A Day of Thanks…


Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  Well, at least here in the states.  A truly American Holiday and although it has a shady origin, I think it’s found it’s way to what it should truly represent.  And although I know a lot of people get stuck on the history of this day, and don’t celebrate or refuse to acknowledge the holiday, to me, its something else.

It’s the doorway to Christmas, Hanukkah and Yule.  It kicks off the winter holidays with the most important thing about all of these holidays.  It is about gratitude.  For everything we are, everything we have and everyone we love.  Whatever happened those oh so many years ago, Thanksgiving is now about what we have and how we give thanks.  It’s about fighting with your siblings over a football game or something as equally benign.  Or helping your mom make dinner, even when she tries to give you directions for something you’ve been doing for 30 years.  Or remembering you last Thanksgiving with your dad and how he ate an entire pie over the weekend and stole all the Turkey when everyone else wasn’t looking.  It’s about sharing what you have with those that have nothing.  It’s about giving your time or your money or your food to someone who needs it.

Thanksgiving is more then a moment in the 17th century,  it’s about what happens everyday and being reminded of how much we have and realizing that we are blessed.  Whether it’s to celebrate a birthday or a miracle of lights or the impending winter, this truly American holiday is the opportunity to celebrate with our fellow Americans about our prosperity and large or small as it may be and to share that joy and all it’s blessings with those that need it.  I’m not saying you have to work with the homeless or serve turkey dinner at a Soup Kitchen, but maybe you have a friend who doesn’t have much, or you have a neighbor who needs a friend.  A small kindness can go a long way.

Tuesday at the market, I went to pull into my space and there was a cart left there, so I didn’t fit.  I didn’t get mad, I just got out of my car to move it, but before I could, the woman next to me said “I’ll get it.” and smiled at me.  She grabbed the cart and waved to me again.  She didn’t have to, but she chose to.  A small kindness.  In the store, I went out of my way to smile and engage people.  There was no hurry, no rush.  One smile can lead to another and then another and then another.

My wish for this Thanksgiving it that we all share our joy with one another.  Enjoy the moments with the people you love.  Share your love with people you don’t know and give of yourself to someone who needs it.  The world is a truly lovely place when we all give thanks.   Happy Thanksgiving Everyone 🙂

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Welcome, Oh Wonderful October!! I have missed you!!


October!  The month of scary things. Monsters, Ghosts, Ghouls, Zombies, Witches… the list goes on an on.  It’s my favorite month.  It’s when the weather begins to cool down and fall makes it’s presence known.  I live in Southern California (many of you screaming “You  Have NO Seasons!!”)  Yes, we do… the temperature changes, we have trees like oaks and elms and the leaves change colors and fall off.  Just because it doesn’t snow, doesn’t mean we don’t have seasons, but I digress, I love the autumn!! it’s when you can smell the fireplaces kicking on, candy is in abundance and of course… Halloween!!

The first of the month starts off with 31 Days of Halloween.  What is that? That is a scary movie every day.  Find a Channel:  SyFy, AMC, TNT, Chiller… They are showing scary movies, documentaries, TV Shows.  It Halloween my favorite holiday.  Well, it’s one of them.  The other is Christmas.  But I love them the same.  The nostalgia and the joy they both bring are like nourishment for my soul.

As I write this, Friday the 13th is on.  A massive marathon of the terror known as Jason Vorhees.  Well, the whole Vorhees clan really… The original Friday the 13th came out in 1980.  I remember because I was 12.  And I was at horse Camp, for two weeks.  Well, one of the girls in my unit, her family came and she left for the day.  When she returned, We learned about everything that happened in Friday the 13th.  Why?  Well, mom and dad had taken her and her brother and sister to see it.  I heard the entire movie before I ever saw it… and I was in love.  We sat around her listening intently as she described every minute of the movie.  It was our campfire tale!!  I have always been attracted to horror and scary, still am to this day.  I look for well written or beautifully executed frights.  They are harder to find nowadays.  but we do find them on occasion.  Well, movies… I find some amazing new horror authors all the time.

Well, here you are, October and I’m so glad to see you!! Let’s have some fun!!

They call me… SPAZ!


So, I’ve been spending the evening with my dear friend, Claudia.  She is, without a doubt, the best person in the world at pushing my buttons.  And yes, her nickname is  SPAZ.

We met in 1998 at LACC (LA City College – TV Program).  She was a taurus, just like me (I’m May 8, she’s May 15).  Strong-willed, hard-headed, stubborn, mouthy and argumentative, loyal and fun… we got along like gangbusters.  We spent the next three years hanging out, making films and having fun.  It was during this time she earned (yes, earned) the nickname, SPAZ.  How you ask?  Well, it was a series of events.  First, her absolute love of NKOTB… no, I wasn’t a fan, but she spent HOURS trying to get glimpses of them and chat with them and then she would talk about them incessantly – causing the boys to mock her endlessly, and the boys claimed it was NSync, which made her crazy.  Ultimately, she would laugh that fabulous, dusky, throaty laugh (same laugh today).  The famous Bear interviews (inside mockumentary based on the life of deceased producer – another story for another time) when she fell off a stool and off a flat, she survived, the rest of us weren’t so sure we would.  It took 15 minutes to stop laughing.  When she miscalculated her gas range on a road trip and didn’t have the cash to continue and had to sleep in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Texas (she’s fine, she got money from a friend), when she showed up to a casual Christmas party in a prom dress, when she passed out on Sunset Blvd and ended up on TMZ, then called me to tell she was passed out on Sunset Blvd. and ended up on TMZ.  Anyway, these stories go on and on and on.

During this time, she moved to Florida, then back to California, then Alabama, and then she was gone for a long time.  Recently she came back to Southern California and I have missed her.  Whenever she comes to LA, we try to hang out or get dinner.  I just learned she may be moving back into the city and I’m jazzed.  Tonight we had dinner with Dave and then she came back here to hang out and drive back to the Inland Empire tomorrow.  She’s been here for 4 hours and we have spent 3 of those hours arguing.  I don’t know why we do it, but we do, and it’s never mad, just a lot of yelling and then laughing.  We disagree and she pushes my buttons and sometimes I push hers.  But I realized, I really don’t argue with anyone else the way I do with her.  I don’t know why… Maybe we work out our aggression on each other.  That’s a good thing.

Our “fighting” has never changed in the last 15 years, it’s exactly the same.  Has our relationship grown, yes, in many ways it has, but we are still each other’s best argument waiting to happen.  And she is still SPAZ… just when I think she may have outgrown the name, she will do something spectacular that warrants the moniker.  I’m trying to get her to write a book about her life… because she has had an amazing, full life.  She has never been afraid of taking chances.  She is the one taking it by the horns, doing what she wants and seeing the joy and beauty in everything, having a great time.   We may fight and she may push those buttons, but my life has been enriched just by knowing her.  She is definitely an inspiration… she’s my nemesis… she’s my friend…. and her name is… SPAZ.

You can follow SPAZ at the links below:

Twitter: @NikonAddict75

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/COakenfull

You should all know… she’s on the list… no really, whatever the list, wherever the list, she’s on it… ask her. 😉  I love you, Claudia!!

Dreams…


Dreams… the magic of sleep… the visions of a future endeavor… the things we want to do… so many different kinds of dreams.  I personally love them all.  One of my fave bands and fave songs of all time is Dream On by Aerosmith.   Just in case you don’t know the song, the poetic lyrics are all about life and growing old and doing what makes you laugh and cry… give it a listen.

The day dreams of being something you currently are not… those are good.  To be a rock star, or an actor or an artist, or a wife or a mother,  or a deep sea diver, or a doctor… the list goes on.  We all have dreams like these, some are what others would call fantastical (basically a fantasy) while others are more steeped in reality.  Or so you might think… the reality is, anything is possible, and although it would seem to be easy, it won’t be.  It would be easier for some women to be a famous musician then to be a mother.  It might be more simple to walk on the moon than to swim the deep sea.  I can’t deep sea dive… I can swim, probably better than most, I’m not afraid of the ocean.  I have too much pressure in my head.  Going down 12 feet makes my ears HURT!!  Oh well, I can do other things and it doesn’t stop me from swimming… my true love.  But there are women who can’t get pregnant and haven’t been able to adopt, so a dream of motherhood may not happen form them.  But that doesn’t mean we stop dreaming… or trying for that matter.  I think that until we have exhausted all efforts, we can make it happen if we truly want it.

Sleeping and dreaming… the dreaming we can’t control.  Or can we?  Some of us wake up… I can’t do that.  Never have been able to.  What I do… I change my dream as I’m having it.  It normally doesnt’ stay away, but I can change what I’m dreaming. If I’m having a nightmare, I change it to something else.  as stated above, it does come back, but it goes away for a little while.  I dream in color… some people dream in Black and White… I wonder if anyone dreams in Sepia?  Most of my sleeping dreams contain real people… although a lot of the time I dont’ know them.  Like, I don’t know them, but my dream self knows them.  And although I’m in the dream, I mostly feel like I’m watching myself go through the dream, but I don’t listen to myself.  It’s all very frustrating.

As I understand it, some people can’t or don’t dream.  I think that’s kind of sad.  I’ve always enjoyed dreaming… both Day and Night.  Personal movies in my head, and although they’re not always well made and are sometimes REALLY weird, they’re mine and I love them.

Whatever the dream you have, be it awake or asleep, make it count.  Use it later to create art or prose or follow it till the ends of time trying to make it happen.  Dreams are the visions of our lives and it is only we who can make them real.  So in the immortal words of Aerosmith…Dream On!!

 

One Door Closes…


The saying goes… One door closes and another one opens.  That door closing can pertain to a lot of different things.  Love, jobs, opportunities in general.

Well, I know that in my life that has happened quite a bit and when it does, you forget that the other door will open.  It’s hard to remember that.  When you depend so heavily on one thing, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s scary.  It’s scary to be alone.  It’s scary to not have a paycheck.  It can feel like you’re wandering through a swamp.  Murky water and detritus everywhere you turn.  The giant trees obscuring any sunlight and at night, the dangers that live there become more prevalent.  It’s scary to wonder how you will ever get out of the hole you’re in, but you will.  The sun rises the next morning, breaking through a clearing in those mossy, great trees.  The grayness around you starts to burn off allowing the rays of the sun to warm your face and you can find a way to land and solid ground.  We all have to remember that hope will once again sprout before you like an orchid.  A beautiful flower growing in the darkest, dankest place.

Hope is that orchid.  A beautiful bright flower.  Most people think that they are delicate, but in reality they are a hardy flower that never really dies, but only goes dormant.  You just have to wait for the bloom to come back.  Sometimes it takes a few months, but it will return.  Hold on to knowledge that the bloom will return, just like good fortune.  When we lose something or someone that is extremely important to us, it can feel like we will never have that joy ever again, but it comes back and most of the time it’s better than before.  Don’t let the bad things that happen make you lose faith, because when our days are the darkest, it will be faith that gets us through.  Faith in family, friends and the knowledge that a small flower will bloom in darkness.

We need to remember that in the midst of despair, when that door closes in our face, that we have to start looking around.  The reason is because the door doesn’t always open itself.  Sometimes we have to open it.  One of those other doors is unlocked and waiting to be opened…. and on the other side is a meadow full of flowers and sunshine.  It’s full of hope and promise.  So don’t forget to check every door… an new adventure is waiting for you on the other side.

Here comes 2013… well, here it is…


It’s been a while since I’ve been here and for that I apologize, but I thought as it’s January 1, 2013, I would start again and decide to commit, despite the obstacles the universe will inevitably throw my way.  The past two years I have had quite a few obstacles.  Loss of my father and sister-in-law, my marriage, my job and my health… but even with all of this, I have gained much.  I was lucky to have both dad and KC in my life for as long as I did.  And although my marriage is over, the friendship my husband, David, and I have is stronger than ever, so really it’s just the restructuring of our relationship,which is wonderful, because we still care deeply for one another and are still each other’s biggest supporters. So as far as divorces go, ours is sad, but still amazing.  My job, well, it was just that, a job, although I did enjoy it and the people I worked with.  Typical issue, company got sold and new company was too far away, so I opted to look for new work, which is something I’m still doing and it turned out to be the best thing, because it turns out, other people needed me and I had I been working, I wouldn’t have been able to help them.  So, fingers crossed, I will find gainful employment in the next few months.  My health.  I have struggled with my weight for most of my life and it finally caught up to me in 2011, after I lost my dad and fell apart.  I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  But I can buckle down when faced with a horrible thing (and was relieved to discover I did not have an enlarged heart – can’t make a heart shrink) and you can reverse Diabetes (especially Type 2) which I did, but my weight loss slowed and I once again have not endured to get healthy.  I’ve managed to keep the diabetes at bay, but I know I need to drop this excess baggage.

So, here I am and once again a new year begins and I’m asked about resolutions.  I’m not going to make them, but rather I’m going to pursue that which will propel me closer to my goals.  I need to set a schedule for my life.  Now, not so rigid I have no spontaneity, but rather a schedule to keep me from distractions and procrastinations.  A schedule to keep me honest and away from the TV.  A schedule to keep me writing and pursuing.  A schedule to keep me working on all that I’ve already achieved.  I no longer have only myself to write for, I have fans.  Now I have an obligation to them.  I have family and friends who depend on me, even though I know I need time for myself. I have to schedule my life to find balance.  But I feel in my soul that this is the time for me to find that.

The last two years were not only about obstacles and overcoming them, as well as seeing the positive in them, but it was also about discovering more about myself.  I have made new friends, who are so wonderful and supportive, and reconnected with friends I had lost touch with, and found that no time had passed at all.  I’ve jumped off the cliff and landed safely at the bottom.  I’ve discovered now… this year… it’s all about climbing back up… most likely so I can jump off again.  But I guess that’s what life is… it’s about taking chances and exposing yourself to the dangers and once you survive, it’s about the hard work, climbing back up, so you can do it all over again.  Yup, it’s all about that hard work, whether it’s writing or getting healthy or laughing when you’re sad or job hunting or just doing what needs to be done.  The hard work that when you’ve completed the journey makes you smile, no matter how tired or sore you are.  The hard work that you can take pride in.  So, I’d better settle in… I’ve got a long way to climb before 2014.