Wednesday 31 March 2010

Stillwater Spa, Toronto, ON

To celebrate Gord's birthday, we spent the afternoon at the Stillwater Spa (Avenue Road/Bloor W). We'd never been there before.

In the changing areas, there is a hot tub ... I spent some time in there.

There are cabana chaises to relax in with TVs above in each ... or you can read or snooze. For privacy, you can pull the curtain across.

Gord and I met in the tea lounge before our services started. In the tea lounge, you can have tea, coffee, water, cookies and fruit. Because it was Gord's birthday, they also gave us a couple flutes of English elder flower sparkling water.

Our first service was ...

Massage Suite For Two - Your treatment begins with a relaxing soak in the oversized whirlpool by a glowing fireplace. A unique and memorable experience whereby two registered massage therapists provide full body Swedish massages for you and your partner.

Here's Gord in the tub ... we brought a couple piccolos of sparkling wine.

The massage tables ...

A couple of truffles are included ...

Gord is ready for his hour long massage with Michael.

My therapist, Loreen, gave me an excellent massage, spending a lot of time on my feet and head.

Then back to the tea lounge to relax.

Next we got pedicures.

Part of the pedicure involved wrapping our feet in warm paraffin wax for ten minutes. Does Gord look relaxed or what?!

My toes ... ta da! My nails are pink and sparkly ... the polish is called "Shut up and drive!"

Stillwater Spa isn't cheap but it's very nice ... the atmosphere is very relaxing and the staff is friendly and helpful. And for a Wednesday afternoon, it was surprisingly quite busy.

Afterwards, we walked to The Beer Station at Bathurst/Bloor W for supper.

Appetizers were half price 'til 8:00 so we ordered a few each.

Happy birthday, Gord!

It's Gord's birthday! is your one stop for Myspace Graphics

And we have a fun spa afternoon planned!

Who does he share his birthday with?
  • 1971 Ewan McGregor, born in Scottish, actor, Trainspotting
  • 1959 Angus Young, born in Glascow, Scotland, rock guitarist, AC/DC-Highway to Hell
  • 1948 Al Gore, born in Washington D.C., Senator-D-Tennessee, 1985 - 1992, 45th Vice President 1993 - 2000
  • 1948 Rhea Perlman, born in Brooklyn, actress, Zena-Taxi, Carla-Cheers
  • 1946 Al Nichol, born in Winston Salem, North Carolina, rock guitarist and vocalist, Turtles
  • 1946 Gabe Kaplan, born in Brooklyn, New York, comedian/actor, Welcome Back Kotter
  • 1943 Christopher Walken, born in Astoria Queens, actor, Deer Hunter
  • 1935 Herb Alpert, bandleader/trumpeteer, Tijuana Brass, CEO, A&M
  • 1934 Richard Chamberlain, born in Beverly Hills, California, actor, Dr. Kildare
  • 1933 Shirley Jones, born in Smithton, Pennsylvania, actress, Partridge Family
  • 1929 Liz Claiborne, fashion designer
  • 1928 Gordie Howe, born in Floral, Saskatchewan, NHL right wing, Detroit Red Wings

Monday 29 March 2010

Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

I conducted a retirement seminar in Pickering this morning and worked from home this afternoon.

It was such a nice afternoon (sunny with just a bit of a chill) so I took KC for a stroll to Trinity Bellwoods Park just before suppertime.

It was a nice way to end the day.

KC loves this park ... there's lots of room for her to run around and so many things to sniff!

There were a few dogs in the pit (the unleashed area).

It's such a nice big park ... you can see the CN Tower off in the distance.

Book ~ "Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have" (2009) Allen Zadoff

From ~ Life used to be so simple for Andrew Zansky - hang with the Model U.N. guys, avoid gym class, and eat and eat and eat. He’s used to not fitting in: into his family, his sports-crazed school or his size 48 pants.

But not anymore. Andrew just met April, the new girl at school and the instant love of his life! He wants to find a way to win her over but how? When O. Douglas, the heartthrob quarterback and high school legend, saves him from getting beaten up by the school bully, Andrew sees his chance to get in with the football squad.

Is it possible to reinvent yourself in the middle of high school? Andrew is willing to try. But he’s going to have to make some changes. Fast.

How far should you go to be the person you really want to be? Andrew is about to find out.

I don't read a lot of books that are directed at teens ... I stumbled across this one.

It's written honestly and isn't filled with ooey-gooey wholesomeness. It's full of humour and I didn't find myself bored with it at any point.

Had I read it when I was in my mid-teens, I would have enjoyed it ... as I did indeed enjoy it now.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Big Tobacco & the Pickers, Dakota Tavern, Toronto, ON

Darlene, Angie and I made plans to see Big Tobacco & the Pickers, a six piece country band that play "hurting essential country ballads and old time honky tonkin', hard drinkin' classics". They were playing at the Dakota Tavern.

We met at Darlene's (she lives in my 'hood). Here's her 21 year old kitty, Rover.

We had supper at Squirrely's on Queen Street W. I had curried chicken and rice.

Here we are ... me, Angie and Darlene.

After we ate, we walked to Dakota's.

The band started about 10:30. They were really good, playing old country songs by the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, etc. plus original tunes. I'd check 'em out again.

The place was jammed! We got there just before the rush and got a table.

Stanley Park, Toronto, ON

KC and I took a walk this morning to Stanley Park, which is in our 'hood.

Stanley Park is split by King Street W. We went to the south side first which, depending on the time of year, is an unleashed dog park.

There were a few dogs out playing. Here's looking SE ...

And NE ...

Lots of room for dogs to run around and play! KC doesn't play with other dogs but there were lots of strange smells for her to sniff.

Then we crossed King Street W to the north side of the park.

I think she likes this side better because there are lots more trees and hills.

Friday 26 March 2010

What I miss every morning ...

After dropping Gord off at the airport, I was struck by how beautiful the sunrise was on my way home.

This is coming off the 427 and heading east along the QEW ...

Heading east along the QEW ...

I stopped just west of Sunnyside to take this picture ...


I'm usually just getting up about 7am so miss the sunrises.

Good luck, Gord!

Gord is spending the weekend in Dallas at fencing tournament.

He has an early flight this morning and I drove him to the airport.

Here he is ...

Good luck, Gord, and have fun!

Thursday 25 March 2010

Book ~ "One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular" (2009) Abigail Pogrebin

From Amazon ~ Journalist Pogrebin explores in a palatable, nonscholarly format some of the sticky issues of identity that accompany being a twin. Enjoying an extreme intimacy from embryo to adulthood, twins, especially identical, achieve a unique, somewhat exclusive self-sufficiency that can be comforting and enriching as well as stifling and restricting. Pogrebin, whose own twin, Robin, grew less needy for the other's presence as they grew older, interviews numerous twins in various walks of life to probe the source and stages of their emotional development, from football stars Tiki and Ronde Barber to a pair of 86-year-olds who were operated on by Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz. Some of the recurrent topics that Pogrebin explores include the sense of not needing other people as much as twins need each other, thus making it harder to find intimacy outside of the duo; feeling jilted when the other finds a partner or spouse (anybody who marries a twin, asserts one, has to understand that they're marrying two people); dealing with the amplified competition and constant comparison; parental favoritism; and the importance of establishing a distinct identity from the other. Touching on timely medical topics such as the risky business of multiple births, especially by in vitro fertilization, and recent discoveries in DNA research, Pogrebin's personal journey will prove helpful to other twins.

I'm not a twin nor do we have twins in our family ... but it sounded like an interesting topic.

The writing style was okay, not overly exciting. At times, the author provides some scientific information, when tends to read like a textbook. The writing was better with the personal stories. You can feel her pain because her twin, Robin, needs some space.

