New Year's Eve was a big big deal when I was a little kid, what with being allowed to stay up to a deliciously late hour and then make an unholy racket. These days? Not so much. I'm in it strictly for the football.
Already on the second EPL match of the day while waiting for the bowl games to start rolling (Berbatov has been a beast lately, hasn't he?), so let's see how far back into the past 364 days the old memory machine will stretch.
The Year in Review.
Best Meal (Tucson): Two trophies should be handed out this year; luckily, I make the rules around here and will allow it. One goes to a particularly perfect grilled cheese and tomato soup the girlfriend made on a cold rainy evening sometime this fall. The other was earned by the incomparable Cafe Poca Cosa three weeks ago. I don't even remember what was on the plate. It doesn't matter. It was the Plato Poca Cosa and I would like to marry it.
Best Meal (Seattle): Okay, technically not Seattle, but Bainbridge Island, at a waterfront bar and grill called Doc's, where the clam chowder made us weep (and I do not even like clam chowder, but DAMN) and the lobster mac 'n' cheese made the weeping continue all the way back to the ferry. In a good way. I mean, completely fucking stunning.
Worst Meal (Tucson): O heartbreak! Guadalajara Grill seriously misfired with the mole last week. What is that odd funk wafting off my plate? With sickly sweet hints of someone who is perhaps experiencing that not-so-fresh feeling? Do not want.
Worst Meal (elsewhere): There wasn't one. Seriously, that mole sucked.
Worst Food Trend: Kale. Kale, kale, kale. Kale salad. Kale chips. Puree of kale. Fuck kale. That is all.
Best Beer: Dragon's Tooth Stout, Elysian Brewing, Seattle. Everyone else should just give up brewing. End of story.
Best Purchase: My Nespresso Pixie (in Persimmon Red, or, as we say here in the States, "orange") espresso machine. Should the Plato Poca Cosa turns down my marriage proposal, the Pixie can still make me the happiest woman on the planet.
Best Sports Moment: Abby Wambach's 122nd minute goal against the cheating, diving, evil Brazilians. US Soccer should embroider "122" below the collar of the national team jerseys, forever.
Worst Sports Moment: Retroactively awarded to the nanosecond in December of 2009 when John Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick said, "Brian Kelly! That's the ticket!"
Best Book Choice: Probably The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I also read a somewhat dry history of the Whiskey Rebellion that was still illuminating in that it disabused me of my dewy-eyed Schoolhouse Rock notions of founding-era politics being somehow purer or higher-minded than they are now. Who knew that the guy perennial middle-seed NCAA bracket-buster Robert Morris College is named after was actually a shameless influence peddler who rigged tax law and Continental Army procurement policy to maximize his personal profit?
Best Twitter feed: @angrysantaelf brings you the inside story of the North Pole. Probably only during actual Christmas season. Otherwise, the incomparable The Browser brings you the best of the web several times a day. More importantly, its #fivebooks feature points you to books you would probably not hear about otherwise.
Best Gleefully Profane Political Website: Wonkette. The comments make it. Finer snark has never been forged.
Best Pop Singer I Can Actually Get on Board with: Hey, that Adele lady's not half bad.
Worst cold: The one I am currently experiencing, thanks to my brother's humorless yet apparently potent fiancee.
Best Friday Night Escapist TV: Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. Mindless. Poofy. Dramatic. Fun!
Best Out and Proud WPS Couple: Joanna Lohman and Lianne Sanderson (formerly of the Cheesesteaks, currently free agents), although Abby Wambach and Sarah Huffman (free agents, nee MagicDan) have made a subtle yet strong run at the title over the past few months.
Best Women's Soccer News: WPS sanctioned for another season!
Possibly Worst Women's Soccer News: With only five teams!
Worst Moment of 2011, Period: Yeah, that morning last January 8 at the Safeway.
Best Moment that could Possibly Follow: Did you see the Diane Sawyer special with Giffords and Kelly? That, with the pep rally in McKale Center a close second.
Fondest Hope for 2012: In this moment, that this goddamn headache goes away before the ball drops. In the big picture, the usual. Health and happiness, love and life, food and football.