Gratitude: October 2011


As many days as possible, I list six distinct things for which I’m grateful. The list is archived monthly.

Here’s October 2011 . . .

That the gringa who thought two Margaritas + Casual Knowledge of Italian = Ability to Speak Spanish left the restaurant shortly after we arrived. The big-ass cactus south of Olympic, north of Pico. Faux buttercream. Real buttercream. Sunscreen. Contact lenses.

Mason Jennings (genius!). Watching Летят журавли (The Cranes Are Flying) while listening to Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma”. Our apartment. Our tiny rectangular window, “The Wizard will see you now.” The Reverse Wizard. Andy’s description of Dexter as “TV’s worst-written good show.”

Olive oil popcorn. Patton Oswalt. Masking tape to keep the termites at bay until the landlord sends professional help. Chess.com. BPC. Wind.

The smell of celery. Having just spent my first two 45 minute writing shifts on a new story (self-loathing be gone!). My green hoodie. The day is still young. The Wire Complete Series DVD set my brother and his wife gave me last year for my birthday. Particularly the episode we watched this morning, Season 3 #5 “Straight and True.”

Steve Jobs. Apple. iPhone. Lap top. iPod. Podcasts.

The things I cannot say. First beautiful day of autumn. Tiffany’s email. Mary Elizabeth. Weights to lift. Muscles.

Katherine Anne Porter. Pears. Walnuts. Good Will Stores. Walks to dinner. Andy home when I return.

Apple walnut pancake breakfast with Andy. That particularly beautiful sentence in, “My Dead Brother Comes to America” by Alexander Godin. West 4th Jane. Beating Andy twice at the monstrous Chess Four (once without commandeering either Zombie Army). The wisdom and self-restraint I’ll eventually gain not to gloat.
A’s sweet orchestrating of the traditional scary movie month.

The luxury of unscheduled blocks of time. Sunday with Andy. Artemio Rodriguez’s woodcut prints. Super warm showers. Garlic. Bread dough.

That Trader Joe’s is exactly 1 mile away & has public bathrooms — a no hassle walking routine. Getting my dorky “mystic artist” ritual homework out of the way. TED talks. The Pear Cambozola Maple Pecan Garlic Pizza I made. Full moon shining down on the deck. Twitter coverage of the action at #occupyboston.

Hearing “On the Street Where You Live” at just the right moment yesterday at Nazi Napa Grill. A handful of Irises. The topical gel that made my gums numb before that hydro-cleaning. Clove cigarettes. Candlelight. Some specific and kind reassurances.

Blinds that close to help keep the heat out. Standing date with Andy. Left over tomato basil tofu sauce. Idea journal. iMac keyboard & mouse. USB ports.

The Occupiers. Free speech. Resources to orchestrate my own education without spending any money. Finishing two lessons today. The way chapter 5 (in a different course) addresses some of my concerns. Being able to revisit certain old chess matches.

Jackie Chan. Brown sugar. Vegan “butter”. Video Cameras. State parks. Skate parks.

The idea to wrap a tortilla around the left-over vegan blueberry-pear cobbler. That incredibly beautiful paragraph in Junot’s novel. Andy’s trip to the food store. No more termites. Free chess lessons. Saturdays.

That which is too sacred for this list. Feeling stronger. The memory of a firm grasp on my hand. The firm grasp on my hand. Imagined firm grasps on my hand. That I don’t need to let any of these things go.

Finally exercising some discipline as a working writer. The way shifting gears on the story seemed to help push it forward. Being able to easily churn out 0% passive sentences. That some of my quirks will come in handy for this character I’m developing. That I don’t know where the story is going. That I feel dedicated to finding out.

An easy drive to Encino. Breakfast with a dear friend. Feeling known & loved. Getting to see her new fabulous paintings. Surviving the bank sales pitch with new material for characters. Extra support on a hard day.

My sadness. Safety. Warmth. Cashews. Petals. Color.

The clip that held my hair back. My hair. Mirrors. Taking both zombie armies and beating Andy at Chess 4. Reduced Fat Cheese Puffs. Omar Little.

Seeing that four year old skater at the park today. Seeing him kick his board, run & hop on like he’d been doing it since birth. Seeing that scruffy skater (much closer to my age). Seeing the fantastic jump/board-flip stunt he landed. Seeing him pour water into his palm for his dog to drink. Seeing.

Noticing that the bouquet I bought to commemorate Lily’s birthday has 15 blossoms –one for each year of her (would be) age. Seeing the movie Drive (nearly perfect except for that one horrible song and the Michael Myers beach scene). One chess victory at the wine bar. A good talk w/ Andy. Vegan animal crackers. The dreams I had just before waking.

The way a walk can improve my mood. The smell of garlic and olive oil heating. “Let The Right One In”. The phrase, “enamoured of.” WordPress.com. Lilies.

That an incredibly thoughtful friend honored Lily at Fix Nation’s altar at Hollywood’s Day of the Dead event. A spontaneous lunch at California Vegan. That animal-free “Chick’n” is yummy. An unexpected positive feeling after doing something I’d been procrastinating over. This day last year. Andy’s home!

The invitation to see Nicholas Kristof speak at the Skirball. Karina & crew’s wonderful exhibition based on Kristof & WuDunn’s book Half The Sky. The Skirball Cultural Center. Kristof’s reminder that those of us in attendance at the museum had probably already won the lottery of life. Feeling his words to be true, even during sad moments. My Women for Women Sisters: past, present & future.

Occupy Oakland. The footage that came out of the Oakland police violence. The hope that for every person injured while peacefully protesting, 40 new occupiers will be moved to action. Glenn Greenwald’s appearance on Democracy Now! to discuss his new book: “With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful”. Learning that as of 2008, the U.S., with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners, more than any other nation. The reawakening of my wish to get involved with prison reform.

Warm salt water to gargle with. Climate control. Slippers. Feeling well enough to write. Tea. Freeze Frames.

Farm Sanctuary. Belina. Tissues. Ability to blow my nose. DayQuil. Ability to research cold remedies, for the future, that aren’t produced from animals.

Nothing scheduled. Time to rest. Andy’s chores & errands. Bridesmaids On Demand. More cold medicine. Chess games with Ken that indicate my skills are improving.

Waking up feeling much better. A nice lunch with Andy at Literati. The walk to get there. Boris the cow who helped me abstain from a burger. Our decision to adopt a new kitty, possibly two! Watching Poltergeist, yet again.

Those nice folks at Customer Service who helped me upgrade my iPhone; welcome to 2008! Continued better health – more energy today. Lange Foundation. West L.A. Animal Shelter. My former co-worker who volunteers at the shelter and can offer the inside scoop on kitty adoption. Setche.

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