Monday, September 2, 2019

A random update of the last days of Summer

"I wish there was a way to know you're in "the good old days", before you've actually left them."

""I'm happy that this was all filmed, so I can remember everyone and what we did. ……I worked for a paper company all these years and never wrote anything down."

"How did you capture what it was really like? How we felt, and how we made each other laugh, and how we got through the day... how did you do it"

"There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things"

I was watching "The Office" Finale today. 

The last lines of each of the characters reminded me of why I used to blog .I started as a way to connect with other parents dealing with special needs. 

But it became a record of my time along with the feelings of that time.  

A blog is better than a photograph or a video because you interpret yesterday's photo with today's perspective. But you cannot do that with a journal. 

And so I am back - years after my last post - just telling you about a few random days

(I am talking to you, dear reader, even though I don't know if any of you still come here. Or even  if people really even blog any more. )

Summer was so busy - usually all our friends/relatives come and stay with us during the summer (Only a special kind of person would like Seattle in the winter. Luckily we are that special type of person. I always find the winters really restful here - a way to explore the great indoors - read books - watch movies - feel that delicious sense of Hygge)

We traveled quite a bit - around Western Washington- barely leaving the State on our many trips. This State is so beautiful. In addition , this summer was really mild which also meant no forest fires

We had many many guests over.

One new thing about R is that he loves having guests over. Instead of waiting for them to leave, he now eagerly asks when the next set will arrive. Its not just all the going out and the Sprite and eating Subway too. He really truly enjoys them. Our friends for the most part are very accepting of R too. Now that he is a bit more grown up and interactive the constant stream of advice has lessened, which has also helped us to be free to enjoy people more.


May be my absolute favorite day of the weekend. Even the  dentist whose lecture on periodontal disease ( she is annoyed, because I absolutely refuse to take out my wisdom teeth, but now cannot say it any more since I explicitly said that I want no more advice on talking out wisdom teeth)


I listen to Harry Potter all morning and do a massive clear out of kitchen appliances.  Due to our smallish kitchen we have slowly upgraded to  appliances that multitask,  such as the instant pot that takes place of pressure-cooker +slow cooker +rice maker.

Some friends of ours have their kids starting Grad school in Vancouver our clear out,  will mean a stock up for them. DH and I hate throwing things and when  they delightedly accept our offer

With the smugness of a  super productive morning behind me, I settle down in the deck to read my book and drink some tea. R comes out and joins me. He is the most terrific company, content to simply have his legs resting on my lap, while we are both busy in our respective devices. 


Sunday I wake up with a feeling of happy anticipation.

I have recently bought Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on Audible ( this series may be my favorite re-read)  and every day I wake up with joy thinking of listening to the book.

Saturday's kitchen clear out has also meant that I have found my old Cuisinart Grind and Brew. DH had given  this to me many years ago. We had laughed at a review on amazon which said that " This is a great coffee maker for a person who likes to spend their whole day cleaning the coffee machine" . Laughed,  because in those days when I worked in Bush's Baked Beans with a leisurely pace of life - I could not imagine being so busy that the few minutes a day would feel like a hassle.

The pace of life has gone up tremendously since moving to Seattle. Somewhere in the beginning of our time in Seattle, I bought a Nespresso. I am used to now waiting those 15 seconds impatiently, as it brews a cup.

I have been thinking of late that I want to shift my mindset. Feeling frenetic is a state of mind. Taking the few minutes to set and program it in the night and waking up to the sound of it grinding the beans puts me in a good mood. DH and i do our usual coffee + news on our phones in bed.

Today for lunch we are doing to Downtown - we are meeting a freind of ours who works in the Gates Foundation. She prepares lunch for us and is a huge fan of Hello-Fresh since she now gets to try out things she would normally never try. I take my lunch with me since I am not a huge fan of unusual meats and flavors. R is so delighted with her. She lives facing the ocean and has a really beautiful apartment furnished with things she has collected as she lived in various African and Asian countries

The sky is so blue as we drive back- even though its Sunday, I am looking forward to the coming week which will end in a 3 day weekend

The week

Is super intense. Most people are back from their vacation which means that the temporary Summer lull is over and its the usual Microsoft that I both love am exhausted by.

Every day is full of meetings, while the evenings pass with needing to tend to some email while also doing the evening routine of dinner exercise etc

The weekend 

I start the weekend the right way with a date lunch with DH at a fantastic café at Microsoft called Ingredients. The food is REMARKABLE and we pledge to reinstate a monthly date lunch ( I will tell you at the end of September if we are able to continue on this plan)

We cook and clear up on Saturday. Our friends will  stop over for the weekend and we don't want to waste time cooking, while they are here  from Canada. Since we have an open kitchen, there is also no way to put your headphones on and cook by myself as I like to do. (I also am odd in that I don't like people helping me in the kitchen. The nicer our friends are, the more they have a hard time not helping. They assume I am being gracious despite my repeated protests that they should just sit and let me cook in peace. To avoid this we end up pre-cooking)

I cannot describe how nice these friends here. Its easy to understand why their 3 sons are so sweet when you meet the parents. Each night they are here we stay awake and chat till 1 in the morning 

R especially is smitten by D. Besides a business, she also runs a sort of animal rescue. She is mad for ALL animals ( dear reader- the true extent of this is made clear to me when we watch the latest Jurassic movie, and I find her sympathetic to the creepy Indoraptor. This is more clarifying than even her veganism)  
Because of her ability to bond without words- R is inseparable from her. 

Monday the last day of summer vacation seems to move in slow motion. 

R comes and snuggles in bed with us in the morning and we read - all 3 of us together -  in a way that we haven't in a long time. 

We drink a last cup of tea before our friends leave, with promises to meet again next year 

I come and sit in our deck to finish this blog dear reader - our deck that is a little bit of paradise - thanks to DH's alchemist touch with flowers, plants, color  and architecture in the perfect sunshine of a September day.

R comes out with a Tinker crate kit to make a paper plane launcher and DH comes to help. 

Dear reader sometime the beauty and perfection of life takes my breath away. If I could press pause, I would. 

But I can't. So I write- hoping to bottle up my  bliss

Adieu until next month 

Monday, September 28, 2015

The minutiae of a random weekend

Dear Reader 

I have been absent without excuses and now I am back just plunging you back into the excruciating minutiae  of my life without explanation.

This is a post I found in my drafts from July  that I am editing and publishing


Somewhere earlier this month I resolved to prioritize my life according to my values and decided to be more patient at him

The patience thing is really paying off

I am back to truly enjoying R

It was 9 am when I sort of woke up - I do this pretty regularly on weekends when R lets me ( also I had slept at 2 am due to an interesting book)

DH finally urges me to wake up as my sister has been sending alternating kisses and threats on Skype(this is her signature move)

My mum and dad are staying with her right now so I talked to everyone.

My sister talked about the difficulty of finding a good protein shake in India - she has finally found a chocolate one which she does not like to make into a smoothie- but makes it into a paste and eats it as baby-food.

This is MOST strange but it works for her.

 She takes the tablet outside so I can hear the rain pouring.

Monsoon is serious in India

In her house they have a big balcony from which you can see the Himalayas as well as the road downstairs to people-watch.

In this way you can satisfy your spiritual and social side both

R was of course made to exchange pleasantries which he did in a most reluctant fashion and only under the threat of not going to the Mall today ( holiest of places to him)

DH and I chitchat in bed.

We usually do Facebook sitting side by side.

He argues on politics and I look at funny things and pictures.

I also make fun of the people who post all the cheesy stuff ( like "marriage is 90% hard work and 10% romance" "Mothers are the best. Share if you love your mother . If you don't share it means that you don't love your mother")

I find this really funny article on bad spellings in India.

DH and I  are in splits  and R is so jealous that he had not had any attention that he put his face right next to mine and shouts "Mama sleep in R's bed"

I plead for 5 minutes so I can get my Nespresso and then sit with him and read for a while longer.

We go downstairs and got everyone fed ( R his Kale/spinach puree to counteract the junk he will eat for the rest of the day, DH Chole Bhature  and me protein shake )

I get ready

This is a selfie since DH is shouting at me to hurry up and would most certainly have not taken a photo.

I have cut my hair short as really love short hair though DH says that I have the hair of "all-middle-aged women now"

I have told him that since I am 40, its fine for me to look middle aged now.

 But I have also resolved to grow it out again.

Who wants to look middle aged even if they are- that too to their love?

Last weekend - I cleaned out my cupboards and was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of clothes - I have and had sworn that I would never buy any clothes for atleast two years.

DH assures me that this resolution would not last 24 hours and he was quite right. Enough said

We get R's  shoes ( as he has outgrown everything).

We do his two rituals

Ritual 1: Take photographs of the elevator at Polo Ralph Lauren. " Its a Schindler" he tells me gleefully and watches through the gap in the door.

Ritual 2: Buy an oven roasted sandwich with creamy sirracha sauce and black olives and a bottle ( not cup) of Sprite at Subway

Then we drive home

Over the years I have realized that our best chats are usually in the car

In other situations we tend to have a lot of electronics. But not in the car

Its why I have started to enjoy road trips.

Apart from cursing at the other drivers (who are too-slow/reckless/stupid) DH is really fun in the car

We make fun of pretentious homes and signs( The Villas at the Lake starting at the low 700's) make up stories about the people in the cars next to us
( today there was a lady in a Fiat actually shouting with hand gestures at her DH - saw her later in the Mall holding hands), air grievances ( who is the one that cleaned up R's closet ultimately?) and generally connect.

We run a few more errands. have a great time at a Walmart of all places and eat a yogurt parfait that I am really partial to (from Mcdonalds) and then finally head home

Today even without trying I have done 10K steps on fitbit

I am super tired so just do a few chores while listening to Agatha Raisin on my phone and then make dinner( Asparagus and Turkey Cutlets - the latter which DH had cooked last weekend and I had portioned and put away in the freezer ) and watch Seinfeld

Then I clean the mudroom

 In a box I find Christmas ornaments that R had made in 2007 - just 3 years old in the best special needs school I have ever seen in Knoxville.

 His photo is so sweet and the ornaments so darling that I just sit and cry.

Oh goodness - I have so enjoyed these years and this child and I wish i could live them again.

All this nostalgia and sentimentality wastes a lot of time and its very late.

R's Saturday tradition is to sleep downstairs in the couch and he has already brought down his fan( he must have a fan on or he cant sleep)

We cuddle and I tell him all the usual nonsense of how lovely his company is and bid him goodnight

I write this in bed until DH demands that I turn off the lights .


One of the weekend days is a fun day.

Today unfortunately is the work day  - Sunday.

Still I wake up late- DH is already up - perched with his tablet  looking smug at being the first one up.

Last night  he was deaf to my challenge of " are you a  spineless worm who is going to sleep or a brave lion who will stay awake and read with me"

R comes up to- he snuggles with us for while with his tablet

 - but to prevent DH and me from chatting-  remind me that since last night's special treat was that he sleep in the couch in the living room  - that now its time for  "snuggle with mama" on the couch.

This is one of his signature moves to make a separate world with me.

I go downstairs make a cup of Nespresso. I cuddle per request and  watch an old rerun of "How I met your Mother?"

Then Miss D is here and R is off - he is wearing shoes with laces for the first time ever.

DH loves to eat out so we go to our new favorite restaurant La Isla

DH and my food tastes are for the most part mutually exclusive but this restaurant has both pork( his fave)  and beans and rice( mine)

We  walk around  downtown Redmond and chat about all the changes we would make, were we in charge of the decorations and management of downtown ( instead of the troglodytes that have made the current decisions until its time for our reservation)

The food is epic. Fried plantains  - are maybe my favorite thing to eat of all time

Once we get home we start on the epic job of cooking and preparing for the week. Here is my lunch tower for the week
Also we make R's Dinners ( pureed veggies with chicken ) and DH chops up a lot of vegetables that we will use up over the week

This dreary set of activities takes about 4 hours - Then R is whining to go to the club for the bounce house.

I am so taken aback by how easily he is climbing( to be sure other 4 year olds are climbing right along with him- but  it still feels like great progress)

We return home and OMG  I still have so much work left !!!-

I had many grand ambitions on Friday and had started decluttering the mudroom and my jewelry cupboards - so I get my book on tape on and get to work solidly for the next several hours.

And that my dear friends is a typical weekend at my home.

Full of work and fun and love.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bits of January in Seattle

My dear friends 
I have taken to writing about once a month – but even though not as frequent as before, I am still glad that I am a regular writer because I love to read this blog.

I am also back to taking photos.

A blogger I used to read – wrote that she felt that by taking photos and writing – she had almost created a distance between herself and her life - as though she was seeing her life through a lens

But – this is not true for me. Taking a photo and writing a journal commemorates that this moment is precious and worth recording. Plus there is the pleasure of returning to it when the moment has passed

Here is what happened this month

Eat less, Exercise more

In the past 4.5 months, I have lost all the weight that I gained in the last 2 years i.e. 22 pounds

I never thought I would be the kind of person who would have 30 pounds to lose – but I became one

I still have this another 8 pounds to go to my "goal weight"

3 years ago was weight was my fat weight - now this is my thin weight and people give me compliments all the time because they are not used to it!

The program I am on comprises 4 parts – doctor, dietitian, trainer and psych.

The trainer is very helpful and the has made me the type of person that works out and goes to the gym and showers in the locker room without a qualm at all the women around who walk around unselfconscious in the nude

I have learned a lot about myself

My dietitian's - main use was in making sure I was accountable.

All my other observations around how I feel about food( don't care that much) why I overeat( reward rituals/habit/boredom), why dietitian bugs me so much ( because food and control are linked in my mind) came from my own reflections

Ultimately the diet is a very useful part of the program but I don't think I ever felt good about my dietitian. I always took my weight myself as well so I never had the thrill of the "Yayyy 2 pounds down" when I went to see her

The trainer and exercise was after a few weeks what felt trans formative (even though I am sure my outward appearance was more changed by diet)

I realized that that is because the diet is what not to do, about stopping and controlling and feeling bad about lack of control, feeling greedy and having low will power.

But exercise is about something to do: something active. It reduces my stress and gives me joy.

I try to walk a lot

I have a Fit bit 

I have bought the awesome TRX

Happiness Rituals on the weekends

After the Thanksgiving and Christmas break and realizing how much we all love slow time – we are all working extra hard during the week to ensure lazy weekends

DH shops on Thursday and Friday – we finish laundry on Friday and then each of us take turns to cook Saturday morning and Sunday Morning to cook for the week

DH is also on a health spree – he already works out daily at the gym but is adding diet as well- so we both have our special foods – I make a lot of Chicken Tortilla soup /DH makes a lots of Chinese stir fry.

Here is what a typical weekend looks like. As you will read through this – you will see its full of many of our simple happiness rituals

We all wake up in a tangle of arms and legs as usually R is in our bed in the morning and many kisses, cuddles and compliments are exchanged (lots of teasing from DH which is his love language) 

I go down to make either Darjeeling tea/Nespresso. If I turn on the coffee machine he will usually just stand in the kitchen

But when I pour the leaves out in the saucepan, he knows that I will wait at least 5/10 minutes for the leaves to soak.

So he will settle down on the couch with his iPAD and wait patiently for me to finish brewing and making this most delicious tea

I hand DH his tea and then I have to go sit in R's bed and we read our separate books together. I have negotiated to sit on "his side" as it's the one with the bed side table for my tea

He quickly swaps the pillows so that "my pillow" where I put my head on each night when we write his journal
He loves the smell of my hair and does not want to mix up the smells
People talk about the greatness of unselfish love - but I have always liked most to be loved selfishly
When someone wants you and your presence because of the joy it brings them.

DH calls R my "little psycho" – but how can I describe the deep gratitude I have for what R gives me?

When I am an old woman and look back on my life I think I will find that the best thing in my life might be that R loved me like this once.

On alternate Saturdays – R has social camp and in this time DH and I go to pictures. We are finding new happiness rituals- thing that we can do together that don't involve food. We have watched "The Imitation Game" and the "Lord of the Rings" – we literally had not been to the movies in almost all of R's life and we are enjoying this so much 

We jump on the new trampoline that DH has set up outside, go to the park when it does not rain and we always go swimming.

R LOVES The pro club – he is also a real dandy and loves to use ALL the products that there are there – deo, mouthwash, hair spray. You should see him matching his scarves and shoes and how he preens when he blow dries his hair

In the little bathroom downstairs he has arranged all his beauty products in the same order - so as to have the Proclub experience at home.

Sundays we usually take a long walk while his therapist is here and then finish off with movie night (the old Disney "Three little Pigs" have been a great success)

I am reading a LOT these days – thanks to my new Kindle Paperwhite and its been amazing.

Work is very stressful right now and my insomnia is back and so I am making a lot of effort to shut down( with almost no success) – but I have to say these rituals are make my waking hours quite joyful

A huge developmental leap

R has had a huge developmental leap and its killing us !!!

He is very very mischievous - interested in EVERYTHING.My nerves are completely shot.

Here is an example of a typical evening. The other day DH and I were trying to do some paperwork so DH could file taxes. In the 30 minutes or so that we were upstairs
1. R shut down a computer – in which DH had opened all his files
2. Emptied a frig and stuffed it full of Sprite bottles and
3. Called 911

I had to talk to the operator and she asked to talk to R on the phone and luckily he scripted out " I feel good" and that he felt safe ( when she asked him) .

Whatever he reads or hears he will try out – the other day I ruffled his hair and was shocked by how sticky and awful it felt – he told me proudly "R take care of hair – R put shampoo and conditioner in hair". I guess the back of the bottle left out the part about rinsing it with water .

Then he is obsessed with perfume – he has a little lair in the mudroom – a laundry basket in which he puts all his treasures – the other day I found all my super expensive perfumes and equally expensive pashmina shawls. He will also usually tell me virtuously that he will "not do .X" and then he will immediately sneak around and do it behind my back. 

He is very very sorry afterwards - here he has fallen asleep on the couch after being in trouble literally holding the little plastic heart that DH got him for Valentine's for comfort

Sometimes I laugh and sometimes we are exasperated – but always we remind ourselves to be grateful for this developmental leap (though it is much easier to parent that quiet child who ignored everything in the house)

He is also into the good things - like baking his cakes, makes his music lists  , 

Has set his piano in our study room ( never has a boy hated being alone more) - he tries to make sure he is always with us 

Thinks about traveling all the time , plotting the trips he will take on a new map we have got him 

He is also fully autistic – obsessed with elevators, department stores, Santa Claus etc – just continuing to blossom on develop on his own path.

And in conclusion

This February it's been 8 years in the world of Autism and 2 in the world of Crohn's.

Every February feels like a milestone of sorts to me as both diagnoses were around the same time and each of them has felt like an end of life as we know it

But we have recovered and have for the most part been very happy.

This, I think is the secret to happiness after diagnosis.

To accept that life just is.

That this right now, is it

No postponing joy for when you have more time, more money, less illness.

But making the most of what we have today 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The end of 2014

Dear friends

2014 has been rather lovely and I am sorry to see it end. ( esp as it came on the heels of a crazy 2013 and an unsettled/uneasy 2012)

I was off for 2 weeks. 1 week was vacation and another was staycation/some work from home. This is a perfect recipe for a great vacation for me as it combines both Rest and Recreation

What happened in Vegas…and Grand Canyon and Sedona

Vegas is a great place for a family vacation

1. Parking is abundant

2. Loads of things for kids to do

3. Great prices on hotels – we stayed in the Hilton Grand Vacations - right on the strip in a suite that is practically an apartment and simply sumptuous and it's about 100 dollars a night
They really know how to put on a show 

We loved the High Roller Ferris Wheel 
the Bellagio restaurant - great place to stop if the crowds are exhausting 

4. Its close to things so beautiful that they make your heart fill up and burst out of your chest. I am all atingle with the beauty of nature and the amazingness of humans. The beautiful things we saw were as follows 
a. Grand Canyon: The splendor of this has just taken my breath away. We were smart to stay in the     Grand Canyon in a slightly dated lodge but it was priceless to be right there.

 b. Sedona: The sun kisses the red mountains and turns them to fire. We took a little hike and could       see the ring of fire all around us
c. Hoover Dam: Its art. No other word for this. The words inscribed here underneath the American     flag that says "inspired by a vision of lonely lands made fruitful" will be in my mind forever.

Especially after we came on this after 4 hours of driving in the gorgeous barren deserts of the        Arizona and Nevada.

R was mad to go on vacation but as is always he was sometimes a bit of a pain. Its SO great to see his enthusiasm.

First, we were worried when he was sick. Then he would NOT sleep the night before we were going to leave as he wanted to keep checking to see if it was morning yet

Then we were very annoyed when he was a whiny mess. He LOVES vacation but he wants to do the same things everywhere like go to Malls - take pictures of the elevators at Macy's etc 

Still DH and I have learned to simply keep our expectations low and enjoy life in spite of his rigidities and try to balance between his need to keep things the same( so LOADS of picture of elevators were taken)  and our knowledge that things need to be shaken up for him

I have rediscovered the pure pleasure of loitering in bed with a cup of Nespresso and a book

Since P.D James died, I am re-reading her series

Unnatural Causes: Maurice Seton was a famous mystery writer -- but no murder from his imagination could equal the ghastliness of his own death. When his grotesquely mutilated corpse is found in a drifting dinghy, ripples of horror spread among his bizarre neighbours: the cruel and cynical drama critic, the celebrated recluse, the rakish young heir, the terrified woman waiting for her killer in a lonely house.

Death in Holy orders :
When the body of a young ordinand, Ronald Treeves, turns up buried in a sandy bank on the Suffolk coast near isolated St. Anselm's, a High Anglican theological college, it's unclear whether his death was an accident, suicide or murder. The mystery deepens a few days later when someone suffocates Margaret Munroe, a retired nurse with a bad heart, because she remembers an event 12 years earlier that could have some bearing on whatever's amiss at St. Anselm's

I read a new author recoed by my trainer

Fault in our Stars Cliched plot of cancer kids and undying love. But I could not put it down. If you are in love with language, you must read John Green. Some choice quotes
"Look, let me just say it: He was hot. A nonhot boy stares at you relentlessly and it is, at best, awkward and, at worst, a form of assault. But a hot boy . . . well."

"The risen sun too bright in her losing eyes."

"One swing set, well worn but structurally sound, seeks new home. Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It's all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can't go all the way around"

"Mom sobbed something into Dad's chest that I wish I hadn't heard, and that I hope she never finds out that I did hear. She said, "I won't be a mom anymore." It gutted me pretty badly."

"His hand reached for her boob…. I wondered if that felt good. Didn't seem like it would, but I decided to forgive Isaac on the grounds that he was going blind. The senses must feast while there is yet hunger and whatever."

""I was thinking about the word handle and all the unholdable things that got handled.""

""That's the thing about pain," Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. "It demands to be felt." "

""Osteosarcoma sometimes takes a limb to check you out. The, if it like you, it takes the rest."

