Monday, 30 June 2014

Bird Mama Jokes

"Your bird mama is soooo horrible, she rejects you if you've been touched by a human." 

Our sense of humour is a little bit twisted at the beach. Kristen, Noah, Jason, and I are hanging out at The Cottage.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Getting Your Fruit Cut

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

My mom used to make fun of my dad for the fact that his mother peeled his oranges. Whenever Dad was going on about how easy Mike and I had it or how much harder his parents had been on him, my mom would just say, "Yeah right, your mother used to peel your oranges!" I gather this happened well into high school and seeing that my mom knows about it, probably also during university.

The reason was that my Aunty Laura bit her nails and struggled to peel the oranges that were packed in her lunch. So, my grandma would peel them for her. Then 13 years later when she started packing lunch for my dad (there was a big age difference between my dad and his sister) she thought she should be fair and peel his oranges too.

I think that this may have been the root of the fact that he was always willing to peel and slice my bananas for me. I don't like touching the inside of a banana peel so always ask other people to help me open them. I then prefer that it is cut into 'coins' for me to eat with a fork. When I lived with Steph she would do it for me sometimes and whenever I came home to visit my dad would always be willing to do it to.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

In The Shadow Of A Great One

Why must she look so cute when being bad? These books are on the top of a bookcase. Two is not allowed to climb the many bookcases we have at Rrunuv Bayit. She also isn't allowed on tables, desks, or counters. Whenever I catch her somewhere she shouldn't be, she always looks so cute!
The Eye Of A Tiny Tiger
Photo by ME with my phone

Friday, 27 June 2014

I Agree Aziz

The opening part of Aziz Ansari's stand-up routine, Buried Alive, (which I believe you can watch on Netflix) pretty accurately explains my current feelings towards having children:

I turned 30 years old this year. It has been a good year. I have found this year to be the year where a lot of my friends are getting serious about their lives. You know, they call me up, they say serious things, they're like, "Aziz! You're not going to believe it! I just had a baby!" And I always have the same reaction, I always go, "Hahahaha! That sucks! I am so sorry that happened. Why were you guys not using condoms or birth control? You are going to have to take care of that thing forever! Alright, well, I'll talk to you later. I'm going to go do, literally, anything I want. Cause, I don't have a baby, so all my options - are still options."

The first section of his routine continues along the same topic and tends to reflect my own thoughts fairly consistently. Which leaves me thinking: I guess I'm still not really that grown-up.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Waiting To Make It

By Christine Sweeton
- Part 1:

Patia rushed down the back staircase of Carving and past the plastic bags filled with clean linens. She found Krista, in the tiny staff bathroom, leaning over the sink, slowly filling in a perfect red pout. "Out! Out. Out." shooing away the tall, champagne-glass blond and closing the door behind her. When Patia emerged in her tight, black, tank-dress, Krista was waiting. Standing with her hand on what passed as a hip LA. Practically tapping her toe with impatience, her moss-green eyes glared down at Patia with exasperation.

"Y'all gone done in-dare?" she asked in a soft southern drawl that, 8 months in, Patia was still skeptical about. Narrowing her eyes to meet Krista's stare, Patia pulled a make-up bag out of her small duffel. "Well, ya'gonna hafta share da mirror dare," the cotton-candy voice did not match the daggers in her eyes.

Tay's loud clear voice rang out from the doorway of the break room in the back of the basement space, "They just installed a big one in here." Patia grunted in question. "A mirror. They just put a big mirror and counter back here." Patia raised an eyebrow at Krista, grabbed her bags, and went to see.

What Tay described as a counter turned out to be a 6'x2' sheet of plywood affixed to the wall with mismatched IKEA brackets. Above it was a sizable mirror reflecting back the rest of the depressing furniture in the break room: an old red futon mattress roughly folded into a couch shape was slumped against the back wall, the bulletin board filled with various notices hung at an angle above that, the stained table sat in the center of the room, the 5 plush dining-chairs brought down from the restaurant upstairs seem out of place until you notice the many tears in their upholstery, and lastly across from the mirror was a cube-style bookcase, slightly slanted and held together with duct-tape. Patia paused to inspect the bookcase using the mirrors reflection. Slowly pulling out her make-up, she counted the number of cubicles in use. Based on how many had been filled with bags, backpacks, drinks, and cell phones, Patia knew she was probably the last person to show up for the dinner shift - again.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Steph's Back From The UK

In 2008, Steph and I went to London (with a side trip for a couple of days to Salisbury to see Stonehenge.) It was mid-January, which is not the ideal time to tour that area of Europe except that the prices are good. We went for 10 days and were celebrating Steph finishing university.

You can read the trip highlights or look at a few pictures I took during the trip - Photo Post 1 - Photo Post 2. Compared to other trips I have taken, I didn't post that much on Always Standing about it. However, I remember it being an amazing trip. Steph and I travel well together (and stay under budget!)

A couple of years later, I ended up back in London for a few hours early one morning in February of 2010. I missed a flight out of Heathrow on my way home from Spain. Even though the airport is fairly far away from downtown, I used the opportunity to head into London for a super quick bus ride around the main parts of the city.

Most recently, Steph went with Dave to Ireland and the UK and has just returned. Keep checking her blog (LINK is also always on the left column of Always Standing) to see photos and read stories from her trip.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Dad Was Shazam

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

There is a smart-phone application called Shazam. "Shazam is a mobile app that recognizes music and TV around you." You just click a button on your phone and then it uses the microphone to gather a brief sample of the music being played. It creates an 'acoustic fingerprint' based on the sample, and compares it against a huge database for a match. Then it sends information such as the artist, song title, and album back to you. This is super helpful! Firstly, no one ever knows who sings a song or what the song is called and this tells you. Secondly, I have seen people use the app when they hear a song they like (and know its name and artist) but click Shazam so that it records it - then they use it as a list of songs they want to download when they are next at their computer.

My dad was the original Shazam. He loved to ask "Do you know who sings this?" whenever a song came on. I never knew, I never know. Sometimes I would guess but 98% of the time I was wrong. However, Dad always knew - this may have been in part because we mainly listened to songs that were on his mixed tapes/cds. In general though, he loved music and knew a solid amount of information about it - you could count on him to know who sang something. Unfortunately the person I drive with most at the moment is Jason, and he does not tend to know. (He also hates radio commercials so often changes the channel before the radio announcer gets a chance to tell me about the song.) I don't have Shazam but am planning on downloading it whenever I get my next smart phone. I miss having a person who could serve the same function - and serve it with so much joy, Dad loved music and sharing it and knowing about it.

Post inspiration: Hearing the song with the chorus that starts, "Superman never made any money..." and being able to sing all the lyrics but have no idea the actual title or singer/band. Turns out it is from the Canadian band Crash Test Dummies from the early 1990's and it is called 'Superman's Song.' My dad would have known most of that right away - he also liked that song, it was on at least one of his mixed tapes.

"And sometimes I despair 
the world will never see another man 
like him."

Saturday, 21 June 2014

A Caturday Update

Aunty Laura sent me a little update about Rusty, who is looking as cute as ever:
Rusty With His Paw On Aunty Laura's Shoe
Photo by Aunty Laura

"Thank goodness I didn't get a kitten. He is about all I can handle. On last Friday night I went into the hospital for three days and he was left alone. Fortunately Linda fed him and changed his litter and played with him a couple of times a day. Rusty wore her out. He got fixed the day after I got home and he is doing find. They cut his claws for free. He has ring worm and I have to pick up some pills for him. Thanks to Linda's care he is none the worse for the wear of me being away. He is a very good companion. Loves to watch me play spider on the computer."
Rusty And Spider Solitaire
Photo by Aunty Laura

"Hasn't scratched the furniture but does not use the scratching post much except to stretch out and sleep on the carpet base. Rusty likes a little milk. I had the Computer Guy show me how to E-mail photos of Rusty. They are not as cute as Rasta's are. He doesn't wake me up in the morning to feed him. He waits till I get out to the kitchen to start meowing. He likes to put my fingers in his mouth and chew on my nails. I am having trouble brushing. He only wants to play with the brush and me. I have real trouble keeping him off the computer. About all I can think of to tell you about him. Thank you so much for giving me Rusty. Love Aunt Laura"

Didn't Make It

It's the first day of summer...
My dad would have been 60 today.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Slow Bike Ride

Jason and I went for a bike ride on Sunday and he just uploaded the information from the fancy GPS computer that he has. I already knew that it had been a slow ride, at one point we were passed by a runner. When I asked how fast we were going, Jason said we were going 8 km/h, which is terrible! People walk at about 5 km/h. However, it was not only a slow ride but not as much of a change in elevation as I would have hoped. Here are the statistics:

Ride Duration: 48 minutes
Length: 7.7 km
Top Speed: 21.2 km/h
Average Speed: 11.3 km/h
Max Grade (hill): 4.7%
Average Grade: 0.2%

We are going to have to up our training since we are going to sign up for the Toronto Island Triathlon (end of August) this week.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

I Can See It

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

Today I took the Buzzfeed quiz:
Who Would Play Your Dad In The Movie Version Of Your Life?

I already know the answer, in order of preference:
- Michael Keaton
- Greg Kinnear
- Larry Miller

But, Buzzfeed thought otherwise. After the quiz, they suggested Ty Burrell. This is mainly based on his portrayal of Phil Dunphy on Modern Family. It isn't a perfect description but they aren't far off: "Your dad means so, so well. He is also just the most awkward human to have ever graced the earth. Your dad cries and take pictures more than most people breathe and eat."

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Going To Drive Two Crazy

Rasta Sitting In My Suitcase
Photo by me with my phone
(Taken last weekend at The Cottage)

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A Tough Time

I am back this week at The BIA because the big annual event is tomorrow and they needed some help. It is much harder to be back there than I thought it would be. There are lots of enjoyable aspects: I love events, being good at something is a nice reminder that I am talented and employable, it is nice to have structure in my schedule again, and it is great to see all the people.

However, being at the office also reminds me so much of my dad and not in a good way - I got the phone call in November while I was at work. My uncle had been trying to get a hold of me all morning but my cell phone was off or on silent or something and eventually he called me at work. It was a devastating phone call and somehow it feels like the whole office is tainted by that moment when my life fell apart.

Father's Day is on Sunday and both my personal and work email keep filling up with various retail-based reminders and promotions focused around dads. It isn't a big deal each time, since I tend to get tons of promotion-type emails I just delete them like the rest. However, by the end of the day it is added up so much that it feels like a huge weight of sadness. My dad's birthday is also the following weekend.

I just miss him so much. I want to be able to celebrate how great he was and focus on all the happy memories but that seems really hard right now. I am crying every night about it. The day ends and I make it to bed, then it all comes crashing down - all this pain I am carrying throughout the day.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Meet Rusty

No one has claimed the ginger cat Tessa and I found on Friday and he can't live in the garage forever, so I asked if Aunty Laura would like to have him. She has been wanting to get a kitten for a while now and it would have to a boy. The cat is very young, I would estimate between 6 months and a year old. Even though he isn't the tiniest of kittens, Aunty Laura still said she would like to have him and would call him Rusty. Jason, Tessa, and I drove him to her, in London, today.

On the way to his Forever Home with Aunty Laura
Photo by Tessa on her phone

Not Used To Toronto Prices

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

I am looking forward to spending this Wednesday at Hey Lucy's with Kristen and Tessa. We have been trying to get together on a Wednesday for a long time, and this date has been in my planner for a few weeks now. Hopefully Kiyomi can come too and we can celebrate her birthday. Danielle might come too and maybe even Noah and Jason. Could turn into a big gathering!

The reason we are looking to go on a Wednesday is that their normally $9 martinis are only $4.50.

I was telling my mom this and she told me that her and Dad went their once before or after going to the theater. (Hey Lucy's is in the Entertainment District near all the major Toronto theaters.) Well, I gather that my dad got very excited about the 1/2 price martinis (I don't know if they went on a Wednesday, but the deal is also available every day before 5pm.) Anyway, unfortunately, my dad saw the $4.50 price at the top of the menu and must not have read very closely after hearing that it was 50% off, so he assumed that it was half off that price, and therefore $2.25. Well, I guess he was pretty surprised when the bill came. I can't imagine a drink in Toronto ever being less than $3!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

A Little Lost Ginger On Caturday

Tessa is down visiting me at The Cottage for the weekend. We went out for a walk last night (Friday) and stumbled across a very distressed little cat wandering around a parking lot meowing. Tessa at with him as he got petted and rolled around adorably, Mom and I went door to door trying to find an owner. He is not a feral cat. We coaxed him into the garage and set him up with some food and a bed:

Lost Cat 
On His Bed In The Garage
Photo by Tessa on her phone

We have put up posters asking people to call us if they have lost a cat. Mom thinks he was abandoned. I hope someone claims him, or we will need to call the Humane Society on Monday. He looks like a little male version of Two!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Turning Back The Hands Of Time

For my 30th birthday, I had asked Jason for night cream. Instead for his gift he took me to Paris. So, I am not complaining that I didn't get a tube of moisturizer.

Still, I figured it was time to start properly moisturizing on a regular basis and I had started to notice some dark spots on my cheeks, near my nose, that didn't really look like freckles, sun spots maybe? Or as beauty companies call them: age spots. I never had to deal with particularly bad acne and have always felt comfortable without make-up. I don't want aging to change this and would like to stay looking 'young.'

I decided to buy my own tube and picked out Olay Total Effects, since it was on sale and mentioned aging a lot in all its ads. It promises to fight the '7 Signs Of Aging', which according to Olay are:
- fine lines and wrinkles
- rough texture
- uneven skin tone
- dullness
- prominent pores
- age spots
- dryness
I started 'applications' of this wonder cream today and if you notice that I have "visibly younger-looking skin that looks more resilient to aging" than you will know why. (I love the constant use of the term 'look' since there are no actual scientific claims that can be made about the product.)

Personally, these are my 7 Signs Of Aging:
- The slowly increasing length of time that it takes me to get back in running shape each spring
- Caring deeply about benefit packages at potential new jobs
- Struggling to save a 25% down payment for a house
- Knowing that as each year passes children will become more difficult to conceive and carry.
- Owning multiple blazers and looking forward to upgrading my 'work wardrobe'
- Finding prices for things incredibly higher than I remember them recently being (gas, movie theaters, camp ground spaces, etc.)
- Worrying about who will look after my plants when I go away and whether they get enough water
Sadly, I don't think Olay is going to change any of these for me.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Third Chart's The Charm

It feels like I am entering my third month of unemployment. It is hard to map this out with any exact science, especially since it sounds like I will be working back at the BIA for most of next week. However, I gave my notice in early January, and I left work to focus more fully on finding my next job in early April. So, now that it is early June that seems like June would be the third month, and as such I have made a new 'Chart' to help me get through this time of transition. I have also upped the number of job applications I am doing each day from 3 to 5. I hope to start the summer at an exciting new stage of my career!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Improve The Day With A Mani And A Musical

Today was a pretty disappointing and upsetting day on the job front. However, with what was perfect timing, I had actually set up the day as a little mini, Toronto vacation with my mom. In a surprise, spontaneous email a few months ago, Aunty-Cindy gifted me with tickets to go see The Lion King. So mom came into the city this morning and we went over to James' house to see Ava, who also happens to be Aunty-Cindy's grand-daughter. We then went to Lucy's Nails for mani-pedi's, which is THE best place to go in Toronto. It is also only $25, which is so cheap. The owner is also super charismatic and funny, today she asked, "How are you today and tomorrow?" However, my mom's favourite thing that Lucy ever says is still, "Happy feet!" And it was true, felt good to treat ourselves.

Then, it was off to the theatre after grabbing a quick dinner at home. The Lion King is astounding! It was my third time seeing it and this production still knocked my socks off. The huge opening, with Circle of Life and amazing staging gave me shivers. It was an amazing night, a great way to cheer up after feeling discouraged.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Younger Then

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

An old picture of my dad (centre) with some work friends, Sears in Brantford. This must have been taken in the early 80's, probably before I was born. He always looked like this though - except for the hair. He maintained the youthful demeanor and smile, glowing skin, bright eyes, his beard stayed red well into my time in university, and his hair didn't really go grey. But his hair thinned. I don't remember it ever being as long or as thick as in this picture and for pretty much that reason alone (well, and the outfits, room decor, and how young his friends look) is how I can date this as a photo as being from at least 30 years ago.