In November


Photo: Schnobby 2010 (Creative Commons)

Photo: Schnobby 2010 (Creative Commons)

I liked November. The temperatures have only now fallen to around 0ºC and I am still wearing my late fall/early winter jacket. I’ve only scraped frost twice, and have only seen snow flurries once. We’ve had it easy! Lots of winter prep, though. I spent 6 hours finishing the yard clean-up (lots of leaves) and planted a lot more bulbs; tulips and hyacinths and snowdrops. I had the car in the shop to get the winter tires put on, and spent $$ on brakes. We had new doors put on the house, and we may be imagining things, but the house seems quieter and less drafty! And I had my annual flu shot.

The most noteworthy thing in my quiet little life was that my Fitbit crashed!! It was only 3 months old. I thought that a software update might have done it, but I was mistaken – the button on the unit jammed and it kept resetting itself. I reluctantly called tech support, expecting the worst. They sent me a new one by 2-day express and I was back up in no time. I don’t like the idea of buying expendable products, but their customer service was great. I am back in action!

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Rom and I went to another “classic rock” type concert with Judas Priest and Mastodon. JP was Rom’s favourite band for many years – he even ran a fan site about them. Like many other seasoned rockers, they know what their audiences want and they put on a good show, heavy on the old hits and light on the new material. We are done for concerts for 2015 – no tickets for December. We’ve only seen 8 shows this year compared to the usual once a month. Not for lack of interest. It’s a combination of fewer bands we like coming through town, and having seen so many before. We do see bands more than once, but usually not 4 or 5 times! For the record, this year’s concerts were Real Eyez (local hip hop), Video Games Live (symphony), Amanda Palmer (in London), Tuneyards, Scorpions with Queensryche, Purity Ring, Garbage, and Judas Priest with Mastodon.

Book_PrimatesBook_Little Bee

I read an interesting book this month, Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin. It is about someone who moved from downtown to the Upper East Side in NYC and bought in to the hyper-competitive parenting scene there. Yet she is trained in anthropology and was able to see it through that lens. At times I was impatient (it was hard to believe she could pursue such a lavish consumer lifestyle unironically) but it was fascinating and a fun read. For my book club, we read Little Bee (known as The Other Hand outside North America) by Chris Cleave. The story, about a young Nigerian teen held in a detention centre in the UK, was packed with moral dilemmas. Not everyone would appreciate that the author, a white British male, wrote in the voice of a Nigerian girl, and that the UK woman featured in the story is not as sympathetic as one would wish, and it is hard to maintain hope for a happy ending. The plotting was brilliant and it did a great job of highlighting issues around refugee treatment – very timely. I thought the character Little Bee was almost a magical realism figure in the way she impacted people’s lives. I highly recommend it because it raises so many issues worth pondering.

I went to a couple of craft shows this month and spent a lovely morning at the Farmers Market, which features a lot of local artisans at this time of year – a good place to start holiday shopping. I ended the month with a day out with my mom and sister. Tonight I came home and brewed up the first of my new teas from Murchie’s. All is well with the world!

How was your November?


  1. All of Chris Cleave’s books have been very thought provoking. I found “Little Bee” to be his most compelling story and character, but also enjoyed “Incendiary” and the questions it raises about terrorism and our reactions to it (my teenage daughter claims it as one of her favorite books).

    My son would have loved the Judas Priest concert. He’s not a very old rocker, but he’s a rocker.

  2. jamielredmond

    Is Murchie’s the tea that you had delivery problems with? If so, I’m glad to hear you have it in your hot (tea-warmed??), little hands!

    Our November was good. Very different to regular life. The first half of the month we were still on our holiday. We arrived home on the 16th and on the 17th my husband travelled away to start his new job (while still terribly jet-lagged!) He has worked out of town since then, but should finish that for the year on Friday of this week. Then it will all pick up again after Christmas! I am looking forward to him doing some regular days here in town so we can get used to what the new routine will be, rather than him working away somewhere different each week.

    We read Little Bee/The Other Hand for bookclub a few years ago. It really stuck in my mind, and I’ve thought about it from time to time over the years.

    It sounds like Judas Priest delivered to the fans better than when we saw Robert Plant last year. I can’t actually remember any of the old songs that he performed, but heard many, many new ones that no one in our group knew. Of course, we were all hoping for Stairway to Heaven, but it didn’t happen. The disappointment I felt at that concert was a big prompt to skip Fleetwood Mac this year, despite my vow a few years ago to go see them if they toured again with Christine McVie. In the end the money was put towards our holiday.

    We have had the strangest weather here recently. Hot days (for here, 31.5C) followed by frosty mornings (-1.1C) only a few days later. I nearly had to scrape my windscreen last Friday! Today we are under another Severe Weather Warning (Damaging Winds). It dries the washing quickly, but I worry about it either being torn to shreds or blowing clear off the line!

    • Hi Jamie, I enjoyed hearing what you are up to! I can’t imagine those temperature extremes. It must have been a shock for you to absorb the events of Paris, and travel generally, go back home, and have new routines to deal with. That is a lot! It’s too bad the Robert Plant show wasn’t what you were expecting. I wonder who has the rights to the Led Zeppelin songs? I am 100% in agreement on Fleetwood Mac! They were here (maybe even twice) in recent years but I refused to hear them without Christine! Now that she has returned I would like to see them. I’m not sure if they have anything planned beyond the AUS/NZ tour that just ended. And yes, my new tea is from Murchie’s and it is lovely. I raced down to the courier office to pick it up because I was afraid they’d mark it undeliverable and send it back!

  3. Fiona

    It sounds like a nice, crisp start to winter! I looked up both books on Goodreads; Primates reminded me straight away of The Nanny Diaries but without the satire? I think I’d revel in it, though! I really want to read Little Bee, though it’s still hard to imagine a black female character written by a white male sounding authentic.

    November here has been the lead-up to the end of the school year with reports due. I keep comparing reports to NaNoWriMo! It’s been about 30,000 words this year but almost finished the final proof-reading now.

    It’s annoying about the Fitbit! Our Jawbone died, too after a similar time!

    I hope Rom loved the concert – it can be hard though with all the expectations / hopes of a serious fan!

    • Yes, it is crisp, all right! Primates of Park Avenue is a bit conflicted because the author tries to use an ironic tone and keep an arm’s-length relationship to her lifestyle but it is apparent she really bought into it. But then, all anthropologists eventually do 🙂 Chris Cleave (the author of Little Bee) is a wonderful writer. The character is so perfect she seems magical. The kids here are off school from Dec 19 to Jan 4 for term break. I am glad you get a proper holiday. Won’t it be something for you all to head off to school together in the new year! I hope you had your Jawbone replaced under warranty? Rom saw Judas Priest when they were in their heyday so this time he just enjoyed them as a nostalgia act.Two of the original members have retired and been replaced by young whippersnappers 🙂

  4. Do enjoy your husband’s music or are you a trooper and go along in support? My wife begrudgingly went to an Elvis Costello concert with me, but did enjoy it.

  5. EcoCatLady

    Sounds like a lovely month. I confess I’m jealous of your weather – Mother Nature decided that she’d been playing soft with us for too long and November was paybacks month. We’ve had about a foot of snow, and today is the first day in nearly a week that the thermometer has crept above freezing. I hope this isn’t an ominous sign for what’s to come!

    OK… so I have a question. What on earth is a fit bit? I gather it’s some sort of device to help you track your exercise… is it just a glorified step counter? Please help the clueless… 🙂

    • Our last winter was vicious. I don’t envy you all that snow. Yes, a Fitbit is a glorified electronic step counter that uploads your exercise data to a tablet or computer! I am hooked.

  6. Apparently FitBits routinely pop off. And they just replace them.

    Since reading your post about the Garbage concert, I’ve been singing several of their songs. Listened to the album with I’m Only Happy When it Rains on a long drive last weekend.

    I think I would love to spend October to February in a country where it gets truely cold and watch the changing seasons. Did you do a thermal photo of your house before? (I might be wrong but I thought it was on your site. Maybe a frugal living one.) you could get a photo done and see if the doors have had a difference.

    Two weeks of madness left for me and then I can rest and relax.

    • Hi Lucinda, I have listened to that Garbage album several times since the show! No, we didn’t get an energy efficiency audit before installing the doors, but they are a good idea. Does school end this week for you? Cheers!

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