Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mellowing with age?

Anyone who knows KC knows that she's not a very friendly dog (though she is with me and Gord and a couple others that she knows well).

And she's never been a huggy-buggy dog.

I'm sitting on the couch, with my laptop on my lap on a pillow. Gord is at the other end of the couch.

KC wanted up next to me, something she has just started doing in the last six months or so.

So I invited her up and here she is now ... yes, with her head on a pillow.



How cute is that?!

Desktop background

Tammy is showing off her desktop background ... and wants to see mine. Byron is on mine!

What's on yours?

Book ~ "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" (2001) Don Miguel Ruiz

From Amazon.com ~ Sit at the foot of a native elder and listen as great wisdom of days long past is passed down. In The Four Agreements shamanic teacher and healer Don Miguel Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. Full of grace and simple truth, this handsomely designed book makes a lovely gift for anyone making an elementary change in life, and it reads in a voice that you would expect from an indigenous shaman. The four agreements are these: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best. It's the how and why one should do these things that make The Four Agreements worth reading and remembering.

I read about this book on B's blog a couple weeks ago.

It's fairly religious at times (I'm not) but I liked the concepts. There are four agreements:

Be impeccable with your word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don't take anything personally.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Don't make assumptions.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Always do your best.
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as apposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Friday, May 30, 2008

George Thorogood, Massey Hall, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw George Thorogood in concert tonight at Massey Hall.

It was a sold-out concert and George rocked!

I've been a huge fan of his for years. The first time I saw him was in Halifax in the early 1980s. Johnny Winter had opened for him.

The demographics of the audience was interesting. Mostly older people (like Gord and I!) but lots of younger people too. Halfway through the concert, I caught a whiff of weed behind us ... quite ballsy considering it is an indoor venue.

Gord and I both got teeshirts. Here's Gord's:

front
back

Nice legs

The boys have their own favourite spots to sleep.

Morgan likes sleeping on one of the dining room chairs.


Byron likes sleeping on a blanket on the back of the couch.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wanna know more about me?

I saw this over at A Spot of T's ...

What were you doing ten years ago?
I was working a contract marketing position with a large life insurance company in their group retirement department. I was living alone in an apartment in High Park. I was a month away from being legally divorced. I was taking an improv course at Second City.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
1. Laundry
2. Wait for the cable guy to come by (we were having Internet problems yesterday)
3. Conduct an retirement/investment seminar
4. Finish reading Bad Monkeys
5. Blog

What are some snacks you enjoy?
Popcorn, pretzels and tortilla chips

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
I like my life as it is ... so probably the only that would change would be that I wouldn't have to worry about working. But I don't need billions ... $5 million would be enough!

What are five places where you have lived?
I've moved around a lot so here are the the last five places I've lived:

1. Toronto, ON
2. Antigonish, NS
3. Sydney, NS
4. Glace Bay, NS
5. Baddeck, NS

What are five jobs you have had?
Here are my last five jobs:

1. Freelancer (trainer/presenter, PowerPoint presentation designer and copywriter) ~ current
2. Manager, Client Communications, with a group retirement plan provider
3. Education Specialist, Group Retirement Services, with a large insurance company
4. Program Manager, Retirement Employee Education, with a large mutual fund company
5. Product Scriptwriter, Product Design, with a company providing interactive telephone products

What were the last five books you read?
1. Bad Monkeys - Matt Ruff
2. Sorrow's Anthem - Michael Koryta
3. Red, White and Drunk All Over - Natalie MacLean
4. The Dirt on Clean - Katherine Ashenburg
5. Tonight I Said Good Bye - Michael Koryta

What are five web sites you visit daily (in no particular order)?
1. Facebook
2. It's all about me!
3. Yahoo mail
4. Single Horizons
5. Blog buds

Book ~ "Bad Monkeys" (2007) Matt Ruff

From www.bymattruff.com ~ In a holding cell in the psychiatric wing of a prison, a psychologist is interviewing inmate, Jane Charlotte. She’s been charged with homicide. Although she does not deny it, she weaves an outrageous story about the circumstances surrounding the murder. She claims to be working for a secret organization devoted to fighting evil with an array of fantastical weapons, including a gun that, depending on the setting, can induce a heart attack, a stroke, or a coma. Jane details her initial contact with the organization when she was a teenager, her “lost years” as a homeless drug addict, and her eventual work for the division dubbed Bad Monkeys, which targets and eliminates “irredeemable persons.”

A different kind of book than I usually read but it sounded interesting.

For the most part, I enjoyed the writing style. It was farfetched (at times too much) but I stuck with it to the end.

If you are into science fiction, you may enjoy it. I'm not really and I was looking forward to it to end.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My crop update

We've been having some cooler weather lately. Hard to believe it's the end of May!

My plants that we got a couple weeks ago have been doing well.


The peppers are flowering and the patio tomato plant has tomatoes starting to ripen. Whoohoo!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Good-bye and good luck, Beata!

Boxing Babe Beata is moving to Winnipeg on Friday to do her Ph.D. (a four year program).

