Mystery Photo #160

I’m a little apprehensive about posting today because I’m afraid some of you might be mad at me :(.  I mean shame on me – I missed TWO Mystery Photo Fridays!!  I do apologize if it caused trauma for any of you, but the Christmas holidays made it harder to find time to blog.  The funny thing is that for the first time ever we actually spent a quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with just our boys, so you would think I would have had lots of time to devote to blogging since I didn’t have to entertain a houseful of people.

However, as I’m sure many of you who are parents will understand, I am starting to realize that Christmas mornings with my boys at home won’t last forever as they will eventually start their own traditions when they get married and have families of their own, so I said the heck with blogging and concentrated on enjoying every moment with my hubby and my kids.  We then enjoyed another turkey dinner with Mike’s family a couple of days after Christmas and afterwards headed to Kingston, Ontario to spend New Years with my family.  We had a great time, but there is something about getting back into the normal routines after the holidays that is always a relief.

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season too and are ready to get back to exercising your brains.  Not only is this a neat mystery photo because I think it resembles a few different items, but I also love this shot because of the clarity in the middle and the blurring around the edges.

Mystery Photo #160

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Mystery Photo #159

Groan, groan, groan!!  I think I’m going to be sick or die or both.  Last night was my office Christmas party at a restaurant called Montana’s where everything is served in very large quantities.  As the boss was footing the bill, we ate anything and everything that we could, which included two platters of appetizers, a huge main course, and a disgustingly decadent dessert.  I was, of course, very uncomfortable after I finished my meal, but I did not expect to feel so morbidly obese and ready to barf this morning.  Mike and I are walking around the house groaning in unison, and there isn’t a bathroom in the house that is safe today!!

Now that I have either turned you off your breakfast or made your stomach hurt from laughing, it’s time to play the mystery photo game.  Don’t forget to use your imagination.  Ok, ready, set, go……

Mystery Photo #159

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Mystery Photo #158

I had an unexpected day off yesterday.  A nor’easter that whipped the Atlantic coast sent snow and wind inland into parts of Ontario and Quebec.  Originally, we thought the storm was going to stay south of us, but when I headed outside to clean off my car to head to work, it quickly became obvious that Mother Nature didn’t want us to feel left out.  There was already about four inches of snow in the driveway, and heavy, sticky snow was still falling heavily.  No sooner had I cleaned off one side of my car, than the other side was totally covered again.  It was virtually impossible to clean my car off enough so that I could see properly to drive.  I did my best and headed to the highway to see what visibility was like.  My hubby had left for work about an hour before and said the visibility wasn’t bad, but conditions had obviously deteriorated because I couldn’t see much of anything down the highway.  So, snow day it was and I headed back home to curl up on the couch with a book.  Around 11:30 am the plow finally went by, and Daniel couldn’t get in the driveway when he got home from work.  So, out came the shovels for our favourite form of winter exercise.  Not!!  What really sucked was when my hubby came home and fixed the snow blower AFTER we had already cleared the whole driveway.  Oh well, the exercise was good for me I guess :).

Now that I have done my whining about the snow, we can move on to our weekly fun.  It’s time to guess the mystery photo, and trust me it has nothing to do with winter!  Can you figure this one out?  Ok, ready, set, go……

Mystery Photo #158

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People watching in Paris

Even though I have thousands of photos to share with you from our trip to Paris and the UK, my addiction to reading has been easily winning out over blogging for the last little while.  However, a travel show on TV tonight featured some familiar areas of Paris, and I was suddenly reminded of one of my favourite activities from our travels.  I love to people watch!  People watching in my own neck of the woods is interesting, but people watching in a different country is even more fascinating.  I enjoy looking for the differences and similarities in customs, clothing, and past-times.  In Paris, it became obvious that everyone enjoys spending time outside in the fresh air, whether it is to draw, play music, or just simply relax and enjoy.  Here is a selection of my favourite shots.

People of Paris 1

People of Paris 2

People of Paris 3

People of Paris 4

People of Paris 5

People of Paris 6

People of Paris 7

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Mystery Photo #157

Our trip to Kitchener last Saturday to see our son, Bryan, and his girlfriend, Cayley, was a huge success.  Not only did Mike help Bryan fix his car, which was our main reason for visiting, but we also got a ton of Christmas shopping done.  The Lindt Chocolate Outlet was just as fabulous as ever, and we left with a huge bag full of chocolates for stocking stuffers (and a few to eat on the way home).  Then we headed to a real city mall, which I don’t get to experience very often because I live in the sticks.

The mall was amazing, not only because I was able to cross quite a few Christmas gifts off my list, but also because this particular mall has an Apple store – the most wonderful store in the world (along with book stores of course).  I had been on a waiting list at our local electronics store for the new iPhone 6 Plus for a month or more and had also inquired at other stores with no luck, but when I walked into the most wonderful store in the world to buy a Christmas present for someone else and happened to mention that I was trying to wait patiently for my new phone, the awesome Apple representative made my day by telling me that they had them in stock.  Within five minutes my new baby was in my hands, and she is a beauty :).  Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas to me!!!  Now I’m in the process of listing my old phone for sale which will hopefully cover a good portion of the money I spent. Who knew how much money people will spend for used phones.  I had no idea.

Of course, where there is good there is often bad unfortunately, and I did spend a couple of days this week fighting a flu bug, but I am feeling better now and ready to enjoy the weekend.  Let’s get it started with some fun.  Who thinks they are smart this week?  Who has what it takes to figure out the mystery photo?  Ok, ready, set, go….

Mystery Photo #157

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Mystery Photo #156

There has been a lot going on this week hasn’t there?  First of all, I hope all of my American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday with friends and family and are still blissfully recovering from their turkey comas today :).  Then you have the craziness of today – IT’S BLACK FRIDAY!!!!  What are you doing reading my blog?  You should be out shopping!  Now that Canada has adopted Black Friday as well (and Red Thursday and Cyber Monday), my email has been inundated with sale advertisements. However, I have to work today and I hate crowds, so I will be checking out the deals online this morning from the comfort of my couch.  I find that much more enjoyable :).

I had a busy week too, which included a night out with all of the girls from work to see the movie, Horrible Bosses 2.  We told my boss that we were all going to take notes on how to get rid of a horrible boss.  I think we’ve got him scared now because he actually texted me during the movie to see if we were enjoying it LOL!  It was a hilarious movie, and it was great to get out and have some fun instead of bitching about work, and I actually got some Christmas shopping done beforehand.  It was a win win night.

Tomorrow we are going to Kitchener to visit my son, Bryan, and his girlfriend, Cayley, and do some more Christmas shopping.  Most important of all, we are going to make our annual trip to the Lindt Chocolate Outlet Store.  Oh boy, oh boy, I’m so excited, especially because they always have really good sales and free samples.  Time to fill everyone’s stockings.

Before I overdose on chocolate, let’s play the mystery photo game.  You guys are getting so smart that it’s hard to find a tough one anymore, so let’s see what you can do.  Ok, ready, set, go…..

Mystery Photo #156

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Mystery Photo #155

I don’t know about you, but after a few busy weekends in a row and a week full of icky, snowy weather, I am looking forward to a quiet weekend at home.  I’m starting to realize just how quickly Christmas is approaching, and although I have already done quite a bit of shopping, I need to sit down and figure out who I still need to buy for and maybe get started on my Christmas cards.

But before everyone gets started with their weekend plans, let’s see what you can do with the mystery photo.  This is a fun one, rather than a difficult one, and if you don’t recognize it right off the bat, think of what I spent last weekend doing.  Ok, ready, set, go….

 

Mystery Photo #155

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Portraits of Talent and Inspiration

Book Fair 10

Sitting in the front row at the main stage listening to gifted writers speak about their craft was the icing on the cake for me at the Toronto International Book Fair.  Reading has always been my favourite and most satisfying hobby, but there is something about actually listening to an author describe how and why they do what they do that makes the stories mean so much more to me.  It’s like they actually share a little piece of themselves with you.  And then to actually get to meet them and tell them how much you love their books, well that is the biggest thrill of all!  Here are some portraits of the authors I was most excited to see.

Book Fair 11

Anne Rice, author of the famous Vampire Chronicles series.

Book Fair 12

Kathy Reichs, author of the hugely popular mystery series that the TV show Bones is based on.

Book Fair 13

It was an absolute honour to meet Margaret Atwood, who celebrated her 75th birthday this week.

Book Fair 14

Will Ferguson, author of the 2012 Giller Prize winning book, 419.

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Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians Trilogy.

Book Fair 16

Maggie Stiefvater, author of many popular Young Adult series.

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Amanda Lindhout, the Canadian journalist who spent 460 days in captivity in Somalia and lived to tell the tale in her book, A House in the Sky. This is an incredible book!!

Book Fair 18

Lisa Genova, a neuroscientist, who is the author of three hugely successful books, including Still Alice, the story of a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, which has been made into a major motion picture.

