Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Happy Birthday Steph!

It is Steph's birthday today! 
I hope she is having a good one.
Prime seats in front, up top, on a double decker bus.
London, England - January 2008
Photo by ME

It has been nine years since we took this photo, and we have been friends since September 2003, yet she still makes me this happy! Since moving to Toronto in 2010 we don't see each other as often, but we both make the effort and I head up to Ottawa pretty often. We make it work, she is worth it. Happy Birthday!

Not A Good Quote

Yesterday I wrote about Mike's inspirational quote about building your dream. Well, last night at a workshop I heard this after the leader encouraged us to help pack up the chairs:

"Teamwork makes the dream work."

I hadn't heard it before, and while it is cute, I don't really like it. However, the content of the workshop was great! Kristen and I took it together, just a little 3-hour bit of instruction for two Tuesdays. Six hours and we got to build a multi-page website from scratch learning some HTML and CSS along the way. I will post more about what I built later this week but it was a good little course and I am quite glad I took it.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

I Will Build It

Hanging out with Mike yesterday talking about our future career plans, he mentioned the quote, "If you don't work on your dreams you will just end up working on someone else's." I had heard it before and I really like it. The internet seems to suggest that it is from Farrah Gray and is worded this way:

"Build your own dreams, 
or someone else will hire you to build theirs."

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Binder/File That No One Wants To Make

Before my father died I lived a very innocent life. Ignorant of the pain experienced after tragic loss and blind to the fact that the grief process may never truly end. I am far from enlightened now but I am experienced and I recognize similar feelings and situations when I witness friends and family dealing with death or dying.

One thing that is extremely helpful is to have a clear plan in place and to communicate your wishes openly with those around you. But, no one seems to want to talk about death, especially their own. Gord had completed a short worksheet about his funeral wishes and while I am sure the days following his unexpected death were a numb blur for Teri and her family, at least there was less decision making to be made, removing that element of stress from the process.

Having an 'end of life' binder or file is a good thing to do for the people you care about. You are helping to minimize any conflict between friends and family members with different ideas, providing details eliminates the need for speculation after you are gone, and mainly it eases the daunting logistical task of planing a funeral and handling an estate.

Here are two amazing resources, pick one and get on this:
-- The Death Wise Binder is incredible. You can print everything off HERE. This is my preferred choice because it is so thorough, beautifully organized, and includes a system of revisiting the data every 10 years. (Yes, it wants you do it on the '9' birthdays but just do the first version now and catch the next '9' birthday for a revise.) Admittedly it is massive and intense, at 24 pages long this option is overwhelming for even the most organized. It also shows you so many other types of documents that could/should be made.
-- For those looking for something a little bit simpler, the American Lung Association Life Planning Worksheet is a nice three-page option. You can print it HERE. This one covers the very basics and will at least help to start the thought processes and difficult conversations. In fact, you can skip the first two pages and just fill out the questions about a funeral and will on the third page. (Providing the location of  your will is really helpful, speaking from experience here.)

Not only should you fill this out, but copies should be shared with a few important people in your life as well. Also, a version of this document should be one done for every member of the family - regardless of age. The thing with these conversations is that they tend to get harder as you get older. Parents and grandparents are increasingly reluctant to share information pertaining to their death, and my generation will suffer for it as we will be the ones helping work through the inevitable - though hopefully far in the future.

Ignore excuses and get the information you need from those you care about - there isn't a 'good' day to talk about this. It is very common to find this type of discussion, organization, planning, and research upsetting. Questions and fears about mortality might be inevitable but try to shelve them for another time.

Just like I believe everyone should try to be open and comfortably talking about money, I am realizing I feel the same way about death and end-of-life planning!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Two Domains For Always Standing

I never noticed but I think that Always Standing is officially a 'Dot C.A.', or Canadian domain. I always tell people to just Google it (since it tends to show up early in the search results) or refer to the web address with a '.com'. But, I just noticed that when I was typing it out with the '.com' at the end it flipped to '.ca' so I have both domains!

Answer in the Comments:
How do you get here; Google, bookmark, typing it in, other? 
What country code is at the end of the address in your browser?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

One Year In The Force

Jason has been at his new company for one year today. When I previously mentioned it, I didn't say where. Well, I think a year in it is okay to say that he is employed in downtown Toronto for Salesforce, a company that works with Customer Relationship Management (CRM.) It has been nice to commute part way with him, and he is very happy not be driving each day as his last job was in Markham and not very transit accessible. I hope he continues to enjoy his job and love his work.

