Monday, 28 April 2008

Book ~ "No Time for Goodbye" (2007) - Linwood Barclay

From Goodreads ~ Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke one morning to discover that her entire family, mother, father, brother had vanished. No note, no trace, no return. Ever. Now, twenty-five years later, she'll learn the devastating truth.

Sometimes better not to know ...

Cynthia is happily married with a young daughter, a new family. But the story of her old family isn't over. A strange car in the neighborhood, untraceable phone calls, ominous gifts, someone has returned to her hometown to finish what was started twenty-five years ago. And no one's innocence is guaranteed, not even her own. By the time Cynthia discovers her killer's shocking identity, it will again be too late ... even for goodbye.

I had really enjoyed Barclay's Zack Walker series earlier this year so was looking forward to reading his latest.

It's definitely a different tone (more serious) than the Walker series. It took me a bit to get into it but I'm glad I did as I enjoyed it.

I cared about the characters, especially Terry, who is the "voice" of the story.

I had the main plot figured out fairly quickly but it was interesting to see how Barclay got us there. But there's a surprise at the end I wasn't expecting.

So would I recommend this book? Yes!

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Toronto Marlies 0, San Antonio Rampage 3

Though the Toronto Maple Leafs didn't make the playoffs this year, its farm team, the Toronto Marlies did.

This afternoon was game 6 in the first round with the San Antonio Rampage (Phoenix Coyotes' farm team). Toronto was leading the series but lost 3-0. So the deciding game will be tomorrow evening.

We live just north of the Ricoh Centre so walked down.

It's great hockey at great prices ... yet they never come close to selling out.

We bought cheap tickets ($12) and moved down a few rows when we got there as there were lots of empty seats.

During the first intermission, we moved to a lower section by the other net.

There were fights during the first and second periods.

Duke, our mascot:

Duke kicked the butt of San Antonio's mascot during the second intermission!

Gord towards the end of the game:

Friday, 25 April 2008

Books ~ "Chick Ink: 40 Stories of Tattoos--And the Women Who Wear Them" (2007) - Karen L. Hudson

From ~ That's what tattoos today are all about. Join the women of Chick Ink in this celebration of the tattoos that grace our bodies, tell our stories, and mark forever the significant moments of our lives. Because if you're a woman with a tattoo, you're woman enough for anything.

Interesting and fun book that tells the stories of why we women get tattoos. I didn't realize that parents still disapproved so much! My favourite story was by Michelle Swartz about her grandmother who got a red sportscar and a pig tattoo on her 80th birthday. You go, Girl!

I was drawn to this book because I have two tattoos. One is of two hearts with a purple flower on either side on my left shoulder that I got when I was 30 (it used to have my and my first husband's initials in the hearts which I've since had lasered out and touched up) and a sunflower that I got when I was 44 (October 2006).

I think tattoos are cools and will no doubt get more ink in the future.

There's no place like home

I flew home from Timmins this morning.

On another small propeller plane.

I got home around 1:00pm and started unpacking.

I don't remember packing a kitty, though!

It's so nice to be home again!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Mikes, Timmins, ON

It's wing night at Mikes!

So that's where I headed for supper.

The wings come in two flavours ... regular and hot. Melissa, my waitress, said that hot was HOT so I went with regular.

The wings came ... no sauce. They were just deep-fried. So I asked for sauces on the side and dipped.

I heard Melissa describing the brownie for dessert and it sounded good! I needed something fun after the boring wings.

The brownie was dry and hard. The ice cream was frosty. And there were weird small crunchy things sprinkled all over.

Sigh ...

I put enough cash on the table to cover my bill and left.

Book ~ "Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes" (2007) - Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne

From ~ From "Soccer Moms," the legendary swing voters of the mid-1990s, to "Late-Breaking Gays" such as former Gov. Games McGreevey (out at age 47), Penn delves into the ever-splintering societal subsets with which Americans are increasingly identifying, and what they mean. For instance, because of "Extreme Commuters," people who travel more than 90 minutes each way to work, carmakers must come up with ever more luxury seat features, and "fast food restaurants are coming out with whole meals that fit in cup holders." In a chapter titled "Archery Moms?", Penn reports on the "Niching of Sports": much to the consternation of Major League Baseball, "we don't like sports less, we just like little sports more." The net result of all this "niching" is "greater individual satisfaction"; as Penn notes, "not one of the fastest-growing sports in America... depends substantially on teamwork." Penn draws similar lessons in areas of business, culture, technology, diet, politics and education (among other areas), reporting on 70 groups ("Impressionable Elites," "Caffeine Crazies," "Neglected Dads," "Unisexuals," "America's Home-Schooled") while remaining energetic and entertaining throughout. Culture buffs, retailers and especially businesspeople for whom "small is the new big" will value this exercise in nano-sociology.

Interesting book with small bite-sized chapters on a variety of topics. The stats are mostly American-based as are the discussions about politics.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Pizza Pizza in Timmins sucks!

I ordered a small pizza tonight from Pizza Pizza for a late supper.

They are only around the corner so I figured it would be quick. And you know how much I love pizza!

58 minutes later it arrived. So much for their "40 minutes and it's free" pledge.

And I discovered it was cold after the guy left!

I called back twice to complain ... but they didn't answer the phone. Great customer service!

Gord and I order from Pizza Pizza in Toronto fairly often and it's fast and fresh.

Pizza Pizza in Timmins, though, sucks!

Sunset in Timmins

I caught a lovely sunset this evening.

Here it is from my hotel room.

Odd pictures

I find this rather odd.

I'm about nine hours north of Toronto in a hotel room in Timmins.

There are three pictures on the wall ... all of Toronto. Huh?

I would think that they would have pictures depicting the area, which is very different from Toronto.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

CN Tower climb update

The CN Tower climb numbers came out today.

Top male: Matt Druken ~ 11:27
Top female: Julia Totosy de Zepetnek ~13:55


I came in 3965 out of 4428 (2041 out of 2393 women) with a time of 37:46.

The last in was 1:28:52.

Great experience and it gives me something to shoot for next time!

Shania Twain Centre

I went to the Shania Twain Centre this afternoon.

You can do a tour that takes about an hour and is $9. That's a whole lotta Shania!

She has provided a lot of her memorabilia and souvenirs ... and apparently all the money taken in goes to the city of Timmins.

I just wandered around the gift shop.

London Cafe, Timmins, ON

I had lunch today at a Chinese restaurant called London Cafe.

For $4.99, you get chicken fried rice, three chicken wings and five chicken balls!

And it was good!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Book ~ "Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America" (2004) - Laura Shapiro

From ~ In the fifties, we're always told, the food industry barged into the American kitchen, waving TV dinners, and destroyed home cooking. Not so fast, Shapiro says. As she reveals, women refused many of the new convenience foods. Fish sticks they accepted, but not ham sticks. Canned peaches, yes; canned hamburgers, no. The industry people hired psychologists to help them combat such resistance; the women's magazines, fond of their advertisers, told readers how, by splashing some sherry over the frozen peas, they could still make dinner look as though they had cooked it.

Interesting book to read considering where we are today with convenience meals ... Lean Cuisines, President's Choice products, etc.

The quotes from those times were hilarious. Gord and my favourite from radio personality, Mary Margaret McBride:

"She went on to predict that homemade biscuits and cakes would never lose their appeal, 'just as no satisfaction will ever equal the joy a woman finds in setting those biscuits and other delicious products of her own skill before her family.'"

Don's Pizzeria, Timmins, ON

One of Timmins' claim to fame is that it's where Shania Twain is from.

So for supper how could I not check Don's Pizzeria ... who says it's Timmins original and #1 ... and Shania's favourite?!

It wasn't a great pizza at all ... and I love pizza!

It was different from any pizza I've ever had.

It seems like it's baked ahead of time, the ingredients you want are put on it and then it's put back in the oven again. That would explain why it was ready in less than ten minutes.

It was very crunchy and the toppings were dry.

I won't be going back during my stay.

Time in Timmins

I'm spending the week in Timmins conducting some pre-retirement seminars.

Timmins is an eight hour drive north of Toronto ... or a 90 minute flight from Pearson Airport. So I flew.

Here's my plane.

There are six flights a day to get to Timmins.

My flight was overbooked so they were offering an incentive to someone to give up their seat ... a $200 travel voucher and breakfast/lunch/supper/hotel room in Toronto because the flights after mine were overbooked. The next available flight wasn't until tomorrow.

Byron being Byron

Byron is in his spot ... his usual spot on the bed.

But this time, he is sleeping alongside the pillow.

He's funny because often he likes to sleep with his paws covering his eyes.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Parkdale pubbing

It was such a nice day (sunny and 21C) that Gord and I took a walk to Parkdale and hit a couple patios.

We went to the Cadillac Lounge.

One of the waiters was a singer in the band that was at Gord's last company Christmas party.

We ended up at the SkyYard at the Drake.

Tanya Kim and her party were behind us having fun! Though we talked with a friend of hers, Tanya ignored us. Oh well!

KC is stylin'

Because the weather was so cold last month, we held off getting KC groomed, figuring her fur would keep her warmer.

With the warm weather here, it was time. Today was her doggy spa day!

I took her for a walk first. Look how furry she was!

To south Stanley Park ...

Then I dropped her off at the doggy spa for three hours. She wasn't pleased!

She looks so much better now!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Different perspective

As I'm BBQing a burger for supper just now, I can see the CN Tower.

The same CN Tower I climbed this morning!

37 minutes, 46 seconds

I did the CN Tower Climb this morning.

I got there around 7:10 to check in. It was quite crowded!

Though I've never met her, I recognized my blog bud, Dawn, heading out to do the climb as I was in line. I called to her and we exchanged high-fives!

This was my last view of the Tower just before I went in to do the climb. Very overwhelming!

It was what I expected ... tough! I started the climb at 7:50:06 and was finished at 8:27:52.

There are 1776 steps and 144 floors. The floors were numbered so I knew exactly how much more I had to do. There was plenty of space to stop and rest, which I did.

When I got to the top, my first thought was "What the hell was I thinking!? I'm never doing that again!"

But once I caught my breath and walked around outside, I knew I'd do it again. It was a challenge and now I have a goal ... to beat this year's time.

It's best to go early. The worst part is the waiting and I was there fairly early ... a 20 minute wait to get registered (I got pulled out of the long line, though, at that point because I had done everything online), a 30 minute wait to get on the elevator to get back down, a 20 minute wait to get the teeshirt, etc.

When I was leaving, there was a HUGE line-up outside the Tower of people who hadn't even started it! About 5000 people are doing the climb today.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Arrabiata Resto Bar, Toronto, ON

I met the Boxing Babes for supper tonight.

We were supposed to meet at Living Well on Yonge Street. When I got there, I discovered that it's now Arrabiata Resto Bar. Trish was there already and we waited for everyone else to arrive.

Except they went to another restaurant because Living Well is no more. We eventually got it figured out and they met us there.

Trish, Jen and Susan

Shawna, Yvette and Teena

Shawna, Yvette, Teena, Trish, Jen and Susan

It was great to see everyone and catch up! And the pizzas were good!

Book ~ "A Welcome Grave" (2007) - Michael Koryta

From Goodreads ~ Once a rising star on the Cleveland police force, private investigator Lincoln Perry ended his career when he left one of the city's prominent attorneys, Alex Jefferson, bleeding in the parking lot of his country club - retribution for his affair with Perry's fiancée.

Now Jefferson is dead, the victim of a brutal murder, and his widow has called upon Perry for a favor he knows he shouldn't accept but can't turn down: to find Jefferson's estranged son, partial beneficiary of the dead man's fortune. The case is simple enough, a routine "locate," and he'll be paid plenty of money for the work. The encounter should be simple, too: a brief exchange of information and maybe an empty condolence before Perry gets back into his truck and returns home. Instead, he's loaded into a police car and taken to a rural jail while Jefferson's son is zipped into a body bag.

Perry soon learns that Jefferson's millions are the target of a thirst for revenge that hasn't been satisfied by blood. As a pair of deadly assailants push deep into the investigator's life, they bring with them police from two states who are determined to see Perry in jail.

This is the first novel I've read by Koryta and I enjoyed it.

Lincoln Perry is a likeable character. I liked the writing style. I wasn't all that crazy about Karen and hoped that she was involved in the crimes.

I'm looking forward to going back and reading first two books in the series.

Can you spot the kitties?

When I do laundry, I dump the clothes from the dryer onto the bed to fold.

It didn't take the boys long to get comfy!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

First sign of spring

Spring is here!

How do I know?

The patios are open!

Gord came home from work today with the great idea of having our first "patio beer" of the season.

We headed over to our closest pub, the Brazen Head.



Teena and Gord

The beer tasted goooooood!

Wild life of a kitty

Have you ever wondered what kitties do all day when you're not home?

My observation is ... not much.

Here are Morgan and Byron at 10:00 this morning.

I was gone for five hours.

Here they are at 3:00.

Basically Byron spun around and Morgan shifted.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Lazy boys

Byron learned last week to grab his spot right away.

Morgan and Byron

I learned to make the bed as soon as I get up before lazy kitties get into it!