Counting my 2013 Blessings

OakMonster - Team Wicket and Animal

I know I usually do a 2013 recap here with all of my high points and low points of the year. 2013 has been a year of great things. You could say it might have been one of the best years of my life.

So, instead of the usual recap, I’d like to actually, literally, count my blessings.

Blessing #1: A Permanent Job

Since I moved on from the last permanent job in 2011, I was freelancing for about 12 months of the 24 years of being unemployed.  My last temp assignment was to Frieda’s Specialty Produce.  It was supposed to be part-time for 2 weeks but ended staying on longer, and longer, until I became a permanent member of the Frieda’s family.

OakMonster - Captain Bubbles - Talk Like A Pirate Day

I couldn’t have asked for a better job! I am doing social media and marketing with a touch of PR for a produce company where I get to talk about food all day long, and test recipes and style a plate for photography here and there. And best of all is the commute…all 1.5 mile of it.

As for Brandon, he finally gets to make some awesome career moves he’s been working hard toward for a couple of years now.  So, yes, this year has been awesome for the both of us job-wise.

Blessing #2: Running

I am NOT athletic in anyway. Sure, I used to play tennis but I was no good at it. I was a dancer but I was never going to be on So You Think You Can Dance. But running? In a million years, I would never thought I’d end up running.

Unemployment was definitely a low point but as they said, you don’t make a change until you hit rock bottom. And I was there when I decided to get off the couch and onto the road.  February 2013 was my first 5K race ever, and I continued to race throughout the year. My time hasn’t gotten any better, but it was not the point.  The point is that I am RUNNING! Slow as all hell, but I’m doing it. Brandon got me a heart rate monitor for Christmas so I can train better.

And maybe, just maybe, I might be able to run the 5K in less than 45 minutes.

OakMonster - Will Run for Beer

What surprises me more is that I have NOT given up on running. One of my headbands said it best: I love running, I hate running, I love running, I hate running. Somewhere inside my head, I do enjoy the benefits of running while another part of me hates it.  But I love the freedom that comes with running.  I don’t have to stick to a set schedule like the dance classes I used to take. I can run almost whenever I feel like it, as much or as little as I want.

I’m not sure if it really offsets my caloric intake but if I haven’t gained any weight and my blood work is spectacular. I guess I am sticking with running, a blessing that keeps on giving!

Blessing #3: Friends

2013 has been a spectacular year of friendship.  I spent a lot of quality time with my BFF Nora per my goal to see her at least once a month.  We lapsed a little bit in December but it’s the holiday season so I think we’re okay with that.

My friendship with my cosplay buddy Christine, the better half of Team Wicket, is in full bloom. We don’t just do conventions together but we hang out all the time. 3 conventions, and one each of an Otto & Victoria book signing, Renaissance Faire, and Victorian Christmas event this year will be hard to top. But there are so much more adventures ahead!

OakMonster - Team Wicket and Animal

Team Wicket as Beaker and Dr. Bunsen featuring Animal (aka Brandon)

This year also brought us some new friends and next door neighbors: Andrew, Briley, and baby Jameson. It’s weird to be full-grown, responsible adults and yet we’d still leave our door open and so we can party with each other across the hallway as if we were still in a college dorm.  I also got to visit Pim of Chez Pim–and soon, Kin Khao Thai Eatery in San Francisco—and took her famous jam making class at Love Apple Farm in Santa Cruz. It’s an amazing to witness Pim doing all the things that she does!

The topper of it all is actually happening as I type this.  My best friend from Thailand, Tong, is in town. Right now! The original plan was for me to just see them twice as they transit through LAX in December and then again on New Year’s Day.  But they extended their trip so they could spend a few more days in Southern California with me.  They’ve just gotten back from a full day at Disneyland and California Adventures. I really didn’t know how much homesick I have been until they showed up at my door. I really do miss my friends!

Blessing #4: Family

If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you’ll know that my family is a little broken and is half a world away, and I love them still.  I didn’t get to see them this year, but we’ve solidify a plan for me to fly home for Memorial Day 2014, so that’s a good thing.

However, my biological family isn’t the only family I have. I got to visit my American host family, the folks who hosted me when I came to the US 20 years ago. Bob and Bonnie moved to Hollister many years ago and I haven’t been able to visit them. I had a chance to do so last summer on my way to see Pim.  I also got to visit Brandon’s family over Thanksgiving. His nieces are all tweens now and are both wonderful young ladies.

And then yet another surprise. My cousin Toni, who I thought was living in Japan, turned up in Southern California. She finally got herself a car so she drove out to spend the weekend with me last weekend. We haven’t seen each other for 10 years! And it was kind of funny how we’re pretty much the same person. We also discovered that she has my mom’s slender hands and I have her mom’s wide hips and stocky legs. LOL

My mom would’ve been so happy to know that Toni and I are reunited at last.

OakMonster - Oakley & Toni at the Aquarium of the Pacific

These blessings may not be the winning Powerball numbers or a secret billionaire benefactor, but they all make 2013 memorable and awesome. What else can a girl ask for?

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