Motherhood - The Housewife In Literature

Excerpts from Ladies of Leisure: The resurgence of the housewife novel by Laura Miller:

It’s a wonder that anyone has the nerve to write about housewives at all anymore: Not only are these women bored, but they have been universally declared boring.

The readership for fiction is and has always been predominantly female and middle-class.

She is a wife and mother, roles that seem to have taken over her identity. Yet she looks down on women like that—most of whom, she can’t help noticing, are better at being wives and mothers than she is.

A 2014 novel that, while not technically about a housewife, wrestles with the same conflict between family life and self-determination, and it’s clear that the theme is enjoying a minirevival of sorts.

It’s as if such women can no long support a full-fledged novel, as if it’s impossible to imagine that these women could be happy, but equally impossible to take their unhappiness seriously.

But the housewife does have one last thing to offer novelists: An opportunity to flaunt their literary technique. The housewife is to the novelist what the still life is to the painter: a subject whose banality will take a back seat to her creator’s display of virtuosity.

She passive-aggressively rebels against her joyless, lonely existence in an unwelcoming foreign land by falling into a series of affairs.

To be so materially lucky that you’re not allowed to experience any discontent at all turns out to be just another way of being swallowed up by your social role.

She’s bored. She’s anxious. She’s guilt-ridden. She’s exhausted and frustrated and probably depressed.

Perhaps she’s refusing to acknowledge her own freedom, or perhaps she knows something the rest of us don’t. A lady of the house, a woman of leisure— with all that anyone in their right mind wants—she’s still dissatisfied. So have been many housewives before her, and so are many housewives today. But before we condemn them for their perversity and their tedious complaints, it’s worth remembering this: That’s always been one of the reasons they read so many novels.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Execut-ing It Up

Last week, in a whirlwind - interview - job offer - contract negotiation - Board vote - start immediately - situation that spanned just four days, I became the Executive Director at The Junction Business Improvement Area. So I didn't really get much of an unemployment break at all. It really is great to be back in a BIA job, I love the concept so much. The title of Executive Director is exciting even if the realities of the position are pretty overwhelming. The neighbourhood itself is awesome, actually it is too cool for me but hopefully I will find my own way to fit in.

By the end of last week a press release introducing me to The Junction BIA Members (see left) had been sent out and people were already welcoming me to the area. The week is starting off with our website publishing the same announcement publicly. You can read it HERE.

We Keep Raising The Bar

I have posted before that Jason and I like to put time frames on things we buy, we also like to buy things cheaply. I usually prefer to find the lowest price possible with little regard for quality - Jason has more of a focus on value and getting something durable. We also try not to get anything really expensive, luckily besides the house and its renovations, we haven't had to make a lot of big purchases.

I am not looking forward to having to buy a new couch or living room set, it is going to be annoying and expensive. Until yesterday, the most expensive piece of furniture we had gotten together was our bed frame. Even the appliances we have had to buy recently have all been around that same price point. Well yesterday, that changed and our new largest item purchase is for something we won't even be using - a Murphy bed for guests, the Stanley Cabinet Bed. (We got it with a grey stain so it looks like this picture but isn't the same colour.)
I have been wanting a Murphy bed for the spare room (also laundry room) since we first moved in. However, they are expensive. I have done lots of research to find a good price but all of them have to be attached to the wall. Jason hasn't been a fan of the idea.

At the Home Show on Saturday we came across a booth selling cabinet beds - basically a pullout couch, in a chest of drawers. This meant it was movable, in case we want it in a different room later on down the road, and it didn't need to be installed into the wall. The problem with a product that is this specific is that not many companies make it and therefore they can charge a lot for it. There was a slightly cheaper imported brand but the Canadian-made version was solid wood instead of MDF (important to Jason). I found the imported ones looked oddly top-heavy because the drawer at the bottom was significant smaller than the cabinet above, also the model we chose was only slightly more than the import anyway.

We get it in 6 to 8 weeks and I hope it lives up to the price, I also hope that it stays as the most expensive thing we have bought for a long time - maybe until we buy a car! But if we ever need a living room set then I am going to have a tough time.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

My Little Maya Bird

Wishing a big Happy Birthday to my sweet little niece, Maya Quinn Sweeton, who is turning ONE today.
Photo from Facebook

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Quote Of The Day

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

- Mark Twain

Monday, 13 March 2017

Little Gallbladder

I am at Steph's today in Ottawa, a quick turn-around trip that has me here for less than 36 hours. However, Steph and I got a chance to catch up last night, and today play a quick new card game that she had recently ordered online. The card game was designed by the same person who does The Awkward Yeti comic. He did these which Steph showed me after my gallbladder surgery last year: