In the interim…

So…

…while I was away “fishin'”

I read:

  • Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, collected and with an introduction by Joy Harjo, the 23rd and current Poet Laureate of the United States, to which I also listened with the poets reading their own works via The Library of Congress. I highly recommend listening to the poets and also reading the poems with the line breaks they intended as on the LOC website. I had the ebook version and reading the poems in PDFs was especially helpful.
  • Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman. I’ve always wanted to read this series, but never have. It’s good enough that I already have checkers out the second in the series.

I watched:

  • the final season of both CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds, with the latter being better if only for giving the viewers a better going-away party with the characters.
  • Idiocracy (with my wife).
  • a streaming video of a 2014 concert by Pearl Jam that  marked the 25th anniversary of their fourth album No Code on August 27. The October 17, 2014 show from Moline, IL saw the band perform the 1996 album from start to finish. That day also marked the 30th anniversary of their album Ten.

My wife and I also have started watching:

  • Only Murders in The Building with Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, which has been brilliant thus far.
  • Alice in Paris, which, according to The New York Times, is “a show initially aired in two-minute episodes, but those have been repackaged as eight half-hour installments.” The shows are scripted, but feature real restaurants and cafes in Paris.
  • Britbox and Starz, through 99 cents a month specials on Prime Video.

As for what’s in the reading queue, I have several possibilities:

  • Network Effect by Martha Wells
  • Fugitive Telemetry, also by Wells
  • Growing Old: Notes on Aging with Something Like Grace by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
  • The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
  • How to Find Your Own Way in the Dark by Derek B. Miller
  • The Turnout by Megan Abbott
  • Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
  • Angelica’s Smile by Andrea Camilleri
  • The Essential Muriel Rukeyser, with a foreword by Natasha Trethewy.

And last night, I went to Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago…via a livestream. I’ll leave you with a song from Angel Olsen, one of the performers I saw there.

So, how y’all been doing in the past couple of weeks since I have been away? Reading, watching, listening to anything of note? Please share in the comments.

In one of those “in-between” times

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. As I have done other weekends, I am extending my Sabbath by one day, into Saturday. This will my 35th Sabbath since starting last year.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

This weekend, I’m in one of those “in-between” times as in between this and that or more accurately that and that. This past week, I was on vacation on a virtual trip around the world, ending in Ireland, and my next vacation is only next week, as I have off from Good Friday, April 2, through Easter Sunday and Monday and then Tuesday, April 6, which is my wife’s birthday…and finally Wednesday, April 7, just for good measure.  

I also am in between shots, as I got my first covid shot on March 11 and my second covid shot on April 1, right before my vacation.  

But at least, I’m not between a rock and a hard place. *rimshot*


So…my plan to read during my vacation last week didn’t happen. As a result, I still am reading The Wings of The Sphinx, the 11th in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andrea Camilleri. After that, I have the 12th, 13th, and 14th in the series already checked out from the Free Library of Philadelphia, which are in order, The Track of Sand, The Potter’s Field, and The Age of Doubt 

When I finish The Wings of the Sphinx, it will be my sixth book of the year. So if I am a book blogger, it is in name only, with which I am okay. 


Photo by Grafixart_photo Samir BELHAMRA on Pexels.com

About that vacation last week: Over the first four nights, we went to northern England, Italy, Spain and Greece, using as our guide The Trip, the British TV/film series with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, that started in 2010 and ended last year with The Trip To Greece. I enjoyed the first two films, but I was wearying of the pair by the time we got to Spain and Greece, especially their repeated impressions of Michael Caine and other celebrities. Also, the last one ended on the death of Coogan’s father, which, although true to life, was a bit of a downer for the series. I think they also showed more of Italy than they did of Spain and Greece. Maybe it was just watching all four so close together. *insert shrugs emoji


Nothing else comes to mind that I need to share so I think I’ll leave it there for today. How are you doing this weekend? Any big plans? Any little plans? Reading, watching, listening to anything good? Share in the comments.

Going on vacation

At 2:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, I’m going on vacation until next Thursday morning at 10 a.m. when I return to work. Initially, I decided to take the time off, just because I don’t like my vacation hours to build up at the end of the year when I have to “use them or lose them.”

AND THEN…

Last month, I got an appointment for my first covid vaccination shot on Saturday in a nearby town (about an hour away), then a couple of weeks ago, another appointment for my first covid vaccination shot last night, which I took because it was in my hometown. My second is scheduled for Thursday, April 1. No fooling 😉.

SO NOW…

I am celebrating that, of course, which just happened also to be on the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring the world was in a pandemic.

AND THIS…

It is almost exactly one year from when the pandemic began for me too as the last day the library where I work was open was Saturday, March 14, and we closed Sunday, March 15, for several months before reopening.

My vacation begins appropriately right around the same time, as on March 14, I’ll already be into my vacation since Saturday afternoon. It will be almost a year to the day of when I went into isolation and have been slowly remerging since, both personally and professionally.

Now that you know the why, what is my plan for those 4 days and 19 hours?

THE ITINERARY

Over the first four nights, we’re going to northern England, Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Boston. First through the lens of The Trip, the British TV/film series with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, that started in 2010 and ended last year. The duo first toured the north of England in the TV series that was then made into a feature film, then went to Italy, Spain, and Greece in subsequent series that also were made into feature films.

So, we’ll be going with them and adding Ireland, but of course, with a concert with Flogging Molly and then Boston with another concert, Dropkick Murphys, on the tail end of our tour. Along the way, we’ll eat meals, drink drinks (well, I will be every day but as Kim has to work Saturday and Sunday nights, she won’t be imbibing on those days) and watch other movies too (at least semi) representative of each country:

  1. Saturday, March 13, The Trip (northern England),followed by movie to be determined, fish and chips, Pimm’s.
  2. Sunday, March 14, The Trip to Italy, followed by Godfather: Part 3, Coda, ziti, amaretto, sambuca.
  3. Monday, March 15: The Trip to Spain, followed by a movie to be determined, paella, Sangria.
  4. Tuesday, March 16: The Trip to Greece, followed by My Big Fat Greek Wedding – during day sometime, Staged Season 2, spanakopita, ouzo.
  5. Wednesday, March 17: Two virtual concerts, Flogging Molly at 3 p.m. and Dropkick Murphys at 7 p.m., food to be determined, whiskey.

Oops, I almost forgot that naturally I plan on reading during my vacation, but I’m staying in one country: Italy with Inspector Montalbano and Andrea Camilleri as next up is The Wings of The Sphinx, the 11th in the series.

Sunday morning update: For my second English movie, I watched the first Paddington movie, although the second one is my favorite. I started the second one, but didn’t finish it. Maybe later today. Also I realized last night that I might be painting “this picture” as all sunshine and unicorns (with rainbows coming out of their butts?), and I wanted to add that this vacation is also a time for reflection me personally. Let’s face it, this has been one hell of a year for all of us, but I’m trying to find hope wherever I can and hopefully, can help you find some too, even if it’s just a sliver of sunshine in what can be a dark world.

I’m officially back!

After taking a short break for most of January, I’m officially back! I was unofficially back yesterday for a short musical interlude, but now I’m really back. So here’s what I have been up to the last few weeks.

I’ve been continuing to read the Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri. In January I read the sixth, seventh, and eighth in the series, The Smell of the Night, Rounding the Mark, and The Patience of the Spider.

We got a new chair (electric, even with a USB port so I can charge my phone) for me and a new cat tree for our two cats (their first!).

A coworker also had some extra prints of photos from the western part of the U.S. that he wanted to give away to us for free. These are the ones I selected:

We caved (more accurately, I caved) to finally getting Disney Plus. I saw that The Muppets, the TV series, is coming later this month and it was too enticing for me to pass up. Plus I knew Kim would like to see The Simpsons. We also wanted to see Hamilton, but weren’t going to get the platform just for that. Now that we have it, we’ll watch it, but of course. Last night, the first thing I watched was Toy Story 2, my favorite Toy Story, especially for this scene, which has me in tears every single time:

Last night was no different as I bawled, from the first note. That’s all it took.

Today, I have zero plans beyond this. I don’t go back to work until tomorrow. We might watch Hamilton later today. We might not. It’s wide open. Usually on Feb. 2, we watch Groundhog Day, but this year maybe we won’t since we’ve already been living it for the last year.

Oops, added this in later: I forgot to include we watched the 1980s cult classic They Live. Kim had seen it, I had not, but when a mutual friend of ours mentioned it in conversation, we knew we had to watch it. It was over the top, but fun.

So what have you been up to since I’ve been gone? Reading, watching, listening to anything good? Share in the comments.