Coming in contact with people

This morning I went to get my haircut. When I walked in I was the only person there. I was surprised since now is the time that parents start taking their kids to get their haircuts before school starts. Maybe in a couple of weeks it will be busier. This hairdresser is a nice balance of pleasantly chatty and talking your ear off. Afterwards I went into Shoppers Home Health to find a new bathroom scale. It’s funny that it’s more of a seniors place since there are a lot of assistance devices for the home but I looked online and they also sell scales. They are very helpful because the sales person came right over to assist me. Not a great variety but since I don’t drive beggars cant’ be choosers. Plus I get shoppers points (which I always forget about!)
Even though I just got groceries on Tuesday I forgot to put yogurt on the list. I got some more milk so I won’t run out. I think Mom and I went to this grocery store. I didn’t know exactly how much I was going to buy so I went to grab a cart. At this store you have to put a quarter in and it unlocks the mechanism for the chain that attaches the carts together. I wasn’t even sure I had a quarter on me but I dug in the bottom of my purse and found one. I stick it in the slot and wondered why it wouldn’t open. I’m pulling, twisting and then all of a sudden I figured it out. And not a soul around to even ask. I remember the last time someone was coming out and she just gave me her cart. When I was finished only one lane had a light on but I made eye contact with the woman on express and she was open. I only had 4 items (which for me is probably a record) so it was easy to bag my own. I don’t even remember if the woman said hello. It’s one of the things that I don’t like about the “no frills” stores…less customer service.
Of course I stopped at Starbucks for a morning coffee. My friend and I stopped for lunch at Tim Hortons on the way back from the Inn a month ago. I had iced coffee and I might as well have been drinking cream with a little bit of coffee. My coffee this morning was just right. It’s a great place for people watching. 2 woman got the drink that I ordered the last time. A whole lot of black today. Even standing in the sun waiting for the bus I was hot.
There is a couple moving into the building this morning so of course I came in contact with my super entering the building. He’s a character I never know what to make of him. He asked if I could hear the noise yesterday as they were removing the carpet from the apartment below me. It’s a good thing I’m an early riser as the elevator was in service from 11-1.
Thursday is usually market day. A day when I come in contact with dogs, people and different sights and smells.

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Community

I was thinking about this word yesterday after I emailed a friend to tell her that her local library was going to be closed for 2 months due to construction. She told me she loves their local library it’s so cosy. I told her that I don’t really have a main library. While I live close to the one downtown it was under construction when I moved and the street it’s on is now under construction until the end of November. I wouldn’t call it a neighbourhood library since it’s 3 floors. They have workshops, lectures and a job skills centre. When we went to our local library we would regularly run into someone we knew. We would pick up something at the grocery store and probably go into the bank.
The other day I found an article online about the 80th anniversary of the pharmacy that we used growing up. I have friends that no longer live in the area but still use Turner’s because of the customer service. When I had to get a person in authority to sign my passport paperwork I used the owner.
At the same time our communities change. Growing up we become friends with the people who live on our street. We make friends in public school, high school. Since Janet and I didn’t drink we didn’t fit in with the college crowd. We were paying for an education not to go to the bar.
Life gets so busy. This morning pictures from July came up on Facebook. It was fun hanging out in the park with my public school friend. My coffee buddy picked me up from the Inn I stayed at. The community may get smaller but there is still a lot of love.

