Saturday, 30 June 2012

"The War of 1812", Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, ON

Gord and I went to Stratford today to see The War of 1812 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

We go twice a year and take the train.  We both love the train and it's nice that we don't have to worry about dealing with traffic.  We left about 11am and got there just after 1pm.  We catch a train home about 9pm and get back to Toronto just after 11pm.

As we were walking towards downtown and the theatre, we noticed that Stratford has gargoyles.  Since we did the Doors Open:  Faces on Places Walking Tour last month, we have been looking up up up.

Here's the downtown ... it's cute.

Here's the Avon Theatre where Justin Bieber used to busk.

He has a star in front of the theatre now.

Here's Gord standing next to it.

The War of 1812 was playing at the Studio Theatre Annex.

When America declares war on Britain and her empire, a Native confederation led by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh defends its own territory by joining in the defence of Canada. After three years of bloodshed on land and lake, the Yankees have burned York, the Yorkees have burned Washington, and everyone has burned the Natives.

This was a VideoCaberet production.  I knew this was going to be in a smaller theatre.  The theatre has 72 seats, which made it very up-close and intimate.  I had expected the play to be dark and serious.  But it was the opposite ... it was funny and campy.   There were eight in the cast and they played different roles ... it was amazing how fast they changed costumes and characters.  There was no set ... basically they were in a small black box, wore colourful costumes and make-up and depended on lighting to set the mood.  I thought it was very well done.

After the play, we had a bite to eat at Molly Bloom's and then took a walk.

The city hall is cool.

Bieber fever lives!

It was such a nice day so we walked along the Avon River.

Gord is having a few words with William Shakespeare.

We always have one last drink or two at the Dominion House, which is across the street from the train station.

We sat on the a patio.  Surprisingly it was quiet ... must be because of the long weekend.

The train station is just behind the trees ... how's that for close?

Molly Bloom's Irish Pub, Stratford, ON

After The War of 1812, we had supper at Molly Bloom's.  We've been there in the past and liked it.

 There were a few people there.

I ordered a dark rum and Diet Coke ... and got a spiced rum and Diet Coke.  Good thing I like spiced rum.  When I mentioned it to our server, Brieana, she said she knew the difference between dark rum and spiced rum.  Huh?!

Gord ordered Beer Battered Cheese Curds and Pesto Chicken flatbread.

He said the curds were okay ... the batter was good but the cheese didn't have the salty kick it should.   He wouldn't order them again.  He liked the flatbread, though, and would order it again.

I ordered the Garlic Bread Supreme without scallions and medium wings.

Do you see any tomatoes or bacon on the garlic bread?  Neither did I.  When I brought it to Brieana's attention, she said, "Okay" and walked away.  Huh?  And then she charged me $7 for it.  Plus it seemed like it had been sitting around for a while because it was dried out, cold and hard.  The wings weren't great either.  Though a good size, they were overdone and dry.

After we were done our meals, Brieana asked if we wanted dessert.  We said no and she brought us our bill.  The more appropriate thing for her to do would have been to ask if we wanted another drink.  Our exchange with her during our meal, despite the screw-up with my drink and garlic bread, had been pleasant.  So we paid up and left.

Brieana said she had only been there for a week ... I think she needs some training on customer service, like what to do when there is a mistake.  Plus there weren't a lot of people in the pub but it seemed like she wasn't "present" with us ... she was already mentally serving the next tables.

 I won't be rushing back the next time I'm in Stratford.

Molly Bloom's Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Happy 25th birthday to the loonie!

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the $1 coin replacing the paper bill, a transition that gave Canadians more change to rattle in their pockets, and a new word for their vocabulary: the loonie.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Book ~ "Magnified World" (2012) Grace O'Connell

From Goodreads ~ What's a girl supposed to do after her mother kills herself by walking into the Don River with her pockets full of unpolished zircon stones? Maggie removes the zircon stones from the inventory of the family's New Age shop and opens up for another day of business. Then her blackouts begin, as do the visits from a mysterious customer who offers help for Maggie's blackouts and her project of investigating her mother's past in the American South. Is Maggie breaking down in the way her mother did, or is her "madness" a distinctive show of grief? Nobody really knows, not her father, her boyfriend or her psychiatrist, and especially not Maggie, who has to make some crazy decisions in order to work to feel sane again. A vivid look at the various confusions that can set in after a trauma and an insightful, gently funny portrait of a woman in her early twenties, especially relatable to readers who grew up in the eighties and nineties, Magnified World dramatizes the battle between the head and the heart and the limitations of both in unlocking something as complicated as loss.

I'd read about this book this month in the Toronto Star. It attracted me because it's set in Toronto. It actually takes place just northeast of us ... Maggie's store is across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park, in the same block as our vet.

I liked the writing style. Written in first person, I was drawn to Maggie's story of how she is coping with the suicide of her mom and discovering who her mom was. I found the secondary characters like her dad, boyfriend and best friend cold and unsympathetic. They didn't seem overly concerned that she was having blackouts and losing track of time. They let her drive a car and a bike, which have disastrous results.

