I spent the end of October and start of November in Toronto. When I got back, I knew I’d need to lay low for a while and draft my 2018 budget!
I hoped to economize enough to save at my usual rate this year, despite having bought a new car in March. I came up short by $1300 – not coincidentally, the amount of money I spent on electronics this Fall. I have no regrets, but I will need to stay frugal throughout next year to catch up. I am usually good about saving on groceries and monthly bills, but I overspend on snacks, clothes and gifts.
I had a set of winter tires put on the car. Rom and I made a deal for our first year of shared car ownership that I would pay the insurance and he would pay for the winter tires – the two amounts were almost identical.
The end of October marked one year of gym membership. It has been a good investment. I go 4-5 times a week except for vacations out of town. To celebrate my gym anniversary, I bought a pair of swim fins. Using them worked out muscles I didn’t know I had! I briefly considered cancelling the membership to save money, but I like swimming and skating too much to quit.
While I’m on the topic of money, Black Friday has really taken hold in Canada in the past 2-3 years. At first everyone thought it was ridiculous because our Thanksgiving is in October. The 4th Friday of November is not a holiday weekend or a day off. Our biggest sale each year was always Boxing Day (Dec. 26) which included electronics, furniture, winter clothing, and of course all the leftover Christmas décor. I have to say, though, that Black Friday makes a lot of sense for people who buy Christmas gifts, because they can buy expensive gifts or treats for themselves at the year’s best prices. Before Black Friday sales, we mostly had to pay full price for everything up to Dec. 24. It has given retailers a big boost in the 4th quarter. So now I am getting requests from my employees to take a vacation day to shop, and it’s understandable! For the rest of us, the online deals are excellent, too. I try to do a fair share of shopping at independent local shops, but they mostly do Black Friday now, too.
This month I went to the Farmers Market, which sells lots of local and handmade gifts, and two craft sales/bazaars. I have been decidedly uncrafty these past few years, but I always say I’ll get back to it. Meanwhile, I can admire other people’s work.
The weather was very mild for November – only a skim of snow one day. So I had no excuse not to get the yard clean-up done, and I planted bulbs. I hope the crows won’t pull up the shoots in the Spring like they did last year!
I finished reading a book recently that I had been reading for 16 months! I borrowed Selected Stories by William Trevor from the library last year and renewed it twice. I was blown away by the stories. I didn’t want to rush through them – they really needed to be savoured. So I bought a copy and continued reading a story or two every few weeks until I finished all 48. They are probably not for everyone. Some have amazing plot twists. But a lot of the stories focus on moments of clarity, those moments when everything comes together and you have a realization – especially about yourself. He got into the minds of his characters, especially women. Some of his themes were people who had a strong sense of duty, people who accepted their lot in life, and people who kept going on after a loss. I am probably underselling the book. I thought it was brilliant, if you are the contemplative sort.
I did the most fun project in November, for an exacting type, anyway! My mom is a voracious reader, much more so than me. I have started bringing her books from the library every couple of weeks. I was starting to lose track of which books I’d brought her before. I asked to see her ongoing list of what she’s read. It turns out Mom has recorded the titles of books she’s read for the past 18 years! For my own benefit, I made her a Goodreads account and entered all the books on her list, all 1266 of them (that averages 70 books a year). So now I can check on my phone if she’s read a book before. I also exported the list to a spreadsheet, printed it in author order, and gave a copy to Mom, who doesn’t have Internet. She can now see at a glance what she’s read by her favourite authors, and I can help her find books to finish series and so on. I enjoyed this tremendously.
For the past few years, Rom and I have invited the extended family (9 of us) for a meal to celebrate my mom’s birthday each November. We like doing it, but this year my brother and his gf have a new house and they invited all of us over instead. What a relaxing day!
This Fall Rom has two new obsessions (he tends to have all-consuming interests). One is collecting records again, the new heavy-weight ones, a lot of which are on coloured vinyl. The other is learning about cryptocurrencies. You cannot imagine how much I have heard about these two subjects in the past two months. But have you heard about CryptoKitties?
A note to my new readers who arrived because of the recent post about cannabis: this is more like the normal content of the blog – back to our regular programming, haha!
How was your November?