Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year! It's now officially 2011. Let the 2012 Presidential campaign begin.

Oh, not that. Let it not begin.

Here's how I ended 2010. Actually, I end every year the same way since I was a student in Japan when dinosaurs walked the earth. I picked up many great habits in Japan. One that I've never lost is ending a year with a clean house and no bills unpaid.

I spent much of New Year's Day cleaning and putting away Christmas, all but the tree. That comes down today during the Rose Bowl. When I was a student, I would clean my tiny (9' x 9') apartment before going to my host family's house to clean with them. When we were done, we'd go out for a nice dinner, then come home and get dressed to go to temple at midnight. The girls would put on their kimono; I would put on a dress. (Nothing looks sillier than a 5'8" white woman in a kimono. Just not a pretty sight.) We'd walk through the cold and snow (usually) to wave incense smoke over our heads. Then we'd move to the temple altar and throw coins in for good luck.

I can do everything except go to a temple. I doubt there is a Buddhist temple within 100 miles of where I live. Maybe more. Still, I can complete all but that of the ritual.

The other part of the ritual is to pay all bills before New Year's Day. That means having them in the mailbox or in the postal carrier's hands, not sitting on a desk waiting a week before they can be mailed.

There is something so satisfying about having completed these two seemingly trivial traditions. Part of is an enduring connection with my years in Japan. Part of it is knowing that I am starting a new year as fresh and "new" as possible. Part of it is an annual renewal.

And now, with my resolutions posted on my cork board on my desk, it's time to begin working on one of them. Time for a health walk. See ya' later.

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