Pushing Forward Back March/April 2019

March began with a decision the first weekend to read what I wanted and then continued with a decision the second weekend that what I wanted to read were my own books for a reading challenge. By the third weekend, I had One Foot in the Grave, but I was still reading, and by the fourth weekend, I had received bookmail from a fellow Sunday Saloner. I haven’t read that book yet, but I did read Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan and The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle, for the reading challenge.

March also began with simple plans for Lent, the first of which included a vacation day for Ash Wednesday that I took and that I am bookending with a vacation day on Good Friday in mid-April. Another plan was to read Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor, which I am reading during the Sundays of Lent.

Other things that happened during the month were:

  • My wife and I ditched Facebook (no link, no blog post…yet).
  • I changed my blog theme (visit my blog on a browser to see the new theme).
  • I started a new pay week tradition (every two weeks) of going to a restaurant in a nearby town for breakfast on Saturdays or Fridays, depending on when I work on a Saturday.
  • I attempted to start a new routine for mornings and evenings during the week to cut down on screentime and be able to read more on weeknights.
  • My wife and I hung a few framed photographs, prints, and local artwork on the walls in our living room.
  • My wife and I got tickets for a wine event on Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in New York, on the weekend of my birthday and booking a room at a bed and breakfast nearby for the Saturday night before my birthday.
  • My wife and I watched Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which we both thought was a little slow to start, but picked up, especially toward the end.

April begins with big changes, starting with an oil change (get it?) this Tuesday and new hours for the weekend at the library where I work. We are adding Sunday hours and modifying Saturday hours to match the Sunday hours. That all begins this coming weekend. Also on Saturday, my wife turns 49 (she gave me permission to tell…“I don’t care…own your age…I always hated that ‘tee-hee, I’m turning 29’…Don’t be a little bitch about getting older.”). We are going out for brunch (yes, that restaurant in the nearby town) and getting together with neighbors to play 500 Rummy.

On the reading front, I am giving up on the aforementioned reading challenge (when am I going to learn that I suck at reading challenges and readalongs and the such?) because I really do like reading not only what I want but also when I want. That said, I was glad to read the two books I did for the challenge: the first, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, because I did eventually want to read it, and the second, The Uninivited, because I wanted to read it especially since my friend John highly recommended it to me. It was good and I think if you liked the movie Rebecca or the book (which I haven’t read) that you’d like it. A movie also was made of it, that I need to find. I also want to thank Anne of the blog My Head is Full of Books for having the challenge and I wish her and the other participants the best of success on the challenge.

As for the rest of the month, I have two back-to-back (week) Fridays off in April, that includes the aforementioned Good Friday off, so I plan to put those two Fridays to good use:

  • The second Friday of the month, I will be putting out stuff for “cleanup week,” a bi-annual tradition in our town, spring and fall during which townsfolk put out stuff they don’t want or sell it in yard sales before it gets taken to the landfill. We are getting rid of a few chairs that we don’t use, including some kitchen table chairs that we plan to replace with a more comfortable chair in which I can sit when I read my Sunday Salon posts Sunday mornings.
  • The third Friday of the month, I plan on going to church in the afternoon for Good Friday services.

I am working two Saturdays this month, but because of the aforementioned change in schedule for Saturdays, they won’t be as long of days as they used to be, so I’ll have time to blog more…

…speaking of blogs, if you ever wondered how they get started, here you go:

How was your month of March? 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 looking forward to in April? Share in the comments.

Pushing Forward Back January/February 2019

January started well. I chose My First Book of the Year. I set 10 Goals As I Approach, and After I Turn, 50. I selected My One Word for 2019. The first Saturday of the month, I took my father out to lunch for his 75th birthday. The first Sunday of the month, I wrote The First Sunday Salon of the Year. By the end of the second week, I read My First Two Books of 2019. Then after a long absence, winter returned — with a vengeance. First, we got a foot of snow and then “dangerously low” wind chills for the fourth and fifth weeks of the month (when this post is published, we are expected to be in the worst of it).

The last weekend of the month, though, was a good one too as I participated in 24in48 and read 2 and 3/4 books over 11 hours. And all four books that I read this month were excellent. They were The Library Book by Susan Orlean, The 7 1/2 Lives of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields by Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin, and Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah.

My wife and I continued to revel in Canadian TV as we watched more Corner Gas (on Amazon Prime) and more Letterkenny (on Hulu). We really didn’t watch a lot of movies, with probably the highlight of the month being a rewatch of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As for music, I haven’t found a lot of new music, with only one highlight, the new album by Deerhunter, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?

February begins tomorrow with more of the same: cold, cold, cold. But then the weekend shoots up to 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) and by Sunday, the high is expected to be 42. I looked at the forecast for the month ahead and the highs are in the 30s and even 40s at times, which I’ll gladly endure, but Spring cannot come soon enough at this point.

On the reading front, I start right out of the gate this Sunday with The Big Game’s On Read-a-thon. My wife works two 12 hour shifts on the weekend (Saturday into Sunday and Sunday into Monday) so since she’s sleeping during the day on Sunday, it’s the perfect time for me to read. I did get invited to a Super Bowl party at a neighbor’s, but since I hate the Patriots and I can be honest that I really don’t care for football, I declined. I don’t know yet what I’ll be reading, but I’m going to try to keep the streak of all five-star books alive. I’ll keep you posted here and mostly for the read-a-thon on Sunday on Instagram.

TV and movies? I took a vacation day for Valentine’s Day and Kim and I already have planned the night before as a “drink-a-thon” with a Rifftrax movie or two and maybe a new Mystery Science Theater 3000 and some random TV (probably more Letterkenny) and some other random TV thrown in. Why we’re doing it that way is because she has to work Thursday night into Friday morning, as usual.

As for the rest of the month, who knows? I’ll let you know what I’m doing when it get here.

So how was your month of January? 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 looking forward to in February? Share in the comments.

Update, Wednesday night, Jan. 30, 9:12 p.m.: Just received a text about half an hour ago from the director of the library where I work that we’re closed today because of the dangerously low wind chills.

Pushing Forward Back December 2018/January 2019

A look back at 2018 and a lot of Christmas.

I wasn’t going to do this post this month because of all the other posts I’m doing this time of year (best books, TV/movies, music of 2018 posts, plus two scheduled posts for tomorrow. But after reading Amanda’s December review post, I decided why not? So here goes:

Back at December

December came in like a lion and did go out like a lamb, as I predicted. It began with my working at the library during the annual Christmas event in our town, Dickens of a Christmas, where we had a book sale over two days. Not a lot of patrons came in, but a lot of out-of-towners, which wasn’t fun (apologies to the tourists). The next few weeks were uneventful as I thought too, with a staff Christmas luncheon the Friday before the second weekend. The highlight of the following week was a follow-up doctor appointment about my sleep apnea and my using a CPAP machine, with all my numbers still looking great: down from 87 events per hour to an average of 2 events per hour.

The month ended, again as planned, with a long series of days where I was on vacation and included my wife Kim and I visiting my parents (and sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and niece) on Christmas Day. Tonight, we’ll be going to the neighbors for a New Year’s Eve party, but will be back around 10 since they usually go to bed around that time. We’ll stay up to ring the new year in and then tomorrow I’ll be posting my first book of the year and my goals for 2019, the year I turn 50.

Since I already did my wrap for books, TV/movies, and music for the year, I’m going to keep it short on what I read, watched and listened to this past month. I don’t really have a choice with what I read since I read NOTHING this month. We discovered a couple of new shows: on Netflix, on our own, Derry Girls, which was really good, but sadly only one season; on Amazon Prime, thanks to my brother-in-law and sister, Corner Gas, which we have to watch together now. I gave a second chance to an album I dismissed earlier in the year, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino by Arctic Monkeys after seeing it on a lot of year-end best-of lists and now love it. Jeff Tweedy also came out with an new album, WARM, which we only have started listening to, but already love too.

Forward to January 2019

January begins…well, tomorrow, with a day off with my wife. No concrete plans, other than day drinking and binge-watching. Then this Saturday, weather permitting, I’m taking my father, who lives about an hour and half away out to lunch for his 75th birthday.

The month ends with the 24in48 Readathon and I have several books from which to choose already. On the TV series/movie front, we’re looking forward to watching more Corner Gas and as for music, I’m not anticipating any new releases. We’ll see what comes along…as we will with the rest of the month and the year.

We knew we’d love this right from the start.

So how was your month of December? 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 looking forward to in January? Share in the comments.