Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 28th: Day 2 in India

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to find Jeff with a high fever, and ended up calling my dad's room. My sister came by and Jeff was her very first patient! He has survived, I am happy to say.

At 8:30 a.m., we had breakfast at the guest house and then left for the airport to pick up Madelyn. She landed at 10:15ish and she was out within an hour and a half. We added her luggage to our pile and headed for my hometown, Ludhiana.

We had 8 people in the car, my uncle up front with the driver, my dad with me and Jeff in he middle and Nate, Madelyn and my sister in the back:

On the way home, we stopped at Haveli, a really cool restaurant where they have depicted the rural Punjabi life. I have to mention how much cheaper it is to eat Indian food at a very nice restaurant here; e paid about 800 Rupees for the 7 of us to eat (that's a little over $18 for us in America).

We had a long drive to Ludhiana, amidst a lot of diesel fumes and traffic. When we arrived at my parents' house, the place was all lit up and my mom was waiting with a ceremonial plate. Except, as soon as Jeff stepped out, he almost fell. My sister had to call the Doctor who lives next door who suggested we get antibiotics for him. After eating Chinese food (chicken manchurian, chow mein, fried rice, crispy tangy noodles and much much more), we put this long and tiring day to bed. Oh, Prakash, Madelyn's friend from Dubai, had also arrived in Ludhiana before we got there.

December 27th: Day 1 in India

We landed in one piece!!! We met our first friend, Nate from CA, at the baggage claim within 10 minutes!!! We got all our luggage!!! We did not get hassled at customs!!! We found my dad, sister and uncle as soon as we stepped outside the airport!!!

Whew! Long flight. It wasn't too bad. We slept as well as we could, we were well fed and we landed safely. What else could we want?

We put our gazillion suitcases in the car and tied on top. We got yelled at by a cop because the driver parked in front of the police station. But, no arrests. On the way to the International Council of Agricultural Research's (ICAR) International Guest House, the driver got on an on ramp where he was supposed to follow the road on the left. Now, in the U.S., we'd go on and find the next off ramp and find our way back. Not in India. The driver just backed up off the ramp and wet the right way.

By the way, they have driving lanes and traffic lights but nobody follows any of the rules.

We stayed the night at the ICAR guest house in the VIP Suite (Jeff and I had one, Nate had one and my family had one).

Monday, December 25, 2006

- 1 till takeoff

So, my next post will be from India, just thought I'd tell y'all that. We flew from BWI to Burbank, CA on the 23rd, and have been enjoying wonderful weather, the family and pets (2 puppies, 2 cats and a newt). Had an enormous Christmas Eve dinner last night with an amazing keilbasa soup that Jeff's mom cooks and pork chops and fish and mushrooms and slaw and oh my too much food. Then, we woke up and opened gifts, and ate too much yet again at breakfast. Now, we are all packed, our big siutcases are in the back of Jeff's dad's car and tomorrow, we'll be getting on our trans-atlantic flight to New Delhi, via Chicago.

Hasta la vista! Talk to you from India, folks.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Games I've played

Via Ms. Noor

Childhood: Carom, badminton, chess, scrabble, chinese checkers, hangman, cricket
Schoolyard: basketball, volleyball, dodgeball
When I discovered computers: Alleycat, pacman, billiards, various card games on Yahoo!, bricks, tetris
Now that I have video games: Area 51, DDR, Karoake Revolution, Tony Hawk, Soul Caliber, Call of Duty
Board games: Monopoly, Cranium, Taboo, UNO

There have to be more but I cannot remember!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


So, why do people have a problem with this movie? Is it really worse than let's say, the Saw movies? Where, in the first movie, we had somebody saw his foot off to get out of shackles? Or, in the second one, we saw a woman thrust into a pit full of dirty syringes. And, that was mostly fiction. What Mel tried doing is portraying what might have happened historically. Yes, there was violence, and yes, we saw people killing people. What are we doing in Iraq? Is it really different because then, they used hands and knives and got right up to each other's faces when killing the other; versus now, when we have long range guns and missiles and we can kill others without ever seeing their face?

So, bottom line, I enjoyed the movie except for the ending. Will talk about that a few weeks from now when I might have a better chance of not spoiling it for somebody out there.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday party and exotic animals

Chalk up another busy weekend for the Williamses in Baltimore. This weekend (Saturday to be exact) was my company's holiday party at the swanky Renaissance Harborplace Hotel.

Jeff and I even dressed up swanky. So did my boss and her fiance.

See the rest of the pics from the dance at my Yahoo Album.

Sunday, Jeff and I went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. They had a really cool movie on Australia and how a certain region floods half the year and has drought and wild fires the other half. Then, we saw cool fauna from Australia. We also saw dolphins being trained. We didn't see half of the aquarium because of hunger issues but we have free tickets to go back. Check out the cool animals in the Aquarium photos on my Yahoo!

We also ventured out to Historic Fells Point after the aquarium. It's a really quaint little area, with small shops and cobblestone roads. We had lunch there at a place called Burritos en Fuego. I have to agree with Jeff that that was the best Mexican food we've had since we moved out of CA.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oooh what's she going to call herself

At the gym yesterday, I caught a big analysis of the political climate and the possibility of Senator Rodham-Clinton running for President. I didn't atcht he analyst's name but his biggest oncern was that as soon as Hilary gets elected President, she'll ask to be called President Rodham, not President Clinton.

Wow, what a big issue for the people of this country.

The FEDEX conspiracy against me

In 2004, Jeff and I packed up all my belongings into 8 pieces of luggage and 4 boxes. The luggage was going to fly with us from Oakland, CA to Detroit, MI. The boxes were shipped via FEDEX.

The luggage made it. The boxes didn't. The boxes had all my important documents, files, gifts from people. FEDEX had to refund me the shipping money. The boxes resurfaced 2 weeks later at another apartment building 2 blocks down from my apartment building. Some things were broken. FEDEX had to further pay me for my broken stuff.

Fast forward to 2006. I bought a garment bag from that was shipped via FEDEX. Online tracking system says it was delivered to an alternate address and signed for by LLEASING. Nobody in my leasing office saw the FEDEX guy yesterday.

You decide: incompetency, coincidences or a conspiracy against me?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New toy

We finally bought a digital SLR - the new Nikon D80:

It takes beautiful pictures; I just point and shoot:

Bandit sleeping peacefully: Bandit wondering what I'm doing:


Monday, November 27, 2006

Find your friendly local hate group

I found this on Mark's blog:

Click on your state and see the number and type of hate groups that exist around you.

I counted to 10 but it didn't help

So, I decided to wait a few days before seeing if I still felt so strongly about what our President has decided to do now to women and families. He has decided to appoint a right wing, ultra Christian, anti-birth control provider, abstinence is the only birth control believer Dr. Eric Keroack to head up the family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services.

WHAT??? Let's list the pros and cons of this guy.

- He's a doctor
- He's an OB-GYN

- He believes that abstinence is THE only form of birth control that should be used
- He believes that distributing contraceptives demeans women
- He believes contraceptives increase out-of0marriage pregnancies
- He opposes abortion, birth control and sex education
- He's said that premarital sex makes women unable to form long lasting relationships
And so on.

I went to the website for A Woman's Concern where Keroackw as Director and in one of the FAQs, this is what I found:
"Q: How can I know if my boyfriend really loves me or is just with me for sex?
A: One way to find out how sincere he is would be to stop having sex. You don't want to use sex as a way to get something from him, but the risks that you are exposing yourself to and your concern about his motives suggest that putting sex off might be a good plan. If he really cares about you, your guy will respect your feelings and not pressure you. "

Am I the only one who wants to slapt he person who wrote that answer?

Another pearl of wisdom:
"Q: If I have sex at an early age but don't get pregnant or get an STD, how could it affect me?
A: Having sex at an early age often has an intense emotional impact on the people involved. In particular, breaking up can cause serious emotional pain including anxiety, heartache, guilt, and regret. "

Are they saying if you breakup with sombody you did not have sex with, it won't cause heartbreak, guilt, regret etc.?

I really cannot believe what Bush is doing, wait a second, I don't KNOW what he's doing. IS he just mad at the Democrats takign the House and the Senate back? Is he mad at the American people who voted for the Democrats? Is this his retaliation?

I think I might just move back to the Middle Ages. At least I wouldn't be expected to raise kids, cook, keep a clean house AND bring home a living wage. I could just be discriminated against and given no rights, but look pretty in poofy dresses and high heels and not be expected to have brains. If I am going to have my rights taken away, just take them all away. Make my man take care of me because my brain is too small.

What can we do about this issue? Maybe nothing but NOW has decided to send petitions to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to remove Keroack from the position or move him elsewhere. If you care anything about this matter, please go and sign the petition now!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Our first Thanksgiving away from home

Jeff and I had our first Thanksgiving away from CA and his family. We went over to our friends' house - Anjuli and Mike Mejia. They just bought a new townhouse, so it was a double party. We had fun, helping them cook (I use helping in the most elastic sense ever). The food was delicious and we ate so much that we had to bring the dessert home with us. Enjoy the photos of us having fun and eating lots.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Our first guest from ye old hunting grounds

Jeff and I had people over again because our first guest from the Bay Area is visiting us. Gagan and I went to school at Cal Satte Hayward for our undergrad together and taught at the tutoring center. She is a PhD student in Math at UConn and is spending her Thanksgiving break with us. I had a few people from work over and we PARTAYED like it was 1999.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Where are we going, mommy!

About a week and a half ago, we had a note on our door telling us that they would be reinforcing our cielings (whatever that means) and we had to either keep our pets in their kennels all day for a week or on the patio. Now, the temeratures here were in the 50s that week, so the patio was out. And, cats don't really have a kennel. So, poor Bandit was a hermit in my car. He had his litter box moving at 70 mph as he's trying to do his business. His food's sloshing around. But, after his initial fright, he had a lot of fun as you can see from these photos.

Bandit living out of my car!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Did it finally!

I baked me some Madeleines today. I have loved them ever since I tried some at a Starbucks some years ago. I finally decided to look up a recipe and try it.

Jeff did a taste test and liked them. I brought the rest to work. Let's see what the verdict is there.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The House and Senate changes but will anything else?

I know everybody's drinking the bubbly and patting each other on the backs (everybody Democratic, that is) about what happened in the midterm elections this year. The Democrats have won back the house and almost the Senate. I am very glad about this; however, a word of caution to everybody who's staggering around giggly and starry eyed right now.

What is the plan?

That's a very important question for whoever's in power. Just the label "Democratic" does not mean everythign hunky dory. They need a plan too. They are in THE hot seat now. For months we've heard them say they have a plan but never really what that plan is. They can't just keep spewing the same line over and over again and expect the country to just lie back and take their word. We need to see something solid. What is their plan? For the soldiers in Iraq and for the people here. Is there a step by step plan to end the occupation (yes, it's an occupation; do not argue with me. ) in Iraq?

I don't have answers but as an American national, I believe I am allowed to ask questions of my leaders without knowing the answers. I expect them to have the answers to the BIG questions. Afterall, that's why we have them leading the country, right?

The Democratic party needs to realise they have 2 years now to show they have some spine and some cojones.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another night of firsts: Tapas and Mozart

Jeff and I decided to cath some culture in Baltimore last Saturday. Best intentions and all that. We had reservations at La Tasca, a tapas restaurant, at the Inner Harbor for 7 p.m. Then, we had tickets to the Symphony whcih began at 8. Cutting it a little close, but we've done closer before and made it. We were going to see Mozart's Requiem.

We didn't get to the restaurant till after 7 and they didn't get our orders till 7:30. We got a chicken and a lamb tapas dishes. The lamb was cold! The dessrts, flan and coffee mousse, were wonderful! So was the apertif I had, Licor 43. I need to find that in a store someplace.

We didn't get to the Symphony till Intermission, making us miss a Cello Concerto, but we made it in time for the Requiem. A coworker of mine had bought tickets with us and I was supposed to pick her up. I had to call her and tell her we'd meet her there during Intermission. Except, we get there and I couldn't find my phone! Then, I couldn't find our tickets. Thankfully, we found our tickets and our seats.

The show was amazing. It was my first Symphony. People had warned me that the Requiem was a dark piece but I had a completely different experience. I enjoyed it immensely. As long as I didn't read the translation, I thought it was uplifting.

So, all in all, I got to dress up and eat some good food and watch half of a really good Symphony.

Cooking Spree

I have been on a cooking spree where I have been trying to make things I really like, but from scratch. So far, I have done an upside down pineapple cake, crab puffs in phyllo dough cups and home squeezed juice. But, today, I believe I have outdone myself. I made:

If you don't know yet, it's Baklava!!! I finally did it! I looked at some recipes on AllRecipes, and then did a hybrid. I used a mix of almonds and pecans. I forgot to cut the whole thing before baking it which made the edges soggier when I poured the honey mix over the top. That just means all the edges will be eaten first :-D.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Disrespecting other people and their property

Do you notice something? No? Let me tell you!!! There is a scratch on the side of my 6 month old car that somebody made from the front bumper to the rear bumper like they were ust walking long with a key stuck out and didn't notice that it was scratching my car!!!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

I love the Bombay Outlet Store!!!

The pictures say it all:

Candelabra that'll have to wait for our new house to hang in:

Cute frog on green paperweight: