November 2019

by Tom Swift

30 Saturday

  • Your past.
  • The present day.
  • Possible good times in the near future.
  • When you are enough.
  • Worshipping the right Gods.
  • Extra water.
  • The blahs.
  • Messing around in the gym at night.
  • The woman named Emma you talked greens with in the grocery store.
  • Naps.

29 Friday

  • Sleeping through the night.
  • A warm house.
  • The feeling of the side of your dog’s head on the side of your foot.
  • Stuffing.
  • Being able to talk about politics at Thanksgiving — among other real conversations.
  • Clear sidewalks.
  • Listening to David Frum, William Crystal and other conservative intellectuals talk with the integrity that comes from putting principle over party.
  • The chance to analyze your dreams.
  • A great visit to the the vet.
  • The morning routine.
  • Turkey the next day.

28 Thursday

  • Turkeys.
  • Chickens.
  • All birds for that matter.
  • Dogs.
  • Trees.
  • A clear (more or less) driveway.
  • Patrick Reusse’s Turkey of the Year.
  • George Conway.
  • Gyms that are open on Thanksgiving because when do you need to burn calories more?
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Note the book John Candy’s character is reading the first time he talks to Steve Martin’s character. Ha!

27 Wednesday

  • Snow days.
  • A tidy house.
  • Wide awake at 3 a.m.
  • Power naps because 3 a.m.
  • Getting three significant things down at work in a span of 16 minutes.
  • Pumpkin pie.
  • The neighbor who clears your sidewalk.
  • The sound of Scott Russell Sanders’s voice on the page.
  • The day before a holiday.
  • The firefighter who stops her snowblower for you and smiles at you as you trudge on by through new snow.
  • A warm shovel.

26 Tuesday

  • Thanksgiving Day workouts.
  • The power of letting go.
  • The last frontier.
  • Early mornings.
  • Short weeks.
  • Potlucks.
  • High-fives.
  • Sporks.
  • Creamed corn.
  • Confrontation.
  • Your favorite hoodie.
  • David Corn.
  • Being your own influencer.

25 Monday

  • Complicated dreams. Dreams you can sink your teeth into.
  • Feeling things deeply.
  • Going to bed early, waking up early.
  • Aaron Sorkin.
  • The sensation of hunger.
  • Never having to be truly hungry.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Sadness.
  • Being excited to hear from someone.
  • Sun boxes.

24 Sunday

  • Delayed feeling.
  • The power of “I Am Enough.”
  • A great laugh.
  • An easy smile.
  • When you find yourself giggling a lot.
  • When the values you hold most dear serve you in direct ways during big days.
  • Bright red lipstick.
  • When the checkout guy at Trader Joe’s asks how your day is so far and you have to say that up until that point it has been pretty close to perfect, with writing and lifting and meaningful conversation and coffee and spending time with someone special and blazing a new trail (new to you) with your dog at the Falls. And now you have a pesto pizza to top it off.

23 Saturday

  • Lifelong challenges.
  • Being ready.
  • Carrying it all with you.
  • Putting it all to use.
  • Setting it all aside.
  • New days.
  • New ways.
  • Being enough.

22 Friday

  • Who you are now.
  • Hearing from someone special unexpectedly.
  • Buns with butter on them.
  • The healing power of a lacrosse ball that you roll over tender muscles.
  • Tuna-avocado-radicchio times two.
  • The end of the day and it’s way late, as you had to work late, and the dishes are done and you are done, you are fed, the dog is fed, and you both have moved enough so that you are able to be still. The music is right and you don’t want to do anything else or be anywhere else. You just hang with your dog, stroking his soft fur, and dream, waking-style, before you soon slip into the nocturnal dream state.

21 Thursday

  • The middle of the night. The hours between the days. Sirens in the distance.
  • When an Amazon locker comes to the convenience store a half a block away. You don’t order a lot but it is the world right now and what that will do to discourage people with dubious intentions from even driving down the street.
  • The Southwestern style.
  • The sound of rain on the roof.
  • Corn.
  • Sean Maloney.
  • Anxiety.
  • Days that fly by because you are immersed in writing.
  • Memory.

20 Wednesday

  • A healthy appetite.
  • Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you can still sleep for three or more hours.
  • Warm November days.
  • Being able to go for two walks a day with your little buddy.
  • Routines.
  • Hard-boiled eggs.
  • Pull-over shirts.
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
  • What you learn when you teach.

19 Tuesday

  • The chance to teach a colleague.
  • The way the body knows, waking you up early and keeping you up all day, when there is something you need to tend to.
  • The bunny on the lawn before dawn that your little buddy chases off.
  • Early-week rest days.
  • A baked potato dipped in olive oil and sea salt.
  • Adam Schiff.
  • Happiness at home.

18 Monday

  • A good night of sleep. Cannot be rated highly enough.
  • Quiet moments at the end of the day with your dog.
  • Paring back. You wanted to do more but you did not have it in you to do it all.
  • Chicken wraps.
  • Cereal with pumpkin seeds in it.
  • Fresh sheets on the bed.
  • Baby arugula.
  • Doing push-ups all day, nine at a time.
  • Getting all the laundry done.


17 Sunday

  • The plants in my house. Even though I can’t name them.
  • The chance to read and write with my dog at my feet, content and asleep.
  • The urgency I feel now.
  • The chance to self-correct.
  • My job.
  • Good books.
  • Bad books.
  • Pizza delivered to my door.
  • Pam Houston’s “How to Talk to a Hunter.”
  • The large red spider I found in my basement the other day. May he be well on the other side of my walls.
  • My furnace.
  • Ray Carver’s “Cathedral.” I have read it at least four times over the years. Still fabulous. Bub!


10 Sunday
– The National Wildlife Refuge.
– The life of the dead mole we saw at the National Wildlife Refuge.
– Chocolate milk.
– A cozy home.
– The challenges ahead.

9 Saturday
– Seeing a bald eagle float through the air not very far from your head.
– Watching the Gophers win.
– Laziness. Another avenue to learning.
– The way you come alive when you are around people who also want to dig into the common challenges of being human.

8 Friday
– Decorating a space.
– When you can write about the past and not get worn out.
– Cardinals.

6 Wednesday
– Organizing a space.
– When you can write about your everyday and find yourself come that much more alive.
– Bluebirds.

5 Tuesday
– Two-walk November Tuesdays.
– Chicken sandwiches.
– Power naps.
– Recovering the day after a wasted morning.
– The sight of someone special.

4 Monday
– Having a lot of energy for the day.
– Getting so much done.
– The power of 10 minutes of meditation.
– French Toast.

3 Sunday
– Speaking truth to strangers.
– Saying what you have to say to a friend.
– Accepting the fact that you can’t reach some people at least some of the time — not excepting those you have reached before.

2 Saturday
– Showing up to the party and having a really good time.
– Pretty women who don’t act like they know they are.
– Adding carpet to the basement. Then watching your little buddy run on same.
– Cleaned out gutters.
– Motion-sensor lights with fresh light bulbs.
– Being ready for winter. As ready as you can be anyway.

1 Friday
– Making it another year above ground.
– Bringing donuts to work.
– A Baker’s Wife: the best donuts in town.
– The chance to teach a colleague.
– Working out with good guys: what a great way to start the day.