Monday 22 April 2024

Book ~ "The Lost Husband" (2013) Katherine Center

From Goodreads ~ "Dear Libby, It occurs to me that you and your two children have been living with your mother for -- Dear Lord! -- two whole years, and I'm writing to see if you'd like to be rescued." 

The letter comes out of the blue and just in time for Libby Moran, who, after the sudden death of her husband, Danny, went to stay with her hypercritical mother. Now her crazy Aunt Jean has offered Libby an escape, a job and a place to live on her farm in the Texas Hill Country. Before she can talk herself out of it, Libby is packing the minivan, grabbing the kids and hitting the road. 

Life on Aunt Jean's goat farm is both more wonderful and more mysterious than Libby could have imagined. Beyond the animals and the strenuous work, there is quiet, deep, country quiet. But there is also a shaggy, gruff (though purportedly handsome, under all that hair) farm manager with a tragic home life, a formerly famous feed-store clerk who claims she can contact Danny "on the other side" and the eccentric aunt Libby never really knew but who turns out to be exactly what she's been looking for. And despite everything she's lost, Libby soon realizes how much more she's found. Libby hasn't just traded one kind of crazy for another; she may actually have found the place to bring her little family, and herself, back to life.

Libby was widowed a couple years ago when her husband, Danny, was killed in a car accident. He left her with a surprising amount of debt so she and their two young children, Abby and Tank, had to move in with her mother. Her mother is not a nice person ... she's critical and self-absorbed. But Libby had no other options until she receives a letter from Aunt Jean, her mother's estranged sister, inviting her to move to her farm. Room and board would be provided in exchange for helping out on the farm. Looking for a change, Libby jumps at the chance. 

At the farm, Libby discovers life is much different than living in the city but it's soothing once she got used to it. She gets to know Aunt Jean, who is still a hippy in some ways, and makes friends with Sunshine, who wants to help Libby get "in touch" with Danny, and O'Connor, who shows her the ropes on the farm and she develops a crush on.

I thought this story was predictable but okay. It is written in first person perspective in Libby's voice. I'm not usually a fan of children in stories but Abby and Tank were entertaining and not annoying. The ending wraps up rather quickly. I found it odd that this story takes place about ten years ago but there is no mention of cell phones or the Internet (Aunt Jean doesn't even have a TV). As a head's up, there is some swearing.

Sunday 21 April 2024

Twisted Hat

I finished knitting another twisted hat. It’s a fun and easy pattern once you get into the repetitive groove.

I found the pattern here.

Directions are for size small; changes for size large are in parentheses.

Hat circumference at bottom edge: 16 (18)" [41 (46)cm]; Hat stretches to fit 20 (22)” [51 (56)cm]

I used 4.5mm [US 7] and 5.5mm [US 9] needles and 4 ply yarn. 

Hat is worked in the round on double pointed needles.

With smaller needles, cast on 90 (102) sts. Divide sts evenly around double pointed needles. Join to work in rounds, taking care not to twist sts. Place marker for beginning of round.

Ribbing Round: 
[K1 through the back loop, p1] around. Repeat ribbing round until piece measures 1½" [4cm] from beginning.

Round 1: Change to larger needles and knit.
Round 2: [K2, yo, k2, k2tog] around – 90 (102) sts.
Repeat round 2 until piece measures 8 (8½)" [20 (22) cm] from beginning.

Shape Crown
  • Decrease round 1: [K2tog, yo, k2, k2tog] 15 (17) times – 75 (85) sts.
  • Next round: [K1, yo, k2, k2tog] around – 75 (85) sts.
  • Decrease round 2: *K1, yo, [k2tog] twice; repeat from * around – 60 (68) sts
  • Next round: [K1, yo, k1, k2tog] around – 60 (68) sts.
  • Decrease round 3: [K2, k2tog] 15 (17) times – 45 (51) sts.
  • Decrease round 4: [K1, k2tog] around – 30 (34) sts.
  • Decrease round 5: [K2tog] around – 15 (17) sts.
  • Decrease round 6: [K2tog, k1] 5 times, k2tog 0 (1) time – 10 (11) sts.
Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread yarn through remaining sts and pull to gather. Secure end. Weave in ends.

k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 sts together
p = purl
St st = Stockinette stitch
st(s) = stitch(es)
yo = yarn over

Saturday 20 April 2024

Hooters, Toronto, ON

I had supper this evening at Hooters at Adelaide Street W/John Street ... I was downtown and hungry so stopped in. It was a busy spot!

I ordered wings with a medium sauce and curly fries ... and they were good. There was lots of sauce on the wings so it's a good thing there is a big roll of paper towel on the table!

Ten was my server ... she was friendly and took good care of me.

Varda, TIFF Lightbox, Toronto, ON

When I volunteered last Sunday at the Images Festival, I was at the theatre next to Varda, which is a new lounge on the third level at TIFF.

I was downtown so stopped in for a glass of Riesling and read for a while as I thought it looked like a cute spot.

Friday 19 April 2024

Cherry Blossoms, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

It's cherry blossom time in Toronto and there are various parks you can go to see them.  Cherry blossom time doesn't last long so everyone flocks to see them while they last. 

The closest park to us is Trinity Bellwoods Park. I had a meeting near there this evening so stopped by on my way home afterwards. Lots of others had the same idea as it was fairly busy there.

