In and Out of June

Maud Lewis art

June was low-stress and interesting enough! A glimpse into my quiet life:

I saw another amateur theatre production (the musical of 9 to 5). It was really good, and it reminded me of how awful and sexist workplaces used to be, and still can be. I am so happy to work in a public library where women hold most of the senior positions, and most of the men are enlightened. A small number of our employees are genderqueer, and even more enlightened 🙂 All we have to worry about are the attitudes and behaviours of some of our customers…

My other entertainment for June was family-friends-and-food related. Always a good thing! A family barbecue for Fathers’ Day, a birthday dinner with PK, and an anniversary dinner with Rom. Nice mix!

I watched one movie this month: Maudie, with Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, about the life of our beloved local folk artist Maude Lewis.

My reading included:

Forest Dark – by Nicole Krauss. Heavier and less neatly wrapped up than her previous books, this is not for everyone. It was a deep dive into Jewish identity and (as usual) the writerly life.

Less – by Andrew Sean Greer. At first I decided it was chick-lit for guys. It developed some depth and was super-charming, just like good chick-lit (er, women’s light fiction?) Recommended!

Northanger Abbey – by Jane Austen. Her first, unpublished novel which showed her potential. I would like to see the TV movie version which features Felicity Jones.


The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English – by Lynne Murphy. A good idea but surprisingly tedious to read, even though I’m a linguistics buff. I suggest Watching the English by Kate Fox instead (even though it’s about behaviour rather than language).

Don’t Call Me Princess – by Peggy Orenstein. I loved her book Cinderella Ate My Daughter. This one was a collection of essays about hardships in her own life and those of girls and women generally. As much as I like her writing, I didn’t love the focus on miserableness. I will read another Roxane Gay book the next time I’m in the mood for essays.

I did meet my fitness and clothes-fitting goal for June. I have since lapsed. I needed a break after 8 weeks of restraint. Luckily all the good summer fruit is coming on stream now, so I can load up. However, cold local cider is an ongoing temptation, along with my other favourite, Crabbie’s ginger beer!

The pool at the fitness centre was closed for 2 weeks for its annual complete cleaning. During that time, I went to the gym every weekday, instead of alternating gym and pool. I was thrilled to get back in the water. I hope to go for a lake swim soon. Did you know…we have great ocean beaches, but the water temperature only gets to 15C by the end of the summer?

Only the stair balusters left to do

We had the deck at the back of our house replaced this month. The former one was original to the house, about 21 years old. It was wood and had been treated with tinted stain and then paint. The maintenance was getting hard – scraping and painting every summer. It was at the end of its lifespan. So my brother agreed to build us a new deck in his spare time (!) I bought the materials and he did the labour, evenings and weekends, with my nephew assisting. We went with brown treated lumber and will use a colourless protectant. I had been wary of treated lumber because I thought it had arsenic in it, but I found out it was phased out in 2004. The copper azole treatment product is not entirely harmless. Lumber made of recycled plastic is possibly better for the environment, but 3.5x the cost…sigh.

Anyway, we now have a lovely outdoor space to relax in!

Opening Day

So does one of our library branches. Dartmouth North Library had a grand opening for its outdoor library, a large deck attached to the library where you can socialize, read, use the wifi or watch your kids at the playground.

I paid dearly for a mistake this month. After mowing the lawn, I left the lawnmower’s lithium battery pack outside to finish charging. I forgot it on the front step overnight. Of course, it bucketed down rain and soaked both the battery and the charger. I let them dry out over a couple of days. When I plugged it back in for a test, the battery sparked and spewed out toxic smoke ☹ Not only did I have to replace the battery, but there were none in metro, so I had to drive to another town an hour away to get one, and it cost $230! Now when I finish mowing, I set a timer to remind me to check on the battery charger! (The charger itself recovered).

At work, I was approved to attend a two-day Lean Six Sigma course which I enjoyed tremendously. It is a combination of Lean (continuous improvement and reducing waste in your organization) and Six Sigma, which is a set of tools for perfecting processes. In the library world, we are quick to leap forward with public technologies, but slow about changing our back-room work. A bunch of us have been trained up and let loose! But I am still working on the staff restructuring, so my scope is limited until that’s done. I have a mid-August checkpoint but the end date is undetermined.

Now that the year is half over, I am tabulating my grocery expenses for a half-year report: coming soon.

I hope June was good to you. What were you up to?


  1. I like your Yes/No book comparisons. I can think of a few I’ve read that it would’ve been helpful to have that kind of heads-up about. 🙂

    June was devoted to redecorating – which included a good deal of much-needed decluttering – and relaxing. Prepping our space for new bedroom furniture got the ball rolling, and a garage sale finished us off. There’s empty shelf space in my closets now, which makes me happy, and the things that remain are actually things that get used. 🙂

    For the relaxation portion of the program, my spouse and I took a short break to soak in some sunshine and lake time. It was lovely.

  2. joan

    I’m still rehabbing my phantom knee injury. (I woke up one morning and it was swelled and hurt. It had been fine the night before.) One inconclusive x ray down with an MRI coming next.
    My 6 month old great niece Veronica came to visit for a few days with her willing parent/servants in tow. After all, someone has to wrangle her clothes, her toys, her stroller, her pac ‘n’ play, her high chair, etc. She has smiles for everyone and a surprisingly low-pitched giggle. The only thing she does not like is when her parents put her down on her tummy to encourage her to crawl. She immediately turns over on her back. Why look at a boring old floor when you can make eye-contact with your adoring fans? I guess you can tell it’s been 30 years since we’ve had a baby in our immediate family. : )

  3. All I remember about June is visiting my granddaughter, son & DIL for a weekend (19 months is so fun!), reading a lot and all of us here being sick including my FIL and dog. All better now and as I look back at the calendar I tried 4 new things – lunch with a new friend, thrift shop tour and lunch with 2 other new ones, started attending a book discussion group associated with the women’s club I just joined, and an evening program by the same club on state legislation in the pipeline directly affecting women. The book discussion group is one where we each talk about what we have read since the last meeting but no assigned reading.

    In June I read A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders (a good beach read), Murder in July by Barbara Hambly which was a good historical recreation of 1830 Paris and later 1830’s New Orleans but not so great plot wise. I loved Larie King’s latest Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes book (Island of the Mad) and decided to reread the entire series in order. Also read Edison and the Rise of Innovation by Leonard DeGraaf which came from Bill Gates recommended reading list for summer and was interesting but not gripping! Quite different was Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler who talks about how “prosperity gospel” believers approach health and death issues as she deals with her own illness and rejects that approach. It took me back to my Mom’s anger and distress over some of the things people said to her when she battled cancer 30 years ago.

    • I have put in a hold request for the Kate Bowler book – it has a waiting list. You’ve been adventurous with your reading. Happy to hear everyone is feeling better and getting in some toddler time! I always love hearing about your activities, and I think ahead to someday when I will choose how to spend my days and create an intentional life, as you do.

  4. My June – gardening I think – most of it! I love how you can get a wonderful mix of things into your life during a month – I need lessons! You lucky thing going on a Lean course – I am heavily into Lean – have mentioned it on my blog a few times and about to mention it more.

    • You should probably drop Lean now, otherwise you will be applying it to your home life 🙂 I am gardening regularly but don’t have much to show for it – all maintenance – but better than the alternative (untended!)

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