Saturday we ventured downtown to meet another couple and their kids at the Toronto Christmas Market. What a gong show. Every step of the way was tedious. Not surprisingly traffic into downtown on a Saturday afternoon is bumper to bumper, slow and dreadful. The Toronto Christmas Market (TCM) is held in the popular Distillery District of Toronto. It sure seemed like everyone knew about this event because it was ‘rammensteined“. First parking. Their website wisely recommends public transit to the event. Believe it. It’s true! We drove around for 30m before paying $15 to park. The closest pay meter was out of order so I walked across the entire lot to pay. No biggie…. but just another finger in the eye. So then you line up to buy tickets. Line up to get inside. Then line up buy another or go anywhere at the event. Sure it is interesting. The cobblestone roads and festive atmosphere… but it is really just about making money. Food was expensive. Beer was expensive. And sure they were trying to limit the number of people at the event… but it didn’t seem to help. It was wall to wall people half of which were standing around taking selfies and blocking traffic. We eventually got word from our friends that it was too much for the kids and that they were going home. Joy. We basically did the same. Had some curry fries, a beer, looked at some art then left. The highlight was Steak & Stout pies from Brick Street Bakery. While the TCM was interesting, it was waaaay to busy, I don’t think I’d do it again.
Monday we spent the day in Collingwood at the Scandinave Spa. It was surprisingly busy for a Monday. It was a mild day, no rain, so it was perfect to be outside at the spa. Wonderfully relaxing. This was a combo birthday/anniversary day for us. If we didn’t have to get home for the dog I’m sure we would still be there.
We returned to Rudolph’s to get our Christmas tree. The selection was really disappointing. We normally get a tree that is around 8 feet… there were none. The trees that were there were portly, none of them tall and triangular. So after search the entire lot… We found a single taller tree. We debated about trying another tree farm… but it was already getting to be a long day. So we took it. Miraculously it fit in the Subaru with the hatch closed. I wonder how long the car will smell like pine. Bdot is decorating it now so I expect I’ll have an finished photo soon. Unfortunately it sounded like this may be one of the last years for Rudolph’s. They are getting out of the business. There are other options but I enjoy returning to same place. Oh well. Who knows what next year will bring.
The Japanese have a probe named Akatsuki near Venus. They are trying to swing it in for a close look at the planet. Should know if they were successful within a few days. NASA page on the exploration.
Akatsuki has successfully been inserted into Venus’ orbit! Data will starting flowing in shortly. I’m hoping for some revealing photos of the planet.
Once again, right on time, it is my birthday again. *smirk* It was busy Saturday and relaxing Sunday. Saturday started early with a haircut, groceries, pet groceries then some yardwork. I think our Christmas lights are ready to go. I’ve replaced all the duds and put up two spotlights. I love the spotlights. The colours are red and green again, of course. The evening was quieter with a little housework and I got my amazing birthday presents from bdot. She gave me a handsome gray/black stitched sweater (which I’m wearing right now). With my weight going up and down a bit having a few new sweaters is awesome. Thanks hon (x2). The piece de resistance however was getting a Nexus 7!
My first impressions of this is an amazing little piece of tech:
> After using 10″ Android tablet for several months the 7″ form factor feels so much better for prolonged use
> it updated itself to Android 4.2 almost immediately so… Awesome.
> The pulldown notification shade is a beautiful design element. It merges both functionality with form.
> No back camera sucks but you can take awkward shots from the front camera
> it is a shame it doesn’t have SD storage. I got a 32G so I should be good for awhile however
> feels great to hold. the back has a nice texture
> the front glass attracts fingerprints and smudges like the Middle East attracts unrest
> still get the occasional force quit, but they are very rare; must less than on my Prime
> device seems adequately powered; I had a ton of stuff running and it handled it all with no slowdown
> I think the screen is sharp and video is great to watch in landscape
> since I’m hard on my tech I wanted to get an Otterbox for my Nexus. Unfortunately they don’t have any available???
> The addition of the multiple users is a useful bonus for 4.2
> battery life seems decent
So yeah, it is impressive, especially for the price. It seems like the perfect device for absorbing social media and interacting with the web.
