12 Months of Celebration – Month 7 – July

Local band Like a Motorcycle at Halifax Pride 2013

Local band Like a Motorcycle at Halifax Pride 2013

July got off to a bad start when the Canada Day fireworks were postponed for a week, and one of my cats went missing for five days! Fortunately, everything looked up after that, and it was one of my most celebrating-est months ever!

First of all I got to celebrate Luna coming back home: the prodigal cat!

Then, just to show how nerdy I am, I spent an entire day in the blazing sun cleaning out the shed and I really enjoyed it.

Jazz Fest

Rom and I went to two music events this month. We chose an event during Jazz Fest – an evening of experimental and ambient music, with Bing and Ruth as the headliners. They are a collaborative from Brooklyn which includes piano, bass, cello, 2 clarinets and someone doing tape delay. Their whole performance was a single composition, which was partly improvised. It sounded like film soundtrack music, but more organic and “human.” The concert was in a specially designed concert hall which I hadn’t been to before because they don’t do rock shows there!

Do I have to tell you there was a drum solo? (Photo: The Chronicle Herald)

Do I have to tell you there was a drum solo? (Photo: The Chronicle Herald)

Later in the month we went to see Rush. Pretty much everyone in Canada has grown up with Rush in one phase of their career or another. I have to confess I haven’t actively followed them since 1982 (before half of my blog readers were born) but I still consider myself a fan. Over the years, Rush went from singing about science-fiction themes to social commentary and philosophical leanings. Their concert was 2.5 hours (with an intermission) and was accompanied by original film clips throughout. The stage set had a steampunk-inspired theme. The audience was mostly people “of a certain age” with their teen and adult children, along with the usual assortment of bikers, metal heads and stoners.



I Love You, Man

I Love You, Man

I managed to see two movies on DVD this month, both light fare suggested by my co-workers. On discussing how much I love movies about India (and especially Indian immigrants), it was recommended that I see Outsourced. All the jobs in a young professional’s office are being outsourced to India, and he is sent there to train his replacement. Is it any surprise that it ends up being life-changing? After going to see Rush, another co-worker suggested that I see I Love You, Man, because it has a cameo by Rush! It was the story of a guy whose fiancée has a large group of friends, and she shares all of her intimate details with them, but he has no personal friends at all. So everyone sets him up on “man dates” so he can make new friends, with amusing results.

The speed skating oval

The speed skating oval (400 metre track)

After two months of lacklustre fitness performance, I stepped it up in July. My well-loved elliptical machine bit the dust after 8 years of heavy use, and it was replaced. I love the new machine and I’ve been setting new goals based on all its fancy electronic features. Next, I had been thinking of getting a pair of inline skates, and finally took the plunge. My neighbourhood is too hilly (I am not so great at stopping quickly!) so I went to the public skating time at the outdoor speed skating oval. It was fantastic! I can hardly wait to go back. I got out my jump rope after it had been hiding in a closet for a decade. I decided I would jump to a count of 100 the first day. I have since done this several times, and each time I feel less like I am going to die 🙂

Hike view (low tide)

Hike view (low tide)

Finally, I joined a group on a 2-hour hike one Saturday. I wish I had done this long ago. I hardly ever spend time outdoors! There was an experienced hike leader, and great views, to boot.

Pandemic (board game). Photo: Heroes-World.com

Rom bought a new board game that I had shown some interest in. We had our first game of Pandemic this month, and I highly recommend it – even for just two players. You work collaboratively to rid the world of a disease outbreak! OK, we are well and truly nerds…

If you got it, flaunt it! – Halifax Pride 2013

July 18-28 is our local LGBTQ Pride Week. At 11 days, it’s almost a Pride fortnight! At my library, we have an LGBTQ –themed read aloud night for adults which is really popular, and uncensored! A local sex-positive shop sponsors the event and arranges locally well-known readers. I look forward to it every July. The Pride Parade was last Saturday, and is one of only two huge parades in our city. The Pride Parade here is unusually family-friendly and everyone brings their kids and dogs and grandmas. I only saw one guy in buttless chaps and one in a diaper, LOL! But it was a rather cold day to be dancing to Cher on a float in one’s tighty whities!

As a month-end bonus, we scored a pair of after-market (read: $$) tickets to see John Cleese in September.

I don’t know why, but this ended up a great month for reading. We had two weeks of scorching sun and two weeks of torrential rain, so that would do it!

My books read were:

Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap fashion - by Elizabeth L. Cline

Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap fashion – by Elizabeth L. Cline

Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion – Elizabeth L. Cline, reviewed here

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Zero Waste Home – Bea Johnson, reviewed here

Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace - by Emma Summerscale

Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace – by Emma Summerscale

Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace: the Private Diary of a Victorian Lady – Emma Summerscale

A real life Victorian wife makes the mistake of detailed her affairs – real and imagined – in a diary which her controlling husband finds, and he sets to work to bring her to ruin.

