Friday, November 25, 2016

My Black Friday To-Do List



1. Lose the 10 pounds I must have gained while eating stuffing, potatoes, peas, stuffing, cranberry sauce, stuffing, a good half-dozen pears, stuffing, and the tiniest sliver of dark meat I could locate. Also stuffing.

2. Get up and move! Long Island is enjoying seasonable weather. A cold snap gifted to us by our kind, generous, delightful northern neighbors to acclimatize us to the onset of winter (is my pro-Canadian sucking-up too obvious? Will it get me points on my permanent residency visa, or too blatant?) has passed.
Linda Karlin captures the sheer joy of beachfront living perfectlyOur temperatures are perfectly in line with seasonal expectations, about 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10-ish degrees Celsius. The conditions couldn’t be better. I am so amazingly fortunate to live in an assisted living facility that has 24-hour boardwalk access, and on this national day of working off our annual kick-off to a season known for its dietary excesses, my workout will be a long trip up and down this gorgeous strand. Poor me.

3. Take positive action to support causes in line with my values. I’m disabled by joint and tendon pain and distortion from severe tophaceous gout. I can’t physically go places and wield signs and I’m not wealthy so I can’t luxuriously open a checkbook for a whopping donation to many different charities. I am picky about the ones I give to as a result. This year, a tremendous need has been created that I feel compelled to help fill, and care very much that others get it on their radar to help fill as well: the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council has a list of practical items they need to receive in order to care for those standing up for that most American of values, personal liberty. I urge you to forego one, only one, item from your holiday gifting list, and contribute a practical item in support of the health and wellness of those putting their safety on the line in all our names.

4. Read! That one’s a big surprise, I know. 
I’m currently reading several books by Allison Amend, reviews to come, but I’ll tell you right this minute that almost everyone I know can pick up one of her books and thoroughly love it. From the first, STATIONS WEST, to the latest, ENCHANTED ISLANDS, Amend sees stories and makes phrases that will please and excite any reader interested in good fiction.

Also on my nightstand are three books by Eric Shonkwiler, two novels and a short fiction collection, all five-star rave worthy. His vision of post-apocalyptic America feels less like prediction than reportage that’s been quantum-tunneled back to us now in order to avert the horrors described. Do not miss out on the joy of discovery that awaits you in these books.


5. Reflect. It’s a difficult time for many of my fellow human beings. Some are seasonally challenged, shorter days and colder nights causing much discomfort physical and psychological; me, I hate summer heat enough to make this time of year a joy. Some who don’t feel this way are in need of support and encouragement, and I do my bemused best to supply some. Quite a lot of people I know are lonely at this time of year due to family fragmentation or physiological challenges that isolate them. It’s a welcome opportunity for me to give back some of the astonishing and humbling generosity I’ve received: I pay it forward and spend time with them. I offer what I have in the way of comfort but mostly I find that simple comradeship is the most prized gift it’s in my power to give.
Please, for your own sake and for the health of our national body, think about the least and the last of your own communities and do a service to someone(s) in them just by being there, present in the moment, with those you don’t see on your daily rounds.

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