Monthly Archives: July 2011

31 Flavours of August


Tomorrow is the first of August! You know what that means…it’s time to discuss the plans for the month. Ah, it feels good to have some concrete goals, again!

I have three top-notch, fun and unique ideas to share with you.


Goal #1: Be a girly-girl. I do love nail polish, and I wear make-up daily. But I’m no chic diva. Casual? Sporty? Très relaxed? Those adjectives are most appropriate to describe my personal style. I want to devote more time to self-care. By that, I mean giving more than a couple of slapdash moments to skincare, hairstyling, and clothing and accessorizing myself – a little pampering. Here’s how I plan to set myself up for success:

  • give myself extra time to get ready for the day/to go out. I think I could make efficient use of even 10 more minutes, at a time!
  • place lotion bottles strategically around the Condo Casa as visual reminders to moisturize several times, daily.

i bought hairspray! and there are some of my lotion options

  • [The problem is that I really dislike when hand and body lotions make me feel sticky and greasy. But I want softer skin. It’s only for a month – I’ll grin and bear the slimyness shininess!].
  • go back to quality facial cream. I’m giving a brand that’s an oldie-but-reputedly-goodie a shot:
  • i've never used olay! might as well try the cleanser, too....

  • make Mom and/or girlfriends go shopping with me for cheap yet pretty wardrobe pieces. I have hair accessories, earrings, bracelets, rings – I just need to wear them!


Goal #2: Blog entirely in lower case letters. now, janetha practically has the copyright on this writing style. but, if you’ve ever corresponded with me via email, blog commenting, twitter or facebook, you know that for casual communication, i never use capitals. i’ve written like this for ages and ages – it’s fast and i think it looks hip. bien sûr, if i’m writing professional or formal correspondence, i’ll follow standard grammar and punctuation rules, but i really like the look and feel of all lower-case lettering. so, this month, blog posts will look…like this! eesh, i hope i don’t forget!

at the end of the month, i’ll decide which way we’re going to swing: will we go back to the conventional, or stick with the janetha?…


Goal #3: Enjoy a different sweet treat every single day. Cuz it’s summer, and why the heck not.


I actually did a project of this nature about two years ago, before I had the blog. At that time, my goal was to go 100 days with a treat-of-the-day taking place each and every day. If memory serves, I made it to about Day #67 before my sweet tooth conked out. So, 31 days should be no problem-o.

Here are some more details for this round of 31 Flavours!…

  • 31 days, 31 different treats, no repeats [I can tell you straight off what a few treats will be, for sure: a Starbucks pumpkin scone, a piece of coffee cake from Coffee Culture, a Tango Palace apple square and a DQ something. Tangent: I could never do 31 flavours of ice cream because I really only like chocolate chip or heavenly hash – can you believe chocolate ice cream is really not a favourite?!].
  • because I adore using the four-star rating system, each treat will get a ranking. I’ll show you the previous day’s choice and how it fared, every day, beginning on August 2nd.
  • yes, gluten-containing products will be consumed (see above). Due to the fact that farty-bum-bums will therefore spontaneously erupt naturally occur, I’ll make sure to consume these delicacies on days when I am not venturing out into public shortly thereafter.
  • I don’t plan on baking anything myself because baking’s not my scene I want to avoid multiple servings of the same product. Thirty-one choices, remember!

So, there you have it! No reading, knitting or grocery goals for August – been there, done that. It’s time to branch out. Stay tuned!

Sweet or salty – what do you prefer? I rarely feel the urge to munch on chips, pretzels or salted nuts…I inherited the family sweet tooth but good!

It Was Good to R E L A X

Sorry, but it’s time for another Snooki WAAAAAAH:


Or, how about a Lebron Wah this time – it’s seriously impressive, eh?!


How can it be the end of summer July?? Boo hoo hoo. I July truly madly deeply [yet another movie I have never seen/need to see].

I do realize we still have one more day -tomorrow – of July. But, tomorrow I want to set up the month of August, so we’re going to do the July round-up today. Okey-dokey.

July was a very good month. You’ll remember that my goal, plan desire was to simply R E L A X.


Here’s a selection of highlights from the last twenty-nine days:

Now, only eleven more months ’til it’s July again! 🙂

Switching topics, I want to speak for a moment to my blogging time of day this past month. At the beginning of July, I truly thought that I could mix up the timing of the daily posts – I pictured myself being random! spontaneous! free!

It’d be soooo R E L A X-ing to simply slouch over my laptop, and fire off some free-flow chitchat, at whatever willy-nilly time of the day the spirit so moved me.

Well, haha on me as I deviated from my favourite early morning blogging time exactly…ONCE. Good thing “mix up my blogging time of day” was not a July goal (since there were no July goals, remember?!).

I did enjoy a little chuckle-to-myself/on-going joke this month: you know how I like to post around 7 a.m. Well, July is the seventh month of the year. So, for the majority of my July blog posts, the time of day the blog post went up matches the date! For example, on July 14th, the date stamp on the blog post is 7:14 a.m. Get it? [Please note that thanks to the WordPress scheduler option, it’s unnecessary to stand here, hovering, waiting for the clock to strike a certain time – I’m not quite THAT Type A!]

One word answer: how was your July? Since I’ve exhausted the word

R E L A X-ed today, I’ll go with H O T! 🙂

A Teachable Moment

Happy Civic Holiday Long Weekend, everyone!

I hope you have grand and glorious plans in mind!

A week ago Wednesday eve, at the store, we hosted the annual 20 Minute Challenge. This event takes place at every Running Room location, and the purpose is to encourage anyone and everyone in the community to come out and be active in a fun environment for 20 minutes. As an added incentive, every participant receives a free ball cap!

of course, i am a huge fan of this year's colour!

The hat giveaway is a tradition, too – each year, it’s a different colour:

my collection: i'm only missing the RED hat from the first year!

We had a very H O T evening in Waterloo for our 20 Minute Challenge, but we still had over 150 partipants of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

Afterwards, everyone enjoyed milling about the store while they cooled down, drinking juice boxes and munching on fruit snacks which were kindly supplied by SunRype. It was a good time!

A few days later, a young mom and her two children (ages four and two) came into the store, one morning. The little boy shyly handed me this piece of paper:

remember these activity books where you can add water to make colours?!

The words read: “Dear Running Room….thank you for the hat and juice box,” and it’s signed by Liam and Zoe.

I was really touched by this gesture. First, that the mom would take the time to drop by the store with her children. Second, what a great idea to take the 20 Minute Challenge event, and use it as an opportunity to teach the children about saying thank you. The whole scenario is a wonderful example of how it doesn’t take a lot of time, effort or money to thank someone/an organization. So, thank YOU Liam and Zoe for making our day!


Here’s your useless information tidbit for the day…


…which is also known as The Cliff Claven Daily Moment!

I heard on the radio that Google (at least, I believe it was Google, don’t quote me on this) recently banned two passwords for its users.

Care to make any guesses as to what they were??

I won’t leave you hanging at all, today. Time is money.

#1 – 123456 – ie. a simple string of numbers

#2 – password – ie. typing “password” for your password!

Now, I’ve never used either of those as my personal passwords. But, I do confess that I have a basic, standard password with a couple of variations to it, that I always use. And, I have a written master list of usernames and passwords for all my different online accounts. I know you’re not supposed to write these things down, but for those times when my mind is a sieve I draw a blank, it’s handy to have a reference sheet!

Passwords: are all of yours unique? Do you write them down somewhere? Creating passwords is getting more and more complex! Often, you have to have a combo of letters + numbers. One account I have, I even had to add an exclamation mark (!) to my usual password because you needed to have a symbol included. Now, when I use that password, I have to laugh because it looks like I’m so excited to access my account! [Unfortunately, it’s a bill-paying one!]


Yippee! Yesterday, Angela of Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat tagged me to participate in the 7 Links blog game! So, now, instead of feeling guilty for jumping onboard and crashing the party uninvited, I am pretending I was just early to the occasion! Thanks, Angela!

Bring on the Quality Fiction

I’m well into a fantastic new read!


I went over to the library last week to see if I could find “Prep,” by Curtis Sittenfeld. Guess what? The WPL doesn’t even have this novel in its catalogue [so, dear family, guess what will be going back on my Christmas List for the third year in a row??!…].

I did, however, pick up “American Wife,” as you see, above, there.

I can’t put it down.

I guess this means that my mind is finally free of its attachment to “The Help.” It sure took some time to move on from that amazing work of literature!

After The Help and before American Wife, I enjoyed “Sizzling Sixteen” by Janet Evanovich and “Sloppy Firsts” by Megan McCafferty. This second novel is likely geared to the young adult set, but I enjoyed it – just made me realize I don’t miss those years of teenage angst! These were two great reads during my time of R E L A X-ation.

American Wife was never high on my list of “must reads,” although I do remember the New York Times reviewing it (favourably?) when it first came out. So far, it’s even better than I anticipated. I’m really enjoying the first-person narrative, and the protagonist, Alice (reportedly based on former first-lady Laura Bush) is extremely likeable. The storyline is sedately paced (we’re in the 1960s, where I’m at now), but it’s not moving too slowly at all – I like character detail, so a bit of background/tangenting is fine with me. Within the first fifty pages, there was already a scandalous tale involving Alice’s grandmother! And since then, Alice has faced some bombastic events. I’m hooked.

It’s good to be back into some quality reading material! After this novel, I’ll likely need another break, and I’ve got two fine choices on my bedside, just waiting to go:

this is what i was reading when i found "american wife," so this book has been unceremoniously dumped aside!

ok, this one, i am embarrassed to admit to! but i always liked "donna" on 90210!!

You know where I found both of these books? The condo lending library! What do you know, some people actually do leave books down there!!

Any books or magazines that you are embarrassed about reading? I ♥ People magazine, really and truly.


The auction for Susan was a huge success! Over $26 000 was raised thanks to donations and the online auction.

Sadly, the items I most had my eye on (Bondi Bands set of hairbands, essie nail polish +, sephora GC +, Udi’s GF goodies, to name a few) quickly grew out of my price league – which is a good thing for Susan! I had hoped “Place a Winning Bid In An Online Auction” could be a New Experiencec’est dommage. Congrats to all the successful bidders – and kudos to Janetha for her stellar organization!

Work That Look

I made a pleasant discovery over the weekend!…

file photo from sunday

My bangs are long enough to clip to one side!

So, there will be no more complaining about how I don’t like my haircut.

This bangs-to-the-side look is an oldie but a goodie:

holding the newborn brother, 1973

kindergarten school photo, 1975

christmas (?), age 6-ish (?)

And, you know what? I still have all those hair barrettes!

a colourful collection

a few favourites

the storage box is an old christmas card box!

I’ve been wearing these clips sporadically over the past few months…

file photo from june

…and have received a few comments from people who recognize them as being vintage 70s hair accessories.

I’m so  much happier just having these bangs out of my face! I feel like myself, again! Calling it now: I predict that this sideswept/matchy-barettes look is going to continue for the rest of 2011!


I made another discovery in the garbage room, a few days ago.

The wanna-be garage-saler is back!

the latest *donation* to the condo library - very funny that the sign is RIGHT in front of the bag, eh!

My first thought was, “how can I send this to Zo?!”

My second thought: I wonder what happened to the cat, that necessitated giving away the kittie-litter??…!!


What hairstyle suits you the best? I have not had a short/cropped hairstyle since Grade 10! One length, shoulder-length hair is my default mode.

Fairview Park Mall, I Hardly Recognize You

Sunday afternoon, it was still H O T outside.

I worked at the store until 2 p.m., then Mom and I had plans to hang out together.

We hightailed it up to the rooftop where we enjoyed cosmos and powertanning.

Joke! Haha!

As mentioned last week, Mom and the heat/humidity/The Great Outdoors Oven do not exactly get along.

Instead, it was the perfect opportunity for our July Outing of the Month.

For this month’s shopping extravaganza, we returned to the mall of my teen-aged youth: Fairview Park Mall.

I don’t know how many Saturday afternoons Mom and I spent at this mall from the time I was 12 or 13 til I started university.I do know that at the pinnacle of my mall-rat years, we once had a streak of about eight Saturdays in a row where we shopped ’til we dropped for hours on end. We didn’t usually spend a ton of cash [ok, sometimes, we did not too badly], but time would fly as we tried on clothes, matched accessories, or just checked out sales and new product.

Fairview has undergone a couple of major renos since those long ago days. I hadn’t been down to this Kitchener mall in at least two years since my mall of choice these days is Conestoga Mall, and I don’t even get up there all that much – I accomplish most of my shopping needs in my neighbourhood.

Mom and I parked outside of The Bay:

my self-portrait skillz are failing me, of late - i wanted to get "The Bay" sign in the background, there...

no dice...let's get shopping!

We started off in The Bay to get underwear for Dad.

I wish I was joking.

I’m not.

No photos, and let’s quickly move on, mmmm’k?? 🙂

there's no aritzia at conestoga mall, so in we went...

I ♥ Aritzia and have had good luck here before.

I tried on these tights-that-appear-to-be-cargo-pants:

on sale for $25

I passed on them; now I am full of regret. Should I go back, and if so, will they be there??

Sidenote: interesting security precaution:

i had to lock my knapsack in this cubbyhole while i tried on the pants. that's the first i've ever seen of this practice

Next, we blazed a path to the store I was most eager to show to Mom:

i had heard thru the grapevine that sephora had opened in june

Kitchener is hitting the big time!!! I’ve only been in Sephora once before, last fall in Toronto – very cool to have a location close at hand, now. [Is it too much to ask that Lululemon and/or Whole Foods make a local appearance, soon??!!].

i would love to try this crackle polish (sure to be a christmas list item!)

did you know that the "cake" founder is a local girl?! good for heather!

that's me, daring and chic, no?!!

The sales associates in Sephora were very…eager. If anything, they were a little too attentive in their pleasantries and offers of assistance. But hey, I’ll take that type of customer service any day over being ignored.

The raise-an-eyebrow moment of the day:

a christmas display at the front entrance of the hallmark shop!

Mom and I had the best luck of the day at The Body Shop.

It was buy one, get one half off, so Mom got something for herself, and a treat for Dad. We appreciated the excellent, A+ service from sales associate, Lindsay!

smile for the blog, lindsay!

We each received a sample of cream to test out.

satisfied shoppers!

Whew! We need to take a break!

thanks for the COFFEE, mom!

I enjoyed my first cup of Second Cup decaf coffee – it receives a Kiki Stamp of Approval!

By this time, it was pushing 4:30 p.m., and the mall closes at 5 p.m. Being in retail, I am sensitive to not overstaying a welcome – when you get to within 30 minutes of closing time, it’s time to call it a day.

an indoor effort. darn- so close!

Two observations:

1) Customer service was excellent at every single store we visited, today – even at The Bay where we notoriously are ignored or snarled at. Sales associates were awake friendly, helpful…ie doing their jobs. It was just a shocker a pleasant surprise to feel so welcomed!

2) If I had to choose between Fairview Park Mall and Conestoga Mall, I would choose…


You’ll find a lot of the same stores at each location (ex: The Gap, RW & Co, Aéropostale, The Body Shop etc etc) . Yes, Fairview has Sephora, Town Shoes and Coach, for example. But, Conestoga has Old Navy, Winners, Shoppers and even Zehrs (with a Joe Fresh section!). Happily, each mall is only a 10 minute drive away. I definitely won’t wait another two years to go back to Fairview!

Who’s your favourite shopping buddy? Or, do you prefer to shop solo? Mom and I always seem to have great luck when we’re together. Plus, we’re honest with each other when it comes to making a purchase or taking a pass!

Would the Movie Be Any Better??

On Friday evening, I went and saw “Water for Elephants.”


In so doing, I broke a couple of my movie-going Kiki-rules: 1) the movie was longer than two hours, chiming in, officially, at 121 minutes long (although I was out of the theatre in less than two hours, so that time must include the running of the credits), and 2) this movie is an adaptation of a book I have read. [Quick reference note: I’ll see a movi-cized version of a piece of writing if I have not read said paper-copy; I avoid novels-turned-films because they more often than not disappoint]. However, I was desperate I really wanted to go out to a movie, and “Water for Elephants” was playing at the Princess, and it started at 6:30 p.m. Win and win!

I finished reading the novel “Water for Elephants” on October 15, 2008. Yes, that is the correct and precise date. Shades of my Grandpa C, I record, in a coil-bound journal, all of the books that I read, the date I finish them, and then I use my four star rating system to grade how much I enjoyed/disliked the book. (This reading log dates back to June 2004; first novel reviewed: “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger, and it was worthy of the optimal four stars!) What did I write down for “Water for Elephants???”… one and a half stars, only! (*1/2). Did not like.

I know everyone raved endlessly about this book. (In fact, it seems the only other person on this planet who did not embrace it with open arms was Kath). But then, I also did not enjoy “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom; that one, I finished on November 15, 2004 and gave it but a puny ONE star rating. Anyway, let’s leave the book talk and switch back to the movie.

So, what did I think of the big-screen “Water for Elephants?”


I loved it.

I was enthralled and captivated by the story and characters in a way I never experienced while reading the book.

Why? The film was much more vivid than the novel. I remember when I was reading, the story seemed very flat.

Or, maybe I was just in a different headspace now than when I read the book…hard to say, all I know is the movie was wonderful.

Here are a few reflections about the movie (no spoilers!):

~ The storyline in the film remains very faithful to the book version. This is not a case where the movie is unrecognizable from what you read.

~ I am a big Reese Witherspoon fan, and she did a wonderful job, starring as Marlena. Excellent casting.


~ This was my first introduction to Robert Pattinson.


Enh. Of all the actors, he seemed the least comfortable in his role. And his too-small nose bothers me. I didn’t think there was huge chemistry between him and Reese, either.

~ I have to confess that I am not a pet/animal person. That being said, even I found some of the scenes involving Rosie the Elephant disturbing. So, if you have a huge soft spot for animals (please note I have nothing against pets or animals, I am just not enamoured) ,you will likely dissolve in tears during the movie, at least a few times.

~ The movie proper is a flashback. I appreciated that the present time is only found at both the beginning and end of the movie – they don’t flash back, flash forward repeatedly during the main story, which would have been very distracting.

~ Final thoughts: I’m really glad I saw this movie! It is engaging, surpassed my expectations, and is a worthy watch.

Rating: three stars (***)

Water for Elephants: did you read the book? see the movie? What did you think of either/both? I thought I had forgotten most of the plot, but I remembered more as the story went along.

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Philanthropic Opportunity of the Day:

Janetha, one of my favourite bloggers, has organized an online auction that starts today at 8 a.m. This auction is to benefit a Canadian blogger, Susan, who was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma. All proceeds from today’s auction will go directly to Susan to help cover her medical expenses.

To participate, visit the Auction Homepage. Here, you will find a comprehensive list of items to bid on. Janetha’s post, How does an online auction work? may be helpful to you, too.

There’s a wide range of goodies up for grabs! A few examples: baked goods; beauty products; clothing & accessories, gift cards…plus a lot more!

Let’s help make The Great Fundraising Act a success!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

A year ago today, I flew home [on an airplane] from Florida.



Crashing the 7 Links Party

Within the last week, a very fun idea has been popping up on several of the blogs I like to read. Bloggers such as Caitlin, Monica and Gabriela have all participated in the “ My 7 Links” Challenge.From that link, here’s what it’s about:

The Goal: To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

The Rules:

1)     Blogger is nominated to take part. [CRASH!]

2)     Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

The blogger then nominates five other bloggers to take part.

I ♥ this idea!

But, since I am but a small frog blog in a big pond, I could be waiting til I’m an old woman quite some time to be picked. So, hopefully I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes, but I’m just going to grab this idea and run with it!

Your most beautiful post: Any post about my family comes straight from my heart. One of my favourites, then, is this family review, “Friday Photos II: Feeling Thanksgiving-ish at Easter.”

Your most popular post: Well, the post that received by far the most hits was my review of the Stitch n Kitsch event. Someone very nicely posted a link to my blog post on the Stitch ‘n’ Kitsch Facebook page, so that explains that. But, anytime I talk about coffee, (?!) I receive a lot of feedback!

Your most controversial post: Haha, this one is not really applicable because I loathe and detest being involved in controversy, and am a commited confrontation-avoider! So, let’s go with the post, “U.S. Envy” because that could be construed as a little unpatriotic!

Your most helpful post: Well, I don’t really think I’m all that helpful on the blog, either! But, when I wrote “How to Blog Every Day and Stay Sane,” some commenters appreciated the sentiments expressed.

A post whose success surprised you: “Stashes!” Who knew that confessions about grocery hoarding would be so popular?!

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: Ok, this is my mini-rant. Sometimes, I’ll spend literally 1-2 hours on a blog post, and feel like screaming “Read me! Read me!” on twitter or facebook (or directly emailing friends and family) because I’m so proud of my efforts. Then, other days, I seriously just spout chitchat off the top of my head, and see tons of feedback via comments and hits. Go figure! For this category, I’ll go with “It’s Friday! Let’s Talk Books!” because it received zero comments, and I spent oodles of time on it, I remember.

