Wrapping Up Presidents’ Day Weekend

As I mentioned last Friday, I had a four-day weekend for Presidents’ Day and in that post, I outlined my plans. In photos first, here’s how I (and we) did.


The plan was to read, read, and read some more before going to a jazz concert with my wife. The reading plans didn’t happen as I got sucked into an impromptu It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia binge-watch. However, my wife and I did go to the concert and it was very good. It was a BYOB affair and, as you can see above, we brought our own special cups. We ended the evening at a local lounge where we met unexpectedly with some friends.


The plan was for Kim and I to go to a chili taste-off event as part of a winter celebration in our town and for me to participate later in the night in a drinkalong of When Harry Met Sally with friends online. And also to read. The reading didn’t happen again, but we did go to the chili taste-off, walked around with neighbors, and watched ice sculptors, and I did participate in the drinkalong. It had been so long since I had seen the movie, and I’m glad I was able to see it again.


The plan was for me to read (yet again) and for Kim and I to do our own drinkalong, a Sharknado Fest, if you will, with all four Sharknado movies, which are on Netflix this month. This time, I did read and finished Sacred, the third Kenzie and Gennaro, by Dennis Lehane. Next up in the series is Gone Baby Gone, which I believed I read before I knew it was part of the series, but I’m going to try it again. I think I liked it. Kim and I did watch 3 and 1/4 of the Sharknado movies. We couldn’t get through all of the fourth movie, not because we were so drunk but because it was so bad.


The plan again was (GASP) for me to read and for a second day in a row, I did just that, as I finished Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. Like Sacred, I also enjoyed this one, a straightforward noir, from one of the kings of noir, as opposed to a new noir. Beyond reading, I didn’t do much else, taking a couple of naps, which weren’t planned, but which I guess were needed.

Now I have a four-day workweek, but I don’t think I’ll have as many cool photos from that as the past four days.

Did you do anything special over this past weekend? Even if you didn’t have a three- or four-day weekend?

Fabulous Friday: 4-Day Presidents’ Day Weekend

Fabulous-Friday-680x680Each and every Friday, Michelle of the blog That’s What She Read shares what makes that Friday a Fabulous Friday for her and I do the same. Click on the image at left to be taken to this week’s post from Michelle.

What makes this a Fabulous Friday for me

Today is the start of another four-day weekend for me as I took a vacation day today from work and the library, where I work, is closed on Monday for Presidents’ Day. So here’s the plan:



  • Go to the Chili with a Chance of Chocolate Taste-Off event with my wife. It is part of a winter celebration event happening in our town. The weather is supposed to be nice, which isn’t great for some of the events, but won’t affect the chili taste-off.
  • Read. Read. Read.
  • Drinkalong with friends online. The movie is When Harry Met Sally.


  • Watching the Daytona 500 with neighbors. Read. Read. Read. (The Daytona 500 is next Sunday. Oops.)
  • A Sharknado Fest, a drinkalong created by my wife and me, wherein we are going to watch all four Sharknado movies on Netflix and drink. We haven’t set up rules yet, but it definitely won’t be a shot for every shark.


  • Read. Read. Read.

So what will I be reading?  I’m starting today with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. Beyond that, I have a few other choices, including Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett, Sacred by Dennis Lehane, and Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins.

What makes this a Fabulous Friday for you?


200 on Goodreads!

This past week I reached the 200 books plateau on Goodreads since I’ve been keeping track of the books I’ve read there since 2014.  In 2014, I read 64 books; in 2015, 80; in 2016, 48; and so far this year, eight. I thought to commemorate the occasion I’d share with you what my favorites were out of those 200. In total, there were 36, with not all being five-star ratings, but exactly half, the first 18 pictured, were:

The three genres that stand out are nonfiction, crime fiction, and young adult, with only one strictly science fiction. As I might have mentioned here previously, as a teenager, I enjoyed science fiction but since then, I can’t see to get into it. I want to…I really do, but just can’t seem to do it. Thanks in advance for your suggestions, but they probably won’t work for me either.

I also have a few books of poetry in there, but I’m a little surprised that I don’t have more than that. I guess that is yet another thing I need to work on: reading, and writing, poetry.

Twenty-four of the 36 were written by authors who aren’t white, male Americans like myself so I take that as  a good sign, and nine of the 36 were female writers so a good quarter of my favorites, which again I’ll take as a good sign.

I could break down all 200 by genre, diversity, publication dates, and so on and so forth, but to be honest,  I don’t feel like doing all that work. I’d rather write the lazy blogger post here that I’m writing and so I shall. At least, I’m reading and enjoying what I’m reading, for the most part.

Do you recognize any of your favorites among the 36 or the 200? If so, let me know which ones? What are some of your favorites so far this year?

That’s A Wrap For January 2017!

All the Books!

All seven of them:

  1. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
  2. Broken Promise, the first of the Promise Falls trilogy, by Linwood Barclay
  3. Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, edited by Marjorie Maddox and Jerry Wemple
  4. The Dry by Jane Harper
  5. Dearest Creature by Amy Gerstler
  6. The Widow by Fiona Barton
  7. Leaves of Grass: The Deathbed Edition by Walt Whitman

The last five were for the 24in48 Readathon on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22. The best of the lot was Leaves of Grass; the worst, the Linwood Barclay, which to me was just a standard boiler-plate thriller. Meh. I liked the writing in The Dry, but didn’t like the italicized flashbacks, which I’m not a fan of.

All the Life!

I already did an update of my #OneWord for 2017, which is “Invigorate,” on Tuesday. Bottom line: I didn’t, and don’t feel, very invigorated so far in 2017, mostly due to the political climate but also due to the physical climate. We haven’t had a lot of snow here in northcentral Pennsylvania but we have had cold and sleet and freezing rain and just general dreariness.

So how was your month of January? Any good books? Good movies? Good TV? Good music?

January Update On My 2017 #OneWord

My One Word for this year was, and is, “Invigorate.”  As mentioned in that original post, I set three goals to start with:

  • Physical: To begin with, to walk once a week to work.
  • Mental: To read one non-fiction book a month.
  • Spiritual: To go to church once a month, especially the church in a neighboring town, which is a bit more liberal in terms of its politics than our hometown church and has more activities there throughout the month.

I also mentioned that I’d like to journal daily, drink less alcohol, get outside more, eat better than I did this past year, and (but of course) lose weight.

And unlike last year, I’m  keeping monthly updates, which is where we are now. So how did I do? First, with the main three:

  • Physical: I walked to work once this month. Yep, I have to do better at that, but it is January in northcentral Pennsylvania and the weather isn’t exactly (or all) cooperating.
  • Mental: I read The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Dr. Brené Brown to start the year’s reading.
  • Spiritual: I did go to church once this month, but it was for a memorial service this past Saturday and it was our hometown church, so not quite what I wanted to do. I need to work on that for next month.

As for the rest:

  • this past month I did attempt to journal daily with a free e-course from Moriah of the blog Untidy Grace. The e-course was called “ABCs of The Full & Beautiful Life” and featured 26 words from A to Z, designed to inspire a more whole you. Mainly, the words (click on the link and look at the bottom of the post to see the words) confirmed what I chose as my One Word for this year.
  • this past month I didn’t drink less, get outside more, eat better than I did last year or even last month, and I doubt I lost any weight.

I’m not going to lie that over all of this is cast the pall of the latest news cycle, which doesn’t inspire me to be invigorated. Much of the time, I just play Solitaire and listen to music as I can’t focus much on reading and when I do, I only seem to be able to read shorter works, like books of poetry. Like many of you, I don’t have an answer and don’t see any (easy ones anyway) forthcoming.

I’ll leave you with a track from one of the albums I’ve been listening to lately from one of my favorite composers: