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October 2013
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Gratitude and Thanksgiving

For 15 years, I have been running variations of the same Thanksgiving column, listing the things for which I am thankful. A variety of events this year has led me to stop posting regular blog entries and start writing  regular entries in a gratitude journal, which got me to thinking of the difference between thankful  and grateful. Google isn't much help:

Grateful: feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.
Thankful: pleased and relieved, grateful

So, basically, it treats the words as synonymous. I do still give thanks for my health and my family. I am also grateful to have them in my life. I am grateful to be of use, to my family, my students and others. I am grateful for the love I get and the love I have an opportunity to give. I am grateful that my medical problems are all treatable. Every day, I am grateful to be here, because very minute I have had since January 2007 has been a gift. I cherish that gift. I don't need Clarence the Angel to show me that this is a wonderful life; unlike George Bailey, I have never for a moment doubted that the world is a better place for my being in it. I give thanks for my blessings every morning, and expect to do so for the rest of my life. And, yes, especially on Thanksgiving Day.

Finally, if you feel life has been dealing to you from the bottom of the deck, I recommend the practice of keeping a gratitude journal. Write down one or two things each day for which you are grateful. Big or small, serious or silly. You may find it helps you keep things in perspective; I know it has had that effect on me. Going back and rereading it sometimes can be an interesting and rewarding activity.

For all of you who are still left to read this now-occasional blog, Happy Thanksgiving!

Saving Mr. Banks, Delivery Man

Not a full-scale review, but I very much enjoyed Vince Vaughn in Delivery Man,which struck a nice balance between humor and seriousness.

Also, I was privileged to attend a preview showing of Saving Mr. Banks, with Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books. Be on the lookout for this one over the holidays. It is amazingly entertaining. The movie shows the culmination of 20 years of work by Disney to obtain the rights to make the now-iconic movie. Hanks does an amazing and brilliant Walt Disney (he even had a dialog coach!), and Thompson is just amazing. The flashback structure irritated me at first--I am much more interested in Hollywood in 1961 than Australia in 1904--but I got used to it, and I understand why the story was told this way.

The Day of the Doctor, the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who, was also pretty cool.