Sunday, 30 November 2014

Happy Birthday Mike

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

Today is Mike's Birthday, so this picture is exactly 27 years old! (Though, you can't even really see Mike in the bundle and Dad looks terrible. There are much better pictures from my birth; that is what happens with the second child. However, I will acknowledge that he was a much cuter baby so they should have taken more pictures.)

Andrew Micheal held by
George Ralph Sweeton
November 30, 1987

Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Huskey Birthday

Today is Jason's Birthday and I have surprised him with a quick (450km) trip to Gatineau, Quebec. We went dog sledding, with an ATV, and played with Siberian Huskies, including a puppy or two. We have checked into a cute inn, The Wakefield Mill, and are heading to Nordick spa for the evening. The spa (a large outdoor area with hot pools, steam baths, saunas, etc) is open until midnight and has a nice restaurant for dinner. Happy 31st Jason!

A Catuday Cheer Up

------------------- from Tessa (from The Internet)

As I mentioned, it has been a bit of a rough week. To cheer me up on Thursday, Tessa sent me a couple of memes (which she pronounces '' even though I am pretty sure it is 'meem') to cheer me up. I thought I would share this one for Caturday because I totally love it.

Taco Cat has so many things I love:
- Tacos, one of my favorite meals
- Kittens, this cat is tiny and possibly still a baby
- Black Cat, still my favorite because of Binx
- Palindrome, something that is the same forward as backwards
Basically this is the perfect thing to send me to cheer me up! I have amazing friends.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A Year Later

My mom also wrote a blog post today. Her's is much more positive than mine, probably because in general her blog is more positive. She manly talks about the Sailing Award that has been put in place in my Dad's honour. You can read her post HERE. (The link to her blog is always available on the Left Side of Always Standing.)

The First Year

A year ago my father died and the world as I knew it crashed down around me. So many people have said that after 'The First Year' everything gets easier. To a certain extent that is true, last year Christmas was so painful, with every little part of the holiday causing great sadness. This year I just feel heavy - it is strange that having a piece of yourself torn away can leave you with more weight to carry. This numb and heavy feeling has allowed me to try to return to my love of the holiday season, with a bit of a 'fake it until you make it' type attitude I am excited about Christmas again this year and looking forward to the new memories.

Time has healed some of the wound. Part of me is happy that I no longer think about my Dad every single day. This is because living away from my parents for more than a decade meant that I didn't really think about them at a daily frequency. So, to have a day or two here and there where I am not reminded of Dad or of my pain related to his sudden death is a bit of a relief and a return to a more normal state of being.

However, I feel with the passing of time I am losing my memory of him. I can no longer hear his voice in my head. I forget the way he phrased or said things. (Sometime, I can remember a bit of what his laugh sounded like.) I am actually really hoping that Aimee can still imitate him, I found her funny impressions so comforting last December. She helped me hear him again; this is something I have struggled with right from the start.

What I can't seem to forget it the sound of my uncle on the other end of the phone, telling me my dad had died in his sleep overnight. I can hear the exact inflection of his voice and can quote all the words said in the conversation. I can even hear (and to a certain extent picture it all in an out-of-body type fashion) my own reaction to the news. Which I am sure just sounded like raw shock and pain, if raw shock and pain sounds like someone saying/screaming, What?!? What!?! over and over. Just like that, with one morning phone call my dad was gone from my life and as each year passes, I worry that he is slowly going to be gone from my mind.

The feeling of losing my memories of him is making the progress of time more difficult. I have a frantic feeling, a fevered clawing at shards of memories, desperately trying to keep his memory alive and knowing that it will only get harder. So I feel like 'The First Year' has been a year of memories, with subsequent years being less so; and in that way the future looks harder than 'The First Year.'

Why, Hello Sears

So, I just finished writing the story about West Elm as a Sunday Mornin' Coming Down post. (Yes, yes, I am doing some massive back dating at the moment - deal with it. I am trying to catch up, there are a lot of partially done posts in draft form.) Anyway, I don't know how this ad got linked to Always Standing, no where in the post does it mention Sears, the company where Dad "worked in retail for his entire professional life" literally from when he graduated university to his retirement a few years ago.

But, when I turned for a quick review of Always Standing, I just saw the following under my header:
I am feeling a bit better about writing these types of posts but I don't even feel like I was "looking" this time. It was just there, and what's more, it is about the department Dad was a salesmen in for the later part of his career. (He wanted more time with his family so left management to sell major appliances when Mike and I were very young.)

There isn't a consistent sign/symbol of my father but there are definitely reminders surrounding me, which at this point in my grief process tend to bring relief and peace. I love you Dad - I miss you.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Wedding (In A While) Wednesday

Ok, so I don't know when the wedding will be, but Jason's best friend proposed to his girlfriend this past Friday! So, I think that engagement congratulations is an excellent choice for Wedding Wednesday. Rob and Andrea are truly an amazing couple, who also met through eHarmony. They are both such kind, smart, and fun people that the engagement news has been met with enormous amounts of joy. (It was also very exciting to know a bit ahead of time - but keeping that type of happy secret is so hard!)

Best wishes and love to Rob and Andrea!!
Now And Forever
Photo by Andrea

Monday, 24 November 2014

MOday - Jason Woods

-- Movember challenges men to grow mustaches during November, to spark conversation and raise vital funds for men’s health programs. Jason is participating, please visit his MoSpace to view photos of his mustache progress and donate. --

So it is the last Monday in November, if you haven't donated yet please do so. Jason's mustache filled in 'nicely' over the past month (see Left). However, I'm very much looking forward to him shaving it off on Sunday!

I have decided it has moved from 'creepy guy who might be a porn star' to more of a 'father figure' style of mustache. This is especially accurate as I believe that Jason's father used to have a mustache.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Bed From West Elm

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

This is more of a post about West Elm than it is about Dad. However, off and on during our interactions with West Elm, Jason and I felt a bit overwhelmed and talking with my father would have helped. Here is the story:

Over a year ago, before Jason moved into Rrunuv Bayit with me, we decided we needed to purchase a bed. In fact, it was a major request of mine, in terms of Jason moving in, that his king-size mattress, a the very minimum, be put onto a bed frame. We decided not get a headboard and bought a bed frame from West Elm.

It took us a long to find a bed; we looked at a lot of places. We had a fairly tight budget but at the same time with a king-size mattress we needed a bed that was high quality. Then there was the small room to think of and the desire for storage. We choose West Elm because they have good quality furniture that is made of solid wood (instead of a composite or worse.)

When we got the pieces of the bed frame back to the apartment to put together, the metal joining element at the top of one of the legs was bent a bit. We decided to just go with it and that leg never quite sat right, Jason tried to rejoin it at the correct angle a couple of times over the past year but it didn't really work. During the summer the leg completely broke off and we had to stack old university textbooks under it to support the bed.

During a visit to West Elm this summer to pick up some plants, Jason mentioned our broken bed at the check-out. It actually happen to be the store manager checking us out and she gave us her card, telling us to email her photos. It took us a while to find the time to take the bed apart enough to get good photos of the broken part, but Jason emailed her a month or two later. We didn't hear back and Jason sent another email about a month after that. The manager replied and asked us to schedule a time to come in and discuss options. She mentioned that the bed frame we had was out of stock and not anticipated to be available in Canada for a while.

When we got to the store a week or so later we were told that they would exchange our bed frame for a new one and that we should go look at the options. However, we really like our current one and were concerned that we wouldn't find an appropriate replacement, especially since it took us so long to find the perfect one the first time. We tried to explain this, and we had brought the broken leg asking just for a replacement piece. The manager took the broken bit to go see if they had anything in the back and in the meantime asked that we browse the bed options.

West Elm has a few bed frames; and the one we had originally chosen and currently have was the more sturdy and expensive one. The options available at the moment in Canada are either too flimsy with thin legs or too low, eliminating our much needed storage space or in a style Jason and I aren't very keen on. However, the manager had said we could consider the beds as well but even the cheapest bed costs considerably more than the bed frames. We liked two styles and determined that one of them would be a better choice for us (of the two, the first is three times the cost of our bed frame and the one we ultimately decided was best is around twice the price of our bed.)

We had questions about the offered exchange, since we couldn't afford the price difference and were not interested in any of the frames currently available. When we were told it would be a straight exchanged we replied that it felt "overwhelmingly generous." I has been a really amazing example of excellent customer service. The whole thing just feels like something I would like to share with my Dad. He worked in retail for his entire professional life and really appreciated when companies worked hard to maintain customer satisfaction.

Jason and I are excited about getting a new bed, that won't be supported by text books. We will have it in a few weeks. (I will post pictures.)

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Caturday And Card Games

---------- found online

Not Around

The pain over my dad's death still comes, and like before it is strange and unpredictable. I have cried at things that range from hearing a song to seeing apple sauce, the sharp reminder that he is gone will stab like a wound and hurt in a way words can describe. Then sometimes those same things, invoking the same memories, make me smile and happy to think about his life and the great times we had. Grief is a confusing thing.

I still feel very much that he is 'missing' and I haven't adjusted to this new role he plays as my late father (a term that is very problematic, I may rant about that at a later time.) I look for so called 'signs' to feel that he is around in some way but they don't really seem to present themselves to me. I don't even think that much of it, but the first photo I took of the picture I posted this past Sunday showed up with a glare over my dad's face. The basic coincidence of using Jason's phone that he has on automatic flash (compared to mine which I keep the flash turned off), my dad being in the top centre of the picture and the photo being under glass. However, it made me stop for a second.

Driving home this evening from dropping off Tessa, an ambulance drove past us. This is a very regular occurrence in Toronto, but for some reason it made me completely breakdown. (Jason was driving, I was in the passenger seat with tears streaming down my cheeks.) Then right before I started sobbing I looked up as we passed a store called George's Deli, a place I had never noticed before on a street that I travel up and down very frequently. I still cried for most of the way home, but noticing that made me pause for a moment and wonder.

So much of this post or this line of thinking just seems like reaching for straws, and I am almost embarrassed to share it on Always Standing. But I am looking, I am looking for him, I am looking so hard. Because I miss him so much.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wait Bit Longer, Again

So I am asking you again to wait a bit longer for a wedding post, this time for T and G's. The good news is that I do have the photos on my computer so I should be able to put something together for next week - Wedding Wednesdays are still going strong!

Monday, 17 November 2014

MOday - Tom Selleck

-- Movember challenges men to grow mustaches during November, to spark conversation and raise vital funds for men’s health programs. Jason is participating, please visit his MoSpace to view photos of his mustache progress and donate. --

There is no question that he has one of the most well known mustaches of all time. So I will leave you with only this:
Nothing else needs to be said.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Other Picture Up

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

In the spring I posted one of my favourite pictures of Dad and mentioned that it is in a frame with one of my mom and hangs in my room. Well, this is the only other photo I have up right now that has my dad in it:

It sits on a shelf near my desk in a red Carleton University branded frame (I cut the frame out of this picture). It was taken on the day of my graduation, at the portrait studio on campus. My Aunt Laura (left) and my mom are also in it. It is a bit cheesy, and the frame is really quite cheesy, but I like it a lot.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Less Helpful With Cheap Paper

When Two has helped me wrap a gift in the past it wasn't an issue. Well, there may have been some little tooth marks in the paper but not a big deal. So, while visiting The Cottage today, I was wrapping some Christmas presents to send with my Mom to Ottawa for my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. This year I am using some red cartoon reindeer gift wrap from the dollar store and it is SO thin. It was a bit of an issue when Rasta decided to sit on it:
"If I don't look at you, than I can ignore you yelling at me.
Totally harshin' my mellow, bro."
Photo by me taken with Jason's phone
(Yes, Rasta speaks a bit like a surfer-dude. Kristen and I determined this over the summer. Lives at the beach, is male, oscillates between insanely hyper and passed out, kinda dumb, and in general looks weird.) Anyway, he sat on my wrapping paper, and it ripped due to it's general cheapness. He was not a helpful kitten.

He was also not helpful when trying to get a cute photo of him, as you can see he turns away from the camera. What was funny is while I am trying to get a good picture Mom is saying, "Come on Rasta, if you are cute enough you might get to be on Caturday." He is so adorable even the back of his head is good enough to post.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Elf Names

Apparently, if I was a Christmas Elf (from Facebook), my name would be:
Glitzy Snow-Bum

Also, according to the Elvish Name Generator online, if I was an elf from Middle-Earth my name would be Idril Carnesîr.

Add a comment to let me know yours!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Chili Recipe

I got the basics of this from an old Curves cookbook.

Super Easy and Healthy Chili

- Ground Beef (normal size package, Lean or Extra Lean)
Fry beef in pan until brown. Put beef in large pot. (You don't even need the beef, the vegetarian version is just what is below without the beef.)

 In the large pot add:
- A can of Crushed Tomatoes
- A can of  Diced Tomatoes
- 3 cans of Beans:
I like to do 2 cans of Kidney Beans and 1 can of Black Beans. I always empty the beans into a strainer first and rinse the goo/liquid off them before adding it to the pot. I don't know if you have to do this, but I read that it helps make the chili less 'gassy' and I think the goo stuff is gross anyway.

Add chili powder to taste.
I go light on this because Jason just adds Franks Red Hot Sauce if wants to make it more spicy. I have also discovered that chili powder is different so you need to learn with the brand you use how much you like. Switching brands really messed me up and I ended up with chili that was way spicier then I like. (When it turns out too spicy: I add corn to sweeten it, or make it larger to stretch out the batch by adding more tomatoes and/or beans, or add lots of cheese and/or sour cream when eating it.)

You can put in any cut veggies you want (onion, garlic, peppers, celery, etc.) this is not even necessary if you are feeling lazy. Sometimes I just make it with the beans and cans of tomatoes.

Keep the pot simmering, stir it sometimes.
If there are veggies then it is best to cook it until they are soft. If not you just heat it and then cook as long as you like. Longer you cook, the better it tastes.

Monday, 10 November 2014

MOday - Alex Trebek

-- Movember challenges men to grow mustaches during November, to spark conversation and raise vital funds for men’s health programs. Jason is participating, please visit his MoSpace to view photos of his mustache progress and donate. --

When Jeopardy started its 31st season in mid-September of this year, something amazing happened; Alex Terbek's mustache came back! In fact this was such a big deal that the show created a social media campaign about it and there was an article in the Globe and Mail. In my mind, Alex has always had a mustache, and that mustache has always been epic. But it seems that he shaved it off in 2001 and hasn't had one for the last 13 years. I guess when watching Jeopardy I was just superimposing a mustache on his face? Well, now I don't have to do that anymore.
The mustache is back!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Party Dad In A Party Hat

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

My dad collected a lot of things. I remember our back room in Paris (which was both a mud-room and laundry-room) had his hat collection around the top of the walls. A whole row of strange hats. I don't know where they all went but they got taken down some point when I was a teenager. My favorite was always this cool white safari-style one. The picture on the left is from a party in Liberty Village that I found out about through the BIA. (Working there didn't really mean a lot of perks, in fact because we were connected to The City we weren't allowed to accept any perks anyways. However, I did get to hear about all the cool events that were going on in the area.) Danielle took this picture; my parents, myself, and lots of my friends ended up going to the aforementioned party. It was at a local bar, which I think was celebrating hiring a new chef - appetizers were passed around. Corona was there and Dad got this hat after chatting up the 'Corona Girls'. Makers Mark was also there and I tried it for the first time - it is now my preferred bourbon.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

No Cat Today

As I mentioned, I was planning to go up to Ottawa this weekend but instead I am home sick. I took Two to Teri's on Wednesday so that she could look after her while we were away. Now that I am staying home, I am sad that Two isn't around to keep me company while I lie in bed with this awful cold/flu thing.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Home Sick As An Adult

When I was younger and stayed home sick from school my family had two main rules:
- You had to stay in bed. No watching TV, reading, going on the computer, etc.
- If you stayed home from school, than you couldn't go to anything in the evening. Even if there was an extracurricular event, like dance class, piano, Girl Guides, sports, etc.
Other people spoke about The Price is Right, but I had to stay in bed and be bored. It was almost always better to go to school.

