Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Comfort Inn, St. Thomas, ON

I had a seminar to conduct this morning in St. Thomas (about 2.5 hours SW of Toronto) and I spent last night at the Comfort Inn.  It's the only hotel in St. Thomas and I stayed here a few years ago.

Here was my room ...

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Pizzaworx, St. Thomas, ON

I felt like having pizza for supper this evening  and looked online to find out what was the best pizza place in St. Thomas ... and Pizzaworx got good reviews.

I didn't realize it was just a take-out joint until I got there.  Had I known, I would have called it in for pick-up or had it delivered.  I read while I waited for it to be made (about a half hour) ... then brought it back to my hotel room.

I ordered a medium pizza with extra cheese, pepperoni, bacon and tomatoes.  I must have caught a pizza deal because it came to less than $12 including tax!  It was a good pizza.  There were plenty of ingredients on it and lots leftover for my breakfast tomorrow, which was my intent.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Book ~ "Christmas Camp" (2018) Karen Schaler

From Goodreads ~ Haley Hanson’s idea of the perfect Christmas is escaping to the Caribbean to work so she can avoid all the traditional Christmas distractions. Over the years, she’s sacrificed her personal life to climb the corporate ladder at a prestigious Boston advertising agency. Now she just needs to land a coveted Christmas toy company account to make partner. But first, her boss, Larry, thinks she needs a holiday attitude adjustment so he ships her off to a Christmas Camp at Holly Peak Inn to help her find her Christmas spirit.

Arriving at the charming mountainside inn, Haley meets the owner’s handsome son, Jeff, and feels an instant spark but resists the attraction, refusing to be distracted from her goal of doing all the required Christmas tasks as fast as possible so she can get back to work.

At first Haley struggles with all the traditional Christmas Camp activities. It’s not until she finally allows herself to slow down, live in the moment and let Christmas back into her heart, that she begins to grow closer to Jeff. But when he finds out Haley’s come up with a plan to help his dad save the struggling inn while he’s been trying to convince his dad to sell it, their relationship takes a serious holiday hit. Now it will take the magic of the season to bring these two hearts together.

Haley works for an advertising agency in Boston.  She has no life because she spends all her time working, with the goal of becoming partner.  It's Christmastime and Tyler Toy is a prospective client.  Haley knows that if she wins it, she will be made partner.  But her colleague, Tom, is her competition and he is full of Christmas spirit.  In an attempt to help Haley discover Christmas, Larry, her boss, sends her to a week long Christmas camp in the country.

When Haley arrives at camp, she just wants to get the activities done as soon as possible so she can bring her certificate of completion back to Larry and start working the Tyler Toys account.  She's horrified to discover that it's not that easy ... she can't just do the activities and leave.  There is something to do every day.  And even worse is that all phones and laptops are taken away and can only be used in the evening after the day is over.  At the camp are Ben (the owner), Jeff (his adult son), a divorced man and his two teenagers, a newlywed couple and a woman who son is in the armed services overseas.  As the week passes, Haley chills out and starts to embrace Christmas.

This story is written in third person perspective from Haley and Jeff's point of view.  They are attracted to each other but fight it ... Haley because she wants to stay focused on her career and Jeff because he doesn't want to get attached to someone (his mother recently passed away and he doesn't want to go through that kind of pain again).

This was a light read with a happy ending for all.  It is the first in the Christmas Camp series.

Happy Family Day!

Today is Family Day, a statutory holiday here in Ontario.

Enjoy and spend some time with your family!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Book ~ "The Long Paw of the Law" (2018) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ One night, while on duty with her four-legged crime-fighting companion, Megan gets an urgent call from her boyfriend, Seth, who works for the Fort Worth fire department. A baby girl has turned up at the station with only two clues to her identity: One is a peace-sign symbol stitched into her blanket. The other is a word, written in string: help.

