Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

We board the plane for Australia in 6 hours and I thought I'd recap our holiday weekend to date. We may not be able to blog for a while, but will do our best to keep the stories coming:)

Tom had a bunch of charity work this week for the OWC. They had gifts to deliver and grants to help write, all in time for Christmas. On Wednesday, this brave brave man took all the kids, our driver, our cook, our housekeeper and their son to one of the charities to pass out teddy bears. From what he related, it was quite an experience. The charity was a residents home for small children with epilepsy. Billy, Kay and Sam jumped right in and started playing with the toys and kids. Raj, Florence and Saravanan were even on the floor playing with any kid that was willing. Florence spotted a baby girl and Tom was teasing Raj that their family might expand if he didn't keep on eye on it. Jimmy was the only one that held back a little. He wasn't quite sure what to make about all it and had a 101 questions about the kids that night before he went to bed. Tom took the lot of them to KFC for lunch afterward. I think it was a good experience for everyone. The next day the very 1st thing Raj said to me was "we had a good day ma'am. A very good day".

Friday was the kids Cmas party up at the club house. Through word of mouth, we ended up with a rather motley crew of friends and their kids. I am not sure what I expected, but it wasn't 200+ people packed into a 30 ft by 30ft space where they were serving kids chocolate and cotton candy until they cried. It was chaos and a mess. The kids were in heaven. They even had a Santa. It turns out that in India, when you know Santa will be at a party you bring a present labeled for your child and Santa then hands them all out. Little did we know. So, here we are at a party with screaming kids, candy and soda without any presents for our kids. All the other kids are slowing getting presents and its starting to dawn on my 3 that nothing is coming their way... I thought up a lie and I thought it up quick. I explained that all these kids were going to be gone for Cmas and so Santa and brought their toys to the party instead. Since we were going to be home, Santa was going to bring our presents right to our house. My lie fooled the child.
We rounded everyone up and headed back to our house for the after party party. We had snacks, beer, wine and a bonfire. It was great to just relax and enjoy the evening not pressed body to body with the rest of humanity.

Saturday was a day full of parties, packing and prep. I woke up in a fit of giggles when Jimmy said to Tom, as he's trying to tickle his belly, " Daddy, why does your belly jiggle and my doesn't?" Nice. We had a lunch party for Raj, Florence, Saravanan and Sunita (Saravanan's fiance). We ate pizza, donuts and drank soda. We all exchanged presents and then took photos in front of the Christmas tree. It was really nice to be able to say "Thank You and Merry Christmas" to the people that have made our time here so wonderful. We had bought an extra turkey at Thanksgiving and were looking forward to having turkey, potatoes, stuffing and beans for dinner. I even found a can of my favorite jellied cranberry sauce! In true Bangalore fashion we promptly lost power for the next 2 hours. So, we read the kids books by flashlight and tried to cook our meal on our over sized Coleman stove by flashlight. Interesting. It turns out our turkey was of the Cornish game hen variety. The chickens you get here are bigger. We were laughing... no turkey salad, turkey soup, turkey a la king, turkey omelets, etc... Miracle of miracles though the kids went to bed nicely and were asleep within 5 minutes. The power came on and we watched "A Christmas Story" as is our yearly tradition. All was right with the world...

This morning Jimmy came into our room around 5 and I had a panic attack that the day was about to start. Mercifully, he fell back to sleep and at 7:15 work up and said, "Merry Christmas Mommy. Why is Christmas my favorite holiday?" Within 5 minutes the other kids were up and we ventured downstairs to see if Santa left us anything. He did!!! It was hysteria until all the presents were opened and accounted for... I got some really cool clothes from Tom (I am finally presentable), Jimmy got a space ship gun (he had convinced him that Santa had run out of BB guns), Kay got a kitchen set and Billy got more cars and car paraphernalia than a 2 yr old has a right to. My parents got them all very cute clothes, the Murphy's sent great DVDs and I got an EZ Bake Oven (I mean Kay got an EZ Bake oven). The rest of the day was spent playing with new toys and trying on new clothes. Jimmy, Billy, Mommy and Daddy also had nice long naps in preparation for our midnight flight to Sri Lanka and off to Australia. Kay, of course, chose this day to not nap. I have no idea how we are going to handle her over the next 24 hours as she'll only get an opportunity for 2 hours a sleep at a go. I am still hoping she naps today, but its 6:00pm already and I suspect its a lost cause. She is currently in her room screaming bloody murder. I am sure our neighbors think I am pulling her toenails out one by one. Our flight leaves at 12:30am, we travel 4 hours to Sri Lanka, have a 2 hour lay over and then board a plane for an 8 hour flight to Melbourne. We land at 8pm. The next day (Tuesday) we have a 5 hour trip to Mount Gambier. We are SO excited to see our friends but I am a little worried about the journey at the moment. Wish us luck.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If you hate to hear people brag about their kids, dont read any further

Ok ... We had parent teacher conferences today and we just need to brag about our kids for a bit.

The teachers LOVE them...

Let's start with Kay...

You've heard of the teachers pet. Well Kay is ALL the teachers pet. All the teachers stop by at least once a day to pinch her cheeks and give her a squeeze. Who can blame them?! As Kay's teacher, Ma'am said, "she is totally pampered". Kay asks questions about everything they do in class - can I help, what's next, how does this work, why are we doing it this way... on and on. Then, when they have finished their activity (and all of Kay's questions) she tells Ma'am "that was wonderful" or "you did such a beautiful job" or "thank you Ma'am that was so much fun". Ma'am says Kay makes her feel so good about being a teacher. She also was so proud of Kay at the Christmas party yesterday at school. Kay was the only kid (in grade 1 or below) that asked, "but who is in the Santa outfit? where's the real Santa?" I hope she doesnt ruin it for everyone else....

Now Jimmy ...
His report card says "keen learner", "enthusiatic and friendly", "does very well in English and pronounciation" (no kidding...). Ma'am loves having him in class. He's friendly to everyone and will play with anyone. In fact, he stops by all the other classrooms on the way back from the bathroom to say "hi". (I would suspect this drives them a little crazy.) He also is VERY interested in learning and always wants to be the 1st one to answer a question. His Hindi Ma'am also wanted to tell us how proud she was of him that he now knows one letter in Hindi (how many are there?!). We didnt want to tell her that our housekeeper told us yesterday that Jimmy's now speaking phrases in Tamil (our housekeepers 1st language). Hindi Ma'am also said that since she is only in their class 2 days a week, he runs up to her to tell her "100 and 1 things about what's happened in the last week".

I think both have the "gift of gab" thanks to Tom's side of the family.
It also seems that we are raising future politicians....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Billy is now Two

Can you believe that our baby boy is now two!?! He had the time of his life on his birthday. To sum up Billy in one word is hard but if we had to, it would be... trucks. That's right he is a bonefied truckaholic. If you so much as look at one of his trucks you'd better watch out. It appears that everyone in the neighborhood is aware of this as well because he got a truck from every kid on the block including the drivers!! (I think they all want their trucks back as Billy is also a truck thief).

We tried to keep it simple, which translates in Bangalore to mean 12 kids 10 adults. We even had the no present rule and still it was chaos. We have several of our neighbors on our block that are Korean and they all brought food, it was very sweet of them. So, we had Chop Chae, Kim Bop and even Bolgogi. We were planning on going to dinner at one of the Korean resturants in town, but why bother when your Korean friends will bring a feast to your door?! The kids were in heaven, Jimmy ate a whole plate of Kim Bop on his own....
Billy's cake was to be shaped like a truck but turned out to be more of a car.The windows were made out of aluminum foil as were the windshield wipers, the rear and side view mirrors. The foil was to be removed before eating they informed us.

