Royce Hall ceiling fresco --- Photo Credit: UCLA Image Library

The largest wall in my living room is, at the moment, pretty naked. During the summer I had hung up two large banners my roommate had swiped from a UCLA Catering event that had pictures of green food on them and advertised a patio dining space for (what was probably) a fictional tennis club. I had also put up a few dozen yellow Jarrito stickers in the shape of a large smiley face on the adjacent wall but had taken down both the banners and the smiley at the start of the school year to make room for more tasteful decorations. The Jarritos stickers were replaced with a large framed map of Paris that, after several tries, we had managed to affix to the wall despite its extreme heaviness. My roommate’s liberal application of command strips to the back of the frame probably means that we will never actually be able to remove the Paris map, but I think that’s fine with me. We tried putting up a portrait of Daniel Webster (a senator from the 1800s) on the wall where the patio dining banners had been, but such a heavy frame again gave us problems, and my roommate’s supply of command strips was used up after Webster’s second attempted hanging. For now, he’s sitting on the couch next to a striped throw pillow from IKEA. In the corner of my living room, there’s a holographic picture of Jesus in a gold, light-up frame that I found at the flea market on Melrose and Fairfax. The weighty gold frame, too, doesn’t like to stay hung up.

The only piece of decoration that my roommates and I are really pleased with (beyond the permanent map of Paris) is my wall of plants. This summer, when I was fantasizing the most about interior decorating, I decided that I wanted one of my walls to be filled with vegetation. I had been obsessively saving jars during the course of my fridge cleaning and had amassed quite a collection by the end of summer. I planned on filling the jars with some cute little shrubs or flowers or something and then displaying the fruits of my green thumb by adhering them to the wall. Wanting to avoid the now-overdone succulent-in-a-jar thing and feeling insecure about my ability to keep flowers alive, I opted finally to use air plants which I bought from a nursery off of Sunset. I also found some yucca plants in the free section on Craigslist from a man who lives in Venice who, when I went to retrieve my yuccas, also gave me a few cacti and another huge air plant. Armed with the necessary fauna, I constructed my plant wall (using the last of the command strips I had, effectively ending any chance for Danny Webster or Jesus to make it back up on their respective wall spaces). And like I said, I was quite pleased, but having just one nice wall doesn’t really outweigh a huge, blank one.

The quarter is already about a third of the way through, so any hope of having had a beautifully decorated apartment when school started has been more or less lost. Even if we had found a way to make his portrait stick, our dear friend the senator would have been lonely on the wall that had previously been filled by two large banners. There’s still more shopping to do around the Melrose flea market and more browsing through free Craigslist (which, actually, I’ve still been doing – I almost managed to win, for lack of a better word, a two foot python but was late by about two hours). But still. At least I have my wall of plants. And at least I’ll always have Paris.