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves." Easy enough to say when you're a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars"

Ruth Rendell

No more Dying then: Its in the Wexford series and is an amazing psychological thriller - two kidnapped children . One mother is indifferent - almost as though she is relieved. The child was an interference to her .The second mother is devastated. I like that Ruth Rendell does not glorify motherhood
I liked his sidekick - Burden's – his inner world was fascinating - always he is so controlled but not this time

The Rottweiler 
The side story was almost more interesting - about one of the characters who has Fragile X and ADORES his aunt - has a job but no other sexual appetite at all . His mind is so childlike - all he hopes for is to have a big enough house she he can live with his aunt. I read it fast to find out the end - but it was not a good one. This handicapped child def ruins his aunt's life - I was mad at the author for making this the end

Master of the Moor
I always find it disturbing when she writes the books from the murderer's perspective ( like in Rottweiler)
Out of the three POV's in a murder ( detective, Victim, Killer ) I always like the detective perspective. Having said that - it was very well written
A man who is like a child in some ways ( married but not consummated) loves the Moor.In the moor he women with golden hair are being murdered with the hair shorn off

No man's Nightingale:

Who strangled the Rev. Sarah Hussain in the vicarage of St. Peter's Church, and why. The fact that Hussain was biracial and a single mother had galvanized bigots near and far, who resented her very existence as well as her modernizing the liturgy. When Wexford's grandson, Robin, begins dating Sarah's daughter, Clarissa, Robin gets entangled in identifying Clarissa's sperm-donor father—further upping the ante for Wexford. Is a white power group responsible for killing Sarah, or had a personal relationship curdled into fur

Put on by Cunning:

Nineteen years later, Camargue's entrancing daughter, Natalie, now a considerable heiress, suddenly reappears in Kingsmarkham. When her fiancé appeals to Wexford for help, believing that Natalie is using a false identity, the case of the Camargues is once more under investigation. Events soon take a gruesome twist and the pressure is on for Wexford to discover Natalie's true identity and to solve the mystery of the Camargue family, once and for all.

Pleasures of home

I have a sinsusy/cold/ weakfish staycation and so very relaxed and mellow

We love Binge Watching There is a lot of pure rubbish on TV after we have finished the A grade shows ( news Room, True Detective, Game of thrones) then the B grade shows ( mentalist, scorpian, elementary, Madam Secretary). Finally the real rubbish –( Mysteries of Laura, State of Affairs) - these woman-centered shows- I feel duty bound to like them.

But I don't.

A good yarn is a good yarn and vice versa. Instead we did Netflix - Liked Wolf of Wall street( about 1 hour longer than it should have been) a Bollywood movie ( rather good and about this new generation of Indian youngsters who are so materialistic and practical)

R is SO relaxed with the slacker schedule - he is just a cuddly, snuggly ball of love and charm and magic. Today DH was very la-di-da when I told him that R had asked me to read "Good night moon". I get it but its okay for five minutes of bedtime story I think.

Something so magical about me saying "And the Quiet old lady whispering " .. and R adding "hush"

In the little circle of the light from R's bedside lamp - its just the two of us in an enchanted circle.

The start of the year

The first day is AMAZING.

The sun is out shining and the ring of iced mountains that surrounds us are resplendent.

It's a perfect day to go for a drive

We do little acts of self care which I love to start the year with

We drop R off at Social group - then went to the Mall where I found excellent prices on Levis Cuve ID ( read fat ass) and I bought FOUR!!!

Then got to meet Molly – one of my online friends -short visit R was loud and annoying - but still I got to see Molly at least !!!!

The second day is a day of little accidents
Missed the trainer time and got to gym an hour early ( and I really would have loved the extra hour of sleep )
DH called me as I was pulling into the garage - so I grazed against the wall ( luckily car is 12 years old)
I cleaned ALL day- I had decided that I would clear the attic and so I did - I was listening to PD james novel ( super interesting) so it was a lot of fun

We interviewed a new therapist who has been working since 1984- so loads of expereince but  who had an AOL account( which immediately made me think dated ) but once she was here - she engages beautifully with R.

She got his attention and they read a book together. ( Pete and his buttons) She was that combination of firmness and gentleness that is super important to us.
I have asked for references but if it works out - I think she will be a good fit 

Did other nice lovely things

I had a massage certificate from my fat camo Massage was good - heated bed /vanilla fragrance .I really liked it 

But not sure that I will go again as she also said a lot of vodoo things like "let the healing begin" and I should drink a lot of water today "otherwise the massage can generate toxins which must be flushed away". Plus it was a $90 massage ( +$18 tip!!!!) . I just had to pay the tip but still…

The rest of the weekend is spend in getting ready for the week. We are sorting out cupboards and our garages etc.

This will be the year of cleaning and decluttering and organizing I think. 

I am not into making New Year Resolutions – most of the time they are forgotten sooner in a month. Sometimes life gets in the way and we have one more thing to feel bad about not getting to.

But organising is something that is becoming important to DH and me

The start of real life 

Well all good things must come to an end and we are getting ready for the start of real life.
I cannot help but wish that I could rewind the past week.

But the trick of course is to find the oases in regular life.

Happy New year dear friends and hope 2015 brings you and your loves - joy and happiness

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The thankful week

This is a record of the thanksgiving week.

 I am calling it the thankful week because of how lovely it was in its ordinary peaceful way

Sunday (In R's words)

Today I woke up. Mama was in the study room
Santa wears a tan.
Then I ate dinner. I got my allowance and then I went with Miss Darlene -
Mama took a photo of me with Miss Darlene

Where is my Peter Pan Blanket?
I went to Whole Foods Market, Macy's and Subway with Miss Darlene
Then we came home
We went to Target - At target I bought Skittles - Wild Berry.
(Mama bought a present for a little girl called Aniyan - she does not have any money. The present was a kitchen set to play with - I hope she will be happy with her Christmas present)
I need a gift for Christmas - Macy's present- a gift card - I want 50 dollars
Then Mama went to Bath and Body works - I did buy a blue bottle of hand sanitizer.
I went to Applebees. I listen to the music. I sleep in bed.
It was a good day - yes. I will smell the markers
Miss Michelle is gone


Do you guys know that I have started this program called 2020 Lifestyles?

Anyway 2 months in I have lost about 13 pounds and I have really started to become a "work-out person".

However, the program has started to really annoy me.

Honestly I have really never had self-esteem issues – I never think, for instance, that my husband is looking at the ladies in Fred Meyer.

But NOW – I think about weight all the time

I have been stewing about it for a while and today I decided to do something about it and wrote to my dietician Sarah that we need to change our approach
  1. Can't frame a week as a success or failure based on the number on the scale
  2. Stop saying "I am on a plateau"
  3. Stop talking about weight altogether for the time being and just focus on doing the right things.
  4. Be okay with weight coming off slowly.
  5. Need to add normal food in –real and normal food like oatmeal/ brown rice /real eggs/quinoa/beans.
  6. I need to accept that I cannot eat so much meat/tofu. I added the morning star stuff like they suggested and I am looking at the ingredient list – it over-processed food that cannot possibly be good for my body. How is it better to eat this than a bowl of homemade black bean soup?
  7. Diet is not sustainable without dairy. Without greek yogurt –every snack is so hard
  8. Hate all the soy/egg- white shakes I am not going to try any more.
  9. I know a huge part of the problem is that I am a very picky eater and that I don't like meat. But that is who I am and we need to accept that slow weight loss is a consequence of that and be okay.
Guess what? Sarah was simply lovely - she humbly apologized to me and she said that she should really have thought it through and that 99% of the folks who come to the program have one goal which is to lose weight –

I felt so much better

Just putting my unmet need out there in plain words. Without judging I, for having those needs in the first place. I love being 40.

DH and R came to  the club and I gave him a bath after swimming and we all went home.


Was simply a luscious delicious day as I spend all day thinking about how close I was to the long weekend
How I love this time of year.
October there is the cabin break, November there is Thanksgiving and in December the office will be so quiet at Christmas


I had no meetings and I worked from home-A corner of  DH's study room is my "home office"

I think I really love the actual  work - the politics gets me down - but the actual work is amazing.

I was in my fuzzy robe all day - R was so happy that I was "doing Microsoft at home" (sounds like those clichéd Porn movie names "Debbie does the east side)

At lunch I stopped and DH cooked cutlets and we ate together and watched Madam Secretary

I walked on the treadmill for a long time - 62 minutes - 4.5 incline, 3.5 miles

Then we watched a lot more of Madam Secretary

R and I wrote journal

I love doing this with him - some of it is prompted and answers to questions because he likes to skip the detail
R's Journal
Today is Wednesday
I woke up in the morning. I went to see Marla. She was closed. Because she was sick
Then I saw Lake Sammamish which is on the end of Idylwood Park
I came home
Then I did HW .HW was very hard.
Then Mr. Peter will come .With Mr. Peter I did Math and Science
I went with Mr. Peter to the park .I went on the swings.
Then I ate chicken
Mama was at home today. Mama was doing Microsoft.
Then I went to the center- I did Math. I worked with Jason and Stacey. They are new. Then I came home
Then mama was home
I did treadmill
No grinding in Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Elevator
I ate dinner.
Then we listened to ILS - I was looking for Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. I found it in the ILS
I filled two glasses with Sprite and with water
I brought them up with me
Then I took a bath - I was looking for the baton - its gone. I could not find it
Then I wrote and journal and now its time to read a book - The book is called "Special Delivery"
This book is about Oswald - he is an octopus. He has got a present. The present is books. People guess that it's a hot air balloon.


R, I and DH lounged about in bed till 2 pm. simply delightful.

I finished a book by Elizabeth George- a disappointment but still a decent book. 
I went downstairs and forced R to play with me by bribing him that we would go to Macy's in the evening ( Dr Greenspan would shudder at this floortime - we did Pretend play with a Thanksgiving feast and read a few Christmas books) 

In the evening we went to Macy's. 

R has been simply perishing to go there to take pics of the elevators

The problem is that he wants to take thousands of pics to get it "perfect"

He mails a letter to Santa - in which he says that his Christmas wish is to see Santa. His sweetness makes my heart ache

I have been really la-di-da about the sales but I see the oceans of these gorgeous cashmere sweaters and am weak with lust.

Maybe the best Thanksgiving I have ever had

We watch Gracepoint


Have to wake up early to go to the gym with the trainer-But even the gym was great as it was super empty

Its raining quite heavily.The firs are all shiny and green

People say this weather as grey and depressing

But I feel like I am living inside an emerald - so radiant is this green

When I am inside the house - it feels like the heavy rain is keeping the outside world out

I LOVE just being at home with nothing to do but watch TV cook and eat

We snuggle a lot - drink tons of tea and generally have a great time

We saw a new Miss Maple "Greenshaw's Folly" which I could not remember reading - a major bonus

I went to Trader Joe's for grocery shopping - which was also really empty .

I asked R whether he wanted to go to QFC with Papa or Trader Joe's with mama

He chose a third option "I will dance"- and dance he did in Trader Joe's.

I bought many nice things for DH to eat so that he would not feel deprived because of my diet.

Also since I cannot eat these sweet things myself - I get vicarious joy out of watching him eat

I bought
  1. Pecan Pie
  2. Croissants ( for breakfast)
  3. A big Toblerone
  4. Chocolate
  5. Shortbread Jammy cookies
  6. Wasabi nuts
I also insisted that he get Thai curry for dinner in takeout – R got a subway sandwich - so the family s very happy

My one worry is R's sore which is still not fully healed - have a new course of antibiotics.

Tomorrow we have to go to the hospital to get Remicade which will depress his immune system further

Still - this is life

Saturday: Hospital Day

Like everything else this week - this went rather well as everything was less crowded.

DH stops by the Mall to get a replacement cover for our "Lovesac" ( have you heard of this  800 dollar pillow ?) He also wins husband of the year by stopping by Macy's to get  pair of boots that are for 19.99

It usually takes FOREVER after they take his weight to get the Remicade prepared but today it is super fast. 

