Monday, July 28, 2014

5-Day Happiness Challenge: DAY 4

Fourth day of the happiness challenge, and here we go...

Today I am happy and feel grateful for:

1. Easy and relaxed Monday mornings - I miss working sometimes but surely not on Monday mornings. It is not easy being with an early rising hyperactive toddler but considering I don't have to rush anywhere, we get by the mornings at our own pace - with cuddles and snuggles and chasing each other, while poor Vish jealously looks on as he gets ready for work!

2. Home cooked food: I love food but hate cooking, and after a weekend of excesses and outside food, it feels good to cook a simple meal at home. Imagine, I am saying this - I must be really bored of eating out!

3. Online gift portals: Just sent a rakhi to my brother for rakshabandhan (an Indian festival) - about 3-4 clicks spanning a time frame of 45-60 seconds, and I was done - so easy these days!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

5-Day Happiness Challenge: DAY 3

DAY 3 of the 5-Day Happiness Challenge, and I am thankful for:

1. Public Libraries - That are huge, spacious, clean, beautiful, free, and house one of my greatest loves - books! Weekly trips to the library are something that all three of us look forward to!

2. Greenery -  Living in one of the greenest cities in NA has its clear advantages - all the greenery, the lush trees, the soft and vibrant grass, the tall and stately pines - anybody would become a nature lover.

3. Internet TVs - We bid goodbye to cable a while back and good riddance to that because now we can enjoy what we want, when we want, and how much we want it for! Yay for online streaming, Internet TVs and Chromecast  we got ourselves covered!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

5-Day Happiness Challenge: DAY 2

So today is DAY 2 of the 5-Day Happiness Challenge. Here is what makes me happy or feel grateful today.

1. The online blogging community that is so enriching - Blogging is a great tool - not just the cathartic experience of writing but all the perspectives one gets when reading other accounts! And I just got nominated for an award too :)

2. Pizzas: Weekend pizzas means a break from the monotony of kitchen, cooking, and cleaning. Yay for pizzas!

3. Shopping: Need I elucidate how therapeutic shopping is!

Friday, July 25, 2014

5-Day Happiness Challenge: DAY 1

I was tagged by a friend on Facebook for a 5-Day Happiness Challenge. For 5 days, every day, I have to post three things that I am grateful for or happy for. Have decided to take this on my blog here rather than on FB...So here goes...

Today is Day 1 and I am happy and grateful for the following:

1. Internet phones and other such calling/video calling technology such as VoIP, Skype, Hangout etc. that help me keep in touch with loved ones back home as often as I want and whenever I want. Staying some trillion miles away from home and family, I sure can't imagine a time when these were not available!

2. Icecream in the freezer! One mood lifter icecream is - anytime of the day, any day of the year. My bowl usually boasts of a medley of cookie and pie dough, lots of nuts, crunchy biscuits and brownies and chocolates, fruits, - you name it, it's there!

3. A tiny little sweet smelling being who after a long day tries to cuddle as close as possible while trying to get some much needed sleep :).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hello from The Rose City!

We moved! Yet again! And even with all the craziness associated with a cross country move all the way from the east coast to the west - new beginnings are always welcome!

Portland is a beautiful city, no doubt about that. We have been here for a week now and all these cedar and pine trees with hilly terrain everywhere and the balmy breeze with the bright sunshine (did I say sunshine - well yes - we are still to witness the characteristic gloomy weather of Portland!) remind me of my hometown in Uttaranachal India - similar topography and climate BUT no comparison in terms of infrastructure, resources and comfort - that is a :) and a :(. 

We have not yet settled into a routine - the cooking, eating, sleeping schedules, especially for the little one, are all over the place. And we are still to call a place home - temporary acco is just that - temporary. But, what we have managed in just about a week's stay is visit to two landmarks - the Oregon zoo which is supposed to be one of the best in the country (though we were not very impressed - on a weekend afternoon there were lots of people and hardly any animals - M ofcourse was elated to spot elephants, gifaafe (giraffe for her), hippo, monkeys and lots of birds). The other place is called Mt. Tabor - an extinct volcano - a fun place with a playground and hiking trails. 

It looks like we will have lots of options for recreation and within reasonable driving distances!

So far so good, I say. Let's see how this fairs out!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Hollow Lives

Sometimes the line between truth and lies
Is ambivalent like weather with cloudy skies.

Where the light ends, and the darkness has not yet begun,
The romance of the crimson twilight may be overdone.

I'd like to believe I know the wrong from the right,
But then why do, for simple choices, I sorely fight?

Morning follows every night, they vehemently assure me;
That night follows every morning is what haunts me.

If nothing that we do or say changes this never ending saga,
Then why these discourses on good, and bad, and karma?

Destiny is a desolate consolation - we live to die;
This vicious circle remains unbroken as hard as you try.

Before and after the intermittent streams of consciousness -
There is no memory, no sound, no pain - only stark hollowness.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BlogHer Voices Of The Year 2014!

BlogHer is the largest community of women who blog. And I am delighted to share with you guys that this post of mine: A Letter to the Previous Owner f MY Mobile Number has been selected as one of their Voices Of The Year posts.
So happy to be part of the illustrious bloggers' community!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Because Olive Garden does not home deliver!

Pasta is one of my favorite dishes - like an anytime dish - I can eat it for main course or snack or even have the leftovers for morning breakfast. And it is a pity that such a connoisseur as I proclaim myself to be, I am yet to visit Italy and taste the authenticity for myself. Now, if I had a bucket list, that would surely make it there. But, I digress.

So it happened. A rainy day. Under home arrest with a slightly sick baby. And the craving for creamy delicious pasta strikes. 

