Monday 31 August 2020

Knitted Temperature Blanket - August 2020

I heard about temperature blankets at the end of last year.  I've never made one before and it sounded like a fun long term project.

The idea of a temperature blanket is to knit or crochet a row (or a number of rows) on a blanket each day for a full calendar year.  The colors used each day correspond with the temperature outside.  The more colours you use to represent temperatures and the more varied the temperatures, the more colourful the blanket.

To be consistent, I chose to use the temperature at noon.  I debated whether to use Toronto's temperatures (regardless of where I am) or the temperatures of where I am (so it's a Teena ~ temperature blanket).  I decided to make a Teena ~ temperature blanket.  In theory, it would have been interesting to see how it turned out as I traveled often for work plus went on vacation during the year but with COVID, I haven't done as much travelling as I usually would in a year.

I'm using nine colours from Red Heart Comfort and Bernat Cozy Style yarn.
  • Blue:  -6C or colder
  • Green:  -1C to -5C
  • Light purple:  0C to 4C
  • Teal:  5C to 9C
  • Red:  10C to 14C
  • Dark purple:  15C to 19C
  • Yellow:  20C to 24C
  • Orange:  25C and higher
  • Grey:  first and last rows and divider rows between the months

So far, the warmest temperature (orange) was 35C in Toronto on July 2 and the coldest (blue) was -10C in Toronto (blue) on February 14.  In hindsight, I wish I had added another colour from 30C and higher ... who knew July would be the hottest in 86+ years and every day but one in July would be 30C and over?!  I thought about undoing the blanket to add a different colour from 30C onwards but that mean I'd have to undo about 40 rows to go back to the first 30C row.  Um ... no.

I cast on 200 stitches.  The first and last five stitches of each row are seed stitches (knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one, knit one).  In between, I'm doing stocking stitch (knitting the odd rows and purling the even rows).  I added two rows of seed stitch at the beginning of the blanket to stop it from curling (stocking stitch does that and I hadn't thought of that when I started).


Warmest in August:  32C (orange) in Toronto on August 10 and 24
Coldest in August:  20C (yellow) in Toronto on August 26


Warmest in July:  35C (orange) in Toronto on July 2
Coldest in July:  24C (yellow) in Toronto on July 13


Southside Johnny's, Etobicoke, ON

After our walk today at Marie Curtis Park, Gord and I had a late lunch at Southside Johnny's (Lakeshore Boulevard W/Thirty-Sixth Street).

It was such a nice day so we initially sat on the patio.

After our walk, my cold Keith's tasted good!

But once our food arrived, the wasps invaded so we reluctantly moved inside (as did others).

We both ordered wings.  I got mine with medium sauce and fries.  It was a good meal and I'd get it again.

Gord ordered his with lemon pepper and a side salad.  He said his was really good too and he'd get it again.  I'm not a big fan of salads but his looked good!

Yasmin was our server.  It was fairly busy so she was hopping!

Marie Curtis Park, Etobicoke, ON

It was such a nice day (sunny and 24C) so Gord and I drove to Marie Curtis Park this morning to go for a walk.  It's about a 20 minute drive west of us and is a park we've never been to.

Marie Curtis Park is named after the Longbranch Reeve (a small village) Mayor Marie Curtis and is one of the few beaches in North America named after a female community leader. This park was created in the late 1950s to help control flooding after Hurricane Hazel nearly swept local homes in the area out into Lake Ontario. Throughout this park, you can find an abundance of wildlife and native plants. There is a playground, wading pool, a public swimming beach, picnic spots and walking trails including a connection to the Waterfront Trail. You will always find something to do at Marie Curtis Park.

This was a nice spot we parked near so we sat for a bit and watched the birds.

A young girl and her grandparents arrived with bread and it didn't take long for all the birds to come over.

Happy 18th anniversary, Sister Sarah and Joey

Sister Sarah and Joey got married 18 years ago today ... in a lovely park in Halifax, NS!

Friday 28 August 2020

Book ~ "All We Knew But Couldn't Say" (2019) Joanne Vannicola

From Goodreads ~ After Joanne is pressured to leave home at fourteen, encouraged by her mother to seek out an acting career, she finds herself in a strange city, struggling to cope with her memories and fears. She makes the decision to cut her mother out of her life and over the next several years goes on to create a body of work as a successful television and film actor. Then, after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.

Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award-winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a testament to survival, love, and Joanne’s fundamental belief that it is possible to love the broken and to love fully, even with a broken heart. 

