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:

Gone ‘Til November

Earlier this week, my wife invited me to a news blackout on Election Day, and I accepted. To help in that endeavor, I also am taking vacation days on Monday and Tuesday that week. And now since I already have voted, and I don’t need or want to hear anything more on the election, I have decided to extend the news blackout backwards to start tomorrow. Along with that, I’m signing off here on the blog and on Instagram for the rest of the month until after the election.

So what will I be doing if I’m not thinking about the election or the news?

On the literary front, I have choices with plenty of books I already own on Kindle from which to choose and a few books I’ve checked out from the library, including Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden and the third, fourth and fifth books in the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

On the cinematic front, I am thinking about a rewatch of the sixth season of Schitt’s Creek and continuing to watch the best episodes of Cold Case on The Roku Channel before the show expires at the end of the month. I miss Drunk History, but I’ll drown my sorrows with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax movies.

On the musical front, I am hoping that Lana Del Rey drops her new album Chemtrails over the Country Club before the end of the month and if not, I’ll continue to listen to Taylor Swift’s latest album folklore over and over again as I pretty much have been doing since it was released in late July.

I also will be continuing an online six-week introductory course for Christian Meditation that is being hosted by a group in Houston, Texas and to which I was invited by Deb Nance of the blog, Readerbuzz, and host of the weekly Sunday Salon. The group is part of The World Community for Christian Meditation. I admit that on the night of the election, I will be skipping as (my wife and) I will be “meditating” over a big bottle of wine or other alcohol-based libation.

…after the election (when hopefully we won’t have to move to Celine’s country).

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.

My Own Personal Sabbath #19

Every Sunday since mid-May 2020, 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. This Sunday, I try something new, checking in here on the blog every few hours during the day.

Today began with dishes. Not the most glamorous thing, but there you go. That’s how it started. It is now 10:45 a.m. and I’ve had a bowl of Special K Red Berries with with added fresh strawberries and a hint of cane sugar with soy milk. I’m drinking an iced coffee and listening to this, a show I often listen to on Sunday mornings:

Today, I plan on reading The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett after a friend mentioned the movie series and I realized I never had read any of the books. I was on hold for an ebook version at the Free Library of Philadelphia, but the wait was a few weeks. Then I remembered that our library probably had a copy. We didn’t, but it is in a Library of America Collection of Hammett’s novels we have. The print is small, but not as small as I thought so hopefully I’ll be okay.

Other than that, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. It’s supposed to be rainy all day so I’m glad I got a walk in yesterday. Actually I went on two walks: the first, a meditative walk using an app called Insight Timer; the second, a walk to Dollar General down the street to get new sponges and cat litter (I know, my life IS exciting!). I might watch something fun later with Kim once she gets up. As a 911 dispatcher, she normally works a 12-hour shift from Saturday into Sunday and then another one tonight into tomorrow, so she’s sleeping now. Check in with y’all later this afternoon. Until then….


It’s now about 1:45 p.m. and I’m about halfway through The Thin Man. Overall, it’s good so far, except one strange diversion to an encyclopedia-like entry about cannibalism in the Old West in the late 1800s. Otherwise, I’m enjoying it. I’m about to have an omelette on a tortilla wrap and a glass of wine (hey, don’t judge me, it’s the weekend).


6 p.m., and I just finished The Thin Man, which was good if not great, after a short nap. In the notes to the collection, I learned, among other things, that the book wasn’t the first in a series and actually was the last novel he wrote. I’m now signing off to eat dinner with Kim before she goes to work.


It’s almost 9 p.m. and I’m now watching Eureka. I think I remember where I left off years ago, in Season 3, so I’m picking up there…or about there.