Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book ~ "John Wayne: My Father" (1998) Aissa Wayne

From Goodreads ~ In "John Wayne: My Father", Aissa Wayne delves into her father's childhood, his film career, and his life off the screen. The result is an affecting portrait that offers a new perspective on one of America's most enduring hero's humanity.

I wasn't a fan of John Wayne's (1907 - 79) but I wasn't not a fan.  I like reading memoirs/bio and I thought this would be an interesting one.

It's written by his oldest daughter of his third marriage (the fifth oldest of his seven children).  She tells us of his childhood.  Born Marion Morrison and teased about his feminine name as a child, his parents didn't get along and eventually split up.  His mother paid more attention his younger brother, Robert, and the author feels this is why as an adult he always needed constant assurance of everyone's love for him.  She also tells of his experiences making movies, his friends, his wives, his relationship with his kids and dealing with cancer.

Though it was interesting, I found that it was more about the author, though, than it was about John Wayne.  Because her parent were concerned about her getting kidnapped, she led a sheltered life.  As a child, she had elephants at her birthday parties, got to wear diamond for magazine photospreads and traveled the world with her parents.  She was born when her father was about fifty so he wasn't as hip and happening as her friends' dads.  The book seemed to focus more on her reactions to having John Wayne as her dad rather than him.

The book could have been tighter ... she went into a lot of detail at times and it was all about her.  But all in all, it was an interesting rea.

If you watch Amazing Race, the author is the mother of Jennifer Wayne who was on seasons 22 and 24.

Chilled Cork, Chatham, ON

I had supper tonight at the Chilled Cork in Chatham.  I'd been here in April 2013 and liked it.

I ordered the pork chop special with tomato scalloped potatoes.

Brittanie, my server, started me with yummy rolls and butter.

Wild Wing, Scarborough, ON

I had client meetings today in Scarborough and had lunch at Wild Wing a couple blocks away.  I've been to a couple Wild Wing restaurants in downtown Toronto and have liked them.

I got there at noon and the restaurant was quiet and sad.

There are many flavours to choose from.

There are nine wings to an order.  I hadn't had breakfast and knew I wouldn't have supper 'til late so ordered a double order with Dill-icious Honey and Whiskey Girl sauces.  I got them "naked" aka no breading.

I'm glad I ordered a double order.  Despite the sign on the wall behind me boasting that their wings are plump and juicy, mine weren't.  Mine were mostly small and overcooked.  The dill sauce was good but the BBQ and honey garlic sauces that were on them was mild ... so mild that I couldn't tell which was which.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book ~ "You Have to F**king Eat" (2014) Adam Mansbach

From Goodreads ~ From the author of the international bestseller "Go the F**k to Sleep" comes a long-awaited sequel about the other great parental frustration: getting your little angel to eat something that even vaguely resembles a normal meal. Profane, loving, and deeply cathartic, "You Have to F**king Eat" breaks the code of child-rearing silence, giving moms and dads new, old, grand- and expectant a much-needed chance to laugh about a universal problem. 

A perfect gift book like the smash hit "Go the F**k to Sleep", "You Have to F**king Eat" perfectly captures Adam Mansbach's trademark humor, which is simultaneously affectionate and radically honest. You probably shouldn't read it to your kids.

This is the sequel to Go the F**k to Sleep.   Like the first one, it's cute and funny.  Parents can relate.  You definitely shouldn't read it to your kids!  Here's a sample page:

Bryan Cranston has recorded the audiobook for it which is available free until December 12 at You can listen to a short clip here.

I received a copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Trius wine club - October

Our October Trius wine club box arrived today.  There had been an issue with my VISA (the expiry date changed so they called to update it) so October's box was delayed.

Gord and I have been members of the Trius Wine Club for over ten years.

Every month, 2 bottles of our best wine will be delivered to your door along with Winemaker Craig McDonald’s tasting notes and Chef Frank Dodd’s recipes.

