Monday, October 27, 2008

Plug for a non-Pug and that singular breed of human known as Birders

Home for a Husky and the timely A Husky Howl-O-Ween are the first in a series of children's books a dear friend of mine from high school has written about a nature-loving girl and her canine companion.

CJ was howling with joy upon receiving the advance copies; a million thanks, Rebecca!

For more information about "The Husky Tales," visit

Luke Dempsey, the significant other of another high school bud Liz, has just published A Supremely Bad Idea: Three Mad Birders and Their Quest to See It All.

The book is touted as "an environmentally sound This Is Spinal Tap with binoculars." Armchair amusement for us nightowls -- who who!

Read The New York Times review or check out this recent interview on the Late Late Show.

Better yet, have one fly off the shelf to you from Borders or Amazon.

Liz, I would love a copy (hint, hint). P.S. Sending it by carrier pigeon would be just fine.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October: visiting family and friends, starting school (!)

We were too busy to attend the shows in New York last month but hear tortoise will be big next year. Here's hipster CJ in her Carter's.

Of course, a girl can't always shop for bling. One must eat, but oh the choices...

But when confronted with the ultimate in style and taste, CJ was completely unimpressed.

This month, Aunt Annie came to visit. CJ's friend Tomoki and his family joined us on a visit to nearby Brookside Gardens.

Despite the tranquility, the paparazzi were out with a vengeance and we didn't know which camera to say "Cheese" to.

CJ and Mommy also took Aunt Annie to the National Mall on an exceptionally picturesque day.

The big news this month is that CJ began attending a cooperative pre-school. She loves playing there, and especially enjoys sensing and exploring the water table and the sandbox. She also likes to create. This day, she was having fun with red.

Now that she's in school, one pair of sunglasses simply won't do.

One weekend, we drove up to New York. Our whirlwind visit began with a glorious fall day watching cousin Jay play defense for Manchester United. Here's the king of the pitch:

CJ and Grace scored great sideline seats. Way to go, gals!

The match got a little intense, so we took a break from the action.

Then, as luck would have it, it began raining in broad daylight.

Fortunately, the day cleared, and we attended Mommy's high school reunion. While Mommy got to schmooze...

...CJ caught up on gossip with her pal Blythe:

Paparazzi and shutterbugs were out in full force, leaving no attending alumnus undocumented. This early photograph by CJ displays her fine motor skills as well her budding social grace; what she now calls "conceptual" was the deliberate obscuring of an otherwise dull moment.

For those of you not in the know, note the fetching Arlene Kirstein CJ is wearing.

The next morning, CJ awoke early and was ready for action. She and Grace took the train uptown to a little hole-in-the-wall they know to do a little shopping.

Later that afternoon, we met in Chinatown with two of the families with whom we travelled to China for the adoption.

Although still full from a lunch of wondrous soup dumplings, we could not resist the allure of CJ's milkshake stand. Boy, can she make a mean shake!

All that pretend gulping made us thirsty, so we stopped for some bubble tea...

...and a snack. Known for her esoteric tastes, CJ found the turnip cake a bit lacking.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Did you find last week unsettling?

Are you fearing for your retirement fund? Or your current savings account? Do you find that strange republicans are actually trying to wink at you through the tv camera?

Well, you're not the only one who's hair is standing on end these days...

Not only that, but we're still in catchup mode! Here's a shot of CJ and Tomoki in Shenandoah National Park that got stuck in the camera (it was taken back at the end of August).

We went swimming after the hike.

And here's an early September tea party, held in our bathroom.

CJ and her friend Alicia enjoyed a fun day at the zoo, especially frolicking in the sprinklers.

On our next hike, also in Shenandoah National Park, CJ did her best 'masked marvel' impersonation.

And then she had fun goofing around with Tomoki and his parents.

When we returned from the hike, it was time for one last dip in the pool. CJ seemed a bit unhappy at having to leave her floaties behind.

Tomoki managed to eke out a good time though.

A few days later, CJ and Mommy visited the Potomac River's Great Falls two days after a tropical storm blew through:

Sadly, the parents of our neighbor Min Wen were returning to Beijing. CJ and Mommy presented them with a paper wreath they had made of their hands waving goodbye. We will miss you, Li Xiansheng and Xiao Taitai!

And now we catch up to last weekend, when NaiNai and YeYe came to visit. They brought CJ a pair of duck feet that went just swimmingly with the Dr. Seuss book "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet."

CJ always wants to see what the photo looks like after it's taken. Patience, xiao hai!

Who knew our galley kitchen doubled as a fashion runway?

We took NaiNai and YeYe to Great Falls, after yet another rainstorm. First, we crossed a few boardwalks through a swampy forested island.

And then we saw the great falls:

Even the little tributaries had nice little falls:

We had dinner with long-time family friends in a real hole-in-the-wall downtown with wonderful Belgian pub fare:

NaiNai and YeYe also brought CJ some clothes and games.

Lastly, Mommy, CJ and I went to a street fair in Takoma Park. CJ got a tattoo (!) and a dog balloon (as opposed to a balloon dog). Afterwards, we took in some blues:

What was it that Ferris said? "Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."