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.