Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Waking up with a (figurative) Jolt!

Asha wakes up around 7:00am on most days which is not bad. Every once in a while though I hear the baby monitor crackle with loud babbling, singing, and callings of "mammy" and "daddy" even before the break of dawn. 5:00-5:30am wake-up call is not ideal for parents who are nightowls, and yet we never seem to learn our lesson.

This morning I took a peek at the screen on the baby monitor and I could see her eyes glowing back at me like in a sequel to The Paranormal Activity. She knows I am on the other end looking at this and her message is always loud and clear - may be you shouldn't have watched three episode of the Tudors on Netflix and just gone to bed!  

I headed downstairs to get her and noticed that her pajamas were wet. A leaky diaper...no big deal. I turn on the lights to change her and to my horror see giant red stains on the sheets and her bottoms. There is no worse way to greet your child then to see bloodstains dotted all over the place. In a controlled but assertive voice I start yelling for Devang and he runs down immediately and sees first the panic on my face and then the red stains. 

When I undo the diaper I see a bloody red Motherload and upon closer inspection find tiny speckles of black beans and green peppers. Hahaa..it's just enchiladas from dinner last night....haahaa! Devang examines and confirms. Damn you red dye # whatever and why are you in my enchilada sauce?

Worst 30-seconds of life over and out! I have never been so wide awake so early and so quickly.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Coffee Cupping


When I had first heard of Cupping my immediate thought was someone getting groped. Thankfully I had discovered the true meaning by the time Komal and G gave us our Christmas present last year for a 2-hour cupping class at Ipsento. By then I was nothing but delighted to receive such an awesome gift. And yes, it only took us 8 months to cash it in. 

Coffee Cupping is the method by which coffee is tasted. The word is derived from the process of sipping coffee from small cups to assess among many things, its flavor, aromas, acidity, and the overall quality. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the cupping glasses should be made of tempered glass or ceramic material and between 7 and 9 fluid ounces with a lid and a top diameter of between 3 and 3.5 inches. Once poured the coffee is visually inspected, smelled and sipped much like wine but without the spitting. Another cool aspect about coffee versus wine tasting is that as the coffee cools (relatively quickly) it reveals even more notes and variations from a single batch of brew.



Ipsento is our neighborhood coffee roaster which specializes in small batch fair trade coffee from around the world.  In 2013 they were picked as one of America’s best coffee shops and after drinking their signature Ipsento latte (blend of coconut milk, whole milk, honey, cayenne pepper, and espresso) I couldn't agree more; it is a life changing experience in the coffee world. Needless to say, it’s really nice to have such a quality place just steps from our home. Their coffee cupping classes fill up so quickly which is one of the reasons it took us this long to cash in our prize.

Ted Olson was our coffee sensei  for the evening and was able to share lots of practical information to help us improve our coffee experience at home no matter what the brewing style. My biggest take away was the proportion of coffee to water (1:17) and the use of a scale in measuring both instead of just guesstimation which is what I do (and therefore have an inconsistent product no matter how good the beans). My only qualm with the class was that the tasting part felt too short.  But then again, walking home wide-eyed at 9:00pm was also not the best way to end the day. 

Thanks Ipsento for inventing my favorite latte and for teaching me more about coffee.  And of course thanks Komal and G for being so thoughtful....few things are more important to new parents than being caffeinated.








Ipsento

2035 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 904-8177

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Celebrating India in Humboldt Park

 It was India's Independence Day on Friday the 15th. I wanted Asha to experience a little bit of India but wasn't feeling too crazy about driving all the way to Devon Street for the parade. Luckily, my friend Linda tipped me off to a Natya dance performance right around the corner in Humboldt Park.  Humboldt Park usually only seems to get negative news coverage for a shooting or some other crime.  But this summer I've made it a point to check out all the amazing things going on there including not just this Natya but also Shakespeare in the Park. There is also a beach, tennis courts, gym, baseball fields, and amazing lagoons and gardens. 
Linda, her husband Mike, Asha, and I walked the few blocks to the Fieldhouse in the park this afternoon to see the dance. The building is beautiful and the dance had already started when we got there. I parked the stroller at the back of the room and let Asha loose. I think she had a great time watching the performers, the musicians, and the audience who was more than gracious to just let her walk all up and around them. The dances were amazing. I can best describe Natya (which just translates to dance) is very similar to ballet in the sense that it tell a story except most of these are religious stories. The performers also have very pronounced eye make-up since part of the performance includes pretty dramatic facial expressions.
The finale included all the dancers together on stage and that was my most favorite part. The sound of their ghunghru (wide anklets with bells), with the tabla (drums) and the singing reverberating in the building was just amazing.  It made me want to get up there and dance too. 
I think Asha had a good time and I am proud to have shared a piece of my heritage with her. Jai Hind!







Friday, August 15, 2014

First Haircut

 
For a second I had imagined that this whole hair cutting business will be a nightmare given that Asha doesn't like to sit still, especially not in a new place with new gadgets around her.  But yet again, she surprised me with her coolness. The whole process was so much fun; she didn't cry once.  She mostly sat still with the help of a spray bottle (she kept spraying herself in the face and laughing loudly). It was bittersweet to lose her soft curls but I am totally digging her new short cut. Another First checked off the list; how quickly my baby grows.








Thursday, August 14, 2014

Obama and his staff

On ocassional  Fridays I would like to share with you my favorite pictures  from The White House's Flickr Photostream. All pictures in each series will share a theme giving us a chance to see our president's more casual and fun side. Happy Friday!

I first started watching Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing in 2013 during my third trimester of pregnancy. All seven seasons of the show by then were on Netflix and conveniently I had a lot of time to kill. Devang and I would binge watch 3 sometimes 4 episodes a night and still could hardly wait to catch up on the rest. I joked that Asha would come out knowing the theme song. Needless to say The West Wing is my favorite TV drama (at least the first 5 seasons) and I'll even admit to catching myself asking "what would President Bartlet do?" when I am watching the news these days. 

This week, I wanted to share pictures from the real West Wing which remind me of the scenes and characters from the TV series. You West-Wing fans out there, let me know what you think. And for those who have never seen it before, all I can say is that I am jealous that you still get to experience it for the first time.


A perfectly picturesque DC night showcasing the White House. 
Josh and Toby scheming.
Passing the note, Leo McGarry 
s.
Donna helping herself to the conversations in Josh's office.
Charlie trying to catch a snow flake?
Sam pulling an all nighter and revising the speech for the 15th time! He is such a perfectionist!

Just like President Bartlet stopping and sharing some absurd, random, but scholarly fact in the middle of an important discussion.  
CJ Cregg before making an entrance. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

We have a cat.

The day will come when Asha will look at us with her beautiful eyes and say in her sweet voice, "mommy daddy, Asha want cat". I picture it in my head everyday when I see how excited she gets on seeing our neighbor's cat Ziggy. She waves hello to her. Talks to her in gibberish. And waves good-bye before we leave. When Ziggy isn't perched by the window in her usual spot, Asha will look at us with concern and ask "ahh ahh?" while moving her hand in the universal sign that says "where?".

This morning, I saw Asha flipping through one of her story books, stopping and kissing the page with the cat on it. It was heart melting and at that very second I wanted to give her a fluffy soft kitten to play with.

The next second of course I remember how much Devang and I don't like cats.

So to make myself feel better, I made her a cat from stuff lying around the house - an empty cardboard box, some yarn, another flat cardboard piece for the face, tape, a devise to make holes like a screw driver, scissors. It took me about 3 minutes to put it together.

 Asha played with it,dragged it around, kissed it, and called it "meow". My job here is done.








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