Tag Archives: dad

creeped out, bored + why dad is in 7th heaven

this past week, i finished two books – numbers thirteen and fourteen on the year. again, i was reading them simultaneously, and you will see why in just a moment.

on thursday, i finished sue grafton’s t is for trespass, part of the kinsey millhone series.

without a doubt, this was the BEST sue grafton i have read. i rate it ***1/2 (three point five stars). funny note, part i: i could only get this book in LARGE PRINT from the library. it was 564 pages long and the size of a door stop. but you sure feel like a speedreader when you can cover 100+ pages in a single day. funny note, part ii: this novel was a complete page turner, but one night i was trying to read it in bed, and i had to set it aside, that’s how much it was giving me the willies. and it was all because of the character of “solana” – she was freaking me out! so i had to stick to day-time reading.

this series is like reading a nancy drew: you know that everything will turn out all right in the end (as also evidenced by the fact that the next book is u is for undertow) but the plot totally hooked me, and i could not wait to see how things would turn out. the only disappointment was the last few pages – the story ends overly-dramatically.

then last night, i thankfully concluded the jane austen book club by susan joy fowler.

i will go on record as saying this was the most boring chick lit-genred novel i have ever read (i should have left it in the garbage room building lending library where i found it). tjabc was both a good and bad bedtime read: good because it made me want to sleep, bad because it took me way longer to finish than it should have, given the very few number of pages i could get through per night. the characters did not engage me (the most interesting of the mini-plots was the love triangle history of sylvia-jocelyn-daniel) and the writing style was flat. to be fair, if i was more familiar with jane austen’s works (i’ve only ever read pride and prejudice and that was at least twenty years ago) the austen comparisons might have meant more, and the novel may have been more interesting. this book gets a *1/2 (one point five star) rating. before reading the novel, i thought i had seen the movie version; now i don’t think i did! absolutely nothing sounded familiar! can’t say i am tempted to rush out and get the dvd!

next up: ready player one, on loan from sil ana. both she and the brother have read it, now it’s my turn! i’m looking forward to what i understand are prolific 80s references. and sticking to my two-books-at-once trend, i just this aft picked up u is for undertow at the library. time to get reading!


if asked to name his favourite food, i know dad would reply, “french fries.” although, on second thought, maybe he would say apple pie…or mom’s scalloped potatoes??…ok, i guess i am not as sure of my response as i initially thought! anyway, i DO know fries would be right near the top of the list. take a look at what has been parked in uptown waterloo, right in the centre square, starting about a week ago:


[**important sidenote!!** sadly, this ^^ is NOT the exact truck to which i am referring! when i went to snap my pic this aft -> NO TRUCK. murphy’s law! so this is a CLOSE APPROXIMATION of the vehicle you will see in uptown waterloo square!].

needless to say, dad has already paid dave’s french fry truck a visit. his verdict? excellent! i have to laugh because whenever we talk about uptown waterloo plus food choices, dad emphatically states that uptown wat needs a fresh-cut fry truck (any other longtime residents remember when there WAS a bright blue fry truck, parked by the corner of william and king, way back in the late 80s, early 90s?!).

so far, it looks like the fry truck is getting a good flow of traffic up to its take-out window. locals, lmk if you check out dave’s fry truck and give me your opinion! (and don’t be surprised if you bump into dad!).


on this weekend, way back in ’96, dad and i ran our first marathons in niagara falls. i remember so many details from that day – happy memories!

what are you reading RIGHT NOW?! and give your **** star rating, please!

theme week: 10 things my parents did right

happy monday, everyone, and welcome to theme week!

every day this week, i’m going to explore a topic/ideaover-used title that is common in the blogging world.

for the past few mondays, stacie has been participating in monday listicles:


last week’s subject totally grabbed my interest and i thought, as i read stacie’s blog entry, “hey! i want to write about 10 things my parents did right, too!” i love how the very nature of this list is positive and we are not slamming and bemoaning how our parents raised us.

as a refresher, my mom and dad and i live in side-by-side condo buildings. i count my parents as my closest friends, and they are awesome people [of course, when i was 12-18 years old, they frustrated me much more frequently than now – haha!].

so, looking back on my growing-up years, here are:


1. surprise us with mcdonalds for lunch on sundays. i wrote a blog post here about my memories of these special outings, and this is what i said:

our family was not rolling in money when the brother and i were little – my mom stayed at home and my dad worked for a local insurance company. we were very comfortable, but my parents had to watch the budget a bit. a real treat was when we would go to mcdonalds for lunch after church on sunday. we did not go every week. and we never knew if we were going to go until the drive home at noon – if dad took a certain road, we knew it was a mcdonalds day! the brother and i would clap and practically dance in the back seat of the car. i think this memory is so special because it was family time all together, i loved the fillet o’ fish/fries food, and the joyful surprise factor was just too much fun.

2. instill a love of reading: books were a part of our childhood from babyhood onwards. when we went to the library, we could choose the same number of books as our age, i recall. one other memory: mom would read to us after supper, before kitchen clean-up time: the story girl, robinson crusoe, the swiss family robinson, the five little peppers and how they grew…thanks to the importance placed on enjoying works of fiction, i still love reading to this day.

3. arrange to have a stay-at-home mom during our formative years: this situation was the right decision in this era for our family. mom went back to work as a supply teacher (which led to a permanent classroom position as a kindergarten teacher) when i was in grade six. [sidenote: i want to emphasize that i have full respect for, and totally support my friends who work outside the home and also are moms]. prominent memories: riding our bikes to go on picnics to parks with a lunchbox lunch; one-to-one time (making my own alphabet book at age four); homemade (sometimes fiddly and labour-intensive) suppers; a generally relaxed home environment.

4. encourage creative and imaginative play: tv time was limited to 30-60 minutes per day; most of our toys did not require batteries; we were allowed to spread out our villages and families all over the living room and rec room and leave them in place for days on end!

5. vacation in a variety of ways during the summers: we took long trips both to eastern and western canada; we rented cottages for a week or two at a time; we took day trips to southern ontario tourist spots while maintaining a home base.

at storybook gardens, london (ontario), 1975

6. limit tv time: see #4, above. we played outside, inside, upstairs, downstairs, in the garage a lot more frequently than we watched tv! however, we DID view the popular childrens’ shows of the time [my stance is that kids have to know who mickey mouse and big bird are in order to be *with it* members of society]. tv was a special treat rather than a major time-filler.

7. prioritize time with grandparents, family, family friends: my grandma and grandpa c lived just a five minute drive away, so it was nbd to pop over to visit, get together for birthdays, etc. we were also close with my aunt and uncle who lived locally. and, our family visited back and forth with other families a lot!

g’ma and g’pa c!

8. encourage laughter: cracking hardboiled eggs on our foreheads, burping and farting (not in public!!), making dad wear a bread basket on his head over dinner-hour, just being silly because it is fun to laugh…we had a pretty joyful household (most of the time!!).

9. teach manners and accepted etiquette: i remember being so peeved because mom made us write thank you notes after birthdays and christmas!! i wanted to play with new toys, not write about them! but it was the right life lesson to teach us. not to boast, but mom and dad used to get compliments from perfect strangers about how well-behaved and polite the brother and i were, so they taught us well!

10. take us to church: let’s call a spade a spade – i no longer attend church, but i am grateful for the fact that we went to church every sunday (except in the summers) from birth to university-age. my feeling is that you don’t have to go to church to live ethically, practice kindness, and believe in God, and i am thankful for my mennonite church/faith upbringing.

what is something that YOUR parents did right, and something that you wish they had done differently? i wish that my parents had let me give up on piano lessons and let me take dance lessons instead. [please note that my parents are fully aware of my feelings, we have discussed the past, it is bygones, i DID learn valuable life lessons by achieving my grade eight in piano, and we have no hard feelings!].

stacie, i am glad you participated in this listicle as you inspired me, and i got to reflect on much happiness from many years ago!

tomorrow: we have another list of TEN!

swiss chalet, a test drive, and running inspiration

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


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


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

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

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

…and seated at our table!

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

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

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

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

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

more than just fries and chicken!

my rating of our swiss chalet experience:

food: B+

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

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

atmosphere: A

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

service: B-

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

my dining companions: A+

dad and g’ma in our booth!


thanks, dad, for treating us!

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


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

we met with our favourite sales associate, jerry smith:

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

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

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

the prius we took out for a spin

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

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

my friend’s fiesta!! ❤

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


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

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

sara, ready to go!

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

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

joanne, finishing strong

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

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

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

a decadent drink + a marvelous movie

sunday was a fun day!

part i:

in the afternoon, i met up with mom and dad at starbucks. this was a momentous occasion because i had my first-ever iced beverage!!


it’s true! i’ve never had a frappa-cappa-latta-mochi, ever, and sunday was the day to try one of s’bux specialty iced drinks. since it was 3 p.m., i did not want anything with coffee in it, so i ordered (after receiving info and clarification from the barista) a double chocolatey chip (don’t quote me, but i think that was the name). i loved it! this beverage becomes entry #2 in the wildly decadent and delicious desserts category for the 12 days of kiki project. here’s a fact: any time you add whipped cream and/or chocolate sauce to anything, said item automatically gets bumped into “decadent” status. [i’m calling it now: the remaining three desserts of the project are going to be ice-y cold, in some way, shape or form]. anyway, that chocolate drink gets a **** rating, and i highly recommend it.

the main reason for our get-together was to celebrate mom’s upcoming birthday!

a photo to mark the occasion!

as part of her gift, i made mom a pair of socks…

how many socks do you see???!…

…except due to technical difficulties, i only had one sock completed! so, mom received one sock on sunday and an IOU card for its partner. hopefully, by this weekend, mom will have TWO socks in her possession!

we had a lovely time visiting and raising a glass an iced drink in mom’s honour!

part ii:

sunday eve, we headed back over to the princess in order to attempt, once again, to catch the film the best exotic marigold hotel.

would we have better luck getting in on an overcast and humid sunday eve of a non-long weekend?


yes!…but barely! we got seats mid-theatre -> would not have wanted to be any closer to the screen!

we’ll go with inside-the-theatre photos, this week!


we all loved the movie. i give it a rock-solid ***+ star rating.

the storyline is captivating and quick-paced and filled with unexpected twists. my favourite characters were played by bill nighy and maggie smith, but the movie is chalk full of stellar performances. the dialogue is LOL funny in parts, but the film is also full of gentle life lessons such as:

everything will be all right in the end…if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.

that is brilliant!

if you get a chance to view this movie, go for it – you won’t be disappointed!

whose birthday will you next celebrate among your immediate family/close friends? we enter a drought period after mom’s birthday – nothing until cutie c turns three in august!

do you have any desire to travel to india (the setting for the best exotic marigold hotel)? i do not, i must admit. call me unadventurous, but i do think india is a little too exotic for me…although i would find my beloved hot weather!

going once, going twice…

last year, we nearly froze to death…

file photo: quilt auction preview, may 27.2012

…and this year, it was practically hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk a tractor!

with the catalogue of quilt offerings for 2012!

i’ll take this heat, thank you very much!

what a perfect evening:

here we are!

[i love and adore having a chronicle on this blog of social events! this is the third annual blog post about quilt auction preview night. here is the 2010 report, and here is the 2011 account!].

in looking back, i noticed that i followed the same format in my recap posts for each of the last two years. let’s stick with tradition – after all, that is what quilt auction preview eve is all about!

tradition #1: dad’s parking spot

what the what?? in other years, dad has chosen to manoeuvre his lexus into the most obscure and puny of parking *spots* imaginable. this year, we drove in, right away at least three empty spaces beckoned us over, and we had tons of room to fling open our doors!

look at all that s-p-a-c-e!!!

as we walked along, we were all laughing pretty hard as we played “eye spy” for spots that dad could have chosen:

this green triangle was my suggestion – dad could have nosed the lexus right alongside that blue bucket…

ah – we missed out! we would have been twenty paces closer had we only held out for this spot!

tradition #2: meat ‘n’ pie

dad made a beeline straight towards the burgers:

uh oh, check out the size of the line-up!

much too long of a wait for erv-man! second choice? french fries!

THIS is the way to enjoy fries: hot from the fryer, with ketchup and salt!

very, very tasty! good choice, dad. but fries are not made from meat…

dad later found a shorter burger line, so don’t worry that the poor man missed out on getting his protein. then, just before we went home…

cherry pie and ice cream! for $2.50, only!

after the french fry munching, mom and i took off in search of…

tradition #3: mom buys apple butter and jams


the prices are SO reasonable: mom got a huge jar of (straight from wellesley) apple butter for only $5!

jam, jam, where is the jam lady?


mom does make jam herself, but it’s fun to pick up some types that are rather unusual:

i think mom bypassed the dandelion variety, though!

tradition #4: the viewing of the quilts

next, mom and i ventured over to the quilt display. we had 206 works of art to view!

follow the arrows!

this year, instead of trying to capture an entire blanket, i have only smidgeons of quilts to share with you:

my favourite of the entire evening…

…it’s shown in its entirety on the front of the auction program. spectacular!

this quilt featured flowers, each block unique from the rest. i loved the detailing!

we noticed a definite return to traditional quilting techniques this year

classic. i love symmetry and bright colours in a quilt.

and finally…

i know that blanket! (sorry for the blur – dad must have had salt jitters from the fries??!)

tradition #5: catching up

i swear we don’t walk ten feet without meeting someone we know, or seeing someone we recognize. this year, we connected with the usual mix of family (mom’s cousin bob, specifically, and joan and sandy), church friends, old neighbours, ex-classmates…and new this year, my friend vy from the store!

fun, fun, and more fun.

i know this is jumping the gun, but i am excited for next year’s outing, already!

what is one social outing that you attend every single year, if at all possible? the next written-in-stone event on the calendar is the september knitter’s fair!


update: my fb friend successfully completed his first 100 miler in 22:xx which is a fantastic time for a race of that distance (sub-24 is kind of the “gold standard” for non-elites). congrats to everyone who raced this weekend!

foiled at the movie theatre!

i am not doing very well with my attempts to be nice, lately.

as you have seen, mom and dad have been so very good about letting me steal food from their fridge and cupboards during the great may grocery challenge this month (an apple and a cheese slice here, a baggie of cereal there…it all adds up). yes, i have felt more than a weeee bit guilty over taking, taking, taking (i think the tipping point was having dad get that lettuce for me at the market!).

as a gesture of thanks, i invited mom and dad to join me as my guests for a night out at the movies this past sunday. we could walk over to the princess twin for the 6:30 pm showing of the best exotic marigold hotel.


i had seen the trailer for this movie [i forget exactly what i was at the theatre to see when i saw it], and it looked like an inoffensive, engaging story – one that you are not uncomfortable to see with your parents [or your daughter, for that matter, i imagine!].plus, we are all great fans of judi dench and maggie smith.

what a gorgeous evening for a quick walk up to the cinema!

we arrived before 6:25 pm…only to be greeted by patrons exiting the theatre – the movie was sold out!


[apart from giving me free groceries, i also owe mom and dad for letting me boss them around about how to pose for photos for the blog – such good sports, always!].

what a shame! all three of us were genuinely surprised that the movie would be sold out on such a lovely evening of a long weekend (isn’t everyone supposed to be camping or at the cottage??). ah, well. not meant to be, obviously.

at least we enjoyed a short stroll in the evening sunshine!

mom and dad, we will reschedule!

plan b was quickly devised: we settled in for a knitting party (ok, not dad) at mom and dad’s condo, and watched the latest (pvr’d) episode of top chef canada -> highly entertaining!

and – will wonders never cease – i went home without stealing a thing!

what is the last movie you saw, and please give it a rating out of **** stars. i would like to go see the five-year engagement and/or what to expect when you’re expecting. i have no desire to see the avengers.

maman et papa et la ville de montreal

bonjour, mes amis!

as a friday treat, we have a special guest post today. i asked my mom if she would please write about a new experience that she and dad recently enjoyed. take it away, mom!


Anglophones in Montreal

mom and dad, montreal, april 2012

We are not seasoned or savvy or readily disposed to travel.

We have escaped winter to sunny spots – Aruba and Caribbean cruises several times; once, a decade ago, we flew to Singapore and Malaysia for a month of heat and humidity.  But, I think that travel, generally – and enormous, over-crowded, noisy airports in particular – are vastly over-rated. Therefore, I have practised avoidance techniques for years: quickly re-cycling brochures, flipping through the pages of travel sections in the newspapers, smiling blandly and mumbling trite phrases when friends and family enthuse about ports-of-call seen and appreciated.

And then we opened our 2011 Christmas gift from our son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren: return flight and hotel accommodations for a holiday in Montreal in April.  My joy was genuine.


