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01.19.2021

Its been two years since FIL departed from us. Can’t believe it. A man of few words and many actions. I made semiya payasam and offered to him today. I am feeling low in general. Trying to recollect all my good memories with him. I have written many posts about him in this space. Today is dedicated to thoughts about him.

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/f-i-l/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/my-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/car-and-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/front-door-and-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2020/01/19/01-19-2020/

Small joys

I had Kohls store gift card so decided to treat LHB with a little something for his birthday that is just 3 days away which is very unusual as you know the aftermath if you take a kid to a store not knowing what to buy.

We went to the shop today afternoon, he choose few spring jackets from clearance section and we went to fitting room to try.

I handed him the jackets one by one to try and see this t-shirt in between the 2nd and 3rd jacket. I did not pick it and have no idea about how it landed in the pile. Maybe it was there in the rack and I picked it along with other jackets or maybe it was left behind in the fitting room by someone else.

But think of the odds of us visiting a cloth store few days before birthday to get something for the birthday and this shirt magically landing on your hand! He is turning 7. Isn’t it magical? Small joys of life 🙂

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Collections that make it a home

Sharing some of the collections at home that I love to see at random times of the day as each of them have a story to tell. I love replaying those stories as they always bring back fond memories and guaranteed smile on my face.

Most of the collections I have displayed in family room are precious gifts I received from near and dears.

I always wanted to own a few Thanjavur paintings but didn’t in spite of hailing from its originating town. In 2018/2019 I received not one but two of these paintings from two close like minded people and they always hold a very special place in my heart.

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This perumal was painted by my friend. She came into my life as my friend’s wife but we have become good friends now. She made this painting while she was expecting and decided to gift it to me. I felt overwhelmed when I received this gift and no words can do justice in explaining the emotional attachment I hold with this painting. She honored our friendship with this painting and not only this she hosted us for one week when Adi got sick in Chennai last year. I would not have felt so comfortable even at my own sister’s place. She made us feel at home and I am forever grateful to her.

One of the best gift I ever received and he is adorning my family room wall now.

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This Ganesha was custom made just for me just because I once told this aunty that Pillayar is my favorite god. We got introduced as distant relatives and I hosted her at my home for a month in 2015. Ever since we hold a good relationship checking on each other whenever possible and she gifted me this Pillayar when we met during my 2018 India trip.

He is adorning the other side of my family room wall.

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Elephant was a gift from a dear friend when I met him at Chennai last year. He gifted it for this home though we haven’t closed the deal yet. It has a small candle holder in its back.

White Giraffe was a gift to me from a friend family. This friend gives me gift for women’s day, mother’s day, birthday and it feels good to have someone around who treats you a little special.

Orange painted bottle with flowers – Got them as part of bloggers craft exchange and I adore them as they bring a smile in my face.

Thanjavur dancing doll – I gifted myself when I visited the famous Brihadeeswarar temple at my hometown. I have to see her face from my sitting spot on the couch. If the face is turned then I tell Adi that she is mad at me for something. Later I make terms with her and turn her face back to look at me.

Pink centerpiece – That’s a handcrafted candle we bought from a candle house at Pennsylvania in 2018. They made this candle while we were watching. Adi and LHB also got their hand dipped candles and we saved them in boxes to display in yet to buy new home.

Boat – Can you see it? Bought it from Bahamas trip in 2014.

3 black vases – The furniture shop guy gave as a gift when I spent almost ten grand at his shop closing one deal to furnish entire home.

Family portrait – Do you see it above the vases? It’s on the right side of the TV. Took this in early 2019 and I still remember the effort I had to take to get the clan to the studio. The effort was totally worth it and I could not have found a better spot for this portrait. I love looking at this picture while working from home. I usually settle down at my usual corner of the couch in family room on days I work from home and can see these collections when I remember to lift my head.

There are days I get lost in watching them, mulling over the story behind them and forget to dial in to my meeting on time :wink

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Family room clock – This clock is one of my best purchase. I don’t know why but one quick look at this clock makes me smile and puts my mind at peace. This is on the left side of the TV. This can be technically called a gift from the friend who gifted me Perumal painting as I purchased this with the gift card given by her.

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You will not believe if I tell you I got this frame from a dollar store. This is placed near the entrance to kitchen and I could not have found a better place for this frame. I am sure every home will have a frame that says something along the same line.

Fruit basket – A recent addition to my kitchen counter top. I bought this also with the gift card given by my Perumal friend. I used the gift card after four years of receiving it 🙂

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Last but not least. My living room art – Tree of life. I bought her from an art gallery in Dubai. It took me more than one year to get her married to the right frame. First, I got her framed at India and brought her as a separate check in baggage packed carefully with layers of styrofoam padding, marked as fragile and all that. But the frame broke in transit so was my heart!!

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Then, I started to get quote from local frame stores and all of them quoted beyond my budget. I gave up at some point and returned her to storage. After moving to this home, I found a wholesale art showroom nearby and their quote suited my budget.

I gave order for a different frame but the art found this frame more suitable and picked it. That is how I narrate the story behind this frame. It was actually a mistake from the artisan and they didn’t charge me for this new frame though it was expensive than the one I originally picked.

Welcome to my home. I will make you chai and retell all these stories as we settle down. That is what I do to all first time visitors 🙂 Brag about all my dear and near collections and the story behind each one of them. Will you please stay put with my bragging for this one time?

Santa arrival and Detox day

I am picking up one of the post from draft for today.

22nd Dec 2019 will be remembered as a technology detox day. I mentioned before that this winter break we chose to just stay home. So on the first day of the break we decided to keep it a technology detox day. All day spent by playing board games, lazing around, baking and having family meals. I bought few board games and they were put to good use during the holidays.

That’s LHB writing letter to Santa while we were playing Sequence.

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Christmas – This year, Santa left his boot prints when he came through chimney to deliver the presents. He ate the cookies, drank the milk and we also left some food for reindeer on the backyard deck. They were polished off by the reindeer. Guess they were very hungry.

LHB was very excited to see all this in the morning and he got the presents he asked for (bey blades and pokemon cards). I want to play along as long as the belief lasts..

Some pictures:

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letter to santa

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Santa’s foot prints

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Santa’s foot prints

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Food for reindeer

 

LHB-Family birthday party

LHB’s birthday is around the corner (don’t think like 4 or 5 days, we have above 15 days left) but the little guy started bringing it in conversation since December.

So, this year I told him ahead and got approval to celebrate it in 3 ways
1. Family day out to an indoor water park.
2. Simple party/play date with handful of boys from his class at home.
3. 7 gifts for turning 7 on the day of his birthday. He wanted a set of 3 cars from local pharmacy store!! (I know we buy toys from all stores) so getting two set of those cars will itself make it 6 and then I have to just buy one more gift 😀

So, today was the day to fulfill #1 as it was a long weekend holiday and there were no classes for kids though Adi was freaking out about her pending homework.

I made pongal and sambar for breakfast. We couldn’t wait to eat it during the drive so hot hot pongal with hot hot sambar was transferred to plates from stove and savored at home itself. Went to the indoor weather proof water park that was around 1 hour away from home. I got some deals from groupon for this park.

We spent about 3 hours at the park and the clan was bored. I mean what else can you do if they don’t want to go for any ride that is high, that needs you to lay flat on tummy on a slider or the least surfing. We spent most of the time in lazy river, warm pool, played basket ball in the pool and called it a day. Kids then spent next one hour in arcade and said they liked the arcade better than the water park **I was shaking my head heavily**

As we left early, decided to stop by a restaurant on the way to have late lunch. We went to Chili’s, Mexican restaurant and ordered as if there is no tomorrow. Ate most of it, packed the left overs and returned home in the evening.

The waiters sang happy birthday song for LHB and he acted shy as expected 🙂

Choice of 3 appetizer
Classic Nachos
Southwestern chicken soup
Chicken quesidilla
Chicken Fajita
Cheese pizza
French fries
Mandarin oranges
Strawberry lemonade
Lava cake with ice cream

That’s LHB reaching out to M’s plate.

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Once back home, all of us took head bath and then went about getting ready for the work week. Adi did her homework while LHB and I got some long pending tasks done. We took down the Christmas tree and ornaments. LHB was such a big help in taking down all the ornaments and we had a nice chat while doing that.

I took off the serial lights from front yard, took off Christmas decorations at family room and packed them all neatly to be saved for next year. Cleaned and wiped kitchen, came to bed at 9:30pm and put kids to sleep sometime back.

I am typing this post while both of them are sleeping peacefully next to me. This is something I started following after moving to this home. To be part of kids bedtime routine so I give them the time to share anything about their day. We spent about 30 mins together before sleep doing things like reading, siblings fight, brushing, talk about random stuff and doze off. I love this routine.

This is a big change for me as on some days I have to force myself to get to bedtime routine even if the dishes are not washed yet. Its not easy but I have learned my priorities is all I can say!

Three days holiday has gone past in a jiffy!!!! Happy week ahead to all my readers.

 

01-19-2020

The day I was not looking forward to as this day last year is when we got that dreaded phone call from India about my FIL departing this world to go to a better place.

I woke up at 8:30 and started with cooking as Adi had to leave for her piano exam at 12:30 and I wanted to offer some favorites to my FIL and pray as a family before we have our lunch. I couldn’t exactly find what is his favorite but heard from Amma that she heard relatives talking during his 10th day ceremony that he liked Chapathi very much. That is the day we cook elaborately and offer to him.

When I lived with in laws, I have always heard him saying “Let’s do Ani.. dosa” as one of the dish when any guests visits home for dinner. He was referring to the crispy dosa that I used to make and try to impress everyone (newly married girl and all that) with non stick dosa pan. My MIL usually makes that thick dosa (kal dosa) in an iron skillet.

Also, I know men of his generation usually like eating non veg dishes. So, it was home made Chapathi, crispy dosa and fish fry that I offered to him today.

My heart started beating fast as the time was getting closer to 11am as that is the time we got the call. I really wish he had stayed back for few more years to come and stay with us. He would have helped me setup a beautiful garden in this home. I always wanted to bring him here and take care of him as my own father for all that he has done to me.

I don’t know much about him as a young father as M barely shares anything but he has been the best father in law that anyone could wish for. He used to give me Rs.100 and bless me on my birthday when I lived with them. He even called me from India on my birthday when we moved to US. It means a lot to me. A lot! A gentleman who treated me for what I am worth!

Its better to let the tears flow through as I type this. I think he is the elder from my family that has most appeared in my blog.

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/f-i-l/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/my-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/car-and-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/front-door-and-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/fil/

I thank God for this relationship from whom I learned something good and have become a better person.

 

 

Its that time of the year

For those who already read Seema and RS post and have made up your mind to join in, I can’t wait to read you all

Those who are not aware of those posts, this is about the yearly tradition that has become so close to heart for some of us bloggers.

The tradition of welcoming the new year and celebrating January with blogathon. Please read the rules in Seema’s post and join in. This is the best time for you to dust the cobwebs off your blog.

Hope to see you all there!

 

Thanksgiving – 2019

Better late than never has become the motto of this blog. Recording Thanksgiving 2019 in my very own little space for posterity sake.

A friend family spent thanksgiving with us. They stayed with us for a night and we cooked a storm for thanksgiving spread. The friend wanted to try turkey roast but we settled on chicken. It didn’t come out perfect, not everyone liked it but I would say it turned out decent enough for first attempt.

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From left to right:

Lasagna (I burned it little in broil mode) – Adi’s and friend’s daughters made this
Corn muffin
Baked cauliflower in white sauce
Challah bread – Adi brushed the bread with garlic/butter and baked it
Mutton fry
Biriyani (leftover)
Chicken roast pan dripping gravy
White rice
Whole chicken roast
Rasam
Moong dal Kosambari (garnished with pomegranate)
Ghee rice
Stuffing mix with onions and celery

We started cooking the feast at about 1pm after a heavy breakfast and had dinner at 6:30pm. Each of us shared what we are thankful for before the meal and had a great chat at the table.

I am thankful for too many things to count. Family’s good health, kids, safety, friends, job, extended family and many more. It is a wonderful life and let’s be thankful for all that is offered to us every single day.

Happy thanksgiving to all my readers!

 

It has to get better-2

Read this before reading this post

Unfolding next day:

5:30am – A call from other side of the world woke me up at 5:30am. Looking at the name, I could guess the news. It was my cousin’s husband and he got placed in a suitable job. He has been searching for a suitable job for few months now. All I told him was “Irundha ponnu-kku etha mappillai” (Its a popular saying in Tamil. Rough translation – Best bridegroom for a long awaited bride)

6:00am – A message from my friend that her cousin is showing good signs of improvement and she will fully recover with few months of care. We all were very much worried as her eyesight was affected. The word “fully recover” put my mind in peace.

9:00am – Breakfast with two VP women leaders at work along with other women co-workers. It was a great session to hear about their journey and no better way to start the day.

10:00am – Had 1-1 with my leader and he shared the news about my annual rating and plans for 2020. A satisfactory discussion overall.

12:00pm – Monthly all hands meeting and I was awarded for being culture conductor in my organization. Pleasant surprise and I got our mascot plush doll as a gift

2:00pm – Ate cheese cake a big slice for dessert after a scrumptious lunch.

After this I seriously started praying that the day should just end soon as I want to remember this day as a happy day!

5:15pm – Picked up LHB, fed him healthy dinner/boiled egg and dropped at his class. This made me happy as everything went as planned and we had fun time while doing all this.

6:15pm – Made masala chai for myself after many many months and had a good 30 minutes chat with M while kids were in their respective classes.

7:00pm – Picked up the kids and took them to cold stone ice cream shop to threat them for Children’s day. I had great time though Adi was constantly cribbing that this is not a good idea as she has to study for two tests. I kept embarrassing her at the store by repeatedly saying “Happy children’s day betas”. I call them “beta” when I am extremely happy 🙂 LHB and I were hiding inside the store and surprised Adi when she entered. Small joys!!

9:00pm – Wrapped up kitchen and went to bed early in the fear of not jinxing the happy day!

Look at the difference in mood between two consecutive day. I had no idea about how these two days will unfold when the week started. So, if you are having a low day please stay strong and keep up for the table will turn very soon! I understand its easier said than done but trust me!