Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Shrimp Boat

Wouldn’t it be fun to work on a Shrimp boat?

  • You wake up early in the morning, wear your swim suit, slap some sun screen and head out to the sea.
  • You go deep into the sea and cast nets.
  • Then grab a book and spend all day reading, surrounded by the sea and the seagulls.
  • In the evening, you gather all the shrimp and head out home.
  • At home, someone asks you, “What’s for dinner?”
  • And you say, “Shrimp honey!” Because you know you can never run out of shrimp recipes. You can cook shrimp for a year without ever repeating the recipe.

Yes I know I am over-simplifying this. But it is my fantasy and I am sticking to it.

Monday, July 28, 2008


In autumn I gathered all my sorrows and burried them in my garden.

And when Spring cameto wed the earth, there grew in my garden beautiful flowers unlike all other flowers.

And my neighbors came to behold them and said to me, "When autumn comes again, at seeding time, will you not give us the seeds of these flowers that we may have in our own garden?"

Khalil Gibran

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pascal Manale

Pascal Manale in New Orleans is famous for their barbecue shrimp. What is interesting about this is that the shrimp is actually pan fried. Not barbecued. And they are served head-on to enhance the flavor.

Barbecue Shrimp

Note: Not really for someone who is on a diet.

2 pounds fresh shrimp (heads on)
1 cup and 2 tbs. butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp thyme
3 tbsp freshly grater garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. course black pepper
1 tbsp Creole seasoning
1 tsp Paprika
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 lemons squeezed
1 lemon sliced
Tabasco sauce to taste
Coarse salt to taste
Chopped parsley

  • Heat a large cast iron pan (oven proof) and add butter and olive oil.
  • Add garlic, black pepper, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and Creole seasoning.
  • Simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the shrimp and salt and then stir for 30 seconds.
  • Pour lemon juice over the shrimp.
  • Chill for a couple of hours.
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place the shrimp in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  • Serve immediately with hot French bread.

Mozzarella Sticks

I thought everything was only bigger in Texas. They have huge mozzarella sticks there also. Yummy!

Say what?

If you work in a corporation, you must attend meetings. Here are some random office space quotes collected by my writer pals. Needless to say, none of us work at these places anymore.

  • The light at the end of the tunnel was actually an oncoming train.
  • The best way to resist temptation is to completely give in.
  • It was customer’s love fest.
  • We are pimping the fruit to India.
  • My push back radar is on high alert.
  • This is an assumption of an assumption.
  • It fails ugly ugly.
  • We are all doomed.
  • Decisions made here are fluid in nature.
  • We are going to open the kimono and share a peek

Anything interesting you've heard at meetings?

Bangle boy

The bangle boy works with father in Delhi. School is not an option for him. Instead, he learns to make bangles and sells them.


Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky. We fell them down and turn them into paper that we may record our emptiness.

Khalil Gibran
Sand and Foam

Thursday, July 24, 2008

IPOD in Heaven?

Whether we want to not, we are all going to die. Always an organizer, this morning I found myself making a list of things I hope I can find in the afterworld.

  1. IPod. How did we listen to music before IPods? I remember the first time I bought a portable CD player. It was huge. And played 1 cd at a time. Oh how I love progress!
  2. Blackberry. What else do you need? You can email, make phone call, surf the web, or play games. If only it had a small mirror. Oh well. Maybe in the after world.
  3. Digital Camera. So what if serious photographers don’t really like them a lot? I love them. Plop them in your purse and shoot everywhere, anytime.
  4. Laptop. Can’t stay without it.
  5. Wii. How can I possibly live without Wii fit? Or Super Mario? It would be impossible but technically I’d be dead so it *may* not matter.
  6. Netflix instant movie access. Movies, documentaries... you name it.
  7. IBook. Ok so I don’t have this yet. But I want one. Even if it is in the afterworld.
  8. Hair gel. How else is my hair going to stay down?
  9. Lipstick. Gotto have my lipstick.
  10. Chocolates. Do I have to explain this?

    What would your list look like?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Man versus Woman

Here is an email thread based on a very old joke. I don't know who wrote the original joke or I would certainly give credit.

A female coworker sent this email to me. She made the mistake of sending it to some man also. He made a mistake of responding.

Woman's Email:

After the long months of cold and winter, we will soon be coming up to summer and BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking as it's the only type of cooking a real man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion: Routine...

