Sunday, 24 July 2016

Toronto’s Festival of Beer, Toronto, ON

Toronto's Festival of Beer was happening this weekend at Exhibition Place and Gord and I went today.

We've never been on a Sunday and it was fun ... in the past, we've gone on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Festival boasts almost 100 brewers featuring more than 333 beautiful brews from all over the globe. From lagers to stouts, fruit beer to ales, we have something for everyone! The Festival features more than just beer; there are several non-malt based beverages available including cider and ready-to-drink beverages! Our food vendors are all well known Toronto food purveyors creating some great grub for you to enjoy! Whether you’re looking for oysters, poutine, or a burger, you’ll be able to find the perfect thing to satisfy your appetite!

We had a meat pie from The Pie Commission and it was delicious!

There was lots of space and things to do for everyone.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Book ~ "This Is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison, and Other Complications" (2016) Diane Schoemperlen

From Goodreads ~ For almost six turbulent years, award-winning writer Diane Schoemperlen was involved with a prison inmate serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. The relationship surprised no one more than her. 

How do you fall in love with a man with a violent past? How do you date someone who is in prison? 

"This Is Not My Life" is the story of the romance between Diane and Shane - how they met and fell in love, how they navigated passes and parole and the obstacles facing a long-term prisoner attempting to return to society, and how, eventually, things fell apart. While no relationship takes place in a vacuum, this is never more true than when that relationship is with a federal inmate. 

In this candid, often wry, sometimes disturbing memoir, Schoemperlen takes us inside this complex and difficult relationship as she journeys through the prison system with Shane. Not only did this relationship enlarge her capacity for both empathy and compassion but it also forced her to more deeply examine herself.

In 2006, Diane met Shane when she began volunteering at a hot-meal program in Kingston. Shane was on an escorted temporary absence from a minimum-security prison ... he was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. Within a few months, she and Shane, both in their 50s, became friends.  A year later, they were in love and in a relationship.

Shane was eventually paroled and moves in the Diane.  He was extremely needy and manipulative and totally disrupted her live.  She makes her living as a writer and he was constantly calling her and giving her the space she needed.  He was mean and nasty and didn't treat her very well at all.  Forty-nine days later, he moved out, they broke up and Shane eventually ended up back in prison.

Within a year, though Shane was still in prison, they were back together.  She felt that they didn't have the support they needed for their relationship to succeed and this time they did.  But the relationship failed again and they broke up, this time for good.  For Shane, it seemed to be all about him.  He'd spent 30 years in prison and didn't know how to act in the real world and wasn't willing to change and adapt.  Diane put up with a lot, not wanting to give up on the relationship or Shane.  She saw a lot of good in Shane and they had some good times but it seemed like the bad times outweighed them.

I found this to be an interesting story.  Not only did it give insight on Diane and Shane's relationship but also on the Canadian prison system and what's it's like to date an inmate.  I liked the writing style.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Trius wine club - July 2016

Our July Trius wine club box arrived today.

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 Executive Chef Frank Dodd’s recipes.

The cost is $46 a month and it's only available in Ontario.

Here is the newsletter ...

Here's what we received ...

  • Trius Divine White (2015) - $19.95 - the recipe included it's paired with is Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Bacon
  • Trius Red (2014) - $22.95 - the recipe included it's paired with is Beef and Stilton Cornish Pasties

Seacliffe Inn, Leamington, ON

I spent last night at the Seacliffe Inn in Leamington (about 3.5 hours SW of Toronto).

It is across the street from Lake Erie.

Here was my room ...

The bed was comfy

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Seacliffe Inn, Leamington, ON

I had supper this evening at the Seacliffe Inn on Erie Street S.

Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, ON

I spent a couple hours this afternoon at Point Pelee National Park.

Point Pelee consists of a peninsula of land, mainly of marsh and woodland habitats, that tapers to a sharp point as it extends into Lake Erie.  It is about 7km long by 4.5km wide at its northern base. Point Pelee was established in 1918 and was the first national park in Canada to be established for conservation.

Because of its location at the crossroads of two major migration flyways, about 350 different species of migratory birds have been recorded in the park and more than 100 species stay there for breeding.  The park contains more than 750 native plant species.

There are lots of cycling and hiking trails (ranging from 0.5km and up), beaches, canoe rentals, etc.  There's lot of space for everyone and lots to do!

There is a visitor centre if you need information.

I started with the Shuster Trail (0.5km) each way.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

meowbox - July 2016

Morgan and Crumpet's July meowbox arrived this week.

meowbox is a cat subscription box full of surprises, delivered to your door every month. Your meowbox is brimming with yummy cat treats and fun cat toys, specially selected for quality and uniqueness, to cater to your cat’s discriminating taste. 

We carefully research and select items that are high quality and unique. We pick food and treats that are either made with natural ingredients, are tasty, nutritious, grain-free, organic or locally made. You won’t find just the regular run-of-the-mill stuff in your meowbox. Our goal is to excite kitty and put a smile on your face. 

The cost ranges from $22.95 to $32.95 a month, depending on the plan, and shipping is free.

We believe that if we have the opportunity to give, then we should share what we have. This philosophy comes packaged neatly within the heart of every meowbox. For every meowbox you buy, we give a can of food (or monetary equivalent) to a shelter cat on your behalf. One box can make a difference.

This month, Morgan and Crumpet's donation is being sent to the Field Haven Feline Shelter in Lincoln, CA.

Here's what was inside ...

July 30 is World Friendship Day
Two movie passes to see Nine Lives and a can cover

Book ~ "We're All in This Together" (2016) Amy Jones

From Goodreads ~ A woman goes over a waterfall, a video goes viral, a family goes into meltdown - life is about to get a lot more complicated for the Parker family. 

Like all families, the Parkers of Thunder Bay have had their share of complications. But when matriarch Kate Parker miraculously survives plummeting over a waterfall in a barrel - a feat captured on a video that goes viral - it's Kate's family who tumbles into chaos under the spotlight. 

Her prodigal daughter returns to town. Her 16-year-old granddaughter gets caught up in an online relationship with a man she has never met. Her husband sifts through their marriage to search for what sent his wife over the falls. Her adopted son fears losing the only family he's ever known. Then there is Kate, who once made a life-changing choice and now fears her advancing dementia will rob her of memories from when she was most herself. 

Kakabeka Falls, ON
Kate, who has always been a free spirit but now suffering from advancing dementia, decides to go over Kakabeka Falls in barrel and ends up in a coma.  Over the next four days her family rallies around her at the hospital.

There are quite the cast of characters in this messed-up family:

  • Kate's 30-something daughter, Finn, has been living in Mississauga and heads home.  She had left Thunder Bay suddenly years ago and isn't happy with her life.  The rest of the family are still in Thunder Bay.  
  • Nicki, Finn's twin sister, is the mother of four kids (from three different fathers, none of whom she'd been married to, nor are they are in their lives) and is now married to Hamish (a bootlegger) and running a hair salon.  
  • Shawn, their adopted older brother, is married to Katriina (a realtor who is stressed out because she is trying to sell a house where a young girl recently hung herself) and running a pancake restaurant.  Shawn and Katriina have two sons and have been trying to have another baby which keeps resulting in miscarriages.
  • Walter, Kate's husband, runs a tour boat company and is torn between his love for Kate and Lake Superior.  
  • London, Nicki's oldest daughter, is a teenager and obsessed with sharks.  She is in love with the star of a shark show and they are online friends.

This was a wacky story and I liked it.  It is written in third person perspective from the various characters' points of view (ten in all).  As such, something that happened is retold a couple times from the different points of view.  Sometimes the story jumps back and forth from the present to the past but I found it was fairly obvious.  As a head's up, there is swearing, self-harm and adult activity.

I look forward to reading future stories by this author.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Ipsy Glam Bag - July 2016

My July Ipsy Glam Bag arrived this week ... the theme is Hot Summer Nights.
  • 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.  It works out to $229.07CN for the year ($19.09CN a month).

Here's what I received ...

beautybox five - July 2016

My July beautybox five arrived today.

Beauty Box 5 is a subscription-based, beauty sampling service that delivers 5 deluxe samples and full-sized products right to your door every month.

Subscriptions are $12US a month or $99US for a year.  Shipping is free.

Here's what was inside ...

Value = $59.95US

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Topbox - July 2016

My July Topbox arrived yesterday.

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 was inside ...

Total value = $49.70 value