Friday 31 January 2020

Toronto Rock 12, Halifax Thunderbirds 9, Scotiabank Arena, 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 seventh year going to the games and our sixth year having seasons tickets.

Tonight the Rock were hosting the Halifax Thunderbirds, a new team to the league.  Before tonight, the Thunderbirds were 6 - 0 and the Rock were 3 - 2.

We got there early enough to watch the Rock players warm up.

Here are Gord and I ...

The Silverthorn Collegiate Institute Choir sang the national anthem.

Thursday 30 January 2020

Book ~ "He Said, She Said: Lessons, Stories, and Mistakes from My Transgender Journey" (2019) Gigi Gorgeous

From Goodreads ~ Today, Gigi Gorgeous is beloved for her critically-acclaimed documentary, her outrageous sense of humor, her no-holds-barred honesty, and her glam Hollywood lifestyle. Ten years ago, she was a gawky Canadian teen named Gregory. In He Said, She Said, Gigi brings us on her personal journey from Gregory to Gigi, going deeper than ever before and exposing her vulnerability behind each struggle and triumph, with her signature humor on every page.

With stunning photography and heirloom snapshots, He Said, She Said takes us back to Gigi's early years as an Olympic-bound diver and high school mean girl, losing her mom at a tragically young age, and her journey of opening up about her sexuality and gender identity. She walks us through her transition, baring it all about dating and heartbreak in her stories of falling in love with both men and women.

Uproarious, unconventional, and unabashedly candid, Gigi shares never-before-heard stories, inspiration, and advice about how your life can take you to incredible places once you get real with yourself.

To be honest, I've never heard of Gigi Gorgeous.  Apparently she is a YouTuber, socialite, actress and model.  What attracted me to the book was that it was about a gay man in Toronto who became transgender who became a lesbian.  I thought that would be an interesting story ... and for the most part it was.

Gigi started in life as Gregory, the middle son of three, living in the Toronto area.  Even as a young boy, he was attracted to pretty girly things like make-up, nail polish, Barbie Dolls, etc.  As he grew older, he tried to figure out who he was and eventually made it happen.  Now she's living in Los Angeles and married to Nats Getty, a member of the famous Getty family who is apparently an American model, socialite, designer, artist and LGBTQ rights activist.

It was interesting reading about the transition of Gregory to Gigi.  It sounds like an expensive and painful process.  I found there were gaps in her story, though.  One minute he was a gay high school boy making and uploading videos onto YouTube and the next thing you know he had a manager and was being flown to New York and Los Angeles to attend and speak at fashion shows.  Huh?  As I said, I don't know who she is or her story (other than what I read in her book) so it would have been nice to get a little more information about how that happened.  And how did she get so famous?  It seems like she moved to Los Angeles and that's all it took.  I doubt it was that easy.  And what does she do on a day-to-day basis to support herself?  More time could have been spent there ... she's assuming everyone knows who she is.

Though I found her story interesting, I didn't find Gigi overly likeable.  I thought she was pretentious, superficial, materialistic and immature.  She's going to be 28 soon but writes and "talks" like a 15-year-old.  She does warn us in an early chapter about her vocabulary ... like "totes" instead of "totally" and "Hundo P" instead of "100%".  As a head's up, there is swearing, sexual activity and drug use.

There are lots of full colour pictures throughout the book from her childhood, her pre-Gigi period and how she is now.  There were three happy pictures with her and an old boyfriend, which was weird, since she describes their relationship as verbally abusive ... why would you include the pictures?!  There are many pages of her dressed in fashion and make-up.  It was kind of strange at one point when she is talking about the death of her mother from cancer and how devastated the family was ... and then in the middle of this are fashion pictures ... they might have rethought the placement.  At the end of the book are pictures of her friends and who they are in her life.

Round Knitted Dish Cloth

I finished knitting a round dish cloth last evening.  It was the first time I'd made a round one and it ended up a bit rough.

So I tried again this evening.  This one turned out better but still not perfect.

Cast on 16 stitches with cotton yarn.

Knit one row

You will make eight wedges.  Here's the pattern for each wedge:

Row 1: knit to last stitch (leave last stitch unworked), turn.

Row 2 and all even rows: knit.

Row 3: knit to last 2 stitches, turn.

Row 5: knit to last 3 stitches, turn.

Row 7: knit to last 4 stitches, turn.

Row 9: knit to last 5 stitches, turn.

Row 11: knit to last 6 stitches, turn.

Row 13: knit to last 7 stitches, turn.

Row 15: knit to last 8 stitches, turn.

Row 17: knit.

Row 18: knit (except on row 18 of the final/eighth wedge, which you’ll bind off instead).

Repeat rows 1 – 18 seven more times.

Finish with mattress stitch from outside of circle to inside. Cinch up the inner circle. Weave in ends.