  1. The woman buys the food.
  2. The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
  3. The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
  5. The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
  6. The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation.
  8. The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces and brings them to the table.
  9. After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes. And most important of all...
  10. Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
  11. The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.... There, I hope this will help you get the season off on the right foot.

Man's Response

Think about it, what is more dangerous? Mastering fire, or setting a table? The reality is that all the work is performed by the women because the women caused the work! Here is the same list if there was no woman ?:

  1. Man buys meat.
    a) You do not need anything else…..
  2. Man laughs at the idea of making salad, refer to 1)a)
  3. Man rejoices at how good idea of buying pre-marinated meat was.
  4. Man grabs fork, knife, Stubs basting sauce, and beer ?
  5. Man Places meat on the grill (lovingly) as friends arrive with more beer.
  6. Man grabs paper plates and hands them to friends.
  7. Man and Friends grab meat off the grill and eat.
  8. Man and Friends help digestion of fantastic meal with more beer.
  9. Man looks at the spotless kitchen and thinks "I should grill more often!"
  10. Everyone praises the man.
  11. Everyone is happy.
Woman's Response:

Perhaps evolution has been one-sided, or gender biased?

South Padre

is not just for Spring breakers anymore!

Things to do in South Padre:

  • Deep sea fishing. It is fun and you will catch fish. Watch out for the dolphins. They are everywhere. And, unlike me, be careful with the fishing hook.

  • Skinboarding. Buy a board at one of the stores and you won't regret it! Make sure you buy a board that is age appropriate. Don't bother with lessons. Someone on the beach will be very happy to show you the ropes.

  • Dolphin watching. The dolphins are cute, friendly and love attention. You can catch a boat ride to see this or just visit one of the lesser populated beaches. If you look carefully, you'll see them playing around in the sea. And they are very close to the beach.

  • Fireworks at Amberjacks. On a Friday evening, hang out at the outside bar and watch the fireworks.

  • Wave runners, banana boats and para sailing. If that is your thing. I prefer laying on the beach and reading a book but everyone else loves it.

  • Schlitterbahn: Fun water rides. I live close to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels so I skipped this part.

What to avoid:

  • Fishing hooks.

  • Tom and Jerry's restaurant. It was mediocre at the best. Very overrated.

King's Inn

King's Inn Secret Recipes


Someone sent me top secret recipes. Not sure how authentic they are. Still waiting for the avacado salad oil.

Bombay Salad Dressing from The King's Inn

1 pint sour cream
1 regular size package onion soup mix
2 large soft avocadoes mashed
2 cloves garliccurry powder, salt, lemon juice to taste

This is best if you let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. I pour a thinnish layer of lemon juice over the top then put plastic wrap directly on it before sealing the bowl to keep it from turning brown. Then before serving I stir in the lemon juice.

Tartar Sauce

1 1/2 cup Miracle Whip (Yes, Miracle Whip)
½ tsp curry powder1 tsp garlic (jar kind is fine)
1/2 onion
1 to 2 boiled eggs
5-10 serrano peppers chopped fine (to taste)
10 Saltines

Mix the first 7 ingredients. Just prior to serving, crush the saltines, stir. You may want to adjust the egg yolks because I don’t remember using them, only the whites. The curry powder is very light, barely detectable flavor. Some people think there is bell pepper in there but I think it is just the serranos.

Coating for Fish and Shrimp

1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup crushed cornflakes

Dip fish in buttermilk and then cornflakes.
Deep fry.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kingsville Texas

King’s Inn Texas

Things to do: Kingsville Texas

If you are ever near Kingsville Texas, do make an effort to visit this fabulous restaurant.

Established in 1945, this restaurant serves family style meals. Whenever we drive down to South Padre, we make it a point to stop there. This is a very family friendly restaurant.

The best things on their menu are:

Tartar Sauce

This is a to-die-for tartar sauce. It is so scrumptious that you can eat it by spoonfuls. Instead of salsa and chips, they serve thick slices of tomatoes. Be careful to save room for main courses!

Fried Fish

So crispy and crunchy yet melts in your mouth. Flavorful and delicious. Yummy!

Fried Shrimp

For those of you who do not have the opportunity to eat fresh, fresh shrimp, this is an absolute must.

Avocado Salad

A top secret recipe. The avocados and fresh and drizzled with a secret oil dressing. I always ask for the recipe and they always politely decline. But every trip, I know more. It takes 3 days to make the dressing! If only I knew the ingredients!

The flight

The flight of the birds

Any guesses where this is?

Luxuries and Basics

In India, the luxuries are cheap the basics are not
I wanted a massage. I wanted my traveler’s checks cashed. I wanted a manicure and a pedicure. And a facial would be nice. I told my sister this. No problems she said. She made a few phone calls. I got a nice massage at home yesterday for a few bucks. Some money exchange guy came to my place in the evening with wads of money. He took my traveler’s checks and gave me the cash. I think that the beautician comes home today. My sister is going to call a tailor who will come to my house, takes measurements and stitch some clothes for me. She is also going to ask a jewelry repair guy to come to my place and get all my broken jewelry fixed. All this while I am shopping, eating or watching a bollywood movie.
Oh the luxuries. They are so easy to come by in this country. All you need is to make a few phone calls. My sister is an expert at doing this. Luxuries are so cheap here. In US, I pay 80 dollars to get a massage. Here, it is only a couple of bucks. I want to move here. I really do.

But then my sister reminds me that the basics are not so cheap. And you can never rely on them. Things we take for granted in USA like electricity and water are extremely expensive. And you can never depend on them. Electricity goes off for hours every day. You never know when. You can have 3 air conditioners in your house. But what good is it if there is no electricity to turn them on? Sure everyone has a backup generator. But then it can only pump so much juice so you have to forgo the air conditioners.

Getting clean running water too can be a challenge. You can live in a mansion and install the latest shower system and Jacuzzis in the bathrooms. But the water will trickle down the shower head. And it may stop completely while you are shampooing your hair.

My sister told me that when they built their house, they had to drill for a well. (I don’t know the technical terms). But they had to do something. But after a few years, they needed to go through the drilling process again. It cost thousands of rupees. But they paid for it. Unfortunately, the water that came from the well was very bad. It was salty and tasted very strange. So they paid more money to drill another hole. The water was a little better. They can use it but never drink it. They can never drink water from the tap. They have to boil it first and run it through water filters. Every single day.

In Mumbai (Bombay), the entire city had no water for a day. But mumbai-ites took it with stride. They filled up pots and pans with water. Most apartment complexes have a water tank. So they could take showers. And flush toilets.

Luxuries are cheap and easily available. McDonalds delivers food to your door step in Delhi. Even if you want a vegetarian burger for about twenty rupees (30 cents). You can also order gourmet meals from restaurants and they will deliver the food. Last minute guests? No problems. Call the shop in the neighborhood and order fresh samosas. They will deliver in ten minutes. Rental cars come with drivers. If you give the driver a 3 dollar tip, they will make sure that you have the most pleasant experience.

But life for the common man is full of struggles here. The days begins with dealing with water and electricity problems. Then the transportation. While Bombay has good public transportation, Delhi does not. In Delhi, at any given point, you can see jam packed buses. If you get a seat in a bus, it is a luxury. You are having a good day. Jobs are very hard to come by. Rent is very expensive. Food is very expensive. About sixty percent of one’s income is spent on food. Eating chicken for dinner is a luxury.

Luxury is a relative word. What is luxury for me, is often way beyond the reach of the common man here. I take things for granted. Like electricity. Blackouts make the evening news in USA. Here, It is an everyday occurrence. Getting the basics are a luxury. Getting the luxuries are a basic thing and almost a necessity. Need someone to come to your house and give you a massage for 3 dollars? Sure thing. Need 24 hours of running water and electricity? Well… good luck!

At 45…

I’ve always been a girlie girl. I was raised to be a delicate little flower supporting her man by hosting parties and chit-chatting with all kinds of different people. I was raised to be a politician’s wife. Unintentionally… but a product of my environment. I knew how to manage conversations. I knew how to charm and woo people.

So at 45, how did I end up doing what I do? A secure job in Corporate America. A successful career as a technical writer and a manager. Well… I don’t have answers to that. I still struggle trying to suppress the artistic, rebellious, and bohemian in me every single day.

I have 3 very significant men in my life. My husband and my 2 sons. When they asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I told them I wanted to go deep sea fishing. My choices were plenty. I could have selected massage on the beach, a salt scrub, or a day at the spa. But I wanted to do something where everyone had a great time. It was a milestone for me and we all had accomplished as a family.

So fishing we went. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The fishing trip was fantastic. Everyone caught a fish although they were too small to keep. I pay premium prices to pay smaller fishes but when you go deep sea fishing, the rules are different. We were all happy. Until the accident.

Somehow the fishing hook got entangled in my hand. It pierced my left hand. And the captain had to do some fine operations to pull it out. He said I was a trooper but I felt like a wimp. My entire family felt sorry for me. I had to get a tetanus shot. But it was a valuable lesson for me. And I reflected a lot. Here is what I know today:

Give in to yourself!

If you are not an athletic type, don’t play around with a deep sea fishing hook. IT HURTS. Read a book instead and watch everyone else catch the fish. Ooh and aah at everyone who catches a fish. Everyone loves a compliment and trust me, the captain of the boat will appreciate you for refraining from activities you have no business participating in.
So what you if don’t know how to change the oil in the car? Or change a flat tire? Why do you need to prove to the world that you am a macho woman? Remember to ask for help. Nicely. Even if you are 80, standing by the roadside with a flat tire, call for help. Ask strangers. Everyone wants good karma. I know that I’ll be that 80 year old lady striking a fancy pose just so someone stops to change the tire. Even if they stop so other drivers are spared of the visual abuse of a granny with boobs to her knees acting like she is in Madonna’s Vogue video. Bravo to all women who can change a tire. I am sorry if I am letting you down. Moving on with my life, it is best that I accept my limitations.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Duck and goose

It was late Sunday afternoon. I was driving home from shopping. On my way back, I noticed that the car was low on gas. I hated filling up the car with gas. My husband always filled it up for me every weekend. But lately he wasn’t doing this. He was slacking. I mean I wasn’t raised to pump my own gas. He knew this. Why was he doing this to me? Why me?

I whined and moaned internally and got the gas. I was going to go home and talk to him. I was thinking of a plan while I was driving. I was very close to home when it happened. I saw a rather huge bird flying very low, almost touching the road. And the next thing I knew, it flew into my car. At least I think that’s what happened. I heard a loud thump and next thing I knew there was a huge bird in the middle of the road dead.

I was shocked. I slowed down and pulled over. Oh my God! I had just killed a bird. I had never killed anything. But now I had killed a bird. I was shaking. I didn’t get out of my car. I didn’t know what to do. I frantically looked for my cell phone but couldn’t find it.

I noticed that a black pick up truck had pulled over and a man got out to look at the bird. He started directing traffic so no one would run over the poor bird. Like I did. I finally got over the car and ran up to him. “I am so sorry! I didn’t see the bird. It just flew into my car. It was an accident.” He was calm and I was shaking. I couldn’t speak. I felt so ashamed. He looked at me calmly and said with a Texan drawl. “Don’t worry maam. I’ll take the care of the bird. You can go if you want to.”

Obviously he did not want to deal with a near hysterical woman on a verge of a nervous break down.

I couldn’t look at the bird. So I looked at his pick up truck. He had a woman in there and a little three-ish year old boy. Oh my god! I had exposed this little boy to violence. I had tainted him for life. I said, “Where did the bird come from? Is it a duck?” He replied, “No maam it is a goose. Looks like it got lost. You can go if you want o. I will take care of it.”

I needed my husband to more than oxygen in my lungs to take care of this. I said, “Will you please stay with the bird? I need to get my husband. He’ll know what to do. I promise I will be back. I live a minute away from here.” He nodded and I ran back to my car and rushed home.

I ran into my house and yelled, “Help! Please some here quickly. You need to come with me. I hit a bird. You need to take care of it. You need to go with me.”

My husband was in the kitchen cooking with my two sons. He was calm. He knew I was freaking out.
“Bird, what kind of a bird?”

“I don’t know what kind of a bird. One guy said it was a goose. But I think it was a duck. Can we go now please? Hurry up!”

He made no attempts to hurry, smiled and said, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it. We’ll just bring it home. If it is dead, we’ll stick it in the oven.” My boys started laughing and patting each other on the back.

“How cruel! This is not funny! I need you and both of you to come with me right now!”

My husband did not know when to be quiet. He said, “Well I have news for you. You know when you go out to restaurants and eat duck or chicken or goose, that is what it is. I bird that has been killed so that human beings can eat it. Just because you buy meat in a Styrofoam package still means the same thing.”

More giggles and laughter. I was furious. My husband is not a vegetarian. Nor are my kids. They are just pragmatic and practical. I prefer to ignore such things. I did not want to deal with it right now.

“I don’t understand you guys! Men are so insensitive. I just killed something. How can you stand around in the kitchen cracking jokes about the poor bird!”

