Saturday, 17 November 2018

Shelter Building Workshop, Toronto Street Cats, Toronto, ON

From 10am to 2:30pm, I was at a shelter building workshop organized by Toronto Street Cats.

Our mission: improve the lives of Toronto’s homeless cats by offering spay/neuter services, free for feral cats, and building overwintering shelters. We are also working to increase public awareness about Toronto’s homeless cat population and the importance of spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR). 

We are part of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, working together to implement strategic TNR programs to sterilize Toronto’s feral cats, decrease shelter intake and reduce euthanasia rates.

The workshops are held throughout the fall and winter season in the garage of the Toronto Humane Society  The shelters built are then made available to caretakers and colonies in need for $15.  Today there were about 48 volunteers and our goal was to build 100 shelters ... we built 120.

My friends, Darlene and Christine, were "leads".  They have been volunteering for about seven years.

Here were our supplies. 

Carole was our coordinator. 

First the insulation was cut, which was placed inside the boxes.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Knitted scarf

I finished knitting a scarf tonight.  I had most of a ball of Ocean Shades Blanket Yarn By Bernat left over from an afghan I'd finished in the spring.

Cast on 20 stitches using 8.5mm needles (I used circular).  I kept knitting and knitting and knitting until I ran out of yarn.  It's heavy and soft and warm.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Book ~ "Charming" (2018) Mette Bach

From Goodreads ~ Seventeen-year-old Char has studied music but didn't think of it as a future until she posted a video of herself singing and it went viral. So now, instead of going to queer youth events or taking part in the Gay Lesbian Alliance, Char spends her time figuring out how to get enough online fame to fuel a singing career. When one of her videos is bombarded with vicious online comments, she is pleased to find an app that offers support and encouragement to people who are being bullied online.

Using the handle Charming, Char gets to know the creator and moderator of the app, who calls herself Cinders. Cinders inspires Char to reconsider her obsession with having the ideal online presence and concentrate on who she really is. But when Cinders turns out to be Ash, a shy girl who goes to the same school, Char must find a way to show Ash how much she means to her.

With a modern female version of Prince Charming as the main character, Charming expands the story of the fairy-tale prince to one of a teen girl who learns the true nature of fame and love.

Char is in her last year of high school.  Her parents are well-to-do realtors who expect Char to go on to university but she just wants to make music.  She uploads videos of herself on YouTube singing to build a following.  She is obsessed with how many views she receives and gets bummed when there are negative comments.  She suspects she is being trolled by Mimi, a mean girl at her school.  She comes across an app called SendLove, which supports people who are being bullied online and becomes friends with the creator, Cinder.  With Cinder's friendship, Char realizes that she can be who she really is and not worry about what others think.

This is the second book I've read by this author.  This book runs parallel with Cinders, which is told from Cinder's point of view (both books are written in third person perspective).  It was interesting to read both books back-to-back because we get to know the girls more in their own books with their back stories. 

Though I'm assuming it is written for the young adult market (so I'm not its demographic), I liked the story and the writing style.  As a head's up, there is lesbian activity and I came across one swear word so perhaps the book is for a more mature young adult.

I liked Char.  She knows who she is but is afraid to let anyone else see.  We see her grow and become more confident throughout the book.

Tamam’s Shawarma, Concord, ON

I had lunch today at Tamam’s Shawarma (on Steeles Avenue W, just west of Keele Street).

I ordered a chicken shawarma combo (shawarma, rice, fries or salad, and a drink) for $12.99.  I imagine there were various things you could get in your shawarma ... I got chicken, tomatoes, garlic sauce, tahini and hummus.  It was a good hearty shawarma and there was a lot of chicken.    Everything was cold, though ... all the shawarmas I've had in the past have been warm (the chicken is warm from the pit and the wrap is warm from being grilled).  Because the shawarma was so big, I didn't need the fries so only ate a couple.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Book ~ "Cinders" (2018) Mette Bach

From Goodreads ~ Seventeen-year-old Ash has been living with her mother in her mother's boyfriend's house, along with his daughter Mimi and son Noah. When Ash's mother dies, Ash stays so she can attend a high school with a top coding program. But her stepsiblings take advantage of Ash's precarious living situation, with Mimi posting embarrassing pictures of Ash online and Noah making her do his homework. Ash's only solace is the social media app she has developed to support people who are being bullied online.

Using the handle Cinders, Ash starts chatting online with a girl who calls herself Charming. They become close, without ever meeting in person. When Ash finds out that Charming is Char, an aspiring singer who goes to her school, she admires her courage in identifying herself as a lesbian and singing about it. Char helps Ash see her own strength in not letting her situation cause her to be bitter, but instead using it to reach out to help others. For the first time since her mother died, Ash feels like someone sees that she is special and is there for her.

With a modern version of Cinderella as the main character, Cinders tells the story of a teen girl who overcomes adversity and bullying with kindness and compassion. (less)

Ashley's mother has recently passed away.  Ash is in her last year of high school and living with her stepfather (he had married her mother just before she passed away) and his two children, Mimi and Noah, who are Ash's age.  Mimi and Noah are really nasty to her but Ash has nowhere else to go ... she has to suck it up until graduation.  She knows her only hope is to win a scholarship so she can go away to university.  In the meantime, she is is a coding geek (who goes by the alias "Cinders") and develops an app called SendLove, which supports people who are being bullied online.  She "meets" Charming, another girl who is being bullied, on the site and they form a friendship.

This is the first book I've read by this author.  This book runs parallel with Charming, which is told from Charming's point of view (both books are written in third person perspective).

Though I'm assuming it is written for the young adult market (so I'm not its demographic), I liked the story and the writing style.  As a head's up, there is lesbian activity and I came across one swear word so perhaps the book is for a more mature young adult.

I liked Ash.  She was in a difficult situation having no one to turn to until she "meets" Charming.  Though he did the right thing in letting Ash stay after her mother passed away and treated her okay, her stepfather wouldn't be winning any father of the year awards.  While Mimi and Noah had the best of everything and never lacked for anything, Ash's room was a storage room and she was using a five year old laptop.  His children treated Ash like crap and the stepfather was either unaware of it or didn't care.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Book ~ "Fish! A remarkable way to boost morale and improve results" (2014) Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen

From Goodreads ~ Here's another management parable that draws its lesson from an unlikely source - this time it's the fun-loving fishmongers at Seattle's Pike Place Market. 

In "Fish!" the heroine, Mary Jane Ramirez, recently widowed and mother of two, is asked to engineer a turnaround of her company's troubled operations department, a group that authors Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen describe as a "toxic energy dump." 

Most reasonable heads would cut their losses and move on. Why bother with this bunch of losers? But the authors don't make it so easy for Mary Jane. Instead, she's left to sort out this mess with the help of head fishmonger Lonnie.

I've read this book a couple times over the years ... the last time was in 2006.  Gord and I were talking about Pike Place Fish Market a couple days ago for some reason (he hadn't heard of it) and it inspired me to read the book again.

Mary Jane is a widow with two young children.  She recently got promoted to manage a department in the company she works for which is known as a toxic energy dump.  She can't afford to quit her job and her manager threatens to fire her and the team if they don't turn things around.

One day she wanders into the Pike Fish Market and sees how much fun the workers are having.  She is approached by Lonnie, one of the workers, who shares the principles, which are:
  1. Choose your attitude
  2. Play
  3. Be present
  4. Make their day

Though Mary Jane and Lonnie's story is a parable, they are good principles to live by.  Reading this book again reminded me of them.

Remembrance Day Commemoration, Strachan Avenue Military Cemetery, Toronto, ON

Gord and I attended the Remembrance Day Commemoration at Fort York this morning.  We've been a few times over the years as it's in our 'hood and always enjoy it.  It attracts a good sized crowd.

Fort York National Historic Site and the Toronto Municipal Chapter IODE (Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire) are proud to present one of this City's most evocative Remembrance Day Services at the Strachan Avenue Military Cemetery on Garrison Common. 

Commencing at 10:45 am from the west gate of Fort York, a processional, led by period uniformed military staff and standard bearers of the IODE, will make their way to the adjacent Strachan Avenue Military Cemetery, where the public will be gathered. There, at the eleventh hour, soldiers will be remembered and honoured: all soldiers of the Toronto Garrison who fell in the War of 1812; the Rebellion Crises; the Crimean War; Northwest Rebellion; South African (Boer) War; the two World Wars and soldiers from recent conflicts around the globe.

The ceremony was held in the Strachan Avenue Military Cemetery.

The processional arrived to begin the ceremony.

Remembrance Day

The federal department of Veterans Affairs Canada states that November 11 is of "remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace"; specifically, the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and all conflicts since then in which members of the Canadian Forces have participated.

Remembering my father, Frank (1935 - 1971)

Honouring Gord's dad, Ken (1925 - 1971)
Honouring Gord's paternal
grandfather, Sid (1890 - 1963)

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Book ~ "The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are" (2009) Kevin Leman

From Goodreads ~ Dr. Kevin Leman's ever-popular book on birth order is getting a new look and updated writing. With insight and wit, Dr. Leman offers readers a fascinating and often funny look at how birth order affects personality, marriage and relationships, parenting style, career, and children. Birth order powerfully influences the way people interact with others, whether they're at home or on the job. 

This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about how they react to their world. Dr. Leman even shows readers how to overcome ingrained tendencies they never thought they'd be rid of, all by focusing on their birth order. 

This book originally came out about 20 years ago.  I read it then and thought it was interesting.  My sister recently read it so I thought I'd reread it.

Have you ever wondered why you and your sister or brother are so different, even though you grew up in the same family and had similar childhood experiences?  Why do you get along with some people and not with others?  Why do you act the way you do?  Why you pick the friends you do?  Who should you marry?  What job is best for you?  This book might answer some of those questions.

A lot of it has to do with your birth order.  Here are some of the traits:

  • First born:  perfectionist, reliable, conscientious, a list maker, well-organized, hard driving, a natural leader, critical, serious, scholarly, logical, doesn't like surprises, a techie
  • Middle:  mediator, compromising, diplomatic, avoids conflict, independent, loyal to peers, has many friends, a maverick, secretive, used to not having attention
  • Last born:  manipulative, charming, blames others, attention seeker, tenacious, people person, natural salesperson, precocious, engaging, affectionate, loves surprises
  • Only child:  little adult by age seven, very thorough, deliberate, high achiever, self-motivated, fearful, cautious, voracious reader, black-and-white thinker, talks in extremes, can't bear to fail, has very high expectations for self, more comfortable with people who are older or younger

Gord and I are both first borns, which isn't supposed to be a good combination.  I can see why the author would say this but as a first born I can understand why Gord does some of the things he does sometimes.  Supposedly first borns and last borns make the best match.  The first born teaches the last born things they may be lacking like being organized and having goals while the last born helps the first born lighten up and not take an overly serious approach to live.  I don't know if I would have the patience to be married to a last born.  Ha!

I like the writing style.  The author gives lots of example from his own life and those of his clients.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Communicating With My Donor's Family

Reposted from the World of Gord ...

Writer Sarah Breathnach wrote “Life is not made up of minutes ... but of moments” and today I experienced a very special one.

In April of this year, I underwent a liver transplant at Toronto General Hospital through the University Hospital Network (UHN). It was an experience which I have already written about. 203 days later, I’m doing very well.

After I was called into the hospital for my transplant, Teena and I were in the lounge area waiting for somebody to come in and let us know what would be happening. I will always remember the gravity of that talk. The colours, smells and raw emotions remain vivid in my mind.

My surgeon came in and explained how my donor had just been removed from life support. Once they passed, the liver would be delivered to the hospital and I would head to the operating room. That’s when we both fully comprehended the reality of what was taking place at that moment.

While we sat waiting for a liver for me, somebody’s family was at a bedside waiting for a person they loved to pass. My hope became mixed with a crushing sorrow.

Part of the recovery process, if one wishes to, is to write a letter to the family of the donor. The letter cannot impart any details of who you are, man or woman, or age. I wanted to do this but waited months before doing so as I needed time to heal.

That letter was the hardest thing I've ever written. In not being able to give any details, I had to find a way to make it personal. I needed them to know I really understood what they went through for me to receive that gift. Their emotions. Their pain. Their loss.

I described my thankfulness for the person being so giving at the end. Then I related my own story of watching my father lose a fight with cancer at the young age of 47, when I was just 17, and how he still lives within me. I promised to look after that gift I received as a result of their loss. It was very hard to write correctly in order to convey my feelings and emotions. I could only hope that it all came through when they read it.

Today I received a reply from them. I am only allowed to send one letter. They too can only reply once and with no details of the deceased. Reading that letter for the first time was a moment in my life I'll never forget.

It was beautifully written. My God, was it ever. Not only did I feel that my words had meaning for them but it was wonderful to know the person they loved remains a part of them and they were able to move on. It would be improper for me to quote any of it as it’s a personal connection between us but their words are now a part of me.

I don’t know anything of the person I received the liver from but I think of them and their family often. Only beautiful people could write such a beautiful letter. I thank them for their words. I thank them for their deeds.

Please sign up to be a donor. Your choice, one day, could save up to 8 lives.

Beertown Public House, Waterloo, ON

I had supper this evening at the Beertown Public House in downtown Waterloo.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Book ~ "100+ Iphone/iPad Tricks You Can Do Right Now" (2018) Liz M. Weiman

From Goodreads ~ With this fun, easy guide, you can perform each of these 100+ tricks on your iPhone and iPad to explore the big changes that occurred after recent updates, including the iOS 12 update! 

Apps such as Camera, Photos, iMessage, Stocks, Siri and many more received a major makeover with new features that are important to know about. 

Using this guide, you can get the immediacy of a hands-on experience as you perform each of the 100+ tricks (each accompanied by detailed instructions) so you can discover how to use your iPhone/iPad to the fullest! 

I have an iPhone (a newer version) and was curious to see if I was using it to its fullest potential.  I use it to access work emails, Facebook, Twitter, emails, Instagram and take pictures.  I thought it would be fun to see what else it could do.

I knew some things ... like how to take a screenshot, using the flashlight, using the camera without unlocking my phone, using my fingerprint to unlock it rather than a code, etc.

I found it interesting to learn that using the Notes app, I could scan a document (I would just take a picture of it).  Or the cool things I can do when sending a message to someone that has an iPhone to jazz up the message.  I recently bought a new car and have sync the Bluetooth with my phone ... because I've done that, I can ask Siri where I've parked my car.  I've changed Siri's voice to an Irish man.

There were some things I wasn't able to do.  I don't know if I wasn't understanding the instructions or my phone doesn't have the capability.  I couldn't do any of the Apple Home app things since I don't have Apple Home.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

The Hot House Restaurant & Bar, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at The Hot House Restaurant & Bar (Church Street/Front Street) with Liz, Rona and Jacob.

I ordered Lasagna Al Forno.  It was good and I'd get it again.


Gord ordered Jambalaya.  He said it was good.

It was great to chat, catch up and meet Jacob.  Rona and Jacob recently got engaged (he also recently moved here from Italy) and are getting married in a couple weeks ... congrats to Rona and Jacob!  Here we are ... Liz, Gord, me, Jacob and Rona.

Christopher was our server.  He was a hoot and took good care of us.

The Hot House Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Neon, Toronto, ON (Wallace)

I had lunch today at Cafe Neon (on Wallace Avenue, west of Lansdowne).

Leda, my server

I ordered a chicken club (with no arugula).  I made it a combo by adding fries and a Diet Coke.  It was a good sandwich.  The chicken had a bit of a crispy batter, which I wasn't expecting.  There were roasted tomatoes on it and I was surprised that they were hot ... they were an interesting touch to the sandwich.

I'd had lunch at Cafe Neon last week and Leda had taken good care of me then too.  She was friendly and fun to chat with.

Cafe Neon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato