Saturday, 30 April 2022

The Friendly Greek, Toronto, ON

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

We ordered some Greek wine and were started with some garlic bread.

We all ordered chicken souvlaki (Gord had his with veggies instead of rice). So good!

Friday, 29 April 2022

Montana's BBQ & Bar, Brampton, ON

I conducted four back-to-back seminars today in Brampton with no lunch break so when I was finished around 4ish, I was STARVING! Montana’s on Airport Road was nearby by so I had a late lunch/early supper.

I ordered buttermilk fried chicken (minus the veggies).  It's been a while since I've had it and it was good!  Hot and fresh!

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Book ~ "The Homewreckers" (2022) Mary Kay Andrews

From Goodreads ~ Hattie Kavanaugh went to work helping clean up restored homes for Kavanaugh & Son Restorations at 18; married the boss’s son at 20; and was only 25 when her husband, Hank, was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Broken hearted but determined to continue the business of their dreams, she takes the life insurance money, buys a small house in a gentrifying neighborhood, flips it, then puts the money into her next project. But that house is a disaster and a money-loser, which rocks her confidence for years to come. Then Hattie gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: star in a beach house renovation reality show called "The Homewreckers", cast against a male lead who may be a love interest or may be the ultimate antagonist. It's a question of who will flip, and who will flop, and will Hattie ever get her happily-ever-after.

Hattie is in her early thirties.  She was widowed about seven years ago and continues to work for her father-in-law (who is more like a father to her) restoring houses ... they buy them, fix them up and then flip them.  Hattie is approached to be part of a reality show called "The Homewreckers" ... the show will follow her as she restores a dilapidated house.  She will be accompanied by Trae, a handsome charming designer, who unbeknownst to her is supposed to pretend to woe her to get more ratings for the show.  She sinks all her money (plus money she's had to borrow) in a condemned beachhouse and they get to work.  Not surprisingly there are sparks between Hattie and Trae but because everything is on the line with the house, that's what she has to focus on.

While they are renovating, a wallet is found hidden in the house that belongs to a well-loved school teacher who had disappeared 17 years ago.  No one knows what had happened to her but speculation was that she had run off with her lover, leaving her husband and young daughter behind.

I thought the book was okay.  When I started reading it, it came across as a light fun read about the behind the scenes of a reality show.  Then when the wallet was found and the story included the disappearance and possible murder of the teacher, there was a disconnect for me ... it's like the author was trying to stick two stories together that didn't fit.  I think each on their own would have been a better way to do it.  It is written in third person perspective.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

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.

  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

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Marcello's Pizzeria, Vaughan ON,

I had lunch today at Marcello’s Pizzeria in Vaughan. 

I’ve had pizza there before and it was good so I ordered a pepperoni pizza … yum! I’m taking some home.

Arthur, my server, asked me if I wanted dessert. I wasn’t hungry but it’s been busy busy week so I asked what they had. He listed the usual Italian desserts but also said sprinkle cake. I asked him what that was and he said a cake with sprinkles. How could I say no!? And it is indeed a cake with sprinkles!

Thanks, Arthur!

Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Aurora, ON

I had client seminars to conduct in Aurora this week and spent Tuesday night and last night at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Wellington Street E/404).

When I had reserved a room online on Monday, there were only rooms with two queen beds available.  When I checked it on Tuesday afternoon, I asked if there were any rooms with one king bed available ... it's just me, I don't need two beds.  The receptionist upgraded me to a king suite, which was nice of her.

It was a big room!  I was at the client's site most of the time on Tuesday and Wednesday so coming back to some space was nice.

The bed was comfy!

The big window faced south ... so the 404, which is a busy highway,  So it was noisy when there was a lot of traffic.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Mr. Greek, Aurora, ON

I didn’t have time for lunch today so was hungry when my workday was over so I stopped at Mr. Greek in Aurora for take-out for a late supper.

I ordered a classic chicken souvlaki dinner with potatoes and rice.  It was good and there are leftovers for my breakfast tomorrow.

Book ~ "The Match" (2022) Harlan Coben

From Goodreads ~ Wilde has grown up knowing nothing of his family, and even less about his own identity . All he knows is that, as a young child, he was found living a feral existence in the Ramapo mountains of New Jersey.

He became known simply as Wilde, the boy from the woods.

Now Wilde has had a hit on the DNA website he has been researching. A 100% match. His father. They meet up, and Wilde soon realises that his father doesn't even know he had a son and is as mystified as Wilde is by his existence.

Undaunted, Wilde continues his research for his family on DNA websites where he becomes caught up in a community of online doxxers, a secret group committed to exposing anonymous trolls.

Then one by one these doxxers start to die, and it soon becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting this secret community - and that his next victim might be Wilde himself.

When Wilde was young, he was found wandering around in the woods alone.  He didn't know his name or where he came from and was put in foster care.  He's lived his life basically as a loner, living in an eco-trailer in the words, though he is close to a few people including his godson, Matthew; Matthew's mother, Laila (she is the widow of his best friend, David) and Hester, David's mother.  He is starting to get curious about where he came from so he sends his DNA to a site and gets a close match who he discovers is his father.  They meet and and rather than causing problems for his newly found father, he doesn't contact him again.

Wilde also gets a match to a second cousin named Peter.  Peter was on a reality show where he met his wife, Jenn, and they seemed like a perfect couple.  But then things came out about Peter and it seemed that he can't face them and disappeared ... everyone assumes he has committed suicide.  Wilde isn't sure he believes this, especially once people start getting murdered and Peter seems to be a key.

I've read a few books by this author and thought this one was okay.  There was a lot going on that seemed a bit convoluted but it all came together in the end.  The book is written in third person perspective, with a focus on wherever the action was.  It is in first person perspective in some chapters in the killer's voice.  This is the second in the "Wilde" series ... I didn't realize this when I started reading it.  It worked as a stand alone, though it would be helpful to have read the first one (which I will) because there were references to things that had happened in the past.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Sunset Grill Restaurant, Aurora, ON

It’s going to be a long busy day and I don’t think I’ll get a chance to eat again until this evening. So I had a big breakfast at Sunset Grill in Aurora.

I ordered three eggs, peameal bacon, toast and milk ... and it was delicious! Yum!

My server was friendly and took good care of me.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Aurora ON

I’m “on the road” this week and want to eat healthy. I had an early supper at Swiss Chalet in Aurora. 

I ordered a half chicken dinner (I don’t eat the skin) with corn. There was a delay because there was no chicken ready. I said I’d wait figuring it wouldn’t be too long and I wasn’t in a rush. After a while, I asked how long of a wait and was told 25 minutes. Okay, that was too long so my server asked if I wanted two “white” instead. Sure! A few minutes later, my meal arrived … a half chicken (!!) and green beans (yuk). My server took it back and replaced the green beans with corn. After the wait and confusion, I’m glad my meal ended up being good.

Monday, 18 April 2022

Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Etobicoke, ON (Queensway)

I spent 6 hours at a client’s site this afternoon so when I left around 6:15pm, I was STARVING as I hadn’t had lunch.

I stopped at Swiss Chalet on the Queensway on my home for supper.

 I ordered a half chicken dinner with corn ... I don't eat the skin of the chicken so it's fairly healthy. It was really good. The corn was hot and crunchy and the chicken was moist and tender. Yum!

 Thanks, Alem!

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Books ~ "Canada - From the Great Lakes to the Arctic Circle" (2022) Norah Myers

From Goodreads ~ When you think of Canada, do you picture the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains, the sprawling metropolis of Toronto, or its many national parks? Perhaps moose, maple syrup or the vast expanse of the northern territories spring to mind. 

Canada is blessed with rugged mountains, ancient forests and large cosmopolitan cities; it stretches west from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the Arctic Ocean. There is much to discover in this breathtakingly beautiful and vast country. Canada is a fascinating exploration of the second largest country in the world. From Churchill ‘Polar bear capital of the world’ in northern Manitoba to the sleek streets of Toronto – the most populous city in Canada, from the excitement of dog-sledding in Montreal to relaxing on a beach in Vancouver, this book is packed with more than 200 spectacular photographs. 

As a Canadian, born in Nova Scotia, living in Toronto for more than 30 years and I've seen a fair bit of Canada, I thought it would be fun to see some pictures of Canada.

This book is a collection of full-colour pictures but also short facts to go along with the pictures.

The book is split into five sections:
  1. The Atlantic Region - New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland
  2. Central Canada - Ontario and Quebec
  3. The Prairie Provinces - Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
  4. British Columbia
  5. The North - Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.

Some of the pictures were really nice ... but others seemed amateurish and had no point and better ones could have taken their place.

While the author states that Ontario and Quebec are Canada's two largest and most populated provinces, she lumps them together into one section.  Being the largest provinces, I would have thought that they would have warranted their own sections, especially given how different Quebec is in many respects from the rest of Canada.  Yet, British Columbia got its own section?!

The pictures in the sections seemed randomly placed.  In the Atlantic Region, for example, rather than starting at Newfoundland and making her way westward, the author bounces back and forth around the provinces which I found distracting.  There are a lot of pictures of Newfoundland ... there's nothing wrong with Newfoundland but it seemed to have been her focus in that section.  And where were the pictures of Peggy's Cove or the Cabot Trail?

Friday, 15 April 2022

Book ~ "Not Like the Movies" (2020) Kerry Winfrey

From Goodreads ~ Chloe Sanderson is an optimist and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early onset Alzheimer's, she's pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time - or interest - in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that's about to premiere in theaters across America ... and happens to be inspired by Chloe and Nick Velez, Chloe's cute but no-nonsense boss.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man and now she can't see him as anything but Reason #2: The Scruffy-Bearded Hunk Who's Always There When You Need Him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn't so sure her own story will end in a Happily Ever After.

Chloe works in a coffee shop owned by Nick.  She's good at what she does but she has a lot on the go ... her father is in a home with Alzheimer's and Chloe is his sole caregiver.  She is working on getting her BA degree online.  Her best friend, Annie, recently wrote a screenplay fictionalizing the attraction between Chloe and Nick, which is attracting unwanted attention.  Plus Annie is getting married to Drew, an actor, and in addition to being her maid of honour, Chloe has promised to make a bunch of pies and pompoms for the wedding. The attraction between Nick and Chloe can't be denied but she doesn't have time for a relationship, which adds even more pressure.

This was a cute light story and is the second in the Waiting for Tom Hanks series ... I read the first one last week.  It works as a stand alone and you don't have to read the first one in the series to know what's going on.  It’s written in first person perspective in Chloe’s voice. I like the writing style … it was a fun read and I look forward to reading others by this author.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Live theatre ~ “Kurios Cabinet of Curiosities”, Cirque Du Soliel, Toronto, ON

Yelp Toronto was giving out tickets to Elite Yelpers for tonight’s dress rehearsal of Cirque Du Soliel Kurios Cabinet of Curiosities. I was lucky enough to get a pair and Gord and I went. 

Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down.

It opens tomorrow under the Big Top at Ontario Place. This is the third time I’ve seen it (I saw it twice when it was here in 2014).

I still had no idea what the story was about but that didn't matter ... the show was really good. There is a large cast and there is always something going on ... there is lots of acrobatics, balancing, singing, clapping, laughs and more.