Monthly Archives: November 2011

november thankfulness

november thankfulness:
(for tuesday november 29): yesterday i was thankful for living in uptown waterloo, and the walkability of the city centre. i was able to complete all my errands (michaels, the library, the health food store, shoppers drug mart, groceries – and would have met lisa except she needed to re-schedule our get-together) and go to work, all on foot!

november thankfulness:

(for today, wednesday november 30): today i am thankful for aunti day, the fact that we had no snow for the whole month of november, this combo bowl of cereal: plain corn puffs/corn bran/life/vector, and that the toronto maple leafs are not the laughing stock of the nhl, this year!!



and with that, we wrap up our month-long  november thankfulness project! i’d say this was the easiest of any of my monthly challenges, this year, and was also very enjoyable. granted, it was not a super-complex goal to note a positive aspect of every day, but it was a really good one for self-awareness. and i found thirty different “thankfuls!”

the other main focus for november was no complaining. check mark this goal as “success!” both in real life and on the blog, i refrained from whining (i hope you agree!). i now have a strategy for when negative thoughts enter my brain: pause; assess the situation; consider if this is really something major or just small potatoes; think of how the whatever could be a lot worse. it was a good experiment!

i met up with mom and dad for our outings of the month, and took care of the kidlets (no specific blog posts) so the brother and sil ana could get out a couple times, too.

tomorrow, we welcome december! it’s funny because december is one of my favourite months of the year because of the christmas excitement and all the associated festivities, yet it’s one of my worst favourite months for weather! my fingers are crossed that november’s mildness continues on…is that to much to ask for, santa?!


what is one thing you particularly enjoyed in november and one thing you could have done without? me -> i had a lot of fun hosting my 500th blog post giveaway and doing the draw for the winner. i would not have been upset to omit the three hour drive home from toronto!

it never hurts to plan ahead

two more sleeps and advent calendar season begins!

my wooden board + pieces are ready to go!

and i have the advent calendars for little e and baby c set out on the table so that i don’t forget to take them to toronto tomorrow – that would be a shame!

when i was trying to round up the second advent calendar, i had left my name with shelley, the manager of write impressions – when they received their expected supply of calendars, she’d give me a call. shelley DID call me, but i had already made my calendar purchase at words worth books. this past saturday, i decided to pop into write impressions anyway, just to see their selection, the designs, and the prices. wow! they had an impressive array – about 8-10 different calendars were available.

i was just going to look and leave…but then i decided i might as well pick up a couple of calendars and put them away for next year. even paying full price – the total for two adorable calendars was a mere $11.87 (there was tax!). i’ve paid more than that for two birthday cards, so i thought this was a deal.

advent calendar #1...

advent calendar #2!

now to decide which one for which niece!

i actually debated buying FOUR advent calendars and having a little stash to cover christmas 2012 and 2013…but decided that was a little excessive in the planning department, even for me.

i did make my “note to self”…

all the details, just in case of a brain fart...

now: if, perchance, i can get into write impressions during their boxing week sale, i WILL pick up another two calendars for two years from now – just because i love a 50% off deal. however, shelley FYI’d me that the calendars are going fast, so i am doubtful that there will be any left by boxing day. no worries – at least i am set for next year!


last thursday was the first day that i really noticed an influx of christmas shoppers in the storeS. i think the impact of black friday is rubbing off on canadians [anyone else notice how many black friday sales we had this year? i don’t remember so many in other years??].

since i’m familiar with being on both sides of the sales counter, i thought i’d share four “insider tips” to keep in mind as you do your own holiday shopping:

  1. visit stores during off hours, if at all possible: if crowds make you antsy or twitchy (as lisa would say!) aim to do your shopping during the weekdays, preferably in the a.m. hours or afternoons (lunch times get a bit busier). obviously, saturdays all day and sunday afts are the times to avoid if packed stores put you on edge. (i had really good luck one year up at conestoga mall when i went on a saturday eve – they are open only for december with these hours – there were very few shoppers).
  2. inquire about refund and exchange policies when you make your purchase. for example, at the store, you are able to do a full refund if you have the original sales receipt; with a gift receipt, we can do exchanges, only. it’s best to avoid future frustration by asking for details when you check out. also, find out when you can do a return -> many stores do not deal with returns on boxing day or even during boxing week.
  3. come armed with as much detail as possible: it’s absolutely fabulous when i get customers who come in with someone’s wish list, and they have style numbers, size, price, colour all noted. i can run around and efficiently pull out options – we all save time!
  4. be patient. it’s a given that christmas shopping is a hectic time. as sales associates, we really want to help you find the perfect gifts. by being polite and friendly, everyone’s day is much more fun!

any shopping tips to share? grumpy christmas shopping is just oxy-moronic, no?!


november thankfulness:

(for monday, november 28): yesterday i was thankful that i genuinely love mondays! (actually, i look forward to all the days of the week). i’m glad i can go to bed each night and not dread the return-to-work cycle of the next day. that was not the case when i was a teacher – i’d get the blahs sunday, already, because i knew that monday was not that far off.


not me!

brunch at the king eddy

as much as i would like to tell you that our family brunch yesterday at the king edward hotel was a new experience, i cannot.

the posh entrance

we celebrated dad’s 65th birthday there, too – five years ago!


november, 2006 - that baby is little e!

and now!

guess what?! we were seated at the EXACT SAME table as five years ago! coincidence? i think not!

i’m so glad dad’s birthday is in the festive season. look at the wondrous sight that welcomes you when you enter the hotel:

i was really looking forward to seeing "the big tree!"

filling in time while dad parked the car...

we started off with some family photos to capture our celebration day on film for digital filing:

70 year old dad (haha!) + mom!

the little family!

aunti + the girls!

then we made our way into the main room. i propose to you that the king eddy brunch is the most amazing buffet in the universe. you may beg to differ, but all i know is it is the best i have ever experienced. here is a sampling of the array of choices that greet you:

cheeses, spreads + breads...

seafood + fish...

fresh fruit...

a hot buffet line...


...and more desserts!

all under the watchful eyes of various mr nutcrackers:

beautiful holiday decor, all around the room

ah, we enjoyed such a relaxed time! the conversation flowed, and we took turns going back up for whatever our hearts desired. what i enjoyed the most: beef wellington [i am 99% sure this was a new experience for me to try this meat dish, but i’m not going to count it towards my list as it’s rather trivial!]; french toast; chocolate mousse cake; the fresh fruit. the only disappointment: for five years i have drooled every time i remembered the bread pudding at the king eddy. well…there was no bread pudding this year!

the little ones were so well behaved! a perfect stranger even commented!

and just because i am a proud aunti (as if you didn’t know):

isn't little e's flower the best?!

cutie c could not get cheese!

it was a completely enjoyable and happy celebration for dad’s birthday weekend. we are all in agreement that “brunch at the king eddy” should indeed become an annual tradition.

happy birthday weekend, g'pa!

does your family have a special celebration spot (or did you, growing up?) the charcoal steak house was our favourite restaurant for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. for many, many years!


november thankfulness:

(for sunday november 27): yesterday i was thankful for the fact that even though dismal rain fell alllll day in waterloo yesterday, it was not snow! had it snowed, there was no way we could have driven to toronto. and in toronto, it was overcast but not raining, and very very mild!

this cake is not sour at all!


we are off to toronto for our family celebration, today!

because i have birthday on the brain this weekend, here is a recipe for birthday cake. now, this is not just any generic betty-crocker style baked dessert – no, this is a super-duper cake that i am unearthing from the depths of the family recipe vault.

mom used to make this cake for our birthday parties, when we were little. what makes this cake unique is that it features a secret ingredient: sauerkraut!

my fourth bday - i bet this was a sauerkraut cake!

i know!! how bizarre – you are right! and the funny thing is that i have never, ever liked sauerkraut…but i have always adored this cake. [tangent: did anybody else think that sauerkraut was actually spelled sour-kraut, when they were little? i totally did! hey – it tastes sour, we have a food called sour cream…made sense to me!].

sauerkraut chocolate cake


  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c strong coffee (can use instant)
  • 2/3 c sauerkraut (rinsed, drained, chopped)

[ok, the joke is on me. i have never actually made this cake, and just now, typing the recipe, i am incredulous that there is coffee in this cake!! i never knew! and how funny that i am recommending this cake when coffee and i are currently on the outs!].


combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. cream butter with electric mixer [yes, this recipe comes from the collection mom hand-wrote for me with basic-level instructions – much needed] at medium speed. gradually add sugar and eggs, one at a time. add vanilla. add liquid and dry ingredients alternately, beginning and ending with flour. stir in sauerkraut.

bake in two greased and waxed-paper lined 8-9″ pans [mom always used round] at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.

fill and frost with chocolate satin frosting…

my fifth bday - i bet this was a sauerkraut chocolate cake!

chocolate satin frosting

  • 3 1/2 1 oz squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c butter or margarine (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

melt chocolate in large mixing bowl over hot water. remove from heat. with electric mixer, blend in sugar and water. beat in egg, then butter and vanilla. frosting will be thin at this point so place bowl in ice water. beat til of spreading consistency. [ok, to be honest, that sounds like a lot of work. mom, you were a dear woman to go to all this fuss for our birthday cakes – thank you!].

the brother's second bday - i bet this was a sauerkraut cake!

if we were celebrating dad’s 70th at home this weekend, maybe we could have convinced mom to revive the sauerkraut tradition!

are there any recipes that you love that have a weird ‘n’ wonderful secret ingredient? i have another cake recipe where one of the ingredients is COKE! it’s a pretty darn tasty cake, too!


today is also grey cup sunday (the canadian football league equivalent of the super bowl – take my word for it that it’s much less impressive than the super bowl extravaganza). the b.c. lions are taking on the winnipeg blue bombers. plus, it’s the 99th grey cup – that’s pretty cool!  i’ll cheer for winnipeg just because that is where gina lives – hey, that’s a good reason, right?!

favourite football player ever? me -> joe montana followed by dan marino.


november thankfulness:

(for saturday november 26): yesterday i was thankful for…dad!

a bday tribute

well, this is it: today is dad’s 70th birthday!

i can’t believe he’s that old it! and if i can’t believe it, i wonder how dad feels?! 🙂

dad will receive his gifts later today. then, tomorrow we have a special family celebration!

in honour of dad’s milestone day, we have a list of 26 things about dad (because it’s november 26th, hence my choice of 26 items). i would have done seventy (twenty-six was surprisingly easy to find) but then i’d have to delve into even more embarrassing stories, so twenty-six shall suffice!

happy birthday, dad!

26 reasons we love dad

1. dad was that neighbourhood father who spent evenings and weekend afternoons outside with all the kids, playing baseball, driveway hockey, football tossing, frisbee flinging…

2. dad is the author of  my favourite quote of all-time: the world is full of idiots. classic.

3. “everything in moderation” is another life expression dad espouses – and it makes so much sense.

4. dad can check “run a marathon” off his bucket list – we ran our first marathons at the same race! (niagara, 1996).

5. dad is always the first one to reach for the bill when out with friends or family, at a restaurant or coffee shop.

6. dad loves a bowl of cereal.

7. dad is an ace at sudoku puzzles.

8. dad has a warm smile and kind eyes.

9. dad will always win at the board game “risk” because of his never-fail strategy of taking over all of australia, then attacking outwards from there (we used to get soooo mad, as kids!).

10. dad is a willing and un-complaining dish-washer for mom when she bakes and cooks.

11. at various stages of his life, dad has played recreation-league hockey and baseball; he has been a curling squad (team? crew? foursome?), he took yoga, and now, he still golfs regularly.

12. dad is willing to have his photo on the blog at any time, even when wearing his pajamas.

13. dad worked for the same company for his entire 45+ year professional career – that kind of loyalty is rather uncommon.

14. dad is skilled at painting and wallpapering – his attention to detail is phenomenal.

15. dad taught me to ice skate when i was two.

16. dad has a deep bass singing voice, and can carry a tune marvelously.

17. dad let me learn to drive standard – and taught me himself! – on his beloved 1981 toyota celica.

18. dad can bbq a mean medium-rare steak; we’ll forget about the time he accidentally melted his sunglasses by placing them on top of a hot bbq!

19. dad has impeccable style and is a dapper dresser.

20. dad held my hand at the 9k mark of my first 10k race and encouraged me not to walk – that can-do attitude has stayed with me ever since.

21. in his role as g’pa, dad gives pony rides to little e and cutie c, and lets them walk on his feet.

22. dad made up stories for us when we were little, featuring “the little man” (he’d walk his fingers to be the little man) and “susie and freddy” (a little girl and her dog).

23. dad slipped me french fries on the sly beginning when i was about a year old. mom found out when i started pointing and going “ugh ugh!” for fries, upon spying them!

24. dad keeps his vehicles in pristine and mint condition – both the interiors and the exteriors. that begs the question: why are the brother and i so lax??!

25. dad is bilingual – german and english. he failed grade nine french, though.

26. thanks to dad, i have green eyes, too.

happy saturday, friends!


november thankfulness:

(for friday november 25th): yesterday i was thankful for my longstanding friendship with lisa.

friends since the early '90's!

it was her birthday yesterday! i am happy that we have plans for coffee to meet up next week!

a project for next november??

back at the beginning of this month, a november project idea came to my attention. i was immediately intrigued! and, no – i am not referring to movember. 🙂

no, this 30 day race involves creative writing.

i’d never heard nanowrimo (national novel writing month) until i read about it on stephanie’s blog – she is participating this year. then, kim talked about it on her blog, as well (which was a pleasant surprise because kim’s blog is mostly about ultrarunning). stephanie does a good job of explaining the concept in her blog post here, but the gist of the challenge is that you write a 50 000 word novel in one month.


cool, eh?!

i have been reading stephanie’s periodic updates with great eagerness. when i checked in on kim’s blog, earlier this week, she had updated (here) that she has dropped out of the writing project –  a dnf on day 21, as she says.

i’m going to backburner this idea for next november, and it’s a good thing i have eleven + months to figure out solutions to these two challenges:

the main problem would be outlining a compelling – heck, i’d settle for interesting – storyline…what would i write about for 50 000 words?? note that this is a NOVEL writing experiment – not a memoir.

the next issue would be finding time (that was kim’s downfall). in order to reach 50 000 words, you need to write 1666.67 words per day – at first glance, when you break it down like that, i didn’t think it sounded like that much – that number of words is about 2.5 blog posts, given my usual wordiness. however, when i blog i can just ramble write like i’m having a chat with you. novel writing involves relentless forward motion advancing your plot, making your characters talk like real people, and using your imagination. i bet 1500+ words per day would require a few hours, at least.


anyway, i think this is a super-neat idea. i like rules, i work well under deadlines, i like to write, i appreciate quirky ideas…i shall reflect on it!

also, i would not write with the desired goal of publishing my oeuvre. it wouldn’t matter if it never saw the light of day. it’s the new experience aspect of nanowrimo that is the motivating element, for me.

stephanie, write on, and i am cheering for you as we head to the final few days!

what would you write about if you were going to write a book, and what type of book would you write? the young adult genre intrigues me…and i’d have lots of characters, lots of dialogue, not much description. i would avoid historical fiction – doing the research would bore me to pieces!


speaking of books, i am on page 286 out of 517 of the time traveler’s wife. i’m enjoying it, but so much for finishing it this month! i’ll aim for the end of 2011!


november thankfulness:

(for thursday november 24): yesterday i was thankful for the blends (blog friends) i have made through blogging. we’ve never met, yet i look forward to our visits through our back-and-forth blog commenting. thank you, world wide web, for bringing people together!!

this happens every year…

earlier this week, i finished my christmas knitting:

"giraffes" pullover for little e!

i thought.

then i decided that i have time to whip up one more project. i am going to make mittens!

i have to laugh because i had assured myself a while ago that once i was done little e’s sweater, that was it for christmas projects, and i was congratulating myself because i was done so early this year.

every year, i follow this same pattern! as christmas edges closer, i think “i have time to do just a little more gift-knitting.” so, i buy my yarn and power-knit, feeling under pressure, but kinda liking the excitement of a looming deadline. two years ago was the best! i decided to make little clothes for the dolly we were giving to little e. i set a date-limit of december 23rd and knit as many little outfits as i could by that date (the best way to use leftover/scrap yarn is doll clothes!). luckily, doll clothes go super fast (although they’re a bit fiddly to sew up and finish) and i had a good collection for little e by our family celebration day!

anyway, back to this year. i’m feeling no stress whatsover over the new mitten project – i have a month exactly til christmas and i’m using my tried and true mitten recipe:

i've been using this same patons pattern since i was a teen! note the well-worn edges!

size notations written in the margins!

happily, i can fly through mittens thanks to having written down the exact number of rows i need per size.

the mitten recipient shall remain a secret for now, but this person genuinely appreciates my knitting, and after several complimentary comments over the past couple weeks about previous knitting i have done as gifts, i am psyched to do up these mitts. it’ll be a fun surprise!

pumpkin orange yarn! the future mitten-wearer's favourite colour!

now, just to jump back to little e’s giraffes’ sweater – i purchased the kit, containing yarn + pattern back at the knitter’s fair in september.

it’s from mary maxim, and they have a plentiful assortment of kits for kids and adults that you can purchase online or at their outlet in paris (ontario). i’ve made numerous mary maxim kits, over the years, and here’s my feedback:


~ clearly written and easy-to-follow directions in the patterns:

cover of the pattern

~ they give you smaller amounts of yarn, enough with which to complete your project. if you were to buy all the different colours in full ball amounts, you’d pay a lot more, and have tons left over:

so cute, those little balls of yarn!

~ reasonable price points for their products – this kit cost just over $30. if i had to buy a pattern, and all the yarn separately, the cost would be easily doubled.

~ mary maxim is canadian! i like to support local retailers.


~ the yarn is cheap. this yarn is 100% acrylic and i can sure feel the difference between the quality of this yarn vs my splurges from shall we knit or the purple purl. however, i think that 100% acrylic is perfect for kids’ clothes: you can washer-and-dryer it, it’s not itchy, and because they grow so fast, it makes sense to NOT spend an arm and a leg on expensive yarn.

one of my favourite mary maxim kit designs, ever!

what d’ya think, zo?! [i made an adult version of the kittie-cats for mom when she taught kindergarten, then one of her colleagues hired me to make it for her young daughter. i had a lotta yarn balls going at once, for this one!].

i’ll end for today – gotta get knitting!

holiday shopping: do you shop early or leave it to the last minute? i am virtually done – just need to purchase a jacket for g’ma.  my goal was to finish in november because i have other enjoyable christmas prep to do in december. i have never left my shopping til december 24th!


happy thanksgiving to my american friends and readers! enjoy your holiday and celebration time!



november thankfulness:

(for wednesday november 23): yesterday i was thankful for the chance to see the two sweetest faces on this entire earth – ok, maybe i am biased!

what a wonderful visit!

perseverance pays off!

as you know, i love me a goooood many christmas traditions! and one of them is ADVENT CALENDARS.

this particular love dates back to childhood. every year, the brother and i each had our own cardboard advent calendar. boy, did we love the month of december when every morning we would open the window of the day, before breakfast. the countdown was on as we anticipated december 24th – the date of the birth of baby jesus always had the biggest window of all. and revealing the hidden picture in that box meant that it was finally christmas [insert dance of joy and clapping and squealing, here!].

now: our family never, ever had the chocolate advent calendars. my parents did give us treats as kids, but chocolates for breakfast for a month was not the means by which we enjoyed sweets. and i can’t say that the brother and i ever wanted the chocolate advent calendars – the traditional cardboard ones were what we were used to and what we enjoyed.

fast forward to the year that little e was born. i decided that a nice aunti tradition to establish would be to give little e her own cardboard advent calendar. that first christmas, i was so excited, i do believe she had two calendars! and yes, two months old is an appropriate age at which to begin opening advent calendar windows.

every year since, i’ve had advent calendars at the ready for little e and then for cutie c, after she joined the family. what i like to do is purchase them during boxing week sales, and i put them aside for the year.

i’m not sure how this happened but two years ago, i bought three advent calendars. i gave two of them to little e and cutie c last christmas. [one was a super-extraordinary eric carle 3-d extravaganza!]. as per usual, i noted what i had on hand for this year’s christmas:

i will forget over the course of twelve months if i don't write down the christmas inventory!

so, anyway, to move this story along…this year, i knew i had to buy one advent calendar.

here is the advent calendar i got last year at write impressions for 50% off

do you know how hard it is to find JUST cardboard advent calendars, these days?? well, let me tell you!

over the past month, i have searched high and low in every grocery store, drug store, dollar store, card store, specialty store, and book store that i know of, both in waterloo and toronto, looking for a non-chocolate-y calendar. i have found tons of calendars that open to reveal a chocolate – they’re plentiful at all of the types of stores mentioned above (at every price range from $1.99 for no-name milk chocolate to over $10 for a lindt calendar).

yes, i know i could break with tradition and get a chocolate advent calendar. but i just can’t. it’s not what we had as children, and i also personally don’t agree with the chocolate-a-day sweet for the girls – if i was a parent, i wouldn’t go that route (if you as a parent do, i totally respect your position – every family enjoys different christmas practices).

so: sunday afternoon, i popped into words worth books because their shipment of calendars was due to arrive this past week, i had been told. and i found my calendar!

...and this was the last one in this design!

i almost did a song and dance right there in the children’s section.

now, the calendar was $8.95 which is an outrageous price for decorated cardboard. however! i have accumulated points through the store’s rewards/loyalty program, so i cashed some in (and still have some left over) -> free calendar!

yippee!! aunti will triumphantly present little e and baby c with their advent calendars on my wednesday, november 30th visit. i would love to find TWO calendars during boxing week sales this year so that next year, there is no advent calendar wild goose chase!

did you have an advent calendar, growing up? chocolates: yea or nay? i have my wooden one…

i will take down all the pieces prior to december 1st and put up the proper number each day!

…that i very much enjoy using every year!


november thankfulness:

(for tuesday november 22): yesterday i was thankful that it is now less than one month to the shortest day of the year!

simply TERR-ible!

the condo casa is a tv-free zone, and 99.9% of the time, i am fine with that. besides, the shows that i love and adore (jersey shore! real housewives!) i can find online, at my convenience.

but last friday, i realllly needed a pvr – it was regis’ final show, and i wanted to catch this piece of talk show history.

i don’t watch regis and kelly regularly, any more. [tangent: kelly ripa has always reminded me of my friend, julie!]. i started tuning in to regis when his co-host was still kathie lee gifford, and continued watching when kelly took over from kathie eleven years ago. any time i do catch the show, regis never fails to make me LOL at least once. i just find him very, very funny! i have also read his memoir, “i’m only one man” and watched a lot of episodes of who wants to be a millionaire. but his best role, by far, is as daytime talk show host. what i most appreciate about him is his storytelling ability and his sense of witty repartee – and his willingness to laugh at himself.

so, i asked mom and dad (well, dad since mom doesn’t do prv taping) if they would be so kind as to tape the show for me, and i’d come over and watch it sunday eve. they graciously accomodated my request.

now THAT'S a classic regis-being-regis expression!

please note that mom and dad are NOT regis fans. so, i was all the more grateful for their generosity in lending me their telly! and, mom and dad kept me company while i watched!

in a nutshell, this farewell show was the absolute pits! it was so incredibly, disappointingly awful! the tributes were trite, the tone was fake and schmaltzy, kelly read every one of her lines from the tele-prompter or from the paper in her hand, regis was trying too hard to be cool…i will stop now before it sounds like i’m complaining.

the closing remarks...thank goodness.

mom and dad were such good sports to sit through this wretched tv viewing time. to be honest, at one point, i told dad he could fast forward. i couldn’t TAKE it any more! (say that in your head using regis’ distinctive intonation, ok?!).

ugh – it would have been much more enjoyable to watch a “regular” regis and kelly – my favourite segment has always been their opening chitchat, and that lively banter and natural vibe was completely missing from the farewell show.

i wish regis well in his future endeavours (he is not retiring, remember!) – and i will try to erase this last show from my memory!

did you watch the final show/have you ever watched regis’ morning talk show? he’s had an impressive career – think of all the celebs he’s met!!

favourite talk show host? over the years, i’ve gone through phases: rosie; regis; dr phil; marilyn (cityline)…i’ve never watched ellen, and only watched oprah sporadically.


november thankfulness:

(for monday november 21): yesterday i was thankful that this huge blister that i have had on my big toe has popped and is getting better. it was the size of a quarter! and YOU can be thankful because i am sparing you from any photos!

i swear this is not a repeat post!

let’s see…

outing of the month – check! √

with dad! check! √

meet-up at the very busy uptown waterloo starbucks! check! √

a perrier for the coffee-still-stinks kiki? check! √


[dad and i have established a comfortable routine, here! september = starbucks! october = starbucks! november = starbucks! any guesses on what we’ll do in december?!]

now, hold your horses right there! because saturday afternoon’s after-work outing with dad included a special, surprise guest!…


group shot!

yes! this would be the very karen who won the 500th blog post giveaway!

now, i’ll back up a bit: our friendship with karen goes way back to the early-mid ’90’s – karen and the brother were bf/gf for a few years. then we lost touch, and it’s been a good fifteen years since we last saw each other. it was only this summer that karen and i reconnected! thanks to six degrees of separation + the blogworld (me -> tricia -> marnie -> karen) karen found me, and we have been corresponding ever since, leaving comments on each other’s blogs, emailing from time to time – and we are friends on facebook!

i swear it is complete coincidence that karen won the giveaway – you saw how it was conducted with scrupulous attention to fairness – but i was so tickled because i knew that karen would be in town this weekend (visiting from ottawa with her hubby and three kidlets) and that we hoped to meet up. karen could receive her prizes in person! [and we could capture the exchange for the blog!].

the official handing over of the tshirt and s'bux gift card!

[haha, how perfect – i just now clued in that karen got her s’bux card IN starbucks – how wonderfully appropriate!].

anyway, karen had generously offered to take me out for *coffee* when she found out she won, but dad would have none of that and treated us to our drinks. thanks, dad!

karen's drink: chai tea latte? tea chai latte?; dad's drink: it was frothy and pretty, i know that!

we had such a good time catching up! karen has a warm and bubbly personality, and is an excellent conversationalist. and i had forgotten how very funny she is! the three of us had a really wonderful visit. then, karen had to leave to get back to her family, so dad and i stayed on and chatted some more.

and – hey hey – did you note that saturday was ONLY november 19th!! no eleventh hour outing of the month this month? well, actually…you know that i am a big planner, and earlier this week i had looked at the rest of november, and realized that unless dad and i went out on saturday, an outing just wasn’t going to happen, given both our schedules. [plus, there is the little matter of dad’s 70th bday this coming weekend – special celebrations await!].

thanks, karen, for fitting in our reunion meet-up! now it’s back to fb and blog visits – until your next trip to waterloo!

have you ever won a giveaway? family joke: dad has won a contest ONCE (golf tourney giveaways where everyone wins eventually don’t count), and this was back when we were kids. he won a door. we have never let him forget that. i, on the other hand, won a fabulous gift basket of cosmetics from my close and personal friend jeanne beker, herself. i will share the full story another day!


november thankfulness:

(for sunday november 20): yesterday i was thankful that my grandma (dad’s mom) and i enjoy a weekly phone visit every single sunday. this was a new year’s resolution about eight years ago – and it’s still going strong!