Tuesday 21 May 2024

Book ~ "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" (2017) Taylor Jenkins Reid

From Goodreads ~ Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.


Evelyn Hugo grew up poor. She knew she wanted to be an actress and did everything she could to achieve that and succeeded. She'd been married seven times ... sometimes for love and sometimes to get ahead. She's now 79 years old and ready to tell her story and chooses to tell it to Monique. No one is more surprised than Monique because she is newly hired at Vivant and her boss has made it quite clear that she's rather someone more senior for the assignment. But for Evelyn, it's Monique or no one.

Evelyn tells her story in her own way and in her own time so Monique ends up spending a lot of time with her. Evelyn's story is interesting and detailed and during their time together, Monique can't help wondering why Evelyn chose her to tell it.

I thought this story was okay. It is written in first person perspective ... in Evelyn's voice when she is telling her story to Monique and Monique's otherwise. Also included are news articles from celebrity magazines of the time. I didn't really like Evelyn and thought some of the decisions she made were unbelievable, especially when she was jumping from husband to husband and the reasons why she did. I found Monique boring. We find out towards the end why Evelyn chose Monique to tell her story and it was an interesting twist. As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

Monday 20 May 2024

Twisted Hat

I finished knitting another twisted hat. It’s a fun and easy pattern once you get into the repetitive groove.


I found the pattern here.


Directions are for size small; changes for size large are in parentheses.

Hat circumference at bottom edge: 16 (18)" [41 (46)cm]; Hat stretches to fit 20 (22)” [51 (56)cm]

I used 4.5mm [US 7] and 5.5mm [US 9] needles and 4 ply yarn. 

Hat is worked in the round on double pointed needles.

With smaller needles, cast on 90 (102) sts. Divide sts evenly around double pointed needles. Join to work in rounds, taking care not to twist sts. Place marker for beginning of round.

Ribbing Round: 
[K1 through the back loop, p1] around. Repeat ribbing round until piece measures 1½" [4cm] from beginning.

Round 1: Change to larger needles and knit.
Round 2: [K2, yo, k2, k2tog] around – 90 (102) sts.
Repeat round 2 until piece measures 8 (8½)" [20 (22) cm] from beginning.

Shape Crown
  • Decrease round 1: [K2tog, yo, k2, k2tog] 15 (17) times – 75 (85) sts.
  • Next round: [K1, yo, k2, k2tog] around – 75 (85) sts.
  • Decrease round 2: *K1, yo, [k2tog] twice; repeat from * around – 60 (68) sts
  • Next round: [K1, yo, k1, k2tog] around – 60 (68) sts.
  • Decrease round 3: [K2, k2tog] 15 (17) times – 45 (51) sts.
  • Decrease round 4: [K1, k2tog] around – 30 (34) sts.
  • Decrease round 5: [K2tog] around – 15 (17) sts.
  • Decrease round 6: [K2tog, k1] 5 times, k2tog 0 (1) time – 10 (11) sts.
Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread yarn through remaining sts and pull to gather. Secure end. Weave in ends.

ABBREVIATIONS
k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 sts together
p = purl
St st = Stockinette stitch
st(s) = stitch(es)
yo = yarn over

Happy Victoria Day!


Victoria Day is a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25, initially in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday.

The holiday has been observed in Canada since at least 1845, originally falling on Victoria's actual birthday (May 24, 1819).

Saturday 18 May 2024

Pancho Y Emiliano, Toronto, ON

Gord and I spent the afternoon in Kensington Market and then had supper on the patio at Pancho Y Emiliano (on Augusta Avenue).


Sangrias seemed like a fun idea!


Gord had Ceviche (Basa fish fillet cured in citrus juice, mixed with pico de gallo and garnished with avocado served with fresh corn chips) and a Tamal de Puerco en Chiliajo (Corn masa steamed in a banana leaf, filled with tender pork in a savory chiliajo red sauce).

Friday 17 May 2024

Live theatre ~ "ECHO", Cirque Du Soleil, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to this evening's performance of Cirque du Soliel's ECHO.


Fuelled by the power of invention, the hope of the youth and the importance of empathy, Cirque du Soleil ECHO invites the audience to participate in a universe of colour, wonder and infinite possibilities.

I’ve seen many Cirques over the years and as usual, I didn’t have a clue what the story was but the performers were fabulous!

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Book ~ "Things You Save in a Fire" (2019) Katherine Center

From Goodreads ~ Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she's seen her fair share of them and she's excellent at dealing with other people's tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it's an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. 

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie's old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren't exactly thrilled to have a "lady" on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn't seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can't think about that. Because she doesn't fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don't date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping ... but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she's worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Cassie's family broke up on her sixteenth birthday when her mother left to be with another man. Also on that birthday, a older boy did something bad to her. These two things hardened her and she swore off love. Ten years later, she is working as a firefighter in Texas and is considered one of the best. 

On the night she is getting an hero's award (yes, that's how good she is!), she does something that jeopardizes her career. She's given a choice to either resign or transfer to another fire station and work her way back. I don't know why she would throw away her career by not telling why she had reacted the way she had at the awards dinner. The #MeToo movement had already started by the time the book was written. If Cassie was as tough a firefighter as she was made out to be, she should have been jumping all over it.

Diana, her estranged mother, isn't well and asks Cassie to move back home to the Boston area for a year to take care of her while she gets better. Cassie doesn't have a choice and gets a job at a local fire station. Her captain in Texas, who is also female, warns her that the captain in Boston doesn't want her because she's a girl and gives her advice on how to mix in with her new colleagues. On her first day reporting to work, there is a rookie who has also been recently hired and it's apparently love at first sight for them, though they try to fight it.

I thought this story was bearable until the big fire ... then it became more farfetched and went downhill. Then a stalker and violence was introduced which made this story even more crazy. It's hard to believe that this story was written in 2019 (so is "present day") and that Cassie's Texas captain, for example, had to prep her on what to expect with her new captain who didn't believe in "lady firefighters. It would have been more believable if the story took place in 1959. This is not a book I would want a young woman to read ... I'd hate for her to think this is how women should act and how they are treated by men.

It is written in first person perspective in Cassie's voice. The ending wrapped up rather quickly and unrealistically ... all is forgiven by everyone (really?) and there's a happy ending. As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

"La Cage aux Folles", Avon Theatre, Stratford Festival, Stratford, ON


I saw La Cage aux Folles this afternoon. It's at the Avon Theatre in Stratford, ON, and part of the Stratford Festival. I took their festival bus there and back (thanks, Trevor!).


Georges, the manager of a drag club in St. Tropez, decides to “play it straight” when his son arrives with his fiancé and her ultra-conservative parents. Albin, the club’s star performer and romantic partner to Georges, is dubious about the plan. The ensuing clash unravels truth and consequences with heartwarming grace. Gorgeous and funny, La Cage aux Folles has been delighting audiences since its Broadway première in 1983, when it won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Fans of the Oscar-nominated film The Bird Cage (inspired by the French play the musical takes its name and inspiration from) will rejoice in seeing familiar characters on the stage!

I love The Bird Cage!

It was campy and over-the-top and fun! The costumes were colourful and fabulous.

Mercer Hall, Stratford, ON

I had lunch today at Mercer Hall in Stratford. When I got there, the patio was empty and the weather was iffy so I sat inside. When I left, the patio was jammed.


I had the 2 piece Buttermilk Fried Chicken meal (chicken tossed in nori salt, chili buttered biscuit, fries and togarashi aioli). It came out within minutes and was hot hot hot. It was good and a lot of food so a piece of chicken is coming home with me for supper later. 

Sunday 12 May 2024

Twisted Hat

I finished knitting another twisted hat. It’s a fun and easy pattern once you get into the repetitive groove.


I found the pattern here.


Directions are for size small; changes for size large are in parentheses.

Hat circumference at bottom edge: 16 (18)" [41 (46)cm]; Hat stretches to fit 20 (22)” [51 (56)cm]

I used 4.5mm [US 7] and 5.5mm [US 9] needles and 4 ply yarn. 

Hat is worked in the round on double pointed needles.

With smaller needles, cast on 90 (102) sts. Divide sts evenly around double pointed needles. Join to work in rounds, taking care not to twist sts. Place marker for beginning of round.

Ribbing Round: 
[K1 through the back loop, p1] around. Repeat ribbing round until piece measures 1½" [4cm] from beginning.

Round 1: Change to larger needles and knit.
Round 2: [K2, yo, k2, k2tog] around – 90 (102) sts.
Repeat round 2 until piece measures 8 (8½)" [20 (22) cm] from beginning.

Shape Crown
  • Decrease round 1: [K2tog, yo, k2, k2tog] 15 (17) times – 75 (85) sts.
  • Next round: [K1, yo, k2, k2tog] around – 75 (85) sts.
  • Decrease round 2: *K1, yo, [k2tog] twice; repeat from * around – 60 (68) sts
  • Next round: [K1, yo, k1, k2tog] around – 60 (68) sts.
  • Decrease round 3: [K2, k2tog] 15 (17) times – 45 (51) sts.
  • Decrease round 4: [K1, k2tog] around – 30 (34) sts.
  • Decrease round 5: [K2tog] around – 15 (17) sts.
  • Decrease round 6: [K2tog, k1] 5 times, k2tog 0 (1) time – 10 (11) sts.
Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread yarn through remaining sts and pull to gather. Secure end. Weave in ends.

ABBREVIATIONS
k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 sts together
p = purl
St st = Stockinette stitch
st(s) = stitch(es)
yo = yarn over

Friday 10 May 2024

The John, Toronto, ON

After we attended the taping of the Anesti Danelis comedy show, Gord and I stopped in at The John (on Bloor Street W, just west of Dufferin Street). 




We both ordered wings. I got mine with had Buffalo sauce and Gord had salt and pepper wings. Both were good and hit the spot.


It's a fun dive bar with lots of board games but the beer could be colder.

Anesti Danelis, Burdock Music Hall, Toronto, ON

Gord and I attended the 7pm taping of an Anesti Danelis comedy special at the Burdock Music Hall.


It was so funny! It was interesting to see how they tape a show. There was lots of audience participation. Gord and I were asked when we arrived if we wanted to do a specific thing and it will be interesting to see if we made the cut (there is a 9:30pm taping).

Here we are after the show with Anesti ...

Bitondo's Pizzeria, Toronto, ON

I read somewhere recently how good Bitondo’s (on Clinton Street, just south of College Street) panzerottos are so decided to head there today (I’ve only had their slices over the years). 


They only had cheese ones available so I had a pepperoni one made. It took about 20 minutes but was worth the wait. It was hot and cheesy and saucy and messy. Yum! 

Thursday 9 May 2024

Twisted Hat

I finished knitting another twisted hat. It’s a fun and easy pattern once you get into the repetitive groove.


I found the pattern here.


Directions are for size small; changes for size large are in parentheses.

Hat circumference at bottom edge: 16 (18)" [41 (46)cm]; Hat stretches to fit 20 (22)” [51 (56)cm]

I used 4.5mm [US 7] and 5.5mm [US 9] needles and 4 ply yarn. 

Hat is worked in the round on double pointed needles.

With smaller needles, cast on 90 (102) sts. Divide sts evenly around double pointed needles. Join to work in rounds, taking care not to twist sts. Place marker for beginning of round.

Ribbing Round: 
[K1 through the back loop, p1] around. Repeat ribbing round until piece measures 1½" [4cm] from beginning.

Round 1: Change to larger needles and knit.
Round 2: [K2, yo, k2, k2tog] around – 90 (102) sts.
Repeat round 2 until piece measures 8 (8½)" [20 (22) cm] from beginning.

Shape Crown
  • Decrease round 1: [K2tog, yo, k2, k2tog] 15 (17) times – 75 (85) sts.
  • Next round: [K1, yo, k2, k2tog] around – 75 (85) sts.
  • Decrease round 2: *K1, yo, [k2tog] twice; repeat from * around – 60 (68) sts
  • Next round: [K1, yo, k1, k2tog] around – 60 (68) sts.
  • Decrease round 3: [K2, k2tog] 15 (17) times – 45 (51) sts.
  • Decrease round 4: [K1, k2tog] around – 30 (34) sts.
  • Decrease round 5: [K2tog] around – 15 (17) sts.
  • Decrease round 6: [K2tog, k1] 5 times, k2tog 0 (1) time – 10 (11) sts.
Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread yarn through remaining sts and pull to gather. Secure end. Weave in ends.

ABBREVIATIONS
k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 sts together
p = purl
St st = Stockinette stitch
st(s) = stitch(es)
yo = yarn over