Best Acquisition of 2013: Our darling Moneypenny--This was back in May; now she's a grown-up girl.
Long-time readers of this blog know that in years past, I've always posted a retrospective on or around January 1st. Well, my report on 2013 is late in coming, due to a series of unfortunate events we have dubbed "Janupocalypse" at our house, but it's finally here.
2013 was our first full year as a family in the Golden State, and we've had quite a grand time exploring our new home town and its environs. Here's what I liked best:
Favorite Books Read:
10. Joyland, by Stephen King
9. Callender Square, by Anne Perry
8. Mastering the Art of French Eating, by Ann Mah
7. The God Who Weeps, by Terryl and Fiona Givens
6. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne Valente
5. I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett
4. Dancing on Broken Glass, by Ka Hancock
3. Forever Chic, by Tish Jett
2. Night Film, by Marisha Pessl
1. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
(Once again, I did not rank books by close friends, many of which were superb.)
Most Disappointing (not the worst) Book:
Harrowgate, by Kate Haruyama
Favorite Movies Seen:
9. Up on Poppy Hill
8. Man of Steel
7. Monsters University
6. World War Z
5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3. The Way, Way Back
1. Blue Jasmine
I'm super way behind on filmgoing. One of my goals in 2014 is to see a lot more movies. I live in Movie Central, after all. Sheesh.
Favorite TV Watched:
5. Game of Thrones
4. Modern Family
3. Downton Abbey
2. Breaking Bad
1. Call the Midwife
And I have to mention Almost Human, which we are recording on DVR, and which I'm thoroughly enjoying. It features interesting science fiction-based plots and about the most attractive cop duo of all time. Give it a try.
Music: It's been a year of treasuring the old stuff: The Beatles, Great Big Sea, Niamh Parsons, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Bach, Brahms. I just haven't had a need or a desire for anything new, really. We'll see if and when that changes this year.
Food, on the other hand: It's all about the new and fabulous. LA County is a motherlode of inexpensive, world-class Asian food, so we've hit that hard: Din Tai Fung, Vietnam House, Luscious Dumplings, Gin Sushi, Sweethome Grill, and many more.
We also found Da Pasquale, an absolute gem of an authentic Neopolitan restaurant in Beverly Hills, a stone's throw from the temple in Santa Monica, and it has been our go-to spot for pizza and the like. I keep heading back to Eagle Rock's The Oinkster for top-notch pastrami sandwiches and luscious fries with homeade aioli. For artisanal ice cream of the freshest and most delicious sort, we alternate between Carmela's in Pasadena and Mother Moo's right here in Sierra Madre. Awesome tacos abound; we love Taco Fiesta, conveniently an easy walk from our house. And burgers? The Counter, Hook Burger, and Pie n' Burger have all been on hand to satisfy the craving.
Top Local Tourist Sites Visited:
10. Descanso Gardens
9. Chinatown/Olvera Street
8. Santa Barbara Zoo
7. Lake Hollywood
6. Bolsa Chica Beach
5. La Brea Tar Pits
4. The Norton-Simon Museum
3. Huntington Dog Beach
2. Huntington Library & Gardens
1. The Getty Center
We plan to do a lot more exploring in 2014. I don't know if we'll ever discover all there is to experience around here, but we'll give it our best shot.
Best to you in the coming year! Let's make it the greatest year ever, shall we?