Thursday, June 30, 2016

Life is not fair. Get over it!

This post is a long time coming and as with a lot of my posts, it has found a home in my mind and essentially has found time to remodel.  I think it all started with Ramadan.  I have to go back 2 years. Two Ramadans ago, I remember finding myself at a spiritual low.  Usually for me, Ramadan is a magical month.  It's a month of miracles.  I have always found a way to connect in this wonderful Islamic month.  Yet, 2 years ago, I was bereft and there was a void that was only growing larger.  After all, I was in Ramadan and my void was not getting filled.  What was wrong?  Had I gotten off the path so far that I was past redemption?
I remember a patient's mother.  She donned a hijab and obviously a Muslim.  She was delightful as a person.  I hate to say it but not everyone (despite religion) are fun to talk to.  This woman had a wholesome honesty about herself.  So, we talked and I asked her about Ramadan and how it was going.  Her response surprised me.  She talked about how it was so hot and she was not able to connect and get spiritual and for the first time I felt like a person again.  I felt validated that I wasn't the only crazy one, and maybe there was hope for me.  It was just one of those things.  I could think back at that day and if I were to dig deep I could say that her appointment and our conversation was somehow of spiritual bearing.  It was meant to be.  It was meant as a source for us to uplift each other.  A message that perhaps despite the heat and our lack of spirituality, it was still going to be OK.
Then there was last Ramadan.  Same story.  I couldn't connect and I felt like I lost a huge part of myself.  Ramadan was this blinding flash light in the darkness and I had just lost mine.  Which leads me back to today and this post.
When Ramadan started this year, I immediately sensed the month.  It's like I could feel it like one feels a cool breeze in the summer.  It was tangible.  Woo Hoo!  I was saved after all!  The funny thing is that I recollected 2 years of a missing Ramadan and here I was, found again.  I thought to myself that there were times, there are times, in life when I feel like life is not fair.  With Ramadan for the past 2 years;  why did I lose it?  It's just not fair.  I want Ramadan just as much as the next person.  I strangely started thinking about my life in general - what I had and what I wanted.  I started taking a tally.  How many friends did I have?  How many family members did I have?  How many people really mattered in my life and more importantly, how many people do I matter for in theirs?  And then the wonderful world of comparison, yes, I'm being sarcastic, began!  I thought about things I was not entitled to that other people had - big ticket items, like a family of my own.  I started thinking about how all that will affect my life when I'm old and forgotten.  I look at the elders.  My parents, uncles and aunts would rather spend time with their own children than with their cousins or siblings.  That was life and that will be my life.  There will come a time when everyone will be busy with their own families and lives and I won't have one of my own.  Gosh darn it!  Life is not fair.  I do not like this dice roll.
It's then that I turned the tables back on myself.  I'm usually a very happy person and someone who is very grateful for what I had.  I thought about my life and its progression.  I could talk myself into depression and oblivion if I started thinking about things that I didn't have.  Big or small - it's all relative.  I started thinking about why I was mostly always giddy happy, with a few exceptions and then the answer came to me.  It's because I've always accepted that life was not fair.  Life is not fair TTR, get over it.  That's all I had to say to myself.  I thought about the millions of people who would die to get a chance to trade their life with mine.  The multitude of people who live without arms or legs.  People who fight cancer and are facing their ends too soon.  What would they say if they heard my spoilt brat rant about how life was not fair?  And then I started seeing everything I had in a new light and started getting very grateful and happy.  I am blessed with what I have.  It is today.  Tomorrow may be different, but like I've said before, we are not promised a tomorrow.  Nobody is.  So, carpe diem.  I know of a lot of people with a lot less than me who complain about how life is not fair and how they want more.  My response - get over it.  Your life is not even half as bad as you make it.  Truly, if I do not respect the blessings given to me, then even those may be taken away and there's a lot.
I kinda have a "if I had" at the back of my mind but it doesn't plague me anymore.  I have caged the beast.  It's only a reminder that if I truly wanted something, I could go after it.  I could take the effort and make it happen.  I think to myself.  If I wanted a family, I could adopt.  Ha ha ha.  That's a big joke.  I do not want children and I do not want to take the effort to raise them.  Call me selfish.  So, there you have it.  If I do not put in the time to sow the seeds, I cannot complain about not reaping benefits.  I have to accept myself and my life.  Life is not fair but I'm so over it.  I've moved on.
This spoilt brat has a Muny show to go to tonight with her husband, with some fabulous season's tickets.  Yes.  Life is great and I am blessed.
Living in the moment!
Have a great one.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016


I think our taste buds are primed with what we eat as a child and that becomes the food that we love the most!  I think that's true for fruit also.  Don't get me wrong. I love fruits but it's the tropical fruits that hold my heart and my taste buds.
When I came to the U.S. over 25 years ago, I didn't consider what I was leaving. I don't remember eating jackfruit in Dubai but I ate it on vacation to India.  Anyway, here I am in this country and after years of missing a fruit, I saw the canned version;  all soaked in syrup.  It did satisfy me then but soon after I had the opportunity to go to India again and after eating the original, I couldn't go back to eating the canned fruit anymore.
In case you are wondering about the fruit I'm referring to, I thought I'd share a picture!  The one above is one of the smallest jackfruits (15 lbs) that was mailed to be as a B'day gift.  These fruits can get as large as 80lbs.  There's a blog post called "American fruit" that I wrote where I discuss trying to buy a "slice" of this fruit.  I was aghast that someone sliced the fruit in 1" slices.  Who does that?  The fruit needs to be cut into pods!
This is my first time cutting a jackfruit and even I knew not to slice it.  Anyway, this is what it looks like opened!  My friend who sent me the fruit sent me a link on how to open it, so I had some help.  The top piece is half the fruit.  I wiped out the goo that came out of center of the fruit.  That center piece in the picture above is basically the quarter piece after the core has been cut!  You can start taking the pods out from there.  Here's what it looks like finished!
That's the center quarter after all the pods have been removed.  The next picture is of the pods from the whole fruit and the final half after I have removed the pods from it.
I remember people who cut jackfruit as a child. They used to oil their knives so the gummy part in the center doesn't stick to it.  I oiled my knife with olive oil and I also oiled my hands before dealing with the inside.  The gummy part can be very sticky. I'm told it can stick fingers together.  Well, turns out, using olive oil was an excellent idea. It also helped dissolve some of the goo and helped with clean up.  I poured olive oil on my knife and was able to slowly release the goo that was inevitably stuck despite having the knife dipped in oil!
I feel fortunate to have access to this fruit from my childhood.  I remember my honeymoon 3 years ago in Jamaica.  They were selling jackfruit on the street and I remember telling our driver to stop to buy some.  That was 3 years ago and before that I hadn't had jackfruit for over 10 years.  So, to have access to jackfruit is a treat to me.  I never imagined that I would be cutting my own jackfruit at my home but here I am.
Oh, the seeds can be cooked and eaten also.  I don't have a picture of the seeds, but you can appreciate the size of the seeds in the second picture where you see halved seeds in the fruit.  For the average midwestern American, this fruit is unheard of.  For me, I can't wait to order my own fruit all the way down from Florida.
This was YUMM. :-)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Gardening - Mid May to late mid June - late spring.

