Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crossstitch Craziness

CrossStitch: Always takes huge time to finish one project. All my friends who love crafts always avoid cross stich. According to them it is really tough to keep patience for a long time. Also, there question is, how can I keep patience? I don't know the answer. I just love to do it.

Sonoma wine tour

One day, before my parents came to stay with us, my husband asked me where I wanted to make trips with my parents. I was very skeptical, about their health, as they were aged people and coming from India to the USA. Suddenly, one day my husband got a good deal of Sonoma tour. He sought my opinion whether accept the deal or not. After a little thought, I asked him to accept that. I thought that, if they denied to go there, we would go twice. Anyway after they spent some days, I asked them. When both of them agreed with us, we decided to go there on one Saturday.
The tour was scheduled to start at 8 o’clock in the morning from SFO, which was far from our home. So, we woke up very early in the morning to prepare for the day. Our plan was to start from home at 7 in the morning. We started around 7 o’clock and we reached SFO at quarter to eight. Everything was fine. The weather in SFO was little bit foggy, which was very normal for the foggy city. Our journey started from Ferry Building, SFO. I was very happy, when our bus crossed Golden Gate Bridge, which was fortunately clear and they could see the bridge. The famous landmark of SFO was the dream of every tourist to see in their own eye, my parents were lucky to cross the bridge and got the full view of it. The vibrant lash greenery of Sonoma welcomed us. First we went to Loxton Wineries.
Wine Barrels in Loxton wineries

 My husband was very happy to taste six different kinds of wines. Our tour guide who was a very friendly person offered us different kinds of cheese and chocolates which could be best possible with wines. . I tasted 2 types, and then I didn’t like to taste more .So, I sat outside the winery with my son and parents. From there we went to Landmark winery.
Landmark winiries
Landmark wineries

I didn’t want to taste more. My mother and I went through the winery which was beautifully decorated. The bright colored full bloomed flowers added beauty on the sunny day. My mother, who loves gardening, admired the skillfully decorated garden. Our tour guide this provided a special kind of beard with olive oil to eat with wine. The bread was very tasty. Then our bus took us to a restaurant area for lunch. However, we carried our lunch with us. So, we wanted to sit somewhere. Also, we were searching an area where my parents could rest and enjoy. Our tour guide showed us the historical Sonoma Barrack, which was converted in a museum. We bought two tickets for them to see the historical movie about Sonoma. My mother enjoyed the movie a lot. Sonoma, previously known as Solano had a rich history. The area ruled by different country at different times. The county was the natural habitats of Pomo, Miwok and Wappo tribes of natives Indians. Spaniards, Russians, and other Europeans claimed and settled in the county from the late 16th to mid-19th century, seeking timber, fur, and farmland. The Mission San Francisco Solano, founded in 1823 as the last and northernmost of 21 California missions, is in the present City of Sonoma, at the northern end of El Camino Real. Sonoma Barracks (part of Spain's Fourth Military District), was established in 1836 by Commandant General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. His duties was keeping an eye on the Russian traders at Fort Ross, secularizing the Mission, maintaining cooperation with the Native Americans of the entire region, and sharing out the lands for large estates and ranches. Sonoma became part of America in 1846 after Mexican American war. Anyway, after my parents sat in the Historical Sonoma Barrack, my husband, son and I went to have lunch at a park opposite to the road. After lunch we headed to Robledo winery. My parents didn’t want to go to the winery, so, we three went there. The owner told us an interesting story about their ranch. His father came from Mexico at the age of 16 to work in the wineries in Sonoma. Currently they were owner of 400 acre of land. It was an amazing story of a penniless to billionaire man. That was the end our tour. Our bus took us to SFO again. And we reached home at 7 in the evening. Though my parents didn’t enjoy the wine tasting, but they enjoyed the beauty of Sonoma and its past history.
San Francisco De Solano, the last mission of the mission trail

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beautiful 17 miles drives

I heard about 17 miles drive for a long time. We decided many times to visit the place, but that was never materialized. When my parents came to my place to stay for some days, we decided to visit that place. On one Saturday afternoon we planned to visit. We had lunch at McDonalds at Gilroy shopping mall. I wanted to show my parents the mall, but we didn’t have time. Our journey started through the dry roads of Gilroy, which was famous for garlic plantations. My parents were very amazed by the fact that how crops had grown in such a dry barren land. Anyway, it was an 80 miles drive from our home. After crossing Gilroy, when we entered the freeway 1 we could see Pacific Ocean on our right hand side. I showed that to my parents with great enthusiasm. They also thrilled when they saw Pacific in their own eye. It was like dream came true for them.
Pebble Beach Golf course

We had to pay a fee, as it was a toll road. After entering through Pacific Grove gate, we discovered that, the 17 mile drive, was a wonderful and scenic drive with beautiful views through Del Monte Forest. 17 miles drive was famous long before the automobile became the way of life. It was navigated by horse drawn carriage.

