Pushing Forward Back August/September 2020

Read

  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells
  • Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
  • Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times: Powerful Tools to Cultivate Calm, Clarity, and Courage by Philip Goldberg
  • The Case of the Famished Parson by George Bellairs.

Watched

  • Teenage Bounty Hunters, Netflix
  • Brassic, Hulu
  • The Brokenwood Mysteries, Hoopla
  • Rifftrax: Birdemic, Amazon Prime
  • The Last Dance, Netflix

Listened To

  • folklore by Taylor Swift
  • Welcome to Conceptual Beach by Young Jesus
  • Source by Nubya Garcia

Highlights of the month

My wife unleashes a smile after being released from the ER.
  • In bold in the lists above are my picks of the month as must-read, must-watch and must-listen-to. I didn’t pick folklore because it was too obvious and I wanted to highlight an unknown.
  • But more important than any of the literary, cinematic, or musical highlights above was the news that my wife doesn’t have covid. On the morning of Aug. 19, she woke up with symptoms (a headache, high fever, and body aches) and that afternoon was tested and received the results within two hours that she did not have the virus. She had a staph infection, which an antibiotic is helping with.
  • Another major highlight was on Aug. 15 when my wife and I visited with my parents to celebrate belatedly my mother’s 76th birthday on Aug. 3. We also visited briefly with my sister and her two children, who live a few miles from my parents. It was good for us to be able to visit with all of them.
  • At the beginning of the month, I was able to score a Biden yard sign to go along with our Black Lives Matter sign. We felt the need to counterpoint all the Trump flags on our street.

Ahead to September

Here on the blog, I plan on continuing my new feature My Own Personal Sabbath that I started last weekend. Since mid-May, I have been taking a break every Sunday from news and work to focus on reading, journaling, listening to music, and watching what I want to watch. It’s been going so well that I’ve decided to share what I read, journaled about, listened to, and watched that day with a follow-up post.

Off blog, I have no major plans for September other than a three-day Labor Day Weekend to start the month. With my wife working all weekend, we’re not going anywhere, but it just will be good for me to have a few days off from work. As usual, I’ll plan on reading, but I’m not going to lie: I’ll probably only do a little reading and end up much of the weekend binge-watching some silly TV series or Mystery Science Theater 3000 or Rifftrax movies.

How was your month of August? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What was the highlight of your month? What are you most looking forward to in September? Share in the comments.

30 46 Days In The Hole

I’m forgoing my “normal” Pushing Forward Back post this month, where I look back on the past month, 30 days, and ahead to the next month. Instead, I thought I’d look back on my/our last 46 days under quarantine through photos.

The above photos were from the last couple of weeks of March. Roughly from top to bottom, they are:

  • The start of my staying at home from work when I learned that the library where I work would be closed until March 30, at that point. It now is “until further notice.”
  • A stack of books I thought I might have time or focus to read, but haven’t…yet and now I’m making my way slowly through the Sherlock Holmes short stories. I’m remembering that I read the novels previously, so I’m skipping them.
  • Schitt’s Creek is one of the TV shows my wife and I have been watching during the last 40-plus days. We haven’t seen the final season yet, but will see it when it comes to Netflix in mid-May.
  • I’ve been walking almost every day since the library has been closed. Not even rain has stopped me.
  • My sister was talking to our mother via Facebook Messenger and put some “makeup” on her.
  • I’ve participated in a few readathons over the last 46 days. The Social Distancing 24in48 Readathon was one of the first.

The above photos were from the first couple of weeks of April. Again, roughly, from top to bottom, they are:

  • A sign I saw on one of my walks before Easter.
  • A bottle of wine from our first order of wine from Three Brothers Wineries & Estates on Seneca Lake in upstate New York.
  • A box of fruit and vegetables from Misfits Market in New Jersey.
  • My Eucharist meal on Easter.
  • My wife Kim celebrating her 50th birthday with a pineapple upside down cake. I celebrated my 50th last year and we went to Seneca Lake. We had planned to go again for hers, but since that didn’t happen, hence the wine.
  • My dad and mom play the board game Aggravation with my sister and her family (they were in between houses at the time, one they were selling, another they were buying, and had to stay with my parents). Thanks to my sister Lisa for the photos of my mom in the collage above and my dad and mom here in this one.

The above photos are from the last couple of weeks here in April. From roughly top to bottom, they are:

  • One day it was nice enough to walk, then the next, snowstorm.
  • I participated but not very well in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon on April 25.
  • While on a walk, I saw the chalk art and had to snap a photo.
  • I had wings from a local restaurant, The Wellsboro House.
  • My wife and I got together for a Zoom Happy Hour with her side of the family.

I’ll leave you with the song where I got the title from:

Pushing Forward Back November/December 2019

November overall was good. I had a dozen blog posts here on the blog, including this one, eight of them with two different events: Nonfiction November, which ended earlier this week, and Thankfully Reading Weekend, which is still continuing through tomorrow. In addition to two days off for holidays, I had two days off for vacation right before my wife and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary on the 23rd. We also watched two of the three things that I said last month we would watch: Good Omens, Season 1, and Brittany Runs A Marathon, both of which were very good.

However, the month was not without its hiccups, to say the least, including a trip to the hospital and a stay overnight for my wife in the middle of the month. The good news is that after a blood transfusion because of low hemoglobin numbers, and being on another medication to help, she is doing better…even though her numbers still are below normal. She also had nine days off from work, after her hospital stay, which she already had planned off as vacation days, but coincided nicely with her trying to regain her strength.

As for my own recuperation after arthroscopic surgery on my left knee at the end of October, I am progressing well. I still have slight pain from scar tissue that the physician assistant explains that I probably will have for a few months. But I have no limitations on what I can do, other than no deep squats or pivoting or “overdoing it.”

On the reading front, I talked a good game for Nonfiction November:

But I didn’t finish any books. I’m almost finished with The Lord God Made Them All (All Creatures Great and Small Book 4) by James Herriot, only one of 11 books I mentioned last month that I might read in November. I’ll probably finish it tomorrow for Thankfully Reading Weekend.

Blog post of the month

TV show of the month

  • Bess of Both Worlds (aka Upper Middle Bogan), on Hulu

Album of the month

  • MAGDALENE by FKA Twigs

December starts similarly to the last week in November, with a couple days off from work in the middle of the week this coming Wednesday and Thursday. Then at the end of the month, I have off three days for Christmas: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas and two for New Year’s: New Year’s Eve Day to usher out 2019 and New Year’s Day to usher in 2020. My wife works Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but midnight shifts both days so at least we’ll see each other during both days. Even though we won’t able to travel anywhere to see family, we should be able to have Christmas dinner together.

Unlike last month, where I listed all the possibilities of what I might read and then only getting to one of them, this month I think I’ll just list one book that but I’d like to finish before year’s end: Every Living Thing, the fifth and final book of the All Creatures Great and Small series, by James Herriot. That way, I’m not setting my sights too high.

Also in December, I am joining hosts Tanya and Kim along with other bloggers for the event A Month of Faves. I already have started a note in Evernote that includes ideas for the days and topics in which I will be participating. The first one is Monday: Popular Books Worth The Hype.

Most Anticipated Movie of The Month

This one from director Noah Baumbach, to be released on Netflix, Dec. 6:

Most Anticipated Album of The Month

Tunes 2011 to 2019 by Burial, also due out on Dec. 6, which features this track:

How was your month of November ? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What are you looking forward to most in December?

Pushing Forward Back October/November 2019

October was mostly a medical month for me: a colonoscopy (my first, yay) on Oct. 14, followed by a blood test on my prostate on Oct. 15, and then on Oct. 22 an arthroscopic surgery on my left knee for a small tear of the meniscus. The short of it is this: one polyp removed, all good on the blood test, and a small mass of torn meniscus removed and cartilage smoothed during the surgery.

But the month also included two book blogging events in which I was able to participate partially as the result of recuperating since my surgery: Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon last Saturday, Oct. 26, and Nonfiction November, which started this past Monday, Oct. 28. Before the readathon, I read two books:

  • Less by Andrew Sean Greer, which I started earlier in September.
  • The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland, which I picked up while “shelf-reading” at the library.
  • A Story To Tell by my sister Lisa Howeler 
  • The Best American Poetry 2014 by series editor David Lehman and guest editor Terrance Hayes

I started the month out with a couple of ideas for the readathon, then I changed my mind later to start with a clean slate and ended up with a different list of possibilities. When I finally did the readathon last Saturday, I finished two books:

  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway 
  • The Score by Richard Stark 

I also started a third that I just finished last night: Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story of Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume. While overall I enjoyed this one, my favorite for the month probably was the book it was about: The Sun Also Rises. I had forgotten how much I like Hemingway’s sparse prose.

As for Nonfiction November, on Monday, I looked back at my year in nonfiction and picked my favorite nonfiction book of the year. Then over the next four weeks, I’ll be posting on prompts from the event. To see more about the event, see this post from one of the hosts, Julie, from the blog Julz Reads.

Also watched

  • Mindhunter, Season 2, on Netflix
  • Schitt’s Creek, Season 5, on Netflix
  • Letterkenny, Season 7, on Hulu
  • Narcos Mexico, Season 1, on Netflix

& listened to

  • All Mirrors by Angel Olsen,
  • Ode To Joy by Wilco
  • Crush by Floating Points

But my favorite new show, to me, has to be hands down: The Brokenwood Mysteries, of which I watched Series 1 earlier this month and reviewed briefly here. I am looking forward to watching more in November via Hoopla.

November starts with more recuperation, at least for this weekend, before I head back to work at the library on Monday. Also on Monday, I continue with Nonfiction November, which I will be doing throughout the month. The middle to end of the month promises days off for Thanksgiving and possibly for our anniversary the week before (I put in for a couple days before I left, but I won’t know if I got them until I return on Monday). If she still is doing it this year, I also hope to be participating in Thankfully Reading Weekend with Jenn of Jenn’s Bookshelves over Thanksgiving.

Among possibilities of what I might read this coming month are the following:

  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Heaven, My Home (A Highway 59 Mystery Book 2) by Attica Locke
  • Orphan X (Orphan X, #1) by Gregg Hurwitz
  • Ruth Galloway Series: The First Three Novels by Elly Griffiths
  • The Lord God Made Them All (All Creatures Great and Small Book 4) by James Herriot
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1) by Robert Galbraith
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 1) by Ellis Peters.

To watch

  • The Irishman on Netflix
  • Brittany Runs A Marathon on Amazon Prime
  • Good Omens, Season 1, on Amazon Prime

& To listen to

  • MAGDALENE by FKA twigs, due out on Nov. 8
  • Miss_Anthrop0cene by Grimes, hopefully out in November

How was your month of October? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What was the highlight of your month? What are you most looking forward to in November? Share in the comments.