Tag Archives: family

a holly, jolly january 1st!

yesterday was a very fun first day of 2013!

  • a sleep-in…until 6:45 a.m.!
  • a balanced cardio/weights/stretching workout
  • the traditional watching of the rose bowl parade with dad [sidenote: no one in the family can stand watching the parade except for me and dad; our tradition of plunking down in front of the tv and viewing the spectacular floats and invigorating marching bands dates back to at least 1980! a new year's day without the rose bowl is just not the same!].

(source)

  • the traditional cleaning of the condo casa: i gave myself 1.5 hours to power-cleanse -> that time frame proved sufficient!
  • the traditional mid-afternoon walk: yesterday was sunny and crisp -> thoroughly enjoyable and mind-clearing!
  • family + social time at uncle paul and sharon’s from late-aft to early eve, with mom and dad, cousins joel and alex -> i loved meeting up with the fam!
  • throw in some knitting, some reading, some tooth flossing, and january 1st, 2013 was an all-around great day.

on today’s agenda:

  • a noon-time catch-up visit with joanne
  • winter coat shopping -> i am seriously considering a puffy coat, i cannot believe i am typing those words

(source)

  • the store this eve: it’s run club night so it’ll be social city! love it!

what was the best thing about YOUR new year’s day? i liked how BALANCED my day felt!

christmas wrap!

happy wrestling boxing day, friends![<-standard family joke that never grows old!]

i hope you have enjoyed much merriment over the last couple of days and felt the christmas spirit in your heart. our celebrations were delightful:

sunday, december 23rd:

the traditional "around the table" photo!

the traditional “around the table” photo!

mom MADE cute pompom present toppings for us all! (i wore mine the next day as a headband - haha!).

mom MADE cute pompom present toppings for us all!

our table gift theme was "books" - i received this one (from my list) - can't wait to get reading it!

our table gift theme was “books” – i received this one (from my list) – can’t wait to get reading it!

santa, baby!

santa, baby!

~little darlings~

~little darlings~

proof #1 that my family *gets* me:

the same tee! from the brother/sil ana/the girls and then from mom and dad - purchased in two different cities, two different stores!

the same tee! from the brother/sil ana/the girls and then from mom and dad – purchased in two different cities, two different stores!

i have already exchanged one sleeping leopard for two rollerskating kitties!

i have already exchanged one sleeping leopard for two rollerskating kitties!

december 25th, morn:

a beautiful tree - part of paul sharon's wonderful xmas decor.

a beautiful tree – part of paul and sharon’s welcoming xmas decor.

the traditional xmas morn "five cousins" pic!

the traditional xmas morn “five cousins” pic!

posing a dog is definitely harder than children!

posing a dog is definitely harder than children! shadow did not wish to look at the camera, despite numerous attempts!

sharon, little e, cutie c!

sharon, little e, cutie c!

proof #2 that my family *gets* me:

THE COUSINS FOUND ME THE LONG-DESIRED MADONNA TSHIRT!!

THE COUSINS FOUND ME THE LONG-DESIRED MADONNA TSHIRT!! and check out the pattern/colours on the BUFF headwear!

proof #3 that my family *gets* me:

a cardinal floor mat from paul and sharon; cardinal tea towels from "santa!"

a cardinal floor mat from paul and sharon; cardinal tea towels from “santa!”

what a morning of laughter, food, and togetherness!

december 25th, eve:

mom the cook...

mom the cook…

...dad the carver!

…dad the carver!

i can help serve!

i can help serve!

traditional around-the-table photo #2!

traditional around-the-table photo #2!

i so appreciate family time! this christmas was definitely relaxing and FUN.

are you still participating in social get-togethers today or will you be searching out boxing day sales? i work til 3:30 this aft, then plan to hit michael’s and maybe chapters!

this is the way we do thanksgiving

…and longtime readers, you already know of my family’s (un)usual thanksgiving traditions as seen in the 2010 and 2011 celebration recaps!

to kick off the afternoon, i took my usual thanks giving walk. yesterday, i almost got rained upon!

these beautiful pots are aligning my street right now. thanks, city of waterloo!

gorgeous red tones, here…

brrr….glad i was wearing my mittens and winter jacket!

around 4pm, we all gathered at mom and dad’s. i walked next door!

