Friday, 31 July 2015

Travel Diary - Friday July 31, 2015

Date: Friday July 31, 2015
Theme/Title: Lots of Walking
Overview: Waited forever for cable car, eventually got on one and took a ride up one of San Francisco's many hills. Discovered another line up at Mama's restaurant and were too hungry to wait, Ended up in Little Italy and had brunch at an awesome Italian cafe, Cavalli Cafe. Walked through Chinatown, and made a quick stop to visit a fortune cookie factory. Took a free walking tour through the financial district focused on architecture. Did the sunset Alcatraz tour. Met up with F and his friends for dinner.
Woke-up: 7:00am
Transportation/Distance: Cable Car - 2km. Boat - 3km. Walking - 10km (added up)
Meals: Lots of Italian! Scrambled eggs and buffalo mozzarella for breakfast. Caprese salad for dinner. Canolli to finish off both meals.
Jail Cell Doors - Alcatraz
Photo by ME with my phone
Highlight of the Day: Alcatraz was incredible! At the end of our visit they did a demonstration of the doors opening and closing that was equal parts creepy and cool.
Lesson Learnt: How a cable car works (and that walking a few stops up from the start of the route will help skip the huge line up.)
Song of the Day: Tanti Auguri - The Happy Birthday Song sung by cute waiters in Italian to Monica, for her 'birthday'
Quote of the Day: "Can I be your personal attendant?" - Me asking Monica if I can join her on the accessibility train for the trip down the big hill at Alcatraz (she is still recovering from knee surgery.)
Night's Accommodation: Shared double room with Monica and F at The Clift (who's main floor turns into a night club on the weekends - there was a bouncer at the elevators.)

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Travel Diary - Thursday July 30, 2015

Date: Thursday July 30, 2015
Theme/Title: The Boys Are In Town
Overview: Woke up early, had big omelette at Omelette Express in Santa Rosa. We got to the San Francisco airport in time, but The Boys' flight was delayed. After Jason and Greg got all their stuff (not much) added to our stuff (lots) in the trunk, we drove around Silicon Valley (Google, Facebook, Apple). We checked-in to our room at The Clift, a hotel that includes bike rentals (if the four bikes they have are available. We went for a short bike ride to Golden Gate Park, and caught a view of city at Alamo Square. The four of us had dinner at Reverb. Jason and Teri went to pick up Monica and F at the airport, I went to bed.
Woke-up: 6:30am in the Tiny House
Transportation/Distance: 240km driving. 14km biking.
Meals: Egg white and cheese omelette. Salad in Silicon Valley, then a visit to Philz Coffee. Beat Salad and some drinks at Reverb.
Highlight of the Day: Biking "The Wiggle"
Lesson Learnt: How to light a gas stove (with a BBQ lighter). Teri guided me through it at The Tiny House so we could boil water to make coffee in the french press.
Night's Accommodation: Shared double room with Teri and Greg at The Clift.

So Tiny

So, I had found the 850 square foot loft in Toronto a bit small. However, I was excited to stay in a Tiny House during the West Coast Road Trip. At only 86 square feet, it was going to be an interesting adventure. Looking at the guest book, Teri and I discovered that most people who had stayed before us were testing it out before purchasing their own. We didn't not fit that category! To be a part of the "Tiny House Movement" you basically need to live in an area that allows access to outside space all year round. Your living room becomes the parks and public spaces around you. In Canada, in the winter, the cabin fever would be insane in a space that small.

