September 1, 2 and 3 was a long weekend and I was grateful for 3 days at home to recover from my cold before starting my new job the next day. A mischievous customer at work convinced me I needed to start watching Game of Thrones, and guess who got hooked? Rom and I watched all of Seasons 1 and 2 this month. No spoilers for Season 3, please! I usually do not love guts and gore, but the royalty, history, fantasy, intrigue and gender roles sucked me in. So far I just love Arya and Brienne! The theme song is stuck in my head constantly, and it makes me wish I could play the cello.
I had been managing two branch libraries, and I added a third for early September. My work has wrapped up at one of them, and is in capable hands, but I will dearly miss the staff there! I remain at my old job part-time until a successor is found. I am accustomed to juggling my time between branches, so it isn’t such a change. I am happy to hold on to my old location until things are settled, and I like my new branch and the staff there, too!
On a personal level, it is invigorating to walk to work, and I can go home for meals. Best yet, I can leave 45 minutes later in the morning and arrive home 45 minutes earlier, gaining me 90 minutes a day! I have yet to work out in the sports complex, so that’s my goal for October.
I had the challenge this month of attending a birthday brunch at a steak house! I’ve never been much of a steak eater, Fortunately I was able to get a version of Eggs Benedict. Nothing on the menu for vegans! I always like family meals out, regardless.
In other food news, I made moussaka for the first time, in a vegetarian version. I was pleased with myself for pulling off the béchamel sauce, even though the recipe made twice as much as I needed. I liked the moussaka, but between it and the hollandaise with the Eggs Benedict, I was happy to get back to my veggie chili afterwards!
A highlight of the month was going to see a performance by John Cleese, of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fame. i didn’t have any expectations, knowing he wasn’t a stand-up comedian. I was pleasantly surprised that he talked his way through his life story in a charming way, with photos and video clips from his early career. It was amusing and genial in a way that Canadians appreciate I enjoyed getting inside information on the shows and films he’s appeared in.
You know you’re a small town girl when…I was excited about the new Target store opening in my city! Target is new to Canada and we’ve been curious about how it would stack up to its predecessor, Zellers, or its rival, Wal-Mart. I had a good look around and I duly noted the excellent prices on cat food and personal care products!
I mentioned earlier in the month that I needed to give up my work cell phone, so after much thought, I ended up with a new Windows phone. I already have an iPad Mini and an iPod, so I managed to avoid the expense of an iPhone as well. Although I hated Windows 8 on a (non touchscreen) laptop, it is very functional on a phone, and I would recommend it.
Our kid, Link, has a new apartment in Toronto with 3 friends, and it will be Link’s first experience with roommates. Apparently I have Link well-trained, because there was much dismay at the roommates subsisting on ramen and Kraft Dinner! Rom and I have booked a vacation in Toronto the first week of November to visit Link and take in the lovely big city once again.
I was getting discouraged about paying too much for home and car insurance, so I started shopping around for better rates. Our current insurer said they were the only firm that offers Canadian insurance rates to new immigrants from the UK. I was skeptical, but it turns out they are right – it currently costs us about $1700 to insure two new-ish small cars, and their rivals are charging around $4500 because they don’t recognize Rom’s driving history from the UK! Needless to say, we will not be switching insurers.
In other money news, my treasurer duties have increased and a new annual budget is due for my volunteer job! That will keep me hopping in October.
I attended a memorial service for a relative this month. His death was not unexpected, but it was hard to see his family’s grief. As always at these types of events, I had a chance to reconnect with aunts and cousins I haven’t seen in years. It turned into a warm and supportive celebration, just as it should.
I will soon get to exercise my democratic duty by voting in a provincial election – a federal election cannot come soon enough, LOL!
Finally, what is a monthly round-up without books? This month I read:
The Elizabethans – by A. N. Wilson
I’ve been reading more history these days and wanted to know about the life and times of Elizabeth I. This book has held my interest partly because I disagree with the author on many points! It is a good exercise in examining revisionist history. For example, Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe during Elizabeth’s reign. Is this achievement less glorious because he was also a slave trader and a pirate? Most modern folks would say so, but the author does not.
The Efficient Society – Joseph Heath
This economics book was slow going, but I persevered. The book’s premise is that Canada is successful as a country because of its (boring) efficiencies in government. For instance, it is more economical to provide universal health care than to use the for-profit model of competing private health insurers. Canadians value efficiency and will accept tax-funded programs like this. The book looks into “the morality of capitalism” – and believes that local capitalism reflects its society’s moral values and isn’t neutral. Lots of food for thought! (I discovered this Canadian author through Declutterer!)
Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times (in progress)
I heard about this collection of money-saving tips from The Healthful Saver. Although it was, of course, American, I can always find something of value in a money tips book! I even find it useful to refresh my memory about tips I used to know or practice. All of these books are inspiring to me. I especially liked the chapter called “Clark’s Graveyard,” which lists many of his great ideas that later flopped!
…and that was my September! How was yours?