Thursday, 30 October 2014

I'm A Grown Up?

------ from Tumbler, sent to me by Jeska

I keep thinking, "Oh man, I'm so immature. How am I allowed to be an adult?"

Then I spend time with teenagers.

And it's like, "Wow, okay, yeah. I am an adult. I am so adult. Look at me adulting all over the place here."

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Week To Reflect

A week ago today I was shocked and scared by the news from Ottawa. A man had shot a soldier standing guard at National War Memorial and proceeded to enter parliament (where he was killed by the Sergeant-at-Arms). For much of the day, downtown Ottawa was on lock-down with police looking for a possible second suspect. These events have be weighing heavily on my mind and I figured it was time to write down my thoughts.

The Soldier
The young man shot at the Memorial died. The news was heart breaking. Every death of a soldier is tragic, every one of the thousands of Canadian soldiers who have died in our nation's 150 year history is devastating. This death captivated the nation and photographs of him still appear in the news. He reminds me of my brother in his early military days - young, similar skin tone, shaved bald head, deep 5 o'clock shadow, and the same big smile.

My Brother
As my brother prepares to take a more covert role in the Canadian Military, he becomes more secretive. At one level he has changed his name on social media and on another he sometimes leaves for extended periods of time and is unable to tell us where he is/will be. I wanted to be assured of his safety last Wednesday as images of police and military rushing around Ottawa dominated the news. Aimee assured me that they were both home safe, in Edmonton. I then proceeded to have the following text conversation with Mike:

Me: Why are you in such a scary profession?!
Mike: I would be bored doing other stuff. I wish I was at the hill right now.

Ottawa Friends
I felt an overwhelming need to reach out to my friends in Ottawa to check that they were okay and to tell them how important they are to me. I tried to reach, via text and email, Steph, Dave, Anna, Jenn, Erin AH, Heather, and Marc. News that some were in lock down was worrisome and delayed responses more so. I love them all so much and am relieved that everyone is well.

My University City
I lived in Ottawa from 2003 to 2010 and I love the city. What shook me up first and foremost was my connection to the area. Talking to my mom on the phone, my voice caught when I said, "But it is Ottawa, I lived there." I am connected to many cities but while horrific events like these should never happen anywhere, my impression of Brantford or Toronto or lots of other Canadian cities is a bit different. Ottawa, like my experience growing up in Paris, represents peace and perfection. This felt like a gross violation of the place itself.

I can not get over how important of a role Hockey played in the aftermath and even during the event itself. The Toronto Maple Leafs were in the capital to play the Senators and I heard some some news outlets that they had heard gun shots from their hotel. (I suspect they were staying The Chateau Laurier which would have been right in the middle of it all.) At about mid-afternoon the NHL announced that the game that evening was cancelled. There were tons of tweets about it, almost as though that announcement really solidified what was happening and the gravity of it. It takes a lot to cancel a hockey game. That evening the hockey game played in Pittsburgh between two American teams, Penguins and Flyers, sang the Canadian national anthem in support. The following morning on the bus, I overheard a gruff construction worker say to his friend that the gesture was beautiful, "it brought a tear to my eye." Then a few days later, Hockey Night In Canada on Saturday opened with a beautiful joint ceremony joining three rinks across the country giving solemn tribute. I found the entire event especially well done and very appropriate. I even appreciated Don Cherry's discussion on the matter.

Our Values
I want our country to learn from this incident and respect what it means. I have spent many conversations lately discussing the idea and claim of terrorism, my thoughts on which I will share in a different post. However, I don't want this event to change us to the point that we loose our values as a nation. Justin Trudeau gave a speech on the evening of the attack and I feel that it is a solid expression of my thoughts. You can read the transcript on the Maclean's website. Here are some of my favorite parts.

Criminals cannot and will not dictate to us how we act as a nation, how we govern ourselves or how we treat each other. They cannot and will not dictate our values. And they do not get to decide how we use our shared public spaces.

To our friends and fellow citizens in the Muslim community, Canadians know acts such as these committed in the name of Islam are an aberration of your faith. Continued mutual cooperation and respect will help prevent the influence of distorted ideological propaganda posing as religion. We will walk forward together, not apart.

In the days that follow, there will be questions, anger and perhaps confusion. This is natural, but we cannot let it get the better of us. Losing ourselves to fear and speculation is the intention of those who commit these heinous acts.

My Solace In The Instant
Being far away with confustion surrounding the situation, I found comfort from two things last Wednesday:

By Alex Goldman

and the often reference quote by Mr. Rogers:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, 
my mother would say to me, 
"Look for the helpers. 
You will always find people who are helping.” 
-- Fred Rogers

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Terrifying Morning

How is this happening here, in Canada? It was a shock to hear the news from Ottawa. There is nothing to even put in this post except that I am anxious for everything to calm down and am so thankful that may friends and family are safe from this senseless act of terrorism. I pray for peace.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Ryan Saves The Day

I should actually say that ERin saved the day. After telling her I was having a "Meh day," over email since she lives in Edmonton, she tried to cheer me up.

"Do you need me to send you a collage of Ryan Reynolds abs?? I can do that. I don’t even have to make it, I have one on hand that I can just send to you."

It worked. I felt better. Thanks ERin (and Ryan)!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

And I Found Dad's Name

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

I mentioned earlier this week that Teri found my name on a Coke bottle, well I found my dad's. Stopped into a Shoppers to grab something to take to the movies and saw this:
So I bought it and took it to the movie.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Cat's Tale

Thank you to my Aunty Laura for sending me this:

An old wise cat saw a young kitten chasing its tail and asked."Little kitten, why so you chase your tail so?"

The kitten replied, "I know that the best thing for a cat is to rest and be content. I have heard that happiness is in my tail; therefor, I am chasing it. When I catch it I shall have happiness, rest, and be content."

Said the older cat, "Oh, little kitten, I too, have paid attention to the problems of the world. And  I, too, have judged that happiness is in my tail. But I have noticed that whenever I chase after it, it runs away; but when I go about my business, it just seems to come after me wherever I go."

Friday, 17 October 2014

Closing It Up

Turning on/off alarm systems is nothing new to me. We had them at both Subways (Paris and Ottawa), Taco Bell, Second Cup, and many other places that I worked when I was younger. However, since I have moved into non-food-service type jobs, they have diminished - or my need to use them has. Government offices in Ottawa have Commissionaires, other office buildings have large security systems run automatically or by management companies, etc.

Well, tonight I closed down the Forrec office. We have about 120 employees but by 9:00pm on a Friday I was the last one working. There are some basic closing down tasks, lights, checking doors, and then setting the security system. It brought me back to my early food service days.

I could have easily stayed past 9:00pm too! I was enjoying what I was working on and definitely felt like there was more I would have liked to get done. However, my work week is 37.5 to 44 hours long and going over 44 requires approval, so I kicked myself out to avoid that. The adjustment to salary has been strange, closing down an office was even stranger.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Jenn & Jon's Wedding

So, this post has been a long, and I mean long, time coming; I wanted to add photos and I am glad I did, because Steph (and Dave's) photography was an amazing part of the event. When Jenn and Jon sat down to plan their low-key wedding, having photos was an important part for Jenn - as a couple they don't have many pictures, it is a perfect time to capture a beautiful time in a relationship, wedding photos also mean photos of friends and family, and the reasons go on. I think calling and booking Steph was one of the first planning steps Jenn and Jon made. The wedding was on July 14, 2014...

This is my
and loving

I am not great with dates, but I think JennD and I met in early 2008 at an evening Mass Communications course at Carleton. (It was the same course that I first met Erin AH in.) Jenn met Jon very shortly after meeting me, so I feel like I have been there through the highs and lows; to see them reach this amazing point in their relationship is very exciting. Their future is looking so bright and joyful.

The weekend of her wedding, Jason and I drove up to Ottawa on the Friday evening and stayed with Steph and Dave (pretty much a given for a visit to Ottawa - I have my own room there, which is tulip picture free.) Early Saturday morning I had to be at Jenn's place to help her get ready - I was so honoured to have been asked! I dropped Jason off at the park that was the site for the wedding, since I had volunteered him to help set up. Before going to Jenn's, I picked up her flowers. The bouquet was beautiful, I choked up at the shop when I saw it. (I choked up a lot throughout the day, and was quite emotional - she look so beautiful and it was such a special event.) I got to her house just as the stylist was putting last minute touches on her hair. After make-up and some last minute wedding logistics, I helped her into her dress and tied the back (Left), which took way longer than the 5 minutes we had scheduled to do so.

I drove Jenn to the Ornamental Gardens, where her and Jon were doing a 'first look.' Normally this is a very private event (and it still was) but I stayed around a bit to hang out with the happy couple. The way a 'first look' works, is that before the wedding (or in Jenn and Jon's case, before their party; they got legally married at Ottawa City Hall earlier in the week) the bride and groom meet up to see each other - often this event is captured by the photographer, and sometimes they are the only other person there. The first time I have ever heard of it was for Steph and Dave's wedding; the photo I chose to post on Always Standing to announce their marriage was from their first look. I am a huge believer of this concept, it is a much better idea to have the first look and do a majority of the photos earlier in the day before the event starts.

Anyway, Jon waited for Jenn (Right) at the bottom of these beautiful stairs, and she walked up and tapped him on the shoulder. It was magic. I had to hurry back to the park though, so as to be there when the couple arrived, and also I had to get changed.

All morning I had been wearing sweatpants so as to be comfortable when helping the bride, who at one point ask, "I'm not judging, and it is casual, but is this what you are wearing to my wedding?" I finished doing my hair, changed into my dress, and did my make-up in the park's washroom, all of which took about 10 minutes. I hung out with Jason, Erin AH, her boyfriend, and some awesome co-workers from Justice. Soon, the couple arrived, walking across the grass towards us (Left) while the crowd blew bubbles. There was some more photos with guests and then the food started. Jenn and Jon really wanted to serve a great meal and so much of the lunch they had prepared themselves; salads, barbecue, treats, etc. It was such a fun summer afternoon, spent with great friends.

All of my love and best wishes
to the happy couple,
Jenn and Jon!

Copyright 2014

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Teri Found Me!!

In July, Coca-Cola launched it's Share a Coke campaign in Canada. Basically they changed the labels on 27 million bottles each of which features one of Canada's 290 most popular names (of people in their teens, 20's, and 30's). The Globe and Mail ran an article about it back at the start of summer. I don't think I noticed the names on the bottles until August or so, but since then I have been looking for my name - it is never there! When we went to Wonderland together this year, Jeska suggested that it was probably only the top 100 names and that Christine wasn't on the list anymore. Jeska finds her's (Jessica) all the time.

Well, when Jason and I went to go pick up Two in Oakville yesterday, Teri had a bottle with my name on it! (She very kindly looked after Two while we were away.) It is the 4th month of these bottles and I now have one. Then I decided to look it up and it turns out Teri wasn't printed, but you can make a digital one:
I think it is such a brilliant campaign. The thing with Coke is that if you want one, you are going to go buy one but they have now found a way to get you to buy one without even wanting it, buying one for someone else! In Teri's case, she wanted one and went to buy it, saw my name and bought an extra one. Genius marketing! I bought one for Noah when I found his and seriously have been looking for my name for months.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Today, I am thankful...
- that my brother called me to wish me Happy Thanksgiving. (Though he had no idea we had gone to New York.)
- for spinning.
- to have a boyfriend who is fun, kind, and great to travel with.
- for amazing friends all across the country (and at times, globe.)
- to have landed an amazing job that I love everyday, which is busy, challenging, and inspiring.
- that Toronto is so beautiful in the Fall.
- for my newly formed sugar/caffeine addiction that wakes me up in the mornings.

- to everyone that visits this site and reads Always Standing, letting me practice my writing and feel like I am connecting to others with my musings.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

NYC Romance - III

One major tourist activity in NYC that I had never done was go to the top of the Empire State Building. (Jerrica and I did Top of the Rock.) So, seeing that it is such an iconic thing, Jason and I decided to add it to this trip. It was beautiful from the top, but to get there was intense. There was line up after line up, actually multiple rooms of them. It wasn't a stand still, which was nice, just a long slow shuffle that killed my back and feet. It was loud and crowded at the top. Nic and Drew got engaged up there, but they went much later at night and had the place almost to themselves.
Empire State Selfie!
Jason and I - Viewfinder and a view.

NYC Romance - II

After visiting the museum, we went for a walk around Central Park. It was nice and sunny, best weather of the trip. We spent some time sitting on a big rock (sore feet) as well as wandering around. The sun began to set and we watched the light change across the many buildings around the park - so beautiful.

Central Park Selfie!
Jason and I - One of the many Central Park bridges

Jason's NYC Museum - II

As I mentioned before, Jason and I didn't get a chance to visit the space and earth part of the American Museum of Natural History. We went back to see it this morning. The museum is quite expensive, in contrast to Washington and London, where they are all free. However, to quote an internal website, "NYC Area Museums Offer Complimentary Admission to IBM Employees - A number of local area museums, currently receiving IBM philanthropic support, offer complimentary general admission to employees, In some cases, immediate family members and guests are also included." For the American Museum of Natural History, Jason could bring up to 5 guests. We looked for mention of IBM's donations inside the museum and it appears they are only at the 'Friend' level, but they treat their friends well! The best part, especially yesterday, was that we got to skip the massive line and go to the Membership Desk instead.

Space Selfie!
Jason and I - Rose Center for Earth and Space

NYC Doesn't Remind Me Of GRS

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

I know that my parents have visited New York City, I believe with R and E before kids. With the new trailer, my parents had planned to do some big trips around the USA - so they may have been thinking about visiting NYC again. However, personally, this does not feel like a place my dad would visit. It has none of the elements that I think of when I consider the places Dad liked to travel.

It is not relaxing
Both my parents recognized the difference between travel and vacation. They saw the value in both. New York City is not exactly a calm and relaxing place. I am sure that people are able to turn a trip here into something very serene, but that would involve a more pampered experience and the cost would be astronomical.

It is not all inclusive
When looking to relax, my parents usually went down to a resort in Cuba. With the cost paid upfront Dad would have been able to relax even further since the consideration of everything's price would be removed.

The culture is not that foreign
Maybe it was about value for your travel dollar, the desire to experience something new, or a love of Europe; but if Dad was going to do a big vacation he wasn't going to pop down to a place that is a short plane ride away. My parents traveled to so many places in Europe, as far east as Turkey. They even took us as young children for a month-long trip to England. NYC is interesting and different from Toronto, but not hugely so. I don't know why Dad liked to experience cultures with more significant differences, especially as I think they often made him nervous.

There is no driving
If my parents were going to 'stay local' and discover new parts of North America, there needed to be some driving. Even when they went to stay for a long chunk of time in Texas, they drove down. My dad loved road trips. With NYC, you might drive here but then you park for the duration of your stay. This is not a city to drive in.

In general, this isn't really a city for my dad, which explains why I can't remember him ever visiting New York during my lifetime. I must have a slightly different view of travel than above - since this is my third time here.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

NYC Romance - I

Took a late-night stroll over The Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge itself is not lit up so it isn't as nice as during the day. However, it is much quieter and the view of the skyline is beautiful.

Brooklyn Bridge Selfie!
Jason and I - A Quiet Midnight Walk

Jason's NYC Museum - I

Jason wanted to visit the American Museum of Natural History, and I had never been, so it seemed like a perfect choice visit for our first time together in NYC. I love to learn and was very happy to be in such an amazing place. Although I do have some small misgivings about it, I have to agree with Jason when he stated that he was very impressed with place. He also wanted to see so many of the different halls, for a change it was me that ran out of steam first. We plan to go back tomorrow to see the Rose Center for Earth and Space section.

Dinosaur Selfie!
Jason and I - American Museum of Natural History

Friday, 10 October 2014

My NYC Site

I love The High Line. It is a really interesting example of revitalization, community building, and re-purposing. It ties history to nature and has completely changed the neighbourhood it runs through (which is good and bad.) Teri and I got a High Line walking tour when we visited NYC in the summer of 2012. The final section of it was finished this year and opened last month.

High Line Selfie!
Jason and I - The 'New' Part Of The Park

Thursday, 9 October 2014

First NYC Activity

JFK to Airtrain to MTA (NYC Subway) to Penn Station to Schwartz Travel Services (place that stores luggage) to Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood to THE DAILY SHOW!! We are a bit more awake now.

Daily Show Taping Selfie!
Jason and I - Waiting In Line

On Our Way To NYC

It might be too early for Jetblue. Actually, catching any plane before 8:30am is pretty rough...

Airplane Selfie!
Jason And I - Buffalo To JFK

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wait A Bit Longer

One more week of delay before I finish writing about J and J's wedding but it is because I think that it is important to have some corresponding photos and it is make the post take longer. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Got No Flo

There was a very very very slim chance that work might send me to Florida at the end of November for the largest tradeshow in our industry. However, the official list came out today and I am not going. The main thing that the official list getting finalize means, is that I get to start working on the huge task of scheduling flights, cars, accommodation, meetings, and other events for all the people going, over 20 people. It is going to be a really exciting, I love organizing that type of thing.

In fact, I recently made a spreadsheet on Google Docs to help organize Teri, K, and other friends get together more regularly. It is beautiful, colour coordinated, organized by date with key details. Greg said that it proved anything could be put into a spreadsheet - even friendship. This is high praise because Greg, along with Steph, is one of the most talented Excel users that I know.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Your Monday Morning Puppy

Kristen's parents got a puppy last week, so on our way home from The Cottage we stopped by to visit. Jessie is a 2.2lbs mixed breed of Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise, known as a Schichon. Cutest thing ever!
The Shih Tzu Smile
Jason Loves Shih Tzus
Taken by Kristen

Tiny Puppy
Jessie Rests With Kristen
Taken by Noah

Belly Rub!
So Tiny!!
Taken by Noah

Sunday, 5 October 2014

At The Gravesite

A List About Dad

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

Foods That Remind Me Of My Father:
- boiled hot dogs
- Taco Bell soft tacos
- red licorice
- Chapmen's ice cream from a box
- cream of wheat porridge
- homemade apple sauce
- french toast
- mashed potatoes
- chicken wings at a bar
- cantaloupe
- jube jubes

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Turning Caturday Into Punday

-------- found online

What does the lion say to his friends before they go out hunting for food?
'Let us prey.'

Friday, 3 October 2014

Get In That Parade

One of the things I have been meaning to look up about John Tory, a current Mayoral candidate in Toronto, is his views on our LGBT community. Thankfully, Vote Compass, which I mentioned yesterday, helped answer my questions:
(Note: The Ford mentioned above is actually Doug Ford, another Toronto Mayoral Candidate and the brother of our current Mayor Rob Ford.)

It is a known fact that during his time as Mayor, Rob Ford did not attend the annual Pride Parade - it always occurred on the same weekend that he traditionally took his family to the cottage. Of course, I think it would be better if he did a bit of schedule rearranging to attend at least once during the four years, but on a basic level I don't disagree with his choice. Family is important. We should not ask our politicians to sacrifice their entire home life to be in the public service. So, in the same vain, if his family tradition was to spend the weekend of Nuit Blanche away, I would not begrudge him missing this key cultural event every year.

However, when a politician does miss an important Toronto event (festival, demonstration, parade, council meeting, opening, concert, etc.) they need to really make up for it in that community. Their choice should be made apologetically, with compromise regarding an alternate way they can support before they leave and/or when they return. It became more and more evident that Rob Ford's absence during the Pride Parade connected to his complete lack of respect for the Toronto LGBT community and some degree of homophobia. Completely unacceptable for any Torontonian, even more so in our Mayor!

So, I am happy to see that John Tory (and Olivia Chow) believe it is very important for the mayor to march in the Pride Parade. And, as you can see above, I only somewhat agree with that statement. If they had a long standing prior family commitment I would forgive them. But I would require that they showed their support strongly and loudly in other ways: attend as many other Pride Week events as possible, meet often with LGBT groups to see how City Hall can better serve them, MC a drag show, the ideas are endless. Bottom line: You can miss it but you still need to support it.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thank You Vote Compass

They are helping me again! I like Vote Compass slightly better than iSideWith in terms of technological tools that assist in assessing a person's political views. Luckily, Vote Compass has created a tool for the Toronto Mayoral Election coming up on October 27. Here is what it said for me:
I knew that I was more fiscally conservative than Olivia Chow, and come to think about it, I am not that surprised that I am slightly more socially conservative as well. However, it is nice to see that I am sitting between her and John Tory. I am currently weighing these two candidates to see how I should vote at the end of the month.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

J&J Wedding Recap Next Week

I want to write a quick recap, from my perspective, of the two amazing weddings this summer. However, it feels like a lot of pressure. I want to write these posts so well - I keep postponing them. It is more important to just get my thoughts and impressions down, and stop worrying about doing a good job. I promise to start next week with these guys:

Jenn and Jon
Wedding: July 12, 2014
Copyright 2014