Friday 30 June 2023

Knitted dog sweater

I just finished knitting a dog sweater I'll be donating to ElderDog Canada, which will be sold in their online shop, used directly as needed in ElderDog activities or included in special ElderDog fundraising. It’s considered a large-sized sweater (the chest is 18 inches). 

I found the pattern at Yarnspirations.

Monday 26 June 2023

Book ~ "Meet Me at the Lake" (2023) Carley Fortune

From Goodreads ~ Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in Toronto. The timing was wrong but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn't.

At thirty-two, Fern's life doesn't look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern's back home, running her mother's Muskoka lakeside resort - something she vowed never to do. The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend's the manager and Fern doesn't know where to begin.

She needs a plan - a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips. Will may be the only person who understands what Fern's going through. But how could she possibly trust this expensive-suit wearing mirage who seems nothing like the young man she met all those years ago. Will is hiding something, and Fern's not sure she wants to know what it is.

But ten years ago, Will Baxter rescued Fern. Can she do the same for him?

Fern was graduating from university in Toronto when she met Will ... he was painting a mural one day in the coffee shop where she worked part time. She was expected to return to her mother's resort in Muskoka where she grew up. But she loved Toronto and wanted to stay but knew her mother wouldn't like that. Will was heading back to Vancouver the next day so offered to show Fern some of his favourite places in Toronto. They spend the day and night wandering around the city. 

Because they both had a lot going on in their lives, when they part in the morning, they make a pact to not contact each other and meet in a year's time at her mother's resort. Alas, when the date arrives, Fern is there but Will doesn't show up.

Fern had been fulfilling her dream of working and living in Toronto so rushes back to take over the resort nine years later when mother was killed in an accident. Unbeknownst to her, the resort had been having financial difficulties and her mother had hired a consultant to help her. Imagine Fern's surprise to discover all this and that it's Will. He's very different from the carefree fun artist she met ten years ago.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I thought it was just okay. I had a hard time believing that Fern had been carrying a torch for a guy she spent one day with ten years earlier and who didn't show up as promised a year later. Not a big surprise that there is a happy ending but I wasn't buying it considering the way he treated her after they reconnected. It is written in third person perspective in Fern's voice, plus there are excerpts from her mother's diary from before Fern was born. As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

I liked that the story was partially set in Toronto. I've been to many of the places where Fern and Will spent their day ... Graffiti Alley, the AGO (art gallery), Kensington Market, eating nachos at Sneaky Dees, etc. Will has a buddy who lives in Liberty Village which isn't far from me.

Sunday 25 June 2023

Village Stage, TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2023, Toronto, ON

I volunteered as an ambassador at the Village stage (in Yorkville) at the TD Toronto Jazz Fest 2023 this afternoon.

Me and Eileen, another volunteer

The Toronto Blues Society Talent Search Finals were happening when I was there.

Our friends, Malcolm, Diana and Mary were there ... they are big music fans.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Avenue Stage, TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2023, Toronto, ON

I volunteered as an ambassador at the Avenue stage (at Avenue Road and Bloor Street W) at the TD Toronto Jazz Fest 2023 this evening.

Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble, Big Smoke Brass, Loony and BadBadNotGood were the entertainment. Big crowd!

Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble

Happy Gotcha Day, Muffin!

It was six years ago today that Gord and I adopted three-month-old Muffin from Annex Cat Rescue at an adopt-a-thon. She is such a sweetie!

At Pet Uno when we adopted her
Crumpet and Muffin

Friday 23 June 2023

Book ~ "Blind Date" (2022) Brenda Chapman

From Goodreads ~ Nobody’s safe when a killer has you in their sights.

True crime podcaster Ella Tate is shaken to her core by the horrific assault and murder of Josie Wheatly, a teacher she has never met ... because not only had Josie moved into Ella’s vacated apartment three months earlier but her Facebook photos reveal a striking resemblance between the two women.

Within days, two people close to Ella are harmed and she fears that she’s become the target of twisted revenge from her crime-reporting days. Reluctantly teaming up with her neighbour, Tony, a hairdresser who loves the finer things in life, and Liam Hunter, the persistent detective assigned to the cases, Ella struggles to stay one step ahead before she becomes the target of the final kill.

Ella recently got laid off from her job as a newspaper reporter and has started a crime podcast. She and her live-in boyfriend recently broke up, taking all of his furniture with him. She's barely scraping by now. She doesn't have many people close to her except her younger brother, Danny, who is a busker addicted to drugs and living on the streets, Finn, her childhood friend, and O'Brien, a police officer she has known for about ten years.

Ella starts to investigate the rape and suicide of a teacher named Josie, who had recently moved into Ella's old apartment. Ella realizes how similar they are in appearance and wonders if she was the intended victim. As she starts digging, she receives threats and terrible things start happening to people around her.

