Late November Doings

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Not to sound totally Pollanna-ish, but I’m sort of sad to see the end of November this year. I’m even sad to see the last of late November, which is astounding.

Usually November, especially late November, is one of those times of the year that we kind of dread around here. Like February. Except November is normally dark and wet and heralds the onset of winter. While February always makes us feel that winter will never end. Let me clarify that. February makes me feel as if winter will never end; Hubby on the other hand just keeps on skiing.

But this year, November has been lovely. At least in retrospect it seems as if it’s been lovely.

I’ve been walking with friends most weeks. Sometimes twice a week. Afterward we usually decamp to a local coffee shop for a latté and convivial conversation. This is the trail on Monday when I walked with my friend Nancy. The sun shone and the wind blew, and it was glorious. Then it snowed; it is late November after all. But we were well wrapped up, so we didn’t mind.

Late November walk on a bush trail in Barrhaven, Ontario.
The trail on Monday.

I’ve walked by myself a few times this month as well. I love to walk on my own. This month I’m listening to the Robert Galbraith novel Troubled Blood. For a long time I resisted even trying the Galbraith/JK Rowling Cormoran Strike detective series. I’m not sure why because I am really enjoying this book. It’s very, very long, but since I’ve been doing a lot of walking and pedaling, I don’t mind.

I love how Galbraith spins out the details of an investigation: creating the first impression of events, interviewing witnesses, uncovering missing bits of the story, re-examining clues, analysing how and why people do what they do, and finally building a convincing scenario. In this particular book Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin are looking into a cold case. So the plot is the polar opposite of a thriller: no car crashes, no suspenseful twists, or frenzied violence. Yet. But I’m only half-way through, so that may come.

Hubby has just read The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first book in the Cormoran Strike series. He really enjoyed it. But when he was finished, he sighed and told me to make sure I found him a short book for his next read. Seriously, Rowling/Galbraith rivals Elizabeth George for long detailed plots. If you like that sort of thing you’ll be in heaven. I do, so I am.

Late November walk on a bush trail in Barrhaven, Ontario.
Big rock on the trail on Monday.

I’m back in physio again this month, which should not be a good thing, but actually is. I have a new physiotherapist and he’s given me some great tricks to loosen up the old body. Especially legs and hips. I didn’t do anything drastic to my back this time, just felt the warning signs in my hip, and so booked in for a “tune-up” as I told the receptionist.

See below for evidence of how relaxed I felt after a walk, followed by coffee and conversation with Nancy, followed by physio. Very, very relaxed. And happy, despite the red nose and weirdly white upper lip.

Post walk, post coffee, post physio: feeling happy.

I have no idea why my upper lip always, always looks whiter than the rest of my face. Probably because of the permanently red nose just above it? Sometimes in photos, even with make-up on, I look as if I have a snow-white mustache. Not “Snow White”, you understand, who didn’t have a mustache as far as I know. If I try to wear foundation on that part of my face it goes all cakey, and settles in the wrinkles above my lip. So I have to choose between a really wrinkly-looking upper lip, or a snow white mustache. And I always rub all the makeup off, anyway, because I am constantly blowing my nose. Sigh.

I have had a stuffy nose or a runny nose my entire life. Back in the nineties when my niece was getting married and some of the family were helping fetch and deliver stuff needed for the reception, I was in the car with my sister and my sister-in-law’s sister, whom I had not seen for years and years. Not since the day, when I was twelve, when her sister married my brother. Anyway, on that day in the car, I was, of course, blowing my nose. And she laughed and said, “I see you still have your runny nose.” Yep. Nice to see you again too.

Next door’s cat waiting for someone to come outside this morning.

For part of November we were cat sitting. This is a shot of our next door neighbour’s cat. He’s gorgeous isn’t he? And so is his sister. Hubby and I fed them while our neighbours were away in Italy. We were happy to do so since we both love cats. We fed them in their own house, and let them outside for a run around. Then we let them back in again, usually sitting with them for a bit, for a pat and a cuddle, so they wouldn’t be so lonely.

Oh… they quickly had our measure. Rolling on their backs on the floor, waiting to be petted, when we arrived to feed them in the morning. Sitting on our back doorstep, after they’d been out for a half hour, gazing up at our window. Then, if we were unresponsive, they’d go around to the front of the house and up on the deck, where they could stare at us through the big front window. Knowing if they looked forlorn for long enough, we would don our coats to come out. Well, you get the picture.

Now that the neighbours are home, we are trying to ignore their pleas. The cats’ pleas, I mean. But it’s been hard. And we are so weak. Ha.

November has been wonderful in other ways as well. I’ve had some lovely excursions, some of which I’ve written about here and here on the blog. Tonight I’m off to a local bistro for dinner with a friend. And I’ve been invited, along with a few other ladies, for afternoon tea at another friend’s house on Friday. I’ll probably share my “event” outfits with you on the weekend post.

I say “event” because I’m trying to look at every excursion as an event. An occasion to be planned for, savoured in advance, relished at the time, and rehashed for your delectation and mine, here on the blog.

Above is a little video I took of the late November “Beaver Moon.” We missed the big event, the lunar eclipse, because it occurred at 1:00 A.M. Friday morning. But on clear nights we’ve been admiring the full moon on the river. Last Friday, I stepped out onto the deck to witness it. I could have just taken a photo. But I wanted to capture the calmness of the river, and the rippling of the moon’s reflection in the water. If you turn the sound up you might be able to hear the geese settling in for the night.

And after I captured the view over the river, I swiveled to capture the view inside. Hubby is building our nightly fire. Late November is the beginning of cosy fire season at our house. If you look closely you might see a rolling pin on the ottoman. Using it is part of my new stretching regimen for my leg. It works a treat on tight muscles.

Next week, the first of December, I head down east for two weeks with my mum. My sister has been staying with Mum full time for the past month. When I get there, my sister will come back to Ontario to arrange her affairs, and return to Mum’s afterward. Mum still has her care-givers twice a day. But my sister will be there when the care-workers are not, and most importantly at night, so Mum doesn’t have to feel nervous. And we don’t have to worry about her.

What a gift this has been. For Mum. And for the family. My sister has worked her whole life in health care. First in nursing and then in pharmacy. And we are so lucky, and grateful, that she can do this for Mum.

So November has been a good month. And I am kind of sad that it’s almost over.

Life in November hasn’t been exactly exciting around here. A little of this and a little of that. Nothing novel. Quiet. And pretty routine. Kind of like this blog post.

But, you know, in this crazy mixed up world, I’ll take routine, and be glad for it.

A walk on a sunny day, even when it snows. Dinner and a glass of wine with a good friend. The sound of Hubby’s chainsaw in the morning as I sit at my computer writing and sipping my tea. A roaring fire in the evening. A good book or too. The comfort of knowing that family is all tucked up, safe and sound.

Seriously, my friends, I’ll take all that. And be very happy.

And how about you? How has November been treating you?

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46 thoughts on “Late November Doings”

  1. It has been a swift month and I cannot believe it is almost over. I enjoy November, because of the stunning skies early in the morning and late in the afternoon and I like lighting the candles on a cold evening. I like getting up into a hot shower before striding off about my day. It isn’t Thanksgiving here, but like you, I know when to show gratitude for all the little joys. Alarums and excursions are not for me, thanks.

  2. Our November has been a very good month too . Often it is dreary & dank , with fog or mist but this year has been dry , mild & bright . There has been little wind so the autumn leaves have stayed on the trees & made it even brighter . Very unusual . Your sitting room looks so cosy . We appreciate our fire too . It’s lovely to be out on a winter walk & come back to a crackling blaze & a hot drink . November can be tricky for us as the little wood mice like to move in for the winter . We’ve caught four so far . We use humane traps but do wonder if they get back in the house before we do . We may have caught the same mouse four times ?
    The Robert Galbraith books are favourites of mine . I hadn’t realised they were so long which must show how much I enjoy them . I tried some PD James books recently , the Cordelia Grey ones . She writes very well & is very perceptive. I whipped through the first one but found the second one slow until it went abit mad at the end . I think I’ve resisted her books as they seem rather class ridden in an Agatha Christie way . Not a genre I care for . James was writing a lot more recently but it felt to be set in the same period . Not my England . A book I really enjoyed was The Fine Art of Invisible Detection by Robert Goddard & I will try more of his .
    We share the runny nose ( that doesn’t sound very nice ) All my life people have asked if I had a cold . I wonder if they think I have covid now . We share a wonky back too & the physio exercises do help . Sounds like your mum is getting lots of TLC & quite right too .

    1. Oh… the mice. I hear you. Stu has traps in our “sump pump room” in the basement where the pump that makes sure our basement doesn’t flood lives. And where the mice like to move in when the weather gets cold. Stu and I read a lot of Robert Goddard books a few years ago. And then stopped. It’s funny how various writers come and go in our lives. I must see if he has anything new we haven’t read.

  3. November has been a surprisingly swift (thanks for that word, Annie) and a fairly dry, bright month. Even managed a quick trip to the ocean–just listening to the waves as they break on shore was enough to bring down the heart rate (and the mind) to a soothing level.
    Wishing you a safe trip and sweet time with your Mom.

