Almond cookies for the lunar new year: the celebrations will continue. Try to make them ones of thankfulness, not busy-ness.

Day 3: 2012

Family and friends have departed. In their place, the Christmas bills. Fridge piled high with curling bits of leftovers; oh, goodie, faavorite chore, cleaning the fridge. (If heaven were about retribution, I’d call a  meeting of all the kitchen appliance designers and get them to tell me why they designed things the way they did.)  Christmas decorations to banish into the storage space. Back to work. The memory of so many losses this year and another imminent in my family.

You may have detected a certain whiny tone from this underpaid, underemployed person. Me. But I’ve decided to start the New Year in thankfulness.

No cold cuts, gotta give my husband peanut butter and jelly. Or tuna (every person in my generation or older who grew up in Hawaii always  has a stash of Coral brand that would see us through another world war). One dollar in my wallet and we need bread. Can’t afford to test recipes, one of my greatest pleasures. Kitty litter box shows the signs of two days of benign neglect (second not favorite chore) while Husband and I actually rested; napped, read, watched movies .

Whine, whine, whine. At least I have something to put in those sandwiches. At least we have a loaf of unsliced country bread. Recipe testing with reimbursement behind it will come. At least our landlady allows cats. At least I had piles of stuff collected cheaply over the year, and from previous years of plenty, to give as Christmas presents. At least I’ve got a working computer and this blog, and e-friends to read it.

Have I forgotten when my mother was the sole support of a household of five, with our non-working father golfing and buying things we couldn’t afford for her to pay off? When we drank powdered milk because we couldn’t afford dairy, ate margarine because butter was too expensive, when an after-school snack was if you could snag a guava or papaya free? Have I forgotten that some people have no backup, can’t afford food,  a house, a refrigerator, a pet properly cared for? I see them every day in their camps alongside the streets and the park edges. Have I already forgotten the miracle God worked to get the money for me and my grand-neice to see my sister and her grandmother on Maui for what will likely be the last time?

Yes, and shame on me. This year, I will be grateful for what I have. I will share my blessings even when it hurts. I will look for a job with new fervor. And I have been given a plan to help others who might be losing theirs to figure out what’s in store and how to get through the loss.

No recipes today, but, coming up: hekka, by special request; pumpkin pasta for that bit of leftover pureed pumpkin in the fridge; my best almond cookie ever. Stay with me, and if I whinge (as the English say), slap me electronically upside the head, would you?

Happy New Year to you as you return to your “normal” life.