Wednesday, December 24, 2008

White Christmas

We have a very white Christmas ( 2 feet of white!)
Its been beautiful, fun, and frustrating at the same time. But I am ready for the big thaw and some good ol' rain. The confinement really forces you to take things slow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Story - Part 2

I have to keep reminding myself that we are non-practicing Buddhists!
Nevertheless, we have a Christmas tree. We shelved our environmental philosophy on this one...
I really wanted to go out and cut a tree from a farm in the woods but the process was producing more frustration than fun, so I compromised on driving to a tree lot 10 minutes down the road and finding a pretty perfect Noble Fir (these are the best, not a needle has fallen!). The excitement and look on Anjali's face was worth it! She was so glad she kept kissing and hugging the tree! I think I am going to start a tradition of getting her a favorite ornament too. This year I got her a Nutcracker (more about that later).Thankfully, she has not associated that Santa + Christmas Tree = Gifts. But, we are making a list and updating her stash of games/toys. We haven't quite decided on how to present them to her.

Christmas Story - Part 1

After a lot of back and forth, we finally decided to give in to the Christmas holiday this year. After all, Anjali is three, and it’s a very impressionable holiday (why don’t we have Christmas lights? can Santa come and stay with us for a month?).

It all started with a friends Gingerbread house party. Quite honestly, I was equally excited as it was something I had never experienced. It was at her friend’s grandma’s house and she has been making gingerbread houses for a good 30 years. We all had so much fun and only a minimum amount of candy went in the kid’s mouth (more ended up in my mouth)! The whole party ended with the kids bouncing on a trampoline.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Cinderella introduction

After making up oral versions of the Cinderella story, I decided to introduce her to some written versions. Since I am anti-Disney (but I am secretly planning a 'some day' Disney trip!), I decided to go a more traditional route and asked our children's librarian for help. Unbeknown to me there are many cultural iterations of Cinderella. So I picked these three for starts. My favorite was the Native American Algonquin Rough faced girl. Its a little dark but comes through strongly conveying good vs. evil. We also loved Cendillon a Caribbean Cinderella story for its fun French creole words which we now use in our everyday conversations. Its close to a Disney though. The Indonesian version The Gift of the Crocodile was my least favorite. I don't like violent depictions of any kind in kids books; And in this case the Crocodile eats up the evil step-mother.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Curry and Rice Girl

Anjali calls herself the curry and rice girl at the dinner table. The child loves curry, spices and all. Her consumption had me concerned about growth hormones and antibiotics given to animals. So this fall we got a CSA (community supported agriculture) membership with the Deck Family Farm in Eugene, OR. We order the meat online and they bring it to our Farmers Market every Saturday, and during the winter, will even ship it. You can also go to their farm and pick up the meat. Albeit, its expensive, but you can taste the quality of the meat and feel really good about how the animals are raised (and slaughtered) and the environmental impact. The meat and the lamb are amazingly tasty and much better for you than mass processed ones. The chicken comes as a whole bird, and the farm sent this urban gal a YouTube video on how to cut a chicken (never done it)!

Check out Eat Wild for information on local grass feeding farms and why it’s good for your body. What started the change was Michael Pollans’ eye opening book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. The catalyst was the melamine contamination in China (aghast).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Obama's Time

The Oregonian had a great cover on Nov 5th. We have been celebrating all week! I had too much wine and chocolate cake on election night. It was awesome!


We had such a fun Halloween complete with a home made costume, a carved spooky pumpkin and trick o' treating! This is my favorite US holiday and its not quite Hallmark'ish (yet!). Some folks in our neighborhood went all out... with buried coffins in the yard and wandering grim reapers on the street. It was spooky! My least favorite part was all the candy we got. Especially those with things like high fructose corn syrup and red # 40. I asked Anjali to pick 5 pieces of candy and said she could eat them over 5 days. On the first day she picked a cherry sucker (with red #40 no doubt) and on the second day she forgot all about the candy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


No one undecided here... wow and what a turnout across the nation, and fabulous job by the Obama campaign in bringing the vote out. Nail biting till tomorrow...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

First Time!

I took a photo of my ballot, just so I have proof that I did it, for the first time. Boy I tell you... voting is complicated and it took me about half an hour to read about all the (other) candidates running for local and state offices not to mention all the local measures... phew (I voted no on expanding the elephant space at the zoo, and yes to linking teacher pay to performance, and no to having English as a second language in schools for more than two years). You get the drift.
Oregon is the ONLY state that does ALL the voting by mail, and its a very cool process. We dropped our ballots at the local library and even witnessed the election officials haul off the box with my ballot inside. So I am pretty confident about my vote. I doubt I'd be getting any sleep between now and Wednesday, though.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Urban momma on a hay ride

You know the days when you feel like the best part of being a mom is, being a kids again? This was one of those days. Beautiful fall weather. Anjali and I set out to Sauvie Island Farm's pumpkin patch. I laid out on the hay during the hay ride and almost took a nap. She had so much fun running through the corn maze and climbing the hay pyramid. And all the way out and back we sang along with this awesome Ladybug One CD.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our kitchen is FINALLY done

And it is so yummy! We were fortunate to have a relatively smooth remodeling experience and were happy with our contractor and learned so much along the way like what is a linear and that nothing you want is ever in stock! More photos here

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 last!

Sixteen years and nine month later... on September 17th I was sworn is as a US citizen. Quite frankly it was such a long time coming, I didn't make much of a big deal of the whole thing. Years of lawyers fees, begging for European visas, dealing with the Sri Lankan embassy and govt bureaucracy is over!

There were 70 new citizens from 35 countries and that was quite something to witness. Everyone from Iran to New Zealand. We celebrated with a dinner by the Willamette river waterfront. Now I can fully exercise my rights of citizenship except for running for president!

Monday, September 15, 2008

In our saris

Anjali was so excited that we were all wearing our saris' and that we all matched too! As far as she was concerned we were all going to her wedding...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Summers come... and go...

I believe the 2008 summer is over. Here in the NW we never really even put away our sweaters this summer. It was certainly a busy summer with lots of hiking, camping, a visit to Kentucky to see my family, and even a kitchen remodel squeezed in there! I captured the essence of it all here.
Summers just always zoom by... always tell myself that I am going to do a whole laundry list of things, but end up doing something totally different.

Why we love Portland - 17

The predictable views of Mt. Hood is one of the reasons people move to Portland. Its just awesome. This was the best view I'd ever seen... from a hike to Mc Neil point. We actually turned back on this hike since the snow pack was still about 3 feet high on the trail (in July). But as we were coming back we met a hiking group led by a guide from Maryland (go figure!) who invited us to join them. At the end of the day we were so glad we did!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The grandparents

This July in Louisville Anjali got really emotionally close to my parents (her Aththamma and Aththa). And it was really sad for all of them when we left. I also realized that the grandparent bond begins to get really strong around this age when they realize the value of extended family. For now we have photos with Anjali and Ranesh with the gramps.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Three and then some...

Anjali turned 3 on July 19th and we had the best kind of party ever (not too much sugar, not too hyper, but lots of love). It was a very relaxing pool-side BBQ and cake with grandparents and my brothers family in Kentucky. It was great. My polar bear cupcakes were a big success, and she just loved the polar bears. She is so mature for a three year old... sometimes I feel like she is already a teenager, imagine when she really is one! She tell adults to get to the side of the road because cars are coming...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Random photos

I love these two photos.
Here's Anjali and her friend Evie.

And on the swing

Beautiful AND Smart

Ok I HAD to say that (I am the mom after all).
But here's Anjali having completed this 24 piece puzzle all by herself!
We love this world puzzle and its a great first introduction to the globe. She already knows the location of about a dozen countries by association with the pictures; she will learn associations with the shapes of countries and its relative location with other countries she knows next. I love guiding the whole child development process, its so fun to raise this kid!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Officer on Deck

Over Rose Festival Week we went to visit the naval ships that dock in Portland.
And I was as excited as Anjali to visit the USS Lake Champlain, a HUGE aircraft carrier. What's not exciting about Naval officers in crisp white uniforms talking about missile destroyers, nautical miles, torpedos, and deployments?! We certainly learned a lot, and I got addressed to as ma'am... now that was a bit much.

Gorge Camping and Hiking

Last weekend we went hiking and camping near Hood River. It was Anjali's first true camping experience. Although she enjoyed it, the wind at Memaloose State Park was so strong that we thought our tent might end up in Kansas. I realized why the gorge is so popular for wind surfing! We hiked at Temanewas falls on Saturday and at the Tom McCall Preserve on Sunday with a stop in lazy Mosier, where there is one coffee shop and one restaurants, but a whole bunch of condos for $300K! So we popped in to take a look, but decided we love Hood River a lot more. We continue to dream of owning a Pear orchard and telecommuting to our jobs untill we can retire (in case we lose our crop in a bad year, like this one)!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Being a parent

This is what happens when you are the parent... your kid comes and kicks you out of bed at 5:30 am and proceeds to sleep like that! And this happens on the weekend too!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

35 and counting...

I turned 35 on Friday. Can't believe I am trudging up that hill!
The three of us had a gourmet picnic at the Portland Rose Garden.
Ranjeewa surprised me with some beautiful flowers.
Better yet, my birthday present was a new cycle: a Gary Fisher Wingra. We all went for a ride yesterday and it is great to be back on a bike again. I bought my last bike in college from Toys'r'us (it was pink, too). I think that says a lot!

Friday, May 30, 2008

May Roadtrip - California Redwoods and Southen Oregon Coast

We did a four night road trip over memorial day and it was a relaxing and fun family trip.
Realized that Anjali has inherited the traveling bug from Ranjeewa and I. She happily sat in the car singing, chatting to her self, and napping.

Day 1 - we drove from Portland to Grants Pass and stayed at a quaint motel by the Rogue river.
Day 2 - we hung out in Grants Pass and stumbled upon a small town memorial day parade and discovered their local farmers market (always a treat). Later we drove to the Jedadiah Smith State Park and toured the mighty big redwoods and picnicked by the beautiful Smith River, spending the night in Crescent City, California.Day 3 - We drove up the southern Oregon coast to Florence. I realized the southern coast rivals the familiar beauty of the northern coast. We stopped at Whales Head Beach for some digging in the sand.

Day 4 - We spent the day in Florence hiking and exploring the Oregon Sand Dunes. These are amazing windswept dunes almost 500 feet tall. Lots of fun to climb up and slide down. I really wanted to dune board... but saving that for another trip. We returned to Portland on Tuesday and I have now visited the entire Oregon coast and it's incredibly beautiful!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why we love Portland - 18: The Portland Garden in May

This is my favorite month in the garden. All the rain we get in the winter makes the garden sparkle like an emerald in the spring. On a sunny day with blue skies Portland is just magical. Clockwise from top left: Clematis, Iris, Allium, Day lily, Clematis, Weigela, Lilac, Lavender, Cone flower. LOVE my garden.

Obama Mama Part IV

Sen. Obama is in Oregon today and finished a rally at the waterfront park. LARGEST EVER (75,000 people) for his campaign. Hopefully Obama will ROCK on Tuesday's primary. (No we didn't go - it was nap time...! yeah.. yeah... I know, they say nap time is the new happy hour for moms right?)