Men baffle me. Living with three of them is just too much at times. This is exactly the reason why women lean on other women and sometimes have a need to escape to exotic places like Paris or London for a week and be alone. To live one week without having to deal with a man.!

Often people suspect that if a woman is going away for a week alone, she must be having a clandestine affair with another man. Nope. Not really. The last thing she wants to do is deal with another man. She wants to go to museums and galleries and spas. No she doesn’t want to hang out at ESPN Zone in Manhattan. Maybe for an hour. But not every day every meal. She wants a man free week. But I digress…

My older son refused to come. “Mom. It will be ok. Dad and my brother will go with you.” My husband was smiling and kidding around until he saw my beautiful, new, shiny, red Volvo.

“Oh *expletive*! What did you do? How big was the bird?” He was staring at my car. The front grill was broken and there was a huge feather sticking out of the grill. And there was a dent on the hood. Now my husband was worried.

“This is not going to be covered on the insurance! This is going to be expensive to fix.”

“I don’t care about that right now. Can we please go?”

His mood was somber as we drove. The fact that he was more concerned about the car and money than the bird and me infuriated me. If only I lived in a man free world.

When we got to the place where the bird ran into my car, he pulled over and they rushed to look at the bird. I got out and sat on the side walk. Someone had brought water for the bird. The bird was starting to move a little.

Thank God the goose was alive!

The next thing I knew, the goose jumped up and hopped over across the road. It went under the black pick up truck. The Texan guy was still there talking to my husband. His slightly pregnant wife was out of the car. They had rolled down the windows and their little boy was watching the commotion. He smiled at me and waved. I looked down.

By now numerous people had gathered. Someone was on the phone calling the non-emergency line. Someone was calling a Vet. Someone brought a stick and started tapping it under the pick up truck. They wanted the goose to get out from under the pick up. Someone showed up with a bed sheet. Someone else with a pet carrier.

The goose hopped out from under the pick up and went into someone’s front yard. They all chased the goose. One with a bed sheet, one with a pet carrier and another with a stick. The stick was a prop for gently guiding the goose into the pet carrier. But my goose was smart. It hopped right behind some bushes.

My husband called out to me. “What are you doing there? Come over here and help us! ” I shook my head and said “No.” “Come help us Mom!” So I had to go help them. My husband had a plan. He asked for a cloth napkin. Something smaller than a bed sheet. A cloth napkin magically appeared. He asked us all to form a circle around the goose and then get closer and closer to the goose. We did what he said and the goose flapped its wings and hobbled behind another bush. The little boy was laughing and clapping in the pick up. I’m sure we all looked crazy. I smiled and waved at him.

My goose was smart and strong. It was going to live.

We circled the other bush and got closer and closer. By now, everyone had something in their hands. We were all trying to get the goose into the pet carrier. With one quick move, my husband grabbed the goose’s head with the napkin. He gently held the goose’s head and pressed its beak so it would not bite. The goose flapped its wings but someone quickly wrapped the sheet around it and subdued it. We all coordinated and gently pushed the goose into the carrier. The bed sheet came out. My husband was the last one to let go of the goose and then quickly someone closed the pet carrier.

Yeah! We all cheered and laughed.

My husband said, “See? It is as simple as that. Once you put the napkin around it, it can’t see. So then you can easily catch it and subdue it.” I smiled and said, “Yes that was easy. Thanks!”

The pick up truck guy was going to take the bird to a bird hospital. We wanted to do it but he insisted. He probably did not trust me. He assured me that he would make sure that the goose was released at the pond near our house. That is probably where its family was. We smiled and thanked him and waved. He put the pet carrier in the back of his pick up truck and drove off.

I never asked him his name. I never knew where he lived. I regret that. I know that barring some extreme coincident, I’ll never know his name. I wish that I could see him someday and thank him. I want to tell his wife that he is a keeper. I want to tell his son that his dad is a kind and a generous man. But I’ll never get a chance. I missed my moment.

I never got my Volvo fixed. And I never will. The dent is still there and the grill is still broken. And it will remain there. As long as we have the car.

I often go to the pond near my house and search for my goose. I see it sometimes with its family. My husband tells me that they all look alike. There are so many. Maybe. Maybe not. Surely I recognize it. I always see it teaching its babies how to swim and how to fly. It is still smart and strong. The goose gives me strength and courage and hope. I‘m so proud of you goose.

India in Austin

Here is an article I wrote for a magazine. It's about spending a day in Austin enjoying the Indian Culture.