Thursday 31 January 2013

Book ~ A Stitch in Time: Heirloom Knitting Skills (2013) Rita Taylor

From Goodreads ~ Knitting expert Rita Taylor gives you clear, easy-to-follow instructions for making 150 easy-to-follow heirloom stitch patterns that today's dedicated knitters are rediscovering and including in their repertories. 

Many of these classic stitches date back more than a century but because of their beauty and usefulness, they remain favorites among knitting enthusiasts. This book presents an extended gallery of heirloom patterns, showing swatches in color illustrations accompanied by directions for knitting them. 

You'll find textured stitch patterns, twist stitch patterns, raised stitch patterns, cable stitch patterns, lace stitch patterns, and colorwork patterns. Within each heirloom stitch pattern category, Rita Taylor gives you complete directions for completing several rewarding projects. Among them are
  • A basket-weave blanket
  • A lace-ladder-and-twist scarf
  • Herringbone socks
  • A cozy cable sweater
  • Norwegian-style mittens 

A Stitch in Time takes many of the best and most popular traditional knitting projects and gives them a distinctly modern touch. The text is enhanced with more than 350 brilliant color photos, illustrations, and diagrams in color and black and white.

I've been knitting for over thirty years ... I've made many sweaters, mittens, slippers and dishcloths in my day.

This is a fabulous book for any knitter!  Regardless of whether you are a beginner or experienced, it provides ideas and inspiration in a colourful way.

The sections are:
  • Textured stitches
  • Twisted stitches
  • Raised stitches
  • Cable stitches
  • Lace stitches
  • Colourwork

Each section starts with a history of techniques along with old old pictures from back in the day.  Did you know that before the 17th century, all knitting was done in the round and that the purl stitch came into use early in that century?

There are instructions and pictures of how do to different stitches with cool names like Eriksay Hearts, Married Fishermen, Robin Hood's Bay and Cat's Face Rib.  Along with the stitches are projects like mittens, blankets, hats, socks, sweaters, etc. that incorporate these stitches.  In the back of the book are step-by-step pictures of how to knit, purl, increase, decrease and sewing up.

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

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Nikon CoolPix P510

In September 2009, I bought a Canon PowerShot SX120 IS. I loved it and used it a lot (it was always in my purse). The flash stopped working and I took it in to be repaired in February 2012.  I was told that it was too old and not worth fixing so I would get a replacement instead (I had bought the warranty), which was the updated PowerShot.

Or I could take the value and get a different camera (and pay any difference). The sales guy recommended that I get the Nikon Coolpix S8200 instead so that's what I did.  I liked it but missed my Canon, which I was used to.

Then Gord surprised me with the updated Canon PowerShot SX150 IS in August 2012.  What I discovered with this Canon, though, is that no matter how fresh or high quality the batteries are, it takes forever for the flash to "recharge".  Plus it is heavier and bulkier than the Nikon.  So depending on where I was going and what I was doing would determine which of the cameras I had in my purse.

I took the Nikon to Mont Tremblant over New Years and took it up on the mountain.  As I was taking pictures, the lens stopped going in.  It was -25C and apparently it was too cold for it (duh!).  I later read that it shouldn't be in temperatures less than 0C.  So it's toast :(

I still have my Nikon D5100 that I bought in August 2011.  I have a couple lenses for it ... the longest zooms to 300mm.  I'd like to get one with a longer zoom but they are huge, heavy and expensive ($1199+ for a lens than zooms to 500mm).  This camera is great when we go out with the intention of taking photographs.

I got an email from Henry's last week that they were having an online sale.  I took a look and the Nikon CoolPix P510 caught my eye.  Hmmmm ... it has a 42x zoom (which equals a 1000mm lens) and a lot of the features of my D5100 so little learning curve.  So I ordered it!

They tried to deliver it on Monday but because no one was home, left a card.  I picked it up at the post office today.  It's smaller and lighter than I expected.

It's a step up from my Canon but a step down from my Nikon D5100 ... so though I now have three cameras, it's nice to have an in-between one.

I can't wait to use it and see how it performs!

GlossyBox - January

I picked up my January GlossyBox at the post office today.
  • 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 $21 a month - cancel any time 
  • Delivery is free!

Book ~ "Primal" (2012) D.A. Serra

From Goodreads ~ What if the worst happens and you're not a policemen, or a soldier, or a spy with weapons training and an iron heart. What if you're a schoolteacher - a mother? 

In this gritty crime thriller, a family vacation takes a vicious turn when a fishing camp is invaded by four armed men. With nothing except her brains, her will, and the element of surprise on her side, Alison must kill or watch her family die. And then, things gets worse.

Schoolteacher Allison is talked into going on a fishing vacation by her husband, Hank, and son, Jimmy.  She would rather be at the spa (me too!).  When they arrive at the camp, they meet the others who will be staying in cabins nearby.  The common meeting place is a lodge where they meet for meals.  There are no phones or Internet ... definitely roughing it.

Ben Burne is in prison and despite being a model prisoner, has been sentenced to death for his crime.  With a month to go before he'll be put to death, Ben does the right thing and offers to donate his kidney to a young woman who needs it.  He's not going to need it anymore, right?  Wrong!

Ben escapes with the help of his crazy brothers and they head to Canada.  On the way, their boat breaks down and that's when things go very badly for the vacationers because that's where the brothers have to stop in for help.  Things turn nasty and it's up to Allison to save her family and the others.  And yes, things do get worse.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style.  It was fast-paced and kept me wanting to read more.  The characters were well-developed.  I was cheering Allison on.  The Burne Brothers were crazy and that comes through.  I could feel Hank's desperation and frustration in wanting to help his wife.  I'd recommend this book and will look for more by this author.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Book ~ "Not Your Mother's Book ... On Dogs" (2012) Dahlynn McKowen, Ken McKowen and Kathleene Baker

From Goodreads ~ Who let the dogs out?!

Watch out! The dogs are loose and in rare form in this very funny and endearing anthology about our canine friends.

We are dog people. While some many think we’re a bit off our rockers—especially them cat people—we don’t give a hoot. Our fur kids are our babies, our children. They are our trusted companions. They ask for nothing in return. They shower us with their loyalty and love. Inside, you’ll read puppy-dog antics and silly-canine adventures, with a surprise or two thrown in, all of which will make you very happy the dogs are running free on the pages of this wonderful book.

Not Your Mother’s Book (NYMB) is a new anthology for a new century. Series creators Dahlynn and Ken McKowen spent 10 years developing titles for the world’s bestselling anthology series [Chicken Soup for the Soul] prior to launching NYMB. But their series is very different; NYMB books are contemporary, fun and even daring! No sad, sappy or death and dying stories—EVER!

I love dogs ... and I love love love stories about dogs.  This is a fun book of 57 short and snappy stories by various authors about dogs. The chapter topics were:
  • Puppy Love 
  • Every Dog Has Its Day 
  • Companions Like None Other 
  • Unleashed! 
  • Dog Treats 
  • In the Doghouse
I enjoyed most of the stories ... they were cute and heartwarming.  We haven't had a dog in almost two years and reading these stories made me miss having one.  Dog (and animal) lovers will love this book!

Not Your Mother’s Book ... On Dogs is the third book in the series. There are more than 30 new and funny NYMB titles under development and all need stories from YOU! Submission guidelines at

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

Glymm Bag - January

My January Glymm Bag arrived today.

It came in a bronze make-up bag and here's what was inside ...

Holiday Inn & Suites, Kanata, ON

Danny, Steve and I had an early morning meeting today in Ottawa.

We spent last night at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Kanata.

Here's my room ... yes, a king-sized bed just for me!  The pillows are coded "soft" and "firm".

The tap at the sink was backwards ... it was left for cold water and right for hot.  The shower had a lot of pressure.

Book ~ "Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are" (2013) Carlin Flora

From Goodreads ~ Discover the unexpected ways friends influence our personalities, choices, emotions, and even physical health in this fun and compelling examination of friendship, based on the latest scientific research and ever-relatable anecdotes.

