Saturday, November 23, 2013

UE's Weekend Challenge: Clouds - November 24, 2013

What a wonderful theme this week.  I have so many cloud photos, it was 
hard to choose.  These fluffy cotton puffs were clouds hovering above
Santa Cruz, California, one of my favorite spots to sit and have a glass of
wine and count my blessings.

I am participating in 

Send us your shot of the heavens and join in!!

I am so behind in blogging, replying to comments and reading my blog favorites.
It seems these last few weeks in India, I am finally feeling under the weather -
which has actually become quite nice - no rain and cooler temperatures.  I had
a terrible cough and cold, requiring a visit to the doctor and antibiotics that 
lingered well over a week, then a brief bout of Mumbai "motion", and I still don't
feel up to par.  With my homeward flight coming up, I want to be well - because
nearly 24 hours airborne certainly won't help if I'm ill.  I have to be at my best to
see my sweet granddaughter.  At least, I have five days in San Francisco, and
am seeing five different doctors, before I head up for the December visit with
Harper Ann and her parents.

I cannot thank the Toscanos enough for making me part of the family here in
Mumbai and for their warm and gracious hospitality.  After that awful beginning
at the slum hotel, the J. K. Regency, I will be forever grateful for Normal Toscano
for coming to my rescue.  Maybe he wasn't on a galloping white steed but on 
a putt putting rickshaw but he was a knight in shining armor, nonetheless.

This is a photo I took during my first visit to Mumbai, nearly two years ago.  I
am using it for:


Add your photo and join in the fun.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sunday Bridges - The Bandra-Worli Sea Link - November 17, 2013

How nice to come across a new meme ( to me, anyway ), hosted by Louis 
la Vache, a Francophile American, living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I love his Golden Gate Bridge logo for the meme.  Only sixteen days and
I'll be able to see that bridge again for myself - after nearly 24 hours of 
flying from Mumbai, via Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam - only a three hour
stopover this time so I won't have too much time to peruse the gay holiday
decorations and sales.

Just recently, I went over to Worli and got to see the Bandra-Worli Sea Link
Bridge up close and personal.  This cable-stayed bridge links Bandra
in the Western suburbs of Mumbai with Worli in south Mumbai and is officially
called the Rajiv Ghandi Sea Link.  All eight lanes were opened March 24, 
2010 - four lanes were completed and open almost a year earlier.

Peak travel times has been reduced from 60 - 90 minutes to 20 - 30 minutes
a true blessing in seriously overcrowded Mumbia. 

For more detailed information about this bridge, refer to the following links:

I am participating in

Catching Up - November 16, 2013

I have been so remiss of late.  My last post was at Diwali and here we are, with
Thanksgiving just around the corner.  I'm experiencing a mixture of emotions, joy
at the thought of seeing my family again, especially when I think of getting to know
 that bubbly chubby Harper but sadness, also, when I face bidding farewell to this 
India I've grown to love with all the friends I have here.  It is always hard because 
I don't know exactly when I will return but God - and Ganesha willing - I'll come back - 
though not for so long a stay in the future...a max of four months, I think.  

I've been a bit under the weather for a few days.  I got up to Pune to visit with Ralph
DSouza, his wife, Belle, litte, Sofia, and her brother, Wilfred, and the rest of their
wonderful family.  It brought back such great memories of Royal Caribbean Days.  I
met Ralph fifteen years ago when I first began cruising and he was one of my first
Indian "sons."  He, Ode Santos, and Milind Sawant are the only ones I've actually 
gotten to visit.  Belle and Sofia came from the Philippines, both with colds and I 
seem to have acquired one, as well - either from all the kissing going on or from 
my bus ride each way.  I finally ended up going to see wonderful Dr. Margaret here 
in Mumbai ( who went to medical school at Johns Hopkins in the U. S. ) and she gave 
me a whole slew of meds, including antibiotics )

Ralph, Belle, Wilfred & Sofia with Ralph's sister, Dawn

Ralph and his two little ones, Sofia and Wilfred

Wilfred and Sofia keeping cousin Scottie from sleeping

Princess Sofia

One night, Terence DSouza decided to take me out to dinner for Kashmiri food
at a restaurant owned by his former boss  - one of three places owned by his boss/
friend.  We chose Janaab, a considerable distance from their home and agreed to 
meet for a taste of kebabs at the new place and end up for cocktails at Northern 
Frontier where Terence had been restaurant manager.  I had never eaten Kashmiri
food before but I already knew I had to try the ran, a whole leg of lamb marinated
24 hours in special Kashmiri spices.  I decided to try a number of starters so we
would have plenty to take back to the family at home.  Good grief, did we have a
giant doggie bag!

We had tabak maaz, deep fried, double layered mutton ribs - very crisp and tasty, 
finished in a flash.  Next came chicken kanti, chunks of chicken marinated in Kashmiri
red chili paste and crispy fried.  Followed by that was fish tikka, barbecued over
charcoal, then mushroom tikka.  Everything was delicious but the ran was absolutely
incredible.  I had to pick up the bone and eat every bite of the meat.

Crispy & scrumptious tabak maaz - fried double layered mutton ribs

Fish....from Australia

Mega mushrooms

A fabulous HUGE plate of ran or mutton leg

Roti cooking in the tandori

Enjoying every last piece of meat of the ran

The aftermath!

Terence, with his friend, owner of the Northern Frontier, Janaab, and another new spot

Ali, photographer and creator of the marinades of the great kabobs 
at the new restaurant

Finally, we made it back home, after stopping briefly at the Northern Frontier
for a drink, then had a nightcap and leftovers with the family.

Next morning, of course, the children were up bright and early.  Uncle Darrel and
Papa were ready for a photo shoot before breakfast.

All I can say is, it sure  is quiet and lonely without my Dsouza family and the little
ones around.  It was such a special three days being back in Pune with them again,
especially to have Belle and little Sofia part of it.  Thanks to all that clan for always
making me feel so special.  Danyivad!!! I love you all.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Diwali 2013 - November 2, 2013

Bing image, domain free

This is the second Diwali - this year from November 3rd to November 7th - that 
I have been in India.  It is probably the major Hindu festival of the year, celebrated
by friends and family with much joy and festivity, firecrackers popping, gift giving 
and wonderful foods, traditional to this time of celebration.  Much like Christmas 
in the Christian world, it is a holiday when those far afield return to their homeland 
to be with their families to maintain traditions.  Diwali, the festival of lights, is
a joyous time, a time of rebirth, hope, and homes are filled with candles and diyas
burning oil to fill the world with brightness.

Bing image, domain free

Each of the four days of Diwali has a different legend/theme/myth, usually
dealing with the triumph of good over evil and darkness, thus the importance
and significance of light.  Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word "dipavali"
which means "row of lights" and candles and diyas are placed  everywhere in
homes and business.  Fireworks light the heavens and there is a sense of
joy everywhere.

Bing image, domain free

If you'd like to know a little more about Diwali, check out the links below.  

Happy Diwali to everyone, especially to all of my Hindu and Indian friends in India 
and elsewhere in the world.  I wish you all a happy Diwali filled with all life's blessing 
for you and those you hold dear. At this sacred time, when evil was banished and 
light overcame darkness, I am honored to once again be in India to share in this 
joyous occasion. May the goddess, Lakshmi, bring you, not only material wealth, but 
the wealth of loving family and friends and may the Lord Ganesha constantly remove 
any obstacles that come up in your life.

Bing image, domain free

I am participating in 

Sundays in My City

Friday, November 01, 2013

Happy 29th Birthday, Jeremy Vukasinovic - November 2, 2013

Jeremy is my "baby" - all 6'4" of him.  He weighed in at birth at over 8 and a 
half pounds and I was able to deliver him without too much trouble, believe it
or not!!  He remained bald headed for a full year but many times, especially
in later years, he has sported the most wonderful curls, one batch going to
Locks for Love.

I can't seem to find any of his baby pictures here with me in India so I'll show
you some of his more recent ones.

