Saturday, 27 November 2021

Cat Shelter Building Workshop, Toronto Street Cats, Toronto, ON

I spent this morning volunteering with Toronto Street Cats building cat shelters.  The workshops are held throughout the fall and winter season in the garage of the Toronto Humane Society.

It's my fourth year volunteering with them ... it's so nice helping the kitties in Toronto keep warm and dry during the cold winter.

Our mission: improve the lives of Toronto’s homeless cats by offering spay/neuter services, free for feral cats, and building overwintering shelters. We are also working to increase public awareness about Toronto’s homeless cat population and the importance of spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR). 

We are part of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, working together to implement strategic TNR programs to sterilize Toronto’s feral cats, decrease shelter intake and reduce euthanasia rates.

There are lots of strict protocols to follow ... we were all socially distanced and required to wear masks.  70 shelters made, 67 shelters sold, 345 shelters made so far this season and we already have requests for 43 shelters for next Saturday!


As usual, I set up next to my pal, Darlene.


We taped the insulated walls together in the bins and then taped the tubing entrances. Thom cut the tubing for the entrance ways, cut the Styrofoam for insulated walls and drilled holes into the bins after the insulated walls had been taped inside.  I spent my time taking the inside walls.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Book ~ "Peace by Chocolate" (2020) Jon Tattrie

From Goodreads ~ Tareq Hadhad was worried about his father: Isam did not know what to do with his life. Before the war began in Syria, Isam had run a chocolate company for over twenty years. But that life was gone now. The factory was destroyed and he and his family had spent three years in limbo as refugees before coming to Canada. So, in an unfamiliar kitchen in a small town, Isam began to make chocolate again.

This remarkable book tells the extraordinary story of the Hadhad family - Isam, his wife Shahnaz, and their sons and daughters - and the founding of the chocolatier, Peace by Chocolate. From the devastation of the Syrian civil war, through their life as refugees in Lebanon, to their arrival in a small town in Atlantic Canada, Peace by Chocolate is the story of one family. It is also the story of the people of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and so many towns across Canada, who welcomed strangers and helped them face the challenges of settling in an unfamiliar land. 

The Hadhad family lived in war torn Syria.  Patriarch Isam had started a chocolate factory when he was a young man and grew it into a beloved business for over 20 years.  The building was bombed as was their home so the family fled to Lebanon to be safe.  From there, for the next three years they tried to figure out what to do next.  An opportunity arose to head to Canada.

In the meantime, the residents of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, wanted to help the refugees of Syria and started raising money so they could bring families to Antigonish and help them get a fresh start.  The Hadhad family was one of the families that benefited from their help.  In 2016, Tareq was the first of the Hadhad children to arrive in Antigonish.  The rest of his family eventually got permission to join him and start a new life.

Isam had lost so much and it took a while to get his groove back.  He started making chocolates in their kitchen and giving them out to show his appreciation.  This led to him selling chocolates at farmers' markets and eventually he started and Tareq his business again, which they called Peace by Chocolate.  The business is now one of the larger employers in the area and Tareq has become an international spokesperson of peace.

I went to university in Antigonish and lived there for four years afterwards (I moved to Toronto in 1987) so this story was a bit more near and dear to my heart.  I loved that the residents of Antigonish banded to together to help families that were so different from them but needed help.

I liked the writing style ... the author kept it high level but the heartfelt emotions still came through.  It's so nice to see a family that had so much and then lost it has been able to get back on their feet again and help and be appreciative of their new community.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Book ~ "Don't Tell a Soul" (2008) David Rosenfelt

From Goodreads ~ Tim Wallace's wife died in a boating accident several months ago. Tim was the only eye witness and one New Jersey cop is sure he killed her. He didn't but even if the police eventually clear his name, he'll never get over this terrible tragedy. 

On New Year's Eve, his two best friends and business partners finally convince him to go out for the first time since Maggie's death, and at their neighborhood pub just a few minutes before midnight, things in Tim Wallace's life go from bad to worse. "Can you keep a secret? A really big one?" a drunken stranger asks him. Before Tim can say anything or turn away, the man confesses to a months-old murder, even offering as proof the location of the woman's body. "Now it's your problem," he says and walks away. 

