Thursday, November 29, 2007

Raj "Speak" and managing our household staff

OK, now while I miss Tom and I love him, I also appreciate the work he does with the kids... AND, I DO understand his role as household staff manager. However, 2 conversations with Raj (our cook) this week UNDERSCORES how vital Tom's job is to the health of our family...

Example # 1 (also a good example of Indian "help", culture and parenting):
Kay has spent the day getting into trouble, not limited to, but most distressing, climbing into the medicine cabinet get at the strawberry and cherry flavored medicines. It seems she has run out of her hidden stash of chocolate and is resorting to this, similar to an alcoholic and cough syrup. As Raj wants to prevent an accidental overdoes, he asks Jimmy to open the "American food cabinet" so that he can give Kay chocolate instead of strawberry flavored medicine.

(Quick aside, this food cabinet has a child lock so that Kay (and others) dont get into it, eat all the chocolate or god forbid, make beef jerky into a hot cabbage casserole. So, yes, the child lock is for the kids AND for Raj although it seems that Jimmy is a locksmith and now knows how to open it).

Now, I realize that this story is wrong on MANY different levels, but here is the conversation between Raj and I when he tells me the above....

Raj: Ma'am I cant open the cupboard, so I asked Jimmy to do it for me.
Tracy: Why did you need to get in there?
Raj: So that the kids will like me
Tracy: Excuse me?
Raj: With Sir gone, I need the kids to like me and listen to me and the only way to do it is to give them candy.
Tracy: Raj, you are in charge, they dont have to like you, but they do need to listen to you. You can put them on a time out or tell them "no"
Raj: (Laughing at the silly white girl) - Oh no ma'am, I cant tell the kids "no", the best is to give them chocolate
Tracy: (Trying one more time) Really Raj, you can discipline them when I am gone
Raj: (Smiling blank faced look, like I just told him that we have sent a man to the moon) Yes Ma'am (toggle of the head)
Needless to say, I find chocolate wrappers around the house for days after this incident.

Example # 2: Raj has met me at Jimmy's guitar lesson and is telling me about the kids day and what he made for dinner (he's very very proud of his day by the way, as he should be!!)

Raj: Ma'am, dinner is there
Tracy: Great, what did you make?
Raj: Jimmy had brown mutton and noodles, he loved it, its his favorite
Tracy: Thanks Raj, II know.... what else is there?
Raj: Your and Sir's favorite, I made the brain
Tracy: WHAT?!

Saravanan is now laughing and Raj is looking at me in shock

Raj: Yes, Ma'am, you like it, you eat it for breakfast many times
Saravanan: Yes Tracy, you like it, I had it for lunch its good. I thought it was egg, but today I learned its brain. Its good (he's laughing...)
Tracy: You are kidding right?! (I know EXACTLY the dish he is referring too, its like a very delicate scrambled egg dish with veggies)
Raj: No Ma'am, its very healthy for you
Tracy: Oh Man, Raj, now I cant eat it, I'm totally grossed out. I know, it tasted good and I ate it before I knew what it was, but now I just cant.
Raj: (again, the dull look like I am speaking Cantonese or like I just landed FROM the moon but this time accompanied by giggling) Its good for you Ma'am, you like the taste

Saravanan is now laughing hysterically.....

Tracy: Really Raj, I cant eat it. You shouldnt have told me. Does Tom know? Is he hiding this from me?
Raj: Yes Ma'am, Sir knows.....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kay's Gotcha Day, Jimmy's grown up and Billys my prend

The highlight of this weekend was Saturday. Kay woke up bright and early at 6:30, came running into my room and announced, "Today's my special day!". Yep, Kay, Saturday was your Gotcha Day. 4 years ago on this day, we brought the tiny Baby Kay home from Korea.

