Friday 30 June 2017

Crumpet and Muffin

Muffin continues to get more comfortable with us.

We weighed Muffin this morning and she is exactly 4 pounds (Crumpet is almost 15 pounds).  It will be interesting to see how big she gets.

I caught them napping together this evening.  As time went on, Muffin moved closer and closer to Crumpet, who didn't seem to mind.

Book ~ "Finding Gobi: The True Story of a Little Dog and an Incredible Journey" (2017) Dion Leonard

From Goodreads ~ In 2016, Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultramarathon runner, unexpectedly stumbled across a little stray dog while competing in a gruelling 155 mile race across the Gobi Desert. The lovable pup, who earned the name "Gobi", proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the treacherous Tian Shan Mountains, managing to keep pace with him for nearly 80 miles.

As Dion witnessed the incredible determination of this small animal, he felt something change within himself. In the past, he had always focused on winning and being the best but his goal now was simply to make sure that his new friend was safe, nourished and hydrated. Although Dion did not finish first, he felt he had won something far greater and promised to bring Gobi back to the UK for good to become a new addition to his family. This was the start of a journey neither of them would ever forget with a roller coaster ride of drama, grief, heartbreak, joy and love that changed their lives forever.

"Finding Gobi" is the ultimate story of hope, of resilience and of friendship, proving once again, that dogs really are "man’s best friend".

Dion Leonard was a loner.  Being an ultra-marathon runner appealed to him because he was competitive and running wasn't a team sport.  At the beginning of the Gobi Desert Run in China in June 2016, Dion noticed a stray dog at the start of the second day of the race.  The dog ran a 23 mile leg of the race with him and at the end of the day, joined Dion in his tent.  The dog ended up running 77 miles of the 155 mile race with him.

Dion named the dog "Gobi" and knew he had to bring the dog home to Edinburgh.  It was going to cost a lot of money so he started a crowd funding campaign.  Enough money was raised very quickly but Gobi had disappeared.  Dion went back to China to find Gobi, who was eventually found.  The quarantine process was going to take almost six months so Dion moved to China to shorten it and so the dog wouldn't be alone.  By the beginning of January 2017, Dion and Gobi had gotten home to Edinburgh and Gobi is now part of his family.

I love reading books about dogs and remember hearing about Dion and Gobi's story last year so this book caught my eye.  I really enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style.  I found Dion and Gobi's story drew me in and, while I knew how it ended, I was still cheering for them with all they had to go through.  I started a running program in the spring so the running part interested me too (I'll never be as extreme as Dion ... I'll be happy to get be able to run 5km!).

I'd recommend this book to animals lovers and running enthusiasts.

Thursday 29 June 2017

The Rooster Rotisserie and Grill, Toronto, ON

Gord and I got chicken dinners from The Rooster Rotisserie and Grill on Bloor Street W (at Delaware Avenue).  I've walked by it many times and have wanted to check them out.  I got our dinners to go.

Meat choices
The sides

Crumpet and Muffin

Muffin is getting more comfortable with us.  She's letting us pat her and comes up to us for attention.

This morning she jumped up onto the window sill in the living room to see what was going on ... and then Crumpet wondered what she was missing (it was the landscapers).

Later she sat on Gord's site of the couch.

Crumpet likes to sit on a chair under the table ... and Muffin followed her lead and did the same.

Crumpet also likes to snooze on our bed.  Muffin had a busy morning playing around and chilled there for a while too.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Crumpet and Muffin

Today is the fourth day since we adopted Muffin.  She was still a bit skittish but was letting us near her.

Crumpet loves sitting up in the window in our spare room, which looks out on the parking lot.  I discovered this evening that Muffin does too!

Crumpet watched Muffin in her window but didn't have an issue with it.

As soon as Muffin jumped down, Crumpet jumped up to see what she was missing.

Book ~ "Resilience: Navigating Life, Loss, and the Road to Success" (2017) Lisa Lisson

From Goodreads ~ Lisa Lisson’s life seemed perfect: she had married her high school sweetheart, applied her marketing degree to a position at FedEx Express Canada and risen to become a vice president (and would ultimately become president) of the company. One night, after putting their four children to bed, her husband, Patrick, marvelled that their lives seemed perfectly happy.

Just a few hours later, everything changed.

One moment Lisa was sleeping beside Patrick and the next, she was kneeling on the floor beside his unconscious body frantically administering CPR. Patrick had had a massive heart attack and was in a coma, and the doctors were blunt: there was no hope. But for the next two years, Lisa stood by his side and awaited a miracle, while continuing to balance life as a high-powered executive and mother of four.

Part leadership guide, part memoir of loss and part personal empowerment primer on how to achieve your goals no matter what the universe throws at you, "Resilience" is an inspirational story about how to rise to the top in a man’s world, triumph over adversity, lead a fulfilling life, and live each day with purpose and gratitude. 

Lisa and Pat met in high school and eventually got married.  They had four children, both had successful careers and they had a nice life.  Twelve years ago Lisa woke up to find Pat unconscious on their bedroom floor.  He'd had a massive heart attack (in his late thirties) and ended up in a coma.  Lisa hoped for a miracle that he would wake up but eventually had to give up (and respect his wishes) when the doctors said there was no hope.  She was finally ready to let him go and he passed away two years after he'd had his heart attack.  In the meantime, Lisa had their four children to take care of plus her career was on the rise at FedEx Canada (she is currently president).

This book is the story of her life with and after Pat.  Plus it's full of lessons she has learned and taught others about getting and maintaining the job and/or career you want and being an effective leader.  Lisa sounds extremely organized and detailed-oriented ... for example, she keeps a list of the goals she wants to accomplish, in addition to master lists of things she has to take care of (one for work and another for her kids and house).

I found Lisa's story tragic but inspiring and it was an interesting book to read.  With all that was going on with dealing with her husband being in a coma and having to make the decision to let him go, she still had a family to take care of and a job to do.  Along the way, she learned some important life lessons.  Before I came across this book, I hadn't heard of her but now I wish her well.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Introducing Muffin

It's been three months since Morgan passed away and I thought it was time to get Crumpet a buddy.

I saw on Facebook Saturday morning that the Annex Cat Rescue (we had adopted Crumpet from the them six years ago) was having an adopt-a-thon at Pet Uno.  The grey tabby on the right caught my eye (I love tabbies!).

We got there before the adopt-a-thon started so were there when the kitties arrived.  After being interviewed, we were the proud parents of Muffin (her name really is Muffin!).  She'll be three months old on Thursday.

We didn't see her for the first couple of days as she was scared and hiding.  The food we left out where we thought she was was gone so we knew she was eating.

She started coming out on Monday afternoon but wouldn't let us get close to her.

Crumpet and Muffin

Last night I played with her with a mouse on a string and she eventually let me pat her while she was eating.  Then she rolled over and let me rub her belly.  I still can't approach her but I'm happy she lets me pat her on her terms.

This evening I played with her again and she let me pat her.  We had been putting her food out wherever she was.  Tonight for her last meal I put her bowl in the kitchen and she came right to it and gobbled it up.  And she let me pat her while she was eating.

Monday 26 June 2017

Book ~ "Early Autumn" (1980) Robert B. Parker

From Goodreads ~ A bitter divorce is only the beginning. First the father hires thugs to kidnap his son. Then the mother hires Spenser to get the boy back. But as soon as Spenser senses the lay of the land, he decides to do some kidnapping of his own. 

With a contract out on his life, he heads for the Maine woods, determined to give a puny 15-year-old a crash course in survival and to beat his dangerous opponents at their own brutal game.

Spenser is a private detective in Boston and has been hired to protect Paul, a fifteen-year-old, who is in the middle of a custody battle between his parents, Patty and Mel.  Neither parent really wants him but neither wants to let the other parent have him.

To protect Paul, Spenser takes him in and helps him mature by teaching him boxing, exercise and weight-lifting and together they build a cabin.  In the meantime, Spenser has to figure out how to get Paul's parents to back off and leave Paul alone so he can figure out what kind of life he wants.

This is the seventh in the Spenser series (there are currently 46, with the last six written by Ace Atkins after Parker's death in 2010).  I've read many over the years (and have enjoyed the series) and have started reading them from the beginning of the series.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.

I liked the writing style ... I find it humorous at times.  Spenser is a tough guy with a wisecracking sense of humour.  Though this book was written and is set in 1980, it didn't seem as dated as the earlier ones.  It's written in first person perspective in Spenser's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Sunday 25 June 2017

Book ~ "Until it Fades" (2017) K.A. Tucker

From Goodreads ~ Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine ... before the spark fades? 

Catherine is a 24-year-old single mother working in a truck stop and barely getting by financially.  She is driving home from a disastrous blind date one night when she comes across an accident.  The driver is dead but she is able to pull the passenger out of the car before it explodes into fire.  Because the passenger turns out to be a professional hockey player named Brett, there is a lot of media attention.  Catherine had been part of a scandal in the town when she was seventeen and doesn't want to draw attention to herself or her daughter.

When Brett meets Catherine to thank her for saving her life, they become friends and then more.  But Catherine's life is very different Brett's.  She's living paycheque to paycheque with government assistance.  Money and media attention has never been an problem for Brett since he is a hockey player whose team is in the playoffs.

I've read a few books by this author.  This is a departure of style for her (not as intense) and I liked it.  I liked the story and the writing style.  It's written in third person perspective with a focus on Catherine.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

I liked the characters.  Catherine has had to endure some hardships ... raising her daughter as a single mother with very little money.  She had just gotten back to having a relationship with her family (there was a riff because of the scandal seven years ago).  Despite having a privileged childhood (his mother is a famous actress) and now being a star hockey player, Brett wasn't pretentious or annoying.  He seemed pretty down to earth and valued honesty.

