Saturday 31 March 2007

Happy birthday, Gord!

Gord's birthday celebration!

We invited friends to meet us at C'est What to celebrate Gord's brithday.

Who came?

Richard and Trish - We met Trish about 2.5 years ago through Single Horizons and she and I have since become friends and are Boxing Babes. Trish and Richard have been together two years.

Yvette - Yvette and I worked together in 1999 and have been friends since.

Maggie and Rick - Gord and Rick met in 1990 in a baseball pool and are still in the same pool today. Maggie and Rick have been together for a couple years.

Kevin, Christine and Alfred - Gord, Kevin and Alfred have been friends for more than forty years. Christine is married to Alfred.

Malcolm and Mary - Malcolm is in the same baseball pool as Gord, Kevin and Rick. Mary is married to Malcolm.

What a fun crowd!

"The Rocky Horror Show", CanStage, Toronto, ON

While I was in my Ebusiness class this morning (only two more classes left ... yay!), Gord was in a fencing tournament. Though he came in 14 out of 17, he was happy with his performance.

After class, I met LeeAnn and some other Single Horizoners for lunch at the Hot House Cafe.

Then we headed off to see "The Rocky Horror Show", a CanStage production ... Gord met us there.

Dr. Frank N. Furter is a sweet transvestite. A naïve and prudish couple, Brad and Janet, have car trouble in the middle of Transylvania and end up as the special guests at his strange party. Cult figures, pop culture, crazy sing-a-long tunes – “Let’s do the time warp again!”

I love this movie! I've seen it tons of times!

We saw the play at Stage West in August 2005 and it was excellent!

So we were looking forward to see it again today.

This version wasn't that great. The stage itself is very large and there wasn't a lot of set (we've seen other plays there and it was the same so perhaps that's their style). There isn't a large cast either.

Frank N. Furter was more like a drag queen. He didn't have near the essence that Tim Curry brought to the movie or Gerrad Everard brought to Stage West's version. Gerrad was wasted here as Rocky.

Me, "Columbia" and Gord
Gord, "Columbia", Stephanie and I

Book ~ "Stripped" - Brian Freeman (2006)

From ~ Detective Jonathan Stride has left his job in Duluth, MN, for Las Vegas. The action begins with a flashback to Sin City in the 1950s and the murder of a famous exotic dancer, a case never fully resolved and having a lot to do with the present-day brutal assassination of a rich young "trust fund baby," MJ Lane, whose dad may have been involved in the earlier murder. As Stride and his new police partner, Amanda Gillen, investigate, they plunge deep into the roots of the city. Freeman depicts his characters well, especially the good-natured Stride, his cop girlfriend, Serena Dial, and his partner, Amanda. Freeman has crafted a strong narrative, rife with sex and violence, though the complex plot at times gets bogged down by overly extensive backstories.

I'd been reading lighter books the last couple months so it was good to read a gritty murder.

I'd never read anything by Brian Freeman and I enjoyed his writing. It did get confusing at times with all the characters. , though. And I wasn't overly satisfied with ending.

Wednesday 28 March 2007

Foggy Dew, Toronto, ON

With good intentions, Gord and I walked home after work and were planning on going to the gym.

But how could we resist experiencing the first patio of the season at the Foggy Dew?
Teena and Gord
Yes, it was chilly ... but the sun was shining and the patio furniture was out!

Saturday 24 March 2007

"We Will Rock You", Panasonic Theatre, Toronto, ON

From ~ From Olivier Award-winning playwright Ben Elton and QUEEN's Brian May and Roger Taylor! The world-wide smash-hit musical in its Canadian premiere!

In a future world - where globalisation is complete - we are all safe, happy, homogenised consumers. One giant corporation tells us what to buy, what to wear, what to believe, how to live, what to think ... but deep beneath the gleaming cities, there are rebels who remember the time they call The Rhapsody ... and make their own forbidden music.

What an awesome show! It's in my top five musicals of all time!

The guy playing Figgy had a great voice! I look forward to seeing him in other things.

There were lots of fun references to Canada and Toronto that had the crowd cheering! And there were quite a few mentions of Freddy, which was nice.

Afterwards we went to Reilly's on Yonge Street (Yonge/Dundas) and sat by the window ... a great place to people watch.

Friday 23 March 2007

Mezes, Toronto, ON

The Boxing Babes met for supper tonight. I walked there after work ... 80 minutes added to my tracker. Whoohoo!

Yvette works on the Danforth and suggested we try a Greek restaurant called Mezes. I ordered chicken breast, rice and roast potatoes. There was a lot of food and it was good!

Theo, our waiter, ignored us for the last hour or so, though ... that was surprising considering how busy the place was. But it gave us a chance to keep yakkin'.

Beata, Yvette, Trish, Shawna, me and Susan
Beata, Yvette and Trish
Shawna, me and Susan

Sunday 18 March 2007

Book ~ "Brand New Friend" - Mike Gayle (2005)

From Goodreads ~ When Rob's girlfriend asks him to leave London and live with her in Manchester, not only will it mean moving cities, it'll also mean leaving behind his best mate in the entire world. Believing that love conquers all and convinced of his ability to make new friends, Rob takes the plunge. 

Six months in, and yet to find so much as a regular drinking buddy, Rob realises that sometimes making friends in your thirties can be the hardest thing to do. 

With drastic action needed, his girlfriend puts an ad in the classifieds for him. Three excruciatingly embarrassing "bloke dates" later, Rob begins to truly despair. Until his luck changes ... there's just one problem. Apart from knowing less than nothing about music trivia, football, and the vital statistics of supermodels, Rob's new friend, Jo, has one huge flaw ... she's a girl.

This is the third novel I've read by Mike Gayle and I enjoyed it. It was an interesting topic to focus on. I just assumed guys found it easy to make new friends.

What did I like about it? I enjoyed the writing style. It's conversational ... funny at times. I liked the short chunky chapters. I'm happy it ended the way it did ... it could have gone one of two ways. And there were a few opportunities to tidy things up but Gayle didn't go there.

What didn't I like about it? I didn't feel anything for Ashley, Rob's girlfriend. Perhaps that's understandable considering it was written from Rob's point of view. And there were times when Jo seemed very weak and stupid.

Would I recommend it? Yes.

Wednesday 14 March 2007

Book ~ "Shopaholic & Baby" (2004) Sophie Kinsella

From Goodreads ~ Hail the return of Kinsella's airhead heroine, Becky Bloomwood, now married, pregnant and working as the head personal shopper for a brand-new London boutique. 

In this latest installment of the Shopaholic franchise, the commercially insatiable Bex shops for two in every upscale baby shop and catalogue in London, snags a celebrity ob/gyn and leverages a pair of the moment's "most coveted" boots to negotiate a home purchase. Complicating an otherwise uneventful pregnancy, Becky suspects her husband, PR biz-wiz Luke Brandon, is having an affair with her hot doc (who also happens to be Luke's ex-girlfriend) so she hires a detective with predictable madcap results.

For chick lit lovers with babies of their own, Kinsella mines a rich vein by tweaking 21st-century glossy mag obsessions: from sonograms to the hottest baby strollers to tricked-out birthing rooms. Kinsella's ode to baby blues is both sly and slapstick - and for now, at least, Becky is more lovably Lucille Ball than annoyingly Paris Hilton.

I enjoyed the other books in the series.

Though this one hasn't changed the successful format, I found Becky a bit annoying in this one ... her self-centeredness and self-indulgence didn't strike me as cute. Really, who needs five prams?! I know, I know ... that's the character of Becky.

Would I recommend it? Not really.  Maybe if I was a mom, I would have enjoyed it more.

Sunday 11 March 2007

Book ~ "The Secret" - Rhonda Byrne (2006)

From ~ Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it.

In this book, you'll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life -- money, health, relationships, happiness and in every interaction you have in the world. You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.

The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers -- men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

I'd watched The Secret in August and found it inspirational.

I don't buy into all of it, though ... like asking the universe for what you want and expecting to receive it. But I like a lot of the principles like positive thinking, being in control of your future, etc.

Book ~ "The Happy Plan: The Complete Diet and Lifestyle Plan for Natural Happiness" - Charmaine Yabsley (2006)

From ~ Some people seem to be naturally happy. Others hope to find happiness in a pill. Smart ones will find it in this book, which shows that happiness is available to us all, without medications and their often dangerous side effects. The program outlines simple exercises, a diet rich in omega-3 fats, and a series of proven techniques for getting more restful sleep and developing a more positive attitude toward life.

Good book that covers what foods to eat, what supplements to take and what colours to paint your home and wear to be naturally happy.

"Deathtrap", Fairview Library Theatre, Toronto, ON

A Stage Centre Production at the Fairview Library Theatre ~ Sidney Bruhl, a successful writer of Broadway thrillers, is struggling to overcome a dry spell that has resulted in a string of failures and a shortage of funds. A possible break in his fortunes occurs when he receives a script from Clifford, a student in the seminar he has been conducting - a thriller that has the potential of being a Broadway hit. Sidney and his wife, Myra, come up with an almost unthinkable scheme. But soon after Clifford arrives, it becomes clear that their plan is not to be as simple as it seems …

Gord and I saw this play this afternoon with Single Horizons (there were 17 of us).

This is the same place that we saw One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which we enjoyed, in January.

The acting wasn't great. The play itself, with its twists, kept me interested. I'd like to rent the movie version or see it live again.

Because we both enjoy live theatre, it was a fun way to pass the afternoon.

LeeAnn (owner of Single Horizons), Margaret and I

Friday 9 March 2007

Canoe, Toronto, ON

I met Gord after work for a celebratory bottle of reisling at Canoe (on the 54th floor of the TD Centre).

View of Toronto Harbour from Canoe

Then the fire alarm started going off and we were evacuated. So that meant walking down 54 floors of stairs! My calves will be screaming tomorrow!

Wednesday 7 March 2007

Too many baby tomatoes?

I had a follow-up visit with my doctor this morning.

My blood work from last week determined that my potassium level is a bit too high.

Something could have happened in the analysis of the blood.

Or perhaps I'm taking in too much potassium.

Raisins? Nope!

Bananas? Nope!

Tomatoes? Bingo!

I eat a lot of baby tomatoes.

I did another blood test while I was there to see what's going on.

Monday 5 March 2007

Book ~ "Anyone But You" - Jennifer Crusie (2006)

From ~ For Nina Askew, turnng forty means freedom —from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed — a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets … Fred. Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor. Alex looks great on paper — a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred's abiding love for Oreos — but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. Ignoring her insistent best friend, some interfering do-gooders and the ubiquitous Fred — not to mention her suddenly raging hormones — Nina thinks anyone but Alex would be a better bet for a relationship. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it's the young dog-loving doctor she wants to sit and stay!

A fluffy novel but a fun quick read.

Casa Loma, Toronto, ON

Today was Sister Sarah's last day in Toronto before she headed home to Halifax.

We started off with lunch at the Rotisserie House (King W/Atlantic).

Then we headed over to the Dufferin Mall. When Sister Sarah lived in Toronto, she loved this mall!
Sister Sarah at the Dufferin Mall

Then we headed to Casa Loma for a while.
Sister Sarah in front of Casa Loma

The view of downtown Toronto from the Scottish Tower
Sister Sarah and friend
I got a bit more friendly!

See you in St. John's, Sister Sarah, on May 18 to kiss some cod!

Sunday 4 March 2007

Mandarin Buffet, Toronto, ON

We had supper tonight at the Mandarin on the Queensway. We ate too much but it was really good!

Helen, our waitress, brought Sister Sarah a piece of cake to celebrate her birthday.


After the movie, we had some time to kill before supper so we went to Milestones on the Queensway for a Bellini. Gord had a mojito.

Saturday 3 March 2007

Happy birthday, Sister Sarah!

Today is my favourite sister's birthday!

Sister Sarah is 39 today and
is spending the weekend with us
(she lives in Halifax, NS)

Krazy Karaoke at the Gladstone, Toronto, ON

Since Sister Sarah and Joey are into karaoke in Halifax, we finishe off the night at the Gladstone on Queen W (voted "best karaoke bar" by NOW Magazine four years running) ... just a couple blocks from home.
Sister Sarah and Gord put their names up to sing a song (John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" but it was so packed that we left before they got called.

Drake, Toronto, ON

Gord and I don't live far from the Drake on Queen Street W ... a trendy bar where all the "beautiful people" go.

Gord and I go once in a while and like it. We had a glass of bubbly downstairs and then headed upstairs to the enclosed patio where Sister Sarah and I had a Porn Star. The bartender gave us a complimentary birthday shooter.

Hurricane's, Toronto, ON

When Sister Sarah lived in Toronto from 1992 to 1996, we used to go to a bar called Hurricane's at Bloor W/Dovercourt.

They had a signature drink called the MartNick that was a mixture of milk, Pepsi, rum, tequila and who knows what else! The bar isn't owned by Martin or Nick anymore and the waitress hadn't heard of the MartNick (probably not a bad thing!).

Gord had been in a fencing tournament in London (he came 10 out of 15) and met us at Hurricane's afterwards. We had a couple drinks and wings for supper.

Churchmouse and Firkin, Toronto, ON

After lunch, Sister Sarah and I walked along Queen Street W and then through the Eaton Centre. It was packed! We got a couple extensions in our hair ... Sister Sarah's are dark fuscia and mine are purple (of course!). Very cool!

We headed up Yonge and veered off to have a cocktail (an Illusion) at the Churchmouse and Firkin at Church/Maitland. The bartender gave us a complementary shooter to celebrate Sister Sarah's birthday.

Bellwoods Bar & Grill, Toronto, ON

Sister Sarah and I started our day with lunch. I took her to the Bellwoods Bar and Grill on Queen Street W (at Niagara Street) ... home of the 16 ounce burger! With fries, it's only $6.

Though we made a valiant effort, our burgers defeated us!

The Bellwoods Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday 2 March 2007

Book ~ "Dinner for Two" - Mike Gayle (2006)

From Goodreads ~ Thirty-two-year-old Dave Harding has an enviable life -career as a music journalist; a beautiful wife, Izzy; and a nice flat in London. But he feels the pain of Izzy's miscarriage so deeply that he realizes how much he wants to be a father. As luck would have it, it turns out he already is ... to a 13-year-old girl, Nicola, with whose mother he had a one-night stand just before college. 

After he learns of Nicola's existence, they begin seeing each other on the sly, telling neither Izzy nor Nicola's mother. This ploy buys them time to get to know one another before dealing with the inevitable complications. But deal they must, eventually. Gayle, to his credit, does not tidy things up too neatly, letting Izzy and Dave's relationship ride the fence.

I found that this book started out a bit slow and I was tempted to give up on it. But because I enjoyed Gayle's Turning Thirty, I persevered. And I'm glad I did.

Dave is a writer and his articles are included in the book ... I liked the writing style of Gayle, not Dave, and the short bit-sized chapters.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. It's interesting to read "lad lit" books for a chance.

Snoozin' in the sun

KC and Morgan are having a nap on the floor next to me.

How cute are they?!
Byron is snoozing in our bed.