Sunday, 30 October 2022

Book ~ "Len & Cub: A Queer History" (2022) Meredith J. Batt and Dusty Green

From Goodreads ~ Leonard "Len" Keith and Joseph "Cub" Coates grew up in the rural New Brunswick village of Havelock in the early 20th century. The two were neighbours and they clearly developed an inseparable relationship. 

Len was an amateur photographer and automobile enthusiast who went on to own a local garage and poolhall after serving in the First World War. Cub was the son of a farmer, also a veteran of the First World War, a butcher, contractor, and lover of horses. 

Their time together is catalogued by Len’s photos, which show that the two shared a mutual love of the outdoors, animals and adventure. Photographs of Len and Cub on hunting and canoe trips with arms around each other’s shoulders or in bed together make clear the affection they held for each other. Their story is one of the oldest photographic records of a same-sex couple in the Maritimes.

"Len & Cub" features Len’s photos of their life and tells the story of their relationship against the background of same-sex identity and relationships in rural North America of the early 20th century. Although Len was outed and forced to leave Havelock in the 1930s, the story of Len and Cub is one of love and friendship that challenges contemporary ideas about sex and gender expression in the early 20th century.


When Len's sister, Lucy, passed away in 1984, her estate was put up for auction. Included in the auction was a large collection of family photographs which were purchased by Havelock, New Brunswick, local John Jacob Corey. He donated the photographs to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick in 2011.  Most of the pictures were taken by Len and were of Len and his friend, Cub. John Jacob described Len and Cub as "boyfriends", which was illegal when the pictures were taken and the relationship happened in the 1920s and 1930s.

This book tells the story of Len and Cub. Ultimately Len was "outed" in the 1930s and forced to flee Havelock, never to return. Cub seems to have been unscathed and eventually married a woman and lived out his days in Moncton. In addition, the book describes the consequences of same-sex relationships at that time.

Lots of Len's pictures are included in the book. There is a large notes section at the end ... the authors obviously did their research to prepare the book.  It was an interesting read and thankfully times have changed.

Saturday, 29 October 2022

Cat Shelter Building Workshop, Toronto Street Cats, Toronto, ON

I spent this morning volunteering with Toronto Street Cats building cat shelters.  The workshops are held throughout the fall and winter season in the garage of the Toronto Humane Society.  It's my fifth year volunteering with them ... it's so nice helping the kitties in Toronto keep warm and dry during the cold winter. We made 82 cat shelters and prepped to complete 15 more.

Our mission: improve the lives of Toronto’s homeless cats by offering spay/neuter services, free for feral cats, and building overwintering shelters. We are also working to increase public awareness about Toronto’s homeless cat population and the importance of spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR).

We are part of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, working together to implement strategic TNR programs to sterilize Toronto’s feral cats, decrease shelter intake and reduce euthanasia rates.

My pal, Darlene, and I

We taped the insulated walls together in the bins and then taped the tubing entrances ... I started with the first part (I like it better) then moved on to taping the tubing to the shelters. Thom cut the tubing for the entrance ways, cut the Styrofoam for insulated walls and drilled holes into the bins after the insulated walls had been taped inside.  Judy put the straw in the bins and closed them up. 

Friday, 28 October 2022

Book ~ "Look Both Ways" (2022) Linwood Barclay

From GoodreadsThe media have descended on Garrett Island, a small isolated community that is the setting of a visionary experiment. All the residents’ cars were sent to the mainland and for the past month the islanders have been “driving” the Arrival, a revolutionary autonomous vehicle. With a simple voice command, an Arrival will take you wherever you want to go and because the fleet is networked and aware of one another, car travel is now 100% safe. The future, it seems, has arrived.

As the excitement reaches a fever pitch, Sandra Montrose -  islander, single mom and public relations executive - prepares for Arrival Inc.'s flashy press event. Sandra is more than ready for this new world. Her husband died after falling asleep at the wheel and she’s relieved that her two teens, Archie and Katie, will never need driver’s licenses.

But as the celebratory day gets underway, disaster strikes. A visiting journalist has vanished, possibly murdered. Before long, the Arrivals run amok, no longer taking orders from their passengers. They’re starting to organize. They’re beginning to hunt. And they seem hell-bent on killing any human they encounter.

Is this all just a tragic accident, a technological malfunction with deadly consequences? Or were the vehicles programmed to act this way in a cruel act of corporate sabotage? Or could it be that the Arrivals have a mind of their own?

Arrival Inc. has designed a revolutionary car that drives itself ... there's no steering wheel because you don't need one. You name the car and it will do whatever you tell it to do ... they are electric so all you have to remember is to plug it in.

For the last month, the residents of Garrett Island were given one to use and their own cars were moved to the mainland. Arrival Inc. is having a huge media event and Sandra, a widow, a mother of two teens and a local PR rep, is organizing it.  Lisa, the CEO, and her assistant, are there to present about how amazing their cars are. Unbeknownst to anyone, Kyle, the owner of a rival self-driving car maker is also there. He hates Lisa because he thinks she was the one who destroyed his company and wants revenge.

After the presentation, Lisa leads the reporters outside to show off the cars ... and that's when everything goes to hell. The cars suddenly have a mind of their own and they are intent on hunting and killing all the humans on Garrett Island and beyond. Panic sets in as everyone tries to get off the island and/or out of the path of the out of control cars.

While Sandra is managing the wrath of Lisa and her assistant, she has the comfort of knowing that her two children are safe and sound at home ... but are they?

I've read many books by this author and I liked this one ... it's different from his usual style. It is written in third person perspective from many points of view, depending on where the action was.  There was a twist toward the end and I'm still wondering whether I am okay with it. As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Fort York After Dark: Lantern Tour, Fort York, Toronto, ON

My friend, Trish and I did the Fort York After Dark Lantern Tour tonight. 

Hear chilling and eerie tales on a lantern tour of Fort York and its historic surroundings đź‘» Learn about a strange lighthouse and the bloody Battle of York. Explore the military burial ground. Tour the creepy shadows and 200-year-old buildings of Fort York at night and learn of the Fort’s history and its many unearthly mysteries.

There were a lot of attendees and we were split into three groups ... our guide was Colin, who was knowledgeable and interesting.  We were led around to different parts of the Fort and told stories about what had happened over the years ... how the British, Canadian and Aboriginal soldiers at the Fort tried to defend the town of York (now Toronto) when the Americans attacked in 1813, the burials and cemeteries, and more.  We were taken into some of the darkened buildings and told of mysterious unexplained sights and sounds.

My Roti Place, Toronto, ON (King Street W)

My friend, Trish, and I had supper this evening at My Roti Place (King Street W/Strachan Avenue).


I had a curry chicken roti and Trish had a tofu mutter roti (she is vegan). Both were good and filling.

My curry chicken roti
My curry chicken roti
Trish's tofu and mutter roti

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Mill Street Brew Pub, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I saw The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale, we had supper at Mill Street Brew Pub in the Distillery District. 


We both ordered burgers and fries which were really good. The buns were sooooo soft! Too many fries, though, and we left lots behind.


Carly was friendly and took good care of us.

"The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale", Soulpepper Theatre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw “The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale” this afternoon at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Distillery District. 


Can you turn sentimental value into cold hard cash? 

Haley McGee was on the phone with Visa, promising to pay off her bill by having a yard sale, when she realised the only things she could sell were gifts from her exes. Inspired by this call, "The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale" is a hilarious and daring show about calculating the cost of love ... or what love costs us.

It was a creative use of the stage and props and Haley McGee was committed to her performance. It was interesting to be able to guess the value of the items in her “yard sale” beforehand. 

Sunday, 23 October 2022

Book ~ "A Trip With Trouble" (2022) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ When the ladies of the Dangerous Curves Motorcycle Club take over the Mountaintop Lodge for their annual autumn ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Misty Murphy couldn’t be more thrilled. Every room is full and the adventurous women even invite Misty and her assistant Brynn to join them on a ride to admire the colorful fall foliage. Hotel handyman Rocky Crowder is happy to keep an eye on the lodge for the day and the ladies set out for a fun ride on the scenic road.

The skies are clear, the air is crisp and the leaves are gorgeous. But what starts as a perfect ride turns worrisome when the tail gunner - the last rider in their group - fails to show up at the Craggy Gardens overlook. Cell phone service is spotty in the remote mountainous area and the group is unable to connect with their friend. Might the missing woman have simply run out of gas? Or is something far more sinister afoot?

The ladies are determined to locate their ride or die and Misty is equally determined to help them. But will they be able to solve the mystery when the scenic route seems intent on hiding its secrets?


Misty is fifty and starting a new life and recently bought a mountain lodge which she'd visited many times and has fond memories of. Brynn is her assistant, the restaurant across the street provides a buffet breakfast in the mornings and Rocky, a local handyman, lives at the lodge and does maintenance in return for a room.

A women's motorcycle club has booked the lodge for the week so they can ride the roads, go for hikes and enjoy the fall colours.  Misty and Brynn are quite envious so jump at the chance when they are invited to spend the day on the back of the bikes touring around.  But the fun ends when the leader of the group, who was bringing up the rear of the pack, disappears and everyone heads out to find her.  

I've read many books (and series) by this author and I liked this one ... it's the second in the Mountain Lodge Mystery series.  I liked the writing style.  It is written in first person perspective from Misty's point of view and third person perspective from Yeti, Misty's cat's point of view (the author has done this in other series ... had dogs and cats share their point of view, which as an animal lover I find cute).

It was a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity.  I liked the characters and look forward to reading others in this series.  And I liked that Misty is a more mature age (so closer to mine) than a younger woman.

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Cat Shelter Building Workshop, Toronto Street Cats, Toronto, ON

I spent this morning volunteering with Toronto Street Cats building cat shelters.  The workshops are held throughout the fall and winter season in the garage of the Toronto Humane Society and today's was the first of the season (it was good to be back).

It's my fifth year volunteering with them ... it's so nice helping the kitties in Toronto keep warm and dry during the cold winter.

Our mission: improve the lives of Toronto’s homeless cats by offering spay/neuter services, free for feral cats, and building overwintering shelters. We are also working to increase public awareness about Toronto’s homeless cat population and the importance of spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR).

We are part of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, working together to implement strategic TNR programs to sterilize Toronto’s feral cats, decrease shelter intake and reduce euthanasia rates.

My pal, Darlene, and I

We taped the insulated walls together in the bins and then taped the tubing entrances ... I started with the first part (I like it better) then moved on to taping the tubing to the shelters. Thom cut the tubing for the entrance ways, cut the Styrofoam for insulated walls and drilled holes into the bins after the insulated walls had been taped inside.  Judy put the straw in the bins and closed them up. We made 50 shelters plus 20ish more that are 2/3rds done!

Friday, 21 October 2022

Knitted scarf

I knitted another scarf with Bernat Baby Velvet Stripes yarn (the colour is Spring Lilac).

I used one skein and 4.5mm needles.  I cast on 40 stitches and did five rows of ribbing. Then I did garter stitch, finishing with five rows of ribbing before binding off.

The scarf is about 9 feet long … soft and cozy!

