Wednesday, 17 October 2018

National War Memorial, Ottawa, ON

After I left the Terry Fox Statue, I headed to the National War Memorial.

The National War Memorial, also known as “The Response,” is a cenotaph symbolizing the sacrifice of all Canadian Armed Forces personnel who have served Canada in time of war in the cause of peace and freedom--past, present and future. The memorial is the site of the national Remembrance Day Ceremony on November 11. 

The National War Memorial was first unveiled in 1939 to commemorate the response of Canadians in the First World War 1914-1918. Over the years, the memorial has come to symbolize the sacrifice of all Canadians who have served Canada in time of war and was rededicated to their honour.

My timing was perfect as I got to see the changing of the guard at 4pm.

Terry Fox Statue, Ottawa, ON

I am in Ottawa for the next couple of days.  I took a walk this afternoon to the Terry Fox Statue (I am a volunteer with our neighbourhood Terry Fox Run).

The statue of Terry Fox, which stands across from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, portrays the courage of this true national hero. At age 21, this young man began his Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research.

He ran for a total of 143 days, through the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario. But the bone cancer that had claimed part of his right leg returned. He was forced to stop his run near Thunder Bay, Ontario. Terry Fox died on June 28, 1981, one month before his 23rd birthday.

His courage continues to inspire millions of people who each year participate in the Terry Fox Run in more than 50 countries to raise funds for cancer research.

The statue of Terry Fox was created by John Hooper in 1983.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Book ~ "Homer and the Holiday Miracle: A True Story" (2018) Gwen Cooper

From Goodreads ~ Fifteen years earlier, doctors had warned that Homer - a tiny, sightless kitten - was unlikely to survive and probably wouldn’t have much of a life even if he did. Miraculously and against all the odds, however, Homer grew into a feline dynamo who scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease, saved his human mom’s life when he chased a late-night burglar from their apartment, and rose to global fame - paving the way for other special-needs animals once considered “unadoptable.”

Now, only two weeks before Christmas, with doctors once again decreeing that Homer didn’t have much time - that he wouldn’t even make it to Christmas Eve - Homer showed everyone that he still had one more miracle left in him. The heroic blind cat proved again, once and for all, that hope and love aren’t things you see with your eyes. You see them with your heart. 

Gwen Cooper has written books about her five cats ... Scarlet, Vashti, Homer, Clayton and Fanny.  This one is focused on Homer.

She already had Scarlet and Vashti when she heard about Homer, a blind kitten.  No one wanted so adopted him.  Despite being blind, Homer had a fun and active life.  Just before Christmas, they discovered that Homer was having liver issues and wasn't expected to live past a few weeks.  Gwen and Laurence, her husband, prepared for the worst.  But Homer surprised everyone and lived another nine months.

I like reading stories about animals and that's why this one caught my eye.  I liked the writing style and could relate to this story.  Two years ago, we discovered that our 13-year-old tabby, Morgan, had stomach cancer.  The vet said he had a couple weeks left but he lived another five months.  Like Gwen, we considered every extra day with him as an unexpected gift and tried to make them the best for him.

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Topbox - October 2018

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's what I received ...

Value:  $36.11

Monday, 15 October 2018

Book ~ "The Knitter's Dictionary: Knitting Know-How from A to Z" (2018) Kate Atherley

From Goodreads ~ From "alt" to "yrn," knitting patterns have a unique language of abbreviations and knitting techniques. "The Knitter's Dictionary" is your comprehensive resource for understanding the language of knitting in a quick-reference guide that no knitting bag should be without. For beginner and skilled knitters alike, there's always something new to discover in your next handknit project. "The Knitter's Dictionary" puts an expert knitting instructor in the palm of your hands to help you navigate any pattern.

Within this knitting bag necessity, you'll also find over 150 illustrations showing you everything from the difference between a toque and a beret to how-to information to increase and decrease stitches. Handy cross-references quickly lead you to exactly the information you need whether you've come across a new abbreviation in a knitting pattern or you've forgotten the steps to a long-tail cast on. Extended information on more challenging topics like taking measurements, understanding gauge, and fibre care instructions make this more than a dictionary - it's important information no knitter should be without.

Packed with bonus tips and tricks, learn the do's and don'ts of pattern knitting making patterns easier and more enjoyable to knit! "The Knitter's Dictionary" gives knitters the answers they need when and where they need them in a precise and helpful way. Give yourself or another knitter the gift of knowledge with this must-have resource.

I've been knitting for almost 40 years ... I've made tons of sweaters, blankets, dish cloths, mittens, etc. over the years.  So that's why this book caught my eye.

I'm not sure who this book is written for ... a beginner or an expert.  I found some things so very basic but then other things that sounded complicated and there was a brief description that left me wondering "huh"?  If I REALLY wanted to know what she was talking about, I'd have to go Google it (and isn't that the point of the book).  There were lots of terms that were listed that would refer to another term in the book so I'd either have to go there directly if I wanted to know RIGHT NOW or wait until I got there and by then I'd have forgotten that there was a reference to it.

The author is British and there were a lot of references that she would know and assumed everyone else did but as a Canadian, I didn't.  There is apparently over 150 illustrations but I didn't find them overly useful.

I wasn't crazy about this book and didn't find it helpful.

Ipsy Glam Bag - October 2018

My October Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today.
  • 4 to 5 beauty products in a collectible makeup bag 
  • Monthly videos showing you how to get the Look 
  • Win free products in contests and giveaways

Subscriptions are $10US a month or $110US for a year.  Shipping is free in the U.S. and $4.95US per month to Canada.

Here is what I received ...

Value:  $49.83 (not counting the bag)

Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Toronto, ON (Keele Street)

Gord and I had some shopping to do at Home Depot so we had supper beforehand at Swiss Chalet (on Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue W).  Neither of us had eaten much today so were hungry.

Gord ordered chicken and shrimp with rice pilaf.  He said it was good.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Book ~ "My Life in a Cat House: True Tales of Love, Laughter, and Living with Five Felines" (2018) Gwen Cooper

From Goodreads ~ Gwen Cooper—author of the blockbuster international bestseller Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life With a Blind Wonder Cat—returns with the ongoing adventures of her much-beloved, world-famous fur family. Ideal for new readers and longtime fans alike, this collection of eight purr-fect cat stories are filled with all the humor and heart Gwen’s devoted readership has come to know and love.

An adorable, five-week-old rescue kitten slowly learns to trust the woman who saved her. An obsessive cat teaches himself to play fetch and demands it morning and night from his hapless mom - whether she’s working, sleeping, eating, bathing, or trying to enjoy some “alone time” with her husband. And Homer, the Blind Wonder Cat himself, returns triumphantly in a new story about life and love after worldwide fame.

Read all eight stories in one sitting, or savor each gem of a “tail” on its own. My Life in a Cat House will leave you laughing out loud, shedding an occasional tear, and hugging your own cat a little bit closer. 

Gwen Cooper has written other books about her cats.  This book is a collection of eight stories about her five cats ... Scarlet, Vashti, Homer, Clayton and Fanny.

She had adopted Scarlet when she was living with Jorge, the man she thought she was going to marry ... Scarlet wasn't over friendly.  Then she adopted Vashti, who was a flirt with the men but peed on their things when she was jealous of their attention to Gwen.  Gwen and Jorge broke up and she spent some time living with a friend.  She heard about Homer, a blind kitten who no one wanted so adopted him too.  About this time, she decided to make a career change and she and her three cats moved to New York.  She met Laurence, who she ended up marrying.  Her first three cats eventually passed away and she adopted Fanny and her tripod brother, Clayton.

I like reading stories about animals and that's why this one caught my eye.  I liked the writing style and thought the stories were cute.  Gwen and Laurence are definitely cat lovers and I could relate to some of the things they did for their cats ... like not throwing out things because the cats like them (like old shoeboxes, a frying pan on top of a cupboard that one of their cats like sleeping in, getting up to feed the cats because they are hungry, etc.).

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Dog & Bear Pub, Toronto, ON

Today should be the last day of our major renovations and our kitchen is still a mess.  So Gord and I had supper this evening at the Dog & Bear (Queen W/Dovercourt), which is in our 'hood.

We scored a table by the window.

I hadn't eaten all day and was hungry.  We started with corn bread and it was yummy!  I'd get it again.

Gord ordered fish and chips.  He said it was really good and he'd get it again.  The piece of fish was huge!

I ordered wings with Buffalo sauce and fries.  The wings were big and okay.  The ranch dip was too spicy.  The fries is a large order and though good, I didn't eat most of them ... it's too bad they don't offer a smaller side order rather than the larger regular size.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Free samples at - October 2018

A couple weeks ago, I had answered an emailed survey from SampleSource and a box of free goodies (free!) arrived today.  This is the eighth box of samples I've gotten from them over the years.

Here's what I received ...

Looks like some fun stuff for Gord, Crumpet, Muffin and I to try ... there is something for us all!

Dog & Bear Pub, Toronto, ON

We are still renovating our condo (and getting to and using our stove is tough) so I had supper this evening at the Dog & Bear (Queen W/Dovercourt), which is in our 'hood.

I ordered the half chicken with mashed potatoes (and no salad).  I've never had it before ... it was good and I'd get it again.  The chicken seemed like it was deep fried and when I asked Jenna, my server, she said it was also baked.

Jenna was friendly and took good care of me.

Dog & Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Dog & Bear Pub, Toronto, ON

We are in the middle of renovating our condo (and using our stove is impossible) so I had supper this evening at the Dog & Bear (Queen W/Dovercourt), which is in our 'hood.

I had the burger and beer special ... a Dog and Bear Burger (without cheese or onions) and fries and a pint of Mill Street Organic.  It was a great deal for $15!  The burger and fries were delicious and the beer was tasty.  I'd get it again.

Book ~ "Everyday Hockey Heroes: Inspiring Stories On and Off the Ice" (2018) Bob McKenzie and Jim Lang

From Goodreads ~ An inspiring volume of stories about Canada’s most beloved sport - hockey - and the everyday heroes who embody the spirit of the game and help shape its future, from the pros who compete in NHL arenas to the dreamers and fans who play on backyard rinks.

What does hockey look like today in Canada? Who is changing the game? Canadian broadcasters Bob McKenzie and Jim Lang bring together players, from youth hockey to the NHL, and the people who support them to show us what hockey means to them.

Meet Philadelphia Flyer Wayne Simmonds and Paralympian gold medalist Greg Westlake, who wouldn’t be at the top of their sport without the never-ending support of their families and communities. See how they’re giving back to show young hockey hopefuls that anything is possible. Read about players like Ben Fanelli, who overcame catastrophic injury to keep playing the game he loved and is using his story as a platform to help others, or the renowned Canadian neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Tator, who is leading the charge to protect athletes from the dangers of brain trauma and concussion. From hockey commentators Andi Petrillo and Harnarayan Singh, who broke down barriers to be on air, to Karina Potvin, the youth hockey coach welcoming Syrian boys and girls to Canada by introducing them to our national pastime, these are the stories of everyday hockey heroes - those who defy the odds, advocate for inclusion, and champion the next generation of hockey.

From small-town rinks to big city arenas across the country, this collection celebrates everyone who loves our great game. Heartwarming and entertaining, "Everyday Hockey Heroes" is a must-read for every hockey fan. 

I'm not a big fan of hockey (I don't follow it but I go to the occasional game) but I do like reading stories about real people and that's why this book caught my eye.

This book is a collection of stories about people connected to hockey and most are Canadians ... players, reporters, coaches, doctors and referees.

The stories include:
  • Ben Fanelli, a player who had an on-ice head injury and ended up starting a foundation to help empower others with similar injuries
  • Craig Cunningham, a player who suffered an acute cardiac event moments before the opening face-off in a game and ended up having to have his leg amputated (he too established a foundation)
  • Hilary Knight, a female hockey player on Team USA who took a stand and demanded the equal rights afforded the male players
  • Harnarayan Singh, an East Indian hockey fan who fulfilled his dream of broadcasting and hosting Hockey Night Punjabi
  • Brock McGillis, the first professional hockey player to openly come out as gay
  • Kevin Brown, a referee whose throat was cut during a fight between two hockey players in a game, which caused a stroke
Though I'd never heard of anyone discussed in this book, I found the stories inspirational.  I liked the writing style and found there was just enough enough information.  After I read a story, I sometimes Googled the person to find out more information and see where they are today.

Hockey fans will enjoy this book.  Non-fans (like me) will also like this book and it deals with real people.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Book ~ "The Yorkshire Vet: In The Footsteps of Herriot" (2018) Peter Wright

From Goodreads ~ The life story of vet Peter Wright, as he walked in the footsteps of the famous ‘James Herriot’, from work experience with him as a lad - to taking over his practice in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

Packed full of laugh-out loud moments, heartbreaking stories and transporting tales of his love for working with the animals and people of this breath-taking part of the country.

Covering his bucolic childhood growing up on a farm right through to the heady days of his successful Channel 5 TV series, Peter’s warm nature and professional attitude shine through every page.

Peter Wright is a veterinarian in England ... he is the co-owner of and works at Skeldale Veterinary Centre, the clinic where Alf Wight (the real life James Herriot) worked.  After he finished vet school, Wright worked with Alf, Donald Sinclair (Siegfried in Herriot's books) and Jim (Alf's son).  The TV show Yorkshire Vet (which I've never seen or heard of) apparently follows the adventures of the vets in this clinic.

I like reading books about animals and loved the James Herriot series so that's why this book caught my eye.  Wright tells of growing up in rural England, going to vet school, joining the practice with Alf and Donald, tending to the animals in his area, how things have changed over the years and more.

I liked this book and the writing style.  Wright sounds like a nice fella.  There were many references to the Yorkshire Vet, English personalities and English organizations and news, though, which I'd never heard of (no doubt, those in English will be able to relate to the references).  I liked the stories about the local characters and animals.  It was interesting to read about Alf and Donald's retirements and deaths and how the practice carried on after they had retired.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Book ~ "Dancing With Myself" (2014) Billy Idol

From Goodreads ~ In this bold and candid memoir, music legend Billy Idol shares his life story - from his childhood in England to his rise to fame during the height of the punk-pop revolution - revealing intimate details about the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that he is so fabulously famous for - all told in his own utterly indelible voice.

An integral member of the punk rock revolution whose music crossed over into ’80s pop mainstream - and one of MTV’s first stars - Billy Idol remains an iconic music legend. Now, in his long-awaited "Dancing With Myself", he delivers a lively, candid account of his journey to fame - including intimate and unapologetic details about his life’s highs and lows - all rendered with the in-your-face attitude and exuberance his fans have embraced. Idol brings to life the key events that shaped his life, his music, and his career, including his early childhood in England, his year at Sussex University, and his time spent hanging out with the Sex Pistols and as a member of punk bands Chelsea and Generation X.

He shares outtakes from his wildly and unexpectedly successful solo career and stories behind his string of popular hits, including “White Wedding,” “Eyes Without a Face” and “Rebel Yell”, which involved close collaboration with Steve Stevens and ultimately led to the creation of some of the most groundbreaking music videos ever seen.

I like reading bios/autobios and thought Billy Idol would have an interesting story.

Idol (born William Broad) will be 63 next month.  He is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor. He first achieved fame in the 1970s as a member of the punk rock band Generation X in England.  In the early 1980s, he moved to the U.S. and started  a solo career.  I've never heard Generation X but was a fan of his albums in the 1980s (I'd had them on cassette!).  And I've seen him playing himself in the movie The Wedding Singer many times.

In this book, Idol tells his story.  He was born in England and lived in the U.S. for a while when he was young (his father had taken a job there).  They moved back to England when he was a teenager.  He got into the punk rock scene and wanted to be a musician.  This book follows his career, his addictions, his personal life (he has two children from a couple relationships) and his music.

Idol definitely has a story to tell and I found it interesting.  There is a lot of detail so fans of Idol and music in general should enjoy it.  I liked the writing style and found him to be honest.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada. Unlike the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The harvest season falls earlier in Canada than the United States.

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer named Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him - Frobisher Bay.

At the same time, French settlers crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer, Samuel de Champlain, also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their Indian neighbours.

After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving.

During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. There are many similarities between the two Thanksgivings such as the cornucopia and pumpkin pie.

Eventually in 1879, Parliament declared November 6 a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years many dates were used for Thanksgiving. The most popular was the third Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11 occurred. In 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

On January 31, 1957, Parliament proclaimed ... A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ... to be observed on the second Monday in October.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Toronto Wolfpack 2, London Broncos 4, Lamport Stadium, Toronto, ON

The Toronto Wolfpack RLFC is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in here Toronto, which competes in the British Rugby Football League system.  In 2018, the club competed in the Championship, having begun to play in 2017 in League 1 and won a promotion in its inaugural season.  Gord and I are season ticket holders.

The club is noted as being the first North American team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first transatlantic rugby league team.  Their home stadium is Lamport Stadium (aka "The Den"), which is just a couple blocks from where Gord and I live.

At the end of the regular season, the bottom four teams in Super League play the top four teams in the Championship in a league of eight. The top three teams get a place in Super League while teams finishing fourth and fifth play each other for the final Super League place.  Whoever wins advances to the Supers 8s and the loser stays in the Championship.

Today the Wolfpack were playing the London Broncos in the Million Pound Game ... an annual playoff game between the two teams finishing in fourth (Toronto) and fifth (London) in the Super 8s Qualifiers.  Personally I think this is a stupid rule ... if team is one of the top four teams, they should advance to the Super League rather than having to play the fifth place team to re-earn their spot.  It will be a non-issue next year as the bottom team in the Super League automatically moves to the Championship and the top team in the Championship automatically moves to the Super League.  If this year was next year, the Wolfpack would have automatically moved to the Super League since they finished in first place.

Gord and I got there about 12:30pm when the doors open (the game started at 2pm) so we could get the seats we usually sit in.  Austin Delaney from CTV News was interviewing players.

Since it was Thanksgiving, the Wolfpack were asking for donations of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank (we brought some).

Here are Gord and I before the game in our Wolfpack gear.

Our friends, Mary and Malcolm joined us.  Our friend, Trish, was also supposed to join us but she wasn't feeling well.

Gord, Malcolm and Mary

Jefferson, the Wolfpack mascot, worked the crowd.