Best moments of 2019 in photos

Instead of doing my normal Pushing Forward Back post where I look back at the previous month and ahead to the next month, I thought I’d look back at my best moments in photos from 2019. Not only does it make a good wrap-up post for the year for me, but also it serves to remind me of the good in my life.

January: In celebration of my dad’s 75th birthday, my dad and I go out for breakfast in a restaurant in a town between where we both live. February: I begin a new tradition of getting out of town once a month where I go to a restaurant in a nearby town. March: We put up framed prints I bought from a coworker on our once (and too long) empty wall in our living room. April: My parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew and I surprise my wife for her 49th birthday at a local restaurant. May: I go to our town’s parade for Memorial Day with neighbors. A veteran there tosses a copy of an article about his service to our country to me. June: My wife and I go on a wine trip weekend for my 50th birthday.

July: Seamus kicks back in the heat. August: My niece and nephew wave goodbye at the end of a picnic where we all got together for my mother’s 75th birthday. September: Just after Labor Day, my wife and I go on a day wine trip to Seneca Lake, specifically to Three Brothers Wineries which gave the both of us a passport for five samples at each of their three wineries and brewery for my 50th birthday. October: I have a successful arthroscopic knee surgery, where the doctor and his surgical team remove a mass of torn meniscus from my left knee injured earlier in the year. November: My wife makes a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner, including a “tofurkey” ham for her since she became vegan earlier in the year for health and ethical reasons. December: I get out of town again, this time just barely to visit a lake on the outskirts of town.

Conclusion: Yes, I am a homebody, but I also like to venture out of town too.


A few notes on what was not pictured but still was significant:

  1. My wife and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary this year in November, but as we were both recovering from health issues, we didn’t go anywhere.
  2. My wife was in the hospital one weekend after needing a blood transfusion, but the issue that caused that has been addressed and all is good. We both are getting better, little by little.
  3. We have another cat Alexandra. I have photos of her too, but the one I used of Seamus captured July.
  4. We since have put up other photos on other walls in our living room, making it look a lot more lived in than it has been since we moved into the house almost 15 years ago.

All in all, considering, it didn’t end up a bad year. Now on to 2020, which hopefully will be a better one.

What were some of your best moments this year? Share in the comments or with your own photos.

Earlier today, I also posted My Top 20 Favorite Books of the 2010s, if you care to check out what I picked.

This Is What And How I Read In 2019

All this month, I’ve been joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. This coming Tuesday’s prompt, which I’m posting today also since it also help me wrap up my year in reading with The Sunday Salon group, is “This Is How We Read –  Number of books read so far, genre you read the most from, picture of favorite (or most often used) reading location, most read author, % eBooks,hardcovers, paperbacks and/or audiobooks, hint at what your favorite read of the year is (let us guess), types of books you wish you read more of, month you read the most and least).

By the numbers

  • 30 books
  • 15 nonfiction
  • 15 fiction
  • 13 parts of series
  • 10 female authors
  • 7 fiction standalone
  • 6 memoirs
  • 3 collections of poetry
  • 1 published in 2019
  • 0 young adult novels

I actually am surprised…no, not at the low number of books I read this year. As indicated in a previous post on the number of books I’ve read from 2014 to 2019, the numbers per year have been decreasing, especially the last few years: 2016, 48; 2017, 45; 2018, 33.

What I am surprised at is that exactly half of the 30 books I read were nonfiction. I started the year with The Library Book by Susan Orlean and ended the year with The Lord God Made Them All, the sixth in the series, by James Herriot. I also am surprised that out of the crime series that I started, I didn’t particularly care for any of them. I enjoyed Herriot’s nonfiction series more than I did any of the crime series.

I attribute the low numbers to a combination of things from the state of our nation and the world to distractions from social media and streaming services. But I mostly attribute it to things that I discussed back in April and then in May here on the blog:

  • I’m weird in that I like longer stretches of time in which to read. I’m not accustomed to reading in short bursts.
  • To wit, I work during the week and when I get home from work, usually at 8 p.m. since I usually work afternoons, after being on a computer much of the day, one of the last things I want to do is read fine print on a screen or even worse in a printed book. That also is the time I spend with my wife, usually before she heads off to work (she works midnight shift as a 911 dispatcher).

I doubt the lack of reading will change much in the new year, especially since my hours are increasing at the library during the week as the number of hours for full-time employees there also has increased. But I want to read more on both days of the weekend as in the past, I’ve pretty much limited myself to reading on Sundays. My wife usually works two 12-hour shifts, first on Saturday into Sunday, and then Sunday into Monday so since she’s usually sleeping during the day on both days, it is the ideal time for me to read.

I did some of that this past year, reading on both days, especially helped along by events such as Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, 24in48 Readathon, and Thankfully Reading Weekend, to name the main ones. I still hope to participate in all three again in 2020.

As for my favorite reads of the year, I already wrote about that in an early post for A Month of Faves: My Top 5 Books, TV Shows, Movies, and Albums of 2019. Since that post, I’d say my overall favorite for the year was Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen. I think it was just that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it yet. I had gotten it for my wife a couple of years through a book blogger gift exchange and it has been sitting on the shelf unread (by either one of us) since. Now I really hope she will read it too because she is a huge fan of the Boss.

How was your year in reading for 2019? What was your favorite read of the year?

Extra: After I finished this post and already had it scheduled, I did come across something interesting via Libby, Overdrive, and my library history. My lack of reading wasn’t for wanting to read more than I did as I borrowed and returned 41 ebooks and seven books that I never read. I also put on hold 29 other ebooks that I canceled before even borrowing. So my lack of reading wasn’t due to a lack of appetite. I just was a lot more selective in what I finally chose to read.

My One Word for 2020

As I said last year, I’m not sure when I started doing this or who got me started. According to a few notes on Evernote from previous years, my one word for 2014 actually was two words: “Focus” and “equilibrium.” The equilibrium part of it was because I had just discovered that year that I have tinnitus. In 2016, the word was “Reinvigorate.” Last year’s word was “Breathe.”

Without further ado, this year’s word is:

“recuperate,” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recuperate. Accessed 12/14/2019.

I didn’t have to think much about this year’s word since it was obvious. In late March, I somehow injured my left knee. After several months of doctor appointments and physical therapy, in late October, I had arthroscopic surgery on the knee wherein a small mass of torn meniscus was removed and the cartilage around the knee was smoothed. While I am back to “normal duties” at my job at the library, I still have scar tissue that is in the process of healing.

To assist with that process, I want to walk daily. Also on the physical side, I want to eat and drink better than I have in the last several years. I am not setting a goal of how much weight to lose, but I know that any amount I can lose will lessen the burden on my knees in the future. Plus, of course, naturally it will help my health overall.

Beyond recuperating physically, I want to recuperate mentally and spiritually, in terms of regaining a former state or condition. I remember a time when I read, wrote, and prayed more…and felt more centered than I have within the last few years. To that end, I want to read a book a week (including one nonfiction book a month), journal daily, and re-incorporate devotions into my daily routine.

By journaling, I should clarify that I mean typing into an app called Journey on my laptop. Unfortunately, my printing and handwriting is atrocious (my wife blames my former job as a newspaper reporter where I had my own version of shorthand/”chicken scratches”) so I will not be using a physical journal.

For a while last year and the previous year, I had a regular devotion routine, which I used The Book of Common Prayer morning and evening. I want to develop that routine again, to help bookend my days.


I have five other goals for the year, that I have made as goals every year:

  1. Be quick to listen.
  2. Slow to speak.
  3. Slow to anger.
  4. Talk less.
  5. Smile more.

The first three are from various translations from The Book of James in The Bible, that my mother likes to quote often:

“Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

James 1:19

The last two are advice Aaron Burr gave Alexander Hamilton in the song “Aaron Burr, Sir” in the musical Hamilton.

Do you have One Word for 2020? Any goals or resolutions for the New Year?

All this month, I’ve been joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. Today’s post fit the topic Challenges and Goals, with the prompt “Reading challenges, personal goals, resolutions – how did you do? Which was your favorite book read (and / or least favorite) for each challenge – or from all of them. Did you make New Years Resolutions? Did you get to all of them? Are you making any for next year … next month … next season?” In addition to the topic for this one and two others that I did earlier in the month, I will do one more, This is How We Read, next week. In that post, I also briefly will address my reading goals for 2020. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement.

Spending the Holidays with Mr. Potter

No, not that Mr. Potter.

My wife hates that movie.

And I’m not a huge fan either, for the record.

I mean this Mr. Potter:

On Black Friday, we picked up all eight Harry Potter movies for an offer we couldn’t refuse and we are going to rewatch them all from Christmas through New Year’s. We’ll end New Year’s Eve with the seventh movie and start 2020 with the eighth movie.

On Christmas Eve, we also will be watching my wife’s favorite Christmas movie, A Christmas Carol, the 1951 version with Alastair Sim.

Then I’ll watch my favorite Christmas movie, Die Hard, as my wife gets ready to work midnight to 8 p.m. Christmas Day and won’t be able to watch it all.

She is off the rest of the day, so later that evening, after our Christmas dinner, we’ll begin our Harry Potter marathon.

Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Hogwarts Express.

So for those of you who celebrate Christmas and/or Hanukkah and/or New Year’s this time of year, what are YOU doing for the holidays?

All this month, I’ve been joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual  #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. Today’s topic is This is How We Holiday. To see the entire list of topics, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement.