Wednesday 28 April 2021

Book ~ "The Newcomer" (2021) Mary Kay Andrews

From Goodreads ~ In trouble and on the run ... 

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me - it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.” 

With a trunkful of emotional baggage ... 

So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road with her wailing four-year-old niece, Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring - but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel. 

The No Vacancy sign is flashing & the sharks are circling ... 

And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn - or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past. 

Tanya had been in a relationship with Evan, a sleazy rich guy, and they had a child together, Maya, who is now four, who her parents are in a custody battle over.  Tanya tells her older sister, Letty, that if anything happens to her, she should take Maya, along with her secret stash of money and a ring, and leave town and hide.  When Letty discovers her Tanya dead in her condo, she assumes Evan killed Tanya, and does just what her sister had instructed.  Letty heads to the Murmuring Surf Motel in Treasure Island, FL, because there was also an ad for it with the money and ring.

Ava, the owner of the motel, lets Letty clean up the junk room and move in.  Ava needs help so she hires Letty in exchange for a lower room rate.  Ava's son, Joe, is a police office, suspects Letty is hiding something so does some investigating.  As Letty and Maya settle in, they get to know the long-term motel vacationers but Letty never lets her guard down.  It's a good thing because back in New York, Evan is looking to hire someone to take care of Letty and get his daughter back.

I thought this book was okay, though a bit on the long side.  It is written in third person perspective with the focus on the various characters, including briefly a feral cat named Midnight who lives on the motel property.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

I found Ava too trusting ... she let Letty move into a room, didn't ask for ID and let her pay cash (possibly so wouldn't have to claim it as income).  Joe keeps bringing up all the mistakes she has made in the past in trusting people over the years and you'd think she would have learned her lesson by now.

Joe was a bit unbelievable and immature.  He's a cop and had figured out what was going on in Letty's life so knew she had a lot going on.  But he kept pushing her to get into a relationship (he's a long-time bachelor but he fell in love pretty well immediately) and kept getting pissed when Letty would ask for space.  Not surprising, she eventually gives in and they live happily ever after.

I'm not crazy about kids in stories and found Maya annoying and whiny.  Everyone keeps saying how smart she is and in New York she had exposure to the best of the best but her vocabulary didn't reflect this ... I cringed every time she said things like "bited" or "hitted".  And then a couple paragraphs later this four-year-old used "ashamed" properly in a sentence.  No way!  And at one point she wanders off the property and is grabbed by a man and they hide in a culvert.  She is terrified and fighting and eventually gets away.  A couple hours later she does the same thing again ... wanders off!  You'd think she would be more traumatized by the experience and would still close to home for a while.

Mitchell’s Soup Company, St. Thomas, ON

Sister Sarah has given Gord and I a mix from Mitchell’s Soup Company as Christmas presents the last couple years. I’m not a big fan of soup but I like these because they are hearty, easy to make and there are leftovers. 

I recently ordered some from them online from and they just arrived! Bon appetit!

White Sheep Candles, Toronto, ON

I recently ordered two candles (a treat box) from Toronto’s White Sheep Candles ... lavender and ylang ylang ... and they just arrived. I’ve never ordered from them before but they caught my eye on Instagram. 

I love that they were creative in the packaging and personalized a thank you card. Plus they included a complimentary vegan zen soap with essential oils (smells nice!). I’m looking to burning the candles!

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Twin rib knitted dishcloth

I finished knitting a dishcloth this evening using a twin rib pattern.

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

I cast on 36 stitches (you need multiples of 6 stitches).
  • Row 1 and 2 - Knit
  • Row 3 -  *K3, P3* repeat to the end
  • Row 4 - K1, P1* repeat to the end
  • Repeat rows 3 and 4 until desired length 
  • Purl two rows 
  • Bind off and weave in the ends

Monday 26 April 2021

Cherry Blossoms, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

While Gord and I were in Trinity Bellwoods Park this afternoon, we checked out the cherry blossoms.

They are blooming but because they tend to attract a lot of people and we are all practicing social distancing because of COVID, the trees are fenced in again this year.  The cherry blossoms aren't around long so I try to head to park to see them.

We started with the ones on the southeast end of the park near Queen Street W.

The fence was open at one spot so we went in.

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

Gord and I went for a walk this afternoon to Trinity Bellwoods Park and checked out KC's tree ... the leaves are still budding.

It won't be long before the tree will be full of leaves!

Saturday 24 April 2021

Basket weave knitted dishcloth

I finished knitting a dishcloth this evening using a basket weave pattern.

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

I cast on 37 stitches (you need multiples of 8 stitches plus 5) and used a 5mm circular needle. 
  • Row 1 and 2 - Knit 
  • Row 3 - Knit 
  • Row 4 - K5, *P3, K5* repeat to the end
  • Row 5 - *P5, K3* repeat to last 5 stitches, P5
  • Row 6 - Repeat row 4
  • Row 7 - Knit
  • Row 8 - K1, *P3, K5* repeat to last 4 stitches, P3, K1
  • Row 9 - P1, *K3, P5* repeat to last 4 stitches, K3, P1
  • Row 10 - Repeat row 8
  • Repeat rows 4 to 10 until desired length 
  • Knit two rows 
  • Bind off and weave in the ends

Under Armour Spring Run-Off 2021, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had signed up for the Under Armour Spring Run-Off that was supposed to happen last April.  But then COVID arrived and it got postponed to November ... and then it got postponed to this month.  We were encouraged to do our virtual race (5km or 8km) sometime this month.

Gord had picked up our kits a couple weeks ago.

It was a warm sunny day and we did our 5km walk today.  We headed south to Coronation Park.

King-Liberty Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge, Toronto, ON

The King-Liberty Pedestrian Cycle Bridge finally opened this week and Gord and I checked it out this afternoon.  It's been in the works for a couple of years.

It is over the Metrolinx Kitchener/Milton Rail Corridor and spans south from just south of King Street W at Douro Street to Western Battery Road in Liberty Village. This new bridge provides a convenient and more direct route from Liberty Village to King Street West between Atlantic Avenue and Strachan Avenue.  Before the bridge opened, there were two convoluted routes via Atlantic Avenue Strachan Avenue to get from King Street W to Liberty Village.  It currently has pedestrian access only but eventually there will be an elevator operating later this summer.

We entered it from the north side on Douro Street.

Looking south
Looking west

Friday 23 April 2021

Slipped rib knitted dishcloth

I finished knitting a dishcloth this evening using a slipped rib pattern.

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

I cast on 39 stitches (you need an even number of stitches plus one) and used a 5mm circular needle.
  • Row 1 and 2 - Knit
  • Row 3 - *Knit 1, slip 1 purlwise wyif* - repeat to the last stitch - knit the last stitch
  • Row 4 - Purl
  • Repeat rows 3 and 4 until desired length
  • Purl two rows
  • Bind off and weave in the ends

Coconut Candles Company, New Westminster, BC

I adore scented candles and recently bought a membership to Coconut Candles Company’s subscription box. They prompted me to provide a review, which I happily did ... the March box was fun and the candles smell great! But then they offered me a “thank you” discount which I couldn’t resist! 

My candles arrived today and smell fabulous ... I can’t wait to burn them!

Thursday 22 April 2021

Book ~ "Pretty Little Wife" (2020) Darby Kane

From Goodreads ~ Lila Ridgefield lives in an idyllic college town but not everything is what it seems. Lila isn’t what she seems. A student vanished months ago. Now, Lila’s husband, Aaron, is also missing. At first these cases are treated as horrible coincidences until it’s discovered the student is really the third of three unexplained disappearances over the last few years. The police are desperate to find the connection, if there even is one. Little do they know they might be stumbling over only part of the truth.

With the small town in an uproar, everyone is worried about the whereabouts of their beloved high school teacher. Everyone except Lila, his wife. She’s definitely confused about her missing husband but only because she was the last person to see his body and now it’s gone. 

Lila is a former lawyer, now a real estate agent, who is married to Aaron, a school teacher, living in a small town near where Aaron grew up.  Aaron doesn't treat her very well and something she discovers pushes her over the edge.  Aaron has to go.  She plans it well ... but then Aaron's body isn't found as she'd planned.  Is he still alive and taunting her?

As the police get involved in Aaron's disappearance, they notice that Lila doesn't seem overly concerned that her husband is missing.  In fact, it wasn't even her who reported him missing but his friend and boss did.  As the police investigate, they discover that Lila has a hidden past and no one has anything bad to say about Aaron.  Needless to say, Lila becomes their number one suspect which isn't good because Lila actually thought she had killed him.

I liked this book.  I liked the writing style and there were lots of twists and turns that are revealed as the story goes on.  It is written in third person perspective from Lila's point of view and the lead police officer.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Book ~ "The Don: The Story of Toronto's Infamous Jail" (2021) Lorna Poplak

From Goodreads ~ Conceived as a “palace for prisoners,” the Don Jail never lived up to its promise. Although based on progressive nineteenth-century penal reform and architectural principles, the institution quickly deteriorated into a place of infamy where both inmates and staff were in constant danger of violence and death. Its mid-twentieth-century replacement, the New Don, soon became equally tainted. 

Along with investigating the origins and evolution of Toronto’s infamous jail, The Don presents a kaleidoscope of memorable characters - inmates, guards, governors, murderous gangs, meddlesome politicians, harried architects, and even a pair of star-crossed lovers whose doomed romance unfolded in the shadow of the gallows. 

The Don Jail was a jail in Toronto, east of the Don River, built between 1858 and 1864, with a new wing built in the 1950s.  When the original Don Jail building stopped being used for housing offenders in 1977, the east wing remained in operation as the Toronto Jail and continued to serve as a jail until 2013.

It was originally designed as a reform prison and once dubbed the "Palace for Prisoners" because of its progressive approach to the wellness and living conditions of inmates.  The reputation of the Don Jail soured over the years, though, due to overcrowding and other things.  The east wing was constructed to house 276 prisoners but at the end of its service its capacity was 550 (its average prisoner load was about 620).  It was not designed with adequate visitor facilities, exercise areas, telephones, lawyer meeting rooms, showers or laundry facilities.

Twenty-six men were hanged on the jail’s indoor gallows and it was there that Canada's last to be hanged (in 1962) before capital punishment was abolished.

When the Bridgepoint Health demolished the Riverdale Hospital to replace it with a new facility, the Don Jail building was renovated to serve as the administrative wing for the hospital.

The author does a good job in telling the history of the Don Jail, what was going on in Toronto at various times and how it affected the Don.

I never got to visit the jail before it was demolished and converted.  Doors Open had tours but it attracted a lot of people so I didn't head over ... one day I will.

Sunday 18 April 2021

Coronation Park, Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail, and Ontario Place, Toronto, ON

I went for a walk (about 8.5km) this afternoon and headed south to Coronation Park ... it was sunny and a warm. It's been a while since I've been there.

I kept going to Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail ... I love this park and trail!

Friday 16 April 2021

Nova Scotia's Community Haul ~ April 2021

I received my April Nova Scotia's Community Haul subscription box 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 have been enjoying receiving stuff from "back home" and helping support their economy.