Monday, December 31, 2007

Sub Nava Sal From Goa 2008!

Happy New Year from Goa everyone! Some of you might remember the crazy party that Karenji and I attended in our hotel last year, the craziness, my hair catching on fire from Indian fireworks, burning my bare feet, dancing all night, and all that whskey!
Well let me tell you this year was no different! Equally crazy, totally rocking, dancing to silly pop music performed by a two piece ensemble with drum machine, and yes yes yes, the evening wouldnt be complete without, you guessed it....
Now, this year it was a different kind of crazy, but it was totally crazy, and um, that's all I'm gonna say.
I think we went to bed at 3 am, we are now staggering in 90 degree heat and massive humidity, and after I score some pashminas, will be heading back to the pool to recover for the rest of the day. I hope everyone is having a lovely New Years Eve as it is already noon on January 1, 2008.
Take care and hello from Mr Ratburn!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hot Hampi Scampi!

Hello from Hampi everyone! I am happy to report that there has been NO NEED for immodium, I have not eaten the sugar crystals Karenji! I remembered what happened last year and I warned Gary as well. I am sad to report that the holy man never went to Bangalore for his back surgery as beauracracy (sp?) has halted his moneys for that, and also he told us that he was afraid to go to Bangalore. I cant say as I blame him
Now I must sorta relate this post to Karenji but of course you can all read. Ok Karenji, so would think I have learned something from last year but again we got on train, were pushed and shoved, had a very tough time finding the right car, then there were people in our seats so we got in an argument with them. Of course 10 other people have to join in the mess, and before you know it everyone is yelling in Hindi, and I am yelling "Panch! Panch times in India, so dont mess with me!" Ok , so along comes some modern Indian men with a cell phone and very good English. They text message the train station which sends him back the train schedule, then he says, "so where are you going anyway?" We tell him Hampi. He tells us, "well THIS train is going to Rajastan, madam!" EEEEEKKKK! Right seats, right car, right time, right platform, wrong train! So, being totally embarrassed we apologized profusely and then ran off! Once on right train, all was well. In the morning, when the sleepers had exited the train, and other people got on, we met a man who was traveling to Hospet for work. He gently reached over and took Garys hand and started reading his palm. He was an amazing man, telling us things about ourselves that he could NOT know unless he had known us all our lives. We chatted with him awhile and I slipped him a 100 rupee note on the way off the train. He held the money to his heart and his eyes teared up. Later I was told that he makes only about 100 rupees a week.
Ok then we are in the train station, looking for Ramesh but not finding him. Some of you will remember him from last year as he was our guide. We waited about ten minutes and he didnt come so we got another driver. As we are pulliing away, I suddenly hear about 5 men yelling my name "SUJIIII SUUUUJIIIIII!!!!!" I look and there is Ramesh and his friends running after us, Ramesh holding the letter I have written to him last month! Hurray! Heres a funny thing, in India Suji means needle or a sewing machine or a tailor and it also means some food product but I dont know what...and everyone calls me Suji and I AM a tailor afterall so it's just too trippy that my name to them means tailor.
Once with Ramesh, all was well.
SO Karen, we did the entire Hampi tour, Queens bath, palace etc, being surrounded by Indians the entire time. You know the drill. At one point, 5 little boys that had befriended us jumped into the rickshaw, climbing on our they joined us for the remainder of the tour! It was really fun and we are going to have some really precious pictures of those little rascals. One of the boys noticed that I had a cut on my finger and he gently took my finger, held it between his two fingers while gently massaging the cut, as same time giving me the most precious caring look that I have ever seen on a little boy! My heart melted. Those boys hung out with us all day, climbing on our laps or hanging off the rickshaw. In a way,. they were totally a pain in the ass, at the very same time, pure preciousness.
I have given the Green Eggs and Ham book to Varsha, the happy brothers 6 year old daughter. She read me the entire book! At six, she is fluent in English, Kannada and Hindi. That child is amazing, and again, you are going to be blown away at the pics! Of course, we layed around in the restaurant on the floor, and I flipped Varsha, and Appu in the air. I must've played with them for three hours as it was about 95 degrees and I just couldnt go out there.

Ok next, bought some hippie clothes and wandered. Gary just came back and said he was following an elephant! What am I gonna do with that boy? You'd think hes been here all his life! Now I didnt even know there was an elephant in Hampi, but Gary found her, her name, Lakshmi.

OK so Kareniji you are not going to believe this but Ramesh got married last January and he has a baby girl already. It has been so good to see him and hang out and of course, he is still the best guide in Hampi as far as I am concerned. I can tell that his life is more serious, having a family now, and this year after his marriage, took his father to Chennai for heart surgery. His father is well now thank Ganesh.

Today is also Vikkys birthday so ya know. He was sporting a new shirt and pants and we all had gulab jamon that Vikky and Sudis sister had made for Vikkys birthday. Here is the thing, Hampi is very busy this time of year and we were given the families front room as our bedroom. We were the only ones staying in their house, and you know, we really felt the love. When we left, they ALL came out of the house to say goodbye, mama, papa, all the wives sister, and kids. I am totally in love with Varsha and will spoil her rotten now as if she is my own girl.

Ramesh took us to the train in Hospet and then he had to run off to help a Chinese girl find the bus station. We were on the train when Ramesh came running back, hopped on the train to come and say goodbye again. He told us, "of you I am very fond, please asking your daughter if you can again come back next year to see me." LOL, because we told him that Little Rita "let us" come to India together this year.

Karenji, I am telling you we both forever have a home and family in Hampi. They asked about you, missed you and want you to come back. I have had about ten people ask about you, "where is your friend", while holding their hands up at the 6 foot level to show they meant the tall Karenji! So cute!

Gary is in LOVE with the people, and he is doing so great, and I am so proud of him. You all know me, I had to have a few I hate India moments, crying and stuff. But I have such the fabric stash and I havent even gotten to North India yet! Karenji I got 25 silk scarves from Khadi Bandar, Indian prices only madam, and one black one for you!

Well, as I expected, being in India with a man opens many doors and I am loving watching Gary meet people and he is getting us into situations that women just cant do alone. Also met a really awesome drummer named Abdul in Hampi and he gave Gary a drum for so little money, we felt bad about it, but promised to send him an MP3 player because he can get c/ds but not computer.

So now we are back in Bangalore because I couldnt post this in Hampi, power failed! No big surprise! Tomorrow afternoon we fly to Goa to that crazy place with all the Russians! Got Vat 69? You betcha, betas.
I hope you are all well and if you are reading this Little Rita, we love you and you are going to be ok. (She's starting to really miss us, but we are calling everyday)

Be well everyone and lots of love from India from Susie and Mr Ratburn!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Runaway Train Never Coming Back Part Two

Hello from Bangalore. I hope you are all having a lovely Christmas holiday. That was yesterday for us. We spent the day shopping and sweating and walking and drinking beer. Skinny dark skinned Santas everwhere!
Gary thinks I am trying to get him run over by a bus, rickshaw or chapati cart! Crossing the street is a challenge in Bangalore, sir, and you just must plunge right in there in hopes of getting across the street alive.
SO, why did the Indian guy NOT cross the road? Because he simply could not, madam! Trafficin Bangalore could make one pretty nervous. After a breakfast of hot chilies and then a death defying street crossing experience, I think Mr Ratburn is now ready for Lal Bagh park, what do you think?

So after a day of wandering the botanical gardens and stuff like that, we will go back to our hotel and start packing for Hampi. Remember last year? That all night train experience. I just have one thing to say about that......and I will say it IMMODIUM.

By the way, in case you are wondering...remember when we were kids and we thought that airplane bathrooms were just a hole in the floor and all the erm "stuff" just fell out of the sky on people in Siberia? Such is the case with Indian trains.....ahem! So I dont imagine I will soon be hitching or wandering along any train tracks anytime soon.

All that potty talk aside, I will be thinking of you Karenji and that crazy train ride last year and how you had to be my mommy because I became a senseless sick mess. Let's jsut hope the germs leave us alone in Hampi his time. (You can tell Im a little wary, EH?)
You all would be so proud of Mr Gary, he is eating like a pig! I cannot believe it. Personally, I am not really able to eat yet...trying....pants falling off already...etc.
Ok so, Mr Gary wants to say hi and all that. If you are reading this Little Rita, we hope you had a wonderful day with Keri and all, and we miss you and love you so much.
Take care all and see you from Hampi. and beggars. Everything for sale. All the cars and traffic in LA put into a space the size of chinatown except replace all the cars with motorcycles and rickshaws. Can you say horn please?
Also the nicest people in the world.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hi everyone its Sunday in as heck! But if you get in the shade, the breeze is lovely. Try to stay on the shadey side of the street madam!

I just had a great argument with some rikki drivers that wanted to pretty much rip me off. It was like a Sunday morning coup.....40 rupees to MG Road madam...I do not think so, there is NO traffic! So we're squabbling and I try the next guy, I see this is about solidarity (40 rupees, madam!) and so I just threw my hands up in the air and as I walk away just in time to see a motorcycle collide into a car, and the man went down so hard. I have read about this in books, but I really didn't believe my eyes when 25 men rushed to this mans side, helped him to curbside, moved his bike out of the road, retrieved his shoes, dusted him off, called for a police, while 20 other men chased down the car that hit him and ran off, stopped the car in the road, pulled the man out by his arms, dragged him over to the injured man and made him become accountable. The cops just take too damn long to get there, and so, ya know, take matters into your own hands and all that. I'm just glad that driver didn't hit a cow or he would have been beaten. Uh huh, Im serious.

OK saw my pal Mahesh yesterday, his new awesome apartment, pictures of his new beautiful baby girl. Sushma and the baby girl (nope not telling her name, just call her bunny rabbit) are with her parents being pampered in Mysore. Mahesh sends greetings to Lime! Mahesh and I went refrigerator shopping....had to help the poor guy out, wife away and all. Actually it was fun talking fridges with cute young Indian salesmen. Some things never change.

OK I am taking pics but wont be able to post'll just have to wait, photo requesters, so instead I will just give you some good steal like last year, ok?

Be well, Happy Holidays.

Mr Ratburn coming tomorrow morning hurray!

Love you Little Rita!

She made it!

I am in Bangalore everyone! I'm sorta speechless I'm so tired!

PS what the hell is up with my sidebar?
Im thinking I will need help with that when I get back!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bon Voyage HNT

Ok you guys, I am outa here!
Next time you see me, I will be in Bangalore.
Mr Ratburn is all packed and ready to go as well. (Now doncha worry, Little Rita will be well looked after!)
Stay tuned.......
Happy HNT and Happy Holidays, everyone!
OOPS! almost forgot....
Virtual gifts!
First wish to M at Blissfully Wed and the Mrs: More alone time!!
Second wish to Barman because he is about the nicest human being on the planet!
You just are the sweetest, Barman, consistently positive and what a delight to have gotten to know, and I wish for you whatever the heck you want because you deserve it all!
(Now Barman doesnt HNT but you can visit him anyway!)
My third and final wish goes out to a friend whose mom has brain cancer. No way could that be an easy thing to be going through. I feel like this is too personal to reveal who this wish is for, so I wont, but you know who you are. I know that you and your family will truly cherish your family time this Christmas. For you I wish....that this be not so difficult for all of you.
(Take care, love you! Not commenting though.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm Packing N Stuff....

BangaloreBengalaru, December 2006

Pahar Ganj, Delhi, January 2007

Delhi, January 2007


Greetings Earthlings!

Hurray! I am a citizen of the world! Thank you, Lime!
So I felt like I oughta list some reasons why I am that....
I was born in Eritrea
I lived in Alaska for three years
I have been to 27 airports, half of them being "overseas"
I call being out of the country, "overseas" (that is a military damage issue)
I am about to go to India for my fifth time. Five, that's PANCH, people!
My passport is full of fun stamps!
My closet is full of clothing from around the world, no JC Penney for me!

Ok, I am out of reasons, but did you know that on my second trip to India, I was stuck in Singapore airport for two days, sleeping on the benches, eating nothing but water and granola bars, watching soldiers with uzis patrol the airport? Why didn't I stay in a hotel you ask? The US dollar just doesnt go very far in Singapore, and I had a month to go in India. I was not going to spend half of the money in my wallet just to sleep in a Singapore hotel, when I knew that money would last me weeks in India.
I must now award Logo with a Citizen of the World button and here is why:

When Logo was a young mother of her two and five year old boys, her husband was sent to Italy for his military job. It couldn't have been easy, raising two young sons in unfamiliar territory, a different language, foods and customs.
She also spent some time in Greece during that three year stay in Europe. Anybody that has raised kids in a foreign country, consider yourself awarded as well!

Here is your award Logo, feel free not to comment! ; )

2 India

PS Lime, how do I put this on my sidebar?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Someone Fire That Naughty Elf!

If I wasn't so gosh darned talented at other things, there'd be no way I'd ever show you this. Ladies and gentleman, my very first ever gingerbread house.
TA DA!!!
"Even I'm not that hungry, Gretel! Let's go find another gingerbread house in the deep dark woods."
Well, Little Rita helped.
It tastes A LOT better than it looks.

Friday, December 14, 2007

55Flash Fiction Friday

In the Christmas workshop, there toils a little elf that likes to make toys his own way.
Today he was in trouble for making green barbies and attaching dinosaur heads to doll bodies.
"I'm telling you Santa, there ARE kids out there who will love this stuff!"
"OK Sid, have it your way" chuckled Santa.
I know, I'm late again! Now, I don't know about you, but I kinda like Sids toys.
Have a lovely weekend, everyone!
and try to get over and visit everyones 55! This is my last 55 until the end of January. You all know you can count on G~man to collect the 55 comments and stuff like that, right, G~man?
What? You say your word doesn't have a counter and it takes too long to write a 55 and then count and recount? Hah! Just excuses, I tell ya, because Charles has worked that all out. Get your 55Flash Fiction word counter here!
It does all the work for you, except for choosing tasty descriptive words, you have to do that yourself!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Weird Tree Ornaments HNT

No doubt about it, in this family, we do the holidays our way. That includes decorating our 3 foot tall Charlie Brown tree with stuff we find lying around the house such as toys, small stuffed animals and beads. This year Little Rita decorated the tree herself and it does look swell!

Some of the ornaments though, man, they are just too weird!

Happy Holidays and Happy HNT, everyone!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sugar, He Brings Me Sugar.....

Tori and her band were smoking hot on Friday night, folks! And yes, totally worth the 140 mile round trip journey in hectic bay area traffic. Tori was having this performance taped for a DVD, so everything was slick, cameras everywhere, fancy lights, etc.
Tori performed one of my all time favorite tunes, Sugar. I found a live version of Sugar from a few years back, it's totally rocking. I hope you will give it a whirl.

..."I know your noodle can hold a lot of information, but don't you think you can remember how many sugars a girl takes in her tea after nine months?"

In other news, I'm just a busy gal, sewing away and trying to get all the things done that need to be done before India. Just 10 more days, people, can you believe it? Now normally, I just toss my toothbrush and the 3 red tshirts (haha, Karenji, yes they are coming along!) into a backpack, bubble wrap up some Sonoma shiraz for Maheshji, grab my passport, and I'm off.
This year is a totally different story folks. As you know, Mr Ratburn is comng along with me to India as we celebrate 20 years of "wedded bliss". I can't think of a better way to rejoice and tell the world, "look, we made it 20 years, and neither of us has killed the other!"
What this also means that Little Rita, who is staying with friends while we are in India, has to be bubble wrapped, packed and stuffed into a back pack as well. You know what I mean.
Now over in India, we have two new babies, so I am bringing a slew of gifts for them, the shiraz, some vintage dead tapes, two wind up human powered flashlights for my pals in Bedrock, India,(torches, they call 'em. How cute!) and a bunch of other gifts too.
After you've been to India a few times, you start to figure out that there are lots of things you can do, and lots of ways you can help to deal with some of the major problems that a country of 1.3 billion people must deal with. One of the things that I like to do, is to bring as much paper, pens and pencils as I can stuff into my backpack to give to the kids. I have learned that a lot of school kids are waiting to be the lucky recipient of a travelers expensive "school pen", and not the cheap pens that I hand out, but if I bring out those pens in a small village where you cannot go into a shop and buy a pen, they just arent available, I am quickly surrounded by children wanting those cheap "school pens".
I am so excited to tell you people that this year I walked into the local drug store in town, and the manager, who knows about my India travels, asked me if I still needed pens for my trip this year. When I said yes, he pointed to a grocery cart full of packages of cheap pens that had expired. (Did you know that pens have an expiration date on them? I did not know that!)
The store manager said to me, "take as many of these as you want, and pay me $1. plus tax, because I have to send them all back to the company."
I now have about 500 pens that I purchased for one dollar.
Then, as if that wasnt cool enough, I convinced the owner of our local print shop to donate some paper for the cause. They sell these adorable little note pads that they make in the back room from scrap paper, and I mentioned that the children would love those. The owner said the little notepads take some work and he has to pay labor for that, so I agreed to receive loose paper.
The following week, when I went back to pick up the paper, I was presented with a box full of those tiny little note pads, free of charge. Hey, I cant wait to teach the rascals how to make a flip book!
School pen, madam?
So there you have it, the generosity of others. What a cool thing!

Have a lovely day, people!


Friday, December 07, 2007

55Flash Fiction Friday

Tell me it isn't so...
Susie, all these months, everyday, just the two of us, together, alone, and now...
I thought you loved me?
Rufus, Im sorry but it is so.
You tramp!
How could you do this?
I just cannot believe you are seeing Tori tonight instead of me!
Sorry I'm so late folks. I have a lot of work to do today and I am seeing Tori tonight in Oakland. I'm sorry, Rufus, but you know I love you best.
Be sure to get on over and visit everyones 55's this weekend if you can.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Carpe Robeus HNT

The rumours are true. The fuzzy pink monstrosity has been taken from me by the Department of Social Services and placed in a good home.
Apparently, I am not fit to be the owner. I have been accused of pink robe abuse! (pick, pick, pick) I have heard the new owner really likes pink, oh and purple too.

Ok fine, you all know I have a replacement robe anyway that doesnt get fuzzballs, or whine and complain, and is not made of some strange synthetic mystery textile!

Do you think they allow visitations?

Pssttt, down here! Don't tell anyone, but I still have these!
Enjoy your new home, pink robe, but, I still say I am innocent.

Mr Ratburn says goodbye to the robe too! :P
Happy HNT Everyone!


Monday, December 03, 2007

Faeries Wear Boots & Now Ya Gotta Believe Me!!

I'm not telling you what this is, you just have to watch to find out. All I am saying is, it's 1974 in Southern California, where the Beach Boys are king, and Denise Rosenblatt has brought to school her copy of Diamond Dogs LP, and I am, that chick is really weird!
Oh Denise, girl, you should have been my best friend!

In other news, as you all know it was my birthday and I got some really cool gifts. I got some cyber roses from RennyBA, a cyber greeting or two from Miss Pizza and Logo, a special sexy Indian birthday man who I am never returning, champagne and chocolates from the girls, and dozens of blog comments wishing me a happy birthday!
From Mr Ratburn and Little Rita I receive a gift certificate to my favorite spa in California, (because my absolute favorite spa is in Seattle) some yummy skin products, a beaded bracelet that LR made. Mr Romantic Ratburn brought me a dozen 0range and yellow beautiful! My sister sent me a really cool candle with sea shells in it and this goopy purple stuff instead of wax! Whoa! I even got some cash! Woo Hoo!
And then tonight, we went out for Indian food, my favorite, yum! Then after dinner, I saw these awesome boots in a store window and had to have them...aren't they cool? Perhaps I might even wear toes have been awfully cold lately, now, I wonder if I own any socks?

Yes, the 32 pound pumpkin lives in my la la!


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Guess what?
My birthday is really TODAY!!!

......Mr Ratburn and I started celebrating early! You don't mind, do you?