Revisiting, Revising, Recommending


Wherein I try to re-explain my previous post on an expiring book on my Kindle.

Last week I lamented my receiving a notification on an app that the ebook I was reading on my Kindle was expiring. Many of you offered advice on how I could keep the ebook, especially turning off my wifi or the airplane mode on. While I appreciate the advice, which was valid, I really wasn’t seeking it. Instead, I meant the post to be a joking rant about notifications pressuring me for this, that, or the other thing – and not just letting me go about my business.

I also didn’t mean to denigrate the Libby app which I enjoy and which also allows patrons to suspend a hold to be delivered later. I use that feature regularly.


Wherein I reconsider what I am doing for Lent.

As I mentioned Wednesday, I started Lent with a day off from work during which my wife and I attended an online Ash Wednesday service at the Washington National Cathedral. I also then mentioned that I was giving up alcohol, which I’m still doing during the 40 days, and reading a couple of books. However, instead, I’ve decided to keep it fairly simple with the following:


Wherein I receive some recommendations for short uplifting podcasts from followers on Instagram that I now pass on to you. Your mileage may vary.

Recently, I asked my followers on Instagram for recommendation for short, uplifting podcasts. I asked for “maybe meditative, poetry, book-related, no politics, no news, please.” Here are the ones they mentioned:

And here are a couple that I discovered:

As for this weekend, yesterday I worked at the library and then a friend and I played board games online last night. Today I’m planning on reading, continuing with the next Inspector Montalbano, August Heat, by Andrea Camilleri.

What are you up to this weekend? Reading, watching, listening to anything good this weekend? Any podcasts you recommend? Please share in the comments.

Lenten Plans 2021

In the Episcopalian tradition, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Because I am Episcopalian, that is how long I will be observing Lent. Here is what I plan on doing for Lent, in accordance with invitation from the Book of Common Prayer (p. 265) to observe Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word”:

  • Starting Lent with a day off from work today.
  • Giving up alcohol, starting today until Holy Saturday night. Over the last year, I’ve probably consumed more wine than I ought, so this isn’t a bad thing – at all. Plus I’ve gained a lot of weight, thanks/no thanks to wine, so again this isn’t a bad thing – at all.
  • Reading The Little Book of Lent: Daily Reflections from the World’s Greatest Spiritual Writers, compiled by Arthur Howells. I searched this morning for just the right devotional to use for this Lent. As I’ve already been practicing daily meditation and journaling, I didn’t want something too involved. Nothing quite hit the right note for me, and I’m not sure if this completely fits what I’m looking for, but the selections are short so I think it will do.
  • Reading Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson, starting today and then at least once each weekend until, and including, Easter weekend. I’ve had this in my Kindle library for at least a year, if not longer, but now I feel it’s time – and not a bad thing, starting here in Black History Month.

If you are a Christian and observe Lent, what are your plans for the season? If you belong to another faith tradition, do you have practices within it to reflect on our faith daily and/or periodically? Anything you read for your particular faith? If you have no faith tradition, how do you relax/meditate/stay calm?

Like last year, I used my post on my Lenten Plans 2019 as a template for this post.

The pressure of the expiring book

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 #32: Time’s Running Out…

Earlier in the week, I checked in on the ebook I am reading, The Paper Moon, the ninth in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andrea Camilleri and saw a notice that it was expiring soon with a question if I’d like to place a hold on it. This morning, about half an hour ago, I checked in and saw the message as shown in the photo at right: Time’s Running Out…Expiring Soon. Place a hold? Due in 8 Hours. Now I have until 5:26 p.m. Eastern Standard Time here in the U..S. to finish.

Thanks, Free Library of Philadelphia or Libby, I guess to be more accurate, for attempting to make me return the book that I am in the middle of reading and place a hold on it before I am done with it (yes, said sarcastically). Lately, Libby also gives me a message: “One Good Turn…” and tells me how many people are on the hold list and says something like “Would you like to return early?” No, Libby, I would not like to return the book that I am in the middle of reading or may be almost finished reading (not that it’s any of your damned business). I would like to say that, but Libby doesn’t give you a response form, only the unwanted pressure of being asked to return a book you’re not finished with.

Before I get comments that Libby is just being polite for the sake of the next patron, which might be me in the future, or that Libby is just being practical, let me say I’m not really that upset about this. I just find it slightly annoying (obviously annoying enough to write about it here, ha) that they would ask me to return a book early that I am allowed to have out for the full time. That’s the way books loaned out at libraries work, Libby.

So today, if you haven’t guessed for the next 8 hours, nay, now down to about 7, I plan on finishing the book I am reading. Basically, it will be the same plans as I posted on Instagram with the photo at left, with the following caption:

No plans for the weekend, but to read and drink…iced coffee. And maybe some wine. A oh, food and sleep. Forgive me if I left a crumb or speck on the table, but I tried to wipe it off the best I could to make it Instagram perfect. The ebook: The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri. Now I’m off to read in my real reading spot, my recliner (not pictured).

Update, 1:45 p.m.: A little after 1 this afternoon, I finished the book, with four hours to spare. Now on to the next one in the series, August Heat.

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: