Tag Archive | thanks

30 Days of Thanks – Just Take a Look, It’s In a Book

Day 26

So here’s the thing, if there’s anything to be said about anything, chances are Carl Sagan has said it better. Such is the case with today’s topic of thanks: books. The other love of my life, the source of all my creative tendencies, my inspiration , my favorite companion on a rainy afternoon… my books. So here’s what Carl has to say:

A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.

Yep. Carl’s got it. The book you read is the only version of that book that will ever exist. Unlike a film; everyone sees the same version of the story, but when you read The Great Gatsby, that is your version, and only yours. That’s really an amazing thing to think about, and why the book is always better. No one’s green light across the bay will look exactly like mine, because no one will ever get inside my head. How intimate. What a magic gift. The greatest of human inventions.

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30 Days of Thanks – ABC’s Sesame Street Style

Day 14

Lately I’ve been thinking about the internet. I’m on it often enough, and sometimes I have to step back and reflect on this crazy infinite invention that provides us with an endless wealth of information about absolutely everything. Scientific data. False information. Lies. Jokes. Studies. Biographies. Histories. OPINIONS. Sooooo many opinions. We’ve become so much more opinionated in the past 15 years haven’t we? I just can’t believe how many people out there have strong opinions about things they really know nothing about. It’s incredible, and not just in a bad way. I mean ultimately I think it’s probably good. People care about things! Everyone can feel like an expert. What I’m hoping is that the exposure to so much information and so many opinions is compelling people to eventually do their research. I know that’s what has happened to me. Anyway, what am I talking about today. I’m getting all meta and going off on a tangent. What I really want to say is, I’m grateful for so much language.

So much to read. So much to think about. So much to write about. Sometimes it feels like I will write more and read more in one day than I did an entire year in high school. It’s given me a real unquenchable thirst for knowledge. The secrets of the entire universe at my fingertips. What a gift.

I’m grateful to have been born in a country that fosters literacy, especially for girls. I know there are plenty of places in the world where that is a daily challenge. When a teenage girl has to get shot in the head to stand up for her right to write, I take a deep breath and thank my lucky stars that I never had to even imagine such a threat. What an amazing young woman. If you haven’t seen this interview of Malala on The Daily Show, take a few minutes and do yourself a favor. Grab a box of tissues first.

I’m grateful for Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and Reading Rainbow. The shows that made me fall in love with learning and books. I’m thankful for this blog. I can always be challenging myself. To put my experience into words. To make people relate. It’s different than writing in a journal because I’m accountable to my readers. I want you to understand.

The art of language. The building blocks of knowledge. It’s a beautiful thing. But don’t just take my word for it…

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See ya tomorrow.

30 Days of Thanks – Mac & Cheese and Metamorphosis

Days 12 and 13

I may have missed yesterday’s post (bad blogger!) but that doesn’t mean I missed the chance to contemplate on what has made me grateful. So today is a two-fer. I’m grateful for two things, seemingly anachronistic, but actually vital to each other’s worth.

You know what they say about sharks that don’t swim forward. Well, humans too in my opinion. Our “swimming” may look different, but if we don’t change and move forward we’ll die. Either emotionally, psychologically, or literally. Truly literally, not Chris Traeger literally. Many of the cells in our body are constantly regenerating and changing. And while that whole “our body is completely regenerated every 7 years” factoid is partially a myth (which I was disappointed to discover as it would have been a great zing to illustrate my point), it is true that millions of our body’s cells regenerate every day, and all but the cells of the cerebral cortex, the inner lens of the eye, and the muscles of the heart will completely regenerate several times in our lifetime. (Glad the point still pretty much works). To sum up, change is a necessary part of life.

I’ve been thinking back to last year and how much has changed just in the act of getting engaged. I’ve gone from someone’s girlfriend to someone’s fiance. Next year I will become someone’s wife. Not just someone’s. Brad Light’s. My sweet wonderful Brad. I’ve been thinking back to some of the trepidation I had at first of going through this transformation. So many unknowns. Such big steps. I think now about how happy I am. What a wonderful place I’m in; a place of excitement, eagerness, and honor that I will partake in such a sacred rite. So grateful that I didn’t allow fear to stunt this metamorphosis.

