Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thankfulness and Resolutions

I know I am a little late for the usual Thanks stuff but the start of a whole new year makes one reflective and I figured why do the usual resolutions that break within the first month anyways?
So, here are a few things I am very thankful for:

1) Jeff: It's been 5 years since I met, 3 years since we got married and 2 years since we ghot married again ;-)। Some days it feels like I have known him forever; other times, I feel like we met so late in life that it's not enough time together. Either way though, I couldn't imagine life with anybody else. He's a calming force in my whirlwind life. Anyone who knows me closely knows that I am at my best when I have multiple things going and maybe even when there's a crisis looming on the horizon. I am sure if that's how I lived my life all the time, I'd crash and burn soon. But, Jeff's always there to slow me down, make me relax and just enjoy life.

2) Suheir: My sister moved in with us earlier this year and I wasn't sure how that would work out। I felt a little trepidation; understandable since we hadn't lived together in 11 years. We've had our tiffs, she's the younger one so she reserves the right to be a pain in the butt and I reserve the right as older sister to be the know it all :-). However, it's been really good to have her here. She's known me the longest next to my parents, she's heard all my secrets and she's still my biggest supporter. I couldn't ask for a better younger sister.

3) My parents: All I have to say is they seem to have forgotten anything I did to make them tear their hair out in my younger days। They will always be in my corner, applauding my successes and sharing in my losses. I love and miss my parents.

4) My in-laws: What a word "in-law" is. I don't know how it is in other cultures by Bollywood has perpetuated this image of an in-law that makes us cringe at that word. I am very happy to say that my in-laws are nowheer near those images। I got lucky in that area. I have the most loving and caring in-laws: parents who care about us and have even taken my sister under their wings. I have also gained 2 sisters who share embarrassing stories about Jeff from his childhood. And their husbands couldn't be nicer. So, all in all, I might have picked the best in-laws in the whole entire world.

5) Friends: I have moved around so much I am surprised I have any friends. But, it says something about their tenacity that they've stuck with me through all my adventures and misadventures. I thank all of you for being my pillars and my crying shoulders. I thank you for coming over sick in the rain to help put lights up. I thank you for letting me call you in the middle of the night and complain about anything. I thank you for spending hours in the aisles of DSW helping me find the perfect shoe। I thank you for going to Indian restaurants when you don't even like the food.

6) Co-workers: For my first job, I sure did get lucky। I have a boss who's also a friend. Our puppies are in love with each other. I have coworkers I can tolerate on weekends too.

7) Smokey: How could I forget him? I never thought an animal could invoke the feelings of love that Smokey does. And the love he gives back; it's unconditional and completely trusting. He is the bestest puppy in the whole entire world (as we tell him again and again).

My 1 resolution for the new year would apply to everyone named above: try and be more patient. I am impatient with a hair trigger temper. It does come down as fast as it goes up. But, i resolve to work on being a little more patient with all the people who matter and to stop and smell the roses (cliche but true) every now and then.

With that, I wish you all a happy ending to 2008 and a wonderful beginning to 2009।
सब को २००९ की शुभ कामनाएं!

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Green Card

Got my renewed Green Card. Now, I am legal here for the next 10 years, yay!

Also, big difference in photo:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Festivities

Even though we've alternately been sick in our household, with me almost well and Suheir on her last leg of sickness (Jeff started it all), we've managed to have some fun in the past few weeks.

We got a tree and decorated it. This was Suheir's first Christmas tree decoration at her house (we both went to a Catholic school and would decorate trees at school every year). She got a couple ornaments, one that says "SISTER" and one that is a doctor and has her name on it. Jeff got a Starbucks cup ornament with his favorite beverage on it. Even Smokey got in on the action :-).

Then, Jeff and I got to go to the Lockheed annual holiday dinner and dance. We enjoyed that so much, we danced for close to 3 hours, including to some awesome bhangra music the DJ played. In the 3 years I have gone to this event, this year, I felt the best about myself and in turn, enjoyed myself so much more. And, that was with only one drink the whole night.

