Having been an East Coast girl for all my growing up years, I always eagerly anticipated the big countdown and the ball dropping in Times Square.  After all, we East Coasters got New Year’s first – way before the rest of the country.  So I’ve always felt it was kind of anti-climactic here on the West Coast.  People are whooping it up in NY and we’re sitting down to dinner.

On the internet this morning, I saw that people in Sydney were all ready ringing in the new year.  It was even more apparent on New Year’s Eve 1999.  They showed everyone’s New Year as it went around the world.  After New York, it was kind of ho-hum, let’s go to bed. 

We may be trendsetters in lots of things out here, but when it comes to New Year’s, yawn.


My dad, who started out as an electrician and ended up president of a savings and loan, always said that the best day to die was January 1 because then your family could claim a whole year’s tax exemption based on one day.  Ironically, he died on December 31.

I was thinking about this because there was consternation on Wall St. about the timing of President Ford’s day of mourning.  If it were to be on Friday, December 29, then all those people who were putting off making financial decisions until the last day of 2006, were going to be out of luck.  If, on the other hand, they delayed it until Tuesday, January 2, then the stock exchange would be closed 4 days in a row –  something that Wall St. never likes to have happen. 

Hopefully, the wishes of the financial markets didn’t play a role.   But, seriously, if the former president had listened to my dad, he would have waited until next week.  Funny how these things have a life (or death) of their own.


It is so cold and dry in Utah that my hair is flying around and my computer crashes constantly.  I’ve already lost one blog entry.  I am going to keep this short.

 We’re in Utah for Christmas – John, Sarah and I.  It’s a homemade kind of Christmas. We don’t have all our usual stuff so the ornaments are all handmade.  It’s nice.  Snow is in the forecast.  Also kind of nice.  We miss Ryan, Jon and Nathan who are in Michigan with Ryan’s family.  We will have a chance for a post-Christmas celebration with them.

 Big news today – Jonathan is going to be on an episode of Myth Busters.  I’m not giving out any other info because I don’t know if I’m allowed to but I’ll keep you updated.

I better run before the computer decides that I’ve outstayed my welcome.



I  am so glad that we got an HD TV because this year the televised Yule Log will have a spinoff – The Yule Log in HD.  This is the 40th anniversary of the Yule Log.  It hasn’t been a continuous 40 years because, as with so many shows, it was cancelled at one point.  Brought back in 2001, the Yule Log burns brightly for those who… who…who…are so lame that they’d watch a log burn on TV.

But really, according to its makers, the Log was the original music video – Log, carols what could be more fitting?  Well, maybe people actually having their own fire and singing.  But for apartment dwellers who are tone deaf it’s the real deal.



This last week was my birthday week.  And by birthday week, I mean celebrating for a week.  That is unless the birthday ends in a 0.  Then it’s at least a birthday month or perhaps even a birthday year.  But as it happens, this is just a birthday that ends in an 8.

My sister, Peggy, and her husband came from Maryland for the celebrations.  My friend, George, has a birthday the day after mine and we have been celebrating together for the last 28 years when we’ve lived close enough to do so.  So the three couples settled in for some serious partying this past weekend.

This started with wine tasting at Artesa Winery which is a pretty cool looking place.  We followed by checking into the Gaige House Inn in Glen Ellen which is very nice.  They had a complimentary wine tasting from Ledson Winery.  Next we went to the Holiday dinner at Chateau St. Jean – very nice.  This was on Friday.

Saturday we had a superb breakfast at the Inn.  Then some of us tried some wine at Imagery Winery and Chateau St. Jean.  Then we all tried some at Ledson Winery and ended up joining their wine club.  Finally we made our way up to Healdsburg and had dinner at Cyrus.  They’ve recently been awarded two stars from Michelin. Yum.

Sunday the kids and Nathan came for dinner at our house.  They made the food and gave me cards.  We played with Nathan and took pictures.  I love having them over.

My sister and I shopped on Monday and John and I took Peg and Ted to the airport on Tuesday.  I was sad to see them leave.

So what has this got to do with alone time?  Today it is what I crave – a little time to be quiet and alone, to think about my great birthday week and to recharge for Christmas.

Thank you to John, Sarah, Ryan, Jonathan, Nathan, Peg, Ted, Karen and George for making this such a special week for me.



 Another excuse – my sister and her husband are visiting this week for my birthday so posting will be erratic. 

Here are some items from the news this week that I’ve been meaning to write something longer about but haven’t had time.

1. Federal Reserve policy-makers on Friday said inflation remained a risk to the U.S. economy, even as data showing factory activity falling for the first time in 3-1/2 years indicated growth was slowing.

We used to call this phenomenon stagflation.

   2. In an article reporting that Europeans are not alarmed at the rising Euro, UPI reported that reasons for the calm are several. Many companies have at least some production in the United States, eliminating exchange rate issues for products sold in the world’s largest economy…

Imagine this, Europe is outsourcing to the U.S.

  3.  In an aritcle about American Muslims adapting to American holidays, it was reported that most of the dozen parents interviewed earlier this month at an Islamic Center said their families celebrate Thanksgiving, but their approaches to Christmas varied. 

This makes sense.  Thanksgiving is secular and Christmas is religious.  No matter what the right wing media says, most immigrants to the U.S. embrace their new country and want to be a part of its traditions and holidays.

   4.  Finally, this headline grabbed my attention – “Canada’s Liberals pick Dion as leader in upset win.”

But what of the Belmonts?


Every year before Christmas, Jonathan and I go shopping for his Christmas presents.  This really doesn’t ruin the surprise for him, since guessing the clues is the real suspense of Christmas, and everything he gets for Christmas fits. So after an hour or so of intense shopping, we took a break to get something to drink.

Since I am trying to do without aspartame since I think it may be a trigger for my migraine headaches, I searched for something other than a diet soda.  I chose something that is the very anathema to what I believe a drink should be – Thai milk tea with bubbles.  In case this delicacy has not reached your area yet, this is a cold tea with milk, sugar and tapioca (the bubbles.)

Slurping up things in a liquid is awful.  Overly sweet drinks are awful.  Plain tapioca is awful – it’s kind of like an orb shaped gummy bear with no flavor.  The only positive point is that it was a great source of amusement to Jon who watched the blobs being sucked up the straw knowing that my revulsed reaction would be coming next.

So do yourself a favor, don’t try this.  I’ve tasted it for you, it’s terrible and you can trust me.