Monday, 15 January 2018

Topbox - January 2018

My January 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 ...

Total value = $42.80 value

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Knitted scarf

I finished knitting a scarf tonight using Bernat blanket yarn ("Sweet & Sour").

I knitted each row (garter stitch).

The skein is 300 grams/10.5 ounces and I used a 6.5 round needle.  I kept knitting until I ran out of yarn and the scarf ended up about seven feet.  It's soft and thick and warm!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Monster Jam, Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to Monster Jam this evening at the Rogers Centre.  We went the last two years.  It's LOUD and a lot of fun and we looked forward to going again this year.

Our seats were in the first row.  There was a huge crowd with lots of kids.

There were three competitions.  The first was the head-to-head racing.  Competitors report to a starting line. On a green signal, the trucks head along a prescribed course to a finish line with first to legally complete the course advancing in competition. Winners advance until two trucks remain with the finals determining the racing champion.  The winner was Son-Uva Digger driven by Ryan Anderson.  Here are the trucks ready to go.

The official let them know when it was time to go.

The second competition was the two-wheel skills challenge.  Drivers have multiple opportunities to perform the best stunt, bringing at least two wheels into the air.  This is a judged competition.  The winner was Mad Scientist driven by Lee O'Donnell.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Toronto Rock 17, Rochester Knights 9, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I are season ticket holders for the Toronto Rock lacrosse team games ... the Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  This is our sixth year going to the games and our fifth year having seasons tickets.

Tonight the Rock were hosting the Rochester Knighthawks.  Rochester was in first place and Toronto was in third place in the eastern division.

We watched the players warm up.

Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Book ~ "Breaking Free: How I Escaped My Father - Warren Jeffs - Polygamy, and the FLDS Cult" (2017) Rachel Jeffs

From Goodreads ~ Born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Rachel Jeffs was raised in a strict patriarchal culture defined by subordinate sister wives and men they must obey. No one in this radical splinter sect of the Mormon Church was more powerful or terrifying than its leader Warren Jeffs - Rachel’s father.

Living outside mainstream Mormonism and federal law, Jeffs arranged marriages between under-age girls and middle-aged and elderly members of his congregation. In 2006, he gained international notoriety when the FBI placed him on its Ten Most Wanted List. Though he is serving a life sentence for child sexual assault, Jeffs’ iron grip on the church remains firm and his edicts to his followers increasingly restrictive and bizarre.

In "Breaking Free", Rachel blows the lid off this taciturn community to offer a harrowing look at her life with Warren Jeffs and the years of physical and emotional abuse she suffered. Sexually assaulted, compelled into an arranged polygamous marriage, locked away in "houses of hiding" as punishment for perceived transgressions and physically separated from her children, Rachel, Jeffs’ first plural daughter by his second of more than fifty wives, eventually found the courage to leave the church in 2015. But "Breaking Free" is not only her story - Rachel’s experiences illuminate those of her family and the countless others who remain trapped in the strange world she left behind.

A shocking and mesmerizing memoir of faith, abuse, courage, and freedom, "Breaking Free" is an expose of religious extremism and a beacon of hope for anyone trying to overcome personal obstacles. 

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) teaches the doctrine of plural marriage.  In order for a man to receive the highest form of salvation, it is believed that he should have a minimum of three wives to fulfill this requirement.  There is also the belief that wives are required to be subordinate to their husbands.  Devout FLDS members believe that their prophets receive direct messages from God about everything from what they should or shouldn’t do, to who they should marry, where they should live and whether they are worthy of salvation.

Warren Jeffs is the president of the FLDS Church (his father had been the prophet).  He is also a convicted felon/child molester and currently serving a sentence of life plus 20 years.  He has/had 78 wives (some as young as 12-years-old, hence why he is in prison) and 53 children.  The author of this book, Rachel Jeffs, is his third oldest child and this is her story.

When Rachel was young, her father started molesting her (and others as it turned out) and continued for eight years.  At age eighteen, he married her off to Rich (her sister, Becky, was married off to Rich's brother the same day), who she had met the day before.  Rachel was Rich's third wife and it took some adjusting for her to go from her father's home to becoming a sister wife (the other sister wives were jealous).  Rachel eventually fell in love with Rich and they ended up having five children together.

But her father always had control over everything and everyone.  To punish her, her father had Rachel taken to an abandoned safe house for several months many times.  Her children were also taken from her several times.  For months at a time and eventually for more than a year, she wasn’t allowed to see Rich because of imaginary wrong doings.  Similar things happened to other family members and friends ... families were being ripped apart and put back together (sometimes differently).  In 2014, Rachel finally had enough and fled the church with her five children.  She hadn't seen in husband in a long time and he chose to stay with the church rather than leave with her and their children.

I hadn't heard of Warren Jeffs before I came across this book but it sounded like an interesting story.  And it was so I'm glad I read it (and would recommend it) ... but it was also disturbing.  I find it amazing that in this day and age people live this way and that Warren still had this kind of power over the members, even though he is now in prison for life.  It seemed like every week Warren was forbidding things in the members' lives because it was evil ... sugar, toys, hugging between married couples and more ... and making decisions on who to marry and when.  It just got crazier and crazier.  And no one seemed to question him and ask "WTF?  Is this guy mentally stable?"

If you are raised that way, I can see that you wouldn't know any better.  But they have access to cell phones and computers.  How can they not realize they are living their lives according to the will of a crazy man who is prison?

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Book ~ "Blackout" (2016) David Rosenfelt

From Goodreads ~ New Jersey state police officer Doug Brock has been after infamous criminal Nicholas Bennett for years. When Bennett kills someone close to Doug, however, Doug's investigation - and his life - start spiraling out of control. He's placed on indefinite suspension from the police force and breaks things off with his fiancée, but he can't let the case go, and he continues an off-the-books investigation on his own. 

When Doug's former partner on the force, Nate Alvarez, receives a call from Doug saying he's discovered something big, something terrifying, something they need to call in the FBI to handle, Nate is furious that Doug has still been working the case. 

But when the call ends abruptly, and shortly afterward Doug is found in a hotel room, shot and in critical condition, Nate’s anger turns to fear. When Doug finally awakens from his coma, however, he has no memory of the case, or even the last several years of his life. But the pull of what he might have discovered is too strong, and he finds himself immersed in a desperate search for truth once again, regardless of the danger.

Doug Brock is a police officer who had been suspended from the force during an investigation of the death of a teenager Doug and Jessie, his fiancée and fellow police officer, were about to adopt.  He focuses on finding the killer and breaks up with Jessie.  Doug is found shot and it's discovered he can't remember anything from the last ten years ... getting suspended and shot, dating and breaking up with Jessie, who won the last Super Bowls, etc.  He does remember his old friend and former partner, Nate.

To lure the people who tried to kill him out into the open, Doug is reinstated onto the police force, working with Nate and Jessie (she's not too happy about that) and stumble upon a suspected terrorist plot.

I've read many books by this author (I enjoy his Andy Carpenter series).  This was the first non-Andy book I've read by him and I liked it.  I like the writing style as it was funny, sarcastic and amusing at times.  It was written in first person perspective in Doug's voice but switches over to third person perspective even when Doug is in the action (I found this a bit strange).  I liked Doug, Nate and Jessie and their humorous interactions with each other.

It is the first in the Doug Brock series and I look forward to reading future ones.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Book ~ "L is for Lawless" (1995) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ When Kinsey Millhone's landlord asks her to help deceased World War II vet Johnnie Lee's family find out why the military has no record of his service, she thinks it'll be a cinch. But she is about to meet her match in world-class prevaricators who take her for the ride of her life.

When Lee's apartment in burgled and a man named Ray Rawson, who claims to be an old friend of Lee's, is beaten up, Kinsey soon finds herself on the trail of a pregnant woman with a duffel bag. Soon the intrepid P.I. is following leads halfway across the country and encountering another man from Lee's past - a vengeful psychopath.

Stalked by a new enemy and increasingly suspicious of Rawson - not to mention running out of time and money - now Kinsey must steer a collision course to solve a decades-old mystery that some would like better left unsolved.

It's the 1980s and Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA, in her thirties.  She is asked by her landlord, Henry Pitts, to help out Bucky, the grandson of their recently deceased neighbor, Johnnie Lee.  Bucky is trying to ensure his grandfather has a military burial but seems to be getting the runaround while trying to get his records and the cost covered.  As Kinsey investigates, free of charge, she discovers that Johnny wasn't as he seemed.  What she thought was going to be a quick and easy favour ends up taking her to Texas as she follows a suspicious-looking pregnant woman leaving Johnnie Lee's old apartment.  The next thing she knows she on the run for her life and running out of money.

In the meantime, Henry's brother, William, is marrying Rosie, the owner of Kinsey's local bar, are getting married in a couple days and Kinsey has to make it back to Santa Teresa in time for the wedding.

I wasn't crazy about this story.  Kinsey started out doing Henry a favour out of the goodness of her heart.  I don't know why she hung on as long as she did considering how dangerous it had gotten, she didn't even know the family she was helping and she had no money ... I would have left a lot sooner.  I didn't find the characters likable or believable.  It's written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

This is the twelfth in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have read them all.  I started rereading them this year.  I read the latest, Y is for Yesterday, in October and with the author's recent death, Y is for Yesterday will be the end of the series.