Overall, I'd recommend this book. It's a subject I didn't know anything about, wasn't really interested in ... but I found that it kept my attention and I learned a lot about.

Are there any twins in your family?

Wednesday 24 March 2010

McLean's Pub, Montreal. QC

Time for supper!

I took a walk along rue Sainte-Catherine O looking for some place to eat.

McLean's Pub on Rue Peel caught my eye.

Not a fancy place but it was fairly busy.

The tunes were good ... Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Ray Vaughn, etc. Then the Montreal Canadiens scored and they cranked up the hockey game on the TVs in French.

Wings were the special on the night and the server recommended them.

They were, as Sister Sarah would say, not right on. They were small, just deep fried with some Frank's Red Hot sauce poured on them. Not great.

McLean's Pub on Urbanspoon

Monday 22 March 2010

Book ~ "Eat Mangoes Naked: Finding Pleasure Everywhere (and Dancing with the Pits)" (2001) ~ SARK

From Amazon ~ With her distinctive mix of brightly colored jacket art and handwritten text, SARK offers another fanciful yet thoughtful guide to life. This book exudes her characteristic outlook on life's continuous difficulty and people's "splendid imperfections". Retaining a light, positive and humorous tone, even when she discusses death, SARK advocates finding pleasure in every situation, while admitting that, as for many people, "the struggle still feels more comfortable to me than the pleasure." In the spirit of teaching what she most needs to learn, she reminds readers that "our spirits are in need of pleasure, like our bodies need vitamins, or oxygen, or water." Based on this ethic of joy, SARK demonstrates what might be gained from painful experiences, other people, mistakes, change, nature, ordinary things around the house and imaginary or vicarious adventures. She uses anecdotes from her own and others' lives to illustrate how "pleasure responds to invitation," showing up when and where we may least expect it, if we are open to receiving it. As always, SARK's simple artwork and scribbled text make readers feel like they've received a secret note from their best friend in the middle of a tedious class.

I read this book back in the summer of 2001. It is a good reminder that life is too short and we should find pleasure in all we do.

I especially liked this piece of advice ... if you are about to do something, rather than looking forward to having "a good time" (because this can cause us pressure or struggle), look forward to just having "a time". This will allow our actual experience to occur and we'll be open and accepting to receive it.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Old Mill Inn, Toronto, ON

I had brunch at the Old Mill today ... it was a Single Horizons event. There were 16 of us.

The Old Mill originally was Toronto's first sawmill, built circa 1793. It was owned by R. Home Smith when it opened as the Old Mill Tea Garden in 1914, and was a place for dancing to big band music in the 1920s. It was designated as a heritage property in 1983 by the former city of Etobicoke and retains that designation with Toronto. It has changed owners three times, and was bought by the Kalmar family in 1991.

The Old Mill restaurant and conference centre had hosted wedding receptions and corporate events for decades but a hotel and spa opened in October 2001, with 47 rooms and 13 suites.

The Old Mill is famous for its Sunday brunches ...
  • Freshly baked breakfast pastries, waffles and maple syrup, scrambled eggs, double smoked bacon and country style sausages.
  • Flavor abundant salads, cold cuts, domestic and international cheese tray, Caesar salad station, freshly baked breads.
  • Delectable array of shellfish to include cold poached lobster, peel and eat shrimps, salmon darns, pickled and smoked fish, New-Zealand mussels, seafood salads.
  • Carving station of Roasted beef strip loin and Maple-Mustard glazed ham.
  • Signature dishes selection including, roasted pork loin, chicken casserole, fish catch of the day, Pasta del giorno, potatoes, vegetables, rice pilaf.
  • Scrumptious dessert selection of homemade cakes, tortes, mousses, pastries, cookies and much much more. Fresh fruit tray and fruit salad.
We were there at 10:30, before it got busy.

A little while later, there were a lot more hungry people ...

Here's me and LeeAnn, the owner of Single Horizons.

No more eating for me for the day!