Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book ~ "Sailors, Slackers, and Blind Pigs : Halifax at War" (2002) Stephen Kimber

From Amazon ~ It wasn't until after the Allies' victory in Europe that Halifax, North America's most strategic port during World War II, experienced destruction at the hands of the military. As victory rang out, the city's shops, restaurants, offices, and even the brewery were smashed and looted by thousands of sailors and many civilians in the V-E Day riots. Halifax journalist and author Stephen Kimber illuminates this violent episode--and the previous six years filled with German U-boats, housing shortages, rationing, archaic liquor laws, and line-ups around the block for the local brothel--in a powerful narrative told through the voices of those who actually lived through it. Using historical documents and personal recollections, Kimber's book takes us inside the minds of, among others, the Canadian commander of the Allies' Atlantic fleet, a young English boy sent to Canada by his parents, a young woman who moved from Montreal to "dance every night until dawn," and an enterprising young reporter. Their hopes, experiences, and troubles shed light on Canada's war effort.

I'm from Nova Scotia yet I hadn't heard about the riots of 1945 in Halifax.

This is an excellent book about impact of World War II on Halifax and all that a small city in Eastern Canada contributed to the war.

I liked that it was also written from the perspective of people who were affected by it ... Harold the five-year-old who was sent to Halifax from England to protect him from the war, Dorothy who was one of the first female welders in Canada but lost her job when the men started coming home again, Eric the reporter who covered the war for the newspapers, etc.

BTW, a "blind pig" is an establishment that that illegally sells booze.

Dandelion fluffies

It's illegal in Toronto to use pesticides ... so there are tons of dandelions on lawns.

Our condo property has lots of them too.

I was sitting outside this afternoon. When I looked up, it looked like it was snowing with all the dandelion fluffies floating around.

It's also the time of year that spiders are spinning their webs ... and the fluffies are getting caught in them.

I thought they looked cool on the terrace ...

Ossington and Queen W

Gord and I went for a brisk 6km walk this morning.

Along the way, we passed the corner of Ossington and Queen W. They are demolishing the building on the NW corner to make way for condos.

In its day many many years ago, it was a fine home on the outskirts of Toronto and owned by a rich family.

By the time I moved to Toronto more than 20 years ago, it was a rooming house with a seedy bar downstairs (the flat part in the back) ... I was only there once and it was nasty!

Here it is back in 2007 (it had been closed for years by then).

This is what it's supposed to look like when the condos are built.

Quite a difference!

It's too bad they couldn't have restored it and put lofts in ... but I imagine it was in really terrible condition.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Heading home from Stratford, ON

Rather than driving to Stratford, Gord and I took the train ... we love the train!

It leaves in the morning, gets us there in time for the play, we have four plus hours to roam around, and then it takes us home that night.

Our tradition is to have a last drink at the Dominion House, which is a block from the train station.

According to the sign, it's been around since mid-1800s.

And here's Gord at the train station ...

Waiting for the train ...

Boar's Head Pub, Stratford, ON

After the play, we had supper on the patio at the Boar's Head Pub ... we usually eat there when we go to the Festival Theatre.

Here's Gord having a pint.

And here's me...

I had the wing/rib combo ... it was okay.

Gord enjoyed his wild boar burger ...



The Boar's Head Pub on Urbanspoon

Festival Theatre, Stratford, ON

Kiss Me, Kate is playing at the Festival Theatre.

It was such a nice day that we hung out on the balcony before the play started.

Here is the seven minute warning ...

We had a glass of wine on the balcony during the intermission.

After the play, we check out the theatre's grounds.

Here's me next to the statue of Billy Shakespeare ...

After the play, we walked along Avon River ... it's so restful there.

"Kiss Me, Kate", Stratford Festival, Stratford, ON

This afternoon Gord and I saw Kiss Me, Kate, which is part of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

As backstage bickering between the co-stars of a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew threatens to sabotage opening night, along come a couple of gangsters with a gambling debt to collect. The result is hilarity on and off the stage – all punctuated by Cole Porter’s unforgettable melodies and wickedly witty lyrics.

With such hits as “So In Love” and “Too Darn Hot,” this classic from the golden age of musical theatre is a fun-filled way to “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

This is a fun and lively play.

Part of it takes place backstage with the interactions of Fred and Lilli (who are now divorced), Fred and Lois (a slutty not-so-smart actress), Lois and her boyfriend, and Lilli and her fiance (the general).

Then there's the play within the play, the Taming of the Shrew, which is not a good production as the actors either overact or aren't very good. Throw in the tension between Fred and Lilli when she discovers the flowers she received from Fred were actually meant for Lois. The two gangsters who show up to collect a gambling debt were funny.

Though good, I found the lead character of Lilli wasn't as strong as it should have been ... it seems like other characters like Lois and the gangsters outshine her.

I'd recommend this play if you are looking for something fun.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fifteen two, fifteen four ...

When I lived in Antigonish, I was a member of the cribbage league at the legion. We were on teams, met once a week and had lots of fun.

In 2001, I wanted to do it again so found a cribbage league here in Toronto to join ... it was a veterans' cribbage league. The Naval Club of Toronto was looking for team members so I joined their team. At 39, I was the youngest on the team!

We met once a week and played other legion-like teams across the city ... it was fun.

I met Gord and he joined our team in the fall of 2002.

Two years later (my third year and Gord's second), I was the Treasurer and Gord was the President of our team.

It seemed like he and I were doing everything ... giving our other team members drives, buying everything for the two annual socials and coordinating them (and putting together demanded requested to-go packages with the leftovers), going to league meetings, putting up with old cranky members, etc. And the old folks sat back and let us take care of everything.

We weren't having fun anymore.

We finished out the year and decided not to sign up again.

The Naval Club was in a prime real estate spot ... on the corner of Yonge/Bloor where condos are due to be built.

In the last six months, they knocked down all the buildings on that corner, including the Naval Club.

No doubt the Naval Club got some serious cash for selling. They have relocated to the Gerard/Woodbine area.

Green Mango, Toronto, ON

I discovered the Green Mango in 2000.

There was one across the street from where I worked (Yonge/Queen). I ate there often ... I loved it!

I had the same thing all the time ... Pad Thai Noodle and Curry Chicken.

I was devastated when they closed that location a couple years later.

It's been about four years since I've eaten at Green Mango. I've had a craving for it lately so transited to the Yonge/Bloor location at lunch time today.

Of course, I had my usual ... Pad Thai Noodle and Curry Chicken.

It was tasty ... not as amazing as I remember which is good or I'd be wanting it again and again and again.

Even at 1:30ish, there was a crowd.



Green Mango Thai Food on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book ~ "Calling All Women--From Competition to Connection: Advice and Inspiration for Women of All Ages" (2009) Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse

From www.SharonWCruse.com ~ When things are not going right and you are hurting or feeling overwhelmed, perhaps what you need is a heart-to-heart talk with someone to gain a new perspective and to shed a new light on your situation.

Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse has been having heart-to-heart talks with clients for more than thirty years. In Calling All Women—From Competition to Connection, she crystallizes her understanding and insights gleaned from countless sessions on women's biggest worries, struggles, triumphs, and insecurities. Her understanding and pragmatic advice will help you take charge of your life and learn to make important choices on your own terms. If you find yourself feeling more confused than connected, Wegscheider-Cruse gives you a road map to take the right next steps in a multitude of life's directions, including curbing money worries, thriving after divorce or losing your partner, understanding spirituality, dealing with toxic people, nurturing intimacy with a partner, overcoming a major health crisis like breast cancer or heart attack, coping with day-to-day stress, living without regrets and so much more!

Short and snappy chapters dealing with personal challenges, relationships, families, personal growth and more.

There are lots of meaningful quotes along with reading lists and websites at the end of each chapter.

Nice book to get you thinking about making changes.

Taking care of the furkids

After what happened with Byron last week, I wanted to make sure that Morgan was okay.

He hasn't had a check-up in a couple years ... he's an indoor kitty so I wasn't concerned.

His appointment with the vet was this afternoon. The technician weighed him and he weighs over 16 pounds! He is definitely a tubby tabby! I started measuring out his food last week and he's not starving.

Here in Ontario animals must legally have their rabies shot. I had read some articles a couple years ago about the occurrence of cats getting cancer where they have their shots so haven't had our cats vaccinated since then. As I said, he's an indoor kitty so I wasn't concerned. The vet validated my concern and said the shot is good for three years ... so he got one.

He's in good health. He needs to have his teeth cleaned so I've made an appointment for him for Tuesday.

KC's anal glands are bothering her so I took her with us. They are infected again and the technician cleaned them (that can't be pleasant!). She is on meds for a month. I've had her in a few times since Christmas about this and they usually only give me two weeks of meds. Hopefully being on them for a month will do the trick and it will be gone for good.

We'd had Byron cremated and I brought him home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book ~ "I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced" (2010) Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui

From Amazon ~ Chosen by Glamour magazine as a Woman of the Year in 2008, Nujood of Yemen has become an international hero for her astonishingly brave resistance to child marriage. Sold off by her impoverished family at the age of 10, continually raped by her husband before she even reached puberty, Nujood found the courage to run away, and with the help of an activist lawyer, sympathetic judges, and the international press, she divorced her husband and returned home. Her clear, first-person narrative, translated from the French and written with Minoui, is spellbinding: the horror of her parents’ betrayal and her mother-in-law’s connivance, the “grown-ups” who send the child from classroom and toys to nightmare abuse. She never denies the poverty that drives her parents and oppresses her brothers, even as she reveals their cruelty. Unlike her passive mother, she is an activist, thrilled to return to school, determined to save others, including her little sister. True to the child’s viewpoint, the “grown-up” cruelty is devastating. Readers will find it incredible that such unbelievable abuse and such courageous resistance are happening now.

I hadn't heard of this story when it happened.

I came across this book and it sounded like quite a story ... and it was.

It's such a sad thing to have happened to her but amazingly Nujood was strong enough to get out of a horrible situation and be an inspiration to many others. I hope she succeeds in her dream to be a lawyer.

In 20 and 30 years ...


Look at me 20 years from now!

Make yourself older


And 30 years from now!

Make yourself older

Lemme know if you do it!

Go ahead, make my day

I have parking in the underground lot where I work and you need a pass to get in.

There are probably a couple hundred spots and they are in demand.

I always park in the same area. There are five spots against a wall, one behind another, for smaller cars and they are clearly defined by lines.

I stay within the lines ... I'll get out of my car to make sure.

There is a woman who NEVER EVER EVER parks within the lines, regardless of whether she is the only car of five or not.

Today she was the third car to park in line and had a quarter of her car overlapping into the spot behind her.

I pulled in just as she was getting out of her car. I parked the fifth spot (yes, I did check to make sure I was within the lines ).

She yelled at me to pull up behind her so another car can fit in behind me.

I responded that she was overlapping into that fourth spot (what should have been my spot) which would have prompted me to overhang into the fifth spot and I was, in fact, happy where I was.

She said that everyone else was overlapping into spots so it was okay. They were ... but by inches not feet like her.

I responded again that I was fine where I was. And I was because:
  1. I don't like to park too close to her because if her parking is any indication, I suspect she is a lousy driver so want to stay away from her.
  2. If all the cars leave before I do, I don't want it to look like I was the one who can't park properly.
She walked away yelling at me over and over that I was selfish.

I sweetly (though sarcastically!) wished that she have a nice day.

She works in my building, probably for the same company I do. How brutal would it be to end up in a meeting with her?!

I didn't want to run into her at the elevator so I took the long way out and back into the building.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book ~ "Saints of Big Harbour" (2009) Lynn Coady

From Amazon ~ Guy Boucher lives with his overworked mother, his reclusive goth sister and his loud, opinionated, boorishly conservative and usually drunk Uncle Isadore in a small rural Nova Scotia community in the early 1980s. The likable Guy is socially awkward but perceptive and intelligent, with a sharp wit that usually deserts him when he opens his mouth. Guy becomes enamoured of pretty, popular Corinne Fortune, a pampered girl from nearby Big Harbour who rejects him. Caught in a web of lies she's already spun about an imaginary boyfriend, and motivated by a teenager's taste for melodrama, Corinne tells a friend that Guy has treated her brutally. In the way of small communities, her untruths pass from mouth to mouth, gaining momentum until the whole town is worked up in a collective rage over the unwitting Guy, who can't understand why he's getting so many dirty looks. The novel is told from the alternating viewpoints of Guy, Corinne and other supporting characters, including Corinne's serious, sensible best friend, Pam; Corinne's precocious and neurotic older brother, Howard; and Guy's former English teacher, Alison, an American draft dodger and drinking buddy of Isadore's who habitually hangs out (or passes out) at Guy's house and becomes his unlikely mentor.

I started reading this book last year and wasn't digging it so didn't get too far into it ... I guess I wasn't in the mood for it. I enjoyed it this time 'round.

I was born in Nova Scotia and moved to Toronto in 1987 ... I lived in a small town similar to the fictional Big Harbour during the 1980s. The dialogue and types of characters were familiar to me, though I couldn't relate to them all. The story is told by different characters which gives various perspectives.

Lazy day

Today is Victoria Day so a statutory holiday.

I felt like being lazy and a homebody today. We spent the day outside.

Gord BBQed turkey sausages for breakfast.

I swept the terrace and rearranged the furniture.

I gave KC a bath ... here she is shaking off afterward.

She doesn't like baths so ignored me for a while.

I BBQed us burgers for lunch.

KC crashed in the sun and dried off.

Gord blogged about his beer of the week, Gaffel Kolsch.

Gord BBQed a pork roast for supper ... it was delicious!

Gord read as he waited for the roast to be done.

We don't let Morgan outside (he'd be freaked out anyway). Since we spent most of the day outside, he was very needy when we went in for supper.