Well, I'm not quite sure how we've arrived here already, but there you have it ~ another new year! I thought that 2013 would be a quiet year and although it was a fine year in many respects, it had a lot of hold-your-breath periods for our family, most of which turned out as we had hoped or better, but were a bit stressful nevertheless. We're more settled now in our new location. I've found in our past decade of moves that it seems to take a couple of years to make the new place ~ house and town ~ feel like home and I can truly say I've felt that over the last few months. Earlier in the year, we thought perhaps we would face another move soon but fall brought a happy development that will keep us here for the foreseeable future and most probably result in staying permanently. Relief!
So this is the Year of the Horse. If you've followed my blog for several years, you know that I've been collecting these Japanese papier mache ('hariko') pieces of the Chinese zodiac characters and often feature them in my New Year's post. I purchased several on my very early trips to Japan (which were in the fall, when the next year's animal starts appearing in shops) but over the last number of years, Molly's hunted down the appropriate figure and gifted it at Christmas. When people (extended family members, especially) would ask how long she planned to stay in Japan, her usual answer was, "Until my mother has her full set". But as you know, they relocated to the States in September. Molly rarely misses a beat, however, and surprised me on Christmas morning with the familiar yellow box holding the new figure, having sent a family member visiting Japan this fall on a mission to secure it for me. (I think I'm only missing the monkey now ~ you know, if anyone was wondering....)
I usually take the tree down on New Year's day, but we were in Texas for a week and didn't have much time to enjoy it. With a big storm due tomorrow and deep into a wonderful book (The Goldfinch), I've decided to keep it up a little longer so I can read by the tree ~ it still smells fresh! So I'll tidy things up in a few days and put out my new horse then, a visual reminder of the clean slate of days and months ahead. A fresh start. That always feels great after the holidays, doesn't it?
Wishing you all a lovely fresh start and a happy & healthy 2014!