A long weekend has started here in Canada. Technically it starts after work today for me, but campus sure is more quiet today. This is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and I am pausing between meetings to share thoughts about gratitude. 

1. I have gratitude to the team of people who have kept me healthy this year, and this includes the family doctor, physiotherapist, dentist, and oral surgeon. 

2. I have gratitude for my family. I am noting that this is for my kin and my made family. My family supports me and I do not thank them enough. 

3. Deep gratitude for my in laws. I could not manage my week without the help that they offer. I am extremely lucky to have them five minutes away from us. Our family Excel spreadsheet is a thing of beauty and if they did not do a drop off or pick up it would make things more difficult for me. Thank you. 

4. I have gratitude to my co-workers. Here I am thinking those who I report to, later colleagues, my staff, and other colleagues across campus. I know that I am lucky to have a job that is my career. I have a privileged life enjoying my work, and feeling satisfied. 

5. I cannot finish this list without thanking about my students, and other students across campus. Thank you for making all of this worth it. Your energy makes me smile. Your questions motivate me. And, working with you is a pleasure. OK. It’s a pleasure most of the time! 

6. Thank you to my many mentors! I include a photo of Dr. Kathy Jones. I worked with her at SDSU–back when I was an undergrad and we have kept in touch. She’s one of the many amazing mentors I have had. Thanks, Kathy! 

It might not be Thanksgiving for you, but what is in your gratitude list? 


Thanksgiving 2014

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I am sitting here thinking about the things that I am thankful for with this new school year. In the spirit of brevity I will number.

1. I am thankful for my mostly good health.

2. I am thankful for my sweetheart’s good health.

3. I am thankful for my wonderful family–both made and born. Not a day goes by that I do not think of all my family in California.

4. I am thankful to have such wonderful friends near and far. I know that I can text or email this inner circle and hear from them quickly. Thank you.

5. I am thankful for my job as a professor. As I have noted before, I have the great fortune to mentor young people.

6. I am thankful for my admin gig. I get to help other faculty, staff, and students and enhance their learning environment.

7. I am thankful for my peer mentors. You know who you are. Thank you.

8. I am thankful for my students. I enjoy interacting with them in the classroom, office hours, and the mentoring moments.

I have lots more to say, but I think this is a great start for Canadian Thanksgiving. Smiling. The photo below is from UVIC Communications, Photo Services.


Fri Fun Facts: Thanksgiving

Today is the Friday prior to Canadian Thanksgiving. Given this, it’s an appropriate time to think about what you are thankful for this Fall. I am very thankful for my family, friends, health, and my job. What your thankful for?

Make a list and write down five to ten things that make you feel content.

Make another list and write down where you would like to see yourself in the next six months or the next year. Think about what you can do to get yourself there.

Make a companion list to see what is holding you back from meeting the above goals.

After you’ve made these lists, spend a few minutes thinking about them. Here, I mean mindful thinking. You might listen to music, meditate, walk, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and try to spend these minutes thinking about your goals and your sense of contentment.

It is important to spend time to celebrate your accomplishments and what makes you feel happy. A related part of this is thinking about your goals–this might keep you focused and happy.

But, I ask again–what are you thankful for?

Stuff: Black Friday and Zombies

I read Charlie Higson’s latest book The Fear and was reminded of the book during my review of early morning news on Friday. This last Friday was no ordinary Friday, as it was Black Friday. The one day of the year in which many people wake up early or don’t sleep at all in hope of saving lots of money on holiday gifts or other purchases. During the last decade Black Friday has turned into a frenzy. People have been hurt, maimed and even killed thanks to Black Friday mobs and the frenetic nature of attempting to get the hot new item.

In Higson’s young adult zombie lit series, people over the age of 14 have succumbed to some virus and they become zombies. They roam around singly or in packs looking for kids to eat. Their zombified brains have one thing in common—the want for the succulent flesh of children. This book series is not for the faint of heart. In The Fear one particularly vicious, huge zombie is collecting stuff. He wants stuff. He has burrowed places in his home and the neighboring buildings for stuff. This includes newspapers, computer peripherals and junk. Perhaps he is the hoardes zombiens. But, he also wants toys and other stuff. He slowly stomps about and looking for kids, too. He moans stuff. Stuff. Need stuff. He pushes his wide girth against the boards or doors in order to break into a building to get stuff. To get toys. It doesn’t end up good for so many of the children he finds.

When I read the news that people had been pepper sprayed and the news coverage showed people waiting to get into the store to make their purchases, I was reminded of the hoardes zombiens and his moans for stuff. His moans for toys. Here, I already know that George Romero and others have used zombie movie genre to make comments about mass consumerism and racism; however, we find that Black Friday gave us another example of this.

I will end nothing that I understand that lots of people have to shop on Black Friday in order to make their purchases. They need their dollars to stretch as far as they can. But, I ask do they really need more stuff? It’s ironic that Black Friday and this day of mass consumption falls just hours after a day of Thanks.