Tag Archives: waterloo park

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!

good intentions sunday

gooood monday morning, friends!

are you all ready to face the day? rarin’ to go? i love mondays – it’s my “crazy day,” as i call it because i am at both stores, and i wouldn’t have it any other way.

saturday evening, i planned out my to do list for sunday. a, b, c, d, e…and so on. i had a really detailed schedule all set up, and was super-keen to tackle the day because it was going to include a new experience! i even thought out how i would multi-task by watching/listening to the nyc marathon online, while going about completing said new experience.

well, guess what? sunday ended up taking off in completely different directions. i’ll explain…

the only thing set in stone was my work shift: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. after that, it ended up working out really well to give the storage area in the condo casa basement a much needed and long-procrastinated-upon purge and cleanse. that went really well, and took less time than anticipated – but it hadn’t been on THE LIST. no matter – feels good to have that task done!

then, i researched how i could watch the marathon online sunday eve. i checked out the universal sports website – as best as i could tell, they had broadcasted the race live, only [and i don’t think you can watch this site in canada??]. drat. so i had to content myself with reading news headlines. a new course record was set in the men’s race! [mom and dad, i should have gone with my original idea of pvr’ing the televised coverage on your tv!].

then, i decided to go for a walk through waterloo park – we were blessed with gorgeous weather this weekend! i couldn’t pass up the opportunity for some sunshine and fresh air.

view of the pedestrian bridge...

that scene would make a good puzzle, no?!

they're starting to set up for the "wonders of winter" lights display which will begin in early november!

then, i had to stop for groceries. i got sidetracked, and ended up buying a christmas present (can’t say what or for whom). hadn’t planned on that, but the amazing sale price sealed the deal!

then, i came home. by this time, dusk was falling, thanks to the time change. my circadian rhythms are off because of turning the clocks back, and it truly felt later than it was. so i shelved the “new experience” idea. it involves a tradition that i love and adore, but i want to feel excited when i execute it. so the revised plan is to complete this project on tuesday – it should work out (barring unforeseen tangents).

so, i happily puttered/frittered away last evening by doing a bit of cleaning, checking hamilton race results since i knew a number of people running in those events, and diddling with an artsy-fartsy creative *something* for an upcoming celebration.

what a go-with-the-flow day! basically nothing on the saturday eve list got accomplished…yet, a lot DID get done, and it was a great day!


november thankfulness:

(for sunday, november 6): yesterday i was thankful for the fact that my friend, “a,” was successful in his attempt to register online for next year’s ironman florida race on november 3, 2012! “a” has completed this event twice in the past, and has come oh-so-close to qualifying for a spot in hawaii (the “boston” of ironman events). i sincerely doubt i will ever attempt a try-a-tri, let alone an ironman…yet i am so intrigued by this event. “a” has raced imfl twice in the past, and after each of those races, he has been very good about letting pummel him with questions and granting my requests for minute-by-minute race details. i also thoroughly enjoy listening to his training regimen (brick workouts! six hour rides on the bike trainer!) without having to actually do anything, myself. let the training begin!

triathlon: rank the three disciplines in order of your personal preference: me – i think #1 is pretty obvious, by now, eh?! i used to be a pretty good swimmer when i was younger…now i don’t like being cold and i don’t like being wet – those factors are a bit of a hindrance, wouldn’t you say?! and i am actually very scared of my bike. cycling makes me feel very unsafe – both because of my (lack of) skills and traffic. the triathlon very much fascinates me, though!

if you build it, they will skate

nowhere is a generation gap more evident than between skateboarders and “older generations.”

well, the sk8er boys (and girls, although i haven’t seen any) in our ‘hood now have a new place to hang out.

the city permitted a skate board park to be built just on the outskirts of waterloo park and across from our local rec centre.

earlier this week, i took a walk over to check out this new spot for myself. it was pretty quiet while i was there…which is a good thing, considering it was about noon on a school day!

so new, the landscaping isn't complete - not that the skateboarders care, i bet!

i'd love to know all the jumps and tricks you could do, given this "terrain!"

there's an action shot!

bet they can catch some air with THIS ramp!

i totally approve of this skate boarding park. it’s a great idea. the location is optimal – in central waterloo, close to amenities, but not near homes or busy streets. when i drove by one evening, the place was hopping! i bet about 30 *kids* were hanging out and making great use of the park. my hope is that the park is respected by its users, and kept in the clean condition that it is in currently.

this summer (prior to the skate board park opening), the square in uptown waterloo was the make-shift skateboarding area:

the W-I-D-E open cement space...

this is also where i did yoga outdoors and where the (teeny) farmer’s market was held, this summer. oh – and buskers performed here, too! truly a multi-use space…but it was not intended for skateboarding!

actually, the city DID try offering the skateboarders specific times when they could use this outdoor area…but that idea did not go over so well. the skateboarders tred on the toes (sometimes literally) of people sitting, walking, passing by the square, and did not stick to the set hours offered by the city (i witnessed this, firsthand).

i can see why it was a tempting spot to do jumps, twists and tricks:

steps and stairs!

benches and obstacles!

a ramp!

so, i’m glad there’s a specific, designated spot for skateboarding. the activity may be viewed by some as a bit “counter-culture,” but a sport that gets kids away from computers, invites socializing, and encourages them to be out-of-doors has good potential to it. i admit i do squirm a bit when i watch the antics! all i picture is the potential danger! me = old!

and now, because i know this song is rolling around in YOUR brain, too…here’s the link! sk8er boi by avril lavigne. awesome tune!

what’s your history with skate boarding? i have never set foot on one – really! and no, i am not about to take myself over to the new skate park in order give myself a new experience – i have a feeling “ride a skate board” could too quickly turn into “have a cast on my leg!!!”



all in the family

typically, wednesday is aunti day in toronto. i leave waterloo at 2:00 p.m. on the dot [not joking – 401 traffic is such that even leaving 10 minutes later means i’ll get snarled in traffic in mississauga and again on the gardiner expressway – i’ve got this commute down to a science!], bop around toronto til everyone gets home from work/school, then enjoy dinner and early-eve-til-bedtime time with the brother, sil ana, adorable e and cutie c.

this week, the tables were turned! summer holiday schedules permitted the little family to make the trek up to waterloo to see g’ma and g’pa, uncle b and aunti! and bonus: we all were able to book most of the day off to be together!

here’s how family vacation went down in waterloo, on wednesday…

10:30 a.m.! we all gather for...

g'ma's homemade streusel coffee cake...

...followed by play time with two types of teddy bear games!

as if a day-long visit to waterloo was not exciting enough, the extra-special part of the trip was that adorable e would be sleeping over at grandma and grandpa’s condo for the very first time!

unpacking...about 17 minutes after arrival at g'ma and g'pa's!

jeff has this super air mattress that he lent e to sleep on. it’s pretty sturdy…

no more monkeys jumping on the bed!

then, it was over to waterloo park for a family lunch-time picnic!

we could walk over! the park is a hop, skip and a jump away!

wednesday was a beautiful day to be outside: it was warm, but a bit overcast so no one got overheated.

we counted three rabbits!

we slid slides!

we played house! (good thing aunti's been yogaing!)


we found a quiet spot...

grandma is brilliant! an old trick that i remember from childhood, too…

a shower curtain from the dollar store makes a perfect table cloth! the curtain even came with clips - no flapping edges!

a perfect picnic menu - somehow the chips are missing from the photo?!?!

dig in, everyone!

after lunch, we split into small groups. g’ma, g’pa, aunti and adorable e stayed at the park.

g’pa, aunti and e enjoyed a vigorous round-robin session of toss-the-beach-ball. you dropped it, you were the dirty donkey or the nasty monkey! [no pictures – aunti needed to focus and not drop the ball, literally!].

time out to re-inflate the beach ball...

...blow some bubbles!

a flying saucer swing!


sil ana, the brother and i had just enough time to do a quick boot around uptown waterloo to window shop, and then it was…

dinner time!

the clan at "marbles" restaurant in uptown - one of our favourite spots!

that was such a fun day. i can’t remember the last time we all spent almost the entire day together like that. even at christmas, our visit tends to be a few hours, only. it was a lovely way to end the month of august before we all go crazy jump into our fall routines.

[eta: little’s e’s sleepover ended up being a smashing success! it’s reported that she only rolled off the air mattress two times during the night!]

how old were you when you had your first sleepover? my earliest recollection is of sleeping over at vfbf joanne‘s house when i was four or five. somehow, we switched beds during the night, and freaked out poor joanne’s mom because in the morning, we were vice-versa to how she had tucked us in!

musical extremes

can you believe we can count on one hand the number of weekends left in the summer? (because summer ends at labour day, i don’t care what the lunar calendar tells us).

to make the most of the glorious summer weather, i headed over to waterloo park on sunday evening for my third band concert of the summer! who am i?! this is turning out to be the summer of outdoor music!

even more funny is that i attended the concert on my own: mom and dad, my usual cohorts, were at the church golf tournament, so i ventured out solo. i didn’t feel all that weird as there were quite a few other singletons lollygagging on the park lawn, taking in the music and calm summer eve.

this week’s featured group:

"the galt kiltie band"

on the way over to the park, i was quite excited – i thought that a kiltie band was going to be an ensemble of marching bagpipers wearing kilts. like this:


i was wrong! how very disappointing! so, now, i have no idea what defines a kiltie band. this group was no different in sound or style from the other bands of previous weeks.

no marching, no bagpipes, no kilts 😦

the group played very well – for the number of members, they produced a big sound. (also, the acoustics in this old bandshell are surprisingly amazing and impressive).

don't you just love the conductor's bow tie? he was very energetic, too (if a little eccentric!)

my favourite selections this week were the swing tunes. i felt transported back to another era! i wanted to get up and learn the lindy hop!

now, let’s talk about more hip music, shall we? yesterday, i finally purchased some new itunes. can you believe i haven’t switched up the songs on my ipod since march?! i’m just not tired of the awesome mix i have! however, listening to z103.5 this summer, i’ve heard several songs from the charts that i wanted to add to my itunes database (i have about 620 songs, now).

here’s the playlist that i downloaded:

  • i gotta feeling – the black eyed peas
  • party rock anthem – lmfao
  • sexy and i know it – lmfao
  • sweat – snoop dogg vs david guetta remix
  • i wanna go – britney spears
  • up n down – britney spears
  • fire – raghav
  • where them girls at – david guetta
  • brand new chick – anjulie
  • the edge of glory – lady gaga
  • rolling in the deep – (a dance mix version of adele’s hit!)
  • give me everything – pitbull
  • on the floor – jennifer lopez
  • jet lag – simple plan
  • country girl (shake it for me) – luke bryan (*random find!)
  • little bad girl – david guetta

[sidenote: i wish i could insert a groovy chart and link you directly to each song. sadly, i have no clue how i would do that – so, you’ll have to google or search itunes to hear these picks!].

music: do you purchase songs online? buy cd’s? i love itunes – what a great invention. the problem with buying cd’s (in the olden days) was that i’d love 2-3 songs, and then be stuck with others i wasn’t so keen on. now, i just get what i am 100% jazzed about. i don’t mind paying…the convenience and legitimacy of the whole itunes system is much appreciated!

one song that’s your summer of 2011 theme song? i can’t get enough of party rock anthem by lmfao





treat: reese puffs cereal!

price: $4.49 for the box (i did not eat the whole box at once!)

rating: **1/2 (two and a half stars)

tasting notes: you’ll hear more about this cereal later this week. i made a delicious combination of gf corn flakes, corn bran squares and these puffs. this cereal is very sweet (goes without saying!) with great crunch. i liked them better this time than the last box i tried!