Wednesday, August 31, 2005

No Tie

E. in her 1st day of school dress. This was actually taken on Tuesday, her second day of school, but the uniform wasn't ready on Monday. However, she is without her tie. The uniform looks ever so much better with the tie but we had to get a new one from school but if I had waited until after school to take the picture with the tie she'd be grungy. Then on Wednesday she wears her all white unifrom and it's just not so cute. So I would have had to wait until Thursday to get her "First Day of School" Photo, 4 days late. That's just too long.

Pointers Welcome

I seem to find a new love every year. A passion. Three years ago it was quilting. Then writing. My new passion is – Growing things. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I’ve decided to start with tomatoes.

I bought a packet of seeds, followed the directions, and planted them last week. Over the last few days the first green shoots have been popping up all over. It Is Thrilling! I can’t wait until they’re 3 inches high so I can transplant them outside in the garden. I’m going to get a little fence to put around them to keep the animals away and baby, baby, baby them.

I think I over watered in the first few days, not just the tomatoes but all my potted plants around the house. After those first shoots came up, I was zealous. If a little bit of water could do that, I thought, what could MORE water do?! Whoops. OK, I rectified myself.

But any pointers on raising tomatoes? I invite them, just leave a comment.

This does remind me of one of my guests of the last few days who was the lovely wife of one of our pastors but who had the horrible habit that so many women over here have, of - Giving Unsolicited Advice.

“Don’t light that with a match!”

“Why do you have the water running?”

“Don’t let her eat that.”

“What are you doing?”

“Sister, This much Chai?”

It Is My House! I feel like screaming sometimes. But I don’t. I bite my tongue and smile. And practice, Grace Grace Grace. It’s good for me.

Not Exactly What I Expected It To Be

The content of this blog is not exactly what I expected it would be. I’m pleased with it, but it’s much more about me than I thought it would be. I guess I figured it would be more “ministry” stuff. But hey, it’s all “ministry” over here. It’s why we’re here.

So, I guess it’s not so unusual that many random things pop up in here.

Here is (one of) my random ones of the day.

I get to read a bit each day. Make time for it. I do enjoy it so. I just finished a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a long while. “Where the Heart Is” by Billie Letts. I saw the movie with Natalie Portman a few years ago and just loved it. The book is fabulous as well. It’s one of those ones that leaves you with a heavy, almost sad feeling but not a terrible one. I was sad to leave the characters but not as sad as I have been to leave other characters in other books. This could be because I’ve seen the movie and knew what was going to happen or maybe just because there is a really nice complete feeling to this novel.

A few parts were draggy and pretty unnecessary to the plot, but they were mainly those dealing with the low down, no good father of the main character’s baby. However, I’m happy to say that I’ve reached a point in my life where I can just skim over stuff I don’t care about and move on. No guilt. No hard feelings.

Dusting Off Ye Old Computer

Literally. It’s amazing what a day or two away from the computer can do when one lives in India – even in rainy season!

Getting on here to write is proving harder than I ever expected. Between Sunday and today I estimate that we’ve had over 60 guests either visiting or staying over. It’s kept me on my toes.

Slowly life is getting back to a normal schedule tho. Whatever that may be. Yesterday I was out of the house at 7:30AM to get E. to school and pick up one of our Children’s Home kids to take to the eye doctor. When we got there we discovered the office didn’t open until 9AM but my driver, who recommended the Doctor in the first place, said it would be really crowded so we should get there early anyway.

Too early I guess, because we ended up having to find something to do for an hour, but Miriam, the little girl, needed a haircut in a bad way so we were able to accomplish that before 8:30.

Then back to the eye doctor’s office. Very Gujarati. So not Western, all I could read in the whole place was “Quiet Please” and “Diagram of the Eye” with a picture under it of… well, the eye.

At 8:55AM exactly, a man in a little office must have done something because everyone in the entire waiting room jumped up and shuffled into line, my driver included. You see, there are no appointments in any Indian Doctor’s office that I’ve ever been in. First come, first serve rules. We were about 4th. My driver called me over to give the pertinent info and pay the whopping 30 cents for the visit.

Then we wait some more by the Doctor’s teeny tiny examining room. A nurse calls 4 or 5 patients (and family members) in at a time and you squeeze around each other for a seat. When Miriam’s turn came an old, fat woman plopped herself in the seat before we could get there and the Doctor looked over and told us to wait just one more minute.


At last the woman left and Miriam moved up to the Doctor. He whipped her in and out of the hot seat in about 30 seconds which included the sight test to which he said, “Ok, no problem” when she was too shy to say any of the letters. He prescribed drops for her painful eyes and sent us on our way.

This is what I do, take kids to the doctor and practice hospitality. Back in the saddle again…

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Day in My Life

I had a funny and full day yesterday so I thought I would log it here.

Woke up around 6:30. Did all the making breakfast and feeding everybody stuff.
Finished that and actually started on the dozen or so loads of laundry that are piled up everywhere and the ripping all materials out of the cabinets and re-arranging them with the clean clothes, etc.
Worked til 11AM and then went into the kitchen to start lunch. (Lunch consisting of potato & baby eggplant curry, dahl = lentils, rice and chapattis = flat bread)
As soon as I entered the kitchen I saw a couple from our church coming, they stayed an hour.
While I visited with them 2 guys came to run some errands for me and they brought with them, and then left, the 15 month old little girl, Zarina, from our children’s home. I was told she was sick, however they neglected to tell me that she had diarrhea. She proceeded to go 3 times. By the third time I had her sitting on a piece of newspaper.* Good thing too.
At noon the guests left.
Started lunch. Again.
Cut up my potatoes and started them to boil as well as the lentils.
12:15, my friend Vinita and her daughter Rachel stop over.
We visit til 1PM
Start lunch. Again. Again.
Eat lunch with the girls at 2:00.
Go back to the washing, sorting, folding.
At 3:30 I rip the seam out of one of my dresses because I’ve gained 25lbs since I’ve been gone and nothing fits. The dress is crap and the fabric keeps tearing. I throw it on the pile of stuff to give away.
Take a bath.
4PM Go downstairs to relax b/c our Children’s Home kids are coming and I want to spend time with them.
4:20 they arrive. 22 kids, plus E. and the girl who helps care for them.
They talk and watch TV loudly.
4:50 in walks my very good friend, and former neighbor, and her 2 daughters – one of whom is E.’s “best friend.”
Simultaneously my brother-in-law arrives from Bombay. More shouting and wildness as he hands out candy to all children.
Moments later the lady who lives down the streets walks in with the man who is delivering our phone. Lots of shouted conversation.
6PM O. comes home and shouts from outside that all children must leave. The kids beat it out of there like nobody’s business leaving nothing but a generous scattering of crushed chips and numkeen to prove that they had ever even been there.
O., who had not been home for lunch, eats what I made (cold and directly out of the pan) and likes it, offering it around to his entourage and therefore digging himself out of “big trouble” for not coming home to eat it in the first place.
More visiting with old neighbor. 6:45 – She leaves.
7PM we’re ready for fasting prayer at church, head over.
Wonderful time of prayer and encouragement. Greet friends I haven’t seen yet.
Go home. Glad it’s Friday Fasting prayer so no need to worry about dinner. E. & C. are already asleep.
I try to check email and work on this blog but my cell phone** is no where to be found. Figure it must be with O.
8:45PM Go to bed, gladly.

*No diapers over here, just undies from day 1
** My internet is connected thru my cell phone

Thursday, August 25, 2005

B & N

No, not the bookstore. I would have added an entry sooner than this but my B & N keys were not working yesterday. They went on strike right in the middle of a sentence.

This has happened to me before (I go through a keyboard about every 4 months) so I just shut everything down last night and went out today and bought a new one. Then I came home and thought to try my old one again and it worked, even B & N! Weird.

I have so many entries rolling around in my head but no time to get them down since I’m still getting everything in their right places. This is complicated by the fact that it has been rainy season here and everything that we own that was folded neatly and packed away in cabinets while we’ve been in the US, now stinks. Yucky musty smell. I have to wash everything.

So none of us can put anything away until I pull everything out of 4 cabinets. (O. is tearing the stuff out of one of them as I write.) I just haven’t been able to bring myself around to doing it. The jetlag you know…*

We did have a chance to visit with our co-workers tonight and last night spent some time with the Children’s Home kids. They’ll be over to my house tomorrow to hang out and watch TV. It’s a school holiday ‘round here. Markus, one of our kids, kept giving me eye and hand signals over the balcony and behind an overturned bed to remind me to ask if they could come over tomorrow. (You can’t see me but I’m shaking my head)

*If you don’t know – I despise cleaning and avoid it at all costs. I mean WHAT a WASTE of TIME. You clean it and then – it gets dirty again!!

The Screaming Child

Was not mine. Thank goodness. I have been truly blessed to have children who travel well in planes. There wasn’t even any throwing up this time.

There was, however, a little girl next to us who had 2 separate screaming sessions of about 10 minutes each. 20 minutes in the course of 8 hours may not seem like much, but I’m sure they felt like an eternity to her parents.

This was also our last flight where we would have “special privileges” by being the parents of a child under the age of 2. On international flights this means that you pay only 10% of the adult rate but the child does not get a seat. What they get is a bassinet or car seat type thing that folds down from the bulk head and the flight attendant sets up.

Since this only works at the bulkhead sections you are generally seated near other parents with children under the age of two. I cannot even begin to describe the smell…

So, now that C. is over 2 I have mixed feelings about loosing our “special privileges.” Yes there is more leg room at the bulkhead but when I weigh that against the added smells and sounds that “privilege” brings, oddly enough, I don’t feel too nostalgic.

I will miss that cheap rate tho…

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Here's something funny. (We haven't left for India yet) But since we're going tonight I wanted to do something this afternoon to wear out my girls so they'd sleep well on the airplane.

My mom heard on the radio yesterday that there was an India Festival on Penn's Landing in Philadelphia today. Weird huh? Our last day. So we decided to go. It started from noon and goes to 8PM. We got there on the stroke of 12 and wandered around. There were quite a few Indian vendors selling overpriced jewelry and clothing. We looked and wandered some more before eating lunch.

While I was in the long line at the one (1) Indian food stand I realized that I was salivating and really craving Indian food. That hadn't happened before. I love Indian food but I eat it every meal, every day in India and rarely crave it while in the US, so this was definitely strange. It was good (VERY OVERPRICED) South Indian fare.

We walked to the area where the stage was set up and waited. It's where E. wanted to be. And then the "cultural programme" started (only 45 minutes late).

They began with the American and Indian national anthems. I'm pretty sure I was the only non-Indian there who knew both. I got choked up on both songs. I couldn't figure out if it was because I'm going or coming. Very strange.

We stayed for a little while and watched the mediocre* dances and songs before leaving at 2:00 to get C. home for a nap.

It's worth going to tonight or the next time it's in town (probably next August). It's most definitely authentically Indian.

*I'm spoiled by truly traditional Indian cultural programmes.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Feeling OK

I feel amazingly peaceful for this being the big Last Day. I've been thinking about it and it's possibly because I'm not traveling with a teeny tiny infant, or maybe because we've had a good long visit in the US or even that I have my husband O. travling with me and girls this time.

To be honest I'm pretty sure it's the prayers. There was a peacefulness over me yesterday that was supernatual. I just knew we were being prayed for. Thank you.

The long plane journeys, Bombay stay, train ride home and greetings once we arrive should fuel me with multiple posts to write once I get my internet service up and running.

Something to look forward to. I do!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Leaving A Comment

It was brought to my attention today by my brother* that leaving a comment on my blog is difficult and confusing (or something like that.)

I checked it out. It IS confusing but not so difficult after all. (It's a free blog, what can i say, it couldn't be too easy.)

How to leave a comment: (I like comments)

1. Click on comments at the bottom of my posts.

2. Write your comment in the box

3. Under "Choose an identity" select "Other"

4. Write your name or whatever-you-choose-to-call-yourself in the box next to "Name"

5. Leave "Your web page" BLANK (unless you have one and want to put it there)

6. Click on "Publish Your Comment" and That's It!

Hopefully this clears any up any confusion. It did for me.

*The same brother who is my girls' Dr., AND the same one who says I relate everything in life to the movies AND the same one who I had to say the final goodbye to tonight.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Like Adamantium Claws

My brother says that I relate everything in life to the movies. Probably.

“Adamantium Claws” belong to Wolverine, an X-Man character. His razor sharp, knife-like claws shoot out from between his knuckles when he’s ready to fight and retract when he’s done. He has super healing powers so his wounds heal immediately. (Just in case you didn’t know.)

When asked by another X–Man character if it hurt when the claws came out, Wolverine responds, “Every Time.”

That’s pretty much the way it is for me every time I say goodbye to friends and family in the US to return to India.

Does it hurt to say all those goodbyes?

Every Time.

I’ve traveled so much for so many years that I couldn’t count the number of hugs goodbye I’ve given and received. Yet even after all those goodbyes, it hurts no less now than it did the first time.

The crazy thing is that I really do not suffer from feelings of “missing” loved ones when I am in India and vice versa. It’s just the parting, that final goodbye, that hurts.

I’m glad it does. It means I love and am loved in return.

Sure, I wish I could line up everyone I want to hug goodbye and get it all over with in one shot instead of a weeks+ worth of tears, but I doubt that’s ever going to happen.

My joy is in knowing that one day the Goodbyes – Will – End. Hallelujah! And I look forward to that Great Day.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Not Pregnant

It hit me today as I was driving back from the Goodwill, that this is the FIRST time since my marriage that I have been in the US of A and NOT pregnant or with a newborn. Can you believe that? You'd think I had six kids or something. Nope just 2, but that just happened to be the way things worked out.

It came to mind because the drive back from the Goodwill passes the mini-golf place where O. and I spent a lot of time this summer. That got me thinking about things I - will not necessarily miss but - will look forward to the next time when we visit the US again.

Then this made me think of the next time we plan to visit NJ and how it will be 2 years or the next baby - whichever comes first. You'd think I'd have some idea of which one will come first but I don't. I learned during Baby#2 (C.) that altho we think we are in control of these - we aren't.

All of this is leading up to me writing an entry on things I miss in the US (or look forward to) while I am in India. I'm going to think about it a few days and get back to it later this week.

I do look forward to working on this blog in India. There is SO much more material to work with over there. These last several days the only thing I could think about to write on was - Packing.

Boorrriinnnnnggg. Snooze.

Yes, I pack nowadays. It's what I do. I separate what needs to go now, what can go next month, what can be shipped and what doesn't make the cut at all (hence the Goodwill run). Are you drifting off yet. It can get even MORE boring. (As if that were possible-crazy.)

OK, off to the airport to pick up my hubby! (He's been in Chicago.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I can tell we're getting close to heading back to India because the last few weeks have been full of a flurry of Doctors/Dentists appointments. Today is was E.'s and C's turn to vist the pediatrician.

We (meaning me) don't dread this as much as others since my girls' doctor is also their uncle, my brother. However, it had been over 2 years since they had seen him* and I knew that at least C. was in for a LOT of shots.

E., who has not had a shot of any kind in at least the last 2 years, started asking me as soon as she heard she was going to the doctor if she was going get a "'jection." How does she remember these things?

So this was the big topic all day.
E.: "Am I gonna get a 'jection, mom?" Said with a shaky smile and a nervous look in her eye.
Me: "Um, I'm not sure, ask Dr. Uncle J." Said with a fake smile and a shifty look in her eye.

We had this conversation about 50 times between this morning and 2:30 today when - well - she got the 'jections.

Yes, E. got 3, C.- 4. Poor babies. POOR mommy's ears! Ow! I walked into the waiting room with E. after the shots and a waiting mother commented,"Well she sure has the girl scream down."

Does she ever. At one point when the needle was going in E. screamed so loudly that both my eardrums vibrated. Huh, what's that you said? They're still ringing.

Anyway, we all came home and watched Scooby Doo (I just bought the 1st 5 episodes ever made) and tried not to touch each others 'jection sites. (yeah, I got a 'jection too).

Within the hour everyone was back to normal (not crying) and begging for food.

I guess they're is ok now since E. was chowing down and managed to spit milk and chewed Frosted Flakes in my eye...

*We do visit the Doctor in India.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I hit the bed last night and was immediately overcome with a feeling much like fear. What was I thinking?! I've created a blog that ANYONE can read. I'm exposing my inner thoughts to countless numbers of people (ok, well, maybe only 4 or 5 including relatives). But still, I feel a bit like I've just been caught outside in my underwear!

Oh well, underwear or not, I will press on. I'm not really nervous about running out of things to say. I acquired the art of writing in my head during long drives in the car years ago. As a younger person I built stories with my mind and imagined them piece by piece while taking lengthy trips in the car with dad and nothing to listen to but Sports Radio.

In recent years I've written, edited and rewritten entire novels across of the landscape of my brain during hot Indian road trips entertained by loud Hindi music for 7 hours straight.

Writing an entry in the relative* quietness of my own home... no fears, I've got miles of material.

*This entry took about 20 minutes longer to write because i was bugged every thirty seconds by my 4 year old saying, "Hey mom, I did it!" About a thousand times. (We're learning to write our name.)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Just Starting Out

Wow! I have been thinking about creating a blog for months and months and here I am doing it. So far it's not so hard.

I chose the title "All The Little Details" because I have so often wanted to share more about what is going on in my life (especially the part spent in India) but there hasn't ever been a good place to do that. In addition to this there is often more going on behind the scenes that doesn't make it into the general email letters that I send out a couple times a month.

Have you ever wanted to know more? Wondered what runs around in this brain of mine? Well then, this is the place!


Me and the fam. I plan a better picture eventually. Posted by Picasa