Tuesday, July 31, 2012
You may be aware that my awesome wife was a finalist in RWA's Golden Heart competition.  So it gives me great joy to announce that she was the winner in her category!!



Thought I'd add a link to the speech my sister helped me write. It got me a couple of requests for my manuscript, so bravo Andy!


Monday, July 23, 2012
I remember spending hours on the Hodgen School playground in Elementary school. Spinning on the merry-go-round, swinging on the swings, and being launched through the air from the Teeter-Totters by my good friend Kari. I also remember the solid metal slide. You know, the one whose surface had been rubbed to a fine polish by years' worth of elementary-sized bottoms. And the one my classmate Alisha eventually fell off and broke her arm.


Since I was young, safety standards for playground equipment has really evolved. No more metal slides - they're plastic now. The Teeter-Totters are smaller, and less-able to launch children into the upper atmosphere. And the hard gravel or dirt surfaces have in some cases been replaced by sand or that weird recycled tire stuff.

Not so in India. Okay, sure, the ground at this playground was covered in nice, soft sand. And there wasn't a slide in sight. But take a look at this picture and tell me what you see. Go ahead, double-click and get a closer view.

Yes folks, the bottom half of this piece of equipment is totally rusted away. And very very sharp. But you know what? My kids LOVED playing here. And I've gotta say, all the climbing toys looked like a lot of fun. But you can bet I'm glad all of our tetanus shots are up to date. 

Friday, July 20, 2012
Our neighbors let us in for a treat a few weeks ago. They invited us to come up and take pictures of their night blooming flower, known as the Brahma Kamal or Night Queen in India. Jason got some great pictures of Girija holding up one of the blooms.

What makes this especially neat, though, is that the Brahma Kamal blooms at night only once per year. Cool, huh?

Monday, July 16, 2012
I occurred to me that even though I have photos of our trip coming up in the slideshow, I haven't done a post about the Bannerghatta Zoo. We've been twice now - once with Jason's parents, and once on our own. The zoo is maybe a thirty minute drive from our apartment, and we always seem to have a great time.

They have a "Grand Safari", where they load you up on a bus and drive you through several very large fenced areas with lions, tigers, and bears (Oh My!) along with a brief glimpse at elephants and spotted deer. I must say, we are vastly unimpressed with the deer compared to the other passengers on the bus - likely because we see them all the time in Oklahoma. The other passengers were jumping from their seats and shoving cameras out the windows, while we yawned and said "oh look, deer".

We made up for it with the more exotic - to us - animals.

We really enjoyed the Grand Safari, and if it wasn't for the fact that they attempt to cram WAY too many people on a tiny bus, I'd give the experience five stars. As it is, the heat and sardine-packing steals half a star.

After the Safari, your ticket grants you admission to the "regular" part of the zoo, which is what I consider a traditional zoo experience. You walk around and look at animals in cages with posted signs telling you what they are. A major plus is they have a very good shade canopy because of several very large trees. No sunburns or heat stroke!

I will now issue a warning for any would be tourists - DO NOT TRUST THE MONKEYS! Several of these cute little critters run free throughout the zoo, and when I saw two of the babies, I sat on a bench nearby to watch. They quickly came closer to see what we had on offer, and I pulled out a can of Pringles for their perusal.

They seemed quite willing to get within touching distance, so I gave a piece of chip to Timothy, and we all got a kick out of watching him hand it over.

What we did not realize, however, was this entire encounter was a huge scam. 

Do you see the bottle of Coke in the picture above? While we fed the "oh, how sweet!" baby monkeys, mama monkey was sneaking up behind us. Before Jason was able to warn us, mother monkey had grabbed the bottle, unscrewed the lid, and poured the liquid on the stone bench. She then proceeded to drink from the puddle. No more Coke for Jason.

I guess I should be happy she had a caffeine addiction. I'd much rather share my Coke than the contents of my wallet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
No, I have no died. But I did get back some revisions on my manuscript, so I've been busily working on them. But I'm finished (at least for now), so expect at least something interesting to show up here soon.

For now, I'll just tell you that I almost killed myself today by running out to our semi-outside laundry/dishwashing sink room today. My washer has a filter that has for some reason started to leak water all over the tile floor.

My feet were not prepared for this, and neither was my balance. So I left the room with a sore hip and wet rear end.

Go Water!

On the bright side, I finished washing all the laundry, so I won't have to brave the wild outdoors again until later this week. 
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
I must admit, I'm a little homesick today. Every year, on the 4th of July, my aunts and uncles, mom and dad, sisters and cousins, and all the poor people they tricked into marrying them gather on the banks of the Blackfork river in Southeastern Oklahoma, eat. And eat. And eat.

And then we swim, and play volleyball, and cards, and generally cram as much fun as possible into the least amount of days. Most of these relatives I only manage to see once a year. This is my only year (other than the year I had to leave before the actual 4th rolled around) that I haven't joined the party.

So, while I'm still glad the United States won their Independence from England (sorry, England), it's the familiar faces that I miss celebrating most of all.

For all of you Crutchfields happily roasting in the heat, consider this your hello from India, and I'll see everyone next year.

Monday, July 2, 2012
As I completely missed week, and I have nothing prepared today, I'll open the floor up to the readers. Every once in a while, we make the trip over to MG road to eat at Bangalore's Hard Rock cafe. And every time we go, I see this man, and my brain tells me I should know who he is, but when I request this same brain to tell me, I hear nothing but silence.

Is it the lead singer of Rage Against the Machine?

Help me!
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