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Friday, April 29, 2011

Piccolo Rajiv - The book

My next extracurricular project is going to be turning the old blog into ink and paper format - just in case the apocalypse comes and Google crashes and all blogs disappear into digital dust.

Seriously, this is something that does generate some anxiety in me. Even before we moved here to Due Fratellini I had been pondering the question of what would be the most time-economical way to get the blog in book form. After all, one of the reason why I started this in first place was that one day my kids could read it if they want to.

Then yesterday, completely by chance, I came across Blog2Print. It seems to be a service designed especially for Blogger, which is the platform I use, and it is just very easy to use. You give the address of your blog and within less than a minute you get a tentative preview of your book. Then you can make changes - like choosing the photos for the cover, deleting posts or adding extra content.

It is never going to be as neat as a photo book made on iPhoto, but as I said it is so easy that one might overlook that. Just for information, printing the full blog in hardcover format would come to about $60 + shipping. It sounds like a lot, but for the number of pages is really not that bad.

Anyway, I think I would like to do this. I will let you know how it goes :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Before the Zambonis

Questo video si colloca subito prima dell'apertura delle uova. I miei bimbi decidono di giocare a nascondino.. :)

Sorry, earlier I got so caught up in writing about my ineptitude with the Zambonis that I forgot to show the prequel to the story. Here it is. And for the last time - this year - Happy Easter :)

The Best Laid Plans

Cliccate sotto su "Read more" per video e foto.

In Case you are wondering - and I know you probably are not, really - I am intentionally borrowing the title from a book about Canadian politics that I haven't even read yet - but it looks good ;)

I thought about what to do for Easter for a while and in the end we did absolutely nothing special, as you well know. One thing I wanted to get right, though, was the eggs. I didn't want to get really good - and really expensive - chocolate, because:
  1. The kids really don't know the difference
  2. If we want to keep collecting the Thomas Wooden Railway we have to save money somewhere -- even if just symbolically
  3. I wouldn't know where to find really good Easter eggs here - because I'm a European snob
So the choice was restricted to whatever the Valuemart in front of my office had to offer. The boys love Kinder chocolate, but recently I have been very disappointed with the little gadgets found inside them. Not like those of my youth..  The thought of an oversized version of them popping out of the big Easter Kinder eggs left me cold.

Then I saw he official CHL eggs, which promised a pull back Zamboni inside every one of them: Perfect!

If you are not Canadian you might not know what any of this means, so let me explain.

The CHL is the Central Hockey League and ice hockey is of course the most popular sport in Canada - did you think it was curling???

A Zamboni is a large machine, looking a little like a road sweeper, that resurfaces the ice on an ice rink: meaning, it peels off the top layer of ruined ice and leaves behind nice smooth ice. All Canadian kids love Zambonis, just like kids everywhere love all sort of large and mean machines. Why this thing is called a Zamboni was a mystery for me for a while, until I googled it and found out that this machine was invented by Frank Zamboni and his company is still leader in the market. I'm afraid You have to be Italian to understand why all this sounds hilarious..

Anyway, Rajiv has recently become a Zamboni enthusiast, thanks to an episode of Caillou he watched in which Caillou gets to ride on a Zamboni after his skating class. For a few days after that, the toy bulldozer that Appu rides around the house turned into a Zamboni.

So I thought: this is great! We get to do the ritual cracking of the eggs with some cheap chocolate, and who cares about that anyway, and then inside there will be two nice small pull back vehicles that the kids can play with for the rest of the day. While I take rest.

If you have reached here without falling asleep, below the fold you will get to watch a video of the actual egg cracking. Papa' was with us on Skype, which was nice.

NOOOOOO! The Zamboni came in a zillion pieces. It was fun, because I got to see how a pull back car works - or in this case doesn't. Less fun was the fact that Rajiv and Rohan were howling behind my chair because I wouldn't let them play right a away with the toy. Rohan probably thought I was playing with it myself and was really angry.

The thing that should make the vehicle move after you pull it back is the rubber band you see below. Simple. And cool! (By the way, note how the steering wheel is already broken)

Ta - daaaaaa!

Uhm, not really, no. The pull back never worked, the band was falling off and pretty soon the wheels were falling off too. Appu agrees to show the toy for the camera, but by now the excitement is fading.

At least we got one "Toronto Maple Leaves" Zamboni, which I guess is our team. The black scary one is from the "Calgary Flames". Brrr..

So that's it. I have already disposed of the two offending objects, although some of their parts must still be hiding somewhere in the living room.

I know the whole thing doesn't sound like a big deal, but the three of us took it quite personally :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I got it!

The photo album arrived yesterday. It looks quite neat, thank you Apple!

Rajiv and Rohan were very excited to see it. Rajiv took it to school today and I am very curious to hear how it went.

By the way, the only person who tried to answer my little quiz was achamma, so she "wins" a copy of the book, to be delivered, together with the grandchildren, next time we are in India. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vigilia di Pasqua col sole

You are going to hear a lot about Easter on this blog. Not because it is my favorite holiday or anything like that, but I had four full days to spend at home with the kids and I'm going to share the joy. Only the good parts, I promise: I will spare you the synchronized wailing contests and the I-want-to-go-out-in-the-rain-without-shoes moments.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the egg hunt with Kalena on Good Friday - but maybe I can get the video from Anna Marie? Anyway, let me tell you about our Saturday instead, in every boring detail.

