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.

My Own Personal Sabbath #42

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.

So, today is the first Sunday of October and…

I am meditating…

…with Eve.

I am chilling…

…in The Chill Out Tent.

I am reading…

…the next in the Rabbi Small series.

So, what are you up to this fine Sunday?

I now am on Substack. Subscribe here.

My Own Personal Sabbath #25

My view late this morning. Cloudy. Listening to chill music. Only other things on agenda are meditation and reading.

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.

I didn’t get up as early as wanted today, thanks to taking three magnesium last night. It is 9:30 a.m. and I have had a bowl of cereal and coffee. I am listening to chill music via Mixcloud, a site that collects the works of DJs from around the world, and getting ready to meditate shortly. I plan on some “holy” reading later this morning.

I did start reading a little and realize that my obsession with prayer is coupled with an obsession to be perfect, always in unceasing prayer.

“Once the vices of the inner person have been conquered and the mind has been established in tranquility, it will be possible to enjoy unceasing prayer.”

Boniface Ramsey in the translator’s introduction to The Ninth Conference by John Cassian, ascetic, monk and theologian from the First Century

It is a place I am attempting to get to by meditating for 20 in the morning and meditating 20 minutes at night, with the “unceasing prayer” during the day in between. I make my life a prayer to you, as Christian contemporary musician Keith Green once sang –  something I got a glimpse of when I spent a month living with monks in a monastery in upstate New York more than 25 years ago. That every action in daily life can be/is a prayer offered up every day.

I offer this day up to you, O Lord.


It is now noon and after a lot of procrastination, I finally meditated for 20 minutes, well, at least 15 minutes, as I was distracted throughout. Like St. Paul in Romans 7, I know I am.

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Romans 7: 15

The plan for this afternoon is simple: to read. I picked up a copy of The Eagle Catcher, the first in the Wind River Reservation series, by Margaret Coel and am starting there. I keep trying series new to me in the hopes that I can find a good one. Maybe this will be one. If not, I have other choices of reading material. I’ll let you know later today what I think.


It is now about 7 p.m. and I am watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Because. Things.

I got about halfway through The Eagle Catcher and it’s okay so far. I probably won’t read any more tonight. Because. TV.

I’ll leave you with this that I was reminded of while watching T2:

Pushing Forward Back September/October 2020

Read

  • The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham
  • The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
  • The Moving Target by Ross Macdonald
  • Cadillac Beach by Tim Dorsey
  • Last Bus To Woodstock by Colin Dexter

Watched

  • Endeavour, Series 3 and Series 4
  • Eureka, part of Season 3
  • Mystery Road, Series One
  • The Song Remains The Same
  • The Train (1964)

Listened To

  • Gold Record by Bill Callahan
  • Comma by Sam Prekop
  • Shore by Fleet Foxes
  • Untitled (Rise) by Sault
  • Whole New Mess by Angel Olsen

Highlights of the Past Month

  • In bold in the lists above are my picks of the month as must-read, must-watch and must-listen-to, with the corresponding photos above each category. In the music category, it was close with Angel Olsen’s and Fleet Foxes’ new albums also more than worth a listen.
  • On a personal level, the big highlight of the month was the resolution of a dispute between the hospital and our insurance company from my knee surgery last year for a bill for $11,000. The short version is that after several months, we now owe nothing.
  • Other highlights included getting a light therapy lamp to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, getting a meditation app called Insight Timer to help me be more mindful at work and at home, and getting rid of an old air conditioner and loveseat. Unfortunately in the case of the latter, while moving the loveseat out of the house, I dropped it on one of my barefoot toes (I know, really smart), which looks pretty gnarly. I’m going to see my primary on Friday to see if she thinks I need to get an X-ray.

Ahead to October

However, it’s not all bad or potentially bad for me for the month of October. I’m beginning the month continuing to read The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens and Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, both of which I started this past weekend and both of which I’m enjoying. My wife and I also are looking forward to rewatching Season 6 of Schitt’s Creek, which drops Oct. 7 on Netflix. Of course, as I am writing this, I remember that we already own the sixth season on Prime because we couldn’t wait for it to come out on Netflix and bought it earlier this year so we actually can watch it again whenever. We also are awaiting the release of the new album, Chemtrails Over The Country Club, by Lana Del Rey that originally was supposed to drop in September, but hopefully will drop this coming month.

On a personal note, hopefully, thanks to the light therapy, I will be able to wake up earlier to journal, to walk and…well…just to be awake before going to work.

I’ll leave you with a taste of Lana with Matt Maeson:

How was your month of September? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What was the highlight of your month? What are you most looking forward to in October? Share in the comments.

Update, Friday, Oct. 2: My doctor said the top part of my toe was broken, even without having me getting an X-ray. She taped it together with the nearest toe and told me to take Tylenol or ibuprofen for the swelling and pain. She estimated it could take up to 12 weeks to heal. But that I might still be feeling pain in it for up to six months. If it looks bad after a couple of weeks, she said that I could call and she’d prescribe an antibiotic if infected.

Further update, Saturday, Oct. 3: After a little research, I ordered some toe wraps and a special shoe for the broken toe (middle toe on the left foot) on Amazon, all for under $50. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try to see if they help with the healing and, in the case of the shoe, keeping in mind while walking around the house to watch that I don’t bang into anything else with the broken toe.