Friday, August 31, 2012


After a lot of hemming and hawing, 'twas decided to meet in NJ for the niece's big ONE. Sis pulled out all the stops cooking up quite the spread making it gluten and vegan so hubby and in-laws could partake - tomato/cucumber gazpacho, Susanne Goin's salad adapted for summer, brioche rolls, baked rosemary crackers with hummus, braised chicken with quinoa rather than couscous and finally a peach/white-chocolate mousse cake. One lucky gal!
The hot and humid weather and the ubiquitous buzz of beetles makes for a very different summer from PNW. Hardly anything to do in the 'burbs, a walk around the 'hood not very inviting due to the stingy gnats, we drove down to Princeton one afternoon for an errand and were hooked. A charming University town, the mammoth proportions of the stone buildings against the blue skies are breathtaking. Cooled off with some icecream at Halo pub and picked up a bunch of toys/games/books at Jazams, a store stocked with things well-chosen. End of summer sales were all over the place!

Yet another sleepy afternoon for the kids meant we could catch a Hindi movie in the cinema hall in more than a decade. To our luck, the movie was very watchable with no SOS calls.
Sis got BigC tix to watch the LionKing on Broadway. Much like the 1st time, 2 years ago, she enjoyed it and the hyenas are still the favorite 'cos of the "detailed costume"!!

Pastries with the fruit and chocolate toppings picked off by BigC/LilC


Monday, August 27, 2012

Mohonk Resort, NY

From the hectic bustle of the Big Apple, we headed out for some relaxing times at an all inclusive resort in upstate NY, thanks to sis for planning this. In a hurry to avoid street closure for a parade, we arrived well before check-in time but the kids took to the lake and beach. All needs are taken care of...chairs, umbrellas, toys, towels and its time to kick back. 
The lake, nothing too grand but, just enough for little kids is a mountain lake, fed by rainwater alone. The dynamics in such systems is interesting in that not all such lakes can support aquatic life since they can get too acidic. This one has shale that keeps it neutral and is stocked with trout for fishing. While the exteriors had BigC excited about celebrating her special day there - in a castle, the interiors had the smell that comes with such old buildings that was not a hit. Soft light in the mornings and evenings, the expansive manicured grounds that LilC romped around without a care and not having to worry about where the next meal was going to be, made for a laid-back time.
Horse-riding, paddling and swimming in the lake, mini-golf, feeding the fish in the lake and koi kept the kids busy. Nightly entertainment included watching the meteor shower. The tropical themed gardens and greenhouse kept me on my toes. Monstrous Daturas (taller than moi), plumerias, castor bean plants and the colorful butterflies that came with them were a sight to behold.

Friday, August 24, 2012


With the 2 kids in tow, we were not expecting much in terms of taking in the city sights. Earplugs on arrival at the apartment set us up for the city that never sleeps!

Something to do with the kids through early afternoon followed by recharge time for kids while adults got to do their own worked out nicely as we went through 3 museums in as many days. We only did select portions that would hold BigC's attention too and there's definitely more to go back to. BigC got chided for touching an exhibit at Modern Art - her first lesson. The History museum despite being plagued by kids was very stroller unfriendly - long lines at elevators and miles of steps to climb! LilC gave a couple of fashion photographers a run before they called quits.

At the MET, we took in the elaborate stained glass/mosaic art by Tiffany, lots of Monets/VanGoghs/Picassos. While i am drawn to landscapes in general, VanGogh was a revelation and i loved the texture/depth in his landscapes - esp the village and wheat-fields.
The kids unwound at Central Park and is just amazing that its in the heart of the city - very much like the local ForestPark  and Cubbon-Park in Bangalore but to the nth degree. Being Restaurant week, tried a couple of restaurants - the snooty Artisanal and uber-friendly Caffe Grazie (with a romantic novel plot unraveling right there...worth going back). For everyday sustenance, right next door was Kati-roll. BigC's much awaited ferry ride to see Dame Liberty had to be put on hold due to weather and when we did make it, it was a perfect day. The throngs of people that the ferries unloaded onto the island had to be seen to be believed - brought back images of Tirupati.


The time to invoke the Godess who grants boons (vara) came a little early this year. As the days drew closer, fears rose that there would not be enough flowers from the garden like previous years. But, at the end of it all, there was more than enough to deck up the swing, for some rangolis by BigC and me and to share with friends. Even the new cactus Dahlia and lotus bloomed just in time for Her. Lavender, lilies, marga and pathre (scented geranium) lend themselves divinely to create the scents of a pooja.

 As Nanny and me conjured up the rangoli, BigC got impatient and was setup with another board to make her own. She did pretty well drawing inspiration from ours. This was followed by a week at Grace Art camp from where a set of Peruvian dolls joined our BombeMane.
in the garden - nasturtiums, parrot's beak, black petunia and calibrachoa in the hanging baskets