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Food drive

Adi is participating in a food drive to collect non perishable items from neighborhood and donate it to a local food pantry. The concept of food pantry is new to me. Underprivileged people can register to this food pantry and get food supplies on monthly basis to help feed their family. I don’t know the nuisances involved in this system but isn’t this a great idea to support families in need?

We have to go door to door (think of those census people or the marketing representatives ringing our door bell), explain the cause and request for food donation. I have never done this before, ringing a stranger’s door bell and Adi was not comfortable with it either. Add to that, we don’t live in a community or Asian dominated neighborhood to share common connections. The diversity rate of this neighborhood is very high.

M had his own set of doubts. What if a guy opens the door with a gun pointing at you? Nevertheless, I dared to go ring the bells for a good cause. The kids tagged along and I made Adi do the talk when each home owner answered the door. Some peeked only their head out and said sorry, some went into the kitchen and came back with some donations, some promised to drop something at my doorstep after next grocery shopping and some showed good interest asking for more details about the drive.

I didn’t expect anyone to drop items at my door step as I was very sure they will forget my door number right after we leave. But, this old gentleman came to my home yesterday straight from grocery shopping and dropped in not just 1 or 2 bags but almost 5 to 6 bags full of rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, beans, cereals, jam and many more items. Repeated thank you and God bless you is all I could mutter. I have asked Adi to make a handmade thank you card for him.

This was a unique experience for all of us and I hope the kids will not shy away or hesitate to speak up or ask for help for a good cause in future. It was very difficult for me too but not anymore.

Hiking

A dream come true that turned into a happy memory. The kids and I went for hiking in local park last week. Hope to make this a frequent family hike if I succeed in getting the clan out of the home on weekend mornings.

We went on the smallest 0.5 mile trail and pretty much rushed through it for multiple reasons.

reason #101 – It was our first time going inside the woods
reason #202 – M couldn’t join us. It was just me and the kids
reason #303 – We were scaredy cats pretending to be brave

Nevertheless, I was happy with the attempt made and kids loved it

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FIL

Today is my FIL’s birthday. We have celebrated his birthday in person for the past 3 years with the yearly summer India trip. Thoughts about him are flashing in mind all day today and I have decided to follow a simple ritual on this day every year in his remembrance. I am sure he is in a better place, watching and guiding us through every step. A man from whom I have drawn many life lessons, A man whom I respect the most, A man who lived his retirement life as an example to others, A man who loves gardening, A man who has nil expectations and absolutely no ego.

The way he took me and my children under his wings when we shared same roof for about 2 years and every time we visit him will be etched in my memory for ever. I am telling you, it is very hard to find a person like him. He has not hurt anyone I know of and always ready to help those in need. A lifetime inspiration to me. I miss you mama. You have made me a better person and I promise to carry forward your legacy through your grandchildren. I will share stories about you with all and sundry as long as I live.

I might just end up reposting this every year on his birth and death anniversary as every word in this post is a fact and nothing less.

 

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Just in time blanket

ETA – The “Today” mentioned in this post is not the actual today. I started the draft on the mentioned “Today” and as it is always the case I couldn’t complete the post.

“Today” is one of those days I retired to bed early so decided to write down the posts I have been drafting in my head for few days now.

Adi ordered a new blanket set for her room few days before we moved to this home. Her plan was the blanket will be delivered right after we move in and she can start sleeping by herself in her room.

The blanket was in “Shipped” state for two weeks and then moved to “Delivered” state but it was not delivered. Adi and her loyal little brother circled the house few times but couldn’t find the package.

The dotting father not able to take the sad look of his daughter picked up the phone to get in touch with customer care. Now, I don’t have to go in detail about how customer care calls work in this country.

Cut to 1 month later, after multiple followups by both M and me, the package was delivered to us twice but just that we didn’t receive it. The tracker would say exact time like “Delivered at doorstep at 12:52pm” but it was nowhere to be found.

We lost hope while the third attempt was in process. The tracker said delivered on a Friday but no luck. We couldn’t find it and gave up. M decided to just cancel the order.

Two days later, Adi planned a sleepover with her friend from our old neighborhood. I proposed to use her old blanket so they both can sleep in her room but she refused. She didn’t want to sleep in her room without the special blanket she ordered after careful selection.

AND the special blanket arrived that day afternoon. It was ACTUALLY delivered and LHB was the first one to notice the truck on the road. M and I were away from home at that time and later Amma described how the kids were turning the house upside down with their screams of joy.

Isn’t this called “Just in time”? This incident re-instilled my belief that “What is meant to happen will happen when the time is right”

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Hopefully back

Finally, I chose to write this post over taking a nap during my 1.5 hours long bus commute. Because I thought getting this post out would make me feel much more better than taking a nap as I wanted to come back to this space for quite some time now.

There is so much happening in life now and the thought to share it with you all brushes through my mind every single day but the only way I can do that is by shortening my sleep time of the day. Unfortunately I can’t do that as I am not one of those blessed souls who can function normal with 5 or 6 hours of sleep. I need my 8 hours of dose or else I will end up yawning non stop in middle of work meetings!!!

We moved last week to a bigger home. Its 3 times bigger than current home with huge front yard, back yard and pool. That also comes with this humongous effort and attention it requires for initial setup and maintenance.  Add to that work has taken a whole new demanding level for both M and myself. Movers were coming in on a Friday morning and I had to be at work till 7:30pm the previous day. That demanding!!! M takes his daily calls as early as 530am and I end my calls as late as 8pm every other day. Most of the days are filled with back to back calls that needs attention for both of us.

I count my blessings in the form of parents. They are here to help us through this transition phase and stay with kids through this summer.

I took 3 days off after the move to set up kitchen, bathroom and clothes. Amma took over the kitchen (I can’t be more thankful to her), M is working on handling all exterior needs (lawn maintenance, pool setup, electrical needs and the list is endless) , Appa to the best of his ability handles LHB and his constant tantrums (they go for walk, play chess and ride bike around the neighborhood) and Adi is having her own busy schedule for this summer. We all are doing our best. “Team work dream work” is in full swing at our household now.

My one way commute to work is 2 hours if all my stars are aligned. Today the train to reach bus station was suspended and I am still on my way back. Today’s evening commute is just about 3.5 hours!!

I still have things to move from old home and clean it for the next occupant. There is a whole bunch of To do’s crying for attention. I think I can handle them all better if I can wake up a little early in the morning but I am not able to 😦

My summer is going to be hectic with settling down in new home, handling work demands and working around Adi’s schedule. I will at least feel at peace if I can unpack all the stuff and find a designated place for the items that are laying around.

Now that I am back, will try to record some moments here. I truly miss this place.

How are you all? Any interesting plans for this summer?

Our nest now:

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An evening to remember

So many things happened/happening now in life. But, I would like to record yesterday evening here before that memory is replaced by something else in my tiny memory bank.

Its about yesterday’s evening routine at home. I am single parenting the kids for past few weeks and though it is tough and challenging to juggle all needs of every day, I took this as an opportunity to take charge of the situation.

LHB is now trained to eat on his own, focus and follow my instructions during study time and he has not watched TV for the past few evenings. This is a big achievement for me.

The kids and I eat every meal at home together in the table without watching TV, talking to each other about the day.  I love this routine. Yesterday, LHB was sharing with us how his lunch buddies didn’t help to get lunch and his dotting Akka was advising him how he should get the help of his teacher at such situations, how he should speak up and stuff. I was a silent observer of the conversation puffed up with pride.

LHB is listening to me and understands the implications of his actions. I have to move on and accept the fact that he has grown from being a baby to a big boy. He is now capable to process instructions. I should not treat him like a baby anymore!!

We watch movies together on weekends, have our own fun time before going to bed and laugh for silly reasons.

It is exhausting and this may not last for long but I am totally loving this dedicated time with kids. I do not want to trade this for anything else in life.

Front door and FIL

We have few secured latches to completely lock the front door at home. Last week, the middle lock was misaligned and we were not able to latch it properly. Because of that the top and bottom latches also gave trouble.

M and some of his cousin brother’s tried hard few times and no one was able to lock the door. So, they were discussing about it for a while and decided to apply oil to the joints and get external help the next day if needed.

After a while, the guests left and M was securing all locks before going to bed. He was in shock and called out for all of us as he was able to secure the main door latches with just a gentle push.

It looked like as if someone has oiled the latches and made it work. He called his brother’s right away and none of them believed him.

Now, how are we supposed to interpret this incident? M says confidently that no-one else other than his father could have made this possible as he could feel his father’s touch in that work!

He even started believing that souls do exist and they act as our guardian angel! I believe it too!

My FIL

Old post about him – https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/f-i-l/

Every single word in that old post holds good even now. He has only exceeded himself over the years.

A man who has lived his life to the fullest and even planned his end without troubling anyone around.

To me, he is a man of action, a man of few words, a keen observer of other’s needs and a man to refill from hand soap to surf excel to vegetables to snacks corner at home.

In the past one week, we have turned the home upside down looking for pen, tape, rubber band, rope, scissors and all other sundry items which would have magically landed in our hand when he was there!

I do believe that we are surrounded by his soul. Where else would he go leaving behind the land he purchased, the home he constructed couple of years ago and the beautiful garden he has grown surrounding the home. We could feel him around. His voice calling out for Adi and LHB is lingering in my ears all day! This home will never be complete without him.

His room has become the office room for me and M. His shirts are still in the hanger staring at us. I am using his TVS bike to run local errands. Every time I take the bike out, I hear him saying, come to a full stop and look to your left and right before crossing the main road.

I will write more about him in the coming days!!

May your soul rest in peace mama. You are in our thoughts and we feel you in every nook and corner of this home.

 

 

Parents

Parents are returning to India from my brother’s home today. This was a totally unplanned visit. Its a long story, they travelled with my brother’s family in summer to support as my brother’s family had an emergency while we all were in India.

Amma is still not able to come to terms with the fact that she left to US while I was in India. However, she was okay as she already made all the podi’s (masala powders) for me and packed them neatly. I stayed at the in-laws for 3 weeks and the way my extended maternal family tried to fill in the gap of Amma is commendable. My aunt came to see me with fresh milk that was just milked few hours ago. Her daughter packed sweets and savories for me to take back to US. My cousin visited us the day we were returning to US with sweet box and jasmine flowers. He actually chased our car and met us on our way to the airport. I am truly blessed.

And I went off track!!! Coming back, as LHB has turned into a troublesome monster after India trip and we couldn’t just handle him and kids had two more weeks of holidays before school starts and winter was approaching soon, parents visited us in late August and spent some time with kids to make up for the time missed in India. It deserves a separate post about what we did in that one month visit. They flew back to brother’s before winter started and today they are flying back to their own nest back home.

It is going to take a week or two for my brother’s family to cope up with the absence of parents. It seems yesterday evening my nephew dusted the chess board to have one last game with thatha and niece baked special cookies for Patti. The poor kids are going to come to an empty home after school today. At least Amma will live with them virtually in the form of food. As always, she has cooked up a storm and stored neatly in the refrigerator. This lady and her energy and spirit. Wish I inherit at least half of that to be called as her daughter. This is what I received from the brother in middle of the night their local time yesterday! I could totally feel this pain.

The crux of the message is “He has listed all the food he ate this week, that his tummy is aching from eating all that food and today the heart also joined the tummy and heart aches as parents are returning to India”.

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Happy New Year 2019

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year 2019. May this new year bring abundance of joy and good health to you and your family.

Yet another new year and I just wanted to start it the same way as last year filled with divinity.

Last year, I was randomly spotted by the priest and was asked if I am interested to signup for prasadam sponsorship. I have written about it in detail here

This year, I couldn’t visit the temple in recent times but the thought of offering prasadam to Aandal was at the back of my mind. So made an effort to visit temple yesterday evening with little hope that at least 1 slot will be left open for prasadam sponsorship. Met the priest and he said, you can very well bring it tomorrow morning. I was all teeth 🙂

So the history repeated today. Woke up at 3:30am (actually I went to bed past midnight and couldn’t sleep at all in the fear of not waking up on time **rolls eyes**), took shower, prepared kesari, ven pongal and reached the temple at 5:30am.

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Chanted suprabhatham, thirupavai, thiruvempavai and my parasadam’s were offered to Aandal. Blissfulness indeed!

Came back home, made sambar to go with pongal, did a small pooja at home and now resting in the couch till kids wake up.

Hope the rest of the year will treat me good. Goals for this year can wait for another post. blogathon baby so gotta save for more posts **wink wink**

Welcoming you all for our lovely yearly reunion tradition. Those who haven’t made up your mind yet, just jump in and make that first post, rest will fall in place 🙂

Start rolling 🙂