Thursday, 20 July 2017

So Many Babies

I am always slow to get out congratulations, and this past spring has seen a whole pile of babies. So here are the new humans in my life (not alphabetically, not chronologically, literally in no particular order):

Nic and Drew have expanded their beautiful family one further, bringing Canada a new little wombat. I have only met her once but Rosie is just the sweetest. They are all renting The Cottage next week so can show the new little one their 'Beach House'. (Photo Right)

Christopher keeps bringing us Canadian content and just a few weeks ago became the proud father of Elliott. He lives, with his lovely wife Heather, just a couple of doors down from James and Mike so Elliott will be able to spend lots of time with his cousins Ava and Aiden. And the grandparents are around the corner too - such a cool city family - it is the Toronto dream.

Canada Day celebrations were even more special than usual for Pat and Michelle, who spent the entire day in labour. Fitting date - as they have been known to host an epic pool party on it in the past. Liam arrived in the early hours of July 2. I am so happy for this little family and the many adventures they will have together. (Photo left)

I can't believe how much Henry looks like his dad Marc. Marc and Christine are up in Ottawa. Henry was born in March, quite a bit early I believe. But he is doing wonderfully, even if Marc is going to have him cheer for all the worst sports teams (Boston? Really?)

P and E also named their little boy Henry, who was born a few months ago. At the moment he is keeping a very quiet social media presence. I have had the chance to see him and can report that he is super cute.

Babies are going to keep on coming with Lauren due any minute and JennD expecting her second little one in the Fall.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Bringing Back The Verde

I wanted a modern font for our house number at Casa Verde, it really updates the look. My plan had been to possibly 3D print some since buying them is much more expensive than the more traditional house numbers. Eventually I ran across a project online that included a recommendation for numbers that weren't too insanely expensive, and the grass highlights would mean that the house could tie back to its name.

So here is another little weekend project that we just finished. Though it feels like it took much longer because gathering the supplies (like getting the house numbers) took months:

New House Number And Mail Box
Casa Verde - July 2017

We also fixed up the area right below the mail box. It used to be a pile of bricks blocking animals from getting under the porch and some cracked grey patio stones. A couple of weekends ago we had a big dump bin so that we could tear up the cement pad in the back yard and dispose of all the concrete. We took the opportunity to move some patio stones around on our property - getting rid of broken ones and clearing them out from areas we don't want to have them anymore. We also had to get a couple of bags of red rocks and even did proper excavation, lining it underneath with landscape fabric to prevent weeds.

Jason and I are really bad at taking before photos, even though I know how great they are when things line up side by side. Here are a couple shots that can fill in for a true before and after shot of our house number:

Slowly Improving The Facade
Bought it - December 2015
New eaves - March 2016
New house number - July 2017
Casa Verde

I am very happy that the old number is gone!
Casa Verde - July 2017

Yes, I know that the 9 is a bit tilted, Jason and I can fix that with a normal drill - just moving the nail at the bottom over slightly. We needed to borrow a hammer drill from the Tool Library in order to screw the plywood backing onto the brick. That was the main focus this weekend, so that we could return the tools last night.

Also, in case you can't tell from the photo, it isn't real grass. (It might look weird in the winter.) It was quite the 'crafty' project, there was spay paint and trips to Micheal's:

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Going To Africa

It was a crazy rash decision and purchase but a group of 6 of us are going to Africa in January. To quote Kristen, "July 1, no plans. July 3, ALL OF THE PLANS." We got a voucher from Groupon, making a very affordable tour even more so. We bought the Groupon about two weeks ago. Then over the last week we have been working with the tour company to make the final reservations. The trip includes flight, but out of JFK in New York, so some of of us have paid a bit extra to adjust the departure to leave from Toronto instead. Now everything is booked and I still can't believe it is happening. Kristen, Noah, Tessa, my mom, Jason, and I are all taking a 12 day tour of South Africa and the idea of being on a safari is still mind blowing to me.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Cleaner And Lighter

When we first purchased Casa Verde we did a lot of renovating in the basement:
- Demo
We wanted to be able to rent the space out to help cover mortgage costs. Also, it was important to create a space that we were comfortable having someone live in - as you can see from the links above, it was very gross for the previous tenants.

One of the things we tried to do was reuse things, this was difficult because of the aforementioned grossness. We wanted to reuse all the doors but by the time we finished we had knocked down and moved so many walls that they didn't fit and it would be better to get new ones - except for the bathroom. We were able to put the original bathroom door back on. We kept it with the 'wood' look because it was easier and I wanted to have natural textures in the space.

We got a request a few months ago from our tenant to pant the door white. We still have leftover paint so it wasn't an issue, but it did take a long time to have a free weekend that was warm/dry enough to do it. So this was a little weekend project (spray painted the mirror, painted the door frame and door):

Small bathroom upgrade: Painting everything white
Basement Casa Verde
Before and After: July 2017

Tenant was right! It looks much better painted white to match the rest of the bathroom. It really brightened up the space making it feel lighter and more open. I was also able to touch up some scuffs and dirt on the walls too since it is all the same paint colour - which really cleans things up a lot. Even though it has only been a year, it makes me want to do touch ups elsewhere in the house too, there is so much wear and tear that seems to happen. It isn't that Jason and I are rough on the house but I think our walls dent easily (plaster) and the pale colours we have everywhere show grime.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Cost Of Stamps

This is such a grouchy senior citizen post, but I can't believe the price of stamps now! If you just buy one stamp it is a dollar, when you get them in rolls or booklets it is $0.85. It is nice that they have the little P that means 'current domestic postage rate' so if it goes up you can still use it to mail a normal letter within Canada. But still, when did it get so expensive? How is this not a commodity market item?

I actually remember when it was $0.45 to mail a letter. I found a website that maps out all the postage increases from 1943 to now. It turns out the price I am remembering is from 1995, and for my entire elementary and high school life it was under $0.50. That milestone increase happened in 2005 so I was in university at the time and I guess I didn't notice. I am shocked at the cost now, it is just such a big jump.

It is the same story with gas prices too, I started driving when it was in the mid-sixties. However, I can remember it being in the forties when I was younger. Now it is regularly well over a dollar. (I am such a grouchy old person.)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Five Years And I Still Don't Like Coffee

Five years ago today I met Jason for the first time. We had been matched through eHarmony and quickly arranged to meet up for coffee, except I don't like coffee so I definitely had something else. I have different ways of explaining the matching process, or that first meeting, or our early days of dating. The bare fact is that we met up at the Starbucks at the corner of Bathurst and St. Clair (close to Rrunuv Bayit.) I was later told by Jason that the date was July 12. Seeing that later on we had agreed to use August 9 as the day we started a relationship, I was neither aware of or cared about remembering the specific day we met. However, each year Jason remembers this day and usually celebrates by bringing me Starbucks - but not coffee, I don't like coffee.

I can't believe that five years has gone by already. I love what we have done with this time together, I love where we are now as a couple, I love everything about him. Jason, I love you.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Flippy Floppys

There wasn't a dress code at the last BIA I worked in, however, my boss didn't really like open toed shoes/sandals so we agreed that we wouldn't wear them to work. I don't really think that flip flops are work appropriate, but it is a casual day today, with no meetings. Also, these ones are so much nicer than the usual $5 Old Navy style. I got them for Taylor's wedding, they are getting pretty worn out but I still love them.

Also, my awesome red pedicure is from Ottawa. We went out to get pedicures the day after Canada Day - such sore feet after waiting in lines, dealing with mud, and walking all over downtown. I didn't choose the colour to be patriotic, but lets pretend I did!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Hole In The Soul

I have been feeling a bit empty lately and I realize that it is because I haven't made or 'created' anything in a while. My mind is filled with timelines, organizational details, and budgets/prices for work, Casa Verde, travel, family and more. These leaves me feeling productive but hollow. I know that I am good at keeping track of these types of details. I analyse data well, much better than any creative skill I might have. But the data isn't enough, I need to be creative.

I thought that Casa Verde projects would fill that void. Fun little DIY upgrades like our 'fake crown molding' are really enjoyable, especially as they tend to take a fair amount of problem solving to recreate in our space. However, at the same time it often just feels like I am following instructions, just going step by step and not being really creative.

Hopefully I will get a chance to be artistic soon, but the opportunities seem more limited now for some reason. Maybe just getting back to writing will be enough.