Saturday, 31 October 2015

Vote Cat

I am still excited about the Canadian government "change-over" that happened a couple of weeks ago. Here is a cute picture of Walter that Anna posted to Facebook on Monday October 19. She did a really cute series of animal posts (all her pets, she has a lot of pets) telling people to go vote.

Walter the One Eyed Wonder Cat says "Go vote!"
Photo by Anna
October 2015

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

And Then It Was Gone

I stare at the empty hole...

Gone in a weekend, a gap tooth on a quiet street
Did it have a salvage team? Scavengers for good
Fly away with dripping streaks of insulation
Crows ripping flesh from the body
A raccoon turning a shiny doorknob around in tiny hands
Silver screws hidden in a rat's nest across town

120 years brought to its knees
Limbs torn away, skin ripped off
Strong machinery, cruel tools, frantic excavation
Scrapping through the dirt for the last of the bones
Concrete cartilage hidden in the dirt
Claws digging through grab the last timbers of life

The need to eradicate, a space of non-existence
Eliminating the dignity of renovation rebirth
No chance at restoration or reincarnation
Far from recovery, beyond death

Leaving us with an empty hole

--- Christine Sweeton, Toronto, 2015

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Dad Crest

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

I found the coolest website this week. It is called Canva and is free design software that you can play with online. So much easier than Photoshop (which I have taken multiple courses in). The graphics you can create are basic but still impressive for how simple it is to use. I am addicted and have been using it to play around with some designs related to the wedding. When I wanted a break from that I came up with the idea of doing something connected to my dad. I made the image on the right. The wheel (which I did not create from scratch, I am not that good) is an obvious connection to sailing, but I also picked the shape around it as a reference to Settlers of Catan. I don't really know what to do with the design, mainly it was practice as I get used to this program and what it is capable of.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Kittens In Your Face

Another list, like the one I put up a few weeks ago. This one is about cat's ignoring your personal space. Binx would sit beside you so wasn't that invasive, and Rasta isn't super intrusive. However, Two is pretty bad about this, she is all over everyone all the time.

-------- found online

Not my photo - Found online

Check out the MASSIVE list of examples HERE

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

And So Today

In an update style, I thought I would respond to my own post yesterday about all the great things going on (in the same order as before):

- It is Still Fall in Toronto, But Also in Ottawa
Fall is my favourite season in Toronto but Fall is great in Ottawa too. (Technically Winter is my favourite season in Ottawa, but both are good.) Jason and I are heading up to Ottawa for the weekend for a quick visit with Steph and Dave since we didn't get a chance to see much of them over the summer - they have been super busy with Stephanie Beach Photography.

- The Star Wars Trailer is a Day Older, and Jar Jar is Dead
There was some concern among Jason's friends that the awful Jar Jar Binks character might make an appearance in the upcoming Star Wars movie. I don't think he will be there though, and I ended up doing research to ensure he would be too old to show up on screen. Here are my results:
- Jar Jar is a Gungan, and they live for 65 Galatic standard years 
 - Using the Russian Formation dating system, he was born in year 948 
 - Leia (and Luke too obviously) born in 981 
- So Jar Jar is 33 when the twins are babies 
- She is in her 20's during the 'original' trilogy making Jar Jar 53 
- As long as this is set more than 15 years after that (and I have heard it is supposed to be 20ish years past VI) Jar Jar is DEAD
And I might be a bit of a nerd for spending the time to look all that up and work everything out.

- The Liberals Continue to Have a Majority Government
And they will have for four more years. That is the whole point of a majority government, there probably won't be a vote of none confidence to bring about an early election. I am hoping that they get a lot of work done and make some big changes.

