Friday, 20 October 2017

Pizza Di Nonna, Grimsby, ON

I was heading home from a conference in Niagara Falls, ON, and stopped at Pizza Di Nonna for lunch (a colleague had recommended it if I was ever in the area).

I ordered a small pizza with pepperoni, bacon and fresh tomatoes.  Though this is a take-out restaurant, there are three stools along a ledge that had a couple small dead flies on it.  I ate my pizza at a picnic table at a nearby park.  I took some home for later.  It was a good pizza.

I had also ordered a pop but there are no drinks.  Instead you have to go to the convenience store next door.

Pizza Di Nonna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hilton Fallsview Hotel, Niagara Falls, ON

I spent the last three days at the CPBI (Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute) conference.  It was held at the Hilton Fallsview Hotel.

Here was the view from my room when I arrived ...

The America Falls

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, St. Davids, ON

The 2017 CPBI (Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute) is having its annual conference in Niagara Falls, ON, this week.  I'm the chair of the entertainment committee.  Our gala night was held nearby at Ravine Vineyards Estate Winery.

We started in the cellar with the tasting of three wines ... a bubbly, a white and a red.  All were delicious.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Book ~ "G is for Gumshoe" (1990) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ Good and bad things seem to be coming in threes for Kinsey Millhone: on her thirty-third birthday she moves back into her renovated apartment, gets hired to find an elderly lady supposedly living in the Mojave Desert by herself, and makes the top of ex-con Tyrone Patty's hit list. 

It's the last that convinces Kinsey even she can't handle whoever's been hired to whack her and she gets herself a bodyguard: Robert Dietz, a Porsche-driving P.I. who takes guarding Kinsey's body very seriously. 

With Dietz watching her for the merest sign of her usual recklessness, Kinsey plunges into her case. And before it's over, she'll unearth the gruesome truth about a long-buried betrayal and, in the process, come fact-to-face with her own mortality.

Kinsey Millhone has just turned 33-years-old and is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA.  She is hired by Irene, to find her elderly mother, Agnes, who lives in a trailer in the desert is missing.  Kinsey finds Agnes in a local hospital and Irene arranges to have her brought home to Santa Teresa.  Agnes is scared to go home and rambles on to Kinsey some story that she doesn't take seriously.

In the meantime, Kinsey finds out that a dangerous criminal she helped track down a few years ago has hired a hitman to kill her.  She hires Robert Dietz, another private detective as bodyguard.  They figure out who is trying to kill Kinsey and start tracking him down.

I thought this book was just okay.  I liked the writing style.  It is written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  I found the "whodunnit" confusing as there were lots of people from the past brought up and I couldn't keep them straight and the "why" didn't seem plausible.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

This is the seventh in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have been a fan since and have read them all.  Since the series will soon come to an end, I am starting at the beginning and rereading them.  They are all set in the 1980s before everyone had a computer, cell phone, people still smoke in public places, etc.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Niagara Falls, ON

I had supper this evening at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.

Yvette was a fun greeter

There is a store where you can buy souvenirs.

Here is the restaurant on the street level.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Book ~ "No-One Ever Has Sex On Christmas Day" (2017) Tracy Bloom

From Goodreads ~ Don’t you always plan the perfect Christmas?

Don’t you always think it will be the best one ever?

And doesn’t something – usually one of your loved ones – always come along and screw it up?

Katy’s been spending too much time in the office and not enough time with her family so she wants it all: snow (fake or real), the Michael Bublé Christmas album, whatever it takes.

There’s only one thing missing as far as her husband Ben is concerned: another baby to complete their family. Katy isn’t so sure.

Ben may be playing the role of Master Elf in the pre-school nativity but he is struggling to master his own family life. With romantically-challenged friends, an ex who refuses to go away and Katy's mum's 64-year-old toy boy thrown into the mix, Christmas looks like it could be going off the rails.  Never mind family planning, can Katy and Ben even plan to make it to the end of Christmas Day?

Katy and Ben are married and have a three-year-old daughter, Millie.  Katy has a great job that she loves but it takes up a lot of her time.  Ben was a stay-at-home dad until he decided to go back to work at Millie's preschool.  They have recently bought a house and Ben thinks it's time they start working on baby number two.  Katy is undecided but because she is forty, she knows she doesn't have a lot of time left to have a baby.

Ben's friend, Braindead, is ready to pop the question to his long-time girlfriend and he works with Daniel, Katy's gay colleague, to make it splashy.

Katy's 70ish mom has left her husband (Katy's dad) and has a new boy toy (a Spaniard in his 60s).  They are planning to stay with Katy and Ben over the Christmas holidays and Katy's not looking forward to it.  She's got enough going on in her life.

Matthew and Allison are expecting baby number four.  His divorced friend, Ian, is ready to settle down and has his eye on someone that could disrupt Matthew and Allison's life, which doesn't make Allison happy (she doesn't like Ian at the best of times).

This was the second book I read by this author and I enjoyed it.  Though it is the third is the No-One Has Sex series, you don't have to read the first two to know what's going on.  I'd read the first one but not the second one ... I actually liked this one better than the first one.  I liked the writing style ... it was well-paced and was a quick fun read.  The language at times is for mature readers.

I look forward to other books in this series.

Topbox - October 2017

My October Topbox arrived today.

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 is what I received ...

Total value = $32.14 value

Junked Food Co., Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at Junked Food Co. on Queen Street W, west of Spadina Avenue.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Book ~ "Christmas in Icicle Falls" (2017) Sheila Roberts

From Goodreads ~ When Muriel Sterling released her new book, "A Guide to Happy Holidays", she felt like the queen of Christmas. She's thrilled when the new tree she ordered online arrives and is eager to show it off - until she gets it out of the box and realizes it's a mangy dud. But rather than give up on the ugly tree, Muriel decides to make a project out of it. As she pretties up her tree, she realizes there's a lesson to be learned: everything and everyone has potential. Maybe even her old friend Arnie, who's loved her for years. Except, she's not the only one seeing Arnie's potential.

Meanwhile, Muriel's ugly-tree project has also inspired her friends. Sienna Moreno is trying to bring out the best in the grouchy man next door, who hates noise, hates kids and hates his new neighbors. And while Olivia Claussen would love to send her obnoxious new daughter-in-law packing, she's adjusting her attitude and trying to discover what her son sees in the girl. 

If these women can learn to see the beauty in the "ugly trees" in their lives, perhaps this might turn out to be the happiest holiday yet. 

It's the holiday season ... Thanksgiving to New Years.  Muriel is an author and twice widowed.  Her friend, Arnie, has made it clear that he's always loved her since they were teenagers but she has always seen him as a friend.  When he invites her on a European cruise, she declines and he takes their friend, Dot, instead.  Right away Muriel is sorry she said no and is jealous of the relationship that is now developing between Arnie and Dot.

Sienna has recently moved to town and feels it's the right place to raise her son, Leo.  She loves the town, her house and her job ... the only thing wrong is that she lives next door to a cranky man who yells at her for everything.  Sienna must learn patience.

Olivia and James own an inn.  When her son, Brandon, brings home his new bride, Meadow, Olivia can't see what he sees in her trashy new daughter-in-law.  She too must learn patience.

I've read many books by this author and like them.  It is the eleventh and last in the Icicle Falls series and I've read them all.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone as each book in the series focuses on a specific character or characters and you get enough information about the others to know the background.

It is written in third person perspective, with the focus shifting among the characters and you get to know what they are thinking.  These books always end with happy endings so it's great if you are looking for a nice "feel good" story.  I like the writing style.  As a head's up, there is some mild swearing.

As a bonus, there are some recipes at the end.

"Flashing Lights", Theatre Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw Flashing Lights this afternoon.

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”- Andy Warhol

Created by award winning Bad New Days and Ahuri Theatre, "Flashing Lights" is an original play exploring how digital technology is radically shaping human evolution.

"Flashing Lights" tells the tale of Peter, an unremarkable guy who inexplicably becomes famous. His dizzying rise and fall effects everyone around him, in particular his family; his savvy wife, Shannon, and their child, Ter. What starts off as a portrait of contemporary family life quickly unravels into a meditation on the borders between digital and physical existence and the future of this brave new world being created.

"Flashing Lights" combines a fantastical absurdist narrative with a highly physical theatrical style using technology like smart phones and tablets as puppets, masks, light and sound sources. Drawing on the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, Sherry Turkle, Jean Baudrillard and other theorists, the play speaks to the growing anxiety about the future and to the vertiginous feeling that time itself is speeding up. Will humankind’s frail, flesh and blood selves be able to keep up?

It's playing at the Theatre Centre at Queen Street W/Lisgar Street.

We sat in the second row.  There was a screen in front of the stage where videos and news clips were shown and/or the actors were projected.

Peter, Shannon (his wife) and Ter (their daughter) are having breakfast one morning.  Ter videos her unemployed dad goofing around eating cereal singing the Eagle's Take it Easy and the video goes viral.  Peter becomes an instant celebrity and makes the most of his 15 minutes of fame.  Shannon, in the meantime, is promoting a product which combines your life and your body (on the Internet).  Ter is a rebellious teenager who eventually joins a commune.

It was an interesting but bizarre play and I liked it.  The five actors did an excellent job in their multiple roles.  The stage is minimal which works well since we also have to focus at times on what is being projected (via cameras and phones) on the screen in front of the stage.

Tickets are pay what you can afford.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

La Diperie, Toronto, ON (Queen W)

After Gord and I walked around Trinity Bellwoods Park, we crossed the street and got an ice cream at La Diperie (Queen Street W and Strachan Avenue), which we ate in the park.

Step one is to choose the size of your ice cream what kind of a cone you want and step two is to choose your dip.  Steps three is to add toppings ... we passed.