Monday, 28 August 2017

Sleepovers - Child Vs Adult

I just got back from a quick four-day trip to Calgary. Jason used his Aeroplan points to get me flights out west for my birthday, so I could spend some time with ERin and Anne. (It was going to be during Stampede but got postponed to August.) I thought I would discuss the weekend as a comparison to sleepovers, specifically birthday party ones, I had as a child:

Length of Time
Not just a single night! Since I am in Toronto, Anne in Calgary, and ERin in Edmonton, if we are going to spend time together it only makes sense for it to be a few days. I flew out on Wednesday evening and back Sunday night.

Instead of gathering in the living room or basement of our parent's house, we stayed at Anne's trendy apartment in the Kensington area of Calgary.

Sleeping Arrangements
We don't need to all be in the same room, and our bodies are too old to sleep on the floor. I got the fold-out couch with some awesome memory foam.

Morning cartoons, fun movies, or late night television? Nope! An episode of Chef's Table in the afternoon.

No chips, candy, or popcorn, instead we helped ERin by taste testing some new chocolate flavours.

We traded in the pizza and hot dogs for Anne's fabulous cooking. She made us orzo salad, fennel and zucchini soup, fish tacos with homemade mango salsa, and more.

I used to love decorating cupcakes. But this weekend we helped ERin make two different fancy cakes (I was minimally helpful.) We started with the very complicated Pacific Cake that took much of Thursday, and then quickly whipped up a modern version of an Opera Cake on Saturday.

Our choices for a Friday night out on the town were not kid friendly at all. First stop, for appetizers and margaritas, was Anejo, where they make the guacamole and salsa right at your table. For dinner we went to Klein Harris, where I had beet salad and hanger steak. We also made a few breakfast/brunch stops at a pie place in Anne's building - I kept getting the quiche, so good!

Daily Essential
It used to be such a regular thing to visit the corner store, usually for ice cream or candy, during a sleepover, but now that we are older - it is coffee! Made at home or quick visits to a cafe.

Hard to remember all the things that I did as a child at birthday parties; swimming, movies, games. In Calgary we went on a road trip to the mountains, visits to ice cream shops and the grocery store, dinners out, dinners in, a cat cafe, and lots of walking around the city.

Did we talk about boys? Yes. But also our families, friendships, pets, careers, travel, health, education, and more.

I think it gets even better as we get older. It was a wonderful weekend, I love those two so much.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Peyto Lake

Road trip in Alberta with my GeoConnection girls, day trip to the mountains...
Payto Lake 
(totally looks like a cartoon ghost)
Taken by ME with Anne's phone

Monday, 21 August 2017

Yes, This Describes It Well

Seen today on a chalkboard outside a convenience store near The Junction (technically a few streets away from the BIA). This really captures the neighbourhood:

Figet Spinners
Egg Whites

Friday, 18 August 2017

A Different Type Of Anniversary

A year ago today, Steph left her engineering job to focus all her attention on her business Stephanie Beach Photography. It was a very brave thing to do, I was very excited for her at the time. Everything is going well, she keeps exceeding her goals and is producing beautiful work - she is also much happier. Congratulations Steph, I am very proud of you.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Our Latin Mottos, Only One In Latin

Talking with my GeoConnect girls a little while ago and they were talking about the motto's are undergraduate universities had.

The conversation started because ERin was encouraging Anne to Surgit!, latin for 'Push On,' which she knew because it was Brock's motto. Anne then mentioned that the University of Calgary motto was in Gaelic. I made a mental note to check out what Carleton's was, anticipating that it would probably disappoint me.

I wasn't wrong, the Carleton University motto is Ours the Task Eternal, in English. I don't even know what that means! Also sadly they didn't bother with using a different language. The main thing I like about Carleton is the great colours, I don't like Calgary's red, gold and black. Basically University of Calgary has the best mascot/nickname and Brock is all around cool. Besides good colours, Carleton is, as usual, a bit of a disappointment.

Undergrad at Brock University (in St. Catherine's)
Colours: Red, grey, and black
Motto: Surgit!which means Push On! in Latin
Mascot: (The Badgers) Boomer the Badger

Undergrad at University of Calgary
Colours: Red, gold, and black
Motto: Mo Shùile Togam Suas meaning "I will lift up my eyes" in Gaelic
Mascot: (The Dinos) Rex

Undergrad at Carleton University (in St. Catherine's)
Colours: Black and Red
Motto: Ours the Task Eternal
Mascot: (The Ravens) Rodney the Raven

My trip to Calgary for this year was originally planned for July so I could go to Stampede but it was postponed and now I am going from August 23 - 27. I can't wait to see them!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Another Great Meme

This time, it is a homemade variation of the Expectation vs. Reality meme that Taylor posted on Facebook featuring her, Lochlan, and Cadence. Love it!

What I thought yoga with kids would be like versus real life.
By Taylor (though Mark probably took the photo.)

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Basically Fifth Element

I have wanted to go see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets since I found out that it was written and directed by the same person who did The Fifth Element. Also, whenever a science-fiction movie trailer shows up I get excited, then often realize it is going to be a scary one and I won't end up seeing it - this looked different though.

I love The Fifth Element, it is one of my favourite movies, I have mentioned it more than once. It was pretty exciting to hear that Valerian was given a positive review by my preferred movie critics on What The Flick? However, I actually gasped while watching the review when one the critics said they didn't like The Fifth Element. WHAT?!

Jason and I went to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets yesterday afternoon - so enjoyable. However, basically it was an upgraded, updated Fifth Element, which I think is fine, it is 20 years later - we can use another one. Both movies are great, I love this pop-style of fun action sci-fi. Here is my comparison:

- Fifth: Basic.
- Valerian: Slightly better.

- Fifth: Fast but can be clunky, has a slow bit or two.
- Valerian: Speedy and sleek. I might re-evaluate this on a second viewing though.

- Fifth: Bad. (However, there are at least some memorable quotes - "Mul-ti-pass, multi-pass.")
- Valerian: Also bad, possibly worse.

- Fifth: Provided, on a fairly simple level.
- Valerian: Missing.

- Fifth: Strange. The age difference between Leeloo and Korben Dallas is pretty big, but really you can do no wrong with Bruce Willis
- Valerian: Badly done. Dane DeHaan was a poor choice. Spent the whole movie thinking how much better it would have been with a different person playing Valerian.

- Fifth: Fine. Milla Jovovich is excellent, Bruce Willis doesn't really win a lot of Academy Awards for a reason but he is solid in this role. Supporting cast does well.
- Valerian: Not good. I liked how Cara Delevingne played Laureline. Dane DeHaan doesn't work, this character (in the comics) literally inspired Han Solo and I wasn't feeling that. Supporting cast is a bit weak.

- Fifth: Very cool.
- Valerian: Absolutely epic.

- Fifth: Great, it is part of what makes it an amazing movie.
- Valerian: Incredible.

- Fifth: Diva Plavalaguna, an opera singer played by Maiwenn/Inva Mula
- Valerian: Bubbles, a shape shifting stripper played by Rihanna
- Note: The artists assist with the mission/plot in both movies, and also die in both movies, in the arms of the main male hero.

- Fifth: Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod, the original.
- Valerian: Missing, but you can tell they tried to reproduce it a few times, with the market guide or with Ethan Hawke (very enjoyable) as Jolly the Pimp.

- Fifth: Great character. Tommy 'Tiny' Lister as President Lindberg is believable, well acted, and funny.
- Valerian: Not great. Herbie Hancock as the Defense Minister doesn't get much to do and you can't see him well on the hologram screen.
- Notes: Both black actors, one of my favourite quotes after Barack Obama won the presidency was, "If we have a black president now, how will directors show us that we are in the future in a science fiction movie?"

- Fifth: Decent. Gary Oldman is great as Zorg, and Zorg is a fun character. The henchmen (Mangalores) and Mr. Shadow are cool as well.
- Valerian: Boring. Clive Owen isn't interesting in the role, his henchmen (K-tron Bots) are boring. The motivation presented is clunky.

- Fifth: A bit frustrating. I never fully understood the role or context for the Mondoshawan, but their big bodies and little metal bird heads were very imaginative.
- Valerian: Beautiful. Their world (The Pearls) is stunning, their Converter pets are adorable. However, the heavy CGI is noticeable.

- Fifth: Good. They appear all throughout the movie and have their own motivations and back stories (Father Vito Cornelius, David, and the aforementioned Ruby Rhod)
- Valerian: There isn't really any. I wish there had been.

- Fifth: The pyramids.
- Valerian: The International Space Station.

- Fifth: Almost believable.
- Valerian: Terrible and not believable.
- Notes: Both movies end with the two main characters making out in a small capsule as the camera zooms out from a window. Really bringing home the similarities.

I highly recommend both movies!!

Monday, 7 August 2017

My 'Not A Bucket List' Bucket List

I don't like the idea that I might have a bucket list, it is a morbid concept. I also don't like the idea that I would go through life checking off boxes, lists help me achieve things in my daily life but I wouldn't want them to control my entire existence.

However, Erin AH gave me My Future Listography, and I do really enjoy picking it up and going over things in it every year or so. There are also things that normally show up on other people's bucket lists that I really really want to do - so I basically have an unofficial one.

