Friday 27 February 2009

Book ~ "Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice" (2008) Maureen McCormick

From ~ In Here's the Story, Maureen takes us behind the scenes of America's favorite television family, the Bradys. With poignancy and candor, she reveals the lifelong friendships, the hurtful jealousies, the offscreen romance, the loving support her television family provided during a life-or-death moment and the inconsolable loss of a man who had been a second father. But The Brady Bunch was only the beginning. Haunted by the perfection of her television alter ego, Maureen landed on the dark side, caught up in a fast-paced, drug-fueled, star-studded Hollywood existence that ultimately led to the biggest battle of her life.

Moving from drug dens on Wonderland Avenue to wild parties at the Playboy mansion and exotic escapades on the beaches of Hawaii, this candid, hard-hitting memoir exposes a side of a beloved pop-culture icon the paparazzi missed. Yet it is also a story of remarkable success. After kicking her drug habit, Maureen battled depression, reconnected with her mother, whom she nursed through the end of her life, and then found herself in a pitched battle for her family in which she ultimately triumphed.

There is no question: Maureen McCormick is a survivor. After fifty years, she has finally learned what it means to love the person you are, insight that has brought her peace in a happy marriage and as a mother. Here's the Story is the empowering, engaging, shocking, and emotional tale of Maureen McCormick's courageous struggle over adversity and her lifelong battle to come to terms with the idea of perfection—and herself.

I wasn't a fan of The Brady Bunch. In fact, I hated this show ... still do.

But I like reading about people. I'm nosy!

I caught some of the Celebrity Fit Club shows Maureen McCormick was on and she seemed nice enough.

Maureen has had quite a life! She had many relationships with some high profile stars (at least at the time, they were). Before finding God (and a husband), she was driven by drugs.

With a lot of work, she has gotten her life together for the most part.

It is an interesting read if you are into celebrity gossip. I didn't mind the writing style ... it's casual and friendly.

Sunday 22 February 2009

Nordic hiking

Gord and I went Nordic hiking today in High Park ... it was a Single Horizon's event.

I wasn't sure what to expect ... but I didn't think it was going to be such strenuous workout.

Here's Gord with the poles.

It's only as hard as you want to be. You push yourself forward with the poles. Apparently when you get good at it, you glide right than walking.

Our group:

Our instructors, Barb and Katarina with Chia Kitty:

Saturday 21 February 2009

Book ~ "War Brides" (2009) Melynda Jarratt

From Goodreads ~ For thousands of young British girls, the influx of Canadian soldiers conscripted to Britain during the Second World War meant throngs of handsome young men. The result was over 48,000 marriages to Canadian soldiers alone, and a mass emigration of British women to North America and around the world in the 1940s. 

For many brides, the decision to leave their family and home to move to a country thousands of miles away with a man they hardly knew brought forth ensuing happiness. For others, the outcome was much different, and the darker side of the story reveals the infidelity, domestic violence, poverty, alcoholism and divorce that many lived through. 

"War Brides" draws on original archival documents, personal correspondence, and key first hand accounts to tell the amazing story of the War Brides in their own words-and shows the love, passion, tragedy and spirit of adventure of thousand of British women.

Can you imagine quitting school at age 14 because you have to help support your family during World War II in London? A couple years later you meet a Canadian soldier at a dance or in a park and you get married (after much paperwork and permissions) within a week, a couple months or a year. You leave your parents and siblings (not knowing if you'll ever see them again) and follow your husband months later by ship (perhaps with a baby) to rural Canada where they may only speak French (you don't). You are used to having running water and electricity and live for the next 20+ years hauling water from the river and using an outhouse. Yet your 60+ year marriage is a happy one and you have no regrets and consider Canada home.

Hard to imagine!

This book is an interesting collection of more than 50 stories of Canada's war brides, set up geographically by province, along with pictures of most of the brides. Some of the stories are told by the brides themselves, others by children or grandchildren.

Definitely a book I'd recommend!

If you want to learn more about Canadian War Brides, you can go to the extensive website.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Fan and feather dish cloth

I finished a fan and feather pattern dish cloth tonight while watching Mr. Brooks:

Cotton yarn and size 4.5mm knitting needles

Cast on 42 stitches (or a multiple of 18 plus 6)

Knit 3 rows of garter stitch for the border

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: K 3, P to last 3 stitches K3

Row 6: K3, *(K2 tog) 3 times, (yo, K1) 6 times, (K2 tog) 3 times, rep from * to last 3 sts K3

Row 7: Knit

Repeat Rows 4 - 7, keeping first and last 3 stitches in garter stitch, until piece measures desired length

Knit 3 more rows of garter stitch to make the bottom border

Cast off and darn in ends

Monday 16 February 2009

Really Old-Fashioned Marinated Roast

A couple weeks ago there was a marinade for steak in the Toronto Star.

We thought it would be just as tasty for a roast beef.

Here's the marinade:

1/2 bottle of rich full-bodied red wine
2 T of sugar
6 whole cloves
1/2 t grated nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t orange zest
salt and pepper

Combine wine and sugar in a large pot and bring to boil; lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest, and remove pan from heat to cool. Put steaks in a large baking dish and pour marinade over them. Marinade steaks in the refrigerator for at least several hours and up to 3 days.

We had the roast marinading since Saturday. I put it in the crock pot this morning.

I had the au jus on the side for dipping. The different flavours were still there and were very delicious!

Sunday 15 February 2009

KC's feeling better

KC has had a hard week with the infection.

She didn't get out much ... just short walks and drives to the vets.

I took her for a stroll around the CAMH grounds this morning and she had a great time running around and sniffing.

She didn't have such a great time when we got home, though.

She hasn't had a bath in a while and needed one. She despises baths!

Friday 13 February 2009

KC update

Thanks for all the best wishes for KC.

We've been putting drops in her eye and giving her a pill ... and you can see that her eye is so much better!

Wednesday 11 February 2009

KC's eye ... er, tooth ... update

Gord took KC to the oncologist this morning.

He did a bunch of tests.

Apparently it's not her eye. Her back tooth is cracked and dead and that's what caused the infection.

The oncologist lanced it and squeezed infection out. Yuk!

But the swelling is gone and it's not full of puss anymore. Yay!

She's going to be on meds for a while.

And we have to have her two back teeth pulled.

It looks gross, I know, but sooooo much better.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Update on KC

KC's eye hasn't gotten better from the shots the vet gave her yesterday.

Here she is this evening:

I took her to the vet after work today so he could check her out.

He has no idea what's wrong.

He checked the pressure on her eye and it's high. He suspects glaucoma.

He gave me some drops. Plus he wants us to take her to an oncologist ... Gord is taking her first thing this morning.

Other than her eye, she seems to be fine. She's eating and active. In fact, after we went to the vet, we spent a half hour at the park.

Monday 9 February 2009

Poor KC

KC has had chronic eye problems the last couple years. She's almost 14 and her ducts don't produce tears anymore. I have to put ointment in her eyes in the morning and night and fake teardrops during the day.

Her eye hasn't been perfect but I've managed to stay on top of it.

I met Gord after work and we walked home together.

We were shocked and concerned to see KC's eye when we got in. Otherwise she seems fine.

I called the animal hospital right away and, though they were fully booked, we were able to get in.

The vet doesn't know what's wrong but gave KC a couple shots. Hopefully they will kick in soon.

I have to bring KC back in tomorrow so he can check her eye again.

Sunday 8 February 2009

Book ~ "The New Retirement" (2008) Sherry Cooper

From Amazon ~ In The New Retirement, global economic strategist Sherry Cooper explains that the boomer generation will be reaching traditional retirement age very soon and the enormous wave of boomer retirees will crest in 2025. This phenomenon will profoundly affect the labour markets, the economy and financial markets for decades. But will boomers retire the way their parents did? Will they work longer and transition gradually into semi-retirement? Cooper tells us that boomers will redefine retirement with great energy and creativity, working well beyond age 65 and mostly by choice. With the dramatic rise in their longevity, healthy goal-driven boomers will seek purposeful leisure focusing on regeneration, rejuvenation and low-stress contributions to society and their own personal wealth. Follow Cooper through her own journey to discover the route to financial security in this engaging and insightful read. Learn how the new retirement is about living well while achieving both monetary security and your personal goals. The New Retirement is an indispensable roadmap to the best years of your life.

I was expecting this to be more of a financial planning book. That would have interested me ... but as it turned out it wasn't.

Instead it was more about demographics (which I find interesting) and how the boomers are redefining retirement with our behavior and lifestyle. Our retirement isn't going to be like our parents or grandparents. We will work later in life because we want to, for example.

The book also takes a holistic look at retirement in urging us to be healthy both physically and mentally today as it will benefit us in having a longer healthy retirement.

It's not a heavy duty read which you'd expect a book about retirement to be. It's worth checking out.

Saturday 7 February 2009

Supper tourtière

Remember when Gord made a tourtière for supper New Year's Eve?

He made some extra meat mixture and froze it.

We bought a pie crust today for it and had it for supper tonight.


Gord always puts a message on his tourtières. What does the 2388 mean? The number of days we've been married.

Monday 2 February 2009

Book ~ "Fat, Forty and Fired" (2007) Nigel Marsh

From Fat, Forty and Fired: Nigel Marsh is a stressed, overweight mortgage slave struggling to balance a high-pressured career, a marriage and the demands of four children under eight. Then the unthinkable happens - he loses his job. After the initial shock (and some unpleasant surgery), Nigel decides to embrace life outside the office and spend a year taking stock. What follows is a candid and often hilarious account of how he attempts to master the art of hands-on parenting, lose 20 kilos, train for an ocean swimming race and come to terms with the growing realisation that he's an alcoholic. Along the way we discover what men (or this man) really think about sex in marriage, being good dads, work, love, football, family, religion, self-help books and sharks, just for starters. Fat, Forty and Fired is a rare gem, a highly entertaining, thought-provoking and inspiring memoir about falling off the hamster wheel and surviving.

The title of this book is what drew me to it ... how could it not be an interesting read?

I enjoyed Nigel's writing style. It was funny, yet very honest at times ... especially when he was discussing his alcoholism, his religion and the relationship he has/had with is parents.

We all want to take a year (or more) off to find ourselves ... and that's what Nigel was lucky enough to be able to do.

If you come across this book, it is worth reading!

Sunday 1 February 2009

Kitty snooze

Gord went home after working out about ten minutes before me.

When I walked in the door at home, he shushed me and told me to check out the bed.

I knew there had to be a cute kitty in there (though I was expecting Byron) so grabbed my camera on the way.

And there was Morgan snuggled into the blankets with the sun beating down on him.

The bed rule here is whoever gets out of bed last has to make the bed. This morning that was Gord ... but alas, he didn't get around to making the bed. I don't think Morgan minded.