Tag Archives: cats

Shopping with pani puri.

Tom took me along on his shopping trip yesterday, to a few stores and shops including a multi-story big box that had features of a Super Wal-Mart, Costco, and a department store. The escalators were ramps that accommodated shopping carts, and we visited all the floors and departments, but never found a C-battery or anyone who knew what that was. Tom wasn’t very sure himself, but some new baby equipment wants them. Oh well.

I was fascinated by the many varieties of basmati rice, both packaged and in large bins where women in pretty clothes were scooping up their favorite type. I love basmati rice and used to buy it in 25# bags myself; I came home with a jar of the Brown Basmati.

The packaged rice is one of many products and ads that feature a photo of a famous movie star, often a Khan, or the “Big B,” Amitabh Bachchan. I don’t have a hope of keeping all these celebrities straight, but a couple of them have leading roles in an unusually good Bollywood movie we are currently watching here (over the course of three nights, because it’s close to four hours long): “Lagaan.” Oh, and on the route between the different shops, whose car did our driver point out but that of the very Aamir Khan himself. Mumbai is the center of Bollywood, did you know?

Women were also filling bags with large-crystal sugar from a great bulk bin.



We ate several pani puri snacks and another type of snack at a stand in the food department of the store. For us to take our fill of those savory treats cost less than 100 rupees which Tom said was about $1.10.


From this store we drove to that quiet neighborhood Tom introduced me to on my first day here, where is found their favorite market.

The shopkeepers know at least the names of vegetables and how to count in English so I was able to complete the purchase of some carrots, zucchini, peppers and broccoli while Tom went to the next stand where we found leeks and potatoes from which he is going to make soup.

Are those red carrots really carrots? I’ll cook them today and find out.

We brought all our loot home and then Tom cooked up a big delicious dinner featuring mutton chops, pesto green beans, tomato salad and more. It was the first meal of not particularly Indian food that I’ve had in ten days.

Baby “Raj” had stayed home with his mama. They are eating well and building strength and we are all enjoying the early Getting to Know You period. Well, not quite all: Huckleberry Cat has led a very sheltered life until this point and he doesn’t feel entirely positive about the strange creature who suddenly showed up.

As I write, it is a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’ve been holding a sleeping baby for an hour while chatting with Kate and Tom about so many things India, seeds that could germinate into future blog posts. Now I’m back here typing with two fingers to finish this one. My mind will immediately and irresistibly start gathering threads of images and impressions to weave into the next scrap of cloth I hope to share with you, of this colorful tapestry that is Bombay.

surprising lavender food

As I was enjoying my quiet and contemplative day, it was in the back of my mind that at some point I would have to get practical and find something with which to make dinner. The sort of solitude I had been enjoying precluded any kind of shopping.

I was surprised to end up wlav soup 4-14ith lavender soup.

This is how I did it:

Back in Butter Week, I made some yummy pasta with beans and cheese and greens, but it was too large a batch to use up before Lent, so I froze a quart of it. During Lent a purple cabbage came in my CSA box, and I have been trying to figure out what to do with it. Today I thought of making cabbage soup with sausage, but that would require me going to the store, so I looked in the freezer and discovered the pasta e fagoli, as I might call it if I were Italian. On the container I had written the suggestion “Make soup,” so I followed that plan and added some cheese sauce that I whipped up.


As the concoction was simmering, I looked out at the rain falling into the swimming pool, and took a picture through the door of the miniature roses that look especially good from a distance, because you can’t see the black spot.

I didn’t anticipate that the rain would hold on and keep dripping all through dinner, meaning that soup was the perfect food to have. And lavender is very much one of those Easter egg colors so we had a Springtime experience as well. Our friend Cat ate some with Mr. Glad and me.

After we all had emptied our bowls of second helpings of the very comforting and tasty soup, Cat and I sort of visited through the glass door with a neighborhood cat who stopped by and stared at us. He had found a dry spot under my gardening bench. He doesn’t have too much to do with the rest of this post, but his eyes are also a pretty Easter egg color.4-2014 bengal cat

Maui Diary 4 – Bright Trees and Critters

Hibiscus looks nice against volcanic rock.

For most of my life, the image that came to my mind when someone mentioned Hawaii was of beaches, and volcanoes spewing lava into the ocean. Ten years ago or so a friend visited the islands and told me about the beautiful flowers, and at that point I began to be interested.

Reading The Folding Cliffs, about the history of Kauai in a setting that highlighted the lush landscape, took my imagination further along, to the point where I was willing and interested to visit.

bougainvillea bush

If our stay on Maui had a focus, I would say it was the ocean, based on the amount of time spent, but with the flowers blooming everywhere I turned my head, I came away with my visual sense more than satisfied in that department — it was more than I could take in.

Right out our back door there were spider lilies and red ginger, and multi-colored bougainvillea trained into shrubs. Along the roads hedges of hibiscus or bougainvillea or even more extravagant flowers let us know we were in the tropics.

