Tag Archives: 1970kikiproject#3

kikiproject #3: the final recap

(source)

it feels like new year’s eve all over again!! today’s blog post is an opportunity to look back at the last twelve months and evaluate the goals that i set at this time last year for the third annual kikiproject.

let’s review! in order to have an all-encompassing record, i am going to include lists where possible (thanks to my excel spreadsheet, i have precise documentation), and also give myself a THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN, or THUMBS SIDEWAYS grade for each project that helped to make up the 12 days of kiki.

1. record at least one positive thing every day in my gratitude journal excel spreadsheet. THUMBS UP. i am on line 983 of my excel spreadsheet today which gives an average, then, of 2.7 thankfulnesses noted for each day. every day since january 9, 2012 has a positive item next to its date. some days have one line, some have upwards of six or eight. this project helped keep me centred and also helped me see many instances of “coincidence? i think not!”

2. babysit little e and cutie c two times so that the brother and sil ana can enjoy a significant date or special event. THUMBS UP.

my favourite photo from this year

my favourite photo from this year

it’s too bad we could not work in one or two more extended babysitting dates, but i exceeded my goal, closing with 3.5 extended-aunti-ing dates, AND, in addition, we maintained regular aunti visits (mostly on wednesdays). yippee!

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. THUMBS UP. if memory serves, i believe i missed one day where i did not comment three times. sundays continued to be the most challenging day to *find* three blog posts from blends; on those days, i opted to comment on “popular” blogs and made sure my comments were neither gushy nor insincere. i look forward to commenting on my friends’ blogs, from today onwards, and it will be lovely to comment once or fifty times per day, as i am so inspired!

4. run four (point two) km…times ten. THUMBS DOWWWWWN. do we have to talk about this one?? so….i did not run a marathon in 2012. my workaround that i figured out way back last year was that i would go out and run a 4.2 km block around my ‘hood ten times over the course of a few days if i did not end up ‘thoning. well, i did not do those ten loops. i could have. i kept procrastinating – from october forward! now let’s get philosophical: back when i was on my florida vacation in july, 2010, i wrote this blog post about a shell i found (that is sitting on my window ledge to this day, i can see it as i type). the lesson: i do not need to be perfect – i cannot be perfect. so while i am truly, deeply troubled/irked/chagrined that not fulfilling this project #4 wrecks getting 100% on this year’s kiki project (and makes this the first kikiproject of the three where i have NOT gotten 100%)…it’s a life lesson. on a positive note, let me throw in that i had the best year of running in at least the past ten years, so i do feel running-satisfied…i guess.

5. eat five wildly decadent and delicious desserts. THUMBS SIDEWAYS. yes, i enjoyed my official five desserts:

  • sunday, march 25: yogen fruz fro yo with choco chips and oreo
  • sunday, may 28: s’bux icey, chocolatey drink thing
  • saturday, june 23: baskin robbins choco chip ice cream in a waffle cone
  • sunday, july 1: laura secord choco chip ice cream in a SPRINKLES waffle cone
  • sunday, july 8: pb/pb chip ice cream in a sprinkle waffle cone

…but i could have had more variety and they could have been gooey-er! i pressured myself to get this project done, i recall. i learned i prefer “every day” sweets like coffee cake and choco chip cookies and mom’s apple crisp to over-the-top specialties.

6. finish a minimum of six knitting projects. THUMBS UP. i surpassed my goal by finishing twelve knits!

  • log cabin throw in malabrigo yarn for the mcc relief sale – sunday, march 18
  • seed stitch baby blanket in noro sock yarn – monday, april 23
  • variegated, sparkly scarf for g’ma’s bday – thursday, may 10
  • purple lace socks for mom’s bday – thursday, may 31
  • orange “$4 sweater” for me – tuesday, june 26
  • orange baby blanket – saturday, august 18
  • ballet sweaters for little e and cutie c for xmas – wednesday, sept 19
  • socks for SIL ana for xmas – friday, november 23
  • variegated blanket in honour of g’ma for project linus – saturday, dec 8
  • 2nd pair of socks for SIL ana for xmas – thursday, december 15
  • baby sweater from leftover sock yarn – monday dec 24
  • baby sweater from leftover sock yarn – sunday january 6

here are the three projects you have yet to see:

sil ana had requested "knee socks" for xmas so i made her (L) argyle knee sox and (R) over-the-knee striped sox!

sil ana had requested “knee socks” for xmas so i made her (L) argyle knee sox and (R) over-the-knee striped sox!

there was so much sock yarn left over that i whipped up a baby cardi...

there was so much sock yarn left over that i whipped up a baby cardi…

...and it already has a home! (and why are these two pics upside down?!).

…and it already has a home! (and why are these two pics upside down?!).

...and there was STILL sock yarn left over! so i produced a baby brother...

…and there was STILL sock yarn left over! so i produced a baby brother…

...who has yet to find a home!

…who has yet to find a home!

7. read seven books, and hopefully more. THUMBS UP. i more than doubled my initial reading projection! i read sixteen books to completion:

  • irma voth by miriam toews, finished january 24, **1/2
  • the friday night knitting club, kate jacobs, march 5, **1/2
  • something borrowed, emily giffin, march 31, ****
  • baby proof, emily giffiin, april, 29, ***1/2
  • something blue, emily giffin, may 26, **
  • she’s come undone, wally lamb, july 4, ****
  • shoe addicts anonymous, beth harbison, july 15, **1/2
  • the undomestic goddess, sophie kinsella, july 25, ****
  • explosive eighteen, janet evanovich, july 28, **
  • *fifty shades of grey, e.l. james, august 8, ***1/2
  • *fifty shades darker, e.l. james, august 20, ***
  • *fifty shades freed, e.l. james, sept 3, ***1/2
  • r is for ricochet, sue grafton, sept 23, **1/2
  • fly away home, jennifer weiner, sept 25, ***
  • t is for trespass, sue grafton, october 18, ***1/2
  • the jane austen book club, susan joy fowler, october 20, *1/2
  • u is for undertow, sue grafton, november 12, ***
  • ready player one, ernest cline, december 18, **1/2

(*the fifty shades trilogy counted as “one book”)

right now, i am into state of wonder by ann patchett (*** rating thus far) and circle of friends by maeve binchy (*** thus far). reading is like taking two steps forward and three steps back – i cannot keep up with all the books i want to read!

8. perform eight random acts of kindness. THUMBS UP. i DID do eight official r.a.o.k.s and i tried to be a nice person at other times.

  • gave the guy ahead of me at food basics change towards his grocery bill -
  • filled two bags with food for the food bank – feb 29
  • gift pack for my cousin, hubby, toddler, new baby – may 26
  • mystery r.a.o.k. for a friend – june 26
  • baby gifties for bloggers janae and kath – sept 11
  • tidied apparel racks at zellers – sept 12
  • gave s’bux GCs to my building supers, just because – nov 12
  • gave a $25 shoppers GC to a homeless gent – dec 12

[tangent rant: i rarely receive cowardly anonymous snark comments, for which i am thankful; would you believe the most snide remarks received came from r.a.o.k. posts?? ironic, eh? i wish people would keep negativity to themselves].

9. watch nine different and new-to-me tv shows (either online, on dvd, or on tv). THUMBS SIDEWAYS. my reaction to this project was a complete surprise! i would never have guessed that i disliked so intensely watching and reviewing tv shows…and i don’t get it because i quite enjoy reviewing movies and books! i love how it worked out that i could take a silly way out and include a few children’s shows…i did not plan that way back before the project started:

  • republic of doyle, january 20, *1/2
  • you gotta eat here, january + february, **
  • big ban theory, april 14, ***
  • mr maker, may 2, **
  • octonauts, month of may, **
  • number jacks, june 27, *
  • real housewives of vancouver, june 30, ***
  • 2012 summer olympics, july-august, ***
  • inspector lewis, august 20, **

10. refrain from chewing gum for ten months. THUMBS UP. totally rocked this one! not only did i not chew gum, i realized i no longer LIKE chewing gum! this project inspired my 2013 resolution of not chewing gum the entire year.

11. abstain from drinking diet pop (any pop) for eleven months. THUMBS UP, UP, AND AWAY!! this is the project with which i had the most giddy enthusiasm, each month, when writing the monthly review. i loved that i accomplished this project, adored that i am cured of my addiction. this was the toughest project in terms of giving me cravings, though. but as with most things in life, the harder you have to work, the bigger the reward and the greater the feeling of accomplishment. and i get to have dc with fast food in 2013!!! (dance!)

12. meet with at least twelve different friends for a social get-together. THUMBS UP, DOWN, and SIDEWAYS. this project is complex to analyze: YES, i met up with more than twelve friends (21, total). BUT…i totally lost steam and momentum part way through, esp from the summer on. i EASILY could have met up with 42 different people (as juanita had initially suggested, way back when i was brainstorming kikiprojects) had i put more vigour and enthusiasm into contacting and scheduling friends, family, neighbours, acquaintances. for example, it is inexcusable that i did not get out with SIL ana or uncle paul! to end with a positive word: i DO like that my final tally was 21 which is half of 42 – that is excellent symmetry.

  • joanne, thursday january 12
  • cathie, saturday january 14
  • debbie, saturday january 22
  • the brother, wednesday january 25
  • angela, saturday january 28
  • cousin joel, friday february 10
  • sarah, monday february 20
  • mom and dad, monday february 20
  • tricia, monday february 20
  • andrea, sunday february 26
  • manager nicole, saturday march 3
  • sharon, sunday march 4
  • neighbour katie, friday march 30
  • little e, wednesday april 4
  • cousin kate, friday april 6
  • juanita, saturday april 7
  • neighbours stephen and rhonda, wednesday may 9
  • neighbours jeff and katie, friday may 18
  • manager paul and annette, sunday june 3
  • grandma (and dad), wednesday august 15
  • ken and bonnie, friday november 23

[i met up with some of the above-noted folks more than once].

~*~*~*~*~

in conclusion, i rate this year’s kikiproject a SUCCESS. i had a lot of fun (for the most part!) and i really liked having the twelve different goals to chase after – the mix of long-term and short-term projects was great. to complete today’s chronicle, here are the links to the monthly recaps:

february 9: the 12 days of kiki: one month in

march 9: the 12 days of kiki: 2 months down, 10 to go

april 9: HOW are we doing at the three month mark??

may 9: the 12 days of kiki: already FOUR months down!

june 9: kikiproject: high five!

july 9: kikiproject: we’re half way!

august 9: kikiproject update: lucky number seven

september 9: kikiproject update: eight is great!

october 9: kikiproject: a nifty nine months old!

november 9: TEN!!!!

december 9: kikiproject update: the eleventh hour

~*~*~*~*~

thanks for reading!

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

kikiproject update: the eleventh hour

this is the final monthly recap!!!

(source)

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!

u is for undertow

photo of the day: wednesday, november 14th:

the copy i borrowed from the waterloo public library

this sue grafton/kinsey millhone-series suspense novel is #15 on my list of books completed since january 9th!

all in all, i give u is for undertow a *** (three star) rating. sue grafton utilizes a unique format for this book: a number of major characters in the storyline each receive their own chapters, with timeline flashbacks. as the story progresses, we see the connections develop. kinsey actually plays a more minor role in the novel, but we also learn more about her personal background in a separate plotline. it took a little while for me to get into the story, but i really became interested by about the half-way point. the plot is intriguing, but not terrifying like t is for trespass! once again, sue grafton delivered a very enjoyable read. i may have to wait awhile to grab v is for vengeance – the last time i checked it was only on the “quick reads” shelf at wpl (ie you have seven days for the checkout time period) and that would be ambitious!

we just talked current reading selections a couple weeks ago, so…what are you planning to read NEXT?! finally, i started ready player one last eve – it’s got me hooked, already!

…and with that, i am off to TO in a very few minutes!

gum chewing day: the official report

photos of the day: saturday november 10th:

at 8:15 a.m. this morning, it was time to kick off GUM CHEWING DAY! oh, the anticipation!!

it’s been TEN MONTHS since i last chewed a stick of gum!

[if jamie lee curtis can put her make-up free face out into the public for all the world to see, so can i!].

the first chew at the official time of 8:23 a.m. EST:

sweeeet!!

sweaty cardio + gum equals not a good idea, but there is no reason why you can’t strengthen, stretch and foam roll, all the while enjoying a resounding chomp, snap and bubble-blowing session!

totally fake posing – i don’t foam roll my ankles!

then, we chewed gum…

~ while applying nail polish!

back to my favourite black!

~ while talking to mom on the phone!

mom and i chat EVERY morning!

~ while knitting (fake project – christmas is upcoming, remember?):

i would never knit with mis-matched needle sizes!

since i have a feeling snooki would approve highly of this gum chewing day, i dressed in her honour today: i applied an extra layer of orange bronzer, wore my bedazzling hat, and my sparkly hoop earrings:

my camera momentarily wonked out, so a bb/fuzzy photo was necessary!

we chewed gum while walking to work!

can YOU walk and chew gum at the same time?!

and, during a quiet moment at the store, we posed, mid-chew…

here’s our backroom shoe area!

i took a gum free break for a while…my jaw was feeling noticeably stiff by this time. i also felt like my jaw had become mis-aligned, angling to the right.

after work, i met up with juanita at s’bux. i had planned on chomping ‘n’ talking but took another break, instead. just before we parted ways, i popped in my next piece:

starbucks is all decked out for christmas!

then, i returned home where the gum pacs and i checked in with a few blogs…

remember kath from r.a.o.k.#5?!

…and started composing this post:

the kikiproject wordpress dashboard!

at this time (~6:40 pm EST), i have SEVEN sticks of gum to go. my jaw is tired, and i have had sufficient of these peppermint and bubble gum flavours, but i am confident i can finish these last pieces off!

[sidenote: total gum chewing time today will equal 7 hours, total. i chew each piece for 15 minutes so that's 28 x 15 = 7 hours].

final thoughts: today was fun and funny, both planning these photo opps and actually chewing my gum. gum sure is tasty. but, that is IT for gum chewing, i am going back to being gum-free. it’d be super easy for me to slide back into daily gum chomping, and gum is not a necessity for life enjoyment, it’s simply a habit. now, i will look ahead with glee to DIET COKE DAY on december 9th!!

are you a gum chewer?? i have never chewed through 28 pieces of gum in one day. mark today as a new experience!

TEN!!!!

happy friday!

i am perhaps the MOST excited about today’s kikiproject update that i have been thus far…and it’s all about goal #10 (below).

i am also in disbelief that we have today’s update then next month’s on december 9th, then a final wrap-up on january 8th, and THAT IS IT for this year! holy cow! [january 9th, i either announce kikiproject #4 or bid adieu!].

here’s the details on the twelve days of kiki as things stand after TEN MONTHS…

(source)

[oops, almost forgot the pie chart visual...can't be having that!]

1. record at least one positive thing every day in my gratitude journal/excel spreadsheet. yes! two points to note this month: 1) there were a few stressful work days this month; even so, there were things that were good about even a challenging day. 2) given the devastation caused by hurricane sandy, i made special note of even mundane, daily things that i may skip over, normally. my heart goes out to everyone still dealing with the hurricane’s effects.

2. babysit little e and cutie c two times so that the brother and sil ana can enjoy a significant date or special event. we are still sitting at 3.5! no new babysitting gigs to report. but we did enjoy all of our visits!

file photo, aunti sunday, november 4th!

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. on track! in a slight twist to the usual, i commented a few times on my friend ken’s online training journal on the site running mania. ken has been documenting his races and training as he preps for the jfk 50 miler november 17th. ken’s updates are similar to a blog, so days, i have counted my comment as a *blog comment.*

4. run four (point two) km…times ten. i did not accomplish this goal this month…and had EVERY intention of so doing. my fuzzy plan, dating back to this past spring, had been to run the scotiabank waterfront marathon in toronto on sunday, october 14th. in august, when i decided NOT to do disney in january, i also determined that i had no burning desire to run scotia…or even to marathon at all this year. october was a stellar running month, i ran to my heart’s content, so i feel no negativity towards the lack of an october marathon race. so, with two months at my disposal, i am contemplating various options as to how to complete this goal…

5. eat five wildly decadent and delicious desserts. completed eons ago! i have enjoyed my fair share of coffee culture’s coffee cake this month. cannot get enough of that topping!!

6. finish a minimum of six knitting projects. for the first time in ages, i have no newly completed projects to share. i purposely want to remain mute about knitting right now. christmas is coming! so we are holding steady at seven completed projects.

7. read seven books, and hopefully more. i’m still in the middle of u is for undertow. my reading time has plummeted the last few weeks (?). in this post, i did talk about reading and gave two book reviews, and my tally for the year is resting at fourteen completed books.

8. perform eight random acts of kindness. locals, did you realize that TODAY is random act of kindness day in k-w?? i really feel pressured to do a r.a.o.k. in order to support the cause…although, i do find it amusing that we need to DESIGNATE a day on which we remind people to act nicely and be kind to others. um, hello, do that every day, ok?? anyway, we’ll see if i can MAKE a RANDOM act of thoughtfulness happen at some point today. getting back to the project, i have completed 6/8 r.a.o.k.s on the year. (there has been nothing new since our last monthly recap).

9. watch nine different and new-to-me tv shows (either online, on dvd, or on tv). DONE, AND I NO LONGER HAVE TO TALK ABOUT TV SHOWS!!!

10. refrain from chewing gum for ten months. TOMORROW is GUM CHEWING DAY!!

photo of the day: friday november 9th:

ready, set, CHOMP!!!

twenty-eight pieces of gum will be chewed tomorrow. photos will be taken, a report will be made tomorrow. hard to believe that ten gum-free months are OVER!

11. abstain from drinking diet pop (any pop) for eleven months. i am second-most excited about this goal…because on december 9th, i am going to get to drink a 710 ml beverage that is the nectar of the gods. and guess what, this month i actually DO NOT have an anecdote to relate about a diet coke sighting that set me off. however, my brain never misses signalling me that it spies a diet coke bottle if one enters my line of vision. so, for diet coke drinking day, the plan is to buy a 710 ml bottle, enjoy every drop, then go back on the anti-drinking bus. i also want to reiterate (i am sure i have said this before) that it is THANKS TO THIS BLOG that i have remained diet coke-free since january 9th, 2012. blogging works for accountability!

12. meet with at least twelve different friends for a social get-together. no new meet-ups, so we’re still at twenty. recently, i have enjoyed outings with some of the usual suspects like sharon and joanne; and, tricia and i finally got together again!

et c’est tout pour aujourd’hui. hope you have a fun weekend planned out!

kikiproject: a nifty nine months old!

pie chart time!

[i know dad is wishing i had inserted a photo of a real pie...sorry, pops!]

well, kikiproject, you have but three months left to go. i’d say things are looking good!…

1. record at least one positive thing every day in my gratitude journal/excel spreadsheet. done! as my european neighbour likes to say, “e-ver-y day vee are ah-live ees a gooot day.” (i love m, we are best gym buddies, too). and even the recent loss of dear grandma has presented opportunities for me give thanks.

2. babysit little e and cutie c two times so that the brother and sil ana can enjoy a significant date or special event. A+! for today’s recap, i am going to add a “.5″ to the three babysitting dates already completed. wednesday october 3rd was sil ana’s bday, so the brother surprised her with a special dinner out. i stayed later than usual this past wednesday, and put the girls to bed and babysat until the brother and birthday ana returned home. i ♥ love ♥ bedtime routine! here’s hoping there are some xmas parties or socials coming up where a reliable babysitter could be of assistance??!…

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. on track! i had been thinking about perhaps expanding my bookmarked blogs…but nah, at this point, i am content to read/comment on the blogs i am used to. i am commenting a bit more often on janae‘s blog (see #8, below…) and local (governor general award-nominated!) author carrie‘s blog!

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. done! come to think of it, i do not think i downed any ice cream within the past 30 days. quel dommage! [sidenote: julie, my french is so rusty, i had to google "quel" or "quelle"!!]

6. finish a minimum of six knitting projects. yes! i have one more project to share with you…now, sil ana, at this point, it would be best if you could please close your eyes, hit “page down” once or twice, and then rejoin us – many thanks.

knitting project #7 is christmas gifts for little e and cutie c which i finished on sept 19th:

ballet sweaters: e’s is on the left, c’s is on the right

little e already has one of these sweaters in a light pink shade – it is so well-worn that it is splotched and stretched and ready to be retired! since both girlies love their dance classes, i decided to redo the pattern in a larger size for e, and make c her own version. i don’t really like 100% cotton for most projects, but in this case, it’s the perfect yarn. i’m happy with how they turned out! and there’ll be no mad rush to get them ready before christmas!

7. read seven books, and hopefully more. my book tally stands at twelve. [back in january, i never would have predicted accomplishing this much reading!]. in tandem, i read sue graftons’ r is for ricochet (finished on september 23rd) and jennifer weiner’s fly away home (finished on september 25th).

i had not read a kinsey milhone book in ages! when zo mentioned sue grafton’s series, i suddenly had the urge to get back into one of these *suspence* novels. since i couldn’t remember where i left off, i randomly picked “r” – it was a good one! i realized i have missed kinsey, her adventures, and her pals. funny: i went to the library for s is for silence, started it, and already on page one, could tell i had read this book! so i returned it and am now into t is for trespass. r is for ricochet gets **1/2 (two point five stars), if you’ve never read a sue grafton, try out a is for alibi -> this series is entertaining, non-offensive reading.

i give fly away home *** (three stars) and i recommend it for your next vacation pick. now: this is unusual: i actually did not really love any of the three protagonists all that much – the storyline was what captured my interest. in terms of a favourite character, i pick selma – loved her feistiness! also unusual is to take away a message or life lesson from a fluffy novel…but i did. the novel’s plots remind us of the possibilities afforded by forgiveness, and the hope of new beginnings. here’s a memorable a-ha quote: “there’s no right way to live a life…you just do the best you can.” jennifer weiner is one of my favourite chick lit authors, and i did enjoy this read very much.

8. perform eight random acts of kindness. yes! i completed two r.a.o.k.s since our last recap. you can read about r.a.o.k. #5 here and r.a.o.k. #6 here!

9. watch nine different and new-to-me tv shows (either online, on dvd, or on tv). completed last month! funny enough, i have watched a lot more tv this past month than usual…it’s very relaxing to flake out in front of mindless television shows!

10. refrain from chewing gum for ten months. ok, i am so excited about my upcoming gum-chewing day, that i am going to share all the details with you NOW even though it’s not going to happen until saturday, november 10th. as previously mentioned, i am going to buy two packs of extra gum (peppermint and bubble gum) and chew all 14 x 2 pieces in one day. technically, gum chewing party day could be friday, november 9th as that would be exactly ten months, but i am going to wait the additional 24 hours as the saturday suits my schedule a bit better to be chomping and bubble-making all day long. wheeeee!!!

11. abstain from drinking diet pop (any pop) for eleven months. as always, i have a diet coke moment to share with you…so, i was sitting in coffee culture, sipping a decaf lemon tea and reading a book, all peaceful-like and quite content, when suddenly the girl two comfy-chairs away opened a diet coke. for thirty seconds, my good humour fizzled. drat, would i ever love to be sitting and downing a dc myself, thought i. then i called to mind my mental list of all the positives of NOT drinking pop and the sucky moment passed. i also desolve into grumpiness when i see the cheap price of 710 ml diet pops in the grocery stores and compare that to the more elevated prices of carbonated water…again, reminding myself that i am better off without pop helps me turn my frown upside down! [boy, that sounds cheesy!]

12. meet with at least twelve different friends for a social get-together. we’re sitting steady at twenty!! my outings this month were all repeat visits…i am wondering if i can get to twenty-five new get-togethers by the end of this project???

and there you have it! i’d say that was a prosperous month!

now: just to let you know – i am a big planner-aheader, as you are fully aware, so i have been thinking about 2013 + the kikiproject (it would be year #4!) for a couple of months already. it’s either going to be all or nothing come january 9th…this sporadic posting style of late is driving me bonkers. i’ve got more reflecting to do on what i will do!

canadian friends, i hope you enjoyed a marvelous turkey weekend, and u.s. friends…well, you’ve got your t-weekend in just over six weeks!

hello, and welcome to zellers!

i don’t have too, too much going on this week, so the timing is good for me to be nice!

:)

yesterday, i had much fun completing r.a.o.k.#6

wayyyy back when i was brainstorming potential possibilities for random acts of kindness, one idea i had was to go outside with a garbage bag (and rubber gloves) and pick up trash. this plan did not hold much appeal, really – it’s kinda gross to walk about and clean up other people’s tossed refuse [i bet you are wrinkling your nose right now at the very thought, too]. plus, i really do have to give credit to the city of waterloo and to the private commercial developments in my ‘hood – everyone keeps the parks and green areas remarkably tidy and litter-free.

the garbage idea morphed into something much better and right up my alley! -> i could go to a store and tidy an area in the women’s clothing department! why not put my professional skillz to use?! oh, now this idea jazzed me!

(source)

all the pieces of r.a.o.k.#6 fell into place perfectly: i needed to go up to conestoga mall (you will see why at the end of this post), so i decided that zellers women’s clothing could probably use a hand. the thought of cleaning up at old navy did cross my mind (have you ever seen their sale racks??) but i thought that i would likely attract more attention from *real staff* in old navy than in zellers – i wanted to fly under the radar as much as possible.

so, yesterday afternoon, i ventured into zellers. the store was very quiet, and there was barely a soul in women’s clothing.

i headed straight for the clearance racks:

oh, alfred sung, you deserve much better treatment!!…

[**please note that all of the following photos are un-retouched. i did not rearrange, stage or recreate any of the scenes, below**].

