Monday, 31 March 2014

I Will See You Soon

Today is the 125th anniversary of The Eiffel Tower. (Fun Eiffel Tower Facts.) The main structural work was completed at the end of March 1889 and on the 31st Gustave Eiffel celebrated this by leading a group of government officials, accompanied by representatives of the press, to the top of the tower. It was 2506 days ago that I last saw it in person...
The Base At Night
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
May 2007 - Photo by ME

Now I will see it again in less than 60 hours!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Some Apple Sauce

Sunday Mornin' Coming Down - A post about my Dad each Sunday, named after a song that he loved.

My dad has 'latched on' to a couple of food-related things over the years. There are a couple of conditions that needed to be met, and then he would be a machine. The main things I can remember are: Cherries; Apple Sauce; and Shortbread. I have a theory that he was looking for certain things and found them in these foods; he wanted to be able to mass produce, something that was extremely cheap, well-liked/appreciated, and could freeze or store well. Then he would make a shit tonne. I think the making of it was important too, it needed to be easy busy-work style that didn't take too much concentration, so that he could talk or watch TV at the same time.

Cherries: Growing up we had a huge cherry tree in front of the house in Paris. For a few years my dad sprayed it so bugs wouldn't get it, and my mom would hang out on the pouch and yell at the birds and squirrels that tried to eat them. (But only those on the lower branches, they could have the upper parts.) They were sweet cherries, not the baking kind and it was so fun to pick them all as a family. Then my dad would spend days cutting them in half and pitting them to freeze for the winter. I guess this only happened a couple of summers but when it did I can remember him sitting on the pool deck with a big bucket working at it, or with a bowl of them in front of the television at night.

Apple Sauce: My mom used to make apple sauce, which was great, and homemade lemonade, which was terrible (never enough sugar, give me the frozen pink stuff any day.) When Dad discovered you could use the worst apples and that you could get them in huge quantities - he took over. He would spend so much time cutting up apples in the fall, piles and piles and piles of them. Then he would cook them in big pots, with a bit of cinnamon (and that is it, so healthy, and it stayed a bit chunky not like the smooth store stuff.) These would then be put in recycled plastic tubs in the freezer.

I am sure that Mom will make it again at some point, or I will. Since it such an affordable way to make a lot of something so delicious. However, all that peeling and cutting will feel like tedious work, I don't need to have something like that to occupy my time. While both Dad and I have spent lifetimes dealing with ADD, he had a much harder time relaxing than I do. I am pretty comfortable being lazy and doing nothing. He, on the other hand, needed to keep busy.

Shortbread: Back in the day when my parents did 'cookie exchanges' around Christmas time, they would always bring British Shortbread (it is the crumbly type, not the Scottish melt-in-your-mouth type.) Dad took over make it each year recently when he learnt that there are less than 5 ingredients, none of which are expensive. I think it is basically butter, sugar, and flour. He burnt it more often than Mom did, at least at the start, and it required more concentration but kept him less busy. So it wasn't a perfect fit. Apple Sauce was really his forte.

A couple of days ago I had some of the Apple Sauce and it was amazing. I have a huge tub of it in the back of my fridge which I had just been given in early November. Then he died on the 27th. I came back to Toronto soon after, Teri and Jason helped me pack some things for a larger stay at The Cottage. I was clearing out the fridge with Teri and I saw the tub and just burst into tears - "He is never going to make apple sauce for us again." At the time I felt so stupid/crazy for crying over something like that, but 4 months and many many many tears later I realize that it can truly be anything that sets me off, and his apple sauce is a relatively normal thing to get upset by.

The big tub is still in the back of my fridge (however, the one I ate this week was from a small tub and was dropped off by Mom before she left for France.) I am scared to look into my old big tub, and find it all molded and in need of going in the compost. It is crazy, but I am not ready to part with that apple sauce. And, yes, thinking about it now makes me cry - crying about Apple Sauce. (Which is a bit crazy of me.)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Turning 30

It is Steph's birthday today! She is turning 30, and is the first of my friends (not counting Jason, Jeska, James, or JennD) to do so. Okay, so she is the first of my friends who I think of as 'the same age as me' to do so, and who's name does not start with a J. (Sucks to be born at the start of the year sometimes.) She is calling it her 29+1 birthday, which is a bit like Anne saying she is 5'13". On her blog she did a bit of a recap of her year and included a photo collage, which Jason and I are a part of! (We are the kissing couple in the sparkler heart.) I hope the Steph had an amazing birthday and the her 30's are as great as her 20's were.

Happy Birthday Steph, I love you!

What Is Two Saying

------ from Buzzfeed

“Experts” say: Tail sniffing is normal between felines, and this is your cat’s way of saying hello to you. 
The truth: Your cat just cleaned its butt and wants to show it off to you. Look at that sparkling clean butt and say, “Very nice butt, cat. Good job.”
Two likes to often show off her butt, to me, to Jason, to guests.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Not Yet A Lucky Outfit

This is my new interview outfit. I think it is a lot more feminine than the suit-style that I normally go for. I am so thankful to Nicola who was able to rush out to the mall with me at the last minute, late at night, to help me put something together for an interview I had last month. I tried finding something to wear myself and was having a terrible time. I started getting more and more stressed and Nicola totally saved me, she showed me an amazing store - Loft. When I get my dream job, I am going to buy lots of great work clothes there. (Nic sent her a husband a picture of me, his response: "Tell her she looks like a fox, a business fox.")

I found out this past week, that I didn't get that job. However, the job hunt continues and I hope to soon call this my lucky interview outfit.

Photo by Tessa

Thursday, 27 March 2014

TB - July 2006

Throwback Thursday - I still haven't figured out a good way to read these old months from Always Standing. Ideally, it would be easy to scroll through, chronologically, see comments, and add new ones; however, there isn't an easy way so just try whatever works for you.

From the looks of these post, the summer of 2006 was hot and busy for me in Ottawa. It was the summer that I worked at both Subway and Second Cup, while living at Le Manoir and dating W. The reason the blog was called Always Standing is that a summer working two food service jobs literally meant I was always standing.

Noted Post: There are lots of good posts in July 2006, but I like the little poem I wrote called Today about summer rain.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Meet Ava

Mid-Week Friend Update - A Wednesday feature that provides a small update on what is happening with the incredible people that I have in my life.

One of the two most important babies in my life - just had a baby! I would like to introduce you to Ava and she is beautiful.

I can't wait to meet her in person, I have been dealing with this stupid cold so have been staying away for now. While I want to get better, I get to look at pretty baby pictures on Facebook. Here are her baby details: Born on Feb 27th 2014 at 3:21am; 8lbs 2oz and 22" long to James and her husband.

The reason James is one of the two most important babies in my life (the other being Jeska) is that without her birth and subsequent adorableness my parents may never have had kids. My Dad didn't think he wanted children but when Jeska and Jamie were born he changed his mind. So a year and a bit later, I was born. And now Jamie has a baby! (Who I hear is perfect, and sure to inspire many to change their minds about having kids.)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

No Make Up Selfie

Jeska nominated me yesterday as part of this recent Facebook/Twitter trend. Connected to Breast Cancer Awareness, those nominated need to post a barefaced photo within 24 hours. I gather there is some sort of controversy about this viral campaign but I don't have time to research it at the moment. Here is mine, though most of my pictures are barefaced since I don't wear make up 95% of the time, this one is a bit worse because it is morning, I am at work, it was taken with a webcam, and I have a cold:
Please consider making a donation towards Breast Cancer research today; I would suggest doing so through The Breast Cancer Society of Canada.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Monetize Monday - A Writers Woes

Like many people, I want to make money from my hobby. One of my main hobbies would be Always Standing. The reason it is a hobby and not work is that I don't work at it, unfortunately to monetize these sorts of things takes a lot of drive, discipline, and hard work. (Just ask Steph about photography.) There is a balance to be considered; if I start working harder at something is there a risk that I will stop getting the enjoyment out of it as a hobby?

I know people who get paid for their blogs, or for blogging in general, and even more people who make their living solely as writers. I have shied away from doing this because I want to have the structure of a 9 to 5 style job. I don't fully consider myself as a writer, I label myself and my skills as a Communications Professional. I like that title better because it moves beyond creating copy into advising, editing, visuals, media, presentations, etc. I love to write but I can also design a good brochure, or present a branding campaign. I think I need my daily work to be more multifaceted than just writing.

However, it would still be nice if Always Standing could supplement my income somehow. I added Google AdSense to the site a long time ago, October of 2009 actually. I am still happy with how they work on the blog; I just have the three, one on each side and one at the top. I will get a cheque sent once I have amassed $100 in ad revenue.

I wanted to announce that I am half way there! As of last month my AdSense account was at $51.15.

(Did you notice that this was a bit of a scattered post? I am writing it in a haze of cold medication before taking my Adderall. I am training someone at work so in an effort to be more coherent and efficient I have been taking my ADHD meds everyday. This means that the days when I don't take them I am super unfocused - they are a bit self-perpetuating in that way. Plastic bag, plastic bag.)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

I Met Gail

I met Gail Vaz-Oxlade yesterday at a fundraising event for the shelter that Taylor works at. This was an amazing dream come true. (Well the full dream would be to be coached by her financially like on one of her shows but this was pretty much the next best thing!) I took K and Taylor met us there. The presentation she gave included a couple of Financial Literacy tests and I was not as good as I thought I would be! Mainly I don't have quite enough saved for an emergency (should have 6 months worth of expenses and I probably have about 2 or 3). I also do not know enough about TSFAs, RRSPs, or RESPs and how to use them to my advantage. I got lots of good ideas for Always Standing posts and now I want to do a Monday Money Tip thing, but I have so many series going on right now that I don't know it is a good idea to clog up the blog with them. But I do want to set up a 'Tribe' on her My Money My Choices program, but I will post more about that later. I got her to sign my copy of Debt Free Forever, which is my favourite of her books. It is by far the best self-help style book I have ever read. I think everyone should own it! Ignore the Debt part, since the book is practical whether you have debt or not, really it is just about smart money management.

My List

Sunday Mornin' Coming Down - A post about my Dad each Sunday, named after a song that he loved.

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

I am sure you have seen this list as an image on someone's Facebook status, or a variation there of. I never share it (partly because I never do the "share this if..." thing and partly because, while heartbreaking, it doesn't really apply to me.)

At 6 years - "Mommy, I love you."
At 19 years - "Mom, whatever."
At 16 years - "My Mom is so annoying."
At 18 years - "I wanna leave this house."
At 25 years - "Mom, you were right."
At 30 years - "I want to go to Mom's house."
At 50 years - "I don't wanna lose my Mom."
At 70 years - "I would give up Everything for my Mom to be here with me."

------------- from Me

This would be more accurate.

At 5 years - "I love you Daddy!"
At 7 years - "Dad. Daddy. DAD. Dad. Look at me. Dad."
At 8 years - "Dad, will you play with me?"
At 10 years - "Daddy, what do you think?"
At 12 years - "My Dad is SO embarrassing."
At 13 years - "I hate you!"
At 15 years - "My Dad is awesome."
At 17 years - "I want to move as far away as possible."
At 19 years - "Can't wait for my Dad to visit."
At 21 years - "Daddy, can you come help me move?"
At 22 years - "Can I borrow some money?"
At 23 years - "You don't understand me Dad!"
At 25 years - "I miss my Dad, going to move back closer to my parents."
At 26 years - "Can you give me some advice Daddy?"
At 27 years - "I want to talk to my Dad about it first."
At 28 years - "Daddy, can you help me with this?"
At 29 years - "I don't understand this Daddy. My heart is broken. I would do ANYTHING to have my Dad back! I miss him so much, everyday."

For all years, forever - "I love you Dad."

A Friday Surprise

Friday was a rough day (I know that I am a little late posting about this seeing that it is Sunday but I have been dealing with a cold.)

1 - It was a Board Meeting, which anyone in not-for-profits can tell you, means a stressful event. Our board in particular is a mess at the moment so it is a super stressful day.

2 - I had to go get dental work done. I knew it was going to be a filling, what I didn't know was that it was going to be three and a full mouth of freezing and a lot of needles to do so.

3 - I had just gotten the cold that I am still battling. It wasn't bad on Friday and my plan had been to rest all weekend to rejuvenate. So, I pumped myself full of medication and felt foggy but fine. (Advil Cold & Sinus is the greatest - thanks to Kristen for showing me its wonders.)

Surprise - After my lunch time dentist appointment I ended up going home because my mouth was so frozen I was at risk of drooling on my work computer. I got a call in the afternoon from Jason saying that he wanted to come to Paris too! I called to check with my mom, and she was excited by the idea - the more the merrier. He got the go ahead from his boss, found a cheap plane ticket, and booked! 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A Kitty Star

Steph has been busy with wedding's lately - shooting them, not having them. So, Stephanie Beach Photography has become more focused on couples, weddings, etc. However, every now and then, she finds time to do a mini photo shoot with a pet and they are almost always my favourite photos. (This is mainly because they are often my pets.) Recently, Steph put a few photos of Dymphna, JennD's cat, up on her blog. They are adorable. My favourite are the last two with her doing a little trick. The pictures are super cute but I was also at the Halloween party and saw her do this first hand.
This Caturday - Check out Impromptu Cuteness 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Great Diet Advice

I was talking on Facebook with Anne about my upcoming trip to Paris:

Me: Just keep me away from the bread and croissants, man. I am doing so well with my weight loss, Paris might wreak it.
Anne: Have one when you arrive and one when you leave. Paris will be with you in between.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

7 Years Later

I looked back and it was in May of 2007 that I was last in France, when I went to go and visit Anna. Here are some great throwback posts.
- Bon Voyage Party : I guess travel during that time in our life was rare? Or it was just an excuse to get a cake for a party.
- First Day : I still think this little poem describes Paris well, I will see with this trip if it is accurate.
- Tears of Love : A very emotional post about the Eiffel Tower. 2007 was also the year of my biggest mental breakdown and there was a chance that I wasn't going to be able to go to Paris.
- Wishing : Me looking out over the city while up at the Eiffel Tower.
- Anna's Back!! : A great picture of Anna with bikes and the Eiffel Tower in the back ground.
- My Best Digital Photo Ever : The picture of the Eiffel Tower that I took while visiting Anna. It is still probably the best shot I have ever taken. I used to have a big colour photo of it up on my wall in a floating frame but my dad broke the frame in a move and I never bothered to replace it. I gave a small copy to my uncle and another to Teri (it is in their Paris-inspired bathroom in the new house).

Paris - Oui Je Peux

So Jason and I determined that it doesn't make financial sense for us to go to NYC this spring. Somehow in a whirlwind of decision making and moving money around it has been determined that I will be going to Paris (France) in early April.
My mom is going to be there for a couple weeks so I will be joining her for the last 6 days or so of her trip. I had been saving money for a new cell phone but now instead I will use that money for my plane ticket and will deal with my old phone for another year or so.

Colour Coded

I learned something crazy about the PATH (an underground network downtown Toronto that includes restaurants, retail, and links all the buildings.) I read about this neat little trick on a friend's Facebook; the secret is that there are four colours of arrows on the signs:
- Blue is North (Cold)
- Red is South (Hot)
- Yellow is East (Sunrise)
- Orange is West (Sunset)
How did I never know this before? And now that I do know it will it make navigating the PATH any easier?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Some Homework

Mid-Week Friend Update - A Wednesday feature that provides a small update on what is happening with the incredible people that I have in my life.

Kristen and I are still going to school on Wednesday nights, working on a Photoshop course at George Brown. We haven't had a chance to work on our own photos. In fact most of our projects are just working on basic snap shots that have been provided by our instructor, as is the case below but I really like how it turned out and the teacher complimented it. This is from our work with HDR Toning.

A Pretty Poppy
Photo by GB Instructor
Adjustments by Me

NYC - No You Can't

I got Jason a trip to New York City for his 30th birthday (November of 2013). Unfortunately we ended up needing to postpone it. So, we have credit with JetBlue to use and Jason is still really keen on going to NYC. I wanted to go in the Winter, since Teri and I went recently in the summer and I really love NYC around Christmas, which is when Jerrica and I went in 2008.

Jason decided he wanted to go in the Spring; he has been stressed at work and a little break sometime in the next couple month would be good. He got the okay from his boss and we started to look into flights and which weekend would work. Luckily, right before we booked I said that we should check hotels out to make sure that there isn't something going on that weekend that booked everything up. Well turns out that something is just the fact it is New York City. Hotels were insanely expensive.

We spent a long time, him on his computer and me on the tablet, looking for a hotel in Manhattan that was less than $200 a night. Even when we were looking at private rooms in hostels, in Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Queens that had a shared bathroom - it was still well over $150 a night. So, we decided not to book.

We are hoping to go in September and book early enough in advance to find a good deal.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Better Read Than I Thought

I am a terrible English Major, and I really am not nearly as well read as I should, or would like to, be. I found the recent link BBC Believes You Only Read 6 Of These Books and did the test. I guess the average for people is 6, however I got 41 out of the 100 listed. I did it truthfully too! I have fully read, start to finish, 41 of those books. Because I have studied, and written, about a number of books I wouldn't consider myself to have actually read it is hard to do these lists. I can probably stretch the number up to 59 - for example I have studied Moby Dick at least 3 times in university and included it as part of a major essay. However, I relied on Spark Notes every time. I have only skimmed Lord of the Rings and of course seen the movies. Etc. Now be honest, how did you do?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Why I Don't WANT An Engagement Ring

In connection with my previous post, Why I Don't NEED An Engagement Ring, I thought I would write about the more personal side of my lack of desire in having this item at some point in my life. In JennD's Facebook post about the issue she also stated, "I'm so glad I have my beautiful claddagh ring given by my family in the traditional Irish way." I think that is the most important thing for all relationships, engagements, weddings, and marriages - Do what you want! Do what means something to you (individually and as a couple).

Aside from a very select few friends who for various reasons aren't interested, pretty much everyone I know wants or wanted an engagement ring. And that is great! It is a beautiful gift to give and to receive. The boyfriends, fiances, and husbands of these friends all wanted to buy and give one too. It isn't a conversation you have often but I am sure in the intimacy that is a relationship at the level of engagement each of these couples have different meanings for the ring and the girls wanted them for different reasons. I am so happy for them, it is amazing to watch people you love have their dreams realized.

Here is the thing, it isn't a desire I have, it has never been a dream of mine. So unless my future fiance has anticipated the exciting moment that he buy and give an engagement ring since he was a little boy - like really really wants to - something he has hoped for all his life. If not, then I don't think it makes sense for me. For the following reasons, moving from practical to the more personally vain/stupid.

1. For all the reasons listed in the previous post: I don't like what it symbolizes, I don't believe in the tradition since it isn't longstanding or meaningful. They don't actually contain or maintain their perceived value. They are not an investment and even if they were how would that investment be realized (you aren't going to sell it upon retirement.) Mainly, personally, I don't like how unequal and gender based the practice is. OTHER SIDE: Put your own meaning on it, link the tradition to your more immediate family, it is a reminder of a very special moment in your life.

2. The cost: I don't want that money spent on something I would wear. There are so many things that I could think of to put that money towards, including the actual wedding itself. I can't imagine buying an item of jewelry for more than $200 and I am only stating such a high price because I can see value in a nice watch or higher quality earrings because of metal sensitivities. I have a hard time spending more than $40 for jeans. As I age, and gradually make more money, I am sure the amount I spend on what I wear could increase, but never to the amount that most of these rings are. OTHER SIDE: If you want something than the cost doesn't matter. Value is different for everyone. Good budgeting can usually make something affordable.

3. It is common place: I want to be unique. So, I am obviously moving on to the less practical reasons. (I am not going to provide the other side of these reasons, mainly because they are so personally connected to who I am.) I like the idea of being special. I know that it is inaccurate and arrogant but I want to think of myself and my relationships are being different than others. Engagement rings are so expected, to not have one would be a bold statement of individualism.

4. I don't like jewelry: I rarely wear it. I actually often find it uncomfortable or bothersome when wearing jewelry. I have to keep it on permanently (sleep, bath, constantly) or I would forget to put it on. I barely notice it on other people.

5. I have webbed fingers: Maybe this is the root of it all. I hate rings. The only one I ever really liked was the one I got from high school and I was really really picky about it (and still don't wear it often.) I like my hands, but I wouldn't want to draw attention to the specifics of my fingers. You can't see the webbing (most predominately between the ring and middle finger on the left hand) unless you really look and I am spreading my fingers out. However, as soon as I put a ring on the fact that it rests, often cockeyed, between my knuckle and bottom of my finger is very evident. It always looks terrible.

So, there you have it. I don't need or want an engagement ring. But a wedding band is a different story and in the far far future when I might have to deal with that I hope to figure out a way to resolve the webbed finger issue.

Why I Don't NEED An Engagement Ring

JennD posted the following video on Facebook, and in her lead up stated, "I hate the commercialism culture so much that tells us what we have to buy, how much to spend, yet people truly believe the lies of advertisements." In a sense I agree with her, and I have never wanted an engagement ring. However, it is not really for the reasons shown in this video:

(For a highly researched, well written, interesting, and comprehensive article about the issues touched on in the video, read Diamonds Are Bullshit by Rohin Dhar.) I have heard these explanations before. In fact, Teri and Greg have detailed most of this for me; they even go further into the issues of diamond mining itself - something a lot of people are taking to heart. With the concept of a 'blood diamond' in mind, Dave was sure to get a Canadian diamond for Steph, and the two diamonds in Teri's ring are conflict free as well.

