Archives for July 2011

The Bird is the Word

I am seriously still in the 90s when it comes to technology. It might sound strange coming from someone who has a chain of websites and earns completely online for a living, but it is true. Even all my websites are made on plain HTML and although I have made a few changes to make them more ‘in keeping with the times’, the bottom line still remains – “Don’t Fix Until Broken”. So, every year when I am ready to publish articles on the ‘latest’ and ‘hottest’ gift ideas for say Christmas or Father’s Day or even Valentine’s Day, I have to look to my husband (and my 6 year old too, these days) to help me nail down the techy type stuff. Only the other day my husband was telling me about how most of his friends did not even know what he meant when he mentioned ‘rooting his android touchpad’ and I looked at him like he was talking Greek and couldn’t wait to change the topic. I did Google it later and found out later what he was talking about. And anyways, I can always get back at him by confusing him with a ‘bain marie’ term thrown in when we are in the kitchen or how the French ‘Les’, ‘Le’ and ‘La’ are pronounced and used when he mis-pronounces them or start discussing brands, designers and shopping with him (that one is fool proof).

Moving on with the topic on hand, I recently (it’s okay to be shocked if you are not from my ‘Victoria’ reading fraternity) discovered ‘Angry Birds’. Until now, I was blissfully happy cruising (not racing, mind you) a Porsche amidst Alps and picturesque German villages in my old NFS (hubby’s new one does not interest me at all). Then, Angry Birds happened and now, I am addicted! It doesn’t matter if I was the last to join the bandwagon (my 6 year old daughter was ahead of me) – I am completely in love with it. For more of my type, Angry Birds is a game developed by Finland-based Rovio Mobile, in which players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs stationed on or within various structures, with the intent of destroying all the pigs as they have made way with the birds’ eggs! The game was originally developed for iPhone, but is now available for download to play on your PC or even to play online through Google ‘Chrome’ (Google’s new browser like Firefox and Internet Explorer).

I am hooked to the game and it is a constant struggle to get my daughter leave my laptop so I can get my chance. She then runs off to get Daddy off his laptop so she can begin there. And if all this game-craze was not enough, she now wants an Angry Birds theme birthday party too! I was not sure she would be able to do without a dress up on her birthday because so far, her birthday dress is always the costume of the character her party is themed upon. So far, we have had – Fifi (Fifi and the Flowertots UK cartoon), Minnie Mouse, Fairy, Mermaid and Cinderella. Throughout the year, she hinted to me about a Pink Pirate, Jessie (the Toy Story Cowgirl), Strawberry Shortcake and Mulan. But now, nothing less than an Angry Birds party will do!

Well, I don’t mind at all! Seems like a great creative challenge for me. The internet’s full of creative ideas (I just found out) and I am trying to get my own creative juices flowing. Official party supplies are lacking, but 6 year olds don’t seem to care much about them anyways. I am going to wait for another couple of weeks to see if she changes her mind. After last year’s Cinderella-Toy Story debacle, I have learned a lesson. But that won’t stop me from looking around and getting inspired in the meanwhile. The BIRD is officially the WORD this year at the TOKHI household this season!

The Endearing Chipping Paint

Can the ugly looking ‘chipping paint’ ever be termed as ‘endearing’? I didn’t think so too, at first. Something happened yesterday that made me feel otherwise.

With a lot of love and even more effort, my darling husband and I, together created our beautiful nest – a small, but pretty apartment. We dressed it up in sparkling Cape Cod styles whites and off-whites. I cleaned and dusted and mopped all day along with my favorite songs playing out of hubby’s home theatre. Entertaining was so anxiously looked forward to. All the new Pfaltzgraff (or even Wedgwood sometimes) came out on crisp table linen. The kitchen smelled wonderfully delicious with all the aromas wafting out of my oven. Candles were lit up and friends and family were full of praise for our ‘white house’. Even the post-party clean-up the next morning was taken care of, un-grudgingly.

Our sweet little daughter was taught to appreciate and maintain her new home and we took all care to make sure she had put her toys back as soon as she was done playing. She enjoyed regularly watering our lovely little container garden on the terrace balcony with me, even if it was to show off her pretty pink watering can bought from a Japanese store in Bangkok. Afternoons were spent pouring over recipe books in the kitchen table or sipping coffee reading some magazine and evenings were spent watching sunsets with a book of poetry in my hands on the lovely bench on the terrace surrounded by pots filled with flowers. The smell of the fresh paint used to mingle with the fragrance of the flowers I arranged regularly in my favorite blue and white vase – and anything else that I could use for a container. And simply unforgettable are the hours spent shopping – online and offline – for more pretty stuff to fill up every corner and a collection of the best books for all the book shelves we have (we have one in each room!). Lovingly, was each issue of Victoria and other favorite magazines and books were arranged and read.