KIThis season has been rough. It's gotten considerably hotter and I have been a horrible gardener and have not watered my garden once. I figured I'd let Mother Nature take care of them because after all, at the end of the day, if these plants were out in the wild, who would take care of them?
Here are the pictures from May 21st.
These flowers above are the lilies. Beautiful and bright yellow. So far so good. Looks like they are even surviving the deer.  We'll see.  That will come up later.  The plant below is the astilbe. The stalks will grow some more.  Will see how things progress!
The next set of posts are from May 30th. See the growth of the lilies and the astilbes. I did not take pictures of any other parts of the garden as this was the only location with flowers at this time.
After this we get into June 2nd. The beginning of the astilbe growth.  I think by now the deer got to my bright yellow lilies and they were all gone!  C'est la vie! So the next pictures are more astilbes!
You can most certainly see the blooms here.  These came and went too soon. Maybe the lack of water got to them because when they turned beautiful and pink, I didn't get much time to photograph them. It was almost a here today gone tomorrow. Note to self:  forget Mother Nature. Start watering the plants!!!
Anyway, next set of pictures are from June 13th.  I'll start off with the astilbes because this is as good as it gets!
As you can see, they are not pink. They have lost their color and almost turned grey.  I wonder what water would do to them. Or perhaps, they just don't last as well!
Here are more pictures from June 13th. I must say that I don't know the name of the beautiful bright purple flowers. If you do, please comment and educate me.
Here's the rest of the driveway with stuff coming up!
The last two pictures, still from June 13th are by the mail box. Caluc lilies or some callow lilies or something like that.  Only a couple showed up!
That brings us to June 16th. I know I've been doing these posts monthly but every month I've been progressing on the teens.  I figured I'd stop today, the last of the teens for June.  Back to pictures from the 16th!

Here's what the lining of the driveway looks like on June 16th!
Moving on to today - June 19th.  More of the purple flowers and different kinds of those lining the driveway. Shorter ones are closer to the street and the tall ones are near the home.  Here's today's pictures...

Here's the right side.  Notice the start of the shorter version with pink flowers.  Hopefully I'll have more pictures for next time.
This is the end of June 19th and end of Spring.  This was the late spring edition!  I don't know what my garden will look like for the summer. Heck, I'm not confident for the fall either. My mums are burning up.  Perhaps I should water them!
My goal for the garden was to have color all the way from spring through fall.  Well, so far I have spring covered I feel.  Early summer will be the rest of the blooms of the shorter flowers.  Can't say much more about the summer.  Perhaps, that's where I need to focus next year - summer flowers.
For now, I'm checking out.  I feel taking notes from this point on is useless but then again, I need to know where my garden strengths and weaknesses are.
So, this is TTR.  Over and out!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


My husband and I were in a rental car in Arizona this past March.  Well, my pandora settings were messed up and we kept getting the same songs over and over and over again.  I think we heard a lot of Chicago and several Disney songs and my husband and I were getting quite frustrated at the mix of music.  When my husband complained and groaned about the repeats, I told him to figure the app out.  I was driving.  So, he did.
Soon, a song from some unknown musical called Hamilton played.  Brad remarked that it was Hamilton.  I said, ya so?  He explained that there was a lot of buzz about the musical in the theatre community and that everyone says it's really great.  That was my first exposure to Hamilton.  I honestly cannot remember the song.  I don't think I was impressed.
I returned home and strangely, like the principles of the secret, I started attracting a whole bunch of information about Hamilton.  I found out that tickets were sold out for over a year at Broadway.  I found out that tickets for horrible seats were going at over $1000 and soon, I was intrigued.  OK.  I was very intrigued.  What can be so amazing?
During my cousin's engagement, I asked a relative of mine about Hamilton.  She had watched it and she said that she had known about Emanuel Lin or whoever the main person was and she knew his works were phenomenal and so she watched it before it became "Hamilton".  I asked her what she thought about the musical and she said "it was life changing!"  "Life changing?" I asked.  "Yep!  Life changing!"  Well, being that she's younger I thought that maybe she was exaggerating.  Then I saw a skit comparing the excitement of finding out one is pregnant with the excitement of getting Hamilton tickets.  Of course, the concept of "life changing" came up again and I think the skit really hit it home to me that I had to watch this musical.  There was no choice in the matter.  Recently, another acquaintance of ours had gotten the opportunity to see Hamilton in NY and while I don't know how she got access to tickets, I followed her FB post.  She was an older woman with 4 children and I would think, more mature.  Her FB status basically talked about how she couldn't express her emotions at the musical, it was not possible to put on paper.  She had stated how phenomenal it was and "life changing".
Fast forward this weekend.  My husband and I wake up and are both still in bed browsing through our phones before getting up.  My husband mentions my name and when I turned my head to ask him what he wanted I saw his shocked face.  "What?" I ask.  I thought someone had died.  "Hamilton is coming to the Fox!" and in the same breath as he's reading the article of the announcement, he says, "But you do realize we won't get tickets!"  He goes back to reading the article.
I pick up my phone as he's talking to me about not getting tickets and reading the article out aloud.  I dial my Fox contact.  He answers.  I explained that Fox had announced its 2017-2018 lineup and that I wanted 2 tickets to Hamilton.  He said that I was the 6th person to call him and that he was only allowed 2 extra tickets so he wasn't sure he could swing it.  My husband says, "I told you so!"  I say, "No!  I will not quit.  Hold on."  I text a Jewish friend of mine.  The religion is important because this was a Saturday.  Jews practice Shamas or something where there don't use any electronics from sundown Friday to Sundown Saturday.  My text basically said that I knew he won't get this message 'til sundown but that I had found out about Hamilton and wanted tickets.
Well, the only other way to get tickets is by getting a subscription to the 2016-2017 season and that would secure tickets when you renewed the 2017-2018 season.  I told my husband that if I didn't hear back from my friend by Sunday, I was going to get a subscription to Fox.  I checked out the 2016-2017 season and the shows were all ones I hadn't watched before and would be really interested in.  So, it was win-win.
Sunday came around and no, I did not hear from my friend and on Monday morning I called Fox theatre and bought a subscription, 2 tickets, to the 2016-2017 season.  I checked if that would secure tickets for Hamilton for the 2017-2018 season when I renewed and they said it would.
Last night, my friend called.  He said, "I can get your Hamilton tickets.  I'll get the pre-sale form and fill it out for you."  He apologized for not calling but apparently 2 Jewish holidays were back to back so he didn't have his phone 'til Sundown Monday and I was the first person he was calling.  I explained that I had figured when I didn't hear from him that I thought he had other people he had promised the tickets to and so I had bought a subscription.  No harm done.  He thought getting a subscription was a great idea for me anyways because I loved musicals.
I was going to get a symphony orchestra subscription this year, but Fox tipped my hand.  So, I will God willing be going to 6 Fox shows this season and come next season, I will finally be able to talk about what the Hamilton hype is all about.
A good friend of mine said that I'm going to be getting new best friends overnight when they find out that I have a subscription to the Fox.  When I can get pre-sale tickets I will find out how many.  I know 2 people who already want the tickets.  I will save one for my niece, even if she doesn't ask!  We'll see how this whole thing plays out.
For now, I'm just excited to have the opportunity.
Best to you all,

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Writer's block?

Here I am staring at the screen.  Mind blank.  Yet, a few hours ago, I had enough to fill this page in a few minutes.  So, instead of trying to figure out what I was thinking about then, I thought I would try a new avenue.  Why the blank?  Do I really have nothing more to say?  Am I all dried out from inside?  On the contrary.
This afternoon, I was going through a mid-life crisis.  I was feeling inadequate as my book lies unwritten and unopened for years.  I was lost then.  And yet, in my journey through searching for my life, I was found in the hope of this post.  Now, I stumble.  I have a half a post.  An empty mind.  I wonder about this blog and its readership.  I think somewhere in the abyss of having not accomplished goals I had set out to do, I felt that I had this blog.  Now, I wonder about this also.  Do I have a blog?  I do, but then again, I don't.  It's not something captivating.  Perhaps I must admit to my boring self and not try for something greater.  But then, I know that's not me.  I have to strive and push and endure.  It's in my nature.  I'm not a phoenix and I do not rise from the ashes, but I'm the sparks from a low ember.  Not too hot to be potent and not gone.  Left to wither away in the elements.  Slowly.
I think about my life and wonder about my choices and the what ifs.  All what ifs come with consequences.  Some fabulous ones and some horrible ones.  So, I cannot focus on that.  I need to focus on somehow reigniting myself and my passions.  Somehow, I need to figure out how to complete projects without leaving everything scattered about while I wander aimlessly from one thought to another, leaving those behind also, with no consequence.
I guess such is the human experience.
Thank you for reading my musings, while I try to jump start my brain.

Best to you all,