Thursday 30 November 2006

The South Shore, NS

Sister Sarah and I headed down the South Shore for the day.

We stopped off in Queensland. The ocean smelled amazing ... I miss that smell! Needless to say, the water was very very cold. Alas, it was a cold damp day.

Sister Sarah at Queensland
Me at Queensland
We had lunch at the Fo'c'sle Tavern in Chester. It is Nova Scotia's oldest rural tavern.

Sister Sarah and I at Fo'c'sle Tavern

We then went to Mahone Bay and walked along the main street, stopping in stops.

Sister Sarah trying on a silly hat at the Mahone Trading Post

Wednesday 29 November 2006

Oakmont Station, Bedford, NS

Sister Sarah, Joey and Raymond are really into karaoke. In fact, Raymond enters a lot of karaoke contests. Joey and Sister Sarah have a karaoke machine at home.

We went to Oakmont Station for a couple hours tonight for karaoke.
Joey and Sister Sarah singing Who Says You Can't Go Home by Bon Jovi and Sugarland.


Sister Sarah works for a retirement home in Halifax.

Her husband, Joey, and his friend, Raymond, entertain occasionally at the retirement home she used to work for. For a couple hours, they sing older country songs to the residents. The residents love it! That's where we were tonight.

Joey and Raymond

Most of the residents are in wheelchairs so volunteers "dance" with them ... they wheel them around the dance floor while Joey and Raymond are singing.

A couple years ago, Sister Sarah was chatting with one of the residents, Bessie. It turns out that Bessie's daughter, Dorita, is married to our mother's cousin, Stanley (ie our second cousin). Small world! Dorita is a volunteer at the retirement home.

Cousin Stanley and Sister Sarah

Bubbles Mansion, Halifax, NS

You know I'm a big fan of the Trailer Park Boys!

"Bubbles" has recently opened a restaurant in downtown Halifax called Bubbles Mansion and we had lunch there today.

Bubbles Mansion
Sister Sarah
Sister Sarah in front of Bubbles' shed

While we were eating our wings (which were good), Mike Smith (the actor who plays Bubbles and owner of Bubbles Mansion), walked in. Our waitress sent him over to our table and he yakked with us for about ten minutes. Quite exciting!

Tuesday 28 November 2006

Book ~ "Proof Positive" - Phillip Margolin (2006)

From ~ In bestseller Margolin's third legal thriller featuring defense lawyer, Amanda Jaffe, respected forensic expert, Bernard Cashman, who works for the Oregon State Crime Laboratory, has developed a personal philosophy that allows him to manufacture evidence to ensure the successful prosecution of those he feels are guilty, especially if crucial evidence is missing. He's not a madman, just absolutely sure that he knows more than judge, jury and the legal system when it comes to administering justice. After a fellow crime lab employee approaches him about discrepancies in his work, he adds murder to his list of methods that ensure his continuing crusade. The author deftly manages a large cast of characters and ties the many plot lines together with enough clever twists to satisfy faithful fans and newcomers.

I like Margolin's books, though I hadn't read any in a while. I enjoyed this book. I found it confusing at first keeping the characters straight but was fine once I got to know them.

Montana's, Halifax, NS

Sister Sarah and I ran errands today. We had lunch at the Red Fox in Spryfield. The wings and nachos were good. The service was a bit slow considering there were only a handful of people there.

We met up with our cousin, Kathi Jo, for supper at Montana's. I hadn't seen Kathi Jo since Sister Sarah's wedding in 2002.
Kathi Jo and Sister Sarah
Kathi Jo, Sister Sarah and me
Afterwards we saw Deck the Halls. Not a great movie! I gave it 4/10.

Sunday 26 November 2006

Book ~ "The Shangri-La Diet" - Seth Roberts (2006)

From ~ Psychologist and professor, Seth Roberts, has spent years analyzing why most diets don't work.

