Pushing Forward Back August/September 2018

Back at August

Pushing Forward Back August September 2018

The month began and ended on high notes, but in between were two major low notes: the death of a relative and the death of a library. On August 11, a relative with whom our family has had a complicated past (without going into details) passed away. Pretty much for the rest of the month, we struggled with our grieving, as the Kübler-Ross model was stuck in anger for a good part of the grieving process, which still isn’t done. Then on August 14, the library in my hometown (where I grew up, not where I live and work now) died as it was washed away by flash flooding. In this case, however, our grieving was short-lived as on August 21 a fundraiser was started to rebuild the library at another location in town.

On to the other high notes:

  1. Kim and I started the month by going to concert on Aug. 3 that was part of this year’s Endless Mountain Music Festival series in the next town. The highlight was violinist Asi Matathias performing Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7, Op. 92.”
  2. That weekend ended with my going to visit my mother, who was celebrating her 74th birthday.
  3. Kim and I continued a tradition of watching (and drinking to) the show Drunk History on Monday nights, which basically are her Friday nights, as her work week ends and she has a few days off in the middle of the week.

On the reading front, I only finished one book: The Cruelest Month, the third Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, by Louise Penny. I guess I wasn’t in the mood for reading this month. The best movie we watched this past month was Deadpool 2, which (maybe not) surprisingly was just as good as the first. Musically, I thought there were a few highlights including new albums by Tirzah, Mitski, Helena Hauff, and Foxing, all of whom I discovered or was introduced to by Pitchfork.

Forward to September

I started the summer with a four-day weekend for Memorial Day Weekend and now I end the summer with another four-day weekend, Labor Day Weekend here in the U.S. I tacked on a vacation day to the three days I already have off and with Kim’s schedule the way it is, she is off Monday (works from midnight to 8 a.m. but is off the rest of the day) and Tuesday. We’re not going anywhere with the only thing planned an extended Drunk History marathon since I don’t have to go into work on Tuesday.

As for the rest of the month, I work two Saturdays this month, which normally would mean I have off two Fridays (a combination of our director not wanting us to work six days in a row and something to do with the number of hours per week we work). However, because of other people being away and not having anyone to fill in that one Friday, I only have one Friday off and have a couple of days in one week with shorter hours. All to say, I do have one Friday off, so the day trip I had planned to go to the Corning Museum of Glass last month, which didn’t happen, might now happen this month.

On the reading front, I have the next Gamache book already checked out from the library ready to go and a few other books on hold that might come in. Movies and music? I really haven’t looked ahead. I think I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is coming to Netflix later in the month, so that ought to be good. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on the rest of September as it happens here and on Instagram.

Update, Aug. 31: My aunt Eleanor, my father’s sister, passed away on Wednesday. She was 87. She had been in declining health for several years. Her funeral is Sunday and I plan on attending.

So 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 looking forward to in September? Share in the comments.

In Limbo

Fishing in Limbo
“Fishing in Limbo” by Andrew Imanaka via Flickr.

This ⬆️is basically where I am as I end this past week and start a new week:

  • I’m still reading The Cruelest Month, the third Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, by Louise Penny.
  • I’m not watching much of anything beyond the original CSI  on Hulu.
  • I’m still listening to Father John Misty’s latest album (came out in June), God’s Favorite Customer, over and over, and now I’m getting my wife hooked.
  • I’m not doing much of anything because the weather while not super hot or hot at all compared to southern California or Texas standards where a few of you readers are from, it has been incredibly humid. Last night, the humidity was 97 percent, even though the temperature was in the high 60s (Fahrenheit). Oddly, or maybe not so much, it felt horrible.

Add on to that, we learned last night of the death of a relative with whom sadly our family had a complicated past (I’ll just leave it at that, not trying to be vague here, but it’s really…well…too complicated to explain). So today, I’ll try to continue to read The Cruelest Month, although I’ll be honest that I doubt I’ll be able to focus much and probably just will listen to some music, play Solitaire, and watch CSI reruns.

So what have you been/are you reading, watching, listening to, and/or doing this past week/today?

Of cruelty and floods

Each week here on The Sunday Salon, I take a look back and/or ahead at what I’m reading, what I’m watching and/or what we’re watching, what I’m listening to, and what I’m doing and/or what we’re doing.

