Monthly Archives: June 2010

A Day at the Beach

Sometime during the day yesterday, one of us – B or I - got the brilliant and wonderful idea that we should go up to Goderich to the beach today. Fantastico!!! Goderich is always our choice for a beach day. My grandparents had a trailer and then a cottage just outside of Goderich when I was a small child til I was well into my teens, and I have soooo many fond memories of those days! B, too, spent happy times in Goderich as a child as a great-aunt lived up there. Neat coincidence, eh!
Now B and I have our own favourite traditions for our Goderich trips; incredibly, it’s been about five years since we were last up there! All day today we kept commenting, “how could we have let it go so long without a trip up here?” Let me take you on a photo journey…both of childhood memories and of our day today.

When my brother and I were small, the family tradition was that we would leave quite early in the morning for Goderich, then stop at the McDonalds in Stratford for breakfast. McDonalds is still there!

the building wasn't quite so "flash" back in the 70's; but i bet you the breakfast menu is still the same today!

To help with the “are we there yet?” line of questioning, my mom taught us the order of towns that we would pass through on the way. It goes “Stratford, Seabringville, Mitchell, Seaforth, Clinton, Goderich.” I always chant that out to B in the car. :) Today we encountered quite a bit of construction on the road, so the drive up was a bit of a test of patience. Luckily, the journey is as much a part of our day as the destination. Huron County countryside is very pictoresque:

somewhere in the middle of nowhere

(Just to note: B was the official driver today as we took his truck; I was knitting and snapping photos and retelling the tales I ALWAYS tell about me n childhood n Goderich…ahhh!:))

So we get into Goderich and the first official stop is…

still looks like it did in the '70's!

See, in the 70′s, we would go to the laundromat across the street from Culbert’s and Chris and I would get a treat AND a small BOTTLE of pop while the laundry was cookin’ up. This is the sight that greets you today upon entering:

the glass case at the front...

...and the back display...

From Culbert’s B and I must head directly to the beach. Now no joke, today was gorgeous sunshine, but it was CHIL-LY, esp on the exposed beach! We stayed on the beach just long enough for each of us to enjoy a chocolate chip donut. Holy moley, these are divine! As B says, it was worth the drive today JUST for these donuts. (And everything else in the bakery looks just as delicious, I must add).

too bad this is not a scratch n sniff blog! haha, you'll have to trust me on this one!

view from the beach across to the salt mine

Now usually, we hang out on the beach before doing our “Goderich Loop Walk,” but given the frigid rather cool temp and strong wind at that moment on the beach, we headed off for our walk.

 We always leave the truck at the beach and head up the steep hill out of the beach area. The first sight is this park:

note the bandshell at the very back of this photo...

When we were children, we’d come here Sunday evenings for the highland music performances – bagpipes are my strongest memory of these times!

Next, we pass some of my favourite cottages. I love the cosy arts n craft stylings even today. Funny that my tastes remain unchanged after 30 years!

A sign outside the front door states this is the "Lighthouse Cottage" - it's my #1 fave; note the great enclosed sunporch along the left side...

aren't the windows great on this cottage? and another covered porch...

i love the line of windows along the left of this cottage...and another porch...hmmm - maybe i have a "thing" for porches?!

oh-so-cute!...and let's say it all together: COVERED PORCH!! (and this one continues around the right side)...

Interesting to note that while a lot of the original cottages remain, many properties now feature monster homes. It’s actually a wonderful mix of old and new on this walk.

In between the home viewing, we come to Lighthouse Park. Now I get really excited in my storytelling to B!! :) See, the tradition in childhood with this location is that once per vacation, we would stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken (it wasn’t politically incorrect to market chicken as FRIED in the ’70′s!) and pick up chicken and fries and eat a picnic supper at the lighthouse.

KFC is still there today!!

Lighthouse Park - note the picnic table - i think that is the exact one that was there when i was small!!!

Chris and I luuuuuuvvvvved Lighthouse Park because we turned the nautical themed accents into a playground!

we would pretend the cannon was a rodeo horse...

the anchor was our balance beam...

...and we were warned to not get too close to the cliff edge!

Now back to our Goderich Loop Walk….to descend, we take a gazillion stairs down, then I make B hike back up so I can count the stairs. B wishes I would remember the number from the last walk and then he wouldn’t have to “do the stairs” - it’s always a good chuckle!

there are 143 steps - now the number is on record!

 Back down at the bottom, you are at the “new” beach (well, it was developed in the mid-80′s so it was the NEW BEACH for us back then) and YOU MUST ALWAYS BOYCOTT THIS BEACH! You must always beach it at the OLD and ORIGINAL part of the beach (which I will show you eventually). Now, funny enough, the NEW and BAD end of the beach is called…

yes, the same as brother's name - but it's still NOT THE BEACH WE ALWAYS WENT TO!!!

Now there is a lovely boardwalk that goes from St Christopher’s back to the original end of the beach:

there were a few people walking today but not many...

Back at “our” end of the beach…sadly, the original French Fry Hut no longer stands. They honestly had the best handcut, homemade french fries in the entire universe (right, Dad?!). It has been replaced with a concrete structure. The benefit, at least, is that the washrooms are super clean, super modern, and wayyy better than the old wooden, sandy ones. And the hut still sells french fries!

the new structure is in the same location as the old one...

Another childhood play opp for Chris and me: swinging on the “ropes” and trying to step up and balance on them!

original chain links, new boardwalk...

Next, we must visit the pier. The pier divides the beach from the salt mines. Today there were no big ships in port. Chris and I were always beside ourselves with joy and glee as kids if there was a big ship in…

warning part 2: we were always told to KEEP BACK FROM THE EDGE!!!

looking back at the beach...

Here I’ll insert the tale I always relate to B while we’re on the end of the pier: “it was in this location that I blew a bubble for the very first time. It was purple Bubble Yum and our family had come out here for an evening stroll.” (insert B rolling his eyes and commenting “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one before…”) hardy har har, B!!

as a child and now, it boggled/boggles my mind that they mine salt UNDER the lake!!!can you see the lighthouse, home of the KFC picnic?!

After our walk today, the weather had warmed up enough that we could sit out on the beach. You know it’s still cool, though, if B even keeps on his long sleeve shirt. We marvelled over the crazy kids (high school-ish) swimming and hanging out in bikinis and surfer shorts. Yea, we’re old.
Tangent: I won’t lie to you here: for the first time since I gave up Diet Coke back on April 19th, I totally craved my old ex-favourite beverage…something about sitting out on the beach with my knitting, soaking up the sun…water just is not the same. I honestly debated “just one,” but decided not to. And now later, I am glad I didn’t cave in!
The next thing we must do is go up to the centre of town. Goderich boasts it is the “Prettiest Town in Canada,” and I don’t blame them. The downtown is spic n span, there are no vacant storefronts (a BIG change from the ’70s and ’80s), people are friendly. The downtown configuration is unique: Chris and I named it “The Big Wheel” because it’s configured exactly like a wheel, with a circular road around downtown and spokes radiating out of it:

the courthouse or some such important building is located in the centre of the wheel...

one way only around the wheel!

Today B and I did our usual lap around the wheel. The ultimate destination: Fincher’s!!! Home of the best selection of magazines, ever!

sign looks a bit 1950's, eh! love that!!!

 Usually I buy a magazine, but did not today…

b kept up the tradition by getting "backpacker" magazine today...

 I spotted this display of journals. Notice what caught my eye?!

it was the only cardinal journal there - coincidence? i think not!!!

And after that, we go home.
(Now I should be clear on one thing: the beaches at Goderich will never make a Top 10 Ontario beaches list or anything – both St Christopher’s and “my” original end have grainy sand and are not large…but the memories both from childhood and from trips up in past years with B make it my favourite beach day location).
Both B and I agree that we really should make a great effort to get back up here for a day in August. Because we know that The Big Wheel, Culbert’s, Fincher’s, The Pier await! Plus B just really wants to hear my stories again! :)

I now have 20 Fingers!

Have you heard about these puppies at all?…

rather unique, eh!

They’re called Vibram FiveFingers - this is the Sprint model.

I’ve read a lot about this new-fangled footwear over the past year or so. They’re becoming more and more “mainstream,” especially with the latest “barefoot running craze” that’s been evident within the running world.

Barefoot running intrigues me. I can’t see that I’ll ever actually run barefoot myself, but I’m interested in edging closer and closer to mimicking the experience. Since I have high, stable arches:

an arched arch!