So we got together tonight at the new Jack Astors at Yonge/Dundas E to say good-bye!

Shawna, Jen, Beata, Teena, Susan and Trish

Shawna had to leave to go study for an accounting exam (good luck, Shawna!). Then Yvette arrived.

Jen, Teena, Yvette, Susan, Beata and Trish

Yvette, Teena, Beata and Trish

The views from the patio (it was too cold to sit out there!).

Looking west on Yonge/Dundas

Looking southwest at the Eaton Centre

Monday, May 26, 2008

Toronto Blue Jays 7, Kansas City Royals 2

The Blue Jays played an afternoon game (12:35pm) today and Gord and I went. We sat up in the fifth level in the cheap seats ($9 each).

Here's the northwest entrance to the Rogers Centre, where the Jays play.

Here are the Jays in action, running to first and third base:


It's Kansas City's turn at bat:

The Jays won! Yay! They celebrate after the game!


We had supper afterwards at Saint Louis next to the Rogers Centre. Do you think Gord is excited about the win?!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Book ~ "Sorrow's Anthem" (2007) Michael Koryta

From Amazon.com ~ Cleveland PI Lincoln Perry, haunted by the circumstances that led to his estrangement from his best friend, Ed Gradduk, clutches at an opportunity for redemption on learning that Gradduk is a fugitive from the law, suspected of arson and murder. Perry's hopes of repairing their relationship are dashed after his childhood confidant dies in an accident. As a result, Perry shifts his mission to clearing the dead man's name. Perry, aided by his partner, follows a winding trail of dirty cops and multiple suspicious fires toward the truth.

This is the second book in the Lincoln Perry series.

I enjoyed this book, as I did the first and third one. We learn more about Lincoln and his relationship with his dad.

I like the writing style and cared about the characters.

Doors Open: Gladstone Hotel

The second place we checked out on Doors Open was the Gladstone Hotel, which is also in our 'hood.

Some history about the Gladstone:

* The Gladstone Hotel is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Toronto.
* The Gladstone was originally built in 1889 as a stylish hostelry across from the then existing Parkdale railroad station which serviced the Grand Trunk, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and the Canadian National Railway (CNR) companies.
* The original owner, Susanna Robinson, was a widow who operated and lived at the hotel with her 13 children. In fact, the hotel as always been operated as a family enterprise and continues to do so today under current ownership of the Zeidler family.
* The Gladstone was one of the first ten hotels in Ontario to receive permission to allow patrons to drink and play shuffleboard in a licensed alcoholic area.
* At one time the Gladstone Hotel was the last place to obtain hard liquor before reaching The City of Hamilton.

Gord on the balcony on the second floor (overlooking Queen Street W)


There are 37 artist designed themed rooms ... here are the ones that we could get into:

Faux Naturelle


Skygazer


The Billio Room


Even our guide, Gladstone Cowboy Hank, has a room ... that's him on the pillowcases and wallpaper!



Here's the view from the Tower Suite ...

East


South


West


Gord and our guide, Gladstone Cowboy Hank, in the Tower Suite


Excellent tour! We did it four years ago before they started their renovation and so much has changed!

We had a couple Steam Whistle in the Melody Bar after the tour.


Hank stopped by and chatted with us for a while. He gave us his CD of old-time country songs.

Here's the Gladstone Hotel ... and there's Gord standing in the window of the Melody Bar!

Doors Open: CAMH's historic wall

Doors Open was this weekend and Gord and I did two events today.

We checked out the CAMH's (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, formerly the Provincial Asylum) historic wall tour since it is in our 'hood. I take KC for walks there all the time.

The CAMH used to be 150 acres ... it's now 27 acres. It is surrounded by tall brick walls on the east, west and south sides. The north side's walls were knocked down in the 1970s. They were built by the patients in the 1860s. The theory was that it was part of therapeutic therapy. But basically it was free labour!

Part of the east wall

The patients left their marks on the bricks


Our guide, Dr. Geoffrey Reaume, at the south wall


Bricks on one of the only two original buildings, the cooper building, carved by a patient that says "born to be murdered"


A patient's name



It was a really interesting tour. Geoffrey put a lot of heart into it with his stories of patients who had been there for more than 50 years.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Niagara Falls

After we left Magnotta Wineries, we headed to Niagara Falls for almost six hours.

Gord and I hit the roulette tables first and both lost $100. But we had fun!

Then we went down to the Falls. Here's the Canadian side:


Gord in front of the Canadian Falls


Teena in front of the Canadian Falls


The American side


We headed to the SkyWheel after that.


The SkyWheel

You are in a gondola for 10 minutes and it goes as high as 175 feet. I was really really scared for the first revolution but was fine after that.

We could see a lot of cars in line to get back to Canada from the States on the Rainbow Bridge. No line-ups to get into the States, though.


A view of both of the Falls


Looking down from the top

Looking towards the Fallsview Casino, that took our $$!


The gondolas


Looking up afterwards

Teena in front of the gondolas

Gord in front of the gondolas

We had supper at Hooters before heading back to catch our bus