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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Going Seedy

One of the many things I’m busy with these days (apart from the regular cooking, cleaning, etc) is attending the art class at the kid’s school every Thursday. The classes are free (Yay!! 🙂 ) and even the supplies are free (Yippee yay!! 😀 ). Needless to say, I haven’t missed a single class since I found out about it. Alas, I have completed only one art-work till now –

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Fabric paint on silk

 

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Another angle

Its a shame, really, because though I finished the painting in one sitting, it took me two weeks of dilly-dallying to finally put the lace frill around it. In fact, I was quite okay without it anyway, but Senora Miriam wouldn’t listen.

Aaah! Senora Miriam!!

This gutsy old dame is our art teacher, who, incidentally, doesn’t speak a single word of English. Neither does she understand it. So when I said, I didn’t want the lace, she just pulled out a length of it and handed it over. When I insisted, she took the lace from my hand and as if explaining to a child, told me how to stick it around the metal frame. I struggled to find the right words to let her know my true feelings, but Spanish evades me. Other than a casual, “Adios Amigos”, how much do we use it anyway?? Anyhow, another Mexican woman in the class took pity on me and explained to Senora Miriam that I didn’t want the lace. At this, Senora Miriam shot me such a look of of horror, rage , pity and grief, roughly in that order, that by the end of those few nanoseconds I agreed to put two rounds of lace around that damned frame if she wanted! She told me to stick to one.

Finally, after three weeks (or three classes), I was done with the frame. The BF gladly hammered a portable rack in the drawing room to display the fruit of my labor . It sits there pretty 🙂

(The smudges on the painting above and not by me! They are by Senora Miriam 😀 )

After the frame, we started on seed-art, something that is quite a cultural thing in Mexico. I believe people design entire walls by sticking little seeds in patterns. Seed art looks something like this :-

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Mexican seed art

(No, I didn’t make that. Obviously. Duh!)

(And No, I don’t intend to. EVER.)

I was pretty piqued at doing something different. I mean, how difficult is it to stick grains on a design base, huh?? We (me and the other Indian moms) hunted for designs on the net and finalized our patterns. On the day of the class, we arrived, all merry and chatty, till we caught sight of the wooden boards awaiting us. What we didn’t expect was that we had to finish boards that were nearly 2 feet by 1 and half feet!! Just looking at the size of the board made us realize what a tough task lay ahead. Immediate rethink was the need of the hour. Google came to the rescue and  threw up a few easy patterns. One of the simplest pattern we found was this :-

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My board after I did the outlines with black rice

 

This was the simplest pattern available and I quickly drew the outlines on two other boards as well 🙂 . Sticking the black rice was easy enough (have you ever seen black rice before?? I thought that the grains were dyed black, but it seems they were actually black in color 😐 ) . I just had to follow the pencil pattern on the board. The tough part was filling in the other colors. I started with the clouds above. Split Urad dal was used to fill in the swirls. Moong dal filled up the petals/rays and though I had initially planned on filling in the centre with Moong dal too, the effort required was too much! I used Chana dal because they are larger and easier to stick. I also added a few to the rays to give some ‘effect’.

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Clouds and Sun

One look at the sun and the BF declared it the most rotten thing he’d ever seen (no, he didn’t actually say that. But if you can’t read your husband’s expressions after years of living with him, what have you learned in life??!) . So I took a knife and dug out the rays/petals. The rework, I tell you!! Never will I take a short-cut again 😐 . Much glueing later, the board looked something like this  (that is Masoor Dal in the pathway, whole green Moong dal for the watermelon’s peel and white Til seeds for the white parts) :-

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The edited sun

I had to colour Urad Dal with red food-coloring to prepare seeds for the watermelon. After weeks of of sticking grains and two vertebrae knocked out of position, I’m at this stage :-

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The foreground’s covered. Whew!!

This is what the BF calls my Goodness-I-Can’t-Believe-She-Reached-Here stage. It is also what I lovingly call my Till-Here-No-Further stage. Thats because Senora Miriam (remember? The art matron?) wants my design background to be shaded !! Red, yellow and orange coloured seeds have to be stuck in such a manner that the colours move from red to yellow towards the outside 🙄 . I’m sure it will look beautiful that way. I’m also very sure that this lifetime is too short for me to achieve that.

And hence, the board has been lying around, gathering lint (there’s no ‘dust’ here….just mounds of lint) for the last three weeks.

I need motivation to go on folks. I just can’t seem to gather the passion to finish the last mile (also, the longest!). I also need suggestions. Should I go with the ombre effect that Senora Miriam demands or should I cover the background with something more neutral? I have tried sticking Sabudana, rice and til seeds for the background. They just don’t look good. Is there any other dal or grain that in your opinion would make the foreground stand out?

(Please omit Rajma, Chhole and White Peas. They are just too large and look horrbile :()

Kindly help.

Mucho Gracias.

 

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Smooth!

Thats how life has been in Chicago till now. With practically no major work other than cooking and shopping, my life’s on a smooth ride for now. Possibly the only reason I’ve been missing from this space. Apologies 🙂

But my parents and in-laws worry! They know I haven’t been a housewife or a full-time hands on mother before and they worry if I’m able to handle the kids and the household. Obviously, they don’t openly state it, but I get the drift from their constant queries of “are you okay?”, or “is BF helping you out?” 😀 😀 . The BF, for his part, hasn’t stopped surprising me at every turn in these few months. I didn’t know it was possible but I think I’m falling in love with him again (Shhh…don’t tell him that. Yet.  :P). Now you know why I was away?? Yeah, I was busy floating up in the clouds above 🙂

Other than that, things are pretty good here. I completed three months and in these three months I’ve found Chicago not much different than Pune. Okay, maybe less crowded and silent (I think the cars here just don’t have horns!), but still very much like Pune. This place is pretty clean by Indian standards, but do people litter here? Well yes, they do. Once the mounds of snow melted, you could see a zillion cigarette stubs lining the pavements. Do people spit here? Hell, yeah! It shocked me to the core, it seems more common than I had assumed. Do people jay-walk? Yes, they do. Maybe not in hoards as it happens in India, but in spite of zebra crossings, some people do dash across the road.

Luckily, I stay in an area which has everything close by. All the department stores, Starbucks, Dunkin’Donuts,  ATMs, hospitals, schools, etc are within walking distance. Even though I do not have the convenience of a car or a bike, the walking is doing me good. I’ve done more walking here than I have ever done in Pune 😐

The twins have settled well in school (Alhamdulillah). I’m writing a separate post on the education system here. I’m really impressed with the kind of emphasis that is given to education here, not only that, but all the provisions that are made to entice students to stay in school. More on that later though.

This post is just a reminder to myself that I have a blog and I need to keep it alive. I have no clue why I didn’t have the urge and take down every little thing that I used to before. The twins are growing up rapidly, I’m losing more hair, the BF looks better by the day and the weather’s finally improving. SO much to write about……but I was just too lazy!

Also, I’m finally getting into the mood to work again. Enough of the vacation, I say. The more I stay at home, the more I’m reluctant to pursue the things that I loved doing before (though, I have taken up many new things in the meanwhile 🙂 ). I have applied for my work permit and am refreshing my knowledge in my work domain. Maybe by next month, I’ll start appearing for interviews. Wish me luck 🙂

Here are a few pics of the twins taken in the last two months…they’ve grown-up, I say 🙂

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Walking towards the sports ground on “Day Of The Child”

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Drawing a millipede at the Nature Museum

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Dressed up as the ’60s for Spirit Week at school

 

Ciao,

 

 

 

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I’ve made it a point that we all have dinner together at the table after the BF gets back from work. We have an early dinner, around 7:30 PM, so that we can start packing the kids off for sleep time around 9pm. Given the cold days and even colder nights, the twins are reluctant to come out of their comforters in the morning. Unless of course if they have slept well. Then they get up bright and early.

So dinner time is when we all get together and break bread. I mean that literally! The BF had bought two loaves of bread one day (on my insistence that two was better than one). The loaves were huge and had a zillion slices each. So we gave up on rice and rotis to finish the damn slices before they got stale 😦 . Anyhow, the kids love talking about the day at school, the teachers, classmates (no friends yet !), their Pune friends and mostly lots of idle talk . Lately though, we’ve been having some rather interesting things to talk about. Hear this :-

1) We were talking about why the twins need to eat the vegetables when suddenly, Shobby had a brainwave.

Shobby : Abbu, mai bhi apne bete ko vegetables khane bolunga.

BF : Huh?! What?

Shobby : (gives a loud sigh and explains as if to child) Jab mujhe bhi baby hoga, tab mai bhi unko vegetables khane bolunga.

BF : Ohh! Okay, good.

Lui : Shobby, aapko kitne babies chahiye.

Shobby : (promptly) TWO!!

Lui : Boys or girls??

Shobby : Boys!

Lui : Abbu, mujhe two girls chahiye.

BF : (looking totally baffled by now) Huh?!

Lui : Shobby, aapko girl chahiye?

Shobby : (After a thought) Yes. Two girls.

Lui : Ok. So you have 2 boys and two girls. That is four. I will have 3 boys and 3 girls (counting on fingers) Six children.

Both the kids look pleased as punch and beam at us.

Sitting across the table, the BF and me just shake our heads in wonder. Or was it sorrow?!!

2) Another day, another time. We are all having dinner. The BF was to leave us for a short trip to India (He’s left already even as I type this) and he was preparing the kids for his departure.

BF : Lui, I will go only for a few days. Be good and don’t trouble your mother.

Lui : (with all solemnity) yes Abbu. I will be good. But I will miss you so much.

(Here she makes her puppy dog face and the BF and barely control the pricking of tears in his eyes )

Lui : But I promise I will NEVER leave you and go.Ever, ever, EVER!

BF : What about when you get married?

Lui : Koi problem nahin? Mere husband ko bhi hamare saath rakhenge.

Here, both the BF and I almost choke on our food.

Me : What??

Lui : (looking very decisive) Dekho mummy, shaadi toh mai karungi hi, lekin, mere husband ko hamare ghar lekar aaoongi rehne ke liye.

The feminist in me did a fist-pump and cheered for her. The BF knit his brows…probably, the future worries him 😛

3) The BF isn’t here. While we were having dinner, the twins got talking about the Pune home.  I realize that they miss the space to run around, not only in our house but also our neighbours. They even miss the trips to the grocery store on the ground floor of the building to buy a packet of Maggi or Chocos (Oh the luxury of it all 😐 ). But I didnt realize that what they missed the most were the bathrooms and wash-basins 😐 . The twins started talking at length about how each of them could brush at a different sink without needing to share or how they could both attend nature’s call at the same time ( 🙄 ) . For the record, we have only one washroom in the apartment here which has a large sink, commode and a tub . As I mulled over the things the kids were talking about, Shobby turns to me and says,

Shobby : Mummy, dekho. If I am taking bath, aur aapko bahut zor se toilet jaana hai, toh aap andar aa jana. Waise bhi curtain hai, aap mujhe nahin dekh sakte.

Lui : Haan mummy. Hum aapke liye adjust karne ke liye tayyar hai.

Me : Ya Allah!! The sacrifices these kids make for me 😐 😐

😀 😀 😀

Here are pics of the two struggling with chop-sticks. For the record, they did manage to finish their dinner with it 🙂

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“MUST get this damn noodle into my mouth!”

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“Its going to be a long night, I see!”

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