Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Voted for the first time in US. It was a smooth process and took about 20 mins for the entire process to complete, including the walk to / from local school. (which was the polling booth)

Got to participate not only in Presidential elections, but also got to decide on few Propositions.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick Or Treat - Oct 31 - 2012

Per the weather predictions, it was supposed to start raining in our area around 6:30pm. Kids were anxious ... rather restless, they wanted to go "Trick Or Treating" as soon as possible.

 Earlier in the day, I had volunteered in Cantaloupe's school. I am currently the room parent and so I have the responsibility of co-ordinating with other parents and organizing parties in the class. I had prepared a voting sheet for kids to vote the food items for the party and they had selected:
* Cantaloupe
* Caprisun juice
* Popcorn
* Cupcakes

 I had planned the following games. All games were team game/ activity since it is very important that kids learn to work as a team.

* Mummy Me: One member will be "Mummy". Using tissue paper rolls, the other members should "create"the mummy.
* Jack-O-Lantern creation: Each team was given a picture of pumpkin. The kids were also given an emotion such as Angry, Surprised, Wicked, Confused etc. Each member had to take up 1 task each: to cut out the pumpkin, to draw the eyes / mouth to suit the emotion, to color the pumpkin and make a mask of it. (there were 4 kids in each team, so every kid had to do a task)

After the Halloween parade (Cantaloupe was an Emergency Doctor), kids came back to their class and were served the snacks. After the snacks the kids played Jack-O-Lantern Activity. They got so involved in this activity, that they spent the next 30 mins in the same activity and no time was left for the 2nd game. The teacher was very satisfied with the team spirit displayed by the kids. I was especially proud of my girl ... their team immediately got to task and did a good job.

 BP attended Junior's Halloween party in her school. She was a cute little bunny.

Anyways, BP was in charge of taking the kids out trick or treating, while I filled a basket full of candies for kids coming to our house. (BP had bought a huge packet of mini bars to give the kids visiting us). So the kids stepped out around 6:30 pm and I spent the next 2 hrs handing over candies to other who visited us.
Few observations:

  • About 120+ kids visited our house, not one kid picked more than 1 candy when I offered them a basket full of candies.
  • Kids in the age group of 1 yr - 18 yrs came and all of them were polite and so well behaved. 
  • I couldn't ever imagine teenagers in India ... especially girls going about trick or treating uninhibited.
The girls came home and counted their candy collection. They were glad we allowed them to eat a candy each. Of course they picked the biggest bar they had :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Updates from last week ...

I have been really busy over the last few days. Generally it would be office work that would keep me busy ... this time surprisingly, its not office work. The festive season here starts with Gokulashtami , followed by Ganesha - Gowri festival , Navratri , Halloween, Deepavali, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sankranthi. After Sankrathi, next few months are quiet. I guess, the amount of guests entertained during the "Festive months" necessitates these quiet months.

 We host the Ganesha - Gowri festival in a large scale, inviting about 45 - 50 people home. I have been having low key Navratri all these years... but I get invited to atleast 10 - 12 homes for "Golu" / "Bombe Arthi". While I totally appreciate the effort being put by all these friends in arranging their dolls and also preparing the food, it gets tiring to add another task to the "To Do" list ... especially if it is during weekdays. Already having my plate full with office work, daily chores, kid's homework, projects, dinner activities .. squeezing another hour for Bombe aarti feels like a tiring task.

Here are some important updates from last week:

  • Met famous violinists Mysore Nagaraj / Mysore Manjunath. 
  • Finally cleaned / polished the silver items I had taken out for the Ganesha festival and stored it safely.
  • Learnt and played "Poker" to heart's content. (started playing around 9:30pm and played well past 1:00am :) )
  • Watched English Vinglish
  • Visited 5 friends for "Bombe Aarthi" ... essentially eating out every single night. (though have to cook, for next day "dabba" )
  • Bought the birthday present for my nephew.
  • Observed Junior patiently learning to "Weave".  
  • Exchanged ideas for Cantaloupe's school party details with her teacher.
  • Parents finally got their "Marriage Certificate" :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Junior Speak

Conversation in the van, while driving Junior to school.

Junior is humming her planets song which she has been taught at school. The song ends with "the last planet used to be Pluto" or something to that effect.
 I never leave an opportunity to cross question (read irritate :) ) Junior when she is in good mood ... she gives the most imaginative answer.

Me: Hey Pluto is a planet right.
Her (J) : No amma ... Pluto used to be considered a planet. It is no longer a planet.
Me: Since when ?
J: Since a long time ago ...
Me: But who decided that?
J: The Astronauts
Me: But they never told me about it.
J: Amma ... the Astronauts are in outer place ... you cannot hear them and they cannot hear you. Thats why they didn't tell you.
Me: Is that true?
J: Yes ... now you know.

How cute is that !!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Surprise treat

Date: Oct 7th 2012, Sunday
Time: 5:45pm
Venue: Residence

There is a knock on the door. I silence folks around ... I gingerly look out to see the visitor. Assured, it is someone I am expecting, I open the door. I smile and ask "Why are you so late I say?" . She just ignores me and proceeds to come inside the house.

And then everyone shouts "S...U...R...P...R...I...S...E !!!!"

The look on her face said it all. She was shocked, excited and completely blown away... almost to the point of tearing up. If that was her reaction... her son took few steps backward, unsure about the crowd and completely scared by the loud announcement.

The above incident was the beginning of fun filled  surprise baby shower for my sister. It took her few minutes to absorb it all in. She proceeded to walk towards the family room which was decorated in blue. She was amazed by her sister's (mine) art capabilities. (well she never thought I had any art inclination).

For the decos we had:

Diaper Bike : Made from diapers / bibs/ receiving blankets / feeding bottle and baby socks
Melon carving in the shape of bassinet. (Watermelon, cantaloupe and grapes)
Diaper babies : Made from diaper, socks and wash clothes
Hawaiian Punch : Blue in color with floating duckies
Shower droplets from blue flowers hanging from the room
Blue fabric decorations through the room
A message board with lovely poems and messages from guests

It was a chaat party since she has always loved chaats. The guests were gracious to volunteer for different items and I made few myself.
Masala Puri
Paanu Puri
Vegetable Kebabs *
Tomato Soup
Pav Bhaji
Dahi vada
Halbai (sweet)
Idli / Sambar / Chutney
Chocolate chip cookies

Yep .... we ate all the items above :)

There were over 40 guests ... and played quite a few games... some new .. some old. Overall it appeared that all the guests were at ease and had fun.

An evening well spent ... if I say so myself :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sep 7, 2012 - Day 8

It takes DECISION to start,
  But DISCIPLINE to finish.


  • Got my first traffic warning from a parent. As I was dropping Cantaloupe by the sidewalk this morning, a parent came to me and asked me not to make a turn when kids were crossing the street. I apologized to her. 
  • Made Chakkali / Tengol (snacks) for the first time from scratch. Usually mom would give me the right flour consistency and I would just mix and fry. This time, I mixed the flour too. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sep 6, 2012 - Day 7

A ship in the harbor is safe...
      But that is not what Ships are built for.


  • Cantaloupe started on her first homework packet. Moving forward, she will get homework everyday.
  • Gowri-Ganesha festival planning starts.

Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31, 2012 - Day 6

Talent hits a target no one else can hit ...
  Genius hits a target no one else can see.


  • Received Cantaloupe's first STAR test results.
  • Cantaloupe's first sharing for the academic year began.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30, 2012 - Day 5

One's ability may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked;
   But cannot be taken away unless it is "Surrendered".



  • Parent - Teacher meeting in Cantaloupe's school. 
  • Volunteering in school as Room parents for the year. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Aug 27, 2012 - Day 4

Life can be likened to a "Grindstone"
 Whether it grinds you or polishes you
      depends on what YOU are made of.



  • Watched Ek tha Tiger with friends.... first movie out with friends here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aug 23, 2012 - Day 3

SUCCESS is getting what you want
      HAPPINESS is wanting what you get.


Junior Speak

Me: Who is Ms.K in your class? Is she is the older teacher.
Junior: Yes amma ... because her birthday was yesterday.
Me: !!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aug 21, 2012 - Day 2

Thought to Ponder:

    MANAGEMENT is doing things right ...
         LEADERSHIP is doing the right thing.

ps: Inspiration : Colleague 


Event of the Day:
  • Cantaloupe started her after school program for the year. (after much considerations, narrowed the day care that she went 6 years back ... care provider happens to be my cousin)
  • Junior wore Uniform to her school for the very first time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Aug 20, 2012 - Day 1

Thought to Ponder:

"With Faith there are No QUESTIONS
  Without Faith there are No ANSWERS"

Note: These thoughts are mostly gyan given by a colleague.


Events of the day:

Both kids started school after their summer break today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Junior speak

I haven't recorded a lot of gems that Junior comes up with these days ... but quickly wanted to make note of few so I could read them fondly few months down the line.

Junior has been learning about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington at school, so kids are aware of "President's Day". Junior knows the term "President", but for obvious reasons is not aware of the responsibilities / power associated with Presidents. So on President's day, when we were getting ready to head out to a museum, she promptly walked up to me and asked "When is the President visiting us?". I am too stunned to react ... and guess she understood my confusion and continued "Amma Santa comes on Christmas day and distributes gifts .... when will President come?". I ask her to name some Presidents and she mentions Lincoln and Washington. So I tell her, those Presidents are no more and will not come. And she goes ... Oh, Barrack Obama will visit us. OK !! Mr.President ... are you listening???


Junior learnt about snails, turtles, snakes, frogs, alligators etc at school beginning of Feb. She barely could hold the pencil straight when she started pre school last year. Writing an alphabet meant an entire page for a single alphabet. But she has come a long way in terms of coloring and drawing pictures. She actually drew those creatures ... and best part, I could actually identify them without having to read the label / title :) So anyways, she was getting ready to school in the morning and came excitedly to me and said, "Amma, we will learn about Dinosaurs today". I was glad she was pronouncing the word Dinosaur correctly ... when she says "Amma, its very easy to draw Dinosaurs. Just draw Turtle body and head and tail of snake... thats it". I was too stunned to react.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sandwich story

Setting: Office Lunch

Lunch Items: Soda, Bottled Water, Sandwich, Chips, Cookie

- There are about 5 vegetarians and 10 non vegetarians in the group.
- No preference of sandwich option is taken.

Once the food is laid out ... some "SMART" people start holding conversation close to the food table. Once it is announced that folks should help themselves with lunch, rest folks start gathering. "SMART" people have already collected their food by now. Vegetarians find no options .... ALL the sandwiches are taken. They had ordered about 7 veggie sandwiches and 12 non veggie sandwiches. But the non vegetarians wanted the veggie ones today and just helped themselves.

I have seen the above situation quite a few times. I think it shows lack of planning on the part of the person who ordered food. I'd have liked that the person collected the preferences of individuals (there were only 15) and ordered accordingly. Also the food could be marked with the names of folks, so everyone got to eat. But in above situations vegetarians were left hungry.

What would you do in the above situation if you were:
a) Vegetarian
b) Ate meat

What I did ?? Well, I was the only lucky vegetarian to get a sandwich (which was halfed). I noticed that other vegetarians had not got any ... so I offered one of my sandwich to another veggie guy. Sure, I was still hungry after eating half sandwich.


On a completely different note, heard this song?
I don't know if I like it or not ... but I have been humming it ever since I heard it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Discovery India for Pre-schoolers

Junior's school is celebrating "Small World" week from tomorrow. Parents are invited to explain about their country for pre-schoolers. And I signed up for the same without much planning ... after all I grew up in India and could very well speak about my home country. Boy ... how wrong was I !! Its very tricky coming up with concepts for 3 year olds .... really.

So far, I have come up with Indian flag ... festivals of India ... National Bird / Animal. I am unsure what else would be relevant for 3 year olds from across the globe. (there are Chinese, Taiwanese, French, American, Japanese, German kids in Junior's class) The presentation is supposed to be for 10 mins .. Ideas plsssssssssssss ....

The presentation went quite well ... thank you all for the wonderful ideas. I prepared slides for Indian flag / map, festivals, vacation spots, food, dances and taught the kids to say "Namaste". I also had a slide which showed personal pics of us as a family celebrating festivals. A true winner with the kids :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sankrathi - 2012's first festival

So we celebrated Sankrathi ... quite elaborately if I may add so myself. I surprised myself with well made "Yellu" (a mixture of peanuts, jaggary / sugar pieces, dry coconut, sesame seeds and roasted chana dal) BP and I made "Sakkare Achchu" (moulded sugar candies) as well. This process of making sakkare achchu takes quite some effort and I was glad to have BP's help.
We had invited few guests home for Sankrathi lunch. (including this person :) ) I made the following items:
Cabbage curry
Carrot Kosambari
Tomato Saaru
Badam Halwa

The guests arrived around 12:45 and by then I had all the items ready ... and wanted to serve Ambode (chanadal vadas) piping hot. So I suggested that they play a board of carrom while I prepared ambode. Everyone had just warmed up playing 2 boards when lunch was ready and we all ate together. We chatted for a while and promptly got back to business ... aka playing carrom. I trust we started playing around 3:30 ... and continued playing till almost 7:00pm. My initial plan was to go and give Yellu to few friends and family with the girls around 5:00...but the guests were fully immersed in the game and I had no heart to ask them to leave. So while some left around 7:00 .. others continued till about 8:30. So I postponed the "Yellu distribution" to monday. In all it was quite a fun Sankrathi . Oh yes... in between carrom sessions, I managed to dress up the girls in their new clothes :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gift handling - tip requested

What would you do if you were gifted very very generously from someone unexpected ????
Folks ... pls respond.

A guest we invited for our house warming gifted us very very generously ... the types you would gift for very very close circle. The said person is not really very close. BP and I didn't know what we should do ... infact BP felt that the said person (a young bachelor) is perhaps unaware of the gifting amounts and we should call him and return the gift. I thought that would not go very well with the gifter. (is that a word??? ... gifter / giftee hahha)

What would you do?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year - 2012

Happy New Year everyone ...

2011 was eventful .... simply loved the last 2 weeks of 2011 :) Both girls were home ... winter break at school and we had office shut down for a week. BP took off in between for few days. So spent the time home with family. It was relaxing... just lazing around, with no morning rush... no evening madness.
Girls woke up most days before us and hopped on our bed and tried to wake us up. (though we managed to sleep) Some days they were good and just quietly read a book snuggling in our blanket ... other days they played with their doctor set. And yet some days they did what most siblings do .... "Argue" :)

We also managed to have lots of family game times .... I'd say atleast 3 board games a day. If Cantaloupe insisted on scrabble junior would insist on Chutes and Ladders. We also discovered some new board games... much to our delight. Some days BP and I played the board games till late night just so it was more challenging !!

Watched few movies too ... Don 2, Kannada Movie ... watched the India - Australia test match.
BP set up the new storage area. He managed to build the base and assemble the entire storage unit by himself ... all in less than 2 days ... hats off to him. (the store guy had advised that assembling the unit might prove tricky for inexperienced folks)

And oh ... I also had this policy of cooking 1 special item per day. Some new recipes were tried.... along with other family favorites.

Cantaloupe finally got her new bed. She had been using the guest bed for sometime now .... finally the girls have settled in their room and they love it. The night we set the bed for Cantaloupe, the girls said their good nights and Junior turned to her sister and said "Akka, now we can discuss .. " I wondered what Junior needed to discuss with her akka in the absence of parents ... but anyways :)

We also went snow tubing ... awesome experience. It was even better since we didn't have to drive for too long... just about an hour and 15 mins and the rates were reasonble too. We also finally have a tenant for our old house, who will be moving in this month. Fingers crossed there ... this will be our first renting experience.

School / office routine resumed today ... looking forward to an exciting 2012 !!

My circle of life with BP, Cantaloupe and Junior and much more | Desenvolvido por EMPORIUM DIGITAL