Monday 31 August 2009

Sunday 30 August 2009

Veterans Fencers Benefits BBQ

Gaby, a fella Gord fences with, organized a BBQ for this afternoon at his home in Markham.

It was to raise $$ for the Commonwealth Veteran Fencing Championships.

There were lots of fencers there along with friends of Gaby's.

Here are the fencers, including Gord (wearing the hat in the back). Some had been in Jersey with him.

We stayed for a couple hours.

Saturday 29 August 2009

Steam Whistle Brewing tour

Gord won a VIP tour at Steam Whistle Brewing last year from the Great Canadian Pubs and Beer blog.

We did the tour this afternoon ... there was Gord and I, Liz, Shawna, Ian, Dave and Roger. Shawna and Liz are my friends ... Ian, Dave, Roger and Gord work together.

They started off by giving us big glasses of beer (along with refills!).

Then Jen took us for the tour. Here's Gord and Jen ...

Part of Gord's prize had been the Steam Whistle teeshirt he was wearing (along with a whistle which he thankfully took to work!).

Here we are ... me, Liz, Ian, Gord, Shawna, Roger and Dave.

A dress made of bottle caps is stylish but I bet it wouldn't be comfortable!

A big ball of beer cans!

Steam Whistle is housed in the historic Roundhouse property downtown. We walked through the offices too ... it's cool because there aren't any offices or cubicles. Everyone, including the owners, all sit together with no dividers.

There were lots of Steam Whistle bottles waiting to be filled ...

And then put in cases ...

Here's Roger next to the bottle washer ...

There were lots of tallboys waiting to be filled ...

The whistle to end the shift was fun so some of us gave it a pull. Here's Gord ...

Here's me ... it's surprising a bit hard to pull ...

And Shawna gave it a go ...

After the tour, we had lots more beer and yummy pizza.

They sent each of us home with a souvenir bag which contained a glass, some coasters and a bottle opener. Here's mine and Gord's.

Definitely an interesting tour and a fun time.

Friday 28 August 2009

Corn Fritters

Gord's had it in his head for a while to make corn fritters. Neither of us had had them before.

He found a healthy recipe for them on Weight Watchers and made them tonight.

I was expecting them to look like an apple fritter from Tim Hortons ...

But they didn't.

Here they are ... they looked like they were supposed to.

I'd put ribs in the crockpot with BBQ sauce this morning and let them cook all day. It was delicious supper!

Here's the recipe for the corn fritters:

Points Value: 2
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 12 min
Cooking Time: 24 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

2 large eggs, separated
4 medium corn on the cob, kernels removed with a knife (or you can use thawed frozen corn)
1 medium sweet red peppers, diced the size of corn kernels
1/3 cups scallions, diced
1/2 tsp table salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or more to taste
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 sprays cooking spray, butter-flavoured

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not glossy; set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add corn, red pepper, scallions, salt, black pepper and flour; thoroughly combine and then fold in egg whites.

Coat skillet with cooking spray and warm over high heat; when skillet is hot, reduce heat to medium. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter onto skillet to make each fritter. (Do not press fritters down with your spatula since they are meant to be fluffy.) Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes; carefully flip and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove cooked fritters to a serving plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat until all batter is used and then serve immediately. Yields about 4 fritters per serving.

Book ~ "Double Standards" (1984) Judith McNaught

From Amazon ~ Nick Sinclair, the ruggedly handsome president of Global Industries, handled his business the way he handled his women -- with charm, daring and ruthless self-control. A man used to the very best, Nick hired Lauren Danner and assumed the proud beauty would soon be another easy conquest. But Lauren's flashing wit and rare spirit dazzled him; slowly, against his will, he was intrigued, challenged -- and in love. Yet Lauren was living a lie, a charade that became more dangerous with every passing moment. Her secret could destroy Nick's fragile trust -- and the promise of a future with the most compellingly seductive man she had ever met ...

This book was originally published in 1984. It was a hoot to read chick lit from more than 20 years ago:
  • Lauren is a secretary with stenographic skills and uses a typewriter ... not a computer in sight!
  • Lauren wears velour shorts with a matching top ... I remember that fashion!
  • Lauren drives a six month old Trans Am.
  • Nick is an experienced 37-year-old; he's intense and carrying the hurt of the abandonment of his mother ... our typical hero from that time.
  • Lauren is a 23-year-old virgin (our typical heroine from that time) who falls in love with Nick the second she meets him and gives herself to him within four days.
  • Lauren is shocked when Nick doesn't want to marry after their experience together.
  • Nick humiliates Lauren when he thinks he has discovered her betrayal and takes a month or so to discover the truth (he is, BTW, tortured by thoughts of her). He comes to her at her sick dad's house in a small town and wins her over (even though she yells at him to leave). They marry within three days. I bet there was a baby within the year cuz marriage and babies completed women back then.
Back in the 80s, I read McNaught's books and enjoyed them. It was a simpler, more innocent time, I guess.

