Monday, December 19, 2011
Well. We're in the United States, travelling back and forth across Oklahoma visiting family. Which means I will probably be too busy eating and napping to update the blog for a little while, so don't be surprised if the posts are erratic and/or non-existent. Have a Happy Holiday Season!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sorry guys, I fell asleep during the fashion show. It's exhausting to dress up and get your picture taken, so this will be the last fashion entry. Tomorrow, we'll talk about signs! Doesn't that sound exciting?



So here I am, posing next to Girija's awesome wood carving. I reported for duty at her apartment (she's my neighbor) for sari-tying boot camp. She dressed me (again), and showed me in detail how to wrap and drape my sari, and while I am still pathetically slow, I at least have a firm grasp on the technique. All I need now is lots of practice.

Another reason for ending the Fashion show -  I am not even remotely photogenic, and as you can tell by the above, I lean heavily toward very strange faces. Sorry. This is why it's always a good idea to hire professionals.
Friday, December 9, 2011
A few more of these, and I'll be forced to create a "Head Injuries" blog label for them. The below was the result of a Taco Bell staircase and Timothy's impatience to beat us to the pop machine.


He felt a lot better when we told him it made him look like the dog on Disney's Bolt.


The Head Injury Scoreboard is now tied. Tyler - 1, Timothy - 1
Place your bets.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I call this one my Christmas Sari, since it's got the greens, reds, and gold of my favorite holiday season. I'm a little wrinkled here, because the boys and I went shopping, and Tyler spent a lot of time in my lap.

The front (and wrinkled) view

Showing the color contrast

And the back detail on my blouse.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Since I forgot to take a photo of today's outfit, and Jason is late at work (he's frantically tying up loose ends so he can come back to the States for the holidays with a clear conscience), I'll just direct you to some videos that show just exactly how many ways there are to wear a sari. (Courtesy of www.indiavideo.org). 

IndiaVideo.org



Ridiculous huh? Now you see why I was so excited about my tailor sewing the pleats in.
Monday, December 5, 2011
This is another of my "daily" outfits. I have a dupatta that matches this, but I usually forget to wear it. I haven't quite mastered the art of keeping the dupatta where it's supposed to stay on my shoulders, so I'm easily irritated when it falls off all the time.


I have learned the hard way that colored fabrics here are not at all color-safe. Just an FYI.

Friday, December 2, 2011
We interrupt this fashion show for a special announcement from our sponsors...The Random Photo team.

Bike accidents hurt just as bad in India

"The Team"

It's Halloween every day here.

Tyler once answered the door wearing only underwear, the pirate hat and patch, and a sword. 
The cable guys were surprised. He's permanently cemented their expectations of American behavior.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


One of my favorite pastimes here in India is shopping, and most of my purchases have been clothing related. So, I figured it wouldn't hurt to show off some of the fantastic clothing items available here in India, so the blog is hosting a fashion show. Unfortunately, all the skinny, anorexic models were unavailable, so I'm filling in. (or filling out, whichever you prefer.) Each day I'll post a pic and a quick description.


Even though the top and dupatta (scarf, I've also heard it called a chadar) are dry clean only, this is still one of my favorite outfits to wear. It helps that dry cleaning can be done here for less than $.50/ per article. I love the purple, and the material is a light silk and synthetic mix that keeps me cool.


The salwar (pants) worn with these were very surprising to me. When I first tried a pair on, I was shocked to find that my leg was too big, despite choosing the size I felt most appropriate. I later discovered that a good portion of the pants material is designed to stay below the knee, much like the 80's era leg warmers in the US. The top portion of the pants are enormous, and soothed my scarred self-esteem.




Here's a photo of the salwar portion of the shalwar kameez (I never have any clue whether my spelling is correct or not). The waistband of the pants is tightened with a drawstring, and the baggy part is covered by the top (which I am not sure what the proper name is?). The outfit is completed with a pair of sandals or heels. It took me a while to get used to these pants; because of the loose fit at the waist, hips, and thighs, it really feels like you forgot pants completely. I find it difficult to bend at the knee sometimes as well, since the pants (at least the ones I own) are made of 100% cotton, and are not stretchy at all. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
One of my favorite pastimes here in India is shopping, and most of my purchases have been clothing related. So, I figured it wouldn't hurt to show off some of the fantastic clothing items available here in India, so the blog is hosting a fashion show. Unfortunately, all the skinny, anorexic models were unavailable, so I'm filling in. (or filling out, whichever you prefer.) Each day I'll post a pic and a quick description.


