The simple pleasures of life!

I got up today while the husband and the kid were still sleeping. Looked around the apartment and saw suitcases, big black trash bags holding stuff other than trash and a few heaps of laundry piled up. We are packing for a move, across countries, yet again.
It was quiet in the house. My tummy was rumbling. I walked out to grab a coffee and muffin from the tiny yet fully functional hole-in-the-wall coffee place just as I walk out of our building. I wonder if I will do that again some time soon. The coffee was heavenly and the day started on a good note. I had started one more round of laundry, folded the previous set, was done with my day’s social media catching up and had my breakfast. Ah the simple pleasures of life!

Last night I swore not to move again, no across cities, across countries moving. I want to settle down in one place and have a base. Packing for trips and holidays is just fine 😉

But like I say and believe “Never say never”. I think I will be ok if I have to move again. This particular move has imparted its share of learnings though.

1. Prioritization – The move to and from New Zealand has resulted in a whole lot of prioritizing. It ranged from things like which clothes to carry, how many shoes, what accessories, which books to what to leave behind in storage, what to donate, what to discard, what needs to be sold, what needs to be done first and last! It has forced me to see what actually figures on the top of my list compared to what I thought would.

2. Emotional detachment – The above process also resulted in breaking those bonds of emotional attachment to that dress that you love but haven’t worn in a year or more! It also taught me that everybody has varying degrees of emotional attachment. I was cool and emotionally unperturbed about giving away or selling furniture from my Bangalore apartment but my mother and my mother-in-law were a little concerned and asked me if it really did not bother me parting with all that stuff! 🙂

3. Sorting – My sorting abilities have definitely improved. When one does the exercise of keep, throw, donate for every material thing that they own, twice in 8 months it is bound to do some good in the related part of the brain. I guess! I wish I could do that for my emotional clutter too. Keep the happy memories and throw the sad ones.

4. De clutter and donate – S and I were discussing that we have cleaned out closets and donated stuff more than ever in our life time. If not for this move we would still have a lot of random junk that we did not use, wear or like! A lot of cleansing up and feel-good has happened. Of course the cleaner, less crowded closet shelves have prompted a few shopping sprees also. But I am also doing what I learnt from my mil, “When you buy 1 of something new, give away 2 of something old.” Try that, eh?

Life is nice. It is not all smooth, perfect and happy always but it is nice. I could ask for a li’l bit of this and that. But while I sip my mocha, looking out at some lovely downtown landscape through ceiling to floor glass windows it seems just fine in the big picture!

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Day 22 – Things to do before I die – Theme post day

This week’s theme post brief in the December 2012 Marathon Blogging event was – Let us lay our hearts open, and talk about our “Bucket List”, 10 things you want to do before you kick the bucket. It may be a plain and simple bucket list, or a contextual subset, 10 adventures you want to try, 10 foods you want to try, 10 holiday locations you dont want to miss, and the list goes on! Run your imaginations wild and entertain us all 🙂 10 is just a number, it will be easy for people to read and interact, else sky is the limit.

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I had made a sticky note for myself about things I wanted to do in the next 5, 10, 15 years here. This was almost a year and half ago.

I am listing the ones not yet completed on that list along with some new ones.

NOTE – This is a work-in-progress list.

– Travel within India – Leh, Jaipur (to get a bandhini saree), Agra (to see Taj Mahal – yes clichéd, but still), Gujarat, backwaters in Kerala (boat house anyone?).

– Travel internationally – Bora Bora Islands (this one is going to be a no-kid-with-the-spouse-only holiday), Italy (for an authentic pizza), London (this time a longer trip), Antarctica, Dubai (to buy gold, yeah right!), be a volunteer at the Olympic games.

– Read books, loads of ‘em and collect all those books for my collection at home. Here is why I love to read?

– Write a children’s book – this one is inspired by my son.

– Take a cruise to Alaska.

– Take N to Disney world. Just once! Before he outgrows love for all those characters.

– Do something that I REALLY LOVE and have natural passion for (money and time not being constraints) – something that makes use of my spatial skills (my friend A says I am good at these), my love for books, decor and photography.

– Watch plays at Ranga Shankara (as long as I’m in Bangalore) and else where too. Addendum to this one – See a broadway show -front row, center 🙂

– Learn to cook amazingly, fabulously, awesome-ly, stupendous-ly and some other -lys. I am such a foodie and love to try new things, eat visually appealing food but I want to be able to make those dishes or at least half of them. Some day!

– And the one dream that I have been harboring since a long time – Live in Manhattan, on the island, even a studio apartment will do or a loft overlooking Central Park (I know I know I am not that rich but it doesn’t cost anything to dream, does it?), walk to work amongst the teeming crowds, watch theatre on Broadway, take the subway, have a picnic in Central Park! – This has been partly fulfilled! I am living in Wellington downtown. The apartment is one of those modern, white, ceiling-to-floor glass windows wala thingies. I walk around to everywhere possible. I use the public transport when needed. The city has a waterfront that I really like and often walk down to. But I am still going to keep this one on the list for sentimental purposes.

What is in your bucket list? 

Day 13 – State of limbo

S and I have been living in this constant state of limbo. This particular overseas assignment has been on unstable grounds since Day 1. I mean it was supposed to be a long-term thingy, say for a year or 2. That’s what we had in mind when we said yes to this offer. But things changed faster than we had imagined and by the time we landed here it was already clear that this was not going to be a smooth ride. Lots of reasons for that – new market, client not too sure about what they want, budget cuts in their orgs etc. So every few weeks we go through this phase where we don’t know how much longer we will stay here – few months, few weeks, few days? And this is not something new for the IT sector. Most of us who have worked in this area are familiar with this scenario. But when it actually happens the practicalities can be very confusing, irritating and can create chaos in your orderly world!

I was fed up with the constant confusion and I joked about it on a couple of occasions saying, I do not know whether to buy 6 onions or 10 at the farmer’s market this Sunday. The same holds true for toilet paper and dishwasher detergent shopping!

Cut to a meeting where S, his boss, his boss’ boss and a couple of other people were discussing different options. At the end of the meeting it was decided that S will stay here no matter what, coz they need his expertise for blah blah blah. Everyone said their byes and have-a-good-days and then some senior boss guy says “S now you can go and buy 2 dozen onions!!”

I am sure the laughter that followed could be heard 2 floors down. And they say men don’t gossip!! *Roll my eyes*

We are back in that state again and do not know what’s going to happen next. Things are in discussion stage. I am okay. I think. Not too happy not too sad, just hanging in there. This has been a lovely experience in many many ways. A lot of my to-do’s from my list of things to do before I die (yes I have one of those and will share it some day) were checked off here.

My brain has already started processing the moving-scenario. If we have to go then I will need to pack 2 different ways – one for the 2 week holiday coming up and another for the move across countries after that. I will have to sort stuff into donate, throw, take along. I will have to clean up the apartment. Aaarrghh!! Just what I did not need before a HOLIDAY 😦

All this when the girls at my regular coffee haunt knew exactly how I have my coffee without me spelling it out 🙂 That, I believe takes true dedication (from both sides) and excellent customer service. Sigh!

This post is part of the Marathon Blogging December 2012. 

Day 10 – Of holiday cheers and thank you’s

We do some Good night prayers as part of N’s bed time routine. So after the peeing, brushing, pjs and story(s) are done we start with this one

Thank you God for the world so sweet, Thank you God for the food we eat.

Thank you God for the birds that sing, Thank you God for everything!

At the end of this we do our personal one liner thank you for something that happened that day or whatever random stuff comes to our mind. We had had a long yet lovely Sunday, attending a birthday party, followed by singing Christmas carols by candlelight, at the city’s Christmas party in the park!

So I said “Thank you God for all the fun we had today and the warm, yummy and fresh doughnuts”.

N said “Thank you God for my glow-in-the-dark saber and for Santa (there was a customary Santa at the party venue).”

5 second pause.

“And thank you God for a beautiful mamma”

😀 I wonder what inspired that but now I know where I come in. After Santa!! Sigh, that smile on N’s face was the-very-cliched-yet-totally-true to-die-for-kinds, it made my day!!

Yay for the holiday season. Loving it with all the early celebrations 🙂

This post is part of Day 10 of the Marathon Blogging December 2012.

Bringing up N!

So the kiddo knows the 6 friends from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, their names and even laughs at some of the jokes in the sitcom.

S and I have seen the soap multiple times and are watching a re-run of it. N watches it with us sometimes. His favorite characters are Joey and Ross in that order 😀

S and I are breathing a sigh of relief! Our kid is on the right path in life. He knows how to laugh his heart out and has good taste!!

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N: I am frustrated mamma.

Me: A little perplexed and slightly clueless “What happened?”

N: Wait, I know what to do. Stop. Breathe. And think.

Me: Wow! Did your teacher teach you that?

N: Nah. I saw it on TV yesterday, in Bubble Guppies.

Me (thinking): Thank God, TV does some good too!

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N: Here you go mamma, you can colour with me using your favourite colour.

Me: My fav is not pink, it is orange. What made you think it was pink?

N (indignantly): You are a girl and girls love pink. It is their fav colour!!

Me (thinking): Hey! Thats gender stereotyping!

Me (saying): Sweetheart, girls do not have to love pink and boys don’t have to love blue! Anybody can choose any colour as their fav.

N: But XYZ (from school) is a girl and she wears pink allllll the time. It is her favorite!

Sigh! Now I need to teach  a 4 year old not to generalize on top of not stereotyping. I wonder how we learnt all that we know…

Books I want to read

My latest list!

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas – watching the TV series based on the book.

the happiest toddler on the block by harvey karp

battle hymn of the tiger mother by amy chua – done!

open by andre agassi – borrowed it from the library today. will get to it soon.

Betsy Brown Braun, author of Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk – Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish – Done

Raising Happiness:10 simple steps for more joyful kids and happier parents – Christine Carter

Raising an emotionally intelligent child – John Gottman

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

Short fat chick to marathon runner – Kerre Woodham

100 shades of white – Preethi Nair – borrowed from the Librarian’s recommendations at my local library – Done

 

Books we have been reading

N and I have been visiting the Wellington library pretty often – once or sometimes twice a week.

He goes to school 3 days a week. On his off days – Monday and Friday we go off on our expeditions! We visit the library or the indoor play area Capital E (which also has books, sponsored by Gecko Press) or Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, which is super kid friendly and has a lot of educational/fun/interesting stuff on display in addition to the museum-y kind of stuff. Sometimes we just hang around at home and step out for a walk or to play in one of the many near-by parks or just for a mommy and son lunch 🙂

We bring almost 15 to 20 new books every week. N chooses some of them and I pick some. So we have a good mix and have been learning quite a lot of new stuff – a good mix of cultural, moral and fun element!

Here are some books that I really liked. Just for your reference (if you don’t know already) N is 3 yrs and 10 mos as of now.

Topsy-Turvy Bedtime by Joan Levine

 This could be just the story at our place on some nights! The last-minute requests for a glass of water or choosing which books to read or “not feeling sleepy” etc. It was fun reading this with N and he tried out some of the tricks too and appreciated the routine and effort it took to keep that routine in place! A good read if you want to change your child’s perspective about bedtime routine (hopefully it shall help with that).

 

 

 

Benny’s Had Enough by Barbro Lindgren

This is such a cute lil story about Benny a piggy who is fed up of being at home where his mommy keeps cleaning up his potatoes and sticks and then she wants to wash his dirty little rag cloth piglet in the washing machine (How could she even think of that, huh!). He decided that he doesn’t want to clean up and leaves home to find a better one (didn’t we all want to do that as kids sometime). But once he steps out he realizes that home is the best place to be and cleaning up is not that bad 🙂 Good read and N sort of empathized with Benny (yes I am a stickler on clean up after play!). But he enjoyed the read and told Benny “Cleaning up is fun Benny, you can sing a song while doing that.” 🙂 The illustrations are very nicely done too!

 

Good For you, good for me by Lorenz Pauli

A book about a dormouse and a bear doing stuff that is good for both of them. Also passes on the message about sharing and taking turns 🙂

 

 

Green eggs and ham by Dr Seuss

I know this is an old Dr Seuss classic and N has read it long back, but he wanted to read again and so we brought it home. N loved reading it again – the whole rhyme and repetition was “awesome” in his words. And here is some trivia about the book.

 

Alex Did It! by Udo Weigelt

A book about 3 naughty hares and how they keep blaming an imaginary hare Alex for everything they do, till a real hare named Alex turns up. Was one of those books with a moral lesson hidden and it helped. We have just started having a li’l bit of fibbing at home, along with stuff like “Not me!”, “someone else did it”, “pretend friend did it” etc. Reading this book where the hares realized its ok to tell people if something bad happened and not okay to blame anyone else – real or pretend helped!

 

 

Waiting for later by Tina Matthews

We really really needed a book like this. N being at the age he is, doesn’t understand the concept of later! It is just now or never. As of now we have to give him clear pointers/reference points like when you are done having lunch and your bath then you can watch a cartoon. Simply saying “Not now, later” does not work, which is fine at this age but eventually he needs to understand. The book helps to learn the concept of waiting via a girl’s story who has to wait, for later, to play with her family and while she waits she understands that later is not that bad at all 🙂

 

We have also started bringing books that N can read on his own. So these are small and thin books with not too many words on each page and a lot of repetition of words. They have different levels to suit self-readers of all types – beginners, intermediate and advanced. He reads one of these series every night (or most nights) and then I or S read 2 other books for him.

We have slowly started the journey to read independently, lets hope N loves that and gets hooked on to it!! Amen.