In and Out of July

A walk at the lovely local salt marsh

July started with Canada Day festivities. Every year Rom and I go to a seaside boardwalk at lunch time, and out for a concert and fireworks in the evening. This year’s headliner was Allan Rayman. He is a folk-blues performer with a Jim Morrison-like onstage persona…interesting.

When they were 3  months – they climbed to 80 lbs at 6 months and they were only half grown!

For the middle of the day, my sister invited us to a barbecue at her fascinating new place. Her partner has created a workshop for his business in an old church, and they have moved into the “glebe house” (rectory) next door which used to house 5 priests! Their next-door neighbours are nuns (of the modern sort) and we had a good chat at the event. Meanwhile my sister is the proud owner of two Pyrenees puppies who are now 6 months old and half-grown. They are going to be big doggies!

In keeping with the family theme, my brother has a new workplace not far from where I work, so we’ve been having coffee together about once a week – nice!

For the first time in over a dozen years, I didn’t attend the local Pride Parade. It had been raining all morning and the forecast was for worsening weather, so I begged off. The parade itself did happen, but I missed it. Of course, I immediately regretted it. Living in the suburbs affects spontaneity – I was thinking, by the time I drive over there and find a parking spot and a viewing spot…just to get rained on…

War on Drugs at JazzFest

Daniel Caesar at JazzFest

Meanwhile we attended two outdoor evening shows for the Jazz Festival, and it didn’t rain either night! Night 1, the headliner was War on Drugs (rock band). I didn’t like their first album, too rootsy/Americana for me, and I didn’t plan to attend until indie pop band Alvvays was added to the bill. They are delightful. Turns out, War on Drugs has changed their style considerably, in ways I liked, so the two acts were win/win! Night 2 was R&B up-and-comer Daniel Caesar, a smooth and relaxed performer, and opening act Charlotte Day Wilson. Both are based out of Toronto. There was a mellow audience vibe and everyone was in a good mood. Cannabis is set to become legal in October and police overlook public weed smoking now, so that may have been a factor – the “war on drugs” is over!

^ These rate as high heels for me: 1.75″/4.5cm!

It has been a different kind of summer for me, working in an office setting instead of in the busy public library. The weather has been unusually hot and the air conditioning is always on, but not at the freezing level. I can wear short-sleeved tops and T-shirts without a summer cardigan! Oh, the novelty! I got carried away and bought two pairs of summer shoes. I have never worn sandals at work because of moving too many book carts and book bins around, so again, this feels new. I should be able to wear them until the end of September before putting them away for next year.

I tried an experiment last week. In the past year, two of my favourite clothing items, my rain coat and my winter parka, have lost their waterproofing. I have washed each a couple of times, strictly when necessary, and followed the instructions. I later found out that using detergent removes the waterproofing – it was not on the label, and I didn’t know. So I went to a sports shop and bought some wash-in waterproofing solution. So far it seems to have worked, but I have yet to put it to a strenuous test!

After a long time of making the same meals, I tried a new recipe this month, for lentil burgers. They were good but incredibly faffy – I had to use 2 pots, a frying pan, a bowl and a baking sheet, and it took 90 minutes – but at least I had a few extra for the freezer. I will try another version next time!

Rom and I have been playing with rampant consumerism. Last year he subscribed to Sprezza Box for a few months, a mail service that provides a selection of men’s fashion accessories like ties, cuff links, pocket squares and socks. He did get some nice things but lost interest quickly. Rom was looking online for other subscription box services, of which there are many. For everyone, stationery and art supplies are popular, and there are monthly boxes for candy, snacks, pet treats, tea, etc. Bath products, scents, candles and jewellery are pitched at women. Razors, hot sauce, records and movie collectibles are pitched at men. I viewed a bunch online with Rom and we couldn’t think of any we’d want monthly. I do love stationery – and candy – and coffee – but I want to pick my own!

So Rom and I made a deal. Each of us will make the other a monthly “subscription box.” Now you must understand that we both have very particular tastes, we don’t want a lot of well-meaning clutter we won’t use, and to complicate things further, Rom is not a confident gift-buyer, although he loves shopping! So we each made an Amazon wish list of stuff we wanted to receive, we shared the lists, and selected things from each other’s list to put in the “boxes.” We set a firm price limit and completed our first orders.

Subscription Box Received

Subscription Box Given

The results:

For Month 1, I bought Rom some black art paper, 2 sets of gel pens, and a kaleidoscope. He bought me a pair of earrings, a strip of USB colour-changing lights, and a Moleskine LEGO journal. We were both very pleased 😊

How was your July?



  1. I’m not one for monthly subscriptions for myself – boxes, magazines, etc – but I love your personalized gift-boxing idea. I think that would be a great “just because” practice to get into with a partner (or friend or family member). Very clever!

    July begins with Independence Day (7/4) in the states. My spouse and I spent that day on a whale-watching adventure. I got discounted pre-purchased tickets, redeemable at any time of our choosing, last December. It was a great buy, and we had a great time.

    And in the same plan-ahead vein, I bought tickets this month for a December show to see the Canadian group The Tenors. 🙂

    Otherwise, July brought a bit of work-related travel and — FINALLY, after many weeks of chilly rain — a long-awaited warm spell.

    • Did you see any whales? The one time I went, it got foggy off-shore and we only saw harbour seals. I was going to say I didn’t know The Tenors were Canadian but then I saw they were formerly called The Canadian Tenors and I knew them by that name. Oh my, we have had hot weather for a very uncommon 3 full weeks now with another week forecasted, and we’re all wilting!

      • We did! We saw a humpback, a couple minke, and a pod of orcas. We also saw harbor seals and porpoise. 🙂

        I know sometimes whale watching tours can be hit and miss. But the outfit that we went with, we’ve been out with them before and they are always excellent.

  2. Cute shoes, cute pups, and fun subscription box variation plus family time and concerts – sounds like a great month!

  3. I love your use of the term “rampant consumerism.” If we could wisely spend you like you two do, I would be ecstatic. The word rampant means buy more here, unfortunately.

  4. Jamie

    We’ve been getting a candy subscription box for about a year now. We are sent a box of candy (and snacks and chips) from a different country each month. We’ve varied the sizes we receive throughout the year. We’ve really enjoyed it. The last two months have had fewer things we’ve liked, but we enjoy the ritual of sitting down together, learning a little about the country, and tasting the foods. We each nominate our favourite and least favourite. It seem we all like quite different things. We are still waiting on our box from Taiwan to arrive. I’m a little worried it has gone missing in the post!

    July is birthday month for me. My husband isn’t very interested in gift giving, so I don’t really expect anything from him. For many years now I’ve just bought myself what I want and tell him it is from him. My mum is quite the opposite and adores making a big deal of birthdays and Christmases. I have trouble offering suggestions when she calls me for ideas of what I would like, so for the last two years or so I’ve had an ongoing Pintrest board where I save things that catch my eye. This year my husband tracked it down and bought me nearly everything on the list! What a turn of events! So, I have a large pile of “France memoirs” to make my way through now. 🙂

    • Wow! Candy and snack boxes – so fun! I was reluctant to make gift suggestions to anyone in the past but I have found they do appreciate it – if they are going to get something for you anyway, why not save them the doubts. A belated Happy Birthday!

  5. I love your gift plans for one another. And your new shoes.

    I’m so proud that you have kept at this blogging so persistently. It’s lovely to check in with you, and I really need to return to my habit of blogging. The hiatus really threw a spanner in my routine.

  6. I love this idea of making your own subscription box for your loved ones. What a great personalize gift.
    What cute dogs. I think it’s great that you and your brother can now have weekly meet ups. I have yet to attend the Pride Parade in Toronto. I have gone to other Pride events but the parade seems to elude me every year. 😦 Maybe next year.

  7. Pride Amsterdam was hothothot this year but not the warmest dag of the summer and very good, very cheerful week. Some unexpected companies and organisations out with their own boats for the parade which is important. (Yes, it is all boats in the canals squeezing under the bridges.)
    Fascinating gift box idea; we are bored gift recievers and don’t really give any. Most are virtual as in “look, this is what I would give you for your birthday”, then we laugh, put it back and thirty minutes the thing is forgotten. As a cat I might even like the box more than the content.

    • Wow, I didn’t know Amsterdam did a canal/boat parade (I looked it up) – that is SO impressive! At our house we usually buy modest gifts – since we are able to buy what we need for ourselves, it doesn’t fall to the other person to fulfill their wishes!

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