Tag Archives: grandma

~in memory of grandma~

this morning felt very strange because i did not make my weekly 9 a.m. phone call to grandma. see, a good 8-10 years ago now, i made it my new year’s resolution to phone g’ma every week. in recent years, our chatting time had evolved to sunday a.m. – a convenient time for us both. our phone visits were not lengthy, and esp in the last few months, our topics of q & a were repetitive, but it was nice to touch base with grandma on a regular basis. our pattern was so established that some weeks, grandma would pick up the phone and immediately say, “hello cathy!” -> whenever she answered in this way, it made me laugh which in turn made HER laugh and got our visit off to a cheery start.

on wednesday of this past week, g’ma completed her daily walk to and from the uptown mall with her best friend. thursday morning, g’ma was taken to the hospital, and it was discovered that the situation was terminal. the care team gave grandma no more than a day or two to live. i cannot BELIEVE how things work out (as i have often said before) – on thursday, i was scheduled to work only until 3 pm. i am RARELY done my work day this early! as such, i was able to go to the hospital late thursday aft, spend time with grandma, and say my good-bye. grandma passed away late yesterday afternoon. [i have to smile because grandma could be quite stubborn at times (dad and i share this trait, too) and the fact that she lived more than 24 hours than expected was her way of being stubborn right to the very end].

i am so so happy that dad and i took grandma to her favourite swiss chalet back in august and enjoyed our lunch outing with her, there.

file photo, august 15, 2012; at swiss chalet

and remember the lovely family luncheon we shared in may to celebrate g’ma’s 90th? the smile never left grandma’s face that day.

file photo, may 13th, 2012; great-grandma!

one other blog post featuring g’ma comes to mind: this one where i showed you some of grandma’s needlework creations in her apartment, around the time of her 89th birthday.

file photo, may 4th, 2011; g’ma was a good sport about being photographed!

grandma was knitting right until the very end. this is a snippet of the last blanket that she made, finished just last week:

the fine and even tension of the knitting and intricacy of the crocheted border amaze me!

here are a couple of grandma-anecdotes:

~ brown was grandma’s favourite colour. when we were children, i remember the brother and i being practically aghast – and fascinated! – that anyone would pick BROWN for their favourite colour!

~ g’ma sewed entire wardrobes for me when i was a little girl:

two examples of grandma-creations: my 1st day of grade one, grade one class picture

here’s another example of grandma’s sewing talent: as a teen, i gave her a drawing of an outfit i wanted, and she replicated it even better than i had anticipated! (and you know it is hard to please a picky teen!). i wore that skirt + blouse combo for years.

~ grandma never judged and was pretty unflappable, no matter what news i shared with her.

~ grandma loved florida! i definitely inherited my love of florida + heat + sunshine from her!

~ grandma balanced a diet heavy on fried foods with a ton of walking!

~ a strong faith, a commitment to family, and not shying away from hard work saw grandma through some years of great hardship; i am glad she also experienced years of travel, relaxation, and enjoyment of life.

file photo, april 1975

we are planning on having a service of remembrance and celebration of life on thursday. it will be a day to mourn, but also to be thankful for all the years that grandma was with us.

~grandma, we will miss you~.

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!

double celebration sunday!

i hope all you moms out there enjoyed your special day this past weekend!

i got to see mom on both saturday AND sunday!

for our family, grandma’s 90th birthday celebration was the highlight of mother’s day…although we made sure to give special recognition to mom, sil ana, and g’ma for being great moms!

the birthday grandma!

what do you get as a gift for someone who is ninety? that is a true dilemma! by this advanced stage of life, material possessions are neither needed nor requested. time with family, though, is something that is truly appreciated.

dad, mom, little e and g’ma

g’ma and me

as their gift to grandma, mom and dad treated our family to the special prix-fixe mother’s day luncheon at solé restaurant.

this popular, upscale restaurant is right in our ‘hood!

our table

the three-course menu

grandma also received a beautiful corsage

great-grandma! don’t you know that on your birthday you do not need to bring gifts?!

sunglasses for little e that “made everything pink!”

…and crayons for cutie c who industriously got to work.

i think dad and i were in a match to see who could snap the most pics and get the most varied combos of people!

the brother and sil ana!

dad and me!

cutie c and aunti!

one side of the table!

the only combo we missed was an entire group picture!

as you can see, we all enjoyed a wonderful meal and social time. i could tell by the glow emanating from grandma’s face that she really loved having the family all together.

birthday kisses for great-g’ma!

i’m so glad that grandma is still active (she and her best friend walk to the mall every day, weather permitting) and is sound in mind, body and spirit. some time, i would like to sit down and ask g’ma about life: what advice would she give to us *young ‘uns,* what is truly important…and how do you get to be 90 years young?!

this year, it was a ♥ mother’s day ♥ enjoyed by all!


today’s ez question: what did you do on sunday? i also worked at the store in the a.m. would you believe i had a husband come in at 9:00 a.m. and buy a garmin for his wife? talk about leaving your mother’s day gift to the last moment!

today’s toughie q: what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone 10-25 years your junior? i would say listen to your ♥. you know when something feels right or wrong, and as tough as it may be to go against the advice of others or buck the social norm, you will not go wrong if you do what you 100% deep-down know is right.


hey! just TWO more days til the long weekend, canadian friends! wa-hoo!

may grocery challenge: update #1

tuesdays will be grocery challenge check-in day for the month of may…only because may 1st was a tuesday!

~ financial report: i don’t have a total on money that has exited my wallet thus far because there is no tallying allowed until the end of the month. however, i am mentally guesstimating the perceived exertion spending rate, and things are looking good.

~ three mooching examples: lunch with dad; 3/4 of an avocado and a slice of banana bread from mom; lunch and dinner chez the brother and sil ana. i am trying not to be obnoxiously cheap. but, i do think a cereal raid is on the horizon, fyi mom and dad!

~ lesson learned: i need to stop my natural stockpiling tendencies! i am so accustomed to building up a stash of items when they are on sale that i automatically did that with peanut butter and salad dressing this week. however, if i want to meet and beat my $400 spending target, i need to curtail the stockpiling. if i will go through the items during the month of may, i should take advantage of the sale price; if it’s going to take a while to get to x item, i need to leave it on the shelf.

~ shopping style evolution: i’ve translated my fashion buying question, “is this a want or a need?” to groceries. something like yet another flavour of mustard is not essential; milk is essential, for example. for one month, i can forgo some garnishes.

~ great deals of the week: tuna, cereal, salad dressing, lettuce, peanut butter, carbonated water, milk, chicken pot pie…those are the main discounted items that i snapped up. valumart was a surprisingly good resource this week with their “dollar days” promotion.

~ where i shopped: valumart, food basics, shoppers.

~ concluding impression: all is good! i am not lacking any essentials, and am financially on track.

~ goal for this week: pick up some products to try that i usually would not purchase just because they are on sale.

feedback on your own grocery shopping experiences this week?? paying in cash is super-helpful in terms of sticking to a budget!


i’d like to wish a happy 90th birthday to my grandma, today!

file photo: christmas, 2010

grandma does not read the blog, but i want to give her landmark birthday a special mention because reaching the age of ninety is quite a milestone. we have a family celebration planned for this weekend, and i know g’ma will love just having us all together – that’s how grandmothers are!

Multi-Generational May Days!

Grandma celebrates a birthday this weekend!

On Tuesday afternoon, I paid Grandma a pre-birthday visit:

grandma understands about the blog, and doesn't mind if i share some photos!

What do you give as a gift to an 89 year old Grandma? It’s quite the dilemma.

I decided to go with a flowering baby rosebud plant, and a card.

grandma's birthday visit portrait!

At this age and stage, grandmas don’t really want or need more *stuff.*

what grandma really treasures: her collection of family snapshots from over the years

I also thought that spending an hour together would be appreciated more than anything else I could choose for Grandma.

Grandma’s apartment is very cosy:

...and just the perfect "grandma size" for her!...

[The fact that, as typical for older people, she keeps it the temp at about 95 degrees helps generate that *warm* feeling, too!]

My Grandma was a very talented seamstress in her day. When I was little, she sewed oodles of outfits for me. When I was in high school, I once drew her a picture of an outfit, and she created it from my sketch!

Grandma also stitched many a wall-hanging, over the years:

i remember when she was working on this one! i was about nine years old, or so

grandma didn't want me to miss this masterpiece which she has hanging in her bedroom...

had to share a close up - i'm in awe over the detailed stitches!

Grandma still knits, to this day. She doesn’t like to sit and do nothing:

grandma with her latest blanket, made for "project linus," a charitable organization that donates quilts/afghans to children in hospital

Grandma was never big on cooking; the fry pan was her best friend, over the years. She did do some baking, but creativity in the kitchen was never her strong point [You are remarking on certain genetic character traits, right?!]

Yes, Grandma is slowing down, but on the plus side, her mind, eyesight, and hearing are all sharp as tacks.

Our plan for our next get-together is to go out for a walk. These pesky May rainshowers kept us from that activity this visit!
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

I don’t know about you, but in our family, May is hairy-scary busy. Every year, same story.

As such, Babysitting/Outing of the Month takes a twist this month: rather than ONE Saturday babysitting date, we are going with TWO weeknight visits.

Last eve, then, was Part I for May Babysitting. The Brother and SIL Ana chose to go to a neighbourhood pub some wings and relaxation time.

No worries for Aunti about supper prep, this night:

perfect! just what aunti needs to know to *cook* supper!

Reminds one a little of mom’s apple crisp instructions, he he!

As usual, it was a fine evening!

baby c was eager to investigate the new selections of cd's from the waterloo library that aunti brought!

"hmmm, lots of 'wiggles!' - very good!"

little e was eager to show off her new sleeping bag - getting ready for summer adventures!

mulling over how best to make a slide out of couch cushions!

Part II will occur at the end of the month – what better way to bookend the month of May than with Outings?!

Who’s the last family member you visited with? I’ll be seeing Mom and Dad later today, so I’ve spent time with representatives of four generations (grandma, parents, brother/SIL, nieces), in the last few days!