31 December 2009

Some Things I'm Grateful for in 2009

2009 has been an amazing year as far as years go. So good in fact that I won't (can't) expect 2010 to match 2009, even though technically it is my year since I'm a tiger, according to Chinese astrology, and this is the Year of the Tiger. I have a great feeling about 2010. I do. But first I wanted to list some of the things I'm most grateful in an amazing year. Here's an abridged list:

Things I'm Particularly Grateful for in 2009

1. Riding the TGV for the first time

2. Living in Buenos Aires

3. The Paella we ate in Madrid

4. Roaming around Geneva

5. Eating Thai food in Paris on my birthday

6. Exploring La Rambla + capturing the human pyramids in Barcelona

7. Walking on the boardwalk in Sitges

8. Getting lost in Montmartre repeatedly

9. Getting into USC's PhD program in Literature + Creative Writing

10. Spending the summer in Chicago

11. Working with Aimee Bender + TC Boyle

12. Getting stories accepted in Fiction, Notre Dame Review + ZYZZYVA.

13. Finally getting my hardcopies of my story that was published in Stand Magazine

14. Finding + landing our new apartment in Hollywood, that I absolutely fucking love

15. LB finally joining me in the West Coast

16. Wonderful, contradictory, mysterious, elusive LA

17. The wonders of technology, specifically, my iPhone

18. Spending my first Thanksgiving + New Years with my mom + brother at our home in LA

19. Watching Boston College lose twice: once against Notre Dame in the regular season + a second time against SC in the Emerald Bowl

20. Living five blocks from Cinerama, the Palladium, four great cafés, the Hollywood Farmers Market + five minute by car from Trader Joe's

21. My graduate stipend (twice as much as my ND one)

22. Being able to recreate myself in LA

23. The Invention of the Blog

24. TC Boyle telling me that my writing has moments of transcendent beauty

25. Aimee Bender telling me that my writing has a sparkle to it

26. Vegan orange chicken at Bulan

27. Guapíssima enchanting charming loving multifarious pure loving gracious stylish evolving mysterious playful indelible LB

28. The colors blue + yellow (Argentina, the coastline, the LA sky)

29. The simple joy + satisfaction of buying fresh green tea + a Japanese tea pot

30. Witnessed history in the making twice as Obama was elected president of the United States of America

31. Finally visited Morocco for the first time

32. That both my and LB's family are in good health + basically happy mashallah

16 December 2009

LA Photo Sampler December 2009

Okay, I've been slacking on the blog this past month. But in my defense, I had to revise a memoir + a piece of flash fiction, analyze ten years of the Boston Review, read twenty articles + skim or read seven books in order to write a 38-page seminar paper. So it's not like I was fucking around. I had shit to do, man.

Anyway, here is a short LA sampler of some of the places I've looked at the past month. Starting with the most important picture for me:
Our Apartment in Hollywood
Possibly the Scariest Scientology Building I've Ever Seen
At the Highland Mall, I Walked Right into a Hilary Duff Concert (I'd Wondered Why There Were TV Cameras Outside)
The View from the Office. Not Too Shabby
The View Up There on the Shrine
The Shrine at USC
The Grove
LB Glowing like a Broken Star
One of Our Fave Vegetarian Restaurants in LA: Bulan!
God, They're Everywhere
One of Several Wax Museums on Hollywood Boulevard
So Confusing: an Amish Choir in the Middle of Hollywood. Who Came up with This Idea?
LB Perplexed by Time's Positive Attitude
American Beauty Will Live Forever in Our Souls Kevin Spacey
El Capitan
So Busy, So Hectic. Welcome to Hollywood, Chicos
One of My Favorite Actors of All Time
Grauman's Chinese Theater
Tourists Asking Themselves: Wait, is This Grauman's Chinese Theater?
The Cinegrill
Got Me Some New Kicks, Man
Mall Stuff in Hollywood
They Actually Turned away a Woman with Wet Hair Earlier
Beautiful Union Station in LA
Little Tokyo--I Promise to Take More (and Much Better) Pictures Later on
Museum of Japanese-American Art
This Guy Was Dressed up in a White Pimp Outfit. And He Was Drunk. And He'd Just Passed Out. And Miraculously, He Was Standing up
Obviously, I Drank Too Much
This Is What You See Walking out of the Hollwood/Vine Metro Station
Busy Making Vegan Portabello Sage Gravy + Praline Sweet Potatoes
Amazing Pumpkin Muffins that LB Made. They Were Gone before Nightfall
My Mom + LB Posing in front of the 3rd Street Promenade X-Mas Tree
Communing with the Dolphin
Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Pier
El Fuego Está dentro de Su Pecho, por Si Acaso que Tienes Curiosidad de Saber
Roller Coaster in the Distance
Water beside the Pier
In My Head: LB Getting Drenched in a Gigantic Wave
La Playa + Las Ondas + La Vista de Arriba
The Beautiful Pacific Ocean
With Sun
My Mom, Walking towards the Roller Coaster--Oh, What an Amazing Coincidence That Is Metaphorically
No, We Didn't Ride It
Thanksgiving Dinner: All Vegan, Motherfuckers
LB's Homemade Pumpkin Pie Was Absolutely Delicious
You're Looking at: Praline Sweet Potatoes, Sage Portabello Mushroom Gravy, Garlic and Chive Mash, Raisin Stuffing, Homemade Orange/Cranberry Sauce, Homemade Rolls, Tofu + Pumpkin Pie + a Seitan Pot Roast that Looked + Tasted like a Brain (the Only Thing We Didn't Quite Get Right). Did I Mention That It Was 100% Vegan?
Look at That Cranberry Sauce
My Mom's Plate
Your Random New Orleans Brass Band at the Hollywood Farmer's Market
Herb Garden--Not That Kind

LB, Enjoying Her Soy Hot Chocolate

Bricks + Stuff at Ground Work, One of the Cooler Cafés in LA

Wide World of Teas

I Would Kill + Maim + Defame + Set Churches on Fire for These Beautiful Eyes

Pantages Theater at Night