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.

Easter Sabbath

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.

I’m starting right where I am, watching and listening to the the Easter Day service at Washington National Cathedral:

I realize most of you will skip clicking on the video, but I highly encourage you to skip to the musical parts with the singer Imani-Grace Cooper. During the last couple of years, her voice has been a balm to the souls of me and my wife. No matter your faith or no faith, I believe you might find this a respite for your spirit and/or mind.

In addition to this service, I also plan on watching and listening to one more video from Washington National Cathedral, probably with my wife who will be awake later this afternoon (she worked midnight shift last night):

At the start of this Lenten season, which for me as an Episcopalian began on Ash Wednesday and lasted until Holy Saturday (last night), I planned to use two devotionals from Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church and read some but not all from a selection of seven books. While I finished the two devotionals, I only finished one of the seven books, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Ordinary Life by Tisha Harrison Warren, and am almost finished with one other, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh. I will have to read the other five another time. I’ll be honest that I can’t remember a thing about Warren’s book and will have to return to it another time too.

My mind has been, and is, scattered, thanks/no thanks to a “big thing” I mentioned cryptically last week and that I won’t shed any further light on here other than to say again my wife and I and our families are all fine. It’s just too complex, personal to explain and, in the light of other events in the world, trivial.

All that said (or not said, actually), Kim and I have a scheduled vacation next week, during which we’ll spend three days on Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in upper New York State. That vacation actually begins Friday for both of us: Friday morning for my wife when she is off work at 8 a.m. and Friday night for me when I am off at 5 p.m. As it gets closer, and maybe Thursday night or Friday night, I will share more of what I (and we) have planned for our days off. It will be a time of celebrating her birthday, which was earlier this month, and the memories of her mother and best friend, both of whom passed away last year at the end of April.

So how is your weekend going? Reading, watching, listening to anything good? Please share in the comments.

Oh, forgot to mention: I woke up to snow this morning…and now, of all things, as I add this comment, we’re wishing a rebroadcast of Billie Eillish at Coachella last night.

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:

Pete and Repeat…

…were sitting on a wall. Pete fell off. Who was left?

Pete and Repeat were sitting on a wall…

My Own Personal Sabbath #6 (Redux) of 2022

So, last weekend’s mostly digital sabbath didn’t go as well as planned, because of a combination of unforeseen circumstances (everyone is okay now), technical difficulties (stupid cell phones), and self-sabotage (stupid me 😉). So I’m calling a do-over starting late tomorrow afternoon to late Monday morning when I return to work. And my wife Kim is joining me.

This time the phone is literally going in the drawer with all notifications shut off and only phone calls allowed from immediate family. We’ll be listening to podcasts and music on Spotify through our Roku Streambar. I have a playlist of podcasts already set up:

The music is yet to be determined, but the movies we plan on watching are Oscar nominees for Best Picture:

  • Belfast
  • Drive My Car
  • Licorice Pizza

We already have watched:

  • CODA
  • Dune
  • King Richard
  • West Side Story

Out of those four, without having seen the other nominees yet, CODA would be the winner for me. Kim is split between Dune and CODA.

We don’t have Netflix so we won’t be watching Power of the Dog and Don’t Look Up, and we have no interest in Nightmare Alley even though it is available on HBO Max and Hulu, both of which we have.

And bonus, maybe we’ll watch Flee, maybe The Worst Person in the World, both up for Best International Feature. However, we might not watch them this weekend.

As for what we’ll be reading, I have a list of a few things that I am reading daily for Lent and just throughout the year:

  • Are We There Yet? Pilgrimage in the Season of Lent, a devotional from Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church
  • Meditations from Washington National Cathedral, another devotional from Forward Movement
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell
  • The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.

I also have others that either I already have started or want to start:

  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
  • Nuclear Jellyfish by Tim Dorsey.

Kim also said she’ll be doing some journaling and not sure what she’s reading.

So there’s our weekend…what about y’all? Whatchya up to this coming weekend?