Thursday, December 27, 2012

enjoying the winter garden

 Wintertime in the garden, before it got really cold and foggy. Bright and warm winter days, lazy long lunches on the grass.

 Kids rolling in the grass in glee while we eat our lunch.

 Tiny little kamquat ripening to be made into marmalade.

 Euphorbia, always blooming in the heat or cold.

And, bougainvillea as always. I don't think a garden is complete until it has some bougainvillea in it.

ps: this was all about a week back, before the temperature fell to a max of 11C, when the warm sun welcomed and warmed us.

Monday, November 26, 2012

daily jam session

We're home for the holidays and I'm enjoying a much awaited rest and time off. The little one is having a whale of a time with the grandparents and the emphasis is on music. She adores to sing and play the keyboards, so that's on the program every single day. I wonder if she'll have this affinity to music when she grows up too. I do hope so, since she has the rhythm, a lovely thing to see in a child. And she makes it look so effortless. I wonder if I'll be buying things like Proline Stands in the future, along with whatever instrument she's interested in. Being good in music is one thing, but if you have the right equipment and instruments, it can make all the difference in the world. So far, the keyboard has been her favorite instrument, something she plays on a daily basis, if plays is what you can call it! Getting a keyboard stand is not that far off in my mind...maybe a few years, and then she can have fun jamming. I like the look of the simple x-stands, especially the ones without a clutch mechanism, which usually wears out with usage. Having a light and sturdy stand is also essential, something which is perfect for small to medium sized keyboards and something that has fully welded contact points.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

the week gone by..

Another week gone by.....am rushed tonight, since the little one is not well. Too much coughing for my liking. Breaks my heart to hear her cough this damn cough that's not going away. How do you take it? Knowing how awful your child is feeling and that you can do nothing more than try to soothe them. So, I'll keep it short and sweet. It's my turn at holding her now.
 The first rays of sunshine, streaming into the living room. And yes, those are the diwali diyas, still on my windowsill, yet to be removed.

 Did some baking after a while, this was Apple Cobbler made for Diwali dinner....I know, so non-traditional, but what to do, that's all I can do!

Gorgeous light of the setting sun. We're having to go out earlier and earlier for our walk. Today, E sang and ran all the way to the grass, teasing me as I tried to take shot after shot of her and then turning away. But I managed to get some good ones of her....and of these flowers too.

are you done shopping?

Just the last few days before we leave for our trip home and still so many things to do. The one thing that I've been lagging behind this time around is buying presents, and it seems that I have to buy so many more presents this time around. So, I have been surfing online, not only to find interesting stuff, but also to find some new ideas, to be inspired. And I have come across some great ideas, mostly from other blogs that I read on a pretty regular basis....but I'm not listing the ideas here quite as yet, at least not until I've gifted them. The interesting thing is that they are quite different from what I'd normally buy as presents, maybe not as different as something like cigars humidor or a piece of moonrock, but still different. And no, I'm not done yet. ps: black friday weekend is coming up soon, so make that list.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

lately....

I have come to love marking the passage of time with photos and little excerpts below them. Maybe because it makes the week seem more fun that it might have been, when all you can think of is how tired you are, or maybe it's just a good way to focus on the good side of things. Whichever way, it's become the practice to post every Sunday night with some photos of the previous week.
 Running with joy.....with the weather finally so lovely in Dubai, the evening walks have become so much more fun. She loves to notice the birds and pick up fallen flowers along the way, ending at a grassy patch where we play with the ball and blow bubbles.

 A morning treat, picked up at the bakery after dropping her to school one morning!

Lovely little flowers along the way in the pale light of the evening. I love these little flowers, and we have lots and lots of them along the paths here.

music makes the world go round

This weekend has been all about music. And dancing. Oooh, lots and lots of dancing. Not us, but little E has found every opportunity to dance, dance and then dance some more. Having a great music system at home is always a great investment, especially having high quality speakers. But if you're a professional musician, then nothing short of having a dbx driverack system will do of course. It's all about fine tuning the system that optimizes the sound. Loudspeaker management is essential to getting a great sound, and if you're performing live, it becomes even more essential. At a fair we'd gone to over the weekend, the loudspeakers were so bad, so loud and so irritating. Loud is not always better, you don't get to hear the subtle nuances of the music, and by having a loudspeaker management system, it can be taken care of. With features like Stereo feedback elimination with 12 notch filters, a 28-band RTA that tunes the system, classic dbx input compression and so on, its the best of its class, and the sound proves it. So, that's what it's all about. Play some great music and dance, dance, dance!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

a new week

Another week starts....another weekend gone by so fast. It was a fulfilling weekend though, we went out, E danced her heart out to some fabulous beat boxing at a local beach soccer event, and then danced even more to gangnam style. We had friends over for lunch and E really enjoyed herself with their son. I loved seeing them play together, just 9 months apart, and meeting only for the second time. It was a good weekend. A fulfilling one.

Our usual days revolve around the school routine, the meal times routine, the evening walk routine....and I try to make sure I get in something for myself somewhere in there too. Some days it's hard, some times it's impossible, but when I manage to carve out some time for myself, I feel better about the day.
 Morning tea this morning. I love how the sun streams into the house as winter approaches. The house is positioned perfectly to avoid the hot summer sun and welcome the warm winter sun.

Playing with play dough this afternoon after school. She loved rolling it and rolling it till it disappeared into the paper!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

the long weekend

 We did the Dubai tourist thing at the start of the Eid looong weekend. We battled the crowds at Dubai mall, seriously people, how did all of you coordinate to be there that day? We saw 5 shows of the dancing fountains.....E was ecstatic about them, so how could I resist! We had planned to eat at The Cheesecake Factory, but then remembered that they don't take reservations, and really who wants to wait for over an hour staring at the fish, and of course the thousands of people wandering aimlessly and also staring at the fish, so we went for the next best option, TGIF. Which turned out to be a nicer option, since one gets this great view of the fountains.

 And then they danced for us. I love the music they pick for the fountains. It varies from western classical to The Magnificent Seven (which I got on video) and some really emotional Arabian themes. When I watch them, I feel like I'm a kid again.

 Some weekend relaxation....and eating leftover Strawberry Buttermilk Cake that I had made for E's Eid party at school.

 Breakfast at The Lime Tree Cafe, our third try for a good breakfast. We'd originally wanted to have breakfast at a new cafe/culinary school in our neighborhood, but it was closed for the Eid break, so we went to Cafe Nero next door, but they only had pre-packaged stuff for breakfast, so we headed to Lime Tree instead. And this was our number!

Poached eggs on toast with hollandaise sauce. E and my breakfast. Not so keen on the slightly shaky poached eggs, would have preferred fried or even half-boiled, but for some reason one cannot choose anymore. Still it was a good breakfast, and E had plenty to play with after she ate, some books and puzzles and the best of all, some cats outside :-)

PS: Did you know that malls were open 24 hours for the Eid weekend! And the one before it as well!

oh those carefree days....

As much as I love being a mom and leading a settled life, I do sometimes miss the carefree days of college. Days where one didn't need to plan meals for the whole week, and schedule everything like a fiend. I really miss going out to concerts like did in college, enjoying the ambiance, the incredible feeling of listening to your favorite bands live and in person. I love how the bands would come and set up their equipment and create such an energy around them. Every little thing was taken care of to be just perfect, and I think having the right lights played a big part in it. When you see how complicated it can be, like for instance the dj lighting at guitar center, one realizes just how much work it was.

Monday, October 29, 2012

think big when it comes to art

I love my home and the cozy feel I have created, but every once in a while, I like to or rather I have to just change things up a bit. What usually happens, is that when one moves in, one sets up the house and that's how it stays for years. Sure, one moves around some of the smaller pieces, but on the whole it stays the same. I mean, who can really devote the time and money to change the curtains or reupholster the sofa's every year? Ok, maybe if your last name is Trump, you can do that, but I certainly don't bother.

To me, the impact of a new look is created by artwork and paintings. Just by thinking out of the box, one can make the room look dramatically different, and that's what I did a few months back, and quite frankly am itching to do so again. Large format art. It's incredible how it changes a room, just by using a custom poster, maybe some graphic or some of your own photography, and vioila, you've got a new focus area. The thing to remember about custom poster frames is that instead of going all wimpy about them, go dramatic instead. Sure, it'll cost a little bit more, but the impact is worth a lot more.

You've got to visit the site and see more at Shortrun Posters, so you can see what I'm talking about. The cost getting a custom poster is definitely less than what you're thinking it will be and they really do change the way a room looks. Last time around, I got some of my photographs enlarged and converted to black and white, and just like that they made such an impact. This time, I'm going to get them mounted and maybe even laminate a couple of smaller ones. In the end, it's all about being creative and creating a unique look for your home.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

some photos....

 night time lights....


 fresh blooms in the park nearby....


just another day at home.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

movie and popcorn time :-)

There's nothing like a long weekend looming ahead isn't there? I love the feeling, the anticipation, the planning of meals, mostly eat out or ordered in, some baking and finally some time off to watch movies! I love watching movies on the weekends and since we upgraded to the dvr format, we've been recording movies and shows left, right and center, but have not been able to keep up with watching them. So, now it's movies every afternoon. And popcorn! There HAS to be popcorn, hot buttery popcorn, sweet caramel popcorn, cheese popcorn and so on, to go with the movie. It's a must. I usually make it in the pressure cooker, but having popcorn machines at home would be super cool, wouldn't it?

It would certainly create more of a movie feel right in the comfort of home. Earlier popcorn machines used to be large and cumbersome, but now there are many that are pretty cool for home use as well and very retro too, especially if you have a home theater room for the full effect. And if you can get theater style popcorn at home, what's not to like. If you'd like, View more here and see which one you'd like to get. My favorite flavor is a simple butter popcorn, but I do love cheese too. And this time of the year, it's all about caramel, isn't it. So bring out the caramel apples as well!

Although we don't have a dedicated theater room, I do like to close the curtains to create a darker, more theater like room. It cuts the glare and improves the quality of the picture as well. And of course, nothing like watching a movie in the theater and freezing in their chilled AC, right! So, I lower it a bit at home too, not to freezing standards, just enough to want to snuggle under a blanket! Ah ... now that's what I'm talking about!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Installing Disqus....and now removing it.

Have you tried Disqus yet? I've commented on many blogs that use it, and I liked the way that one can keep better track of comments in a cohesive manner. It keeps all the comments I make together so that I can go back and visit them again. This is especially important when you hop, skip and jump over to a new blog and then forget what its name was. Using Disqus means that all your comments are kept together and that you get notifications when you get a reply to a comment you made. Would appreciate your feedback on it. Do try it out.

Edited on Nov 6th, 2012: Removing Disqus since I just didn't like how it worked. Plus it's an extra step for me to moderate, from a different platform, so more work. Plus, I don't want to have your email, just your blog url, so I can visit you. Sorry Disqus. And so sorry for the few comments that got lost in the way. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

our days....

A new week and a short one at that. The holiday weekend is coming up, so it's going to be a short countdown....just mon, tue and wed! And then a four day weekend! Happy days!
 Afternoon light streaming into the room, all the way across the bed and to the wall on the opposite side. I love it. It's such a treat to enjoy the sunshine inside the house. We get a lot of it, but when it's too hot, it's not as welcome as it is these days. But I do have to add, I love the angle our apt faces. Firstly we're on the corner, so not only do we get lots of light, we get to see the sunrise as well as sunset. But best of all, we get very little sunlight in the house from April to Sept, but lots and lots of it during the colder months. We moved into this house 2 years ago at the beginning of October, and I was so happy to see the sun streaming across the rooms, but dreaded the onset of summer, but I was so happy to see the sun go overhead instead.

 Little blooms that make a difference....a sprig of a flowering hedge and some bougainvillea surrepetiously plucked as I walked back home from school. And an old handkerchief, probably 50 years old, bought by my grandmother. I have it in several colors and only use them as props or when I wear sarees. Then it fits in, instead of looking costume-y.

Hard at work coloring away. It's become a daily activity now, she loves it so much, and I love it even more! I try to time her coloring session with my cup of tea/coffee :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

the little things

The weeks and months go by without us even realizing, but the days we notice, don't we? We notice how long they are, how tiring they are, how repetitious they are, and are glad they're over. Here are some of the things that made me happy this week. Another thing that is making me happy.....it's Tuesday already....only Wednesday and Thursday to go, and then it's the weekend. And next weekend, we've got the holidays to look forward to!
 Friday morning baking for the weekend. I like having simple recipes at hand, so that I can mix up something, pop it into the oven, sit down to have a cup of tea and by the time we've had breakfast, it's baked and cooled enough for us to dive in! That's what a weekend is about....eating dessert at 915 in the morning :-) Oh, this was a raspberry cobbler, by the way.

 Working on making a 3D letter for my daughter. It started out as a cake box from a local cafe, then covered with a couple of layers of papier mache, using a mixture of flour and water. Really, that simple. Only a bit messy, so spread those newspapers. Not sure how I'm going to finish this....designwise, since I've suddenly gone blank on it. So will probably go really simple on it....just a coat of paint after sandpapering a bit.

The newest kid on the block, a little succulent that I picked up at the grocery store. Doing ok so far, but I need to repot it, and am floundering a bit....potting soil, hole at the bottom of pot or not, line with pebbles at the bottom or not and so on. Oh well, might as well enjoy it while it lasts!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

on my way back

 Walking back home after dropping E to school. I find it liberating to stop and take photos. I can let my guard down, I don't have to be on alert. It's so freeing!

A neem tree near the playground. I miss the neem tree behind our old house. It was lovely to be able to see it from bed itself, to walk out and pluck some leaves and flowers. Nostalgia :)

keep calm....it's the weekend!

So, it's the weekend! Whew, I'm glad it's here. It's been a hectic one and I'm so ready for just chilling and relaxing. The weather's getting better, although it's a lot more humid all of a sudden, a result of the dense fog we've been having every morning. And of course doing some shopping! Nothing as wild as Shoei RF-1100 Diabolic Feud helmets, but maybe something just as graphic. I'm leaning towards some calligraphy, maybe our names or a nice motto to live by, or maybe even just something as simple as "keep calm and carry on". Gives it a nice twist right! I thought so too.

Monday, October 08, 2012

at the metro station


Waiting for a train at the metro station, happy for the opportunity to take photos. E loved it too since she wasn't in a stroller!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

in the neighbourhood...

Out and about in our neighbourhood, seeing how everything is looking so beautiful again. But I really do have to say, despite the horrible heat and humidity of the summers, the gardeners really do make everything look nice all year round. I just don't like how they trim everything so far back each time. We wait for the trees to grow, and they come and lop them off so drastically. I know, they're training them to be taller before they let them spread sideways, but it's just not nice to see them bare all of a sudden.
 Bougainvillea before the blooms arrive.
 Love this grass and how it sways in the wind. And it always looks fantastic in the evening light.

Heading to school in the morning....as we come down the stairs to the lake level.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

the week gone by...

Another week gone by so fast! Really, where did the time go? The weekend seemed to disappear in a nano second, but even though it was busy, it was a lot of fun. I just didn't get to unwind like I usually do though. We went out for a lovely lunch to meet some visiting cousins and E had a whale of a time. Then on saturday we entertained at home, an old college friend of DH that I was meeting for the first time. A lovely evening going down memory lane!
E's star pillow being sunned, after she had a rough night. Luckily this one has a removable cover and the pillow is machine washable, but her regular pillow isn't. So I opened up the stiches, washed the wool and dried it in the sun.
All set to browse the new Ikea catalog along with a soothing cup of green tea. With the changing season, the throat has been acting up, so taking every opportunity to sit and have a cup of tea.
Morning walk to her school! The weather here in Dubai is now lovely in the mornings, very refreshing.
Some banana bread with oatmeal, which I really liked for it's added texture. And then a dollop of whipped cream, left over from the chocolate cream pie I took for lunch out. Slightly over browned in my oven that doesn't have a thermometer.

Monday, September 24, 2012

last week....

A new week. Doing the usual things, but trying to make each day a bit more memorable. Having fun at the little things. Noticing how my little one enjoys going to the market now, to point out her favorite things, to touch and smell them. And the friendly staff who always smile at her and say hello so sweetly. Doesn't it get boring sometimes, doing the same thing over and over again. It does for me, and all I try to do is to remember the fun things we did and haze out the not-so-nice ones.
A little slice of cake.....can't remember what it was called, a Blueberry something....from one of our favorite little places, The Lime Tree Cafe. And that's E pointing to it and soon after reaching for it!

Quite time in the afternoon with a cup of green tea and the leftover flowers from my welcome back home bouquet.

E running with glee towards the lake. We love having this promenade around the lake where she can run around without worry of cars. Only delivery cycles and security segways are allowed on the promenade.

Monday, September 17, 2012

rainy day picnic

Last month we had a lovely rainy day picnic when I was home for a holiday. It's the monsoon season after all! It was an impromptu picnic at the farm of old family friends who invited us over. The day started off as overcast, but it started raining as we left home but it was a nice steady drizzle, not a downpour. We all sat in the gazebo, eating eggs and sausages, yes did I mention it was a breakfast picnic, then graduating to beer! Well, that's the sign of a good vacation isn't it, drinking beer at 1045 in the morning! I really enjoyed catching up with old friends, seeing the kids that I first saw as newborns, now quite grown up, almost teenagers!
On our way, driving to our picnic in the rain!
Surrounded by fields of corn and fruit trees.
An umbrella hanging on the gazebo. This is one of the car umbrella's so gets to travel with us where ever we go!

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What's up with the Blogger interface? The photos show up as broken icons, and they keep moving around and suddenly my 3 photos become 4 and they just never stay in one place? I'm not bothering to enlarge the photos, since I've had to redo this post 4 times now just to get it to look decently aligned.

craving for winter

Living in a place where one uses the AC almost the entire year, makes me really miss the change of seasons. For us, it's just hot, hotter, hot and humid, hotter and humider, ok not so hot anymore, ah quite cool, and that's it! Even though it does cool down in the winters, enough for even sweaters in the evenings, one can't really keep the windows open since we live in a highrise. So the solution is to keep the AC on, which negates any kind of temperature change outside the window. I find it boring to use a comforter all year round. I'd love to switch to a heavier comforter for the winter, maybe something cozier in flannel, maybe some rustic bedding to make it feel like we're still in New England. Now that would be quite a stretch of imaginations, right!

is being musically inclined inbuilt?

It is isn't it! These days my daughter is so into music. Actually, she's always loved music and beats of any kinds, she connects to it immediately. As all parents do, I too wonder what she will be when she grows up, and I wonder if it will be related to music. I would love it to be. It seems to give her so much joy and us as well. So maybe things like hot rodded humbucker sets, Invader pickups, distortion humbucker set and so on will be in her future! Whoa, I thought, these are all really technical, but then one goes beyond them to see how they create music and these seymour duncan pickups musicians friend are about creating beautiful music. I always wanted to learn guitar, and well piano too, but never got started on the former and gave up after a couple of months on the latter, so it would be great to see her get familiar with things like seymour duncan pickups and stuff like that!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

back...

Well, I'm back home! I had a good break, a very hectic break, but it's always good to go home for a while, hectic or not. I really enjoyed being home during the monsoons, even though it picked up only towards the end. It was wonderful to wake up to the sound of gentle rain outside my window, yes, the weather was nice enough to leave the windows open! I loved it. Simply loved not having to use the AC all the time. I slept so well, so deeply, using just a sheet like we used to when we were kids. Out here in Dubai, we have the AC on all through the year, so use a comforter all year round, making me miss the change of seasons.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

are you a diy-er?

I'd love to be a great diy person, but sadly I'm not. I'd love to be able to buy furniture from Ikea and put it together myself, but the one time I've done that, I've messed it up, to the point that it's worthless. And so the lowest and largest drawer of a filing cabinet is stuck, it will not open more than a few inches and so it has been unused since we bought it 5 years back. I gladly fork over the extra cash for delivery and installation to the Ikea chaps, even though they keep increasing the minimum spend as well as the installation costs. So sadly, I'm not going to need to know what plastic lobed knobs are used for. I just leave it for the experts to know and fix, that's it!

back home...

Well, here I am, back after ages. It's been a really hectic time and it was good to be completely offline for a while. It's hard to stay completely disconnected with ones email, but I had no time to surf or read online at all, but I was completely fine with that. On other trips, after a while, I itch to be back online, but this time around, I relished my free time by spending it with actual people, instead of listening half heartedly and pecking away constantly at the computer. E loved being at home and meeting so many more people on a daily basis. I just doesn't happen out here, living by ourselves, no matter how hard we try. Her highpoint of the trip was being able to go out in the car every single day. She would start of in the morning itself, saying car, car, car, and for her new fave snack croissants. She simply adores them, and I have to literally hide them from her, else she can go on and on eating them. She loves cars and recognizes her nana's car easily! Do I see custom car seat covers and all that in her future? I wonder if she'll always be this fond of cars when she grows up! ps: she loves to call taxi's out here in dxb, I really have to watch out for her. One minute, we're walking down the street, and the next, she's hailed a taxi so sweetly!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

lately...

Two days, 2 major power grid failures. What is happening? We seem to be going backwards instead of progressing. Still relying on the monsoon, looking up helplessly at the sky.
Tea, made the proper way!

Bougainvillea on the terrace, while we sat outside for our morning tea during the power grid failure yesterday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

time off

Some time off. Enjoying a little offline time.....relishing being on vacation....not having to do the daily routine.....catching up with family and friends....over lots of cups of tea, coffee and chilled beer.

A tall glass of lassi.....my favorite way to beat the heat.


Savoring the little rain that we've had. Wandering in the garden early in the morning, taking photos while it drizzled.

Noticing the little things...tiny droplets clinging to leaves.

Gathering flowers for the house. Lantana and duranta here.