Pushing Forward Back February/March 2020

Highlights from this past month: getting a new table for our kitchen, getting a romanesco cauliflower in our Misfits Market subscription box, Seamus (as usual), and the cover art for the book Blue Horses by Mary Oliver.

February found me finally reading poetry this past week after going back and forth whether or not I wanted to read it or not. I read two Mary Oliver books: Dream Work and Blue Horses, enjoying the latter more than the former. I also read two other books this past month:

  • Heaven, My Home, the second in the Highway 59 series, by Attica Locke.
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi,

enjoying the former over the latter with those two as Attica Locke continues to astound me with her writing.

I still am continuing to read the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories and Pillar of Fire, the second in the America in the King Years series, by Taylor Branch, something I will continue into March.

Highlights of the month include our getting a new table set for our kitchen, our watching the movie Knives Out (which was very good) and having a day off this past and my taking the day off this past Wednesday for Ash Wednesday.

March: We have no special plans, but I am taking a vacation day for the first day of Spring, which comes this year on Thursday, March 19. If the weather cooperates, maybe I’ll get out for a hike that day in the nearby Pennsylvania Grand Canyon to celebrate the changing of the seasons.

The only other thing I know for sure that I’m adding to my reading for March is Lent Is Not Rocket Science: An Exploration of God, Creation, and the Cosmos: Meditations for 40 Days of Lent by W. Nicholas Knisely, the 13th and current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island.

On the TV and movies front, I guess the movie I’m most looking forward to seeing is Jumanji: The Next Level, which comes out on DVD and streaming on March 17. The first one was a pleasant surprise and I’m hoping the second one will be good too. Last month, we also watched the Zombieland sequel: Double Tap and enjoyed that so hope we will continue our success with sequels.

I’ll leave you with this, from my favorite contemporary composer:

Posts from February:

Spending the Holidays with Mr. Potter

No, not that Mr. Potter.

My wife hates that movie.

And I’m not a huge fan either, for the record.

I mean this Mr. Potter:

On Black Friday, we picked up all eight Harry Potter movies for an offer we couldn’t refuse and we are going to rewatch them all from Christmas through New Year’s. We’ll end New Year’s Eve with the seventh movie and start 2020 with the eighth movie.

On Christmas Eve, we also will be watching my wife’s favorite Christmas movie, A Christmas Carol, the 1951 version with Alastair Sim.

Then I’ll watch my favorite Christmas movie, Die Hard, as my wife gets ready to work midnight to 8 p.m. Christmas Day and won’t be able to watch it all.

She is off the rest of the day, so later that evening, after our Christmas dinner, we’ll begin our Harry Potter marathon.

Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Hogwarts Express.

So for those of you who celebrate Christmas and/or Hanukkah and/or New Year’s this time of year, what are YOU doing for the holidays?

All this month, I’ve been joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual  #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. Today’s topic is This is How We Holiday. To see the entire list of topics, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement.

#AMonthofFaves 2019: My Top 5 Books, TV Shows, Movies, and Albums of 2019

All this month, I’m joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. They have a schedule of topics planned out for 14 days and while I don’t plan to have a post for each topic, I do plan on having a post for several of them. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement. Today’s topic is the fifth for the month: On the Screen or in Your Ear – What did you watch this year that you absolutely loved and did you see any movies inspired by books you’ve read – what did you think? Or, what are some of your favorite podcasts, audiobooks or songs / albums that you listened to and have on repeat?

I already covered my top 5 books in a previous post for A Month of Faves on Popular Books Worth The Hype, but I thought I’d include them here since it made the graphic below symmetrical:

A few caveats and explanations:

