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, July 25, 2017

Catching Up: Remember the 1980s?

March came to a close with the Pipsqueak's school's annual Talent Show.  Unlike all the talent shows I participated in back in the renaissance my public school days, her school always has a theme tying all the acts together.  I honestly don't remember last year's theme, at least in part (I believe) due to my subconscious attempt to forget that the show lasted well over three hours, some of which were very long hours.

I'm pretty sure the folks who organize & run the show each year got an earful because this year's show was quick, crisply done, and slightly less than two hours long even though there were almost as many acts taking the stage. The theme? THE '80S.

Ah, yes... Big hair, neon spandex and shoulder pads.  Garbage Pail Kids and Cabbage Patch Kids.  Super Mario Brothers and Pac-Man and Donkey Kong and "Where In the World is Carmen San Diego?"  Alf and E.T. and the original Transformers.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The Challenger and Baby Jessica.  He-Man and She-Ra and the Cosby Show.  Duran Duran and Paula Abdul and Michael Jackson and Madonna and George Micahel and U2 and Tiffany and Debbie Gibson and Flock of Seagulls and Cyndi Lauper and... (Dude, you're rambling...)

Ahem, yes, where was I... Oh, yeah, the 1980s -- a period of history filled with things that are now one of the following: absotively posilutely alien to the Pipsqueak's generation; totally "rebooted" into nearly unrecognizable form; an object of derision and/or hatred; or the iTunes content on my Mac that makes my niece shake her head and say, "Weird" before walking away.  (I'm not making that up; she really does that... and she really means it!)

Nevertheless, the talent show's theme this year was the 1980s, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Just like last year, Miri performed with her scout troop, and they danced to the oh-so-very 1980s hit, "Hey Mickey." (Side note: Toni Basil was 40 years old when that song debuted in 1981. If you look around YouTube a bit, you'll not only find the original music video, you'll also find a quick clip of her recently showing that she can still move as well as some dancers less than half her age!)

It was my understanding that the troop mothers all decided it would be extra-cute to play off the idea of "Mickey" by having all the girls in costumes that looked a little like Minnie Mouse. It was also my understanding that not one of the girls thought it was a good idea or liked the costumes. Even so -- and even though this was their 2nd performance in as many days, they delivered a spirited routine that had the entire audience stomping and clapping and that finished to loud applause and cheers.

AJ helped with pre-show ticket pick-up, etc. I just caught Miri running back to the "green room" after her 3rd check to make sure Mommy knew she was expecting her to come back.
The stage before the show. For a group that considers 1980 ancient history, the kids did a good job decorating!
Just like last year, the opening number had the kids coming into the aisles. I had trouble finding Miri in the crowd (that might be her near the middle) in part because I was one aisle over and the kid next to me kept accidentally whacking me in the head with his inflatable "electric guitar" while dancing.
After numerous other acts -- somehow the Pipsqueak always performs after intermission -- the troop came running happily onstage and danced their little hearts out for the crowd.

Everybody in place... let's go!
Miri has always loved to spin & twirl.
Biiiiig smile...!
Keeping formation while getting low.
The Pipsqueak gets big air!
"Stomp and KICK and stomp and KICK and..."
Still going strong long after I would've collapsed into s sweaty, panting blob of Jello.
Spinning & twirling in formation!
Everyone took their bows at the end of the show, so when the music stopped the girls sprinted offstage -- with the Pipsqueak in the lead!
There were several more acts after the girls danced, and then the emcees re-boarded their time machine to return to the present day and the acts all ran onstage one at a time for their "curtain call" (sometimes accompanied by trips & loud thuds and/or silly antics).

"Come on, come on, hurry up!"
One last dancer's pose and twirl before running offstage.
When the show broke, we spent a few loudly chaotic minutes trying to move against the crowd to get back to the green room, then reversed direction and headed to the after-party in the cafeteria for cast, families and friends.  The local franchise for Rita's Italian Ice was serving up cold yumminess for the kids, so Grandpa got into line with the Pipsqueak and she closed out the evening enjoying the garishly colored (but tasty!) rewards of all her hard work.

As expected, Miri got about halfway through the cup of Italian ices before deciding she'd had enough (by that time most of the remaining kids were more interested in running around, anyway) so the rest of us shared the leftovers while reminiscing about the Italian ice stand at the local bakery on Merrick Boulevard in Laurelton half a century ago.  The crowd began to thin out and soon AJ & the Pipsqueak headed to their house (knowing they had to get up early in the morning for Sunday school) while I dropped Mom & Dad at the old homestead before heading home myself.

We all enjoyed the show, and (as usual) had a blast watching Miri dancing -- she loves to perform, and her stage smile is never fake. Even the costumes were kinda-sorta OK'd by the girls by the end of the evening, so everything worked out just fine in the end.

Next catch-up post: Doesn't every Jewish family have an Easter egg hunt?

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