Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and whatever else you believe in

So, I am really annoyed by the whole "If you don't say Merry Christmas, you are a terrorist," and other sentiments similar to that being thrown around on Facebook. Not everyone in the darn world is a Christian. On the other hand, I also acknowledge and realize that this holiday exists because Jesus was born today. So, I am also annoyed at the people who get offended if somebody wishes them a Merry Christmas. Why can't people just accept whatever wish they are given with a smile and respond with whatever sentiment you'd like?

So, we didn't put up a tree or stocking this year. We didn't even do huge presents for each other. We have one big thing each one of us got. Jeff's getting another tattoo and I got this ring. The 3 colors of gold represent Jeff, me and Oli. I realized we forgot all about Smokey, so the little diamonds represent him :-).

I wasn't going to do anything special for Christmas dinner, considering the lack of sleep and Oli refusing to take naps during the day. But, in the end, the spirit moved me and I cooked; though on a much smaller scale than last year. Some of the recipes from last night that are keepers were:
I also had an oven roasted potato recipe that I used but we didn't like them that much. I'll probably go back to cooking them on the stove top.

We tried to get a family photo but Oliver wasn't having any of that. Even the fact that he had his own place setting didn't calm hm down. Jeff fed him and he finally settled down a little.

This morning, we opened our gifts. We had a limit on our spending - only stocking stuffers. Jeff got a balaclava that he really wanted and then this shirt that is perfect for him. And, he knows me too well - he got me scratch off lottery tickets and woohoo, I am a whole $3 richer.

We are just thankful to have a very healthy Oliver home with us this Christmas. We couldn't have asked for anything more. Here's hoping you and yours had a wonderful holiday or Christmas as well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First day alone with Oli and what a day it was!

See that tuckered out little bubbi? That's what happens after a busy busy day. Today was our first day alone at home; no grandparents around and daddy was at work. So, what did we do all day?

Our day started with a doctor's appointment for me. I was worried about taking Oli with me. We got there 10 minutes before my 8:45 appointment. I didn't get seen till 9:50. I wouldn't have blamed Oli for having a meltdown, but he was good. He drank some milk, napped a bit, just sat around with his paci. As soon as the doctor walked in, Oliver lost it LOL I guess he wanted to let her know his displeasure at being made to wait.

We then had a brunch at my work, where Oli was pretty much passed around the whole hour and a half I was there. He was on his best behavior; he drank some milk, napped a bit and everyone exclaimed what a good baby he was.

We came home and he started getting really fussy. So, I strapped him into my Ergo and we went for a walk with Smokey first and then we walked over to Rite Aid to pick up a prescription and some chocolates that were on sale (what? they were on SALE). He slept through the whole thing and as soon as we got home and I tried to put him down, he woke up. So, we played some, fed him some more, did some tummy time. Then, he ate some more and now I thought he'd be passed out for a bit but no, he woke up as I started typing this paragraph. Hopefully, he'll let me warm up dinner before demanding entertainment. But, I won't complain. It was a very busy day and he was such a good little baby through it all.

Let's see if we can add a Metro ride to his activities tomorrow and meet daddy for lunch in Arlington. We'll have to see how the morning proceeds. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

1 month, making friends and a conundrum

It's been 4 weeks since Oliver was born and we had his 1 month check up. He's doing great, his weight and length gain has been good. He's so much more active. One one hand, it's amazing and hilarious to watch his expressions, his arm lifts, his cycling legs; on the other hand, it makes changing, feeding, calming him down so much more challenging. But, I'll take that challenge just to watch his personality developing.

He's also making friends. Smokey has been fascinated with Oli since we brought him home. Whereas, at the beginning, Smokey wanted to be near Oli the whole time, sniffing his hands, feet, head ... now he's backed off a little. But, as soon as Oli cries, Smokey rushes over. And, if he's in a different room with the door closed, he goes to the door and whines. I think these 2 are going to be life long friends. Kind of like Lassie and Timmie.

