Tag Archives: 1970 kiki project

three is my karmic number

scenes from a happy birthday:

i am standing on paper towel as my shoes were wet, post-run and i wanted a pic of the full ensemble...it was nice n mild out!

i am standing on paper towel as my shoes were wet, post-run, and i wanted a pic of the full ensemble…it was nice n mild out!

i signed up for the one month unlimited hot yoga! i start tomorrow!

bday self-present #2 (tat was #1) – i signed up for the one month unlimited hot yoga! first class =  thursday!

the birthday lunching spot!

the birthday lunching spot!

i COULD have chosen diet coke...but opted for sparkle water - wow!

i COULD have chosen diet coke…but opted for sparkle water – wow!

got my choco chip cone - just as delicious as anticipated!

got my choco chip cone – just as delicious as anticipated!

movie recap: tommy=****, movie =**1/2 (intense at times!)

movie recap: tommy=****, movie =**1/2 (intense at times!)

~*~*~*~*~

  • i taught school for three years
  • i worked at the insurance company for three years
  • i worked from home for three years
  • we vacationed in aruba three weeks at a time
  • when i was aunti-nanny for little e, i took care of her three days a week
  • i have run the boston marathon three times
  • my marathon PB is three hours (plus forty-three seconds)
  • steve sax, my favouritest baseball player of all time, wore uniform number three for the dodgers
  • i have three awesome cousins (kate, joel, alex)
  • i would not object to being an aunti for a third time
  • i have three kick-ass tattoos (!!!)
  • i own three madonna CDs
  • each of my ears has three earrings
  • i turned forty-THREE today!
  • i have written 768 blog posts  -> that number is divisible by three!
  • i have completed three kikiprojects!

kikiproject #1

kikiproject #2

kikiproject #3

for the past three years, i have announced the year’s kikiproject on my birthday. this year, the vibe is right to conclude my *blogging career* with this post.

i debated back n forth, up n down, about whether to continue blogging or not, as i have had no zowie ideas/a-ha moments for a fourth kikiproject, despite lots of brainstorming. i realize i could just blog about nothing…but that idea is tiresome. i’d rather make like a pro athlete and retire on a high note.

thank you for reading ~ i have reconnected with old friends, kept in touch with family, made new blends…and i have enjoyed so very much sharing creatively through the blog. it’s super cool to have a photographic + written record of the past three years…a lot of water under the bridge! i am going to miss the creative writing process – i have had a lot of fun concocting april fool’s jokes, themes-o’-the-month, alliterative titles…and just plain chatting away.

local friends and fam, you know that i am always up for a s’bux outing; friends at a distance, lmk if you are ever in the uptown waterloo ‘hood. blogging is awesome, but in-person chats are even better!

~2010~

~2010~

~2011~

~2011~

~2012~

~2012~

may the road rise up to meet you.

may the wind be always at your back. [esp if you are running!]

may the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

racking my brain

on the ninth day of december...

one month from today, it’s my birthday this second edition of the 1970kikiproject will conclude. since i have but FIVE new experiences left in order to reach my target, i am not at all concerned about achieving my goal of 41 new experiences. in fact, i have had to judiciously pick and choose which projects “qualify” for the remaining precious few spots.

what i am all hot and bothered about is this:

what exactly am i going to do for the third round of the kikiproject?

you don’t know how many walks, quiet pockets of time at the storeS, and random moments have been spent brainstorming what to do next year. forthwith is a very rambl-y account of the ideas that have been swirling through my brain…

question: do i want to have a kikiproject, and blog about it?

yes.

i love writing, and i totally enjoy the connection with friends, family and blends that blogging permits.

but what to do? if i’m going to have a year-long project, it has to be something about which i am completely jazzed and embrace 110%. it has to be fun, creative, and slightly quirky. the last thing i want is to initiate a project with half-assed enthusiasm, get more and more bored, lose steam, and quit part-way through the year.

question: will i keep blogging every day?

i’m 90% sure that this answer is no. but i like having a blogging schedule. so, do i post an entry mon-wed-fri? the same two days every week? once a week? if i don’t blog every day, will i miss the social aspect of connecting with commenters, daily? but, after (most likely) accomplishing my goal of having a blog post for each calendar day of 2011, i am feeling the need to switch things up.