This has always been a favorite of mine...with Alex, two years older,
at the Golden Gate Bridge

Jeremy has never lived very far from home.  He spent three years at the College
of San Mateo where he got an associates degree in Liberal Arts and his A.S.
in Fire Technology.  He always wanted to be a firefighter.  He went from San 
Mateo to Cal Poly, 250 miles away, in the beautiful area of San Luis Obispo.
There he got a degree in kinesiology.  From there he became employed in the
semiconductor field and, now, for the past two years, he's been at Genentech in
South San Francisco.  I'm afraid that job may take him away since he is being
considered for a new position outside the Bay area.  When I expressed my 
dismay at "losing" him, he laughed and reminded me that I am often seven
thousand miles away in India.

Here, on a cruise, big ( ?  brother, Shawn, is trying to teach him smooth moves

With his beer at the Locks for Lover hairdresser

I think this may well have been Jeremy's shortest haircut
ever - at brother, Alex's wedding...Shawn, big brother, sadly,
was in Germany with the Air Force and had to miss the occassion

Of all my sons, Shawn and Jeremy seem to have developed my love of 
travel.  Much of Shawn's has been compliments of Uncle Sam, via the Air
Force, but Jeremy has already seen much of Europe and Argentina ( as a 
college employee of a pharmaceutical company ) and he speaks Spanish
better than many natives.  He has a real sense of adventure and he likes
good food and wine.  He, unlike me, is very much health oriented and has
worked hard to help me develop healthier habits.

This is Jeremy and his Cal Poly buddy, Daniel...I'm 
posting this for Eileen Dryer who always puts up 
firefighter pics...I think he would have looked good
in a calendar

Jeremy is quite an achiever and he likes to remind his brothers - both of 
whom stretched college years out to over a decade - that he managed to 
graduate by the age of 24 ( making the Dean's list, no less ).  He's done
very well in the corporate world though he still would like to be a firefighter!

Mom with the three best sons any mother could have - 
Shawn ( the shorty ), Alex, and Jeremy

Jeremy with his other mother, Elmira Lopez - she came to us when
Alex and Jeremy were infants - I wanted someone who was monolingual 
Spanish so they grew up fluent in another language - and she was family to us -
and a lifesaver to me with my crazy call schedule - and what a terrific cook!!!

The all night Harper Ann vigil ( post epidural )

Mommy and baby are doing fine!!!  Proud papa and uncles

UNCLE Jeremy meets niece, Harper Ann Vukasinovic - I think it 
was love at first sight

Already, Jeremy has his niece checking out San Francisco's bridges

There is no question, I owe this young man a lot.  First of all, he almost single handedly 
moved me from my four bedroom home when I decided to come to India.  He made 
about a hundred trips to the dump, broke down furniture, loaded things into storage, and
kept me focused so I finally got to India, after changing two airline reservations.  He's
been the one to check my mail, send my medications when it's refill time, visit me in
the hospital and help me when I need it.  He's drawn the short end of the straw, poor kid,
with Alex two hours away in West Sacramento and Shawn playing Air Force.  I've
had an occasional lecture ( much needed ) from him, as well.

All this he did, after having undergone shoulder surgery at the end of his Division 1 Cal
Poly decathlon career!!!  In fact, his research into a surgeon, saved me having to do it 
and Dr. Belzer was the one who did my shoulder replacement!  Sadly, he just had
shoulder surgery again a few months ago.

So, baby boy, though I am often seven thousand miles from home, it will be very
sad for me, WHEN I AM HOME, not to have you there.  It's not that I need you to
haul things for me and all that, I love being able to enjoy a bottle of wine with you and
to have dinner from time to time.  I am well aware I'm getting on in years so, even
our brief rendevous are really precious to me.  I am prouder of you than you will
ever know and, though, I probably don't say it often enough, I am eternally grateful
for your kindnesses to me.  You are a fine young man and the lady that finally gets
to share your life, on a permanent basis, will be one lucky girl.

On this, your 29th birthday, I am so glad that you were born...and that my labor 
wasn't so bad at all.  I love you so much.