I love the halls of Swedish - which I walk up and down on to get my steps for my fitbit. 

There is nothing like being  in a hospital to give you perspective.

There is a wall where nurses have put up sayings which are very touching

His liver feels less annoyed ( nurse showed us his ALT /AST) this time but some of his inflammation markers like sed rate are up.

 DH and I both feel very bugged by Crohns. While we were coming out of the hospital - there was a couple taking a new born home looking so tired and DH was saying "What an exhausting time is ahead of them?" Then I said "hopefully their life won't turn out like ours".

I said a silent prayer for that mom in the wheel chair and also chided myself for saying that about our life which is really very good.

Interestingly we also discussed if we had a choice and could pick one - we both said we would picks Crohn's over autism

Though we both hate Crohn's a lot more – we complain about Crohn's SO much more than we complain about Autism ( we also crib about having 2 things – that is having Autism should have given R a free pass)

I cooked this afternoon. I am getting serious dislike of meat/eggs -Anytime I am unplanned - I don't eat any meat at all. Today I ate tofu and beans for protein - as a result I looked at the "dashboard" and I have only eating 50% of the protein and over 100 % of the fat and carbs :-(. So envious of those that love meat

DH got the fireplace burning and the lovely smell of wood was amazing. 

We watched "Paradise" which we have always jeered at as being a Selfridges wannabe but it was really very good


Since all our chores were done yesterday today was a day of rest. R was out with Miss Darlene so DH and I took a long walk.

While it was bone-chilling cold – the sky and the lake were just so sparklingly blue

It's the end of the loveliest week ever.

When I think about when I am happy vs when I am not – I think I just need the 3 of us, some good books, some PBS shows, a fireplace and our slow paced lazy life.

Those are my ingredients for happiness. What are yours?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ten days in Paradise

Dear readers

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while - know that my favorite place in the world is this cabin in  the woods in Fall.

We spend 8 days there ( with a few days before in Boca Raton owing to a conference)

I wrote a little down each night in bed- so that it would be fresh in our mind

Boca Raton, FL - Wednesday - Thursday 

We started our vacation in Fort Lauderdale as I had a conference there.

We are staying  in  fancy place ( not at all our kind of place) and they have a lot of super annoying things like valet parking . This means you have to tip the Valet each time you take your car in an out. ( the card clearly states that the $30 daily parking fee does not include a tip for your valet)

Boca Raton is full of old rich people. I think a comedian called it "God's waiting room"

Many strip malls have signs like this

DH told me that there was no way that I was going to be able to stay off email and work and that he did not expect me to as that is just who I was

This shook me up as I DO NOT want to be that crappy sort of person and so I determined to unplug and take whatever consequences came.

So just before  flying from Fort Lauderdale on the way out of the conference we try to get into the vacation mindset with a stop to gaze at the Atlantic

The beach is empty except for some people who are very drunk - they have a tent that R with his terrible lack of judgment -  is desperate to get into.

R  really enjoys the water.

Thursday, back in the room of happiness 

You should never return to a place after a year when its dark.

I always know that and yet that is the time we chose to come back to Knoxville

It was a funny feeling

I remembered so many things from the past - like when we passed the Big lots where I bought a Little people Carnival set ( that R would not play much with - but I enjoyed it so much)

All those joyful memories make me sad.

I am envious of my past and yet I know that I can never go back. Most of all, I envy the mother I had the time to me, which alas I am not anymore.

We stop for groceries on the way- R insists  he stay in the car.

When we get back he is crying and said he is "scared and upset".

Maybe  he feels the bitter sweet nostalgia.

As we make our way up the winding steep road to the cabin and the red yellow leaves begin, I start to feel better and better.

When we get to the cabin it is pitch dark -

 I open the door and step into an ocean of pine fragrance.

It is a long time before I am able to go upstairs to shower and get into bed and write this down.

I had many things to do  - find two fans for R - make a stir fry for dinner - put a load of laundry away.

But all my half finished projects have left my mind

Work and my busy life  is far away in the other end of America

And I am here.

In the room of happiness.


Is the day of the  three musketeers.That is D, K and me

We all meet at a restaurant called Crus- SO much fun - we all like each other's spouses as well

D works on my health care products which have so many funny stories .

Example Anal itch creme - which in a presentation had the statement that causes of Anal Itch are "too much hygiene or too little " .

We just laugh and laugh and its like we have never been apart .

We talked about all sorts of rubbish topics  and were as adolescent as can be.

R is with Miss S and had a nice time at the Mall eating Sbarro and riding the elevator


First real lazy day in months

Woke up at 8.30 with coffee and in a tangled heap of arms and legs that is R, DH and me

R goes downstairs and gets his own meal which is half a Subway Sandwich ( Oven Roasted Chicken) - that he saves from lunch

I go for a back  breaking walk. Thanks to the trainer- I am able to do this without actually thinking I was going to pass out


Watched 8 episodes on Californicaton ( and I am not embarrassed to admit that )

Shopped at the mall

DH's birthday is tomorrow and I really don't know what to give him - as he really does not want anything

So I put some cash in a card ( its an old joke and is not as tacky as it sounds ) and give it him with all of  his favorite chocolate.

R has also purchased many gaudy gifts - a helium balloon , a card that says simply "Happy Birthday Dad"( which possible appeals to his literal mind) . I ask him to write a personal note which this birthday is simply "How are you? I am 9 years old." ( On Father's day the personal note was "Papa has a beard" so this is a definite improvement !)


Since we never have a birthday for DH without some form of pork - we drive down to Knoxville to eat at Bravo's which has the best Pork chops in the world.

R goes off with Miss Kristen- she takes him to the Fall Festival and DH and I while away the afternoon just chatting with some old friends. Oh how pleasant this is.

Their adopted daughter has weirdly started to look just like her mom- my friend (kid has brown skin). I tell my friend that its as though she slept with a brown man to make this lovely child :-).

At the restaurant DH enjoys his chops while I eat my salad virtuously - then guiltily eat a few bites of his Tira Misu ( this will earn me a scolding from the dietician later as I write a food diary which she reads online ).

But goodness its DELICIOUS.

R returns with Miss Kristen and he can scarcely bear to leave her- he has loved the Fall Festival so much


We go to our house which has still not sold.

Last year when we were here - R was totally freaked out by returning to our old house and would not go in.

But this time he just cheerfully says " There is no furniture in 7728 Luxmore Drive" and waltzes right in.

He playes in the backyard and it makes me tear up again.

I have watched him play on those very toys so many times over the years. So many happy memories of DH building the treehouse of hunting down a slide that would also fit me large rear .

The market is bad and no one wants this old house - but how precious it is to me. Every room echoes with the smiles and laughter and tears of time gone by

DH and I do boring things like - buy replacement stuff for the cabin.( I tell you -put something on market for a weekend rental and be prepared for endless breakage and repair.)

R is off with the magic Miss G.
We meet Miss T- who taught R to talk  and her new baby

Its too dark to walk and DH tells me sternly that while I may think that I am "of the forest"- the bears may make me permanently a part of it by eating me alive.


I tell DH  that I want a day to just stare at the trees today I do just that.

R and I lounge around the wrap around deck all morning.

My diet lady has emailed  me a lecture - she has been watching my online diary and I have cheated a little .
This( lecture) was good and today I was strictly on diet

Today Miss G had a migraine and can  not come to play with R which means we had to play with him.

He is very  bored with us -he suddenly bursts into tears - so  we put him in the hot tub

R has become quite mischievous - his main objective is to not get caught.

So he simply tries to make sure that you back has turned so he can let loose a crime spree of epic proportions

I know for a fact that he has played with my make up today as he had eyeliner on his lips and my Yves st Laurent blush is empty.

It is still lying upturned on the floor.

He usually never clears up the crime scene .

He is eating a LOT of sugar and becoming a chubby which is very cute - but his ears are cracking and he had a nose bleed.

Why is he such a wreck physically ?

We watch a lot of TV - then we go  down to town( Sevierville)  and get  DH  some pork chops for dinner which he ate with joy while I eat  my egg whites and  salad.

He downed it all off with  whisky and  chocolate while I have  a few grapes.

And there he is lying down - expressing his angry views on the Indian PM to his admiring Facebook fans, looking with his long thin legs  and here I am writing in my diary  with a big fat roll on my tummy on my lap!!

This diet is hard on vacation !!!

Wednesday : A hectic day 

Bush's baked beans 
Today I meet an old friend  who drive down from ATL.

She is so fantastic and though we have not met for 2 years  - its like we were never apart- we drink jasmine tea, Hot and sour soup(we shriek in unison that the server should take the fried won tons away) and a super healthy lunch (Buddha vegetables/ no rice ) and then fight over the bill ( as in each of us wants to pay it).

R spend the afternoon with Miss G - who is suffering terribly from migraines -

I just think of how much suffering is inflicted on innocent souls like R, my SIL and  Miss G and it makes my heart ache.

I go  to Bush where I got a King's welcome - everyone tells  me that I should just come back and that in 2 years surely I should have seen the error of my ways. I love this company

Miss Lucy 

I hang out with Miss Lucy-as soon as I see her- I knew something is  wrong.

 When I ask- she had had a book club that morning that no-one showed up to. I was super angry on her behalf and she cheered up somewhat. I think people can be very inconsiderate.

We pulled the house off the market

It has not sold in 2 years and we are  EXHAUSTED with reading people's reviews saying its too big/too odd/too old.

I cannot believe that people are coming to look at a 180 K house with 3000 square feet- 5 bedrooms and 4 baths  and a huge half acre backyard and expecting so much .

We are putting it on rent and even if it does not rent - I am just glad that its off the market.

I just don't want any more people walking through our beloved home making nasty comments( really - its just appalling how rude people can be - if a house does not fit your needs - just say that)  .
 I see the realtor pull up the sign and it  feels SO right you know?

 I feel  the house sigh with relief and say  thank you

I stand proudly in front of the house that DH and I have fully paid off, all with our hard saved money

R runs  to the backyard and played in the swings that he played in from when he was 3 and I felt tears come to my eyes at the rightness of everything

Thursday : The last day

Normally I ruin the last day of vacation by mourning the end .

But- as I wake up looking at the Fall which is still in full bloom outside the window in the room of happiness-  I realise that this time I don't.

Its been SUCH  a satisfying week-like eating a really really lovely meal and feeling replete and not like you need to eat any more .

Its also made me think of just how unsatisfactory almost all our vacations are, as R hates new places.

The lack of structure makes him feel bored and there is the endless worry about food and worse drink.

Mrs G is here - she is super sincere and I have told her how worried we are that in the new system there is no structured way to teach fiction and play.

She has taken R to McKay's - a treasure trove of second hand books and kind of a landmark of Knoxville.and they have brought a whole series of books - the Magic School Bus as well as the Arthur Series

She has driven all the way to the cabin - (I am so touched by this- especially since she acts like this is nothing) - as she thinks that R and she need a quiet place to read.

DH and I take one very long walk  and I am delighted to see that he is huffing and puffing as well.( he is very superior about his running abilities and when we are walking frequently asks me if I am "deflated" Hindi word for which there is no English equivalent.)

At every turn of the road there is more stunning view. Its like the forest is saying "So you like yellow green.. wait till you see the orange red I have in store for you. See the pictures below to see what I mean .

R and DH lounge about in the hot tub ( R loves all these sensory pleasures)

R wants a quick set of pictures of the signs around the cabin and we take some last few pictures.

We wait for the sun to go down to do all our chores .

DH and I have resolved to come again next year if we can.

But for now we  say good bye to the beloved  forest.

Until we meet again

A random update of the last days of Summer

"I   wish there was a way to know you're in "the good old days", before you've actually left them." " &q...