Saturday, 29 April 2006

"Hair", Bluma/CanStage, Toronto, ON

It is the dawning of The Age of Aquarius. The tribe is rebelling. American youth are screaming out against The Establishment, Vietnam, segregation and sexual rigidity. Hair, the iconic 60s musical is part pop, part rock, part nostalgia and total visual delight. Recapture your spirit of hope in a strife-torn world.

Excellent play! They did a good job on it. And there was always something going on on all parts of the stage and the actors were very good. I'd definitely recommend it (though my sister does a slightly better version of Hari Krishna!)

After the play, we had a couple beer at C'est What? (I had raspberry flavored, which was tasty). We had supper at the Flatiron Firken (my wings were very yummy!). We popped by Jamie Oliver's wine bar for some reisling before heading home.

Thursday, 27 April 2006

Book ~ "Fish! A remarkable way to boost morale and improve results" (2002) Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen

From GoodreadsImagine a workplace where everyone chooses to bring energy, passion and a positive attitude to the job every day. 

In this engrossing parable, a fictional manager has the responsibility of turning a chronically unenthusiastic and unhelpful department into an effective team. 

Seattle's Pike Place Fish is a world famous market that is wildly successful thanks to its fun, bustling, joyful atmosphere and great customer service. 

By applying ingeniously simple lessons learned from the Pike Place, our manager discovers how to energise and transform her workplace. Addressing today's most pressing work issues with an engaging metaphor and an appealing message, "FISH!" offers wisdom that is easy to grasp, instantly applicable, and profound.

I read this book a couple years ago and it was fun to reread it. I'd seen the video in my Marketing Management course a couple months ago. They looked like they were having so much fun that I wanted to be reminded about the message.

The principles are easy:
  1. Choose your attitude
  2. Play
  3. Be present
  4. Make their day

Condo repairs update

So the sticks have disappeared from our windows and they were supposed to be back this week to finish the painting. And then we'd finally be done. Simple, right? Think again!

The builder has decided that they don't want to put the metal plating around everyone's windows. Too much work and too expensive to do all 180 units. Instead, they want to put fire resistant paint on wooden frames. But they have to test it ... and that will take four to six weeks.

We've told them to finish painting our trim (as it looks like crap!). They can come back and do whatever they have to do once they figure it out.

Keep in mind that we are heading into week six of what was supposed to be a three day job!

Sigh ....

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Book ~ "Kindred" - Octavia E. Butler (2004)

From ~ Kindred utilizes the devices of science fiction in order to answer the question "how could anybody be a slave?" A woman from the twentieth century, Dana, is repeatedly brought back in time by her slave-owning ancestor, Rufus, when his life is endangered. She chooses to save him, knowing that because of her actions, a free-born black woman will eventually become his slave and her own grandmother. When forced to live the life of a slave, Dana realizes she is not as strong as her ancestors. As Dana is sent back and forth through time, she continues to save Rufus's life, attempting during each visit to care for Alice, even as she is encouraging Alice to allow Rufus to rape her and thus ensure Dana's own birth. As a twentieth-century African-American woman trying to endure the brutalities of nineteenth-century slavery, Dana answers the question, "See how easily slaves are made?" For Dana, to choose to preserve an institution, to save a life and nurture victimization, is to choose to survive.

I read this book for our street's book club. Finally a book club book I really enjoyed! Thanks for picking it, Mon!

Though I read this book in four days, the book club meeting isn't until next month. Should make for some interesting conversations.

Sunday, 23 April 2006

Book ~ "Toronto City Guide" - Marconi Baird (2005)

From ~ A concise and handy compendium focusing on neighborhoods, places of interest, museums and restaurants and clubs.

Good book about Toronto, its neighbourhoods and all the many things to do here.

Thursday, 20 April 2006

Condo repairs update

So with our condo repairs that started on March 22, the windows are still left.

There was nothing done for a couple weeks. We still have a bunch of stuff in boxes that we'll put away once all the work is done. So we still aren't settled. But we love the new paint!

On Monday, they came in and measured our windows (we only have three) to fix the crappy job they had done on March 29. They put the metal plating in yesterday and were supposed to be back today to do the trim and touch up the paint. And then we'd be finally finished. No one showed up :(

So this is what our windows look like. The wooden sticks are holding the metal plating in (I'm assuming they have been glued on) and the sticks are acting as braces. From the outside, it looks like we are in jail. We're hoping to make bail soon ...

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

Book ~ "JFK Is Missing!" - Liz Evans (2002)

From ~ Grace’s client, Henry Summerstone, has been blind for years. He has no idea of the name of the girl he’s trying to trace, what she looks like, where she lives and works. In fact, he’s not even sure that she’s missing. But he’s concerned about the whereabouts of the young jogger who talks to him on his solitary early morning walks, and he’s offering cash – an offer Grace finds hard to turn down. Before long, she’s got a lead on the girl – several leads as it turns out – though each time she gets close, Miss X slips away. Grace, however, is a girl who knows how to persevere and persevere she does, becoming entangled with squatters, invisible pigs, a twelve-year-old estate agent and the man of her dreams – who unfortunately seems to be the man of his wife’s dreams too ...

Another in the series of PI Grace Smith. As with the other two I've read, I enjoyed it. Evan's writing is funny and quick.

Monday, 17 April 2006

Lost raccoon?

When Gord left for work this morning, he saw a raccoon on our terrace.

This evening when he was BBQing, he saw it curled up inside the BBQ cover (he hadn't covered the BBQ when he used it yesterday).

There was a lot of movement and noise on our terrace today (the contractors were back) so it's surprising the little guy spent the day there ... it was probably too scared to leave.

Gord went to check it out just now. It has left the comfort of the BBQ cover and is now in a tree across the street.

Toronto has a lot of raccoons and we live on a fairly busy street.

Sunday, 16 April 2006

Book ~ "Fodor's Around Toronto with Kids: 68 Great Things to Do Together" - Kate Pocock (2001) ~ For this smart, cheerful little book, Fodor's parent-experts have hand-picked 68 terrific things to do around Toronto with a child in tow from The Bata Shoe Museum to The Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books. Written by parents who live in Toronto, this book is smart about what kids like and about what parents need. It includes all the details for planning (addresses, phone numbers, admission prices, and age-appropriateness); "Hey Kids!" info boxes filled with fun facts; ideas for places to grab a bite to eat nearby; and a cool "Games" section that will keep everyone happily occupied while waiting in line.

Even though we don't have kids, it's a great reminder and description of some of the fun stuff to do around Toronto.

Sunday Snooze

As I'm doing my homework, it dawns on me suddenly how quiet it is. So I went to the living room and there is no one there. Where is everyone!!??

So I went past the bedroom and here's what I saw ...

Everyone but me is having a Sunday snooze!

There's Gord curled up. And KC is tucked up on the pillows by Gord's head (her usual spot). And Morgan is at Gord's feet. And Byron is in his usual spot (by my pillows). And even Nova, who we are dogsitting this weekend, is getting in on the act!

And no one seems to mind that there are clothes on the bed that should be put away!

Book ~ "Into Thin Air : A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster" - Jon Krakauer (1999)

From ~ Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber, Jon Krakauer, on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide, Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.

Fascinating story! One that I probably wouldn't have looked for if my friend, Kim, hadn't just read it (so thanks, Kim!).

Saturday, 15 April 2006

Pinwheel Afghan

I started a new afghan tonight called a Pinwheel. Here's a pinwheel gallery so you know what it will look like when it's finished. It's a bit tricky to get started but once you get going, it's easy.

It can be either a bulky weight, worsted weight, or double knit weight.

Size to work with your yarn. Both double points and a circular.

Cast on 5 stitches, knit around. Place a marker to mark the beginning of the round.
Next round, make 1 stitch in each stitch (10 stitches).
Round 5: *k1, yo* around to marker. (20 stitches).
Round 6: knit
Round 7: *k2, yo* around to marker.
Round 8: knit
Round 9: *k3, yo* around to marker.
Round 10: knit

Continue this pattern of adding a stitch in each section- there are 10 sections, 10 more stitches. When needed, switch from using the double points to a circular needle.

When the blanket has reached the desired diameter, cast/bind off. Now your blanket is complete, unless you want to embellish it with an edging.

Now for your edging: You can add fringes or tassels or even pom-poms. Or you can crochet a bit of a lace edge around. You can also knit in stripes, and on the even rows, throw in some purl stitches for a bit of texture. It also works well with a variegated yarn.

Source: Knit List

Finished ~ June 13

Ripple Afghan

My mother-in-law, Minnie, gave me a pattern for a knitted afghan - she has made many over the years. It has a ripple effect, hence the name. I started mine in October.

Ripple Afghan ~ 49 inches X 66 inches

What do you need?
2 4-oz skeins of dark green knitted worsted weight yarn
3 4-oz skeins of white knitted worsted weight yarn
3 4-oz skeins of hunter green knitted worsted weight yarn
3 4-oz skeins of mint green knitted worsted weight yarn
36 inch needle, size 4mm

Pattern ~ 303 stitches on needle
2 rows dark green
12 rows white
2 rows dark green
12 rows mint green
2 rows dark green
12 rows hunter green

Do this 6 times, then ...

2 rows dark green
12 rows white
2 rows dark green

Row 1
K1, slip 1, K1, passover stitch, *K9, insert needle into next 2 stitches as if to knit them together and slip them, K1, passover 2 slipped*, repeat * to *, K2 together, K1

Row 2
P6, *P into front and back of next stitch, P9*, repeat * to *, P6

Keep repeating these two rows.

I made mine with three colours rather than four (because I couldn't find a fourth colour I liked). I'm using black instead of dark green and purple and yellow (my favs) as the main colours.

Friday, 14 April 2006

Happy Good Friday!

Happy Good Friday!!

It's a stat holiday so I'm off today. Yay!!!

Alas, Gord has to work three stats a year and today is one of them.

Sunday, 9 April 2006

"Forever Plaid", Stage West, Toronto, ON

One of the most popular and successful musicals in recent memory, this deliciously goofy revue centre on four young singers killed in a car crash in the 1950s on the way to their first concert, and now miraculously revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the show that never was. Singing in the closest of harmony, squabbling boyishly and executing their outlandish choreography with overzealous precision, the "Plaids" are a guaranteed smash. With a program of beloved songs and patter that keeps audiences rolling in the aisles when they're not humming along with great nostalgic pop hits of the 50s.

This is the third time I've seen this over the years and I enjoyed this version. The voices harmonized really well and I like the old tunes.

Friday, 7 April 2006

Ghost Tour of Toronto

We did a Single Horizons' event tonight ... the Ghost Tour by Genova Tours:

This tour starts at the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto has hosts of ghosts, some that go back to the War of 1812 and some more recent. We’ll visit many sites where ghosts haunt as we journey through Trinity College, Soldiers Memorial, University College, over to Queen’s Park and the Toronto General Hospital, on to China Town, the Grange and then the area around the Old City Hall including Scadding house and Mackenzie House. You’ll hear ghost stories and learn about the history of Toronto.

Gord and I are both history buffs so love this kind of thing, especially when we learn more about Toronto. It was a very good tour and Bill, our guide, was full of stories and information. It was almost four hours so we learned a lot and got a good workout! I'm looking forward to doing more of Bill's tours.

Before we went on the tour, Gord, Kelly and I had supper at Gabby's on Bloor W. Though our waitress was good, the preparation of our meals was slow (30+ minutes!). The last time I was at this Gabby's, the service was overall wasn't good either. Needless to say, I won't be back.

After the tour, a few of us went to the Duke of Richmond for a drink and Bill told us some more stories. After that, Gord and I started walking home and stopped in at Tortilla Flats for some Texas Ice Tea and chilly nacho chips. Yummy!

Thursday, 6 April 2006

Book ~ "Who Killed Marilyn Monroe" - Liz Evans (2002)

From ~ The Marilyn Monroe in question is a beach donkey and Grace Smith – too broke to be selective when it's a question of work – is called in by the donkey's owner, Drysdale, to investigate this bizarre crime. While doing so she finds herself inexorably drawn into the mystery surrounding the murder of a young woman, Tina, whose aunt lived in the house backing on to Drysdale's land. As the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that the murders of Marilyn and Tina are connected and that Grace has stumbled on a whole lot more than she bargained for.

I enjoyed Cue the Easter Bunny so wanted to read the rest in the series. As with the first one, it's was enjoyable ... a mystery with humorous writing.

Sunday, 2 April 2006

Condo repairs

Gord went to his baseball pool draft and I spent the day cleaning and putting stuff away. There is still stuff to do I'm pleased with the progress I made. Quite a difference from this time last week! Gord did a bunch of stuff when he got home so we are almost back to normal.

We love our new walls!!

Our living room - banana yellow!
The bathroom ... tangerine!

Our bedroom ... grass green!
The builders still have to fix the windows and then we'll be all done. Yay!!

Saturday, 1 April 2006

Millcroft Spa, Alton, ON

Gord and I have a tradition in that we don't buy each other anything for our birthdays. Instead, we treat each other to an afternoon at the spa. After the last two weeks, it was just what we needed!

Gord assumed we were heading to the Elmwood Spa. Instead I surprised him by taking him to the Millcroft Spa, which is in Alton (about 90 minutes NW of Toronto). What a lovely place! It's in the country and is a former mill. We were a bit early so had a glass of sparkling rosé in the dining room that overlooks a waterfall. Very nice :)
Before we started our spa services, we took a quick a dip in the pool and hot tub. We discovered there was another hot tub outside so spent more time there. It wasn't an overly warm day and the hot tub was 99F.

We started off with a couple's massage (a 60 minute massage in the same room but with our own massage therapists). Then we moved on to a 45 minute scalp massage, which was followed by a pedicure. In honour of our new bathroom, I had my toes painted orange :)

We didn't want to leave the Inn so we had another glass of wine in the lounge before heading back to the city. We'd like to go back sometime and spend a weekend. But, alas, it's not a cheap place.

We stopped off at Kelsey's in Bolton for a late supper (thanks to Gord's mom and sister for giving us gift certificates for Christmas!).

My friend, Yvette, had a housewarming party so we stopped in for a bit. Both of us were exhausted from the last two weeks of condo repairs and were still feeling relaxed from the spa so we didn't stay long.