Saturday, June 30, 2012


Hello people,

I know I've been largely absent for a week or so from this blog. I promise to be back on Monday to give you all some more of my fabulous writing.

It's just too beautiful in Bangalore this weekend and I'm having an attack of laziness.  Even brain work is just too much to ask from this lazy weekend.

Here's hoping you all have fabulous weekend!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm Following Myself

So I was checking out the stats for my blogs today, as I'm wont to do, and noticed that I had a new follower. Thrilled, I opened up the link and to my great surprise...that follower was me. Damn it. I think a worm hole just opened up somewhere.

Anyone know why this happened? I have 6 blogs, and it only happened for 3 of them. It just seems kind of sad to me. Like your mother telling you she's the biggest member of your fan club, kinda doesn't count. It's also in the same class as "liking" your own stuff on Facebook, it's just kind of, well, stupid, for lack of a better word.

So. Just in case anyone was wondering, I didn't list my own blogs in my blogger blog list and I can't quite figure out how to remove them just yet. I promise my head hasn't swelled up so much that I must follow myself.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Masala Chai

Last one for today. There is nothing like a great cup of Masala Chai - especially if it's raining.

For 2 cups Chai, you'll need:
~2 - 3 spoons of loose tea powder. Don't you dare use tea bags. Or cut open tea bags - that's just wrong.

~1 C water

~1 C milk

~2 green cardamoms, cracked so they're open, but the seeds aren't falling out

~4 small pieces of cinnamon bark

~2 - 3 whole cloves

~5 spoons sugar

Small metal pot

Fine sieve for straining

To Make:
Boil water, cloves, cardamoms, and cinnamon on stove in pot. When water is boiling, add tea powder. When water boils again, add milk. Heat until milk is hot but not boiling and tea is dark tan in color. Feel free to adjust time for how strong you like your tea - longer cooking=stronger tea. Add sugar to pot and stir well.

Strain tea through sieve into cups and serve hot. Enjoy!

Eggplant Curry

More Cooking Sharing.

Eggplant Curry
You’ll need:
~1 kg (2.2 lbs) small eggplants that look like this:

In India, this is all we find, but you may have to hunt a little in the US. I’ve never used the huge ones. They should be shiny, smooth, and not have holes. If you live in India, stick those suckers in some salt water for about 15 minutes and make sure you check for black spots inside when you cut them - that be bugs.

~About 3 Tbsp channa dal, that look like this:

This is NOT the same as channa (chickpea) beans, nor the fried Channa dal that people use for chutney. If anyone knows what this is called in the US, let me know. You can find them in an Indian grocery.

~About 2 Tbps Urad Dal that looks like this:

Urad dal is a white lentil. You can also find these in an Indian grocery.

~3 red onions, peeled, and chopped to small pieces

~3 green chiles (either Thai bird chiles, or jalapenos) you can change this as per how much you want it spicy, like this:

They should be cut in half lengthwise. Yummy!

~Handful of green curry leaves, 2 – 3 stems, looks like this:

They’re called Curry Patta here and have a strong peppery smell.

~1 tsp salt
~ One large pressure cooker
~One wooden/metal spoon for smooshing the eggplant after it cooks.
~Oil – any cooking oil is fine, but I prefer Olive or Sunflower.
~1 tsp turmeric powder
~Chopped Cilantro for garnish

To Make:

Heat oil in pressure cooker until hot, but not smoking. Fry Channa dal and Urad dal in the pressure for 1 minute. Turn heat to medium. Add onions, chilis, and curry leaves. You’ll probably need an air vent/fan at this point, but hang in there. It’s not so strong when it’s done.

Fry onions, chilis, and leaves until onions are browned thoroughly but not burnt, stirring occasionally. Cut eggplants into small chunks, removing any stems/leaves (insert pot joke here), adding to pan as you cut. They turn brown if you leave them out. Add 1 tsp salt and stir a little. Remember, you can always add more, but too much will screw up a dish big time. Place cover and weight on pressure cooker and turn heat to high. When your cooker starts whistling (or screaming, like mine does), turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.

