12 Months of Celebration – Month 9 – September

My favourite couple from Game of Thrones, Renly and Loras. Awesome art from: lunascrafts.livejournal.com

My favourite couple from Game of Thrones, Renly and Loras. Awesome art from: lunascrafts.livejournal.com

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!Β 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 bΓ©chamel 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!

Mr. Cleese (Photo credit: theevent.co.za)

Mr. Cleese (Photo credit: theevent.co.za)

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 πŸ™‚ 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.

Everyone in North America will cringe at this photo (From LukeandNick.com)

Everyone in North America will cringe at this photo (From LukeandNick.com)

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

The Elizabethans – by A. N. Wilson

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 - by Joseph Heath

The Efficient Society – by Joseph Heath

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

Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times

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?


  1. Wow, sounds like you’ve had an eventful month! I’ve spent the last few weeks catching up on Game of Thrones, and I just finished season 3 last week, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! I also really like Arya and Brienne, as well as Margaery and Daenerys – so many strong female characters. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I’ll warn you about the 9th episode – there’s a huge plot twist in there! It sounds like you’re going through some interesting changes at work, and I think having those extra 90 minutes will really make a difference! Also, I share a few things in common with Link as I’ve also recently moved to Toronto, and I also have been trying hard to stay away from ramen and KD! I find it’s so much easier to get through the day with nutritious foods like eggs, cheese, fruits and veggies, rather than sodium-filled empty carbs! πŸ˜›

    • Well, hey! I hope you enjoy Toronto. I have never lived there but have visited maybe 6 or 8 times and love it. Stay healthy! I don’t think I’ll be able to hold out for the DVD release of Game of Thrones Season 3 next February.

      • Thanks, I’m really liking it so far! It’s a huge change from my small town, but it’s nice having stores and events super close by. As for Game of Thrones, I just got it from my brother, who had downloaded it from somewhere. Not as legal I suppose, but I just couldn’t wait!

      • Not sure I can wait for Season 3 on DVD next February either! If you happen to like costumed anime and steampunk events, let me know and I can help connect you up to Link & Co. in Toronto.

      • I don’t think I can wait until early 2014 for Season 4, but I guess I’ll have to! πŸ˜› And I’m not really, but thanks for the offer πŸ™‚

  2. I am so glad for you that you’ve saved so much time by losing the work commute. What a huge quality-of-life difference! More time to see great events like John Cleese πŸ™‚

    We have also got into Game of Thrones in recent months after swearing off it initially…I’m absolutely hooked. We’re not quite through Season 2. I’ve been warned we will “need support” after the famous episode in Season 3 (have resisted looking it up!) I also love Arya an Brienne, as well as the Khaleesi.

    I’m impressed you’ve braved another Joseph Heath…he is hard work but so interesting! (thanks also for the link!)

    • I have completely refused to look up info on Season 3 of GoT but I have heard vague warnings about “that episode” too. I have more time in my day but Rom does not since I used to drive him, and he now takes the bus!

  3. Such a lovely round up of your life. I think John Cleese would be interesting to see, I think he might even be visiting Australia, there’s certainly someone from a generation I don’t know well, but know are funny, coming to Australia. Absent minded!

    This month I’m not going to add any of your books, I have so many on my reading list for now!! I haven’t gotten into Game of Thrones – we started it, but I think it needs my full attention, rather than semi attentive whilst blogging/reading blogs!

    • John Cleese is old indeed. I believe he toured Australia 2 years ago. I would only recommend going to see him if you’re familiar with his TV and film work. I would say GoT definitely needs full attention – you really need to pay attention to the relationships among characters and all the plot developments!

  4. I love Game of Thrones πŸ™‚ I just finished reading the series for the second time and noticed so much stuff that I didn’t pick up on my first read-through. If you can get your hands on the books (maybe through your library connections!) I really recommend them, and I don’t usually like fantasy much.

    That’s too bad about the car insurance. Will it go down once Rom has been in Canada for a certain number of years?

  5. Lisa

    I love the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ book series (Game of Thrones etc.) too! I have only watched Season 1 of GoT on DVD, which followed book 1 closely. I don’t think they will be able to maintain that given the vast number of characters and stories in the books, but still it will be fun to watch how it unfolds. Now, if only book 6 would come out in this decade!

    Currently, I am getting into ‘Homeland’, which I had at first avoided. I am also re-watching ‘Downton Abbey’ with my husband and getting him hooked. I love Downton Abbey (if you haven’t watched it, I would highly recommend as it has some of the characteristics you said you liked above, plus it is British πŸ™‚ )

    I am actually envious (again) of your car insurance rate! We are paying just over $2000 annually for 2 cars, one of which is 13 years old and has no collision coverage on it, and the other one does not commute to work! I will shop around again next year, but I think it is an Ontario-living reality.

    • I’ve heard that car insurance in Ontario cities is much higher because of the population density. I really have never got into watching TV series on DVD, but I have Downton Abbey Season 1 on reserve at the library, as well as the Tudors – I wonder which will come in first!

  6. Car insurance is tough! Different states have different requirements here, which is a pain when you hear about friends and family in neighboring states getting great rates. We pay $2000 a year if that makes you feel any better πŸ™‚

    My husband loves Game of Thrones – it’s one of his favorite shows. I’ve heard good things, but I think I’d spend too many episodes hiding behind my hands!

    • Yep, I spent many scenes with my eyes closed, LOL! There is one particular kind of gruesome death that really bothers me (out of the many that are shown) and there is a lot of it…yet I still need to know what happens next.

  7. Sounds like you had a good September – I am envious that you got to see John Cleese – all my family love his Faulty Towers DVD’s. Have not heard of the Game of Thrones is that a TV thing? I don’t get to watch a lot of TV but it may not be a UK program. Here’s to a great and thrifty October.

    • Game of Thrones is a TV show on a US premium channel. I don’t subscribe to it, so I watched the first two seasons on DVD. October should be reasonably thrifty – we bought tickets in advance for two events, and we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving which is a non-spendy holiday! I look forward to your updates.

  8. I smiled about you watching S1+S2 in a month – once we discover (get hooked) a TV Series we love to cram in whole seasons….much better than having to wait a week for new episodes!

    I love that you have an extra 90 minutes a day too! Great round-up πŸ™‚

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