Tag Archives: coffee

XL revisited

one day last week, i made the time to take myself out for a solo coffee outing. while i love and adore meet-ups in coffee shops with friends or family, sometimes it is just nice to get out by yourself.

i debated returning to tim horton’s and repeating my XL coffee order…but then i remembered just how much coffee would be involved (seriously, that XL is large enough to drown in) and thought the better of it.

so, i went to the coffee shop that has the best decaf in the ‘hood, imo!…

thumbs up for the convenient location, interior ambiance...and coffee!

just for the blog [i needed my “x” idea for the blogging challenge!], i ordered the biggest size of coffee possible:

$2.05 for that cup on the far right...i think that's about 50% of the price of s'bux??!

i chose a window seat, and got out my journal:

ready to brainstorm!

now, my cardinal journal (a goderich purchase so it has very good vibes associated with it) is not to be confused with my daily journal. i only use the cardinal notebook…

that's "my bird!"

…for when i want to do some deep thinking. writing with pen on paper seems so old-fashioned nowadays, but it is still such a satisfying process – i find ideas just freeflow as fast as i can record them!

the coffee culture coffee was x-cellent and i thoroughly enjoyed my relaxing, mid-day break.

do you ever take work to a coffee shop? some people find the neutral territory helpful in getting down to business; other people are distracted by the activity and people watching. the trend to use a coffee shop as a mobile office has sure blossomed over the past few years.

my favourite local coffee shop at which to compose blog posts is cafĂ© 1842 – the vibe (and quick internet connection, haha!) is just right, there.

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.

coffee and….just sitting

yesterday, i finally checked off a longstanding item (over a month!) on my to do list [i started work at 4 pm, so had the day to fritter away]. unfortunately, completing said task did not include plugging in the vacuum cleaner nor picking up the windex. fortunately, the outing was way more FUN than tackling cleaning chores! [dust will always be there, right?!].

i took myself to my nearest tim horton’s…

a perfect day for aviators! (please note that it took approx seventeen poses before i could capture some signage in the background)

…and finally cashed in my roll-up-the-rim free coffee that i won back on family day when at TH with sarah. now, normally, i would take a beverage like this home with me to enjoy with knitting and blog reading. however, my ‘hood’s timmies is just far enough away that sloshing six blocks up the sidewalk with a hot coffee in hand is not that appealing an idea. so, i decided to just sit in the coffee shop and drink my coffee at a relaxed pace.

[tangent story: i have to interrupt my word flow to share this anecdote. so i get up to the cash register, camera in hand, because i HAD to take a photo – you will see it in a moment. the girl at the cash says to me, “can i ask why you’re taking a picture?” to which i gave my honest reply: “because i think it’s very funny that the chocolate chip muffins are all sold out and the low-fat cranberry muffins are overflowing the basket.” then the girl says, ” you’re not supposed to take photos of our product.” and i said, “oh, i’m sorry.” and proceeded to snap this shot:

don't you find that funny, too, that the choco chip are all gone and the *healthy* muffins are all sitting there??!

ok! now i know that tim horton’s does not allow photos! bizarre. end of tangent].

we’ve got a little cold spell going on right now, so hot coffee was appropriate. last week, it was just too hot to desire a mid-day hot beverage!

as luck would have it, someone left the march 2012 copy of oxygen in our condo lending library yesterday morning! so i took the magazine along with me:

note the coffee cup size...

[that will teach me to be greedy: i could not even finish that extra-large. hey, it was a free coffee – i wanted to get the most out of my win. but i practically floated home. good thing it was decaf or i would have been overly zing’d, for sure!].

i used to subscribe to oxygen, but have not really read it for a good 7-8 years now. it was fun to look through! the magazine has a different air to it than when i got it regularly. can’t say i am left feeling compelled to sign up for home delivery again, but it was a fun way to pass some time.

note the twitter and facebook icons - interactive, online references were not a part of paper magazines a few years ago

before leaving, i just sat at the table for a few minutes and looked out the window, thinking deep thoughts letting my mind wander:

not the most exciting view. at least the sun was out!

i can’t say i solved any of the world’s major issues (will we ever see cheap gas prices again??) but it was a peaceful and enjoyable few minutes of thoughtful contemplation and general happiness.

sadly, i did not win another free something...

on my way home, i stopped and looked in the window of the newest coffee shop in uptown:

DVLB stand for "death valley's little brother," the name of the coffee bar; due to the sun, i could not get a pic of the front window without extreme glare!

from the looks, it’s got a very indy, hip vibe. [if any local wants to meet up at dvlb to try out their coffee, lmk!].


i’m so proud of mom and dad!

on monday, they went out and replaced their cell phone with the newest blackberry bold. i think it’s really cool when people of an older established generation remain hip with the times, signing up for these newfangled communication devices. i’m reminded of my dear grandpa c – way back when home computers were becoming something that “everyone had,” grandpa decided to get one, too. and he took a course so that he would know how to use it. gramps was at least into his 70s, at this time, and even back then, i remember being impressed with his positive attitude and eagerness to learn something new. i agree wholeheartedly with the philosophy of being a life-long learner. so, thumbs up, mom and dad!

when’s the last time you just sat? i’ll tell you that i find it very challenging to just sit. i much prefer to be knitting while watching tv, or being the one driving the vehicle when on the road.

what’s something new you would like to learn? i would like to learn to zumba! it sounds so FUN! at this time, i have no desire to learn another language, learn to cook, or pick up a musical instrument. i would like to advance my technological abilities. it won’t be too long into the future when i am sure little e will be helping aunti learn a thing or two about electronic devices!

i love it when i’m right

please pardon the more-than-slightly obnoxious title for today’s post. but it’s an entirely true and accurate statement for today’s main story!

remember back here when i gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to the new redesign of the runner’s world shoe finder? i loved how the new yes/no q & a chart suggests a wider range of running shoe options:

(you can now find that flowchart online here, at the runner’s world website; at the time of my initial mention, the chart was not available online).

back in february i posed the question of whether the store would follow suit and revamp our colour-coded shoe wall:

an example of our old shoe tags - yellow tags defined our neutral/cushioned shoe category (blue was for stability shoes and red tags indicated motion control shoes)

honestly, i had an inkling [which i expressed to manager paul – i have a witness!] that at some point in the near future, we would be seeing a shoe wall overhaul.

on friday, i was proven RIGHT!! we received brand new tags for our shoe wall…

all tags are now BLACK!

i absolutely am 100% thrilled with this shoe wall redesign! the all-black tags make the wall look clean and more professional:

the view from afar!

here’s a close-up of a new tag:

we'll put the spotlight on the women's mizuno wave inspire 8!

under the old system, this shoe would have had a blue (stability) tag. if you take a peak at the right hand side, above the price (U.S. friends, i am betting this shoe costs a lot less for you) you will see three blurry words:

  • cushioning
  • stability
  • weight

each shoe receives a rating of 1-5 for each of those categories:

for cushioning, a 1 would be a shoe with very little cushioning (like track spikes or vibrams) while a 5 would be the ultimate in softness and comfort (like an asics nimbus or a nike vomero).

for stability, a neutral (yellow tag) shoe is a 1 or 2, while a 3 or 4 indicates a stability (blue tag) shoe, and a 5 designates a motion control (red tag) shoe.

for weight, our resident experts weighed a men’s size 9 shoe; if the shoe was over 11 ounces, it’s got a ranking of 5, 10-11 ounces is a ranking of 4, 9-10 ounces equals a 3, 7-9 ounces is a 2, and less than 7 ounces is a 1.[glad they figured that out for us!].

let's look at the saucony triumph 9 - the upper-end neutral shoe from saucony

in this example, you can see that the triumph 9 gets a rating of FIVE for cushioning (as a more expensive shoe, you are getting more cushioning, better quality cushioning, so the five rating makes total sense), ONE for stability (it is a neutral shoe so there is no reinforcement through the arch, at all). and FOUR for weight (saucony shoes are not known for their lightness).

compare the triumph 9 to the nike free!…

ah, the nike free run 2...can you believe i still do not own you, beautiful shoe that you are with those fantastically awesome colours!!!

look how much less cushioned (only a TWO rating) and LIGHT it is! that’s a minimalist shoe for you!

so, like i said, i am totally pumped to work with this new system. and i am thumping my chest that i saw it coming!


here’s another thing i was right about: the impactful effect of starbucks coffee on my system. it’s now been ten days since my last cup of starbucks via coffee, and i have had not one moment of where the WHEEEEEEE!!! feeling of a coffee jolt has turned into more of an EEEEEKK over-the-top case of the jitters and/or anxiety. taster’s choice instant, i am sticking with you. starbucks, i will enjoy you in-store – as a decaf! – but via pacs, you are not coming home with me any more!


remember when i went to carrie’s book launch for the juliet stories? the toronto globe and mail reviewed her novel-in-stories (here is that review) in this past saturday’s newspaper. national exposure like this is a major achievement! way to go, carrie! (acclaim for a neighbourhood + mennonite author – we like that).


how did you choose your current pair of running shoes? of course, i am hoping you will say you shopped at a specialty running store…and i will grin even more widely if it was a certain running store!

canadians: have you won a coffee yet at tim horton’s for roll up the rim? i am 1/1 but i have yet to cash in my free coffee – timmie’s is not as convenient as s’bux for me to get to!

did you remember to turn your clocks ahead? yes – i sprung ahead early saturday eve (i am always paranoid i will forget). so, i went to bed an hour earlier than usual…and could not fall asleep. so i lost an hour sleep, anyway!

pick your holiday!

yesterday, it was…

  • family day in ontario [the fact that we have this holiday slays me as it is a day off made up by the provincial government a few years ago. so, stores, schools, banks, private industry, and municipal/provincial employees are all off…but federal services are still running (so, i can’t go grocery shopping, but my mail is delivered!). makes no sense! and there is no real reason for the holiday except to break up the span of time between christmas and easter!].
  • louis riel day in manitoba [thanks, gina, for that fyi!]
  • islander day on prince edward island [thanks, mom, for that tip!]
  • presidents’ day in the states [i was ignorant about the very existence of president’s day until going to aruba. my american friends warned never EVER to travel to aruba for president’s week because paradise the island is jam-packed with families. the only GOOD thing about all the swarms of people is that is the bingo pots are sky high – haha!].
  • also, did you know that february is: national grapefruit month; national snack food month, national sweet potato month, national cherry month, and national canned food month? ’tis true. i found out here! [would it not make more sense to declare february national chocolate month, thanks to ♥ lovey-dovey day ♥ on the 14th??].

anyway, to get back to yesterday – all i did the whole entire day was be social and drink hot beverages! it was fantastic!

in the morning, i went out to sarah’s house. sarah gave me a tour around their lovely, new home…

notice zoe the kittie peaking out from upstairs?!

…and then we went out for coffee to tim hortons. it is now roll up the rim season…and, surprise, surprise, i won a coffee!

i will be cashing that rim in for the LARGEST size possible!

in the afternoon, i met mom and dad at our uptown starbucks:

what's one more coffee in a day??!

i had to see family on family day, for sure!

in the evening, i got together with my neighbourhood + blog friend, tricia! third coffee shop of the day ->we met up at coffee culture:

tricia and i realized we have the exact same cameras!!

i was actually feeling a bit “coffee’d out,” (what a surprise, eh?!) and switched to decaf tea. it was wonderful to chat with tricia – our schedules are such that they conflict completely, normally, so it was really fun to be able to meet up – all thanks to family day!


which national food would you be most likely to celebrate? me = canned food – yes! i love all manner of tinned seafood; mushrooms; and many varieties of beans!

what was the theme of your day, yesterday? ummm, coffee?! 🙂

and sunshine! check out the spectacular day we enjoyed!

...and no wind, temps above zero

the rink in the uptown square was packed!

today it is back to reality…and less coffee!

you’ve gotta be kidding me

i’ve now been diet coke-free for 22 complete days – yea, me! so, i thought i’d give an update on how i feel.


first off, you have got to be kidding me that it has ONLY been 22 days since i stopped drinking pop – it feels like a freaking LIFETIME ago that i last knit, read blogs, and sipped on fizzy goodness. that being said, i am genuinely glad i changed my imbibing ways.


just so you know, i have not cheated at all – being accountable on the blog is what has been my primary motivation. secondary motivation is feeling authentic, light of heart and spirit, and guilt-free.

i credit success to dear dr phil – i learned from him long ago that you do not BREAK a habit – you simply replace one addiction action with another. so diet coke time has become coffee time! now, believe me, coffee is proving to be an acceptable solution…but i don’t love it to pieces. what i DO enjoy is that it makes me feel all warm and cosy inside, but the taste is only…ok? acceptable? just beyond so-so??


i’ve found that coffee really packs a punch! i have made the mistake of having one cup too many of non-decaf on a couple of occasions, and wow, the jitters really kicked in – and not in a good way. i felt on the edge of feeling overly anxious. lesson learned! and i find i tire of coffee pretty easily – after a few mugs, i’m done for the day with any desire for coffee, and switch over to carbonated water.

the coffee i am drinking is just instant – nescafe is preferable to maxwell house.

my at-home coffee collection - i also have stockpiles of regular, decaf and stevia at both the store and theOTHERstore

i would love to sip down nothing but starbucks via; however, the price is prohibitive, and i am trying to be fiscally responsible with my drinking budget. [tangent: it is totally unfortunate that i can buy two six-packs of diet coke when it is on sale at shoppers for $5 – yes, that is 12 bottles for $5.00. starbucks via pacs cost $11.95 for twelve. carbonated water is anywhere from $1.oo to $1.89 per 750 ml bottle, depending on whether i can score a sale or not. i keep reminding myself i am investing in better health! oh – and don’t forget about the stevia sweetener – $8.99 for a little 15 gram canister. this switchover is not financially advantageous!].

the brand name is "new roots," and i purchase my stevia at "eating well organically."

*they* say it takes 21 days to install a habit in your life – since day 22 was yesterday, i am past the breaking point – right?!


let’s summarize the differences i have noticed:


~ great digestion – any stomach or bowel warblings have dropped off considerably, to the point of being practically non-existant. and this is with the inclusion of gluten and dairy products in my menu selections.

~ whiter eyeballs (mom notices this immediately, every time i go off pop…and it is true, i have to admit). too bad whiter teeth did not also happen!

~ excellent energy (since i am still getting my caffeine fix with the coffee).

~ soft, smooth skin on my face (although this could be the result of some recent dietary modifications…hard to say).


~ happily, i can honestly say i have not yet had any extreme cravings for a diet coke – whew. that’s the worst, when you realllly want something and have to keep repeating no no no no to yourself.

~ as hokey as it sounds, i feel like i am being true to myself. i don’t feel that deep-down guilt for ingesting chemicals that i know do absolutely nothing to promote health. so i guess i feel emotionally proud and strong (??).


you can be sure that we will revisit this diet coke discussion a few times over the next eleven months 44 weeks (remember, as per the 12 days of kiki, i am off of diet pop til december 9th!! – yikes!). but, to think positively and not complain, at least we’ve knocked three weeks off the timeline! [as mentioned, this is not the first time since i started blogging that i’ve quit pop – we have posts dedicated to diet coke here (march 2011) and here (april 2010), for example].


what is your opinion on pop? i am simply curious as to whether you think it evil or harmless.

further comment as you wish! share a personal anecdote or just encourage me – haha!