Nice to see new trees have been planted

Free samples at - April 2024

A couple weeks ago, I had answered an emailed survey from SampleSource and a box of free goodies, coupons for free goodies and coupons arrived this week. This is the 13th box of samples I've gotten from them since November  2013.

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Toronto Blue Jays 4 ~ New York Yankees 6, Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to this afternoon’s Toronto Blue Jays ~ New York Yankees game at the Rogers Centre. 

They have done some major renovations to the Rogers Centre since last year so we got there early and walked around to check them out.

Here's the view from the Corona Rooftop Patio on the third level.

These guys were playing next to the Corona Rooftop Patio and were good.

Here's the Sportsnet broadcast booth Jamie Campbell and Joe Siddall before the game.

Boston Pizza, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had lunch today at Boston Pizza on Front Street. 

I had a Honey Dill Fried Chicken Sandwich (Buttermilk-breaded fried chicken breast, topped with house-made honey dill sauce, bacon, tomato and pickles, on a toasted brioche bun) and garlic mashed potatoes. The potatoes were nicely garlicy and the sandwich was hearty.

Tuesday 16 April 2024

"A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney", Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery District, Toronto, ON

This evening Gord and I saw A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts by Outside the March in the Distillery District.

See Walt. See Walt run. See Walt run a multinational media conglomerate, remaking the world in his image. See Walt contemplate that image. See Walt contemplate cryogenics. See Disney on ice. See Walt’s family. Hear Walt’s screenplay. See Walt’s family hear Walt’s screenplay. See Walt melt.

Outside the March ‘reanimates the Head of Disney’ with this Toronto Premiere by Obie Award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath (Dana H., A Doll’s House Part 2), one of the funniest and most formally daring playwrights of our moment. Starring Canadian theatre great Diego Matamoros as the man, the mouse, the legend—alongside the powerhouse cast of Katherine Cullen, Tony Ofori and Anand Rajaram, in a production directed by Mitchell Cushman and presented by Soulpepper Theatre.

Despite its title, this is neither a reading nor a screenplay; or rather, it’s both, in a brilliant 90-minute stage play. Hnath’s script is an intricately orchestrated merry-go-round of percussive language like a “hypercaffeinated David Mamet” (The New York Times).

“Death of Walt Disney” toys with far-fetched concepts like: what if a powerful billionaire pursued his own immortality at the expense of the world around him? What if Elon Musk could doodle? And what if a melting world is no place to keep a frozen head from thawing?

We’ve seen readings before and this was a play within a reading … and it worked. It was serious and funny and the actors did an excellent job, especially the two playing brothers, Walt and Roy. It was a good use of the stage as it was in the middle of the audience and rotated in a circle. It officially opens tomorrow evening.

Book ~ "Someone Saw Something" (2024) Rick Mofina

From Goodreads ~ A missing child is every parent’s worst nightmare. For journalist Corina Corado, it’s a terrifying reality. 

When six-year-old Gabriel vanishes from Central Park, his mother, news anchor Corina Corado, is desperate for answers. Who would take her son - and why? 

Detectives suspect there’s a connection to the barrage of hate mail Corina’s received over the years. In her line of work, it’s not unusual for agitated conspiracy theorists to send messages that threaten violence … or worse. But as the investigation deepens, the secrets that Corina, her husband, Robert, and her stepdaughter, Charlotte, have kept start to unravel. As the truth behind Gabriel’s disappearance emerges, Corina must race the clock to track down her missing child…before paying the ultimate price.

Corina is married to Robert and they have two children ... Charlotte is sixteen and Gabriel is six. Robert was supposed to pick up Gabriel after school but he's tied up in a meeting at the last minute so Corina asks Charlotte. Charlotte and Gabriel cut through the park so Gabriel can fly the airplane he had just built. She's texting her older boyfriend she isn't supposed to have and isn't paying attention and Gabriel disappears. The police are called and the hunt is on. 

I've read a few books by this author and thought this one was okay. There were so many side stories (aka red herrings) and I felt the book could have been edited down so it wasn't so long and drawn out. Corina is a journalist and had been getting death threats from a conspiracy theory group followers, Corina feels Robert is hiding something (an affair perhaps?), Charlotte is still in contact with the boyfriend though her parents had told her to stop, Corina has a sleazy boss who had put the moves on her and then threatened her, a rival network keeps broadcasting that Corina had been so desperate for a baby that she stole one from a dying mother in Nicaragua and illegally adopted him (ie Gabriel), how are the Russians involved, and more. She does have the support of her news team, friends and a support group that is helping to find Gabriel.

It is written in third person perspective with the focus on wherever the action is. The ending came together quickly and was a bit a letdown for me. I thought Corina acted rashly at times, thus putting Gabriel in danger, and not letting the police do their job.

Monday 15 April 2024

Pizzeria Badiali, Toronto, ON

Pizzeria Badiali moved into my 'hood on Dovercourt Road almost 3 years ago . I love pizza and have been wanting to check them out but there is always a line when I go by, sometimes around the block (I’ve read the wait for a slice can sometimes be up to an hour!). When I drove by today just after noon, there were just a handful of people in line AND a parking spot on the street. Today was the day!! 

I ordered a pepperoni slice and there was an empty table on the patio. Sweet! It was a tasty slice … not as large as you get from a chain but you are paying for quality not quantity.