Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Oh Mariah

Working on finishing up some assignments from the Photoshop course that I am taking with Kristen. This is a CD/DVD Mini Jacket Sleeve that I designed:

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Don't Let The Rain Stop You

I was texting with Kristen this morning and mentioned wanting to change my afternoon plans. Admittedly, the fact that it is cold, grey, and raining out was part of the reason, but not the only reason. Here is her response, it is good advice for us Canadians:

"Don't just cancel because of the rain! You live in Canada, if we cancelled things because of weather we would never go outside." -- Kristen, 2014

Monday, 28 April 2014

The Plateau

I weigh myself every Monday (and record it in my planner to track.) For the last month I have plateaued. That was fine at the start because it meant that in Paris I didn't gain any weight, but now it just means that I have stopped losing even though I have adjusted my lifestyle to cut severely back on complex-carbs. I am now left with two options: do a week of a low-calorie diet to kick start everything again or increase my exercise to burn more calories. This first choice would actually be easier but at the same time less enjoyable. I have gotten very good and going for a walk everyday but to find the motivation to increase the intensity of that might be challenging. However, I know that it would be so good for me in so many ways.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

My Picture Of Dad

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

Smiles Under A Tilley Hat
Dad in Portugal, 2006
Photo by ME

I can't believe that I have never posted this picture before! It is 'the one' that I most commonly associate with my dad. I took it at a castle in Portugal in 2006. There is a 'matching one' of Mom taken at the same time and I have used that one on Always Standing before but not this one of Dad. I have these two pictures together in a frame in my room, and have for a long time. I even had it up in Ottawa - you can see it hanging on my wall in the picture in this post. I think I gave Mom and Dad a set one year for Christmas, and Uncle Simon ask for copies and has them as well.

I can remember a couple of things from this trip to the castle. Firstly, that walking around the ramparts, more than a story above ground, there were no railings or protection of anything. I was completely surprised by the difference from the overly safe and cautious Canadian tourist sites. Heath and safety codes are very different in Europe. Secondly, I believe that it was a bit of a cold, grey, and rainy day. Thirdly, right behind Dad in this picture is a little section you can lean through and on the other side was just some random house and their backyard. In the backyard was the biggest lemon (or might have been orange) tree I had ever seen. I still think about that tree from time to time.

It was a great trip. And I have always thought that this was a great picture of Dad!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

You Working? Ok, I'll Sleep.

Taken This Morning: Two On Jason
Photo by ME
(with Jason's phone)

Note: She rolled onto her back at one point and lay there asleep with her paws all up and floppy. It was super cute but I didn't get a photo. Also, Jason was not impressed with the amount of fur and after she left claimed that it was like he still had a cat on him.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Summer Soon

Things that make me feel like summer is close at hand:
- Construction dust
- Tessa going to a Blue Jays game
- Promotional flyers about swimming suits
- Kristen in sunglasses
- The noise of birds at The Cottage
- Kendra wanting to go biking
- No one complaining that I wear flats
- Noah talking about NHL playoffs
- Frozen/iced coffee ads
- Jason watching the Rapter's in playoffs
- Allergies

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Slow Internet In Starbucks

It's getting to me.
Day in. Day out.
The days drag by.

Slow and sad.
Feeling stifled.
It seems so unending.

Don't throw your hope at me.
I am where hope goes to die.

Twist it. Hate it.

My balance of sanity rests on the tip of a needle. Wobbling on a tiny point of a pin. How can it be so fragile? Why is my mind so weak against the normal storms of existence? A light breeze sends me toppling down to a crumbled pile on the ground. It doesn't even take a set back, I could cry at the slightest thing.

How do you know your crazy? When your day is over because the internet is slow in Starbucks. All problem solving abilities are gone - my whole being just shutting down. Depressed. Indignant to any suggestion of adjustment. No! I don't want to figure out something like a normal person. I want to go home and crawl into bed and hide under the covers and cry. Because the internet was slow in Starbucks. It took too much, too much to even get here and now I can't do anything. Because the internet is slow in Starbucks. As I write it, I hear it. Even before that, I knew. I know. I understand that it is stupid. That I am ridiculous. But that doesn't change it.

At least the internet being slow at Starbucks doesn't stop me from writing bullshit on my blog as my mind drifts away to the dark and everything that I am completely steps away from reality.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Blogs About Babies

I am not ready to have kids, not even close! (This will not be a shock to most people.) My cousin posted a link to a blog post on my aunt's Facebook wall, which loosely compares getting a tattoo to having a baby. I think she posted it more because of the tattoo aspect, as she is much younger than me and I am pretty sure not having children any time soon. However, the post is pretty funny and the message is a good one - Be sure you want it! (I actually am considering getting both a second and third tattoo in the next couple of years but kids are still way off.)

from The Ugly Volvo

Highlight: #4 - A tattoo will ruin your body. It totally will, right? Also what will sort of ruin it is carrying another human inside your body for the better part of a year and then pushing it out an opening ten centimeters wide and then attempting to breastfeed it. Followed by the stress of trying to raise it to adulthood. Let me know if doing all that ruins your body any more or less than the butterfly on the small of your back.

I have to admit that kids are cute. I love all babies universally when they are super tiny and blob-like, as long as they are not crying. After a child learns to crawl, walk, talk, etc. I am a little more weary and like to wait about 13 years or so before interacting with them again. My affection towards children is still limited to a select few kids. More and more people close to me have them and it is nice to see these wonderful families grow. Taylor mentioned this next list on Facebook as, "Lochlan in a blog post..." It is brilliantly written and hilarious, I have seen toddlers do all of these things!

from Terribleminds
by Chuck Wendig

Highlight: #2 - Their Rules are Labyrinthine and Inexplicable. Watching a toddler is like watching an alien creature build some kind of extraterrestrial machine. It’s like watching ritually-peculiar Druid magic, or the interpretive dance of a sentient spam-bot. Our boy-human will put on an Indiana Jones hat and start calling himself “Nemo.” He’ll hand you things and then demand you hold them and if you try to give them back you’ve broken some ancient changeling contract. He’ll require a very particular truck and if you hand him one that is 95% the same truck, he’ll actually hate you — like, maybe literally hate you — for at least two minutes. (Then he’ll forget.) He’ll place things around the room or perform a sequence of events that, for all you know, is meant to unlock some kind of apocalypse. It’s methodical and maddening, like a bird building a nest out of watch parts.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Unemployed - Undead

Zombie Me
Photo by Jeska
Edited using iPhone app

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Talks About Sharks

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

I received a note from Amy a couple of weeks ago, she reached out to tell me this story and let me know that my dad meant something to her son, Ethan. I believe Ethan is 5 years old. Braeden and Amy had been redecorating Ethan's room a little bit with Star Wars posters. Ethan was having a blast hanging them with sticky tack. When they were done hanging posters Ethan got the picture of my dad in a black army toque that was given out during the wake and hung it on his wall, completely on his own. He said he likes seeing George and thinking about their talks about sharks. Ethan is very passionate about sharks and Dad had toy ones at The Cottage that he and Ethan played with. As Amy phrased it, "Your dad had such a way with people," and I completely agree. I was so thankful to hear the story! Ethan is amazing and, living in Toronto, I don't see him or his parents as much as I would like. I am glad that my dad got to bond with him. To have your picture share wall space with Star Wars posters in a 5 year old's room is very special. It makes me feel like he won't be easily forgotten.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Mesmerized By The Mouse

Rasta Stares Down The Mouse Cursor
Self Portrait With Webcam

Friday, 18 April 2014

Are You Getting French Ads?

I noticed that Always Standing started having advertisements in french a couple of days into my Paris trip. I figured that it made sense since I was accessing everything from France - I was often taken to the French version of Google, YahooMail, etc. I was so intrigued by it at the time that I took a screen shot and saved pictures of some of the ads that were coming up in French.

The ad on the right, for Chromecast, is actually for a thing that Jason recently bought. I thought that it was funny that it appeared and showed up in French.

However, I have been back in Canada for over a week now and some of them are still showing up in French. I know that it reads my blog posts to try to match advertisements to topics that I am writing about - so the Airbnb ad that keeps showing up and advertising apartments in Paris makes sense. However, there haven't really been any French words in any of my posts.

I have three ads that show up on Always Standing, one below the title at the top, one at the top of the right column, and another a bit lower down on the left column. Are the ads French for you?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Chart It

Chart For The Next 28 Days

I needed to make a list
A list everyday
Eat 3 meals, floss, walk
Search, apply, repeat

When my daydreams get bad
I run home
Everyone saw it coming
Even me, I was scared

I wish I was stronger

Laugh Every Time

There is a Bank of Montreal commercial on right now that has a couple out walking their dog and they stop in front of a beautiful home. After one of them says, "Imagine if this was for sale..." a man appears and puts a For Sale sign on the lawn. There are some knowing shared couple looks and another sign claims that BMO could help with a mortgage. It returns to a shot of the couple:
Man: We could get another dog.
Woman: A baby.
Man: Like a puppy? You mean, like a baby dog?
It makes me smile every time. YouTube has a clip of it but the quality isn't good and it doesn't seem to have the same cut as the real version, but if you haven't seen it on TV check out the online one HERE.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Maybe Don't Comment

I get notifications in my email about comments on Always Standing. It is nice because it means that readers can comment on posts from years ago and I still get to read them instead of them being lost in the archives. I got an email today that told me someone had commented on my Animated Heros post, which got a lot of comments from friends from way back in January of 2011 when I first posted it. However, I don't think a friend posted this recent comment:

You stupid whores. All you wanna do is fuck animated characters. Make a damn sandwich in the kitchen and stop whoring, you fucking bitch.

Umm, what? How did this person find Always Standing in the first place, and what were they even searching to get the Animated Heros post? It is one of my popular posts according to Google Analytics, but I feel like those who get there are using search words like 'hot Disney characters' or something similar.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Last Photo

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

This is one of the last photos taken of my dad. It was during the cruise that he and Mom went on in early November last year down the west side of the USA and through the Caribbean. They are on the island of Curaçao with their cruise boat behind them. At the time they thought they were taking a 'selfie' though since they used the camera's self timer I wouldn't really consider it one. (For me 'selfies' are taken in mirrors or with the camera held at arms length and anything with a timer would be a self portrait.) Anyway, I doubt that is truly was the last time that Dad's smiling face was in front of a camera; I don't know if back in Canada there wasn't a photo or two and it isn't as though I have gone through my parent's pictures from the trip to identify the last one he is in by date/time. However, when we were picking out photos to print for the funeral and wake my mom identified this one as a favourite from the cruise and that it would have been one of the last/most recent times a picture was taken of him. It is a nice shot, he was a very photogenic person.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Two's Home

Much thanks to Teri and Greg for looking after her for the week while I was away. So happy to be hanging out with my kitten!
Two Big For The Bathroom Radiator
Photo by Me

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Truly Jobless

Jason left for work today and now it is fully hitting me that I am totally unemployed. The trip to Paris was a nice buffer zone to ease me away from work. However, at the same time it let me avoid thinking about the realities of not having a job. It is terrifying to to relying on savings and to some extent on my boyfriend. It is hard not to jump at the first opportunity that is presented (I have been 'head hunted' a couple of times for things I wasn't interested in) and instead wait for something that I really want to do. It is also going to be especially hard to stay motivated all day, alone, to do things that are not particularly enjoyable - like apply for jobs.

I want my days to be productive so I hope to get into some sort of routine where I am active and useful during the day:
- applying for jobs
- preparing for interviews
- running
- cleaning
- cooking
- shopping (groceries)
- writing
- working freelance/contract/part-time

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A Fast Week

Flying home now from Paris. I need to go to my Photoshop class tonight which means in 'Paris Time' I will be up from 6am until 4am - not looking forward to a 22 hour day. Hoping to sleep on the plane and get home in time to nap before class.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Louvre

Yesterday we went to The Louvre:
We probably spent 3 to 4 hours inside and it was a great visit! We got to see all the stuff we were interested in seeing, for me that was the Nymph with a Scorpion and The Coronation of Emperor Napoleon, which we had seen a copy of at Versailles and I wanted to see the original. Jason was quite happy to come across an Easter Island Head on display, until I mentioned that I had seen one as well at a museum in England, to which he replied, "Uhhh, Europeans" and it is true - too many things have been taken away from their rightful place by powerful empires of the past and present. Jason was excited to see the Colossal statue of Ramesses II and the Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon. And of course we made the obligatory stop among the crowd to view the famous masterpiece:
Jason & The Mona Lisa
The Louvre, Paris, France
Photo by Me

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Only Time For Photos

I had plans to write a nice long post about today, what we had planned to do and what we ended up doing (turned out to be pretty different.) However, it is 11:30pm here; Jason and I are planning to take a Midnight Thirty bus ride down the Champs-Elysees to see the lights and Arc de Triomphe. I need to get this update out quickly and then we need to use the Metro to make our way south (we are staying in a hotel tonight, that is a little north of the Opera.) I thought I would just put up some pictures to give you an idea about our day (all photos by me):

An Early Start To Our Day
Sitting On Pont Neuf, The Oldest Standing Bridge In Paris (1607)
Quickly learning that I can't look good at 8:00am
But that I am still better than Jason at taking selfies.

Sunday Is A Quiet Morning To Walk Beside The Seine
With Someone I Love, In Paris
I am not a morning person, but the lack of people is really nice.

The Eiffel Tower Shot From Inside Musee d'Orsay,
Art From 1848 to 1914 In A Railway Station Built In 1900
It was free to get in seeing that it was the first Sunday of the month
and yes, we waited in that line, it took over an hour.

Contemplating His Girlfriend's Love Of Impressionist Art
Jason might be regretting only taking Grade 9 French in High School
but I am pretty sure he doesn't regret not taking art.

Jason, Who Is A Canadian And Wearing My Backpack, 
Heading Toward Notre-Dame
Inside I lit a candle, 
I always light a candle inside churches that let you do so.

Food And Prices

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

One of my favourite things to do in another country, even when visiting the US, is to go grocery shopping. I love it. I could wander around for hours: different/interesting items are so fun to look at; I like how the packaging is different; I want to see what food is popular; comparing prices is cool; really everything about the experience is great. I mentioned this to my mom and she said Dad loved it to. I think I knew that, I at least knew that he enjoyed it - grocery shopping with him when on vacation was always fun, we were both so happy to be there (both on vacation and in a grocery store.)

Talking with Jason today about our favourite part of the trip so far, I told him it was grocery shopping. He agreed, but then I found out he meant going to the market, while I had meant the few times that we had literally gone into grocery stores. The first day we arrived, after napping, we went with my mom to a local pedestrian street that was lined with food stores that spilled out onto the street. We went to a butchers, and bought fresh produce, and saw cheese shops etc. I also thought this was a fun little excursion. It was great to be led around the neighbourhood by Mom who had obviously become comfortable with it. The market was for locals and we only heard and used French. It was very fun and interesting - a great intro to our week in Paris. (I wouldn't trade the market experience for anything else, but I still like grocery stores a bit more. I wonder where my dad stands on this.)

Saturday, 5 April 2014

She Loves The Men

Wondering where Two is while we are gone? Teri and Greg generously agreed to take care of her at their new house in Oakville. I drove her out there the Tuesday before we left and she seemed to settle in pretty quickly. Greg sent me this photo and said that she is shy when they first get home but as soon as they sit down she wants to be in someones lap. Teri claims that it is always Greg's lap and that Two doesn't even like her unless Greg isn't around. This sounds like a Noah thing all over again, Two has never loved anyone like she loves Noah. She really likes the men.

A Cat On The Grave

Cat Nap Across From Chopin
Pere Lachaise Cemetary, Paris, France
Photo by Me

Waking Up Early

The guidebook says that we should leave Paris at 8:00am to get to Versailles in time for it to open. Christine is returning to England/Wales today and wanted to see the palace before catching the train; so, we need to get as much time there as possible. It also gets very busy. Last week Nicola sent me the following video:

My cats have never done this to wake me up - which I am pretty happy about actually. While I love how cute it is, I love sleep more. However, we didn't get any cute wake up this morning. And, for some reason the Boulangerie isn't open until 10:00am on Saturdays so there was no morning walk to go get fresh croissants. (Mom went and picked some last night in preperation, so we will still have them for breakfast but they were made yesterday.)

Friday, 4 April 2014

The First Croissant

Greg said, "Make sure to eat lots of croissants."
A Successful Morning Walk
To The Local Boulangerie And Cafe
(They are across the street from one another.)

My plan to just have one croissant at the start and another at the end of the trip is not going to work out. I had forgotten just how good they are here! Mom and I have decided to split one each morning, Jason says he will need a whole one. I messed up ordering the Cafe au Lait for Jason and Mom; I forgot what 'to go' was in French and had to switch to English. Now was are off for the day, Jason and my plans are; a bus ride around the major sites (the guidebook suggested just taking the #69 city bus as it is much cheaper than a tour one); then a walk around Pere Lachaise Cemetery; a stop to see inside Notre-Dame; meet up with Mom and her friend Christine from England to see a free concert at Shakespeare and Co bookstore on the Left Bank; the four of us are going to have dinner out; and then Jason and I hope to go up the Eiffel Tower at night.

Evening Update
Instead of stopping in to see inside Notre-Dame, we went to Sacre-Coeur. We walked up the steps, enjoyed the view and visited the inside of the church. There was a mass on (in French) which was nice to listen to as we walked around. After dinner we decided to head home and we will have to do the Eiffel Tower another day. Jason has a sore throat and cold so it is best that he not over do it. We have to be up early tomorrow to go to Versailles too. Also, the stairs close at 6pm and we would prefer to walk up, mainly because it is cheaper.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

A Perfect Paris Apartment

Jason and I have arrived in Paris and we are relaxing in the apartment my mom has rented through Airbnb. It is huge and beautiful. To the right is a picture my mom took of the building, we are in a 2 bedroom apartment on the first floor - the two windows to the left of the door are for our living room and my mom's bedroom. The bedroom that Jason and I are staying in has a window that looks out into a court yard. To see the apartment, check out the listing on Airbnb. I will blog more about the trip, but to catch up on what my mom has gotten up to in Paris during her first week here visit her blog, Vicarious Travelling. She will also be writing during my time here too, so you will get to see a double perspective of the trip.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Last Day And Fly Away

I can't believe I am now unemployed! (Or waiting for my flight for a last minute trip to Paris, France.) After giving my notice at the BIA on January 6, this 'last day of work' has been a long time coming. I do feel like I am ready to leave but at the same time it is terrifying not to have another job lined up. I went against everyone's advice and quite my job without having one to go to. I did this for a couple of reasons: I find it hard to look for something while working as there isn't really enough time to focus on applications; I wanted to give enough time for the BIA to find someone to replace me and for me to train them (seeing that this ended up taking almost 4 months I think I was right on that point); and I needed motivation to truly move on and find something else - nothing does that like an end date and unemployment. I am still applying like crazy to Communications related jobs and going away on vacation for a week won't slow that down. I need to find a new job now, fast!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Rough day today as I realized I had been deluding myself a bit about Paris and my dad. I think on some level I thought I was going to go and see him. I catch myself with these strange subconscious delusions every now and then. I don't realize that I am doing it, because if I did I would know that I was being stupid. For example, seeing the something and it making me think, "Oh, next time I see Dad I will need to ask him about it" or "I should call Dad and tell him about that." I think it so quickly, as part of a pile of other rapid thoughts that I don't notice until the third or fourth time it happens. When I do clue in to it happening, it is always so upsetting.

So, on some level, off and on for the last week or two, I have been thinking that both my parents are in Paris and have been excited to head off Wednesday night to go see them. It was painful to realize on a more conscious level today what I had been quietly deluding myself into feeling/thinking. It was actually shattering, he isn't going to be there!

Mom and Dad always visited Granny and Pa when they were off staying somewhere abroad for a long period of time. I was always excited for the shift of generations to occur and that Mom and Dad would be off living somewhere amazing for a couple of months and I would take my significant other to go and visit. That dream isn't gone, but it has been adjusted and the gap of not having Dad there is really weighing on my today as I start to wrap my head around leaving for Paris tomorrow.