My Own Personal Sabbath #3 of 2022

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching during my Sabbath.

I am extending this weekend’s Sabbath to start today, Friday, and go through Monday. Kim and I still are grieving the death of Seamus, our cat of the last 15 years. And the weather, with lows in the negatives and single digits (Fahrenheit) for this weekend where we live, is good for curling up under a blanket with a book and a hot beverage.

I plan on dipping into more of The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell. I also am planning on starting The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, which I picked up at the library after hearing how much a few patrons were enjoying the series. And for fun, I might dip into Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld, a collection of his favorite material through the years.

Along with my reading selections, I have set up a playlist on Spotify of podcasts that I saved for this weekend:

I also borrowed The Good Place, The Complete Series, on Blu-Ray from the library, which I might watch some of. My wife already has seen it all and loved it, but it didn’t grab me when I first tried it. I’ll try again, though, and see.

So, that’s what I have planned for this weekend for My Own Personal Sabbath. What do you have planned for this weekend? Reading, watching TV, listening to music, spending time with family? Let me know in the comments.

My Own Personal Sabbath #1 of 2022

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching during my Sabbath.

This past week, I was reminded by a video on Headspace by Casper ter Kuile, author of The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices, about taking a tech sabbath that I haven’t done My Own Personal Sabbath in a while. Actually, according to the blog, the last time I did it, according to the blog posts, was October 3 of last year. I meditated with Eve from the meditation app Headspace, I listened to chill music in The Chill Out Tent, and I read Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman as I continued the Rabbi Small mystery series.

Since then, I’ve given up on the Rabbi Small series, I listened to a little of The Chill Out Tent to start the year, and am still using Headspace (obviously, see above) along with The Shine app, both of which I recommend. Tomorrow, I think I’ll read a little of The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell, which I selected as my first book of the year. I also have been reading Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross, which I might continue if I can quiet and harness the voice in my head.

New this year, helping me are my wife and an app called Stay Focused, which I had her set a password so I can’t unlock Chrome or Samsung Internet to read news during the day, or scroll Instagram. To be honest, with Instagram, it’s the Stories that distract me and sometimes lead to a doomscroll. It’s not that I disagree with those I follow; it’s just that I don’t want to hear about the world burning down all around us every day. Instead, what can I do maybe on this one day of (mostly) digital rest is to build up myself to face my daily struggles, let alone the world burning down all around us every day.

I say “mostly” because I still listen to music and podcasts (no news podcasts EVER) on Spotify on news, only fictional worlds. I also have decided I will check on blogs that I read regularly, but on my laptop, where I am writing this post. I just don’t use the laptop for news or Instagram or anything else, other than the blog and Zoom with friends and my therapist.

So, that’s what I have planned for tomorrow for My Own Personal Sabbath. What do you have planned for tomorrow? Reading, watching TV, listening to music, spending time with family? Let me know in the comments, and, as always, please do not include links or if you do, just know that I will remove them.

Addendum: I was just reminded by my wife that tomorrow morning we are supposed to be getting freezing rain so a good day to be inside relaxing…and if the power does go off, so be it. I’ll still be able to read on my Kindle and listen to downloaded music on my phone.

Mid-October Check-in

I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that. Usually it’s related to books, TV/movies, and music – and sometimes about what’s going on in my life otherwise. Today, I thought I’d talk a little more about about the latter with a mid-month check-in while also checking in on y’all.

This past week has been mostly about my health, physical and mental.

Physical

Two Fridays ago, I had a doctor’s appointment for a sore left forearm (no fall or injury, just sore). After determining that it probably is a mild case of tendinitis, she gave me a prescription for a brace, which after making sure I had the right one, I got on Thursday afternoon. I am supposed to use it for a couple of weeks to see if it helps, along with extra Aleve. So I’ll keep you posted.

While at the doctor’s, I also received a flu shot and asked her about getting a covid vaccine booster, and she recommended based on where I work (at a public library) that it might not be a bad idea. So, yesterday afternoon, I received my third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

My wife Kim got hers this afternoon.

Mental

On Monday, I had my monthly virtual therapist appointment. I started therapy “pre-pandemic”, but it has been a lifesaver throughout the pandemic. In comparison to others, including some of you, I don’t have it that bad or really bad at all. Yes, it’s mostly in my head, especially wrong assumptions and not dealing with muddled thoughts. But as I’m learning, none of us really know what’s going on with other people you meet throughout the day, from coworkers to clients or customers to even family members, whether near or far. Practice compassion toward others as you do for yourself too.

Last Sunday was World Mental Health Day. I did a meditation with Eve from Headspace and tomorrow afternoon (for me), I plan to join her again, if not to clear those muddled thoughts I have, to at least keep them at bay or look at them without judgment. Again, I’m learning it’s okay sometimes/often to see a thought and not latch onto it and let it control you. “Ah, there it is…now moving on.”

She’ll be at Headspace on Instagram Live, if you’d like to join us for your own check-in.

Check-out

Tomorrow, as has been my custom during many Sundays the pandemic, I plan on having my own personal Sabbath. The plan, as always, is to “tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone.” Tomorrow, I plan on continuing to read the next book in the Rabbi Small series by Harry Kemelman and probably watching some more Castle, with all seasons now available on Hulu.

So now checking in with you…how are you doing physically and mentally here mid-October? Reading, listening to, or watching anything good lately? Please feel free to share in the comments.

My Own Personal Sabbath #40

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day, sometimes the day before, and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to or watching during my Sabbath.

This is one of those times, I’m posting before my Sabbath.

Reading

The only book that I know for sure that I’ll be continuing to read tomorrow is What is Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life by Mark Doty. As it is split into four parts, I am reading it over the four Sundays in July. [Correction: It’s split into five parts, but the fourth part is short so I’ll read that and the fifth part on the final Sunday in July.] I started it last Sunday. Otherwise, I have a plethora of choices of what else to read, including, but not limited to, the following and obviously am enjoying it or I wouldn’t be continuing with it.

  • Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo by Jo Koy. I’ve had it on hold for a few months at the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) in ebook, and it finally came in this afternoon.
  • Treasure Hunt, the 16th in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andrea Camilleri. I’ve been making my way slowly through the series this year and while this one is available at FLP, I bought it on Kindle, which had a deal on it. That way I can get to it at my own speed.
  • The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois. I don’t read much science fiction, but I want to. So I asked for a friend’s recommendation and he recommended that I read any of the collections of each year’sbest science fiction edited by Dozois for 35 years from 1984 to 2018 when Dozois died. I found this collection to borrow at FLP.
  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I found it on the new book shelf at our library and grabbed it because I’ve heard the buzz around it is good and I enjoyed The Martian.
  • It’s All a Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Cataan by Tristan Donovan. I picked up this while shelf-reading at the library. A friend and I play board games online, and I tj

For tomorrow, I’ll probably choose Mixed Plate, since I know there are six people waiting to read it after me and I might dip into the science fiction collection of short stories.

Listening to

Since my wife Kim works 12-hour shifts from early Saturday night into Sunday morning and then early Sunday night into Sunday morning, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. each night, we often watch a sitcom or two before she goes to work. Lately, though, we have been listening to podcasts or audiobooks, well, in particular one podcast Aack Cast by Jamie Loftus about “Cathy, the iconic and much-maligned comic strip by Cathy Guisewite,” in which Jamie Loftus “weaves between reporting and fiction, putting a cruelly treated cartoon everywoman in context.” We also have been listening in particular one audiobook, Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson. Since we are caught up with Aack Cast, we probably will continue listening to Broken.

Watching

Last Sunday, I watched all three of the original Bourne movies with Matt Damon back-to-back-to-back ending at about 2:30 a.m. Monday morning since I didn’t have to go to work the next day. This Sunday, I’m not sure what I’ll be watching. I’ve been making my way through the last couple of seasons of Criminal Minds, so I might do that (I’m in Season 14 now, with only Season 15 to go).

So, what are you reading, watching, listening to, or doing this weekend? Hope whatever it is, it’s all good.