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.


It seems like Twittering is all the rage.

I Twittered for a while last year ... but I found it to be way too time consuming updating my status and keeping track of everyone else.

So I stopped after a week or so.

There's an article in today's Toronto Star that our mayor, David Miller, Twitters.

Click here to peek at his Twitters. It's an interesting array of personal and work updates.

He "follows" other mayors.

Do you Twitter?

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Wrestler

I had a retirement planning lunch 'n learn to conduct today.

After that, I saw The Wrestler.

Back in the late '80s, Randy "The Ram" Robinson was a headlining professional wrestler. Now, twenty years later, he ekes out a living performing for handfuls of diehard wrestling fans in high school gyms and community centers around New Jersey. Estranged from his daughter and unable to sustain any real relationships, Randy lives for the thrill of the show and the adoration of his fans. However, a heart attack forces him into retirement. As his sense of identity starts to slip away, he begins to evaluate the state of his life--trying to reconnect with his daughter and striking up a blossoming romance with an exotic dancer who is ready to start a new life. Yet all this cannot compare to the allure of the ring and passion for his art, which threatens to pull Randy "The Ram" back into his world of wrestling.

I enjoyed this movie.

It was interesting to see the behind-the-scenes of wrestling ... I always suspected they were all pals. And the "choreographing" of the matches was cool.

I can't remember seeing Mickey Rourke in anything before. I thought he did a good job here. I was sympathetic to his character. A loser with a good heart trying to make things right.

Marisa Tomei plays an aging stripper. Man, she looks good!

Have you seen it?

Do Over Day Reminder

Just a reminder that today is the first ever Do Over Day!

So what would you do over?

Go on over to Do Over Day and post it.

How To Clean Stuff

I'm not really into cleaning but this site looks handy ... How to Clean Stuff!

One of the tips for cleaning your keyboard is to take off the keys and put them in the dishwasher. I think I'd rather go out and buy a new one. That sounds like too much hassle.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Rules of Thumb

I came across this interesting site tonight ... Rules of Thumb.

There are tons of helpful rules of thumb for just about everything!

For example, if you don't want a cat to jump into your lap, don't make eye contact with it. I don't think that would work with Morgan.

Computers and books sell for six times their manufacturing costs.

Go check it out!

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

Where did this come from??!!

I soaked in a vanilla-scented bath for a while and then had a shower after I got home from the gym.

This is what was waiting for me afterwards ...

Where did this come from??!!

Book ~ "War Brides" (2007) Melynda Jarratt

From Amazon ~ 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.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

What's Your True Body Type?

You Are an Endomorph

You have a rounder, softer body type. It's difficult for you to lose weight.

Endomorphs are known for being friendly, generous, and warm.

It's likely that you're a relaxed person who enjoys good times, good people, and good food.

You are warm and affectionate. You provide comfort to others and crave it for yourself.


Shelters fear flood of pets as times get tough

Sad story in today's Toronto Star:

With each factory that closed, each round of layoffs at the General Motors plant, more animals came in.

Many were simply abandoned, left in empty apartments after the tenants had been evicted. But in other cases – one or two a month – it was clear they had been surrendered for financial reasons, their owners unable to pay for food or veterinary bills, says Ruby Richards, manager of the Humane Society of Durham Region in Oshawa, a region hard hit by the manufacturing sector's steady decline.

With the added squeeze of the recession, more Durham residents are giving up pets to cut costs, Richards said. "We get calls from people who have lost their job, who are moving in with relatives and can't take their pets with them."

You can read the rest here.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I taught mail merge and some PowerPoint today and got out a bit early. Gord was meeting friends after work for supper so I saw Confessions of a Shopaholic.

In the glamorous world of New York City, Rebecca Bloomwood is a fun-loving girl who is really good at shopping--a little too good, perhaps. She dreams of working for her favorite fashion magazine, but can't quite get her foot in the door--until ironically, she snags a job as an advice columnist for a financial magazine published by the same company. As her dreams are finally coming true, she goes to ever more hilarious and extreme efforts to keep her past from ruining her future.

The movie was so-so, not great.

I've read and enjoyed most of the Shopaholic books (though Rebecca started getting annoying at the end of the series).

It's been a while since I've read the first book. The movie kinda sticks to the original story but not really. It seemed like a washed-out version of the book. Everyone has been Americanized except for Luke ... makes for broader appeal, I guess.

Isla Fisher was a good choice to play Rebecca. I didn't find Hugh Dancy manly enough to play Luke, though. And Kristin Scott Thomas playing French was just weird.

Would I recommend it? Not really. Save your $$ and wait 'til it comes out as a rental. Or better yet, on the movie channel.

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!

Colour Test

My pal, LeeAnn, pass this along to me ... The Colour Test!

Bet you can't get 100% on the first try!

This is pretty neat! See how you do with the colours! Have fun!

It takes an average of 5 tries to get to 100%. Follow the directions!

How did you do?

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!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Strolling home

After we saw He's Just Not That Into You, we started walking home.

We stopped in for a beer at the Cameron House.

Folk singers, Sue and Dwight, were playing. They apparently play there every Saturday.

We continued on and stopped at the Dog's Bollocks for a while. It's not a fancy place but you gotta love their $10 pitchers! And the bartender, Jessie, is a nice fella.

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!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Subconcious biases tests

I'm reading Ask for It and there is a reference to a website with various tests to determine our subconscious biases.

I did some.

Though they were interesting tests to do, I don't agree with the results except for the last one (the Canadian one).

Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Thin People compared to Fat People.

Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Straight People compared to Gay People.

Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Young compared to Old.

Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for White people compared to Black people.

Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for Canada compared to the United States.

Go check 'em out and let me know how you did. BTW, I didn't input any of the info they asked for.

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.

Your kid's homework

My pal, Liz, sent me this ...

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment.

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me ... selling a shovel.

Mrs. Harrington

Monday, 9 February 2009

What Girl Scout Cookie Are You?

You Are Peanut Butter Sandwiches / Do-si-dos

You are easy going and naturally happy. You don't need a lot to make you smile.

You genuinely care about people and are a great friend. You're always doing your best to make the world a better place.

Even though there isn't an immature bone in your body, you still are like a big kid sometimes.

Why make life complicated when the best parts are actually quite simple? You enjoy the small joys of life.

Last I heard, we can only get three flavours of Girl Guide cookies here in Canada: Chocolatey Mint Cookies and Chocolate & Vanilla Classic Cookies.

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.

Treadmill kitties

Maybe I should take Morgan and Byron to the gym next time ... especially Morgan cuz he's a tubby boy.

I'm a Cool Non-Nerd

I saw this over at Anne's ... says I'm a Cool Non-Nerd.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get geeky images and jokes, and talk to others on the nerd forum!

What kind of a nerd are you?

Friday, 6 February 2009

What Office Supply Are You?

You Are a Coffee Mug

You have loads of energy and stamina. You can zip through the most boring of tasks with complete enthusiasm.

You are also great at motivating a group. You are a fearless leader.

You are efficient and productive. You don't put off tasks or procrastinate. You actually enjoy working.

You would make a good small business owner or startup employee. If a job requires blood, sweat, and tears - then you have some to give.

Except for the procrastination part (I'm the queen of that!), it sounds like me!

How old are you?

Looking for something mindless to do?

Then check out How old are you?

I read about it in today's Toronto Star.

The object of the game is to look at the pictures and try to accurately guess their age. You can event submit your picture to find out how old people really think you look.

I've been waaaaaaaaaaay off in my guesses. How did you do?

Thursday, 5 February 2009

I ♥ Simon's cat

Angie posted this on Facebook today:

It reminded me of this one that I'd seen last year:

Morgan, who is an attention whore, is sooo like this kitty!

Get-a-Parking-Ticket-from-a-Cop-on-a-Horse Day

I conducted a training seminar this morning and had the afternoon off.

So I ran some errands ... library, pet store, dollar store, etc.

When I came out of the dollar store, there was a police officer on a horse giving out parking tickets in the parking lot. I assume it was to cars who weren't shopping in the dollar store but were parked in their lot (I didn't get one).

Thursdays must be Get-a-Parking-Ticket-from-a-Cop-on-a-Horse Day!

Remember Gord and I saw a taxi driver getting a parking ticket last Thursday evening from a police officer on a horse?

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

How Warm Are You?

You Are Very Warm

You are kind, caring, and empathetic. A lot of warm energy radiates from you.

And it's not an act - you truly like people. You get a charge from people being around you.

You are are easy going and very socially adaptable. You're willing to overlook peoples' quirks.

You enjoy meeting people from all walks of life and helping them if you can. Giving makes you feel good.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

What's Your Energy Level?

Your Energy Level is High

You are a very enthusiastic, productive person. You have no trouble getting anything done.

Beyond having a lot of energy, it's likely that your energy level tends to be quite steady.

Unlike people with very high energy, you don't tend to be impulsive.

By keeping your energy in check, you are able to use it as productively as possible.

Compensation of bank CEOs slashed

Royal Bank's Nixon forgoes $4.95 million bonus; BMO, Scotiabank execs forfeit pay, other rewards

The top executives at three of Canada's biggest banks are taking deep pay cuts after the financial crisis eroded profits and battered stocks.

Royal Bank of Canada's chief executive officer announced yesterday that he is voluntarily turning down nearly $5 million in 2008 compensation, while his counterpart at the Bank of Nova Scotia saw his pay package slashed by 20 per cent. Hours later, Bank of Montreal's CEO also decided to give up $4.1 million in rewards.

Poor fella! Turning down a $5 million bonus. However will he manage?!

Seriously, it's mind boggling how these guys get a bonus ... A BONUS ... of $5 million! Most people dream of winning $1 million on a lottery and these guys get five times this as a bonus plus their salaries.

Do you think they deserve it?

You can read the article in today's Toronto Star.

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

I was a Jerry fan

I used to be a Jerry Springer fan.

Years ago it was on at 10:00 on week nights.

It was a fun way to wind down before going to bed ... watching the antics of wackos.

I will admit I missed it when they put it on during the day instead.

It's on at 3:00pm now (it was first changed to 11am). I rarely watch it because of the time it's on.

But also because it seems like it's gotten worse. The situations are sillier. All they do is fight. Reverend Shnorr is such a dumb character.

What happened to the good ole days when women in the audience would fool poor unsuspecting Jerry into thinking they were going to ask a question of the guests but flash their boobs for "Jerry beads" instead?

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.