Thursday, 30 June 2016

She Found Me Again

Last year Nic went to the movies and thought I looked like Cinderella, now she thinks I am an astronaut. I appreciate the job promotion and the fact that all it takes is eyes and eyebrows to have my likeness.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

We Have A Logo

I made a logo for Casa Verde! I used Canva again to design it. I decided to make a logo because our tenant asked for rent receipts and I thought it would be nice to have a consistent letterhead each month. (Yes we have a tenant! She moves in this coming weekend.)

Monday, 27 June 2016

A Reno Game

There are a few different techniques for painting stairs that you need to be able to use, I chose to paint every-other stair for the basement. Then after it dries you can use the painted ones and do the others. 

Half-Painted Stairs
Basement Steps of Casa Verde
June 2016 - Photo by ME with my phone

This technique made getting in and out of the basement into a bit of a game - it reminds me of Mario Brothers. Jason does not like this game; he struggled to get up and down them. The bottom right of the photo shows me feet, wearing Reno Flats

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A Warm House

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

Jason and I had a housewarming party yesterday. It was nice to show people Casa Verde who had never seen it before and give others an update of the place now that it is no longer chaos.

I think Dad would have liked the house. I am having a hard time bringing his memory into the space and hope that hanging his photograph will help that. I can't decide if I want it in my bedroom again or put it in the living room this time.

I hope he would be impressed with all the work we are doing and the labour that comes from the challenge to be thrifty with our ever growing renovations. There are parts of Casa Verde that I know we would like: the main floor original hardwood floors, the beautiful staircase, moving the laundry upstairs, our cherry tree and garage in the backyard.

Also, I agree with Mom, I don't think he would ever be able to wrap his head around the value. The price would always bug him - I know we made a good purchase, but Toronto is crazy and I don't think he could get past the cost to truly enjoy Casa Verde.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Damn You Bob Barker

The house next door sold this week. We saw the SOLD sign go up and immediately started guessing what it had gone for. We knew that it had been listed sometime in May at $599,900. Jason was pretty sure that it been sold for around $575,000 since it was priced quite high and hadn't sold right away.

I didn't think our neighbours were in a rush to sell so would wait to get something close to what they had listed as asking. We made a bet with "Price Is Right Rules" and I decided that the buyers would need to have offered at least $585,000 to get the house, any lower than that would be too big of a discount off of the list price.

We get a daily email that provides all the GTA real estate sold data. It is interesting to keep on top of the market and also the houses have all sold so there is not hoping and falling in love with options, just research. When the listing update came through on the house next door it confirmed that it had sat on the market for a long time (by Toronto standards.) They didn't put a sign in their yard right away but it was officially for sale for 29 days. It sold for $584,000.

So Jason won, even though I feel like I was right, the annoying Bob Barker technicality that helps eliminate closest-to comparison math - screwed me.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Great First Nations Video

A follow up to yesterday's post on National Aboriginal Day, someone shared a great video on Facebook:

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Tulips Don't Even Deserve A Day

Another thing that happens on June 21st? National Aboriginal Day. I didn't add this into the previous post about the first day of summer and my Dad's birthday. Dad didn't have a particularly nice or empathetic view of indigenous populations in Canada and/or the USA. So, I thought it best to separate the posts because my father's racism was nuanced, complex, frustrating, and confusing.

But since it somehow came to my attention today that it was National Aboriginal Day in Canada, I wanted to make a post that recognized the culture and history of this vital population group.

A long time ago I saw a comedian, Don Kelly, at an Ottawa comedy club. As an aboriginal, part of his routine riffed on his heritage, It stuck with me for years, but I remember his funniest line:

"A  black friend of mine was complaining that Black History Month is in February, the coldest month of the year, the shortest month of the year. Hey, we get National Aboriginal Day, DAY! Tulips get a fucking week." --- Don Kelly

Most people know how I feel about tulips - I am not a fan. But in contrast to that, I really like and value Canada's indigenous population. Their contributions should be celebrated nationally, and it should definitely be a longer celebration than a single day.

Changing Seasons

My dad would be turning 62 today if he was still alive. I had to check all the dates and timelines and birthdays again with my mom on the phone this evening cause I still have a hard time believing that he was only 59 when he died - though I mentioned that fact when I spoke at his funeral, my mind seems to reject it.

I always associate the summer solstice with Dad's birthday since he was born on June 21st. I actually would normally wait until the radio or TV or friends or co-workers started talking about how it was the start of summer and I would know I should call him to wish him happy birthday.

Yes, Father's Day was Sunday, and his birthday is today, and it does feel like it has been a hard few days. It was harder last year when it all landed on the same day. Another difference this year, June 21st isn't the first day of summer. Everyone was talking about it on Monday, yesterday. I didn't know it moved. So, of course, I looked it up online:

A solstice happens when the sun's zenith is at its furthest point from the equator. On the June solstice, it reaches its northernmost point and the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.4 degrees. It's also known as the northern solstice because it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Even though most people consider June 21 as the date of the June Solstice, it can happen anytime between June 20 and June 22, depending on which time zone you're in. June 22 Solstices are rare - the last June 22 Solstice in took place in 1975 and there won't be another one until 2203. 

The varying dates of the solstice are mainly due to the calendar system – most western countries use the Gregorian calendar which has 365 days in a normal year and 366 days in a Leap Year. A tropical year, the time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun completely, is ca. 365.242199 days, but varies slightly from year to year because of the influence of other planets. The exact orbital and daily rotational motion of the Earth, such as the “wobble” in the Earth's axis, also contributes to the changing solstice dates.

I looked at all the summer solstice dates going back almost 50 years and forward more than 30, it usually is June 21st. Besides starting summer on June 20th this year, it always was a full moon, which had everyone quite excited - since it is pretty rare to have these things line up. I didn't notice anything special - just sadness, missing my Dad.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Oh Man, So Soon!!

I used to have to use a calendar or visit a website to figure out the time between dates, like I did for my trip to London.

But now, I have a countdown app on my phone, to be accurate it is a Days Left Widget. If something important or exciting is coming up then I start to track it on the main screen page of my phone. After the date passes the widget starts counting up, and telling you how many 'days since' it has been.

After our offer was accepted, I had a countdown going for the date we closed on Casa Verde. That was back in February but I am keeping the count going and think of it as the number of days that Jason and I have been homeowners. (According to my phone, that has been 111 days.)

So I also have one going for the wedding and last week it dipped down into the double digits. It was much more reassuring when it said 100 or more days until the event. Now it is only 96 days away and I feel like there is still so much to do!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

He's Gone, On Father's Day

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

When Great Trees Fall
By Maya Angelou 

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory,
suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Helpful Tuesday Links

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online has a list of common abbreviations. I found it when I wanted to know what the short form was for subscription (there are two options Subscr. or Subscript.)

However, it only includes words that are used in the OED so it doesn't have the abbreviations that recently tripped up K. She thought her friend was saying she had an 'appointment' near her, but really she was getting an 'apartment' nearby - big difference.

There is actually a bigger, better source that I should have used:

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Perfect Hardboiled Egg

I found out yesterday that Meg and I make hard-boiled eggs the same way. I think I learnt the technique from my Aunty Laura (at least in my head that is who taught me.) It is the easiest - though not the fastest - way.

-- Put eggs in a pot with water.
-- Put it on the stove and wait for it to boil.
-- Once it boils take it off the heat and let it cool naturally.

The issue is the waiting for it to cool on its own, but as that is happening the egg is still cooking so you can’t rush it along. I know a lot of people who do a timed boil and then artificially cool the eggs with cold running water (waste of water for one thing.)

I also don’t add anything to the water or do anything to make the eggs easier to peel, though I did read an interesting Buzzfeed article a while ago that tested what things made the peeling easier.

I should do a bunch of hard-boiled eggs so I always have healthy protein on hand to take for lunch. Though I wouldn’t be sure if I should store them shell on or shell off.

How do you make your eggs? 
Any tips for peeling and/or storing? 

 Side note: My favourite thing to do with hard-boiled eggs is Deviled Eggs, but that isn’t so healthy.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Skating Rinks On My Teeth

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

It was usually my dad that took me to the dentist, which was in Cambridge. We never switched it to a Paris one, I don’t know why. It was a long drive and we always went in the morning for the first appointment. I now automatically book the 8am slot for all my cleanings and dental work because I am so used to that being the norm. We then got dropped off at school and my Dad would go to work.

I remember at some point I went to get sealants put into my molars. The sealants were described to me as ‘skating rinks’ filling in the deep holes so that it would be easier to keep my teeth clean. Since this type of dental work is preventative and can be expensive I am surprised my Dad wanted me to get it done. I don’t think that Mike ended up having them later on – maybe it was a fad thing.

