Sunday, February 24, 2008


Had to put in an extra post* here because there was something else we picked up at the auction that I wanted you to see:

Dowry Box

*While I like the Flickr Slider tool for adding slideshows when I have a lot of photos that I want to share with you- it seems to have a bug and makes it difficult for me to add anything more to my posts afterwards! Very frustrating!!

Officially Jealous

So, I have been avoiding doing a blog post for the last few days and have to admit that I have been in a bit of a funk. There may be hormonal reasons contributing to this, but the truth is that I am jealous. Jealous that I am not at Stitches West with all of my knitting friends. I have been avoiding reading blog posts and have tried to pretend that it isn't happening. But today I finally sat down, read said blog posts, and drooled. Even my mom reminded me about Stitches and said that there was a article in the San Jose Mercury News about knitting. (The online version even has pictures of knitting friends Chloe and CJ and features my two favorite shops, Purlescence and Bobbins Nest!) Everyone is getting lovely shwag, Ravelry and otherwise, and I am stuck here in the land of day-glo acrylic. sigh. Oh well.

It hasn't been all knitting related jealousy around here though. We have had our adventures as well. What have I been up to? Well, on Wednesday I joined fellow OWC members on the monthly "road trip". This time it was a visit to a school that is one of the charities that is supported by OWC. Called Shristi Special Academy, it is a school for children who have special needs. From severe mental retardation to Autism and Down's Syndrome, they serve the needs of these children with a smile and much enthusiasm. Now some of you may not know this, but I used to work with kids with special needs, so I was particularly interested in seeing the school. I was very impressed with the is academy, not because they have a lot of special equipment, but because they do their work with a lot of creativity and and with respect for the children. Their aim, when possible is to get the children placed in a regular school. If this is not possible, they train the students for jobs that they might be able to do, either at the onsite vocational center or at outside positions. I felt proud that the OWC completely sponsors the pre-vocational program. After touring the campus and seeing the many facilities and students hard at work we were treated to a delicious lunch and then a performance by some of the students there. They LOVE to dance! The joy and enthusiasm they expressed to the Hindipop (well yes- AND "the Chicken Dance") was -beautiful and heart warming to see. Here are some photos from the visit:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

One of the ways that the OWC raises money for this and other charities is through its many social events and outings. It really is a win-win situation because it helps us (the "expats") to get to know people and feel comfortable here and the money that we spend goes to support many schools and facilities in the area. Well, Saturday night was one of these events, the OWC Charity Ball and Silent Auction. We went for the social aspect and enjoyed ourselves very much. We got to know people a little better, enjoyed some good food and drink, danced and may have come home with a few things from the silent auction (hey- all items were donated and it is for a good cause!)

Black Pottery from Manipur

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sorry, no sari!

It's a funny thing. To walk down the street in a foreign country and suddenly realize that you know where you are, you know where you are going and this is where you live. This came to me last week as I was walking to meet my fellow knitblogger friend, Rima. And it really is true, I am starting to feel at home. Not always, but sometimes, yes.

Part of that feeling is that we are starting to make friends. I have on several occasions seen people who I have previously met while I am out and around. This is a bit amazing to me in this city of many millions, but there you go. It is a small world after all!

So, we were invited to a wedding. Actually, not the whole wedding, just the reception. We felt very honored to be invited and when we were there we were treated as very honored guests. As we entered (Standard Indian time = 1 hour late) the bride (a co-worker of Bryan's) and groom were just entering. We were shown to our seats as they walked up to a stage and took a seat on a dais. Soon they were standing and a procession of men came on the stage, offering congratulations and then posing, very seriously, for photos and video. Right after them, we were ushered up onto the stage along with the bride's mother and brother (I think...) for the same ritual. I'm afraid I was not able to look very serious as I was enjoying the experience so much.

