Saturday, 26 September 2020

Bar Wellington, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had a late lunch this afternoon at Bar Wellington (Portland/Wellington).

We sat on the patio.

I ordered what I always get there ... Baked Chorizo Mac & Cheese and it was sooooooo good.

Gord ordered wings with salt and pepper and a side salad with no tomatoes.  His salad came with cherry tomatoes ... I love tomatoes so I ate them.  His wings arrived with BBQ sauce so he sent them back for what he ordered.  When they arrived, he said they were excellent.

Dog Fountain, Berczy Park, Toronto, ON

Gord and I walked to the dog fountain in Berczy Park (near Wellington Street and Front Street) this afternoon to check out the fountain ... it's been in the park since 2017.

It's a cool fountain! It is a large, two-tier fountain with life-size cast-iron statues of 27 dogs and a cat. The dogs are all looking up towards a large bone perched on the fountain's peak. The cat is looking north at statues of two small birds perched on the arm of a lamppost about three metres away from the fountain. The fountain also includes a ground level trough to provide drinking water for real dogs. Each of the dog statues contribute to the fountain function by each sprouting water upwards from their mouths.

Alas, the water wasn't running but there were dogs wearing masks.

TORONTO sign, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON

This month, a new 3D TORONTO sign was installed at Nathan Phillips Square ... and Gord and I walked to it this afternoon to check it out.

A more durable replica of the original (installed in July 2015 for the Toronto 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games), the sign is illuminated, stands 10-feet tall and features a designed vinyl wrap on the outer edges of the of its letters.

The current vinyl wrap is an artwork titled Patterns of the People, designed by Toronto artist Danilo Deluxo McCallum Opens to honour the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent Opens in new window (IDPAD). The artwork is part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Book ~ "Dance with the Devil: A Memoir of Murder and Loss" (2015) David Bagby

From Goodreads ~ In November 2001, the bullet-riddled body of a young doctor named Andrew Bagby was discovered in Keystone State Park outside Latrobe, Pennsylvania. For parents Dave and Kate, the pain was unbearable - but Andrew's murder was only the beginning of the tragedy they endured. 

The chief suspect for Andrew's murder was his ex-girlfriend Shirley Turner. Obsessive and unstable, Shirley lied to police and fled to Newfoundland before she could be arrested. While fending off extradition efforts by U.S. law enforcement, she announced she was pregnant with Andrew's son, Zachary. 

Hoping to gain custody of the child, the Bagbys moved to Newfoundland. They began a drawn-out court battle to protect their grandson from the woman who had almost certainly murdered their son. Then, in August 2003, Shirley killed herself and the one-year-old Zachary by jumping into the Atlantic Ocean.

Andrew Bagby was an American who went to medical school in St. John's, Newfoundland, in the late 1990s.  There he met an older woman named Shirley Turner, who was a doctor, who was from Newfoundland.  She came from a broken home, had been married twice and had three children with the two husbands (the children lived with their fathers).  She had a history of violence and instability.  Andrew and Shirley started dating on and off for a couple of years.

Andrew was found dead on November 5, 2001, in a state park in Pennsylvania where he was a resident at a local hospital.  He had been shot five times and the number one suspect was Shirley, his then ex-girlfriend, who was practicing in Iowa.

Shortly after Andrew's death, on the advice of a lawyer, Shirley returned home to St. John's.  The Pennsylvania police wanted her back in the States to face murder charges but she refused to go so the extradition to the U.S. process began.  Andrew's parents, David and Kate, were living in California and flew to St. John's for the hearings.  It turned out that Shirley was pregnant and gave birth to her and Andrew's son, Zachary, in July 2002.

The Bagbys put their lives on hold and moved to St. John's.  If Shirley ended up in jail and prison, they wanted to establish a relationship with Zachary and be able to raise him since he was their grandson.  They had to fight for visitation.

On August 18, 2003, Shirley drugged Zachary and then jumped into the Atlantic Ocean with him trapped to her.  It was ruled a murder-suicide.

David wrote this book to tell the story. He and Kate feel they were failed by the legal system that let Shirley out on bail and allowed her to retain custody of Zachary.  After Shirley and Zachary's death, they began a quest to have Canada’s bail laws changed.  Bill C-464 or "Zachary's Bill" was introduced which would change the Criminal Code of Canada to allow the courts to justify their refusing bail to those accused of serious crimes in the name of protecting their children.  It received support and was signed into law on December 16, 2010.

I don't remember this happening at the time and I'm not sure where I came across this book but it was an interesting story.  It was dry at times but the love for Andrew and Zachary, their frustration and fight of David and Kate came through.

I read an e-version of the book and there were no pictures.

