It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.” ~ Dr. Seuss

A couple of weeks back, as I was taking yet another picture of my very photogenic Thing 3, creativity struck. This is very unusual for me. I usually start the day with a super long to-do list and derive great satisfaction from getting (most of those) things done.  But that Friday morning, somehow, I decided to do something fun instead.

As I was walking W, found myself thinking about the fun custom design store that we walked past a few weeks ago. And how they had some very cute-looking, personalized totes (boy, am I a sucker for totes!).  Finished walking W as quickly as I could, looked up the design store online, pulled together some lovely puppy quotes (and lovelier pictures of my W), and spent a couple of hours designing and ordering this tote.

Cute, no? And environmentally friendly to boot!

Talk about win-win!! 🙂


Aye jaate hue lamhon, zara tehro zara tehro…

I just can’t seem to find the words these days. Plenty of things have been happening (mostly good) but, overall, it’s been pretty intense for me. I have not been in much of a sharing place (even with you).

We celebrated little N’s and my birthdays in August. Most importantly, little N showed up at the Motor Vehicle Commission at 9 am the morning after her birthday, parallel parked in style, and got her license on her first try. I will tell you this, there is nothing quite like standing in your driveway, and watching your excited teen with her newly minted driver’s license driving away from you and turning that street corner alone in your car. No, I didn’t run behind the car (although I did consider it). Reminded me of little N’s first day in Kindergarten when I followed the yellow school bus all the way to school just to watch little N get off the bus safely. Well. This time I just sent a silent prayer up to the Gods, and busied myself with loading and unloading the dishwasher until I heard little N’s steps in the garage.

Little N is a senior in high school this year. And college application season is upon us. Makes for some very busy times (for little N) and lots of rumination on my part. I mean, I was reading in bed the other night when little N came in to brush her teeth in our master bathroom. Watching her, I found myself thinking “Man, it seems like just the other day that I was teaching this child how to hold her toothbrush. How did time go by so fast?”. It’s tough, when this is the kind of thinking that goes on in your head.

Little A is in 8th grade this year. While that blows my mind as well – that little A will be in high school next year – I think, right now, having a high school senior takes up so much of my (tiny) mental bandwidth. Little A is up at 5:30 am with me on most days. Finishing up homework and starting on her breakfast as I bustle around our kitchen making tea and packing lunches. I find little A’s middle school tales both comforting and delightful – stories of simpler times that I now know to pay attention to and enjoy.

In the interest of making things easier (for myself, who else?), decided to ask if cook, R, can possibly come over to help me out twice a week (instead of once, as she’s been doing). Somehow the planets were aligned when I asked her, and she responded with a resounding “yes”. Absolutely love this delegating! With our (well, N’s) work life getting super busier by the day, it is a blessing to be able to access such good quality help on a regular basis.

I am totally in love with my W. He is such a gentle presence by my side on days (well, let’s be honest – on some days) that I work from home. I love my morning walks with him after N and the girls head out to start their days. He meanders around our neighborhood looking gorgeous (if I say so myself), sniffing at fire hydrants (“community bulletin boards for dogs”, I read somewhere), chasing joggers and bikers, doing a merry dance with other neighborhood pooches out on walks, and looking back every few steps in a most endearing way to check if I am still there on the other end of the leash.

Navarathri Golu season is almost upon us. It is on my to do list for this week to watch a few youtube videos and really ace that saree-tying thing. Have become far too old at this point for it to be cute that I am still not comfortable tying a saree.

Che, as I write this post, I notice myself looking at the word count at the bottom of the page. And thinking random things like “Ooh, 669 words. More than enough for a college essay.”


In the name of sanity, Got. To. Detach. 🙂


Ok. Writing has officially been reduced to “happiness” posts. But why keep those from you? Here we go (again).

Happiness is…

walking with W and N on our neighborhood bike path late in the evening

wandering around Princeton eating (N’s) pistachio ice cream while waiting for little N to finish work

piles of juicy, yummy mangoes at our local grocery store in the summer

hot masala chai anytime of the day

seeing serene Buddha statues

the smell of new books in a bookstore (and of course, reading them too)

a full night’s sleep (definitely getting older here!)

a bouquet of fresh flowers from our local farmer’s market


Touche 6

It’s been over a year since little A said something touché-worthy (check out my Touche posts 1 through 5, you will know what I mean).

But today she did.

On most days, little A is the first one to wake up after me. So we have a chunk of time in the mornings, just her and me bantering (sometimes, N is up and joins in as well). This morning, our discussion somehow landed on kids. Little A was going on about some particularly difficult kids in her class. “Mommy, kids can be so annoying and awful. I don’t like kids. I like dogs, I will only have a dog when I grow up.” little A said (with a very hoity-toity I-am-oh-so-grown-up-and-weary-of-these-kids kind of air).

I was not going to take this attitude (also, why dismiss any potential grandchildren so prematurely, I say!). Plus, I was super organized last night and had lunch ready. So I had more time than usual this morning to banter as well.

“You know, I don’t agree. Having you and Akky is one of the most wonderful things in my life”, I said. Little A did not look up from the homework she was finishing up. Nor did she miss a beat.

“Well. That’s because you are lucky, Mommy”, she said.

I laughed out loud listening to my cocky little one. And agreed with her that I am lucky indeed. 🙂


Andhi mazhai pozhigiradhu…

We had a tornado warning for our area this evening. N and I, hailing from the water-starved Chennai, have a hard enough time understanding rain. Tornadoes are just out of the question. Tornadoes feel like something that happen way-over-there in Oklahoma or Kansas, or some other boonies, not in the middle of our scenic NJ. Plus, N and I loved watching Twister and all the adventures of the Tornado chasers during our grad school days. So really thought nothing about tornado watches, thunderstorms, or flashflood warnings.

The girls, especially little N, were quite freaked out, though. Little N and I were driving back from school around 4:00 pm when the heavy rains started. She had already heard about the Tornado warning from her health teacher (thank you very much!), and was keeping an apprehensive eye out at the darkened skies. As we were driving, she decided to call little A and ask her to take W and go immediately to the basement (supposed to be one of the safest places during a tornado, apparently). How very endearing, I thought, chuckling out loud. Little N was not impressed. She felt that I was being needlessly casual and frivolous.

Reached home in the midst of pouring rain. The girls and W camped out in the basement but I decided to hang out in the kitchen and first make some hot semiya upma for N and myself (where will dinner come from if everyone lounges in the basement, huh?). Again, the girls were very unimpressed. I overheard them talking. Little N was telling little A that she was going to have to take care of little A and W with parents that behaved so recklessly (priceless, I say!).

N and I finally made it to the basement with our (super yum) upma bowls. It really was quite cozy to hang out there all together (which we rarely do) with the fireplace going and W running around crazily in the (relatively) open floor space. The tornado warning was eventually lifted and downgraded to mere flashfloods and thunderstorms. So we made our way back upstairs and moved on with our lives.

Our cook, R, is scheduled to come over tomorrow (thank God!). I peeked into the pantry and saw that we were out of onions (dang!). N and I decided to do a quick trip out to fill gas in the car and to buy onions. By this time, though, little N was so done with our BS. She put her foot down. She was not going to let us drive out in pouring rain for gas and onions (sounds pretty bad, actually, as I am writing this). N and I meekly decided to cooperate and dropped our shopping plans. After all, I can come up with an onion-free menu for R. And the car is not going to know if we fill gas now or in the morning.

Most importantly, think we have aggravated the chickis quite enough for one evening! 🙂