Saturday, 31 May 2014

Cat Nemesis

I follow a few channels on YouTube, one of which is called Cinema Sins. I enjoy the Everything Wrong With (Blank) where the narrator lists the various things 'wrong' with a movie. The videos tend to be a bit long, but they are always enjoyable so I don't mind. Recently the following video was posted about the Cinema Sins Nemesis (watch all the way to the end, there is more after the menu):

The cat looks so much like Two, and the rolling around thing is something she does anytime someone comes through the door - I called it Sausage-ing. So adorable.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Confessions Of A Backdater

Yes, sometimes I backdate my blog posts on Always Standing. This has been especially true recently since I am trying to do so many series-style posts. I haven't been consistent with Throwback Thursdays, or Wednesday's friend updates. However, I really like always doing a cat-related post on Saturday and the Sunday Mornin' Coming Down series about my dad. Cat-related is easy, but sometimes it is hard to write about Dad, especially since I am trying to keep the Sunday posts positive.

This weekend was really difficult grief-wise. I didn't think it would bother me so much on my birthday but I was really crushed. To quote Kristen, "Everything that is normally happy can now make you sad." It is true, I was devastated Friday night and most of Saturday morning. So upset that I was worried I wouldn't be able to stop bawling and would need to cancel my party. Thankfully I slowly cheered up and my birthday celebrations went on as planned.

I now have a dull pain in my heart and a permanent lump in my throat so I haven't wanted to write about my dad until today (Wednesday). But the French Toast post is true, it was what Jason and I had for dinner Sunday night and for me it was a way to remember Dad without having to outwardly acknowledge it at the time. He died 6 months ago yesterday and it still hurts so much. I don't think the pain and sadness connected to this will ever go away, but I do hope that it stops being so sharp and feeling so fresh.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

French Toast

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

My dad made amazing French Toast. (He also liked to make pancakes while singing, "Tiiiinny Bubbbbles," which I gather is from an old song. Mike and I always thought it was super hilarious.) One of the main secrets of my dad's French Toast is that he would use whatever was bread-product was around - especially if it was stale. His favorite was to make it out of hot dog buns.

Jason and I honoured that tonight by having French Toast for dinner. We had left over white and whole grain bread from my birthday. I thought I would make mine out of the healthier whole grain loaf, it was not particularly good. Jason has shown me how good texas-toast cut raisin bread is as French Toast, and I still love it with hot dog buns, but there is no point going healthy - not worth it.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Lame But Caring

Despite the fact that SO many companies/businesses have my birthday on file, I only got one email saying anything. I would have expected some promotions or offers to come my way but instead I got this:

I really don't like the new name (Tangerine) for ING Bank, but I did find it nice that they sent something for my birthday.

Sad Caturday

In anticipation of Kristen coming over for my birthday party, Jason and I cut Two's claws. (Kristen likes to lovingly harass Two and Two does less damage on peoples skin when her claws are clipped down.) This is always a challenging process that involves Jason restraining the cat and me trying to quickly cut all her claws with large nail clippers. Since her claws are clear, it is easier than doing Toby's, who had the occasional black bunny-claw that meant you couldn't see the 'quick', the pink part of an animals nail where the nerves and blood vessels are. You are NOT to cut this sensitive area. Well, for the first time, I accidentally cut one of Two's it was horrible, she screamed and it was so sad. It didn't bleed much and she forgave us enough to let us finish the last two claws but it is so heartbreaking to hurt your pet. I still feel bad about it.

An Urban Mouse Catcher

Rasta catches real mice out when he visits my Aunt and Uncle. Even though he is an indoor cat, they live in the country and their house is over 100 years old. His extra thumbs/paw make it even easier for him.

Two on the other hand - is a city cat. She would have no idea how to catch a mouse. The type of mice that she attacks are attached to laptops:

"Don'ts worry guyz, Iz gots dis!
Iz am on de mooose. Iz sits on dit."

Friday, 23 May 2014

Goodbye Youth

Today is the last day that I am 29. 
Tomorrow is my 30th birthday. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

TB - September 2006

Throwback Thursday - Scroll to the bottom of the month and read up.

Looks like I started out the month pretty sick. I would have been leaving Second Cup, since it was just a summer job and there is a pretty scathing post about it. Also a little hic-up with depression and the first mention of my beloved 'Sleep perchance to dream' wall sticker that I have since bought tons of. I went to Waterloo (with side visits to St. Jacobs and Guelph) to see Teri for her birthday - a trip that I only faintly recall. She would have been turning 22, this September she will be turning 30. Where does the time go?!?

Noted Post: I love the Before and After pictures of my room at Le Manior. It was such a huge and awesome room, pretty much the size of my whole apartment now - okay, that isn't true but it was insanely massive.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

So True

Days go slow but the years go by so fast.

I am turning 30 on Saturday, I have no idea where the last three decades have gone.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Way Too Early

I am not known for my punctuality. I actually love rushing to appointments, flights, trains, etc. The threat of lateness is thrilling, my mom says it is an ADD thing. However, the threat of lateness often just turns into actual lateness. So, with my current unemployment and the subsequent job interviews, I am trying really hard to be early.

I went all the way out to Scarborough today for a job interview. The interview was scheduled for 3:00pm, I arrived at 2:10pm. I think that is way too early. I think 2:45pm would have been perfect and that 2:30pm shows that you really were trying, but anything more than half an hour early is just bad.

It was nice to be so early, since I was interviewing where Aimee's sister works and she came down to visit me in the lobby/waiting room. We had a nice catch up while I waited for the people to come get be for the interview. The receptionist called, emailed, and sent instant messages to the main guy listed in my confirmation email.

When no one had come by 3:10pm I suggested contacting the second person listed that would also be at the interview and I looked at the confirmation email again to check the spelling of this second person's name. And that is when I saw it - Tuesday May 27. I was a week early! Now, that is too early!

This was especially a pain since I get very dressed up for interviews and K had made the point of coming over this morning to help me straighten my hair. It looks great but unfortunately there didn't end up being an interview today and I need to go through it all again next week.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Can You Really Tell?

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

My dad didn't have coffee very often, it didn't really agree with him. I also don't drink a lot of coffee, it makes my hands shaky, gives me stomach pain, and speeds up my heart rate uncomfortably. I have stolen my dad's line that "It makes me chatty." Which people find hilarious because I, and my dad, are naturally chatty. But on coffee it is worse.

However, sometimes my dad would have coffee as a treat at the cottage and he would also add some type of liquor. So, we always had great liquors around for this reason. One of his favourites was Amaretto, that most people would recognize by the brand name Disaronno and its pretty bottle. However, I think that Dad would just buy the cheaper brands, or even cheaper ones during trips, and then just pour it in the same nice Disaronno bottle. Sneaky? Smart? Cheap? Creative? I love it.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

A Classic Caturday

Last year I posted the hilarious video of the Sad Cat Diary. One of the first things it talks about it cats seeking out black pants to sit on. A few weeks ago I had made the bed and set out my workout clothes. When I returned to the bedroom this is what I found:
Two often sits on our bed. The bed is very big and she has certain spots that she likes: the bottom of the bed, the middle, curled up on my pillow or stretched out on my side. She tends to avoid the top left side/corner that is Jason's and I have never seen her sit or sleep there. That is until I put black pants there, on an otherwise empty bed:
Seriously Two? You never sit there!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

TB - August 2006

Throwback Thursday - Way back when I first did the tags for Always Standing I was trying to pick the best 3 for each post. That didn't work well and now as I go through old months I am trying to update the tagging too, which means that these seemingly easy to do Throwback posts end up taking me a lot of time.

Man, did I party a lot that last month of the summer in 2006! It seems that I just threw caution to the wind and spent my time working insane hours and going out a whole bunch at night. The little trip I took to The Cottage looks like it went well too. That was SO long ago, it was the 'old' cottage back then.

Noted Post: I like the list I gave of important Moments in my life. I also like the post about finding my pink clothes, because I still remember that happening - almost 8 years later.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

To Tired To Post

Had a nice bike ride today to go and see the cherry blossoms in High Park. Now I am too tired to write anything, just going to post a picture instead:
Yay for biking in High Park
Duel Selfie by K

Note: The pretty pink tree in the background is actually a magnolia tree and not a cherry tree. We did see the classic blossoms but they weren't as impressive for photo-taking. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Bu-Bye BMO

Yesterday I closed down my Bank of Montreal account. Now I am only left with accounts in Tangerine, formerly known as ING Direct. It is strange to be solely relying on direct banking. (From Wiki: A direct bank is a bank without any branch network that offers its services remotely via online banking and telephone banking and may also provides access via ATMs through interbank network alliances, mail and mobile. By eliminating the costs associated with bank branches, direct banks can make significant savings which they may pass on to clients via higher interest rates or lower service charges.) My main, and only, reason for the full switch over is cost. I couldn't justify paying a monthly fee for my account at BMO when I didn't have to with Tangerine. I found out while I was there that I opened my bank account in November of 1995, I was 11 years old. It was sad to leave, but it is important to me to save the monthly charge.

Monday, 12 May 2014

First Bike Is Personal Best

Jason tuned up my bike for me this weekend and today I rode it down to Liberty Village to meet up with Tessa for lunch. Last year I recorded my times for the 7km bike, down hill, to work. I wrote the results down in my planner every time but only posted on Always Standing one other time. Today I got down there in 28 minutes! That is way better than June of last year when it was taking me 30 or more. I might be starting from a better place fitness wise - having lost 15 pounds since January - though that is from changing my diet not from working out. I used to worry about getting sweaty before work when I rode down to Liberty Village before, and that wasn't a concern today; neither was traffic. Whatever the reason I am happy that it went well and am looking forward to more bike riding this week!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Driving With Dad

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

My dad taught me how to drive. Yes, my mom helped, but she was always less comfortable in the car with me. After learning automatic, my dad also taught me to drive standard, as his Neon at the time had a manual transmission. However, I am known in my family as being a really bad driver (some of my friends think this as well.) After a while it got to the point that my parents would no longer let me drive their cars. I can't remember when but I believe that I signed a document for the insurance agency that I would not ever drive their vehicles, I don't think that contract still stands since I believe it was during a time period when I had my own car and insurance for it.

My parents got an Eos a couple of years ago and it is amazing! I like to think I had a small hand in leading them to buying it too. Dad had picked me up at the GO Train station and we were driving into Brantford to get Mom from work. We passed a used car lot and saw this red convertible sitting out front with the top down. I pointed it out and started talking to Dad about what type of car it was. We were pretty sure that we had seen that it was a VW. I knew that the 'new' Beetle came as a convertible but it wasn't that. Was it a Golf or Jetta convertible? Or something else? Or a different brand? Dad off offhandedly mentioned that we would have to drive passed it again to find out. So, when we picked up Mom I immediately started talking about this cool car we had seen but couldn't identify. (The three of us are pretty into cars, and can usually identify them without much trouble.) Since we didn't have any imminent plans, Dad decided to take us back and we drove up beside it. It was such an interesting car, that none of us had seen before that we got out to figure it out. The dealer came out and told us it was a hardtop. This confused us, since we all immediately thought of t-top style. Then he got in and pulled the switch and it was magic. They were sold, bought the car within a couple of days.

I love spots cars. However, I have never been allowed to drive the Eos. Both my parents drove it. I gather my brother drove it in Ottawa. Dad went up to spend a weekend with him sometime last year and Mike got to drive it all over the city with the top down. He said Dad just kept taking pictures and saying, "We have the best view. Who else would have a view like this?" as they drove past the parliament buildings. Dad even let Jason drive it a bit around The Point!

Summer Corn & Dad In The Vue
Photo by Me

In the same year that they got the Eos, my parents also bought The RAV, a Toyota SUV that took them forever to decide on. They were very protective of that vehicle too. They were really protective of the previous SUV as well; it was a silver Saturn Vue. One day though, out of the blue, Dad took me on a drive around Norfolk and let me drive The Vue. I was happy to spend the time with him, and get the chance to drive a new car. It was in early May 2009 and the main point of the trip was to go look at the recently installed windmills to the west of Port Rowan. I still remember that afternoon, I took some pictures (including the one above.) It is just one of the many strange little memories I have of having a great time with my dad.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Listen To Bob

Bob Barkers famous sign off at the end of Price Is Right was, "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered." Well, Mom listened and (almost reluctantly) had Rasta neutered a couple of weeks ago. You can see some post-surgery pictures of him in her recent blog post, he looks the same as before - adorable. I never thought twice about getting pets fixed, both Binx and Two were spayed. I was never concerned about it, even though it is expensive (more so for female animals than males). I feel like it is an important part of responsible pet ownership. So to anyone with a new pet or considering one in the future, remember to budget in this important procedure.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Yes, I Have Asked Before

Earlier this week I did a post asking for more people to comment on Always Standing. It didn't really deliver the desired effect but it did coax Heather out of viewing my posts on her RSS feed to come say something. She wrote the best line, "The first rule about comments is don't talk about comments." This was basically my mom's reaction too, "How often do you do these begging for comments posts? I have read them before." So I looked into it.

Here are all the times that I have written a specific post complaining about the lack of comments and requesting that my readership step up and start leaving more responses:
- Feb 1, 2013 : Not Fair
So it has been over a year since I last mentioned it!
- Jan 18, 2012 : The Correlation Between Hiding And Comments
This only briefly complains and is mainly about the fact that I had joined eHarmony.
- Aug 7, 2011 : Comments? 
I got 4 comments out of making this request.
- Apr 30, 2010 : A Pull For Comments
Found out that the 'pinkness' of Always Standing wasn't very well loved. Though 4 years later and the blog is still very pink.
- Jul 2, 2007 : Fishing
I love how short and to the point this post is.

So, in conclusion, it doesn't look like I did this type of post much the first 4 years of Always Standing, from 2006 to 2010. However, starting in 2010, I ask about once a year that readers comment more. I also want to note that it doesn't really work, so I should probably find a different tactic.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Look Up

This has been showing up on my Facebook newsfeed a lot recently, and if you haven't watched it yet you should. I love Spoken Word poetry and this is a good one, accompanied by a slick video.

Look Up by Gary Turk
I don't totally agree, I think that technology has given us a lot. The internet can be isolating but it also has helped so many niche groups find each other across vast distances, making people feel less lonely because they knew that they are not alone in their interests, disabilities, quirks, or thoughts. When close friends move away our devices help us stay in touch and organize getting together. However, these inventions do have a habit of taking over and people use them as a crutch against raw social interaction. Have them help you, not hurt you.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Come On, Comment

In the past week, there have almost 100 visits to Always Standing. I know because Google Analytics told me. This visits are from almost 50 different users. So there are a lot of you out there! However, in the past week there has only been ONE comment, it was from my mom saying that I had posted a nice picture of my dad last Sunday. I have been really good about my goal to post everyday this year, check out my stats listed in the archives to the left, 37 posts in March! I had hoped that writing more often would lead to a more dedicated and consistent readership, that would hopefully grow; without spending a lot more time on Google Analytics I can't really tell if that is happening.

However, I also hoped that it would mean more comments. I hate to complain when some people are so good (Teri, Taylor, Anne, Anna, ERin, etc.) about saying something, even if it is just a 'Hello' like Linds' and her 'This is here' that gets left sometimes. I want to coax out some of the others who stay in the shadows and rarely or never comment - who's out there? Say hello! The easiest way to do it is to use the Anonymous user to comment and then leave your name, nick name, or initial in the body of the message.

Specific call out to my boyfriend: I wish more people would engage with the site, for example I am pretty sure that Jason reads Always Standing daily, but I don't think he has ever left a comment. We live together, it would be weird to leave a comment when he could just turn and say whatever he is thinking right to me. But he never says, "Oh I read on your blog today that such and such." or "I really liked that last post." I would have no idea that he even checks if I didn't see it up sometimes on his screen.

If you are looking for something to talk about, let me know:
- How often to you visit the site?
- What do you most like to see (favorite types of posts)?
- Want me to stop doing anything or adjust something?
- Wish I would give an update about something previously mentioned?
- What do you want to hear more about / see more of?

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Where Is His Stuff?

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

My dad was known for not throwing much away. For a long time we had the original box that our Atari computer came in, actually we had the box longer than we had the actual computer. (Dad liked to save boxes.) It would seem then that over the past few months our family would have to spend hours putting away all his stuff cluttering up the house, or be surrounded and reminded constantly that he is gone.

However, The Cottage remains pretty much the same - it turns out none of the things kept out around the place were really his. My dad's stuff is all hidden away. The basement storage room and garage is filled with items from his family that he wouldn't use but also wouldn't get rid of and other bits and pieces of memories, furniture, tools, and other miscellaneous things. So before I continue, I would like to clarify that we still have tons of crap of his around, but it isn't out in the open living areas.

