2021 Thankfully Reading Weekend – I’m in! #thankfullyreading

As I preface before I say this every time I announce I’m joining in, I only participate in a few book blogging events every year and this (see image/link above) is one of them. This year’s event is from Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 28. Here’s how Jenn describes the event:

There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for the year. We thought it’d be fun if we cheered each other on a bit…Join in for the weekend or for only a single day. No rules, no pressure!

I happen to have off work for those five days, and my wife, who works night shift, is asleep during the day, so it happens to work out perfectly for me to join in. Or I should say it would seem. Realistically, with the distraction of catching up on some binge-watching, I’ll be happy if I can finish one book.

I have choices. Among them are the following:

  • Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with The Myth of the Lost Cause by Ty Seidule, Professor Emeritus of History at West Point 
  • Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holiday, And the Vendetta Raid from Hell by Tom Clavin  
  • The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged the Secret War Against Japan by Sam Kleiner
  • Thursday the Rabbi Walked Out by Harry Kemelman.

I mentioned the first three in my post “My Own Personal Nonfiction November”, and I have been making my way slowly through the Rabbi Small series by Kemelman this year. This one is the seventh in a series of 12. I plan on reading the sixth, Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet, the sixth in the series today and tomorrow.


While that takes care of my reading plans for next week, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our other plans for the next couple of weeks. On Nov. 23, my wife and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I don’t have the day off, but I will be leaving work early and Kim and I will celebrate that night with a special dinner. She hasn’t decided what she is making yet.

Leading up to our anniversary, she and I are both off together from Thursday to Sunday this coming week. We’re starting “Our 25th Anniversary Extravaganza”, as I’ve labeled it, on Wednesday night by watching The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with commentary provided by Rifftrax. Then on Thursday night, we’re watching In the Heights; Friday, King Richard; Saturday, the last two episodes of Season 1 of Ted Lasso. We have been very slowly making our way through the series, because it’s too good to…forgive the timely pun…gobble up.

So, those are my couple of weeks in a nutshell. How about you? For those of you in the U.S. who celebrate Thanksgiving, any special plans? For all of you, feel free to share in the comments what you’ve been reading, watching, listening to, or doing lately.

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.

Our Own Personal Halloween Eve

Tonight, Kim and I are celebrating Halloween early, because I have tomorrow off from work. I work until 7 so the festivities begin at 8. This is what we are planning on watching:

  • 8 p.m.: Halloween, the first one since I don’t believe I ever saw, which Kim can’t believe.
  • 9:30 p.m.: The Muppets Haunted Mansion, which is on Disney Plus.
  • 10:30: What We Do in the Shadows, the movie, which we own and is one of our favorites.
  • Midnight: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, because it only seems appropriate for a midnight showing.

All this week, we also have been watching a selection of the Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons, also on Disney Plus. I found several “best of” lists online, but went with one from the site Den of Geek: “13 Great Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Halloween Stories.”

How do you celebrate Halloween? Any favorite movies for the day or night?

September 2021: In the Rearview

So, looking back at the month that was September 2021…

I read five books (in order of favorite to least, although all were good):

  • Invisible Differences: A Story of Aspergers, Adulting, and Living A Life in Full Color by Julia Dachez (author) and Mademoiselle Caroline (illustrator)
  • Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, collected and with an introduction by Joy Harjo, 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman
  • Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry, also by Kemelman.

I think why I liked the graphic novel the best is because I (and my wife) think I’m probably on the spectrum somewhere. While I read one Goodreads review that said the resources offered at the end of the book were superficial, I thought it wasn’t meant to be exhaustive but an introduction. Personally I could relate to a lot of what Marguerite, the main character, experienced in her life. Even this morning, I found myself slightly overwhelmed by a neighbor’s barking dogs.

We watched eight TV shows (in alphabetical order, all are/were excellent):

  • Alice in Paris
  • Archer
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Only Murders in The Building
  • Reservation Dogs
  • Schmigadoon
  • Ted Lasso
  • What We Do in the Shadows

Hard to pick up a favorite, but I will: Reservation Dogs. Seek it out.

I listened to a little bit of this:

A little bit of that:

And a lot of meditation exercises from meditation apps (not providing the links, because…Google):

  • Headspace
  • Shine
  • Wake Up/Wind Down (with Niall Breslin)

I also listened/watched folklore: the long pond sessions on Disney Plus, that really enhanced the album. I’ll leave you with my favorite song from the album:

While I know September actually has five days left, how was your September? Read, watch, listen to, do anything good in the last month? Please share in the comments.