Jo’s visit


renelle joanne

Taken at our old house on Hemlock Street in Timmins.

It  was Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 and about four hours or so until Jo-Anne’s arrival at Toronto airport. I was supposed to be having a rest, but couldn’t seem to keep my eyes closed despite the fact I was having trouble keeping them open. Go figger!

She finally arrived and the evening was spent just schmoozing and quietly enjoying each other’s company. We’re getting a little older now and it’s only natural we should slow down and do things in a more relaxed and dignified manner.

We used to be better at this when we were younger.

– Read any good books lately?              
– I just finished War and Peace again. You know how much I love the classics.    

The following morning found me pretty run down from all the dignified “chatter” of the night before, but Jo-Anne was raring to go as always. First, she informed us that she’d brought a few things with her to give us. Jo is an advocate of traveling light. She tries her best to travel with carry-on baggage only because she hates the long line-ups at the luggage carousel. I find that awfully clever of her, but can’t imagine myself ever managing to pack all I need for a five-day trip into one small carry-on. Here’s how it’s done; a photo demonstration of Jo-Anne’s packing wizardry.

Gifts, with some exceptions, always go on top.


First comes a gift bag from David’s Tea containing a tea infuser and some loose leaf tea of course. Jo clearly pays attention; she knows I don’t drink coffee and love my tea. Delicious!


This is a scarf and belt organizer. Jo has one and swears by it. “Now, where did that  %^$&^  blue and white scarf  get to?”   Turns out she’s right; it’s just the thing when you feel like swearing at something.


She brought stuff for Franco too!  This is an Adidas gift set, which I know he likes, because he actually uses it. Way to pick ’em Jo-Anne!


This is a Roxy designer bathing suit, Nice eh?.                                                           Me: Honey, will this suit make me look fat?                                                                  Honey: Only if you wear it dear.       (and then a shot rang out)


Even Jo-Anne’s live-in student got into the gift giving. She gave us each (Jo and I) a facial mask, which we made good use of one afternoon while sipping on a glass of white. Jo insists that some pictures were taken, but if there were, I have no idea what happened to them. * grin * Thank you Jennifer!!


You can’t see them very well, but this is a really pretty earrings and necklace set, which I have already worn a couple of times and received many compliments on (mostly from myself, but so what?).


Here’s another gift for Franco. It’s a pink spatula that clearly reads Kiss the Cook. Notice how Jo-Anne is attempting to kiss the spatula. The girl can pack a suitcase, but reading? Not so much. 

Up to now she has managed to pack quite a number of things in that one small suitcase, but here’s when it starts to get a little freaky.  If you don’t do eerie/scary, you might want to skip this next part 🙂 Oh come on, don’t be a wuss!


Because I spend a lot of time in bed, Jo-Anne figured I could use a reading pillow.  I use it all the time now. Despite the fact that it arrived in our home in a somewhat creepy way, that pillow and I are practically inseparable.  I overheard Franco telling a friend the other day, that “there are three of us in this marriage”.  I must remember to take it off the bed when I go to sleep at night.


Muffin baking lessons are on the agenda this week, and Jo knows that I will have none of the essentials for doing so. Thank goodness I do have an oven!


Now this is beyond ridiculous, but it was the final item aside from her clothes. The plant didn’t weather the trip all that well, but we’re hoping to bring it back with a little of David’s Tea.

Needless to say that Franco and I were quite amazed at what she managed to pack in that one small bag. I’ve been trying to figure out where she picked up this talent and the only thing I can come up with is the year she took off from school and ran away with the circus.
Jo clown car

After all of that, Jo-Anne and I took a nice longish walk and then went to Montana’s for a delicious Cobb salad and a glass of wine. Very nice way to spend an afternoon. That was also the most activity I had experienced in weeks. It felt great…and it was still only Monday!


Where’s the wine? I could have sworn there was wine!

Tuesday and Wednesday were devoted to a chemo session on one day and a visit to my liver oncologist the next. Not much fun, however my daughter Julie made an appearance for both and was able to visit a bit with an aunt she very rarely gets to see.


A family who goes to chemo together      Gets to be mo’ together                                           I know that’s bad, but it’s my blog and I can put in terrible poetry if I want to.