ohhh, my fingers started itching to get going when i saw this rack!

before…

…and after! i grouped items by colour!

that did not take long! i moved around to the other side of the rack…

before…

..and after! it is a challenge to create clean lines with so many different fabrics and styles!

here was a problem: empty hangers! (i created a neat stack at the end of a row of summer tops, one aisle over)

a haphazard waterfall of pants caught my eye…

before…

and after! hung in size order (4-16), smallest to largest!

i really would have liked to clip the pants like we do at the store (it looks neater to clip the insides of the material and do a bit of a wrap around the clips), but i thought i better keep the hanging system consistent with the rest of the pants section…

my goodness, but i could have spent hours more straightening and re-hanging! and it wasn’t just women’s clothing that was crying for some attention:

girls’ socks and undies – oh my!

i had to stop, though. i was excited to move on to the other purpose of my zellers trip!

somebody has a birthday coming up…

…and aunti needed to take advantage of the barbie sale!

i really can’t blame zellers for the state of disarray of the store: when you offer low prices and large quantities, you have to cut costs somewhere, and obviously organizing clothing is a task that does not get high priority (compared to merchandising new inventory, restocking, putting up sale notices, etc).

i left the store, content with having completed my r.a.o.k., but i could not help thinking, in the words of jerry seinfeld…

i could have done more!!”

two bloggers, two babies, r.a.o.k.#5!

before i started reading blogs, i used to entirely pooh-pooh the idea that online dating could ever work: how could you possibly get to know someone if your only contact was through messaging and emailing? hrumph, said my inner, cynical self.

well, since entering the world of blogging, i have changed my tune: i now believe that yes, over time, you can get a fairly accurate and true sense of a person’s personality via their online sharings, communications, and writing style.

i really like the blogs that i have in my current rotation! i visit my favourite blogs three times, twice daily -  and after more than two years of this routine, i do feel like i *know* these girls!

back in august, janae had the cutest little girl (baby brooke). janae has the best sense of humour (see yesterday morning’s post as an example), and i appreciate her love of her family and her enjoyment of running. her blog is among my very top picks.

then, just on september 7th, kath gave birth to mazen, a sweet baby boy! what exciting times in the blog world!

for some reason, i got the distinct vibe that i would like to celebrate each of these births with the new parents [i know myself: when i keep getting a recurring thought to do such-and-such, i really should just follow through]. so i decided to put together little gift packs [r.a.o.k.#3 was very similar - i gave my second cousin a "welcome, baby" set of presents. i like to mark happy baby occasions!!]. putting together unexpected surprises is much, much fun.

in terms of getting the packages to kath and janae, i knew i could send kath’s to her husband matt’s bakery in cville, va (the address is on the bakery website). i emailed janae through the “contact” button on her blog, and received the warmest reply back just a couple hours later. cool! time to put my plan into action!

i decided to send both janae/brooke and kath/maze a sweater from my handknit/personal design collection:

unique creations – i didn’t even record a pattern for the colour combos…

for brooke – a variety of bright colours!

for maze: hand print buttons, all different colours!

and i added a little something for the parents:

kath appreciates the “eat local” philosophy: apple butter from our nearby town of wellesley!

janae is a candy connaisseur, so two items that are uniquely canadian (president’s choice brand chocolate and smarties!)

all boxed up…

a little running humour for janae with that running recovery brew box!

…and ready for the post office!

(i added the addresses post-photo!).

safe travels, little boxes!

[sidenote, just to clarify: my motivation in completing this project was purely for the joy of planning out surprises; i am not trying to get exposure for my blog, my knitting or myself! babies + gifting is an act that makes me happy!].

how many blogs would you say you read iin a day? i find i have to put limits on my blog-perusing time or it could be a full-time commitment!

kikiproject update: eight is great!

here’s our pie chart visual!…

time is flying. as you will find out, some projects are DONE, some are right ON TRACK, some are STAGNATING. see what i mean, below…

1. record at least one positive thing every day in my gratitude journal/excel spreadsheet. this excel spreadsheet is getting long! the funny thing is that NOT ONCE have i gone back to see what i have recorded…it’s the act of acknowledging good things every day that is meaningful to me, obviously [i see a theme, here: i never re-read blog posts, my journal, or my gratitude spreadsheets from other years, either. hmmm, dr phil that, if you will...].

2. babysit little e and cutie c two times so that the brother and sil ana can enjoy a significant date or special event. dance of joy #1!

