Monday, 26 September 2022

Book ~ "The Marsh Murders" (2016) Victoria Abbott

From Goodreads ~ Jordan works hard to improve Vera Van Alst’s collection of classic detective stories. So when Chadwick Kauffman - heir to the Kauffman fortune - offers a very good price on a fine collection of Ngaio Marsh first editions owned by his recently deceased stepfather, she is thrilled to meet with him at his fabled summer estate, Summerlea.

The next day, Jordan and Vera are shocked to read that Chadwick has died in a fall from the grand staircase at Summerlea. But when the picture in the paper is of a different man, it becomes clear that the ladies are victims of a scam. And they’ll have to unmask the imposter fast, because someone is trying to frame them for murder.

Vera Van Alst, an older crusty recluse, gets an invitation to purchase a Ngaio Marsh first edition collection from Chadwick Kauffman, who had recently inherited it.   Jordan's job is buying and reselling books for Vera ... she enjoys her job and the cute apartment in Vera's house that comes with it. Vera, along with Jordan and Kev (Vera's handyman and Jordan's not-so-smart uncle) are invited to lunch for the transaction.  All goes well and they are surprised to learn the next day that Chadwick had been murdered and Vera, Jordan and Uncle Kev are the suspects. They discover they have been set up and the man they transacted with wasn't Chadwick.  Not surprisingly the police don't believe them so it's up to Jordan to prove their innocence.

I thought this one was okay (it's better than the last one) and I found the story interesting.  There was a lot talk about characters from what I'm assuming are Ngaio Marsh's books ... I didn't know who they were so that was dead space for me and I skipped over these references.  The whodunnit came out of nowhere but I was okay with it even though it seems too unbelievable to be able to pull off.  

Though this is the fourth in the Book Collector Mystery series, it works as a stand alone. It is written in first person perspective in Jordan's voice. As it's a cozy mystery (so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity), it was a quick easy read.  Jordan met Tyler, a police officer, in book 1, they started dating in book 2, he was off on a mysteries job training in book 3 and in this book (book 4) he breaks up with her.  I know it's a cozy mystery but there's zero romantic interaction between them.  Jordan has a best friend named Tiff who is conveniently never around ... she's off working in faraway places.  She never add any value so what's the point in having her in the stories?  There are recipes at the end.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

Scented Candle Making Workshop, Yummi, Toronto, ON

This afternoon Gord, Dawn (our pal, neighbour and fellow scented candle addict) and I did the scented candle making workshop at Yummi in the Distillery District.

Me, Gord and Dawn
Our supplies were at our stations

Caelen and Arieh were our instructors.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Smart Serve Certification

When we buy beer or wine at No Frills, we have to pay at a "Beer Lane" checkout and I wondered what a cashier has to do to able to sell me alcohol. 

Well, they have to take a 4 hour online sales, service and delivery Smart Serve Ontario training program approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), write a 33 question proctored exam and get 80% or more to pass. Apparently Smart Serve is mandatory for working where alcohol is sold, served or handled. 

Curious I enrolled in the training, just wrote the exam and passed. Whoohoo! The material was interesting and I learned a lot.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Book ~ "Things We Do in the Dark" (2022) Jennifer Hillier

From Goodreads ~ When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom - covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her - she knows she'll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it's not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it's only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she's worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future.

Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder in a trial that riveted Canada in the early nineties. Reyes knows who Paris really is and when she's unexpectedly released from prison, she threatens to expose all of Paris's secrets. Left with no other choice, Paris must finally confront the dark past she escaped, once and for all.

Because the only thing worse than a murder charge are two murder charges.

Paris is a yoga instructor in Seattle who has been married to Jimmy, a much older actor/comedian who is making a comeback, for a couple of years.  When she arrives home early from a weekend yoga conference, she finds Jimmy dead in a bathtub full of blood.  Though Paris assumes he has committed suicide, she is arrested for the murder of her husband.  Things look even worse when it's discovered that she would inherit almost $50 million at his death.  Did she murder him for his money?

Twenty-five years ago in Toronto, Ruby was a single mother who dated married men in hopes they would leave their wives and take care of her.  She takes her frustrations out on Joey, her young daughter, by abusing her.  After a fight with her latest married beau, Ruby kills him in a fit of rage and is sent to prison for life for his murder.  Joey is sent to live with Ruby's sister and her sister's family north of Toronto, who only take her in because they are paid to.  Once Joey is old enough, she heads back to Toronto and becomes friends and roommates with Drew and Simone.  Joey is tragically killed in a fire in her apartment a couple years later.  Ruby is paroled and Drew, a reporter, decides to do a series of podcasts about her.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it.  I liked the writing style and found the story interesting.  I look forward to reading other books by this author.  It is written in third person perspective with a focus on Paris and Joey.  The story bounces back in time from Paris' story today to Ruby and Joey's story in the past.  As a head's up, there is swearing, violence and child abuse.

Thursday, 22 September 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.

