Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Mama, Darshu mama!


I'm an aunt to my cousins' kids and numerous friends' kids. But I'll become an actual aunt when Darsh has a kid or Sri's sis Lekha has one. But in that way, Darsh's ahead of me. He's already mama (or mava or uncle) to my Snuggles. Well mama has a birthday today and following the year's trend, here's the chronological pic chart :).




I wanted to title this post "Man to ape" or something similar, but I have already teased Darsh so many times about it that the joke is sorta becoming stale :-D. Sadly, he's all alone this time on his birthday what with mom and dad being here. But well, does a bachelor need a better opportunity than that?? Have fun ;-), Darsh!

Meanwhile, this time I couldn't put up a post on the christmas decorations. I have seen some wonderful decorations over my neighbourhood, but nobody will let a woman who has recently delivered a baby to wander around taking pictures, even if she herself is insane enough to want to :-D. Anyways, maybe next year end..



Wish you all a very happy 2008! May the new year bring tons of laughter and loads of joy your way :). It has already brought me some in advance ;-).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pain and Pleasure :)


Before I start off on what I consider the biggest rant of my life, let me thank all the people who have left best wishes for Snuggles and me. Thanks a lot and sorry for not replying. Exhaustion is only one of the things that I can quote as a reason ;-).

Secondly, yes, the name Snigdha was my choice. One, I like the name very much. Two, I wanted the baby's name to have both Sri's and my first letters in it :). Later Sri came to like it too. We were told it'd be a girl, but since I have always wanted a girl, I thought it'd be better not to trust it and later be kinda disappointed (only kinda :-D) if the baby turned out otherwise. So we had a name ready for a boy as well :).

Thirdly, my duty, the disclaimer :).

"If thou thinketh that any lengthy explicit description of the labour and delivery pains is gross, then thou have been warned. O ye of the faint heart, thou shall avoid this post and if thou shall want, view only the pictures in this post."

Now all the single men should have stopped reading the post :-D. But if you are a guy and you are single and still sticking to the post, then kudos to you. You are probably a guy like Sri :).

It all started 9 months ago. Wait, don't run, I'm only kidding :-D. But before we set out on the arduous journey, some definitions for the clueless (in which category I too belonged not too long ago)..

1) u·ter·us

A hollow muscular organ located in the pelvic cavity of female mammals in which the fertilized egg implants and develops. Also called womb.

2) con·trac·tion

The change in a muscle by which it becomes thickened and shortened.

3) cer·vix

The constricted lower end of the uterus.

4) di·la·tion

The action of stretching or enlarging an organ or part of the body.

5) in·duc·tion

The inducing of labor, whereby labor is initiated artificially with drugs such as oxytocin.

6) ep·i·du·ral

Anesthesia produced by the injection of an anesthetic into the lumbar area of the spine in the space between the spinal cord and the dura, which eliminates sensation from the point of insertion downward, used esp. in childbirth.

7) wat.er break.ing

The breaking of the membranes containing the foetus and amniotic fluid, usually followed by the first stage of birth: labour.

8) pi·to·cin

A synthetically created form of the naturally occurring hormone oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions.

9) la·bour

The physical effort and periodic uterine contractions of childbirth.

10) de·liv·er·y

The event of giving birth.

11) e·pi·si·ot·o·my

An incision into the perineum and vagina to allow sufficient clearance for birth.

12) pla·cen·ta

The organ in most mammals, formed in the lining of the uterus by the union of the uterine mucous membrane with the membranes of the fetus, that provides for the nourishment of the fetus and the elimination of its waste products.

13) umbilical cord

A cord or funicle connecting the embryo or fetus with the placenta of the mother and transporting nourishment from the mother and wastes from the fetus.

14) ap·gar

A test to evaluate health of newborns, scoring 2 points each for appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration.

I know I know! That was almost a medical dictionary. That done with, lets start off with last friday the 14th Dec 2007, when I thought all was well with the world and that contractions were simply painless tightenings of the uterus. I had an appointment with my doc. Everything was good, except that my cervix had already dilated to 3 cm (10cm means birth), but since my water hadn't broken yet, I could either wait for one more week or immediately get labour induced. Since I had just completed 39 weeks, I chose to wait for another week, well, which sorta became my downfall ;-).

That night my troubles started. I started having painful contractions of about 30 sec each, only they weren't regular (they ranged anything from 7 to 20 min). Unlike India, where you can get admitted as soon as the pains start, here in US, there are a certain number of conditions for you to even go to the hospital. The contractions have to be regular (within 5-6 min), or the water should break or there should be bright red blood (which might mean some placenta trouble) or if there is no noticeable kicking (which might indicate fetal distress). So literally I was stuck between the devil and deep blue sea. I couldn't go to the hospital, and the pain would go down only to come back in a matter of hours (changing the position is supposed to reduce false labour).

This went on until Tuesday the 18th Dec 2007 evening 4 PM when the contractions suddenly started becoming regular falling about 10 min apart. Sri called up the doc (this was when we discovered my doc wouldn't be on call that day, instead there'd be another I'd met only once earlier) only to be told to come to hospital once I hit the 5-6 min gap. Another 2 hours and I had reached the 5-6 min contraction range. We (Sri, mom, dad and I) headed out to the hospital at 6:30 PM. Thanks to the details in the childbirth classes, we were able to get registered pretty quickly and I was taken into a delivery room very soon.

Here I was told that my cervix had already dilated to 5 cm and everything was great. Still the contractions were pure torture. Each time one hit, I'd search for Sri's hand and grasp it tightly (sometimes I'd hold mom's or dad's hand too), while he'd look me in the eye and encourage me to take long breaths. I had heard about the pain, but its nothing like you'd imagine. Its like for about 30 to 45 seconds the world stops and the only thing you are aware of is the pain and nothing else. Naturally you tend to hold your breath, but you have to force yourself to breathe. You want to cry out but there's simply neither the breath nor the strength to manage that! Well, I should have managed to scare away the single women and the married-women-with-no-children-yet away by now. So remaining mommies, lets continue :).

As I said in my earlier post, I wanted an epidural. I didn't want to sacrifice myself to pain just for a natural birth (that is a fad here :-p). It poses some risks to the mom but it doesn't have any effects on the baby. But asking for an epidural doesn't mean getting one immediately. Epidural is said to lower the blood pressure of the mom. So what they do is give some fluids for the mom and then the epidural. So I was stuck with an IV and my blood was taken for some lab reports (to make sure I can adjust to the epidural). Meanwhile, my contractions and the baby's heartbeat were being constantly watched on monitors through belts tied to my stomach. And so the painful contractions went on for another 2 hours like this. I was 7 cm dilated when finally the lab reports came back and they decided that it was time for the epidural. An anaesthetist came in and after cleaning a part of my back, stuck the needle into my spinal cord and attached the epidural supply. This part was ok and it feels like a tingle in the spine :). That over with, my legs soon turned numb. There was a tingling sensation all over my lower body, I could feel everything, just not the pain. Precisely the way I wanted it :).

By this time, my water should have broken. But the labour seemed to be going nowhere. So the doc decided that he wanted to break my water (not painful, its just to get labour going). And that was that. But after a few minutes, the nurse (who was really wonderful and a great help all throughout) returned to tell me that my contractions had slowed down and they couldn't really allow that to happen as the labour might stop. And so they wanted to add Pitocin to my IV for the contractions to speeden up. And so they did. God, I think they covered everything in my baby's delivery :). By this time, it was around 11 PM in the night and I was hoping the delivery would cross 12 AM, just so that it'd be Dec 19th in India as well as US :-D.

Soon it did and I started feeling a lot of pressure in my pelvic region. The nurse said that the baby's head was in the pelvic region and it was time to push. Now pushing was not really painful thanks to the epidural, but it did take lots of effort. The nurse and Sri were the ones continuously encouraging me to push. All the while, Sri held my hand and was really a wonderful support. The baby was a bit big, so the head wouldn't come out despite several of these "pushes". Thats when the doc decided to perform episiotomy and so Snuggles came out into this world, at 12:56 AM on Dec 19th 2007.

It sounds cliched, but suddenly I was crying (obviously not due to the pain but due to seeing the baby), the baby was squalling and Sri was smiling at me with this broad grin on his face. Snuggles was placed on my belly and Sri was asked to cut the umbilical cord. Immediately after, Snuggles was taken to a warmer kept in the room to be checked for apgar while the doc did the placenta delivery and stitched me up. She scored 9/10!!

Till the epidural was doing its job (which was only for an hour after the delivery), everything was fine. After that, there were constant aches and pains all over my lower body but well, thats another story :).

Well, I forgot the camera in our hurry to the hospital. Sri got it in the morning and so thats when we started taking the first few photos of our baby. Here's one I call "The ecstatic, the tired and the superbaby" :-D.





It was really wonderful to see Sri hold the baby like a pro :).





And lastly here's Snuggles all bundled up with her maternal grandparents :).




Lessons learnt so far:

1) My respect for motherhood and mothers have increased by a million times! I mean, I love and respect my mom, but I never knew until now what she went through to get me and Darsh into this world! And she didn't even have epidural then. I was even a large baby, which made her misery all the more worse. Even when friends had babies, my reaction was "Awww thats sweet, how are you?", but I never thought beyond that. Only a woman who has delivered a child knows how it is. So mommies, you rock!

2) An epidural is a heaven-sent thing.

“I'm not interested in being Wonder Woman in the delivery room. Give me drugs.” - Madonna.

There is no point in suffering through all that pain when you dont have to and thats the bottomline!

3) An episiotomy is no joke. Yeah I knew there'd be a tear and stitches involved, but when it comes to pain in an area you use to eliminate wastes from your body regularly, its reality is something else.

4) Whoever said breast-feeding is romantic ought to have his head checked. Or maybe I should hunt and shoot him down. I say "him" because I'm certain any woman who has suffered through it would never term it as romantic. Its plain self-inflicted torture atleast in its initial phase. The only satisfaction is that your baby is getting a stomach full of food and thats about it.

5) Expect the unexpected and you'll be alright. We were discharged from hospital in just 2 days. The next day we had a pediatrician check-up in which we were told that the baby's jaundice levels had increased (the bilirubin levels were 18 and it shouldn't cross 20) and that the baby had to be admitted to the hospital again for phototherapy. I sorta broke down. I thought everything was going well, and suddenly there was this obstacle. But we had to consider the baby's health first, so we got admitted and we were discharged again after a day (the bilirubin levels dropped to 12). Though the incident did teach me to be prepared for unexpected circumstances, this is something I have to constantly keep working on..

6) Despite everything I have said in this post and more, it really does feel wonderful to have the baby in my arms. I don't have a sense of motherhood or immense responsibility but my feelings are more like a little girl's who has been given a wonderful new toy to play with ;-). And I was wayy wrong in my poem on baby blues, a baby is the beginning rather than end to more woes, but now standing at one week after I have delivered, I know that its all worth it. I know I'd do it all over again if given a choice and I somehow know that I can manage everything that comes my way :). Well so far all I have managed is the less sleep + constant feeding + changing diapers, but feels like an achievement nevertheless :).

And as for the guy who wanted to know women and asked this question:

How often do you think about sex?

Are you mad?? ##@$$#&!!!

:-D.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The fruit of my labour ;-)


We are over the moon because our little star is here!!

Please join us in welcoming our bundle of joy Snigdha into this world.

Snig.dha

1. Smooth
2. Tender
3. Gentle
4. Soothing


Birth Date: 19-Dec-2007
Time: 00:56 AM EST
Weight: 8.1 lbs

Snuggles and I are doing great and will be home today/tomorrow. Sri has been my backbone through the whole ordeal :).

More in the next post..

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The man in the mirror :).


Can you see the man's face in the reflection of the crystal top of the tap? I call him the "man in my mirror".




Maybe Michael Jackson has one in his mirror too, so wrote his song "man in the mirror" ;-).

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change


BTW this is not the only "man" I have noticed in my photos. Dad pointed one to me in my Footprints photograph (its a profile view of a man there_ and I just don't see the waves there anymore :-D.

We try to see our image everywhere. Maybe we are vain that way..

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

9th month and beyond..


I'm standing (more like sitting :-D) at the threshold of a 9 month long wait and I have literally lost track of the feelings fluctuating in me. I am feeling so many things all at once that I just had to record them in a post. I don't know whether I'll ever feel like this again or whether I want to. Its a mixture of elation and apprehension, of excitement and terror, of love and panic, of what not!

One part of me is really scared. Yes, I have attended childbirth classes and read all material thats available about labour and delivery. I know theoretically what happens. But I'm frightened about the practicality. I know its natural and many women have gone through it before me. But they don't call it the most difficult time of a woman's life for nothing. I can only cross my fingers and hope that when the time comes, I'll face it with the high spirit that I have faced any adventure with..

Another part I'm scared about is handling the baby. I recently attended a baby boot camp class in which we were told about how to take care of the baby, how to recognize the cries, how to bathe the baby, how to hold it, change the diapers etc, and all the while I had only one thought in my mind - whether I'll be able to do it all :-\. I know I have help around, but I am petrified about having a new person around thats completely going to be dependent on me. Right now, the baby is a weight in my stomach recognized by a set of kicks and a heart beat at the doc's office. But in a few days, it'll be a squirming, crying small life in my hands. Sometimes I think, oh what the heck, I can do it. Other times I'm just not so sure..

Sometimes I feel really relieved. I mean, 8 months have gone like a dream. Except for a few pains and aches, the baby has hardly given me any problems (oops, maybe I shouldn't put this on my blog, where my child can read it in future :-D). There have been some worries and frustrations, but these have been self-induced rather than something coming from the baby. So I cannot really crib saying "9 months of carrying and suffering" ;-). It been pretty much a smooth sail and I'm really grateful for that :).

Many a time I have rejoiced, enjoyed having a partner thats so supportive that it kinda makes me wonder whether I knew Sri would be like this when I married him. I'm sure most hubbies do things these days, but its been great having him rub my back for what seems like hours, supporting me when I have to get up from sitting, holding my hand or lending a supporting hand to my back when I'm walking, so on and so forth. There have been times when I have had severe cramps in my legs in the middle of the night and he has gotten up to massage them and consoled me when I have cried with pain. He has held me when I have felt frustrated and reassured me when I have had self-doubts. In short, I must have done something good to deserve such a man in my life. I'm very sure the baby is lucky to have a dad like that :).

There have been other times when I have wished whimsically for certain things. Especially when Sri asks me how it feels to have the baby kick inside. I've tried explaining it to him with everything from "it feels like when you ride a roller coaster" to "a small earthquake in my stomach" :-D to "Like how Jim Carrey swallows a bomb in The Mask and he has a small explosion in his stomach" , hehehe. But I know he doesn't "get it". He has been through this adventure with me the whole way, but it is certainly not like other adventures where in he has gotten to experience the whole thing himself. He sometimes looks at the ripples on my stomach with such wonder that I wish he could know how wonderful it is to feel the baby moving inside. Thats something I can never express adequately through words..

But above all these, I am happy. Though I have worries about taking care of the baby, its going to be wonderful to have the baby in my arms. To hold and see a smile. To see an awkward Sri nervously holding an infant (this piece of imagination is enough to bring a smile to my face through all worries :-D). I am happy to have my parents around for such an prominent phase in my life and I am really glad that things have worked out for the best. I guess there's nothing more important than that :). Ultimately a little spark of happiness is all that counts :).

Update 1: Thanks for all the advice ladies :). Yes, I am already considering epidural and will be going for it 75% (the remaining 25% is only for unforeseen circumstances :-D).

Update 2: Orchid has dedicated a sweet poem for me on her blog here saying

A fellow blogger is almost due
and how exciting it is too!
A new baby is always fun
atleast until they start to run!
Have fun, baby and you
Don't forget to include Sri too!
Here's sending your way
Warm wishes to make your day!


Thanks a lot Orchid. That means a lot :).

Saturday, December 01, 2007

What love isn't..


My first kannada song. I'm not putting up the video, not because its not available, surprisingly it is on Youtube :-D (seems like everything's on Youtube these days ;-) :-D), but because I like the song better without the faces involved ;-).

Its one of my favourite love songs (brings back memories of a huggge crush in high school >:) :-D) and its from the movie Shhh. The songs called "Avanalli Ivalilli" and is sung by LN Shastry who is not such a well-known singer. The movie was directed by the famous Uppi (upendra) and the song lyrics were penned by him too.


Avanalli Ivalilli....


If you can understand Kannada, you can appreciate the lyrics. My favourite part is the 2nd paragraph which goes like this:

Neene ella, neenirade baaLe illa annuvudu prema alla
Maragala suththodalla, Kavanagala geechodalla
Neththarali bareyodalla, Vishavanu kudiyodalla
Maunavene Dhyanave prema......


The translation is something like this (mistakes idre please adjust madkolli :-D):

Love is not saying "You are everything to me, there is no life without you"..
Love is neither running around trees nor scribbling poems..
Love is neither writing in blood nor drinking poison..
Love is just being silent in the thought of the loved one..


Why this love song suddnely? Simply because :).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kiddie humour anyone?


Had been to one of the malls on Black Friday (yeah I'm in 9th month, yet ran around for Black Friday shopping, So?? :-p) and the following scenes happened in and around a restroom.

*********************************************************************

Scene 1:

Am just walking into the restroom when a little boy (about 3-4 years old) and his mom come behind me.
Lady (pointing to the ladies restroom): lets go in there.
Little boy (pointing to the men's restroom): No I wanna go there.
Lady: Look I Can't go in there, so if you want to go, you have to come with me.
Little boy makes a face, folds his hands, firmly shakes his head and walks off. While the mom follows.

:-D.


Scene 2:

Same restroom, am standing in queue due to hugggggge crowds.
A little girl walks up to me and says "Oh my, you have a bigggggggggg belly" and walks off before I can react.

:).


Monday, November 26, 2007

Tag - 22 :)


Saw this really witty tag on Orchid's. It somehow seemed to bring out the cheeky side to me :-D, so decided to pick it up (I've never voluntarily picked up a tag before :-p). This is the most outrageous thing I've done in my blog so far, so better be warned ;-) :-D.

The tag consists of 22 questions asked by a guy to better understand women in general. I've seen some brilliant answers posted around (looks like the women are really enjoying the tag :-D), so I hope that, whoever the guy is, gets some enlightenment :-p. Well, if my guy asks these, he'll never get to know the real me from the answers :-D.


1. How do you feel after a one night stand?

After standing for one whole night, I'm sure anyone's legs would be in hell. Although why stand when you have a perfectly good bed to sleep in, is beyond my understanding :-p.

2. Do you ever get used to wearing a thong?

Don't know, I have enough things to make me uncomfortable as it is (that includes you :-p).

3. Does it hurt?

Why don't I gift you one and for once, you can find out all by yourself?

4. Do you know when you are acting crazy?

Ofcourse. Do you know I do it deliberately just to drive you crazy? >:).

5. Does size really matter?

Nope, you can wear any size shirt/trouser as long as I'm not around ;-).

6. When the bill comes are you still a feminist?

Sure but being a chauvinist I'm sure you'll pay it anyways ;-) :-D.

7. Why do you take so long to get ready?

So that, unlike you, I don't look like an ape when I am out :-p.

8. Do you watch porn, too?

Why ask? Do you really want to be compared to a handsome "well-endowed" hunk? :-D.

9. Will something from Tiffany’s solve everything?

Depends on
a) How big of a jerk you were..
b) How big and clear the diamond is..
In simple software logic,
If (b < a )
then "no way in hell";
Else if (b = a)
then "uh don't think so";
Else if ((b > a) + 100 apologies)
then "Hmm, maybe";
Else if ((b >>>>> a)+ 1000 apologies)
then "Ok";

Tol mol ke bhol ;-).


10. Are guys as big of a mystery to you as you are to us?

Yup, you are like a poorly written mystery which looks interesting from the cover, but turns out to be a damp squib once we actually start reading :-p.

11. Why do you sometimes think you look fat?

Because of what you say sometimes - "I think you need some more exercize" or "Why do you eat so many chocolates?". Grrr, grrr and more grrrrrrr!!

12. Why are you always late?

Better late than never ;-) :-D.

13. Does it bother you when we scratch?

You mean when you scratch my back? No, that feels so gooood :-D.

14. Do you wish you could pee standing up?

Why would I wish that? Splattering it everywhere is certainly not my idea of fun!

15. Why do so many women cut their hair short as soon as they get married?

a) Once you have the bakra trapped, you don't really need his or anyone's permission to do what you want ;-).
b) Its the better alternative to tearing out all the hair due to frustration with the guy ;-).


16. How often do you think about sex?

As often as you think about saying "I love you" to me :-p.

17. What do you think of women who sleep with guys on the first date?

The guys must have had some junk in their trunks ;-).

18. Would you?

Does size really matter? Hehehe >:).

19. Do you realize every guy wants a girl just like his mom?

Oh, now I know why "every" guy whistles and makes catcalls at all the girls roadside :-p :-p :-p.

20. Why does every woman think she can change him?

If you don't find a "Prince Charming", you have to try and repair what you get :-\.

21. Does it matter what car I drive?

Nope. As long as you let me drive and wreck it >:).

22. Do you ever fart?

You must be either be colossally stupid or sublimely egotistical if you thought you were the sole reason for all those smells and sounds..

Hehehe :)). I don't want to tag and cause anyone discomfort. If you think you have some witty answers for the 22 questions, then you are very welcome to pick the tag up :).

Friday, November 23, 2007

Baby blues..


I complete 36 weeks today. That means the baby is "full-term" and may decide to make a grand entry into this world anytime it wants ;-). The longer it stays inside, the better ofcourse :). I decided that I'd write a poem for this happy occasion and since there is no one stopping me from doing what I want, you have to suffer reading through it :-D. Please do enjoy the self-depreciating humour :-p.

Baby blues..

Pregnancy has its big ups and downs
Very less of up and more of a down
My stomach feels like a huge balloon
Which can't fly or hasn't yet flown..

I struggle to sit when I'm lying down,
Standing after sitting is just no fun.
Walking after standing is another test,
While running is out of the question!

Bending is a torment and so is bowing,
I cave in after wee bit of a walk.
No comfort thanks to bad backaches,
I feel exhausted even when I talk!

My centre of gravity is in disarray,
Intuitively my spine bends backward.
After waddling like a penguin for hours,
A series of kicks inside is my reward!

So why go through this lengthy ordeal?
Why withstand the pregnancy pitfall?
Its because a soft warm baby in my arms
Is finally going to be worth it all..

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Woh bhi kya din the...





The snap was taken about 5 years ago, when all 4 of us (dad, mom, Darsh and me) had gone to Udupi for holidays. We drove to Udupi, so this photo was taken on the Shiradi ghat section. We were posing for the photo all serious, when Darsh made some stupid comment which made us laugh out loud and he managed to capture it.

Dad came here on Friday and it feels so good :). We had been to Louisville on Saturday and this photo was taken there:




I feel like I'm with family again (I know, I know that Sri is my family now :-p). But I miss not having Darsh around me. It still feels so weird not to be the "four" we were..




(This pic was taken in Udupi on our India trip last year).

Why does the heart always long for more when it has so much?

Listening to: Wish you were here by Pink Floyd :(.

"How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls
swimming in a fish bowl,
year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears,
Wish you were here."


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That day to today..


That day, 3 years ago, I didn't know whether I wanted to be with him. Contrarily he did.

Today I know that I'd rather be with him than anyone else.


That day, 3 years ago, I didn't know we'd get along so well. In fact, I didn't know whether we'd get along at all.

Today I know we are made for each other :).


That say, 3 years ago, I didn't even know whether I wanted to see him again. I was confused, unsure.

Today I know I live to see him everyday..


That day, 3 years ago, there we were - 2 separate individuals who didn't know whether they had anything in common.

Today here we are - we have everything in common, we have made a life together and managed to create a life together :).


That day, 3 years ago, I didn't know whether he was the one for me.

Today I know that we were always meant to be...

P.S: Nov 13th is the day Sri and I first met :).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Diye jalthe he..


Deepawali, as I have mentioned several times (:-D) is my favourite festival of the lot. Its been 3 years since I last saw Deepawali at its original and its best. Its been 3 years and I still miss the festive atmosphere, the cracker sounds and smells. This time though I didn't miss mom's cooking ;-). I got to eat her hand-made ereyappas after 3 long years. But I still missed celebrating it in India. The feeling was multiplied by the fact that mom was also missing the Deepawali atmosphere of Bangalore. Last weekend, we did get to see some cracker-bursting what with us attending the get-together at the local temple. But well, nothing is enough for a Bangalore gal ;-).

Anyways, we did the usual neeru-tumbsodu and water heater pooje. On thursday i.e Naraka Chaturdashi, mom did the traditional enneshaastra to Sri and me, after which we did enne-snaana. Since it was a thursday, Sri had to go to office. Well, so we practically did nothing till the evening.

Evening, we dressed up, lit lamps, while mom made the sweet and khara ereyappas. They came out wayyyyyy better than mine (as you can expect :-D).




Sri and I also hung up the decorative lights we had bought earlier outside and placed the lamps on the ground..




Just in case you are not able to make out, the small lights on the ground are the diyas :-p. Since we had dressed up, we obviously took photos (the "we" here refers to me and mom, Sri was in his regular clothes :-D).




Yesterday was Lakshmi pooja. Evening we lit lamps, sung Lakshmi shobhaane and did the pooja. Today evening we lit lamps again, sang some bhajans and conducted the Balindra pooja for Bali Padyami (mom made avalakki panchakajjaya for the occasion). And so our Deepawali is done for the year. Hope you had a wonderful Deepawali too :).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fall back..


Its almost the end of autumn and no posts on it from me till now? Thats a grave injustice ;-). I hope this post will act like a penalty :-D.

Since mom has been here (and its already more than a month! How time flies!), we have travelled to quite a few places (short trips due to my condition) over the weekends. We had been to Cincinnati once to show her how a "real" downtown looks like, another weekend to Cumberland falls at Corbin and this weekend to Bluelicks battlefield ( a state park nearby). Cincinnati didn't really have any autumn scenes, so I'll be talking about the other 2.

We had been to see the moonbow at Cumberland falls last year. This time though there was a full moon on Friday, 26th October 2007, it was totally cloudy and cold. There was no way a moonbow could be seen. So we decided to skip that and just visit the falls. The main purpose of the visit was to see autumn colours anyways...




The falls looked quite full for this time of the year :). The trees around were looking all pretty (I have to point out that I posted another picture of the same scenery last year).




Autumn obviously means colourful leaves :).




Leaves are pretty whether they are up on trees or down on the ground..




The roads are the prettiest of them all :).




We had also been to Bluelicks battlefield State resort park in the first year I was here for autumn. The place doesn't have anything except various colourful trees :). So we basically had a good time, enjoying the colours again before all the leaves fall off..




The park was full of yellows...



.., pinks, oranges and reds :).




Did I mention about the pretty roads? :).




The fallen leaves are so pretty :).




But what are better are the ones on the trees :).



But soon, sadly all the glory will fade away into empty branches..




But wait, they'll be all back next year same time :-D. And so life goes on...

Meanwhile, tomorrow is the day the lights fill up everyone's heart with joy :). So wish you all a very happy and a prosperous Deepawali :).




Another post on it will be coming up soon (I hope ;-) :-D)..

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pregnant questions :-D


Start Disclaimer:

I'm not to blame for some of the weird thoughts that wander around in my head. Right now, the pregnancy harmones are the culprits. Please note that this post is about some things I have wondered about as my pregnancy progressed. That I have "wonder"ed about them, doesn't mean that I actually acted upon any of them :-p. So after reading this post, if you start thinking that I am a crazy woman who needs to be locked up, please think again :-D.

End Disclaimer:

Ofcourse I made a list of such "wonder"ings :-D. Lets kick it!

1st Trimester thoughts:

1) Is it ok that I am not really concerned about the "nutrition" factor when I am eating (more like overeating) for 2 people? I'm sure hogging on cupcakes have nothing to do with nutrition :-p.

2) Is it ok to think that the baby is going to wreck your responsibility-free life, later feel guilty and actually say out loud to the baby "Sorry, mommy is nuts!"??

3) Is it ok to smirk or sigh at all advice given by elders and experienced friends, but later follow every single one very dutifully? :-\.

4) Is it ok to worry about not having any of the 1st trimester symptoms like nausea and morning sickness, while simultaneously I'm actually glad that I don't have any?

5) Is it ok to worry about every twinge in the stomach and hope the baby is ok? Or is it pure paranoia?

2nd Trimester thoughts:

1) Is it ok to check my weight not every single day but almost every single hour and wonder whether its the baby or me growing? Especially with the cupcake-hogging that I mentioned ;-) :-p.

2) Is it ok to ask the doctor number of questions every visit, so much that the day I don't have any questions to ask, the doc in turn asks me whether I'm doing well and how come I don't have any questions? :-O!

3) Is it ok to long for an adventure like white water rafting/kayaking while knowing that pregnancy is probably the biggest adventure of my life?

4) Is it ok to blame the husband for every ache and pain I have? ;-). Pooooooooor Sri, I know :-D.

5) Is it ok for a pregnant woman to want to run like the wind just to watch the horrified expression on her husband's face and that the only thing stopping her is the fact that the strangers around might think "The obviously pregnant woman must be insane!!"?

3rd Trimester thoughts:

1) Is it ok to day-dream about baby stuff? Moreover is it ok that the day-dream is actually a day-nightmare about changing diapers and cleaning the baby up??

2) Is it ok to scold the baby and complain "Mommy is tired" when the poor thing has been continuously kicking me only for an hour or so? :-p.

3) Is it ok to try to run behind Sri ("try" is the key word here) and hit him when he imitates the walk of a very obvious pregnant woman and teases me?

4) Is it ok to be very very irritated with myself for not being able to do things as easily as before?

5) Is it ok to wonder whether the doctor is bored of my check-up visits and tired of saying "Everything's going great" all the time?

And finally, is it ok to be cribbing about all of this in a blog post? Hmm, I wonder..

That reminds of a lovely song by Fool's Garden called "Lemon Tree" :). This is not the original video, but I like this one better :). Very silly lyrics, but who knows, they might have some deeper hidden meaning ;-).




Thanks to YouTube and user asianeviljanet for the video.

I wonder how..
I wonder why..


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Horrors :).


Its that time of the year again, when little ghosts come out to play :-D. Halloween means lots of decorations, costumes and chocolates. The best part was that I had been to my doctor today and the nurses there were having a costume contest and were all dressed up. I even got to vote for the best costume ;-).

The horrorful decorations in my residential locality were a treat to watch as always and so I clicked away like last time :). So lets start off with some pumpkins - hanging ones, swaying ones and staying-still-on-the-ground ones.




Next I present to you a witch, some pumpkins and a skeleton, all inflated. The wonderful thing about this is that the witch pops out every minutes and hides back into the couldron.




Tired already from the tour? Please have a seat with the scarecrow ;-) :).




All rested? Then you are ready to be scared by a group of ghosts hanging from trees!




And if you were not scared, maybe a close-up will help? :).




Next is webs galore, and no its not the world wide web :-p.




In the next house, a smiling scarecrow welcomes you :).




I was really impressed with this next one - a huge spider weaving a big web around a prey :-O.




Looks like a troupe of spiders attacked this house!




And finally, let me join a ghost, a scarecrow, a devil and some other scary beings in thanking you for taking this tour with me and saying goodbye (look at my dialogue dramebaazi :-D).




Happy Halloween to all :).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Orionid showers!


I have been into astronomy since my 10th standard. Note that its "astronomy" and not "astrology" :-p.

as·tron·o·my
–noun
the science that deals with the material universe beyond the earth's atmosphere.

as·trol·o·gy
–noun
the study that assumes and attempts to interpret the influence of the heavenly bodies on human affairs.

I guess the confusion is pretty common, I have had many people showing me their palms when I have told them that I am into astronomy :-p.

My interest started, as I said, in 10th standard, when we had loads of astronomy in our science syllabus plus a teacher who was crazy about space :). We learnt about constellations, comets, meteors and what not. Plus the teacher told us about a planet in the andromeda galaxy which was like earth. He was so enthusiastic about the subject, that it was so easy to get involved myself. I was so into finding constellations in the night sky :). I was seriously considering a career in astronomy, well, until I found that studying meant lots of maths and not just star-gazing :-D. In fact, even now, one of my biggest wishes is to buy a very powerful telescope and gaze into the sky all I want ;-).

