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January 01, 2004: Off to a good start

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We did not watch the stupid ball drop in Times Square, and we did not really do any sort of toasting at all, but it was still a nice New Year’s Eve. I left work a little early so I could get home in time to change before we had to head back to Sacramento for dinner. I tried not to eat much for lunch and neither did Richard, but even if we’d not eaten the entire day previous, I still think we wouldn’t have managed to finish dinner. It was an amazing amount of food.

The restaurant is one of our favorites anyway, and last night they outdid themselves. We started with heirloom squash and chestnut soup with just a hint of peppery kick. I am not a squash fan so had been unsure of this soup, but it was divine, and if I can ever track down the recipe I will be such a happy camper. Then they brought us a selection of sausages and some lobster spring rolls, and once we’d savored those tidbits we moved on to huge spinach salads with candied pecans. There was a tiny dish of passion fruit sorbet between salad and the main course – filet of beef and antelope – and then, finally, there was dessert – intensely chocolate mouse smothered with an orange glaze, or praline cheesecake with hazelnuts and vanilla bean gelato. And at the end, when we had to reluctantly push away more than half our desserts and were sure we could not possibly fit in another bite, they brought us tiny chocolates filled with a passion fruit crème that we simply could not pass up.

After dinner we wandered Old Sacramento for a little bit, then ended up finding a place to sit so we could just watch the people walk by. There were hundreds of people milling around, wearing flashing earrings and necklaces or glittery hats, and blowing on horns or rattling noisemakers. At one point a woman came by shaking hands, followed by a man with a video camera; turns out it was the mayor of Sacramento. And eventually we joined the slowly growing crowd of people standing near the river, just in time to see fireworks show, which was short but spectacular, especially the finale.

After the fireworks we headed home. I took a short nap (or tried – the cats didn’t really let me), and then we curled up on the futon downstairs with cookies and ice cream and ushered in the new year with the first disk in season 1 of Angel. About twenty minutes after midnight Richard looked over at me and wished me a happy new year, and I blinked, realized that midnight was past, and did the same. And then we stayed up for another three hours until we’d finished the first four episodes and decided that the show was starting to grow on us, before we finally could no longer keep our eyes open and crawled into bed.

Today has been such a lovely lazy day. I got up early to feed the cats since they refuse to let me sleep late, and then couldn’t get back to sleep. So finally I went downstairs and curled up on the futon under blankets, where I was promptly swarmed by four of the cats, and that is where Richard found me when he came down a little later. We ended up watching more episodes of Angel and eating a few leftover cookies from our New Year’s Eve ‘feast’ until early afternoon, at which point I finally decided that no matter what the cats wanted, I didn’t think I could lie in one place all day just so they could be comfortable. So instead of playing cat bed, we decided to go out and hit the outlet stores because we both were in need of new pants.

I was fully expecting to see crowds, since it’s a day off for most people, but the outlet stores were practically empty. In a place where you usually have to circle once or twice to find a parking spot it was bizarre to be able to park right next to each store we wanted to visit. I guess everyone was staying home, either sleeping off the excesses of last night or watching the game or the parade. Whatever the reason, it was nice to be able to browse at our leisure without having to jostle through crowds. We went to the fabric store to snag some boxes for ornaments and lights (since they were on an incredible sale) and I managed to not even go near the yarn aisle at all, and then we ate lunch and came home and watched more Angel and let more cats sit on us and that pretty much sums up the rest of the day.

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