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Those few minutes

As I was about to board the train yesterday evening, a man was trying to step out and he passed out. Half of his body was inside the train car and half on the station platform. All around were panicked and frozen. Two gentlemen helped to pull him out to the platform and one of them went ahead to check his pulse. This gentleman quickly stuffed all his things into his backpack, knelled down on the platform to go face to face with the man and tried to check his basic reflex. By that time, the train authorities came by and took over the situation. The gentleman informed the authorities that he is breathing. He then boarded the train and the train moved so was our life. I wanted to appreciate his kind act but couldn’t with my own inhibitions. People around appreciated him and he shrugged his shoulder with “I didn’t do anything”.. Hope the man has been taken care and is safe now. God bless this gentleman! I will never forget his face. The funny part is the man had “fall risk” band on his wrist. Obviously, but that was noticed only after he fell. The gentleman was expecting to see his name on the band and instead saw “fall risk”.

Those few minutes made me question everything about life. What will happen if I get a call all of a sudden about my loved one’s life being at risk? What is the point in holding on to our ego so tight, fighting for trivial things and getting worried about things that we don’t have control on?  I fantasized about an ego free, status free, rat race free, s**t free world for few minutes. Then, I realized there is indeed a world like that.

Did you guess it already?

What if it is virtual? Got it now? I am talking about the world you and me are part of.

That is the blog world where we have the liberty to share our opinions, connect with like minded people, stand for each other through tough times, encourage each other with our kind words with no ego, no status or no rat race or no comparison. We all have our own little world in the name of blog and respect each other’s space genuinely. There is no reason to mock. And I feel it is this unadulterated happy feeling that is bringing us all together beginning of every year for the blogathon no matter how crazy our life is.

Simply put, I make resolutions every year. I want to bring in fitness in my daily routine, I want to nurture my hobby but failing at all of them miserably for years where as I readily jump into the idea of blogathon with no second thought and even complete it not giving up. I create time for blogathon which I am not able to do for my other long pending list. That explains It all. Simple.

I am glad to be associated with blogathon for past three years. I feel very happy and proud today.

Long live blogathon!! Long live our connections!! See you all next year 🙂

Seema – big big thanks to you for facilitating the blogathon this year!!

Veggie Sandwich

Cross-posted at IMC

One more kids lunch box special. This has been a hit at our home and I pack this at least once a week for Adi’s school lunch.

Ingredients:

Wheat/Whole grain bread or any bread of your choice
Mixed chopped vegetables (I usually buy the store bought pre cut mix of carrots, beans, peas and corn kernels)
Potatoes – half (chopped into small cubes)
Jeera powder – 1 teaspoon
Pepper powder – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt – as needed
Tomato ketchup – as needed
Butter – as needed 

veg-sandwich

Method:

1. Saute the veggies in pan until they are well cooked.
2. Add the spices when veggies are half cooked.
3. Mix in the ketchup after switching off the stove and allow it to cool down.
4. Pre-heat the sandwich maker. I would strongly recommend to invest on a good sandwich maker if you are packing lunch for your kids.
5. Stuff the breads with the veggie mix and press it in the sandwich maker.
6. Spread some butter on both of the sandwich once they are out of the maker. Trust me, this final touch of butter adds a nice flavor and does wonders.

And here is picture of my salad especially for you smdeea11. I had it for lunch today and remmebered to click a picture 🙂

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Florida and Bahamas Trip – Day 8 and 9

1st Jan – Today’s plan was to visit Kennedy Space Center – the commercial visitor complex of NASA. We enjoyed the beach view from hotel room balcony for some time in the morning and then packed our bags and reached KSC by 9:30am. We even thought of extending the stay in this hotel but then decided not to for practical reasons. All day was spent at NASA exploring about shuttles, hubble – the telescope, took a close-up tour of a launchpad and experienced psuedo shuttle launch ride. For the shuttle launch, scary cat Adi came with me till the spot we were about to board the shuttle and then stepped back. So, we had to step out from the line. Then, later the day I tried it alone by myself while the rest of the family spent their time happily at angry birds encounter. I hope at least LHB will give me company in trying adventurous sports/rides after few years. KSC was worth a day trip and loaded with information.

We left KSC around 6pm and then made an impromptu visit to our friend’s home at Orlando. They have moved to Orlando from NJ few months ago and have a newborn. Had a nice chit chat and ate simple dal rice for dinner that tasted heavenly. Nothing can beat home food I say. We stayed at their home for the night.

2nd Jan – Started our sojourn back to home at 8am. We decided to drive as much as possible during daytime and then take a break if required. M drove most of the day, we had bagel/creamcheese/bread/fruit spread for breakfast and ice cold pasta/pizza for lunch (remember the leftover from pizza hut). Just took few short breaks whenever LHB was cranky and covered a very good distance by late evening. I learned to feed the kids lesser while in commute. I saw at least few breakdown vehicles and accidents en-route. It was scary. One honda odyssey was upside down and police was just off-loading the passengers from the upside down vehicle. By late evening, we were around 6 hours away from home and I didn’t feel like spending another night at the hotel. That will only extend our trip and make it hectic to prepare for the coming week. So, I tookover from M and drove the rest of the distance to home. We reached home sweet home at 2am and crashed on the bed.

Next day was Saturday and we saw daylight at 11am. The next two days was spent with washing, cleaning, cooking and preparing for the week ahead. And in no time, we were pulled into the boring aka routine life.

I don’t know if we will do a trip like this ever again and I have no clue what made us go on this crazy trip. But, after this trip I got a new respect for our car that brought us back home safe and sound. This will remain as one of the memorable family trip for many many reasons and I am glad that I was able to write the details down in this blog for posterity.

The End.

You all are freed now and thank you so much for reading this series 🙂

Please do email/comment here if you any questions on Cruise. I will try to help with my little experience.

 

No longer Friend

Dusting from the drafts after a long time. This happened around an year ago. I had a friend who became very close to all in the family in a very short time. Very close that we were meeting and chatting every day. She is a crafty person and jumped into the idea when I discussed with her about my plan for Adi’s birthday. We discussed in the coming weeks, she shared few ideas and I slowly started to believe that she will give me a big hand during the party. Every time I had a new idea I would immediately share it with her looking for her acknowledgement. Amma agreed to engage LHB so I wanted another helping hand during party to make crafts, organize games and make cake pop with the girls. I was also constantly reminding her for more than a month that I would need her help on the d day. Every time we meet, party ideas was the main topic of discussion and I would jump like a small kid when new ideas were born.

Fast forward to the day before party. I made a breakdown plan of party time and shared it with her and that’s when she said “she is planning to go for shopping next day morning”. She added “the party is at 1pm right? I should be back by then”. I didn’t know how to react as I was looking for her help for arrangements in the morning too. M says I should have said it loud to her that I was looking for her presence in the morning. I had a lump in my throat and didn’t say anything to her. Later the day she helped with decorating cake but still I was not able to appreciate it. She also offered to give her house keys to me so that I can use the space for the party in cars if she comes back home late. I got totally pissed off with that offer. Seriously, is that the help I was looking for? I agree that my house was very small back then but I was able to well accommodate six girls in that tiny space. What I was looking for was more of an emotional support, just to be around with me and help me if needed. Sometimes, just the presence of someone would give us the confidence. I was looking for that kind of support to not feel left out and pressurized. Just to give me a helping hand.

On party day, she made a quick visit at around 3pm to see how things are progressing and disappeared in minutes. I felt so helpless and that’s when “do-it-if-you-can-manage-by-yourself” M came to my rescue. He was out the whole morning too and when returned asked me surprisingly if my friend didn’t come to help me. May be, he noticed the panic on my face. I will be ever grateful to him for his act on that day. He helped me with everything when I was this close to call it off. The emotional stress was too much to handle than the physical one.

Things were never the same between us from then. I couldn’t talk normally to her. Not at all. I pulled myself out completely from that relationship. I crushed the plans I had for Adi’s summer break involving her. Its probably the expectation and dejection following that. The wound was too deep to forget and forgive. I neither responded to her messages nor tried to contact her after we moved to new place.. I cannot maintain hi-bye personal relationship with someone I truly liked. I treated her more like my own sister.

Did I have very high expectation? All I ask myself often is why did she ditch me at last minute? How can I trust her again? Did I do anything wrong? I don’t know but all I know for sure is I cannot reestablish my relationship with her ever again!! It’s a glass broken. Can’t be fixed.

It has taken me almost an year to get it out of my system. Pheww!!!

 

Florida and Bahamas trip – Day 6 and 7

30th Dec – Ship was docked at Bahamas. We had pre-booked glass bottom boat tour and shallow water dolphin interaction but due to last minute time changes we had to cancel glass bottom boat. The ship itself has excursion desk where we can book/cancel excursions and booking via cruise gives the guarantee to return to ship before departure time. We had booked excursion at Bahamas via cruise and Keywest via third party after comparing the prices. If your excursion is returning close to departure time then its better to book it via cruise.

The shallow water dolphin interaction at Atlantis is a must visit. There are few islands at Bahamas but Atlantis is the preferred one. As the excursion was booked via cruise, they arranged for transportation to/from cruise. Otherwise, taxi costs around 12 dollars and it takes 10-15 minutes to reach the resort. So, we reached Atlantis, took part in dolphin interaction, roamed around the island, visited the beach, aquarium and returned to cruise port around 3pm. We got to kiss, hug, feed and take picture with the dolphin. It was an awesome experience though it was sad to see the dolphin dance to the tunes of the instructor. Only solace was that they were kept at their natural habitat, sea water that was recycled every few hours or so they said. Can you believe if I say LHB gave the perfect kiss to the dolphin and he fed the dolphin with no fear. The pictures cost a fortune but we bought them as it was lifetime once experience.

At Bahamas, we took a horse carriage ride tour around the city, shopped some souveniors and returned to ship at 4pm. It was a busy evening/night as that was the last night at the ship. Also, it was captain’s night. That means we have to dress up in formals for dinner. Adi and I wore dress, M wore suit and for LHB as he didn’t have a formal suit I just put a sweater over his regular shirt 🙂 It is optional to attend captain’s night dinner but I wouldn’t suggest to skip it. We took family portraits as we were all decked up and the hard copies of these pictures were expensive. We still bought them for the quality was very good and anyways we were planning for a family portrait. We were roaming around the pool and cafe for sometime and then retired at 11pm. We had to pack our big luggage and keep it outside the room before going to bed.

31st Dec – Woke up little late, packed all bags and visited cafe for breakfast. Stuffed ourself and waited for our group number to be called for disembarkation. Out of all the food, the one I enjoyed the most was egg omlette with veggies of our choice. LHB survived with cheese pizza and Adi ofcourse ice creams. It took around one hour for the disembarkation, we collected our big box on the way and entered the land of US of A again. There was port of entry during the exit so a valid visa or immigration status is must to travel in cruise that sails outside the country.

The hotel shuttle picked us though there was a long wait and dropped at the hotel where we parked our car. Then, we drove to Miami where we roamed around the city for few hours to find the beach. Then, visited south beach, had a good walk on the shore for few hours and let the kids play on water/sand.  Late afternoon, we started the drive towards Coca beach where we had pre-booked a hotel for the night stay. The room had a balcony with beach view that was breathtaking. New year eve and all that so we booked a better hotel. Had dinner at pizza hut, packed the leftovers and relaxed at the room for rest of the evening watching fireworks. While we relaxed, M did the laundry 🙂

Sorry to bore you all with this series but I hope this will be a nice recollection after few years. I will try to keep the next post as the last one. Promise..

I had a pretty long day today and tomorrow will be no better. We were locked down at home for two days due to the snow storm Juno. Work has raised its monster head again and my daily routines have taken a toll. I am not reading this post again. Good night!

 

 

Last one to play

volleyball with Visha.

List all the ingredients which went into making the most interesting dish you ate today.

I am glad I picked this tag today. It was purely coincidental. My lunch today was very interesting. It was sweet kale salad with different type of greens, cranberry/nuts topping and poppy seed sweet dressing. I also tossed in tangy flavored Mediterranean organic chick peas/black beans and it tasted yum! I never thought I could eat salad for lunch and was at total surprise!

What is the current wallpaper of your laptop/phone/tablet?

laptop/phone – standard default backgrounds that comes with the OS.
Office desktop – It is also standard but I like it very much. A man flying with feathers in hand, bird flying near him, street view at the background and some birds on the ground watching this man. See for yourself. It calms my mind instantly.

desktop-background

How do you wear your hair when at home?

I cut my hair recently but still try my best to put a pony.

When you visit any restaurant, what is the first thing you search for, in the menu?

High chair to lock LHB.. that that person that that worry!! Oh you asked in the menu? Entree. Whether I eat all of it or not I like ordering a full course meal always with soup, starter, entree and dessert. This is when M comes to the rescue. I order, he eats. Perfect couple eh?

What is the advertisement from your childhood that you recall even today.

Hamara Bajaj. We owned a bajaj during my school days and it will be a proud moment to watch this advertisement.

Also, Titan – That background music is my all time favorite. I was a lucky proud owner of latest release of Titan dial watch with leather strap at the age of 15. Thanks to Amma. She bought it for my tenth board exam. I was using only that watch until I came to US. Now, I don’t use a watch at all. I think I have mentioned this many times in this blog before. The titan watch is one of the item in my treasure box. May be I should put a picture of it in the blog someday.

Have you implemented a beauty tip/hack which you were told to, and been mortified by the results?

Could not think of any in recent times when bathing everyday itself is considered as an achievement.
I used to do them before marriage days. During college days, almost for four years I was using green gram dal flour as face wash and besan flour as body wash. They smell ewww but results were good in long run. My pimple filled cheek got better.

At your home, where do the newspapers find themselves to be the most useful?

Isn’t it obvious? Of course kitchen shelves and then at floor during nail cut and craft times..

During a visit to any mall, what do you find yourself searching first?

Food court he he heee. Earlier I used to search for starbucks..

This tag is over now. Explain your state of mind.

Yayyyyy and phewwww at the same time!!! I am done with the post for today!!! A different one at that, not boring you all with my travel series. But, please be a sweetheart and read my travel post tomorrow okie?

Florida and Bahamas trip – Day 4 and 5

28th Dec – Ship was docked at Keywest, Florida. We woke up early, stuffed ourself with yummilicious breakfast and stepped out to explore Keywest. We decided to take bath every night and dress up for dinner. It worked better as more time could be saved in the morning and after all day activities we went to bed fresh and clean. At Keywest, we have pre-booked shore excursions. What we found out later was that the onsite price was lesser than internet price. But it’s our purely a choice as booking in advance definitely gives a peace of mind especially at unknown places.

We first braved jet ski. M and LHB decided to take a ski at last minute and it was quite an experience. Adi asked me to go fast but the moment I tried to accelerate she asked me to slow down. LHB slept minutes after we started and M had a very tough time to ride the ski with a sleeping baby. We managed to reach first stop and return in one hour which was usually done by others in 7 minutes. There was a total of 5 stops. But we didn’t regret as there is only so much you can do with kids. I was glad that we all came back in one piece. M was not happy at all. He doesn’t like adventurous sports.

We then returned to the ship, ate lunch and got ready for the next adventure. Snorkeling it was. We were taken to the middle of sea in a sail boat. It was an hour long journey and I already felt like puking, sailing in open sea. M gave up the idea of snorkeling. Adi wore wet suits and all gears but gave up at last minute and yours truly was the only one to get into water. It was a pathetic experience. I was in water for exactly 3.5 minutes holding on to the rope all the time inspite of wearing life jacket, noodles and dipped my head in water to see the coral reef for less than one minute. Most of the time was spent in fighting with no so high waves and came up to the boat. The rest of the people spent around one hour in water and were going ohh and aah about all that they saw under sea. I was happy that I tried though it took another few hours for me to come out of the sea sickness. M was telling “idhu dhaan sondha selavil sooniyam” (rough translation – digging hole for yourself in your own hard earned money). My experience is that one should not have fear for water, should be comfortable in deep water and should be good with breathing techniques to enjoy snorkeling. It definitely needs moderate swimming experience even though they don’t have it as a pre-requisite. Atleast for deep water snorkeling. This is my experience.

We came back to the ship around 4pm, ate lightly and spent rest of the evening in jacuzzi and pool. LHB made some friends in jacuzzi and was the centre of attraction. Adi spent some of her time in kids club where she got to do scavenger hunt and play some games.

29th Dec – At sea. There were many activities planned in ship for today. Pool volleyball, M’s team played till semi finals. It was a game between qualified guests team vs captain’s team where the head of all departments played. Adi spent half day at kid’s club. Then, there was art auction, broadway style show in theater,  fitness session, zumba class, ballroom dancing and many more. I heard that some cruise even have water park at top deck. You may check that while booking your cruise. We saw a giant water slide in disney cruise that was docked next to our ship in Bahamas.

Quick lunch – Veg Stirfry

This was my lunch yesterday. A very quick and easy one to make.

lunch-stirfry

Ingredients:
Mixed veggies of your choice. I used stir fry pack from Costco. It had brocolli, carrot, green beans, mushroom, baby corn, water chestnut, red/green/yellow peppers.
Soy sauce
Red chilli sauce
Salt
Olive oil

Method:
Saute mixed veggies with a spoon of olive oil. After few minutes, add a spoon of soy sauce, chilli sauce and salt to taste. Fry for few more minutes until the water evaporates and then switch off the stove. Its better not to overcook veggies and leave it crunchy. I also added a handful of pasta to this as I was making pasta for Adi’s lunch while making this.

One of those days

It was yesterday. There was a lump in my throat and that uncomfortable feeling all day for no particular reason. One of those days when work was overloaded but I just wanted to sit by the window and do absolutely nothing. When you are down, your thoughts never help you. They only make it worse by thinking about all possible and even not possible combinations of how things can get worse. An unknown fear surrounded me and heart was racing. What do I really want? Am I productive? Am I making wise use of available time? Can’t I just make time for this, that and that? Am I overreacting? Am I exaggerating? May be, may be not!! I just wish to shrug it off as one of those days and move on but the impact is still on! If only it can be that simple!!

To add to that, I left the car head light on for 30 minutes and the car didn’t start after that. Battery was drained. M had to call one of our friend to come down and help to jump start the car. We were delayed by 30 minutes to pick up LHB and paid late fees. Thankfully, LHB ate his dinner with no big fuss. Talk about small mercies.

Florida and Bahamas Trip – Day 2 and 3

26th Dec – was spent at Savannah, Georgia. We woke up at 7am, had complimentary breakfast at the hotel, checked with front desk about local attractions and roamed around the city till late afternoon. Kids played in a park for a while, we visited ginger bread house display at a hotel on other side of river bed, visited candy store at river street and ate freshly made pralines that were made on site.

Some pictures:

We left Savannah around 3:30pm and reached the pre-booked hotel at Fort Lauderdale at 10:30pm. Ate food bought from home and called it a day around 11:30pm.

27th Dec – Woke up late, had complimentary breakfast at hotel and checked out the hotel at 11am. We parked the car at the same hotel for daily fee and hotel had complimentary shuttle to/from cruise port. Reached cruise port around 1pm and boarded right away. Cruise was supposed to depart at 4pm but boarding was allowed from afternoon. Boarding was almost similar to flight boarding. There was check-in, big luggage’s were collected separate that reached our room later and upon boarding a credit card like seapass was given for each passenger. This card was linked to primary’s credit card and could be used to operate the room and purchase within ship. Once boarded, we went straight to deck 10. If you wondering why, that’s the cafe deck 🙂 Ate to our heart’s content and by that time the stateroom was ready to occupy. Cafe had all sorts of cuisine including Asian and I even spotted “Madras chicken curry” on the menu one of the day. Pizza and pasta was there all the time and rest of the counters were open at specific time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was at least ten varieties of desserts and Adi frequented to ice cream bar at every visit.

Pool and food was the best I liked at the cruise and the rooms were cleaned twice a day. What more can I ask for? We called them as genie as every time we leave and come back, the room was looking spot clean. It just lifted my mood up instantly though gratuities has to be paid every day per person. Every night we received the plan for next day. It will have list of all activities and helps to plan our next day. This helps especially on days when ship is on sea.

There was library, fitness room, jogging track, hot tub, pool, children’s play area, art gallery, shopping deck, casino, theater, restaurant, bar and many more in the ship. It was luxury overloaded.

On day 1 at the ship, we hogged on the food as if we were starving for a week, roamed around all the decks to get familiarized and spent rest of the time in the pool/hot tub. For dinner, we had tables reserved at restaurant and the same waiter serves us every night. Its open to all and dress code has to be followed. I surprised myself by ordering dishes not knowing what will land up on my plate. Made some bad choices but no regrets as there was always cafe as backup in 10th deck. Most of the dishes were winning recipes from different episodes of top rated food reality TV shows.  The dishes were of five star hotel quality. I mean took long time to arrive, very less portion and partially cooked but surprisingly we liked some of the dishes. Dining every night was truly a celebrity feeling. Every single night I ordered creme brulee for dessert. Yum it was!

We took ocean view stateroom as this was our first time experience. I would recommend balcony room if you are planning a trip. There is no big difference in the cost atleast when we booked. The genies were kind enough to make four beds for us in that tiny room. Adi was scared to climb the bunk bed and we ended up squeezing every night.

It was mesmerizing to look at the ocean through window during daytime. None of us had motion sickness though we took Dramamine tablets to be safe. We could hardly feel the movement.  While choosing staterooms, have a look at the virtual plan of the deck and choose the ones closer to midship.

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