October 31, 2009

Random: Sundial

This sundial, with a 30 foot long style is located in downtown Oshkosh, and is supposedly one of the largest in the world. Though I am fascinated by sundials, I have never attempted to tell the time with it, because of all the corrections involved. This picture was taken in the spring, during one of the gallery nights when my students did a fundraiser for the humane society.

One of the interesting things about this sundial is that it was removed temporarily when they were filming 'Public Enemies' in Oshkosh.

October 29, 2009

Pausing to reflect...

A coyote we saw at the Grand Canyon in 2007

October 28, 2009

Missed you Chicago!

I was looking forward to spending part of this week in the Windy City, with plans to visit the Field Museum and the Lincoln Park Zoo, Devon Avenue, Vanille Patisserie and Tamarind Restaurant. Alas, Shankar did not get to go to his conference, and I missed Chicago, and all the wonderful things it has to offer.

October 25, 2009

Avocado Rice

Last night's dinner was a simple meal with Avocado Rice, Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes and Lettuce sauteed with coconut. Usually when we get avocados, they are ripe and really good for guacamole. This time, I found some Haas avocados at Trader Joe's that were not quite completely ripe, and would hold the shape when diced. I also had a couple of Poblano peppers at home and hence a Navajo type Avocado rice for dinner. The poblano peppers were sliced thinly. The avocado was diced and soaked in lemon juice. I also used half an onion and some cilantro. The onion, peppers were suateed in butter and then, I added cooked rice, some salt and some hot sauce (left over from a Thai restaurant). Then the cilantro along with the avocados were folded in and mixed well. I wasn't sure how the avocados will hold on the heat, hence I turned off the stove and just let it soften in the warmth of the rice. Served with some yogurt to offset the heat from the peppers, the rice was yummy :)

October 23, 2009

A First!

I love to paint on glass, and have done quite a few pieces over the years. I even sold a lot of them when I was in India. Most of what I painted so far in the US have been given as gifts to friends. I did not have the time to pull out my paints since I started teaching. But with not working this semester, I finally decided to check out the art supplies sale yesterday at one of the local bookstores. I came home with a simple easel, a few canvas boards and an acrylic paint thinner.

I have used acrylic on paper before for craft projects, but never painted on canvas. I practiced a little bit to get an idea about how the paint will be on canvas, before starting on this Ganesh.

I started on the second Ganesh, even as the first one was still drying! This is bigger, drawn on a 9x12 canvas board. I like the flesh color on this one better than the first. Though I have ways to go before I am able to comfortably blend colors and produce more shadows, I love the way this one turned out.

October 19, 2009

Peacock and a Prairie Dog

This totally qualifies as something funny! When we were in Albuquerque a couple of summers back for the ASM conference, the picnic was at the zoo. In almost all the zoos I have been to in the US, the peacocks get to wander around, and also get in some of the other animals enclosures. When we were watching the prairie dogs, this adolescent peacock, got in their enclosure. But I suppose he didn't quite realize what he was getting into. The prairie dogs kind of spooked him, as they were running and rolling around.

The peacock, opened up its tail, hoping the myriad of 'eyes' may scare the prairie dogs. But then, one of the prairie dogs decided that the feathers look way too yummy. He just walked up to the peacock and started to nibble on one of the feathers. It sent the poor peacock into a frenzy. Every time it moved, the prairie dog just kept walking up to it, may be wanting to play! It was such a different scene from watching prairie dogs in the wild, to seeing this silly behavior in a zoo. Needless to say, we spent quite a bit of time watching these guys and laughed so hard :)

October 18, 2009

Governor Dodge State Park

We camped at the Governor Dodge State Park on Friday night and went on a hike yesterday morning. Amy had a great time on both the days. On Friday evening she was playing with a couple of other dogs. She was leading us on the hike (she likes to run ahead of everyone) on Saturday, with some reruns to check and make sure we were still around. She was so tired by the end of the trip, she did not budge from her bed to greet a friend yesterday! She also jumped through some hula hoops we found on the trail :)

October 14, 2009

The must-visit Map Room

During our trip last week to St. Louis, one of our best finds is The Map Room in the Benton Park neighborhood. We came across this place through a search for desserts on Yelp! For once, I was glad that Ethiopian restaurants don't serve desserts, and to please my sweet tooth, we ended up in this quaint place. The Map Room is special in so many ways - their extensive yet inexpensive menu offers a range of pastries (all made by local small businesses), coffees ~ that you can spike with your favorite liqueur, and alcoholic drinks.
Michelle, the owner is so friendly and full of contagious enthusiasm. She has converted an old meat factory - which you cannot even guess unless you pay attention to the pictures or talk to her - into a wonderful place that we ended up visiting three times in 4 days! The theme reflects the name and has a charming international flair to it ~ music from different countries on different days of the week, international movies on Saturday nights in the courtyard, and their drink selection is also based on this theme. Michelle is hoping to have their pastries reigned in to reflect country specials soon.
They have a variety of games and Shankar and I ended up playing cards while sharing some apple Sangria.
The Caribbean Mango Pie was seasonal and I was so happy to have the last piece of the day! The fancy chocolate pastry is actually chocolate ganache on an almond macaroon, dipped in milk chocolate. (There was also a dark-chocolate version of this). I cannot get enough of this little delight. We even brought some home, along with a couple of Budapest torte. The next day, we also played scrabble while enjoying pear sangria and a carrot cup cake. If I lived in St. Louis, you know where to find me!

October 12, 2009

Monday Morning Blues

Wishing I were someplace warm, by the ocean, and without the ton of stuff I gotta be doing :)

These are a couple of the Galápagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki), from the Rabida Island south of Santiago. Picture taken in June 2005.

October 9, 2009

Nikko's Bathtime

Nikko - our Jenday Conure, loves his bath. He usually takes bath in his drinking water, but if we notice he is getting ready for one, we give him a pie plate with cold water and he goes crazy. This was his fun time from two weeks back, on his adoption day! You can click on the picture to view a larger image.

October 7, 2009

Gateway Arch in St. Louis

We are in St. Louis for the week, and we have been to the arch twice already! Here are some night shots of this magnificent structure. Hopefully I will get to see it again during the day, when it is not dreary and raining, before we leave the city on Friday.

October 5, 2009

Hiking @ Pope Farm Park

On Sunday evening, Shankar and I went on a Moon viewing / hiking to Pope Farm Park in the Town of Middleton outside Madison. This was a trip organize by the Madison Outdoor Meetup group. This park, of about 105 acres was converted from farmland to what it is today - woodlands and prairies, with beautiful views & highlighting the geology & Native American history of the area. To me, one of the really wonderful aspects of this park is that they have fourth grade students volunteer to collect seeds from the prairie plants and plant them in other places in the park during the fall and spring. We didn't get to see the moon that night , but it was nice to see some friends, and walk a hiking trail at night.

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