Saturday, 28 January 2006

65 Degrees, Toronto ~ Winterlicious

From ~ Named for the ideal temperature at which to serve red wine, this new steakhouse is as beautiful and sultry as its predecessor, Brasserie Aix. An ante room opposite the kitchen shows off a handful of cozy booths, outfitted with newly installed red leather banquettes and velvet curtains for the ultimate in plush privacy. And, the main dining room still dazzles with an antique iron chandelier, imported from Russia. Dark wood tables and red leather upholstered chairs further emphasize the aura of old-school steakhouse.

Tonight Gord and I checked out 65 Degrees as part of Winterlicious. It's not too far from home so we walked there and back (about a half hour each way). We had a 9:00 reservation as that's all we could get. It was jam packed! We kept expecting someone to knock over something on our table as they were whizzing by. And it was also very loud. The back room where we were seated about 100 people ~ and by the noise factor, it was obvious.

I had tomato bisque and Gord had cream of broccoli soup. We both went with the steak with a dab of mashed potatoes (the other choices were a chicken thigh or trout) and chocolate torte for dessert.

We probably won't go back because it was so jammed and loud. Granted it was Winterlicious but we weren't impressed enough to go back. It's on the trendy College Street strip and there are so many other choices.

Book ~ "Everybody into the Pool" - Beth Lisick (2005)

From ~ Lisick, a natural storyteller, plunges not only into the pool but also into details, some undeniably gory, about her transformation from ultratanned homecoming queen (high-school freshman with a hunky senior as her date) in a puffy-sleeved, plaid dress of royal blue, lime green, canary yellow, bright pink, and hues of purple into a young woman living illegally in a warehouse as raw sewage falls from broken pipes and the upstairs occupants. Lisick employs a whacked-out, loopy humor that many will find charmingly off-the-wall as she recounts such larks as traveling as the sole straight girl with a lesbian punk band and spending an evening at a Catholic charity fund-raiser selling raffle tickets (and filching some of the cash). Readers will also learn of Lisick's open-minded, not entirely successful quest for bisexuality in the early 1990s and her stint as a giant banana.

Most of the stories are funny. It's a quick read and I'd recommend it.

Friday, 27 January 2006

Biffs, Toronto, ON

The Chillin' Chicks took advantage of Winterlicious (120 restaurants in Toronto offer fixed menu meals for $25 or $35 for an appetizer, entree and dessert ~ it's a great way to check out restaurants you've never been to).

We went to Biff's, a French restaurant. A friend of Deb's, Sylvie, came too.

We had an awesome waiter named Jacob. He was very nice and took good care of us.

I went off the Winterlicious menu and ordered steak and fries. Upon Jacob's recommendation, I had creme brulee for dessert. It's the first time I've had it and it was quite tasty. Liz's birthday is next Friday so Jacob wrote "Happy Birthday" on the plate in chocolate with her creme brulee. Very cute!

It was a fun time catching up. Lots of laughs!

Thursday, 26 January 2006

Book ~ "The Immortal Highlander" - Karen Marie Moning (2004)

From ~ For eons, Adam Black has aided humanity and meddled in its affairs, much to the chagrin of the queen of the Seelie Court. He has finally pushed her too far and finds himself, a once powerful Fae, invisible and very human. But he is still as resourceful as ever and finds a way to reach the queen and plea to have his curse lifted with the help of a young lawyer, Gabrielle O'Callaghan, a human born with the ability to see his kind. As old enemies yearn to take advantage of his weakened state, threatening his life and all existence, Adam discovers that Gabrielle threatens a heart he never thought he had.

This isn't my usual kind of book. I read it because it was recommended by sweet angel and dylan.

Gabby is a lawyer in today's world and Adam is fairy who is thousands and thousands of years old. He needs her help to get back to his old world and state after his queen punishes him. He has been turned into a human form, though Gabby is the only one who can see him. When he touches her, she also becomes invisible. Wacky story and premise but I enjoyed it.

I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Sunday, 15 January 2006

Book ~ "Alternate Beauty" - Andrea Rains Waggener (2005)

From ~ She couldn’t change the way the world looked at her, so she changed the world. Ronnie Tremayne is a big girl with big dreams: she wants to be a fashion designer. But as her model-thin mother never fails to remind her, in fashion, image is everything – and Ronnie is a size 28. When she learns that her job managing a plus-size boutique is in jeopardy because her weight is “disturbing” to the clientele, Ronnie loses control. After a late-night binge, she dozes off wishing for a world where fat is beautiful. When she awakens the next morning, it is. Now the ideal woman, Ronnie is thrust into the spotlight. She attends the best parties. She has her mother’s approval. Her boss invests in her clothing line. And the men! But as her appetite for life grows, Ronnie’s appetite for food shrinks. She soon becomes unrecognizable–inside and out. And while navigating the giddy highs and miserable lows of this so-called perfect world, Ronnie discovers what she should have known all along: it’s not the size of your body that matters, but the size of your heart.

It was a really interesting concept and I had a hard time at times wrapping my head around it because it's the opposite of all we know. It was quite funny to see skinny women put down and to read about all the ways women were trying to gain weight. I'd recommend it!

