Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Merry Christmas! The blog has been snoozing while we've been trying to catch our breath over the last three months. It's a long, complicated story, and we'll fill in the back story over time. For now, here's little Oliver Akash Kennedy Chatterjee, snoozing with his giraffe on Christmas eve. We hope you all have a very merry Christmas, and a wonderful holiday season!


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Forty weeks!

So we made it to forty weeks ... September 7th was our official due date.
Forty weeks...
Let's hope we have something to show for it very soon, because Meghan doesn't want to get to forty one, let alone forty two!

Friday, September 07, 2007

APEC and the Opera House

APEC comes to Sydney
This week, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization is having its annual summit in Sydney. President George W. Bush is in town, although he's not entirely sure whether he's at an APEC meeting or an OPEC meeting. For Sydneysiders, this means massive disruptions to daily life: access to the central business district has been restricted all week, the Opera House precinct has been closed to ordinary mortals, and Friday is a public holiday because of all the road closures.

Apparently Australia is spending over 150 million dollars on security. But that hasn't stopped TV comedians from dressing up as Osama bin Laden and getting through multiple layers of security by flying the Canadian flag. Seriously, click that link - the picture is priceless!

Before all this disruption kicked in, Meghan and I squeezed in a show at the Opera House (a gift from Jennifer and Joe - thanks!). We watched Imagine Toi, a solo show by a former Cirque de Soleil performer. It was nice to have an evening to ourselves before baby makes three (any time now), and we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit.

The Opera House by night

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's day!

The first Sunday in September is Father's Day in Australia. As you can see, I'm still working on Shami's gift, but it should be done soon. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

This week Australia experienced a total lunar eclipse, and we had a great view from our deck. Thanks to a tripod, an itchy finger on the shutter button, and some photoshop expertise from Meghan, here's a quick sequence of how the moon looked. From 6:51 pm to 10:24 pm on the 28th, the Earth's shadow swept over the full moon. For an hour and a half in between, no part of the moon received direct sunlight, but the scattered red light from a thousand sunrises and sunsets around the Earth lit it up with an eerie red glow...
Lunar Eclipse
It was astonishing how dramatic and sudden the change was between a black-and-white moon and one lit up in red! We also "discovered" something while watching the eclipse. As you can see, the Earth's shadow enters and leaves the moon at different angles, proving yet again that the Earth is round - or at least, not rectangular!

(Update: These frames were captured on a Canon EOS Digital XT with a Canon 100/f2.8 lens. Exposures ranged from 1/100 sec to 3 sec. With a telescope, you can do much better: for example, see this, and this beautiful sequence.)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A year of passionfruit

The pictures below were taken exactly a year apart. Can you spot the similarities and the differences? We still have a nice deck, there's still a bridge in the background, and the passionfruit tastes just as good as it did last August.

Eating passionfruit, August 2006 Eating passionfruit, August 2007

In the meantime, we've acquired furniture, bought a car, traveled a bit, seen some of the local flora and fauna, even held a baby wombat, and much more - all documented for you right here on this blog. As you can see, our life promises to be quite different starting very soon, so here's to a brand new adventure ahead!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Stephanie and Mike had a beautiful baby girl on June 12, 2007. Shami and I have seen them twice since then, and so we have been able to practice our baby holding techniques a little bit.

It has been wonderful getting to know Mike and Stephanie. They are Australian, but actually lived in Ithaca for a few years. They are both veterinarians, and Mike worked with Jeanine at Cornell before they moved back to Australia a little while ago. It is very nice to have people around who know and miss Ithaca, including Ludgate Farms, Monkey Run, and even snow!

Amelie with Meghan and Shami With Stephanie, Mike, and Amelie

A few weeks ago we drove up to Mona Vale, where they live - a little under an hour's drive up north, near the ocean. It was wonderful to see them and to meet Amelie for the first time, at the tender age of 5 weeks.

Last weekend we had them over for dinner. Amelie is now 10 weeks old, and it amazed us how much she had grown in just a few weeks! Shami and I took turns holding her, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Good baby holding practice.

At dinner Holding Amelie at dinner

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Memories of a year ago

One year ago One year ago today, we were standing in the Syracuse, NY airport with all our luggage, waiting to fly to Sydney for the very first time.

Ah, memories!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Baby gets a dresser

Having a baby + having a car = trips to IKEA for baby furniture!

Wait, where does that go again?

The dresser takes shape

Putting the drawers together

Et voila! Two hours later, a dresser for baby clothes.
Et voila!

... don't miss our lamb named Woollahra posing on top of the dresser!

Friday, July 13, 2007

On Civic-mindedness

In our pre-natal classes, it has been drilled into us that Australia has very strict rules about transporting infants: you must have a car seat that meets specs in order to bring baby home. It would be a rather long walk home carrying a car seat, so we figured that we first needed a car! Over the past few months, we'd spent some time looking at our options, pricing cars and figuring out the (very pricey) Sydney car market. Well, this Friday the 13th was our lucky day!

With our new purchase With our new purchase

Friday the 13th rainbow
Who put the driver's seat on this side?
Both of us owned Honda Civics in the US, and we've had a soft spot for them. So we were a bit disappointed to find that they were not that common in Sydney, and tended to be expensive. But we came across an online listing for a 2003 Civic from a private seller in the neighboring suburb of Drumoyne, and went to inspect it last week. It was in absolutely beautiful shape, and we got a good price to boot. Sold! On Friday, we handed over a check, got the keys, and drove over to the Traffic Authority to complete the paperwork. And as we drove our new car back home, a beautiful rainbow appeared...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fernando and the cockatoos

Meghan and Fernando by the Opera House
Our friend Fernando was in Australia recently on one of his regular observing trips at Parkes, and we enjoyed hanging out with him one afternoon. We walked through Circular Quay, had hot chocolate at the Opera House, and then managed a leisurely stroll through the Botanic gardens. We even caught a flock of cockatoos having their dinner in the gardens before it got dark and a huge full moon rose. A laid back Sydney evening!

Cockatoo up close A flock of cockatoos

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Three parties in two days!

On the night of May 27th, Kieran exclaimed that he thought it was pretty cool that we got to have three parties in two days - and indeed it was! What made it all the nicer was that Shami, my brother Ian and his kids, and my friend Alex, were all in town for the festivities.

It all started on May 26th. Sean's birthday is the day before mine, and Jeanine had us all over for a lovely dinner, and of course birthday cake!

Birthday dinner for Sean Birthday boy

Surprise! The next day, I expected to have a relaxed and low key birthday. Caitlin, Jamie and their kids had a big pot-luck luncheon to attend at their Quaker Meeting, and would be gone for most of the morning and afternoon. So I thought it might be nice to have a laid back brunch with my parents at the Kendal dining hall, where they live. So I suggested this, and the plan was on. Little did I know what I just set ourselves up for!

I walked in to my parent's place, with Shami and Alex right behind me, ready to go to brunch. All of a sudden there was all this commotion and yelling, and there were all these people. Caitlin was there, and I wondered "Why is Caitiln not at her event?" And then it all came together. They were yelling "Surprise!" and believe me I was SURPRISED! They threw us a surprise baby shower. I was caught utterly off guard, as was Shami. Even my cousin Annette and her two girls Elizabeth and Cecilia were there. They had all put together a lovely brunch... and I got to eat those tasty quiches Caitlin had so painstakenly prepared for the non-existent pot luck. I was so touched that everyone had done this for us. I have never been so surprised or felt so special.

There was food, family and much merriment. And gifts, of course!

Surprise! Gifts at the baby shower
Below left: Elizabeth and Cecilia drew a picture of a "baby shower" on a card for us! Right: Opening gifts with the kids.
A picture of a baby shower Opening gifts with Kieran, Mariah, and Shannon

My mom added all sorts of small touches, including little necklaces, small party favors, and a basket of handmade fabric fortune cookies, into which she stuffed little bits of advice for the baby. Everyone picked one, and we took turns reading them out loud.
Favors and fortunes
Some examples:
"Put everything in your mouth. The rotten stuff is the tastiest and will get a big reaction from mom and dad."

"If you feel the need to spit up, wait until your mother has a clean shirt on."

"Parents sleep too much. You must correct this by waking them as often as you can."

Opening fortunes
Ian reading the note from his "fortune cookie".

I read the very last one, which, as luck would have it, turned out to be the sweetest of them all:
"You are the center of the universe: the sun, the moon and the stars all shine on you, and you can reach out to everything"

Reading out fortunes Papa reading to girls
Above: Shami reading his fortune, and Papa looking at photo albums with Shannon and Molly.

Sisters through thick and thin... it is my turn to be thick! Caitlin is always a wonderful support for me.

As if this was not enough, there was another celebration in the evening for my birthday. We all gathered for a meal together.

There were so many people, that we all couldn't fit around one table!

Birthday dinner for Meghan Birthday dinner for Meghan

Two wishes Dinner was, of course, followed by birthday cake. There were two this year! My favorite, angel food cake with strawberries and cream, as well as a chocolate one for the chocoholics in the group. As a result I got to make two birthday wishes this year!

Birthday gift More gifts followed, including this beautiful hand quilted table runner my mother made for me. It now brightens up our living room here in Sydney.

It was an exhausting but wonderful day. One that I will remember for a long time! Thank you to everyone who made it so special for me.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More pictures from Ithaca

As promised, here are some more pictures from Ithaca.

Gardening Although she has four kids and unending activities, Cailtin still finds the time and energy to work on her flower and vegetable gardens. One morning I helped her mulch a small patch in front of their shed.

The kids keep busy with all sorts of activities. Kieran plays the Sax in his school's band. Here he is, practicing before school. Notice his outfit... Caitlin bought it for him from Fab India, in Delhi, back in February. Shannon is also posing in her Indian outfit, a gift from their new Indian neighbors.

Kieran and Shannon Kieran in the marching band
Left, Kieran and Shannon. Right, Kieran marching with his school band during the annual Ithaca Festival Parade (front and center, in the blue shirt and red croc shoes).

Shannon on stage I was lucky enough to be in Ithaca for Shannon's dance school's annual performance extravaganza. It was quite an amazing show. Here she is (in front) dancing her Jazz number. She also danced ballet and tap!

Devon and Kieran were once again in their school's annual musical play. Unfortunately I was not able to stay long enough to see the performance, but I heard that they both did great.

More pictures of the kids:

Girls in chairs: cousins Mariah and Molly.
Best cousins

Out for a stroll Petting a horse with Grandma
Left: Mariah heads out for a stroll; Right: Petting a horse with her grandmother.

There were some cool nights, but also some scorching hot days. One hot day included a trip to the local pool, where Devon and Kieran had fun with their orca whale.
Riding the Orca

Up a tree Basket case?
Left: Up a tree; Right: Basket case?

Below: Shannon, Kieran and Eamonn having fun on the slide.
Traffic jam

I'll post about the baby shower soon!