Catching up

Far be it from me to Click and Run, so instead I am updating you on all the fantastic late-summer happenings in my life. But let's get some formalities out of the way first.

My judge's entry to Click: Allium

There! That's done!

The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy. I now have a middle schooler who shows signs of more and more belligerence intelligence and humor with each passing day. I wake up earlier than usual even though middle school starts half an hour later than elementary school, just so that I can get on my bike and attempt to keep up with a bunch of kids racing each other to school.

Hey! Wait for me!

As much as I dislike downhill skiing, I love coasting downhill on a bike. I thought I was getting my daily exercise until a bike aficianado told me downhill does not count, at which 2.5 miles of my 5 mile route developed wings and dissipated. The route back home is mostly uphill and I am ready to burst several blood vessels by the time I crawl back up the slope to my home. Neighbors walking their dogs shout out terms of encouragement as they pass me by - in the same direction.

The end of summer vacation meant that I had to get off my butt and Make a Psychedelic Wish Happen. We painted Medha's room: Lemon Zest, Lime Pop, Orange Peel and Ariel's Afternoon Swim (an ocean blue). Yes, each wall a different color. Take my advice and never give in to such a wish. And if you do, ask the following questions when you're buying paint:
  1. Does this paint need a primer?
  2. Dude, does this paint need a primer?
  3. Has this paint can been through the shaker? Did you open it to confirm that it did?
  4. And seriously, man, does this paint need a primer?

If you don't ask, you might go home with unshaken paint and worse still, no primer. It could mean up to four coats of paint for reds, blues, yellows and greens.

Then make sure you:
  1. Buy one roller nap per paint color.
  2. Buy plastic disposable covers for your paint tray.
  3. Buy a thick nap (3/4in) if you have knockdown or any other type of texture on your walls, disregarding the Home Depot guy's question: What rough texture are you painting? Your deck?
  4. Buy at least one wall brush, a small brush and a foam brush. If you get one of each per color, you don't waste water washing the paint off.
  5. Also, buy paint thinner / lacquer to wash off paint residue from the naps and brushes.
  6. Buy plastic to cover your floors. If you have wood floors, it helps to get the kind that is not smooth. Yes, I've gone on a nice ride as the stepping stool I was standing on slipped all over the room. 
And, while you wait for the paint to dry between coats, store the brushes and naps in air-tight baggies. The plastic bags that breads come in are ideal. You save gallons of water this way even though you create more waste in the landfill. It's a tough balance, according to me.



The corners, my friends, were my worst nightmare. So I cocked my snoot at them and they are what they are: messy with colors bleeding into one another and parts of the orange-blue confluence only have orange primer.

But you know what? She's happy. Very happy. My back, on the other hand? Not very.

Ganesh Chaturthi this year was very low key. I did not make chavde for the birthday girl, my sister, as planned. But get this: her birthday according to the Gregorian calendar was on the same day as Ganesh Chaturthi, the day she was born according to the lunar Hindu calendar. I've asked what the chances of that are but so far, no one seems to want to take me up on figuring that out. We were treated to a handmade Ganesh at the first Boulder Balvihar of the 2009-2010 school year. The idol was made using regular sifted soil, some wood for a make-shift frame, a coconut shell, fuse beads, yarn and other readily available knick-knacks lying around the house.

Later that week, I had the finest women in the Colorado Front Range come over for an Indian Street food party. I must say this post is chockful of tips because here comes another one: it helps to know where you kept the best Kashmiri chilli powder ever because if you can't find it, you will end up using a new batch of extra spicy red chilli powder. And, you might even add it twice. Like I did.

The pav bhaji was so spicy that even after adding an equal amount of veggies and mashed potatoes to that already in the pot, it still packed quite a kick. Since this took up so much of my time, I didn't get a chance to make homemade papdi and used Tostitos Scoops instead.

As if these were not disasters enough, my bebinca - a traditional Goan dessert - failed miserably. Jen saved the dessert by arriving with chocolate macarons, lemon ice cream and Vietnamese coffee ice cream. Do you know just how lucky we are? I do.

The ladies seem to have survived the spices and have returned to leading a normal eventful life, as is the case in Boulder County. Never a dull moment.

As if I did not have enough to do, I joined a Book Group organized by our school district's Parent Engagement Network at which we will be discussing Sue Blaney's Please Stop the Rollercoaster. I don't have any set expectations or a defined outcome in mind but what I do know is that the parents in my group are some of the brightest minds around. I took espresso chocolate chip shortbread cookies and coffee to the first meeting that I had organized yesterday.

Bru that cookie!

Yes, I used Bru and they were a bounce-off-the-wall hit. If you haven't made these or eaten these, make it your project for this weekend. It's hard to stop eating them so I sent some over to my neighbors and then handed the rest to a friend who dropped by later in the evening. What are those half-spherical things in the other bowl, I hear you ask. Hold your horses! That story is next.

Marc Brownlow of Figs with Bri has been on a road trip to Zion, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. He was in Denver for a couple of days and we met for happy hour tapas at The Med in Boulder. I drove like the wind from my meeting with precise instructions on where to park sent over texts by Jen "plenty of parking on Walnut heading west." Walnut. Right. No! Left, left. Walnut is one-way along some stretches. West? Gulp! Where are the mountains? Ok, that's west. She was right! Lots of parking! That is usually my worst nightmare, after trying to figure out which direction I am going in, of course.

Rock star Jen with her pink sunglasses

Marc and Brian

Tapas: melon wrapped in bacon. Mmmmm!

Taking Cynthe's advice, I made nankatai for Marc. I made them smaller than normal so that they are easier to eat on the road. Jen said she loved them!

Life's been full and brimming over but it's been good. If all works out, there will be more delicious food in my future: dosas at Masalaa in Denver with Kitt, Dana and Jen.

Have a great long weekend, peeps!

PS Shilpa has posted the round-up for Purplicious. And, Orange you glad it's a new color!


Jen Yu said...

You are so much fun :) I can't tell you what a delight it is to have you in my life. xxoo

Shammi said...

And in this entire delightful post, the one thing that caught my attention and kept it - coffee ice cream. Vietnamese coffee ice cream? I WANT (to try it)!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

That's quite an eventful and fun summer you've had.
I saw those coffee cookies mentioned on Twitter and I'm going to make them.

arundati said...

this is a kickass post... love the colours in medha's sure it was worth the backbreaking work... am making the cookies today.

Srivalli said...

Oh my..this sure has so much! have been bussy!...:)

TKW said...

Hey gorgeous! LOVED all of your food, spicy included!

Soma said...

& I thought i was busy:-) (well i was)

That room is gorgeous!! manisha I love the colors in CAPITALS!! I know the back part, but it will go away, but the colors & her joys are here to stay. In our previous home we had painted castles & tinker bell on the walls of our toddlers room & that was the most difficult part to leave behind when we sold that house..

The BRU cookies look good!


indosungod said...

Manisha, Best of Luck to your new Middle Schooler. You know what the MS here starts an hour earlier than ES and HS 1/2 hour earlier than MS. We have it all backwards. I always knew Coloradons were smart but this just confirms it. Every county around here starts a petition to move the timings back and get nowhere.

bee said...

you know how tyo make bebinca? you've tried to make bebinca? you've dared to make bebinca? holy crap. that's something.

love medha's room.

Anita said...

Girl, your life's a party! With a lot of great food! You will nedd to do that bike ride twice a day methinks... :D
I thought you were kidding when you said you were going to make bebinca!
I am so going to make those coffee cookies - chocolate and coffee are great flavours, and together they are just irresistible! Will just have to use chopped up chocolate for the mini-chips.

Nirmala said...

Huh! too much in a single post. I would have made a 100 with all these info! Looks like your are flying all the time Manisha. I am in love with the Vietnamese coffee ice cream. Need to try that. I once read a posicle with that. That would be fantastic. The cookies were really rocking and With Bru it shud be great to make some. Medha's rooms is delightfully summery with those bright colors and hats off for your hard work dear! oh sorry pat on your back to sooth your pain. Take care. Oh I forgot...that allium pic is stunning.

Poornima said...

Loved the room and the post and the cookies.Shall I keep going?!

Bong Mom said...

Ooooooooh love Medha's room

Miri said...

What lovely colours - am sure your daughter loves her room now! May even tone down some of that bellige...sorry intelligence :)

And you made bebinca (okay tried) ???? - :bowing down:


Unknown said...

I have been here a couple of times and i just love ur blog.. u write very well.. and i loved Medha's room..u have done a gr8 job Manisha..
U know, for this past long weekend, we had been to Denver (i stay in NJ) and we drove past Louiseville and Boulder and i remembered u and Medha..
U r right.. there will never be a dull moment in Colorado.. Its just so beautiful..RMNP is so vast..
We enjoyed our 3 days trip a lot and we absolutely loved the Royal Rush Skycoaster at Royal Gorge.. we still smile thinking abt it.. Have u experienced that?