P.S. While I have nothing against the red sauce pasta - and till this past weekend that was the only pasta kind I had ever experimented with and made, it is the white sauce pasta that is my weakness. 

So, I decided to attempt the unknown. I followed Martha Stewart's recipe. And so what if I have to say it myself - the bechamel sauce was delicious. Her recipe is perfect and the addition of garlic and onions gives it just the right flavor. I steamed some veggies available in the refrigerator and my yummy "comfort" indulgence was ready. Oh, the joy when your own cooking turns out good. It got a thumbs up from the husband too. The daughter was unimpressed (as always). 

And, I remembered to click a pic too!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Stages of My Weight Loss Program

So, let's start with being honest. I have never ever been size zero - not for as long as I can remember (and I have a great memory). However, neither have I battled any weighty issues - mostly plump but not really overweight! Since I was about 16 or 17, whenever the weighing machine would tip on the wrong side of the 50 kg mark, I'd start a short-lived exercise (and a highly unsuccessful diet) regime, and things would be more or less okay. 

But, things are not so simple now. I blew 30 candles on my birthday cake last year, and delivered a baby the year before that. Frankly speaking, the 13 kgs I gained during pregnancy weren't all that much, and I lost 10 doing nothing at all. That made me very complacent and even 16 months after delivery, I have not been able to knock off the last couple of pounds! 

Month after month, I have drawn up long plans, which obviously have amounted to nothing. And the cyclical nature of my weight loss program is so hilarious even to me that I thought it might give you a reason for a good laugh too! So here are the different stages I go through, time and again:

Stage 1: I am so fat and ugly. 
I look at the old Ts in my closet that I have yet not packed away. Surely, I could get into them. But, wait I am so fat. I am sooo fat that I look ugly. How can I do this to myself? Oh my god, is that my photograph? I look round! This is depressing. I need to lose all that weight NOW.

Stage 2: Size Zero, Here I come!
People lose tens and tens of pounds, and I can't even lose a few? I am not ambitious enough. If I want to lose only a couple, I'll never lose them. So here's my new target - forget getting back to pre-pregnancy weight, I will now aim to be a size zero!

Stage 3: Exercise AND Diet Plan
I am a sensible educated person. No crash dieting, no heavy exercising. I draw a nice plan that is complete with a diet chart, which incorporates healthy meals every two hours - lot of fiber, fruits, veggies, low carbs, high protein and all the latest fads doing the rounds. Then a plan for exercise - squats, push ups, crunches, cardio - very holistic.

Stage 4: I love food. Exercise Only.
I have one life. How much do I anyways eat. A little bit of comfort eating here and there is not going to not make me size zero. I think I need to focus only on exercising. Let me increase that.

Stage 5: Where is the time to exercise? I need to diet.
Seriously, with a toddler to take care of, I think I can exercise? Don't I get enough exercise running after her and worrying about her. I don't even get enough sleep these days, how can I be healthy enough to exercise. Let me cut back on the calories in my food.

Stage 6: Food is my weakness. No strength/time for exercise.
No, just who can diet. I don't have fancy cooks nor can I afford those personal trainers. I mean who am I comparing myself with. My life is so busy - I don't have time to dish up healthy meals every 2 hours, and I am just too exhausted to exercise. I can't lead a deprived life - and there's only so much slogging out one can do, no?

Stage 7: Am I really that fat?
Sure, I am not as slim as before, but can I really call myself fat? I mean I might look fat in a particular kind of cut of dresses - and you know all those tops - those maybe just shrank in these god forsaken dryers. They are good for nothing, anyways. Isn't my BMI in the normal range? And, that weighing machine is not even reliable, I think. Hell! Skinny is not even healthy and not like I have signed a bikini modelling contract! 

Stage 8: I need a wardrobe overhaul!
I am just working myself into a depression. Oh c'mon, I can't go on trying to fit into old clothes all my life. The fashion trends are changing. I need to shop for more flattering silhouettes, that's all. Who knows, I might fit into a S size in some brand somewhere. And, anyways, what is that feel-good quote doing the social media round these days, "I might not have a perfect body, but I am a mother, and that is perfect." (bleh.) :P.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My latest gastronomic indulgence...

...Is Apple Crumble! 

And, no, I don't mean the painstakingly one done in an oven with the aroma of baked apples in the whole house. I would love that but time is at a premium these days, and the oven in not so great a shape, and I have these cravings (no, I am not pregnant again - but then I never had any cravings during my pregnancy :D) that need to be satiated almost instantly. 

This is a quick apple crumble in a mug kind of a recipe (except, that I make the dessert mug recipes in a bowl because I don't really have those huge 10oz+ mega mugs in my collection yet :)). I looked around for quite a few recipes and no particular one sounded absolutely doable and great, so I took them as inspiration and decided to experiment with the measures etc. And without being modest, I must tell you I concocted an awesome recipe (especially if you don't like your apple crumble super sweet) that I had for three consecutive days for lunch (and not dessert, mind you!.

So, sharing the recipe that I followed here - you can play around with the ingredients and their measures as you will :). 

1. In a bowl, mix together 1 tbsp butter (melted), 2 tbsp flour, 1 tbsp sugar (this is for average sweetness), 1 tbsp quick rolled oats, 1 tbsp walnuts, and a pinch of cinnamon powder.

2. Peel, core and slice n dice an apple, and place in a microwaveable bowl. Crumble the mixture in step 1 on the apples.

3. Bake for about 5 minutes (till the apples can be pierced with a fork). 

And you are done! 

By the way, this is a kid friendly recipe too. I tried it for my almost-16-month-old daughter but she didn't like the sweetness too much - she was happy munching on the cooled baked apple pieces instead. I didn't really mind - I don't care sharing desserts anyways!

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