Saturday, December 31, 2005
We started off our New Years celebrations with Gord BBQing steak and potatoes. Very yummy! We had a nice Syrah to go along with it. It's our New Years Eve tradition ~ this is our fifth New Years Eve together and we've done it four out of the five (we spent New Years 2002 in Cuba).
We headed off to the Foggy Dew to bring in the new year ~ it was only $10 a ticket, it's one of our favorite pubs and it's within walking distance from home.
There was a very good Celtic band and we had a great time.
Book ~ "Fall Down, Laughing : How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn't Tell Nobody" (2000) David Lander
From Amazon.com ~ In the summer of 1999, David Lander revealed publicly that he suffers from multiple sclerosis - a secret he'd kept for fifteen years even while living and working in Hollywood's celebrity fishbowl. Diagnosed with the illness after filming the last episode of Laverne and Shirley, Lander continued to develop his film and television career while hiding his illness. His success was a testament to his physical and emotional strength and his determination to prove that those with M.S. can still enjoy fulfilling and challenging lives. Over the years, Lander tried everything to improve his condition: exercise programs, alternative medicine, support groups, the latest crop of designer drugs. Weaving his experiences against a backdrop of entertaining celebrity anecdotes, Lander offers a message of affirmation that will provide information and hope to millions of M.S. sufferers, their friends and caregivers.
Quick interesting read. Very inspiring!
From Amazon.com ~ Roommates Allie, Jodine, and Emma are about as different as three people can be. Allie is enthusiastic but immature; Jodine is cold and closed-off; Emma is a stylish good-time girl. Despite the fact that they get on each other's nerves, they get along well enough, even after Jodine wakes up one night to discover that their kitchen is on fire. With no insurance, the girls are forced to come up with creative ways to raise money, including throwing big parties at a local bar and offering a seminar for men hoping to meet girls. Meanwhile, each roommate has her own man troubles: Allie pines for her friend, Clint, while the cute repairman flirts with her; Jodine is bored by her loyal boyfriend; and Emma has fallen for a sexy guy she meets at one of their parties, only to discover that she's smitten with Clint.
There are four narrators in this book and I found it hard at first keeping them straight. But once I got to know the characters, it got easier. It's a funny story and I enjoyed it. It was cool to read a book set in Toronto, rather than the States.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
It was a cold rainy day today and Gord and I spent the afternoon as Casa Loma.
Casa Loma is a castle here in Toronto, built back in the early 1900s and has decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables and five-acre estate gardens (in the summer). Really cool place! I had been there for a dinner in July with the Girls Night Out Club but it had been a while since either of us had done the tour.
It's hard to believe the grandeur in which they lived. The Pellatts' personal suites were pretty well the size of our condo! The castle was decorated for Christmas, with trees in all the rooms.
Pour House ~ We don't get to the Dupont/Spadina area much so after we left Casa Loma, we decided to check out a pub in the area. A couple blocks away we found the Pour House. It turns out they are owned by the same group that owns the Foggy Dew. Appetizers were half price so we ordered a couple for supper. I had hot wings and Gord ordered battered wings and crispy riblets. The wings were big and meaty, and not overly hot. Though they were good, they seemed to be cooked a bit too much (they weren't juicy). The waitress was very friendly and it seems like a fun spot.
O'Grady's ~ After we left the Pour House we walked down to the "Village" - Toronto's gaybourhood. It's a fun vibrant area of town. Gord had lived there for a couple months before he moved in with me back in 2002. Then we had a fire in our townhouse complex a month or so later so we moved into his place for two months while repairs were made to our place. A pub we liked was called Wild Oscar's but it has since become O'Grady's. So we checked it out. It is less pub-like now and I doubt we'll go back.
Churchmouse & Firkin ~ After we left O'Grady's, we went across the street to the Churchmouse & Firkin. When we lived in that area, it was a restaurant, not a pub. It's a nice place. The waitress was fun and friendly. We'd go back.
Woody's ~ We stopped at Woody's after we left the Churchmouse & Firkin (it's just down the street). Woody's has been featured in Queer as Folk quite a bit. It's a big place. We sat at the bar and on the TV above it, they were showing some kind of pageant ~ lots of black leather. It was fun to check it out and see what it was like.
Big Slice ~ On our way home, we stopped off for a piece of pizza at the Big Slice on Yonge Street. Yummy pizza!
Then we walked down Yonge Street to catch the Queen streetcar home. Along the way, we passed by the makeshift shrine that has been set up in front of a store for Jane Creba. She was a 15 year old who was shot and killed on Yonge Street while doing some Boxing Day shopping. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were quite a few people gathered, some lighting candles. There has been quite a collection of flowers, stuffed animals, letters, etc. left there to remember her.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The most special Christmas gift I received this year was from my sister, Sarah. She's into scrapbooking (she's very talented!) and put together a frame of pix of she and I.