When the man turns out to have been telling the truth, Tim's life and work are put under the microscope again by the cops, and this time they're not giving up. But neither is Tim, even when things keep getting worse for him, and eventually he realizes he's the only person who can figure out what's really going on  - even if it kills him.

Tim finally convinced his bride, Maggie, to go on his beloved boat.  While on the water, the boat blows up, killing Maggie.  Novak, the investigating police officer, is convinced Tim had something to do with it.  Tim has been mourning many months later, throwing himself into his work.  His two best friends convince him to go out on New Years Eve to their favourite bar.  Tim's not in the mood and just before he's ready to head for home, a drunk stranger approaches him and unburdens him with a secret ... he murdered a woman a couple months go and buried her in a playground.  Being a good citizen, Tim tells Novak about it but Novak automatically thinks Tim did it.  When more people end up disappearing and/or getting killed, Novak continues to try to prove that Tim is the killer.  Tim realizes he must do whatever he has to to prove his innocence.

I've read many books by this author, mostly his Andy Carpenter series which I enjoy, and this is a stand alone.  I like the writing style and it is written in third person perspective.  I thought the story was really convoluted, though, and think the "whodunnit" and why could have gone in a more interesting direction.  And I am still confused as to why Tim's boat exploded in the first place.  There were lots of characters, many ended up dead.  The end wraps up rather quickly.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Honeycomb (aka Newfie) knitted mittens

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


I used 4 ply yarn and 5mm double pointed needles.

Wrist
  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

Pattern
  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

Thumb
  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.

Mitten
  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

Thumb
  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

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Cat Shelter Building Workshop, Toronto Street Cats, Toronto, ON

I spent this morning volunteering with Toronto Street Cats building cat shelters.  The workshops are held throughout the fall and winter season in the garage of the Toronto Humane Society.

It's my fourth year volunteering with them ... it's so nice helping the kitties in Toronto keep warm and dry during the cold winter.

Our mission: improve the lives of Toronto’s homeless cats by offering spay/neuter services, free for feral cats, and building overwintering shelters. We are also working to increase public awareness about Toronto’s homeless cat population and the importance of spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR). 

We are part of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, working together to implement strategic TNR programs to sterilize Toronto’s feral cats, decrease shelter intake and reduce euthanasia rates.

There are lots of strict protocols to follow ... we were all socially distanced and required to wear masks. 44 shelters were made, 64 were sold, 11 were left in stock, 63 are pre-sold for next Saturday and we've made 276 shelters so far this season!


It was fun to hang out with my pal, Darlene ... she wasn't there last week.


We taped the insulated walls together in the bins and then taped the tubing entrances ... I started with the first part (I like it better) then moved on to taping the tubing to the shelters.  Thom cut the tubing for the entrance ways, cut the Styrofoam for insulated walls and drilled holes into the bins after the insulated walls had been taped inside.

Before

Friday, 19 November 2021

Nova Scotia's Community Haul ~ November 2021

My November Nova Scotia's Community Haul subscription box arrived today.

Weddings and school concerts, charity bake sales and chase-the-ace - our community halls are where Nova Scotians have come together for generations to celebrate and support one another. Since we’re together apart for the foreseeable future, we’ve transformed the community hall into a Community Haul. 

Community Haul, partnered with Symplicity Designs set out to create a safe and fun way to help the small business community through the next year. Our product forges connection, creates community, and offers you the opportunity to explore Nova Scotia - all from the safety of your home. 

We've launched a local subscription box to celebrate Nova Scotia business owners and help reboot the regional economy. By pledging your community support with a subscription, you can help keep the lights on for dozen of small businesses during these economically stressful times. What's more, every box sold will support the IWK Foundation to provide care for the women and children in the Maritimes.  

I'm originally from Nova Scotia and it's been fun receiving stuff from "back home" and helping support their economy.


Here's what I received ...

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Honeycomb (aka Newfie) knitted mittens

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


I used 4 ply yarn and 5mm double pointed needles.

Wrist
  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

Pattern
  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

Thumb
  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.

Mitten
  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

Thumb
  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

Monday, 15 November 2021

Book ~ "The Moonshine Shack" (2021) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new 'shine shop will be a smashing success. What's more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store's doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

The homicide detective can't seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie's longhaired gray cat and Smoky isn't talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.


Hattie recently gave up her job to open a shop selling the moonshine she makes from recipes passed down from generations.  Marlon is a local police officer who rides by on a horse.  He stops by her store often and they become friends, though Hattie hopes it will become more.  He annoyingly refers to her as a "filly" and I hope he stops that.  

To promote her business, Hattie goes around and meets the business people in the neighbourhood, hoping there will be some synergies for working together and cross-promotion.  She gets resistance from the Cormac, the pub owner across the street.  Late one night Hattie heads to her store because she doubts she had locked up properly.  She hears a commotion in front and finds Cormac murdered and the weapon seems to be a bottle of her moonshine, which makes Hattie a suspect.  Though Marlon and the police officer in charge tell her to stay out of it, Hattie starts snooping around to find out who murdered Cormac so she can prove her innocence.

I've read many books (and series) by this author and I thought this one was okay ... it's the first in the Southern Homebrew Mystery series.  I liked the writing style.  It is written in first person perspective from Hattie's point of view.  It was a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity.  Having it set in moonshine country made an interesting and different setting.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Moselland Riesling wine - cat bottles

Almost every year in November, the LCBO sells bottles of Moselland Riesling wine in the shape of cats.  Here are this year's ... mango yellow and Barbados Cherry Red.


I've been collecting them for 20 years and now have 42. 


None of the colours are the same and the bottles are unopened (yes, unopened!).
  • 2000 - 5
  • 2001 - 3
  • 2002 - 3
  • 2003 - 1
  • 2004 - 2
  • 2005 - 2
  • 2006 - 2
  • 2007 - 2
  • 2008 - 2
  • 2009 - 2
  • 2011 - 2
  • 2012 - 3
  • 2013 - 1
  • 2014 - 5
  • 2015 - 1
  • 2018 - 2
  • 2019 - 2
  • 2020 - 2

Saturday, 13 November 2021

The Friendly Greek, Toronto, ON

This evening Gord and I had supper with Mary and Malcolm at The Friendly Greek on the Danforth. 

Kevin, our server, started us off with some warm bread and a big Greek salad to share.


Gord, Mary and I ordered chicken souvlaki ... Mary and I got ours with rice and potatoes and Gord got his with potatoes and mixed veggies.  Malcolm ordered lamb souvlaki. They were delicious! 

 
My chicken souvlaki dinner (Mary's was the same)
Gord's chicken souvlaki dinner

Cat Shelter Building Workshop, Toronto Street Cats, Toronto, ON

I spent this morning volunteering with Toronto Street Cats building cat shelters.  The workshops are held throughout the fall and winter season in the garage of the Toronto Humane Society.

It's my fourth year volunteering with them ... it's so nice helping the kitties in Toronto keep warm and dry during the cold winter.

Our mission: improve the lives of Toronto’s homeless cats by offering spay/neuter services, free for feral cats, and building overwintering shelters. We are also working to increase public awareness about Toronto’s homeless cat population and the importance of spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR). 

We are part of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, working together to implement strategic TNR programs to sterilize Toronto’s feral cats, decrease shelter intake and reduce euthanasia rates.

There are lots of strict protocols to follow ... we were all socially distanced and required to wear masks.  64 shelters were made today plus 60 shelters were sold (and a fair load of straw) This season we've already made 232 shelters and sold 202!  Whoohoo!


We taped the insulated walls together in the bins and then taped the tubing entrances ... I started with the first part (I like it better) then moved on to taping the tubing to the shelters.  Thom cut the tubing for the entrance ways, cut the Styrofoam for insulated walls and drilled holes into the bins after the insulated walls had been taped inside.

Before

Friday, 12 November 2021

Book ~ "Whiskey Lullaby" (2020) Liliana Hart

From Goodreads ~ Addison Holmes has her hands full. Marriage changes a woman and pregnancy hormones are no joke. But despite her promise to retire from dangerous P.I. work, she has no choice but to take this case.

Twenty years ago, her father and his partner cracked the case of their careers. But it was all a set-up. They sent the wrong men to prison and now it's time for the real culprits to tie up loose ends. Her father is dead but his partner, who happens to be her mom's new husband, is very much alive. At least for the time being.

Discovering the truth is no easy task, but saving her father's legacy and her step-father's life is her top priority. Because family means everything.

Until recently, Addison Holmes worked at her friend, Kate's detective agency.  She and Nick, a police officer, recently got married and she is pregnant.  Kate is shutting down her detective agency and looking for other opportunities.

Vince, Addison's stepfather, has disappeared.   Her mother suspects he is having an affair when she finds a woman's phone number.  She asks Addison to check things out.  Vince and Charlie, Addison's late father, were former police officers.  There was one case 20 years ago that didn't seem right so Charlie continued to investigate.  It turns out that Vince has now picked up where Charlie left off before his death and there's no other woman ... he's just hunting down clues.  As Addison tries to find Vince, she has the help of her best friends, Kate and Rosemary, and her eccentric great aunt, Scarlett.

It was a light fun book to read.  It is written in first person perspective from Addison's point of view.  I liked the writing style ... it was amusing.  There is some minor swearing.

Though it is the seventh in the Addison Holmes series (I've read them all), it works as a stand alone.  It had been a few years since I'd read the sixth one so it took a while for the characters and relationships to come back to me.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Remembrance Day


The federal department of Veterans Affairs Canada states that November 11 is of "remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace"; specifically, the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and all conflicts since then in which members of the Canadian Forces have participated.

Remembering my father, Frank (1935 - 1971)
Honouring Gord's dad, Ken (1925 - 1971)
Honouring Gord's paternal
grandfather, Sid (1890 - 1963)

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Monday, 8 November 2021

Log Cabin knitted dishcloth

The Year of the Dishcloth is organized by the Kitchen Sink Shop. November's pattern is Log Cabin.


I used Bernat Handicrafter cotton yarn and a 5mm circular needle.

Cast on 42 stitches

Border:
  • Rows 1-4 K42

Pattern:
  • Rows 1-3: K3, *K9, P9* x 2, K3
  • Rows 4-6: K3, *K3, P3, K3, P3, K3, P3* x 2, K3
  • Rows 7-9 Same as Rows 1-3
  • Rows 10-12: K3, *P9, K9* x 2, K3
  • Rows 13-15: K3, *P3, K3, P3, K3, P3, K3* x 2, K3
  • Rows 16-18: Same as Rows 10-12
  • Repeat Rows 1-18 one more time
  • Repeat Rows 1-9 one time

Border:
  • Rows 1-4 K42

Bind off and weave in the ends.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Book ~ "My Best Mistake: Epic Fails and Silver Linings (2021) Terry O'Reilly

From Goodreads ~ The Incredible Hulk was originally supposed to be grey but a printing glitch led to the superhero’s iconic green colour. NHL hall-of-famer Serge Savard’s hockey career nearly ended prematurely, not because of an injury, but because of an oversight. And the invention of a beloved treat, the Popsicle, began with a simple mistake.

In his fascinating and meticulously researched new book, Terry O’Reilly recounts how some of the biggest breakthroughs and best-loved products originated with a mistake. Some people’s “mistakes” led to dramatic life changes - losing their jobs, their companies and often their credibility - only for them to discover new opportunities on the other shore. Other people’s mistakes seemed minor, almost insignificant - until they led to a famous brand, a legendary band or a groundbreaking work of art. And in a few instances, a mistake actually saved lives.

The fear of failing often holds us back. "My Best Mistake" will change how you think about screwing up and will encourage you to accept mistakes and embrace the obstacles that may arise from these errors, leading you to unexpected breakthroughs and silver linings of your own.


I saw an interview on TV a couple weeks ago with Terry O'Reilly and he was talking about this book.  It sounded interesting so I thought I'd check it out ... and it was.

The stories were varied and included those about Billy Joel, Rob Lowe, Ellen DeGeneres, Seth MacFarlane, Steve Jobs, Swanson's TV Dinners, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Jaws, Scotty Bowman, Ski-Doos, Bill Maher, the Dixie Chicks, Popsicles and more.

I liked the writing style.  It was written at a high level and gave me just enough information.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Honeycomb (aka Newfie) knitted mittens

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


I used 4 ply yarn and 5mm double pointed needles.

Wrist
  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

Pattern
  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

Thumb
  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.

Mitten
  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

Thumb
  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

Louis Cifer Brew Works, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had lunch this afternoon at Louis Cifer (a play on "lucifer") on Danforth Avenue.


I like their Peaches for Me beer.