Now, on to my conundrum. Because Oli was in the NICU for 9 days after his birth, he was bottle fed. I got to pump and take the milk to him but that also meant he never got to breastfeed. We tried after we got home; I even had a lactation consultant come to the house and give me tips. And, I failed. I still pump and he drinks anywhere from 23-27 ounces. Some days I have to supplement with 2 - 4 ounces of formula. I know, in the end, the fact that he gained weight and is doing good should be my validation. But, there's a primal part of me that feels like a failure for not being able to breastfeed. Intellectually, I don't have a problem with anything I am doing - bottle feeding, supplementing with formula - but there's someplace deep inside me where it hurts to know that my baby cannot breastfeed from me.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Where did half my November go?

I bring you a middle of the night pooping after feeding smile photo:

I wake up, feed Oliver, change him and pump. Jeff leaves for work. My mom takes him to feed him somedays, I have some tea and breakfast. Every other day, I might take a shower. I might run out for some errands after I pump and leave milk in a bottle for the grandparents to feed him if he gets fussy. I have lunch. I check some of the things on my Google reader. I change Oli, feed him, play with him and pump. We might get some tummy time in and some photos done. He goes back to sleep, we eat lunch. If I am lucky, we all take a 45 minute nap. Then it's tea time. My mom starts cooking/thinking about dinner. Jeff heads home from work. Oli wakes up and has some more milk. If he isn't too fussy, he might stay up and play with us. Right now, playing involves rotating his head to follow our voices or look up at the lights. He might be sleeping through our dinner; if not, we take turns holding him while the others eat. It's some TV time for us, mostly Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and 1 or 2 sitcoms. Then, it's bedtime. Feed and change Oli and pump through the night as demanded.


That's where half of my November has gone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Frustration and amazement!

Dear Oli,

Did I jinx myself by telling everyone how you were on a 3 hr feeding schedule? That you wake up like clockwork and then go to sleep? Or was last night just the first test of many to come? When you fed a gazillion times between 8 and midnight. And you wouldn't stop crying and I didn't know what to do. You finally slept at midnight in your swing and didn't stir till 4:45 and that was in your swing. Have you decided the crib in your pack-n-play isn't comfy enough for you? Because after feeding at 5, you went to sleep again in your swing and you slept for close to 4 hours. I guess where ever you can sleep in peace, it's good for you and for us.

And today was amazing. You stayed up for a bit this evening without being fussy or hungry. You played in your nani's (grandmother's) lap, taking your time to Houdini your arms out of the swaddle blanket. Then you, stayed up and played in my lap. You held my fingers and allowed me to play around with you. You gave us some smiles and frowns and weird faces.

Yes, you have a weird feeding schedule and you might be hitting your first growth spurt but that's what you are supposed to do. So, you go ahead and do what you need to. We'll try our best to keep up with you.

I know you won't stay this small forever, so photos like this are very precious to us:

We love these tiny toes, those tiny fists you make when feeding whether at the breast or the bottle, those smiles on your tiny lips when you are filling a diaper for us and everything else in between!

- Mommy and daddy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2 nights and things are already changing around here

Oliver's been home only 2 nights and there are major changes around the house. I just want to list them before I forget how and when our lives started changing:

  • start trying to eat lunch at 12; be done by 3:30 p.m.
  • jump in the shower and be out quickly (right now my parents watch Oli while we shower but I can see how that's going to need tobe even faster)
  • we figure we need to leave the house by 6 p.m. and we are on the road finally at 6:53.
  • our lives are measured in number of poopy diapers, length of feedings, ounces of milk consumed
  • errands are run in between feedings; feedings aren't necessarily on a schedule, so errands are run whenever
  • my Google reader feeds are getting marked read without really being read. I make an effort to read friend's blogs but the rest like People of Walmart, Clients From Hell, FailBlog etc just get passed on because who's got the time to read 600 individual funny posts?
I am sure there will be more but who can be mad at such small changes when you have this cute face to look at?

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Guess who woke us up AT HOME every 3 hours last night to be fed?

    Oliver Gary Williams!

    That's right, we brought our little baby boy home last night.

    Yesterday, Jeff decided to go to work because he kept getting urgent calls and emails. I went to the hospital to see Oliver with my parents at 11ish and was informed that he might be going home with us!!! So, we spent the day visiting him, then we picked up Jeff after his work, and went to bring our little boy home. As you can see, Smokey decided to introduce himself to Oliver right away.

    He had a very comfortable night in his pack n play by our bedside and woke up like clockwork every 3 hrs for a feeding and diaper changing.

