Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book ~ "Managing for People Who Hate Managing: Be a Success By Being Yourself" (2012) Devora Zack

From Goodreads ~ Professional success, more often than not, means becoming a manager. Yet nobody prepared you for having to deal with messy tidbits like emotions, conflicts, and personalities—all while achieving ever-greater goals and meeting ever-looming deadlines. Not exactly what you had in mind, is it?

Don’t panic. Devora Zack has the tools to help you succeed and even thrive as a manager. Drawing on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Zack introduces two primary management styles—thinkers and feelers—and guides you in developing a management style that fits who you really are.

She takes you through a host of potentially difficult situations, showing how this new way of understanding yourself and others makes managing less of a stumble in the dark and more of a walk in the park. Her enlightening examples, helpful exercises, and lifesaving tips make this book the new go-to guide for all those managers looking to love their jobs again.

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

As an employee, I found it interesting and enjoyed it.

According to the author, there are two reasons for managerial angst:
  1. When you manage people, you have less time to do what stimulates you.
  2. You've got to deal with people's stuff ... as therapist, mediator and cruise director

Book ~ "Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want" (2012) Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni

From Goodreads ~ Study after study confirms that career development is the single most powerful tool managers have for driving retention, engagement, productivity, and results. Nevertheless, it’s frequently back-burnered. When asked why, managers say the number one reason is that they just don’t have time—for the meetings, the forms, the administrative hoops.

But there’s a better way. And it’s surprisingly simple: frequent short conversations with employees about their career goals and options integrated seamlessly into the normal course of business. Beverly Kaye, coauthor of the bestselling Love ’Em or Lose ’Em, and Julie Winkle Giulioni identify three broad types of conversations that will increase employees’ awareness of their strengths, weaknesses, and interests; point out where their organization and their industry are headed; and help them pull all of that together to design their own up-to-the-minute, personalized career plans.

Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go is filled with practical tips, guidelines, and templates, as well as nearly a hundred suggested conversation questions.

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

As an employee, I found it an interesting read and I enjoyed it.

If managers ignore career development, they have three threats:
  1. Employees leave because they believe their careers aren't getting the attention they deserve.
  2. Others decide the freelance life suits them better and get a variety of projects that becomes a career.
  3. There are employees who stay but withdraw their engagement, motivation and enthusiasm.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dominion on Queen, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I saw Death of a Salesman at Soulpepper, we walked a few blocks north and had supper at Dominion on Queen.



"Death of a Salesman", Soulpepper, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw Death of a Salesman at Soulpepper this afternoon.


Gord had read the story by Arthur Miller in school and was interested in seeing the play.  I'd heard of it but didn't know what it was about.

Willy Loman struggles to provide financial security for his family and dreams about making himself a huge financial success. After years of working as a traveling salesman, Willy Loman has only an old car, an empty house, and a defeated spirit. Willy falsely believes he needs nothing more than to be well liked to make it big.  Willy attempts to provide financial security and to guide his sons' future, neither of which he does very well.  Finally, the only solution to providing for his family is to kill himself so they can collect on his life insurance. 


 Needless to say, this is not a happy story.

The actors did an excellent job.  Joseph Ziegler, who played Willy, was very convincing as a man who was desperate and losing touch with reality.  Nancy Palk was good as Willy's wife, Linda, who was supportive and protective of her husband while trying to hold her family together.  Ari Cohen and Mike Ross played their sons, Biff and Hap, very well.

Friday, September 28, 2012

GlossyBox - September

I got my GlossyBox today.  Whoohoo!
  • Stay up to date with current trends and discover new niche brands 
  • Every month, GlossyBox delivers a mix of 5 exciting product samples packed in a beautiful box for you to test at home 
  • Join for just $15 a month - cancel any time 
  • Delivery is free! 

 


Book ~ "Attorney-Client Privilege" (2012) Pamela Samuels Young

From PamelaSamuelsYoung.com ~ A brutal murder, missing documents and an unscrupulous opposing counsel lead attorney Vernetta Henderson on a quest for justice—and ultimately—revenge. The hotshot L.A. lawyer takes on a corporation with a long history of discriminating against women. 

While Vernetta simply wants justice for her clients, the corporation’s hired gun wants to win ... and she doesn’t care how. On the home front, Vernetta’s infamous sidekick Special has finally found true love. But is the price more than she’s willing to pay?

I enjoyed this book ... a lot!

Vernetta is a caring lawyer representing Judi, Olive and Ida in a discrimination case against their employer, Big Buy.  But Judi when gets brutally killed, the focus is on her live-in wannabe-actor toy boy, Phillip ... did he do it for her insurance money?  Or was it her soon-to-be-ex husband, Robby, for the same reason?  Or did it have something to do with the secret documents re Big Buy?  Will the cops on the case figure it out?

Girlie is the prosecutor Vernetta faces who will do anything ... and I mean anything ... to win a case.

Special, Vernetta's best friend, just got engaged to Calvin, who is becoming a Muslim and expects Special to do the same.  She's having issues with it, though, because she feels women should be equal, not submissive to men.  I can dig it, Sista!

I liked the writing style ... it was fast-paced and kept me wanting to read more.  The chapters are short and snappy, which I like.  The language and activity is mature at times.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's for lunch?

I often take my lunch to work.

It's cheaper and tends to be healthier.  Plus there's not a lot of options for eating out near where I work.

In today's Toronto Star, there's a small feature about What’s for Lunch?, a 40-page book aimed at kids 8+ by Toronto author and food literacy advocate Andrea Curtis.  She gives readers a taste of what schoolchildren eat in 13 different countries — from mackerel in Japan to guinea pig in Peru.

Students in Tokyo help serve the midday meal, which can include miso soup, grilled mackerel with rice, an orange or apple, and milk. Families receive a monthly menu with the nutritional value and calories of meals, the health benefits of certain ingredients and information about where the produce was grown. Respect, manners and cleanliness practiced during lunch -- all students help clean up after the meal -- are as important as math class.

So different from the leftover beef stew I'm taking for lunch today!

Do you take a lunch to work or school?

Book ~ "Sweat" (2012) Mark Gilleo

From Partners in Crime ~ When Jake Patrick took a summer internship at his estranged father’s corporation, he anticipated some much-needed extra cash and a couple of free meals from his guilty dad. He would never have guessed that he'd find himself in the center of an international scandal involving a U.S. senator, conspiracy, backroom politics, and murder. Or that his own life would hang in the balance. Or that he’d find help – and much more than that – from a collection of memorable characters operating on all sides of the law. 

Jake’s summer has turned into the most eventful one of his life. Now he just needs to survive it. From the sweatshops of Saipan to the most powerful offices in Washington, "Sweat" rockets through a story of crime and consequences with lightning pacing, a twisting plot, an unforgettable cast of characters, and wry humor. It is another nonstop thriller from one of the most exciting new voices in suspense fiction.

I participated in this virtual book tour and received a copy of this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

That being said, I enjoyed this book.  I like suspense and this fit the bill.  There was always something going on, it all fit together well and I was buying it.  A few times it got a bit more detailed about how the Senate works than I needed ... as a Canadian, I wasn't that interested, to be honest.  I just wanted to get back to the story so skimmed over it.

I enjoyed the writing style ... it kept me interested.  Occasionally the language got a bit "mature" but I was okay with that.  It's an intriguing story.  We hear about sweatshops but I've never read much about them.  A lot of the focus of this book is on one ... quite enlightening.


Book ~ "Tears Water The Seeds of Hope" (2012) Kim Tews

From TearsWatertheSeedsofHope ~ Tears Water the Seeds of Hope is the inspiring true story of a Midwest husband and wife that become disenchanted with the relentless pursuit of the “American Dream” and embark on a journey that spans six countries and redefines their hearts and lives. 

The story begins in a small town in Wisconsin and weaves its way through South and Central America as the couple gathers an army of supporters, and works to save the lives of children in the end stages of starvation in eastern Guatemala. The narrative is filled with action-packed adventure and heart-warming victories as the characters face incredible odds and seemingly hopeless situations, while hundreds of volunteers join mission teams to serve alongside them. Readers of all ages will enjoy the roller coaster ride of emotions—from laughter, to tears, to sheer joy in the realization that it is possible for ordinary people to make a difference, one life at a time.

I was invited to participate in this virtual book tour and received a copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review.  Not only did the author send me the book but she also enclosed a personalized note.  Nice touch!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A star is born

Last month, the company Gord works for asked if any staff would be interested in being in online commercials promoting their services.

Gord thought it would be fun so put his hand up.

He got called for an audition and was one of the ones chosen.

A couple weeks ago, he went to the studio and filmed his bit.

Here's a great shot of him with the producer and make-up artist on the set.


He said it was a fun experience!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm a Life Path 6

I was just watching Ricki Lake's new show and she had a numerologist on.

I was curious as to what my life path number is so found an online calculator.


Numerology Life Path Number 6I possess great compassion and seek to be of service to others.

I have concern for the weak and the downtrodden. I am a healer and a helper to others. I am capable of giving comfort to those in need and will frequently offer a shoulder for others to cry on. I'm task in life is to develop the tools necessary to be truly helpful to others, rather than to simpl...


Positive ~ Responsible, Protective, Nurturing, Stable, Balanced, Sympathetic, Compassionate, Loving

Negative ~ Overly-Responsible, Suffocating, Homebody, Doormat, Predictable, Boring, Overly-Protective, Savior Complex


What is your life path?

Book ~ "Night is a Shadow Cast by the World" (2012) Brian Panhuyzen

From Goodreads ~ A mysterious airplane lands behind Cordell and Marla Bechard’s house. Cordell steps out to investigate, and as Marla watches from the window, he climbs aboard – and it takes off. 

Marla is left grappling with a question – was Cordell kidnapped or did he leave willingly? The answer may be buried at Bechard’s Books, Cordell’s eccentric bookstore, a creaky, captivating shop packed to the rafters with books old and new, and serving as a hub for the town’s idiosyncratic bibliophiles. As she assumes management of the store – a task that includes overseeing Cordell’s awkward and hilarious assistant Daniel – she encounters puzzles she will be forced to solve if she is to understand not only what has happened to Cordell, but the very nature of his love for her. 

Cordell meanwhile is flung across the globe in a series of harrowing adventures that will test his mettle, compelling him to apply his vast scholarly knowledge to a practical endeavour in which he has been casually participating – an enterprise that involves political intrigue, clandestine dispatches, and violence. And to his horror he will discover that his role in this conflict has placed both himself and Marla in grave danger, and the only way to protect her is to remain silent about his whereabouts and safety. His journey will ultimately take him around the world to the place of Marla’s origin – and the core of her own secrets. But will they be reunited?

Imagine you and your husband are doing the dishes at home one evening.  He seems distracted.  A big old plane lands in your field, your husband runs out and climbs on board.  The planes takes off and you don't hear from your husband again.  Huh?!  You are left behind wondering what the heck just happened.  That's how this book starts.

The chapters alternate with the focus on Marla and then on Cordell.  Marla is concerned and puzzled about Cordell's disappearance but Cordell can't let her know where he is or what he is doing in order to protect her.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book ~ "Eyes of the Innocent" (2011) Brad Parks

From Goodreads ~ Carter Ross, the sometimes-dashing investigative reporter for the Newark Eagle-Examiner, is back, and reporting on the latest tragedy to befall Newark, New Jersey, a fast-moving house fire that kills two boys. 

With the help of the paper’s newest intern, a bubbly blonde known as “Sweet Thang,” Carter finds the victims’ mother, Akilah Harris, who spins a tale of woe about a mortgage rate reset that forced her to work two jobs and leave her young boys without child care. Carter turns in a front-page feature, but soon discovers Akilah isn’t what she seems. And neither is the fire. 

When Newark councilman Windy Byers is reported missing, it launches Carter into the sordid world of urban house-flipping and Jersey-style political corruption. With his usual mix of humor, compassion, and street smarts, Carter is soon calling on some of his friends—gay Cuban sidekick Tommy Hernandez, T-shirt-selling buddy Tee Jamison, and on-and-off girlfriend Tina Thompson—for help in tracking down the shadowy figure behind it all.

This is the second book in the Carter Ross series ... I had read the third and first ones.  They are stand alones (I had read the third one first) so you don't need to read them all or even in order to enjoy this one or the others.  It's a fun series.

Carter is still a bit of a whiter than white dork with his short side-parted hair, tie and pleated pants.

Carter is asked to work with Lauren (aka Sweet Thang), an intern who got her job because her rich father is friends with one of the big bosses at the newspaper.  Sweet Thang's crush on Carter stirs up the jealousy of Tina, who still wants to use him as a sperm donor.  Despite his lack of confidence in Sweet Thang, she manages to get close to Akilah, who recently lost her sons in a house fire, Akilah's mom and Akilah's sister.  Without Sweet Thang, Carter wouldn't have the details for his story.

Alternating chapters give us information about Primo, a Brazilian who buys houses, fixes them up and then flips them.  Eventually we learn the details of how he is involved.

It is in Parks' usual funny and sarcastic style ... I love Carter's interactions with Tee and Tommy.

I look forward to more Carter Ross books in the future!

The Cow Bay Moose, Silver Sands Beach, NS

I first heard about the Cow Bay Moose during an episode of Trailer Park Boys, which was filmed in the Halifax/Dartmouth area, back in 2006.

Blaming Randy for getting him fired from East Coast Paving, Sam Losco vengefully kidnaps him and holds him for ransom.

The exchange took place out by the moose.

Sister Sarah and I went looking for the moose today and found it!  It's on Cow Bay Road, on Silver Sands Beach, just outside of Dartmouth.  It was built in 1959.



Fisherman's Cove, Eastern Passage, NS

Sister Sarah and I drove to Fisherman's Cove in Eastern Passage.

Fisherman's Cove is both frozen in time and constantly evolving. Nestled in a centuries old fishing community, they're home to a unique collection of gift shops, museums and art galleries, delicious restaurants, coffee and bake shops, ice-cream canteens and fish n' chip shacks.



Four Points by Sheraton, Halifax, NS

I spent the weekend in Halifax hanging with my friends, Chrissy and Elaine.  Chrissy and I went to high school and university together and we met Elaine at university.  Chrissy drove from Sydney and Elaine took the train from Moncton.

We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton.  After looking at prices online, we chose this hotel because it was the cheapest one downtown.  We booked online about a month ago and it was $140/night ($145/night if you wanted parking).



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Aren't we cute?!

Sister Sarah joined us today at lunch and came back to the hotel (she's spending the night with me in my room).

Here we are before we went out to supper ... Elaine, Sister Sarah, me and Chrissy.


Kind of a blurry shot (Chrissy took it holding my camera) but aren't we cute?!

It ended up being a quiet night.  We had supper at Baton Rouge and then came back to our rooms.

We are sooooo wild and crazy, aren't we?!

With this ring, I thee wed

When we got back after lunch, there were a couple big limos parked outside our hotel.

A wedding!

And I knew exactly where!

My room faces a courtyard so I had a great comfy view of it.


Red Fox Tavern, Halifax, NS

Chrissy, Elaine and I had lunch today at the Red Fox Tavern.

Mark Macneill, a fella Chrissy and I went to high school and university with (he was two years ahead of us), bought it in the spring.

I've been there a couple times.  Sister Sarah had her 40th birthday party there in 2008. And that's where Sister Sarah met her husband, Joey, back in 1997.



Friday, September 21, 2012

The Old Triangle Ale House, Halifax, NS

I'm in Halifax to spend the weekend hangin' with Chrissy and Elaine.

Chrissy and I went to high school in Cape Breton together (we graduated in 1980) and Chrissy, Elaine and I went to St. Francis Xavier University together (we graduated in 1983).  Chrissy lives near Sydney, NS, and Elaine lives in Moncton, NB.  All three of us turned 50 this year.

We went to the Old Triangle for a couple drinks tonight.


Book ~ "A Matter of Time" (2012) Michael J. Bowler

From MichaelJBowler.webs.com ~ What is your destiny? 

This question haunts 20-year-old Jamie Collins. A junior at Santa Clara University in 1986, Jamie has lots of friends, a professor whom he regards as a mentor, and a promising future as a writer. 

Then the dreams begin - nightmares leading him to a destiny beyond belief. These visions transport him to a time and place fifty-five years before he was born: Titanic's maiden voyage in 1912. With less than a week to go before the 75th anniversary of its sinking, Jamie learns that his fate is inexplicably linked to that of the famous vessel. Somehow, the two timelines are overlapping, and when Titanic dies, Jamie will die along with her. 

Those dreams reveal something evil stalking the ill-fated ship, something that expedites the collision which sinks the great liner. Jamie comes to realize that because of his connection, he may be able to prevent the world's greatest maritime disaster, and save his own life in the process. 

But how? How can he stop a ship from sinking in 1912 when he hadn't even been born yet? And even if he can stop it - should he? What will be the effect on history if he succeeds? Jamie's quest to fulfill his destiny ties friends and family together in ways he could never have imagined. 

A Matter of Time is an emotionally charged voyage into the value of friendship, the power of love, the impact of evil, and the vagaries of Fate.

Time travel, the Titanic and vampires ... sounds like a wacky combination, doesn't it?  You get all three with this book and you know what?  It worked ... I enjoyed this it.  Be prepared to leave your sense of belief at the door when you read it, though. 


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Eric's Red Chicken Lyonaisse

Gord made Eric's Red Chicken Lyonaisse for supper tonight ... he found it in Cooking With Beer: Favourites of Newfoundland & Labrador.

1 whole chicken, quartered
3 1/2 lbs sliced potatoes
3 Tbsp butter
10 oz diced bacon or ham (he used bacon)
2 oz chopped fresh herbs (he used basil)
1 large sliced onion
2 carrots sliced lengthwise
1 cup red beer (he used Rickards Red)
Salt and pepper

In a casserole dish, put down a layer of sliced potatoes. Gord used a lasagne pan lined with parchment paper. Then lay the chicken over the top.

Add the bacon, onions and carrots.



Hillebrand Wine Club - September

We got our Hillebrand Wine Club box today.  Gord and I have been members for about ten years.

If experiencing a new wine inspires and arouses your curiosity, then join us for an ongoing journey. The Hillebrand Wine Club is an opportunity for you to explore and enjoy wines that intrigue you, and share them as their complex secrets unfold.

Every month our winemaker carefully selects two bottles of Hillebrand VQA wine. Two wines you may not have selected on your own. Consider this your opportunity to discover new tastes and expand your palate with new flavours and sensations.

Included in your package will be detailed tasting notes by our Winemaker Craig McDonald, and inspiring recipe cards created by Chef Frank Dodd of Hillebrand Winery Restaurant that give you food experiences to complement your wine.

Wine Club makes a great gift to a special friend or to yourself, and it’s a convenient way to fill any wine cellar with some of the best wines produced in Canada.

* Available to Ontario residents only

For about $40 a month, we receive two bottles of wine in the mail every month.  Plus anytime we go to Niagara-on-the-Lake, we pop into the Hillebrand store and get free samples (otherwise we'd have to pay for them). 


Glymm Bag - September

I got my September Glymm Bag today.

