Monthly Archives: April 2010

Friday Photos: Take a Peek Inside Our Fridge

Before I go on to explain, here is a look at the inside of our fridge, photo taken literally 2 minutes ago. Bear with me to see where this is going!…

take a close look at what you see...and what you don't see...

soo00oooo….any observations??! how about you take a look at THIS photo…

hint, hint...

…and now look back in the fridge…

Get it?! THERE’S NO POP IN THIS FRIDGE!!!

:) :) :) :) :) :)

Surprise!! :) That’s right – I have not had a diet pop since Sunday April 18th. Wahoo!

And I can’t believe the karma of how it worked out…I decided to use up what I had purchased and not buy any more pop – cold turkey is my style. Wouldn’t you know, it worked out that my first TOTALLY POP-FREE DAY was Monday April 19th…BOSTON MARATHON MONDAY!! Good vibes or what!

A bit of history…right about now, some of you may be thinking, “heard this one before – here we go again…” and yes, you are entirely correct. I have quit Diet Coke (the last year or so I preferred Coke Zero) twice previously in the last few years:

1) When we still lived on Ross Ave, I stopped drinking Diet Coke for 52 days. It was soooo hard, I really had heavy withdrawal symptoms, and succombed to the cravings after less than two months.

2) In February 2007, I successfully stopped drinking Diet Pop for 13 months. I gave  in while on our Aruba vacation in March 2008. To be honest, for the entire 13 months, I felt like I was teetering on the edge of caving in. Not a single day passed where I did not want a Diet Pop. I missed my habit of having pop and knitting. I missed the alert feeling I got, the buzz, the taste – everything. I felt like I was hanging off a ledge by my fingernails just to not drink pop. Often, the sight of someone with an ice cold diet pop in hand would literally make me salivate in desire. I made it through our Aruba trip in March 2007, but gave in the following year (March 2008) and was never so happy to welcome something back into my life! (realize this sounds overly dramatic but if you’ve ever had an addiction, you know what I’m talking about).

Tangent here…please note that I am not bashing the drinking of pop. But for me, this is just not a good thing! All indicators show that Diet Pop to me is no different than cigarettes to a smoker or booze to an alcoholic. I fully admire anyone who can kick these habits, as examples, because beating an addiction is tough.

BUT!!! I am happy to report that for whatever reason, this go-round is going TOTALLY AWESOME!!! I’ve had ZERO cravings, ZERO withdrawal symptoms, and it’s been a POSITIVE EXPERIENCE, if you can believe it. Even now, the thought of drinking the sweet syrup makes me think “blech!” – how awesome is that! To what do I attribute the success this time?

  • knowing deep down that I just did not want to keep drinking diet pop, feeling uncentred
  • finding for quite some time that the taste was tasting very fake
  • feeling that a pop-free life, for me, is a healthier lifestyle
  • I realized I was drinking pop out of habit – as long as I have water while I knit or at the store etc, I AM FINE!

So my “pop drawer” in the fridge now holds these beauties…

$10 for 16 Crispin apples at the Farmer's Market yesterday!

So what am I enjoying in place of Diet Pop? WATER!!! Yup, I am finding that cold Brita water in my stainless steel klean kanteen

40oz Kanteen Classic

…is delicious! I’ve never been a coffee or tea drinker, and while I’ve tried a couple of cups of both in the last few weeks, can’t say I’m a fan. And I’m not feeling low on energy, nor have I noticed any effect whatsoever during my workouts due to no caffeine, either – score!

And a shout-out to B, as well: in the fridge picture (above), there are two cans of Coke hidden behind the peanut butter jars; B says that when those are gone, he’s cool with being a pop-free household. This is a major step for both of us as we love our pop. So while B will continue to enjoy a carbonated beverage OUT in restaurants or with pizza, I am going to continue on the straight and narrow with a pop-free lifestyle. Moderation works for most people most of the time, but for me and Diet Colas, it’s gotta be all or nothing.

it's been a slice, darlin'...

i mentally call this "the liquid poison" for postive reinforcement!

so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good-bye!

The moral of the story: if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. When you’re fully ready for it, change will not be a struggle.

Cheers! :)

April: our 2010 glass is 2/3 full!

So four months of 2010 have come and gone – can you believe it?! But let’s be optimistic and look at all the months we have LEFT in this year!…still 8 months! It’s the glass-half-full vs glass-half-empty point of view!

I thought I’d do a recap of the 1970 Kiki Project thus far. A lot has gone down in the first four months of the year!

40 CEREALS: Yes! Cereal #40 was consumed Wed April 28th so this mini-project is now complete. I’m a little sad, to tell you the truth! It ended up going so fast and was so easy to do – this was by far the easiest of the four categories for me to work on. And I am just 100% pleased that I made “40 Cereals” one of my projects. I honestly can tell you that I am no longer “hooked” on sugary cereals and am super-pleased to have ventured into flakes, granolas, Kashis (!!) et al. I intend to keep on trying new cereals (will share if I come across anything truly earth-moving) and am super-pleased to have broadened my horizons.

A few shout-out Cereal Awards:

Best New Finds: Puffins: original, peanut butter, cinnamon – all three flavours ROCK!!!

Biggest Dud: no surprise if you’ve read through the list…the Kashis, in general. Now, I may still try a few of the other types, but overall I was just tres disappointed with this brand in general.

Most Pleasant Surprise: Nature’s Path Crunchy Maple Sunrise. This cereal was just delicious and a surprise home run!

Most Sugar-y: Have to go with Cap’n Crunch. Loved the stuff, but it could make a mummy breakdance.

So have no fear! While my taste buds continue to evolve, I still cannot sleep without my nightly cereal fix. Keep the good times rollin’.

40 RECIPES: We knocked off #15 last eve (April 28th) which ends the month on a nice round number. Am not concerned that we need to make 25 more recipes…it’ll happen. Anticipate more muffins, cookies and squares but also have a few unique challenges I will attempt!

40 READS: Have enjoyed 21 different publications so far. Again, not concerned that achieving 40 will be a challenge. Granted, good thing I did NOT say I would read 40 different novels as that sure ain’t happening! (still have 150+ pages to go on current bedtime book…maybe in 6 weeks I’ll have the review for you?!). Am anticipating lots of new reading opportunities when I go to Florida in July; thanks to daily newspapers, there’s likely at least ten entries right there!

40 MOVIES: uh oh…yup, that’s right – we’re at SEVEN. I confess, I am a little worried at this time!!! Movies just are not high on my priority list! I am not a day time movie watcher (just seems wrong to *waste* time in a theatre in broad daylight, no can do…), and I fully admit to just not making a very great effort to rent or go out to movies in the evenings. HOWEVER!…B made the mistake (and to his credit, he did apologize) of saying the other day that I am not going to be able to reach this goal. Well!!! Talk about waving a red flag in front of a bull! That’s all the fire and ammunition I need to ensure I DO watch 40 movies, in their entirety, by December 31, 2010!

Happy May, everyone! Let’s see how we do in 31 more days – go for your goals and I’ll keep reaching for my targets, too!

..And one of the Kiki Projects Reaches Conclusion!…

Dum Dum da Dum!!!!

Yes! Quick, before you take a lookie at the columns on the left of the blog, the four components of the 1970 Kiki Project, can you guess which one is going to be concluded TOMORROW?! I’ll give you a moment to think….

A pictorial diversion to prolong the suspence…

My other husband

pwetty fwowers...

 …OK, enough silliness!…

Yes, tomorrow I will conclude 40 CEREALS! 40 cereals by the end of April. Not bad, eh!

Now for the question you’ve all been waiting for…what will #40 be? I know, I know!!! :)

Will post #40 tomorrow, along with an April Report Card/Update on how I think the Project is progressing.

So until then, enjoy the sunshine and don’t blow away out there! It’s crazy windy!

Friday Photos: Waterloo Pottery Sale!

Have you ever had an event that you keep meaning to get to, “one of these times,” yet you never quite seem to make it there? The Waterloo Potters’ Workshop Pottery Sale fits that description for me. The Sale is held twice per year, literally down the street from us at the Waterloo Rec Centre. We’ve lived in our condo over 5.5 years now (!) and despite seeing the sign in front of the Rec Centre every six months, I never seem to make it to the sale.

But today it worked out! Maybe the best plan is not to have a plan! Mom emailed me last eve, inviting me to go along with Dad and her to the sale this afternoon. Hey! That works for me! Beats posting photos of my trip to the dentist this morning instead (no cavities, by the way!…)

here we are!

It’s a super set-up: like a craft show, each potter has a table of his/her wares; unlike a craft sale, there is one central station where you can pay – a very efficient and user-friendly system.

a sampling of the pottery...

Mom and Dad have attended before, and said this afternoon was not busy at all compared to the last time they were here, when the crowds were something else! Today we had lots of room to meander around the tables and aisles:

the Sale is good-sized, but not overwhelming (like I find the "One of A Kind Show" to be....)

Dad did not find a perfect mug, but Mom DID find her pate knives!

Of course, at some point you have to make a choice. These two bowls caught my interest, but I really only wanted to purchase one. Can you guess which one came home with me?!…

the blue one (L) had lovely indentations/strips while the one in orange shades (R) is a bit more shallow...

In the end, here are the two items that are now part of our dish inventory!…

a cheerful little side dish...and the ORANGE-shaded bowl!

My goal is to gradually switch over our daily dish set (they’re 15 years old, after all!) to an eclectic assortment of unique pieces – nothing matching. This is a good start to accumulating that collection!

So I can check “going to the Potters’ Sale” off my To Go To list. That just leaves me with seeing Madonna live in concert and running the New York City Marathon – I’m rather starting small, eh! :)

Friday Photos: Flowers and Showers

I’m spending a delightful two days in Toronto (yesterday and today) with The Girls. Yesterday we were able to hang out in the backyard and enjoy beautiful sunshine – while making chalk drawings on the brick paving stone walkway  and blowing bubbles on the shaded deck. So wonderful to have Spring temps and warm sunshine!

A few photos from this morning…

If we want flowers like these…

funny, but the local corner store always stocks the most beautiful assortment of spring flowers...

Then we have to accept that into every life a little rain must fall…(haha! photos AND philosophy for your Friday!)

Skies like this...

…will bring some rainfall!

I know - a picture of the sidewalk is not very exciting...but I wanted to catch evidence of raindrops!

Let’s end with more flowers!

E. delights in showing me the progress of the "shoots" in the garden each week.

Is your garden growing? Waterloo parks are all a-bloom with daffodils and tulips right now. Stop and smell the flowers today, why don’t you (a final philosophical moment on this Friday!) :)

Friday Photos: Meeting John Stanton!

Today was such a fun day! I had a sports massage this morning, then I worked from 2-5 pm at the store this afternoon. Then tonight we had plans to go down to the Kitchener Running Room to hear a presentation by John Stanton, who is in the area for the weekend.

I had been prepped for the fact that likely John would be by the store this afternoon during my shift…and at 4:30 p.m., who should walk through the door oh-so-casually, but John! Luckily for me, there were no customers in the store, and I had the opportunity to chat with John and my Area Manager Barry, for a good 20 minutes. It’s not every day that you get to chat about the developments in Uptown Waterloo, Earl’s restaurants, and just enjoy general small talk with your store founder!

I have met John at least two times already, and I just love every opportunity I have to meet him. John is one of the most unassuming, down-to-earth people you could hope to meet. So at the end of our chitchat, he good-naturedly accomodated my request for a photo:

John Stanton, founder of the Running Room...and me!

(Just a note: if you ever have the opporunity to meet John, he prefers to be addressed as “John,” NOT “Mr Stanton,” or “Sir”….this just fits with his personality – he’s such a completely regular person! Also, he likes to be known as the FOUNDER of the Running Room group of stores, NOT the CEO, President etc. Just so you know!

So I worked til 5 p.m., did a quick Wonder Woman-ish change of clothes, and B and I were off to the Kitchener store for the 6 p.m. presentation.

My Area Manager, Barry, and me! Barry is great, too.

Barry, me, my Manager, Paul

I could listen to John’s presentations anytime, anywhere. He is a pleasure to listen to, both in terms of the content of his talks, and his manner of speaking – nary a pause, an “um,” or a hesitation. John injects little touches of humour frequently, so while I am sure he talks on the same topics all the time, his presentations do not sound rehearsed at all.

Some tips from this evening’s presentation:

Follow Canada's Food Guide - it's not a diet so it's sustainable; it's a guide only

Got the "2 pm O'Henry craving," as John calls it? Craving salt and/or sugar? Likely your body wants water! Drink up!

Three components of your running or walking training: LSD (long slow distance); Strength (hill training); Speed (intervals), added in this order as you get stronger

me, John, Brad!

Amazing Anecdote of the Eve: Brad and John met ONCE, at the opening of the Kitchener Running Room in February 2006. Tonight I introduced B to John. John immediately responded with, “Oh yes, we’ve met before. Here at this store…you came in right from work that night.” This is the perfect example of John’s genuine ability and gift for connecting with people. He takes an interest in each and every person he is talking with, and is just such a nice man, bottom line. I am proud to work at one of his (now 100 in total!) stores and to be “linked” to such an inspiring man! If you ever have the chance to meet John, I highly recommend you make the effort!

FYI – New Recipes Page!

Just to quick let you know: I thought the original “40 Recipes” page was getting rather L-O-N-G, so I have started a new page with today’s recipes. So it now goes “40 Recipes, #1-11″ and a new page begins today with #12.

Enjoy! :)

Friday Photos, Part II: Feeling Thanksgiving-ish at Easter!

It’s practically written in stone that we gather as a family at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. As Family Matriarch, my mom hosts these gatherings. With our gathering on Good Friday, we have now completed the cycle of getting together at mom and dad’s (new) condo. Can’t believe how time flies – seems like we were just wishing each other Merry Christmas!

I guess it”s a sign of getting older (!) but I’m just really feeling thankful for my awesome family. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce The Family and explain why I luv each of them:

Uncle Paul (mom's brother) and Aunt Sharon

Growing up, no one could make me weak with laughter like my Uncle Paul. Favourite memories include Uncle Paul blasting The Ramones and pounding the ceiling of the car (our first exposure to rock music, I think!) and just generally being a real card. I think if you played “Six Degrees of Separation,” Uncle Paul would end up being linked to every single person in K-W, thanks to his extensive sports and work connections.

Easygoing Sharon is always fun to chat with. We can discuss travel, books, shopping, working out – the conversation never lags. Sharon has a gift for searching out fabulous purchases at Winners (a talent I sorely lack) – whenever she is wearing a fantastic new article of clothing, 75% of the time, Sharon responds, “I found it at Winners!”; the other 25% of the time, she answers with “I made it!” – as someone who can’t sew on a button, let alone make an outfit, I am in awe.

Cousin Kate (R) with her BF, Pete (L)

Kate is our family’s intrepid international traveler. I so admire how she managed to balance both extended travel around the world AND complete her undergrad and Masters of Social Work degrees and now be gainfully employed in her field. Kate totally “gets” my style and it’s thanks to her awesome picks at Christmas that I have a number of fun pieces in my wardrobe. We will next vicariously travel with Kate to Egypt next winter – can’t wait for the photos and travel tales!

Pete has fit in so well with our family since day one: he easily discusses stocks with Erv, movies with Brad and I, books with my mom, the Toronto scene with Chris and Ana. Pete totally “gets” our tradition of making Christmas lists: from his obscure reading requests to his “tell me the answer to this question…”, we love that he and Kate are together.

Cousin Joel

Joel is just a gem of a person. He’s smart, funny, sporty, down-to-earth, easy to talk to…an all-around great guy. And he’s been like this since he was a baby (the advantage to having younger cousins: I remember them clearly from the day they were born!). Since Joel lives in Uptown like us, we bump into each other from time to time – always a pleasure. We also love Joel’s SpecialGF, Andrea…hopefully, she will be able to join us next get-together!

Youngest Cousin Alex

Alex has so many interests, he’s completely well-rounded: gifted academically, gifted athletically (soccer, esp), these talents are balanced out with his typical teenage interests in movies, computer games, his cellphone etc…the next step will be getting his license! And I swear Alex is three inches taller each time I see him…

Grandma! (Dad's mother)

I admire Grandma because has overcome more hardship in her life than I will ever know, and I am so glad that she is still going strong well into her late 80’s. From Grandma, I inherited my love of knitting and my tolerance of cooking (we both like baking more, I would say). I also chuckle because Grandma is quite adamant about still getting in her daily walk to the mall and back…I am like that, too!

My Brother The Doctor

Chris very good-naturedly puts up with a lot of ribbing about being a Ph D Doctor and not a Medical Doctor. He’s absolutely brilliant in his field of study; athletically gifted; a wonderful Dad, and I adore his sense of humour (do you notice a family genetic humourous trend here?). I’m just super lucky to have such a cool relationship with (6′ +) Little Bro.

SIL Ana, Baby C., (and Uncle B)

Ana is so gifted in so many ways, I don’t know where to start! She is my go-to source for any tech questions, from my blog to my blackberry to my camera. If she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll Google til she finds it for me. She is as equally adept at handling an electric drill as she is springform pan. She balances mommying, working, plus about 1000 other things and yes, has a sense of humour, too!

Baby C. is just about the best baby ever. Full of smiles and giggles, she loves to observe – who ever heard of a baby who is entertained without toys, even? A real cutie-pie.

Dad (G'pa); Mom (G'ma); Little E.

Mom and Dad you have seen/heard about/heard from often enough to know that I love ‘em both to pieces and am so lucky to have parents who are also some of my bestest friends.

Little E. is just the apple of my eye (while Baby C. is the apple of my other eye, bien sur!). Allow me a little Aunti Bragging – at 3 years of age, Em already can easily count to 20 (English and French), print her name, tell you that her yellow jellybean tasted “bland,” and understands how to make jokes. Em just always makes my day and I’m so proud of the sweet little girl she is.

B and me!

Can you believe we’ll be married 15 years this summer? I cannot. B is the ying to my yang. We’ve always done things “our way,” and support each other’s goals and pursuits completely. B has fit in completely with my extended family since day one – he puts up with his share of teasing, too. Mom likes to say he married me for her strawberry pie and jam…they certainly helped drive the relationship in the right direction!

So that’s my beloved fam…each one just super great. And now two more shots of our Easter Get-To itself:

E. gets a Flying Carpet ride from Uncle B!

Celebrating three April Bdays with a divine torte!

Happily, the summer season brings around another tradition: the Uncles/Nephews golf outings. Then we all gather for conversation and bbq-ing thereafter. We’ll look forward to seeing each other BEFORE Thanksgiving – yippee!

Friday’s Photos: three more pics

This is going to be Part I of Friday Photos for this week as I have more ideas up my sleeve for later…

Gina sent me three more pics from her visit on Wednesday, and they are super cute, so just must share:

Marin loved the ceiling fan! Funny what amuses babies, eh?!

Hey! We're BOTH looking at the camera - score!

Best "Group Shot" between our two cameras, I think!

Thanks for being Good Sports!

So just to make sure we’re all on the same page: yesterday’s post was a total April Fool’s Joke. If I got you, don’t feel bad as I myself got taken in twice yesterday by these jokes:

- someone posted on one of my running forums that the Boston Marathon had tightened up their qualifying times. (Ie it would now be harder to qualify than ever). Totally fell for it.

- someone put up a notice in our elevator yesterday morning that the elevator would be out of service from Thursday 10 a.m. to Friday noon. Totally believed it and my heart sank, wondering how I was going to get five bags down the stairs to leave for TO…not to mention back UP the stairs Friday morning…B was still at home when I came in and asked him to help me with my bags since the elevator would be going out of service very shortly…to which he responded, “Didn’t you see the APRIL FOOL’S at the bottom?” Um…no…(in my defense it was in teeny tiny letters) – whew! Had a good laugh at myself over that one – completely taken in, hook, line and sinker. All in good fun.

Anyway, a return trip to Moab is on our short term Travel List (like in the next 2-5 years?) but that’s about it. The closest I will get to Moab in the near future is by looking at photos like this:

or this:

No more jokes from me for at least a year, promise! :)

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