We were then quickly escorted downstairs where we were served a traditional South Indian wedding dinner. I wish I had a photo that I could share, the food is distributed in specific places on a banana leaf and as in all of South India (to my knowledge anyway) you eat with your fingers. No utensils. Rice, Raita, Sambar (hot spicy tomato soup), etc... eaten with fingers. We did exactly that and I think we even looked fairly okay doing it. It isn't entirely fair as Anna and Bryan both get to practice this every day in their respective cafeterias while I am usually dining on leftovers or peanut butter and banana sandwiches! Anyway, we ate slowly, but finished most of our several servings and then washed our hands and proceeded upstairs for conversation while the wedding procession (of the guests onto the stage as mentioned above...) continued.

We chatted with several people and I flirted with some of the kids...

Somehow, I am a kid magnet and these dears very much enjoyed me taking their photos and then showing them to others.

The other interesting thing about the wedding was that the men were not necessarily dressed up very much. a little, but not much. But the women? The saris were absolutely stunning and they were wearing a lot of beautiful jewelery as well. Even the young girls were in their finery:

Isn't she cute?

So- would you like to see what I wore?

Yup, me-not ready for a sari yet!

Monday, February 11, 2008


One of my favorite Winnie the Pooh movies is The Blustery Day.

"The rain, rain, rain
came down, down, down
in rushing rising rivlets."

Well, as we were going to sleep last night it was raining and thundering, and lightning was striking all around. We went to sleep to the sound of pouring rain and woke up to the same sound.... almost.

Bryan got up and discovered water on the floor in the living room. It was coming from upstairs, cascading down the three stories like a nice little water fall. When we went up we discovered this

Water was pouring down from the ceiling, along the wall

and was about 1 inch deep throughout the entire room. My craft room.

If you look closely, you can see the puddling

I grabbed a push broom and started pushing the water towards the floor drain in the bathroom (one typical Indian housing feature I am very grateful for!) and Bryan went to figure out where the water was coming from -as it was no longer raining outside! He turned off all of the pumps for the water tanks and the water stopped coming!!! I'll have to explain how the water systems work here in another post, but I was most grateful for a stop to the cascading falls.

I started pulling things out to dry and when Lalitha arrived she helped as well. It could have been far worse. Some of my knitting got damp, but not wet.

My spinning wheel was, fortunately, against the dry wall so it only needed to be wiped off.

My Scrapbooking materials did not fare as well. They were right underneath the main leak and some items absorbed quite a bit of water.

And the thing I am quite thankful for is that sweet Lalitha had put most of my yarn and fiber away here last week

I have to say that while the day started out quite bad, I am feeling much better now. Just when I was feeling incredibly frustrated by everything that had happened, Lalitha came in with a plate of Idlis and chutney for me. She was sharing her lunch with me. I have to admit that I really needed someone to do something nice for me right at that moment. As she turned away to go eat her lunch out back, I couldn't help it, I started to cry. I was just incredibly touched that she would do that.

And how did this all start? Well it is a bit of a long story that isn't really that interesting, but basically the owner flipped a switch she shouldn't have when she was showing Bryan something yesterday. I don't blame her, it was a simple accident. It just happened. But I should add that this came after a faucet broke in the servant's toilet and the water ran and ran and ran, until it ran the water tank it was connected to completely dry (leaving our kitchen and guest bathroom without water as well.)

Now- I need to go attend to a drip in the bathroom.
Anyone know who the Hindu god of water and/or plumbing is?

UPDATE: It happened again! So, there is definitely something broken- but we think we have a better idea of what it is - so now we can pass that information to someone who can (hopefully!) fix it. Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

It's All About the Love

Warning...knitting related content ahead ;)

I realized something on Friday. I realized that knitters almost always get along well because they share a love.

A love for COLOR

A love for TEXTURE


I realized this when I met Rima. Rima is a lovely young woman who found me through Ravlery- and asked if I wanted to get together some time. She is from Bangalore and is currently living in New York City, but is here until March visiting her family. Well- being the far too home bound person that I am at present I jumped at the opportunity to get out of the house and do something with a like minded individual. So a plan was hatched for her to show me some of the craft related stores in and around Commercial Street.

Now, Commercial Street deserves its own post some day as it is really something, but- not today. Today is all about the crafty stuff. So, we met and headed for the first shop, Ravi's Craft Shop. I didn't really know what to expect as I had only visited one other yarn related shop in Bangalore before (Bombay Embroidery Store in Raja Market on Avenue Road). Ravi's is different. For one thing it was larger - take a look:

Yes, this is larger! And they have a LOT in this store. Fabric, sequins, ribbon, embroidery floss/thread, pattern books, Sari "falls", and of course- yarn. This really is a full fledged craft store. Word from Rima is that they are very reasonably priced and won't try to "fleece" you (always love that term in relation to knitting!). We throughly checked out the store and Rima bought a few things.

Now the next store, Surya Emporium, looked to have a better selection of yarn and larger quantities as well. Yes- it is all acrylic- but it did at least look to be decent acrylic and not the really cheap scratchy stuff. They even had some nice looking lace weight here! And of course, crochet thread...
They also had some sequins.. and beads! I like beads. It's all my mom's fault...

We then walked around and looked at some of the fabric stores. Wow. Indian textiles are absolutely gorgeous! Rima showed me some of the nicer stores and all I can say is that I am now contemplating getting a sewing machine. It would be heavenly to work with some of these fabrics. And I did bring some sewing books with me (somehow I had a feeling...)

On the other hand, I can also buy some textile items made by others! And Rima was able to help there as well. Turns out a good friend of hers, Nasir, runs a shop called Zara on Commerical Street that deals in fabrics for curtains, upholstery and the like. They also have a floor of ready made items. They have some of the most drool worthy textiles I have seen here. I was really bummed that I have already had most of the curtains done for the house as the fabrics here are far nicer!!! (I do have one room that still needs drapery though... I think I am going to have to go back there!) Look at some of the silk quilts they have.

The ones draped over the banister/handrail are made out of recycled saris. I LOVE the blue one!

Rima has also blogged about our visit here and and even has some pictures from our delicious lunch. Yes- she was even smart enough to have pictures of us. Somehow I spaced on getting a nice picture of her. Bad blogger. I will though... we are hoping to get together again soon.

Now on to other yarn related things. First, while you may have caught a glimpse of this in my list post I want to chose you a closer look of what I have been knitting:

This is the test knitting project for Cookie I have been working on and all I can say is that it looks to be a really fun pattern! She is currently looking for other test knitters so you can check out her (and Kristi's!) blog for more details if you are interested.

More knitter news... it's almost time for (insert drumroll)

Do you remember this from last year? I do. The late nights, the cramped fingers and sore wrists, the sometimes confusing patterns, the tension and stress as we raced against other knitters sometimes half a world, and perhaps an advantageous time zone away. And you know what? I wouldn't miss it for the world. Sign ups are under way for all who participated last year and will open for new participants on February 15 th. So, what do you think? Have you got the balls? ;)

So I will leave you now with a sunset. My own Saturday Sky. A happy day to you all!

Taken from my rooftop...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ladder Day Saints

Quick post here but check it out! The workers finally arrived to install the lighting fixture in the dining room. So, in the "some things never cease to amaze me" category...

They needed a ladder to reach the equivalent of a two story ceiling:

Yes, that is two ladders, one made out of some type of local wood, the other of bamboo and they have put them together and are holding them in place. So the electrician is getting ready in the above photo and below he heads up the ladder with the fixture in hand while the guys hold the ladder for him.

Here is the brave soul installing the fixture.

Now here I think I need to say something important. When I see things like this I am amused, yes. But I am also amused by our reliance, well obsession really, in the West with safety and technology. This would never be done in the US. But in a way I think that we have robbed ourselves of a lot of creativity. This was an excellent, low cost and quite safe solution to the problem of how to hang this fixture. Yes, I am amused, but I am also impressed.

Next time? Knitting content!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Day in the Life...

Whenever anyone heard that we were going to be moving to India, the inevitable question was, "So what are you going to do?" Well the current answer to that question is:

...sitting at home, going a little stir crazy, spending too many days of my life waiting for electricians, painters, carpenters and the like who have arranged to come to make finishing touches on the house...but they never show.

I have to remember, "tomorrow" just means not today.

Very frustrating.

But, our shipment arrived and ..... (drumroll)... I have my yarn! My fiber! My spinning wheel! Also all of the other necessary things like a blocking board, yarn swift, etc... My swift was damaged in the shipment and now I am a little afraid to check my spinning wheel.

It is starting to feel like a normal house though. We have our stuff. We have TV and I even watched the last quarter of the Super Bowl! That was a pretty awesome quarter to catch. And now, I am able to keep up with all of the Super Tuesday goings on.

The neighborhood here is a fairly nice one by Indian standards. By nice I mean that there are nice houses here. There isn't a lot of greenery like I am used to, but the houses are all fairly large and full of household help and such. I have had a stream of women coming by looking for work and had one woman who wanted to work full time for 3500 rupees/ month (less than $100 USD). I think she was even looking for a "live in" position. But I had already heard about another woman who was looking for a full time position, had experience with another expat family and spoke excellent English (much, much more helpful to me!!!!). So, Lalitha started working on Monday and is a real dear. She can clean far better and much faster than I am able to and I feel like all of the dust and grunge that we have been walking on for the last week is finally starting to get cleared away. Well worth the more than 3500 Rs. we have agreed to pay her.

So, while I am India, charming, exotic locale that it is; the hanging around the house part feels pretty mundane and uninteresting.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

But still, some things are different. For example, some of what I have become aware of by being around the house are the day to day goings on of the neighborhood. We have the lady who comes by in the morning selling little garlands of flowers, the garbage truck comes by at around 10. Wait. I have to tell you about that. Garbage.

So, at home garbage is very organized. You get two large containers. One is black and is for garbage, one is green and is for garden and lawn waste. In addition to that you have containers to put your recycling into. Paper, plastic, cans, styrofoam.... you know. Recycling. Pick up is every Thursday.

So - back to India. I knew that garbage collection was a little different and that for some areas one of the perks of having household help is that they are the ones who have to deposit the garbage somewhere. Now, this being the nice area that it is that doesn't happen around here. Well...yeah. But I finally asked the owner, "So, what about garbage?" She told me to just put it out in a bag - well actually she said a covered bin which after some back and forth I realized that she meant a bin with a plastic bag, but you don't leave the bin out, just the bag. "So, when?" I asked. In the morning was her response. Well, after a few days I realized that she was right. In the morning. Every morning. A little truck (kind of like a Vespa with a large box on back) comes by and collects the trash. On Sunday they came by to collect the fees as well. 50 rupees. (about $1.50 USD) A month. And you know what? I think we are being overharged.

Another person who comes by is the milk delivery man. Now, he comes by early. 6:30 am early. I am not usually real awake then... but he did come by later in the day and ask if we wanted milk delivery. It is done on a token system. So, we bought a little book of tokens and every night I put out a token, in a plastic bag, under a rock (so it doesn't blow away) and in the morning there is a half liter of milk! Pasteurized but not homogenized and some of the best milk I have had. Check out the packaging though...
When I first saw these in the grocery store I was confused as to what they were. Finally we realized- but we stuck to the milk in the boxes. We just couldn't get our heads around how you would deal with milk in a... well, a bag. I have to admit that I am still working on mastering the finer points of how to pour without dribbling. But the real lovely thing about the milk is this...

South Indian Filter Coffee

Friday, February 01, 2008

And the Winner Is....

Well I apparently need to thank Cindy of Cindy Knits and Janice of Knit Flix for also giving me the Make My Day award! I guess it is time for me to name names huh? And I think I am grateful that I have received the award more than once because that means that I can give it to even more people!

The rules are as follows: “Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”

Can I tell you all how hard this is?! I am going to go over 10 since I have received the award more than once, and I am sticking to people who blog on a fairly regular basis... family members excluded from winning :)

So, without further ado and in no real particular order I would like to award:

The Knitist: Have to. It was she who first introduced me to blogs, social knitting and Bobaknit. I cannot imagine my life without those connections. Thank you Jeni!!!!!!! Muah! (I miss you!)

Knitters Anonymous: Cookie and Kristi always have something beautiful and inspiring to share. They are also very good at inspiring much sheep related fun and goodness! Port affectionatos.

Fiber Fiend: Margit is an up and coming designer, fiber and yarn supplier, an inspiring spinner and just an all around fun person!

The Wonderful World of Teenuh: TeeNUH is an awesome friend, a great Bobaknit retreat roommate and an amazing creative person (she makes some really cool paper products as well!!!)

Twisted Stitches: Lisa has taken to writing blog posts to her Grandma who taught her how to knit. I love her style and am glad that she is no longer calling herself a beginning knitter. She is doing some awesome projects and is really inspiring!

Knit-topia: Jill knits on the train and makes some absolutely beautiful things as well. She has been known to inspire a deep appreciation for Port. Not as innocent as she looks ;)

Knit@nite: Ah, Linda. Linda is best shared and enjoyed in person but I think you are able to catch a glimpse of her witty self through her blog as well.

Needles and Niels: Abigail is surrounded by boys and men and keeps her humor by knitting (in non animal fibers!) many cute and creative things. She is never afraid to rip things out, change a pattern or otherwise spit in the face of the knitting gods!

No-Blog Rachel: yeah right. She caved. Not only does she blog, she knits, spins and also enjoys a good port!

Spinnity: Mary is not contrary, she is a wonderful hostess, birder, knitter, spinner and has an incredible wealth of knowledge that she is always willing to share!

Purls Beyond Price
: What can I say, she is beautiful inside and out, has a new baby girl (who is enjoying many beautiful hand knit things!) and is also very good at encouraging stash enhancement!!!

Seltsame: Sheetal can whip out knitted items faster than I can keep track. I still can't figure out how she gets all of her patterns onto her computer, but somehow in doing seems able to alter a pattern at the click of a button.

Phew... can I keep going? There is more, but now I'm going international!

Pikku Kettu: From Finland, she makes some beautiful things and is one of several knitters who I discovered through Sock Madness (Madness 2 is coming!!!!)

Dances With Wool: Also from Finland, Lene is a beautiful writer, an incredible artist in many forms, and always inspires me with her thoughtful creations.

Yarnissima: From the Netherlands. Proof that a picture is worth a thousand words. Her designs speak for themselves. Beautiful.

Celtic Memory Yarns: Jo is from Ireland, is another Sock Madder and is a talented writer and sells some beautiful hand dyed yarns on eBay as well! What a witty woman (and definitely has the Irish gift for the gab!)

Linnkat: Okay, she is another Sock Madness participant as well as an American currently living in Kenya amongst all of the upheaval that is going on there at the moment. Interesting to hear what she sees and observes.

How about a few more? Ready....Okay!

Now we are heading to India. Yes, people blog in India! First we have...

Metroblog Bangalore
: My daughter actually discovered this site for me and I am very grateful that she did. It features a group of authors who post about happenings in and around Bangalore. It really helped me to get a sense for the city before we came. And then there's...

Bangalore Daily Photo
: Rajesh posts a photo a day along with some comments about the subject. Again, this blog has helped me to get to know Bangalore a little better and is much enjoyed.

Bangalooru Banter
: Bikerdude is a talented writer and also seems to have a bit of comedic genius. Now I just need some one to translate the Kannada jokes for me!

Chitra Aiyer: Not only does Chitra share her experiences about returning to India from the US, in proof that the world is indeed quite small, apparently our husbands used to be co-workers and know each other!

Where is She Now
: Thanks to Ravelry I discovered one of the few KNITbloggers in India, Swampna has helped me to feel like I am not the only knitter in India!! (okay, okay, she also crochets!)

Road Blog Ahead: Joy was another Ravelry discovery and leads a life that is fascinating, a bit crazy and definitely inspiring.

And finally...

I Love This World: This site always makes me smile and appreciate something about this crazy world that we live in. Good to read after a bad news day.

Thanks for reading this far. Please check out some of these blogs, I promise you you won't regret it!

Next time I will tell you about our house and our neighborhood!