Last but not least, and the main reason why I bought my ticket months ago for this book fair, was to see one of my favourite authors of all time, Deborah Harkness.   She is a fascinating and extremely intelligent author and university professor who manages to take fantasy, history, and science and mix them together in just the right combination to make you believe that maybe witches and vampires could actually exist, and in the process you get great history and science lessons.  She is a very gifted writer, and if you haven’t read her All Souls Trilogy I would highly recommend that you give it a try. You won’t regret it!

Book Fair 19

Finally, here is a picture of Deborah Harkness, myself, and Grega, a new friend from the All Souls Trilogy Discussion Group on Facebook.  What an incredible weekend!!

Book Fair 20

Posted in Authors, Blogging, Books, Excitement, Famous People, Happiness, Hobbies, Inspiration, Memories, Photography, Reading, Toronto, Ontario, Weekend Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

A Booklover’s Paradise

Book Fair 1

I think I made it pretty obvious in my mystery photo blog last Friday that I was incredibly excited about the book fair I was going to attend all weekend.  Well, I am happy to report that the book fair did not disappoint.  In fact, it far surpassed my expectations, and I came home exhausted but extremely happy, with 13 new autographed books :).

This was the first year for the Inspire Toronto International Book Fair, so I didn’t know quite what to expect, except that there were some amazing authors scheduled to appear. I made the drive to the city and back both Saturday and Sunday, leaving the house at 7am in order to arrive at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre when the doors opened at 9:30am.  As my friend, Jan, and I walked into the Fair my jaw dropped because there were books literally everywhere, and the displays were fantastic.  For instance, the publishers, Penguin Canada, Random House Canada, and Simon & Schuster all had amazing setups that looked like rooms in a home with books not only filling the shelves in each room but also on coffee tables, bedside tables, and kitchen tables.  It’s hard to describe just how wonderfully creative it was, so let me show you.

Book Fair 2

Book Fair 3

Book Fair 4

Book Fair 5

Book Fair 6

Book Fair 7

Book Fair 8

Book Fair 9

The areas set up for children had activities for them to do, and adults could relax in any of the other “rooms” to flip through books and choose any they wanted to buy.  I thought it was brilliant, yet overwhelming in some respects because I wanted to buy every book I saw LOL!!  When I wasn’t listening to authors speak or meeting them to get my books signed, I always found myself wandering back over to the “house” to explore.

This fair was extremely well organized.  I knew that we had to get wristbands if we wanted to get a book autographed, but I figured that I would have to line up for a wristband for each author.  As a result, I thought that I would spend most of my day in lineups, thereby limiting how many authors I would actually be able to hear speak. However, it turned out that we only had to line up once in the morning to purchase books we wanted signed and to get our wristbands.  The wristbands were then good for the whole day, which meant that I was able to see every author that I wanted to see, and there was an incredible variety.  If I have one complaint, it was that for most of the signings, you had to buy the book there to get it autographed.  Some authors actually did additional signings though where they would sign books you brought from home as well, which was really great.  Needless to say, I was on cloud 9 all weekend, and I’m already excited to hear who will be in attendance next year!

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will post photos of such incredible authors as Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, Margaret Atwood, and Kathy Reichs, just to name a few. They were all so friendly and fascinating to listen to that it made it a weekend I will never forget!

Posted in Blogging, Books, Excitement, Happiness, Hobbies, Memories, Photography, Reading, Relaxation, Toronto, Ontario, Weekend Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Mystery Photo #154

I know this is shocking, but you almost didn’t get a mystery photo today.  I’m just so excited about this weekend that I haven’t been able to sit down at my computer and concentrate on anything this week!  Both Saturday and Sunday I will be attending the first annual Inspire Toronto International Book Fair in downtown Toronto, Ontario, and the list of authors who will be speaking and signing books is out of this world!!  I’m extremely excited to meet Deborah Harkness again, one of my favourite authors of all time, but I’m totally freaking out because Margaret Atwood and Anne Rice are going to be there.  I don’t know if any of you will agree, but to me this is huge!  They are even having a 75th birthday party for Margaret Atwood with cake.  If it is chocolate, I can see this becoming the best book event of all time.

With my exciting weekend in mind, I have to go now.  I need to work on my arm muscles to get them ready to carry heavy bags of books.  Yahooooo!!!  Here I come Toronto, and let nobody get in my way :).  While I’m exercising my biceps, it’s time for you to exercise your brains and take a guess at the mystery photo.  Ok, ready, set, go…….

Mystery Photo #154

Posted in Blogging, Mystery Photo, Photography | Tagged , , | 25 Comments