First, we went to a Chinese New Year party for families with children adopted from China. In one of those weird serendipitous things, it was organized by the sister of our friend Trisha, whom we traveled with in China. (Trisha adopted a lovely daughter named Julia. Her sister had two daughters and has a referral to get a boy this spring. She joked that her German mother will now have four Chinese grandchildren, with a possible fifth if Trisha adopts again.)
But the Serendipity does not stop there, the event was hosted by the members of a Chinese Christian church, to which Ping-Ping's tutor belongs--the same church she visited for Chinese New Year festivities last Sunday. So she knew some of the people. It was like we were back in China. Instead of this amused silent girl who says a few words, she was again the laughing young woman who keeps everyone amused. She talked to the older man and women from China in the same teasing way that she interacted with the waiters and shopkeepers in China, charming them completely. She was in her element. (There was even an amusing moment when we were sitting at our table with our table hosts, a Mandarin-speaking woman and a Cantonese-speaking woman. They could not talk to each other in Chinese, but they could both talk to Ping-Ping, who speaks both languages.)
We needed to bring three Chinese dishes, so Ping-Ping and I spent time on Thursday and Friday cooking. I made two dishes (fried rice and lotus root--which Ping-Ping loves, only I could only find the frozen lotus root, which is not as good.) She made one...a chicken and hot pepper thing that came out really well. When we got there, the women told us in surprise that we were the only ones who cooked. Everyone else bought food from a Chinese restaurant.
My first reaction was a flashback to when I was a child and everyone else had store bought stuff, where I had homemade stuff that often did not have any of the favorable qualities of store bought. I felt amused. But after I looked around at the crowd, I realized why. Most of the children there were under the age of eight, probably half under the age of five. When I had little kids like that, I didn't spend a lot of time cooking either...one of the benefits of a teenage daughter.
The boys, dressed in their Chinese outfits, looked really cute and had a wonderful time. John and I wore out Chinese clothes, too. Only Ping-Ping did not. (She has a lovely Chinese dress, but she feels it's too big. Besides, in China, waitresses wear dresses like that. ) There were activates. The kids had great fun.
A very nice event.
Then, we went to our book signing, our first ever in the area. Thanks to our wonderful friends, both online and off, this event was a great success. Many people showed up, including friends who brought kids or visited the kids. We had the honor of being visited by a local science fiction book club! Quite a few club members turned out. We were touched! (We didn't even know there was a local SF reading club!) Friends from Church (John's and mine) showed up, an online friend who is not, after all, a penguin, came by, and my mom--bless her! She works two jobs, kind of, on Saturdays, but she squeezed it in. We also had a visit from another author, fantasy author Drew Bowling, author of The Tower of Shadows.(He is both a published author and a college student! Rather cool.) And we received good wishes from several friends and family members who wanted to come, but were unable to make it, which was touching!
I sold all but two of the books they put out. John did not sell as high a percentage, but then he had many more books. He did sell quite a few, though.
The children came, too. Uncle Bill kept an eye on them, plying the Cherubim with cookies when needed. Ping-Ping, who has always had to be pried from the manga section when we want to go, actually had so much time that she came looking for us (and in another serendipitous moment, found some gum a friend had given me as a gift, not knowing that Ping-Ping was a huge gum fan. ;-)
One of the people who visited was the boys old teacher Mr. M, (who is also a magician who once performed for Orville's birthday party (which one of our other visitors remembered come to. ;-) ) This point, Mr. M., becomes important just below.
Afterward, we all had dinner with Mr. Bowling, who, among other things, discussed G. K. Chesterton with John. When John commented that the day he got married, Chesteron bought a gun and a milk, Orville commented that he thought this would be a great name for a book.
So, we get in the car, and the boys are talking about seeing Mr. M. Juss said with great pride that Mr. M. worked at his school. I had to break the news to them that Mr. M no longer worked at their school, he had just started a new job as a full teacher elsewhere. Juss looked really crushed, almost to the point of tears, and Orville's voice sounded trembly as he said, "I'd rather he were at least at London Towne." (ie. if he couldn't be at Orville's school, at least he could be at his old school." Hoping to comfort the boys, I said hurriedly, "Maybe we can invite him over sometime."
Juss, greatly cheered, cries with enthusiasm, "We can invite him to the opening of Daddy and Orville's book."
To which I replied in puzzlement, "Daddy and Orville's book?"
"You know," Juss cried, "The Gun and the Milk."
Before we had gotten home, the boys had already invented the Chet Gecko version, The Tongue and the Milk.