Though the career option never worked out, my interest never lessened. In fact it slowly increased, what with the appearance of Comet Hyakutake the next year and Comet Hale-Bopp in the subsequest one. Hyakutake was lots of fun as it was the first comet I had ever seen and I didn't really know what to expect. After having watched a show in a planetarium, I really thought that a comet was a shiny little line running all over the night sky (I'm not kidding, I was 16 years old and I really believed that!). After reading in the papers about Hyakutake, I actually woke at about 4 AM in the morning just to watch it. I watched and watched but didn't find a single line running over the sky ;-):-D. It was only after gazing for a long time and refering to the map several times in the newspaper did I discover that the comet was actually a blurry looking star-like object (which stood absolutely still :-D). There is movement, but its so small a change that it maybe noticed only the next night. I was so excited that I woke up everyone at home just to show them the comet :). Comet Hale-Bopp was much easier, as I knew what to expect this time.

My interest also extended to meteors and eclipses (I have never seen a total solar eclipse till now :-D). Meteors, normally are difficult to watch out for, as they are just shooting stars in the sky. You might wait a whole night and see nothing. But there are some special times, when the earth's orbit crosses over a comet's path. The comet usually leaves a trail of debris behind and when the earth's atmosphere comes in contact, they suddenly are subjected to earth's gravity and fall as meteors. This makes for a very beautiful view as many shooting starts occur over an hour and its almost like a very slow firework show in the sky. I first came to know of these "showers" through Leonids.

Most of the meteor showers are named after the constellation from which they "seem" to erupt. Leonids, as the name suggest, seem to radiate from constellation Leo and are caused by the debris left by Comet Tempel-Tuttle. They occur every year, but I have watched them about 3 times now. The fun in waking up at a really odd hour in the night, sitting in the cold to watch a meteor shower is something else :-D. Once we were living in an apartment and the Leonids were supposed to be really good that year, so there were about 50-60 people from various apartments gathered on the terrace just to watch them! I remember seeing about 60 meteors that time :-D.

I never knew that there were other showers, I never did bother to research about them till now (sad fact for an amateur astronomer :-p). On Saturday Oct 20th 2007, I was just talking to somebody over phone, when I noticed that Sri had a webpage open about a meteor shower. I was on it in a minute and found out these were Orionids, caused bythe debris of the famous Halley's comet. And the shower was going to peak the very same night (it was predicted that there would be 20 meteors per hour), i.e Oct 21st Sunday early morn at about 5 AM! Look at my luck ;-).

So I decided to be up at around 4:30 AM, but actually was up by 4 AM. Imagine the scene. A 7 month pregnant woman, dressed up in 3 layers of clothes, sitting outside in the cold at 4 AM! I'm crazy, I tell you :-D. It was really chilly, but I pulled up a chair outside in the back yard where I had a good view of the Orion constellation (which is where the Orionids are supposed to emerge from). I saw meteors, but the frequency was very slow. Now there are supposed to be 20 per hour doesn't mean that you get to see everything. Some might be too small for the naked eye while you might miss some when you are not looking at a particular direction. Sri did come out for a while, but he could see no meteors and was off into the warmth of the house in a matter of minutes :-D. Meteor-spotting requires a certain amount of patience and patience pays only sometimes ;-).

I was up for about 2 hours and managed to see about 25 meteors, which was quite ok. Two of them were really bright and left a visual trail! Soon it was going to be dawn and none would be visible anyways. It was a great experience, considering I hadn't been into watching anything for the past 3 years! Well, I guess I had different kind of stars in my eyes :-D. Anyways, Leonids are in November, so if possible (seeing the cold conditions and my conditon), I'll try and make it. There is also a comet in the sky right now (only need to wake up at 4 Am again to watch it), but the sky's been cloudy for a week now. So if and when I am awake, I'll try and catch it :). Meanwhile I actually found a video on Youtube of the Orionid showers (it seems repetitive, but its better than anything I could have photographed myself).




Thanks to YouTube and user briandjin2 for the video.

So long until next time and may the skies watch over you (or may you watch the skies :-D)...



Thursday, October 25, 2007

Function aarthi ()


Function aarthi()
{
     Invite_people();
     Buy_ingredients();
     Cook_food();
     Get_ready();
     Welcome_guests();
     Celebrate();
     Take_photos();
     Eat();
     Say_goodbye();
}

Software engineer mentality hehehee :-D. In a gist, the above was the format of the aarthi function mom held for me on Sunday 14th october 2007.

Before I start off on my (usually huggge) account of the event, just wanted to mention that today is another "Highlight point" of my pregnancy, what with me completing 32 weeks. Babies born after 32 weeks generally do well and are supposed not to have any breathing problems. Not to mention that in general, the longer the baby stays in the womb the better. But well, one hurdle crossed, in 4 weeks the baby will become "full-term" :-D.

Coming to the aarthi function, many people were surprised in the beginning that my mom was coming to US so early. I mean, she was here almost 3 months before my due date. Most of the times, the mothers arrive almost during the last month, so that they can remain longer after the baby is born. But in my case, I had different plans and moreover, mom wanted to hold a small aarthi function for me in my 7th month (it can be held only in 5th or 7th or 9th month according to the "rules" :-D and 9th month is kinda too late). Previously I had planned to be in India in the 5th month, so we could have the function there with all the relatives. But our travel plans did not work out :( and that was that. So after mom arrived, we decided to have the function on that Sunday.

I called up and invited 5 families in total, but 2 of them informed me that they couldn't make it, what with one travelling to India and another's child having a competition the very same day. 3 families confirmed, but another family had some issues last minute, so they couldn't make it. Well, it finally ended up with 2 families, but we just had to accept that.

The preparations started on saturday itself. We bought all the fruits, coconuts, beetle leaves and nuts (ele-adike) required. Mom wanted to make oththu shaavige, which is a type of shaavige made from scratch in Udupi and surrounding areas. She got a grinder for me from India (weighing more than 10 Kg!) and another contraption to press idlis (made for shaavige) into shaavige! I helped around in making the idlis and later Sri helped in pressing them into shaavige. Mom also made chakkulis for the occasion.

Next day she made some khaarada kaddi (she's unstoppable :-D) and after noon I helped her in making kaabul kadle usli, oththu shaavige chitranna and normal shaavige paayasa :). My MIL sent sweets and my cousin Rajeshwari sent packets of puri unde. So we arranged everything in front of God.




The kaabul kadle usli, oththu shaavige chitranna and normal shaavige paayasa are not in the snap as they had already been taken out to serve the guests by the time this photo was taken :-\.

Firstly, Sriram presented the saree that my MIL had sent for me to me to wear. The best part of it all was that my inlaws had logged in at 1:30 AM their time to see the whole function! After I wore the saree, mom put a nice plait and decorated it with fresh flowers from the garden :-D.




I had also put on mehendi on my hands the previous night (not really professional, so no snaps :-p). Then we waited for guests to arrive.

Once the guests came in, we started off with Sri first putting green bangles in my hands (bale todsodu) and later doing the udi tumbsodu (in this he puts rice, coconut, dry fruits, arshina kumkuma etc into my saree pallu). My MIL sent all the ingredients required for that.




Later mom repeated the ritual with stuff she brought, a saree and ear-rings she bought for me.




She again repeated the udi-tumsodu with stuff my cousin Rajeshwari sent (she sent a saree and bangles and mom carried everything :-\). After this, the guests also did udi-tumsodu.

Then with the help of the guests, mom did aarthi to me and Sriram (I'm not putting up the others' photos here due to obvious privacy concerns :-D) and posed for photos :-D.




Once that was done, I changed into the saree mom had brought for me. Meanwhile the guests were served food. After eating and enjoying conversations, they all left. And we clicked a last photo with us all together and me in the changed saree.




That was it. I didn't really expect the function to be as grand as it ended up being. It was really satisfying to have everything go well :). But I do wish that dad could have been here :(. If wishes were horses....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Vijayadashami!


I know I'm late by a couple of days. But well, you know me :-p. Hope you all had a happy Dussehra. I did :). My celebration started with being invited to a Sarswathi pooja and Bombe habba Organized by an Indian lady here at her house last Friday. It was really fun to be dressing up for the occasion and later seeing the nicely arranged dolls at her house. What amused me even more was the fact that everyone arriving was in a saree and how it must have seemed to a passing American :-D. They must have thought its a speacial kind of Halloween party :-D, hehehee :)).

I drove myself and mom to the place (the invite was for ladies and children only, poor Sri ;-) :-D). We took some fruits and flowers (chrysanthemums grown at home). We recited everything from Lalitha sahasranama to Lakshmi astaka. It was one of those moments when a foreign country feels like home :). Later after aarthi, we were served a dinner of avalakki oggarane, mosaru vade, idli with different chutneys and badam milk :). After which we came back home.

Saturday was Ayudha pooja and mom made garlands from flowers picked fresh :).




This changed into the following very soon :-D.




Yeah, I am pleased by the way the flowers have been growing this year too. Will surely be putting up a post on it soon (before they all vanish :-p).

Meanwhile, Sri washed and cleaned the car, while I washed and cleaned my cycle (my achievement of the day ;-) :-D). After having bath, the first step was the devaru pooja and aarthi :).




After devaru, next were the ayudha - the cycle and the car.




The car is still enjoying the garland :).

Yesterday, on the occasion of Vijayadashami, mom made hayagriva (a sweet made from kadle bele) and so went the festival :).

I still have to post on the aarthi function that mom held for me last weekend and that will be coming up shortly (I hope :-D).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Life and me..


Was somehow feeling very nostalgic today. Was reliving some of the simple happy/sad moments that make up the story called life. Yeah the fact that I listened to this song also made some difference. Wish I could say exactly the same, when I stand at the edge of life...





Thanks to YouTube and user emmicity for the video.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Award Shaward Hai rabba!


Timepass has honoured me with the "Power of Schmooze" (the meaning being power to network - hmm I don't really know that holds good with the one or two comments I get :-p) award :).




I would like to thank the various snacks/fruits/juices who have sacrificed themselves so that I could write a single post. I would also like to thank every cow, crow, frog that posed for my not-so-good photographs. It would be unfair if I don't thank my colleagues and boss who, though I was pouring precious work time on the improvement of this blog, never said a word against me. And how can I forget the strangers who became fodder for humour!

But seriously, thanks to Timepass, who thinks I deserve the award, thanks to Sri, mom and dad who have always encouraged (in fact, forced :-p) to write more :), the friends who regularly visit and leave comments and all the people who have dropped in from time to time just to keep me writing :). Thanks a lot :).

Lastly, I am the queen of the world!! :-D.


I have to pass the parcel, oops, award, so here goes :). I give the "Power of Schmooze" award to

Monday, October 08, 2007

The pregnancy diaries :)


Since I announced the pregnancy news on my blog, most of my posts have been about it. I do want to write about other things but right now this is a major part of my life. Even later when I have the baby, there will be lots of posts about the baby (probably more than about myself), but then again the baby will be the major thread of my life then. Though I don't really want this blog to turn into one of those baby-blogs (I'm kinds selfish that way since this blog has always been about me) and though I'll try my level best to make it as multifaceted as possible, I have to accept that it maybe the case in the future :-D. Consider that a warning :-D.

Anyways, as the first paragraph suggests, this post is going to be about my pregnancy history and some of the highlight days as such :).

  • The day I took my pregnancy test and it turned out to be positive. I didn't really want to believe in such a test and took a doctor's appointment for the next day. There was no limit to my joy when the doctor confirmed it. I was oh-so-excited and at the same time worried. Worried whether I'll be able to handle the whole thing and the responsibility of a small baby dependent on me for everything. I have fluctuated between confidence and doubts for all these 7 months and I'm sure it'll go on for the rest of the days or more :-p. Anyways we announced it to both side parents as soon as we got it confirmed from the doctor (with a clause that it be kept secret until 3 months from the rest of the relatives) and they were all ecstatic as its the first grandchild for both sides.


  • The day I had my first ultrasound. I don't really know about India, but here in US, the first ultrasound is done at about 8 weeks, to make sure the baby is ok and its heart is beating properly. Also to know whether there is a single baby/multiple babies in the uterus (one of my close friends had twins and there was no heredity factor anywhere, so I was worried about that too). And it was an absolutely amazing experience. We could see just a finger-sized clump on the monitor (not really able to make out head or bottom :-p), with a heart beating, literally jumping out of the tiny body. Sri held my hand throughout and I had tears in my eyes. It was the first visual proof that I had another life in me and the feeling is totally indescribable. Not to mention we were relieved that there was only one ;-). The next check-up, we were also able to hear the heart beat thanks to a machine called Doppler machine which magnifies the heartbeat. The beat was really strong and somehow I was so proud of the tiny life :).


  • The day I completed 3 months. The initial 3 months (which make up the first trimester) are considered the risky phase where anything might happen. Hence there was relief then the hurdle was crossed and sort of a "mission accomplished" joy (though obviously there was a long way to go still :-p). Also the first trimester is when a woman gets most of the morning-sickness/nausea and I didn't have anything. Nothing at all :-D. Meanwhile, I was subjected to more tests, one of which entailed taking out 3 test tubes of blood from me and checking it for everything from the Rh-factor to HIV. needless to say, everything was normal :).


  • The day of my second detailed ultrasound. The second ultrasound is done after 20 weeks and this is very detailed where they check whether the major organs/systems of the baby are developing/working properly. Without any doubts whatsoever, this was a major highlight of the pregnancy. Any major defects would be discovered in this ultrasound. Thankfully there were none. The physician at the ultrasound took us through the process step by step. First she showed us the face and the head (she took measurements of the brain). Secondly zoomed in on the heart. We were actually able to see the 4 chambers of the heart and the beating! It was so fascinating! We were also able to see the Iorta taking blood to the rest of the body. Again she took some measurements of the heart and some blood vessels. She had a tough time as the baby would move every time she'd point out something :-D. Moreover it made me laugh, which shook my belly and in turn spoiled the ultrasound images :-D. We moved onto the spinal chord (the clarity was awesome!) and later to the kidneys (which I couldn't make out at all though she kept pointing). After all measurements possible, she declared the baby extremely healthy :), which was our priority. We also did find out the baby's gender (my curiosity) but decided not to tell anyone, not even our parents :-D. Its just that the gender was never important to either of us (the health was much more important)and moreover I want to wait to know for sure (one of Sri's friends was told they'd have a boy and later the baby was a girl).


  • The day I felt the baby's first big movement. Yup, I did see the baby move in the ultrasound, but the doctors were asking me whether I felt any movements and I was not feeling anything. No wonder I was worried (actually ay little thing can lead to a big worry in pregnancy :-p). Even some of my friends had felt movements much earlier in the second trimester and here I was without anything. I did feel some bubbles in my 5th month, but since I had some heart burn, I was never sure whether it was the movement or some gas :-p. But on one Sunday, I was up early and was sitting alone when I felt a hugge kick. One slowly went on to be several and it was wonderful. Initially Sri wasn't able to make out anything. Surprisingly he'd keep his hand on my stomach and the baby would go quiet. I would tease him that the baby is already showing respect to the dad ;-). But later he too felt the kicks and even now is amazed every time! He even tells the baby to sleep and play "later" every now and then :-D.


  • The day I had my gestational diabetes test and it turned out to be normal. This happened just last week. Gestational diabetes can affect pregnant women in late pregnancy and it happens due to some pregnancy hormones which can block the actions of insulin in the mother's body. For the test, they made me drink a sweet juice and one hour later pricked my finger for a drop of blood to check the assimilation of sugar in the blood. As usual I had been worried as I am a bit fat (:-p :-D), but the glucose levels were normal and I was very happy. The doctor even commented that my BP as well as weight gain were going as expected and that everything was great. Do I need anything more? :)).
And so has the travel been so far. There are still more than 2 months to go and lots more moments of worry/joy to be faced. Don't worry (as if you do), I'll sure keep you updated on whatever happens whenever it happens :).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Having a ball with balloons!


Its been sometime since I found out about the Balloon Festival that happens every year in Louisville, Kentucky. But we didn't really know about the whole thing until the start of this year. It was only after I saw a hot air balloon on a drive to Louisville, that I actually did some research and discovered the whole thing :). The festival known as the Adam Matthews Balloon Festival is supposedly the fifth largest hot air balloon festival in the US and is supposedly the largest in Kentucky. Well, I had never seen a hot air balloon up, close and personal before and no wonder I wanted to.

Somehow, on a coincidence, the festival dates were September 28th to 30th and mom was coming here on the 28th. We thought we will wait to see how she fares and then decide whether to go or not. I mean, jet lag is a big factor when you are travelling around the globe, that too for the first time! But surprisingly, she was the first to get all excited and was most willing to go :). Like daughter, like mom, I guess ;-). She looked pretty alright too, so we decided to go after all.

The festival consists of a race very early in the morning, later a balloon glow show in the evening followed by a firework show. The race was at 7:30 AM, so it didn't really make sense to go there so early and then wait the whole day. So we decided to attend just the evening glow show instead.

On saturday, 29th September 2007, at about 3:30 PM, we drove to Louisville. We reached the Bowman airfield where the festival is conducted, at about 4:30 PM. Strictly speaking, I was really disappointed at what I saw when we reached there. There were no hot-air balloons whatsoever and there were only some inflated structures for kids to play in. The traffic was also a bit less and there were not many people around. Since there was still time for the "evening" to go, we started roaming around the place.




The festival has no admission fee and there's only a parking fee of $7, so its really great if you have kids ;-). We saw the inflated structures and also got some freebies (some new chips from Flat Earth and some goodies from Meijer, who were the sponsors of the event). There was a nice concert going on, so after roaming around a bit, we spread a blanket and sat around enjoying the view. The trucks carrying the hot air balloons (non-inflated), started arriving one by one, but they started setting up everything only at around 7:30 PM. The reason being that the balloon glow show looks good only after sunset! But it was fun once they started the process :). The crowds also seemed to come out of nowhere and soon the field was full of people!

First, they setup the basket and the balloon quite far away from it.




Next they started spreading the balloons (they were all tied up and packed like a tent). It took several people to actually spread the balloon material.




Finally, they tilted the baskets and started the hot air flow which would blow the balloons up!













And so stood this balloon and so many more! It was fascinating!! People were struggling to balance the balloons. Some climbed into the basket to stabilize them while others tugged to and fro :-D. Some tied them securely to SUVs and trucks :).
We started our roaming again and took loads of pictures as usual ;-).




Some of the balloons had shapes. While this below one was shaped like a tree and had twigs with birds on them..




.., another one had a face, hands and legs!




I couldn't take a snap of yet another one which was shaped like a bear's face. But this one below was the best of them all - a huge cow balloon!!




It was obviously sponsored by a milk company ;-) :-D. All the balloons were sponsored and there were some well known names too, first being the Harley Davidson balloon.




Looks like the bottom's on fire, doesn't it? :-D. And then there was the Coca Cola balloon.




I even noticed a balloon sponsored by a funeral home! Anyways, the best thing about the whole glow show was that at about every 5 minutes, they'd have a countdown from 10 to 1. At the zeroeth second, all the balloons would light up (i.e switch on the gas and blow the hot air) simultaneously! It made for a wonderful sight, to say the least!




It was like nothing I've ever seen and an experience certainly worth repeating! Not to mention, mom and Sri considered it really well done too.

The glow show went on from about 8PM to almost 9 PM. Later they had the firework display which honestly speaking wasn't really upto standards (maybe I expect too much after the fireworks of the Louisville Air show). But well, the balloons compensated for everything else ;-). Obviously there was a traffic jam when we finally left the premises. It was 10:30 PM when we got home and mom though exhilarated, was tired.

And so ended another lovely day :).