My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I'm making this post while quite thoroughly sleep-deprived. Consider yourselves warned. :-)

While editing my next "real" post in the wee hours of the morning (tired as I am, sleep just will not come), I found a photo on my camera that gave me a case of the giggles that I decided to share. It's actually a picture of yours truly, taken at the annual luau party we have for residents & families every year.

Every year, I get to play bartender (especially funny when you realize the beer in my fridge at home averages 4 years of age), and every year I have to experiment with an assortment of blenders to produce pina coladas.

Virgin pina coladas, that is -- you know, the alcohol-free version. (Hey, when you've got folks on meds, you do not want to add R-OH compounds to the chemistry!)  There's just one problem (assuming you decide to ignore the fact that there's just one of me making drinks for over 100 people, that I have to periodically run to fetch a bucket of ice myself, that I am working amidst a tangle of semi-legal extension cords and drippy liquids, or that this year I had only ONE blender)...

Y'see, the rum in a pina colada does a lot more than add flavor; it acts as anti-freeze while you mix the drink. Pour rum into a carafe of ice & pina colada mix, and the ice remains semi-liquid while you blend it all into a smooth, refreshing drink. Remove the rum from the equation and you have ice that desperately seeks to re-freeze the instant it is crushed by the blender's blades, leading to a chunky, semi-solid slush with a large air pocket surrounding the blades at the bottom of the carafe that prevents it from actually being liquified.

In short: it ain't easy, folks. This year I had to rush things even more than usual (you can only make so many pina coladas at a time with just one blender!), leading to the situation depicted in the photo below.

Yes, that is indeed yours truly looking a tad silly in a loud (semi)Hawaiian shirt...

Yes, I am indeed using surgical gloves to keep my hands (and the drinks) clean...

...and yes, that is indeed an entire pitcher/carafe full of alcohol-free "pina coladas" I am trying, without success, to pour.

The truth is, the "pina coladas" in the carafe didn't so much as change shape from what you see above, much less pour, until I gave up and began using a small soup ladle to transfer the stuff into cups.

Amazingly, despite a few very diplomatically-phrased comments about perhaps combining a bit more of the pina colada mix with a bit less ice next year, everyone appreciated my efforts (a big chunk of pineapple & bright red maraschino cherry in each cup probably helped).

But when (if!) I ever make pina coladas at home, you can bet I'll put in some rum... it's just waaaay easier that way!

PS - At AJ's suggestion, Mom & Dad brought the Pipsqueak to the luau; although I had very little time with her, I understand she had a grand old time watching the dancers, sipping punch, and getting ooh'd and aaah'd over by the staff (most of whom hadn't seen her since before her 2nd birthday).

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