Three Things – I Mean, FIVE Things – Thursday


Ideally, today’s post would be entitled “Five Things Friday” because yes, I have five items on today’s agenda, and I’m a fan of alliteration. Unfortunately, it’s not Friday – but we’re almost there! Thursday is my Sunday because the start of my work week is Friday. Gets a little confusing!

Ok! Let’s get started!


I apologize for the intense glare coming off the glass, there. I was practically standing on my head trying to get an angle where the reflection wouldn’t be so strong, but no luck, esp with my (not fancy) point ‘n’ shoot camera.

This gown is in the window of a local bridal shop, of all places.

Is it not to die for? I just love the pleating, the way it flows down to the ground, and that sequined mid-section is out-of-this-world. I’m tempted to go in and ask how much it is, just for interest sake. I have nowhere to wear it (unless, Cousin Kate, you are getting married next year at Buckingham Palace). Nor to I have the bosom to carry off that design. But I intend to walk by daily, as long as it’s in the display window, just so I can drool over “my dress.”

2. Oh, So Smooth

I am a big fan of pithy dialogue, biting humour, and subtle yet stinging use of the English language. This ad in the August issue of Runner’s World is pure advertising brilliance:

advertising for the saucony hattori minimalist shoe

Just so you don’t have to squint, the ad copy reads:

A revolutionary new approach to minimalist training, the Hattori provides a sock-like fit with ample protection at a mere 4.4 ounces. For those who like running barefoot more than once.

It’s that last line, For those who like running barefoot more than once that is the real kicker. See, the *problem* with the minimalist shoe rage for running, particularly the use of Vibrams, (I discuss my pair here)  is that most people do way too much way too soon, and wind up hobbling or even injured the day after they go running in these lightweight shoes.Who knows if the Hattori is, in reality, that much different from the Nike Frees, the New Balance Minimus, or the Vibrams…all minimalist shoes require a sensible approach for running use. but, to my mind, this is an example brilliant ad writing and deserves an award.

3. Bonehead Coffee Move

You know that this is my favourite coffee:

starbucks VIA instant coffee in individual packets

If I buy the pack of 12 sachets at Starbucks, I pay $11.95. If I can find the packs of 8 at Valumart, on sale, it works out to $0.50 per packet.

Recently, I saw this on display at the grocery store:

decaf! individual packs! perfect!

At $1.99 for SIX packets, it’s a definite bargoon. But why, oh why, did I think that packaging this Taster’s Choice coffee this way would make it taste any better than when it’s in the cannister like this:

to quote myself, i previously referred to this coffee as "swill" on this very blog

Guess what? The individual pacs of coffee mix up into TOTAL CRAP! Duh! I let the cheap price sway my decision. Now I have five more mini-packs to use up before I can invest in some decent brew. File this one under “live and learn.”

4. I’m not happy with my haircut

It looked good the first day:

file photo, july 8th

The problem is that I got more bangs cut in AND I got my hair cut so much shorter all the way around. I should have done one or the other. The biggest peeve is the bangs. I wanted a front fringe, and instead I have heavy-duty bang-age. I’ve decided to grow out the bangs starting now. In the meantime, I’m using my headbands and fun barettes to create a false fringe:

i love this pin! it's an iron. mom got it for me cuz i don't even own an iron. that made us laugh!

If we’re lucky, by this time next year, I’ll have one length of hair all over my head!

5. Minding My Grocery Ps and Qs

The grocery bill for June was outta contral.

In July, so far, I’ve put the hammer down tried to be prudent (but I haven’t been stupid and not bought Puffins, or something like that).

I did a tally for grocery costs up to and including Saturday July 16th (I generously included the date that is just over the half-way mark for the month).


As of the 16th/the half-way mark, I had spent a mere 21% of what I spent in all of June. Whew. Now, I am digging into all my stockpiles, but unless some crazy sales pop up that will *force* me to re-stockpile my stashes, things are looking up!

What’s your favourite day of your WORK week? I genuinely like every day that I work, but I’ll have to say that Saturdays or Sundays are the very best.

Un Cafe avec Julie

This morning, I met my friend Julie for coffee!

at william's coffee!

[How’s THIS for up-to-the-minute blog posting? And so spontaneous of me, too!]

I wore my skirt!

i could use a few more summery tops to mix n match with!

Kate and William weren’t the only special people who arrived in Canada on Canada Day – Julie and her two sons flew in on July 1st, too! (Hubbie, Craig, will follow this weekend). I almost wrote that Julie “flew home,” but considering Julie and her family have lived in France for 8.5 years, that country really is their home, now.

Je pensais si je devrais Ă©crire toute cette pièce en français, aujourd’hui, parce que j’ai rencontrĂ© Julie Ă  l’universitĂ© de Waterloo pendant notre première annĂ©e de l’Ă©cole, lĂ . (Ok, I’ll stop there. My french is rusty and I don’t want to embarrass myself. Plus, inserting all those accents is driving me nuts).

I ♥ having Julie as a friend because out of all my friends from over the years, I’d say Julie and I have the most in common and are the most alike:

  • both our moms are retired kindergarten teachers with the Waterloo public school board
  • both of our dads worked for insurance companies in Waterloo
  • Julie and I are both the eldest in our families (except I have The Brother, and Julie has two younger siblings; AND The Brother and I both have names that start with “C;” Julie and her sisters all have names that begin with “J”)
  • we’re both Type A personalities, are very organized, outgoing and personable
  • Julie’s birthday is January 3rd, and mine is January 9th – > born in the same year, too!
  • we both love to run (Julie has access to the coolest race events over in France. For example, she recently completed the Tour de Canton held in Geneva)
  • we both took piano lessons as youngsters
  • after graduation, we both landed French teaching positions at private schools
  • our wedding days were only three weeks apart, back in 1995!

As I was saying, above (in case that was all greek to you), Julie and I met at the University of Waterloo during our first year of studies in the French Teaching Specialization. We were friends for the entire five years of our program. It is no exaggeration to say that Julie’s friendship and support helped me get through our four months of teacher’s college at Brock University in our fifth year (a “life chapter” to talk about another day). We did our practice teaching in the same high school during that time. Fond memory: our routine was to head to the St Catharines YMCA for a workout after teaching concluded for the day, then we’d head home to our respective on-campus townhouses.

We figured out it’s been about four years since we last visited in person. Man, you would never guess it! Our conversation gushed forth at hyper-speed for our coffee visit!

you guessed it - self-portrait!

Like Gina, I so appreciate that Julie prioritized getting together today. Julie, it was sooo awesome to visit in person! Enjoy the rest of your Canadian vacation!

â—Š â—Š â—Š â—Š â—Š

Yesterday was a day. Pretty much the antithesis of July’s goal to R E L A X. I realized early on, that a visit to Toronto was just not going to fit in. That meant that I was home last eve…so guess what I watched??! … Yes! The Top Chef Canada finale!! *spoiler alert!* I was on pins and needles as the three final contestants (you’ll remember that would be Connie, Dale and Rob) stood before the judges. In third place…Connie! [I was 99% sure they wouldn’t pick the female to win]. That left my two guys!…

the tension was high...

In the end, Dale emerged victorious, with Rob as a solid second place finisher. Man, I wish I had bet money on this contest!

Top Chef Just Desserts begins Monday, July 11 – it’s on my calendar!

â—Š â—Š â—Š â—Š â—Š

Would you ever consider moving to another country to live? I wonder if Julie and Craig ever anticipated that 8.5 years later, they would still be Canadian ex-pats!

I would totally move to Moab, Utah or anywhere in Florida in a heartbeat, if I could work there. As much as I love Aruba, I honestly don’t think I could live there…but it’s a great place to visit!

New + New

Guess what, guess what!?!? I HAVE FOUND IT!!!

welcome to your new home, muggie-mug!