(source)

i took care of the wee ones on wednesday august 29th. you can read the recap here! so, our tally of extended babysitting days is at three. let’s add more before year’s end!

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. file this project into the “on track” category. two not-usual blogs that i thoroughly enjoyed reading this past month were my friend sarah’s blog and sil ana’s vacation blog where they each chronicled their summer travel tales (reading of friends’ adventures is the next best thing to voyaging yourself!).

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. done! ice cream treats continue to be my favourite!…

6. finish a minimum of six knitting projects. i completed project #6 on saturday, august 18th:

an ORANGE blanket! (sorry lee and jeannie that i did not have this blanket available when baby e was born!)

close-up of the pattern

so, that means that from the three giant balls of cheap orange yarn, i got a sweater for myself, this blanket and there was STILL enough yarn on the ball to give to mom to use up! as was originally my intention, i am donating this blanket to project linus:

mom knits for project linus, too, so mom will include my blanket next time she does a donation drop-off!

[i'll still keep mentioning finished knitting projects in this space as i want to see how many i do this year. next up: christmas knitting for the nieces!].

7. read seven books, and hopefully more. i made it my goal to finish the 50 shades trilogy over the labour day long weekend. i’m counting all three books as one entry, so i have read ten books, now. say what you will, i LOVED the 50 shades novels, and am sorry i am finished! they completely captured my attention, i loved the sexcapades the story, the characters, the writing style…three stars (***).

8. perform eight random acts of kindness. once again, i am sorry to say i did nothing nice this month. i’m really antsy to move this project into high gear as we’ve been stuck at FOUR r.a.o.k.’s for a couple months, now. i have ideas, i just haven’t been in the mood to act on them! [pretty bad if you don't feel like being nice?!]. my excuse is that i was concentrating on goal number nine, here…

9. watch nine different and new-to-me tv shows (either online, on dvd, or on tv). dance of joy #2!

(source)

o happy day, i am DONE with tv! hallelujah, i cannot celebrate enough.

tv show #9 was called “inspector lewis” and it’s a british murder mystery series that i watched over at mom and dad’s on sunday evening, august 19th. the positives: 1) the lavish scenery -> no expense was spared in the filming of the episode i watched. they totally put law and order or csi to shame. 2) the complex storyline -> the plot was more multi-layered than the usual north american one-hour who-dunnit. the negatives: 1) the dialogue was hard to follow at times, due to the actors’ accents and frequently garbled speech patterns. 2) this type of show is just not my cup of tea -> it was kinda boring. i would be willing to watch this show again, but i’ll give it one point five stars (*1/2).

NOW – just because i am SO FREAKIN’ HAPPY that i do not have to log another tv show for this kikiproject EVER AGAIN, i am going to end on a POSITIVE note and tell you about two MORE new-to-me shows that i saw on the foodnetwork that i LOVED and that are VERY entertaining: eat street and ice cold cash.the latter reminded me of jeopardy and i really like playing along!

my take-home lesson: i prefer movies and chatting with friends to tv, tv is wayyy down on my list of priorities, tv is a satisfactory time-waster.

10. refrain from chewing gum for ten months. you realize that in exactly SIXTY-TWO days, i will chomp piece after piece of extra gum from morning til night. i am going to buy two packs, chew the entire 28 sticks in one day, and then give up gum, for good again.

11. abstain from drinking diet pop (any pop) for eleven months. [overall, i hardly have any cravings any more, but it seems like once a month, a situation strikes that almost puts me over the edge]. here is your anecdote of the month: so, i was working at theOTHERstore on a friday and a customer came in to see about some new shoes. she was carrying a 750 ml diet coke, and set it beside her on the bench while trying on various types. i tell you, i practically was drooling, and it was hard to concentrate on finding her optimal shoe choices. that bottle was RIGHT at my finger-tips, directly in front of my nose! i had to laugh in my head, i was picturing her face if i suddenly snatched her pop and guzzled the whole thing, all the while having a crazed look in my eye. boy, that was a tough moment!

12. meet with at least twelve different friends for a social get-together. yippee! dance of joy #3!

(source)

visit #20 was the very fun lunch out with grandma and dad at swiss chalet! find the story here!

g’ma and me at swiss chalet!

next project recap is tuesday october 9th -> thanksgiving will be over, by that date!

:O

~*~*~*~*~

yesterday was KNITTERS FAIR SATURDAY!

tomorrow: the report!

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