Today begins the week that leads up to the much-celebrated and hyped festival among ethnic Chinese all over the world. I have yet to feel the festive mood. I've somehow been rather busy the past week, with unexpected freelance writing jobs cropping up and appointments and errands to run. I had to skip/postpone my pre-CNY shopping plans and attendance at C's school PTA AGM.
I had postponed grooming Rusty for a few weekends already and today, I couldn't bear any longer to see him so scruffy. With the long fur and heavy rain in the afternoons, he tends to get dirty and smelly rather quickly so I bit the bullet and gave him a trim and bath this morning. It took up a good two hours which included sweeping and washing the entire car porch to rid the place of all his fur. Then I had to do a quick rush job revising a piece I did over the weekend. In between, I cooked dinner and gobbled down lunch, then rushed to school to fetch C.
As in past years, the Chinese New Year has been celebrated on a simple scale with our extended families, especially since my paternal and maternal grandparents have passed on. They were the ones whose generation celebrated the CNY in a big way.
Both E's and my side of the family are small families. We both have two siblings each, unlike our parents who came from the generation where seven, eight, nine, ten or the 'teens of siblings were common. Furthermore, E's family celebrate Christmas on a bigger scale compared to CNY while my parents do not celebrate Christmas and have kept CNY to a relatively small circle of immediate family only, compared to those days when my grandparents were around. Moreover, with my older brother living overseas and me considered 'married out' already, it's only my younger brother and his small family of one child who will be around for the reunion dinner and first day of CNY.
Traditionally, married women have to return with their husbands to his family to celebrate the CNY, and only on the second day (or for some later depending on the distance they have to travel), they go home to their own parents to pay their respect.
Since I now have an oven, I had plans to make some simple cookies just for fun to get into the festive mood, but it has yet to materialise, and CNY is just a few days away....And I only managed to put up a few miserable decor items on our side entrance door. And the traditional pre-CNY spring cleaning? What spring cleaning? Since moving into this house last March, we still have boxes lying around, and even more boxes turned up when E returned from his parents home prior to Christmas with loads of his childhood stuff. His parents were re-painting the house and had asked him to clear out all the stuff he had hoarded over the years in what used to be his room. It sure looks like I won't be throwing a party or 'open house' anytime soon as our home is not a page out of Martha Stewart Living (is it still in publication?)
I had experimented on two types of cookies a few weeks ago and they turned out ok, but the recipes were rather small portions and did not produce enough to be shared with 'guinea pigs' outside of ACE. And I found making cookies such a tedious affair, having to measure out and pre-prepare certain ingredients, and shaping each cookie individually. And then they're gobbled up in one mouthful within seconds. I think cooking is more worth the effort as you can savour the dish more slowly over a sit-down meal.
This year, CNY falls on Sunday. We get two days of public holiday plus one extra since the first day falls on Sunday. C's school has declared the whole week off while I guess E will be taking the week off too (some communication is lacking somewhere as usual when we're so busy). What are we going to do for the entire week?
Of course, the eve, first and second days will be spent doing the obligatory family stuff but after that? Hmmm.....