moving on: my brainwave ideas, thus far:

the glaringly obvious idea: i am a runner, right down into my soul. i will be 42 in january. a marathon is 42 km…do you see where i am going with this? the problem: since day one, i have consciously chosen to keep my blog free of personal running talk. why? i recognize that i am a very competitive person, and i knew when i started blogging that if i recorded workouts for the world to see, i would push myself detrimentally to go further, faster, sooner, quicker. plus, when i get injured (it’s inevitable, all runners get an ache or pain, at some point), i get really down on myself, and i would be incredibly frustrated and depressed if i couldn’t follow through on a training program exactly as i had planned it out. on the flipside, maybe i SHOULD blog “train for a marathon” in order to curb my enthusiasm and to keep myself accountable?? it would be a new direction for the blog…

idea: take a photo of the day every day, for a year. i’ve done this! i did an old-school version from january 9th, 2005 to january 9th, 2006, with a disposable camera:

the album of 365 photos + captions!

problem: it’s a repeat project! not on the blog, but in real-life. i want to do something new! photo of the day was super fun, i didn’t miss a day, and i have a treasured chronicle of that one year of my life.

friday dec 9th, 2005 photo of the day + caption **note that today is ALSO a friday dec 9th!**

(if i DID choose to repeat this project in a blog-version, i can see myself posting the photo every day, in the evening, with a short write-up).

idea: wear a different tshirt every day for a year. yes, i have enough tshirts to do this. problem: tshirts are not warm. i intensely dislike being cold. a tshirt hidden under layers of fleece is kinda silly and useless.

idea: gain 42 lbs. i could pull a renee zellweger/bridget jones and gain this substantial amount of weight. if my goal in blogging was to quadruple my readership, i betcha this would be the way (weigh?!) to go. it would be an interesting social experiment, and would certainly provide personal growth (pun!). people eat (pun!) this kind of stuff up – look at the popularity of super size me!

idea: give up diet pop for a year. yes, once again, i am enjoying pop – not consuming nearly as much as i used to, at least – and no i didn’t tell you about this, something i feel badly about, given this post. just thinking of embarking upon this idea makes me miserable. but it would be good for me. like eating brussel sprouts. i’ve gone pop-free before, a few times – my record is 13 months, so i know i can do it (and i know i miss it when i do it). but it would be good for me. and it would make my mom happy (you never outgrow wanting to make mom happy, am i not correct?). the only saving grace is that i would tell myself that starting january 9, 2013, i could drink as much pop as i wanted for the rest of my life. and for the duration of the kikiproject, in lieu of pop, i could have as much coffee with stevia as i could tolerate, for the entire year. problem: i just have to get back to liking coffee…[eta: a-ha! since i've already gone 13 months pop-free before, this idea, too, is a repeat project! am i off the hook??!].

idea: should i try to read 42 books? see yesterday’s post – not likely to happen!

idea: i could knit 42 socks (21 unique pairs) for charity. perhaps, but that would mean there’d be no other knitting projects for the year…no knitting for little e and cutie c, no creating imaginative blankets, no last-minute christmas gifting…and this idea bores me already. i am yawning just typing out this proposal…

now, i still have (correction: make that ONLY have – wah!) one month to further internally debate [sorry for the split verb, there] my various options. flash of brilliance, come to me!!

HEEELLLPPPP!!! ideas? suggestions? feedback? i’m listening reading!

[tangent: i would have sworn that the expression is "i'm wracking my brain..." - in composing today's blog post title, i googled, just to be sure, and all of the sources i checked confirmed that the right spelling is indeed "racking your brain." now i know!].

April Outing of the Month With Dad + A New Experience!

Wow! Would you look at that…we fit in all three Outings of the Month this month with two whole days left to spare!

Yesterday’s lunch break was a double dose of fun: I got to spend time with Dad, AND I finally got to try Pizza Pizza’s gluten-free pizza crust.

I had heard about this GF option at Pizza Pizza ages ago…but it was one of those things I never get around to checking out. As far as I know, they are the only pizza chain in our area to offer GF pizza. Given this month’s GF goal, April was now-or-never time!

Since Dad and I are moving chronologically through the meals of a day (breakfast, morning coffee break – completed) for our outings, there was no question about where I wanted to go for Lunch in April.

We had a choice of three locations for our Pizza Pizza date. The Beechwood spot was our destination of choice, based on my assumption that they would not be very busy:

...KFC is right next door; fast-food nation!

I was right – there was not a very big lunch crowd, yesterday!

...um, shall we rephrase to say ANY lunch crowd!

On such a dismal day, a hot lunch was entirely welcome and appropriate!

cold, windy, dreary, rainy...not the most pleasant of days, weather-wise!

Dad and I were really impressed by the wide variety of offerings. It’s not just pizza, here!

how is it that "outing of the month" is MY idea, and DAD always treats?! thanks, dad! <3

Dad decided upon a slice and a rootbeer:

...followed by an order of (unpictured) onion rings for dessert! (they were out of the apple pie dad really wanted!)

I got my Gluten-Free crust, with mushrooms, olives and tomatoes.

lunch!

Your eyes deceive you not. Yes, that is a Diet Coke with my pizza. Dad and I agreed that pizza and pop go hand-in-hand. It was deliriously delicious, I must say. :0

Today’s lunch also counts as New Experience #15! Eat gluten-free pizza crust!

My impression?

chomp, chomp!

I approve! I really enjoyed the pizza crust, the toppings (quantity and quality) and would order gluten-free pizza again.

However.

GF crust is almost a different animal entirely than *regular* pizza crust. See?…

my pizza (L); dad's slice (R)

If you like thin crust pizza or flatbread, you will like this GF crust. It tastes delicious (bready), it provided a firm bottom for the tomato sauce and toppings, and it had a pleasing texture.

However.

If you like “traditional” pizza crust, ie doughy, thick, chewy crust, avoid ordering GF.

Also: at Pizza Pizza, you can ONLY get the GF option on a medium pizza (8 slices) AND there’s an extra charge of $3.25 per pizza. So my pizza cost $13+ whereas Dad got his slice for a couple of dollars.

Conclusion: Next time, I would just order A REGULAR SLICE OF PIZZA. But, I satisfied my curiosity, and genuinely enjoyed a delicious lunch.

I asked Dad for his impression of his slice. He opined that it was “very good for a fast-food pizza chain.” But not as good as Gino’s pizza, and definitely not in the same league as the pizza across from our condos.

In the end, it’s really not about the pizza.

say "cheese!" (haha!)

Dad and I enjoyed over 1.5 hours of conversation and bonding time. And that’s what really warms the heart on a cold winter’s spring day.

Thanks again, Dad!

What’s your favourite pizza chain? Or, do you prefer to make your own? BFF Debbie and Gina in the ‘Peg are both Homemade Pizza Queens!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

P.S. Yes, I did watch the Royal Wedding this morning! Impressions/recap coming up tomorrow!

New Experience #14: Decorate a Dozen Easter Eggs Myself!

Searching for Easter Bunny treats was my favourite part of Easter when I was little. (Yes, I was raised in a Christian home, but when you’re eight years old, the joy of Jesus’ resurrection does not compete with the excitment of going on a hunt for mini chocolate eggs and pink hair accessories – just being honest with you).

My SECOND favourite part of Easter was our family tradition of dying Easter eggs. This process would take place annually on Good Friday. (Then Saturday was always Paska baking day - more on that tomorrow).

For dying our Easter eggs, Dad, Mom, The Brother and I would each get 3, 4 or 6 eggs to creatively colour.

Sometimes during the hard-boiling, an egg would crack. If that was the case, Mom got stuck with having the defective egg as part of her collection. That’s just the way it was.

I always crackled with anticipation over how to decorate my eggs: no plain, one-colour jobs, for me! (That was Mom’s way of doing eggs – she said she had to balance out our craziness brightness with solids).

My area of specialty was using Rubber Cement glue. I’d dye my egg, drizzle the glue around it, plop it back in another colour and let it soak. When you took out the egg, and rubbed off the glue, you’d be left with a two-toned psychedelic masterpiece!

The Brother’s gift was drawing on the eggs. His best invention, to this day, is the year he crafted the Van Halen symbol onto the egg’s surface.

(source)

Unmatchable. We still laugh to this day over that one.

