Monday, September 28, 2009

My calming little balcony

The weather is slowly starting to get colder and I am realizing that it will start getting tougher to tend to my plants or to sit in the balcony. The plants also won't thrive as much. I am only hoping that all of the plants survive the winter. Summer is a good time for the plants in my balcony. Since we don't get direct sunlight I have to only get plants that grow in shaded areas. Over a period of time I have learn't my lessons and I only pick up plants like the ferns so they can live with less light. I capture the pictures every now and then and that just makes me feel good.

This is a quiet retreat for me when I am sad or happy. It does cheer me up when I see green around me. Every morning after I wake up I usually go to the balcony for fresh air and just to see what is blooming. Squirrels and humming birds are regular visitors and we stay indoor behind the glass doors and watch them. Too bad I don't have any pictures. Next time I plan to keep my camera handy so I can get a picture of the humming bird.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crafts with the daughter

A while ago while browsing the www ( which I do like a crazy woman who feels like the 24hrs are not enough in a day ) I came across this DIY project and I thought to myself that this is an easy one which I can do with my daughter.So off I went into my balcony with a pair of scissors and chopped off some fern leaves. We put them inside my old Tornado training manual ( finally good use of them me thinks :) and placed some heavy duty Java books on top and left it that way for a couple weeks.

I usually purchase stuff on sale even if I don't need them, and one of those purchases were some cheap frames from IKEA. Shreya and me got down to choosing the background paper but she seemed to like white the best for the dried leaves. Though fist I thought of persuading her to change her mind I decided to go with her gut and I think it turned out nicely. She helped me glue the leaves and frame the whole thing. She also suggested on how to hang it and now these two frames sit in the alleyway right when you enter the house. Though the lighting here is not the best I still love it whenever I look at it. This was a quick and fun way of spending time together. Though the original work I saw looks way more sophisticated, what we made has a special place in my heart.



Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Does it really matter what I want ?
Shouldn't it matter what I want ?
Who should we live for ? for ourselves or for the family ?
What should my goal in life be ?
What if I want something completely different than what is expected of me ?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Styles of the hairy kind

Isn't playing with hair a fancy of all little girls ? Shreya loves to play with mine, though my patience runs out very soon with all the tugging and pulling that we end up in fights. But there have been times where everything ended well and I had different hair styles, thanks to my daughter. Mostly when we are watching TV after dinner and Shreya has run out of ideas of playing by herself she will eye my hair. If I am in a better mood I will let her touch my ever falling hair. I am sharing here some of those styles captured by none other than the stylist herself.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Friends were going camping during the labour day weekend and invited us. I never say no when it is being one with the nature. Though work was hectic, I decided to go for it. We were four families altogether and two of the families left on Friday evening itself. Most of my team mates were working over the long weekend but I decided to skip work since all of us were not needed. I figured I was done impressing the bosses :) and now I needed to enjoy my time. Friday evening I shopped for the stuff I had agreed to bring and packed the car with lots of comforters, tent and some clothes, ready to drive on Saturday. On Saturday morning, I woke up early, took shower since I knew for the next two days there would be no shower, woke Shreya up and started driving. This campsite (Granite Flat ) that we were camping at only had toilets but no showers. A friend joined us for the ride with her daughter so it was fun for both me and Shreya. We were all chatting away. We even lost our way because we were focused on chatting, but after a detour we were back on track and after four hours of driving we reached our destination. Our home for the two nights was setup.

The evening started getting colder and we started a bonfire. Cooked some pav bhaji and roasted marshmallows and corn...yummm After dinner it was just so fun sitting around and playing antakshari singing aloud all those old hindi songs.

The campsite was right next to the Truckee river. But since it is September the river was very mellow and the water pretty cold. But we used the river total desi style, we brushed out teeth and washed our faces in the morning, washed the dishes and even clothes on some occasions, waded and played in it and polluted the water as much as we could.

The nights were pretty freezing cold and sleeping was a little tough but no complains. We drove to Lake Tahoe ( Meeks Bay ) on Sunday afternoon so the kids could swim in the lake. The water was cold but the kids braved it and had a gala time.

Got home Monday evening all tired and dirty but being out makes me happy happy, well worth the effort.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to school

I am back from my vacation to India, am over the jetlag, work is in full swing and today we are back into the groove. It is so nice to start the routine. The daughter started school today, YAY ! She was preparing for this day for some time now. I think the vacation gets to you after a few weeks. All the supplies were bought, new clothes purchased, new bags and shoes everything taken care of by the weekend, ah what a relief. Her teacher is Ms Finch this year. I met her today and she seems very friendly and it was a pleasure having met her. Let us see how she teaches and handles the class. *Fingers Crossed * I was telling Shreya how her class was the perfect classroom, a very unique room with a beautiful mural on the outside wall of the class.
Look, don't you agree ??

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

To-Do List

One last laundry trip before leaving - Check
Take the daughter to her favourite Thai restraunt - Check
Print copies of e-ticket - Check
Pay all the bills and rent - Check
Arrange for someone to water plants and pick up mail - Check
Move the swim, music and karate classes for the daughter to September - Check
Travel lightly and pack into smaller fewer suitcases - Check
Arrange for the cab - Check

Oh, it feels so good to check off things in the To-Do list. Though I have quite some work left to be handed over, it still feels good when I can make lists and cross the tasks taken care of. Do you feel the same ?

Am looking forward to the next four weeks of fun, family, love and I am sure some drama :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Artist in the making

My daughter, she is an artist ! I am sure all parents think of their offspring as the best. I compare myself to her, I mean I think of what I did when I was her age and I can tell that she is so much better. I could copy art and even today I can copy to a certain extent but I am not as creative and I usually don't come up with original pieces. I signed her up for art classes for about two years almost, but unfortunately because of the recession the art class was shut down. I am on the lookout for another appropriate and economic one.

The power and telecom company of my town holds an art competition every year and awards the winners on the earth day. This year Shreya participated and won the first prize in her age group. She received a gift card of $25 for the bookstore Borders. I am very very proud of her. She could hardly wait to use the gift card. The card was put to good use. She picked up some really good books and the experience was well worth it for all of us.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My love for watermelon is forever

Watermelon is one reason why I can tolerate summer and the heat.Of course now in the US I can get my hands on this fruit in all seasons but my childhood memories are different.I can eat this fruit all day and not tire of it. My parents always made sure that there was watermelon at home in summer and the taste of chilled watermelon on a hot day is just yumm, brings back all these sweet memories. Even now every summer whenever my parents buy watermelon they think of me. They tell me about it when I call them and it warms my heart. The Mr also knows my love for watermelon and he will pick it up anytime he is grocery shopping. What can I say this sweet and refreshing fruit makes my day.

A fun fact, watermelon is 92% water and has no fat or cholesterol and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C and contains fiber and potassium. So I'd say all you folks out there go indulge in some watermelon.

“When one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat” ~Mark Twain

Monday, June 29, 2009

Green and all its shades

My mom and dad love gardening and growing up with both the parents so much into it, some of it has rubbed off on me. Though I have time and space constraints, I have managed to keep alive some plants in my balcony. I love watching them grow. I don't spend as much time in my balcony as I should but I am proud of what is growing out there :) I do miss having a house with a yard. It is a dream of mine to have a lovely green garden with a swing, so I can sit down and watch the plants grow. I am also liking the art of photographing nature and beautiful things. I just have a Canon Powershot S3 IS, nothing fancy.

Spider plants ( Chlorophytum comosum) are one of the most common of houseplants and are native to Africa.

A striking dark purple succulent( Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum ).

The Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is quite easy to grow and it’s the plant that’s the most efficient at removing formaldehyde (the most common indoor air pollutant).

The Chinese Money Tree ( Pachira Aquatica) is a unique plant from the Orient which Feng Shui Masters recommend for improving wealth & prosperity.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hiking-Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve

A friend of mine arranges these small hikes for families every now and then on weekends, and I make a point to go on all of them. I enjoy being outdoor and being in the nature. There is something with the greens and browns that keeps me happy and calm. So this June it was decided that we would hike with the kids at the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve. So off we went on a Sunday morning at 8 am carrying some water and snacks for the hike. We met up our friends at the parking lot of the winery that is on the preserve.

The weather was cloudy and cool and was perfect for the hike. The children were all excited and started off running, little did they know that they were going to walk about 2 or more miles. We parents chatted and enjoyed the greenery around us. We could see the reservoir from the trail we took. The views were beautiful.

We came across this beautiful pond with little frogs hopping everywhere and a large tree had fallen with its branches close to the ground making it a perfect spot for the young and old to climb on and in general be a child.

After more than a mile it was time for snacks and a break posing for pictures and all. After some rest it was time to head back. This time around there was some whining from the kids but all in all they did great. The highlight of the hike for me was sighting the peacock near where we had parked. We were tired and ready to go back home and we see this peacock with lovely bright colors showing off his elegance not afraid of kids or us. We clicked so many pictures of that bird and he was a big showoff.

We were really hungry by now and my daughter and me headed to Chaat Bhawan for some yummy parathas and chaat. A wonderful day came to an end and now I am all set for another hike.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If I were in charge of the world

If I were in charge of the world, I’d cancel
violence, smoking, and also drugs.

If I were in charge of the world, there would be
gum chewing in class, movies to watch at school,
and peace in our world.

If I were in charge of the world, you wouldn’t
have mean people to bully you around. You wouldn’t
have diseases in the world. You wouldn’t have to sleep
early or you wouldn’t have to eat vegetables. You
wouldn’t even have to clean your room!

If were in charge of the world, a Fudgesicle
would be a vegetable! All monsters would be French
fries, and a person who is tardy, and sometimes makes
mistakes, can still be in charge of the world.

By: Shreya Tumma
June 3rd 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Again, kids say the darnest things

Amma and Daughter (Shreya ) are driving back from J's house.

Coversations :
Daughter : Amma what is J aunty's last name ?

: Bhattaram

: What is M's ( J's daughter ) last name ?

: Mazumdar

: But why are they different ?

: Oh because J aunty did not change her last name after she got married.

Amma thinks this is a good opportunity to brain wash the daughter, so she asks :
will you change your last name when you get married ?

: Nope !

Amma is happy for a while but it is short lived, as soon as she realizes that she does not care for Shreya's last name "Tumma" which happens to be the dad's last name :)

Evil brain works again and amma says : Oh but Shreya, everyone teases you and calls you "TUNA" in school, so if you do get to change your last name you should.

: Yeah you are right amma, but waaaaaiiiiiiittttttttt what if it is something like "SALMON" ? !!

: Shreya Salmon...... ROFL and has no answers :)