Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Happy birthday to me!

55 years ago today ... at 2:12pm ... I made my arrival into the world at the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Here I am at my first birthday party ... celebrating with cake and a washing machine.  Good times!

Happy 15th anniversary to Gord and I!

Ken (Gord's son), me, Gord and Sister Sarah
July 26, 2002 ~ 5:30pm
City Hall, Toronto, ON

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

River Gambler, Toronto, ON

I'm an Elite Yelper and this evening Yelp Toronto hosted the fourth annual Nauti by Nature event on the River Gambler and Gord and I attended.  We left at 7:30pm and docked at 10pm.

There were complimentary snacks on the lower level, which were a hit.

Ed's Real Scoop, Toronto, ON

I went for a walk this afternoon and stopped in at Ed's Real Scoop on Roncesvalles Avenue (north of Queen Street W).  I was craving an ice cream and as I've never been there before, I thought I'd stop in.

You can buy ice cream to take home

Monday, 24 July 2017

Zelden’s Deli and Desserts, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at Zelden's Deli and Desserts on Yonge Street, just south of St. Clair Avenue.  Apparently they opened about eight weeks ago.

You can buy deli condiments, etc.

Book ~ "The Whisky King: The Remarkable True Story of Canada's Most Infamous Bootlegger and the Undercover Mountie on his Trail" (2017) Trevor Cole

From Goodreads ~ At the dawn of the 20th century, two Italian men arrived in Canada amid waves of immigration. One, Rocco Perri, from southern Italy, rose from the life of a petty criminal on the streets of Toronto to running the most prominent bootlegging operation of the Prohibition era, taking over Hamilton and leading one of the country’s most influential crime syndicates. Perri was feared by his enemies and loved by the press, who featured him regularly in splashy front-page headlines. So great was his celebrity that, following the murder of his wife and business partner, Bessie Starkman, a crowd of 30,000 thronged the streets of Hamilton for her funeral.

Perri’s businesses - which included alcohol, drugs, gambling and prostitution - kept him under constant police surveillance. He caught the interest of one man in particular, the other arrival from Italy, Frank Zaneth. Zaneth, originally from the Italian north, joined the RCMP and became its first undercover investigator - Operative No. 1. Zaneth’s work took him across the country but he was dogged in his pursuit of Rocco Perri and worked for his arrest until the day Perri was last seen, in 1944, when he disappeared without a trace.

With original research and masterful storytelling, Cole details the fascinating rise to power of a notorious Prohibition-era Canadian crime figure twinned with the life of the man who pursued him.

Rocco Perri was born in southern Italy in 1887 and moved to Canada as a young man.  He eventually settled in Hamilton, ON, and became one of the most prominent mob bosses in Canadian history.  He made his fortune in bootlegging, drugs, prostitution and more and was usually able to stay one step ahead of the law.  His common law wife was Bessie Starkman and she murdered in 1930 as they were arriving home one night ... her murder was never solved.

Frank Zaneth was from northern Italy and also arrived in Canada as a young man.  He headed out west and tried homesteading with his then wife in the prairies.  This turned out to be not what he had bargained for so he sold his land and became a Mountie.  Over the years, he spent most of his time undercover and eventually investigating Perri became one of his cases.

Perri went for a walk in April 1944 and was never seen again.  There are theories that he is encased in cement at the bottom of Hamilton Harbour or that he took off to Mexico and lived out his days in hiding.

I hadn't heard of Perri or Zaneth or their stories.  I came across this book and it sounded interesting and it was.  It's obvious the author did a great amount of research as it is quite detailed.  I knew there was bootlegging going on during the Prohibition area and this book definitely gives you a feel of what it was like at that time living outside the law.  Plus I didn't realize Canada had such a big mob presence.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Book ~ "A Catskill Eagle" (1985) Robert B. Parker

From Goodreads ~ In the detective business, Spenser sometimes has to bend the law. Other times, to break it. But he lives by his own inviolate rules. And he loves just one woman - even though she is the one woman he's just lost.

So when Susan's desperate letter arrives, Spenser doesn't think twice. His best friend, Hawk, faces a life sentence. And Susan has gotten herself into even bigger trouble. Now Spenser has to free them both ... even if it means breaking his own rules to do it.

Spenser is a private detective in Boston.  He receives a letter from the love of his life and former girlfriend, Susan Silverman.  She had abruptly moved to the West Coast recently.  She said that his friend and associate, Hawk, is in jail and she needs help.

While in the West Coast, Susan had started a relationship with Russell Costigan.  Spenser flies to California and breaks Hawk out of jail.  They then started to track Russell down so they can rescue Susan.  This gets them involved with a government agency who agree to help them as long as Spenser and Hawk them in return.

This is the twelfth in the Spenser series (there are currently 46, with the last six written by Ace Atkins after Parker's death in 2010).  I've read many over the years (and have liked the series) and have started reading them from the beginning of the series.  Though it is part of a series, for the most part it works as a stand alone.

I liked the writing style ... I found it humorous at times.  Spenser is a tough guy with a wisecracking sense of humour.  It's written in first person perspective in Spenser's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I wasn't crazy about this story.  Susan had kicked Spenser to the curb in the last book after being together for more than ten years so she could "find herself" yet she had started going out with Russell even before she had broken up with Spenser.  Spenser jumps to help her and no qualms about killing people to do it.  Then we have to suffer through their conversations about how he loves her and will apparently forgive her for cheating on him and leaving him for someone else ... and she loves him yet she loves Russell but wants to be with Spenser.  And Spenser is willing to do illegal things to ensure she is safe and she doesn't seem to have any issues with this.  I was never a Susan fan and didn't mind her in the first few books in the series.  I found her annoying in this one and the last one (and the future ones I've read).

It was definitely a different time when this story was written ... Spenser and Hawk were able to fly and rent cars using stolen ID and credit cards.

BakerBots Baking, Toronto, ON

I was out walking this afternoon and was craving something sweet so stopped in at Bakerbots Baking on Delaware Avenue, just north of Bloor Street W (it's right next to the Ossington subway entrance).  I've never noticed it before.

There was lots to choose from and everything looked delicious.  In addition to baked goods, they also have ice cream.  I finally decided on a blueberry tart.  It was really good and I restrained myself from getting another one.  The tart was slightly hard and the custard (or whatever was in the tart) was really good.  The blueberries were plump.

BIG on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture, Toronto, ON

I walked to Dufferin Street/Bloor Street W this afternoon and checked out the BIG on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture.  Bloor Street W is closed this weekend between Dufferin Street and Lansdowne Avenue for it.

The BIG on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture is an exceptional community and city-building festival presenting hundreds of culturally significant events, activities, displays and exhibitions. Organized by BIG (the Bloor Improvement Group), the festival is a two-day summer event presented along a car-free stretch of Bloor Street West between Dufferin and Lansdowne Streets to celebrate local arts, culture and community. It has drawn up to 100,000 people.

The festival both encourages and sustains participation by creating a context for working on a positive common goal (year round) as a community. It nurtures everyone from emergent to senior artists, by creating a regular occasion to present: musical and theatrical performances and participatory art projects by making opportunities to contribute, to be constructive and to learn to exercise leadership.

There was something for everyone ... clothing, food, patios, entertainment, face painting, henna, reptiles, jewelry, candles, essential oils, fortune tellers, politicians, plants, art, haircuts and lots more!

Looking west on Bloor Street W from Dufferin Street

Saturday, 22 July 2017

OSSFEST, Toronto, ON

OSSFEST was today ... Ossington Avenue was closed from Dundas Street W to Queen Street W for this festival.

Back for a second year – OSSFEST 2017! This year, Ossington Avenue, between Queen and Dundas Street West, will be transformed with all the things that memorable summer weekends in the city are made of: shopping, dancing, live music, patios, eating, drinking and being merry. 

With #FREE entrance throughout the entire strip, start the day off with the OSSCRIT international urban bike race, then enjoy two live music stages, a silkscreen workshop, basketball training, a fun-filled kid zone, giveaways and exclusive access to experiences you wouldn’t get anywhere else in Toronto.

It was in our 'hood so I thought I'd check it out.  I got there about 3pm  Many of the vendors from Ossington Avenue had booths on the street.

I entered from Queen Street W (the south end)
There was a bit of a line-up for ice cream at Bang Bang

The Federal, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at The Federal (on Dundas Street W, just east of Dufferin Street).

Friday, 21 July 2017

ihalo Krunch, Toronto, ON

ihalo Krunch recently opened on Queen Street W (just east of Strachan Avenue and across from Trinity Bellwoods Park).  I've walked passed it often and there's always a big line-up.  I was out walking this afternoon and passed by ... no line-up!  So I had to stop in!

You can get regular scoop ice cream, which looked delicious.  Or you can get what all the kool kids are getting ... a house cone.  I got an Ube Nut, which was described to me as sweet potato/coconut.  Huh?!  I'm not a fan of sweet potatoes but one of the servers convinced me to try a sample.  I did ... and I liked it.  It tasted like vanilla ice cream.

It was a fun ice cream and I'm glad I finally got to be one of the kool kids.  I took it across the street and ate it on a bench at the park.  You have to eat it right away because it melts really really quickly.  Make sure you have lots of napkins.  I didn't find the ice cream overly sweet.  The cones, which they make onsite, are black and are infused with activated charcoal.  The cone was thin and not overly crunchy.  There was a hole in the bottom of the cone, with a bit of Fluff, but the ice cream dripped through.  Afterwards my teeth, lips and tongue were black.

Ihalo krunch Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Book ~ "Drop Dead: A Horrible History of Hanging in Canada" (2017) Lorna Poplak

From Goodreads ~ Take a journey through notable cases in Canada’s criminal justice history, featuring well-known and some less-well-known figures from the past. You'll meet Arthur Ellis, Canada’s most famous hangman, whose work outfit was a frock coat and striped trousers, often with a flower pinned to his lapel. And you will also encounter other memorable characters, including the man who was hanged twice and the gun-toting bootlegger who was the only woman every executed in Alberta. 

"Drop Dead: A Horrible History of Hanging in Canada" illustrates how trial, sentencing and punishment operated in Canada’s first century, and examines the relevance of capital punishment today. Along the way, learn about the mathematics and physics behind hangings, as well as disturbing facts about bungled executions and wrongful convictions. 

A book focused on hangings in Canada sounds like a weird topic, right?  But it was actually quite interesting.

The book covers the hangings starting in 1867 when the British North American Act established the Dominion of Canada and ends when capital punishment was abolished in 1967.  In total, there were 704 people hanged in Canada during these years and in this book are stories are the first and last men to be hung, the first and last women to be hung, the youngest to be hung, and many more.

In addition, there are chapters dedicated to famous people such as Thomas D'Arcy McGee, who had been murdered, and Louis Riel, who had been hanged.  There is a chapter on Arthur Ellis, Canada's most famous hangman.  There are chapters dedicated to those who had been on death's row such as Stephen Truscott (who has since been acquitted).

I liked the writing style of this book.  There was lots of information but not too much.

Muffin's check-up

It will be a month this Saturday since we adopted Muffin.

She'd had her first two kitten shots and was spayed before we got her.  She was due for her third shot, plus a rabies shot.

I took her to our vet's this morning for a check-up and to get her shots.

She was really calm while waiting for the vet.

Here's Dr. Fisher checking her teeth ... she's almost four months old and still has lots of kitten teeth.

After she got her shots, Megan and Dr. Fisher gave her a standard deworming med.  She didn't fuss too much.

Dr. Fisher said Muffin was "perfect".

She's got all her shots now and will be due for a booster a year from now.