Dec 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

These are the little things that brought me joy this year, in no particular order.  Family and friends are implied, these are just the things that show what a truly shallow person I am:

Podcasts.  This American Life; Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me; and the Commonwealth Club.  All free, all easily transferred to my iPod and plugged into my car, where I would otherwise be bored and/or angry most of the time while I drive about completing my mundane chores.  What could be better than listening to Paula Poundstone crack wise with Peter Sagal on Wait, Wait?  Or hearing Ira Glass giggle while introducing a story on This American Life?  What a giggle that man has.  (Just as an aside, is there anyone left in the US of A who doesn't have Carl Kasell's voice on their home answering machine? Doesn't that get confusing when you call your friend Susie and Carl Kasell's voice tells you to wait for the beep, then you call your friend Todd to tell him the weird thing that just happened and you get Carl Kasell's voice on his answering machine, too!  You start to wonder if you're stuck in a Twilight Zone episode.)

Nonfat Frozen Yogurt.  Now, I know it must be packed full of calories because it tastes so good but man, the word 'nonfat' gets me every time. And it always comes with one free topping.  Free! There is the weirdest store nearby, Clear|Optometry, that sells very good frozen yogurt.  The store is half yogurt shop and half optometrist.  Really.  One half of the narrow, deep shop is high-end eyeglasses in display cases, and the other side has comfortable seating and a counter with a barista vending yogurt, ice cream, fresh brewed coffee, etc. There is even a very W-ish lounge upstairs where you can eat your yogurt, drink your Blue Bottle Coffee, and look down at the odd little combo shop below.

Caramel Sauce.  I used to be such a hot-fudge-only-on-my-ice-cream kind of gal but this year I discovered caramel sauce.  And especially burnt caramel and salted caramel.  Hoo boy.  Guess I have a bit of a food theme going here.  Hmmm.  Okay, I'll just throw in gratitude for good restaurants everywhere, especially our newly-discovered-this-year Jack's Prime and Flour and Water.

My Back Yard.  That expanse of green just makes me happy every day.  And the last owners left an old-fashioned glider for us.  They were getting divorced and probably neither one of them wanted the darn glider, but it's such a sweetly nostalgic piece of lawn furniture.  It sits way at the back of the yard, under a little arbor, and is surrounded by ferns that get in your face when you glide. Also, there is a very fat black and white cat that enters our yard daily through an opening at the back corner and sleeps on the glider.  I want to make fat cat's acquaintance but don't want to scare it off.  I like seeing it sun itself and knowing that it doesn't have a single obligation to clutter its mind.  Some days it follows the sun to the gravel walk, and then a little later to a child's bench, also left by the last owners.

Bay Area Weather.  Now most years, I wouldn't be grateful for Bay Area weather. I would grouse about fog and torrential winter rains and having to carry a jacket with me at all times of the year 'just in case' I find myself in a chillier microclimate.  For those of you who don't know the San Francisco area, it's known for having a plethora of microclimates, some that feel about as small as the space you're standing in.  Walk five feet and you need a jacket, walk another five feet and you want to add a scarf, turn the corner and you're back to a sleeveless shirt.  But, right now I'm in Vermont.  This is a different animal altogether.  Boots, scarf, gloves, hat, jacket, the whole nine yards of body coverage.  Ice on the car, the sidewalks, the streets, the steps.  So, I'm newly enamored of my very temperate home climate, and because the rains haven't started in earnest, I have a selective memory about what that climate is like.

And my New Year's resolution?  Well, maybe I'll make that on the fourth Thursday in November.

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