Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Trillium Park, William G. Davis Trail and Ontario Place, Toronto, ON

It was such a nice day today ... sunny and about 5C.  Gord and I felt like being outside ... we haven't had much of a chance to be outside because it's been so cold.  We headed to the The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail, which opened during the summer.  I walked there and back often in the summer and fall ... today was the first day I was there during the winter.

We parked near Coronation Park and walked through it.

The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail is the province's new landmark park.

Previously a parking lot, the park and trail is 7.5 acres of public green space on a spectacular part of Toronto’s waterfront.

The design is inspired by Ontario landscapes and is the culmination of discussions with people from across Ontario, including the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. As a result of public consultation, key features are included in the final design, including a pavilion and washroom facilities.

The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail is a first step in transforming Ontario Place into a vibrant, year-round waterfront destination.
  1. William G. Davis Trail 
  2. The Ravine with Moccasin Identifier 
  3. The Pavilion 
  4. Romantic Garden 
  5. Fire Pit 
  6. Bluff
  7. Summit

It's a great park and the trail is about 1.3km, which loops back.

Book ~ "Keep Her Safe" (2018) K.A. Tucker

From Goodreads ~ Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that's been rattling in her closet for years and succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family's life. Reeling with grief, Noah is forced to carry the burden of this shocking secret.

Gracie Richards wasn't born in a trailer park but after fourteen years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it's all she knows anymore. At least here people don't care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Here, she and her mother are just another family struggling to survive ... until a man who clearly doesn't belong shows up on her doorstep.

Despite their differences, Noah and Gracie are searching for answers to the same questions, and together, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department's dark and messy past. But the scandal that emerges is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

Noah is in his early twenties and living with his divorced mother, Jackie, who is the Chief of Police in Austin.  She has been drinking a lot lately and rambles some crazy story to him one night about how her ex-partner, Abe, was actually innocent and she was a party to bringing him down.  Abe had been a respected police officer but fourteen years ago his image was tarnished forever when he was implicated and killed during a drug deal gone bad.  That night Jackie kills herself and leaves Noah with instructions to make things right and deliver something to Abe's widow, Dina, and his daughter, Gracie.

Noah follows his mother's last wish and finds Dina and Gracie.  Life hasn't been kind to them ... they have been living in poverty in a shabby trailer park in Arizona.  Noah and Gracie band together and head back to Austin to find out the truth about Abe and possibly clear his name.

I've read a few books by this author.  I liked this story and the writing style.  It's written in first person perspective from Noah's, Grace's, Jackie's and Abe's point of view (the chapters are labeled so you know whose voice it is).  The story jumps back and forth in time from today to the spring of 2003 (also labelled in the chapter heading).  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

I liked the characters.  I thought Noah was a nice fella.  Though he is grieving and is shocked by the death of his mother, he still feels honour-bound to fulfill her last wish.  Plus he has wonderful memories of Abe.  I found Gracie a bit annoying at times, though, because she was so impulsive and wouldn't listen.  But she was young (about 20ish) and didn't have the maturity at times, I guess.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Ipsy Glam Bags - January 2018

My January 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.

Total value: $55.44US (without the make-up bag)

I got two bags this month.  I took over my sister's subscription until it runs out.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Sudbury, ON

I had lunch today at Swiss Chalet (the Barrydowne Road location).

I ordered the half chicken dinner with corn as my side.  I usually order mashed potatoes but went with the corn today because I'm now on Weight Watchers and corn is zero points (mashed potatoes are five points).  The corn wasn't great but it was okay ... though it was hot, it seemed like it was previously frozen and sitting around for a while.  The chicken was good.  My entire meal was just seven points (no skin).  I'd get it again.

Brittany was my server.  She was pleasant and took good care of me.

Swiss Chalet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Best Western Downtown Sudbury Centreville, Sudbury, ON

I spent last night at the Best Western in Sudbury.

Here was my room ...

The bed was comfy

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Book ~ "Tin Men" (2018) Mike Knowles

From Goodreads ~ Woody was working on getting high when the phone rang. Dennis was on a date - it was a date he paid for, but a date all the same. Os had blood on his hands from a little extracurricular law enforcement. All three men picked up their phones because they were cops and cops are never really off-duty - not even when they’re crooked.

