October is old news now. Since I ended the month away from home, this is my first chance to reflect and to catch up with all of you. Thanks to everyone who checked my homepage, or your feeds, for my non-existent posts!
I had a ton of news from my kid Link, who lives in the Toronto area. Link has been struggling there since leaving school, and was barely at subsistence level while attempting to run a home costume-making/cosplay business. Link had the opportunity to take on a retail/inventory job for regular income and has now been working there about 6 weeks. I am very relieved that Link is doing something out of the house, in the world.
In the meanwhile, Link has been on a provincial waiting list for gender reassignment “top” surgery for 2-4 years, depending on how you calculate all the steps and stages involved. Was the wait worth it? Well, it’s free surgery (zero expenses) from a top-rated specialist, so I will say yes. Link has a surgery date for early in the new year. I will go back to help out during recovery.
Link is in the early stages of planning a 2019 wedding, so we are looking forward to how everything unfolds!
Rom and I usually visit Link in Toronto every October or November. This month we spent extra time there to help Link move across town, closer to the new job. I kept in touch with Link throughout the month as they set up apartment viewings and tried to book a cheap mover. I did lots of research on my own, but it was hard for both of us to avoid being ripped off – it’s unbelievable how many scam listings are out there! Link ended up getting an apartment and a low-cost moving company that were both in constant contact by email and phone, gave their full names and addresses, were willing to document what they agreed, and were in town and available throughout the process. Sounds like normal business practice, but that was NOT the norm.
Rom and I stayed at an Airbnb within walking distance of Link’s place. By staying there, buying groceries, and spending half of our trip assisting with Link’s move, we were able to stay in the Toronto area for twice as long as usual (i.e. we would otherwise have made a short trip and spent twice as much on restaurants and entertainment). It was a good trade-off. We spent 3 days packing and cleaning the old place. Link had 2 room mates and all their stuff had to be disentangled, sorted, cleaned and packed. Moving day was October 31. After that, we relocated back downtown to our usual B&B for a couple of days, and we alternated helping Link unpack and set up at the new place, and vacationing.
We made time for two big-ticket events. First, we went to the AGO to see the At Home with Monsters exhibit. The film director Guillermo del Toro loaned his distinctive collection of art, antique books, film costumes and props, and collectibles related to magic, fantasy, horror and comics. I have seen his films Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy (1 and 2) and Pacific Rim. I’m not a horror fan, but I can do creepy. I wasn’t sure I’d like the exhibit, but I was taken by the books, drawings, and costumes.
On our last night in town, we went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is touring after its National Theatre run. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a non-musical play. I’d read the book and I was impressed by how it was brought to life. It was very believable. It’s about a young man with behavioural difficulties, who tries to unravel why his neighbour’s dog was murdered. He is oblivious to some family issues going on around him, but as he tracks down clues about the dog, family secrets also come to light. He is forced far, far outside his comfort zone. Despite not responding well most of the time, he comes out stronger on the other side.
In Toronto, we ate at neighbourhood “ethnic” restaurants most of the time and had fantastic home-style food, and our first trip to a hotpot place (yum!)
A highlight of the trip was meeting blog friends! I met up with Sunny from Life Is Full of Sunny Days over slushies after her work day. Sunny is the real deal. She walks the walk: seeking meaningful work in a good environment, living frugally, parenting thoughtfully, and staying open to what life has to offer!
Next, I got to meet my long-time reader and commenter Margie from Toronto. Margie has made some really smart decisions about where and how to live. I am always inspired by how she makes the most of living in Toronto and thrives as a city-dweller. It seems she gets to see and do everything! We had a good chat and I felt we were truly on the same wavelength.
It made me feel good to see that how Sunny and Margie represent themselves online is how they actually are. I am full of admiration for how they live their lives!
Apart from visiting Toronto, it was a busy enough month.
The lack of app functionality on my old Windows phone concerned me when it came to travel. I took the opportunity to finally upgrade to a new iPhone. I justify it because it is replacing both my Windows phone and my first-gen iPad Mini. It is surprisingly reassuring to travel with a newer-model phone on which everything works seamlessly. I hope it is future-proof enough that I can ignore the iPhone X and the next few iterations. I am continuing with my same $15/month pay-as-you-go plan. I got a data add-on for the trip and used it a few times to work out public transit routes and times in areas without wireless. I didn’t consider an Android phone because I have a few paid apps from my iPad I wanted to continue using.
My city has a new Ikea store which has caused a big stir since lots of people here have never seen one – the next nearest one is in Montreal! I didn’t brave opening day but visited a week or so later. Yes, we enjoyed the cheap meatballs in the cafeteria – they even have veggie ones!
Rom and I spent two nights at the Halifax Pop Explosion, a big music festival that takes place at many venues over several days. On one night, the headliner was the phenomenal activist Lido Pimienta, and the next night, it was Weaves.
My birthday is in October and we usually have a family celebration combined with Thanksgiving. I have become a creature of habit and when Rom asks if I’d like to go out for a birthday dinner, I have now chosen the same wood-fired Neapolitan pizza place three times – they have a great wine list.
My driver’s license was due for renewal in my birthday month. They only have to be replaced every 5 years, so it is scary seeing the leap in age from one driver’s license photo to the next!
For November and December, I will be straightening out my finances (whew!) and laying low.
I hope you will tell me about your October, even though we’re well into November now!