Here is an update on my annual goals for August.
On July 30, Rom and I went to see Slash. He played with Myles Kennedy, the singer with Alterbridge, who has one of those Classic Rock-type voices. I actually didn’t know Slash would be performing Guns N Roses songs – I assumed he wouldn’t have the rights – so that was a cool surprise. (Guns N Roses performed here after Chinese Democracy was released, but I didn’t go because of Axl’s poor reputation for both voice and lateness at that time!) It was a terrific, high-energy show, and Slash was in fine form.
Later in the month we went to the all-ages venue, The Pavilion, to see Architects, a post-hardcore band from Brighton. There are usually about 6 of us old geezers at the all-ages shows and we nod at each other. Architects were a breath of fresh air and I’m glad we went. Always enjoy a good shot of loudness!
We didn’t go to the Reading or Leeds Festivals while we were in the UK because (a) it would have eaten up all our time, and (b) our willingness to attend huge outdoor events has waned significantly! However, we did see full coverage of The Cure, Florence and the Machine, and Kasabian on TV, which suited us just fine. I only wish I could have seen Foo Fighters and Two Door Cinema Club as well. The BBC3 videos are not available online from Canada.
Concert Goal: 1 per month
Status: 2 concerts since last report
Year to date status: 8 shows in 8 months. Goal met. Should exceed for the year because of upcoming festivals.
Unbelievably, I only saw one movie this month: Super 8, which Rom selected from Netflix. He also re-watched all the Star Trek movies but I didn’t join him 😉 I liked Super 8, about a group of kids in the 70s who are making a horror movie together, and accidentally shoot footage of strange and disturbing events happening around them.
Although I didn’t see any more movies this month, I was happy to finally see an episode of SuperScrimpers while I was in the UK! (It is not available from the Channel 4 website in Canada). The episode I saw was a wedding one, with some info squeezed in about cell phone contracts and ISA accounts. I liked it a lot, and Rom found Mrs. Moneypenny more tolerable that Gail Vaz-Oxlade from Til Debt Do Us Part (which I like, but Rom runs screaming from!)
Movie Goal: 4 per month
Movies Watched: 1
Goal Status: Fail!
Year to date status: 24 of 52 (should be 32 by now)
I got through 4 books this month:
The Complete Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. I had read the earlier edition and this one had all his ensuing columns from The Believer up to June 2006.
Beautiful People by Wendy Holden. I said I would need to read some chick lit to recover from last month’s grisly and sad books. Wendy Holden definitely did the trick!
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. A well-reviewed debut novel.
Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman. A biography intended for youth but completely enthralling for us grown-ups, too.
Books Goal: 4 per month
Status: Met goal
Year to date status: 37 of goal 52 for year (benchmark for end of August is 32, so I have a margin for error!)
I visited two museums and went to a musical on vacation, so that should net me some bonus points 🙂
I changed my goal and the new one is to find a local restaurant each month with good vegetarian options. This month we had a fabulous meal at Curry Village. They do moderate-priced Indian food. A dinner for two was under $50 (versus the swankier one, Taj Mahal, which runs about $90). We ordered the vegetarian fixed price meal for two which included samosas, onion bhajis, rice, chapatis, dal, curried veg and saag paneer, and of course washed it down with a mango lassi. The meal was served fresh and steaming hot, and would have served 3 for lunch. Highly recommended!
This month I made whole wheat bread and yogurt as usual, and a blackberry upside-down cake with wild blackberries that my brother and sister-in-law picked for me! The highlight of the month, though, was that I learned how to make mustard pickles with my mom. (This would be piccalilli in the UK). We always had pickles in the house, but I had never done any pickling before, and didn’t know the steps. I am really glad I got to observe her doing it because I never would have figured it out from her recipe and notes. In a surprise twist, Mom decided to peel the cucumbers and chop everything up tiny, which she had never done before! Furthermore, she is fed up with peeling tiny silverskin onions, so just used regular chopped onions. In a week or two I will be going back to learn how to make green tomato “chowl” (chow-chow).
Driving, Decluttering, and Magic the Gathering
Not much to report. I am still spending many hours weeding the garden and calling it decluttering. Rom is still obsessed with guitars. You cannot imagine how far my guitar education has advanced through sheer osmosis. In the past three months he has bought 2 new electric guitars and a mini-amp. It is a good thing we keep our spending money separate!
I don’t usually report on my budget because it is so routine; I just don’t shop! But this month was a doozy since I paid upfront for two music festivals in September and October, we had our vacation in the UK for a week, and I just ordered new glasses (a 2-for-1 deal) after saving for them for 6 months. So I am feeling very spendy! In the UK I managed to spend £250 on “stuff,” including £75 on gifts. I came home with a skirt, a top, a hoodie, 4 CDs, 3 DVDs, 3 books, 2 small stuffed animals, 2 tiny monster toys, a bracelet, and a frameable picture of a cat walking over London. I would never have had such a shopping freak-out at home; it was a vacation indulgence, and didn’t go on credit 🙂
So that was my August!