This year, I have misplaced my Easter decorations, which is very unlike me. 

I have no clue where my little eggie tree, fake nest and multitude of cute bunnies have disappeared to. So, to brighten and spring-ify the still winterlike Condo Casa, I decided to resurrect the Egg Dying Tradition of Yore. In order to make this a New Experience, I settled upon dying an even dozen eggs. Never have I had so many all to myself!

Last night was Preparation Time:

I bought a dozen of the cheapest eggs I could find, since these are going to sit out for a week as decoration, and will not be consumed. A $2 investment for this year’s Easter decor? Fine by me!

Boil, boil, toil and trouble! Luckily, zero eggs cracked!

Same brand of dye we used in the ’70s…but now you get added extras!…

This morning, I mixed up my dyes:

Despite the passage of time, I still remembered some of my favourite tricks!

For my 12th egg, I created the Swamp Water Mix – you just dump all the dyes together, and douse the egg! (Another tradition The Brother and I revelled in!).

To finish, I rubbed the eggs with oil. This was always a Dad task. It just shines up the eggs to make them Display Worthy:

Care to see the finished products?

Four plain eggs (in honour of Mom) to act as balancing agents:

Oops! One casualty…we’ll just hide that side…

Four pastel-hued eggs, each of which received turnings and dunkings, by hand:

Three stickered eggs. I love stickers. Usually I use Little E and Baby C as my excuses to play with stickers. I justify my sticker-usage today by saying that the stickers were included with the dyes, so it’s only proper that I use them!

One with a strip of Easter eggs, one with flowers ‘n’ butterflies…

And just for The Brother, a Funny/Sporty Egg (why basketballs, firetrucks and shooting rockets for Easter?!):

Here’s the Swamp Water Egg!

My favourite today? This one (the white stripe down the middle happened accidentally – love it!):

And the final collection:

Now my dining room table looks Easter-y!

Happy Earth Day, by the way!

Are you dying Easter eggs this year?

Are you celebrating Earth Day today?

Tomorrow we talk Easter Bread!

New Experience #13: Work at the Kitchener Store

This New Experience could include this subtitle:

And Work a Double Shift. Yesterday’s work experiences cover both bases!

Mondays are typically a light day at the store because I only have three hours of work, and I’m with my manager, Paul, for the entire time. Yesterday? Not such a walk in the park!

From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., I was at my store.

At 2 p.m., the heat was on! I had 30 minutes to hop home to the Condo Casa, grab food and drink, scramble down to my car, and boot it down to Kitchener. The Kitchener store is on a main thoroughfare that is *congested* on a good day. I crossed my fingers and put the pedal to the metal (that’s a joke, Dad!).

My store:

looking out the front window...

The Kitchener store:

the front window faces....a parking lot! (not too exciting!)

My store:

nutrition bunk!

The Kitchener store:

same stuff!

My store:

a rainbow of reflective jackets!

The Kitchener store:

look at that precision! perfectly combed!

My store:

nike clothing display...

The Kitchener store:

i think ive seen this display before somewhere....

My store:

our shoe wall...

The Kitchener store:

i like how kitchener has their spikes divided womens/mens, bottom row...

The two stores really are similar, aren’t they. The major difference is the flooring: my store is light, the Kitchener store is dark wood. My store is a bit bigger in floor space, but the Kitchener location has a larger backroom, more storage, two washrooms. 

So, at the end of the day, what’s my verdict?

~ I had a lot of fun today!!! Working at the new location did not seem like work because everything was new.

~ I was busier in Kitchener than I anticipated – I sold three pairs of spikes, alone! The half marathon clinic met at 6:30 p.m., so that was added social time.

~ The manager in Kitchener, Nicole, is super organized, and has the store in wonderful shape. I’ll work there any time she needs a hand.

I’m really glad I had the chance to check out a different store! If the opportunity arises again, I’m in!

What’s the longest day you’ve ever worked? When I taught, there were some long days of teaching+marking/prep at home…but yesterday is one of the longest retail days I’ve done!

*#*#*#*#*

Can you believe the results of the Boston Marathon?!! Yes – I had to cheat and find out who won, before I’ve had a chance to watch my PVR recording. The fastest marathon ever for the men! American women in 2nd and 5th spots – I will be enthralled when I finally do see the ‘thon!