I made them? Seriously?

More than three years (almost four) have passed since. The new apartment has witnessed the growing up of my toddler and the coming into this world of my other baby – a son. The walls have born numerous assaults (all unintended, mind you) by craft stamps, crayons, pencils, even foot prints somehow. The painted and polished furniture is in better shape in most places because the colors could be wiped off. But one table actually got ‘printed on’. No, seriously. Somehow, some printed paper was left on it, and what happened later is not exactly known, but apparently, a few misguided (and unintended, again) processes later, the print from the printed material is now transferred on to the table. No amount of washing or wiping is able to make it go. Had I known the exact ‘step-by-step procedure, I would have long back posted a DIY article on the technique for getting a ‘newspaper print furniture finish’  but that was not meant to be I guess (unless this happens again; the elder one might want to share the secret with her baby brother as he grows up).

The white upholstery has taken a bad beating, especially the sofa in front of the TV. A baby stroller stands proudly beside the sofa now (indoors, yes!). Makes it easy to cart the baby around the apartment and converts into a rocker and a chair too. The toys are left there as baby might need to play with them again. The elder ones takes a cue and leaves her toys behind for the same reason now and everytime I cross that area, an annoying little ‘lego’ block is sure to shoot up pain in my foot. The remote controls of most of the gadgets in the entertainment area that my husband created with great care, are now broken or missing the covers of the battery areas behind (courtesy of my daughter, of course). Plenty of DVDs are badly scratched and out of action. But these are only the Kiddy ones. Ours are waiting inside dark drawers hopeful of seeing the daylight once again.

In the kitchen, most of the China and Glassware (except for the Occasion-ware) has been reduced to sets of 3s and 2s as opposed to the sets of 6 in which they were purchased. The kitchen table, my favorite place to be, in my ‘beau maison’ (and also in the world) has, by now, witnessed countless get-togethers coupled with curry and gravy spills, gooey jam or nutella remains that had to be scrubbed off later, and has taken some real heat when the over-zealous chef of our family (read hubby) placed some stuff right onto it from the microwave without any protective mats underneath. In the rooms, All the storage space is exhausted and the toys don’t fit inside the drawers allotted to them. Have you ever wondered how your child’s toys grow at a rate much faster than your investments no matter how hard you try to curb the former and increase the latter?

Decorating with love

The container garden on the terrace has faced the worst time ever. We had to leave the place for more than a month after I delivered my second child causing my precious garden to dry up completely. The pretty pink watering can held flowers for some time and waits patiently on the bathroom vanity for a second chance at watering as I am planning on sowing again. The lovely bench on the terrace, my second favorite place, has now weathered with all the sun and rain.

I kept giving my home a hapless look every day – disgusted at myself sometimes but mostly resigned to the fact that I might not be able to make much of a change with priorities radically changed now. However, yesterday was different. As usual, after surveying all the damage, my eyes rested on the ugly chipped walls of the master bedroom. How I hate them!

But yesterday was nothing short of magical. I actually smiled upon seeing them. They reminded me of how my daughter had enjoyed crushing the chipping paint further and made a mess on the bed and the floor beneath. Did she get a good scolding or what! But, yesterday, it made me smile. It suddenly looked like my ‘new apartment’ had finally turned into a ‘cozy – always slightly imperfect – home’. When and how the transition was made, I know not. It just sank in yesterday.

Guess the Holiday/Season?

I still enjoy my time on the kitchen table whenever possible although the kitchen is a bit untidy and messy than we ever intended it to be. The refrigerator is cluttered with magnets and the display shelves are filled with souvenirs from family travels. Watching sunsets on the terrace is a luxury, but I am hoping for better times when the baby has grown up a little. The upholstery desperately needs to be changed but we will need to wait for our budgets to allow that. Dinners and get-togethers are, with mutual consent, avoided unless extremely important, for the fear of the cleaning up next morning. Fresh and new recipes out of the oven are now replaced by cup noodles and more ‘ready to eat’ type of stuff. ‘Baking Days’ are me and my daughter baking cupcakes that end with her decorating the cupcakes with every color and shape of sprinkles that I have stored up (at least, someone’s using them!) regardless of which holiday it is we are celebrating. This again, I am hoping, will improve as the baby grows up. The chipping paint will definitely need to be fixed asap, but that will have to wait till after the wet rains go away and we have a drier weather. Until then,it will continue to remain as endearing to me as every other thing in my beautifully imperfect home.