We also had ice cream and candles and Billy had to wait for Jimmy and then Kay to blow out his candles before he actually got his turn. It is great to have a brother and sister who love you so much.

Billy also got a new trike which has caused another stir. It seems that Jimmy and Kay think it is their's and true to Billy's attachment to "his' trucks he had to pinch each of them in the face to remind them who's truck it really was.

Billy finally went to bed and at 11:00pm. Dad had to go into his room and remove the truck from his bed as he was still making "varoom" sounds and keeping Mommy from a good night sleep... (See St Nick jiggle for background....)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This weekend

We've had an incredibly busy weekend so we thought we'd share the highlights....

Friday night: We decide to have our neighbor friends over for A Christmas drink. The key word here is A. As background, there seems to be a mass exodus from Bangalore in the next week. Everyone heads to their respective home countries for extended holiday vacations. So, we thought we'd wish everyone well and have A friendly drink. It was a great night. Tom managed to get a fire started in our fire pit/grill and everyone brought snacky things to share. These type of potluck events get interesting as our friends are German, Irish and Canadian. We had cheese whiz, Bavarian sausage and chocolate and cream crackers. I was in heaven. Our German friends also brought their "hooka" pipe. Basially this is a water pipe through which you smoke flavored VERY mild tobacco. (really, no really). The oddest moment of the night was watching our friends sit down with their kids (ages 13, 10 & 7) and smoke hooka together. They totally admit that they would never do something like this in Germany, but as they say, what happens in India, stays in India. Everyone headed home at 1:30am and we were in bed by 2:00. So much for A drink.

Saturday: Tom and I awoke thinking . .. Naps Naps Naps ... But, TSI had an intercompany Cricket match that we had committed to bringing the kids to, so we were out the door at 9:3am. I have to admit that I know nothing about Cricket and after Saturday that hasnt changed. It is not an intuitive game. The kids had a great time though... they chased balls, drew with sticks in the sand, found an abandoned garbage pit and went looking for snakes in the weeds. Your typical wholesome Saturday morning in India... After a few hours of sufficiently driving my co-workers mad, we packed the kids up and headed home for lunch, baths and naps. For ONCE they cooperated and ALL of us had a 2 hour nap.

Saturday night: We woke up late for our next gathering. A wedding reception of a coworker followed by a party at our English friends house. My coworker insisted that I bring the kids, so the plan was... head to the reception, stay for an hour, meet Raj (our housekeeper) at our friends party, send him home with the kids, have the driver pick us up in 2 - 3 hours. This was a flawless plan, until you factor in Bangalore traffic. Needless to say, after sitting in the car (in a traffic jam) for 1 1/2 hrs, we had to give up hope of making it to the reception. The kids were starving and we were only 1/2 way there. We bailed and found the most fabulous Chinese restaruant. The kids got to eat noodles and Tom and I were able to enjoy a drink. We did the Superman change of clothes in the car and were ready for our next party. It was a rooftop party in the heart of the city. They had a tent, a groomed lawn, fabulous kebabs and a DJ. We met some really cool people and drank some decent wine. Plus we didnt have to clean up, so all in all, a good night!

Sunday: Today was the day. Our driver is finally getting engaged. It is an arranged marriage and you'd think that this was his last day on earth for how nervous he is. Now, dont get me wrong, he has wanted to get married for the last 4 months, I just think that the "gravity" of the decision is finally sinking in. For the engagement there is a big ceremony and he's asked us to specifically wear our best Indian clothes. The program started at 11:00 and was scheduled to go to 3:00. Having never been at an Indian engagement, I had no idea what to expect. Well... It is almost undescribable. 1st you arrive at a "hall" that is basically a grade school auditorium where they have for some unexplicable reason turned on the heat. There is a 16 piece band and 14 of the pieces are drums. People are sitting 2 to a seat and everyone is wearing their best and brighest clothes. ALL the women have jasime and flowers in their hair and the kids are running around like its Christmas. Then, there doesnt seem to be any start or stop to the ceremony. People talk, visit, stand, sit, move around...all through the ceremony. After 1 hour of this, the kids were getting a little antsy to say the least. I take them one at a time out for a potty break and a little fresh air. Another hour passes and Billy cannot be contained. He has spotted the velvet love seat that is on the "stage" and is bound and determined to sit in it. After 2 major meltdowns 2 feet away from the happy couple, I am sure they are wondering what they are in for. Jimmy of course had found the "boy posse" and was running up and down the stairs screaming, wrestling and chasing all the other boys ages 5-10. Kay had been swept away by one of Saravnans "aunties" and was getting her cheeks pinched by everyone in the room. We finally made it to pictures. This is an interesting part of Indian ceremonies. The couple stands on stage and EVERYONE files by, one by one and has their photo taken with the "happy" couple. This could go on for hours, I'm thinking, and it did. Saravanan had thought of everything though and one of his uncle led us to to a room that had cheese pizza and beer. THANK GOD!! We managed to wrap up a little after 1:30 and naps today consistented of a few minutes of shut eye in the car.
We came home, took a shower and went to bed.

The Bus

The bus sagas continue...

Out of no where, Kay decided she wanted to ride the bus this week. So she started to just get on the bus. She is hysterical. It doesnt seem to bother her in the least anymore that neither Tom or Saravanan are with her. In fact, she was causing the school a lot of headache as we hadnt paid for the bus yet. The school called 3 days in a row so we finally signed her up. Thursday was the 1st official day that she was going to ride the bus both ways to school. It was suppose to come at 9:30am and at 9:15am we get a call from the bus driver ....
Bus driver: "where's Kay?"
Us: "I thought the bus came at 9:30"
Bus driver :"yes"
Us : "but its 9:15"
Bus driver: "yes"
So, we get into high speed getting Kay ready for school. All the time she's saying....
"Oh Man... I'm gonna be yate for the bus. I'm gonna be yate...." "Mommy hurry, I need my yipstick". Like she's been riding the bus for years....

On the other hand, Jimmy is currently not interested in taking the bus home... He has a friend that rides a different bus and for the last week, Jimmy has been refusing to get on his bus, and is trying to sneak into his friends bus. School called Tom 4 times on Tuesday in the hopes that Tom can talk him into it. It doesnt work. So far the only thing that works is to have the bus driver bribe him with bubble gum. Buy stock in the Super bubble gum company.

Jolly Old St Nicholas

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, lean your ear this way
Dont you tell a single soul what I'm going to say
Christmas Eve is coming soon, now you dear old man
Whisper what you'll bring to me, tell me if you can
Mary wants a pair of skates
Susie wants a dolly
Kay Kay wants a kitchen set
Billy wants a trolley
Jimmy wants a BB gun
Daddy wants some wine
Mommy wants a good night sleep
Then we'll all be fine....

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The three loudest Americans - new photo!!

Tought we would post an updated photo of the kids. Jimmy 5, Kay 3 and Billy almost 2!

Fishing Photos

Greg and the rapids, the sunrise, the boat and finally the sunset.

Fishing in India

…So it came to pass that God created the Heavens and the earth. He sat back to ponder his creation. He thought deep and hard, opened a Kingfisher, because at this point in the creation process, he was in India, otherwise He would have opened a Bud because even God has cravings. He thought to Himself, Self, I have created great lands but do I realize that 2/3 of these lands are covered with water, I must since I created them. I my have started what is to become a heated debate, should man sail, should man swim, should man drink or should man FISH.
And Fish man did, at least these two mortals attempted too.
Meandering through the woody snake infested landscape amidst the forests of Karnataka
(The state in which we live, land, not mind) is the mighty Cauvery, the most majestic and sacred river of south India.
My friend Greg Schmidt and I set off against all odds to a place called Bheemeshwari Fishing and Nature Camp, about 2 hours south of Bangalore, in search of the elusive and world renowned Mansheer. It’s a fish, the finest and largest sporting fish known to man.
To us it is a really big and extremely ugly fish. Hugh scales sucker type mouth, as Lyle Lovett said, She’s Ugly From the Front.
The place has beautiful landscape, the river is very wide and has some “small” rapids and as we came to find out, crocodiles. The guide informed us we had nothing to worry about.
We fished for about 3 hours the first day and nothing not even a bite! We had a great campfire and shares stories with the other anglers and even had a great night sleep.
The next morning promptly at 5:30 the monkeys started fighting on our front porch over the empty beer cans that were left on the table and then at 6:00 our guide knocked on our door with our morning coffee.
We set out again at 6:30 in search of the elusive Mansheer. Several hours later after navigating the “small” rapids we still had not caught a fish.
We were on the shore waiting for the jeep to take us back to camp when wham I had a fish. I fought the fish for about 10 minutes and finally got it to the shore. It was a 10lb Mansheer! My guide got into the water for what I assumed would be a relatively easy retrieve of my fish. I watched in horror as he all of a sudden broke the line and the fish was gone…seriously we caught one, really we did!
We returned to camp a little downtrodden and realized we still had a couple of cold beers left from the previous night. So we resumed the discussion, do we fish, sail, swim or…
Regardless of where you stand in this debate should you be in the vicinity of the Bheemeshwari Fishing camp it is worth the visit. Just beware of the vicious whirlpools and the crocodiles.!

Thanksgiving in India

Well, we knew that Thanksgiving here would be interesting, for starters, its 75 degrees every day and we all had to work. Beyond that, things were very interesting!

On Thursday, we celebrating Thanksgiving at "The Only Place" a local establishment that serves continental food (aka burgers and fries). We had a table of 20 reserved for all our Palm Meadows friends. Yes, we celebrated with the Germans, the Irish, the Canadians, the folks from New Jersey and our friends from Seattle/Arizona. The other Target expat were there as well.So, basically everyone we knew in Bangalore was at this place for dinner. They had a whole spread ... turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, brocoli, beans, carrots, rolls, garlic butter and pumpkin pie. They also have a corking fee of of just 100R ($2). This is fast becoming our favorite place:) We all ate too much and the kids played "Power Rangers". Just like at home!!

On Saturday, we had busy plans for the day. The Christmas Bazaar and hosting the Target expats for a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

The Christmas Bazaar was amazing. There were tents set up all over St Marks Cathedral and there must have been 200 vendors selling sweets, food, soda, crafts and other gift items. There was a huge stage, Santa, kid activities and pony rides. Needless to say, we had a great time. The kids were so excited to see Santa. They talked about it non-stop on the way to St Marks. The only concern was that Kay did not want Santa to touch her. She was adament about that! Jimmy was going to ask for a pretend BB gun with a pumper thing and a trigger (no lie, we didnt even prep him on this "Christmas Story"-esce request - I was cracking up). Kay wants a kitchen with a stove and Billy wants a tricycle (we think). They were all set to ask Santa for their gifts when they actually spotted Stanta. Now, keep in mind, this is India and the "suit" was made here. Needless to say Santa was a little on the skinny side and his beard was scotch taped to his face. They just stood and stared at him for about 10 min's. Then Kay, on the verge of crying, looks at me with a quivering lower lip and says... "Why is Santa...Daddy"? Sure enough, Tom was playing Santa for the Overseas Womens Club and Kay was the 1st to catch on. So, we had to explain that Santa got stuck in traffic (as we all do in India) and that the Reindeers got sick because of the food/heat (again, as we all do in India) so Santa had called Daddy and asked him a big favor. He needed Daddy to pretend he was Santa so that he could find out what all the kids wanted and then call Santa on his mobile phone to tell him. This explanation apeased the kids. Until they realize they got gypped out of seeing the real Santa. We heard nothing else for the last 2 days except... "Now, when can we see the REAL Santa?"

After our close experience with Santa, we were off to find another turkey. Tom had managed to find one early in the week, but once it was plucked and butchered, it only weighed 2.5kgs (5.5 lbs). That wasnt going to be enough for our feast. So, we were off again looking for a turkey. It turns out, that while you can buy a chicken from almost anyone on the street, turkeys are a rare commodity. We managed to find one at the local market. The shop was called "Wet Pets". Yep, it was a pet store and the had 2 live turkeys. Upon hearing we wanted to buy one, the guy started chasing them in an attempt to catch one. Imagine being in a very Indian open air market, with traffic, street vendors, etc... and this guy is chasing 2 turkeys down the block. We were laughing so hard we couldnt even take a picture. Needless to say, he was successful and we had VERY fresh turkey for dinner.

Even later that afternoon, ur friends the Chinese/French family next door, lent us their oven. Very overy nice of them considering they are vegetarian and they were going to have a recently deceased turkey in their oven for 4 hours. We did mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing (thanks to a visitor from the US that brought us 2 boxes of Stove Top - YUM!!), salad, apple and pumpkin pie. We also had great wine and even better company. We invited the neighbors to join us and they seemed to enjoy their 1st Thanksgiving meal (granted it was pretty much just carbs for them, but still good). The kids LOVED having company and were busy painting and giving tours of the house and their rooms.

We all fell into bed exhausted.

It was a good holiday weekend, all in all.

We did miss all of you (our friends and family at home). But, we know that we are so blessed to be loved and to love so many people all around the world.

Love and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The end of the world as we know it

This is an appropriate theme song for the day...

Last night, our world ended as we know it.

Yes, after not quite 24 months, Billy has learned to crawl out of his crib. I was getting ready for bed last night, heard a commotion, turned around and there was Billy, giggling uncontrollably. I didnt know if I should laugh or cry. Now, instead of having 2 little people in and out of our room all night, we'll have 3. I suspect we wont be getting a full night sleep for a while. All the kids were so excited and proud of his feat that they made him do it over and over again. Finally, we gave up. They were all in Jimmy's bed cuddling and we were hoping they'ed fall asleep. (yeah right) Instead, Jimmy comes out crying ... We asked him what was wrong...

"There are too many kids in my bed".

'nough said.

photos below

The photos below are of our day with Jessie, we saw ..
Shiv monument
Ganesh monument
Bangalore Palace

As you can see Billy is being carried around by his personal assistant, Saravanan, our driver:)

More Phots with Jessie

Photos of Bangalore with Jessies

Outside of Bull Temple, Inside of Bull Temple and Shiv Temple.

Sorry these are a little out of from our weekend with Jessie.... Forgot to publish them!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

India-isms & English-isms

As it is commonly known, India was ruled by the British for quite a while. Long enough, in fact, that many of the common phrases seem to be straight from the U.K. I thought I'd list out the more popular ones so that when you visit you dont need a translator:)

Needful - To do what's required of one... "I will do the needful" You are never quite sure what the needful is, but as long as its done, I guess it doesnt matter.

Come - A command asking someone to come closer ... "Come, Come"

Tell me - A common greeting on the phone instead of Hello ... Ring, Ring... "Tell me" - these last 2 give a glimpse into how "bossy" folks can be here...

Look after - To be responsible for something. .... "I look after Merchandising in Business Services at TSI" I particularly like this one as it has a nuturing ring to it.

Revert - To respond with an answer ... "Please revert by tomorrow" So formal:)

Paining - To hurt... "I have paining in my ear" Not sure what to say to this one...

Pre-Pone - To have a meeting earlier than scheduled "Since I am in the office now, could we pre-pone the meeting". Seems like a bit of a double negative to me, but I cant figure out why this isnt proper terminology....

