Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today, and a happy pre-Thanksgiving to those who have to wait until November for the all-you-can-eat and then all-you-can-shop festivities.

Despite the gloom and doom of the economy the Canadian and American elections and watching my retirement savings shrink (this too shall pass, just not sure when), we have a heck of a lot to be thankful for. Well, I can't really speak for you, can I?

What I can do though, is share my list of the top ten things I'm thankful for and hope that there's something here that makes you smile and maybe even think of some things that you appreciate. These are in no particular order since there are no wrong answers when you're giving thanks.

I'm thankful for...

1. My husband. He's my best friend, soul mate, devil's advocate and logic barometer. He's the yin to my yang, the "ya" to my "hoo" and one of the few people I know who has mastered the term "Indeed" so that it serves many purposes. There is much to learn from this man, so he's a keeper.

2. Zaphod the kitten of mass destruction. He's spoiled, uncontrollable and, sometimes, cranky as all get out just like his mama, but he's so darn adorable that we let him get away with it. Several times a day.

3. The roof over our heads. Most people purchase starter homes with plans to eventually move into something larger. We call our place our "finish" home, since we love it and plan on staying here until they need to drag us to the retirement home.

4. My folks. For telling me that I could do whatever I wanted to set my mind to, as long as it wasn't illegal or hurt someone else. They also taught me about working hard and how procrastination doesn't always pay off. Okay, maybe I'm still learning that one. I'll get to it eventually.

5. My friends. Some I've known for months, others I've known longer than I care to admit (since in my mind I'm still 16), and each one gives me a different perspective on life, love and coupon usage. As an only child, I look upon these fabulous folks as my extended family -- black sheep included!

6. My career. I'm blessed to be able to do work that I love to do. Okay, maybe I don't love it all the time, but I'm lucky to be able to have fun while earning a living. I'm especially thankful for the times I've been fired, laid off or in jobs I really couldn't stand, as each situation helped me grow stronger and discover what works best for me. And that's something you can't learn in school, no matter how hard you try.

7. Drs. Banting and Best. These guys invented insulin, the life-saving drug that allows people suffering from Type I diabetes to live a somewhat normal life. Actually, it allows us to live, period. While I never got to know these guys on a personal level, I'm sure they were cool, groovy people.

8. Swings. There is nothing more stress-relieving than a good swing on a swing set. It's hard to focus on negative stuff with the wind whipping past your ears and having your toes reach for the sky. Maybe one day I'll travel the world, ensuring that each community has a swing set.

9. Contests. It may seem like a strange thing to be thankful for, but I love entering contests. I'm talking about supermarket sweepstakes and other draws sponsored by companies to get me to try a product. It's a fun hobby that has enabled me to win my share of prizes: from TVs to cash to coupons for more free products. And I can enter while I'm watching my new TV. ;)

And finally...

10. Free speech. To live in a society where we are able to freely speak our minds, whether in an article, novel or on a blog, is a beautiful thing. I shudder to think of what my life would be like if I were living in a place where I wasn't allowed to voice my opinion or earn a living writing magazine columns. I'd probably be an angry, hairy person. Well, hairier than I already am, though I'm not sure why. It just sounded good at the time.

So there you go. My top ten things I'm thankful for. Feel free to create your own list and let us know where to find it. Happy Thanksgiving!

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