Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Burrito Boyz, Toronto, ON (Adelaide W)

Instead of handing out candy to the trick or treaters, Trish, Gord and I met at Burrito Boyz (on Adelaide W) for supper.

It was really busy ... even the guy taking our orders acknowledged it was busier than usual when I asked him.

There was a bit of wait between paying and then ordering and then getting our burritos ... but they were worth the wait.

Trish doesn't eat meat ... here's her soy burrito.

Gord and I both ordered chicken burritos ... here's mine.  It was delicious, as usual.

Then we saw Seven Psychopaths at the Scotiabank Theatre.

Marty (Colin Farrell) is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay, "Seven Psychopaths". All he needs is a little focus and inspiration. Billy (Sam Rockwell) is Marty's best friend, an unemployed actor and part-time dog thief, who wants to help Marty by any means necessary. Hans (Christopher Walken) is Billy's partner in crime: a religious man with a violent past. Charlie (Woody Harrelson) is the gangster whose beloved dog Billy and Hans have just stolen. Charlie is unpredictable and extremely violent and wouldn't think twice about killing anyone or destroying anything associated with the theft. Marty is going to get all the focus and inspiration he needs, just as long as he lives to tell the tale.

What a crazy movie!  When Trish and I saw the preview a couple weeks ago, I knew that it was going to be wacky and it was. The story was all over the place so I really needed to pay attention.  All the actors did an excellent job playing crazy!  It was really funny at times and violent and gory at others.  It was definitely worth going to see.

Here we are afterwards ... Trish, me and Gord.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Book ~ "The Prophet" (2012) Ethan Cross

From Goodreads ~ OLD ENEMIES ... Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America's most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work – and he's more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever.

NEW THREATS ... Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now Marcus must focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive.

HIDDEN TERRORS ... Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet – and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine.

With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet's final dark ritual.

Though I enjoyed this book, I found it was a bit slow and confusing in the beginning.  There were a few characters to get to know right away.  But once I figured out who was who and got to know them, I was okay and got into it.

I liked the characters.   Everyone has a scarred past, the good guys and the bad guys.  Marcus and Maggie (she works for the same agency) have had a relationship and are on a break, though each understands it differently.  This doesn't stop them from doing their job, though.  Marcus' brain is always remembering and analyzing everything.  He doesn't sleep much and suffers from migraines.  Andrew is a supportive friend and sidekick ... he knows that Marcus can act like an a-hole at times (Marcus doesn't seem to have any filters) but Andrew is forever smoothing things over for his friend.  Stan, the IT guy, is a hoot.

I liked the writing style once it became more fast paced.  The chapters are short and snappy, between one to five pages, which I like.  There are some twists and turns that are suspenseful surprises.  I was satisfied with the ending.  And just when I thought the story was over, there was a cliffhanger!

This is the second in the series.  It would help if you read the first book first to get the details on what happened between Akerman and Marcus but you don't need to ... this works as a stand alone book.  I'd like to go back and read the first one.

    Saturday, 27 October 2012

    Boxy Dishcloth

    I finished a dishcloth tonight.

    I'd never made this one before and it was an easy pattern.

    Cast on 46 stitches.

    Work rows 1 to 4 of Waffle Stitch Pattern (see below) 15 times.

    Then work rows 1 to 3 more.

    Bind off all stitches knitwise.

    Weave in ends.

    Waffle Stitch Pattern

    Row 1 (right side): Sl1 knitwise, *k2, p1; rep from * to end.
    Row 2 (wrong side): Sl1 knitwise, *p2, k1; rep from * to last 3 sts, p3.
    Row 3 (right side): Sl1 knitwise, *k2, p1; rep from * to end.
    Row 4(wrong side): Sl1 knitwise, knit to last stitch, p1.

    Friday, 26 October 2012

    Il Fornello, Toronto, ON

    I met my pals, Deb, Franca and Liz, for supper tonight at Il Fornello (King W/Simcoe).

    I usually get pepperoni pizza when I go to an Il Fornello.  But I've had a lot of pizza lately so thought I'd get Chicken Parm.

    Back to the future

    There are lot of clocks on the ceilings at work.

    When I first started working there three years ago, I found it odd.

    Since then, though, I've gotten used to glancing up often to see what the time is.

    About a month or so ago, they all stopped at 5:50.

    No matter what time of day it was, it was always 5:50.   When I arrived in the morning, it was 5:50.  When I went to lunch, it was 5:50.  When I came back from lunch, it was 5:50.  When I left the office, it was 5:50.

    It drove me nuts!

    I noticed today that the clocks were finally fixed.  Hurray!

    Except I took this picture about 2:30pm.

    Thursday, 25 October 2012

    Setting sun

    I had one-on-one meetings to conduct this afternoon in St. Thomas, which is just over two hours southwest of Toronto.

    I left St. Thomas about 6pm and headed for home.  I stopped for gas a half hour later at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop.

    There was an amazing sunset happening so I had to take some pictures and enjoy it.

    Wednesday, 24 October 2012

    Comedy Cares About Learning, Steam Whistle, Toronto, ON

    I got VIP tickets through work for tonight's Comedy Cares About Learning event and Gord and I went.

    Comedy Cares and Learning Enrichment Foundation will host the third annual Comedy Cares About Learning fundraiser at 7:00 p.m., Steam Whistle – The Roundhouse, 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto, ON. All money raised from this exclusive event will go directly to the Learning Enrichment Foundation.

    The Learning Enrichment Foundation offers employment services, skills training, language training, childcare services and supports for children and families, newcomer services, youth programs and community enterprises programs.

    The VIP tickets gave us access to the VIP lounge with gourmet appies and a couple drinks.

    Book ~ "Sparkelicious" (2012) Libby Floyd

    From ~ Laney Montgomery is living the dream – a successful L.A. fashion designer, a fabulous home in the Hollywood Hills and happily married to an English film director. 

    But on a trip back home to South Carolina, she finds herself in the middle of a family crisis, which she’s determined to fix. However, the affections of a handsome, younger man creates havoc in her personal life. With her marriage in serious trouble back in California, Laney is faced with losing it all but maybe that’s the only way for her to find true happiness.

    Laney lives in L.A. with her husband, Thomas, a has-been director, who is more than ten years older than her.  Laney's sisters, Missy and Bridgett, live in the same South Carolina town as their mother, Sophie, and stepdad, Charles.  Thomas recently had live-saving surgery and is CRANKY so it's a nice break for Laney to go home and spend time with her family.

    There is lots of family drama at home.  Missy's husband is having affairs and she keeps forgiving him.  Bridgett just left her 20 year marriage for someone else and no one approves.  Sophie, in apparent true Southern style, believes emotions should be hidden and it's all about appearance.

    While at a bar one night, Laney meets Matt, a bartender.  Though she is older than him, they have a connection right away.  But she doesn't act on it because she's married and in love with her husband.  He's a nice fella and is happy to be her friend.

    Laney is a successful clothing designer and business woman.  Celebrities stop her on the street and maitre d's at trendy restaurants in L.A. know her by name.  She was likeable and obviously cares about her family.  My issue with her is that she is a bit weak and lacked confidence.  Thomas is a major A-hole.  He keeps doing nasty hurtful things but she keeps finding excuses and giving him the benefit of the doubt.  I would have kicked him to the curb if he'd treated me like crap when I was taking care of him after his surgery.  Then his actions just kept getting worse.  I wished she had been tougher and stronger.

    I liked the writing style and enjoyed the story.  It's not your typical fluffy chick lit, though.  There is fun and female bonding but there is a bit of an edge too.  At times, the language is mature (but I was okay with that).  I'll keep an eye out for other books by this author.

    Tuesday, 23 October 2012

    Book ~ "Euthanasia" (2012) Mack Mulluncey

    From Goodreads ~ When Alex left the clinic that day, she thought she could move on from the rape that left her pregnant and the agonizing decision to have an abortion. That is, until the child she thought she left behind contacts her. Terrorized by mysterious phone calls and guilt, Alex feels her sanity slipping away as she becomes convinced that she must find the man who brutalized her to make a family for her dead daughter.

    Anti-abortion crusader Tobin Bartell wouldn’t have it any other way. As The Leader of The Movement, when he’s not organizing protests or giving speeches, he’s orchestrating a campaign of harassment against women like Alex ... and plotting to kill the local abortion doctor.

    And Tobin has no shortage of candidates for the job: Paige wants money, Courtney wants love, Derek wants to belong. Tobin just wants it done ... and it doesn’t matter to him who does it.

    Life. Death. Murder. It’s all the same to them.

    This is quite an intense book about a very controversial subject.  Though it's not for everyone and it's not something I usually read, I enjoyed it.  Not surprising, the language and activity is very mature.

    Alex was raped and, as a result, ends up pregnant.  She goes to the abortion clinic and then begins getting calls from her "baby" who lays on the guilt for what she'd done.  This slowly drives Alex crazy as she tries to get her baby back. Dana has been having an affair with her high school sweetheart and ends up at the clinic.

    Aaron, Paige and Jillian work for The Movement, an anti-abortion organization headed by Tobin Bartell, and will do whatever they have to dissuade women from going to the clinic.  His followers are reminiscent of those at Jonestown.

    Tobin is a nut.  He feels women are not equals to men and that ugly and stupid women should be neutered so they are taken out of the gene pool.  No, he's not a nice man.  He is still grieving over the death of his daughter, Iliana ... no wonder she committed suicide.

    So you can see why I say this book is intense!

    Monday, 22 October 2012

    Book ~ "Sasha Plotkin's Deceit" (2012) Vaughn Sherman

    From Goodreads ~ It is 1972 and the Soviet Union has succeeded in planting a mole in the top echelons of the Central Intelligence Agency. Three years earlier, CIA officer Chris Holbeck took part in a failed mission to engineer the defection of a Soviet KGB officer who may know the mole’s identity. His name is Sasha Plotkin. When they were both stationed in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1969, Chris and Sasha connected on a personal level. Chris was excited to find a KGB officer interested in changing sides. Then, on the day of the Soviet agent’s defection, Sasha was a no-show. Chris would soon discover the full extent of Sasha Plotkin’s deceit. 

    Now Sasha has resurfaced and wishes to make another attempt to defect. To Chris’ dismay, he is the only CIA officer the man will consent to deal with, even though their once close relationship is now riddled with mistrust. Chris’ wife, Lisa, has sworn to leave him if he abandons her and the family for one more perilous mission. His alluring young colleague Bisan seems determined to seduce him. Despite the risk to his life and his marriage, Chris answers the call of duty. If Chris succeeds in transporting Sasha to the United States--come hell or high water--will the Soviet agent reveal the true identity of the mole? One thing is certain: the lives of the two men will be forever changed.

    This book takes place from 1968 to 1972.  I was ten years old in 1972 so wasn't really aware of what was happening with the Soviet Union back then.  This book gave me a good understanding of all that went on before the Soviet Union fell.

    There are a few stories going on in this book besides Chris trying to convince Sasha to defect.  Chris and Lisa are trying to keep their marriage together which is hard considering Chris spends a lot of his time away from home.  Then there's Chris' Swedish mom who has lost one son in Viet Nam and wants to keep what's left of her family close to her.

    You really get to know the main characters as they take a step back at one time or another and fill you in on their past.

    I wasn't crazy about Chris' wife, Lisa.  I didn't find her very likable at all.  At point, she does something that to me was unforgiveable yet Chris gets over it and they move on almost like it never happened.

    I found the book kind of dragged.  With tighter writing and a quicker pace, I might have enjoyed it more.  But that's just me.

    I'd recommend this if you are looking for a detailed spy novel in which they are trying to get the inside advantage on the former Soviet Union.

    Sunday, 21 October 2012

    KC's tree, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

    When Gord, Sister Sarah and I checked on KC's tree a couple weeks ago, we were surprised to discover that its leaves hadn't started changing colours.

    We went to Trinity Bellwoods Park this afternoon to visit it.

    Despite the fact that a lot of the leaves on trees in the park are changing or are gone ...

    Saturday, 20 October 2012

    Bella Vista Trattoria and Wine Bar, Toronto ON

    Tonight was Mary's 60th birthday party.

    Mary's husband, Malcolm, has been friends with Gord for 20+ years (they met through a baseball pool).

    It was held at Bella Vista Trattoria & Wine Bar on College Street.

    After socializing, appies were served.  Gord and I swapped some stuff on our plates ... I gave him my cheese and meat and he gave me his tomatoes and bruschetta (the bruschetta was delicious!).

    Glymm Bag - October

    I picked up my October Glymm Bag today at the post office.

    It came in a hot pink make-up bag.


    Here's what was inside ...

    April 19, 2013 update - Glymm announced they were shutting down.  Alas, I still had three months left in my subscription.  

    Friday, 19 October 2012

    My Cousin Vinny's, Niagara Falls, ON

    After spending a couple days at the pension conference, coincidentally I had a couple enrolment seminars to conduct in Niagara Falls this afternoon.

    Before the seminars, I had lunch at My Cousin Vinny's.

    Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls, ON

    I was at a pension and benefits conference in Niagara Falls from Wednesday 'til today.

    It was held at the Sheraton on the Falls and that's also where everyone stayed ... there were hundreds of us.

    Last day in Niagara Falls, ON

    I'm heading home today ... here's the view from my room this morning.

    Wednesday, 17 October 2012

    Niagara Falls

    I'm at a pension conference in Niagara Falls 'til Friday.

    Here's the view from my room. 

    Awesome or what?!

    Book ~ "Curveball" (2012) Jen Estes

    From Goodreads ~ Baseball reporter Cat McDaniel specializes in exposés. Now that very talent has left her unemployed. Desperate to get off the bench and back into the lineup, she is thrilled to land an interview with the Buffalo Soldiers’ General Manager Roger “Rakin’” Aiken--Baseball legend, eight-time All Star ... and oblivious father to a Major League bratty co-ed named Paige. 

    Aiken offers Cat the team writer position for the following spring but the opportunity is tempered by a curveball of a caveat: she must first spend the winter as a blogger reporting on the Latin American training facility. She is also supposed to look out for Paige, nominally the team’s newest scouting assistant. Being a glorified babysitter and chaperone still beats being an out-of-work sportswriter.  Cat reluctantly leaves behind her gorgeous boyfriend, Benji, and accompanies the party girl to sunny Santo Domingo to balance baselines and conga lines. 

    Paige falls for Chance Hayward, an agent who plays hardball—the figurative kind. Joining them on the field is Paige's ex, Junior DeLeon, one of the coaches who’d really like to score with Cat. When an aspiring player turns up dead, it is up to Cat and Junior to devise a game-changing strategy. Will Cat’s snooping work in her favor this time, or will she strike out ... losing her job, her boyfriend and her life? Curveball follows Big Leagues as Book 2 of the Cat McDaniel Mysteries, also known as the Foul Ball series.

    I like mysteries and I like baseball (go, Blue Jays, go!). I'd never heard of this author but the book sounded fun ... and it was. 

    All Cat wants is a job with the Buffalo Soldiers and she's willing to nanny the owner's daughter, Paige, if that's what it takes.  It's only for three weeks ... how hard can it be?  But Paige is a spoiled brat with no filters and you can feel Cat's frustration with her.  When Paige hooks up with Chance, Cat thinks there is something funky about him and is determined to find out what it is.  In addition, she is missing her boyfriend, Benji, who lives in Las Vegas but is feeling a vibe with someone she runs into and knew in university, Junior.

    I enjoyed the writing style.  It was fast and comical.  I didn't find that it dragged.  There was a bit of a twist with the resolution and I was satisfied with the ending.  The language at times is mature.

    This is the second book in the Foul Ball series with Cat McDaniel ... I'm going to look for the first one and read it.  This one is a stand alone, though, so you don't need to have read the first one to know what's going on.  I hope there's more to come in this series and from this author.

    Tuesday, 16 October 2012

    Copycat Dishcloth

    I finished another dishcloth tonight.

    It was a new pattern for me and really easy.  If you can knit and purl, you can make it.

    Slip the first stitch of every row knitwise.
    Purl the last stitch of every row.

    Cast on 40 sts using cotton yarn.

    Work 8 rows in garter stitch (knit every row), remembering to slip the first stitch knitwise and purl the last.

    First stocking stitch band: Work 6 rows in stocking stitch (knit one row, purl one row), ending with a wrong side purl row.

    Main body: Work in garter stitch until piece measures 8.5 inches from cast on, ending with a wrong side row.

    Second stocking stitch band: Work 6 rows in stocking stitch, ending with a wrong side purl row.

    Work 9 rows in garter stitch.

    Bind off all stitches. Weave in ends.

    Trius Wine Club - October 2012

    Gord and I have been members of the Trius Wine Club (formerly the Hillebrand Wine Club) for about ten years.  Our October box arrived today!

    Every month, 2 bottles of our best wine will be delivered to your door along with Winemaker Craig McDonald’s tasting notes and Chef Frank Dodd’s recipes.

    The cost is about $40 a month and it's only available in Ontario.

    This is the first box since it has changed names ... 

    Monday, 15 October 2012

    Stacey's baby shower

    One of my colleagues, Stacey, is pregnant and is due within the next week or so.

    There was a baby shower for her at work today.

    She knows she is having a girl.  Here is her cake ... isn't it cute?!

    Friday, 12 October 2012

    Topbox - October 2012

    I was on the waiting list for Topbox since the early spring.  I'd heard good things about Topbox.

    For only $10 a month, you will receive a Topbox with 4 carefully selected, indulgent, beauty products. Then test the products in the comfort of your own home.

    I got notice at the end of the summer that I'm off the waiting list.


    I got my first box today.

    It comes in a round box which was an interesting surprise in the mailbox.

    Here's what was in it ...

    For my first box and after all the wait, I didn't find it exciting :(  Hopefully the next one will be better and live up to its reputation.