Fix it - To do something, cross it off your to do list ... "Tracy, I have fixed it." "Dont worry, I'll fix it". Used in many situations...making a dinner reservation, calling the handiman, booking airline tickets, etc. I like the finality of this. I appeals to my strong need for closure:) (Anyone who has read my PE will get this point...)

Erstwhile - In the meantime, meanwhile - back at the ranch "Tracy was at work, erstwhile, Tom was napping with the kids". This one cracks us up. It seems so proper!!

There are also many people here who dont speak English as their 1st language, this is a great conversation trap for those of us that are native speakers but utterly clueless as to the rules/history of the language. My neighbor speaks at least 3 languages and tutors in English. She has asked me the following.... Maybe you can help me out on some of these as I didnt have the answer...

Shin dig - Why do we call parties shin digs and do we really use this term? What's the origin of the word? (she heard it on Desparate Housewives of all places).

Tend - Do you tend your garden or do you tend to your garden? Which is proper English and why?

Fish vs Fishes - Fish is the plural of fish, right? Unless you are talking about many different kinds of fish that are all in the same place, then would you call them fishes?

Foursome - Why do they call it a foursome and not - group of four or golfing partners. The whole concept of "tee-ing off" and a "tee box" was hard to explain too. She saw all of this on a Nokia commercial. Its good to know people are learning their English from TV.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Jessie Stoll and the sites of Bangalore

Well, we had our 1st official guest this weekend. Jessie Stoll came down from Moosorie (northerm India in the hills) for a long weekend in Bangalore. It was great to have her here. It gave us an excuse to see parts of Bangalore we hadnt seen before and the kids LOVED having an extended "sleep over":). I think she had fun. She commented that Bangalore was so clean. Holy cow, if Bangalore is clean, I am scared to see the rest of India!!

Jessie is my long time friend, boss, mentor, Paul Stoll's daughter. She is also an Ole and just graduated. She's doing her student teaching at Woodstock, an international boarding school in Moosorie. She will be teaching there through the spring and then home for a Minnesota summer before she commits herself to 2 years in the Peace Corp in Central Asia.

She's incredibly brave and adventurous and has been traveling around India for 2 weeks all on her own (she has another 2 weeks to go). She is especially brave to visit the LoudAmericans for 3 whole days.

The highlight of the weekend was our "tour" of Bangalore. Tom and Saravanan had it all planned out... Bull Temple, Krishna Center for Higher Thought, the Palace and finally Shiv Temple. This was all carefully planned around a stop at KFC for lunch. We go all out for our guests:) Actually this was the drivers request.... KFC for lunch. Since he was driving us around for 9 hours to go 30 kilometers, I figured he deserved this...

Little did we know that included in our tour of the day was 1 public bathroom, 1 random restaruant bathroom, a side of the road "pit stop", the KFC bathroom, the Palace bathroom and finally our own home bathroom. Needless to say, this is what you get with 3 kids in 1 car. I think we had stopped to go potty 3 times before we saw anything of historical interest. Please refer to the prior "10 things I learned on vacation" blog. My newly learned bodily function tricks came in handy again.

We rented "Oliver!" mainly because I had the song "Consider yourself at home" stuck in my brain. Rent it. Is surreal. The bull terriers name in the movie is Bullseye. Coincidence? I think not!

Then, Sunday was a lazy day of playing with kids, the gym, naps and a pedicure (for Jessie). She was a doll and watched the kids Sunday night so that we could go for dinner with a new coworker. It was great for us, but I'm afraid Jessie is scared off of having kids and thinks that all we eat is KFC, Pizza Hut, Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts . Can you tell who went shopping last?!

I'll have Tom post some pictures. It was a really great weekend. I hope you had fun Jessie, I am sure we'll be talking about you for weeks to come! Good luck with your travels, maybe you'll have 5 loud visitors this spring...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

#4 Cherry Tree Lane

On a fabulous November evening the inhabitants of #4 in Palm Meadows got together for a Grand Party.
The evening was great.
There are 14 homes on our block and there are 16 children aging from newborn to 12.
Each of the family’s brought food and since we have family’s from Korea, India, Germany, Sigapore, France, Italy, and the US the spread was delicious. We had BBQ lamb and fish, Indian BBQ, Chap Che, Pu Chim Gay, and Korean Chicken. Lasagna, many salads, fruits and of course Chocolate cake!!
Our neighbor and new friend Arun arranged the entire party. He had a friend come out and put a spot light on every Palm Tree on the block as well as hired a three-person band to entertain us. He did as great job and we found out the night of the party that it was actually his wife’s Birthday!!
The family’s all finally got to meet each other exchange stories and everyone had a great time.
A big thanks to Arun for all his work!!

Belated Halloween

Halloween was quite the affair here in Palm Meadows. We had a parade with around 150 "haunters" which what we call "trick or treaters" are referred to here. We had an awards ceremony for the best costume which I think was rigged I mean look at these three they are poster kids for great costumes. They interesting part was that the kids were clad in the Halloween costumes from Minnesota, polar fleece, matching hats and gloves, and it was around 80 degrees...Hey there the costumes we brought.
The rules here in Palm Meadows for those participating in handing out the candy were very few
1.Place an orange streamer or haunted sign in your yard.
2. Leave your front light on.
3. When the haunters ring your bell hand over the candy.
I swear those were the posted rules.
Hope you all had a great Halloween.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Random thoughts and kids updates

Ok... I had to get a quick blog in on the family before Tom posts his "fishing weekend" blog and you all get sick to death of this turning into a travel site....

Song of the Day: Everybody wants to rule the world - Tears for Fears. I had this overwhelming urge to tuck my socks into my jeans and curl my bangs...

Jimmy: Mr Big Shot has his 1st sleep over ever last weekend. He was so excited! He packed his own bag and was ready to go 10 hours before he was expected. He included his red footy pj's because "they are comfy". He slept over at his friends house, Gathum and Sridhar. They go to school together, live in Palm Meadows and also happen to by my bosses kids. So, needless to say, we had a long talk about being polite, listening to grown ups and what to do about the nighttime diaper. (Needless to say, I was probably more worried about this aspect than he was. Not a good impression to have your 5 yr old wet the bed at your bosses house....). In any case, he had a great time, was very very good and wore his nighttime diaper, saving us all from "constructive" feedback:)

Kay: She is getting braver and braver by the day. She now lets the "aunties" walk her into school instead of screaming bloody murder every morning. She did have quite a hard time with Jimmy being gone overnight. She kept asking where he was, did he miss us, she missed him, who was going to sleep with her if Jimmy wasnt there (what's Billy chopped liver?!), when was he going to be back, etc. I think she was mostly concerned because she had one less person to terrorize at bed time. But, she managed to survive. You would have thought his homecoming was that of a rock star. Both Kay and Billy went running down the street to welcome him home after his long and audruous journey yelling "Immy's home...Immy's home...Immy's home".

Billy: He has charmed the pants off of everyone on the block and currently has all the drivers catering to his every need. In fact, just this morning, he convinced the carpenter to push him up and down the street in his Little Tikes car for 30 mins. Keep in mind, we just met the guy this morning and he's suppose to be building us a book shelf. He (Billy) repeats everything everyone says and if he feels that he need attention, he'll just announce that he has a poopy diaper. A sure fire way to get us to come running.

Work: Really good but really busy. We continue to have "guests" in town and its fun to get the latest gossip magazines (are Jen and Vince really together or apart? How skinny is Nicole? What does Katies dress look like .. you know all the most current affairs). Here's the sad state of my life.... I had been working so hard and reading so many trashy magazines that I dreamed we recruited Brittany Spears to be a TSI team member. Nice. I think I need a life.

Tom: Doing really well. He was really homesick for deer opener (1st time in 18 yrs he's missed it as he told me over his 3rd beer). BUT, he had a great time fishing (see next blog) and is getting really involved with the Charity Committee of the Overseas Womens Club. He's even going to be "Santa" for them in 2 weeks at their Cmas Bazaar. I wonder if the kids will catch on... Dont tell them... If we are lucky, they'll all scream like banshees when they see "Santa" just as they did last year....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cochin Photos

Jimmy at the fish market , paddling the backwaters and making a roof from coconut tree branches

More Cochin Photos

The harbor cruise, the Jew Town Boutique and of course the Monkey


So after we had breakfast we got back into the car and left the mountains of Munnar and began the 4-hour decent down to the town of Kochi.
Kochi or Cochin is the central part of Kerala. With its wealth of historical associations and its setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, Kochi perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala.
The oldest church in India is there, winding streets with mosques blending with some 500 years of Portuguese, Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish community with a Synagogue that dates back to the 16th century and a grand Palace built by the Portuguese and then given to the raja of Cochin, the place reeks of diversity.
The older parts of Fort Cochin and Mattancherrry are a combinatio0n of medieval Potruguese, Holland and an English village all situated the scenic and tropical Malabar Coast. (Guidebook pages 910-911).
The drive down the mountain was beautiful we saw many different plants, trees and flowers. The kids were wiped out and unfortunately slept most of the way. Jimmy was too tired to wake up and see Monkeys! Kay was not feeling well and Billy was sleeping.
We made a stop for snacks and then we were there!
We went straight to the hotel checked in and had a late lunch which was wasy good but very overpriced. Then we went on the “ harbor” cruise.
It was should we say interesting, swimming back at the pool would have gone over better. But we were here to see the area and see it we did. There were oil tankers Naval vessels all surrounded by flotsam and jetsam not to mention that particular smell.
We did have several great photo opps and the cruise boat had only us on it and what we hoped were not Gilligan and the Skipper too!
That night we had pasta in the room for the kids, hired a sitter and Mom and Dad went out for a nice quite dinner.
The following day was very busy. We set out to see Fort Cochin, Manttancherry, the Jewish Village, and St.Francis Church a fish market and a spice market, WOW.

The kids had a great time at the fish market playing with fresh caught fish and prawns. The Jewish Village was very old and well kept. We being tourists were wearing shorts so Tracy and I had to rent “ pants” from a local vendor who it appears makes a living renting pants to the Foreigners.
We purchased a wall hanging/blanket from one of the Vendors it was gorgeous however upon returning home it was covered in mold and fell apart when we cleaned it. We are still in the negotiation period and we will see what happens. They have promised to send us a new one? Kay loved all the colors and art stating “ I can do that”
That night we went to a Kalaripayattu show, which is a very disciplined type of Martial arts. You can only imagine what happened when Jimmy being big into the Power Rangers saw what was happening stood up and right on the spot morphed into the red Power Ranger and shouted out “Power Rangers Emergency” into his concealed power rangers communication device! The martial artists were awesome and we all had a great time. Really.
That night there were no baby sitters available so Mom and Dad had a candle light dinner complete with white linen tablecloth red wine, steak and shrimp, in the bathroom. Romance is not dead!!
The following morning we checked out and headed to the fishing village of Kumblaghy… It is a working tourist village and in no way similar to City Slickers.
We took a canoe type boat throught the backwaters propelled by one man and a stick. We drank fresh cut coconut and ate the meat. Kay and Dad were the only ones who like it. Billy kept trying to get out of the canoe and swim after the “pish”. We hunted crabs, made rope out of coconut hair and watch as the “village” people made thatched roofs out of the coconut leaves. Then we had an authentic Kerala lunch complete with prawns, butterfish, special Kerala rice and Kingfisher beer. What a feast. The Kerala rice is different than other areas because it is thicker and is double cooked. It has a slight brown hew to it and if you drink the water is cooked in it will give you strength, just like Guinness!
Then we had something called natural toddy. It is fermented coconut juice. The juice is made the night before, you cannot put it and a sealed container (I think because it is explosive). I t has a smell that will gag you but if you can get past that it’s not bad. As the dearly departed Darin MacGaveen said in Christmas Story,” This stuff’s not bad but it’s not good either” may he rest in peace.
The whole village was awesome and is a definite stop if you are in Kerala.
We left and experienced something that in all our travels is unique to India. We went to a Hotel the caters to people with long layovers. That’s right you rent your room by the 4,8,12 or 24-hour period. It was great we got to work out take showers and then get ready for our flight. The whole idea was to have the kid’s nap but that never happened.
The trip was great and when we arrived back in Bangalore Jimmy stated,” its nice to be home”.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More Munnar Photos

The Munnar countryside, a bunch of carrots and the Loudamericans travel through India in style.

Munnar Photos

The purple flower called Neelkurinji flower which blooms once every twelve years. the Tea Plantations and the sun setting at 6000 feet in Munnar.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Munnar is a very lovely spot high in the Mountains of the State of Kerala in southern India. The town itself is the highest point in Kerala and it is at 6000 ft above sea level. Once known as the High Range of Travancore, it is now the commercial center of some of the world’s highest tea growing estates. It is very green and does remind one a bit of Ireland with its rugged terrain, many shades of green and goats aplenty.
We landed around noon the first day meet our driver Mr. Saji loaded up the van and drove four hours up into the mountains. The tea plantations, waterfalls and scenery were unbelievable. The pictures do not do the place justice.
We stayed at a very remote retreat called Tree Top resort. It was very quiet but not the most ideal place for kids. The “cottage” we stayed at had one bedroom, which was down stairs. There was a spiral staircase leading up to the sitting room. We had to put a dresser in front of the stairs at night to keep the kids from attempting to come and visit us during the night.

The meals were served buffet style and 7:30 am and 7:30 pm and the food was surprisingly good. We were told it was all Indian food and the kids would not like, that was not the case.

The next day we set out for Eravikulam National Park. This park fulfills two important functions it protects the endangered Nilgiri Tahar, which is a very social sheep. The second function of the park is to also protect the Neelkuriniji, which is a purple flower that blooms once every 12 years, and it is sight we are glad we saw!! We took it as a sign that the flower is blooming the year we are here (but then again, maybe it blooms every year and the 12 yr thing is just a marketing ploy. We'll never know....)

We arrived at the entrance to the park and the lines were incredible. It was a holiday and we expected to have to wait however we were whisked right into the office and charged the foreigner rate which was 100 rupees per adult and 50 rupees for the kids and then put on the first bus! The rate for locals is 10 rupees but then you have to wait in line.:(

We went to the top of the mountain and walked up about a mile and ran into the sheep. All the people wanted to take pictures of the kids, which happens all the time here. The flowers were awesome the views were beautiful.

All the way to the park we kept seeing these vendors selling carrots and these carrots were the most incredible orange we have ever seen. We bought some and they were great, Kay ate them down to the nub!!

We then drove on to tour some tea plantations, which we found very cool. We had no idea what they would look like and they are a lot like a winery and very well maintained.

We then traveled off to this man made dam which is called Kundata Dam. It is quite large there is no swimming as it provides all the water needed to power the area. There is a spot called Echo point which if you shoot you can hear a multitude of echoes and all the people we having fun with this. The kids were sleeping when we announced it was time for the elephant ride, as you know from previous blog only Billy liked it.

It was back to the hotel to get packed up so we could be ready to leave the next morning, and to have dinner. It was the feast of Diwali, which is the celebration of light and a very big Indian holiday. The hotel had a celebration but failed to tell any of the guests about it. Everyone should up at 7:30 for dinner and people got a little put out that we had to wait for the “program” to be over which would be about and hour. It started off with a local group doing an interpretive dance and went down hill from there. Our kids needed to eat and so did some other kids and by 8:20 everyone was in the restaurant eating dinner. We felt sorry for the performers and don’t know if they finished the program or not.The next morning we had breakfast let the kids play on the giant swing and then got into the van for our four hour drive to Kochi ( Cochin) .

We would HIGHLY reccommend Munnar. There was a Reki "spa/training center" right next to our resort and it is an incredible relaxing and beautiful get away!

Our next blog is Cochin, stay tuned!


was in the restaurant eating dinner. We felt sorry for the performers and don’t know if they finished the program or not.The next morning we had breakfast let the kids p[lay on the giant swing and then got into the van for our four hour drive to Kochi ( Cochin) .


3. . 3 3.333. . ....

Monday, October 30, 2006

The 10 things I learned on vacation

Hi all
Tom will be doing a separate historical perspective of our trip to Kerala, but I wanted to share with you my top 10 list of "What I learned on vacation" ...

1) If you go on an elephant ride up (and down) a mountian, the ONLY person guaranteed to enjoy themselves is your 22 month old. Everyone else will be scared to death and crying, begging to have it end (Mom and Dad included).

2) Jimmy Loves Kay - During a rather hectic part of the trip, Kay vomited 7up and chips all over Tom and the seat. Jimmy became really really concerned and began hopping from foot to foot. "What can I do? Kay are you ok? Oh no Oh no... KK, I love you. Do you need anything? Do you need a hug, a kiss, a backrub? Oh no Oh no". This continued until we were safely back in the car. At which point Jimmy decided that he loves Kay SO MUCH that the next time she vomits on a car trip, he'll clean the whole thing up so that Mommy, Daddy and Saravanan (our driver) dont have to worry. I am holding him to this.

3) Kay can not say one of the letters of the alphabet. Can you guess which one from our car conversations?
"Do you yove me Jimmy?" (see above)
"Baa Baa Yack Sheep"
"Here Daddy, here's the yist" When Tom was looking for the room service brochure
"Can I sit on your yap?"
"My yip hurts"

4) Contrary to popular belief, eating room service on a white linen table cloth with candles is NOT romantic when you are eating in the hotel bathroom in an effort to not wake the kids.

5) It is possible for both boys and girls to pee & poop on the side of the road when there isnt a bathroom for miles and miles. Visualization: Step on 5 yr olds feet while holding his arms/hands way above his head and have him lean back. Try to control his squirming and giggling. Hold your 3yr old in a "swing" position. You squat and your daughter sits with her hamstrings in your hand. Then she's in a sitting position and if your feet are wide enough apart, you'll miss getting "hit". Note: This only works if your 3 yr old weighs 25lbs.

6) Someone will get sick on vacation and it will happen on the worst possible day. Case in point, Billy had a 101-102 tempature on the one day that it was 95 outside. He insisted on crawling into my skin and being held tight all day. I think I lost 5 lbs in sweat.

7) As many of you know, getting a massage in Asia is a mildly violating experience. Needless to say, its no different in India. 2 gallons of oil, a wooden table, one piece of cloth and one string. I'll let you imagine the rest.

8) The kids favorite part of the trip wont be the mountains, or elephant or fishing village or 200+ yr old temple or mountain goats or Diwali dancers ... No... their favorite part (which they keep reminding you of) is the swimming pool at the hotel that is not even as nice as Lifetime. We traveled 20+ hours over 4 days for this?!

9) Dont let your 3 yr old eat her airplane meal unsupervised. 10 minutes into the flight she popped a raw jalepeno into her mouth. The woman sitting behind us tried to warn us but we were busy trying to get Billy to stop crying (100 temp) and Jimmy to put his seat belt on and stop kicking the seat in front of him. I am sure the rest of the airplane was nominating us for the parents of the year award when she proceeded to scream the rest of the hour flight.

10) Bangalore is "home". We landed after our 5 day adventure and pulled into our house at 9:45pm Tuesday night. Jimmy exclaimed "Its good to be home".

I think that says it all!

(Final Tip of Day- When you get home, double check if school is open the next day. This will prevent you from hauling 3 kids out of bed at the crack of dawn, fighting with them to eat and brush their teeth and then standing at the bus stop for 30 minutes while you wonder why the bus is late....Not to mention your 5yr crying the whole way back home because he is sure he is going to miss assembly....)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Veg or Non-Veg

It is a well known and undoubtedly fact that here in India the are,ROUS.
Without highlighting this fact we found out a little know fact about ROUS.
It appears that our driver has one for a pet. That's right and he keeps it in a cage age IN his house, the good news is that it is a white one. What is the difference you might ask.
Now we also have been informed by a fairly reliable source that the black ROUS is afraid of the white ROUS, who knew!
There are several other aspects of the white ROUS that are well .... QUITE HARD TO BELIEVE.
First and foremost the white ROUS brings good luck to the person that has it. So we figure that since our driver is in the process of getting married his friends gave him this white ROUS to bring him luck.
Secondly the white ROUS are used in certain situations when you may perhaps have too many black ROUS, that may not necessarily live in cages, scurrying about your home. You would then bring in the white ROUS to scare off the black one and we are told they are quite effective.
However non of that compares to the most recent news about white ROUS.
The before mentioned white "pet" has escaped it's cage.
Now to some of us that may be nerve racking however to those in the know this is no real problem because the white ROUS, is a vegetarian.
Isn't that great.

Song of the day - 2

REM - Losing my Religion

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Song of the day

Tears for Fears - Everybody wants to rule the world.

A look into the life of Tom Murphy


Two small children ages 3 and 1 3/4.

Hard of hearing, mischievous and not good eaters.

Skilled in throwing food,pitching fits,pinching,screaming,coloring on walls, jumping from one bed to another ,not napping, cutting their lip and eating chocolate.

Available most days between 5:30-8:00 PM.

Will drive you to drink.

No caretaking experience needed they know everything.

Older brother who now enjoys Indian food and for some reason has acquired the ability to listen available for consultation fee basis only.

Parents will pay up to 500 rupees send inquiries to ;

Father is unavailable as he's at the Oak Grill drowning his sorrows
Villa 83 Phase II

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


We've been sending so many updates on the lack of music scene here that we thought we'd blog it. Thanks to all of you back home that are going to all our favorite artists and seeing really great music. We hate you:)

The closest we get to good music (besides our CD's) is the new radio station - Radio Indigo, the color of music. So far, I have heard ....
Madonna, Like a Prayer
Price, Little Red Corvette
Dire Straigths - Walk of Life
Simon and Garfunkel - Cecilia
The Bangles - Walk like an Eygptian
EVERYTHING by Bryan Adams (he's a big hit over here)
Bruce Springsteen - Dancing in the Dark
Sting - AND the question of the day one day was "name the band that Sting was in prior to going solo ..." God Help ME?!
So... are you seeing a trend here? I am thinking of posting a song of the day on the blog so that you can get the full effect of our lack of good music.

Also, the only concert we have seen advertised here was INXS. They were here last Friday night. Needless to say we had other plans...

The station we were listening to before this one was all Bollywood Hindi music. Even all the advertisements were in Hindi. We knew we were in trouble when Jimmy started singing the jingle "Hit Milla Hit Milla Hit Milla Hit" (Basically Popular Hits Popular Hits Popular Hits) and then when Tom woke up whistling a commercial for a new apartment complex we new we had to switch. What is Bollywood music you ask? Imagine lots of drumming, knocking, falsetto singing and a lingering sense that the song never really ends, that it just melds into the next one. In actually, it can be kind of hypnotic....

Jimmy is taking piano and knows how to play "Twinkle Twinkle", "Mary had a little Lamb" and "Baa Baa Black Sheep". Not bad for only 2 lessons. He LOVES George his piano teacher. He even tells the other kids he cant play with them because George is coming over.

