Pushing Forward Back March/April 2018

Midway through the month, I said I was in a holding pattern and that pretty much was the theme for the month. It began and ended with Kim being away for a few days each week as she visited her sister and mother in Delaware, meaning that we put on hold a couple of shows we were watching on Netflix and Amazon Prime: the first season of Money Heist on Netflix and the fourth season of Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime. Also on hold was, and is, the weather that just doesn’t want to seem to break into Spring quite yet and my reading, which is stuck in one series, The Lord of the Rings (on the third part, The Return of The King) while trying to start another, All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot.

However, together Kim and I watched movies connected with this year’s Oscars, from I, Tonya, which Allison Janney won a Best Supporting Actress to Three Billboards from Ebbing, MO, which was nominated for Best Picture and for which Frances McDormand won Best Actress and Sam Rockwell, Best Supporting Actor to Lady Bird, which also was nominated for Best Picture. Personally, I liked Three Billboards, but Kim didn’t, and we both enjoyed I, Tonya and Lady Bird, the latter of which we knew was our kind of picture from the moment we saw the first trailer. We also watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which was fun.

We also got a subscription to Britbox and I started watching A Touch of Frost and Dalziel and Pascoe, two British crime shows. I tried watching Scott & Bailey, but gave up after one season because it seemed more like a soap opera than a crime show.

On the music front, a few ditties caught my ear, but this one from February was still turning on my virtual turntable:

Pushing Forward

April begins with Kim’s birthday this coming Friday, which we’ll be celebrating Thursday night with a birthday dinner at a local pub called The Roost. We’re going then because work earlier that day than I am on Friday, giving us more time plus it won’t be quite as busy as it might be on a Friday night.

At the end of the month, I’d like to see the last Avengers movie, but I wanted to see Black Panther also and didn’t…yet. In between the beginning of the month and the end of the month, we have nothing planned, but if the weather warms up,maybe we can go out to the nearby Pennsylvania Grand Canyon for a hike. As with everything in life, we’ll see.

I’ll leave you with this funny clip from Seth Meyers (even though it’s two years old, I’m just getting to it):

How about you? How was your month of March? Any highlights with your reading, TV and/or movie watching, music listening? Any big plans for April?

Another trilogy, of sorts…

This past week I started another trilogy, of sorts…

The three books are the first in a series of five books, as published in the United States, with the last two being The Lord God Made Them All and Every Living Thing. However, I purchased these three together as a Kindle deal at the end of last year, so I’m counting them as a trilogy.

I also am reading The Lord of the Rings, still near the beginning of The Return of the King. I own that series in paperback, but started reading it in Prime reading and then purchased it in ebook in case the Prime deal ran out before I was finished with it.

I think I read at least All Creatures Great and Small when I was a teenager, because the stories so far seem familiar. I might also have seen some of the BBC series based on the books and the life of James Alfred “Alf” Wright, the British veterinarian who wrote as James Herriot. Needless to say, I am enjoying it so far and look forward to reading the rest.

With this week being Holy Week, I decided spontaneously yesterday to pick up some spiritual books yesterday on sale from Amazon — and also perhaps as penance for my not keeping to my planned Lenten fasts. The first three, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, and Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, are all by Henri J.M. Nouwen. The other two are by two different authors: Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life by Wayne W. Dyer and Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus J. Borg. All three authors are deceased, with the Nouwen books compiled from his coursework, journals, and unpublished writings by one of Nouwen’s longtime students Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird. Each are short, so who knows maybe I’ll even read a few over this coming week, especially since my wife Kim is away again for most of this week, visiting her mother and sister in Delaware.

This past week, though, Kim and I enjoyed watching a couple of movies together: Lady Bird, which we predicted correctly was “our kind of movie,” and the new Jumanji, which actually lived up to the hype from its trailers. Yes, it was completely silly and fluff, but it was good silly and good fluff, especially with all four of the leads: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, the last who was excellent as Nebula in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies and who was a welcome surprise addition here.

So how was your week this past week? Been reading anything good, watching anything good, listening to anything good?

Sunday Salon March 4, 2018

Reading: Since finishing The Two Towers, I haven’t been reading that much. I dipped my toes into The Return of the King, but haven’t jumped into it yet.

Watching: Kim and I finished the second half of the first season of The Tick on Amazon Prime this past week. It was good, although I wish there were more now. On my own, I started watching Suits, also on Prime, which Kim and I had started watching before and then stopped after only a few episodes. As I was telling Kim last night in Messenger, I think I remember why we stopped watching: “Realized how much of a commitment and nerve-wracking, wondering when he [one of the main characters] is going to get caught for being a fraud.” The character pretends he graduated from Harvard to get a job as a lawyer. Still, it is good, so far, about six episodes in.

Listening: The latest Nicholas Jaar joint, 2012-2017, under his moniker A.A.L. (Against All Logic) has been spinning on my virtual turntable.

Otherwise: Friday was an unexpected snow day at the library, so I went to Goodwill and got three shirts, a car seat cover, and this glass:

All for $11. My father mentioned that the glass might be worth something, although Kim and I both didn’t think so…until a friend said I should look for others on EBay. I did and found a couple of sets of two for $70. He was right, but really I just picked it up because I liked the design. I have no plans to purchase the others, but it is interesting anyway.

This coming week: Kim is going to visit her mother in Delaware from Monday to Thursday, so I’ll be without a car for a few days and I’ll be walking to work. It’s not so bad walking to work, but back from work will be at 8 each night, uphill, and in less than seasonable temperatures, so I’m not looking forward to that. Coworkers, though, might be able to bring me home, but either way, I’ll survive as it is only a mile.

Kim was nice enough to make me little breakfast “cups” (bacon, egg, and cheese made in a cupcake tray) for breakfast and a pot of chili for at least one dinner, if not more than that. I went to the store and got lunch meats, cheeses, wraps, chips, and yogurts for lunches so I should be set for food.

I’d like to say that I will be reading much of the time Kim is away, but to be honest, I probably will just end up mindlessly surfing through whatever is on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-30544-1379966298-17

How was your past week? Read, listen to, watch anything of note? What do you have planned for this coming week?

Pushing Forward Back January/February 2018

This past month began with a funeral, frozen water pipes, and a dead car battery, but it did get better from there. The funeral was for my aunt, who died at the end of December after being in ill health for several years, and it was good to be able to remember her and grieve together as a family. Eventually borough workers were able to thaw the frozen water pipes and in the meantime we used water via a hose from a neighbor. We got a new car battery and a tire that was going flat was fixed for free at the place where we bought our car.

What I was reading: I didn’t read a lot this month, but did finish three books:

  1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly
  3. Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith

The last two I finished during the 24 in 48 Readathon last weekend. I also continued with The Two Towers and started Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson on audiobook. The poem that struck me by Smith was this one: “Don’t You Wonder, Sometimes?” with allusions to Bowie.

What we were watching:  Among the highlights of shows and movies Kim and I watched this past month were The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Narcos, Lilyhammer, Psych, Monk, Man Down, Borderline, and Strictly Ballroom. All are available either on Prime Video or Netflix (or were at the time of this post). My favorite was Narcos, one that Kim had told me I needed to watch but I avoided for the longest time. Now I don’t know why. It was, and is, a really great show.

Here is the first episode of the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel:

What I was listening to: Most of the time I was listening to a playlist made up of My Top 15 Albums of 2017. As usual, I also was listening to radio shows on Mixcloud, with my favorite track coming from Chris Coco’s Melodica Jan. 22 show:

I’m so naive that I didn’t know the song that was used most prominently in Moulin Rouge was a Nat King Cole song.

Pushing Forward

As for February, the month begins with a couple of highlights this weekend: our annual tradition of watching the movie Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day on Friday and then going to a Super Bowl party at our neighbors. Neither one of us really care about the game, but both of us will be pulling for the Eagles: me because I hate the Patriots and as a Pennsylvanian, I still like the Eagles; for Kim, because she grew up near Philly.

Then mid-month is Wellsboro Winter Celebration 2018, with the highlight for us being the chili cook-off. It is an event to which we look forward every year.

So far, we don’t have anything planned for the end of the month but I’m sure we’ll figure out something.

On the reading front, I’ll be continuing to read The Two Towers; TV and movies, we’re looking forward to Black Panther; and musically, I don’t really know.

How about you? How was your month of January? Any highlights with your reading, TV and/or movie watching, music listening? Any big plans for February?