Thursday, January 29, 2009

What a Great Idea

All I know is this school is in Lansing, MI.

Mason Students Exercise at Lunch

MASON - Ten-year-old Garrett Maher and two of his fourth-grade classmates have each run nearly 40 miles this school year - all during their lunch periods.
They hold North Aurelius Elementary School's record so far for the Noon Walking Club - a regular midday exercise event put together by the Mason school's Parent-Teacher Organization.
"It's just a pretty big goal that we've accomplished. It feels good to be the best in the school," Garrett said today before starting his workout.
When the weather's nice, first- through fifth-graders may spend their 20-minute recess walking or running on a quarter-mile playground path, Principal Gina Stanley said. During the winter, kids instead do indoor aerobics.
"We're always encouraging our students to get more physically active, and this kind of gave them a goal to work toward," she said.
Parent and grandparent volunteers supervise the exercises and chart each child's progress through foot-shaped punch cards.
Grandparent Tami Richards led about 20 kids in an aerobics routine today. With pop songs such as "The Shape of My Heart" playing in the background, students ran in place, pumped their arms into the air, did jumping jacks and even marched around the room a few times.
"They needed something here to get the kids moving outside. In the afternoon, their attention span's a lot better. Otherwise, they're off the wall," said Richards, 57, who spearheaded the program. "So many kids just go home from school and sit and play with their Nintendos, and they just don't get out."
Garrett and his friends, Wes Bird, 9, and Seth Bunting, 9, always try to stick together and run at the same pace. Wes said he's always liked running and eventually wants to join the high school track team.
"Before this started, I wasn't running quite as much," Wes said. "I think it got me in better shape. It helps a lot."
After finishing their first five miles, each student gets a dog tag-like necklace engraved with his or her name, Stanley said. Every five miles after that, they receive foot-shaped charms to add to their necklaces.
When they reach milestones, students get to sign their names on hallway posters. As of Dec. 12, the kids had walked 965 miles combined. About 200 of the school's 300 students participate, Stanley said.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fascinating and Disturbing Op-Ed from the Washington Post

Democracy They Can't Imagine
by Anne Applebaum

..."A number of international observers eschewed the general adulation and concluded, simply, that the entire event -- the election, the inauguration -- was a hoax."...

No One Likes to do Dishes

It's a fact, we all dislike doing dishes. I don't do them because my hands break out. Wearing gloves helps some, but even the sweat that is held in will cause an eczema breakout. Not fun. The kids don't do a good enough job, really, and Ian just doesn't go near the sink unless he's drying while I wash.

So we had a 3 day weekend (again) and the dishes piled up. We were busy out of the house half of the weekend so I'm not sure how we managed to use every bowl, every utensil, every plastic cup, but we did. The housekeeper didn't come until Tuesday so the sinks were overflowing.

Tuesday morning Nicholas looked at the sink and asked why the housekeeper didn't come in over the weekends. Well, they're the weekends and her days off too, I told him, but once we get to the States we won't have a housekeeper anymore and will instead have a dishwasher. A machine where dishes are deposited after each meal, and every evening it will run and wash all the dishes. And if it's full before then, we can run it during the day and have all clean dishes after an hour.
Jonathon was very excited and said we just HAD to buy a dishwasher. I told him that just about every house now comes with one. Nicholas pondered for a second then asked, "Can it work on Saturdays and Sundays too?"
I see we will have a bit of adjusting to do.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's the Year of the Ox and I'm a Wood Tiger

One seemingly unlucky horoscope for me: In 2008, Tiger people had a Travel Star connected with their career and wealth. There were good and bad in career and money luck. Some tiny Unlucky Stars appeared in health and love area. The general fortune of 2008 should be fair. There are more Unlucky Stars coming in 2009. The career luck is fair, but money luck will go south. Therefore Tiger people should pay more attentions on job position and money investment in the year of the Cow. Since Tiger and Cow have the hurting relationship, your people public relationship will be poor than last year.
Career: The Lucky Sun Star moves to your career area in year 2009. People around you will support and give you career guide or offer your career opportunity. Because the Sun Star is a male, therefore the person gives your major help will be a man. The sign shows that your boss or supervisor will appreciate your performance and give you more responsibility on assign you major tasks. Certainly, you should gasp this opportunity and fully go for it. However, there is one Unlucky Star coming in the same time, which will disturb your working emotion and obstruct your working progress. If you lose your confidence, cannot overcome the emotional impact, then you might lose this career opportunity and all your efforts will become futile.
Money: Tiger people don't have any Lucky Star related to money luck. Instead, there are two Unlucky Stars appearing in 2009. Therefore the money income is hard to reach your goal. One sign shows your expense will be more than before, you won't have too much left for saving. This tells you that every time you shop or purchase something, you have to make sure you really need the merchandise. The other sign shows someone might deceive your money investment. That means something might happen and force you to use your savings to pay for that event. Therefore, you shouldn't be greedy in any investment and don't do any risky business even with your close friends or relatives in the year of the Cow. Otherwise, your wealth will decrease a lot.
Love: No matter that you are single, in love or married, your love relationship is not bad in 2009, because there is a Love Star coming to you. If you are single, you have good chance to meet your companion, even develop a closer relationship. If you are in love, then your love relationship will become stronger and closer. If your partner is ready, then you might get married this year. If you are married, you will be giving and receiving the love more from your spouse. However, you need to keep the distance from the opposite sex outside to avoid misunderstanding.
Health: There is a tiny Unlucky Health Star around you in 2009. But it won't cause any serious disease. Tiger people should have a good health in the year of the Cow. Only some might have the pressure or obstacle from their job and feel gloomy or depressed. As long as you know how to relax yourself to reduce the stress and let alone unnecessary concern, you should have good energy and spirit entire year.
Fortune: The luck of Tiger people in the year of Cow is fair. The unlucky part is in the career and wealth area. So don't expect you will have high job performance or good financial achievement. In your career, since the Unlucky Stars attack on your weakness of the personality, if your can persist your determination, keep your humble attitude to face the challenge, then you will have a better chance to succeed. In the wealth, you need to plan your financial strategy in the beginning of the year. Then make sure to follow your plan to balance your budget. Otherwise, your monthly expense will exceed your income. Your should have good health during the entire year. You have excellent luck in love relationship in 2009. However, I shouldn't look for new relationship, if you already have your lover or spouse. This is because that new relationship might not last to the next year.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I miss the Daily Show.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stocking a Healthy Refrigerator


Healthy eating would be a lot easier if someone would clean out the refrigerator, get rid of the junk, and stock the shelves with nutritious choices. If high-fat, high-salt, low-fiber foods aren't in sight (Chubby Hubby, anyone?), they are more likely to be out of mind -- and out of mouth. But until you find a nutritionist-slash -- personal assistant to do the job for you, take a peek into this healthy refrigerator. Look at it again before you head to the supermarket -- it might keep you away from the Cool Whip.
Keep tubs on hand, plus bags of baby carrots. The combo is a low-fat, high-protein snack alternative to hunks of cheese or a fistful of cookies.
Replace mellow, soft cheeses with sharp, harder ones. A small amount packs lots of flavor, saving you both dollars and fat grams. Look for aged Cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Keep eggs in their carton on a lower shelf to guard against the loss of carbon dioxide and moisture. The shells may look impermeable, but they are covered with tiny holes that can absorb odors and flavors.
Butter and Margarine
Use real butter where it counts, but sparingly. Keep sticks in a covered dish. (Freeze sticks you're not using.) When it comes to margarine, soft kinds in tubs and those labeled "trans-fat free" are the only healthy butter substitutes.
Chicken Broth
Buy it in resealable cartons. Use it to cook rice, mash potatoes, or saute vegetables for rich flavor without butter or oil. (Add broth to a warm skillet with the vegetables; cover and cook until tender.) Look for low-sodium or organic broth.
As with milk, go for low-fat instead of nonfat to enjoy more flavor. You can bake with it or drain it through a coffee filter for yogurt "cheese."
One percent milk has enough fat for baking but isn't unhealthy to drink. Buy milk in opaque containers to protect it from light, which can reduce the vitamin content.
Orange Juice
Select juice that is calcium fortified. There's barely any difference in taste, and drinking one glass will give you a third of your recommended daily allowance of calcium.
Salad Dressings
Your healthiest bottled-dressing options are vinaigrettes made with olive oil, but if you have a weak spot for creamy dressings you can make them last longer (and eat fewer calories) by thinning them with milk, mild rice vinegar, or herb tea. Tossing a salad with dressing before serving it is the key to using less.
Go for low-fat mayonnaise rather than the low-cholesterol kind. Regular mayo doesn't have a lot of cholesterol to begin with, but it does have a great deal of fat.
Keep filtered water or seltzer in the refrigerator and you'll always have a cold, refreshing, healthy drink on hand. (Soda consumption in the United States surpassed milk consumption in 1994 and is still shooting upward.)
Spoon leftovers -- even the take-out kind -- into glass or plastic containers that are microwave-safe. Some take-out trays and yogurt tubs are made from a kind of plastic that can leach chemicals into food at high temperatures. Avoid reheating in plastic containers that aren't designated microwave-safe.
Bagged lettuces and vegetables
Consider bags of baby spinach and other salad greens a shopping-list staple. For longest shelf life, buy prewashed greens in single-variety bags (the fragile leaves in salad mixes spoil first and can ruin the whole package). Combine them with more economical lettuce, such as iceberg, as needed.
Put produce in its place. That generally means either out of the fridge entirely (tomatoes and tropical fruits) or in one of the bottom bins, where the humidity is controlled. When vegetables lose moisture, they get limp and may lose vitamins. Spinach can lose as much as 50 percent of its vitamin C if left out overnight.
Olive, canola, and sesame oil are your healthiest options. If you have all three, you'll be ready for just about any kind of cooking. All are best kept in the refrigerator, because they oxidize when exposed to heat and light. Oxidized oils taste rancid and may release free radicals, which are linked to many health risks. Chilled oils may become cloudy, but they'll clarify at room temperature.
Prepared foods
Packaged meals come in sensible portions -- but with sky-high sodium content. (The bulk of the sodium in the U.S. diet comes from prepared foods, not from what we use in cooking or sprinkle on at the table.) With homemade frozen foods, wrap tightly, label, and date. Meals stored in the freezer should be used within three months.
Whole grains
Brown rice, whole-wheat flour, and oatmeal are the best grains to stock, but they should be kept cold. Unlike refined grains (the white ones), whole grains contain the outer bran as well as the inner seed, or germ. The germ contains some fat. And, like cooking oils, that fat can oxidize at room temperature.
Sweet snacks
When frozen, marshmallows get caramel-chewy and grapes end up tasting like cold gumdrops. Either will give you satisfaction without giving you fat.
When bananas are too speckled to pack in lunch bags, throw them into the freezer unpeeled. The skins will blacken, but the fruit will stay sweet and ripe inside. Blend one with orange juice, berries, and yogurt (no need for ice) for a breakfast smoothie.
Freeze an assortment -- peanuts, pistachios, almonds, and walnuts -- all of which are loaded with antioxidants. Don't worry about the fat. Nuts are mostly made up of monounsaturated fats (the good kind). Like oils, nuts need to be kept cold and out of the light to remain fresh.
Ice cream
A University of Pennsylvania study found that the larger the container, the more careless we are about indulging. Buy ice cream in four-ounce individual servings or pints.
Here is the healthy, high-protein snack that will break you of the potato-chips-before-dinner habit. Edamame (soybeans in their pods) are the best-tasting tofu alternative. Drop them frozen into boiling water for a few minutes, drain, and salt. Serve warm or chilled (with a separate bowl to collect the discarded pods).

It's been a long time since an update, hasn't it?

Second quarter report cards came out, holidays have passed, Battlestar Galactica returned, babysitting accomplished, a new President sworn in. True, I had nothing to do about that last one other than my vote back in November... huh, I guess I can take ~1/59,000,000 of a piece of credit for it, eh?

First, a few links I found interesting:

Traveling with Kids: sometimes I forget the wonderful opportunities available to traveling with kids, especially in the States.

Tips for Travel Savings: A short piece on some actually useful money-saving travel tips.

Let's Treasure the Old Along with the New: a beautifully written commentary by Winton Marsalis.

And I can't embed this, but a youtube video if you haven't seen it already: It's a New Day by

OK, that's done, what've we been up to?

Oh right, report cards. Rebecca improved in just about everything, Jonathon improved a couple spots, Nicholas had a decent upward spring, Katherine is an entity all to herself. Let's just not discuss it, shall we?
Holidays passed. Pongal was last week, so work was off a couple days, the kids had Thursday off, then work was off again on Monday for MLK Day. Next Monday is off as well, Indian Republic Day. We like January in India. January and October are good months for lots of days off.
Battlestar Galactica started up for its final half season. The last cylon revealed. Lots of other info divulged. I was totally with them until the last 5 minutes then had to say... huh? I know they'll do it right, but I'll be sad to see the show end. It's even better than West Wing.
Babysitting went pretty well while the neighbors took a trip to Thailand. There were a few "miscommunications" and I was exhausted by the end, not just from lack of sleep (different house for sleeping at night, always expecting the baby to wake up, etc.) but also from carrying 16+ pounds most of the day, walking back and forth between the houses for naptimes, taking lots of strolls around the compound, etc. You know, baby stuff. I will say that putting her down for naps and nighttime sleep were the easiest parts of the day, and for that I was very grateful. Since she only slept for roughly 1 1/2 hours during the day, bedtime was easy at 8-8:15 and she was good for the night until anywhere between 7 and 9 the next morning. It was nice to have Ian home every day (but Friday), he was such a help and did most of the older kid tending for school snacks/lunches, bedtimes, clearing dinner, and everything in between. She was excited when her parents came back, and so was I, but we were happy to do it for them.
And the Inauguration. I didn't get to see any of the concerts except for what I've pulled from youtube, but we made a point to stay up last night after I returned from Bunco and watch the swearing in and speech live. It was worth it. It was worth it to see all those people and feel the expectation even over the air waves. Truly remarkable. Yes it was big, yes it was a show, yes it was also organized, and secure, and joyful. I was impressed and a touch envious of those who were able to participate in person. Now that President Obama has become a real entity, I'm looking for some t-shirts to commemorate the occasion for the kids. Off to internet shop!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I know I haven't written since Sunday.

With going back to work along with uploading all the tennis photos (sorry, there's like 100 over on Flickr), I just haven't had much time. And Sunday was the most exciting day of tennis even! The ballet was OK, the Pongal party was fun. Wednesday and Thursday of this week are work holidays for Pongal (Thursday only for the kids), I'm taking Friday off, the weekend of course, Monday is another work holiday (kids in school), yet I'm wiped.

With all the holidays, our neighbors are vacationing in Thailand sans their kids which means for the next 4 1/2 days we have 7 kids. The older six kids are no issue, the baby has reminded me it's been 7 years since I've managed an infant. Of course the child who "sleeps through the night" didn't go down until after 10 when her parents left for the airport, then was up at 1 a.m until roughtly 1:40, then slept until almost 9. She's followed her schedule almost exactly since aside from everything being about 2 hours later. We'll see how tonight goes.
With 7 kids in the house, there's a little balancing to be done. Of course school and homework which is a consideration Thursday night and Sunday night so everyone sleeps at their own houses most of the time, there are birthday parties to attend (one today for one kid, a sleepover party Friday night for the two 5th graders, another party on Saturday afternoon, and another Sunday afternoon which won't be attended because it's way the heck out on a day with no driver), there are snacks and lunches to make, P.E. days to remember, and gobs of kids to put to bed at the end of the day.
Thankfully on days when everyone is here (today and the weekend), I get plenty of breaks. Today I managed to hop over to the CGs house for 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra in the morning. I'm blogging while Ian has the kids at the pool and the baby is napping in her crib. When she's awake there are plenty of hands to help change diapers or provide entertainment. Friday will be a challenge for me as I haven't spent an entire day by myself with an infant since Katherine was born (after that there were always siblings around), and then I had Ian home with me since he was working swing shift at the Daily Press. Yup, tomorrow will be a challenge. Monday is up in the air. There's a spa trip planned and I'd like to go, that would leave Ian with the baby a good chunk of the day. While tempting, I think it would be more fun to just hang out, go to lunch and pack everything up before the parents return.
Oh yeah, I wanted to mention what I did yesterday. Since school was in session but the Consulate was closed, a couple friends and I hit a big handicraft fair. There's only one thing that I wish I would have gotten but didn't, and one thing I wanted but wasn't there. I did purchase a load of items that I've been thinking of for a while: Simple bags to hold my crochetting projects; Stretched and painted lamp shades for the kids' rooms back home; Tiger rugs (woolen knotted rugs in the shape of tigers). I also picked up birthday gifts for the upcoming parties, a handbag for Rebecca and a necklace for Katherine for her birthday which were a total score. I can do a lot of damage with 2 hours of shopping but that's my limit. My the time we hit the last stalls I wanted out.
Shopping was followed by lunch at Tangerine, a new place for us with decent food.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Finals

It was long, but worth it. We even bailed out of the ballet early to not miss the first game. I'll write about it all tomorrow though, it's 11:30 p.m. on a school/work night and it's time to sleep.

As Ian asked earlier "When the weekend??" We didn't really have one with how busy it was but thankfully Wednesday and Thursday are holidays for us...

"What to Do in Chennai" = Feast or Famine

We've been going to the Chennai Open all week. Yesterday we had Madras Kids practice from 9-11, lunch at Sparky's from 12-2, Katherine went to a friend's house for a sleepover while Rebecca went to Citi Centre with the neighbors. Becca got home, we packed up and went out to watch semi-finals from 5-8:30. One of the participants hurt his wrist so what should have been 2 singles and a 2 doubles dropped to one singles and one doubles.

