Observation series – #1

I went to the pediatrician’s office with N, today. While we were waiting, a ten year old boy came to the clinic with his mom. He had a school uniform on, which made me think that he was sent home because he was feeling sick. His mom made him fill up his assessment sheet, himself. An example question was “Does your child have anxiety attacks?” The mother (Indian origin, of course) was dutifully explaining it to her child what anxiety means, and how he does not suffer from the same. Just looking at the discussion made me anxious.  The questions were in second person, addressed to a parent to answer about their child. So I have no idea why the mother thought it was necessary for the child to fill out the questionnaire.

It seems to me that people in CA are much more inclined to stuffing information into their kids. I feel they want to push them beyond their years. Is it due to the competition here? Is it good? Is it bad? I don’t know the answer to these questions. I sincerely hope that I do not become the kind of parent, who pushes her child to stay abreast of competition all the time (for example at a doctor’s office at the time of a sick visit).  All I hope is for N to remember her childhood with fondness, when she grows up.


California Adventures

Recently, the mister and I decided to shake our lives a bit. So after twelve years in Kentucky, we have made a big move to California. Like all other things the move has its pros and cons. If I had to put each in one sentence, here is how I think it impacts our lives:-

Con: – I think day-to-day life is tougher in CA, with longer hours spent away from home; home being much tinier than what we are used to on the East coast.

Pro: – There is so much more to do indoors and outdoors, especially on the weekends.

It has been a month since we moved here and I am absolutely loving planning weekends. Of course, the fact that I am not yet working fuels my enthusiasm for the weekend. Thanks to family visiting, we have been to the following places: –

1. Twin Peaks – gives a bird’s eye view of San Francisco city, including the Golden Gate bridge. It was a tad too crowded for my taste, and it was not even a long weekend.

2. Drive through Golden Gate bridge and Vista Point – absolutely loved it! No mist, no unbearably cold wind.

3. Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and a 60 minute cruise under the Golden Gate bridge – All of us enjoyed it, with Nandita enjoying it the most. Experienced the misty cold air of the bay as we neared the bridge and even little N felt like heading inside the boat. The walk around Fisherman’s Wharf was nice, crowded again. N got gifted a turtle bread from Boudin Sourdough Company, as we were admiring their work on display. I would like to go back for a tour, one day. Enjoyed a crab-cake sandwich (yumm!) at Pier 39.

4. Muir Woods – OMG, if it was closer to home, I would go for a walk every single day. Tall redwood trees; we took so many pictures and all of us agreed that none of the pics did any justice. We did a one hour loop with N running all the way up and back, and I would like to go back for the two hour loop and more. You get the idea! 🙂

5. Lombard Street – A 45 degree drive up in traffic with the car rolling behind before it went ahead was terrifying the first time, and only slightly less terrifying the next. The drive down crooked street is quite pleasant. When you look around you wonder how people live in those slanted homes. I would classify it as a touristy, strictly one-time attraction.

6. Stanford University – Having studied in a university in the US, we feel at home strolling through any university. Like in the university without a car, rocks! So we parked near the visitor center and strolled for an hour and a half. It was with a crowd and three kids, but we promised ourselves we would be back to see the Art Museum, Cactus Garden and more.

7. Happy Hollow Park and Zoo – Went yesterday with N and her cousins. A park and zoo of the perfect size! Went home just sufficiently tired, but not exhausted. I would definitely recommend this park for people with younger kids.

We have enjoyed many of the smaller parks close to home – Shoreline Sailing Park, Washington Park, De Anza Park, Ortega park.

On to Napa Valley tomorrow. Stay tuned for some more adventures of the Rama family.

Things I notice

In the Google Chrome Browser, logged into Gmail, typing in the chat window and noticed that it highlighted “google” as an unknown word! 🙂 

A whole new world!

11 years back when we came to the US of A, I never realized what a big change I made in my life. Being 10,000 miles away from family is not a small thing. I did not realize the magnamity of the decision, back then. I do now!

That said I did not have the fear of moving to a new place, learning new ways and doing new things. Very recently, I have been fortunate enough to get a job in the very university I was educated in. As I walk down the university campus these days, so many things come to mind. I remember, free printouts was a big thing! They used to cost 10 cents a page, equals 4.5 rupees a page. Coming from a world of 50 paise per page, that was expensive! My friend Kan and I heard that the Medical Center had free printouts. So we rushed off in the direction of the Medical Center, to get free printouts of our resume for applying for some cafeteria job postings (!). We saw this tiny standalone building called “Medical Center Annex #5”. We went it and promptly started printing our resume. Imagine the surprise of the people who were sitting inside, not used to students walking in for printouts. Those poor souls let us take the printouts, but told us firmly that this was definitely not the place for free printouts. Ha ha ………. Now that I work in the Medical Center (it is HUGE!) and I pass by the Medical center Annex #5 building on my mid-morning walk, I smile to myself. How young we were! How carefree!

As I was hunting for jobs earlier this year, I remember debating between leaving the comfort of my town (11 years and counting!) versus looking for a job in my small university town. Of course, I chose the later! Moving worlds seems like such a big deal now! Secretly, I admire all friends who have made big moves, across states within the US, or across the seven seas. I hope I can bring in that courage one day, to venture into a whole new world ……… all over again! 🙂

The girl who ….

Read the trilogy by Stieg Larsson: –
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl who played with Fire
The Girl who who kicked the Hornet’s Nest

The plot was fantastic! A must read for all who love mystery/thriler fiction books. Book 1 and 3 were particularly terrific! You just cannot put them down. I’d rate those two as an 8/10. The 2nd book would be a 5/10. Get a friend to tell you what happens in the second book, if you are short on time.

And then I went into this phase, where I saw all three movies, the original Swedish ones, and the English version with Daniel Craig. I have to say the Swedish movie, compared to the English one was far better. The actors, the depiction, the accent (loved it!) seemed much more real than the English counterpart. Again, I would definitely recommend the movies! Thanks Amazon Prime for making them available!

Thats all for today! Have a wonderful day!

What a glorious weekend!

A chat-party picnic with a giant frisbee, a hot summer morning at the local children’s garden, a pool party, a sleepover and a birthday party, interspersed with lots of chatting and loud laughter! Great company! Thanks all you guys, who made our Memorial Day in Lex, memorable.

Usually the mister and I use the Memorial Day weekend to celebrate our anniversary. We pack our bags and head out of town. This time, due to more reasons than one, we decided to stay behind and take it easy. Wait! I remember, we were supposed to start on our painting DIY project. But absolutely no regrets for setting that aside, and having a blast, and catching up on afternoon sleep, thanks to the heat wave.

Dare I say, life is good! 🙂

Savvanah comes undone – Denise Hildreth
Rating – 1/10
Super boring. I think I finished it only because I started it. It got a one, only because someone made the effort to gather their thoughts and put it on paper. It seems like protagonist did not learn anything from her experience from the first book, which was actually good. Enough said!

Death benefit – Robin Cook
Rating – 3.5/10
A typical Tobin Cook thriller. Read it if you are a fan. Had the typical story flow of a Robin Cook novel

Secret of the Nagas – Amish
Rating – 6.5/10
The second book in the Meluha series. I was quite excited to read this book, because I loved the first one. This one turned out to be an interesting read, as well. It was a bit longer than the first book, or at least seemed like it was. Perhaps the love story of Parvateshwar and Anandamayi wasn’t as gripping as Shiva and Sati. In any case, the book picked up speed I’m the end revealing the identity of the Naga. A definite read for people who are trying to follow the series.

Capturing Fire – Suzzane Collins
Rating – 8/10
I recently saw the movie ‘The Hunger Games’. I loved the protagonist of the movie and decided to see what the other two books were about. This is a boom which will make you lose your sleep and make sure you complete it. The movie was so very well cast that the characters just carried this book from beginning to end with great élan. Kudos to the author for writing a book which you can imagine in front of your eyes. You almost cannot get enough of the second Hunger Games.

Mockingjay – Suzzane Collins
Rating – 6.5/10
Broke my rule of not reading books by the same author, one after the other. I just had to find out how the story of Katniss Everdeen ended. I guess I was disappointed that the hunger games did not feature in them at all. (I was one of the crazy readers who missed Howgwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.) It was a depiction of war time between the districts. (I think it will make for a great movie.) You almost become one with the characters and feel their pain. I am currently reeling from the shock of the war ending and the things the characters had to go through. Definite read to figure out the destination of Katniss and Peeta and Gale and Haymitch.

Any good reads that you can recommend?