Monday, January 31, 2011

Blender story

So G loves Idli. And when we got married, he told me lovingly how he would appreciate idli for dinner. The loving wife that I am, went about procuring the batter from our Desi store. And every once in a while, we would have hot piping idlis for dinner and sometimes dosa too. Soon, I got bored because Idli making is very tedious to me and we cannot have it sans sambhar and chutney, so the amount of work is more.

So, our frequency started dwindling, but G didn't really complain to me. It so happened that my mother visited us and the loving MIL that she is, she had to make every single dish her SIL likes. So she set about making the idlis, much to my irritation. (My Mom loves to make things G likes, almost hardly making things I like, what is up with that??) And I was suitably admonished for not feeding the husband what he loves the most. Argghhh..so the process started again. Then came in my friend ART, who made matters worse by telling us that idli batter is easy to make and the outcome better than perfect. More arghh, so we set about getting the rice and dals.
Finally the batter was made and we realised taste was definitely better. So I gave in and resigned to my fate. Why couldn't the man just be happy with pasta in marinara sauce? O well!
The story above is a build up to my new love, if you are wondering where the post is going.
We had been using a Black and Decker blender to make the batter, but the blender couldn't be bothered with such a tedious process. So after about 5 batter making exercises, it decided to call it quits.

This actually worked out well for us and we set about to buy a better blender to get the rice to a fine-er paste. (I did try my food processor, but it just didn't give the same result).
So we got the Kitchen Aid blender, here's a link from Amazon.
I have been using this blender for almost a year now and I am really satisfied.
I had a Black and Decker before, but it just didn't get the batter done properly, which by far is the most difficult item I have tried to grind. It does the whole 'grinding' action really well. And at almost a Horse Power, it gets the job done efficiently.
Pros:
1. the jar is made of polycarbonate, and not glass, making it lighter to handle and easier to clean.
2. the cord can be neatly tucked away.
3. Super easy to clean, no hidden crevices in the base.
4. Crushes ice and makes smoothies as easily.

Cons:
1. It is noisy and if you have little kids, they can get scared.
2. I don't think it has an automatic shut off if it over heats, or I haven't experienced it yet.

Bottom line, it's a great blender and definitely affordable. Kitchen aid's products are not always supreme quality, but this comes fairly close.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Emails and spouses

So this whole spouses reading each others email and texts is bothering me. ALOT!

Before I begin, G and I don't check each others emails or phones. If the spouse wants the me to read something, then it's different.

So, these days I am finding it very hard to email a few of my friends. They are married and their spouses regularly check my friends emails and read emails that are not addressed to them. When I write my mails, I am writing with the satisfaction and knowledge that I am pouring my heart out to my friend. Even if it's not a sniff-sniff kinda email, if they are just forwards, why should someone, other than the person I am addressing my email to, read them? Isn't it a breach of my trust? I find it even more humiliating if I am not even informed that there could be other people reading my emails.

So this SIL informs me casually that every morning she checks her emails and then her husbands, who is my cousin. And I am like WTH??? I send emails to my brother and not to you right? I didn't say anything to her, obviously. I brought it up with the brother. "Well what can I do? She is my wife, she will read my emails".

In another instance, everytime I write to my friend, and even if her husband is not copied on it, he will reply. Thankfully he tells me it is he, else I would wonder where all the macho-ism was coming from. But when I asked her, she said she told him to write back to me. But I wasn't sharing my concerns with him, why did you have to tell him about it?

So then I started to wonder, is it just G and I who don't invade each other's privacy? Does being married mean that you have to share all your friends secrets, jokes , problems with your spouse? That just seems so unfair to the other friends. Does it bother anyone else?

If someone writes an email to me, I can guarantee you, no one other than me will read it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's a boy thing

I had heard from quite a few people that there is a huge difference between boys and girls and these differences become apparent at a very young age.
I find it very interesting. And we have noticed the differences between M n N through the year. And least someone out there starts thinking that I am partial to either one, kick yourself first before you even entertain the thoughts.

M started out being the bigger baby by 2 oz i.e., but in baby terms those are a lot. Fairly soon, I think within the first month, N over took her.
M has always been more demure and gentle. She touches things with her fingers as opposed to N to uses his entire palm and it is not a touch but a bang.
M reached most milestones before N, except of turning over. N did that first.
N likes to copy his sister. He will do a trick only if M does it, and more likely than not do what she is doing rather than what we are doing.
If N is sleepy, he'll just fall asleep where ever he is, but Madam M, needs to be in her crib, her blanket etc etc.
N is easier to feed than M most times.
N is more curious about things that are not toys.

A lot of times I get the feeling that N is not listening to me. He is just looking at me, but not listening to what I am saying. Just like his Dad or my Dad or your Husband right? I guess it starts out from a really early age ;)

I have been thinking that I am not blogging or recording the things that M n N do often enough. Like the other day, G said to me that N is becoming the light sleeper and I was like, he's always been and brushed him off. G was surprised how I had forgotten the most important criteria that had prompted us to move the kids into their own room. It was because M was a light sleeper and she would wake up all the time. I was aghast. I am beginning to forget things which are not even a month old? So I am trying to make a conscious effort to write about them more.

Piloting a change

It was bitter sweet, I had tears when I read this. Wanted to share.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And so we went to India

(Looong post alert!!)
High time I recapped my trip. For M's sake atleast.

So M and I went to India around the thanksgiving weekend last year. It was going to be a short two week visit. So this was the first time M was going to fly and I was, to put it gently, petrified. I didn't know how M would be, how I would be and how the follow passengers would tolerate us. I had been reading as many online resources as possible, talking to all and sundry. Finally it was decided that I definitely needed a bassinet seat, new toys, pacifier (for when the plane took off and landed) and all the other essentials. I had even armed myself with infant benadryl with the recommended dosage in hand.
So the day come, after tearful good byes to Daddy G and Baby N, we got checked in and had some time to kill before boarding. So M and I started roaming around the really pretty terminal D on DFW airport. Close to boarding time, I gave M the benadryl to help her sleep in the plane. (Yes come on judge me, hurl your stones and call me names, see if I care) Just then my sister called and she just said in passing sometimes benadryl backfires and kids get hyper and I said yeah I guess it could happen. So happily and with some difficulty M n I sat down on my seat.
As the plane started taxing, I gave M a bottle to prevent her ears from popping. Once the plane was in the air, M decided this was the best time to show all she had learned in the past 11 months. So we started to play and we played some more. I started getting sleepy..coz you know that's what we do on a plane. But M had decided that wasn't going to nap. So the whole Benadryl thing..completely true. It does backfire *sometimes*!!!! The plane ride was pretty good, the bassinet was pretty useless, M wasn't comfy in it at all. But we didn't mind it, M or I.
On our AMS to DEL flight, we met the best fellow traveler ever. I have forgotten her name and that really sucks and have misplaced the phone number :( She was very helpful and although none of my fellow passengers, in the same row, had kids, they were all very helpful with M and M wasn't howling or screaming either. In the entire flight, M cried once and this was when I was catching my 2nd flight, she was super duper hungry by then and I had to do the security check and the water was thrown away, so I couldn't make formula till we boarded. Poor girl was just not happy and rightly so. But those 15 minutes were all my champion cried.
My friend commented later that we tend to underestimate our kids..they are pretty happy in most situations.

Delhi was as usual wonderful. Just being with my parents and M getting so much love and being pampered by her G Parents. Of course we shopped and again M was a trooper, she would hang out in her baby bjorn sling. BTW, strollers are not useful in Indian markets like Lajpat in Delhi or Crawford and Santa Cruz in Bombay.
I ate a lot!!! All kinds of chaat, Chinese, S. Indian, Pizza, not so much Mughlai (I wasn't keen on it), sizzlers, Rajasthani food, gujju food. I can't remember if there was anything else that we ate. Kanpur was a thrill, although I was there just for a day to visit my Grand Father and Dad's family there. It was a blast. We were treated with a lot of love and care. My nieces took an instinct liking to M and she loved them too. It all worked out well. G Dad was happy to see us too! Of course ;)
We took a flight from Lucknow to Bombay which was routed through Delhi. I have to add here, Indians are not helpful passengers at all. With an infant, stroller and backup, I had my hands full and I needed time to do things. But the person behind me in the line at the security check, was way too impatient. While I struggled to get my luggage on the conveyor, he huffed and puffed twice behind me. I turned around and gave him the apologetic smile, that I have begun to use when I start feeling guilty about inconveniencing people. But he just ignored it and went ahead of me. HOW RUDE! This happened a couple of times, at least. And the worst thing, no one offers to help! But there was something really nice about traveling in Kingfisher airlines. The air hostesses are super sweet and my baby won them over. The food is super excellent, something the US internal flights could learn from. And I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for the tickets, plus they didn't charge me for baggage! Beat that over priced, charging for baggage US Airlines.
Bombay is a joy always, we are treated like royalty and we gorged on some of the most delicious street food and home food and not-street food. Great fun! M won the hearts of her Uncle and Auntie and she got to play with all kinds of incredible musical toys. What a joy!
Then we traveled to Jabalpur for my cousin's wedding. This time, I wasn't worried about the train journey, though it was long. 18 hours. The one challenge is using the restroom, where do you park your kid?? But M and I mastered that too! We had a side birth and that is not fun. It's very narrow and M was not happy and neither was I. So she just slept on me. It seemed most convenient. It wasn't the most comfortable journey, but we had fun. M on her second train ride (first was from DEL to KNP). The best part was drinking 'station wali chai'. The best chai there is right!
The wedding was a blast! Met every single member of my family, but 3. How amazing is that? So many new faces, so many old, some new wrinkles, some grey hair, a few extra pounds, a few less pounds. But hearts? Still the same! Big and full of love! M and I were loved and showered like nobody's business. And the best part about traveling with your parents? They will happily look after your kid, even willing take her from you, while you go socialising with the family. My cousin M who was getting married, looked super dashing and a beautiful, smiling bride he had. Again we had amazing food on both the days and then we bid adieu to the family. A very sad good bye.
This train journey was pretty much the same, except, Mom and I gossiped and we had puri and aloo sabzee with chai. Got me super duper nostalgic and happy. But I have to say, these Air-conditioned coaches take the fun out of traveling in a train. To me a train ride is always associated with looking outside the window, and having the air on your face. Calling out to vendors when the train stops and eating all kinds of delicious goodies and buying novels. O well, being climatically conditioned with the heater or cooler isn't that bad either I guess :D
I was very sad to part from my parents, they were even more sad to see M go. She on the other hand was just hanging out in her stroller. My flight to AMS was delayed by 3 hours, which we got to know on reaching the airport. I nonetheless checked in and strolled around the spanking new international terminal in DEL airport. Is it good or is it beautiful. I hadn't had a chance to have McVeggie burger, I greedily had one. M just dozed in the stroller, it was all b/w 12 - 4 am after all. Of course when we boarded the flight, the entire flight was sleepy and M and I were in dream world within a matter of seconds. This time too I made a mad dash to get to mu second flight, since the first flight had been late, we made it just as the security check was happening. KLM flight attendants suck BTW. And EU has very strict policies about carrying liquids on board. Unlike US and India, I couldn't take even water for formula. But they are happy about letting you wear shoes! Haha. O well.
This flight was mostly empty, so M and I stretched out in 5 seats...well we needed only 2, but we had 5 at our disposal!! M played around some, ate some and then fell asleep. When she did, for the first time in 3 flights, I found myself wide awake and nothing to do, so I switched on the in flight entertainment. On the previous 3 flights, I just didn't know where the time went and with M being on my lap, it was hard to eat let alone watch something. So I saw bits and pieces of "Despicable Me". Really cool movie.
We landed in Dallas, in the afternoon on a Sunday. I couldn't wait to unite with the other half of my family. Our very good friend S also came to the airport to receive us. N played it cool, he didn't laugh, grin or cry when he saw me. I on the other hand was a crying mess. They played more cool with each other, M didn't go about hugging N or vice versa. They just got back to playing and within a few minutes fighting. Such an anti climax :D
Our friend A came over with a cake and food. That was super thoughtful.
After everyone had left, I went to take a shower and give M a bath. Because no matter where you go, the best shower head is always at home :)

PS: M didn't have any trouble sleeping with me when in India, or sleeping without me when we got back.
We were completely healthy in India. Yes we did take precautions, but I ate at roadside thelas and such with not a care.
KLM's food while coming back is better than while going.
Some people need to learn manners.
I have super co-operative kids.
G is the best Dad and an even better husband.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Walmart

Everybody knows the convenience of Walmart. If you cannot find it anywhere, you are sure to find it in Walmart, and there is a good chance it will be pretty inexpensive too.

