Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Taste Of Grapes

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

When my dad had his hip replacement surgery I sent him an Edible Arrangement, a pretty bouquet made of cut fruit. I remember talking to him on the phone a couple of weeks into his recovery and he said that when he was finally able to eat something, since the pain medication made him very nauseous, he started with the grapes from the arrangement. He was so thankful for those grapes and talked about how sweet and refreshing they were.

Teri, Monica, Maria, Matty, and K sent me an Edible Arrangement yesterday and I had the grapes right away. My dad was right, they were awesome; so cool and juicy, a great thing to have when you start eating after surgery.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Doesn't Love Me

Mom is here helping me after my surgery, and Two is all over her. Basically Caturday continues to be images of my cat not wanting to be near me. She will literally sit with anyone else in the room but me. Follow her on Instagram, link on the left. (If you click on the Instagram images you can read her strange comments.)

Friday, 9 December 2016

Poked Not Cut

I had my cholecystectomy today (surgery to have my gallbladder removed.) I had to be at the hospital for noon and then the surgery was scheduled for 2, I was home by 7pm. There was a small chance that they would need to do an 'open' procedure and I would have an incision to recover from. As soon as abdominal muscles get cut recovery becomes longer, more complicated, and painful.

Luckily they were able to complete the 90 minute procedure laparoscopically. Modern medical technology is amazing. Now my gallbladder is gone and I just have three tiny cuts around my rib cage and a larger incision in my belly button (aka no sliced muscles.) I am looking forward to healing quickly and having an awesome belly button scar.

Teri mentioned that her dad has had laparoscopic surgery before but that it was robotic, which is even more fascinating.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A Christmas Caturday

We put up our Christmas tree this week and today Two, like many cats before her, discovered that she likes to sit under it.

Two Thinks She Is A Present
December 2016
Photo by Jason with his phone 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Birthday Weekend Tradition

Today is Jason's Birthday!! We celebrated together a couple of days ago with a surprise weekend, a gift that I promise to continue each year.

If, according to my rule, the second occurrence makes something a tradition and the third solidifies it - than surprising Jason with a weekend of activities has become a solid tradition for us. Since we started dating in 2012, I have tried to do something fun.

Here are the past weekends we have done for Jason's Birthday:

2012 - James Bond
Themed as a 007 mission docket, we went to see an all night marathon of James Bond movies at the TIFF Lightbox. The gift also included a one year membership to TIFF and other James Bond activities they were doing.

2013 - NYC
So probably the biggest weekend so far was a trip to New York City, complete with JetBlue flights, Daily Show tickets, and more. The surprise was accidentally uncovered in mid-November when Jason saw a text from Teri on my phone that referenced it. But we just started being excited for the trip together. Note: The trip was postponed until October of 2014 because of my father's death a few days before we were scheduled to leave.

2014 - Dog Sledding
With each activity mapped out in separate envelopes, I surprised Jason with a trip to Gatineau, Quebec, detailed in my Nov 29, 2014 post.

2015 - Caves and Buttertarts
Last year we went on a Buttertart Tour and stayed at a motel a couple of hours north-east of Toronto. We also made a visit to see Taylor and her family, as well as, climbed through some very tight caves. This is when I learnt that Jason had a bit of claustrophobia. While I had already known that he didn't like spiders, I unfortunately hadn't made the connection that caves would be a place that spiders might be. We enjoyed the experience anyway, caves should be a bit scary!

2016 - This Year!
I was able to do a bit better job with giving the weekend a theme and presented Jason with a geography challenge that had puzzles. The solutions detailed the activities. We stayed at the Royal York downtown, visited the Hockey Hall of Fame, watched the Leafs beat the Capitals at the ACC, and met up with friends for brunch.

I am already trying to figure out what to do for next November!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Happy Day

By A Brick Wall
Jason and Christine's Wedding - September 24, 2016

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Three Years Ago Today

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

It still hurts. I think about my father often and I wish he was still here with every fiber of my being. He was gone too soon, even in three short years he has missed so many things that would have given him such joy. There is still more I want to share with him.

I got married.
Mom has a cat.
He became a grandfather, twice.
A house has been purchased and renovated.

The list goes on and if I start thinking about it too deeply it will hurt too much.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Talk Consent

November 25 - The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as declared by the United Nations.

There is a lot of room for improvement in the current dialogue about sexual assault, especially how we discuss this with children. I have seen articles arguing against the onus put on potential victims of assault to "stay safe." I don't think there is a problem teaching people about avoiding certain situations, and not putting oneself into harms way. I totally agree that a victim should never be blamed for assault but I also think that an awareness of safety needs to be taught and encouraged. It isn't your fault at all that you got mugged in a dark alley in a known dangerous neighbourhood of a foreign city. But as a parent or friend it is perfectly fine to encourage travelers to do some research on the place they are visiting and talk about how to be cautious.

I do agree about the other thing often mentioned in these articles: Don't teach the victims how to avoid it - teach the perpetrators not to do it. This is the weak link in our sexual discussions and education, We too often breeze quickly by the concept of consent. We need to talk about what consent is, its value, how to ensure it has and continues to be given in sexual situations, and even how to give it. No parent sets out to raise a rapist, and the blame shouldn't be on the parents in these situations. However, everyone needs to step up the discussion about respect. We need to identify disrespectful, dangerous, or even illegal actions. We need to talk clearly about how to behave appropriately.

I love the 20 Minutes of Action 4 Change that calls on fathers to talk to their sons today about consent. From the age of 1 all the way up until a child leaves home, having a 20 minute conversation once a year could do wonders. This are the discussions that people avoid having and we shouldn't.