Joanne Vannicola is a Canadian actress and, to be honest, I've never hear of her.  I read it because I saw actor Colin Mochrie recommended it on Twitter.  It sounded like an interesting story ... and it was.

This is Joanne's story.  She was the youngest of four children living in Montreal in the 1960s.  Their Italian father was abusive ... their mother would tell him that the children had done something and he would beat them to punish them, which excited their mother.  Their mother, who had a crazy abusive childhood herself, was extremely obese and lived vicariously through Joanne, encouraging her to take dancing and acting lessons.  Unfortunately she also sexually molested Joanne when she was young.  One by one, Joanne's older sisters were kicked out of the household.  When Joanne was 15, her mother sent her to Toronto to go to acting school.  Left on her own at such a young age, Joanne had to fend for herself and figure things out.

I like reading bios/auto bios.  Joanne went through a lot in her childhood with her abusive parents and then was left to deal with it and sort it out on her own as a teenager.  It sounds like she has come out on the other side knowing who she is and being comfortable with that.  The book ends in 2002 when the children gathered in Toronto to be with their mother when she died ... I wouldn't have been there if I'd had the childhoods they did.

Thursday 27 August 2020

Ipsy Glam Bag - August 2020

My August Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today.
  • $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 ...

Total value (excluding the bag) - $57.02US

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Book ~ "28 Summers" (2020) Elin Hilderbrand

From Goodreads ~ When Mallory Blessing's son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he's not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It's the late spring of 2020 and Jake's wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt and she agrees to host her brother's bachelor party. Cooper's friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere - through marriage, children, and Ursula's stratospheric political rise - until Mallory learns she's dying.

Based on the classic film "Same Time Next Year" (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), "28 Summers" explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

It's 1993 and 24-year-old Mallory inherits a cottage she loves on Nantucket Island and some money from an aunt and moves there from New York City where she was going nowhere.  Her brother, Cooper is getting married that fall so he invites himself and Jake and Fray, two buddies, to the cottage for Labour Day weekend for a bachelor to celebrate.  Mallory knows Jake and Fray and is okay with that.  In fact, she's always had a crush on Jake.  Cooper and Fray end up bailing during the weekend so that leaves Jake and Mallory alone.  Jake has been on-again-off-again with Ursula since high school and this is during one of their off-agains.  Mallory doesn't want to have a long distance relationship so doesn't want to commit to Jake but they do promise that they'll get together at the cottage every Labour Day weekend ... and there will be no contact during the year.  When he gets back home, he and Ursula get back together and eventually marry and have a child.  Mallory and Jake continue to have their secret long weekend every year ... and this goes on until the summer of 2019.

I didn't like this story.  I found it hard to believe that Mallory and Jake were apparently so in love yet neither loved each other enough to compromise so they could be together.  Mallory wouldn't tolerate a long distance relationship or leave her beloved cottage.  Jake stayed with Ursula because of some weird loyalty to her because she was nice to his twin sister who passed away when they were 13.  It was unrealistic that he would stay with her when she was always so nasty and focused on her career.  Mallory did date over the years and even got pregnant and had a son.  She had some great prospects but she always kicked them to the curb because they couldn't measure up to her love of Jake.  At one point, a good friend and co-worker is getting married over Labour Day weekend and Mallory pathetically tries to get out of it because it's cutting into her weekend with Jake.  Really?

Cooper wasn't that much of a prize.  He got married four (or maybe five?) times to poor choices and the first weddings were an excuse for the author to bring Mallory and Jake together when they couldn't be together (Ursula was always there).  Leland was Mallory's best friend since school but treated Mallory like crap ... and Mallory put up with it.

I was okay with the writing style.  It seemed to be in a conversational manner, like we were being told the story.  The book is over 400 pages, though, and a lot of the useless information and asides could have been cut out as it seemed to drag at times.  It is written in third person perspective with the focus on the different characters including Mallory, Jake, Cooper, Leland and others.

No happy ending, either.  The book starts in present day with Mallory on her death bed with cancer.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Book ~ "Second-Chance Cats: True Stories of the Cats We Rescue and the Cats Who Rescue Us" (2020) Callie Smith Grant

From Goodreads ~ There's no feeling quite like that of getting a second chance and a fresh start. When we adopt a homeless cat - or that cat decides to adopt us - we're not just giving one of earth's most beautiful and inscrutable creatures a chance at a good life, we're giving ourselves the gift of companionship, solace, and love. And plenty of laughter too! 

This heartwarming collection includes more than 30 true, contemporary stories told by a variety of writers. Each feel-good story involves cat rescue, some in a typical way and others in surprising - even miraculous - ways. Sometimes the question becomes: Really, who rescued whom?

I love reading stories about animals.  We have two cats we got from a rescue (and I volunteer for that rescue) so this book caught my eye.

This book has 33 short stories about people who have rescued cats (and have kept them or found homes for them) or have been rescued by cats (the cats came along when they were needed).  It's a quick read and most of the stories were cute and heartwarming.

I was surprised, though, at the amount of people in the stories who let their cats outside.  I live on a busy street and our cats are never allowed outside.  They are happy with their inside world.  And I wasn't crazy reading about some parents who begrudgingly let their child/children keep a cat but it had to live outside or in a garage/shed.

The Last Resort, Toronto, ON

The Last Resort is a patio on what used to be an old garage on Ossington (north of Argyle) and it opened a couple weeks ago.  One side is Dynasty, a plant shop, and the other is taco bar/patio.  We had to sign in to sit on the patio.

You walk up to the bar and order/pay for drinks and/or food and they are brought to your table.  I ordered the "Sloosh du Jour", which was a Sicilian (orange juice, gin and Campari).  I didn't feel like a beer or wine and asked for something sweet and that's what was suggested.  It was okay ... more bitter than sweet.

Gord ordered cerviche (it's made with shrimp and scallops) and he said it was good.

The Painted Lady, Toronto, ON

The City has allowed The Painted Lady (on Ossington Avenue, at Dundas Street W) to expand their patio onto the street and we sat at a table on the patio.  We had to sign in when we arrived.

Maria, our server, made the Trashy Sangria sounds like fun ... and it was!  It's not fancy or stylish but it was refreshing, especially considering how hot it was outside.  Yum!

 Maria was really friendly and chatty and took good care of us.

Venice Beach Bar, Toronto, ON

The Venice Beach Bar recently opened in an empty lot on Dundas Street W, just east of Dovercourt Road.  It's a pop-up that is open from Wednesday to Sunday for the summer.

When we arrived, we had to sign in and the hostess took our temperatures.

You can order food (sandwiches, corn on the cob, etc.) and drinks.  I ordered a Piña Colada and it was okay.  It was nice to sit outside and have a drink.

Our server, though, didn't seem to want to be there ... she seemed disinterested and wasn't very friendly.  Given the nature of the business, she wasn't very welcoming.

Dog & Bear Pub, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had lunch this afternoon at the Dog & Bear (Queen W/Dovercourt), which is in our 'hood.  We had to sign in when we arrived.

The City has let them build a patio onto the street and we sat at one of the picnic tables.

It was a hot sunny day and, though I sat under an umbrella, my cold beer tasted good!

I was hungry so ordered the D&B burger with no cheese, onions and lettuce and fries.  It was a good messy burger.  The fries were tasty too.

Gord ordered wings (with pepper and salt) and onion rings.  He said they were really good.

Saturday 22 August 2020

Knitted mittens

I made a pair mittens last night.  It's been a while since I've made basic mittens.

I used the fushcia and teal in Caron Chunky Cakes Striped Yarn (Rainbow Jellies) and 5.5mm and 6mm double pointed needles.  They are thick and will be warm (the yarn is "chunky").

I based the mittens on this pattern but changed some things.

SIZES - To fit 2/4 yrs (8/10 yrs - adult)

With the smaller double pointed needles and Colour A, cast on 20 (26-30) sts. Divide sts onto 3 needles 7, 7, 6 (9, 9, 8-10, 10, 10). Join in round. 1st round: *K1. P1. Rep from * around. Repeat this round of (K1. P1) ribbing for 1½ (2½-2½)" [4 (5.5-5.5) cm]. Break Colour A.

With Colour B and larger needles, knit 2 (4-6) rounds.

Shape thumb gusset
  • 1st round: K10 (13-15). (Kfb) twice. Knit to end of round. 22 (28-32) sts. 
  • 2nd and alternate rounds: Knit. 
  • 3rd round: K10 (13-15). Kfb. K2. Kfb. Knit to end of round. 24 (30-34) sts. 
  • Sizes 8/10 and adult only: 5th round: K(13-15). Kfb. K4. Kfb. 
  • Knit to end of round. (32-36) sts. 
  • 6th round: Knit.
  • Size adult only: 7th round: K15. Kfb. K6. Kfb. Knit to end of round. 38 sts. 
  • 8th round: Knit.
  • All sizes: Next round: K16 (21- 25). Slip last 6 (8-10) sts onto holder (thumb opening). Knit to end of round. 

I reduced the thumb gusset by two stitches because I found the thumb was too fat.

Mitten body
  • Cast on 2 sts over slipped sts. 20 (26-30) sts. 
  • Knit in rounds until work after ribbing measures 3½ (5-6)" [9 (12.5-15) cm].
  • Rearrange sts as follows: 10 (13- 15) sts on 1st needle. 5 (6-7) sts on 2nd needle and 5 (7-8) sts on 3rd needle.

Shape top
  • 1st round: 1st needle: K1. ssk. Knit to last 3 sts. K2tog. K1. 2nd needle: K1. ssk. Knit to end of needle. 3rd needle: Knit to last 3 sts. K2tog. K1. 
  • 2nd round: Knit. 
  • Rep last 2 round until 8 (10-10) sts rem. Break yarn, leaving a long end. 
  • Thread end through remainder 8 (10- 10) sts. 
  • Draw up and fasten securely. 

I shaped the top as per these instructions but I didn't like the look of it.  So instead I *K2 sts together, k2 sts* (repeat) for a row. Knit two rows. *K2 sts together, k1 sts* (repeat) for a row. Knit a row. *K2 sts together* (repeat) for a row.  Thread end through remainding sts.

  • K6 (8-10) from holder. 
  • Pick up and knit 2 sts at base of thumb. Divide these 8 (10- 12) sts onto 3 needles. Join in rnd. 
  • Knit 6 (8-10) rnds even. 
  • Next round: (K2tog) 4 (5-6) times. 
  • Break yarn leaving a long end. Thread end through remaining 4 (5-6) sts. 
  • Draw up and fasten securely.

I picked up and knitted 4 stitches in the second step and then reduced them down to two stitches by knitting two together because I found that just picking up and knitting 2 stitches left big holes.  By picking up and knitting four stitches, there was no hole and by reducing them down to two stitches didn't make the thumb too fat.

Thursday 20 August 2020

Book ~ "The Secret of Bones" (2020) Kylie Logan

From Goodreads ~ Assembly Day at St. Catherine's dawns bright and cloudless as professional woman gather from all around Ohio to talk to the schoolgirls about their careers in medicine, at NASA, and as yoga instructors. Administrative assistant Jazz Ramsey is involved herself, giving the girls a taste of her lifelong passion: cadaver dog training. Her adorable new puppy Wally hasn't been certified yet so she borrows the fully-trained Gus from a friend and hides a few bones in the unused fourth floor of the school for him to find.

The girls are impressed when Gus easily finds the first bone but for the second Gus seems to have lost the scent and heads confidently to a part of the floor where Jazz is sure no bones are hidden - at least not any that she's put there. But Gus is a professional, and sure enough, behind a door that shouldn't have been opened in decades, is a human skeleton.

Jazz recognizes the skeleton as Bernadette Quinn, an ex-teacher at the school who'd never returned after one Christmas break, though letters and postcards from her had seemed to indicate there was no cause for worry. But now it seems Bernadette never left the school at all and her hiding place makes it clear: this was murder.

Bernadette's strident personality means there are a plethora of suspects inside the school and out of it, and as Jazz gets closer to the truth she can't help but wonder if someone might be dogging her footsteps.

Jazz works as the admin assistant at a small Catholic all-girls school in Cleveland.  On the side, she trains cadaver dogs.  She is showing some of the students how cadaver dogs find dead bodies and instead of finding the bone that Jazz has hidden, Gus, the cadaver dog, finds a skeleton in a room that supposedly hasn't been used in years.  It turns out that it's Bernadette, a teacher who had resigned three years ago just before Christmas.  Bernadette was an oddball who was teased and tormented by students, didn't socialize with the other teachers and was in the process of being let go from her teaching position when she "resigned".

This the second book (and latest) in the Jazz Ramsey Series by this author (I read the first one a couple months ago).  It works as a stand alone as there is enough information provided.  I liked the writing style and thought the story was interesting ... there's a surprise twist at the end.  It is written in third person perspective with the focus on Jazz.  Except in the beginning and Jazz walking her puppy, Wally, dogs don't have a big part in this book.

Monday 17 August 2020

Topbox - August 2020

My August Topbox arrived today.

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 ...

  • MaskerAide Matcha Detoxifying Clay Mask - $8 value 
  • Pretty Woman Nail Polish "You Can't Sit With Us" - $7.99 value
  • Alterna Cavier Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo - $4.24 value - I like it.
  • Alterna Cavier Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Conditioner - $4.24 value - I liked it
  • Estate dew me | baked highlighter in pearl - $10 value

  • Total value = $34.47