Sunday, December 4, 2016

My journey to beautiful

I was born dark skinned and such was life.  My earliest memories involving skin color came from one of my uncles who used to call me blackie and a cousin who used to call me shaani.  You all understand the word blackie implies a very dark color, but what does the word shaani mean?  Shaani is a word in the Tamil language, translated for cow dung, or cow poop, or cow excrement or whatever  way you want to describe it.  If you have seen cow dung, it is very dark in color, almost black.  Growing up I always knew that dark color was undesirable.  I don't think I completely understood how undesirable until I grew up.
When one grows up knowing they look ugly, or at least when everyone implies it, one builds their own defense mechanisms.  Somewhere, I held on to my faith that looks didn't matter, it was the character of a person.  After all, that's why Islam recommends modesty.  I built defenses within myself that all the good looking, attractive girls were inherently hollow on the inside and only got their way because they were good looking.  I, on the other hand, may not look good, but I was looking damn fine on the inside.  That's how I considered it.
Secretly, I wanted to change my fate and look beautiful.  If only I could be lighter.  I couldn't.  As a little girl I would paint my face with makeup.  The more the merrier.  Obviously, that had the opposite of the intended effect.  I think I gave up at times going back to my defenses of very modest clothing and not trying to care.  I think I owned the largest collection of turtle necks.  The cycle would continue.  I would try makeup again and fail horridly and go back to square one that looks didn't matter.  Gosh.  I looked like a mad hag with makeup, and I gave up a lot of times.  It's not just makeup I gave up on.  I also didn't care about my hair.  Nothing was going to make me look good unless I could change my skin color, so screw that too.
In my early 30s, I met a woman in India who felt very different to me.  She looked at me and would dote on me and tell me how beautiful I was.  In the beginning, I wondered about what she wanted.  Everyday it would be "if only you could see how beautiful you are" and my secret desire to be beautiful, gave in and started believing her.  She told me that I just needed to change a few things and I would look gorgeous.  First thing she suggested was hair.
I was in India then.  I had never gotten my hair colored before.  Ever.  She wanted to change that.  She said a little red in my hair would make the world of difference.  I don't know why, but I trusted her.  Or maybe I wanted to trust her.  Anything to make me beautiful.  Anything.  So, we went to the hair salon to get my hair colored.  For the first time.
When I came home that evening and looked at my strawberry blonde hair in the mirror, I started crying.  The price of beauty came with ridicule.  She promised me that she would take me back to the salon and have it fixed.  She said they cured it too long and that the salon made a mistake.  My husband at that time walked in and looked at me once.  I tried to put up a brave front and said, "do you like it?" and he said sternly, "have you gone out of your mind?  Change it at once!"  Yes, I started crying again.  The woman tried to console me to no avail.  I couldn't wait for the next day.
The next day darkened my hair only a bit.  The process to try and chemically straighten my hair had burned it and ruined it to a dried up frizz.  Oh yeah.  That happened the day of the strawberry blonde.
I came back to America and found a salon.  My first time at an American salon.  I got my hair cut short.  Good thing my hair grows fast.  A year and I kept cutting it over and over and over until I had my original hair back.  I was turning grey so I needed to color anyway.  That's when I started doing it the right way and started paying attention to my hair.
I had given up on my beauty but in the strangeness of disasters, I got it back.  I came to respect what I had - my hair.  And I came to accept and understand more.  Perhaps, I'll never be beautiful by the definitions I grew up with, but my definitions were slowly changing.
I've learned more self respect in the past few years.  Acting stints have gotten me better at wearing makeup and for a change I'm able to see the artistic nature of makeup.  I don't look at those girls as superficial anymore.  I don't look at myself as beautiful, but I am more comfortable in my own skin.  When men didn't want me because they thought I was very average looking, I got used to that.  I learned that I didn't want them either. When my husband Brad told me that he thought I was beautiful it took some getting used to.  Maybe he was lying.  I've come to realize that color really doesn't matter to him, so without that factor, I got my beauty back.  And I have my hair back as well.
Best to you all,

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Downton Abbey

Yes.  Old news for a lot of people, but not so for me.  See, I have been following TV series titles through osmosis.  I hear names like The Walking Dead or Grey's Anatomy or Orange is the New Black or Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad or something else.  The funny thing is this.  The names are different but the reaction they invoke are the same.  The viewers are all obsessed.  From an outsider point of view, I would say, it's a drug.  I feel it changes people and how they behave with themselves and with you.  I have been an outsider in most cases because I haven't been a TV type of person.  I'm getting there but we'll get to that.
I'm used to try to understand the fuss.  When someone asked about a show, I would respond with, "Oh, I haven't seen that one," and their response would almost always be, "Oh, it's soooo good.  You should watch it.  It's amazing!"  Yes, the word "so" is extended for a good 2 and a half seconds.  I know when it came to Breaking Bad my brother even offered to buy me Netflix so I could watch it.  I remember thinking, what was going on?  Why are people going crazy?  Is this some disease that infests the mind?
I didn't used to watch TV.  The last time I was vested in a show was in the late 1990s.  My shows:  Lois and Clark, the New Adventures of Superman and Caroline in the City.  My luck:  4 seasons and 2 seasons respectively and then the show was done.  Also, my life was very different then.  I was married to someone who didn't watch the usual series and for some reason I never did either.  I don't know if it was the marriage or me, but irrespective, after my divorce, I was left at home with a TV that I did not turn on and soon forgot how to operate.
I remember the evening I invited family to my home and I was the host, so obviously, busy making sure the food was ready and all that jazz.  Well, in between running around and figuring out what pot was on the stove and what was in the oven, I get called by my family.  They wanted to watch some tennis match.  I gave them a blank stare.  They explained to me that they wanted to watch ESPN.  Someone asked what channel ESPN was on and someone was asking how to get cable and I think someone asked me which remote was which.  I looked at the 3 remote controls resting on the coffee table and handed all the remotes over to one of my family members.  I said, "Here you go.  I have no idea which remote is which.  I think one is for TV and one for cable.  I think that red button turns on the TV.  I don't know much else."  I remember one of my cousins looking at me like he didn't understand the joke.  "But how do we get to ESPN?"  I felt my mind would explode.  How do I explain to them that I was busy cooking and that I did not have any idea.  "I do not know.  The last time I turned on the TV was several months ago and I was watching a DVD.  I do not watch TV at all."  The next question was "What do you mean, at all?"  I shook my head and said almost annoyed and abruptly, "I mean, I do not watch TV.  I have not watched TV for a few years.  I only watch DVDs and control what I watch on my time and my terms.  I know I have cable not satellite.  I don't know why I have it, but I do.  That's all I know.  You'll have to figure it all out between the remotes!"  With that, I left back to the kitchen.  Why was it so incredulous that someone doesn't watch television?
I think I have grown a bit since then.  I have learned to accept that everyone has their own thrills and obsessions.  Watching tennis might not have been mine at that time.  It might or might not have been a good idea.  That's irrespective.  I think we all have our hot buttons of items we love and make us whole whether it's a sport or a TV show or a celebrity or a hobby.  To each their own.
It took a few years after that for me to change and understand people's obsession; TV shows especially.  I remember my cousins were trying to get me hooked onto something but one of the shows I tried to watch with them was far too superficial for me.  The next show Parenthood was actual quite good.  I wanted to watch it from the beginning but that was around the time I met Brad, the man who would be my husband.
Right from the beginning, the one thing about our relationship that was so different from any other relationship I had been in or wanted to be in was the TV.  Big Bang Theory was the first show he introduced me to.  I loved it.  I was surprised.  When I told him that I had tried other shows but couldn't really get into them, he told me that I just hadn't been introduced to the right shows.  Perhaps!  I soon caught up with all the episodes and I'm current with that show.  I would have never in a million years have guessed that the person current on a show would be myself.
Over time, a few years, it's become a habit.  We watch one or a few episodes (depending on time) before bed.  It's our ritual now.  I told Brad that I wanted to catch up on the old but famous shows, if that's even possible.  Through the past few years, we have finished  Eureka, and watched most episodes of Sherlock Holmes (The Jeremy Brett version), and Cheers.  Without Netflix (I haven't jumped on that band wagon yet) we are currently restricted to Amazon Prime but there's quite a few that I want to watch on Prime before I embark onto Netflix.  After Cheers  (despite not watching season 10 and 11 due to not having it on Prime) we moved on to and finished Sex and the City.  
Over Thanksgiving break we had the task of picking our new Amazon Prime show.  I told my husband that I would like to try Downton Abbey.  I said that I had vaguely remembered friends on FB talking about it or looking forward to it or that people were obsessed with it.  Prime had the show so we started Thanksgiving weekend.
A couple of days ago, we watched the last episode of Season Two.  My heart just went crashing a million times and over.  I did not think I would make it.  The next morning was an early day at work but I couldn't get sleep after watching that last episode.  I felt like I could never be myself again and then it hit me.  All the times that people told me about a show and how I would watch them lose themselves.  Why did they prefer conversation with an acquaintance about a show instead of me?  Why was not understanding this show putting a wedge in our friendship?  Answer:  The show was their life.  It's a gene that splices into their DNA and they will never be the same again.  Downton Abbey has done that to me and now I finally comprehend.
I'm on Season 3, episode 2 and the issues that will plague this season are well set up.  I'm glad I'm doing this.  Really glad.
Don't want to prolong this post, but thank you for reading.  I sincerely apologize for all the times I rolled my eyes at you over a TV show.  Ha ha.  I get it now.  Better late than never, right?
Best to you all.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Resolutions of a space cadet

