Thursday, June 28, 2012

girls and boys

As a mother of a girl, I'm always amazed at the difference between girls and boys in how they play. They're completely different. We'd gone for a little birthday party for a 4 year old boy, a little fellow that I've seen since he was a newborn, and boy oh boy, the difference in the way they perceive things and act them out is so different. My daughter E (who is 2 years old), started off cautiously at the play area where the party was being held, mostly staying close to us initially, then bit by bit extended her territory. The boys on the other hand, were running all over the place (granted they were all older than her), not misbehaving but still so boisterous.

After a while, E started to explore further and further, eventually not caring about us at all, disappearing from our view. The staff was really great, keeping watch on her, encouraging her to try new things. On her own, my little helper started to collect the stray balls from the ball pit, collecting them in baskets.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

in the evenings

Thanks to my little girl, I'm going out pretty much every day, regardless of the heat or humidity. No matter how hot I feel, she doesn't feel it and she just loves going outside every evening. It's been such a refreshing experience to see it from her eyes, the fascination, the exuberance, the absolute joy at the prospect of being outdoors. If we didn't live in such a harsh climate, we would have been able to spend so much more time outside.

Sometimes, I feel that we haven't done her right, but what to do, this is life, jobs dictate where one lives, not quality of life for children. That's not the way we grew up, with gardens at our doorstep, with fruit trees all around, plucking litchis and loquat's and eating them right there, standing under the trees, learning how to ride a bicycle on the long driveway, climbing trees, hunting for cocoons, wading through seasonal monsoon streams and so much more. It was a magical time and place. Safety wasn't an issue like it is now. We could ride our bikes across town without our parents worrying about us.

No matter what I do, there's no way I can match what I can offer my daughter, to the kind of childhood I had. Most times I don't think about it too much, for when I do, I get a deep sense of sadness, of something that I have not done right, but then I realize that maybe I can at least make some magical moments for her, maybe she will remember the little things we do, maybe if I can really do something special, she will think of her childhood, the way I think of mine. As the best.

Heading into the sunset. This area is one of E's favorite spots when we head outside. She takes me to the bench and then orders me to sit.

It's fun to see what people are up to...this girl was wearing Kangoo Jumps, which reduces the amount of strain regular jogging puts on your knees and other joints. We spoke for a was very gracious of her to stop and interrupt her rhythm....and she said that this was the first time she was wearing them. I though balancing on them would be a problem, but she said it was quite easy.

This is E taking off as we get outside. I love her excitement. I love how it rubs off on us, jaded as one becomes with life. I love how she makes me feel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

last week....

Lately, the weeks and weekends have been meshing and confusing me. We had a long weekend, we entertained during the week, we went out for dinner out of the blue, and so on. I would like to go back to a nice clear separation between the two. At least for a while.

E running as soon as we reach outside for an evening walk. It's getting very hot and horridly humid, and while the heat is easy to bear thanks to the sea breeze, the humidity just drives us back inside.

Fallen. Part of a gulmohar bloom.

Love the subtle mix of colors, where one color merges into another. Life is often like that isn't it.

A spontaneous trip outside, for dinner and ice cream. Really a nice treat, since spontaneous trips don't happen too often. Dinner at Carluccio's, an Italian place, was nice, but not as nice as I thought it would be. Probably because I built it up in my mind. I ate basa/cream dory fish, which I would have had for dinner at home too. Life's like that, we go out looking for something we have at home!

walking wisdom

Everyday when we go for a walk, I see pretty much everyone connected to earplugs. I'm not an earplugs kind of girl. In fact, I think I have used the iPod with earplugs just once, on a walk through a cardamom plantation early in the morning. But that's another story. I only use the iPod with the speaker base, just a regular music system, that's all. But, if I were to use it otherwise, I'd much rather go for some really cool Monster headphones instead of a dinky pair of earplugs. Nothing against the small earplugs, but I just don't like the idea of them that's all. Just too fiddly for me. I see people jogging with some cool headphones here, total jamming dj ones, and interestingly, the people wearing them always look happier too.

ok, sorry about the title, there really wasn't any wisdom in all that, but you know.....

if only

As one grows up, ok, grows older, one realizes just how much one took things for granted earlier. Everything was taken with a pinch of salt, nothing taken seriously till one has a kid. Boy oh boy, everything changes after that. And I won't even start about the physical changes. Apart from basic health insurance I never bothered about anything else, but now, we seem to pounce on any kind of insurance, from home to car to travel to qualified life insurance and so on without a moment's hesitation. As if we've gone too far to the opposite side. I'd like to be somewhere in the middle. A balance of the way our life was earlier and the way it is now. That would be nice wouldn't it. If only.

Monday, June 18, 2012

recipe: strawberry crumb cake

Some recent baking. A strawberry crumb cake that I found doing a google search. I made a few changes to the recipe, since my pan was larger, so I didn't have as much batter as the recipe said I should, so I put it in one layer instead of two as per the recipe. Also, I used 2 cups of fresh strawberries instead of some strawberries and some preserves.

Original recipe from Cookies Cakes Pies Oh My.

My version is slightly altered.
1/2 cup butter, softened almost melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl cream butter and sugar by hand. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gently stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Mix in sour cream, just until blended. Spread in greased 9″x9″ baking pan (I used a 10x15 pan). Spoon over batter in pan and gently spread. Sprinkle strawberries as evenly as you can.

Crumb Topping:
2 Tbl butter, softened almost melted
3 Tbl brown sugar
3 Tbl flour
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, flour, and chopped nuts. (I use my fingers to do this, or you can use two knives) Crumble topping evenly over cake batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

I like to sprinkle just a little powdered sugar on top when I eat these :-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

have you been getting error messages

Have you been facing problems using the blogger interface lately? I have. In fact, I haven't been able to read anything on my reading list or see the list of my posts or comments. The error messages kept popping up again and again with these codes like these, bX-1io90b, bX-7ubjdv. I mostly got the second one, but some people are getting the first one or even both. For a few days I just ignored it and said ok, I'll take a break from blogging for a few days since it's the long weekend etc, but then I got curious about it and searched for solutions. And the solution was indeed simple, just disabling the AVG search toolbar from the Firefox Add ons (Go to Tools, then Add ons), and your problem goes away. See the full thread here on the Google Product Forums.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Summer fog

It's the middle of summer, the hot season, the humid season, and what do we get every second morning or so? Dense fog! The kind where you can't see anything at all, barely even the cars parked downstairs from the 16th floor. And even when you don't have fog, the camera gets totally messed up and misty when you go out since it's just so muggy, and you get white out shots.

Looking out of our windows to a sea of white!

And a misty shot, when the actual temperature must have been in the high 30s or even 40C. It's all to do with the humidity.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


What an interesting weekend we are having! What happened was that on Thursday morning the TV would come on with the remote, and since the earlier batteries hadn't been changed fast enough, they had leaked, so I figured ok, the remote is gone. I had put in a DVD for E and so I turned the TV on manually, but I couldn't figure out go to make it go to AV2, and since I had fiddled with it already, all I was getting was snow. Oops!

Anyway, we decided, no big deal. Let's stay without the TV for a while! And we did! Till this morning, when I called for an electrician to change some of the bulbs that had fused (seriously, I'm not being lazy, the hanging lights in each room are really high up, really heavy and really awkward to remove). So along came an electrician, who changed all the fused bulbs and fiddled with the TV long enough to figure out how to go from snow to AV1 for the DVD and AV2 for cable! Alls well that ends well!

My daughter walking ahead of me very purposefully!

Gulmohar leaves and a skyscraper in the neighborhood.

Evening light in the entrance of our building. Love the glow.

Pottering around the house and taking random shots.

Some popsicles made from yogurt and black cherries. Not as nice as I'd want them to be, a bit too crunchy for me, so still working on finding a better recipe. But really, after a hot walk, this is what really feels nice when I come back home. 

a new mix of shops

Lots of new stores have been opening up in the neighborhood while I was gone on vacation. And this time around, it's not a repetition of the earlier ones, I mean how many nail salons does one community need? Way less than we have, for sure. It's been a really nice and interesting mix of stores that have been opening up, everything from a printer's shop for printing, copying, typing etc, to a floor specialist with garage flooring on offer, to a bespoke tailoring shop. Other more run of the mill openings have been several pharmacies, an optician, a gelato cafe and several restaurants offering Pizza's, Vietnamese and Persian cuisines! All of a sudden, it's become a hot place to live, rents are going up and fewer car parking spots are available.

can you see me strumming away!

Okay, own up. Don't you have some sort of secret (or not so secret) desire to play an instrument. I do! I've tried a host of them, from harmonium and sitar in school, piano in college, but I really was not able to stick with any of them. So, yesterday when I was coming up after a walk, I saw a sign posted in the lobby about guitar lessons. Can you imagine, right here, in my building, just a lift away, guitar lessons, actual guitars! Okay, maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself here.

I mean, I really do want to learn an instrument, and why not guitars, something really cool and rockstar-ish like a danelectro guitar! I looked it up....yes, I did! It's apparently got a cool vintage bass sound to it, oh my, you're making it harder for me, aren't you! It's got a distinctive style and tone that many guitar enthusiasts look for, but it's also more stable like modern versions, so it's easier to play. Just imagine strumming confidently on the rosewood fingerboard, to fireside classics and maybe some classic van halen!! Ooooh, exiciting! Now for the hard part. Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling. Yeah, I know, it's going to be sad, if that's why I can't do it. Wait, there's the matter of price too. Really so tempting, especially in the hot summer months!