A year ago I still wanted to be a professional actor; well, to be more specific (and more honest) a movie stahh! There was a bitterness and toxicity attached to it that I just kept repressing and repressing. Finally in accepting my heart’s truth that I may be changing into something else, I have found peace of mind, I’ve found a renewed and more vibrant love of acting, and most importantly I’ve found goodness in my heart. I’ve let go of the jealousy, the anger, the bitterness, the worry, the judgement. I’ve discovered what it means to truly follow your bliss.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t allowed change to occur, and I would have never survived the change had I not had the next thing I’m grateful for in this two-for-one special:

Routine. If all I do is routine, a serious case of the blues won’t be far behind. If everyday I wake up, drink coffee, go to work, drive home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed, sleep, wake up, repeat…. you get the picture; I would be a dead shark. And yet creature comforts must not be discounted completely for they are just that, comforts. In times of my life that I’ve suffered from terrible anxiety (usually related to fear of change) it is turning to certain routines that has given me the strength to let change occur. Bubble baths. My favorite foods. Mac & Cheese! A date with Brad. Walking along the beach. Snuggling with my cats. Talking to my Mom. Painting. Writing. Watching my favorite movie. This time of year is such a perfect example of the comfort and strength of routine. You know what makes it palatable to face a new 365 days of unknowns every year? Christmas carols. Eggnog lattes. Holiday cards. Mistletoe. Cinnamon. Apple cider. Baking. Snowmen. Snuggling by a fire. I love Christmas because it’s the epitome of comforting. And it rolls around like clockwork. Like a routine or something.

All of these things are not wildly outside of my comfort zone. They give me peace. They are the layer of security I need in order to walk boldly into the unknown.

So for today, a double-bill of thanks is appropriate for their respective topics. For Day 12 and Day 13: I’m thankful for the yesterday that brought me to today.

See ya tomorrow.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 11: Those Who Give Most

Not nearly enough time or energy in one day to properly thank the men and women whom this day honors. Our Veterans. Among them I count my father, both of my grandfathers, my soon to be father-in-law, and many more. My father fought in Vietnam when he was still practically a kid. My grandfathers fought in WW2, one in the Pacific, the other in Europe. It’s hard to imagine what they had to face and to witness.

To all those who face and have faced atrocity and danger every day for the good of our country, we simply can’t thank you enough. Maybe some of you knew why you were fighting, maybe others simply fought because that’s what soldiers do. Whatever the reason, I hope you feel honored not just today, but every day. We have miles to go in regards to how we take care of our veterans, but hopefully at least today, today you feel the unending and unmitigated gratitude.

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There is one particular veterans ceremony that I simply must mention here. Have you ever seen the Flag Retreat Ceremony at Disneyland? I know, you hear Disneyland and you might think of silly childish fun. I tell you what, it’s one of the most patriotic, reverent, and lovely experiences I have ever seen in regards to our men and women in service. Every time we are in the park during the day I try and catch it. I mention it here in case any of you have a trip planned in the near future; don’t miss it. It happens every day in the late afternoon. Bring tissues because I get teary-eyed Every. Single. Time.

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To our Veterans. We salute you with endless love and gratitude. Today all of my thanks go to you.

See ya tomorrow.

 

 

30 Days of Thanks – Day 10: The Zombie Apocalypse

Today was rather uneventful. We woke. We ate. We ran. We ate again.

But then we went over to a friend’s house to watch the first two episodes of Season 4 of The Walking Dead. An awesome way to end a Sunday.

I’m addicted.

I love that show!

Today I am thankful for The Walking Dead. No spoilers! Only on S4: ep. 2 people!

Thank goodness for good TV. That is all.

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See ya tomorrow.

 

30 Days of Thanks – Day 7: My Lucky Penny

Yesterday a series of events occurred which reinforced my belief in serendipity and magic. Before I begin there are a few things you need to know.

Earlier this year the corporeal Earth lost one of its best creations. Scott McKinley. He was an angel on earth and as of yesterday I’m even more convinced he continues to be an angel of the universe.

I think about him often, and most often in scenarios where I ask myself “what would Scotty do?” You see he was the kindest and most loving man I’d ever met. No matter what troubles befell him or what mood he found himself in on a given day, he made everyone feel special when he saw them and he greeted them with the most warm and loving “Hey there.” I often think that he played a part in my life to teach me about kindness, to be a living example of what the Golden Rule is really all about.

Now here’s another thing you need to know before I tell the story. There was this thing he and I had with pennies. One evening at Theatre of NOTE Scott handed me a penny. I was in a grouchy and cynical mood and guffawed. I told him half sarcastically that I thought pennies were stupid and lucky pennies just perpetuated their ridiculous use in society. Of course, magical love creature that he was, he was shocked and appalled and insisted I take the lucky penny, while he proceeded to school me on their magical attributes. It all made such perfect sense. In a moment of cynicism and grumpiness, here is Scott to remind me that beauty and goodness is a better choice. From that moment on every time I saw a “lucky” penny on the ground I picked it up and thought of Scott. And the pennies have reminded me that I always have a choice, to be good, or to be a grouch. To be like Scott, or not.

The night before last he visited me in a dream. It wasn’t just a dream wherein he made an appearance. It was one of those conscious/aware dreams where I knew I was dreaming and I knew he was visiting me. I said to him “Scott! Thank you! Oh my God it’s so good to see you!” And we caught up a little, and he smirked his Scotty smirk. And then I woke up.

So that’s what you need to know. Now here’s the story:

Yesterday evening I was walking to my car after work. Traffic was heavy downtown, as it often is. I’m waiting on the corner of 8th and Olive to cross the street. It was one of those situations where cars were pulling into the intersection because they had a green light, but the traffic was so backed up there was no way they were going to make it all the way through before the light turned red, and thus the cross-traffic wouldn’t be able to make it through their green light, causing even worse traffic. This is a pet peeve. I feel like there’s a special circle of hell reserved for those who block the intersection. Back to yesterday. There is a minivan stuck in the intersection obviously hoping to get through, but her light turns red and MY light turns green to walk. What I could have done was wait a minute before I started walking and let this poor woman in the minivan who’s probably late to something important just pull through so she wouldn’t feel like a jerk for blocking the intersection. But I don’t. Like I said, I’ve got a beef. I want to teach her a lesson. The moment I walk in front of her car and grab a glance at her distressed face, I think, “This isn’t right. What would Scotty do?” i.e. what is the kind thing to do? Once he enters my mind I realize instantaneously that I should have done the right thing. I make it to the other side of the street feeling a bit like a jerk and thinking about how I failed the Scott test today. For whatever reason I look down briefly. What is the first thing my eye catches?

I’m stunned. The exact moment I’m thinking about him, there he is. I stoop down to pick up a lone penny. To make sure it’s real. I don’t know what compels me, but I check the year of the penny thinking, now THAT would be weird.

1957.

The penny was from 1957.

Same year Scott was born. This penny and he came into the world the same year.

I stand there on Olive and 8th under the lamplight and start to cry. At once sadly reminded that such a good soul has parted, and joyfully reminded that he never truly left. Serendipity. Goodness. Magic. It’s real.

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I want to keep the penny. I want to make it into a necklace and wear it next to my heart every day. But I wonder if I shouldn’t send it back into the world. Leave it on another boulevard for the next person who needs it. I don’t want to be greedy. I do, but I don’t. What would Scott do? My heart’s desire is to take this little sign of him and hold onto it with all of my might. Should we keep such tokens? Or send them down the river? I haven’t decided yet.

Everyone slips away into the cosmic dust. Maybe when we do we get to leave little signs of ourselves around the ol’ neighborhood. Little bread crumbs that we’re still there.

Thank you for being my lucky penny Scott. For being everyone’s. I’ll keep following your bread crumbs. I love you. I miss you.

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30 Days of Thanks – Day 6: The Dentist

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Yes you read that right. I am grateful for the dentist. I woke up this morning at 6:30 am to make sure I made it to my dentist’s office by 8:00 am for an average run-of-the-mill root canal. Fun. Nothing like the sound of the dental drill and tooth enamel dust flying through the air to wake you up in the morning.

In all honesty, no I do not love going to the dentist. I’m not crazy. I’m not a masochist. At least not in a dental kind of way. In an emotional victim just-let-me-feel-sorry-for-myself-for-a-week kind of way, maybe. Sometimes. But I digress. I don’t love visiting the dentist, but I’m sure grateful I have one. Here’s a list:

  • Grateful that I have affordable access to dental insurance
  • Grateful that I have a job that allows me to pay for said dental insurance
  • Grateful that I found a great dentist’s office on the Westside (Dr. Cynthia Cheung. I recommend).
  • Grateful that there are TV’s in every chair and that I get to watch Moneyball while getting a root canal. Jonah Hill is so sweet in that movie. You just might say he gives me a toothache.
  • Grateful that I have a renewed sense of commitment to dental hygiene (three root canals and 4 fillings will do that to you.)
  • Grateful that I live in the era of modern medicine where, let’s be honest, there really isn’t a ton of pain involved. As much as we all like to complain about the dentist, they have gotten really good at making procedures as painless as possible. The worst part of this morning was the shot of Novocaine to numb up my gums, and the realization that I’d run out of episodes of The Big Bang Theory on my last root canal. A shot in the gums is much better than a shot of whiskey and someone’s hand to squeeze.

I’ve been in that position where my tooth is cracked and I don’t have insurance and all I see are dozens of dollar signs drilling a hole in first my pocket, then my tooth, then my soul. So while going to the dentist is not the most fun thing in the world to do on Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m., I am very thankful. Sometimes you have to be thankful for the not so fun things too. They can be just as important.

Plus my teeth are all purdy now. Thank you Dentists!

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Can you believe there's a website called DentalToons . com?

Can you believe there’s a website called DentalToons . com?

 

 

See ya tomorrow!