Accounting for: September

Not mine but it’s on somebody’s wish list! (Photo: elelur.com)

I had some back-to-school energy in the early part of the month and channelled it into decluttering and yard work. My junk drawers were cleared out – as of today, they have not been re-junked. The laundry room shelving, used for hardware, was organized. I haven’t felt the need to buy new baskets and bins for the shelves. It’s working fine – until I see some cute storage cubes, haha!

I haven’t built up my disaster kit yet. I need to do more serious thinking about it. I have a crank radio and flashlights. But the main risk here is a multi-day power outage in Fall or Winter, which would also mean no heat. I could invest in a secondary heating system, or go to the homes of my better-prepared relatives. Hmm…

I have about 10 shrubs and 4 trees in my yard, all about 20 years old, from the time the house was built. I appreciate that the previous owners were forward-thinking. Now that the shrubs are mature, they each grow as much as a metre every year, and it’s a lot of work to trim them all! I pruned them manually this Fall (over many sunny afternoons) and will probably invest in an electric hedge trimmer next year for the ones that can tolerate it. I have two ash trees. They have a weedy, leggy growth pattern (as much as 3 metres a year!) so they are not my favourite, but they are great for birds and squirrels. I found out last year that almost all ash trees west of Quebec have been decimated by a beetle. My area will probably succumb to it sooner or later, so I will enjoy these trees while I still have them.

It’s a real sign of the changing of seasons when the rink is open again for public skating. Back on the ice for me! The first skate each year, I always forget it uses such different muscles than walking – ouch!

k d & co.

On the 10th, Rom and I went out to see k d lang in concert. She was doing a tour for the 25th anniversary of the Ingenue album which was her breakthrough, so it was performed in full. Her band is brilliant – master players. The whole thing had the feel of a jazz hall show. As a rock fan, I have never been to see a “crooner” but she is very witty and has a stellar voice, unworn by time. Everyone waited on the edge of their seats to hear her amazing version of Hallelujah, but my personal favourite was Joni Mitchell’s Help Me – a very hard song to sing. Try it! Later I listened to k d’s album of all-Canadian cover songs, Hymns of the 49th Parallel, and after going down that rabbit hole, I also listened to Serena Ryder’s album of Canadian cover songs, If Your Memory Serves You Well. And then listened to a few Joni Mitchell albums. Thus, a day was spent!

My other, weirder, entertainment for the month was going to my first cat show. It was unsettling seeing the cats in their carriers, many unhappy although not actively distressed. It reminded me of a zoo experience, really. I got to see many breeds of cats I’ve only seen in books, like Bengals, Burmese, Ragdoll and Sphynx (hairless). I won’t be increasing the number of cats at home – we have our hands full with just two – but I did marvel at the cats on display. Rom now wants a Corgi AND a Bengal!

A while back I wrote a post about how to use Goodreads. I went over it with a fine-toothed comb and brushed up on the app equivalent, and taught a class about it at the library. Nice to have something new for our repertoire!

I read some interesting, if rather heavy, books this month. I started with Brown by Kamal al-Solaylee. He is a journalism professor, Canadian via Yemen, and he travelled the world to talk to brown people, as he calls the inhabitants of Asia, the Middle East, Mexico, Central and South America. He speaks to the experience of being outside the black and white dichotomy that we see in Canada and the US. He interviewed individuals from many countries and cites their personal experiences, with a focus on leaving their homelands for work, i.e., becoming economic migrants and cheap labour for other nations.

I read 1984 for the first time. It is stunning that it was written in 1948. I loved the detailed world and language he built. I found the lengthy descriptions of torture hard to read. On the other hand, I’ve never read A Clockwork Orange for that reason, and now I may as well! I thought half of 1984 was an exciting read and the other half a manifesto, but it is depressingly prescient.

Then I read Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight. It was a non-stop laugh and had some light-weight advice and inspiration about time management and goal setting, and a few poignant stories. It was just what I needed!

Finally, I read Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, a teen novel from 15 years ago. I have many theories on why I relate so strongly to tales of immigrants from India and the next generation, but I will spare you! It was a lengthier and more reflective book than most, and I enjoyed being along for the ride. It was a coming-of-age, finding-one’s-identity novel, and I liked the focus on family, culture, friendship and finding one’s place as a girl/woman.

In my much less lofty real life, this month was a bit spendy. I decided to buy a burr coffee grinder. I buy whole bean coffee and grind it in a generic grinder which is meant for either spices or coffee, and has no settings – everything comes out the same size. When I bought good-quality espresso I would have the baristas grind it at the shop, so it would be fine enough. Until I saw them clean the machine with a vacuum nozzle the staff picked up off the floor! I got one of the least expensive machines to see if it would be worthwhile. So far, I am delighted that I can do different grinds for the French press, drip machine or espresso maker. Highly recommended for coffee aficionados!

My other purchase was a new watch. I have been eyeing watches ever since my Fitbit died. I had narrowed down my choices to something with a brown strap and no numbers or date. Being pre-digital, I am fine with having the time “suggested” to me!

I also bought my first new cardigan for the season. It was more than I’d normally spend. A few days later it went on sale and I brought it back to the store for a $17 price adjustment, so that made me feel better!

This week I have been exceedingly busy planning my next trip to Toronto to visit Link, but I think I have the itinerary down.

Finally, Season 7 of Game of Thrones was just released digitally so Rom and I are in the middle of watching it. The excitement!

How was September for you?

 

 

25 comments

  1. Fiona

    As always a very busy, productive month. But my first reaction is to squeal, “You have SQUIRRELS in the yard!!!” That’s the best! I’d never leave home if I had squirrels!

    Glad you are onto GoT Season 7. Will look forward to hearing your thoughts! At my work it was dissected minutely every Tuesday at morning tea! 😀

    • Most urban areas in Canada have large grey squirrels. We are lucky we still have the small, cute red squirrels, which haven’t been driven out yet by the greys! A lot of people find them pesky since they feed at bird feeders, but most of us surrender and feed the “birds and squirrels.” I have to maintain a cone of silence at work about GoT. Everyone knows I’m on a time lag so they immediately hush up about it when I go by!

    • EcoCatLady

      I’m chuckling. If you like squirrels, you’d LOVE my yard! I just got through tossing peanuts to about a dozen of them. I’m trying to cut back a little and not feed the entire neighborhood, but there are 3-4 mama squirrels who are nursing, so I try to make sure they get enough food to be able to feed their babies. I love watching them hold their peanuts in their little paws…

  2. I like the watch, and it is really good the store made good the price adjustment for the cardigan. I bought a pair of over-the-knee boots this winter and one week later it went on special before I had even worn it. I like kd lang, especially her performance of Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You. I have finally decided to watch Game of Thrones, something I have heard so much about.

    • I will be interested to hear your take on GoT. I don’t need to warn you about the brutal violence ’cause I know you can handle it! There are some extremely exploitative, sexist visuals but some of the strongest female characters on TV ever. I like it because of the royal intrigue. My favourite character is Tyrion!

      “I could drink a case of you”…classic line…

  3. I’ve added two books to my GoodReads too – Brown and Getting the SH*t together one.

    I feel funny about my vacuum nozzle and what extent off the ground it ok to use it on… I try not to overthink it too much, but it is useful for surfaces, couches and occasionally a coffee table.

    The watch looks lovely and timeless (ha!)

  4. Wow, you find the most interesting books to read! My September had lots of immediate family time which made me very happy. It also culminated with my Hubby’s retirement so we have been discussing how that adjustment may go and how to try to have it affect our relationship positively vs the stereotype negative impact on marriage.

    • Hi Juhli, I have been following along with your move and dual retirements. You have handled the whole thing with such good planning and grace. When the time comes, I hope I can pull it off like you did!

  5. EcoCatLady

    I LOVE k d lang! That must have been an amazing concert. And I didn’t realize that cat shows were a “thing” – I share your mixed feelings about that one. Anyhow, your monthly recaps are always so full of interesting things. I fear I spent most of September ripping apart my bathroom and installing new tile. Not nearly as enlightening a month as yours was! 🙂

  6. Margie in Toronto

    I remember watching K.D. Lang on a Cdn. Talk show years ago and it was the first time I heard “Hallelujah” being sung. She was amazing – I always remember the long pause at the end before the audience burst into applause – they had been just as stunned as I was.
    Looking forward to catching up with GOT.

  7. PK

    A cat show? I’m really fascinated by this, are they just showing breeds or do the cats do things?

    I think I will read that Sarah Knight book. Thanks for the review.

    • Hi PK, No, they definitely can’t make cats do things! The judges take the cats out of their carriers and look at them and judge if they’re fine examples of their breed. I don’t know if they’re judged on their temperaments or not! Visitors can watch the judging but there’s nothing to see; mostly visitors just show up to see the different breeds of cats like we did. I suppose the point of it is that the breeders can say they have prize-winning cats.

  8. I couldn’t re-read 1948. The despair and hopelessness.

    Could you do a post on quick hints to maximise Goodreads? I have a friend who is horrified I don’t use shelves. As I am getting up to 50 books this year, I might have to use shelves.

    I walk through the dog pavilion at our major animal show here in Sydney. And the sheep, cows and horse pavilions but not the cats. Don’t know why. Even Mr S can’t remember doing it. And he goes every year.

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