We have never been to Montreal to stay.  Traversing the city with our eyes glued to the direction Ouest to and from holidays in Eastern Canada does not count. Navigating the bridges and French signage after we had driven to and from Chicoutimi some 20 years ago was a dim memory. Five years of high school French 50 years ago does not render me confident in communicating in a foreign language.  Did we manage in cosmopolitan Montreal?  Yes!

Throughout our entire 3-day visit we were respectfully greeted, given directions, and had questions answered and explanations provided graciously in English after it was established that anglais was our language preference.


After a sleep-over in Toronto at our family’s home, we taxied to the ferry that glided across Lake Ontario for all of 3 minutes to Toronto Island Billy Bishop airport.  The airport was small and clean with a friendly feeling and extremely navigable procedures to get us on the plane.  The flight to Montreal’s Pierre Trudeau Airport took an hour.  The taxi ride to our hotel took about 25 minutes.  A huge black umbrella balanced adroitly by the hotel concierge protected me from the downpour.  The boutique Hotel Nelligan on Rue St. Paul Ouest/St. Paul Street West was elegant and beautiful.  Two of the red brick walls in our luxury suite had been preserved when the original old building was restored. In the tastefully appointed lobby area, we were served cups of complimentary and excellent coffee.  Later in the afternoon, we sipped a complimentary glass of wine and spent an entertaining hour surreptitiously people-watching and eavesdropping (although we did not comprehend any of the rapid-fire conversations en français.)


During our 3-day stay, we did not stray far from the hotel, and walked along St. Paul Street east and west visiting a different lively and interesting café each day for lunch.  We visited a wide range of art galleries, clothing boutiques, shops with displays of sleek and modern tableware, an excellent stationery and paper goods store, and a large book store with all-in-French titles.  In one boutique, I admired a beguiling gown that had as a price point a jaw-dropping ¼ of what our first house cost. “Just browsing, thank you” was easily accepted by the staff.  We avoided the tourist trap t-shirts and coffee mugs and native dolls made-in-China a few blocks away.

The Centre des Sciences de Montreal/Montreal Science Centre located on the Quays of the old Port of Montreal was a delightful adventure.  The IMAX 3-D movie The Last Reef was enchanting.  I loved catching tiny sea creatures that seemed to float right into my hand.

We toured the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal/Notre Dame Basilica where Celine Dion was married in December 1994.  The Neo-Gothic exterior is imposing and the opulent interior is dramatic and colourful with brilliant blues and azure and gold hues.  I could not believe the size of the organ, 7000 pipes mounted to the highest of high ceilings.

inside the basilica

Partly because of the pouring rain, we stayed at the dining room, Verses, at Hotel Nelligan for dinner the first night.  For a 2-week period, the chef was experimenting with a tapas-style menu, and we devoured deconstructed duck with tasty sides and then finished with decadent batter-fried apples accompanied by warm, salted butterscotch sauce for dessert.


The highlight was dinner at Garde Manger, the brainchild of Chef and Food Network Host Chuck Hughes. The restaurant is unobtrusively tucked into a side street, Rue St. Francois-Xavier. Our son had made the reservations for us a month in advance.  We arrived to a packed room with space for about 35 diners.  It was small and antique, but definitely not quaint and cozy.  The place was rockin’!  We were the oldest people in the restaurant by two decades, but did not feel estranged. Our helpful and charming waitress translated the all-in-French menu for us scrawled on a blackboard.  The younger couples at the tables to our left and right were friendly without being invasive and it was from them that we learned that Chuck was actually in house that night.  Usually he is not.  One couple had seen him roar up on his motorcycle!  I discreetly craned my neck, frequently, to view hunky Chuck who was highly visible and busy all evening.

The food was delicious.  We started with a clam amuse bouche, a great beginning.  Then the appetizer: I had a roasted beet salad, the beets in 2 vivid colours, and hubby chose lobster poutine.  Fantastic! For our mains I ate perfectly cooked scallops with accompanying potato gnocchi on a bed of carmelized carrots and hubby savoured slow-braised (for 36 hours according to our server) short ribs with rich gravy.  At the recommendation of our next-table neighbour, he drank Chinese beer with that.  Wow!  For dessert we shared a deep-fried Mars bar with vanilla ice cream.  Oh, my…it does not get better than this.

