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.

Pushing Forward Back September/October 2019

September started well as I had four days off for the Labor Day Weekend. To start the weekend, I read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, which continues my year of reading mostly great books. On the fourth day, Tuesday, my wife and I went on a day trip to Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, which includes three wineries and a brewery, and it was a beautiful day for it.

After tagging Three Brothers on Instagram before my birthday in June, they gave me two free tasting passports for five flights of wine, beer, and cider at each of the wineries and the brewery. The only thing we paid for was the gas to get there, our lunch at their restaurant on site and some wine that we got (but of course).

The following week, I had a follow up for my left knee after getting three gel injections at the end of July and start of August. As a result, I am having arthroscopic surgery on October 22 on my knee to check, and repair, if needed, my meniscus which was diagnosed earlier this summer as “degenerative” from osteoarthritis. This surgery is in addition to another medical procedure, a colonoscopy since I just turned 50 in June, that I am having on October 14 and a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test I am having on October 15.

The third week brought a visit from Joe, a college roommate, mid-week during which we binge-watched the first season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, available on Hulu. I had started watched it earlier in the week but when Joe told me he had seen part of it, but never got to see all of it, I stopped watching so we could watch together. However, once we started it, he realized it was another version, just called Dirk Gently, that he had seen, not this particular one. We enjoyed it, though I had never read the book, but it was, and is, very weird. I usually don’t “go” for that kind of weird science fiction “thing,” but I went with it and surprisingly liked it.

The fourth week, my wife and I celebrated Bruce Springsteen’s 70th birthday on Monday by watching his New York City concert from 2001. Then on Friday, I had the day off from work before working my Saturday for the month. On Friday, I listened to Sturgill Simpson’s new album Sound and Fury, which is very unlike his previous two albums, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Sound and Fury definitely is that, full of the sound and fury of rock and roll, whereas the first two were country and, dare I say it, pop music.

Tomorrow, I plan on rounding out the month by going to a birthday party for my soon-to-be 5-year-old niece Grace. Her birthday is in the middle of the week so the party is tomorrow.

Also Read

  • The Curse of the Pharaohs, the second Amelia Peabody mystery, by Elizabeth Peters, which was good, but not as good as Born To Run.

Also Watched

  • Friday Night Dinner (3 seasons), with my wife – hilarious
  • Rocketman (movie), with my wife – very good
  • Booksmart (movie), with my wife – surprisingly good (a Superbad but with girls and funnier)

Also Listened To

  • Norman F***ing Rockwell by Lana Del Rey, out at the beginning of the month.

October is…well, I already told you about my surgery…event-filled. And while the main event, the surgery, isn’t necessarily fun, I believe it is necessary and hopefully will help alleviate the pain in my knee. The other event in the month to which I’m more looking forward to is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, which is Saturday, Oct. 26. It also happens to occur during my two week convalescence after the surgery.

Topping the list are two books apropos for a weekend so close to Halloween:

  • The Unforeseen by Dorothy McCardle
  • The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb.

The first is a recommendation from a friend, who also recommended to me I read McCardle’s The Uninvited, her first novel, which I did and enjoyed. Now I’m going to give her second novel a go. The second is the basis for one of my wife’s favorite movies of the same name, starring Robert Mitchum…which I probably will find somewhere online and watch with my wife during my downtime.

Besides reading, and medical appointments and procedures, that covers most of my October, I think.

Also To Read

  • Less by Andrew Sean Greer, which I started earlier in the month.
  • The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland, which I picked up while “shelf-reading” at the library.

To Watch

  • Mindhunter, Season 2, on Netflix now
  • Good Omens, Season 1, on Amazon Prime now
  • Schitt’s Creek, Season 5, on Netflix Oct. 10
  • Letterkenny, Season 7, on Hulu Oct. 14

To Listen To

  • All Mirrors by Angel Olsen, due out Oct. 4
  • Ode To Joy by Wilco, also due out Oct. 4
  • Magdalene by FKA Twigs, due out Oct. 25

I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention one other book I plan on reading this coming month: A Story To Tell by my sister, Lisa Howeler. She self-published it and as of September 19, her birthday, it is available for purchase on Amazon. Oh, happy belated birthday, Lisa, if I didn’t mention it. 😉

How was your month of September? 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 October? Share in the comments.