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Round Knitted Dish Cloth

I finished knitting a round dish cloth this evening using cotton yarn.  It's the first time I've made a round one so it's a bit rough (the bottom looks a bit funky) but I found it fast and easy.  Hopefully it will turn out better next time.

Cast on 16 stitches.

Knit one row

You will make eight wedges.  Here's the pattern for each wedge:

Row 1: knit to last stitch (leave last stitch unworked), turn.

Row 2 and all even rows: knit.

Row 3: knit to last 2 stitches, turn.

Row 5: knit to last 3 stitches, turn.

Row 7: knit to last 4 stitches, turn.

Row 9: knit to last 5 stitches, turn.

Row 11: knit to last 6 stitches, turn.

Row 13: knit to last 7 stitches, turn.

Row 15: knit to last 8 stitches, turn.

Row 17: knit.

Row 18: knit (except on row 18 of the final/eighth wedge, which you’ll bind off instead).

Repeat rows 1 – 18 seven more times.

Finish with mattress stitch from outside of circle to inside. Cinch up the inner circle. Weave in ends.

Book ~ "The Ones We Trust" (2015) Kimberly Belle

From Goodreads ~ When former DC journalist Abigail Wolff attempts to rehabilitate her career, she finds herself at the heart of a US army cover-up involving the death of a soldier in Afghanistan - with unspeakable emotional consequences for one family. As the story of what happened comes to light, Abigail will do anything to write it.

The more evidence she stumbles upon in the case, the fewer people it seems she can trust, including her own father, a retired army general. And she certainly never expected to fall in love with the slain soldier's brother, Gabe, a bitter man struggling to hold his family together. The investigation eventually leads her to an impossible choice, one of unrelenting sacrifice to protect those she loves.

Beyond the buried truths and betrayals, questions of family loyalty and redemption, Abigail's search is, most of all, a desperate grasp at carrying on and coping - and seeking hope in the impossible.

Abigail is a former journalist who walked away from a successful career to write for a safer venue.  She had exposed a story about an affair between Maria and her female boss (with Maria's help), which led the boss to commit suicide.  Abigail felt guilty about the woman's death and never wanted to cause this to happen again.

One day a package of confidential classified information is left on Abigail's doorstep about the death of Zack, a soldier who had been recently killed in Afghanistan.  Though hailed as a hero, there seems to be more to the story and his family is taking on the American government to find out what really happened.  Driven to find out the truth, Abigail, whose father is a retired general in the army and may have been involved in a cover-up, starts investigating to find out the truth.  She gets to know Zack's mother and works closely with Gabe, Zack's brother, evenly getting into a relationship with him.

In the meantime, the young son of the woman who had committed suicide comes to Abigail.  It seems this wasn't the first time Maria had had affairs with people who would rather not have this information exposed and Abigail starts digging to find out what's going on with Maria.

I've read other books by this author and I thought this one was okay.  It is written in first person perspective in Abigail's voice.  I thought the storylines were interesting but I found the Zack storyline a bit confusing and convoluted at times.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Uterine (endometrial) cancer

The week before Christmas I learned I had cancer in my uterus.

I'd had a couple funky ultrasounds (there was "debris" found).  In November, I had a procedure with a gyno at St. Michael's Hospital where a camera was inserted inside me to see what what going on and a sample was taken.  That's how they found out I had cancer.  Needless to say, it was not the news I was expecting.

Signs and symptoms may include:
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause - this happened to me once a year, hence the ultrasounds
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic pain 

Doctors don't know what causes endometrial cancer.  What's known is that something occurs to create changes (mutations) in the DNA of cells in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).  The mutation turns normal, healthy cells into abnormal cells.  Healthy cells grow and multiply at a set rate, eventually dying at a set time.  Abnormal cells grow and multiply out of control and they don't die at a set time.  The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor).  Cancer cells invade nearby tissues and can separate from an initial tumor to spread elsewhere in the body (metastasize).

Factors that increase the risk of endometrial cancer include:
  • Changes in the balance of female hormones in the body ~ The ovaries make two main female hormones - estrogen and progesterone. Fluctuations in the balance of these hormones cause changes in the endometrium.
  • More years of menstruation ~ Starting menstruation at an early age - before age 12 - or beginning menopause later increases the risk of endometrial cancer. The more periods you've had, the more exposure your endometrium has had to estrogen. 
  • Never having been pregnant ~ If you've never been pregnant, you have a higher risk of endometrial cancer than someone who has had at least one pregnancy.   I've never been pregnant.
  • Older age ~ As you get older, your risk of endometrial cancer increases. Endometrial cancer occurs most often after menopause.  I'm on the other side of menopause.
  • Obesity ~ Being obese increases your risk of endometrial cancer. This may occur because excess body fat alters your body's balance of hormones.  Weight loss is a constant battle for me.
  • Hormone therapy for breast cancer ~ Taking the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen for breast cancer can increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
  • An inherited colon cancer syndrome ~ Lynch syndrome, also called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), is a syndrome that increases the risk of colon cancer and other cancers, including endometrial cancer. Lynch syndrome is caused by a gene mutation passed from parents to children. 

