12 Months of Celebration – Month 5 – May

Fiddleheads! Photo: freshjuice.ca

Fiddleheads! Photo: freshjuice.ca

I’ve been finding ways to have fun and celebrate continuously instead of saving it up for year-end! It was super-easy this month because we had a long-awaited travel vacation to the UK. While we didn’t go to any movies or concerts in May, the month was not at all a write-off.

Like many places, we had a late spring this year, with lots of rain and cool weather. I didn’t get the snow tires taken off the car until mid-May!  Since the rain has let up, I’ve been able to mow the lawn a couple of times and get back into that routine. I’ve only just turned off the heat, and wouldn’t be at all surprised to return to some cooler days in June. Meanwhile, though, I staged one of our Rites of Spring by opening the cat door for the season! The cats have an outdoor enclosure that they can access any time from the house, and I leave its door open 24/7 after the heating season is over. On the negative side, the June bugs returned in full force yesterday, making that strange thrumming sound as they dive-bomb the outdoor lights and strike against windows. One got in and I had to catch it and release it outdoors which made me quite squeamish – they are large beetles (scarabs, actually). You do not want to be squishing them!

I have been enjoying new asparagus, fiddleheads and rhubarb, so the local food season has begun.

My parents were involved in a play this month – it’s not every day you get to see your dad dressed up as the Jolly Green Giant – so that was a fun night out! I made a big family dinner for Mothers’ Day for my mom, and had everyone over. I had a good chat with Link on the phone, who was very excited about the impending Anime North convention. And there were two family birthdays in May. We have an annual tradition of going to a Chinese buffet for my nephew’s birthday (he is now 12), and Rom asked to be taken out for a full English breakfast for his 🙂

I didn’t read as much as usual this month. I finished two books that carried over from April: Dollars and Sex by Marina Adshade, and Player One by Douglas Coupland.

From Notting Hill With Love...Actually

From Notting Hill With Love…Actually

For airplane reading en route to the UK, I couldn’t resist the first of Ali McNamara’s books, From Notting Hill, With Love…Actually. It was a chick lit book that referenced a long list of romantic comedies, all of which I have seen! I didn’t spend my time in London visiting movie locations, though…

I have two books in progress now:

The Heart Broke In (note the red blood cells)

The Heart Broke In (note the red blood cells)

The Heart Broke In by James Meek is a collection of connected short stories. It starts with the story of a slimeball TV producer who is having an affair with a teenager. I debated whether to continue reading, but it then switches to the story of a related character, and the book keeps improving with every episode. There is also lots of science in it. I am hooked!

The Guardian wrote about it: ‘Addictive…a story about families and betrayal, genetics and inheritance, sex and responsibility in the post-religious world – and also about parasites, cancer, time, birth, death and forgiveness…seldom less than compelling.’

The World Without Us

The World Without Us

I have finally started reading The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It came out in 2007 but I avoided reading it in case it was too depressing. I have found it to be the opposite! The premise is – if human beings vanished from the face of the earth, how would the world heal itself? How long would it take to return to a natural state? If you think about dandelions working up through cracks in the pavement, you will see that nature is invading our synthetic spaces faster than we can keep up with it. I have found it a very life-affirming book. Human life, not so much, but I don’t think we’re the be-all and end-all of this planet!

This is not the same title as The World Without US which was about American military involvement.

I bought FIVE new books at Waterstones and HMV in the UK and I can hardly wait to read them! I don’t usually keep fiction books permanently and I enjoy passing them along.

I saw a few DVDs this month. First I watched two CBC DVDs about the Canadian music scene in the 1970s and 1980s, narrated by Jian Ghomeshi. They were called This Beat Goes On and Rise Up. Of course I was familiar with almost all of the acts! Since 1971, Canadian radio has been required to broadcast 25-40% Canadian content, so my generation was raised on homegrown music as well as international acts. If you are ever nostalgic for Corey Hart, Glass Tiger, or the Parachute Club, you should watch the DVDs! There is a 1960s one, too.

Fran Lebowitz. Photo: flavorwire.com

Fran Lebowitz. Photo: flavorwire.com

I watched a documentary about the author Fran Lebowitz, Public Speaking, which I really enjoyed. Fran Lebowitz is a social satirist/comedian who wrote two popular books in the late 70s/early 80s called Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, both out of print. She is a quintessential New Yorker, a larger-than-life character, and was very much ahead of her time. I consider her a role model – except for the chain smoking 🙂

I watched two action movies with Rom – Ronin (Robert DeNiro) and The Tourist (Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp). We also watched the BBC4 show David Bowie and the Story of Ziggy Stardust, but unfortunately missed the new Five Years documentary which aired last week.

Photo: simoncowellonline.com

Photo: simoncowellonline.com

Most fun of all, I watched an evening of TV with Rom’s parents and hissed at the baddies in Emmerdale, Eastenders and Britain’s Got Talent, none of which I’d seen before! Have any of you read David Walliams’ children’s novels? They are brilliant!

All of this was topped off by a week in London and Sussex, which I posted about separately. A merry month of May indeed!


  1. Fiona

    I have never seen or heard of a fiddlehead before! I will have to Google it! We’ve also had a strangely late season here…have only just turned on our heating, which normally happens here in mid-April! I really enjoy these posts…inspires me to try and get out more to do the things we love doing!

  2. I’ve never heard of fiddleheads either! Are they like a bean?

  3. todadwithlove

    What a fun and eventful month! I like your approach of having continuous enjoyment. 🙂 I shall remind myself to do that too.

  4. I haven’t had fiddleheads yet this year, but I love them. And I’ll have to look for that Douglas Coupland book – I haven’t read anything of his in a few years.

    • I thought the Coupland book was, more than usual, a device for putting across a world view – maybe because it was a Massey lecture. I still enjoyed it as much as ever, though! And I hope to have another feed of fiddleheads yet.

  5. lilimounce

    I had forgotten that it’s fiddlehead fern season. I don’t pick them in the wild, but like to get some at the big market in downtown Seattle. Now I have to make a trip downtown!

    It sounds like your May was very full.

  6. What a wonderful month you have had! The UK trip was like the icing on the cake!

  7. I’ve never had fiddleheads either! I’ve never seen them in Australia, but maybe they will catch on. Are they native to North America?

    The World Without Us sounds like a really interesting read 🙂

  8. As always you’ve added to my reading list! Even without concerts you had a great month. Such a good sport with eastenders – I can’t imagine you had much of a clue what was going on in such a long running serial.

  9. I’m 30 pages into The world without us and I’m really enjoying it!

  10. Pingback: Back Story: 12 Months of Celebration | An Exacting Life

  11. Pingback: Book Review: The World Without Us by A. Weisman | livetolist

  12. Pingback: Book review: The Heart Broke In by James Meek | livetolist

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