You were so sweet and cubby and tiny and terrorizing all at the same time. You cried non-stop all the way home (20+ hr flight from Seoul to MPLS). You were the littlest baby we had ever had to take care of and we were scared to death. Jimmy and Grandma/pa Hickey met us at the airport and Jimmy said "Hi Baby Kay, I'm Jimmy, nice to meet you". We headed home in the MN cold and when we got there, Jimmy just had to show you his room. Such a good little host. You refused to sleep for the 1st 72 hours unless either Daddy or I was holding you in a sitting position, but you finally adjusted and became a happy part of our family.

So, Saturday, we had to celebrate you joining the Murphy family. We had a family walk, went swimming and then had chocolate cake with white frosting and cherrys by the pool. All your friends were there and we sang 2 different versions of Happy Gotcha Day. It was very fun. We love you Baby Kay, Kay Kay and the Pook-a-rook!!

Jimmy is all grown up. Last week, he told Tom "I think I'm going to go for a run to get some exercise" and he did! He has also started taking showers by himself. He washes his own hair and body, dries off, puts gel in his hair and gets dressed. Between this new habit and his eating habits, I think we have hit puberty already. All is not lost however, he still wants to sit on my lap and cuddle and can throw a mean fit when he doesnt get his way. He's still 6 aside from being as big as an 8 yr old and the workout/showering habits of a 15 yr old:)

Billy is my "prend" (i.e. friend). With Tom being gone, I am getting ALL of Billy's pent up love and attention. This means middle of the night visits, having to sit on top of me whenever I take a seat, climbing all over me when we watch a movie and not letting ANYONE else sit by me EVER (especially Kay). While all the hugs and kisses are sweet, I could use a little elbow room. Plus, these shows of affection are necessary to combat the tantrums that come with being 2 just about to turn 3.

All and all, we are surviving with Tom in MPLS, but we really miss him and want him home safe and sound.

We love you Daddy!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving in St.Cloud

Finally after 23 hours on the road I finally made back home. I was great to have Pat pick me up at the airport shuttle me around.
I had a fabulous meal and conversation with Jim and a few glasses of good wine culminating in 7 hours of blissful sleep!
Thanksgiving Morning Jim drove me over to Kate and Tom's. The trimpelets have grown a ton and are very cute!!
I then got behind the wheel on the left hand side for the first time in 18 months and began the drive to Brigid and Dennis's new home outside of St.Cloud.
Driving was not as unfamiliar as I thought.This new device called a Tomtom was helpful.This device gives you a visual as well as and audio picture of where you are going and if you make a wrong turn it promptly tells you that as well. I do not know why they named it a Tomtom when they should have called it" your spouse"!
It was with great joy to pull into the driveway and see all my brothers and sisters for the first time in too long!
The day was full of activities and food and hugs and everything that a Thanksgiving gathering should be. The boys all headed outside to "practice" shooting the shotguns, we threw 125 clay targets and used 250 shells ,I think more "practice" is needed.
It must of been and unwritten rule communicated through the kid network because as Jimmy,Kay and Billy were playing full contact ring around the Rosie back in Bangalore, Finn,Riley,Jack,Maureen and Emily were doing the same thing here! We however are grateful that no rocks were thrown, we did experience a couple of stray books traveling the length of the living room.
We had a huge spread of food including cranberries, turkey,stuffing,potato's,salad,bread,wine and PIE!!!
Names were drawn for Christmas gift exchange hugs were given and we all retired for the night.

We missed Kevin,Angela,Lexi,Michaela,Isaiah and Henry as they were at the inlaws.We also missed Tracy,Jimmy ,Kay and Billy ( I did the most).

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a goodnight!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving in India - The Only Place

Really, we had Thanksgiving Dinner at The Only Place. Its an expat favorite:)

Actually, The Only Place, is a great kid friendly resturant that serves the best burgers in town. Except on Thanksgiving when they have a real live Thanksgiving buffet, chock full of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, potato salad, green salad, green beans, carrots, broccoli, sweet creamed corn, garlic bread, gravy, pumpkin pie and the always favorite Thanksgiving tradition of garbanzo beans ! (?)

I had a reservation for 25 and due to last minute additions (literally, people inviting other friends 24 hours prior) we were a cozy group of over 40 people (15 kids, but with their energy, it seemed like about 50 kids). See my final update to the group to set the "stage" for the night:

"Just spoke to The Only Place to confirm for tomorrow. While they will have PLENTY of food to accommodate for all of us (and the extra guests you have all asked to bring), we may need to eat in "shifts" (ie. Just like at home…. Kids 1st, then hungry adults then less hungry adults). Its buffet style and we should tell them to issue each of us separate bills to make it easier to pay. Also, he suggested bringing in an ice box/cooler of liquor/beer/wine if you are interested !!??!!. When I asked how much his corking fee was, he said "let's not worry about that now" and laughed. Last year it was about R100/bottle of wine. Sounds just like Thanksgiving in the Murphy Household in MN. BYOB, too many people, WAY too many kids, not enough seats, WAY too much food...."

All in all, it turned out even more chaotic than expected. Many of the other non-parent expats remarked that it was incredibly effective birth control. I have to agree, it'll be awhile before I take on any more kids after last night. Why you ask?? Some examples....

~ 15 kids with a median age of 3 1/2 (8 being the oldest and 2 1/2 being the youngest)

~ The 8 member tribe of 4 year olds playing craps on an upside down table with rocks the size of their fists

~ Billy approaching me with a handful of half chewed/half digested turkey and saying "I threw up Mom"

~ Kay and Owen picking ALL the flowers and leaves off the potted plants (some how and intregal part of the craps game)

~ Jimmy and Cody trying to pick up (literally, pick up) Ella and Grayce

~ Ella and Grayce trying to pick up (and kiss) Jimmy and Cody

~ Billy, Owen and Noah rolling through the dirt floor of the resturant as they "rolled down the sand dunes" (Wiggles song for all you non parents)

~ Jimmy and Cody showing off all the latest Power Ranger Operation Overdrive moves

~ High contact Ring around the Rosie, including Jump around the Rosie, Run around the Rosie, Hop around the Rosie and Scream around the Rosie"

~ A parental barricade to prevent the kids from running into Bangalore city traffic

~ One child (who should remain unnamed) throwing a rock at the plate glass window (no it didnt break , but the overwhelming Mom comment was "that god that wasnt my kid")

~ A jeapordy style game during the dinner with silly Thanksgiving questions and answers hosted by Amber (The belly laughs were hysterical)

Other than combat duty, what did the adults do for fun you ask? Lots of wine, beer, food and martini's.

The waitstaff, on the other hand, wasnt having as much fun and were quite distrubed by the whole event. They wanted to charge me on 1 bill, instead of separate bills, since they were having a hard time keeping track of the kids/people. As you know, never be the last person at an event like this.... After the 30th time of explaining "just have each person tell you how many plates of turkey they had", we finally called on the owner. He was SO gracious, "no worries ma'am, its like this every year, we'll figure it out". At the end of the night, it was 450R/plate, 100R/corking fee and 12R/bottle of water. That's about $15.60/person if you drank a whole bottle of wine yourself (I was tempted). Not bad for all you can eat dinner, all you can drink wine, all you can handle energy, non-stop entertainment (ie the kids) and some on the job parenting training for the non-parents.

Actually, $15.60 seems pretty reasonable for a good dose of birth control.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and YOURS!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Donald Thomas Murphy

It is with a heavy and sad heart that as I am planning my trip back to Minnesota I have heard that my Uncle Don has passed away.

Don will always be remembered for creating great Christmas memories for us, providing a strong handshake and teaching all about God and what He has given us.

Don dealt with his illness with pride and always wanted to know how we , the kids and everyone else were doing. He put his family and friends a close second to his God.

