An Attitude of Gratitude

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Woo hoo! Thanksgiving’s next weekend!

It’s my favourite long weekend because of the magic three: amazing food, mild autumn weather and time to appreciate all that turkey goodness with my wonderful family. This year will be extra special because we’ll all be together. (Last Thanksgiving my Sailor was in Afghanistan and I was a nervous wreck, but he came home safely so we’ll focus on the positive.)

I love the idea of giving thanks for all the blessings in life, but I’m usually too stressed about things beyond my control to be thankful.

Fortunately, the most amazing source of all information (the internet) has tons of stuff about gratitude and thankfulness. Mind Body Green caught my attention with its “scientific proof that being thankful improves your health.” (Does this mean I’m actually harming my health because I’m too worried to be thankful??? I’m going to need some extra wine to get through this gratitude stuff.)

Thankfully (see how I worked that in!) it’s not really so hard to be thankful.

It turns out Oprah was right when she directed us to keep a gratitude journal. Every week, jotting down three to five things you’re grateful for (like season five of The Walking Dead) can lead to increased energy, happiness and hope.

Don’t limit your gratitude practice to journalling. Create art to demonstrate your gratitude. Speak about it. Blog about it. (For example–I’m grateful my Sailor demonstrates his gratitude for our family by cooking me a delicious turkey dinner every year!)

Train yourself to think grateful positive thoughts. This is a hard one for me, but I want some of that joy the grateful people flaunt so I’m going to give it a try.

It’s not like I have much choice. Gratitude combats depression, anxiety and loneliness. With stakes this high, I just hope I can be grateful enough…

The Lady of Wolfthorn Hall

013I’m late to the party, but I’ve finally arrived!

The Game of Thrones party, that is.

Sure, I’d heard the buzz around this throney drama, but I was too busy catching up on Breaking Bad, Rome and The Walking Dead to start another show. This week, my sailor convinced me to give Thrones a try.

Let me tell you, after binge watching season one, I get why it’s so popular and all the cool kids are fans.

The allure of Game of Thrones goes deeper than its compelling plot. Game of Thrones is the first show I’ve ever watched where my life imitated art. (A good thing considering my other favourites feature insatiable zombies and violent meth cooks.)

No, I didn’t start receiving messages via raven instead of email. I ran out of deodorant on Sunday.

I had to use my sailor’s Old Spice. I expected I’d smell like a pirate until I read the scent name: Wolfthorn–ooh!

Forget pirates. Wolfthorn could be a Game of Thrones location. (It’s left of Winterfell and south of Kings Landing.) There’s even a crest on the label–two animals (wolves?) cuddled up, paws entwined. If I was a princess, I’d want a crest like that, except with Chihuahuas instead of wolves.

I looked forward to smelling slightly earthy with a hint of wood smoke and notes of leather and hay. How exciting! I would smell like a knight!

Surprisingly, Wolfthorn is crisp and lemony. It’s almost as fresh and pretty as my usual green tea and cucumber deodorant.

Who knew all those rugged knights smelled like girls?

Belly on up to the Bar

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I’ve found another series to binge watch while I wait for season 4 of The Walking Dead to come out on DVD. It’s Rome and it’s fabulous! There are only two seasons, but they’re long. (Did I mention it’s fabulous?)

Unfortunately, devoting a couple of hours a day to Rome-ing means other things get neglected–namely baking.

It was time to make cookies so I devised a plan to streamline the process: bars! Think of the time saved if instead of individually forming three dozen little cookies I just squished all the dough into a pan, baked it and cut it into perfect, crumbly bars when cool.

It seemed like a good idea until I turned the cooled pan over the cutting board and smacked it to loosen the giant cookie rectangle. Part came out according to plan, but lots didn’t. Since it’s the cook’s prerogative to eat everything that’s not quite perfect, I scarfed down all the broken bits even though I wasn’t hungry.

Bloated and sluggish, I still had to clean up the kitchen which was covered in sticky crumbs from my wrestling match with the cookie mass.

The good news? After presenting the family with these unpleasant bars, no one will be asking me to bake anytime soon. Oh, and now I can get back to Vorenus and the gang!