Why is dinner with friends often more laughter filled and less fraught than a meal with family? Although some say it’s because we choose our friends, it’s also because we expect less of them than we do of relatives. While we’re busy scrutinizing our romantic relationships and family dramas, our friends are quietly but strongly influencing everything from the articles we read to our weight fluctuations, from our sex lives to our overall happiness levels.

Evolutionary psychologists have long theorized that friendship has roots in our early dependence on others for survival. These days, we still cherish friends but tend to undervalue their role in our lives. However, the skills one needs to make good friends are among the very skills that lead to success in life, and scientific research has recently exploded with insights about the meaningful and enduring ways friendships influence us. With people marrying later—and often not at all—and more families having just one child, these relationships may be gaining in importance. The evidence even suggests that at times friends have a greater hand in our development and well-being than do our romantic partners and relatives.

Friends see each other through the process of growing up, shape each other’s interests and outlooks, and, painful though it may be, expose each other’s rough edges. Childhood and adolescence, in particular, are marked by the need to create distance between oneself and one’s parents while forging a unique identity within a group of peers, but friends continue to influence us, in ways big and small, straight through old age.

Perpetually busy parents who turn to friends—for intellectual stimulation, emotional support, and a good dose of merriment—find a perfect outlet to relieve the pressures of raising children. In the office setting, talking to a friend for just a few minutes can temporarily boost one’s memory. While we romanticize the idea of the lone genius, friendship often spurs creativity in the arts and sciences. And in recent studies, having close friends was found to reduce a person’s risk of death from breast cancer and coronary disease, while having a spouse was not.

Friendfluence surveys online-only pals, friend breakups, the power of social networks, envy, peer pressure, the dark side of amicable ties, and many other varieties of friendship. Told with warmth, scientific rigor, and a dash of humor, Friendfluence not only illuminates and interprets the science but draws on clinical psychology and philosophy to help readers evaluate and navigate their own important friendships.

We moved a lot when I was a kid.  By the time I got to grade ten, I'd been in eight schools (four different schools just in grade eight!).  I never had any problem making friends but I must say it was hard going to a new school and making new friends just to leave them and have to do the same thing over and over.  I would be penpals with the friends I left behind but we would eventually lose touch.  I don't have the luxury that Gord has in having three friends (Kevin, Craig and Alfred) for 50+ years.

This book delves into friendships ... the topics covered are:
  • What is friendship?
  • Finding and making friends
  • Friendship in childhood
  • Friendship in adolescence
  • The perks of friendship
  • The dark side of friendship
  • How technology affects friendships
  • Making the most of Friendfluence
There are lots of stats and surveys discussed in this book which were quite enlightening.  For example, did you know that 50% of the friends you have today will be out of your live within seven years?

I'd recommend this book.  It made me appreciate the friends I have even more :)

Monday 28 January 2013

Driving from Montreal to Ottawa

Danny, Steve and I have a meeting in Ottawa tomorrow morning.  I flew to our head office in Montreal yesterday to practice today for the meeting.

It was starting to snow in Montreal late this morning so we left the office about 2:30pm to drive to Ottawa, where we are spending the night.  Here's the view from the meeting room we were in.

Though we weren't speedy, the highway wasn't too bad until we hit Ottawa.  Then we got caught in a bit of a snowstorm and rush hour.  We spent an hour and a half going about 9km to get to our hotel (it should have taken probably ten minutes).  I stuck my camera out the window (I wasn't driving) to capture our adventure.


Ironically Tracy Chapman's Fast Car was playing as we turned off the highway toward our hotel.

What should have taken less than two and a half hours took more than four hours!

Book ~ "Into the Dark" (2012) Stacy Green

From Goodreads ~ It's the moments from our past that bind us.

Branch Manager Emilie Davis is having a day like any other – until two masked men storm into WestOne Bank demanding cash. Her hopes of a quick end to her terror are dashed when she realizes one of the men has no interest in the bank’s money. Emilie is his prize and he’s come to claim her.

When hostage negotiator Nathan Madigan and Las Vegas SWAT enter the bank on a rescue mission, Emilie’s captor makes a shocking escape into the abyss that lies beneath the city: the Las Vegas storm drains, a refuge for the downtrodden and the desperate.

How will it end?

Who is the man the media has dubbed the “Taker?” Why is he after Emilie and what is the connection he’s convinced they share?

Emilie can’t run from the Taker and she can’t escape her own past. As her life closes in on her, she has nowhere to turn but to Nathan. The lines of professionalism blur as Nathan becomes determined to save Emilie. Together they venture into the depths beneath Las Vegas and discover a shocking piece of the puzzle.

But the Taker remains one step ahead. Desperate for the threat to emerge from the shadows, Emilie makes a bold move to reclaim her life, and it may cost her everything.

There is an attempted robbery at the bank and Joe, one of the robbers, is the mouthpiece.  Emilie, the bank manager, is kept separate from the others by who will later be dubbed "the Taker".  Nathan is the hostage negotiator.  The Taker eventually escapes into the tunnels that were built under the bank years ago and continues to stalk Emilie.

Emilie doesn't feel safe and she doesn't have a lot of confidence that the police will be able to catch the Taker.  She has not family for support and Nathan are drawn to each other.  Besides Nathan, she doesn't know who to trust.  Are there insiders in the bank?  Will the police find the Taker or will Emilie have to take matters into her own hands and find him herself?

This is the first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style.  It was well-paced and interesting ... I wanted to keep reading to see what was going to happen next.

I liked that there were different elements in the story in addition to the kidnapping including Emilie's lack of relationship with her mother (and why) and Nathan's guilt over the death of his uncle many years ago (and that his dad blamed him) so we get to know more about them.

We know who the kidnapper is from the beginning but it's not 'til the end that it's confirmed why.

I'd like to read others by this author.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Book ~ "Not Your Mother's Book ... On Being a Woman" (2012) Dahlynn McKowen and Ken McKowen

From Goodreads ~ If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

And the women whose stories are in this book have got it, baby! They are successful, beautiful, giving, inspiring and exude womanhood more than any generation before them. They are sassy and crass, truthful and funny, and have come into their own with all barrels loaded, cocked and ready to go. There is no stopping them as they share their real-life stories with you, the reader.

It’s time to flaunt our stuff, so join us Women—and yes, that’s women with a capital “W,” baby!

Not Your Mother’s Book (NYMB) is a new anthology for a new century. Series creators Dahlynn and Ken McKowen spent 10 years developing titles for the world’s bestselling anthology series [Chicken Soup for the Soul] prior to launching NYMB. But their series is very different; all NYMB books are hip, fun and even daring! No sad, sappy or death and dying stories—EVER!

This is a fun book of 56 short and snappy stories by various authoris on all that it means to be a woman ... including the horror of buying a bathing suit, menopause, wrinkles, grey hair, granny pants, love handles, dieting, being a Hooters server and lots more.  I found most of the stories funny, some even hilarious.

The chapter topics were:
  1. Keeping up appearances
  2. Worth our weight in gold
  3. They're called boobs!
  4. Hear me roar
  5. Just saying
  6. Stand up!
  7. Never again!
  8. Sense and sensibility

Included are stories by Canadians ... Lisa McManus Lange, Sandie Lee, Glady Martin and Wendy Nelson.

Not Your Mother’s Book ... On Being a Woman is the first title in the series, with another 30-plus titles under development. You can submit your stories for consideration ... guidelines can be found at

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

Saturday 26 January 2013

Shoxs Billiard Lounge, Toronto, ON

After we left Junction Craft Brewing, Gord and I walk to Shoxs (Keele/Dundas W) to have a late supper.  We hadn't been there before.  There are some places in the area that serve craft beer and are cooler but we want to check them out another time.

Junction Craft Brewing, Toronto, ON

Junction Craft Brewing opened about a month ago near Keele/St. Clair W.

It's in the Junction area of Toronto ... hence, the name.

The Junction Triangle is a neighbourhood located in West Toronto, roughly in the area of Bloor St., Dupont St., Lansdowne Ave, and Dundas St. West. The "triangle" shape of the neighbourhood is formed by the three sets of railroad tracks on the north, west, and east sides.

Gord and I checked it out this afternoon.  Gord love love loves craft beer!

It's cool and relaxed inside.  You can buy bottles of beer to take home and/or stay and have some.

Friday 25 January 2013

Toronto Rock 13, Minnesota Swarm 12

Gord and I went to the Toronto Rock's game tonight ... they were playing the Minnesota Swarm.

The Toronto Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise founded in 1998. They are members of the Eastern Division of the National Lacrosse League (NLL).

Before the game, we had a hot dog at the Dog House.

There were lots to choose from.

You could even get a hot dog wrapped in bacon!

Book ~ "Scammed: 3 Steps to Help Your Elder Parent and Yourself" (2012) Art Maines

From Amazon ~ One in five U.S. seniors are scam victims, learn how to prevent and recover from this crime.

When author Art Maines’ beloved stepfather, Bill, was cheated out of thousands of dollars, Art went on a mission to ensure no other family experiences this tragic crime.

In Scammed, Art provides a three step scam prevention and recovery program, based on his training as a social worker, therapist, and his extensive research. Suitable for seniors or children of elderly parents, Scammed will help you:
  • Understand the most common types of scams 
  • Learn the psychological ploys used by scammers so that you can spot a scammer immediately 
  • Create a scam prevention plan 
  • Recover from a scam with your dignity intact 
  • Use the resources in your community if you suspect a scam 
This is a good book if you have elderly parents and you want to ensure they don't scammed and what to do if they have been scammed.  Plus it makes you more aware so that you yourself don't get scammed.

Seniors are more vulnerable to fraud and being scammed because:
  • They like to help
  • They tend to be more trusting
  • They may be lonely and isolated
  • They are at home a lot, especially during the day
  • They may have lost some degree of physical or mental sharpness
  • People age 50+ control 70% of the nation's wealth
Types of scams and frauds include:
  • Telemarketing
  • Home repair rip-offs
  • Investment scams
  • Magazine subscription services
  • Identity theft
  • Phony sweepstakes and lotteries
  • Caregiver fraud
  • Relationship-based, Romeo rip-off
  • Grandchild stuck in a foreign country ruse

The author was driven to write this book and share his experiences when his stepfather was scammed.  He goes into a lot of detail of what to do if you suspect or determine your parent has been scammed along with checklists and resource links.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Burrito Boyz, Toronto, ON (Adelaide W)

This evening, Trish, Gord and I met for supper at Burrito Boyz and then saw The Last Stand.

It was surprising quiet ... maybe the extreme cold was keeping everyone home where it's warm.

Trish doesn't eat meat and ordered a small sweet potato burrito.  She said it was good.

Gord ordered a small chicken burrito ... his was exploding!  He needed to eat it with a fork.

I ordered a small beef burrito and it was delicious!  It was too much so I took some home.

Here we are after the movie ... Trish, me and Gord.

Burrito Boyz on Urbanspoon

Sunday 20 January 2013

Hello down there!

In our bedroom, we have an IKEA cabinet that has shelves inside.  Next to it is a dresser on which we have an old-school TV (it still works so we won't throw it out).

We bought the furniture in 2002.  We got Morgan and his foster brother, Byron (he died in 2010) within months of getting it.  Neither of them ever showed any interest in jumping up on it.

Last month I mentioned to Gord that it's funny that Crumpet has never gotten it into her head to go for it ... she's been with us since 2011.  She's fearless and is always getting into closets or trying to jump up on things.

It was literally the next day I was in the bedroom and she casually jumped onto the bed ... then leaped onto the TV and then onto the top of the cabinet.


It took her a while to figure out how to get back down, which was funny.

Since then, she does it on a regular basis.  Here she is this afternoon.

And there's Morgan, our tubby boy, knowing he'll never be able to do it.

Hello down there!!