This past week I have been sick - I am still sick. I used three Personal Days to stay home in bed and try to get better. As an adult. I would be 'allowed' to watch TV but I don't want to. I feel too awful and my headache is too strong. There also isn't anything stopping me from doing all the
'fun things' that I had planned, but unfortunately I don't feel up to it. I had to cancel my trip to Ottawa this weekend, and I had been looking forward to going for over a month now.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Waiting For Photos

I got to see all the photos from Teri and Greg's wedding tonight. I think she said there was over 1000. However, it is more like 500 and then each has a copy in colour and another in black and white. I don't know if Teri is going to be putting them up on Facebook, beyond the one or two she has used for her profile picture. Greg is weird about photos. I think that Ter is coming over early next week, and I will have to ask her to bring the hard drive so that I can take them. Then I will be able to do a big wedding recap post for these guys:
Teri and Greg
Wedding: July 26, 2014
Copyright 2014

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

My Robot Friend

The vending machine at work has a name above the coin slot - Electronic Retailer. Upon seeing it, it actually made me a little sad, this machine was taking customers and revenue away from actual retailers. The name Vending Machine is much less upsetting. (On a semiotic level, the adjective, 'electronic,' in the first one is describing a noun normally associated, to some extent, with a person. However, in the second, 'vending' is just qualifying the type of machine.)

It made me think, because around the corner from the Vending Machine is a little cafe that I think actually sells chips and chocolate bars. The cafe is a small offshoot operation of a larger independently owned establishments down the street. I also bet that the chocolate bars there are less than the $1.50 they are in the machine. I will have to check it out.

The last building I worked in must have supplemented the items in their vending machines, or arranged to make little to no profit on them because everything was much cheaper. In fact, that building is a half-block away and I could return to buy my treats back there again if I wanted to. If I am willing to leave the building to save money, then there are lots of shops around that sell the same things. Or, I could stop buying this stuff all together, which would be better financially, health-wise, and would prevent these moral 'robots replacing people' issues.

Monday, 3 November 2014

MOday - Jack Layton

-- Movember challenges men to grow mustaches during November, to spark conversation and raise vital funds for men’s health programs. Jason is participating, please visit his MoSpace to view photos of his mustache progress and donate. --

I am very happy that November is Movember, as it takes the focus away from what might be a difficult month for me. I thought I would do an Important Mustaches post each Monday (MOday) on Always Standing to encourage people to participate and donate.

I have always loved Jack Layton (RIP) and when I think of wonderful mustaches he is at the top of my list:

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Pissed Off Dad

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

I love hearing stories about my dad, and seeing his picture in other people's places, and learning about how he may still play some type of role in the lives around me. I was very touched when Amy reached out to tell me the story about Ethan.

On our way to NYC, Jason and I stayed with my grandparents in Fort Erie; so as to be able to catch an early flight out of Buffalo. A few years ago they sold their house there and downsized into a rental apartment. I hadn't seen the apartment yet (it is huge) and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had a large picture of Dad up on a shelf:
I don't know who took it, or when it is from, but Mom has the same one up at The Cottage too. The smaller picture is actually of my grandparents, it is a nice shot; I like it a lot. I don't think there were any pictures of grandchildren up. (Including Mike and I, Granny and Pa have 7 grandkids, and soon a great-grandchild.) It is very special that they choose to have a photo of my dad as they don't tend to decorate with pictures of family.  

However, I think this photo of Dad is hilarious, he is just glaring down at the camera. This is definitely what he looked like when he was pissed off. However, anger with him was intense but often short lived and I feel it was fairly infrequent. (He did like to rant passionately about things, but it didn't usually come across angrily.) It is just such a rare picture of him, showing a rare emotion. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

TB - Caturday

Instead of a Throw Back Thursday, I thought I would do a bit of a cat themed TB today.

Check out these Always Standing links:

First Mention of Binx: Early In The Morning? 

First Post About Two (she wasn't named yet): Kitten Test Drive

First Mention of Two: Introducing You To Two