Sunday, 21 October 2018

Book ~ "Be Prepared!" (2018) Frankie MacDonald and Sarah Sawler

From Goodreads ~ Ever wonder where clouds come from? Or how meteorologists predict the weather? This brand new book, starring Nova Scotia's favourite weather reporter, Frankie MacDonald, and written by author Sarah Sawler, shares stories from Frankie's early years, along with facts about all things sunny, rainy, snowy, and stormy. Filled with pictures, graphics, and advice from Frankie himself, this book has everything you need to Be Prepared! 

Frankie MacDonald is a Canadian amateur weatherman in Sydney, NS.  He has autism and is known for his boisterous online weather forecasts.  Frankie posts his videos to his YouTube channel, where they have received millions of views.  His weather report videos include warnings for his home province of Nova Scotia, a snowstorm in Winnipeg, heavy rainfall in Vancouver, and storms around the world.  He has published over 1,200 videos on YouTube, mostly weather forecasts, but also competitive eating and how to properly shovel snow.

I'd never watched any of Frankie's videos but I've heard my sister, who lives in Halifax, NS, mention him.  It sounds like he is a celebrity "back home".  She borrowed his book and I thought I'd read it to find out more about Frankie.

I thought this book was interesting.  It's more of a biography about Frankie and his family, his challenges being autistic, having a photographic memory and more.  There are snippets about weather facts throughout.

It's a quick read as it's a short book.  It is written a level that a child, those who are child-like and even adults will like.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5k, Toronto, ON

Today is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5k.  It is the 29th edition and was expected to attract more than 25,000 runners from more than 70 countries.

I'm not a runner but I'd signed up to walk the 5km.  Though I've done lots of 5km walks on my own and in charity walks/runs, I've never done this one.  I'm doing it in the Charity Challenge in support of the Annex Cat Rescue, who I volunteer with.  I raised $460 ... thanks to Gord, Leanne, Shirley, Dawn, Mary, Kathy and Shawna!

The 5km started on Lakeshore Blvd., just west of Ontario Place and I walked there (about 2.5km).  It was about 0C so brisk.  It felt warmer when the sun was out.


There were different "corrals" ... the fastest corral started first at 8am.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Book ~ "The Kids in the Hall: One Dumb Guy" (2018) Paul Myers

From Goodreads ~ It’s finally here -  the definitive, authorized story of legendary sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. Meticulously researched and written with the full cooperation and participation of the Kids by Paul Myers, "The Kids in the Hall: One Dumb Guy" features exclusive interviews with Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, as well as key players from their inner circle, including producer Lorne Michaels, the “man in the towel” Paul Bellini and head writer Norm Hiscock. 

Marvel as the Kids share their intimate memories and behind-the-scenes stories of how they created their greatest sketches and most beloved characters, from the Chicken Lady and Buddy Cole to Cabbage Head and Sir Simon & Hecubus.

"The Kids in the Hall: One Dumb Guy" spans the entirety of the Kids’ storied career, from their early club shows in Toronto to their recent live reunion tours across North America - and everything in between. Along for the ride are a plethora of fans, peers and luminaries to celebrate the career and legacy of Canada’s most subversively hilarious comedy troupe. 

You’ll read tributes from Seth Meyers, Judd Apatow, Garry Shandling, Paul Feig, Mike Myers, David Cross, Michael Ian Black, Brent Butt, Jonah Ray, Dana Gould, Bob Odenkirk, Andy Richter, and Canada’s newest comedy sensation, Baroness Von Sketch. 

Perfect for diehard fans and new initiates alike, The Kids in the Hall: One Dumb Guy will make you laugh and make you cry ... and it may even crush your head. 

The Kids in the Hall is a Canadian sketch comedy group that formed in 1984.  I was a fan and watched their show in the late 1980s/early 1990s.  As such, I thought it would be interesting to read about them.

The book starts with the childhoods of the Kids and ends with what they are doing today (as of 2018).  In the 1980s, Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch were known as "The Audience" in Western Canada and Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley were known as "The Kids in the Hall" in Toronto.  When McKinney and McCulloch moved to Toronto, they connected with McDonald and Foley and the four become the Kids in the Hall.  Scott Thompson soon joined the group.

The Kids in the Hall performed regularly here in Toronto in the mid-1980s and eventually caught the eye of Lorne Michaels who helped them get their own show, which ran from 1989 to 1994.  When that ended, they made the movie Brain Candy and then went their separate ways and did various things.  They got back together years later and have done a short TV miniseries and some tours (Gord and I saw them on their 2015 tour).

I liked the writing style.  There were many interviews with the Kids, plus others including Seth Meyers, Judd Apatow, Garry Shandling, Paul Feig, Mike Myers, Brent Butt, Bob Odenkirk and Andy Richter.  The Kids were honest and didn't try to hide when there were issues when they were working (or not working) together.  It's nice that despite the hostilities over the years that they are back to being close friends again.

