Time

Blink
Time is the first thing I thought of when I saw the word for today. Sometimes it seems like I blinked and suddenly so much time has passed. I look at my family picture hanging in the front entrance and I can’t believe it will be 10yrs in December since it was taken. 2008 was a big year for our family. It was the first time I went to the Twinless Twins conference which was held in Toronto. It was a time when I was probably journaling every day because there were so many things that I was struggling with. I remember going to a birthday party for my cousin and being strong enough to say that I disagreed with her Aunt.
When I posted last year that I had been in my apartment a year a twin friend wrote already the time flew by. That’s what it felt like I blinked and a year passsed. But it was a year that was so full…moving, taking care of estate etc.
Things change in the blink of an eye. Sometimes blessings come out of something bad. I learned that I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. I am loved by many people.

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It costs HOW MUCH?

Shock
Growing up my Dad didn’t have a concept of how much things cost. When our grocery bill started going up he thought Mom must be buying extras. After Mom died I thought my grocery bill would be lower because I was only buying for one but it wasn’t much. Eating healthy costs more because I buy whole grain bread, spinach and I buy cut fruit. My Mom shopped at the same store every week. She wasn’t one of those people who would drive around the city searching for a bargain. My food bill goes down significantly in the summer because I buy produce at the market. Food, rent and phone and cable are my biggest expenses. Many people choose not to have a landline but it’s the way I buzz people into the building so I don’t really have a choice. Plus as long as I keep the phone on the base it’s always charged (I’m terrible at remembering to charge my cellphone!!)
When I was looking for an apartment I was shocked at how much a 2 bedroom went for in my neighbourhood. Some places were a little less but utilities were extra. I remember the first time my friend saw my place when she was helping me move some stuff from the house she was shocked at how big it is. Although I had never bought furniture on my own before I didn’t really think of price. I had to go more on size. I did look online to get an idea of what I liked. I had to buy furniture in stages so I wouldn’t go over my credit limit. I found my couch for 50% off so that was a steal. When I saw the piece of art that is hanging in my dining room I was drawn to it not even knowing what the price was. My friends were shocked initially when I purchased the quilt and the piece of art but seeing it hung they were happy for me.
Out of curiousity I checked the website of an airline to see how much it would cost to fly to the city where the Twinless Twins conference is being held. I actually gasped. Even though there was a cost to holding the event I planned for the 10 yr anniversary of Janet’s death I felt it was appropriate. Not only because the Inn did everything but because sharing stories and being surrounded by OUR friends was healing. For me it isn’t always about the cost but the value attached to the experience.

Silence photo challenge

Silence

As I was thinking about this word I thought of all the different things that represent silence. My bedroom, a teddy bear (a good thing because the stories they could tell) snow.
I could’ve included the picture of a cup of coffee enjoyed on my balcony. But that isn’t silent because I hear dogs barking, birds chirping or the hum of the air conditioner. Construction nearby.
When I was going through my photos I thought of the single red rose on my table. The silent tears that roll down my check while standing at the cemetery.
The photo I decided on is one taken almost 10 years ago. A friend and I bought a balloon at the market downtown as a tribute to my twin for our birthday. This is at a park that I now live beside. I know that even though the act of releasing the balloon is silent in my mind I am having a conversation with Janet.

Learning outside of a school environment

Study
This year it will be 30 years since I graduated grade 8. A former teacher commented on a friend’s fb post and I suddenly did the math. Wowzers how is that even possible? I’m still friends with many of the “kids” we went to public school with. High school was a different environment. It was a very academic school. They also had a good music department but that wasn’t us either. We didn’t have computer courses too much until college so Janet and I took a course a few years later. I remember sitting in our local library composing an email to someone when a guy beside me was asking the librarian how to create a double underline in his report. I looked it up in the help section and leaned over and told him how to do it. She laughed and told me why didn’t I think of that?
I think now how school couldn’t prepare me for life right now. We paid with cash, we didn’t have interac or e-transfers. You had to go to the bank to pay a bill. I did most of my research to find an apartment online. When I took a blogging class at one of the libraries recently one of the women was shocked that I set it up on my own. I just learned as I was going along.
I was chatting to my superintendent this morning. They take care of everyone. They treat everyone like family and you can’t teach that. My grocery guy’s business is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s not just because it’s a helpful service but because it’s PERSONAL service.
I’m the type of person that likes to work with a recipe whereas Janet was more free form. She thought well this was good but if I add this it would be better. I’ve since learned that she probably got it from her Uncle because he told me he never makes a meatloaf the same way twice. It’s about learning our strengths and weaknesses.

Grandpa

Evoke

Today would be my grandpa’s birthday. Since his birthday was a week after Dad’s we would often have a joint celebration for them. With them both being Capricorn’s they were similar in nature. My Mom often said his bark was worse than his bite.
After he retired he took a class on how to do caning at a local college. He did his work in the guest bedroom.
This photo evokes so many memories. The ugly hall carpet. The cabinet behind him was their pantry and they also had an extra freezer because grandma made jam that she put in freezer. Grandma always had extra cans so if we ran out we would often call her up do you have this and one of us would run over. Mom would call it the store if grandma. When we were little we had a door separating the dining room from the living room. I was never a fan of the covering that my grandparents used but since you could see the kitchen when you came in the hall I could see why they had it.
I wish I knew why he was dressed up in this picture. Grandma was the photographer in our family as grandpa usually had a portion of his thumb in it. I’m sure this was probably a I need to use up the roll so let me take your picture.
When we were born we were a surprise. My Mom didn’t know she was having twins until she was at the hospital. One of us was usually behind the other one so the Dr only heard one heart beat. When my grandmother told my grandfather he said “now, there’s one for each of us”. He was so proud he would take us around to his coworkers. When we were born he said we were so tiny we could both fit in one arm.
He and Janet had a special bond. In our picture as babies I was with grandma and Janet would be with grandpa. They loved all their grandchildren and had our pictures all over the apartment. When they went to Florida in the winter they would take our pictures with them and put them on the dresser or side table. And they always brought us back a souvenir.
Like my Dad my grandfather loved his family deeply and was fiercely protective of them. My grandfather was devoted to my grandma and when she died he was lost without her. When he died less than a year later I think we all had a little smile at them being reunited.
Pictures evoke so many memories.

Carve

Carve
There are many ways to interpret the word for today. Carving a turkey or wood but I thought of carving stone.
I remember going to the cemetery where my paternal grandparents are buried 20 years ago when we were having a family picnic nearby. It was the first time I had been since I was little. While my Dad’s youngest brother cleaned off the stone Janet and I wandered around to look at other stones. Janet and I both liked history and you can learn from reading the dates on the markers.
I went to the cemetery about a year and a half after Janet died. I took a picture on my camera so that my parents could see what the stone looked like finished. Now when I go I look at the words love never ends and hold that in my heart.
My Mom had a copy of the poem “The Dash” about what you put in between the dash on the marker. The date is carved on the stone but there is so much more to tell.
I am currently reading the Oprah magazine and the theme this month is what defines you. It made me think of the first time I told the woman that held bible study in their house many years ago that I had a blog. She couldn’t believe it. At the time we were quiet (partly because we had other people who were very chatty). I remember attending a class at the local library and I said I didn’t think of myself as a writer. She asked what do you do when you journal. Um write? Therefore you are a writer. The wonderful thing I learned while reading the magazine is that we don’t have to have the answer. It’s constantly changing.

Not brilliant just finding things to make life easier

Brilliant
Growing up I lived in a house with only one phone jack. My Dad didn’t want one on the bedroom levels. When I was considering putting in internet I didn’t know if it was doable. When I got someone in to look at it he suggested putting in wireless access since it’s cheaper and I could split the line from downstairs. When my Dad died we kept his name on the phone for security reasons.
When my Mom got to a point where she could no longer drive I had to find a way to get groceries because although I could take a cab it was expensive and a lot of work carrying them in. I looked online and found the one that I still use. That hour or more that I saved could be spent doing laundry or any of the other chores that needed doing.
When I was looking for an apartment someone suggested in suite laundry facilities. It wasn’t something that I had thought of but it’s so convenient!
Whenever I get change lately I save it in a jar for farmer’s market in the spring so I don’t have to split a $20 to pay for a 2 dollar item. I now have a new shopping cart so I no longer have to worry about buying too much because I have to carry it home.
I take a cab in the winter time. While the sidewalks are “plowed” they are very narrow. I don’t want to have to climb over a snowbank to get onto the bus.
I order a lot of stuff online. I’m getting a prescription delivered (see above!).
While my Dad taught me about money there were things that I didn’t know a lot about. I’m learning. I’m actually using online banking and I’m getting pretty good at e-transfers.
I’m terrible at remembering passwords and have had to change some because of it. At least I know I’m not alone in this problem.
Yesterday school buses were cancelled but schools remained open. HUH? I noticed a few “brilliant” people who cleaned off their car but had a mound of snow on the roof. Of course all of our conversations the past few days have been about the snow.

Funnelling money

Funnel
This is an election year for Ontarians…provincial in June and municipal is November. As of January 1st 2 items came into effect provincially. A minimum wage hike and free prescriptions for anyone under the age of 24. Unfortunately the minimum wage hike has become contentious (already?!) because small businesses have to make up the difference. These 2 items kind of go together because many people work part time and don’t have benefits. The government doesn’t cover ALL prescriptions but it’s a start. Anyone that has to pay for meds out of pocket knows every little bit helps. Our premier has been hated since the moment she took office so it will be interesting who the people choose to be our next premier.
Currently our council is debating BRT (bus rapid transit). It won’t go into affect this election year and I’m not sure what will happen when we get a new council. My Uncle walked to his local library yesterday which is about 3 blocks away. The sidewalks in his area weren’t plowed. If you take the bus in the wintertime you have to get off at the front of the bus otherwise you are climbing over a snow bank to get out. My Uncle has often said that our city is not pedestrian friendly.
After living in the same neighbourhood for 40 years I will now have to vote somewhere else. I don’t get a paper anymore so I go online for my information on the candidates. It’s also how I make sure I’m registered to vote. There is the saying that you aren’t supposed to talk about religion or politics at the dinner table well that didn’t happen with Dad’s family. Now we post our opinions on facebook.
It should be an interesting year

It’s cold

Allergic
Ok, I’m not “allergic” to the cold but as I write this it’s -21 without windchill (and frankly at that temperature does it really matter what the windchill is?) It’s only January 5th and I think many of us are already sick of winter. I need a haircut as I have been pushing my bangs out of my eyes for a week but it’s way too cold to venture outside.
Since I am sick of winter I thought today might be a good day to list the things I’m thankful for
1. Heat and that I pay a flat rate for hydro. Living in a house I remember how much it would go up when it’s this cold outside
2. I DON’T HAVE TO SHOVEL. We have a lot of snow this year that’s why this is worthy of capital letters
3. Clean clothes (finished my laundry yesterday and all put away)
4. Food in the fridge. Pretty sure I’m going to have to go out tomorrow since I’m running out of ideas for lunch
5. Electronic banking. As I mentioned it’s cold so to be able to pay bills and transfer money online from the comfort of my couch is great
6. Coupons. I got an electronic coupon for a haircut and ones in the mail for Tim Hortons. Now to just remember to print the coupon off
7. Friendly superintendents. Whenever he sees me in the halls he always teases me. They ask how I am. She will deliver a parcel to me if she happens to be in the lobby when the mail comes
8. My favourite shows are back on. I don’t know if anyone here watches Bull but it’s my new must watch. The Christmas episode was sweet
9. Friends to talk to (even if it’s electronically)
10. Less clutter. 2 years ago I did the 31 day challenge by Peter Walsh. In order to clean out a house it was the only way I could do it without getting overwhelmed (and there were days when I still was). Now everything has a home. It’s part of the personal growth thing that I talked about yesterday. I’m sentimental so I would keep a lot. When I cleaned out the house to sell I looked at items and wondered why did I keep this?
11. A cup of hot coffee in the morning

Personal growth

Growth

I’ve titled this post personal growth because as we start a new year I think that’s what some of us are striving for. This picture represents a lot of things for me. After my Mom died any pictures that were taken soon after I’m smiling but it doesn’t reach my eyes. The shirt is brightly coloured which represents bringing colour back into my life. I look at this photo and think I look beautiful. I’m not saying this to be boastful. I remember going to an appointment with my kidney Dr and she told me that and I didn’t believe her. I was at a place where I wasn’t taking care of myself because all I felt was alone…who would care. I had to get to a point where I saw myself as others did. It’s a constant work in progress but the person I see in that picture is strong, confident and happy.