“Do you have hands? Excellent. That’s a good start. Can you hold a pencil? Great. If you have a sketchbook, open it and start by making a line, a mark, wherever. Doodle.”~Chris Riddell

Doodles (8)

“Why do you carry such a big handbag when you go for a walk?” said my son rather disapprovingly.

“Why? What’s wrong if I do?” I countered, a bit surprised.

“Just saying,” he replied shrugging his shoulders and raising his eyebrows.

“I carry some things with me when I go for a walk. I need a roomy bag to accommodate them” was my matter-of-fact answer.

My bag gets a bit heavier when I take along one or two of my #granddaughters with me. Added to my diary/journal, pen, iPad, and other knick-knacks, I also carry a game or two that we play: Spot It! and Caterpillar, and loose notepapers and pencils (even a few color pencils) because I make up writing games with the elder one, Aly. Our walks usually have a break at Tim Hortons. I love the place and can while away hours writing or reading if I’m alone and not having #funwiththekids.

“A part of my design and inspiration ethos is that I carry around a leather notebook and I sketch in it, doodle in it, write notes in it, and I put pictures in it.”~John Varvatos

One of the activities Aly loves is #doodling. At times, unintentionally, it becomes specific and more about designing. I set the timer to 1 minute and 15 seconds, and one of us chooses a word and we start doodling to make the word an attractive design. She’s nine and very good with her drawing and imagination.

Here are some of the ones we’ve done. All were done within the time limit and some even before the timer alarm went off. After comparing and complimenting each other, we shaded in some undone areas, but there was no addition or subtraction to the basic drawing.

She’s really amazing. Considering she had no time to think up something and she completed each one in time, she certainly has talent. I’m not saying that because she’s my granddaughter! See for yourself, I’ve added names so you can tell Alyssa’s from mine.

“It just comes out of my subconscious. If you asked me to draw you a doodle, I couldn’t do it.”~Lois Frankel


Doodles (2)



Doodles (3)



Doodles (4)



Doodles (5)



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Doodles (7)

This one wasn’t a part of our timed #challenges, although we did them just as quickly as we did the others. This was done recently after we finished many different forms of word games and were relaxing with ‘doodh chai’ (extra milky tea) for her and a regular tea for me. Oatmeal raisin cookies boosted our energy 🙂

“I love jotting down ideas for my blog, so I doodle or take notes of all kinds of stuff that inspires me: the people I meet, boutiques I visit, a florist that just gave me a great idea for an interior design project, things like that.”~Maria Sharapova






Uprooted! Before the Shift to Chile

“And the danger is that in this move toward new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and not find anything except loneliness.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

These pages were written before I moved to Chile. I should have posted it before the other Chile posts, but that’s how it is… mixed up!

Gurgaon. 2012-Jan 2013

Every time we shifted home, from one region to another I’d lament at the ‘uprooting’ because that was how I felt at the time. We’d hardly settle into a new home, and I’d just start to say a warm “hello” to my neighbors ( it did take me a long time to say ‘hello’!!) and get to pick up a smattering of the local lingo when Bam! it was packing time again. Well, beliefs do come apart at some time or the other….and so did this one. 

When my younger son and his wife decided to shift base to foreign lands, I was thrilled. It made me feel as proud as a mother hen……all puffed up and clucking away to glory. After all, they were in good jobs, living well, happy and what more could one want, I’d think to myself contentedly. Then the elder one and his wife also shifted base. I clucked louder. But not for long. I would have to move too, I was told. 

“I’m not,” I said.

“But you have to,” all trilled in a chorus.

“I’m okay on my ownsome,” I dug my heels in.

“You don’t keep too well. What if something happens… there’s no one there. Besides, it’s not safe for old people, especially old women to live all alone.” They were playing the safety angle. I saw their point but decided to side-track.

“What do you mean by old? I’m still a long way off from the official ‘senior citizen’ tag,” I sounded terribly offended.

It gave me a break. They were quiet. I knew they’d be back with fresh arguments and a different angle. In the meantime, I was beginning to feel the clammy claws of dread clutching my innards. It all came together and in full force…my kids’ reaction and my bowels’ too! I used the times on the throne(which were many) to think a way out. This time they had me in a bind. I buckled….with weakness literally and figuratively. 

I can’t help feeling proud of their ingenuity. They know my weakness and have played their cards well and with sensitivity. I couldn’t feel offended. If I did I’d hurt them. I would have termed it emotional blackmail and pooh-poohed the whole thing, but they were clever. Didn’t give me that option. Worded the mail with skill. So that’s how I am learning today what being uprooted really means.

I leave behind a little bit of who I was in each house we’ve left empty. Scattering pieces of me in towns all over the place. A trail of crumbs dotting the map from everywhere we’ve left to everywhere we go. And they don’t make any pictures when I connect dots. They are random like the stars littering the sky at night.” 
― Brian James

Moving to a foreign land sounds exciting. And it does stir my imagination and my wandering thoughts. But reasoning pulls the reins and steers them in the right direction. I am moving to a new country not to start a new career nor am I moving on a transfer and adding some stars to my CV. So, there are no career opportunities glimmering on the horizon to blind me.

While I’m curious about new cultures, and this will be an entirely different one, it piques my interest. But, I am aware that I’ll have some challenges too; unique ones!

I’m no stranger to relocating. We’ve made many moves since I was a kid; all Defence Forces families keep getting posted out. Then as a married woman, we made some moves as hubby got transferred. But relocating between states is different. You move lock, stock, and barrel, leaving nothing behind. And although a move within the country is almost like moving to a different country; different language, culture, traditions, food, climate, scenery, terrain; it is still the same country! There is always some common skein that binds and blending in with the culture isn’t as difficult.

An international move, however, has no parallel with a local move even if it’s a long-distance one; from the North to the South. Blending in with a community and culture abroad isn’t all that easy.

I understand this and anticipate the challenges. And also know that learning a new language, at my age, is going to be an uphill task. Learning and understanding their culture will not be hard, I am interested to know more first-hand.

It’s the food that worries me. I’m a fussy eater. Besides, many foods don’t suit my system and are not on my restricted diet. I’ve got an assurance that I need not worry on this account. So that’s a small relief.

I’m a brand loyalist! What if I didn’t find little things I might need; things I can’t think of now? And what about simple toiletries, cosmetics, lotions, clothes; brands I’m used to? Will I get the medicines and vitamins I’m on? How will I replenish my stock of meds when they run out?

The most challenging thing is restrictions on meds.

Thoughts, fears, anxiety… and a needle-pricking pain took over.

I watched my home being dismantled twig by twig. The only words I heard were….sell, give away, discard, burn…. all the old memories in albums, the treasured letters in my hand-painted files, my journals! I kept the albums and loose photographs to give someone for safe-keeping until I could take them back. The letters and journals, I tore up or burned.

I watched as a tsunami of sorts took options and choices away from my feeble grasp, as it swept away years of building, bit by bit, in one big swell. I was being uprooted! Would I take root elsewhere in foreign soil, I pondered. Will the main root be pulled out without damage? Will it take root again? 

I left the thoughts unanswered for I did not know. The positive answer is yes it will. The cynical one is yes but how…Just taking root doesn’t signify that the heart has taken root as well. 

I have things to see to. All isn’t wrapped up yet. Let the root decide how it will survive… I will just go with the flow. 

“Keep my hand firmly in yours,” I say to my friend up there. It helps as it has always done. I smile. He has His plans and they’re definitely better than the best. In the meantime, my children await my arrival eagerly with open arms!

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.”
― Markus Zusak

PS: My heart took root and how! I loved Vina del Mar and now away from the majestic shores of the Pacific, I yearn for her! I’m tired of being uprooted… it takes too much out of me.