Monthly Archives: February 2012

…because you HAVE to have a blog post dated leap year day!

since february 29th arrives but once every four years, i knew for sure that i wanted to chat with you this morning! we just must have a blog post dated leap year day, since we won’t get this chance for another four years! and who knows what the status of the kiki blog will be in 2016 (given the lightening speed with which technology advances, will we even be reading blogs four years from now? it’s fascinating to consider!).

let’s randomly visit over a variety of topics. we haven’t done that for a while.

the oscars

i watched 1.5 hours of the red carpet and 45 minutes of the actual awards show. in good ol’ siskel and ebert fashion, here are my picks ‘n’ pans…

thumbs up:
~ billy crystal should be the eternal host of the oscars. i love when they do that opening montage of take-offs on the nominated best movies. and although his song-and-dance number was cheesy, i found it funny. only billy crystal can make this type of entertainment work.

~ i am so happy that meryl streep won best actress! she is one of my favourite actors, and is so talented. i have not seen the iron lady, but would be keen to view it! [tangent: i said to mom that next year, i think i will make it a goal - or kikiproject? - to see every oscar-nominated movie before the february awards show].

~ my pick for best dress goes to penelope cruz:

(source)

penelope nailed it – hair, makeup, jewellery, dress, classy attitude…she scores 100%.

thumbs down:

~ the fact that the artist won best picture. i saw a preview for this silent movie when i went to see the descendants. i am sorry, but in this day and age, a silent movie should not win best picture. every time i see a clip or hear the title, all i can think of is going to mother’s pizza, when we were little. at this very popular pizzeria, they played silent movies up on a ceiling-mounted tv. part of the attraction of going to mother’s was viewing the old-time movies as we ate! (we never watched tv at the dinner table, in our family).

~ my darling george clooney did NOT win best actor – boo hoo. i say this not just because he is my sweet baboo – his performance in the descendants is one of the best of his career.

~ sandra bullock’s ponytail:

(source)

[anyone else want to place a bet as to whether or not sandra is sporting a fake ponytail hair extensions??].

i loved sandra’s gown, i admire her acting ability, i loved her breezy conversation on the red carpet…but the ponytail spoiled an otherwise A+ look. if she wanted to go with that hairstyle, the dress should have been of a different style.

the best part about watching the oscars this year? i did not have to stay up til the very, bitter end!!! (watching the entire show was one of my new experiences, last year!).

coffee conundrum

almost two months in to my switch from diet coke back to coffee, i am finding it very challenging to hit that happy zone where i enjoy an energy bump/wake-up after sipping my coffee vs feeling jittery and even downright anxious. i am perplexed!! i can stick to the same coffee-drinking schedule, and feel very different reactions on different days. i do not enjoy the “over the edge” days! yet, i can’t predict them! the bizarre thing is that diet coke did not affect me like this, at all. so i don’t know what to do. even decaf coffee can give me a shaky feeling! maybe i should switch to tea?? (i can get varieties with caffeine, i know). more research is needed. i will address the coffee subject again on march 9th when i do the two month kiki project review; maybe i will have some answers/conclusions by then.

so embarrassed

one day last week, i went to pull up the zipper on my winter jacket…and the pull tab came off in my hand. drat!

that paper clip is my temporary fix - so tacky!!

now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the zipper itself. i just need some sort of new tab with which to zip and unzip my jacket – the paperclip, funny enough, works brilliantly, but i cannot bear to walk around with a paperclip on my jacket, long term. i have a solution in mind (a small piece of climbing rope, threaded through), but if that does not work, i will have to replace the whole zipper. i don’t want to get rid of the jacket – it’s columbia brand, several years old now, but i have never, ever been cold in it! plus, it’s my favourite orange!

a theme for march

my last monthly theme was back in december when we celebrated all christmas all the time. for march, we are going to focus on FUN. my desire is to have FUN, be FUN – out and about, at home, at work – as much as humanly possible! there is a difference between being happy and being nice (my current status, most of the time), and being FUN, having FUN. for example, coffee shop socials are such FUN! (good thing i have one lined up for tomorrow!) so that is the (rather vague, yes) goal for the next 31 days.

look at those lights!

the brother sent me these photos of some northern lights that he witnessed, first-hand:

wow.

awesome.

breathtaking.

pretty neat, eh? nature in its wondrous glory sure is something else.

i hope you have a great leap year wednesday! any special plans? i do not know of anyone celebrating a birthday today – do you?

book launch!

last evening, i enjoyed a social + literary new experience! i’ve never been to a book launch party! [did you get a visual of me throwing hardcovers at people when you read today's title? that's what i was aiming for - haha!].

the person being fêted was carrie snyder, a local author, who recently released her second novel, the juliet stories:

(source)

[sidenote: thanks to my reading log, i know that i finished carrie's first book, hair hat, on june 17th, 2005, and that i gave it a *** (three star) review! (and i am not lying about that rating just to sound nice!)].

now, i don’t really know carrie personally, but we have met before (when she’s been in at the store!). and i know of her, thanks to six degrees of separation connections, and the fact that we are both alumni of the same high school (carrie is younger, *sigh*). then, when tricia and i were out on monday, we discussed this upcoming event. upon realizing that i would know several people planning to attend, i decided to go!

the venue for carrie’s book launch party was the starlight. i have been to this social club dancing til the wee hours before – that was the site of the science lecture that i attended back in september!

uptown events are the best because we can travel by foot. tricia and three of her friends – i already knew two of them! – picked me up on the way to the starlight. five minutes later, we were there!

here are a few photos from the party – i didn’t take very many. intimate lighting makes for wonderful atmosphere, but it’s not so conducive to photography!

tricia and carrie

guests mixed and mingled, then carrie read from her novel. here’s our table (my walking companions):

(L to R) tricia; shannon; me; kim; kathy (kathy and i were in the same high school class!)

carrie reading from her book

it’s such a small world! i think i knew or recognized every second person at the event – as someone said, it was like one big neighbourhood party!

i had a really fun time last evening, and i do think “the juliet stories” would be a perfect inclusion as one of my reads for this year’s kiki project. carrie’s writing style is engaging, but most of all, i am taken with her word choice and turn of phrase. i wish her the very best!

enjoy your sunday! i am going for coffee outing #10 with this gal

…and then watching the fashion show oscars this eve!

whew!

oftentimes, the week after a holiday monday draaaags by at a snail’s pace. not so, this week!

thursday and friday were each eleven hour work days, split up between the store and theOTHERstore. i genuinely don’t mind that type of schedule because with a break in between shifts and/or a switch of locations, it really splits up the day/eve nicely.

two things:

first, the spring clothing lines are juuuuust starting to arrive! last week, we received…

spring jackets from the rfc (run for the cure) line!

love the detailing on the back!

...and from our in-store clothing line - a turquoise half zip! (there is also a spring jacket that co-ordinates)

now, we just need some SHORTS!

i love when these bright and fresh spring items start arriving – it’s a reminder that march/warmer weather is around the bay around the corner. [sidenote: around the bay is a big race at the end of march, in hamilton; it also signals the change of seasons!].

second: i was going to be oh-so-smart – > all day thursday, the radio announcers kept reiterating that we were going to have a huge! snow! storm! on friday, with 10-15 cm of snow. so i thought it’d be cool to have a before and after photo of the same scene but with drastically different weather conditions. i snapped this photo on thursday at 5:30 p.m.:

exhibit A...

…that scene then looked like this on friday morning at 8 a.m.!

um...where's the heaps of snow?!

and that was the worst of it! now, the day was not nice, yesterday – in fact by last night, the winds were monstrous gusts – but it was definitely bearable! winter, the clock is running out on you!

what signals the arrival of spring for you? roll up the rim, maybe?!! spring training for baseball? *that smell* in the air??!

happy weekend!

pick your holiday!

yesterday, it was…

  • family day in ontario [the fact that we have this holiday slays me as it is a day off made up by the provincial government a few years ago. so, stores, schools, banks, private industry, and municipal/provincial employees are all off...but federal services are still running (so, i can't go grocery shopping, but my mail is delivered!). makes no sense! and there is no real reason for the holiday except to break up the span of time between christmas and easter!].
  • louis riel day in manitoba [thanks, gina, for that fyi!]
  • islander day on prince edward island [thanks, mom, for that tip!]
  • presidents’ day in the states [i was ignorant about the very existence of president's day until going to aruba. my american friends warned never EVER to travel to aruba for president's week because paradise the island is jam-packed with families. the only GOOD thing about all the swarms of people is that is the bingo pots are sky high - haha!].
  • also, did you know that february is: national grapefruit month; national snack food month, national sweet potato month, national cherry month, and national canned food month? ’tis true. i found out here! [would it not make more sense to declare february national chocolate month, thanks to ♥ lovey-dovey day ♥ on the 14th??].

anyway, to get back to yesterday – all i did the whole entire day was be social and drink hot beverages! it was fantastic!

in the morning, i went out to sarah’s house. sarah gave me a tour around their lovely, new home…

notice zoe the kittie peaking out from upstairs?!

…and then we went out for coffee to tim hortons. it is now roll up the rim season…and, surprise, surprise, i won a coffee!

i will be cashing that rim in for the LARGEST size possible!

in the afternoon, i met mom and dad at our uptown starbucks:

what's one more coffee in a day??!

i had to see family on family day, for sure!

in the evening, i got together with my neighbourhood + blog friend, tricia! third coffee shop of the day ->we met up at coffee culture:

tricia and i realized we have the exact same cameras!!

i was actually feeling a bit “coffee’d out,” (what a surprise, eh?!) and switched to decaf tea. it was wonderful to chat with tricia – our schedules are such that they conflict completely, normally, so it was really fun to be able to meet up – all thanks to family day!

~*~*~*~*~

which national food would you be most likely to celebrate? me = canned food – yes! i love all manner of tinned seafood; mushrooms; and many varieties of beans!

what was the theme of your day, yesterday? ummm, coffee?! :)

and sunshine! check out the spectacular day we enjoyed!

...and no wind, temps above zero

the rink in the uptown square was packed!

today it is back to reality…and less coffee!

i love it when a plan comes together

yesterday was such a thoroughly productive day!

~ i worked at theOTHERstore from 9-5, and it was just a really pleasant shift.

~ i went over to fairview park mall after work because i am putting together a surprise for dad (it’s ok for me to say that, he knows i am working on something top secret). my plan is going to be able to come to fruition beautifully! i’ll be able to share exactly what i am organizing by next weekend, most likely. i am giddy in anticipation, already, as this idea has been years in the making!

- i also stopped at the lancôme counter at the bay, because on the website mrsjanuary, i found a coupon for a free sample:

"eclat miracle," serum of light complexion illuminator

my canadian friends, if you are not familiar with this website, bookmark it! you’ll find coupons, steals and deals, daily! [shhh, but i printed off more than one coupon as i will be back at the bay before the coupon expires on february 21st, and i'd like another sample!].

~ i then stopped in at food basics for groceries. my bill came to $23.31. i figured out that my total would have been at least $40.00, had i purchased the same items at valumart. i ♥ saving money!

~ i decided, after four mugs, that i really, really don’t like that s’bux “veranda” blend. as i was reflecting on how disappointing this blonde roast is to my taste buds, i had a brainwave! starbucks is so good at customer service, that i wondered: if i returned the eight unused/unopened pacs, (plus, i had my receipt) i bet they would swap out a roast that i really do like. since there’s no harm in asking, that’s what i did. and i was right! with no issue whatsoever, i was able to choose a 12 pac of french roast.

thanks, a.y., for your excellent customer service...and for agreeing to pose for the blog!

i had to laugh when i got up to the counter at s’bux because look at the sign that was by the til:

i beg to differ with this caitlin!

~ i went back to friday night knitting club. ok, you would not believe the topics of discussion that arose as we sat around the tables. if you think knitting club is uptight and prim, you are sorely mistaken. i won’t divulge, but let’s just say there was not a dull moment, and i had to focus on not letting my eyes become as big as saucers.

look what they have at "shall we knit?!" KNITTING TATTOOS!!! mom!!! stocking stuffer!!! please!!

i now have nine squares done for the log cabin blanket! the colourway that i am working with right now may well indeed by my favourite:

objects in photo are less pink-y than they appear!

and lastly…

~ i didn’t freak out over a computer issue! this is huge!

yesterday morning, i went to open up my gratitude excel spreadsheet and i got the spinny wheel of death for like, two minutes, then a *gong* bonk sound, and the message that there was an extreme error and my spreadsheet was unavailable and i should seek help, or some stupid thing. i tried other excel and word docs – same message. i had to go to work, so i couldn’t figure out the solution. normally, i would stew and fret all day long over something like this…what if i have lost all my documents? what if i can’t fix this issue? what if, what if??… but, i really was unconcerned all day long, and decided i’d mess around with finding a solution at the end of my day.

so i got home (after all those errands) and decided to start with shutting down and rebooting the computer. well, if that did not solve the problem! hooray! i have no clue as to what caused the friday morning computer crankies…i’m just thankful all is now well and good.

happy saturday! it’s a long weekend in ontario – family day is monday!

~*~*~*~*~

did you ever watch the a team on tv?

(source)

(that’s where today’s title comes from). the brother and i were allowed to watch the a team. and here’s the funny story as to why; my grade eight home room/core teacher was mrs r. i loved mrs r, but she was definitely on the wacky side a free spirit. one day, she gave a whole spiel about the benefits of watching the a team. well, i went home and recounted her reasons to my parents, and they agreed to let the brother and me watch this show every week! the a team was a bit on the violent side, if you recall, and i sincerely doubt that we would have been allowed to watch it, had it not been for mrs r’s vote of confidence!

rate your friday the 17th on a scale of 1-10. i say 8.75!

i won’t go blonde again + r.a.o.k.#1!

i’ve had a couple of chances, now, to try the new starbucks via blend that i picked up last week. menh, i’m not so impressed with its rather bland personality.

the "veranda" blend, aka blonde roast

it’s not bad, but it’s not very flavourfully strong like the other vias i enjoy. i’ll finish up the pacs i have, but in future, i will remain faithful to:

the colombia and italian roasts (i also really like the french)

it was worth a try to give the blonde a shot – now i know! [sidenote: it IS on my life bucket list to dye my hair platinum blond, some day. maybe before i go to see madonna in concert would be a good time, yes?].

~*~*~*~*~

now is the time that we get to the part of the blog post about which i am really excited! i had a chance to perform my first random act of kindness (r.a.o.k.) for the 12 days of kiki! and it happened completely as i had hoped these little gestures of niceness would – totally unplanned, and not grandiose in the least. here’s the story!

on monday, i had a couple of minutes to scoot into food basics before i started my shift at theOTHERstore. i was in line at the checkout with my few items (taster’s choice coffee -> $7.99 instead of $10.99 at valu! broccoli for $0.99! cereal for $3.99!) and there were a couple of people ahead of me. the guy right in front of me had a little girl, maybe two years old, with him. truth be told, i was getting a little antsy as i kept glancing at my watch because i had timed my trip a little close for comfort to the start of my shift, and was really hoping to pay asap, and get out of there (plus, for some reason, the store REEKED of cigarette smoke. i do not know if this is a regular thing for food basics or what, but man, was the stench strong).

well, wouldn’t you know it, the guy with the little girl had a small container of cream with no sku/bar code on it. he told the checkout clerk that it had been in the clearance bin. of course, she had to call her supervisor to see what to do about the price. so, she scanned the guy’s other items and had him pay for those – he paid with his debit card – while she awaited her supervisor’s arrival. i am standing there with my blood pressure mounting – i’ve told you how patience is not a virtue is a work in progress! finally the supervisor arrives and advises the checkout clerk to just charge the guy $2.49 for the cream. the guy reaches in his pocket and pulls out his cash and says, “oh, i only have $2.25.” bingo! i here was my chance at a r.a.o.k!!! i piped right up and said, “i’ll spot you the quarter!” well, i actually only had a loonie, but it filled the need. the guy was very grateful, and thanked me a couple of times.

to be perfectly honest, i was happy to help out…but, please also realize that i was feeling testy and couldn’t bear the thought of waiting for buddy to yet again haul out his debit card and do that whole transaction thing again. so, i guess, this r.a.o.k. was a bit self-serving…but it was still a nice thing to do! (right?!).

fyi – i did make it to work with time to spare!

i have a couple r.o.a.k.s in mind that involve planning, but i also want to be open to opportunities like this that present themselves with no warning. i generally don’t think fast on my feet, so this here! have-a-coin! scenario was a good opening opportunity!

~*~*~*~*~

not really related questions, but i am interested to know…

what’s the most amount of money you’ve ever found on the sidewalk/on the ground? i think mine is $5. or $20. i can’t remember!

will you stop and pick up a penny, if you see one? i will not. dad will. at my parents’ old house, dad kept a mason jar in the garage with all his “road find” money. that jar was pretty full! dad ->whatever happened to that cash?!

xoxo

it’s ♥ valentine’s day ♥ … tomorrow!

(source)
in honour of happy heart day , here are fourteen of my latest ♥ loves ♥:

1. this *winter*: yes, this weekend was snowy, blowy and cold, but truly, it has been a dreamboat of a winter. and seeing as it’s already the middle of february, we’ve got what, maybe a month of winter to go? sweet!

2. the new runner’s world shoe finder: in the march issue of runner’s world magazine, the editors debut their updated shoe finder:

i heart the flow chart style!

runner’s world has moved on from classifying shoes as neutral/stability/motion control in favour of a more interactive schemata which poses yes/no questions in order to help you to determine the best makes and models of shoes for you. this update fascinates me because at the store, we use the three-shoe-type classification system. so, i have to wonder if down the road, we, too, will move in a new direction??

3. top chef texas: top chef is my ♥ favourite ♥ foodnetwork series, and we’re down to seven remaining contestants in this 9th edition! once again, it’s a good one! my favourite judges, padma and tom, are back, the contestants are the usual mix of diverse personalities, and the challenges have been innovative. i’ve got my fingers crossed that edward ends up as top chef! [i've got a good track record for picking reality show winners...will my streak continue??!].

4. seeing my cousin joel pursue a travel opportunity: on friday eve, i met up with my cousin joel for coffee.

@ cafe 1842; outing #6 of this year's kiki project!

joel is leaving tomorrow for korea! he’ll be teaching english there until he comes home for kate’s wedding in june. all the best, joel, and i can’t wait to read your blog updates!

5. madonna!

(source)

five point one: madonna’s new song (listen here!) – yes, i agree it is a bubble-gummy type tune, and as someone said, well suited to an old navy tv ad, but i can’t help but bop when i hear it – it makes me so happy!

five point two: madonna tickets go on sale TODAY at 10 a.m. for her two toronto shows, sept 12th and 13th. sadly, i will not be attempting to purchase tix to her 2012 tour. maybe the next one!

6. this valentine from little e:

the inside of little e's valentine's card for aunti

someone knows the way to aunti’s !

7. food basics: ok, call me slow but i only just have discovered the wonders of food basics

au revoir, valumart and hellooooo, food basics!

i cannot believe their produce prices!!

check out this comparison: on an average week, broccoli is $2.99 at valu. this is what i paid at food basics:

can you believe that?!

and mushrooms are $2.49 at valu, while at food basics…

i did a double take!

now, i am not one to drive all over the universe to save a few cents. but this is insanity! luckily, there is a food basics right across the street from theOTHERstore, and a mere two blocks north of the brother and sil ana’s house in toronto. you can betcha i am going to strategically plan out my grocery needs and my timing so that i can hit up food basics for…basics (fresh produce is indeed a basic!).

8. reid coolsaet’s classy act of philanthropy: i ♥ reid because i met him

file photo, march 2011!

…and he was so laidback and not arrogant, and he is going to represent canada at the olympics this summer, and he is a super speedy fast marathoner. if all of those virtues were not enough, the sweet guy is donating $10 000 of his marathon earnings to help renovate/redo the university of guelph’s track facility. read the toronto star article here!

9. a serendipitous free coffee:

i was lucky enough to receive a s’bux gift card last week, so you can bet i was into starbucks the very next day. i picked up a 12 pac of starbuck’s newest via blend, a blonde roast called “veranda.” when i got to the checkout, the barista told me that i could have a free coffee, thanks to a special promotion they were running that day!

both she and the woman behind me in line encouraged me to get an expensive, fancy drink, since it would be free! but since i am not up on my venti-mochi-soaki-lattés, i opted for a plain ol’ decaf:

i had about seventeen other errands to complete in 57 minutes that day, but there is always time for free coffee…and the paper!

10. sleep: i fully confess that it has been a while since i have consistently seen the hour of 5 a.m. on my watch when i get up in the morning. lately, i’ve been taking advantage of sleeping in on days when i can afford to have a more relaxed start to my day, and it has been h.e.a.v.e.n.l.y. i hope i start de-hibernating once spring rolls around. but the bed is just so darn warm and comfy!

11. this motivational quote that our half marathon instructor, derek, shared with his clinic members in his weekly email:

you have a choice. you can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.

12. diet coke: oops, did i just say type that? my fingers must have slipped.

13. wearing perfume: i have not worn perfume in years! when i was up at conestoga mall in january, trying to take care of my sil-vah situation, i popped into “icing by claire” and thoughtlessly spritzed myself with a perfume that was set out by the til. i could not stop sniffing myself the rest of the day! loved it! and had no clue as the name of it. well, if dear old mom did not pursue the perfume for me when she was at the mall last week. i am now the proud owner – and daily wearer – of…

"addicted," by icing -> how completely appropriately named!

and i still can’t stop smelling myself!

14. deciding to go with my ♥ heart and switch up my blogging *schedule,* yet again: in an effort to not be too angsty, i will keep this explanation concise. ever since i switched to a three-times-a-week posting schedule, i am not feeling the ♥ blogging love ♥. i have lost my mojo, my creativity has nose-dived, and blogging often feels like one more item on my “to do” list. i do not like to write when blogging is a chore. so, i am going to go back (as i did with the first kikiproject) to blogging whenever the heck i feel like it.

what does this decision mean for this year’s 12 days of kiki? i’m sticking with it! so, a recap on the 9th of each month will be coming at you, for sure. otherwise, i will be writing when i am fully inspired about a topic and/or really feel the urge to express myself.

i have added an amendment to the 12 days of kiki, item #3; instead of stating that i will blog three times per week on a mon-wed-fri schedule, it now states that i will:

leave a comment on a minimum of three blogs, every day. [i do this already so i know it is enjoyable and manageable]. this way, i still get to interact and socialize with blog-friends, but they have to do all the creative work – haha! maybe i’ll even expand my usual list of reads…

whew! i feel so relieved!

and with that…

happy valentines day to YOU!

today’s a-ha:

chats…whenever!

the 12 days of kiki: one month in

happy friday, friends!

yesterday was the one month milestone marker for the 12 days of kiki. to liken our project’s progress to serving up a slice of pie or cake, the portion would look like this:

(source)

we’ve got tons o’ time to go! let’s do a review of the 12 days of kiki thus far!

1. record at least one positive thing every day in my gratitude journal/excel spreadsheet. check! and on most days, i have recorded > one “gratefulness” or serendipitously positive occurrence. lots of good things have happened this month.

2. babysit little e and cutie c two times so that the brother and sil ana can enjoy a significant date or special event. not yet! (wednesday aunti visits do not qualify!).

3. blog three times per week (monday-wednesday-friday). right on track! [sidenote: i will say that it has required a significant adjustment to go from daily blogging to writing only thrice-weekly. i miss the social interactions via comments on non-posting days, and, to be honest, my creative mojo has taken a hit. i still feel like i am trying to find my rhythm].

4. run four (point two) km…times ten. i did not accomplish this goal this month – and had no intentions of so doing!

5. eat five wildly decadent and delicious desserts. i did not accomplish this goal this month – although i’ve enjoyed mom’s apple platz and that cherry pie filling dessert. while terribly yummy, they are not the over-the-top extravagances that i am envisioning.

6. finish a minimum of six knitting projects. i have two major projects on the go right now, but neither is close to being finished.

#1 – this baby blanket that i started in september:

i'm onto my second last ball of yarn which is the same dye lot as the second stripe from the bottom

#2 – the log cabin blanket:

the one square that is completed!

these are time-consuming artistic creations! but, like i mentioned on wednesday, i may do a real push to see if i can get the log cabin blanket ready by march 23rd. here is what i hope my finished product resembles!

the blanket, as seen on display at the knitter's fair, where the kit was purchased

7. read seven books, and hopefully more. check off book #1 from the list! i give irma voth a **1/2 (two and a half star) rating. reading this novel was a unique experience: i really was not into the first 138 pages, at all. as previously mentioned, i didn’t connect with irma and the storyline didn’t grab me. i give this part of the novel only *1/2 (one and a half stars). then ALL OF A SUDDEN – on page 139/the end of chapter six, to be precise – the plot took a sudden and major turn in direction, and i was hooked, avidly reading into the night at bedtime. this latter part of the book gets *** (three stars)! i am really glad i did not give up – i only hung in during the first part because i have read miriam toew’s a complicated kindness and the flying troutmans, and i wanted to finish this third novel. i’d pretty much only recommend irma voth to those who have german-mennonite heritage. for the rest of you, i’d say pick another novel. [if you've read irma voth, i'd love to hear your opinion].

