Gratitude: January 2014

As many days as possible, I list six distinct things for which I’m grateful. The list is archived monthly. Here’s January 2014. 

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ellie

I am grateful for holidays. Health. Quiet morning writing time. My apron. Biscuits. Honey.

I am grateful for the litter box. Paper towels. Bona floor cleaner. Band-aids. Bactine. Veterinarians.

I’m grateful for Dr. Yuen at Pet Medical Center. Ellie’s new haircut. That she’s eating again. Ruby’s health. Progress on the story I’m writing. Dinner conversation with Andy.

I’m grateful for a spontaneous flight-delay-enabled date with a dear friend. Our conversations and notes. Sharing a special place with her. Low sun through those wall-sized beachfront windows. Memories of our mutual friend. The serendipity of running into my original dinner dates in traffic as we walked through Santa Monica with its colored winter lights.

I’m grateful for the suggestion to read Ottessa Moshfegh’s short stories. Breakfast out with Andy. Ellie’s improved health. An extended writing deadline. Making momentary peace with the undone without giving up. Memories of a wonderful extended break.

I’m grateful for Karen Walrond and Chookooloonks.com. Her online journaling class, “CREATE.2014”. That mom is taking it with me. Sunbathing at home in January. Safe driving. A reason to go to Downtown LA regularly.

I’m grateful for getting back into the morning page habit. Fun with my new handwritten text style. Time to read “Animals” by Michael Kardos from Crazyhorse. Tuesday night specials at El Cholo. Receiving an amazing New Years Package from Germany. Making new friends abroad.

I’m grateful for a good day of work. Time for a lunch break. Chatting with my brother. Seeing the Pacific Ocean during my weekly commute. Computers. Ink.

I’m grateful for being able to work from home. Getting a lot done. Time to walk a couple miles at dusk. My backpack. Lots of neighboring stores. Coffee.

I’m grateful for all my new jewelry. Finishing up the first workweek of 2014. A pleasant 11-hour workday with super people. Excel. Quickbooks. Friday night with Andy.

I’m grateful for a quiet sunrise with the kitties during their breakfast. A day to catch up on my journaling class. Colored pens, crayons and great questions. The way Ruby and Ellie sleep so deeply. Seeing them groom each other’s faces and heads. Free time.

I’m grateful for hot water. Lisa’s note. Sidewalks. Legs and feet. 420 threadcount sheets. Memories.

I’m grateful for my writing group. A long walk. Happening upon Murakami’s Birthday Stories. Realizing I bought it the day after his birthday. Pleasant coincidences. Finding some interesting vintage photos.

I’m grateful for quiet breakfast and lunch breaks to read more work by Ethan Canin. His story “Angel of Mercy, Angel of Wrath.” Mexican folk art. Taco Tuesdays. Lots of energy to write in my journal. Seeing the round moon.

I’m grateful for being able to reorder the agenda mid-day. Bananas. Sparkling water. A good evening meeting. Modern Family (the show and the one in my household). Rest.

I’m grateful for a long overdue brunch meeting with a delightful colleague. Handling some old loose ends. A much needed long walk. Los Angeles January weather. Warm potpie. Ruby grapefruit lemon drop.

I’m grateful for making it in the nick of time. The cheering power of sparkly jewelry. The luxury of lunch out. Happy shared memories. Gifts and gratitude. Effective and kind collaboration.

I’m grateful for healing dreams. Feeling loved enough, loving enough and strong enough to risk extending myself. Learning new words to represent the color blue. Wikipedia. Inspiring and affectionate notes from a dear friend I haven’t seen in too long. Deciding on my word of the year.

I’m grateful for the energized way my vision board images make me feel. Glue. Scissors. Time. The sense of moving into a new chapter. Sundays.

I’m grateful for morning pages. Time to read “The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979.” Opening up–slowly–to magical realism. An afternoon for ritual. Deciding to work through another anniversary rather than a more decadent marking. Pages.

I’m grateful for another flaming sunrise. Time to photograph it. Eyes to see it. The ability to breathe when snapped at. Reading an excerpt of a new Lorrie Moore in Granta. The means to order the issue. 

I’m grateful for time to write at 5:30 in the morning. A check up. The skill of the woman who drew my blood. Scrambled eggs to end a longer than usual fast. Time to read A Public Space over brunch.

I’m grateful for reading another Murakami story before the sun rises. “Town of Cats.” Learning that 4:30pm doesn’t feel great when one has started work at 4:30am. Kind flexible people who put up with me. Making it to class early. A new workshop filled with impressively talented fellow students.

I’m grateful for my work. The luxury of being able to seek out “my work”. That the meeting was pushed. A walk to lunch with delightful & smart women. The new pizza place near the ocean. The close of a productive week.

I’m grateful that Ru didn’t cut her paws when she crashed the lamp during her morning gallop. The start my sixth consecutive moleskine in one year. Finding another list of essential short story collections. Just mentioning James Joyce and having Andy materialize Dubliners from our library without my asking. Deconstructing Goon Squad over French matinis. All the Saturday night people out on the sidewalk of Santa Monica Blvd. steps from our home.

I’m grateful I decided to go to PEN Center USA’s welcome party for the new Emerging Voices Fellows. Hearing poems that I can’t wait to read again. The pleasure of being able to support my new classmate. Feeling congratulatory. The kindness of the former fellows. PEN’s contribution to the Los Angeles literary community.

I’m grateful for bringing two large projects to completion. The wish that they were writing projects. The consolation that they brought income. The luxury of another meal out. Basil. Memories of basil.

I’m grateful for the assignment to read “The Getaway Car” by Ann Patchett. Patchett’s comforting advice on writing that helps me realize: I’m not doing it wrong. Feeling liberated to continue chipping away at the story I’m writing. Experimenting. Plenty to read. Time for a long walk.

I’m grateful for the way looking at my Pinterest boards cheers me. Seeing Ruby play with her favorite plastic bag/cave. Sitting across from a prototype for my main character’s father: Colonel Martinez. A nice talk with mom. A productive meeting with Dr. C. Reconciliation.

I’m grateful for the hours I devoted getting something worthwhile caught up. Flexibility in my schedule. Working with such wonderful people. UCLA. Umbrellas. Enthusiastic love of stories.

I’m grateful for authors and teachers: George Saunders, David Gilbert, Colette Sartor. Books. Comprehension. The ability to learn. Headlights. Easy collaboration with Andy.

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