Books

4 Apr

2019 has been a bad year for reading for me so far . My book club , which prospered and grew from strength to strength in 2018, has become a huge source of stress this year . We decided that we would add more non fictional books to our reading list this year and that seems to have really transformed this activity I enjoyed to one I have started to dislike and dread . I know I need to read beyond just fiction but I am not at a phase in my life where this seems feasible . Case in point , we picked Michelle Obama’s Becoming and I have been unable to get past page 50 in two months ! What the hell is wrong with me ? I admire her so much , I love the writing , I am fascinated by how relatable her childhood years seem but why can I not get myself to read beyond 5 pages at a time ? So I have been dodging book club with great difficulty making up excuses of sick kids and working late husbands , to simply not tell them the simple truth that I cannot finish this book that everyone is raving about and that I never want to read a biography again !If that was not enough , there is this book club at work that I am a part of .The first book they picked was Brotopia. I bought the book enthusiastically on Kindle and despaired as I could not get past chapter 1. I attended a wonderfully scintillating discussion despite not reading the book though and vowed to read the next one . I can’t read a non fictional book digitally I thought to myself . The next book they picked was “Be Brave , Not Perfect ” . Asian author I admire – check , relevant – check , aspirational as I raise two daughters in this world – check , short book – check . Oh and this time , I also won the lucky draw / raffle and won the physical book a month prior to book club . Guess what happened – I didn’t get past page 25 . I saw Reshma’s TED talk to inspire myself to finish but it didn’t work . Nope , I decided to show up yet again at book club without reading the damn book and found myself seated next to super smart female executive I am admire and I broke into a sweat . I have literally never shown up in school and college without my homework done and here I was two months in a row winging it! God bless the moderator- she never once called on me and I somehow bumbled my way through the discussion . Thankfully we got through only discussing half the book and decided we wanted to come back together to discuss the second half . So I have a little more time to redeem myself .

Oh and if this all wasn’t enough I signed up for a desi moms book club in my neighborhood to make even more new friends and they have also picked Becoming for their discussion ! So now I have to absolutely finish that book .

So what exactly have I read so far this year ?

I read one new to me book – A place for us . It’s a story of an immigrant family and if you like family drama this one is for you . Sarah Jessica Parker recommends it which was one of the main ( only ) reason I picked it up 🙂

I then started rereading my favorite books / parts from the Anne of Green Gables series . This was prompted from me binging on the Netflix remake – Anne with an E . So I had to go back and reread all my favorite parts ( read Gilbert and Anne’s relationship developing ). Are there any other huge fans of this series reading this ? Say Hi if you are .

And that’s really it . You have the gist – I have no appetite for anything non fictional and because those have been the only books thrust on me this year so far , I have hardly read . I need a good , light book to get into the swing of things . So I welcome recommendations .

P. S sorry the font is so messed up on this post . I am posting from my phone app as I have forgotten my log in any other way ( shows you how long I haven’t blogged ) and can’t seem to fix it .

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A is for airports

2 Apr

In full disclosure, I signed up for the A to Z challenge with some gentle prodding from Pepper as it seemed like a great idea to find my blogging mojo again . Alphabetic prompts , sounds easy enough to get out of a rut right ? It clearly is harder than it seems – I am sitting in a hotel room after a long long day and am scrambling to come up with anything remotely worthwhile posting before the clock strikes midnight . Here goes with a super short post !

A is for airports ! What is is about airports that makes me feel grubby and gross ? I am one of those people that has to have a shower once I get off a plane before I do anything else ! I literally feel I am washing the germs off myself – the germs that a million people traveling from everywhere have brought with them . And then there is the airport smell . I think airports have a very distinct smell of sweat and grime . I actually even think the coats I wear on the plane carry this smell and if I had a choice I would dry clean my coat immediately after it makes a plane trip . What pisses me off if is when well meaning family members don’t follow the same ritual I have of coming home from the airport and heading straight into the shower . Especially after an international trip. I have to remind them to even wash their hands and gently keep saying things like “freshen up” . What I mean is get your ass in the shower and clean up before you spread airport germs !

Am I being paranoid ? Please don’t tell me I am the only one with these idiosyncrasies.

In retrospect, there is so much I could write about airports here – the hustle and bustle that I love , the food, the people watching opportunities , the conversations – but al I decided to focus on was the germs !!

Night time woes

16 Mar

Daylight savings this year has really been the last straw to break my back . Our sleep situation has been terrible the last few months . I elaborate on this below . But the net is we get to bed terribly late and that would be okay if the evening had been productive with a few hours of office work after the kids went to bed , or a clean kitchen or even some snuggle time on the couch . But no, I have really been going to bed feeling I have accomplished nothing in the last few hours . So I get to bed late , take even longer to fall asleep , get up a few times with a Bandar to literally hand her a bottle of whole milk and end up sleeping through my alarm(s) and rely on my body clock to wake me up to finally waking up past 7 am in a panic and ultimately drive Bandar and the hubs up the wall trying to get her to school before the bell , which results in all three of us having a terrible morning . Phew , deep breath ( longest sentence award , anyone ).

It’s been 5 working days of daylight savings this week and our entire family has stirred at 7:30 am or later on 3 of the days and miraculously Bandar makes into school by 8 am and the rest of us have been out before 9 am. But I am really ready to make some changes to this overall situation here . Or rather I have to for the sake of my sanity and that of family members .This might seem fairly obvious but days that start with no shouting from me and happier days for the whole clan .

I am the first to admit our sleeping situation with Beetle needs work . As a reminder Beetle baby is now is 20 months old . We co sleep on a king size mattress after dismantling our tall bed for her safety . Bandar sleeps in a small study like bedroom attached to ours in her canopy princess pink bed . There is a door connecting our rooms that we leave open . We start the going to bed process really late – anywhere between 8:30- 9 pm and when the lights are finally off , Beetle glugs a bottle of whole milk ( ba ba ba ba she screams ) , cuddled against me in bed and then after a resounding burp , she will get off the mattress and totter into her sister ‘s bedroom and start engaging her in conversation. Bandar has been told not to respond to Beetle at this time but of course she does . The few times Bandar has not responded have resulted in Beetle bug giving her a thwack on her face or pulling her hair to extract an answer . So then Bandar will cry and I will get up to comfort her and bring Beetle back . Beetle will come back , sip some more milk and go off again to her sister’s room . At some point I give up trying to get her back and lie down pretending to be asleep and browse mindlessly under the covers on my phone . Beetle will move between the rooms , open drawers here and there in the dark , periodically come back for milk . Oh and I forgot to add this – in a fit of hope a few months ago , we foolishly thought Beetle was ready to transition to the crib converted to toddler bed in her sister’s room . Of course she wasn’t , but we haven’t converted it back to a crib . So every other night , Beetle will ask to sleep on her own bed and we get excited and put her into the toddler bed to only have her cry in a minute to be helped out of it again . But of course , the next time she asks for it , we indulge her again thinking today is the night she is magically ready for the transition . Going back to a regular night of Beetle tottering around in the dark , around 11ish she will come to the mattress and lie herself down . She will ask for milk again – by this time I have usually gone down once already to get a fresh bottle . She will take a few sips, say very clearly “cuddle me amma ” which means she is ready to sleep and finally fall asleep . Other days she has these few sips but instead of cuddling me , she will chose to orient herself with her head on my tummy or on my feet and finally fall asleep . By this time , I have been in bed for about two hours lying noiselessly for the most part and I have no motivation to get up and do any office work or household crap . Not even the temptation of an hour alone with the hubs downstairs stirs me and I continue mindlessly browsing my phone and struggle to fall asleep by 1 am . The H comes to bed sometime between 11 and 1 too and he finds himself a spot on the bed. Miserable situation all around , right ?

What can we do to change this ? Plenty I guess – sleep train Beetle , stop bottles , make bed back into a crib and dump her in there and leave the room, shut down my phone . I know these are the logical things I need to do , I have been postponing them for God knows how long now . I am feeling ready to start small this weekend and am going to start by not touching my phone in the bedroom with the hope that it will actually accelerate the process in some way . We are also seriously considering stopping the night time bottle for Beetle this week but this is a big one that big sis put up a huge fight for at almost 2.5 years . So let’s see how it goes . Wish us luck !

Weekend tales

14 Mar

The only topic I can seem to blog about is what we did over the weekends . I am seriously living for these weekends right now – they are slower paced then what I typically enjoy but they are exactly what I need .

Friday evening we started our weekend having dinner with some friends . I am helping them plan their Japan trip and it was recollecting tidbits from own trip last year . We had a desi dinner and started Codenames to be interrupted with Beetle being sleepy and uncomfortable. So home we went .

Saturday morning started with us making ambitious plans to hit up the zoo after lunch . I had a successful morning running laundry and getting the kids dinner made before we headed to our favorite info Chinese place for some noodles and fried rice . We washed down our yummylicious lunch with boba drinks . My favorite drink right now is a matcha milk tea made with plenty of boba . It’s a carb and sugar filled delight. ( boba is awfully starchy and though I order my drink without sugar I am sure it has a good amount ). We hit up the zoo and found parking but were hit with a gust of wind . We chickened out and headed to the science museum instead . Bandar gets to learn something and Beetle gets to play in the kids indoor play area . We returned home for dinner and I hit the gym and got some much needed me-time . Sunday AM started with delicious avocado toast at home . We did random cleaning up around the house and played with the kids . Having no major activity planned was relaxing . I made a date to do a quick one hour shopping trip with a friend and returned with a lovely dress , top and earrings . I inaugurated the earrings and can’t wait to wear the dress . I want to start a no shopping month but it is so hard when a good sale beckons . Our cook lady came over and we indulged in some good old homemade desi food . I helped Bandar with some math in the evening while the hubs played with Bandar .On the whole a perfectly lazy day .

Last weekend

8 Mar

Almost through the work week and it seems like a good time as any to share what we did last weekend . I am seriously struggling with my blogging game as you can tell here .

-Friday night , the hubs worked late . I made a butternut squash sauce pasta with veggies for the girls which they gobbled up . Then I had the girls in bed fairly early . They are ,for whatever reason , both on our bed which though king size is terribly cramped for four people . Bandar kicks , Beetle moves and rotates and the H and I end up sleeping at weird right angles to each other . I really dislike everything about this arrangement but am unable to figure out how to get everyone to their respective beds before I lose my sanity . Anyway , back to Friday night , I think I slept off with the kiddos .

– I started Saturday morning by heading out to a Kick boxing class . I bought an impulse Groupon to try ten classes at a ridiculously cheap price . However I am on class two and really want to give up . I cannot get the moves right , I am exhausted by the warm up as I am probably not nourishing myself right or hydrating enough , I am pissed off with the cliques in the class and a whole bunch more . But I will keep going of course for 8 more classes as I hate wasting hard earned money . Anyway as I am clearly not working hard enough for more than 15 minutes of this class , I leave feeling not at all tired and craving a one hour cardio session at the gym . I called home to find the kids doing great with dad but somehow felt I had too many things to take care of that day that I couldn’t afford another 1.5 including commute for another work out . Guess lesson to me to give every workout my best as it is probably the only one I am going to get for a couple of days .

– I rushed home to do some cleaning for the house cleaners . This is where I pick up and tidy as the house cleaners move from room to room and try to get our abode inhabitable for the next few weeks .

– I then grabbed Bandar and headed out to get a birthday gift for her friend . We debated between Ross and Target and decided to try Ross first . Ross is such a hit or a miss for us – you sometimes find the perfect gift at few bucks cheaper than other places and other days the goods are just not what you want . Anyway we lucked out by finding exactly what her friend wanted – LOLs . Is anyone else’s kid into them ? My kid is generally late to trends and is only now enjoying hatchimals and shopkins . We also got some leggings for Bandar . She was super sweet the whole time and didn’t even ask for a thing which in the past has been a huge problem . So of course I rewarded her with a $2.99 hatchimal which she proceeded to hatch out the rest of the weekend .

– Grocery run followed and then it was back home to stuff in some lunch and head to the bday party . Unfortunately for the hubs ,cricket was cancelled and he got saddled with toddler duty . I meanwhile got to enjoy my 6 year old all afternoon.

– The birthday party was at some sort of bouncy playscape place . I chatted with some mom friends while Bandar had fun . Then it was back home to Beetle and the hubs. Beetle had to be coaxed to nap and as everyone knows it’s hard to coax a toddler to do anything . Anyway she finally dozed off after putting up a fight , and I used that time to do some math practice with Bandar .

– In the evening we met some friends for dosas and then went to their house to let the kids play awhile . I realize my friends here are so so different from the people I usually gravitate towards but at the end of the day the kids get along and the adults get along and the equation works . We got home around midnight and went straight to bed .

– Sunday AM we met up with a friend for desi lunch and both the kids behaved amazingly well. Bandar entertained herself with drawing and Beetle fed herself beautifully. We then headed to the mall to get Bandar some leggings. Beetle went nutso at the mall though refusing to sit in her stroller and running amok . So different than her sister who practically lived in her stroller when we lived in NYC.

– Sunday evening made me a tad anxious for a long and worrisome work week ahead . Anyway I felt I had a personal victory as I managed to get all the laundry folded and put away neatly as I busied my mind with the work pondering .

So that was our weekend ! Took me a few days to get this post written and it’s almost time for the next one 🙂

Back with a bang!

28 Feb

Hola folks !Anybody here ? After a long hiatus , I realize I am ready to blog again . What brings me back you ask ? I am truly just back selfishly for myself – I miss having a record of my life , of my kids growing up , of pleasant and unpleasant memories . I also miss the connections I made through blogging and the thrill of reading and responding to comments . The reason I stopped blogging was an intentional well thought of decision . Life got busy and one thing needed to take a backseat in 2018 and it was blogging for me . I hope I can resurface in this space and start recording the normal things I usually blog about . So let the randomness begin 🙂

Wrapping up our Japan trip – Summer 2018

23 Aug

For our last day in Kyoto, we decided to go to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Such a good choice for our limited time in Kyoto and even more limited itinerary with the kiddos . We started the day off by vacating the Airbnb and getting our bags into storage at Kyoto station. Then armed with the bare minimum, we first grabbed a random brunch at a bakery in the station. We finally made our way to Arashiyama . The walk from the station to the grove is fun as it really let’s you get a glimpse of how the locals live . We debated renting bikes but a child seat for Beetle seemed to not be completely safe. So walk we did .

The bamboo grove absolutely took our breathe away. Despite the tourists it seemed weirdly serene. We walked to the Tenryuji temple and loved the temple grounds. We spent a good one hour or so there before Beetle had a meltdown and feed and made the decision to really head back to Kyoto station to at least make a 4:30 bullet train back to Tokyo. The journey back to Tokyo was not really exciting but for a diaper blow out , and we all were very tired at Tokyo station at 8 pm or so. We stopped by T’s Tan Tan for another round of vegan ramen and Beetle at that point projectile vomited for the first time in her life ! So in all of this we realized it was really late and we guessed our Airbnb host would be waiting for is. Little did we know that he was mildly panicking at this point thinking we were lost in Tokyo. Anyway we made it with tons of luggage and tired kids to the Airbnb for our last night in Tokyo. This was the most average of all the places we stayed on on the trip and a lone cockroach spotting didn’t help matters either. Anyway it was one night so we weren’t all that worried. The host then dropped us at Narita in the morning for our 10 hour flight to Mumbai.

And that’s a wrap ! I really think we will be back in Japan at some point in the near future, maybe when the girls are older for more adventures . For now, these 6 short days gave a small glimpse of this beautiful country that has so much to offer .