:)

dad and mom/our host and hostess!

sharon and paul (mom’s brother), the empty-nesters!

cousin kate! (who is embarking on more exotic world travel in the new year!)

cousin joel! (who is now back from korea and in teacher’s college!)

cousin alex! (who is in first year university, studying civil engineering!)

yours truly!

sil ana and cutie c! (who is ready with her xmas list!)

the brother and little e (who is in her favourite chair at g’ma and g’pa’s!)

the first order of business: CHRISTMAS LISTS!!!! we all go around, youngest to oldest, and pass out copies/share/explain our prepared xmas lists of gift ideas:

my copies!

[i did promise the family that my 100 item list from last year was a once-in-a-lifetime happening!]. i am excited to get out shopping!!!

pretty soon thereafter…food time! here’s our traditional menu (and i neglected to photo the chips and homemade cream cheese salsa dish):

pizza!! (waterloo-ites, these pies were from “gourmet pizza” in uptown)

chicken wings (from “the huether”)

this is the best menu – no fuss, minimal dishes, maximum enjoyment for all ages.

desserts:

mom’s homemade apple pie…

…and mom’s homemade apple crisp ->both rate an A+!

and no blog post would be complete without the traditional family-around-the-table pic!

let’s enjoy our feast!

we had such a fun time! everyone in my family has a really good sense of humour, and the wisecracks and jokes that get tossed about during christmas list time really make me laugh. this year, we also seemed to have lots of time for relaxed visiting and conversation…it was a really great get-together!

(i missed seeing grandma from her usual spots, smiling on from the couch and at the table).

i always am thankful for being with my family at thanksgiving. my third year of university, when i was in chicoutimi, i was away from home for the first time over a holiday. four of us girls went out to st hubert (the quebec version of swiss chalet) for our “thanksgiving dinner,” and while we had a good time, i was quite homesick for my family that year (giving your xmas list over the phone just does not cut it). it really is family togetherness that makes a holiday extra special.

happy thanksgiving monday! if you are going to the parade, my local friends, bundle up!!

swiss chalet, a test drive, and running inspiration

as you know, wednesdays are sacred as aunti day. due to summer activities and vacations, our routine is out the window! we’ll get back on track in september. yesterday, then, i had a day off to spend in waterloo!

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the morning started off with a lovely run. quite a few of my running friends are down and out due to injuries right now [one guy has not been able to run in well over a year...], so i felt very grateful to be running nicely. via ESP, i sent out healing vibes and good wishes to each of the folks on the DL as i metronomically strode along. on a positive note, a couple of my running associates will be ironman-ing for the first time this weekend in mont tremblant; i wish them the very best as they swim bike run!

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one of the things we wanted to do this summer was take grandma out to swiss chalet for lunch. back in may, we celebrated g’ma’s 90th bday. truth be told, if we had consulted grandma and asked where she would like to go for a family birthday outing, she would have chosen swiss chalet. it is her favourite restaurant, bar none. [i think that is the cutest thing, ever].

dad and i decided to take g’ma to the newest swiss chalet location around, over on ira needles boulevard:

me and g’ma, out front of swiss chalet…

…and seated at our table!

i can’t remember the last time i went to swiss chalet! our family used to go quite regularly during my high school years.

for my meal, i chose to go with a new experience – the quarter chicken dinner:

there is only one thing that would have made this meal even better: a LARGE DIET COKE!!! :/

this selection is one of swiss chalet’s classic menu items. (when i was a teen, i always, always went with the chicken sandwich [creature of habit]).

i enjoyed perusing the menu. the options sure have evolved over the years!

more than just fries and chicken!

my rating of our swiss chalet experience:

food: B+

the fries were fabulous. the chicken was ok…i have decided i prefer KFC for restaurant chicken.

for dessert, we ordered one slice of chocolate fudge cake + three forks. PHENOMENAL CHOICE!!! we all agreed that this cake bests a cake shop selection, any day! A+, swiss chalet, on the cake.

atmosphere: A

love the exposed brick, lighting and colour scheme; this location is also way quieter than the one on weber street, waterloo (as you can see, it was not very busy while we were dining!)

service: B-

our servers were polite. however, we waited to be seated even though the room was nearly empty; i asked three times for a glass of water (in addition to my perrier) before finally receiving it just before our dessert; we waited quite a while to pay our bill.

my dining companions: A+

dad and g’ma in our booth!

:D

thanks, dad, for treating us!

lunch out with g’ma? that counts as social outing #20 for this year’s kiki project!

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after we dropped grandma off, dad and i drove down to heffner toyota. over the past few weeks, we have been researching car options for me. there is nothing wrong with the rav 4 that i am driving right now, but it just feels like too much vehicle to me. i have narrowed down my picks to the ford fiesta, the toyota yaris, and the toyota prius.

we met with our favourite sales associate, jerry smith:

jerry is courteous, friendly, knowledgeable and NOT PUSHY!!

if you ever need a toyota car salesman, go see jerry! (you can tell him erv and cathy sent you, haha!) jerry is the best – our family has been buying toyotas from him since 1981!

we had already checked out the yaris last week; yesterday was prius day:

the prius we took out for a spin

want to know the craziest thing? you can drive ROUND TRIP to toronto on EIGHT DOLLARS worth of gas with a prius. that gas mileage is a huge plus, in my mind.

to be honest, my heart is still stuck on getting a green ford fiesta…

my friend’s fiesta!! <3

…but i know it is not the wisest thing to base your decision on car colour…however, it is just so KIKI!! i am in no rush to make a new purchase, so i will continue to think about what i want to do.

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this week, the endurrun is being held in waterloo! race director lloyd (of the father’s day classic) hosts this eight day stage race every year. last eve at 6 pm was stage number four, a ten mile/16km, VERY hilly road test. since quite a few of my running buddies are participating this year, i decided to go out to camp heidelberg, take in the action, and cheer them on.

merzi and me, pre-race! we used to work together at the store!

sara, ready to go!

the “start line” – runners begin mid-uphill!

there they go – see what i mean about the hill?!

joanne, finishing strong

what a course – the finish is uphill, as well! (the finish line was to the right, behind me)

as i’ve mentioned before, this week long event is on my running bucket list. will next summer be the right time to participate? we shall see!

and that was my wednesday! fun + fun + fun + fun – you can’t beat that for a summer day off!

people pictures!

for as far back as i can remember, i have so much preferred looking at pictures of people rather than gazing at scenery or peering at historic sites. for example: our family subscribed to national geographic magazine when i was little and every month, i read the magazine – well, let’s use the term “read” loosely as i never read the articles, just looked at the photos. i loved the people pictures the best, and would simply skim over the blah blah greenery of south america or the white snow peaks of the himalayas.

nowadays, i quite enjoy looking at friends’ vacation photos…as long as there are lots of people pictures! and those are the type of photos i prefer to take, too.

today, i’d like to share with you some fun photos from the past little while:

1) early last week, the brother had to be in waterloo for some meetings at the uni (and he and dad managed to squeeze in nine holes of golf, too!) so little e and cutie c tagged along in order to enjoy some g’ma/g’pa/aunti time!

this is my absolute favourite photo of our time together – i even posted it to fb and it is now my new background on my laptop:

as i’ve said before, you can’t *pose* children too long – this was a lucky break to get all three of us “lookin’ good!”

i asked little e to show off her gap-toothed grin…since BOTH front teeth are now missing!

cutie c’s curls are growing!

up, up and away! the barrels in g’ma and g’pa’s lobby are always a big hit!

it was a marvelous day! and the very next day, we celebrated cutie c’s THIRD bday, in toronto!

happy third bday, c!!!

our little darlings are growing up so fast!

2) last sunday, it worked out perfectly for me to go watch cousin alex‘s soccer match!

there’s alex in the yellow jersey, on the left – number eight!

the morning’s overcast skies turned to beautiful sunshine by the 5 pm game time – although it was super windy!

cousin alex plays for a rep/travel soccer team – the opponents were from london (ontario, not england!).

action…as seen from afar!

i had so much fun at the game!!! sharon and i sat together and chatted non-stop, and the soccer game was pretty intense. alex’s team ended up winning 4-1 – yippee! i was super-impressed with the skill level of all of the players – fancy footwork, quick sprints, we saw it all.

and – bonus! – i feel like i increased my knowledge of soccer’s rules and strategies ten-fold! it is just too bad that this was alex’s third-last game of the season and his last year of playing competitively (alex begins university in september and his studies will take priority!).

cousin alex, post-match!

…and the three of us, post-game! me, alex, sharon – see how that strong wind was messing with our hair!

3) now let’s go back and talk about the olympics for a minute. specifically, i want to revisit the women’s marathon [i watched pvr'd coverage over at mom and dad's sunday eve, after the soccer outing]. obviously, i was not in london in person [although my friend julie is, lucky duck!!] but i feel the need to exclaim about the running form of competitor priscah jeptoo from kenya who won the silver medal. take a look at this photo:

(source)

jeptoo is the runner on the extreme right.

all through sunday’s race, i could not hold back my verbal outbursts to mom and dad on her *unique* style of running – see how her knees almost knock each other? and when they showed the leaders’ foot strikes in slo mo, it positively made me cringe to see how she landed on the inner portion of her foot, pronating extremely.

(source)

i just cannot fathom how an elite marathon runner can have success with this running form! i guess there is something to be said for running in a way that is natural to you. but i tell you, all through the viewing of the race, i was thinking “ouch! oo! yikes!”

the women’s marathon was super exciting to watch – i hope the men’s race on sunday is equally as captivating!

4) vfbf joanne and i are on a roll!! three weeks, three visits at vincenzo’s. yesterday was the first day we had to sit indoors due to inclement weather:

we were aiming to get that bistro-ish poster in the background…not quite!

an hour of chitchat always flies by – but we talk very fast and non-stop, so we do squeeze in quite a bit of updating!!

ok, that’s it for today. i may see you tomorrow, i may see….in a while!

happy weekend!

transported back in time

sunday night, sharon and i went out to the movies!

based on the hit broadway musical!

when i read a promotional piece in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago about rock of ages, i immediately was super-keen to check it out. an 80s-themed musical + mr tom cruise?? you won’t have to twist my arm too hard to get me into the theatre! plus, i had a cineplex gift card to use – all the better!

sharon and i wanted to get together some time in june, and i thought she’d be the perfect rock of ages viewing-partner since she’d be way familiar with the era, too. and we were certain beyond a doubt pretty sure this film would not be of general interest to my uncle paul!

no evening out is complete without a self-portrait!

gosh, was this ever a fun movie. rock of ages is campy, cheesy and had us grinning from ear-to-ear and laughing out loud. if you want a super-fun evening out to celebrate the beginning of summer, go see this film. it does not take itself seriously, and if you go in with the attitude that you’ll be lovin’ every minute of it (haha, i had to work in that reference somehow – that song is not in the film but very well could be!) you’ll really enjoy yourself. typical of a musical, the plotline is not complex (hairspray was much the same) and the two *kids* who play the main characters are wholesome, naive and super cute. i wanted to be dancing and singing, too!

highlights to note (without spoiling anything for you):

  • the 80s fashions, hair and make-up – yup, been there, done that
  • great acting: alec baldwin, russell brand and tom cruise are fabulous! – my tommy does an awesome job as stacee jaxx – my guy can sing, seriously! special mention goes to paul giamatti and catherine zeta-jones
  • THE MUSIC!! man, i had forgotten what good tunes we rocked out to back in 1987. for example, i loved the mash-up of juke box hero with joan jett’s i love rock n roll, and i was reminded of how pour some sugar on me is such a solid anthem!
  • hey man [you'll get it when you see the movie!]

anyway, the movie brought back happy memories of my teen-age era. i have a feeling i may finally swap some songs on my ipod – it could be time to crank up the guns n roses for a while!

rating: *** stars – make that three solid gold stars!

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30 day photography challenge

day #26: close-up

a week ago tonight, our local saucony rep visited the store so that members of our half and full marathon clinics could test-drive a pair of saucony shoes, if they so wished, on their evening run. [sidenote for shoe geeks: the most popular model requested was the kinvara!].

the bags of shoes that melissa toted in caught my eye, so i surreptitiously (i hope!) snuck into our back room and grabbed my camera (a permanent fixture in my knapsack) so i could snap a picture:

all saucony, of course!

i liked the jumble of colours and mishmash of angles. please note that i did not stage this photo at all! there was no rearranging of shoes into a certain direction or swapping colours – this is exactly how the shoes were heaped in the huge equipment sack. (remember, i was trying to be quick with my photo!). this was a fun photo to take for our official collection because it came together so fast and unexpectedly. i love when you get satisfying results without even trying!

