Friday 30 July 2021

Duff's Famous Wings, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper on the patio of Duff’s Famous Wings (College/Manning) this evening.

We shared an order of Mac ‘n Cheese Wedges.

Then Gord had wings with salt and pepper and I had wings with mild medium sauce.

Everything was delish! 

Brody was our server ... he was friendly and chatty and took good care of us.

The Night Baker, Toronto, ON

I went for a walk today and stopped in at The Night Baker (College/Ossington).

I bought a couple Classic cookies for Gord and I.

Update:  the cookies were so delicious!  Soft and bursting with salty chocolate flavour!

Thursday 29 July 2021

Book ~ "Recipe for a Perfect Wife" (2020) Karma Brown

From Goodreads ~ In this dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband – and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.

When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner – 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life – including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.

Soon Alice learns that while Baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister – even dangerous – side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.

This is the story of two women, both newlyweds and housewives, living in the same house ... Nellie was there in the mid-1950s and Alice lives there now.

Nellie is in her twenties.  She'd taken care of her mother for many years when she was a child and she thought she found the perfect husband when Richard swept her offer her feet.  He was older and he promised to take care of her.  But it turns out that Richard is controlling and abusive and expects Nellie to be the perfect wife and his goal is to get her pregnant.  Thankfully she has her garden to keep her happy and she's good friends with her older next door neighbour who she can confide in.

Alice is about 30 and was working in PR until she got fired.  She and her husband, Nate, recently moved to the city to the suburbs into Nellie's house, which had been empty since the year before.  Alice doesn't want to leave the city but Nate assures her that it will be a good opportunity to write the book she's always wanted to write plus get pregnant.  When Alice finds a box of Nellie's cookbooks and magazines in the basement, she starts making some of the recipes and getting to know Nellie.

This is the second book I've read by this author and I thought it was okay.  I liked the alternating narratives (the headings at the beginning of the chapters are labeled) as we got to know two women in similar situations who are living more than 50 years apart.  It is written in third person perspective in Nellie and Alice's voice.  As a head's up, there is some swearing and domestic violence.

I liked Nellie.  She had taken care of her depressed mother for years and just wanted to be taken care of.  She thought she had found the perfect man in Richard but he change as soon as they married.  She tried but he was never happy with her.  So she did what she had to do to survive.

I hated Alice and found her to be unbelievable.  She's a "modern" woman with a career married to a great supportive guy.  Yet she lied to Nate about everything ... why she wasn't working anymore, about getting pregnant, writing her book, smoking, etc.  And for no reason except to manipulate him ... it's not like he was going to leave her or anything.  And then she discovered that he did something towards the end and I went REALLY?!  There's no way Nate would do what he was trying to do ... very unrealistic.  I hated Alice's ending and there's no way I was buying into it.  I would have been happy with the book just being Nellie's story.

At the beginning of each chapter there were recipes from Nellie's cookbook from the 1950s that were crazy ... it's hard to believe people ate that kind of stuff back then.  Plus there were quotes from books from the early- to mid-1900s on how to be a good wife.  Whoa!

Loti Wellness Box - July 2021

I received a Loti Wellness subscription box today ... the theme is Cool Off.

Become a member and receive 5 to 8 quality wellness and lifestyle products to improve your overall well-being each month. Prepay for subscriptions and save. Retail value of $90+ in each box! 

Your box will be delivered right to your doorstep. Open your box to enjoy each themed box. Don't forget to share your unboxing! #liveloti 

Self-care will not only help you to be more productive and to have better physical health, but also greater mental health.

Wednesday 28 July 2021

Amsterdam Brewhouse, Toronto, ON

This afternoon Gord and I met Mary and Malcolm for a late lunch at the Amsterdam Brewhouse at Queen's Quay.  We sat on the patio and were given a corner table right by the water.

Malcolm, Gord and Mary ... it was fun to catch up
since it had been a while since we've seen them

I ordered chicken wings with apple butter BBQ sauce.  They were good and messy.

Gord ordered fish tacos ... he said they were good.

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Book ~ "The Jetsetters" (2020) Amanda Eyre Ward

From Goodreads ~ When seventy-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits a sexy essay to the "Become a Jetsetter" contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist who can't seem to find a bride; and Regan, a harried mother who took it all wrong when Charlotte bought her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday.