Kay keeps singing "I release and I let go" - Go Spirit in Action!

Billy's new favorite song is "Happy Birthday" - If you have a birthday coming up, let us know and we'll send you a singing telegram, its quite cute. "Happy Birdday to ewe" Happy Birdday to ewe"....

Hang with me on this next story, it does include music....

We went to some friends house on Sunday and ate their steak, ate their giant prawns and drank all their good red wine. The kids had every toy out, watched Shrek 2 all the way through and Tom was hung over the next day. All in all a VERY successful party. In fact, the other family that was there, that we met for the 1st time, is from Vermont. They have 3 kids (8,6,3) and their 3 yr old is from Korea. Kay started singing "I see the moon" (Greg Brown kid song) and they all started singing with her. Turns out they have both of Greg's kids albums but didnt know he did adult music. How is that for strange?? So, we are in India, meet a family with a boy that's been adopted from Korea and they actually know who Greg Brown is although they havent enjoyed his finer music. We told them we'd lend them CD's. The bummer of the story is that they are leaving for Vermont in 2 weeks. So much for making new friends.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Us Ex-Pat Kay Marie Jeon Murphy Poops Dateline 9 October 2006

It has been reported today that Kay Marie Jeon Murphy has for the first time since living in Bangalore, India gone poop, on the toilet.
Murphy pictured here hurrying back from the playground with her younger brother Bill, known in Bangalore as “ Baloo” stated to her father” Dad hurry up I have to go poopie”
Murphy, than rushed in to house and proceeded, by herself, to take her shorts off,then climbed onto the toilet and went poop.
Her father was unavailable for comment.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The things kids say....

So... the kids have been full of funny expressions lately. It sort of scares me when I think about how smart they are and how much they pick up. Here are some samples...

Kay has been talking non stop lately and Billy repeats everything she says. Its a little scary. He is talking way earlier and better than Jimmy and Kay were at that age. We are going to have one loud(er) household once they all get going. They already have fights on who gets to "talk".

Kay's latest phrases are ... "Run for your Lives!" "That's not a good idea" (when Tom and I are leaving) and "Hey, I have a good idea, why don't we...." "Why" "What" "How come" "When", etc.... 1,001 questions....

Billy says "come come" and "tell me" (VERY Indian phrases). He also call us Mommy or Daddy not by who we are but by what he wants from us ... "Daddy Uppie" anytime he wants either Tom or I to pick him up. "Cup Mommy" anytime he wants a drink etc... Strange kid.

Jimmy is funny as always but is still too smart for his own good. One example ...

They were with our housekeeper last night and we called home to see how they were doing ... here's the exchange at 10:00pm...

Ring Ring - Jimmy "Hello"?
Mommy & Daddy - "Jimmy ? What are you doing?"
Jimmy - "Talking on the phone" Duh, parents so stupid
M & D - "But why are you up? Where's Raj?" (the housekeeper)
Jimmy - "He's sleeping, I'm watching TV".
M & D - "What are Kay and Billy doing?" said with slight worry in our tone ...
Jimmy - "I think they are all sleeping"
M & D - "Can you go get Raj?"
Jimmy - "No, he'll be crabby at me if I wake him up"
M &D - "Go get Raj Jimmy please" relatively politely
Jimmy - "No, I am hanging up now..." Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Jimmy "Hello"?
Mommy & Daddy - "Jimmy ? Go get Raj"
Jimmy - "No, I told you, he'll be crabby at me if I wake him up"
M &D - "Go get Raj Jimmy" less polite now
Jimmy - "No, I am hanging up now..." Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Jimmy "What?"
Mommy & Daddy - "Jimmy? Please, we need to talk to Raj" worry increasing as we realize our 5 yr old has run of the house at 10:15pm ..... Also all politeness is gone
Jimmy - "No, I already told you that" Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Jimmy "What?"
Mommy & Daddy - "This isn't funny, you need to go get Raj, you are going to be in big trouble" how much can we threaten when we aren't there....
Jimmy - Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Jimmy "Stop calling this number, every time it rings I have to get up and answer it" Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Before Jimmy can answer or hang up ...
M &D - "We'll give you 1 rupee if you go get Raj" Basically bribing our kid with something that's 45 rupees to the dollar.
Jimmy - "Just 1 rupee?"
M & D - "Yes"
Jimmy - "Can I spend it on anything I want?"
M & D - "YES!"
Jimmy .... from a distance... "Raj, wake up!" .....

I can only image what will happen when he's in jr high. We are buying deadbolts that lock from the outside....

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Mysore is a town about 2.5 hours south west of Bangalore. Mysore was named after the mythical Mahisuru, where the goddess Chanundi slew the demon Mahishasura. It was for many centuries the richest most lavishly built and most powerful state in the region and the former capital of the illustrious Wodeyar Kings! (Or so the guidebook says)
We got early on Saturday morning to make the trip. We stopped along the way for some take out dosa (hot potato, egg and sauce) wrapped up in a tortilla type wrap. The food was wrapped in plastic cellophane and the rolled up in newspaper and then tied with string, no Styrofoam containers here!!
The way there was beautiful, rolling green meadows, high slopping hills along with several amazing rock formations.
Our destinations were the Mysore Zoo, water show/dam and Palace.
The Mysore Zoo is a rather large zoo with all the usual attractions, Elephant, tigers and Pheasants; this zoo had an incredible display of snakes. We saw the cobra, king cobra and a humongous python. There is also a huge display of plants and flowers from around the world. We had a great time and the kids of course loved the peanuts.
The water show, calling this event a water show does not do it justus. There is a dam in Mysore, which is the beginning of the water reservoir for the drinking water for Bangalore. The whole area is a series of pools that are joined and run into fountains which change colors and erupt to musical scores while people chant and sing and clap along, quite amazing. This is all of course happens at night and the colors of the fountains at the songs and the people clapping and singing along adds to the beauty of the place.
We then retired for the night at the Hotel Metropole. It is an old mansion with only 30 guest rooms, which are somewhat small. The staff is very friendly and helpful we were worn out from the travel and order Pizza Hut for dinner.
The breakfast buffet as usual was quite an elaborate affair with pancakes, omelets as well as many Indian dishes. After fortifying ourselves we headed off the Maharaja’s Palace. This is a fantastic Indo-Saracen Palace. The original Palace burnt down in 1897 and this new one was built in 1912 for 4.2 million rupees.
You are not allowed to bring in cameras however the place is beautiful. It has many areas of stained glass, viewing area for parades, flowers and wall after wall of portraits. We decided that after viewing many of these portraits in became clear that the royalty are not very photogenic. There is a part of the palace called a gopuraam, which is in the temple area and is where you would go to pray meditate, ect. I was taken for $1.00 by a very elaborate scam carried out by the palace police. It seems these folks will volunteer to give you the 30-second spiel on the palace and in return they ask you where you are from and if you happen to have any money from your country and could you give to them for the “collection” of non-Indian money. Very smart.!!
Before we left the palace we road on an elephant, a camel and in a horse drawn buggy. It was all great fun and we had a great time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 nuk and my EYE