Thursday, 20 October 2022

Book ~ "No Bootstraps When You're Barefoot" (2022) Wes Hall

From GoodreadsWes Hall spent his early childhood in a zinc-roofed shack, one of several children supported by his grandmother. That was paradise compared to the two years he lived with his verbally abusive and violent mother; at thirteen, his mother threw him out and he had to live by his wits for the next three years. At sixteen, Wes came to Canada, sponsored by a father he'd only seen a few times as a child, and by the time he was eighteen, he was out of his father's house, once more on his own. Yet Wes Hall went on to become a major entrepreneur, business leader, philanthropist and change-maker, working his way up from a humble position in a law firm mailroom by way of his intelligence, his curiosity and his ability to see opportunities that other people don't.

When people expected his thick Jamaican accent, lack of money and education, not to mention the colour of his skin, to shut down his future, Wes was not to be stopped. He is still overturning expectations to this day. Well aware of racism and injustice, his lack of privilege and the other roadblocks to his success, Wes has always believed that he can walk along any cliff edge without falling. His book teases out and shows how he fostered that resolve in himself, exploring his childhood and the milestone successes and failures of his career in order to share not only how he stopped himself from falling, but survived and thrived, and then dedicated himself to bringing his family and his community along with him.

Now, with the founding of the BlackNorth Initiative, Wes takes aim at ending systemic anti-Black racism. It's a huge goal, but one he's tackling with heart, soul, smarts, and every connection he's made in an extraordinary career that's taken him to the centre of the Canadian establishment. Throughout his life he's resisted sinking into despair or getting lost in anger; now he wants to tell truth to power and pave a path forward.


This is Wes Hall's second year on CBC's Dragons' Den and it was nice to get to know more about him.

Hall was born in poverty in Jamaica just over 50 years ago. After he and his siblings were abandoned by their mother, his maternal grandmother took them in and raised them. He was about 10 when his mother had him move in with her and her new family and she abused him physically and emotionally. He ran away when he was about 13 and bounced from friend to friend and until his father, who he barely knew, summoned him to live with him and his family in Toronto. Finding his father's rule too restrictive after all he'd been through, he moved out when he was 18.

His first job was in the mailroom of a law firm, which inspired him to go back to school to become a law clerk. From there, he moved from job to job and industry to industry gaining experience until he finally landed in a proxy solicitation firm. Knowing he could improve how they did things but they wouldn't listen, he struck out on his own and became the entrepreneur he is today.

I thought his story was interesting and must applaud him for all he has accomplished considering his beginnings. I liked the writing style and found it to be honest. I must say, though, that I found the first part of his story more interesting than the end ... I thought there was too much detail when he described leaving the proxy solicitation firm and starting his own company and then competing against them.

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Coconut Candle Company - Halloween/Fall 2022

My Halloween/Fall Coconut Candle Company subscription box (full size) arrived yesterday.

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 ...

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

"Chicago", Festival Theatre, Stratford Festival, Stratford, ON


Gord and I headed to Stratford today to see Chicago.

In the Roaring Twenties, aspiring chorus girl Roxie Hart and fading vaudeville star Velma Kelly each face trial for murder. Both as cynical as they are sexy, the two women compete for the services of shady lawyer Billy Flynn, who promises to make them media celebrities and win them acquittals. With its killer score and all-new knock-’em-dead dance numbers, this deliciously lurid tale of adultery, murder and justice as showbiz packs some serious heat.

It is at the Festival Theatre in Stratford and is part of the Stratford Festival.


It's been a while since I've been to Stratford so I was looking forward to heading down for the day. And I wasn't disappointed ... Chicago was really good!  It was lively and fun and funny and the crowd loved it.  All the actors, singers and dancers did an excellent job!

The Festival has a bus that runs between Toronto and Stratford a couple times a day depending on the amount of plays going on and we took that.  It's about $30 down and back and it was nice to have someone else do the driving, especially coming back with the rain and wet snow.

Gilly’s Pubhouse, Stratford, ON

Gord and I had lunch today at Gilly’s Pubhouse, which is across the street from the Avon Theatre in Stratford. 


I had Chicken Parm (housemade breaded chicken breast on a bed of Alfredo fettuccine noodles topped with marinara and melted Mozzarella cheese).