In my book, all parties are lucky because they force me to clean the house (an all-day operation yesterday for both of us) and because they allow me to bring out silly and sentimental stuff. In this case, I had Chinese good luck wall hangings from my host family in Taiwan in 1989, Chinese objects from my parent's stay in Nanjing, bright orange dipping bowls I inherited from my neighbors, hedgehog napkins from a best friend, new partyware from prairie quilter, and tasty Christmas present treats (including sugar mice that the six-year-old loved, much to his parent's chagrin) beyond the usual groundhog tattoos and drink umbrellas.
We ate jiaozi which are lucky for the new year because they are little moon bundles of prosperity, along with sesame candies and various sweets in order to have a sweet new year. One attendee brought oranges (from her parents from Florida) having researched that oranges are the proper treat to represent a prosperous and plentiful new year. This struck me as particularly lucky because it indicates this woman is the kind of person who will look-up odd-ball traditions for a party (and she wore her red silk pajamas commenting as she walked in, "red is the lucky color for Chinese New Year") and could become a real friend. She also guessed the last snow would be in exactly six weeks because Freddie (WV groundhog) saw his shadow. Perhaps she'll turn out to be a kindred spirit, and definitely someone to talk to about luck and fate.
Because we were celebrating the upcoming new year, we discussed Chinese zodiac signs. Learning that a friend is a fellow rat (but not my age) explained a great deal about her. I almost burst out, "No wonder you are constantly justifying your choices [marrying and having a baby immediately after finishing her masters and currently not working with a six week old baby] acting weird about jobs and status, and apologizing for references you don't get: you're 23!" I don't like falling into the smug elder role, but I am in this case. I think I can better accept youthful insecurity than just plain insecurity.
Late in the evening (or early in the morning), three glasses were broken. One beloved blue wine glass went down when a woman elbowed the glass while her husband was holding it. Impressively sharp elbows. One martini glass and one whiskey glass toppled and shattered with a bunch of mini-candy canes. Somehow I think that breaking glass is auspicious. This may have something to do with Jewish weddings or German polterabends, may be from Huey Lewis and Billy Joel* songs, or may be from The Mister breaking a glass at the first of my parties he attended (about our fourth date) and commenting, "It's not a party until someone breaks something." This statement, along with his smooth cleaning up of the glass, completely endeared him to Tuscon Trekker, my roommate, who was known for dropping dishes. It was also repeated at our wedding when our one of our glorious two foot tall champagne glasses snapped.
Three glasses broken: it was a good party.
Still, I missed all of you.
*"I like the sound of breaking glass. If you don't believe me, why did you ask," from "I know what I like" and the intro to "You May Be Right" includes a fabulous shattering before, "Friday night I crashed your party, Saturday I said I'm sorry."
Last year you could apparently learn to make jiaozi like those pictured at the Asian Cultural Center of Vermont.