Posted in Writing Life

*Happy New Year

No, I’m not late–today is the start of the lunar new year. This is the year of the tiger, and this year my older daughter will turn 12, having been born a fierce and fabulous tiger. We are celebrating Chinese New Year with my husband’s family, and doing double duty by celebrating his sister’s birthday.

Wait, there is another holiday to celebrate today, isn’t there? Did you guess what I had in mind?

Yes it is Rosh Hodesh! The new moon of the lunar month is a Jewish holiday, named aptly, Head of the Month (which also means first of the month). In biblical times this was an important holiday, which has diminished in status, but remains, according to tradition a women’s holiday. (Is that why it’s minor? But we won’t go there today. I am too happy.) According to the sages, since women didn’t participate in the golden calf fiasco, they were rewarded with the new moon celebration.

Some months my husband gets me flowers for Rosh Hodesh, but as cut flowers in winter is an industry unfriendly to the earth and to labour, lately he’s been getting me pens. Women are exempted from sewing on Rosh Hodesh, at one time a demanding and endlessly time consuming task for women, who hand sewed their family’s clothes. (The biblical poem “a woman of valor” speaks of her clothing them in scarlet, hand dyed of course).

So what am I doing today? Yes I’m sewing. Because of my contrary nature, or just coincidentally because I enjoy it, I am attempting to crazy quilt on old sweatshirt. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

My children have been making valentines (oh yes it’s also that day, too, right?) and birthday cards. Later we’ll watch the Olympics for a while. (That’s going on, too. And here a note of remembrance for the athlete who died.)

We went skating this morning, my children inspired by the speed skaters. Canada placed nowhere but who cares! My older daughter’s best friend in Korea had the honours for that one.

Happy New Year everyone, and a special shout out to all those who turn 12 or multiples thereof in 2010–tiger babies rock!

Indo-Chinese tiger by Ltshears, Wikipedia Commons

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

19 thoughts on “*Happy New Year

    1. What do you use for embroidery? I was getting along swimmingly with Toto (my toyota sewing machine) until I ran out of bobbin thread. After I put more thread on the bobbin, I must not have put the case back in quite right. There were some burps and stops and the needle jammed. After re-threading and cleaning out lint and taking the bobbin case out and putting it back in, everything went fine. But I also suspect I need a new needle, and I’m going to pick some up on Tuesday. I seem to have every size and type except the one I need!

    1. Dorothy, thanks, and if the multiple is 36 that is good luck in another tradition. Any multiple of 18 is a lucky number in Jewish tradition because it’s the numeral value of the Hebrew word for life.

  1. Happy New Year! Tigers are beautiful and cool.

    And enjoy the Olympics coverage (I feel so sad about the death of the luge athlete on the opening day of competition, I watched some luge the following night and found it terrifying, and I couldn’t stop thinking about his poor family, going from what must have been one of the proudest nights of their lives to one of the darkest days just hours later – it makes me want to cry); I’m happy Canada has won a home-soil gold already.

    1. Di, it was a very sad way to start.

      On a much more prosaic note, I’m afraid that the Olympics superseded my older daughter’s study of taxonomy (what are the five kingdoms; what is the difference between phylum and class, etc). But it wasn’t in my heart to do anything more than send the kids to bed fifteen minutes early, which they badly needed anyway after two late nights.

    1. Di, yes. That’s true. And today I made sure to stop writing and take a break before they came home from school, so I could supervise snack, homework, shower with both kids. And now we can all watch Olympics with clear mind!

  2. ‘Stationery,’ so you got it in one! I remember by thinking of a visit to the ‘stationer’ – works every time! And me too – have always loved it all. I think we’re in the right job, basically.

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