When she starts to have blackouts, she starts to see a psychiatrist at CAMH (in our 'hood). I didn't find Dr. Rosenberg very likeable and I didn't see the point of why so much time was spent with him using her for his research. He took her blood samples and everything. Huh?

Gil is a fella she met after her blackouts began. Was he real? Was he a ghost? Was the a figment of her imagination? Was she crazy? I have no idea. I was waiting to find out the resolution of this but I never got it. I guess I missed something.

Though I liked this book, I found it confusing. I have no idea whether Maggie was following the same path as her mother or if she ended up being cured at the end. Perhaps you can read it and let me know.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Fan and feather dish cloth

I made a fan and feather pattern dish cloth tonight:

Cotton yarn and size 4.5mm knitting needles

Cast on 42 stitches (or a multiple of 18 plus 6)

Knit 3 rows of garter stitch for the border

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: K 3, P to last 3 stitches K3

Row 6: K3, *(K2 tog) 3 times, (yo, K1) 6 times, (K2 tog) 3 times, rep from * to last 3 sts K3

Row 7: Knit

Repeat Rows 4 - 7, keeping first and last 3 stitches in garter stitch, until piece measures desired length

Knit 3 more rows of garter stitch to make the bottom border

Cast off and darn in ends

Bâton Rouge Steakhouse & Bar, Oakville, ON

Steve, Helene and I had a client meeting in Oakville this morning.  Afterwards, we had lunch at Bâton Rouge at Winston Churchill/QEW.

We got there about 12:30pm and it wasn't too busy.

Steve is eating healthy these days and ordered a lunch special ... salad with Bourbon beef.  There was a lotta salad and not a lotta beef.  He did say the beef was good, though.

Helene and I ordered the not so healthy chicken tenders.

I got mine with fries and baked apples.  It was good.  The platter is a big meal and I left a lot of it.

It seemed to take a long time for our food to come.  Our server, Sean, came over to apologize and said there was a mix-up and our food would be out shortly.  About ten minutes later, the manager came over with our food and he too apologized.  I asked if the order had been lost and he said yes.  But he said we could have free dessert or he could take a discount off our bill.  We opted to get dessert to go so Steve could bring the brownies home to his sons.  Plus they didn't charge us for our pops.  Yes, they screwed up but they handled their mistake very graciously.

Baton Rouge Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, 25 June 2012

Book ~ "In Close" (2011) Brenda Novak

From Goodreads ~ Claire O'Toole's mother, Alana, went missing fifteen years ago. That was big news in Pineview, Montana, the kind of town where nothing much ever happens. Then, last year, Claire's husband, David, died in a freak accident — after launching his own investigation into Alana's disappearance.

Is Alana dead? Or did she simply abandon her husband and daughters? Claire's determined to find out — and her former boyfriend, Isaac Morgan, wants to help. Although their relationship didn't end well, he still has feelings for her. And yet it isn't until he starts to suspect David's death wasn't an accident that he's drawn back into her life.
Together, Claire and Isaac search for answers to the questions that have haunted Pineview all this time. But as they soon discover, someone's prepared to kill so those answers won't be found.

This book had two elements ... a romance and a mystery.

Claire's husband, David, who had been her high school sweetheart, died a year ago in a hunting accident and Claire is still in mourning. Isaac comes back into Claire's life after someone breaks into her house. They dated when Claire and David were on a six month break ten years ago. Back then Isaac had a reputation as a bad boy and broke it off with Claire when she told him she wanted more from him than he could give at the time. Claire got back together with David and had a nice life. But Claire and Isaac never got over each other. The heat is still there but there are misunderstandings. Claire assumes that Isaac is still a bad boy and can't commit and Isaac assumes that Claire will never love anyone but David. So rather than sitting down and talking about it, they each make assumptions about the other. I'm not a fan of this kind of thing but I guess it's needed to add tension.

I liked Isaac's character. I found Claire was a bit weak in the in the beginning she was so concerned about what others thought and put them before herself. I was happy when she started getting stronger, especially with her nasty sister, Leanne. Though I had a hard time believing that they could pick up where they left off ten years ago so quickly and that Claire could flip her emotions that quickly from David to Isaac, I was okay with them as a couple.

I enjoyed the mystery part. Did Alana run away or was she killed? If she was killed, who did it? Was it Claire's stepfather, Tug, who married Roni just six months after Alana left and raised Claire and Leanne after Alana disappeared? Or was it Roni because she wanted Tug and Alana was in the way? Or was it Joe, who was supposed to be having an affair with Alana? Did David really get killed in a hunting accident or was he murdered because he was digging into Alana's disappearance? It all comes together and I was okay with how it ended.

I enjoyed the writing style. I found it a fairly easy read and will be looking for others by this author.

Our terrace is finished!

Late Saturday afternoon, we saw a couple guys welding the railings ...

Which meant that painting couldn't be too far away.

When I left for work this morning, the painter was scraping ... and when I got home today our railings had been painted.

That should be it for the repairs.