Some history about me and walmart :
I have always disliked shopping there. For numerous reasons, I am not snooty nosed, I just dislike dirty stores and most of the walmarts i have been to are dirty. Then, there is never anyone you can ask questions to. Not a person in sight and if there is someone, chances are they are on a break and will tell you as much and not tell you where the commodity you are looking for is. On multiple occasions I have bought produce from Walmart and upon arrival home discovered that there is rotten onion or strawberry lurking on the inside of the bag or box. The last thing is they never have enough check out lines open. It will take me 15 minutes to shop but about 30 minutes to check out, does that seem fair?

So despite all this, we do go to walmart, but now it is limited to getting frozen or canned foods that we might be looking for and baby supplies. So this past weekend we went to walmart, looking for some baby items and then some. Now first of all, our Walmart has gone through re shelving, things are not in their usual place. So it takes us a little time to get the things we need. Of course there is no one to ask any questions so G n I just have to figure it out on our own. So after 45 minutes or so of looking for the items on our list, we were ready to check out. As always there were exactly 5 counters open and out of the 8 self check out kiosk 3 were working. So G looked for the shortest line and stood waiting for our turn with the cashier.
O by the way, Murphy's law always applies to us. Just as we were getting our shopping done, M started crying intermittently, we rushed through the rest and I started to stroll around with the kids while G waited in the check out line. M's cries were growing louder by the minute. So G and I swapped places and he decided to take the kids to the car and feed them.
Now, I swapped places with G at 7:42, G had already stood in the line a good 10 minutes by then. While I was waiting my turn I started looking around at the other cashiers. All of them seemed to be working at breakneck speeds and the lines seemed to be moving fast. So I looked over to our cashier. And that's when I lost my cool. She must have been checking out 1 item a minute. She was gesturing with both her hands in between scans and giving her gyaan on every item she was scanning. I started getting super annoyed. I think there were 4 carts ahead of me and about 4 behind. The line kept getting longer. The lady behind me saw me fidgeting and said she felt the same way. The cashier was indeed taking forever. So finally my turn came at 8:17. Yes I remember the time, because I wanted to make a point to the woman. She started checking out my stuff and started discussing the item. She made the very intelligent observation that I had babies who were still on formula.
I decided I needed to vent my feelings and I started with how long the lines were. So she stops scanning and starts looking around. At this, I tell her, you probably shouldn't stop, that is what is causing our line to be so long. She didn't get the hint. So I told her that my turn came in over 40 minutes. She completely stopped scanning and looked at me with horror and said what are you trying to say. So I told her what I thought. How if people worked faster, it would be better for everyone. She threw her hands up in the air and goes, I am just doing you a favor here! And I was totally dumb founded. Thankfully all my items had been scanned, I just needed to pay. Which I did. The cashier meanwhile had turned around to talk to another cashier and says to her "these customers are very rude'. The other cashier, looked at her and gave her an understanding nod and continued to scan. My cashier printed my receipt, threw it in my hands and didn't look me in the eye.
I was pretty irritated and tired and not to say late, so I just took my squeaking cart with me and walked away.
Not that such incidents only happen in walmart, they happen in a lot of places. But if you point out, the store people are more polite and don't throw a tantrum that you called them out! My problem is the nonchalance and the fit throwing. Was I wrong to say something to her? Should my expectations be low because it is a low end store? But it's the biggest chain in the world!!

Will I go back to walmart, yes I will. Where else will I go? (Target as good as it, doesn't have a lot of brand options, but I love you target). But their reputation of bad CS continues and I am beginning to wonder, do they not care because it's one of those rare chains that made a profit even in the rescission?

Why do I blog?

Over the past year or so the visitor count to my blog has definitely increased, but I feel like I am talking to an empty phone, you know, how it sounds when your phone rings but there is no sound coming from the caller when you pick the call. Yeah exactly that. For if people are reading, they sure are not responding to my posts.

Then I wondered, if I write to write or write to have read? I guess I write to write mostly, but it would be nice to get some feed back. To know if someone out there faces the same dilemmas or total joy as I feel.

The point of this post it not to get people to comment, it's just a mulling session. Or maybe it is to get you to respond..I am sneaky ;)

I have a brand new post coming up next!!! Stay tuned.