Chuck was friendly and approachable when we asked if I could have my photo taken with him.  I had that treasured souvenir posted on facebook shortly after our return to reality.  It was a marvelous evening, and as we strolled (well, more accurately, waddled) back the short distance to our hotel we murmured deep appreciation for family and superbly cooked food and new experiences.

WITH CHUCK!! at garde manger

After an unaccustomed sleep-in and a leisurely light breakfast, we reversed our route and returned to Toronto, in the rain, where our daughter-in-law met us at the airport and patiently listened to our hyperbole as we talked and talked.  What a wonderful trip.

We may not have been savagely bitten by a travel bug nor been rhapsodized by wanderlust, but la Ville de Montreal à la Belle Province beckons.


thanks so much, mom! i want to meet chuck!!

have you ever visited montreal? me = no! despite going to school in québec for eight months, i have never spent time in montréal. now, québec city i have enjoyed on numerous occasions, but a tour de montréal has never materialized. maybe someone(s) will surprise aunti with a petit get-away trip to montreal?!

so many shades of “chocolate!”

yesterday, i didn’t have to be at the store ’til 3:15 p.m., and mom and dad were in town, so it was the perfect day to tackle a project that has been sitting on the back burner for a while, now. how long? well, “paint a bathroom” was supposed to be a new experience for last year’s kiki project!

actually, i better clarify: i want dad to paint the condo casa master bathroom while i boss him around – but, hey! i am willing to pay for the paint! [dad is an extremely talented painter/wallpaper-er; he really should have started a sideline business in his retirement, that is how skilled he is].

i’ll show you the space i want painted:

view from the doorway

[i was going to clean up and remove all personal objects, then thought, “this is not a photo shoot for a magazine spread; let’s make the scene look realistic!”]

to the R of the doorway is the shower (i took this photo while standing in the bathtub!)

bathtub to the L – it has whirlpool jets which have been used exactly twice in 7.5 years.

the rear of the tub area/the entry door to the bathroom

we shall consider these to be the official “before” photographs!


dad picked me up at 11:30 a.m., and we headed straight to heer’s decorating in nearby belmont village on gage avenue (we showed up to belmont, not realizing the store had moved!). yes, i could likely get cheaper paint at home depot or rona, but the intention is that this paint job will last for years, so i’d rather go higher quality and be 100% happy with the look and results.

let’s get paint-picking!

deep down, i would love to paint the bathroom pumpkin-y orange. however, that shade would wreak havoc on skintone, i do believe. so my next favourite choice is chocolate.

anyone else feel overwhelmed when presented with too many options?!

after round #1 of eliminations, these were the contenders…

…which were further reduced to TWO hues.

i went back and forth, back and forth, debating between “roasted coffee beans” and “chocolate sundae.” positive karma exuded from each paint chip name, so that was no help (coffee or chocolate? both gave me happy vibes!).

in the end, CHOCOLATE SUNDAE was the winner – i figure i really am wanting that rich, dark brown shade, and chocolate sundae will provide just that look.

two pails of benjamin moore – as seen on “cityline!”

the total for the paint and other essentials like the roller and bin-things came in well under my anticipated budget. happy painting, DAD!


after the stress of choosing the paint, we needed to relax and fuel up! so the next stop, for lunch, was…

dad’s favourite of the fastfood burger chains!

[today’s post would have been perfect for the letter “H” in the blogging from a-z challenge!].

cheese!!! (actually, both of our burgers were cheese-free!)

one burger each, and we shared fries + onion rings.

[DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THIS MEAL SCREAMED, BEGGED, CRIED OUT FOR, SORELY DESIRED A LARGE DIET COKE????? i apologize for yelling, but water was just soooo lacking in this situation. moving on, now that i have that tantrum out of my system…].

we had a great time, and as predicted, never shut up once during our two hour outing.

thanks again for your help with the paint, dad! here, let me give you something as a thank you:

12 brand new golf balls!!!

yesterday’s time with dad made me realize that i really do miss the outing of the month project of 2011. maybe it will need to be re-instated in 2013?!


what colour is your bathroom? boy, i am nosy this week, aren’t i?!

a day of awesomeness

it’s not my usual blogging style to write a “here’s what i did yesterday“-type entry; however, we’re going to venture into that journalistic territory today because i really want to share my tuesday with you.

do you ever have one of those days that just seems too good to be true? that was my tuesday. by the time the evening rolled around, i was craning my neck out the window, trying to spot the lucky star (or flock of cardinals?!) that i was sure must be hanging over my head.

my “good karma” bird

[don’t worry, i do not live with a horseshoe up my a$$; one day last week, i endured a pretty craptastic evening at work that soured my entire day – happens to us all, eh?].

let’s go through tuesday’s events in chronological time order…

~ i worked at the store from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the first six hours of my shift, i was able to: organize the month-end paperwork for our home office package; write the weekly run club email; transfer out a ton of shoes; unpack a ginormous box of new product; complete a markdown report; do a spot audit for inventory purposes – oh, and assist customers with their purchases! it was so satisfying to get so much accomplished. during the last hour, a girl who i had not seen since we ran together with “tri city track” eons ago came in – it was fun to catch up with her!

~ i received a performance evaluation that filled my ♥ with joy.

~ tuesday’s blog post introduced the great may grocery challenge, and it was so much fun reading your responses and comments! one of the best parts about blogging is visiting back and forth. i do hope some of you play along with tracking your grocery expenses, too, and we can all compare notes at the end of the month.

~ i received a phone message from a member of the mcc quilt committee. the kind lady wanted to let me know that my blanket was selected to be part of the quilt display on from now until the end of the month at the joseph schneider haus in kitchener.

log cabin blanket

~ after work, it was time for errands. first stop: the library. finally, i was able to snag emily giffin’s “something blue” after a few weeks where it was already signed out every time i checked for it [reading something blue makes for my third e.g. read in a row! i’m enjoying her style very much].

~ then, it was on to valumart. i got the grocery challenge off on the right foot by taking advantage of a number of super deals, for example:

  • tin of tuna – $1!
  • salad dressing – $1!
  • chicken pot pie – $1!
  • lettuce – $1!

i spent $18 and change, and had a good haul of items to bring home.

~ as i walked into my building, i ran into (not literally) my superintendent. he asked me, “i think it was you who left a NIKE cardboard box in the recycling room??” i thought, uh oh…guilty as charged. [background details: a couple weeks ago, at theOTHERstore, i took all of the cardboard boxes out back to the recycling receptacle. there was one box –  the NIKE one – that i just could not cram in nor break down…so i brought it home with me to *hide* in the building recycling bin]. super doug continued: “i have to tell you that i saved the box because it is absolutely perfect for using when we wax the floors. what a great find!” whew! (while i am tempted to count this positive outcome as a r.a.o.k., i will not!).

~ up in the condo casa, i attacked a to do list as long as my arm. i was determined to pull an erv and get everything checked off, tickety-boo. after a couple hours, my list was complete except for one last thing: make more recyclable bags for the compost bin. i didn’t really feel like doing this task, but decided to get it over with. i trotted down to the recycling room to get the needed newspaper. as i entered the garbage room, an item on the dumping shelf lending library shelf caught my eye:

one dozen brand new golf balls!

i scooped these up for dad! too funny: if i had not gone down to get the newsprint tuesday eve, i am sure the golf balls would have been gone by morning. i bet dad will get a hole-in-one when he uses these lucky-find golf balls!

and then i enjoyed a good sleep!

what’s one activity, moment, blessing, *coincidence* that RAWKED (as my friend derek would say!) for you, this week, thus far? hopefully, sharing good karma begets good karma!

today i am going on an outing with dad, and we are going to pursue something that i had hoped would be a new experience LAST year! [no, it is not a hot yoga session.]…i’ll fill you in tomorrow because i am not sure if we are going to succeed on our mission, or not!

a very treasured photo

this is the story of the special project that i have been working on as a surprise gift to dad!

to begin, we must go back to june, 1990 – yes, almost 22 years ago!

at this time, i was just starting to dabble in running. semi-regularly, i would invite myself out to run with dad [dad’s been a dedicated runner since the ’70’s, during the running boom of that era]. we’d go maybe 30 minutes or so around our chicopee neighbourhood. i only ever ran with dad, and right from day one, we’d have the best talks during our outings.

