A gang of two

Me: What did you two do in school today?

Anju: Nufink?  I just payed.  I payed with me babies.

Me: Did you do a job for your teacher?

Anju: Yes!  I did a tea job, and…

Nik: I did a FISHING job!

Anju: …and I payed paydoh.  I toed S___ there is no woom foh him at the paydoh table.  Onie woom for my bwuther.

Nik: Only brothers and sisters can do playdoh at the table.  No one else!

Me: Was there really no room at the table or were you both being mean to S___?

Anju: Ummm…no WOOOM!

Nik: He didn’t know the rules!  Only brothers and sisters!

I knew I made the right decision to have them at the same preschool when I went back to work.





P.S.     S___’s mom was picking him up from school when I got there this evening.  She was just so taken with Anju, kept saying how she was already talking!  And so smart!  And how much S___ liked her!  And how S___couldn’t stop talking about his new friend Anjali.


That’s right, S___.  Just get in line.  It starts over there, by the door.


Who’s your President?

As I was rushing the kids through getting ready this morning, I momentarily forgot how momentous this day was slated to be.  And then, as I got into the car, and turned on NPR, I remembered.

Along with remembering that I had forgotten to record the inauguration.

I looked in the rear view mirror at the kids who were settling into their seats, grumbling about how it was not quite daytime yet, and asked: “Who’s going to be our new President today?”

Both kids, immediately: “Barack OBAMA!”

That’s right.

What a day.

Waking up

This is what I woke up to this morning:

Nik: “….and I’ll put bread on you, and cheese on you, and syrup on you, and chocolate on you, and some sauce on you, and then I’m going to put you in the oven <pshshhh> for TWO minutes <phshshshhh> then I’m going to take you out, and then I’m going to EAT YOU UP! um um um um um!”

Anjali, screeching with laughter: “Do it again, Nikky, DO IT AGAIN!”

Happy together

Starting next Monday, I will be going back to work.  I’ve taken a short-term audit position with a local CPA firm to get them through the tax period.  It’s a good way to get my foot back in the water, so to speak, after being out of the workforce for 2.5 years (5.5 years if you count being employed…I did consulting work after Nik was born, but stopped that after Anju was born and we received Nik’s diagnosis.)


Anju will be attending Nik’s preschool…the teacher thinks that she will do great, since she is so verbal, and toilet-trained.  Anju is looking forward to it too, but nervously asks me: “Mommy, ye pick me up laytuh?”

And now she’s taken to following me everywhere I go in the house.  If I run upstairs to get something, I catch her on the stairs as I’m coming back down.  Even if she was in the middle of eating.  If you know Anju, you’ll know that that is huge.

I was a little hesitant breaking the news to Nik, that his little sister was going to be attending his preschool.  Not just going to his school, but that she would be in the same class as him, competing for the same teacher’s attention, etc.

And true to form*, Nik surprised me by his joy at the idea.  After thinking about it for a little bit, he said: “We have to get her a cubby to put her stuff.”

And then gave her a hug.

To which she responded by giving me a startled look followed by a big smile and: “He yuvs me, Mommy!  He not mad!  He happy!”

*When Anjali was born, we were very afraid of introducing her to Nik.  He was so unpredictable, so tempermental, that we thought he would hate her and want to hurt her.  We didn’t want Pete’s mom to bring him to the hospital.  But she would hear none of that and brought him anyway.  And I am so glad she did.  Because he took one look at her and was the most gentle, the most curious, the most loving big brother a little girl could ever have.

Another meme

This one was labeled 150 Things to do before you’re 30.  Well…I’ve long passed that date, so how about 150 Things to do before you die?

Feel free to take it up yourself! You are supposed to highlight things you have done.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink

02. Swam with dolphins

03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive

05. Been inside the Great Pyramid

06. Held a tarantula

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone (Does your newborn baby count?)

08. Said “I love you” and meant it

09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped

11. Visited Paris

12. Watched a lightning storm at sea

13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

14. Seen the Northern Lights

15. Gone to a huge sports game (My first one was the Chicago White Sox, with my friend Amy.  We were still in college, and were visiting her friends in Chicago.  They asked us which team we’d like to see, White Sox or Cubs, and we picked based on which uniform we liked better.  There’s a chick reason for ya!  Since then, I’ve been to games at Wrigley, PacBell Park, Candlestick Park, Yankee Stadium, a couple spring season games in Phoenix, etc.)

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa (not sure if you can do this anymore…isn’t it off-limits?)

17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables

18. Touched an iceberg

19. Slept under the stars (my first overnight camping trip was in high school.  Sleeping in sleeping bags, no tents, on rockface, friends giggling all around, the most brilliant stars ever in the Nigerian sky… I don’t think Ill ever forget it)

20. Changed a baby’s diaper (hope never to again…unless its my sister’s baby!)

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

22. Watched a meteor shower

23. Gotten drunk on champagne

24. Given more than you can afford to charity

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope (Haley’s comet)

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse (does winning greyhound count?)

29. Asked out a stranger

30. Had a snowball fight

31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can (on my way to give birth to Anjali.  She was in a hurry to arrive!)

32. Held a lamb (and baby goats…all the time, on summer holidays at my grandparents’ home)

33. Seen a total eclipse

34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run

36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day (my friend Krister and I would talk in a french accent all the time…would really annoy the hell out of our friends and teachers.)

38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment

39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states

41. Taken care of someone who was drunk

42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country (In Moscow, Budapest, and Vienna.  Lots of fun!)

44. Watched whales

45. Stolen a sign

46. Backpacked in Europe (you wouldn’t catch me dead back-packing anywhere.  I like my creature comforts a little too much.)

