Tag Archives: VFBFjoanne

pitch perfect

last eve, vfbf joanne and i went to see the movie pitch perfect:

a pitch perfect picture (try saying THAT ten times fast!)

[actually, that is quite a poorly centred picmy aim was way off last night…that was the best photo of the bunch!]

we both LOVED the movie!!! i give it a solid *** (three stars) verging into ***1/2 star territory. go see this film if…

~ you like music: the a capella singing, the mash-ups, and the featured songs are fabulous (make that a ca-fabulous, if you’ve seen the movie, you will get this reference!).

~ you are a fan the 80s era

~ you have a soft spot in your heart for the typical boy-meets-girl storyline

~ you found the movie bridesmaids to be hilarious

~ you are looking for an evening of fun entertainment

that covers just about everyone, no?! anyway, we enjoyed an a ca-wonderful eve out, and i would see this movie AGAIN in an instant.

this is going to be a musical weekend – tomorrow night i am attending a live vocal performance, also featuring jojo!

have a great weekend! and go see pitch perfect!

friday photos: walking in a (springlike) wonderland

on the sixteenth day of december...

yesterday was not your typical mid-december day in southern ontario! first of all, it poured rain for most of the day. trust me, i am not complaining – i would rather have rain than snow. you don’t have to shovel rain (not that i ever have to shovel anyway, haha!) and you don’t have to worry as much about treacherous driving conditions [anyone else freak out just a little, though, when you’re on a rainy highway with transport trucks surrounding you??]. secondly, the temperature yesterday climbed to 11 degrees celsius (that’s 51.8 degrees fahrenheit, u.s. friends!). that is not a record, however: 12.9 is the record high for december 15th, from back in 1975! (i learned that very important cliff claven-type fact information on the radio, at the store).

no skating allowed on the rink in uptown waterloo, yesterday!

after work, i decided it was the perfect time to fulfill another annual christmas tradition: go see the lights in waterloo park. some people may think you need gently falling snow and crisp night air to enjoy the full effects of the light display. not i! i’ve frozen my bunz off enough in previous years. i revelled in an evening temp where i hardly needed mitties!


the “wonders of winter” light display takes over all of waterloo park from the first saturday in december until new year’s day. it’s really quite impressive! in addition to the light displays, they play christmas music near where the animals are, there are horse-drawn trolley rides, and hot chocolate is available. i totally recommend it if you’re local and looking for a fun evening excursion.

well, at 5:30 p.m. on a rainy thursday eve, the park is not exactly hoppin’! there were a few other people out and about – and i saw one runner in shorts and a tshirt – but it’s been wayyy busier other years when the temps are minus-frostbite!

now, unfortunately, a point-and-shoot camera takes really crappy photos of lights in the dark. but here’s the best of the bunch!

this tree goes from dark ->1/3 lit->2/3 lit->fully lit + flashing!

there’s a “ring road” that goes around waterloo park…

candles line this side of the road; candy canes mark the other, parallel side

this castle marks another entrance...

another neat thing is that the lights are set up by volunteers. what a lovely sense of community and holiday spirit.

there's dora!

is this a "captain canuck," of sorts?!

inside this cute little house...

...you'll find santa and his workshop!

yikes! that santa’s a little scary, if you ask me! i think i prefer this guy!…

ho ho ho!

look! it’s a running moose!

...or a jiggly photographer!

right about this time, it started to rain again, so i hightailed it to a couple more displays, then called it quits.

"the stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."

swans right beside the waterloo park lake - very appropriate!

that was fun! and you know what’s cool? when i’m at home, if i look out the big, front windows of the condo casa, i can just see the edges of the light display!

after my xmas-light walkabout, i got groceries, came home and cleaned the toilets (i wish i was joking), and did a load of laundry. hey, even when it’s all christmas all the time, around-the-home duties call!

what’d you do last eve? esp if it’s christmas related, do share!

locals: have you been through waterloo park yet this year? i hope to take a boo through at least one more time!

rank these household chores in your order of most favourite to least favourite: groceries; laundry; cleaning (dusting, bathrooms, etc); vacuuming. me = groceries, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning. i genuinely don’t mind the first three! but bathrooms + dusting? yuck-o!

Horrible Bosses

I’ve been very lucky in my various careers thus far in my working life. I’ve never toiled under a horrible boss.

Here are a few memories as I reflect back on some of the jobs I’ve held, to date…

~ My very first job was as a part-time sales associate at Reitmans (a women + children’s clothing store) at Stanley Park Mall, in Kitchener. I worked there from the summer after Grade 11 until the fall of Grade 13. A telling sign that my first job was in retail, and that I loved it?! My manager’s name was Pat, and we got along just fine. I remember that I found her slightly intimidating. Looking back, I likely felt this way because it was my very first job, and I was seventeen years old.

~ During my three year teaching career, I taught at two different private schools. The principals at each were male, middle-aged, bearded, and largely left me alone to do my thing. They both always gave me solid and exemplary teaching reviews, so we got along just fine!

~ My favourite manager ever was my beloved Miss Vicki. After leaving teaching, I went to a local insurance company for three years. Vicki was my Team Lead for the majority of that time – and on two separate occasions – and she was just awesome to work for. Being that I can be of a rather high-strung nature, Miss Vicki (so dubbed in honour of the potato chip of that name!) could calm me down in the blink of an eye. Laidback, yet confident, quiet yet not a pushover, Vicki provided strong leadership yet never micro-managed her team members. To this day, I repeat her favourite mantra “One Step At A Time” when life gets overly hectic.

~ When B and I ran our own business, I was 50% my own boss – haha! Running a business has its ups and downs, but it’s totally awesome to drive your own bus, make your own decisions, and reap the benefits of what you sow.

~ Right now, my boss is Paul, the manager at the store. He’s right up there with Miss Vicki in terms of making work an enjoyable place to be. Our working styles mesh extremely well, and Paul is organized, knowledgeable, patient (HOW many times have I asked for clarification on the features of x Garmin model?!) and just plain nice. He definitely is one of the reasons why I enjoy working at the store so much.

That’s a darn good track record!


I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this topic of conversation.


As I alluded to yesterday, on Tuesday eve, VFBF Joanne and I saw “Horrible Bosses.” Because it was Tuesday, it was $2 Tuesday [er, that would have been back in the ’80’s…] Cheap Tuesdays – our tickets were only $6.75 each. I had a feeling the movie would be super-popular, so I got our tickets online on Monday. I love this option: it’s user-friendly (even I, Miss Techno Space Cadet can easily use the system), it’s convenient, there’s no lineup, and – I really commend Cineplex for this – there’s no online processing fee. All set!

I’ve had a crush on been a big Jason Bateman fan ever since his days as David Hogan on “Valerie.” His sardonic wit never fails to amuse me. And, from the preview I had seen, in theatre, “Horrible Bosses” looked like a laugh-out-loud fluffy summer comedy. Anecdotal comments I’d heard were positive, too.

Horrible Bosses was completely the summer laugh-fest I have been waiting for! Honestly – the movie was even more funny than I had anticipated. I’ll refrain from saying too much, so just one alert to give you: check your sense of what is politically correct at the door, then just sit back and laugh. The characters are hilarious (Charlie Day as “Dale” steals each scene), and the rapid-fire one-liners flying back and forth are delivered with precision timing. During a couple of scenes, I laughed so hard I was silently shaking, and Joanne had tears rolling out of her eyes. So, it goes without saying that I totally recommend this movie, In fact, I would see it again.

Any horrible bosses in your past? I don’t think I’d last long at any job if I didn’t like and respect my boss.

Have you seen :”Horrible Bosses?” Using my tried ‘n’ true star rating system, I give it four stars. **** !

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In Florida, on July 14th, 2010, I spent time in Clearwater and St Pete’s!

Up On the Roof

Tuesday, I had the day off work, so I celebrated the arrival of summer by heading up to the rooftop for my first visit of the year.

Before going up, I packed up a bag of tricks. [Sidenote: when I was about three or so, my mom would pack a few quiet distractions to occupy me during church on Sunday mornings. For whatever reason, this was always referred to as my “bag of tricks”).

Today we had…

my journal - i journal first thing in the morning, but sometimes a-ha's hit at unusual times; why not be prepared?!

x-word puzzle book - as previously discussed, "easy" is debatable

current read - < 20 pages to go!

knitting! i can hold a private "knit outside" party!

…all of which went into this bag:


This stayed behind in the kitchen:

time to detach from humanity for a little...

Let’s go upstairs!

Basically, our entire rooftop is one big patio with cement tiles encircling the building.

We’ll take a walk around.

to the north, we have the perimeter institute (physics) and waterloo park...

to the west, we find a quiet residential neighbourhood composed of well-maintained older homes...

the highlights to the south are the bauer lofts (L) and the sunlife tower (where i worked for 3+ years many moons ago)...

to the east, is uptown waterloo: the mall (including valumart) - and you could even see the store, if you looked close enough!

If you squint, you could convince yourself you were in an outdoor garden setting:

rooftop planters adorn the corners...


in a sheltered spot, there is a gas bbq, ready for use!

I headed to my favourite spot:

just around that wall...

...to a chaise longue in a bright and sunny spot!

Once settled, I was able to

  • finish my book [Sidenote: Yes! after a number of false starts, I am happy to finish a book in June. This read, part of the Stephanie Plum series, is truly mindless, light, forgettable. Nancy Drew with humour, for adults. And it was just what I needed].
  • attempt a crossword puzzle – I didn’t fare too well, today. Not that it’s really different any other day…
  • knit a few rows

So, while it’s not exactly Aruba

file photo: march 2011

…but for an oasis of tranquility right at my fingertips, I’ll take it!

I predict just *a few* rooftop visits will be in order this summer!

Where can you escape to for a quick quiet moment? In < 10 minutes, I can be at Waterloo Park, too – I feel fortunate to live in this central location!

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The celebration of summer continued Tuesday when VFBF Joanne and I met for coffee. Yes, it’s summer and yes, hot coffee still tastes delicious!

self-portrait at coffee culture - the same spot lisa and i met at on monday! the best coffee!

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Man, where did the time go this month? I’m in deep trouble if I’m going to fit in all three coupon of the month redemptions this month. :O Luckily, ONE outing of the month took place Wednesday eve:

The Brother and SIL Ana got out for their outing. This coupon redemption is the more challenging one to organize due to time and distance complexities. I do plan to fit in shopping with Mom (she has a mission in mind!) and a food outing with Dad…but only seven days remain at my disposal! Good thing my folks are right next door – and retired!

She’s Just Not That Into Me

After work on Tuesday, VFBF Joanne and I met up at Coffee Culture. Wow – three visits in three months. When we decide to renew our friendship, we mean business. As always, our time together was unequivocally delightful. I Joanne!

hey sister, soul sister...

Speaking of girlfriends, I have…this friend. Let’s call her Amy.* Amy came to me the other day with a dilemma. She wants to break up with her gal pal…Hilary.* Amy and Hilary have been seeing each other socially for about six months. All was great at the beginning of their friendship: they chatted non-stop on their outings, they discovered many common interests, all was fine and dandy.

According to Amy, things began to sour after the third or fourth *date.” Amy totally got the vibe that Hilary was on edge; she didn’t really seem to be enjoying their gallery outing that eve. Then the length of time between their get-togethers started to lengthen.

A month or so ago, Amy decided to stop contacting Hilary. It was just too obvious that Hilary was seeing their friendship as an obligation, not as a joy. Their last face-to-face social, a wine-tasting event, was the last straw – Amy could totally tell that Hilary was not happy being out. She was negative, snippy, and patronizing. Amy came home feeling perturbed, but also fed up. She’s decided to decline any future invitations from Hilary, should any be issued (Amy believes that Hilary will not be proposing any more *dates,* though).

So, Amy wanted my advice on how to break up with Hilary. That’s a tough one, eh? I suggested she just come up with excuses, say she’s busy etc etc – but that’s because I am a confrontation-avoider. I guess I would just hope that Hilary stops asking after a few negative responses.

How would you deal with this situation? Have you ever been in Amy’s shoes? I don’t think the answer is for Amy to say outright, “I don’t wish to see you any more, Hilary. You just aren’t fun and you make me feel tense.” But I’m wondering if there are other options…

*names have been changed to protect the identities of the persons involved.

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May Grocery Challenge- The End is Near!

My goal of looking for sales/coupons/deals continues. Just to share two “yeSSS!” moments…

$0.75 savings on a product i would buy anyway!

Before May: I purchased individual containers of cottage cheese.

The Month of May: I switched to bigger containers, and just dollop out the same amount as the individual sizes. I save $ and save extra packaging from the recycling bin!

I think I’ll be utilizing more of these coupons!

almond milk - my favourite!

Healthy Foods and More has Almond Breeze on sale from $2.89 to $1.99! While skids last. I’ll def be back for more. Stash much?!

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Recommended Reads from The Globe and Mail:

From culinary catastrophe to taste sensation [this was the headline in the newspaper; the online title is “University revolutionizes Winnipeg’s food scene”] – – > Gina, this article is for you!

The O Effect: How Oprah Conquered the World [I want to talk more about Oprah at another time]

The missing girls of India [online title: “With greater education and wealth come greater risks for India’s unborn females” – and to think we are in 2011…]

Americans open wallets, Canadians tighten belts [perfect timing with the May Grocery Challenge]

Wayback Playback: Pop, Ka-Pow!

I don’t care if summer doesn’t *officially* arrive ’til June 21st…to my mind, this Victoria Day weekend kicked off our summer months! I always find that the time between this weekend and Labour Day weekend will absolutely fly.

Back when we were kids, Victoria Day was solely known to me as “Firecracker Day.” I’d be sooooo excited all day long, and couldn’t wait for the evening to arrive. Over the years, we enjoyed two types of celebrations, and both involved our dear friends/neighbours, the M’s. (VFBF Joanne and I have reconnected and over the last two months have enjoyed two lovely visits, shared on the blog here and here).

Since we had the day off school, The Brother and I would play outside, all day long, weather permitting. I don’t remember too many rained-out Victoria Days. It was always the day after Vic Day that it poured rain – the accepted theory was that all the “toxins” from all the fireworks made it rain (hey, this was the 70s, allow a little leniency in scientific theory, ok).

I’d grow more and more excited for the evening festivities as the day went on!

When we were younger, here’s how we’d celebrate: the M’s would come over to our house, and we’d all gather in the backyard. Us kids would get to write with sparklers. These freaked me out, frankly, as this picture attests:

firecracker day 1975; the expression on my face belies my true feelings about sparklers!

I did love the smell of sparklers, though!

At dusk, the Dads would convene over at our sandbox with the box of store-bought fireworks:


(again, bear in mind this was the 70s; safety rules were non-existent loosey goosey in that long-ago era). The Moms and Joanne, Wanda, The Brother and I would sit around the picnic table (a safe distance away), and the Dads would set off the firecrackers. Some would quite amaze us kids, some would be duds.

Then we’d all eat Tim Horton’s donuts in the dark. And laugh a lot.

As we got a bit older, the tradition changed. We still met up with the M’s, but the families would head over to Centennial Stadium, early eve. There, they held a Victoria Day Fireworks “Spectacular.” As the day’s light faded, there would be drum and bugle corps performances, and some two-bit local *rock group* would perform (it was terribly exciting the year they did Van Halen cover tunes).


When it was dark, the fireworks display began. This only lasted about 10-15 minutes, but we ooh-ed and aah-ed our little hearts out over the exploding colours. The loud ka-booms, ker-fizzles and crescendo-ing bangs impressed us, very much. We felt very important because we were up so late, and were very happy to be out at this social event with our favourite friends.


Good. Times. Great. Memories.

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How do we know it’s been a wet May?

as seen in the Uptown outdoor square in my 'hood

I’m going to keep a close eye on this sign, and hopefully they’ll announce shortly when the market will start up for this year. Last year, on Thursdays between 4-8 p.m. the vendors were set up. It didn’t suit my schedule last year to get over very often; this year, I’m excited to see what they will have for sale. Last year, about 6-8 vendors participated, selling veggies, honey, crafts. I hope they have even more variety and increased participation this year!

When does summer *officially* begin in your mind? Environment Canada has forecasted a hot, dry summer for us; I sure hope they are right!

Fireworks: any memories? Nowadays, I can see fireworks on Canada Day at Columbia Lake; the perfect viewing spot is our condo rooftop!

A SUPER April Outing with Mom!

After missing out on a March Outing of the Month shopping trip with Mom, I was more than excited for our excursion to the Superstore today. [Not sure why I so rarely get there; it’s a <10 minute drive froom my place!].

a loblaws-affiliated grocery+ store

As a huge fan of Target in the U.S. (won’t that be a jolly day when Target finally arrives in Canada!), our Real Canadian Superstore is the closest approximation, locally, to the drool-worthy American behemoth. But it still falls short.

Mom and I had nothing specific in mind to source out. We just wanted to take a gander at the Joe Fresh clothing, the housewares, the linens, the books, the kids’ department, the health food section…ok, maybe setting aside just an afternoon was being a little optimistic!

feeling fresh and ready to gadabout! this may have been the only moment we interrupted our flow of chatter...

Tempted by the book section – all books are 25% off!

the snooki bookie!!! and i find rebecca eckler a great chronicler - read "knocked up" and "wiped" if you have not already; this is a newer one...

Mom always has a weak spot for pretty table napkins:

at $2 a pack, she should have gotten both patterns! but the checks won out...

PUFFINS SCORE!!!! I pay $4.99 per box at the health food store, but at the Superstore they were on sale – I got all three flavours!

thats $5.50, total, in SAVINGS in my pocket!!!

We didn’t pick up a cart at the entrance because it would be cumbersome to push whilst looking at the clothes, and wandering in the housewares. After our meander through the health foods, we were regretting that decision:

can you say "juggling act?!"

And just for fun, a picture of spring flowers:

easter lilies - so beautiful!

Mom brought me her copy of…

ooooo, cant wait!

I think what I’ll do is finish up Chelsea, put aside Freedom, and devour The Help!

Have you read The Help yet? From blogger comments and reviews (ex: Jenna) I have read, it seems 100% of the population loves this book!

So, thanks, Mom, for the marvelous outing (and for the $4 thong underwear you bought me!) – so glad we are back on track with our shopping!

What’s your favourite all-in-one store? I adore Target, as stated. Not a Zellers fan. Boycott Walmart.


Social Thursday continued when VFBF Joanne and I rendez-vous’d at The Huether:

two hours of chatting? = not enough time!!!

Not surprisingly, we had a fabulous time. 

Dare I start another Outing of the Month?!!