and for the fashionable christmas runner…

my list of new holiday running gear that i covet is starting to sound a lot like “this is the house that jack built” (you know that children’s ditty where you add on another item to your list with each go-round).

to go with the pro compression socks i showed you the other day…

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…please, please, santa bring me the holiday sweater long sleeve tech shirt!!

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^^ here, the shirt is modeled by runner’s world celeb, bart yasso. i first saw this fabulous xmas tech item here on the rw website on friday. how GREAT would it be to run in this shirt…(i’ll show you another view…)

(source)

or, for doing a tready run, how about this santa tank?

as seen at "harmony by earthwinds" in uptown

as seen at “harmony by earthwinds” in uptown

[might have to scoot by and pick that up today, before they are all gone...].

just for laughs, i also would wear this tank to a race in say, june! hey, christmas is in our hearts year-round, right?!

i think the winning fashion item of the season is still the jamie oliver pullover – perfect for après-run knitting/movie time!

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have you bought any new festive attire (running or normal-wear) this year? my stuff never wears out! i’ve got a sweater, two sweatshirts and two turtlenecks that are at least fifteen years old. because the pieces see the light of day one month per year, they will likely last another fifteen years!

~*~*~*~*~

i feel a lot of sadness as i reflect on the tragic shootings that occurred in newtown. i can’t comprehend the pain the families are feeling…what a senseless act of violence. i guess all we can do is send supportive thoughts and prayers to everyone affected and hug our own loved ones at every opportunity.

r.a.o.k.#8: in the spirit of christmas

the idea for r.a.o.k. #8 popped into my head early wednesday morning, out of the blue green and red! [->a little christmas humour, there!...].

as you’ll recall, i was in toronto on wednesday for aunti day. the date of 12-12-12 was supposed to be a lucky day; if i did a r.a.o.k., someone would have a nice day!

outside the local shoppers drug mart store, there is usually a homeless man (not always the same person) looking for a handout. these men are not aggressive or talkative, they just stand patiently by the entrance to the store.

here was my idea:

if a destitute person was outside of shoppers on this wednesday (the random part of my plan), i would give them an early christmas gift of a shoppers gift card. i liked the idea of buying a shoppers drug mart gift card because you can get everything at shoppers from groceries to socks to hygiene items.

as i approached the shoppers, i saw that there was indeed a man standing outside. you get to recognize “the regulars,” but i do not recall seeing this young man in the past.

i went into shoppers…

the sunny sky matched my cheery heart!

the sunny sky matched my cheery heart!

…and purchased a $25 gift card:

a festive selection!

a festive selection!

i felt a bit nervous as i exited the store!

i approached the young man and handed him the gift card: “i hope you have a safe christmas. all the best to you,” i said.

the young man was so polite as he thanked me.

i DID request permission to take this photo!

i DID request permission to take this photo!

the young fellow asked me my name, and in the spirit of r.a.o.k. #8, i told him it was kiki. he said his name was john.

i wished him the best, one last time, he wished me a very nice day, and i went on my way…with a warm heart.

~for it is in giving that we receive.~

st francis of assisi

new tradition, old tradition

this eve, sharon and i walked through waterloo park to see the wonders of winter. the annual lights display started on december 1st, but this was the first time i’ve been through this year!

got the "winter" part, missed "the wonders of" !!

got the “winter” part, missed “the wonders of” !!

even though the displays were the same as other years, we loved our walk n talk and taking in the sights…and bonus fun to not freeze (no snow, above-zero temps). sharon and i declared that this park tour is going to become our new annual tradition. yea for great ideas!

~*~*~*~*~

how funny that the old tradition involves the little ones!

our annual and traditional gingerbread kit decorating party was a great success, last eve! little e, cutie c and i had so much fun. this was the first year that little e squeezed out the sticky-icing all on her own; cutie c did all of the candy placements on her own; aunti applied the icing, as directed!

the girls decided to wear their hallowe'en costumes to the g'bread house party! (??!)

the girls decided to wear their hallowe’en costumes to the g’bread house party! (??!)

hard at work!

hard at work!

our final products!

our final products! ta da!

any new or old traditions chez vous this year? i need to watch “how the grinch stole christmas” at some point!

time stamp

i had to seize the opportunity to have a blog entry dated 12:12 pm on december 12th, 2012!

since i only thought, um, this morning that it would be super cool to do a post on this auspicious day, we’re going to go with a theme of random thoughts!

