Pushing Forward Back June/July 2019

June flew right out of the gate, as predicted, and never let up until this weekend. The first week started with a bang: work on the first Saturday, my first physical therapy session for a bruised left knee on that first Monday.

The second weekend, my wife Kim and I got away as we went on a self-guided two-day wine tour of Seneca Lake in upstate New York, as planned, in celebration of my 50th birthday on Sunday. The second week, I also was approved for for an MRI that I got at the start of of the third week. The MRI was negative for a torn meniscus, but I have a frayed meniscus and bad osteoarthritis for which I already got a cortisone injection and might be getting a gel injection in a couple of weeks when I have a follow-up appointment.

The fourth weekend, on Saturday, I worked, but then on Sunday, I visited my mother and father, the latter of which I went with to a car and plane museum, also with my 12-year-old nephew.

This weekend, I plan on chilling both days, maybe going to a nearby town for the birthday breakfast on Saturday I had planned to start off the month with but then had to cancel because I was scheduled to work at the library. Update: I did go out for breakfast Saturday morning. I also forgot until I read my last Pushing Forward Back post (did I reference that yet? hmmm) that I also planned on starting Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, another of my all-time favorite collections of poetry. So I’ll still do that as I thought, and still think, it would be good to celebrate America with the Fourth of July coming up this week.

AND lest I forget, I promised a giveaway of books at the end of my birthday month. I am doing that today from midnight today, Sunday, June 30, 2019, to 11:59 a.m. tonight, Eastern Daylight Time. Go to this post to find out how to enter for the giveaway. I am posting it at the same time as this one.

As for what books I finished this month, I read Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport and Ratking by Michael Dibdin. Both were okay, with Ratking being the better of the two. On the TV/movie side of things, the best thing we watched all month was Springsteen on Broadway, available on Netflix. Music-wise, the best music I heard all month was Prince’s Originals, a mostly previously unreleased collection of songs he wrote for others.

If you’re skimming this, the short takeaway from June is this: My wife and I celebrated my 50th birthday with a wine trip and visiting with my mom and dad, my MRI turned out negative for a torn meniscus, and I read two books.

AND GIVEAWAY!

July begins sort of oddly as I work the first three days, have a day off (thank you to our Founding Fathers), then work Friday before having off again for the weekend. I thought about trying to take off Friday, but a coworker beat me to the punch and got that day off. However, I’m not sad as she does a lot and deserves the time off and I had a long weekend for my birthday in June.

The rest of the month work-wise settles into a routine of six days in a row, as I work the two middle Saturdays, the 13th and 20th. Lest you feel too badly for me, I don’t work eight hours any day, with some as little as 4 and 1/2 hours…

So in other words, I’ll have time to read as many books, watch as much TV and movies, and listen to as much music as I want.

Reading: In June, I planned on finishing the All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot, with The Lord God Made Them All and Every Living Thing. I also planned on reading All of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver, one of my all-time favorite collections of poetry. But as with a lot of things in June, those didn’t happen, so I’m putting on hold (figuratively, not literally) the Herriot series until later in the year and yet still plan on reading the Carver collection over this coming month. Other than that, the only thing on my radar is the second Aurelio Zen mystery by Michael Dibdin, Vendetta, since I enjoyed the first one.

Watching: In July, Kim and I only have one major thing we want to watch together: the third season of Stranger Things. Other than that, I am interested in seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home, The Lion King, and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, although really with my working two Saturdays this month, I might only get to one of the trio in the theater. On the minor front, we’re looking forward to watching the second half of the sixth season of Drunk History.

Listening: Just doing a quick search online, I only found one album that I’m really looking forward to: EGOLI by Africa Express. The group is “a UK based non-profit organization which facilitates cross-cultural collaborations between musicians in African, Middle Eastern, and Western countries” and was started by Blur and Gorillaz lead singer Damon Albarn and journalist Ian Birrell. I loved their album, Terry Riley in C Mali, and am very much looking forward to this one:

If you’re skimming this, the short takeaway for July is I plan on reading poetry, watching Stranger Things, Season 3, with my wife, and listening to cool world music.

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 most looking forward to in July? Share in the comments.