I'm told my oldest niece is just like me.  Apparently, she likes everything I like and follows in my footsteps.  Oh dear God!  I hope that's not true, because I'm a space cadet.  I can never get things done.  I start projects and leave them half way.  I waste a lot of time staring into dead space (if I have the time).  My schedule is overflowing that I don't know if I'm coming or going half the time.  So, do I hope my niece is like me?  I most certainly hope not.  I hope she has a good head on her shoulders.

I know she wants to write a book.  Well, my book is sitting there.  Somewhere.  Space cadet here just jumped from writing a book to knitting to writing a play to coloring to writing a blog, and let's not forget my HMS model that's sitting and waiting patiently for me to show up.  So, I have been thinking about myself and how to resolve my "spaciness".  I had a cousin tell me to make a to-do list and the thing is that I don't like getting confined by lists.  They are effective, but I just don't like them.  So, I hope my niece uses lists and can handle them.  There's gotta be some hope for her.  I look at myself and wonder how I got the way I did.  Well, I don't know.  Years of craziness, I suppose.

Did I digress?  What else is new?  Back to to-do lists - I was recently told that if I kept my lists super short, then I can accomplish more and still feel like I'm moving forward without being overwhelmed.  This might work.  The past week I've made micro lists.  Just one or two things on my list and I feel great to strike them off.  No more long lists that I stare at and feel like my world is spinning out of orbit, out of control.  I suppose, I sincerely want to make a change in my life; with this blog and with my writing.  I have had time to think about this over the weekend.  I want to blog more.  I want to work on my book.  I want to finish my play.  That's a lot of "want".  I thought that I would wait 'til New Year's to make a resolution.  But then I don't believe in New Year's resolutions.  If there's something that needs to be done, it needs to be done now.  So, I have a new resolution - to just go out and do it, little at a time.  Let's see how this space cadet fares with that.
My schedule has been crazy all the way up to this past weekend. I thought I would start my baby steps yet again  (I've tried before and failed) but sometimes, you just have to try over and over and over.  Right?  So, I did.  Baby step number one:  I have a Facebook page for this blog.  I'm so impressed at doing that.  For a lot of you, it may seem like nothing.  For me, it's a big step.  I had to do the research on how to get a FB blog page that says "Personal blog" because it's not intuitive.  I stuck with it and got it done.
Maybe now I can make monthly personal resolutions and check my progress.  Will I complete anything?  Anything at all?  I don't know.  But we'll see.  This space cadet is lost but I feel, I'm getting found.  Space cadets are constantly shifting and constantly on unknown missions.  A year ago, I was working on a totally different book.  Wrote everyday.  Then every other and then it dwindled to once in 2 weeks to now, can't recollect when I last wrote about it.  I can't recollect the word count when I stopped.  Stuff got in the way.  I need to turn off and empty my schedule so I can put things that matter.  So, slowly but surely, I'm starting to say "no".  I getting back to being in my terrible 2s.  Am I moving forwards or backwards?  We'll see.  Here's to a new resolution and to a new me!

Hope you all are well and catch you all soon.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

The end of an era

Today is Thanksgiving Day 2016 and I'm sitting at home in my PJs, on my computer, in between household tasks of cleaning and laundry.  Sudden flashes of memory distract me.  A distant crackle of laughter.  Family saying hello.  Literal flashes from the camera as I stand with my cousins to capture the memories.  The kitchen filled with warmth and love and food.  My aunt and our helper Zumra buzzing about trying to get everything ready and set to serve.  More guest.  More hellos.  A home filled with love, happiness, family and warmth.  It didn't matter if one stood in the kitchen with all the noise and clanking of dishes or if one stood to the side.  The air was filled with a feeling.  The feeling of togetherness, love and family.  Of course, I could be standing there and watching this and there would be yet another interruption.  When are we playing games?  Of course, it wouldn't be my family if that question didn't come up.  There would be whines of, "not now" and there would be, "Let's get started.  Everyone come on.  Sit down.", "what are we playing?", "not that again!" and of course there would be, "where's the tea?"  Yes, it would be a hodgepodge.  My favorite is "Hold my space, I'm coming." and of course 30 minutes later we are still waiting.  Alas, a beep distracts me.  I had travelled into a memory from Thanksgivings before.  I'm not there now.  I'm still in my PJs at home.  The beep means the laundry is done.
It feels strange.  Very strange.  This will be my first Thanksgiving alone.  We all have gone our separate ways.  My aunt moved to San Diego.  A friend here had her dog spayed so we couldn't really do a party there.  I've been too busy.  I've craved time on my own.  My parents figured it would be good to take some time off by themselves.  I think 2 of my cousins are getting together and my other cousin will spend Thanksgiving with her married family.  My niece went back home to Oklahoma.  What can I say?  She might have been the only person who could have convinced me to have Thanksgiving at my home but with her not being in town, that leaves me here, alone to my thoughts.
I think about the past and change.  I know I've written about it.  This is a big one.
I don't remember the first year we formally did Thanksgiving.  I know it was a long time ago.  I know I was invited and no one else.  Then the next year the whole family was invited.  There was only one turkey.  It was not enough.  The years after it has been 2 turkeys to feed the whole family of about 30 of us.  We went through a phase of people not wanting turkey.  Somewhere, someone felt we were more "Indian" and we should do "Indian food".  I remember thinking, "screw them!"  I was angry then.  I couldn't understand how ungrateful some of us were.  The effort it took to put on a full Thanksgiving meal was met with "why Turkey?" "Why don't you do biryani?" and if my memory serves me right, one Thanksgiving someone brought an "Indian dish" or maybe I can't remember.  We went through that phase.  There's always the process of growth.
Now, like a flower that grows from a bud to full bloom and its petals wither away, our family Thanksgiving tradition has withered away.  That is life.
This kind of change is not new to me although I feel this one the most acutely.  I remember growing up in India and going to my grandparent's home.  They lived in a mansion (I didn't know it then) and had groves of mango trees.  I remember my cousins and I would walk around the mansion and talk like only little girls could about things we thought were life changing.  I smile and reminisce about those days.  Here I am almost 35 years later.  My grandparents had passed away in my teens and the mansion was torn down and an apartment complex was built in its place with the remaining children getting their share of an apartment.  I still have trouble fathoming that.  Why couldn't they declare the building as a historic site and renovate for tours?  I guess, that's the American in me.  Or maybe I want to preserve a slice of an era.  Regardless, that building went down and it was the end of an era for me.
Now, today, it's the end of another.  What will life hold in the future?  How many more eras will end and how many more will begin?  I don't know.  I, for one, will be grateful for being here and being able to see all this change.  And of course, I'm grateful for the memories.
Best wishes all, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Saturday, October 29, 2016

My husband, the singer!

