Archive for November, 2009

Giving Thanks – After Thanksgiving

When I thought about a theme for this week’s blog, I couldn’t get past the whole pilgrims-Indians-eating-Thanksgiving vibe. It just seemed that no matter how I tried to twist it, my brain was still thinking about the holiday. Finally, it was during my second helping of pumpkin pie (the slices seemed to be a little skinny this year!) that it finally clicked. What topic ties Thanksgiving and Christmas together better than shopping? Thank-yous.

During Thanksgiving, we’re inspired to think about all we are grateful for and after we open our Christmas gifts, we are (or should be) encouraged to say thanks again. For many people, writing a little note or sending a thoughtful voice message is not a tough job. However, when it comes to thank-yous, people often stumble over the words.

To help us all out, here’s a few ideas to help you create a thank-you – and a few stories about the process. Hopefully, this will make it a little easier when you’re looking for the right words to say, whether you’re thanking someone for a new sweater or that ubiquitous fruitcake!

365 Ways to Give Thanks: One for Every Day of the Year by Brenda Shoshanna

Emily Post’s Etiquette by Emily Post

Emily Post’s the Guide to Good Manners for Kids by Peggy Post and Cindy Post Senning

Get Real Greetings: Creating Cards for your Sassiest Sentiments edited by Jessica Strawser

Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for any Occasion by Sandra E. Lamb

Say It with Style: Perfect Quotes for Every Card-Making Occasion edited by Tanya Fox

Sweet Gratitude: Bake a Thank-You for the Really Important People in Your Life by Judith Sutton

The Thank-You Book: Hundreds of Clever, Meaningful, and Purposeful Ways to Say Thank You by Robyn Freedman, Spizman

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank You Notes by Peggy Elizabeth Gifford

Fairy Tales Retold: Sleeping Beauty

from "Sleeping Beauty", the Walt Disney Co.

Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty" by Disney.

So, I’m a sucker for fairy tales. It almost doesn’t matter whether it’s the Brothers Grimm or Walt Disney (although I like the darker stories better).  My favorite was always Sleeping Beauty: I can remember sitting in the theater being frightened and fascinated by Maleficent, the evil fairy witch. What a great villain! I also appreciated the Disney version for their use of music: Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Sleeping Beauty.

Sleeping Beauty was written in 1697 by Charles Perrault, the same writer who created Cinderella. However, we’re more familiar with the Grimm version – it ends soon after the “kiss” and with a “happily ever after”.  Over the years, it has been redesigned a number of times – here’s a list of some of these remixes, as well as some of the classic renditions.

Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey

Before I Wake by Terry Lawrence

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming by Roger Zelazny

The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault by Charles Perrault

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey

The McElderry Book of Grimms’ Fairy Tales by Saviour Pirotta

The Sleeping Beauty by Mercer Mayer (my favorite children’s version)

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Thornspell by Helen Lowe

CD – Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty

VHS- Disney’s Sleeping Beauty

Donner, Party of 31…

The Donner Party is a large part of our collective American West mythology.  In 1846, they set out for California, but through bad luck and bad planning were caught in the Sierra Nevadas as winter storms blanketed the mountains. This in itself is an interesting story, but add in the cannibalism of some of the survivors and you have a horror story that still resonates.

Read more about the Donner Party here:



The Archaeology of the Donner Party by Donald L. Hardesty

The Donner Party Chronicles: A Day-by-Day Account of  Doomed Wagon Train, 1846-1847 by Frank Mullen

The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate by Eliza Poor Donner Houghton

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel Brown

Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party by George Rippey Stewart

Unfortunate Emigrants: Narratives of the Donner Party edited by Kristin Johnson


The American River by Gary McCarthy

The Mothers: An American Saga of Courage by Vardis Fisher

Snow Mountain Passage: A Novel of the Donner Party by James D. Houston



The Donner Party

The Donner Party (Nova ScienceNow)

The Donner Party (Wikipedia)

Living Through the Donner Party (Discover article by Jared Diamond)