Thursday, 16 August 2018

Book ~ "The Art of Being Bill: Bill Murray and the Many Faces of Awesome" (2018) Ezra Croft and Jennifer Raiser

From Goodreads ~ "The Art of Being Bill" is the first illustrated collection highlighting Bill Murray like you’ve never seen him before: Bill Murray at The Last Supper, Bill Murray as an Indian god and nearly 150 other fitting tributes that will amuse and inspire you.

Are you Murray obsessed?What better way to celebrate all that is Bill Murray than through art? Bill Murray art shows have been popping up across the country. Join in the celebration with "The Art of Being Bill".

Just like Murray himself, the artwork in "The Art of Being Bill" is both poignant and funny, with over 100 artworks, including details about each piece; inspired quotes; and his incredible film history. This is the ultimate gift book for the Murray addict and art lover in your life.

The Art of Being Bill is a unique book about Bill Murray.  Croft is a Bill Murray superfan.  He's seen all of his movies many times.  Murray has inspired artists to create their interpretations of him and a couple years ago Croft started putting together Bill Murray art shows, with artists selling their works.  This book is for anyone who wasn't able to attend an art show.

There are a couple parts to this book.  One is the full-colour artwork (including paintings, tattoos, etc.) and it's grouped in chapters according to the personalities that define Bill Murray ... the jester, the thinker, the intense and so on.  Included are tidbits of information.  For example, Murray once shot a short promotional video for his son's school where he ad-libbed with nearby stuffed animals.


Raiser highlights many of the key moments in Murray's movie history from Meatballs in 1979 to The Jungle Book in 2016.  There is a one page description of the movie along with the movie poster, and "behind the scenes" information relating to the movie.  For example, with Meatballs, the cowriter/producer didn't know if Murray was even going to show up to shoot the movie three days before they were scheduled to start.

This is an interesting book if you are a Bill Murray fan (which I am).

Topbox - August 2018

My August 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 ...


  • Beautaniq Beauty Fill + Tame Brow Gel - $12 value
  • Avène TriXera Nutrition Nutri-fluid cleanser - 100ml - $7.09 value
  • Pure Cosmetics Silicone Pro Blender - $11 value
  • Joico Body Shake Texturing Finisher - $26 value
  • Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    Book ~ "Drinking from the Trough" (2018) Mary Carlson

    From Goodreads ~ Mary Carlson didn't start out to become a veterinarian, let alone the owner and caretaker of cats (many), dogs (two, both huskies), and horses (some with manners, some without) in Colorado. She was a suburban Chicago girl; all she knew of the American West came from the stories her uncle, who had settled in northern Colorado, told her during his annual visits. But thanks to him, she ended up moving to Fort Collins, Colorado for college - and after falling in love with a man she'd become friends with in her final year of college, when he was a student at the CSU School of Veterinary Medicine, she remained there. 

     Watching the work Earl did as a veterinarian inspired Mary to eventually leave her tenured teaching position and enter vet school, after which she opened her own feline-exclusive clinic. Along the way, there were numerous pets, grueling years of vet school, a shattered hip, an enduring love, illness, and death - and the rediscovery that life, especially a life full of delightful animals, is worth living. 

    I love reading books about animals (and have read many) so that's why this one caught my eye.  Plus how could I resist the animals looking down at me?!

    Mary is a school teacher who decided to go back to school to become a vet (her husband, Earl, was also a vet), with a focus on providing services for cats.  Then she decided she missed being a teacher so went back to teaching school (one school in the morning and a different one in the afternoon) while still providing vet services for cats.  In retirement, it sounds like she is going to law school.  On top of that, she and Earl had a small farm where they kept a couple horses along with pet dogs and cats.

    When I started reading the book, which is billed as a "vet's memoir", I was expecting it to be full of animal stories ... her pets and her patients.  There were stories about animals (her dogs, cats and horses) which I liked.  But it was more heavy with stories from her personal life ... her father-in-law's death, her husband's death, recovering after falling off a horse, going back to school and more.  So to me, it missed the mark, especially considering the pictures on the cover (I don't remember there being any guinea pig stories).

    The stories were scattered as they weren't in chronological order ... she bounced all over the place, back and forth.  And I found there was a lot of repetition ... she tells us a couple times how she got her $100 horse but it was like she was telling us for the first time every time which I found odd.  When I checked her website, I saw she has a blog so I'm wondering if this book is a compilation of some of her old blog posts?

    I really wanted to like this book but for the most part, I didn't.

    The Dock Ellis, Toronto, ON

    Gord and I had lunch today at The Dock Ellis (Dundas Street W, just west of Dovercourt Road), which is in our 'hood.  I've walked by it tons of times but have never been in.


    Gord ordered a Fried Chicken Sandwich.  It was made with real chicken rather than processed chicken.  He said he'd get it again but with mayo rather than Franks hot sauce.


    I love love love burritos and I ordered the lunch special, which was a cheesy chorizo burrito (without lettuce).  It was good and messy and spicy and I'd get it again.

    Chakras & Chai, Laya Spa & Yoga, Toronto, ON

    I worked from home today and Gord and I attended Chakras & Chai, a guided meditation which was focused on the heart chakra.

    It was at Laya Spa & Yoga (Queen Street W/Ossington Avenue), which is in our 'hood.  We had massages there for Gord's birthday in March and Gord has since been to some of their yoga and meditation sessions.  Meditation and yoga are held in the building next door on the third floor.


    Alisa led us through a 30 minute meditation, which had a focus on the heart chakra.

    After the meditation, Alisa served us some chocolate chai and snacks on the rooftop terrace.  It was nice because it gave us a chance to chat about what we'd experienced.

    Tuesday, 14 August 2018

    Book ~ "Hissy Fit" (2004) Mary Kay Andrews

    From Goodreads ~ Keeley Murdock's wedding to A. J. Jernigan should have been the social event of the season. But when she catches her fiance doing the deed with her maid of honor at the country club rehearsal dinner, all bets are off. And so is the wedding. Keeley pitches the hissy fit of the century, earning herself instant notoriety in the small town of Madison, Georgia.

    Even worse is the financial pressure A.J.'s banking family brings to bear on Keeley's interior design business. But riding to the rescue - in a vintage yellow Cadillac - is the redheaded stranger who's purchased a failing local bra plant. Will Mahoney hires Keeley to redo the derelict antebellum mansion he's bought. Her assignment: decorate it for the woman of his dreams - a woman he's never met.

    Only a designing woman like Keeley Murdock can find a way to clear her name and give her cheating varmint of an ex-fiance the comeuppance he so richly deserves. 

    Keely is an interior decorator and engaged to marry A.J., the son of a local wealthy banker.  On the night before the wedding, at the rehearsal dinner, Keeley catches A.J. and her maid of honour and best friend doing naked stuff they shouldn't be doing.  Keeley freaks out and needless to say, the wedding is off.   A.J., though, hasn't given up and tries to woo Keeley into going back to him.

    In the meantime, Keeley is hired by Will, a rich business owner who has recently purchased a plantation house, and he has a very aggressive schedule.  He wants Keeley to redo the house so it will be the marital of home for him and Stephanie, a lawyer.  Will, though, has never met Stephanie.  He saw her on TV on a telethon and fell in love with her.  By making a large donation, she has agreed to go to dinner with him.  He feels that once she gets to know him and the house, they will live happily ever after.  Seriously?!  I thought he was either very arrogant or very stupid to think this way.  And Stephanie is a lawyer but I thought she came off as very dumb.

    On top of of this, there is the story of Jeanine, Keeley's mom, who had run off with one of her dad's employees 25 years ago.  Neither was ever seen or heard from again.  Keeley realizes she may have abandonment issues so decides to find out where her mother is after all these years.

    I've read a few books by this author and I didn't really like this one.  I found most of the storylines (except for the one about finding Jeanine) absurb.  It is written in first person perspective in Keeley's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

    I found the author's portrayal of some of the characters questionable.  The two gay men were so stereotypical and it made me wonder whether the author had ever met a gay man before.  There is an Asian woman named Selena and I thought the author's portrayal of her was racist and I cringed a bit.  Keeley seems surprised that Selena has a Southern accent.  And she's also surprised that Selena is making Shrimp Creole and not "some sort of chop suey or stir-fry" for supper.  Later when Keeley and her friend are talking about Selena, her friend wonders whether she knows any "kinky geisha girl tricks ... sort of like that whole Kama Sutra thing".

    As I was reading this, I was happy that the author had seemed veer away from her usual style which was girl meets boy, girl and boy get together, something happens to break up girl and boy but they end up together in the end.  The last chapter was disappointing as apparently a happy ending can't happen unless a girl is finally with a boy (this came out of the blue).

    Sunday, 12 August 2018

    "Swim Team", Theatre Centre, Toronto, ON

    SummerWorks started on Thursday.  Tickets start at $15 (you pay what you want).

    SummerWorks is a curated festival recognized nationally and internationally as a launching pad for new and experimental work. We are interested in continuously re-imagining and innovating the possibilities for performance – how it is created, presented and experienced. 

    SummerWorks supports work that has a clear artistic vision and explores a specific theatrical aesthetic. It encourages risk, questions, and creative exploration while insisting on accessibility, integrity and professionalism. SummerWorks is the place where dedicated, professional artists are free to explore new territory and take artistic risks. Rather than getting larger, we strive to get better. We look to introduce professional artists from diverse communities to each other and be inspired by our similarities and differences.