Here's my husband singing one of his favorite songs.  It all started with Facebook memories.  There was a memory from 2 years ago with him singing a song from My Fair Lady.  I shared the post and that lead to a friend of mine in Oklahoma, making a request for him to sing "Beyond the sea".  Brad prepared for the song for over a week and finally I posted it and tagged my friend on it.  That started my husband wanting to sing more.  So, he picked this one.

Into the West from Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King.  Here's his version of it.

I really like this song.  It's very soulful and makes one pensive.  I tried to download straight from the iCloud but blogger has a 100MB limit so I had to download only YouTube and deal with all the technological constraints to post this video, but hope you all enjoy it!


Tea, tea cups and more

Blogging is a process.  I wish it was as simple as write and click the "publish" button.  I think I have done that too, but on re-reads, I think about all the edits I should have made.  Over time, I have come to write a blog, over several days.  Emotions change in time and what started the blog may seem irrelevant at the end, but it is what it is.  As a writer, I have to figure out a way to make it all gel.  This is such a blog.  It started a couple of weeks ago.  Have at it...

Does one dedicate a whole post to the topic of tea?  When my niece asked me this weekend, "Aunty?  How much tea is too much to drink?" I thought to myself that it was absolutely appropriate to write a post on tea.  The tea drinkers in my audience know my answer to my niece's question, but for those of you who don't know, I'll enlighten you.  Answer:  No one knows.  It's never been done before!

One of cousins, a few years ago, once commented that tea tasted like hot chocolate!  My other cousin at the wedding told me about her tea with loads of fresh mint and ginger.  She pretty much was a purist.  She refused to try anything other than what she made.  My other cousin argued at the wedding that the tea (which was perfect to me) lacked ginger and had a lot of cardamon.  What's the right way to make tea?  Now that is a deeply personal topic.  Yes, that's tea for you.  So, I thought I would explore my relationship with this plant.

Here I am a few days later, at the Columbus airport, thinking about catching up on my blogs.  I thought I would write a new blog - about tea cups and then I log on to see this post still in draft form. Yes, I would say tea is an important part of my life and my travels.  It all comes back to tea!

While most people have a very personal relationship with tea, I feel I have my own thoughts about this.  I'm not as picky as some.  I'm sure people would not classify me as a tea enthusiast for after all, a tea enthusiast likes his/her tea a certain way and there are no other options for them.  The "my way or the highway" tea enthusiasts.  I'm more of an "any thing goes as long as it's tea" person.  So, I'll try different flavors.  I'll try them with cream, without cream, with sugar, with honey.  I like my tea sweet so that makes me a bit picky about my tea, but I feel my eccentricity comes from the tea cup.  I love tea cups and I love to have different teas in different cups depending on my mood.  It's really a process.

As you can see in the picture on the right, that's my tea center at home.  Do I have enough cups?  Well, my cupboards are filled with cups also.  I need to figure out a rotation pattern, but anyway, drinking tea is an experience.  There are stages to it.  First step, what flavor?  I do a lot of Teavana and I love their Earl Grey Creme.  I call it "Earl Grey on steroids!"  Yep.  That good!

Step 2:  I would look at my cups; as you can see my shelves are overflowing.  I will think about what cup I feel like and if that cup would be a good choice for the flavor of tea I have picked.  I can't have enough cups.
Step 3:  Brew the tea and watch the tea maker do its job.  I don't watch most days.  When I first received the tea maker as a wedding gift, I would love to just stand and watch it, but now, I trust the process.
Step 4:  Sweeten with honey.
Step 5:  Drink.  Mostly I drink while watching TV with my husband.  I also make tea and drink mostly when I'm typing up blogs or writing my play or just anything on the computer.

Recently I went to Disney World and I wanted a set of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto and Goofy mugs.  Well, they didn't have Daisy.  The set was not complete.  The mugs were so cute though.  I thought that I would regret not buying these mugs when I was there.  I don't know.  I do and I do not.  I like the color choices on these, but it is what it is.  I took these pictures and texted my husband.  "What do you think?" I asked him.  He liked them.  He texted back that we did not have the space.  He said that we had enough mugs already.  Ahhh.  I hate when he's right.  I texted letting him know that I really liked them a lot.
OH and then I also found these other mugs.

The Mickey/Minnie set on the right.  Now, I was caught in a total web of wanting it all.  Finally I get the text from my husband and he says, fine, buy them all.  As luck would have it, after all that, I did not have the time to buy the 5 character cups.  We were running majorly late for our dinner reservation.  So, I just bought the matching Mickey/Minnie cups.  Don't you think they are adorable?

When my husband saw them last night, he said, "Oh!  His and Her mugs!"  I guess this picture I texted didn't bring home the message.  Seeing them in person was a different experience I guess.  Yep!  And this morning, he had tea in the Mickey mug.  Oh!  I will drink out of Mickey too, when the tea is right and my mood is perfect.  But for now, I have these 2 guys gracing my little tea center in my home.

So, did I mention I am writing this post from the Columbus airport.  My usual habit when I'm in an airport - coffee.  Don't judge.  Starbuck's tall white choc. mocha is more of a habit.  It's like I buy it just because.  And what prompts this post?

Starbucks has a line of cups with cities and states on it.  They look super cute.  I've been eyeing them for over a year now, since Starbucks released the issue.  Every time I'm at an airport and at a starbucks, I look at the cup and think if I should start my Starbucks city/state collection.  A voice in my head says, "It's not too late!" and another voice says, "No room.  There's no way!" and today a voice said something different.  "How about take a picture of the cup?"  Hmmm.  Not a bad idea, but then somehow, I feel I have moved on.  Maybe.  Just maybe I have moved on.  Who knows?  My next stop in Kansas City and a Starbucks there will have me re-thinking the Starbucks cup collection yet again.

I can't have the cups.  I can, but I can't!  You understand?  I'm not completely for the picture idea either.  So, here I am blogging about it.  And in the process I'm able to finish my original post about tea.  There's no wrong answer when it comes to tea.  The only wrong answer is if someone says no!

I will end with my lecture at Kansas City.  As I was walking down the aisle of the lecture hall to set up, I saw a student carrying a super cute tea mug.  I turned around.  Trying to get a view at this mug, as she was departing and several students were flooding in.  I finally got a glimpse.  It was "the" starbucks mug, for the collection I wanted to start.  It had New Mexico, written on it.  I smiled.  I was going to visit New Mexico next March.  Was the Universe trying to say something to me?

For now, I'm back home.  Trying to edit a blog and decide on what tea to make.  Hope your weekend is great!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

In my underwear, in public, looking beautiful...

Hello everyone,
Those of you who know me are probably thinking, "wtf?!?"  Well, let me explain.  This past weekend was my cousin's wedding.  Not any cousin.  This is someone who has been close to me forever.  So, I had to look great.  Well, I didn't really plan to go to a salon to get my hair done and it was my sister-in-law who convinced me that I should get my hair done, for the 2 big events.  Well, if you know anything about Desi weddings, it's jam packed.  Activity after activity after activity.  It's basically like this:  get ready (make-up, clothing, hair, jewelry), go to event, eat/socialize, drive home in a hurry and redo it with different clothes etc and repeat over and over and over for the weekend.  Well, if hair is at a salon, I had some logistics to consider.
If I were at home, I could get dressed and then do my hair and makeup.  At a salon, I had to wear my elaborate decorative clothes and then get hair done and come home to do make up.  Well, after the events of the morning, my sister-in-law and I drove straight to the salon.  We were 10 minutes late.  We had to change to our next outfits.  Well, my outfit was a sharara (a blouse and a long skirt).  Running late and all, I just put the blouse on, and kept my pyjama pants on from the last outfit.  It looked horrible.  I felt like I was in my underwear.  No one wears just their pyjama pants outside their own bedroom.  It's meant to be covered by the khameez.  But I didn't have a choice.  I thought about it.  My blouse covered my top and my beige pyjama pants didn't really show anything.  Just looked like I was in my underwear in public.  You know what?  I thought, screw this.  I had to be at a wedding event on time.  I couldn't deal with yet another factor.  So, I got ready wearing my decorative blouse and my beige pyjama pants.  As I was getting my hair done, one of the other hair dressers said that my outfit looked beautiful.  My sister-in-law looked at me and I gave her the look of "these people are clueless".  I was embarrassed but apparently all it took was a short decorative blouse to look beautiful.  After I got my hair done, I had to wait in line to pay.  Yes, I was still not wearing my decorative skirt and I was still in my beige pyjamas.  Some of the women in line commented on how beautiful I looked.  Seriously?  I laughed in secret with my sister-in-law.  I said that only in this country will I get away with wearing my pyjama pants (practically underwear) in public and get compliments.  What is considered impolitic in this country?  I'm not going there.  The good news is that there weren't any other desi folks there.  Or I would have gotten stared down and who knows.  A picture of this may have made rounds in India with the tagline of how Indians go bad in America!  Oh well.  C'est la vie.  It all worked out at the end.  I got home to finish my make up and my sister-in-laws make up and rush back to the next event.  Had no time in between.  I guess compromises are made.  I just made some personal compromises and showed up in public in my underwear!

Best to you all,


Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I remember a line from the play Inherit the Wind.  I can't quote exactly but it was basically something like this - It was you who has moved away, by standing still.  There is depth in its simplicity.  What an elegant way of talking about change and people?
So, I'm spending a weekend at my sister-in-law's place here in Oklahoma.  It has been 3 years since I have visited and apart from the few added pieces of decorative furniture and the renovation of the kitchen with new appliances (wear and tear maintenance) nothing much has changed.  Everything is orderly, like it has been planned for display.  A stark contrast to my home that is the ultimate symbol of disarray and disorder.
I think about change.  I haven't changed much in these past few years either.  Or have I?  While I held to the thought of constancy, relaxing at my sister-in-law's home doing nothing, she invited me to the television one evening.  Change. There it is.  My sister-in-law loves watching Pakistani dramas and Bollywood movies.  Myself on the other hand, have kind of moved on.  So, there I am being invited to watch a Bollywood movie with her.  My husband will tell you that I'm not much of a movie person.  I prefer to just chill and do nothing.  She invited me.  I guess she felt I would like it.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that I didn't want to really but it wasn't so bad.  She turned on the movie Dilwale.  She told me Shah Rukh Khan was in it.  The first sign of change within myself.  I wasn't super excited.  I was curious but not my old self.  My old self would have jumped up and asked if there were any other SRK movies I missed.  I used to be in love with the man.  Stardom got me.  I usually say that stars are humans too and we shouldn't "worship" them and yet I was falling to the fan craze of SRK.  That was my past.  I think, somewhere, I grew up.  SRK became intrigue but not desire.
So, I watched the movie.  The story line I felt was a bit weak.  It had its twists and turns but it was all contrived.  Was it contrived or was I just noticing it now that I was growing up and looking at SRK objectively?  I sat there and finished the movie.  I was more amazed at myself and how far I had come.  Somewhere, the Bollywood movies stood still and I had moved away.
My time in Oklahoma was very similar to my other times there.  My sister-in-law made me my favorite meals, had my favorite ice cream, Dove bar and it was just quiet and peaceful.  In those aspects, I guess I was still the same also.  I drank a lot of tea with my sister-in-law but I had been doing Teavana and other specialty teas that somewhere I noticed I had after all changed.
What's to say what change really is?  Maybe it's sitting for a couple of hours finishing up a page of my coloring book.  Something I have never done at Oklahoma before.  There's Pokemon Go also.  Interesting thing about the game.  There aren't many Poke Stops and it's feels very Pokemon unfriendly and yet the gyms are filled with players who have a mid 30s rating with 2.9K Dragonites.  Where are these players getting so strong?  Maybe there's a major Poke stop location for the gamers?  Like the zoo or the wild bird sanctuary of St. Louis?  So, last time I was in Oklahoma, there was no such thing as Pokemon Go and now their Poke gyms were stronger than our gyms here.  I cannot talk about change there.  Pokemon is a new thing.  Perhaps when I return, I can compare.
Then there's the L word.  Love.  My sister in law and my nieces did everything in their power to make me happy.  When it comes to family, there is a unit that cannot be penetrated.  Where their love is so tight, one can just watch with appreciation.  I saw that love between my nieces and between my sister-in-law and her children.  After all, why not?  There were the family and I was the observer trying to make my own memories with them to try to create a mark.  Had something changed?  Or had I changed and noticed more?  Or was it the change in the growth of the nieces?
I remember my first day of Dental School.  The only certainty in life is change.  I take solace in that.  Change is a wonderful thing.  After all, we are in the season that reminds one of that same change and renewal.
So, whether I have stayed still or moved away, I look back at change and I smile.  I feel in some strange way that I have come far.  Very far.  And I don't want to return.
Best to you all,

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The gift of purse

Sometimes in life, one sits back and reflects on all the people in their life.  People who come and go.  People who stay.  Family.  And then I thought about my relationship with everyone and why I chose to keep the relationship the way it was.  Did I need to attend to some relationships more?  As I was going through the list, the word "Oklahoma" came to mind.  Who's in Oklahoma?  My brother!  No one important!!!  Right?  For those of you who don't get my sarcasm, I'll spell it out to you.  I am joking.  Anyway, then I thought about the last time I visited his home.  3 years ago!  This part I'm being serious about.  It has been 3 years.  I feel bad about it.  I couldn't find time to visit his home in the last 3 years?  Did I even try?

So, I put Oklahoma on my important list and called my sister in law and told her I was visiting.  We discussed possible dates and decided on a date coming up.  I felt good about it.  I did the right thing.  Then I got around to thinking some more.  My sister in law hosts me every time I visit and she takes really good care of me.  She cooks dishes that I enjoy.  She makes me feel important and makes sure I'm doing OK.  I remember the times she used to buy Dove bars (the ice cream) for me because that was my favorite.  Funny thing.  She has given openly and has never asked me for anything in return.  What have I done for her?  Nothing.  I am embarrassed to say it, but nothing.  Then the miserable truth sunk in.  I haven't even bought her a gift.  Ever.  In the past 20 years, I may have bought her something small.  Doesn't she deserve more?  Doesn't someone who goes out of their way to make me feel welcome at her home, deserve a nice gift?

Then I think about what she would like.  My sister in law loves purses.  Loves, Purses.  So, I decided I would get her a nice purse.  Something special.  The purse hunt began and I found out that she's quite picky about her purses. How do you buy a purse for someone who loves purses and is picky about them?  I asked my niece to help me.  We had an iron clad plan.  If I were to text my sister in law that I was buying a purse for myself and send her pictures of options, she may find a purse that she liked and then I could buy it for her.  Not so easy.  I tried that.  I could tell at the choices that she was picking a purse for me.  She was thinking about me.  Yet again.  She wasn't thinking, "Purses.  I would like that!"  So, the purse hunt did not go so well.  It ended up that I turned into a girl while shopping for her purse.  I ended up with 2 sweaters, one top and 2 sweater dresses, like any other irresponsible woman who goes shopping.  And no purses.  It is true that women walk in to a lot of stores to just "shop" and don't return with what they came in there for in the first place.  Oh well.

I called my sister in law later that evening and explained that my try at buying her a surprise purse failed royally.  She said that the thought I wanted to buy her a purse made her feel like I already bought her one.  She seemed really happy about it.  Then she focused on me again.  She said that I had to buy a purse for myself.  She wanted me to look good.  What can I say?  We'll see how it all turns out in Oklahoma this weekend but I think it's important to look at one's life and re-evaluate.

Maybe there was a time I was upset with her.  I think so.  I think I felt she didn't understand me or what I was going through.  Maybe she didn't.  But that was so long ago.  So so so long ago.  What are relationships worth?  Which ones are worth keeping and which ones do I let go of?  I'm not saying she is my best friend or anything, but she is most certainly worthy of my friendship.

Those are my thoughts for this morning.  Have a great rest of the week.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Truth be told

Should one write in hurt and anger?  After all writing is catharsis.  And when one feels unimportant and considered a second thought, why not?  Of course, my all so wise husband tells me to calm down.  Think about the implications of what you write, he tries to tell me; relationships you may lose.  So, I sit back and reconsider.  Can one lose what they never had in the first place?  Ok.  Time to re-evaluate what one had/has/will gain/will lose.  Here's the question.  If one has to make a pros, cons list for a relationship isn't that saying something?

So here I am, a few days later.  Didn't finish the post, thanks to Blogger app crashes on the new iPhone 7, but that's beside the point.  Am I still angry?  Am I still hurt?  Does any of the incidents of the past few days matter?  Should relationships be maintained?  I can actually think more clearly now.  I am not all emotional and feeling left out.  I think I'm ready to evaluate in a calm, adult manner.  Or close enough.  So here goes.

A few days ago, I was going to give up. Sort of quit on the friendship cold turkey.  Who cares?  Does the friend in question care?  That's the answer that really gets to me.  Yes and no.  I think she only cares because I have been convenient.  My friendship is all about her.  If I'm there, great.  If I'm not available, how dare I?  I should be at her beck and call?  If she's not available, how dare I not respect her schedule?  Ultimately it boils down to this.  Has she ever been available when it's not convenient for her?  When it's going out of the way for me?  If I had to look back, the sad answer is no.  So, maybe it's time to move her to the "fair weathered friend" category.  The funny thing is that I don't have fair weathered friends.  You are my friend or you are not.  If I delete someone from my life, if may not be obvious.  I'll maintain the social graces, but do not expect me to wake up at 3am and run a marathon for you.  My friend is just losing that aspect of my friendship.  The "I'll do anything for you anytime" aspect.

Sounds like I've made my decision.  It's a big decision.  And then I watch the episode of Sex in the City when Carrie breaks up with Aidan and shows up at Charolette's wedding.  Who was there for her?  Her friends.  How was I supposed to let someone out of my life who has actually been there for me when it counted and when I was truly hurting?  But, does one time mean it holds the friendship for eternity?  What would that say about the friendship bank account.  One big deposit.  Several and continual withdrawals.  The account will be drained.  So, I cannot rest my laurels on one or two fabulous acts.

Then I think.  Have I not made mistakes with friends?  Have I not taken withdrawals from this friendship bank account?  The thing about decisions in anger is that the emotion fuels a fire.  What fires are not destructive?  Then I go into the argument of how many times has it been where I or she has made a deposit or a withdrawal from the friendship account?  If I were to do the math, I would say that I feel that there has been large withdrawals particularly from her side.  Last week especially was an accidental realization of being pushed aside as not important.

The question really boils down to one's happiness and need.  I have always said that happiness is internal.  You cannot expect someone to make you happy.  How can I expect that from anyone then?  So what if people don't include me?  I should be happy doing what I do.  That's what life is about because one day when no one is there and I'm left to myself, that's all I'll have.  Myself to deal with and to be happy with.

What is important to one person may be trivial to another?  I may be making decisions on what I think is important but someone else may consider it trivial.  In this case, I think my biggest mistake is expectation.  If you expect from people, they will inevitably fail you.  No expectations, no problems.  I had already learned that concept or so I thought, but then suddenly when I felt like the back seat unimportant person and looked out the tiny window view at people who should be far less important than myself, being given a first class type importance, I have 2 choices.  Allow it to bother me.  Or move on accepting the reality that I will never be truly accepted for who I am.  After all, why would someone accept me?  I defy conventional wisdom and live my life the way I want.  I don't live according to a status quo.  Can be a scary proposition to some?  I could be considered unpredictable to those who want predictability.  If I cannot hold a status quo, what was I capable of doing and when?  Perhaps it's time for empathy.  If I were to look at myself from the other side, I guess, my insanity is something people put up with when they don't need to.  And my unpredictability has to be silenced for situations that require definite and predictable outcomes.

In a sense, I'm the Sheldon of the Big Bang Theory.  Not in smarts, but in behavior.  Perhaps I don't know when to shut up?  Perhaps I have no control?  No off switch?  Perhaps.  I don't know.  I have explosive verbal volcanoes that destroy everything in its path and nothing can be salvaged after that.  Does one want to take that chance?

I know this post is beyond cryptic but I'm trying to understand what the meaning of a friend is?  What is conventional meaning?  What is my meaning?  I think somewhere the mutual admiration and respect should be a part of it.  Mutual is the key word.  Also, if one has 10 friends, does one treat them equally?  Do I treat my best friends the same way I would treat close friends?  No.  My best friends would take priority above all.  However, if I noticed my best friend picking their close friends as a priority, what does that mean?  Do I move my best friend to a close friend category?  Unfortunately for me, relationships and friendships are an all or nothing type thing.  I cannot realize that a friend doesn't care as much as I do about her and then care a little less.  That's not me.  So, I just walk away. I misunderstood the closeness.

Funny thing.  I've had friends who have thought the world of me but I haven't felt the same way.  I don't know.  Maybe they weren't top of my list because they weren't interesting enough?  But when I found out, I returned their respect for me by adding them to my list of best friends.  Why?  Because this person valued me enough to give me the pedestal, I should rise to their expectations.

I am muttering through and while I have decided, I'm not making a coherent post about my thoughts. I think the past few days, I have been mulling a relationship in my mind.  Mulling my worth.  The answer is that I think I'm the required friend.  Like, I have to be nice to all my employees equally whether I like them equally or not.  Same thing.  I'm the least liked and while my friend will not admit or own up to it, I will.  I think I have watched my suggestions or thoughts be trod upon as inconvenient.  I think I have maintained the status quo for too long and maintained friendships for too long.

Perhaps my therapist was right.  She said I'll stay in a bad relationship for a long time.  Something about my personality.  I guess I try and try and try.  She also said that when I walk away, I walk away.  I am walking away.  Not in a very direct way but definitely in the category of unimportant.  I don't care.  So, now I can lie about everything and not have to give myself truly for some people cannot handle the truth.  I'm moving on to superficial friendship which I hate but it's fine.  Eventually, all my superficial friendships will die out.  I just won't take the effort.  I think I'm done analyzing this situation.  I think.  Why do I feel hurt though?  Why do the emotions still get me?  I think it's because somewhere I tried too hard or loved too much.  No bad decisions in life.  Just lessons.  This is mine.

Rant done.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Waiting for tomorrow

I have written about the concept of now before.  In a nutshell, it's the principle that the past is past and does not exist anymore.  The future does not exist either.  It only exists when we get to it.  The now is all we have and all we will ever have.  If I wait for something, I will miss out on a whole bunch of important somethings.

So, I understand this and I try to live by it but sometimes it's hard.  Especially when one is stressed.  Am I stressed?  Yes and no.  I'm just in a state of static disillusionment.  What do I mean by that?  Just that my life is what it is and it's not necessarily what I want.  It's not good, it's not bad.  Just that I'm restless for more.  I don't know what "more" means.  Does it mean more money?  Not really.  By God's grace, I'm fine.  Then again, if I had more money, I would retire and not have to work.  So, I think about retirement.  I'm working everyday to make money so I will have enough money someday to stop working.  That's the goal.  I dream of that day.  I calculate how I will get there and what it will be like.  I think to myself.  If I could skip the next several years and just get there, wouldn't it be great?  Would it?  I would have skipped out on a bunch of fun vacations, so I don't want to do that!  So, my mind thinks about it.  What about waiting and living for the next vacation for I cannot skip out on several years of something fun?

Then, I would skip out on everyday things.  I would skip out on writing this ridiculous blog.  Or skip out on hanging out with friends and laughing at our silliness.  Pokemon Go!  Yes, I think it's important to me.  I would skip out on reading books and coloring and finishing my ship.  I would skip out on watching 30 minutes of Sex in the City every night.  I would skip out on my new iPhone 7.  I would skip out on several birthdays and wedding anniversaries.  I would skip out on amazing meals cooked by my mom and I would skip out on watching my flowers bloom every spring.  Do I really want to skip out on those things?  I think about what I really want to skip?  Work!  What about work do I want to skip?  The mean patients?  Dealing with "issues".  I don't know.  I know I'm supposed to be humble, but I know that I'm amazing at what I do.  I know this.  I know what I'm doing and some parents may not agree with me, but it is effective.  The stress of it, sometimes is killing me slowly.  The stress that people don't see it from my point of view and I'm constantly dealing with helicopter parents who suffocate their child and blame me when they cannot breathe!