When done, turn heat off. Either very carefully (with a silicone mitt if you have one) let off the steam from the cooker, let it sit and cool on its own for 10 minutes or until pressure is gone, or run it under cold water for a minute or two until pressure is gone. Carefully open lid (there will still be some steam) and set aside. Using wooden or metal stirring spoon, stir well, being careful not to splash on yourself, mashing eggplant chunks against side of pan. Stir in turmeric and cilantro. Taste for salt and add as needed.

Serve with flat bread or rice.

Making Yogurt

Hey There. Lately, I’ve been getting my cook on. A lot. Thought I would share some fun knowledge for those looking to experiment.

Home Made Yogurt (or Heaven for those South Indians who are addicted to yogurt rice, like me)

You’ll need:

~1 qt milk (or however much yogurt you want)

~At least 1 spoon yogurt with active cultures. I like Danone best in India. I’ve heard Whole Foods has a good one in the US. You’ll have to look it up. Active cultures is the key word here. I always put 2 – 3 large spoonfuls, but I’ve been told this isn’t necessary. This is referred to as Starter.

~1 large glass/metal/plastic container that can hold the milk and has a tight fitting lid.

~1 large pot – milk expands as it cooks

~A fine sieve for straining the milk

To Make:

Bring milk to a steady boil, watching constantly. No kidding – milk that boils over is a huge mess and it happens in the 2.6 seconds that you turn your eyes to see something else. Before it comes close to boiling over the edge of the pot (and it doesn’t matter how big the pot is, the milk WILL boil out), turn heat down to low and stir with a wooden/plastic spoon until it has stopped expanding. Leave milk to simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, turn heat off and leave for 15 minutes to cool. Milk should still be hot to the touch after 15 minutes, but not hot enough to burn you. Adjust sitting time accordingly. Place starter yogurt in the bowl and pour milk into bowl through sieve, stopping as needed to pick out any clumps from the sieve. Do not stir, do not put your fingers in there. Cover completely and firmly. Cover with a towel and set in a corner overnight, or for 8 hours where it won’t be disturbed at all. Seriously, don’t pull off the lid and peak, or stick your finger in there and check out the texture. After the time is done, you can take off the lid and check. It will look wobbly (homemade always is) and watery. Stick your finger in and check if you must, but unless the milk was WAY too hot or not hot at ALL, it will be fine. Stir a little with a spoon to mix together water and creamy part and recover. Store in the fridge.

Homemade yogurt lasts for quite a while, but keep an eye on it. If it starts turning different colors (pink, green, etc), it’s time to toss it and make a new batch. If you like it, make sure you cook a new batch before you run out! Do not use starter from a batch that was not good or spoiled.


The Sweet and the Bloody Annoying

Listening to: Sweet Child O Mine – GNR. Bliss.

Mood: Chillin like a villain. Seriously, that never gets old to say. Dork card: in full force.

So seriously. You people have GOT to stop encouraging my blog addiction. How in the world will I do some actual writing of my own/working/ensuring my kids don’t burn my house down if I can’t stop reading and collecting all the blogs. I cannot believe how many amazing people I am reading every day. Not everyone who writes is a rock star, but you people seriously are amazing to keep up with. Consider my mind blown.

My house has currently been taken over by an army of dickish blood suckers. The rain has indeed brought the bastards out in numbers. I hate it. As I mentioned in The Pigeon Post, we don’t have screens, so unless every single last crack and crevice of the apartment are sealed at least 5 minutes before dusk, we end up looking like spastic dogs with massive flea problems with all of the scratching. I’ve seen them sit and laugh at mosquito coils/sprays/oils. I absolutely hate mosquitoes. I think I might hate them more than cockroaches. That’s some serious hate yo.

Maybe Lady in Red can help me out with this question. Is there a way to block specific numbers in India? Or a Do not call list? I get no fewer than 6 automated calls a day in Kannada, and occasionally English from the phone company on my cell. I am so tired of running around trying to find the phone only to answer it and listen to an overly pleasant voice advertise something I can’t even identify. It’s annoying as all hell.

On to the bakeries. I have a love hate relationship with the bakeries here.  I’ve waxed poetic about Dil Pasand and complained horribly about how bad the local bakery is about western style cake. I’ve come to learn that the local bakeries have things that they specialize in, and if you stick to that, you’re gold. If you try and get foreign type stuff, you’re better off sticking to the bigger, more popular bakeries. Daddy G’s brother in law is a Mallu who’s family is from Bangalore. The man has all of the great tips on food and snacks here, along with everything else. Seriously, dude is useful. Anyhow, we had some cookies and cake at his house the last time we visited, so when they came to visit, we decided to try the local bakery for providing sweets. I about heard the Hallelujia chorus when we tried the cookies. I’m not sure what they’re called, but they look like lumps of dough. They taste of almonds and crumbly goodness. I will get the names and get back to you. Due to the unfortunate incident on Daddy G’s birthday of the Western style cake with frosting being absolutely awful, I was hesitant to try the local cake from this bakery. I asked the kid behind the counter (seriously, 16 at most, and of course trying his best to grow a ‘stache) for pinapple cake. He mumbled something in Kannada and showed me the bottom of a cake studded with fruit. I had some horrible premonitions of fruit cake, but fortunately, this cake was amazing. Very light texture with a pineapple flavor. Yes, there were a few pieces of dried fruits stuck on the bottom, but they just added to the goodness. Without frosting, just how Daddy G likes it. Seriously, I don’t know what’s wrong with the man; liking frosting should be mandatory. But anyhow, hooray for a great local bakery! If you are ever in the vicinity of Bangalore India, find yourself a little bakery and ask for pineapple cake. Yummy!

Back soon with some recipes. Been getting my cook on.


The Case of the Stinky Clothes – Or why a Clothes Rack is IMPORTANT (Ahem Daddy G!)

Listening to: Zoobi Doobi from 3 Idiots – seriously, a great sone
Mood: It’s Monday, so…as good as can be expected.

A few weeks back, I went to hang out with Daddy G on our bed while he worked. I am smack dab in the middle of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, so I thought I could make some progress. A few minutes later, Daddy G turned to me and said “Ugh, woman. Go take a shower. You smell.” Because, you know, Daddy G is the epitome of tact when it comes to me.

Horrified, I turned on the geezer and took a shower. I didn’t even realized that I was smelling funky and I had gone for a doctor’s appointment earlier that day. After I was done, I picked up my dirty laundry and noticed the smell was coming from my clothes, not me. I didn’t cook that day, wasn’t sweating much at all, and the clothes were clean that morning. Thinking how strange that was, I just threw them in the wash and went on with my day after giving Daddy G a hard time for his incorrect notion that I stunk.

A few days later, Daddy G came home smelling the same way my clothes had the day before. He was pissed that he had gone through the day smelling of bad cheese and just stink. He knew it was his clothes and was mad. I asked him why he had worn those clothes in the first place if he knew they stank. Apparently, he was in a hurry and didn’t notice it in the morning. A likely story, the same thing had happened to me. I urged him next time to just throw the offending piece of clothing in the wash. I do wash almost every single day anyhow, so it wouldn’t be a big deal to get it washed, ironed and returned. Trust me; he has plenty of work clothing.

I asked him if he knew why our clothes smelled funny because in the past 30 years of my life, I’ve never run into this before. He told me that in India if the clothes weren’t dried completely, they generally got to smelling bad. Cue the lightbulb. A load of dark clothes and pants was put away with a few seams or something damp.  I had never run into this in the US. Even if the clothes were damp, the air is generally dry enough, except in the middle of summer in NY (*Shudder*) that they won’t smell and will dry by the end of the day. It may be something in the recycled water that is used for the washing, or just the rain in the air lately. We laughed a little about how people must have been gagging behind our backs and I took the opportunity to poke Daddy G again about that hanging clothes rack that will probably never materialize at our house unless I go buy it myself.

Well, today I opened the armoire and a wall of clothes stink hit me. After valiantly fighting back my gag reflex, I went through the closet piece by piece and ended up washing most of Daddy G’s pants. Hopefully, I’ve found them all. Ugh.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Check it out!

Ladies and Gentlemen, if I can have your attention for a few minutes, we have some blogging love to be passed along. First off, if you haven't checked out A Beer for the Shower, you must. Just do it, these guys are awesome.

