My lilac tree is bipolar!

Look at this …. a flowering Lilac tree (or a bush if thats what you’d like to call it). You’d see a thousands of those this spring.

Lilacs in bloom

Lilacs in bloom

but hold on a sec, here is the other half of the tree.

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You won’t see any blooms this side. if you strain your eyes you may see the deadheads where the blooms were last year.

head on

And here is the tree shot head on …..the flowering and the non flowering side divided right in the middle.

I spent most of yesterday taking pictures of spring blossoms in and around my neighbourhood. When it came to the lilac in my back yard I noticed it had flowers only on one side.As hard as it seems what I am about to tell you is true. I have a bipolar Lilac tree in my back yard.

bipolar meaning

Oh ! about the spring round-up  of my neighbourhood…. you can find those images on my  Facebook page. Click here for the album.

Do you think plants have a personality?

Phir Milenge!!

The language without words

This morning , I chanced upon this cheerful sight. This gentleman, whom I saw in the bus,  was happily reading the notes of music from the sheets and enjoying the music in his head. While it is so common to see many youngsters shaking their heads to music it was the rarity of this event that drew my attention. I asked him for his permission to click his picture and sat down to talk to him till the time my journey in the bus lasted.

reading musical notes 2

music notes

He was happy to let me take pictures and mentioned that he was a pianist and his group would be performing the coming weekend in the community center. He said reading music was akin to reading a book , where the visualization happens in the mind and even though there is no sound to accompany the notes, he could visualize the music in his head like pictures. I am almost tone-deaf so I can only imagine what beautiful experience it might be to see music take shape in front of your eyes.

He was happy with his music, and perhaps amused at my curiosity. His was a sort of happiness that rubs off you. Did you notice the name on the cover of his music sheets? – Voice Dance! It paints a picture doesn’t it ?

reading musical notes

Meanwhile in my garden, these bleeding hearts bloomed. Spring is in full force in our part of the world – So many flowers blooming and so many baby- birds chirping all around.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis a.k.a Bleeding hearts

Lamprocapnos spectabilis a.k.a Bleeding hearts

I am soaking in the sights, smells and sounds of spring.

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Notes of music

colors of spring

All things that make your heart sing.

What is your heart singing these days?

Phir milenge!!

Journey of Life

February 1997. Hundred and twenty grade-12 students enjoying a ‘farewell’ party thrown by hundred plus grade-11 students, organized by their teachers and held in the school compound. I had just stepped down from the podium as the valedictorian of my class having spoken about the dreams and hope for the future. In fact the air was saturated with that. We were signing each-other’s sign-books answering typical questions like, “ where do you see yourself in ten years?” “What do you want to be?” “ your happiest/saddest moment” “your thoughts about me “ etc. I remember I wrote I wanted to become a doctor. In ten years I would have my own house, a car and a successful medical practice and I will marry a man of my own liking (no arranged marriage for me- I was a rebel). My friends wrote that I should become a lawyer, writer or a teacher (May be it was because I talked too much!). NO WAY! I felt being a doctor was my calling. It was the last time I was in the school as a student. A month down the road we were to appear in National /state level exams and various entrance exams for professional courses which would determine the course of the rest of our lives but that night was about dreams, about the future and a Plan-B was far from my mind.

Cut to a decade and half later. I am not a doctor but I couldn’t be happier. My Journey of life has been surprising- It’s not what I planned for but it’s just what I hoped for. Last week I read in an Indian newspaper about a teenaged girl who committed suicide. I wished I could go back in time and tell her about the Paralympic participants who are pushing the boundaries of what human bodies can do and tell her to not let her bad circumstances get the best of her. To tell you the truth the time period from March to June is an extremely stress filled time for parents of grade-12 students in India. This is the time when all major exams are held and results are declared. The news is often filled with tragic tales of young people taking their lives because they could not take the disappointment of low marks or failed attempts at career exams. If my journey of life were any thing to go by then I would say to those youngsters- Hold on, Life is too precious to be thrown away.

That night in 1997, an hour after my glorious speech I was sobbing bitterly complaining in front of my friends because I did not become the “prom-queen” equivalent of my school (a much less sophisticated and less glamorous version of it ) even though I felt I was really popular and had a 100% chance of winning that title. So all the talk of the future had just vanished in thin air, I was totally focused on the there and then  (here and now ) of the moment. My logic was over ruled by my emotions. Months later, I had not cleared any of the medical entrance exams I had appeared in and had a lower than expected score in high-school exams. I really needed to think about a Plan-B.  Actually Plan-B wasn’t half as bad as I had imagined. I went on to study architecture and in my first year I probably was the least talented and the least popular student in my class (may be even in the whole department). I made poor choices, made mistakes, I struggled but I persevered. My scores became better and It all started to make sense. By the end of those five years I not only gained an education, I also gained wisdom.  I understand what being disappointed means and how it can sometimes feel like the end of the road but in life you have to roll with the punches. Life plans are not all about our big goals and ambitions. Its also about the little things and the people we have in our lives. …And some times the sum of the small things is bigger than the whole.

In 2007 when I started to reconnect with my old school pals via Facebook, many of them were shocked that I became an architect not a teacher, converted to Christianity and married a guy that my parents helped select. I was surprised at how  their lives turned out as well. Some of them were a far cry from what I had thought they would be. Of course there were some who became doctors and engineers and CA’s like they wanted to be and those who married their high-school sweethearts but there were also those who did something totally different and here is the common denominator, they have all chosen to live happy lives.

I say happiness is a choice because even as adults we can be ruled by our emotions.  Some of us do look back at life and wish they could change that one thing that would change how their lives turned out to be. Of course there is room in life for serious contemplation on the choices we made and how our lives could be better. We don’t want to be foolish in ignorance but if ‘what-could-have-been’ starts to paralyze our current lives then it’s totally not worth it.

Seventeen years ago, I couldn’t have imagined that I would be enjoying being a stay-at-home mom to my little one  or that I would be married to such a wonderful person or that I would be living abroad or that my parents could actually be right :P!  But that was the age I was in. I was on the threshold of adulthood and even though I had merely a faint idea what life could possibly be I felt I knew it all. I felt I had it all figured out and that’s a stumbling block! We have to keep our avenues open and our plans flexible.

I don’t know who said it but this quote stuck in my mind:

“ Life is what happens to you when you are busy planning for something else”

Our journeys of life are full of ups and down and more often than not they don’t turn out as we planned. What I have learnt is that it is never too late to start making amends. We can change the present and we need to invest in it with love and sow the seeds for the future.

If you are in your teens- Please don’t get too caught up in your current disappointments. There are opportunities that will arise in future. We have to continually dust off our disappointments and keep trying again and again.

If you are older would you give it a thought today:

What was on your must-have/ must-achieve list when you were 15-16-17?

 

What is your life like now?

 

What are the most important lessons you have learnt so far?

 

If you would like to share the journey of your life, Please let me know. I would love to hear your story.

Phir Milege!!

Naari (the woman)

“You are her (sarah’s) daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.”

1 Peter 3:6

This women’s day is not so much about celebrating the women for me but to remind young girls of the potential they hold. As a mother of a daughter, I want to be a good role model. I want her to know that a woman can be soft, and gentle yet can be strong. Being strong doesnot mean becoming manly but to embrace our own strengths. Even in the animal kingdom a mother with kids is an easy mark but we know she can be the most ferocious beast as well. Our vulnerability can become our strength if we remain aware of it. The creative and nurturing spirit that God has breathed in us is our elixir.

Sometimes it’s the women who stop other women from being strong. In India daughters are discouraged by their own mothers to pursue education and forced to settle down in domestic roles. Here is my sketch for the day  and a short poem:

image

Roughly translated it means:

Not only good looks give me good qualities,

Give me a calm and strong mind.

My heart tells me this

a dream lives in you too.

You gave me your manners and talents

Why did you not give me the freedom too?

Give me my right today mother!

Say “be victorious” and bless me.

Become the wings of my dreams,

and come fly with me.

Let me fulfill my dreams mother!

then I will be called your daughter.

Happy Women’s Day to you all.

Phir Milenge!!

An A-moo-zing birthday

One of the most exciting part of motherhood is celebrating milestones of the children’s lives. I am happy to introduce My friend Linda who threw an amoozing (yeah moo for the theme was cow) party to celebrate her son’s birthday last year. She has hosted and styled many beautiful parties for her family and friends and has agreed to share a little bit about her style and process with me today.  I think we don’t celebrate moms enough-  Linda is a woman of many talents. Born and raised in a beautiful Eastern European country, Latvia, She left home in 2001 and has been traveling ever since. She studied Art in latvia, majoring in oil painting, pencil sketching and collage. She is a certified Level 1 Tea-Sommelier and a certified  advance makeup artist. She has lived and worked in Switzerland, the USA, the UAE and the UK.  She immigrated to Canada in 2007, got married and now has a very precious baby boy. Last year she quit her job in the hospitality industry and started her own business to be able to spend more time with her family. She is a freelance professional make up artist specializing in bridal, special events, beauty and editorial make up – Visit her website here. Over to Linda now:

Lsahoo

Linda and her son Sandis

I have always loved planning different events for my family and styling them with different themes, whether it was a Christmas concert where my brother performed for the family or stage presentations in school, Baby showers or weddings. I also have a higher diploma in Event Planning and Management. My biggest event was of course planning my own wedding in Latvia with influences from Latvian culture and incorporating my husband’s Indian roots.It was an east-meets-west event which came together quite spectacularly- I wore a white dress with burgundy red shoes, adorned with Indian jewelery and the hair and makeup was inspired from the Bollywood movies from the 80s.

I am really interested in planning  and styling an event, from the theme to decor to the food and every other detail. When it came to my son’s first birthday I wanted to do something that was bright and vibrant and personal at the same time.

Lsahoo

The Sahoo family

I started planning my son’s birthday three months in advance. I knew I wanted to do something special and the idea I came up was to tie the whole party together around his favorite toy (a stuffed cow who wears a sea blue sweater). The main colors for the decor were black, white and Sea blue. I was disappointed to see all that was available in party stores were boring shades of browns greens and blues for boys whereas there were many brightly colored party themes available for girls so I had to customize the look I wanted for this party.

I looked around on Etsy and found Colleen of ASweetCelebration who agreed to making the birthday banner  and turned my vision into reality. She made the banner and the  12 months banner both in similar color palettes.

 cow theme birthday banner 12 month banner

My mom had flown in from Europe for her grandson’s first birthday and was a great help in putting the rest of the decor together. I found very pretty material in ocean blue with kind of golden pattern on it for the table at the local sewing store on sale but unfortunately it was not long enough, so I had to borrow black table skirt for the table from the Banff Centre where my husband works. It took a while to decide what to do as a backdrop for the table, and I decided to make 6 garlands 6ft in length, with craft-paper circles of various sizes in blue, light blue and black which we stitched through with the thread. On the window itself we placed yellow plastic table cloth cut into rectangular shape, and then hanged a custom frame, which we painted in coordinating color together with Letter “S”. That created a focal point.

desert table

Dessert Table

We had Indian fusion buffet, and sweet table was color coordinated. We had lollipops, which looked like sugar sticks in blue, yellow and white, as well as candy in similar hues. My mother and I made the cupcakes from scratch and created the cow figurines from marshmallow and gum paste…we were basing it on a drawing and some knowledge of cake decorating. The cake pops were dark chocolate brownie in flavor, and we just added some food coloring to white melted chocolate to get that exact color. Again all made at home using Wilton supplies.

lolipop cake cupcake

The cake was cream cherry cake custom made for us was initially a bit of a disappointment as it was plain white cake with green/blue spots- nothing like I had envisioned. Early in the morning I had to salvage it to make it look more like I initially intended, and added some black patches, gumpaste flowers and one of the cows we made for the cupcakes.So in the end, it looked pretty decent.

cow theme cake

Picture frame with Sandis’ picture we painted ourselves to achieve the exact color.
table setting Sandis wore bow tie outfit through the day, and later on I changed him into cow tea shirt and pants, purchased for the occasion. As a guest favor, we used kid umbrellas which where cow themed too.

cow  themed umbrellas birthday boy Sandis

At the end of the day I was very satisfied with the outcome.

One last question, How has your experience been of living in so many different places around the globe?

I’ve lived in Latvia, Switzerland, France, USA, UAE, UK and Canada. I have extensively traveled through Europe as well in my teenage years both with family and as part of volleyball team…and I also have been to Russia. For me it’s boring to live in one place for a long time…I love to experience new environments, cultures, values…it changes your perspective on things and values in life, you learn something new. Sometimes, you have to be brave enough to take a leap into unknown, especially when you leave the first time all by yourself to live/work in totally unknown country without a single friend or family member there by your side but it has always been very rewarding, and I guess made me a “richer”, more broad minded person. I have always thought that In the end, if I don’t like it, I can always go back to my home, Latvia, to where I am from..to my safe haven…life is too short and there is so much to experience out in this world!
For the time being our home is Canada…but it can change any time really 🙂

Thanks Linda, for taking the time to talk to us. I can’t wait to see her ideas for event styling this year!

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Phir Milenge!!