    I need to thank each and every one of you for your thoughts, kind words, and support through the last week. There are people out there Oliver might never meet; heck there are people out there who Jeff and I might never meet who have been praying for his healthy homecoming. I cannot tell you the emotions that go through me when I think of how many people were rooting for him. Just know that Jeff and I appreciate you more than any words can express.

    More photos of Oliver coming home are on my Facebook account and on Flickr.

    Saturday, October 30, 2010


    I love jewelry, and I absolutely love Celtic jewelry. Here's a giveaway for $50 worth of jewelry from Glencara Celtic Jewelry.

    You can get multiple entries by following Glencara and the Blogging Mommy on Facebook and by subscribing to The Bragging Mommy via email, Twitter, reader etc. Go check it out.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    7 years!

    It's been 7 years today since Jeff and I had our first date. Well, 2 dates on the same day. I don't have any photos from that day but we pretty much looked like this. I mean I wore those pants and had long hair. He was bald and he smoked.

    Someday, I'll post our whole "how we met" story but today I want to try and remember that first date. It was actually supposed to be yesterday, 7 years ago. I got a call from him in the late afternoon cancelling our dinner plans because he had forgotten he had "flight lessons." I immediately called my best friend, Timnaat, and ranted on how I was being stood up with a bigus excuse, nonetheless.

    However, this gentleman offered to meet me for coffee and breakfast the next morning. I had no idea how integral coffee would become to our entire relationship.

    So, the next morning, I woke up, got gussied up in my favorite pair of pants (what was I thinking? Do you see the print? Pukelicious), and made my way to the local coffee joint. After a few minutes, I see Jeff walking towards me ... with a coffee cup in his hand. My first thought? "What a doofus! We are going to breakfast at a cafe and he stopped to get a coffee?" Little did I know the number of cups of coffee I would see in the next 7 years.

    We sat down to breakfast and I ordered something. He didn't get anything because "he didn't eat breakfast." He still doesn't. So, I am thinking, "gah, he doesn't eat breakfast, yet he asked to meet for coffee and breakfast, wth? Am I supposed to sit here and stuff my face while he watches?" So, I got a pastry and we sort of split it. As we sat there tlaking, I cracked some joke about his flight lesson and he very seriously started telling me all about the hours he'd put in and how many more he needed. I was very impressed. Made a mental note to call Tim back and tell her he hadn't been lying. Eventually, I even got to go up in tiny planes with him and his instructor, which was probably one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to do in my life.

    After breakfast, we parted ways with promises to call each other. I went home, not sure whether to expect a call or not. I wasn't going to be the one making the call. That evening, I had plans to see some movie with friends from college (Chad & Theo). Halfway through the movie, my phone rang. It was Jeff calling to ask if I wanted to meet up. I randomly picked some bar in downtown and asked him to meet me there after my movie was over. Had Chad drop me off at the Union Jack Pub. Jeff asked what I wanted to drink and I, in all my sophistication, said "white wine." I have learned since then, never ever ever EVER order white wine in a hole in the wall pub. It was the nastiest thing I'd ever tasted and I couldn't even say that since he just bought it for me. The evening's a blur, I know we laughed at the mediocre band playing in there, the middle aged scantily dressed women trying to get the mediocre bandmembers' attention and eventually, even my bad judgment in drinks.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    Here's to 7 years of history! I love you, Jeffrey Michael Williams!

    Monday, October 04, 2010

    You could care less?

    Here's something I found somewhere online that illustrates the differenc between "I could care less" and "I couldn't care less."

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    My day in pics

    Pretty shoes:

    Breakfast (Also ate a banana, but that was gone before the photos):





    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    This follows from the last post ...

    I think the last step in cutting that cord from an unhealthy (for me) friendship is letting go of expectations.

    I don't expect anything from this person anymore, I don't expect she'll be there when I need her. I don't expect her to be there when I just want her to be there. I don't expect her to even understand how her actions have hurt me.

    I don't expect anything from her moving forward.

    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Being an unfair weather friend

    Oh yeah, I am full of deep thoughts today.

    History repeats itself, right? Unless we learn from it. I learned from mine, trust me and since my mid-20s, I'd say I am doing pretty good. I also believe that unless somebody is willing to make a change themselves, no force around them can make them change. I learned that too in my mid-20s. See the connection? So, once I realized I needed to make a change, I stopped making the same mistakes. I had help too, from my family. They were my harshest critics, and my staunchest supporters. I had a couple really good friends. I had a network of support beyond those friends too. But, the initial need for the change had to come from deep inside me. Everyone else's support helped bolster me once I made the decision in my brain and in my heart.

    I find myself sometimes on the other side of the fence, as that friend or as part of that network who wants to help somebody else climb out of their deep pit of mistakes. But, where do you stop trying and decide that it is a waste of your time and emotion and effort, because this person shows no effort of their own or even any will to make that change themselves? They keep putting themselves in the same situation over and over again. You support them everytime the situation goes sour but then, they manage to find another one. Additionally, while they are in that situation, they treat you like second fiddle. They treat you like an unfair weather friend. You know what I mean? This isn't the first time, or the second time or even the third time they've done this to you?

    When do I wash my hands of the whole thing?

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010


    I like my cereal crispy but with milk. I just don't like it mushy. So, I usually don't pour a lot of it into a bowl. I'll pour a few tablespoons worth into the milk, eat it before it gets soggy, then pour some more. This morning, I poured a bowlful of blueberry wheaties and half of them got way too mushy :-(

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Open Government & Usability

    Yesterday, my work celebrated Open Government Day. We had half a day of speakers, including the Deputy CIO from the White House, Beth Noveck. It was interesting to me for a bunch of reasons. I think I am going to talk about this in a bulleted list so I can keep things straight in my head and not forget anything.

    Firstly, let's get some quotes I wrote down that I foujnd pertinent to this discussion:
    1. By the CIO at our work: "Open Government (OG) fosters an informed public. It reboots the relationship between the goverment and it's public. "
    2. By another member of the CIO's team, "we are here to serve the American public."
    3. Beth Noveck: "OG helps empower citizens to work withg overnment to build a better government and a stronger democracy."

    So, as you can see, a lot of talk about involving the public and for where I work, the public is our biggest end user. So, if the whole idea behind this open government initiative is to empower our end users, help them become engaged with us and do this by opening up channels of communication between us and them ... where does Usability figure into this?

    As usability professionals, we are trained to speak to our end users, to observe them in order to focus on their needs and help them reach their goals efficiently and effectively. Right? That's the definition of usability. So, wouldn't it make sense that in the effort to engage the public with their government, some of these specialists, who know how to figure out what these users need, would have been involved?

    I think this is an oversight. In order for open government to accomplish what it wants to accomplish, they need people to go out and engage with the public, find out what and how they think, find out what they expect from their government agencies, and then work towards fulfilling the unmet needs. For that, they need to involve usability professionals.

    Do people agree? Disagree? Am I missing some very important point?

    Wednesday, May 05, 2010


    For reasons that'll be clear to everyone soon, I put the 5K training on back burner for almost 8 weeks. I went back to it last week and today, I actually ran. Not the 5.5 mph I was upto 2 months ago, I did a steady 4 mph jog but I was able to do it longer, my heart rate didn't shoot up past 200 and I wasn't dying. I think this might be my best plan of action for now. Slow and steady might not win the race in this but I might actually finish it.

    I did 1.6 miles in a little over 25 minutes. So I am still thinking I can clock under 50 minutes and I will be perfectly happy with that.

    What I am thinking about now is the enxt goal. Once I accomplish this, what next? I'll never be a marathoner. It's boring enugh running 3.1 miles, I cannot imagine 26. Maybe another 5K? Maybe a 3 day walk for cancer. We'll ask me after June 27th.

    Friday, April 30, 2010

    I miss you

    I have great friends in my life right now. Brenda and Anjuli are the best girlfriends one can ask for. Moving sucks because it means leaving friends behind and I am hoping it doesn't happen again, at least for a long time.

    That doesn't mean I don't get nostalgic for the days of past. Because of recent occurences and reasons, I am really missing friends from childhood and college years this week.

    Arshinder, I miss you. I miss riding our bicycles back and forth and dancing in the contests without any self consciousness.

    Shallu, I miss our high school days of secrets, frustrations and big dreams. I miss our talks and long walks in the neighborhood.

    Alyssa, I miss winters in IL. I miss how both our hair, so long and curly, would freeze. I miss the overnights at the front desk and the long days at the food services. I miss your parents and I miss your sister.

    Tim, you know how much I miss you. I miss our 8 hr long shopping sprees and that awful car of yours with the exhaust pipe that dragged in the floor.

    I miss all of you and wish I could be in a place where I have the option of at least speaking to you daily, if not seeing you.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    When I am right, I am right

    I am not an overly assertive person; maybe overly confident sometimes but not necessarily overly assertive. Specially in certain aspects of my life, mainly work.

    But, when I am 110% sure I am right and people won't listen to me, I can be an ass. Because after the first half a dozen times, when I've tried explaining politely how I am right, I think I lose the ability to be polite anymore.

    I'm not talking about it, I'm just sayin'. (and this line is copied form someplace, can't remember where but it is).

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    April resolution

    No buying any of the following stuff this month:

    - clothing
    - shoes
    - make-up

    Thursday, April 01, 2010


    Anjuli's comment on Facebook got me thinking yesterday. Do all my friends think that becuase I like country, I couldn't possibly like any other genre? Then, I got to thinking what do I have on my playlist. So, I wanted to go and play the music on my iPhone and shuffle it to see what I have. Then, I realised I have 3 separate playlists; bollywood, country and everything else. For this experiment, I guesses I would play everything else, since everyone knows I like country and Bollywood, duh. so, here are the first 20 songs that came up:

    Ice Cube - Do Ya Thing
    Aimee Mann - Save Me
    Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl
    M.I.A. - Boyz
    The Last Goodnight - Pictures Of You
    Reel Big Fish - Sell Out
    Finger 11 - Paralyzer
    The Statler Brothers - Whatever Happened To Randolph
    Natasha Bedingfield - Pocketful Of Sunshine
    Cake - Manha Manha
    The Statler Brothers - The Class Of '57
    The Weather Girls - It's Raining Men
    Louis Armstrong - La Vie En Rose
    Gwen Stefani & Akon - The Sweet Escape
    Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen
    Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds
    SaxxonPike - Heaven Is A Place On Earth (Remixed to Trance) uhh I think Jeff put this on
    Cake - Mexico
    Eminem - Without Me
    Madonna - Cherish

    Yeah, that's it right there, my music tastes. And, it didn't even come up with my Bob Seger or Billy Joel or Lady Gaga or any Reggae that I have .

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Music tames the savage beast

    If I am feeling low, all I have to do is plug in my earphones and let my playlist go. My favorite country songs, some dancing Bollywood tunes, some beating hip-hop routines ... and I am bouncing in my seat. I forget why I was upset (at least for the time I am listening to my music).

    I read when I am bored. Reading takes me away to the world inside the book's pages. Sometimes, people have had to call my name several times to get me to pay attention if I am engrossed in my book. I am living the story in my head. I am one of the characters. I draw the scenes in my mind. But, if I am not feeling good about something, I cannot turn to my books.

    I love going to movies. I love going to movies with improbable storylines, with the happy endings that seem to materialize out of nothing. But, if I am sad, I don't want to sit and watch a movie. I can't pay any attention. Additionally, any sad parts of the movie just amplify my mood.

    But music. It soothes my soul when it's all tangled up. It calms me down, dries my tears, makes me smile.

    I leave you with lyrics to one of my favorite songs. It has nothing to do with this post, just happens to be the song playing on my iPhone right now.

    It Happens - Sugarland

    Missed my alarm clock ringing
    Woke up, telephone screaming
    Boss man singing his same old song

    Rolled in late about an hour
    No cup of coffee, no shower
    Walk of shame with two different shoes on

    Now it is poor me, why me, oh me
    Boring the same old worn out blah, blah story
    There is no good explanation for it at all

    Ain't no rhyme or reason
    No complicated meaning
    Ain't no need to over think it
    Let go laughing

    Life don't go quite like you planned it
    We try so hard to understand it
    Irrefutable, indisputable
    The fact is psssh it happens

    My trusty rusty had a flat
    I borrowed my neighbor's Cadillac
    I'll be right back
    Going down to Wally World

    That yellow light turned red too quickly
    Knew that truck the moment it hit me
    Out stepped my ex and his new girl
    Sorry 'bout your neck baby'

    But it is poor me, why me, oh me
    Boring the same old worn out blah, blah story
    There is no good explanation for it at all

    Ain't no rhyme or reason
    No complicated meaning
    Ain't no need to over think it
    Let go laughing

    Life don't go quite like you planned it
    We try so hard to understand it
    Irrefutable, indisputable
    Fact is it happens

    Ain't no rhyme or reason
    No complicated meaning
    Ain't no need to over think it
    Let go laughing

    Life don't go quite like you planned it
    We try so hard to understand it
    Irrefutable, indisputable
    Fact is

    Yeah, the irrefutable, indisputable
    Absoluteable, totally beautiful
    Fact is psssh it happens

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Our deepest gratitude

    When I set up the donation page for Brenda and my 5K run, we had no idea the kind of response we'd get. I am heartened and amazed by the support our friends and family are showing. I am also a little unsettled by the faith they're putting in us to complete this. What started as a "maybe" is definitely a "definite" now.

    I think Brenda said it best, "When there was a single $10 donation, getting up in the morning at 5 a.m. seemed so damn hard. but, when we are up to almost $300, I can't afford to pay them all back and we have to do this!"

    And, it's not just the money. If all these people can have the faith in us, why can't we?

    As George Michael put it, "Gotta have faith, faith, faith ..."

    So, thank you all for putting your well earned money and hopefully what will be well earned faith in me and Brenda!

    Tuesday, March 09, 2010

    Couch to 5K

    As part of the training for the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K on June 27th, my friend Brenda and I have been getting to work at 6 a.m. every day. Every other day, we work out in the morning at the gym here. The first 2 weeks, we just sprt of walked/ran without any plan. and, I got bored. If you know me, I get bored without a plan. Which meant, that any motivation I might have ahd was about to fly out the window. So, I decided to change things up. And, thankfully, Brenda was all about sticking with me.

    I had looked up the Couch to 5K plan last year but without any plans to do a 5K, it hadn't appealed to me. Well, now that we're registered for the 5K and people are actually donating money for us to drag our butts 3.1 miles down the road, I decided maybe it was time. I looked it up last Friday, found the chart online and yesterday was our first day of the first week of that training. I was very surprised to find out that we did ok. 5 minute walk, followed by repetitions of 1 minute run/1.5 minutes walk for 20 minutes, then cooldown. We do that tomorrow and Friday. I think I underestimated us.

    Next Monday, we move up to 1.5 minutes of jogging and 2 minutes of walking for those 20 minutes. I'll update the blog after our workout if we're not lying in a heap behind the treadmills ;-)

    Friday, March 05, 2010

    Brooks and Dunn

    I just got 2 tickets to go see Brooks and Dunn on June 19th at the Jiffy Lube Live (formerly known as Nissan Pavilion). I am SO excited. I saw them with Big & Rich in Detroit a few years ago and they were awesome. Every song was a major hit and the crowd was energized and sang with them. I have been telling Jeff how great they were and now we get to go see them.

    I am also going to start tracking on the sidebar the concerts I've been to. I am getting too old to remember them all!

    Wednesday, March 03, 2010

    5K & fundraising

    I have never raised funds for anything. So, for the 5K this June, I am going to try my hand for the very first time to raise funds for us. We are only aiming to raise as much as it cost us to participate.


    Dry hands

    Man oh man, is this winter wreaking havoc on my poor hands. With this cold streak showing no signs of ending anytime soon, I am going through hand lotions like nobody's business. I have a few that work really well and I have them with me at all times of day.

    1. Hemp hand protector by the Body Shop: this is probably the best hand lotion I have ever tried and my favorite. It;s also on sale for $10 (down from $18.50) right now. It is in my purse day and night. It is slightly greasy when you put it on but it absorbs into your skin within seconds and keeps them moisturized for long periods of time.

    2. C. O. Bigelow's Quince hand lotion: I keep this one at my desk at work. All day long with typing and handling papers, my hands get really dry. I reach for this lotion at least a dozen times a day.

    3. Aveda hand relief: This is something I just got a sample of with another purchase. I keep it on my night stand. Every night, without fail, I put this on before going to sleep. It keeps my hands nice and smooth till morning and repairs some of the damage done during the day.

    Monday, March 01, 2010


    I love lists. I get work done very quickly and errands run more efficiently if I make a list. I usually have a scrap of paper for everyday with things written down that I need to do. Now, I do have that new fangled piece of technology called the iPhone and I love it. It stores my passwords, it reminds me when I need to buy tickets for Russell Peters (which, by the way, I have tickets for - April 25th in DC), it even allows me to take random cute photos of the puppy! However, the one thing I cannot do is make my to-do lists on there. I mean, I am physically capable of doing so, but then I forget that I made a list in there and forget to do stuff. Important stuff.

    So, this is what I carry around usually. Today was a bad day, I had 3 pieces of paper. And, as you can see, some things get repeated on different sets of paper.

    But then, this afternoon, I walked into the resource center at my work and viola! What do I see? This:

    I love it. The pen it came with doesn't work but I have a tiny pen that fits in there. And, I can see the first page without opening it. So, I can just read my list through the cover. I am excited!
    I am lame, yes?

    Friday, February 26, 2010


    I was trying to explain at lunch today how I feel when I am running. I am incredibly bored. When I used to just walk on the treadmill or even run for very short time spans, I would read a book or watch a movie on my iPhone. Can't do that when I am trying to get a mile in at fast speed.

    Afterwards, there is a great sense of accomplshment. But, while I am running, it's really hard to keep myself motivated. Maybe if I have something set up on a hat with a stick so it feels like I am running towards it? A beer? A candy bar? Lasagna pan? Crabcakes?

    Also, ran a mile yesterday, not all at once, .65 then .35 but I did a mile. More than ever before. Goal for Monday is .75 at one go.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Balancing managing and friending

    I have had some number of jobs in my lifetime. Since moving to the US in 1997, I have never not had a job. All those jobs had managers. Some better than others. Some male, some female. Their genders had nothing to do whether they were good or bad. This is a story about one of those managers.

    I had this one manager who was always dour. No matter if the manager was given the employees a good review or a bad one. The employees always walked on eggshells around him and were afraid to speak up. The slightest misstep got the employees the worst dressing down ever.

    One manager was very nice. I felt lucky to have gotten that job and that manager. That manager was so friendly, so open, so approachable. With everyone. Even the employees who weren't performing. The employees who were obviously the wrong fit. The employees who were causing issues in client meetings. The employees who were causing issues in our team.

    Where's the balance? Where should a manager draw the line between being friendly with the manager's employees and actually being their boss. I don't have an answer. Last time I was a manager was at the food services in a university. Most of my employees were drunk and high and I was glad when they actually showed up.

    * the names and even genders of the people involved have been hidden including the time line, to protect the innocent

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    My my aren't we prolific today

    I have to announce it to the world. It can be done. It's possible to do it while still young. And it totally feels like you are flying on top of the world!

    Jeff and I are, as of today, completely credit card debt free! A few years ago, we had easily 20K between the 2 of us on credit cards. We used consolidation, 0% interest transfer offers, tax refund money and a big chunk of our salary to pay it all off! I know some of you have much more than that in CC debt but we also have a much bigger student loan now to pay off. A car payment, where we thought we'd have none by now, because the Element committed suicide last June. So, it feels exhilarating to be able to say we paid off our credit cards.


    My irrational fear


    I didn't realize how irrational it was till my sister started asking me probing questions. Let me back up for a second. My parents had rented a van when we were in India. A typical 6 seater van and Jeff and I got in the very back because I thought I would sleep. Once my mom and sister got in the middle and closed the doors, I felt like the walls were closing in. I couldn't breathe. I actually started crying. Jeff held my hand till we could stop someplace and then we switched. And, for the rest of the trip, mom and sis sat in the back and I sat right next to the door I could jump out of quickly if needed. Uh yes I am crazy, why do you ask?

    Now, my sister asked how I handle planes. A very good question. I actually don't handle them very well. If I was to sit down and ponder over a plane and how many people are on there and how many exits and how tiny the aisles are, I would probably never fly again. I literally have to work at NOT thinking about that even when I am on a plane. I think this is why I cannot sleep on a plane. I did not sleep for the 26+ hours it took for us to fly from LAX to New Delhi. I read, I eat, I watch movies. I do not sit doing nothing and I can not sleep.

    I don't think people understand that. I don't think I understand it. If I can keep myself from thinking about it in a plane, why not in a car? I controlled it when I had to sit in the back of a 2-seater with luggage on me, at my feet and packed in the trunk (why is the trunk important? Because if wasn't full of fricking luggage, I could somehow crawl out that way, don't you know?) for a 2 hour ride. I can control it when I am in the dark underground tunnels in a Metro. I can usually keep from screaming bloody murder in a jam packed elevator. Now, if it got stuck between floors, I think I'd claw my way out somehow.

    Maybe it was the accident? Maybe being stuck in a car, even in a driver seat, without being able to get out made it that much worse for me to feel helpless in the back seat of a van without any visible exit.

    Or, maybe there's no reasoning, maybe it's just irrational. Isn't that what a phobia is?

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Giving up my time for Lent

    I was thinking all day yesterday about Lent and what it means for people. I have seen on Facebook status updates announcing that they are giving up carbs, sweets, money, etc. I don't eat too many carbs so I don't have a lot to give up. I eat sweets sparingly so there goes that. I give money over the year to various police/firemen charities, so that's nothing new. This year, I have decided to give up some more of my time than I have to those who need it. This could be my past-New Year resolution too. And, I'm putting it here to hold myself accountable.

    So, here are the people I will be giving some of my time to this year (not just for Lent):
    1. Neighbor Ride: 2 years ago, I joined as a volunteer. I participated weekly, sometimes twice a week, sometimes once every 2 weeks. But, I had a couple of regulars and I enjoyed doing what I did. Especially when a very sweet old man told me this was the only way he could see his wife of 57 years who was in a hospice becuase he couldn't drive and his kids were too busy. Then, last year, some things happened (surgery, accident, another surgery), and I fell behind. Then, we went to India and I forgot about sending in my insurance stuff so I could be an active volunteer again.I need to get back in there, send them my DL and insurance papers and we are good to go again.
    2. Habitat For Humanity Chesapeake: I will be doing one-on-one financial budgeting sessions with fmailies who have been approved for assistance. When I left my first life behind and moved in with my uncle and aunt, I had awful credit, bad debt and no money to my name. The most important life skill I learned from them was finances. How to keep track of what you earn and what you spend, how to set up a budget and stick to it and how not to live paycheck to paycheck. I think, partly because of what they taught me, Jeff and I are credit card debt free now. And, I would love to share my personal experiences and knowledge with somebody who needs and can benefit from them. I will be meeting with the volunteer coordinator and attending a session as an observer this Saturday morning at 8:30.
    3. Domestic Violence Center of Howard County: For 2 years now, I have also been trying to get into the volunteer orientation at Ruth's House in Baltimore, which is a shelter for abused women and children. Their offices aren't accessible enough to me, the orientations are at weird times, etc. I have had every excuse in the book to not have made it there. This is something I have wanted to do for so long I can't remember when I started thinking about it. I never talk about it but there was a brief stint of domestic violence in my life years ago (before Jeff and I knew each other) and it's left an imprint. I have found a place that caters to abused women and children in my county and I have no excuse to not do something. I will be attending the March 9th volunteer orientation and hopefully find some useful way of helping them.

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    33rd birthday mind loss

    I mean what else would I blame the fact that I just registered for a 5K walk/run through the Baltimore Women's Classic for my birthday weekend this year?

    My friend, BTen, and I discussed this last year and thought we'd practice the whole year, that whole running thing, y'know? And, we fell off the wagon fast. Faster than you can say "drink some beer yo." So, yesterday, she comes by my cube and asks me about it. My immediate reaction: "EFFING HELL NO WAY TILL HELL FREEZES OVER AND THEN SO DOES EARTH AND WE NEVER RAN LAST YEAR ..." And she left, probably to get awya form my crazy self.

    Do you blame her?

    Afetr I calmed down, and my heart rate came down from 250 beats per minute, I went back to the website and called myself all sorts of wimp names. And, in the end, signed up for it. Well, the checks go in the mail today. They have a training program, for everyone from beginning walkers to experienced runners, starting in May. till then, it gives me my own goal of making it at least from beginning walkers to experienced walkers and maybe even beginning runners.

    Gist of it all is, Bren and I will be walking/running the 5K in Baltimore on June 27th, 2010. To start off, we're walking 3 miles on the treadmill next Tuesday. Had to set some goals.

    Wish us luck.

    And, stand at the end of the race with mimosas.