Friday, December 29, 2017

Round Up!

Of course it is a wrap! 2017 is closing down and 2018 is gearing up for a start.

I stopped believing that things really change in the new year. I do not believe that an entire year sucked or rocked because of one incident. What is a year but a marker to keep life feeling immeasurable...and yet, I do these posts every year.

2017 seems to be the year I blogged the least. I guess I was busy at home and at work to spend a few minutes on my blog. I will try to fix that in 2018. I am getting older and wiser.

Things we did this year:
  •   S ran her first 5K with me. We joined a running group and she ran-walked the whole thing. It was super fun.
  • Enjoyed Holi with friends at the temple with friends! It was crazy!

  • We threw a fun Harry Potter Themed Baby Shower for our dear friend A.

  • We camped in OK by one of the most windiest lakes ever. Our tent almost flew with us in it. It was an adventure and we loved it!

  • S had her second Bharatanatyam recital. She did amazing and so did her entire class. Parents visited and spent two months with us. It was amazing!
  • Summer was filled with pool fun. Friends and family alike...S enjoyed.

  • Z visited us alone! She is a big girl now and we had a great week with her.
  • G's family visited us in summer! We went to Destin with them!
  • The Solar Eclipse of 2017! Where we rocked the solar glasses! 
  • And then, off we went to Niagara!
  • S got her bangs hairstyle that she wanted for the longest time. She was super excited!
  • Dandiya with friends - twice! It was super fun! I am looking forward to it again this year!
  • S and G had multiple birthday celebrations! Lots of cake, lots of friends, I wish we could do this all over again ever year! Love the friend-family.

  • Started biking this year with G. We have had some fun and adventurous rides exploring our neighborhood! See the turtle we hung out with at Interlaken in Plano.

  • S turned double digit! so we had a fun birthday planned! A slime party and sleepover with a handful of girls! 

  • S did her first Bollywood dance with a new friend that she enjoyed hanging out with!

  • And then we left for our world tour! 
    • Germany
      • Visited Schloss Alsbach
      • Dinner at Heidelberg - double date sans kids
      • Drive to Neushwanstein - met with M & B there!
      • Eat - the yummiest veggie paella in the world!
    • India
      • Taj Mahal
      • Wedding fun @ Kurukshetra
      • Eating @ Delhi
      • Pune - Enjoying with J and family - Karla Caves
      • Mumbai - Spending time with M, A and R. It was a treat! 
        • Visited the India office of my company.
      • Mangalore - Reception fun.
        • Beach trip
        • Village visit
      • Bangalore - 
        • Bino, Thameem
        • SP's family
        • Hareesh, Seenu
        • Eating and dancing - S's first dance floor experience.
      • Spending time getting pampered with friends and family and Lakme alike!

    • France:
      • Paris
      • St. Gervais Les Bains
      • S and G's first ski experience. They loved it! 
      • We had to trek down from our chalet to buy oil, wine and bread! The trek was in 4' of freshly fallen slow. We had no roads or trails that we could see. I fell a few times before we reached St. Gervais! It was an experience. Spectacular views...Alps!

  • Started the trip in Alps and ended it there! How fun!
  • Came back feeling empty and luckily had friends to cheer us during the X-Mas break!

Now we look ahead to the next year and hopefully it is not rocky and is smooth sailing!

Happy New Year to everyone! Cheers and have a great one! From ours to yours...

A New Year ART

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Glu with the Umlaut!

We were going from 70 degrees into 20 degrees F. It was a big difference, especially if you are suddenly transported from whatever weather to winter wonderland. We were dressed very warm and yet, it was not good enough. After seeing the Hohenshwangau Castle we had a small break. We went to the nearest restaurant and gorged on the yummiest squash soup ever and bread. We ate to kill the cold, runny noses and almost frost bitten digits.

We were almost thawed when we had to rush to take the horse carriage ride up the mountains to Neuschwanstein castle. One friend said the golden words in front of the waitress who spoke very little English and another friend translated it, "I wish we had some hot wine for the trip."

Tada! We had five coffee cups with lids filled with hot wine...or Glu (with the umlaut) wine in our hands. Our hands felt warmer as we climbed up the trail smelling horse poop while watching the most breathtaking views from up the Alps. We drank the hot drink that went down our throats warming us up inside out.