I was really really young so they must have been put into my baby teeth. The internet says that the ‘baby’ molars fall out between the ages of 10-13. That would mean people in middle school (which for me was at PDHS) were losing teeth, that seems really late in my mind. I must have had my molars filled in again when my adult teeth finished coming in. I remember the ‘skating rink’ explanation was given to me when I was child, not a pre-teen. So I got sealants twice!

They have worked well since I haven’t any cavities in my molars. I was told that they would only last for a few years (the internet says five years or more) but I actually still have one! I got x-rays done at the dentist last week and one showed up. It is going strong some 20 years later.

 They have this cool new thing too, where not only do they take the x-rays, but also little photos with a special stick. This tooth (coincidentally the one that has the bright white ‘skating rink’ on it) was photographed because it have a deep groove in the back that I am getting filled as a preventative measure. It won’t be done with sealant but a more permanent material.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

They All Are Angry

With friends scattered across the country (actually multiple countries) it is hard to stay in touch. I have tried a bunch of different techniques and lately my GeoConnection Girls (Anne and ERin) are using WhatsApp to chat. This week we tried to determine who had the most angry cat. There was no winner, we just lose; they are all angry and so disappointed in us.

Clockwise from Top Left
"Iz Hate You"
Photo by Me (Toronto)
"Sooo you feed me now?"
Photo by ERin (Edmonton)
Anne's Mom's Cat
"Not Enough Towels"
Photo by Anne (Calgary)

Friday, 10 June 2016

Welcome Aiden

Last month, a day before my own birthday, Ava became a big sister! Her new brother, Aiden, also has the best birth announcement / newborn photo that I have ever seen. It is basically a baby infographic (and I love me some visual representations of data.) Contrats to James and Mike - all my love!!
The only thing is that I can't tell from the picture if he was born at quarter after five in the morning or evening.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

A Shitty Correlation

I read somewhere that a correlation has been discovered between taking your cell phone with you to the bathroom and getting sick more often. It makes sense. I am guilty of this on occasion, it can be an easy way to pass the time, I think taking your cell to the toilet is one of those things that some people  feel really strongly against and super grossed out by - and now we know that those people are healthier.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016


I really need to practice better self-care. I keep saying it, self-care, self-care, self-care. But I haven't been following through. For me taking care of myself means ensuring the following things:
- Getting enough sleep (regularly having 9 hours a night)
- Eating well (no complex carbs like bread, pasta, or potatoes)
- Exercising three times a week (aka going to Cykl)

It is especially important to get back to spinning which I have almost stopped going to entirely. I would like to blame the fact that I have been so sick but really it has been a combination of that, working on house stuff, and just being lazy. I miss Tessa a lot, since it is the main way we get together. I also miss being able to climb a flight of stairs without losing my breath. I am going tonight!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Strength Of Words

Yesterday I read the brief article followed by the full statement from a sexual assault survivor in California, raped behind a dumpster while she was unconscious. It details a terrifying situation and shows the range of emotions that come with that type of experience: anger, fear, pain, helplessness, confusion, etc. It is detailed and well written. Having spread quickly across the internet it seems that this powerful statement, bravely written, read, and shared by the victim, is having an impact on many people. I don't know what change it might bring but I hope for something.

Read it: 

I see myself in her words, or a future child, or a friend or family member and it scares me. With no way to prevent it from this side the reassurance of law and justice provides little comfort when the courts so regularly fail rape victims.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Little Weekend Project

Warmth For The Mind
Stacked books in the fireplace at Casa Verde - June 2016
Photo by ME

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Dad's Cactus

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

My dad really loved cacti. He was always looking for the most photogenic one on trips. He also grew some at home. Mom is less fond of them so just over a year ago she let me take home the biggest one in his collection. She also moved most of the rest of them outside, under the guise of protecting the cat, but really I think that if they died a 'natural' death from the Canadian cold she would feel better about getting rid of them.

I am doing really well with Dad's cactus, it is was big already but has pushed over two feet tall since I brought it to Toronto. I have re-potted it, which is super challenging and involves multiple people, tongs, thick gloves, and lots of towels. It is also a pain to move since you can't hold it against your chest and the new pot is quite heavy. On the most recent move I got cut by one of the spikes and it bled forever.

Besides knowing that the spikes can be dangerous, there isn't much I really understood about the plant. I asked one of Jason's friends who is exceptionally knowledgeable about succulents (which cacti are.) I sent him some photos and he has said that it is for sure a Cereus cactus, which I want to pronounce as Serious Cactus, but that isn't the correct pronunciation unfortunately.

He also guesses that more specifically it is a cereus monstrose, which is an Apple Cactus. This is mainly in Peru and gets really great flowers, though mine never has. It can grow super tall so I am hoping to keep tending it well (even though it is a challenge to have in the house because of the spikes) so that it can get really big.

Saturday, 4 June 2016


After the ceremony, before the reception...
Jason and I at Rob and Andrea's Wedding
Corpus Christi Church, Toronto
Saturday June 4th, 2016

Another Cat On Caturday

While Jason and I were in Edmonton last month, Teri and Greg looked after Two for us. I like getting updates from them and here is a photo Teri sent me of Two with the caption, "Jealous of the hot calendar kittens." Dead on, that is exactly what her face is saying!!
"Vat iz dis vilth?"
Two and the Calendar - May 2016
Photo by Teri

This is what Two is probably saying in this moment. Note that she is addressing Greg (Grrek), while Two really likes Teri (Zheri), she still tends to love men a bit more: "Grrek, vat iz dis? Vi do yew rreeed zuch terrible sings? Voo iz she? Em I not enough vor you? You ave urt me, ow can oododis to me? Iz hate you!"

Friday, 3 June 2016

A Day Of Prep

Tomorrow is Rob and Andrea's wedding!! And, tonight I was asked to join in the Rehearsal events, both at the church and dinner afterwards. (Jason is Rob's Best Man.) Here is how I got ready, in my usual ADHD fashion is was scattered and done in stages. Note that between all these steps I would be off doing something else:

7:00am  - (At home) Had a bath
7:30am  - Put product into hair, then tied it up in a loose bun
7:35am  - Packed make-up and redid the stuff I keep in my purse
7:55am  - Put on red dress and black flats
8:50am  - (On Dufferin Bus) Take down hair from bun
9:05am  - (Bathroom breaks at work) Put clips in hair
11:30am - Put on pantyhose
12:55pm - Laura helps fix the clips in my hair
2:35pm  - Apply foundation and blush
3:50pm  - Put on eyeliner and mascara,
3:55pm  - Fix clips in my hair, again
4:05pm  - (On King Streetcar) Apply lipstick
4:45pm  - (In taxi) Switch flats for heels

Thursday, 2 June 2016

I Grew Things

I bought some bulbs at No Frills last fall and planted them beside the little front porch at Rrunuv Bayit. I think I actually used a spoon to dig the holes to push the bulbs down into. I liked the photo of the flowers on the front of the bag and I think there were 5 bulbs for $1. They are big purple balls on top of one long thick stalk that looks like something that would be on a far away planet or in a fairy's garden. 

I had seen them starting to grow before we moved over to Casa Verde and I was sad that I wouldn't get to see them flower. I stopped by the old apartment a couple of days ago and they looked so good, I can't believe I did something so simple that turned into something so magical! I am definitely going to do a lot of gardening with bulbs at the new place.

Allium In The Garden
Spring 2016 - Rrunuv Bayitt, Toronto
Photo by ME with my phone

I looked them up and it turns out they from the family of plants called Allium, which is the same as onions, leeks, etc. I can totally see that, they do remind me of a massive version of the flowers that chives get. I also want to plant lots of chive plants at the new place, not only are they delicious but so pretty!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

New Month

There are lots of new things happening in June:

I have a new job title! This is the second change since I started two years ago. The marketing department here is small, so the role is evolving and getting redefined as the work I do changes. I really enjoy the changes actually. I swear position title adjustments are one of the easiest, cheapest, HR paths to employee satisfaction. I don't know why more companies don't take advantage of this. Even better than the new job title is that my work here has moved from a contract position to a full-time one.

This month, I want to start writing everyday again on Always Standing. May got away from me with busy weekends, trips to Edmonton, and mainly getting really sick. It has taken my all to keep regular hours at work so I have struggled with anything extra. I am starting to feel better but my body still seems to be fighting off several infections and trips to the doctor's office haven't been helping much. I am hoping for a healthy June with a lot more posts.

Besides getting back on track with my writing, I also want to be more diligent with my diet. I need to start going to Spinning regularly again and eat better. I am blaming my weight and health issues over the past month on being sick, but I am sick of being sick!!