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!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful... er, Cold Sea...

"Hey, doesn't everybody go to the beach in November?!"

That was my catchphrase at work for about a week, heard every time someone expressed surprise at my taking off for a "vacation" in Ocean City. (Considering the fact that many of our staff leave the country when they go on vacation, I was surprised at how many of them considered my taking the Friday & Monday around a normal weekend as a vacation.) It was, for anyone who's counting, the Pipsqueak's 4th consecutive year visiting Ocean City with her grandparents while her Mommy attends/helps run/volunteers at a professional conference. (It was the 3rd year her Jiu Jiu joined in, and actually the 10th overall for her Mommy.)

Never mind that sometimes icy pre-winter wind sweeping down the boardwalk, the shuttered hotels & shops, the skeletonized ferris wheels of the Jolly Roger & Trimper's parks, or all the "see you next March" signs. We were at the beach, and that's all that mattered to the Pipsqueak.

Instead of blathering on about the trip, I'll let my camera do most of the talking... It picks up the story on Saturday morning (since yours truly's 3-hour trip extended to quite a bit more than that on Friday night)...

After seeing Mommy off to her conference after breakfast, what better
way to start the day than by blowing bubbles on the balcony?
On the beach at last -- a happy occasion worth dancing about!
Since we all forgot to bring the Pipsqueak's (many) beach toys, it was off to the
boardwalk to find an open shop. Last year, Miri was shorter than the stroller...
Many stores may be closed, but there's still a beachiness to the surroundings!
Just a quick shot for everyone who thinks beach sand comes only in tan.
Mission accomplished -- and about 30 seconds after I took this photo,
Miri was asking if we could buy her more beach toys!
Somehow all the summer rentals looked lonely in the off-season.
After our long journey on the boardwalk & playtime in the sand, there was
just enough time for a nap before lunch... and not just for the Pipsqueak!
Late Saturday afternoon surfers & watchers -- the largest "crowd" we
saw on the beach all weekend!
AJ could only occupy one side of the bed she shared with her daughter,
so we fall-proofed the other side as best we could...

Sunday morning. Last year's photo at the same time showed the actual sunrise,
but since we "fell back" on the clocks this year the sun got up before we did!
Sunday morning was windy and cold, but the Pipsqueak insisted on playing in
the sand and her crazy uncle agreed to go with her. Here's the beach looking south...
...and here's the beach looking north. You can't see the cold, but the crowds
on the beach should give you an idea of what it was like...
Under the circumstances, this was "proper beach attire"...!
The orange one's the apple pie and the green one's the chocolate cake... or maybe it was
the other way around... All I remember is that by this time, I couldn't feel my fingers!
I didn't know there were beach flowers that bloomed this late in the year!
When even the Pipsqueak had to admit it was too cold to stay on the beach,
we heard a friendly "Halloo!" from above and there was her Grandma...!
Just a quick shot for everyone who thinks that wood just comes in brown. :-)
The Bay was choppy in the wind, but I loved the play of light & shadow.
Later in the day, proof that some folks live & work in the area year-round; these
were just a couple of many active fishing boats we saw offshore from the hotel.
By late afternoon the temperature was plummeting again... There was one last
patch of sunlight left on the beach, and every gull in town wanted to be in it!
The Sunday evening sky looked more like a painting than something real...

Monday morning... Miri's watching (and was soon dancing to) the Wiggles
videos on my laptop before allowing herself to be convinced to get dressed.
Just a quick shot for everyone who thinks the ocean just comes in blue...
Checkout time was 11:00am, and Miri made sure she helped Mommy turn in
all our key cards and sign all the receipts.
When I took a photo of this same spot last year, the Sandy-formed waves
were breaking at the foot of the dune.
On the way home we stopped at the outlet malls in Rehoboth Beach. Notice how the
Pipsqueak's new pack starts above her shoulders and ends below her knees...
And that's about it for this year. I know I've skipped over some things -- like returning to the buffet we liked so much on Saturday night only to discover they were closed on Sundays... or having two heavenly meals of the Dunes Manor's chocolate chip pancakes... or how Miri enjoyed going into the hotel shop to talk with her friend Megan... or how Miri was totally unimpressed by "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" on Netflix while Mommy, Grandma and I enjoyed it... or the school of dolphins we saw frolicking just off the beach early on Saturday... or all the other really cool stuff that would take another two or three posts to write about, but right now I think I'd better click on "Publish" before this one gets any longer!

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