Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Celebrating Gord's birthday

Gord and I celebrated his birthday today by going to the Elmwood Spa.

We hung out in the hot tub ... then the pool ... then the hot tub ... then had a couples massage (Rich focused on my back and arms) ... then went back to the hot tub. Yes!

We ended up at Smokeless Joe's and I treated Gord to some Deus Brut des Flandres ... a champagne-style beer that was $51.25 for a 750ml bottle and is 11.5% (it's the second on this list).

Here's Eddie, our bartender, getting ready to pour it for us.

It's poured into a champagne flute.

It was tasty. Had I been blindfolded, I never would have known that it was beer. It felt like champagne but didn't taste like it. It was a different taste ... but good.

Chia Kitty liked it too!

Happy birthday, Gord!

It's Gord's birthday today!
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Monday, 30 March 2009

Book ~ "Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity" (2008) Kerry Cohen

From Powell's Books ~ Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen's memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction — not just to sex, but to male attention — Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. It didn't matter who he was. It was their movement that mattered, their being together. And for a while, that was enough.

Kerry Cohen's journey from that hopeless place to her current confident and fulfilled existence is a cautionary tale and a revelation for girls young and old. The unforgettable memoir of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.

This sounded like an interesting story.

But as one of the reviews I just read said, it's basically a "laundry list" of all the guys she slept with, some she can't remember their name, while looking for someone to love her. She uses guys and allows herself to be used by them.

She knows there's something wrong and even sees a therapist. But instead of trying to fix herself, she keeps on with her destructive behaviour. She eventually marries and still feels the urge to screw around.

I found her sad and pathetic and not likeable at all. Sad to say but I didn't feel bad for her.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


It's been a productive day.

I woke up early this morning and headed to the gym. Whoohoo! I hadn't been in a while ... lazy, busy, not interested ... whatever.

Gord had a fencing tournament in Newmarket today. He came home with a silver medal. Yay Gord!

While Gord was gone, I did my taxes. This is my first year as self-employed so it was a different approach. We have QuickTax which makes it a lot easier ... I let it walk me through the steps. I owe lots of money ... but I expected to since I'm responsible for my own taxes, CPP and EI. Plus I have to pay the GST I've charged. Don't worry, I've been putting money away every month. I have to file by the end of April. Since I owe, there's no rush in getting it in until closer to the deadline. I'll take another look at it in a couple weeks to make sure it's okay.

It was pouring rain all day ... then the sun came out just as I was finishing my tax return. Excellent! KC and I had a couple good walks (she doesn't like the rain) after that.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Saturday walkabout

It was a gorgeous day today ... 10C and sunny.

After running errands, Gord and I went for a stroll in our 'hood.

We had lunch at the Levack Block on Ossington. My BLT with roasted potatoes was only $7! Lotsa food!

Walking up Ossington, we came across a store that had way too many Barbies!
We stopped at the Dakota Tavern. The Kensington Hillbillies were playing old time country tunes.

I made wings for supper using a recipe I found in this week's Toronto Star. The sauce was good but didn't thicken like it was supposed to. And I like a crispy wing. But I'd try it again.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Spring is here!

I walked home after the movie.

It was gorgeous ... sunny and 10C.

How do I know that spring is here?

The skating rink at City Hall is melting ...

and the patio at the Black Bull was packed!

Movie ~ I Love You, Man

I had a dentist appointment this morning for a cleaning.

After that, I saw I Love You, Man.

From Toronto.com ~ A successful real estate agent who upon getting engaged to the woman of his dreams, Zooey, discovers, to his dismay and chagrin, that he has no male friend close enough to serve as his best man. Peter immediately sets out to rectify the situation, embarking on a series of bizarre and awkward "man-dates," before meeting Sydney Fife, a charming opinionated man with whom he instantly bonds. But the closer the two men get, the more Peter's relationship with Zooey suffers, ultimately forcing him to choose between his fiancee and his new found "bro," in a story that comically explores what it truly means to be a friend. (Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons)

I'd been wanting to see this since I saw the preview.

I saw it in a HUGE theatre at the AMC and there were just five of us at the 1pm showing.

I like Paul Rudd. And I must say that I liked Jason Segel in it even though I hated Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

It's a really funny movie. I enjoyed it. Go see it!