Setting the table

When we had company it was my job to set the table. My Mom would always buy paper napkins to go with the holiday of Thanksgiving or Christmas. I know I wasn’t good at determining what fork went where so Mom had to tell me the small one goes on the inside. My Mom had a set of good silverware that had her initial on it. It was kind of weird that it had her maiden name initial which was S and that is what we used. We had good leaf plates with gold trim. The kind that can’t go in the dishwasher. They were “company dishes”. I love watching Home Shows and setting the table is the last thing they do when they decorate the house. There is something about a full table that says home. It means food, family, sharing.
When we would stay overnight at my grandparents apartment they had a fancy container for jams. It had 3 containers held together in the middle with a handle. And she always used the good butter dish whereas we just plunked the margarine tub on the table. Even though it was just cereal and toast it felt fancier. When she died we divided up the dishes and such. She had silver candlestick holders. Years later most of the stuff ended up going to Goodwill. It made me sad but when it was just me and Mom we didn’t have use for it. I don’t need the physical things because the memories are so clear. We always had tea with our dessert when we had company. Each cup was different. I don’t even own any tea cups all my friends drink coffee.
After my Mom died I would eat in front of the tv a lot because setting the table for one was a constant reminder that I was eating alone. Growing up we weren’t allowed to eat in the living room. The rule was you ate at the table. Breakfast was ok it was the other meals that were harder. It wasn’t just an empty chair it was empty CHAIRS.
I think it’s why I like eating outside since it’s just a table for one. We didn’t eat outside a lot as a family so it’s a different routine too. For a long time cooking for one was a chore, I just couldn’t be bothered. Now I go to the farmer’s market and enjoy trying new things. It takes time to adjust to the change. I’m hoping eventually my friend and I will be able to enjoy our coffee on the balcony together.

Well meaning people

I think we have all come in contact with people like this. The people who will give their opinion without asking, tell you what to do or in some cases just outright take over because they know better. Of course there is differing degrees…the neighbour who decides it’s her job to tell me how to cut the grass (to be fair she did it to Dad too). The friends who told me I should keep busy after Janet died. And every minister, church person and counselour who really had no idea about grief. But we were supposed to give them a pass because “they mean well”. My Mom used to tell me that and I knew it was bunk. I won’t abide someone putting down my family.
Since Janet died I have had to put up with bullies. People who made decisions for me. It’s tough making a break from someone who is family but I learned that I will not allow someone to tear me down to make them look better.
I recently read a comment on a friend’s Facebook page that to me seemed a little harsh. We shouldn’t judge someone’s decisions unless we have been in their shoes. We all have our own journey. A friend posted a comedy club act about a man talking about picking your battles (in relation to marriage). But it’s true in life. At what point do we decide ok I’m not going to tolerate that anymore? Do we forgive and forget? Do we give someone a second chance?
The answer isn’t easy but sometimes it can be worth it.

Snacking

The first thing that came to mind when I thought of tummy rumbling is the fact that I’m hungry. The day before grocery day sometimes it’s a little more challenging finding something to snack on. I try to keep Triscuits and cheese and frozen fruit can always be added to yogurt. It’s why I love going to the farmers market because there is nothing better than having fresh fruit to eat. I have bought granola bars and Buddha balls for snacks too.
I hate fasting to have bloodwork taken but there is nothing better than sitting down to breakfast afterwards. I miss going with Mom because we would make it special and go for eggs and bacon etc. It’s not the same going by myself.
If I have a Dr appointment close to noon I usually take something to snack on either a few crackers or an apple (which is easily transportable). Yesterday I took a water bottle and it made a loud cracking noise in the office. I think it’s the difference in temperature and then the plastic expands. Haven’t we all been in situations where we hear someone’s tummy rumbling. I remember sitting beside a man at church. I often had tummy rumblings after eating when I would go to bible study and try to discretely sit in the corner. Although there are some people that you know if you belch in front of them they wouldn’t be embarrassed. My Mom would often kid that’s its a good thing I sleep alone when we had foods that created gas.
Like my Dad I have a sensitive stomach so I don’t eat spicy foods and I stay away from garlic. I bought ginger carrot soup at the market and while it was good my mouth was burning from the ginger. I recently bought coconut shrimp with lime rice. It’s flavours I haven’t tried before but I liked it.
This weekend is Ribfest. There is a guy on the news that is known as the food guy. He goes to all the festivals that involve food. The funny thing is there is no delicate way to eat on camera…especially ribs.
This morning I am enjoying my morning coffee on the balcony. There is a slight breeze so it’s quite pleasant.