He gave to those he loved with his whole self.

Please spend a moment honoring him and keep his family and the family of Joanne in your hearts and prayers as we move through this grieving experience.

Remember that Don is in a better place and is now spending time with is Dad, Don, and his Mother, Catherine, along with several other family and friends.

May God bless Don and may he know we love him and miss him.

Rest in peace, you have climbed the mountain.

All our Love
Tom, Tracy, Jimmy, Kay and Bill

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Misc. Rantings, Goodbye Wendy and Diwali

So we were doing Pooja the other day to bless and get long life out of our electronics, car, etc. The pooja was in full swing when Billy demanded to take pictures with our digital camera. He was trying to grab it out of my hands while I was filming said pooja for prosperity sake when the little bugger lunged for the camera and knock it out of my hands causing it to break. So much for the pooja.

I then travelled all the way to the other side of town to the only Canon repair shop in Asia. The guy took the camera, accused me of purposely breking it and scolded me for opening the camera and loosing two screws. This was not going well. I calmly explained to him while my hands were slowly trying to wrap there way around his neck, that I did not purposely break my own camera and that I have never opened the thing except to change batteries and retrieve the memory card in the event that we actually print a photo.

Saravana convinced me to remove my hands and he would settle the matter. We left the camera shop on the 29th of October and they have not answered my calls since. Finally on the 13th of November they told me they had sent the camera to Delhi and would call me the day after tomorrow night and update me.....

Having guests come in visit is truly a highlight and when they have to leave it is not. Wendy braved the "Indian" Continent, the loudamericans and their equally loud friends and blessed us with her presence. We had a great time travelling around India and Bangalore itself. Two weeks goes bye very fast however she has hundreds of pictures that she generously let me download, and many memories of her trip.

We have a small guest room that is always open and while people stay here the kids can not go into the room without permission of the guest, in this case Wendy. We couldnt keep them out of her room when she was here. I dont blame them, we wanted to be with her all the time too:)

Of course, once she left, the kids are now refusing to go into the spare bedroom as its "Wendy's room". ay even said "It smells like Wendy in here". I asked her what that smelled like and she said "Wendy", and I said, but what does Wendy smell like and she said "Good, just like Wendy".

Jimmy was very sad he didn't get to give her a hug. He kept talking about Wendy all weekend and how he "missed saying goodbye in person and I didn't even get to give her a hug". I must have heard him say that at least 10 times.

Wendy - You are missed and loved!

Diwali is an event that is celebrated all through out India. There are many places you can go and get the Historical version of this event,,, to name a few.
I say this because I am going to provide an accurate and up to the minute 2007 version of Diwali. I will reference only one book which is the lonely Planet, India. On page 518 the is a description of Diwali which reads"fireworks are let off by the population".
It fails to mention that Diwali is actually spread out over the life of your fireworks inventory. For some people it is only a 5 minute affair and for others it never "f"ing stops!!!
These people and the fireworks or crackers are relentless. This Festival is rumoured to begin on or around November 8th which is 30 days after the birthday of Ganesha, I digress.

It really begins when the hordes of " Star Fireworks" stands begin to set up on every street corner and the match vendor arrives then it is world war 3.

There are so many crackers and they make the most ungodly noises you can literally go mad.

They have these knock off 's a stun grenade that I call bunker bombs. The fuse is about one second long and the noise level is deafening.

The colorful candle bombs burn long enough to cook a meal for a family of 4 and the relative of the"bottle rocket" can go any way but up!

I mean all of these things are banned in most countries but not here. Hell a 6 year old can walk into a booth and buy these things. (Not to worry, we didnt let Jimmy anywhere near the fireworks stands...)

Now the other piece of Diawli info I will pass on is the part of India celebrates during the day and another part at night. Yep 24 hours of fireworks. I feel sorry for the daytime celebrants as they go deaf without seeing the colors. However it could be said that the night time celebrants are going deaf and blind. Either way Diwali is the most celebrated Festival and the people of all ages are living their youths.

People do other things when they are not trying to blow up their own neighborhoods, like exchange gifts,hand out sweets and Diwali cards, families have nice dinners and meet friends and then it is back to the outdoors and the matches.

Diwali is a combination of the 4th of July, Thanksgiving,Christmas and Saint Erhose Day all rolled into one.

I am sorry for not providing photos but is is not the day after tomorrow night yet...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pondy otherwise known as Pondicherry

In an effort to show Wendy as much of India as possible, the LoudAmericans decided to head off to Pondicherry for a 4 day road trip/beachside vacation. Pondy (as its called) boasts of seafood, the Bay of Bengal, quiet resorts and "an approximation of French food".

We left post trick or treating with the thought that we'd get about 2/3 of the way and stay the night in a town called Tiruvannamalai. This meant traveling about 200km (120 miles) and so we thought that if we left by 6pm we'd reach in plenty of time for a relaxing night and good sleep. Not so, this is India remember.

Our rented driver and car left MUCH to be desired. After spending 2 hours stuck in Bangalore rush hour traffic we finally made it outside the city limits (10km down 190 to go!!). Our driver spoke NO English and didnt seem to know which way to head to Pondicherry, not a good sign. After another 3 hours and 100 km or so, including wrong turns, stops for coffee and ever increaseing frustration in the car, we started experiencing some of the biggest potholes I had yet to see in India. And that's saying something! Needless to say, our driver was determined to drive through each and every one. To what results? You guessed, a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and a blazing thunderstorm at the midnight hour. Remember, its still Halloween and our night has turned SPOOKY!!! We were still 30km from our hotel and he didnt seem to have a clue as to what to do. He had obviously never changed a flat before and visions of "A Christmas Story" were running through our heads. (Or should I say the infamous "F" word was running through our heads.) After a 20 min attempt to but together a 3 piece warning "triangle" he was ready to tackle the tire. He proceeded to bang on the spare tire in the hopes that it would just fall off the bottom of the car. Tom tried intervening MANY times but to no avail. Finally in desparation, we called Saravanan and he talked the driver through what to do over the phone in Tamil. The grand finale? Our spare had 3 obvious patches on it. Oh well, we were off to the hotel and deal with it all the next morning. We arrived safe and sound to our hotel at 1:30am, having traveled 200km in a mere 7 1/2 hours.

The main attraction in Tiruvannamalai and the reason we had this destination on our travel itnerary is the town boasts to have one of the largest temples in India (Arunachaleswar Temple) and the place where you can "achieve enlightment just by the thought of the temple". We figured we could use a little dose of this after our Halloween/driver adventure and so set off. The temple was bustling with activity as they were getting ready for a large celebration. Everything was being washed, fixed and all the holiday lights were being pulled out. We saw monks in orange colored robes, women in all their best saree's/finery AND the temple elephant. We fed him cookies and Wendy was even blessed the elephant, very cool. It was a good morning stop. Feeling a bit more peaceful and relaxed we decided to tackle the last 100km's of our trip.

While our final segment to Pondy was relatively uneventful (other than our spare tire gave out and we had to stop in a village to get both tires fixed). We even got to see peanuts being roasted on the asphalt (see photo above) We made it to Pondy in record time. 100km in just under 3 hours! Elation!! Needless to say, we adjusted our plans to include 2 days of pure beach time before we had to even think of getting in that car again!

A little about Pondicherry. Pondy is a former French colony and this is VERY apparent when you realize as you walking down the street that signs are in French, not English, and that some of the people arent speaking English, Hindi or Tamil, but French! The guidebooks warn that the beach is dirty, littered and the sea too rough. BUT... not the case! Our resort (Kailash Beach Resort) had a fabulously clean beach and we were the ONLY people on it! The kids had a great time body surfing, fighting the waves and rolling in the sand. We are still finding sand in all their "hidden" places.