And, I still love the tea video about consent.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Xmas List 2016

Two
- Litter scoop
- Litter deodorizer
- Greenies Dental Cat Treats
- String

Me
- Gift cards: Starbucks, Chapters, Michaels
- Tassimo: Tetley Chai Tea Latte
- Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It
- Telestrations: After Dark board game
- Lavender and Basil seeds or seedlings
- Ear buds with small case for travelling
- Electric toothbrush
- Epsom salts
- Soap and Glory: Flake Away
- Bowel Buddy Original Cookies
- Canned corn
- Martin's Apple Chips!!!
- Healthy slowcooker recipe book

Jason
- Gift cards: XBox Live, Amazon (for Kindle Books), MEC
- Tassimo: McCafe Coffee
- Socks for biking
- Bike repair tools (Chain tool)
- Sour candy
- The Great Scrape wooden BBQ Grill Scraper
- De-weeding Tool
- Coke in glass bottles
- T-shirts (Medium)
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf board game

Joint (Jason and I)
- Gift cards: Home Depot, IKEA, Homesense, Canadian Tire
- Cast iron frying pan
- Non-stick frying pan(s)
- Wooden kitchen/cooking spoons
- Black and Decker 20V Max 1.5Ah Lithium Ion Battery
- Point and Shoot Camera
- Small fireproof safe
- Stainless steel appliance cleaner 
- Cleaner for glass top stove
- White/Burgundy tea cloths 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Recovering

I am trying to take a bit of time today to recoup, a peaceful Sunday spent inside working on quiet and easy chores as I try to restore health and energy for the coming week.

Here is what I am recovering from:

- My first cold of the season, sore throat on Wednesday led to full out aches, fever, runny nose, and cough. It only started to let up this morning.

- The stress of Two's vet appointment yesterday. She is healthy, it was just an annual check up, but she freaked out so much it was upsetting.

- Heartache from a shocking election. I am still sad about Hillary's loss, even more so after reading Politico's article What It Took: How a lifetime of compromises and concessions brought one woman to the brink of history.

- Busy couple of weeks at work that had me travelling, waking up for different time zones, and managing multiple shows simultaneously.

- The emotional movie Jason and I saw last night, Arrival. If you go see it, I would highly recommend reading the short story The Story of Your Life first.

- My first 'gallbladder attack' since my gallstones diagnoses last month. Last night I felt the familiar pain and reached for my morphine pills which I hadn't had to use yet. They do the trick but only by making you pass completely out, luckily it was late at night so it wasn't a problem.

Friday, 11 November 2016

November In Florida

Landed in Florida today, for work, and was greeted by copious amounts of Christmas music, and holiday decorations. (Really America? It is Rememberance Day / Veterians Day.) Thankful we were also greeted by warm weather and palm trees! Since the work part actually starts tomorrow we stopped by The Mall at Millenia for some food and shopping.

Massive Christmas Tree Inside - Many Large Palm Trees Outside
The Mall at Millenia - October 2016
Photo by ME with my phone

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Two Speeds

Still sad about the election? I am. Here are some adorable shots of a crazy little toddler to cheer you up. Steph captured the most precious photos of all the niblings that were around at our wedding. Here is just a taste of the cuteness, featuring Avery, Istagram-style (aka square):

It's Friday Night!
Avery Pushing The Stroller Across Nathan Philips Square
Toronto City Hall - September 23, 2016


Sleepy Saturday Morning
Avery Passed Out During Our Wedding Ceremony
Toronto Island - September 24, 2016

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Will It Happen Here?

So, here we are. The day we all woke up and realized it hadn't been a terrible dream and that Donald Trump had won the election in the US. There is general sadness, numbness, and even fear all around me today.

The following was part of a Facebook Post a friend of mine, James, wrote, it gave me pause. I have copied it below and adjusted it slightly.

While Canada is a totally different country, a lot of things that happen in the United States seep Northward. You can almost pair up the waves politically: where Reagan/Bush brought Mulroney; Clinton and Chretien rose to power together; Bush won in 2001 followed by Harper a couple of years later; and then after 9 years of Harper and 6 years of seeing the amazing Obama in office, Canadians voted in Trudeau last year. They all line up. The idea that the next wave after Trudeau is something like Kevin O'Leary is downright scary.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

It Takes Time To Change

It is a big day politically! I hope that there is another historic election and that I wake up tomorrow morning to find out that the USA has elected their first female leader. Fingers crossed!

Also of note, in March of 2013 I identified that I had miss spelt one of my tags for Always Standing. Well it took me over three years but as of today there is no longer a 'Politcs' tag and everything has been moved to be included in the correctly spelled 'Politics.'

Now before you go telling me that I spelt the word spelled incorrectly I would like to you remind you that I have already discussed that use of the 't' for past tense is correct for some words.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Wedding Photos For Your Monday!

Had a great surprise this weekend - Steph has finished our Wedding Photos!! You can see her post about them on the Stephanie Beach Photography blog.

In the text of the post, she included her 'Deceleration of Legality' speech that she gave during our ceremony - it was so lovely and while she mentions that she messed up while giving it at the wedding, I didn't notice. She also describes the events really well and the photos are ordered chronologically to really explain what the whole wedding weekend was like. I enjoyed my mom's description of her experience that she posted on her blog, but since Steph was with me the whole time, her details are closer to how I remember the event - a great read!

Obviously the photos are amazing, and those included in the post are just a small sample of the full set that she has given Jason and I. This was a wonderful wedding present from Steph and Dave and we are beyond thankful.

I have mentioned before that Steph and I always prefer different photos, so I am going to be posting a bunch on Always Standing that weren't included in her blog post to show you my favourites (Basically they are all good and I just want to share more of them!!.) Here is one:

Bridesmaids And Smiles - Before City Hall
Our Wedding - Paperwork Day - September 23, 2016

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Wedding Lost And Found

We have some items from the wedding that weren't ours. We hadn't started to figure out whose they were because we thought maybe we could add it as a little note on the Thank Yous asking people, but thought I would post about it here. With almost 150 guests on Toronto Island it would be difficult to check with everyone. Also, this weekend we figured out two of them!!

Wedding Weekend Lost And Found

Found items had been left on Toronto Island:

Item Found: Two, very nice, black travel thermos/water bottles
Claimed by: Faye and David

Item Found: Tortoise-shell style reading glasses
Claimed by: Faye

Item Found: Two-sided make-up mirror on a stand
Claimed by: The hotel's. Ended up at our house by mistake.

Item Found: Interesting grey folding square wheelie cart
Claimed by: STILL OUTSTANDING

---

Item Lost: Jason's iPod
Last Place He Remembers: Media area in the AIA Clubhouse
Found: Taken by Aunt Dan by mistake and returned.

Item Lost: Two of Jason's, very nice, long stick umbrellas
Last Place He Remembers: Mum's hotel room

Friday, 4 November 2016

The BC Agreement

Jason doesn't like to start celebrating Christmas until after his birthday, which is on November 29th. This isn't a new thing for me, as I grew up with a similar rule because Mike was born on November 30th. However, it means late publishing of Christmas lists, delayed logistical organization of family visits, and less time enjoying pretty festive decorations around the house.