The above is one of my four saris. I love the color of this one, but I especially love that the tailor across the street was nice enough to "Americanize" my saris so I can easily wear them. Instead of the horrendously long sheet that requires skilled hands to wrap and tuck properly, my saris have the pleats sewn in, so I basically jump into the bottom like a skirt, attach the ties at my waist, wrap it once around me, and toss the rest (also pre-pleated) across my shoulders. Tada! Dressed. Still getting used to my belly hanging out though.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
So it's been a while since I posted something on the blog.

I could tell you it's because we've been out doing incredibly exciting things, but that's not the truth.
I could tell you it's because Jason needed a turn posting things, but we all know that will never happen. (nudge, nudge)
I could tell you it's because I suddenly forgot how to type, and that the injury to my fingers from the balloon part was fairly serious. This is a little truthful (my left index finger now feels stiff all the time), but not the real reason.

The real reason is...

I've just been incredibly lazy. RWA's Golden Heart contest entries were due this week, so I was hustling to finish up my entry, so when it was time to think up a good blog entry topic, I was tapped out.

But I'm back, and though I still don't have any good blog entry ideas, I will attempt to include some pictures from our last few weeks. Today's picture is from Thanksgiving day, in which I attempted to re-create some traditional American dishes with Indian ingredients. It was...interesting to say the least.

No turkey this year since it was just the four of us, so Sivithri (my cook) graciously agreed to get us a small chicken to cook in my tiny oven (if you remember, there aren't many houses with ovens here, and mine is a countertop, giant toaster version). And just FYI, this chicken was FRESH. No grocery store for us; Sivithri went to a stall and picked out a live one. The chicken walla killed and plucked it for us, so we didn't have to deal with all that thawing.

For those of you who don't know me, I am not a particularly good cook. But it wasn't fair to ask Sivithri to cook traditional American dishes, so I took the plunge. And learned something very important - Americans are spoiled. It really never occurred to me how many ingredients in a "home-cooked" Thanksgiving dinner came out of a can, bag, or refrigerator.

For chicken broth, I made my own (good thing we were cooking chicken). For the stuffing (dressing) I dried and toasted my own bread. For the green bean casserole I cut and boiled them myself. For the mashed potatoes - ok, these are exactly the same, nevermind. For the peach pies (no pumpkin to be found, I'm not brave enough to try with the small versions here) I made my own crust. And Jaria, I attempted your egg noodles and while they were edible, they weren't nearly as good as yours.

Anyway, by the time I was done, the kitchen was a mess. So we carried it out to the dining table for a picture instead. I'd prefer you to imagine my kitchen as clean and cozy instead of the war zone it actually looked like. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! (And Happy Birthday Dad)



Tuesday, November 22, 2011
It's less than a month before we travel back to the United States for the holidays, and I'm starting to make the lists for what goes in the suitcases. Our load will be much lighter this time, since we have no need of our summer clothes in snow-packed (or at least really cold) Oklahoma.

This means that I have room for presents. So, if there's anyone out there who's always wanted something special from India, now's the time to tell me in the comments. I'd like to add two caveats: #1 - that I know you (makes it easy to deliver the gifts) and #2 - that it will fit in a suitcase.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I promised pictures, so here they are. Not much commentary, because my fingers hurt from tying knots (literally, my hands are bruised)

The room we stored the balloons until the kids were asleep.

After they'd been "loaded" into the room. Just FYI - the balloons are a little over waist deep at my 5'2". (I was impressed with our flash - the lights were off in this room)

After we played a little. Happy Birthday Tim!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Tomorrow is our oldest son's 6th birthday, and I'm resting up while I have the chance, because I'm going to be super tired tomorrow morning.

You see, since Tim's a little bummed to have a birthday without his US friends (or Incredible Pizza), Jason and I have decided to make it as exciting as possible.

With balloons. Around 700 to be exact. The plan: put the kids to bed on the top bunk in their room, blow up the balloons, toss them in, and wait for the reaction in the morning. Oh, and pray they don't decide to jump off the bed - we're matressing the floor just in case.

We'll follow up the fun with (yet another) trip to the movie theater, since his response when asked "what do you want for your birthday" was to watch Ra One.

After the movie, it's swimming in the complex pool. (I mean, seriously, did you think we'd pass up the chance to have a swimming party for a November birthday? They're unheard of in Oklahoma.)

Pictures to follow tomorrow.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Oh yes, it's official. I've fallen in love with the movie theaters here in India. I haven't made it to a Bollywood feature yet (though I have my eyes opened for any English-subtitled) but I'm certainly enjoying Hollywood's best.

Today, to celebrate Tim's birthday, we watched the 3D version of TINTIN. The movie wasn't showing in the Classic (read: regular) theater, so I went ahead and spend the rupees and got us Gold Level tickets. In my opinion, they were worth every cent (or paisa).

Tyler was too young to need a ticket, so they assigned us two seats. In this case, the "seats" were actually enormous leather recliners, complete with the tiny pillows available on first-class airline flights. The recline adjusted with a remote control, so with Tyler in my lap I was well on my way to sea-sick before the movie started. We love buttons.

Anyway, we had a waitress who took our drink and popcorn order, and the 3D glasses were actually shaped like glasses instead of goggles, so they were a lot more comfy on the bridge of my nose.

All in all, it was a great time, and I've told Jason from now on, we go gold!

And for you price lovers, two tickets to an after-noon showing was 1000 rupees (about $20 USD at the time of this posting)
Friday, November 11, 2011
So, I have a new software package called Artisteer that lets me design my own blogger templates, and I'm having way too much fun. Just a warning, this blog may look crazy for a while as I experiment.




Hair.

It can be beautiful. It can be long, short, spiked, shaved, and worn on your lip. I'm totally cool with hair. In fact, I have some of my own.

What I am NOT cool with is the practice of hanging somebody's hair from the mirror of your auto-rickshaw.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011
In an earlier post, I believe I compared cricket in India to football in the United States (American football, not soccer). But I was wrong. Cricket in India is like football, baseball, basketball, and hockey all rolled into one. It is huge here.

Well, today I learned that India is among many others, including a London courtroom. A while back, there were a few Pakistani cricket players who were caught on tape accepting bribes to play badly (called spot-fixing) in a match. Well, today these guys were all handed down prison sentences - some over two years of jail time!

Crazy.

I don't remember this ever happening in the United States with a sport, and obviously it would not be condoned, but would something like this actually be illegal in our courts?

And I'm a little confused about why the trial (and sentences) happened in London. Perhaps the taping happened on UK soil?

Anyway, lesson of the day: Take Cricket Seriously



Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Yesterday we had a little scare. We'd just dropped Jason back at his office after joining him for lunch, and the three of us were headed back to the apartments in an auto-rickshaw. Our driver was Ramesh, one of the freelance drivers that sit outside our apartment to shuttle the residents to and from various pursuits. He's driven us on several occasions, so I was busy talking to Timothy and wasn't paying attention to the road, since I wasn't needed to provide directions.

Well, Tim was still sitting in my lap from when Jason was in the auto (we each put a kid on our laps because there isn't room on the seat for all four), and Tyler was sitting on the seat next to me, having lost his parental cushion. As I've mentioned previously, there aren't many traffic laws in India that are actually followed, so I shouldn't have been surprised when a car pulled out right in front of us and Ramesh was forced to stop suddenly.

I grabbed Timothy around the waist to keep him on my lap, but I wasn't fast enough to catch poor Tyler, who because of his size, went flying forward out of his seat. (No seatbelts in auto-rickshaws). Unfortunately, his head slammed into the back of Ramesh's seat, right onto a metal screw. The washer behind the screw sliced him, and I almost had a heart attack when I managed to pick him up from the floorboard, and saw his face.

Blood was everywhere. And I mean everywhere. He'd reached up to cover his injury, and manged to smear blood all over his face. Not to mention it was still coming out. I managed to hold him still long enough to grab the hem of his t-shirt and clean up his face so I could see the injury. (This is extremely hard to do, FYI, with a panicked 3 year old, a panicked 5 year old, and a still-moving vehicle.) Once I got a good look, I realized the cut wasn't nearly as bad as it first seemed.

Poor Ramesh was in a panic, asking if I wanted to take him to the nearest hospital. I decided against it, mostly because I was afraid I'd never manage to calm Tyler down if I walked into a hospital. Also, the bleeding had stopped, and the cut didn't look too deep.

Back at the apartment, I got him cleaned up, dunked both our t-shirts into some laundry detergent to keep them from staining, and gave him an ice pack just in case he bumped his head harder than I'd thought. When I was satisfied both pupils were the correct size and Tyler was having no problems focusing, I ran down the street to the pharmacy and stocked up on medical supplies.

For 160 INR I got a bottle of iodine (I couldn't decide whether they didn't have any peroxide or they just didn't understand me, so I took what they had), some gauze, and antibiotic ointment, and went back upstairs to torture my toddler. Several minutes and tears later, we had the wound cleaned out and Tyler down for a nap. Only then did I get a picture, so below is the post-accident injury.


Still considering the pros of taking him for a tetanus shot.

Monday, November 7, 2011
My totally awesome maid Lakshmi (Full name Vijayalakshmi) was nice enough to offer her design services so I could experience firsthand (pun intended) the joy of Mehndi. For those of you who aren't sure what Mehndi is (I was one), it's the semi-permanent henna designs drawn on the body for weddings, holidays, or just for fun.

The henna stain mix can be bought in pre-filled containers that look exactly like mini cake decorating tubes. You simply snip the tip of the writing side, and squeeze out the mix as needed. Lakshmi drew this free handed from a picture in a book, which pretty much guaranteed I will never be able to do this on my own, because my artistic skills suck. I should have asked whether there were stencils available. I took a quick picture of the mixture on my arm as it was drying - you have to leave the stuff on for anywhere from a half hour to full hour (and I've read in other places that it's recommended to let it dry, wrap your arm in a bandage or tissue, and wait a full 24 hours before washing for really dark designs).





My forearm with the henna mix still drying. Bad quality picture because I couldn't use my right hand. As you can see, I smeared the design a bit accidentally, and ruined Lakshmi's art. Sorry!

My palm with the mix washed off after it dried.
Back of my hand.

As you can see, the design was almost orange at first, but it darkened closer to a brick brown color overnight. This was so much fun to watch. Guess what everyone in the US is getting for Christmas! Buy your Nativity stencils now!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Recently, we went to my kids' favorite eating establishment for a congratulatory meal (Timothy scored 100% on his computer lessons for the week) and ordered the usual - Chicken McNuggets.

We finished eating, and instead of taking our trash to the nearest bin, we LEFT IT ON THE TABLE. I know, those of you in the US are thinking I'm totally rude and inconsiderate.

Not the case in Bangalore. It is completely normal (and expected) that you leave your trash on the tables at fast food restaurants. They have workers who bus tables at McDonalds. 

Well, most of the time. Today we must have eaten a little late, because the worker had not yet started the cleanup, so McDonalds looked really messy.




Thursday, November 3, 2011
I had previously posted about the support system on new buildings here, and I recently found this picture on my phone and thought I would share. This is a common sight on the streets here in Bangalore. Trucks bring in loads of sand, soil, or other supplies, and essentially dump them on the side of the road. Workers scoop up a basket full, place the basket on their heads, and manually walk the materials down to where they are needed. Every once in a while we will see a truck being loaded with pieces of concrete to be hauled away, but it's just as common to see the concrete piled into the street in some locations. I'd like to see what types of permits are required for construction here, and who decides whether the waste must be hauled away or not.




Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I'll preface this with a warning that this post is mostly for the grandparents, and that otherwise it will likely be a little boring, but this is a short video of Timothy doing his computer-based school (we do the computer stuff in the morning, then we read and do writing practice worksheets in the afternoon).

video

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Our apartment complex is in the process of rolling out a new recycling initiative, and for the most part, we enjoy the new system. The committee started by issuing everyone two trash bins, one green and one red, for the price of 200 INR. The green bin is to be used for "wet" waste, and the red for everything else.