APPRECIATION – look at the beautiful weather i enjoyed on my drive in to TO this morning!

neat clouds, eh?!

neat clouds, eh?! and the temp is (slightly) above zero!

ANTICIPATION – while i am trying to live in the moment, each and every day, i am excited about: celebrating christmas; setting 2103 goals; deciding what i want to do with this blog in 2013; planning how i will spend my birthday day on january 9th (i will have the day off of work so the hours are mine to do with as i wish!). so many thoughts swirling through my brain!

EXPRESSION – this week, i cannot stop saying “gives me the pip” -> ie “x gives me the pip”  or “[she] gives me the pip;” more often than not, this phrase comes out in my morning chat with mom. that word PIP is so satisfying!

COMPRESSIONI WANT THESE SOCKS SO BAD!!!!!

(source)

unfortunately, apparently, pro compression is SOLD out, boo hoo.

CELEBRATION – check out this parallel parking job from this morning. please note that this was my first attempt:

textbook, i say!

textbook, i tell you!

CONSTRUCTION –  there may be a little building going on this eve…

one for little e, one for cutie c....aunti is the assistant!

one for little e, one for cutie c….aunti is the assistant!

ideally, i would have TWELVE *shun* items in this post…but then i run the risk of missing the 12:12 pm timeline!

hope you have a lucky 12-12-12!

diet coke sunday: a smashing success!

yesterday was such a fun day!

as soon as i woke up in the morning, i thought, “it’s diet coke day!!!” and i hopped right out of bed.

since i had two diet cokes planned for the day, i had decided to enjoy one in the morning at the store, and one in the afternoon when i got home from work.

the MORNING diet coke:

oooo, the anticipation!…

9 a.m. - diet coke and yesterday's paper while the run club people were out running and the store was quiet.

9 a.m. – all set! diet coke and yesterday’s paper while the run club people were out running and the store was quiet.

pre-first sip - how are my taste buds going to react??!

i am excited!! pre-first sip – how are my taste buds going to react??!

a re-enactment...

a re-enactment…

pure. bliss.

pure. bliss.

let me tell you, that pop was deeeee-licious. the divine taste exceeded my memory. i savoured each sip of that bottle. except!…i had forgotten how diet coke makes me feel C-O-L-D! i had to follow up with a decaf coffee to warm up again!

the AFTER NOON diet coke:

i worked until noon then rushed home to drink:

one of my favourite past-times from days of yore: knitting, diet coke and blog reading.

one of my favourite past-times from days of yore: knitting, diet coke and blog reading (that is a fake knitting project – xmas secrets, you know!).

all gone! too bad, so sad!

all gone! too bad, so sad!

…but it sure was fun while it lasted!

three reflective thoughts:

1) as previously discussed, mom swears that my eyeballs are whiter when i don’t drink diet coke. let’s compare:

file photo: december 9, 2011...

file photo: december 9, 2011…

december 9, 2012

december 9, 2012

???!!!

i don know that i feel better in a multitude of ways, not being a slave to diet coke. it’s the best thing for me!

2) the build-up to, and anticipation of, diet coke day, esp this past week, was almost more fun than the actual drinking part: you know how when you plan a wedding or other big affair, it seems like the BIG DAY is so far off in the future, then – BAM! – all of a sudden, it’s THE DAY? that is how diet coke day felt. and now it is over, boo hoo!

3) here is my plan for the future: no more pop in 2012 (except maybe for diet root beer as part of our family christmas, that is tradition). THEN, starting in 2013, i can have a diet coke if i am out to lunch [not dinner as i avoid caffeine past early-aft or i cannot sleep] for pizza or a burger or some sort of fast food AND if it is a social setting (aka i am not out by myself). something like a harvey’s lunch with dad just screams for a diet coke accompaniment as part of the fun!

later, i wrapped presents and listened to christmas music…for a couple of hours!

i always gather the gifts in this corner!

i always gather the gifts in this corner!

to end the very fun sunday, last eve, we had our staffS holiday keg party. it was such a good time. i stuck to h2o, beverage-wise!

in conclusion, diet coke day was a very good thing: i thoroughly enjoyed my two bottles AND i do not feel addicted AND i am going to stick with drinking coffee and water as my go-to beverages of choice. i am happy with my decisions!

