New Year's Hope

So there you go, another year over! I couldn't wait for it to end.  Before the old one passed there were more casualties - via fires from wayward fireworks and sky lanterns, flooding, stampede, lives taken (by trigger happy degenerates) and jobs lost.
At my end, I lost faith in some friendships, lost the oven in the flood, my pitbull Pow, my patience, the new camera I use for this blog which my dad promptly lost to a pickpocket.  I told him he has reached a quota. The first was picked off him at the start of 2012 when he took it to the fireworks competition at the Mall of Asia (on the LRT ride over).  The new one was lost two days before the new year came in. Two cameras in a year, well, that's rich!   I think he needs a blue rhino in his pocket. Incidentally the rhino charm worked for me.

My luck in 2012 seems as bad as most everyone else. It was enough to make my mom forget all but the lucky fruit bowl ritual and the laying out of coins on the path to our door and up the stair steps to make money figuratively come in on New Year's Eve.

It was I who bought mangosteen and chico to replace the pears , guava and guyabano my mom placed on the lucky 13 fruit bowl.  I told her we need shiny, smooth, sweet, preferably seedless round fruits and not ones considered unlucky (pears - fruit offered to the Chinese dead) or, as my logical mind figured - unripe (the mangoes) that it was hit or miss when opportunity comes and I or what was needed is not ready for it; has stones or too many seeds (guava); or spiky (guyabano) that it was more challenging than productive you are far too spent to enjoy whatever is left.
We had watermelon, pineapples, mangoes, ponkan, two kinds of oranges, kiat kiat, grapes, bananas and papaya. We had more than ten and I was going for eight fruits, because I saw on TV that given these hard times, eight (for infinity) is perfectly acceptable.  They also said to put eight coins of each value - 10, 25, 50 cents and 1 peso - in your coin purse, wallet and bags, leaving them open to receive more.  The five cent coin with the donut hole is not accepted.  Really, even jeepney drivers would sooner accept fare that's twenty five or ten cents short of the fare minimum (8 pesos) than  pocket the donut coins.

I did set out a white plate with ginger, salt and rice grains to encourage wealth (as seen on TV hehe); a pineapple and a glass jar of eight kiat kiats on a table by the door.
You have to place it where people who come in can see it. For good measure I set a faux lotus flower in a Chinese jar It's supposed to encourage enlightenment and protect our riches! : p
The love and marriage symbolism of the lotus, well, who knows! Hope is forever.
I shopped around for "proper" charms but found the ones I liked expensive.
I placed chocolate miniature bars in a jar, just so my friends will be encouraged to keep my supply coming hehehe. Ruth brought me some from her trip to New York and Canada.
Ate Rose ( Ate means older sister but she's really a cousin; hard vowels...the pronunciation I mean hehehe) in Las Vegas sent us a huge tin of Kirkland European Chocolate -dark, white, Belgian chocolate clad wafers, pretzels and cookies.  Rather pretty!
The cookies survived the trip nicely.
See my dad's name written in markers on the tin and on the plastic strip? That's because  there's other stuff in the box for everyone else. Found this helpful packing tip site!.
Incidentally, when I was in corporate work you got corporate gifts - pens and planners and calendars and umbrellas and logo shirts.  Sometimes there's wine or  a gift basket (the best ones get sent to the higher-ups of course). My brother, who works for a feeds distributor got the better giveaways - sack of rice, free hotdogs and eggs, Johnny Walker Black, golf bag, grocery gift checks and other much more appreciated stuff!
Mom exerted more effort last Christmas.  She was so tired from all the prepping and the unscheduled task of coconut tree cleanup (last post) and the cooking of by-products (latik et al) that she slept through Christmas Eve.
The only creature stirring was me, cooking sinangag (fried rice) I ate with ham with the Vatican mass on TV.

So New Year's she made sure to keep awake and we had a simpler (to make) New Year's Eve table We had ham (three kinds). Tous Les Jours black rice bread ( Korean bakery, French name: love the soft bread - when you toast it a bit it gets chewy good. I wanted their picture perfect Winter Wonderland cake with the snowman but was afraid it would melt - Christmas this year blows hot most days, cold and rainy some.  Plus the counter people at Tous Les Jours said two hours in a car would be okay for the cake but I will be taking the bus and traffic is horrendous! This link is too cute to pass up hehehe)
Gardenia's cranberry and wheat bread went so well with ham.
There was Alvin's Tasty bread (best tasty bread for me, made in Malabon, you don't see it in big supermarkets. It is in such demand that you are allowed six loaves at the most, to accommodate other buyers.
We had  mom's beef stew (cooked days before) and pork barbecue.
Also fish for a good year!  You are supposed to keep head and tail but our fish dish is pan seared whole fillets of cream dory (Pangasius).in olive oil and parmesan,. dipped in a make do ponzu sauce of grated ginger, olive oil, sugar and soy sauce. Hmm, I've been cooking this all December! .
For dessert I made chocolate cake (baked two days before on the electric oven, spiked with Fundador Brandy de Jerez) and the neighbor across the street sent over sapin sapin while my brother's mother in law gifted us maja blanca, a jelly like pudding made from the niyog (coconut) we sent her. We had plenty of suman stillSticky rice desserts to keep the family intact and (hopefully) sweet - check!
People say it will be a better one, this 2013.  I really hope, for all our sakes, that would be true for all. We are wired to look at a new year as bringer of new luck and hope. I wore the gold and red thong house slippers with polka dots Ruth gave me, to kick luck in : ).

Despite the bad times, I am grateful to the friends who helped me out as best and when they could - Ruth, Dianne, Charisse, Mercy; Millie and her beautiful family (buys my baked goodies whenever I show up); Angie and Judith who cheered me up and dragged me off to free eats (hehehe); my college gang Liza, Peachy, Menchu, Rossana, Rachel, Thess, and Amy; Peachy's hubby Bunny for the work sent my way; and our nameless selfless rescuers during the flood.

Thank God for mercies, big and small;.
Happy New Year all : )

p.s. I will have to make do with the canon video cam again. Good thing I have stock pics. Oh well.


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