Saturday 30 June 2007

Book ~ "Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection" - Gordon Ramsay (2007)

From ~ Everyone thinks they know the real Gordon Ramsay: rude, loud, pathologically driven, stubborn as hell. Now, for the first time, the world's most famous — and infamous — chef tells the inside story of his life: his difficult childhood, his father's alcoholism and violence, his brother's heroin addiction, his short-circuited soccer career and his fanatical pursuit of gastronomic perfection — everything that helped mold him into the culinary talent and media powerhouse that he is today. He also dishes the dirt on the rich and famous and takes you behind the scenes of some of the great restaurants. Honest, outrageous, and intensely personal, Roasting in Hell's Kitchen will not only change your perception of Gordon Ramsay but that of the cutthroat world of haute cuisine as well.

I'm not much into cooking but I like Hell's Kitchen. This was an interesting book to read because it was a chance to get to know Gordon Ramsay ... and it should indeed change your perception about him. He writes as he speaks ... lots of "F" words.

Definitely a book to check out!

Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

We are dogsitting Nova this weekend while his folks are in Halifax.

Gord was up early this morning to head to Hamilton for the day for three fencing tournaments (good luck!).

I was up early too and walked KC and Nova to Trinity Bellwoods Park and back. It's a lovely morning!

KC loves Trinity Bellwood Park!
Nova seemed to have a good time.

Two tired dogs!

KC found something stinky to roll in at the Park (why does she do that??!!) so got a bath as soon as she got home. She wasn't pleased.

Friday 29 June 2007

Vertical, Toronto, ON

I work 'til 5:00 and Gord 'til 5:30.

So I met him after work for a couple drinks on the patio at Vertical, near where I work in the financial district. It looked like a nice place so I wanted to check it out.

It is a cute patio, though pricy. A nice place to meet friends now and then for a drink but not a place to hang for the night (unless someone else is paying!).

Then we stopped at the Wheat Sheaf for supper before heading home.

Sunday 24 June 2007

Matthew Flinders, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went on the Matthew Flinders this afternoon for a four hour cruise. Liz and Annie came with us.

There were about 600 people on the boat which toured around Toronto Harbour ... some enjoyed it too much and snoozed for a while or were half carried/dragged off when it was over. There was lively music playing the whole time and a buffet lunch.

Looking at Toronto where we were docked


Toronto from the other side of Toronto Islands

Me and Gord
(the guy next to me eventually snoozed halfway through ...
too much sun and/or beer?) 

Annie and Liz


Toronto from the west end of the Harbour

Liz and Annie boogying

Saturday 23 June 2007

Tomato Plants Update

My tomato plants are coming along well.

One of the tomatoes is starting to turn red so it must be a grape tomato after all (we had our doubts).

Plus we are plantsitting for Brock and Sherry while they are visiting the east coast. They are doing well also.

Saturday 16 June 2007

Taste of Little Italy, Toronto, ON

Italians have enjoyed its rich and affluent culture for centuries, with a way of life admired by all. This year you don’t need a plane ticket to experience Italy, we are bringing Italy it to you! The Taste of Little Italy will be held from Friday, June 15, to Sunday, June 17, and we invite you to enjoy a “taste” of our unique College Street ambiance and culture.

One of the great things about living in Toronto is that in the summer, there is always something going on.

This weekend is the Taste of Little Italy. It's just north of us so we walked up this afternoon. Every year in Little Italy, they close down College Street from Shaw to Bathurst. There are lots of patios that spill out onto the street, bands on various corners, food vendors, etc. It attracts tons of people.

We started with a 10 minute shiatsu treatment that felt really good. Then we stopped off in some patios for cocktails (Gord found a place that makes great mojitoes) and ate way too much. But it was fun!

My Garden

Last month, Gord surprised me with some tomato plants.

They are coming along well.

Friday 15 June 2007

Professional Pix

At work a couple weeks ago, I had to get some professional pictures taken in case I ever need them (for publications, etc.).