The 1970KikiProject Quarterly Report

Good Morning!

Today is Saturday, April 9th, and the weather is…springlike?? (it’s kinda early in the morning to tell, for sure…appears to be clear out. Let’s hope it’s a sunny day!)

Three months ago today, it was my birthday!

file photo: january 9th, 2011

That means it’s time to check in with our progress on this year’s 1970KikiProject which kicked off its current incarnation three months ago, today.

(source)

Quick recap: I intend to enjoy 41 New Experiences during the time period of January 9th, 2011 to January 8th, 2012.

And where are we today? The tally stands at 12 New Experiences completed.

And we are right on target, kids. Whew! No need to panic!

A couple of comments on the twelve projects completed thus far:

~ Most fun: the fake fingernails

~ Most expensive: trip to Aruba

~ Most time-intensive: the Cake Decorating course

~ Most disappointing: drinking Coconut water!

Just 29 more to go!

I’ve got a lot of ideas floating around in my head for possible Fun New Experiences. In the short term, I have an Easter-themed project in mind, and chances are high that a work-related New Experience will occur, as well.

I haven’t pre-determined how to stay relatively on-track – so far, just randomly going with the flow has worked extremely well (quite unheard of for someone who adores planning!).

While we’re at it, let’s check in on:

The UN-Official 1970 Kiki Project:

Goal: bake 41 different recipes of chocolate chip cookies between January 9th, 2011 and January 8th, 2012.

Status: SEVEN recipes baked….oops! I better hop onto that baking trolley and get crackin’!

Let’s aim for TWO more recipes this month.

Two other shorter term cookie goals:

1) make a fancy version – like something with a unique twist to it in terms of ingredients (although I have learned from experience that anything other than a basic recipe is met with dubious expressions!)

2) make a gluten-free version.

(source)

If I made an all-purpose flour variety AND a GF variety, I’d love to do a blind taste-test!

We’ll see if we can make that happen…

Then, there’s the Coupon of the Month Project.

Happily, this project is right on track, too. And April outings are all scheduled with Mom, with Dad, and with babysitting in Toronto. Yippee!

Lastly: I have two goals for the month of April:

1) finish A’s sweater – the back is complete

please excuse the ugly towel backdrop, but I'm blocking the piece...just finished the knitting last night!

I’d say I’m on track.

2) Still clean!

How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions and/or April Goals? Are they still on the radar, or have they faded into the sunset?!

*#*#*#*#*

I really enjoyed reading the results because I am nosy from those of you who took the Real Age Test! Thanks for sharing! (Click here if you’d like to try the test).

Now here’s my question: EVERYONE who shared their results came out YOUNGER than their biological age. So:

~ are readers of this blog generally a healthier-than-average lot? or…

~ did people who came out OLDER than their actual age just not share their results?!

Hmmmm….enquiring minds want to know.

Have a great day!

New Experience #12: Eat at thrive juice bar with Blog Friends!

I was very, very excited about New Experience #12 for two reasons:

~ I would finally get a chance to go to local new-ish restaurant thrive juice bar

~ I would get the chance to meet two local bloggers, face-to-face! (Never met blogging buddies in person, before!)

Yesterday, we braved the wild winds of April to meet up in Uptown Waterloo.

thrive is located in the bauer complex, a five minute walk from where i live - handy!

A bit of background: Angela (I’ll introduce her in a minute) had organized a blogger meet-up at thrive back in March. Unfortunately, I was in Aruba at the time, (I know, no excuse! Shoulda flown back early!) and had to miss this event. For Angela’s recap of the social, click here. I was sorry to not be in attendance – everyone had a great time!

Anyway, Angela and I decided to do a mini-meet-up, and Odette was able to join us, too! (She missed the March outing, as well).

clean, minimalist design, greeeen: the concept and tone you'll find at THRIVE

small touches count: we even had a table reserved for us! thanks to angela, i do believe!

Odette of the only planet with chocolate and I started chatting animatedly the moment we met!

odette!

Odette has led a very exciting life of late! This past weekend she attended the Blue Jays home opener, a Raptors game, enjoyed a special dinner at The Bauer Kitchen, PLUS just last week she found out she has been accepted at TWO law schools! What a whirlwind of adventure!