  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

Gladstone House Bistro + Bar, Toronto, ON

After our float, Gord and I were hungry (you are supposed to just eat a light meal 60-90 minutes before your float) so we had lunch across the street at the Gladstone House Bistro + Bar.  It's been a while since we've been there.  They recently renovated so we were curious to see that changes.

Gord had Beef Tartare (Fried Capers, Burger Sauce, Pickled Shallots), House Chips and Cured Egg Yolk for the first time and liked it. 

I had a Melody Burger (Two Smash Patties, Brown Butter) and fries, which was good.

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 haven't done one in while so we were due.

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 meditative music and the light off so was in total blackness.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Something in the Water Brewing Guided Beer Tasting, Toronto, ON

Something in the Water Brewing Co. is a new brewery that opened four months ago in Liberty Village.  We've been a few times ... it's a cute spot and we like their beer.

Tonight they had their first ever guided beer tasting and it was led by Steve, one of the owners, and Tea, who is a Level 3 Prud’homme Beer Sommelier as well as one of the brewery’s founders.

Something Light for the tour

Monday, 19 September 2022

Book ~ "The Wolfe Widow" (2014) Victoria Abbott

From Goodreads ~ As Thanksgiving approaches, Jordan Bingham is grateful for her job researching rare books for Vera Van Alst, the infamous curmudgeon of Harrison Falls, New York. But when an uninvited guest makes an appearance, much more than dinner is disrupted - and Jordan is thankful just to be alive.

Vera Van Alst doesn’t normally receive visitors without appointment but she agrees to see the imperious Muriel Delgado upon arrival. Shortly thereafter, Jordan is told that her position is being terminated. Evicted from the Van Alst House, Jordan is determined to find out what hold Muriel has over her erstwhile employer.

It seems Muriel has designs on Vera’s money and property - not to mention a particular interest in her collection of Nero Wolfe first editions. When Jordan discovers a deadly connection between Muriel and the Van Alst family, it’s up to her to put the house in order and stop a killer from going back to press.

Jordan has a job buying and reselling books for an older crusty recluse, Vera Van Alst ... she enjoys her job and the cute apartment in Vera's house that comes with it.  One night a stranger named Muriel Delgado shows up at the door and the next day Jordan is abruptly fired.  She wants to know why and starts investigating who Muriel is and how she has such a hold on Vera.  When Jordan is involved in a hit and run, she is even more determined to find out what's going on.

I wasn't crazy about this one.  Jordan doesn't have a lot of friends and it was weird and unbelievable that she wasn't able to reach the few that she has so had to depend on her not-so-smart Uncle Kevin (who works for Vera) and acquaintances.  There was a lot talk about characters from what I'm assuming are Nero Wolfe's books ... I didn't know who they were so that was dead space for me and I skipped over these references.  The ending was convoluted and must tie into a plot from a Nero Wolfe book.

Though this is the third in the Book Collector Mystery series, it works as a stand alone.  It is written in first person perspective in Jordan's voice.  As it's a cozy mystery (so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity), it was a quick easy read.  There are recipes at the end.  

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Belgian Moon, Stackt Market, Toronto, ON

After the Terry Fox Run, Gord and I walked to Stackt Market  (Bathurst Street/Front Street) for lunch.  We were hot and tired so sat inside (in the a/c) at  Belgian Moon (just as it was opening).

My cold mango wheat beer was tasty!

Terry Fox Run, CityPlace (Canoe Landing Park), Toronto, ON

The annual Terry Fox Run was today and this is my fifth year doing it.  This year Gord and I did it at CityPlace (Canoe Landing Park), about 2km east of us.  This is the first year we've done it there ... in the past we did it in Liberty Village but they didn't have a run this year.

Terry Fox (1958 – 1981) was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian and cancer research activist.  In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research.  He hoped to raise one dollar from each of Canada's 24 million people.  He began in St. John's, Newfoundland, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. After 143 days and 5,373km/3,339 miles, he was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay, ON, when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.  Almost $900 million has been raised in his name.

And we're off!

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Mexican Independence, Lula Lounge, Toronto, ON

Gord and I celebrated Independencia Mexicana tonight at Lula Lounge (on Dundas Street W)

Enjoy live traditional mariachi with Mariachi los Gallos followed DJ Nexus and Latintos! Book early for our special Mexican menu by Flor Mexicana and be sure to ask about our paloma, margarita and michelada cocktail specials. At midnight we will be streaming ‘El Grito’ direct from Mexico so that we can join Mexicans around the globe in hearing the President address the people from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City on the eve of Mexican Independence Day. Viva Mexico!

Mariachi Los Gallos played the first set and were fun and traditional.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Toronto Blue Jays 5 ~ Tampa Bay Rays 1, Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to this evening's Toronto Blue Jays game.  I had gotten the tickets complimentary in a giveaway from Rogers, our Internet/cable provider "in appreciation for your continued loyalty as a Rogers customer".  I never say "no" to free tickets!

Here we are ...

Our seats were just past first base in the first section.

The Lakeview Restaurant, Toronto, ON

I had brunch today at The Lakeview Restaurant (Dundas W/Ossington). 

Lots of sticky notes!