Saturday, 7 December 2019

Book ~ "The Blind Mechanic" (2018) Marilyn Davidson Elliott

From Goodreads ~ Eric Davidson lost both eyes in the Halifax Explosion when he was two years old. Against all odds, he taught himself to become an auto mechanic and had a successful decades-long career as "one of the boys."

Eric Davidson was a beautiful, fair-haired toddler when the Halifax Explosion struck, killing almost 2,000 people and seriously injuring thousands of others. Eric lost both eyes - a tragedy that his mother never fully recovered from. Eric, however, was positive and energetic. He also developed a fascination with cars and how they worked, and he later decided, against all likelihood, to become a mechanic. Assisted by his brothers who read to him from manuals, he worked hard, passed examinations, and carved out a decades-long career. Once the subject of a National Film Board documentary, Eric Davidson was, until his death, a much-admired figure in Halifax.

This book does not gloss over the challenges faced by Eric and by his parents. Written by his daughter Marilyn, it gives new insights into the story of the 1917 Halifax Explosion and contains never-before-seen documents and photographs. While Eric Davidson has been mentioned in previous Explosion accounts, his story has never been told in such fascinating detail. Davidson overcame such odds that his life story might not seem believable if it had not happened.

The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which happened on the morning of December 6, 1917.  The Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship with explosives, in Halifax Harbour.  About 2,000 people were killed by the blast, debris, fires or collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.

Nearly all structures within half-mile radius, including the Halifax community of Richmond, were obliterated.  A pressure wave snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels and scattered fragments of Mont-Blanc for kilometres.  Across the harbour, in Dartmouth, there was also widespread damage.

Relief efforts began almost immediately and hospitals quickly became full.  Rescue trains began arriving the day of the explosion from across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick while other trains from central Canada and the northeastern United States were delayed by blizzards.

The blast was the largest man-made explosion at the time and in the North End of Halifax, there are several memorials to the victims of the explosion.

Eric Davidson (1915 - 2009) was two years old when this tragedy occurred.  He was watching out the window when the blast happened.  Shattered glass went into his eyes and the doctor determined that his eyes couldn't be saved.  His eyes were removed and he was fitted with prosthetics.  Quite an experience for such a young boy but he adapted.  When he was old enough, he was sent to The Halifax School for the Blind for his education and to learn a trade.  But he had an interest in cars and he really wanted to be a mechanic.  After understandably being turned down by garages, Eric taught himself how to fix cars and with his keen sense of hearing and touch, developed a reputation of being an expert at repairing cars and was eventually hired on at garages, fulfilling his dream.

Eric would marry Mary and have three children.  His daughter, Marilyn, is the author of this book.  She tells of Eric's life ... his childhood, his marriage and raising a family, his hobby of collecting and repairing antique cars, the recognition of his achievements and goodwill, and more.  With Eric's death in 2009, there was only one last survivor of the explosion still living.

I liked this book and found it interesting.  Despite what had happened to him, it sounds like Eric was a happy helpful fella who didn't let his disability stop him.  I liked the writing style ... it's told in a conversational manner.  You should check it out if you would like to know how the Halifax Explosion affected a family and how they moved on from the experience.  Plus it's a personal perspective on some Canadian history.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Fionn MacCool's, Vaughan, ON

I had lunch today at Fionn MacCool's (Hwy 7/Hwy 27).

I ordered Butter Chicken Curry.  I love curry and this was good, though the rice was a bit crunchy in places.  I'd get this again.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Quesada Burritos & Tacos, Woodbridge, ON

I had lunch today at Quesada Burritos & Tacos (Hwy 7/Hwy 27).

I love burritos and ordered a large chicken burrito on a white wrap. They heat up the wrap briefly before putting on the ingredients.  There were lots of ingredients to choose from and I got mine with chicken, cheese, refried beans, black beans, rice, salsa, corn, mild salsa and burrito sauce.  Then the burrito is put on another grill to heat it.  Though there were a couple of weird chewy pieces of chicken, it was a good hearty burrito.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Book ~ "Twisted Twenty-Six" (2019) Janet Evanovich

From Goodreads ~ Grandma Mazur is a widow ... again. This time her marriage lasted a whole 45 minutes. The unlucky groom was one Jimmy Rosolli, local gangster, lothario (senior division) and heart attack waiting to happen ... well, the waiting's over.

It's a sad day but if she can't have Jimmy at least Grandma can have all the attention she wants as the dutiful widow. But some kinds of attention are not welcomed, particularly when Jimmy's former "business partners" are convinced that his widow is keeping the keys to their financial success for herself.

As someone who has spent an entire career finding bad guys, a set of missing keys should be no challenge for Stephanie Plum. Problem is, the facts are as twisted as a boardwalk pretzel with mustard.

Stephanie's grandmother has just gotten married to a mobster named Jimmy, who passes away 45 minutes later in a casino. His ex-wife isn't happy because now she's been cut out of the will. His mobster friends aren't happy because he had the keys and they figure he had given them to Grandma. What keys?! But he didn't but that doesn't stop everyone from coming after Grandma to get them.

Stephanie works for her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, and is questioning her life.  Lulu is a former 'ho who works with her. As usual, they have a couple people they have to track down who didn't show up for their court date. Stephanie and Joe, a police officer, are still together and Ranger, her former colleague, is still hot and lusting after Stephanie, which is tempting.

This is the 26th in the Stephanie Plum series and I've read them all. As in previous books,Evanovich continues to follow her formula:
  • Stephanie is lusting after Morelli and Ranger ... check
  • Lulu talks about food all the time and talks about going on a diet ... check
  • Stephanie goes home to mooch meals from her parents ... check
  • Ranger calls Stephanie "Babe" and just wants to have sex with her with no commitment ... check
  • Ranger has his employees tail Stephanie to keep her out of trouble ... check
  • Something happens to Stephanie's car so Ranger lends her a nice one ... check

I liked this book better than the last few..  It was nice to see Stephanie's dad do more than just grunt, eat, watch TV and watch to kill Grandma.  It's written in first person perspective from Stephanie's point of view. There is some swearing and adult situations.  Since it's basically the same story over and over, though, I stopped buying these books a long time ago and now borrow them from the library. It's a mindless familiar read.

Pickle Barrel, Vaughan, ON

I had an early lunch today at the Pickle Barrel in Vaughan Mills Mall.

I ordered Chicken Parmesan, which came with soup or salad.  The soup was creamy tomato and that's what I choose ... I'm not a big soup eater but it was good soup.  The chicken and pasta was good too ... the chicken was a bit burnt on the bottom so I scraped off the burnt part.  Everything arrived really hot.

Monday, 2 December 2019

St. Louis Bar and Grill, Vaughan, ON

I had an early lunch today at St. Louis Bar and Grill (Hwy 27/north of Hwy 7).  It's been a while since I've been to one.

I ordered what I always get at St. Louis ... a pound of plain wings (with mild sauce) and fries.  My server wasn't sure what "mild saucy" meant, which is what I ordered.  I wanted something fairly mild that wouldn't conflict with the dill dipping sauce. I discovered St. Louis over 20 years ago ... I used to go to the Yonge/Eglinton location often before they started franchising.  Though the wings were good, I find they aren't as good as they once were.

St. Louis Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato