Monday, December 07, 2009


This is going to piss off some people.

I do not like, actually, I absolutely detest being put into the category of a WLSer, for the sole reason of telling me what I should or should not be eating. I am 2 years out and even though I had surgery then, that does not define who I am. It does not define how I live my entire life and it does not define the entire me.

I can eat whatever I want, in lesser quantities than I used to. I have to be more careful about my nutrient intake. However, I do not go out of my way to find WLS friendly meals. In my ind, everything can be WLS friendly. I want pizza? Hell yeah, I eat pizza. Only a slice, compared to half a pizza I could eat before, but I still eat the damn thing when I want it. Want candy? Hell yeah, I eat a square or two of that coconut Lindt bar I love. 2 years ago, I was eating the whole bar at 1 go. Want a beer? I drink that too. *gasp* Did some WLSer just fall over. Well, tough effing luck.

I got this surgery to get me back on track, not to limit my life forever. I count my calories. I count my protein grams. I might fall back every now and then but I am always on my right track. I very much dislike the line of thought that we have to avoid certain foods for the rest of our lives. Yes, some people could get physically sick from breads, alcohol, sugar, whatever and they should avoid them. But, if it doesn't make you sick and your body craves it, and you deny your body that? how is that different from every other fad diet you've ever tried? Eventually, you WILL crash and eat a whole bucketful of M&Ms. So, just give in and have 2 right now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

No such thing asa flawless marriage

According to Michelle Obama, "The image of a flawless relationship is ... unfair to the institution of marriage, and it’s unfair for young people who are trying to build something, to project this perfection that doesn’t exist.”

I just ran across an interview of Barack and Michelle Obama regarding their marriage and the struggles they've come through and thought that Michelle's comment above is so true. She also states that nobody tells you marriage is going to be hard when you are getting into it. At the time of the wedding, everyone's concern seems to be the dress and whether you love each other or not. Yes, love trumps all, but it's hard work and perseverance too. Now, I am not sure I could come up with something tougher than trying to make a marriage work while the eyes of the whole entire world are trained on you; so, I think we can learn from her words.

Marriage isn't all roses and sunshine. The days that are full of smiles are the easy ones. Tough are the days when you don't agree with your spouse, when you feel like you could strangle him/her because how could he/she be such an ass, when you might not be able to stand to even speak to him/her ... and those days are there. All of us in relationships can attest to that. Because honestly, it would be hard to find 2 people who agree on every single thing. If it isn't politics or religion you disagree on, it could be on how to discipline your children, or how often and how long to walk the dog for, it could even be the faucets you want in your redesigned bathroom. I don't think it matters what you disagree on, it's how you disagree and how you come out of the disagreements.

Let me tell you, being a woman has its advantages. A couple tears down my cheeks and I could probably have Jeff agreeing to anything I want. But, that's fighting unfair. We've had our share of arguments and I'm sure there are more than a few in our future. However, we have yet to resent each other for any of our arguments or any decisions that came out of those arguments. Yes, we've only been married 4 years, come December, but I don't think it's wrong to share what's working for us, is it?

1. No unfair tactics. I don't cry just so he'll give up and say yes.
2. No name calling. Just like they taught us in debate, we attack the position, not the person.
3. Take a few minutes away from each other if the tempers start rising.
4. Don't go to bed angry. I know there are both sides on this, but I also know from experience that going to bed without resolving the issue just leads to a night of bad sleep and heartburn. See #3 if resolution doesn't happen fast; cool your jets and come back to the issue.
5. Kiss and make up at the end, no matter who won or even if you decided to agree to disagree.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This is a test

This is where I piss off half the civilized world

and I don't care. Even though I have strong feelings on this topic, I have never really expressed them for fear of upsetting people. Well, eff people (see? I am still concerned about upsetting people so I won't even swear properly).

Let me give this a little pre-note: this isn't aimed at any generation except mine and the ones after us. Why? Because our generation seems to be so gung-ho on environment issues and not leaving a big carbon footprint. We buy Hybrids, and use recyclable bags in grocery stores. We throw daggers with our eyes at people who dare throw their soda can in the garbage. Well, you know what the largest freakin' carbon footprint is? Children.

This is where y'all attack me like zombies and eat my brains for a mid-noon snack.

But, hear me out first, as you sharpen your steak knives and start the big pot of water boiling. It's no surprise that the world population is headed towards disaster. When I was little, even the Prime Minister of India started a campaign that said: Hum Do, Hamare Do. It translates literally to: Us Two, Ours Two which implies that stick to 2 children. Why? Because that keeps the population from rising. the implication being a mother and father will die and the 2 children pretty much replace their space on earth. Well, with advances in medicine, more people started living longer and the replacement figures didn't really work. And, people were still having more than 2 children. So, the campaign actually changed to asking people to only have one child.

Think about it. The question isn't whether you can support your children or not (unlike the Octomom in CA, who can't but went for it because God will somehow help her or Cable TV). The question is can the environment, can Mother Earth really handle it? And how selfish for somebody to say that they don't care; they'll have as many kids as they can afford. Do they give thought to a future 100 years down the road? Will there be enough resources; water, oil, even frickin' land to support those generations? How selfish to not think about that. According to the UNFPA, "In the next century, temperature is expected to increase by 6.4 degrees Celsius, resulting in change in climatic patterns leading to intense tropical storms, floods, water scarcity, loss of glacier melt-water, food shortages and health crisis, the report said." Also, "Slower population growth... would help build social resilience to climate change's impacts and would contribute to a reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions in the future," the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says.

Have 1 kid if you want; have 2 if you REALLY think you need to. But, any more than that, and you are increasing the burden on the environment. And people like the Duggars, with their 19, in my eyes, are committing crimes against humanity.

Oh, and people who keep having children because they are waiting for a girl or a boy ... that's a whole another crazy and a different post waiting to happen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This & That

Posted this in the wrong blog!!!

When I am already behind in my Christmas shopping!!!!!! Usually, by October, I either have everything bought or a very definitive idea of what it's going to be. Out of the 9 people, I want to do gifts for this year, I have already given 1 hers early, I have bought for 1 and I kind of have an idea for a couple other people. but, the rest, I am lost.

I also need to plan our Thanksgiving dinner menu. We're probably going to spend the actual day at Anjuli and Mike's again BUT I'd like to do something at my house as well.