After scouring the scientific literature and tirelessly testing various theories and practices, Roberts hit upon a simple, effective strategy for controlling the body's internal "set point"- that is, the thermostat that controls weight gain or loss. The solution was counterintuitive: by taking two daily servings of either extra-light olive oil or plain sugar water, he took control of his appetite, with astonishing results. Roberts lost thirty-five pounds in only three months, and he has kept it off for five years. Since then, others have replicated these results, and formal clinical trials will soon be under way.

The Shangri-La Diet includes specific instructions for tailoring the program for individual needs and goals, as well as expert tips, variations, success stories, and an illuminating explanation of how Roberts devised the diet and why it works so well. A diet program simple enough for anyone to try, The Shangri-La Diet has the potential to radically change the way we think about weight loss-and deliver remarkably easy, sustainable results.

According to this guy, all I have to do is have three tablespoons of sugar in water a day to curb my appetite. Sound wacky! I'll let you know how it goes ...

The Shangri-La Diet

Saturday 25 November 2006

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo today with my friend , Yvette, and her boyfriend, Brian. There were about 250 exhibitors from 12 countries.

We toured around for a couple hours sampling different wines and snacks. We met Kate and her husband, Rob, for supper at Lone Star.

Then we went to a tutored tasting called "Discovering those Hidden Treasures". There we tried eight different wines (four white and four red) that are under $20 a bottle (hence hidden treasures). I wasn't all that crazy about any of them.

Then we went back to the show for another hour or so. The highlight of the day for me was a Hungarian bubbly.

Yvette, Brian and Gord

Thursday 23 November 2006

Book ~ "Killer Blonde" - Laura Levine (2005)

From Mystery Lovers Corner ~ Jaine Austen is hired as a ghostwriter by SueEllen Kingsley. Jaine doesn’t really want to work for her, but she can’t turn down the three thousand dollars a week she is paying. Jaine befriends Heidi, SueEllen’s teenage stepdaughter.

SueEllen does most of her work while soaking in the tub. Jaine finds sitting on the toilet a terrible place to work. After Heidi’s birthday party where SueEllen is very mean to Heidi, Jaine decides to quit.

Unfortunately when Jaine arri
ves for work to tell SueEllen she's quitting, Jaine finds SueEllen has been electrocuted in the tub by her hairdryer. The police believe Heidi killed her.

Jaine sets out to try to find out who killed SueEllen to keep Heidi from going to jail. Since SueEllen was mean to everyone, there are plenty of suspects in Jaine’s mind. Jaine is a fun character and has plenty of one-liners to keep you laughing. There’s always lots of laughs with the various guys Jaine dates as well.

I enjoy mysteries. I enjoy comedies. This was a fun combination of the two. I'm definitely going to look for other books by this author.

Tuesday 21 November 2006

Book ~ "Trace Of Doubt" Erica Orloff (2006)

From ~ Criminalist Billie Quinn lived and breathed the evidence. People lied. But DNA never let her down. Or could it? For the case that put her fight for justice in the media spotlight also brought her to a killer's attention. A very special killer -- one who claimed to know the truth about her mother's disappearance many years ago. And who was now determined to show Billie exactly what happened … in a reenactment starring Billie herself. It was up to her to choose -- learn the truth and die or bring this killer to justice and never know her mother's fate.

I've read a few of Orloff's books and enjoyed them. This one was good too but ... the ending was wrapped up too quickly. The killer was too convenient.

Kiwe Kitchen, Toronto, ON

Gord and I walk back and forth to work along King Street W ... we've watched Innocenti slowly become Kiwe. It looks very nice so we stopped in for a couple drinks on our way home.

As you know, Gord is a big fan of mojitos. They are on Kiwe's menu so he had to try one. Despite the bartender's boasting, he ranks Kiwe's mojitos #3, behind Milestone's (on John Street) and the Drake. I had a couple glasses of bubbly.

Sunday 19 November 2006

Have you ever been hypnotised?