Happy 2014!

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True confession–I fell asleep well before midnight on New Year’s Eve. As expected (I am nothing if not predictable) I was lounging in front of the TV. As unexpected (even I have the capacity to surprise–occasionally) I was watching a Walking Dead marathon and not a glitzy New Year’s Eve count down show.

Surprisingly my choice of programme was somewhat uplifting. It was a repeat of season two–the survivors were living a bucolic, somewhat safe post-apocalyptic life on Hershel’s farm. However, in some ways it was real downer because (spoiler alert) most of the characters will be dead and walking by mid-season four. (Shane–I know you had to go, but I still miss you!)

When I woke up and wiped the trickle of drool off my chin, it was already 2014. I still occasionally regress and write 2012 so the new year will add yet another layer of challenge to daily life.

Instead of resolutions, I’ve decided to focus on being grateful for all the blessings I have at the beginning of 2014, which is, I suppose, a resolution in itself.

Here are some things I am lucky to have:

1. My sailor came home–woo hoo! I’m still tickled every time I realize that he’s here, he’s safe and his deployment didn’t drag on until Easter as originally planned. When I mentioned my paralyzing worry about him every moment he was in Afghanistan, he replied, “I know you worry. That’s why I never mentioned the explosions…” Damn straight I didn’t need to know about explosions!

2. Family in general. After a lovely Christmas with family visiting from Ontario, Alberta and Vancouver, I’m extra grateful for extended family as well as my own tight-knit little family unit. We even got the extraordinary gift of new family members this year. No, there were no precious new babies. A distant cousin from Calgary who discovered us with her keen research skills came for Christmas with her daughter. While all his friends are bragging about new technology, my boy can say he got a couple of new cousins for Christmas. Nothing can beat that!

3. Friends are pretty special, too. I’m an introvert who is becoming more bookish and less social as the years pass, but I haven’t quite reached recluse status yet. I had the opportunity to visit with many friends this holiday–a few from high school, one from university and one from my newlywed days in Halifax. Not only is it great to catch up with these people, but we have a shared history of a time in our lives that’s long past.

If I was going to make a resolution (other than being more appreciative), I’d try to be more flexible and embrace change. Change has always been difficult and my sailor has become adept at talking me through major upheavals like moves or vacations. While change isn’t always good (watch the season two finale of The Walking Dead if you doubt this!) it is a constant in life. Happy, successful people go with the flow. I resolve to take a deep breath, dip my toe in the river of change and embrace the ride.

All the best in 2014!

True Confession. . .

004I spent a glorious July weekend holed up inside watching AMC’s The Walking Dead marathon.

It gets worse. . .

The sun was shining on the screen so I closed the blinds. I didn’t want to miss even one gooey walker grin or close-up of Darryl’s manly biceps flexing as he handled his cross bow.

I’m not into horror, really. I only watch for the character development, honest (and Darryl’s bulging muscles, obviously).

After watching all three seasons and conducting extensive online research (yes, this is really what I do in my spare time), I have some tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

The earthquake kit I keep meaning to assemble and put in the trunk of my car would be very useful if we had to hit the road, as would a good pair of running shoes. There’s a reason none of the survivors wear flip flops or stilettos. Quiet pets such as cats or goldfish are preferable to yappy Chihuahuas–sorry, Penny!

My number one survival tip in the unlikley event of a zombie apocalypse: stick close to my sailor.

True, my sailor lacks the sexy drawl of a Georgia sheriff’s deputy and he doesn’t have Darryl’s bad-ass appeal (he’s more aging boy scout than bad boy with a heart of gold), but his recent pre-deployment training would probably come in handy.

My sailor is a strong swimmer, a good driver, an experienced camper and can start a fire even without fire starter. I doubt he’d be any good at catching squirrels, but that’s okay because I don’t eat red meat. (Note: I assume squirrels are red meat. I have no experperience either preparing or consuming squirrel meat on which to base this theory.)

Most important, my sailor is steady and dependable and would stick by me even though I’d likely slow the group down.

I just hope he gets home before the zombies arrive.