…and am a neutral runner, minimalism footwear + me = possible fun times! Vibrams are not for everyone – if you have your second toe longer than your big toe, I don’t think they’d fit. If you have flat feet, you might have issues. If you think they look dorky, you WILL stay away, right!!!

I was under the impression that the Vibrams were only available at MEC, locally (well, the closest MECs are Burlington or Toronto); then I heard through a customer that Adventure Guide in town here carries them! So I popped in there today to try them on.

Happily, I had excellent customer service and the dude helping me was very informed. He was especially knowledgeable about getting these on your feet – seriously! not easy!

It is like putting gloves on your feet – wiggle your toes in first…

wiggle, waggle

…then insert your heel – voila!

they DO look funny, don't they!

Trust me, this went a lot better than when I tried them on at Adventure Guide. At one point, I had three toes in one toe spot – oops! Luckily Buddy the Shoe Guy was very cool and it was a good laugh as I tried to jam my foot manoeuvre them on.

How popular have the Vibrams become of late? My sales guy told me that Adventure Guide gets about 15 inquiries a DAY about them. Luckily for me, they had my size in stock (7.5 US sizing, 38 Euro – in the shoe world, this is smaller of the sizing centre). Right now they have a TOTAL of about 7 pairs for men and 10 for women when initially they had an entire wall of shelves, full. We both think that this is the Footwear of the Summer of 2010 (better than Crocs of 2007-2008?!). I know I have seen a few people wearing them in Uptown Waterloo of late.

My initial impression? Very comfortable, actually! And you DO feel like you are barefoot. We’re talking just a layer of rubber between your feetsies and the ground. So light! Sales guy told me he bounced around the store in them for an entire day the first time he wore them – the next day his feet and legs were screaming at him!

As to price, I paid $80.00 at Adventure Guide. Since regular running shoes retail, on average, for $139-159, I didn’t think that the price of the Vibrams was too insane. PLUS, due to backorders and the surging popularity of the shoe, sellers on eBay are commanding $160.00 for a pair!

My Sales Guy told me the Vibrams’ lifespan is shorter than for running shoes – likely 6-12 months (a running shoe is about the same, actually, depending on how much you wear it).

I intend to build up my wear time very gradually. I did this when I started transitioning to the Nike Free 5.0′s, too. I’ve had the Nikes for over a year – at first, I just wore them across the street to the mall and back. Then I wore them on longer walks. Then I introduced them to running. Now I can comfortably wear them for a 5k run and walk in them for over an hour with no ill effect. Have NOT tried them on the Stairmaster, though! :) I think I’ll follow the same “training plan” with my Vibrams and not rush.

hey - Nikes and Vibrams - same colours!

In fact, I love my Frees so much, I recently bought a second pair!…

puuuuurple!!!

(And I secretly covet a hot pink pair I tried on at Runner’s Choice – it’s still there in my size – I called again today…oooh to purchase or not to purchase, that is the question!)

OK, I’ve been wearing my Sprints as I am standing here, typing, and now my big toes are buzzing. Think that’s enough time for today!

Reviving the Tradition

It was a calm and sunny morning.

the 6:30 a.m. view from our window

A perfect day to…run a race!!

i always use THREE safety pins - another race quirk!

Dad and I first completed the Waterloo Classic 10K event in 1990. This race holds a special place in my heart because it was my first organized road running event ever (and Dad and I ran it together). We haven’t participated every year in the years since, but it always just feels “right” when we can carry on our Father’s Day tradition.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

This morning, we met up in our lobby, and Dad, Brad and I enjoyed a warm-up walk through a peaceful Waterloo Park together, over to Seagram Stadium venue.

my trusty support crew!

It’s nice to arrive in plenty of time so there’s no rushing to get your chip for the chip timing system:

has to be laced onto my LEFT shoe; RIGHT shoe would feel weird

It’s also fun to have time to wander around and see who we know this year.

my co-worker, Laura, from the store; she's also a knitting enthusiast!

Our neighbour, Dixie; we frequently work out in our building's gym at the same time, too

Doh! Let’s play “Spot the Newbies!”

Ya don't wear this year's shirt FOR the event, people!

Acceptable: wearing a previous year's shirt; i reiterate: DO NOT wear the shirt BEFORE you complete the distance!

We checked out the new and improved track surface at Seagram Stadium. This year, the start and finish were located on the track.

CU-SHY!!! Man, even i could be talked into doing speedwork if i could do the drills and sprints on THIS surface!

Time to hit the john before lining up.

line up for the women's washroom

No way, man! None of that for me. Having learned from my Boston Marathon days, I found my own spot:

who needs a washroom or a port-a-potty> a (relatively) secluded tree will do the job just fine! :)

Starting a few years ago, now, we have turned The Classic into a family reunion-type event: my dad’s cousin Karl, his wife Julie, and their three kids, Stephanie, Laura, and Adam meet up with us at the run. Each year, there is a different combination of who is running 5 or 10k, and who is watching. (Other years, Chris and Ana have joined us; this year, their travel schedule prevented their attendance. Maybe next year!)

(L-R): me; Laura; Dad; Julie; Karl; Stephanie; Adam, Brad

Dad has a pretty big extended family; no secret, Karl and Julie etc are our favourites of all of his cousins. We LOVE this meet-up! So nice that they make the trip up from Niagara for the day.

Today was just a perfect day for the event. Sunny, a bit of a breeze, zero humidity. Dad and I both enjoyed our run immensely!

Coming around the final curve towards the finish line

the straightaway...

almost at the finish line!...

We stayed together the entire 5k and raised our hands in victory as we crossed the finish line! Here are our final results, as they appear on Chip Time Results:

overall place/bib #/name          chip time/age group/place in age group         M/F placing/gun time/city of residence

 195  1225 Cathy Kueneman           28:22 SF40-44   11/31                                        58  5:41   27:48   Waterloo       
  196  1114 Erv Derksen                     28:23 SM65-69    1/1                                         137  5:41   27:47   Waterloo       

We also entered the “Parent Child” team category and the Derksen Duo placed 11th of 25 teams! :)

Stephanie achieved her sub-30:00 minute goal!

the 5k-ers!

Karl and Laura ran the 10k together and finished at 55:xx, breaking their goal of a sub-60 minute finish. Julie knocked 6+ minutes off her 10k PB! So a highly successful day for everyone!

The Waterloo Classic is part of the RunWaterloo series of races. Lloyd, the race director, runs (pun!) a well-organized event. The event is well-marshalled, kilometers clearly marked; the post-race food is plentiful. The only “needs improvements” I would suggest are more washrooms are needed and there is too much lag time between the end of the races and the awards and draw prizes (we left today before seeing if we won a prize or an award).

with Race Director, Lloyd!

Personally, I don’t agree with giving a medal to every finisher. That’s my old-school thinking coming through – I know nowadays, participants like to receive a finisher’s medal to recognize their achievement. To me, that’s why you get a tshirt! Medals should be for top placings overall and go three-deep in the age groups – that’s plenty. But I wasn’t about to throw my medal back at the volunteer handing them out. However, I did change it once I got home:

i didn't run 10k, i ran 5k! (all medals said "10k Classic)

And more fun to come!…

A quick return home to freshen up. NOW is the appropriate time to wear the race shirt!

don't have a navy tech running shirt - nice addition to the collection!

it's ok to wear matching shirts after the race, the day of the race; any other occasion, yes, it is cheesy

We all enjoyed more visiting and food on the outdoor patio at the Huether:

the clan

I think we’re all already looking forward to next year! Long live family traditions!

‘Twas The Night Before…

Tradition

A Bib #...

A Shirt....

The Chosen Ensemble...

Footwear...

Can you guess what’s happening tomorrow morning?!…

It’s Friday! Let’s talk books!

Another glorious Friday here in Uptown…makes one start to think about summer holidays!

I always enjoy having an engrossing book to read while on vacation. So instead of a Friday Photo post today, I thought we could talk books. I know that I am reading a “good book” when I find myself thinking about the story during the day, and when I can’t wait for bedtime so that I can read some more. What type of books do I enjoy?…the first priority is that it be character-driven. I love when the protagonist becomes a real person in my mind. I need a character-centred plot that is more or less real life. I’m really not a fan of sci-fi or vampires or huge descriptive passages about nature. So join me on a brief literary tour!…

[I decided not to provide links or give reviews - Google any title and you'll easily find a plot summary or a review]

5 Novels That I Absolutely Loved (Read Within the Last Couple of Years) And Gave Them a 4-Star Rating:

1. Good to a Fault – Marina Endicott

2. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards

3. Clara Callan – Richard Wright

4. A Perfect Night to Go to China – David Gilmour

5. The Way the Crow Flies – Ann-Marie MacDonald

5 “Chick Lit” Books That Are Awesome “Beach” Reads:

1. The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger

2. Chasing Harry Winston – Lauren Weisberger

3. Bergdorf Blondes – Plum Sykes

4. The Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

5. Good In Bed – Jennifer Weiner

5 Books From My Entire Life That I Will Never Forget and Could Not Put Down:

1. A Prayer For Owen Meanie – John Irving

2. I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb

3. Cheaper By the Dozen – Frank B. Gilbreth & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (I think I read this at least a dozen times in my tween years!)

4. The Story Girl – Lucy Maud Montgomery (this goes way back to childhood!)

5. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

5 Books that I Cannot Recommend:

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini (beautifully written but completely heart-wrenching/terribly hard to read; cannot get the scene of the protagonist and her 3 year old daughter locked in a scorchingly hot room for a few days with no water…plus, I don’t like war-centred pieces; nightmare-inducing).

2. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown (most over-rated piece of crap I’ve ever endured in my life).

3. The Flying Troutmans – Miriam Toews (such a disappointment after the delight of A Complicated Kindness).

4. The Book Of Negroes – Laurence Hill (the exception that proves the rule: character-driven, but just didn’t turn my crank).

5. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom (schlocky).

5 Books That I Hope to Read Soon:

1. The Almost Archer Sisters – Lisa Gabriele

2. The Believers – Zoe Heller

3. That Old Magic Cape – Richard Russo

4. Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout

5. Prep – Curtis Sittenfeld

5 Favourite Authors:

1. Joy Fielding (for when you need a page-turner that is not a mind-bender)

2. Joyce Carol Oates

3. David Sedaris

4. Carol Shields

5. Rebecca Eckler (what can I say, she cracks me up with her writing style)

Please note: there are many other works of fiction and non-fiction that were thisclose to making the cut – I love a good book!

[I also keep a journal a la my Grandpa Cressman with the title, author, date I finished it and my rating of 1-4 stars - came in very handy for this list!]

Happy Reading!!!!

Friday Photos: …We All Scream For!…

There’s really only one thing you can do on a Friday afternoon, in the middle of June, on a day that looks like this:

live, from Uptown Waterloo, IT'S FRIDAY AFTERNOON!!!!

…plus, this sign has been tormenting me for weeks now…

it was worse when they had the flavours listed!!

So I grabbed my girl Tina…

Tina's always ready to rock... :)

…and lined up an…ICE CREAM DATE!!!

Since B-man is out of town, you have one guess as to who was my ready-and-willing sidekick…

Dad's skills as a "40 Recipes" taste-tester and reviewer easily transfer to ice cream!

Coffee Culture on King Street was the meet-up spot…

we had to sit outside on such a great day!

Who needs 31 flavours when the eight on offer are all delightful?

my choice: the bottom right hand corner...

After much debate, Dad chose the Espresso Chip and I got Triple Chocolate Brownie. Rolo was in the running right to the end, but I’m not much of a caramel fan, so it missed the cut.

no comment needed!

Just perfect. We agreed that the ice cream flavours, textures (and price!) were A+. Mom, as the officially neutral 3rd party, declared the Triple Chocolate Brownie to be the winner by a smidge.

Tina very much enjoyed herself, too.

 (BTW, you are on the right blog site – haha! Yes, I updated the background – I like it!)

Friday Photos: 5 Things…

…that have made me smile :) already today!

1. Communication

An early-morning online visit with SIL Ana and little darlings, Little E. and Baby C., currently in Finland-land! (Little E's term)!

2. Car-Coveting

This "Big Bird" yellow shade on cars cracks me up...really I'm just jealous!

3. Cantaloupe

Spectacular! Eaten my favourite way: spooned out right from the shell

4. Crazy Colours

Latest knitting project: variegated oh-so-soft yarn in bombastic blasts of colour!

5. Casa-Curious

Quirky Delight: Just beneath reading the Marriages in the Sunday New York Times - reading "Done Deals" in my beloved Friday Globe and Mail!

And this is all before noon! Who says the little things in life aren’t the most delightful?!

What’s made you smile today?! :)

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