I have read Angela’s blog, Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat, for quite some time, now. I think I first found it because she indicated in a comment on another blog that she lived in Waterloo. It’s fun to read a blog which mentions places and activities with which I am familiar! Plus, Angela writes a lot of informative posts about fitness and healthy foods. And she likes new experiences!

angela!

The menu at thrive is fresh, unique, and offers many healthy+delicious choices.

a sampling of the sandwiches...

Once I saw that I could sub in a gluten free bread choice…

a very raw foods, vegan, vegetarian, or GF-friendly menu!

I knew exactly what to order!

grilled portabello, tempeh & spinach sandwich
 lightly toasted organic light rye with virgin coconut oil. grilled portabello mushroom, white miso marinated tempeh, vegan garlic aioli and fresh spinach lightly finished with sriracha chili sauce
 
Photo Time while we waited!

me, angela, odette

My sandwich choice was divine. Love, love, loved it, and highly recommend it if you dine at thrive.

a perfect combination of flavours and textures!

Odette went with the Veggie Burger, and Angela enjoyed the Raw Pad Thai.

capturing angela in action, in true food blogger style!

Conversation flowed steadily and easily! For having never met in person, we had a lot to discuss! Topics ranged from fitness activities to blogs we enjoy reading to how/when we blog. All too soon, it was time for us to get on with our days.

Local readers, I highly suggest you make a visit to thrive. Owner Jonnie…

jonnie in his milieu!

…is running a gem of an operation here.

all the best, jonnie! i'll be back!

Odette and Angela, many thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable New Experience! I do hope we can meet up again, soon. Let’s go back to thrive!

p.s….I’m still clean

But I have to say, for whatever reason, I’ve had major cravings and a huge desire to pop a cold one these past few days. Spring fever? Too much knitting?! But I refuse to cave…however, all bets are off as to what happens on Monday April 25th, though (only 19 days from now…not that anyone’s counting, or anything!) :)

New Experience #10: Drink Coconut Water

In the past couple months, I have read a lot about Coconut Water, both on blogs and in magazines. Some people enthusiastically endorse this healthy beverage while others…are not such big fans. In an effort to expand my list of enjoyable beverages (update: still clean on the Diet Coke front!), I thought I’d give Coconut Water a try.

I found this 14 0z (414 ml) plastic bottle of Zico brand Coconut Water at Eating Well Organically.

"zico pure premium coconut water with natural pineapple & citrus flavors"

For this price…

yes, that's $3.19 for 14 oz/414 ml!!!

…it’s verging into liquid gold territory! [Sidenote: pet peeve to be explored another day...how can we expect people to give up pop and chips in favour of healthy food and beverage choices when you can get a Coke this size for less than $2.00??]

I decided to try the Coconut Water during my morning shift at the store.

will i be an enthusiastic endorser of this product?!...

eager for the first sip!...

i've drunk the first mouthful...

..and this photo pretty much says it all. :(

ICK!!!! EWWWW!!

I was not a fan.

Why? I found the coconut water to be sickenly sweet and very syrupy. I took two sips and honestly thought I might either gag or have to spit it out. There was an unpleasant aftertaste – from the plastic bottle, maybe??

It was just horrid. Now, maybe it would taste better post-workout, when you’re craving refreshment. Also, I have to say I am just not a fan of fruit flavoured anything: yogurt, ice creams, electrolyte gels…I will always pick a chocolate or a mocha over fruit. So, maybe the added pineapple and citrus did not help the coconut water cause.

I sipped about 8-10 glugs and then just could not bear any more. Down the drain it went. Major fail!

Then, I went and made myself a coffee. That was good.

Have you tried coconut water? What was your impression, if so?

*#*#*#*#*

Updates on yesterday’s news

A local runner from Kitchener won the Around the Bay road race! (Kitchener is the neighbouring city to my Waterloo). Here’s the article in today’s K-W Record. From various reports received, it seems a lot of my friends enjoyed a satisfying race. Congrats, everyone!

*#*#*#*#*

Yesterday, I gave A her sweater!

 

the finished product

While A loved the knitting, unfortunately, the fit was not entirely what she had hoped for. I could tell when she put it on that the neckline was still looser than she had envisioned. Long story short, after a few emails yesterday, we concluded that I will reknit the sweater.

 Honestly, I am fine with this, and here’s why: 1) from a business standpoint, I want my customer to be 100% satisfied with both the product and the service paid for. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and I would hope that A will recommend me without hesitation should she ever get inquiries as to where she got her sweater. 2) it’s silly to have a sweater just sit in a drawer and not be worn – that’s a waste of A’s money and my time. 3) I fully agree with A’s assessment. The sweater does need to made less boxy and the neckline will look better in a tighter crew shape. 4) I’ll be able to speed-knit through the second version of the sweater, given that I am familiar with the pattern, now, and took copious notes the first time through.
 So, A will have the sweater she desires…just in time for May’s warm sunshine and light breezes! :~
 
Lastly, I found this quote this morning on Gina’s (The Fitnessista) blog. It resonated with me, completely. Maya is so wise.
  

 

 “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou
 
 The sun is out. Happy Monday!
 

New Experience #9: Travel to Aruba Solo

This will be the final Aruba-themed post, I promise. Even I am sick of talking about Aruba! :)

although not tired of looking at palm trees!!

While I’ve been to Aruba several times in the past decade, I have never travelled there by myself. So this vacation was a new experience in that sense.

Here are the reasons why I made the trip on my own:

~ with B’s current job, he can no longer get away during the month of March; I really appreciate that he graciously allowed me to go to our timeshare without him (B will have his chance for a solo trip this summer when he goes hiking in Colorado!).

~ since we had been to Aruba before, I felt comfortable with, and confident about, flying internationally on my own. I had a direct flight from Toronto, and was familiar with travelling to our timeshare once I landed in Aruba.

~ I knew a lot of people who would be at our resort while I was there.

~ I was only going to be gone for one week, so the chances of getting bored or homesick were minimal.

In summary, I had a very fun week, and am grateful for the opportunity I had to enjoy the sunshine, heat, and relaxation time.

Below, please find a compilation of all the blog entries from the trip. This may go down as the “furthest distance travelledNew Experience of this year! (unless I go visit my cousin Joel in Australia, haha!)

[Sidenote: if you have any specific questions about Aruba, please feel free to contact me - in a nutshell, it's a fabulous vacation spot].

Aruba Predictions

Aruba Report: Good Karma

Monday in Aruba: Reunion Day!

Welcome!

Tuesday in Aruba: Poolside!

A Walkabout Tour

Wednesday in Aruba: Peachie to be Beach-ie!

High Nine

Thursday in Aruba: Aah and A-Ha

Grocery Shopping in Aruba!

Friday in Aruba: Sunrise, Sunset

Of Gardens and Greenery

Saturday in Aruba: I’m a Gamblin’ Fan

Aruba Outtakes

Sunday in Aruba: Tick Tock on the Clock

Aruba Predictions Recap

Bon Bini!

New Experience #7: Get My Photo Taken with Canada’s #1 Ranked Male Marathoner!

Last evening, Michelle and I attended a running-related event:

the event details!

Funny enough, I heard about this free presentation in the Runner’s World Forums, “Canada” section! I rarely look in this category, so it was just meant to be that I happened upon the posting. I recruited Michelle to join me, knowing she’d be as gung-ho as me about attending.

Guelph is a 30 minute drive from Waterloo, so Michelle and I enjoyed girl time [ie gossip chitchat] in the car, to and fro. She is a lot of fun to hang out with!

The theme of the evening:

a subject near and dear to my heart! ok, one of my PRIMARY PASSIONS!

I cannot express how excited I was to be in this atmosphere! Attendance was well over 100 people, I’d say, so I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm! And how’s this for funny – after a washroom break, when I re-entered the hotel conference room, I could decidedly smell “running” – that slightly sweaty, wet-tech-fabric scent was definitely in the room! (Yea, kinda gross, but comes with the territory!).

The host/MC for the evening was Alan Brookes, race director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Canada Running Series of road races.

mr brookes introducing the evening's line up

i took this shot solely (pun!) so you could see mr brookes' footwear; "you know you're at a running event when..."!

The first guest speaker was Dave Scott Thomas, renowned running coach. I loved his exubert, passionate, yet casual and modest way of presenting material.

i think his age is older than he appears! very youthful demeanor and attitude but a wealth of knowledge and background

Dave is the coach of the Guelph Speed River Track and Field Club and coaches THREE of the FOUR top-ranked male marathoners right now in Canada! How awesome that they are based just DOWN THE ROAD from my city??!

Here are the three guys:

reid is ranked #1, right now; fun fact: he worked for the running room, even at my location, at one time!

eric gillis is ranked #2...

...and, rob watson, ranked #4, had a breakout performance at the houston marathon in january

The best part?? All three guys were in attendance!

left to right: alan brookes; dave scott-thomas; reid coolsaet; eric gillis; rob watson

And the very VERY best part??! I got my photo taken with Reid! What an unassuming, quiet, polite, modest, nice guy! I kinda gushed when I asked for the photo – and Eric Gillis took it for me (embarrassingly, I did the photo opp before the presentation, and didn’t realize Eric was Eric – oops! Coulda had TWO celeb running photos, had I known!):

canada's #1 ranked male marathoner ... plus me!!!

Dave Scott Thomas discussed the training regimens of the marathoners. I was impressed that he imparted some trade secrets, even:

dave details specific workouts leading up the "A" race/marathon

more insider info!

The second guest expert was Dr Trent Stellingwerff. Michelle knows him from way back, so he came over and chatted before the evening started – a very nice, unassuming, well-spoken guy.

impressive credentials!

Trent spoke about marathon nutrition for both the elite and recreational athlete, addressing fueling for pre-run, during the race, and post-workout recovery. Again, he shared details specific to Reid, Eric and Rob’s training – lots of spreadsheets, graphs, percentages up on the Power Point. I love this stuff!

After the two presentations, the floor was opened up for a Q & A session. Michelle asked a question – and received a Powerbar goodie bag!

powerbar was one of the evening's main sponsors

I would have given my right arm loved to have walked out with a giftie bag; alas, I couldn’t come up with an intelligent question to save my soul that I could pose to the group…

My favourite question came from the recreational runner who asked if it’s really necessary to forego alcohol as a non-elite runner (ie a daily glass of wine). Trent’s simple reply? No!

I HAD SO MUCH FUN! Call me a geek, but I thoroughly enjoyed learning the optimal number of carb grams you should take per hour during your marathon (it’s 60 g for most people, but is based on body weight). I could write you a 15 page essay on all the information presented, all the details; suffice to say, I picked up ideas, but even more, I just had FUN soaking up the information, basking in the geekdom of running-related minutiae.

That being said, I just have to post a couple of tidbits of knowledge (I know some of you are marathon training, so not everyone will be bored to tears!)

**the major take-home piece of info? as you’ve likely heard before, we are all experiments of one.

~what type of sports drink should you consume during your run? Studies prove a mix of glucose + fructose is optimal

~fuel during your race is weather independent; fluid intake is weather dependent

~it’s ok to lose 2-3% of your body weight during a workout

~ if your urine is clear, you’re likely overhydrated; you want a slight yellow tinge to your pee (no subject is sacred to runners!)

~”you don’t need to bang out tons of intensity [mileage] to become a pretty good runner.” Dave Scott Thomas

~in his lead-up to last fall’s Scotiabank Marathon, Reid peaked at 227 km per week; his taper week before the ‘thon was 100k (this mileage includes the 42.2 k of race day)

Two complaints about the eve: 1) it went on too long. Michelle and I left at 9:30 p.m., finally (the evening started at 7:00 p.m.). Alan Brookes was quite…verbose. And Dave and Trent had a lot of information to share. 2) they only brought the three marathoners up for the Q & A at the very end of the session – I could have listened to a lot more of just them sharing their experiences and tips.

It’s an exciting time for marathoning in Canada! We could be on the cusp of some breakthrough performances, and Jerome Drayton’s longstanding Canadian marathon record time of 2:10:08 could be eclipsed within the next few years.

The exciting final announcement of the event was that all three marathoners will be competing at the Waterfront Marathon this fall. Click here for the link to the official press release. Wow. I just may have to have a New Experience!…”witness the breaking of the Canadian male marathon record!”

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