Megan follows every loose thread and, along with Brigit, ends up on a twisted path that leads to the People of Peace compound, the site of a religious sect on the outskirts of the city. Its leader, Father Emmanuel, keeps his followers on a short leash - and his enemies even closer. Could this be the abandoned baby’s original home? And if so, why was she cast out? Now that Megan and Brigit are on the case, the secrets of this reclusive cult are bound to be dug up.

Megan is a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas.  Her partner is Brigit, a German Shepherd.  One night Megan gets a call from Seth, her boyfriend who is a fireman.  A baby was just left at the fire station where he works.  Because of Texas laws, people are allowed to abandon their children at places like this.  As the baby is being taken away to a foster home, Megan notices the word "help" stitched into the baby's blanket.  Assuming this is the mother's cry for help, Megan is determined to find the mother.  This leads her to a cult called People of Peace, run by the controlling Father Emmanuel.  Convinced she is on the right track, Megan does all she can to see if the mother is indeed in the compound and needs her help.

In the meantime, someone is stealing garage remote controls from cars with the intent of going back later to rob houses now that they have access and Megan and Brigit are on the case.

I've read many books by this author and I liked this one.  Though it's the seventh in the Paw Enforcement series, it can work as a stand alone and you don't have to read the others to know what's going on (there is enough background provided).

I liked the writing style ... it was amusing at times.  It is written in first person perspective from Megan's point of view and third person perspective from Brigit's point of view (which is funny) and Father Emmanuel's perspective.

I like Megan.  She's gotten more confident as time goes on.  Brigit's funny and likeable and it's fun to get into her head.  Though she is a trained police dog, she can be naughty when she wants to be (especially if there are treats or squirrels involved).

Toronto Wolfpack 30, Widnes Vikings 6, 3 Brewers, Toronto, ON

The Toronto Wolfpack RLFC is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in here Toronto, which competes in the British Rugby Football League system.  The club is noted as being the first North American team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first transatlantic rugby league team.  Their home stadium is Lamport Stadium (aka "The Den"), which is just a couple blocks from where Gord and I live.  We are season ticket holders and we've renewed for 2019.  The first home game is in April.

3 Brewers is the official restaurant/bar of the Wolfpack in Toronto and there was an away game viewing party there to watch today's game against the Widnes Vikings.  According to Susan, our server, there were a couple hundred fans.  Impressive!

Friday, 15 February 2019

Toronto Rock 12, San Diego Seals 11, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON

Gord and I are season ticket holders for the Toronto Rock lacrosse team games ... the Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  This is our sixth year going to the games and our fifth year having seasons tickets.

Tonight the Rock were hosting the San Diego Seals, a new team to the league.  The Rock were leading in the eastern division and the Seals were leading in the western division.

The theme for tonight was Pride Night.

Scotty Newlands sang the American national anthem.

Singing Out, Toronto’s LGBTQ+ and allies community chorus, sang the Canadian national anthem.

Walrus Pub & Beer Hall, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening before the Toronto Rock game at the Walrus Pub & Beer Hall (on the NE corner of Bay Street/Wellington Street).  It's been open for about a year.

There was a DJ

It was jammed!

Topbox - February 2019

My February Topbox arrived today.

For only $12 a month, you will receive a Topbox with 4 carefully selected, indulgent, beauty products. Then test the products in the comfort of your own home.

Here's what I received ...

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Ipsy Glam Bag - February 2019

My February Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today.
  • 4 to 5 beauty products in a collectible makeup bag 
  • Monthly videos showing you how to get the Look 
  • Win free products in contests and giveaways

Subscriptions are $10US a month or $110US for a year.  Shipping is free in the U.S. and $4.95US per month to Canada.

Here's what I received ...

Cute bag

  • Make-up bag
  • EYEKO Lash Alert Mascara (Carbon Black) - 2ml sample - $6.50 value
  • TONYMOLY Petite Bunny Gloss Bar (Juicy Cherry) - $8 value
  • MEECH AND MIA Pressed Eye Shadow (Caramel) - $11.50 value
  • Renewed Pumpkin Walnut Facial Cleanser - 0.67oz sample - $4.69 value
  • CHELLA Eyeliner Pen (Purple) - $21 value

  • Total value:  $51.69US

    Wednesday, 13 February 2019

    Book ~ "Stay with Me" (2017) Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

    From Goodreads ~ Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. 