I craved to have more but the trip was short and we were out of Germany. I have traveled a bit in the last few years and I always come back with something I really love and a need to recreate it at home. We tried out Glu Wine at home on Xmas Eve and it was fantabulous. One thing to remember is that it is sweet with spices and sugar so it can be super heady. Also, one glass should carry you through the night.

Glu-ing ART
Looking forward to the New Year 2018!
With the Glu in our hands in the Horse Carriage!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Oye Teri!

I have seen it in my niece and nephew. I have seen it with my friend's children. I am seeing it in adults, in people of all ages and sizes. We are obsessed with our mobile phones, making memories while letting memories slip away.

I was at my daughter's school's holiday party where kids were performing. More parents' were keen on recording the video and taking pics than actually watching the show. It was annoying for those few who were actually there to enjoy the show. We had to see a bunch of raised hands and bright screens.

On the same note, when we now meet, as a family or group of friends, kids are sitting down with their cellphones and hardly paying attention to their family. My daughter likes to spend 10 minutes with kids around and then politely asks for wifi password before disappearing into the room watching her show. I have tried to get her out but she always claims some inadequacy and escapes.

My niece comes all the way to Dallas and guess what she does? I fly all the way to meet family in India and guess what they do? I invited a few friends over for S's birthday and guess what the older kids did? It is a frustrating series. I had to get rude and have the phones confiscated so they would spend time together.

On our trip to India this time, we realized that internet was a luxury. Everyone we knew had switched over to GIO which is like a wifi stick that barely has any strong signals to play netflix. This made S get out and socialize. She tried hard to watch and gave up. She sat between us, she got to know her cousins better, her family better and she actually enjoyed the trip for what it was and not for a memory of watching netflix in different countries and cities. It was such a welcome change. At the end of the trip she came up to me and said mom, "this has been the longest I have gone without TV," and I happily agreed. S finally understood that there is a life beyond Netflix when we travel.

India is always teaching lessons...this time it was for S, a valuable lesson.

I really wish we would put down our phones, meet people vis-a-vis and read emotional cues, feel the pulse of being together rather than exist in whatsapp groups wishing only for birthdays! It is good to be in touch on the web but it matters more to be present with the people you are with. Photos of feet and fish faces can wait but I might not...

Hope y'all had a very merry X-Mas.

Fishy-Facey ARTY from the French Alps!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


All other kids posed for their parents in front of the school sign, in the parking lot, at the door to the school, in their classroom, everywhere. Mine, well, did not. She refused to smile for the camera and kept looking away every time I begged her for a pose. I was that miserable parent you see running around with her phone ready to snap a shot and missing completely. G stood smirking at my "typical" mom behavior. Both him and S laughed at me while I was not looking. Oh! Well!

As I was about to head out I saw another parent, S's friend's mom, standing teary eyed at the door to their classroom. She was gushing to another mom saying how the kid has grown up and she was not ready for this. I literally touched my moisture. "Bad Mom" moment...I looked around and saw several other moms doing the same thing...shedding tears...and me...dry like a desert.

I walked away wondering why I did not feel these emotions. I was sad to see her start her next grade but not really sad to see her grow up. As long as she is growing up positively and healthily, who am I to complain? I justified it in my head and walked to the car. I still could not get over it.

I kept mulling about it over and over in my head, am I a bad mom because I did not feel any sadness enough to cry? I thought about it hard and realized that I have never cried at good bye's. The one time I was close to crying was when I left my parents house after a really wonderful summer break. I did not cry during my kinder drop off, or when I left my home country to come to another country. It dawned on me that I lack the emotion and just like me so did G. The image of S shooing me away and going to her desk begging me not to embarrass her came to my head. She sat down at her assigned spot and never once looked back. This was her, from kinder to now...just like mom and dad...she was one of us, the kind that does not look back after saying bye.

Thanks for reading!
A-non-Shedding ART

Dressing Down...

I enjoyed dressing up, looking beautiful, putting in the effort...well, I enjoyed it when it happened that once in a while moment. The rest of the time, it only reminded me of the effort to do it and undo it. I remember the times as a high school kid when I decided that I would dress up plain and simple to stand out in the over made up crowd. My strategy did not work.

