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?

Floortime Lite Mama

On my life as the mother of an adorable 5 year old with Autism and Apraxia