Next they scheduled a training course for all the domestic help. I wish that they had also scheduled one for the residents, because I'm constantly asking my maid what's going on, but I'm probably one of the few that picks up my own trash. Most people have a morning and evening shift maid to do all the cleaning. We just employ one, in the mornings, and her main focus is sweeping and mopping the floors, because I hate mopping.

Some of the rules are a little annoying, such as soda bottles should be rinsed and dried before going in the red bin. The rinsing is not a problem, but do you know how long it takes to dry a 20oz soda bottle? It's not like you can stick a towel down it.

Also, I'm hearing from Lakshmi that many of the maids are annoyed with the milk and oil packages, as they are required to cut them open, rinse them out, dry them, and only then can they throw them away.

My only other complaint is the lack of communication, which may be because we don't know many people here, we speak a different language, or all of the above. We received a paper detailing what trash goes where, and it also listed the time frames of the twice daily pickup, with a note that on major holidays, only the morning pickup would occur. Well, I was prepared for that, but I was not prepared for the pickup to occur an hour earlier than usual. So on Diwali I had to scramble while a worker waited patiently outside.

The initiative also will dispose of newspapers, but Lakshmi told me you can recycle these separately and receive cash for them, much like aluminum cans in the US. She was nice enough to call them, and they come right up to our door and do the weighing on-site, so you get your cash right away! We made a whole 120 INR, which was almost enough to pay for half of our new trash bins!

Lakshmi (maid, in yellow), Sivithri (cook, in red), and the newspaper lady.


Lakshmi weighing the newspaper. (Ok, and posing just a little)

Monday, October 31, 2011
In Oklahoma, our friends and family are experiencing their first freeze of the winter, and the jackets are definitely out. So I felt it was appropriate to brag a little bit. While it has been a little cooler for the past couple of days, it's still warm enough here to swim. So Oklahomans (and anywhere else winter is knocking on doors), enjoy!



Sunday, October 30, 2011
Upholstery.

No, the sentence above wasn't for drama. It was to make sure I spelled it correctly. But feel free to read with drama. Here's another chance.

Upholstery.

The first week in our new apartment, we bought a sofa set. We've learned that here in India, a sofa "set" (sometimes shown as 3-1-1) means you get a couch and two single-seat chairs. The set was covered in what I like to call "pleather", a plastic material made to resemble real leather.

We thought it would be a good choice to clean, should the little guys (or me!) decide to spill something on it. What we did not count on, however, is that the pleather would become separated from its fabric backing, and peel off. Tadah! Ruined sofa. Feeling sick over the fact that we just bought it, Jason and I decided to find someone to re-upholster it, assuming it would likely be cheaper than buying another. (As a side note, we were wrong here, at 12,000 INR, we could have probably found another used set for less).

I called around for several weeks with no luck, and finally found someone willing to take on the job. We made an appointment for him to stop by the next day. He brought a helper, and by the afternoon, here's what my sofa looked like.



Since it was late, he said he'd be back the next morning to start sewing, and I gave him half the agreed upon price to purchase the material. 

Now, if you're smart, you're screaming at me through the computer over a specific phrase above: he said he'd be back. Yes. I know. I'm a very slow learner. But this time, it made sense. He needed the new fabric and a sewing machine. I agreed.

Tomorrow morning arrived - no visitor. I called his cell. Guess what? His sewing machine is broken, and he's getting it repaired. All of my US readers, I know what you're thinking. "Why didn't he call and let you know?" Well US readers, that's a stupid question. Everyone knows this action would be proactive, and I learned pretty quickly that it's a rare person here in India that's proactive.

A day later, and I'm getting a little concerned. I gave this guy quite a bit of money. Oh, and if you forgot what my couch looked like, take another look above. I sat down (on the floor since I didn't have a couch) and mounted a cell phone campaign. Every hour on the hour I called and asked for an ETA. 

And guess what? Day three he and two other guys arrived, put my couch together and made it beautiful, and even sewed my curtains! Success! (But mostly "whew"). And I know I keep promising a video tour of the apartment, but I'm not there yet. 

So - if you wanna see some pics of another B'lore apartment, you can take a look at the J and B - India blog in the "Blogs I Follow" section on the right. They did a good job with the photos, and really, I promise to get to mine someday.

Now that Amberly is four, she needs an older sister. So it's time to celebrate Bekah's Birthday! 

Happy Birthday Bekah!


Friday, October 28, 2011

We really love our patio furniture - especially when pizza's involved. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011
It's been a while since I've posted the fabulous food prepared by my cook, so I thought I'd post a favorite of mine. I love fried rice. There is nothing better than adding grease to something that used to be healthy. So, without further ado:

Step One: Chop the veggies - onion, carrot, peas, and capsicum (green bell pepper) are diced.


Step Two: Heat the oil. My cook added these tiny seeds to the oil as it started to boil, and she did her best to tell me what they were, but I will not attempt to spell it here. Instead, I will post a close up picture, and maybe someone can tell me the name of them in the comments below. (It is suggested, and likely correct, that these are fennel seeds. Thank you commenter!)

I should mention that you also begin preparing the rice at this point, in a separate container, according to the directions on the package.

The pot with oil and seeds

Close-up of the seeds - Very nice person told me these are likely fennel seeds in the comments. 

Step Three: Allow the talented cook to add the vegetables to the boiling grease. (Note: do NOT add the talented cook to the grease)

She looks scared only because of the camera. I swear.

Note the absence of cook in the mix. Veggies are done when they are soft.

Step Four: Add the rice and mix. She also added ketchup and soy sauce. I'm sorry, but I did not pay attention to how much, so I will do that very annoying "season to taste" comment.

Lakshmi told me that they use even more ketchup after the rice makes it to the table, but we liked how it was straight from the pot. Yummy!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011
No post for this one - we're too busy enjoying the fireworks, but here's the Wikipedia link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali

Edit 10/30 - I wanted to add to this post, for anyone thinking of moving here, that Diwali is loud, and it's very neat to see all the fireworks right in the middle of the city. The laws in the US vary, but around the Tulsa area, it's illegal to set off fireworks within city limits without a permit, so fireworks in the middle of downtown (at least by individuals) is rare.

Also, Diwali is a time for celebration and gift-giving, and I would say it most resembles Christmas in the size and "feel" of the fun. We learned it was customary for houses to be cleaned out, and many new items be bought around this time; furniture, pots and pans, clothing, etc. The old items, if they were still in pretty good shape, were offered to your domestic help, along with a monetary bonus. I had a hard time discovering how much the bonus should be, but since we didn't really have any old things to give to our maid and cook, we decided to give them a bonus equal to one month's salary (3000 INR for each). I can't tell you whether that is too much, too little, or just right, but I thought I would mention it so you will at least know to ask around for an appropriate amount.
The kids and I met Jason for lunch at Taco Bell near Sony World, and I got a kick out of the below sign. So all you kids in the US, if they don't offer Hindi as a foreign language, Spanish will work just as well. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Amberly!





Timothy and Tyler sang for you. Hopefully we can catch you on Skype.

Monday, October 24, 2011
Another of those crazy, non-related posts, but I'm tickled, er, orange that the Oklahoma State Cowboys are doing so well for their football season. It's always nice to see the Alma Mater win a few games.


Ok, I'll be honest. One of my majors in college may have been marketing, but I've never actually used the degree. But I must say, I have been the victim of marketing ever since I moved here. Yes, I said victim, not consumer.

It is amazing how many sales calls I get on my cell-phone on a daily basis. Here in India, spamming is a valid business practice. Now, I'm not saying I didn't get my fair share of calls in the United States, but after adding our numbers to the federal DNC (Do Not Call) sheet, the numbers went significantly down.

(For those of you unfamiliar, in the United States, companies are not allowed to call people on this list unless they have (or had) a prior business relationship with the consumer, and the consumer has the option to "opt out" at any time)

In Bangalore, the first thing I did when I started receiving calls was to add a "blacklist" app to my cell phone, and block the numbers I didn't want to hear from. Unfortunately, this didn't work for two reasons. Number one: the people calling have hundreds of numbers to use, and I can only block them one at a time. Number two:  many of the numbers were not actually numbers at all - I receive texts (called SMS in India) from phone "numbers" starting with letters, which my app cannot block.

Jason and I have different cell providers - I have Tata Docomo, and he uses Airtel (I got the hand-me-down SIM from his first weeks here). Airtel offered Jason an option to be added to a DNC list, and he opted in, but as of yet he hasn't seen this make a difference. I haven't been offered the same option, but my guess is - it wouldn't help. The large majority of sales calls or texts I receive are actually direct from my provider.
In my opinion, this fact makes the below less reassuring that it would be otherwise.





Friday, October 21, 2011
Hold your ears children, because this isn't a fairy tale.

Last night, Jason and I went outside and watched a movie in our Terrace Tropical Paradise. It was a good movie, rented from iTunes, but I had a little trouble concentrating. You see, there was a small flesh-colored lizard hanging from the ceiling...watching us. For the entire movie, it ran along the ceiling as if it were searching for a good lookout point.

I was creeped. Next to snakes, lizards are the most terrifying animals ever created.

Today was a little toasty. I stripped the boys down to underwear only for their nap, and came up to my bedroom to do some writing. But despite the fans, I was sweating in no time. Earlier, I'd left the door to our outside patio open to coax in a breeze, but after a half hour I gave up and decided to turn on the air conditioner.

Since the only air conditioner in our house is a window unit in our bedroom, I started closing all the doors.

And then it happened.

The tiny lizard ran past the closing door and jumped on my bed! It burrowed under the blankets and then lay still. Of course Jason is never home to deal with emergencies such as this (why oh why can this not happen on a Saturday?)

After several minutes of garbled whining, I mustered my courage and found a broom. Using the handle , I removed the covers from the bed.

No lizard.

More garbled whining.

Just when I had almost touched the blanket with my bare hand, the lizard ran at me like it was demon-possessed! I, of course, screeched and swung the broom, knocking it across the room several feet.

But did the lizard go politely outside? No sir. It took two more runs at me before I managed to herd it back to the wild. Now, it sits on the wall, watching me. I'd take a picture but my hands are still shaking. And to be honest, the picture isn't worth death by lizard.

I called Jason and babbled my hysterical story about the cannibal lizard. His only response? (other than rudely laughing) "It's not a cannibal if it's trying to eat you."

Thank you Captain Nerves of Steel. I grumbled something about it being easy to think clearly when you're safe behind a desk at work and hung up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
In the United States, we have basically two types of "plug-ins" or wall outlets. Normal size for lamps, televisions, vacuums, toaster ovens, etc and Utility size for Refrigerators, Washers, Dryers, and large Power tools. That's it. Two.

Here in India, we are learning this is not the case. The first thing Jason bought was the below, a mini, single plug converter for our American devices.

This plugs into the below, the "standard" outlet size in our apartment. The switch is currently in the off position, and you flip it down to get any power. I learned this the hard way by waking up one morning with a dead iPhone.

We then bought several power strips to convert lots of the electronics that we brought from home, along with the Indian television we bought here in Bangalore. These units accept both Indian and American devices, which is very handy.

Indian plug for my new laptop.
"universal" Indian and American power strip

On to the kitchen! Here, we have what I've been calling the "mid-sized" outlet, which is what my toaster and microwave use. It uses the same on off switch as the "normal", and I haven't tried it, but it might also work for some smaller things as well. It DOES NOT work for our food processor, which we bought here in India.  The food processor is three pronged, but the width between the prongs is different, so we have to plug it into a "normal" plug in our washroom.


Several weeks ago, we asked the electrician to install another outlet in our washroom, so I could keep both my washer and dryer plugged in instead of switching with each load. Well, after repeated attempts to contact him, Jason managed to corner him in the basement, and he completed the job day before yesterday. 

And I almost cried when I saw what he did. you probably can't tell by the picture, but he installed the wrong size!!!! And this is after Jason walked him through what we wanted done. Grr! So now we have to find a converter for this as well. (I told the electrician to find one for us, since he's the one who did it wrong, and he promised me "tomorrow", but his record is holding, and he took off with our money and we haven't heard from him since.) 


So if you're moving to India, make sure you find a good electrician (or a store that sells converters)!






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