Saturday 29 February 2020

Belgian Moon, Stackt Market, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I left the Toronto Wolfpack vs. St. Helens RFC viewing party at Northern Maverick Brewing Co., we walked to Stackt Market

Stackt Market is on a previously vacant 2.6-acre plot of city-owned land at Front Street and Bathurst Street and has a two-year lease on the land. It opened about a week and a half ago and businesses will fill about 120 containers offering various goods and services. More than one business can operate out of the same container, which range from 140 to 1800 square feet. The market offers leases to tenants ranging from as little as two days to 18 months.

The market was quiet and we went to Belgian Moon, a beer hall, which it was pretty crowded.

Viewing Party: Toronto Wolfpack vs. St. Helens RFC, Northern Maverick Brewing Co., Toronto, ON

Gord and I had lunch today at Northern Maverick Brewing Co. (on Bathurst Street just north of King Street W) ... they were hosting the viewing party of the Toronto Wolfpack vs. St. Helens RFC game in Warrington.  It was Round five of the 2020 Betfred Super League.  The Wolfpack was last in Super League with no wins or ties and four losses.

There was a good crowd.  The lower level holds about 200 people and it was fairly full with Wolfpack fans ... it's a good thing Gord made reservations!  There was a Wolfpack owner and execs in attendance.

Hailey, Lil, Sher and Brittany

13 ounce lagers were $5.

Friday 28 February 2020

Riverdance 25th Anniversary Show, Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto, ON

Tonight I saw Riverdance 25th Anniversary Show.

Riverdance as you’ve never seen it before! A powerful and stirring reinvention of this beloved favorite, celebrated the world over for its Grammy award-winning score and the thrilling energy and passion of its Irish and international dance. Twenty-five years on, composer Bill Whelan has rerecorded his mesmerizing soundtrack while producer Moya Doherty and director John McColgan have completely reimagined the ground-breaking show with innovative and spectacular lighting, projection, stage and costume designs. Immerse yourself in the extraordinary power and grace of its music and dance - beloved by fans of all ages. Fall in love with the magic of Riverdance all over again.

For over 25 years, nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance.

Riverdance began its journey as the interval act in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, produced for television by Moya Doherty. This electrifying and innovative seven minute dance piece was then developed into a full-length stage show by producer Moya Doherty, composer Bill Whelan and director John McColgan. With its fusion of Irish and international music and dance, the show broke all box office records during its world première run in Dublin in early 1995. When the show transferred to London the reaction was unprecedented. There followed a hugely successful tour starting in New York in March 1996, where 8 sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall heralded the start of two decades of touring by Riverdance companies throughout North America. Since its inception Riverdance has packed theatres throughout North America, Oceania, Asia, Europe, South Africa and South America.

It is at the Princess of Wales Theatre  from February 25 to March 1, 2020.  I've been wanting to see it for years.  I even bought tickets with my friend, Franca, to see it a few years ago but ended up having to head to New Brunswick for work (so she took a friend ... I'm glad my ticket was used).

I wasn't sure what to expect ... I assumed it would be a couple hours of Irish dancing and music, which would have been fine with me.  But that's not the case.  There was singing, dancing and instrumentals.  The singing and instrumentals were at times lively, which was fun, and mournful.  That dancing was fabulous!  The flamenco soloist (Rocio Montoya) was a surprise.  What stood out was the dance off between two tap dancers (Lamont Brown and Tyler Knowlin) and three Irish dancer in New York.  Wow!

I'm glad I finally got to see it!

Book ~ "Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me" (2019) Adrienne Brodeur

From Goodread ~ A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.

On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me.

Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life - and her mother - on her own terms.

Rennie (the author) was young when her parents divorced.  Malabar, her mother, met a rich older fella named Charles (real name was Harry Hornblower) and just before they were to be married, he had a stroke which pretty well paralyzed his right side.  Malabar married him out of obligation (how would it look if she broke it off with him?!) but enjoyed the wealth that came with him.  Rennie and her brother, Peter (whose real name is Stephen), were then raised in wealth.  Charles' longtime best friend was Ben (real name was William Brewster) and Ben's wife was Lily (real name was Lucile) and the two couples would hang out often together.  One night Ben kissed Malabar and so began their affair.

The night of the kiss, Malabar woke up her 14-year-old daughter in the middle of the night to tell her about it.  From then onwards, Rennie became her mother's confidante and would cover up for her mother so Malabar and Ben could get together.  Malabar and Ben were apparently in love but decided that they couldn't be together until their spouses had passed away.  Rennie found this noble and saw Malabar and Ben as the victims because they were stuck in marriages with frail spouses who they didn't want to hurt.  Really?!

