Sassymonkey's September Favourites

I, for one, was not sad to see September go. It felt like a really, really long month and it was totally not my favourite. That doesn't mean I disliked everything about it. Here are some things I liked in September. 

Coffee and tomatoes on the deck

Coffee and tomatoes on the deck

1. Podcasts: I made a big effort to walk more in September. I've been aiming for 5k three times a week. Sometimes I hit it. Sometimes I don't. During my walks I've been listening to a lot of podcasts. I haven't found any I totally love but I'm picking episodes from a bunch of different ones, downloading them, and listening to them as I walk. I prefer podcasts that are at least an hour long because I know I'm not going to run out in the last few minutes of my walk. (That's just annoying.) 

2. Food Mill: A food mill has been on my to buy list for a few years and quickly became a must-have early in September when I found myself unable to resist buying half bushels of Roma tomatoes. Seriously, I was getting half bushels for $6.99. I can't turn that down! I can, and have, made tomato sauce using a fine mesh strainer but the food mill made everything so much easier. I bought this OXO Food Mill and I'm really happy with it.  I also have omg all the jars of tomato sauce. 

3. Bullet-Style Journalling (kinda): So, I am still loving my Get To Work Book. As long as I remember to put all my to do items in it, I do a great job of knocking them out. But I was struggling to effectively use the project pages. (You can kind of see them on Elise's blog.) I rarely have projects big enough for a whole page in the notebook and they were befuddling me, especially since there are three big project pages per month. Then I remembered bullet journalling and decided to do a modified version of that. I split the page into quadrants. Problem solved. I started this last month and now have October all set up and I'm really, really happy I figured out how to make those pages work for me. 

4. Apple Orchards with Cider Doughnuts: I am not a huge doughnut fan. You can keep your Tim Horton's and Krispy Kremes. But give me a doughnut fresh out of the fryer? Yes, please! They remind me of my grandfather because his doughnuts were the best and a rare treat. Fresh apple cider doughnuts are possibly my favourite, though I'm going be a bad Canadian and say the ones from the apple orchard in Vermont are better than any I've had in Canada. 


Sassymonkey Reads: August & September

August saw me reading a lot of library books on my Kobo because road trip + beach = all the reading. I tend to stock up on romance novels for these trips because they hold my attention well enough even at the beach, unlike last year when I tried to read Paris, 1919 at the beach. (Bad Choice.) The rest of August and September found me struggling to finish a book. Any book. I kept picking them up, reading a few chapters, and not getting pulled in. Especially in September.

What I Read in August & September

What I Read in August & September

Chesapeake Bay Saga Books 1-3 by Nora Roberts. Classic Roberts and good beach reads (which I legit read on the beach). But as with other series by her that I have read, I found the final book in this trilogy much weaker than the other ones. They often feel ... neat and forced. The characters just don't feel like they work for me in her final books. (This was originally a trilogy but she did eventually release a fourth book. I'll read it eventually.) 

A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James. I remember exactly nothing about this book except that I enjoyed it enough at the time. That pretty much sums up every book in this series for me. Enjoyable at the moment but not especially memorable. 

The Duchess War and The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister) by Courtney Milan. Enjoyable, quick reads. And this is reminding me I need to grab the third book at some point. 

Armada by Ernest Cline (audiobook). I liked it more than I expected to, though to be honest I was worried I wasn't going to like it at all. I didn't find myself wanted to snap at the story to just get on with it already, like I did at times with Ready Player One (man, that dragged in spots). But I also didn't find it quite as strong as Ready Player One. I thought Armada relied a little too much on pop culture references. The references made sense in the context of Ready Player One, but in Armada the constant quoting by characters was just too much and the 80s connections were far more tenuous. (It's really, really hard not to compare the two books. Really hard.) And I continue to be disappointed by the female characters. They are Cline's version of Manic Pixie Dream Girl and they ring hollow and just ugh. Still love Will Wheaton's narration. 

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. I appreciated that this made me think about social media shaming, which I was before the book came out anyway, but I was less than thrilled about some of the aspects of this book. It's not one I can heartily recommend, unfortunately. 

The Lure of The MoonFlower by Lauren Willig. The final book in the Pink Carnation series. I was a bit sad while reading this one because I'm going to miss this series. But then I read the afterward material and found out who Willig was going to pair Lizzie off with and ALL THE NOPES so I'm really rather glad we won't be getting to see that book. This book also sadly did not seen an appearance by Turnip when the last few scenes obviously would have been far improved by his presence. (Turnip is and always shall be my favourite Pink Carnation character.) 

Separated @ Birth: A True Story of Twin Sisters Reunited by Anais Bordier and Sam Futerman. I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it soooooo bad. Their story is amazing and one of the ones I always want to mention when someone tells me social media sucks (it does NOT). And I'm sure their documentary will be great when I get to see it but ... I did not love this book. They seem like awesome people and have an amazing story, but unfortunately they are not great writers. 

Let Me Tell You A Story About A Squirrel

This is a story about a squirrel named Stubby.

He only has about two-thirds is his tail. Stubby has a nest in my neighbour's (dying) ash tree.  

Stubby gives exactly no fucks.  



On this particular morning Stubby did not care that I was standing there. He did not care that I knocked on the window. Stubby did not care about anything until he noticed the cat, at which point he jumped up and fell right off the second story window ledge. Don't feel bad, his head popped right back up 10 seconds later. (I'm not going to pretend I didn't laugh.) 

Do you notice anything about Stubby in that photo? Like the wood that is sticking out from his mouth? I didn't notice that day. No, I didn't notice until a few days later when I walked into the office to find him back in the same spot chowing down on my window sill. 

Yeah, that's right. That wood in his mouth is my window sill. 

Apparently my window sill was delicious

Apparently my window sill was delicious

It's hard to see from that angle but Stubby ate a good 8 inches of the window sill all the way to the window. 

Stubby is a jerk.

I knew we couldn't go into the winter like that so I later that morning I called the window company my friend recommended. They came out that afternoon to give me estimate. Because this window (which, by the way, is actually three windows, and the second largest window in the house) is stacked directly above the living room window (the largest one in the house) I got estimates to replace both. We wanted them to match since they make up so much of the front of our house. But I was also a little concerned that if I just replaced one of them, Stubby would just take himself to the lower level and chow down on the living room window sill in the middle of winter. So by the end of the day I had ended up signing the order because SQUIRREL.

So that is how we went from planning to replace exactly zero windows to replacing two of the largest windows in our house the day after we got back from our summer vacation. I haven't seen Stubby since, but here's hoping he doesn't find vinyl as tasty as wood. 

(Little did we know this was just the beginning of our summer wildlife vacations. Just wait until you hear about the raccoons...) 

* We went with Big City Windows. A friend of mine had spent two months calling and getting estimates from various companies and that's who she used and recommended. We got great services and we're really happy with our windows. I hope the squirrels hate them.