Slow Start 2016

In the world, people have got back to work. I'm still enjoying my time-off with Marilyn. Waking up after the Sun is up, and enjoying coffee on the couch wrapped up in the blankets listening to Jazz... There is no "Go! Go! Go!" Who cares the train schedule?

At the beginning of December, I found out I had one week of use-or-lose time. I decided to take the time-off around the New Year's Day instead of around Christmas and celebrate the new year in my culture way according to our oldest history book written in the early eighth century.

The First Three Days of the New Year

In Japanese culture, the first three days of a new year are designed to be slow days. We prepare meals for these days in advance by the New Year Eve. We eat the prepared dishes, drink and relax at home with our family.

That means not to disturb the God of the Stove, where actual cooking occurs, and give a quiet time to the God of the Year during their stay. The God of the Stove actually stays on the stove. It is important not to use fire on the stove to let him stay. He brings great harvest and good health for the year at the visit. His leaving by any disturbance means he takes everything good he brought with him.

In fact, most part of the new year's feast is enjoyable without reheating them, and preserved well without refrigeration for this purpose. Nowadays, we refrigerate it because of the heating system of our houses. I'm pretty sure this wasn't necessary until about 100 years ago.

At more traditional families, the women in the families get a break. Their men take over preparing meals and dishes during the three days.

Based on our mythology, the God of the New Year visits every home with fortune and prosperity at the sunrise of the New Year's Day. It seems that the God of the Stove also visits at the same time. It doesn't sound like they come together.

The New Year feast is an offering to the Gods. Each dish has a wish for the new year such as good health, wealth, great harvest, a big family, long life (especially for old people), prosperity, and so on. We have them a little bit of each wishing a great year after the Gods enjoy them.

My Version... Off the Tradition by Limitation

I was inspired by my friend who are into flower arrangement. Not knowing anything about it, I just tried. There are some rules for the selection of flowers, but here in the US, I cannot do much about it. Anyway, besides my skill, it is always nice to have flowers in everyday life.

Of course, the Christmas decoration is still there. We get to enjoy that as well.

I spent the New Year's Day munching goodies and relaxed. Here is Marilyn's New Year's Day... not so much different from her usual weekends. This is her new thing these days — getting outside air without completely being outside. Our heating bill is going rocket high.

After her 16th birthday, she's lost more mobilities as her hind legs and hip lost more muscle. She is still a happy girl though.

I received one order from my Etsy shop. What a great start of the year for the shop! It's also time to donate the profit from the last year to a charity. I'm thinking to which one to donate.

On the second day, Marilyn and I dropped off some treats at the local humane society. A meet and greet was going on between a cute hound and his two potential future siblings. Fingers and paws are crossed for the pup.

Marilyn, as a former shelter dog, wishes all animals who need forever home will get sweet one soon. She know they have lots of love to give just like she does.

The third day was spent to maintain the Etsy shop. This was perfect for the miserable cold day. My assistant with a tail supervised me. I have to admit I don't spend much time with it. People however check my stuff and sometimes add to their favorites. That is very thankful. A new pillow cover section has been added. Hopefully I have more time for production for new items this year.

After the third...

In Japan, people go back to work on the 4th. My slow day still continues...

Another freezing cold day, I went to see my riding partners with carrots.

These pictures were taken in summer. I tried to take new pictures, but its battery died. They now have long winter coat and blankets in the barn. They are good taken care of. I cannot wait to ride them in a warmer weather.

Marilyn needed a little attention. She often gets stuck at the edge of her beds lately, and cannot get herself out. Then, she cries for help. That is the weakest and saddest whine I've ever heard. I made the bumpers for her from the leftover foam for her cart.

This is her cart. She doesn't enough strength to go for a walk anymore, but loves to go out. Somebody in the Facebook group I belong got one for his old dog and shared the information with the members. He put a dog bed and blankets to make his pooch comfortable in it.

In my neighborhood, I thought she needs a little more. Youssef told me about the site who sell custom cut foam for my project to restore the bench in the living room. I ordered a 4" thick firm foam from them. Their pricing is reasonable and the delivery was quick, too. One thing I didn't was measuring the inside of the cart. I got the dimension from the product description of the cart. Apparently that measurement was not correct, and I had to trim off the excess. The excess turned into the two bumpers. Everything happens for reasons, right? Now her cart is ready for action, and she doesn't get stuck at the edge of her beds. Marilyn can go visit her friends. She got double wins!

Sometimes, it is nice to spend time without planning anything and do things spontaneously. That's how my slow days have been going.