Monday, 25 July 2016

Go Jason Go

Jason and Meg were awesome Saturday morning doing Max's Big Climb in Dundas. Jason made it up the hill in 3 minutes and 39 seconds the first time and 3 minutes 52 on the second time (yes, they had to do it twice.) I am definitely going to try it next year.

Most of the participants were very serious racers so Jason and Meg didn't place but they did get prizes for raising the most money. I would like to thank you my friends and family for donating, including:
- Mom
- Aunty Nicky
- Rob
- Kristen
- Laura
- Teri (who pledged Meg)

We got to meet Max, and his family, at the event. His father spoke and handed out the ribbons. They made the decision a few years ago to use biking to raise money and donate it to an already well established charity fighting to defeat Duchennes - Jesse's Journey.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Water Ruins Your House

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

I think I know why Jason's work replacing the toilet last weekend was so impressive - because growing up my family always had all plumbing related tasks done by a professional. We have a couple of family friends who are plumbers so I think we would usually ask them. I never saw my parents change or repair plumbing-things.

My parents did quite a bit of stuff around the house themselves, even to the point that Dad helped my uncle built the two story garage at The Cottage. Dad also did the pot-lights in the basement in Paris. So, to this day, I think that a lot of stuff can be muddled through by amateurs but all water related items must be super hard.

I think it was from a fear of water damage that Dad didn't tackle plumbing projects (and I'm not talking about anything complex either - he called someone in to change a faucet.) Electrical work can hurt you but badly done plumbing work can hurt your house. Dad considered the house an investment that was very very important to protect.

Dad also didn't do any repairs himself on the cars. I wonder where that came from.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Accomplished Before Engagement

I ran across the article Getting Married Is Not an Accomplishment at just the right time, wedding planning had been getting me down, I was struggling with a small depressive low, and I was not looking forward to the future. I needed perspective and it was great to read some words that seemed more based in my reality.

Being popped the question is still more celebrated than academic and professional pursuits of women. Yes, college graduations and landing a great career and receiving wonderful promotions are all received with happiness from friends and family, but not even close to the same level of elation received when you announce that you are getting hitched. This is my experience, at least. I am so grateful for the excitement surrounding my upcoming marriage, however, I often wonder why the event of getting married is put on a higher pedestal than the true successes that come along with an education and career.

Despite everything Jason and I are doing to try to take away the parts of a 'traditional' wedding that don't mesh with our personalities, relationship, or personal views. I still struggle with how gendered this event is - especially everyone's reaction to it. I completely notice the same things as the author, Natalie Brooke:

I can’t blame anyone for being more curious about my relationship status than my career, as I too have been guilty of doing the same with other woman. After all, we are all taught through expertly crafted commercials and advertisements that it is of utmost importance for a woman to get a ring put on her finger. Perhaps it’s time for society as a whole to re-evaluate what aspect of women’s lives we put the most value on. In my opinion, getting married should never be put in a higher regard than the academic and professional successes that women work hard to attain.

I have a slightly different reaction though, I DO blame people for being more interested in my relationship, wedding, etc than my career - I work for a really really interesting company!! Jason is constantly asked more about his job than I am. I will do another post on that since it is a longer rant.

You can read the full original article on Huffington Post HERE. Also check out Natalie Brooke's follow-up article: Getting Married Is Not an Accomplishment, But Finding Happiness (In Any Form) Is.

Also, on an end note, I am feeling much better now and wedding planning is exciting again.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

A New Toilet - No Pictures

I forgot to do Before and After photos of our recent min-reno at Casa Verde. We got a new toilet! What is most impressive is that Jason installed it totally himself, I came in to assist with some listing and bolt holding at a couple points but for an hour Jason just went to work - took out the old one and installed the new one.

I gather it isn't a difficult thing to do - I have read that it is an easy DIY, the guy at Home Depo said we would have no trouble, Jason was very confident he could do it - but I was really tempted to pay a plumber to do it. Especially since we already have a plumber coming in to do some other small things around the house.

It was a total role reversal, normally I am the one saying that we should tackle a project ourselves, borrow the tools, look it up online, figure it out. Jason is the cautious one who is more inclined to hire someone in. This is the dialogue that finally convinced me to have Jason do the install:

Jason: Switching out an old toilet for a new one is really easy.
Me: We could just get the plumber to add it to his quote.
Jason: I can totally do it.
Me: Have you done it before?
Jason: No, but it won't be a problem, I got this.
Me: Are you sure? I really think we should consider finding out how much it would cost to have the plumber do it.
Jason: Don't worry, if Mike can do it, I can do it.
Me: Mike who?
Jason: Your brother.
Me: Oh yeah! Mike did switch the toilets himself at his last place. Oh, for sure! You can totally do it!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Beats By BB8

Just got these for work:
BB8 Headphones
Photo of me, by me, on my phone

They are children's, from Indigo, and were on sale for $12. They are super adorable, and I really liked the new Star Wars movie - BB8 is way better than R2D2 who I am slowly realizing is basically a massive dick.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Please Sponsor Jason!!

Last month, Jason's family received some devastating news. One of his nephews, Isaac (see photo), has been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Since it is so early there are still many unknowns, but what is for sure is that finding a cure for this degenerative muscle disorder is a cause worthy of support.

This coming Saturday, Jason, and his sister Meg, will be participating in Max's Big Climb to raise money towards Jesse's Journey which funds research.

For the past week Jason has been insisting that I have no concept of how hard it is going to be to bike up a 8% grade on a hill - "Don't you just shift to a lower gear, I will be fine". Jason thinks that he may not finish the climb because it is just that challenging. After watching the video of someone doing it, I agreed and won't be biking at the event this year. But I want to help Jason raise more money through his efforts to make it to the top of Sydemham Hill.

Please support Jason and help 'defeat Duchenne.' Sponsor his climb HERE.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

BBQ Before & After

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

Housewarming Gift - A New BBQ
Back porch of Casa Verde

Jason and I used the gift cards from our housewarming towards a new BBQ. We had planned to wait until the end of the season to buy it but were really impressed with the value for this one at Home Depo today. It is actually the same brand as our old one - "Broil Mate."

The old one was a well loved BBQ brought up to Toronto on the trailer by Mom and Dad when Jason moved into Rrunuv Bayit with me. I think they had just replaced it with a newer one. My Dad was usually the one to cook on it and he wasn't great - a lot of burnt burgers and steaks growing up. (Possibly why I like my food "well done.")

Our new one is the model that is one up from the one we have been using. We saw the new version of that model and decided to upgrade, because it wasn't that much of a price difference to get 4 instead of 3 burners, bigger cooking space, better grill metal, and the side cooking element.

Dad would be very proud of the discounts we got, though we weren't really trying to get them. It is the floor model so there was that, then we wanted to rent a van and they were all out so we had to wait so there was that, and then it ended up missing a part so there was that, and it was already a good price!

I miss those burnt burgers. I wish my Dad could come see the new BBQ, use it with Jason, share his opinion on it. Hang out in the backyard with our little patio and cherry tree.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Focus People

Sure, at an overarching level 'all lives matter' but that shouldn't be the global dialogue right now. I want to thank Anne for sharing this comic on her Facebook:
Black Lives Matter - An important growing movement in the US, with various Canadian counterparts, get informed.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Basement Before & After - Storage Space

Casa Verde Basement - Storage Under The Stairs
House Inspection to Mid-Reno to Final Completion
(Jason in the first photo, all photos shown in Black and White)

Monday, 11 July 2016

Your Superpower

----------- from Buzzfeed

The first word you see 
is the superpower you deserve:
You can click the image to see it bigger.
Share in the comments!
Check the comments to see what I got.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Dad's Bladder

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

Two years ago I talked about the annoying development of the need to pee at 4am each morning that my dad had also dealt with. It looks like my bladder is becoming even more like his.

I drove to Ottawa yesterday and had to stop to pee twice! I was only driving from Toronto so it wasn't even as long of a time in the car as a trip between the capital and Paris or Long Point would be. Using the OnRoute stops, I am fast and efficient. I double it up with getting gas or food and make the break quick. Still, I never had to go before and could make the whole trip without even thinking about using the bathroom.

At least I am not taking driving breaks to splash cold water on my face to stay awake, which was Dad's trick. I just drink caffeinated things.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Basement Before & After - Open Up!

Since the final completion photo of this Before and After features Two, I am posting it on Caturday.

I think this is my favourite Before and After comparison, opening up the living area in the basement at Casa Verde was one of our main goals. Originally, at the bottom of the stairs was a small table and thin hallway - the rest of the space was 'wall-ed' off for the utility room and laundry machines. There was then a door (which you can see someone walking through on the right-side of the top photo) into this dark cluttered central space:
Casa Verde Basement - North Brick Column
House Inspection to Final Completion

By taking out that door and moving the utility room wall WAY over we were able to completely open up the front (north) part of the basement and provide a small living area. The bathroom door frame stayed in through the entire demolition and re-build - we then put the same door back into the frame afterwards. (All other doors in the space were replaced.)

The brick column also didn't move, since it holds up the house! But we did clean it, seal it, and paint it. If you have a keen eye you can see the three new tiles that the contractor installed for us because we knocked down a wall that had previously been part of the bathroom. (Jason and I tried to find matching tiles but we didn't quite get them right.) Also, the floor that looks like hardwood is actually a vinyl sheet, everyone really likes it. We painted using the same colours as upstairs, the living area in the basement is the same as our master bedroom upstairs.