The cost is $43 a month and it's only available in Ontario.

Here's what we got this month ...

  • Showcase Wild Ferment Chardonnay "Oliveira Vineyard" 2012 ($35.20) ~ The recipe included that pairs with it is Crispy Crab Roll - we're not fans of barrel-aged chardonnay so it will be a gift to someone
  • Trius Cabernet Franc 2013 ($14.95) - The recipe included that pairs with it is Rack of Lamb with Pistachio Crust

While Gord and I will enjoy what's in the box, Morgan tried to enjoy the box!

He jumped right in it
And then settled in for a snooze
And then Crumpet came along
Poor Morgan!

The box is now empty.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Moselland Riesling wine - cat bottle

Almost every year in November the LCBO sells bottles of Moselland Riesling wine in the shape of cats.

I saw they have a new one out so picked it up after work this evening.

This year they are blue and a 2013 vintage ...

I've been collecting them for over ten years and now have 29.


They are all different colours/vintages and unopened.
  • 2000 - 5
  • 2001 - 3
  • 2002 - 3
  • 2003 - 1
  • 2004 - 2
  • 2005 - 2
  • 2006 - 2
  • 2007 - 2
  • 2008 - 2
  • 2009 - 2
  • 2011 - 2
  • 2012 - 2
  • 2013 - 1

Book ~ "The Real Girl Next Door" (2011) Denise Richards

From Goodreads ~ We’ve read the scandalous headlines, watched her sexy breakout performances in "Starship Troopers" and "Wild Things", and seen her many public faces on her reality television show - the beautiful vixen, the devoted mother, the hard-working entertainer and the fun-loving friend. But how well do we really know Denise Richards? 

Like so many small-town girls, she dreamed of making it big in Hollywood. But following a painful, high-profile divorce from Charlie Sheen, she found herself raising their two young daughters alone as her mother was dying of cancer. Denise writes openly and honestly about these experiences and more: she lets you in on her childhood dreams, her fated move to Hollywood with her close-knit family, her rise to fame, the pressures of living in the spotlight, and the controversy surrounding her relationships. Through it all, she managed to keep her sense of humor and optimism. 

 She offers an up-close and personal look at her most intimate battle scars and the lessons she’s learned as she’s healed and grown. Denise’s story will resonate with anyone who has had to look within herself to find strength and courage when life is throwing curveballs. 

 Inspiring and uplifting, raw and revealing, Denise finally lets her fans in on the resilient woman behind the bombshell persona, the person her friends and family already know: The Real Girl Next Door.

I haven't seen a lot of what Denise Richards has been in ... I remember her mainly in The One with Ross and Monica's Cousin on Friends.  But I like reading bios and memoirs and this one caught my eye.

Though I didn't know a lot about her and wasn't a fan, I found it to be an good book.  I liked the writing style and found it to be an easy fast read.  As a head's up, there is swearing.  I think she'd be fun to hang with.

She starts by telling about moving to California with her family when she was a kid.  Rather than going to college, she worked in modeling which eventually led to acting.  She tells of meeting and marrying Charlie Sheen (I've never been a fan of his) and their eventual bitter divorce, though she doesn't give the details of why she left him, and of dating Richie Sambora and their break-up.

It was interesting to get a description of what it's like being behind the scenes ... like modeling in Japan, her dilemma about going nude in Wild Things, getting implants and eventually getting them downsized, raising two young daughters as a single mom, her close relationship with her parents (her mom died a couple years ago from cancer), etc.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Book ~ "Merry Ex-Mas" (2013) Sheila Roberts

From Goodreads ~ Cass Wilkes, owner of the Gingerbread Haus bakery, was looking forward to her daughter Danielle's wedding - until Dani announced that she wants her father, Cass's ex, to walk her down the aisle. Seriously? Even worse, it appears that he, his trophy wife and their yappy little dog will be staying with Cass.

