Monday 26 February 2007

Book ~ "Mike, Mike & Me" - Wendy Markham (2005)

From ~ The inventive premise of Markham's winning novel involves a love triangle in both the past and the present among pretty Beau, the Mike she married, and the Mike she left behind. Beau spent her early twenties in Manhattan in the late 1980s working for a television show and dating her high-school sweetheart, Mike, who was torn between moving to New York and staying in California. Beau is waiting in an airport bar for Mike when she meets the other Mike, a handsome stranger who charms her right off the bat and asks her out. In the present, Beau is married to one of the Mikes, living in the suburbs with him and their three children, but an email from the other Mike gets her wondering about what could have been and what still could be. Markham alternates between the past and the present, not giving away which Mike Beau chose to marry until the very end of the novel.

Interesting concept for a book. I wasn't really sure which Mike she ended up with until the end ... and she picked the one I was rooting for! I like the way it kept bouncing back and forth between the 1980s and today. It was a hoot to read about the styles of clothes and hair as if it was today.

Author's website

Sunday 25 February 2007

Toronto Marlies 1, Manitoba Moose 3

Gord got free tickets from where he works for this afternoon's Marlies' game (they are the farm team for the Toronto Maple Leafs).

They were playing the Manitoba Moose (the farm team for the Vancouver Canucks).

The seats were good. Alas, we lost 3 to 1. They were giving away bobbleheads of Marc Moro.

We don't live far from Ricoh Coliseum but drove anyway. It's a good thing we did because when we came out after the game, there was a snow storm happening.


Saturday 24 February 2007

"The Phantom of the Opera", Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto, ON

This story of a disfigured composer has captured audiences all over the world. Living in the depths of the Paris Opera House, the Phantom becomes infatuated with a woman named Christine. Her voice and kindhearted soul draw him close to her but his tragic existence only tears them apart. Winner of seven 1988 Tony Awards, Phantom is a must-see for musical lovers!

Gord and I saw "The Phantom of the Opera" this afternoon at the Princess of Wales Theatre. This is one of my favourite plays ... it's my fourth time seeing it.

This version is an American production that will be here until June. It was really good ... I enjoyed it.

My favourite Phantom is Colm Wilkinson. I saw him twice in it (my first two times) and I love his voice. Here he is ...

Twenty years ago today

Twenty years ago today I moved from Antigonish, NS, to Toronto.

Antigonish is a small of town of about 5,000 people. The Town of Antigonish was incorporated in 1889. Established as the Highland Heart of Nova Scotia, Antigonish is the home of the oldest continuously run Highland Games in North America. Established in 1853, St. Francis Xavier University (St. F.X) moved its campus to Antigonish Town in 1855.

I had moved to Antigonish in September 1980 from Sydney, NS, to go to St.F.X. I met my first husband (he was a "townie") and stayed after I graduated.

My dog, Smidley, and I flew to Toronto, almost 1,800 kms away. My then-husband had come up three months earlier to find a job and an apartment.

As soon as I moved to Toronto, I loved it!

At that time, a lot of our friends were moving to Toronto because they couldn't find work in Antigonish. But they hated the city ... it was too big (our current population is just over 4.5 million). They would work long enough to be able to collect Employment Insurance (aka "pogy") and then move home again.

Wednesday 21 February 2007

Book ~ "Seven Sunny Days" - Chris Manby (2005)

From ~ Rachel and her two best friends, Carrie Ann and Yaslyn, are headed to a resort in Turkey for "hen week" before Rachel ties the knot with Patrick. Carrie Ann has just finalized her divorce from her husband of 15 years. Ruminating on being single at 34, she is not sure about her friends' plan to have her hook up with a Norwegian vacationer. Glamorous Yaslyn, a model whose career is sliding downhill, is dating one of Patrick's good friends but can't help lapping up the male attention she receives at the resort. Marcus and Sally are also on holiday at the resort, hoping to save their failing five-year-old marriage. Axel, 23, is still mooning after the college girl who threw him over in Paris.

What a crappy book! It sounded like a fun read. I didn't care about any of the characters - they were either whiny or pathetic. The things that happened were dumb. Don't waste your money or your time on this one.

Monday 19 February 2007

Good Parents Pay

Ontario's Ministry of Community and Social Services has recently started a website called Good Parents Pay. On it they have posted the pictures of parents who have skipped off without paying child support payments.

Good parents pay support orders to help their children. You can help Ontario children and families by helping us find missing, irresponsible parents who have defaulted on the payments owed to their kids.

The individuals posted on this website are registered with the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), but have not made their support payments and cannot be found.

We have tried to find these individuals through various trace and locate efforts. They have not made their support payments for at least six months. Our legislation and regulations set out more information.

The FRO will continue its efforts to find these individuals through all means possible, and if successful, will remove the posting from this website. But in the meantime, you can help.
Any information you have that can help us find these individuals can be sent anonymously to the FRO through this website, or by phone, or by fax, or by mail.

It should be interesting to see how effective it is. I hope it works.

Saturday 17 February 2007

Book ~ "A Little Stranger" - Kate Pullinger (2004)

From Guardian Unlimited Books ~ When Fran deserts her baby, Louis, and flies off to Las Vegas, she commits the maternal equivalent of the sin against the Holy Ghost. In this flawed but impressive novel, Kate Pullinger treats with thoughtful sympathy that profound taboo, the breaking of the mother-baby bond. The novel uses a fractured narrative perspective to investigate the source of such transgression. By alternating third- and first-person voices and skipping back and forth in time, Pullinger creates a fictional conversation about the rights and wrongs of Fran's position. Is Fran right to call herself "a rubbish mother"? Where does the rage that darkens her originate?

What I liked about this book - the writing style.

What I didn't like about this book - I didn't feel any sympathy for the characters, including Nick, Fran's husband, and could care less about what happened to them. And some of the things that happened were hard to believe ... like Leslie taking Fran in, letting her (a stranger with no money) stay in her hotel room in Vegas, giving her a drive to Vancouver and then hanging out with her.

Given the nature of the story, I didn't expect it to be a happy cheery story (and it wasn't).

Would I recommend it? No.

Friday 16 February 2007

Mandarin, Toronto, ON

We celebrated the Chinese New Year at the Mandarin (Eglinton/Yonge) tonight.

It's a Chinese buffet restaurant and the food was really good. We all ate too much but it was a lot of fun! Thanks for organizing us, Angie!

Jenn, Darlene, Amanda, Andrea, Anita, Vitra, Yvette, me, Angie and Jen
Vitra and Andrea
Me, Jen and Amanda
Angie, Jenn (the birthday girl tomorrow) and Darlene

It's the year of the Pig. If you want to know your Chinese horoscope, click here.

I was born in the year of the Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)
  • Loves power
  • Brave, relentless, graceful
  • Tends to make enemies because tiger is seen as a threat by others, and tiger likes to be blunt with words
  • Able to make wishes a reality – eg. Wants to lead, so acts like a leader
  • People allied with tiger will be well looked after
  • Chooses to work in larger companies, to accommodate high ambitions
  • Doesn’t like to have position of power challenged, and will fight to keep status
  • Will not complain when frustrated, but instead will make efforts to overcome the difficulty
  • Generous with money
  • Prefers to hit the town at night, instead of staying at home for a quiet evening
  • Tends toward possessiveness and jealousy in relationships
  • Faithful

Tuesday 13 February 2007

Book ~ "For One More Day" - Mitch Albom (2006)

From ~ Grief-stricken Charles "Chick" Benetto goes into an alcoholic tailspin when his always-attentive mother, Pauline, dies. Framed as an "as told to" story, Chick quickly narrates her funeral; his drink-fueled loss of savings, job ("sales") and family; and his descent into loneliness and isolation. After a suicide attempt, Chick encounters Pauline's ghost. Together, the two revisit Pauline's travails raising her children alone after his father abandons them: she braves the town's disapproval of her divorce and works at a beauty parlor, taking an extra job to put money aside for the children's education. Pauline cringes at the heartache Chick inflicted as a demanding child, obnoxious teen and brusque, oblivious adult chasing the will-o'-the-wisp of a baseball career. Through their story, Albom foregrounds family sanctity, maternal self-sacrifice and the destructive power of personal ambition and male self-involvement. He wields pathos as if it were a Louisville Slugger—shoveling dirt into Pauline's grave, Chick hears her spirit cry out, " 'Oh, Charley. How could you?'.

I've read Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven and thought they were okay. I enjoyed this one more.

It's a quick read. The message of the book ... You need to keep people close. You need to give them access to your heart.

Saturday 10 February 2007

The Rhino, Toronto, ON

On our way home, we stopped off at The Rhino. We'd discovered this bar in the summer and liked it.

If you are a lover of beer (as Gord is), then this is the place for you! They have quite an extensive list of beer and drafts ... 226 beer from 42 countries!

Gord had a Wellington Arkell Best Bitter, a Canadian beer

I had a Cooper's Sparkling Ale from Australia.

Gord moved on to Belgium with a Chimay Blue.

I went to Jamaica with a Red Stripe.

The Rhino Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mitzi's Sister, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to the gym this afternoon for a couple of hours (I had school this morning). Then we walked to Mitzi's Sister on Queen W for supper (about a half hour each way). I'd heard that they made good burgers and that's what we had ...

8oz of grilled beef served on a pada bun topped with crisp lettuce, fresh tomato, grilled red onion & roasted garlic mayo

It was a really good burger! The fries were a mixture of Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes. I found the burger was filling so only ate about half of my fries.

Friday 9 February 2007

Terroni, Toronto, ON

The Boxing Babes met for our monthly supper ... this time at Terroni downtown. I had the Natalina pizza - tomato, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, hot calabrese salami and garlic.

Susan, Trish, Shawna, Monica and me
Monica, me, Susan, Trish and Shawna
Susan, Trish and Shawna
Me and Monica

Wednesday 7 February 2007

Look who got a furcut tonight!

She was getting way too wooly. Don't worry ... she has a sweater to keep her warm!

Sunday 4 February 2007

Book ~ "The Ultimate New York Diet" - David Kirsch (2006)

From Amazon. com When supermodel Heidi Klum needed to get into tip-top shape for the Victoria's Secret fashion show--just eight weeks after giving birth to her second child--she turned to David Kirsch and his Ultimate New York Diet.

The Ultimate New York Diet provides the tools to slim down safely in record time: A diet that's broken into three phases over the course of eight weeks, so you can see results fast and be inspired to stay on track; advice on how to make healthy choices at all types of restaurants, allowing you to eat out every night; 64 quick, easy-to-prepare recipes for healthy, satisfying meals; ten-minute workouts you can do anywhere--from your cubicle to a taxi cab--that will leave you feeling exhilarated and more focused.

David Kirsch has written this book for the needs of people with busy, multitasking lives--people who want to be on top of their game when it comes to their careers and their bodies. This is not just a diet; it's a life transformation. After completing The Ultimate New York Diet, your attitude toward food, exercise, and wellness will be forever changed and you'll finally have the key to a fit and fabulous body.

If you don't mind giving up carbs, alcohol and fruit until you lose the weight you want, then this may be the plan for you. I'm a big fan of carbs and fruit so would find this plan too restrictive. Plus there is a large focus on protein shakes and his personal products.

Book ~ "Batteries Required" - Jennifer Apodaca (2006)

From ~ Samantha Shaw’s dating service, Heart Mates, is barely paying the bills and her relationship with private investigator, Gabe Pulizzi, isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of her knack for romance. And now Sam’s friend, Angel, has disappeared just as she was about to launch a new lingerie business, leaving behind a ransacked, bloodstained house. Detective Logan Vance—alias romance novelist R.V. Logan—is busy fending off the advances of a lovesick fan so, with Gabe in tow, Sam questions Angel’s ex-husband, Hugh Crimson. Sam knows her friend’s divorce has been filed under "unpleasant" but she can’t believe Hugh’s capable of ex-wife-napping—or murder. If Hugh isn’t a killer, who messed up Angel’s house—and why?

I enjoy mysteries. I enjoy comedies. This was a combination of both. I'd never read any by this author but I'll be checking out the others in the series. The supporting characters are funny, especially Grandpa and Ali, the beer drinking ex-police dog.

Jennifer Apodaca homepage

Saturday 3 February 2007

Book ~ "5-Factor Fitness: The Diet and Fitness Secret of Hollywood's A-List" - Harley Pasternak (2006)

From ~ Actors Halle Berry and Benjamin Bratt, pro basketball player Rick Fox and rapper Eve all work out 25 minutes a day, five days a week. They eat five meals a day, and each meal takes five minutes to prepare. And they look like a million bucks. Although this sounds too good to be true, Pasternak, who trains the above-mentioned stars and others, insists it isn’t. This easy-to-follow lifestyle guide explains Pasternak’s program. Intensity and variety are the keystones of the exercise portion, which simply requires dumbbells and a bench (the plan does include a suspiciously scant five minutes of cardiovascular activity, which readers can complete by power walking or jogging outside, or using a cardio machine at home or at the gym). The diet portion of the plan seems sensible enough; Pasternak urges readers to eat foods that include low-fat, quality protein; moderate carbs; fiber and healthy fat; and to drink sugar-free beverages (he allows one day a week to be a "cheat day"). "Real results" sidebars profile non-famous people who’ve benefited from Pasternak’s approach, including a 74-year-old professor, a 45-year-old film producer and a 37-year-old real estate agent. Backed up with scientific research and including recipes, this book is a refreshingly simple addition to the current diet and health offerings.

New twist on what I already know but it was an interesting read. Everything is in fives.

I've been come a grazer, as he suggests, in the last couple years - Harley says to have five meals a day. Not a hard plan to follow and I like it because it's using real food and non-complicated exercises.

Harley Pasternak's website

Body Blitz, Toronto, ON

After class this morning, I headed to body blitz, a woman's only spa, to spend the afternoon getting pampered.

When I checked in, I heard a woman behind me say, "Teena? We used to work together." I looked at her and didn't have a clue who she was ... she was in a robe and her hair was wrapped in a towel. Then she said where and her name and I realized right away who it was. It was Claire, a woman I'd worked with when I first came to Toronto twenty years ago. We shared an office in a law firm where we were account writers. We both left at the same time and didn't keep in touch. She's since travelled the world, gotten married, has a four year old son and recently moved back to Toronto after living on a mountain in a village in Spain for a few years. It's funny because I was just thinking about her the other day.

I started first with the theuraputic waters. I knew that bathing suits were optional ... I wore mine (I'm shy and modest) and was in the minority. I did the circuit:

The sea salt pool was a pleasant 98F, the cold plunge was a refreshing 65F and the hot tea pool was an amazing 105F. The steam room and sauna were get for my sinuses!

Then I had a 60 minute full body massage, which was very nice. I think I dozed off when she was doing my back.

Next was the 60 minute body mud with winter mud (wintergreen and eucalyptus) ... An outstanding body blitz triple-tiered treatment guaranteed to leave you feeling replenished and restored. Using our wash and scrub mitt, the skin is cleansed, exfoliated and stimulated to prepare your body for the mud treatment. As one of our signature muds from the mud bar is applied neck to toes, your body is heated with our specially designed body blitz infrared lamps. All your sins are sweated away while your body absorbs the nutrients from the mud the way Mother Nature intended. The body is rinsed and moisturized using our mint~lime body lotion.
I didn't realize I'd be naked except for a "disposable thong" (which she cut off me at the end) but I got over it very quickly. Pretty well every bit of my body was exfoliated, covered in mud and then moisturized including between my fingers and toes, armpits and boobs. You lay on a vinyl bed and get hosed down with warm water ... it reminded me of when you wash your car with a hose.
It was a nice afternoon and I'd definitely go back!