Now that the summer has finally wound down my siblings are off to school I can finally get out amongst my peeps! I am having the time of my life here in jolly old India.! I have been touring with Eddie and Tina the fabulous musical duo from Romania,practicing sitting on a throne, for one day I will be king! I went to a wedding in my new outfit that my Dad thought was so cool he put it on the blog twice!! The neighbor lady has the exclusive rights to distribute chocolate donuts here in Palm Meadows and she needed some one to try them out, they got the thumbs up from me. So far I have not encountered another person on this continent who has a nuk. I am currently going through a phase where I need a certain color nuk at a certain time and if my Mom and Dad do not respond fast enough I have a fit!! ( I can I am practicing to be a King)
I have started talking more and can say Moma, Dada, Jimmy,Kay, kneel before me and other cool words. I still have to nap during the day and take full advantage of the attention I get when everyone else is at school.
I no longer eat from a bowl but use a plate exclusively and I also use a fork, spoon, or knife, which ever makes the most mess. I love to eat rice and then laugh and spit it back out, it makes the grown ups move real fast. I am reading books, and learning my ABC's,how to count and my driver Saravanna thinks I am the smartest in the world. I really love puppy's and stop everyday on the way to the bus stop to play with gus and birdie, two dogs in the neighborhood. Saravanna told my Mom that for my birthday he would buy me a puppy!! Please MOM:)
I am off to a nap and then dinner I hope you are all well and I miss and Love you all. wink,wink!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

A message from the middle child

It has been an incredibly hard Month with all this going on about my older brother, no need to mention his name, what with all the publicity that he has been getting and to top it off my Dad says that the reason I have been unable to get online and send this message is because the computer cables had to be replaced, come on where in India stuff like, that doesn't happen,any way I have a few things to say and update you on....
First of all I am still cute as hell, smart,incredibly funny, gifted athletically, and used to getting my own way.
I too have a bike and unlike the above mentioned brother, mine has hand brakes and gears, whatever those are. I can move my petals forward and backwards they tell me, but at this point I have chosen to only move them backwards which means I basically have a stationary bike which is fine, less falling off potential.
I also am going to school but unlike my brother who chooses public transportation I am taken by the driver and the rest of my staff, everyday . I am coloring, painting and playing with the rest of the kids, very enthusitically, according to my Mame, Glaydis.
I have also been taking care of Billy and keeping him out of trouble. He is my baby brother only from the standpoint that he is younger than me otherwise we are about the same size. I can talk more than him and sometimes you can even understand what I am saying, aren't you proud of me!!
Sometimes I have to jump out of my bed and into Billy's crib during nap time, which I am told tries mt Dads patience, however if Billy is crying or needs me that is what big sisters do!

All this monitoring of the house makes me very hungry so I had my people take me to the Taj West. That is the hotel we stayed at when we first arrived here for yunch,(lunch).

They have so many things on the menu it was hard to choose. So after careful consideration, I asked if it wasn't to much trouble could they please make mine a CHEESEBURGHER!!

Sometimes trying to get these pictures in the right order is hard, so just deal with it.

I will write again soon.

I miss you all and love you!!

Kay Kay

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Religon and Spirituality

Ok... this one is for all our spiritual guides. Any one else that thinks we are flaky or heathens, log off now...

So, I've been thinking a lot about spirituality lately . Maybe it comes from not have a church "home" here in Bangalore. While we have been listening to the CD's from Spirit in Action (boy do we miss you guys!) its not quite the same community feeling:) What is cool though is how much spirituality is here. They joke that there are 1 billion people and 1 billion gods in Hindu. They believe everyone has a personal god. Of course I have to put my twist on this. If God is in each of us and we are each god agents ("we are how God gets around") then this concept of 1 billion gods in India is pretty right on!

Sprituality is ingrained in everyday life in a way that you dont see in the U.S.

~ My new favorite super hero/cartoon show is "Avetar" He's an Indian "boy" that has come back after 100 years to spread peace and fellowship amongst all people. Each week he finds people that arent getting along or are fighting, by the end of the show, they understand each others point of view and have stopped warring. He does it without weapons, violence or even harsh words. The best part is, he doubts his ability to do it every time, but then it does all work out when he goes with the flow.

~ On any given day, you see Muslims, Hindus and Christians, all intermingling and getting along. On the way to work, I pass 2 Catholic churches, 15 Hindu temples (ranging in size from a small concrete statue to a HUGE multi colored building) and hundreds of people in marks on their head or with the traditional Muslim coverings.

~ Hindu is an intensely personal religon. You dont "have" to go to church everyday or even at all. Most have a small alter in their home and they pray before it as they wish. However, with how personal it is, it is also very public. You can tell which god they are worshipping by the marks they wear on their foreheads (the kids new favorite "game" is to color each others foreheads red). They have a blessing ceremony (or pooja) for EVERYTHING. A new car, blessing ceremony. A new house, blessing ceremony. A new water filtration system, blessing ceremony. A co workers 3 year old even wanted to have a blessing ceremony for his new trike. Then, after the ceremony you drape garlands of flowers all over the vehicle/house/etc and drive around.

~ On a final note, there are more holidays here than you shake a stick at and they are ALL spiritual. The latest, Ganesha, celebrates the God that has an elphant head. He rides on a rat. This signifies his ability to use his ego as a tool vs being driven by his ego. This way he can act in the highest spiritual sense at all time.

Think about it.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Friends, Food, Books and Other Random Thoughts.

This is my random thought blog. Sorry if any of it repeats.

Friends - Jimmy told me today he has 6 friends and I confirmed it as I watched them all wave to each other from the bus. They are very very cute. I think he even has a crush on one girl. Kay has made great friends with our next door neighbor Louis although she could just be using him since he has playdoh, paints, crayons and markers-all of which are at her disposal. Billy has woe'ed our driver. Saravanan calls him Bill-lou and sneaks him treats, candy and cookies when the other kids arent looking. Tom and I are missing our friends. Our only social outlet is with the kids or with work. That part is a little harder than I thought. I hope we make some "other" friends soon. We have some prospects. Our neighbors are from China(her)/France(him) and I love their insights and sense of humor. I did get a "girls night out" with a 3 women (Canada, Ireland and Germany) I managed to steer them away from "kid" talk, so I hope that develops into something as well. Our other next door neighbors are from NJ and he stays home with the kids, so Tom and he are getting tight. Our neighbors across the street are from Seoul and they have hooked us up with 2 Korean restaurants in town. I love watching their kids (boy 9 girl 6). I keep projecting Jimmy, Hayden, Kay, Lesia, ShinBee, Jet, Charlie, and Billy onto them.... Tom attended the Overseas Women's Club meeting the last 2 weeks (think PTA in India). There are 800 members, 10 of which are men. The men can be members but cant hold office or vote. And you thought equal opportunity was a dead subject. He did manage to make some acquaintances and I think I'm going to have to keep my eyes on these expat women! I am sure he'd be a "popular" coffee guest. The nice thing is that the OWC has a monthly night out and 1-2 other adult events throughout the month. This month is a meet the chef at the hippest trendiest restaurant in town (where I happened to be for my girls night out). So, this suits us just fine...

Food ... our cook rocks! Its hard to believe you can eat Indian fro lunch and dinner and not get sick of it, but its true!! (or maybe the fact that you dont have to cook lunch or dinner is what's nice....) Our cook makes fresh juice, everything is from scratch (he wont even use the bottles of spices we brought, he brings in fresh!) We actually did a steak and baked potatoe on the grill last Sunday and all the other Sunday's we've made ourselves fajitas (go figure). When you think grill, think xylophone, that's about the size of it. What we really miss is good red wine. You pay $20 here for a $8 bottle at home. UGHHH!!!

Books - While this is an English speaking country its seems that the only reading material is bad murder mysteries or harlequin romances. We are so desparate that we have taken to fighting over each others books no matter how bad they are. There is a library at our clubhouse and I was SO excited to sign up until Tom informed me he has "already read" all those books. SO, all you potential visitors, buy good books for your long flight and then donate them to us! I would kill for an Oprah bookclub book about now (even People magazine would be a step up).

So... I just noticed that the last string of emails have been Jimmy based. I promise the next set(s) will focus on Billy and Kay. They deserve some limelight too:)

We miss you all !! Please send updates on yourselves and families, I cant tell you how much we love to here about what's going on at home!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006