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

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

- 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

- 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


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


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.