Tag Archives: friends

three things on a (january 3rd) thursday

today IS thursday, right? i am so befuddled with the days of the week, thanks to the hols.

number one thing:

i saw this tea box yesterday at vincenzo’s. i did not buy it. i should have, though:

fact: you can never have too many cardinals in the home.

fact: you can never have too many cardinals in the home.

Β number two thing:

joanne and i had a fabulous visit, as always:

jo, i lied, our photo IS on the blog, after all!!!

jo, i lied, our photo IS on the blog, after all!!!

number three thing:

i am now the highly embarrassed proud owner of a puffy coat:

it is impossible to take a *great* pic while wearing a puffy coat.

fact: it is impossible to take a *great* pic while wearing a puffy coat.

i had surprisingly wonderful luck at mark’s work wearhouse yesterday [fellow canadians, i know that the store is now called “marks,” but this retail establishment will be engrained in my head as “mark’s work wearhouse,” forever and ever].

this coat fit all my requirements: it’s warm (downfilled), hooded (and this one zips off), w.a.r.m. (WARM!!), black (the only colour i would consider), warm (i hate being cold), and was reasonably priced. then – bonus!!! i got to the cash register and the jacket was 50% off, something i did not know prior to paying! that cardinal sighting at vincenzo’s had something to do with my luck, i just know it!…


wishing YOU a lucky thursday!

1, 2, 3, it’s thursday!

1. i started my christmas shopping yesterday!


[and that’s all i can say about that!]

2. because it was frickin’ freezing *quite* chilly out yesterday, i grabbed the opportunity to wear my free new saucony compression tights all day out and about, and to work in the evening:

well, that’s a bit of an awkward angle…

…is this a bit better? (fake running!)

the material is fantastically silky! it feels like you’re wearing pj’s. now in terms of compression….i did not actually feel anything in that regard. maybe i am used to how compression socks really support the lower legs?? i felt like i was wearing just a normal pair of leggings with these saucony tights. that is still a very comfortable feeling, but not a compression-y feel. i do like them immensely, though, and envision much wearing of them this coming winter!

3. vfbf joanne and i met at noon for a power visit yesterday. we had a limited timeframe available to us, so we made the most of our minutes, and not even two seconds of silence existed from our “helloooo’s!” to our “see ya’s!” – we are efficient conversationalists! we made plans to go see the movie pitch perfect next week – anyone seen it?? from the preview i saw this summer, it looks like a fun girls’ night out film!

movie suggestions?? i appreciate receiving ideas for films to watch -> it was only thanks to zo‘s mention of moonrise kingdom that i went to see it this summer, and i’d say it was my favourite movie of 2012, so far!

new experience: running with a camera!

as you know, aunti wednesday in toronto is sacred and non-negotiable…well, except for this past wednesday. but there is a good explanation for why i stayed in waterloo for the day! today, saturday, i am heading into *the city* to spend mega-time with little e and cutie c as my gift of extended babysitting #2 day for this year’s kiki project.

as a result of the schedule shift (i swapped my saturday hours at the store for wednesday aft/eve), i was able to enjoy a unique social outing on wednesday at the ripe old hour of 7:30 a.m.! my friends and neighbours, stephen and rhonda had extended an open invitation for me to join them for a trail run any wednesday. this was the week to set up our running date!

i decided that it would be fun to snap photos on this outing. i have never run with a camera before (both because why do i need to take pictures as i run and also out of fear of klutzily falling and busting my camera).

at first, it looked like the camera would fit in my handheld’s pouch (where you see those chomps)…but the pocket was about 3 mm too small!

the back pocket of my capris was just perfect!

stephen and rhonda took me to one of their favourite trail areas over in the kiwanis park area of the city. we would do an out-and-back along the grand river.

the weather gods obviously heartily approved of our plan – we could not have ordered up a more gorgeous morning.

stephen and rhonda! our trail run was social outing #17 of this year’s kiki project!

getting more skill’d at the three-person self-portrait taking!

our trail run was so much fun. we ran at a comfortable and relaxed pace, the setting was peaceful and beautiful, and we all chatted non-stop. since we are friends and neighbours, we had a lot of topics to discuss!

heading out

the trail was gravel for the most part, wide open and not too hilly but not perfectly flat, either. i soon remembered how much more forgiving a trail path is on the body than pounding on pavement or cement!

the time flew by. i could not believe when rhonda checked her garmin and said it was time to turn back.

unfortunately, being a newbie action-photographer, i messed up the rest of my photos. i had the setting on VIDEO instead of PHOTO so i have no more pictures to show you, drat the luck. better luck next time, i guess!

i will look forward to joining stephen and rhonda again when our schedules mesh – but, it’s going to be hard to top this week’s fun!


happy mother’s day, mom!

tomorrow is the day when we bestow love and best wishes on the special women in our lives (although i hope we do that every day of the year). happy mother’s day to my mom:

my mom, my dear friend…a most gracious and lovely person with a kind and giving nature

i am fortunate to be able to spend tomorrow with a few moms! mom, grandma, sil ana…we will all be together to celebrate g’ma’s special 90th birthday.

happy mother’s day, grandma!

happy mother’s day, sil ana!

wishing you and the special moms you know a wonderful mother’s day tomorrow!

officially goofy

do you remember seeing those ads that used to run on tv where a hyper, unseen announcer would thrust a microphone in front of an ecstatic, celebrity athlete and bellow, “troy aikman! you just won the super bowl! what are you going to do next??!!” and the practically incoherent mega-superstar would yell, bug-eyed, “I’M GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!!!” before continuing on with his victory arm-pumps and man-hugs with his equally-frenzied team-mates?

well, my current level of excitement is right on par with these guys. cuz…guess who is going to celebrate her birthday next january in disney? me, yes, me!!


here’s the backstory:

the first time i ever heard of goofy’s race and a half challenge was the first winter i worked at the store. janice came in to the wednesday eve run club one cold, winter night with three rockin’ huge medals dangling from her neck – she was freshly returned from completing the goofy. we all ooh-ed and aah-ed over the super-cute hardware, and i was all ears as janice described her weekend of fun down at disney. i made a note to self: add this travel adventure to my life bucket list.

fast-forward to this past november, or so. various friends at the store started discussing disney 2013 and how a group trip was in the making. a facebook page was established, and i joined, just to stay in the loop as i debated whether i could make a visit to disney a reality for january 2013.

[tangent: typing this post, i sometimes feel like i am composing another april fool’s joke -> but, trust me, this plan is for real!]

i debated the pros and cons, my mind veering from YIPPEE thoughts to the YIKES. on the plus side:

  • a travel opportunity that is not too expensive nor too long in duration
  • a travel opportunity with a group of people i know and like
  • a travel opportunity to florida, my natural habitat, a state i love and adore
  • a travel opportunity that involves running
  • a travel opportunity on the weekend after my birthday
  • a quick get-away escape from january in canada
  • a chance to see all of disney’s parks
  • a chance to train for a specific event: disney is also about the journey, not just the destination
  • MEDALS!! a TSHIRT!!! LAUGHTER-FILLED FUN TIMES!!! (i am not joking when i say these are my three primary goals of completing the goofy)

the potential downsides all included hypothetical what if’s:

  • what if training doesn’t go as planned?
  • what if the weather is horrible that weekend?
  • what if there are flight delays, hotel snafus, race kit pickup blunders??…
  • etc

as you can see, the negatives are largely things beyond my control. (for training, i plan to be smart and do my best). still, i wasn’t 100% sure about disney…i askedvarious friends and family members for their input (thumbs up!), then decided to wait for karma to work its magic (after all, isn’t magic a major disney theme?!) and wait for *a sign.*

easter sunday eve, i got home from our family celebration and found an email:

“time to sign up there girl. come aboard. you can room with c and me.”

bingo. right then and there i made up my mind to just do it. life is too short to be worried by what if’s.

disney registration opened last week, and last monday eve (monday april 9th -> 9th day of the month = birthday date = good karma), i signed myself up.


i’m going to disney and i’m going to be goofy!!

show me the bliiiiiinnnnggg!!!


have you ever been to disney (in florida)? my one and only visit was our family vacation when i was nine/in grade three. this was pre-epcot, even!

photos from my album - we hit disney during a cold spell, back in 1979!

i am appreciative of any tips, websites, must-see disney places that you can recommend! at this point, i most want to see cinderella’s castle, again – haha!!

