Monday, December 28, 2009

The Good Stuff: Clint vs. Clint

Recently, E and I decided to use our much-anticipated date night to see Invictus, the new Clint Eastwood film starring Morgan Freeman. It is the story of how "Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land by enlisting the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup." [] We were so excited to see how this inspirational true story would play out on the big screen, but walked away utterly disappointed by the film. The movie was flat, the acting was flat. There really wasn't much inspiration. Even the clichéd placement of harmonious African music during pivotal scenes was not utilized well. We were shocked that such a talented director [Eastwood] and actors [Freeman and Matt Damon] didn't leave us feeling awed.Last night, E and I noticed Gran Torino, another movie by Clint Eastwood, which he also starred in, was playing on tv. Neither of us had been intrigued to see this film about a "disgruntled Korean War vet who set out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong teenager, who tried to steal his prized possession: his 1972 Gran Torino" [] while it was in the theatres, but with little else on, we gave it a try. We were more than pleasantly surprised! The acting was great by all, the storyline flowed and didn't leave us scratching our heads thinking, "Huh?" Now, this was a film worth seeing.So, if you're looking to catch flick to pass the time between Christmas and New Year's, save your $13 for a theatre ticket and rent Gran Torino instead.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mail casualty

I was so proud of myself for having found the perfect card for Becky's birthday and mailing it somewhat on time [ok, so it got into the mail on her actual birthday so it would have been late, but not that late.] I even adorned the envelope with the cutest glitter cats, imagining that Becky's cat, Pike, might also enjoy some feline friends.

I waited well after her birthday to hear from Becky about her snail mail surprise before posting pics of these fantastic glitter kittens, but she never mentioned it. Finally, I asked her about it and was so dismayed to learn that either Canada Post or USPS had failed me. The card was lost in mail limbo. [Then I realized that I had failed by writing the wrong zipcode!]

Here's a peek at the lost kittens:Maybe they'll be a 2010 surprise and show up unexpectedly.


Friday, December 25, 2009

From our family to yours

Wishing you a fabulous Christmas!
[ignore the crying baby.]


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Pink Orange

I have been following this wonderful blog, ella minnow pea, for sometime now because I love Rebecca's aesthetic and taste in everything from stationery to home decor stuff. She posts a lot of it in her "friday finds."

Well, how excited was I when she posted her own stationery company, The Pink Orange? I knew her stuff would be fabulous, just from reading her blog and seeing her own tastes [I have intuition like that...I don't even have to know you!], so I was excited when she offered her new holiday cards on sale a few weeks back. I hadn't planned on sending cards out this year because of all the *save the trees/do people really care about holiday cards?/send a real letter* thoughts I've been having recently, but I couldn't wait to get my 6 little Ellie bird cards in the mail!

And fabulous they were! The card itself is an amazing heavy-weight stock that my pen just glided across. The letterpress was so beautiful that you just want to keep running your fingers over it. It was hard deciding who would receive the cards, but I have only one card left, and I think I'm going to give it to E or Indio for Christmas just so I can save it!

Check out Rebecca's store and blog...I bet you'll find something you love!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

First trip around the sun

First Day

One year ago, our lives were changed forever. Our family of 2+dog became 3+dog when our first born, Indio, entered our lives.

He was scheduled to be born on December 22, but decided that he wanted to make his entrance exactly a week earlier. Of course, my hospital bag wasn't ready! Luckily, E was able to pack the necessities [laptop and camera were all I really *needed*] into a duffle bag while I hobbled around our apartment looking for everything else I said I should put into the bag weeks ago!

At 8:07am on Monday, December 15, 2008, we began a journey so rewarding, an adventure so exciting, a love so indescribable...and all so unique to us. Don't get me wrong, the last year hasn't been all peaches and cream. There were definitely moments where it was harder than I ever imagined possible. But as cliché as this sounds, it really was all worth it.

It's scary to think that an entire trip around the sun has already passed and that our little boy is almost walking, talking, and becoming more and more his own little person. I really don't know where the time has gone, and though I'm so excited for what the future has in store for us, I'm a bit sad that everything is moving so quickly. We'll always have the memories, right? [And the thousands of photos I've taken!]

Happy 1st Birthday, Indio! We love you!

First Birthday


Monday, December 7, 2009

Superwoman surprise!

I've been feeling all *woe is me* because E left for NYC this morning and I'm here all by my lonesome. As much as I love Indio and our pup, Cassius, it's definitely harder taking care of both of them and finding the time to eat even once a day when I'm on my own. Add to it that I'm working 3 days a week, which means I need to get up at an un-Godly hour to get ready before getting the two of them ready.

Fortunately, the day has been going fairly well so far, free of mishaps, but it was still ho-hum at best. Well, that all changed when I checked the mail. Amidst all the junk there was a brightly coloured envelope addressed to me! It was a Wonderwoman fold-n-mail from Faiza! [Did she know I used to have Wonderwoman Underoos? Does she know I'm obsessed with fold-n-mail?] My day just got a million times brighter! Thanks, Fai!
Front of envelope. Don't you love her lettering?

Back of envelope.

Wonderfully colourful inside message


Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like...

One of my favourite things about the holiday season is the decorations people put up on their houses. Our neighbourhood is alive with colourful, twinkly lights and this house has definitely taken *Christmas lights* to a whole new level.

The house is covered, top to bottom, with lights. The front lawn has 18 wreaths, hung along the metal fence-like structure that surrounds the front lawn, which is not very large in the first place. [The wreaths were up when this house was decorated for Halloween, another elaborate display, but not as crazy as this one!] There is a nativity scene in the middle of it all, and a large sign asking passersby to ring the doorbell if they would like a closer look at it.

These photos were taken with my phone, so they are not the best quality, but I think you get the idea.

I wonder what their electricity bill is! 'Tis the season!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pink Glove Dance

This morning before I had fully opened my eyes, E excitedly told me he wanted to show me something. He then pulled up this video, which instantly brought a smile to my face:

Over 200 staff from Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon volunteered to be a part of this video wearing pink latex gloves used to promote Breast Cancer awareness. A portion of the sales from the pink exam gloves will fund mammograms for uninsured women.

If this doesn't make you want to dance, I don't know what will!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Long locks before the big day.

This weekend was a monumental one for our family. E's mom, dad, and baby sis, Addie were visiting for Indio's first American Thanksgiving and to join us in celebrating Indio's Mundan, or his first haircut. Close friends and family honoured us by attending this auspicious occasion.

The Mundan ceremony is a Hindu rite, or saṃskāra, in which a child receives his first haircut, typically during the first or third year of age. After a brief prayer/blessing by a Hindu pandit, the child’s hair is shorn.

In tradition, the hair from birth is associated with undesirable traits from past lives. Thus at the time of the mundan, the child is freshly shaven to signify freedom from the past and moving into the future.

E performed the shaving and surprisingly, Indio was a great sport about it all. I think I was more emotional than him! It was such a happy occasion, but also a sad one because it marked that time is passing so quickly. I am grateful I had the love and support of so many this week!

Like father, like son

Wow, it's really all gone.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Unexpected calmness

Today was like any other, which was weird because I thought I should feel something *more*. Though always part of my memory, this one has slid to the back, safely tucked away. It's still a bit jarring every time it surfaces though.


Monday, November 23, 2009

35 years and still going strong!

Today is my parents' 35th wedding anniversary. They had an arranged marriage in India after a 3-week long courtship. My dad was already living in Canada and went to India to meet his potential bride. Before the trip, my parents had never spoken or met. There were lots of people hoping and praying that the two would get along and agree to be married. Lucky for everyone, after their initial meeting, my parents were inseparable until the day of their wedding.

It makes me all warm and fuzzy watching them today, still so in love!

My aunt sitting with the newlyweds. My mom was not supposed to look excited because when a woman gets married she is essentially leaving her family for her husband's.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Imagine my glee when I received a postcard the other day from none other than the Missive Maven herself! Her blog is one that I've been reading for a few months now, after being introduced to Postcrossing by Faiza. She loves to send and receive snail mail and puts great thought and effort into each piece, so of course I sent her one of my cards. She is one of a few bloggers who has inspired to me to return to the art of writing letters. She sent this great card. Oh, and of course she also used great stamps, including one of C3PO. Now if only I had taken a photo of the R2D2 mailbox that used to live near our apartment in Brooklyn...