It came in a white 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.   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The newest Dragon?

Gord works downtown.

Today near where he works they were promoting the newest season of Dragons' Den (it starts tonight).  He blogged about it here.

They had this set up so you could get your picture taken and be a Dragon for a minute or two ... so he did.


Alas, that's fake money in his hand :(

Hotel PUR, Quebec City, Qc

The company I work for had a sales conference in Quebec City this week and we stayed at the Hotel PUR.



Here was my room ... it's the funkiest room I've stayed in.  Though the bed was comfortable, I felt like I was sleeping in a pullout sofabed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Aviatic, Quebec City, Qc

Our group supper tonight was at the Aviatic.

You can go in off the street.


Or through the train station.



Maison Alphonse Desjardins, Lévis, Qc

Lévis is a 10 minute ferry ride across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec.

For our sales conference activity this afternoon, we went to Lévis.  We were taken on a guided bus tour with Manon around the city plus given a tour of Maison Alphonse Desjardins.  We were split up onto two buses ... one for those who spoke English and one for those who spoke French.

Back in 1900, Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins founded the Caisses Populaires Desjardins (today Desjardins Group), a forerunner of North American credit unions and community bank.  They started the Caisse in their house, which is now a museum. 



Monday, September 17, 2012

Sales Conference

The company I work for is having their annual sales conference in Quebec City from today 'til Wednesday.

It started at noon and there were presentations all afternoon.  Dorothy and I had to do one for 20 minutes about the value we as educators add to sales.  I think it went well!

There was a reception before supper tonight.  Annual awards are given out to the sales person of the year, the client manager of the year and the educator of the year.

Guess who is educator of the year ... me!


It was a nice surprise.  I'm lucky in that I work with a fabulous team!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book ~ "Happily Ever Before" (2012) Aimee Pitta and Melissa Peterman

From HappilyEverBefore.com ~ Happily Ever Before is what would happen if the hit comedies Bridesmaids and Baby Mama had a love child. It tells the story of two sisters and the biggest, most important question anyone has ever been asked: would you, if I for some reason couldn’t, loan me your womb and have my baby?

Years ago, Grace and Clair Higgins made a drunken pact while watching a Lifetime Movie Marathon (is there a better time for drunken pact-making between sisters?). In a nutshell, the free spirit older sister, Grace, promised her control freak younger sister, Clair, that she’d have her baby, should the need arise. But she certainly never thought she’d have to deliver on it. 

Now everyone is dealing with situations they never dreamed of. Will Clair’s WASP-y in-laws accept that Grace, the black sheep of the family, is carrying their grandchild? Will Diane, Grace and Clair’s mom, be able to stay out of it and focus on moving forward with her own life, which has been on hold for so long? Will Clair’s husband Henry stop giving Grace bizarre and overly personal pregnancy gifts? Will Grace be able to navigate true love while being “scientifically knocked up” by her sister’s husband? Will Grace’s best friend George find someone else to drink with if Grace is busy with gestation? And the more importantly will the sisters be able to navigate the slippery slope of sibling surrogacy with their relationship intact?

I received an ecopy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

This is an interesting question posed in a chick lit format ... would you artificially inseminate yourself with your sister's baby if she couldn't have kids?  A life changing decision.


Le Pub Saint-Alexandre, Quebec City, Qc

I had supper this evening at Le Pub Saint-Alexandre.


Vieux-Quebec (Old Quebec City), Qc

I was up and out early this morning because there was so much I wanted to see in Quebec City.

I walked once again to Porte St-Jean (St. John's Gate).


Instead of heading down St. Jean like I did yesterday, I headed SW and followed the fortification wall.



Louis Jolliet Boat Tour, Quebec City. QC

I did the 2pm boat tour on the Louis Jolliet, which docked on the St. Lawrence River at Quartier Petit Champlain.

It's 1.5 hours and goes around a bit of the River.  It's $39 but if you have a CAA/AAA card, there's $7 off.  Whoohoo!