In September

Photo: appforhealth.com

Photo: appforhealth.com

September is a transitional month – as shown by my choice of snacks. I had my last ice cream cone of the season and my first Pumpkin Spice Latte! I loaded up on local fresh food: Coronation grapes, yellow plums, and corn on the cob.

In other food news, I had a memorable incident. Rom and I went to a new, informal restaurant with counter service. We placed our orders and were told to select a table. When we finished our meal and left, the owner chased us down on the sidewalk – we hadn’t paid! When I order at a counter, I usually pay immediately (as with fast food), so at leaving time, it didn’t even cross my mind that we hadn’t received a bill or gone back to settle it!

Blood Moon Sept 27

Blood Moon Sept 27

After a horrible, humid summer, the weather in September was perfect. Sunny and warm, cool breezes, cool nights. Great for walking, sleeping, gardening, everything! I almost wish it were Fall year-round. And then to top it off with that Super Blood Moon eclipse! Surreal.

Long way from the Gold Coast, LOL!

Long way from the Gold Coast, LOL!

I had some quality outdoor time with a long walk on the beach on the Labour Day weekend – something I hadn’t done all summer – and about 10 hours of yard work – weeding and trimming. I’ll have the same again to do in October before all the shrubberies are shaped up! Oh, you know my neighbor, who vacated her house next door and lives with her boyfriend and toddler across town? She has a new baby now and even less time to tend her abandoned property. I weeded both sides of our fence line again.

This month I amped up my fitness even more – unintentionally. The rink is open for skating again, so I’m back on the ice. It is such a welcome break from my elliptical machine. I have continued with the Jillian (Michaels) fitness DVDs occasionally. The gardening has been substantial enough to be real exercise!  And I still walk to work. The big difference is that Rom is using the pedometer on his iPod Nano and trying to meet a daily step count goal. So even when I’ve met mine, we’ve been going for evening walks almost every day to meet his goal. To make the process even more tech-y, Rom has bought a handheld GPS so we have the exact distances of our usual walking routes 🙂 (Neither of us has a smartphone that can do this). So my joke about attaining physical excellence? You never know.

Now that I’ve had my FitBit for 2 months, I am starting to see some patterns. I have made a real effort to go to bed earlier and get more sleep on work nights. I set a goal of 7 hours sleep each night. Interestingly, to me anyway, I am averaging 7 hours a night, but only if I look at a whole month – half of the time I get less sleep and half of the time I get more. I work a day shift 4 times a week, and those mornings, I am always sleep deprived. It sounds good in theory to make it up on the other 3 nights, but in real life, being tired at work and rested otherwise is not OK! I will have to keep working on it.

One good thing about the Fall is…more take-home pay! In September, we have paid our year’s worth of EI and CPP premiums, so there are fewer payroll deductions for the rest of the year. I also completed a charitable donation deduction from payroll, so will have that amount to play with for the rest of the year, too. On the negative side, I got the annual bill for home insurance and it has gone up AGAIN. It has been increasing by over $100 a year! The company has the best rates for car insurance especially when bundled with a home policy. So if I shop elsewhere for the home portion, I may lose on the rate for our two cars. Grr!

Another home project is planned. We have two quotes on replacing the doors to the house. The framing is worn out and the doors themselves have seen better days. The plan is to put in new doors with storm doors/venting so they have windows that can be opened for air flow. Currently there is about a half-centimeter gap around the front door which lets air in/out; not good for either heating or air conditioning. But adding weather-stripping makes it too tight to close! The builders consider these small, pesky jobs and it is hard to get them scheduled. With any luck, the work will be done by year-end!

Matthias - Scorpions

Matthias Jabs – Scorpions

Rom and I had an actual getaway this month. Except for our vacations to visit family, we never leave town. Way back in the Spring, we bought tickets to see Scorpions at a venue about 3 hours away. We each took two days off work, drove up to Moncton to see the show, and stayed overnight. We had a leisurely day and visited the local comics and record shops and had a meal at a lovely veg restaurant. If you don’t know Scorpions, they are a melodic hard rock band who had a lot of hits in the 80s. They’ve been around almost as long as the Rolling Stones and are therefore not young guys, but they are true professionals. They do a great show (if you know their songs) and I am very glad we made the trip. Later in the Fall: Judas Priest!

Book_Dressmaker

Tonight I am off to Book Club, which has just resumed. We’re discussing The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, which I recommended to the group without having read it. It is the true story of a young woman in Afghanistan under Taliban rule who was left in her besieged city to care for her younger sisters. She initiated a home business making clothing, which soon supported the whole family during wartime, and even allowed them to train and hire others. The writing in the book is a little on the inspirational side, rather than the literary side, but I really liked the look into the living conditions, and how a woman living under a repressive regime was able to make such a difference.

 

20 comments

  1. Fiona

    I love your beach photo! It looks very similar to here. I love that Halifax has everything from beaches to snow.

    You are very dedicated with your fitness program. It is great that the ‘devices’ are helping you to refine sleep and exercise goals. I really thought our ‘Jawbone’ was significantly improving our health. Unfortunately, it broke! I think a new one will be on the Christmas Wish List.

    How funny about the restaurant, though it must have been embarrassing at the time! I have only recently starting having Chai Lattes. I have never heard of Pumpkin Spice Latte or seen it sold! Melbourne is so obsessed with cafes but that’s one I’ve never heard of.

    I had to Google Image ‘Storm Doors’ as I have never seen a home with them installed. Then I had to Google ‘what is the purpose of storm doors’, lol!

    I hope you had a fantastic time at the concert! A great idea for a getaway. Enjoy the ongoing Fall weather!

    • I am happy that the fitness thing is ingrained now, and the FitBit gives me an extra push. Yes, I was extremely embarrassed about “skipping out” on our restaurant bill. Not even sure if I will go back! Pumpkin spice lattes (with espresso) from Starbucks or Second Cup are a Fall institution here. They are only marketed at this time of year so coffee type people look forward to them. If anyone else doesn’t know what a storm door is, it’s an additional door you place on the outside of your front or back entrance door to provide an extra layer of insulation against wind, drafts or cold. But they also act as a vented/screen door so you can open the window in it and get some air flow through the house when the weather is mild. The concert was my favourite in ages. We have tix to see a couple of bands in Toronto in a few weeks!

      • NicolaB

        I didn’t know what storm doors were either, clearly our weather is too boring to need them 😉

      • I would say about half of the houses on our street have them. I suppose if you have a stately entrance, it might take away from the look, but we are not in that category!

    • Join us! Follow the Fitbit. Not the jaw thing. (And we can have competitions.)

  2. Never heard of “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana”. It looks like an interesting read. Thanks for the heads up.

    • It focused on the inspirational story of the main character – and gave me a lot of insight into those times. My book club agreed it seemed a little sanitized about daily life and must have condensed quite a few events, but we were all impressed by Kamila!

  3. Last ice cream cone of the season???? Oh noooooo! LOL since we don’t have a cold season here I can’t imagine not having them year round! Good job on the walking. I have a GPS and now I am thinking about doing geocaching. Do they have such a thing where you live? It might be an interesting new hobby for you.

    • Hi April, My sister is a geocaching fanatic (REALLY) but I haven’t been tempted by scavenger hunts for little plastic containers, LOL! It is great for making friends and spending time outdoors, though. Our ice cream stands usually open in June and close in mid-September. You can still get ice cream cones at the mall year-round but no one is too interested in the cold weather – it’s on to those pumpkin (and later candy cane) lattes!

  4. I agree with seasonal eating but ice cream is for all seasons!

  5. Busy month for you and great on the fitness goals. Weather has been glorious here in south of England and have been having lots of walks too. Even walking home from the train station after work (40mins) as it is so lovely right now. Am trying to up my fitness after op earlier in summer so using local gym for supervised workouts and also dug out Rosemary Conley fitness dvds to get moving – she is not quite the pace of Jillian but that suits me fine! Can see difference already in last few weeks.
    Re the book you mention. I was lent a book called A Fine Balance from a work colleague and that had a similar storyline about people doing their best with very little to survive. Highly recommend it if you like long books and can sit and absorb them – not a book to rush for certain.

  6. It sounds like you had a wonderful month. Here’s to many more!

  7. I sometimes think it is better to wait until I comment on your posts because the discussion in the comments is interesting and commentators post queries about things I think about. So I held off this time. Storm doors sound like a good idea. I watched a UK home improvement show once and it showed how they try to make homes air tight for environmental reasons, primarily for heating, naturally. They used this massive vacuum things to assess the houses. It’s never work here. We’d all fail.

    Pumpkin coffee? Soup, yes. But even if I drank coffee, I don’t think I’d want it pumpkin flavoured. When you come here I’ll make you the best pumpkin soup. Pumpkin soup is the biggest selling soup in Australia. Everyone has their special recipe.

    What do you mean by inspirational writing vs literary?

    • You can get pumpkin soup here, but the most common Fall soup is curried squash (made with butternut squash, although pumpkin is just as good). Pumpkin flavoured sweet things, like lattes, doughnuts, cookies and so on, do have some pumpkin in them but really what people like is that they have “pumpkin pie spice” in them, a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and/or cloves. It reminds us of Thanksgiving and gingerbread and everything warm and cozy. It’s not that we are so keen on pumpkin itself! I will happily take you up on your offer WHEN I visit AUS – might be a few years 😦

      We can get that environmental assessment done with the vacuum thingy. From time to time the govt offers rebates on home improvements that increase energy efficiency. A lot of people do it because no one wants to pay for heat leaking out their doors and windows.

      I was trying to be kind about the writing style of the book 😉 I found the writing style very plain, almost to the point of reading like a children’s book that explained everything to you (although of course there are literary children’s novels, too)! It was clearly written to impress and inspire, which it did, but without any literary merit.

  8. mtandb

    What a great month you had, apart from the insurance increase – how annoying! Is the insurance for your house and its contents?

    I purchased a Fitbit this morning – charge HR like yours. I’m just about to set it up so will let you know how I get on.

    • Sorry I missed replying earlier – yes, the insurance is for the house and contents. Part of the reason I did the home inventory was to see if I was over-insured on the contents – I wasn’t. I hope you will post about your Fitbit experiences at some point – I find them so inspiring!

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