Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Boston Bruins 6

The company I work for has a box at the Air Canada Centre and I've been to some events.

Tonight I was there for the Toronto Maple Leafs/Boston Bruins hockey game.

Toronto scored first ... whoohoo!

There was a buffet of pizza, beef sliders, chicken fingers, chips, etc.

Natasha was our hostess and took good care of providing us with drinks.

This is looking out from the buffet area towards the game.

The lead went back and forth a few times.

Alas, Boston won 6 - 3.

There was a rumour that Wendel Clark, a former Leafs captain, was going to stop by our box but he didn't :(

Friendly Santa at the Dufferin Mall

I was at the Dufferin Mall late this afternoon and saw that Santa had arrived.

He is a friendly Santa, waving at all the boys and girls as they walked by.

It was fairly quiet while I was there ... no doubt it will get busier this evening when all the moms and dads are finished working and head to the mall.

There is an article in today's Toronto Star that mentioned this Santa ...

Dufferin Mall has had the same traditional Santa since 1999 and he keeps drawing in the crowds — about 5,000 over a five-week period, says Tatiana Shovkun, marketing manager.

"He recognizes the kids and welcomes them back," she says. "We’ve had people who move out of the area as far as Barrie or Brampton come to see him."

Improv Everywhere in New York City thinks you're never to old to sit on Santa's lap ...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book ~ "The Future of Us" (2011) Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

From ~ It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

This was an interesting concept - mixing 1996 with 2011 - and it worked for me.

It's 1996 and Emma and Josh are just entering the world of AOL ... remember the days of modems and dial-up? Somehow after installing the AOL CD giving them 100 free Internet hours, they are able to access Facebook and their 2011 profiles. Amazing considering Facebook wasn't even invented yet (Mark Zuckerberg was only 12 years old!).

They are able to see what their futures will bring. At first it mystifies and scares them but they soon realize that any actions they choose to do today will impact their lives 15 years in the future, which they can keep track of on Facebook. If they don't like the outcome of their lives in 2011, they have the power today to change things instantly ... just spilling water from a vase on a carpet has an impact. It's kind of like time traveling (and I like time travel stories).

This is considered a young adult book (directed at ages 14+) but I didn't find that it was juvenile. Emma and Josh and their friends are in high school and act their age ... a mixture of innocence while entering into maturity.

It's a quick read. Though it's almost 360 pages, I read it in about 3.5 hours. I enjoyed the writing style and the short snappy chapters. The narrator of each chapter alternated between Emma and Josh.

I'd recommend this book for mature young adults (there are discussions/actions of sex and drinking) and adults (they would probably enjoy reminiscing about the music, movies and limited Internet). Everyone will be amused at the 1996 confusion of ipads, texting and being able to surf in your car.

I received a copy of this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book ~ "Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat--Not a Sour Puss" (2011) Pam Johnson-Bennett

From Amazon ~ Feline behaviorist Johnson-Bennett suggests that if cat owners learn how to think like a cat, they can better understand their pets and build a more positive relationship. One way is to view the world not from the vantage point of a 5'7" human but from the cat's level, ten inches off the ground. If you needed to scratch your claws and saw only drapes and furniture and no scratching post, what would you use? The author gives helpful tips for stopping destructive chewing, aggression, furniture scratching, and litter-box difficulties. Her advice on grooming, pests, traveling, and first aid are clear and straightforward. She also recommends types and brands of toys, equipment, food, and other feline products.

Gord saw this ebook on the Toronto Library site and thought I'd enjoy it ... he knows I like reading books about animals. And since Crumpet is still a kitten, I downloaded it onto my Kobo.

It's a good reference book for people who have never had a cat but also for people like me who have (and do have one or two, in our case).

The beginning of the book talks about where to buy a cat, what to look for, what to buy for it, getting it checked by the vet, what to expect, etc. ... stuff that newbies should know.

It covers how to train your cat not do something you don't want it to do (Crumpet occasionally jumps on the counter or table which we don't want), how major life events like moving, having a baby, getting married, getting another pet, etc. affect you cat, caring for your aging cat, etc. The back of the book gives details about the various diseases your cat can get and what to do about it.

The books covers everything and with humour.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Marked in midlife

I have a subscription for More magazine ... and I'm three issues behind in my reading so am getting caught up this afternoon.

There is an interesting article in the October issue called "Marked in midlife" by Anne Bokma. It's about the growing number of women are celebrating being comfortable in their own skin by getting a tattoo. Here are the first two paragraphs:

I used to have a bias against women with tattoos. I’d think of them as a cry for attention whenever I spotted the markings of a “tramp stamp” peeking out of the backside of a woman’s jeans. I considered those ubiquitous rose ankle tattoos as misguided youthful indiscretions — the result, no doubt, of one too many margaritas on a week-long Cancún binge. But a couple of summers ago, while swimming with a fortysomething friend who still looks great in a bikini, I eyed the crescent moon on the curve of her hip and immediately thought, I have to have one. Suddenly, the idea of a tattoo wasn’t trashy after all. In fact, it seemed the perfect way to mark my passage into midlife, a time when I’ve never been more comfortable in my own skin. It carried just the right whiff of rebellion to indicate a defiance of social conventions. Yes, getting a tattoo at 48 would declare to me — and to the world — that I could still be unpredictable, even a little edgy. It was a sure sign I was a woman with stories to tell.

I'm not alone in my desire to mark the geography of my skin for the first time in middle age. Women over 40 are the fastest growing demographic opting for tattoos, according to Michael Atkinson, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who spent five years researching the Canadian tattoo industry for his book, Tattooed: The Sociogenesis of a Body Art. At least nine per cent of Canadian women sport a tattoo, but “given the range of estimates and anecdotes I have seen, I’d say the figure is more like 20 per cent,” observes Atkinson. “A lot of older women say they wanted to get one when they were younger, but it wasn’t culturally acceptable then, so they’re getting it now.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

I have two tattoos.

I got the first one impulsively when I was 30 (1992). My then husband wanted a tattoo for his birthday so I took him to get one. I left with one too on my left shoulder.

Our first initials were in each heart. When he and I split, I had the initials lasered out (very painful and three times more expensive than the tattoo itself!) and, once it healed, recoloured. The alternative was to have the hearts coloured black to hide the initials.

I got my second one in October 2006 with Gord. It's a "tramp stamp" (so on my lower back).

I've always been attracted to sunflowers ... it seems like such a happy flower! A sunflower's meaning differs from culture to culture. To some, the sunflower promises power, warmth and nourishment. To others, the sunflower's turning as it follows the sun symbolizes deep loyalty and constancy.

I like this quote by Chris (Helen Mirren) in Calendar Girls:

I don't think there's anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me, that's because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that's such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.

What do you think of tattoos? Do you have any?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Brogue Inn Irish Pub, Port Credit, ON

After Gord and I left the Harp Pub, we stopped in at the Brogue Inn for a drink before we had to catch our GoTrain home (it's just a couple blocks south of the GoTrain station)

We'd been there in April 2010 for Gord's friend, Rick's birthday party and enjoyed it.

As usual, we sat at the bar. The bartender took good care of us.

There were quite a few people there. The guy on the left was enjoying a beer and working ... he had a huge pile of paper in front of him he was going through.

It's a fairly big place. There is another room ... the doorway is under the TV.

Alas, we had to leave to catch our 10:43pm GoTrain. Here we are just before we left.

It's a comfortable place to have a beer and a bite to eat ... I'd stop in again.

Brogue Inn on Urbanspoon

The Harp Restaurant and Pub, Port Credit, ON

After Gord and I left The Pump House, we crossed the street and checked out The Harp Pub.

We were getting hungry so ordered wings.

I got hot wings. Thankfully they weren't breaded (I hate breaded wings!) and the hot spice wasn't too overpowering (I'd consider it to be medium). They were big too. I really liked them and would get them there again. They come with celery and carrots and blue cheese. I don't like celery or blue cheese so our server got me extra carrots and Ranch Dressing.

Gord ordered dry Cajun rub (he doesn't like gunky wings). He had asked for them to be lightly dusted and they were ... there wasn't much of a kick to them.

It's a cute pub. It was fairly quiet when we got there but started filling up quickly.

I'd definitely stop in again when I'm in Port Credit and hungry for wings and a cold beer.

Harp Restaurant and Pub on Urbanspoon

The Pump House Grille Co., Port Credit, ON

After Gord and I left Snug Harbour, we walked along Lakeshore Road and decided to check out The Pump House.

It was packed so we sat at the bar (we usually sit at the bar anyway unless we're eating). The bar is big and round and in the middle of the room.

It's a big place ... there's a room on the side that was full too. Here are tables that were behind us (the windows face the street).

The bartender took good care of us. There were TVs above the bar and we had fun watching some lumberjack competitions and cheering on the competitors.

There were always people coming and going so it seems like a popular spot. We didn't eat there but the food looked liked typical pub grub.

I've never posted a picture of bathrooms before but I was impressed with theirs. The doors were very nice and the walls between the stalls were the same frosted glass. You could see through them but not really.

I'd stop back the next time I'm in Port Credit ... there was a good vibe.

The Pump House Grille Co. on Urbanspoon

Snug Harbour Seafood Bar and Grill, Port Credit, ON

After walking around J.C. Saddington Park, we were hungry (we hadn't eaten since breakfast) so we walked back to Snug Harbour.

We've been there before for drinks.

It's a big restaurant that is decked out for Christmas.

I was surprised that there weren't that many people there.

Gord had a beer from Old Credit Brewing, a local brewery.

I had planned to have supper but the menu was limited to mostly fish dishes (I'm not a fan of fish) or big meals. I was more in the mood for something fun like wings. The only appetizer that appealed to me was garlic bread with cheese so that's what I got (I gave Gord a piece).

It was okay, not great. It seemed like it had been made an hour earlier as it was warm, not hot.

Gord ordered New England Clam Chowder and said it was good.

Our server was Bianca and she took good care of us.

I'd go back for drinks but not for a meal.

Snug Harbour Seafood Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Waterfront Trail, Port Credit, ON

Gord and I took the GoTrain to Port Credit this afternoon (a 20 minute train ride west of Toronto).

We headed south towards the water (I love water!) to go for a walk along the Waterfront Trail.

This is looking east ... Toronto is around the bend.

I stole borrowed this picture from Gord (I'd left my zoom lens at home) ... there's Toronto.

Here are Gord and I.

Then we headed west following the Waterfront Trail.

Here's Gord showing you where we were.

There's a lighthouse on Lakeshore Road.

Looking south ...

We walked to J.C. Saddington Park.

We walked on the rocks along the water.

Gord got a new camera on Friday and was excited to use it.

I stole borrowed this picture from Gord ... you can see Toronto off in the distance.

Back on the trail again.

As we are leaving the park ...

It was such a nice day for a walk and lots of people had the same idea we did.