We won't be home for Christmas this year. for the first time in probably decades, Jeff has a job where he gets holidays off. So, we're off to spend X-mas with the Williams' side of the family in LA and then on to India to celebrate New Year's with the Khajuria clan. But, in those travels, we'll miss our wedding anniversary. We fly on the afternoon of the 29th from LA and we get in very late on the 30th in India, which will be our 4th anniversary.

Another reason I'm grumpy is Halloween. We do have plans for friends to come over BUT people aren't responding. there are a lot of "maybe"s. What's up with that? just say yes or no. I am grumpy enough to just cancel it. Which is weird for me; I love entertaining. I love having people over, cooking and creating new cocktails or bringing out old ones. But, this year, I am just Scroodgilicius. Maybe it's all the hospitals I have been in or the fact that the darn insurance still hasn't straightened it all out. Whatever this is, I hope I snap out of it soon. I don't like this person who cannot seem to enjoy shopping or planning for a party! This is not the me I know and love!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mars vs. Venus

There's been some hubbub out in the blogworld about the whole men and women thing and do we think differently and do men do some things wrong on purpose so we won't ask them to do it again. I thought about this long and hard and I've been known to accuse Jeff of doing that. But, i don't think, at least in his case, that that's the case at all. Let's point out some things:
1. Folding laundry: he folds the towels and t shirts differently than I do. Does the world end? No. Do they not fit entirely as cleanly in the drawers as they would have my way? Maybe. After some years of marriage, did I give up on having them folded "my" way to just enjoy the convenience of a husband who will do laundry without asking? HELL YES!
2. Loading the dishwasher: he won't always put the smaller bowls on the top. Used to bug the sh!t out of me. Do I care anymore? Ummm, nope. He does the dishes; the man actually LIKES doing the dishes, he can do them whatever way he damn pleases.
3. Finances: I do them all. I create our budget, tell him what we can spend on what each month. Does it bug me that he doesn't pay the bills? Actually, no, because this is where I believe that each one of us has his/her strengths. I enjoy dealing with numbers, doing our taxes, looking at our accounts. So, he lets me do it. If I may speak for him, I'll even say he wouldn't like to do it all. Trust me, he's said it.

Electrical stuff: He can do it all. I couldn't care less. What, honey? you want the Phillips head? Sure, that's something I can do and then get out of your way.

And, if I happen to thank him for vaccuuming the house one Sunday, he thanks me for cooking every day. I don't think thanking the other person for something that is supposedly a house chore and should be done no matter what makes it a big deal. (This came from something out there that why should a wife have to thank her husband for taking the garbage out or doing laundry or something similar).

We each have our own strengths and ways of dealing with situations. A marriage will rarely be 1/2 and 1/2. Maybe 5/8 and 3/8 or 2/5 and 3/5. But, you'll never be able to split everything down the middle. It's technically infeasible. I cook and do the finances. He does the handyman work and vaccuum. Every now and then, I vaccuum. Should I not be doing that since that's "his" chore? We both take the dog and the garbage out. I don't let him touch the mailbox. Actually, I should just take his key away. But, the point is a marriage is a partnership, not a contract.

I can't figure out how to end this, so here's a quote from Joseph Barth: "Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up."

I agree with it wholeheartedly, for both sides, the man and the woman.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Goodbye to little kitties

No, nobody's little pets died or anything. What happened was that I stayed in a house with 2 cats this last weekend. And, it proved to us that we can never have a cat in our house again. not unless I like the feeling of not being able to breathe and getting up in the middle of the night to suck on my inhaler or finishing 2 boxes of tissues per day.

It sucks. I loved Bandit and I would have loved to have gotten another little kitten someday. But, apparently my body has different ideas about this.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I've tried every brand of make-up out there, except for Avon. Today, thanks to Karen, I tried some Avon products, including a line called Smooth Minerals. I ordered a couple lipsticks that claimed to be extralasting. Anyone who knows me I love my CoverGirl Outlast All Day lipstick. The lipsticks from Avon aren't like CoverGirl. the CG ones go on like paint and once on, they don't come off; sometimes I'll wake up the next morning and it's still on. And while I love the fact that they don't come off, they tend to get a little hard on your lips if you forget to use the topcoat every few hours. The Avon lipstick is smooth, very light and stayed on for hours. It is not transfer resistant as the website declares which I learned upon seeing a perfect lip mark on top of my dog's head. I believe I'll keep them at work where I am not kissing people but I need something that'll stay for hours.

On to the Smooth Minerals. I ordered the set that came with 2 foundations, a blush and a transparent glow fiishing powder. I used all 4 and let me tell you I'm surprised at how it still feels like I have nothing on my face. It's very light. In my bathroom at 5:30 a.m. I almost felt like I wasn't getting enough on my face. But, I just took a photo under strong light at work and I think it looks just perfect for work. Light with just a slight hint of blush. The only thing to be seen is if it stays through the day. My blush seems to fade away by lunch time.

This is what it looks like now:

So, if you've wanted to try the Avon line, please go on over and browse. you also get free shipping if your order is at least $30.


Who is? I am!
Ok, backing up a bit. My dear hubby is very excited about the fact that we can now send pics via text messages to each other on the iPhone. this morning, I got one from him and feeling pretty, I decided to take a photo of my smiling face to send back. Since I get up before him and leave way before him, he doesn't usually egt to see what I look like all day long (I'm in my jammies as soon as I get home).

So, I grab the iPhone, turn it around, smile broadly and click. Turn it around and SCREAM! When did all those wrinkles pop up around my eyes? On one hand, I'd love to just call them smile lines and be done with it but on the other hand, I am horrified. I am only 32 and those seem like a LOT of wrinkles.

P.S. Yes I know those Yeti eyebrows could use some work too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our names (courtsey of

Italian and English: from Roman legend. Rhea Silvia was, according to mythological tradition, the mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded Rome. Her name probably represents a reworking, by association with Latin silva wood, of some pre-Roman form. It was borne by a 6th-century saint, mother of Gregory the Great, and has always been relatively popular in Italy. Shakespeare used it as a typically Italian name in his Two Gentlemen of Verona, but it is now completely established in the English-speaking world. Variant: English, Scandinavian: Sylvia.
Cognate: French: Sylvie.

English: of Germanic (Frankish and Lombard) origin, introduced to Britain by the Normans. It was in regular use among the counts of Anjou, ancestors of the English royal house of Plantagenet, who were descended from Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou (1113–51). Godefroy de Bouillon, leader of the First Crusade, is commemorated in Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata (1581). It was a particularly popular name in England and France in the later Middle Ages; notable bearers in England include the poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1340–1400) and in Wales the chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth (Gaufridus Monemutensis; d. 1155). The original form and meaning of the elements of which the name is composed are disputed. According to one theory, the name is merely a variant of Godfrey; others derive the first part from the Germanic elements gawia territory, walah stranger, or gisil pledge. Medieval forms can be found to support all these theories, and it is possible that several names have fallen together, or that the name was subjected to reanalysis by folk etymology at an early date. Variant: Jeffrey.
Cognates: French: Geoffroi. Italian: Goffredo. Spanish, Portuguese: Godofredo. Welsh: Sieffre. Irish Gaelic: SiothrĂșn.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Better late than never Thanks!

I have been wanting to write this for over a month now but life kept getting in the way and I didn't know exactly how to say it. I have so much gratitude in my heart for these people who kept me sane the day of my accident and afterwards (in the order of appearance, not gratitude):

1. My sister: She was the first one I called. I was still strapped to my seat, lying on my side. I called to tell her I'd been in an accident and she immediately drove over. I have no idea what must have been going through her head when she saw the helicopters, the emergency vehicles, all the people milling around and the wreckage that was my car, but the whole time, including the ride to the hospital, she was cool as a cucumber. I am sure she'll make a wonderful doctor one day.

2. The stranger: don't know his name, can barely remember his face. Older African-American gentleman. While other people were walking around my car, peering through the windshield, he pro-actively climbed on top of the passenger side, got the door opened, got my seat belt unfastened and helped me stand up. He talked to me the whole time till the paramedics got there. He helped get my purse out of the car and when they loaded me into the ambulance, he placed it inside. I would have left it all in the car if it'd been up to him. And, once he saw the paramedics had me, he said goodbye and left. I really wish I knew where to find that wonderful, kind soul.

3. The policemen, the EMTs and the paramedics: They took care of me so quickly once they got there that I had no time to panic. I think they don't get enough recognition. They had to deal with onlookers, with me who wanted to know if I could fly 2 days later, my sister who wanted to ride with them, while they were trying to ensure I hadn't done major damage to my spine, head, internal organs etc. At no time did they seem impatient or rushed, yet they got me on the stretcher, immobilized and on the way to the hospital in no time.

4. Everybody at University of MD Medical Center shock Trauma Unit: you guys made me feel like no matter what had happened, I'd come out of there ok. Thank you!

5. Kathi: my previous boss and still good friend: I'd called her right after calling Suheir (my sister) to tell her that I probably wouldn't be at work the next day. She showed up at the hospital and managed to get inside to see me after telling them she was my sister-in-law. Seeing her and Suheir at my side while they did all the initial tests kept me very, very sane.

6. My parents: I don't have enough words to express how much closer I am to my parents than when I left their home in 1997. I cannot imagine the pain a parent feels when their child is hurt. I just know that they showed up to the hospital and held my hands and kept me smiling till it was time for me to go into surgery.

7. Jeff: poor Jeff, he got messages from me, Kathi and Suheir about the accident because he was underground in the Washington Metro system when the accident happened. He got home somehow, picked up my folks and brought them to the hospital. I have no idea if I'd have stayed as strong or collected if the situation has been reversed (and I never want to find out either).

8. Brenda, Anjuli and Mike: I cannot ask for better friends. They came over to see me after surgery and kept me feeling normal. It was better to have people come over than to sit around by myself and replay the incident over and over in my mind. They even brought me the best birthday cake ever! It was a cowboy hat and a lasso.

9. Dr. Roe: He was my bypass surgeon who also took my gall bladder out and did my hernia surgery. I wish he'd been at the hospital that night too. I'd called him after calling my sister and Kathi. He called the hospital and talked to the surgeons and explained my history. After I was discharged, he also took care of this surgery site and sutures.

10. Jeff's family: I have said this before and I'll say it again. I could not have asked for better in-laws. I got calls, cards, well wishes, tower of treats, flowers, you name it, in the days following the accident. And, that was after I messed up the very first summer reunion of the family in LA because my accident happened 2 days before we were supposed to fly out there.

I am not the most patient patient. I mean, I hurt my ribs trying to get a file drawer open 2 days after I came home. My family and friends have really kept me sane and taught e to slow down these past few weeks. I am ok getting somewhere late. Ok, I lie, I still hate being late. But, I'll leave earlier instead of trying to get there fast. Because, honestly, life is more important than any errand, any appointment, anything we might be rushing towards.

Thank you each and every one of you. Please know that I value your place in my life even if I don't say it a lot. And I apologize to anyone I might have forgotten. I'll blame it on the airbag that punched me in the face and made my memory slightly hazy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A month since

It's been exactly 4 weeks since the accident. The flashbacks have gone down in frequency. My changed habits haven't.
- I am rarely over the speed limit
- I rarely make a left turn unless the other car's like a half mile away
- I keep looking at other people doing rash things on the road and wincing
- I am more patient; whereas before, if somebody was trying to cut me off, I would have sped up, now I just let them go.
I still get a little hyperventilated and slightly weepy when I think of that day. I still replay it in my mind, trying to think of what I missed. I still get the shakes when I see pictures of my Element. I remember the impact when the car hit me. I vividly remember how my windshield spiderwebbed. I remember the punch of the airbag into the left side of my face because I had turned my head to the right to look at what hit me. I remember feeling the car tilt and slide across the road. I don't remember the order of those events. I remember screaming, just to ensure myself I was alive.
I am not sure the flashbacks will ever go away. I keep thinking of people I would have left behind and of course then I tell Jeff that he better have mourned a year before remarrying. And, my sister says she would have never let him remarry. But, you get the point. I don't think I have PTSD but it's pretty damn close and I am hoping it goes away eventually. I just want to remind everyone life is so precious and your actions don't ust affect you; they affect the people you love and who love you. Be careful in your daily lives and remember to tell your loved ones how much you lvoe them as often as you can.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Element's Eugoogly

I am not the best eugooglizer out there; I am sure Zoolander wins that award. However, I am going to try to do my best to eugooglize my 1st car.

Let me first explain that my Honda Element really wasn't my very first car. My 1st car was a VW Rabbit that ran on diesel. It was given to me by the Dean at my first school because they were thinking of getting rid of it. They, instead, gave it to me. That car would blow dark black horrific smelling plumes of smoke behind it, especially if I was trying to go up a hill. That car served me well for the few months I had it.

But my Honda Element. Now, that was love at first sight. I was driving down a road, going from visiting 1 apartment to another apartment for our move to MD. I saw a Silver Element with blue trim standing outside a dealership. I immediately pulled my car into their lot, wlake din and asked the first salesman I saw, "How do I buy that car?" I then test drove it and fell even more in love with it. That was probably my one impulse buy that cost more than $10. Way more.

That car was great. It hauled so much stuff for us. A queen sized captain's bed was transported in it in just 2 trips. I felt safe driving on the freeway with it. Those hulking trucks didn't look as big when I was in my Element. The front wasn't too long and I could maneuver it any which way on the turn of a dime. That car could be hosed out. Who cares that in the 3+ years we owned it, we never hosed it out. The thing was, you could do it if you needed to.

*SIGH* I'll miss you. I never even named you. I hope you come back as somebody else's first love, my nameless first love car.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The incident

That's what I am going to call it - The Incident. Because calling it anything else like the accident, or the car crash or my 32nd birthday makes me want to punch something or somebody or bawl my eyes out.

I'll warn you, there will be details because I never want to forget what happened that day. I'd like to think I got really lucky but I would not wish to forget any aspect of tat day in case I start taking life and my well being for granted. So, if you are a queesy sort of person, don't read past the 1st 2 paras.

June 25, 2009. The day started out fine. It was a Thursday, exactly 2 weeks after my hernia surgery and only 1 day since my last drain and staples had come out. 2 days before my husband and I were to fly to CA for a family reunion. So, I had some to-dos in my mind as I am driving home. Stop by Indian store to pick up snacks for plane. Check. On my way to the library to pick up books for the plane and then to Rite Aid for some gauze just so I have it in case the dressings need changing still. Get to the library turn, yellow light, look down and see car way down the road, take the left. Look to my right, that car that was way down the road? Not so ar down the road anymore. No, it's actually hitting my passenger side.

At that moment, it was all slow motion, now when I remember it, it happened within milliseconds. My windshield got spiderwebby, the airbags deployed, my face felt punched, the car slid, then toppled over on to my side, then slid across the road, then stopped. I smelled something funny. I tried to catch my breath. I was very scared and very pissed off. I didn't want to pass out. I screamed as loud as I could to ensure I was alive. I screamed a number of times, I think.

I was on my left side, stuck in my seat belt, looking out of my windshield. I could see one guy calling 911, while others milled around looking in. I have no idea what goes through the onlookers minds. I have never myself been on an accident site as it happened. They were all talking to each other and I heard somebody say something about being able to see me and not knowing if I was ok. I gave him a thumbs up sign, and then heard him say she seems fine. I yelled if somebody had a knife or scissors because I couldn't undo my seat belt.

This one guy, older black gentleman, my savior, I'll call him, climbed on to the passenger side, opened the door and opened my seat belt. He kept talking to me, I have no idea what he said but I think it kept me sane. I wiggled my les and arms, found nothign hurting. He helped me stand up onto the drivers side door from the inside. The EMTs were there by now, talking to me. I had my phone in my hand. Somebody had taken my purse and put it ouside the car.

Now my vision started blurrying. The colors disappeared and everyone looked like I had cellophane wrapped around my eyes. This is when I got terrified. I was terrified of passing out, I was terrified of losing consciousness. I managed to call my sister and tell her I'd been in an acident and where it was. It was mere blocks from my house. She drove over. The paramedics had cut through the windshield and led me out. There was some bleeding on my left side thigh so they had me lie down to check it out. Till now, things were moving at normal speed.

As soon as the EMT unbuttoned my pants and looked at the site of bleeding, it was like they punched the accelerator. In seconds, I was strapped down, my head was immobilized, I had a neck brace, IV, the whole 9 yards. Apparently, twhat I thought was some bleeding from the previous surgery site was what they called a laceration. From what I could hear it was 8-0 inches long and gaping open into the abdominal cavity. I saw the edges of it before they pushed me down to a complete prone position. They took my vitals. They called the University of MD Shock and Trauma, explained my condition and were told to bring me in. My sister rode in the front of the ambulance. Now, before they completely immobilized me, I was able to call Jeff and my boss Kathi and explain what had happened and where I was going. I also called my surgeon who did all my previous surgeries and left him a message. Then, they took my phone away.

We got to Shock and Trauma and was wheeled into the first area at 5:25 p.m. where they asked me all sorts of questions. Everyone wishd me happy birthday. They did a CT scan and took numerous x-rays, which all came back negative. They gave me some pain meds; I wasn't feeling any pain but tey said I would soon. After everything came back negative, I was wheeled to another area where I stayed till I was taken to the Operating /room at 12:45 a.m. From what the doc told me later, the wound was completely clean and they had asolutely no trouble putting it back together. No injuries to any organs.

I think I woke up around 4 a.m.ish when they were moving me to me recovery room. Then, I was out till 8 a.m. Then, I was bored. No phone, no tv (I had to buy it and I waited till later to do tat), no computer. I had a nerve blocker they'd given me during the operation inside the stomach and no other pain meds. I was still not feeling anything major except my left foot was swollen. They gave me antibiotics through the IV, breakfast which included an eg bake, bagel and cream cheese, orange juice. It was actually yummy. The doctor came to see me and told me I could probably go home that day, told me I was doing well. I would just have the drain for another few days. Eventually, they took the catheter out too and I walked to the bathroom. Now, I was scared of walking on my left foot, so they sent the physical therapist in. She poked and prodded it and was worried that maybe the big toe was broken so more x-rays.

Lunch was eggroll, beef fried rice, baked egg custard, a small salad and iced tea. Another good meal. My parents, sister and Jeff came over around 2ish. After the foot x-rays, they told me nothing was broken but it was sprained. they gave me a hard soled boot and a cane to wlak in and I was able to walk around with the family. Eventually, my marching orders arrived and around 6 p.m. maybe, I was able to go home.

So, this morning was the first time I felt anything. I woke up at 6:30 and was achy all over. 2 tylenols took care of that. So, an inventory of injuries:
- left big toe swollen and slightly torn skin on it's right side
- left knee scraped on the inside
- seat belt burn on left shoulder blade
- ribs slightly bruised

and that's it!

Photos of the incident at:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shoes, space between the thighs and much more

What? the title didn't make much sense?

Let me explain. I am a year and a half out form my Roux-n-Y gastric bypass surgery. Almost a year (about 10 months) out from the weight just seemingly coming off like magic. So, I've had about 10 months of working out, counting calories, weighing myself every Sunday, shrinking clothes and dropping inches. Yet, some things still awe and shock me. Like:

1. These shoes:

Even a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to get my feet into something like these, forget trying to walk. Now, I can go a full day in them at work, walk around, run to the bathroom, meetings etc. without killing my feet, my back or my legs.

2. Space between my thighs: Jeff took a photo of me in all green the other day and the first thing my sister said was, hey you can see between your legs. Well, you know how she meant it :-) And, it's nice to walk without hearing that swish swish sound, y'all know exactly what I am talking about.

3. Fitting into seats: My car seat, my work chair, airplane seats, movie theater seats, amusement park ride seats, name a seat and you got it. I don't feel like a beached whale trying to fit into a toddler's stroller anymore. Last week, I got into my car, looked down and saw half my seat. A year ago, not so much.

4. Self consciousness: Well, I am still pretty self conscious but now I think it's because of the bad fashion choices maybe, not because I look like a beached whale trying to fit into a kid's stroller. I don't feel like everyone's looking at me to try and see how the hell am I going to make it through the turnstile or the revolving doors.

5. I can run: I might not look pretty or graceful but I don't look like a beached whale running while trying to fit into a toddler's stroller. A couple weeks ago, Jeff and I were leaving to go somewhere and we had a bag of trash to be taken out. The dumpster's about 500 feet away, for which I usually throw the trashbag in my car and drive it up if I am on my way out. I told Jeff he could meet me in the car up there and I'd walk it up. I ran that trash up and beat Jeff and his car! And, I was barely out of breath. And, that was some heavy m-effing trash.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Irrational fears

1. Death - some might call it rational but mine isn't. It's to the point of, if I thought of it enough, I'd go into hysterics.
2. Bugs - anything smaller than a mouse scares the bejeezus out of me. Bugs that can fly are the worst.
3. Being paralyzed completely but being conscious - I know I don't indulge in many activities that would lead me to this but the thought of beign trapped ina body without being able to move or speak but feeling and knwing everything that's going on around me? Again, the bejeezus thing.
4. Torture - weird, huh? If I am ever kidnapped, I'd rather be killed outright than be tortured. Which is a biggie because death scares the crap out of me too. This probably stems from all he serial killer novels I've read and movies I've seen.

I can't think of any more but this list might grow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Seattle in September

Jeff and I have been trying to get to Seattle for a while. And, now there's a perfect opportunity. One of the first friends I made at graduate school and one of the nicest persons (if not THE nicest) to graduate out of that program is getting married.

Let me just say that in my 2 years at UMich, I never heard her say a single negative thing about anybody. She's one of the smartest but never flaunted it or acted like she was better than everybody else.

Her fiance is her male counterpart. The nicest guy out there (well, maybe after Jeff) and they make such a beautiful couple. Jeff and I were the first ones to start bugging them about when they'd get married. They were invited to our wedding in India (along with her mom) but sadly, they couldn't make it.

I guess once they tie the knot, Jeff and I will start bugging them about having kids :-P.

Congratulations Erika and Viktor, we cannot wait to see you guys!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Government is there to frustrate and hinder you at every step

Dealing with IRS and INS this week has made me really frustrated.

1. IRS: I need tax transcripts from the last 3 years to prove my marriage status (among other things). I remember calling them and asking for them when I needed them last. This time, I get a lady on the phone who reads off the form number I need to fill out and send in. I ask if I can't request it over the phone anymore and she says no. Ok, I hang up, download the form and read across the top, "You may fill this form out to request tax transcripts or call us at our 1-800 number and request them over the phone." I called back and another lady took my info and told me I'd have my transcripts in 10 days.

2. INS: I have been told over the phone that my case is at the Baltimore field office. They don't have a number. If I want to discuss my case with the local officers, I ahve to make an appointment. I did. This morning at 7:45. I went in. I was told my case file was at the National Benefits Center in Missouri. What? But, isn't it processed here? No. But they told me on the phone. Oh, those people are contractors. They don't know what they are talking about.

3. SSA: Let's just throw this in there. I had to get my name changed in 2005 after I got married and my proof of legal residence was my I-20 which is the immigration document for students. The local SSA office in Thousand Oaks, CA told me it wasn't a valid proof document. Fine. Whatever. Then, in 2006, when I started working for them, my first project was working on the system that they use for SSNs. I read the list of proofs. The I-20 is listed as valid proof of legal status in the U.S.

4. MVA: When we moved from CA (Jeff) and MI (me) to MD, we went to the local MVA (DMV to every other normal person and state in this country) to get new licenses. Waited 3 hours. Got called up. I was told since I wasn't a citizen, they couldn't help me and I needed to make an appointment. I got red in the face. I spoke extra quietly and slowly ebcause otherwise I'd scream. I said if that was the case, why didn't they tell me at the entrance where they asked us why we were there. The supervisor came out and helped me personally. When I went home and checked on their website, sure enough, non-citizens needed to make an appointment UNLESS YOU WERE USING A GREEN CARD AS YOUR ID, whcih I was.

WTH times 4!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Never been good at this

There's something I want to blog about, discuss with friends online. I want to vent about how I feel and what I want regarding that issue.

But, I can't.

I know, it sucks for you. But, it sucks worse for me. Because I am not known to keep things inside. Maybe, soon, like in a few weeks, I'll be bale to talk about it.

Should have stayed in bed

- sister informed me she had a flat as soon as I stepped out to leave at 7:20ish. She was supposed to be in a class at 8 but she couldn't go in.
- there was a mile long line of cars right outside the exit from our development
- as soon as I managed to get out and make my first turn, a cop pulled somebody over and everyone literally stopped
- took me 55 minutes to drive what's usually a 15 minute commute

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mental issues?

I like to eat my animal crackers in the following manner:

- bite tail off
- bite legs off
- bite head off
- eat rest of the body

Same with gummy bears!

Jillian doesn't hate me

Who's Jillian and why did I think she hated me?

I am speaking of Jillian from the Jillian's 30 Day Shred fame. I started her workout last Friday and the first day, I pretty much lay ont he ground and died. I took a dozen breaks, or it felt like I did.

I redid the set on Sunday and guess what? Only had to take a break twice. Panted like a dog for 5 seconds and got back into it. Finished it and then died on my living room floor. Initially, I didn't think I could even get to the second level, but now it seems like it might be a possibility.

I'll take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ups and downs

This is a post about downs; the good kinds of downs, the lbs that go down. Yesterday, I had my monthly meeting with my surgeon. To do my weigh-in, to talk about nutrition and other stuff. I weighed in at 3 lbs below last month. That was amazing because the last few months, starting in November with Thanksgiving, continuing in December with Christmas and then January with the all you can eat cruise, the weight was just lolling around. A lb lost, 1/2 a lb gained. And at last month's weigh-in, I was actually a lb up from the month before. So, this was a great victory over my mind and body.

What changed? A couple of things. I started recording what I was eating. I look at the nutritional content of everything I put in my body ... and I mean everything. I have stopped eating fries from McDonald's because I found out a small order had more calories than my frozen lunches. Ridiculous. It's very easy to record what I eat since there's an application (Lose It!) on my iPhone that lets me do it. If the nutritional information isn't already in the database, you can add your own food. If you can't find the nutritional content of something anywhere, you can create a recipe in the application and it will give you the nutritional content based on what goes into the food. It also allows you to track exercise. It has some built in ones but since I started High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), it helps that it lets me add my own custom exercises as well.

So, the second thing that changed last month was that I satrted running. On the treadmill and outside. Granted, I only ran outside once but we'll get back to that story in a minute. So, at the gym, I've started HIIT. I am slowly bringing up my speed but according to all sources, I am at an intensity level of 8-9 when I am running because I cannot speak during those 3 minutes. I have been able to do 30 minutes of HIIT 1-2 times a week and that's made a big difference in how I feel and even my leg muscle definition. Can you see me flexing my calves for you? My goal is to "maybe" do a 5K next year. why next year? Because the first time I ran outside this year, I hurt myself. That's right, my body rebelled and said WTF? I twisted my knee last Sunday and now I have it taped up and it's sore and it hates me. But, as soon as I can bend that knee without wincing, I'm back ont he asphalt with Smokey as my trusted running buddy.

I have 24 lbs to go before I am not in the overweight category according to that BMI chart. Compared to that, 3 lbs seems nothing. But, considering how hard I worked for it, I gots the right to celebrate (with a diet coke & half a serving of animal crackers)!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Living extravagantly in this economy

So, really, this isn't a post about living extravagantly, it's just about living in this economy. The heading comes from comments made to us by friends and family that imply they think we have money to burn or we burn money we can't afford to burn. So, not only is this post intended to dispel those notions but also to give some pointers to everyone out there. We go out to dinner every now and then; we even went on a cruise in January. We're going to see Cirque de Soleil's Kooza on the 26th of this month. And I say we don't live extravagantly. Let me tell you some secrets:

1. Groceries: I have a strict budget for our weekly groceries. It didn't change when my sister moved in and it won't change when my parents move here. I don't do grocery shopping without coupons either. Or, without checking out the supermarkets weekly saver online. We have 4 grocery stores - Giant, Super Fresh, Safeway and Costco within a 10 mile radius. Every week, ebfore my grocery run, I look at the weekly specials at the 1st 3 and make my lists. Luckily for me, they are located in a way that I can drive in a circle and hit all 4 if I need to. Additionally, every now and then, they send free delivery coupons out and I have used those. They save me driving time and somebody else spends the time to pick and bag and deliver my groceries to my door. Last week, Giant sent out a $20 off coupon plus another $2 off for being a new customer and another $1 for paying directly through the checking account. I bought $51 worth of groceries + $8 delivery charges and I paid around $39 in the end. There are also websites like and that offer free printable coupons. The grocery stores also double coupons on certain days. I hate to buy any grocery item full price.

2. Clothing and shoes: This is a biggie for me. since I have lost close to 90 lbs in 2 years, I have had to redo my clothing a lot. One investment I made was a sewing machine but there's only so many times you take a shirt in before it just falls part. Goodwill hasbeen my best buddy. And, even there, I don't pay full price. Last Saturday of very month, clothing and shoes are half price. I have found clothing with tags still on them. I have shoes I bought there whose soles look like they never touched any ground. JC Penney is a close second favorite in our house. Every time you get a receipt from them, you can do an online survey and get a 15% off coupon which is good on regular, sale and clearance prices. You don't even need that survery code if you don't have one. Do a search on Google and I bet somebody's put up their coupon to share. I also have their credit card that never has a balance (pay off as you buy). But, it gives me points. their points get you actual money to spend at the store. Every now and then, they send us $10 gift certificates and you only need to spend $10 to use it. Awesome!!! Even other clothing stores, like if we need underwear from Hanes, you can find a coupon online.

3. Dining out: We never go anywhere without coupons, not even to McDonald's unless we have a coupon. You can usually do a Google search for any restaurant coupons and you are bound to find free appetizer or even free entree coupons. Another website that I ahve found immensely helpful is They provide gift certificates to restaurants at lwoer than face value. The catch is you have to spend a little more than face value and there is a mandatory 18% tip. So, where's the gain you ask? Do a Google search for coupon codes and you are bound to find upto 80% off coupons. Which emasn, I cna get a $25 gift certificate to a restaurant for $2 sometimes. I need to spend $10 more and pay an 18% tip, which means I paid $19 for a $42 meal. We have tried some new restaurants using these certificates.

