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The 12 Days of Mount Washington 'Thanksmas'--Part 2

The author proposes making Christmas the holiday of thanks and composes the second half of a "Thanksmas" list of gratitude.

The 12 Days of Mount Washington 'Thanksmas'--Part 2

We’re still smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season and I, for one, am feeling very thankful for family, friends, health and joy.

I’m thankful for--but a little afraid of--the tomatoes still popping up on my balcony as January approaches. The vine appears dead; are the tomatoes bewitched?

I’m grateful for the Hill’s stairways, streets and trails as I pass them in my car; I know they’re there if I ever again have time to walk.

I’m grateful for anyone willing to navigate Mount Washington’s confounding streets to my house. There are just enough of the latter foolhardy souls to keep me from hermitude.

Bottom line, I am overflowing with as I continue to look back at the year that was.

The 12 Months of Thanksmas–Part 2

On the seventh month of Thanksmas, Mount Washington gave to me: a school produce collective.

At , kids aren’t just learning reading, writing and what used to be arithmetic, they’re making kale chips! And eating them!

Of course, there’s more. The collaborative partnership between principal Elizabeth Valentino, the dedicated teachers, committed volunteers, and dynamic parents like Natasha Stanton who helped spearhead the fundraiser. The little school on the Hill is raising dynamic and creative citizens of the world.

And they’ll all grow up eating their vegetables. Thanks, Mount Washington Elementary!

On the eighth month of Thanksmas, Mount Washington gave to me: teens that make a difference.

This isn’t the only community with a dedicated “It takes a village” approach to raising kids--and it actually wasn’t a village that raised these teens, but babysitting cooperatives. The teens and young adults who have grown up on the Hill, even if they’ve migrated elsewhere, are a pretty impressive bunch: serving our country, designing disaster relief shelters, 

Youth certainly isn’t wasted on Mount Washington’s young. Thanks for making us proud, young adults!

On the ninth month of Thanksmas, Mount Washington gave to me: a river for a neighbor.

Here is a great thing about Mount Washington, its neighbor is the Los Angeles River. The river may have been mostly a concrete channel--and drag race film location--for decades, but thanks to the perseverance of and other L.A. River advocates, Mount Washingtonians will hopefully, in future decades, have a front row seat for the nation’s most dynamic civic works project: the reclamation and greening of the Los Angeles River. Thanks, Ed Reyes and Los Angeles River lovers everywhere!

On the 10th month of Thanksmas, Mount Washington gave to me: a mural discussion.

The discussion about the mural to memorialize Jack Rohman was heated. And passionate, loud, long and not always pretty. The artists spoke. Community members spoke. members spoke. Jack’s parents spoke. Even the Self-Realization Fellowship spoke through , Assistant Director, Public Affairs.

It was public discussion and it was important to have. I’m thankful that it happened. I hope it continues.

On the 11th month of Thanksmas, Mount Washington gave to me: neighbors new and known.

Annoying neighbors are fail-safe comic staples in sitcoms and big screen comedies. Alternatively, articles in women’s magazines feature neighbors who cook a week’s worth of meals together, throw block parties in the summer and create collective beautification projects.

Neither group describes my block.

For the most part, we nod, we wave, we have brief, friendly chats. And yet, I realize I write about my neighbors with surprising frequency because a neighborhood isn’t, usually, about big projects, but about daily life: holiday burglaries, coyote sightings, new flowers in the front yard, a , the loan of an out-of-print book.

And not one of my neighbors could be caricatured in a comedy. Here’s looking at you, neighbors!

On the 12th day of Thanksmas, Mount Washington gave to me: art everywhere.

There’s a long legacy of art, art salons, artists, writers and musicians in Mount Washington, but it's still astonishing that all that creativity remains woven into the fabric of the community. Whether it’s kids writing songs about chaos theory, murals on public stairways, authors writing about dancers, or pumpkins carved into masterpieces, art is as much a part of Mount Washington as nature.

And I am so grateful that it is.

The 12 Months of Thanksmas Finale

Here’s what I realize when I look back on the last year: 12 days, 12 months, even 25 years of living on the Hill isn’t nearly long enough to express my gratitude for all things Mount Washington.

And I haven’t even tried the kale chips.

Happy Thanksmas, Mount Washington!  Here's to a great 2012!

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