I finally got around to watching The Dark Knight Rises. I’ve really enjoyed Jonathan Nolan’s gritty, darker Batman series and this final episode wasn’t an exception. The Bane character was a curious merging of strength and smarts with a streak of benevolence. There was plenty of action and a few interesting plot twists. The ending however was expected and pretty typical. I’ve sat through some dreadful ‘comedy/dramas’ starring Anne Hathaway so to see her like this kicking ass and chewing bubble gum, and doing it well, was surprising. And wow, what an outfit. There are a few movie series I’ve been sad to see end, the Bourne series, Indiana Jones and this. (I’m sure there are others too…) An enjoyable action movie that sets itself apart from typical action fare with gritty characters, setting and dark plot twists.
Sunday we drove up to Collingwood to spend the day at Le Scandinave. It was a chilly day, with some cold gusty winds but that did not deter us from enjoying the outdoors at the spa. There were definitely fewer people around the fires yesterday. I can’t resist however. Both bdot and I came home smelling like fireplace. There were a lot of times we were the only two around the fire. *snort* It was a relaxing day. We hit all the usuals, the dry sauna, the steam sauna , the hottubs… My massage was average. I think it was my least favourite I’ve had at the baths. *shrug* Unfortunately you really don’t know what you’ll get. Speaking of which… We ordered lunch there and I got, what looked like, grilled brussel sprouts. I BBQ spouts all the time and they can be delicious. Well… gawd, so I bite into one and it is nothing but tart, bitter, vinegar flavour. Absolutely disgusting… They grilled… then pickled?? the sprouts. Barf. I was hungry too, so that was rather disappointing. Just a minor thing. The day overall was what I, we, needed. By the time we were leaving the spa it was dark. We remarked how cool it was at the spa at night and thought it was a shame to be leaving. At some point we’ll have to stay late at the spa and get a room overnight in Collingwood. I’m not sure how old the roundabouts are on highway 26 coming into Collingwood, but they seem to move traffic along pretty well. I’m starting to see roundabouts more and more in Ontario. Hmmm. On the way home we stopped at the Collingwood Loblaws to pick up a few things. It’s a sharp store. We ended up getting far more junk that we should have.
Once again it is a gamer’s paradise over at Steam as they are having another mega-sale. Steam sales are so evil.
Congrats to the Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgoooooooooooooooooooooos who won the 100th Gray Cup! At least Toronto sports’ fans have something to cheer about.
What a beautiful March weekend! *headturn* What? Yes, the unseasonably warm weather continued. It must be confusing the hell out of our plants. I’m concerned they will all freeze and die, as today is back down to 2 with lows below 0. Hopefully not – we did a ton of work on the front garden last fall and I was looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labour rise up from the earth. Saturday started with the usual dividing of housework. After we could see most of our floors again we ventured back to the Alton Mill. There is a jeweler there who has some new ring stock in, so we went to take a look. It is curious to me how different rings look in person compared to on-line photos. I’m toying with the idea of having some rose gold (copper infused gold) in my ring and it looks a looks nothing like the colour I’ve seen in on-line photos. Curious. I didn’t care for any of the new rings… but we are going to price out the ring I do like in a slightly larger version. Bdot continued her consternation and internal conflict trying to decide between a channel ring or a stacking set of three smaller rings. Both looked blingolicious to me. *shrug* After a quick peek at the art in the galleries, and ripping ourselves away from a stunning 4K metal landscape work… we walked the dog along the Alton Mill side trial. The trail leads to Bruce Trail but we ventured in the opposite direction towards the Alton Mill and wandering up to the Pinnacle then the Grand Valley Trail. The forested section didn’t last long so we had another short hike by the Alton Grange. There is a parking lot there so it will be a great starting place for a future hike. Unfortunately a large section of the trail was flooded and I didn’t have waterproof footwear so we turned around after only a short distance. We did find another trail marked with green blazes that ran along the golf course. The dog didn’t care and enjoyed treeing many pissed off squirrels. In the evening I watched the Sabres temporarily hold a playoff position – for what ends up being one day. Sigh. We took advantage of the weather and BBQed a yummy steak dinner.
Sunday we trekked up to Collingwood for a relaxing day in the sun at Le Scandinave spahhhhhhhhhh. It eventually became a sunny, warm day… perfect to be outside, dipping in hottubs…unless of course you slam a door on your toe and split your toenail. Yes. I rock. Somehow I found a way to injure myself at fracking spa. They have steam room there, visibility zero. Anyway, I was exiting the steam room blind as a bat and somehow wham-o the door smashed my neighbour to the big toe toe. Unreal. The toe has been sore ever since, I’m sure I’ll lose that toenail, it is real horrorshow. That put a damper on the afternoon as I didn’t want to go in any hottub afterwards. I tried to make the best of it braving the steam sauna again and the dry sauna. It was fine to chill and enjoy the atmosphere anyway. Not sure what it is about my toes. I had similar injuries twice playing ball hockey last year. Bah. Anyway, midday we had a massage. Once again *eyeroll*, I Russian rouletted myself a male masseuse. He was okay… It was a little odd when he did my legs since I specified: shoulders, neck and lower back… *cough* and mentioned to him about the toe… I guess he didn’t clue in. I should have been more specific perhaps? *shrug* The final treat in our decadent day was a stop at Starbucks. I scored the last Oat bar, which was the bottom corner bonus oat piece. Yes! After getting home and dinner was in my belly I re-watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones. Great stuff.
The Mac family arrived late Friday night. The evening was pretty quiet while everyone got settled. After breakfast we headed up to Collingwood to Scandinave Spa at Blue Mountain. The drive up Airport Road was stunning with all the Fall colours still in their glory. Airport Road is very hilly… so it provided some vistas full of rolling autumn hills. It we ever luck into a beautiful day weather-wise. Since the spa is outside, rain or a cold span can ruin the experience… but it was bright and cool. Perfect! So basically the day was hot tub, steam sauna, cold plunge, hut tub, dry sauna, chill out by fire, chill out in a hammock, hot tub, massage, hot tub, stream sauna, cold plunge, dry sauna…. icy cold Creemore. Phew. I was a little concerned I was going to get Kelly… but I ended up with Danielle, and she was very good. It felt like she removed a speedbumb out of my shoulder. Oddly she didn’t really say anything afterwards. She said I was a little defensive with my sore wrist. Well it is my sore wrist. *shrug* It was a much needed down day. Very relaxing. Very Ahhhhhhhhhhh.
After the spa we wandered around Blue Mountain for a bit. We stopped at Twist for a martini and a light snack. It seemed like a pretty cool place. I had a delicious Snickertini. I think it was slightly different than the online recipe. Regardless, it disappeared faster than a pack of Smarties at a Weight Watchers’ meeting. The drive home was very dark. Most of Airport road had no streetlights. We got lucky again… during the drive we passes a good sized deer just standing in the other lane of the highway… Had the deer moved or spooked he could easily have hit the truck and this could have been a very different entry. Phew…The rest of the evening was less eventful. Homemade pizzas and hockey.
Sunday we went to Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket. I tried on some clothes… Found some nice stuff but I didn’t like the prices. The main purpose of the trip was to check out the new Kobo colour… The screen is nice but it seemed really underpowered… and there was no Internet available so I couldn’t test any of the web apps… I guess for $200 however, not bad. I’m waiting for the Asus Transformer Prime however! The evening was a dog walk, dinner, Pumpkin Carving and the Walking Dead.
Another week wizzed by. It was a pretty quiet week at work. Saturday we set aside some time ago to visit the spa in Collingwood, as a little Valentine’s treat. My sister and JP were nice enough to take Princess Tanga for the day. (Thanks again.) The drive to Collingwood was pretty nasty. Wind sweeps across the big open fields blowing snow everywhere causing white outs. One of the main roads near Stayner was even closed. When we arrived at the Scandinave it was quite busy. It was an enjoyable and very relaxing afternoon. There are relaxation rooms that have uncomfortable wooden ‘Muskoka’ chairs. They want the rooms to be quiet but the constant in and out of wooden chairs makes that impossible. They creak and squeak and make all sorts of non-tranquil sounds. Barb nicknamed the room the ‘stinky foot’ room. It sure was. At the end of the soaking, steam and fires we each had a massage. The RMT you get is pretty random. I prefer a female RMT but always seem to get men. eyeoll- This weekend was no exception, he was good, I liked most of his treatment except for the neck. I thought it was a little jarring. We had a dinner reservation at Oliver & Bonacini at Blue Mountain. I’ve never been and B. was interested in eating there since she’d heard some news about the chefs. The restaurant itself was long and open. I’m not sure what style they were going for, the best I could think to call it would be modern urban artsy. I’m not sure that is even suitable. It was nice but I felt there were a lot of competing styles going on. Anyway, the food. The menu had a good variety of choices. I settled on a Grilled 10 oz Certified Angus Striploin and B. got Oven Baked Ricotta & Roasted Garlic Gnocchi. Dinner was delicious as was the Classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée (which sadly didn’t come in a 2L size) we had for dessert. Still… dinner was expensive. Very expensive… we thought afterward for the money, getting take-out Indian from Tara in Barrie would have been just as enjoyable and we’d have more money in our pocket. *shrug* I guess the occasional indulgence is nice. By the time we got home late Saturday we were both zonked.
Sunday we tooled around the house most of the day. B. made both a yummy turkey vegetable soup and a roast chicken for dinner. Yum! I was treated to valentine brownies as well. I spend a chunk of the day conquering Mt.Laundry. In the evening we watched The King’s Speech. The true story of King George the VI’s efforts to overcome a stammer. It was a well acted, funny and touching look at the evolution of a man into a King. I liked it a lot. I felt it was a touching and thoughtful look at an under appreciated affliction. Rating:****.
Dunno about those Sabres win a few lose a few. Another head scratching loss to the Isles today who are starting goalies off the streets of long island… who are still outplaying Vezina winner Ryan Miller. Phew…apparently Miller lost it on a reporter today. The Sabres need to find a backup they are willing to start so Ryan doesn’t have to start 30 games in a row. Ridiculous.
Last Sunday we had a spa day at le scandinave in Collingwood. In spite of cool drizzle most of the afternoon, it was an enjoyable day. I had an hour massage which was very good. I’ve been having some tingling down my right arm… the massage helped… unfortunately only temporarily. It is nice to chill without any phones or computers for a few hours… Personally I could also do without the elevator pan-flute music as well. The gentle bubbling of the spa would be fine. The drive home tried to undo all the relaxation from the afternoon. It was foggy and hilly and some drivers felt that was cause enough to drive 20-30km under the limit. Yes… there were moments the fog was dense but there was no justification for how ridiculously slow some of those people were driving. I thought B. was going to jump out of the car run up to them and toss them out of the way. (Sadly she didn’t) Ugh.
Sabres continue to struggle. Sigh.
B. took remicat into the vet to have her teeth looked at. Sadly (as is common with older cats) she has infected gums and teeth that need to be removed. Additionally they found she has hyperthyroidism. So the poor cat is in for surgery and medication at a minimum. Our winter furniture budget just got a kick in the pants.
Any day you have to go to the Emergency room can’t be good. I just got home from the ‘hospital’. I have a hernia in my ‘mid-section’. It isn’t painful but it may require surgery to repair. So, that is how we spent Saturday night. Thanks again for going with me B.. I was pretty freaked out about it.
Shame for this to occur now (or anytime really)… but it had been such a wonderful and relaxing weekend up then. We were up in Collingwood and stayed a night at the Mosaic hotel at Blue Mountain. Most of Friday we were at Le Scandinave Spa which was very relaxing. I felt like limp spaghetti at the end of the day. We had a great meal at Tholos restaurant in the Village at Blue Mountain. I had a delicious steak. We left there very full. The Turkey Tent sale was underwhelming again. It simply has never been as good as the first one we went to. Lots of filler, not many jackets for sale. The hotel room was decent. Apparently you can buy one of the rooms. Nearly all the hotels at BM had a few rooms for sale.