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!

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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,

Fall

A couple of weeks ago when I walked to the market in the morning all I could think about were the things that I would miss about summer…sitting on the balcony with my morning coffee, fresh berries, not having to wear a coat. Fall is one of those seasons where I don’t know what to wear because if I wear a jacket an hour later I’m too warm.
So I decided to write about all the good things about fall
1. I don’t sweat when I go for a walk
2. New clothes. I usually replace some fall and summer.
3. Soup! I love squash soup and I make a hearty taco soup in my slow cooker. Slow cookers are great and it makes the house smell warm and comforting.
4. Pumpkin and I don’t mean coffee
5. Turkey. It’s cheap meat and it’s so versatile.
6. Leaves changing colour. I have a picture of me jumping in a pile of leaves 9 years ago. Since I live in an apartment the company that does the yard work use a leaf blower. They are so loud!
7. Being able to open the windows. Unfortunately with all the construction around me some days it’s just too noisy to do so.
8. My writing class starts soon
9. All my tv shows are back on this week.

Inspire


When I started this blog it was a place to share stories about my twin. That is why it’s called my journey as a twinless twin. Eventually it morphed into stories about my Dad and the trials and tribulations of caring for my Mom. I never thought about who was going to read it or who it would resonate with. During my journey I was inspired by many people. The young widow who was raising her child on her own. A friend who inspired me to go on a trip. A twinless twin who had been on this journey a lot longer than I had and every new person that walks through the door.
We don’t even realize that we are inspiring others. That’s the great thing…it’s like a spider web one thread leads to another. Writing is a solitary activity but when I attend a class we get to share our work. We build each other up. I remember my teacher telling Mom you must be so proud and she didn’t say anything. She respected that I had a blog and attending writing classes but she wasn’t the type that would ever praise me. I am so happy for a friend that has started a page for her art. Maybe she’ll inspire someone else. There was a paragraph on her about section that made me realize why we connect the way that we do. How when she draws something for me she knows exactly what I need. Every piece of art that I have in my apartment was chosen because I was drawn to it and that’s what a painting does. It’s a gift to be able to paint or draw like that.
I’m inspired by people that do what they love. When I go to the market on a rainy windy day I think of the people who bake scones, bread, quiche or pizza. It’s not just ingredients they are also baking with love. Going to the market has inspired me to cook healthier. There are weeks when I watch them chatting with each other and they are a family.
None of us go through life intending to inspire someone, at least I didn’t. We learn from each other. We just build connections along the way.

It should be personal

Last night I was talking to my Aunt who said she probably isn’t going to vote in the upcoming municipal election. My Dad rarely voted in the municipal election either. It’s not surprising though as 60% of eligible voters don’t.
Why do we think that provincial and federal is more important? If you own property there are so many things that the city looks after. Garbage collection, snow removal, road repair, hydro, fire etc. I recently signed up for a writing program which is run by the city. When I go to one in a library they wouldn’t be able to run without funds from the city. Every time I walk to the market I walk past the construction on Dundas. We get some funds from the federal government for infrastructure but any events are run by the city.
I am currently undecided who I’m voting for mayor as I’m not a big fan of any of the front runners. I’m leaning towards someone as councillor. The great thing is you can rank your ballot this year. There is a person running in my ward that has been endorsed by labour unions and by one of the top four in the race for mayor.
As someone who lives in an apartment a lot of the issues don’t affect me but I was raised that it’s important to vote. These people give of their time to run and if elected to represent us. It doesn’t take that long to stand in line and mark a ballot.

Trying to be an informed voter

Last night I looked online for the video of a debate held recently for Ward 13 and 14. I’m in 13. A friend posted a link from our local paper that had an article on our candidates. For each person there were things I liked and things I didn’t. I’ve checked out the candidates social media (although not all of them have a Facebook page). While this is somewhat helpful it’s like reading a resume without ever meeting the person you are going to hire face to face.
I had met one of the candidates who came to my door. Although I wasn’t 100% decided I respected the fact that he came to the door. He has been going to events in the neighbourhood. And then he got up to speak. He was so stiff. I don’t think he even looked up from the podium once. I saw a segment on The Social about public speaking in school and should you be forced to do it. While we aren’t all going to use it in real life public speaking is a big part of public office. There was one candidate who has a large online following but when she was speaking kept tugging at her skirt and talked so fast I could barely hear her. Part of being an informed voter is voting for the person who is going to do the best job not based on gender! When I was at the market a couple of weeks ago I picked up a pamphlet from one of the businesses for one of the candidates. I have to say I thought it was a little weird endorsing someone but I knew nothing about him so I picked one up. It’s interesting how someone comes across differently on paper than on tv.
According to our local media there are 4 front runners for mayor. As someone who has helped with federal campaigns this is a little tougher decision because there is a part of me that goes into it knowing they are telling you what you want to hear. As mayor you represent the city so out of those people who would be the best choice? A guy that attended the same high school as I did has thrown his hat into the ring. I respect the fact that he is running because he has a different perspective than the others. We are falling behind other cities.
To be honest transit doesn’t affect me since I only use it for Dr appointments and occasionally for bloodwork. Since I live downtown I just take whichever bus comes first. It is such a contentious issue at the moment. Nobody has said if they decide to scrap BRT what happens next?
I “guess” I’ll find out October 23.

A reminder

When I opened my email this morning and saw that the word for today is “GRUBBY” it made me smile. It was a word that my Mom and sister used. Oh Janet has her grubby clothes on she must be going to do work. Although for me sometimes it was because I had to do laundry and it was the only thing left. We all have those clothes that we wear to clean. The tshirt that is stained or stretched out. The track pants that have holes in them…which I am currently wearing. To my defence they are tiny.
Yesterday’s word was oasis and it’s not really feeling like that for me with the sound of construction around me. I’m currently sitting on my balcony and I can hear the beep beep of trucks backing up. The street I live on is down to one lane because of construction on Dundas. My friend asked me on Wednesday when we went for coffee if I had plans for today and I don’t. I did think about going out for lunch but I didn’t feel like eating by myself.
I had a couple of friends ask how I am and I can’t explain it. I told my friend September is a big ball of pain. It’s comforting knowing I don’t have to sugar coat it with her. I can buy myself flowers, go for a walk or a little retail therapy but it doesn’t change the fact my best friend isn’t here. It’s 12 years today that she died and that number seems so big. I think about all the changes since that time. On Wednesday I passed my childhood home. It doesn’t bother me as much going by anymore but it took time.
My friend said it best when she said it’s not just September, it’s Mother’s Day, June, holidays. Days where their presence is missed more.
It’s why the little signs from above are such a comfort. It’s a poke saying I’m here.