February: It’s a Wrap!

via Peyton Price

This is the first month I’ve been tempted to phone it in and say “Nothing to report!” It’s been snoozy. So, here’s a little slice of day-to-day life.

The weather has been weird. We had one big snowstorm mid-month. Then it warmed up and melted. We’ve been without snow for a couple of weeks and may get another week before winter resumes. No complaints here!

I’ve continued skating twice a week throughout the winter. Normally the air temperature in the rink is a lot warmer than it is outdoors, but not this year! It’s harder to motivate myself to go skating when it is +8 outside! I go anyway because the exercise is so unlike walking; it works a lot of different muscles. The other three weekdays I use my elliptical and mini-trampoline at home. This month I am taking weekends off except maybe a walk.

I had two food-related high points this month, the annual Valentine’s Day Tea, and Pancake Day! No fine dining, though.

Now that I’m back to managing the grocery budget, I spent all but $2 of the monthly allotment. I’m sure Rom would have done better! I made two bad purchases. I tried out the cheap rice pudding from Dollarama and didn’t like it; oh well. I bought a hemp protein powder thinking it would be a toasty colour like hemp hearts, but it was cannabis green! I don’t drink green smoothies, so I will have to save it for lentil dishes. It looks nauseating in my oatmeal. For an expensive but tasty treat, I bought crystallized ginger at $1 per ounce to chop up fine and sprinkle in my trail mix (also excellent in granola) – a little goes a long way.

My favourite at-home meals this month were Sweet Potato Chili, and Mac and Cheese with puréed squash (comfort food!) Rom tried out a new casserole topped with a sauce made from parsnips and celery. It was astonishingly good!

On the clothing front, I bought two new pair of dark-wash jeans at the end of January, as replacements for older ones which had become too faded for work. I parted company with my favourite hoodie which I somehow spilled a jar of oil-marinated sundried tomatoes on (#firstworldproblems). Despite several rounds of stain removal techniques, it was too far gone.

I am feeling completely out of touch with Western culture this month. We cut cable last winter, and are no longer able to get any over-the-air TV channels. I missed out on the Superbowl, Grammys and Oscars. I usually look forward to the shows and it felt strange to be so far out of the loop. I wasn’t able to tune in live/online either, so I was reduced to watching a few YouTube highlights afterwards. Adding basic cable again would cost us $60/month, so I’m not really tempted – maybe I need to visit family and friends on the Big Days and provide the snack buffet!

Book_Luminaries

I only read one book this month because it was the doorstop-sized The Luminaries. It was a rip-roaring historical mystery set in the days of the New Zealand gold rush. I have never read a book with 20 significant characters before. I needed to remember who was who, what knowledge they had, and to whom they had revealed it. A lot could be said about the structure of the book and how it was shaped around the zodiac. I liked how the chapter lengths “waned” like the moon. All in all, an impressive book.

I participated in a month-long Haiku Challenge and will only bother you with one sample:

Not for me the way
of beaks and talons and wings
I will stay grounded

In more “functional” news, I needed to issue the tax donation receipts for my charity/church commitment, and it took me a few evenings to get the records in order. A more experienced treasurer (and friend!) is taking over so I hope I can be of help. That job, combined with my library work and blogging, was causing me some escalating RSI symptoms last year, which have abated since I passed on the job to someone else.

I had received all my own tax slips by month end, and I’m due for a refund, so I filed right away. Next up: do my parents’ tax returns, too! I don’t mind. Our tax deadline isn’t until April 30.

James Taylor (Photo: D Clinch)

I don’t know how many people out there recognize the name James Taylor. He is a soft-rocker from the early 70s that I maintain a fondness for despite any attempts to be otherwise musically cool. I have seen some of his concerts on TV over the years, and now have tix to see him later in the Spring, here in Halifax. I will be out there with all the oldsters!

via guang2222 at DeviantArt

Muse (via guang2222 at DeviantArt)

On the flip side of the coin, we have booked our next trip to London and the UK in April, and will be going to see Muse at the O2 – should be bombastic!

Would love to hear how February went for you.

22 comments

  1. There ain’t nothing wrong with James Taylor!

  2. Lorraine

    I would love to see James Taylor! I don’t think he comes to the west coast for concerts. His music is like comfort food…add in Carole King and you have dessert.

    • When I lived in Massachusetts, he was the hometown hero (he and Billy Joel, I should say). I watched some of the performances of him and Carole King together online – perfect combination!

  3. EcoCatLady

    What? You missed seeing my Broncos win the stupor-bowl?!? Well, since it was a defensive struggle, it probably wasn’t a very exciting game to watch for those who aren’t die hard football fans, but I was sure happy that we won. What a bummer not to be able to get off the air channels! I don’t watch much in the way of television, but it’s nice to be able to see the local news, and of course, the Broncos!

    You’ll have a fantastic time at the James Taylor concert – I have a weakness for him too. Saw him live once about 25 years ago and he was just fantastic. He’s a great entertainer and something about his voice just makes me go all mushy. 🙂

    • Hi Cat, I was sad to miss the game. And the half-time show, which I watched online the next day. I am looking forward to the concert although it’s not until May.

      • EcoCatLady

        Well, I think the NFL has some sort of a deal where you can pay to watch the games online – but I’m pretty sure the coverage is geared much more toward football crazies like me, than to folks who are interested in the halftime show, so it’s probably not worth the hassle or the money. And I heard all sorts of things about the half time show, but honestly that’s the the one part I didn’t watch! I was too busy fretting over the performance of our offensive line!

        Seriously though, at some point I think that folks in the entertainment industry are gonna wake up to the fact that there are lots of people out there who don’t want a cable subscription, but would like to watch certain things “a la carte.” At this point they seem to be taking the stance that they can hold us hostage for those few things we want, and make us pay those ridiculous subscription fees just to get a few shows. I mean even for most of the things you can watch online, you still need a subscription through a “TV provider” But I continue to hope that if enough of us cut the cable and just say no, eventually they will wise up and give us what we want.

      • I wonder how things will go with cable & TV in general, too. I wouldn’t mind paying to stream certain shows, or just choose a channel or two (rather than a whole tier).Our rates are $60/month for basic cable and after that you can access a lot of the programming online, or subscribe to premium channels for about $3/month. No luck without that baseline $60 service, though.

  4. Juhli

    Thanks for mentioning The Luminaries. It sounds like a good tale and a brain stretcher at the same time. Since you said it is doorstop size I have requested it from my library as an e-book!

  5. gk

    You just call out my name…
    I like JT, peaceful lyrics. 🙂
    I haven’t had television in years so am perpetually out of touch with popular culture. I don’t mind.

    • Hi GK, That’s the stanza I always think of first, too. I am a weird breed of pop culture fan, mostly music and Internet, some celebrity gossip, but don’t watch TV and very few movies!

  6. I was going to say my Feb had been slow, but it hasn’t! I have had to tell some staff tough news (that they are in the lowest 30 of their job classification in the business). I have had to announce some promotions, which whilst this was GREAT news, it is all contingent on one or two staff seeking an alternative promotion, which aren’t on the same timeline, and it means other staff are in limbo til then.

    On the non work front – I’m in the US! I surprised my brother in LA a week after his birthday, and we spent the weekend together (though we were a bit jet lagged), and then had a working week in Chicago for Rich’s work. Then now we’re in lovely SAn Francisco. It seems the US is much less affordable both in dollars of items, and due to the exchange rate! I’ve enjoyed being ‘here’ for the Super Tuesday and a debate, but didn’t care for the drawn out Oscars – happy just to digest google images or that fashion show the day after.

    Oh and I got my birthday gift from Rich in Feb as I was late with his gift last year. So now he jokes it’s a ‘thing’ to be 8 days late (and then we both forgot on the eighth day), but his gift was again on point, thanks to my blogging!

    • Glad you are having a happy birthday season! That is some weighty news to share at work. And a good time for a getaway afterwards. As you know I love SF but I have never been to Chicago and would love to get there someday. We are cringing at the exchange rate, too. Will be travelling to the UK again in April, and the loonie is not holding up well against the pound.

  7. Fiona

    I’m entranced by both of those haikus! The coffee one will definitely make it onto the pin-board above my desk at work!

    I would so love to have skating as a winter exercise option! It sounds so fluid and aerobic and youthful. I think I could even build up to doing taxes (and parental taxes) after blowing away the cobwebs with a skating sessions.

    Commiserations on the demise of the hoodie!

    London in April…how very excellent 🙂

  8. Hi there! I see you’re going to be in London and Sussex. If by any chance you’re around my neck of the woods (Bath, Bristol or around) I’d love to meet up and buy you a coffee. Get in touch if this looks like a possibility. Or it’s just possible that we may overlap in London sometime…
    We’re going to be visiting Canada in the summer some time, but nowhere near you – visiting friends in Quebec. Am very excited about it – will be my first visit there.

    • It would be wonderful to get out your way but I don’t think our travels will take us there. My co-worker goes to Bath (in costume) for the Jane Austen festivals. I can let you know the dates we’re in London. Sure hope you have a great time in “La Belle Province!” Not sure if you will be in city or country, but I love Montreal (and have just been to QC once).

  9. jbistheinitial

    Quite jealous about you seeing Muse! I’ve heard such wildly differing opinions on The Luminaries, from people who loved it to those who detested it. For my part, I’m intimidated by the length so have never actually made a start.

  10. Don’t mind a few James Taylor songs. (Don’t know if I could go a whole concert though.) I hope I won’t spend the day humming/singing “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain”. You’ve put it in my head. Oh well, I get enough funny looks here in China already.

    Glad you enjoyed The Luminaries. I loved it. Such an original take – how the story is revealed. And I loved learning about NZ. I knew so little about our neighbours. Since then I’ve visited twice and learnt a lot.

    Would love to visit the UK again. Not for many years now! You’re lucky you don’t have to do the long haul flights.

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