The drive was a loop, we tried to stop almost every point and take photos. It was a wonderful day with pale blue sky and the road brought us in sight of the rolling mist, the cooling fog coming off Monterey Bay, and mountains covered with fog. It was really amazing that the weather was totally different within 30 miles. At Gilroy it was really hot with burning sun, compared to foggy and cold weather at 17 miles drive. Anyway, after entering there we directly went to Poppy Hill golf Course. We spent few minutes there, because we had nothing to do there. However, the golf course was so beautiful, that I personally wanted to spend lots of time there, but our time didn’t allow us to that. We decided to not to get out from the car at any golf course, as we had nothing to do there. From there we started our journey again and reached at Pebble Beach Golf course, but we didn’t get out from car there. We started from there and stopped at Ghost Tree point. The Ghost Tree was an old Cypress Tree that after many years of damage by the wind and sea-water now looked as a silhouette of a ghost; behind The Ghost Tree, a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean came to our sight. When we started for the next point I told my husband that, he didn’t take the photo of The Ghost tree point. For me he went back and took a photo. The next point was The Lone Cypress .The official symbol of Pebble Beach; the lone Cyprus Tree which was a two hundred years of old tree that stood alone on top of rocks with made an awesome view of The Pacific Ocean behind it. The Lone Cypress tree was the landmark 16 on the official 17 Mile Drive Map. This was the icon of the Pebble Beach Company for nearly a century. The world-famous, The Lone Cypress Tree was the only living entity to be trademarked.  Next we headed towards Fanshell Overlook. Though Fanshell Overlook was famous for its small white sandy beach, scenic coastal overlook, and crashing waves, but we didn’t stop there and went directly to Seal Rock Picnic Area. Fanshell Overlook remained Close during harbor seal pupping season April 1-June 1. After getting out of the car at Seal Rock, we could get a spectacular view of resting seals from there. We have never seen seals outside zoos. It was an amazing experience to watch the seals in their natural habitat. The place was too cold there, windy, and foggy to stand there for long. One big seal showed up his face for a longtime, as if it showed his face for the tourists to take a photo. On the opposite of Seal Rock was Spyglass Hill Golf Course.

SpyGlass Hill Golf course

Bird Rock
The golf course became more scenic when some deer appeared suddenly there in the foggy weather. Then we headed towards Bird Rock, the landmark was the home of countless shorebirds and groups of harbor seals and sea lions. When we saw them from our car it was an amazing view, but when got out of car, our ecstasy converted into a horrible experience by the filthy smell of birds.
 We spent very little time there. By the time, as the weather started getting colder, everybody wanted to go back home. So, we didn’t stop at other points, and directly stopped at Huckleberry hills, because I wanted to stop there. Huckleberry Hills named for the abundance of native bushes, which was one of the highest elevation in the forest. That was an enthralling experience when we found ourselves in the dense bushes with cloud moving surrounded us. However the chilled weather abided us to stay there for a long. Then we stopped at Shepherd’s Knoll which was the vista point gave a grand view Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz mountain. That was the end of our day. We thought that we would eat something at Gilroy Shopping outlet. However, at the end we abandoned that plan and came back home.

Huckleberry Hills

Monday, November 7, 2011


Suddenly one morning I felt that I needed to change in my eating habit. I thought to add some extra healthy items. I put the proposal of eating salad to my hubby, but, he dampened my spirit within a moment. So, I decided to very, very healthy salads in my lunch. I felt very happy after introducing this change in my eating habit.
I’m sharing some of the recipes of salads
Avocado-Sprout salad:
Avocado is a vitamin reached food help to control cholesterol. When both avocado and sprouts are already tasty, then there is no need to add any spice to make it tasty.
avocado 1
tomato 1
sprouts 1/2 cup
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper powder

Method: Slice the avocado and tomato. Mix all the ingredients. If you like , you can mix one tsp. of olive oil.

Sprout salad:

sprouts 1/2 cup
carrot 1/2 ( If you are using baby carrots, then you can put 4-5 pieces)
tomato 1
cucumber 1
salt to taste
lime juice 1 tsp.
pepper powder one pinch
 Method: Cut the carrot, tomato, cucumber into small pieces. Mix all the ingredients well.

Carrot-Beet Salad:
 Though the taste is very, very bad, still I eat this salad, just because it is healthy. In the middle of my lunch, sometimes I feel like throwing the plate. However, that very moment I tell myself to eat it, to get a good health.
Carrot 1/2
Beet 1/2
Cucumber 1
Tomato 1
Sprout 1 tbsp.
Salt to taste
Pepper powder 1/4 tsp.

Method: Cut carrot, beet cucumber, tomato into small pieces and mix all the ingredients. You can mix one tsp. olive oil also.

Onion-sprout salad:

This is my most favourite salad.

Cucumber 1
avocado 1
chopped onion 1 tbsp.
sprout 1/2 cup
salt to taste
 lime juice 1 tsp.
pepper powder one pich.

Method:  Cut cucumber, avocado into small pieces. Mix all the ingerdients well.

Hope by these recipes I can help my friend who are trying reduce fat and try to be healthy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pujo 2011

Durga puja, the ceremonial worship of the Ma Durga (mother goddess), is the main festivals of the Bengalis. The festival is observed for six days mainly, as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Bijoya Dashami. The dates of the Puja are set according to the traditional Bengali calendar. The fortnight corresponding to the festival is called Devi Paksha (‘Fortnight of the Goddess’). Devi Paksha. The previous fortnight is called Pitri Paksha(‘ Fortnight of the Forefathers’). Mahalaya is the last day of Pitri Paksha. These days are celebrated with high spirit and grandeur in India and abroad, especially in Bengal. On that day Bengalis pay homage to their forefathers. Devi Durga, the ten-armed goddess riding on a lion is worshipped passionately with great devotion.
Birth of Durga:
We celebrate those six days with great enthusiasm, but few of us know the Mythological fact behind it. According to Hindu Mythology, in the ancient times, a demon called 'Mahishasura' (demon in disguise of Buffalo) earned the favor of 'Lord Brahma' through prolonged meditation severe austerity. Pleased by his devotion, the lord blessed him with a boon that no man or Deity could kill him. Armed with this power, Mahishasura started his reign over the Earth and Heaven by killing people mercilessly and assaulting gods. Lastly, a strong army of demons, led by the king Mahishasura captured the abode of the Deities by defeating the king of gods, Indra. Then, Mahishasura took over the throne of heaven. All the gods were driven out of the heaven. After their ignominious defeat they went to the Supreme Gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to save themselves and the people on the world.
The rampage by the demons enraged the Supreme Gods. Their faces were flushed with anger. All the three worlds: the heaven, the earth, and the nether-world were illuminated by that light of flames and thunderbolts. From that energy of fire a shape of a young woman appeared. Her face was created from the light of Shiva. Her ten arms were from Lord Vishnu. Her legs were created by Lord Brahma. All the gods gifted her different kind of weapons. Equipped with all these weapons she set off, seated upon a lion. His thunderous roars shook the three worlds. Oceans swelled up and broke over the land, touching the sky. A whole new chains of mountains rose through the continents, while older ranges crumbled, cracked, and gave way to dust in a thousand landslides. Seeing these momentous and violent events through all the three worlds, Mahishasura and his demon allies turned their attention from heaven to Earth. Fierce battle was fought. Through magical spell Mahishasura kept changing his shape and form from one to another to puzzle the Devi. Finally the Goddess beheaded the buffalo and from it emerged Mahishasura in his original form. Durga pierced his chest with the trident, and relieved the world from the evil power.
The gods returned to heaven, they praised the Goddess Durga by showering floral compliments. Since then, Goddess Durga is worshipped by all the gods in heaven, and all human beings on earth.
According to Puranas (the epics), King Suratha, used to worship the goddess Durga in spring. Thus Durga Puja was also known as Basanti Puja (Basanta being spring). Though the vernal worship of Durga still goes on, it is the Ram's Akalbodhan during the autumn that came to be a most widely accepted practice.
Durga Puja Mythology: Rama's 'Akal Bodhan' ('untimely awakening of Durga')
Durga Puja is celebrated every year in the Bengali month of Ashwin (September-October) which known as Akal Bodhan. According to Ramayana (A great Epic) Prince Rama's invocated the goddess before going to war with the demon king Ravana to rescue his wife Sita, who kept her captive. This autumnal ritual was different from the conventional Durga Puja, which is usually celebrated in the spring-time. So, this Puja is also known as 'akal-bodhan' or untimely worship of the goddess. Thus goes the story of Lord Rama, who first worshipped the 'Mahishasura Mardini' or the slayer of the buffalo-demon, by offering 108 blue lotuses and lighting 108 lamps, at this time of the year. Ravana was cremated on Dashami. This is why Dashera is celebrated in India with so much of fanfare and the effigy of Raavana is burnt.

The 'Baro-Yaari' Puja and Beginning of Mass Celebration
Long ago, the puja was performed only by the Rajas and Zaminders. The community puja first started by twelve friends of Guptipara in Hoogly, West Bengal, who collaborated and collected contributions from local residents to conduct the first community puja called the 'baro-yaari' puja or the 'twelve-pal' puja in 1790.  Since then mass celebration of the puja has been started.

We, Bengalis see Devi Durga as mother (Maa), who has divine power against all evil. To us, mother comes to her maternal home from in-laws home. This autumnal festival is popularly known as Sharodotsav. On the tenth day she goes back to her in-laws home in Kailas. Maa comes on the earth to bless all her sons and daughters; we worship her to seek her blessings. This event has a significant presence in Bengali life. Numerous poetries, novels, and short stories have been written based on this festival. Modern traditions have come to include the display of decorated pandals and artistically depicted idols (murti) of Durga, publication of Puja Annual magazines and exchange of Vijaya greetings. Durga Puja is an occasion when the familiar sound of Dhak( a special kind of drum), Dhunuchi nachh( dance with a special earthen pot made for puja) , the mild fragrance of Shiuli(night jasmine), gives a familiar attraction to every Bengali heart.  Dressed in attires of latest fashion, hopping from pandal to pandal, and having many kind of delicious food at home and in the restaurant are the main activities of the people. Bengalis all over the world wait through-out the year for these four days. To us it is not only a festival; it’s the time of reunion with near and dear ones. Parents wait to see their sons and daughter who live far away from home. It’s the time to come home. It’s time to get the mild fragrance of shiuli at dawn in the little cold. It’s time to walk on the dew-drenched grass in the morning. It’s time to have food cooked by mother at home. However, everybody is not lucky to go home at this time. Our present life, demanding job, and children’s education bar us to go home. So, the Bengalis who live on the other parts of world use to perform the pujas at the places where they live. Even in the USA and Europe, and in the Far East Bengalis try to celebrate this occasion, though they cannot perform the puja according to the Bengali calendar. For the convenience, in the USA, Bengalis perform the puja in the weekends in the autumn season.   
I saw the last Durga puja in Calcutta in the year of 2003. It had been eight long years I couldn’t stay at home with my parents during this time.  Unlike other Bengalis I love to stay at home to spend time with parents instead of pandal-hopping. Durga puja always reminds me, my childhood. I always miss the sweet cold breeze of the early dawn, the mild fragrance of shiuli (night jasmine) from the tree in front of our house, the festival magazines and the Puja vacation of school and college. My father was not that much wealthy to provide us very nice expensive dresses. However, whatever dresses my parents used to present us were stitched by themselves.  We sisters, especially I, sometimes didn’t like the dresses they stitched for us. Unfortunately, at that time we were too young to understand the love and affection.  Those days were gone and won’t be back.
'Prabasi' puja

This year was the fourth year I spent puja-time in the USA. I was not very enthusiastic about puja this time. Somehow I felt that I lost my all energy to celebrate the time. On the top of that, I couldn’t wear my contact lenses and my granny like specs discouraged me to deck-up for the puja. My husband also didn’t show any enthusiasm this time. I knew that he was missing the puja in Calcutta. I decided to celebrate this puja by cooking some delicious dishes at home, and I knew that my foodie hubby was going to like that. Anyway, we went to Foster City Saturday evening on 1st October to attend ‘Bay-Basi’ puja. There my husband found some of his old pals and we had a good time. Next day we went to ‘Paschimi’ Puja at Fremont. When we reached there, the friends of my husband told that, the food-stalls were not ready, so they were going to a restaurant near-by. We didn’t go there; because I already cooked in the morning .Bengalis are extremely foodies. Whenever few Bengalis talk, the main topic of the conversation surely will be food. There is no Bengali festival with any special food. Different festivals are associated with different kind of food. When Durga puja is the main festival, then it is associated with many delicious dishes.  Though there are some special dishes for the four days, in modern days all kind of dishes all over the world become associated with the festival. Anyway, as the next day was Monday, so, we didn’t go to the puja at Paschimi. I wanted to go in the morning on Tuesday, because that day was the Ashtami(eighth day of the puja), but my husband was not interested go , and I also didn’t tell him my desire. That evening it started down pouring, so it was out of question to go. Wednesday, my husband decided to go at Paschimi puja. His friends told that they would come, if there was no rain on the evening. It was extremely cold. So, I decided not to wear sari, which I love to wear in any festival. We spent some times there, chatting with each other and decided to go again on Friday for Sindur Khela. Sindur (vermilion) Khela(play) is an important part of the festival. On the last day of the puja the married ladies put sindur on Ma durga’s forehead head and then put sindur on each other. This year I didn’t to take part in Sinder-Khela, but my friends put vermilion on my forehead.  Again on Saturday we went to another community Puja at Hayward. The community is known as ‘Prabasi’ which is the oldest Durga Puja in the Bay Area. They performed the puja on Saturday and Sunday. We went there Saturday afternoon and spent some times. We also wanted to go Sunday afternoon, but I was not feeling good. So, we decided to go in the evening. After spending the evening there we went to have dinner in Fremont with some of my husband’s friends.

We enjoyed those days with friends. Sometimes I felt sad, that we couldn’t enjoy with our family back home. When I think that they also missed us during the time of the main festival, I felt an uneasiness in my mind. A fear of loss loomed over me. I felt that something I missed my life which would never be back.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lemon cup cakes

I never baked any cupcakes, but I wanted to do that always. So, one day when I went to Dollar shop I bought one cupcake-baking tray. After using that I found that very helpful. With that I can make small cakes which serve as very good snacks item. Whenever my little one wants have a cake I bake within no time. Its take very small amount of time, because ingredients are of very small amount.
Here the recipe:
4 tbsp. of flours
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. of vanilla essence
2 tbsp. of sugar
1 tbsp. of oil (I use olive oil)
Pinch of salt
Enough milk to make a medium thick batter
Maximum time of bake:  ½ hour (depending on the power of the oven)
1tsp. of lemon jest
Lemon Jest: Great the peel of a yellow lemon to get 1 tsp. of jest.
Take the egg and separate the yolk and the white part into two separate bowl. Whisk thoroughly the egg-white, sugar and salt into a smooth batter. Whisk the yellow part separately. Now mix all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add milk time to time to make a medium thick batter. Now grease each of the scoops of the tray and sprinkle small amount of flour into it. Pour 2 tbsp. of the batter into each of the scoops. Bake for 15 minutes and check with a fork or knife by putting in the middle of each cake. If the knife doesn’t come out smooth then bake the cakes depending on the condition. May be it can take another 10 minutes to bake fully.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unforgettable times with parents

