Sunday, 31 January 2016

Book ~ "Our Turn" (2015) Kirstine Stewart

From Goodreads ~ In her inspiring, deeply intelligent and intensely practical "Our Turn", Kirstine Stewart draws on her own extensive leadership experience to take the conversation about women and work to a whole new level. Simply put: the time is now for new styles of leadership, and women are best-suited to set the pace. 

Kirstine Stewart got her first job when she applied for a position as a "girl Friday" at a film distribution house. Having worked her way up from the bottom - under women and men, leaders good and bad - she believes it's time we leaped past the question of how women might create change in the working world and exploit the fact that profound change is already under way. The digital revolution and the wave of millennials who are entering the work force with very different expectations than the generations who preceded them, have created a new reality that demands a new style of leader with attributes and perspectives that make women the natural front-runners. The opportunity is there. The question Stewart tackles in "Our Turn" is how do we seize it. 

Stewart's own track in the world has been exceptional, and littered with firsts, including being the first woman and the youngest person ever to head the CBC. Not only does she illuminate the broad strokes of the way forward for women, and her own principles of leadership, she digs down into the nitty-gritty of how she has managed to excel and to lead while staying true to who she is as a person. Whether you're the CEO or the administrative assistant, there is something for you in "Our Turn". 

I like reading books about "girl power" and I thought one written by a Canadian would be interesting.

The author started as a "girl Friday" with a television company and today is oversees Twitter's North American media partnerships.  Along the way, she has been senior VP of programming for Alliance Atlantice, executive VP of CBC's English language services and managing director for Twitter Canada.  Needless to say, she's come a long way from her beginnings of as a "girl Friday".  In addition, she married twice (and divorced once) and had a couple children.

I found the book was written at a high level and not overly helpful to women who want to advance and achieve.   There are many many surveys and studies quoted which are interpreted by the author.  I found the writing style cold and the author doesn't seem like a warm fuzzy person.

She is obviously very career-driven who no doubt has worked very hard to get to where she is today.  But most of us aren't lucky enough to have the opportunities the author had like an encouraging boss who took her under her wing when she was starting out.  What do we do then if we don't?  Most of us can't afford nannies or have a stay-at-home husband so we can work the crazy hours it takes to get ahead, once one has those opportunities.  It seems like the author has forgotten her humble beginnings and for most of us, it's a struggle.  It would have been nice to get more into nitty gritty details on what to do in various situations, including the author's experience when things didn't always work out.

We have access to cell phones, computers, etc. and the author advises that we take advantage of technology.  But should you, as the author was, be sitting at your child's skating practice and be on a conference call and then get called out about it by your daughter during the practice?

What I got from this book is to speak up with your ideas and that women should work together to get ahead rather than watching out for our own backs ... this is not new advice.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

RIP Keith

My father-in-law, Keith, passed away unexpectedly at his home (about 2.5 hours from Toronto) on Tuesday afternoon in his 90th year.

He was married to Gord's mom, Minnie, for more than 40 years.  Though he had no children of his own, he was stepfather to Gord and his sister, Judy.  He was grandfather to Ken, Kyle and Jonathan and great grandfather to Madison and Colton.

There were two viewings yesterday and the funeral was this afternoon.  Gord and I drove down yesterday morning, stayed at Judy's and drove home this evening.

He will be missed.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

St. Paul Hotel, Montréal, QC

The company I work for had a sales conference for the last two days in Montreal.  My home away from home was the St. Paul Hotel on Rue McGill.  It is in Old Montreal and is formerly a Beaux-arts building which has been converted into a boutique hotel.

The lobby
The hallway to my room

Here's my room ...

There was a big pole as soon as I entered the room

Monday, 25 January 2016

La Pizzaiolle, Montreal, QC

I had supper tonight at La Pizzaiolle (Rue Marguerite D'Youville/Rue McGill).

Book ~ "The Silent Hour" (2009) Michael Koryta

From Goodreads ~

Whisper Ridge
Home to Dreams
October 2, 1992--April 12, 1996

So reads the strange epitaph carved beside the door of the home called Whisper Ridge, a multimillion-dollar piece of architectural majesty that once housed the beginnings of a unique program for paroled murderers. The program never got off the ground, however, despite how passionate a woman named Alexandra Cantrell, daughter of a notorious Mafia don, and her husband, Joshua, had been about it. Still uninhabited twelve years later, the house remains as a strange monument to dangerous secrets, falling into ruin as the forest grows up around it.

While the couple’s abrupt exit was unusual, it was also not regarded as suspicious - until the bones of Alexandra’s husband are found buried in the woods.

Private investigator Lincoln Perry isn’t thrilled about the situation or his client: Parker Harrison served fifteen years for murder but claims Alexandra’s intervention saved his life. Now he wants to find her - and he’s not the only one.

What seems at first like the simplest of jobs proves to be an undertaking that will challenge both Perry’s abilities as a detective and his commitment to that calling. With a new partner to train and a case that leads straight to the heart of the Cleveland organized crime scene, Perry finds himself glancing over his shoulder at every turn, pushing the bounds of safety even as he backs away.

Lincoln is a private investigator who starts getting letters from an ex-con named Harrison who wants his help to find a woman named Alexandra.  Alexandra's father and brother were part of the mafia and when her father died, he left her a lot of money which she eventually used to build a house to start a program for paroles ... Harrison was one of those paroles.  Twelve years ago she and her husband, Joshua, disappeared.  Then Joshua's bones are found.

Ken, the private investigator than Joshua's parents had hired to find him, shows up and asks Lincoln to help figure out what happened.  It's a case that Ken hadn't been able to solve and it's bothered him ever since.  Working together, they investigate to figure out who killed Joshua and where is Alexandra.

I enjoyed the writing style of this book.  It is the fourth and last in the Lincoln Perry series and it's been about eight years since I read the first three.  Though it is part of a series, it does work as a stand alone.  It's been seven years since this was written ... I wonder if the author has decided that he won't continue with this series.  The book didn't end as if there wouldn't be any more.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I liked Lincoln.  As much as he doesn't want to, he can't help pitching in to help.  I found that there were quite a few characters (the paroles and the bad guys) and I had a bit of a hard time keeping them straight.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

meowbox - January 2016

Morgan and Crumpet's January meowbox arrived this week.

meowbox is a cat subscription box full of surprises, delivered to your door every month. Your meowbox is brimming with yummy cat treats and fun cat toys, specially selected for quality and uniqueness, to cater to your cat’s discriminating taste. 

We carefully research and select items that are high quality and unique. We pick food and treats that are either made with natural ingredients, are tasty, nutritious, grain-free, organic or locally made. You won’t find just the regular run-of-the-mill stuff in your meowbox. Our goal is to excite kitty and put a smile on your face. 

The cost ranges from $22.95 to $32.95 a month, depending on the plan, and shipping is free.

We believe that if we have the opportunity to give, then we should share what we have. This philosophy comes packaged neatly within the heart of every meowbox. For every meowbox you buy, we give a can of food to a shelter cat on your behalf. One box can make a difference.

Our can of food is en route to the Clarenville Area SPCA in Clarenville, NL.

Morgan knew he had mail!
Happy Mew Year!

Topbox - January 2016

My January 2016 Topbox arrived this week.

For only $12 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.


Here's what's inside ...



    Total value = $59.09

    Book ~ "The Bologna Cookbook" (2014) Kevin Phillips

    From Goodreads ~ Ex-military man and Canadian patriot Kevin Phillips grew up in Cape St. George, where he developed a love for the traditional dishes of his Newfoundland home. After high school, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and served for thirty-three years before retiring as a master warrant officer. During that time, he never forgot the old Newfoundland recipes of his youth. So immediately upon his retirement from the CAF, he rekindled his passion for cooking and began his new career as a chef! 

    Kevin’s initial plan was to resurrect and share some of his favourite old-time recipes online. He intended to focus on old lost recipes but as the number of bologna recipes increased to well over two hundred, he decided to concentrate entirely on bologna. Kevin quickly realized that bologna was not exclusive to Newfoundland. In fact, this sausage was enjoyed by people from all parts of the country, as well as by many of his readers overseas! 

    "The Bologna Cookbook" is Kevin Phillips’s first book, and the first ever all-bologna cookbook, featuring two hundred recipes whose main ingredient is ... you guessed it ... bologna! The cookbook outlines easy-to-make recipes for mouth-watering dishes that are a feast for the eyes and a delicious treat for the soul, such as Bologna and Eggs with Havarti, Bologna Caesar Wraps, Cheesy Bologna Calzones, Balsamic Peppercorn Bologna Steak, Bologna Stroganoff and more!

    I was in Corner Brook and Stephenville, Newfoundland, last week and came across this book.  I like bologna and ate a lot of bologna sandwiches when I was a kid growing up in Nova Scotia.  I was never a fan of fried bologna (aka Newfie steak), though.  Gord, on the other hand, does like fried bologna and his paternal grandparents are from Newfoundland ... so, of course, I had to get him this book.

    The chapters include:
    • Appetizers
    • Breakfasts
    • Lunches
    • Dinners

    The book is beautifully done ... it's colourful and glossy.  The recipes are laid out well and there is a colour picture for each one.

    Here are a some dishes from the book so you can see that bologna isn't just for sandwiches!

    Stuffed Bologna
    Bologna Stroganoff
    Bologna Kimbap |(Newfoundland Style)

    Saturday, 23 January 2016

    Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Halifax, NS

    Sister Sarah and I went to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 this afternoon.


    We checked the Empress of Ireland exhibit first.


    Canada’s Titanic – The Empress of Ireland is a dramatic exhibition that takes visitors to the heart of the one of the greatest maritime disasters in Canada’s history. Artifacts from this once-splendid ocean liner, historical documents and witness accounts help bring to life stories of loss and rescue, despair and bravery. As well, learn the storied history of the Empress of Ireland including the role it played in immigration and development of Canada.

    Considered one of the finest ships in the Canadian Pacific Railway fleet, the Empress of Ireland carried tens of thousands of passengers between Canada and Great Britain in the early years of the 20th century. But in the early morning of May 29, 1914, on the fog-bound St. Lawrence River, the Empress was hit broadside by a coal ship, the Storstad. The ocean liner went down in less than 15 minutes. More than a thousand people lost their lives.

    Canada’s Titanic – The Empress of Ireland will be presented at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in the Ralph and Rose Chiodo Gallery from November 23, 2015 to November 13, 2016.

    An exhibition created by the Canadian Museum of History and co-presented by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

    Friday, 22 January 2016

    Meeting my cousin, Gary

    I headed to Halifax this afternoon and am spending the weekend with Sister Sarah in Halifax.

    I have been Facebook friends with my cousin, Gary, for a couple years but we've never met.  He lives in the Halifax area so we hooked up this afternoon.

    My paternal grandmother, Ruth, is his mother, Effie's half sister.  So that makes Gary and I half cousins, once removed (he is my father's half-cousin).

    Joey (Sister Sarah's husband), Sister Sarah, Cousin Gary and me

    He's a nice guy and it was great to meet him!

    Holiday Inn Express, Deer Lake, NL

    I was supposed to fly out yesterday evening from Deer Lake but I missed my flight.  I'm on a flight this afternoon and needed a place to spend last night.

    I drove up to the Holiday Inn Express (on Bennett Avenue) and asked if they had a room even though I didn't have a reservation ... and they did.  In fact, I was upgraded to a larger king room.  The room rate was $139/night.


    Here's my room ...

    Thursday, 21 January 2016

    Days Inn, Stephenville, NL

    I had seminars and one-on-ones to conduct about 40 minutes west of Stephenville yesterday and today.  I spent Tuesday and last night at the Days Inn in Stephenville.

    There is a mall connected to the hotel

    Wednesday, 20 January 2016

    Emile's Pub and Eatery, Stephenville, NL

    Tuesday, January 19

    I had supper this evening at Emile's Pub and Eatery ... it is in the Days Inn, which is attached to the mall.


    I ordered lasagna.  It was good and freshly baked just for me.


    The two servers were friendly.  When it came time to get my bill and leave, though, they'd disappeared.  I waited at my table for a while and then waited at the bar.  I could hear one in the room with the VLTs (gambling machines).  Just as I was ready to walk out, the other one came in from the kitchen.

    Tuesday, 19 January 2016

    Book ~ "Who Let the Dog Out?" (2015) David Rosenfelt

    From Goodreads ~ Andy Carpenter's true passion is the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization he runs with his friend, Willie Miller. So it's frightening when Willie calls him to say the alarm has gone off at the foundation building, and there's clearly been a break-in. It turns out that a recently rescued dog, nicknamed Cheyenne since her arrival at the foundation, has been stolen. 

    Andy and Willie track the missing dog to a house in downtown Paterson, New Jersey, and sure enough, they find the dog ... standing right next to a dead body. The man had been gruesomely murdered mere minutes before Andy and Willie arrived. Could it be a coincidence? Or could the dog theft somehow be connected to the killing? 

     Andy takes Cheyenne safely back to the foundation building and that should be the end of his involvement, but Andy's curiosity - and his desire to keep the dog from further harm - won't let him stop there. 

    The cops have just arrested a man named Tommy Infante for the murder but as Andy looks into the circumstances surrounding the break-in and the dog theft, he starts to wonder if Infante might actually be innocent. And when Andy takes Infante on as a client and starts searching in earnest for evidence that will exonerate him, what Andy starts to discover terrifies him. The murder might be just one small cog in a plot with far-reaching implications, and unless Andy can uncover the truth in time, thousands of lives could be in imminent danger.

    Andy is a lawyer who would much rather be running his dog rescue with his friend and co-founder, Willy.  One night, a dog named Cheyenne is stolen.  Cheyenne has a GPS attached to her collar and Andy and Willy track her to a house ... only to find her sitting next to a dead body.

    Tommy is arrested for the murder and Andy is curious enough to go see him to see why the dog was involved.  Andy ends up representing Tommy.  Then lots of people start getting killed and Andy has to figure out how these murders are tied to Tommy in order to get him off.

    In the meantime, Andy's home life has changed.  He's now married to the love of his life, Laurie, and they have adopted a boy named Ricky.

    I thought this book was okay.  There are parts I liked but I wasn't crazy about the terrorist part.  I liked the writing style as it was funny, sarcastic and amusing.  It was written in first person perspective in Andy's voice but at times it was also written in third person perspective.  It is the thirteenth in the Andy Carpenter series (I've read them all) and it works as a stand alone (so you don't need to have read the ones before it to know what is going on).

    I like Andy.  He loves his dog, Tara, and thinks she's the most wonderful dog in the whole wide world.  And he now has Sebastian, the dog who came with Ricky.  Part of Andy's team is Hike, his associate who is the most depressed and downer person ever, though he wasn't in this book all that much.  Marcus, an investigator with persuasive reasoning skills, and continues to provide protection when it's most needed (which is often) and Andy is a self-professed coward.  Sam is his accountant who is also a computer hack who has his elderly team helping to dig information for Andy.  It's been quite a few books since Sam and Andy song-talked and I miss that.  There were a lot of characters (bad guys) in this book and I had a hard time keeping them all straight.