<div id="myExtraContent1"> </div>
<div id="myExtraContent5"> </div>

Visiting NYC

P1010421P1010447
We spent a few days in New York City this month. We had an apartment right near times square which made the trip very convenient with the kids. We spent time with Janice’s twin sister and her family as well as Janice’s mother. The visit to the metropolitan museum of art was quite an adventure for the children.
IMG_0238IMG_0240
Comments

Independence Day in the Capital City


For Independence Day, we decided to spend the long weekend in our capital city, Washington DC. Janice and the kids were already in Maryland for Unity's summer camp. I flew in Friday evening. It was a really hot few days, so we tried to spend as much time indoors as we could. The indoor activities primarily included visiting various museums that the kids would be interested in. We went to the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the International Spy Museum. Sunday afternoon we camped out under the shade of a tree at the National Mall (halfway between the Capitol and the Washington Memorial) and waited for the fireworks. The fireworks started about a half hour after dusk, about 9:20pm. The two photos above capture the view of the fireworks from our location. The photo below shows us trekking around DC between museums on Saturday. Wesley was getting a piggy back ride from Janice for part of the way.
Comments

Wesley Turns 5

P1010071P1010077
For Wesley’s 5th birthday we celebrated just ourselves in the evening since it was a school night (photo left). The following weekend we had a pool party at home with his cousins (photo right).
Comments

PBS Writing Contest


Unity is a prolific writer. Her 3rd grade teacher from John Cooper recommended that she enter into the PBS writing contest where children from various schools submit their writings based on rules published by PBS for the contest. This year there were 600 entries from which they pick 1 winner and 10 honorable mentions from each grade, kindergarten through third. Unity received one of the honorable mentions. We were invited by PBS to an award ceremony at the Children's Museum in Houston yesterday. Her teacher was also invited. Pictured here is Unity with her teacher right after the ceremony at the Children's museum.










Comments

Spring Break


For Spring break this year we went to Joshua Tree National Park in California. There we met up with Janice's mom, Richard and Tamara, and Tamara's parents Carol and Henry. Richard had arranged for an historic adobe house at Twentynine Palms just north of the Park. Click here to view the photographs from the trip and click through for a map. Read More...
Comments

Unity turns 9


Unity turned 9 last weekend. To celebrate, we took her and her friends to Landry's seafood restaurant for lunch followed by the Alley Theatre to see Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure. Click through to see a couple of more photos. Read More...
Comments

Unity learns to canter


Unity has been walking and trotting on a horse since she started her training. A couple of weeks ago, I took her to the riding lesson and she was very excited when the instructor let her canter on the horse. She came home all giddy and jumping up and down talking about the exhilarating feeling the cantering was.
Comments

Universal Studios, Orlando, FL

P1010921P1010908

Unity’s 9th birthday present was a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando to see the Harry Potter World (photo left). We spent two days there during a school holiday. The Harry Potter rides were quite amazing. Wesley wasn’t tall enough for some of the rides, so Janice and I had to take turns with Unity on the rides—she got to ride her favorite ones twice as a result. We also saw/met some of the traditional characters including Scooby Doo (photo right), Back to the Future and the Simpsons.
Comments

Out with Unity


Unity and I went out this afternoon to spend some quality time together. It was a chilly day, so we got some hot chocolate and peach gelato and sat outside. We then explored the Woodlands Waterfront area for a while—the walking was good exercise for me. Later we drove to Lake Woodlands and fed the ducks. We sat and watched the all the different colors changing every minute as the sun was setting by the lake. And then it was time to head home for dinner. The best part of the few hours was the great conversations I had with her about life's little (but important) lessons.

Pictured here Unity is walking briskly near the Woodlands Waterfront area earlier today.
Comments

The second hip


I had the right hip resurfacing done on December 2, 2009. This time the recovery was much quicker that the last time. I had a checkup with the doctor at 5 weeks. He gave me a clean bill of health and removed all the range of motion restrictions. The x-ray on the right is from the checkup last week. You can see the cobalt prosthesis on both hips now.

I am already walking without a support this week and the right leg is almost as strong as the left leg. I don't quite have the full range of motion yet, but today I started my physical therapy, so it is a matter of time until I get there. I am hoping to go hiking and get on my bike in the Spring.
Comments

Christmas 2009



Here is a video clip of opening presents on Christmas morning at home. For some reason the timestamp on the video camera was left on, so you can see that we got a late start on Christmas morning.
Comments

Unity loves riding


Unity has finally found an extracurricular activity that she loves. Twice a week she eagerly looks forward to going to her horseback riding lessons. Last week she participated in the “egg and spoon race” where you have to balance a tennis ball on the spoon while riding. If the ball falls of the spoon, you need to get off the horse, pick up the ball, get back on your horse and continue riding. The first person to reach the end and drop the ball and the spoon into the barrel wins the race. Unity won third place which was quite impressive since most of the other kids participating were older than her.
Comments

Ethan turns two


Thanksgiving day was also my nephew Ethan's birthday. He turned two, here pictured with his grandmother, Donna.
Comments

Thanksgiving


For this year’s thanksgiving I decided to make a nine course dinner including a turkey main course. There were eighteen people—twelve adults and six children. One guest was vegetarian, so I also made some vegetarian alternatives for some of the courses. You can view the photographs from the dinner here. There were some new items in the menu that I was making for the first time, including the carrot sorbet with pea soup as the starter and the pan fried haddock topped with roasted foie gras. Here is the complete menu: Read More...
Comments

Hudson Valley


After Richard's wedding we all drove up to Hudson Valley to spend a few days at a lake house. It was Janice's mother's 70th birthday the following week, so we all wanted to get together for a family vacation and celebrate the occasion. We went apple picking one day at the apple orchard in a nearby farm; took the children to the children's museum; visited an old 17th century farm and grain mill by the Hudson River; visited the Rockefellar house which is now converted to a museum; visited the Culinary Institute; and the rest of the time we had some good food and relaxed at the lake house. You can see the photos here.
Comments

Richard and Tamara get married


Richard and Tamara got married on Saturday, September 26, 2009. We arrived in NYC on Friday. There was a dinner hosted by Tamara's uncle Friday evening where each side of the family got to meet the other side. It was great to finally meet Tamara's parents and sister — I had heard great things about her family — and her uncles, aunts and cousins. We mingled on the roofdeck with drinks and snacks before going down to the apartment for dinner. For the wedding ceremony on Saturday, they had picked a really beautiful location at Cherry Hill in Central Park, Manhattan. The weather was just right for the stunning outdoor ceremony. The wedding reception afterwards was at HanGawi, the Buddhist Korean restaurant. The six course vegetarian gastrnomic experience was absolutely delectable. Click here to see the photos.
Comments

Self Portrait


Here is a self portrait taken earlier this week. My digital SLR camera is not capable of taking this picture—it required a very special camera that has no lens (works like a scanner) but has its own very special light source! The sensor size was 18-inches by 24-inches compared to the 1.4-inch full frame sensor in my DSLR. You can see the left hip prosthesis in white since the metal is completely opaque to the special light.
Comments

My latest gadget—a new hip


The balls of my hip joint (femoral heads) were damaged when I was treated with prednisone (a steroid drug) to reduce the inflammation in my lungs during a severe episode of pneumonia over three years ago. This is a known side effect of steroids in less than 1% of the population. Interestingly, however, I have found that this side effect is well known among only orthopedic doctors—every non-orthopedic doctor I have talked to have no idea of this phenomenon. The steroid combines with fat globules in the blood and deposits itself in the tiny capillaries of the bone and deprives the bone of oxygen. During the last few months the symptoms on the left hip became so severe that I not only had trouble biking and swimming, but I also could not walk without pain. I started using a cane but knew that surgical intervention is necessary. After much research and seeing 7 doctors in 4 cities (Houston, Atlanta, New York and Baltimore), Janice and I decided that a hip resurfacing is the way to go rather than a total hip replacement. Above is an artist's rendition video of hip resurfacing.
Read More...
Comments

Wesley's birthday



Here is a short video clip from Wesley's birthday on May 28, 2009. He turned 4.
Comments

Spring Break

Today is the last day of Spring Break. I was able to take a few days off and spend some recreation time with the family. Monday evening I went to the Rodeo in Houston—you can view the photos here. Then we spent a few days at a lake house in the Hill Country near Austin, TX. When we arrived in Austin, we had lunch at Eastside Café. The food was excellent. They grow some of their own vegetables and herbs in the large garden on the properties behind the restaurant. After lunch we lounged in the garden before heading to the lake house.

The weather was the most ideal, mid-70's to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day with a nice breeze and the sun not too strong, dropping to around 60 degrees at night. The view of the lake from the lake house was quite serene and relaxing. The kids ran around and played on the deck and the back yard in the afternoon before dinner.

We enjoyed breakfast on the deck above the boat house the next morning and spent the afternoon at the Llana River. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the shallow waters. Then in the evening we dined at the famous Lambert's Barbecue and took a leisurely stroll through Austin before heading back to the lake house. You can see the photos of the trip
here.
Comments

Teamwork

Last night when Janice was preparing Wesley's bed Wesley wanted to help. Janice gave him some tasks to do like straightening the sheets. While Wesley helped, Janice explained to him the concept of teamwork. The minds of 3-year-olds are like sponges—they soak everything up. But in this case the concepts of preparing a bed and teamwork may have been a bit confused. I suggested to Wesley that the pillows needed to be put in their place and Wesley proudly asked, "Dad, can I do the teamwork all by myself?"
Comments

Unity's birthday



Here is a short video clip from Unity's birthday on February 7, 2009. She turned 8.
Comments

Cats in the house


I found two cats in the house this morning. The first one likes to sit on the window of the master bathroom and read books by the natural light. This is also a good way to hide from Wesley. The other cat loves candy cane. Click through to see him on the dining table with his favorite candy. Read More...
Comments

Audrey discovers the world


My niece Audrey discovered the globe in the play room after lunch. Photo taken during the Christmas holidays while Shahed and Kim were visiting us in Houston with the children. See more Christmas holiday photos here.
Comments

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.
Comments

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...
Comments

Thanksgiving


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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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!
Read More...
Comments

Turkey Day


This years thanksgiving was our first one in Texas. The big change from the recent past was that my father was not around any more. Shahed was living in Atlanta, and my mother went to visit them there for Thanksgiving. So, it was Rashed with his family, Janice’s mother and us.
...
To view the
photos click here. Read More...
Comments

Thanksgiving


It has been a while since I created a gastronomic dinner for Thanksgiving. In fact the last time I created a nine course dinner we were living in San Francisco. This year it was just the family with five kids running around at home in Atlanta. You can see the menu and the photos here.

It took three days to design the menu - I must have gone through about five drafts. And then based on the ingredients available in the market, I made final modifications to the menu.
Read More...
Comments