At this point, I need to mention that Jessica and her boyfriend Tony also came to visit and despite the fact that I managed to get pictures of things like plants and bathing suits, I did not take any pictures of my baby. I probably won’t get that Mother-of-the-Year award again this year.

For our last full day together, we stayed pretty close to home. That was the day of the facial mask and also a very nice manicure that is even now, weeks later, still clinging to my nails. In fact nail polish remover won’t even touch it. I’m thinking of buying my own kit, but I doubt that I could do as good a job as Jo-Anne does.

That evening, we decided to order pizza in for dinner. It arrived a bit late and Jo-Anne scared the bejesus out of the delivery guy who thought he was having his picture taken for some kind of “late pizza vendetta”.  Jo-Anne kept yelling BLOG, BLOG, BLOG which only made him fun faster, faster,faster. Jo’s a runner though and she was finally able to wrestle him (and the pizza) back to our door.


Look at the poor guy’s face. It took a while for Franco to convince him we weren’t a bunch of lunatics. Sure fooled him didn’t we?

In the end, we were able to explain the whole blog thing to him and he explained that he was happy to have any kind of exposure as he was soon to be on Iron Chef. Leave it to us to get a quasi-celebrity pizza delivery guy and for Jo-Anne to turn an Iron Chef into a quivering pizza-doughboy.

Friday arrived all too quickly and found us helping Jo-Anne pack (not that she needed any help). It had to be a much easier endeavour packing to go back now that all the gifts had been distributed and also due to the fact that we hadn’t done any shopping.


Good times always come to an end much too quickly. Thank you God for pictures, memories…and blogs.

You may have guessed that parts of this post are fictional, but that’s how I try to keep things fun for all of us. The very real part of this whole post is my gratitude to my amazing sister Jo-Anne.

We used to be better at this when we were younger.

– Read any good books lately?                           – Shut up!

Thanks Jo-Anne for your fabulous visit. During a summer that wasn’t and a period in my life that you helped make bearable, thanks is never enough, but it’s the most I can offer right now. I LOVE YOU !!!    ❤

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12 thoughts on “Jo’s visit

  1. Evidently the love and admiration you have for each other is beyond what mear words can express. Looks like u two had an amazing time. Again superbly written and extremely entertaining ! Tks Renelle ❇

    • Thanks Michelle. So nice to hear from you and as always, I’m happy you’re enjoying the blog. Yes, I do have a special relationship with Jo-Anne. She’s a gift.

  2. Glad to see that you are not hidding behind your pillows, and are living life with friends and zeal. Always looking forward to reading your blog.

    • Sometimes, too often really, I hide behind my pillows, but my friends and family seem to know how to drag me out and keep the will to go on trying alive. Thank you for being one of those people.

  3. And I thought what happened on a park bench in Toronto, stayed in Toronto 🙂
    Reading that post was the most fun I’ve had in a looong time… Nicely done. Had me laughing out loud. You didn’t tell the nice folks out there that I tried to put YOU in my suitcase to bring you home with me. I obeyed Franco and left you behind 😦
    Not in my thoughts though. You are ALWAYS there with me. Love you to bits little sis.

    • I am truly fortunate to have had three wonderful sisters. One, Jacquie, left us a few years ago but is still very much a part of us. I am also very lucky to have friends and family that are like sisters and brothers to me. We need to treasure all our sisters and brothers. They are the ones who make life worth living.

  4. You really put together a Sister Act! Love reading all about it! But the pizza guy looks really scared, no Iron Chef competition for him if he is a softie!

    • I did truly feel sorry for the poor man. Imagine doing your job, delivering your pizza and getting hit by the paparazzi at the door. That would have been enough to send me running and never come back. Those are the little things that make Jo-Anne who she is, and she is definitely one of a kind. Glad you liked it.

  5. So good to read your blog Renelle and great you had a very special visit with your sister. We all missed you at book club yesterday. Thanks to Kathleen I have finally got on your blog. Will look forward to reading more. You have a wonderful outlook on life so refreshing to read. Hope to see you next month, the book looks much better than the last one which basically no one was thrilled about. Adalene

    • Welcome to my readership. I’m so grateful to Kathleen for helping people to get on. Really glad that you enjoyed the post. I’ll look forward to reading any comments you ever have. See you at October’s book club meeting. Still got to pick up my book, but from what I hear it should be a good one.

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