Secondly, Brandon and Bryan, at A Beer for the Shower, are offering a free promotional download of their book, The Missing Link, for the next five days.

Everyone needs to hustle their little butts over to Amazon and get on this. These guys are seriously funny. Even if you don't have a kindle, Amazon is kind enough to send it to your desk top instead.

Thanks Lady in Red for the heads up! If you haven't checked her out, go now, I'll wait. 

Non promotional blog coming up soon, hopefully.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Can't Handle My Cheese

Listening to: Hallelujia - Rufus Wainright
Mood: Calm

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a sad day. I’m being forced to give up one of my favorite foods.  My system just can’t take it anymore.  That food is pizza. Ha, and you thought I was giving up alcohol or sugar. Not even close. You can pry that stuff out of my cold dead hands. It’s not so much the pizza that I can’t handle, it’s the cheese. My beautiful, strong, tart, excellent with wine, cheese. Crap.

One of the great things I’ve found out about India is that Dominoes and Pizza Hut have moved in. I understand that I’m not 18 anymore with a miracle metabolism, but a taste of home like this is definitely welcome.  So the other day I ordered 2 pizzas (no, not just for me you pecker), because mama had a serious yen for some cheesy, tomato-ey goodness. My digestive system was absolutely hateful for a few days after that. Thinking I had eaten some funny chaat (Indian street food snacks), I got a yen for a grilled cheese. Thankfully, India has discovered sliced cheese. It’s not as good as the ones in the US, but when that’s all there is, you take it. My digestive system proceeded to make me feel like I was dying again for 3 – 4 days.

So. Yes. I want my 18 year old metabolism and ability to eat anything back. How can I be expected to forgo my Indian equivalent of pepper jack smeared with mixed fruit jam? (Go ahead and try it, I dare you. It’s life changing.) Le Sigh. The sad thing is that I’m totally willing to put up with the gastric chicanery on an occasional basis just so I can eat food with cheese in it. Viva le dairy or some other such nonsense. Hallelujia.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Things that I can’t Blame for Being Bitchy and Crazy

Listening to: The Time Machine on TV
Mood: A bit Down

So on the advice of a friend, I went to the doctor (read hospital, because that’s where the actual modern doctors are) to test both my thyroid and my hormones to see if I could get some answers to the great hair shedding issue and more recently, the urge to chuck things at anyone and everyone for no reason at all.  I was desperately hoping that there was a pill I could take that would make me feel a bit normal again and grow hair.

Unfortunately, that isn’t in the cards for me right now. All of the tests came back as normal. So. No thyroid problems, no hormone problems. I am back to square one with advice to improve my diet and some advice to get some more sleep and try meditating for the mood swings. The whole diet advice just makes me frustrated. I don’t seem to get solid answers on this track and I’m really at a loss as to what to do about my diet. I eat healthy. Like crazy healthy. Whole grains, lots of vegetables, lentils, and lots of fruit. Since no one can seem to pinpoint exactly what I’m missing, it’s damn near impossible to know how to improve my diet, even though that’s all I’m told.

So I no longer get to blame being a crazy bitch on a hormone problem. While he’s way to polite to say it, I’m pretty sure Daddy G was looking forward to finding some answers about this too. So apparently I need to just step back and get a grip on life. It’s not hard, it’s not stressful, so why should I give in to getting frustrated so quickly. I guess it’s good to know that I’m not sick either. I’m definitely thankful to know that. I was just looking for an easy answer that would have been easily fixable. 

So now I’m basically going on a mad hunt to see what I can do about the diet. Let us see how this turns out.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Bachchans and Dancing

Listening to: Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode. Oh 80’s, you produced some great music.  I still expect an apology for the Bangles though. What the heck was that??

Mood: So cheerful there may be rainbows shooting out of my butt. Let me check. Damn, no rainbows.

Oh hello there, how are you today? I’m doing peachy. My apologies for disappearing, life has been rather busy as of late and my drive to write dove down the rabbit hole, much like my sanity, but we’ll save that for another post. My work has picked up a bit lately as a co-editor took some time off to pop out a baby. I’m happy to have the extra work, but it certainly does keep me busy. I also have had my hands full trying to launch project piano lessons. It looks like this may actually happen people. I’m both thrilled and terrified. Mostly terrified.  I’ve also been busy making sure to get my children to school (this is only the first week) and properly clothed. Trust me, it’s not an easy thing to do when the uniform store decides to close due to lack of stock the week before school and the G-lets move about as quickly as molasses in the morning.

So. On to the thoughts of the day. Are you familiar with Amitabh Bachchan? 

This, my friends, is what The Boss looks like.

He’s an actor in Bollywood who very well may be the most awesome actor ever. I’m not talking hot-ness, although he does do a certain thing for me occasionally (he’s old enough to be your dad B, this is just sick!), I’m talking about his acting chops. The man is seriously gifted and still going. His son Abhishek is also a current leading man in Bollywood. 

If you keep up with those looks, I may change my mind about you.

While I feel he lacks the gravitas that his dad totally owns, he has his own decent acting skills. Throw in a little Ajay Devgan (now this does something for me all the time), a catchy song, and bam, we have a movie – Bol Bachchan.
Um, yes please!

I find it a bit ridiculous when Bollywood names songs or movies after actors/actresses. You cannot imagine how much I rolled my eyes when there was a song about Bipasha Bhasu, even though I like her ok as an actress. How big must this guys ego be that not only is he one of the oldest and most respected Bollywood legends, he’s also getting songs/movies written about him. But come on people, catchy songs with legends who are hot and I cannot get this song out of my head. They totally make me want to get up and dance.

Which brings me to my next thought. I told Daddy G last night that we need to make a date to go out dancing. You may think that Daddy G came to grievous bodily harm for laughing when I suggested this, but you would be wrong in this instance. “Oh man, you really want to go dance in public?” was all he replied.  You see, I usually try to avoid bodily injury if he’s just telling it how it is. Which is unfortunately exactly the story here.  My name is Becky, and I can’t dance worth beans. You’ve heard about white men not jumping? This girl can’t dance. At all. Of course this never stops me from trying, but it always ends up with me looking like an epileptic chicken in front of a strobe light. 

One of these days I’m going to learn how. Take a class or some such thing. Once I decide to do something, it gets done properly. When I have time, I am going to learn how to dance. And I am going to dominate at dancing.

In the mean time, I’m ok with the spastic chicken look. As long as we’re having fun. And alcohol. Alcohol just makes it not matter so much at all.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

This That and the Other

Mood: Stabby. Someone is doing construction in the apartment above ours and for some reason, must pound on the floor all the time. For the past week. Stabby people.

Listening to: Minority – Green Day.  As well as the pounding.

Another post full of random, scattered thoughts coming your way. I probably should be working right now. Am I? Psssht. Absolutely not. The urge to spit out things floating in my head was entirely to strong.

So. Emraan Hashmi. For some reason, I can’t help but enjoy this bugger and his acting. I’ve heard that he’s an absolute ass in real life and seems to think he’s God’s gift to actors worldwide.  I’m not sure if this is true or not, but so the rumor goes. Emraan, honey, if this isn’t true, you should hire some new P.R. people. I’d love to love you for your personality too. Anyhow, I love how this guy emotes. In a recent article I read, the author thought that Emraan fit best in a simple setting where his acting/emoting skills could be on display because that was a true gift of his. I completely agree.  One more thing Emraan – no with the long hair. Just no.

This, Lovies, is Emraan. In case you didn’t know, I’m not a fan of the mustache at all (please Indian guys, for the love of baby potatoes, just stop it!), but he totally pulls it off. You just know he’s about to break into song or some type of romance. His face just screams it.

This is a favorite of mine, just because it looks like he's having so much fun. I get such a kick out of masculine dancing confidence here:

Ok, moving along.  I know this is childish of me to get so excited about, but I got my very first blog spam comment the other day. Aw, my little blog is getting so grow up. And we’re done with this. So thanks random bike shop for trying to advertise something that has nothing to do with my blog for free, but no.

The day the fans are cleaned will probably have to be today. I’ve been putting this off for WAY too long. Ceiling fans in India have the tendency to get disgusting really fast from all of the dust floating around. Mine are no exception. I foresee some entertaining moments where I try not to fall off a chair while slopping soapy, dirty water everywhere. Note to self: Do not wear a white shirt. Fortunately, I like this kind of chore as long as it’s not getting in the way of other things that need to be done. Unfortunately, I have work on my plate, ideas bursting out of my head, and kids that cannot wait another 5 minutes to eat for the 86th time today.  You both need to go do school already. Like now.

Indira has been pulling the nosey mother in law card with me again. Yesterday, it was because I had not cut a mango that my youngest was eating. Daddy G has this funny possessive streak about mangoes. More specifically, the way they are eaten. The proper way to eat one is to thoroughly smoosh  a whole mango, pinch the stem end off, and suck the juice and pulp through the hole. So this is the way we’ve been taught to eat Badami mangoes – which are absolutely amazing by the way. Indira decided that this was a ridiculous idea because my daughter was getting mango everywhere. Um…I do believe that’s what sinks are for. Trust me, she’s washable. She also got after me today about not having veggies in the fridge. Seriously? My fridge is stocked full of fresh, homemade food. Why do I need excess vegetables in there getting stale? I do know how to plan grocery runs. I’ve been doing it my entire adult life. You don’t cook for us anyhow, why does this worry you?  Just because you don’t see me cooking (and this is on purpose because without fail, you feel the need to take over and do it for me) does not mean people in this house are not eating veggies. Completely the opposite. Back up a bit please!

What’s new in your world? Drop me a comment people. I don’t bite. Well, most of the time, but I promise I’ve had all my vaccines.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Putting Myself Out There for the End Goal

Mood: Ever so Happy and Content
Listening to: Piya Haji Ali – A.R. Rahman, because the man is a genius

Warning: This post will be a wine soaked one. I’ve heard they can either be brilliant (mostly to the drunken idiot doing the writing) or stupid, I’ll leave it up to you. You’ve been warned.

There has been a lot of talk lately in the G household about business ideas and how we really do need to get busy on deciding how to bilk society out of some money through a home grown business. The problem with this burst of mental activity is that neither Daddy G nor I have ever run a home business. Hell, I’ve never even been in an office (or cubicle!) or my own.

Daddy G came up with the idea that we should somehow be capitalizing on the fact that we brought a real live piano to India in a shipping container. In fact, since I am able to play the piano, I should give lessons!

Whoa there Sparky. Let’s slow this enthusiasm train down a bit hmm?

Let’s get this out there first thing. I LOVE the business idea. I am all about that. Love it.  The piano idea….well…it’s taking a little while to adjust to.

I guess I am qualified to teach piano lessons. I took lessons for 12 years (6 years old – 18 years old) when I was younger and participated in various competitions and qualifications. Mainly Syllabus programs. We do indeed have a real live piano in our apartment. I do not have a problem explaining what I know in terms that people can understand. I am currently teaching my two daughters to play the piano. The problem begins with the fact that I’ve never wanted to teach anything. Ever. I just don’t see myself as teacher material. Can I teach? I’m pretty sure I can. Do I want to? Well, erm, not so much. Let’s qualify a little. I do not mind teaching for a determined amount of time. What I do not want is to get pigeon holed into teaching piano lessons for the rest of my life. Just not my cup o tea. Yes. Hyperbole, I am great at it. The thing is, I’ve been a housewife for the past 10 years. I am at a point where I crave getting out of the house and put my business degree to good use. I do not want to get stuck in my house for something that I don’t really enjoy. As it is, I have an insane amount of free time and I love it.  Why should I get stuck at home long term to teach lessons. I got a business degree for a reason – that’s what I want to do.

So here’s what’s floating around in my brain. The initial business idea that Daddy G and I had was an after school center for kids. There is generally a dearth of after care options for people who work in Bangalore, so we thought this would be a good place to start. I like children. Well, I like them most of the time. So Daddy G was thinking that teaching piano would be a great place to get an idea of whether or not we really wanted to pursue the entrepreneurial ideas. It would also give him a better idea on how I would do dealing with other people in a business setting. To be fair, I’ve never had an office job. I also am not a rockstar at confrontation and telling people what to do. I think I’d do an ok job because I can tell my kids what to do all day long, but apparently, as Daddy G kindly informed me, life doesn’t work exactly like that. He wants a test run before we start investing G family funds into a business venture. Fair enough. I want to ensure that our little experiment has an end date. I don’t mind teaching lessons in combination with an afterschool 
program, and indeed that is part of the plan, I just don’t want that to be as far as our idea goes.

There’s also the little problem I have with not entirely feeling comfortable performing in front of others. Looking back, I absolutely do not know how I was able to do competitions and recitals for the 12 years I was in lessons. These weren’t little gatherings either, the piano was up on a proper church stage with lots people  These days, it takes quite a bit of alcohol and gritting my teeth to play in front of other people. There are very, very few friends who have ever seen me play the piano. Daddy G likes to joke that it is only a decorative object in our house. The relationship I have with my piano is complicated. I love it like an extension of my body. Like with singing (which I am also decent at), I am just not comfortable showing off in front of other people. As I’ve mentioned before, music is a deeply personal and almost spiritual thing for me. I generally keep my cards close to my chest, and playing music in front of other people is sharing with them something deeply personal. Above all, I have a fear of not playing well. I know I can play, but I absolutely hate making mistakes when playing for others.

My Plan: I’ve been playing with my patio door open, knowing that other people can hear me. Even if I make mistakes, I keep playing.  I'm hoping this will up my comfort level. I also figure if this is what Daddy G needs in terms of getting some confidence in terms of my playing for other people, let’s do it. After all, I uprooted and moved half way around the world for the adventure of a lifetime, why should I be scared of this either. Bring it on. These Dutch genes don’t back down from scary stuff. I’ve also been open with Daddy G about my ambivalence about teaching on a long term basis, which is also a pretty big deal for both of us. As with all married couples, it gets complicated sometimes, and this is one of those places. We’ve both kept open minds and a determination to see this through.

I’d love to hear your input. As usual, I love comments. Is anyone doing it entrepreneurial style? Holla.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Starting the Day off Right

Mood: It’s hot outside. Dutch people don’t like excess heat.

Listening to: 9XM music videos. I think Bol Bachchan may be my new favorite song. I can’t get it out of my head anyhow.

Today is an ode to breakfast. You know, the meal your mother told you never, ever to skip. Indians take a totally different  approach to breakfast than Americans do. Americans are all about sweet and fatty for breakfast. Almost all breakfast there has lots o sweet.  A typical breakfast in the US would be a bowl of sweetened cereal, scrambled eggs, toast with jam, pancakes with syup, waffles with syrup, ham, bacon, or any combination of the above. An average South Indian breakfast would consist of Upma (savory cream of wheat with spices and vegetables) and pickle or sambar, idlis (steamed rice cakes) with sambar (thin spiced dal with vegetables), dosa (very thin crepes) served with sambar or chutney (savory thick sauce made from tomatoes, coconut, or mint and cilantro), fruit, coffee, tea, or any combination of those above. Mostly savory stuff. I LOVE South Indian breakfasts, but it took me a long time to get used to not eating uber sweetened stuff.

When my inlaws came to visit me in the US when I was pregnant with my second daughter, I noticed with interest that they ate oatmeal for breakfast every day. My mother in law especially is very health conscious. I used to eat oatmeal when I was a kid and liked it okay, but it was the presweetened flavored packet type. I thought maybe it would be a great idea to get started with that again. After we moved to India, I had to figure out how to make regular oatmeal (there are no pre-sweetened packets here) and to tweak my recipe a bit. Here’s how I make oatmeal if you’re interested in trying it. It’s pretty awesome. I've heard both sides of the argument with oatmeal - it can either keep you full or make you hungry. For me, it keeps me full, which is awesome in ensuring I don't really feel like snacking before lunch.


Pick a flavor (I prefer apple cinnamon) Dump 2 packets in a microwave safe bowl (I use glass because I’m suspicious of plastic – true story). Add a few spoons of cranberries (or any other dry fruit that you like, I’m a fan of sour things). Add a few spoons of chopped nuts (almonds are my favorite, but it really doesn’t matter which ones). Add a spoon of ground flax seed. Add enough milk (I prefer skim) to cover by 1/3, or just read the packet directions. Stir a little and cook for 2 minutes in the microwave. Tada! Stir and enjoy. No sugar required as it comes in the mix.


Dump ½ C quick cooking oats in a microwave safe bowl (see above). Add 1 C milk (I prefer skim) milk. Cook in microwave for 2 minutes. Add some chunks of fresh fruit (or dried fruit if you have access to it, we don’t have dried cranberries in India. Boo India.), pineapple and papaya are my favorite, but not together. Mango is also awesome. I have yet to ever get apple to cook correctly. Add 1 spoon sugar (this is optional, but I’ve never been able to let go the slight sweetened flavor in oatmeal). Add a small portion of chopped nuts (again, any kind) and stir well.  I haven’t found ground flax in India, but if you have it, add that too – it’s good for you.

So now you know what I’ve been eating for breakfast for the past 6 years. I’m a creature of habit. When I find something I like, I usually stick with it. I’ve also been successful in getting my kids to eat it by adding a little bit of chocolate syrup.

What are your favorite breakfast ideas?


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Twitter Pated

Hello Everybody,

If you're into the twitter thing (and I'm still trying myself to understand all the hullabaloo), I'm on twitter now.  Check it out. I'm not sure how often I'll use it, but hey, let's give it a go. You can find me as Becky G or bloggingbroad. If anyone is knows how to find a link for people to check out on twitter - I'd appreciate a line. I apparently am to old and crotchety to figure that out.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Unqualified Plumber

Mood: Impatient - Indira promised to make byriani today. We all know how I feel about that subject.
Listening to: Take it off - Kesha

Our housekeeper Indira was doing the dishes yesterday when she came out with a concerned look on her face. “Uh oh,” I thought, “This usually means she wants me to do something.” I was right.

“Madam, sink is running slowly Madam. Please call plumber for tomorrow.”

Damn it.  Le Sigh. A couple of things created this response in me. The first thing was that I really, really don’t like calling strangers on the phone. I don’t know why and it’s not a phobia type thing, but I really would rather not. Second , even if I ask Daddy G to call for me, he will not do it and then the plumber will come to the house while he’s not home. I’m not really scared of that either, but I’ve heard so many horror stories about service people coming to a house and taking advantage of an unsuspecting lady if the husband isn’t home. The third reason was that this would be the 3rd time in 6 months I’ve called the plumbing service for this exact same problem.  Our apartment complex has both electricians and plumbers who will come for free (unless something extra has to be installed that is your fault) if you call. They come the same day and are generally good about fixing the problem. The plumbers are also whiney little girls (not literally, mind you) when it comes to doing the work. The first two times they came, they actually asked me why I didn’t pour acid down the drain because it was clogged. Well, probably because it’s not my apartment – I rent, I didn’t want the owner to get blamed for wrecking the pipes if something happened, and I didn’t want to be responsible for replacing the pipes in the entire building. Besides – it’s your job, you’re the plumber. Not how I wanted to spend my morning.

I have been a fixit type for as long as I remember. My mother always stressed to me that you can’t trust a man to come along and do or fix something for you. Hallelujia for that lesson Mom, it was a good one. As a result, I’ve had my own hand drill and tool set since I was 18. I know how to use them too. I’ve been breaking into apartments (all my own, after locking myself out) and retrieving rings and contacts from drains for as long as I can remember. I have yet to blow up the plumbing or spring a serious leak in anything that required an actual plumber for help. I'd rather just do something myself rather than being dependent on someone else to do it.

With this in mind, I decided to check out the sink before calling the plumber. Sinks in India (at least the newer ones anyway) operate the same as western ones. The aerator just unscrews, most of the time easily. After taking it out, it was apparent why the water was not coming out of the tap at full force. The aerator holes (all 50 microscopic ones) were clogged up with dirt and tiny rocks/sediment. I’m not quite sure where they’re getting this “clean water for washing dishes” but I call bull. I couldn’t figure out how to get the aerator open (it was clearly 2 pieces) and I didn't want to break it, so I grabbed a pin and cleared out all the holes by digging out the bigger rocks and pushing all the dirt and junk through to the other side. After screwing it back in, it works fine.  I’m glad I didn’t chew out the plumber, it’s not his fault the water is dirty.

Phone call and visit averted. Insert sigh of relief here.