Skydiving would be incredible, I would love to run a marathon at some point, and there are lots of counties still to visit and amazing places to see. In fact one of the things I am most excited about for my upcoming Africa trip is the chance to cage dive with Great White Sharks which has been a dream of mine forever! It is something I thought I would have a hard time figuring out how to do, not just because they are remote but because I assumed that I would need to learn to scuba dive, turns out I will be doing a tour that has the cage attached to the side of the boat, so you can snorkel.

Something else that I have wanted to do for a long time was go tubing down the Elora Gorge. It keeps getting mentioned in various 'Toronto Day Trip' lists and sounds like a really fun thing to do. Last weekend Kristen and Noah invited us to go with them up to Elora and spend the day swimming, I mentioned the tubing, which they hadn't heard about, and we decided to try that. No matter what, it is an early morning to get there because the conservation areas fill up and the lines to get in can be insane. Last Sunday it turned out the tubing was closed due to high water, so we went with Noah's original plan to go swimming in the Elora Quarry, it was beautiful and very enjoyable. It also served to whet my appetite even more to go tubing.

Luckily it was open this weekend and we got to go. It was even more exciting and beautiful than I had imagined. The rapids were fun, I dumped out of my tube at one point even though we had gone into town to rent special ones that had handles and a back rest (they were cheaper, cleaner, and meant we got to skip a line inside the conservation area.) I would say I can cross it off my bucket list, but I like to instead think of it as a new fun tradition to try to do each summer - now that I understand the system better and know what to expect.

(Photo: Selfie by Jason. From Right: Jason, Me, Kristen, Noah - Helmets and life jackets on, ready to ride the rapids at the Elora Gorge.)

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Meme Ad

I got this flyer in the mailbox from a real estate agent and I thought it was a cute use of the well known meme:

Luckily our tax assessment doesn't think Casa Verde is a mansion in a beautiful estate as implyed above, it is actually assessed at MUCH less than the cost to buy it. (Technically this is good for taxes, bad for our confidence. However don't get me started on Toronto residential property taxes....they are too low and it angers me.)

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

That IS Me When I Am Stressed

Noah posted an article that details how different personality types respond to stress, and what to do to help. I am an ESTJ so seeing that I am currently quite stressed I thought it would be an interesting to see if it matched things. Turns out my type was the first one listed.

------- from Facebook

What stresses out an ESTJ: 
– Being in an environment that is in disarray
– Frequent disruptions
– Irrational behavior
– Being surrounded by (or guilty of) incompetence
– Unexpected changes
– Lack of control
– Laziness in others
– Not having their strongly held values validated
– Guilt over being critical towards others
– Dealing too long with abstract or theoretical concepts
– Being in a highly-charged emotional environment for too long

When overwhelmed by stress, ESTJ’s often feel isolated from others. They feel as if they are misunderstood and undervalued, and that their efforts are taken for granted. When under stress, they have a hard time putting their feelings into words and communicating them to others. If they are under frequent, chronic stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function; introverted feeling. When this happens, they can develop a “martyr complex”. The ESTJ will be uncharacteristically emotional, withdraw from others, become hypersensitive about their relationships, and misinterpret tiny, insignificant details into personal attacks.

Yes! That feels very accurate. In fact Heather also commented on the post that the article matched for her personality type too.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Ok, So It Is Here, Again

I am depressed.

It isn't that hard to talk about it because I have trained myself over the years to be as open and honest about this as possible. However easy it might be to admit it is happening, it isn't easy to go through - it is scary.

I haven't felt this way in six years, my last big crash was a long one from the end of 2010 all through 2011 and possibly into the start of 2012 as well. I met Jason in the middle of 2012 so, while he knows that I have clinical depression, he hasn't actually ever seen it happen.

Starting around mid-July with a combo hit of Saturday drinking and a Sunday/Monday without one of my pills I started the slow annoying spiral. Luckily it was the 'body' pills so my thoughts didn't get messed up. However, it has now been at least two full weeks of feeling really down and I have been fighting hard to not let it affect my work or social life.

I fixed the missing pill issue right away, quickly improved my diet, luckily had my mom around for a week to give me some guidance, am careful with my nighttime sleep habits, etc. I get into work everyday and I haven't bailed on social engagements. My thoughts are okay, nothing horrible happening and when they do get negative I am able to challenge and defuse them. However, I am crying a lot, spending way to much time in bed during the day time, not enjoying things like I usually do, and generally feel like shit all the time.

Working out is the main thing on my list right now where I am lacking. Getting some cardio exercise into my daily routine would probably help, but when I feel like this it isn't an easy thing to do. I also should think about seeing someone about it - a doctor, councilor, or psychiatrist. I don't want to mess with my pills again though and it is a struggle to find someone good to talk to, it is also expensive.

But I am fighting this, got to keep fighting it.