Our resort was a sleepy little place and other than 1 other family, I think we were the only ones there. The food was OUT OF THIS WORLD and there was plenty of room for the kids (and grown ups) to run and catch our breath. The rooms were really quaint and reminded me of old European hostels. The beds were 4ft off the ground and you had to use a step stool to get in. Needless to say this was the main form of entertainment for the kids. Wendy even braved the famous Auyervedic massage! (as noted in previous blogs, this consists of 2-3 gallons of oil and being mildly violated by the massuese, relaxing if you can find a way to have an outerbody experience while its going on).

After 2 uneventful and non-car related days, we decided to venture out again and face our car/driver. Our destination? Auroville. Auroville is "an international community and a project in human unity". " experiment in international living where people could live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, politics and nationalities". It was formed in 1968 through a partnership with "the Mother" and a local guru. The Mother was a French woman who had the vision of creating an international sociey without constrain to government. Its an interesting place and they have some really state of the art techniques around ecosystems, organic farming, cashless society and spiritualism without religion. Think about it, most wars/trouble in the world are caused by disagreements around money or God. Auroville is making a pretty good attempt to erase these as causes of angst. If you are to become part of the community, you need to renounce your religion, pledge to meditate 6-8 hours a day and work 4-6 hours of the day towards the betterment/upkeep of the village. There is a HUGE meditation center that was unfortunately closed. Billy's 1st comment upon seeing the center "wow, look at that big cricket ball" In fact, it looks more like a mini gold epcot center or a large gold golf ball. See Wendy's blog for cool photos and more accurate facts (

Finally, it was time to return to Bangalore. It was an auspicious start. We woke up to pouring rain and decided to head home early. Despite a few nervous stomachs about the reliability of the car/driver, we were off. The trip home was relatively uneventful. He did manage to find every pot hole on the way home, but looking at the bright side, we arrived with all 4 tires intact, we only got lost once and only 2 of the 3 kids threw up from carsickness (brought on by his erratic driving). The best part, we got home in a record 8 hours!!!

Home sweet home....


Halloween came in with a bang and the Loudamericans were ready! Jimmy the black Power Ranger, Kay the Princess/Ballerina and Billy the car.

Tracy was bound and determined to take the kids trick or treating this year come heavy traffic, extended meetings and high waters, and she did!!

The Palm Meadows group preplanned, planned, post ponned and pre ponned the trick or treating process so many times we just took matters in our own hands and went ourselves. Which was a good thing because we were the only family not to get washed out in the Halloween Monsoon!

We hope everyone had a great Halloween and that the trips to the dentist that will follow are not to painful!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A blog of sorts (aka cheating....)

I am sure MANY of you are forsaking our names and maybe even protesting our blog since our dismal "show" in October (our lowest blog month yet). Not to make excuses, but between our internet being "down" for a week, Tracy being in MPLS for 10 days and our week vacation to Sri Lanka, we were very negligent and apologize!!

So... and an effort to efficiently catch you up we have blatantly plagiarized from our friends blogs the key highlights of the month of October. These are not in chronological nor priority order:)

Post Script - We WILL make up for it in November. We PROMISE!!

Oktoberfest (from
"....And then we arrived at Oktoberfest Bangalore, and it was incredible. Before even getting to out table with our identified friends, we all had large mugs of Kingfisher beer and a robust German toast was playing from the full band. All around were traditional Bavarian costumes mixed in with the normal expat array. There was an eerie familiarity as if we had somehow stepped into the beer garden at the State Fair. It was an awesome time with great food (even sausage), free-flowing Kingfisher beer in Oktoberfest Bangalore mugs, and great friends. I haven't had this much fun since...well a long time, pre-kids for sure. Imagine 1000 people dancing on tables, drinking properly to German beer songs and singing at the top of their lungs. Did I also mention its LEGAL to smoke inside, in fact, its almost a requirement for an Indian party.
When it was finally time to go, I decided the mug had to come along with me - really, "Oktoberfest Bangalore" is something that needed a souvenir! At first the guard protested, then tossed out a sale proposal of 500 Rupees, then a negotiation ensued and we settled on something much, much less - priceless."

