Applepalooza!

Posted October 19th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Food
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Apple 1We were inundated with apples this fall.  I was tempted with the wonderful varieties we had in my supermarket and bought home a huge bushel. However that turned out to be the height of apple picking season. Annika came home with a few after being on her farm visit from school and then my cousins dropped off a bagful from their visit.

My challenge that weekend was to turn all of those apples into something yummy before they went bad.  And if that were not enough of a challenge, – I laid down the following rules—nothing too sweet.  Which means no pies or tarts or cakes or jams or jellies. Continue Reading »

Rhode Island & Cape Cod

Posted August 29th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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Rhode-Island-4Rhode Island has been on my bucket list for a long time. Seejo has been flying to RI a few times a year for the past few years for work. I have always thought of accompanying him but for some reason the plans have never materialized. So this summer, we decided to plan an extra long weekend to Rhode Island & Cape Cod.

Rhode Island was once the summer getaway place for America’s millionaires in the late 1800s and early 1900s otherwise called the Gilded Age. It is here that they constructed their summer “cottages” and spent the summer in their waterfront homes. Calling them as cottages is definitely absurd as many of these are 50+ room castles decorated in a luxurious style and furnished with amazing artwork and surrounded by stunning landscaped gardens. These nouveau rich Americans flush with their railroad , shipping or mining fortunes vied with each other in creating the most opulent, over the top mansions – all for spending just 8 weeks in a year. This was where the Astors and the Vanderbilts and their ilk flaunted their wealth, threw over the top parties and in general lived a life of excess – not surprising that  it was called an age of conspicuous consumption!

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Annika’s Syllabus.

Posted August 22nd, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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IMG_0305Annika attends Childrens’ Manor Montessori School and has been doing so since she was 5 months old. She is now 3.  I confess that I am totally ignorant about Montessori curriculum so I have no idea how well they follow it at her school.  However I am flabbergasted at the kind of things that forms Annika’s syllabus. Apart from the usual letters & numbers & colors & months of the year – here is a smattering of the things that Annika learnt in school this year: Continue Reading »

Puerto Rico

Posted July 24th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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pr6We visited Puerto Rico for a 4 day trip at the beginning of summer. PR is a tiny island in the Caribbean, much closer to West Indies than the United States, but is part of the US. All PR residents are officially US citizens.  It is a 4 hour flight from Washington DC but after surviving the brutal winter we had, we were looking forward to warmer climates, sandy beaches, rainforests, Caribbean cuisine and some much wanted downtime.  Although PR is officially a territory of the US, the fact that Spanish is the main language of communication, makes you feel instantly like you are in a foreign country.  Unlike Spanish speaking pockets in main land US, everything here is in Spanish: restaurant menus, street signs and it is the language spoken by street vendors and tradesman. Although almost everybody in the touristy areas spoke English, there were enough folks we interacted with such as the nail technician at the spa, the street vendor selling mangoes, the mother of two adorable girls I bumped into near the pool and the kiosk vendor selling arepas who spoke only Spanish.  Nothing makes you feel like you are in a foreign land till you have to resort to hand gestures and sound effects to make yourself understood! Continue Reading »

Wild flowers in Austin.

Posted July 4th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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TexasWildflowers-16

We spent Easter with family in Austin, Texas.  While we were there, we had the opportunity to see some beautiful wildflower patches. The bluebonnets with their bright blue flowers interspersed with  Indian paintbrush with brilliant scarlet flowers against the backdrop of green spring grass was quite a picture perfect sight.  It was my nephew’s birthday party—so we had some balloons for a wonderful photo-op!

Dubai Reflections

Posted May 18th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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Dubai-2014-66We were excited about stopping in Dubai ever since Emirates started flight service from Washington DC to Dubai.  The long lay-overs to Kochi (13 hour layover while going to Kochi and a 19 hour layover while returning) might pose a problem for some passengers but this actually worked out very well for us. My sister lives in Dubai, so the 13 hour lay-over was perfect for a stop at her place, lunch, a brief nap, a stroll at a nearby mall and back to airport for flying to India. On the return flight, we opted for a 96 hour visa option offered by Emirates Air and spent the better part of three days in Dubai.  Each way the transit visas were quite painless to obtain. Everything was taken care of online with minimum effort. Continue Reading »

Annika’s Witty Gems

Posted April 16th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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awg4Annika was 27 months when we visited India in February.  She was looking forward to meeting “Ammamma”(my mother) and Daada-Daadi (Seejo’s dad & mom) again – who she knew are in India. Here are some gems from Annika during the course of our visit

Is India Done?

We stayed the first night of our visit with Seejo’s parents. The next morning, we set off to visit my mom along with a suitcase full of gifts for my relatives. Looking at both of us and our huge suitcase, Annika asks us “Is India Done?”. Continue Reading »

My earliest memories

Posted March 6th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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mem1My first memory is visiting my maternal grandfather in a hospital. I only remember a single specific scene. My grandfather lying in a narrow hospital bed – somehow in my memory it is at a great height (which is possibly due to the fact that I was about 3 years and 3 months around that time).  I also remember that my grandfather had a tube inserted in his nose.   Later I found out that my mom and I had come to her house. She was pregnant with my little sister.  She came to find out that her dad is slowly losing his memory – apparently the result of a stroke. Continue Reading »

Year End Summary: 2013

Posted January 10th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Following the tradition ( 2006, 2007 , 2008, 2009 , 2010 , 2011 & 2012), here are my 2013 highlights.

Happy New YearAchievements this Year: Our biggest accomplishment in 2013 was losing weight. Between us we lost a combined weight of around 100lbs. What I feel most proud of is that we haven’t done this by embarking on any crazy diets, unsustainable exercise regimens or weight loss supplements.  We have not given up on any of our favorite foods and we still eat out atleast twice a week. On the flip side, we have had to shell out $$ to purchase a whole new wardrobe…..

Travels this Year: The big trip of the year was our two week vacation to Amsterdam, Paris, French Riviera and Iceland. My mom and my sister (with family) met us there and so it was a family vacation.  Apart from that we had a short weekend in New York City where we ate our way through Greenwich! And end of the year trip  to the Jamestown area for a weekend at the  Great Wolf Lodge & Water-park. It was intended as a birthday trip for Annika and she spent an entire day and half in the kiddie pools going up and down the water slides and had a wonderful time.  On our way back we stopped to see the historic Jamestown settlement – one the earliest settlements in the United States.  As usual I also had some work trips planned to Indianapolis, North Carolina, Atlanta and San Antonio. During the last mentioned trip I also managed to spend a couple of days in Austin to visit family and see my niece and nephew! Continue Reading »