Changed For Good

OakMonster - Doctor Who - We all change

2016 has been ridiculously colorful, eventful, and emotional for all kinds of reasons–personally, professionally, politically.

My job changed at the end of 2015, and it’s been an interesting and fun journey since then.

I said goodbye to my childhood home in Thailand in March. Brandon and I moved into our first home in August.

I enjoyed springtime in Scottsdale, fell in love with Chicago early summer, and grew to despise the convention/tourist side of Orlando in the fall.

OakMonster - Chicago - The Bean - Bucket List

Bucket list, check!

In June, after a few years of trying to get the ball rolling, I finally took “Be Kind For Khun Noi” from an annual day of kindness to a monthly service club. We only had to skip October because of my work schedule. We picked produce for Second Harvest Food Bank at the Incredible Edible Farms, sorted canned goods for Food Finders in Long Beach, cooked an epic dinner for guests at Ronald McDonald House Long Beach, raised money for Italy earthquake relief via our friends at Vino & Cucina, helped those living below poverty line with their laundry at a Surf City Laundry Love event, and supplied donated items to our friend Holly who, with her friends and family, makes goody bags with socks, snacks, and personal hygiene items to hand out to the homeless in the coming year.

Phew! is right! We’ve accomplished quite a bit last year. We’re not sure what we’re doing for January yet, but come hang out with us on Facebook page and see!

A photo posted by oakley boren (@oakmonster) on

Oh, and of course, this is the year I turned 40.

We celebrated the whole week, but my actual birthday was a magical day. I had two alcoholic butterbeers, hugged Krusty the Clown, danced with the Minions, and kissed my husband in front of the Universal Studios globe at sunset. It was perfect.

OakMonster - #Oakz40th Hogwarts

This brings us to today.

The day I started this post was the day before Christmas Eve, during a rare Southern California rainstorm. We were at the point where we were fighting 2016’s horrible grip on Carrie Fisher.

And then we lost George Michael on Christmas day. Back in the office on Tuesday, I found out a colleague also passed away unexpectedly on Christmas day. I took a minute to walk outside for some air, and came back to my desk to find a tweet about Carrie Fisher’s passing. And of course, today Debbie Reynolds joined her daughter in heaven.

2016 took a whole lot of people who made a difference in the world. Not all of the celebrity deaths hurt me, but losing Alan Rickman, George Michael, and Carrie got me right in the feels. But more personally, 2016 claimed my American host dad Bob and my beloved King Bhumibhol, King of Thailand, the only king most Thais have ever known.

Clearly, my world has been changing all year, and is continuing to do so.

I now have a new king. I now live in a new era of Star Wars without the General. And whatever your political leaning is, there will be a new guy in the White House after 8 years.

It’s going to be weird for everyone for a little while.

But we’re all in this together.

Life is changing. It’s changing us. But we don’t have to be idle about it. We all can change AND be the change. And not just about politics, but everything else too.

OakMonster - Doctor Who - We all change

We all change, when you think about it. We are all different people, all through our lives. And that’s ok. That’s good. You gotta keep moving so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.

The Eleventh Doctor got something right there.

Despite it all, 2016 has been a pretty good year with all the lifestyle changes I set my mind to do.  A few things had fallen behind, of course. You know, the usual: blogging, music, and running.

And yes, I’m going to keep at it. I might have missed a 5K race last year, played music only a few times, and let my blog lapsed. But I knew I missed the mark, and still want to improve on it. But you know what Captain Taggard of Galaxy Quest said. Never give up! Never surrender!

So, here goes a new set of things to do for 2017.

Write It All Down

I have moved from the desktop computer to a laptop now, but I keep forgetting about that. I can write from the couch or the dinner table with TV in the background. I can write from my office nook upstairs or when we have patio furniture, I could even write outside.  Once a week might have been a bit lofty, but I’m going to try.

Keep Running

While I haven’t run as much as I have been, I’m still at it weekly even if it’s just the 1.5 miles. By the time we recovered from moving into the house and ready to get back to our schedule again, winter arrived and running on weekday mornings has become a very difficult task. However, having a three-story house means that I have been running up and down the stairs this winter. At least, I’m doing something!

Cook More Vegetables

Adding to last year’s goal of cooking regularly, I would like to try to cook more vegetables. I work in produce and therefore I should be practicing what I preach: vegetables should be the main course with a side of protein.

Play that Music

The piano now resides in the guest room, covered to protect from dust. But there lies the problem–I keep forgetting the piano is in there because I don’t see it. I also stupidly moved the guitar to the inside corner of the room too so I don’t see it either. I have to really make an effort to play, or I’ll never do it.

Read 12 Books a Year

I took on a book challenge my friend gave me this year, but I couldn’t quite find books that fit all of her categories that I wanted to read. But I did read these books:

  1. The Shining – Stephen King
  2. This Is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper
  3. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
  4. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  5. The Firestarter – Stephen King
  6. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  7. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  8. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mendel
  9. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling
  10. Unaccustomed Earth – Jhumpa Lahiri
  11. Cook It in Cast Iron – Cook’s Country
  12. Doctor Who: Essential Guide to 50 Years of Doctor Who
  13. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss. I’m about 1/2 way through–the most I’ve ever read of any fantasy books I ever quit! I don’t think I’ll finish it before the end of the year because I’m slow. But I’m loving it.

2017 is going to be a fun year for reading too. I already have a whole bunch of books lined up already.

So far, it feels like the beginning of 2017 is a going to be a roller coaster ride, and I’m going to face it head on with everything I’ve got. I hope I can hang on though.

Are you ready?

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