Sunday, 31 July 2022

Book ~ "Hello, Molly! A Memoir" (2022) Molly Shannon

From Goodreads ~ At age four, Molly Shannon's world was shattered when she lost her mother, baby sister and cousin in a car accident with her father at the wheel. Held together by her tender and complicated relationship with her grieving father, Molly was raised in a permissive household where her gift for improvising and role-playing blossomed alongside the fearlessness that would lead her to become a celebrated actress.

From there, Molly ventured into the wider world of New York and Los Angeles show business, where she created her own opportunities and developed her daring and empathetic comedy. Filled with behind-the-scenes stories involving everyone from Whitney Houston to Adam Sandler to Monica Lewinsky, many told for the first time here, "Hello, Molly!" spans Molly's time on "Saturday Night Live" - where she starred alongside Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Cheri Oteri, Tracy Morgan and Jimmy Fallon, among many others. 

At the same time, it explores with humor and candor her struggle to come to terms with the legacy of her father, a man who both fostered her gifts and drive and was left with the impossible task of raising his kids alone after the loss of her mother.

Molly Shannon is an actress and comedian whose career has spanned movies and TV.  I recently saw her in the series, I Love That For You, which I liked.

Molly was born and raised in Ohio, the middle daughter of three ... her mother was a teacher and her father was a sales manager.  When she was four, she, her family and her cousin were driving home from her aunt's house with her father driving (after he'd been drinking) when they got in an accident ... her mother, younger sister and cousin were killed.  With her father grieving with the loss of his wife and daughter and carrying around the guilt of the accident, she and her older sister, Mary, were raised in non-traditional fashion.  Her father ran hot and cold ... he was either very easy going or would get into fits of rage ... Molly and Mary learned to gauge his moods and react accordingly.

Molly became interested in acting and had dreams of being a dramatic actress.  After university, she moved to LA and worked hard at becoming known, while working in restaurants, etc. to survive.  She was told she had a knack for comedy and that seemed to be her calling and she followed it.  After a lot of hustling and hard work, she made it!

I've liked what I've seen Molly in, though I haven't really watched Saturday Night Live since the Belushi/Ackroyd years (I find the comedy on the show hit and miss).  I liked the writing style of this book and Molly seems likable ... I think she wrote with honesty and it probably helped her deal with the loss of her mother and sister at such a young age and understand her father's behaviour over the years.  I like reading bios/autobios and Molly's is interesting, not only with how hard she worked to make her dreams come true (while being true to herself) but also dealing with all the grief from the past.

Tom's Dairy Freeze, Etobicoke, ON

After my walk, I felt like an ice cream.  Rather than getting one at the ice cream truck that was in one of the parking lots, I headed to Tom's Dairy Freeze on the Queensway (about 10 minutes away).


A banana split sounded like a good idea so I ordered a small one.  Yum!

Martin Goodman Trail, Toronto, ON

It was a sunny refreshing morning and I felt like going for a walk.  I wanted to be near the water so I drove to Budapest Park and parked.  It was a lovely morning for a walk.  I headed west along the Martin Goodman Trail.

Not too many yet at Sunnyside Beach

Saturday, 30 July 2022

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

Friday, 29 July 2022

Book ~ "This Time Next Year" (2020) Sophie Cousens

From GoodreadsDown-to-earth baker Minnie Cooper knows two things with great certainty: that her New Year’s birthday has always been unlucky and that it’s all because of Quinn Hamilton, a man she’s never met. 

Minnie and Quinn were born at the same hospital just after midnight on New Year’s Day thirty years before, and not only did he edge her out by mere minutes to win the cash prize for being the first baby born in London in 1990 but he stole the name she was meant to have as well. With luck like that, it’s no wonder each of her birthdays has been more of a disaster than the one before.

When Minnie unexpectedly runs into Quinn at a New Year’s party on their mutual thirtieth birthday, she sees only more evidence that fortune has continued to favor him. The handsome, charming business owner truly seems to have it all - including the perfect girlfriend. But if Quinn and Minnie are from different worlds, why do they keep bumping into each other? And why is it that each frustrating interaction somehow seems to leave them both hoping for more?


It's New Year's Eve 1989 and Connie and Tara are both in labour at the hospital.  Tara is having a hard time so Connie talks her through it, including telling Tara that she plans on naming her child Quinn, regardless whether it's a girl or boy.  Tara delivers first and not only does she name her son Quinn but she also wins a cash prize of having the first baby born in London in 1990.  Not only is Connie pissed that Tara stole her name (she named her daughter Minnie) but she's also mad that Tara won the money and doesn't need it ... and over the years, she lets everyone know how much it bothers her.

Years later Minnie and Quinn meet at a posh New Year's Eve party and they will both turn 30 the next day.  Growing up, Minnie always hated New Year's Eve and felt her birthday day was jinxed so avoided it.  She is running a pie making business with her best friend, which isn't going so well.  Quinn, on the other hand, seems to have it all ... looks, a great job and wealth and Minnie's original name.  Circumstances throw them together and they end up becoming friends and Minnie discovers Quinn's life isn't as idyllic as she thought.

This was a cute story and I liked it.  It is written in third person perspective, mainly in Minnie and Quinn's voices.  There were some quirky side characters.  The chapters jump around from the past to the present (they are labeled) usually around New Year's Eve.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Firehall Pizza Co., Blue Mountains, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at Firehall Pizza Co. in Blue Mountain Village.  We'd been there before and liked it.

The upside down Christmas tree is still there

I had a Meat Head pizza and Gord had a Mystic pizza (he added bacon). Both were good and we have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow. 

iwa Spa, Blue Mountains, ON

For our birthdays, Gord and I don't buy each other anything ... instead we gift each other a massage.  So we just had an hour long “Wine and Dandy” massage at iwa Spa in Blue Mountain Village. 


The hot towel compresses smelled of crème brûlée which was followed by agave nectar massage oil. Very nice! 

Then a half hour laying in the Ganban Volcanic Rock Studio listening to a relaxation meditation ... had it been longer, I would have fallen asleep!


Rather than get our wine to-go, we enjoyed a glass of Pinot in rocking chairs on their patio. 

Sunset Grill Restaurant, Blue Mountains, ON

Gord and I had breakfast this morning at the Sunset Grill.  If you want a hearty breakfast, it's the only place to go in Blue Mountain Village ... it's a popular spot.  We got there about 10am and had a 20 minute wait for a table ... but it was worth it!


I ordered bacon and eggs ... my usual ... and it was good and filling.  I left about half the home fries.


Gord ordered the Eggs Benedict on crab cakes special.  He said it was good and filling ... he too left some home fries.


Ainsley was our server and she took good care of us.

Happy 20th anniversary to Gord and I!

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

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!

Monday, 25 July 2022

Northwinds Brewpub, Blue Mountains, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening on the patio at Northwinds Brewpub in Blue Mountain Village.


I ordered chicken wings with spicy butter Buffalo sauce.  They were good!  They were big and moist.

MJ Byrne’s Irish Pub, Blue Mountains, ON

Gord and I had a late lunch today on the patio at MJ Byrne's in the Blue Mountain Village ... we had a lovely view of the mountain.


I ordered an Mj's Burger (with no lettuce or onions) and fries.  It was a good substantial burger and surprisingly not dry.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

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

Book ~ "Long Bright River" (2020) Liz Moore

From Goodreads ~ In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don't speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.

Then Kacey disappears suddenly at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey's district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit - and her sister - before it's too late.

Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters' childhood and adolescence, "Long Bright River" is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.

Sisters Mickey and Kacey were raised by Gee, their maternal grandmother ... their mother had passed away (ODed) when they were young and their father disappeared and was later presumed to be dead.  Gee was all they had and she was cold and struggled to support the three of them ... and never let them forget it.  Mickey was the "good" sister ... she was quiet, did well in school and eventually became a police officer.  Younger sister, Kacey, was friendly but rebellious, eventually developed a drug addiction and became a prostitute to support herself.

Fast forward to present day and young women are found murdered.  Though Mickey and Kacey don't speak anymore, Mickey becomes concerned when she hasn't seen Kacey around for a while and no one knows where she is.  She starts to investigate because she thinks the same thing may happened to her sister.

I thought this story was okay, though depressing.  The author incorporated anything and everything traumatic and sad into it ... prostitution, drugs, police corruption, death of mother at an early age, abandonment of father at an early age, abusive childhood, single mother, murdered young women, poverty, lack of babysitting resources, etc.  Mickey has no support system (and I didn't feel bad for her) ... she doesn't have a relationship with Gee or Kacey and avoids what little family she does have, she has no friends, she's dodging her ex-boyfriend and the father of her young son, she thinks her boss hates her, her long time partner is off on disability because of an injury and more.

I thought the writing style was okay, though a bit slow (it's almost 400 pages).  The chapters tended to be long but they were chunked up, which made it easier to read.  I hated there were no quotation marks when people were speaking.  For example:

- Fitzpatrick, he said. Welcome to the party. You're with Lafferty today in 1613.
- Who's Lafferty, I said, before I thought better of this.

As a head's up, there is swearing.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Coconut Candle Company - July 2022

My July Coconut Candle Company subscription box (full size) just arrived ... the theme is summer.

Get a surprise selection of unique candles that we've never released before before released delivered to you. Choose between 1 month, 6 months (3 boxes) or 1 year (5 boxes).

Each themed box has a value of well over $100 and includes surprise gifts from other small businesses.

It's always a fun box to receive!


Here's what I received ...

Monday, 18 July 2022

Book ~ "Homemade Sin" (1994) Mary Kay Andrews (Kathy Hogan Trocheck)

From Goodreads ~ Callahan Garrity is the owner of House Mouse, a cleaning service that tidies up after Atlanta's elite. She's also a former cop and a part-time sleuth. She and her coterie of devoted helpers can ransack a house for clues faster than it takes a fingerprint to set.

Some people might call Callahan Garrity nosy but she prefers to think of her tendency toward snooping as a healthy interest in the truth. So when news reaches her of her cousin Patti's death during a carjacking, Callahan shakes off her House Mouse cleaning uniform to don her detective's cap. It's not that she doesn't have confidence in the Atlanta police - she used to be among their ranks - but the crime is too incongruous with Patti's suburban life to seem like a random incident.

Callahan used to be a police officer and changed careers when she bought House Mouse, a cleaning service that she runs with her mother, Edna ... but she still does private investigating on the side.

Callahan is shocked and sad when her close cousin, Patti, is murdered in a carjacking.  Patti's young son was in the backseat when it happened and is a witness but has a mental handicap so isn't able to fully tell what happened.  The police are looking into it and suspect that it's gang related. But Callahan is wondering what her cousin was doing on that side of town where it happened because she rarely left her neighbourhood.  Callahan starts her own investigation by questioning and then alienating her family members.  There is a $1.5 million insurance policy on Patti so Callahan gets some help from the insurance company agent investigating it and friends who are still police officers but who aren't on the case.

The writing style and storyline were okay.  It is written in first person perspective in Callahan's voice.  Because it was originally written in the early 1990s, they are still using pay phones, CDs, etc. and there are references by Callahan of growing up in the 1970s.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

This is the third in the Callahan Garrity Mystery Series ... I read the first one in 2018 and recently picked the series back up again and read the second one last week.