To reduce your risk of endometrial cancer, you may wish to:
  • Talk to your doctor about the risks of hormone therapy after menopause ~ If you're considering hormone replacement therapy to help control menopause symptoms, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. Unless you've undergone a hysterectomy, replacing estrogen alone after menopause may increase your risk of endometrial cancer. Taking a combination of estrogen and progestin can reduce this risk.  I was on HRT for about eight years but went off it when I turned 50 because my doctor told me that there is a risk of getting breast cancer if you stay on it after 50.
  • Consider taking birth control pills ~ Using oral contraceptives for at least one year may reduce endometrial cancer risk. The risk reduction is thought to last for several years after you stop taking oral contraceptives.
  • Maintain a healthy weight ~ Obesity increases the risk of endometrial cancer so work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Source:  Mayo Clinic

My gyno scheduled me for a total hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries).

That happened yesterday.  I had to be at St. Michael's Hospital at 6am to get prepped.  The surgery started at 8am and lasted three hours.  There are four small incisions (maybe an inch long) in my belly ... one on the right side, one in my belly button and two on the left side.  I spent about two hours in recovery before being moved to my room, where I spent the night.

During the night, I was woken up every two hours by nurses to check my blood pressure, my temperature and take blood (to see if I would need a blood transfusion ... I didn't).

I was released this morning.  I had to fill a bunch of prescriptions at the pharmacy ... extra strength Tylenol and morphine for when I'm in pain (so far, I'm not) and Dalteparin syringes (I have to use for a month to prevent blood clots).

No heavy lifting, pools, baths, etc. for six weeks.  I'm working from home for the next three weeks and have had any meetings and work travel I'd had scheduled covered and/or postponed.  I go back to see my gyno in six weeks.

Thank you to Dr. Shore and her surgical team and the staff on the 15th floor at St. Mike's for taking such good care of me!

Sunday 26 January 2020

Knitted dish cloth

I finished knitting a dish cloth this afternoon using cotton yarn.

Cast on 31 stitches

Rows 1 to 5: knit

Row 6: k2, purl to last two stitches, k2

Row 7: knit

Row 8: k2, p2 *k1, p1; repeat from * to last 5 stitches; k1, p2, k2

Row 9: k4, *k1, p1; repeat from * to last 5 stitches; k5

Row 10: k2, p2 *k1, p1; repeat from * to last 5 stitches; k1, p2, k2

Repeat rows 9 and 10 until desired length. Your last row should be a repetition of row 9.

You should be starting on the “wrong side” of work.  K2, purl up to last 2 stitches; k2

Knit the next 5 rows.

Bind off all stitches in knit. Weave in loose ends.

Thursday 23 January 2020

Book ~ "Citizen Canine: Dogs in the Movies" (2020) Wendy Mitchell

From Goodreads ~ This charming and adorable collection of the best cinematic dogs is sure to delight dog lovers and movie-goers alike. 

The Citizen Canine pack includes sixty of the bravest, cutest, and furriest pooches ever to grace the silver screen. From top-billed hounds like Lassie and Benji to comedic scene-stealers like Asta from "Bringing Up Baby" and Puffy from "There's Something About Mary", all your favorite furry friends are here. 

Whether you have a canine companion or just wish you did, "Citizen Canine" is your perfect guide to dogs, movies, and the magical moments when they come together.

If you like dogs and movies (and dogs in movies!), you'll like this book.

This book celebrates a diverse range of canine acting over the last 100 years ... the talented pooches, the caring and dedicated trainers who bring out the best in them and the actors and directors who find the best way to work with their canine co-stars on set.

The first dog is Mut, a mixed breed who played Scraps in A Dog's Life in 1918 with Charlie Chaplin.  The last dog is Harley, a pug who played Patrick in Patrick in 2018.  Others include Toto (The Wizard of Oz [1939]) Lassie (Lassie Come Home [1943]), Yeller (Old Yeller [1957]), Old Dan and Little Ann (Where the Red Fern Grows [1974]), Benji (Benji [1974]), Hooch (Turner & Hooch [1989]), Puffy (There's Something About Mary [1998]), Bruiser (Legally Blonde 2 [2003]), Bonny (Seven Psychopaths [2012]) and more!  Most of the movies I've heard of ... some I haven't, even more recent ones.

There are two pages devoted to each movie.  One page has pictures and the other gives a brief description of the movie, the dog(s) involved and their stories along with a couple quick facts on the bottom.

Freezerland NFLD INC., Brampton, ON

I came across Freezerland NFLD INC. on Instagram and have been following them for a while.  I had a seminar to conduct in Brampton today, not far from Freezerland, so stopped in on my way home (they are in a plaza on Strathearn Avenue).

They carry Newfoundland specialty products ... and I'm from the east coast ... so I was curious to see what they had.  They carry food, clothing, books, music, knickknacks and more!  As soon as I walked in, I could smell fish cakes cooking.

Topbox - January 2020

My January Topbox arrived yesterday.

Get 4 hand-picked deluxe samples delivered to your door for $15 per month. It's the best way to discover the products you'll love.

Here's what I received ...

Total value = $57.14

Ipsy Glam Bag - January 2020

My January Ipsy Glam Bag arrived yesterday.
  • $12 a Glam Bag ($223CN for a year)
  • 5 beauty products worth $50+ (the average Glam Bag value in 2019)
  • Glam Bags are available in the U.S., U.S. Territories, & Canada. U.S. shipping is free. Taxes will apply to all bag orders shipped within the U.S. Canadian shipping is $2.95.

Here's what I received ...

  • Make-up bag
  • CIATÉ LONDON Glow To Illuminating Blush (Date Night) - $16.25 value
  • PURLISSE Blue Lotus 4~in~1 Cleansing Milk - $2.50 value
  • AHAVA Dead Sea Water Mineral Hand Cream (Sea Kissed) - $7.60 value
  • ARACELI BEAUTY Ojos Perfectos Liquid Eyeliner (Coffee/Café) - $16 value
  • REALHER Eyeshadow (Victorious) - $3.11

  • Total value (excluding the bag) - $45.46US

    Wednesday 22 January 2020

    Book ~ "Woman on the Edge" (2019) Samantha M. Bailey

    From Goodreads ~ A moment on the platform changes two lives forever. But nothing is as it seems ...

    "Take my baby."

    In a split second, Morgan's life changes forever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

    Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can't understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

    When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

    To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman's life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

    Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

    Or was something much darker going on?

    Morgan is recovering from a tragedy.  Her husband had cheated many people out of money and then committed suicide when he was caught.  Everyone assumes Morgan knew what her husband was doing and was in on it.  She is trying to rebuild her life.

    Morgan is waiting for a subway one day when a woman approaches her, gives her her baby and asks her (by name) to take care of her ... then she jumps in front of a subway train.  The police officer who investigated Morgan's husband's death thinks she is involved and makes that obvious.

    It turns out that the woman who gave Morgan her baby is Nicole, a wealthy former business owner who had just given birth to her daughter.  To clear her name, Morgan needs to find out more about Nicole and why she was chosen to have her baby.  She gets to know Nicole's brother, Ben, and best friend, Tessa, and discovers that Nicole was being terrorized by a woman from her past.

    The premise of this book sounded interesting.  I thought the writing was okay.  The chapters alternate between the present time with Morgan and the past (a couple months ago) with Nicole.  The chapters with Morgan are written in first person perspective in Morgan's voice and third person perspective when it's Nicole's chapters.

    I found Nicole's storyline was a bit extreme ... she was a strong powerful woman who had started a successful business, which she had sold for a lot of money.  After the birth of her daughter, she was a mess ... I found it hard to believe that she was the same person.  And with all the money she would have made from selling her business, I don't know why she was so concerned about having to return to the business after her maternity leave.  Why didn't she just stay home as a mom and live off her wealth?

    Hôtel Nelligan, Montreal, QC

    The company I work for had their sales conference the last two days in Montreal.  I spent the last two nights at the Hôtel Nelligan in old Montreal.

    Here's my room ... it was huge!

    Tuesday 21 January 2020

    Taverne Gaspar, Montreal, QC

    This evening I had supper at Taverne Gaspar in old Montreal.  I'm in Montreal for our company's sales conference and this is where our supper was.

    Warm rolls were placed on our tables ... they were good!

    I started with a tomato and red pepper soup.  I'm not big on soups but this was good, though it could have been hotter.

    I ordered steak and fries.  The steak was on the rare side so I asked them to cook it a bit more.  It was really tender.

    Monday 20 January 2020

    Wolf & Workman, Montreal, QC

    I had supper this evening with my friend and colleague, Trudy, this evening at Wolf & Workman in old Montreal.

    The burger was one of the specials so we both ordered it.  It was a good burger, flavourful and juicy.  The bottom bun, though, could have been sturdier, though.  It was a bit on the thin side and really moist from the burger.  There were lots of fries and we both left plenty.  I'd get this again.

    Sunday 19 January 2020

    Open Cribbage Tournament, Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 31 Mount Dennis, Toronto, ON

    Gord and I enjoy playing cribbage.  The Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 31 Mount Dennis has cribbage tournaments about every three months.  We went to the four they held last year.

    The rules, crib board and cards are on every table.

    There were 54 teams today (27 tables).