Detox, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Introspection, Us

Fitness Diary – Day 11 and Day 12

Day 11

I was half asleep yesterday before I realized that I had forgotten the journal entry for the day. It was too late to turnaround and make amends.

Eats – so so. Dark chocolate is my vice. Thank God for this workshop because yesterday would have been one of those days I would have indulged in gluttony but good sense prevailed and the damage was minimized. 

Workout – 17 mins jogging. Meditation – 9 mins. Hydration – so so.  

Gratitude – thankful that I did not go overboard with the eating, thankful that I was able to take the day off to catch up on some household projects, thankful that I had a partially productive day.

Focus in the workshop was exercise – aerobics, anaerobics and flexibility. It is recommended that aerobics be done for not more than 3 days per week. High Intensity Interval Training, a form of anaerobic exercise is the most efficient way to lose excess fat. Personally, I tend to focus only on aerobic exercise. I have weights at home, time to dust them out. I also want to spend one day recovering by doing  yoga, perhaps surya namskar.

Day 12

Today was spent reflecting on random things. I was getting a little frustrated about a certain paperwork that was taking longer than I had hoped for. But I am proud of myself for not letting the frustration get the better of me, I kept chugging along.

Eats – so so. Besan chila for breakfast, ragi dosai for lunch, tacos and veggie rice bowl for dinner. So so because of the raisin toast and the extra dark chocolates that I had.

Workout – 17 mins of running. Meditation – 9 mins. Hydration – bad, did not even attempt. Sleep – so so.

Gratitude – 1. Thankful that I kept reframing and refocusing today and channeled my frustration to productive work. 2. Thankful that although the odds were not in my favor, I managed to pay my monthly visit to the parlor. 3. Thankful for the healing power of space and time – sickness, disappointments, frustrations, squabbles – we have a tendency to hasten the healing in an attempt to make ourselves better sooner than later. But healing takes space and time. Space to experience the unpleasantness and the time to put the suffering in perspective.  

Today’s focus was on eating seasonal and local foods. Eat what’s in season, and eat what’s local. This makes a lot of sense to me.  Here’s a useful link – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=28

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Inspiration, Introspection, Learnings, Little Moments, Me, Reading, Uncategorized, Us

On reading

We were resting in the tent indulging in the leisure that a beach trip rewards you with. I looked up from my book and declared to nobody in particular, “Poor Mr. Darcy. All because he was an introvert!” My unintentional and sudden outburst elicited uncontrollable giggles from my offsprings. After the amusement settled down, the first born quizzed, “Who is Mr. Darcy”, the second born questioned, “What does an introvert mean?”  Their questions were lost on me, as I had long delved back into the world of  Lizzy, Darcy, Jane and Bingley, oblivious to my curious boys. They gave up and ran back to the waves. 

It felt so good to be lost in this world that Jane Austen had built that it was a sweet burden to pull the mind back to where the body was. What fine writing!

The reading experience was reassuring because I was beginning to wonder if my love for reading was just a figment of my imagination; something that I made up in my mind. Perhaps I liked the idea of reading more than reading itself?  I felt like an imposter when I borrowed books from the library. Finally,  I feel liberated from those self-doubts! For sure, I can say, I too love reading!

A couple of weeks back during our road trip, the conversation meandered to reading styles and habits. I told the family how I tend to take a long time to warm up to characters and story plot. That I read the first few pages very very slowly, and at some point, there is a flip of the switch and the pace picks up. Hari, who likes to read books in one sitting, said he has a different style. “I love reading the first portion of any book. It is so exciting to get introduced to all the characters and see the story unfold. It is in the middle that I slow down.” Da, who is a very fast reader, commented that for him it is the last part of any story that slows him down. And not wanting to be left out, the voracious reader of the family, our Ram, piped in, “I don’t slow down at all. I like reading the first, the second and the last part”  Atta boy! I thought to myself. Not necessarily for what he said on his reading style but that he made his opinion matter. A lot of times, may be because he is small relative to the rest of us, we overlook him on subjects that involve deeper discussion but he always stands tall,  makes his voice heard, and weighs in with his thoughts. Never ceases to surprise me. Anyway, I digress.

This discussion was a revelation to me. It made me cognizant of my reading style and helped me figure out why I have been reading less. The first few chapters requires that I stick to the book, so it can grip me.  Without understanding that piece, I have been expecting to instantly immerse myself in the story and have ended up feeling utterly disappointed.  I am not sure I got my reading mojo back but it is good to know that there is some mojo left.

What is your reading style? Do you ever suffer from a reading block? What are you reading? What is next on your list?

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Experiences, Experiments, Family, Little Moments, Memories, Milestones, Us

Solar Eclipse 2017

The total solar eclipse of 2017 was an underwhelming experience in our part of the country. From what I saw on the live streaming of the eclipse, for folks who experienced it first hand, it was spectacular and profound – the temporary darkness smack in the middle of the day, the sudden chilling of the air, and the realization that we are all connected by this cosmic energy. I can only imagine!

We too had our share of fun. Yesterday, Da had made a contraption out of a carton for our viewing. It was super fun parading in and out of the house to catch a glimpse of the sun and the moon playing tango.

I hear we will be in the path for the next total solar eclipse in 2024, so better luck to us then.

See that crescent shaped sun? 

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Gratitude, Hari Katha, Little Moments, Ram Leela, Us

Little Moments

I am watching the Oscars as I type this post. Are they making a statement or what – on immigration, racism, public schools, Trump tweets and what not. I like that!

Here are my little moments from this weekend.

  • As I was puttering around in the kitchen on Sat. evening, Da called from the local park,  “Did you see the rainbow outside?  it’s so beautiful”  I am not sure what I cherished more – the rainbow or the call.
  • Reading Pashu by Devatdutt Pattnaik with Ram.  As if the tales aren’t enough to keep us hooked, the illustrations are so captivating. Once we finish the book, Ram and I plan to take a stab at the drawings. And just for the record, I am not artist, can’t draw a straight line with a ruler but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to draw when the mood strikes, which by the way is far and between.
  • Trying out dishes that I grew up eating but never really cooked on my own, and cooking them for my mother-in-law’s first death anniversary. Wearing the sarees that I inherited from her and reflecting on our times together.
  • Swelling with pride at the 2-minute video in Tamil that Hari created, starring him and his brother for World Language Day at middle school. It is a very ordinary skit (with language errors) but one that was done with extraordinary efforts – coming up with the storyline, using google translation to get the tamil translation, coaxing his brother to participate, teaching him to speak in tamil, putting together costume, coming up with creative ways to tape themselves, and more. 

Have a good week folks! 

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Experiences, Gratitude, Inspiration, Introspection, Life, People, seasons, Us

Free spirited

New Year’s day was sunnier and warmer than one would expect at this time of the year in this part of the world. So we picked our lethargic selves, and did something that we always wish we did more of – go to the city!  

Chillier than we had expected, the place was teeming with life and the new year spirit. We walked briskly as the kids played tag, sighted some ice sculptures that were slowly melting away, and then caught this street performer in action.  one-man-band

When I first say him, the term free spirited came to mind. There was something about him that said that he was doing this act for more than sustenance. He had random contraptions and knick knacks on his head, tied to his legs, and his hands. He was a one man band with a website! He sang the Beatles and even invited volunteers from the audience to join him.

Intrigued, I came home and googled him. This avid traveler was making music, and believed that the energy from the music created peace waves that free trouble spots in the world. The cynic in me rolled my eyes and thought it was bit of a stretch. Peace waves? trouble spots? really? But then it dawned on me – there is so much panic, cynicism, hatred and terror out there. Here is someone, who knows what his heart is after, has the courage to pursue it and in the process believes that he is making a difference in the world.

Selfishly I say,  more power and success to this one man band. We all could use some peace waves and free spirit in our lives, don’t you think?

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Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Loss, Uncategorized, Us

Lunar love (Gratitude Journal – Day 13)

Did you take a glimpse of the moon tonight? Majestic, pure, simple, stunning, and tranquil. I could have sat there gazing at it all night tonight. My love for the moon is a cultivated one, not the instant kind. It all started when Da and I went on long walks at night during the first year of our married life. Da would comment on the beauty of the moon as we walked hand in hand. I remember being amused. Meaning I knew there was the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars but watching the night sky was not my thing. But several such walks later, Da’s liking for the moon rubbed on me as well. The awe makes sense to me now. There is a certain connectedness you share when you stare at a cosmic object at the same time. It’s humbling. It’s magical. It’s peaceful. 

Much thanks to Da for opening my eyes to the beauty of the full moon. It has brought many rich moments in my life. Not only do I revel in it,  but also drag the kids out to soak in its beauty. There is something comforting about that shared silence even if it lasts for only a few brief seconds.

This year we are learning about lunar calendar in Sunday school. We have been observing the waxing and waning of the moon in our moon journal.  We talked about the super moon today. As I went to leave things for trash pick up tomorrow, I looked at the gorgeous moon knowing that there will be few other fourth graders who may have made note of it as well. That thought brought a smile on my face.

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Family, Life, Milestones, Uncategorized, Us, Wishes

Blessed togetherness!

It’s time to reflect and celebrate. 

togetherness

15 years back, a week before my wedding, I had a meltdown. I detested the idea of getting married.  Having to give up my nascent career, acclimatizing to a new family, and starting out from scratch with a person, that I did not know a whole lot, in an unfamiliar environment. If someone asked me what I wanted in a husband? I would have said someone with the same wavelength as mine. I look back and laugh at the naivety of that statement. 

The first year was filled with many firsts. First time flying in an airplane, first time moving to a foreign land, first time making a full meal, first time setting up a house, first time being in a house all day all by myself, first time not working or studying. What should one do with one’s time was the million dollar question that drove me in a whirlpool of self pity.  No car, no washing machine at home. My first brush with American television was at the laundromat. I went to the local convenience store so I could speak in broken hindi to a desi shopkeeper. I got a glimpse into the disparity in America as a I volunteered for an organization that served the  homeless.  Oh the rush and thrill of new beginnings! I look back, wonder and pat our backs for going through the nerve wracking phase without realizing the enormity of it. How could two risk averse individuals like us dare to be so vulnerable when we barely knew each other?

The assimilation into the new culture began slowly. Watching back to back Adam Sandler movies, dressing up for Halloween, daily visits to library, eating falafel, jalapeno poppers and haagen dazs, shopping at Abercombie, 4th of July fireworks, the driving lessons, fishing for friends, friends’ friends, second cousins, and third aunts. The never ending posing for and taking  pictures and getting two copies developed hurriedly to send back home. Keeping track of who is having babies? Should we be having one? Then when do I make something out of myself? Will we be going back to India for good? Who will take care of our parents if we don’t take care of them? Clearly, we had questions but no answers. Da was settling in his job and I joined grad school. He biked to work, and I took our car to grad school. Looking  back, this was probably the phase in which we laid the foundation upon which we have built our lives. We discovered things about each other, and were happy inspite of knowing the good, the bad and the ugly!

Then came other life events – being part of sister-in-law’s wedding, Hari’s birth, father-in-law passing away, getting into the job market, day care struggles, my brother’s wedding, living with mother-in-law, moving into new house, appa’s 60th b’day, having appa and amma over, new nephews and nieces, my grandpas passing away, getting green card, Ram coming into our lives, and so many other happenings. Looking back each of these events have shaped us individually, as a couple, and as a family. They have made us stronger and fond of each other.

Today, marks 15 years in this journey of togetherness. Life has been good, and the times it has not been as peachy, we have found strength and solace in each other. We have made mistakes but we have also learnt how to forgive each other. We fight a lot, but we are also quick to apologize. We have understood what works for us, and the trade offs we are willing to make. We disagree on more things than we agree on, but we accept each other for who we are. We are just glad that we picked each other to go through the journey of togetherness. 

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