Thursday, 20 June 2019

Book ~ "Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, And 3 RVs On Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure" (2013) David Rosenfelt

From Goodreads ~ When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. 

They had mapped the route, brought three GPSs for backup, refrigerators full of food and volunteers for help. But traveling in three RVs with twenty-five dogs turned out to be a bigger ordeal than he anticipated. 

Rosenfelt recounts the adventure with humor and warmth and tells how he and his wife became passionate foster parents for rescue dogs, culminating in the creation of the Tara Foundation.

I discovered David Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter series about four years ago.  I've read and enjoyed them all ... the first one was published in 2002 and I'm looking forward to #19 coming out next month.  Andy is a lawyer who is married to Laurie and they have a young son named Rich.  He also has a golden retriever named Tara, who he thinks she's the best dog in the world..  I've also read his Doug Brock series ... the first was published in 2012 and the third/last one was published this past March.  Doug is a police officer who was shot in the line of duty and has lost the last ten years of his memory.

I enjoy reading books about animals.  I knew David and his wife, Debbie, are involved with rescue dogs so have been wanting to read this book and Lessons from Tara: Life Advice from the World’s Most Brilliant Dog for a while (I volunteer with a cat rescue).  I read and enjoyed Lessons from Tara: Life Advice from the World’s Most Brilliant Dog earlier this week so was looking forward to reading this one right afterwards as it is referenced in Lessons from Tara.

When David and Debbie started dating in the early 1990s, she had a golden retriever named Tara who he soon grew to love.  Tara passed away within a year and they eventually started getting involved in dog rescue.  Their mission was to take, place and/or adopt older dogs that would be euthanized because most people want younger dogs.  They started the Tara Foundation, named in honour of Tara.  In Tara's memory, they have never not taken in a golden retriever, regardless of how many dogs they had.

According to his website, David and Debbie currently have 27 dogs.  David and Debbie are both from the east coast, missed the different changing seasons and, after a scare with wildfires getting too close to their home in California, they decided to move to Maine.  This book is about their move from California to Maine.

At that time, they had 25 dogs.  How do they transport 25 mostly senior dogs across the country!?  Flying would have been expensive.  Plus the dogs would have to travel in cargo and most needed medicine on a regular basis.  And there's no way they would be able to fly all the dogs there at the same time.  Once they realized John Travolta or Oprah weren't going to volunteer their private jets, they eventually decided to transport the dogs in rented RVs.  But they needed people to drive the RVs plus help out.  They were surprised but grateful when friends, friends of friends and strangers stepped up to help them during their journey.

David and Debbie have rescued almost 4,000 dogs and found them homes.  Their own home has became a sanctuary for those dogs they rescued that are too old or sickly to be wanted by others.  In alternating chapters, David describes some of the dogs they have rescued and/or adopted over the years.  Some of these dogs made the trek to Maine (and all made it!).

I like the writing style of this book ... like his Andy Carpenter series, it was funny, sarcastic and amusing.  I like that he gave props to everyone who has helped them along the way (vets, rescues, the volunteers who traveled with him, etc.) and named names to acknowledge them.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Book ~ "Lessons from Tara: Life Advice from the World’s Most Brilliant Dog" (2015) David Rosenfelt

From Goodreads ~ David Rosenfelt's loyal readers of the Andy Carpenter series are familiar with Tara, the golden retriever sidekick. Many also got to know Tara from "Dogtripping", David's nonfiction book about becoming a slightly nutty dog rescuer and the dog that started it all. Here, finally, is a book all about the inspirational canine who taught David everything he knows. Well, he did know how to tie his shoes before he met and came to love Tara but that's about it. 

Through Tara, David learned about dating, about being able to share his emotions and also about everyday stuff like who gets to use the pillow if several dogs are sleeping in your bed (clue: It's not the human) and why random barking will never be something that can be eliminated. 

I discovered David Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter series about four years ago.  I've read and enjoyed them all ... the first one was published in 2002 and I'm looking forward to #19 coming out next month.  Andy is a lawyer who is married to Laurie and they have a young son named Rich.  He also has a golden retriever named Tara, who he thinks she's the best dog in the world..  I've also read his Doug Brock series ... the first was published in 2012 and the third/last one was published this past March.  Doug is a police officer who was shot in the line of duty and has lost the last ten years of his memory.

I enjoy reading books about animals.  I knew David and his wife, Debbie, are involved with rescue dogs so have been wanting to read this book for a while (I volunteer with a cat rescue).  When David and Debbie started dating, she had a golden retriever named Tara who he soon grew to love.  Tara passed away and they eventually started getting involved in dog rescue.  Their mission was to take, place and/or adopt older dogs that would be euthanized because most people want younger dogs.  They started the Tara Foundation, named in honour of Tara.  In Tara's memory, they have never not taken in a golden retriever, regardless of how many dogs they had.

According to his website, David and Debbie currently have 27 dogs (they live on a property in Maine so there is lot of room for the dogs).  This book is about the rescue process, finding homes for the dogs and what it's like living with that many dogs ... who sleeps where, who is friends with who, the barking, the vet appointments, making the final days of a senior dog's life the best it can be, etc.  They have rescued almost 4,000 dogs and found them homes.  Their own home has became a sanctuary for those dogs they rescued that are too old or sickly to be wanted by others.

I like the writing style of this book ... like his Andy Carpenter series, it was funny, sarcastic and amusing.  It was interesting to read about life as an author, what it's like rescuing dogs and the lessons he has learned along the way.  I like that he gave props to everyone who has helped them along the way (vets, rescues, etc.) and named names to acknowledge them.  Very cool!

Monday, 17 June 2019

Topbox - June 2019

My June 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 ...

 
  • Schick Intuition Sensitive Care Razor
  • Pūrlisse Watermelon Energizing Sheet Mask 
  • Clarins Extra-Firming Night
  • Be a Bombshell Eyeshadow (Bewitched)
  • Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Cream Lipstick (Tutu)
  • Sunday, 16 June 2019

    Beerocracy, Toronto, ON

    Gord and I spent some time at Beerocracy (College Street) this afternoon during the Taste of Little Italy.

    We sat on the patio

    I had a couple Founders Blushing Monk ... despite being high in alcohol, it was tasty.


    We ordered some food.  We first had some nachos, which were good, followed by some chicken satay, which were also good.

    KC's tree, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

    I visited KC's tree this afternoon in Trinity Bellwood's Park.

    With all the rain and sun we've had, it looks great!

    Saturday, 15 June 2019

    Toronto Wolfpack 70, Dewsbury Rams 8, Lamport Stadium, 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.  In 2018, the club competed in the Championship, having begun to play in 2017 in League 1 and won a promotion in its inaugural season.  Gord and I have been going to the most of the games since 2017 and have been season ticket holders for the last two years.

    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.

    Today the Wolfpack (15 wins/1 loss) were playing the Dewsbury Rams (4 wins/12 losses).  It's been about month since there was a home game.  The day was grey and threatened rain.

    Here are Gord and I.


    Everyone loves Jefferson, the Wolfpack mascot!

    Jefferson paid tribute to the Toronto Raptors, the recent NBA Champions!

    To celebrate Father's Day (which is tomorrow), the first 500 fans were given a Wolfpack ~ Carpenters & Allied Workers apron.  Thanks!

    Friday, 14 June 2019

    Ipsy Glam Bag - June 2019

    My June Ipsy Glam Bag arrived this week.
    • 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 ...

    Book ~ "The Unfinished Dollhouse: A Memoir of Gender and Identity" (2018) Michelle Alfano

    From Goodreads ~ No mother is prepared for the moment when a child comes out to her as a person whose physical gender is out-of-keeping with his emotional and psychological gender-identity. In Michelle Alfano's intimate memoir, she recounts her experience as the mother of a transgender child.

    The central metaphor of "The Unfinished Dollhouse" tells the story: on Frankie's fourth birthday, her parents Michelle and Rob purchased a kit to create a beautiful dollhouse. Michelle imagined building the home, buying the tiny pieces of furniture and accessories to fill it and, more importantly, the times she and her daughter would spend constructing the perfect dollhouse - a fantasy of domestic and familial happiness. Frankie expressed no interest in such typically girlish pursuits because Frankie harboured a secret - a secret about gender.

    In the years to follow, Frankie's parents experienced an education in parenting a child transitioning from female to male - which pronouns to use, how to disclose the information to friends, family, school and how to deal with the reactions of all - some heartening, some surprising, some disappointing.

    Michelle and Rob are married, living in Toronto and had a daughter named Frankie.  Michelle had dreams of what her daughter would like ... frilly dresses, girly dolls, a dollhouse (hence the title of the book ... the dollhouse was never put together), etc.  Frankie instead like to play with "boy" toys, hated girly girly things and like to dress more masculine.  As she was getting older, she had severe bouts of illnesses, anxieties, depression and didn't want to leave her room.  Michelle and Rob took her to doctors, counselors, etc. to determine the cause.  Finally when she was in her mid-teens, Frankie revealed that she was a boy born in a girl's body.  And once she revealed this, she wanted to do something about it ... begin the journey to transition from a female to a male.

    This is Michelle's story as the mother of a transgender child.  Michelle comes from a traditional Italian background and Rob is Asian ... how do they tell their family and friends?.  It's how they dealt with having a child who didn't want to leave their room and was depressed.  And when Frankie finally told them what she wanted, how they dealt with it ... the denial, the anger, the resentment and the acceptance.

    I thought it was an interesting story to read what a family goes through when their child tells them they are transgender and all they have do to transition.  At times the book seems all about Michelle, rather than Frankie ... we learn a lot about her, her family and growing up.

    The book could have been edited better.  There was a lot of repetition, sometimes even on the same page.  At 67% into the book, she said, "I called Frankie's dad ..."  Why wouldn't she say she called Rob?  This far into the book, I know Frankie's father's name.  And there was odd phrasing at times.  For example, she writes about the death of friends' son named Pablo.  Pablo was "one of two twins".  When I read that, I thought the family had two sets of twins.  But no, there was only one set of twins and Pablo was one of the twins.

    The James Hotel, Saskatoon, SK

    I spent the last three nights in Saskatoon and stayed downtown at the James Hotel.  I'd stayed there before and liked it.


    It used to be a condo building and was converted to a hotel.  They gave me a one bedroom suite ... sweet!

    Thursday, 13 June 2019

    Ayden Kitchen & Bar, Saskatoon, SK

    I was chatting in the Toronto airport last year with a woman when we were both on our way to Saskatoon.  She had recommended Ayden Kitchen & Bar and said that Dale MacKay, Top Chef Canada's first winner, owned it.

    This evening I was wondering where to have supper and remembered our conversation.  So I checked it out and discovered that Benet Hunt, who was in the last Top Chef Canada, is also there.  I had watched this past season so decided that's where I was going for supper.


    When I got there about 5:30pm, it was quiet.


    But it was busier within an hour.