Paul hosted a hot pot dinner tonight with 12 guests in honor of Chinese New Year's Eve. It was lovely and wonderful and there was a cheery flame in the fireplace. Sat down and ate continuously for 2-3 hours. :) Thank you so much, Paul!
The night before Chinese New Year has new significance since my grandmother passed away last year on new year's eve. My grandmother took new year's seriously; it was the most important time of year for her. She would buy candy and decorations and make little pyramids of oranges and kumquats from our backyard. Before she went to bed the night she died, she set out 4 red envelopes on her dresser to give to the kids in our family so that they would be within easy reach the next morning when she would give us her little benediction.
We found those envelopes after she died, and I never told anyone this -- it has been my secret for a year -- but I took my own red envelope and the 2 red candies that she had placed on top and carried them with me back to San Francisco. The red envelope has been sitting in my bookshelf for almost a year now, and I have never opened it.