About Us

Grendel — our sweet lab mix rescued from the banks of the Charles River — was with us from 1999 to 2014, bringing great joy, balance, responsibility, high vet bills, and comedy to our lives. Grendel’s Kitchen is home to John (an unwillingly transplanted Virginian who spends his days teaching high school kids and his evenings directing plays), me (a New Yorker who fell in love with — and in — Virginia, Gryphon (our adorable cat with his few extra toes — great luck for seafarers), a Golden Doodle (Cisco), Lab/Pyr Mix (Midnight), two Great Pyrenees (Duncan and Elsa) and some 70+ chickens.

Anna-Li (Li-Li), was born February 10, 2006 somewhere in Jiangxi, Republic of China, and joined us in February, 2007 after we spent 3 years navigating the adoption process and waiting — successfully — for the perfect match. But that’s another story … no, actually, she’s what this entire site is all about.

Li-Li is delightful, brilliant, beautiful, exasperating, and pretty special in so many ways. The brief report available in her paperwork from the Heng Feng Social Welfare Institute (her orphanage in Jiangxi) noted, surprisingly, that she was “obstinate.” She obviously gets that from me. What was not noted, or known at the time, was that she is profoundly deaf in both ears, mostly likely from birth. But we knew she was deaf within a few days of meeting her, although the official diagnosis didn’t come in for a few months.


In September, 2007, Li-Li received her first cochlear implant at 17 months and was then activated at 19 months, and in August, 2008, she went stereo: our little ciborg is now bilaterally implanted, activated in September ’08 — both successful surgeries conducted by Dr. David Roberson at Children’s Hospital, Boston. She learned both ASL and spoken English at the wonderful Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, so she’s a bi-bi-bi baby: bicultural, bilingual, and bilateral. And she’s now a 3rd grader at our local school.