    Over the last couple of years, Gord and I have seen many SummerWorks productions and have enjoyed them.  We like them because you never know what to expect.

    This afternoon we saw Swim Team.

    Inspired by real stories from the world of women’s sports in post-revolutionary Iran, "Swim Team" follows three women who are determined to learn to swim in a place devoid of water. When their coach transforms her small apartment into a training facility, they discover that it can still be tricky to achieve your dreams, even when they’re just in your imagination.


    A female coach has moved to a place that doesn't have any water because of a recent drowning.  When three women want to learn how to swim, it makes it tricky because there is no water nearby.  The coach transforms her apartment into a swimming pool (with imaginary water) and teaches them how to hold their breath, swim and even dive.

    This was a different play and I thought it was okay.  It was interesting to see the women really get into learning how to swim when it was obvious there was no water.  It ran for 60 minutes.  As a head's up, there is swearing.  Today was the premiere and there was a Q&A after the play.

    It is playing at the Theatre Centre, which is in our 'hood.

    Etsy Team Toronto: Summer Makers Market, Toronto, ON

    I stopped in at the Etsy Team Toronto: Summer Makers Market at the Great Hall this afternoon, which is in our 'hood.

    Toronto ... meet your makers! That's right ... meet, shop and discover all the local talent Toronto has to offer! 

    Join us Sunday August 12, 2018, 10am-5pm, and meet a curated selection of Toronto's most noteworthy Etsy sellers and crafters. Find one of a kind goods, must-have locally made essentials and swoon worthy gift and lifestyle items. 

    If you love Etsy and you love #shoplocal then you will love our curated selection of 50 makers and sellers! Admission is FREE and first 50 visitors receive a complimentary swag bag.

    "A Girl Lives Alone", Theatre Centre, Toronto, ON

    SummerWorks started on Thursday.  Tickets start at $15 (you pay what you want).

    SummerWorks is a curated festival recognized nationally and internationally as a launching pad for new and experimental work. We are interested in continuously re-imagining and innovating the possibilities for performance – how it is created, presented and experienced. 

    SummerWorks supports work that has a clear artistic vision and explores a specific theatrical aesthetic. It encourages risk, questions, and creative exploration while insisting on accessibility, integrity and professionalism. SummerWorks is the place where dedicated, professional artists are free to explore new territory and take artistic risks. Rather than getting larger, we strive to get better. We look to introduce professional artists from diverse communities to each other and be inspired by our similarities and differences.

    Over the last couple of years, Gord and I have seen many SummerWorks productions and have enjoyed them.  We like them because you never know what to expect.

    This afternoon we saw A Girl Lives Alone.

    A Hitchcock-esque comedy and murder mystery mash-up about death, fear, and how well you really know your neighbours.


    Grace had just been murdered and the killer wasn't found.  The play is about the reactions and interactions of the other tenants who live in the building ... Marion, who  just moved into the building and didn't know Grace; Janet, who lives across the hallway from Marion, who loves Friends and was friends with Grace; Kim and Stewart, a couple who live upstairs; Alma, an older woman; Murray, the landlord; and a foley artist.

    I liked this play.  The actors did a good job with their distinct characters and made good use of the space on the stage.  It ran for 75 minutes.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

    It is playing at the Theatre Centre, which is in our 'hood.

    Saturday, 11 August 2018

    Black Bull Tavern, Toronto, ON

    After we left the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, Jennifer and I were hungry so we had supper at the Black Bull Tavern (Queen Street W/John Street).

    Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, Toronto, ON

    I went to the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival this afternoon with my pals, Darlene and Jennifer ... the festival was today and tomorrow.

    This is the sixth time I've been to the summer one and I've also been to the winter ones.  It was a nice day for it ... sunny and warm.

    Tickets (which included the tasting mug) were $25 in advance.  Tasting tokens were $1 each.  I had six left from last year and started with those (Darlene and I split a 10-pack later on).

    The gates opened at noon.  I got there about 12:20pm and there was a long line-up to get in ... Darlene was ahead of me in line so I joined her (and then Jennifer arrived).  We still had about a fifteen minute wait to get in.  Every year there is a giveaway to the first couple hundred  people ... this year it was a fanny pack but we weren't there early enough to get one.

    Friday, 10 August 2018

    Shaydid, Grace O'Malley's, Toronto, ON

    Sister Sarah and I went to Cuba in April ... it was an east coast kitchen party theme with Shaydid, a cover band from Halifax, NS.  They were playing at Grace O'Malley's this weekend so I stopped in tonight.  It was nice to chat with band members Mark, Kirk and Crystal.