~*~*~*~*~

backtracking to saturday, mom and i had such fun at stitch n kitsch! we arrived just after 4 pm (the show was on til 6 pm) and we missed the mad rush of earlier in the day so we were able to wander around comfortably in crowd-free conditions.

i came home with the cutest ring ever…

it's a vintage-y "little kittens have lost their mittens" ring! adorable!

it’s a vintage-y “little kittens have lost their mittens” ring! adorable!

…as well as the green “christmas tree” earrings that you see in all of the diet coke photos, above. the purchase was funny because as soon as i spied the earrings, i exclaimed to mom, “those look like christmas trees!” and the artisan responded with, “i guess they do…i never thought of that…” (?!). so, these earrings will be getting lots of ear-time over the holidays, and i will continue to wear them year-round as they don’t necessarily HAVE to be christmas earrings!

have a great day! 13 (excluding today) more shopping days til christmas!

kikiproject update: the eleventh hour

this is the final monthly recap!!!

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a mere thirty days stands between now and the end of this third year of kikiprojects. i know we all say this…because it is so true! time. flies.

the 12 days of kiki – update #11 ->

1. record at least one positive thing every day in my gratitude journal excel spreadsheet. oh, let me tell you, my gratitude excel spreadsheet is FULL this month. as you know, i find november so dreary that some days, i wrote down every single little positive happening that i could in order to look on the bright side of things!

2. babysit little e and cutie c two times so that the brother and sil ana can enjoy a significant date or special event. no more new extended babysitting opps happened this month – but regular visits did! yippee for aunti days!

3. blog three times per week (monday-wednesday-friday). modified on february 13th to: leave a comment on a minimum of three blogs, every day. done! nothing new, really, to report here. i enjoy being in touch with blog friends!

4. run four (point two) km…times ten. ugh. this project is a thorn in my side. with no marathon race completed this year, i have to say i feel like i have failed this goal. and that failure really, really bugged me to no end in november (yes, i want a perfect kikiproject by january 8th – is that too much to ask?!). i know what i can do as an escape route in order to fulfill this project, but i am not jazzed in the least by it.

5. eat five wildly decadent and delicious desserts. (completed in the summer!). i am really looking forward to enjoying our annual and tradition family squares and cookies that mom makes every year for christmas. mom, have you started baking yet?! in the meantime, i think i would like some ice cream some freezing cold day, just to be funny. dad (or anyone else), are you in?!

6. finish a minimum of six knitting projects. my christmas knitting is DONE (cannot show) except for one last project (lotsa time, still). and i completed a blanket for project linus just yesterday morning [talk about an eleventh hour finish!] – i set that date goal because i wanted to show the blanket in today’s update – it really was a knit-a-thon, these last few days!

four strips of five blocks with garter stitch borders; main colour plus three secondary colours, altogether

four strips of five blocks with garter stitch borders; main colour plus three secondary colours

this blanket is dedicated to grandma. she would have approved of the clash of bright colours (and the cheap price i paid for the yarn).

hopefully, some small child will enjoy these brights!

hopefully, some small child will enjoy these brights!

7. read seven books, and hopefully more. i have read fifteen books so far this year. i finished u is for undertow (blog recap here), and dove into ready player one – which will be book #sixteen. ready player one grabbed me quickly, and i have really enjoyed deviating from my sue grafton streak of earlier this fall and chick lit-type fiction. i rarely choose sci-fi but i have really enjoyed this novel – in large part thanks to the many 80s references and the likeability of the main character. if you were a teen in the 80s, i suggest you give ready player one a try! here is one example that all you teens-in-the-80s will get: on page 90, wade, the protagonist, refers to the fact that his alarm clock is set to play wham’s wake me up before you go-go because he HATES this song and he has to get out of bed in order to turn it off, therefore he gets up on time. i really laughed in my head at this paragraph because i happen to love that wham song – it’s on my ipod right now!

8. perform eight random acts of kindness. this month, i completed r.a.o.k #7. i have held off on doing an eighth and final act because i keep hoping that a truly random opp will present itself – like i can help an old lady cross the street, or rescue a cat from a tree (ok, maybe not the cat one…how about save a baby from dropping a mitten). i know i can be nice at least one more time in the next month – esp in this season of goodwill to all peoples; however, it would be cool to finish off this particular project with a truly unplanned random act of nicety.

9. watch nine different and new-to-me tv shows (either online, on dvd, or on tv). we no longer discuss this project remember?!

10. refrain from chewing gum for ten months. done! recap of gum chewing day, november 10th, here! now, technically, i suppose i could have restarted on the gum chewing habit….the wording, above, says nothing about stopping forever after the ten months. however, the super neat-o thing is that after chewing those 28 pieces of gum in less than twelve hours, i have not even really thought about gum, nor missed it. that is great because it shows i am cured of that habit! now, i will confess that i had ONE DAY within the past month where i had a craving to chompchomp, and i debated going across the street for a pack…then i thought about how i would have to admit to that action right here, and decided i did not NEED gum after all. so, the goal til the end of 2012 is to remain gum free.

11. abstain from drinking diet pop (any pop) for eleven months.

TODAY IS DIET COKE DRINKING DAY!!! i have it alllll planned out: as i told you on thursday, two 591 bottles were purchased, and one will be downed this morning and one will be savoured this aft. then, that is it (i’ll recap the experience tomorrow).  i DO have a plan regarding diet coke + 2013 and i’ll share that maybe tomorrow?? you know how most months i have had a salivation-inducing anecdote regarding a diet coke sighting to share with you? well, i have nothing, today. i firmly believe that is because for the last month, i have known that diet coke day is right around the corner. succeeding with this project #11 is right up there with project #2 in terms of making me happy!

12. meet with at least twelve different friends for a social get-together. yes! after a long gap, meet-up #21 occurred when i visited with ken and bonnie:

file photo, november 23rd, at the huether

i’ll talk more about this project next month in the final analysis blog post – for now, i am just super happy that i got together with ken and bonnie AND that i have had 21 different-people meet-ups as 21 is half of 42!

and that’s a wrap for this month’s update!

tonight is our staff(s) holiday party – i am really looking forward to it!

i am SET!

ready for christmas, you ask?? after all, that would be the logical thought at this time of year.

no, i am not quite ready for the holidays – i still have the wrapping of presents to do. i like to leave that for closer to christmas. otherwise, YES! shopping, cards, baking, decorating…check, check, check, and bring on christmas.

actually, I AM SET for DIET COKE SUNDAY!!

the pop cooler at walmart

the pop cooler at walmart

(tangent: look!!! do you notice that my photo-uploading issue is FIXED!?! after a couple of q & a exchanges, the wonderful support crew at wordpress sent me this email at midnight last night:

Hey Cathy,

We’ve tracked down this issue and it should be fixed in the next 24 hours. Thanks for your patience.

Daniel | Support | WordPress.com

what GREAT customer service from wordpress! and now we are saved from all photos/all text blog posts til eternity!)

anyway…i purchased my diet cokes at walmart after work today. the bottles were $1.78 each which is highway robbery, considering i could buy 6×710 ml bottles at food basics for $2.97 BUT i do not want that much dc in the house…so i grudgingly paid that astronomical fee. those pops better taste DIVINE on sunday!

the fridge at home: old/new beverage beside new/replacement beverage of the last 11 months.

the fridge at home: old/new beverage beside new/replacement beverage of the last 11 months.

btw, that is new packaging/design on the dc bottles that i have not seen before (yes, i have been avoiding even looking at pop since last january).

approx 64 hours til drinkin’ time!!

~*~*~*~*~

a FUN weekend looms on the horizon:

  • a 40th bday party tomorrow eve
  • stitch n kitsch with mom on saturday, after work (last december’s recap here!)
  • the storeS’ holiday party sunday eve

december is flying by already!

any holiday parties coming up for you? we start extended hours at the store next weekend, so it’s nice for us to get together before full-out retail hecticness sets in.

will you drink a diet coke on sunday? feel free to enjoy!

:D

my meeting with bryan

same place, different photo for you!

photo #1: same place, different photo for you!

photo #2: the display of tattoo ideas you can flip through...

photo #2: the display of tattoo ideas you can flip through…

photo #3: whoa, that is....quite colourful?!!

photo #3: whoa, that is….quite colourful?!!

photo #4: mid-consult with bryan as he sketches some ideas.

photo #4: mid-consult with bryan as he sketches some ideas.

photo #5: 12 noon, january 8th, i will be at tora!

photo #5: 12 noon, january 8th, i will be at tora!

the cards are divided by delivery option!

photo #6: the cards are divided by delivery option!

mom gets me, too! a cardinal christmas card - perfect!

photo #7: mom and dad get me, too! a cardinal christmas card – perfect!

this morning, i had my previously-booked consult appt at tora tattoo (photo #1)

i arrived a few minutes early, so had time to peruse the selection of sample tats on display in the waiting area (photo #2)

think i’ll pass on this one, thanks! (photo #3)

bryan and i had a very productive collaboration-session – i had printed off 5-6 examples of designs/colours/ideas that i liked. being the artist and professional that he is, bryan will draw up the tattoo design then email it to me to look over (photo #4)

i really like bryan! and he “gets” me – that is a wonderful thing!

i really wanted to get tat #3 inked on my bday, wednesday, january 9th, but unfortunately, bryan is already booked up that day. however, we set an appt time for tuesday january 8th (photo #5). i work late afts on tuesday, so that appt time will work out just fine (bryan said it will likely be a 2.5 hour session).

yea! i will have my new tat FOR my birthday instead of ON my birthday. nbd!

~*~*~*~*~

in other (christmas) news, my cards are all done! (photo #6)

i will mail/distribute them this week.

and i RECEIVED my first card! (photo #7)

~*~*~*~*~

in other other news, as you can see, wordpress is acting wonky, still, with the photo uploading process…i refuse to get angsty/ragey as i typically do with techie issues. the worst case scenario is that i have bizarre blog post layouts…forever! we can live with that, right?!

technical difficulties

me and lisa at coffee culture this aft!

me and lisa at coffee culture this aft!

twinkly tree in our lobby!

twinkly tree in our lobby!

file photo, july 5, 2011 - remember when i joked i would send this blanket to william and kate when the time was right?!

file photo, july 5, 2011 – remember when i joked i would send this blanket to william and kate when the time was right?!

good evening!

i am having blogging technical difficulties…i have christmas-y photos to show, a coffee culture visit to share, and we need to congratulate william and kate on their baby announcement! however, wordpress is being ornery, and posting photos only to the top of the blog post, not where i want them to go…this weirdness happened once before and i need to remember how to fix it!

i will take this as a sign that i am to switch over to writing out christmas cards and leave blogging for today!

operation christmas cards!

what a dull, dreary and dismal day…

we are severely lacking in daylight, today - grey! grey! grey!

we are severely lacking in daylight, today – grey! grey! grey!

OUTSIDE!

not

INSIDE!

yesterday, i put out a few xmas touches:

the manger scene belonged to g'ma; tiki is already in the christmas spirit!

the manger scene belonged to g’ma; tiki is already looking forward to christmas!

now, i am about to begin CHRISTMAS CARDS!!!

all the necessary pieces for doing up my holiday greetings - it's a major process!

all the necessary pieces for doing up my holiday greetings – it’s a major process!

longtime readers will remember that last year, i made my own christmas cards as one of my 41 new experiences.

NOT embarking upon that adventure creative undertaking this year! once was enough!

a little background music…

a top-three christmas album favourite!

a christmas album favourite in my collection!

ready, set, write/address/stamp!

do you send out holiday cards? i LOVE sending and receiving cards – there are a lot of people with whom i am in touch each year only via our card exchange, but i really look forward to this tradition! my goal is to have my card party completed by next weekend.

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