Her friend Charlene Albach arrives at their weekly chick-flick night in shock. She's just seen the ghost of Christmas past: her ex-husband, Richard, who left a year ago when he ran off with the hostess from her restaurant, Zelda's. Now the hostess is history and he wants to kiss and make up. Hide the mistletoe!

And bring out the hot buttered rum, because the holidays aren't easy for Ella O'Brien, either. Ella, newly divorced, is still sharing the house with her ex while they wait for the place to sell. The love is gone. Isn't it?

But watch as Christmas brings all kinds of surprises.

Merry Ex-mas, ladies!

'Tis the Christmas season and Cass, Charley and Ella are having issues with their exes.  Cass's daughter, Dani, is announces her engagement and their plans to get married right away.  That means Cass has to help pull the wedding together within weeks.  Icicle Falls is a small town and there's just so many places to stay ... so Cass begrudgingly will have to find room for Dani's father (Cass' ex-husband), Mason, his new young wife, Babette and their yappy dog at her house.

Charley owned a restaurant with her now ex-husband, Richard.  Richard and the restaurant's hostess ran off together and Charley was forced to buy him out.  Now he's back, acknowledging he made a mistake and is begging Charley to take him back.  He's wining and dining her and she's having a hard time resisting.

Ella and Jake hadn't been married long.  Jake is a musician and she suspected that he was cheating on her so divorced him.  Ella's mother, Lily, never liked Jake and did all she could to break them up.  He had maintained his innocence but Ella didn't believe him.  They are both living in their house while they try to sell it.  Jake has one last chance to win Ella back.

This is the eighth I've read by this author (and the sixth in the Icicle Falls series that I've read) and I liked it.  Written in third person perspective, the focus shifts among the characters and you get to know what they are thinking.  I liked the writing style and found it was easy to read.  As a head's up, there is some mild swearing.

I liked most of the characters and their interactions with each other.  The women showed they were true friends and showed up when they were needed.  I found Dani to be ungrateful.  She's an adult and working (as is her fiancé) and sprung this wedding on everyone yet would become a brat when she didn't get her own way ... like she wanted cupcakes instead of a wedding cake, she didn't see a problem with having her father, his wife and their dog staying at her mother's house, etc.  She knew her mother couldn't afford a lot of what she wanted yet she forced her mother to give in.  But Cass let her get away with it.  One of the few times Cass stood up to her, Dani left in a huff and Cass felt obliged to apologize.   Plus Cass was bitching to herself that she couldn't afford this or that yet she never called Mason to demand he contribute to the costs and she got mad when he did.  That didn't seem realistic to me.

I found the brief side story with Cecily between torn between good guy, Luke, and bad boy, Todd, strange.  I know the author was setting these characters up for The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane but I found it awkwardly placed in this story.

As a bonus, Cass shares some of her recipes at the end (she owns a bakery).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book ~ "The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane" (2014) Sheila Roberts

From Goodreads ~ After a fake food poisoning incident in L.A., Bailey Sterling's dreams of becoming a caterer to the stars collapse faster than a soufflé. Now Bailey's face is in all the gossip rags and her business is in ruins. But the Sterling women close ranks and bring her back to Icicle Falls, where she'll stay with her sister Cecily. 

All goes well between the sisters until Bailey comes up with a new business idea - a tea shop on a charming street called Lavender Lane. She's going into partnership with Todd Black, who - it turns out - is the man Cecily's started dating. It looks to Cecily as if there's more than tea brewing in that cute little shop. And she's not pleased. 

Wait! Isn't Cecily seeing Luke Goodman? He's a widower with an adorable little girl, and yes, Cecily does care about him. But Todd's the one who sends her zing-o-meter off the charts. So now what? Should you have to choose between your sister and the man you love (or think you love)?

Cecily works for her family's chocolate company.  All her friends are getting married and/or pregnant and that's what she wants.  She has two men who are interested in her.  Luke is a widower with a young daughter and is a nice guy.  Todd owns the tavern in town and isn't looking to settle down.  The obvious choice would be to be with Luke but she feels more of a zing with Todd and that's who she chooses.

Her younger sister, Bailey, moves back to Icicle Falls after a scandal in Los Angeles.  She eventually teams up with Todd to become partners to open a tea shop.  There are sparks between them but now Bailey has to decide what is more important ... pursuing the man you could love but lose your sister n the process.

This is the seventh book I've read by this author (and the fifth in the Icicle Falls series that I've read) and I liked it.  Written in third person perspective, the focus shifts among the characters and you get to know what they are thinking.  I liked the writing style and found it was easy to read.  As a head's up, there is some mild swearing.

I didn't find Cecily likeable and I don't know why Todd and Luke were interested in her since she didn't treat them well at times and made no secret to them that she was seeing both of them.  Todd had less of an emotional stake as he acknowledged to himself that he wasn't ready to settle down with her.  Luke kept offering her everything she wanted and she kept kicking him to the side.  Bailey's confidence had been shaken and it took a while for her to get it back.  I didn't think it was right that she'd consider a relationship with someone her sister was dating ... being sisters is more important that a guy.

I'd recommend this book if you are looking for a nice "feel good" story.  As a bonus, Bailey shares some of her recipes with you along with a lesson on the proper make to make tea at the end of the book.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fat Bastard Burrito Co., Etobicoke, ON

I had a couple seminars to conduct in Etobicoke this afternoon so I had lunch at Fat Bastard Burrito, which is a couple blocks from where I had to be at 12:30pm.  We have a couple Fat Bastard Burritos in our 'hood and I like their chicken burritos.

It seats just six people on stools along the window and I managed to grab a spot in the corner.

I ordered a big (which is their medium) chicken burrito with rice, beans, cheese, salsa and burrito sauce.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book ~ "Canada's Slow Cooker Winners: 300 Easy and Satisfying Recipes" (2010) Donna-Marie Pye

From Goodreads ~ Slow cooking is the perfect mealtime solution for anyone who wants to enjoy delicious food with a minimum of effort. The premise is simple: 
  • Assemble and prepare the ingredients at your convenience, either the night before or earlier in the day 
  • Place the ingredients in the slow cooker 
  • Turn on the appliance and let the food cook unattended 

All of the recipes are easy and convenient to prepare yet provide incredibly satisfying results. 

"Canada's Slow Cooker Winners" includes dozens and dozens of tips and techniques for slow-cooker success, as well as general kitchen counseling and serving suggestions. The "make ahead" advice helps make these easy recipes even more convenient. Each of these dishes will tantalize and inspire the busy home chef. 

We have a slow cooker and I like checking out different recipes for it.  I tend to use it more when the weather gets cooler for some reason.

The author starts with slow cooker know-how explaining the different parts of the slow cooker and essential tips (preparing what you can ahead of time, the cuts of meat to choose, using whole herbs and spices, etc.).  Then she helps you adapt conventional recipes and provides a list of ingredient essentials (canned diced tomatoes rather than whole, using large eggs, crumbled dried herbs rather than ground, etc.)

The recipes in this book sound delicious and include:
  • Breakfast, breads and beverages
  • Appetizers, dips and spreads
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Chilis and beans
  • Vegetarian mains
  • Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Beef and veal
  • Pork and lamb
  • Sides and grains
  • Big-batch dinners for a crowd
  • Meals for two
  • Double-duty dinners
  • Desserts

The instructions are easy to follow and I like that there are tips listed for all the recipes ... like putting onions in the freezer for a few minutes before you cut them so you won't cry or to get the most juice from a lime, let it warm to room temperature, then roll it on the counter, pressing down withe the palm of your hand, before squeezing it.  Plus there are lots of full-colour pictures ... here are a couple examples:

I received a copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review.