Pushing Forward Back April/May 2019


The books I read for April 2019, the special breakfasts I had, the “stuff” we got rid of during our town’s Spring Cleanup Week, the movie we watched (Bumblebee) that was a pleasant surprise in a franchise we despise.

April started out with car and doctors’ appointments back-to-back for both me and my wife and then her 49th birthday the first Saturday. We didn’t go to my usual breakfast place for brunch in a neighboring town, but went to a restaurant in our town, with my parents, sister, nephew, and niece surprising my wife there. The food was very good and the company too. Later in the day, we got together with neighbors to play 500 Rummy, with my wife appropriately winning in her first ever win with the neighbors, who are hardcore cardplayers.

Then the month went a little haywire for the next two weeks as I was, and still am, dealing with a badly bruised left knee. After some miscommunication (some admittedly caused by me) and bad customer service experiences at our local health center, I am getting the knee addressed. An X-ray was negative for broken bones, I was given a two week dose of prednisone, and this past week I had an initial assessment at physical therapy. Based on that evaluation, minor injury and probably not anything torn, I was given exercises to do at home and then check in with my primary in six weeks unless it gets worse before then.

The third weekend was a long weekend for me as I took Good Friday off, ostensibly to go to a Good Friday service, but in reality I didn’t. I stayed home and finished Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor, which I had been reading for Lent, and started All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot that I plan on finishing this weekend. Then last Saturday, my plan was to continue my impromptu Easter Triduum Readathon, but I didn’t read at all as the weather, which was supposed to be rainy all or most of the day, took a turn to being nice.

I literally got out of town, went to breakfast at my aforementioned usual breakfast place in a neighboring town, happened upon an Earth Day event in the town’s park, and then came home to put mulch on the side of a driveway we share with a neighbor, much of my energy thanks to the prednisone I was taking. Also thanks to the energy, I ended the month doing a little extra cleaning around the house, including organizing a book shelf.

Books I want to read or reread over the next few months.

May begins with our buying a new lawnmower and then my first mow of the season, which I usually dread, but might dread (and hate) less (slightly less) than normal now with the new mower. Winter is finally over and spring is here – at least in reality. In fake world, winter is still going until at least mid-May with the final season of Game of Thrones, which we are watching and enjoying so far.

Otherwise mid-May should be uneventful for us, leaving me time to adjusting new daily routines that I’ve been attempting to develop in light of my wife and I “giving up” Facebook in March. Since last fall when I started using a CPAP machine, my daily routines already have been changing. Thanks to actually getting rest, I usually now get up earlier than I did, meaning I have more time to do more things than I did before. Those things include reading and walking, especially as my knee improves.

May ends with a three-day holiday weekend, and even though I work on the Tuesday after it, the library where I work is closed that day for staff to work on a few projects we couldn’t otherwise. So basically it will be a four-day break from patrons, which although their presence obviously means job security, it is nice for an introvert like myself to be able to have a chance to breathe without all the extra people…

…bringing me back to my One Word for 2019:

How was your month of April? 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 looking forward to in May? Share in the comments.

This post is part of The Sunday Salon, that was created in 2007 to spark conversations about books and book-ish things. It now can be found each weekend at the blog Readerbuzz, where you also can post a link to your blog.

Pushing Forward Back March/April 2019

March began with a decision the first weekend to read what I wanted and then continued with a decision the second weekend that what I wanted to read were my own books for a reading challenge. By the third weekend, I had One Foot in the Grave, but I was still reading, and by the fourth weekend, I had received bookmail from a fellow Sunday Saloner. I haven’t read that book yet, but I did read Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan and The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle, for the reading challenge.

March also began with simple plans for Lent, the first of which included a vacation day for Ash Wednesday that I took and that I am bookending with a vacation day on Good Friday in mid-April. Another plan was to read Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor, which I am reading during the Sundays of Lent.

Other things that happened during the month were:

  • My wife and I ditched Facebook (no link, no blog post…yet).
  • I changed my blog theme (visit my blog on a browser to see the new theme).
  • I started a new pay week tradition (every two weeks) of going to a restaurant in a nearby town for breakfast on Saturdays or Fridays, depending on when I work on a Saturday.
  • I attempted to start a new routine for mornings and evenings during the week to cut down on screentime and be able to read more on weeknights.
  • My wife and I hung a few framed photographs, prints, and local artwork on the walls in our living room.
  • My wife and I got tickets for a wine event on Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in New York, on the weekend of my birthday and booking a room at a bed and breakfast nearby for the Saturday night before my birthday.
  • My wife and I watched Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which we both thought was a little slow to start, but picked up, especially toward the end.