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yes, he is

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

It's been exactly one year since Barack Obama won the US Presidential Election. I remember that night so clearly. When it was announced that he was indeed the winner I cried tears of joy, knowing that my soon-to-arrive son would be born into a world that was changing...for the better.

Even though we no longer live in the US, we still have so many ties to the country and may live there once again. Either way, living during this time of incredible change brings me so much hope and joy for the future of our world.


Two new Postcrossing cards

I love this postcard from Bee in New York. It's called "koi and cherry blossom petals" from A Year in Japan. I think it's my favourite so far.

The kitschy bison in this card from Hurricane Hills, Texas reminds me of the bull on Wall Street in NYC.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Well Fed: The Odeon

I'm finally getting around to posting some thoughts from our recent family trip to NYC. I had these written up long ago, but hadn't been able to upload the photos from the camera until now.

A good friend of mine has mentioned The Odeon on almost every trip to NYC and since we were staying at the very apartment she usually stays at, I had to give it a try. We went for an early Sunday brunch on the most perfect-October-weather day. Indy was in good spirits, which made it even more perfect.

Though our waitstaff seemed to have partied a little too hard the night before and therefore were Zombie-like during our meal, they were polite and made sure my decaf coffee stayed full.

E ordered the croque monsieur, which was very good, but really small. Definitely not sizable enough for any full-grown human, especially at $16. I had the lemon ricotta and poppy seed pancakes, which were delicious! Even Indy approved. The citrus maple syrup and accompanying berries completed the tasty 'cakes, though I did think there would be a bit more than just 3 pancakes on the plate...Maybe a side or something? I think they were around $14.

Over all, I liked The Odeon, but wasn't blown away. I guess I've been spoiled with the prix fixe brunches in Brooklyn that are always so big, so scrumptious and include an *adult* beverage of our choice.

Where's your favorite brunch spot? What dish do you usually order?


Saturday, October 31, 2009

A frightful scare

While getting ready this evening for a Halloween fete I saw the most frightening sight: my first full-length white hair! It was enough to scare me silly!

I hope all of you are getting more treats than tricks. Have a spooktacular night!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Just one more page...

For as long as I can remember, I have been a bibliophile. I can't walk into a bookstore without buying something. I always take out more books than I can read from the library. And without a doubt, I always have a pile of books on my nightstand.

In the past, that pile would quickly be replaced with new books as I worked my way through my collection. It was habit to read before bed, sometimes for a couple of hours. These days, I'm lucky to get through a page or two before falling asleep. Motherhood and the bad habit of functioning on as little sleep as possible are my two biggest obstacles to staying awake.

My friend, Faiza, started up a book group for a couple of her friends and their friends back in September. I was excited to be part of the inaugural group and eager to meet new book fanatics.

So far we have met twice, and both times, I have been delinquent in reading the book by the date of our meeting.The worst part is the first book was MY choice! Since then, I pledged to get to bed earlier so that I could read more. Well, I still go to bed way too late, but I am reading more, often telling E, "Just one more page..." before turning out the lights. Luckily for me, E can sleep with the light on and he doesn't hold me to my one-more-page promises.

Fortunately, I've already read our next selection: White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. I read it ages ago and didn't love it, but at least I read it!
These days, I'm still reading last month's selection, Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which is an incredible book. Even though I haven't finished it [yet] I highly recommend it to anyone.
Alright, my nightstand is calling...Hopefully, I'll get through more than a page tonight.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy mailbox

Faiza's limited edition Postcrossing signature card. [I received card 97 of 100 printed! Isn't it fantastic?]

In the last week my mailbox has been fed with great mail that does not have a *pay by* date. So far, I have received 4 postcards through Postcrossing as well as 2 more designed by my friend, Faiza, who inspired me to join Postcrossing in the first place. Her creativity sparks my own imagination [though my procrastination usually gets in the way of putting my own ideas into production].

So far, postcards have been pretty easy because they demand so little from me in terms of prose. Now, if only I could get to writing the letters to loved ones that I have saved in my head and sending them on their way!
From Westphalia, Germany

From Russia

From London, England

Another one of Faiza's creations


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Diwali

Wishing you and yours a Diwali filled with love, light, and prosperity.