[sidenote: i have planned a number of running-related blog posts for the remaining days of the blogging from a-z april challenge; however, this blog is not about to turn into a training log book – that’s not my style! for example, you may or may not hear about disney again until i do up the race report next january!].

no stopping monday

IT’S BOSTON MARATHON MONDAY!!!! (yes, it is necessary to yell – boston marathon monday makes me very hyper and giddy!).


today, i have a fun boston memento to show you:

this poster was stapled to just about every hydro pole along the race route

i keep that sign upstairs in the walk-in closet, and it is one of my most treasured keepsakes of participating in the boston marathon [i don’t remember which year it came into my possession].

all three years, what would happen is that brian and brad (my travel companions) would drive me into hopkinton and we would hang out (i lucked out with great weather, all three years) until the start of the race at 12 noon (today, they have wave starts; when i ran, we all started at noon). while i ran, brian and brad would drive back into boston, have lunch, goof around, and meet up with me when i was done.

one year, the guys decided to steal “help themselves” to a “no stopping monday” sign – they presented it to me at the end of the race, and we all got a good chuckle out of now owning a *hot* sign.

i love the double-meaning of “no stopping monday” – yes, the intent is to keep the race course free of vehicular traffic, but i’d rather apply the slogan to motivate the runners. just go, go, go, people!!

so, while i treasure my race jacket…

wish i had thought to purchase the jacket all three years!

the official tshirts:

long sleeve, 100% cotton!

and the medals…

they hang in the closet upstairs, too!

…”no stopping monday” fills my heart with joy in a special way.


i would like to wish the very, very best of race experiences to my friends from the store who are running boston today. donna, dexter, robert, teresa, jen, val…may the force be with you! may the wind be at your back! may you enjoy every painful after 20 miles powerful step of this historic and amazing course. i want to take each of you out for coffee asap upon your return so that you can share every gory detail with great depth about your race – you each will have a unique story, and i want to hear it all!

[on purpose, i have not delved into boston marathon history or any race day specifics, today – that is what google is for! but i have talked about boston each year on this blog – here is the 2010 post, here is the 2011 post. and, it appears that i have shown you a pic of my boston tattoo each year. let’s not mess with tradition!].

another unique treasure!


do you know anyone running boston today? yes! i will look up the results online, tonight!

have you run boston? yes! it is the world series of marathoning, without a doubt.

does marathon-talk bore you to tears? no way! luckily, talking about running is all in day’s work!


ETA: it’s supposed to hit 88 degrees F in boston today! the BAA has offered a deferral to next year for anyone wishing to take advantage of that option. if it was me, i would still run – that’s all a part of racing -> you take the conditions you are dealt, and you adjust accordingly.

salmon swimming

last evening, andrea and i met up at the princess twin to see this movie:


here‘s the synopsis from the princess website!

here’s andrea and me!

ok, a bit of a miss on sandwiching the film title between us! oh well!

when i first had seen the movie poster outside the cinema building, my interest was captured by the fact that emily blunt and kristin scott thomas were main actors. i’ve admired kristin scott thomas since i first saw her in four weddings and a funeral [how can that film be from 1994, already?!], and i’ve been a fan of emily blunt since the devil wears prada.

andrea and i both loved this charming and delightful movie. it has all the ingredients of a winning film: breath-taking scenery; intrigue and drama; passion and sorrow; gentle humour and laugh-out-loud moments; questionable politics; take-home life lessons; skilled acting, and highly likeable characters. emily blunt (so pretty!), kristin scott thomas (so funny!) and ewan mcgregor (so endearing! – and, first movie i have seen him in) are each just wonderful in their respective roles. i can highly recommend this little gem! it earns a solid *** out of a possible **** stars in the kiki movie-rating system!

**eta: andrea and i were laughing because neither of us could remember the name of this movie, all week long…for today’s blog post title, i honestly thought i was giving you the first two words of the movie’s real title – i obviously thought wrong!


i got me my aviators!!!

just in time - it was a sunny sunday!

i lucked out at smart set at conestoga mall yesterday, during my outing with mom (and thanks, mom, for the treat!). i wore them all around the rest of sunday (well, not in the movie). i think they will be my signature look for summer 2012!

next up: the peacock feather earrings!


what actors draw you into seeing a movie? i also would see practically anything (except a war movie) featuring helen mirren, meryl streep, or julia roberts. i’ll leave men out of the equation, today – esp since it’s such (yawn) old news that i β™₯ george clooney and tom cruise!

has there been a phase in your life where you have felt like a salmon swimming upstream? i’d say i more relate to feeling like a fish out of water – and that would date back to grades 7-11, roughly. i clearly remember feeling like a misfit, at times, and of being unsure how to act in a social group with my peers – just the typical teenage angst! can’t say i miss that life phase! i’ve never been one to aggressively buck the trend, so to speak, so that metaphor of swimming upstream doesn’t resonate with me all that much.

congratulations all you around the bay-ers!!

you really need a birthday WEEK!

a week ago today it was my birthday!! [haha, no worries – i am not going to remind you every monday for the next year as to how many weeks it has been since the celebration of my birth – that kind of tracking is appropriate only for newborn babies!].

here are some select highlights of Birthday Week 2012:

the official birthday portrait, taken on january 9th:

@ 42 years young!

birthday nails!

sparkle glitz is perfect for a week of festing!

[thank you, gina, for the very kiki birthday present! and, gina, your source was correct: the sparkles do stand out wonderfully against black nail polish!].

birthday blue skies

is it really mid-january?!!

…and snow-free terrain:

our mild winter continues...i have not enjoyed too many green birthdays, over the years!

birthday lesson: i cannot tell you how touched i was by all of the blog and facebook comments, emails, paper cards, text and blackberry messages, and personal well-wishes that i received on my birthday. i appreciated each and every one. i realized two things: 1) i am going to wish every facebook friend happy birthday from now on, regardless of how well i know them. (in the past, i have hesitated to reach out to contacts i don’t know all that well – from now on, it matters not). 2) you can’t wish somebody happy birthday too much! a card + an email + a facebook post, for example?? yup! it’s ok to wish somebody happy birthday via a variety of media, multiple times!

birthday tv! hehe, the producers of jersey shore timed the premier of season five perfectly! it aired on thursday, january 5th. i finally had a chance to watch it online on tuesday (since i was done early at the toyota shop). this is my favourite crap tv reality show, and i look forward to following the kids, back at the shore, over the next several weeks!


birthday family time!

aunti wednesday +! (we missed sil ana who was traveling!)

birthday coffees!

@ coffee culture with vfbf joanne on thursday! (also "12 days of kiki" coffee outing #1!)

@ symposium with cathie on saturday! (also "12 days of kiki" coffee outing #2!)

celebrity birthday twin!

guess what i found out just on monday? kate middleton and i share a birthday!


i had no clue about this until i randomly happened across this article, kate middleton quietly turns 30 in last monday’s globe and mail. neato! [now i really DO have to gift her that baby blanket, should she and wills become pregnant!].

do you know of any celebrities who share your birthday? i know of no one else who also was birthed on january 9th and is famous. actually, i don’t know anyone PERIOD whose birthday is january 9th!

what was the best birthday and the worst birthday that you can remember? interesting that kate turned 30 on monday -> for some reason, that was the most traumatic age for me. i distinctly remember breaking down in tears several times on that bday (??). the best? i’ll go with my 16th birthday because i passed my beginner’s driver’s license that very day (the first day i could take the test). i remember feeling so proud and excited! dad took me to take the test, and after gave me my very own key for the family car, on a “mutual life” keychain.

[housekeeping matter: i have updated the 12 days of kiki, project #12 -> instead of stating that i will plan twelve coffee outings, i’ve changed the term to social get-togethers. this way, options are open to more interpretations!

housekeeping matter #2: question: how will you, dear reader, know whether i cheat on any of the 12 days of kiki projects? specifically, i am thinking of the no gum and no pop challenges. answer: you won’t, haha! i’m sticking to the honour system – you’ll have to trust that i play by my rules. just so you know, i have a reward already planned for when i successfully complete this year’s kikiproject – that dangling carrot is all the motivation i need!].

three socials a day…

keeps the doctor away …is good for the soul!

look who’s in town!!!

my dear friend since we were age five!

i feel like i received another christmas present yesterday. gina is visiting her family for their annual christmas vacation, and we had consulted our calendars scrupulously in order to find a time for a get-together. wednesday morning at 9 a.m. worked for us both!

we met at cora’s in cambridge. this location was a new experience for me! (oops, that’s right! i’m not tabulating those anymore!). i’ve been to the waterloo cora’s once, with dad, as our august outing-of-the-month. the cambridge location is much smaller than waterloo, but otherwise very similar.

before we knew it, it was 11:30!!! i swear someone put the clock on fast-forward. i guess that is the sign of a successful visit!

another self-portrait for our collections!


i made full use of my day off – and time in waterloo (no aunti day this week) – and met up with lisa in the afternoon “for coffee.” (i had water and a cookie as i had enough coffee/caffeine at cora’s! yes, i am forcing myself to consume coffee. you will see why on monday). the way the christmas school break fell this year, kids + teachers still have this week off. all the easier to plan a meet-up with teacher lisa!

une bonne visite, comme toujours, avec lisa!


way back in early december, dad pvr’d the hawaii ironman triathlon for me. i LOVE watching this annual broadcast of the october world triathlon championships. ever since i saw julie moss stagger through the finish line of the 1982 race, i have been captivated by this monumental physical challenge. some may say that nbc’s coverage is too treacly, but i find inspiration in watching the elites and “regular people” tackle this three-part test of physical and mental stamina. after dinner with mom and dad, i got my yearly fill of ironman inspiration.

hellooooo from the couch!

this year’s show was the usual mix of drama, emotion, and tension – but i did love the artsy feel to the camerawork of the swimming portion, and the seniors shown near the end sure displayed tenacity! i sincerely doubt i will ever be an ironman…but i am a devoted fan!


…and today, it’s back to work! with christmas gift returns slowing down, we are now entering a quieter time of year in the retail world. i miss the pre-holiday excitement already!

new experience #41: volunteer at the resolution run

well, here it is – the very last new experience of this year’s 1970kikiproject. wow. it feels a little emotional! happily, we launch next year’s kiki project on monday!

i had decided wayyyy back in the fall to volunteer at our new year’s day resolution run for a new experience. as we got closer to the date/the end of the kiki project, i thought i would make this event project #40, and then i’d have one more project to complete between january 2nd and 8th. however, the vibe just wasn’t coming together for what to do for that last new experience. so, i ratified my plans and decided to see a movie as new experience #40, and volunteer at the run to wrap up the project.

the more i thought on it, the more i liked the concept. this final kikiproject would include philanthropy; it was on new year’s day; it is a fitness-focussed event; it would be an opportunity to hang out and be social with my friends from the store…what a 100% winning combination!

the resolution run is an annual event held at many locations across canada. for the kitchener-waterloo chapter, we hold a 10k run (at 10:00 a.m.) and a 5k run or walk. (over 400 people participated, this year). the race site is the kitchener ymca, the race director is manager paul. [sidenote: the kitchener ymca holds a special place in my heart: from about 1990 – 2002, it was my gym, and that’s where i got introduced to aerobics, taught aerobics, made close running friendships…i spent a lot of happy hours there].

anyway, i told paul i was happy to help out…but could i please volunteer indoors?! i did not relish the thought of being a course marshal, outdoors in january. good call on my part! while we enjoyed above-freezing temps this new year’s day, it poured rain during the 10k and rained steadily for the 5k. our poor outdoor volunteers were soaked and chilled [it’s one thing to be active running or walking in wet conditions, and quite another to be standing still!].

so, i got to handle the food/refreshments table!

the following is a pictorial description of my new year’s day volunteer experience:

when i arrived at the y at 9 a.m., it was just overcast - too bad THAT was not the start time for our events!

i'm dreaming of a...green new year's?!

my y gum: old stomping grounds...i mean jumping jacks and high kicks grounds!

manager paul has organized numerous resolution runs, and by now has streamlined the process:

the course: 4 loops for the 10k and 2 loops for the 5k

manager nicole from theOTHERstore co-ordinated the food supply!

pylons to help mark the route!

nicole and me - hope people will be hungry for clementines!

friends and familiar, friendly faces. i so enjoyed seeing everyone! people were so willing to pose “for the blog!”

alan and becky!

derek and cindy (nicole's mom!)

annette and will!

david and meredith with mom, sue!

ken! (the shrinking - or streaking - tortoise!)

michael, brenda, and paul!

when you registered for the resolution run, you received a free jacket with your entry:

nico, kaylene, sandy, and steve model their jackets!

and a blast from the past! a friend from my y days just happened to be at the y!

what a serendipitous encounter to see selena! we enjoyed a wonderful catch-up chat!

and guess what! a new experience within a new experience: TWO blog readers came up and introduced themselves – i’ve never had that happen before!


ali and me!

it was SO cool to meet both dawn and ali, in person!

oh yea – i did fulfill my volunteer duties, too!

with meredith and annette!

our refreshment table offered water; granola bars; juice boxes; bananas; clementines. given the rain, i think soup, coffee and hot chocolate would have made welcome additions!

guess what else – i realized i never showed you who the orange mittens were for (my last christmas knitting project):

the mitts made an appearance at the res run...

...and as seen on paul, the recipient!

being the shoe professional that i am, of course, i subconsciously tend to look at people’s feet. check these out…

i guessed that those were nike air pegasus shoes - yup! never seen those groovy colours, though! (the wearer bought them in tennessee - that figures!)

i've mentioned these NB shoes before on the blog!

all in all, i could not have asked for a better way to end off my 41 new experiences. all participants seemed to have a great time, and it was much fun to celebrate the arrival of 2012 at the resolution run event.

do you have any new year’s day traditions? in order to volunteer, i unfortunately had to skip my annual viewing of the rose bowl parade with dad. i did get to clean the condo casa – love to start the new year with an organized home! and i chilled out by painting my nails and watching a movie!).

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!