i ask this q so often, it could become a weekly fixture on the blog…oh well. it’s just very fun to talk movies!

what is the last film you saw, give it a rating out of **** (four stars), and do you recommend it? i still want to see what to expect when you’re expecting because i think it’ll be light n fluffy – perfect for summer viewing!

classic

yesterday was such a happy father’s day! there are two parts to tell you about…

part i: the race!

this year’s tshirt: love the green, the printed design? meh.

as alluded to yesterday, i was not running the waterloo 10k classic for *fun.* when you book a day off work, pay good money, and suffer through a mini-taper (hate the taper!), you are out to see what you can do.

the morning started off on a rocky note – about 7 a.m., a thunderstorm rolled through the area. this rain was NOT what i was hoping to see! happily, the clouds passed, and by the time i left for the race, the skies were more clear. [sidenote: i was able to wear outfit #1 that i showed you yesterday].

the ground was still wet in waterloo park!

gotta love a race you can walk to – a quick fifteen minute hike through the park brought me to the waterloo classic events, held at seagram stadium. i saw my friends from the store, paul and brenda, right away!

brenda and paul were running the 5k..and ended up winning awards in their respective age groups!

they became my adopted family for the morning!

paul and me at the start banner!

just before 9 a.m., the sun tried to come out:

you can do it, mr sun!

i was really hoping for full-on sunshine – it was already humid, sunshine added in would have been perfect racing conditions (for me!). in the end, we DID have humidity for the run, but a few spots of rain fell near the end, and the time between the races and the awards ceremony was a bit rainy. still, it could have been a lot worse!

in a nutshell, i had a great run. i felt *on* right from the very first step. i ran hard and pushed, but did not overexert myself as evidenced by the fact that i was not stiff afterwards (shoulda gone faster!!).

one note about the race course: it’s been switched up numerous times over the years, and the latest incarnation makes me laugh. a few years ago, run participants complained about having to go up the *hill* on erb street from caroline to westmount. well, (locals, you will be able to picture this route) this year’s route was way more hilly: after starting on seagram drive, we went up westmount rd all the way to columbia (rolling hills) then right on columbia (and up a mega steep hill) over to philip st. then we had to go back to westmount and run up and back some more! i can only imagine the negative feedback about these hilly conditions. i was happy i knew what to expect, since i train in this area all the time! but this is definitely NOT the race course for you if you like flat terrain.

i felt “in the zone” for the whole race. from about 4-8 km, i ran with another guy, and it was helpful to feed off of his energy (although after the race, he said he was sticking with me – guess it was good teamwork!). as is my style, i felt THE BEST at about the 8 k mark, and picked up the pace.

just after 9k, something happened that has NEVER happened to me in 22 years of racing: my shoelace came untied! gah!!! what a newbie error. the thing is, i HAD double-knotted my laces. i had to stop and retie, esp since my house key was laced into that shoe! so, i figure that stop cost me 10-15 seconds. the p!ss off is that the next woman ahead of me (also in my age group) finished thirteen seconds in front of me. if i had not had to stop, it would have been a dash to the finish for first place in our age group. hot d@mn!

we finished the race with one lap of the seagram track – man, that surface is cushy. i could be convinced to do speedwork if i could run it there!

final stats:

official time: 46.12

chip time: 46:02

62/478 overall

2/33 in my age group

3rd masters woman (bumped to 2nd spot for the medals since 1st place masters finished 2nd female overall)

8/210 females

4:38/km pace

guess what?! i won $50 for being 2nd overall masters female!

wish i could earn $50 for 46 minutes of *work* all the time!

all in all, it was a super fun morning. i had a great time chatting with many friends and familiar faces. what was esp satisfying about this race was that i arrived at the start line feeling 100% (ie no aches or injuries), having completed my training cycle exactly as i had planned it out.

race mementos

the 10k distance is still too short for my liking – but it’s better than 5k or 8k, at least! [my pace of 4:38 per km is ten seconds per km FASTER than my april 5 and 8 k races. told ya longer distances work in my favour!].

this race was a stepping stone; now we look ahead!

+=+=+=+=+

part ii: father’s day!

after the race, i whirled home, changed clothes, and prepared to fête dad for father’s day!

earlier in the week, mom had cooked up the plan of surprising dad with lunch out at the huether:

the official father’s day portrait!

we enjoyed our lunch and time together very much. thanks for treating, mom!

we were able to be outside on the covered patio!

all in all, it was a lovely father’s day. fingers crossed that next year, the extended fam can gather once again in waterloo!

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30 day photo challenge

day #18: your shoes

bwah-ha-ha!! the creators of this photo project played right into my hands with today’s *challenge.* um, yea, i think i might just have a gazillion few pairs of footwear kicking around…lemme go look…

our official photo:

bonus: shadow effect!

the centre of my shoe-flower gets special mention:

the mizuno wave elixir 7

this pair is the latest addition to my active shoe rotation. these elixirs feel fantastic (lightweight, supportive, slightly cushioned) and how could i pass up owning ZEBRA STRIPE running shoes? plus, they’ll go with any of my compression socks! [full disclosure: i received my wave elixirs for free from mizuno. i am not at liberty to impart any more details. all opinions expressed are my own. as you know, i really like when i can add these disclaimers about free product and feel like a spoiled professional blogger - haha!]

i hope YOU enjoyed a happy father’s day sunday, too!

double celebration sunday!

i hope all you moms out there enjoyed your special day this past weekend!

i got to see mom on both saturday AND sunday!

for our family, grandma’s 90th birthday celebration was the highlight of mother’s day…although we made sure to give special recognition to mom, sil ana, and g’ma for being great moms!

the birthday grandma!

what do you get as a gift for someone who is ninety? that is a true dilemma! by this advanced stage of life, material possessions are neither needed nor requested. time with family, though, is something that is truly appreciated.

dad, mom, little e and g’ma

g’ma and me

as their gift to grandma, mom and dad treated our family to the special prix-fixe mother’s day luncheon at solé restaurant.

this popular, upscale restaurant is right in our ‘hood!

our table

the three-course menu

grandma also received a beautiful corsage

great-grandma! don’t you know that on your birthday you do not need to bring gifts?!

sunglasses for little e that “made everything pink!”

…and crayons for cutie c who industriously got to work.

i think dad and i were in a match to see who could snap the most pics and get the most varied combos of people!

the brother and sil ana!

dad and me!

cutie c and aunti!

one side of the table!

the only combo we missed was an entire group picture!

as you can see, we all enjoyed a wonderful meal and social time. i could tell by the glow emanating from grandma’s face that she really loved having the family all together.

birthday kisses for great-g’ma!

i’m so glad that grandma is still active (she and her best friend walk to the mall every day, weather permitting) and is sound in mind, body and spirit. some time, i would like to sit down and ask g’ma about life: what advice would she give to us *young ‘uns,* what is truly important…and how do you get to be 90 years young?!

this year, it was a ♥ mother’s day ♥ enjoyed by all!

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today’s ez question: what did you do on sunday? i also worked at the store in the a.m. would you believe i had a husband come in at 9:00 a.m. and buy a garmin for his wife? talk about leaving your mother’s day gift to the last moment!

today’s toughie q: what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone 10-25 years your junior? i would say listen to your ♥. you know when something feels right or wrong, and as tough as it may be to go against the advice of others or buck the social norm, you will not go wrong if you do what you 100% deep-down know is right.

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hey! just TWO more days til the long weekend, canadian friends! wa-hoo!

java joints with kate and juanita!

i’ve got no preamble for you today, i just want to start talking!

on good friday afternoon, i fairly sprinted down the street, so eager was i to pay my first visit to death valley’s little brother, my hood’s latest coffee spot.

a very unassuming storefront: there is no highly visible signage, only the wood-framed blackboard that you see on the left, there

glad they were open for good friday - our back-up spot was tim horton's which does not have quite the same ambiance!

i arrived a few minutes early so that i could snap some photos – i had a feeling this place would be pretty unique. and i was right! [i was really wishing i had a fancy camera that could take panoramic photos; you cannot capture a vast area with a point 'n' shoot!]. the space was A LOT larger inside than i had anticipated – the room extends to the back quite impressively.

the communal work table, immediately to your right, upon entering...

care for a seat in a vintage theatre chair??

blackboard drawings (notations? doodlings?) on the back wall...

who puts a piano in a whiskey + coffee bar?!

see the whiskey, see the coffee and tea choices...

i like the artsy yet also symmetrical arrangement of cups - very pleasing to my type a eye

first impression: wow, this is one hip and cool spot. seriously, dvlb exudes the type of “confident in its unconventionalism” atmosphere found in toronto’s best indy coffee shops [there are two in the brother and sil ana's area that i am using as my reference points]. when i arrived at dvlb, nearly every table was filled, but the room was tranquil…honestly, the adjective “hip” is how i can best describe this place, and that’s the ultimate in compliments.

so, who was i meeting? cousin kate! when i put out the call for someone to go to dvlb with me, kate was the first to volunteer!

our first-ever coffee visit, together!

i was so honoured that kate could meet up on friday…because it was her 30th birthday! it was a joy to spend an hour of celebration with my oldest cousin.

from my photo album archives: april, 1982 -> my first time holding my brand new - and much cherished! - cousin kate.

i picked a rooibos tea to drink. it came served up in one of those china mugs. locals, be forewarned – the only sweeteners available at dvlb are honey or sugar. how *cool!*

i can’t wait to return – i’d love to hang out at that work table and blog an afternoon away. or chat with a friend and sip a hot beverage.

:)

~*~*~*~*~

(easter) saturday morning found me at the opposite end of uptown’s section of king street – back at “the old faithful…”

so corporate!

our uptown s’bux was renovated within the past month – gone is the comfy couch, the series of small work tables lining the far wall, and the old earth-toned colour scheme. instead, we find:

new artwork...

single seating where the "friends"-type couch used to reside

i commend s’bux for keeping the colour scheme muted (thank goodness it’s not fastfood red + yellow) but in chatting with friends, we all agree that the vibe has gone from “make us your office-away-from home!” to “we want you to enjoy your coffee…in 37 minutes then kindly take your leave.” the fresh paint, updated paintings and new furniture are very nice, however.

so who was i meeting? childhood friend juanita!

our first visit in nearly 20 years!

i was so excited to see juanita. i can best describe our relationship as “ebb and flow.” we became best chums back in grade four, and our friendship was solid right through grade eight. then, we went to different high schools and lost touch. the first day of university orientation, juanita and i met on the lawns of u of w -> we discovered we were in the same program and even had courses together over the next two years. we lost touch again a few years after university (except for annual xmas card exchanges). then, facebook reconnected us almost two years ago, followed by this blog!

back when i requested input for what i could do for this year’s kikiproject, it was juanita who blog-commented, and suggested meeting up with 42 friends. [i loved this idea, but thought there was no way i could find 42 people to go out with, so i modified the goal to twelve. well, now 42 seems not so unattainable!].

juanita’s bday is also in april, so i thought a reunion this month would be fitting.

speaking of birthdays…

at my 10th bday party: juanita, me, gina!

12th birthday! that is vfbf joanne in the back; juanita is beside me in the front

it was so awesome to chat with juanita – our conversation flowed and it sure did not seem like eons had passed since we last saw each other. with true friends you can just pick right up from where you last left off, regardless of the passage of time.

~*~*~*~*~

who was your very first best friend? the story of vfbf joanne is documented here! going back to juanita…she has a younger brother, and he and MY brother became best friends their very first day of kindergarten when they stood side-by-side in line to go into school and noticed that they were both wearing the very same pair of star wars shoes. you just never know when or how you’ll meet a friend.

it was a lovely easter sunday

our family gathered together over the late afternoon/dinner hour. mom always finds the cutest seasonal touches for the table!

the girls' accessorized from g'ma's collection...

and made sure to include aunti, as well!

g'ma's piano is fascinating! (and loud!)

the easter bunny (aka g'pa & g'ma) found little e and cutie c in waterloo! this colouring activity makes stained glass pictures - the easter bunny knows that anything princesse-themed is always a hit.

mom baked her annual loaves of paska on saturday - this has been a family tradition since 1973!

with MY grandma (who will be 90 next month!)

mom and dad/the host and hostess; two thumbs up to dad on his smashing new shirt!

you do not try to over-pose a 5 year old and a 2 year old! the brother, sil ana, little e, cutie c.

cousins kate and alex with sharon and paul!

carving and slicing...

the traditional seated-around-the-table-portrait. we sit, we snap photos, we eat!

hoping the easter bunny was good to you and your loved ones, too!

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