i don’t remember how the decision was made, but somehow i ended up on the start line, with dad, of the waterloo 10k classic road race, held on father’s day. i had never run that distance before! the furthest i had gone was maybe 5-6k?? but when you’re young and foolish and don’t know any better, you don’t set limits on yourself! [sidenote: dad and i last participated in this very same race on father’s day, 2010. that race recap is here!].

anyway, all was well and good in that very first race experience until just after the 9k mark. at that point, i kinda hit the wall. i was tired and did not want to run anymore! (locals: we were on seagram drive, by the railway track, nearing the stadium – all we had to do was continue a few hundred metres up the road, go around the seagram track, and cross the finish line)!

as i was saying i thought i needed to walk, dad grabbed my hand and kindly yet firmly guided me to keep running. we ran a few steps hand-in-hand, and my urge to walk disappeared. i finished my first 10k with zero walk breaks (back in 1990, race participants were pretty hardcore; the run/walk method of running was unheard of). that race and dad’s encouragement to keep running was a defining life moment, and cemented my lifelong attitude towards running: you are stronger than you think you are. don’t give up when the going gets tough.

now: unbeknownst to dad and i, during the few steps that we held hands and kept on running at that 9 k mark, someone snapped our photo!

"the photo"

[apart from the race circumstances, you know why i cherish this photo? 1) the expressions on our faces – we are not posed and smiling; you can see effort and concentration! 2) notice how our legs and feet are in symmetry! we were running as a partnership! 3) my shoes: that was my first pair of “real running shoes” – they were the adidas peachtree model, purchased at webco sports, and i loved them for years. 4) look at what we’re wearing: cotton tshirts! ’80’s styling! and those shorts were my mom’s! 5) how serendipitous that the photographer happened to be at the right place at the right moment – pretty amazing timing. add up all of these elements, and this is one precious photograph].

so, that is part one of our story.

part two: dad and i were frequent participants over the next several years in many of race director lloyd s.’s runwaterloo races – we ran the father’s day classic every year, and also enjoyed the oktoberfest 10k, the fridgee 8er, etc. at each of these races, lloyd would put out a photo display – and every year he included that photo of dad and me. i would be so embarrassed! dad and i always searched out our photo, though, and enjoyed a good chuckle, esp as our times got faster, and we improved as competitive runners. what a benchmark of how far we had progressed.

fast forward to about a year ago or so. one day, the idea popped into my head that it would be a great father’s day gift to get a copy of the “holding hands” photo and give it to dad as a surprise. i’ve gotten to know lloyd quite well over the years…

file photo: lloyd and me, father's day classic, june 2010

…so, i emailed him and asked if i could borrow the photo to copy. lloyd replied that he would dig out the photo and let me know when it was available.

well, i didn’t hear back from lloyd! and i kind of forgot about my request!

now, let’s jump ahead to the beginning of february/last month – out of the blue, i got an email from lloyd stating that he had found the photo i was looking for as he was prepping for the fridgee 8er. he’d leave it at runner’s choice [ooo, i had to go into our competitor’s store!] and i could make a copy and return it at my leisure. let me tell you, i was on cloud nine the rest of the day! what a fun surprise to arrange for dad!

i debated organizing the reprint now, but waiting til father’s day to give the photo to dad…but, i was too impatient and excited to wait that long! i decided to give dad the reprint as a just because random giftie!

first, it took lloyd’s original photo to black’s photography at fairview park mall (theOTHERstore is just down the street, so i went over one day after work) and had two copies made (i wanted one, too!). now, look what i found on the back of the original photo:

our picture was an entry in the photo contest!

the reprints turned out so well – i am super impressed with photo technology nowadays. no film negative, remember!

hard to tell original from reprint, eh?! on the L is the reprint; on the R is the original

i got a frame at michael’s and wrapped up dad’s surprise:

project complete - a few weeks from start to finish!

last eve, i went over to mom and dad’s for dinner. time to present dad with the surprise!

what could this be?!

dad was super-touched and pleased by the photo surprise! we reminisced for a bit about the fun races and places we have gone to, over the years.

then and now!

note to self: frame and display MY copy!

please tell me about a photo that is very special to you! it is very cool that we have blogs, digital cameras, computer files for our photos in this day and age; however, there is something to be said about the sentimental factor of hardcopy prints. all of my photo albums are prized possessions.