Brian Sicknick, a member of the Capitol Police who died in the January 6th attack on the Capitol, was on display in a triangular container in the Rotunda the other night. One by one, members of Congress and his colleagues filed by to honor him. Without fanfare, President and Dr. Biden came to stand at that container. The President placed his hand on the table. The Bidens placed their hands over their hearts. Biden crossed himself. Did that scene break you? It broke me.
Valentine’s Day? In years past, I’ve resisted writing Valentine’s suggestions because it is just so obvious that if you haven’t grown your romance in the last 364 days, there is no way to make magic with a big show on the 365th.
But this year is different.
It is horrifying that, according to an NBC News poll, as late as mid-January 74 percent of Republicans voters believed Biden did not win the election legitimately.
It is terrifying to read in the Washington Post that more than 2 million guns were sold in January, an 80% jump and the second-highest monthly total on record.
And, above all, it is harrowing to live every day with the fear that an unfortunate encounter can lead to sickness or death.
Love is in the air? Well, so is the virus.
This year, with our emotions raw, my priority for Valentine’s Day is the cliched “gift of life.” Not candy, not chocolate, not the $169,000 Bentley Bentayga SUV. This is the year for personal expressions of affection. A hand-written note. A meal you cook. A favor. Something that says gratitude, caring, and the ultimate: recognition and acceptance. And life preservers. Above all, live preservers. Then charity, especially food banks. Then a few tangible things, just because.
This is the single most important gift. Putting it bluntly, if your beloved doesn’t have one and you don’t give him/her/them one.. how much do you really care? Two “thank you” emails from readers who bought them early and used them daily are more convincing than anything I could write:
Note #1: When I read your piece on the pulse oximeter early last year, I purchased one right away and used it daily. Many many months later, my mother lost her sense of taste and I immediately gave her my oximeter. She monitored her oxygen levels religiously and when she dropped to 91 we made our way to the hospital. She ended up having a pretty serious case of COVID with a two-week hospital stay. She is home now and recovering very well. We continue to use the oximeter to monitor her recovery. I just wanted to share our story to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Note #2: “C— is coming home from the hospital. If he hadn’t checked himself every day with the oximeter…”
LYPHO-SPHERIC VITAMIN C
Most of the Vitamin C in pills or capsules — that is, Vitamin C in the form you probably take — never reaches the bloodstream. Estimates of its absorption rate are less than 50%. Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C has a 90% absorption rate. And that’s just the start of the good things liposomes do.
Clinical trials show that taking vitamin D supplements reduces the risk of experiencing at least one respiratory infection, including influenza and pneumonia, by a third, with positive benefits seen within 3 weeks. [To buy Vitamin D3 Enhanced with Coconut Oil from Amazon, click here. To buy Vitamin D3 in Fruit Flavored Gummies from Amazon, click here.]
7 IN 1 IMMUNE SUPPORT BOOSTER SUPPLEMENT WITH ELDERBERRY, VITAMIN C AND ZINC 50MG, VITAMIN D 5000 IU, TURMERIC CURCUMIN & GINGER, ECHINACEA
Elderberry delivers antioxidant and immune support. It decreases the severity and length of the flu. It’s an antiviral. It has been shown to deactivate viruses, is an allergy reliever. It’s said to be great for the skin. These Immune Support Capsules are packed with more than 1500mg per serving of the top 7 immunity-boosting ingredients: 350 mg of Elderberry with Turmeric and Ginger, 50 mg of Zinc citrate oxide, and for an extra immune boost, Vitamin D3 5000 IU, 1000 mg of Vitamin C, and Echinacea.
Pretend you’re living in Beijing. For the next six months, maybe longer. [To buy a pack of 15 disposable masks from Amazon, click here. To buy high-quality masks with a filter pocket from Alice Glass, a Butler reader and theatre artist in Berkeley, click here.]
“Apparently, Queen Elizabeth attributes her strength in getting thru the virus and last flu season to her daily tablespoon of Raw Wedderspoon Manuka Honey. It’s made in New Zealand and the Prime Minister of New Zealand gave her a jar.” It delivers major doses of amino acids, enzymes, and B-complex vitamins, particularly thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and B6. Even better, it contains substances that stimulate the production of cytokine, the proteins involved in strengthening the body’s immune system and helping it fight off pathogens and diseases.
This is the most important thing I do each day, not just for my lungs but for my spiritual uplift and creativity. A few months ago, I abandoned my clunky New Balance running shoes and upgraded to the recently introduced Allbirds Tree Dashers. I’ll never switch. [To read about Allbirds Tree Dashers and buy a pair, click here.]
LEVOIT AIR PURIFIER
An assistant for your lungs. Its 3-stage filtration traps 99.97% of fine particles 0.3 microns in size, including pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and smoke. It is almost completely silent. In sleep mode, you don’t know it’s on.
LAMICALL LAPTOP STAND
If you work on a laptop, you probably hunch over to type. You very likely have deteriorating posture, neck stiffness, and lower back pain. This stand makes a dramatic difference.
The idea is simple: if you sleep under a heavier blanket, you feel comforted. Cuddled. Even returned to the womb. And… you sleep.
ZOJIRUSHI INSULATED MUG/THERMOS
Take that, terrible winter! What is astonishing about the Zojirushi thermos is how long hot stays hot and how long cold stays cold. Fill it with 16 ounces of steaming coffee in the morning, and six hours later, you can still burn your lips. Put ice cubes in a cold drink, and, six hours later, there’s still ice. Stylish? It’s sleek. At 9.5 inches, it’s just the right size for a tote.
PALOMINO BLACKWING PENCILS
John Steinbeck wrote with a Blackwing. Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Quincy Jones used Blackwings for scores. They are “the best pencil ever made.”
FRASIER FIR CANDLES
The Thymes Frasier Fir candle in a dark green glass won’t quite convince you that there’s a fir tree in the corner, but it proposes the idea.
It takes 1,300 roses to make ONE gram of pure rose oil used in a Diptyque. This candle, though not cheap, lasts much longer than most other candles — between 50-60 hours. Once it fills a room with scent, you can blow it out and the room will continue to be gently perfumed for hours. And when it’s burned out, you’ve got a vase for short-stemmed flowers.
THICH NHAT HANH: TEACHINGS ON LOVE
A celibate monk. What can he know of love? This: Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love…. In true love, there’s no more separation or discrimination. His happiness is your happiness. Your suffering is his suffering. You can no longer say, “That’s your problem.”
DEVOTIONS: THE SELECTED POEMS OF MARY OLIVER
Mary Oliver was the most popular — that is, bestselling — poet in America. If you read poetry, that style and message immediately identify the poet for you. Even if you’re only an occasional reader of poetry, you probably know that conversational voice, because it’s almost impossible to be unfamiliar with her most famous line: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”
THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
In the Netflix series, Beth Harmon was a chess whiz who knew exactly how good she was and was beautiful and wore great clothes. In the novel, she’s a lonely, broken girl with poor social skills who has one gift and is fighting for her life. To meet her is to love her.
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