We are so happy with the space and this is one of the best picture to show the amazing transformation.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Four Things

Erin AH filled this out on her Facebook and I thought I would transplant it over the the blog, also I am heading to Ottawa tomorrow to visit her so that is exciting and fitting:

Four places I've lived
1. Cambridge, ON (1984-1985)
2. Paris, ON (1985-2003)
3. Ottawa, ON (2003-2010)
4. Toronto, ON (2010-now)

Four things I love to watch on TV or Netflix: 
1. The Daily Show
2. Orange Is The New Black
3. Archer
4. Property Brothers

Four names I go by:
1. Chris
2. Christine
3. Aunt Chris
4. Tita Chris

Four places I have visited: 
1. San Diego, CA
2. Yekaterinburg, Russia
3. Tangier, Morocco
4. Corner Brook, NL

Four things I love to eat: 
1. Bread
2. Watermelon
3. Pasta
4. Spaghetti Squash

Four favorite drinks:
1. Chocolate Milk
2. Pink Lemonade
3. Coke Zero
4. Gin and Tonic

Four people I would like to see respond:
1. Mom, maybe even on her blog
2. Steph
3. The T's (Taylor and Teri)
4. People who don't usually leave comments

Copy and paste this into the comments for this post and fill in your responses. Have some fun!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Basement Before & After - Bathroom SE

Casa Verde Basement - Bathroom Facing South-East
House Inspection to Final Completion

Andrea Loves Robert Too

Big Smiles, All Day (Photo Detail)
Robert loves Andrea - Toronto Hunt Club

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Basement Before & After - Kitchen NE Corner

Casa Verde Basement - Kitchen Facing North-East
House Inspection to Final Completion

I hadn't noticed until just now but we put the wood cabinet back up in the 'wrong' place. It is much better against the far wall instead of right up against the window frame. Besides that wood cabinet, it is also the same sink, cabinet, and counter - we moved it out of the way to renovate everything else and then moved it back into place afterwards.

Basement Before & After - NE Corner

I have already done a post about our new electrical panel. I thought I would start the series of Basement Before & After posts with the finished photo of the panel box to show how we decorated that corner and covered the cupboard.

Casa Verde Basement - North-East Corner
Mid-Reno to Contractor Finished to Final Completion

Before our tenant moved in, Jason and I took lots of photos of the finished space. We were careful to recreate the same positioning as when we first went through the basement during our house inspection. A huge amount of time, energy, and money has gone into making the space better, we had so much help from family and friends. We brought in electricians and got a contractor to renovate the basement, that is a separate post - he was amazing! However, Jason and I gathered friends and family to do the demolition ourselves, all the painting afterwards, and installed some of the baseboards. It has been a colossal effort and we are very thankful to those who lent a hand - right from the first day.

I am going to start posting all the basement before and after shots on Always Standing over the coming few weeks so stay tuned!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Propelled To Learn

I have mentioned way too many times on Always Standing that I love to learn, so much that a single link to a post exemplifying this wouldn't be enough - I say it all the time, because I mean it. I just read an article that ties this to my ADHD, and I totally agree:

"We need to be careful about what we label as a disorder. When it comes to ADHD, for instance, there is growing evidence that ADHD individuals achieve very good outcomes by normal social standards. The popular-culture stereotype is of an ADHD (often "ADD") person superficially clicking from one channel or Web site to the next. An alternative vision is that many ADHD individuals adapt and end up using their cognitive profile to propel themselves from learning one piece of information to the next, and in fact end up better educated and maybe better situated to deal with the social world as well."

--- from Autism as Academic Paradigm by Tyler Cowen in The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 13, 2009.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Gender Neutral At 150

Today is Canada Day, as a country we are 149 years old. I can't believe that I will be around for the 150th anniversary next year. It is going to be big! I was in Grade 2 when we celebrated Canada's 125th anniversary, I remember the logo - I think I had a t-shirt with it.

If Bill C-210 passes its third reading and trip to The Senate we will have a change to our national anthem! It would make the English version gender neutral by replacing "thy sons" to "of us." The French version is very different, much more religious and violent.

Staying with the English version for now - I am surprised that it is moving to gender neutral lyrics before secular - since we will still be asking "God keep our land." I also think it is interesting in the Wiki article that Toronto City Council voted 12 to 7 (this was before amalgamation) to suggest a change to the Canadian Government. They wanted a change from "our home and native land" to "our home and cherished land" to better represent our large immigrant population. I like that change too! We should do all three at once - no "sons," no "God," and no "native."

I remember being part of Brownies or Girl Guides when a small movement towards religious differences was announced. I looked it up and in 1994, when I was 10, The World Association approved revisions to the Canadian Girl Guide promise and law. I remember the asterix section being added to our little printed cue cards:

I promise to do my best,
To be true to myself, my God/faith* and Canada;
I will help others,
And accept the Guiding Law.
* Choose the word God or the word faith according to your personal convictions.