Here is my progress on my personal goals (or lack thereof) for September. I must admit I am looking forward to setting new goals in January, but I can hold out for 3 more months!
If I didn’t have a Kulture Goal, I would spend too many weekends sitting home eating leftovers! During the first half of the month, I felt like I was always out, and for the second half, I was run ragged working overtime at the library. Not very balanced, but I was glad I had some fun nights out before the going got rough!
We attended all 3 nights of the Summersonic music festival:
- Night 1: Father John Misty (Joshua Tillman), K’naan and Stars
K’naan is a socially-conscious rapper who emigrated from Somalia to Canada as a teenager. Check him out!
- Night 2: Daniel Lanois, Martin Sexton and Ben Harper
Ben Harper is an activist who plays a mix of soul, blues, rock and reggae.
- Night 3 (punk night): Propaghandi, The Vandals, Lagwagon and Rise Against
Rise Against is my favourite hardcore band because of their impassioned politics.
None of the other bands are especially political, just my favourite ones each night. And we didn’t even get rained on at the outdoor venue until the 3rd evening. Success!
For October, we have all-access wristbands to the Halifax Pop Explosion, so we’ll have another month of concert excess.
I met one of my annual goals, which was to attend the Atlantic Film Festival after a year off in 2011. Rom and I went to see A Liar’s Autobiography, a 3D animated film about the life of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, which freely mixed fact and fiction, as well as 14 animation styles. Mr. Chapman’s life (both the true and false bits) did decadence up large! It was more, er, pornographic that your usual Monty Python fare!
Every year, the AFF has a gala evening of Atlantic Shorts (short films by Atlantic Canadians). They sent the library a DVD of the program so we could show it the following night. I was responsible for the screening, and I had all kinds of technical difficulties due to missing and faulty equipment. I pulled it off, but just barely. While I enjoyed the films myself, it was sub-par for the audience 😦 I have taken corrective action for future film programs!
I watched only 2 movies at home this month, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Dean Spanley, both historical comedies. They were polar opposites, with Miss Pettigrew being big-and-bold, played for laughs, and Dean Spanley being extremely underplayed (except for the dog adventure scenes!)
I don’t think I’ll even come close to my goal of watching 52 movies/DVDs this year. I am currently at 27.
Now on to books! I ran out of time for reading this month because I was busy with either work or other entertainment, but I did read these:
Bed by David Whitehouse
Not for the faint-of-heart, this novel is told from the perspective of a boy who grew up with an older brother who was morbidly obese – 1400 pounds and bedridden obese. This might seem too outlandish, but anyone who grew up in a dysfunctional family and with an overprotective mother will relate to this story.
Gemma Bovery by Posy Simmonds (graphic novel)
This graphic novel is a modern retelling of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. While Gemma was not at all a sympathetic character, the book kept me spellbound from beginning to end. Ms. Simmonds seems to have a thing for tales of bitchy women (see also: Tamara Drewe). I loved the format, which was very wordy and substantial for a graphic novel.
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Every single minute I was reading this book, I felt like I was reading a novel by Douglas Coupland – who happens to be one of my favourite authors. This is an episodic tale of a work crew in an advertising firm who are experiencing a round of layoffs. It picks up significantly in the middle and develops a stronger plot line. As expected from the book’s premise, it turns out very bittersweet. It left me thinking, though – if you work full-time, you should probably not think of your job as something that keeps you from your real life – it is your real life!
Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese
The author of The Tipsy Baker (blog) wrote this charming book about what’s Worth It to make from scratch. Such as: Making caramel corn? Yes. Making potato chips? No. It was also really fun to read about her adventures raising chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats and bees. I read this in bits and pieces before bed and enjoyed drifting off thinking about homemade croissants.
I have read 41 books so far this year.
I am not doing very well at finding new restaurants with good vegetarian options. This month I ordered in a pizza for the first time in 3 years! I adore pizza but I usually make my own. I had a weak moment. It was good! At the Summersonic festival, we gorged on delicious fresh-cut French fries, and kettle corn made on site. I must have caught the popcorn bug because last night I made popcorn in oil on the stovetop, which I have probably never done in my adult life! Although the rest of our meals were still home cooked this month, I only baked bread once and made yogurt – I just wasn’t home enough to do more. However, I was gifted with 15 pounds of ripe tomatoes, so I put up 3 different kinds, using basic instructions from Heidi at Lightly Crunchy.
For batch 1, I just roasted chunks of tomato with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning. I left it chunky and put it in jars. For batch 2, I did the same thing but added red peppers and onions. Both of these will be used in place of canned diced tomatoes in recipes, depending on whether spicy or plain would suit. And for batch 3, I went back to just tomatoes again, but seasoned with basil, salt, black pepper and a dash of sugar; then blended it, then thickened it by simmering it down on the stovetop. It’s good as-is for a tomato soup, or can be used as a sauce. It has about the same consistency as roasted red pepper soup. I left the skins on and seeds in all my tomatoes because they don’t bother me. My 15 lbs of tomatoes (plus 3 peppers and 3 onions) made twelve 2-cup jars which are now in the freezer.
In personal finance news, I toed the line this month. Besides the pizza and the movie (and the music festival which was prepaid months ago), we kept it very lean. I bought the new glasses I’d been saving for, and bought a set of winter tires on sale, for installation later. And I did not buy any clothes!
I started a major decluttering project. When our kid lived at home, we had a desktop computer that we shared, in a separate room we always called the Computer Room. Later I bought my own laptop, and Link continued using the Computer Room. We turned it into an art studio for Link, with shelves for arts supplies. I also kept my home filing cabinet there, boxes of documents and photos, and gift wrapping supplies. Meanwhile, when I got married and Rom moved in, he got his own home office, which is packed to the rafters with his personal effects. I ended up being the only one in the family without a hobby room, so I decamped to the kitchen desk! Since Link no longer lives at home, that space is being reclaimed, and I am hard at work re-purposing the space once again.
That’s it for September!