Last but not the least, we went to what's becoming an annual tradition at my boss and friend, Kathi's house. She hosts a holiday dinner and gift exchange/steal, where we each bring a gift and then pull numbers to see who goes first. The second person onwards has two choices - pick up a wrapped gift or steal somebody's already unwrapped one. Just like last year, the booze and chocolates were much fought over. Jeff came away with a Magic 8-ball and Suheir stole a Starbucks gift card from Kathi (which I somehow imagine will land in Jeff's stocking). We also surprised Kathi with a candle on a cookie cake, since it was her birthday 2 days later.

As you can see in the pictures, I did not go with the jeans and t-shirt look. I wore a sari. Yay! There's still a slight belly bulge but I felt comfortable enough to wear one and that says a lot about how I feel about myself on a whole. I haven't talked about it much but since the surgery, I've now lost 90 some pounds. I still have 30 to go but having lost what I have, I have so much more energy and pep that I surprise myself. I have loads more self esteem than the same time last year. I think that makes for a better relationship with my family, friends and even coworkers.

Monday, December 01, 2008

My first Thanksgiving dinner

Jeff's mom and dad visited for a few days the weekend before Thanksgiving. Jeff doesn't get time off around the actual holidays so it was nice they came the weekend before. We did a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with them. We roasted a chicken, had crab stuffed mushrooms for appetizers, enjoyed some nice wine, a good football game and wonderful company. Even Smokey ate well that night.

Just an example of how well we dined:

National Museum of Crime and Punishment

It was awesome!!! We really enjoyed it; Suheir got to see what being in a lineup felt like and Jeff and I practiced passing time in lockup.

Click on any photo to see the rest of the photos; they are cool!

I guess I am not the best driver

So, my Honda Element was taken in to the shop today because I could hear air escaping from the power steering and one of the tires looked really low and well, it was due for maintenance. And among the things they need to do is to flush and fill the power steering fluid. Why does that need to be done?

The power steering fluid flush is due to the fact that the fluid was both low and very dirty. They said this could be from heavy use of the power steering (i.e. cranking the wheel all the way over often or for long periods of time. this will bur and burn off fluid).

Another thing they need to do is align the tires. The alignment on the tires was poor and the tires were wearing unevenly. Caused by potholes, bumping curbs, speed-bumps, etc.

Umm, I guess I should stop driving my car like a NASCAR driver :-(

Please visit us

Now, it's not that we're starved for company or are tired of each other's company. But, Jeff and I would like to request that somebody from our group of family, friends or acquaintances visit us once a month. The reason being I need motivation to clean. When my in-laws were here last month, I spent 3 days cleaning the house from top to bottom. Furniture was moved, things were dusted, dead bugs were vaccuumed and Smokey was bathed. And now, a mere 2 weeks later, our house is filthy. I lay down on the living room floor (my stomach was acting up and the only way to make it fel better is to lie on it, another story for another time), and I realized how dirty the carpet was. Granted it was right by the door we come in and go out of, right by the patio and the dirt and the mulch but still. It made me sad. I now my weakness. I will clean if somebody is about to visit.

So, please won't you help us out and accounce a visit?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Over a month with nothing

Wow, this might be the longest this blog has gone without seeing me. Not that nothing's happened. I was in Philadelphia for work, then New York for work, then Philadelphia for my sister's exam.

We were in D.C. yesterday and managed to visit the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Very neat. We were planning on being there for an hour or so. 3 hours later, we came out and we were famished. It was really interesting, starting from torture devices and procedures from medeival times to explanations of medical examiner procedures of today.

Next week, Jeff's parents are in town for afew days, which is exciting. The last time theys aw our condo, it was just wooden beams and a roof. Now, it's a house. The weather forecast is sucky but we're hoping it stays nice for at least 1 outing to D.C. We'd like to take them to the Washington Monument, since we bought tickets to go up into it. And, we'd like to see the Newseum. We also had plans to take a boat-taxi through the Baltimore inner harbour and go see a bunch of things around there. Not if it rains.

So, look for some cool pictrues from the NCMP soon and maybe from D.C. and Baltimore next week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Almost 1 year out

October 30 last year., I had my stomach shrunk to the size of a small coin purse, if you may. Almost a year later, and I am going in tomorrow to egt my gall bladder removed. I even saw the big shiny stones on the MRI.

But, that's not really what I wanted to talk about. We went to Six Flags on Sunday for a Lockheed Martin employee picnic. I got on rides with my sister and for the first time since we went to Busch Gardens in 2006, I felt comfortable. What I never mentioned in that post on June 2, 2006 was that they had to ask me to sit back just a little more so they could tighten the restraint and they asked a gentlman behind me to get of the ride because he wouldn't fit in the seat. That whole ride, I was scared my restraint would give way and I would fall to my death. And last year, when we took my dad to my company's picnic, I did not get on any ride because I was embarrassed I wouldn't fit into any seats.

Not so this year. They even pushed the restraints down all the way and I was happy. I enjoyed the rides without fearing the belts were going to open up and I was going to die a splattery death.

I had forgotten how much I lvoe roller coasters!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Interesting CAPTCHA

The little things

This is why I love my husband so so much!

Y'all probably read about my foray into American Eagle Outfitters on Sunday.

Yesterday, Jeff walks into the house after work with a pair of brand new jeans for me from Penney's. He spent his luch hour looking for the widest legged jeans, since they didn't have any flares.

Isn't he the absolute best?

I love you babu!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy, shiny post!

It's time for a shiny new post about family outings and vacations, to get my mind off other things that have happened. Jeff and I made it out to our very first vcation since getting married in India, that involved no stress, just relaxation. Vegas. My first time. Came back a little underwhelmed but thoroughly enjoyed the time with Jeff and some of the shows we saw. We stayed at the Ex Calibur, which was at one end of the Strip, closest to the airport. It was a decent enough hotel, large room, nice clean shower, Starbucks in the hotel ... Jeff was in heaven. Getting a taxi at the airport to get to the hotel was interesting. You have lines setup like at Disneyland rides and you wakl up and down the roped off rows till you get to the front and a guy asks how many and sends you to a numbered pole where a cab picks you up.

The first night we got there, we had tickets to a dinner and a show at the Bellagio, for Cirque de Soleil's 'O'. The hotel and the theater were both amazing. The roof in the foyer of the hotel is made of hand blown tulips that are backlit. The hotel also had possibly the largest chocolate fountain I have ever seen. I wanted to break through the glass and stick my head under the stream. We had dinner at their asian fusion restaurant, Sensi, and it was amazing food.

The second day, we had a tour of the Hoover Dam and Ethel M. Chocolate Factory. The Hoover Dam was amazing, probably the highlight of our trip. You feel really small when you look down on it. We got to go down into the tunnels and see the generators. Then, we stopped at the chocolate factory where we saw gourmet M&Ms and the most delicious liqour and cocktail chocolates. On the way back from there, we stopped for lunch at the first casino over the border and saw Lake Mead, the world's largest man made lake.

On the way back to Vegas, our tour guide made a little detour and showed us a group of Big Horn Sheep, which are apparently on the endangered list. We also saw how sudden rain in Vegas turns into flash floods and is really bad for traffic.

That night, we took the train down to the other end of the strip to the Treasure Island and watched the Sirens of Treasure Island, which was like a Risque Revue thrown together with the boys from Stomp. Not that good. On our way back, we stopped in at the Hooter's Casino to see if their Dixies Dam Country Bar was open. No such luck, so we just ate there; the food was worse than at regular Hooters'.

Our third day there, we took the train again to the Imperial Palace for the The Auto Collections. Jeff might pick this as his favorite part, even though we spent less than an hour in there. Then we went to Harrah's for their Flavors Buffet, which was possibly the best $15 we spent per person. We also had complimentary tickets to a comedy magic show which included2 drinks but you had to pay 10 bucks for the drinks; it was all weird but it was semi-entertaining.

What I forgot to mention about Cirque's 'O' earlier was that we were both a bit underwhelmed. It was really cool; it was done with water and people diving off from wya high etc. But, we got tickets to another show, KA, which was at the MGM Grand. It had a little more acrobatic stuff but between the two, 'O' was definitely more interesting but KA had a better story line. I'll go see another Cirque as long as it's not in Vegas because I think that inflated the prices a lot.

Math problem?

I am at the McDonalds' drive thru. I get a small coffee and my total is $1.06. I hand the young lady $1.26. She looks at it, looks at her screen, enters something on her lvoely touch screen, opens her till, puts my money in there and closes it. She looks at me like, "can I help you with something?"

I ask politely, "My total was $1.06, right?" she nods. I say, "I'm sorry but I gave you $1.26." It's only 20 cents but now it's an issue of principle. The cash register would have told you what my change should be if you'd punched in the right amount.

She tries opening her till unsuccessfully and tells me to ask the guy at the next window where I get my food. I drive up to the next window and tell him she owes me 20 cents but told me to ask him yadda yadda yadda. He yells back at her in Spanish; they have some sort of back and forth and he comes back with change in his fist. I take it and start driving away.

I open my wallet to put it in and notice they gave me 16 cents back. It's not even the 4 cents; I mean really it's not going to break my bank. But, WTH?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

AE, you've lost my business forever. And my family's.

Back story: The mall near our house, The Mall in Columbia sends me emails of various specials going on there. Last week, it had a mention of American Eagle Outfitters. You could go in and try on jeans and get a free movie ticket; if you bought the jeans, you got 2 tickets.

What I did immediately: Went online to their store to see if they carried my size. Habit from 80 lbs ago, need to check if they even have my size. Well, they carry up to a 14 online, and since I am anywhere from a 10 to 14 now, I started looking at different styles. Initial plan was to just go try on some jeans and get free movie tickets. But, I saw a pair of dark blu flares for $30 that looked nice and I could justify the price by the 2 free movie tickets I would get.

At the store: Jeff, my sister and I walk in and there are 3 salespeople at the front door, talking. One of them truns to us and greets us. I asked him what sizes they carried in men's since I forgot to look online and he says "upto 42." Me: "Ok, do you have 38 or 40?" Him: "Oh no, you'll be better off ordering that online but we can ship it to your house for free if you order it here." Then, he turns around and goes off to do something very important. Now, having worked retail at Bed, Bath and Beyond in the last 6 months, I have learned that you get that sale if you can. You don't let the customer walk away. You ask if you can help them place the order right away etc. But, whatever.

Dressing room: My sister and I find some jeans and walk over to the dressing rooms. The same guy opens them for us. We try stuff on. I realize the size 14 I picked up was the wrong style so I try the size 12 flares and find them just a wee bit tight. Like, if I didn't want to eat or breathe, they'd be perfect. The guy comes back and gives us a movie ticket each and walks away as I am standing their holding the pair of jeans in my hands, mouth half open to start to ask a question.

The end: I walk out of the dressing room area adn the guy turns to me and asks if the jeans worked. I asked him to help me find 14s in the same style. He walks over to the jeans. while he's walking, I ask: "There was a pair of flares I saw online that were $29.50 and I don't see them here." His response, said with a really insulting tone: "I don't understand what you are asking me." Me, slightly flustered because I thought I spoke in perfect English, without mumbling: "Ummm there was a pair of dark blue flares I saw online ..." He cuts me off with: "Well these must be it," pointing to a rack of $50 jeans. Me: "No, they were $30 online." Him: "well, then you should just order them online." He then looked at the rack where I had originally pulled my jeans from, for maybe 10 seconds and points to my hands with: "I don't see those in a 14." He then walks away.

Just remember to read his words with a slight teenager like angst mixed with an insulting undertone.

I walked out of the store and I really just wanted to break something. Instead, I started crying. I wish I had gotten his name. I wish I'd had the nerve right there and then to tell him he was being insolent and insulting and that was no way to treat customers when you are in customer service. But, I didn't. I let him make me feel fat, unimportant, worthless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flaming Ass Liberal

That's what I was called on another blog in the Wide World of Webs we all blog in. I am not linking to that blog or post because I can't remember how I stumbled upon it and I am not starting what youngins call a "flame" war. I just want your input.

The topic was about guys giving up their seats in a bus for gals. Whereas the blog authoress felt that this should be an inherent right of women, I disagreed. In my own words, "unless I look feeble, really old, obviously pregnant or in my dying throes, I can manage to stand along with other fully abled men and women." I hold strongly to my position. Why should I be afforded special courtesies just because I was born with 2 X chromosomes? I hold doors open for men. I think if somebody's right behind somebody else, regardless of each one's gender, holding the door open is a common courtesy. I don't expect a man to hold a door open and stand there in an obsequent manner waiting for me to pass through, touching a hand to his hat brim ... wait, that's a doorman.

I expect to be called ma'am by people who don't know me the same way I call people ma'am and sir. I expect to be helped if I am struggling with too many bags of groceries and trying to get a door open, the same way I would help another human being. I expect to be offered a seat if I hobble on to a bus or train on crutches just like I would give up my seat for somebody who can obviously not stand through the ride. I expect not to have a door closed in my face if I am right behind somebody walking through it just like I don't close it on the person right behind me. Regardless of their gender.

I don't think men who afford special courtesies to women all believe we of the fairer sex are also weaker or should stay at home quilting and baking pies (mmmm pies) while they go slay dragons everyday. But, I also believe that if we ASK to be treated like the weaker sex, we are truly dragging the women's movement back a few decades. We are agreeing with those who say we cannot fight alongside the men in our country's army. With those who say that our emotions get the best of us and that's why we cannot lead a nation.

If that makes me a flaming ass liberal, so be it. I'll wear that button proudly and siplay the sticker on my car.

Friday, August 08, 2008


How often have you struggled to explain what you do to a family member, a friend in another country, the hobo living under the bridge?

This is a definition I pickd up from the comments of this entry:

"Users need to handle two basic problems:What should I do? Which is defined by the user (or for the user by someone else) and how do I do it? Which is defined by the application creator.Better usability results in less allocation of mental resources to answer this question.So, basically, usability is about reducing the users’ mental burden by providing good answers to the ‘how’ problem, thus allowing them to concentrate on the ‘what’ problem."

Do you agree? How would you define it in 5 or less sentences?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Baltimore Restaurant Week

July 26 - August 3 is Baltimore Restaurant Week. Last year, Jeff and I ate at a very nice restaurant in Baltimore and we thought we'd repeat that this year. We were deciding between Tabrizi's and Spice Co., because both their menus looked scrumptuous. We decided to try Tabrizi's on Sunday because it was closer to us. We drive into the parking lot, beautiful view! They seat us out on the patio where we look out onto the Inner Harbour and people's boats.

Lovely weather, pleasant service, we are having fun talking through our appetizers: baby octopus and calamari in a lime chili sauce for Jeff and grape leaves for me. We couldn't remember to take the photos till after the food was gone!

We got there at 5:30 so we were the only ones out on the patio. Till 2 other ladies walk out and are seated 2 feet away from us. The whole patio is empty, with more than 20 tables and they seat them right next to us. That ended the conversation for us because it felt intrusive. I could hear their whole conversation and didn't want them to hear ours.

Our meals were good, not exceptional; pork medallions with caramelized bacon and spinach salad for Jeff and duck with fresh berries and a salad for me.

The desserts: creme brulee and baklava were so so. I might even say the baklava I make at home is better (at least Jeff agreed with me).

Even though the dinner was a bit disappointing and we won't be going back to this place, we really enjoyed being out; just the twi of us. It's been a while since we've just been out, talking and enjoying each other's company. After dinner, we took a stroll down by the side of the restaurant and looked at the boats docked there and then just sat on a bench and talked for an hour or so. It was really nice. It also made us realise that even if we have to schedule this into our busy days, we need to do this more often.

Between his job and my jobs, and family calls, and keeping track of friends, and cleaning the house and getting the dog his shots and making sure my sister is still alive in her dungeon (well, it's the second bedroom really), we lose track of us. We say good morning, kiss hello when we get home, kiss good night, call each other in the middle of the day but never really have time to talk. About us, about our life ... it was nice to reconnect that way this weekend and to realize how much in love we still are.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I started a running regime today. My trainer had told me several ways of doing cardio running but he said the best would be to reach the following goal:

5 minutes run at 5 miles an hour or more, 1 minute walk; continue for approximately 45 minutes.

What I did today:

2 minute run at 4.5 mph, 2 minute walk, for 20 minutes.

I think I am halfway thre :-)

Now I just have to keep this up till I reach the goals he set for me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Darwinism, work your magic

This is what we saw on our way to the movie theater last night on I-100:

She was flashing and mooning the car to their left and kept jumping up in her seat and blowing kisses.

I wrote down the license plate number but i didn't know what to do with it. Call 911?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Los Angeles: The Wedding and other fun stuff

(Click on any photo to see the associated set in Flickr!)

We were in thousand Oaks, CA for my sister-in-law's wedding. Jeff's youngest sister got married to her long time boyfriend on the most beautiful day in CA. But, first things first. We flew out there on June 5th and after painting some ceramic mushrooms for Kelly, we all went out to dinner. This was the first time the 2 families had met.

Day 2 was pretty lazy, laying around the pool at the hotel and then Jeff and I attended the rehearsal dinner.

Day 3 we visited family and I forgot my camera :(.

Day 4 was the wedding. We'd been worried about the heat since it was an outdoors wedding, Jeff was wearing a tuxedo and L.A. temps in June have gone above 100. But, the weather cooperated, it was a nice 83 degree day with a slight breeze. The setting was beautiful with lots of flowers and birds. My parents met some of Jeff's uncles and aunts and a very fun time was had by all.

Day 5 we took my parents and sister to the site where we got married in 2005, since they'd been unable to attend.

Day 6, we took my parents to the airport for their flight back to India.

Day 7, we all went to the Santa Monica pier and beach and just relaxed. We read books, napped, had good Mexican food and enjoyed the sun and the sand.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I have an excuse: we've been so busy for the last month we've barely remembered how to breathe. My parents came over on May 17th and for the next 2 weeks, we were pretty much go-go-go. We took them to Red, Hot and Blue, a southern-style barbecue joint in Laurel, MD. We also went to a co-worker's housewarming where my parents and sister enjoyed the food and the sun. Jeff and I played croquet where I kicked arse.

We also took them to The Melting Pot in Columbia, MD where we had a little too much of very good food.

We also went to the happening place in Annapolis and sat outside Pussers and had wonderful food while watching people show off their boats.

The fun hasn't ended yet. The weekend after that found us at The Taste of Morocco in Silver Spring, MD to enjoy some awesome food and belly dancing. My sister even got up to learn. The same day we'd also gotten Ken to take some family photos of us.

This isn't even the end. Then, we flew to CA for Jeff's youngest sister's wedding and we had another 7 days of sun, fun and surf! Another post to come soon.

(Click on any image to go to the Flickr set for that image)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ignored but not forgotten

I blame Facebook for keeping me away from my blog. When I can play scrabble with my husband on it, update statuses by the minute, see what friends are upto ... why would I come here?

But, I feel bad for my neglected blog and since I reached somewhat of an important milestone in the post-surgery weightloss scheme of things, I thought, "what a good time to post."

First things first, we celebrated Jeff's 32nd birthday and his 5th surprise birthday party in a row on March 29th. He was scared, just like last year, when a bunch of people yelled out "Happy Birthday." But, the food was good, the company was awesome and a good time was had by all. One funny thing, the cake was made by the aunt of the guy who managed the party. He explained to her over the phone, in Spanish, that we wanted "Happy Birthday To Our Mac Genius" on it. The cake came back with "Happy Birthday Tour Mac Genius."

Click on the image to view more photos from the party.

Workwise, I am up to 6 projects at work, 2 that are fully on, with 14-16hours of just meetings a week. 1 we just delivered test results to, so hopefully it's gone. 2 that have just disappeared, that eminds me, I should send emails to the project sponsors asking what's up. Last but not the least, 1 project that came back to us and asked for the 2 people who worked on it last year because we were awesome! So, busy at work.

Added to that, I started working part-time, 2-3 nights a week, at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I am finding it fun, in a whole different way than my day job. It helps that now I can buy things for the house without having to wait for the 20% off coupons as well. Also, since Jeff works weekends and nights, I am avoiding the regular couchathon in front of the TV that used to last for hours till he'd get home.

Last weekend, I reached 60 lbs on my weight loss journey. I have 60 more to go to be right in the middle of that healthy range all the BMI charts seem to savor. However, I am setting a goal of another 30 lbs to feel good and healthy for myself. Towards that goal, I joined a local gym that's down the road from my work. Lockheed subsidized our membership fees so we received $20 off monthly rates and in addition, Lockheed gives us upto $250 back every calendar year for gym memberships.

All in all, life is good!