Charlotte yearns for the years when her children were young and she was a single mother who meant everything to them. When she wins the cruise, the family packs all their baggage - literal and figurative - and spends ten days traveling from sun-drenched Athens through glorious Rome to tapas-laden Barcelona on an over-the-top cruise ship, the Splendido Marveloso.

As lovers new and old join the adventure, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the Perkins family is forced to confront the defining choices in their lives. Can four lost adults find the peace they've been seeking by reconciling their childhood aches and coming back to each other?

Charlotte is 70 years old and missing the closeness she had with her three children when they were younger.  She enters an essay contest with the prize being a European cruise ... if she wins, she is going to take her three children, which she does.  Her oldest daughter, Lee, is a has-been actress who has just been dumped by her long-time boyfriend.  Her youngest daughter, Regan, is trying to figure out how to get out of her marriage and is even looking up how to poison her husband.  And Cord, her son, is an alcoholic, gay and recently engaged but he hasn't come out to his family yet.  Off they go on the cruise and everyone is trying to get along and hide their secrets.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I didn't like it at all.  The premise sounded fun as did the cover ... but it's not a fun book at all.  I didn't like any of the characters and none of them had any redeeming qualities.  Charlotte was raised that appearance was everything so anytime anyone got upset, she admonished them ... no wonder they were estranged from her.  When her husband had committed suicide years earlier, she told everyone he had died of a heart attack.  Charlotte suspects Cord is gay but she is more concerned about what her priest will think if/when it's revealed than Cord's feelings.

I kept reading it because I was hoping the story would get better but it didn't ... it got worse.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Monday 26 July 2021

Belfast Love Public House, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening on the patio of Belfast Love (King Street W, just west of Brant Street).

Gord ordered a crispy chicken sandwich.  He said it was good and might get it again.

Float Toronto, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went for an hour float this morning at Float Toronto (on Queen Street W at Gladstone).  We find floats very relaxing and tend to do them every three months or so.

Because of COVID, the lounge and
grooming areas are closed

Also known as Floatation Therapy, REST Therapy (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) or Sensory Deprivation, floating involves lying in a salt-water solution in a specially designed tank (often referred to as a float tank, sensory deprivation tank, or isolation tank). Your experience in a floatation tank is about everything you won’t be doing. You won’t be fighting gravity. The 850 pounds of Epsom salt in the water takes care of that while you lie on your back. The water is kept at a skin receptor neutral temperature which means that you lose track of where your body ends and the water begins. Your ears stay just below the water, and the tanks are insulated against sound – noise from the outside is unable to reach you. After you shut the door to the tank, you float in total darkness. 

During your float the outside world is gone and amazing things happen. It turns out that when you’re not fighting gravity or constantly taking in information your body has a lot of extra resources at its disposal. Your mind is free to navigate without distraction, your brain pumps out dopamine and endorphins, and your body gets to rest, de-stress and heal. It’s likely to be the most relaxing thing you’ve ever experienced.

The tank is high enough for me to stand up, wide enough for me to stretch my arms out and my fingers just touch the side and a lot longer then me.  Today I left the blue light and the spa music on.

At the end of the hour, the music got louder to let me know my hour was up. Get out and take a shower (which is in your room), which you need because you're all slimy from the salt.  They have shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. My only complaint is that the water pressure in the shower is really low and it takes a while to get the shampoo and conditioner out of my hair.

  • Relaxation Response 
    Floating weightless in the tank suppresses the functioning of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the 'fight or flight' response. Simultaneously, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated which is responsible for relaxation, stimulation of digestive secretions, replenishment and general recuperation. 
  • Increased Immune Function 
    Immune function is enhanced by suppressing stress hormones which not only weaken the immune system but also suppress the digestion and reproductive systems, affect regeneration processes, and decrease insulin sensitivity. 
  • Use in Athletic Training 
    Water in the tank has the added benefit of being saturated with Epsom salts, which have well-established healing effects, helping to draw out toxins and lactic acid build-up, and speeding up recovery time. 
  • Heightened Senses 
    Research indicates that regular floating leads to increased visual acuity, improved tangible perception, increased taste sensitivities and improved auditory sensitivity. 
  • Magnesium Absorption
    The high concentration of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) are absorbed through skin. Magnesium has been shown to be deficient in the standard North American diet. Magnesium assists in regulating high blood pressure, preventing cardiovascular disease, preventing osteoporosis, relieving menopause symptoms, providing PMS relief, creating healthier bones and teeth, and is involved with detoxification. Magnesium is awesome. 
  • Stress Reduction 
    Modern life is full of deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Floatation therapy is the most powerful stress relief technique known. Floating has been shown many times, (in controlled studies compared to bed rest), to be the most relaxing experience on earth. (Relaxation measured by perceived stress, by hormone measurement and by brain waves all confirms the truth of this claim.) 
  • Improved Creativity
    A small study of five university professors found that six float sessions allowed them to generate more “creative” ideas, which coincided with a self-reported increase in free imagery and remote associations. Similarly, in a study with 40 university students, a single flotation increased their scores on a standardized test used to measure creativity. 
  • Left Brain/Right Brain 
    The two sides of the brain operate in very different ways. The left side deals with detail, processing information, maths, order, logic it operates analytically and systematically, it’s basically the essential yet boring side of the brain. The right side of the brain is the hub for creativity, problem solving, music, art, pleasure and emotion. It operates visually, intuitively, rapidly absorbing large scale information. The right side is usually constrained and held back by the dominant left brain. Floating massively boosts right-brain function by turning off all external input making the left brain finally shut up, allowing the right side of the brain to run uninterrupted at full tilt.

Happy birthday to me!

Many years ago today ... at 2:12pm ... I made my arrival into the world at the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Here I am at my first birthday party ... celebrating with cake and a washing machine.  Good times!

Happy 19th anniversary to Gord and I!

Ken (Gord's son), me, Gord and Sister Sarah
July 26, 2002 ~ 5:30pm
City Hall, Toronto, ON

Sunday 25 July 2021

The Old York, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening on the patio at The Old York (Niagara Street/Wellington Street).  We like their patio.

Gord started with  a Mexican Corn Salad ... he really liked it.

Then he had a Fried Chicken Wrap (minus tomatoes) and he said it was good.

Saturday 24 July 2021

Levetto, Toronto, ON (Sudbury Street)

We picked up supper this evening from Levetto, which is in our 'hood (at Dovercourt/Queen W).

Gord ordered his usual Carbonara pasta (spaghetti, smoked bacon, shallots, cracked black pepper, egg and Grana Padang). 

I ordered a Carnivoro pizza (tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, Italian sausage, braised beef, spicy soppressata and bacon).  It’s the first time I’ve seen it on the menu.  It was meaty, with a bit of heat and good!  I’d get it again.

Leftovers for tomorrow!

Book ~ "Animal Instinct" (2021) David Rosenfelt

From Goodreads ~ Corey Douglas and his K-9 partner, a German shepherd named Simon Garfunkel, are recently retired police officers turned private investigators. Along with fellow former cop, Laurie Collins, and her investigating partner, Marcus, they call themselves the K Team, in honor of Simon.

The K Team’s latest case – a recent unsolved murder – gives Corey a chance to solve "the one that got away". Corey knew the murder victim from his time on the force, when he was unable to protect her in a domestic dispute. Now, he is convinced the same abusive boyfriend is responsible for her murder. With some help from Laurie’s lawyer husband, Andy Carpenter, the K Team is determined to prove what the police could not, no matter the cost. What they uncover is much more sinister than they could have imagined.

Corey Douglas is a retired police officer as is Simon Garfunkel, a his former K-9 partner.  They team up with Laurie and Marcus to form an investigation firm called The K Team.  Laurie is married to Andy, a retired criminal defense lawyer, and she and Marcus do investigative work for Andy.  Laurie is also a former police officer and Marcus has "persuasive" reasoning skills and provides protection when it's most needed.  

About three years ago when Corey was a police officer, he answered a domestic dispute call ... Lisa, the victim, denied her boyfriend, Gerald, had hurt her.  The case has always haunted Corey.  When Lisa is murdered, Corey feels guilty because he thinks had he done more when he was a police officer, she would be alive today.  Corey thinks Gerald has some involvement in her death and the K Team investigate.  When someone else is murdered, Corey is arrested for their murder and it's up to the K Team to find out what's going on and Andy to defend Corey.  Sam is Andy's accountant who is also a computer hack.  Corey, as a retired police office, always had an issue with how Sam gets his information but he soon changes his mind now that his freedom is on the line.

There have been 23 books so far in the Andy Carpenter series and I've read them all ... this is the second in the K Team spin-off series.  Though it is part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone as there is enough background provided.

I liked this book.  I like the writing style of this author as it was funny, sarcastic and amusing.  It was written mostly in first person perspective in Corey's voice but is sometimes in third person perspective when the focus is on others.