I'm not sure you can tell from the photos, but the weather was really nice, the warmest we had so far. I sort of overdressed the kids, just in case, but I wasn't wearing a sweater and I never missed it.

We played for a while on the street in front of our house - it's a dead end, so it's very quiet. Appu insisted that we put together Rohan's new tricycle, but in the end Rohan preferred to walk.

Appu had a blast on his own big trike and kept riding back and forth on the sidewalk.

I asked him to take a photo of me and Rohan and I think he did a great job!

One of the highlights of the afternoon was finding two badminton rackets abandoned on the curb in front of some students' house. They were there to be picked up with the trash, but we rescued them and there was a soft ball too! What more could you want?

We also got a chance to play a little bit with our neighbor Kyle, after a long time.

Then we took mamma's bike with the buggy attached behind for the Rohan and Rajiv to sit in and we went for a short ride. We went through the park and to the office, to pick up some stuff I had left there, and then we went to the grocery store.

My idea of happiness, looks something like this:

If only there was another big bike in this photo...

But let me conclude with a little video, taken earlier while playing on our street.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's all about timing

Today I told S how to take a "photo" through Skype by using the Grab utility on his Mac.

It just so happens that a few rare events had also just taken place: I had managed to sneak away - almost unnoticed - to take a shower and wash my hair without causing an uprising; the kitchen table had been almost cleared and more or less cleaned to make space for the ritual opening of the chocolate eggs (more about that later); broken down by accumulated guilt I had cooked some proper food for lunch.

As a result of all this, when papa' took the following "snaps", we looked like a regular family having a normal Sunday lunch in a reasonably clean and pleasant environment. It's all about timing :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

You tell them stuff, but who knows what they are thinking..

Just a few minutes ago, Appu shows me a drawing he made and tells me it's me - and by the way, he did that because Rohan yesterday had made a picture of me, and he wanted to measure up :)

Anyway, back to the story. Appu says:

- Mamma, it's you!

- It's me?

(maybe I sounded doubtful)

- Yes, when you were very small.

- When I was small?

- Yes, when you were inside *my* tummy..

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The great potato rainfall of 2011

Uhm, che cosa ci fanno tutte queste patate per terra??

Hey, what happened here?

What are all these potatoes doing on the floor??

Maybe this is a clue..

and here is another..

..AHA! Mystery solved :)

But wait, why is Rajiv wearing socks on his hands now?!?

It's so exciting!

Appu is taking part in his first concert in two weeks. His group will get to play a simple rhythm on a single string to open the spring concert of the Suzuki school. It will be him with the cello and his two little friends from class - another cello and a violin.

To be honest, so far every attempt to get them to play this thing *together* has failed miserably, but it doesn't matter because they are going to be so cute that nobody will mind :)

I just went to buy a pair of black sweatpants and a white t-shirt for next week's dress rehearsal, so I thought I would share..

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One day - soon - people will be asking for his autograph :)

Rajiv improvvisa una canzone alla chitarra.

Rajiv improvises a song on the guitar.. The best part was before I started filming it but, alas, isn't that always the case?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Photo Album - Rohan and Rajiv in India

Cliccando su "Read more" piu' in basso potrete vedere le pagine di un libro ricordo del nostro recente viaggio in India. Per ingrandire ogni pagina basta cliccarci sopra, pero' purtroppo per caricare le immagini sul blog ho dovuto ridurre la qualita', quindi le foto non sono nitidissime. Sono graditi commenti! E chissa' se riuscite a scovare nel muchio le foto scattate da Rajiv?

Maybe you have been wondering when I was going to start posting some photos from our recent stay in India. And probably you kind of expected me to start my usual 37 part series of "Pics you have missed" posts. I admit such a thing was on my mind, but then it occurred to me that I could save myself some work (this somehow ended up being a wrong estimate..) and you some pain by showing you the book I have made for Rajiv to share with his friends here in Canada.

Below the fold you will find all the pages of the book in individual jpg files. You can click on the picture to make it bigger. The book was made using iPhoto with one of the standard templates. Even so, it did take a long time to make; and converting each page to jpg format and uploading them on blogger was another epic enterprise. Just to say, I hope you appreciate my efforts :)

Some final notes and disclaimers (see how professional I'm getting?):

Please consider the target audience for the book are Rajiv's teachers, friends and some of my friends here in Canada. If you are a family member you will find some of the captions unnecessary and if you are Indian you might find that I have oversimplified some things or maybe made some plain mistakes - in that case please forgive me and then let me know..

I really like some of the photos. Some other ones are of poor quality, but the purpose was to collect some nice memories and to give a more or less full coverage of the whole trip, so quality was not a very important factor. I have also included a couple of photos taken by Rajiv: I wonder if you can spot them? Let me know in the comments and the winner will get a hard copy of the book or a signed hand print from Rajiv, you choose :)