It’s New Year’s Eve 2011.  In a couple of hours it will be 2012. I get to enter 2012 with one hellava cold.  That nasty, deep, bronchial cough that makes me sound like a barking sea lion. And the requisite sinus headache, plugged up nose.  It’s such a joy.

Fortunately, I really don’t care about New Year’s as a holiday.  It was fun when I was a kid and I even had a reasonably good time in my hotel days… Most of them, anyway.  There was the year at the Hyatt in Tahoe where some yahoo decided to throw his glass into the huge floor-to-ceiling fireplace at the end of the casino area.  Within minutes, hundreds of glasses were being hurled in the general direction of the fireplace.  Shattered glass everywhere.  It was a mess.  The Hyatt in Cambridge was another story.  Totally civilized.  All managers were scheduled to work. We were all in our tuxedos, women in gowns, and we just wandered in and out of the various parties and festivities.  A suite overlooking the atrium lobby was set up for us with an open bar and tons of food.  Very civilized, indeed.

Our last going-out-on-New-Year’s-Eve was 2003 in New York.  We spent a fortune on a room at the Millennium Hilton, tickets to see The Producers – the night Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane returned – and planned to walk the half-block to Times Square to watch the ball drop.  The show was one of the most fun I’ve seen.  Alas, we were barred from walking that half-block to Times Square by some of the nastiest police I have ever had the misfortune to deal with.  We ended up heading back to our hotel downtown and having free champagne with the bartender, manager on duty, and a couple of other folks.  It was rather nice.

And the last time we have ventured out.

So here we are entering into 2012. My 60th year.

Other than the aches and pains, I don’t feel like I’m approaching 60.  Of course, having never been 60 before, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to feel like, but if cocky, reasonable self-assured, and extremely opinionated are traits, I’m definitely there.

2012 is looking to be a great year.  We just bought tickets to Italy for a 2-week vacation in June and will be staying in apartments in Rome and Florence – no hotels, thankyouverymuch.  Real bedrooms and real kitchens, and living rooms!  We’ll be traveling with my baby sister and her partner and their three girls. We have our copy of Rosetta Stone Italian so we can at least try and ask a question or two in the language of our host country.  We’ll also be bringing technology with us to get us through when pantomime and charades fail us.  It’s gonna be a fun time.

Our last meal of 2011  tonight was another loaf of homemade bread and a big pot of beef stew.

We are the wild and crazy guys, eh?  But with this dang-nabbed cold, anything else would be a waste.  Besides, we’re not Hoppin’ Sauerkraut Greens Pork Pickled Herring folks.  We’ll leave the superstitions to the superstitious and eat what we like. (I’m going to roast a freebie turkey tomorrow…)

The bread was the same as I made the other day.  That little bit of rye flour makes all the difference in the world.

And the stew was just stew.  I don’t have a recipe for it – I just make it.

So Happy New Year to all, and a joyous and prosperous 2012.  The prosperous part probably won’t happen because our government has sold its soul to Wall Street for personal gain, but there’s always the hope that America will wake up in time for the 2012 elections and vote those bastards out of office.

Yeah…  And my cold will be over tomorrow.