    But four years into their marriage - after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures - Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time - until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife. 

    Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine.

    Yejide and Akin live in Nigeria.  They met and fell in love while in university.  Yejide now owns a hair salon and Akin is a bank manager.  Life is good except four years later, his family is tired of waiting for them to have children.  Despite being able to have multiple wives, Yejide and Akin had agree from the beginning that they wouldn't let anyone else in their relationship.  Akin's family, though, is tired of waiting for Yejide to provide Akin with a child so they have him take an additional wife, Funmi, to increase the chances of him having children.

    Yejide isn't happy with Akin having this second wife and realizes that the only way to keep him for herself if she gets pregnant.  Desperate she does what she has to do in order to get pregnant but life doesn't turn out as happy has she had hoped.

    This is a different kind of book than I usually read but I thought I'd step out of my comfort zone and check it out (I'd seen it had gotten good reviews).  It took me a chapter or two to get into it.  I was liking the story of Yejide and Akin and their life together.  Their culture is so different from mine so it was interesting to learn about their life.  Even though they are a modern couple, they are still influenced by the ancient superstitions and culture. 

    When Yejide headed to the mountain for a miracle pregnancy and was convinced it happened, I had to leave my sense of belief behind.  When she started acting totally irrationally and no one seemed to want to help her (yelling and ignoring her isn't going to help), that's when the story started to lose me.  But I carried on and the further I got (and I did finish it), the more I disliked the story.  I hated the ending and found it unbelievable.

    The book is written in first person perspective in Yejide and Akin's voices.  The chapters aren't labeled so sometimes it took me a bit to realize who was speaking.  The book jumps back and forth from the past to the future but the timelines are labeled.  Most of the time they didn't mean much to me, though, because I didn't know whose voice it was.

    I didn't like the characters.  Yejide and Akin were supposed to be the love of each other's lives but I wasn't feeling it.  There were secrets between them and as a supposedly loving couple, they should have been able to talk about them honestly.  Akin was a wimp.  He kept going on and on about how the moment he saw Yejide that he would marry her yet he let his family railroad him into marrying Funmi and Yejide didn't find out until after the fact (and not from him).  Akin's family were overbearing but I guess that's the way it is in their culture?  And Yejide did things that if she really loved her husband, she wouldn't have done.  I thought how Yejide eventually did get pregnant was ridiculous.

    Super Donair, Saskatooon, SK

    I had lunch today at Super Donair.

    I ordered a large beef donair with donair sauce and tomatoes.

    What is donair?

    Donair is a Middle Eastern dish made of roasted meat cooked on a vertical spit. In a prepared dish, seasoned meat is stacked on a vertical spit in the shape of an inverted cone. It is turned slowly, cooking against a vertical rotisserie. A tomato, onion or pineapple may be placed at the top of the stack for additional flavouring. The meat is cooked by an electric burner. 

    The rate of roasting can be adjusted by varying the strength of the heat and the distance between the heat and the meat, allowing the cook to adjust to varying rates of consumption. The outside of the meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done. While cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife. 

    Donairs are a big thing back home in Nova Scotia so whenever I come across them on my travels, I try them. Size-wise my large donair was a great deal at $10.  Despite the name of the restaurant, this was not a super donair.  The meat was fried to be heated and there was some charred bits.  The meat was a bit too peppery.  The donair sauce is one of the best parts of a donair and this wasn't sweet enough.  I ate about half of it because I was hungry and discarded the rest.

    Super Donair Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Holiday Inn Saskatoon Downtown, Saskatoon, SK

    I am spending the day with a client in Saskatoon. I drove from Regina yesterday afternoon and spent the night at the Holiday Inn Saskatoon Downtown.

    The lobby

    Here was my room ...