Monday, December 31, 2007

Regal Beagle

After seeing Juno, Gord and I walked along Bloor Street W towards home and stopped in the Regal Beagle for a couple beer.

They were promoting half price wings ... but they'd run out of wings, which was a hoot!

Jane, the bartender, was great!

Gord, Jane and Teena

Juno

Gord and I saw Juno this afternoon.

Juno, a whip-smart teen, confronts an unplanned pregnancy by her classmate, Bleeker. With the help of her best friend Leah, Juno, finds her unborn child a "perfect" set of parents: an affluent suburban couple, Mark and Vanessa, longing to adopt. Luckily, Juno has the total support of her parents as she faces some tough decisions, flirts with adulthood and ultimately figures out where she belongs. With Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Olivia Thirlby, Jason Bateman

Very cute movie! Juno is a precocious but smart teen who takes care of finding the adoptive parents for her baby and having the maturity to do what she thinks is the right thing.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday night

Gord and I had supper tonight with friends at Bâton Rouge at Sheppard/Yonge. Gord has been friends with the guys for more than 40 years!

Craig, Alfred, Kevin, Gord, Teena, Rosemary, Christine and Wendy

Craig and Alfred

Kevin and Gord

Rosemary, Christine and Wendy

Gord and Teena

They all had driven (they live in Markham and Ajax) and Gord and I had transitted.

On our way to the subway station, Gord and I stopped at the Black Sheep Pub (we like stopping in pubs we've never been to before). They were having really really bad karaoke. It was hilarious to watch!

Friday, December 28, 2007

More mitts finished

I finished another pair of fuscia honeycomb mittens on Christmas Day.

And then started another pair that I finished tonight.

Pattern:

Knit 3 rows.
Fourth row: *knit 1, purl 3* to end

So that's five pair completed to be donated to the homeless. Five more to go!

Book ~ "Skinny Bitch" - Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman (2007)

From skinnybitch.net~ If you can't take one more day of self-loathing, you're ready to hear the truth: You cannot keep shoveling the same crap into your mouth every day and expect to lose weight.

Authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin are your new smart-mouthed girlfriends who won't mince words and will finally tell you the truth about what you're feeding yourself. And they'll guide you on making intelligent and educated decisions about food. They may be bitches, but they are skinny bitches. And you'll be one too-after you get with the program and start eating right.

Good reminder of what we should and shouldn't be eating if we want to lose weight.

But ...

The book is very vulgar with its swearing (yes, including the "F" word) which got tiring. The authors are vegans and are VERY anti-meat. I skipped over most of the chapter entitled "You are what you eat" because it graphically detailed slaughterhouse procedures, complete with quotes from those who work in them. I applaud the authors for not eating meat but didn't appreciate the way they tried to shove it down my throat so graphically.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

After Gord got off work, we had supper at a pub.

As we were walking home, we stopped in the Cameron House and stumbled upon Big Rude Jake, a blues/jazz singer.



He was excellent!



Big Rude Jake

Happy Boxing Day!

Today is Boxing Day, a continuation of the Christmas holiday in Europe and the Commonwealth countries.

In feudal times, Christmas was a reason for a gathering of extended families. All the serfs would gather their families in the manor of their lord, which made it easier for the lord of the estate to hand out annual stipends to the serfs. On December 26, the lord of the estate would give practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land. Each family would get a box full of such goods the day after Christmas. Because of the boxes being given out, the day was called Boxing Day.

In Canada, Boxing Day is observed as a holiday, except for those in the retail business. Boxing Day and the days immediately following are when many retail stores sell their Christmas and retired model products by holding clearance sales. Some shoppers will line up for hours for retailers to open their doors. Retailers often open their stores earlier than usual, such as 6am or 7am.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas dinner

We spent a quiet day watching movies.

We all had a delicious Christmas dinner. Gord and I had a Butterball turkey breast, mashed potatoes, Stove Top Stuffing and canned gravy.

The critters celebrated too. I couldn't find "Christmas Dinner" so got them "Thanksgiving Dinner" again. They didn't know nor did they care that they were celebrating a different holiday!

KC and Nova

Nova

KC obviously enjoyed it!

Byron and Morgan

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Movie ~ P.S. I Love You

From Toronto.com ~ A grieving young widow discovers her late husband has left her a list of tasks revealed in 10 messages delivered anonymously, intended to ease her out of grief and transition her to a new life.

I read and enjoyed the book last January so was curious to see how it would translate to a movie. The premise was the same but the movie took strayed way way far away from the book.

It didn't get very good reviews so I didn't go in with high hopes. But it wasn't as bad as I had expected. I'm not huge fan of Hilary Swank and this movie didn't endear me to her . And it was a hoot seeing Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon trying to pass themselves off at 30ish. Hello! They are my age (45!).

A couple times during the movie I heard someone to my left sobbing. But there's a happy ending.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Book ~ "Daddy's Girl" - Lisa Scottoline (2007)

From Amazon.com ~ The undistinguished academic career of Natalie "Nat" Greco, a mousy and naïve law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, takes an unexpected turn at the start of this less than compelling legal thriller from bestseller Scottoline. When an attractive male colleague, Angus Holt, convinces Nat to accompany him on a teaching assignment at a nearby prison, a sudden riot puts them both in peril. Nat finds herself desperately attempting to save the life of a guard, apparently stabbed by an inmate during the fracas. The dying man asks her to pass on his last words to his wife, but possessing knowledge of this cryptic message proves dangerous. Nat finds herself accused of murder and must evade the law while also tracking down the bad guys. Her methods more often resemble that of Nancy Drew than an Ivy League professor.

Not a great review on Amazon but I enjoyed it. I started it this morning and just finished it. Granted it is farfetched in some places but the ending was unexpected. I'd recommend it.

December Cooking Challenge #4 and #5

Crock Pot Roast

1 sirloin tip roast or boneless chuck roast
1 can Coca Cola
1 med. cut up onion
15 oz. can sm. whole potatoes
15 oz. can carrots or sliced carrots
4 oz. can chopped mushrooms

Wash meat and place in crock pot; add onion and Coke and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. In last hour, add potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms and let entire meal cook at least another hour. Meat should fall apart. If you want to cook it on low, it will take around 12 hours.


I didn't add the potatoes, carrots or mushrooms. Instead, I made Dirty Mashed Potatoes. The roast was very tender. I enjoyed it ... Gord needed to add salt (I hadn't added any to the crockpot).

Plus I made Lemon Poppyseed Bread with my breadmaker, which was very delicious!

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

1-1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons powdered milk
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
3 cups white flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon poppy seed
3/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast


To participate, go here.

Book ~ "The View from Mount Joy" - Lorna Landvik (2007)

From Amazon.com ~ Opens as Joe Andreson transfers into a Minneapolis high school as a class of '72 senior. Like everyone else, Joe has a major thing for head cheerleader, Kristi Casey. Joe gets some action but is estranged from Kristi by graduation. As the years pass, and they stay in touch sporadically, Joe, who narrates, can't quite let go of his infatuation. He becomes an innovative grocer, still unmarried at mid-book, and Kristi transforms into a Bible-thumping radio/televangelist. Joe builds solid relationships with his mother and her new husband, and reconnects with high school friend Darva Pratt (who returns to town with her daughter, Flora), while Kristi sets her sights on the White House. Landvik deftly mixes humor and pathos in Kristi's ditzy On the Air with God radio show, starkly contrasted by her quietly powerful portrait of Joe, a man with real family values.

We follow Joe as a high school hockey star to a father of three, with some interesting adventures along the way.

I enjoyed the writing style and humour in this book. I wasn't crazy about the On the Air with Gord radio show bits but I realize why they had to be there.

I'd recommend this book.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Brazen Head

Gord and I checked out a pub that recently opened in our 'hood ... the Brazen Head.

It's a bit pricy but worth checking out.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another pair of mitts finished

I finished another pair of mitts tonight. They are a varigated blue/beige/grey and I used the honeycomb pattern again.
My thought is when I make ten pair I'll take them to the local mission so they can be given to the homeless.

This is the sixth pair I've made in the last month ... I made the first pair for Sister Sarah and then two pair for myself.

So seven pair to go!

Nova sitting

Jasmine and Grant, Nova's mom and dad, are heading home to Halifax for the holidays.

So Nova will be moving in with us 'til they get back.

They popped in tonight to touch base ... I'll pick up Nova tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December Cooking Challenge #3

Banana Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

PREP TIME - 15 Min
COOK TIME - 1 Hr 5 Min
READY IN - 1 Hr 20 Min

I had some overripe bananas so Googled and found this recipe. I used whole wheat flour instead of white. I don't have a loaf pan so used a square one instead. And it was done after 48 minutes.

I just had a piece (it's still warm) and it lives up to its name as its very bananay (if there is such a word!) and moist ... and yummy!

To participate, go here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Book ~ "Playing for Pizza" - John Grisham (2007)

From Chapters.ca ~ Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game against Denver, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams. But all Rick knows is football and he insists that his agent, Arnie, find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback. Great, says Rick — for which team? The mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy. Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player — any former NFL player — at their helm. So Rick reluctantly agrees to play for the Panthers — at least until a better offer comes along — and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma — not even where it is — has never been to Europe, and doesn’t speak or understand a word of Italian. To say that Italy — the land of opera, fine wines, extremely small cars, romance, and Football Americano — holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.

Not a great book. And I don't understand football so I skimmed over the details of the games. Kind of a cop-out ending. Rick was extremely shallow when he arrived in Italy and I didn't see much growth, which didn't make him very likeable.

NutriSystem


So I heard today that NutriSystem is coming to Canada.

Weight Watchers has been part of my life since the spring 2004. I was very successful on it ... alas, I've been off track for most of the fall. But I'll get back at it in January.

Has anyone tried NutriSystem? How did you like it?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Supper with the Chillin Chicks

Liz, Franca and I met for supper tonight at the Duke of Westminster. Sadly, Deb didn't make it because of the snow.

It's been a while since we'd been together so it was good to catch up. We've known each other for more than ten years ... we met when we worked together.

Liz (with glasses), Teena and Franca

Liz (without glasses), Teena and Franca

I am Legend

Ken and I saw I am Legend this afternoon. He'd gotten snowed in yesterday at our place so we caught a movie before he headed home to Hamilton.

Robert Neville is a brilliant scientist, but even he could not contain the terrible virus that was unstoppable, incurable, and man-made. Somehow immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and maybe the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague - The Infected - lurk in the shadows ... watching Neville's every move ... waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. Perhaps mankind's last, best hope, Neville is driven by only one remaining mission: to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus using his own immune blood. But he knows he is outnumbered ... and quickly running out of time.

We thought it was a good movie, though it's not the kind of movie I usually go to see. I found it very intense and the mutants are scary!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Book ~ "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" - Jonathan Safran Foer (2006)

From Amazon.com ~ Oskar Schell is not your average nine-year-old. A budding inventor, he spends his time imagining wonderful creations. He also collects random photographs for his scrapbook and sends letters to scientists. When his father dies in the World Trade Center collapse, Oskar shifts his boundless energy to a quest for answers. He finds a key hidden in his father's things that doesn't fit any lock in their New York City apartment; its container is labeled "Black." Using flawless kid logic, Oskar sets out to speak to everyone in New York City with the last name of Black. For balance, Foer includes the subplot of Oskar's grandfather, who survived the World War II bombing of Dresden. Although this story is not quite as evocative as Oskar's, it does carry forward and connect firmly to the rest of the novel. The two stories finally intersect in a powerful conclusion that will make even the most jaded hearts fall.

I read this book because Ken, Gord's son, loved it.

I, on the other hand, didn't love it. I didn't like the writing style and I thought the storyline and characters were dumb. Just not my kind of book, I guess. And my heart didn't fall.

I couldn't wait to finish it just to get through it. Had it not been Ken recommending it, I would have given up on it.

More honeycomb mittens

I just finished another pair of pink honeycomb mittens.


Look out the window at all that snow!

Still snowing!

Our street has been plowed.

And the company our condo corporation hires has plowed our parking lot and shovelled our walks.

And it's still snowing ...

Major snowstorm

We are in the middle of a major snowstorm ... they are predicting 20 to 30 cm of snow today. Tons of things have been cancelled ... flights, classes, etc.

I don't plan on going anywhere. Gord, though, has to work for a couple hours.



Looking out our door
Looking east down our street ...
usually we can see the CN Tower
Gord took KC for a walk before he left

KC's sweater is not so red anymore!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant, Toronto, ON

The Boxing Babes met tonight to try another international cuisine ... Beata had chosen an Ethiopian restaurant called Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant.

I'd never had Ethiopian food before so didn't know what to expect. I ordered Doro Tibbs ... poultry sauteed with spiced butter, garlic, green pepper and served with injera (pancake-like bread). It was spicy and tasty!

It was an interesting experience because you don't use utensils. You rip off pieces of the injera, scoop up your meal with it and eat it. And there was no rice, pasta or potatoes.

Yvette, Beata, Teena, Susan and Trish
Susan and Trish (happy birthday, Trish!)
Jen and Susan

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas overload?

On our way home from a Celtic Christmas, we stopped at the house on Brock Street (just south of Dundas) that celebrates Christas in a big way every year. And we weren't disappointed!

Click here to see it in the daytime.

A Celtic Christmas

Gord and I met Angie and Amanda at the Montgomery Inn for a Celtic Christmas with Sandy MacIntyre and Steeped in Tradition.
Angie, Amanda and Teena
Angie, Amanda and Gord
Angie and Amanda
They played a couple hours of Cape Breton fiddle music, Christmas music and old twangy country for the sold-out crowd of about 100 people in the Tea Room.