4. Travel: We just went on a cruise in January. Extravagant, right? There were 4 of us and we stayed in 2 cabins; the cheapest cabins on board, the ones with the bunk beds. Yes, my husband and I slept on bunk beds on our acation. The idea was to have fun on our vacation, we weren't really worried about the sleeping arrangements. I paid less than $200 base price for the cruise per person. I scoured each travel site and the cruise lines, Carnival's site for months before finding the cheapest date. I booked it early in the year but I kept looking at the deals because the final payment wasn't due till November. And, what do you know, the price dropped $40 a month before the final payment was due. I called and they gave me a refund. That $40 paid for the tip we were supposed to leave for the room steward. And, in Miami, I found the cheapest hotel that had accomodations for 4 people and a fridge and microwave in the room as well. So, my husband, my sister, my friend and I stayed in 1 room for our 2 nights in Miami. What was even better, I had originally booked the room for 3 people and when we got there, they made a comment about the 4th person but didn't charge us extra.
For flights too, I spent at least 2 months looking at deals and then used my corporate discount to get an additional 5% off of the already cheapest AirTran flights.

5. Household: I have a second job at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I get to see what goes on clearance first and get it with my employee discount. I still try to use coupons if I can. Or look or mail in rebates. We've been wanting a digital photo frame for a while now since we take a lot of photos and we're running out of wall space to display them. Bed, Bath and Beyond had 1 that was originally $150, and was marked down to $100. With my discount, I got it for $80. However, there was also a $30 mail in rebate on it so finally, the cost to me was $50 plus tax. Similarly, they have clearance items that have poor packaging or a piece is missing and you cna get them from 50-75% off the original price. We have a set of Luigi Bormioli coffee mugs, double walled air insulated, awesome. Originally, anywhere from $20 - $35, I got them for $5 a box. JC Penney is the second store most of our home furnishings are from. We got our window coverings from them at 65% off.

6. Movies: Find gift cards on the for 7-10% below face value for AMC and Regal movie theaters. Also, check the matinee pricing for each theater. The theater closest to us is also the most expensive. Another 5 minutes away is an AMC that has showings for $6 if you go before noon. Another advantage of an early showing is that it's rarely busy. We have also started frequenting tha local Redbox kiosks. Cannot beat a $1 rental for relatively new movies. Also, some of them are still offering free rental for first time customers. Which actually means free for the credit card you use. So, count the number of unique cards in your wallet and that's how many free movies are waiting for you. The library is another awesome place to get movies. some of the new ones aren't available to be put on hold at the beginning. However, I put them on a list and then when they are available, I put them on hold.

7. Budgeting: I might have crossed over into the cuckoo world with my budgeting. I track all our icnome and expenses in Quicken. But, I also have a monthly budget worksheet in Excel. It's divided into weekly sections with categories like weekly spending (which is our pocket money for the week), dining, household, clothing, fuel etc. This way, if 1 week or 1 category is overspent, I know what other week or category to cut back on. One of the sites listed below,, helps with this too. Jeff has a budget of $10 for Starbucks a week. That's $40 a month and $480 a year. Through the site, I can get a $10 gift card for $9, saving me $48 over the year. They have restaurant and movie theater gift cards too. The savings might seems small in one category but if you add them up, you could be saving hundreds over the course of a year. Nothing to sneeze at.

In the end, it's not about where you spend your money, it's how much you spend and how you spend. Smart shopping is important in this economy. you don't have to give up on going out, enjoying yourself or having nice things around you. Just find a coupon for whatever it is you want, I can guarantee there's one out there.

Some of my favorite sites to keep an eye on:
1. Free printable coupons
2. free printable coupons
4. online coupon codes
5. Gift Cards Again: my new favorite. You can get retail, restaurant etc. gift cards at lower than face value. Or, sell your unwanted gift cards for cash.
6. cosmetics at huge discounts
7. brand name cosmetics at discounted prices
8. Last minute deals: If you have the flexibility to take off for destinations at the last minute, this is an awesome site for you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

30% of the population is under the poverty line

That's in India. And, I am not even sure that's the correct count. These are the people who live by the railroad tracks, under bridges in shacks made of whatever they can find. These are the people who have kids by the dozens, most of whom probably die before reaching a decent age. These are the folks who will never see 3 square meals a day, forget about the proper number of calories and gms of nutrients. So, when this is the true case of almost 300 million people in India, why did so many of my Indian friends not like the movie that showed that honest truth to the world?

Most of the things I have heard are complaints about the movie focusing on the negative images of India. My response is they were true images; nothing was fabricated. That is one side of India. To see the other glamorous, Levi's wearing, Honda driving, Pizza Hut eating side, I can watch any other movie Bollywood puts out. And, then I can also see them singing and dancing in Switzerland suddenly after a scene in a village in Punjab. Where's the reality there? I don't watch movies like Water, Provoked or Slumdog Millionaire to be enchanted by the glitter of Bollywood. And I know 2 of those 3 movies weren't even made in India/by an Indian. But, they are about issues as real to India and Indians as the fact that I noticed a grey hair on my head last weekend.

The awards that the movie won were justified. It competed against other similar and non-similar works of fiction. Whereas it might not be compared to Batman, it can be compared to The Reader which had a background of Nazi Germany. I haven't noticed it yet, but maybe some Germans out there are unhappy about that being showcased at the Oscars as well. I think the awards it won and was nominated for were the ones it deserved. It was obviously not nominated for best actor or actress because that wasn't the strongest point. No one individual in the movie was the best or worst. They all came together to show us the real India and the struggles of a population that is otherwise never really shown, not in all honesty, not in it's naked true glory! Ad, we still had the happy Bollywood ending. Boy gets girl, boy gets money, evil hoodlum dies.

In the end, I'd like to ask my friends, why is it so bad to show the rest of the world the ugly side of our country? Would we rather lie to them andhave them be shocked if they ever came to visit? Or, would we rather lay it out for everyone to see and maybe force some change to happen inside us and inside our nation? This question goes beyond the poverty issues, it goes to women's issues, it goes to religious issues, it goes to mental health issues, it goes to any existing issue that people would rather hide away than face it head on.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Gastric Bypass - the myth and the reality

This post has been a long time coming. It should have been writtenw hen I first made the decision to get this surgery and had people commenting anonymously about it beign the easy way out and the repurcussions etc. And, now, people are saying things like "I think people who get gastric bypass are taking the easy way out. I understand why people do it but I have a really hard time respecting their results. It's not like I look at them and think, "Wow, you worked SO HARD to get that skinny."" Well, time to set the record straight. And, don't bother commenting that that wasn't aimed at me. It was aimed at everybody who's had gastric bypass and that includes me.

1. You don't get "skinny" automatically with gastric bypass. Most people lose 50-70% of their excess body weight within a year and then it's up to the person. Which measn that somebody with a BMI of over 40 (which I was) can get down from severely obese to maybe the upper end of overweight within a year. Which means I am still fighting with 40-50 lbs of fat, which is more for people who go in with more excess weight. I was maybe at the lower end of the weight spectrum of the people I saw at my doctor's office.

2. The 1st year of weight loss, which might seem seamless and easy to most people is anything but. Somebody who's dieting and excercising can cheat and eat some chocolate or drink a shake and go through a guilt trip later. Somebody who's had gastric bypass has a piece of chocolate or a nice thick shake and they get chills, sweats, nausea, debilitating cramps sometimes. I would say it's harder after having had gastric bypass because I have to consciously think of every morsel and every sip that gets past my lips. Because I can't just say to myself, "oh, I had this piece of dessert, I guess I'll run an extra half mile in the morning or do 20 more crunches." Because sometimes that extra morsel or sip could land me back in the hospital. I also have to go to the gym, unless I wan't excess skin jsut hanging off my ass, arms and legs. The initial weight loss is too fast for the body's skin to keep up with. So, the gym it was, 2-3 times a week, with a trainer, so I can be sure I am doing the right things for myself.

3. Past the first year, now I am only at BMI 29.9. Yay, not obese anymore. But, the work's not done yet. I go to the gym 3-5 times a week. I run, do strength training, weight lifting, swim, whatever I can. Because if I don't, I don't lose weight. Worse still, I have heard stories of people who regain after this surgery. I am still fat. I need to work harder now to lose the rest of it.

4. Beyond the constant care of what we're eating and drinking, then there are the health issues. I take multivitamins, iron, calcium citrate and protein supplements daily. I get a Vitamin B12 shot monthly. I'll do this for the rest of my life. And yes, that was my decision. But, don't you dare tell me it was an easy decision.

So, yes, made a decision that to some people, might seem like the easy way out. But, it wasn't. It just gave me a tool to use for the rest of my life. It gave me a starting point that I could work with. Maybe I could have done it without the surgery. But, a whole six months of supervised diet, excercise and prescription medicines under my primary care physician didn't help. Actually, a whole 8 years of yo-yoing despite gyms, personal trainers, what diet can you name that I didn't try ... and I was ready for something drastic. And, I wasn't willing to lose more of my life and time to fat. To failing some more. To being depressed any longer.

Gastric Bypass has yet to make somebody "skinny" without effort. To be skinny even now after the surgery, I am going to have to work harder than ever in my life. So, do some research and get your facts straight. If, after that, your views don't sway even a bit, well I guess everybody's entitled to their blind prejudices.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

So much to say, so little time

We just got back from Key West and Cozumel Mexico (4 day Cruise from Miami) and then 2 days at Miami Beach last Sunday. 372 photos and some videos of parasailing but I have been too tired to do anything with them. I promise to have them up by the end of this week.

Today's my first day of in-class class. I am signed up for 3, 2 of which are online. This will be my first in-class class since I graduated from grad school in 2006. I had a mixed experience with my online classes last semester. One worked out very well, the teacher and TA were both awesome and I ended up with an A. Second one, the teacher went missing for 7 weeks and I got a B. No feedback on assignments = no motivation to do assignments, you know? We'll see how this semester goes, especially with 3 classes.

And, I really want my part time job at Bed, Bath and Beyond back. Not just for the discounts. Really, the $5 off $15 coupons they send out are better than the employee discount. The extra money was good too. But, having never worked in retail, I enjoyed the experience. Since it wasn't my full time job, I could take the daily weird happenings and just enjoy them. I also made some really good friends. It's totally different from my day job and a place where my brain was really only working at 50% capacity. Felt good to just do something physical after spending all day sitting at a computer, thinking. (Really, I don't think all day at work but hope you understand).

I also want to keep volunteering with Neighbor Ride. It has been an awesome experience and a humbling one. I complain a lot about our lack of finances and opportunities to do things we'd like to do. But, after you've talked with somebody who has to chose between groceries for the week or seizure medication for their daughter, my situation didn't seem that bad. It also feels really good to be able to do something as small as giving somebody a ride to their church but know that that small action makes a huge difference in their lives.

I also need to get my exercise routine jumping. I was going 2-3 times a week before the Christmas holidays. Then, we were getting ready for the cruise, then we went on the cruise and this week I am sick. Result: haven't gone to the gym in a month. I have lost about 65% of my excess body weight, which has culminated in some loosey goosey skin around the tummy and hips (awesome mental picture, ain't it?). The doctor has talked about going in and fixing that but he doesn't want to do it till I have reached the 70% excess body weight loss since that's the number most people keep off for the rest of their lives. I am still losing weight, but at the rate of 1/2-1 lb a month. If I want to reach my goal, I need to ramp that up to 5 lbs a month. Which means I might need to start running. Like walking very fast, like both feet off the ground at the same time, like sweating and heart rate up and body fat melting (mmm another awesome mental image).

I also would like time with my husband, dog and sister and not go days without seeing or eating a meal with them. Don't really have to explain that one, do I?

Now, if you read all that and are asking yourself if my particular world has more than 24 hours in a day, don't worry. That's the same question I've asked myself. I do thrive when things are hectic and my plate's more than just full. I got the best grades in school when I was taking classes at both a community college and a state university and working at both places too. But, I wasn't married. So much to do, so little time. I wish there were some things I could do while sleeping - showering, eating breakfast, getting ready for work etc. Sleeping, I feel, is a giant waste of time, so if I could at least multi-task while sleeping, it would make things easier. Or, if we could come up with a rejuvenation pod where you cna take a power nap for an hour or so and get out feeling like you had a 6-8 hr sleep, now that would be a worthwhile invention.

Since I can do neither of those, I have to look at everything I WANT to do, figure out what I NEED to do and cut out some things from my schedule. Sucky.