Rennie ends up falling in love with Jack (real name is Chris), Ben and Lily's son, and they decided to get married.  Rennie still knows about Malabar and Ben but Jack doesn't.  When he finally finds out, it doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal.  Huh?!  Your mother-in-law has been screwing around with your father for all these years!

When Charles passes away, Malabar assumes she and Ben can finally be together.  But no!  Lily finds out about the affair and forbids them to ever see each other again.  About two seconds after Lily passes away, Ben is scampering over to Malabar's to pick up where they'd left off and a couple months later they get married.

What a story!  Ben and Malabar were especially unlikable.  Yes, Malabar had a crazy upbringing but instead of ensuring that her daughter would feel the love she didn't, she had more love for herself and it was all about Malabar.  Rennie kept over and over trying to earn her mother's love before finally realizing this.  What kind of a friend was Ben to have an affair with the wife of his best friend of many years ... right in front of Charles' and Lily's nose?!

I don't know why Rennie let herself get involved in the Malabar ~ Ben thing.  She acknowledged that she loved Charles so why would she enable him to get hurt?  Even at fourteen she should have had enough sense to not get involved in Malabar and Ben's schemes.  And she still got sucked in as she got older.

I thought it was odd that the author changed the names of everyone but her and her mom.  It was easy enough to Google "Malabar Brodeur" and find her because she had written some cookbooks.  From there, I found an obituary for "Ben" which gave their real names, a wedding announcement for Malabar and "Charles", a wedding announcement for Rennie and "Jack", and more.  Plus the author provides all the names in the acknowledgements at the end.  Why both changing the names in the body of the book?!

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Basic chunky knitted slippers

It's been years since I've knitted a pair of slippers and I did tonight.  I found the pattern here and it was quick and easy.

I used a bulky yarn (5) and a 6.5mm needle and made a large size slipper.

To fit lady’s shoe size 5/6 (7/8 - 9/10).

Finished Foot length
Small 5/6 - 9" (23 cm)
Medium 7/8 - 9½" (24 cm)
Large 9/10 - 10½" (26.5 cm)

Beg = Beginning
Inc = Increase 1 stitch by knitting into front and back of next stitch
K = Knit
K2tog = Knit next 2 stitches together
Rep = Repeat
Rem = Remaining
RS = Right side
St(s) = Stitch(es)
WS = Wrong side

Note: The instructions are written for smallest size. If changes are necessary for larger sizes the instructions will be written thus ( ).
  • Beg at back, cast on 2 sts.
  • 1st row: (RS). Knit.
  • 2nd row: Inc 1 st in first st. K1.
  • 3rd and 4th rows: Knit.
  • 5th row: Inc 1 st in first st. Knit to end of row.
  • Rep 3rd to 5th rows 4 times more. 8 sts.
  • Next 2 rows: Cast on 10 sts. Knit to end of row. 28 sts after 2nd row. Place marker on last st of last row.

Work in garter st (knit every row) until work from marked row, measures 4½" [11.5 cm]. Place second set of markers at each end of last row.

Knit for a further 3 (3½ - 4)" [7.5 (9 -10) cm] from 2nd set of markers, ending with a WS row.

Shape toe:
  • 1st row: K3. *K2tog. K3. Rep from * to end of row. 23 sts.
  • 2nd and 4th rows: Knit.
  • 3rd row: K3. *K2tog. K2. Rep from * to end of row. 18 sts.
  • 5th row: *K2tog. K1. Rep from * to end of row. 12 sts.
  • 6th row: (K2tog) 6 times. 6 sts.
  • Break yarn, leaving a long end. Thread end through rem sts and draw up firmly. Fasten securely. Using a flat seam, sew instep to 2nd set of markers.
  • Sew edges of back triangle to cast on sts of sides to form heel.
  • Sew a pompom to each slipper if desired.

Considering its been years and years since I've made a pair, I think they turned out okay.  Given the thickness of the yarn, I bet they'll be warm!

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Book ~ "Parking the Moose: One American's Epic Quest to Uncover His Incredible Canadian Roots" (2019) Dave Hill

From Goodreads ~ A quarter-Canadian from Cleveland explores his roots - and melts your face with joy.

There's an idea most Americans tend to learn as children. The idea that their country is the "best." But this never stuck with Dave Hill, even though he was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. His grandfather, you see, was from Canada (Clinton, Ontario, to be exact). And every Sunday at dinner he'd remind Dave and anyone else within earshot that it was, in fact, Canada, this magical and mysterious land just across the mighty Lake Erie, that was the "best."

It was an idea that took hold. While his peers kept busy with football, basketball and baseball, hockey became the only sport for Dave. Whenever bacon was served at home, he'd be sure to mention his preference for the Canadian variety. Likewise, if a song by Triumph came on the radio, he'd be the first to ask for it to be cranked up as loud as it would go. And he was more vocal about the vast merits of the Canadian healthcare system than any nine-year-old you'd ever want to meet. (That last part is a lie, but hopefully it makes the point that he was so into Canada that it was actually kind of weird.)

In later years, he even visited Canada a couple of times. But now, inspired by a publisher's payment of several hundred dollars (Canadian) in cash, he has travelled all over the country, reconnecting with his heritage in such places as Montreal, Moose Jaw, Regina, Winnipeg, Merrickville and of course Clinton, Ontario, meeting a range of Canadians, touching things he probably shouldn't and having adventures too numerous and rich in detail to be done justice in this blurb.

The result, he promises, is "the greatest Canada-based literary thrill ride of your lifetime."

Dave Hill is an American comedian, radio host, writer, musician and actor born in Cleveland, OH.  One of his grandfathers was from Clinton, ON, and every Sunday when Dave was a child, he'd remind everyone that Canada was the best.  As such, Dave grew up thinking the same way and loved everything Canadian from bacon to music to hockey and more.

After a while, Dave's Canadian roots could no longer be denied and his desire to connect to his Canadian heritage grew stronger.  So he decided to head to different places in Canada and write the definitive book on Canada by a non-Canadian.

Here are the places he visited and wrote about:
  1. Toronto, ON
  2. Clinton, ON (where his grandfather was from)
  3. Quebec City, QC
  4. Merrickville, ON
  5. Victoria, BC
  6. Winnipeg, MB
  7. Halifax, NS
  8. Montreal, QC
  9. St. John's, NF
  10. Moose Jaw and Regina, SK
  11. Calgary, AB

Most trips were made with his friends, girlfriend and podcast and/or social media fans.  In these places, he tried to experience life as the residents did ... plus feed his poutine addiction and buy local knickknacks and souvenirs.  I've been to many of the places Dave had visited so it was interesting to get his take on them.

To be honest, I'd never heard of Dave before I read this book.  I had come across a review somewhere for the book and it sounded interesting ... and it was and I enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style.  It was funny and I can imagine it is how Dave really is ... being sarcastic, telling stories and going off on tangents.

Sunday 23 February 2020

Dog & Bear Pub, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at the Dog & Bear (Queen W/Dovercourt), which is in our 'hood.

We split an order of wings (salt and pepper).  They were okay ... a bit overcooked.

We both ordered the D&B burger.  I got mine with no cheese, onions and lettuce and Gord got his without tomatoes.  It is quite the burger!  So delicious!

Maritime Ale House, Enfield, NS

Gord and I had lunch this morning at the Maritime Ale House at the Halifax Airport.

Gord ordered Seafood Pasta.  He said it was good and he'd get it again.  There was a lot of seafood.

I ordered pan fried haddock with crushed potatoes (and no veggies).  The potatoes were really good.  The fish was just okay ... I could taste more of the oil it was "pan fried" in than the fish.

Mary, our server, was friendly and took good care of us.

Maritime Ale House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hotel Halifax, Halifax, NS

Gord and I spent the last two nights in Halifax and our home away from home was Hotel Halifax on Barrington Street.

Here was the view from our room ...

Here was our room ...

The bed was soooo comfy!

Saturday 22 February 2020

Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, Halifax, NS

Sister Sarah, Joey, Gord and I had supper this evening at the Old Triangle (on Prince Street).

Before Sister Sarah and Joey got there, Michael Lloyd was singing ... and he was really good.

Garrison Brewing Co., Halifax, NS

It was fun to check out Garrison Brewing Co. this afternoon, which is down by the waterfront.

There were lots of beer on tap.  Their raspberry wheat beer was yummy (and I'm not a fan of wheat beer).

Red Stag Tavern, Halifax, NS

Gord and I had a late lunch today at the Red Stag Tavern (on Lower Water Street).  It is located next to the Alexander Keith's Brewery.  We'd just done the Alexander Keith's brewery tour, which included a coupon for a 4 ounce sample of beer at the Red Stag Tavern.

We split an order of nachos.  It was a big order and we didn't finish them.  They were good and cheesy and crunchy.  I'd get them again.

Red Stag Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato