2013 has been a difficult year for me.
Mother fell in early March and cut her head so badly she needed 24 stitches. She ended up in the hospital for almost a week and then a rehab center for an additional 5 weeks. When we finally got her home (with the addition of a walker for her to actually use instead of just drape clothing on), it was with the understanding that she wouldn’t be left alone until all the therapists had signed off, so it was into May before I was able to get back to my full schedule at work.
At which point Bella, my 11-year-old lab mix stopped being able to use her back legs. We tried steroids and pain meds and shots, but when she became totally unable to walk, plus in obvious pain, we had to make the decision to put her to sleep, which happened the first week of June.
The slightly annoying pain in my shoulders became increasingly un-ignorable. After several weeks of NSAIDS and two rounds of steroid injections, my orthopedist recommended surgery. I balked and went to an acupuncturist. Several rounds of acupuncture produced no pain relief for my shoulders, although it did successfully address some other issues. I’m still dealing with my shoulder issues, but they seem to be improving with the help of Dr. Joe, my sports medicine chiropractor.
With all that, I’ve decided that the black-eyed peas consumed last New Year’s Day were wholly inadequate to the task of bringing luck into 2013, so we’re going to be doing something different on New Year’s Day 2014. We’ll still have black-eyed peas, probably in the form of Hopping John, but since all this crap started in the beginning of March, I’m thinking I must have eaten only 1/5 the necessary amount, so I’ll increase my intake proportionately. I have also decided to add a few other foods and rituals to the mix.
A little internet surfing turned up tangerines as a lucky fruit, being round and golden like coins, for money in the new year. Pork and cabbage are both considered lucky, pork because pigs root ‘forward” and cabbage because it is green like cash. We’ll still have our midnight toasts (with sparkling juice – we’re not big drinkers anymore) and noisemakers (maybe bells this year, rather than clackers) and kisses, and I’m sure Mother will open the door to yell ‘Happy New Year’ to the sky as she does every year.
My friend, Alexandra, tells me that in her native Venezuela, people who want to travel stand ready with suitcases by the front door so they can step out with them into the New Year, and then also step back inside to be sure of a safe return home. I read that in Wales, people open their back doors at the first stroke of midnight to release all the old year’s bad luck, shut the door again to lock it out, and then at the 12th stroke of midnight, open the front door to welcome the new year’s good luck in.
Hungary has a Jack Straw effigy that is burned to get rid of the year’s evils and mistakes, but I’m thinking a New Year’s bonfire in the back yard can receive both regrets and wishes written on small pieces of paper without the symbolism of human sacrifice, thankyouverymuch.
I found a bunch of other stuff on the ‘net, but I think this is plenty. Oh, and a friend at work mentioned having the priest bless her mother’s home for the new year. I don’t know that I could get any priest to come to the Lutheran/Buddhist/Heathen/Agnostic household to give a blessing, but I do have Denise Linn‘s book, Sacred Space, that I believe I can put to good use.
C’mon, 2014 – I’m ready for you.