Let it be happy

A brand new year, spreading out fresh and bright before us. I know, I know, it’s an arbitrary number on a calendar that really has no meaning in the grand scheme of things, but there is something that is always delightfully refreshing about looking at a clean slate.

We heralded in the new year in a quiet fashion, Richard and I. December 31st is his birthday so this year (oops, *last* year) – okay, yesterday – we drove off to San Francisco and went to the zoo. We both love that zoo, especially the lemur habitat, so we got there just a bit after it opened and then spent a good long time watching lemurs go about their business, followed by the Emperor Tamerins (another favorite) and then we went to find the penguins and the river otters, until we were distracted by a rather strange and loud booming sound, which turned out to be the noise a very, VERY large rhinoceros makes when chasing an equally large ball around its enclosure. That’s something one doesn’t see every day.

Most of the critters still had extra branches and trees and toys in their enclosures from Christmas, and it was amusing to watch them playing. It was, as always, lazy cat time in the tiger and lion exhibits, but one of the river otters was industriously smashing branches into a nest, interspersed with diving into the water and swimming through a giant tube over and over. There were some cute little critters that were the South American equivalent of a raccoon (cannot recall the name) who were having a grand time playing hide and seek with several large towels. And we caught a glimpse of a rather small gorilla baby who is apparently known for harassing the others. But then considering his age, I suppose that’s to be expected for a toddler.

After the zoo we headed off to The Stinking Rose for a rather early dinner. We both love this restaurant because we are both huge fans of garlic, and their motto is that they season their garlic with food, and they really aren’t kidding about that. We kicked off the meal by splitting their signature appetizer, which is a little pan filled piles of roasted garlic, to be spread on fresh baked rolls (so, so very delicious), and then followed that with delicious entrees (lots more garlic in those, of course). We did pass on the garlic ice cream for dessert, as intriguing as it sounded, and instead split a large martini glass filled with the most amazing layered chocolate mousse of the sort where every single bite you had to stop and close your eyes and savor it slowly because it was just that good. And then we headed back home; the entire trip (and dinner) having been carefully planned so as to allow us to get back without having to deal with New Year’s Eve traffic (and the drunk drivers that come with it).

We were discussing what we wanted to do once we got home, but then on the way, Richard checked his email and hey, a note from Best Buy, telling us our order was ready to pick up, and that took care of that. This is because each year instead of doing presents for each other (beyond the stockings, which actually turns out to be the same thing anyway because we tend to go overboard at times but it’s the *principle* of the thing, you see), we get ourselves one big joint present. Last year it was all the furniture for the office (which we then had to assemble – hooray for Ikea), for example. This year was *going* to be new phones, as we’re due for an upgrade from Verizon, but since both prefer the slide-out keyboard, and since Verizon, for some obscure reason, pushed the release of the Droid 4 back beyond December, we decided instead to get something else. So off we went to Best Buy to pick up our new toys. Yay!

I have been dithering for the better part of a year (I like to take my time on these things) on whether or not I wanted to get an eReader. I like the idea of a tiny tablet sort of critter, but I wasn’t sure I wanted a Kindle because I want it for color items as well, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to get just an eReader because I read a LOT (no, really, I am not exaggerating, last year I checked out 223 books from the library alone and that does not include all the books I read that didn’t come from the library, which would likely have brought the total up to over 250, and admittedly, it’s felt like kind of a slow year for me in the reading department), and while a lot of books are available for electronic checkout, there’s still not a big selection when compared to actual paper versions, and that new thing with Kindle where you can borrow one book a month just makes me laugh (I can read several books a DAY if I put my mind to it). But a tablet – ah, that gives me options beyond just an eReader. I went to play with the Nook, and I did like that, but it locks me into Barnes and Noble, which I didn’t like. And then we went to Best Buy so I could play with the Kindle Fire, which I had fully expected to love (even though I have some major reservations about the fact that they force the user to keep practically everything in the Cloud, and not having physical copies of things can make me a bit twitchy). But I was quite shocked to discover that I actually did *not* love it, not at all. I have thought wistfully of tablets in the past, but they usually are wincingly expensive. But while I was standing there in Best Buy, frowning grumpily at the Kindle Fire, there it was, the cute little Acer Iconia, just about $10 more than the Nook Tablet, but with the added benefit of it being far more functional. I poked at it and oohed and aahed and started to fall a little bit in love with it, and Richard started playing with it and then I broached the possibility of us getting these instead of the phones, and he said something to the effect of ‘gee, twist my arm’, but they didn’t have them in stock right that moment, so instead they ordered them for us, and yesterday they came in. Merry Christmas!

So here we are, a brand new year, with five cats that make us laugh every single day, and a 100 year old house we adore, and jobs we both enjoy, and a brand new shiny toy to usher it in. I think I am giving up on making any sort of resolution, or setting myself any goals, since that hasn’t worked so well in the past year or three. Instead I think I will simply say that my hope is to keep on doing what I’ve been doing, except better, and take it from there.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies

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