Monday, November 29, 2010

moving, again

We found an apartment and signed for it yesterday so today we move, again! It is a really nice quiet three bedroom flat, with a couple of balconies, and extremely pleasant. It is in a complex of highrises with a big green area in the center for the kids to run around and even some playgrounds, too! It's away from the center of town, but only a cab ride away so we still have the option to come in for sightseeing, shopping, or whatever.

We are excited to settle in (and live out of dresser drawers instead of suitcases for the first time since August!), but it will be sad to leave the community of people here at the guesthouse. We have met such interesting folks here, many of whom are volunteering at various homes or shelters around the city and they come back with interesting tales and perspectives to share in the evenings. We intend to keep in touch with those who are here for longer visits.

I don't have any new exciting photos to post today but I did not want to leave you with nothing, so here is a shot of the kids and I outside of P-roc's place in Brooklyn the last time we moved, just about 10 days ago. We were about to get in the cab to JFK and saying goodbye to everyone who came to see us off at brunch (including Judy B. whom I hadn't seen for maybe 13 years!). It was a lot colder there:

We'll be back once we get internet hooked up in our new place, hopefully by tomorrow!


So far we have avoided the notorious "Dehli-belly" but we've each been taking turns with "Kolkatta cold-and-cough" (I just made up that term. Seems like everyone around the guesthouse has had a cold sometime in the last week, so I guess it fits).
Here's hoping it doesn't last too long.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"auto" ride

This is an autorickshaw (photo credit):
The kids have been begging to ride in one and today we finally did! It had bright lights on in the interior and the driver cranked up the volume in our honor. Zooming through the city with the music blasting was as if we had our own Bollywood soundtrack.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Our room has a fireplace. The other day they went around the guesthouse handing out wool blankets for every guest.
It's been in the mid-90's Fahrenheit (35C) the last few days.

Friday, November 26, 2010

we'll be needing a truckload more of those wet wipes, aunt jerah

No, we were not playing in the dirt and nope, he did not spend an hour rolling around a NY subway car.
This is how BR looked after two short hours of apartment-hunting.
(btw, the rest of us looked fine. He just has dirt-attracting super powers, I guess.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today we are thankful for many things...
...good health and a nice clean place to sleep,
...a chance to rest today (while Jeremy is off apartment-hunting without us) and a better night's sleep,
...not having to worry about meals or laundry (at the moment I am not responsible for either, but as a general rule, we have no actual worries about either), in bloom,

(look, hibiscus!)

...plenty of exotic trees to sit under,

...brave explorer-hooligans, and friends and family who care about their well-being and happiness,

...a calm place to retreat from the hustle and bustle,
(Okay, so this photo does not do this avenue justice. It happened that just as I stepped out to photograph the street outside the guesthouse, there was barely any traffic--no rickshaws or bikes at all, and few pedestrians. But I did not have a chance to stick around because one of the beggars who camps outside the gate spotted me. To get a better idea, of a Cairo street except with streetcars and tons of bikes and people living on the sidewalk.)

...and last but not least, a [new Thanksgiving tradition?] bucket baths/sibling water fights!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

for Leia, the lover of leaves

day 2

The grounds at our guesthouse:

Isn't it lovely? So much nicer than a regular city hotel and they provide meals for us, too.

We met up with the broker today and took a look at a few available rentals. We got to see some of the areas of the city this way and that was really interesting. Lucky for us, the weather is gorgeous, in the high 80's (31C) and very pleasant, so driving in a cab for a few hours is not bad. (Well, besides the fact that no one obeys any of the traffic signals at ALL. They might as well not exist--terrifying!)
Today, the time difference* is hitting us all hard and none of us slept more than a few hours last night. The kids were as cheerful as could be all morning, though, so we really shouldn't complain. There was one moment around 3:30 this morning, however, when BR burst into tears. I tried to find out what was wrong, but he was inconsolable for a good while. We finally were able to make out what he was saying in between sobs: "It's because you said there is no cheese in India!"
(*correction to what I said yesterday: Kolkata time= ET + 10.5 hours, which means MT + 12.5 hrs.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We are here! We arrived safe and sound and on schedule at around 1am this morning.

We left JFK around 4pm on Sunday and after 30 hours of travel (including 17 of flight time), we finally arrived at the guest house and went to sleep to the sound of the call to prayer Tuesday morning (Indian time--which is 12.5 hours ahead of the US, fyi). The travel was completely uneventful and I have absolutely no "good stories" out of it at all. I hate to say it, but it was almost easy. The first flight to Germany was easier than some flights I have taken by myself! The kids were perfect angels, we all stayed healthy, we took a few naps and watched a few cartoons and drank juice and it was all as thrilling as they had hoped it would be.
The only real fun thing was that after going through passport control and collecting all of our bags (yup, all of them), we exited the airport and found ourselves among a crowd of thousands. It was probably around 3am at that point, but everyone there was dressed in their Sunday best (as it were) to greet relatives returning from the Hajj. It was impressive. A guard with a machine gun cleared a path for us and with the kids piled up on top of our baggage carts, we made our way through somehow. (Oh man, I wish I had photos of that scene. You will all just have to try to picture it in your minds...)
We drove through the empty night streets and arrived at the guesthouse which is, incidentally, next door to the Missionaries of Charity "Mother House" (Mother Teresa, I mean). We had not realized we would be quite that close!
Stacy and Page, you will like this: as soon as we got out of the van, the kids were looking out at the lawn and said, "Hey mom, look! It's a possum. Or a mouse? Or...what is that?" Ack! But hey, at least it was outside, right?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

L. found a heart-shaped leaf the other day

and then she wanted to share it with her sister.