  4. Oh, Sue, that trail in the woods – so jealous. Between the coyotes and poisonous snakes I don’t walk in the woods anymore, but that reminds me of where I grew up, it’s glorious!!
    November seems to have sped past, and I know from experience that December will do the same. Today I am giving thanks for all the great blogs I’ve read, the beautiful books you’ve recommended, my family, and all the friends who have made the very best of the pandemic and shared the best of themselves! Thank you,
    XO Donna

  5. Your November sounds perfect, and I’m so glad you’re going to be able to get back and spend time with your mom next week.
    Here, the month’s been marked by our time in Europe and then our return home mid-month to be greeted by heavy rainfall that shut down transit routes to the rest of Canada and has caused supply shortages and some of the panic-buying seen at the beginning of the pandemic. (don’t worry; we have a few toilet rolls left. . . 😉
    And now that I’m finally over my jet lag, I’m catching up on, well, everything. Luckily, most of the catching-up can be done indoors because it’s — you guessed it — raining again! Here, we tend to call it Novembruary. . .
    Thanks to you and Wendy, I’m going to give Robert Galbraith a chance — I’ve had the same reservations as you, but if you two good mystery readers give them a thumbs-up, I need no more reason. . .

    1. We heard you guys were in for another storm. And Nova Scotia has been hit hard as well. Not New Brunswick, though. Probably it’s waiting until I’m there next week. Ha.

  6. your video of the moon is wonderful! Same perspective from the other side of Ottawa (in Beacon Hill close to the Ottawa river). November has been crisp and lovely for long walks listening to audio books although the wind from the north has been *wicked* at times. Necessitates lots of eye watering and nose-blowing! I just finished listening to “the Man who Died Twice” the follow-up novel to “The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman. Just as hilarious and fun as the original.

    1. The wind has been blowing a lot hasn’t it? When Liz and I were in Merrickville the photos I took of us together were laughable. Stu and I both loved the second Thursday Murder Club book as well. Such hearth warming books.

  7. I so appreciate your thoughtful writing. Today you inspired reflection – much needed, as November has been a mixed bag. Some lovely, sunny weather here in NH, too. But two recent losses, too. Somehow the dark branches against the blue-gray sky bring a bit of comfort (at least to me). I count your blog among the many things for which I’m grateful.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Joanne. Sorry to hear that you’ve had losses. Isn’t it odd where we can find comfort? Even bare branches against the sky… or perhaps just beauty no matter how stark.

  8. November has been swift! Feels like it just flew by. And December already looks jam-packed, so I’m anticipating another swift one. Our town’s Christmas lights are going up (fun to watch) and will be lighted on Saturday, so I’m quite excited about that. And a group of us have planned an excursion into Lisbon to see the lights (the neighborhoods compete!) which should be a highlight of the season.

    I read the first few Cormoran Strike books, but JK Rowling’s outspoken TERF beliefs are unfortunately too much for me (I have a much beloved non-binary relative, and words such as Rowling’s endangers their safety and well-being, as well as encouraging hate from others). It’s a shame, they are well-written, engrossing books, but I just can’t stomach her anymore.

    1. What an experience your first Christmas in Portugal will be! I had not heard that about JK Rowling, but what I’ve read since I first saw your comment is definitely troubling.

    2. Somehow (!!!) this had slipped my mind (I know! How!!), but I feel the same way. I keep hoping she will rethink, but there seem to be reasons (past trauma) that she’s not able to — particularly sad because she held so much sway, so much hope for the marginalized in the Harry Potter books.

  9. Sue- lovely, thoughtful reflections as usual, and the moon video is an added treat! I adore Cormoran Strike novels, and think often how Elizabeth George-like they are. Gorgeous cat, and glad they wrap you around their paws like all animals do us…. I’m enduring a 5-hr layover in the Chicago airport and your post is a welcome diversion, along with the fabulous people-watching (read outfit-watching….).

  10. Hello, this is the first time I’ve written on your blog. But, it is a quiet Thanksgiving morning, here in Tucson, Az, and I am thinking of the many, many things I am thankful for. I enjoy reading your musings very much. It has been interesting and good to hear how others have made their way through these strange last couple of years. I also love your approach to dressing and shopping. Figuring out a retirement wardrobe has been something I hadn’t anticipated. If you ever head to the desert we would be happy to be hiking guides.Thank you for sharing. Sheryl

  11. Dear Sue, November has been rough! Although the florists have done well by me, three sympathy bouquets is too, too many. But…you made me laugh this Thanksgiving morning. I too am the lady of the perpetual runny nose. As I stopped stuffing turkey to run to restroom to blow my nose, yet again, I laughed at your, and my nose. I am grateful for that laugh. May we all stay well, and may covid just soon go away.

    1. Nothing like a runny nose when you are elbow deep in stuffing! I feel your pain, Heather. And hope that things will start looking up for you. That’s too many losses, to be sure.

  12. November has been a strange month for us. We are warming up, heading towards a La Nina summer after “celebrating” our 100th day of lockdown. Shops (those that have survived) have started to open up and we are slowly starting to emerge as though from hibernation, blinking at the bright light. No cafes, bars or restaurants open yet but hairdressers are! Finally! I have booked my appointment- it will be nearly five months since my last cut.
    I have posted my overseas Xmas cards with no guarantee they will arrive in time, have ordered or bought several Xmas gifts but somehow can’t get into the right mood for the season. I think discombobulated might ge the best description at present.
    Enjoy your time with your mother as this is a precious time for both of you. And please keep posting such lovely peaceful videos.

  13. Thank you for reminding me of the many things to cherish and enjoy – most of all a glass of wine and dinner with a friend who always restores my energy and makes me feel valued. Safe travels east – hope you have a lovely pre-Christmas visit with mum. Can’t wait for the day I can walk that gorgeous trail with you and Nancy.

  14. The contentment positively oozes out of your post. After 2 very difficult years for the world, it’s lovely that there is so much for which to be grateful. Simple things as you say, walks, books, fires in winter, friends and family. November has been good to me too. I’ve loved studying my online course on Impressionism, which, sadly, will be over in a few days. I’ve caught up with some friends too and generally gotten out and about more when the weather allowed. It’s been an unseasonably cool and very wet November here – thank you, La Niña – but I’ll take that over bushfires, floods and COVID, which is what we had or were about to have 2 years ago. And now I must ask you to please explain exactly how you use the rolling pin to stretch your leg – I’m intrigued. Enjoy your trip to see your mum. It’s wonderful that she’s home and that your sister is able to be with her.

    1. Thanks, Maria. And to answer your question, the rolling pin takes the place of my foam roller, which I usually have to lie on to “roll out” the tight muscles down the side of my leg leading to my hip. The rolling pin can do much the same thing and I don’t have to get out the exercise mat and the big foam roller. I just roll it back and forth over the really tight muscles, and generally try to loosen them up. I’m finding though that I’m using it in conjunction with the big roller.

      1. How kind of you to answer my nosey question. I’ve had a bit of physio myself for knees, back and even after a broken arm but I’ve never had any experience with foam rollers or rolling pins in this context, thank you.

  15. What’s wrong with routines in the present time:)? I love them very much now, it’s soothing, well known teritory,excitements are found in rare coffees with friends,walks….the same as you’ve described. Your trail looks so beautiful,I like walks like that

    It seems that your cats have chosen your home as their home extension-it is lovely to have them near,no?

    Such a gift for you all that you and your sister can travel and be with your Mum. It’s a blessing indeed

    November was really nice here as well,today started the rain

    I love R. Galbraith Cormoran Strike novels,especially The Cuckoo’s Calling

    Troubled Blood was very good,too,although terribly long and I didn’t like the astrological parts

    I was reading Angela Marsons’ Blood Lines,Laura Marshal’s Friend Request (I’ve got it in our regular “Friends books exchange”,but it was not bad at all),Tarryn Fisher’s The Wives,psyhochological thriller (not my favourite genre),our mystery writer Pavao Pavlicic’s Healing Mud (Ljekovito blato)-a soothing triple murders with the reason :)…..and some others that I’ve written about at Frances’ Materfamilias Writes

    I’m sorry that Pavlicic’s mysteries are not translated in english,he has interesting main characters and a nice atmosphere

    Dottoressa

    1. I don’t mind the astrological parts in Troubled Blood … although it’s hard to keep track of all the detail when I’m listening and not reading. Too bad the Croatian writer is not translated. I will look for those other suggestions, thanks so much.

  16. November has been a solemn month remembering the loss of my mother three years ago, and the sudden passing of her brother this past week has heightened my melancholy. Like everyone above, I have much to be grateful for and have been trying to focus on those blessings. I stepped into the Stephen King book Under the Dome to shift my focus and must say it’s his best work. Totally engrossed in the story! Winter is knocking at the door and I dislike being in house 24/7 but know that everyone must rest at some point so must mother earth!