Last night we went out to buy a Christmas Tree, since fake ones were on sale at Micheal's. We got a lovely 7" pencil tree which is normally $150 Canadian and we picked it up for $60. Its shape and size does make it look like a penis, but it is perfect for our small Toronto home. I have decided to call it a 30-year tree. Jason frequently states how long he expects to keep certain household items. He insists we currently own a 10-year shower curtain because we spent $25 on it at Target - this is not very likely but we can try to keep it that long. I think he wants the mattress and West Elm frame to be a 25-year bed - we will try for this too. The Yaris is a a 5-year car that is already pushing 7. So I will declare that this Christmas tree must be kept until at least 2046, then it will have cost us $2 a year, though it should have been $5, a savings of $3 every year!

Besides the anticipated longevity of the tree, I also didn't want to have to wait a month to set it up. Jason and I have created The Birthday-Christmas (BC) Agreement. I have promised to always do a good job of celebrating his birthday (which I have always done and has in the past involved trips to NYC and dog sledding.) but I am allowed to put the tree up and start celebrating Christmas as early as November 12 (waiting until after Remembrance Day.) The only caveat is that I have to wait until December to put the star on top.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Teri Wins Halloween

So many good costumes this year for Halloween but after hearing yesterday morning that Teri had wanted to dress her new son up as a piece of sushi but hadn't had time to put together the costume I had to see the little guy in edible form. I told her there was still time and she ended up doing it in the afternoon and sending along the photos. 

R.O.M. - October 2016
Photos taken by Teri

Teri: I even got him to hold a chopstick
Chris: I know, it is so cute, I am dying
Teri: Looks like he is trying to eat himself

Note: Teri and Greg are trying to keep a low digital footprint for R.O.M, hence the use of only his initials and the reason he hasn't been mentioned on Always Standing before. He won't have a 'tag' like Lochlan, Cadence, Avery, and Maya, but he is a very special baby in my life so you will probably catch a glimpse or two of him from time to time.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Your Cowboy Name

Happy Halloween! On Friday at work we had a pumpkin painting competition, it was a fun thing to do on my lunch break. Also according to this photo by my co-worker, I paint with my pinkie up. I am going to take the pumpkin home today since we don't have any decorations and are planning to give out candy at Casa Verde this year.

Dressed up at work today with my team as Cowgirls, (Since I was able to supply a lot of hats.) According to the quiz below my Cowboy Name is Billy The Stubborn Sheriff, which is cool but I have decided to be Chris The Kid.

---- from The Internet

Click to enlarge
Let me know your Cowboy Name in the comments!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Steph On Dave

Steph has been participating in the Rising Tide Society's InstaTideChallenge this week. It has been nice to get a little glimpse into her daily life as a professional photographer through her Instagram feed, which normally features her work and nothing about her as the worker.

Today she posted the following photo of Dave, with a beautiful passage she wrote about his role in their two-person team, how he supports her, and the awesome love and life that they share. Having known Dave for almost as long as I have known with Steph, I am also good friends with him. This is such a beautiful tribute to the incredible person that he is. He is the only partner who could be close to good enough to my Steph and their love is one for the ages.

Check out the image and her comment below from Instagram:

Words and photo below:
Copyright 2016 - Stephanie Beach Photography


Today is the final day of the risingtidesociety InstaTideChallenge where we celebrate another creative who inspires us. Ottawa is absolutely filled with amazing talents who inspire me on a regular basis, but I felt I should give credit to the other half our my husband-and-wife team, the tall guy with the bow-tie as I often describe him on wedding days – my husband and second shooter Dave.

He is always looking for new, super creative ways to capture our couples and their moments, never too tired to get one more shot and never complains when I want to stay longer on wedding days to ensure we get everything covered. He’s forever in my corner rooting me on and supporting me as I follow this amazing dream of mine. And although photography was something he initially picked up through me, he has definitely created his own voice through it and has a unique style all his own. I often find myself culling through our images and thinking how lovely the shots are and pleasantly surprised by the new angles and compositions he worked with.

This is a behind the scenes shot I grabbed during one of our favourite weddings that I think sums up Dave’s style pretty nicely – adventurous and creative. He is willing to do just about anything to get the shot he has in mind, including scaling walls.

Above all else, he is an absolute delight to work with, not only because he is my husband and I love him to pieces, but he is so sweet and thoughtful with our clients and their friends and families. I simply couldn’t ask for a better partner in this journey and his creativity truly inspires me every day.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Motherhood - Is The Baby Sleeping?

Thought I would post another light-hearted 'rant' video, before I return to the more serious types of Motherhood posts.



Good Quotes:

"Is she sleeping through the night? No, she's a baby!"

"Slowly sucking my will to live."

"Cry when the baby cries? Oh wait, no, I already do that."

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Queen Speaks

------- Funny! From an email, sent by Mom

A Message from the Queen!

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA, and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy). Our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

 To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

Monday, 24 October 2016

A Weekend Challenge

This past weekend I challenged some friends to go through this list of questions with their spouses. (Some are with their life partners, while others are newer couples, some were married, some engaged, etc.) I agree that the following questions aren't fun to go through, some are intimate and some might be awkward, but they are designed to spark honest discussions.

For the most part Jason and I had been over this content before - in some fashion or another, at some time or another. But it is always good to take serious stock of your relationships - have serious conversations, just to do so, just to see if things have changed, if anything surprises you, if you truly are on the same page.

I don't think that any of my friends actually did end up sitting down with their spouses and going over them, but I figured I shouldn't issue the challenge and not follow through myself. So Friday night I texted Jason the link to the article, said, "Let's head to bed a bit early and go through these together" and made my way upstairs. I didn't present it as a fun game - cause it really isn't. And I didn't ask him if he wanted to - because I didn't want to hear he wasn't interested. I didn't want to argue over doing it or not, whether there was worth in doing it. So we did it.

The Questions

The questions and article were from the New York Times and you can see them and the reasoning behind asking each one ONLINE.

To get a sense of what the conversation was, this is the list of questions:

1. Did your family throw plates, calmly discuss issues or silently shut down when disagreements arose? 
 2. Will we have children, and if we do, will you change diapers? 
 3. Will our experiences with our exes help or hinder us? 
 4. How important is religion? How will we celebrate religious holidays, if at all? 
 5. Is my debt your debt? Would you be willing to bail me out? 
 6. What’s the most you would be willing to spend on a car, a couch, shoes? 
 7. Can you deal with my doing things without you? 
 8. Do we like each other’s parents? 
 9. How important is sex to you? 
 10. How far should we take flirting with other people? Is watching pornography O.K.? 
 11. Do you know all the ways I say “I love you”? 
 12. What do you admire about me, and what are your pet peeves? 
 13. How do you see us 10 years from now?

Since I had sent the link to Jason's phone I thought having him read the questions would be best, it also would mean that he could control the speed of the conversation, quickly jumping to the next question or stay on a topic if there was more to talk about. He asked the question, I answered, he answered, then sometimes we would want to know more or needed clarification and he would read the little background bit included in the article.

Our Outcome

Jason and I are intensely open about, and on top of, our money/finances. So I figured the questions related to that would be easiest, however 6 ended up being a short but interesting conversation. Firstly, neither of us had any idea how much a couch costs because we haven't ever bought one. Jason compared it to buying the king-bed and mattress, but even then I was struggling with the high cost of these items more than him. There are definitely certain things that I am not happy spending money on. I barely bat an eye at dropping multiple thousands to travel but the thought of spending a grand for a couch makes me exceedingly uncomfortable - couldn't we get something nice for less than that?

Both Jason and I had the same price point for shoes with a max of $250, however I consider the need to spend that much only in the case of a highly specialized product, like boots for trekking in the Arctic. In general, I can't image go near that cost for the types of shoes I usually need - where that price seemed normal to Jason for anything from winter boots to hiking, biking, or running shoes. Lastly the question led us into a discussion about buying a new car, which we are considering doing next year. We will need to revisit the cost breakdown for that again but it is a major purchase that we need to work out together.

I have noticed from doing this post that we actually didn't end up talking about the last two questions! We stopped on 11 because it was a cool way of looking at relationships that I hadn't really heard of before. It got us talking and we forgot about the rest of the quiz. I really want to get the book by Gary Chapman that is the reference for this question. We both agree that we show each other love through affirmation and physical touch. On top of that, Jason he feels like I demonstrate love through giving him gifts and in contrast I think his acts of service are one of his primary languages. I think this is a really interesting way to look at love and relationships, I want to know more.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Not My House

---------- from Facebook


Sure, I would love a Spacious Mansion, but that is never going to happen! (Though that is totally what Le Manior was, a dilapidated but spacious mansion. Remember THIS PHOTO was only the side of it, the front faced the street to the right.)

Let me know in the comments what your home should be and if you agree.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Our 'Team' Style Wedding Concept

We had a strange wedding. It was strange in so many ways. From the science-referencing custom ceremony to the euchre tournament and other activities, a lot of what we did was a bit unusual for our crowd of friends and family. However, what I think was truly unique and the most special aspect of the whole event was just how much all of our guests were involved.

We had, 
what I have been calling, 
A Team Wedding

I don’t know how to describe this concept to those who weren't there, and even some of those who did attend may still be confused. However, Jason and I were thrilled with how everything turned out and I want to pass along the idea to other couples. So, I am going to try to explain what happened using the 5W1H technique from elementary school.

What?

A Team Wedding. A multi-day celebration that was built by our community of friends and family. A pot-luck lunch. Shared expertise. Friends as vendors. Participation in the ceremony and event in some way by every guest.

Instead of wedding gifts we requested that our wedding guests sign up for a 'participation' component of the wedding. This was an extreme level of the delegating that many wedding websites advocate for to help elevate the stress of planning such a large and complicated event.

It wasn't purely a pot-luck since it was much more involved and complex, also the participation expanded beyond food. It wasn't crowd-sourced in a conventional fund-raising way but the theory is similar.

Why?

Firstly, it was truly because we wanted it this way. I had envisioned this type of wedding for most of my adult life - not as extensive in terms of participation but I always liked the idea of involving people close to me to help put the event together.

We had noticed that the best events, especially weddings, in our memories were those that we participated in or helped with. The most personal events were those that had been prepared in love and collaboration. We wanted to re-create that type of occasion.

Secondly, we hoped it would help with cost. It was a rare suggestion, but we had seen 'ask friends and family to offer help and services' on a few 'how to plan a wedding on a budget' lists. Weddings are insanely expensive and we didn't want to cut back our guest list, which is the number one suggestion on all the aforementioned lists. Hiring the various vendors needed to have an event for 150 people, especially in Toronto, adds up quickly and eliminating those costs by having guests fill some roles would really help the bottom line.

How?

Confidence! Courage! Clarity! Consistency! Communication! Conviction!

Wedding planning is challenging. It took a lot of determination to stick with our vision and ignore the confusion, comments or judgement that might come our way. I think if we approached this concept in a questioning or timid manner it might not have turned out as well. But our ideas were met with love and support. We were the champions of our wedding and this concept, our guests were all on board.

As for the logistics, I will try to outline this using the remaining questions - Where, When, and Who.

Where?

Online. The choice to invite guests and coordinate the event digitally was partly born out of the desire to cut costs but mainly for the speed and ease of communication. Google Docs and emailing meant people could collaborate easily and having a wedding website allowed us to clarify details, storing important information for guests to reference later.

Also, our choice of venue at a community centre helped project the vibe of cooperation. We were left to our own devices without an event planner or venue manager. This gave us and our guests open access to a large kitchen, bar area, and event necessities like tables and chairs.

When?

We sent out the invitations very early. Our first email contacting our guests was in February, for a late-September event. This was not a 'save the date' we had location and timing details already. We used Google Forms for our invitations, I have made them public so that others can see what they looked like. We sent out an email inviting guests and asking that they complete a survey as their RSVP. There was an ADULT and CHILD survey. The important part of these forms is the bottom section where we provided a list of suggestions as to how guests could participate. We also made sure to mention in this initial email (and frequently reminded people) that we were declining wedding presents.

We sent reminders in April to those who hadn't yet responded. In May we thanked everyone for getting back to us and let them know we would be in touch regarding their possible role at the wedding. We spent the summer reaching out to everyone and asking for their help with various elements of our wedding.

Who?

To ease the planning process, and give people an easy contact on the wedding day, we designated leaders for each of the areas that guests were helping with. These close friends or family members then fully arranged a section of the event with people that they may have never met. We had Food Coordinators, Activity Leaders, Decorating Managers, and more. We could direct others to them with questions.

We know our guests well, which is why we wanted them at our wedding, and why we didn't want to have to cut down the guest list. So, we took our knowledge of their skills and interests into consideration when requesting their assistance.

And?

It turned out amazingly! Better then we could have ever imagined. Jason and I are so thankful to everyone who attended and assisted and made the day so special. We hope that our guests enjoyed themselves and felt like this style of Team Wedding, having everyone helping with the event, added to the experience. It was so touching to see what we all built together; it was a fun, beautiful, memorable, and wonderful day.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Superheroes

Cuddles with Hawkman And Batman
P and Jason, October 2016
Photo by Me

McDonald's has Justice League masks right now as part of their Happy Meals. These are pretty great! I have to say though, I am just not really into the DC comic universe like I am with Marvel, and Hawkman is continued proof of that - what is this character? Great mask though - fits on adults too. But really I don't have to choose one over the other, I can enjoy both.

Also, this photo is taken near the end of our weekend looking after four wee children, ages 1, 3, 5, and 7. Everyone is still smiling!!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Addictive Television

Watching a bully...and I am conflicted, but addicted. I really like the TV show Bar Rescue, it is a a really exciting show, part renovation, part business make-over, a great reality show. It is run by a hospitality expert, Jon Taffer. Unfortunately, he process often involves bullying. Normally I wouldn't notice it but with the current political climate in the USA I am particularly sensitive to men yelling. I was concerned that it might ruin the show for me but it still is a really fun thing to watch. The yelling part sucks but at the same time I can see the heart and passion behind it.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Seriously The Comments Guys

I guess it is the time of the year that I put out a pleading post for more comments. My mom has given a couple lately, and Heather comment on my last post, but in general it has been pretty silent.

And I have had some good posts lately:
- A trip to the emergency room
- First little look at our wedding photos
- Stuff about my Dad
- A Funny video
- Two's awesome Instagram
- A fun internet quiz, normally people would share their results in the comments.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Watkins Glen State Park

It was such a full day yesterday that we wanted to take advantage of the sunshine but also take it easy. We slept in and then headed down the far (east) side of Seneca Lake. The main focus of the day was a visit to Watkins Glen State Park to do a hike through the gorge.

Jason and I by a Bridge
Watkins Glen State Park, NY - 2016
Photo by Jason

We stopped by Ponderosa for an early buffet dinner on our way back up the west-side of the lake. I had to be really careful with what, and how much, I ate, but was happy that we got to go since it is one of my favourite places. We got back to the hotel in time to catch the Blue Jays game and have a quiet night in.

Grandma At Ipperwash

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

I realized that I didn't talk about the black and white photographs included on the In Memoriam Page of the wedding program when I posted about it last week. Aunty Laura emailed me recently that she liked that we had included the two photos of my grandmother. It was important for me to have her on that page as well, since it was sad that she couldn't be there for our wedding.

The images are a young one showing my Grandma about to pick up my Dad as a baby and then the two of them again in the 1990s taking the Laser out. I know that the top image, with Grandma on the boat, was taken at Ipperwash, since she always vacationed with us there. We have seen that life jacket before! I believe that the other photo at the bottom of the page might have also been taken at Ipperwash, since it looks like they are at a beach and they used to go there when Dad and Aunty Laura were kids.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

And The Tradition Continues, Or Starts

Jason and I are spending the weekend in The Finger Lakes region of New York State. This marks the third time we have spent Thanksgiving in the USA.
- New York City 2014
- Chicago 2015
And now exploring Northwest New York, it is really becoming a tradition. The actual definition of 'tradition' is a bit more complicated but I think the second occurrence suggests a tradition and the third solidifies it.

We considered staying home, especially because the Canadian Dollar is particularly bad at the moment, but decided that it was a fun pattern to have and we could do it cheaply. Instead of flying we drove and we aren't taking any extra days off of work so it will be a short vacation.

Today we drove around the orchards found in the area between the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario. We found a map that detailed a Apple Tasting Tour so had fun visiting eleven different locations, mainly farms or local produce stands but also a winery, a distillery, and a couple of cider breweries.

Then we headed west to Rochester. I wanted to go to The Strong, which includes The National Museum of Play, the Toy Halls of Fame, International Center for the History of Electronic Games, etc. Basically it is a 'children's museum' but that didn't phase me. We had a good time!

Jason and I - Virtual EtchASketch
The Strong - The Toy Halls of Fame - 2016
Rochester, NY 

Before heading back to the hotel in Newark (not the airport, the town) we decided to grab some dinner. Dinosaur Bar-B-Q is a small chain that we remembered having great reviews when we were staying in Harlem during our 2014 NYC trip; they only have nine locations, mainly in New York State. It turns out they had a restaurant in Rochester so we went there. It is super popular! There was going to be an hour and half wait for a table but then we noticed that they have a big area doing take-out, so we grabbed a sandwich to go! I had brisket, my favourite thing to have barbecued, it was delicious.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Motherhood - Not Friends

Great video!


Awesome excerpts:

"If my kids liked me 100% of the time, I am probably failing at parenting."

"If your 30, 40-something and your best friend is an 8 year-old, like that's just weird."

"You know what is terminal? Them turning into entitled bratty adults the rest of the world now has to deal with - that's terminal."

The video is by Kristina Kuzmic, she has written an article along the same subject on her blog. I was totally 'parented' as a kid, and am so very thankful for it. In fact my mom still refuses to be my friend. I am sad about the that but also understand it - we each have our own friends, our dynamic is mother and daughter.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Can You Believe The Gall Of That?

As I detailed the pain and diagnoses in my last post, I thought I would write a quick description of my issue with Gallstones.

Over the weekend, and on Monday morning, it turns out that I experienced some gallstone attacks, also known as flare-ups. Gallstones form in the gallbladder, in fact many people (20%) have them. Sometimes (about 1% of the time) these gallstones move to block a duct in the gallbladder causing extreme pain, this is then considered a medical emergency - which makes me feel better about ending up at the hospital when it happened to me.
Sometimes this blockage can lead to infection and inflammation of the gallbladder, which requires emergency surgery to remove the organ imminently. This is not the case for me. However, I will need to have my gallbladder removed since I am now considered to have gallbladder disease. The attacks will continue and if the stones pass through the ducts in the gallbladder into other areas than more serious complications can occur. I have been given an appointment with a general surgeon next week.

In the meantime, I was prescribed some strong pain killer medication to take if another attack occurs and given some suggestions as to how to eat to possibly avoid the attacks, though a lot of what I have read is contradictory. What I am trying while I wait to have the pesky thing removed is multiple (6-8) very small meals each day of low fat foods, mainly fruit and vegetables. I am not eating anything that is high in fat, and am not having caffeine, or anything carbonated, deep fried, or overly processed.

A Painful Weekend

My Weekend
Both of my Saturday and Sunday evenings this past weekend were spent moaning in bed, sadly, not in a good way. I couldn't really figure it out, but my stomach really hurt! I had assumed it was related to what I ate, especially the first night because I had followed an early fish and chips dinner with a bag of potato chips. I then went into a few hours of abdominal pain, similar to what I have felt with food poisoning, menstrual cramps, gas pain, or indigestion in the past. So I figured it was something along those lines and spent time lying on my stomach, or back with my knees up, waiting for it to stop. It didn't stop and I ended up throwing everything up. It was pretty much the same story Sunday night again.

Monday Morning
I was able to get to sleep both nights but awoke to the same pain on Monday. By this point my back was hurting so I had an early morning soak in an epson salt bath hoping to feel better. Jason was really insistent that I not go to work but since I couldn't figure out the cause of it I didn't think there was any point staying home, I also wasn't contagious. Hoping that just being in the office environment would prevent me from making my exasperated pain noises. Shortly after dropping Jason off at the Subway Station I was screaming in the car from the cramping, shooting, pain in my stomach/chest and back.

An Amazing Boss
I barely made it to my desk before having to retreat to the bathroom and then my car, the pain had continued to build and at this point was excruciating. I called Jason, who contacted my doctor's office and left work to come get me. My boss brought me my purse that I had left at my desk and was quite concerned to see me hunched beside the car. We waited for Jason and she kept me company as I paced, huffed, groaned, and gritted my teeth. The theory was a possible muscle spasm in my back. Jason was able to get me an appointment right away to see my doctor, whose clinic is conveniently close to work. My boss drove me over and we met Jason there.

At The Doctor's Office
"You seem quite uncomfortable," was my doctor's opening statement, a phrase that I proceeded to use throughout the rest of my morning. By the time she was seeing me I was dripping in sweat, a new added feature of embarrassment beyond the crying and other physical and verbal reactions to whatever was going on. It was difficult to lie down on the examining table, and extremely difficult to straighten my legs. There was no way to determine what was going on because I was "too guarded." All my abdominal muscles were flexed from the pain. She decided to send me to the emergency room because she was concerned it was something that needed to be diagnosed faster than doing outpatient testing, blood work, etc through the clinic. She thought it might be a stomach ulcer.

At The Hospital With My Husband
My first experience in a Toronto Hospital was a real eye opener. St. Joseph's was a lot different from emergency rooms I have been to in Ottawa, Brantford, or Paris. However, they still did a great job, and I got to call Jason my husband which is still quite a thrill. I was seen right away by, first a triage nurse, fast-track nurse, and then doctor. The doctor had the same issue that my physician had, my stomach was too firm to feel anything and I was in too much pain to locate the exact location of discomfort. It basically hurt between my shoulder blades, the center of my chest, and around the perimeter of my stomach. She sent me over to the normal waiting area with a request that the nurses there give me pain medication, take a blood sample, and send me for an ultrasound. She wanted to check quickly that it wasn't appendicitis.

The Morphine Drip
My care at St. Joe's came to a halt and I sat with Jason in a waiting area for a long time before someone got a chance to fill the doctor's orders. It was very busy. The pain slowly subsided and I wanted to return to my normal clinic and solve the issue as an out patient. Jason made me stay. I was given an IV, blood was taken and a bag of morphine was attached. (I didn't really need any pain medication at that point, the 'discomfort' had fallen from a 9 to a 3, however I was scared of everything starting to hurt again so I didn't decline the drugs.) They got me into the ultrasound area soon after that.

Ultrasound
The technician told me that she couldn't tell me anything and I would get the results from the doctor; the ultrasound really confused me because the wand was only moved over the top right portion of my stomach. Not where I would think the actual stomach was, and definitely not near where my mom has her appendix scar. I didn't ask questions, I was too tired and she had made it clear that she wasn't able to give answers anyway.

An Answer
We were sent back to the same waiting area and I worried it would be another long wait but it didn't end up being too bad. The doctor called me over, open the chart, and simply answered, "Well, you have multiple gallstones!" I was very glad to have an answer, even if I had no idea what it meant.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

In Memoriam In The Program

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


In Memoriam Page
Wedding Program 2016
Photos by myself and Stephanie Beach Photography
Layout by me using Canva

One of the pages in our massive wedding program was dedicated to my dad. You can see it below. It included my favourite photo of Dad that I took in Portugal, a photo taken by Steph that was included in her Photo Essay after Dad's death, the poem When Great Trees Fall by Maya Angelou, as well as the poem we had read at his funeral by Henry Van Dyke, which I have included below.


Gone From My Sight 

 I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, 
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts 
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. 
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck 
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. 

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone." 

Gone where? 

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, 
hull and spar as she was when she left my side. 
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. 
Her diminished size is in me -- not in her. 

 And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone," 
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices 
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!" 

And that is dying...

By Henry Van Dyke, 1904

Saturday, 1 October 2016

You Can Creep Her

I posted a couple of weeks ago that Two has an Instagram account.I have realized that since her account is public you don't even have to have Instagram to see all the pictures! So I have included a link to them over on the left. Visit her profile often, there tends to be a new photo daily and all the comments with them are written in her 'voice.' If you click the photos you can read the comments.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Our Vows, Part 2

Quite a few people read both sets of vows before our wedding, so I knew Jason's were going to be good (since everyone kept saying they were.) He did not disappoint, we were both in tears.

These are his:

I love you because you always lose at Rock, Paper, Scissors. 
Because I love you, I will not take it easy on you and just let you win. 
[Author’s note – I better have won!] 

I love you because of your enthusiasm for travel. 
Because I love you, I promise to take and enjoy new adventures across the world with you, and fill our map with pins. 

I love you because you are thoughtful, open, and honest. If it happened, it’s on your blog. 
Because I love you, I promise to bring the same qualities to our marriage. Minus the blog. 

I love you because you meet challenges head on with determination, practicality, and a list. 
Because I love you, I promise to respect you, encourage you, and cheer for you. I will even help make the lists. 

I love you and all that we have accomplished together. Buying and renovating a house would have been terrifying alone. With you it was a joy. 
Because I love you, I promise to be your partner in our life so we can conquer these terrifying life changes together. 

I love you because you are mine. 
Because I love you, I am yours.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A Little Preview Of Our Photos

Steph has released the Sneak Peek of our photos on her blog! I haven't posted any photos yet of the wedding because I knew her's would be the best, so wanted to wait until I could direct people over to see them.

My mom has also written about both days of the wedding on her blog, and included a lot of photos. You can read about both Day One at City Hall and our wedding day on The Island and at The Pub.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Our Vows, Part 1

Jason and I agreed on a format for the wedding vows that we wrote - 6 pairs of statements. Each of the 6 vows would start by stating "I love you because.." with reasons why we love the other person, followed by a promise phrased "Because I love you..."

We wanted to be surprised up at the alter (not that we had an alter at our wedding) so we separately wrote them and didn't show each other. So that our guests could follow along with what we were saying, and so we could have a nice copy of them for prosperity, we did have them published in our program. We both submitted them to Kristen who covered them in all our proof reads and edits of the document.

These were mine:

Jason, I love you because you are fun and playful. 
Because I love you, I will not have an expectation that you must entertain me. 

I love you because you don’t let me get away with everything. 
Because I love you, I will not manipulate or lie to you. 

I love you because you are smart, hard working, and constantly reading. 
Because I love you, I will give you the space and quiet needed to be yourself. 

I love you because you have witnessed my grief and held my hand. 
Because I love you, I will work hard to stay healthy so you won’t experience my depression. 

I love you because you are kind and affectionate. 
Because I love you, I will build a family with you. 

I love you because you make me feel so calm. You are my home. 
Because I love you, I will support you, care for you, and share my life with you, as your partner - always.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

My Big Extended Family

I have never considered my family particularly large, but when mapping it out I discovered it is a good size. I made a family tree, with photos, for our wedding program. I have used names in italics to indicate what I use to refer to my relatives, which is sometimes not their real names. Birth years for my cousins, nephew and niece are included, as well as, the years various couples got married. The banner at the top is just a collection of old photos of my relatives with the a rough estimate of the year they were taken. Check it out:

My Family Tree
Made by ME using Canva
Click image to view it larger.

And before you try to correct me, yes that is the way to spell my grandmother's name. Most people are Bernice but she has an extra 'e' and is Berneice.

Also, I have a hard time with my grandfather's name, since it is actually 'Alex.' However he died before my parents were even engaged so I only know him through family stories, and he was called 'Alec' and that 'ek' sound is so distinctive to my connection to his memory that it feels wrong to use the 'x'.

It was amazing to have everyone (living) from the above family free present at our wedding this weekend. As we get older and more relatives live further away this is becoming a very rare occurrence.

Monday, 26 September 2016

It Is Monday And I Am Married

Jason and I had our wedding this weekend. Everything was such a blur, my head is still spinning. I really don't feel ready to go back to work tomorrow and just want to spend some more time hanging out.

It feels amazing to be married and there is a small difference. I think it was something that was missing from our relationship, especially these last few months. Content, whole, calm, happy, complete - would all be used to describe how I am feeling today.

The wedding event itself was a multi-day crazy affair that was bigger and better than I could have even imaged. I will share stories and photos in the coming days.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

I AM An Intrrobang?!

A co-worker shared a survey with the Marketing Team called What's Your Punctuation Mark? It was a quick quiz and I got "interrobang.' In fact each member of our four-person team got a different type of punctuation and the tiny write ups were cute. Mine was especially accurate, "Inquisitive. Confident. Often surprised." I had never heard of an interrobang before, it looks like an exclamation mark overlapping with a question mark, but can be represented with ?! as well. I like the idea that I am a punctuation mark used to show "asking a question in an excited manner."

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Martin's Crispy Apple Chips

My latest obsession was introduced to me by Laura at work, Martin's Crispy Apple Chips, which she buys at Costco but since then I have found smaller bags at The Canadian Superstore and Starbucks. The ingredients just say "apples" but they are so good it is hard to believe. This is a shot of me after we went to The Canadian Superstore, specifically to purchase these chips, I pretty much cleared out the store:
Me & My Apple Chips
Photo by Jason

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Two's On Instagram

I don't really understand the platform, but she seems to like it.
Follow her HERE

Monday, 12 September 2016

Wedding Website Is Done!

Wedding prep has been a challenging and overwhelming task at times. I posted first about our Wedding Website when I was talking about the amazing drawings that my cousins did. I have included the link to the left since early this year. I think most people who read Always Standing have been invited. (Though there might still be the occasional lurker from my past, who I appreciate and wish would comment.)

Like most things with the wedding, I had big plans, big dreams about the website but didn't find the time, talent, or patience to see them through. However, again like most things with the wedding, the end result is still exciting.

Check it out at:

Obviously the best part are the witty responses from our wedding party. So be sure to read that page.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Good Morning

Me: I slept in..
Jason: Umm, yeah, a little bit.
Time: 2:54pm

On a side note, Jason woke up at 6:30am this morning to meet a friend down at the waterfront for an early morning bike ride. By the time he got back to the house, around 10:30, he had cycled for almost 3 hours and gone a total 85km.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Motherhood - Be Quiet

This was posted by Meg on Facebook a while ago and it really hit home. The things that people have said to me when I mention wanting to only have one child are frequently appaling and often hurtful, and my plans are all in the hypothetical. It would be so much worse if any of the situations below were my current reality.

With our wedding approaching I thought it was a good time to post this - these types of events tend to lend themselves to people asking invasive questions and sharing upsetting comments (with good intentions but hurtful just the same.)

The original piece is entitled Mind Your Own Womb and was written by Nadirah Angail. I have adapted it considerably so please go read her version as well. The main thing that neither address is the possibility that the women doesn't want children at all. Both versions are based around a female experience but this isn't a gender thing, it is a family thing. Man can hurt just as much from inappropriate questions about parenthood.

Be Quiet

Somewhere there is a woman: 36, no children. 
People ask her, “Still no kids?” Her response varies from day to day, but it usually includes forced smiles and restraint. “Nope, not yet,” she says with a chuckle, muffling her frustration. “Well, don’t wait forever. That clock is ticking, ya know,” they say before departing, happy for imparting such erudite wisdom. They leave and the woman stops holding her smile. Why couldn't they be quiet. They don't know her pain, they don't understand her reality. She is hurt and frustrated and this conversation doesn't address the truth that...
- she’s been pregnant 4 times and miscarried every one
- she started trying for a baby on her wedding night, and that was 5 years ago
- her husband has an ex-wife and she has given him children
- she wants desperately to try invitro but can’t even afford the deposit
- she’s done multiple types of fertility testing and treatments and still has no children
- this issue causes friction in her marriage
- all her sisters have children and one of them didn’t even want children
- her best friend is pregnant and she just got invited to another baby shower
- her mother keeps asking
- her in-laws want to be grandparents
- her neighbor has twins and treats them like shit
- 16-year-olds get pregnant without trying
- she’s already picked out names
- there’s an empty room in her house
- there is an empty space in her body
- she has so much to offer
- her husband would be a great dad
- she would be a great mother, but isn’t. 

Somewhere else is another woman: 35, one child. 
People say to her, “Only one? You never wanted any more?” “I’m happy with my one,” she says calmly, a rehearsed response she’s given more times than she can count. Quite believable but she wishes they had just stayed quiet. No one would ever suspect that the question cuts through her normally happy life. That just a simple comment can bring back the dark reality that this is the very thing keeping her up at night. It is difficult reminder because...
- her one pregnancy was a miracle
- her son still asks for a brother or sister
- she always wanted at least three
- her second pregnancy had to be terminated to save her life 
- her doctor says it would be “high-risk” 
- she’s struggling to care for the one she has
- sometimes one feels like two
- her husband won’t even entertain the thought of another
- her family thinks one is enough and wouldn't support more 
- she’s deep into her career and can’t step away
- she feels selfish
- her postpartum depression was so intense
- she can’t imagine going through everything again
- she has body issues and pregnancy only exacerbates it
- she had to have a hysterectomy
- she wants another baby, but can’t have it.

Another woman: 34, five children. 
People say to her, “Five? Good lord, I hope you’re done!” And then they laugh… because those types of comments are funny. The woman laughs too, but not in earnest. She would have preferred them to be quiet. She changes the subject, as she always does, and gives the disrespect a pass. Just another encounter with this frustrating attitude towards her family. It hurts her because...
- she’s pregnant with another and feels like she has to hide the joy
- she always wanted a big family and doesn’t see why people seem so disturbed by it
- she has no siblings and felt profoundly lonely as a child
- her Granny had 12 and she’d love to be just like her
- she couldn’t imagine life without her children, but people treat her like they’re a punishment
- she doesn’t want to be pitied
- people assume this isn’t what she wanted
- they assume she’s just irresponsible
- they believe she has no say
- she feels misunderstood
- she’s tired of defending her private choices
- she and her husband are perfectly capable of supporting their family but that doesn’t seem to matter
- she’s tired of the “funny” comments
- she minds her own business and wishes others would mind theirs
- sometimes she doubts herself and wonders if she should have stopped two kids ago
- others are quick to offer criticism and slow to offer help
- she’s sick of the scrutiny
- she’s not a side show
- people are rude and so many seem to have opinions on her private life
- all she wants to do is live in peace

These women are everywhere. They are our neighbors, our friends, our sisters, our co-workers, our cousins. They have no use for our advice or opinions. Their reproductive lives are their own. You probably don't know the truth behind the simple reality of 5 or 4 or 3 or 2 or 1 or no children in someone's life. Let them share if they want to. Don't ask, don't comment. Just. Be. Quiet.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Rusty On Caturday

Looking Magnificent
Rusty on a suitcase - 2016
Photo by Aunty Laura

Friday, 26 August 2016

Biking Photos

It seems like I can take good photos while biking! Check this out from this past weekend's triathlon:
Me Biking - 2016 Toronto Island Try-Tri
Multisport Canada Toronto Island Triathlon
August 20, 2016
Photo by ZoomPhoto

Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Bag Boy

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

As I mentioned yesterday, I have now done the Toronto Island Try-Tri three times. The first time in 2013 was only a few months before my dad's unexpected death. He had accompanied Mom, Jason, Teri, K, and I to the island to cheer us on and watch our stuff while we competed. When writing yesterday I came across the fact that Dad's last comment on Always Standing had been about my race that year.

Doing the race for the second time in 2015 was really difficult, I remember getting emotional on the last stretch of the run. I hoped he was proud that I was still doing this type of thing. I was sad that he missed the chance to hang out with a bigger group since more people came last year. I missed seeing his smiling face in the crowd. I think I held it together for the most part after the race.

This year was different. I was a mess after I finished running. I actually hadn't thought about it until I crossed the finish line and then it was a rush of emotion. Three years ago he had been there; now I picture his face but can't hear his voice in my head anymore. I know he is cheering me on but I forget what that sounds like. I miss his support and his energy. I cried for a long long time as I sat in the shade after I finished this year.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Third Time Today

I don't know how I missed blogging about it last year, but I did the Toronto Island Triathlon for a second time and today I did it again for a third.

In 2013, Mom, Jason, Teri, K, and I went to the island for our first triathlon. The event is in August, but I didn't end up blogging about it until October.

Then in 2014, I had planned to do it. Jason and I actually signed up even though it would mean returning early from our Killbear camping trip. Then Jason hurt his ankle, and I was having such a nice time up north we decided to skip it.

Last year, a bunch of us did it again. We launched what I anticipate to be Meg's illustrious triathlon career, Teri and Jason joined me in doing it a second time, and we convinced Matty to come out at the last minute. It turns out I never posted about this, even though we had done a fun training session at the cottage, and I improved my times in almost all the areas, and there was a great picture of me biking!

Me Biking - 2015 Toronto Island Try-Tri
Multisport Canada Toronto Island Triathalon
August 22, 2015
Photo by ZoomPhoto