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Please begin with an informative title:

Tradition dictates a New Year's Eve diary be full of looks back and resolutions for the future.  I'm in an untraditional mood, and instead will tell you a tale of a family out to dinner :). Follow me below the dingledoodle squigglie dKosagnocchi dividerthingie fold after a word from our sponsor...


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Last night, K1 went to hang out with friends, and we took K2 out for dinner, to a local Ethiopian restaurant we'd heard great things about but hadn't yet visited. It is very small, perhaps a dozen tables seating between 2-4 people depending on whether it's against a wall or not. There were 3 or 4 tables that first glance appeared to be occupied by groups of Ethiopian/Eritrean descent (always a good sign!), and one table that looked like us. By "looked like us" I, of course, mean a mix of melanin-challenged parents/older children and an Ethiopian-looking child.

We proceeded to have one of the best Ethiopian dinners I've ever had. The preparations were a little different than our 'usual' restaurant, but were uniformly delicious, and the injera was amazing. Best we've had since we were IN Ethiopia 4 years ago!

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As we were finishing, the family finished and was getting ready to leave. The mother and I did the Glance Of Oh Hey You're An Adoptive Family Too and I started a conversation: Your son is adorable, how old is he? The mom smiled, said he was about 5, and then said he needed his injera fix. We said that's why we were there, and that it was a new place for us. One question after another led to our city of residence, and theirs, and we mentioned we went to the UU church in that town. She looks at me then says Umm, do you know < name of my dear church and pretty coffee friend >?

Turns out, my friend knew this family was adopting and had tried unsuccessfully to get us hooked up and talking to each other while they were waiting to travel. Their 5 year old son had been home only since June, which was why he spoke with the wonderful lilt I assocate with Amharic-accented english. We're going to get my friend to hook us up on Facebook, and hope to get to know them better.

In this tale, though, are several points that I want to carry forward into 2014:

1. Even if your kids are cringing, say hi to people you don't know. It can be a very rewarding experience.

2. Try new things- from restaurants to music to places to visit (We took the kids to the Museum of Fine Arts Saturday, K2 had never been and K1 not in years, and they LOVED it)

3. Always mind your voice and behaviour in public, because you never know who'll be sitting nearby. Actually, any number of very public reminders of this have been in the news this year, but a personal reminder never hurts.

4. Listen to your loved ones. Had we not listened to K2, we'd have stayed home instead of going out for the injera, shiro and wot he craved.

I wish all of you a very Happy New Year filled with life, light and love; food, friends, and fun. May our individual situations do nothing but improve, and may the same hold true for our families, friends, communities, states, nation and our world.

Brillig's ObDisclaimer: The decision to publish each nomination lies with the evening's Diarist and/or Comment Formatter. My evenings at the helm, I try reeeeallllyy hard to publish everything without regard to content. I really do, even when I disagree personally with any given nomination. "TopCommentness" lies in the eyes of the nominator and of you, the reader - I leave the decision to you. I do not publish self-nominations (ie your own comments) and if I ruled the world, we'd all build community, supporting and uplifting instead of tearing our fellow Kossacks down.
From Dragon5616:
ek hornbeck offers this Hunter S. Thompson mash-up in bobswern's rec list diary Matt Taibbi: “On Christmas, Republicans Quietly Declare War on Themselves”
From bastrop:
In Pakalolo's important diary Scientists find a 7500 square mile "bulls eye" of mercury contamination around the tar sands, some other george reminds us of a basic truth about human nature. (brillig notes while the comment is slightly out of range, bastrop didn't see it til last night's deadline and iIm in a good mood :))
From arizonablue:
Andy's Road Trip to Times Square is a MUST-SEE and the perfect way to send out the old and ring in the new! Courtesy of horsefeathers:

Starts here

And look who Andy stopped to pickup along the way!

Look where they end up!

Oh my!  Who is that on the Jumbotron?

Happy New Year!

From TrueBlueMajority:
Excellent top comment by CatM, in tmservo433's diary Home Depot Founder & Republicans Decry Pope: He doesn't "Get" Rich People.
From Land of Enchantment:
Beautiful evocative comment from barbwires about the relationship between flutist & flute.
From smileycreek:
I want to celebrate all the people who will have health insurance after midnight tonight with this comment by mumtaznepal.
From Yours Truly, brillig:
From Meteor Blades' Unless Congress acts, nearly 5 million long-term unemployed Americans will get burned in 2014, a gilas girl gets my I really hope to be inspired nomination.

Top Mojo for yesterday, December 30th, first comments and tip jars excluded. Thank you mik for the mojo magic! For those of you interested in How Top Mojo Works, please see his diary FAQing Top Mojo.
  1) This assumes A&E has moral concerns by Dallasdoc — 116
  2) Professional athletes have maybe the most by Mogolori — 113
  3) We really are going to destroy wildlife in our by YucatanMan — 103
  4) recs and tips for perspective by ban nock — 66
  5) Yes, and remember, WE are wildlife too. by some other george — 66
  6) Mai youse nu yeer be filled wid by KrazyKitten — 60
  7) Yes.  Boycott sponsors. by TomP — 60
  8) Oh, looky here! by Yoshimi — 59
  9) Sad & Happy Pootie Happenings. by NormAl1792 — 56
10) He is a class act. by CentralMass — 54
11) Brainwrap is too modest to mention it, but... by ericlewis0 — 53
12) Happee Moondai! by arizonablue — 51
13) me tooz by Debbie in ME — 50
14) ai agreez by Debbie in ME — 50
15) 2014 Prediction: Basement Cat Will Be Reallly Big: by leonard145b — 44
16) May All Your Reolutions Come True In 2014... by leonard145b — 43
17) Goes back to idea of wife as property by Mr Bojangles — 42
18) I heard something many years ago that has by VClib — 42
19) nOOOO... Pressure is when you have two by Vetwife — 41
20) 2013. Our Pumpkin. by Rileycat — 41
21) Pigs at the trough.. by Cpqemp — 41
22) More happy stuff from this year: by NormAl1792 — 41
23) Happy New Year by The Pollster — 41
24) ...oh, and Truman, of course! by NormAl1792 — 40
25) We had a mixed year, too. by koosah — 40
26) Thanks, This Day Can Be Such A Bear... by leonard145b — 39
27) What a nice end ob da year Pootie review! by jan4insight — 39
28) yes by Debbie in ME — 38
29) More Black History by Ojibwa — 38
30) Of course, the exemplar in that respect by lone1c — 38
31) There have been athletes who've used that pulpit by RFK Lives — 38

Top Pictures for yesterday, December 30th.  Click any image to be taken to the full comment. Thank you jotter for the image magic!

And now for a special treat... mik has run the Top Mojo of 2013 (minus today of course), the top 50 for the year!

  1) Hey.  I learned to type on a manual. by zenbassoon — 449
  2) I wonder which one by Azazello — 426
  3) I'm Consulting My NRA Decision Tree by TooFolkGR — 391
  4) Help me out here..... by FlamingoGrrl — 373
  5) Does the pope shit in the woods? by Gordon20024 — 367
  6) How about this one from Harry Reid? by Scarce — 362
  7) They're worse than idiotic by Dallasdoc — 351
  8) yeah, better we talk in abstracts by SemDem — 342
  9) Once again, by Ojibwa — 330
10) Unspeakable by Wisper — 310
11) I love Morgan Freeman! He speaks for me: by theKgirls — 309
12) And you thought Stop&Frisk was bad! by CwV — 308
13) It is bitterly cruel. by commonmass — 307
14) This is shocking by hayden — 306
15) I'm making fun of the idiots who are saying by weatherdude — 301
16) How long is this guy going to last? by Bob Johnson — 296
17) Happy Thanksgiving.   by TomP — 292
18) When do we unearth the DHS report by Dallasdoc — 286
19) Skills of a Professor by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees — 284
20) another disaster...and again... by Glen The Plumber — 281
21) You must be hiding something by joanneleon — 278
22) It is so touching that you keep us updated by Dallasdoc — 277
23) Mocking the tragic deaths in tx? by eXtina — 276
24) Oh, my! by gchaucer2 — 276
25) You nailed it. by Lawrence — 274
26) I know, can't stop chuckling. by poco — 272
27) "Empowering" ... they hate that word. by Bob Love — 271
28) "Empowering" ... they hate that word. by Bob Love — 271
29) oh, dear commonmass by homo neurotic — 269
30) When reporting crime stories, it is important to by riogrande — 265
31) Hopefully this will lead to renewed embarrassment by DrTerwilliker — 264
32) If all of our elected Dems acted like Warren by DWG — 263
33) whenever you are escorted to the office by by entlord — 263
34) I like this Pope more every day. Never thought I by David54 — 262
35) We must follow the teachings of George Takei by aisb23 — 261
36) Why?  The kids were already born. by NormAl1792 — 258
37) To the Republicans in Congress: by RhodeIslandAspie — 257
38) Actually, most of those visitors by raboof — 257
39) You get killed for buying Skittle and ice tea.nt by merrywidow — 256
40) Welcome to La Pierre's America!  God help us all! by drmah — 252
41) Thank you for the update. by ScottyUrb — 250
42) That's all well and good, but... by Trix — 249
43) My first offer is NOTHING by MinistryOfTruth — 248
44) Here's a new pic of Little Wink! by slinkerwink — 246
45) Another responsible gun owner (n/t) by milkbone — 244
46) I'm beginning to love Ecuador. by One Pissed Off Liberal — 243
47) Costco Earthfirst... by RichM — 242
48) And apparently the good pastor feels... by quiet in NC — 241
49) both of mine by Debbie in ME — 241
50) As I Recall Progressives Broke Strongly w Mr. by Gooserock — 241
51) Yikes, is there a medication for harshness? by ksh01 — 241
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