Sunday 30 October 2005

Book ~ "The Dish: On Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous! " (2004) Carolyn O'Neil and Densie Webb

From ~ The authors draw on their experiences to create "a girlfriend's guide to eating out, eating in, entertaining, and traveling." Though they claim it's "the very first diet book for glamour girls of all ages and sizes," it's actually more of a lifestyle book, likely to appeal to the demographic of women who read fitness magazines and have 15 or fewer pounds to lose, or want to maintain a healthy weight while living a busy, changing life. The authors give "the dish" on nutrition, eating in, dining out, drinking, exercising, dressing to maximize your assets and even cheating (in moderation), with each author occasionally sharing a personal experience or preference.

Entertaining but fluffy. Good general book if you aren't looking for a lot of details and don't know anything about nutrition, exercise, etc.

Saturday 29 October 2005

Dogs Rule!

OK, so…what’s the deal with dogs? They sniff places they shouldn’t.
They want to go in when they’re out
And out when they’re in.
And they’re more trouble
Than a two year old
Why, then, do we love them so much?

Could it be they fill a need
Deep within us for a loyal friend?
A companion who doesn’t care
What we look like
Or how much we weigh?
Fact is, they totally adore us
When we are way less than adorable.
They never breach a confidence,
And they’re always
Watching out for us
With that irresistible,
Goofy, puppy dog look
On their face.
(And best of all,
They don’t get all hot and bothered
When we pet them.)

Surely there has never been a more devoted
And affectionate creature
Than this bundle of unconditional love
With a hairy face!

© 2003 Suzy Toronto

Cats Rule!

Admit it.
We’re suckers for purr and fur.
We simply can’t resist
The lavish nudging of
A fuzzy face,
Or the soothing vibration
Of a throaty rumble.
We love them to curl up with us
When we’re having a bad day,
And lovingly
Push their foreheads into ours.
We even tolerate their sharp little claws
Pawing at us
When they need to knead.

But what I love most are
“kitty kisses…”
When they slowly squeeze
Their slumbering eyes
And send us a trusting wink.

Whatever the reasons,
We are hooked.
Sure, we may be the goddesses
In our homes…
But it’s the cat that rules!

© 2004 Suzy Toronto

Friday 28 October 2005

Ghosts of the Garrison Walking Tour, Toronto, ON

Tonight Gord and I went on the Ghosts of the Garrison Walking Tour at Fort York.

Fort York is just a couple of blocks from where we live. This week they have been having tours of the Fort at night in honour of Halloween. They started with hot chocolate and ginger bread soldier cookies. Then we moved around the Fort with a guide telling ghost stories. He dropped us off at four different buildings where ghosts tell stories. It was very entertaining and well worth the $10 admission for 2.5 hours of entertainment.

The settlement of modern Toronto began in 1793 when Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe built a garrison on the present site of Fort York. Fearful of war with the United States, Simcoe planned to establish a naval base at Toronto in order to control Lake Ontario. Civilian settlement followed and a community named York began to grow two kilometres east of the fort (York was renamed Toronto in 1834). In 1812, the United States declared war and invaded Canada. On the 27th of April 1813, the U.S. Army and Navy attacked York with 2,700 men on 14 ships and schooners. The defenders put up a strong fight but fell back to Fort York in the face of overwhelming odds, eventually abandoning the fort and town to the enemy. In the autumn of that year, the British returned to Toronto and built the fortification that stands today. Fort York’s cannon and earthworks became obsolete in the 1880s, although the army continued to use the fort for training, barracks, offices and storage until the 1930s. Fort York opened as an historic site museum in 1934. Today, Fort York is home to Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings.

Sunday 23 October 2005

Book ~ "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse" (2005) Phyllis Diller

From ~ Brash comedy and bitterness fuel this account of Diller's drive to make it big. Born to elderly parents in Lima, Ohio, in 1917, Phyllis Ada Driver was blessed with neither beauty nor wealth. At 20 and already pregnant, she married Sherwood Diller, a handsome, selfish ne'er-do-well who became the "Fang" in her comic monologues of domestic life; the couple had five children. Nearly 40 when she began her performing career, Diller turned a knack for relentless self-deprecation into a nightclub act.

Interesting read.

Lawrenceville Restaurant, Virgil, ON

On our way home from Niagara on the Lake, we stopped at the Lawrenceville Restaurant for breakfast. It's just outside of Niagara on the Lake in Virgil. It's a small family type place.

I had the biggest pancakes I've ever seen. They were good but HUGE! Gord had his usual bacon and eggs.

Our waitress wasn't all that warm and fuzzy ~ until it came time for the bill. Then she was very friendly ~ no doubt sucking up for a tip.

Saturday 22 October 2005

Olde Angel Inn Pub, Niagara on the Lake, ON

Gord and I ended up eating at the Olde Angel Inn Pub both Friday and Saturday nights. We wanted to go to a pub and that seemed to be the only one around. It was packed both nights but we waited at the bar until we got a table.

I had fish and chips both nights ~ it was good. Gord had fish and chips Friday night and a Reuben sandwich and fries Saturday night (there was lots of meat).

We'd definitely eat there when we go back to Niagara on the Lake. The food is good and it has a fun atmosphere.

The Olde Angel Inn on Urbanspoon

Tetley's, Niagara on the Lake, ON

After the play, it was still raining so we didn't want to go too far.

We stopped in at Tetley's for a drink.

It's a snooty place and we just had a beer at the bar. The menu seems pricey and fancy with sushi and stone grill items. There was a steady stream of people coming in and it seemed that all the tables were reserved.

Would we go back? Probably not.

The Queen's Landing, Niagara on the Lake, ON

We spent Friday to today at the Queen's Landing in Niagara on the Lake. The manager is a friend of a client of mine and he gave us a special price. We were expecting a regular room but were quite shocked and thrilled to discover that we had a suite ~ it was huge!

And my eyes were drawn right away to a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries on the desk. Very yummy! The room had a king sized bed, a fire place, a view of the River and a jacuzzi in the bathroom. At night, they turned down the bed and left a room on the pillow. We felt very spoiled.

The hotel is very nice. There is a pool with salt water. The hot tub was very very hot.

In the evenings, we had a cocktail at Bacchus, the lounge.

It rained all weekend so we weren't able to walk around as much as we'd like but we still had a great time!

Sunday 16 October 2005

Daniel's Ark, Caledon, ON

We went to Daniel's Ark today with Single Horizons. Daniel's Ark is a wildlife preserve. When we got there, we were expecting it to be lame but it turned out to be quite interesting.

Daniel gave us the tour (that's him with Turney, a lynx). He is very knowledgeable and passionate about his animals. On the preserve are coyotes, wolves, lynx, bobcats, foxes, minks and cougars.

After the couple hours tour, we had sandwiches and salads in the lodge.

Saturday 15 October 2005

C'est What?, Toronto, ON

From ~ Although C'est What regularly plays host to a variety of musical acts, it is definitely best-suited to quieter and mellower performances. The comfortable chairs and couches and the low lighting make it easy to sit back and absorb the sounds coming from the stage, which are often a mix of eclectic pop and edgy indie acts. The munchies ($7-$12) are as diverse as the crowd, with pastas, pizzas, a daily curry special and several other international dishes. Saturdays it's a hot spot for brunch. The pub is divided into two distinct halves. The Church Street entrance leads to the band room, the Front Street entrance to the restaurant/cafe/bar area. Both sides are licensed.

In last week's Globe and Mail, there was an article about bars in Canada that support craft breweries. One in Toronto is C'est What?. Since neither of had been there before, we like beer and were in the area (it's near St. Lawrence Market), we checked it out.

It's in the cellar of an old building and has a jazzy theme (there was a quintet playing New Orleans-style jazz when we were there).

I tried the Ephemere Apple beer and liked it so stuck with it. Gord, on the other hand, tried three different ones.

We had a good time there and will go back.

Friday 14 October 2005

Village Pub, Toronto, ON

Gord and I walk home from work pretty well every day and we pass by a backpackers' hostel called Global Village Backpackers.

They have a patio on the side called the Village Pub and we've wondered what it was like. It seems pretty lively. So we stopped in tonight on our way home.

It was packed with lots of younger travellers drinking pitchers of beer. We sat at one of the picnic tables and had a beer. Inside the tunes were cranked, people were shooting pool, chatting and dancing.

We'll definitely check it out again.

Thursday 13 October 2005

Book ~ "Such a Girl" (2005) Karen V. Siplin

From ~ Nine years ago, Kendall Stark ended a relationship with the love of her life. As her college friends never tired of telling her, Jack was going nowhere fast. Now Kendall is 31, working as an operator at a prestigious New York hotel and listening in on the personal calls of the celebrity guests, while she carries on a doomed affair with a married colleague. And while deep down she knows she should be leading a more fulfilling life, Kendall believes she is content with the choices she has made. Until the morning Jack reappears. Only now, Jack is the wealthy owner of a New England brewery, and he's staying in the hotel where Kendall works. His unexpected return leads her to rethink all the assumptions she ever made about success, love, and happiness and forces Jack to decide if he can ever forgive the woman who broke his heart so many years ago.

I enjoyed the writing ~ it was in a fun style. The book was a bit too long, though ~ it didn't have to take as long as it did and tended to drag at times. The ending was predictable and seemed to wrap up very quickly and unbelieveably. I found it hard to believe that she had been unconsciously pining for nine years for someone she felt compelled to break up with because her friends didn't like him (though they like him now that he's rich).

Casino Rama, Orillia, ON

It was a rainy day so we decided to drive to Orillia (about an hour away) to check out Casino Rama. I've never been there before. Though I'm not a big gambler, I was interested in seeing what it was like. They have a great facility ~ big casino, hotel and entertainment centre (Engelbert Humberdinck was playing tonight).

I find the slots really boring. This summer Gord taught me how to play roulette and I find that fun. So I sat down with $100 ~ that's the most I was willing to lose. After I won a couple times, I set aside $100. Then I won more and I set another $100 aside. The rest (about $80) was now the most I was willing to lose. If nothing else, I was going home doubling my money. And that's what happened. It cost me $100 to win another $100 and I had a couple hours of fun. Gord came away with a profit of $82 (he also was playing with $100).

Wednesday 12 October 2005

Book ~ "The Roofer" (2004) Erica Orloff

From ~ Ava O'Neil grew up within the embrace of New York City's most infamous Irish gang, The Westies. Her father was the Roofer, named for his penchant for throwing enemies from the rooftops of Hell's Kitchen tenements. Raised by her father and two members of his crew, Ava and her brother witnessed events of violence and torment, as well as moments of loyalty and dignity.

Very deep and dark ~ totally different from her other funny light stuff.

The Rotisserie House, Toronto

We'd been watching the "Coming Soon" signs in windows of The Rotisserie House around the corner for months.

We noticed last month that they were finally open. Yay!

So we decided to check them out today for a late lunch.

I had a half chicken dinner ($8.49) with potatoes and rice. Gord had the same but with onion rings rather than potatoes.

I gave it a big thumbs up and would go back. It was very yummy and the servings were large.

Sunday 9 October 2005

Book ~ "Bras and Broomsticks" (2005) Sarah Mlynowski

From ~ Rachel Weinstein, 14, wants many things - she'd love to remain best buds with her newly popular friend Jewel, get a date to the Spring Fling, and stop her dad from marrying her "Soon To Be Step-Monster." When her younger sister, Miri, discovers that she is a witch, Rachel just knows that her dreams are within her grasp. Though the girls' mother warns them that magic can lead to unexpectedly harsh consequences, the sisters secretly come up with plan after plan to stop their father's wedding and help Rachel find popularity.

Cute quick read.

Also written by her which I enjoyed is Milkrun.

Saturday 8 October 2005

Chubby's, Hoard's Station, ON

Tonight we took Gord's mom (Minnie) and stepfather (Keith) out for supper to celebrate Minnie's 78th birthday to Chubby's.

Minnie and Keith live about a half hour north of Belleville) and a half hour away from Chubby's.

There's not a lot of choice at Chubby's (it was roast beef and spare ribs tonight - which were very good) but the desserts rock! There are so many to choose from and they are all homemade ~ I made three trips just for desserts!!!

Thursday 6 October 2005

Book ~ "Diary of a Blues Goddess" (2003) Erica Orloff

From ~ Georgia Ray sings in a successful New Orleans wedding band but her real desire is to be a blues singer like her great-aunt Irene. Georgia lives in her grandmother's brothel-turned-hotel, which is haunted by the ghost of a murdered prostitute who slams doors when the hotel's denizens make poor choices in love. Georgia knows a thing or two about this. After several failed relationships, she makes the mistake of sleeping with the bandmate her best friend, Maggie, is interested in. Then she runs into handsome Rick "Casanova" Jones, her high-school crush, at a wedding and suddenly she's head-over-heels in love. But as she reads her aunt Irene's diary, it draws her closer to achieving her dream of becoming a bona fide blues goddess.

This is a fun light book that involves New Orleans, drag queens, blues music, broken hearts and ghosts.

Sunday 2 October 2005

Book ~ "G-Force : The Ultimate Guide to Your Best Body Ever" (2005) Gunnar Peterson

From ~ Gunnar Peterson, fitness guru behind Hollywood A-listers and professional athletes, maps out the optimal get-in-shape program, complete with surefire techniques to help you achieve the rock-hard body you've always wanted.

Great book for beginners or anyone else looking to mix up their workouts.

Toronto Blue Jays 7, Kansas City 2

Today was the Jays' last game of the season.

We didn't make it to the playoffs but the Jays had a good season and didn't let us down. They won today and there were a couple of home runs. Because the Jays had seven strikeouts against Kansas City, everyone at the game today could head to a Pizza Pizza for a free slice of pepperoni pizza ~ whoohoo!! It was a great day for a game ~ warm and sunny so the roof was open. Thankfully there were no big heads in my way this time.

Before the game, Gord and I went to Burrito Boyz for lunch. I got a steak burrito and Gord got a chicken one. Both were yummy!

Saturday 1 October 2005

Brent Butt and "Corner Gas" ~ Convocation Hall

Brent Butt and some of the Corner Gas stars came through Toronto tonight. Our seats were good ~ not far from the stage.

The show started off with Craig Northey and Jesse Valenzuela, the two guys who sing the the opening and closing theme songs ~ they used to be in The Odds so sang a couple of their songs too.

Brent Butt did some stand-up, interviewed a couple of the cast members (Lacey and Emma) and had a friend do stand-up.

After the intermission, Brent did more stand-up, interviewed a couple more cast members (Karen and Wanda) and had another friend do some stand-up (this guy was very funny!).

Phil's Original BBQ, Toronto, ON

Phil's has been on our list of places to try for a while. They are just north of us and seem to get good reviews.

There's a small choice on the menu ~ ribs, chicken and pulled sandwiches. We were there for the ribs so we both ordered the full rack each. Along with the ribs are baked beans and cole slaw. The ribs were tasty, though I've seen bigger racks elsewhere ($19.50 for the full rack).