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QUIZ: Think You’re Thankful? November 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, People.
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170px-Italienischer_Maler_des_17._Jahrhunderts_001As a vegetarian, I don’t get excited about Thanksgiving.

The Macy’s Parade is great and watching football (with a belly that looks like I swallowed a football) is a relaxing and mindless way to kill some time, but I’m dismayed about the millions of turkeys slaughtered to produce millions of football size bellies throughout the 50 states.

Gobble. Gobble.

Anyway, since this piece is not intended to convert carnivores to my way of thinking, I’ll move right along . . .

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, right?

But what about the rest of the year?  Isn’t gratitude for the “good stuff” worth celebrating every day?

Of course it is.

Recently, I came across a Think You’re Thankful Quiz: Researchers say thankful people tend to be happy people. Take this test to find out how thankful you are.

Chicken-Little-PosterIntrigued, I took the quiz and found it flawed . . . in significant respect.

It’s a real “turkey.”

Gobble. Gobble

Why? Because 17 of 20 questions focus exclusively on whether we appreciate the people who surround us:

* 5 questions about whether you appreciate your family
* 5 questions about whether you appreciate your friends
* 4 questions about whether you appreciate your neighbors and co-workers
* 3 questions about whether you appreciate people who help other people

Nothing about appreciation for our magnificent bodies (hearts, lungs, hands, feet, eyes, ears, nose, mouth), or nature (sunsets, sunrises, oceans, forests, mountains, trees, flowers), or pets (cats, dogs, rabbits, reptiles, birds), or food, or shelter, or music, or art, or drama, or literature, or . . .


Get the picture?

The quiz, developed by Stephen Post, director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics in the School of Medicine, and co-author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People, doesn’t measure thankfulness and gratitude at all.

Instead, this incredibly skewed quiz measures whether you are a “people person” who feels that you owe (his word, not mine) family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers (but not God, Spirit, or Self) for all you’ve accomplished in life.

Not convinced? Let’s look at a few examples and see whether it really measures what it says it measures.

X is grateful for everything in his life, but is surrounded by dysfunctional family members and friends who thwart rather than support his efforts.

Score: Low Gratitude.

Y is a hermit (think Thoreau) who lives in the woods and appreciates every living thing in the forest, but happens not to interact much with people.

Score: Low gratitude.

The Buddha, meditating with love, compassion, and kindness filling his heart from sunrise to sundown, claims that God and Spirit are responsible for his enlightenment, rather than attributing his “success” to family, friends, and neighbors.

Score: Low Gratitude.

Tiggers-R-UsThe only way to convince Mr. Post that you have gratitude in your heart is to applaud the efforts of everyone but yourself . . . even if they aren’t helping you one whit.

Hmm . . . maybe Mr. Post was listening to Ms. Streisand when he penned it: “People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.”

More likely, Mr. Post is a speciesist who believes that humans and our relationships with other humans matter more than anything else on the face of the planet.

Either way, what do you bet his belly will be full of turkey this Thanksgiving?

Gobble. Gobble.

To take the Quiz: How Thankful Are You . . . For the PEOPLE in your life

FUN For Less Than $10 November 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
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Dollar-BillsRecently, I read an article about 5 Great Places to Live in the United States.

In addition to sharing information on the Population, Median Housing Price, Average Commute, Vibe, and Average Number of Sunny Days in each location, the article gave examples of “Simple Fun for less than $10.”

Either the author has a one-track mind . . . or feels that Americans do:

Tuscon, Arizona . . . drinking a beer at the Hotel Congress (where John Dillinger was nabbed back in 1934)
Greenville, South Carolina . . . grabbing a cup of coffee or an ice-cream cone at Spill the Beans
Montpelier, Vermont . . . sampling a pastry at La Brioche Bakery & Cafe
Logan, Utah . . . heading to the Caffe Ibis, a tiny roasting house, and savoring a custom-blended coffee
Ames, Iowa . . . touring Riemen Gardens (award winning roses) at Iowa State University

As indicated, in four of the five locations, the author only listed food or drink options under “Simple Fun for less than $10.”

No wonder Americans are so fat!  We equate fun with food.


In defense of the article, and Americans, the author did NOT mention eating or drinking in the section entitled, “Most Relaxing Way to Spend an Afternoon.”

Nevertheless, the author seems to have a rather one-track mind when it comes to relaxation ~ the venues change, but the activities have a certain sameness to them:

Tuscon, Arizona . . . enjoying cool breezes and plentiful hiking in the Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of town
Greenville, South Carolina . . . hiking the pristine mountain woodlands of Jones Gap State Park, just 24 miles outside Greenville
Montpelier, Vermont . . . world class skiing less than an hour away, at Stowe
Logan, Utah . . . wandering among the wildflowers on Riverside Trail in the Logan Valley
Ames, Iowa . . . paddling a canoe in Ada Hayden Heritage Park

Where’s the diversity?

Have we become so homogenized that our opportunities for relaxation and simple fun don’t vary . . . no matter how far we roam?


One thing that does vary?

The number of sunny days per year:  Montpelier (157) * Ames (202) * Logan (219) * Greenville (220) * Tuscon (286)

Zebras Rock! November 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Nature, Poetry.
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IMGP1854bNaomi posted a poem today about patterns, using a few zebra-tastic shots of zebras to highlight her wise words:


Aah . . . zebras.

A leopard cannot change its spots, nor a zebra its stripes. ~ Proverb

I’m ten years old. My life is half over and I don’t even know if I’m black with white stripes or white with black stripes! ~ Marty the Zebra (Madagascar)

The zebra epitomizes the wildness of the Serengeti like no other creature. ~ Zalu Mubuto (speech to WWF, 1987)

There is no more fun loving, yet temperamental animal on the plain than the zebra. ~ Zalu Mubuto (comment to reporters, c. 1983)

Alex, do not interrupt me when I’m daydreaming.  When a zebra’s in the zone, leave him alone. ~ Marty the Zebra (Madagascar)

As long as we have zebras in our midst, I shall be content. ~ Atlo Dogong (c.1915-1988) (comment at a trade meeting in Nairobi Kenya, 1979)

There’s no end to the things you might know
Depending how far beyond Zebra you go. ~ Dr. Seuss

Ziggy, by Jan Philpot

I asked the zebra, Are you black with white strips? Or white with black strips?
And the zebra asked me:
Are you good with bad habits? Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times? Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with sad days? Or are you sad with happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?  Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra about stripes again.
~ Shel Silverstein
A Light in the Attic

Look there, daddy.  Do you see?  There’s a horse in striped pajamas!

No, that’s not what it is at all.  That’s an animal people call a zebra.

I see.  But it still looks like a horse in striped pajamas to me.

Captain Kangaroo

Dee’s Downsized Dream Home November 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Sustainable Living.
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Before downsizing, Dee Williams spent most of her free time fixing up her 3-bedroom  bungalow in Portland Oregon. 

When a close friend got cancer, her endless remodeling efforts seemed trivial.

To gain both time and money, she sold the bungalow, and built a smaller house for $10,000. 

How small?  Very small.  Just 84 square feet. 

Now, instead of a mortgage  payment of $1,000 a month, her entire monthly housing bill is about $8, for heating.

“The more intentional you are in your choices, the more every change makes room for more changes. … You get to choose what you want.”

More about Dee Williams’ House:  Living Large in a Tiny House

Related posts:  Small Space, Big Style * TumbleWeedHouses (to get plans for your own tiny home!)