8. perform eight random acts of kindness. i did not do anything nice this month – haha! well, nothing of exemplary significance. i’ll know a r.a.o.k. when i see it.

9. watch nine different and new-to-me tv shows (either online, on dvd, or on tv). i’ve got one show to tell you about, here: i watched two episodes of the the canadian production republic of doyle, over at mom and dad’s. it gets a *1/2 (one and a half) star rating, unfortunately. it’s just not my type of show: i don’t *get* the newfoundland humour, and i find the plot, writing, camera-work and characters are typically canadian, ie lacking in originality. that being said, i don’t mind at all if i watch this show again, with mom and dad. it’s just not anything to write home about.

10. refrain from chewing gum for ten months. 100% success! funny enough, i have not had the urge to chew gum at all! go figure!

11. abstain from drinking diet pop (any pop) for eleven months. we already discussed this goal with utmost detail here, so i won’t repeat my whining reflections, again. let’s just say that this is going to be the project that makes 2012 a very longggg year!

12. meet with at least twelve different friends for a social get-together. score!!! this is the goal with which i am fantastically super-pleased, and has me jumping for joy!! just look!…

outing #1:

coffee culture with vfbf joanne

outing #2:

symposium cafe with cathie!

outing #3:

starbucks with bff debbie!

outing #4:

mercury coffee shop with the brother!

outing #5:

david's tea with "eatspinrunrepeat" blog friend angela!

woo hoo?! and did you catch that five different locations have been visited, to boot?! i want to keep this fabulous momentum going – outing #6 is planned for this evening, in fact! [vfbf joanne and i went out again last eve, but for the purposes of the 12 days of kiki, i am counting first-time get-togethers only, not repeat visits]. (i plan to follow this pictorial recap format, each month – it’s a good way to chronicle new visits!).

all in all, i’d call month #1 a veritable success story!

have a great weekend!

the friday night knitting club

when lisa and i last met up, she lent me her copy of the friday night knitting club, a chick lit novel by kate jacobs.

(source)

to be honest, i tried to read this book once before, a couple of years ago – i only got about 20-30 pages into it when i set it aside and moved on to something else. i don’t know if it’s because the book came to me from a friend or if my mind is just in a different place, but i picked up the friday night knitting club again last week and decided to give it another shot. this time ’round, i can’t put it down! i’m loving it! so if all continues as is, the friday night knitting club will be my book #2 for the 12 days of kiki, project #7.

also last week, i received my monthly newsletter from my local yarn shop, shall we knit. [you'll remember that they moved from new hamburg to uptown waterloo, and are now located a mere ten minute walk from the condo casa]. as i scanned over the email, my eye was caught by this tidbit:

Knit & Chat
Every Friday night from 6:00 – 9:00 is Knit & Chat.  Everyone is welcome and we are getting to be such a big group that we are opening another room for the evening.  You have your choice of sitting in the back room on the main level or in the classroom on the second floor.  So bring your knitting and come and enjoy an evening with people who totally understand about our addiction.

the wheels of my mind were set in motion!! ok, i just started reading the friday night knitting club…i now find out i have a friday night knitting club in my ‘hood…karma says i am meant to go participate!!

so, this past friday eve, that’s exactly where i went. after a full day at theOTHERstore, an evening of social knitting sounded perfectly restful…except that it was not without a little doubt that i ventured over to shall we knit. a few what if scenarios whirled in my brain: what if no one talks to me? [hello, don't be silly, you are chatty cathy, YOU can initiate conversation]; what if they are all a bunch of crazieseccentrics, like women who knit bandanas for cats, or something? [then you stay 30 minutes and get up and leave and never go back!]. plans in place, over i went.

i took along my current square for the log cabin blanket in malabrigos rios:

(source)

friday’s status of said square:

easy to transport, at least!

the shall we knit shop looked very inviting on a cold mild february eve!

bright and cheery!

i had such a nice evening!!!

as soon as i walked in, everyone greeted me warmly, and went around the table and made introductions. and how serendipitous – there were twelve of us (get it? 12 days of kiki!…). i loved seeing the womens’ (yes, no men present!) various yarns, projects, needles and methods of knitting! it was a totally casual, relaxed, friendly environment with interesting conversation and banter. the ages represented ranged from mid-20’s to mid-50’s – i like that diversity. my favourite line of the evening: “cashmere makes everything better!”

the room we knit in was lined with fabulous yarns – the colourful atmosphere was very creatively inspiring!

i'll take one of those balls, two of those skeins...

watchful sheep (plus i want that yarn in the background)!

i ended up staying later that i intended – that’s a sign of a successful outing, wouldn’t you say?! i do think i will plan to go back!

what are you reading right now? i’ll be on the friday night knitting club for a good while!

are you currently a member of any clubs? i am not. my lifestyle right now is not conducive to making a commitment to any sort of set schedule!

super madonna sunday

so who won the football game?! :)

(source)

i was not joking when i said i would be planting myself in front of mom and dad’s tv, nose glued to the screen, in order to catch madonna’s half-time show:

incognito: my excitement level is embarrassing

i no longer watch nfl football at all (there was an era, in my teens, when i never missed sunday’s games) but i do get caught up in super bowl hype. as predicted to you weeks ago, my primary purpose this year, in watching, was to catch madonna’s half-time show. [it is on my life bucket list to attend a madonna concert. really, that is the only live music performance i have any huge desire to see. well, ok, i would love to see cher, as well].

i didn’t feel badly in the least about firmly plonking myself on mom and dad’s couch floor (i didn’t even bring out my knitting!) because dad is a huge sports fanatic, and mom is very easy-going. well, ok, dad is not at all a madonna fan…so i did inflict that on him…but, oh well, sorry about your luck, dad!

(source)

it was just a matter of putting in time until madge would take the stage. so, i brainstormed a madonna tribute!!

best madonna album: the immaculate collection

favourite madonna song: hung up/time goes by

top madonna movie role: evita

most outrageous madonna productions: (tie) the movie truth or dare and her coffee table book

biggest un-madonna act: writing children’s stories (?!)

madonna’s most memorable stage attire: [no caption necessary]

(source)

i am truly a madonna fan. yes, i love her music, but more than that, there are few icons who epitomize living fearlessly quite like the material girl. i respect how she has been the queen of reinvention over the decades, and continuously “braves new frontiers.” yes, some of her statements and actions may be stylized publicity stunts so that her name remains in the limelight, but i prefer to focus on the way madonna refuses to remain static with the way she lives life.

ok! F.I.N.A.L.L.Y., it was the moment we’d all i’d been waiting for – madonna on stage!!

the leaked news was true - madonna did open with "vogue"

the show was AWESOME!!!

"music, makes the pe-ople, come together..."

i loved the entire spectacle: the choreography, the dancing, madonna’s outfits and “look,” the lights, the singing – what a show. madonna’s still got the voice and the moves.

it was not perfect, however, and i bet that will bug madonna to pieces. did you catch her slight mis-step off the bleacher, in the segment photographed above? and that WAS a middle-finger flash by M.I.A.!! -> i thought that’s what i saw!

with nicki minaj, performing "give me all your lovin'" -> new release!

grand finale! "like a prayer"

i LOVED the ending when madonna poofed off the stage. awesome.

then, a surprise!

say what, dad??!

unbeknownst to me, mom and dad’s pvr records the last 20 minutes of whatever you just watched – so dad hit rewind and i got to watch the whole show again! super zowie!

[tangent: family, please note that a MADONNA TSHIRT will be going on my 2012 christmas list for at least the third time!! indulge me already, please?!].

*sigh.* ’twill have to suffice until i can get me to a concert! although, i likely had a better sightline with my nose-to-the-tv spot!

question #1: did you watch the super bowl yesterday? i likely will next watch football on super bowl sunday, 2013.

question #2: if so, did you watch for:

  • the football (who were the two teams playing again? haha!)
  • the ads (we are totally gypped in canada – the creative, just-out-for-super bowl tv commercials are replaced crappy canadian commercials by the canadian broadcasters. check out this article, “why most super bowl ads get stopped at the border” from friday’s globe and mail, if you like).
  • madonna at the half-time show!!!!

question #3: offer up your own madonna tribute(s)! earliest madonna memory: watching desperately seeking susan on vcr at tanya s’s house in high school, with a bunch of girlfriends!

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