Clockwise starting at the top left are:
- Christmas ~ 1982
- New Years in Cancun ~ 1998
- New Years in Cuba ~ 1999
- On a cruise around Toronto harbour ~ maybe 1992
- At a family reunion ~ maybe 1996
- Being cool on a patio in Toronto ~ maybe 1990
- New Years in Cuba 1999
For my birthday two years ago, she put together a small album called "Teena ... a step back in time" with black and white pix of our parents (before I was even thought of!) and me up to the age of five. It meant a lot to me.
She's the best sister in the whole wide world!
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Not an overly exciting life story but worth the read.
Gord has taken some cooking courses and one of the things he learned in his last one was how to make tourtières. That's what he made for supper tonight. Basically it's a French Canadian meat pie made with ground beef and pork. Very yummy!
A recipe similar to his is here.
Gord and I went to bingo this afternoon at Delta Bingo. We hadn't been in a while. Gord was set once but, alas, we didn't win.
We tried the "verifyers" for the first time. For $18, you get 36 cards and an electronic box that keeps track of these cards. At first, it was really confusing and distressing because we didn't know what to do. We realized later that we don't have to do anything. That's the point of the boxes ~ it keeps track of everything for you. Very cool! It didn't help, though, that the first box we had was broken and kept beeping.
Monday, December 26, 2005
After the movie, we walked home and made some stops along the way.
One of our Christmas traditions is having a Bellini at Milestones. Gord and I had our first date on Christmas Eve 2001 and I introduced him to a Bellini. Every year since, we stop in for one during the holidays. A Bellini is a frozen blend of white rum, peach liqueur and champagne, topped with sangria. They are very yummy!
Then we stopped at Philthy McNasty's for a beer and shared some wings. I had been telling him how much I liked Philthy's and it was along the way home. I ordered medium wings ~ they were okay. I'd get hot or suicide next time. Gord ordered mild.
We stopped off at Amsterdam for a beer. They used to have a brewery on the premises but have moved it. In addition, they have had a falling out with the pub ~ we were the only ones at the pub last night so got the scoop from the bartender. In the new year, the pub will be expanded and renamed Portland Beerhouse. We ordered cheese nachos (gotta love half price appetizers!)
Our final stop was the Foggy Dew. It was really busy there ~ the busiest spot of the night.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
We had a quiet Christmas. I was sick today and yesterday ~ I spent most of today in bed. But I'm feeling a lot better now. Yay!
Gord made a very yummy Christmas dinner. He did a couple of cornish hens stuffed with rice with dressing (Stove Top) on the side.
I yakked with my sister (she lives in Halifax, NS) for a while this evening. It was their turn to have her husband's family over for Christmas dinner ~ she had 25 people! Whoa!!! But it sounds like all went well.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy : The Fab 5's Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better - Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez
From Amazon.com ~ A witty, yet sound manual based on the hit television show. A chapter is devoted to each star's area of expertise – Ted on food and wine, Kyan on grooming, Thom on decorating, Carson on fashion and Jai on culture. The pages are chock-full of color, including quality photos, "hiptips" and "straightguyFAQ" boxes appear on almost every other page. Each chapter contains one or more lists of five items, such as classics every man should own, elements of a perfect shave, and dishes not to order on a date. Underneath the humor and the occasional sexual innuendo are the book's strength and appeal: sincere, commonsense advice on how to be "you–only better."
Even though it's directed at guys, I found it interesting and funny.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Loved it! It's a quick read ~ I read it in a day. I really enjoy her writing style ~ it's sarcastic and funny. I've also read her Autobiography of a Fat Bride: True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood and loved it!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Gord and I aren't big on Christmas and we don't put up a tree. One of the few things we do is put up lights outside on the terrace.
We live in a condo in a townhouse ~ there are 180 condos in all and ours is a lower unit. A lot of the units decorate their terraces and balconies so it's cool with everyone doing their own thing.
This is our terrace this year ~ and you can see the lights (five stars) we put up inside on the living room window. The snow makes a nicer effect.
From Amazon.com ~ Jackie Norris' jaw drops when she gets an email from her boyfriend, Jeremy, telling her that he's seeing someone else in Thailand, where he has gone to "find himself." A harried 24-year-old copy editor at a romance publisher, Jackie decides to be proactive and speed up the process of getting over Jeremy by dating other men. But the men she meets are disappointing: a handsome stud she went to high school with is both rude and a lousy kisser, and it turns out that the goodlooking intellectual is still living with his girlfriend. Meanwhile, Jackie's roommate, Sam, separates from her longtime boyfriend and goes from being a devoted girlfriend to single girl extraordinaire, making Jackie envious. The only good guy in Jackie's life seems to be Jeremy's friend Andrew, but just as Jackie starts to fall for him, Jeremy reenters her life. Though at times annoyingly neurotic, Jackie is a likable heroine, and twentysomething singles will relate to her frustrating search for love in a big city.
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the writing style ~ funny and sarcastic. The character is very quirky and I felt at times I was sitting next to her with a glass of wine and listening to her go on and on (but in a good way!). There are lots of typos ~ very ironic given what Jackie does for a living.
I'm looking forward to reading more of her books. A couple months ago, I read her Bras and Broomsticks. Though it's directed at teens, it was enjoyable.
Monday, December 19, 2005
I had fun tonight with friends and new friends at the Elmwood Spa. I had a 50 minute Swedish massage which was followed by supper. The Elmwood is great because you can sit in the fancy restaurant in just your robe!
I had a mixed green salad, cornish hen and apple crumble with pecan ice cream for dessert ~ a couple glasses of sparkling wine. The servers were very attentive and kept us stocked with bread and water.
Thanks to Angie for arranging this!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Quick fun read.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I had a Meatza Pizza Calzone which was good. For dessert, I split a Banana Blast ~ banana muffin sauteed with pieces of banana, carmelized butter and toffee sauce which comes with vanilla ice cream. Very yummy!
I'd definitely go back as it has a fun atmosphere.
December 20 ~ I had lunch with Trish (not the Trish who just had a birthday) here today. I had a bacon cheese burger with fries. The patty is really big (1/2 pound). The fries were good. Trish had some kind of chicken wrap that didn't look too bad.
December 26 - I ordered medium wings ~ they were okay. I'd get hot or suicide next time.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Though it’s not a happy story, I enjoyed this book. I liked the writing style and felt for the main character, Frannie, and all that she went through.
I got a call today from Lasan at Pizza Pizza. She told me that I've won a large pizza with three tops every month for a year (so that's twelve pizzas in total). Whoohoo!!! I LOVE pizza!!!!!
December 19 update: Got the envelope with the year supply of pizza coupons today. Whoohoo!!!
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
From Amazon. com ~ It's clear reading Allen Noren's travel memoir, Storm, that some trips just weren't meant to be. Yet take a really good writer, expose him to adverse conditions, toss in tragically bad weather, and what do you get? In this case, a beautifully written, stirring story that gets better and better as the journey worsens. A diehard traveler, Noren had been exploring the far corners of the world for years when he and his girlfriend, Suzanne, plotted out an adventurous, three-month route around the Baltic Sea. They considered traveling by kayak, by car, and eventually settled on the idea of riding a motorcycle (or rather, Noren settled on the idea and managed to convince his girlfriend that the bike would be the way to go). While Noren is completely exhilarated by the challenges presented by their used BMW, and indeed, feels totally one with the machine, Suzanne hates it from the get-go. Screaming down the Autobahn in the driving rain at 85 mph, stumbling upon a motorcycle rally full of crazed, alcohol-induced biker revelers, and camping out nightly after long days on the road doesn't hold the same appeal for her that it does for him. The tale works on many levels, but at its best Storm is a poignant account of two people whose dreams have begun to diverge. It is also an exploration of the reasons we travel, how those reasons can change, subtly at first, and then more dramatically, as we do. And finally, it is a descriptive travelogue, full of wonderful passages that bring the landscape of Sweden and Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to life.Interesting journey about the places they went and the people they met. It’s a trip I’ll probably never make.
From Amazon.com ~ A collection of true stories will make your mouth water while helping you better understand other cultures, through its touching, funny, and sometimes frightening stories of eating.
As with other compilation books, some stories are funny and some are rather boring.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
My office Christmas party was tonight at the King Edward Hotel. I work for a small company and most of us were there, along with our spouses.
We started with drinks and appetizers and then moved on to the meal (roasted potatoes and cornish hens stuffed with wild rice). Afterwards a lot of us went to the bar for a drink.
I don't get dressed up very often so it was fun to have my hair done and be in a long dress for a change.
Up on the top floor, we discovered a couple selling truffles and baked goods. The chocolate croissants looked amazing. After asking three times for a croissant and Rice Krispie Square, the guy looked at me and asked me if I wanted anything. Duh!! The woman's demeanour was very rude ~ needless to say we didn't buy much from them.
The One of a Kind Craft Show is in town right now not far away. It's HUGE! I used to go to it every year but I find it too pricey and fancy now. Anyway, I don't think they have much to worry about.
This is an excellent book! Brad travelled to many places that I have no plans to go - plus he did it very frugally - so it was interesting to read about his adventures. It sounds like he met a lot of interesting people along the way with the goal of inviting someone to his home for a month.