Indian Night (from
"...I had the chance to go sari shopping a couple of weeks ago and Bob bought himself a "Kurta Pyjama" and a pair of red pointy shoes to match. Vimala, our maid, painted "Mehendi" on my hands, brought me some bangles and a Bindi for my forehead, helped me find a tailor to stitch my sari "blouse," bought me a sari slip, agreed to babysit our children and arrived early to wrap me in my 6 yards of silk. Other beneficial commentary that led me to believe I had no idea what I was doing: "You're not going to wear your hair like THAT, Madame?" and "Where is your eyeliner?" and "You don't have any matching sets?" (dubiously eyeing the jewelry I'd set out). Undaunted by my obvious lack of experience with both social custom and Indian formal wear, Vimala had me wrapped, tucked, pinned and emerging as a proper Indian lady in no time. How she did so, is still a major mystery... However it all occurred, I was greeted by both kids with serious approval: (Owen) "mommy you wook bwootifuw" (Grayce) "you should always dress like that, every day." Did I mention the safety pins? Are you aware that safety pins are only for slackers? That those 6 yards of fabric are simply wrapped around and tucked into a slip? Or that Indian women do more than just stand there carefully, trying not to move too much? Vimala wears a Sari every day cleaning and mopping my house. It's amazing...just getting in the car had me in a panic!Fast-Forward to Raffle Ticket Time: Several prizes given away, including Bollywood dancing lessons, in which another woman went up to claim her prize and had the dance studio owner/instructor surprise her with an impromptu and very public lesson. A second set of lessons is announced. Bob looks right at me and says, "you know you're going to win this." I suddenly just KNOW that he's right (damn "The Secret," it's always getting me into trouble!) I suddenly just KNOW I'm going to have to get up and dance...Bollywood style...which is not exactly "conservative".I win. 8 lessons. Free. I am on stage and I am dancing. Thank God for Vimala, Sari Pins, and a realllllyyyy charming choreographer by the name of V. Arun Kumar....proprietor of Zealers dance studio. (Probably, the wine helped, too.) It wasn't until it was all over that I realized I'd missed my chance to send Bob up to claim his prize."

Expat Fashion Show (from
"Due to a suggestion by one of our favorite team members, the expats put together a fashion show. This was the opening act of a talent show that was one of the fun events for the building. ALL, and I do mean all, of the expats participated. Kudos to Todd and Paul, newly arrived only a few days in Bangalore, who jumped in with both feet!
To music, we all entered in small groups, dancing and vogueing our way across the stage. It was so much FUN and the crowd loved it! This was a surprise for everyone involved and was an awesome way to kick off the event. Thank you to all who participated in the planning and for including us all."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wendy's here Wendy's here Wendy's here!!!

As many of you know, Wendy is a dear dear friend of ours for the last good many years:). She and Tracy do the MS150 together EVERY year (ok, 14 of the last 17 years but who's counting). Wendy and Tracy have also been roomies off and on during our turbulent youth (aka break ups and significant others). There is ALWAYS a room in our house for Wendy as there is for us in hers. She is Jimmy's godmother and a key important (and LOVED) person in our lives.

AND, she's HERE!!

Wendy arrived in Delhi last Friday (10/26) and was whisked off to a whirlwind tour of Agra and the Taj Mahal. The action didn't stop there... She landed in Bangalore on Sunday and the LoudAmericans whisked her off to a Halloween party followed by a BBQ at Petra and Gerald's house. If that's not enough, Tom took her to 2 of his charity meetings and shopping on Commercial street. This was all pre-Halloween!

On Halloween she witnessed the LoudAmericans in all their glory, costumes and hyperness, running from house to house for candy. All on the premise that "yes, Tracy can fit 5 lbs of shit in a 2 lb bag". The time table was this.... Tracy leaves work 3pm, gets home at the ever so frustrating time of 5pm (yes it did take 2 hrs to go 13 kms due to a disturbance of traffic protestors. Life is ironic even in India), Trick or Treating from 5-6pm (Tracy missed Halloween last year due to conference calls and damn it, she wasn't going to miss it again) and in the car by 6pm for a 4 hour journey to Tirvimanamali (2/3 of the way to Pondicherry). Life was looking sweet as we rolled out of the gates of Palm Meadows at 5:58pm. Happy kids with candy and happy adults to finally be sitting still.

See the attached photos of which we have Wendy to be grateful for (again) as our camera broke just in time for the festivities. Jimmy was a Black PowerRanger (Operation Overdrive and thank you Des and Greg, you saved our hide!!). Kay was a fairy princess and "flew" from house to house. Billy was Lightning McQueen and in absolute heaven.

For a good recount of our "spooky" adventures on the way to Pondicherry, check out Wendy's blog at

Or, you can see other recounts of Halloween along with photos on (our favorite expats) or (newest expats and maybe the funniest in a LONG time:) - Please note, Jimmy is in LOVE with Gracie

Wendy is here through Friday (Dwali) and I am SURE we'll have lots more blogs on her (and our) adventures this week!

We love you Wendy and are already planning our your next trip over!!!

If Kay had 100 Rupees

We were on a recent trip to Pondicherry, more info on that to follow, and we were using our new CD converter and listening to some great music. Of course we had to play Bare Naked Ladies, If I had a Million Dollars and Kay thought it was the best song ever. We had to play it over and over and over again, a girl after our ouwn hearts!
The next day( as we were still driving to Pondicherry) Kay blurts out," Hey Mom play that song I like" and Tracy said 'What song Kay?" to which Kay replied " If I had a 100 rupees" which of course caused Wendy, Tracy and I to burst out laughing ,I mean 100 rupees is currently about two and a half dollars!
What could one get if they had 100 rupees... ( Sung to the tune of " If I had a Million Dollars")

If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees
I'd buy you a blue tarp, I would buy you a blue tarp
If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees
I 'd buy you furniture for your blue tarp, Like maybe a nice geyser or a stabilizer
If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees
I'd buy you an Innova, a nice reliant automobile

If I had a 100 rupees I'd buy your Bindi

If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees,
I'd build a Temple in our yard,If I had a 100 rupees
You could help it wouldn't be that hard
If I had a 100 rupees
Maybe we could do a Punja in there
We could go in there and there would be pre-wrapped Mutton, they have pre wrapped Mutton but they don't have pre -wrapped Vada, I mean can you blame them...

If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees,
I take you for a swim in the Ganges,
but not the real Ganges that's cruel
If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees
I'd buy you an exotic pet, like a cockroach or a cobra
If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees,
I'd buy you a hornless Innova,
think of all those crazy quiet moments

If I had a 100 rupees I'd buy your Bindi

If I had a 100 rupees
we wouldn't be here any more
If I had a 100 rupees
We'd be in first class cause it costs more
If I had a 100 rupees
We wouldn't have to eat Maggi's Noddles
But we would.We'd eat more
we get fancy curries to eat with them
Yeah like Dijon curry

If I had a 100 rupees If I had a 100 rupees
I'd buy you a green Saree
but not a real green Saree that's cruel
If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees
I'd buy you some canned beans,
A Frijoles or a Garbanzo
If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees
I would buy you a Vermox,
haven't you always wanted a worm pill

If I had a 100 rupees, I'd buy your Bindi

If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees
If I had a 100 rupees, If I had a 100 rupees
I'd be rich.