The best laid plans…

This past week went somewhat as planned. In my last Sunday Salon post, I said that I’d begin with the month by buying a new lawnmower, which I did. However, I didn’t get to my first mow of the season as rain and work interfered. We still are continuing to watch the final season of Game of Thrones, but I didn’t finish All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot last weekend as planned. Maybe that will happen Sunday evening as this afternoon (Saturday) I’m writing this post, then going to a Free Comic Book Day event at our library (a busman’s holiday of sorts) to pick up some comics for my nephew and niece as well as enter them for a chance for a few of the prizes.

I’ll be away Sunday morning:

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Booked. ✔️

A post shared by Bryan G. Robinson (@stillunfinished) on

So I plan on catching up on your posts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and responding to comments that you leave here.

Tonight, just to reacquaint myself with the last Avengers movie, when my wife goes to work at 8 p.m. (12 hour shift until 8 a.m. as an emergency dispatcher), I’m going to watch it. I know. I know. Really I should watch Captain Marvel to be properly up to speed, but this will have to do. I’m not that much of a geek when it comes to these things. To be honest, while I’m looking forward to this “last” one, I am looking forward to it ust being over, which same goes for Game of Thrones.

With a few exceptions, I think I almost prefer the short season shows, the way a lot of shows are done in Great Britain: one, two, three or four seasons, then done. This coming Wednesday, Kim and I are highlighting our favorite short season shows in our weekly feature “What We’re Watching Wednesday.” This past Wednesday, we restarted the feature with a short review of “the latest incarnation of the Tick.”

Next Sunday, I also am away for most of the day as I visit my mom (and Dad), who live about 60 miles away from us, for Mother’s Day. The following Sunday, I plan return to my normal Sunday morning routine of Sunday Salon blog reading and commenting in the morning as I don’t plan on going anywhere. Then I’ll end the month with a four-day weekend as the library where I work is closed for three days and I am taking a vacation day on the Tuesday after. Last week I mentioned that I’d be working that day, but plans changed.

Two of the days that I am off, Kim and I can be together as it is among her normal three days off; she works four days (Friday, midnight to 8 p.m.; Saturday, midnight to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 p.m., to Sunday, 8 a.m..; and Sunday, 8 p.m., to Monday, 8 a.m.). As I said in my last Sunday Salon post, it will be nice to have a chance to…

How was your past week? Read, watch, or listen to anything good? Share in the comments.


I’ll leave you with Father of the Bride, the new double album from Vampire Weekend, because I couldn’t decide on just one track from this album that only was released Friday and I already love:

Pushing Forward Back February/March 2019

February started, as expected, with cold and it’s ending with more cold to end the month, plus more to come to start March. It also began with my not watching the Super Bowl and reading instead during The Big Game’s On Read-a-thon. I dabbled in a few books, finished two: All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot and Calypso by David Sedaris, both of which were excellent.

The following weekend, I said that I would try to read more political nonfiction this year, then the next weekend, because of the current political climate, I reneged on that and said I wanted to escape into fiction again. Since then, I finished one more book for the month: Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first Amelia Peabody, by Elizabeth Peters, which also was very good.  

Sandwiched between those two weekends, that week included a work week that was split up by two days off, one expected (Valentine’s Day) for a vacation day, the other unexpected as a snow day from work. Kim and I celebrated with wine, TV, and movies: Letterkenny, Drunk History, Orlando, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge.

This past week, I picked up two books that I might read: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens that I own, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman that I checked out from the library. I probably will get to Eleanor Oliphant first since it is a library book. On the home and work front, changes are coming. At home, Kim and I are ditching Facebook and Instagram at the end of Lent, in April, which I might or might not write more about here this coming Sunday (I probably will touch on it at least, if not write a whole post on it). At work, all I can say at this point is that changes are coming and once they are publicly announced there, I will be at liberty to mention it here.

Oh, yeah, I also picked up a toilet seat at Lowe’s. 🙂 See photo above.

March begins with, hopefully, quiet contemplation as I am taking a vacation day Ash Wednesday that I plan, if it can be worked out, on bookending with a day off Good Friday. It also begins cold, at least according to initial forecasts for the weather, with temperatures dipping into the 20s and teens. I’m hoping by the end of the month it will warm out and that I’ll be able to walk to work on days where I don’t need to use the car for other things.

Books, movies, and music? To be honest, besides Eleanor Oliphant, I only have one other title, a movie, in my sights for March: Captain Marvel. Kim has zero interest in it, because she’s done with superhero movies, but I still plan on seeing it.

I’ll leave you with a little chill music from Guido’s Lounge Cafe on Mixcloud:

So how was your month of February? 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 March? Share in the comments.