The post you are most proud of: I am very happy with how my two solo travel experiences have gone: in July, 2010, I spent two weeks in Florida, then in March, 2011, I traveled to Aruba. So, let’s go with the Florida recap post, “Let’s Revisit Those Pre-Trip Predictions.”

Since I already broke Rule #1 of this Challenge, I really should just rhyme off five bloggers to whom I further bestow this challenge. Let me know if you want to participate and crash this blog party with me!

AND, I want to add one more category of my own to this challenge (since the rules are out the window, by this point, anyhow): the blog post you had the most fun composing. I remember when I wrote up “Magic Eight Ball Cookies,” I was laughing as I typed, kid you not!


I wanted to show you: I wore *the dress* to Toronto on Thursday. Not this dress (I’m not Aunti, the Disney Princess) but this *dress.*

I paired it up with granny conservative undergarments, and just didn’t venture far from The Brother and SIL Ana’s house. So cool!

yes, i cropped off my head - i couldn't get a good expression going!!

better with the glasses, no?!

pulling out all the stops with the nails!

Have you ever crashed a party? I have not. In fact, I haven’t even seen The Wedding Crashers (note to self: put this film on August’s To Do List…since there are no July To Do’s!)

Way Back Playback: How We Stayed Cool in the Olden Days

What time machine picked me up and plunked me down in the middle of Aruba?! Get set for a long haul, kids, because this heat is going nowhere fast:

Heat Wave Here to Stay (K-W Record)

This weather trend got me thinking about how we stayed cool, as children, before air-conditioning was a given and before people paid attention to proper hydration. As a child of the 70s, that era probably seems light-years ago to some of you readers! So, let’s take a step back in time…

Here are five (I do like lists of five items!) ways that we beat the heat, back when I was little…

1. Wading pools and sprinklers: In the afternoons, when it was super-hot, Mom would pull out my little yellow splash pool and set it up on our back patio. She’d take the garden hose and fill the pool with water. My little pool was about the size of a bucket that you’d use to wash your car – as in I had enough room to turn around, or sit down and kick my feet, and that was about it. Sometimes, we’d bring a small step stool poolside, and jump into the six inches of water. [Remember this was the 1970’s and safety practices were more…lax, in those days – although my Mom was always on supervision duty any time water was involved].


Alternately, Mom would set up the lawn sprinkler for us. This was the type that waved back and forth. We’d have much fun inventing games of hopping over the sprinkler, avoiding the splatter-drops, sitting ON the sprinkler to see if the garden hose would blow up, etc. Every once in a while, Mom would move the sprinkler to a new location on the lawn so that we wouldn’t run a bare dirt landing strip into the grass. Still, by the end of July, much to Dad’s chagrin, there’d often be brown/squashed patches in the grass!


2. Frozen juice-sicles: Once again Mom and Mrs M (VFBF Joanne‘s Mom) were ahead of their time. We didn’t grow up with daily ice cream, popsicle or Mr Freezie treats – these were kept more for occasional surprises. Instead – and I have very clear memories of Mrs M doing this – our Moms would freeze orange juice in Tupperware-brand popsicle-makers.


Healthy, appropriately child-sized servings, these cooling juicy pops were just the revitalizing snack we needed on a hot day – then it was back out to the sprinkler! [Moms out there (or anyone who feels like making a refreshing, frozen treat): Angela featured an updated homemade popsicle recipe idea on her blog the other day – they look delicious!].

3. Trips to Goderich: Now, this of course, was not something we could just do on the spur of the moment, but we did spend quite a bit of time in Goderich, as children. My grandparents’ cottage was outside of town, but they did have a small beach area in their neighbourhood of cottage homes. It wasn’t really a swimming/play-in-the-sand type spot, but we could splash about and throw rocks – into the water, not at each other, haha! – for a short cool-down break. We’d head to the beach proper in Goderich for excursions of several hours.

me (L) and mom (R) at the goderich lighthouse park, summer 1976

4. Playtime in the basement: Our house was a bungalow, and we had a “rec room,” as we called it in our basement. On scorching hot days, the downstairs was noticeably cooler than our main level. So The Brother and I would spend a lot of time during the hottest part of the day playing very happily with Barbies, paper dolls, arts ‘n’ crafts projects (me) and Lego, Sonos and Star Wars figures (him). Oh! And a favourite 10:30 a.m. cooldown event was to watch Mr Dressup on TV!


5. Picnic lunches in the park: To break up the monotony of lunchtime, Mom would organize lunches out for us – but not at a fastfood joint! Our version of lunch out was to all hop on our bikes and head to a local park. We’d find a shady area, and eat a simple but yummy lunch of sandwiches, cookies and fruit. Then, The Brother and I would play on the playground equipment before we’d head home. I remember that one week, we went to a different park every day from Monday to Friday! Our house was in the Stanley Park area of Kitchener, and some of our favourite spots included Tecumseh Park, the grounds of Canadian Martyrs school, and the park area on Manchester Road. These lunches out were much more fun – and healthier for out bodies and the family budget!  – than trips to McDo would have been!


So, yes, nowadays, it is much easier to flip a switch and get instant cooling with our air-conditioners. But, we managed way back when, and had a lot of fun!

What do you remember about how you stayed cool, as a child? Even as a child, I loved the summer and hot temps! Some things never change!

You Can’t HANDLE the Heat!

Quick now – can you guess which movie I am trying to reference with today’s title? You might have to say it out loud – it’s all in the proper inflection and the emphasis on “handle.” At the end of the blog post, I’ll put up a photo to give you a clue. Leave a comment with the movie title, if you think you’ve guessed correctly!

All anyone can talk about this week is the weather. Canadians do that a lot, year-round, but with the extreme heat temps we’re experiencing, 100% of people are starting their conversations with weather-talk. Most people are complaining lamenting the lack of cool air. We’re all entitled to our opinion!

Personally, I am in seventh heaven. I’ve told you before how Aruba is my natural habitat. When it’s hot and sunny out, I blossom. My energy level is high, my spirits are bright, and I am happy. Not everyone feels this way – poor Mom has not had the best of weeks. Hot weather gives her low-grade nausea, and makes her feel rather lethargic.

While I love the heat during the day, I do admit I am very grateful to have air-conditioning for sleeping.

We first got air-conditioning when I was five years old. It was pretty exciting to have that option on hot days, back in the 70’s! I’ve appreciated the air-conditioned comfort option ever since, wherever I’ve lived, except for the one summer that Gina and I lived in an apartment together here in Waterloo. Our bedrooms were on the third floor of an old home, and I remember it could get swelteringly hot up there. We each had a fan, but I think that mostly just pushed the hot air around. It’s not easy to sleep when it’s so hot – good thing we were young and carefree, in those days, and a night with little/poor quality sleep was not a huge issue!

One way to cool off is with a summery beverage. The recipe, below, is for Mom’s famous iced tea. We’ve enjoyed this drink year-round – but especially in the summer – for many, many years. It’s funny: usually when people try it for the first time, they take one (maybe two) tentative sips, and then they’re completely and enthusiastically hooked. And they usually go home with the recipe in hand!

Iced Tea

~Steep 8 teabags in 3 cups boiling water for at least 2 hours (you can leave it overnight, if you wish).

~[You can use decaf or regular tea. Mom says that Tetley’s Orange Pekoe is a good one. Avoid types like herbal or Earl Grey etc.]

~Pour the strong tea into this mixture:

  • 5 cups cold water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

~Stir and refrigerate.

~Makes 6-8 servings.

[What makes this iced tea so unique and tasty is the inclusion of the almond extract, IMO].

I saw The Brother, yesterday (we went for coffee – hot coffees!), and he had a couple of commonsense suggestions for dealing with the heat. The Brother lived in Singapore for a few years, back in the 90s, and this hot, humid weather is the way things are over there, at all times. When you go out, do the “Singapore Saunter” in terms of the pace of your walking. Take on more of an ambling calmness with your steps in lieu of power marching. And accept the fact that you will sweat! Simple as that!

What’s the hottest you’ve ever been? I’m meaning temperature-wise, but if you want to share a time when you looked really good, that’s ok, too!

Movie Clue:



Best News of the Day: Jersey Shore: Season 4 begins on August 4th! I sure hope I can find it online, at a site that Canadians can access!

~Any virtual hugs you feel like offering would be warmly received today.~