A best of previous posts celebrating this great American holiday (and one observed in other countries as well–but on different dates) .
On this day we offer our thanks and appreciation for the bounty in our lives. For some, it’s a religious occasion. For others it’s all about eating turkey and watching parades or football. For me, it’s all of that.
I am so very thankful for the loving relationship with my wife–a marriage that has endured for 38 years now. I am also thankful for still being alive and kicking after some medical challenges facing me this year. More on that in December but meanwhile, click on this short music video with the “Alive and Kicking” chorus.
“None of us can exist in isolation. Our lives and existence are supported by others in seen and unseen ways, be it by parents, mentors or society at large. To be aware of these connections, to feel appreciation for them, and to strive to give something back to society in a spirit of gratitude is the proper way for human beings to live.” Daisaku Ikeda
I owe gratitude to countless people. My parents, who brought me into the world, especially my mother who did her best to care for me after my father passed away. My brother and his wife who took me in at age 16 after my mother too passed away. Another brother who offered many life lessons. Teachers who inspired and gave me tools I use today. The person who introduced me to Buddhism and all those who have guided and inspired me in continuing to grow in that practice which has enriched my life.
Whatever your observance of this day may include, I hope it will bring much joy and happiness. Eat well if you can but not more than you should. Stay away from politics if possible; it likely won’t help the digestion or make for a happy occasion. Give thanks and appreciation in the way best suited to you and your family.
Happy New Year! Hope you had a great 2017 or at least survived it and look forward to a wonderful 2018. 😀
Like the blog itself, this will be an eclectic post. Often, the posts here are about my thoughts or opinions–it is my blog after all. 😉 In 2018, we’ll try to reach out and involve others more. What are friends for after all? 😛
Here’s what’s in this New Year’s first post:
A thank you to the friends I grew closer to and valued more, as well as some new ones who I discovered or who discovered me
Accomplishments we have made in 2017
A blessedly brief reminder of the most frequent topic here in 2017–Trump and the GOP (Greedy Old Plutocrats)
A very short synopsis of and link to a post about resolutions that has graced Views before–the point being to regard them as real as you want them to be and how to make them happen
My own goals and determinations for 2018–in other words, not what I wish for but what I will do [if you want to skip ahead, it’s at the end of this longish post]
Getting more engaged with more fellow writers–a resolution that I didn’t make expressly clear in my own mind but succeeded at (somewhat) in 2017. So thank you to all that visited here or elsewhere among my blogs and websites. We helped one another this year. I will extend myself more in 2018. The value of that became evident to me as I launched The Fountain short story collection and a tenth anniversary edition of Waiting for Westmoreland.
So thank you to Debby Gies, Sally Cronin, Chris “The Story Reading Ape” Graham, Nicholas Rossis, June Randolph, Tina Frisco, Byron Edgington and many more. For those I didn’t name, please don’t feel slighted; the memory isn’t what it used to be and time is running short to finish this. 🙄 Many of you launched new books this year as well. I will try harder next year to be of more help to you. I know the 80-20 prescription–I just need to follow it. 😉
2017 Revisited–i.e., mostly victories
Lost more than 23% of body weight (nearly 60 pounds), substantially exceeding the goal I set
Exercised more consistently than ever
Unexpected bonus–the change in our eating habits that made weight loss possible also saved big bucks on the grocery bill!
As noted above, published a short story collection and a tenth anniversary edition of Waiting for Westmoreland
Made more connections with other writers
Made more sales of my books (thankfully, I’m retired and don’t need to sell books to meet expenses, hahahaha)
Gave away many more books than ever before, see above 😎
My wife and I made a trip back east to visit family and friends that we greatly enjoyed, while the traffic and human congestion reminded us why we don’t miss the DC suburbs
Victories were many and defeats few–most of the latter were minor home maintenance issues which themselves were covered by warranties (hurrah)
Trump and the GOP
Just do a search and you’ll find 30 or so posts on them, just last year with more in 2016. I will try to restrain myself to one per month in 2018. Let’s do the first one right now–very short.
Let’s make a new fairy tale for the 21st century–“The President Has No Sense.” Today, the GOP sycophants all praise the mindless Trump as if he has wisdom. We all know differently. His tweets reveal the truth.
David Rothkopf said this morning on MSNBC, “It’s not hyperbole to say Trump has lost it.” Not hyperbole, just mistaken. Trump couldn’t lose what he never had. How can anyone run a casino into bankruptcy?
Steve Bannon says the June Trump Tower meeting with Donald Junior et al, was “treasonous” and that Mueller will “crack him like an egg on national TV”. Quite possible.
Consider Junior’s own words, there are people “at the highest levels of government that don’t want to let America be America.” Exactly, people like himself, his father and other members of the White House–not to mention the members of Congress who want to destroy the FBI and other institutions. Trump and many his supporters in the GOP would rather America be like Russia.
Do you suppose Trump will throw “his own son” under the bus during the Mueller investigation? Take a close look at the jet black hair and the face on “junior.” Was there a sperm donor way back when? Junior somewhat resembles Ivana, but not his supposed father. May make a difference when the fecal matter hits the fan!
Did you happen to watch the Bill Murray classic “Scrooged” this holiday season? We did and couldn’t miss this line while Mr. Cross (Murray) found himself below a street grate with an ice-covered Herman (Michael J. Pollard)–“Where are we, Trump Tower?” This movie was released in 1988! Trump Tower opened five years before!
To paraphrase Ivanka, there’s a cold place in hell for people who rob from the poor to give to the rich–and saddle grandchildren and great-grandchildren with a massive deficit to pay for. They’re the Greedy Old Plutocrats who passed the “Tax Scam and Millionaire and Up Wealth Enhancement Act of 2017.”
Finally, who has the smaller hands and shorter fingers–Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump? We know the latter is worried about the size of his manhood by the tweet about nuclear buttons don’t we? Maybe there’s been more than one sperm donor along the way, eh?
Make Your Resolutions Come True
Don’t call them resolutions–call them determinations
Make an action plan to attain or achieve them
Execute the plan
Monitor your progress
Forgive yourself for occasional shortfalls
Never give up
Reread my Resolutions Revisited post from last January–I planned on losing 36 pounds–I got there by the end of July and kept on losing.
2018 Goals, Determinations, Plans
Reconnect with our daughter (a blindsided estrangement that happened late summer of 2017–at her instigation)
Lose 30 more pounds and tone up the muscles on a home gym
Connect with many more fellow writers and bloggers–to support them and gain wisdom from them; I’ll flesh out some target numbers of subscriptions, follows, etc. by February 1st to make this real
Make more effective use of Goodreads
Read at least 24 books and post reviews of them
Transition from LinkedIn to Facebook mid year and retain 500+ connections
Publish a novel, The Vacation, for the 2018 holiday season–at 35,000 words of a first draft I have a long ways to go!
Post less political stuff and more writing tips here–subject to the winds of change 🙄
Continue posting snippets of works in progress on John’s Writing
Continue publishing the Eagle Peak Quarterly
Take at least one great vacation, location TBD, and a few short excursions