It was an interesting book which The Kids in the Hall fans will enjoy.

Pre-race: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5k, Enercare Building, Toronto, ON

Tomorrow is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5k.  I'm not a runner but I will be walking (briskly) the 5km.  Though I've done lots of 5km walks on my own and in charity walks/runs, I've never done this one.  I'm doing it in the Charity Challenge in support of the Annex Cat Rescue, who I volunteer with. 

Our race packets were to be picked up today or yesterday and Gord and I went to get mine this morning.  In the packet was a race shirt, bib, product samples, etc.

The charity I'm walking for

There is also an expo with lots of vendors, services, etc.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre, Ottawa, ON

I spent the last couple days at the CPBI Ontario Regional Conference.  It was held at the Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre so most of the attendees stayed here.


Here was the view from my room ...


Here was my room ...

My bed was comfy!

2018 Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute (CPBI) Ontario Regional Conference, Ottawa, ON

I have been at the CPBI conference since Wednesday.  They are in different parts of the province every year ... this year it was at the Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre. In addition to being the chair of the entertainment committee for the past two conferences (I've been a conference volunteer on the entertainment committee for six years), I was also co-chair of the conference itself this year.

All delegates checked in on Wednesday ...


All delegates received a thank you gift of Belgian chocolates


Wednesday night there was a welcome reception in the LIFT Resto Lounge.


There were workshops and plenaries yesterday and today in the pension/investment and benefits streams.  First thing yesterday morning was our key note speaker, Justin Kingsley ... Adapt or Die. He was funny, entertaining and inspiring.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

National War Memorial, Ottawa, ON

After I left the Terry Fox Statue, I headed to the National War Memorial.

The National War Memorial, also known as “The Response,” is a cenotaph symbolizing the sacrifice of all Canadian Armed Forces personnel who have served Canada in time of war in the cause of peace and freedom--past, present and future. The memorial is the site of the national Remembrance Day Ceremony on November 11. 

The National War Memorial was first unveiled in 1939 to commemorate the response of Canadians in the First World War 1914-1918. Over the years, the memorial has come to symbolize the sacrifice of all Canadians who have served Canada in time of war and was rededicated to their honour.

My timing was perfect as I got to see the changing of the guard at 4pm.

Terry Fox Statue, Ottawa, ON

I am in Ottawa for the next couple of days.  I took a walk this afternoon to the Terry Fox Statue (I am a volunteer with our neighbourhood Terry Fox Run).

The statue of Terry Fox, which stands across from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, portrays the courage of this true national hero. At age 21, this young man began his Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research.

He ran for a total of 143 days, through the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario. But the bone cancer that had claimed part of his right leg returned. He was forced to stop his run near Thunder Bay, Ontario. Terry Fox died on June 28, 1981, one month before his 23rd birthday.

His courage continues to inspire millions of people who each year participate in the Terry Fox Run in more than 50 countries to raise funds for cancer research.

The statue of Terry Fox was created by John Hooper in 1983.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Book ~ "Homer and the Holiday Miracle: A True Story" (2018) Gwen Cooper

From Goodreads ~ Fifteen years earlier, doctors had warned that Homer - a tiny, sightless kitten - was unlikely to survive and probably wouldn’t have much of a life even if he did. Miraculously and against all the odds, however, Homer grew into a feline dynamo who scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease, saved his human mom’s life when he chased a late-night burglar from their apartment, and rose to global fame - paving the way for other special-needs animals once considered “unadoptable.”

Now, only two weeks before Christmas, with doctors once again decreeing that Homer didn’t have much time - that he wouldn’t even make it to Christmas Eve - Homer showed everyone that he still had one more miracle left in him. The heroic blind cat proved again, once and for all, that hope and love aren’t things you see with your eyes. You see them with your heart. 

Gwen Cooper has written books about her five cats ... Scarlet, Vashti, Homer, Clayton and Fanny.  This one is focused on Homer.

She already had Scarlet and Vashti when she heard about Homer, a blind kitten.  No one wanted so adopted him.  Despite being blind, Homer had a fun and active life.  Just before Christmas, they discovered that Homer was having liver issues and wasn't expected to live past a few weeks.  Gwen and Laurence, her husband, prepared for the worst.  But Homer surprised everyone and lived another nine months.

I like reading stories about animals and that's why this one caught my eye.  I liked the writing style and could relate to this story.  Two years ago, we discovered that our 13-year-old tabby, Morgan, had stomach cancer.  The vet said he had a couple weeks left but he lived another five months.  Like Gwen, we considered every extra day with him as an unexpected gift and tried to make them the best for him.

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Topbox - October 2018

My October 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 ...



Value:  $36.11

Monday, 15 October 2018

Book ~ "The Knitter's Dictionary: Knitting Know-How from A to Z" (2018) Kate Atherley

From Goodreads ~ From "alt" to "yrn," knitting patterns have a unique language of abbreviations and knitting techniques. "The Knitter's Dictionary" is your comprehensive resource for understanding the language of knitting in a quick-reference guide that no knitting bag should be without. For beginner and skilled knitters alike, there's always something new to discover in your next handknit project. "The Knitter's Dictionary" puts an expert knitting instructor in the palm of your hands to help you navigate any pattern.

Within this knitting bag necessity, you'll also find over 150 illustrations showing you everything from the difference between a toque and a beret to how-to information to increase and decrease stitches. Handy cross-references quickly lead you to exactly the information you need whether you've come across a new abbreviation in a knitting pattern or you've forgotten the steps to a long-tail cast on. Extended information on more challenging topics like taking measurements, understanding gauge, and fibre care instructions make this more than a dictionary - it's important information no knitter should be without.

Packed with bonus tips and tricks, learn the do's and don'ts of pattern knitting making patterns easier and more enjoyable to knit! "The Knitter's Dictionary" gives knitters the answers they need when and where they need them in a precise and helpful way. Give yourself or another knitter the gift of knowledge with this must-have resource.

I've been knitting for almost 40 years ... I've made tons of sweaters, blankets, dish cloths, mittens, etc. over the years.  So that's why this book caught my eye.

I'm not sure who this book is written for ... a beginner or an expert.  I found some things so very basic but then other things that sounded complicated and there was a brief description that left me wondering "huh"?  If I REALLY wanted to know what she was talking about, I'd have to go Google it (and isn't that the point of the book).  There were lots of terms that were listed that would refer to another term in the book so I'd either have to go there directly if I wanted to know RIGHT NOW or wait until I got there and by then I'd have forgotten that there was a reference to it.

The author is British and there were a lot of references that she would know and assumed everyone else did but as a Canadian, I didn't.  There is apparently over 150 illustrations but I didn't find them overly useful.

I wasn't crazy about this book and didn't find it helpful.

Ipsy Glam Bag - October 2018

My October Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today.
  • 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 is what I received ...



Value:  $49.83 (not counting the bag)

Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Toronto, ON (Keele Street)

Gord and I had some shopping to do at Home Depot so we had supper beforehand at Swiss Chalet (on Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue W).  Neither of us had eaten much today so were hungry.


Gord ordered chicken and shrimp with rice pilaf.  He said it was good.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Book ~ "My Life in a Cat House: True Tales of Love, Laughter, and Living with Five Felines" (2018) Gwen Cooper

From Goodreads ~ Gwen Cooper—author of the blockbuster international bestseller Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life With a Blind Wonder Cat—returns with the ongoing adventures of her much-beloved, world-famous fur family. Ideal for new readers and longtime fans alike, this collection of eight purr-fect cat stories are filled with all the humor and heart Gwen’s devoted readership has come to know and love.

An adorable, five-week-old rescue kitten slowly learns to trust the woman who saved her. An obsessive cat teaches himself to play fetch and demands it morning and night from his hapless mom - whether she’s working, sleeping, eating, bathing, or trying to enjoy some “alone time” with her husband. And Homer, the Blind Wonder Cat himself, returns triumphantly in a new story about life and love after worldwide fame.

Read all eight stories in one sitting, or savor each gem of a “tail” on its own. My Life in a Cat House will leave you laughing out loud, shedding an occasional tear, and hugging your own cat a little bit closer. 

Gwen Cooper has written other books about her cats.  This book is a collection of eight stories about her five cats ... Scarlet, Vashti, Homer, Clayton and Fanny.

She had adopted Scarlet when she was living with Jorge, the man she thought she was going to marry ... Scarlet wasn't over friendly.  Then she adopted Vashti, who was a flirt with the men but peed on their things when she was jealous of their attention to Gwen.  Gwen and Jorge broke up and she spent some time living with a friend.  She heard about Homer, a blind kitten who no one wanted so adopted him too.  About this time, she decided to make a career change and she and her three cats moved to New York.  She met Laurence, who she ended up marrying.  Her first three cats eventually passed away and she adopted Fanny and her tripod brother, Clayton.

I like reading stories about animals and that's why this one caught my eye.  I liked the writing style and thought the stories were cute.  Gwen and Laurence are definitely cat lovers and I could relate to some of the things they did for their cats ... like not throwing out things because the cats like them (like old shoeboxes, a frying pan on top of a cupboard that one of their cats like sleeping in, getting up to feed the cats because they are hungry, etc.).

I look forward to reading more books by this author.