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November 2011 (130 posts)
When I awoke in the morning—hey, what do you know, we all slept after all—I knew I needed what my sassy 6th-grade algebra teacher Mrs. Viska used to call an Attitude Adjustment. And then I turned on my computer and there it was: a call to action. The blogger Teacher Goes Back to School had written about how her local yoga studio posted to its Facebook page the following message: "For the month of November, we’re launching an Attitude of Gratitude campaign. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, you’re invited to dedicate one Facebook update per week to write what you’re thankful for." Awesomely, Teacher misread the post and started coming up with something she was thankful for every single day instead. A glut of gratitude!
So far, the yogis are thankful for "the beautiful ginkgo trees in front of the studio whose butterfly leaves will turn their signature golden yellow in just a couple of weeks." The blogger is thankful for "sleeping baby and the quiet time before she wakes up." (Wow, can I relate.) Personally, the first thing I'm thankful for is finding this post, encouraging each of us to embark on a month-long mission of gratefulness. And the second thing I'm thankful for is this big, steaming cup of coffee.
What are you thankful for today? This week? This month? What what it do to your life if you made a point to remember all you have to be grateful for? Join the Attitude of Gratitude campaign, or tell us in the comments!
A weekly list of things we're grateful for
How "thank you power" can change your life
Every week, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. On sale tomorrow, the short story collection....
Tales of the New World
by Sabina Murray
This collection of ten unsettling, lavish stories has a potent link—each one brings to fictional life to the true story of a historic explorer. Murray, a previous PEN/Faulkner winner, ranges wide on this theme, profiling famous and expected adventurers like Magellan and Balboa (a trip back for the reader to 4th grade history class) as well as the completely unknown, such as Captain Coffin, a soft-hearted, turn-of-the-last century whaler who roams the Atlantic or Jim Jones, the cult leader from the 1970s who led his flock into the jungles of Guyana. No matter what the period, the historical details here are fascinating: quince jam will save you from scurvy on the high seas; trained hunting dogs make excellent, soulless soldiers.
It's a brutal frontier world Murray investigates, one she questions in all its dark detail (what are the motives of these people who roam the earth blindly? what kind of cruelty or generosity did they inflict?). Often these investigations come at the very end, allowing you to cruise along though the story, binging on exotic foreign jungles, wondering at times where this adventure is going, when, boom, you're slapped with an idea that makes you gasp. Just as Magellan and his best friend are about to be killed by a so-called heathen, for example, they laugh, seeing "no reason to be morbid in this morbid situation. Soon it will all be over and there will still be love." Some the tales are more riveting that others, say Balboa and On Sakhalin. But the masterpiece is Fish, which could have been a book on its own.The story honors an English spinster named Mary, who not only sees and speaks with fairies, but explores the globe on her own in the late 1800s, collecting scientific specimens. She may not have been celebrated in the annals of history, but her journey to independence and competence in wilds of Africa —coming from a grim, London universe that so regularly informed her that she possessed neither quality—is the kind of discovery that will stick with you for life.
Memoir: An honest look back on motherhood.
33 must-read books for fall
Every Monday, we're rounding up the things, small and big, that make us stop and think. Today, we're inspired by...
It's another glorious Friday, so we're getting out the old gratitude journal and saying thanks for...
It's not Father's Day, but this wedding video still makes us thankful for our dads.
Believe it or not: Oil company makes nice with cyclists
At last: A museum for "the beauty, excitement and wonder of mathematics."
The photographer who shows you how to silence your inner "It's not possible" voice.
The New York City Marathon gives this woman a spark of hope but memory loss caused by a stroke gives her an unbeatable strategy for finishing.
There is a certain kind of instant of sheer, unaccountable joy that I privately think of as an American Beauty moment, from the scene from that film where the creepy/cute boy next door shows Thora Birch’s character his video of a plastic bag floating in the wind. He explains, in his creepy/cute way, “I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it.”
I love these moments. They arrive when you least expect them—that's part of what makes them as amazing as they are—and unfortunately you can’t really will them to happen, even when you could really use a good dose of being overwhelmed by the beauty of the world. So just in case the benevolent force is manifesting itself today as spilled coffee and flat tires, behold the murmuration of starlings. This breathtaking video was shot by a couple of canoeists who just happened to come across it, capturing a survival technique starlings use, swirling around as they try to get inside the pack, each trying to imitate exactly the bird beside it. The look on the canoeist’s face at the end of the video—that’s it, exactly, the American Beauty moment.
Oprah Lifeclass: Joy Rising
The book that will make see everyday beauty
Low-fat chocolate milk (yes, the real deal -- we're not referring to fudge-flavored drinks) has been shown in studies involving cyclists, soccer players and runners to be just as effective as sports drinks in helping athletes recover. It provides fluids to help you rehydrate and carbohydrates to replace glycogen burned off during intense activity. This affordable treat also has protein that combines with the carbs to reduce muscle damage and hasten recovery, as well as an added bonus of calcium.
On the average evening, my joy of cooking has turned into a duty of cooking. It's not that I don't love cooking—and all the eating that goes along with it. But in the relentless parade of roasted chickens and broiled fish and meat loafs (all family dinner standards) I just can't approach the activity with the same zest. I need some inspiration. I need some old fashioned, spaghetti-sauce splattered fun, something that goes beyond throwing the boiled pasta on the ceiling to see if it's done.
Imagine my surprise when I found out on Time.com that brilliant famous chefs need this too. Luminaries like Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio and David Chang paired up with the band One Ring Zero, which turned their recipes—word for word—into songs. The chefs picked their own musical styles, from classic rock (Michael Symon) to Mexican banda (Aaron Sanchez) to rap (Chris Cosentino), creating a hilarious ode to all things musical and culinary. A CD of the songs comes packaged in a book by Black Balloon called The Recipe Project, edited by Oprah.com's own Leigh Newman, which includes all the recipes (you can actually cook the dishes), plus interviews with the chefs (David Chang dishes on childhood violin lessons), original playlists by chefs, and essays on food and music by every kind and stripe of writer. But perhaps John Besh, the New Orleans chef, put it best in the video by Time.com as he sang along to his own recipe for shrimp remoulade, "Why didn't I think of this?"
Jane Austen rocks! Celebrate the 200th birthday of one of the greatest novels ever by checking out its many adaptions (and then the real thing).
Take a color-saturated cartoon break with an ode to the art of Pixar.
A photographic tribute to the "food ark" that may well save us all. You'll never think about seeds the same again.
"Writing and cookery are just two different means of communication." Learn how to make caramel cake, pork tacos and more...from a world-famous poet.
How to listen to your instincts—and why you should.
The Life-Lifter: "I was being told that they thought I was a good enough person, that I would go on to do good things in the future to pay back what they had given me." Bangor, Maine's "Pay it Forward" program helps a drug-addicted mother start over.