The layout was really great though. Lots of storage areas and lots of space to add more. The 'main' area had a work bench style table on one side and a cushioned bench on the other. Teri and I played Bananagrams and I worked on my laptop - it didn't feel crowded. Ter actually had a shower in the tiny shower stall. (The toilet was not hooked up, so we used a public washroom a few feet away.) The loft upstairs was well lit and quite roomy. You couldn't stand up but it was comfortable to sit and didn't feel cramped. The kitchen was obviously small - couldn't cook with two people in there:
View from the bedroom into the kitchen
Tiny House - Hopeland, CA
Taken by ME with my phone

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Travel Diary - Wednesday July 29, 2015

Date: Wednesday July 29, 2015
Theme/Title: Driving Down The Coast - Northern California
Overview: Stopped at the visitor's center to get a hiking suggestion, asked for 1-2 hours of moderate, was given 40 minutes on an 'accessible' trail. Amazed by the redwoods. Drove along the coast, including Highway 1. Evening walk around Mendocino. Late 'check-in' at the Tiny House we rented through Airbnb - wandering a closed Solar Living Institute after dark looking for someone to help us open the gate, found assistance from some nice hippies living there. Went out to McDonalds for dinner.
Woke-up: 8:00am in Crescent City
Transportation/Distance: 2km hike, 2km walk, 475km drive
Meals: Continental breakfast at the hotel, no fruit available. Pepsi Max, Cherry. Snacks in the car. Chai Frappe. Chicken Nuggets.
Highlight of the Day: Walking through the redwoods forest.
Song of the Day: Hotel California - House of the Raising Sun - How Bizarre  - (The music prepared by Teri has been sorted alphabetically by song title, this was a particularly great streak.)
Tomtom wants us to turn around...
Quote of the Day: "Please make your next available u-turn" -- the lady on Tomtom, Teri's GPS machine. She was not happy at our choice to go off course and take the highway closer to the ocean.
Night's Accommodation: Tumbleweed Tiny House, Hopland, California

This Is Why We Are Here

Worth The White Knuckles
Cruze-ing on the Pacific Coast Highway
Photo by me with my phone

Stopping our rental car at one of the many beautiful Vista Points along California State Road 1 - in Mendocino County, a highway that can be quite thin and twisting at times. Teri is a bit uncomfortable with the cliffs and tight turns, which I admit are really intense. We are driving slowly, partly because the view is just so amazing. It isn't a Viper RT/10 Roadster, but it is still a fun drive in the red 2015 Chevy Cruze.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Travel Diary - Tuesday July 28, 2015

Date: Tuesday July 28, 2015
Theme/Title: Impressed with Oregon
Overview: A run and walking tour started off our day in Portland. Got some donuts at Voodoo Doughnuts and picked up our rental car. Quick lunch before a long drive south, crossing over to the coast and stopping around midnight just inside the California border.
Woke-up: 7:00am for a run on the trails along the Williamette River, Portland
Transportation/Distance: 3km run, 2km walking, 580km driving.

Driving Through Beautiful Oregon Forests
Backstreet Boys playing. We do road trips right!

Meals: Egg sandwich and coffee at a cafe after our run. Salad at Just Bob on Alberta Street, Portland. Healthy snacks in the car. Burger at King Neptune's Drive-In in Winchester Bay.
Highlight of the Day: The moonlit ocean.
Lesson Learnt: Gas stations don't seem to be 24hrs. Fill up before 10pm.
Song of the Day: Anything from The Backstreet Boys!
Quote of the Day: "Good job Oregon." Me, after Teri and I were discussing how much we had liked Portland and how beautiful the Oregon scenery was on our drive.
Night's Accommodation: America's Value Inn Crescent City - sketchy and overpriced

Monday, 27 July 2015

Travel Diary - Monday July 27, 2015

Date: Monday July 27, 2015
Theme/Title: Brick on the Sidewalks, Blisters on my Feet
Overview: Even though the day started off with getting lost south of Seattle because we missed our stop while on an express bus that went on a highway and just didn't come off, meaning that we had to call Amtrak to adjust our train tickets, Teri and I enjoyed the train ride down to Portland. We also love Portland and have been walking a lot.
Woke-up: 7:00am Monica's apartment
Transportation/Distance: 50km on a bus to Tacoma (by accident), 250km by train to Portland, a lot of walking which has led to a blood blisters on the balls of my feet.
Meals: Hard boiled eggs at Monica's. Incredible taco salad from a food truck eaten beside a beautiful fountain. Irish coffee at Paddy's. Falafel from another food truck. Drinks on a chic roof top patio until we got too cold.
Highlight of the Day: Visiting the largest independent new and used book store in the world, Powell's City of Books 
Lesson Learnt: When using an unfamiliar transit system, always ask the bus driver if they are going to the place you think they are. Ask them to tell you when your stop is so that you don't miss it.
Quote of the Day: "welcome open late 7 Day" --- sign on a food truck, exact recreation, including strange use of capitalization
Night's Accommodation: A gorgeous studio style apartment booked through Airbnb, in downtown Portland.

Just A Taste

Barely 24 hours spent in Seattle, all of it spent catching up with Monica. Thankfully she will be flying down to San Francisco to join us for the weekend in a few days and we will get to spend a good chunk of time together.
USA Reunite - Seattle Edition
Teri, Monica. and I
Selfie with my phone

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Travel Diary - Sunday July 26, 2015

Date: Sunday July 26, 2015
Theme/Title: Meet Up With Monica
Overview: Woke up early to catch our flight. Jason drove me to the airport to meet up with Teri. Flew to Seattle and were picked up by Monica and her boyfriend. A couple of quick tours of the city. A nice group dinner where I got to catch up with Rich.
Woke-up: 5:05am at Rrunuv Bayit
Transportation/Distance: Flight: 3,300km Walking: 4km
Meals: Tim Horton's at the airport. German pub food. Tacos at The Saint.
Highlight of the Day: Learning about "skid row" during the Underground Seattle tour.
Lesson Learnt: At Pearson Airport you go through American customs before boarding, so add that into the time to check-in, drop baggage, and get through airport security. Teri was not wrong about needed at least 2 hours in travelling to the US.
Movie of the Day: The DUFF, watched by both Teri and I on the plane, separately. Formulaic but enjoyable.
Quote of the Day: "Stripper Stuff" -- overheard by Teri from a passerby, we are very curious about the context
Night's Accommodation: Monica's spare room

Rain Drops

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

The song Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head reminds me of both my dad and a trip to England when I was 10. We visited with my mom's oldest friend, and her family. Dad bonded with them over music and learned about the 'pirate radio' concept. At the end of our visit, my dad was given a mix tape as a gift and it included the Rain Drops song. It was then played lovingly and often, both for the rest of that trip and many subsequent times back in Canada.

Big Trip With Teri

Sunshine. Sunscreen. Sunsets.
No Selfie Stick.

Just two girls and the open road...
Pacific Coast Highway here we come!

West Coast USA:
Chris and Teri's Latest Road-trip Adventure

Just sitting in the airport trying to come up with a tagline for our trip. Even on vacation we are still thinking about marketing. How should we brand this?

Packing On Caturday

Iz come toos? Yes?
Two trying to convince me to take her to California
Photo by ME with my phone

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Not Following Jack

Teri and I have done A LOT of road trips with each other. Sometimes with family, sometimes with other friends, and sometimes just the two of us together. I am so excited for our upcoming trip driving through the US along the coast of the Pacific. It is going to be epic!

One of the things we have done in the past is to read out-loud in the car. Teri can't read in the car because it makes her sick, and listening to music only gets you so far. I guess we could listen to audio books but I don't get sick reading in the car, so when not driving I sometimes read.

I can only really remember the time I read Tuck Everlasting out-loud because it was a particularly nostalgic choice; our Grade 5 teacher had read it to us. I am pretty sure that happened on the road trip out to Vancouver with Teri and her friend in the Spring of 2009. If not, than it was a few years ago, Summer of 2012, when Teri and I traveled around the Northeastern United States. Though maybe we picked a different book then, or maybe didn't do it at all.

