My Own Personal Sabbath #13: The Pruning

Subtitle: The Slow Burn

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.

If you could look at my history on Libby of books I’ve checked out and not read just from this year, it probably would be at least 50 books. Likewise, I’ve probably checked out at least a dozen physical books from the library where I work (and have worked for the last decade) that have gone unread. Others, I have checked out and returned a few times but not read yet. However, in total, I’ve only read just under a dozen at 11.

So I’d guess you could say that I have an omnivorous appetite but only a small “stomach” for reading. In a way, it’s similar to pruning in that I let lists build up, then I borrow too many books, and finally I cut back to what I really want to read.

And sometimes I digest books slowly. For example, the last book I finished was Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld, a collection of his favorite material through the years. I’ve been making my way slowly through it since the start of the year. Then the two books previous to that I finished were two short devotionals read over the 40 days of Lent.

Out of the other eight books, only three were read in less than a week, with two, both nonfiction, taking about a month. The other three, all but one nonfiction, were read at about a week. So I guess you also could say that I like the slow burn when it comes to my reading, especially with nonfiction.

All of the fiction I’ve read this year (all FOUR of them) were all crime fiction, and the next fiction books that I plan to read are all crime fiction, all by Elmore Leonard. They are Get Shorty, Be Cool, and Out of Sight, all three which were made into movies. I’ve seen all but Be Cool, but plan to watch all three when I’m finished with them.

So, this afternoon, I plan on starting with Get Shorty and then reading Be Cool next Sunday afternoon and Out of Sight on the last Sunday of the month. Maybe Kim and I can have a mini-Elmore Leonard filmfest on Memorial Day as we are both off work that day.

This morning, I’d like to start Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren. I bought a copy but I also have it in audiobook on loan from our library consortium’s electronic resource collection. I liked Warren’s book, Liturgy of the Ordinary, which I read earlier this year, so I thought I’d give this one a try.

As for what we’re watching tonight, I’ll refer to yesterday’s post, where I mentioned that.

My Own Personal Sabbath #11: Last Day of Vacation

This past week, I was off work along with my wife. I had planned to do a little bit of reading, but it didn’t happen. So, instead I will try to do a little bit of reading today before I go back to work tomorrow. Initially, I had planned to participate in today’s readathon. But just this morning, I decided I just want to read free of social media since tomorrow will be my first day back to work. I need the social media sabbath today and am doing My Own Personal Sabbath one day early.

I’m sticking with a few of the Elmore Leonard books I selected to read last week and maybe finally finishing 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 start of the year.

Other than reading, we are having our “burger night” tonight. We have Impossible burgers and Alexia onion rings. Most likely, we’ll also have wine from our trip up to Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, in New York.

We’ll probably watch something, yet to be determined.

So, that’s about it for me for today? What are you up to this weekend? Reading, watching, listening to, doing anything good? Share in the comments.

Photo above is where I’m posting this from, as I am starting my reading today. It’s almost noon and while it’s a late start, at least it’s a clear day.

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.

My Own Personal Sabbath #8

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.

Two weeks was the week of little things, one after another, many unexpected, that led into last weekend’s sabbath. This past week, it was, without going into details and being admittedly cryptic, one big thing (don’t worry, my wife and I and our families are all okay) that led into this weekend’s Sabbath, which already is in progress.

I’m writing this Saturday morning. It’s about 10 a.m. I’m listening to the soundtrack for the movie Drive My Car by Eiko Ishibashi. My wife is also off from work this weekend and she is in the next room, journaling and listening to the music with me. Her birthday was this past week and we had a pre-birthday celebration earlier in the week. Last night, we had a post-birthday celebration with dinner and a movie, popcorn and wine. The celebration will continue throughout this weekend and the month.

Besides journaling and meditation this weekend, I also plan on continuing to read the devotional books I chose for Lent last month, and reading and listening to Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh and narrated by Dan Woren. I only have about an hour left in the book and probably will finish it this weekend. As usual, I set up a playlist of podcasts set up that includes the 100th episode of Niall Breslin’s podcast, Where Is My Mind?:

On the fiction front, I have several books from which to choose, but I’m not sure yet what I’ll read, if anything this weekend. Among my choices are books by Elmore Leonard and Tim Dorsey.

Tonight we’ll probably watch some fun TV, with a bevvy of choices, including Tacoma FD, The Righteous Gemstones, and a Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie. We’ll see what we are in the mood for tonight. Tomorrow, along with my reading, I’ll be chilling out in the 21st edition of The Chill Out Tent, which is celebrating its second birthday. I’ll leave you with a sample from a recent session: