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, April 26, 2010

Taste the thunder :-D.

Have been meaning to write a post for days. Have enough material to fill atleast about 10 posts and somehow am not able to make time to type one single post :-p. I still don't know where the time goes.

Anyways don't want to waste time (when I'm wondering where time goes :-p). We had been to the Thunder over Louisville event on April 17th and thats what this post will be about. The last time we went there was 3 years ago, before Snugli was born! When Snugli was born, we went to India so we couldn't go and last year it was raining and we had a birthday party to attend, so we chose the party over the event in rain :-D.

We had very fond memories of the event and thought Snugli would enjoy it. But there were some problems, a few of which were mistakes from our side.

1) Not enough warm wear:

We knew the temperatures were not that warm and we did have our jackets with us. And I did carry extra clothes for Snugli, but we didn't expect the wind chill that was there. The winds blew, blew, blew and blew some more. Half the time I could feel my fingers frozen on the camera shutter button :-p.

I'm realizing now that you haven't seen Snugli at all after her mushroom cut (which is so short that it can be called a boy cut) that I got done in India :-D.

2) Not enough portable toilets:

Snugli wanted to use the toilet almost as soon as we landed there and there were hardly 5 toilets for what seemed like a million people. So there was this huge half-an-hour-lasting queue. And after sometime, the toilets were obviously not upto the mark anymore :-p. Boy were we glad that she asked to go only once.

3) Not enough planes:

I have to admit we did go there an hour late (but we did that last time too). The additional thing was using the restroom and losing out on some more planes. But it felt like there were not as many planes as last time. Last time I remember helicopters doing stunts and I was thrilled by a stealth plane. There was more lingering then. This time lots of individual planes and pairs just flew over us and never came back for round two. I hardly have any photos :((.

As you can see, I did manage to take a couple of good ones :-D. This was the FA-18 hornet demo:

There were 2 new additions that I did like this time. The first was a JBS Offshore Racing Boat:

The next was the meijer skydiving team (didn't really see them jump, oh well :-p).

4) Cruise boats:

We sat in an area facing the river (where the fireworks happen) in between 2 cruise boats. We thought that they'd leave and go to the middle of the river when the fireworks would start. As you can guess, they didn't. They didn't matter that much for the air show, but almost all my fireworks photos have a boat mast to the side :-p. We did have the American flag plane and the 6 LIma Lima stunt planes before the fireworks (the same as last time and I have the photos in that post). And then there was the Bill Leff plane that shoots fireworks from its tails :).

4) Forgotten camera plate:

A major major mistake from my side. I have been shouting about how much I have been experimenting in photography, so my experimentation for this particular event was fireworks. So I researched on what settings would be best to photograph fireworks and made sure I had the camera (My canon S2IS with the memory card formatted and ready to go), 2 sets of batteries and the tripod. What I forgot to take with me was the camera plate that helps to fix the camera to the tripod! I feel sheepish even now thinking about it, but the lesson has to be learned sometime :-p.

What I did do finally was to balance the camera on the tripod and try and avoid the shake as much as possible. The photos have come out pretty okay for that (and the boat masts that I mentioned) and Sri tells me they are better than any I have taken in the past, so imagine how good they'll be with the tripod properly fixed and an unhindered view :-D. Here's the total view:

The following 3 I'm pretty proud of, since they somehow manage to capture the brilliance and the shimmer of the colours :).

Just wanted to add that the images haven't been edited in anyway (no manipulating, no cropping, nothing) and the exposure settings (for those who are interested) are Manual mode, Shutter speed (2s to 4s), Aperture (f8.0), Manual focus set to infinity, White balance set to daylight and ISO (50). Here are the last 2 :).

The fireworks was/is totally worth all the things we faced. I have a couple of videos of the fireworks too, but no time to upload :(. If you do get a chance to see this, don't miss it. The fireworks lasted for half an hour and was totally breath-taking. Snugli was clapping and cheering the entire time, so yeah despite everything, we did have fun, until we found the next mistake..

5) Level parking:

There's plenty of parking available for the event. But this time we parked in a building meant for parking in the 4th level! We absolutely didn't realize how big a mistake it'd be. Once the fireworks are over, everybody rushes to their cars and yup, usually there's a huggggggggggge traffic jam. Last time we were parked in a field, still by the time the traffic dispersed it was already 12 AM and we reached home at 1 AM. This time we were stuck on the 4th level for more than 1 hour! We had to wait till not only the streets cleared but also the 3 levels below us! Atleast Sri and Snugli managed to sleep for that hour (Snugli slept throughout from then onwards) while I was checking out my photos :-p. So by the time the traffic cleared and we reached home, it was 2 AM :-p.

Well, we did think of staying in a lodging facing the river, but the rooms were so damn expensive :-p. You have to either sacrifice the time or the money. This time it was time, lets try and make it money next time :-D.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The adventures of snoogli bear :-D.

I have been wanting to write a post on Snugli for quite some time now. Well, better late than never right? Sadly, I can't put up photos for this one - I am yet to filter the 100s of photos I have of the India trip. But there are so many things happening with her that I can't wait for the snaps anymore :-p. So those will come later :).

Lets start off, shall we?

  • Snugli enjoyed the India trip more than Sri and me put together :-D. She was carried even when she didn't ask ask to be and pampered to infinity :). The best part was there was no saying no to anything she asked, courtesy of her grandparents. Another round on escalators? Yes my dear. Lift? Yes my dear. Tata on the scooter? Yes my dear. Play with water outside? Yes my dear. You get the gist :-p. In fact, we got scoldings for daring to scold her in front of them ;-).

  • We got to visit a lot of kids in India thanks to cousins and friends who have kids. Snugli played Ringa-ringa-rosies (or maybe its ring-around-the-roses :-p) with every single one of them :-D. Hey, I have the videos to prove it :-p.

  • Well, the pampering actually became quite a problem when we were returning. I was ill and Snugli wanted to be carried and whenever she saw an escalator, she wanted to ride them multiple times. Oh God, I still don't know how we got through the travel :-p.

  • I told you last time that her spirit of independence made an appearance. Now its continuing to grow. I told you how I let her put about 3 mugs of water on herself every time I bathe her. Well, she wanted to soap herself - so I came up with an idea. I have 2 soaps for her now - 1 I hand to her to do what she wants with it and I wash her with the other. Saves a lot of frustration, believe me :-D. She also wants to brush her teeth on her own, so I made another deal - Saturday and Sunday I let her brush her teeth herself. Rest of the days are mine :-D. There are similar deals in the matter of food - she wants to eat on her own (and she usually eats breakfast on her own), so for her lunch she gets to eat 1 course (the uppu-thuppa anna one) on her own and the rest, we feed her :-D. The only exception to those rules has been drinking milk - she still wants to be fed by spoon, but I insist on her drinking directly from a tumbler (she does it, but fusses over it :-D). The deals are working for now, but I'm not sure how long they'll last ;-).

  • Her grasping power and language are growing leaps and bounds. I know I have said this many many times, but I'm just amazed at how her brain processes new things and learns them. For instance, whenever we ask her to do anything for us, say switch on the lights, we say "Thank you" to her. The day we forget to say that, she comes running and prompts "Thanku" "Thanku" :-D. Not only that, the other day she asked Sri to get her something and she actually thanked him!

  • On the same note, she knows how lights can be switched off and on. We usually have sunlight falling directly into our living room early morning and usually have the blinds up. One day the sunlight was especially hot and she came and told us "Kitaki off" (Windows off, please) :-D. Her questioning instincts are also budding. just a few days back, Sri had the blinds since its summer and the heat was a bit too much and she asked him "Naana, yaake kitaki off maadi?" (dad, why did you close the window?). Oh God, the "Whys" are starting!

  • Her memory power is rising exponentially too :-D. I told you how it snowed and got pretty bad when we came back from India. There was pretty bad ice on the roads of our building, so there was a snow machine trying to scrape the ice off. Snugli watched the entire thing with much curiosity. After more than a fortnight, she took out one of her toy trucks and displayed to us the scraping and removing of ice with it. I hadn't realized until then that the toy was actually a snow machine!

  • She talks, talks and talks. These days she's literally a little suththi master (goes after her mom :-D). As soon as Sri comes home, she narrates the entire day's story to him (not really "day" since he comes home for lunch - so half a day + half a day in the evening). One day she threw a book and I gave her a time out and when he comes home, she tells him "Snigdha book bisadi, Amma timeout kottu, aamele iLi-digu maadi" (Snigdha threw the book, amma gave timeout and then I got down from the chair). These days, whenever we talk to my parents, they are very fond of asking what she did since morning 'cause she says the entire story with an "aaa" (thinking raaga) inbetween :-p. For example - "Beligge eddu, brush maadi..aa.., snaana maadi..aa.., chapathi tindu..aa.., dudhu kudi..aa.., neeru kudi, iLi-digu maaDi, Mickey mouse noDide" (Got up, brushed my teeth, took bath, ate chapathi, drank milk, drank water, got down and saw mickey mouse). Phew!

  • She not only talks, but she has started singing too. Now a days she doesn't really say rhymes when we ask her to. Instead she keeps singing them while playing on her own. Plus it was Sri's birthday in Feb (yeah I couldn't even write a post for that :( :-\), so since then she absolutely loves the "happy birthday" song and keeps singing it, minimum 4 times a day (yeah I have to buy some ear muffs soon :-p). Since she loves it so much, we make it a point to tell her whose birthday is coming up next, so that she sings the song with their name and later make her sing to that person on their birthday. So our relatives are getting to hear her sing for their birthdays, hehehe :-D.

  • Her imagination is growing. She does a lot of pretend play - everything from putting her teddy bears to sleep and scolding them for not behaving to making food and serving it to us on plates (she even asks whether we want more :-D).

  • This one is a bit embarrassing, but here goes. Whenever Sri and I hug/kiss, she comes running from any corner she has been playing quietly in, chanting "Lovvu Lovvu" :-D (she never comes to us when we call her otherwise these days :-p). And yeah then we have to have a group hug and group kiss session, hehehee. I am already dreading the time when she'll start telling everyone "Dad hugged mom today" etc :-\.

  • This amazes me the most. She has started to recognize brands! Darsh pointed it out to us while we were in India. We were ordering pizza through the Dominos site - Indian counterpart and she said "Pizza" just seeing the logo (its probably due to the fact that we order dominos here too). After we came back, one days she saw the Intel logo in one of our magazines and said "Idu TV alli baruththe" (this comes on TV). Now she even sings the Intel-jingle (Pum-pumpumpumpum) whenever she sees the logo. Other logos she recognizes are JCPenney, Dell (she sings "lollipop lollipop" which is their jingle in an ad), Walmart, Sams Club and Kroger (on magazines, TV and the actual store). She wants to learn more and keeps asking "Idu enu?" (whats this?) for everything and anything.

  • Whenever she asks "Whats this?", she only expects a one-word answer, she doesn't really want to know details for now, thank God! Whenever she pesters me too much, I say "Ella beku, muduki" (You want to know everything like an old lady :-D). One day got irritated and told her "Ella beku badmaash" (you want to know everything, naughty child) and she corrects me "Badmaash alla muduki" (I am not naughty, I am old lady) :-D. As you can see, she is also growing more naughty :).

  • Now about the library. As I told you, we started going to the classes about 1.5 months ago. The story time is just for half an hour, but we go there a bit early and leave a bit late so the trip is more than 1 hour. The first time we went there, she was so excited. The children's librarian sings songs, rhymes, reads 1 or 2 books and then have some activities for the kids. Most of the kids sit and listen, but not Snugli. She is so excited that she jumps around, sings with the teacher and does whatever she wants to. I was a bit worried about that, but the teacher said that its fine for her age. They slowly learn how to compose themselves :-D. Anyways, she looks forward to it all the time and now even knows that we pass Sri's office on the way and what turns we need to take to get there and knows when we land at the library :-D.

  • The latest news is that I have started to take her to swimming lessons - her first class was last Wednesday :). They are not actual lessons at her age, but more of a help-kids-adjust-to-water-and-get-over-their-fear if any. Snugli has always loved water and I knew there wouldn't be any problems there. The problem is getting her out of the pool :-D. Its a parent and baby class, so both Sri and I went with her. The teacher sings songs and tells us to make them kick legs, splash hands, blow bubbles and dip their ears in water (all of which she did on her own in her first class). Man, you should have seen her face the first time she got into the pool :-D. She had so much fun and we had a wonderful time just watching her and playing with her, but threw a tantrum when it was time to get out :-D. Looking forward to the second class :).

  • What else? She knows and recognizes some of the colours (especially red, orange, pink, purple, black and white, the others - blue, green and yellow, she gets right often, but not every time) and all of the basic shapes (circle, square, rectangle, triangle, diamond and heart). One day when we were going to the library and she saw a heart on a billboard and she shouts - "Amma amma, nodu, alli heart shape" (Mom see, there's a heart shape) :). She has also started to recognize some of the English alphabet letters. I have been trying to make a daily habit of making her write alphabets A to Z and Kannada varnamaale (ಅ to ಅ:) - trying is the key word, with the library timings we try and do the aksharabhyasa atleast thrice per week.
Thats about it for now. Phew :-D. More as they happen :).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The house story..

Its the same old story, different characters. Today is the gruhapravesha of a new flat that my parents bought almost an year ago. Its officially Darsh's flat, unofficially bought by my parents. The house that they live in now, which I usually call my home away from home, is also their own. So its not like I am missing a first-time event. We had the gruhapravesha of the current house almost 10 years back and ofcourse I was there for that. Moreover Sri and I celebrated our flat gruhapravesha, so yes there have been more than 1 gruhapraveshas in my life :-\.

And its not like I did not have any say in the whole thing. I was the one who insisted on not having the function while I was in India. You know how stressful these affairs are and I didn't want that to affect the time my parents spent with Snugli. Plus they'd certainly be running around to get things completed and we'd hardly spend any time together. Maybe that was selfish of me. Because on the flip side, had I been there, maybe I could have helped out in some things. Maybe I could have done some running around myself and given them a break. Or maybe I am giving myself a bit too much credit.

I don't know what I feel. One moment I am happy that they are having the function and everything is going great for them. Next moment I start thinking that they have never not had me around for any of the major functions before this one. I have always been there. It certainly feels very strange not being there. I am excited for them, but also there's some amount of melancholy. I tried distracting myself with various things, but haven't really been able to forget that I'm not there (as if thats so easy)..

But enough about me. Nanna gOLu iddidde (my woes are always there :-p). Its wonderful that they are having a reason to celebrate and I wish the new house brings them more happiness and many many more reasons to celebrate. May this joyous occasion be a step forward into new opportunities, new occasions of merriment and much more love and laughter...

I still wish I could have been there though..


Monday, April 05, 2010

New addition to the family..

No it isn't what you are thinking :-D. I thought I'll drag it out a bit, but in the time that I have to write the post, I cannot afford to drag stuff these days :-\. Still, you know I'll try my best :-D.

The story goes like this. I have been hearing about how good the kids programs are in the libraries here. So about a month ago, after getting all the details from the library, I headed to the nearest branch with Snugli for toddler story-time. She really loved it and had the time of her life (more about Snugli and story-time in my next post :-D). They have a preschooler story time on another day, so I thought I would take her to the library to both the hours (which meant twice a week). But there was an unanticipated problem.

We had only one vehicle. In bigger cities you have good public transportation, but thats not the case in our small town. There is only one bus route thats near to us (about 10 min walk) and it goes nowhere near the library. At first we thought we could manage with the SUV we have. But we were wrong :-p. The timing of this story-time sessions are such that its in the middle of nowhere for us, namely at 10:30 AM, so Sri can neither drop us when he is going nor pick us up when he's back home for lunch. We tried a couple of things; me dropping him to office in the morning going to library with Snugli, coming back home and then go pick Sri again. Didn't work; Also Sri going to office in the morning, coming back at around 10AM to pick us up. We dropping him off at his office, heading to library and then later picking him up when we drive back home. He again going to office and coming back for lunch. Phew! As you can see it was a bit tedious and multiple trips can take the excitement out of anything (atleast for us if not for Snugli :-D).

So we thought about it and decided to get another car - a second hand one. I did suggest a 2-wheeler (they are getting to be quite common these days), but it doesn't really make sense in winters here. Now that Snugli is growing up, I am planning to put her to some kind of classes soon and she'll have to attend them in winter too ;-). So we had to opt for a car. After about a month of research later, here we are. We zoomed in on a 2003 Toyota Camry last week, got the registration done last Wednesday (March 31st) and brought the car home.

So here's our new (well, old :-p) car. Its fourth-hand and older than our SUV, but it doesn't really look its age :-D.

Compare and contrast with our SUV..

Its actually a kind of Grey..

But looks almost the same colour of our SUV..

Its my first car ;-), though I have to say that I am not really jumping up and down with excitement (I did that when we bought the SUV, so feel kinda jaded :-p). Its officially my car, but since I am the one toting around Snugli everywhere, Sri takes the Camry to office and the SUV is all mine (unofficially ofcourse ;-) :-D) muahahahaa >:-).

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spring is in the air..

Flowers everywhere
Fragrance in the air..

Roads that bring cheer
Smiles there and here..

The bulbs are in bloom
Dissipating the gloom..

Gladness fill my heart
Sorrows miles apart..

Not a chill in sight
Warmth day and night..

Mother Nature is awake,
Back from her winter break.

The sights are divine
Time to rise and shine :).

(As you can see, have been busy with photography experimentation. More soon :-D).