When I helped him with yard work making sure I took breaks. Providing for his family. My Mom gave me cash for a cab so I wouldn’t be taking the bus home alone at night.
A friend of mine once said that grief is shared love. For me it’s friends sending an email to check on me. Standing with me in my time of need and sharing in the joys. Love isn’t chocolates and roses it’s the little things we do everyday.

Ritzy

Yesterday when I was watching The Social they were talking about how wealthy people dress down to make themselves more approachable. The first thing that came to mind when they were talking about this was the scene in Pretty Woman where she goes into the “ritzy” salon and the sales lady refuses to wait on her. While we think that might be an extreme example it happened to my friend when she went shopping for a bridesmaid dress for our friend’s wedding. Growing up we were taught that you had to dress like you could afford to shop there. Nobody is going to take you seriously when you are dressed in cut off denim shorts and a tank top. My Aunt had a membership at a golf club in the city where they had a dress code.

Nowadays everywhere you go people dress down. We have casual Fridays at the bank. Women don’t wear dresses to church. When I go out to dinner with my friend at Christmas it’s hard to balance being dressed up enough for the restaurant but comfortable enough to go for a walk afterwards. While everyone else is hanging out in their pjs on Christmas our family got dressed up because Christmas was special. There are times when I see how different we were raised but I don’t think one can ever be overdressed for an occasion. We had to have what my Dad would refer to as Sunday coats. We couldn’t wear our everyday coat to church. My grandma always changed out her purse in the summer I couldn’t be bothered. It wasn’t as if I kept a lot in it at the time. I do have a small purse that I use in the summer.

I have never understood how yoga pants became an item that is worn all the time. Wearing pajamas to the grocery store is not attractive either! How much effort does it take to put on a decent pair of pants! Yes I know I sound like my mother. We had clothes that we wore around home and those were usually the pants that were a little faded or maybe had a slight hole. One thing about having furniture delivered was I always had to make sure I got dressed first thing in the morning. I remember when it was all done I had a pajama day because I could.

Last year for my birthday I got a manicure. I should get one more often than I do. Despite the fact that my parents didn’t spend money on luxuries very often my Mom always told me that you get what you pay for. It’s a good lesson to follow.

Everything takes effort

Yesterday I had a last minute Dr appointment due to cancellations. I pay a yearly fee to get my bloodwork results online so that I’m more prepared when I go. Despite my efforts my numbers are not where they should be. Sometimes you can you do all the right things and it just isn’t enough. But there are good things blood pressure is in the normal range and I have lost a little over 40 lbs. It’s more of an effort cooking healthy in the wintertime. My sister was the one who would go for a walk with me and motivate me on days when I didn’t feel like going. In the summer I go to the Farmers Market twice..not because I need to go twice it’s so I can get my walk in.

Taking recycling out in winter is more of an effort because I usually just put some shoes on and run out without a coat. I have a pile of laundry to do that I was going to do yesterday but didn’t.

Whenever I go for coffee with my friend I think about how we are making the time to get together. But it’s also a two way relationship. One person can’t be making all the effort.

I have so many things that make my life easier. I have a dishwasher and in suite laundry. I have groceries delivered. I use a Keurig. Yesterday I even made a coffee and put it in my travel mug. I order clothes online so I don’t have to go to the store. I do 90% of my banking online.
Well I’d better go tackle my chores.

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.

Flying

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.