Celebrating Go to an Art Museum Day

Alternate title: On grief, and listening to Radiohead and R.E.M.

In the summer I realized I had some time left I still needed to take off work so I’ve had a few random days off. At the time I decided to look at a calendar of national holidays to select my day off. My last one was October 28, National Chocolate Day, even though ironically I didn’t have any chocolate that day.

This Tuesday, Nov. 9, according to the website National Today, is Go to an Art Museum Day, and it is one of the days I chose to have off. Initially, I thought about going to the Corning Museum of Glass, which is about an hour away from where I live. But this past week some unforeseen vehicle repair expenses came up, so now I won’t be going. Instead, I’m going on a virtual tour of some museums around the world that I bookmarked yesterday.

That will be in the afternoon. In the morning, I want to catch up on some meditation podcasts with Niall Breslin on Spotify and journaling.

Last Tuesday, my wife Kim took a creative writing workshop so she could do something special on the birthday of both her mother and her best friend from high school, who passed away within four days of each other in April. This Tuesday, I’m doing something similar as with the meditation podcasts and journaling, I’m remembering not only their passing – and the passing of hundreds of thousands in our country and millions around the world in the last year and half from COVID-19 – but also the passing of a few patrons who have died as well in the last couple of months.

Even though I didn’t know those patrons well, I was used to seeing – and hearing – them at the library, a couple for many of the last 11 years I’ve worked at the library. And their deaths have hit me harder than I thought they would. So I want to acknowledge that grief – and the continuing grief that both Kim (moreso, understandably, her) and I are having for Kim’s mom and best friend – on Tuesday.

If I had gone to Corning, I wanted to listen to music on the way. Since I’m not going, while I am on my virtual museum tour, I’m going to listen to a couple of albums that were released last week by Radiohead and R.E.M., remastered editions of earlier albums. The albums are New Adventures in Hi-fi by R. E.M. and Kid A and Amnesiac by Radiohead.

I plan on ending the day by watching a movie with Kim that I’ve wanted to see for a while, but just haven’t gotten to. It also fits with the art theme. It’s called Loving Vincent and is about Vincent Van Gogh. Kim already has seen it, but she said she loved it so I don’t think she’ll mind watching again.

Mid-October Check-in

I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that. Usually it’s related to books, TV/movies, and music – and sometimes about what’s going on in my life otherwise. Today, I thought I’d talk a little more about about the latter with a mid-month check-in while also checking in on y’all.

This past week has been mostly about my health, physical and mental.

Physical

Two Fridays ago, I had a doctor’s appointment for a sore left forearm (no fall or injury, just sore). After determining that it probably is a mild case of tendinitis, she gave me a prescription for a brace, which after making sure I had the right one, I got on Thursday afternoon. I am supposed to use it for a couple of weeks to see if it helps, along with extra Aleve. So I’ll keep you posted.

While at the doctor’s, I also received a flu shot and asked her about getting a covid vaccine booster, and she recommended based on where I work (at a public library) that it might not be a bad idea. So, yesterday afternoon, I received my third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

My wife Kim got hers this afternoon.

Mental

On Monday, I had my monthly virtual therapist appointment. I started therapy “pre-pandemic”, but it has been a lifesaver throughout the pandemic. In comparison to others, including some of you, I don’t have it that bad or really bad at all. Yes, it’s mostly in my head, especially wrong assumptions and not dealing with muddled thoughts. But as I’m learning, none of us really know what’s going on with other people you meet throughout the day, from coworkers to clients or customers to even family members, whether near or far. Practice compassion toward others as you do for yourself too.

Last Sunday was World Mental Health Day. I did a meditation with Eve from Headspace and tomorrow afternoon (for me), I plan to join her again, if not to clear those muddled thoughts I have, to at least keep them at bay or look at them without judgment. Again, I’m learning it’s okay sometimes/often to see a thought and not latch onto it and let it control you. “Ah, there it is…now moving on.”

She’ll be at Headspace on Instagram Live, if you’d like to join us for your own check-in.

Check-out

Tomorrow, as has been my custom during many Sundays the pandemic, I plan on having my own personal Sabbath. The plan, as always, is to “tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone.” Tomorrow, I plan on continuing to read the next book in the Rabbi Small series by Harry Kemelman and probably watching some more Castle, with all seasons now available on Hulu.

So now checking in with you…how are you doing physically and mentally here mid-October? Reading, listening to, or watching anything good lately? Please feel free to share in the comments.

My Own Personal Sabbath #41

Almost every Sunday, sometime Saturday too, since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day, sometimes the day before, and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching during my Sabbath.

This weekend, I’m digging into series, both in books and TV. On the literary front, I’m planning on continuing with The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. I have the fourth and fifth in the series lined up, Network Effect and Fugitive Telemetry, respectively. On the cinematic front, I am 13 episodes away from finishing the 10th and final season of CSI: Miami and five episodes away from the 15th and final season of Criminal Minds.

For some reason, I’m having a problem pulling the trigger on finishing off Criminal Minds, pun intended. It might because I looked ahead at the descriptions on Hulu of the next few episodes and it sounded like a pretty lame wrap-up of the show. I should be looking forward more to the end of this than CSI: Miami, but right now I am not. I think it’s that CSI: Miami is more of a popcorn show for me and right now I need popcorn, as I said last week “silly and stupid.” I don’t need anything too heavy, gentlemen (and ladies).

Peace, I’m out.

I told my wife this morning that I wouldn’t be going anywhere. Sometimes on weekends, I go on trips out of town, sometimes to a neighboring town or, as I did today, a neighboring state:

I got wine from a discount store for the Labor Day Weekend. Plus since I had two hours left on an audiobook I’ve been listening to on and off since the beginning of May, and the store is about an hour away from us, I was able to finish it. It wasn’t just the timing that was perfect, but the audiobook itself was perfect for me now, in that I needed it. The book was Broken by Jenny Lawson and was read by her.


After eating sushi and playing a couple of chapters of Broken for Kim before she left for work, I watched a few episodes of CSI: Miami and now I’m listening to this to end the evening:


Sunday: I didn’t read during the day today, but tonight I’m dipping into Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, collected and with an introduction by Joy Harjo, the 23rd and current Poet Laureate of the United States.

My Top 10 of the Last 350 Books Read on Goodreads

In November 2019, I wrote about reaching 300 books read on Goodreads since 2014. This past Monday, when I finished Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, I reached 350 (or a little more, considering a few books were collections of books, such as The Lord of the Rings – a reread). Instead of breaking down the numbers like that 2019 post, I thought this time I’d highlight my top 10 of the 350, out of the 50 that I rated five stars.

The only order I’m putting them in is alphabetical order by title:

  1. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  2. All of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver
  3. All Systems Red by Martha Wells
  4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  6. Leaves of Grass: The Deathbed Edition by Walt Whitman
  7. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  8. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  9. The River Why by David James Duncan
  10. Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Two of them, All Creatures Great and Small and All Systems Red, are the beginnings of series; another two, poetry; and five, nonfiction. That wasn’t by design to be split into fiction and nonfiction, but it is nice how it worked out that way. Naturally, I highly recommend all of them, but the one that I think is a must-read is Being Mortal – because, well, we all are mortal (unless there’s something I don’t know about you).


Last week, beyond Project Hail Mary, I mentioned books I might read. Out of those, the next one I’m reading is Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo by Jo Koy. I plan on finishing that either tonight or tomorrow. Kim and I are still listening to the podcast Aack Cast by Jamie Loftus about “Cathy, the iconic and much-maligned comic strip by Cathy Guisewite,” in which Jamie Loftus “weaves between reporting and fiction, putting a cruelly treated cartoon everywoman in context.” I’m still making my way through the final two seasons of Criminal Minds.

And finally, tomorrow afternoon I’m going to a virtual concert with Bob Dylan. Tying in with the mention of Whitman earlier, I’ll leave you with this from Dylan from last year’s phenomenal album Rough and Rowdy Ways: