Thursday, January 01, 2004

I quite happily drink wine with dinner, mixed drinks at parties, and beer with the usual gang of biologists on Friday nights at the local brewery, but there's something about New Year's Eve that leaves me less than interested in alcohol. I'd estimate that about half of my New Year's Eves as an adult have been alcohol-free, as was last night. It was, in fact, my idea of the perfect New Year's Eve; just Rick, Gail, and me watching Finding Nemo on DVD and then the Cartoon Network Adult Swim special, sipping sparkling grape juice, munching snacks, and generally enjoying one another's company. It especially pleased me that Cartoon Network did nothing special to mark the arbitrary transition between calendar years then taking place in our time zone. Rick was mildly disappointed by this; he and Gail marked it by humming Auld Lang Syne, and since I don't particularly like Auld Lang Syne, I hummed the theme fromThe Brak Show instead. (My usual alternative New Year's Eve anthem, Mexican Radio, just didn't seem to fit at that moment.) It all kind of worked together anyway.

Last week, we gave especially creative Christmas gifts to our niece and nephew; we took each of them out to lunch, the 14-year-old to his favorite seafood restaurant on Friday and the 9-year-old to her favorite Italian place on Saturday. I highly recommend this kind of experience to folks who don't want to buy schlocky over-advertised flotsam for their young relatives. (He's got all the Yu-Gi-Oh cards he needs for now, and she really doesn't need a starter tile bracelet that will eventually cost her a year of her allowance to fill up with the charms she wants before it becomes obsolete and unfashionable by next winter.) They're old enough now to have the full attention of their aunt and uncle on separate occasions, and seemed to enjoy it as much as we did.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to a few more days of slughood, but am hoping to start my new part-time job at Michigan State soon. We have to figure out the exact starting date (as in, when there's actually some space I can use). It was supposed to be January 5, but may be delayed slightly for the above and other reasons. So, for now, I'm going to have some leftover bagels and sparkling grape juice, then read the Jon Krakauer and Stephen Jay Gould books I checked out of the library. And, arbitrary or not, it's the start of a whole new year, and for now I'm not planning to worry about a thing.


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