Puppy found in condo dumpster

Charlie gets a second chance at life

Whimpering and cries alerted a janitor to the presence of a 4-month-old puppy in the indoor dumpster of a luxury Willowdale condominium yesterday.

The janitor heard the pup as he was putting garbage into a bin inside the building at 23 Lorraine Dr., in the Yonge St. and Finch Ave. W. area, around 7:40 a.m.

He found the frightened, but uninjured, pup inside a box wrapped in a plastic bag. The janitor gave the dog some water and called police.

Someone, presumably the owner of the two-kilogram black and white Lhasa Apso, had tied a plastic bag around a box holding the pup and tossed it into the trash.

You can read the rest of the story in today's Toronto Star.

How could someone throw a defenseless puppy in the garbage?!?!

I hope when they find this person they'll do the same to him/her!

Such a cute puppy ... they will have no problem finding a happy forever home for him.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) Designation

In 1994, I wrote and passed the Pension Plans and Other Retirement Income Programs exam and Government-Sponsored Benefits exam. They are components of the CEBS program.

I had one more, the Asset Management exam, to pass to get my Retirement Plans Associate designation.

Over the years I'd even bought the books but it didn't look like fun so I kept putting it off. It's bugged me, though, that I haven't written it and closed that loop.

My pal, Liz, wrote and passed it in the fall. That got me spurred to get it done this spring.

I'd written and passed the Canadian Securities Course (CSC) in 1993. This would have been much the same material and I wasn't looking forward to it.

The writing of the exam is only offered twice a year ... June and December. I was on their site a couple weeks ago to register for the June exam and discovered that I could get a credit for the Asset Management exam since I have passed my CSC exam.

Whoo freakin' hoo!

I sent in the form along with a copy of my CSC certificate and $75 ... and have been granted my Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) designation.

You can't imagine my relief!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Who are these A-holes?!

Extremely tasteless and ignorant considering four of our soldiers were killed in Afghanistan a couple days ago.

Here's a list of our Afghanistan casualties.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Book ~ "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Law of Attraction" (2008) Diane Ahlquist

From Amazon ~ In The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Law of Attraction, readers learn exactly how to be their own best friend—and avoid being their own worst enemy. The secret lies in translating thoughts into positive energy that can transform life. Every person can take real, concrete actions to get the results they want in every aspect of life. Concrete, practical strategies for applying the Law of Attraction to your health, relationships, and career.

I find the whole concept of laws of attraction fascinating, whether it's true or not.

I read The Secret a couple years ago and this book is based on similar principles except it explains it all very simply.

I was driving up the Don Valley Parkway on Friday morning. Usually it's jammed and I get stuck in traffic starting at Eglinton. I kept thinking "clear highway" ... and I didn't have to slow down once. Thinking "no traffic" would have been wrong since "traffic" is what would have been "heard" and I would have been given lots of traffic. When I got to the parking lot at work, I wanted a close spot and the best one was open.

Does it work? Coincidence? Or was it because it was March Break there were less cars on the road?

What do you think about the law of attraction?

And we have light

After the play, we stopped at Canadian Tire for a replacement BBQ grill.

I also picked up some rope lights for our terrace.

I had three colours to choose from:

- Icy Cool White
- Clean & Crisp Pure White
- Warm White

I picked warm white.

I put them up when we got home. I just turned them on when Gord took KC for a walk.

His reaction was the same as mine ... they are yellow.

But at least both sets are yellow.

"Married Alive", Stage West, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw Married Alive! at Stage West today.

Married Alive! is a new musical revue that celebrates marital bliss and blisters. Focusing on two couples, Erin and Paul, a pair of wide-eyed newlyweds, and Ron and Diane, more experienced “oldyweds”, the show touches affectionately on the adventure from these two vantage points. Married Alive! uses a variety of musical and dramatic styles to spin and have fun with various moments of the two couples we can relate to. From babies to empty nests, from stress to bliss, this musical takes a funny, yet affectionate look at married life, from Niagara to Viagra!

The Toronto Star only gave it one out of four stars so I wasn't expecting much. My friend, Franca saw it, though, and said it was funny.

And it wasn't too bad. There were some so-so moments but also some funny ones.

The two female leads had been in Boeing, Boeing, which we hadn't liked. Sweeney MacArthur was the husband in the older couple and he was funny. Jamie McKnight, the husband in the younger couple, was good too.

As usual, I ate too much.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Happy anniversary, Angie!

It's been 20 years since Angie moved to Toronto from Truro, NS.

We gathered at the Big Ragu to celebrate.

Angie and Amanda got there just ahead of me. There they are at the entrance.

Our waitress was Vanessa. Here she is with Chia Kitty.

Here's Angie, Amanda and Vitra.

My pal (and former neighbour), Monica and I.

Here's Andrea (I hadn't see her in years!) and Anita.

Here's Monica, me and Rosa.

And here's our table ... Monica, me, Rosa, Diane (she's camera shy), Andrea, Anita, Angie, Amanda and Vitra.

I met Angie in the spring of 2001. She had just started a women's social group called Girls Night Out Club and I joined. Angie organizes us every month or so to do something fun!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Soap for cramps?

When Gord stayed at his folks' place past weekend, he found a bar of soap in the bed (his mom sometimes sleeps in the spare room).

He assumed it was to make the bed smell nice.

He was talking to his mom today and she said the soap relieves cramps in her toes.


Gord and I both scoffed when we talked about it on the way home.

I just Googled apparently his mom's not the only one who does this. Soap helps leg cramps.

What do you think?

Wheat Sheaf, Toronto, ON

I taught Excel Formulas downtown today for the company training company I work for.

Then I met Gord after work and we walked home.

We stopped at the Wheat Sheaf, one of Toronto's oldest pubs, for a couple beer and supper on the patio.

It was packed!

And there was a line-up when we left.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Heading to the beach

It was such a nice day (sunny and 9C) so KC and I headed to the beach.

Because Gord took the car to Kingston yesterday, KC and I took the Queen streetcar.

KC hates riding in the car but doesn't mind the streetcar. She's only been on it a handful of times, just in the last year.

We got off just east of Humber Bay Bridge and walked east along the boardwalk. There were lots of people out and about with their dogs.

We hadn't been to the beach since the fall so there was lots for KC to sniff.

Seeing people playing beach volleyball gives me hope that spring is indeed around the corner.

We walked to the Palais Royale and crossed the bridge over the Gardiner before grabbing the Queen streetcar home.

Looks like KC had a good walk ... she's been snoozing since we got home.

Bootcamp class

Angie has signed up for bootcamp in her 'hood that starts next month. Sounds good to me but I'd rather something closer to home.

Crossfit Gyms, which is a couple blocks from home, has bootcamp classes and I checked the intro one out this morning.

Here's what crossfit looks like:

There were just two of us in the class and Dhani, the training director, took care of us.

It was an interesting and intense workout and I enjoyed it.

If you want to check out Crossfit Gyms, the first couple of classes are free so you can see if you like it.

Looks like the boys had a busy time while I was gone ... they were snoozing in bed when I got home.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Book ~ "A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby" (2008) Jana Kohl

From Amazon ~ A tale of hope, courage, and the amazing journey of one special dog.

When you meet Baby, the first thing you notice is her limp. She only has three legs, you see -- she lost one following years of mistreatment at a puppy mill. But spend a little more time with Baby and her irrepressible "Ma," Jana Kohl, and you'll hear the story of how this gentle creature has gone from puppy-mill victim to celebrity "spokesdog" -- hobnobbing with celebrities, lobbying politicians, and inspiring an entire movement to end the kind of animal abuse she suffered for so many years.

Several years ago, Jana decided she wanted to buy a toy poodle. But the nightmarish conditions she was confronted with at a breeder's farm -- hundreds of dogs confined to small, dirty cages for their entire lives until they were killed for the crime of being too old to produce puppies -- opened her eyes to abuses in the world of commercial breeding. There are thousands of puppy mills all across the United States, and most of those cute little puppies in pet store windows are products of such nightmarish places. Jana knew this was a wrong she couldn't ignore.

Her first step was to adopt a rescued adult dog instead of buying a puppy from a commercial breeder. And that's how she found Baby, a roughly nine-year-old poodle who had been locked in a cage. But Jana's mission didn't stop there. Soon, Jana and Baby (whose sweet face and three-legged hobble attract attention wherever she goes) found themselves speaking to groups about the terrible conditions at many breeders' farms and urging politicians to change the lax laws that regulate this industry. Today, Baby is the unofficial spokesdog for the Humane Society of the United States on the topic of puppy mills, and she and Jana travel around the country lobbying for reform on this important issue.

A Rare Breed of Love contains more than sixty photographs of Baby with many of her high-profile fans, from Barack Obama to Judge Judy to Patti LaBelle, as well as original essays from luminaries such as Alice Walker and Gloria Steinem about the special love we all have for the pets in our lives. In this heartbreaking, compelling, and ultimately heartwarming book, Jana Kohl and Baby offer practical advice on what each of us can do to raise awareness, make a difference, and stop animal suffering everywhere.

You know how much I love animals! So I tend to read a lot of books about dogs and cats. So that's what attracted me to this book.

Baby was a breeder dog. She didn't even have a name ... she had "94" tattooed in her ear which served as her "expiry date", which had arrived. Thankfully she found a good home with the author who is now campaigning to raise awareness of puppy mills.

This is Baby today. What an amazing dog!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Book ~ "Foods Pets Die For" (2008) Ann N. Martin

From Chapters.ca ~ The commercial pet food industry has a secret to hide and Ann Martin wants to make sure you know it. Her research reveals some startling facts: that the pet food industry conducts animal testing in order to improve their product, and includes euthanized cats and dogs in the mix to heighten protein content. In this revised and updated edition, Martin continues to explore the shocking processes by which commercial pet foods are produced. She offers alternative recipes for feeding pets, nutritional advice, and an exploration of "Pet Peeves," in which she explores several scams aimed at pet owners. This groundbreaking book gives us a glimpse into exactly what we are doing when we buy pet food.

If you have a pet, you should read this book.

It talks about what is in pet foods. If you are feeding your pet food that has meat meal in it, you are feeding your pet the carcasses of dead cats and dogs. How ghastly is that?!

If you want to avoid feeding your pets processed food, there are lots of recipes you can make at home.

Book ~ "The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die" (2008) John B. Izzo

From Chapters ~ What are the secrets to finding happiness? Why do some people live well and die happy? John Izzo asked thousands of people to identify the wisest person they knew. "The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die" shares what he learned from over 200 people aged 60-106 whom others said had found the meaning in life. From town barbers to Holocaust survivors, from aboriginal chiefs to CEOs, these people had over 18,000 years of life experience. With warmth and wit, this book shares the "Five Secrets" to a happy and purpose-filled life which Izzo distilled from listening to these stories. Dr. Izzo also shows the reader how to put these secrets into practice in our lives. This book will make you laugh, bring you to tears and inspire you to discover what matters long before you die. Based on a highly acclaimed TV series appearing on public television, this book takes the reader on a heart-warming and profound journey to find lasting happiness.

A nice book. A good reminder of how we should be living.

In case you're wondering, the five secrets are:

1. Be true to yourself
2. Leave no regrets
3. Become love
4. Live the moment
5. Give more than you take

Read the book to get the details.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Being a loving person

I'm still reading about the third secret in The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die - "becoming love".

One of the stories struck me.

It's told by a woman whose parents had come to visit her. On the flight home, her mom had a heart attack and died. The woman flew home for the funeral.

The funeral home was full of people who had shared her mother's life. There was a woman sitting alone in a corner who no one knew.

The daughter approached her and asked her who she was and how she knew her mother.

The woman said that she didn't know her mother. But many years ago, she was going through a difficult time and had considered suicide. She was riding on a bus one day and was sitting next to a woman who was reading a book. The woman put the book down and said "You look like a woman who needs to talk." And they did. By the time the woman got home, she had made a different decision ... and that decision had affected not only her life but the lives of many others.

She didn't know who the woman was but recognized her picture in the paper along with her obituary. She wanted to honour the woman whose 20 minutes had saved her life.

Is that a powerful story or what?!

Monday, 9 March 2009

I choose to plant flowers

I'm reading The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die.

The third secret is "become love" ... basically being a loving person.

In one on the interviews, Lee who is 78, talks about how we hypnotize ourselves with a toxic view of the self.

But though our thoughts, we also have the power to dehypnotize ourselves by choosing to plant flowers or to plant weeds.

I thought this was a great analogy!

I choose to plant flowers.

How about you?