I've never been.

At last night's show, Chris was selling CDs. I bought one ...

Lose Weight and Feel Great ... without sacrifice or willpower. Learn how to: feel better, control those cravings, remain at your ideal weight. A highly regarded weight loss program. This is a 3 week program.

I listened to it this afternoon. I put headphones on and went into the bedroom, closed the blind to make the room dark and laid down on the bed. It was hard at first concentrating because my mind was racing all over the place ... and Morgan was crawling on me.

I don't know if I went into a hypnotic state or I fell asleep (ha!) but I felt very relaxed. I barely remember what he said, to be honest ... something about wanting to eat healthy, wanting to be active, etc. I remember him at the end saying he was going to count to five and I was to open my eyes and I would feel very awake. Sure enough, when he got to five, my eyes popped open and I felt very awake and surprisingly full. I wonder what all he said during those 25 minutes.

I'm supposed to listen to this CD for 21 days in a row. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday 18 November 2006

Chris Frolic's Hilarious Night of Hypnotism, Sticky Fingers, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to a Single Horizons event tonight ... Chris Frolic's Hilarious Night of Hypnotism! It was at Sticky Fingers (Lawrence/Yonge).

We got there early and had supper. The wings were very tasty ... much better than those at Duff's last night.

LeeAnn, owner of Single Horizons, and me
(LeeAnn is tanned because she just got back
from a cruise, which was a Single Horizons' event)

There were about 60 in our group. A dozen or so people stepped up when Chris asked for volunteers ... and five lasted 'til the end under hypnosis. It was hilarious!

Chris had them doing lots of silly things. The best was when he told them they could read minds. He asked Maureen to "read" LeeAnn's mind ... Maureen said she couldn't because LeeAnn had "a dirty mind". Ha!

Afterwards, the Gary Kendall Band played. We left around midnight.

It was a very fun night ... I can't wait for LeeAnn to booked it again in the spring!

Friday 17 November 2006

Duff's, Toronto, ON

You know how much I love wings, especially St. Louis' wings.

I've been hearing how Duff's wings are the best! NOW Magazine said they were the best in Toronto in their 2006 survey.

Liz and I checked them out tonight. The restaurant was packed when we got there tonight but we got a table within 15 minutes. The wings came with celery sticks and cole slaw (ewww!), which I gave to Liz. I ordered a side of fries.

The wings weren't great ... not even close to St. Louis'. Sure, they were gunky but that's about all they had going for them. I gave them 2/5. I won't be back.

Liz and her honey garlic wings

Me and my medium wings and fries

Afterwards we walked a block to a bar called Originals for a couple hours. The place was packed and there were lots of drunk loud people. There was a band who wasn't too bad. We bailed around 11:00.
It was fun to hang with Liz. Her new job is working out well.

Thursday 16 November 2006

Book ~ "What Stella Wants" - Nancy Bartholomew (2006)

From ~ What Stella Wants: A successful P.I. business. A sexy man she can love and trust. Relatives who stay safely at home. And good friends she can count on.

What Stella's Got: An anemic trickle of clients. An infuriatingly secretive (but hot!) former special forces soldier who may or may not be around in the morning. A feisty elderly aunt whose love life is waaaaaay more on track than Stella's. And an old high-school rival who's just hired Stella, only to be blown up in what seems to be a terrorist attack.

I don't usually read Silhouettes but this one sounded interesting. It's part of the Bombshell series ...

These are the heroines you've been waiting for! Strong, sexy and savvy, she'll save the day and get her man - both good and bad!

I really enjoyed this book. Stella was reminiscent of Stephanie Plum (a P.I. in a series I enjoy) and Bartholomew reminded me of Janet Evanovich. There was a cast of wacky characters who were funny and caring.

I'll definitely be looking for other books by this author and in this series.

Wednesday 15 November 2006

Jeremy Hotz - Yuk Yuks, Toronto

Gord and I went to Yuk Yuk's tonight because Jeremy Hotz was headlining. The show was sold out as is tomorrow night's.

We've seen Jeremy before on one of the Just for Laughs Comedy Tours plus we tune in when he's on TV. We think he's a hoot! Tonight he didn't disappoint us. I thought he was the funniest yet ... probably because it was a smaller, more intimate venue. He was talking more with the crowd rather than just telling jokes. Gord and I both gave him 9.5/10).

The emcee was funny (we gave him 8/10) and the other guy was so-so (I gave him 5/10; Gord gave him 6/10).

Saturday 11 November 2006

Fencing tournaments

Gord has been fencing for about a year and loves it!

He was in a couple tournaments today in St. Catharines
  1. General men's
  2. Men over age 35

Though he didn't win either, he thinks he came in the top 30 (out of more than 50) in the first tournament.

I was still in bed when he left this morning (he had to be in St. Catharines before 10am) but here he is before a tournament in September ...

They wear a half jacket on their fencing side over this outfit ... then a white jacket (puncture-proof) ... and then another jacket (metal) over that for scoring.

Remembrance Day

On Rememberance Day 1999, singer Terry Kelly was in a drugstore in Dartmouth, NS. At 10:55am, an announcement came over the store's PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00am to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the store's leadership role in adopting the Legion's "two minutes of silence" initiative. He felt that the store's contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When 11:00 arrived, an announcement was again made asking for the "two minutes of silence" to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terry's anger towards the father for trying to engage the store's clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was later channeled into "A Pittance of Time". Terry later recorded it included it on his full-length music CD, "The Power of the Dream".

A Pittance in Time - Terry Kelly

Sunday 5 November 2006

Book ~ "The Non-Designer's Type Book" - Robin Williams (2005)

From ~ Willams defines the principles that govern type as well as the logic behind them so that you learn not just what looks best but why on your way to creating effective print and Web pages. Each short chapter explores a different type secret or technique, including understanding legibility and readability, tailoring typeface to a particular project, mastering pull quotes and captions, working with spacing, punctuation marks, special characters, fonts, and justification, and more. The nonplatform- and nonsoftware-specific approach and Robin's lively, engaging style make this a must-have for any designer's bookshelf!

I'm really interested in typography for some reason and enjoyed this book. Definitely worth picking up.

Book ~ "The Non-Designer's Web Book" - Robin Williams and John Tollett (2005)

From ~ This book explains most of what a beginning designer needs to know ... what the Web is, how it gets to your computer, how to use it, and, most of all, how to design for it. A basic understanding of how the Web works enables the good designer to create the most effective sites. This book thoroughly discusses the different kinds of graphics that are used on the Web, when to use one over another, how to make the most of text styles, and how to design navigation systems. The comparisons are the best stuff here ... good design vs. bad design, why designing Web pages is different from designing printed pages, and why a site looks terrific on one monitor but terrible on another.

A basic book on creating, designing and posting a website.

"Last Resort" - Stage West, Toronto, ON

This musical/murder-mystery comedy spoof is about a New York restaurateur on the run from the mob. He finds himself at a run-down hotel in Saskatchewan, where everyone he sees could be the hit man who’s out to get him!

It was time to head to Stage West (we have a subscription) and today's play was The Last Resort. It was okay, not great, with some surprises at the end. Gord gave it 5/10 and I gave it 6/10.

The buffet brunch was good and, as usual, I ate too much.

Saturday 4 November 2006

Curling at the Thornhill Country Club, Toronto, ON

Gord and went curling this afternoon at the Thornhill Country Club ... it was a Single Horizons' event and there were almost 30 of us.

Neither Gord nor I had curled before but it was something we'd been wanting to try.

We had a lesson for a couple hours ...

Our instructor - he made it look so easy!
Our group training for the Olympics?
My technique doesn't look bad
(I curl left-handed though I'm right-handed)

Neither does Gord's

We played a couple games afterwards. Gord's team came in third (they played against my team).

At the last minute before we left home, I had changed into a sweater. And I'm glad I did. My feet were really cold and I wished I'd worn warmer socks and heavier shoes. Duh! We're playing on ice!!

Afterwards we had supper in the Briar Lounge ... curried mango soup, flank steak with cognac peppercorn sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans and vanilla ice cream with apple and raisin compote ... very yummy!

Friday 3 November 2006

Just for Laughs Comedy Tour, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour tonight at Massey Hall.
Greg Proops was the the host. You probably know him from Who's Line is it? He was so-so.

The comedians were funny:

Joey Elias - Canada
Jim David - USA

Tim Nutt - Canada
Tommy Tiernan - Ireland

My favorites were Tim Nutt and Joey Elias.

This is the fourth year in a row we've gone. I found the shows in the past funnier. There were quite a few empty seats, probably because Greg Proops isn't all that big of a deal ... or Canadian. In the past, the hosts we have enjoyed have been Rick Mercer, Russell Peters and Shaun Majumder.

Thursday 2 November 2006

Bairrada, Toronto, ON

I had supper tonight with my boxing buddies ... Yvette, Susan, Trish and Beata. Yvette chose the restaurant tonight and, in honour of her heritage, we went to a Portugese restaurant called Bairrada (College/Dovercourt).

We ordered Flaming Sausage for an appetizer.
You can't see it in this picture but there were flames under the sausage!

Yvette, Teena, Susan, Beata, Trish and Darcy, our waiter

I had BBQed chicken, rice and potatoes. Yvette and Beata had bass. Susan had steak and fries. And Trish, a vegetarian, had salad and veggies.
Yvette, Teena, Susan, Beata and Trish

We had a lot of fun and a ton of laughs!

Wednesday 1 November 2006

Book ~ "The Other Wife" - Shirley Jump (2006)

From ~ The last person she expected to see at her husband's funeral was his wife! But having learned her husband apparently bought his engagement rings in bulk, Penny Reynolds is shocked out of her well-ordered world. She can't bring herself to hate his "wife," Susan, or toss his amazing piano-playing dog (another surprise) out on his rump. Still, she can get answers as to why her hubby led his secret life. All it takes is a little persuading before she and Susan embark on the trip of a lifetime with Harvey the Wonder Dog in tow. She finds her answers (some less welcome than others). But thanks to her ex's legacy and Harvey's "amazing" trainer, Penny's ready to run with whatever curveball life throws at her!

I haven't read a Harlequin in a long long time. This book is part of their "NEXT" series ... Harlequin NEXT books are about women looking for what’s next in their lives. They are stories of women facing up to the glorious unpredictability of life.

The plot sounded interesting - a woman discovers her recently deceased husband has another wife, another life and a dog. And I wasn't in the mood for anything too deep. ... it met this expectation.

It was an easy quick read ... mindless reading for the elliptical machine at the gym. Not a terribly exciting book but it was fun to read about the antics of Harvey the Wonder Dog.

I found it hard to believe, though, that Penny, less than two weeks after the sudden death of her husband, is attracted to Matt, Harvey's agent. And, of course, Matt is attracted to her.

And yes, there is a happy ending. Surprise! Surprise!

Book Club Meeting - "Honeymoon with my Brother"

Our street's book club met tonight at Angie's.

I enjoyed this book ... I don't usually enjoy the books that are chosen.

A highlight of tonight's book club meeting was that we had a conference call with the author, Franz Wisner. When I enjoy a book, I write to the author to tell them. I did it in this case too. Franz wrote back and said that he'd love to participate in our book club meeting. And he did!

He called us all the way from Orange County, CA. We talked with him for about an hour. It was a fun experience as we got to ask him questions like what he was doing now, what were his best/worst experiences, etc.

Buy the book! Read the book! Franz gets $1 for every book sold.