Thursday, 31 March 2016

Not Quite Right

Our garage is getting new electrical done, to bring it to code and bring more light to the property. We have added two external lights onto it. The first in the front, above the car door, that will hopefully light the driveway. The second is beside the 'man door' as my mom calls them, which will give light to the backyard. (We had exterior lights added to the side and back of the house too.)

Jason and I went out to buy the various interior and exterior light fixtures that were needed for the renovation. We brought some from Rrunuv Bayit, some where already at Casa Verde, but the addition of fixtures and general ugliness of some that were here - meant shopping!!

We hadn't really noted the type of space available for the exterior light beside the 'man door' of the garage. We labeled all the boxes with their locations and left them for the electricians to install. We returned a few days later to this...which doesn't really look quite right...
They have since fixed the issue by switching it with one of the other exterior lights we purchased, that was designed to hang downwards. (Unfortunately it isn't a sensor one now, which is what we had wanted in this spot.)

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Friends Or Bullies?

"It’s the story of a family man, a man of science, a genius who fell in with the wrong crowd. He slowly descends into madness and desperation, lead by his own egotism. With one mishap after another, he becomes a monster. I’m talking, of course, about Friends and its tragic hero, Ross Geller. You may see it as a comedy, but I cannot laugh with you. To me, Friends signals a harsh embrace of anti-intellectualism in America, where a gifted and intelligent man is persecuted by his idiot compatriots."

--- David Hopkins,
How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization

Office Sneak Peek

This past weekend Aunty Nicky and Uncle Dabo came into Toronto to help Jason and I with Casa Verde (Jason's dad, David, also stopped by as well.) Keep coming back to Always Standing for some fun before and after images of our renovations, especially since, with having the amazing help over Easter, we have really moved ahead in a lot of areas.

In connection with this 'sneak peek' photo, I want to thank Aunty Nicky for:
- inspiring my idea for the office (she did a similar thing in Kev's room when he was younger)
- understanding my vision as I described it
- being positive, supportive and excited about our house and reno projects
- providing helpful suggestions about colour placement, angles, style, etc
- helping paint for hours upon hours over the weekend (including doing two coats on the bitch of a built in desk)
- gifting Jason and I with great painting tools, and a chalk line
- guiding me on the use of said chalk line
- assisting in perfectly creating something a little bit special for what was previously a pretty beat up and uninspiring room
Thank you so much Aunty Nicky!! I love it (and you.) 

There is still some trim to install and paint, along with a few other final touches, I will do a proper 'before and after' for this room when it is totally done.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

March Birthday Babes

Happy Birthday today to Steph!! 

Steph in our bunk!
London trip, January 2008
Photo by ME

Not that many people born in March, and I am sure that I am missing some, but according to my planner, there are the following:

- Granny?
- Aunty Laura, March 14
- Maya, March 18
- Anna, March 27
- Steph, March 29 

I am heading to Ottawa this coming weekend to quickly celebrate with the later two on that list!

Monday, 28 March 2016


I caught mild flu (really just a low-level fever and the aches and pains that go with that) which I have been battling since Wednesday. We are also working on the house a lot at the moment. So for these reasons I haven't posted for a while.

I didn't go AWOL (a-wall) since that stands for Absent WithOut Leave, and because I run Always Standing, I gave myself leave from it. I realized that for the past few years I have been saying A.O.L. for this concept, but that isn't right! No one says A.W.O.L., they make it a word/phrase A Wall. Also, AOL is nothing, it is just an old internet company America OnLine.

AFK is from the gaming/chat world and stands for Away From Keyboard. Jason and I have been watching The Guild on Netflix right now, so that is where the gaming short hand is coming from.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Removing The Verde

Here is another Before and After shot of Casa Verde:
Eaves: From Green To Black
Casa Verde - March 2016
Thank you North Shore Eavestroughing!

The change is pretty minor, and actually the before picture is nicer with the blue sky and summer foliage, but we are really happy with the black eavestroughs we just got installed! We replaced them not to change the look but because they were very damaged - the improvement in colour was a nice bonus.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Who Even Are You?

Jason started a new job yesterday. He came home with a MacBookPro and is going to be getting a new iPhone as well. I couldn't believe it! I knew that if he stayed with his previous job his plan was to change his equipment at the next upgrade over to Apple products, but I think part of me thought he was joking.

How can a computer programmer want a Mac? Maybe he doesn't spend a lot of time in Excel, using spreadsheets is way easier on PCs, I don't like the Apple version at all, even the Microsoft releases for Macs is bad.

I guess I have never really ranted against Apple products on Always Standing before. Just some quick mentions that they are difficult to get used to and leave me feeling lost. I don't really like Apple as a company or its products. (Even though I once raved about an iPad - that was before I had seen other tablets.) I don't have time to get into it right now but I am a PC girl to the end!

Also, I gather that the woman who narrates the new iPhone (iPhone 6s) commercials sounds like me, especially the one about the moving photos feature. Check it out HERE and let me know.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Cadence At The Equinox

Happy Spring
Cadence on Sunday March 20, 2016
Photo by Taylor

I didn't know that yesterday was the first day of spring, I am really bad about following the Spring and Fall equinox. And there is so much to learn about the first day of spring and equinoxes (equinoxi?) Also it turns out that in the Summer and Winter it is a Solstice and not an Equinox, I thought the words were interchangeable.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Down, I Tell Ya

The walls are down, I repeat, the walls are down!

It has taken 19 days from the first point of demo to the shop vac today, but I can officially say that the basement at Casa Verde has now been gutted. Check out the progression in the bedroom, from our inspection day to this afternoon's final clear out.
Basement Bedroom
South-West Corner, Lower Level, Casa Verde

Thank you to our friends and family members who have been so supportive with the purchase and renovations of Casa Verde. The many helping hands are so very very appreciated!! This is just the beginning.

And I Miss You

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

rings true
a song from my childhood
that reminds me of Dad
Everything But The Girl (1994)
sounds like Sade but isn't
I wonder if he knew

I miss you
than the deserts 
miss the rain

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Throw Back Post - Binx And Mice

In a follow up to the last post, here are some stories of Binx and her fun with mice over the years:
- Mouse Crisis
- Mouse Crisis, Part Two
- CRISIS, Mouse Crisis, Part Three
- Mouse Crisis, Part Four (She ignored it in this one.)
- Mouse Crisis, Part Five

And this cute one of Two
- An Urban Mouse Catcher
According to Aunty Laura, Rusty also likes to play with computer mice and hides her's under the furniture.

Hopefully A Killer?

The same comic who created How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you has a more recent post about how much cats actually kill. His observations stem from research done with attached cameras on house cats. The researchers found that one in three cats killed prey. Be sure to read the piece - it is really funny, in a scary way.

It has me wondering about Two though - will she be the one in three that is capable of killing? (Binx was.) The research seems to have followed house cats that were allowed to hunt outside, and I am curious what the numbers would be for indoor cats and their interactions with mice? Two hasn't experienced any mice yet because we don't have any at Rrunuv Bayit. Sometimes she tries to follow a small spider around but in general this apartment doesn't have mice, bugs or pests.

Casa Verde will be a different story though. We have found evidence of mice in the basement during our demo processes. So far we haven't seen any but with a house that old it will definitely be something we'll have to deal with at some point. I hope that Two is helpful but at the same time it is so awful to hear and find a cat's 'kill' that I almost wish that she would turn out to be the type to ignore them. Hopefully just her presence will be enough - all mice can just go find a cat-free house to live in.

Friday, 18 March 2016

The Best Kind Of 3am Call

Jason woke up me up shortly after 3am this morning and handed me his cell phone. Mike had called him trying to get a hold of me. Aimee had just given birth to their second child!

Mike Holding Maya
Photo by Aimee (I think)
Friday March 18, 2016

I have in my planner that Aimee was actually due on April 10th so this morning was a bit early in more ways than one. Just 2 days shy of full term she is technically considered premature (Late Preterm). Because of this the doctors are running a bunch of extra tests but thus far everything is coming back looking good.

It is a girl! They have named her Maya Quinn Sweeton and she was born at a weight of 7lbs 14oz and is 20in long. Aimee felt like she was going into labour at 11pm last night so Avery went to their day care provider and Mike and Aimee went to the hospital. Maya was born shortly after 1am (Mountain Time). It went so fast that Aimee wasn't able to get an epidural (which I am sure she wasn't too happy about.) Glad to hear everyone is healthy and doing well, can't wait to meet my new niece!!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Needing Alternatives

Yesterday, in my rant against publicly funded Catholic Schools in Ontario, I referenced that I see one advantage to the system. The positive that I see is that it provides a second school choice and it provides it everywhere.

Growing up some students would switch to attend high school in the Catholic system, which meant taking a bus from Paris into Brantford. Sometimes it was a case of not wanting to attend PDHS, or no longer wanting to attend PDHS, or other reasons. A switch of schools, without having to move, is a nice option to have available.

Without the Catholic Boards across the province there wouldn't really be that place to switch to (or from) if the child or parent felt a change was necessary. Poor behavior, disagreements with teachers or administration, bullying, a bad group of friends, even easier commutes, could all be reasons to leave one school and want to try another.

In Toronto, the main school board offers French Immersion or specialized Academies for kids who are Elementary age. These might work for some kids but not ones struggling academically, there are also Alternative choices. In Toronto these options are available and often fairly close by, in other parts of Ontario that isn't the case.

It is nice to have a second 'normal/basic' school to switch too. It is very difficult to have a child go to a school in a different district than assigned in Toronto. - The Toronto Star wrote an article about this. If I was faced with these types of decisions as a parent I wouldn't switch my child into the Catholic system, but I know lots of parents who would do it or who have done it - it is nice to have that easy alternative.

But is it worth the unfairness it shows to all other religions whose school systems don't get funding and must be run privately? I personally don't think so.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Get Your Crucifix Out Of My Pocket

I cannot believe that the Ontario Provincial Government is still funding a Catholic School Board. (I also think it is amazing that the Lord's Prayer was read in my public school growing up.)

 I read a good piece about this in yesterday's Metro newspaper. I agree with everything that Samantha Emann says, including:

"Publicly funded Catholic schools are unfair to Canada’s many other religious groups and cultures. Funding all religious schools equally would be a logistical nightmare, and in my view, public services should be affirmatively secular." 

"Some Catholic schools’ boards, trustees, teachers and advising clergy have a record of discriminatory, socially regressive efforts to hinder advances made in the interest of student safety and learning."

I hadn't even thought about the cost factor, of course it is more expensive to have both and merging them could save tax payer money. As a tax payer I am angered that my money is going to provide teaching in the Catholic faith but not other religions. It needs to be an all or nothing situation. Apparently British Colombia funds different denominations. I can see that while option would be logistically challenging, at least it is fair. The current system is not fair.

In terms of dismantling it, which I hope happens sooner rather than later, if the percentages listed in the article are correct there isn't strong enough opposition at this time. Yes 51% wanting to end the public funding for Catholic schools is technically a majority but only barely. Also, 38% wanting to continue it is really powerful, and needs to be listened to. I guess it isn't time yet.

I do see one advantage to having the publicly funded Catholic School Board in Ontario - I will post about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Paying For It

Our first mortgage payment came out today. Wow, what a rush to see it show up when I checked our online banking. It feels so grown up and scary. It is overwhelming to think how big our debt now is and how long it will take for us to pay it off. Luckily the mortgage has lots of features that let us increase payments, put large amounts against it, and such. However, owning a house still feels pretty daunting.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Indie Band Name

I read somewhere online that the name of your 'indie' band should be the colour of the underwear you are wearing today and the last thing you ate. Therefore mine is:


I think that sounds pretty moody and appropriate as a band name. Technically it was cottage cheese but that doesn't sound quite as good. I will never be in a band though, since I lack all musical abilities. Feel free to steal the name though. Tell me yours in the comments.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Dad's Walk

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

On our way home from the cottage today, Kristen, Tessa, and I were talking about checking out the little walking trail on the causeway. I have done the loop with Yen a long time ago. There were a lot of frogs so I haven't really done it since. It is a nice 2km path so we probably will check it out as a group when we head back to Long Point next month.

I also really want to do the hiking trails that run between the cemetery and the Bird Studies Canada headquarters. Every time I have wanted to do it the paths have been so muddy. It was part of what is so nice about my dad's grave site is that his headstone is right near the entrance to those hiking trails.

Casa Verde Colours - Upstairs

Jason and my bed is grey, so I thought I would use that colour on the walls as well in our bedroom. Casa Verda has a really big master bedroom, it stretch across the entire front of the house, except for the part that is the walk-in closet (that has a window in it for some reason.) I like that the Blank Paper colour has a touch of green in it. I had been considering putting a forest green on one of the walls but with the size of the room and the amount of furniture it would have been to much. The subtle grey is a better choice.

I couldn't find a good room on the Colour Visualizer to represent the office so I am just going to show the three colours that will be used. It is the same two pale ones from the bedroom but adding a really nice deep grey as well. I hope to do some type of painted geometric design with them but I am waiting to discuss that with Aunty Nicky.

Paper Productivity

On a quick step away from all the house related posts, I went to The Cottage this weekend to work on some wedding preparations. 

In order to keep our budget down, Jason and I are trying a lot of tips and techniques to cut costs. One of those is to do your own flowers. It was hard to find a good cost estimate but I knew that this was is an area that can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000. It all depends on what specific flowers are chosen, whether they are in season locally or not, size and number of bouquets needed, and if any decorations or centerpieces are getting made.

Both Kristen and Jenn found ways to save on flower costs but still have beautiful fresh flower bouquets. Jenn got her's done by a grocery store florist, I know because I picked them up for her. Kristen's mom put her's together the morning of the wedding from flowers bought at a farmers' market. These would have been smart options for us as well but as soon as fresh flowers are used it means more work and organization on the actual day - bouquets using other materials can be done well ahead of time and don't add to the day-of organization.

So this weekend, using some outdated brochures that were going to get thrown away, Teri, K, Tessa, Kristen, Jeska, and I gathered glue guns and scissors around the dining room table down at Long Point and got to work. And work we did! Jason and I have a large wedding party so that meant EIGHT bouquets to make yesterday. We finished and they look great. See the photo above - paper roses, mainly in blue. One more thing to check off the list of things to do before the wedding.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Casa Verde Colours - Living and Dining

The plan for the the Living and Dining Rooms will be the reverse of what is depicted in the photo above. This colour visualization suggests that the living room with be the red colour but that won't be the case at Casa Verde - I wanted to show that it will just be a hint in the distance so the photo worked better in reverse.

The living room at the front of the house will be painted the creamy pale brown (yes, I know that is basically beige) called Chai. Two walls in the Dining Room have a plate rail (a shelf/moulding that runs horizontally along the wall up high - about 2 feet from the crown moulding/ceiling.) The walls without the chair rail, and the space below the chair rail will also be the Chai colour. The smaller wall portion above the rail will feature the red. This will tie the room nicely to the kitchen that also uses that colour as an accent.

The trim for both rooms will be the pale off-white that is the main colour in the kitchen. It is called Worth Your Salt and looks quite dark as a 'paint chip' in the bottom right corner of the image above. However, it shows up as a white in the depiction of the room next to the Chai walls. The physical paint chip shows that it is might lighter as well. Computers aren't the best when it comes to showing colour but I really loved using the Colour Visualizer tool.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Casa Verde Colours - Kitchen

The kitchen is in decent shape at Casa Verde. The cabinets have a pale-brown-fake-wood-thing going on that looks clean and not horribly dated. Obviously it is not nearly as nice as the kitchen in the photo above; it doesn't have marble counter tops, in fact the counters are mottled red, black, and brown. I hope the red, which will be less prominent than is suggested above, gives the room a Spanish or Italian feel.

Casa Verde Colours - Like Baby Names

In the mid-1990s it became common place for expectant parents to learn the sex of their unborn child. This information wasn't offered (or maybe wasn't available) to my parents who were surprised with the birth of a girl (ME!) in 1984 followed by a boy (Mike) in 1987. Now, though not 100% accurate, parents are asked if they want to know.

I will make a side note about the fact that they are finding out the sex and not the gender, gender is a construct and the baby may identify with a different gender than their biological sex suggests.

Even though the information about the sex is offered, some people choose to still be surprised; like Taylor and Mark with Cadence, as well as, Mike and Aimee with Avery and my second nibling. Another recent pattern I have seen is finding out (and sharing) what the sex will be, but not the name. I really understand this one - people share their opinions, at times harshly, when the name is still in the 'we were thinking of X for a girl and Y for a boy' stage. However, once the baby is actually named people are less likely to tell the parents how much they don't like it.

I am finding the same with paint colours for Casa Verde, when I was just at the stage of looking at and choosing colours - everyone shared their strong opinions. I was sad to hear that 'accent walls' are no longer on trend and that beige is dated, though I suspected the later. I have been encourage to do whites and bring colour in decor instead of paint. Also grey. Apparently grey is very 'in' right now, which is good since I like grey and silver a lot. Kristen and I made the main wall in Runuv Bayit grey, it stretches through the kitchen and along the back hallway. After Kristen and Noah moved out, I changed the yellow wall in their bedroom to be grey, as seen in this Rasta photo. Lastly, I recently redid the kitchen with silver, covering up the pink/peach. Needless to say, I will be bringing grey to Casa Verde.

The colours for 5 of the rooms at Casa Verde have been chosen! Jason and his mom will go and buy the paint tomorrow so that we can take advantage of a sale that is happening. I have scheduled some posts on Always Standing that will happen this weekend that give you a taste of the colours I've picked. Using the super fun Colour Visualizer from Home Hardware I was able to put together a decent depiction of my colour plans. Now please remember to be nice about my choices; this baby has been named, aka these paints are purchased.

The actual painting will happen soon! Aunty Nicky is coming over Easter to help us paint the master bedroom, office, living room, dining room, and kitchen. The main hallway will need to be done by professionals at some point with scaffolding, but it is fine as it is for now. When we are done with the laundry room we will pick a colour for it but that will be well after we move in. I also plan to just use leftover paint in the colours already selected to do the suite in the basement when that renovation is finished.

Stay tuned for images of the Casa Verde Colours.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Bit Of A Change?

I decided to refresh the look of Always Standing, since I realized it has looked like this:

for a long time. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Be Smile

I enjoy running across badly translated English. I saw the following on a website for a hotel in China:
Join us NOW!
Be surprised.
Be satisfied.
Be smile!

At work we are in the process of doing the opposite. We are getting ready to launch the Chinese version of our website, hopefully we get the translation edited properly. Ideally we will not make mistakes in Mandarin that end up reading like the section quoted above. However, I like the idea of "Be smile!" it is a good goal or life motto.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Stuck In The Oven Drawer

"This kid is going to be the death of me!"
Photo of Avery by Aimee
March 2016

Sunday, 6 March 2016


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

Today we picked up a KFC for lunch - Jason's parents have been staying at Casa Verde this weekend and helping us with basement demo. We had wanted to get the amazing Fish and Chips again, from the local shop around the corner, but it is closed on Sundays.

I have many memories of being squished into the back seat of my Dad's blue Celica beside a paper bag of KFC, which would smell so good. I remember the car just being filled with the scent of fried chicken for the whole drive home across town. Sometimes we would go to Lions Park to have a picnic.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Demo Style

Demo started a little early. We invited some friends over this evening to see the house, have dinner together, and move a couple of appliances. Then, once the guys were in the coveralls, they couldn't help themselves from tearing up some flooring, pulling down parts of the ceiling, and demolishing walls. Totally understandable, how often do you get to destroy a whole portion of a house? And it seems like people are always doing it on TV!

Making Meth or Making a Mess?
Greg, Matty, Jason, and Rob
Friday March 4, 2016
Photo by Andrea

Thursday, 3 March 2016

TB - June 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.

This is such an interesting mouth to read. Also, I did 35 posts, my god! I made my first Found It post after losing something and finding it somewhere strange. It seems that I was into writing on Always Standing multiple times a day and making the posts very small. I guess I have gotten more long winded. Last Throwback Thursday I was wondering if  2007 was when I started at GeoConnections. When I read about starting an 'office job' it made me really wonder but I still wasn't sure. I was able to confirm it from the last post of the month where I quoted someone that I know was a co-worker there. So yes, 2007 was the summer that I started at GeoConnections, and I met ERin! (Anne joined us later on.) Then in September I made the decision to only do school part-time and stay working full-time. I am excited to read about all these big life choices that I made almost 10 years ago.

Noted Post: The quote from my brother about telling the truth. I remember being really close to him during this time in our lives. I miss that.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

New Blood Campaign

I have been a long time advocate of blood and organ donation. Ever since I have had a driver's license I have been a registered organ donor. However, it took me a bit longer to donate blood. My first trip to Canadian Blood Services was with JennB in 2010, and I am ever grateful to her for dragging my 25-year-old scared little self to the clinic and kick starting the next 6 years of fairly regular visits.

Since I travel, and get low iron, and got a tattoo, there have been quiet a few visit where I have been ineligible to donate - but I still go, mainly because it seems easier to go and get rejected so that they stop calling me. Having O- blood makes me highly desirable, in the eyes of Canadian Blood Services at least.

I don't have time to type up a convincing "you should go donate" post at the moment but you should! Also, there is a new app for your cell phones that makes finding clinics and booking appointments super easy and convenient - I love it! They also have new branded band-aids for afterwards, check out the photo of my arm from my donation last week!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

So Many Milestones!

Today was a big day! Here is the list of the three big things that happened: Rings, Keys, and Fries! As I explained a while ago, Jason and I made our wedding rings at a metal workshop. I was leaving mine there to get them to adjust the shape since I didn't want a ring-shaped ring. The chevron style is the only type that I have ever liked on my hands. I got a call this morning that the jeweler had made the adjustment and the ring was ready to be picked up. Jason came and picked me up from work and we went over to get it. I love it so much, it fits perfectly and looks great.

After picking up the ring we needed to pick up the keys to Casa Verde. We closed today on our first house - such an overwhelming thought. We then hung out at the empty house for the evening and had a locksmith switch the keys for us. This is the new set, sitting on one of the pretty antique furnace grates:

Lastly, I broke my 'french fry fast' this evening when we celebrated the new house by eating Fish and Chips from a local place. In fact the owner welcomed us to the neighbourhood and offered to lend us tools. It will be dangerous having his shop (delicious food) so close, luckily it closes at 7 on most days so we won't make it home in time to eat there. We enjoyed our dinner sitting on the floor in our new dining room!
I had vowed to not eat a french fry until my wedding in September. I made this promise in May last year and have held true until tonight - that is 10 months!! Getting the house is such a big deal that it felt worthy of a fry-having-celebration. I have returned to my vow, though intend to also break it in June this year if Rob and Andrea decide to do a poutine bar at their wedding, until then no fries for me, and after that, no fries until September 24th.