I have considered changing my profession.  I think to myself.  What would I like to be?  I think I would like to be a speaker.  Or would I?  I don't know.  I keep mumbling to myself.  I keep searching for who I am and what I'm meant to be.  I know one thing.  Skipping days or months or years, is not going to help.  It's only going to leave me with regrets.  So, for now, I'm dealing with the now.  My now is the weekend.  I had a great day.  It's been quiet and that's enough for now.  I don't want tomorrow yet.  I have dinner to do and a show to watch and maybe some reading to do.  Now.  Now is what I need.  Now is what I'll ever need.

I guess that's it for this post,
Catcha guys later,


The Muslim in me

HI everyone,  I was going through my drafts.  Posts that have been written but not edited.  Or maybe there was more to write.  I don't know.  I found this one from a few months ago.  Sad part.  Nothing in our lives have changed, so this post is just as relevant today as it was before.  On re-reading, I noticed a lot of redundancies in "The Muslim in me" paragraph.  Sorry about that.  I want to post this because it's fine as is.  It's not perfect, but for now, it'll have to do.  Happy reading.  TTR

I was supposed to post this last week with all the bombing in Turkey and Iraq and then Medina, Jeddah and some other place in Saudi Arabia.  I wanted to post about what it meant to be a Muslim.  At least what I feel it means to be a Muslim.  To give you all a time frame, that was during Ramadan.  Then was Eid and I was quite busy.  While I was processing this post, our country submerged back into deep racism and prejudice with the shooting of the black men and the whole anti-black, anti-cop rhetoric and while a part of me is relieved that as a Muslim, I get a break (from being accused of terrorism or be at the receiving end for a few days), as a human being, I'm heart broken for our world.
Funny thing is that being a Muslim makes me also feel deeply for the injustices that surround us today.  I wonder if I feel so strongly because I'm a Muslim and those are the teachings and tenants of Islam - to respect and treat equally all races and religions, or is it my natural humanity.  I don't know.  I would love to think it's my humanity, but how do I have it and some others don't.  When I'm talking about others who don't, I'm thinking of the psychotic cops or the terrorists (white or of a different race).  Being a Muslim I feel has everything to do with humanity.  Because being a Muslim means you respect humanity and treat all with utmost kindness and dignity.  I don't think the average American populous knows what it means to be Muslim.  They think of the "T" word.  When I think of a Muslim I think of the "P" word - PEACE.  An American reading this might think I'm a Muslim gone wrong, but the truth is that I'm like the billions of other Muslims who understand and strive to be better Muslims.  And what does it mean to be a Muslim?  Shun violence is part of the equation.

I have to talk about something else about Islam and being a Muslim.  This has nothing to do with political agendas.  This has to do with human behavior.  As a Muslim, I'm required to not be wasteful.  It is a sin to waste food because there are so many people in this world who do not have any and wasting food is a sign that you have disrespect for the blessings provided to you.  In America, I struggle with this.  I'm not the best of Muslims because I have wasted food before.  Sadly, so we get 3 times a meal at a restaurant and taking home left overs are not as tasty and sometimes it ends up in the trash.  If the restaurants provided just enough so we didn't have to waste the food, I would feel like a much better Muslim.  The thing is that I am consciencencoius about these things.  That's being a Muslim.

I have talked about being a Muslim before and I feel things have gone south since.  If someone with a "Muslim" name commits any crime, it's automatically labelled as terrorism.  It's an immediate label and it's one of those, "guilty until proven innocent" kinda things.

The Muslim in me shuns violence. The Muslim in me wants to accept all human beings. The Muslim in me wants to connect to a greater good.  The Muslim in me wants to be shrouded by nothing more than good deeds.  The Muslim in me wants to encourage acceptance.  The Muslim in me is angered when I'm only human and judgmental. The Muslim in me wants others to be a good person, for the Muslim in me equates being a good person with being Muslim. The Muslim in me wants you to keep your word and as it wants me to keep mine. The Muslim in me wants to peacefully surrender to my spirituality and my faith.  The Muslim in me forbids hate. The Muslim in me keeps me honest. The Muslim in me helps me grow to be better than I was yesterday. The Muslim in me wants me to disconnect from this world and give my mind and body some meditative rest in prayer.  The Muslim in me loves you and invites you to my home. The Muslim in me trusts you respect me as much as the Muslim in me respects you. The Muslim in me has no room but to respect.  The Muslim in me wants you to understand that I pray for you, even though you hurt me or want to hurt me.  The Muslim in me wishes peace and blessings for you.

The numbers of our time

I remember a time when I was young.  Young is a relative term.  I mean, when I was a child.  When cell phones were not invented and the telephone had one line for the whole family to use.  Heck, I remember dialing with the old phone where you have to put your finger in the slot and rotate for each number.  Then technology improved.  No more "dialing".  I could click the button in the order of the number and voila!  There was no such thing as autodial then.  Most of my teen years, when I fell in love with the phone, is when I used to call often.  Dial often.  The same number.  Over and over again.  Guess what happens when you dial the same number everyday, several times a day.  Yes, I was one of those teens!
Anyway, apart from trying to explain to your friend's mom why you need to call again or explain to your parents why you live on the phone, something else happens.  You memorize the number without trying to.  Funny thing.  You didn't just memorize the number, you memorized the pattern to dial that number.  What do you call that?  Muscle memory? It's like typing really but it's the muscle memory of a sequence.  How long does that last?  Well, here I am, over 30 years later setting up the new iPhone 7.  Well, the number pass code has been extended to 6 digits.  I could revert back to the 4 I had before, but 6 is good.  Better security, right?  What six digits am I going to use?
I could be prosaic and do my birthdate and have any Tom, Dick or Harry unlock my phone in an instant.  I went through all the "significant" dates of my life and thought about them in reverse as well.  I thought to myself.  No!  It's got to be a number that has no significance to my current life and one I can remember.  So, as I scan through my number deck on my mind, I come across friend's phone numbers that I had dialed when I was younger.  I still remember them.  I also remember the dialing pattern.  Funny thing.  I remember the dialing pattern more than the number on one of the numbers.  I have to visualize the number pad and go through the pattern to access the number.
Today, I'm thinking as I write this blog about all the numbers that I remember.  I know my cell number.  That's a start.  I know my parent's home telephone number.  I actually, strangely, remember the cell number of one of my cousins.  Just one!  I don't know how.  I think I know my husband's cell number.  The numbers I used to dial often in my 30s by memory, like my brother's home number or my nephew's cell in India, are no longer present in my memory banks.  How is it that my memory maintains a number from 30 years ago, but can't from one, 10 years ago?  I don't know how these things work.  They just do and I find it all fascinating.
While I was musing on the numbers of our time, I thought I would muse with you.  So, thank you for sitting with me on this journey of numbers, and I hope you all are having a fabulous day.  Talk soon,


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dear friend, Maria J!

Dear Maria J,

First off, I want to say thank you.  I mean it.  This post is dedicated to you.  I have never met you.  I didn't even know about you until yesterday, but then I got the email notification.  It said Maria J has left a new comment on your post.  My thoughts?  Which post?  What was the comment? and Who is Maria J?  The post was about the Grand Center Theatre Crawl.  I automatically assumed that you were from St. Louis.  It did start off as a St. Louis type post (haha, I re-read it).  Next, the comment:  "Ur an amazing writer...Love to read you".  For real?  Wow!  Those comments touched me deeply and blew me away.  Who wrote them?  You did, Maria J.  You did!

See, when I first started blogging, I secretly imagined I would be famous.  People would read my blogs and it would go viral.  If I had to peel the layers into my soul, I have to think that fame is nothing more than acceptance.  We all want acceptance as human beings.  Acceptance for who we are and what we do.  I guess it makes us whole.  I have read a lot of self-improvement books and have heard the concepts of self acceptance and self love.  It's all fine and dandy.  I started my blog and somewhere in there I learned to accept my reality.  I wasn't special.  I was just another person, trying to make it in this world.  My words were written.  A lot of it became directed inward.  It was for me.  I forgot about my audience.  The fame was not coming and I had to look at the mirror and decide why I was blogging?  Was it for fame?  Not completely.  Sure.  I would have been ecstatic with that happy by-product, but I silently accepted my reality.  Maybe I have even blogged about it.

Then, yesterday happened.  You commented.  That proved to me a couple of things.  1.  Someone did read my blogs.  2.  Someone likes it.  Bam!  That was it.  That was all the fame I needed.  I had made a difference and you became my hero.  You became the angel that gave me wings.  I don't know how you found my blog, but I'm grateful that you did, from all the way in Mumbai.  I looked at your profile.  That was all I could surmise.

We look up to our super stars and sports stars as our heroes, but they are not.  The true heroes are people like you, who light up someone's life from across the ocean, with a compliment.  You made a difference.  I'm so glad you took the time to connect.  I hope you find innumerable heroes scattered on your landscape, ready to help you and as you have helped me.  Thank you for making me feel super special.


Friday, September 9, 2016

More Sandals Royal Caribbean

I know that picture is a repeat from the last blog, but today I felt I got a much better picture of the view outside our room.  In a distance on the left of the picture is the private island where the Thai restaurant is.  There is a smallish beach on the island.  If you go to the far side of the island they even have a clothing optional swimming area!  Most of the island is under construction because of the over water bungalows that they are building at this resort.  Speaking of the over water bungalows, the current price for a week stay at one of those is $20K.  Sure it's an all inclusive resort, but still.  $20K?  No thank you.  Another interesting fact about those bungalows, is that they are sold out.  Yep.  Sold out 'til end of next year.  I think they are building smaller over water bungalows also, to have a total of 17 when they are done completion, but that's Sandals for you.  The picture below has the bungalows in construction.  If you'll look at the left of the private island, you can see some bungalows have roofs on them and some have half and so on and so forth, but back to this blog and the rest of the pictures.  I particularly love the shadow of the coconut tree.  Yes, it's the coconut tree who's shadow shows in the picture above.  So, you all have some reference for the skies.  Speaking of coconuts, well, I have gotten coconut water here a few times.  Just had to make friends with the gardener.  Tonight, our last night here and our first night here, is the Friday night party.  I had more coconut water, jelly and a whole plate of sugar cane.  Devroy, the gentleman who cut up the sugar cane for me said that I was the only one who had a whole plate.  The guests don't even look at it.
I think their eyes just skip over or they try it not quite knowing what to do.  Not me.  When I saw it there last week, Devroy got me a fresh plate full of sugar cane for me to go to town with.  The last time I had sugar cane and coconut at a resort was at Negril.  Hmmm.  Another reason to gravitate towards the Jamaican resorts?  More to come about my decisions to stay or not to stay with the Sandals chain.  Before I delve into that, I have to mention that we said our good byes to Devroy today and got into easy conversation about the Jamaican fruits, especially jackfruit and he said, "Maaan.  If you told me, I would have brought you some!"  Too late.  This was our last night on property and Devroy won't make it on till tomorrow evening, long after we have left.  He told us to return to this property as do all the folks at all the Sandals properties we've been to.  Sometimes I wonder if there's a secret competition between the properties for return guests.  I just wonder.
Our trip here so far has been wonderful.  When I first walked on property, my sixth time on a Sandals, I was a bit disappointed.  The resort is considerably smaller than the ones we have been used to.  The pool was a third the size of the main pool at Emerald Bay or Grande Antigua.  Our room felt cramped and the beach was exceedingly small.  We are used to the long walking beaches of Negril (7 mile stretch), Emerald Bay (a mile long) and even Antigua.
There are some properties where they lack in beach size.  St. Lucia grande for instance doesn't have the longest beach, but St. Lucia Grande's beach would be considered large compared to Royal Caribbean's.  Anyway, we started off looking around and wondering if choosing this resort was the best idea.  There were several others in the Sandals chain we could have gone with, but then we realized that we had a great deal for 8 nights as opposed to our usual 7 that we do at the resorts here.  I remember remarking to my husband that we got a great deal because the resort is smaller.  Well, that was day one, when we got here.
Day 2, we started walking around the property.  Of course, there's cozy nooks like this scattered around the resort.  The walk ways are pretty much lush and garden like.  They offer all the water sports - kayaking, paddle boarding, hobie cats.  We didn't snorkel or do the glass bottom boat tour.  We did manage to hobie cat and kayak.  Sailing a hobie cat in the high winds was tough but the Sandal's rescue boat came out and guided us step by step to help us return.  Very impressed with customer service at this resort.  When you do run into someone who works here they would ask if we were OK and if they could do something for us.
Everywhere on the property.  Anyone who worked there.  Anyone.  Customer service was right off the bat different.  I recalled our honeymoon in Negril, Jamaica.  Another resort with fabulous customer service.
The beach started calling our names when the temperature at midday rose.  I thought, small beach, but what the heck.  There's water so why not?  We took the plunge and the moment my feet hit the warm waters of the caribbean, I knew I was in the right place.  We had to go in further to get cooler waters.  The beach outside our room was mostly deserted, so while it was small, it felt private.  Most of the time, it was just us in that part of the beach.  There is a slightly longer stretch of beach, the main stretch if you will, but it's crowded most of the time, so we decided to stick to our side of the water.  The pool.  Well, we found a smaller quieter pool and through our stay even got used to the main pool.  The main pool is the picture below.  Ya.  You can tell it's not very big!!  But it works.  Met a bartender wearing a beaches uniform.  I joked with him about mixing drinks for the younger crowd.  He laughed and said he was fired from Beaches after one day.  We just made pleasant conversation as we were sitting at the bar drinking our virgin Pina Colada's and eating pizza.  Of course, Rod (I can't remember his name) our bartender was also mixing drinks for the other guests.  In the process of mixing those drinks, he just mixed up two more virgin pina colada's and put it in front of us and said, "when you are done with yours, you'll have this to keep you going!"  Did I already mention that the people here were super friendly!

Next topic.  Last night entertainment was "name that tune" and they had songs from the 60s through today.  It was fun because we had to run to sit in the hot seat if you knew the name of the song.  My first two tries at the chair, I was wrong.  Well, first time, I was fully wrong.  I said Billy Idol, instead of Billy Ocean.  Go figure.  The second time around, I got the singer, Whitney Houston, but I named the wrong song.  Third time around when I got in the hot seat, I was super excited to get both name and artist right, everyone applauded and cheered.  It was a blast.  Even Brad got into the action and ran and tried to make the hot seat a few times.  Today, some of the guests came up to me and said that they wished I had won the "name that tune" contest.  They said they were rooting for me!  How small is this resort?  Who cares?  We are having the time of our lives.
Oh, I must say we had a few bug bites our first few nights here and then we got the Club level concierge to get us some bug spray.  I think our future Sandal's packing will involve bug spray.  It's like we had to go to the concierge every time we wanted to spray ourselves down - everyday.  The bugs were not as bad as Emerald Bay though.  Quick note.  Next picture is the main beach.  It's not too large either and can get a tad crowded, even in this off season but you can see it to get a feel for the size of the beach.
I know I was going to talk about our trip to Kingston, but I must talk a bit more about Sandals.  I often wonder if we are making a mistake with staying with Sandals and what we are missing out on with the other resorts.  I just ran into a couple who have been to this same resort 15 times and other Sandals several times - total over 20 times.  They have also been to the Iberostars and the bigger resorts.  They said that the customer service is better at Sandals and they keep coming back here.  They said that Sandals as a resort respects the guests a lot and also you get to know about the workers and their lives and the culture through this resort.  I agreed with them about getting to know the people who worked there to make our stay great.  There is something about Sandals that draws us in.  For now, for us, the big hold is the free week stay.  When you hit 70 nights at a Sandals resort, you get the next stay for 7 nights fully paid for.  At 6 stays already, 2 more booked, we are only 2 more stays from a free week.  Why not?  If I were to use a week of my vacation at another resort, it would take away from making my 70 nights and I would still be paying for a vacation and essentially falling behind on the Sandals perks!
On a totally different note about my stay here, I have to talk about Pokemon Go.  They have one Poke gym here and the buggy cart at the entrance is a Poke stop.  It is not even close to maintain one's Poke addiction.  I had my Pokemon at the gym here for the first few days and then he got kicked out by a 2600CP Dragonite.  I'm not going after that.  I know when to stop.  The sad part is that I'm up to 190 coins now and if I had one more day, I would have made 200 coins and could have upgraded my bag.  Oh well.  What are you going to do?  I will say that I got a few Magikarp here.  I'm told they are common at Kirkwood park, but since I hardly go there, being here is the next best thing.
All in all, my trip so far has been fabulous.  Everytime I'm at a Sandals, I feel like I don't want to leave.
 They have an expression here.  You have to leave, so you can return.  True.  Very true.  We will God willing leave tomorrow and our return... well... it's been planned already.  I have work to do before that.  Yes.  That thing called making a living and being able to pay for vacations.  For now.  I'm going to sign off.  The last picture is the entrance to the French restaurant.  They did not have escargot, but the mussels were great.  Toasted with panko crumbs and buttered to make it delectable.  Hopefully next blog, I'll get to the our trip to Kingston.  Yes, yes, yes, I know I have several trips I need to blog about.