Anyway, we have decided to revive the activity for this road trip and Teri suggested Jack Kerouac's On The Road which I am going to borrow from the library. Today I came across a really cool online article, called The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature's Most Epic Road Trips, and On The Road was one of the trips that was mapped:
It looks like part of the novel will take place in San Francisco and the southern part of California. None of the books listed followed the route Teri and I planned, but some overlapped parts of it.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Overheard In Hamilton

A couple of weekends ago, Jason and I went to the opening for men's soccer at the Pan Am Games. The stadium was in Hamilton and we got to go because Jason's sister and her husband had two extra tickets after deciding to bring just the two oldest of their four children. It was a really fun afternoon, evening, and night - the tickets were for a double header so we were there for a while. (The kids were so good! Popcorn was the trick, and the fact that both of these little boys play, love, and are very knowledgeable about 'football'.)

Speaking of kids, during the first game, one behind me asked his dad about which team he should cheer for. Peru was playing Panama and it was a pretty even match. I actually struggled to keep the teams straight and kept confusing who was who, especially because white and red were prominent colours on both uniforms and both flags. Panama also has blue on their flag but they hadn't incorporated that into their uniforms. It was hard to pick who to cheer for. The little boy behind me had the same issue: "Dad, which country is closer to Canada?" There was a pause and I wondered if the father was as bad with geography as I was and didn't know exactly where Peru and Panama were in South America. Then the boy clarified, "Like, who is our most trusted ally?" That was not what I thought he had been asking at all! I had to stop myself from laughing out loud.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


---------------------- from Reddit

___ Wait, isn't he gay?
_________ Nope, just Canadian.
__________________ Oh, so G'eh?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Back With Compression

I am sure that you have noticed that I have been away; besides my Stay Tuned post, I haven't written anything for Always Standing for the past two weeks. However, I am going to get back in gear and post at least everyday, hopefully more.

Let me start by explaining that nothing bad happened. Toronto is hosting the Pan Am Games and leading up to this event there was a lot of worry that rush hour commute times would increase greatly. Everyone who works in the city was asked to adjust their schedules to try to make traffic and transit better.

My office responded by moving into three weeks of compressed hours. We would close the office on Fridays, but would still need to work a minimum of 37.5 hours, on site, from Monday to Thursday. This would shift our commute times outside of the normal rush hour times.

Because I am trying to spin regularly with Tessa at Cykl, I am unable to stay late at the office most nights. Instead, this adjustment to our working times meant 6:30am starts. It has been very challenging to adjust to and not left me any time to blog. In fact it actually made me borderline ill. The exhaustion was pretty rough.

This is the last week and just as I am adjusting to the new schedule it is going to be returning to normal. It was quite nice to have the Friday off and I have enjoyed the 3-day weekends. However, the sleep deprivation and difficulties staying focused during extended work days have not really been worth it.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Stay Tuned

Watch for daily Always Standing posts to return in a few days. Check back on Monday July 20, when I will be back on track and writing often.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

On My Desktop

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

I keep a photo of Dad on my desktop at work. I don't remember how it got there. I thought it might have been from when I posted it to Always Standing, but that was in April of last year and I wasn't working at FORREC yet.  I can't image why else I would have brought it onto my desk top, but it is there. I like to see the little thumb nail and be reminded of him.

Screen Shot From My Work Laptop
(July 2015)

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Consider An Adult Cat

Getting a kitten vs an older cat... 
.... too many of us know this pain too well.

The FULL COMIC is on 8bitrevolver's tumbler, Bonkers Adventure in a Magical Land. It suggests stepping away from the desire to adopt a cute kitten and consider saving an adult animal from a shelter. Even further, consider one that is 'special,' just because a cat is a bit dinged up doesn't mean that won't be a wonderful pet. My next cat save/adoption will be a bonded pair and I will definitely consider adult or 'damaged' pairs, however that will be many many years down the road.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Title Change

I got a NEW job title:
On July 24th, I will have been with FORREC for a year, but the title change went into effect today and now shows up on my automatic email signature. There is an adjusted job description that goes the new title as well. Since I started there have been so many changes that I was no longer doing half of the stuff from the original job posting and new responsibilities had been added to my plate but not documented. I am looking forward to another year with this amazing company.