There have been years when I've stayed up until midnight just to make sure the #$@! year was over. This year I stayed up to squeeze every last bit of magic out of it and honor its passing.

It's difficult to measure but 2010 was quite possibly my best year ever.

We spent the evening with friends, laughing easily and savoring the best non-restaurant food I've ever eaten. After walking Ping, I settled in for year's end with a few letters from Julia Child and Avis DeVoto and a gratitude prayer for the many blessings of 2010.

I'd feel the loss much deeper if not for the feeling that 2011 is going to be even better.