The photographer took about 30 and sent five back to me today. Two aren't too bad ...

My hands need to be cropped out of this one.

Thursday 14 June 2007

Book ~ "Lean Mean Thirteen" - Janet Evanovich (2007)

From ~ In her rollicking 13th Stephanie Plum adventure, Evanovich is in top quirky form. Plucky bumbling New Jersey bounty hunter Plum is reunited with her two-timing lawyer ex-husband, Dickie Orr, while doing a favor for the mysterious sexy Ranger. But when Dickie disappears from his house leaving behind only bloodstains and bullet holes, Plum becomes the prime suspect in his alleged murder. Determined to clear her name, Plum and her on-again off-again Trenton cop boyfriend, Joe Morelli, uncover Dickie's ties to a shady group of men involved in everything from money laundering to drug running. And when Dickie's jilted business partners decide Stephanie holds the key to the $40 million they believe Dickie stole from them, she's in for a wild ride. With the author's usual cast of eccentric side characters — everything from a taxidermist with a penchant for bombs to a grave-robbing tax man —Evanovich proves once again that Stephanie Plum and her entourage are here to stay.

It's not even in the stores yet and I have it read (the beauty of pre-ordering!).

"I used to be a badass. Everyone was afraid of me. Everyone wanted to kill me. I needed Tank walking behind me to keep the paid assassins under control. And now look at me. I'm followed by a woman in a rented Taurus. And I can't remember the last time someone tried to kill me." ~ Ranger

As with the others in this series, I loved it! It was hilarious and fast-paced! And the scenes with the squirrels and beavers were very funny. And Blackie, the cat!!

Evanovich has other series and books but I just can't get into them. There's something about the Stephanie Plum series that I love!

Would I recommend it? Yes!

Sunday 10 June 2007

"Full Monty", Stage West, Toronto, ON

Seeing how much their wives enjoy watching male strippers during their “girls night out”, unemployed steelworkers in Hamilton come up with a bold way to make some quick cash. In the process they find renewed self-esteem, good friends and great fun. There is great heart in The Full Monty – the lessons about overcoming adversity, taking charge and striving to reach dreams resonate with every audience.

Gord and I saw "The Full Monty" today at Stage West (we have a subscription).

I had seen the play more than ten years ago and love the movie so was looking forward to it.

They did an excellent job with it ... and didn't tone it down.

Saturday 9 June 2007

Do Birds like Beer?

On our way home after the bus dropped us off, we stopped at the Beer Store so Gord could stock up.

While I was waiting for him, I noticed a bird had built a nest in the "B" in "Beer" above the door and was sitting on the "e".

Niagara Falls, ON

Gord and I spent the day in Niagara Falls on a Single Horizons event. LeeAnn needed to fill the bus so I had invited eight of my friends to come too (there were 50 of us altogether).

We stopped at Magnotta Winery in Beamsville for some sampling before we headed down to Niagara Falls.

Sossy, Monica, Liz, me and Franca

Trish, Beata, Gord and Liz

Gord and I played roulette at the Fallsview Casino. I was prepared to lose $200 ... which is exactly what happened! Oh well! Gord lost $30.

Then we had lunch at the Grand Buffet, which was included in the cost of the day (only $25!).

Gord and I walked down to the Falls for a while.

We sat on a sunny patio for a couple drinks before it was time to catch the bus home again.

Thursday 7 June 2007

Book ~ "Mr. Commitment" - Mike Gayle (2000)

From GoodreadsAfter twenty-eight years of shirking responsibility, Duffy's finally realising that he can't extend his adolescence forever. 

His low-paid temping job is threatening permanency. His gradually receding hairline is depressing him greatly. And if that's not enough, his long-suffering girlfriend, Mel, wants to get engaged. Trips to IKEA, dinner parties with married couples and talk of babies, however, are giving Duffy cold feet. He doesn't have many worldly goods to share - apart from the remote control for his TV, the beers in the fridge and his record collection - but can he really put his hand on his heart and say "I do'? 

He knows Mel's the one for him, so why is it he'd feel happier swapping "Till death us do part' for "Renewable on a four year basis'? But the choice is: All or nothing. Now or never. Mel or no Mel. So after a lifetime as Mr Irresponsible, does Duffy have what it takes to become Mr Commitment?

I've been reading a lot of Gayle's books in the last couple months. Though I enjoy his "lad lit", I'm glad this is the last I have of his to read. Though I like his style, they are starting to sound the same. So I need a break.

Having said that, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it.

Sunday 3 June 2007

Book ~ "Room For Improvement" - Stacey Ballis (2006)

From ~ Chicago interior-designer, Lily Allen, is thrilled when she gets a job on the new U.S. version of Swap/Meet, where contestants trade apartments and help redesign the apartment of the person they've traded with. What Lily didn't count on when she took the dream job was fussy contestants, a ditzy host, warring fashion consultants who've just broken up, and a competitive fellow designer. Despite the stress, Lily's best friends, high-powered attorney Hillary, and artistic Naomi, keep her balanced until they start to get frustrated with her crazy schedule. Lily barely has time to see her friends, let alone date so she puts off earnest persistent, Ron, in favor of the show's sexy new producer, Gary.

I enjoyed this book in the beginning. But as I got to know Lily, I found her to be too self-centered and horny (she slept with everyone!). That's all she was about. And she said the "F" word a lot. The ending left me thinking ... "Whatever!"

Would I recommend it? No.

Saturday 2 June 2007

My Aunt, Liz's Memorial Service

I went to my aunt, Liz's memorial service this afternoon (she passed away on May 20 at the age of 72 of Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Liz was my father's sister (they had the same parents - their mother had four children later on with someone else). I hadn't seen her since 1997. I lost touch with her again about five years ago.

The memorial service was held in a legion in a small town a couple hours northwest of Toronto. It was very casual. People got up and told stories.

Her daughters had put together some posters with memories. Here's the one of her childhood that included some pictures of my father (he died in 1971).

It sounds like the memorial service was just as Liz would have wanted ... lots of food, laughter and tears, and singing (her daughter set up a karaoke machine).

Friday 1 June 2007

Book ~ "Killer Summer" - Lynda Curnyn (2005)

From ~ Curnyn cranks up the heat with a seaside murder and some sexy sleuthing in this lively caper. On New York's Fire Island, three 30-something pals—Nick, an impulsive, charming pipe-dreamer; Sage, a flirty go-getter; and Zoe, a sensitive filmmaker—partake in a summer share at the sprawling house of Sage's debonair boss, Tom, and his wife, Maggie. Maggie used to love rock and roll, but now sings in the key of Martha, enlisting her tenants to fetch coriander and "a crisp, citrusy white." That is, until she's found floating in the ocean. Multiple narrators provide diverse perspectives on the matter (Maggie's wry, beyond-the-grave musings seem ripped from the Desperate Housewives handbook). Sage had certainly hated Maggie, and Tom takes the tragedy a little too in stride, in Zoe's humble opinion; also, it seems that Nick and Maggie had some unfinished business of a highly classified nature. No one's off the hook—unless, by some chance, there's a far more insidious avenger afoot. Whodunit? And who cares? Curnyn's writing is light and zingy, but she expends too much energy on labored plot twists to wring the fun out of this zany crew.

Long. Boring. Blah.

Island Foods, Toronto, ON (King Street W)

I had lunch with Eduardo and Louise today.

When we worked together (1998-99), we would have rotis at Island Foods almost weekly. After I left (they are still with the same company), we would meet every couple of months.

It's been a while so it was great to see them today. I work downtown so it's tough sometimes to get away and meet them. Island Foods is in my 'hood so working from home today made it easy to hook up.

My chicken roti ... amazing!

Me, Eduardo and Louise