Always together in my heart

If you type the word love on an iPad it will show up as a heart. For the title of my post I used what it says on a locket I received as a gift for my 35th birthday. It’s special because it has my family picture on one side and me and Janet on the other. My friend understood what that year meant to me because I knew my Dad might not make it to our birthday, missing my twin and then my brother getting married and the emotions that came with that. My heart was so broken but I was surrounded by love.
For my birthday I got my nails done. It’s something that I seem to only do on my birthday. I sat outside at a table for 2 and while I was waiting for my dessert I could almost feel Janet’s presence there. There is something comforting about being in the old neighbourhood.
How appropriate that this is the word for today. On Thursday my Uncle emailed me early in the morning asking if I would like to meet him for coffee at the market. I finally got back to him yesterday and he said he was going to be going to the market this morning. I waited to see watch the news and there was a chance of rain but I think it was going to hold off until the afternoon. We enjoyed a coffee together and he gave me a birthday card. He also bought me a treat from his favourite dessert lady. Eventually I’m getting together with a friend who draws a picture in my birthday card and Christmas card. It’s one of those things that some days I’ll smile and some days it makes me cry. My current profile picture is one she drew in colour and Janet is talking to me. 3 years ago she drew one where Janet is holding a balloon. She told me she thought she was finished and then she decided on a whim to draw in a balloon. There are so many times when I know that it is Janet speaking through her heart.
My Mom used to say that I would have a birthday week. It’s about spending time with friends. It’s no longer cake and ice cream, maybe a light lunch. Filling the heart.

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Our birthday

I was going to title this post “Why I’m celebrating by myself”. Yesterday I got an email from my former neighbour asking if I would like to go for lunch. Early this morning I got an email from my Uncle wondering if we could meet for coffee at the market. I remember one year asking a twin friend of mine how to deal with the fact that at the time I didn’t really want to celebrate. He said he does his own thing the day of and then does something after the actual day. He said that people want to celebrate with us so we should allow them to do it.
2 years ago we sold the house so I did a final walk through the day of our birthday. Last year I just wanted to spend a quiet day to myself after all the stress of the previous year. I did have parties after Janet died. It’s a hard day because any TT will tell you we don’t know how we are going to feel the day of. It’s still OUR birthday and it will always be our birthday. I remember the year I turned 40 I put a tribute into the newspaper. I got a phone call from a woman from church who used to be on the pastoral care committee and they phone for Birthdays. She said in the message I won’t wish you a happy birthday but just say I’m thinking of you. She got it…it’s not happy.
I booked an appointment to have a manicure in a hour and then I’m having lunch afterwards. For a long time I felt awkward eating alone but I thought this is the way it is and eventually I got to the point where it was ok. For my 40th birthday I had a manicure. There were 2 chairs in the room and it was comforting feeling like Janet was sitting beside me.
Happy Birthday in heaven my bud.

Check

Have you ever noticed how many things we “check” throughout the day? I’m sure many people are like me and check their email first thing in the morning. I use a Keurig so I check the water level to make sure I have enough to make coffee. Unless I know I am expecting something in the mail I maybe go to the mailbox twice a week. The night before I make out my grocery list I go through the fridge and cupboards to see what I am running out of. I may check the flyers online. Thankfully if there is a good sale on my grocery guy will post it on his business page on Facebook.
I am thankful I found out the booth at the market that sells meals has a Facebook page. It’s how I know what is available for that week (she has the same items on Thursday and Saturday). I guess you could say we checked each other out because she clicked on my profile page after I commented on a picture. Of course this also leads to the fact that I have to check the weather to see whether it’s going to rain. In the spring I will check it to see whether I need to wear a coat or not. In the summer if the humidity is high I may not walk to the market.
Because I have dietary restrictions if I’m going out for dinner I look up the menu online. My friends kind of tease me because they will sit down and wonder how I already know what I’m going to have. Yesterday I booked a hotel for a get away for a few days the middle of July. I think we all check out a website or we do some research online before we book a vacation. Yesterday’s word was shaken and it’s what happens when Rock the Park is on…the walls practically vibrate. I felt kind of behind this month due to the things that HAD TO get done and felt like I had left this until the last minute. I also did a check of my bank account to see whether I have enough to cover the extra expense next month. This is something I’ve gotten better at. When I first moved I would add all my expenses for the month to get an idea of what I really spend. My financial advisor was the one who told me after my Mom died to allow for incidentals and money for a vacation.
I also thought of this as cheque. We had to write cheques for estate but the only time I have to now is once a year to pay the accountant who does my income tax. I almost forgot how to do it since it’s certainly not an everyday thing. And don’t get me started on who picks up the cheque when I go out to eat with a friend.
I don’t get a paper anymore so a lot of my information I find online. It’s still from a reputable source since I read an article from CBC or The National Post. Unfortunately it also means that I often find out about things by word of mouth. When I got my voter card I had to go to google maps to see where the location was. When I was talking to my super the following week it was actually further than I thought it was. Remember when we would look up in the tv guide to see what was available that evening? Now with On Demand or PVR that doesn’t even matter although I guess you have to know when your favourite show is on in order to record it!
I just thought of another one…THE SMELL CHECK. If it can walk downstairs on it’s own it’s time to do laundry

Yum


Last night when I was cleaning off the counter I noticed my bananas were getting a little ripe. This afternoon I decided to make some banana muffins. I couldn’t find my muffin tins so I put in a pan. They smell amazing and the batter was so moist.
I’m including this as stellar because my last attempt was anything but. I found an easy recipe online with coconut flour and when it was mixed up it did not look right. After it baked they were hard as rocks. I was so disappointed because it’s not like I have extra bananas on hand to try again. With this recipe I used my immersion blender and blended the bananas until smooth. And it used a lot less flour.
After I set them on the counter to cool I thought of how often my Dad would pass cookies cooling on the counter and he wouldn’t wait he would snatch one anyway. My Mom would yell out I hope you burn your tongue. It also reminded me of how my Dad called banana loaf banana cake. If I made these for my parents I would have had to lie and tell them it’s normal flour. They were not ones to try new things. If it tastes the same they wouldn’t know.
Sometimes cooking is hit and miss. As I’m typing this my hydro flicked off and on. Timer won’t work if the microwave had to restart. Outstanding…sarcasm

Old fashioned

Today is Father’s Day. I’m using both of these pictures because it represents the conflicting emotions that the day brings for someone whose family is in heaven. The picture on the right is one of my favourites. It’s taken at Easter so we would have been about 10 months old. Those are definitely 70’s pants! When I look at it I see love.
The sketch is something a friend of mine did for me after my Mom died. It represents love in a different way. She gave each person a word and debated which one to give to Mom and Dad. Personally I think she got it right.
I have mentioned many times that my Dad was old fashioned. He had the rule that we were not allowed to do work on a Sunday. Shopping was a no no too although occasionally we would stop at the grocery store if we ran out of something. Even when Mom was parking she would say this isn’t right. My Dad grew up on a farm so he didn’t like wearing jeans for casual clothing and that included us kids. I was in my 20s before I wore jeans that much. And there was no way we were to wear them to a restaurant. I wore black jeans with embellishments out to lunch recently and even then I felt like I was getting away with something.
My Dad was terrible with technology. He hated touch tone phones but realized that he had no choice when he was trying to phone a bank or office. I don’t think he ever used a debit card because Mom would get money out of the bank. I could get internet when it became wireless because we only had one phone jack in the house. A bone of contention for the rest of the family. My Dad was the type who said I pay the bills so I make the rules.
When my Dad had cancer he taught me how to trim hedges and some of the stuff that he did so that I could take over. It was one thing that wasn’t considered a mans job as Janet and I always helped him. As much as he could he tried to take care of stuff before he died so we wouldn’t have to worry.
9 years ago I remember praying that my Dad would live past our birthday. It was a hard day for all of us but there was comfort in knowing we got to see him. June 26 he wanted to go out to the garden at the hospital. It’s a special memory that all of us treasure.
Holidays will always bring with them mixed emotions. Remembering all of the gifts that my family gave me.

Target

Growing up my Mom always went to Zellers for stuff for the house. She bought groceries at the grocery store and laundry detergent, toilet paper etc was purchased at Zellers because it was a better price (she usually got it on sale too). She preferred going to Westmount because it had underground parking and you could take your coat off in the wintertime. Zellers was one stop shopping…birthday cards, clothes, shoes (this is where I would buy running shoes). When Westmount was in it’s hay day Janet and I would go to Cotton Ginny which was a great place to get t-shirts cheap. Reitmans was our go to place too. I was so disappointed when Cotton Ginny went bankrupt because there aren’t a lot of places to buy everyday t-shirts anymore.
My Mom never liked White Oaks but would go occasionally if she needed something specific. Dad would go to Canadian Tire and we would help him with his errand and then go to the mall and take the bus home. I’ve gone to Walmart because it’s the only place in the city where it’s one stop shopping. When I was buying stuff for my apartment that is where I went because I needed a new vacuum, pillows for spare room, bathroom accessories for guest bathroom…you get the idea. By the time I was done I was overwhelmed. The aisles are so small and you have to walk through a lot of stuff to get to what you want. And it doesn’t matter what day of the week you go it’s always busy.
My grocery guy shops at Real Canadian Superstore. You can buy patio furniture, clothes from Joe Fresh and of course groceries. If I’m going grocery shopping I prefer to go to a place that just sells food. I don’t want to have to walk miles through the store just to buy milk!! My Aunt had to take the bus to a Dr appointment recently and asked if I take the bus to a mall in the north end of the city. I have but not for a long time. Each mall seems to target a different demographic although Masonville has changed so much I’m not sure that’s true anymore. Even shopping online I buy dress clothes from one store, undergarments from another and casual clothes from another.
Speaking of clothes I better go tackle the mound of dirty laundry!

Cooking

The first thing that comes to mind with the word julienne is cooking because a chef juliennes vegetables in order to add to something else.
I used to love cooking but there came a time when it seemed like more of a chore than something that I enjoyed. In hindsight I think it was because cooking was shared. It was making pies or cookies with grandma. Watching my Mom make date squares for church. Making chocolate chip cookies for bible study.
I’ve definitely started eating healthier since I go to the farmers market. Today I picked up some asparagus and I will have a hash for lunch. I purchased a couple of meals from my usual place and my freezer is nice and full. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get tired of chicken as the store had thighs on sale. I will admit that although her meals are healthy a lot of it I had no idea what it was. I hate beans so if it has lentils or chick peas it’s not for me. I only eat chick peas blended for hummus. I’m currently enjoying my morning coffee on my balcony. I told a friend recently that I took time to realize that I was worth it. Although to be honest eating healthy is good for all of us.
Pretty soon we will be into summer festival time. Ribfest. It’s great to be able to walk to the park and get a grab and go lunch. Try new things. The only down side is summer is the season when I need to carry cash!
Since I was born on summer solstice it’s why I love summer. Oh not 90 plus degree weather the days when it’s sunny and just warm enough to sit outside. Things slow down in the summer so there is time to get together with a friend for coffee. Maybe go shopping.

What do you want to reflect

Yesterday I went to get bloodwork done and she found a vein in my arm but it moved (yes this is what happens to me). So while she is pressing my arm to find another area and switching to the left arm she decides ok it’s going to be in the hand. She did ask if I was ok with that and I always tell them if you can get it without any trouble just do it. Oh the way home on the bus we get stopped by a train…so much for “rapid” transit. I stopped for an iced coffee at my local coffee shop. I was really glad they didn’t have music on it was nice and quiet.
After I was finished I stopped into the flower shop on the corner. Every time I go in she asks if I need a card and I told her no it’s for my pain and suffering showing her my hand. I also booked a manicure and lunch at my favourite restaurant for my birthday. As time passes it has become easier to decide I’m going to sit at a table by myself.
A mirror reflects ourselves. After I moved and things in my life became more settled people could see a difference. I can never get into the building without passing my supers when I buy myself flowers. I stopped to chat with her and of course she teases me you didn’t have to buy me flowers. Not 5 mins later he comes out from somewhere and says the same thing. I have often talked about a couple of people at my church that are wonderful huggers. They make everyone feel welcome and loved.
I was recently talking to a twin friend of mine and she got talking about the not so nice things reflected in someone. Things that I had noticed myself but I was hoping I was wrong about. Someone who is supposed to be helping others should be doing it for the right reasons. It makes me so sad that this isn’t the case. I remember the first time I went to conference and there was a woman there who was a honorary greeter. We wrote long letters 2 or 3 times a year (and still do). She truly cares for everyone that goes. At the same time she is honest. This road that we are travelling together as twinless twins is hard. The people that give out the vibe that grief is something to “get over” are going to turn off people that are not at that place.
We should all try to be the best we can be so that when we look in the mirror we like what we see.

Government

The word for today is bastion…2. an institution, place, or person strongly defending or upholding particular principles, attitudes, or activities.
Oh my goodness there is nothing that represents this more than having to fill out paperwork for the government. I recently had to renew my passport. Easy enough once one fills out all the paperwork it’s just a matter of mailing it in. This morning I went to renew my health card. I didn’t receive a renewal notice because I moved and wasn’t aware you are supposed to inform them. When I went up to the desk the woman told me that the statement I had from bank isn’t sufficient. Oh my goodness I do my banking online so I just took a piece of mail thinking well it has my address on it. Thankfully she allowed it but gave me a big lecture. She told me a photo ID card would be easier so I ended up breaking down and getting one. I just don’t understand why I can cross the border with a passport but our own government won’t allow it for ID purposes.
Of course she asks have I ever had a license. These are the only times when I feel embarrassed that I don’t have one. When we were dealing with Mom’s estate I had to have my passport for ID. I think they also used a credit card. When I go to vote it will be easier now that I have a photo ID card.
I live in a city that has a decent bus system. I say decent because it could be more efficient. I live downtown and get to Dr appointments and the lab by bus. When I go to my family Dr I usually take a cab there and bus it home. There is underground parking in my building for a monthly fee. I can take a lot of cabs for the cost of maintaining a car.
Tomorrow I have to go and get bloodwork and I will stop off at the flower shop at the corner and buy myself something for my pain and suffering. Before it would have been chocolate!

Good people

Yesterday I had to phone my Grocery guy to see if he could run an errand for me. A little easier to explain over the phone. Because I have been shopping at the market a lot I don’t need many groceries but he said I might as well get a few since he’s charging me the fee anyway. When I was telling a friend she said it’s so nice that there are professional people still out there. Someone who goes the extra mile.
On Friday they were doing the yearly fire alarm check. Starting at 9am they go into each unit and check the smoke detectors. All you here is beep, beep, beep. After they checked mine I got ready to go and run some errands. My super caught me outside and was joking I had to get away from the noise. She informed me of elevator in service. I asked her whether they voted and she told me where the polling station was. She and her husband don’t just take care of the building they care for the people in it. When I was looking after the estate she would ask how I was doing, how I was handling everything.
Last night when I was talking to a friend I got talking about my kidney Dr. Since she was Mom’s Dr when she was in the hospital she knows what I went through at the time and dealing with everything afterwards. She’s also noticed the change since I’ve moved.
We look at people in the news that seem to be out for number 1. We need the reminder that there are good people out there too.