November – It’s a Wrap!

Canadian Olympic swimmer Penny Oleksiak

Canadian Olympic swimmer Penny Oleksiak

A quick wrap-up this month! ‘Tis the season to prepare for colder weather. I started wearing gloves this month on days when the temperature got down to about 5 C. I wore my light-weight puffer jacket most of the month or my new “Leonard” jacket with layers under. My new boots didn’t need any breaking in and I could wear them regularly from Day One. We didn’t get snow flurries until this week, but since then it’s been raining for a couple of days. We normally don’t get snow that stays on the ground until the last week of December, and most often have a green (actually brown) Christmas. I had the snow tires installed on the car this month, where they will live until April.

Rom and I were in Toronto for 6 days/5 nights and I packed the least amount of clothes ever: 2 pair jeans, 1 pair leggings, tunic top, sweater, 2 long-sleeve T-shirts and 2 scarves. Short boots and a pair of sneakers. I prefer dressing up more when I am visiting a larger city, but I knew it would be colder than at home, and I had no plans for formal events. Except for wearing a bulky jacket to a concert (rather than a pleather biker-type jacket), I was happy with everything I brought. Oh, the misery of looking uncool!

I have accustomed myself to going to the gym this month – I joined in October. It is still strange for me to be in that environment. There are 6 TVs tuned to different channels and the radio is loud. The machines are close together. It hasn’t been crowded yet, although I expect that will change in January when they get a rush of New Year’s resolution memberships. To be honest, today was the first day I was using a machine next to a grunting, sweaty man and I didn’t like it. But I try to feel respectful of everyone who is there because we all just want to be healthy and not judged by our “before” bodies and habits while we try to get into our “after” shapes!

It also feels strange to get in the car and leave the house when it’s still dark, and go to this jarringly brightly-lit, noisy space. I like it, though. I have done home workouts in my basement for so long that I welcome the hustle and bustle. I’ve had to scrape frost from the car windshield a couple of times in the mornings. I wonder how I’ll fare when I have to shovel snow? That is probably enough of a workout so I don’t need to leave home!

I got my swimming mojo back. I’ve been going once a week and can swim 50 laps again (25 metre pool) and it makes me feel fit. In the cardio room I have been using some machines that are completely new to me, including a lateral elliptical (made by Octane) and an AMT (made by Precor). Lots of geeky fun!

The Just-for-Me Book Club is underway! I have read The Secret River, recommended by Lucinda Sans, and Keep the Aspidistra Flying, recommended by Thrift Deluxe at Nine to Five. I have lots to say about them so that will be my next post!


This month I also read Certainty by Madeleine Thien and Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, both of which were very, very quiet books, but I was in the mood and enjoyed them greatly. For the most dramatic contrast possible, I also read How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, which had me in fits of giggles, but it had some educational feminist content too, and an ending I agreed with 100%.

I forgot to mention that last month, Rom and I watched the Woodstock concert movie, which Rom had never seen and I had seen many times, but not for ages. It was fun to see it through fresh eyes. We also watched La Cage aux Folles which neither of us had seen before, and it was a pleasant surprise!

I am ready for a blanket-book-and-cat sort of December. Just add a cup of tea and I’m all set.

How was November for you?


  1. I saw Moranifesto, the new book by Caitlin Moran, on the Indie Next List this month. I’m thinking of picking it up for myself.

    My November was a combination of too-packed too-fast days and lazy lulls. I can’t believe it’s December. Part of me feels like, “Didn’t we *just* ring in 2016?” But another part of me feels like it should be 2020 by now.

    • I am looking forward to reading Moranifesto. Have you read Lena Dunham’s book, Not That Kind of Girl? Highly recommended! I think this year passed for me at a “normal” speed!

  2. Fiona

    Oh, Dar! I finally understand this concept of layering, gloves and different types of jackets! Back home, my one Goretex jacket lasted me through every weather all year round. Here in France, it seems to be a different type of cold. It’s -2C this morning at 9am. The clothes I brought are not up to the job!

    Well done on the gym. What time does it get light there in the morning? I see the gyms lit up in winter and marvel at people’s dedication in going. I could barely manage 20 laps at the pool recently so I’m hoping to find a pool here to build that up.

    Good luck on the reading challenge – a good time of year to do it!

    • Hi Fiona, Now that you’ve settled in, have you had to buy new outerwear? When it’s really cold, I wear a lightweight turtleneck (T-shirt material) with a pullover sweater over it, and then my parka, with a scarf and toque. If it’s really freezing, I will wear tights under my jeans and a pair of boot socks over my regular socks. Also mini-gloves covered by a big pair of mittens! I don’t own any “thermal layer” clothes made from wickable tech fabrics but of course they would be good.

      The sunrise is 7:30 am now and sunset is 4:30 pm so it’s dark when I leave work at 5.

      20 laps is excellent! There is a lot of competition for the swimming lanes at my local pool so I am having to go for more frequent, shorter swims.

  3. How interesting that my library has neither of the books you read this past month based on reader recommendations. Well, it does have Keep the Aspidistra Flying – in Russian. Not helpful. Being impatient I broke down and bought The Secret River. Looking forward to your comments on both.

  4. 36° yesterday for the first day of summer. Too hot for me. I think I’d prefer your cold. I’m currently on a fitness/health thing: 6 days into a planned 30 days of no alcohol. I’m not jumping into too many other goals, focusing on this. It is too hot for much exercise and I am working long hours at work to finish all the things that need doing before the year ends and summer hols start. But when the holidays begin, I plan to exercise every day.

    Did you see the Caitlin Moran TV series, Raised by Wolves? She co-wrote it with her sister. I have her books on my to read list.

    • Glad to hear the term is winding down. Do you plan to not drink over Christmas and New Year’s? Do you have favourite summer non-alcoholic drinks: Iced tea? Juice with sparking water?

      It’s funny, when I read the Caitlan Moran book, she wrote often about her sister Caz (Caroline), and I thought, “That Caz is really cool – I wish she would write a book!” As it turns out, Caitlyn and Caz worked together on Raised by Wolves. I haven’t seen it, the library doesn’t have the DVDs, and it’s only available for purchase as an import – ack! But at least I can go on and read Moranifesto.

      • You will just have to watch it next time you go to the UK!

        I will not be drinking alcohol over Christmas. I will have to find a non-alcoholic drink. Maybe I will make a fruit punch with ginger beer. I randomly picked my start date because of a visit to the public library when I saw a book on the topic.

        My work week isn’t winding down. Doesn’t do that for school leaders. More like ends suddenly. And then bad luck, can’t do any more, time up.

  5. Trump. Trump! Trump???? November sucked overall, except that we had a lovely Thanksgiving amongst friends.
    I’m still processing what it might mean – and I’m so glad I live in NYC – which has always been a haven in bad political times.

    • Yes indeed, Jamie. After saying the personal is the political, there I go omitting politics from my November round-up. While I may wish to keep my head in the sand sometimes, I won’t actually do it – the consequences are too great. Watching Trump’s choices of who’s to go in which top office has been horrible. Glad to be where I am. We too need to keep our governments accountable for their decisions. Oil pipeline news at the federal level and inability to bargain with the teachers union at the provincial level here. Lots to think about.

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