Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Failing Report Card in June!

Well, it’s the end of June, and school’s out!

(source)

And that means it’s Report Card time.

On June the 1st, I shared four June goals with you. Let’s see how we fared, and in honour of the end of the school year, we’ll assign a grade to each goal.

Goal #1: Ride my bike at least twice.

Grade:

F!

Explanation: You wanna know the total whole truth and nothing but the truth? I am scared of The Green Monster. More than a few times, the thought crossed my mind to take the bike out for a spin. Then I’d make a face like this

wahhhh!!!

…and go do something else. Or drive or walk my errand. I have nothing further to add about this goal.

Goal #2: a) Finish the lacy baby blanket and b) finish the “Marnie” cardigan for Mom

Grade:

F/A+!

Explanation: I knew from the outset that completing the baby blanket was a long shot. I made great progress, but it’s not done.

still growing...

I’d say I have enough yarn left to do 2-4 more repeats of the pattern, then I’ll do the garter stitch border, and wrap ‘er up.

Mom’s sweater – now that was a success! Mom was able to wear her sweater on the hottest day of the year by the middle of the month:

i loved making this pattern

Goal #3: The reading goal got tweaked *just* a few times: here and here, to be exact.

Grade:

C+!

Explanation: I did finish one book: Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich (one of the Stephanie Plum series). After that, I started dabbling in a couple of other library choices…still taking a thinking-break, and there’s nothing really worth mentioning at this time.

Goal #4: Get Out and About and enjoy the summer evenings.

Grade:

C-!

Explanation: Coulda done better, coulda done worse. I got out to a movie…and did a few random errands a couple of evenings. I am not an evening person. On a positive note, I did a lot of socializing between the hours of 5-7 p.m., and during the afternoons I was off work.

Happily, the Outings of the Month ended up working out. Better modified than never.

How’d y’all fare with your own June plans? Seeing as how I was a more-or-less straight A student all through school, I am a little chagrined at this progress report!

Tomorrow: what’s the plan for July? You may be surprised…

Today

When one door closes…

(source)

…another one opens.

(source)

The only thing that does not change, is change itself. ~ Leif Ericsson Leo Veness.

(source)

The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein.

(source)

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. ~ Lou Holtz.

(source)

I take nothing for granted. I now only have good days or great days. ~ Lance Armstrong.

(source)

Appreciate humour whenever and wherever it strikes. ~ 1970KikiProject

...on a sign post

...in a children's book from the 1960's

How are you viewing life today?

New Experience #20: Watch Real-Life Friends On a Reality TV Show

Do you watch a lot of reality tv?

I’m not an addict, but there have been a few series I have followed avidly over the years:

  • the very first season of Survivor
  • a few versions of Top Chef
  • one year of Canada’s Next Top Model
  • Season One of Real Housewives of New York
  • one round of The Amazing Race
  • every episode of Jersey Shore [my absolute fave!]

[Sidenote: I have never seen even one episode of American Idol; I keep meaning to catch any of the dance contest-type series; I categorically refuse to watch The Biggest Loser].

Back in April, I introduced you to my friends Lee and Jeannie from the store.

lee at the store on sunday, during run club; jeannie wasn't out this week

They are quite the adventuresome couple – last fall, they had the opportunity to participate on a Canadian reality TV show: Wipeout Canada. The show filmed in Argentina. At the time, Jeannie was traveling in South America anyway, and Lee was able to join her for a few weeks.

Since filming their action sequences segment, Lee and Jeannie have not breathed a word about how they fared, so I was excited to see what would happen on the show! Given the title of the show, I had a feeling that my overriding impression would be better them than me.

Sunday evening on TVTropolis, their episode finally aired.

This was a New Experience for me – I’ve never personally known anyone on any of the reality TV shows I’ve watched – or on any reality TV show in existence, period!

Sunday evening, then, I excitedly plopped myself in front of the TV, ready to watch. The show aired from 8-9 p.m. Yes, that is late for me. But it’s not like I haven’t stayed up late before just for the sake of the blog!

I knew absolutely nothing about Wipeout Canada before Sunday eve. I suppose I could have done some research, but I decided to just go in blind. Here are the notes and photos I took while watching (real-time blogging, the method I used when I watched Oprah Goes Vegan).

~This week it’s Wipeout Canada: Family Smackdown Edition. The contestants are parent/child, sibling or spouse partnerships.

~ Lee and Jeannie’s team tshirt colour is orange! That’s Lee’s favourite colour (and mine!) – that’s a good sign!

introductions!

~ Qualifier round: each challenger attempts to complete an obstacle course:

make it past the punching gloves!

go, lee, go!

~ More teams participate…then Lee and Jeannie are back! They replay my friends hamming it up: swats on the bum…

hippy shake!

…and Jeannie yelling “I love you!” at Lee as he attempts to cross the big bouncy balls.

jeannie cheering on lee as he leaps across those giant bouncy balls - mud underneath, if you slip!

~ Wipeout Canada is sophomoric in terms of humour: example – Lee and Jeannie are placed in the category of “domineering wives…” – that’s not how I see Jeannie!

"the setup"

~ I would liken the way Lee and Jeannie are depicted to a caricature drawing: one feature is exaggerated and played up. The producers chose to turn Jeannie’s zest and enthusiasm for life into bossiness.

~ Jeannie moves on from the qualifying round! Yea, Jeannie!

ready for action!

~ The second round is the Sweeper Round – contestants are standing on an elevated pole, and have to hop over a giant rubber toothbrush as it swings around. This looks hard! Jump up, jump over the sweeper, and land on your pole? Eesh!

pole + sweeper

~ “Nagging Wife Jeannie” makes one successful hop, then falls on her next attempt:

wow!

Jeannie, you’re awesome for completing one hop!

~ Next is this spinny thing:

i guess you could practise at canada's wonderland!

Great close-up of Jeannie as she begs the spinny thing to stop!

hope the spinning didn't last too long!

~ “Meannie Jeannie” charges off of the spinny thing!

go get 'em, jeannie!

~ There are several shots of Lee as he watches on the sidelines with other family members and the host(ess):

lee = orange tshirt

~ “Meannie Jeannie takes her time…she’s used to having her husband do everything for her.” Ouch! [The scripted comments about all the competitors - esp 17 year old John Jr - are pretty merciless, and keep getting worse - they're trying to be funny but make me wince].

~ Eventually, Jeannie is knocked out of the competition.

~ The Final Round sees the remaining four challengers competing to win the $50 000 prize. Wow! That’s sizable prize $ up for grabs!

It was really fun to watch Lee and Jeannie on this show! Jeannie made it further along than I had thought (sorry, Jeannie, but it’s true!) so I liked the surprise factor, and I liked scouring the TV screen for shots of my friends.

Lee and Jeannie were kind enough to give me some feedback:

Jeannie: “Lee and I had to summon up all our courage to click the play button on the website to watch us make fools of ourselves. But I have to say that it was quite entertaining. You know that I am a way worse nagging wife than what was portrayed on the show, right? =)Yes, we’re very proud of being a prized part of the Carstar “Make it Unhappen” moment. That was seriously excellent comedic timing.”

Lee: ” Jeannie and I both watch the episode today together. We enjoyed it, and thought it was pretty funny. It was nice for us to see all the other people on the episodes wipe-outs and interviews because we were not allowed to see it when it was taped. As for our comments…
We both are glad we did it, and would do it again if asked, but the episode could have looked a lot different if the editing was changed. In the end, I think we find it so funny because the way we are portrayed is so different from who we are, so it just looks like some characters on TV to us. But I guess in the end that’s what they we’re looking for, you know … ‘for good TV’.”

Way to be good sports, Lee and Jeannie! I’m proud of you!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

If you could be a contestant on any reality tv show, which one would you pick? I would choose Dancing With the Stars. I’ve always harboured a desire to be a professional dancer. In my next life!

Ten Keys

On June 27th, 1964, Dad and Mom got married!

saturday, june 27th, 1964, after the signing of the register

On June 27th, 1964

  • I Get Around” by the Beach Boys was the #2 song on the Music Chart (source)
  • The New York Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers by a score of 5-4 at Yankee Stadium (source)
  • Fashionable women were wearing:

(source)

  • and gas cost about $0.27 a gallon! (source)

That was a long time ago!

After 47 years together, I figure Mom and Dad have learned a thing or two about marriage. I asked them if they could please share tidbits of wisdom that they have gleaned from so many years of being together.

official anniversary portrait, sunday june 26th, 2011

Let’s see what they have to say…

Mom‘s Five Keys to a Successful Marriage:

1. Laugh together, and roll your eyeballs or smirk or wink or nod, whatever connects you in the moment.

2. Remember in a special way those dates important to your relationship – anniversary, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas.

3. Accept each age and each stage, which do change over the years – we were DINKs for 6 years, then came the really busy era of young children, then the time of raising kids and both working away from home, then Cathy and Chris’ teen years, then the Empty Nest, then retirement.  Each age and each stage does have rewards and challenges.

christmas, 1974

4. Enjoy your roles in your family and within extended family.

5. Hold hands when you cross the street as a symbol of “We are into this, together, forever.”

Dad‘s Five Keys to a Successful Marriage:

1.  Forgive and forget.  There are always differences of opinion and sometimes hurtful things are said on the spur of the moment.  It helps to be able to forgive and forget when you feel slighted.
2.  Spend a lot of time together, and share not only the interests you have in common but also take time on your spouse’s interests.  (i.e.  M loves to shop.)
3.  Good food….it never hurts to have a wife that can really cook good food. [see below...]
4.  Have a sense of humour….laugh at mistakes, share funny incidents, and be willing to admit when you have been foolish.
5.  Be an understanding listener.  It always feels good when you can share disappointments, troubles and failures with an understanding/compassionate mate.
~*~*~*~*~
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for sharing your insights.
Happy Anniversary to you both – enjoy your special day!
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Mom Got the Hint

Was it thanks to the blog post? Was it because of Dad’s whining and begging woebegone expression and cajoling requests? Can we thank Valumart for stocking gorgeously fresh local berries? Whatever the reason, we joyfully gathered together yesterday for…

mom's homemade strawberry pie - the first of the season!

There was one tshirt and one tshirt only for me to wear for the occasion:

love the slogan, love the graphics, love the tie dye

is your mouth watering yet?!

I don’t mean to lord it over The Brother and SIL Ana you, but man was this scrumptious!

one pie, four people, sixteen minutes. true story.

Dad’s already pleading asking for a repeat performance asap!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Have you feasted on strawberries yet this year? Valumart was sold out by yesterday afternoon – local berries are a hot commodity!

Please contribute one of your own keys to a happy relationship – whether you’re married or not! My key would be this: you each have your own particular strengths. Use whatever you are good at individually for the betterment of your partnership.

Flipflopping

I’m on a nice roll at the store!

After having the fun of receiving a $40 Amex Card – and then deciding how to spend it – I was also fortunate enough to win a pair of flipflops, recently!

They arrived a few days ago, much sooner than anticipated. I ♥ unexpected treats!

They are the SOLE Platinum Sandals:

Here are their features, as described by the manufacturer:

  • a custom orthopedic fit [the word orthopedic always makes me think of 80 year olds!]
  • a moldable footbed
  • auto-adapting arch support
  • metatarsal [under your front toes] support pad
  • deep heel cup.

as seen on my UNPEDICURED feet

definitely contoured to the soles of my feet...

I gave them their first test drive on Thursday when I was out and about with Mom and Dad (more on that in a minute). Since then, I’ve been wearing them around the condo building.

My impressions:

These sandals are definitely supportive to the bottoms of my feet. They’re not quite of the calibre of Birkenstocks (Birkies are softer) but are more substantial than your average thongs. The heel is sculpted, the arch support is definitive, the toe bed roomy. I would best describe them as sturdy.

The left foot fits perfectly. Unfortunately, on the right foot, the top of the thong is putting pressure on the top of my foot. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s not super-comfortable. This is not a flaw in the footwear, rather a defect in my foot shape! :D

By now, you know I love footwear. And, I don’t know if you remember this situation or not, but back in February, I broke my favourite condo-wearing flipflops. The ones I’ve been wearing since are cheap and VERY flippy and it’s likely a good idea for me to retire them before I twist an ankle on the stairs, some day.

I’ve anointed the SOLE flipflops as the NEW condo-wearing sandals. If I can break them in a little/loosen them up, I’ll wear them out and about, too. Yes – the best summary right now is to say that the sandals need to soften up, be broken in. They are very well constructed, so I predict a long lifespan ahead!

**Full Disclosure: I received these flipflops for free. Sole did not ask me to review them, and all opinions are my own.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

As alluded to in yesterday’s post, I did end up completing the Outing of the Month with both Mom and Dad on Thursday. This month just escaped us in terms of organizing full-fledged outings, so as we did back in March, we compromised.

The three of us convened at Matter of Taste for an afternoon break:

i didn't even have a coffee! it was a perrier kind of day!

Then Mom and I went across the mall hall (literally) to this shop:

photo taken from a distance to show off the wares!

Mom had asked me to accompany her to search out a new bra. Necessity triumphed over just fun shopping this month, we decided.

Sadly, we struck out big time. Mom and I wandered around Just For You a full ten minutes and during that time, NOT ONE of the three sales associates approached us to offer assistance. Heck, no one even said hello. Yes, there were three other customers in the store – that’s no excuse. As a retail sales associate myself, I was horrified, quite frankly, and feel I’m qualified to be harsh in my assessment. Growing more and more peeved (we needed assistance as they only place one size of each bra style out on display), we finally just walked out.

Mom and I did have fun poking about a few other stores in the mall, but the inexcusably poor service at Just For You soured us on ever wanting to go back. Poor Mom will be bra-less! :)

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Your preference: flipflops or sandals? I love flipflops which have the thong strap between the big toe and the second toe – it keeps my feet from sliding forward overly much. And I love making a sharp, staccato ‘thwack‘ with each step!

What do you do when you receive incredibly bad service from a retailer? Mom has decided to take her bra business elsewhere. And I’m providing negative publicity (virtual word-of-mouth?) via the blog!

One Heckuva Week

The whole tone for this past week was set last Sunday night.

I logged on to check Facebook one last time before bed. What I read struck me with the force of a karate chop to the gut. I found out that a childhood friend had died of cancer on Saturday. Lori was only 40 years old, and leaves behind a husband, two children – ages 11 and 8 – her parents, and many friends and connections.

It’s just not right. This thought has replayed through my head so many times over the past six days. News of a death is never welcomed, but it just seems even more unjust when it’s a friend, and when it’s someone in the prime of life. I’ve asked, and internally debated so many questions: “Why Lori? Who will “mother” her children? How is her husband going to cope?” And in broader terms:  “What is the meaning of life? What is important to me? How do I achieve my life goals? Do I throw caution to the wind, in case I never make it to senior citizenhood?”

Lori and I go way back to Grade 2. We were in the same class, and that year, a bunch of us girls formed friendships that continue to this day. Many friends in my grade-school circle came from a similar family situation: a working Dad, stay-at-home Mom; several even had our same birth-order pattern: a first-born daughter (me and my girlfriends), and a son three years younger (our brothers all were friends, too).

my grade 2 birthday party - lori is in the front row, on the far left

same party, L to R: lori, tracey, susie, me

grade 7 class trip to niagara falls: friends, L to R, pam, sue, marie, and lori

I’m glad I went to a visitation time at the funeral home. Giving and receiving hugs of support and comfort does everyone a world of good.

To add to my downer state-of-mind, we had a meeting with the lawyer this week to review updated wills. Great. Just raises the spirits enormously – making plans for what you want to happen after your own demise.

And, this is just petty, but the Condo Casa looks like a cyclone has ripped through it.

Really: do I think Lori wished she had spent more time chasing dustbunnies out from under the bed? Scouring the kitchen sink? Friends, social connections – that is where to place priority. I bet Lori is really happy for all the family vacations, parties, mundane daily routines that she did participate in.

God has a way of taking care of us. As things worked out, I got to spend a lot of time with friends and family this past week. These positive interactions ensured that each day had a bright spot to it. Here’s the recap:

monday: coffee with lisa

tuesday: coffee with VFBF joanne

wednesday: time with little e + baby c

[I really enjoyed "visiting through comment sharing" on Wednesday's blog post, too!]

[Cousin Kate had happy news to share - another positive].

thursday: outing of the month coffee with dad + mom (more on that tomorrow)

also thursday: walk n talk with BFF debbie

Friday I worked a full day at the store. I love my job, and spending time at work buoyed my spirits. Being around people in general makes me happy.

Later this aft, I am meeting my friend Cathie at Starbucks. It is going to be a delightful visit.

You know what? This week ahead is going to have its own challenges. But I am squaring my shoulders and I’m ready to face each day.

What were you grateful for this past week? Every one of us encounters difficult situations – such is life. It’s important to acknowledge hard times, and to be in touch with our sad/down feelings. But, it’s also imperative that we remain optimistic, and appreciate the positives that occur each day, too.

Way Back Playback: A Top-Secret Family Recipe

There is but a small window of opportunity during which to enjoy the treat I am about to share with you, today.

My friends, that time is now.

(source)

I kid you not when I say that Mom could be famous for this strawberry pie recipe.

It’s the pie recipe that Dad listed as his favourite (yes, the one that I forgot!) in our Father’s Day quiz game.

True story: once, my parents needed some basic legal paperwork completed. The lawyer who did the work (friend of my Dad’s) said no payment was necessary…except for one of Mom’s strawberry pies.

(source)

As far back as I can remember, we’ve celebrated in June with strawberry pie. It was a longstanding family joke that Mom never made enough strawberry pies during the (too short) local strawberry season. Because this pie needs local, freshly picked berries; do not attempt with imports.

Now, to be honest, I have never made this pie myself…ummm, or even the pie crust [Brainwave! I see a New Experience here: "Get a Pie Crust Lesson From Mom!]…but we won’t let that stop us from discussing this recipe today. In an ideal world, I would have a vlog tutorial, with Mom demonstrating her perfected pie techniques. Some day. In an ideal world, I’d have an actual pie from Mom to show you. [Maybe this post will inspire Mom to make up a pie TODAY!]

You’ll just have to trust me and try for yourself.

PIE DOUGH

  • 5 cups flour (2.5 cups EACH all-purpose and whole wheat flours)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 lb pure lard or shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tsp vinegar
  • cold water

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in lard with 2 knives until the size of peas.

Beat egg in a measuring cup. Add vinegar, and enough cold water to make 3/4 cup. Pour over pastry, blend until it balls up, then knead for a few seconds. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Either roll out immediately to fit pie plates, or freeze balls of dough.

[Therefore, you get eight crusts out of this recipe - - > for four top + bottom crusted pies or eight bottom-crust-only pies, or a combination thereof].

*while we’re featuring strawberry pie today, this pie crust is perfect for any type of pie.

**this pie crust is unique to Mom – she is the one who conceptualized the inclusion of whole wheat into this recipe

STRAWBERRY PIE

  • 9″ baked pie shell [to bake shell, bake in 475 degree oven for 7-8 minutes]
  • 4 cups fresh berries (1 quart)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • dash salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Wash berries. Hull. [Can you tell Mom wrote out this recipe specifically for me?!] Place 3 cups of the choicest berries in pastry shell [Place them neatly so the pointy ends are up].

Crush remaining 1 cup of berries in a saucepan [Mom suggests using a potato masher]. Add water and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain. If needed, add water to make 1 cup of juice.

Combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Slowly add berry juice. Bring to a boil, cook and stir until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice. Cool to lukewarm. Pour glaze over berries in pie shell, coating all of the berries. Refrigerate pie at this point until serving. Serve with slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Do use real whipped cream! I remember we all could hardly contain our excitement to dig into Mom’s pie, but we always had to wait that extra five minutes while she made the fresh whipped cream. I swear Dad, The Brother and I would sit around the table like vultures, forks poised, practically drooling in anticipation. It’s funny how we had our individual pie-eating styles:

Dad would dollop on his whipped cream, then painstakingly swirl and contour the white topping with such precision that you’d swear he was painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Mom enjoyed dainty bites, each mouthful the same size as the last. I would eat the interior first, and save as much crust as possible til the end (the best part of pie!). The Brother could scarf two slices in record time, and still be ready for more.

Happy Strawberry Season!

(source)

Do you practise any quirky unique pie-eating methods? I’ve never understood how some people can eat pie back-to-front!

Any super-secret family recipes in your possession? You don’t have to spill the beans, just share the name!

Up On the Roof

Tuesday, I had the day off work, so I celebrated the arrival of summer by heading up to the rooftop for my first visit of the year.

Before going up, I packed up a bag of tricks. [Sidenote: when I was about three or so, my mom would pack a few quiet distractions to occupy me during church on Sunday mornings. For whatever reason, this was always referred to as my "bag of tricks").

Today we had...

my journal - i journal first thing in the morning, but sometimes a-ha's hit at unusual times; why not be prepared?!

x-word puzzle book - as previously discussed, "easy" is debatable

current read - < 20 pages to go!

knitting! i can hold a private "knit outside" party!

…all of which went into this bag:

lulu!

This stayed behind in the kitchen:

time to detach from humanity for a little...

Let’s go upstairs!

Basically, our entire rooftop is one big patio with cement tiles encircling the building.

We’ll take a walk around.

to the north, we have the perimeter institute (physics) and waterloo park...

to the west, we find a quiet residential neighbourhood composed of well-maintained older homes...

the highlights to the south are the bauer lofts (L) and the sunlife tower (where i worked for 3+ years many moons ago)...

to the east, is uptown waterloo: the mall (including valumart) - and you could even see the store, if you looked close enough!

If you squint, you could convince yourself you were in an outdoor garden setting:

rooftop planters adorn the corners...

Hungry?

in a sheltered spot, there is a gas bbq, ready for use!

I headed to my favourite spot:

just around that wall...

...to a chaise longue in a bright and sunny spot!

Once settled, I was able to

  • finish my book [Sidenote: Yes! after a number of false starts, I am happy to finish a book in June. This read, part of the Stephanie Plum series, is truly mindless, light, forgettable. Nancy Drew with humour, for adults. And it was just what I needed].
  • attempt a crossword puzzle – I didn’t fare too well, today. Not that it’s really different any other day…
  • knit a few rows

So, while it’s not exactly Aruba

file photo: march 2011

…but for an oasis of tranquility right at my fingertips, I’ll take it!

I predict just *a few* rooftop visits will be in order this summer!

Where can you escape to for a quick quiet moment? In < 10 minutes, I can be at Waterloo Park, too – I feel fortunate to live in this central location!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

The celebration of summer continued Tuesday when VFBF Joanne and I met for coffee. Yes, it’s summer and yes, hot coffee still tastes delicious!

self-portrait at coffee culture - the same spot lisa and i met at on monday! the best coffee!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Man, where did the time go this month? I’m in deep trouble if I’m going to fit in all three coupon of the month redemptions this month. :O Luckily, ONE outing of the month took place Wednesday eve:

The Brother and SIL Ana got out for their outing. This coupon redemption is the more challenging one to organize due to time and distance complexities. I do plan to fit in shopping with Mom (she has a mission in mind!) and a food outing with Dad…but only seven days remain at my disposal! Good thing my folks are right next door – and retired!

How I Spent My $40

Thank you to those of you who weighed in with an answer last week when I solicited opinions on how to spend my $40 gift card.

I took one suggestion to heart, and followed it to the letter. While many of you opined that a pedi(mani) was the way to go – and I do think that’s a grand idea, it will be a New Experience at some point – necessity spoke and I decided that

Nicole

had the winning – not to mention practical – comment. She wrote:

Hmmm…. I think you need a new backpack. I think you should find a cheaper one and then treat yourself to a coffee at Starbucks– or to some of those instant coffee packets that you like so much.”

Nicole, I wish I had a prize to give you! Hopefully a sincere THANK YOU will suffice?!?!

The other deciding factor: on Monday, I paid for groceries and couldn’t locate my keys. After poking through all the knapsack pockets, they were nowhere. What a PITA, thought I (surprisingly, I didn’t feel panicky, just ticked off). As a last-ditch idea, I looked into the very back slim pocket – there they were.

No more messing around. Within the hour, I was standing in front of:

fondly nicknamed "crappy tire"

See, I remembered that my last knapsack was a “Roots” brand that I picked up here for a very good price. It also proved to be extremely durable.

straight to the knapsack aisle

I methodically began my search. Anything over $29.99 was ruled out (I wanted $ left for Starbucks!!).

found some "roots" brand, but they didn't grab me...

...ESPECIALLY not this one - i dislike red

sorry, but the brand "obusforme" just makes me think of old people. out.

the sale price (and colour!) were great on this one (40% off), but i wasn't fond of those bungee laces, and i needed a second big interior pocket

So, it came down to two:

"red rock" (never heard of it) for $14.99...

or

"broadstone" (new name to me) for $24.99

I’ll tell you in a minute which one came home with me. :D

Part two of Nicole’s idea took me directly across the parking lot:

i kid not when i say "across the parking lot!"

this is just about the cutest s'bux i've ever seen!

a fine selection...but no "tribute" here, either. bummer. i did snap up a pack of decaf (i am fully stashed with regular colombian and italian roasts)

So, to wrap up our adventure/spending spree, here’s what we have:

this backpack!

I went with the “Red Rock” because while it was only $14.99, the quality is actually that of a $29.99 product – 50% sale, thank you! And if it breaks within 90 days, I can return it to CT for a replacement. That’s good value!

the final haul, L to R: new backpack; my fave decaf (plus free samples!); $10.11 still left on the gift card!

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?!!…

(source)

I still had one final trip to make:

bye-bye, plaid knapsack! you did a fine job.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

In more money news, I trimmed up my bangs:

oh! and i had a coffee outing with lisa (on monday). see lisa! see the shorter bangs!

They were starting to drift into my eyeballs, and I hate that feeling. I also dislike trying to peer through distracting spikes of hair in my eyes.

I can’t justify spending $20 (Magicuts price) for a 1/2 inch trim to three inches of hair across my forehead, so grabbed scissors and completed the job myself.

I was trying to decide if I should keep the bangs or grow them out again – I guess they’re sticking around, now. (I think I’ll keep them at least for the summer; the feather-i-ness goes with the hot temps).

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

What type of purse do you carry? I have one bohemian-influenced shoulder bag that I can use if I must; otherwise the backpack is my constant companion.

How much are you willing to spend on your hair? I have to admit: it’s next to nil for me. I’ve gone over a year without a haircut, in the past. Don’t be surprised should “no haircut” show up as a 1970 Kiki Project item for 2012!

Turn That Frown Upside Down

When I was mentally composing today’s blog post in my head (bloggies, please tell my you pre-think your entries, too, before you start tip-tap-typing), my working title was PITA.

No, not this carb delight…

(source)

I mean PAIN IN THE A$$.

I was feeling like a pretty big grumposaurus because I had a few things on my mind that had my knickers in a knot.

Rather than just whine, I’m still going to complain, but then find a silver lining and switch the gripes to grins. Le’sss go!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

The new laundry time SUCKS!

I throw in the load at 7:02 p.m., (start of “green time”), it’s done at about 7:45 p.m., then the dryer portion finishes at about 8:30 p.m. at which time I can fold and put away the clothes. I’m just not into household chores at night. Plus, I can’t do laundry and go out on the same night (unless I reconfigure my brain – that is a possibility).

:D – - >

Weekends are “green zones” day and night, saturday and sunday. I CAN do all the laundry I want on TWO days of the week! If I wash one load of clothes, and freshen the sheets and towels, I can finish those chores any time on the weekend. Maybe I can train myself to do just ONE laundry load Monday- Friday so that only ONE weekday eve is devoted to the washing machine.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

No Movie For You!

I tried to go see the new Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris, on Friday night and it was sold out! Who woulda thunk that Woody Allen would sell out on “Opening Night?” I was bummed that my plans fell through. I ended up doing a x-word puzzle instead – how lame is that!

:D – ->

I went back on Sunday eve (Father’s Day) and got in, no problem. The movie is good. It wasn’t my favourite Woody Allen movie (Vicki Christina Barcelona is the best of the last few years) but I did laugh, and the storyline is creative. I’m not so much into time-travel/switching eras stuff, so I liked the real-time portions of the film the best. It was a fun evening out on a gorgeous summer night!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

The Shale Baby Blanket is no more.

RRRiiipppp! I got six rows of pattern done and had to give up. If you don’t knit, skip this next paragraph. If you do, share my pain…

The silk yarn I wanted to use is super fine – I’m using 3 mm needles with it. The pattern called for ssssk and k4 together. Trying to work FOUR stitches together with this slippery yarn on such small needles was impossible! I was literally digging my needles together and each ssssk (think ssk but with four stitches, not two) was taking 30-60 seconds (multiple THAT over 300+ stitches…) – yea. I could not see continuing in that manner.

:D – - >

I’m trying an aran pattern now! I got out one of my Sirdar pattern books and found an aran blanket I’ve always wanted to try:

the pattern in the book; love aran patterns as they are classic and never out-of-style

I even did the math so that I could make my version bigger than the in the pattern book. Pat on the back for figuring how many stitches I needed to increase to, after the moss stitch border. It’s gonna work!

so far so good!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Finally, the weather this past weekend was spectacular. Take a look:

Waterloo Park was crammed with people of all shapes and sizes and ages and personalities enjoying the sunshine. I June! I that I live across from a huge park! I when I can scoot of the house in tshirt and shorts!

Woody Allen movies: Yea or nay? You either “get” Woody Allen’s style or you don’t. I’m a fan.

What’s one negative thing, big or small, that’s happened to you lately, and how did you turn it into a positive? I ran out of Puffins (bad); I found them at Beechwood Zehrs for $4.19 a box (regular price) which is $0.80 cheaper PER BOX than at the health food store!

:D

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