Sunday, October 31, 2010

We don't do Halloween

Gord and I don't celebrate Halloween.

We don't get dressed up and go to a party.

We don't decorate the outside of our condo to encourage trick or treaters to ring our doorbell (which will get KC barking like crazy) and beg for candy.

What we do is avoidance ... go see a movie or go out for supper. Gord and I have spent seven Halloweens together and we've made a point never to be home.

Tonight is our eighth Halloween together. We like chilling on Sunday evenings so we can brace ourselves for the week ahead. Plus there was a lot of good TV on ... NASCAR, football, World Series baseball, Amazing Race, Dexter, etc.

We decided to stay home this evening and not let the beggars drive us away. Instead we turned off all the lights in the living room and kitchen and hid in enjoyed the spare room that we redid in the summer ... there's a couch and a TV with digital cable.

What do you do for Halloween? Did you get many trick or treaters?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical, Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto

I got an email last night from Mirvish that there were two-for-one tickets for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert this weekend.

I asked Gord if he wanted to go and he said he would.

I saw it two weeks ago and knew I wanted to see it again so took advantage of the sale tickets.

The Toronto Star gave it 4 stars out of 4. To me, it held up ... I really enjoyed it yet again. It's one of my top five fav musicals and I love the movie. The costumes are colourful and the tunes are great! Gord didn't enjoy as much as I did ... he gave it 6 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Haunted Streets of Downtown Toronto Tour, Muddy York Walking Tour Group

To celebrate Halloween, my pal, Shawna, came up with the great idea for us (me, Gord, Yvette and Shawna) to go on the Haunted Streets of Downtown Toronto Tour with Muddy York Walking Tours tonight.

There were two groups, one led by Matt and the other led by Richard ... we were in Richard's group.

I've done three excellent tours with Richard in the past:
We started off at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and two hours later ended up at William Lyon Mackenzie's house on Bond Street (Dundas/Yonge).

Richard entertained us with lots of ghost stories.

The most disturbing to me was the tale of a young girl named Celeste who supposedly haunts the McLaughlin Planetarium.

Here we are at MacKenzie House ... Gord, Shawna, Richard, me and Yvette.

And here are Richard and Matt.

Definitely a fun way to celebrate Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book ~ "Breadwinning Daughters: Young Working Women in a Depression-Era City, 1929-1939" (2010) Katrina Srigley

From Amazon ~ As one of the most difficult periods of the twentieth century, the Great Depression left few Canadians untouched. Using more than eighty interviews with women who lived and worked in Toronto in the 1930s, Breadwinning Daughters examines the consequences of these years for women in their homes and workplaces, and in the city's court rooms and dance halls.

In this insightful account, Katrina Srigley argues that young women were central to the labour market and family economies of Depression-era Toronto. Oral histories give voice to women from a range of cultural and economic backgrounds, and challenge readers to consider how factors such as race, gender, class, and marital status shaped women's lives and influenced their job options, family arrangements, and leisure activities. Breadwinning Daughters brings to light previously forgotten and unstudied experiences and illustrates how women found various ways to negotiate the burdens and joys of the 1930s.

I like reading books about Toronto's history ... this is a very interesting book.

It's hard for us to imagine what life was life for women in the 1930s ... having to quit school to get a job to support your family if your father couldn't find one. Taking whatever job you could find and putting up with harassment so you could bring home $12.50 a week. Facing racial biases if you weren't white and of British heritage and having to take jobs as domestics or seamstresses as your only option.

Once women got married, they were automatically fired because it was assumed that she now had a husband who could take care of her so she didn't need a job.

Times have changed (thank goodness!) and we have it so good today.

The Snug Pub, Ottawa, ON

I headed to Byward Market for supper.

The market is Canada's oldest continuously operating farmers' market, regulated by the City of Ottawa's Markets Management group, which also operates the smaller westend Parkdale Market. The market building is open year-round, and open-air stalls are operated in the warmer months offering fresh produce and flowers.

I wandered around deciding where I wanted to eat.

I was in the mood for a pub so stopped at the Snug Pub, which is connected to the Heart & Crown.

I ordered the "flash-fried" wings with medium sauce and fries ... and of course, a Keith's.

The wings were good ... they had a smoky taste. There was lots of sauce on them. The fries were good too. It's too bad they make you order a full order of fries rather than a side order because I left most of them (there were too many).

Natasha was my server and she took good care of me.

Heart & Crown Pub on Urbanspoon

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

I conducted three enrolment seminars today and they went well.

After I got back to my hotel, I went for a walk to Parliament Hill.

I checked out the stray cats of the hill.

Alas, I only saw this guy tucked away.

When I was there last November, I was there during feeding time and there were more kitties.

The leaves are changing colours ... here's looking across to the bridge to Gatineau.

"Holy Crap, You're Hot" Day!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Heading to Ottawa

I'm conducting enrolment seminars tomorrow and Tuesday for a client in Ottawa.

Since the first seminar is at 9am tomorrow morning, I booked myself on the 4:45pm flight this afternoon on Porter Airlines.

Fog was rolling in. Instead of leaving on time, we sat on the plane for about an hour while the pilot decided whether to leave or not. At 5:45pm, he decided we weren't going anywhere.

I immediately called VIA Rail to see what the train schedule was. There was one heading to Ottawa at 6:30pm.

We were told that the flights for the night were cancelled and there was no guarantee that we'd get out tomorrow morning.

I grabbed a cab, scampered to Union Station and got on the train within minutes of it leaving. Yay!

There were no economy seats left so that left me in business class.

I've never traveled business class on the train before ... and I liked it! The seats are roomier and there is WIFI throughout the train.

Booze is free and flowing.

There is a meal. First there are snacks (pretzels). Then there are appetizers ...

Then comes the meal ... with a choice of turkey cacciatore or salmon, I chose the turkey.

The liquor cart was a nice surprise so I had a glass of Grand Marnier.

Had I flown, I would have gotten to my hotel about 6pm. Going by train, I got to my room just before midnight. Needless to say, my comfy room was a welcome sight!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book ~ "Toronto: Tales of the City" (2005) Glenn Cochrane

From Federal Publications Inc. ~ Glenn Cochrane's Toronto: Tales of the City is the ideal pocket companion for anyone looking for the underground city not only as it is, but as it was.

For a quarter century, Glenn Cochrane reported for CFTO's daily Worldbeat and Nightbeat news. He left viewers with a smile by scouring the city for the genuine eccentrics and landmark fests that put Hogtown on the map. Now Cochrane comes out of retirement to walk the old beat, unearthing the local lore and historic hijinks that make Toronto come to life. Peter Ustinov once said "Toronto is New York run by the Swiss," but Cochrane shows you a city with chutzpah and flair uniquely its own.

His roaming recollections include anecdotal "streeters" with the famous: Eartha Kitt, Sammy Davis Jr., Rich Little, George Burns, Phyllis Diller, Mickey Rooney, Carol Channing and Paul Hogan — and with the moms and pops of all the best shops. When Mike Myers accepted his place on Canada's Walk of Fame, he gave a nod to the retired newscaster by sporting "a Cochrane" signature mop top and impersonating Glenn’s comedic catch phrase.

From Dave Garrick's free dry cleaning policy for rainy Canadian National Exhibitions to an orangutan receiving CPR at the Toronto Zoo, and from neighbourhood thug Baldy Chard's grip on Cabbagetown to Sammy Taft's "milliner to the stars" on Spadina, Glenn Cochrane's Toronto: Tales of the City walks the old beat, telling tales and unearthing a history you won't find in tourist guides or municipal archives.

Gord
read this book during the week and then passed it along to me as he knows I like to read about Toronto's history.

This book doesn't get into a lot of details ... but it gives you a taste of Toronto and its neighbourhoods.

I found Cochrane's writing rambling, which I found a bit annoying. Plus I found it kind of boring.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Look at my new purple shoes!

We suspected that KC had an infection so Gord took some pee in to the vet last night to be analyzed. They called today and, sure enough, she has a urinary infection. She and I took a walk to the vet's this afternoon to pick up the meds.

We walked along Queen Street W for a bit afterwards ... lots of interesting smells for KC!

We passed by William's Shoe Store (they always have cool shoes!) and a pair of purple shoes caught my eye. You know how much I love love love purple! And they were on sale for $15!

The salewoman came out to urge me to try them on ... KC was welcome in the store.

Needless to say, I bought 'em!

Here they are ...


There is writing on the heel and sole ...

all in love
Love is
One Kiss
Two Kisses
Three Kisses
Four Kisses
Five Kisses
Six Kisses

And then "You & Me" are in a heart with an arrow going through it.

How cute is that?!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Super Burger, Shelburne, ON

I hadn't had lunch so I was starving on my way home.

When I came across a couple burger joints, I stopped. I had a decision to make ... Super Burger or Champ Burger.

I chose Super Burger (you can see Champ Burger across the street).

I chose it because of the old Toronto streetcar that is part of the restaurant.

The menu is fun.

I ordered the hamburger combo ... lots of food for a cheap price.

The burger and fries were good. The gravy tasted kind of burnt.

According this article, I should have chosen Champ Burger.

Hanover, Ontario

I have a new client ... their enrolment seminars started today just outside of Hanover (a 3 hour drive north).

As I was driving north through Mount Forest just before noon, I was shocked to encounter some wet snow!

Eeek!

I headed for home about 5:30ish. Driving east along Highway 4, I thought the sky looked amazing!

Heading south along Highway 10, in addition to fields of cows and horses, there are fields of windmills.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sudbury, Ontario

One of my clients is in Garson, which is part of the Sudbury. They wanted me to conduct an enrolment seminar today at noon.

It's a five hour drive one way or a one hour flight. Because I needed to be home for a condo board meeting this evening, I flew.

To be there for noon, I had to catch the 8am flight ... which meant I had to leave the house at 6:30ish ... which meant I didn't have time for breakfast.

Since I had a couple hours to kill before the seminar, I drove towards Sudbury looking for some brekkie.

I found Tutti Frutti ...

Here's my breakfast ... it was delish!

I had reserved a compact car at the airport ... all they had was a mini van. I've never driven a mini van so it was an interesting experience. I have no idea why this yellow light stayed on ... but the van went forward when I hit the gas so that's all I cared about.

It was a long day and I was happy to head back to the airport to go home on the 3:30 flight.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kobo eReader

Last month Gord surprised with with a Kobo eReader. What a sweetie!

Considering how much I love to read, how handy would it be having up to 1000 books in one small light device?! It comes with 100 classics already loaded.

The battery lasts for 10 days or 10,000 page turns. You charge it like you do an ipod.

Life has been hectic (I've been out of town a lot) so I haven't had a chance to really take a look at it. I initially found it really confusing so put it aside 'til I had some time.

I finally sat down tonight to figure out how to get books onto it.

You have to open an account with Kobo which looks and acts similar to itunes. Like itunes, buying ebooks online is easy since there is a link on your account.

There are thousands and thousands of free ebooks out there and I was interested in tapping into those first.

Then I had to download Adobe Digital Editions ... that saved the ebooks onto my laptop. From there, I had to direct them (in Adobe Digital Editions) to go to the Kobo (it's an option). Then in the Kobo program, I had to "update" and then "sync" (like in itunes) the ebooks to get them onto the eReader. See why I needed to set some time aside to figure it all out? The instructions that come with the Kobo and what is online didn't really tell me a lot ... I figured it out by stumbling around.

Where to get free ebooks ...

The Toronto Public Library has thousands and thousands of downloadable ebooks. You have to have a library card and you can "borrow" the ebooks for three weeks. I downloaded a couple and they seem to be in "pdf" format and are considered on the eReader to be documents rather than books ... but they are still readable.

Kobo has a couple hundred free ebooks available.

Chapters Indigo has over 22,000 free ebooks available ... I downloaded about 20 random ones tonight.

Do you have an eReader, either a Kobo, a Kindle or something else?

Book ~ "Why Fish Fart and Other Useless Or Gross Information About the World" (2009) Francesca Gould

From Amazon ~ In Why Fish Fart and Other Useless (or Gross) Information About the World, Francesca Gould sifts through the world's most unpleasant creatures, diseases, physical deformities, culinary delicacies, ritual practices, and hideous torture tactics to uncover every horrifying and stomach-turning fact under the sun. This book is full of questions you never thought to ask - and perhaps will wish you'd never had answered - including:

- What exactly is maggot cheese?
- How did anal hair help to lead to the conviction of the Great Train Robbers?
- What is the job of a "fart catcher"?
- How exactly do "crabs" cause such intense itching around one's private parts?
- The real story behind why the toilet is often referred to as "the john."
- Why you might want to steer clear of some coffees.

Why Fish Fart and Other Useless (or Gross) Information About the World is sure to delight any and all hard-core fans of the obscure, esoteric, and-last but not least-grotesque.

It is indeed an interesting book about useless and gross information, most of which I found interesting.

Don't make the same mistake I did, though, by reading it while I was eating ... the first chapter is about "obscene cuisine". I had to skip to the next chapter, "weird creatures", and go back to the first chapter when I wasn't consuming my lunch.

BTW, it is the herring who farts ... to let the other herring know where he is.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical, Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto

My pal, Leanne, gave me a Mirvish gift certificate for my birthday ... and I saw Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical this afternoon.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical is the feel-good theatrical experience of the year! Based on the smash-hit movie, Priscilla is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dance-floor favorites, this wildly fresh and funny new musical is a journey to the heart of fabulous!

I've seen the movie hundreds of times and love love love the movie's soundtrack. So I was looking forward to seeing the musical.

It stuck pretty close to the movie ...

Two drag-queens (Tick/Mitzi and Adam/Felicia) and a transexual (Bernadette) contract to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs, a resort town in the remote Australian desert. They head west from Sydney aboard their lavender bus, Priscilla. En route, it is discovered that the woman they've contracted with is Anthony's wife. Their bus breaks down, and is repaired by Bob, who travels on with them.

Even Bob's mail order bride's talent with ping pong balls was included.

The tunes are fun (there are some new songs as well as some of the ones that were in the movie) and the costumes and effects are colourful.

It's a fabulous musical and you should go see it! If it stays for a while, I'll go see it again.

Trinity Bellwoods Park

It's a sunny crisp morning (5C).

KC and I took a walk to Trinity Bellwoods Park and back (about a 15 minute walk each way).

The leaves are changing so there are lots of gorgeous colours!

This guy was feeding an albino squirrel (whom he called Trudy) some peanuts so he could take pictures of her. This park is known for its population of albino squirrels.

Rounding the bend, there's the CN Tower in the distance.

Look at that happy girl!

Rounding another bend, there's the CN Tower again ...

There were lots of dogs in the park today ... this Great Dane said hello.

This is looking down at the unleashed dog area.

Great day for a walk!