My trip to LA and my trip to Arizona.  I figure they were more than several months back so might as well blog while my memory serves me fresh on my current trip.  OK folks.  More to come soon.  I'm leaving this resort tomorrow.  **sniff**  **sniff**  See you all back in my usual habitat.
Best to you all,


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sandals Royal Caribbean and trip to Margaritaville

This is the view outside our room.  I know what you are thinking.  It's so hazy!  There's so much fog!  You would be wrong.  I only posted this picture to explain a couple of things about our room at this resort and my photographic prowess.  First thing about the room, is the AC.  It works.  It works a bit too well.  I'm constantly turning the temperature up and yet, when I go outside I get fog blindness from the temperature difference.  It's marked.  Regarding my photographic prowess.  I wasn't paying attention to the fog blindness and didn't really look at the picture or the lens before I shot the picture.  So, here's a picture taken on a foggy lens.
No.  I'm not quitting my day job.
The reality is that it's been bright, sunny and beautiful.  Yes, it's been warm and we need our sun block, but the waters are warm as well and it's just perfect.  I am just going over the pictures I've taken at this resort (not too many) so I will try to get more pictures tomorrow.  Perhaps, I will have a another blog with more pictures.
This is more like the actual colors your see here in Jamaica at the resort.  At least I have one good picture of this resort.  I think that speaks volumes in itself.  I used to be a photo type person.  Constantly clicking away somehow to save the memory and then I never really went back to it.  So, here I am, going back, and creating this blog while I have time and while I remember.  I am very behind on my blogging.  I apologize.  I thought that I would have time to do it here on vacation as I'm not vacation but the time I've spent on the beach and just chilling and sleeping in, eats up blogging/writing/reading time.  I'm still hopeful for finishing reading the book I'm working on "Flirting with Felicity", but we'll see.
I have one more day here and then we head home on Saturday.  One would think that 8 days of vacation is plenty to just relax.  It is but my idea of relaxation is also writing and getting caught up on the things I can't at home as life gets in the way.  So, as part of our vacation package we had a free catamaran cruise.  Well, it's basically getting on a big catamaran and sailing off for a couple of hours. This ride, however, involved a stop.  Margaritaville.  Yes, it's the branch from the original Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in Key West.  I've been to the original, but it's always fun to see what Jamaica has done to make this a tourist attraction.
The classic line that "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" is of course displayed prominently.  I guess it wouldn't be Margaritaville without the sign.  We did have a virgin Mango smoothy type drink.  It was very good.  I have to admit that we don't get that drink in our resort.  Am I complaining?  Well, I can't complain for being at Sandals.  It's just that sometimes one gets used to too much and gets so spoiled that enough is not enough.

This picture below is my hubby outside the entrance to the gift shop.  There is a stage to the left of him in the picture.  I don't know what one sees there, but I'm guessing they have shows with Jimmy Buffet's music?  Don't ask me.  I didn't ask them.  I'm just posting pictures here and looking back at the questions I didn't ask.  Oh well.
OK, so I wanted to talk a bit more about this particular destination.  They have a water slide and a trampoline on the water.  Our cruise halted here for one hour.  Apparently the slides were free and so was the trampoline.  I did have my swim wear but just wasn't so interested in doing it.  I don't know.
I guess the slide didn't look as inviting and neither did the water off that pier.
Since Margaritaville is a restaurant/bar, they had tables and chairs.  As you can see in the picture on the right, the interesting part of this is the color scheme.  For those of you who know me and my expertise with color, you will know that I really have no right to comment on any color scheme, except this one seemed to be decorated like I would.  When I put colors together, I find it impossible and I come up with a messed up scheme and can't seem to fix things.  This was a mix and match of colors like I was paid to do this job.  It felt like a mess.

Each chair at a table was a different color.  I wish I was a better photographer, but you can see in the picture that one chair is blue and another is orange and I think the other one is green.

The picture on the left is the end of the slide.  I should have taken the picture of the whole slide but oh well.  Also, due to the back light, everything appears dark.  The boat off the dock was ours.  The sails were pulled in.  I don't think I have one of the catamaran with the sails and all.  The last picture of Margaritaville is also very much back lit and in shadows.  The sun and it's reflection looks beautiful but for a color picture, there is much to be desired.

So you can see the shadow of the trampoline in the distance.  The giant yellow cut out of the picture on the bottom left is the slide that turns to dump you into the water.  You can actual see the turn in the slide in the above picture with the boat.
What else can I tell you about Margaritaville and our excursion there?  Nothing about my experience but it was a great people watching site.  I saw some people being spit out of that slide and some having a fun time on the trampoline.  On the boat, some of the women were drunk off their asses.  I mean, the boat got on some rocky waters and these women were not able to hold their balance.
At one point, this woman was trying to hold her balance and keep her drink in hand.  She kept swaying back and forth and all of us were watching this potential soon to be disaster.  Well, she swayed so far almost crashing into someone, but instead she was able to transfer her drink to him before she swayed the other way to crash her bottom into her seat.  That's something I wish I had a video of.  I could never describe it as bad as it was.  My brain was like, "What the *&^?" but sometimes you just watch and blog about later.  Such is life right?
Last picture for now that I'll leave you all with is the first one, but a little less foggy version of the view outside our room.  Hopefully more to come...  One more day tomorrow.  If I pack tonight, you guys might get more blogs tomorrow.  We'll see...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pokemon Go

So, as you all know, I live under a rock.  It's pretty pathetic really that I get my news from Facebook.  Any famous celebrity death - Facebook.  Terrorism - Facebook.  Politics - Facebook.  Seems like the feed is quite current so it is something.  It's not perfect, but I'll take it to nothing.
A few days ago, the feeds of Pokemon Go started.  At first I thought it was something negative but I wasn't sure.  As the feeds increased and I couldn't make out what was going on, I decided to ask someone in my office.  Then I found out that a few people were robbed while they were trying to capture Pokemons.  "For real?" was my question.  First off, it's quite sad about the robbery.  Secondly, it's quite sad that people are losing their minds over this game and trying to capture Pokemons.  I had declared that the young people had officially lost it and future generations would have to pay for this millennial generation that's only interested in their phones and the games.
Then, I heard a different point of view.  Apparently businesses were using it and luring Pokemon and in turn customers and the ROI (Return on Investment) was crazy high.  Owning my business, I had to think outside the box and try out something that I had declared was the end of civilization as we knew it.  In the beginning, I was asking to use my assistant's phone to see what this game was all about.  My assistant was like, "Dr. TTR, just download the app on your phone and then you can see what it's all about."  I refused.  She finally showed me the app.  Meanwhile, I was asking family/friends about everything Pokemon.  Should my office lure these creatures?  Would it really increase foot traffic?
Then my cousin told me that it was important that I start playing right away and also that my office girls should too.  So, I've been playing and it's kinda addictive.  I'm at Costco and I just pull my app out for the heck of it and I'm catching Pokemon there!  I caught one!  My iPhone battery is pretty much no use these days.  Will last me 5 minutes on a full charge if I'm using it.  So, when the second Pokemon showed up, I was at 29%.  Before I could throw the ball at him, my phone died.  Oh well...  It's strange, but I find myself on my phone a lot.  Has a Pokemon showed up yet?  There may be no hope for me.  We'll see.  This coming from a woman who swore to not play and to not get addicted.  They do say, never say never.
Until next time,