Thursday, 31 January 2013

Shut It Down

After weeks of excitement, chat, thought, and early prep, I am closing down my 'almost company' before it even begins. I had wanted to start a baby product subscription box service in Canada called Baby Crates:

I had been researching daily, learning about the market, business model, etc. I was sure that this was not avalible in Canada yet and that I could start something fun and unique here. Well, today I ran across LittleEcoFootprint which is starting this very month. LittleEcoFootprint is a new Canadian subscription box for new moms focused on healthy, natural and Eco-friendly products, which wouldn't have been my slant but is close enough to cancel my plans. However, I still love the subscription box business model and don't want to walk away from the idea of starting my own business, but Baby Crates is over.

I want to thank all my friends and family who have talked with me about this over the past month. Your support and ideas have been so wonderful and helpful. Thank you!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

When He Was Younger

A long time ago, Anna sent me an Henri video and I immediately decided that he would be a purr-fect (sorry) boyfriend for Two. I just discovered that the well known video of this depressing French cat is actually the second in a series. Here is the first one:

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

"Agreed," Says The English Major

------ from End of Story: The heroic narrative of CanLit was already history. The closure of Douglas & McIntyre is merely punctuation., by Charles Foran in The Walrus, March 2013

"A broad still unfolding process of diffusion [of Canadian Literature] may underlie the current publishing dilemma. Within a few years of the end of cultural nationalism, the energy behind it had been redirected toward a range of movements, or isms, with multiculturalism and post-colonialism erecting the biggest tents, each with its own agenda and constituency. The academy, in particular, once a powerful force in CanLit, plunged down the theory rabbit hole, rooting too much scholarship in those few texts that confirm pre-existing critical discourses. It now talks mostly to itself, using an obscure dialect."

A solid personification of 'the academy.' The focus on only a few 'CanLit' texts lead me to leave the mandatory Canadian Lit course at Carleton twice before finally forcing myself to stay in and finish it. Also, the 'obscure dialect' didn't really become clear to me until my Masters, when I realized I was learning theory so complex and obscure that the average reader would never be able to join in the dialogue.

Monday, 28 January 2013

A Hot Toddy On A Cold Day

Sometimes you wake up on Monday and just aren't feeling it...
You check the news and find out that Toronto has a freezing rain warning...
And that means wearing those winter boots you don't really like...
Better just grab a snack from the fridge...
Curl up with a blanket on your favourite chair...
Have a stretch and go back to sleep!!
All photos courtesy of Erin AH 
Featuring Tod 'The Black Peril' Armstrong when he was a kitten

Sunday, 27 January 2013

I Hate Them A Little

My mom has started up a blog to share her travel stories and pictures. It is called 'vicarious travelling' and at the moment she is posting about the recent trip her and Dad took to go sailing in the Bahama's. There are pictures of beaches and blue water and dolphins and sting rays and lobsters that they ate and it is all just so beautiful and amazing. It would be so nice to escape winter for a little while and go south.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Long Acronym

Through work, I am involved in WorldPride 2014 Toronto. I always loved Pride events in Ottawa, though they were a bit more political then the ones in Toronto. Anyway, WorldPride is going to be a massive event and it is such and honour for Toronto to host the first one to be held in North America.

Anyway, at the first meeting they mentioned the LGBTTIQQ2SA communities and I have no idea when that acronym got so long! I can remember the switch from LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) to LGBTQ, where the Q meant Questioning or sometimes Queer. Now apartently the acronym has changed again and it is huge.

LGBTTIQQ2SA - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questing, Two-Spiried, and Allies.

As an Ally myself, I really like that it is included in the list and in the spirit of inclusiveness I will ignore the unwieldy nature of this new version and embrace it. It isn't an issue at all to type, but it is a bit challenging to say.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Interesting Advice

 Over the years I have read various tips, articles, and lists about weddings: online, in newspapers, as part of wedding magazines, etc. Often I find them very similar, what I found about this list is that it is so different from what you normally see from a list of wedding dos and don'ts.I have posted about Dan Savage before, the advice columnist. In a recent article he was asked to marry a couple (I gather he used to be an officiant) and he declined but offered some wedding advice instead, advice that I think I agree with, strange as some of it is:

----- from Not Getting Married (By Me) by Dan Savage

Here, in no particular order, are a few getting married dos and don'ts courtesy of your married friend Dan. They apply equally to straight and gay weddings.

