First Day of the New Year

Wow! I can’t believe that it’s the first day of 2005.

I’m troubled by the suffering of the people in Southeast Asia who lost their lives in the tsunami. The enormity of the disaster is unfathomable. The problems I thought I had no longer exist. I am so grateful for everything I have…all the luxuries I need.

The holiday season was crazy. We decided to stop the crazy shopping two years ago. Instead of running around like lunatics buying gifts that may or may not be liked or appreciated, we give everyone on our gift list some form of our photography. At least that makes the gift personal and from our heart. The big party we used to do was getting to be too much. Somehow the season still managed to be crazy.

On the morning of New Year’s Eve, Kris and I have a tradition of shopping in Chinatown. We buy all kinds of luxurious decadent food that we don’t indulge in during the year. It’s part of the Japanese tradition to have certain dishes and I’ve added my own to that list…fresh Chinese noodles, lobster, oysters, a steamed fish in ginger/cilantro sauce, Chinese roast duck and pork, gobo, watercress, rapini, sushi rice. We have a feast on New Year’s Eve and we invite people to drop by. This year I made an Italian baked tripe and bean dish. We had a magnum of champagne…bubbly…yum.

This morning I made ozoni which is the traditional Japanese soup for New Year’s morning. There are many variations, but it usually a simple fish broth with a few vegetables, chicken, and seafood maintaining the clarity of the broth. The one ingredient that is a must is mochi, which is a rice cake. We went to my brother’s for a late lunch. His mother-in-law, Joann, makes a fabulous New Year’s Day spread…one that we really look forward to.

These days of family, food and traditions make me appreciative of all the abundance I’ve had in my life. In spite of the horrors in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, I hope for peace someday. Happy New Year everyone!

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