I remember the time this guy wanted to go dancing with me and I walked into the club (aka known as disc's in the '90s India) wearing salwar and pony'd up hair. I failed miserably but I have to give kudos to the guy who did not bat an eye (in front of me at least) when I showed up tired and bored. This was my style. I did revenge dress up. If I had to go meet someone I had once had a crush on, then I took the effort, else it was casual jeans and tee.

I even remember the days I would walk into a 5 star hotel quite under dressed and be stared at. I told myself that people who go to luxury places every day (not that this was my daily thing) did not have to dress up to show that they belonged, I assumed I carried some sort of air around me...failed assumption.

When I finally got a chance to go on a date with this (then) cute guy I dressed up. Wore a really cute denim short dungarees borrowed from my friend and my cute boots. All my friends noted that I looked cute. One of them also said that they never knew I had such nice legs (Ahem!).

Then I grew up and got a job. My first job required me to wear jeans and tee as I had to be on site and it was dusty and dirty. This fell well within my realm of wardrobe and comfort zone. I owned 2 formal wear. When we had to go to a facility for the opening ceremony I showed up to work dressed up and people failed to recognize me. Everyone noted, "You clean up really well..."

My next job started off well. I updated my wardrobe and had a full set of formal wear. The first two months went off well until I noticed that not everyone dressed up. The company was very dry on their style. Some really annoying people around me made comments on the fact that I was over I fell back into my comfort zone. A few times I dressed up people around me made similar comments like, "You clean up really well..."

I walked into a bar last night after a tired day and realized that I was there in my house tee, old jeans and Hawaii chappals. No, I am not a regular there. Yes, I was supremely under dressed. There was no one to take revenge on, no great occasion. Husband and I got the rare chance to grab a drink and eat a snack on our own. I was complacent in my attire. I realized that this is me, the under dresser. I never cared for it before to start now. I enjoy the one off compliment from my friends or acquaintances. I enjoy dressing up for the special occasions. I enjoy feeling special sometimes. There is more spice to it this way for me than to be made up all the time. This is me! A very comfy me.

With love,
The Under Dressed ART

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Irony of it All...

This past weekend was Holi celebrations in one of our local temples. I love Holi. Loved it for the past few years I have actually celebrated it. I actually did not like it much as a kid. I remember the day in my 11th grade when I was walking home with my friends in all white uniform when some unruly idiots decided to shower us with pink. My friend got some color in her eye and me, much worse, got some on my uniform. I had to face the wrath of my mother. The uniform was soiled for life and it had another year and half to finish off my school with. I hated it. Holi did not belong in Chennai. I was not ready to celebrate it. It looked awesome in Hindi movies but not in real life.

I came to the US, met and fell in love with a person who had lived north of Chennai all his life and had celebrated one too many Holi's. We celebrated with friends, with family, with everyone and I enjoyed it. I was more prepared, old clothes on me, towels in the car, garbage bags to pack the crap, we were ready to taken on the color! We celebrated it in our front yard, in public parks and a few times at the temple. My most memorable Holi was at my in-law's house in Mumbai. We played with colors, got totally messed up for 3 hours. Then we went up, showered, changed and came back down for the most yummiest food ever. Sat down chatting with everyone around.

This year, we were at the temple with friends. My friend motivated me to get off my butt and get colored. It was good fun. There was music, food and crowd. The weather was perfect, hot enough but not scalding yet. We danced, colored, hugged it out and came back home. As I get older, I notice I am not into loud fun as much as I was a year ago.

Today, as my brain monkey was going through my memories from the weekend it remembered that I had told S not to wear shorts as we were going to temple. At the temple though, not literally inside but at the temple grounds they were blaring out Hindi item songs! Ha! My brain monkey laughed at the irony that exists in the Hindu Temple.

Pondering Colorful Art

Thursday, February 02, 2017

2016 Recap...A Little Too Late...

I normally would have written my summary for the year gone by before now but this year I am blame the slacking me. 2016 was tiring. That is the best way to describe it for me. Too many things done, too many weekends spent away from home but in general I still have the feeling that much was accomplished or maybe not...

January - Most of the family cleared and went back, the house felt silent and quite. The in-laws were still there so it was still a little busy but we missed the hustle and bustle of 14 people under one roof. I filled my evenings with long walks with my father-in-law and we spoke about everything. It was relaxing and we bonded.

February - My first time to South of the Border. It was one of the most fun vacations ever. Cannot wait to do it all over again.

March - Mixed bag! Got another year wiser! Went to NC to visit my parents. My brothers were throwing a big party to celebrate my dad's 80th. So we went there and had a blast. The party was great but the cousin bonding was amazing, the kids had a better time than the adults. S got to sit in the cockpit of the aircraft we flew in - a first! Father-in-Law's mother passed away. Our house got damaged severely in a hail storm. Good things and sad things...

April - S did her first Color Run at school. S got her first tennis trophy - a runner's up but still something. A very light month. We had booked our tickets to India so the countdown had started...

May - S finished another year at school. She was also very close to getting her Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do. S did her first Bharatanatyam performance. S's cousin R visited us with her mom from india and spent a couple of days with us. It was super fun to show them around town.

June - R was still here and we had more fun time together. Summer was spent with great friends, good wine and good food. The pool was warm and our house was welcoming. We spent many evenings and night sitting in the pool.

July - Saw Kabali in the theater with my BFF. It was just fun to be there together with her. S won her first ever tennis tournament. The date to the India trip was getting closer and G and I were on a weight loss mission...

August - Trip to India! Major milestone. After almost 4.5 years. The trip was definitely much awaited and super fun. We visited family in Chennai, Bangalore, Mangalore in the first part of the trip. We had to attend the death anniversary pooja for my grandfather in law who passed on at the age of 107. It was attend by many people from all over the country. The event was grand just like Ajjo. We miss him and his toothless smile. Even when he was 103, he communicated with me in Tamil and he always inquired about us.

September - From Mangalore we went to Goa, and finished up in Mumbai. The night we left was very sad. For the first time in my life I slept almost 16-19 hours on the flight and even in the airport while awaiting transit. I had zero jet lag when I came back.

October -  S turned a year older. Sleepover party. S was Pink Power Ranger for Halloween. We went camping for the first time ever with MN and family. It was awesome! We loved every bit of it and cannot wait to do it again. And then we also did Dandiya with Falguni Pathak. It was super fun. Thanks M for passing on tickets. Went to State Fair for the first time ever and got sick eating junk. Took the train to the fair and it was super fun with MN and A, G was out on a trip to celebrate him having a milestone birthday with his BFF's, they trekked and hung out! Diwali Parties!!! October was busy and hectic!

November - S got her Black Belt..hallelujah!!!. Got ready for the season, went to tree light lighting and got the X-Mas decorations out. Rank the chocoholic 5K with M for a third time.

December - Drove to NC to spend the week with my family. It was one of the best times of the year for me. I got to bond with my neices and nephews. The best part was that G indulged in all the babies. He played card games, tennis, video games, took them all out to dinner, ice cream and chilled with everyone. We took my sister's in-law to watch Dangal for a night show and it was awesome! Good memories! Spent New Years by the lake with a few of my closest friends. And now...back to reality!!!

And that was my year in a nutshell...hope everyone had a decent 2016 and hopefully a more decent 2017. I am mature enough and old enough to know that no year will be perfect. There will be ups and downs and we have to ride it to move on to our next goals!

A Slacking ART

Thursday, January 05, 2017

The Flower in my Garden!!!

Image result for saavn
I am loving Saavn! I have gone to the past and danced in the present with the awesome collection of music. I love hearing old Tamil songs. The songs that I grew up with. Each song reminds me of a certain time in my life. From Raja to Rahman to Vaali to Vairamuthu are all filled with memories...

En veetu thotathil from Gentleman now playing in my ears reminds me of the song my classmate quoted for me when I was not sure if I really liked this guy who kept pursuing me...she kept singing it to me till I said "yes" to him. A very short lived relationship that nevertheless has left me with memories. Gentleman released at a time in life when I was young, in high school, 11std, had no worries and there were many choices all around me...every song in that movie reminds me of those days past.

Šøllukkum Arthathukkum Thøørangal Kidaiyaathu
Šøllaatha Kaathal Èllaam Šørgathil Šaeraathu

(the second line means - Unsaid love will not reach heaven).

At that age my classmate was my love guru. She had been dating her much older neighbor since 8th grade! The last I checked on FB looks like she did end up marrying him! Some commitment! In my case...did not work out for more than 2 months, or maybe less...don't remember now. All I do remember is that he was a good dancer.

A Reminiscing ART