The crowded coffee table is filled and covered in books and magazines, because my mom and guests like to read. The corner of the living room has piles of rug hooking supplies - my mom's hobby. My dad's hobbies didn't really require items, he was more of a people person and like to play squash, bridge, and race sailboats - these pursuits don't tend to leave clutter. The only items that feel are truly Dad's are some nick-nacks on various shelves, in among other things collected/saved by my mom, the family, heirlooms etc. My dad also kept Daily Bridge Calenders scattered around the house to read, and I think those have been cleared out and thrown away (especially because many of them were from the 1990s).

What I think this proves is that for all her complaining, it is my mother that is the more cluttered and messy one. I remember coming back for Christmas after my first semester away at Carleton and my mom saying that she thought with me out of the house there were be a big change especially in the amount of junk lying around. She was disappointed that it hadn't seem to change (in fact the only real difference identified is that they ate more sausages once I left, since I never liked them.) Now, with me out of the house for the past 10 years, Mike in Edmonton, and Dad gone - it really is only mom, and her stuff.

My Work Self

One of the recent job applications I did included a personality assessment thing, that it later sent me. This is what it said:

You would be described as very competitive, enterprising, assertive, determined and goal oriented. You may often display new and creative ways to reach your objectives. You will be self-evaluative and critical of your own performance. Given an objective, you would be able to develop your own plan, manage your time and focus your effort on a daily basis to reach your goals. Being a self-manager comes naturally to you, and as such you are able to work with limited guidance and direction. You are able to motivate yourself without frequent input from the management and will work well with a manager who coaches and consults rather than directs.

Your motivation is balanced between your concern for the needs of other people and meeting the long and short term goals you have set for yourself. You are most comfortable in situations that offer the opportunity to do both. You would enjoy working in an environment where you are able to meet short term targets which lead to your longer term objectives.

Communication Style 
You tend to be quite comfortable in situations where there is potential for conflict. You may even occasionally create conflict to further your own goals. Comfort with conflict can be a strength and is often found in competitive people but it can also be a trait that is difficult for some managers to handle. Social Style You are quite sociable, cheerful, friendly and outgoing. You are able to build relationships and friendships without difficulty and are quite comfortable with other people. You will be able to work well in an environment where there is regular contact with others. Generally, you would be a good company representative and have the ability to communicate with a wide variety of people in a number of different functions.

Learning Style 
You would be described as quite logical, analytical, factual and practical. A role requiring the solving of intellectual or conceptual problems would interest you. You would tend to enjoy technically oriented and detailed work. You pay attention to detail and would examine the issues until you feel satisfied that you understand them. Often you are interested in learning for its own sake and dealing with complex, challenging issues would be a motivating factor for you. You would be quite comfortable in a business culture that has a significant problem solving component.

You have healthy self confidence, which allows you to feel that you're able to handle most situations through your own efforts. You accept responsibility for your own performance and expect to succeed in most things that you attempt. You also handle most stressful situations quite well. Urgent projects, deadlines and criticisms would normally be dealt with effectively. Your ability to cope with a stressful work environment may even enhance your performance in challenging situations.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

We Can See You

Rasta Tries To Sneak Attack Jason's Toes
Photo by me with Jason's Phone

Friday, 2 May 2014

Designate Beneficiaries

As I have mentioned before, I love Gail Vaz-Oxlade, her shows, her books, just HER. For Christmas, my brother got me her newest book: Money Rules: Rule Your Money or Your Money Will Rule You. I don't like the set up as much as Debt-Free Forever, which is an amazing resource that I still refer to when it comes to my finances. Money Rules is set up as short tips. The most recent one I read was so interesting that I felt like I should share it:

Designate Beneficiaries on Everything!
This helps with tax costs (and probate fees) when assets get passed to your spouse or children after you die. Make sure that you list beneficiaries on your RRSPs, TSFAs, and Life Insurance. You should also back up these designations in your will. Note: Don't use your 'estate' as your beneficiary for RRSPs, TSFAs, or Life Insurance - the money will get distributed the same way but more taxes and fees will be charged. Also, obviously, set up a will and keep it current (marriage, divorce, children, property, etc may change your circumstances.) Need more convincing? Here is a quick reminder from Gail: You're Gonna Die