1. Don't ask me to officiate. I just wanted to emphasize that point. While I love weddings—and while I always cry at weddings—I have no interest in officiating at the weddings of strangers. Or people I know. Or anyone. If I know you, I'll come to your wedding and drink your booze and eat your cake and cry on cue. If I don't know you, I don't even want to come to your wedding. I'm sure you're all lovely couples, but you'll have to find someone else to drink your booze, eat your cake, and cry at your wedding.

2. Do not have a destination wedding. Expecting your friends and relatives to show up at your wedding with a gift? That's reasonable. Expecting your friends and relatives to burn through their vacation time and spend thousands of dollars they don't have in order to show up at your wedding on a beach in Hawaii or in a castle in Spain with a gift is the height of assholery. If you can't afford to fly your friends and family to Hawaii or to that castle in Spain, and you can't afford to put them up, you can't afford a destination wedding. 

3. Do not go into debt to pay for a wedding.

4. Don't ask for money from your parents unless you're cool with your parents having opinions about what your wedding should look like, where it should be held, who should be invited, what food should be served, and on and on.

5. Fuck first. Trust me: At the end of your wedding day—after the wedding, after the reception—you'll be too physically and emotionally drained to fuck each other. If you don't fuck first, i.e., before the ceremony, you might not fuck at all on your wedding day, and then you'll have to worry about What It Means that you didn't fuck on your wedding day. Or, worse yet, you'll force yourselves to fuck on your wedding night, despite your exhaustion and all the food in your stomach, and the sex will be rote, hurried, and passionless. There will be plenty of time for passionless fucking—going-through-the-motions fucks, let's-get-this-over-with fucks—after you have kids or you're sick of each other, whichever comes first. Fuck first and you can fall into bed together without any pressure or expectations—and if you have the energy to fuck again, well, that's great. You get a nice little bonus fuck.

6. Don't stress out about shit that goes wrong. People love wedding disasters. Perfect weddings are perfectly forgettable. Disastrous weddings are delightfully memorable.

7. And, finally, one "do" specifically for same-sex couples: Set a good example for the straight people. I loved what the Very Rev. Gary Hall told NPR about his decision to open Washington National Cathedral to same-sex weddings: "One of the things I think that same-sex marriage has to teach straight people is about the possibility of a totally equal and mutual relationship," Reverend Hall said. "Handing the bride over to the groom: The vows in the prayer book, up until 1928, were love, honor, and obey for the woman. As much as we've tried to revise our marriage service to make everything equal and mutual, it still has with it some connotations and vestiges of premodern ways of understanding male-female relationships. I think one of the ways in which gay and lesbian couples really can teach something to straight couples is the way in which they hold up the possibility of an absolute equality and mutuality in marriage." As same-sex couples, you get to make up the rules. You get to write your own sexual and social contract, and your ceremony can reflect that.

Note: This post is not a reflection or comment on any wedding I have attended or been involved in - past, present, or future.

Thursday, 24 January 2013


Cailin found this yesterday and I have been giggling about it every since, 10 Insane Self-Published Books, by Dan Abromowitz. It is a hilarious list, but my favourite by far is:

How to Good-bye Depression: 
If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. 
Malarkey? or Effective Way? 
by Hiroyuki Nishigaki

Maybe I should try this? I guess it couldn't hurt. Really though, it is important to find a publisher for your book. (I may regret these words later on when I decide the only way to get my work published is to just do it myself, but at the moment, it doesn't seem to be a good way to go.)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Love Warms Us

It is a cold cold day here in Toronto, so I thought I would post a picture to remind myself of warmer times:

Mike and Aimee's Wedding
Photographer - Aimee's Family Friend
It was warm both because it was an amazing wedding filled with love and also because it was in the summer. There are only a couple of pictures at the moment and we are still waiting for the rest from the photographer. Aimee was beautiful, as always, and Mike looked so handsome, I love them both so much.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Save Your Tears

Save your tears, it is only the second game; but is this the start of it? I have only been living in Toronto for a few seasons but no matter where I live, I have always loved the Leafs. I can tell you that distance does not dull the pain and I was angry with their poor performance when I lived in Ottawa, and home in Paris (Ontario). The Season Opener in Montreal went well, we won 2 to 1 for those of you who don't follow hockey, but last night, at the Home Opener no less, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost. (Though the last 5 minutes or so were quite exciting but need I remind a professional hockey team that they should play well for the entire game? It is, you know, their job.) Anyway, it is a shortened season, which I guess makes it more like ripping off a band-aid: the hurt will end quickly. Go Leafs Go?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Dutch Dreams

The smell is sweet. You can sense it even with swollen sinuses and the stuffed nose that inevitably comes every winter. Breathing it into your mouth it somehow fills your throat. You can smell it, or your mind remembers the smell - so rare that it cannot be summon from pure memory only when it is here, assaulting the mind into thinking about the delicious components. Sweet like thin, watery icing. Thick like bread, yeast and heat and toasting flour to brown and crispy. Cooking sugar. I don't even like to have my ice cream in a cone, let alone waste taste, coins, and calories on the upgrade. But there is nothing - nothing - like the smell of the ice cream shop around the corner cooking waffle cones, except maybe that smell coasting towards you through a closed door, across a snow covered parking lot, made stronger by the sharp crisp air of winter.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


"... eternally chasing some shadow of a person she might never become ..."

---- from The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown

Friday, 18 January 2013

But I Also Won The Lottery

I don't know how people fall for these or if they even do.

--------- from my email

From: Prince Arnold
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2012 7:00 PM
Subject: Re: Investment 

 Hello Partner,

I am Prince Arnold and I was on business trip to your country few weeks a go. The environment is good for business with stable government and good economy so far in the continent. Now,I wish to invest sum of £15,000,000.00(Fifteen Million British Pounds) equivalent to $24,202,500.00 USD at today FX rate. I want trustworthy person who can handle this funds with good business in your country. 

This is what i need from you before my lawyer will accept the offer on my behalf: List the businesses which is profitable and good annual income. Your identification, Utility bill, Occupation, Age, Cell Phone, Home Phone, Marriage Status.  

Thank you for your support and as soon as my Lawyer receive this information and our sharing percentage will be annouced. 

 Merry Xmas and Propserous New Year in advance. 
 Best Regards, Prince Arnold. CEO.

Wow, he is both a prince and a CEO - busy guy. 

From: National Lottery Uk
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2013 6:03 PM 
Subject: Your Email-Address has just won you 1,000,000.00 GBP!!! 

 Dear Winner, 

Your Email-Address has just won you 1,000,000.00 Great Britian Pound Sterlings.Via email account ballot system world wide web in UK Monday National Lottery promotion .Please acknowledge the receipt of this mail with the details below: 
THE BENEFICIARY/OWNER OF THE WINNING EMAIL OF THE FUNDS SHOULD COMPLETE 1.FullName:_2.Sex:_______3.Age_____4.Address:______5.Country___6.Tel:____7.Occupation: __ 

Congratulations once again. Your Sincerely. 
Mr.Jackson Hills. Claim Officer Monday National Lottery.

Just wait until I tell The Prince!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Who Knew?

---------- from Facebook

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Super Stars

Steph and Dave's photographer (from their wedding) just posted a year-in-review list on her blog. Gen, from fifteen:fifty one photography is a very busy photographer, I am sure that she does hundreds of shoots in a year. (Well maybe not hundreds but trust me it is a lot, this is what she does and she is sought after for it.) Anyway, Steph and Dave's engagement shoot made it into the number two spot for the year, based on readership stats I think. Super Stars!!

Personally, I don't like Engagement Photos. They are really fake, "Lets get photos of us hugging while we walk down a wooded path, that we are only at because the photographer thought it would look nice." However, I get my photo taken all the time - usually in shoots that are completely designed by the photographer. So why would I begrudge a couple for doing the same? I think it is because it has become so mandatory, a check mark in the box, a milestone that is captured and promoted. One more consumerist/capitalist based tradition with minimal individuality.

Steph and Dave's is different though. I looked back and it turns out that I only briefly mentioned their engagement shoot. It deserves way more than that! They made a concept and told a story. It is fun, interesting, cute, funny, and beautiful. See it here: Love Conquers. What is also so great about it is that it truly reflects who they are - Steph and Dave love movies, dressing up at Halloween, picnics, romantic stories, Ottawa bridges etc. This shoot, which Steph turned into a beautiful photo guest book for their wedding, is my absolute favorite couple series ever!

Photos: Copyright © 2012 By Genevieve Georget/Fifteen:Fifty-One Photograph

If you are interested in seeing the Wedding Set as well click: Here

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Changing My Thoughts

It worked! It worked! I am thinking in stories again! Playing with words in my head! I didn't really know what I was doing when I decided on it, but forcing myself to do a blog post everyday has moved my mind back a little bit more towards that writer in me that sometimes gets lost. And, I am reading more, so much so that I am missing Subway stops because of it (more on this later - I plan to write about it.) It really is a practice thing, the more you do it, the more you think about it, the easier it gets. I don't have any notions that this will improve the quality of my writing but I am just so happy that it is improving the ease at which I do it. I think about descriptions now, try to adjust well known plots and twist them into something new, I spend more time in my head imagining other worlds. I love it. It is a change that makes me very happy.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Danielle Kubes - Freelance Journalist

Danielle recently finished her Masters at Ryerson (in Journalism, a much more practical choice than mine in Literature of Modernity.) She just published her thesis online; it can be accessed and read through her blog, which also acts as her online resume. The thesis about grade inflation in undergraduate arts programs is a really interesting read. You can find her other work on the blog as well. The articles range from lifestyle to business but it is really the thesis that shines at the moment on the site. Visit the blog here: Danielle Kubes - Freelance Journalist

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Fairy Dust

Ava slowly rolled over to the other side of the bed. It was a delicate but deliberate maneuver to unwind her limbs from Will and leave his arms to find her own stretch of mattress space. She closed her eyes and felt the light sheen of sweat cool as it dried; relishing the deep breaths of cold night air drawn into her lungs from the dimly lit space above her. Her space. Her air. Cool, cold air. It wasn't long before the sweat had dissipated from her skin and drifted into the corners of the room.

Ava's body felt still and her breath settled and slowed into long lasting streams of air. She was calm. Her mind was clear, or maybe her mind was gone. The thought didn't make her panic, the inner empty feeling was not a hollow or a fog or any other type of frightening mental existence. It was stillness, pure perfection. Then it slowly came to her like the sun rising inch by inch at a clear sharp dawn - she wasn't empty. Her mind and limbs and every inch of her felt full of fairy dust. Not heavy like sand  but similar in form. Lighter than sand, it glowed, each piece of magic rich and golden. She wondered if it would blow away into the cool air above her.

Ava's eyes closed and gradually sleep came, stealing each piece of dust from her body, one by one, moment by moment, slowly taking her stillness

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Acknowledge It

I feel like these small courtesies are underused and often forgotten:

- When emailed, respond! (I know Teri agrees with me on this point.) I often send out an email to a number of recipients: ie, to tell people I'm coming to Ottawa, to invite friends out for dinner or an event, when hosting a party, planning a trip, sharing an exciting bit of news etc. I am often so surprised at the lack of responses I get back, even from people who are interested or who intend on attending/participating in whatever it is I'm email about. I think it would be even better, though I guess not necessary, to also respond with a decline message. Just acknowledge the email! I want to know you read it.

- When sent cash, cheque, or a gift card, I think it is important to thank the person and let them know what you ended up getting with it. Anytime you get these types of gifts it is nice to report back what it was used for. However, if a gift is mailed or sent via another person, it is so important to, at the very least, acknowledge the gift! I want to know you got it.

Friday, 11 January 2013

What A Beautiful Family!

Family Shot from Nic & Drew's Wedding
December 28, 2012
By Karlie and Steve from We're Photography

Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Good January

There are so many things coming up that I am excited for! Normally January, February, and March are really difficult months for me but this year it seems I will be keeping myself pretty busy and hopefully happy.

Upcoming Exciting Things:
- Jan 12 - Babysitting Jason's nephews with him
- Jan 13 - Brunch with Teri
- Jan 15 - Seeing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
- Jan 19 - A new roommate moving in 
- Jan 21 - Our AGM at work
- Jan 24 - Kristen's birthday
- Jan 25 to Feb 7 - Winterlicious dinners and brunches
- Feb 14 - Valentine's Day
- Feb 15 to 18 - Ski trip to Blue Mountain

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Two Tired

As aforementioned, I was away in Ottawa this past weekend, and stayed longer than just the weekend since I had Monday off. It was going to be too difficult to bring Two along for the trip so she stayed home. Thankfully Noah and Kristen came in to feed her and give her fresh water. However, she is a very social cat - much more than I am used to - and I think she was really missing human contact. She would not leave me alone last night!! She kept wanting to play Throw. I have mentioned her little version of cat-fetch before, which is basically throwing a toy for her to chase and play with and later on being back to have thrown again. She kept bringing me this large fake mouse toy while I was in bed trying to sleep. Then, when I was ignoring her, or at times actually sleeping, she would touch my face with her paw! I have heard lots of cat owners talk about their cats doing this and I always thought it sounded so cute since I never had a cat who did it. Trust me, it is not cute when it is done repeatedly and in the middle of the night. I am exhausted today!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

First Word You See

----- from Facebook

Take note of the first word you see in the image below and share it as a comment.

So as not to influence you, I have included what I saw in the comments for this post.

Monday, 7 January 2013

A Cute Christmas Cat

---- from an email forward

NOTE: This year, Two was caught drinking from Santa's glass of milk. Because of this, and the fact she is evil, I was sure that she was going to get put on the 'naughty list' but Santa left her a little toy anyway.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Seriously Minto?

As aforementioned, Jason and I are in Ottawa for the weekend and tonight we are staying in a hotel. I had assumed that it would have free wifi and there would be no issue doing a quick Sunday post - however internet at the Minto Suites Hotel in Ottawa is not complimentary and we would have to pay to use it. Luckily, Ottawa is on the Mobilicity network so it is free to use my phone. I hope posts from my cell work, because I have had issues in the past...

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A Major Milestone

Jason and I are up on Ottawa visiting for the weekend. On the drive we passed a major Milestone in his car - it reached 100,000 kilometers. He has a black Toyota Yaris that he bought new in 2008, so that really only averages out to 25,000 km a year. He is much nicer to his vehicles than I ever was, or my family. He also really loves public transit so never drives within Toronto and his daily commute is only about 60 km both ways. I took a moment to grab a picture just before the pivotal moment and also took the opportunity to talk to him about the value of a CAA membership.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Just Allow It Already

I have discussed the topic of Marriage Equality briefly before, actually it was 4 years ago, just after the last USA presidential election. Some interesting things have happened in the mean time; President Barack Obama announced in May that he supports same-sex marriage. He also supports the full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  In 2011, the Obama Administration concluded that DOMA was unconstitutional and directed the U.S. Justice Department to stop defending the law in court. Same-sex couples can legally marry in nine states, however, Marriage Equality is not recognized nationally, at the federal level, in the USA.

I found this flow chart recently and really liked it:

I would like to quietly note that on July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act which provided a gender-neutral marriage definition. Be fore the Civil Marriage Act, same-sex marriage was legal in eight provinces and one territory; Ontario was the first in 2003. Most legal benefits commonly associated with marriage had been federally extended to cohabiting same-sex couples starting in 1999.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

National? Sleep Day

I heard on the radio this morning that today is National Sleep Day. I looked this up and it appears to be an unofficial holiday - made by who knows. The media (everything from blogs to television news to the radio obviously) will be mentioning this today but I still can't find where is comes from. I feel like someone has to 'make' the holiday, someone with some amount of authority - over an area or a topic. What I have read just keeps saying 'January 3rd has been set aside as National Sleep Day' or 'January 3rd is National Sleep Day' and it is also called The Festival of Sleep. Of note, I can't find mention of this at any level of government in Canada or the USA. Also the American National Sleep Foundation has a National Sleep Foundation Week, but it is in early March. The Canadian Sleep Society doesn't mention anything. I love the idea of a Sleep Day or Festival but I really don't think holidays can just be declared like this. How is it any different than me putting International Day Of The Chris in Steph's Phone Calender? I feel like that might even be better because at least I have some authority over 'The Chris'.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Years Resolutions - Blogging

This past year I did not blog very much. On the Left Side Bar you can see that only 187 posts were published, which is almost as few as 2006, the very first year I started Always Standing, and I was only blogging starting from June that year. I always say that I try to blog at least every other day and with 366 days this (leap) year - 187 posts is just that. My resolution then is to BLOG EVERY DAY IN 2013 so that the number beside it reads at least 365 by this time next year. Hopefully this will up my readership, mean more comments, improve my writing, and better document this amazing year that I plan to have.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Years Resolutions - Money

I would like to substantially pay down my debt this year and learn to live well within my means. Kristen noted that she really struggled her first year working full time to make the money stretch to cover everything but the next year, on nearly the same about of pay, it was easier. I am hoping that is true and looking at ways to better watch, save, and budget my money.