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!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Catching Up: A Not-Necessarily-Adoption-Related Post

This post isn't really about the Pipsqueak & her family's adventures... Just some photos I came across and wanted to share.

We've had some wild-crazy weather 'round these parts lately... as in monsoon-style rainstorms, flash flooding, multiple lightning strikes, intense three-digit heat (or heat indexes), and so on. The kind of stuff that used to happen maybe once or twice a year seems to be on more of a monthly basis, if not more frequently.

Back in 1970, for our last trip Stateside after living in Chile, we came via ship instead of flying. During a stop in Guayaquil, we had gone for a walk and on the way back to the ship it started raining and I swear the drops were as big as golf balls. Fast-forward to March 19th of this year, and...

That's not snow; those big speed-blurred blobs are raindrops. I didn't know if I should take a photo, run for cover, or head outside in a swimsuit!

Back in the early 1970s, the homeowners' association in our neighborhood cut a deal with a local nursery for cut-rate prices on flowering cherry trees. (The developer had simply scraped everything in sight off the base layer of clay when construction began, and the entire place had a barren look to it.) Although a number of homeowners declined to participate in the mass purchase, many along the main street through the neighborhood did and the result in subsequent years has been a spectacular display of white and pale pink cherry blossoms every spring. Unfortunately, the trees are beginning to show their age (some have died outright) so the display is becoming a little more sparse each year, but I got some nice shots from our folks' yard:

As i said, the display is slowly thinning out each year (and these shots were taken a few days past peak), but it's still a beautiful sight to walk & drive through.

One last thing... Jump forward to the here & now, and I have killed another camera.  AJ, the Pipsqueak and I spent last week with friends at the beach and (perhaps inevitably) despite being as careful as I could a few grains of sand got into my camera's lens mechanism. As we were pulling out of the gas station to head home late Saturday, I tried for a quick shot of the sunset through the windshield... and the camera gave me a super-blurry image, then displayed a sharp and clear "SYSTEM ERROR: FOCUS FAILURE" (like I couldn't tell!), then shut down with the lens still fully extended.  I finally found a shop that could handle Panasonic cameras (I didn't want to mail it to the official service center in Texas without an estimate)... and got a minimum estimate $10 higher than the camera's original purchase cost along with a gently and diplomatically presented lesson in what type of camera should or should not go to the beach. I really didn't have the money in my budget but I'm the type of person who cannot be without a working camera -- so my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 was delivered early Thursday and I've begun getting used to it. The ZS40 is on the shelf next to the TZ5 that was dropped one time too many and  I'm hoping to someday have enough money to say "the heck with it!" and get them both repaired. (Dude, I know hope springs eternal etc. but really...?!?)

Anyway, that's my non-adoption-related post, I've got a lot of things to catch up on after the trip so I'll "speak" with y'all again in a few days!

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