KC's tree, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

I went for a walk this afternoon to Trinity Bellwoods Park to check out KC's tree and the changing leaves in the park.

It's still leafy and green among all the fall colours ... it's usually one of the last trees in the park for the leaves to start changing colours.  Quite a change in the trees since Gord and I were there on Saturday.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Ipsy Glam Bag - September 2020

My September 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) - $47.25US

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Book ~ "One Charmed Christmas" (2020) Sheila Roberts

From Goodreads ~ Catherine Pine is hoping her Christmas is a bit more jolly than last year’s. That one was her first without her husband and with her kids and their families absent this year, she’s worried. But things change when her good friend invites her on a Christmas cruise to lift her spirits. Suddenly every day is an adventure and she’s making a bunch of new friends, including the lovable Sophie Miles.

It’s like a gift from Santa when Sophie and Catherine meet the charming Dr. Rudy Nichols, a perfect match for hypochondriac Sophie. But he comes with a two-legged lump of coal, his guard-dog daughter. And then there’s chocolatier Trevor March, who’s also interested in the scrumptious Sophie. Can he convince her that chocolate is the perfect cure for what ails her? Who knows what Santa has in store for these holiday travelers? Anything could happen this charmed Christmas! 

Christmas is coming up and it's the first one since 60ish Catherine's husband passed away.  She's going to be alone because her two adult children have made plans with their families and neither bothered to include their mother.  Plus Catherine recently learned that she has cancer and will be starting chemo in the new year.  When her friend, Denise, asks her to go on a week long boat cruise in Germany because another friend had cancelled at the last minute, she goes for it.

Sierra had bought the cruise as a surprise for her husband, Mark, but he's not able to get away from work so she takes her sister, Sophie, instead.  Sophie is a hypochondriac but agrees to go.

Rudy is an older doctor whose first wife passed away and his second younger wife, who had only married him for his money, left him for someone with more money.  He and his divorced daughter, Athena, will also be on the cruise.

Finally there's Kurt who is taking his German class of older teenagers on the cruise to help them improve their German.  He convinces his brother, Trevor, who owns a chocolate making company, to go along.

Right away Sophie has her eye on Rudy ... she figured marrying a doctor would be a good fit for her since she is a hypochondriac.  But Rudy has taken a shining to Catherine, who is more mature and his age, and she likes him back but doesn't want to start anything because she feels her upcoming year is uncertain because of her chemo.  Athena will do anything to drive both women away from her father because she assumes that all they want it his money.  Trevor likes Sophie right away and pursues her.  Sierra doesn't get responses from Mark and assumes they are over so that dampens her mood and her trip.  Denise is there for a good time and ends up having two men vying for her attention.

I've read many books by this author and this one was okay.  It is written in third person perspective, with the focus shifting among the characters and you get to know what they are thinking.  Despite all the turmoil, there are lots of happy endings so it's great if you are looking for a nice "feel good" story.

I wasn't crazy about the characters, though, and found them unrealistic.  Though Catherine was nice, she seemed to be a bit of doormat.  She acknowledged that her kids had been spoiled and now she is paying the price for that since they don't have time for her ... but she doesn't confront them about it.  Sierra is afraid Mark is going to leave her.  Instead of enjoying her cruise and sister-time and saying "Screw you, Mark!", she lets how she's feeling about the Mark situation ruin it for her.  Sophie was just too over the top in pursuing Rudy just because he was a doctor, even when he made it clear that he was interested in Catherine.  Rudy seemed to be blind to Athena's rudeness to Catherine and Sophie and she was very unlikable.  I can't imagine there being anyone like Trevor and his devotion to Sophie even when she made it obvious she was chasing after Rudy.  I thought the most likeable character was Denise ... she was an older gal who just wanted to have fun and had a great attitude.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Liberty Village Terry Fox Run/Walk, Liberty Village Park, Toronto, ON

This is my third year as a volunteer/organizer of the Liberty Village Terry Fox Run (it's the fifth year for the Liberty Village Terry Fox Run).  Because the Terry Fox Runs were virtual this year, most of it was happening on social media for us, which is what I did ... I shared pictures from the past two runs plus the Terry Fox Foundation was very supportive in providing graphics and videos, etc.  Plus we put lots of posters up around the neighbourhood.

Terry Fox (1958 – 1981) was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian and cancer research activist.  In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research.  He hoped to raise one dollar from each of Canada's 24 million people.  He began in St. John's, Newfoundland, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. After 143 days and 5,373km/3,339 miles, he was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay, ON, when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.  Almost $800 million has been raised in his name.

This year I raised $650!  Because it was virtual this year, there was no gathering in Liberty Village Park as in past years.  Gord and I walked to Liberty Village Park where the run usually starts and ends.

If you're wondering about the red shirts, they signify "Terry's Team" ... people who have or have had cancer (both Gord and I have).

While we were there, Team Barb, who were running in honour of Barb who passed away in October 2019. Barb had spoken at past Liberty Village Terry Fox Runs,

Also Shumaila, a Liberty Village Terry Fox Run volunteer, arrived with her nephew, Aiden, at the end of their walk.

When we left Liberty Village Park, Gord and I headed south to Coronation Park.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

KC's tree, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went for a walk this afternoon to Trinity Bellwoods Park to check out KC's tree.

It's still leafy and green ... it's usually one of the last trees in the park for the leaves to start changing colours.

That's KC's tree in the middle

Friday, 18 September 2020

Book ~ "What Light" (2016) Jay Asher

From Goodreads ~ Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon - it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and maybe redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

Teenager Sierra and her family own a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. Every December, they head to California for a month to sell Christmas trees.  So Sierra has to leave Elizabeth and Rachel, her two best friends in Oregon, for the month but gets to spend a month with her California best friend, Heather.  Heather is dating Devon, who she finds boring so is pushing Sierra to find a boyfriend so they can double date and Heather won't be so bored when she and Devon are hanging out.  Sierra resists ... why get involved with someone when she'll be leaving in a couple weeks?  Until she meets Caleb.  Though Caleb seems like a nice generous fella, there was a violent incident a couple years ago that broke up his family and people aren't willing to forget.

I thought the story was just okay.  As an adult, I'm not the target audience so I found it hard to relate to Sierra and Caleb and their instant young love.  This book was written in first person perspective in Sierra's voice and is innocent (there's no swearing or sexual activity).  I think a younger audience might like it.

Sierra's parents don't approve of Caleb because (1) they will be leaving soon and they don't want their daughter to be brokenhearted and (2) the violence of Caleb's incident.  And given the incident, I can't say I blame them.  I found it unbelievable that Sierra was able to convince them that she knew what she was doing and that they could trust her.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Topbox - September 2020

My September 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 ...

  • Olly Undeniable Beauty - $23.99 value 
  • Kalaya Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer - $1.88 value
  • SkinRepublic Charcoal Peel-Off Face Mask - $9.99 value
  • Hikari Cosmetics Shimmer Bronzer (Radiate) - $21 value
  • doucce Ultra Premium Eyeliner - $22 value

  • Total value = $78.86

    Monday, 14 September 2020

    Honeycomb (aka Newfie) knitted mittens

    I just finished knitting another pair of Honeycomb (aka Newfie) mittens.  They are fun to make.

    I used black Red Heart Super Saver 4 ply yarn as my main colour (A), teal from Caron Chunky Cakes Striped Yarn (Rainbow Jellies) 6 ply yarn as my second colour (B) and 5mm double pointed needles.

    1. With A, cast on 42 sts
    2. Knit 1, purl 1 for 18 rows
    3. Purl
    4. Purl, increasing 2 stitches on each needle for a total of 48 stitches

    1.  *Knit 4 with B, slip 2 purlwise with A*, repeat to the end of row
    2. Repeat this row 4 more times (5 in total)
    3. Purl 2 rows with A
    4. Knit 1 with B, * slip 2 purlwise with A, knit 4 with B*, repeat to the last three stitches, knit 3 with B
    5. Repeat this row 4 more times (5 in total)
    6. Purl 2 rows with A
    7.  *Knit 4 with B, slip 2 purlwise with A*, repeat to the end of row
    8. Repeat this row 4 more times (5 in total)
    9. Purl 2 rows with A
    10. Knit 1 with B, * slip 2 purlwise with A, knit 4 with B*, repeat to the last three stitches, knit 3 with B
    11. Repeat this row 4 more times (5 in total)
    12. Purl 2 rows with A

    1. In step 12 above, purl 2, put 7 stitches on a stitch holder for the thumb and cast on 7 stitches, purl to the end.  Purl 1 row.

    1. Knit the pattern until long enough (I did 6)
    2. Knit 1 row
    3. *Knit 4, knit 2 together*, repeat to the end
    4. Knit 2 rows
    5. *Knit 3, knit 2 together*, repeat to the end
    6. Knit 2 rows
    7. *Knit 2, knit 2 together*, repeat to the end
    8. Knit 2 rows
    9. *Knit 2 together*, repeat to the end
    10. Thread the yarn through remaining the loops and pull tight
    11. Weave end inside

    1. With A, pick up the 7 stitches from the holder
    2. Pick up 7 stitches around the thumb hole for a total of 14 stitches
    3. Knit to fit length of thumb
    4. Knit 2 together all around
    5. Thread the yarn through the remaining loops and pull tight
    6. Weave end inside