"Grease", Stage West, Toronto, ON

From Stage West ~ Grease is the word at Stage West! The wild and wacky 50's are back with the return of this sensational musical! Set in 1959, Grease is a 50s rock n' roll musical about young summer love and the students of Rydel High. Grab your favourite Pink Lady and travel back to when beehives were in and coils were cool.

I've never seen the movie (though I knew the basic plot) so it was good to finally see it in some format. Stage West has put together a good production and it was enjoyable. As usual, I ate way too much!!

Thursday, 12 January 2006

Poor KC

KC hasn't been herself the last couple weeks. She seemed kind of listless. It hurt to jump down from the bed or couch and she seemed hesitant to jump up onto things. She's usually a lazy dog inside but loves going to the park. We've had her to the park a couple times lately and she wasn't as excited as she usually gets.

I took her to the vet tonight. The vet says she has degeneration in her back. Not surprising considering she is going to be eleven this year. So he gave her a shot of an inflammatory and gave me medication for her (it's liquid so we have to put it on a piece of bread every evening). If this doesn't help, he said it would probably be her heart murmur that's making her this way and we'd treat that.

January 14 update: KC is doing much better on her meds. She seems like her old self again. Yay!!

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

Book ~ "Breakfast with Tiffany : An Uncle's Memoir" - Edwin John Wintle (2005)

From ~ Failed-actor-turned-New-York-literary-agent Wintle undertakes the biggest challenge of his life when he agrees to serve as a surrogate single parent to his 13-year-old niece, Tiffany. Since the author of this combination memoir and de facto guide to nontraditional parenting is a self-described gay, obsessive-compulsive "drama Queen (yes, with a capital Q)," the book at first promises to be a madcap romp in an Uncle Mame sort of way but soon becomes something more serious (and interesting) as the author begins revealing heretofore hidden aspects of himself. As for Tiffany, what you see is what you get: she is 13-going-on-30, and her reaction to the word no is to fly into a scenery-chewing, expletive-spewing, door-slamming rage. No wonder one of Wintle's friends coolly observes, "Teenagers are evil, vile creatures." Of course, Wintle would have us believe they're not (well, most aren't), but with Tiffany as Exhibit A, he'll have a hard time convincing most readers of that.

Interesting story and I enjoyed the writing style. I found this book on a top 100 list of books from 2005 and thought I'd give it a try as I like bios. I'd recommend it!

Saturday, 7 January 2006

Book ~ "Up the Amazon Without a Paddle" - Doug Lansky (1999)

From ~ This enjoyable collection of anecdotes recounts more than 60 of the author's fun-loving, hair-raising and off-the-wall excursions around the globe. His broad and balanced travel coverage takes many forms. One moment he's elegantly cruising the Caribbean on a luxury liner, the next sleeping under the stars on Mount Sinai. Any lover of adventure will enjoy accounts of blowgun hunting, 'gator wrestling, volcano hiking, and ostrich riding. Unusual experiences include test-driving a Ferrari, enduring a Chinese opera, and playing Finnish ice golf. Through Lansky's writing, one is rewarded with the pleasures of a novel, the excitement of a thriller, and the insightful information one would expect from a guidebook.

This is this second of his books that I've read (I also read Last Trout in Venice: The Far-Flung Escapades of an Accidental Adventurer) and I enjoyed it. He enbarks on many adventures and makes them sound very fun and interesting.

Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Feline asthma

The last couple of days, Morgan has been having problems breathing. The first couple days it looked like he was just trying to hack up a furball (as he is prone to). But it got more intense and I thought maybe he had swallowed something and was trying to cough it up. Yesterday I could really see his breathing was laboured.

I took him to the vet this morning and they did XRays. It turns out he has developed asthma. The vet gave him a steroid shot and I'm working from home today to keep an eye on him. Though his breathing is still a bit laboured, he hasn't been gasping for air. I have to take him back tomorrow to get checked out again. 

January 4 update:  I took Morgan for his check-up tonight. Though he isn't wheezing anymore (yay!), his breathing is still a bit laboured. And he only had one episode (gasping for air) last night (yay!). So he's going on a puffer twice a day. Then we'll try and wean him down to once a day, then once every two days. He'll have to do it for the rest of his life.  Here's the puffer/contraption:

The left side is a mask that goes over his mouth and nose. The vet did it tonight and he didn't mind it too much.

January 5 update:  I gave Morgan his blasts from his puffer twice today and he didn't seem to mind it. What a good kitty!

Sunday, 1 January 2006

Happy New Year!

New Years Wishes

I wish you Health .... so you may enjoy each day in comfort.

I wish you the Love of friends and family ... and peace within your heart.

I wish you the Beauty of nature ... that you may enjoy the work of Mother Nature.

I wish you Wisdom to choose priorities ... for those things that really matter in life.

I wish you Generosity so you may share ... all good things that come to you.

I wish you Happiness and Joy ... and Blessings for the New Year.

I wish you the best of everything ... that you so well deserve.