Saturday, December 21, 2019

thanks and goodbye 2019

Here it is, my attempt to recognize some of what encouraged, comforted, challenged, lightened and enlightened me in 2019. Hope you find a few that may be gifts for you as well.

Movies & TV:
  • Jeopardy (syndication), I couldn't quit watching James Holzhauer and his run of strategy and guts, all without any hint of second guessing.
  • Dead to Me (Netflix), An exploration of grief that balances the unending pain, confusion and foolishness of the moment with the (often hidden) depth of human connections following a too close death.
  • the Family (Netflix), Sadly confirms my prejudices (and skepticism) about people and matters that have overlapped with much of my past life.
  • Country Music (Ken Burns), I've only begun this series but I am certain Burns' work will feed my soul, as always.
  • The Farewell (Wang), The complexities of family practicalities, frustrations and hopes breathe through a great story and cast.
  • Toy Story 4 (Cooley), Saw it twice on summer trips with Grand-kids and now our 2019 annual Christmas ornament is "Forky."
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon (Nilson & Schwartz), Acceptance, tenacity, understanding, redemption, awakening, surprise, joy, kindness, commitment, breaking barriers... so much of what I hope and long for in each new day.
  • Judy (Goold), Zellweger brings Judy back to life reminding us of her greatness and our loss.
  • Harriet (Lemmons), Hamilton got the twenty and a Broadway show, Harriet Tubman got jobbed.
  • still want/need to watch Unbelievable (Netflix)
  • Blood (Allison Moorer) Family, memories, abuse, love, chaos, music, mental health concerns, murder, suicide and family...
  • The Nickle Boys: A Novel (Collin Whitehead) A story, rooted in history, speaking truth to any who will listen.
  • Holy Envy (Barbara Taylor Brown) Faith rediscovered through struggle, learning, community journey, questions, expansion and openness.
  • How To Forget (Kate Mulgrew) A beautifully written family story that seems to be unbelievable, but must be true.
  • Reframation (Hirsch & Nelson) Enjoyed watching my friend, Mark Nelson, guide this from idea to publication. 
  • White Fragility (Robin DiAngelo) If I want to continue thinking I'm sooo enlightened I need to quit reading books like this.
  • The Other Americans (Laila Lalami) Exceptional writing and a taught story for America today.
  • Ghosts in the Schoolyard (Eve Ewing) An examination of shifts in Chicago school that begs, "Will we ever be able to truly care for our neighbors?"
  • Mobituaries (Mo Rocca) A goldmine for trivia freaks, like me.
  • and a few more - My Ex-Life by S. McAuley, Any Man by A.Tamblyn, Confessions of a Funeral Director by C. Wilde, American Prison by S. Bauer and the Color of Compromise by J. Tisby, Talking to Strangers by M. Gladwell (late add).
  • The Happiness Lab A focus on breaking misconceptions and false perceptions while encouraging action for purposeful change.
  • Mobituaries Mobituaties makes the list twice because there are extra stories in the book and you can't get too much Mo Rocca.
  • Embedded You don't know Mitch McConnell until you listen to this.
  • The History of Standup Insight into how comedy has come to under-gird our culture and communications.
  • Another Name for Everything Richard Rohr expands on his newest book with whit, wisdom and patience insights for living forward with faith and hope.  
  • 1619 NYT series that looks at the beginnings of slavery in America, and is only hampered by too few episodes.
  • In the Dark Injustice drives me crazy, the hope of restorative justice keeps me going.
  • White Lies  Stuff we probably didn't know and stuff we can't afford to ignore or forget.
  • Revisionist History Malcom Gladwell digs and helps us learn that there are consequences for our beliefs and actions and always more to the story.
  • Almost - Dolly Parton's America (late add), Code Switch, You Must Remember This series on Song of the South, Edge of Fame, Conan Needs a Friend, the Daily, APM Reportsthe New Yorker Radio Hour...
  • An Acoustic Evening with Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt, Mt Baker Theater, January 31. Not sure who had more fun; the audience or the artists, not sure it mattered.
  • Patty Griffin, Vogue Theater, Vancouver, BC, June 16. A truly transcendent evening...until we discovered our car was towed post-concert.
  • Shout Sister Shout! Seattle Rep, December 21. If you missed it you truly missed it.
  • War and the Treaty. My new music for 2019 and I sadly ended up with unused tickets to their show in August. 
  • Turning the Tables: Celebrating Eight Women Who Invented American Popular Music (NPR). Whatever music you like I'm certain one or more of these women built the foundation on which it stands.
  • Breakdown on 20th Ave. South, Buddy and Julie Miller. A long, long ten year wait and worth every minute of it.
  • Jaime, Brittany Howard. Read the interviews, listen and then listen again.
  • Come on Up to the House: Women Sing Waits. Some of my favorite and some new artists, I needed to meet, join to honor Tom Waits in the year of his 70th birthday.
  • Father's Son, Pierce Pettis. Another favorite waits a year and delivers balm for a weary soul.
  • and - Blood A. Moorer, Love & Revelation Over the Rhine, We Get By Mavis Staples, Three Chords and the Truth Van Morrison, Traveling Through, 1967-1969... Bob Dylan...
The wrap:
  • A quick overview of my (our) year - We painted our house, celebrated our 45th Anniversary, filled our hearts and days with Grand-kids and we are growing in realization of and preparation for retirement. I hope for shalom for all that flows from and continues in loving each other. I'll end with Worry No More, a poem I wrote in early 2019 that expresses my fears, hopes and prayers as we lean into the unknown of 2020:


  1. Thanks, Jim. Wonderful insight into your fertile cerebrum.

  2. My life is richer as result of you sharing such a wide range of thinkers and ideas. Your friendship is a gift. Thank you.