Monday, October 27, 2008

The Dog Days of Diwali

It was a busy and festive weekend!!

We had our favorite canines with us for a long visit. Chunk, Moti and Walter made a special guest appearance and helped entertain the entire neighborhood. Other than the photos, what can I say... they havent gotten any smarter, but I do think their snoring has gotten louder and they are smellier. We had 6+ walks a day and all the neighbor kids had to come over to "visit" the dogs. The kids were in heaven. The highlight of the weekend? When Chunk got off his lease and "visited" 2 of our neighbors INSIDE their houses with muddy paws. Catching a determined bulldog is like trying to catch a greased pig. Not Fun. I am sure these specific neighbors were glad to see the dogs go. It has also underscored that we will NEVER own 3 dogs at once. NEVER.

In typical Gopalan administration form, they informed us last week that since the kids had Mon-Wed off this week for Diwali, why not give them Thurs & Fri off as well. Why not? I mean the kids were only off school Sept 26-Oct 12 and back in school Oct 13-24. Why not give them another full week off at home? I mean, as parents I am sure we had no plans during that time...

(Can you tell I am a bit irritated by the whole thing?)

The good news in this whole thing? The weather FINALLY broke. After days on days of torrential down pours 2-3 times per day, the sun came out and it warmed up. The weather is perfect and we spent all day yesterday at the pool (1st time we've done a pool day since early August). It was gorgeous, but I digress.

The dogs left us on Sunday, just in time for all our Diwali celebrations. We had a birthday party and 2 Diwali parties to attend Sunday and Monday. Diwali is a mix of the 4th of July and Christmas. Everyone cooks sweets, buys fancy new clothes and lights off amazing amounts of fireworks. You travel to all your neighbors giving sweets and then the minute the sun goes down you start lighting fireworks.

Note I said fireworks, not firecrackers. These are not the lame sparklers and stink bombs and bottle rockets of our youth (and our over regulated government). These are full fledged fireworks. Anyone can buy anything on the street and they do. We had full airshow quality fireworks being lit off over the neighbors house. The houses are all decorated with lights and everyone starts lighting fireworks in the middle of the street. I went for a run this morning and the streets all looked like a ticker tap parade went through. The kids loved it!

Other fun comments of the weekend (mostly by Kay):

Kay and I were talking about numbers. She had a sheet of paper of with the numbers 1-10 written on it (she wrote them out). She asked me, which one is the biggest, I said 10 "NO, she said, its 1) (and it was, size wize, she had written that one larger than the others). So, I tried another tactic, which number is the highest? Her response "google". I was in shock. She's right, go check it out. Google it.

Her next famous quote of the day? I am trying to read to them once a day at breakfast. Since they arent in school today, I forgot. On the way out, I said, "I forgot to read to you this morning, pick out a book and I'll read it to you at dinner". Her response? "Oh Damn it!" followed by "I'll find a book Mommy, no worries".


Happy Diwali!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where did all our stuff go?

Tracy was back in Minneapolis for the last two weeks and took some time out of her busy schedule to stop by our house just to check in things and BOY what a surprise. She looked in the window and this is what she saw:

We have started the remodel on the house and none too soon! The project should be complete by early 2009 and we can not wait. We will have a new kitchen, living room, dining room, fireplace and hardwood floors, you think we are loud now ??? just you wait! (oh where oh where to put that new drum set?:) )

For those of you who have spent many an evening solving the worlds problems at our dining room table or on the back deck, holy cow, I didn't realize how small our house really was! I think I freaked out a bit and might have scared off our contractor. He assures me that it will look HUGE when its finished, but seeing your home ripped apart is a bit unnerving...

When this project is complete, we will also be passing into the fourth stage of adulthood. Stage one getting married, stage two buying a house , stage three having children and stage four, buying your own furniture. Yep without the influence of anyone else we will buy our own furniture. Table and chairs here in India and then couches, chairs and love seat when we get back home. Keep posted on stage five:) - empty nest? mid life crisis? retirement?

Here are a couple of other pics so keep posted we will update on the process.

Cocktails and appetisers when complete, black tie required.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Welcome to the world Baby Anastasia and Congrats Brigie and FUD!!

Brigid and Dennis (aka FUD or otherwise known as Fake Uncle Dennis) are proud to announce the birth of their baby daughter, Anastasia Rose!
She was born at 8:48 pm on Friday Oct 17. She is 7 lbs, 14 ounces and 20.5 inches long!

She is way too cute and I think I see a hint of red hair?! :)

The Bangalore Murphy's toasted her arrival with juice and wine and big hugs that were felt all the way around the world.

Send them all your love!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where are the Blogs?

I must apologise for not posting any Blogs in the last couple of weeks, but let me explain.

Tracy left about two weeks ago to travel back to MPLS for training and informational meetings as to our next assignment. The kids have been out of school for the first week which also coincided with my finals week as well as the Pooja holiday. What does all this mean??

Well as many of you who have travelled here, realized about a year ago that we were eating brains, and to clarify, mutton brain. Tracy immediately put a ban on any more brain in the house. So the day after she left I had a couple of my Indian buddies over, Ajay and Rakesh and Raj made us brain and so you know , here it is! It is really quite good but as Raj says " Sir, very fat", he means the brain dish.

Then we had the Pooja event. This particular Pooja is for vehicles and electronics and like that.

The correct name for the event is Ayudha Pooja. Raju our drive placed the newly cleaned vehicle in the middle of the street along with the bikes, scooters and the " buggy" He then decorated all the vehicles with garland and dried flower paste and placed sweets and fruit in front. Then finally he places a lime under each tire. Our gardener Chennapau then blessed the vehicles and smashed the traditional gourd while Raju did a mantra and then smashed open the coconut. Billy was not really sure about this whole thing while Kay was deeply involved and Jimmy claimed no more pooja on my bike!

Later, back at headquarters Jimmy announced it was time to form the new clubhouse, properly named Jimmy's Clubhouse. Immediately the guest room was transformed complete with a sign on the door that reads " Jimmy's club no three years olds except Billy"

The walls were decorated with many power ranger photos and pics of super hero's. No - I must explain that we have a moratorium on glue. It was then quite difficult to figure out how to attach these pictures to the walls. Tape was out of the question because people could see that there was tape and this is a magic clubhouse and tape would not do. The leader of the clubhouse was spotted, spitting, yes spitting, onto the back of the papers and stating look they stick! God Help us.

The kids vacation finally ended and back to school they went. It was a relief for them to be in school and not have Dad constantly telling then to pick up toys, if you are going to have a clubhouse keep it clean, and things like that. The school schedule and fast pace took it's toll on old Bill and the first day home from school he actually fell asleep doing his "homework"

Then finally Mommy returned Kay presented here with a big bouquet of flowers and Jimmy made a Welcome Home Mommy Love Jimmy card which he signed from Jimmy!, and things got back to normal, whatever that may be!

Mommy we missed you ,we Love you and were glad you are home!!

Friday, October 03, 2008


In honor of our slumping economy and after hearing our cutting edge friend Wendy refer to her "stay at home vacation" as a staycation, we decided to do the same:)

The kids are off of school for the pooja holidays (TONS of holidays fall in Oct, everything from Muslim, to Hindu, to Ghandi's bday), 2 whole weeks. Yikes!! Since Tracy is heading to the US for 1/2 of the holidays, we thought we'd explore Bangalore a bit more as a family instead of jeting off to some exotic local. Tracy took 3 days off work and we had 5 whole days together as a family. "Not bad, not bad at all" as Jimmy says...

1st up? Fun City and the movie Wall E, complete with hot dogs, popcorn, nachos and Fanta. The kids had a blast. Tom and I still arent too sure about the movie, but movie theaters here are so nice and so good that you can watch almost anything and have a good time!

Next, full day at Palm Meadows- basketball, tennis, hike, park, Little Rascals on DVD for the 400th time, Grayce & Owen for dinner, playing & riding bikes in the rain - a perfect day at home...

Heading out again - The RajKumar Boating Lake. Now, this is a bit like a mini carnival on a lake, (for those of you Packer fans, think Bay Beach) and its actually clean! (that's saying something in India!!) We rented paddle boats, rode on .25cent rides, jumped on the bouncy "things", ate popcorn, drank Fanta (seems to be a reoccuring theme, huh?) and basically ran ourselves out. The kids slept all the way home:) This is on our list of things to do more often!

A not too fun, but necessary day in town furniture shopping. We want to bring back a nice, big, Indian inspired dining room table set and new front door home with us. Since our kitched was gutted last week, we are feeling the "urge" to see what's out there and figure out what we like (and what we can afford). Of course, this will be followed by a lunch at KFC which would not be complete without Fanta.

This outing inspired Jimmy to set up "shop". He pulled all his books, games, toys, etc out into the garage, made signs and set up shop. Did you know a guitar goes for $2000? No wonder he didnt get much business. Jimmy was in charge, Kay his helper and Billy was the security guard. They made him sit on a chair in front of the driveway with a whistle. Too funny.

We also managed to have dinner with Bob, Chandra, Amber, Abhi, Ann, Ajay & Angelica not to mention a date night for just Tom and I. (In case you are wondering, we DO have friends who's names dont start with A, B or C, but they are all on real vacations to exotic locals such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cochin and Goa....)

Finally, what staycation wouldnt be complete without a 1 hr reflexology massage, anti aging facial, pedicure and head oil?!

All in all, a great 5 days!!