A novel idea

I can’t believe it’s August 3 and Monday will be the civic holiday. In another month kids will be back at school. Where did the time go?
A classmate from high school is running for Mayor and posted that they are holding their first debate a month from now. Advance voting opens 2 months from now. When I was watching the news last night they were talking to people to ask them if they have started to get information. One couple said yes and another woman said she figures it out the night before. Although I don’t think he has a chance of winning (according to the news they have 4 front runners) here is someone who lives downtown and takes the bus. How does a council member vote on something they have probably never used? He posted on his Facebook page that it costs $250,000 for someone to run for mayor. It boggles the mind because a sign on the corner is not going to make me decide to vote for you.
When Joe Fontana ran for Mayor I didn’t like him as a person but I knew that he worked hard for his constituents. We have had some people with questionable reputations so I think this election there will be more focus on that. It would be wonderful to actually have a council that gets along too! Park your egos at the door!! My former member of parliament is running for mayor. While I admire the fact that he wants to work for the city I also think if he can collect a federal pension he shouldn’t be running for council. He can still do good in the community without actually having a job. But at the same time it’s these people that can afford to run and name recognition counts for a lot.
I don’t think my Dad ever voted municipally (although he regularly did Federally and mostly provincially). It’s the one election that I always vote for because it affected me even when I didn’t pay taxes. I used the library and transit system. I walked to Wortley Village so the fact that the sidewalks were plowed concerned me. Janet and I were the ones who took the garbage out (and it would get pretty stinky on an 8 day cycle in the summer).
Our city is great. Here’s hoping for elected officials who will make it greater.

More rain


The word for today is monsoon and while in Southern Ontario we haven’t quite gotten to that point I am sick of the rain. In June and the first part of July we had hardly any and the ground was very dry. Our weekends have been pretty much a wash out lately. It is good for the grass and the farmers need it. I’m glad that when I went away it only rained the day I was coming back. I have only been able to sit outside once in the past few weeks.
At the same time I think of all the people who have lost their homes due to wildfires. Even BC has had very little rain lately. I see the destruction on the news and I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have no home to go to. To leave everything behind. Sure in your head you know it’s just stuff but emotionally it’s not. A friend posted a link to her parents house for sale. Like my parents they lived in the house for over 40 years. It’s not just a house it’s a community. It was a hangout for kids at school. I remember walking down the street at Halloween because they gave out the best candy.
I’m glad that I live in Canada where I get to enjoy 4 seasons. I’m not a big fan of snow as I get older but there is something magical about it twinkling against the lights at Christmas.

Salvage

THINGS THAT AREN’T SALVAGABLE
1. Burnt toast, an egg dropped on the floor and any baked good that is as hard as a rock. Yep, I’ve done them all.
2. Broken appliances…it’s cheaper just to get a new one
3. A bad haircut. I think most of us have been there waiting for the bad haircut to grow out.
4. A hair colour mistake. This hasn’t happened to me but a friend of mine that had auburn hair dyed it blonde and it is a very expensive process to dye it back!
5. A receding hairline
6. Relationships. This is a tough one because if both parties want to mend the relationship maybe you can
7. Trust
8. Reputations

THINGS THAT ARE
1. A bad day. A couple of Christmas’ ago I was having a bad day missing my family, feeling alone and then I received something in the mail to brighten my day. A rainy day is a good time to read a book
2. Writing. It took me 3 tries to figure out what I wanted to write about a friend. She drew a picture of my family for me and we both had the same “issue” in that we wanted it to be perfect.
3. Pictures. My grandfather had a photo of my grandmother that he had cropped that ended up being better than the original. My Dad had old photos taken in to get copies as well.
4. Clothes. We can put patches on holes in our jeans (although that’s the style now). You can make quilts out of old clothes or rugs.
5. Grass and plants. It’s amazing the things in the garden that will grow with a little love
6. I love watching Home Town because it’s what Ben does. He takes old wood that is in the house and he turns it into something beautiful. Plus it’s the only show where I can actual imagine people living there, putting their feet up on the coffee table.
7. People. I know I wrote that relationships aren’t salvageable but it’s actually both. People can change and grow, improve themselves.

Travel

I think for most of us the actual travel time to get to our destination is the more stressful part. Living in London I have to go to Toronto to take a plane somewhere. A lot of people fly out of Detroit because it’s cheaper but then you have to cross the border. When Mom and I went to Vancouver we told the travel agent we wanted to fly out of London even if it cost more (which it didn’t). I had to take enough cash with me for cab fare to get to and from the airport. It was before interac was really used to pay for taxis.
When Mom and I went on our cruise a friend who worked for sunwing booked our flight. Unfortunately we came back the day after the shoe bomber incident. It was a learning experience because it would have been better to go with a bigger carrier like Air Canada.
The first time I went to Detroit for the Twinless Twins conference I took greyhound and a fellow twin picked me up. Unfortunately I got held up at the border by a guy that was bringing wine across and they had to X-ray the bottle. It’s not easy explaining to the security officers where I was going. The second time I went I decided to take the train. A little more expensive but so worth it! I love taking the train. This has changed too because everybody purchases their tickets online. Most people show the app on their smart phone but I just printed the piece of paper out and put it in my purse. It does make me feel sad tnat it means less jobs for people.
I recently went to an inn near me for a few days. I now travel with an iPad (which means the charger too). Because I’m diabetic I take snacks with me. Mom always said that was the hard part about travelling was the sodium in the food. When she went on a tour of western Canada by the time she got home her feet were swollen from the salt. I noticed it too when I was at the Inn. I tried to make the best choices but I have to choose from what is offered. They did have complimentary water bottles in the room which helped a lot.
Going on vacation is great because someone else makes your bed and cooks your meals. I was telling my friend that although I like a walk in shower the rain head shower does not give enough pressure to wash your hair! And hotels never have firm pillows!
The nice thing about living in an apartment is that when I go away I just have to lock the door behind me and I’m good to go. I do have to tell the superintendents when I’m away so they know I’m not home. I certainly don’t have to worry about mail because I don’t get enough to fill up my box!
The best thing about a vacation is coming home to your own bed!

Taking the time to teach us

Growing up my grandmother taught Janet and I to bake. I remember my grandfather saying that my mother didn’t like sewing on buttons but everyone should know how to do it. Janet and I were not good at fractions and I remember thinking when am I going to use this in real life. Sometimes I would double a recipe and that involves using math! We would often go to the corner store to buy candy and my Dad would tell us bring me back change. Nowadays a computer tells them how much it is.
At an early age we could cook so when we got older it boggled our mind that a couple of cousins couldn’t. One cooked by opening a jar and the other could barely boil water. Their parents put greater emphasis on marks and status then life skills. I learned about writing letters by example. The courtesy of writing a thank you note or RSVPing. The last one I’m not sure if it’s not taught or it’s just something that has fallen by the wayside with our reliance on technology.
When Mom had her kidney transplant we all had to become self-sufficient. When my Dad had cancer I had to do the jobs that he did before. I dealt with service people. When we went on a cruise the winter after he died I called the newspaper so we wouldn’t get delivery while we were away. Unfortunately they didn’t get it. So I phoned them up and laid it on how anyone could know we weren’t home (even though my neighbour took them inside). My neighbour asked who taught me how to do that. My Dad by watching him do it.
I’ve always been the type if I was going to do something I would do it myself. This morning I had to text a friend who has been offline for a few days. Maybe because I have had so many losses it’s hard for me to imagine a man or woman not knowing how to do things that if something happened to their spouse they wouldn’t know how. How much are your expenses? How to fix something in the house if you needed to.
While I felt overwhelmed when my Mom died I knew that I had the necessary skills that I could fall back on. I am so thankful for all the people who have guided me.