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Happy third week of the new year everybody!

Okay, we're a bit late. But first Beedoo! took a while to draw the comic, despite my nagging, and then I, as the person responsible for lettering and uploading, took days to get my act together. So remember, this delay is a joint production.

Anyway, the new year... This is going to be a big year. Beedoo!'s parents are going to come over to give The Netherlands a thorough ten day inspection. I think this is going to be the make-or-break year, too, for our relationship. I'm going to go for "Make", I think. :)

Anyway, let me share some of the Dutch New Year's celebrations with you...

Everyone have a good 2012, and keep reading our comics, so we feel special, okay? :)

...And I'm going for "Break", though hopefully, breaking a lot of things with Arno, which has been pretty much the norm for us. Happy belated New Year, everyone. At least we got Christmas cards out in a timely manner. ;p

The above video (Arno's first posting to YouTube, which is more than I've done) was shot from our 4th-story balcony... but let me back up a bit. Arno has never celebrated New Year's at his home. He has always gone to his parents' house or to Simone and Giovanni's. In my one previous New Year's (Oudejaarsavond, or "old-year's evening") in the Netherlands, which was during my 'surprise' visit for Christmastime, we spent the evening with Arno's family and watched the fireworks set off by neighbors... including a HUGE amount set off by a local Chinese restaurant. The year following that, Arno came to Flagstaff for the holiday season, and missed all the fanfare he is used to. So, at this rate, Arno's never seen what New Year's Eve is like at his own place, and neither had I.

This year, after wondering and discussing what was to be done about New Year's parties and the dog, and was she invited, and would she be fine at home or go hide under the bed and get stuck again... Joke finally suggested that they come over to our place instead, and then Kayenta worries about Kayenta could be dealt with as they came up. It was one of those ideas that after you heard it, you smack yourself upside the head for not thinking of that.

Kayenta did relatively well, considering all the ruckus that was going on starting around or just after Christmas. Fireworks in the Netherlands are sold for roughly 2 days, and they are only allowed to be set off on New Year's night. But that doesn't stop influx of fireworks from neighboring Belgium, nor does it stop people from setting them off early, or from making illegal firework bombs (which make a giant boom and are only good for the miscreant blowing-up of public trash cans). Thus, we were treated to obnoxiously loud bangs at random times, and witnessed a trash can on our walking route that had been blown apart. (Stupid kids. Many a person has been injured or killed making or setting off these firework bombs.) Despite all the commotion, though, Kayenta seemed to ignore most of the noise, and I was proud at how well she was doing at not being gun-shy. Nothing really fazed her until the night before New Year's Eve, when somone was setting off skyrockets over the lawn. One exploded very loudly right above us, and from that point on, Kayenta was a little skittish, wanting ot keep us in sight at all times, and staying under the desks or in the kitchen, depending on where we were hanging out.

I should mention that the fireworks in the video are not part of any special show or any one group doing a display or somesuch... A couple people in our complex were setting off fireworks, but a larger number from the surrounding streets were setting off the majority of what you see... and this was just around us! Arno's place provided a nice 180+-degree view, and most of the rockets cleared the surrounding roofs for us to have a good show.

Aside of watching fireworks, we sat around and chatted, ate oliebollen (a donut-like treat, only sold around feast-times) and chocolate cake (which I made), drank tea and proseco, and watched TV to see if we had won the big lottery. We didn't, but as it turned out, all four of the tickets we had bought (one for us, for Tom and Joke, for Simone and Giovanni, and for my parents) won 10 euros!

I wish you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year as well!

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