It's the fourth day of January. How are those resolutions holding up?

The secret, you know, is to set the bar lower. Diet restrictions? Forget 'em. Cleaning out clutter? Yeah, right! Better to make blanket statements than sweeping changes.

Here's an easy resolution to keep: Vow to "listen to your body." If your body wants chocolate, reward it. If your body wants wine, pour a glass. If it's asking for both, as mine often does, make it happen.

Your efforts won't go unrewarded. Your body will thank you by plumping up wrinkles and adding padding to protect against bone loss. Tell yourself "this is a good thing" and head into 2013 with no guilt and no regrets.

Around town: Now that the holiday hubbub is over, the owners of Hula (6136 LaSalle Ave.) in Montclair Village have a request: Would the gentleman who forgot to pay for his items last month please contact them? A customer came in Dec. 22 and "selected some lovely sweaters and a gold-chain style belt for his wife," Andrea Faber said. "We boxed them up beautifully but somehow because it was so busy we neglected to get his payment." Hulu's phone number is 510-339-9385.

Good soak: If traveling to the Dead Sea isn't in your plans this year, you can at least feel as if you've been there. Oakland Floats (344 40th St.) has private saline float tanks that let your body rest buoyantly and in calming silence. Not only is it meditative, the Epsom salts draw toxins from your skin, providing relief for sore joints and muscles. It could be just what the doctor ordered, especially during the cold, wet months of winter.


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Zoo news: It's like winning the lottery -- news that a million-dollar donation is being awarded to the Oakland Zoo. Director Joel Parrott couldn't believe this Christmas surprise in the mail -- money from an anonymous donor to put wherever it's needed most. A good chunk will probably go to the new veterinarian hospital.

Crime beat: Now that Christmas is over, crooks will have to find other crimes of opportunity besides stealing packages. Among the crimes reported in Oakland last month were a theft involving packages under a tree and a car break-in in which an address book and Christmas cards were stolen. It leaves me speechless.

Eye candy: The spirit of Christmas continues past the Epiphany at Montclair Bistro. Owner-chef Henry Vortriede is keeping his two-room gingerbread house up until the end of January. Why not? It took 30 hours to build, not to mention more than 700 pieces of house-made gingerbread. One way to take it down might be to eat it.

Dirty birds: These are not partridges in a pear tree. A band of pigeons is wreaking havoc on several Montclair businesses, despite landlords' best efforts to shoo them away. Even pinwheels and flapping flags don't deter these dirty birds, who roost on the roofs and ruin the shingles with their acidic bird by-products.

It's yet another reason not to feed them if they land on a park bench near you.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-723-2525, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.