Today, the CG is having his Pongal party for the Consulate, that starts in about 30 minutes. Rebecca was out at 9 helping to make name tags for everyone, Katherine will return home with her friend who is going to the party. At 3, the girls and I leave for The Music Academy to see the Navoi Bolshoi Ballet. Now there's a problem since the tennis finals start at 5 and the first match is Cilic vs. Devvarman. It's the one no one wants to miss. The doubles afterwards I can take or leave, makes me wish the schedule was flipped.

Also today is a dog show at University grounds. There's just no way to fit that in, though I know the kids would get a huge kick out of it.

Next weekend? Nothing. Absolutely nothing going on as far as I can tell.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fuel Shortage

We're in the midst of a fuel shortage. Trucks are on strike and oil workers are on strike, so anything that requires being brought in... oh, everything from vegetables to gas... isn't. Stations are closing, and those that still have fuel have very long lines of cars and packed crowds of motorbikes and autos. The Consulate allowed Officers to get 20L a piece, that's about a quarter tank but enough to top us off and hopefully get us through to when fuel is available again. How long can it last?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Doubles Night

It was a long day at the Chennai Open. Since last night's matches were rained out (and we weren't planning on going anyway, we'd given away our tickets), matches went from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m today. We only went for the last 2 doubles matches, so it was fine, but earlier in the day Moya was ousted by Devvaram and Davydenko quit in the middle of the first set due to injury.

Oh, to be in Doha.

The doubles did have a few good minutes, when one call was argued by the players (Paes and Dlouhy), and another time when Leander Paes got angry and whacked a ball intentionally into the highest stands. He lost points for that one.

Photos of the first night of the Open we went to, on Tuesday. Photos of tonight coming up later.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I thought of some things!

There are things I'll miss. There really are!

Cheap tickets. International ballet companies in town? $10 tickets. International tennis tournaments? $200 for 6 sets of tickets for the entire week... second row. Movies? Under $3.00, any show any time.

The weather from Oct/Nov-Jan/Feb. December and January especially. I can describe the weather as "delightful." There's little in Chennai that's delightful... it's frustrating, thought-provoking, confusing, heart-breaking, exhausting, infuriating, humbling, but not delightful.

Assigned seating for everything, especially movies. No jostling, no arriving an hour early. And on-line food orders delivered to your seat. Oh yeah.

Hopefully I can think of some other things before our time here runs out.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3rd, at the beach of course

I remember back to our New Year's celebrations in Manila. One year we went to a water park, and I just really liked the idea of it being warm enough in the first week of January to merit time outdoors and in the water. This year we went back to our "roots" as we made our way finally to the GRT Temple Bay resort (for lunch) and Ideal Beach resort (for play).

We've lived in Chennai for 2 1/2 years and it's the first time we've been to either spot. Temple Bay is right in Mahaballipuram, a temple town. There are those in our extended community (Consulate, school, etc.) who go to the beach, a beach, any beach, every weekend and yet this was our first time. How is that even possible? We chose Temple Bay for lunch as we'd heard it had better food than Ideal Beach, and it didn't disappoint with it's Lobster Fest... lobster bisque, lobster pasta, yum. We sat by the beach with the wind whipping around, and not far in the distance the Shore Temple was visible.
The Shore Temple
Folks meandered by along the beach, with the surf crashing on the shore. It seems that none of the resorts "own" any part of the beach, so locals wander the beach, hawking their wares and chatting up the visiting Europeans. There's one thing I can't wrap my mind around, and that's the tourist ability to wear bikinis and tight little Speedos even in a conservative area as Tamil Nadu. I wouldn't go so far as to enter the ocean fully dressed, as the Indians we see in their button shirts or full saris, but I also prefer to stay mostly dressed while watching the kids. But then I also don't walk around the city in shorts or skimpy tops, and there are plenty of foreigners who do.
Anyway, the food was good. We were "daycationing" with our neighbors, so there was plenty to chat about. Temple Bay, as I said, is a popular spot, especially for those who live on the East Coast Road (ECR) which a lot of school families do. The resort is roughly an hour from our house, so for many of the families it's just a hop and skip. One family (teacher at the school and a microfinance guy) had a lovely bungalow right by the beach. One of Katherine's friends arrived just as we finished lunch. And the same thing happened at Ideal Beach (5 minutes away) when Nicholas found a friend from school. There are only so many places to go, it's no surprise we run into so many familiar faces.
Since we weren't guests at Temple Bay, the pool and beach access weren't open to us. The pool is lovely, though on the small side, and you already heard my thoughts on the beach. Temple Bay had a yellow flag up and Ideal Beach had a red, so swimming isn't really an option anywhere along the coast. The riptide is quite dangerous all year round.
Ideal Beach is covered with palm trees with hammocks strung between them, and thatch roof cabanas. My biggest issue was that rather than beach chairs or loungers, the beach is littered with blue and white plastic chairs, like what you'd see at a picnic. Not comfortable for watching the kids, sunning or sitting for more than 10 minutes. There were loungers by the pool, but none on the beach. Of course none of that mattered to the kids who were just thrilled to be on the sand again. Our kids adore playing at the beach. If they could spend every vacation at the beach, they'd be happy as, well, clams. They dash in the waves (just up to their calves and even that knocked them down a few times), dig in the sand, bury people, the usual.
They don't bat an eye when passing Indians stop to take their photos.
They also pick up dead fish that wash ashore and treat them like pets, try to catch the crabs that dare to poke their heads out of their holes, and ask to pet the goats that wander by. What's not to love about the beach?
We visited the pool for a bit too. The kids swam then washed up, and it was time to go home. We'd like to go to Temple Bay for an overnight stay before we leave Chennai. It's a lot nicer overall than Ideal Beach (which has a run-down feeling, though the rooms at Ideal Beach are in lovely old style buildings), and Temple Bay seems to have an enormous amount of construction going on.
The trip down the ECR has attractions as well, some old, some new:
-Of course there's Dizzy World and the Crocodile Bank. Rebecca has been to Dakshina Chitra numerous times on class trips. I would still like to go.
-We passed something called a "Tiger Park" which, from the road, appears to be exactly as it's named... an enclosure with large mounds as a tiger home, and absolutely nothing else around it but a parking area, some scrub and off a ways the beach. Odd.
-Another spot was marked off as an archaelogical dig. Nothing on the sign about what was being dug up, and as Ian noted, it was right next to a thatch roofed village... a conflicting expenditure of cash as we're glad the history is being preserved and yet people live in relative squalor right next door.
-ECR has loads of plant nurseries, one of which we'll be visiting soon to buy roses. Katherine has asked to grow roses for her birthday and I'm thrilled to comply. She can keep as many as she wants on the enclosed porch. She saw the painted pots along the road as well, so we'll try to pick some of those up for her roses.
-An antique shop called "Treasures" caught my eye. We bought a piece from Collections Unique further down the road a while ago, it carries large and heavy pieces. Gorgeous, but heavy. You know how we feel about heavy in the State Department. But Treasures seems to have smaller pieces and the shop looked inviting.
Our last stop was at Emilio's Gelateria, right across from the VGP Golden Beach Resort. Apparently there's one also in Mylapore, which would be a whole lot more convenient! We stopped for some much needed gelato and it did not disappoint. I was worried the place wouldn't get much business where it's situated, but several families came in after us so it looks like it might survive. That's a good thing as the store was clean and bright, the gelato was tasty and cheap (Rs532 for 4 waffle cones with mint chocolate ice cream, 2 waffle bowls with double scoops and toppings), the staff was pleasant and competent, and they had a cold stone. I don't even know what a cold stone is for, but it was nifty.
Emilio's Gelateria
The worst thing about the trip? The drive. Driving on ECR is harrowing, terrifying, nerve racking, etc. It's not a nice drive, it's not a fun drive. Several times we drove into oncoming traffic. Ian buried his face in a magazine and tried his best to ignore it all, and I don't blame him one bit. Have I mentioned how awful it is? We did make it back in one piece and had a thoroughly enjoyable day for the hassle. The best way to spend the 3rd of January... at the beach, eating ice cream, with friends.
Sunday we had our normal day until walking back from lunch and haircuts at the Park Sheraton, a bright yellow Lamborghini drove past. A year ago we were happy to have speed bumps put in around our neighborhood. Then mysteriously they were removed a few months later. Have you seen the clearance on a Lamborghini? It's about 6 inches. It's now apparent why the bumps were razed... a moderately influential somebody or other got a new toy and didn't want it scratched, which means people tear through our neighborhood again. Priorities people. Honestly, there's no way I'd drive a car like that in Chennai in the first place.
Off to bed for me. Tomorrow I'll update the front page. If I remember.