But it isn't the diamond aspect that bothers me, it is the engagement ring itself. I have very vain and personal reasons why I don't want one, which I don't have time to detail in this post. However, one of my main concerns has always been what it symbolizes. A point that this articles handles better than any I have ever read before. I find it hard to communicate my position or find others who have done it nicely for me - but this is close.

By Meghan O'Rourke

It is a short article, and it does cover a lot of the De Beers stuff mentioned in the video and discussed at length in the other article that I mentioned. It does also talk about "what the ring might actually signify" and "what it means." Why would this matter? I agree with O'Rouke when she explains, "Part of the reason could be that many young women, raised in a realm of relative equality, never think rigorously about the traditions handed down to them. So it's easy to simply regard a ring as a beautiful piece of jewelry and accept it in kind." But something with that much cost and that much fuss made over it, I want to really want, need, and believe in it.

I want to pause and make a differentiation between wedding bands and engagement rings - my thoughts on wedding bands are also for another post. I have always been bothered by the fact that only the women get an engagement ring, I like the idea of an engagement watch because it seems to even things out a bit. I am not a big fan of traditional gender roles and I try to challenge them in my own life as best I can.

Further explanation from O'Rourke, "Until the 1930s, a woman jilted by her fiance could sue for financial compensation... As courts began to abolish such actions, diamond ring sales rose in response to a need for a symbol of financial commitment from the groom... To be marriageable at the time you needed to be a virgin, but... a large percentage of women lost their virginity while engaged. So some structure of commitment was necessary to assure betrothed women that men weren't just trying to get them into bed... (Implicitly, it would seem, a woman's virginity was worth the price of a ring, and varied according to the status of her groom-to-be.)

On the face of it, the engagement ring's origins as a financial commitment should make modern brides-to-be wary. After all, virginity is no longer a prerequisite for marriage, nor do the majority of women consider marriageability their prime asset. Many women hope for a marriage in which housework, child-rearing, and breadwinning are equitably divided. The engagement ring doesn't fit into this intellectual framework. Rather, its presence on a woman's finger suggests that she needs to trap a man into 'commitment' or be damaged if he leaves... Nor is it exactly 'equitable' to demand that a partner shell out a sixth of a year's salary, demonstrating that he can 'provide' for you and a future family, before you agree to marry him. For those who aren't bothered by the finer points of gender equity, an engagement ring clearly makes a claim about the status of a woman's sexual currency. It's a big, shiny NO TRESPASSING sign, stating that the woman wearing it has been bought and paid for, while her beau is out there sign-free and all too easily trespassable, until the wedding."

I agree she gets a bit harsh and heavy handed. (More than a bit actually.) Though the symbolic root of it is there, I would never think of a woman wearing an engagement ring as being 'bought and paid for' - that is horrible! Not true at all in my experience. For me it still goes back the basic equality of image. In my case, I always think, "You wear that around for a year or two before your wedding, silently announcing to everyone that you are engaged; but what does your fiance have? How come they don't have any symbol of engagement? How come they choose when and where to discuss that aspect of their life but you are displaying it to all?" If he doesn't need it - than I don't need it.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

My Father's Bladder

Sunday Mornin' Coming Down - A post about my Dad each Sunday, named after a song that he loved.

I inherited a lot of great things from my father - he gave me some good genes. I have long, dark, eyelashes and my hair is soft. I love talking to people and have a great memory. However, he also passed down some negative qualities - including weak ankles and a difficult bladder.

My dad was a night hawk and often went to bed very late. He also enjoyed sleeping in (this is a trait with both my parents and my brother too.) However, he would always be up around 6am to 7am every morning to use the bathroom. For the past six months this has also been an issue for me. The frequency has increased to the point that I would say I am up early 95% of the mornings this past month or so. Strangely it also makes me think of him each time, as I go stumbling around in the dark to go pee and then return to doze some more in bed.

On a related note for the past two years or so I have been dealing with more than a bit of an incontinence problem, which I really need to talk to my doctor about next time I am in. I don't think it is genetic, but it is a pain to deal with. There aren't any enjoyable bladder issues to deal with, but at least the strange clock-work morning-pee thing that I got from my dad isn't too much of a hassle.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Sleeping Kitty

Toddie Asleep On Erin
Selfie taken by Erin

Thursday, 13 March 2014

TB - June 2006

Throwback Thursday - I started writing Always Standing in June 2006. Here is a look back at a previous month of my life. To read in chronological order, scroll to the bottom of the page and read up. Suggestion: Click on the first post of the month and use the Newer Post to view the posts with comments.

Let's start at the beginning! Almost 8 years ago I started Always Standing on June 12, 2006. I don't even really understand my very first post or the reason that it gives for starting the blog. However, I think I remember that I had planned to review movies here - something I rarely, if ever, do. The rest of the posts are mainly about working at Subway and Second Cup, it was a really busy summer but a fun one.

Noted Post: The Story Of My Heart is a cute little recap of my relationships up to dating W.

Monday, 10 March 2014

NOLA - Monday Night Madness

Still going strong in New Orleans. It is our last night and we are heading out again - dressed up and looking hot ready to take on this town! Even though it is a Monday night, I am pretty sure that everything will be hopping.

Teri And I Are Berry
Using my webcam through WebCamToy

Sunday, 9 March 2014

My Dad's Songs, Down In New Orleans

Sunday Mornin' Coming Down - A post about my Dad each Sunday, named after a song that he loved.

Last night on Bourbon Street, in New Orleans, was amazing. There was a lot of drinking, as you may have gathered from my previous late-night drunk post. But what is more awesome about Bourbon Street is all the music, this whole city is filled with people making music, all different types: in bars, on the street, in the squares, and everywhere. My dad would love it, and so often I hear songs that remind me of him.

The most important song of our trip has been House of the Rising Sun by The Animals. K arranged the entire Bachalorette to revolve around the lyrics to the song, it was so cool (and all the activities were a lot of fun, we had a great day.)

There is a house in New Orleans 
They call the Rising Sun 
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy 
And God I know I'm one

But we have heard so many other songs that remind me of my dad too. It is nice that he introduced me to so much great music but also that the music ends up being connected to such a wide range of memories and situations.

NOLA - Alive And Well

I'm alive and well in New Orleans. This trip is incredible! And the humidity is blowing up my curls. Crazy hair!

Morning Shot
Using my webcam through WebCamToy


We made it - it is almost 6am in themorning. though eally cnot that early sine there is a time change and a dag light savings tie change. But we are alold and didn't think we could make it that late but we were at a bar - one of amny many many that wwe went to, and we kwpt hearing a whistle and thought that was weird and then it turnwed out it was last call. Last call?! in New Orleans, what?yeah, urnd=s iyr it is at 4am. Hapopy Bachalorette to Teri. Happy night of derinking to me! Wahopooo!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

He Is A Bit Of A Freak

As I promised last weekend, I am posting about Rasta for Caturday today. My mom has done a recent post that showcases his strange paws. However, I feel like she put the pictures up in the wrong order - the first one is of his super messed up one and the second one is more normal. I am not a a stranger to cats with extra toes - Cora had more than the normal number of toes on her paws. However, I think Cora just had extra toes, I don't remember if they were 'thumb' style. Rasta has one front paw with a little thumb on it, which makes it look like a mitten, kind of cute. However, his other front paw - has a second little paw attached to it! I gather it is isn't too abnormal - you can read about Polydactyl Cats on Wikipedia. However, if you want to see pictures of my mom's polydactyl kitten, I would suggest visiting her blog HERE. So cute, but yes, he creeps me out.

NOLA - Friday Night - 1920's Selfie

Dress and hair is a bit 1920's inspired. Fitting as we went to a midnight Burlesque Show.
Friday Night In New Orleans

Friday, 7 March 2014

New Orleans By Way Of Boston

I am sitting in the Boston airport right now, we have a connection here on our way down to New Orleans. Kendra, Monica, Maria, and I are taking Teri there for her Bachalorette. (Kendra, Teri, and I are flying down together, the others will meet us at the hotel in the French Quarter.) I am so excited to celebrate my best friend and party all weekend!
Teri and I 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

TB - Throw Back Thursdays

Throwback Thursdays is considered a 'digital trend.' I would compare it to Follow Friday, which is when on Fridays you link through Twitter to other Twitter accounts that you think your friends should follow. Throwback Thursday is more of an Instagram trend, a photo-based social media site that I don't use, but it often seeps over to Facebook or Twitter. The basic rules of this is that the picture should be at least 5 years old and each person should only post one or two each week. I am going to implement a similar thing for Always Standing, except it won't be photos. Every Thursday I am going to make a post about a month from my past writing on this blog. Seeing that I first started writing here June 2006 it is definitely from more than 5 years ago. I will reread each month's worth of post and provide a summary each week, notifying some highlights; I will provide a link and encourage you to go back and read it yourself. This will allow me to review tags and adjust anything that needs fixing (broken links etc.) Look for it starting next week!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Down 10 Pounds

It is nice to announce various weight loss milestones. So, I have now lost 10 pounds in 2014! (A little bit more actually since it was last week when I hit that mark but didn't post about it.) It took 8 weeks, and I would really like it to be going faster than that, but until I start really working at exercising than I doubt it will come off any faster than one or two pounds a week. Before I talked about the goal of being nice and trim for Teri's wedding, since I was so happy about what I looked like at Taylor's. At the time I was looking to add a specific picture to that post but couldn't find it on Always Standing or my computer. I noticed it today on Facebook:

Kristen, Taylor, and I
At Taylor's Wedding

I love this picture, it is one of my favorites of all time. The only thing I would change is that I wish I had remembered that it is my left ankle that is the ugly one, affectionately referred to as My Hoof. (I sprained it way back in 2004 or something and the huge ball of scar tissue that never properly healed makes it look weird.) I should have switched sides with Kristen, but I was pretty drunk by this point in the night, in fact I barely remember the photo being taken.

Monday, 3 March 2014


I really like long-form journalism, which, according to Wikipedia, is a branch of journalism dedicated to longer articles with larger amounts of content. The length of long-form articles is between that of a traditional article and that of a novel. Long-form articles often take the form of creative nonfiction or narrative journalism. They do take longer to read and I tend to use the tablet. I also use Buzzfeed to get suggestions as to what to read. It was there that I was pointed to the article Ghosting by Andrew O'Hagan about WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. So interesting!

Sunday, 2 March 2014


Sunday Mornin' Coming Down - A post about my Dad each Sunday, named after a song that he loved.

It is 5:00am and I am awake, sitting in a chair in the living room at The Cottage, wearing one of my dad's housecoats. I have no idea why I can't sleep - I didn't even take a nap this weekend, which is something I usually do.

As a place, The Cottage feels more connected to my mom than my dad, and always has. He loved it here but the creation of it: from its design, to decor, to furnishings, to activities, feel more related to my mother, her personality, life, and relationships. However, the garage feels utterly and totally connected to Dad, I will write about that some other time. Even thinking about brings a lump to my throat, and going into it breaks my heart.

So, today, I am going to write about housecoats. Dad liked to wear the housecoats. I remember him being in them many a morning, but I can't really remember how they fit into his morning (not that he really had a structured morning routine.) I think they were a 'before shower' thing, and that after he showered he would get dressed - but I can't confirm this. I do remember him sitting at various tables throughout my life reading the paper in a housecoat. I also remember he kinda had a thing about not wearing them past noon. If he did wear them for most of the morning he would always make a comment around noon. They also were definitely used when going to and fro from the hot tub, as were Crocs, but that is also something to write about on a different day.

First he had a thin multicoloured one. It may have been thin out of use, even when I was a kid it was already old. I don't think it is around any more. It was white with many different coloured vertical strips (red, blue, yellow, etc.) I think at some points I would wear it around the house singing Joseph (A musical that I went to as part of a school trip. Dad came along as a supervisor actually.)

The classic robe is a solid brown one, with a small white brand logo on one side of the chest. This one was bigger than the first, and more substantial. It is still here at The Cottage but looks a little worse for wear, the collar is pretty torn up.

Lastly, and the one that I am currently using, is a big, thick, fluffy, navy blue one. It is by far the newest of the bunch. I think there are two of these at The Cottage, I guess one for each of my parents. I think this one would have been Dad's, especially since I found it on the back of the door in the downstairs bathroom - his bathroom.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Cats And Books

Even though I spent all day (Saturday/Caturday) with Rasta at The Cottage, I am not going to be posting about him at the moment. To confirm though, he is as adorable, and entertaining, and mischievous as only a three month old kitten can be. I will post more about him in the future, I did take some pictures.

Instead I am going to post about something that combines two things that I love: books and cats. A program at an American animal shelter went viral a few weeks ago. (Kristen sent me an email about it.) It is called Book Buddies, children in Grades 1-8 who are able to read at any level are allowed into the shelter to read to the cats in the adoption room. The program is at Berks ARL (Animal Rescue League) in Pennsylvania. You can read about it HERE. Lots of photos are provided and they are all adorable - the 'adoption room' also looks pretty cool and I hope it, the program, and the insane amount of publicity surrounding it all helps these cats find loving homes.

Boy and a book and a buddy.
(Even better that it is a ginger cat.)