The plan was simple: we were all going to bed early. Waiting for midnight on December 31/January 1? In the grand scheme of things, an arbitrary time in an arbitrary day? Whatever for? But L, who’d napped yesterday because of a lingering illness, really wanted to stay up.

What happened to my early bedtime? I decided to have a beer and watch another episode of The Same Sky, a great German mini-series set in Berlin during the Watergate crisis. There’s an East German spy, there are interrogation scenes in Hohenschönhausen, the main Stasi headquarters, there’s a family dealing with the effects of the East German doping sports machine — everything you could want in a series about East Germany. L appeared at the top of the steps and asked plaintively, “Can we stay up together?”

Of course, I agreed.

We went to the living room and spent the last forty minutes watching a bit of a documentary about the Russian revolution. Stalin got a mention early in the film, and I pointed out that he’s one of the most destructive figures in history.

“I know,” she said simply, explaining that in one of the books she recently read, Bombs for Hitler, one of the characters is Ukranian. And if anyone knew how evil Stalin was, it was Ukrainians at the end of the 1930s.

About ten to twelve, we began looking for live coverage of the ball drop in Times Square, but since we never watch network TV and don’t have cable, I’m really clueless about what local channels are, and we couldn’t find anything. By the time we decided it was no use, it was 11:59. Off went the television, and we waited for a few moments. Hugs, kisses — “Happy New Year.” And now it’s time for bed.