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So many Valentines: where to begin!  This year, as I interview senior activists for the next book, my spirits are lifted – just when some optimism feels so needed – by people who are setting examples that offer hope and inspiration.  From the collector of a billion acts of goodness to the fighter for social justice; from the child advocate to the provider of a kitchen at Standing Rock; from the woman who registered all the eligible high-school age voters in her area to the man who creates urban farms – and too many more to mention here.

I’d love to send them all a Valentine, as well as our neighbors, who never let snow linger on our steps or sidewalk; the public-school teachers who are underpaid and under-appreciated; my new young doctor, who actually talks with, not at me; and the real news and, again, too many more than I can say here.

Where would you like to send Valentines this year? Please tell us here. You enlarge all of our horizons.

I send dozens of valentines to older folks I know! I love sending cards and they love mail! I am especially happy to send cards to those in nursing homes! And the best deal ever is the $1.00 helium balloons at the Dollar Tree! Love taking those to people at the nursing homes!

Greetings to all the people who make this world sweeter… I am passing on my St. Valentine’s Day kisses to The Elephant Sanctuary in TN who looks after abused and/or old circus elephants. Hugs to my friend Laura who is in a nursing home with Dementia at 52 years young….spending time with her makes me grateful that I knew her “when” and makes me humbled to know her “now”. Peace and warmth of heart be with you all

The specific question is about 2019. Unfortunately, even with some small hope seeing the new Congress, I am not feeling hopeful. Every time I feel things in the world and specifically in this country cannot possibly get worse, they do. Although taking a news break seems like a good idea, and I have done it periodically, the catch-up is almost worse. Thousands of people are actually working without pay and with no real guarantee of getting back pay. Thousands more are furloughed and have no hope of getting back pay. They are not spending money on local shops and restaurants, so these businesses are affected. If I hope to get a tax refund, and there is no guarantee of that thanks to the new tax laws, even though I have consistently gotten one for years, no one seems to be working at IRS, so refund checks will be at best late. People who rely on SNAP for help in getting food to eat will soon not have that, as the funds for that are almost gone and the program has not been renewed because of the shutdown. And we have someone in the White House who does not care. At All. About anything but himself and maybe his daughter. So I take a break and work in glass. And lately, I have been doing much more glass than previously. And I am pretty pleased with my progress. So maybe I should just close my ears and eyes to everything but my work.