What I’m reading

As I type up this draft, I’m in the middle of The Cruelest Month, the third book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, by Louise Penny and am enjoying it thus far. As per my 25 Before I Turn 50, I want to read 10 nonfiction books. To that end, I have one nonfiction book per month planned until the end of the year:

  • August: Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
  • September: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • October: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • November: We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • December: You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie.

That will leave five more nonfiction books for January through May 2019.

What we’re watching

We just finished the first season of the FXX series (on Hulu) You’re The Worst. We’ve seen characters like this before in such series as Catastrophe and Difficult People, but unlike in those shows, where we wearied of the bitterness of the people involved, in this one, at least so far in the first season, we haven’t. At the center also is a love story, even if it is at times a messy and complicated one, especially since the two main characters, Jimmy and Gretchen are such awful people. However, you still are pulling for them somehow, because in their own weird (horrible) way, they’re sweet together.

What I’m Listening To

What I’m/We’re Doing

Over the last couple of weeks, Kim and I both have been going to concerts with a local musical festival, some together, some separately with other people. In addition to a few free concerts, we have been lucky enough to score free tickets from generous people in the community. The festival is called the Endless Mountain Music Festival and features world-class musicians over two weeks.

Today, as you’re reading this, I’ll be visiting my mother, who celebrated her 74th birthday on Friday. My sister and I are joining her for church and then going to her house where we’re having cheesesteaks from a local general store (the owners are originally from Philadelphia).

Later this week, I had planned on lunch and a movie. However, I probably will be foregoing that as I will be putting my money elsewhere, to help my hometown library (where I grew up, not where I live and not the library where I work) which experienced losses Friday no thanks to a flash flood.

So what are you reading, watching, listening to, doing this past week and the week to come? Any highlights?

Pushing Forward Back July/August 2018

Pushing Forward Back JulyAugust 2018Back at July

As planned, the month began on a high, with three days off for both Kim and me. Kim had her normal three days off: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and I took vacation days for Tuesday and Thursday, having Wednesday already off as a holiday for The Fourth of July. As I recall, we didn’t go anywhere or do much of anything, but it was still good to have the time off.  The second week, we went out to a new rib joint in town, owned by a friend of ours, and it was great. We also watched Love, Simon, which also was great. The highlight of the third week was getting the complete series of Homicide: Life on the Street and starting a landscaping project on a driveway we share with a neighbor. This past week, Kim and I were able to go to an Endless Mountain Music Festival concert at Mansfield University and it was very good. I also was able to continue the landscaping project and get it mostly done.

On the reading front, I had a great month as I read 12 books, thanks to back-to-back readathons the last two weekends of the month: the 24in48 Readathon and Dewey’s Summer Reverse Readathon. Altogether, I have read 27 books for this year.

The dozen books this month were:

  1. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  2. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by by Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer), Brian Stelfreeze (artist), Joe Sabino (letterer), Manny Mederos (designer), Rian Hughes (logo designer), Jack Kirby (writer, artist), and Laura Martin
  3. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
  4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  5. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
  6. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  7. Queenpin: A Novel by Megan Abbott
  8. Rebound by Kwame Alexander
  9. Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  10. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  11. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  12. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)

All were good, but the best ones were Behold the Dreamers, The Hate U Give, The Poet X, and Queenpin.

Musically, three albums in particular grabbed me: Sundays by San Francisco musician Hannah van Loon, who performs as Tanukichan; Third by guitarist Nathan Salsburg; and Wild Pink’s Yolk in the Fur, with the latter being the one I was playing the most on the virtual turntable.

Forward to August

This month begins with a visit to my mother the first weekend for her birthday (it’s this Friday, but we’ll celebrate it on Sunday). I have the second Friday off as I work that Saturday at the library (has to do with the number of hours I work per pay period, they give me a day off before I work my one Saturday a month). I don’t know what we’re doing yet, but Kim and I probably will go on a day trip, maybe to the Corning Museum of Glass, maybe to Finger Lakes wine country. We’ll see what the day brings.

So how was your month of July? 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 August? Share in the comments.

In case you missed it, yesterday I posted my thoughts on “The State of The Blog 2018,” in which I also decided I’m only going to post once a week here.

Pushing Forward Back June/July 2018

Pushing Forward Back June_July 2018
At top is a photo from my sister of my mom holding a photo of me when I was a baby. At bottom left, I took my dad out for ice cream for Father’s Day. We were joined by my nephew Jonathan. At bottom right, Kim and I got a bathroom selfie before the wedding of her sister Tracey last Saturday. Photobombing us is her sister Debbie.

Back at June

June was a pretty good month on the personal front, especially for three weekends in a row. First, on Saturday, June 9, I celebrated my 49th birthday. Then on Sunday, June 17, I went and visited my dad (and mom), who lives about 60 miles away, for Father’s Day. I also was grateful to be able to see my sister, brother-in-law, 11-year-old nephew, 3-year-old niece, and their new almost 6-month-oldest cockapoo/Shetland sheepdog puppy. Finally on Saturday, June 23, Kim and I (along with family and friends) celebrated with her sister Tracey as she got married near Cleveland, Ohio.

Blogging-wise, it wasn’t a good month, but then again, I was busy with other things. Highlights on the blog this past month were 25 Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 50 and My Library Checkout June 2018. If you look at the list and wonder how I’m doing so far on doing some of those things, not great, but hey, I still have time to turn that around. We also got Hulu again and are enjoying watching especially older shows like ER, CSI, and My Name is Earl.

Musically, the two big albums this month were Kanye West’s ye and Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Everything is Love — at least for everyone else. Spinning again and again, though, on my virtual turntable was Father John Misty’s God’s Favorite Customer. I just couldn’t, and can’t, get enough of this album:

Forward to July

This month starts off on a high, with three days off for both of us. Kim has her normal three days off: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and I took vacation days for Tuesday and Thursday, having Wednesday already off as a holiday for The Fourth of July. After traveling last weekend, we have no plans of going anywhere, but it will be nice to have the time off together. I have a feeling we’ll be getting together with our neighbors for a cookout on the Fourth too, but we’ll see. If not, I’m sure we’ll still have burgers and hot dogs on the grill.

Other than that, I only can think of one other thing that I have planned: the 24in48 Readathon on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, for which I’ve signed up. For more information or to sign up, click on the link.

At the end of the month, I’m looking forward to this movie:

So how was your month of June? 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 July? Share in the comments.

Friday Finds | Father John Misty

Each Friday I share what I find myself listening to. It might be new. It might be old. This week, it’s relatively new, Father John Misty’s new album God’s Favorite Customer, released on June 6, and to which I’ve been listening almost incessantly ever since:

What is on your virtual turntable lately?

25 Things Before I Turn 50

Today, I turn 49. As I approach half a century of life, here are 25 things I want to do before that milestone:

  1. Lose 40 pounds.
  2. Walk.
  3. Walk to work at least once a week during summer, fall, and spring.
  4. Run in one 5K.
  5. No food after 9 p.m.
  6. Go to bed by 11:30 p.m. each night.
  7. Wake by 8 a.m. each day.
  8. Alcohol only once a month.
  9. No soda except when having alcohol once a month.
  10. Read a book a week.
  11. Read 10 nonfiction books.
  12. Continue to play Solitaire and listen to chill music before going to bed.
  13. Sleeping with Bread daily.
  14. Along with SWB, photo a day of what most grateful for that day.
  15. Go to church once a month.
  16. Go on day trip once a month.
  17. Date night every pay week with Kim.
  18. Visit parents/sister once a month.
  19. Keep to blog schedule. Wednesday. Friday. Saturday. Sunday.
  20. Practice what you preach.
  21. Be quick to listen.
  22. Slow to speak.
  23. Slow to anger.
  24. Talk less.
  25. Smile more.

A few explanations:

Sleeping with Bread is a book by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn. It starts with this story:

During the bombing raids of WWII, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”

From there, the Linns show how to set up a way of using The Examen from St. Ignatius each night by asking two simple questions: For what am I most grateful? For what am I least grateful? Those questions can be worded in other ways too, but the idea is each day to examine your day.

The “quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” is inspired by my mother who often quotes this from the Book of James in the Bible, Chapter 1, Verse 19:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

The “talk less, smile more” is from the song “Aaron Burr, Sir” from the musical Hamilton:

The Four-Day Memorial Day Weekend Post 2

So instead of doing several posts today, tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I’m incorporating all into one post. It will be kind of like a readathon post, with updates throughout the weekend. I will start with the plans, and then update with the reality. – This is exactly what I said last Memorial Day Weekend and what I am saying again this Memorial Day Weekend, hence the 2.

Speaking of reading, I plan on reading one book a day, each the start of a different series either that I’ve been wanting to read or that I’ve recently discovered. I’ll mention each one on the day that I plan on reading it.

Friday night

Tonight, the plan is simple: eat burgers, drink booze, listen to music, and watch whatever the hell tickles our fancy. Kim won’t be drinking because she has to work tonight at midnight, but she will be eating burgers, listening to music and watching whatever the hell tickles our fancy.

Two minutes later: We’re watching Season 2 of Riverdale on Netflix. We really enjoyed Season 1 and are hoping the second season is just as good.

riverdale

Update: We watched only the first episode of the second season. We didn’t stop because it wasn’t good, but because we were listening to music.

Saturday

No. 1 on the agenda is reading. The first book up is A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes, the first of the Harlem Cycle. I’ve heard of Chester Himes mainly because of Luke Cage and thought I’d give him a try.

My sister told me that I need to see Paddington 2, because it’s “for all ages,” so I borrowed it from the library, and even though I don’t know if I need to see it, I’m going to watch the first one, which is available on Netflix. I’ll be watching on my own because Kim said she isn’t interested in watching, plus she’ll be sleeping as she has a 12-hour shift Saturday into Sunday and then Sunday into Monday.

Update: Sadly, A Rage in Harlem is yet another DNF for me, but I did watch both Paddington movies, with the second one being the better of the two. Even Kim watched some of the second and liked it. It actually made me cry. No kidding.

Sunday

Again, and this is going to be a theme here, No. 1 on the agenda is reading. The second book is The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari, the first in the Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne series. To be honest, I never had heard of these, but it is set in Philadelphia and I picked it up on ebook via the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The other “big event” for the day is the annual fly-in breakfast at our local airport, which I’ll be going to with our neighbors, Mike and Kathy. Kim might go along, depending on how her Saturday night at work goes (she’s a 911 dispatcher, so some nights are rough and she doesn’t want to go anywhere but to bed).

I plan on drafting a post for Library Checkout, a monthly meme the last Monday of each month where we talk about what we have checked out from the library, and then publishing it on Monday.

I also might watch the Coca-Cola 600, a rare night race, with Mike — in his “ManCave” – a garage complete with classic car and big screen TV that is behind their house.

Update Sunday morning: I went to the fly-in breakfast with the neighbors. Kim didn’t go because as usual with a holiday weekend, it was busy. Now, time to kick back with some music and play a little Solitaire, and then later some reading.

Update Sunday night: I did get a little reading in, starting Still Life by Louise Penny, which is good so far. I completely forgot about the Montanari book, to be honest. Ooops. Maybe I’ll try it another time. I then went to watch the Coca-Cola 600 with Mike. We made it to about lap 380 before Mike had to go to bed. I’ll probably listen to rest on the radio.

Monday

Yep. Reading again. The third book is Still Life, the first in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, by Louise Penny. This one, I have had on hold for—ever at FLP, but this past week, I found a copy in our library bookstore, so I picked it up. I have no idea why this is so popular (the hold at FLP is several months long), but I guess I’m going to find out.

In the afternoon, we are going to a picnic at our neighbors. Kim’s making deviled eggs and we’re bringing potato chips. Of course, there should be burgers and hot dogs too.

We were looking forward the fifth season of Arrested Development, but after recent…well…developments, we’ve decided…

giphy

Update Tuesday morning: I finished Still Life and we did go to the picnic at the neighbors, which was good. Late last night, we started watching The Americans as recommended by Michelle of the blog That’s What She Read. We like/liked it and will watch more, but not sure when. Maybe today, we’ll see.

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Picnic at the neighbors.

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Tuesday

Hmmm. I guess, reading will be at the top of the agenda. Shocker! The final book of the weekend is one I think I’ve tried before but didn’t finish for some reason, Death at La Fenice, the first Commissario Brunetti mystery, by Donna Leon.

Watching? I don’t know yet, but with Kim off, maybe it will be something we both want to watch.

How about you? Do you have any time off this weekend? What are you planning to do this weekend?

Friday Finds | DJ Koze & Jon Hopkins

Each Friday I’ll share what I find myself listening to. It might be new. It might be old. This week it’s new, with two of my favorite electronic musicians releasing new albums today: DJ Koze, the moniker of German producer Stefan Kozalla, with Knock Knock, and Jon Hopkins, a British producer and musician, with Singularity.

Here’s a song from each:

So what is on your virtual turntable to start this weekend?