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Christmas 2008

For Christmas this year we stayed at home in Houston. Richard and Tamara came to visit from LA. My mother arrived on Christmas eve. Shahed and Kim visited with their children right after Christmas until new years. Here is a short video clip from the holiday where you'll see the dinosaur that Wesley got for Christmas and the new play set in the back yard that the kids got.

Visiting San Antonio

The weekend after thanksgiving we decided to take a road trip to San Antonio. We packed and loaded up in the minivan and headed out after breakfast. The plan was to see the Alamo in the afternoon, have dinner at the River Walk, then drive west about 50 miles where we would check into a motel for the night; the next day we would spend outdoors in nature by a river. While it was a great trip, the plan didn't quite pan out. Read More...


We wanted to do something other than turkey for Thanksgiving this year. We ended up deciding on pheasants partly because some fresh pheasants were available and partly because it has been a while since I cooked pheasants. I prepared an 8 course meal this year. The highlight was the 1995 Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru that we paired with the Pheasant; Janice and I bought it in 1998 and have been holding on to it for the last ten years. For the initial courses we had an incredible Didier Dagenau Fumé Blanc. Read More...

Investment in renewable energy

One of the big questions of the current times is the influence of energy prices on the investment in renewable energy. We have seen crude oil prices fluctuate between $147 and $57 in the last few months. The high energy prices naturally encourage investments in renewables. But the fear among many when the oil prices dropped below $70 last month was whether such investments will stop altogether if the oil prices were to drop below $60. A couple of weeks later both Brent and WTI crude oil were trading below $60. Read More...

Breakfast this morning

About three years ago my cholesterol was borderline high. As I was researching cholesterol and its effects I learned that the nutrients and fiber in grains of whole wheat help reduce cholesterol and have a long list of other nutritional benefits. Whole kernels of wheat have 46 nutrients in them, almost everything the body needs. Bleached white flour has only one: carbohydrates; and that too with a relatively high glycemic index. In "enriched" flour four of the nutrients are added back into the flour at the end of the process. I thought to myself that no wonder a hundred years ago people could live on a diet of bread, cheese and water; you put someone on a diet of (Wonder) bread, cheese and water today and he/she will die very quickly of malnourishment! I also learned that even though you can find whole wheat flour and whole wheat products on the store shelf, milled wheat flour has a short shelf life, i.e. many of the nutrients begin to decompose and by the time you buy a packet of flour at the store it has very little nutrients left. (Read on for the waffle recipe) Read More...

The Texans vs. The Bengals

Last Sunday I was invited by MC to the Houston Texans vs. the Cincinnati Bengals football game at Reliant Stadium. MC had 4 VIP tickets and 4 pre-game field passes, so Rashed and I went with MC and EF. When we arrived a couple of hours before the game we were served a quick lunch and then led to the field. During the hour on the field we watched the players from both teams warm up; saw the Chairman and CEO of the team, the President of the Stadium and General Manager of the team and various other characters that one normally sees only in the local newspaper. Read More...

Dark Days

Janice and I just watched an amazing movie called Dark Days. Made and filmed by Marc Singer, the movie won three Sundance Film Festival awards in 2000. It is a documentary about homeless people living in abandoned Amtrak subway tunnels beneath Manhattan. What makes this documentary so great is that it makes you connect at a very personal level with individuals in a community with whom we would otherwise never connect. It is not sentimental and yet it leaves your jaw on the floor with a wow!

When Singer came to New York from the UK, he was fascinated by the idea of people living in tunnels. He spent almost a year in the dark tunnels with Read More...

Grandma's birthday

We invited Janice's mother to visit us for a week for her birthday. She arrived on her birthday on Saturday morning, October 4. For lunch we grilled some steaks and vegetables and sat outside by the pool. The weather was just right with the temperature in the low 70's F. The kids got an opportunity to swim right afterwards. Click here for a video of the lunch. Read More...

Photos of my wedding

I have finally scanned in the negatives from my wedding photos, edited and posted them up here. I had originally printed only one of these photos. I stored the rest of the negatives away in archival quality sleeves. When I pulled out the box of negatives recently I noticed that there was no fading or discoloration. A couple of the negatives had minor scratches but I think that must have been from the time when I originally developed them. Putting them through the scanner at a very high resolution you can start to see how grainy the Kodak TMAX 400 film is and also that the manual focussing of yesteryear was never as quick or precise as today's autofocus lenses. Read More...

Third degree encounter with Ike

Hurricane Ike passed through the Houston area early morning of Saturday, September 13. Exactly a week prior, hurricane Gustav had its landfall on the Louisiana coast. Then Ike developed from a tropical depression to a Category 2 hurricane by the time it had its landfall on the Texas coast near Galveston Island. Category 2 isn’t quite like the category 4 or 5 of Katrina that devastated New Orleans a couple of years ago, but there was something else about Ike that was very unsettling. Read More...

Getting Old Together

Janice and I have been planning a small bash with family and close friends for my 40th birthday. The theme was “Getting Old Together,” with the key word being together. Two key challenges were that most of our friends don’t live in Houston and that we had just moved into a new home so we had to get it furnished on a deadline. We also needed to choose a caterer for the party and pick the wines to pair. Read More...

My mother turns 70

For my mother's 70th birthday we decided that we should go some place that she had never been to but a place where we could take the kids and family. After much deliberation, consulting and researching we decided that the Grand Canyon was it. My mother was very excited. Janice found a 5 bedroom house that could sleep up to 18 people just outside the Canyon so we went ahead and booked it. We had a 5 day trip planned including travel time over spring break. Shahed and Kim could not make it and Tayyba stayed back with Athena, but Janice's mother joined us. We would fly into Phoenix from Houston and then drive over to the Grand Canyon; Janice's mom would fly into Phoenix from Baltimore and meet us at the airport.

Finally on the departure date we went to the airport and were checking in. We handed all of our ID's to the gentleman behind the counter. A minute later he handed us back what looked like my mother's ID and said this does not match the boarding pass. I looked at it and saw that it was in fact my father's ID!