An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
– Bill Vaughan
Heavy sigh. Yes, it’s the beginning of another year at Cowpoke Alley, and all is well with the world. The casa is still in one piece, we’re relatively healthy, and the pork chop dog hasn’t eaten the ENTIRE house…yet. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. The Year 2006 was a good and strange one here on Glenn Avenue, bereft of any natural disasters or locusts or job promotions. The squirrels still torment the mutts, the mutts still torment the gardeners, and our crabby neighbor still torments us just by being, well, her crabby self. They say you should learn from past mistakes, and the New Year is the perfect time for correcting errors, and starting all over again with a clean slate. I’m not sure there are enough erasers for our chalkboard, but we’ll try to begin anew with a better attitude, more motivation, and the desire to actually SEE our carpets. I’m not implying there are a lot of dog toys on the floor, or dog hair in the baseboards, or dog slobber in our beds, but let’s just say that even the fearless women at Molly Maids run screaming in horror from our cobweb-draped doorway. And it’s not even CLOSE to being Halloween. And so without further adieu, let’s examine what sort of high-faluttin’ stuff we little cowgals have soaked up during the past 12 months…besides the tequila…
New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. – Mark Twain
Stuff and Junk:
Yes, Virginia, it is entirely possible to have WAY too much STUFF. We have more stuff than Elizabeth Taylor has divorces. More stuff than Imelda Marcos has shoes. Way more stuff than Paris Hilton has embarrassing videos. But it’s not our fault. You see, SOME people just insist on buying us MORE STUFF. More stuff we don’t need. More stuff we don’t want. More stuff than will actually FIT into an ENTIRE frickin’ room. Sheesh. At some point, we’ll have to channel The Dude, who has made the monumental decision that all his birthday/XMAS/anniversary presents must be CONSUMABLE, thus ending the accumulation of any more stuff. And you know, we must abide by the Dude.
The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year’s Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you’re married to.
– P.J. O’Rourke
There are three rules, the Holy Trinity if you will, for Cooking with Kerry: Everything is better with buttah, you can never have enough cheese, and Kitchen Bouquet is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Also, spending more than 36 hours at a time watching TV chefs prepare endless amounts of yummy dishes, really does absolutely nothing to inspire you in the culinary sense. Oh, it gets you all excited about trying new things like paella, polenta, and paprikash, but the thrill soon ends upon the realization that you don’t actually HAVE a TV chef of your own to whip up said recipes. And unless you’re Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, or the Pope, it ain’t gonna happen. So even though hardworking single gals like Cinderella and myself may WANT a big heapin’ helping of Wild Mushroom Soup with Chestnuts and Roasted Fennel, sometimes a small bowlful of Lipton’s Chicken Noodle can yield the same results; a warm and happy tummy. And then there’s that whole 3 hours versus 5 minutes thing…
But can one still make resolutions when one is over forty? I live according to twenty-year-old habits. – Andre Gide
Dogs + Kids = One in the Same:
Some people have kids, some people have dogs, and some poor fools have both. Rugrats and mutts are pretty much alike, even thought they may be two different species. They both drool and slobber a lot, eat and drink incessantly, need constant attention, and whine profusely when their parents leave them alone. Fortunately, children generally don’t shed all over your shag carpeting, and dogs don’t need a college education. Unfortunately, they both doo-doo in mass quantities, so whether you’re changing diapers or using the Pooper-Scooper, things are going to get nasty. Potty training and use of the doggy door, are equally important items that need to be addressed when raising a youngster. Yes, kids and canines share many attributes and have much more in common than you might think. Embarrass you in public? You bet! Burp and fart? Absolutely! Need tummy rubs, back patting, and the occasional cookie bribe? Yes, yes, and a resounding YES! And no, we wouldn’t change a thing.
The only way to spend New Year’s Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise, when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears. – W.H. Auden
Fabio vs. Family:
It’s true that I haven’t had a date since Clinton was President, Kerry calls men swine, and both of us prefer the company of Jasper and Boo to just about any man. However, this doesn’t mean we’ve sworn off the male-type variety completely…just until Bill Gates runs out of money, everyone has health care, and world peace is declared throughout the land. Um, yeah. Some foolish folk believe that women “of a certain age” must be married, have a steady boyfriend, or accept invitations every Saturday night, to feel complete. These are probably the same yahoos who meet at Applebee’s on Friday after work, to sip White Zinfandel and discuss exciting plans for their next “couples only” Sandals vacation. Bleah. Unbeknownst to a lot of people, you can actually have quite a fulfilling life, and busy weekends, and lovely dinner evenings, without wasting pointless hours listening to the dronings of a mama’s boy, a workaholic, or a stoner dude, who’s idea of spending quality time with you consists of a bong and a cheeseburger. If Cinderella and I were given the option, we would easily choose an afternoon of cinematherapy with family, over a double date with George Clooney and Jude Law. Okay, I just threw that in there to see if you were paying attention; maybe a double date with Dick Cheney and K-Fed would be a better example…
Of all sound of all bells…most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.
– Charles Lamb
Heaven and Earth:
Whether it’s a beloved pet, an aging grandparent, or an old friend, saying good-bye to someone you care deeply about, in a word, sucks. In 2006, I had the bad fortune of having to say farewell to all of the above. My tripod dog “Hap”, who was my adoring little sidekick for 13 years, my amazing grandma Melba, who bravely never lost her sense of humor, and Craig, a gentle soul about my age, who played a mean game of “spoons” on camping trips. I’m not one to question, and ponder, and mull over immortality, but sometimes you just can’t help it. Where DO we go after we leave this planet? Are we sucked into some cosmic void in the universe? Is there a gigantic doggie run in the sky? If Heaven and Hell really do exist, is it possible to get cable? TV personality Orson Bean once said, “I’m an agnostic – I’m not sure what I don’t believe in.” Now that’s a motto I can live by; if nothing else, it’s good for starting a lively conversation at church. Personally, I like to think there’s a place for those who pass on, somewhere green and warm and lush. Not Fresno-smack-in-the-middle-of-August warm, I wouldn’t even wish that on George Dubya (well, maybe for a couple days). Perhaps more of a temperate climate, like Hawaii, where all the waves are turquoise, all the beaches are white, and all the drinks come with paper umbrellas. I’m pretty sure Gram is there, sitting in her big blue rocker, and cheering on Gary Scelzi at the funny car races. Meanwhile, Craig is feeding the Hapster some tasty slices of cheese, just before taking her on a sunny walk across the shoreline. Jingle, jingle, jingle go the dog tags…whish, whish, whish go the waves…
I do think New Year’s resolutions can’t technically be expected to begin on New Year’s Day, don’t you? Since, because it’s an extension of New Year’s Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight, with so much nicotine in the system. Also, dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea, as you can’t eat rationally, but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second. – Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary