Thursday, February 26, 2009

on decor magazines

I'm a big fan of decor magazines and websites. Today, I found one called Sunset, and I've already spent a good amount of time surfing the slide shows and makeovers. The magazine has sections on food, garden and travel too, but I haven't got through the home section as yet. I'm sad to see Domino go down, since it was one of the few magazines that showcased homes with soul, those that real people lived in, those that were so believable, instead of homes that are so obviously cleaned up and pared down just to take a photograph. I like a home that looks lived in, and even a bit messy, just as long as it has some character and emotion. I've been a fan of Apartment Therapy for exactly this reason, as it shows how real people live. The NY edition is my favorite one, especially the house tours there.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I believe in the sun even if it isn't shining. I believe in love even when I am alone. I believe in God even when He is silent.
-Anon., (sometimes attributed to a World War II refugee)

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

list: a few of my favorite things

I love making lists. It doesn't matter what the list is about, I just love making them, whether they're the milk, eggs, bread variety or the more soulful type. This list here is quite a simple one, but one that keeps getting things added to it, but not very many things subtracted, unlike the grocery list!

This is a list of some of the things I like and love, the things that make me happy, the things that make me smile, the things that obviously made me think.....oooh, I must add this to the list!

* Mountains---simply because that's where I spent my childhood. I associate lots of happy childhood memories with them.

* symmetry in motion---like watching people bouncing along in time with each other at the back of a bus. This is really great if you're following a Himachal Roadways bus!

* travel---ok, some of these are no-brainers. I mean, who does not like to travel to new and beautiful places, to not work for a while, to spend time with the family? Well, we all do and that's why it's on my list :-)

* crosswords and sudoku---it's an addiction. I remember doing them during boring college lectures....even the cryptic crosswords looked so appealing in comparison to what was going on at the front of the class.

* free afternoons---they're the best aren't they? You suddenly realize you have some time off and can spend it however you please? Bliss!

* hammocks and swings---the word bliss to me means "hammocks and swings", especially those that I find on vacation!

* bougainvillea---they're always so cheery and giving, but pluck them and they shrivel so fast. Some things are meant to be admired as they are!

* cheesecake---especially the kind made with cream cheese and topped with fresh fruit compote, (as opposed to the kind with sour cream and jam on top)! Yummaliscious!

This is by no means a complete collection, but just a work in progress. More to come...

Edited to add:...and more has come...Kanchan at Elan read this post and decided to one of her own too....and now we have decided to start a monthly series of lists. Yay!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kerala Trip--Day 3

View of the central courtyard at the Old Courtyard Restaurant in Cochin where we ate lunch.

Day 3
River Retreat, Thrissur to Birds Lagoon Village Resort near Thattekkad, via Cochin

26th December: It's my dear hubby's birthday today!

* Early morning walk in the grounds of River Retreat Ayurveda resort and the roads outside along the river.

* What lovely houses and gardens I see, lush greenery and vibrant paints. I wish the light was better, so I could take some photos!

* Morning tea by the swimming pool....completely unplanned, but somehow 10 of 11 of us congregate there! This is the best part of a family vacation, spending these little moments together, drinking tea on a hammock :-)

* Drama at breakfast: Round 1 people get to eat (me included). Round 2, breakfast is over, completely eaten by a bus load of tourists. The staff is completely confused and not even able to figure out what to do. Eventually, they go out to buy basics...sambar, idli etc.

* A nice place, but managed so badly. I would not recommend going to River Retreat.

* Everyone finally gets to eat and we depart for Cochin 2 hours late....I prefer the old names of the cities!

* We head straight to Fort Cochin and do a quick round of sightseeing....Jew Town, spice market, synagogue, St. Francis' Church, Chinese fishing nets....and then look for a place for a late lunch. We find the Old Courtyard, a charming place where the seafood was superb.

* We set off for Birds Lagoon Village Resort outside of Thattekkad, and close to the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary. The manager of the resort gives us such precise directions that we have no trouble finding it, even in the dark....they had lots of signs up on the roads as well.

* As we turn off for the resort, we can see we're right next to the water. Can't wait for the morning to explore the area.

* Even in the wilderness, we can't miss out on a cake and champagne for my hubby's birthday! The staff at Birds Lagoon have baked a simple chocolate cake for him, along with the fantastic pastries we bought in Fort Cochin.

* A day well spent, a day that will be remembered forever!

Monday, February 02, 2009

I'm a club girl!

I've grown up going to clubs...not the partying ones of course....but old time clubs like this one in Kasauli, where I've been going since I was a year or so old. As the daughter of an Air Force officer and with a number of other relatives in the armed services, the tradition of clubs has always been very strong in the family. There is a lovely charm to them, although they are changing a lot themselves as well. Kasauli Club has less than 400 members, most are lifetime and outstation members who use it only for a few days at a time. The Kasauli Club has a number of rooms, some with full kitchens where you can make yourself at home. Earlier they used to allow members to rent rooms for upto 6 months at a time, so one could really settle in, but now I think they have shortened the duration of stay considerably, so more members can use the facilities.

Kasauli on wikipedia