May: Month of Mental Health Awareness & Bad Movie Watching

I’ve seen a post or two acknowledging that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, with bloggers sharing about their own mental health. So I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon, but also to discuss my other focus this month, which is watching bad movies with my wife.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Like some other bloggers have chosen to do, I’m not going to go into real depth, here. Instead, I’ll just be honest about where I’m at and where I’ve been, which is taking Prozac for over 30 years. Only within the last couple of years, I’m not ashamed to say, I have gone into therapy. Both have helped, but that doesn’t mean everyday is sunshine and roses.

Also, over the last couple days of years I’ve gotten into meditation. I’m not sure where it started exactly. However, I think it coincided with listening to a podcast I found on Spotify at the start of the pandemic called Wake Up/Wind Down podcast with Niall Breslin. I would provide a link, but the show ended this past week. He still has another podcast that is continuing, called Where is My Mind?

I also use two meditation apps: Headspace and Shine. Each has been helpful. I highly recommend looking into one or the other or both. Another good one that has lots of free meditations is Insight Timer.

I’ll end this section by sharing a few podcasts from Breslin, Headspace, and Shine, all available for free on Spotify…and maybe other podcast platforms:

Bad Movie May

Last weekend, my wife Kim and I had a bad movie weekend in celebration of Mystery Science Theater 3000 dropping most of the episodes from its first 10 seasons. We also had a selection of movies we found on Tubi for free by a local director who has a cult following among bad movie enthusiasts from which to choose. We watched one.

Now, we have extended it into Bad Movie May. I’d like to tell you all the bad movies we’ve watched so far, but there were so bad we don’t remember them — and, in some cases, alcohol helped us forget them. Most, to be honest, were from MST3K. Tonight, we’re having a double feature: Noah’s Shark, followed by the Rifftrax version of M. Night Shyamalan’s Old. We purchased the latter through Rifftrax. Using their app, you just sync the movie with the Rifftrax and wa la, a way to listen to commentary, and laugh your way, through what might be, and often is, an unbearable movie to make it through otherwise.

I’ll leave you with the trailers for both, the first being Noah’s Shark directed by the aforementioned local director and available on Tubi:

I was unable to find the trailer on YouTube for the Rifftrax of Old, but if you follow this link, you can see the trailer there for yourself.

The short of it

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.

My Own Personal Sabbath #12

This weekend, my wife Kim and I are having a bad movie weekend in celebration of Mystery Science Theater 3000 dropping most of the episodes from its first 10 seasons. We started last night by watching The Mad Monster from Season 1. Tonight, we plan watch another one or two, and tomorrow night, watch more. We also have a selection of movies by a local director who has a cult following among bad movie enthusiasts from which to choose. We found several on Tubi.

Among our movie watching, we also are doing some house cleaning, reading, journaling, and Kim went to see one of the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania, who’s visiting our town today. I have a few choices for reading, including Is This Anything?, a collection of his favorite material through the years that I’ve been making my way slowly through since the start of the year. Maybe/maybe not I’ll finish it.

Kim finished The Book of Delights by Ross Gay book, which she liked, but has no plans on what she’s reading this werkend. She said the book was a great recommendation from the newsletter The Marginalia.

So what are you up to this weekend? Reading, watching, listening to anything good?

Our Own Personal Sabbath: Vacation Mode

My own personal Sabbath this weekend extends from tonight into next week. It also becomes our own personal Sabbath, as my wife Kim and I are both off work for a week. So, starting tonight, we’re virtually going into hiding, with no notifications, no texts, no email, no news…

…but what we are saying yes to is life and laughter (and getting away and wine) especially in light of what happened last year this coming week. Kim “lost” both her mother and best friend all in the span of one week. It was, and is, as my wife described “the worst week of my life.”

That said, we want to celebrate both of their lives as well as stop and reflect (and being honest here, continuing to grieve) as this is the first year anniversary. To celebrate her best friend, we plan on watching a couple of Star Trek movies with the Rifftrax app, where three guys “riff” on the movies. To celebrate her mom, we plan on watching Mare of Easttown, because my late mother grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, where the show is set. Kim’s already seen it, but I haven’t yet. To celebrate both of them, we are getting away for a few days next week for a wine trip to the Finger Lakes, which is near where we live.

We also plan on visiting my parents, who also live nearby, and probably will see my sister and her two children, who live a few miles away from my parents.

We are easing into everything by taking it slow this weekend and I plan on ending the week off with a readathon next Saturday.

This week and next Saturday, I plan on continuing to read:

  1. Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh, which I’m also listening to on audiobook.
  2. Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld, a collection of his favorite material through the years that I’ve been making my way slowly through since the beginning of February
  3. The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell
  4. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.

I also picked up a book especially for vacation at the recommendation of Melissa Firman: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. Kim, likewise, selected a book especially for vacation: The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay.

On the fun side, I still have a few Elmore Leonard books I borrowed from the library that I haven’t gotten to and the next in the Serge Storms series by Tim Dorsey that I’ve been making my way slowly through over the last few years.

I’ll leave you with the latest album from Sault:

See you next weekend.

Easter Sabbath

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 on Sundays or Saturday and Sunday. In the interest of full disclosure, I do use my phone to listen to music and podcasts, and check out e-books from the library. Before, during, or after my Sabbath, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching for that day or days.

I’m starting right where I am, watching and listening to the the Easter Day service at Washington National Cathedral:

I realize most of you will skip clicking on the video, but I highly encourage you to skip to the musical parts with the singer Imani-Grace Cooper. During the last couple of years, her voice has been a balm to the souls of me and my wife. No matter your faith or no faith, I believe you might find this a respite for your spirit and/or mind.

In addition to this service, I also plan on watching and listening to one more video from Washington National Cathedral, probably with my wife who will be awake later this afternoon (she worked midnight shift last night):

At the start of this Lenten season, which for me as an Episcopalian began on Ash Wednesday and lasted until Holy Saturday (last night), I planned to use two devotionals from Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church and read some but not all from a selection of seven books. While I finished the two devotionals, I only finished one of the seven books, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Ordinary Life by Tisha Harrison Warren, and am almost finished with one other, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh. I will have to read the other five another time. I’ll be honest that I can’t remember a thing about Warren’s book and will have to return to it another time too.

My mind has been, and is, scattered, thanks/no thanks to a “big thing” I mentioned cryptically last week and that I won’t shed any further light on here other than to say again my wife and I and our families are all fine. It’s just too complex, personal to explain and, in the light of other events in the world, trivial.

All that said (or not said, actually), Kim and I have a scheduled vacation next week, during which we’ll spend three days on Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in upper New York State. That vacation actually begins Friday for both of us: Friday morning for my wife when she is off work at 8 a.m. and Friday night for me when I am off at 5 p.m. As it gets closer, and maybe Thursday night or Friday night, I will share more of what I (and we) have planned for our days off. It will be a time of celebrating her birthday, which was earlier this month, and the memories of her mother and best friend, both of whom passed away last year at the end of April.

So how is your weekend going? Reading, watching, listening to anything good? Please share in the comments.

Oh, forgot to mention: I woke up to snow this morning…and now, of all things, as I add this comment, we’re wishing a rebroadcast of Billie Eillish at Coachella last night.