Archive | January 2021

Unpredictable mind

Mind is unpredictable. It’s very hard to predict when can it reach its high or low. It goes low or high for unknown reasons on some days. Just few days back it was on rock bottom low and today its at higher level for no reason. I couldn’t really point out the reason for neither low nor high! So weird!

I played some songs late afternoon, sang along much to the irritation of Adi who was busy prepping Lasagna for dinner. She kept correcting my vocal range and eventually gave up 🙂 Perks of working remote! I get to irritate the kid too often!

For those interested, the songs I played were thendral vandhu thendum bodhu, kanmani anbodu, mundhinam parthenae and adiye kolludhae 🙂 Imagine me singing along in abaswara raagam he heee!! Such a pleasure I say!! Not for the listeners though!!

H patti from old neighborhood called today morning and we had a quick chat about her health, my routine, kids and vaccine. Promised each other to reconnect over the weekend.

Another reason for happiness is paatiamma made a post about me (she mentioned I am responsible and all that. I am on cloud nine) and Tharani promised she will make a separate post for my comments. Sending my love to both of you.

Yesterday night at 10pm, I re-arranged my earrings collection. Thanks to RM for the awesome idea. I used the apple packaging box. I have been thinking about this since she posted and could never find a better time to do it. Not the 3 day long weekend, not the evening but only 10pm on a mid work weekday while LHB was still roaming around past his bedtime because his Amma was busy re-arranging her earrings. Didn’t I tell you in the beginning that mind is so unpredictable? I just had to do it!! A secret about this collection is I didn’t buy even one pair in this. All of them are either a gift or bought by Amma. Some earrings are from our blogger’s world. Can you point it?

That treasure box was the gift from my secret santa last year. She said this was a perfect gift as I am someone to be treasured 🙂 When your are in good mood, all good memories line up in your mind. When you are in bad mood, let’s not talk about that today!

Oh I burnt the tip of two of my fingers while cooking to balance all the goodness of this day! balance is very important! It is irritating as being in IT industry, tip of your fingers are the main investment to work. Amen.

Lasagna dinner by Adi. I saved my share in a secret spot for tomorrow’s breakfast because I am trying intermittent fasting.

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Of course

Today’s post has to be about Mr.President’s inauguration. We took a break from all day long work calls to watch the inauguration. I had goose bumps watching it especially when Vice president Kamala Harris gave her speech. I was telling Adi to think about the journey of this lady that made her stand here today!

Later, this video popped up on my timeline. This couple stand as a role model to the role they played for this country. Even in today’s inauguration, I was only keen on spotting Obama in the crowd. Some people have the power to give you instant positive vibes and make you feel good. He is one among them!

Watch this video to know what compassion means and what it takes to appreciate your partner in a public forum. I have heard controversial comments about his public acts of care for Michelle but from what I have observed it just comes very natural for him.

It irony that I started writing about Biden’s inauguration and went on and on about Obama 🙂

01.19.2021

Its been two years since FIL departed from us. Can’t believe it. A man of few words and many actions. I made semiya payasam and offered to him today. I am feeling low in general. Trying to recollect all my good memories with him. I have written many posts about him in this space. Today is dedicated to thoughts about him.

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/f-i-l/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/my-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/car-and-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/front-door-and-fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/fil/

https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2020/01/19/01-19-2020/

Long weekend tales

I am so grateful to get this one day extra off over this weekend as today was spent differently and I feel better

The day started with

  • Ragi uthappam with idli podi for breakfast followed by filter kaapi
  • Went for a long walk with next door neighbor
  • Visited another neighbor’s home, had relaxing chat over amazing chai with her and a common friend. When the family called me as it was lunch time, she gave me a box of tamarind based curry and asked me to just cook rice 🙂
  • Picked up LHB from a play date from another neighbor’s home
  • Returned home in the hope to sit down and stretch but Adi asked with a puppy face if I can make a snack. How could I deny that? So, made almond flour muffins. They tasted very good.
  • Cooked rice, had lunch/dinner and muffin for dessert
  • Cleaned kitchen
  • Burned 300 cals in new treadmill
  • Oiled my hair with a short massage (what a relief)
  • Played a quick 10 minute family board game
  • Prep work for tomorrow’s lunch
  • Help LHB wrap up some of his work
  • Play bedtime story and tuck in LHB to sleep
  • Catch up on messages/emails/plan for tomorrow’s work
  • Write this post 🙂
  • I will do my bedtime meditation and go to sleep after publishing this post.

Past two days were spent in binge watching “Lupin”, catch up on cooku with comali (based on high reco from Indu who was influenced by SS and Tharani). It was a stress buster for sure.

Cooked kung pao chicken for the first time and spent some time with LHB catching up on his cub scout activities (bird feed building, dinosaur museum virtual trip, making of dino snacks, making of thank you card for first responders)

Leaving you all with some pictures

Never have I ever

Joining fellow bloggers in writing about Never have I ever pandemic tales

  • Cooked so much that I would have otherwise taken a lifetime to cook. So much that today when I served veg semiya upma for breakfast, Adi asked where is the coconut chutney for side ma? They are clearly spoiled and I can say the kids have also eaten enough of India dishes for their lifetime.
  • I created an account in Instagram mainly to post my food pictures and as of now it has 246 posts with almost unique dishes.
  • Took a big step in Volunteering that I would not have taken in old times in the fear of not being able to give the time and energy. During pandemic, most of my free time was dedicated to this and it immensely helped me to sail through the tough times.
  • Handled a tough situation in a way that I am most proud of. Finally, my mind understood the power of acceptance and stay focused on my goal. It drained all my effort and energy for about 3 months but was all worth it and thinking about that experience now I feel calm and good.
  • Family time and I am genuinely enjoying all the family time as I remind myself every single day that we may never get to live under same roof like this ever again. So, I want to remember this period always for all the goodness it offered to me.
  • Staying at home for such a long period. The last time I would have stayed home for this long period would be when I was a baby before joining school. Ever since school, college, work happened and I never stayed home for this long. I am so thankful for moving in to this home at the right time as I could not imagine all 4 of us tackling our own work/school in previous home that was a townhome with less than 1000 sq.ft of living space!
  • Surya namaskar – I do 5 sets at least 5 days of a week in the morning. I love this routine and the stretches. I started with it beginning of pandemic, took few breaks and restart. I have a feeling this will stay with me as I have seen myself getting back to it after every break. It still takes an effort to get to it. I am waiting for the day when it becomes effortless like brushing and eating!
  • In general, I was less irritated, less agitated, less grudges, less mood swings, lesser breakdown sessions,. I don’t know what was the magic but the mind took a step forward in learning to accept, move on, let it go and stay positive though tears were rolling down my cheeks unconditionally. I never paused my duties, actually took up more and handled them all!
  • Make Chapathi at home. I gave up making of Chapathi at home some 10 years back and ever since we have been buying fresh rotis from stores. Recently, I learned OPOS technique to make atta dough and it changed my life. I make Chapathi at home now. Will do a separate post to show off my video of puffed roti 🙂
  • Make Urad dal vada with a hole in the middle. Seriously, it was made a big deal back home. I failed at few attempts and became a pro now. I make Ulundu vada for all festivals now. It’s an easy peasy task. I have a making video for this as well. Thanks to my videographer LHB. Will make a separate post

Gosh, I have only 3 more minutes to publish

Leaving you all with this beautiful quote

Life saving tip

Today, I am going to share a life saving tip with you all. It is the magic combination of vinegar and baking soda. Remember the burning of sakkarai pongal? Here is the before and after of the cooker bottom.

Soak the cooker with vinegar, baking soda mix for about 10 minutes and then wash the burns off. Another way is the add some water, bring it to boil, set aside until water cools down and then wash it off.

This works the best for all pooja items too. Here is the silverware bowl I use for Naivedyam

And for satin fabric sofas. Over the summer, LHB left an open blue marker in living room couch and M noticed it after few days. My heart skipped a beat upon seeing this but couldn’t get to clean it right away. I let it wait till the weekend and researched on cleaning tips. Voila, it’s the same mix that came to rescue. Dip a tissue on vinegar+baking soda mix, gently damp it on the surface slowly. It took me 30 minutes to clean but the result was very rewarding. I was grinning ear to ear 🙂

P.S: Upon my humble request (or so I think), Adi made twisted version of the Khari today. It was polished off by the family in minutes! Side is cinnamon+sugar+butter dip 🙂

Today has been a relaxing day. Made Idli/coconut chutney for breakfast, then LHB and I went outside for one hour walk, relaxed for a while and now busy with making a bird feed for LHB’s cub scout requirement. We have a virtual dinosaur overnight museum to visit later today. See you all tomorrow!

Christmas chronicles

I was watching a movie while staring at this page for past 2 hours. No luck.. So many thoughts passed by but didn’t feel like writing about any of them.

So, today is going to be about what happened on Christmas day! The boy is a true believer still so I had to play along. I usually play Santa after kids go to sleep on 24th but this year that wasn’t an option as we stayed at friend’s home on Christmas eve.

While returning home on 25th morning, the mind did some quick math and sent off the clan to buy some “essential” groceries after dropping me closer to home. I requested them to take their time to return while I rushed through creating Santa foot prints, wrapping all presents and put them under the tree. This is one of the hundredth moment I wish I had four hands. It’s only now, the family had an urge to return home as they needed a bio break!! Adi kept calling me every 5 minutes to check if the coast is clear to return (note the code language as LHB was right next to her!) She was excited too as she knew Santa wouldn’t let her down!

They returned home after a while and the events unfolded as expected. LHB jumped up and down, investigated the foot prints, declared the prints look like fake snow, opened all the presents and cheered up the whole family. Mission accomplished!!! Phew!

This is one tradition I will miss after he grows up!!!

P.S: Today is one of those days I feel low for unknown reasons. Hope tomorrow will be a new day!

Adi made this “puff pastry snack” for me as I didn’t get share from Apple pie. She later came to know this is favorite snack. It takes only 5 minutes to make this in air fryer! I love the twisted bow tie version of this snack sold in Iyengar bakery..

Happy Pongal 2021

அணைவருக்கும் இனிய பொங்கல் திருநாள் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்!

Happy pongal to all my lovely readers!

Our platter today featured

Sakkara pongal
Broken wheat ven pongal
7 kari kootu
Medu vada
Sugarcane of course

It took just three hours to prepare this platter. Phew!! The clan openly appreciated Sakkara pongal and Medu vada. This is probably the 2nd or 3rd time they are appreciating my food in last 10 months of pandemic cooking marathon. Adi said she usually doesn’t like sweet pongal but the taste today made her like it! M said the vada is perfect, crispy outside and soft inside. So, I did grow an inch taller with pride**. What they don’t know is that I burnt the Sakkara pongal, had to change it to a different dish and fix it with more milk and ghee *evil laughter*

**(this is lyrics from a tamil movie song)
மகிழ்ச்சியில் எந்தன் மனம் மலர்ந்திடுமே (My heart will be filled with happiness)
ஏன் உயரமோ இன்னும் கொஞ்சம் வளர்ந்திடுமே (I will grow an inch taller due to this abundance of happiness)

As usual, LHB was my carrier to share the delicacies with neighbors. He wore veshti/sattai and visited them 🙂

I ate, ate and ate till my tummy cried loud to burst. Pulled off the second half of work day with dozing off here and there. I am super tired and just want to go to bed but LHB’s homework session is still pending!!!

//Copying below from previous year’s pongal post. I will continue to copy this every year as every single word in this will hold true forever and ever

Pongal brings back so much of childhood memories. I am glad to have recorded it all in this blog.
My paternal grandpa, my village, home full of elders, relatives visiting every other minute, coffee/tea boiling non stop, pongal cooking in front yard on new mud pot with turmeric plant wrapped around it, mango leaves thoranam, chithappas, periyappas, anna, akka, mama, maami.

Paal pongiyacha?? heard one thousand times in this day, endless eating of farm cut fresh sugarcane. I am glad to have experienced and lived a rich childhood.

Once again, a very happy pongal to you all !!

Calm

Calm is an app that keeps me sane these days. I love listening to the super quick 10 minutes daily calm session before going to bed. It helps to practice conscious breathing for few mins and then has a message/story about random topic each day. The narrator’s pleasant voice with gentle stream sound in the background puts the mind at peace.

The app also has many other meditation courses, guided meditation sessions, podcasts on various sensitive topics and bedtime stories. LHB and I try to listen to bedtime stories but they are long so we doze off before it ends. May be that is the purpose of it 🙂

My employer offered one year free subscription to all employees and I am definitely benefitting from it. Another app I have used in the past is “Insight Timer”. That’s good too. Check them out!

Sharing few quotes I loved from these daily calm sessions:

Nilavum Naanum (Moon and Me)

Title inspired from the tamil movie (Abhiyum Naanum).

Writing about my two close connection with moon.

Today is no moon day (Ammavasya). I have added the tradition of cooking white pumpkin sambar and raw banana fry for every Ammavasai and offer it to my FIL before we break fast for the day. This is a tradition followed by families back home where family elders have passed away. I love this tradition as it gives me the space and time to reconnect with FIL and remember him.

In 15 days, it will be full moon day (Pournami). I have added the tradition of performing Satyanarayana pooja on this day. I fast all day, cook kesari sweet in the evening, read Satyanarayana stories, perform pooja, step out to see the beauty of full moon and then break my fast. This is a tradition followed by Amma ever since I remember so I wanted to take it over from her. I love this tradition as it gives me the space and time to travel back to my childhood and reconnect with Amma. LHB is my carrier to share the prasadam with neighbors and he mostly accompanies me in finding the beauty. There are days when she decides to play hide and seek and hide behind the clouds. LHB helps me to find her.

Kids are well aware of these two days now and it gives me some inner peace to at least have a cadence in place to pray together as a family twice a month. At the same time, it gives me a chance to rekindle my memories about the two people in my kutti circle that I love, admire and respect the most. They both are my pillar of strength and support.

P.S. Today has been a fairly good day. LHB leveled up in his academics and Adi cracked a test with flying colors that she has been preparing like a monster for past few days. She was up till 2am taking notes for this test. LHB’s level up is just the beginning and we have a rough journey ahead. I hope we both will cross the bridge in one piece!! Wish him and me good luck please!

Doesn’t this call for celebration? So, we made a store trip at 9pm in the night, bought Oreo ice cream cake roll and the trio finished the whole pack **rolls eyes** I have saved my share for tomorrow. Do you think I will get to eat my share in peace tomorrow? I highly doubt **rolls eyes heavily**