47. Taken a road-trip

48. Gone rock climbing (old-school style, in Nigeria.  No ropes, special shoes, gear, etc.  Just bare feet and hands.)

49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach

50. Gone sky diving

51. Visited Ireland

52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love

53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them

54. Visited Japan

55. Milked a cow

56. Alphabetized your CDs (all the time!)

57. Pretended to be a superhero

58. Sung karaoke

59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Played touch football

61. Gone scuba diving

62. Kissed in the rain

63. Played in the mud

64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theatre

66. Visited the Great Wall of China

67. Started a business

68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken

69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight (good lord…I HAVE a life!)

72. Gotten married

73. Been in a movie

74. Crashed a party

75. Gotten divorced

76. Gone without food for 5 days

77. Made cookies from scratch

78. Won first prize in a costume contest (does an office halloween party count?)

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice

80. Gotten a tattoo

81. Rafted the Snake River

82. Been on a television news program as an “expert”

83. Gotten flowers for no reason

84. Performed on stage (my first sitar performance.  God, what a nightmare)

85. Been to Las Vegas

86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark

88. Kissed on the first date

89. Gone to Thailand

90. Bought a house

91. Been in a combat zone (Does Checkpoint Charlie before the wall came down count?  Also, was in Prague during a police crackdown.  Lots of fun.)

92. Buried one/both of your parents

93. Been on a cruise ship

94. Spoken more than one language fluently

95. Performed in Rocky Horror

96. Raised children (still raising them…)

97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour

98. Passed out cold

99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country

100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over (did this twice.  Went from college to Chicago, then to San Francisco.  Would love to do it again.)

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open (This is commonplace for me!)

103. Had plastic surgery

104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived

105. Wrote articles for a large publication

106. Lost over 100 pounds

107. Held someone while they were having a flashback

108. Piloted an airplane (a little Cessna, for a few minutes, while my friend was the actual pilot.  From Chicago to Madison, WI.)

109. Touched a stingray

110. Broken someone’s heart

111. Helped an animal give birth (My cat, Smudge.  She gave birth to kittens in my clothes closet.  Lots of fun.)

112. Won money on a TV game show

113. Broken a bone

114. Gone on an African photo safari

115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears

116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol

117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild

118. Ridden a horse

119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet

121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period

123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States

124. Visited all 7 continents

125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days

126. Eaten kangaroo meat

127. Eaten sushi

128. Had your picture in the newspaper

129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about

130. Gone back to school

131. Parasailed

132. Touched a cockroach

133. Eaten fried green tomatoes

134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey

135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

137. Skipped all your school reunions

138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language

139. Been elected to public office

140. Written your own computer language

141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream

142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care

143. Built your own PC from parts

144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you

145. Had a booth at a street fair

146. Dyed your hair

147. Been a DJ

148. Shaved your head

149. Caused a car accident

150. Saved someone’s life

A neighborly chat

As we pulled up to our house, we saw the neighbor up on a ladder, taking down the christmas lights.  We exchanged hellos when I got out of the car.  And then the kids joined in:

Nik & Anju: Hi!
Neighbor: Hi there!  How are you?
Nik: Ummmm…I’m good…
Anju: I’m fine!
Nik: What are you doing?
Neighbor: I’m taking down the christmas lights.  A little late, I know!
Anju: Oh!
Nik: Do you have to get on the roof?
Neighbor: No, I don’t think so…I should be able to do it all from the ladder.
Nik: Huh.
Nik: Christmas is over.
Neighbor: Yeah…until next year!
Nik & Anju, running to the door: Bye!

Man…such an ordinary conversation.

But so neat to hear from my little guy.

Manipulation starts young

Nik was building an intricate tower of blocks with his friend, S___ at school when I showed up with Anjali.  There were cars inside and he was building ramps, etc.  [Pete should be happy with this, since they were doing just that a week ago.]  I watched as Nik and S___ talked to each other, Nik telling him where to place a block, S____ responding…so neat to watch.

Then along came R___ with a car.  As he sat down to join them, S____ said: “Your car can’t come in here.”

Without hesitation, R___ said: “Then you can’t come to my Chuckie Cheese birthday party.”

S___: “You can play.”

A book meme

A random one I picked up from another blog…surprisingly, I’ve read quite a few, and of the ones I haven’t, only wish to read a couple.  Some of these are actually sets, so give yourself a pat on the back for reading the whole set (if you did, that is!)

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read.
3) Italicise the books you LOVE [Note from me: and these will also be bolded, since hopefully, you actually read them in order to love them!]

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 Never Let me go – Kazuo Ishiguro
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

So…looks like my % read is 77%.  Not bad for a random list.  I was a little surprised to see some of the titles…wouldn’t consider some of them must-reads by a long shot.  What are some of your faves that were left off the list?

One man’s garbage…

We were laying around in bed this morning, and the kids were being very sweet with each other.  Suddenly Nik said: “We’re not garbage!”

I jumped.  Garbage? I know he didn’t get that from us…

“Where did you hear that, Nik?”

Nik: “I said it.  We’re not garbage.”

Me: “Did you hear that at school?  Did someone say that to you at school?”

Nik: “Yeah.  R___.  He said I am garbage.”

Me: “What happened?”

Nik: “R___ said I am garbage and Ms. Dina said he has to go sit in the chair.”


Me: “You know what?  You’re NOT garbage.  You are my treasure.  You both are my treasures.”

Nik: “NO we’re not!  We’re not treasures!  We’re KIDS!”

Anju: “YOU are my treasure-box, mommy.”


Anjali, playing with her cell phone:


I’m glad to see you!

I’m just fine.

I’m singing.

I’ve got to go


A few seconds later:

My phone is ringing again!  I need to get it!


I’m glad to see you guys.

I’m just fine!

How you doing?


And then even later, after having held the phone up to her ear for several minutes without saying anything…

Hello?  Are you there?