I don't know if I could go back in time again anytime soon.

Thursday 27 August 2009

Where I work

Here's the view from where I work looking south towards downtown ... shot through the window (I'm on the seventh floor).

We overlook an old cemetery.

We work in cubicles. They put pieces together for us from the rest of the building ... apparently we're getting nice stuff in January.

The nature of my job will keep me out of the office anyway.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Book ~ "Lethally Blond" (2009) Kate White

From Amazon ~ Bailey Weggins, crime reporter for Buzz magazine, makes her fifth appearance in a mystery where the premise is weak, but the execution is as clever as it is hot. When former fling and sweet stud, Chris Wickersham, asks Bailey to look into the disappearance of a fellow actor on his TV show, Morgue, she agrees. Someone else might make a couple of phone calls but rather inexplicably Bailey drives upstate to the missing man's country home. He's there, dead in the bathtub, where he's been for a couple of weeks. Not pretty. That puts Bailey right in the middle of a mystery teeming with TV types, actors, producers and PR people, one of whom seriously wants Bailey dead. The pace is frantic but fortunately Bailey has time to have some serious sex with not one but two gorgeous guys, giving her the option to worry about who she should be with as well as who is trying to kill her.

I was in the mood for a mystery and thought this sounded interesting.

I didn't mind the writing style but the story was really dumb. I couldn't believe that Bailey would put so much effort and personal risk into investigating the disappearance of someone she's never met ... and all at the request of a guy she had had a thing for six months earlier but hadn't seen since.

I don't think so.

Plus Bailey is a mere reporter of a celebrity mag ... yet everyone is answering her questions and giving her info as though she is a cop.

Plus she finds time to bang two hot guys.

The ending was blah ... I didn't care who dunnit by the time I got there.

If you can get beyond all this, you may enjoy this book. But I can't say I'd recommend it.

Monday 24 August 2009

Book ~ "Jamaica Me Dead" (2006) Bob Morris

From Amazon ~ It’s opening game of the football season at Florida Field and Monk DeVane, a former teammate of Zack Chasteen’s, invites Zack and his girlfriend to a halftime party in one of the exclusive skyboxes. But they find chaos - there’s a bomb under the chair of Darcy Whitehall, Monk Devane’s boss and the rakish Jamaican owner of Libido, a chain of anything-goes Caribbean resorts.

The bomb turns out to be a dud but someone is putting the squeeze on Darcy Whitehall, and Monk DeVane enlists Zack to help protect his employer. When Zack arrives in Jamaica things quickly go to hell - more bombs (this time, for real), gnarly Jamaican politics, and the kinky diversions at Libido, where the prime spectator sport is watching guests frolic on the naked flume ride. As if that weren’t enough, Zack’s snooping around puts him in jeopardy with Freddie Arzghanian, king of the Caribbean money launderers.

I hadn't heard of this author or series before ... I came across this book at the library and it sounded like fun.

And it was.

I enjoyed the writing style ... it's funny and sarcastic. The characters are different and interesting. I wasn't crazy about Zach's fussy girlfriend, Barbara (why are they always fussy and annoying!!??). Thankfully she wasn't in the book all that much. I figured out who was behind it right away but it was still an enjoyable ride to get there.

I'll definitely be checking out the other of Bob Morris' Zach Chasteen series.

Sunday 23 August 2009

"Breaking Up is Hard to Do", Stage West, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw Breaking Up is Hard to Do at Stage West today.

Set at a Catskills resort in 1960, this is the sweetly comic story of Lois and Marge, two friends from Brooklyn in search of good times and romance over one wild Labor Day weekend. The score showcases 18 Neil Sedaka classics including, "Where the Boys Are", "Sweet Sixteen", "Calendar Girl", and, of course, the chart-topping title song.

Definitely not a great play ... very cheesy.

Tony LePage was good as Del Delmonico, the self-obsessed singer at Ester's Resort ... the rest of the cast was so-so.

Gord and I have had a subscription to Stage West for about four years ... five plays a year along with brunch for $200 each is a great deal!

But we found that the calibre the last couple of years of the plays and the brunch has gone downhill so we haven't renewed ... so today's was our last one.

The best play we saw there was Rocky Horror Picture Show in August 2005 ... it was fabulous!

Saturday 22 August 2009

How not to act old

In the September issue of More magazine, there is an interesting article called How Not to Act Old.

It's taken the book How Not to Act Old : 257 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame.

Seven things were listed ...
  1. Unstrap the Rolex - The young don't wear a watch because they can get the time on their cell phone.

  2. Don't leave a message - Young people figure the other person will see their number in missed calls and reach out if they want or need to talk.

  3. Don't spout any history - If it happened before 2001, who cares?

  4. Don't block the aisle in the grocery story.

  5. Don't fear the wax - Waxing "down there" is one of the major differences between younger and older women.

  6. Don't yell into your cell.

  7. Don't cook a roast - Apparently no one under the age of 40 knows how to roast meat and they don't want to know.
What do you think?

African Dance Festival

There was an African Dance Festival at the Yonge Dundas Square so we hung out there for a while.

This band was fabulous!

We were dancing ... here's Gord boogying!

The 3 Brewers Restaurant Micro-Brewery, Toronto, ON (Yonge Street)

The 3 Brewers opened on Yonge Street in June so we checked it out. They brew their own beer onsite. And you know how much Gord loves beer!

Gord started with the Et Cetera ... a sample of blond ale, red ale, dark ale and wheat ale. What fun!

He liked the blonde ale the best and stuck with it. I liked their blonde ale.

We moved to a table next to the window after a while ... great for people watching, especially on Yonge Street!

Toronto Cuba Friendship Day

Gord and I strolled along Queen Street W toward downtown this afternoon.

We came across the Toronto Cuba Friendship Day celebration at City Hall.

There was a beer garden so we stopped for a Steam Whistle, figuring we would hear some fabulous Cuban music.

Instead we heard Honey Novick sing our national anthem very off-key in English. She sang the French version and the Cuban anthem better.

There were lots of speeches so we finished our beer and left.

Friday 21 August 2009

Empress of Canada, Toronto, ON

My friend, Franca, organized us on a cruise this evening on the Empress of Canada ... there was Gord and I, Franca, Liz and seven of Franca's friends.

It was a great deal ... $48 each included the three hour cruise around Toronto Harbour, a meal and a free drink.

Franca, Liz and I worked together until 1997 ... they are still with that company. We've stayed close over the years.

Here's Gord on the boat before we set sail.

We hugged the city line before sailing around the Islands.

Here's Gord and Liz. Liz and I ran the group retirement benefits department when we worked together.

Here's Gord and I.

Here's Franca, me and Liz.

The skyline was gorgeous as it got darker.

Definitely a fun cruise!

Thursday 20 August 2009

Crazy weather

I conducted two retirement planning seminars today in Windsor ... one at 8am and the other at 12:30pm.

I hit the road for home right after the second one.

As I got to Waterloo, the skies got dark ...

And then it poured. Big heavy rain! It was hard to drive because visibility was so poor.

Then it cleared up ... until I was in Guelph and it started again.

Almost home. The traffic on the 427 and Gardiner was brutal ... practically a parking lot!

As soon as I got home, I headed to a condo board meeting (I'm on the board) at Politica.

All of a sudden, the skies opened up and it started raining really hard, along with thunder and lightening. It was crazy!

There were tornadoes just north of Toronto in Vaughan today ... scary!

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Do you sleep as you do at home?

As I posted earlier, here's my room.

When I'm home, I sleep on the right side of the bed (if you're looking at the headboard).

But my natural inclination for some reason when I have a room like this in a hotel is to sleep in the bed on the right but on the left side.

Strange, eh?


I've only been to Applebee's a couple times ... there aren't any in the areas I go, I guess.

There is one near my hotel so I walked there for supper.

I was in a chicken parm mood and it was on the menu. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great ... just so-so. It was a good size, though.

I wasn't hungry for dessert but the Triple Chocolate Meltdown called to me. It was okay ... I ate the ice cream and some of the chocolate explosion (I found it too hot and sweet).

My hotel

I had reserved my room online and asked for a non smoking room. I chose this hotel because of its proximity to the client's site (I have to be there at 7:30am tomorrow).

As soon as I entered the room, I smelled smoke and saw the ashtray on the desk. Yuk! So I got a new room.

Yes, I have two queen beds that I don't have to share with a husband, a dog and two cats! Mine, all mine!

It's really humid today and I thought a swim before supper might be nice. So I checked out the outdoor pool.

Hmmm ... I wonder why there's no one.

Maybe because it's midweek and there's no one but me in the hotel?

Or ... maybe because the pool is very impersonal and unwelcoming with closed umbrellas and no chairs?

Or ... maybe it's the big-ass lock on the gate!

So I cancelled on the swim.


When I got to Windsor, I parked down by the water and walked around for a while.

I walked along the boardwalk.

There's Detroit across the river.

I used the public washrooms on the boardwalk ... apparently there is a concern about people stealing toilet paper.

There is a tunnel between Windsor and Detroit. Here's where you come out in Windsor.

In case you forget, there are lots of clues to let you know where you are!

On the Scotiabank building ...

As soon as you come out of the tunnel ...

At the tourist bureau ...

I stopped in at the Caesars casino.

I put $40 in the roulette machine and the casino stole it lost it, though I did get some hits. There was an older Italian man next to me trying to figure out the system but wanted to use my $$ to try his theories ... um, no.

The casino isn't as concerned about people stealing their toilet paper and/or they have a fancier lock.