My Own Personal Sabbath #31

Almost every Sunday 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 and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to or watching during my Sabbath.

Tomorrow, the plan is simple: recharge, read, and rest.

Recharge after energy depletion from doomscrolling and what Kim and I call “our daily five minutes of anger” after looking at the news usually at the end of the day. Unfortunately, sometimes it is longer than five minutes and even if only is five minutes, it sours the rest of the night. What has helped, though, is we have been watching a show on Netflix with meditation exercises.

So I plan to start tomorrow with meditation as modeled by the late John Main, reciting the word “Maranatha” for 20 minutes.

Read after not taking the time out to read all week. Instead, we watched lots of episodes of The Simpsons and Hamilton since we subscribed to Disney Plus. We finally caved when we saw the five seasons of the original The Muppet Show is coming to the channel later this month.

I’ll be continuing with the Inspector Montalbano mysteries that I started last month. So far, I have read the sixth, seventh, and eighth in the series, The Smell of the Night, Rounding the Mark, and The Patience of the Spider. I already the ninth and 10th in the series, The Paper Moon and August Heat checked out on ebook from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Rest after, at times, a mentally stressful week. My mother had to get a test for covid, which turned out to be negative (but she’s still not feeling well). At work, I’m navigating through miscommunication, sometimes perceived vs. real, with coworkers. And then there’s the aforementioned doomscrolling. Rest will involve most likely a nap…and music…and TV or movie watching.

I’ll check in later tomorrow to let you know how it went.

Sunday Update:

9 a.m. I’ve been up for about an hour and didn’t start the day with meditation, but I’ll be getting to that this morning. After eating first breakfast, I started reading The Paper Moon and appropriately it began with a passage about waking up that fit the day. The passage is too long to quote here, but the gist of it is like in the movie Dead Poets Society: Carpe diem (in a whisper). So I’m going to seize the day and do what I want right now, which is reading this book.

Noon: So…I’ve read one chapter so far of The Paper Moon. Most of the morning, I’ve been on the phone: checking in with my mom and dad (twice, actually, after seeing a blog post that reminded me of something I wanted to tell my dad) and our landlord about a few minor issues at our house. Now it’s after noon here and I still haven’t “meditated.” So I guess that’s next. Update on my mom: She’s still not feeling great, but maybe slightly better. If it doesn’t clear up by mid-week, she’ll get a doctor’s appointment.

4 p.m.: So…I’ve read one chapter so far of The Paper Moon. Pete and Repete were sitting on a wall. Pete fell off. Who was left?…But it’s true. I ended up meditating finally, then after falling asleep in my recliner, I took a short nap. Now here I am.

9 p.m.: So…I’ve now read three chapters in the book. Kim goes to work at 7:30 for a 12-hour shift, so before then, we had dinner and watched a few of The Simpsons. Now I’m ending the night with trying WandaVision. So far, I’m not sold on the laugh track, but I’m soldiering through with the assistance of wine and cheese.

What are you up to this weekend? Reading, watching, listening to anything good this weekend? Share in the comments.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this film from deejay My Friend Dario to which I was introduced during last weekend’s edition of The Chill Out Tent:


Ending the month with music

This weekend I am off “concert hopping,” sort of like bar hopping but with musical events. Tonight I am going to a concert in Japan…

Filmed at the historic Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan, in September of 2017, this historic performance has never before been released worldwide.  January 30th, 2021 marks the first official release from Dream Theater’s ‘Images, Words & Beyond’ tour, featuring a live performance of the classic album, ‘Images & Words’, captured in its entirety during their September 11th, 2017 appearance in Tokyo. 

…and then tomorrow afternoon, I’m off to England, Scotland, Los Angeles, and again Japan for some curated deejay sets. I’ll also be appreciating clouds.

Full details here.

What are you up to this weekend? Have you partaken of any of the virtual concert or theater performances over the last year? Or do you have you any upcoming events you’ll be attending? Let me know in the comments.

My Top 5 TV Shows of 2020

This month I’ve been joining Kim and Tanya of Girlxoxo.com for their annual event A Month of Faves, at least for a few topics and throwing in a few of my own. At the beginning of the month, I posted “My End of Year Bookish Plans.” Two weeks ago, I posted “These are a few of my favorite moments in 2020“, “These are a few of my favorite things (at home) in 2020,” and “These are a few of my favorite (Christmas) things.” Last week, I posted my favorite fiction books read this year and then my favorite nonfiction books read this year. In between those two posts, I threw in my own topic “The Series That Didn’t Stick For Me In 2020,” with series either I read the first one or abandoned in the middle of the first or sometimes second one. Now I finish up with my top 5 TV shows from this year.

This year, five shows stuck out for me, either ones we returned to again and again or ones that were “one-offs” and just fit the mood at the time. My first pick at No. 5 was one of those…

5. Teenage Bounty Hunters, Season 1

Sadly the show has been canceled by Netflix but the first season is worth a watch.

4. Staged, Season 1

This is one of the few shows shot during, and peripherally, about the pandemic that actually was good. And a second season is coming out next week. It also had great cameos as evidenced below (just be warned, it is uncensored).

3. The Last Dance

As a huge Chicago Bulls fan, I looked forwarded to this ESPN documentary when it came out on Netflix and it didn’t disappoint. It also didn’t shy away from a less than flattering portrayal of Michael Jordan, which made it all the more real. Yes, there were some glaring omissions, but all in all, it was worth the watch. I even got my wife, who isn’t into “sportsin'” as she calls it, to watch a few episodes.

2. Schitt’s Creek, Season 6

I won’t lie. I was a latecomer to this show, but once my wife showed me the last episode of the second season, I was all in.

1. What We Do in the Shadows, Season 2

My wife and I both loved the movie, but a TV show based on the movie? YES! That is the answer, especially after this second season, which has seen the vampires, shall I say it? yes, I shall, soar to new heights. Watch the movie and stick with the series.

So what are your favorite shows from this year or ones that you discovered this year? Please share in the comments.

In The Chill Out Tent to end the weekend

This is where I am/was as I end/ended this weekend. I thought it was a good place to leave off for both my Thankfully Reading Weekend and what probably will be my last weekend before I head back to work after being off for a few weeks with covid.

Unofficially, I began the Thankfully Reading Weekend Wednesday night reading The Big Bamboo, the eighth in the Serge Storms series, by Tim Dorsey. On Friday, I finished it. On Saturday, I dipped into an audiobook version of A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton, but found both the narrator and the story borrrrring. The rest of the day, I got stuck in a marathon of CSI, which I slowly am making my way though (I’m on Season 10). Today, I began the day reading The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths in an ebook collection of the first three books in the Ruth Galloway series. I’ll be dipping in and out while I listen/watch The Chillout Tent.

How was/is your weekend? Reading, watching, listening to anything worth sharing? Share away in the comments.