Saturday 24 June 2017

Toronto Craft Beer Festival, Toronto, ON

This afternoon I went to the Toronto Craft Beer Festival, which was sold out.  I'd bought an early bird VIP ticket in January ($45 rather than $55) which provided early entry (noon rather than 1pm), a separate entrance, access to the VIP area (dedicated bathrooms, occasional trays of fruit and veggies, etc.), a six-ounce sampling glass, ten sampling tokens (sampling tokens were $2 each).  Regular tickets were $30 and you got a sampling glass and five sampling tokens.  It was the first time I'd been to this festival (it was its second year).

It was held yesterday and today at Ontario Place (from from 1pm 'til 10pm today).

The water levels are still high from all the rain we've had

Thursday 22 June 2017

Book ~ "Enforcing the Paw" (2017) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ When a case of he-said/she-said turns criminal, it s up to Megan Luz and her devoted K-9 to dig for the truth.

When relationships go south, some people just can't or won't let go. When Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz and her pawed partner, Brigit, investigate a series of stalking incidents involving a couple who recently broke up, their detective powers are put to the test. Is this a case of a controlling creep who refuses to accept rejection or one about a woman scorned whose fury has been unleashed? 

As hostilities escalate between the former lovers, the situation goes from romantically dysfunctional to downright dangerous. He insists his former flame has become a crazy ex-girlfriend intent on vengeance. She alleges that he is a master of manipulation and lays blame entirely at his feet. Who s the culprit and who s the victim? Can Megan and Brigit sniff out the truth ... before somebody ends up dead?

Megan is a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas.  Her partner is Brigit, a German Shepherd.  The majority of their job is patrolling the streets and responding to calls.

They get a call from Adriana that someone has thrown a brick through one of her windows and she suspects it was her ex-boyfriend, Ryan, because he hasn't gotten over their break-up.  When Megan goes to Ryan's apartment, she discovers evidence that makes her suspect that it was indeed Ryan.  But Ryan says it's Adriana who is the crazy one and is trying to frame him.  Both make a strong case and Megan doesn't know who to believe.  As things happen and the situation escalates, Megan bounces back and forth thinking it could be either one of them.

In the meantime, Megan and Brigit are also trying to track down a thief who disguises himself in hospital garb, robs convenience and gas stations and only steals grape suckers.

I've read many books by this author and I liked this one.  Though it's the sixth in the Paw Enforcement series, it can work as a stand alone and you don't have to read the others to know what's going on (there is enough background provided).

I liked the writing style ... it was amusing at times.  It is written in first person perspective from Megan's point of view and third person perspective from Brigit's point of view (which is funny) and the Devoted One's perspective.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I like Megan.  She's gotten more confident as time goes on.  Brigit's funny and likeable and it's fun to get into her head.  Though she is a trained police dog, she can be naughty when she wants to be (especially if there are treats or squirrels involved).

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Book ~ "Mad Dog: The Maurice Vachon Story" (2017) Bertrand Hebert and Patric Laprade

From GoodreadsWho was Maurice the man and who was Mad Dog the character? 

Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon was a gold medalist, a pro-wrestling legend and a pop culture icon - but he was also a son, husband and father. "Mad Dog" explores Vachon’s career and personal struggles with painstakingly detailed historical research and through both Maurice’s own recollections and those of the people who knew him best. 

As a young man, Maurice could have chosen a dark criminal path but then wrestling and family changed him. Chronicling his slow but steady rise to prominence across America and internationally in some of pro wrestling’s most important territories, this in-depth biography shows how Vachon’s life came to be defined by the words of Mark Twain: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Fiercely proud, motivated, and supremely talented, Vachon’s story is also the amazing tale of how a lifelong make-believe heel became a real-life hero outside of the ring.

Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon (1929 − 2013) was a Canadian professional wrestler.  He started his career as an amateur wrestler, participating in the 1948 Summer Olympics and winning a gold medal at the 1950 British Empire Games.

Vachon eventually made the switch to professional wrestling and spent time in various promotions in the Canada and the United States and occasionally teamed with his brother, Paul.  He was one of the all-time great heels, known for his wild style and intense interviews.

Vachon retired from wrestling in 1986 and got involved in various things such as owning a chain of restaurants bearing his name, hosting a children's show and as a commentator at wrestling matches. In 1987, he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, resulting in the amputation of one of his legs.  Over the years, his health declined and he ended up with dementia.

I like reading bios and thought Vachon's story would be interesting.  I was into watching wrestling as a kid and recognized his name.  Over the years, he was influential in helping the careers of many famous wrestlers such as Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan.  His personal life story was also interesting ... he was married three times and had six children he didn't get to see much because of his career.  Despite his crazy wrestling persona, it sounds like he was fiercely loyal to his family and friends.

There is a lot of detailed information about Vachon's career and it's obvious the authors spent a lot of time researching.