- Jays are now 1-3 in the ALCS
Last night the Blue Jays lost terribly in the fourth game of the American League Championship Series. Jason was so bothered by how badly the game was going that he turned off the TV after the second inning. I don't care though, I can use it to make an exciting announcement - Mike and Aimee are going to have another baby! I am excited to be a two-times aunt. I decided that this little thing has thrown up a poster on the womb ceiling to celebrate, since big brother Avery is such a fan.
Future Blue Jays' Fan
My Next Nibling, Avery's New Sibling
Due Late Spring 2016

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

A Glorious Morning

I woke up on this grey Tuesday to a wonderful new world, for the following reasons (not in order of importance):

- It is Fall in Toronto
I really love living in this city and it is the best in September and October. It reminds me of the quote from You've Got Mail: "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils..." only about Toronto instead of NYC. Jason and I are getting married in a year and we picked the date partly because it is so beautiful here in this season.

- There is a New Star Wars Trailer
Overnight a longer trailer (the teaser came out a while back) for the new Star Wars movie was released online. I was insanely excited by the short little teaser, this longer trailer is amazing. Jason has already organized with P and a bunch of their friends to go on Saturday December 19th at 4:30pm. We have tickets to see it in IMAX.

- The Liberals Have a Majority Government
This recent Canadian Federal Election pretty much became a quest to get Stephen Harper out of office while dealing with the complexities of a multi-party system. After voting last night I went to bed hoping to wake-up and find out that the political landscape of Canada would be shifting 'left.' It has, the Liberal party now has a majority of the seats. I am a bit sad that my beloved NDP lost so much ground but I do feel like a lot of their gains were due to how awesome Jack Layton was, and now that he is gone their buzz has settled down.

- Jays are now 1-2 in the ALCS
I really don't care about baseball, but the exciting news that the Toronto Blue Jays won last night's ALCS playoff game meant that this photo of Avery got posted on Facebook, which made me very happy!
Go Jays Go!
Avery, October 2015

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Action Dad

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

A Photo of Photos, from one of the large collages we made for his funeral:
Sailing, Sailing, and
Canoeing (when he was much younger)

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Math Makes Her Sleepy

Teri is really great about texting and emailing me photos of Two when she stays in Oakville. Here is another photo from this recent sleepover:

I'm Trying To Mark
Photo by Teri

Thursday, 15 October 2015

TB - Political Quizes

Last week I did the Vote Compass for this coming Canadian Federal Election. It was four years ago during the 2011 election that I first used this tool, here are all the times that I have talked about it, or similar systems, on Always Standing:

- April 21, 2011 - Research Your Vote

- December 7, 2013 - Confirmed Political Views

- October 2, 2014 - Thank You Vote Compass

- October 3, 2014 - Get In That Parade

- October 7, 2015 - Sitting Where I Should

Comparing my political leanings from 2011 to 2015, assuming that the parties have stayed roughly in the same position, it seems that I have become more socially liberal over the past few years. I wonder if living in Toronto has made me more aware of social issues? It is definitely a change that I am proud of, though hadn't really known had happened.

I was worried that, since tends to be the trend, as I got older I would move towards the right. Seeing that I was further to the right fiscally than the NDP made me concerned that this conservative shift was happening to me. Seeing my results from 2011, it looks like I was right of the NDP when it came to economics then too.

Remember to VOTE on October 19

Monday, 12 October 2015

By Recommendation

Literally everyone that I asked for suggestions from, of what to do in Chicago, mentioned the Architecture Boat Tour On The River. So yesterday, Jason and I decided that would be our main activity for the day. We are trying to keep costs down and the $42 a person price tag was a bit of a deteriorate for us, the Canadian Dollar is so low in comparison to the American that everything is pricier than we would like it to be. However, this was seriously mentioned by everyone as almost a mandatory experience.

We waited fairly late to head into downtown because it was the Chicago Marathon and was going to be packed. When we were trying to find a place to stay in Chicago for this weekend we couldn't figure out why everything was booked and so insanely expensive, it is one of the reasons that our AirBnB ended up being so far away from downtown was that we couldn't find or afford anything closer. It wasn't until Meg mentioned it recently that we figured out that Canadian Thanksgiving is the same weekend as the marathon and that was why. Tomorrow is also Columbus day, but that doesn't seem to be that major of a holiday, we didn't even notice it happening in NYC last year.

When we did get downtown in the early afternoon it was still really busy, lots of people in running gear with medals on. We went fairly quickly to the river to get tickets and found out they were sold out until 5:00pm, we got those and prepared to wander downtown, which we hadn't really done yet. We went to Millennium Park and saw The Bean. Ate our packed lunch and walked along the lake and river front.

Turns out 5:00 is the perfect time to do the boat tour! The docent/guide kept mentioning how beautiful the low light was on the buildings since he normally does midday tours he was quite excited. The tour lived up to the hype. I could have stayed on that boat listening to the guide talk about architecture for hours more. The 90 minutes flew by and having the different styles pointed out and explained was an incredible experience. I would FOR SURE recommend this as an important thing to do when visiting the city.

Trying True Deep Dish Pizza For The First Time
Jason at Giordano's - Hyde Park
Oct 11, 2015 - Photo by ME with my phone

After the cruise, we went looking for deep dish pizza for dinner, lots of Google Maps searches. Teri had mentioned the chain Giordano's as a good place to go, I had also noticed the Lou Malnati's as a popular place with lots of locations as well. We took The Loop, the elevated subway system, to go to one Lou Malnati's place that was close by, the line up was insane. Then I remember that Giordano's had a location near our apartment, turned out it was walking distance away and we just headed south to that one. There was a much smaller line.

I loved deep dish (or stuffed) pizza! Definitely my preferred in the whole Chicago and NYC pizza debate. Jason leans much further on the side of New York but still enjoyed the Chicago style.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Finally Saw The Bean

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

For a long time I didn't know where Stonehenge was. This was because I visited England between Grades 5 and 6 for over month with my family, and we never saw it. We saw so many sites in England the idea that my parents didn't take us to this Wonder of the World was unfathomable to me, so I spent all of high school and most of university thinking that was somewhere else. When Steph finished at Carlton, we celebrated by going on a trip to London and she wanted to see Stonehenge, we actually fraught a bit about it being in the country (and Steph is obsessed with Stonehenge so I have no idea why I argued.) We ended up seeing it and now I obviously know what country it is in.

I had been having a similar experience with The Bean. It can't be in Chicago, cause if it was, why hadn't my dad and I visited it when we came in 1994?

As I mentioned before, the only other time that I had visited Chicago was when I came with my parents over 20 years ago. My mom had a conference to attend, which meant that my dad and I hung out together during the day. We stayed at the Blackstone Hotel (some of The Untouchables was filmed there), which is next to the Hilton where my mom's conference was. These hotels are on South Michigan Avenue, just across from the big park area on Chicago's waterfront, we walked along the lake when it wasn't too cold or windy.

The only major attraction we visited here was the big aquarium, besides that we just went to all the free art galleries. Dad loved this because they were free and he has a certain cursory interest in art. Also, because I was young, we probably were moving through them in at a good pace. So, with this emphasis on art, visits to the waterfront parkland, and desire to see things that didn't cost anything, how come I never saw The Bean (which I hear K is pretty obsessed with and likes to visit it multiple times when she visits the city.)?

Turns out it wasn't even there! The planning for Millennium Park didn't start until 1997, and Cloud Gate (The Bean) wasn't added until 2006.

Our Chicago Commute

Chicago Skyline - Rental Bikes
Jason and I, 2015
We brought our helmets with us from Canada.

Yesterday, Saturday, was pretty tiring. We have slept in a bit this morning to recover. Yesterday was tiring because we decided to bike into the city and continue north of downtown. Chicago has an incredible bike share program (Divy) that we had read about ahead of coming here (hence we brought our helmets to use since they aren't provided.) There was a station to pick up the bikes right beside our apartment building and we rode along the Lakefront Trail. We stopped at Lincoln Park Zoo after over 20km biking, seemed even longer because the bikes were heavy and slow - definitely not the road bike that Jason is used to. We walked around the zoo and conservatory, both of which were free. When we took the train home the bus that would bring us to the apartment wasn't due for another 20 minutes. There was a Divy rack right beside the station and our day use of the bikes was still valid. We just unlocked two with our codes and rode the rest of the way back!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Like We Live Here

Yesterday was our first full day in Chicago. It was spent relaxing and sort of doing things that we would do if we lived here. Jason has a cold so I went for a walk in the morning to pick up some medicine at a pharmacy and grab us coffee at the local Starbucks.

The studio apartment we rented is across from a park and in the winter would have a view beyond the park to lake; you can't see the water because of the leaves on all the trees at the moment. The area is really nice, but far from the main area of the city. I keep referring to it as the Long Branch of Chicago, though Scarborough might be a closer comparison. A Metra station is right around the corner from where we are staying, this is the rapid transit for the region, like GO, and isn't connected to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Even though the Metra would get us north and into downtown quicker, we have a 7-day pass for the CTA so just use that instead, sometimes taking a bus west to grab a train or using one of the buses that run along the lakefront.

We went grocery shopping, there weren't a lot of options near by and the place we went to was fairly expensive. (Lots of organic and fancy stuff, bit like a Whole Foods.) However, we were able to get stuff for breakfasts and dinners at the apartment, and things to take for lunches when we are wandering around the city. I didn't look closely enough at the AirBnB listing and it has a big fridge and some kitchen stuff, there is no real sink or anything to cook food with (not even a microwave or toaster.) It doesn't say that it has a kitchen on the listing, in fact that is crossed off as an amenity, I think I just saw the big fridge in the pictures and assumed.

After having some grocery store rotisserie chicken for dinner, Jason and I took transit to a Robot Date Night that we had booked. We built a couple of robots and won against the other couples in Robot Movie Trivia (ok, mainly Jason won.)

These Robots Can Walk
(Not invented by us, just assembled from a kit, still fun though!)

Good Old Paper Map

I like GPS in its simple definition:
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. The system provides critical capabilities to military, civil, and commercial users around the world. The United States government created the system, maintains it, and makes it freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver. (from Wikipedia)

The term GPS used normally, usually means a GPS receiver or navigation device like Tomtom or Garmin. So while I like the system in general, I don't like the devices very much. As Teri knows from our recent road trip, I don't like having a GPS receiver determine a route and following its verbal/basic visual direction. I don't trust them, especially now that things like Google Traffic are using GPS data to first analysis traffic flow/issues and then providing route suggestions. That seems better than just GPS. In general I want more information than a computer generated route . I also want to understand the bigger picture and review my options.

Some people just turn them on and go. For example, my mom spent the last week at a rug hooking school in West Virginia with a friend. They drove back to the Brantford area yesterday. She sent me the following email:

Got home from an exciting and exhausting week "hooking" in West Virginia. Getting back took longer than anticipated. Never blindly trust a GPS! Luckily we were looking for a rest stop and saw a sign that indicated a Maryland rest stop. At that point we both said "We didnt come down here through Maryland". Turns out Jennifer had turned on the "no toll roads" button and it considered the Peace Bridge a toll road so was sending us home via the bridge near Kingston.

I need way more data sources than just a GPS, I also want to reference Google Maps, various tourist maps found in brochures, and even an old fashion printed road map. I like maps.

Sleepover At Teri's

Two is staying with Teri and Greg in Oakville while Jason and I are in Chicago. I love getting updates from them. Here is one from last night:

Two Sleeping Peacefully On The Stairs
Photo by Teri

Friday, 9 October 2015

Friday In The Windy City

Jason and I arrived in Chicago late last night for a little 6 day holiday in "The Windy City" over Thanksgiving. We are staying in the Hyde Park area in a studio apartment from AirBnB. I am excited to explore Chicago, I haven't been here in over 20 years. (I came with my parents when I was 10, also over Thanksgiving weekend. Mike went to have real Thanksgiving with family instead.)

Thursday, 8 October 2015

TB - March 2007

Throwback Thursday - Scroll to the bottom of the month and read up. Or click on the earliest post in the month (to view the post and the comments) then keep clicking Newer Post until you finish the month.

So, the difficult part of my 20s has finally arrived in the Throwback Series, it wasn't as scary to read as I thought it would be. It was truly a terrible time, but reading through the month it seems like I did have some positive moments.

Noted Post: The final post on suicide for that month, Thoughts on Suicide - V, is a really strong little statement. It looks like I was doing a really dark 5 part series. The last post would have been written after I started to get help dealing with the massive depressive episode I was going through. Just having suicide ideation explained to me was a small step moving in the right direction. There is power in labeling things.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Sitting Where I Should

I did Vote Compass again for this coming federal election. According to the site: Vote Compass is an award-winning civic engagement application. It is used as an educational tool to help you explore how you fit in Canada’s political landscape. It was developed in Canada by political scientists and has used by millions of people during elections around the world.
My political views seem to sit in between NDP and Liberal - I wish the NDP was slightly more economically conservative and I need the Liberals to be more socially progressive. (I am the grey dot in the graph above.)

You can try out the Vote Compass HERE
and remember to vote on October 19th 

I Am Moving These Boxes, Sir

Yesterday I found out that my boss doesn't consider me a lady, and I am actually rather glad about it. The term can be problematic and is starting to dance on the sexist side. Even according to its definition, it is sometimes offensive depending on its context:

noun, plural ladies. 
1. a woman who is refined, polite, and well-spoken
2. a woman of high social position or economic class
3. any woman; female
4. (used in direct address: usually offensive in the singular)
5. wife
6. (initial capital letter) (in Great Britain) the proper title of any woman whose husband is higher in rank than baronet or knight, or who is the daughter of a nobleman not lower than an earl (although the title is given by courtesy also to the wives of baronets and knights)
7. (sometimes offensive) being a female
8. of a lady; ladylike; feminine

Last night I was in a rush to leave work because I had a waxing appointment at 5:30. A delivery showed up for marketing right at 5. The building locks its loading dock at that time so the 25 or so boxes being delivered would need to be moved into our suite, off the truck, by hand.

The driver and our small marketing team used a couple of hand trolleys to wheel in the delivery. The driver kept insisting that he do the brunt of the work, even though there were three of us there to help. (Note: The boxes were maybe 5lbs a piece.) I ignored his protests and helped anyway.

Driver: No, no, no, I will do it. It is too heavy for a lady.
Marketing Director: Oh, she isn't a lady, she's ... Chris.

We got the boxes moved in and they were not too heavy! I also made my appointment in time.

Still Mourning

Time does change how and when I grieve about my father. There aren't really surprise breakdowns anymore. I can control my crying better and know during a conversation whether it is going to upset me, then I can decide to steer it in a way that won't. There are still trigger words, phrases, and concepts that I find difficult.

Last night I was hurting and missing him so much. I wish I could turn times like that into actions that would be more positive or productive - focus on good memories, or documenting my thoughts into art or something. But really it is just pain and my reaction is to cry.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Cuteness In My Inbox

I love when I open up my email to photos from friends and family - especially if those photos are of cute things!! I am sad to live so far away from the cute things that are happening to people I love, but seeing pictures makes it easier. Here are a couple that I got sent recently:

Uncle Si, Aunt Dan, and Fi's new puppy
Sent In An Email From Mom
I hope to meet this little ball of fluff (black lab) the weekend after Thanksgiving when I head down to the cottage to help with some Fall chores. If he doesn't visit the cottage than I hope to pop in to see him on the drive back to Toronto.

Avery Trying To Climb The Couch
Sent In An Email From Aimee
I don't know when I am going to get a chance to see this adorable face next. They aren't coming home for Christmas and it is hard to find time to get out to Edmonton. He is getting so big!!

Monday, 5 October 2015

My Opinion Of Wedding Trends

I haven't written a lot about wedding planning, it is ticking along slowly but in general I haven't been thinking about it - unless, I am actually thinking about it, then I am a bit stressed about it. It is strange that way. Jason and I have our locations sorted out, a general idea of what we would like to happen at the event, and most of the planning pretty much finished. Now it is just the doing, the putting together of things, the writing of things, actually making the wedding happen - not just planning for it.

Erin sent me a Buzzfeed post - 17 Trends That Appeared at Literally Every Wedding in 2015 - and I thought I would use it as a jump off point to start thinking and talking about wedding planning more on Always Standing.

1. Cupcakes
This is not a new trend, Taylor had them at her wedding four years ago and three years ago Mike and Aimee did as well. I think I saw them at weddings even before that. They are easier to serve and tend not to be as pricey as a big decorated cake, also some locations charge a 'cake cutting fee' which is ridiculous.

2. Peonies
I don't know how accurate my opinions can be about this list since I don't think I even went to any weddings in 2015, it has been a quiet year. However, I love peonies, we used to have the deep red ones in Paris growing up. What a lovely flower choice! So big and soft.

3. Sweet buffets
This is just an awesome trend. It too has been around for a while and is a great idea. I love candy.

4. Vintage suitcase for cards
This is all over wedding websites lately. The only time I ever saw it was at Kristen's bridal shower, which was travel themed so it made sense.

5. Wooden signposts
I have also noticed this all over wedding websites.

6. Ampersands
Oh, who doesn't like Ampersands?! I can't even use them here because they mess up the HTML coding on Always Standing. I don't really see how this is a trend, I am sure that is has pretty much been used off and on for all of wedding/writing history.

7. Naked cakes
Definitely a 2015 trend. I personally think that the icing is the best part of a cake, but then again a lot of wedding cakes are decorated using marzipan which is super gross. Marzipan makes the cake look very pretty and they can do great sculpture-like things with it, but it just doesn't taste good. So I like the choice of no icing over that, but really would prefer a good icing on there.

8. Those giant balloons
I guess these are a thing? Maybe not in Canada

9. Bunting
The first time I saw this was at Jenn and Jon's wedding. It was so pretty. The one that they had hanging up was very delicate, usually on wedding websites the type of bunting shown is more casual.

10. Wildflowers in jars (bonus points for twine and/or lace)
Hey, bet this is cheap to do! Though I am sure it is often done by florists, venues, and event planners at a massive wedding premium, which sort of defeats the whole purpose.

11. Blackboard Signs
It is a bit 'hipster' but it they are washed off and reused then it is a great idea. Often it is more of an aesthetic look than true blackboards.

12. Bridesmaids in multiway dresses
I used to have a multiway dress, actually more than one, and they are awesome. However, having different types of styles in the same fabric, like we did at Steph's wedding, or even having the same dress with different necklines has been done for a while.

13. Birdcages
I feel like these were big in the 80s, but then at the same time they can be quite hipster too.

14. Wedding flipflops
This is expensive and difficult to do - think about all the different sizes. It is a fun idea because heels hurt! I always bring my own flip flops to weddings.

15. Light up letters
I have not seen this at an actual wedding but it is a big thing right now, for both weddings and home decor. It is probably all over Pinterest (which I don't have) and I have definitely seen it on Buzzfeed.

16. Photobooths
For a while people would bring in the old-school mall-style photobooths sometimes, but now lots of people just have their photographer set up one during the reception. These are a really fun idea, not a recent trend and not a passing fad. If anything the video booths are less common and the photobooths are around to stay.

17. Mismatched bridesmaids
This doesn't happen as much as this list suggests. Maybe different necklines like I mentioned before, or different dresses, or even different shades within a shared colour - but full on mismatched isn't that common.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Here On Earth

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

Missing my dad today. Partially because Jason and I watched The Martian at the theatre this afternoon. Dad would have liked it, this is why I think so:

Ridley Scott
He enjoyed a lot of Ridley Scott's movies: Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, and probably more.

Matt Damon
Dad really liked Matt Damon (and who doesn't), right from his start with Good Will Hunting, and in many films but especially as Jason Bourne.

Great Space Movie
The movie Armageddon reminds me of my dad, there is also a dad-daughter storyline that helps with that too. I would say that it is a 'great space movie' but it might be a bit of a stretch for others to consider it as such. I would parallel The Martian more with Apollo 13, though the later is based on true events, As a great space action epic, Dad would have liked The Martian.

It just came out last weekend (though it premiered at TIFF last month), go see it! The Martian was an awesome movie. It comes highly recommended by me, and I know it would have come recommended by Dad too.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Cat Logic

------ found online (from Tessa)

Not my photo - Found online

Check out the HUGE list of hilarious examples HERE.