Sunday, November 29, 2020

Jeffe's Top Five Christmas-Adjacent Movies

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is our favorite Christmas-adjacent (or other holiday-adjacent) movies. Now, I'm a Christmas-loving gal, so if you don't celebrate or don't care, feel free to skip. This will not be on the final.

All right! Now, if you are like me and love to add Christmas movies to the general celebrating, but maybe get tired of the movies that focus SOLELY on Christmas - not that there's anything wrong with those! - then you might like some of these Christmas-adjacent movies. They're not Christmas movies in any real sense, but they include Christmas in awesome ways.

Also, I suggested this topic because I'm always looking for more Christmas-adjacent movies. (NOT Die Hard, people.) So, I'm looking forward to what my bordello-mates suggest - and please tell me yours!

In reverse order, my Top Five Christmas-adjacent movies.

#5    Mean Girls

What? I *told* you these aren't actual Christmas movies! Mean Girls is almost an honorable mention, but I have to include it because of the classic sexy-Santa-in-red-latex dance. Also, this is a brilliant movie that deserves a rewatch anyway.

#4    You've Got Mail

The Christmas scenes in this movie capture all the wonderful nostalgia of the season. The original movie, The Shop Around the Corner, had a stronger Christmas focus and is totally worth watching, too.

#3    Iron Man 3

Tony shopping for a gift for Pepper? Trying out a new suit to the tune of Jingle Bells? Yes, please! Also the Christmas setting provides glittering contrast to the story. 

#2    The Long Kiss Goodnight

Seems like not many people saw - or appreciated - this one, but I love Geena Davis as a kickass spy who goes from sweet, amnesiac wife and mom to lethal superagent. All at Christmas time. Plus Samuel L. Jackson. More ironic Christmas cheer for the win!

#1    Bed of Roses

Sometimes I feel like the only person who saw and LOVED this movie. I saw it in the theater twice, and have had it on VHS since then. It's one of my favorite romances, and the juxtaposition of the emotional pressure of Christmas and family make the love affair even more poignant. Plus, contains the line from Pamela (Segall) Adlon, "I'm a Jewish Elf." 

Now, hit me with suggestions! What Christmas-adjacent movies should I be watching???

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Gratitude Attitude

 “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault


“Got no checkbooks, got no banks, still I’d like to express my thanks. I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.” Irving Berlin

Friday, November 27, 2020

Gratitude is Riches

Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.

Doris Day


The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Thursday, November 26, 2020


The more grateful I am,

The more beauty I see.

~Mary Davis

For our readers in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! During this Thanksgiving week we like to reflect on the many things we're thankful for. 

It's easy to pick out what's not going well or the failures that keep us from where we want to be. It takes an effort to look on the bright side. And while I believe it can be good to let yourself wallow for a bit, afterward it's even more important to take stock of the good things. 

It doesn't have to be all big things either! I was thankful for my cup of coffee this morning and I'll be thankful for a glass of wine tonight. Right now I'm incredibly thankful for my friends who keep me going—even better than caffeine—and help build me up when I've been torn down. 

Thank you my friends for being there. And thank you to our readers for giving us your time each day! I hope you all have a thankful weened!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Some wise quotes about gratitude

I have one main thanksgiving-type quote, but it seemed kind of simple and not super weighty or thoughty, so I turned to Google and found some really good ones: 

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." —Willie Nelson

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." —Oprah Winfrey

"Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude." —A.A. Milne

“ ‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” —Alice Walker

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” —Dalai Lama

“When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.”—Vietnamese Proverb

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.”—Gertrude Stein

Humans can be so wise. I'm human, but  not always wise. My personal go-to quote is unattributed and unattributable, though I say it almost constantly. And not to put myself anything like on the level of these deep thinkers and talented folks, I'll just sneak it here at the end. Here goes:

"Thank you." --me

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thankfulness and Gratitude

In this week of being consciously thankful and grateful, this quote by Henri Frederic Amiel reminds me that my thoughts and deeds are concentric circles creating ripples in the Universe. What flows out, flows back. Let kindness inform the intention and compassion shape the action.

Happy (Early) Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2020

Thank you.

 It's Thanksgiving time in the US. We are supposed to post about the most profound and simplest statement of gratitude that we can think of. 

Thank you seems to cover that pretty well. It's amazing to me how many people have trouble with those two words. They're almost as rare as I'm Sorry. But it's easy to forget, isn't it? When the world is doing its best to me you lower your head and push past the inconveniences, the fights, the squabbles, and protests? The world does that. It gets us into trouble. Politically speaking I don't have to look any further than the current president of these United States to see an example of selfishness personified. I don't care what side of the political coin is yours, it's just pathetic to see. 

We have a plague wiping out hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. We have had a season of truly epic hurricanes and tropical storms. We have seen millions of acres of land burned and destroyed this year, and heatwaves that are epic continue to hit the planet. In a time when we should be seeking unity, were have a virtual army of buffoons who can't wear a mask without throwing fits about their freedoms being taken away, and we have armies if, well, gun-happy clowns, running around carrying their weapons and doing their best to look intimidating. 

It's easy to see the negatives, isn't it? It always is. 

And yet, there are a million reasons to say thank you. I was silent here for over a year, because I woke up one morning with a growth on the side of my neck that turned out to be cancer of the tonsil. It was fast-acting and it could easily have killed me. I had doctors taking their own sweet time in making appointments for me to see specialist after specialist, while I struggled to continue breathing, while I found out the hard way that eating is damned near impossible when you can't swallow. 

But I had one young man who listened when I said I couldn't;t wait two more weeks to see the next specialist. He took the time to called around and got me an appointment at 8 am the very next day. That appointment got me in the hospital the same day, and got the machinations started to aggressively treat my cancer. I had people outside of the hospital who got me financial help in the form of a GoFundMe site. I would have never even considered that option. 

I got financial help when I needed it most. I got treatment for my cancer. I got help from literally hundreds of people, many of whom I never met, who had no reason to offer me help, aside from simply being kind-hearted.  They helped me, when there was nothing in it for them. 

How amazing is that?

Listen, it's not perfect. My health is not what it used to be. They mean it when they say the treatment for cancer is damned near as bad as the cancer itself. It's brutal, and it's nearly crippling. My heart is not the same. My body has suffered debilitating side effects. But you know what? I'm alive and currently cancer free. I've lost 70 plus pounds, had a few teeth pulled, and I spent six months with chemo brain stopping me from writing virtually anything at all. 

But I'm still here. 

I have a lot to be thankful for. More than I can express. 

As I said last year, I have so much to be thankful for and truly I am blessed. 

And all I can say is Thank You. 

I can never repay the debts, but I'm trying to pay it forward. 

And I hope I never find a reason to forget to say Thank You. 


Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Simplest and Most Profound Expression of Gratitude

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is our favorite quote of gratitude. Mine is very simple - and profound enough that it's shaped much of my life.


No, not why is it simple and profound, etc. The quote is exactly that:


I learned this from my favorite college professor, who was also my major adviser in Comparative Religious Studies. (He identified as a non-practicing Orthodox Jew, which - if you know much about Judaism - tells you pretty much everything you need to know about him.) He said that our tendency as human beings is to question misfortune. When we get sick, or a loved one dies, or some other terrible misfortune befalls us, we turn our eyes to the heavens and ask why?
Why me?

Why them?

Why did this have to happen?

But, when good fortune comes our way - when we succeed in our efforts, when the people we love are still there when the next day arrives, even when we continue to be healthy and able-bodied - we don't ask why. We don't beseech the heavens with questions like:

Why am I so lucky to be healthy?

Why do I have such a comfortable life?

Why do these wonderful people and animals love so much?

This came as a huge revelation to my 18-year old self, and I have to remind myself constantly to ask those questions. It's a profound exercise in gratitude to look at my life and question why I'm so very blessed.
Along with this comes questioning my success as an author. It's easy to focus on my failures, to bemoan why I don't get everything I set out to do. Even easier is to congratulate myself for success, as if it's entirely due to my own efforts, rather than serendipity. So, I'm giving particular thanks for these badges of great fortune. UNDER A WINTER SKY has done brilliantly this week, and I couldn't be more grateful.

In this case, I don't have to ask why, because I know it's because of all of you. Thank you.