Happy Year of the Rabbit, which doesn’t begin officially until February 3. According to one of the many Chinese horoscopes on-line, the “Rabbit brings in a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves.” Most people I know could use a year like this.
Here is the New Year’s card I made. I bought the character stamp in Osaka, Japan, 10 years ago. Recently, a Japanese friend translated it for me. She said it signifies a welcoming of spring, which is the Japanese way of saying Happy New Year. It’s hard to imagine welcoming spring today when the temperature has not yet risen above freezing, but by February 3, we should start to see some early signs of a season change.
My husband and I celebrated the end of 2010 by sharing a dish of tempura and a caterpillar roll and joining about 50 others to ring the temple bell 108 times. According to Wikipedia, 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern traditions. “In Japan a bell is chimed 108 times to finish the old year and welcome the new one. Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana.” While achieving nirvana probably isn’t on most people’s list of New Year’s resolutions, including mine, all of us usually make a commitment to change or improve on something in our lives at the beginning of a new year, even when experience has taught us that we are only able to stick to it for a short time. After being away from the workplace for 5-6 months, I can see that it’s harder to stay connected with friends there or friends in the community whom I met through my job. So my New Year’s resolution is to work to keep those connections. And it does involve work, because most people are living very hectic lives. This means that in addition to the groups with regularly scheduled get-togethers, Estelle, Helena, Ann Y., Lydia, Silvia, two Nancy L’s, Becky, Jill, Joan, Shelby, Krischanna, Leticia, Lourdes, Sherry L., Yolanda, Karen L., Claudia C. and Claudia N., Linda M., and a few others I’ve temporarily forgotten, you can expect to hear from me in the coming months. In looking at the length of my list, it seems like we should meet over coffee and not lunch. Otherwise I’ll be forced to make a second resolution: go on a diet.