Detective Julie Owen was savagely killed in her own bed and the unborn child she was carrying is nowhere to be found. The grisly crime has the brass breathing down the necks of the three detectives tasked with finding Julie’s killer. Woody, Dennis and Os each shared a bond with Julie that went deeper than the blue of their uniforms and have their own reasons to want to find the person responsible for her murder. Secrets drive the investigation - secrets that need to stay buried long enough to solve the case.

Woody, Dennis and Os are police detectives in Hamilton, ON.  Each has their own issues.  Woody is dealing with his personal grief by becoming a junkie.  Dennis pays for female companionship who have extra parts.  Os is big and angry and has his own way of bringing criminals to justice.

A fellow police officer is found brutally murdered in her own bed.  She was pregnant and her unborn child is missing.  Partners Woody and Os are assigned to the case, as is Dennis.  No one likes Dennis but he has a knack for solving crimes quickly.  Their boss is putting pressure on them to get this crime solved quickly which adds to the tension they are already feeling.  They go off investigating this case using their own styles.

This is the sixth book I've read by this author, the first other than his Wilson series (which I like).  It's written in third person perspective with a focus on wherever the action is.  I liked the writing style ... it was blunt and to the point.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.  Initially I found Woody, Dennis and Os unlikable but became more sympathetic towards them as I got to know them better.

I'd recommend this book.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Book ~ "M is for Malice" (1996) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ "M" is for money. Lots of it. 

"M" is for Malek Construction, the $40 million company that grew out of modest soil to become one of the big three in California construction, one of the few still in family hands.

"M" is for the Malek family: four sons now nearing middle age who stand to inherit a fortune - four men with very different outlooks, temperaments and needs, linked only by blood and money. Eighteen years ago, one of them - angry, troubled and in trouble - went missing.

"M" is for Millhone, hired to trace that missing black sheep brother.

"M" is for memories, none of them happy. The bitter memories of an embattled family. This prodigal son will find no welcome at his family's table. 

"M" is for malice.

And in brutal consequence, "M" is for murder, the all-too-common outcome of familial hatreds.

"M" is for malice . . . and malice kills.

It's 1986 and Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA, in her mid-thirties.  Her cousin, Tasha, who is a lawyer, hires her to find an heir of the wealthy Malek family.  When Bader Malek died, everyone assumed his $40 million estate would be split between his three sons Donovan, Bennet and Jack ... but the will also names his disinherited son, Guy.  Guy was the black sheep of the family who had left home almost 20 years ago and hasn't been seen nor heard of since.   Kinsey is able to locate Guy, who comes back to the family home hoping for a happy reunion, but she is soon sorry that she had.

I liked this story and thought the reveal of the whodunnit at the end had a nice twist.  The book shows a more emotional side of Kinsey with her interactions with Tasha (who she meets for the first time in this book), the return of her former love, Robert Dietz, and finally dealing with the grief of the deaths of her parents and her aunt years ago.  It's written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

This is the thirteenth in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have read them all.  I started rereading them this year.  With the author's recent death, Y is for Yesterday will be the end of the series.

Topbox - January 2018

My January 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 ...

Total value = $37.80 value

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Knitted scarf

I finished knitting a scarf tonight using Bernat blanket yarn ("Sweet & Sour").

I knitted each row (garter stitch).

The skein is 300 grams/10.5 ounces and I used a 6.5 round needle.  I kept knitting until I ran out of yarn and the scarf ended up about seven feet.  It's soft and thick and warm!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Monster Jam, Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to Monster Jam this evening at the Rogers Centre.  We went the last two years.  It's LOUD and a lot of fun and we looked forward to going again this year.

Our seats were in the first row.  There was a huge crowd with lots of kids.

There were three competitions.  The first was the head-to-head racing.  Competitors report to a starting line. On a green signal, the trucks head along a prescribed course to a finish line with first to legally complete the course advancing in competition. Winners advance until two trucks remain with the finals determining the racing champion.  The winner was Son-Uva Digger driven by Ryan Anderson.  Here are the trucks ready to go.

The official let them know when it was time to go.

The second competition was the two-wheel skills challenge.  Drivers have multiple opportunities to perform the best stunt, bringing at least two wheels into the air.  This is a judged competition.  The winner was Mad Scientist driven by Lee O'Donnell.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Toronto Rock 17, Rochester Knights 9, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I are season ticket holders for the Toronto Rock lacrosse team games ... the Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  This is our sixth year going to the games and our fifth year having seasons tickets.

Tonight the Rock were hosting the Rochester Knighthawks.  Rochester was in first place and Toronto was in third place in the eastern division.

We watched the players warm up.

Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Book ~ "Breaking Free: How I Escaped My Father - Warren Jeffs - Polygamy, and the FLDS Cult" (2017) Rachel Jeffs

From Goodreads ~ Born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Rachel Jeffs was raised in a strict patriarchal culture defined by subordinate sister wives and men they must obey. No one in this radical splinter sect of the Mormon Church was more powerful or terrifying than its leader Warren Jeffs - Rachel’s father.

Living outside mainstream Mormonism and federal law, Jeffs arranged marriages between under-age girls and middle-aged and elderly members of his congregation. In 2006, he gained international notoriety when the FBI placed him on its Ten Most Wanted List. Though he is serving a life sentence for child sexual assault, Jeffs’ iron grip on the church remains firm and his edicts to his followers increasingly restrictive and bizarre.

In "Breaking Free", Rachel blows the lid off this taciturn community to offer a harrowing look at her life with Warren Jeffs and the years of physical and emotional abuse she suffered. Sexually assaulted, compelled into an arranged polygamous marriage, locked away in "houses of hiding" as punishment for perceived transgressions and physically separated from her children, Rachel, Jeffs’ first plural daughter by his second of more than fifty wives, eventually found the courage to leave the church in 2015. But "Breaking Free" is not only her story - Rachel’s experiences illuminate those of her family and the countless others who remain trapped in the strange world she left behind.

A shocking and mesmerizing memoir of faith, abuse, courage, and freedom, "Breaking Free" is an expose of religious extremism and a beacon of hope for anyone trying to overcome personal obstacles. 

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) teaches the doctrine of plural marriage.  In order for a man to receive the highest form of salvation, it is believed that he should have a minimum of three wives to fulfill this requirement.  There is also the belief that wives are required to be subordinate to their husbands.  Devout FLDS members believe that their prophets receive direct messages from God about everything from what they should or shouldn’t do, to who they should marry, where they should live and whether they are worthy of salvation.

Warren Jeffs is the president of the FLDS Church (his father had been the prophet).  He is also a convicted felon/child molester and currently serving a sentence of life plus 20 years.  He has/had 78 wives (some as young as 12-years-old, hence why he is in prison) and 53 children.  The author of this book, Rachel Jeffs, is his third oldest child and this is her story.

When Rachel was young, her father started molesting her (and others as it turned out) and continued for eight years.  At age eighteen, he married her off to Rich (her sister, Becky, was married off to Rich's brother the same day), who she had met the day before.  Rachel was Rich's third wife and it took some adjusting for her to go from her father's home to becoming a sister wife (the other sister wives were jealous).  Rachel eventually fell in love with Rich and they ended up having five children together.

But her father always had control over everything and everyone.  To punish her, her father had Rachel taken to an abandoned safe house for several months many times.  Her children were also taken from her several times.  For months at a time and eventually for more than a year, she wasn’t allowed to see Rich because of imaginary wrong doings.  Similar things happened to other family members and friends ... families were being ripped apart and put back together (sometimes differently).  In 2014, Rachel finally had enough and fled the church with her five children.  She hadn't seen in husband in a long time and he chose to stay with the church rather than leave with her and their children.

I hadn't heard of Warren Jeffs before I came across this book but it sounded like an interesting story.  And it was so I'm glad I read it (and would recommend it) ... but it was also disturbing.  I find it amazing that in this day and age people live this way and that Warren still had this kind of power over the members, even though he is now in prison for life.  It seemed like every week Warren was forbidding things in the members' lives because it was evil ... sugar, toys, hugging between married couples and more ... and making decisions on who to marry and when.  It just got crazier and crazier.  And no one seemed to question him and ask "WTF?  Is this guy mentally stable?"

If you are raised that way, I can see that you wouldn't know any better.  But they have access to cell phones and computers.  How can they not realize they are living their lives according to the will of a crazy man who is prison?

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Book ~ "Blackout" (2016) David Rosenfelt

From Goodreads ~ New Jersey state police officer Doug Brock has been after infamous criminal Nicholas Bennett for years. When Bennett kills someone close to Doug, however, Doug's investigation - and his life - start spiraling out of control. He's placed on indefinite suspension from the police force and breaks things off with his fiancée, but he can't let the case go, and he continues an off-the-books investigation on his own. 

When Doug's former partner on the force, Nate Alvarez, receives a call from Doug saying he's discovered something big, something terrifying, something they need to call in the FBI to handle, Nate is furious that Doug has still been working the case. 

But when the call ends abruptly, and shortly afterward Doug is found in a hotel room, shot and in critical condition, Nate’s anger turns to fear. When Doug finally awakens from his coma, however, he has no memory of the case, or even the last several years of his life. But the pull of what he might have discovered is too strong, and he finds himself immersed in a desperate search for truth once again, regardless of the danger.

Doug Brock is a police officer who had been suspended from the force during an investigation of the death of a teenager Doug and Jessie, his fiancée and fellow police officer, were about to adopt.  He focuses on finding the killer and breaks up with Jessie.  Doug is found shot and it's discovered he can't remember anything from the last ten years ... getting suspended and shot, dating and breaking up with Jessie, who won the last Super Bowls, etc.  He does remember his old friend and former partner, Nate.

To lure the people who tried to kill him out into the open, Doug is reinstated onto the police force, working with Nate and Jessie (she's not too happy about that) and stumble upon a suspected terrorist plot.

I've read many books by this author (I enjoy his Andy Carpenter series).  This was the first non-Andy book I've read by him and I liked it.  I like the writing style as it was funny, sarcastic and amusing at times.  It was written in first person perspective in Doug's voice but switches over to third person perspective even when Doug is in the action (I found this a bit strange).  I liked Doug, Nate and Jessie and their humorous interactions with each other.

It is the first in the Doug Brock series and I look forward to reading future ones.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Book ~ "L is for Lawless" (1995) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ When Kinsey Millhone's landlord asks her to help deceased World War II vet Johnnie Lee's family find out why the military has no record of his service, she thinks it'll be a cinch. But she is about to meet her match in world-class prevaricators who take her for the ride of her life.

When Lee's apartment in burgled and a man named Ray Rawson, who claims to be an old friend of Lee's, is beaten up, Kinsey soon finds herself on the trail of a pregnant woman with a duffel bag. Soon the intrepid P.I. is following leads halfway across the country and encountering another man from Lee's past - a vengeful psychopath.

Stalked by a new enemy and increasingly suspicious of Rawson - not to mention running out of time and money - now Kinsey must steer a collision course to solve a decades-old mystery that some would like better left unsolved.

It's the 1980s and Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA, in her thirties.  She is asked by her landlord, Henry Pitts, to help out Bucky, the grandson of their recently deceased neighbor, Johnnie Lee.  Bucky is trying to ensure his grandfather has a military burial but seems to be getting the runaround while trying to get his records and the cost covered.  As Kinsey investigates, free of charge, she discovers that Johnny wasn't as he seemed.  What she thought was going to be a quick and easy favour ends up taking her to Texas as she follows a suspicious-looking pregnant woman leaving Johnnie Lee's old apartment.  The next thing she knows she on the run for her life and running out of money.

In the meantime, Henry's brother, William, is marrying Rosie, the owner of Kinsey's local bar, are getting married in a couple days and Kinsey has to make it back to Santa Teresa in time for the wedding.

I wasn't crazy about this story.  Kinsey started out doing Henry a favour out of the goodness of her heart.  I don't know why she hung on as long as she did considering how dangerous it had gotten, she didn't even know the family she was helping and she had no money ... I would have left a lot sooner.  I didn't find the characters likable or believable.  It's written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

This is the twelfth in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have read them all.  I started rereading them this year.  I read the latest, Y is for Yesterday, in October and with the author's recent death, Y is for Yesterday will be the end of the series.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Knitted scarf

When I saw skeins of Bernat blanket yarn ("Lilac Bush") in the store yesterday, it reminded me of my winter jacket with the purples and grey so I bought one to make a scarf.

I've never knitted a scarf and hadn't worked with this yarn before so I went basic and did a stocking stick (knit/purl alternate rows).  I didn't like the effect of the variegation, though, so I knitted each row (garter stitch) instead and liked it better.

The skein is 300 grams/10.5 ounces and I used a 6.5 round needle.  I kept knitting until I ran out of yarn and the scarf ended up about seven feet.  It's soft and thick to the touch and I'm happy with the result.