Thursday, October 15, 2009


For the women we lost and the women who continue to fight.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

1st Postcrossing delivery

After 10 days in the city that never sleeps, I returned home to find my very first Postcrossing postcard waiting for me in the mailbox! It's from Candy who attends Case Western University in Cleveland. [Does she know how much I love alliterations?]
More posts about our trip to follow in the next few days.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Warm welcome

We arrived in NYC last evening only to be greeted by the world's largest cockroach crossing the street with us as we made our way to the Tribeca apartment we are staying in. I'm so happy to be back, but this, I didn't miss.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

One more sleep...

...until I'm back in my home-away-from-home: Brooklyn, NY! I can't wait! Ok, gotta pack...more later.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby-making music

Maxwell making the crowd swoon.

On Friday, E and I attended our first concert together. As an anniversary present, I bought us tickets to see Maxwell with opening acts Common and Chrisette Michele at the Air Canada Centre. We had 3rd row seats: the best I've ever had! We were right next to the stage that if we reached out, we could touch the artists as they danced near us!

We missed Chrisette Michele, but loved every bit of Common's and Maxwell's sets. The crowd was full of well-dressed women screaming for Maxwell's affection with a spattering of couples here and there; fitting for the sexy crooning of Maxwell's incredible voice. It was an amazing concert that reminded me of why E always has Maxwell on his "staying in tonight" playlists.

Common so close we could see the beads of sweat of his shiny head.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Snail mail lives!

Awhile back a good friend, Faiza, told me about a *project* she was participating in called Postcrossing. She had signed up to send postcards to random people around the world who had also signed up to send postcards. In return, the senders receive postcards too. Being a lover of real snail mail [not bills or credit card promos!], I thought this was something I should check out. I finally signed up and wrote my first 3 postcards tonight. They are going to Finland, Russia and Massachusetts, USA.

I also *borrowed* Faiza's idea to use Vistaprint to make a batch of my very own postcards. I used a photo I took in Brooklyn back in May of some *inspirational* graffiti I used to see on my walks to work:

Perfect light during an evening walk to meet my book group ladies.

I know I'm notorious for being gung-ho at the beginning of a project and losing steam somewhere along the line, so we'll see how long I stick with this one. My goal is to send out the 100 postcards I ordered. I'll post the ones I receive too!

Another spotting of You Go Girl's work on the West Side Highway. Pretty decent shot for being in a moving vehicle, eh?


Friday, September 25, 2009

From the mouths of babes...

A conversation that occurred this afternoon between myself and a second grader:

"Mrs. R, may I go to the washroom?"


"I'm going to be a long time."


"Because I have to, you know, do, you know, the long one."

"Um, ok then. Thanks for letting me know."


Monday, September 14, 2009

Month 9

This month has been chock full of changes for us. Indio is crawling at warp speed and definitely making us rethink much of the organization of our house since anything within two feet of the ground is fair game for him. He loves to pull himself up while holding onto the furniture or our hands and is ready to take his first steps. Cassius has fallen prey to Indio's curiosity, and has become his own personal jungle gym!

Indy finally babbles the wonderful sound of 'mama', though I still don't think he is calling either of us with his 'mamas' and 'dadas'! He loves blowing raspberries on our arms and bellies, while Emil and I try to sleep. It's cute, even in the haze of the early morning.

I've been working this month [doing a short-term stint at a Montessori school here] so we decided to look into childcare for Indio. We found a wonderful woman, Maria, who will be looking after Indy 3 days a week. He has only been with her one day so far, but he seems to love it! I, on the other hand, was a ball of tears on my drive into work that day.

Going to the babysitter for the first time.

Indy has become quite a foodie, expanding his repertoire to include Vietnamese pho, Korean kalbi, Indian butter chicken and curried cauliflower, and now homemade Italian food at Maria's place. He is eager to try everything and anything, and often protests when we are eating in front him and not sharing!
What's summer without watermelon?

I didn't know what everyone was talking about when they kept telling us, "Just wait until he's about 9 months old because that's when babies are so much fun," until now. Everyday is an adventure with Indio, who keeps us laughing and loving him more with each passing day.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Binders & Butterflies

I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach, a bit anxious, a bit excited. It happens every year around this time. Tomorrow is the first day of school. Growing up, I used to love the back-to-school shopping, labeling all my supplies, putting together a new outfit for the first day. And then when school actually began, I reveled in getting my locker organized, writing out my schedule in my neatest handwriting, making sure my notebooks and binders were colour-coded [yes, I was that kid].

In more recent years, this time of year still held that air of importance for me, but from a different angle: I was the teacher. I got to order school supplies for the whole class! [I love the Staples catalog like some people worship the IKEA one!] I enjoy organizing my classroom, labeling each subject area, making seating plans and charts for the students.

This September, I wasn't planning on teaching, deciding instead to extend a self-designated maternity leave since while in NYC, I was back at work part time when Indio was 3 months old! [Don't get me started on the perils of US maternity benefits...or lack thereof.] I was hoping to enter the Canadian workforce again in Sept '10, when Indio would be old enough to join a toddler classroom in the Montessori school I would be working at. I didn't want to worry about the hassle of childcare this year, and after talking to E, we both decided it would be better, both financially and emotionally, for me to stay home with Indy for this next year.

Well, that all changed when a good Montessorian and friend of mine called me up one Thursday afternoon with the offer of a job at a school on the outskirts of Toronto. It was a temporary position, ironically covering the end of another teacher's maternity leave. I was very hesitant to make the call to arrange to meet my future boss, more because I didn't want to have to think about all the juggling and scheduling I would have to do if I decided to take this position.

In the end, I took it. Since the position is only guaranteed for the month of September, I figured it would be a good way to get my feet wet in the whole full-time-working-mom world. Tomorrow is the first day of classes. I hope my students like the outfit I picked out. Wish me luck!

My old elementary school had this reminder up all summer.


Monday, August 31, 2009

The grass is greener

As we prepared to leave our beloved Brooklyn for our new home in Toronto, E and I often talked about how great it was going to be to have lots of open space for Cassius and Indio to run and play.

In Brooklyn, we spent many hours in Fort Greene Park, just steps from our apartment. We used to walk Cassius in the park a few times a day, I would meet up with my mommy group, and E still runs his Boot Camp classes there. It was a great place to meet friends for a picnic or a walk. I even went running there...once.

Our only complaint was that it was crowded. Being the only large-ish green space in our 'hood, we weren't the only ones who wanted to take advantage of it, especially when the weather was nice.

Now that we are in Toronto, we live close to a large park where we take Cassius for his daily walks. It's not technically an off-leash park, so we are very mindful of the other patrons in the park, though compared to Brooklyn, there are only a handful of people out at any given time. This weekend while at my parents house in the 'burbs, I took Cassius out to play in the school park nearby. It was kind of eery because I was the only person out in this vast open space in the middle of a beautiful August day. No one else was around! All I could think of was, "These people don't know what a jewel they have in their neighbourhood: a clean, safe, well-maintained park with 2 playgrounds, a soccer field, 2 baseball diamonds and enough blacktop to enjoy a game of 3-on-3, handball, or hopscotch."

Wonder what they would think if they lived in NYC where we used to clamour over everyone else for a patch of grass.


Friday, August 28, 2009

The Good Stuff: MJM Books

I have recently become infatuated with all things personalized, especially since I can't just go out and buy an *Indio* magnet or sippy cup or keychain or anything for that matter because his name is not common at all. Combine this with my need to read to Indio and my ongoing search for great books for kids, I have stumbled across many personalized books.

There is a much larger market out there than I anticipated, but one company that stood out from the pack was MJM Books, a company made up of three brothers, Mike, Jeff, and Matt. I really liked the story in their book, If I Were Big and since I was looking for an original birthday gift for two separate adorable people in my life, I gave MJM a try.

Though the characters from book to book look the same, MJM allows you to specify skin tone and hair colour for the child and each parent. When I wanted a more complex combination due to the multicultural family of one of the recipients, Jeff at MJM was quick to reply to my email, ensuring me that he would make the necessary amendments.

I was not disappointed! The title page includes the child's name and a message from the book-giver.
They are extremely reasonably priced and the books are great! They are soft cover, so they may not last as long as a hardcover book, especially in little hands [and mouths], but they are wonderful nonetheless! The drawings are simple and cute and the story is sure to become a bedtime favorite!


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