Monday 30 October 2006

Book ~ "The Pistol Poets" - Victor Gischler (2005)

From ~ An unlucky grad student just got himself killed in a robbery gone bad. And as lowly drug lieutenant, Harold Jenks, races with the killer out of the alley, a light goes off in his head: He’ll steal the dead kid’s identity. Now Jenks, who once lorded it over seven square blocks in East St. Louis, is headed due west. With a .32 in his pocket, a 9mm Glock taped across his back, and a rap sheet nearly as long as Finnegans Wake, he’s cruising the halls of academia as Eastern Oklahoma U’s newest grad student, looking for action and hoping he can stay one couplet ahead of his violent past.

While this new bad boy on campus makes mincemeat of his metaphors, across campus visiting professor, Jay Morgan, has a more pressing problem: What to do about the dead coed in his bed.

Featuring the sleaziest, sorriest, and most captivating group of criminal lowlifes, sexed-up academics, poets, and rappers ever to collide in one crime novel, The Pistol Poets speeds deliriously to its electrifying payoff.

I'd never heard of this author but the book grabbed my attention when I saw it. Rather than blogging the last couple of days, I've been reading. It's a fun fast-paced book! I'll definitely be looking for others by this author.

Thursday 26 October 2006

Chicks at Casey's

I had supper tonight with Franca and Liz, two Chillin' Chicks, at Casey's (the food was good but the service sucked).

Alas, the fourth Chick, Deb, had a work function so couldn't make it. One of these times we'll all be able to get together ... it's been a while.

Franca, me and Liz

Franca, Liz and me

Wednesday 25 October 2006

Book ~ "Immediate Family" - Eileen Goudge (2006)

From ~ Friendship among four Princeton grads stands the test of time in Goudge's latest work of flowery but satisfying women's fiction. Jay Gunderson, Franny Richman, Stevie Light and Emerson Fitzgibbons reconnect at their 15-year reunion, which marks the novel's beginning. Over the course of the story, each character faces life-changing events.

Franny, a literary agent with a ticking biological clock, is frantically searching for "Mr. Right on Time." With help of her best friend, Jay, an ad executive and father-to-be married to the gorgeous French Vivienne, she arrives at an unorthodox solution with surprising long-term repercussions.

For Stevie, a spitfire entertainment reporter, commitment fears stem from growing up without a father. Now she fends off a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, Ryan, while she discovers a father she never knew.

Blueblood Emerson, a divorced single mom and PR exec, discreetly loves a man with whom an open relationship might be "social suicide".

The narrative bogs down with an abundance of description, but Goudge wraps up the novel with happy endings for all.

It's been a while since I've read chit lit and this was a nice diversion on the elliptical machine at the gym. It was quick paced and, yes, there is a happy ending for all.

Sunday 22 October 2006

Herb and Apple Roasted Chicken

Gord went to Hamilton and saw Flags of our Fathers with his son, Ken ... they gave it 5 out of 10. Apparently it is a good idea but not well put together.

I stayed home, watched movies and knitted.

And I made supper. New recipe!! I made Herb and Apple Roasted Chicken.

1 whole chicken
1 apple, cored and quartered
1 bunch thyme
4 sprigs tarragon
4 to 6 cloves garlic

Stuff chicken with apple, thyme, tarragon and garlic. Truss chicken and place in roasting plan. Brush with mustard and sprinkle with thyme and season.

Roast at 375C for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

I made roasted potatoes too. Marinade potatoes in olive oil, lemon, pepper and rosemary. And then bake with the chicken.

Recommended wine: Chardonnary

It was very tender and tasty! I'd definitely make it again!

Saturday 21 October 2006

Book ~ "100 Bullshit Jobs...And How to Get Them" - Stanley Bing (2006)

From ~ There's an element of bullshit in all jobs, including his own, but Bing has taken a wickedly satiric approach and ranked the BS quotient in jobs both common and obscure that require little effort but pay well. From aromatherapist to motivational speaker to velvet rope nazi to critic, he dissects the skills necessary to excel in these jobs, as well as the upside, the downside and the "dark side." Using humor and insight, no job is off his radar, including high power corporate jobs like investment banker, rarified non-jobs like boulevardier (George Hamilton), and the crumber, who "removes detritus from dining in restaurants." Bing's central piece of advice is to hone your internal bullshit detector and find the right balance between fulfillment and fluff.

An amusing quick read.

Don't buy it ... get it from the library like I did. Or read it at Chapters while you're enjoying a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Friday 20 October 2006

Toronto Argos 9, Saskatchewan Roughriders 13

Gord and I went to the football game tonight ... Toronto Argos versus Saskatchewan Roughriders. Alas, we lost.

Rather than sit in the stands, we instead watched it from Sightlines, a buffet restaurant that overlooks the field. The food was good (I ate waaay too much) and the staff was amazingly friendly. The manager, Jason, came over a few times to make sure that everything was okay and remembered our names (very impressive considering the place was packed).

Towards the end, I had a peach and discovered it was rotten. I casually mentioned it to Anna Mae, our server, and the next thing I know Jason came over apologizing and deducted the cost my meal off our bill ($35).

Though I don't understand football (I find it a very confusing game), we had a fun night!

Thursday 19 October 2006

Designing workshop

I'm in a workshop today and tomorrow called How to Design Newsletters, Brochures, Ads, Catalogs, Reports, Proposals, Presentation Materials and More! I work for a small company and designing these things is part of my job.

It's being held at a hotel not far from home but that isn't downtown. It's hard to get to if you don't have a car. On a nice day it would be a great place to be because it's just across the street from Sunnyside Beach.

So far, I have been very disappointed. David, the instructor, obviously knows his stuff but he is spending most of the time giving us detailed explanations on how to use Photoshop. Keep in mind that we don't have access to computers and 80% of us don't even use this program.

The only place for lunch was a $15 buffet at the hotel with two choices (which I heard was crappy). Instead I jumped in the car and headed out.

The first hour tomorrow is going to be spent learning more about Photoshop. I told him I'd be there at 10:15am, after that part was over. That would be a waste of my time.

What about the use of colours? Fonts? White spaces? And all the other stuff they promised? That's what I wanna learn about about!

It's $500 for two days ... not cheap. If tomorrow sucks as much as today did, I'll be asking for my $$ back. Most of the people in the workshop feel the same way.

Friday update: Today sucked too (he spent sooooo much time teaching Photoshop and rushed at the end through the stuff he was supposed to teach) so I'll be asking for my $$ back.

Monday 16 October 2006

Baked Macaroni Casserole

When we were visiting with Gord's parents for Thanksgiving weekend, his sister and I were talking about baked macaroni casseroles. I haven't had one for a while and it sounded good.

So I ran over to the grocery store tonight for supplies and made a big one! Enough for lots of lunches and suppers this week.

So after showing pix of Gord's masterpieces from last week, here's mine.

It's nothing fancy ... macaroni, extra lean ground beef, can of stewed tomatoes, can of pasta sauce and mozzarella/cheddar mix cheese.

Sunday 15 October 2006

Ride the Moraine Train!

Come hear the clickety-clack of the track and enjoy a ride through history ...

If you enjoy train rides though the country and small towns, then you should check out the Moraine Train, run by the York-Durham Heritage Railway. It is a 20 km (12 mile) ride between Stouffville and Uxbridge (Stouffville is 40 minutes north of Toronto), winding through the Oak Ridges Moraine. It takes an hour each way, with a short stop in Uxbridge.

Gord and I did this with Single Horizons this afternoon. There were about 30 of us in our group (though both train cars were full).
Teena at the Stouffville Train Station

Gord and our train
LeeAnn (owner of Single Horizons) and I
on Coach #4960, built in 1919

Stouffville is back there

Our train

Gord and I in the baggage car

The changing leaves were beautiful

Afterwards, most of us went to the Lion of Stouffville Pub for supper.

Saturday 14 October 2006

Moroccan Chicken

Gord made supper again tonight. This time it was Moroccan Chicken. He marinaded boneless chicken breasts in honey, sesame oil, grated lemon peel and juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne and pepper for about six hours.

Then he put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet, sprinkled sesame seeds on them and then baked for about 30 minutes.

Half an hour later, they were done. I made some basmati rice and the meal was complete.

Very tasty!

Friday 13 October 2006

Beef Tenderloin in a Herb Bread Wrap

Gord loves to cook and I love that he loves to cook! For supper tonight, he made Beef Tenderloin (though we used a cross rib roast) in a Herb Bread Wrap. It was a new recipe he was trying.

Brown the roast.

Cover the roast with mustard when it cools.

Mix eggs, spices, garlic and whipping cream together and dip slices of bread in it.
Cover the roast with the bread.
Then wrap it in parchment paper and bake.

Sounds wacky but it was delish!
Not a great pic of it but we wanted to eat it!

A well-deserved nap (notice how he is still hanging onto the remote, though!)
I'm not sure why KC is sleeping too ... she slept while Gord was making supper.

Thursday 12 October 2006

We've got ink!

Gord and I got tattoos this afternoon. We went to Black Line Studio, a place we walk by every day to work.

Gord went first and got his initials (GKJ). It's a logo he's been using since he was a teen.

Gord and Steve, our tattoo artist

Then it was my turn. I've always been attracted to sunflowers ... it seems like such a happy flower! A sunflower's meaning differs from culture to culture. To some, the sunflower promises power, warmth and nourishment. To others, the sunflower's turning as it follows the sun symbolizes deep loyalty and constancy.

Mine is a "tramp stamp"

I don't think there's anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me, that's because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that's such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life. Chris (Helen Mirren), Calendar Girls

Wednesday 11 October 2006

Book ~ "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" Kim Edwards (2006)

From Goodreads ~ On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. 

But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

This isn't the kind of story that I normally read. Though I found that it took me longer than usual to read it (I guess because of the writing style), I persevered and enjoyed it. If I don't like a book, I don't finish it.

David and Norah are weak and selfish and I didn't find them likeable. They had so much going for them but they allowed everything to fall apart without putting any effort to fix things.


Gord made a couple tourtières this afternoon. We had one for supper tonight and will have the other tomorrow.

They are very delish and are basically ground beef and pork, mashed potatoes and a bunch of spices mixed up together and then baked in a pie crust. A similar recipe to his is here.

Tuesday 10 October 2006

Dish Cloth Afghan

I found this pattern on the 'Net and it's really easy.
  1. Cast on 4 stitches.
  2. Knit 2, YO, Knit to end.
  3. Turn work.
  4. Knit 2, YO, Knit to end.
  5. Turn work.
  6. Keep doing this over and over and over and over and over.

You are making a giant triangle which will eventually turn into a square. When you think it is half the size you want, start decreasing:

  1. Knit 1, K2tog, YO, K1, K2tog, knit to end.
  2. Turn work.
  3. Knit 1, K2tog, YO, K1, K2tog, knit to end.
  4. Turn work.
  5. Keep doing this over and over and over and over and over.
  6. Cast off the final 4 stitches

December 27 update ... finished!

Hammam Spa, Toronto, ON

Instead of buying each other something for our birthdays, Gord and I instead treat each other to the spa. Though my birthday was in July, this afternoon was my gift from Gord.

We checked out a spa called Hammam Spa. It opened last September and we walk it by every day on our way to work.

Teena at the entrance of the Spa

We started off in the steam room. It was very steamy and smelled nice ... I was picking up hints of lavendar and eculyptus.

Gord in the steam room ... I told you it was steamy!

Then we each had a 60 minute full body massage. Joe, my massage therapist, was amazing ... very deep! I felt so relaxed afterwards. Then we had a pedicure and foot/calf massage ... again, amazing. My toes are a lovely shade of orange.

We went for supper afterwards at the new St. Louis Bar & Grill down by the Rogers Centre . We lucked out as it was wing night ... and you know how much I love their wings!

Finished Fan and Feather Afghan

I just finished the Fan and Feather afghan and pleased with it. It's a nice simple pattern and I'll definitely use it again. It seems that Morgan likes it too.

Monday 9 October 2006

Thanksgiving Day

Gord has to work three statutory holidays every year and today was his last one this year. While he was working, I was busy at home cleaning the oven (it needed it!), laundry, etc.

We had warmer than usual temperatures today (a high of 21C) so Gord and I met at the Foggy Dew for what is probably our last drinks on a patio until late next spring/early next summer. The temperature is supposed to go back to normal (12C) tomorrow.

Gord at the Foggy Dew

Teena at the Foggy Dew

Gord and Teena at the Wheat Sheaf

We got home around 6:00 and discovered one station was showing all the shows from the original Survivor. I'd never seen them so we watched them from 6:00 onwards (five shows including the two hour finale). Though I'm a fan, that's a lot of Survivor!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada. Unlike the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The harvest season falls earlier in Canada than the United States.

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer named Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him - Frobisher Bay.

At the same time, French settlers, crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer, Samuel de Champlain, also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their Indian neighbours.

After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving.

During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. There are many similarities between the two Thanksgivings such as the cornucopia and pumpkin pie.

Eventually in 1879, Parliament declared November 6 a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years many dates were used for Thanksgiving. The most popular was the third Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11 occurred. In 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

On January 31, 1957, Parliament proclaimed ... A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ... to be observed on the second Monday in October.