Saturday, April 25, 2009

Virginia times

Ian and I are in the States to buy a house, the kids are in Chennai skipping school. Something about Tamil Tigers and bahnds closed school on Thursday and Friday was already a day off. I wouldn't really know what's going on over there because my children have not yet sent us any e-mail. I'm a tad annoyed at my offspring.

We set out to see houses on Wednesday morning. It's now Friday evening and we've picked one. We have a contract.

I don't like the pink carpeting either. The house will do for the next few years.

Around house hunting we have eaten at Olive Garden, Arby's and Fuddruckers. It's pretty much all we've had time for, catching lunches out between seeing houses, talking about houses, talking about house finances, looking at house papers. See a trend? The inspection is on Tuesday. Cross your fingers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Compare and Contrast

Chennai Weather - 19 April 2009: heat index 102, low 81, humidity 75%

Washington DC - 19 April 2009: heat index 73, low 51, humidity 33%

Do you think we'll notice a 30 degree difference??

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Susan Boyle is making the rounds.

I can't embed this since youtube (or someone) disabled it, but here's the link.

You should watch.

This one is worth watching too.

(Of course the music to that bit of opera makes me cry every time anyway, even without the words)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Two birds, one hand

There's a movie coming out: Food, Inc. I really want to see it. Here's the start of the blurb:

With a constituency limited to anyone who eats, "Food, Inc." is a civilized horror movie for the socially conscious, the nutritionally curious and the hungry. Yes, it has a deceptively cheery palette, but helmer Robert Kenner's doc -- which does for the supermarket what "Jaws" did for the beach -- marches straight into the dark side of cutthroat agri-business, corporatized meat and the greedy manipulation of both genetics and the law.

Tack that on to the fact that I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. She wrote a wonderful account of their year of living off their Appalachian land and the produce of their neighbors. Now I'm really looking forward to digging in a garden, one that will feed us even minimally.

I figure that to be realistic we won't be able to become locavores right off the bat, but keeping our purchases to, say, the U.S. only shouldn't be so hard. Then we can look at Virginia itself. We're not a hard-pressed state when it comes to feeding ourselves, and I'm rather looking forward to the challenge.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Other stuff from this past week.

Here and there, random stuff during Spring Break.

We stopped at Focus to get some pieces framed and managed to forget the really cool thing I wanted framed. It will have to come with me when I pick up the first set. I don't want to say what it is until I have a photo to show, it's really that cool.
We also stopped by the church to get the First Communion certificates from last year stamped with a SanThome seal. This is an errand I've put off for months because I knew it would be a colossal pain in the tushie. A couple months ago I e-mailed the church without too much hope of a reply and was moderately shocked when a parish priest e-mailed me back within a week and stated I could bring in the certificates any day during their office hours along with a printout of the e-mail and it would be no problem. I didn't believe it for a second, but this week, armed with the e-mail and the certificates, Rebecca and I ventured out.
At 10 a.m., there was a parish priest in the office. That alone was a surprise. There was no one else there to create an extensive wait and I didn't even need to show the e-mail. He perused the certificates (it wasn't a priest I was familiar with), stamped them each and sent us on our way. Fifteen seconds, tops. We were in a bit of a shock. And now it's done.
On Saturday I went out with a friend to the Asiana Hotel spa. With limited days left in India it's time to take stock of all the good things here and take full advantage of them. Spa "treatments" and pedicures and resorts and cheap eats. Good friends and leisure time. All these will be in short supply in a mere 9 weeks. Kelly and I jaunted over to the Asiana on Saturday morning and after a stint in the steam room adjourned to our respective "treatment" rooms. I had hot rocks. I don't know how the little Thai chick can manage it because those rocks are really really hot and though they only touched me in steady sweeps she held them in her hands. Ouch. It was a great 90 minutes of relaxation.
We had lunch by the pool and contemplated swimming but chose instead to go home and nap before Poker night. Our neighbor was hosting and we ended with 12 players and 2 tables. Though I played well at the beginning and only threw away one good hand, I still wound up at the losers table and was third out there. It was after midnight and I'd already thrown away 4 or 5 winning hands so it was no surprise. Ian came in third at the winner's table, so he had a better night. We had a good group last night, a bunch of people we really enjoy spending time with. I'm going to miss that.
This morning we actually had to get up for church, and we were all so tired. The kids had stayed up quite late too, some of them watched some poker and a movie and didn't crash until after 11. Our neighbor's baby had her baby blessing, so we attended the local Mormon service and stayed for the first hour; Mormon services typically run 3 hours, 3 sections in one hour blocks. It was interesting to attend, though I missed Palm Sunday Mass.
We had a celebratory lunch at Sparky's. Some would say, why not go to the lovely brunch at the Marriott or some other high end place? We like Sparky's because of Thom Petty, the owner. I know it's his job to schmooze and befriend everyone who walks through the door, but I'd like to think we're folks he calls friends. I already have a going away gift in mind, if only I can find it! Wish me luck.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spriiiiiing Breaaaaaak!

I <3 Spring Break.

Last Friday was my last day of work, and this week I'm home with all the kids. Next week too. I'm "working" more at home than I ever did at the office, which is pretty typical IMO.

The girls went to the dentist for cleanings on Monday, Katherine is scheduled to get her chipped tooth repaired next Monday. The boys went to the dentist for cleanings on Tuesday, Nicholas has decided it would be OK to get his front tooth adjusted, provided the cure is invisible to anyone who looks at him. I'll bring him with me on Monday for Katherine's appointment so the ped dentist can give him the rundown. The only thing, well.. there are a couple of things... is that he doesn't have all his adult teeth yet because his mouth hasn't stopped growing, and the process takes a few months of which we don't have. Decisions decisions. We could finish it at home, but who knows how much that would run us. His front tooth is pretty crooked though. And Jonathon needs one more cleaning in May, because he's terrible about brushing his teeth and his mouth is very crowded. Ah, the dentist.

This week we've gone to Citi Centre for Subway and to let the kids run around FunCity. Today I took them out to Cream Centre for a veg lunch. They have great sizzling brownie sundaes.
We've been swimming every day, even me. I'm trying to get in some laps each time and feeling better for it. I bought an awesome Speedo last year and finally broke it in. It covers my entire back and zippers! This one, actually, the Waterpolo Flipturns. No, I don't play water polo, but it's everything I want... a one-piece that covers my back. Do you know how hard it is to find one?
Rebecca has been working on her dives and starts. A friend here has some awesome goggles that she can actually dive in, I'm looking to purchase her a pair for the summer. The boys are getting better with their swimming too, a little less splashing going on.
So far though, the best part of spring break was last Saturday when we went to the beach and watched Olive-Ridley turtles hatch. You can see photos of the hatchlings on our Flickr page. It's something we'd never be allowed to do in the States without strict guidelines and perhaps a two adult per child rule. But this is India and I think at worst one little turtle was severely traumatized. I have to admit that when you pile a bunch of gray turtles in a basket, or watch 100 little turtles scuttle across the sand, they look kind of creepy. Like giant headed spider things. But in order to be proper, I'll proclaim an individual hatchling as cute. Kind of.
Next week we're off to Fisherman's Cove for a little R&R. Let's hope Ian is functional by then. He's spent 2 days this week practically comatose and that's no fun at the beach.