An association that we are a part of, had arranged a Valentines’ day party today. Like I had mentioned a couple of days before, the theme was 70s fashion. Hubby and I try to stick to a theme if any is given, so we even went out and bought a flowert shirt for him. Though, when we went there, it looked like we were the onlt ones who had made any effort. None of the men and a handful of women only. But the event gave us an opening to meet a lot of new people and hopefully have a better social life here. Sam, met his sunday class friends and had a lot of fun. A good evening spent watching kids dance and sing and party food.
There is a theme event coming up on Saturday for which I am kind of excited – 70s fashion. Finding and deciding what to wear and trying out the makeup and clothes took a good part of the day which was fun.
I am also rather apprehensive about what I have chosen because we don’t know the crowd and even if every one will be in the Indian in or western 70s fashion. I am not sure if the ladies will choose sarees or dresses. I will just stick to what I have and take a chance!
After a really long time, there is some such gathering, which, I hope will help us get to know people better and hopefully initiate better friendship for us, as well as for Sam.
The weather was unseasonably warm and husband working from home gave me the opportunity to take the car and go do some of my own stuff. Went out from 10am to 2pm loitering in the nearest strip mall. Went to Ulta and bought stuff that I probably will use once? AND got a free goodie bag with products that I have no clue how to use! But it was good to just get out of the house, drive by myself and get some stuff done. That independence means a lot to me. Ending the day watching a movie online-a midweek treat.
Its been a good weekend. After ages, we went out to a mall and then lunch at Carabba’s that hubby wanted to try for a long time. Italian means, for me its Tiramisu all the way. Tried a cocktail with Tiramisu liqueur and then tiramisu for dessert too, although I feel the Olive Garden one tastes better. We came back home just as it started snowing. When we set out at 11am, there was not a cloud in the sky and it was blue and bright. Come 3pm, it was foggy and began to snow, as predicted! Spent the evening reading while the boys watched Chak De movie. A good one for Sam to watch, we thought.
Today, I had invited a couple of neighbours in the evening so made gulab jamoons and pav bhaji and had a generally good time eating and chatting. Now that they left, despite my back and legs hurting I am surprised I haven’t done my 10k steps. I am excusing myself that its weekend. It’s a long weekend for Sam with school closed tomorrow for President’s day. We are both now reading our books before bed. Good night!
Pani Puri dinner:
Sam is home today with a bad cold and congestion in his throat but no fever. I decided that he wouldn’t go to school as he didn’t sleep well last night. So I cooked fresh for lunch, comfort food of saaru(rasam), rice and cabbage palya. The boy ate a hot lunch and then said “Amma, you know what, if everything in my nose and throat has to come out I have to eat something spicy, how about hot and spicy pani puri for dinner?” Hmmm… over the weekend when we went grocery shopping the husband refused to get the pani pooris when I had asked him so I said no to Sam.
Well, what do you think happened? How could the loving Dad refuse his unwell son? Sam asked for it while hubby called on his way home, so the pooris along with some jalebis came home.
We had an awesome hot and spicy pani puri for dinner with jalebis for dessert. This reminds me of pre Sam days when I used to have masala puri and pani puri for dinner to help with my sinus and phlegm 😁 My son seems to have understood at 8 what I understood at 18!
Do you feel/hear the hush when it snows? There is a pleasant sound when it rains but there is a quiet, no not quite quiet, a hushhhh when it snows. I love it. Like the world is waiting and we are in a cocoon. And then just to disturb that peace we go out and do this 😃😎 👇
Yes, thats me in pajamas rushing out when I could not hold it inside me-I just HAD to go out and feel the snow on my face. Later we all packed up and went out for a snowball fight. Today’s happiest moments.
Here is the last day travelogue of the CA trip and writing this series made me go back ans look at all the pictures which I can count as my happy moment for the day too ☺
Day 8: Napa Valley and back home
The last day, Saturday we had kept free to spend with hubby’s cousin R and his wife D while they planned to take us to Napa Valley. As our flight was at night around 9:30pm and their home was just a 20mins drive to the airport, they said we could easily do the tour.
Cousin R drove us to The Castle for the wine tasting tour. A good tour at the end of which we got to try 6 different types of wines. Since D had to work, we were 3 adults so the tour guide gave us a good idea of choosing different wines in each category so we could all try different wines. Sam, along with other kids was occupied with paper and crayons. The tour was a good 2hrs after which we drove to find lunch. After a quick indian lunch we drove back so we could spend the evening with D too. I also had plans to meet an uncle of mine but unfortunately the time was so short that we had to skip meeting him. He called a couple of times but we were returning late from NAPA after which there was hardly time to go out again anywhere 😦 Well…next time maybe. We reached home by 6pm, had coffee,ate home cooked meal again (call it gluttony) and chatted and packed and left by 8pm to the airport. We had to return the rental car too. Only after reaching the rental car place hubby realized we had forgotten to fill fuel and we had to do it! It was 8:20 by then and we rushed to find a gas station. Thankfully the Saturday evening had not much traffic so we managed to fill fuel, return rental car and reach the security by 9pm. Phew! We always have some last minute stress like this – without which the trip is incomplete! Again the flight was delayed by nearly an hour so by the time we landed in Chicago it was 5am. A good time to call Uber and reach home in time for breakfast.
A memorable trip which had all the best ingredients – meeting friends, family, home stays, nature, city tours,wine and lots of good food.
Woohooo! Another year of blogathon done! 👏👏👏👏 Good job to everyone who participated.
Though year after year, I fear my posts are loosing the substance and I have been cribbing about it everytime. So, to make it better, maybe I will start putting up drafts here everytime I get a good thought? Hmm…food for thought
That said, my happy moment of the day is, after thinking, procastinating and cribbing about the lost card, I finally reapplied again today. Like my Dad always says “An attempt can be a failure, but there should never be failure of attempt“. For that reason alone, this step has been taken.
Day 7: San Francisco
It was a Friday and the cousins were quite relaxed about getting to work, so we decided to take it easy too. It was also our anniversary, so my cousin B had got cupcakes for us. We did a small cake cutting and after they left to work at about 8am we got ready and started the hour long drive to SFO. There wasn’t much we wanted to see – husband and I had seen the place before and we wanted to show Sam around. We drove and walked along the ‘crooked’ Lombard street which the boy thoroughly enjoyed – his Dad is the ‘best driver in the world’ 😛 and then went to the Pier. Cousin D (who just had a baby on the 25th:-D) had told us about this amazing place from crepes. We did not bother to check any other place and went directly there. Stuffed ourselves with yummy crepes, Sam went on the carousel ride and we walked along the SFO market and pier all the way to Ghirardelli Square. I was the kid in the chocolate shop 😀 Bought all the new varieties for us and for the cousins too. Sam saw how chocolate is made and then we had the double fudge sundae (ofcourse!) before we called Uber to take us back to the Pier. We wanted to drive on the Golden Gate bridge to the other side as we did not have time to walk on it. Sam enjoyed getting down at the other end to extreme winds ( Catch me, Amma! I am going to fly away otherwise :-D) and then drove back to Land’s End to get a good view of the bridge. We were supposed to meet both the cousin couples at this restaurant in Mountain View for our anniversary treat dinner at 7pm. Unfortunately, cousin D got work and we only met my cousin B and her husband. That night and the next day, Saturday was supposed to be spent with hubby’s cousin R, his wife D at their home in San Jose. We packed dinner for them and reached home by 10pm. They had also ordered cake for our anniversary – 12 years and we got to cut 2 cakes! hehehe. If only life was as easy as cutting cakes! Again a late night chatting session and we were all tired enough to sleep by midnight. Cousin R warned us that we had to get ready and be out of the house by 9:30am if we were to get to the NAPA valley wine tour he had booked for 12pm.
My happy moment of the day- Since yesterday I have been having a very bad headache and even though I slept early, I didn’t wake up in a good mood. For the last 1 month, Sam and I have been playing old hindi songs while he gets ready for school and we have both realized that it helps control our morning stress. Meaning lesser arguements. But today, I am feeling the difference. I knew I had a frown on my face but now after listening to some old favourites (wasn’t that luck that the radio played lovely romantic songs?) I am feeling much better. Music definitely is healing!
Days 5 & 6: Yosemite National Park
This was a dream of mine for the last 10 years. I always wanted to see this place. I wanted to see if this lives up to the American hype too. I really do not have words to describe the nature here! This country has abundant beautiful nature and they know how to make it accessible to the people too. No matter what adjectives I use, I am sure words fall short for this post.
By the time we drove from San Jose to Yosemite it was nearly 11 am. We first decided to see the far places by car like the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. We got really lucky that we even saw a black bear (which is actually brown) too! It crossed the road right in front of us and hid behind a rock when we stopped to see. It waited until we moved again and then it went on its way. I was too scared to open the car window and take a picture though!
We spent nearly an hour near Hetch Hetchy and then got back to the camp grounds where we had home packed good lunch. We then began our drive around the park on our way to the Majestic Hotel for our 1 night stay. While I did my research, I realized 2 things: We had to stay inside the park to maximize our limited time at the park and I did not want to stay at any camp sites – so we paid the price and told each other that this was our anniversary treat to ourselves. On the way, we saw the Bridal Veil falls which was in full flow. We took a small trek to the bottom of the falls just so we could get wet 🙂 We stopped at a couple of scenic spots and reached the hotel by 6pm. We had already booked breakfast but we were told that we had to also book for dinner otherwise it will not be available. We took the 8pm dinner time and checked in. The minute Sam saw that there was an outdoor pool he was all excited to go swim. That activity done and a shower later we went for dinner. Sadly, I have to say it was a disaster. I don’t remember what Sam and hubby ordered but I ordered veggie pasta with no mushrooms. Unfortunately it came with mushrooms, so I couldn’t eat it. The very apologetic waitress took it back saying she will get me fresh one which took forever. By that time, I filled my stomach with salad and bread and Sam was so tired that he just put his head on the table and slept. So my food was boxed to take back to the room. Thankfully I did not eat it then.
The next morning, our breakfast was supposed to be at 10am so I decided to heat the boxed pasta so we could all eat a bite before we went to see the Lower Yosemite falls which was very close to the hotel and we knew we could be back before breakfast. As soon as I opened it I saw it had bits of meat in it! What a total waste of food! Only thing is when we showed the bits of bacon, they did not charge for my food 😦 The breakfast was good though, hearty and full with coffee giving us enough energy to last the day until we drove back to San Jose. We had finished the Lower Yosemite falls before breakfast, so we drove to Glacier point. Unfortunately we were stopped as no private vehicles could go at that time because of the snow and ice still at the top. We did not realize we were so late as the parking lot was full to even take the park’s vehicle to the top. We decided to drop that and drove to Vernal Falls trek. On the way we saw the tunnel overlook and Half Dome (hard to miss!). We realized we were too late for any major hikes as there was absolutely no parking space anywhere! A good 2miles walk/hike later we reached the footbridge at the base of the Vernal fall. By this time it was nearly 1.30 pm and we knew we did not have much time. We got back to the base, stopped at the river and then decided to drive to Tuolumne Grove for the gaint Sequoia trees. Unfortunately for us the popular Mariposa grove was closed for restoration. The Tuolumne grove is a much steeper hike and lesser people visit the grove. By the time we reached the grove it was nearly 4pm and it looked like rain. But I did not want to go back without seeing the Sequoia trees. We decided to hike until we found atleast 1 of them. The grove is so thick with tall trees that it felt like it would get dark in no time. So we hurried to the grove from where we could hear some voices. Hubby picked up a thick stick as there was fear of bears too. Only once we saw the size of those trees did we realize why the trees are such a big deal! They are so thick and broad and we look like tiny ants next to their trunks. We trekked back (which was tougher as it was a 1 mile, 500ft elevation climb up) and were back at the car by 5:40pm. We then started the drive back to San Jose with the clouds giving way to beautiful, double rainbows – a fitting way to end this nature adventure. We reached home by 10pm happy and tired.
Am I satisfied with Yosemite – No! I really want to go again and spend more time at the park and visit the places we missed. But I am happy that we managed to see the key places and attractions of the place however.
One really good advantage for us was that it was spring and all the waterfalls were full from the ice melts. Every one of them was a beauty and worth every hike we did. Just getting wet under that cool mist felt wonderful.
I have tried hard to choose only 10 pictures 🙂
CA Trip Day 3: Pacific Scenic Highway – 17 mile drive
We were told not to start early on Monday morning to avoid the LA traffic. We chose to wake up early, spend sometime with the kids before they left and then had a good breakfast. We decided to start by 10am. I had been checking this route and there had been land slides along this route and the route was closed near the cliffs – the Pfeiffer national park, beach, Big Sur were all sadly closed. Husband still wanted to see the Long Branch beach and Santa Barbara beaches so there we went. We stopped in Santa Barbara at the Promenade and had sandwiches for lunch. On the way I got a call from the whale watching company with whom I had booked the tour to say that our tour was cancelled for 1pm and our only alternative was the 9am tour. We did not want to miss the opportunity so we said yes and then decided to finish the 17mile drive that evening itself. One thing about California is – don’t believe the weather – at all! Even at 12 noon there was fog on the Santa Barbara beach. In San Diego we got rain and humidity and in the mornings and evenings after sunset, it does get cold enough for a jacket even in June. Since the highway was closed after that, we chose to get back to I-5 to get to Monterrey sooner. A good decision since we did reach Monterrey by 5pm. Sam wanted to eat in an Indian restaurant – he wanted his paneer fix! The nearest Indian was in Carmel and we chose to see the sunset along the 17 mile drive. Best decision we made. It was b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. to say the least. We thought the water of the pacific ocean will be warm but oh my God! It was freezing! I have no idea how the surfers brave that cold water! brrrr. We watched the sunset on the Carmel beach and then headed to the Indian restaurant for dinner. Back in the hotel by 8:30pm and decided to sleep as we had to go Whale Watching at 9am the next day.