Life Update – August 2022

Post author wearing pink hoodie and black jeans, standing in front of life-sized moose statue, surrounded by a picket fence
The poor moose is held captive in a chive garden

Thanks to everyone who finds and reads this post!

I feel quite restored since the depths of February – for lots of reasons:

  • Spending time outdoors after a long winter
  • Fully recovered from a couple of sports injuries
  • All phases of Big Work Project complete (September- March)
  • Doing things out in the world again

After two years of coping, I was mighty tired of my limited life, even though we’ve all done the best we can.

In March, the home-visit-fitness-machine-guy finally repaired the elliptical machine, just as our household acquired a used treadmill, so we got moving again.

Ram's Head Lady Slipper orchids in the forest
Locally rare Ram’s Head Lady Slipper orchids

Some of you know I took up with iNaturalist – I go for walks or hikes, post photos of local wild plants, and help others identify which plants they see. Over the winter I started informal study, gradually learning about plant classification and what all the parts are (hundreds of terms!) Plus, finding out what one could potentially see in my area. I’m just beginning, but it’s the start of a long-term hobby.

Since April when the snow left, I have joined a couple of nature challenges where you go out and photograph/post as many nature pictures as possible over a weekend, as citizen science, to document the current state of wildlife. You may have done this for a Christmas Bird Count or similar.

Also in April, I made individual chocolate lava cakes for a family birthday (requiring a test run prior to the big day, of course) so that felt like an achievement.

I broke down and bought more washi tape and stickers for my bullet journal – no surprise! I did experiment with drawing and stamping borders for the pages, but it took more time than I want to spend on it each month. I am more than 18 months into keeping the daily journal, and still really enjoy it.

German wire-haired pointer puppy with fluffy blanket and stuffed toy
Baby Lucy at 2.5 months (she’s now 6 months old)

I have enjoyed visits with my brother’s new puppy, Lucy, a “very active” German wire-haired pointer. My sister has a Great Pyrenees named Maude. Our home is dogless, but clearly we need to get a dog and name it Montgomery 😊

In May we decided to take full advantage of the return of public events and see Sting in concert. We were, of course, concerned about it being a spreader event, but we were comfortable wearing masks for the whole show, and that was fine. His set was a nice mix of solo work and old Police tunes, and he has a good backing band. There aren’t a lot of artists where I like their whole back catalogue. But speaking of which, isn’t it great that Kate Bush is getting another day in the sun?

The next month we stepped it up and attended two public events: a local professional theatre staged a fantastic production of Rocky Horror, and we went to one of the many touring “immersive Van Gogh experience” exhibits. We loved it!

Rom and I had been amping up our walks during the Spring, and we met our goal of completing a 13 km hike (albeit a rather flat one). We participated in a guided tour of some rare wildflowers (I wonder whose idea that was?) We spent another afternoon scrambling over the granite barrens, and ended the month doing a full-tilt 10 km hike with rough terrain, swamps and hills. That one was more than Rom signed up for! It is time for me to join a local hiking group.

We had our first overnight getaway since 2019 at a country lodge with river views and fine dining. From our house in the suburbs, we have a pretty good view of the stars, despite the streetlights. This place was close to a dark sky area (no light pollution) and the difference was astounding. To follow up, we’ve booked another overnighter later this month in a true dark sky area, with a similar level of luxury!

Unclassifiable 7-piece New Orleans Band Tank and the Bangas on outdoor stage at Halifax Jazz Festival
Yay for live music! – Tank and the Bangas

In July we saw Tank and the Bangas at an outdoor Jazz Festival show, and attended our first Pride Parade in 3 years. We have done some beautiful beach walks and gone out for ice cream as often as possible. A classmate decided to quickly pull together a high school reunion and about 20 of us met up (we went to a small rural school with about 100 graduates). Most of us are working full-time and have grown children. There was a sense that we want to enjoy our good health and incomes before both diminish!

Selfie of smiling family of 3 - parents and adult child - with ocean beach in background
One of many family beach walks

It was July – 30 months into the pandemic – that the first of our family members got Covid. Unrelated to that instance, everyone in our household has had it now. In my case, the source was a one-to-one meet-up with a friend during which we chatted over coffee and sat head-to-head viewing photos on each other’s phones. So there you go. I am grateful for the public health measures that kept us from getting an earlier and more dangerous variant. Mine felt like a bad summer cold, and I elected to work from home even though I kept testing negative. I think the days when we all blithely spread colds around are over; I will not be doing that to anyone. It took a week of symptoms until I had a positive test. By staying home the whole time, I was able to avoid spreading it to my parents who are in their 80s. I also did not spread it to my buddies at the gym and pool. Although I care about the health of each of them, one provides childcare for her grand-daughter who has leukemia. Funnily enough, I work alone in an office at the library, so my chances of acquiring or distributing anything there are very low!

During a family discussion we decided that we were sick at the perfect time – after a lot of events we looked forward to, and before the beautiful Fall weather. We stayed indoors with our heat-pump AC during a particularly vile stretch of humidity, watching TV and eating Popsicles. Could be worse.

While I was home, Rom and I watched the Pistols mini-series, about the Sex Pistols, based on Steve Jones’s book. We know a lot about the band and the punk era, so it was really fun for us both to watch it and to pick it apart! You can imagine how sordid a story it was, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.

I intend to be back with future posts. I have been reading all your posts and commenting when the platform allows me to! I am sad to say I had to give up my Exacting Life Facebook page. Some time ago, I was warned that I had to add my personal name as an Administrator. I chose not to. For at least a year I’ve been unable to post or comment other than sending out the automatic notifications of new WordPress posts. I received a final warning and had to give up the page (rather than give up my anonymity). Sorry about that!

Wishing everyone a happy August and September, and in the immortal words of Arnie, “I’ll be back!”

Please do tell me what you’ve been doing these past few months; I’ve missed you.


  1. My husband and I both got COVID as well — in mid July — but luckily it was mild. What was strange about it was the fact that we got it THEN, considering that I had spent January thru June exposed to carrier monkeys galore (elementary students), and that we keep very much to ourselves otherwise. He started a new part-time job but other than that, in July we were relative homebodies. I guess if there was a “good time” to get it, that fit the bill. Still: odd.

    I admire your out-and-about-ness. I am still avoiding grocery stores during peak hours but otherwise have “resumed life” to some extent — minus crowd entertainment. I have tickets to see Pat Benatar at a small outdoor venue next weekend though, and I’m looking forward to it.

    • Hi Mrs. F, I’m glad you are well and you both fared OK with Covid. For us, the Sting concert and the play were both masked and the rest were outdoors and socially distanced. It is so nice to get out. Enjoy the show!

  2. What a lovely catch up post glad you are all ok now. I am the only person in my household who hasn’t actually had Covid, that I know of… It still worries me but I think I’m pretty much back to life pre covid, if there is such a thing.

    • Hi Anjie, you’re right, “if there is such a thing”! Rom still won’t travel to the UK due to airline woes, so we’re still waiting on that. Otherwise – approaching normal!

  3. Thanks for pics and update. I have missed reading your advice and updates. Keith

  4. H P

    So nice to hear from you, and glad you are all feeling better after COVID! We also had it, and while I was sick for a few days, it also happened at the best possible time (if there is such a thing), & everyone was up & about soon after. It took me almost a month to regain my fitness levels, but oh well. I’m happy to be healthy again.

  5. Thank you for your updates and pictures. I’m glad to hear you’re all doing fine after COVID. This summer has been great for me so far. I had a wonderful trip to Newfoundland and Labrador in June, visits to family in Hamilton, ON in July and in Calgary, AB in August. I’ll be in Halifax in September. I’m wondering if you’d like to meet up. If you’re interested, please message me via the Contact form at the top of my blog. Thank you. Happy August!

  6. Freckles

    I am happy to see your new post! Dunno if I have contracted Covid, have been in close quarters with those that did and along the past two years suspected that I did, but tests showed negative but that could be my faulty test taking.

    • Hi Freckles, it’s good to hear from you. The person I “got Covid from” never did test positive! It seems the rapid tests are rather approximate. So my take-away was to stay home if I feel sick. Hope you are well!

  7. Jamie

    It’s so wonderful to hear an update from you.

    August marks 12 months of paid library work for me. It has been a challenging year. So much to learn, the opening of our third branch, and very high staff turnover (and a long time to recruit – we are still down 2.5 FTE out of our usual 5.5 FTE at our main branch, in part due to trying to staff the new branch).

    I’ve recently just taken on book clubs and interlibrary loans on top of the adult programs I ran earlier this year. I’m also running a reduced mobile library service to four outlying towns. All as a casual who is over the limit of what they can give. I’m counting down for more staff, but we aren’t even at the advertising stage. I think there is a bit of a restructure underway, but that’s just guessing on my part.

    It’s been lovely to hear about your warm weather activities. I’m not sure how many more false springs I can take, but I’m also trying to remind myself how hot summer can be and to enjoy the cool while it lasts!

    • Hi Jamie, it’s great to hear from you too! We are having quite a time with recruitment for our library system too. After the restructure we had about 35 positions to fill. Many staff moved “up” which left a couple dozen positions to backfill, and now we are hiring externals (which means lots of training is required). We have not achieved full staffing since the restructure roll-out in March. If anyone reading this is looking for work, check to see if your local library is hiring! There are many jobs that don’t require degrees and credentials.

      It sounds like you have an interesting mix of duties even if it’s too much. Can you hang in there until help arrives? All our staff are unionized and have the right to refuse additional hours (which many do, because they have already been hired into jobs with the hours they want). The employee is king these days – there are lots of jobs out there, and if a current job isn’t suitable, they can walk!

      • Jamie

        I’m hoping to catch my manager in the local office tomorrow to talk about our events for October and how we might manage to staff them, or whether we would be better to postpone them until we have more staff.

  8. Hey, you’re back. Knock on wood, no Covid in the garden of the summerhouse so far though I have shaken my first hand since Feb 2020 (surprise reaction and seem to have survived), and attended a few outdoor events. Winter will be filled with hobbies and exercises but probably none of the travels planned/dreamed up. Oh well, it’ll be all right.

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