On Monday, B and I took our laptops over to Coffee Culture to hang out for a bit. I was walking nonchalantly back to the washroom, when I glanced at a small shelving display of coffee products…and there was this mug! I TOLD you I would find *my mug* when I least expected it!

Now, the funny thing is I am not a fan of yellow. Orange, yes – fave colour. But for some reason, I had to have this mug in the yellow version (they had yellow, orange, green, brown)! (Maybe because Meg plate is orange already…I want diversity of colour in my eclectic dishes collection).

Wednesday morning I stopped in and picked up my fabulous find. And guess what – here’s how much I paid…you won’t believe it!

you read that correctly: $2.10 including the tax

I couldn’t find a USED mug at Value Village for that price!

I love the shape of this mug, the colour, and the fact that it says “Coffee Culture” on it because I don’t drink Coffee Culture coffee.

So now I laugh because here is the at-home coffee scene:

no shame with mixing my corporate brands!

I’m still keeping the mugs I *borrowed* from The Brother and SIL Ana. They are never going to see those again. The collection is growing!!


Guess what else I got this week?

same brand (timex) that i had, but updated colour option!

I had my new watch transferred in to my store from another of our store locations.

F-I-N-A-L-L-Y it arrived this week. Good thing, too: as I was taking off my old watch (I never take my watch off), the split in the band expanded to within a hair’s width of snapping completely. I just chucked it in to the garbage. I love the silver/cream colour combination of the new watch, and the understated floral theme. Here’s a better shot, from the catalogue:

Ironman Sleek 50-Lap Flora(source)


Cake Class #3/4 was last eve! Recap coming tomorrow!

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak!…

pompom flower!!!

shaggy mum!! (this was my fave! i wanna do a whole shaggy CAKE!!)

…And that’s not all!!

Have a great Friday – last one of February!! (snow storm coming, apparently, just so we can further *celebrate* this fact…)

February Outing of the Month with Dad!

What better way to celebrate Family Day yesterday, than by going out with Dad for our February Outing-of-the-Month.

(Click here for more details about the Coupon-of-the-Month Christmas gifts I gave to Mom, Dad, and The Brother/SIL Ana).

(Click here to read about the February Coupon Redemptions with Mom and The Brother/SIL Ana).

In January, Dad and I went out for breakfast.

We have decided to progress chronologically through the day with each successive monthly outing. So, for February, we went for coffee! I love coffee!

Mom is not a Starbucks fan (she finds their coffee bitter). Dad IS a Starbucks fan. I am a Starbucks fan. Dad and I went to Starbucks!

at our friendly, neighbourhood location!

Since mom and dad live in the building next door, I met Dad in his lobby!

good morning, dad!

A short jaunt across this parking lot, and we were at The Buck. We love living in Uptown Waterloo!

a chilly morning! but the sidewalks and parking lots were plowed already - nice!

I perused the menu. Despite the fact that I can call myself a coffee-drinker now, this was the first time I have ever ordered a coffee at Starbucks! What a lot of choices!

it's all greek to me!

Dad got some frothy thing…I bet you the name ends in -CINO. I also got a blueberry oat bar. Close call between that square and a pumpkin scone…but oatmeal is a good mid-morning snack.

a grande!

The place was pretty busy: lots of young families warming up after skating next door at the rink, singles working on laptops, girlfriends gossiping – the usual coffee shop assortment. No other father-daughter combo, as far as I could tell.

We scored a wall-side table – good timing!

warmer against the wall, not right next to a window!

Dad and I settled in, started chatting, and before I knew it, an hour had evaporated! We discussed every topic under the sun, from the soon-to-be-released Blackberry Playbook (me wants one!) to marathon running to neighbourhood gossip. Dad is a great conversationalist. I love conversation!


Thanks for the totally awesome visit, Dad! Catch ya in March for lunch-time! [Dad and I have decided that both March and April will be lunch outings; we’ll each pick the place for one of the months. The other person is barred from opining on the location, and must just go along with the choice!]

can't end our outing without a self-portrait to capture the occasion!

 Are you a Starbucks fan?