Filthy Lucre - Joseph Heath

Filthy Lucre – Joseph Heath

Filthy Lucre: Economics for People Who Hate Capitalism – Joseph Heath

This was a recommendation from Fiona at Declutterer. Despite the title, it thoroughly discredits every economic argument from both the left and the right. I have read loads of popular economics books, and Mr. Heath enjoyed debunking all of them (he hated Freakonomics!) Despite my prior knowledge, some of the content was too in-depth for me to follow, but I liked being challenged.

Sex Pistols: The Graphic Novel

Sex Pistols: The Graphic Novel

Sex Pistols: the Graphic Novel – Jim McCarthy and Steve Parkhouse

I have a project of reading last year’s top 12 graphic novels. This wasn’t on the list. Luckily I know a lot about the band already. It focused on key incidents from their career. Someone without any background on the band wouldn’t be able to make much sense of it. For example, it showed a frame of Margaret Thatcher and noted that she and her policies had not come along yet. I am sure that younger readers would have no idea who was being depicted.

First Spring Grass Fire by Rae Spoon

First Spring Grass Fire by Rae Spoon

First Spring Grass Fire – Rae Spoon

Rae is a musician who has performed locally and I found out about them from Link, although I never got to see a show. Rae grew up in a fundamentalist religious family, and also had a father with serious mental health issues. It did not go over well when Rae turned out to be genderqueer. This is a book of biographical short stories which touched my heart on every page!

LoveStar  by Andri Snaer Magnason

LoveStar by Andri Snaer Magnason

LoveStar – Andri Snaer Magnason

This is my current e-book read. It’s a humorous sci-fi with a detailed future world in which everyone’s perfect match is chosen for them, and there are devastating financial and social consequences if you refuse to obey the matchmaker!

As you can see, July could hardly have been a better month. Happiness is everywhere!


  1. Blimey, sounds like you’ve had a very busy and exciting month. It’s great to read about it. 🙂

  2. Fiona

    What a month! I am so glad that Luna made it home safe and well 🙂

    There are always so many great suggestions in your monthly posts. I love the sound of “Pandemic”. I’d never heard of outdoor speed skating ovals (we don’t have a single one in our city – or probably in most parts of Australia!) I love the idea of the steampunk stage at the Rush concert. And I hope you enjoyed the hike. Hiking in Canada would be all over my bucket list, if I had one!

    • Yes, massive relief about Luna! Speed skating ovals are not at all common here either; our city had one built for training for the Canada Games a couple of years ago. I have yet to go ice skating on it in the winter! I loved the hike but it’s been a bad year for mosquitoes!

  3. what an interesting and varied month for you in July. I have never been a fan of Rush, but as I wasn’t brought up in this country no surprise there I guess?


  4. I’m so happy Luna came home 🙂 As always I’m impressed with how many different books you read – I manage 2 or 3 a month at most! Like Fiona, I’d never heard of an outdoor skating rink, but since it doesn’t snow here, they can’t turn it into an ice-skating rink in winter.

    • The skating oval is made of concrete and is used for roller skating, biking and walking in the summer. In the winter they use a refrigeration system to give it an ice surface, but it still requires cool outdoor temperatures (under 5 C, I think).

  5. You do so much great stuff every month – very inspiring! Why have I never thought about doing a group hike?! This is something I need to add to my to-do list!

    • I would highly recommend it! Someone else can map the route, test the trail, see how long it takes, and do all the logistics – we can just show up! I know that April over at Cash Only Living does hikes all the time.

  6. What a great month, Dar. I love Rush but like you haven’t listened to much of their newer stuff. I just put love star on my reading list, sounds like something I would enjoy.

  7. Wow, after reading about your month, mine seems really boring!

  8. I’m excited to meet you!
    I’m LOVING this blog, it was destiny we meet! I’ve just taken to wanting a more minimalist life, to be honest I’m quite overwhelmed by it!
    I am going to read a couple of the books you have here…. see how other people did it!
    I look forward to following you!
    Tammy x

    • Hi Tammy, Thanks so much for stopping by! I am far from a minimalist but I am trying to declutter and be more mindful of what I bring into the house! I am always looking for advice from other people too. You might have seen that I’m in the middle of doing a full home inventory, and I look forward to sharing the results. I’ll be checking in with you, too!

  9. What an amazing month! Most people don’t do even a quarter of the things you do in the span of 30 days–you go girl!

  10. I archived this to read, and I’m still getting through it, but there’s sure to be some mimicing your suggestions – particularly on the DVDs, and of course some of the books! I’ll keep it on the back burner for when I need more to inspire me – even the board game sounds great, reminds me of that recent movie with Rose Byrne (she’s an Aussie – oh so proud!)

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