Recreating American History: Colonial Williamsburg

Posted May 27th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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DSC_5615Despite living in the Virginia-Maryland area for the past 10 years, we had never been to Colonial Williamsburg, eschewing it as a tourist trap.  Along with Ashu & Shweta, we drove down to confirm our notion. We were correct. It is indeed a tourist trap but we also learnt that there is no reason why we cannot enjoy a tourist trap.  We started off early morning after breakfasting on zuchhini muffins and had a really peaceful drive to the humungous visitor center at Colonial Williamsburg.  After purchasing our tickets,  a shuttle bus dropped us off near the Governor’s Palace. Continue Reading »

Cataloging my Library

Posted May 25th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Books, Personal, Reviews
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Librarything pageI started my first (and only) business when I was 12 years old. Along with my close childhood friends, Priyanka and Priti, I decided to start a library.  We pooled in our existing book collection (Priti “borrowed” her sister’s collection of Famous Five & Secret Seven), Priyanka’s parents generously donated an old filing cabinet (and more importantly , the permission to keep it in their main hallway) and my father paid for our most prized possession: a rubber stamp with the words “PICK-A-BOOK CIRCULATING LIBRARY”. We had extremely reasonable rates: 50 paise for a paper back & 1 Rupee for a hard-back & you could keep the books for a week.  The money we earned would go into buying more books for us to read and then ultimately back to the library.  It was a sound business plan, reality however, didn’t quite live up to that promise. Continue Reading »

A Mini Reunion

Posted May 22nd, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Personal


DSC_5430We had a mini-meet up with a few friends from our undergraduate engineering school last week at Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia.  The tulips were still in bloom, the gardens looked pretty, the fountains looked beautiful and we all had a wonderful time.  I am heavily borrowing from Sarika’s email to our e-group describing our get-together but here are the highlights of the trip.

It is always great to catch up with old friends, so that was undoubtedly high point of the entire trip.

  1. The tulip garden was extremely colorful and looked splendid. The photographers amongst us (Ashu, Seejo and budding talent Sarika) clicked a lot of photos.
  2. I got a completely unexpected (and rare) call from Vidya after a long time, so everyone got a chance to catch up with her as well.
  3. We stayed over at Ashu & Niral’s place on Saturday night, and were amazed by his exquisite works of art (they were too beautiful too be called mere photographs).  Ashu also regaled us with anecdotes of his second career as a photographer.
  4. Enjoyed watching Vania running around the house, and Pooja trying to be all mom-like! Continue Reading »

Weekend Getaway: The Home and Farm Edition

Posted May 20th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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Deep Creek Lake is a popular vacation spot situated in Western Maryland and offers something for every kind of visitor, be it water activities such as fishing or canoeing at the large man-made Deep Creek, hiking or camping in  the 5 or so  state parks in the region or simply relaxing in the many bed and breakfast inns in the area.  It is about a 2 hour drive from where we live, and when I was looking for a quick getaway location for the weekend, a colleague suggested this place.  We went to Haley’s Farm Bed and Breakfast Inn at Deep Creek,  a 65 acre farm that is managed by Pete and Bobbi Briggs.  Let me give you a little tour of the place where we stayed.


Our luxury suites were in a barn!   Despite the rustic exterior, the suites were ultra comfortable and very comfortable.    The view from the window of our suite was the real barn where 4-6  horses were tethered.  The main house was large and had a spa, a jacuzzi, a huge entertainment room with a decent video collection, lots of books and games. There was always some snacks to munch on and when we arrived on Friday night, we were greeted with a huge slab of gooey chocolate cake! Continue Reading »

Food Blog Update: Zucchini muffins with Jalapeno jelly

Posted May 18th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Food
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IMG_7327One of my favourite shops in US, is Harry and David—a gourmet food store.  I can never resist the impulse to enter the store when I pass by it and once I enter, I rarely leave without purchasing something or the other.  My favourite item from the store is their collection of relishes, dips and spreads .  The last time I went there, I bought their green jalapeno jelly, it was simply delicious—the right mixture of sweet and spice. Infact, I liked it so much that I emptied the entire bottle in one sitting.   And then I got on the internet to find how I could make these at home.  I got tons of recipes while I googled recipe for jalapeno jelly.

It was quick, it was simple and it was delicious.  I had some red and green chillies that I had grown in my garden last year in my freezer and I was glad to finish them before I planted some more this summer.  Once I had the jalapeno jelly, I started looking out for things I could eat it with.  This weekend, I made some zucchini & beetroot muffins to go along with it.  The muffins were such a healthier alternative to bread—I had it for lunch for 4 straight days. Continue Reading »

Clinton, Bush, Gore at BIO

Posted May 17th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Clinton & BushThe Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) held its annual meeting in Chicago this year. The weather in Chicago was unusually mild and a welcome difference from the cold windy days that I encounter during my annual pilgrimage to Chicago in December to attend the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting.  BIO was much more of a “schmooze” meeting rather than scientific, but the highlight of the meeting was that the keynote speakers for the Monday luncheon were Presidents George W Bush & President Clinton while that for Tuesday was Al Gore.

We got to the hall about 1.5 hours before the scheduled time but the queue had already started forming.  They let us into the hall 30 minutes before the presentation, and then it was a free for all, as everyone literally sprinted down the hall to get as close to the stage as possible.  The serving staff stood in two lines on either side of the center aisle loudly cheering as meeting attendees dressed in formal wear dashed down to catch the best seats. Fortunately for me, my enterprising colleague Todd managed to get us excellent seats upfront right behind the VIP section.  The food served was rather mediocre, and we picked at it waiting for the talk to start.  The two Presidents walked in along with the session moderator,  Jim Greenwood, President & CEO of BIO, who started the discussion claiming that they had three Presidents on stage. Continue Reading »