12 Months of Celebration – Month 11 – November

Photo via 1217-09@flickr

Photo via 1217-09@flickr

November gets a bad rap. I remember this poem from my childhood:

No sun – no moon! –
No morn – no noon! – 
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day – 
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, 
No comfortable feel in any member – 
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, 
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds – 

(Thomas Hood, 1844, unabridged version here)

Compared to the showiness of other months, I feel November is more of a blank canvas on which we paint our lives – and the colours can be more muted at this time of year. For me, though, this November was splashy, with a city vacation and a job change!

Rom and I travelled to Toronto for a week to visit our kid Link and have a proper vacation. Despite its leadership melt-down, Toronto always has a lot to offer. We took in two concerts, two museums, the new aquarium, shopping in Kensington, 9 good restaurants and only 2 mediocre ones. We spent lots of time with Link and got to see their new apartment. Luckily, we had two days off to recover from vacation when we got back!

Yesterday I worked my last day at Inner City Library. I had been there 6.5 years and some of the staff had never worked for another manager, so it was a sad parting! But I am only across town now in another branch of the same library system, so it’s not a radical departure. My co-workers met at the end of the day to fete me with cake and then we went out for drinkies across the street, where they were hyping the end of Movember and we all got to attach fuzzy moustaches. Très amusant!

Hope Blooms Salad Dressings being sold at the Farmers Market

Hope Blooms Salad Dressings being sold at the Farmers Market

We had an exciting event at work this month. A bunch of local kids have been working in a community garden for the past couple of years, and they started selling a line of salad dressings made in the neighbourhood community kitchen with their fresh garden ingredients. Last Fall they travelled to Toronto to compete on Dragon’s Den (known as Shark Tank in the US), the business capital pitch reality TV show. The kids were sworn to secrecy when they returned, but hinted that they had received “something” from the Dragons panel. On the night their episode aired this month, CBC TV arranged a feed of the show on 3 screens at our library so that the kids could come in and watch it with their families and community supporters. 425 people showed up and it was the biggest party our library ever had. The best part is that the kids were awarded $40,000, with no strings attached, to develop their business. We were so proud! (You can view the Dragons Den segment here – although I suspect it is not for all regions).

I didn’t have time to do much for the rest of the month because of winding-down duties at work; in fact I took my laptop home and spent 4 evenings cleaning up my electronic files for the next manager. It’s a sad situation when it takes 16 hours to groom one’s files so another person can make sense of them! I vowed to start fresh in my new job and not fall into that trap again. Meanwhile I spent far longer than that cleaning up my paper filing system and getting the office in order. In my defense, I inherited a lot of the files, but still…I had 80 months to deal with them, and only accomplished it in the very last one! It reminded me of selling a house – you only make it perfect for the next owner, and not yourself.

All told, I did feel I was celebrating my successes in my old job, and I had many congratulations on the new.

My other activities in November were much more humble, fortunately. I got some dental work done (glad it’s over with), raked the yard and planted some bulbs, and went to the first two of the season’s craft shows. My nephew stayed over at our house 4 nights – he read all of the Scott Pilgrim comics and we watched the movie together (it was only mildly inappropriate!)

This month I read 3 books and I will be back tomorrow with a Reading Down the House update!

How was your November?

PS – As a special bonus, I managed to get the snow tires installed on the car this week – and it hasn’t snowed yet!


  1. EcoCatLady

    Well, November is always an adjustment for me. It just gets dark soooo early. But, it’s a month full of football and the figure skating grand prix, and sunbeams through south facing windows, and crisp bike rides, and buying presents for CatMan’s birthday, and drinking hot tea, and Thanksgiving dinner, and kitties who get really cuddly as the temperature starts to fall… all in all, it’s hard to complain about November!

  2. Mr. Hood doesn’t seem too fond of November, huh? I’ve never had a problem with a month that gives me three extra days off from work (sometimes 4 in an Election year), plus a low stress holiday like Thanksgiving. It sounds like you had a productive and fun month!

  3. How do snow tyres work when there is no snow, Dar?

    I’ve been slack with the reading – well of the books I said I’d read. I’ve three other books on the go, and another one finished. Only one of these has been from my Reading Down the House list. We’re busy with end of year activities. Our school year is the calendar year, so we have three weeks of school left. Amid the madness of end of year reporting, financial and student roll-over, orientation for next year’s first year students, employing new staff, I have to find time to organise my family Christmas decorations, presents and food. The roundabout will stop soon and I can breathe, and read.

    • The usual snow tire season is from mid-Nov to the end of March. The tires have deep treads that really help in snow, ice and heavy rain. The rest of the time, when roads are dry, they are noisier and they’re harder on fuel mileage, but you have to keep them on all season because you never know when the snow storms will come.

      This month I read 2 books for the challenge and 1 from the library – in December I have to read 3 of my own to keep pace!

      I empathize with your end-of-year rush. What is the age range of the students at your school?

  4. We put chains on sometimes when we go to the snowy mountains, but we don’t have snow tyres here. Even the bus that goes up and down the mountain uses chains if the road isn’t cleared.

    My students are aged 12 to 18. We don’t usually have middle schools here, just primary K to 6 and then secondary, years 7 to 12.

    BTW: when it comes to spelling, does Canadian English use predominately American spelling or British? I didn’t know tyres were spelt tire, which for us is only used to mean to grow weary.

    • The roads are always cleared here, except in privately owned areas – some people do use chains, though, especially if they live on a country lane or, as you say, in a mountainous area (although ours are just hills!) I would say that we mostly use American spelling except for using “our” as in honour and colour. There is a lot of French influence too, as in programme and premiere.

  5. No snow yet for you? I did hear that ours might be disappearing tomorrow – its supposed to warm up above 0 on Sunday.

    I saw that episode of Dragon’s Den and was so impressed by those kids – how exciting that they are from your community and you were able to have a gathering for them.

    • No, usually we have one snow storm in November but it has passed us by – just flurries so far.

      Many of the Hope Blooms kids have been coming to the library all their lives so it was great to celebrate with them!

  6. Fiona

    That is really an action-packed November! It must be very bitter-sweet to be moving to the new branch after a 6.5 year stint. Will you still be working with the ‘old’ colleagues from time to time?

    425 people for the Dragon’s Den event at the Library is huge! Unfortunately, the video segment won’t play in our region but the kids look to have done an amazing job.

    I love that you tried 9 restaurants in Toronto! I found out yesterday that my brother is flying out to Toronto tomorrow for work. I’ll have to send him your list of restaurants from the Toronto post in case he gets a chance to eat at any of them (admittedly, he’s not much of a vegetarian but he is obsessed with healthy eating.)

    I’ve started on Reading Down the House and will post soon!

    • Hi Fiona, In December I will see the old work crew at their annual Christmas Breakfast. I have some time off this month, too. So I think it will sink in properly in January. We should see each other at staff training, Staff Recognition Day etc. And we often attend evening library programs at other branches to show our support.

      If you are in contact with your brother, both the Fresh and Magic Oven chains are healthy-eating spots and they serve meat as well.

      I look forward to your book post!

  7. I’ve found the cold and dark nights of November hard to deal with – probably because we lucked out with summer like weather in NY – and I’m already looking forward to the Spring!

    How brilliant for the kids, and that you were able to celebrate with them!

    • I was busy enough that the early darkness didn’t really sink in. It will be just as busy in December, so everything will probably catch up with me in January! Funnily enough, our week in Toronto the first week of November, was much colder than it had been at home, so maybe that helped me adapt to the rest of the month.

  8. It’s been interesting to see you post and Cassie’s about the sentiments about November. In Australia, it’s all hyped up, it’s the last go go go time before the Christmas and summer holiday slows everything down. People seem to work (and study at public schools) almost too close to Christmas, but then January seems to be a waste of time to try and do anything anywhere! And of course, it’s getting hotter, not cooler!

    Sounds like a nice month, at least with the holiday, and of course the new job. I wonder about this yard raking – people don’t really seem to do it here, largely because there are less deciduous trees. But why don’t people leave the leaves to decompose and nourish everything?

    • Good question, Sarah. The leaves form a thick layer on top of the lawn which kills all the grass underneath over the winter! I go over the leaves with the lawn mower and mulch them into tiny bits which I can leave on the lawn. I rake the gardens and pathways and other areas I can’t mow.

      November has a 4-day Thanksgiving weekend in the US (they only get 1 day off for Christmas) but our Thanksgiving is in October. In both countries, November is the start of the pre-Christmas rush and shopping season. But, our school year goes from September to June, and December has only a 2-week term break.

  9. Alice

    Concerning my November… it has been rather quiet and uneventful but in November I came across your blog (via other blogs). 🙂

  10. That’s great news about the kids winning $40000 🙂

    My November was hot! It definitely feels like summer is on the way. The best part was going to the conference in Melbourne and getting to see my friends and family again. Another friend came down with me and even though we were technically working by attending the conference, it felt like a holiday 🙂

  11. November in Melbourne is supposed to be warm and sunny, but this year it has been hot, freezing cold, raining and hailing. It’s very hard to adjust to such changing weather, I hope it gets warm soon! By the way, I love the photograph at the start of your post, the poem is rather sad.

    • The photo is from Flickr (not mine) and was part of a teen photo competition. Your reaction to the poem is interesting – a lot of people see it as humour. Our weather this month is flip-flopping between rain storms and freeze-ups!

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