  • On Sunday, I also made a list of My Top 60 Albums of the 2010s, with the four of the five albums from 2019 included in that list. The only one I didn’t, i,i by Bon Iver, is because I chose 22, A Million instead for the decade.
  • I discovered four of the five TV shows through Hulu and found The Brokenwood Mysteries through Hoopla at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
  • I have not seen Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, The Irishman or Marriage Story yet, but my wife and I both want to see all three in the near future. I have a feeling at least one, if not all three, will change this list or at least be added to the list of my top movies for this year.
  • Powder in Space is technically not an album but a DJ mixtape by the Japanese DJ Momoko Goto, who produces and performs under the name “Powder.”
  • I had all five of the albums on heavy rotation this year and I anticipate that I will have one released last month, MAGDALENE by FKA Twigs, on heavy rotation in the coming year.
  • Four of my top five albums are on the The 50 Best Albums of 2019 list from Pitchfork The Father of the Bride, No. 25; Homecoming, No, 14; i, i, No. 16; Norman F***ing Rockwell!, No. 1, and that last one rightly so at No. 1, in my and my wife’s opinion. I like several of the other albums on the list including especially the ones at No. 2, MAGDALENE; Big Thief’s U.F.O.F. at No. 3 and Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors at No. 4, but I really haven’t listened to them a lot…yet, but I anticipate I will.
  • For all you bookish folks, the one movie on my list you need to see is Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which is based on the book of the same name by Lee Israel, portrayed brilliantly here by Melissa McCarthy. I have not read the book, but loved the movie (obviously, to include it in my top 5).

What were your favorite books read, TV shows and movies and/or albums read this year even if they weren’t released this year?

Pushing Forward Back November/December 2019

November overall was good. I had a dozen blog posts here on the blog, including this one, eight of them with two different events: Nonfiction November, which ended earlier this week, and Thankfully Reading Weekend, which is still continuing through tomorrow. In addition to two days off for holidays, I had two days off for vacation right before my wife and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary on the 23rd. We also watched two of the three things that I said last month we would watch: Good Omens, Season 1, and Brittany Runs A Marathon, both of which were very good.

However, the month was not without its hiccups, to say the least, including a trip to the hospital and a stay overnight for my wife in the middle of the month. The good news is that after a blood transfusion because of low hemoglobin numbers, and being on another medication to help, she is doing better…even though her numbers still are below normal. She also had nine days off from work, after her hospital stay, which she already had planned off as vacation days, but coincided nicely with her trying to regain her strength.

As for my own recuperation after arthroscopic surgery on my left knee at the end of October, I am progressing well. I still have slight pain from scar tissue that the physician assistant explains that I probably will have for a few months. But I have no limitations on what I can do, other than no deep squats or pivoting or “overdoing it.”

On the reading front, I talked a good game for Nonfiction November:

But I didn’t finish any books. I’m almost finished with The Lord God Made Them All (All Creatures Great and Small Book 4) by James Herriot, only one of 11 books I mentioned last month that I might read in November. I’ll probably finish it tomorrow for Thankfully Reading Weekend.

Blog post of the month

TV show of the month

  • Bess of Both Worlds (aka Upper Middle Bogan), on Hulu

Album of the month

  • MAGDALENE by FKA Twigs

December starts similarly to the last week in November, with a couple days off from work in the middle of the week this coming Wednesday and Thursday. Then at the end of the month, I have off three days for Christmas: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas and two for New Year’s: New Year’s Eve Day to usher out 2019 and New Year’s Day to usher in 2020. My wife works Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but midnight shifts both days so at least we’ll see each other during both days. Even though we won’t able to travel anywhere to see family, we should be able to have Christmas dinner together.

Unlike last month, where I listed all the possibilities of what I might read and then only getting to one of them, this month I think I’ll just list one book that but I’d like to finish before year’s end: Every Living Thing, the fifth and final book of the All Creatures Great and Small series, by James Herriot. That way, I’m not setting my sights too high.

Also in December, I am joining hosts Tanya and Kim along with other bloggers for the event A Month of Faves. I already have started a note in Evernote that includes ideas for the days and topics in which I will be participating. The first one is Monday: Popular Books Worth The Hype.

Most Anticipated Movie of The Month

This one from director Noah Baumbach, to be released on Netflix, Dec. 6:

Most Anticipated Album of The Month

Tunes 2011 to 2019 by Burial, also due out on Dec. 6, which features this track:

How was your month of November ? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What are you looking forward to most in December?