i tend to get on music kicks.
i'll listen to something i like over and over again for awhile until i get it out of my system. it might make some people crazy though! haha.

but lately i've been on a keane kick. a few weeks ago it was brandi carlile, but this week it's keane. they kind of remind me of a mix between U2 and coldplay. so  i'll just leave you with that today because my brain is feeling a little frazzled to process a full length blog!

ok so right now in texas it is hot.
like melt your face off hot.

it's funny, but since my husband and i have been together, indian food as really become a daily part of my life...to the point where at some times i even find certain things to be comfort foods.

one of these things is mishti doi.
my husband's family is from west bengal...a place in india known for it's sweets.

the first time i ever had this dish, we were visiting my husband's aunt and uncle in new delhi.
there was some kind of power outage in the city...so for one day we didn't have power or water, and the temp outside was about 110.

then shomik's aunt comes out to save the day with this dessert she had made earlier.
it was soooo yummy, and a seriously satisfying relief from the heat.

that was a recipe i had to have for future reference...and fortunately for me, it was super easy!
of course there's a more authentic and complicated way of going about it, but for me, easy works just fine. :)

mishti doi (sweet yogurt)

1 32oz plain yogurt
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

mix the two ingredients together in a bowl, and then put them in a microwave safe container.
cook in the microwave for 2-5 minutes...until it starts to develop a custard like consistency.
then chill in the fridge and serve cold!

in the winter i love to bake...
but in the summer, this is my kind of cooking!

ps- happy independence day to india!

so i just started an additional blog.

yeah, like i keep up with this one so well that i need another one too, right? :)

but anyways, i'm pretty excited about it because this new blog is mostly for international friends and students that i work with.
it's called 'life in america', and i'm wanting to make it a survival guide of sorts on how to manage living in the US.

and i'm hoping not to be the only author of this blog. if friends want to contribute in their areas of expertise, i think this might be even more beneficial than if it's just my knowledge. :P

so here it is! the official launch!


ok, so a few weeks ago i shared the progress we've made in our backyard since we moved into our house a year ago...
but sadly i can't share the same kind of results for our front yard.

it's been a problem area from the start.

we have 3 ginormous trees in the front.
which i love.
but with that much shade happening, and with tree roots all over the place, it's not the ideal situation for gardening.

when we moved in, there were only some squared off boxwoods and a few little dianthus sprinkled around there.

so i don't really have a before and after yet for you...that might take awhile...but there are a few small achievements in the yard that make me happy.

one of them is the coleus.
mostly because i grew them from seeds this spring!

they actually seem to do pretty well in the deep shade, and they add a bit of color in an area where it's hard to get much out of flowers or anything.
notice the ferns behind them...i've been hoping to get those to take off in the shade too.

another one of my favorites are the cast iron plants. not much can survive in the shade and bad soil, but someone told me to try some cast iron plants. their toughness is true to the name. they were a beast to find, but then one day they randomly showed up at home depot for super cheap. gotta love it.

in the fall i ripped out a couple of the boxwoods and replaced them with something a little more exotic looking...fatsia and aurelia. they're still pretty tiny, but they should grow into some decent sized shrubs.

then i added a couple of giant stain glass hostas just today. i have a few little dwarf ones in the yard that i grew from root balls, but i've had my eye out for some of these guys ever since i ran across some bush sized ones on a trip to missouri a few months ago. i didn't even know hostas could get so big.

but anyways, these guys were on super duper clearance, thanks to this awful heat. i guess no one wants to plant anything when its 106 outside.
but i figured for a couple bucks i could take the risk, and just make sure they get plenty of water and love the next few weeks.

plus they're kind of bright and cheery in such a dark shaded area.
and those flowers? i think i'm in love.

so anyways, there's a peek at our little garden where the sun doesn't shine.
hopefully it will have a lot more to show for itself by next summer.
perhaps this post should have been called 'plants i haven't been able to kill yet.' :P

ok so this is embarrassing, and it may be many many years down the road...once i'm an old retired grandma...but i have a secret aspiration of winning yard of the month in our neighborhood.

i think i have a lot to learn, and that my plants have a whole lot of growing to do before that happens too. but who knows?!

speaking of, either my neighborhood association has a sense of humor, or some teenage kids do, because i saw the much coveted 'yard of the month' since sitting proudly in the lot of a house that was being leveled down the road. haha.

gotta love it.

i didn't really want to blog much about grief here. i had another blog that i used around the time that i lost my dad and all, which i have since retired because it became too engulfed in that sadness.

but grief has been tearing at me again a lot the past few months, and i feel the need to get it out. somehow writing it always helps me a bit to work through it.

my mom is getting remarried.

she's with a great guy, and i think this will be a good thing...for her.
i'm happy that she's happy.

but as for me, it's been ripping me apart. like ripping the scabs off of a wound that was starting to heal.

the grief of first losing my dad was the worst...but this may be the most difficult.

difficult because it's not simple. when he was suddenly taken from us we grieved hard and the world grieved with us. pain was the only thing we could feel.

but now i grieve alone. and my grief is one that most people don't understand...it's a grief that people might even judge me for...it's a grief that i feel the need to hide because it might hurt others.

but like the previous grief, it's a thing i can't control.
i wish i could.

this grief is like another reality of my dad being gone. it's also a grief for the only family i ever knew.
some pieces of that family may still exist, but they're all fragmented and scattered about now...and this is like the final nail in the coffin.

i know that time will heal...and eventually these new changes will give me joy.
but for now it hurts. i hate being thrown back into grief again.

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