This is the first of two in the Hunter and Tate series (I'd read the second one in March) and I liked it ... there are lots of possibilities about who could have done everything. It's written in third person perspective in various voices depending on where the action was. I like the fact that it is set in Ottawa, ON, and they didn't hide it. As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

Knitted dog sweater

I just finished knitting a dog sweater I'll be donating to ElderDog Canada, which will be sold in their online shop, used directly as needed in ElderDog activities or included in special ElderDog fundraising. It’s considered a large-sized sweater (the chest is 18 inches). 

I found the pattern at Yarnspirations.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Cora Breakfast and Lunch, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at Cora's on the Queensway.

I ordered what I always order ... Blueberry Fields (3 blueberry pancakes, topped with English cream Cora-style and blueberries) and a glass of milk for lunch. So good! 

Anesha was friendly and took good care of me.

Monday 19 June 2023

Book ~ "Flop Dead Gorgeous" (2023) David Rosenfelt

From Goodreads ~ Retired lawyer Andy Carpenter remembers every dog that’s come through the Tara Foundation’s doors, but the most well-known alum of the dog rescue organization that Andy founded in Paterson, New Jersey, may be Mamie. Adopted by famous actress Jenny Nichols - Andy’s high school girlfriend - the miniature French poodle is now practically a starlet in her own right.

Andy doesn’t hold it against his friend. In fact, he and his wife, Laurie, have dinner with Jenny while she’s in town filming her next big hit. But after an eventful meal, there’s a plot twist the next morning that none of them see Jenny’s co-star is found dead, a knife in his back. It’s not long before Jenny is arrested for the murder and finds herself in need of Andy’s legal services.

While Mamie becomes reacquainted with Tara, Andy’s golden retriever, Andy digs into the lives of the rich and famous.

Andy is a criminal defense lawyer who doesn't want any clients.  Because of the money his father left him and some lucrative cases, he is able to not work and spend his time with his friend, Willie, running the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue that he and Willie formed.  He is married to Laurie, they have a young son, Ricky, three dogs and he is enjoying his life.

Jenny is an actress who is town shooting a movie. She and Andy knew each other in high school so they get together with some of Andy's friends at his favourite bar. While there, Ryan, Jenny's co-star and ex-boyfriend arrives and tries to get her to leave. She refuses and Ryan is asked to leave. Later that night, Jenny discovers Ryan's body in her kitchen with a knife in his back. Jenny is arrested and it's up to Andy to defend her and find out what really happened.

This is the 27th in the Andy Carpenter series (I've read them all) and I have been enjoying this series.  Even though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone (so you don't need to have read the ones before it to know what is going on).  I like the writing style as it was funny, sarcastic and amusing.  It was written mostly in first person perspective in Andy's voice.

I like Andy ... I think he would be a hoot to be around and he's quite generous with his time and money (he never charges for his services).  Part of Andy's team is the K-Team (Laurie, a former police officer and now an investigator; Marcus, an investigator with "persuasive" reasoning skills; Cory, a former police officer; and Simon Garfunkel, Cory's former canine partner).  Sam is his accountant who is also a computer hack who wants to be part of the action.

Sunday 18 June 2023

Lucky Clover Sports Pub, Toronto, ON

I had supper on the patio of Lucky Clover Pub on Lower Simcoe Street this evening. 

I sat on the patio ... gotta love $7 tall boy cans of beer! And the 80s tunes were fun.

I had fries and wings (with medium sauce). The fries were really good as were the wings.

Chandni was friendly and took good care of me!

"Loss", Luminato Festival 2023, Toronto, ON

I volunteered with the Luminato Festival this afternoon as a theatre wayfinder at Loss at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre.

"Loss" is a deeply honest, live retelling of an intergenerational family story, written by Ian Kamau and his father Roger McTair. 

This multi-media performance begins as a mirror into a winter of depression, then slowly unravels the mystery surrounding the death of his paternal grandmother Nora Elutha Rogers. 

An orchestration of memories using live music, video, and storytelling — "Loss" is an exploration of grief in Afro-Caribbean communities, and an immersive experience towards healing shared with the audience.

We volunteers were able to watch it. The theatre had a cool set-up.

Saturday 17 June 2023

Little Tennessee in Liberty Village, Toronto, ON

Gord and I attended Little Tennessee in Liberty Village, which was in our 'hood, this evening.

Little Tennessee is a free 4-day event where you can get a little taste of Tennessee’s biggest flavors. It’ll be packed full of live music, authentic southern eats and plenty of activities for you to explore without having to leave Toronto.

Friday 16 June 2023

Melody Bar, NXNE Music Festival, Toronto, ON

I volunteered tonight at the Melody Bar (at the Gladstone House) with the NXNE Music Festival

Kevin was the stage manager, Alice was the stage hand and I was the ticket handler. 

The line-up was Ashley, Jared Daniel, Victory, Bukola and Miley Jose. Great music! 

Jared Daniel