"Look, Mom! We love each other!"

more surgery on Sunday

One Day...

...until we go!

We're feeling ready. Well, ready to go so we can stop talking about going. BR has been especially impatient these last few weeks. Anytime we put our shoes on to go outside he whines, "NOW are we going to India?"

The girls, for their part, are most excited about the prospect of unlimited juice on the flight. Hey, they're easy to please.
We discovered this amazing playground on our way back from Jerah's Dacha some weeks ago. Have you ever seen anything so cool?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

more poetry on Wednesday

We are thinking a lot these days about learning and growth and change. Our poetry selection this week by Emanuel di Pasquale. (check out more at Kris')

The Sun Has a Tail

The sun has a tail
that reaches under the earth
and tickles seeds.
That's what grandmother
once told me.
She says things grow
in laughter.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010


one week from today!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

in case you hadn't noticed...

...this is not one of those blogs where you get to see how perfectly decorated my home is with all-coordinated and carefully chosen pieces of handcrafted Scandinavian furnishings, to go along with my half dozen impeccably behaved children who wear only the clothes I lovingly sew for them in all my spare time while they are taking archery lessons.

No, instead we bring you inspiring images such as these of our 10x10 living/dining/homeschooling/third bedroom area.
Well, it was 10x10 but then we had to move that table and all those chairs and the futon in, silly us. Now, there is a very narrow 6 inch-wide space you can (maybe) squeeze through to get to the kitchen, but only if the futon is folded up and pushed all the way up to the wall.

In that first image, you might also notice the discarded IKEA furniture cart on the floor. Someone had been using it to haul around cleaning supplies before breakfast (of course). And that toddler carrying his own (full) cereal bowl toward the laptop...what could go wrong there?

In case you don't believe me about the 6 inches thing, here's another angle as proof:

But guess what? There is something those bloggers do not have hanging on their livingroom wall:

It is a "no poisonous salamanders allowed" sign, of course.

(Oh wait. Does that mean we do coordinate after all...? )

L.'s going to laugh all weekend about this one, i have a feeling

Calvin always cracks us up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

kid quotes

My pillow leaks. Over breakfast A. took a look at my pajamas and asked me why I "keep growing feathers."

BR: "Mommy, call the police! Ahmaree called me a stinky boy!"

an autumn weekend in nyc

Last Saturday, we visited with B & C and they made us banana pancakes (yum!).

A. enjoyed climbing all over Billy

over and over

and over again.

hi Oola!

Then on Sunday morning, we watched the marathoners as they came through our neighborhood.
The kids took photos.

our new friend Seana (in the blue coat) came to help us cheer them on. We were so inspired to get up and run, but then we decided to camp out in front of the donut shop and munch on bavarian cremes instead.
Look at these guys! They are so amazing! (the shot on the right are the elite male runners--they were so fast it was hard to get a good shot of them).

We were all ready to kick back and relax on Sunday evening, but then this happened:
That is a picture of me prepping Jer for "stitches."
He gashed his head on a very sharp thing but it just so happened we had some dermabond on hand. Lucky me, I got to play doctor. (Yuck. Some of us don't actually like blood, you know!) The barrettes are my improv way of keeping his hair back so it didn't get (too much) glue in it.
It is healing quite nicely and I am expecting my medical license in the mail any minute now (that's all it takes to earn one of those, right?).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knitted Things

It is Poetry Wednesday again and Kris has a great one up today. Here is L.'s selection for this week, by Karla Kuskin.

There was a witch who knitted things:
Elephants and playground swings.
She knitted rain,
She knitted night,
But nothing really came out right.
The elephant had just one tusk
And night looked more
Like dawn or dusk.
The rain was snow
And when she tried
To knit an egg
It came out fried.
She knitted birds with button holes
And twenty rubber butter rolls.
She knitted blue angora trees.
She purl stitched countless purple fleas.
She knitted a palace in need of a darn.
She knitted a battle and ran out of yarn.
She drew out a strand
Of her gleaming, green hair
And knitted a lawn
Till she just wasn't there.

this is for you, Gramom

The girls are learning to swim! This first shot is of A. swimming across the pool, with a little help from her dad.

Here is L. in the red cap doing her "dolphin leap" then swimming to her daddy (yellow cap, tee hee)

In other news, L. learned how to ride a bike over the summer. Age 6 has been big for her!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

BR's take on fatherhood

To distract him from wrecking the livingroom and head-butting his sisters, I scooped up BR and started telling him a story this evening. Well, I wanted him to be part of the story-telling process, too:

Me: "Once upon a time there was a little boy. He grew up and became a..."
Him: "Daddy."
Me. "Right, a daddy. And so he did a lot of fun stuff and took his kids to Coney Island and--"
Him: "He did a lot of work." (Clearly, he wanted to take this story in a different direction than I was headed, but I decided to roll with it.)
Me: "Oh, yeah, work. Ok, he worked at..."
Him: "He did work and more work and more work at his doctor's office."
Me: "O-kay..."
Him: "And he took people's blood."
Me: "Ha! What else did he do?"
Him: "And he threw stuff in the trash."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

everyone loves poems about anthropomorphic punctuation

by Douglas Florian

Do commas have mommas
Who teach them to pause,
Who comfort and calm them,
And clean their sharp claws?
Who tell them short stories
Of uncommon commas
And send them to bed
In their comma pajamas?

More poems today over at Kris'!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010