Living in another country far away for from homeland is not very easy. Once, it was a dream to me to come to the United States. Four years before, I got the opportunity. I came here after my marriage. I was very excited to see the country. However, when I have started living here, I realized the pain of living in another country, far away from my homeland, and separated from dear ones. Anyway, when my parents showed interest to come to the USA, I readily agreed. However, at that time we couldn’t apply for visitors’ visa for my parents due to some reasons. After everything became alright, we decided to bring my parents here. I was very much tensed, because they are aged people. Though I agreed with them, I was in dilemma whether I took the right decision. When we were going to the airport to receive them I so tensed that I started shouting to my little son for no reason. My husband understood the problem and he asked me the cause of my tension. At that time my brain was not working at all, I was only thinking that if I saw them in bad health, what I could do then. My tension mounted up when they didn’t come outside after an hour. My husband and I requested wheel-chair assistance for both of them, because of their age, moreover my father has problem in his right leg. We knew that any person with wheel-chair assistance was always cleared first by customs at the airport. It was already more than one hour their flight arrived, but didn’t come. At the moment my husband went to the enquiry booth of the concerned airlines, I saw them coming. To my huge relief I saw them in good health. After two long years we met each other. It was an amazing feeling to all of us. Still I was concerned about their health for the forthcoming days. I was more concerned about my mother’s health than my father. However, the fact was that, my mother was almost normal, but my father suffered badly from jet-lag. When he reached home he felt dizzy and fell from the stairs near our home. Fortunately, he didn’t suffer from any kind of injury.
As the days passed by, they accustomed themselves with the new environment here. My mother was happy to get chance to spend time with her grandson. They played a lot together. She last saw her grandson when he was just a 6 months old. It was really amazing that my shy and introvert son became close with my mother within no-time. It’s very true that children always love to spend time with their grandparents, because only the grand-parents can act as of the same age of their grandchildren. Both of them had a very good time together. My father used to pull his leg, and my son used to get angry on my father. The little one used to show his anger on his grandpa by biting him. Two of them always had a good fight. That was also enjoyable to me. My father felt a little bore, because he couldn’t do his usual jobs at home, like doing grocery or going to the bank. However, my mother didn’t feel bore, rather she didn’t get time to relax. She was there to meet my son’s and my demands. I wanted to chat with her, but my son wanted to her to be his play-mate. I used get angry on my son, and he used scream at me.
Before my parents came here, my little son used to go to a day-care for three days a week, so I could freely do any jobs at that time.  My husband and I decided not to send him to the day-care anymore, when my parents came here. We wanted him to spend time with his grandparents. However, our fear was that, he couldn’t stay with them, without any of his own parents.  At that time I was attending one course, for that I used to go on Monday and Wednesday. My husband asked me to keep him with my parents one day to watch his reaction without us. So, one Sunday evening my husband and I left him with my parents, and went to market. What happened next was beyond to our imagination. My son didn’t cry for a moment, he simply forgot us and gladly stayed with my parents. From that day I understood that I could go out freely. So, I had no problem in attending my classes.
After arriving here they didn’t face any health problem, especially, my mother who has acute digestion problem. She is always afraid of eating anything apart from the routine food. I thought that, when they had no health problem, why wouldn’t treat them with some different dishes which they didn’t even dare to taste before? First, I baked pizza one night. I was very satisfied when both of them enjoyed it a lot. On the next they day didn’t have any health issue. That raised my confidence level. I had been started cooking different kind of dished from different country till the last day they were with us.
They stayed with us for one and a half month, which seemed very short time to us. Still I cannot understand how quickly that time passed by. Before they came I thought that, I could get enough time to spend with them. As the time of their departure was coming near I felt that, one and half months were very short. Within no time the last day came. It was very painful to say good-bye. Just after they departed all the inauspicious thoughts came into my mind. If it was possible I could have run to them. I wish I could become a little girl again. If I could become a little girl again, I could have spent the time with them what I’m missing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cardboard photo frame

Photos always play an important role to decorate home. At least I love to do that. However, it is very expensive to buy exclusive photo frames. Also custom framing is out of questions. So, I decided to create photo frames out of cardboard boxes, of which I’ve a copious supply at my home, thanks to all carton boxe.  Moreover, I can make frames in any shapes. From this thought I started working on cardboard frames. I already created six frames and still working on the same. I use different kinds of card boards.
Before creating the frames I like to share some information about card boards
Mainly three different kinds of cardboard we can see in our daily life.
Graphic Cardboard: This type of cardboard is used for hardback book covers, three-ring binders and puzzles. This cardboard is made to be firm and remain flat. This card board is very hard to cut by normal scissors, so I don’t use this.
Carton Board: Is also called boxboard, this board is thin and has a smooth coating on one side. This smooth side can be used for gluing printed paper or foil to the cardboard or it can be printed. Carton board is used for boxes made to pack items like cosmetics, cereals, video games etc. this type of board is easy to cut, and I use it extensively in my work.
Corrugated Cardboard: Corrugated cardboard has corrugators to create the s-curves between two pieces of carton board. This kind of board I also use, but it’s really painful to cut this board with scissors.
First you choose the card board. According to me carton boxes are the best for this purpose.
Step one: Choose the card board and give it desired shape. If you are using carton board then you need three same shaped pieces. If you are using corrugated card board, you need two same shaped pieces.

Step two:
a)      Carton board:
If you are using carton board then in the middle of the two cut out pieces draw the desired size of your photo with pen or pencil. Then cut the marked area to make the pieces as shown below. Keep one piece aside. These two pieces are used for making the front-side of the frame.

If you have corrugated card board then cut some small pieces from that. Don’t worry if you don’t have. Take some newspapers cut into small pieces and then fold them into thick small strips. Then glue them on the sides of one piece. Then put glue on the strips and stick another piece which was kept aside. Now cut small newspaper strips, glued them and cover the whole front side of the frame.
b)      Corrugated board:
If you are using this kind of board then in the middle of the board draw the desire size of the photo and cut the portion out.
Step three:
If you have clear plastic sheet (I usually cut out these kinds of sheets from cartons of son’s toys) then cut it into desire size and glued it on the back of the front side. Otherwise you can keep without attaching anything.
Again take some small pieces of corrugated board or thick newspapers strip as above and glued them one the back of the front of the frame, leaving one side.

Step four:
Decorate it as per your desire.
Step five:
Take a piece of carton board same size of the front side or slightly smaller if you need. Sometimes it is needed to make the back-side little smaller because of the shape of the front-side. Cover the piece with nice paper and glued it to the back of the front-side. The photo frame is ready to hang on the wall.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Gorgeous Lake Tahoe

It was our long pending vacation. In 2010, once we planned to go there, but for some reason we abandoned that plan. After coming back from NYC, my husband suddenly suggested going to visit Late Tahoe, which was the largest alpine lake in North America. I readily agreed with him. In the last weekend of June we set out for the lake. Our plan was not to spend much money on accommodation, so we booked an economic hotel. Though we wanted to start around three in the afternoon to avoid the traffic, but we failed to do that. Actually, I’ve too many jobs to finish in the morning, from packing to getting the rental car. For that reason I couldn’t make it according to our plan.  Anyway, we started around half past three, and as usual we caught on the traffic. It took a long time to reach Sacramento.  We wanted to cross El Dorado forest before sunset. We simply put the idea out of our mind when it was already half past five near Sacramento. On contrary to that we could cross maximum parts of the forest in daylight, thanks to long daytime. We got clear road as soon as we crossed Sacramento. Then our journey started through the dense jungle of El Dorado forest. My husband didn’t want to take risk of driving fast on the unknown narrow mountain road. With American river on the right side of the road, slow driving was rather better that fast, as we could see the real beauty of the forest. Sometimes, we could hear the sound of the gushing sound of the river water from uphill, and sometimes on the same level, and that was a thrilling experience. It reminded me my first experience of a roaring mountain river in Yosemite. We were still in the forest when the sun already started setting down. In the tender orange color of the sun, the dark jungle was looking very appealing. We were little tensed as it was becoming dark quickly. Anyway, we had been chatting, while my husband was driving. Suddenly my husband shouted, “Look, look”.
Mystical sunset from distant

I couldn’t understand and I was searching what to see. Then he told me to see on my right side. When I turned my head on my right I became completely speechless. The captivating view of the pale rose colored lake from the distance in the golden light of the setting dun was one of the memorable moments in our trip. We crossed so many small waterfalls on our way, which were our added pleasure. We wanted to stop at Bridal-Veil Waterfalls, but, it was already near dark, so we didn’t want to spend more time there. My husband suggested that we would stop there on our way back, but I knew that was not going to happen. Anyway when we reached our hotel, it was eight o’clock in the evening.
The next day our plan was to make a trip around Lake Tahoe. We had our breakfast in the hotel and set out at eight o’clock in the morning. On our way, first we saw the trailhead of Fallen Leaf Lake. My husband wanted to go there. We didn’t know how far would be the lake from main road. He started driving, according to the direction. The path was narrow enough for a single vehicle. Furthermore, the path was extremely uneven and full of pebbles. There was no option of taking ‘U’ turn, but to go straight. As we proceeded we found that the road was divided into two directions. Incidentally, my husband took the wrong direction. After moving a little we understood our fault. To crosscheck that, my husband asked me to check the sign board backward. I found that we were in wrong direction. It was a big challenge for my husband to drive the car in backward direction and to come onto the right path. My husband, who is the best driver according to me, did the job very smoothly. Then we started in the right way. The path started becoming narrower; moreover cars were moving in the both direction. Either of the cars had to stop by the side of the path to make road for the car from opposite direction. To add awe to that there were many cyclists on the road.

Fallen leaf Lake

However, our effort gave us result. Finally up a deep blue lake surrounded by mountain came to our full view. We walked to the undisturbed lake with sun bouncing off from its surface. We spent some times there. Though I liked to spend more time there, but our lack of time didn’t allow me to do the same. Again we started our journey through the rough road, and then we went to Tallac Historic site, thinking that the visitor’s center of Lake Tahoe. However, that was not the Lake Tahoe visitor center. So, we didn’t spend much time there, and went to Vista point, crossing Baldwin beach. I wanted to go to Eagle Lake which was on the way to inspirational Point Vista, but due to time constraints we dropped the idea. I became completely spellbound when I looked at the lake from the top. The deep blue water reminded me the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, where I visited two years back. The amazing fact was that the lake formed 6,000 feet above the sea level amid the mountain about 2 million years ago.  The mountains covered with deep green Ponderosa Pines, surrounding the lake created a heavenly ambiance. Standing on both sides the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is famous for its crystal-clear water – to depths between 50 and 70 feet. Everything was going fine, but suddenly our camera stopped working. We thought that the batteries exhausted. I had no spare batteries with me. Anyway we decided to use the camera of my husband’s iPhone for the time being. We again started our journey; this time we went to the Emerald bay. On our way we crossed the very scenic point, where the lake much below on the both side of the narrow road. The lake was looking awesome from the car. Before entering D.L. Bliss state park we bought battery for the camera. However to our dismay the camera didn’t work. I didn’t know how to react. I was not going to have a good pictorial memory of our trip. Then we decided to stop directly at Tahoe city. We crossed Rubicon bay, Meek bay, and entered Sugar Pine state park. Then we passed Homewood, Tahoe pines, Lake wood basin, and many other picturesque points to reach small yet beautiful, and happening Tahoe city. After having lunch we went to see an old dam, which was originally built in 1870 at the mouth of Tahoe’s outlet. In addition to the beauty we saw various kinds of fishes in the dam. Though many of the original species were no more, still we could see many different kinds of them.  My little son was very happy to see them, and didn’t willing to go anywhere. We had a tough time to convince him for more attractive points ahead. Then we started our journey and stopped at king’s beach after crossing Lake Forest glen, Tahoe vista. That time my son was sleeping, so my husband suggested that I visit King’s beach. I walked down a short but beautiful trail. I got an awesome view of the lake from there. Some people were sitting on the beautiful big rocks by the side of the lake. I also wanted to do the same, but due to the poor grip of my shoes it was difficult for me to keep balance on the slanting area.
Lake Tahoe

So, I came back and asked my husband to visit the same place. Then we passed Incline Village and Preston Field. We stopped our car and I got out, but my husband refused to accompany me, because our son was still sleeping. We didn’t find the way to Marlette Lake, so we couldn’t go there. I was checking in the map, it was somewhere before Spooner Lake. When we reached Spooner Lake in Douglas County, I realized that we missed Marlette Lake. I told my husband about that, and then he suggested that we go to Spooner Lake, but we dropped our plan, because still then our son was sleeping. Then we started towards Cave Rock. I had a great interest in Cave Rock, because that was an historical site. For the Washoe Indians, who lived peacefully on its shores for centuries and considered Lake Tahoe as a sacred place, the Cave Rock was a sacred burial site. However, unfortunately we couldn’t find the way. Anyway, we crossed a tunnel and reached Zephyr Cove camp ground. The next part of the lake was in Nevada, we crossed Pine beach, Nevada beach and three casinos of Nevada and we reached Ski Run Marina. We were refused to enter there, because the parking lot was full. So, we parked our car at a nearby parking space of a shopping complex and went there. As soon as my son saw the boats were sailing in the lake, he became crazy and desperately wanted to ride a boat. I was not interested at all, because I was pretty sure that he was going to be scared when the boat would go in the middle of the lake.  Moreover, there was turbulence in the water on that day. He was not ready to listen, so my husband went to the counter to enquire about the boat trip, but we found that was not feasible for us. Suddenly my husband disappeared from there, and when I called him he told that he would be back within five minutes. After a long time he came back with two tickets of a cruise in Tahoe queen, because our son wanted to ride boat. There was no need to buy ticket for that, as our son already forgot about boats and he was playing with sands. Anyway, at that time I was dying for a cup of coffee. So, we went to Starbucks. After four long months I had Starbucks coffee.
Next day we checked out from hotel and went to Ski run Marina for Tahoe Queen Emerald Bay cruise. We parked our car on Paradise Road. It was a two and half hours relaxing cruise. It was a great way to get a feel of Lake Tahoe. The views were great and the Captain gave frequent history and commentary throughout the cruise that was very interesting, though it was sometimes difficult to understand him, however. The crystal-clear water, sun, and backdrop of the mountains were breathtaking. As it was the month of June, so we couldn’t get the view of snow-capped mountains. Though the top deck was the best in nice weather, but we felt cold, so we were in the lower deck. The trip was from east to west and entered Emerald Bay, which was breathtaking. We saw Vikingsholm Castle, which was amazing, but lack of camera we couldn’t take nice pictures. We enjoyed the view of mountains, Emerald Bay, and the changing colors of the water, but our child got restless during the cruise. It was too long to hold the interest of a child. The lake was smooth and we had no trouble navigating our way around the boat.
Around three o’clock in the evening we started our journey back through El Dorado forest again. While coming back I felt that road was very dangerous. Moreover, the road was getting down very abruptly. Anyway our journey was very smooth and we reached home safely.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


On second day in New York we went to Statue of Liberty first. We planned to start from hotel at 8 in the morning. Our journey was smooth up to Lincoln Tunnel. I was shocked when I saw the traffic before the tunnel. The previous day when we came to New Jersey the tunnel was almost empty. After crossing that we entered NYC and caught in the morning traffic. In too many small streets and too many turns our GPS was taking more time to find the route than it took in normal time. My husband somehow managed to drive the car in the correct route by guessing. We parked our car near Statue of Liberty and walked to Castle Clinton to take the ferry to Liberty Island. Castle Clinton was circular Sandstone castle, located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, New York City, once used as America’s immigration station. Though we reached early, still we had to wait behind a long queue for one and a half hour for the ferry. Then after a stringent security check we got the chance to board the ferry. My son started sleeping in my arm in the cool breeze of Hudson Bay. It was thrilling experience to walk around the island. The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) was a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States. Since 1933 it had been maintained by the National Park Service. When we saw the Construction site from the island we felt chilled when we imagined that the horrific destruction was seen from the island on that fateful day. After spending more than one hour I suggested going back skipping Ellis Island visit. Because, returning the rental car before 3 o’clock at LaGuardia airport, which was far from Manhattan Island, could be a problem. However, my husband insisted me going there.

A dramatic sculpture near the Battery Park ferry dock
Anyway, we boarded the ferry to Ellis Island from Liberty Island. Ellis Island was actually the first immigration office of the United States. Currently, there was a museum depicting the official work in the early days. We were feeling hungry as well as thirsty. Though our son was hungry he refused to take any cake or chocolate. I tried some times to convince him without any result. By doing all these we spent most of our time there. Due to lack of time we saw a little there. Whatever I saw was very interesting. Still there was some belongings of the immigrants were kept there. After that when we came back Clinton Castle it was already 1:30 in the afternoon. We rushed to a Subway nearby to buy our lunch.

When we started for LaGuardia it was already quarter past two.  It was a thirty minutes journey from there to the airport without any traffic. However, we caught in the traffic snarl. I called the rental office and requested them to consider our problem. Anyway, returning the car was hassle free. Only thing was that we had to face little problem to find the route to the rental office. Then we enter the airport to have lunch. We decided to do that one by one. When I went to wash my hands, in the meantime our son did a mischief his hand was stuck between two chairs. After much effort my husband and another person could free his hand. Our next plan was to go to Herald Square by bus and metro rails. We went bus stop 60. After getting on the bus when wanted to pay, we were asked to use only quarter dollar. However, at that moment I didn’t have any quarter dollar in my hand. So, we got off and collected sufficient quarter dollars to pay.
Manhattan Sky line
Ellis Island

Then we went to Astoria Boulevard, and from there we boarded train Q. that was new experience of train ride in NYC. We got off at Herald Square and walked to Empire state Building. It was very funny to know that the building was built for the sake of making tallest building in the world. We could avoid the long queue at the ticket counter, because, we had tickets with us already. From the top of the building I could understand the pollution on NYC. Everything was looking very hazy from there, instead of the bright evening sun. While coming down we could avoid all the lines, and we were guided outside through the emergency door, thanks to our son’s stroller. We bought Starbucks coffee before we went to take the night bus tour.  Getting on the bus was a great relief to me, because, I could sit after a long walk. We went through China Town and Little Italy. Surprisingly there was not a single Italian living in Little Italy. The bus took us to Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge was dazzling with light in the darkness of night.
MacDonald At China Town

 The Brooklyn Bridge was one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connected the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.  It was a bit cold there as we were near Hudson Bay. Our bus tour completed at 10:30 at the night. We walked to Port Authority terminus to take NJ Transit bus to our hotel in Clifton, NJ. In the counter my husband enquired about the bus to NJ. Unfortunately the lady in the counter told us two numbers which was wrong. At that time we didn’t know that. After some times my husband asked the driver of the bus, and he told that we were in the wrong bus!!!!! It was a horrible experience in the middle of night at an unknown place.  The driver asked us to get off at a place from where we could take a bus to our destination. We waited for a while on the deserted road. Then my husband called at the hotel and requested then to send a taxi. We reached our hotel at 12:30.
New York City Public Library

John Lennon's apartment
We woke up early in the morning to take 8:15 NJ transit bus. I had been packing for the day while my husband went to get ready. Our son also woke up. He was playing. Suddenly he cried out loud. I saw him on the floor. He fell down from the sofa. How he fell down I didn’t know. After putting cold water and giving him bath he didn’t show any sign of improvement. My husband put ice on his injured elbow. I wanted to cancel the trip of the day. Anyway after a while, our son himself wanted to go out. Then we started at 9 in the morning from hotel. We reached the bus terminus in NYC at 10:30. We went to Times Square to get on the Downtown tour bus. We passed the Strawberry Field (John Lennon’s Memorial at the Central Park) and got down at Museum of Natural History.
Before getting down, the tour guide showed us the apartment of John Lennon. He told that his widow Yoko Ono was still living there. Anyway, we wanted to show the world’s largest dinosaurs, to our son, who was crazy about that. After seeing the size of the queue we came out from there. It was really astonishing that my little son never complained of pain in his arm. Moreover he was enjoying in that scorching sun with smile. My husband decided to go to Central Park which was exactly opposite to the museum. We started walking towards the gate of Central Park. I didn’t know how far the gate was from there. We were walking and walking, but I couldn’t see any gate.  I became very impatient. At last my husband showed me the gate. My first job was to find a chair to sit. Though it was sunny, but it was too stuffy and uncomfortable to sit for a long time there. We decided to take the Down Town bus again to go to WTC. We waited for a long time in vein to get our bus. We were running out time, so we decided to go there by metro rail. We got off at Fulton street station to go to WTC site. It was extremely hot to stand outside. My husband wanted to show me the memorial pool at the WTC site, but we couldn’t manage to go inside the site. Then we went to the WTC memorial museum, only to come out with a heavy mind. Any disaster always moved me a lot.
Near Central Park
Our next and last destination was Hersey’s chocolate factory in Pennsylvania. For that we went to the car rental office. We got on the train Fulton Street and got down Union Square. My husband told me that we needed to walk a little to reach the office. I didn’t know at that time, how “little” I needed to walk. We started walking in the melting sun, and we reached there nearly after one hour, half-dead. After waiting some times we got the rental car without a toddler car-seat. Instead of that we were given one booster-seat in which my little son couldn’t sit. I didn’t want to take risk to go 150 miles without car-seat. However my husband was desperate to go. Anyway we started our journey, without any lunch. After crossing Holland Tunnel we reached NJ, and from there journey became smooth. Around three O’clock we had our lunch at Subway. Our journey in Pennsylvania was very nice. After spending few days in a heart of a congested city, the green Pennsylvania was very refreshing to us. That was the first time in my life I saw deer were just roaming around the front-yards of the houses when we went inside the locality after we lost our way. Anyway, my husband couldn’t speed up the car, because my son was in a booster-seat. I supposed there was plenty of deer in Pennsylvania, otherwise how could so many deer died on the freeway due to accident? We wanted to reach before 6 in the evening compared to our previous plan of reaching at 4. We reached there around 6, fully exhausted. I had no energy to enjoy there. We took nice factory tour to know about how chocolates were manufactured. We bought some chocolates. Then after having some snacks we started our journey back to the hotel.  My husband deserved for kudos for driving 150 miles again to the hotel. I felt asleep in the car along with my son. We reached exactly at midnight. My little son enjoyed the whole day by holding his left hand with the right. Because, in pain he couldn’t keep his left hand hanging. However, he didn’t complain for a single time. We decided to skip dinner. We had to wake up at 4 in the morning to catch our flight at 7.
We woke up at our scheduled time and got ready very quickly. We started very early to avoid the morning traffic, but all our effort went in vain when we caught in the traffic near Lincoln Tunnel. We were counting every second. Anyway we reached JFK airport just in time. After returning the rental car we rushed to the terminal. When we reached there, boarding in the plane had already started. Anyway, after reaching SFO our first job was to take an appointment with doctor.  When we went to doctor, he diagnosed that my son had suffered from a fracture in his elbow and he plastered his hand. Through-out the process he was very co-operative and didn’t make much trouble.