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!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Fair warning: This isn't one of my usual posts.

Thanksgiving is a unique holiday.

It is the only major holiday that is completely American, commemorating an event specifically from the annals of this nation and no other.  It is independent of religion; although prayer is often involved in its celebration, it is actually a secular holiday established for the purpose of commemorating an event in (relatively) modern history. It is generally a gifting-free event; although there is a slowly-growing practice of sending cards, there are generally no boxes wrapped with ribbons & bows being exchanged as part of the usual celebrations. It has no specific centerpiece symbolizing its roots; although images of turkeys & pilgrims abound and some families have certain candle holders or silverware or decorations used just for the holiday, there is no altar, no Christmas tree, no Hanukkia or Kinara, no special lanterns.

And yet it has a very special place in the hearts of many -- partly (I like to think) because its very purpose and theme give everyone a small block of time specifically meant to remind one & all of what is good in their lives, what is meaningful in their lives, what it is in their lives that add value without a dollar sign attached.

In short, it is a time to take personal inventory of one's life & heart and... well, give thanks.

That said, I just wanted to say a quiet, sincere "thank you" to...

...all my family's friends for being our friends, for sharing our laughter, tears, and simchas, and for opening up their lives for sharing with us;

...all those individuals in the IA community who have lent advice, information, and the occasional shoulder (real or virtual) upon which we could lean;

...all those first responders, EMTs, firefighters, police officers, and plain ol' vanilla passers-by who have gone out of their way to give whatever help was needed after accidents large & small;

...and all those people -- relatives, friends, acquaintances, total strangers -- who have accepted our definition of "family" as being a far larger, greater thing than can be described by the mere miracle of the human genome.

There are no words for how thankful I am to have the Pipsqueak in my life, or that she has both her Grandma & Grandpa available to participate in hers. And while I look at the aftermath of recent domestic & international news with a mixture of sorrow and horror, I am thankful that my widely-scattered family remains intact and (mostly) healthy. You can fix things, but you can't replace people.

So... maybe, somewhere between trying to stretch that leftover turkey for one more day, trying to find the best deal on that gift for the next major holiday on the calendar, and wondering howintheworld you'll be able to cover the next round of monthly bills...

Take a moment, take inventory, and make sure you remember all that you have to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all...!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ahh... Children...

So I'm on the phone with AJ the other day, and part of the conversation goes something like this:

Me: No, I can get my groceries later, do you want me to come over now [to install child locks on the bathroom cabinet] instead?

AJ: No, no, that's okay, get your groceries and then I can <BANG!> Miri, what was that?

Miri (in background): Nothing!

AJ: Are you sure you're okay? You don't want to break that before I have a chance to hang it up!

Mir (closer to phone)i: It just fell a little bit.

AJ: I hope the coat rack I bought for her room lasts long enough to me to hang it up....

Miri (even closer to phone): I want to talk to Grandma!

AJ: It's not Grandma on the phone. I'm talking to Uncle Brian.

Miri (next to phone): I want to talk to Uncle Brian! (AJ hands the phone to her daughter.) Hi, Uncle Brian!  <babble babble babble> I got to hang up now so I can put my jacket away!

Me: Please don't hang up, Honey, give the phone back to Mommy. I love you, 'bye...

Miri: Bye!

AJ: Okay, so just give me a call when- <THUD!> I'd better go before she destroys the kitchen..

Aahhh... children. :-)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crazy Time Again

Hi, all.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It's not for lack of material; I've got quite a backlog of stories & photos to post. The problem has been that someone, somewhere, sometime recently turned life's "Weirdness" knob back up to 11. As in, 911 calls... unplanned hospital visits... long-distance doctor visits... triple-digit mileage on the car in a single day... unplanned emergency vet visits...

As in, more insanely sleep-deprived than I've been in a very, very long time.

The bottom line is that, at least for the moment, all of us are OK but (with the possible exception of the Pipsqueak -- who sometimes sounds like Alannah Miles due to allergy congestion) utterly, completely, exhausted.

I'll post some "good stuff" soon, I promise.

At least as soon as I get some sleep... (Sleep? What is this "sleep" thing you speak of? I know not the word!) (Shaddup, willya?)