April begins with big changes, starting with an oil change (get it?) this Tuesday and new hours for the weekend at the library where I work. We are adding Sunday hours and modifying Saturday hours to match the Sunday hours. That all begins this coming weekend. Also on Saturday, my wife turns 49 (she gave me permission to tell…“I don’t care…own your age…I always hated that ‘tee-hee, I’m turning 29’…Don’t be a little bitch about getting older.”). We are going out for brunch (yes, that restaurant in the nearby town) and getting together with neighbors to play 500 Rummy.

On the reading front, I am giving up on the aforementioned reading challenge (when am I going to learn that I suck at reading challenges and readalongs and the such?) because I really do like reading not only what I want but also when I want. That said, I was glad to read the two books I did for the challenge: the first, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, because I did eventually want to read it, and the second, The Uninivited, because I wanted to read it especially since my friend John highly recommended it to me. It was good and I think if you liked the movie Rebecca or the book (which I haven’t read) that you’d like it. A movie also was made of it, that I need to find. I also want to thank Anne of the blog My Head is Full of Books for having the challenge and I wish her and the other participants the best of success on the challenge.

As for the rest of the month, I have two back-to-back (week) Fridays off in April, that includes the aforementioned Good Friday off, so I plan to put those two Fridays to good use:

  • The second Friday of the month, I will be putting out stuff for “cleanup week,” a bi-annual tradition in our town, spring and fall during which townsfolk put out stuff they don’t want or sell it in yard sales before it gets taken to the landfill. We are getting rid of a few chairs that we don’t use, including some kitchen table chairs that we plan to replace with a more comfortable chair in which I can sit when I read my Sunday Salon posts Sunday mornings.
  • The third Friday of the month, I plan on going to church in the afternoon for Good Friday services.

I am working two Saturdays this month, but because of the aforementioned change in schedule for Saturdays, they won’t be as long of days as they used to be, so I’ll have time to blog more…

…speaking of blogs, if you ever wondered how they get started, here you go:

How was your month of March? 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 looking forward to in April? Share in the comments.

Pushing Forward Back January/February 2019

January started well. I chose My First Book of the Year. I set 10 Goals As I Approach, and After I Turn, 50. I selected My One Word for 2019. The first Saturday of the month, I took my father out to lunch for his 75th birthday. The first Sunday of the month, I wrote The First Sunday Salon of the Year. By the end of the second week, I read My First Two Books of 2019. Then after a long absence, winter returned — with a vengeance. First, we got a foot of snow and then “dangerously low” wind chills for the fourth and fifth weeks of the month (when this post is published, we are expected to be in the worst of it).

The last weekend of the month, though, was a good one too as I participated in 24in48 and read 2 and 3/4 books over 11 hours. And all four books that I read this month were excellent. They were The Library Book by Susan Orlean, The 7 1/2 Lives of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields by Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin, and Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah.

My wife and I continued to revel in Canadian TV as we watched more Corner Gas (on Amazon Prime) and more Letterkenny (on Hulu). We really didn’t watch a lot of movies, with probably the highlight of the month being a rewatch of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As for music, I haven’t found a lot of new music, with only one highlight, the new album by Deerhunter, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?

February begins tomorrow with more of the same: cold, cold, cold. But then the weekend shoots up to 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) and by Sunday, the high is expected to be 42. I looked at the forecast for the month ahead and the highs are in the 30s and even 40s at times, which I’ll gladly endure, but Spring cannot come soon enough at this point.

On the reading front, I start right out of the gate this Sunday with The Big Game’s On Read-a-thon. My wife works two 12 hour shifts on the weekend (Saturday into Sunday and Sunday into Monday) so since she’s sleeping during the day on Sunday, it’s the perfect time for me to read. I did get invited to a Super Bowl party at a neighbor’s, but since I hate the Patriots and I can be honest that I really don’t care for football, I declined. I don’t know yet what I’ll be reading, but I’m going to try to keep the streak of all five-star books alive. I’ll keep you posted here and mostly for the read-a-thon on Sunday on Instagram.

TV and movies? I took a vacation day for Valentine’s Day and Kim and I already have planned the night before as a “drink-a-thon” with a Rifftrax movie or two and maybe a new Mystery Science Theater 3000 and some random TV (probably more Letterkenny) and some other random TV thrown in. Why we’re doing it that way is because she has to work Thursday night into Friday morning, as usual.

As for the rest of the month, who knows? I’ll let you know what I’m doing when it get here.

So how was your month of January? 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 looking forward to in February? Share in the comments.

Update, Wednesday night, Jan. 30, 9:12 p.m.: Just received a text about half an hour ago from the director of the library where I work that we’re closed today because of the dangerously low wind chills.