  17. Hi Sue, we are connected these days through reading (in your case listening) the same book from Robert Galbright, ithe german issue is calles “Böses Blut” (Bad Blood). I’m also in the middle of this thick book. I enjoy it every evening in bed time.
    I would more enjoy to read one or two hours in one piece, but… so much time is not left at the end of a day in my working week. Hoping for the coming weekend!
    Stay safe and optimistic,
    Susa

    1. Thanks, Susa. I am impressed that you can manage a couple of hours of reading at the end of a work day. By the time I retired, I’d relegated reading for pleasure to Saturday mornings 🙂

      1. Hi Sue, surely I expressed myself wrong… sorry, only at the weekends I be able to read many pages in one piece. During the week, I`m only awake enough to read a quarter of an hour before sleeping…
        Susa

  18. Hi Sue,
    Another wonderful post with images of long walks, a full moon over the river, lunches with friends and cozy fires. I enjoyed the tour. So happy that you know your mother is safe and sound with your sister.
    November has been great here in Mass. too. Today is rainy, but we’ve had a great fall.
    Cold weather is moving in and we’ll light our first fire this weekend. I’m looking forward to it.
    Our holiday plans went south, but we managed to make the most of it. Our son cancelled his plans to come for Thanksgiving on Monday after his coworker, who sat across from him all day, got a call that she had tested positive for Covid. On Wed. night, we learned that my husband’s niece’s daughter (2 1/2 years old) had been sick with a fever for a few days and my husband’s sister, who was hosting Thanksgiving, had babysat the sick child for two days. We felt that great-grandmother (my husband’s mother), who is 96 should not be exposed. At 5:00 pm we went to the local farm stand and stocked up, then we headed home and started cooking Thanksgiving dinner. We drove to CT yesterday and had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with my mother-in-law. We have FaceTime calls with my son and his girlfriend and with my sister-in-law and her family, including the little one, who was feeling better and happily eating cake and ice cream. A long drive home, everything went onto our three-season porch (turkey and all) and we crawled under the covers. A bit tired, but happy to have pulled it off. We missed our son terribly, as we didn’t have holidays with him last year, but these are strange times and we opt for safety in hopes of more holidays in the future. Thank goodness for technology that allows us to talk with each other and see each other long distance.
    I’m taking advantage of the rainy day to knit (I never do this in the middle of the day) and read and comment on your post. When the weather clears up, there will be plenty of outdoor work, raking leaves for part of the weekend. We hope to get in a couple of walks.
    I’ve loved the Comoran Strike series, which I have listened to. I have been hoarding the last one. Maybe I’ll start it soon. Rowling is a talented writer.
    On the long drive home last night, my husband and I listened to a few of the Stanley Tucci Visiting Italy series. We’d seen them on the television, so we could visualize what he was doing and all of the beautiful food while hearing it on the radio. I don’t speak Italian, but it was wonderful hearing it spoken. I’ve made one of the dishes from the series and last night I was reminded of another dish that I want to make. The shows made the drive go by quickly.
    Enjoy the rest of November! I hope that you get lots of walks in.

  19. Our November has been fun Sue. We put Christmas decorations up earlier than other years because we were going to be starting our Christmas entertaining early. A lot of our friends are snowbirds and very happy to be visiting their winter getaways in Florida and Arizona again. Most are leaving soon so we wanted to see them before they left. I was also finally able to host a get together of former colleagues last week. It was so much fun spending the evening with this wonderful group of Women. Sue, I’m so glad you were able to get into your Physiotherapist for a “tune up”. I injured my Piriformis muscle early this year and it has been a long journey to recovery. I started with Physiotherapy and a procedure called ‘dry needling’, similar to acupuncture but the needles don’t stay in. It helped a great deal but when I felt we had sort of plateaued, I moved on to Massage Therapy and this has been a game changer for me. I also use a ‘foam roller’ daily which I’m thinking would be similar to what your rolling pin does for you. It hurts like heck but the results are immediate. I use it mainly on my hips and calves and my range of motion has greatly improved. All in all it’s been a great November for me Sue!

  20. Lagatta de Montréal

    What a beautiful ginger tom! Is his sister also ginger? Livia is a small, pure black cat and her predecessor Renzo was a very dark tuxie, in formal black with white gloves and spats. Renzo lived to 20 1/2.

    I keep my distances from the trans issue – obviously I’m staunchly against discrimination and threats of violence towards anyone, but I also have lesbian friends who’ve been treated horribly by certain trans contingents. Since I’m neither lesbian nor trans (theoretically at least, I’m a straight woman) I hope LGBTQ+ people can resolve these harsh differences. I’m far more involved in other feminist issues, and environmental issues.

    And cat rescue, of course!

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