I love to dance

I really really do.  I loved the ballroom dance lessons John got us for our anniversary a couple of years ago, I loved faking my way through tap dancing in 42nd Street in high school (I probably would have loved actually tap dancing if I’d taken more than two lessons), I love aerobics classes with dance steps, I love to dance around my living room…

I went to an aerobics class tonight at the gym I may or may not join.  The class was a Kukuwa dance workout, which incorporates moves and music from African, Indian, and Latin traditions, and it was FUN.  All you need is coordination and sense of rhythm.  I have those.  When it was over, the instructor said I picked up the steps really quickly and then she asked me if I had any dance experience.  Flattery will get you everywhere.  Including back to her class, which I’m sure was the point.  Still – I WANT TO DANCE.  Who knew?

I want to sing, too.  I could be a triple threat!  Except for the triple part.  I can’t act.  To save my LIFE.

ZOMG puppies!

The dogs and I met the most adorable little puppy named Otto today.  Twelve weeks old, SO cute.  He looked like the poky little puppy, except with the colors reversed.

Otto was mostly black, with white and brown on his face, ears, and paws.  So cute I wanted to gobble him up.  He handled being rushed by Roxy and Riley pretty well, too.

I want one.

It wasn’t that hard

I downloaded a second installation of WordPress, created a second database on my hosting site (so it would belong to my domain), copied the theme over so it would match, and linked it here. Run, Zannah, Run! exists as a second blog at www.inanechatter.net and you can find it by clicking the link for it under Pages on the right. If you’re interested. You don’t have to be. It might only be interesting to me, and I can’t even say that for sure.

Not a good sales pitch.

Anyway, I took it down on Blogger just now. Which means I should probably disable the link in the last post. Hang on.


Now let’s talk about what irritated me today. Last night, while thinking about this whole being healthy thing, I stopped by the gym closest to our house to look into membership options. (It’s in the shopping center where the Bloom used to be.) They’re month to month only, no initial fees, no cancellation fees. All equipment and classes are included, and the only extra fees are for things like personal trainer sessions and massage therapy. It’s a chain, but it’s a small one (I think), and I talked to the owner of this one on the phone before I went for a tour. They gave me a free pass for the week to check it out. I’m mainly interested because I want to be able to join a class (yoga, dance-type aerobics, etc – something that’s not running) AND (more interesting to me) I want the availability of a treadmill when the streets and sidewalks are covered in ice or snow. So really, the month-to-month thing is appealing because I can join for December, January, and February, and then quit until next December. And it’s less than a mile from the house, IN the neighborhood. Anyway, I got the tour, everything looks nice, and the guy (not the owner) said the front desk isn’t manned all the time, but members can get a keycard for access during those hours. I didn’t think to ask which hours were the ones that require a keycard, and he didn’t volunteer them. Which brings me, finally, to why I’m irritated. I got all dressed to go run at the gym (in the warm), got in the car, saw the OPEN sign all lit up in the window, and then couldn’t get in the door. There’s a sign on the door listing the hours you need a keycard, and it includes most of Saturday and Sunday. AND the early morning weekday hours I was planning to try out the gym this week. Frustrated (just a tad, you know?), I went home to change into warmer clothes so I could run outside. Stupid winter. Tomorrow, I’ll try to get in touch with the owner again and see if he’ll let me borrow a keycard during my trial week.

There must be a way to have two blogs on one website

I’m working on it.

I decided this morning that I need a place to track how much I exercise. I did it on this site once before, but it was just a big blank page that I updated every day. I’d rather have a post every day, but I don’t want those posts to be part of this blog. So. Separate blog. For now. While I work out how to put a second blog on another page of this website.

If you’re interested in watching/reading about/commiserating with my attempts to, you know, lose weight and be healthier and all that stuff, I’ll be tracking that at Run, Zannah, Run!, my temporary home for all things healthy.

Update: I disabled the link to the Blogger version of Run, Zannah, Run! since I added it to this site. Hope you don’t mind.

Relevance is overrated

I meant to post this yesterday but got distracted by the evening’s drama. Nancy Nall, purveyor of links, pointed me to a couple of things that made laugh. First, the cheat sheet Bonnie Tyler probably used (I would have) during the original recording. My favorite part is the dotted line indicating when to croon the lyrics or belt them out.  Second, an edible rickroll.  I know it’s a couple of years late, but that never gets old to me.  Third (and best), Better Book Titles.  Self-explanatory, I think.

Alternate title: Selfish Spoiled Brat To Blame for Deforestation

Today was a snow day, but I didn’t get to play in it.  I had back to back to back meetings all day long, mostly with the same group of people, so it turned into one highly productive marathon conference call.  My ear buds aren’t meant to be worn for nearly 10 hours in a row.  It was a relief to finally hang up the phone.  And tomorrow is Friday.  Compared to today, wearing jeans to work will be like dressing up.  Work clothes on a snow day = yoga pants, a sweatshirt, and fuzzy slippers.  Speaking of yoga pants, Wombat is in love.  I have to agree.  I can only think of one job where I could get away with wearing yoga pants to actual work, and I’m not flexible enough for that.

Zannah to the rescue!

Along with many strangers who happened to be passing by.  I left work early to get home before the weather got really bad, but my normal 20-minute commute took me almost an hour and a half.  What started out as sleet turned into heavy wet snow.  I finally got home and started shoveling the driveway so John (in his Mustang – terrible in this weather) would be able to pull in.  Twenty minutes later, I got a call.  John was stuck.  He was in the right turn lane about a mile and a half away, and he needed rescuing.  I threw the snow shovels in the my car (4-wheel drive – thanks, Dad!) and went to meet him.  We shoveled down to pavement so his tires could get a grip, and he was able to get in the left turn lane.  (A guy in a pickup truck stopped and offered to pull him out, but John had it under control by then.)  He needed to do a u-turn to get home (we were trying to avoid hills – his car wouldn’t make it up a slippery incline), but he got stuck in the left lane at the light.  I got back out of my car and tried to push him forward (the traffic was pretty light – we weren’t worried about pushing him into the middle of a busy intersection), his tires were spinning, and then I heard someone behind me yell, “No no no!  Slow down!  Stop!”  Some other guy had stopped in the turn lane behind me (we all had our flashers on) and was running up to help.  He said he was from Minnesota (there aren’t many credentials better than that in this kind of weather), and he coached John (with totally contradictory suggestions (“Easy now, easy, go go go, no, take it easy!”) through the u-turn while helping me push from behind.  We got John around the median and facing the other way (the right way to go home), and then I followed John up the road.  He made it about a mile and then got stuck (in the middle of the intersection) making a left turn.  This time a guy who was out walking his dogs (and his family) ran over to help me push.  We helped John rock the car out of the center and get across the road.  Our plan at this point was to get to the parking lot of the shopping center where the Bloom used to be and just leave the car there.  We live uphill from everywhere, and there was no way his car was going to make it.  He didn’t even make it all the way to the parking lot.  He got stuck on the road right next to it, but there are parking spaces along that road, so we shoveled one clear and kinda pushed and shoved his car into it.  We’ll retrieve it tomorrow.  That whole time (somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half) the snow was coming down like crazy.  My jeans were soaked through and I had snow falling down the back of my neck.  A warm dinner was called for (and wine for me and rum and coke for John).  Luckily, while the band was rehearsing last night, I made a pot of Dad’s beefy rice (dirty rice, kidney beans, onion, hamburger), and all we had to do was heat it up.  Turned out great.  (Thanks, Dad!)

I coulda been a boy scout

I was at Wegmans this evening for the first time in more than a week, buying much needed groceries.  In the checkout line, the cashier in the lane next to me asked my cashier why she was on so late today.  With a smile for me to show she was kidding, she said something about how all these customers just won’t stop buying groceries. The nerve. She said she shouldn’t be surprised today because anytime the forecast mentions snow, the stores are mobbed.  I hadn’t been watching the weather, so the possibility of snow was a surprise to me.  She checked my basket and told me I’d make it.  “Milk, bread, toilet paper…you’re all set.”  The other cashier wasn’t so sure.  “Did you get any wine?”

Wegmans cashiers have their priorities in order.

I’m pretty sure there aren’t any vampires in this book – not entirely certain yet

I don’t think I should be awake more than about 16 hours in a row. Yesterday, we were up for 20 hours, and I’m completely worn out and was pretty much useless today. We got up way too early for a Saturday to meet Jess at a book sale in Annapolis (which was awesome – we came home with over a hundred books for a little over a hundred bucks), came home home in the early afternoon and sorted those books for a couple of hours, and then went into DC to meet John’s mom and sister for dinner. I think it was around 1am when we got home.

I spent about half of today in front of the fire with my book and the dogs. I’m getting better at keeping the fire going; I don’t always have to call for John when it dies down a little. I’m still not that great at it, though. It’s all trial and error – poke this log, turn that one over, move the other one over there. Reminds me of learning to sail. I never could figure out when I was supposed to tighten or loosen lines. I just tried it one way, and if that didn’t work, I tried the other way. I didn’t actually learn anything. I’m surprised I ever managed to bring the boat back to the dock.

I’m done with winter, I think.  Much as I enjoy days in front of the fire, I’m really not okay with nights where the low is 7 degrees.  7!  I just revised my exercise plan for tomorrow.  Inside, inside, inside.

For those of you keeping an eye on what I’ve been watching, we finally finished Firefly (we’d put it on hold because we didn’t want it to be over) and then watched Serenity (which I think wouldn’t have made sense to anyone who hadn’t seen Firefly, but we liked it), the BBC version of Life of Mars is really good (I’ll watch anything if it’s got DCI Hunt in it – we haven’t seen the US version yet), and TRON: Legacy has no plot.

I don’t think meat should be sold door to door

Anyone heard of a company called Capital Meats? This guy rang the doorbell tonight and told me he was selling boxes of meat to my neighbors and he’s trying to empty his truck and would I like some frozen stuffed tilapia? He’s mostly out of meat, but he’s got shrimp and fish, maybe a few hamburgers left. He’s practically giving them away, he said. I said no, thanks, and then no again, and then no, really, I have a tiny freezer and it’s full, and good luck with that, but I’m going back inside. His truck was parked up the street (couldn’t tell how big it was or if the company’s name was on the side), and when I looked outside again, I saw him staggering down the sidewalk with a stack of boxes in his arms. I guess another neighbor is buying.

I understand meat being delivered by truck. That just makes sense, particularly when it’s being delivered to restaurants (of course), and even to individuals who ordered ahead of time. It seems really weird to then go door to door and try to get random people to buy boxes of whatever on impulse. I feel that way about anything when it’s sold door to door, but particularly meat. Ding-dong! Hi there! Wanna buy a cookie steak? Weird.

Hm. Add tilapia to the list of words WordPress’ spellcheck doesn’t recognize.

I can’t do it

The band is playing in the basement tonight, and my brain is leaking out of my ears. Today was not a fun day, and I don’t particularly want to talk to anyone. I thought this would be the perfect night to play catch up and read every blog on my blogroll, so I opened each page up in its own tab. And then I didn’t read any of them. I looked at every page and thought, “I’d really like to read that, but maybe I should wait until I’m paying attention.” ‘Cause I’m really not paying attention tonight. My book is getting the same treatment. What am I going to do with myself?

Wales – Day 4

Day 4 in Wales was Sunday, I think, January 2nd.  Since we’d already had some issues with things being closed due to the holiday, we assumed Sunday wouldn’t be any different and switched our castle plans (we always have castle plans) for outdoorsy-type activities.  Like hiking along Offa’s Dyke.  Of course, our travel guides didn’t say how to get to Offa’s Dyke (which is a very long trail along the English-Welsh border that passes near our village somewhere), so we asked Carl (the go-to guy while our landlords were away). Got his directions (which were quite vague: “Follow the lane out to the road, then go straight.”  It sounds straightforward, but there wasn’t really an option that was clearly “straight” when we got to the road.  And he left out the “veer right when you get to the fork” that would have been helpful later on), set off, and finally found the path (marked with acorn signs) about a mile from the cottage. (Once we found the path, we were set.) So we started hiking. And hiking. And climbing. Up and up and up. Spectacular views, better and better the higher we got. We’d warm up from the exertion, then stop to take pictures and start shivering again. We climbed all the way to the top of a mountain, and I stopped some people coming back down to ask them the name of it. I’d like to know what mountains I climb. I’ll add it to my list. 🙂 My growing list of all of two mountains now. He struggled a bit, but came up with Penrhyddion (I’m guessing at the spelling, but I’m pretty sure I’m right – pronounce the two d’s in the middle like th), which I haven’t been able to find listed as a mountain on Google. I’ll keep looking. After taking lots of pictures from the top (we were so high there was a light dusting of snow!), we headed back down. All in all, we hiked about four hours. Came back to the cottage, the bottoms of our boots caked in mud, had some tea and biscuits, cleaned up, and went looking for dinner. Every pub that says they serve food on the sign outside is a liar. We went into one that clearly said they serve food, but when I asked, no, they don’t. We had a pint anyway and met some very friendly people (a guy who lived in Houston when he was a teenager who came away from the experience with a dislike of Texas and another guy, drunk, who called himself the local idiot) with lots of advice on how to spend our next few days.

Oh, we saw sheep, too.  Lots of sheep.  Honestly, the castles we did end up seeing were totally cool, but I think this was my favorite day.

View from our cottage of where we were headed

The path was clearly marked, once we found it. John wants to know why the acorn is upside down.

These narrow lanes are not much fun in the dark.

I'd like a door like this in my yard someday. Leading to my secret garden. Maybe the gate should be wrought iron.

John climbing over an honest-to-goodness stile

Check this out - a gate for the dogs who can't get over the stile!

In case you weren't sure what it was for.

View from level one, back towards the village and our cottage

Any idea which way to go now?



I think one of the small hill gods lives here.

Sheep for Jess

View from a bit higher up (but not the top, not yet)

Mountains we didn't climb. At least not that day.

Damn, we took a lot of pictures on this hike.  I’m skipping to the end.  When John posts all of our pictures in his gallery, I’ll point you there.

The top! See that white stuff on the ground? Mm-hm. Snow.

I think that town is Denbigh. Hard to say, though.

I may or may not have been dancing in circles while singing songs from The Sound of Music. You'll never know for sure.

Taking up space

Honestly and truly, I have the next part of the Wales story written. I just have to add the pictures and then I’ll post. So…tomorrow? Today I worked a little, finished a book (The Alien Years by Robert Silverberg – good, but not one of my favorites. It reminded me too much of those young adult Tripod books I read a very long time ago.), and ran my first mile (of only two today, but still) WAY faster than I have in a long time. Good day. I like having Mondays off.

Damn. Edited to remove the double spaces after each period.

Two spaces or one?

Like he often does, John Scalzi pointed me to an article about the number of spaces between sentences, a subject about which he’s apparently pretty passionate.

I’ve never put much thought into how many spaces I put between sentences. I mean, I always used two, but it never occurred to me to wonder why. I certainly had no idea people felt so strongly about it (although that shouldn’t surprise me – people get worked up about everything else, so why not sentence spacing?), and I don’t really see a difference aesthetically. I’m willing to convert to one space (I imagine it’ll become second nature eventually, but right now it’s slowing me down), if only because it’s logical.


Dance party at my house!  I’m all by myself, dancing like a crazy an eccentric person to an odd but fun mix of the Beatles, the Cars, Dean Martin, selections from the soundtrack to A Mighty Wind, selections from the soundtrack to Sleepless in Seattle, the Living Sisters, some Three Dog Night, and a couple of other things.  Not dance music, you say?  I’m not much of a dancer, I’d say.  My neighbors would probably agree.

So let’s change the subject.  We have a winner!  Yesterday, I asked you fine people to guess to what tune I set the clever and insightful lyrics to “Chilly Toes”.  Three people guessed, one person won.  Before I make the announcement, here’s my rendition.

[mp3player width=200 height=25 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://www.inanechatter.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ChillyToes.mp3]

Jess, come on down!  You’ve won the book of my choice!  That’s right, I stole that melody from “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants.  I’d never heard of either the song or the band until Tiny Toon Adventures did an episode of music videos.  They started with “Istanbul, Not Constantinople” and went straight into “Particle Man”. Totally weird, but totally great.

I’ve got cold feet

Not in the last-minute nerves sense.  In the I-should-be-wearing-slippers sense.  The Wales Tales (I called it a saga earlier, but Mom pointed out that saga is Icelandic, not Welsh.  Not that it matters.  But this is better.) will continue tomorrow.  I needed a break.  I also needed to visit all my blog friends and catch up on what I missed.  I was almost two weeks behind!  That’s like 10 years in internet time.  Of course, an hour and a half in one evening is not long enough to completely catch up, but I’ve made a start.  Now I’m going to take my chilly toes to bed.

Chilly toes, chilly toes

Why so cold?  Nobody knows.

If they could stretch, they might touch your nose.

Chilly toes.

What tune am I singing that to?  Guess right and I’ll send you a book.  What book?  It’s a surprise.

Wales – Day 3

Let’s see…if Day 2 (in Chester) was New Year’s Eve, that makes Day 3 New Year’s Day.  We’d stayed up until midnight the night before but not doing anything crazy, so what few plans we’d made for the day started with a run.  Of course, when the alarm went off at 7 and it was still pitch black outside, we decided to put it off. Looked again at 7:30 – still very dark. (No streetlights, no houselights = very dark.) We finally got up at 8 (skipped the run), showered (Have I mentioned the shower?  Stand-up shower, pretty small (barely enough room to turn around in), but it had great water pressure and a wide showerhead so you were pretty much under the spray no matter where you stood.  Quite nice.), and headed north and west to look for breakfast.  Yeah, nothing’s open on New Year’s Day. At least, not in the morning. We stopped at a Sainsbury’s (supermarket) and noticed a small crowd of people waiting outside.  NOT OPEN.  It was a couple of minutes before ten, so we joined the waiters on the assumption that the store would open at ten.  They opened a few minutes after ten, but close enough, so we picked up some croissants and a couple of bottles of water and ate a flaky breakfast in the car.  Kept driving west.  We didn’t have any solid plans.  We just kept driving to see what we could see.  We saw a high stone wall that looked like it surrounded a park, so  we pulled off the main road and headed down one side looking for a way in.  Didn’t find it, but we did see a sign and some steps climbing the hill into the woods.

Can’t you just see them beckoning?  There was a golf club just down the road, so we pulled into their parking lot, reached for hats and gloves and cameras, and then it started pouring down rain.  (It had only been misting before.)  Our Welsh weather gods were nice to us, though.  We waited a couple of minutes and the rain settled back into a light mist again.  We started climbing.  There were a lot more stairs then we expected, so we kept climbing.  Eventually, we got to the top of that hillside and came out on a wide track – practically a road.  Left or right?  Left went uphill, so we did, too.  First clearing:

This is where we came from

That's where we could have gone

And this is where we did go. Road less traveled, right? We're adventurers!

But before I move on up the trail, here’s the view (part of it) from the first clearing.

A little gray, a little misty

Back to the trail.  Not long after we left the clearing, our road narrowed down to a path wide enough for only one person with not much between the edge and a probably very painful tumble down the mountainside.

Guess where that path led?

More steps! Substantially more slippery than the first set.

So up we went.  Path path path, trail trail trail, and voila!  The top!

Not as impressive as we were hoping for.

It was a clearing with two mound-type little hills (Druid burial grounds, right?).  Whatever, it was the top.  There was a path across from the one we used to come in, but it looked like it was just heading to an overlook with the same view we’d already taken pictures of, so we didn’t go.

Haunted, I think.

Speaking of haunted, this next clearing-type place in the woods with lots of leaves (is it a clearing if it’s still got trees?  They’re widely spaced, but still…) looks like it was used in every movie ever made.  Blair Witch, Holy Grail, Stardust, other movies with scenes in woods…

We stopped at the same place on the way back down to get a few more pictures since the mist had cleared a little.

We were on the north shore of Wales - that's the bay.

Waves crashing on Wales

Back down the steps…

A bit more treacherous going down than up

and back to the car.  We went back to the main road and were following the stone wall when all of a sudden I heard John: “Holy shit!”  “Oh my god, what?”  I nearly drove off the road.  Yeah, he got a glimpse of this over that stone wall:

I followed that stone wall as far around as I could, but we couldn’t find a way in.  We saw one entryway, but it was marked private.  It’s not possible that that’s a private castle, right?  We must have been missing something obvious.  I pulled over so we could take pictures.  Of course.  (Click on them – they get bigger.)

We think we might have been able to hike there, if we’d gone right instead of left at the beginning and hiked for another three hours.  After we took our pictures of Totally Awesome Castle #1, we got back in the car, still heading west, and looked for lunch.  We stopped in a likely-looking town, parked the car on the main street, found a couple of cafes (all closed) and went into the first pub we saw.  Open, yes, but not serving food.  I asked the guy if anyone was serving food today.  He listed two places, both nearby.  We went into the first place (a pub called Prince Madog, I think).  Open, not serving food.  The barman said they’d have a great Sunday roast (tomorrow), and the only place he knew of that was open was this other pub around the corner.  We went there.  Open, serving food.  Finally.  We were hungry.  This place was HUGE.  Three or four levels, definitely a pub with pub food, but a layout more like a restaurant with the highest level of tables on a gallery overlooking the next level.  Food was okay.  We saw another pub owned by the same company a couple of days later; we think they’re the equivalent of TGI Friday’s.  Anyway, they were open and that’s all that mattered.  We had a pint and some lunch and gave up on finding anything else open on New Year’s Day.  Almost gave up.  On our way back we stumbled on Bodelwyddan Castle (which looks AWESOME).  The sign at the entrance said it was closed, but the gate was open, so we drove in anyway.  There’s a hotel attached to the castle, but when I went in and asked if the castle would be open for tours soon, they said it’s only open on Sundays and Saturdays and not at all that weekend.  So yeah.  Not open.  No castles for us.  We drove back to Denbigh (the town closest to our village).  It was getting dark, so we wandered around a bit, found that the takeaways all opened at five (it was about 4:30), and hiked up the road to the castle to pass the time. (Denbigh has a castle.)  COOL castle. Was it open?  Of course not.  Closed for excavation or something, so it didn’t even open up later in the week.  I took some terrible pictures of it in the dark that night, and then we picked up some Indian takeaway, watched the second Daniel Craig Bond movie (bought the DVD at Sainsbury’s that morning), and I took a long bath in our GIANT bathtub with the vanilla-scented bath bomb Emily bought me for Christmas.  It fizzed as it dissolved and turned the bathwater yellow-ish green.  Very exciting.

Wales – Day 2 – Chester

I don’t know why I’m having a hard time with this.  I want to tell you all about our trip,  but I keep putting off writing it.  I don’t want to be boring.  We did this, then we did that, then we took more pictures.  Would you like to see my slideshow?

Okay, I’m over it.  Come see my slideshow.

I like the E at the end of cafe there. Is it purposefully whimsical or just a happy accident?

First, the title of this post is not accurate, since Chester is not in Wales.  I know, I know.  We went to Wales only leave it again after one night.  We’re terrible people, I’m sure.  Shut up.  After fourteen hours of sleep, we were well rested and ready to see something.  Since it was the morning of New Year’s Eve, we decided the nearest city might be a good place to ring in the new year, so we headed to Chester, less than 45 minutes from our cottage.  I wouldn’t call it the most exciting of days, but we had a nice quiet time.  Saw the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre, right outside the old city walls,

and then went looking for lunch.  We spent a lot of this trip hunting for our next meal.  We wandered into the shopping district,

had lunch at Dutton’s (I had a really good panini – roast beef, horseradish, brie, and onions),

Hello from Dutton's

bought a toothbrush, and spent some time exploring Chester Cathedral.  Someone was practicing on the organ.  A cathedral tour isn’t complete without organ music as a soundtrack.

We didn’t know quite what to do with ourselves after that, since it was only five, but all the shops had closed and it was a bit early for dinner.  We were coming to the realization that we weren’t going to make it to midnight, at least not in Chester.  We wandered around town a little bit and found ourselves back at the old city walls.  We’d seen several signs saying that Chester has the most complete city walls in Great Britain, so we decided to see for ourselves.  We walked the entire circuit on top of the walls, starting at the amphitheatre.  (It was only two miles.)  It was dark by then, so I didn’t get a single good picture.  They’re all too dark, too blurry, too grainy, or all of the above.  Except of the ferris wheel.  Is it a requirement in the UK that every city of a certain size have one?

When we finished our sentry walk, it was still not quite 6:30 – I’m boring myself here.  Short version – we didn’t do anything exciting.  Had dinner at an Italian place (whether we were going to be allowed to eat there without a reservation was not entirely clear for the first few minutes, but eventually we were shown to a table – very good dinner),

and then we headed back to the cottage.  We weren’t sure we were going to bother staying up until midnight to usher in the new year for a while.  On the one hand, why not?  It was New Year’s Eve, we were on vacation, we could walk on the wild side and stay up late.  On the other hand, why bother?  We were by ourselves in a cottage very near the middle of nowhere with no champagne (we had a bottle of wine and some beer, though) and no TV.  What would we do, watch the clock turn to midnight?

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.  We did, in fact, watch the clocks turn to midnight.  Happy New Year!