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Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the year in cultures that also follow the Chinese lunar calendar. It’s the year of the horse on the twelve animal zodiac.

It’s a normal Friday here in America. Gossamer went to the vet this morning for a checkup and booster shots. She’s grumpy now, of course. And I’m grumpy that I’m missing out on the wonderful festivities that are rocking East Asia at this very moment.

So let’s go back, just for a little while, to three weeks ago when I met Popo and gave her the festive red shawl I finished late last year.

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In traditional Chinese culture, a young woman marrying into a family presented members of the household with elaborately embroidered shoes as a sign of her handiwork skills. Most importantly, she needed to please the matriarch, whose wants and whims she was now subject to. Understandably so, this was an anxiety ridden transition.

I felt little of this anxiety when we went to visit Popo in China, but still wanted to honor the practice of giving something handmade to the matriarch. At 102 years old, Popo may herself have made shoes for her mother-in-law when she married in the early 1930s. I know for certain that she knit and crocheted before her eyesight began to fail.

Popo is a truly fascinating woman. I hope she’s enjoying her nieces and nephews gathered around for feasting and festivities this New Year holiday.

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