New Year’s Blues…

Commentary by Cherie Jung

(21 January, 2018)

When I began writing this commentary last year, in December, the title was “Ho, Ho, Humbug!” but seeing as how it’s now careening towards the latter part of January, 2018, the title didn’t seem to fit anymore. By the second day of January I knew I was already behind on everything on my “to do” list. Now I am way behind.

Back in December I had been seriously contemplating closing down the omdb! website. Health problems were complicating trying to get much work done for the website. At a pre-Christmas dinner with friends, one friend/neighbor attended, knowing that she was ill, and passed along her cold to everyone at the table. My newly acquired cold quickly developed into pneumonia followed closely by what seemed to be the flu. And as things tend to go, the food at the restaurant wasn’t even very good. Certainly not worth the month of illness that followed.

How does this relate to mysteries you ask?

Well, I haven’t the strength to throttle my neighbor but she is going to feature prominently in the new short story I’m working on. Hint: she is the corpse.

Meanwhile, as I’ve mentioned before. I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Not since I was a kid. Who am I kidding? I know I’m not going to keep them, even if I write them down. (My semi-New Year’s resolution last year to “lose weight” netted me a 4 pound weight loss which was quickly regained after  finishing off several – okay, more than several…many…too many to count – chocolate covered almond candy bars from Japan.)

I finally dragged myself to the computer a few days ago, ready to post some new material on the website, only to discover that our FTP site was down. The next evening I briefly noted that the FTP site was back up but then our phone lines went out around 11 p.m. (My internet access is still via dial-up). My phone company’s recorded message indicated that they were too busy to let me speak to a live agent but that they were aware that my neighborhood’s phone service was out and they expected it to be back on by “1:56 today.” (Today? There was no 1:56 left in today. Tomorrow, yes. Today, no.) It wasn’t. Many hours later, long after the predicted 1:56 a.m., while I was napping, phone service was restored.

Ahhh, you say. Back in business.

Not quite. Once I got back online, I discovered 3,828 emails waiting and another 115 emails in my spam folder, half of which were valid emails. Plus there was an 11MB file from an independent publicity rep. – 11 Mega-bytes?!? Gosh, that’s TMI (Too much information), if you ask me, for one email.

On the positive side, or possibly positive side of things, since my hubby is Chinese-American, we also celebrate the Lunar New Year, so I get another shot at a New Year in less than a month.

For that one, there’s no need for resolutions. I like that in a holiday. There’s lots of good food. I like that in a holiday, also. And, the celebrations last for 15 days. That is a bit tricky though. Before the lunar New Year begins, traditionally, one is supposed to pay off all debts. No problem with that. We aren’t behind in any payments due. One is also supposed to give the house a good spring cleaning prior to the beginning of the lunar New Year. Around this house, that one slides a bit. There’s clean and then there’s really clean. We’re somewhere in the before “clean” category. (I’m willing to take my chances in offending the clean house Chinese god.) But a seriously more tricky tradition is that for the 15 days (and nights) of the lunar celebration, there are supposed to be no fights, arguments, or angry words exchanged (and if they are, that sets a bad tone for the entire year). I have a cranky edge. (Just ask my hubby.) It’s difficult for me to be nice to everyone for 15 days!

The paperweight on my desk reads, “Seven billion people on this planet and I like maybe 4 or 5 of them, tops.” It was given to me by the neighbor who is going to be the corpse in the story I mentioned at the beginning of these ramblings.



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