African Tulip Tree

The writer of the plant guide we took to Maui was clearly biased against species that were not native, or that at least had been brought from other Polynesian islands long ago, but I admit to liking many of those plants very much. The African Tulip Tree makes lovely splashes of orange against the green landscape, and it at least doesn’t seem to have spread into the weed category yet.

Bougainvillea along roadway

We’d heard reports of wild chickens being found all over Maui, and we were happy to see a lot of them on beaches, along streets, most anywhere. And other beasts who had no doubt escaped from households and barnyards generations ago.

On the drive to Hana we ate our lunch at a wayside park where a green lawn ran up the hill to a tall and thick forest — or perhaps on that rainy stretch it would be called a jungle. I spotted chickens with shiny feathers up there, and walked up to try getting a picture. It was not to be: the closest bird disappeared behind some vines, I followed as quietly as I could and peeked under the trees, to see a couple of cats lounging there with the chickens. It was just a glimpse, and then the whole inter-species family was gone from sight.

Where I saw cats and chickens

This cat sat patiently under our table while we were picnicking, and waited for us to drop a bite of sandwich. And at Honolua Bay a bright rooster in the middle of the jungle path was engrossed in pecking the meat out of a broken coconut. Many times we saw road signs warning of the approach of a pig or nene crossing. Nenes are the type of goose that is the state bird of Hawaii.

Feral chickens in Iao Valley
Common Myna

We were on the island for several days before we discovered that the perky bird we saw everywhere is the Common Myna, native to Asia but living all over the world. On a list of the 100 Most Invasive Species, there are only three birds, and the Myna is one of them. Found this picture on the Internet.

My favorite animal sighting was in the Upcountry where there are farms and ranches with jacaranda trees catching your eye with their purple flowers. We drove past a large pasture with a herd of dark cattle grazing on the green, and as many white birds as steers walking around chummily in their midst. I assume that they are what has been sensibly named the Cattle Egret.

picking mangoes

It seems that a lot of trees bearing flowers or fruits are so tall that it takes some trouble to harvest the crop. I asked the rosette-pinning woman (whom I tell about further down) if pickers use ladders to get the flowers from those tall plumeria trees, and she replied that they “mostly climb” to fetch them. Walking around Lahaina, we saw a man picking mangoes with a long pole contraption, and it’s certain one would need a ladder or good tree-climbing skills to get papayas.

tiny plumeria tree at center

Plumeria! I’m in love with plumeria. I knew of leis, of course, and I’d heard that flower mentioned, but I had to go to Hawaii to see what a plumeria blossom looks like or get intoxicated by its scent. It was a surprise to find that these sweet flowers grow on trees.

I wish I had taken a dozen more pictures of plumeria trees. Many of the taller ones look at first glance as though they are some kind of dead thing, but then you notice the flowers at the tip of every smooth and bare branch.

We went to a luau where a girl in Hawaiian dress taught female guests how to stick plumeria flowers on to a toothpick to make a rosette, which she then fastened into our hair with a bobby pin.

When we had first arrived at the luau, I was given a tuberose, which I had been carrying around for a while, so I stuck that on to my toothpick as well, and while our taste buds enjoyed the traditional foods, my nose feasted on the rose and plumeria delicacies. I already have forgotten most of the food I ate, but the memory of my fragrant rosette lives on.

Boots and the lovely Nootka

Nootka rose

I’ve had more time for exercise and gardening and cooking this week. It’s been raining, so I didn’t plant much, but I did buy more plants.

My favorite nursery is addictive, and expensive. So after I indulged there, I went to a “big box” nursery where I could get four zinnas for the price of one at the favorite.

Cloudy skies make it easy to take pictures of flowers without the discipline of rising before the sun to do it. I was at church briefly yesterday, but long enough to snap these brighteners of the day.

I can’t seem to help myself, and keep taking more pictures of old favorites, and whatever looks a little different from last week. It’s certainly nice to have this place to put a few samples of my catches. Occasionally I look back at old blog posts and am usually surprised at what all is stored here. Taking pictures of a few details in the incredible display the Creator puts before me every day helps me to pay closer attention.

The Nootka rose doesn’t bloom for very long, and I was startled by the cheerful little faces all over the many bushes that line one sidewalk.

 I don’t know the name of this Rudbeckia but I’d love to find one to plant at home.

The cat visitor whom I named Boots has been very friendly. Yesterday she let me brush her for a minute. This picture shows her big feet; I named her Boots because they were all white, but now I think it’s a good name because they are large.

She is so tame, she no doubt belongs to someone…maybe it’s the family down the street that has a lot of (neglected) cats. One cat we took in a very long time ago, who had kittens, ended up going back there after the kittens were all grown up. We didn’t know she actually called that place home until we had been used. But it’s o.k. We kept one of her sons and he was fully ours.

Nothing special is going on in our household relative to the holiday, because B. has to work Monday. But I’m doing some cooking and shopping today, anyway. The sun is coming out…maybe next week I’ll put some plants in the ground. I am pretty wonderfully blessed to have these gardens to dig around in!

More and more I’m also appreciating “having” several cats whom I can go away and forget whenever I want, and who won’t scratch up the furniture. I can concentrate more on my digging.