March 25, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

(Image Credit: Paul Frederiksen)

I am seeing, time and time again, homosexuality as the last great frontier where folks can place their  deep-seated frustrations and anger. Folks can no longer rail against "the black agenda" for fear of being labeled "racist".  Hey, wait a second......  look right here..... this is a group we can pummel!  The Spoken Word of God hath commanded it so! (Sidenote: Folks, your homophobic rants on Facebook are not as private as you may believe.)

Yes, homosexuals are an easy, acceptable target. Particularly disturbing to me, is how folks use the Bible as their justification or explanation for this hatred.  And yes, it is a hatred.  If you feel so strongly that an entire group of individuals should be denied their civil and human rights when granting these rights would have absolutely no direct effect on your own situation??  Then yes.  I would vehemently argue that you do, indeed, harbor a hatred for that person.  Particularly, when you are parsing out scripture from an ancient text that supports your stance, but then you choose to ignore a vast amount of scripture which condones and in some cases, supports slavery and spousal abuse (not even including a long, sad list of other misogynistic stances.)  

I used to chuckle at the entire "Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner" mantra that religious folks love to trot out as a demonstration of their open-mindedness and solemn forgiveness.  The mantra completely misses the point because the entire concept of sin implies an action in which the sinner chose to participate.  Breaking news! Gays and lesbians are who they are, there was no choice in the matter.  To hate the sin?  Is to hate them.

Why do I care?

Because it is personal.  So very personal.

Not so very long ago, my own marriage was illegal in 16 states and my children were considered an abomination. A special court case (Loving v. Virginia) had to be won in 1967 that eventually overturned laws against interracial marriage.   Furthermore, no one dares to say anything to my face, but I still come across folks who do not approve of my interracial marriage.  I can visibly see shoulders relaxing when folks find out my married surname is Anglo and that my husband is from an ethnic group that is Christian.  Even in my own family, it made Manoj's entrance a little smoother.  Pay no mind to that fact that watching children starve on the streets in India ultimately turned my husband away from Christianity.  He is Christian in name and that, apparently, is good enough.

However, my stance on gay marriage goes a little further than my own unconventional marriage.

I am a mother.  And this is where I always feel a little sick to my stomach, when I see other mothers bashing gays and lesbians.  How can a mother do that?

I will never forget looking into Arun's eyes when he was a newborn and realizing that I wanted him to have whatever sort of life he wanted.  And that included the right to build a life with the person he loves.  What was particularly earth shattering to me is when I realized that yes, I would be sad for Arun if he was homosexual. But not for the reasons you think. No.  Not at all. You see,  I would not be upset that my son desired men.  Instead, I would be heartbroken knowing that my son would have a harder life because of how our homophobic society would treat him.  A society that would attempt to deny him a simple happiness of creating a life.  Having the right to create a family. Having the right to make medical decisions for a loved one.  Having the right to inheritance.  Having the right to be seen by our government as an entity. 

That moment was life-changing for me and I still remember it.  I was sitting in my chair, nursing him. It was mid-morning, so the sun had lit up our living room.   And my world was rocked with the realization of it all.  And I knew then, that I could never be quiet about my support for the gay and lesbian community again. 


Last year, I was watching an episode of Oprah which featured the wedding of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.  The love and adoration this couple displays for each other always brings me to tears.  I sat and cried, with tears streaming down my face as I watched the show.  Arun asked me why I was crying.  I said, "Look at them, Arun.  They are so happy and they love each other so much."

The Love.  Do not forget the Love.

March 22, 2010

A Lovely Weekend Served Cold With a Warm Side of Steamy Poo

I am not going to talk about The Poo today.  Maybe another day.  Maybe never.

Probably Thursday.

Other than the Poo, I had a lovely weekend.

On Friday, I took Team Chaos to the University of Kansas to visit the Natural History Museum.  This museum is very special to me - my mom has worked at KU since I was 8 years old and she would frequently take me to campus with her and let me run around.  God bless Old School parenting and the fact that my mom let me run free - I had a BLAST on campus.   I would explore the grounds and buildings, visit the museums (there used to a neat Anthropology museum) and of course, I had to visit the Student Union to purchase some pens and fondle all of the cool office supplies (my adoration for office supplies probably began right about then.)   As I wandered around, I would dream of the day that I would someday attend the university myself (Years later, when I did attend the university my senior year of high school, my initial reaction was to think "wow, I am the same size as everyone now."  It was a bit surreal and I remember it to this day.  No matter, that I had been going to the campus throughout high school, once I officially enrolled, I seemed to have shot up a few inches.) 

Tangent, much?

With two brats loving animals and nature so very much, it only makes sense to take them to the museum (and to buy a membership!!)  As often as we go there, these kids never, ever get tired of it.  

If you live in the Kansas City area and have yet to visit this museum, I highly recommend it.  It is great for all ages - I have been taking Arun since before Anjali was born.  It is a smallish-mediumish museum and it is perfect for walking (i.e. leave the stroller behind and let your toddler get some practice!)  You can do the entire museum within 3 hours (we generally spend less than 2 hours.)  The main entrance takes you into a huge panorama that depicts the animals and plants of North America - is the largest diorama of its kind in the world and was quite the feat back in the early 1900s when it was originally built.  Other floors house some impressive dinosaur bones, an extensive collection of bird examples and variety of mammals.  There is also a live snake exhibit that is really cool.  Additionally, there is an entire floor devoted to evolution, thus proving that not all Kansans are living in the Dark Ages.

Interestingly enough, I had very little interest in the dinosaurs when I was a kid.  But with two kids crazy for dinos, we spend a lot of time in the basement now.  So for me, this has been a "rediscovery" of sorts.  And yes the Dino Crazy includes Anjali, who throws a fit if we do not visit her beloved triceratops skull EVERY SINGLE VISIT.  Trust me, do not even attempt a trip without visiting the triceratops.

If you decide to do a trek out to Lawrence, I highly recommend making a day of it.  Spend some time in downtown Lawrence - two of my favorite kid-friendly restaurants are Papa Keno's Pizzeria and the Mad Greek.  (I also love, LOVE Milton's, but this can get hectic with kids.  I do take my kids and I try to go during less busy times.)  If you are going for a special occasion, say a birthday, do a little outing at the Toy Store - a crazy mecca of fun, unusual toys.

That is her standard "You're Taking My Picture" grimace.  
She is totally ready for the paparazzi.

Central Piece to the Panorama Series
This was my favorite part when I was a kid.

Mastodon Skull

Triceratops Skull


More Simian Snappage from this trip and past trips to KU can be found at this set amongst the Flickrage.

The rest of the weekend was a relaxing one:

Sipping Vanilla Lemongrass Rooibos Tea

My aunt received a full set of my great-grandma's china several years back.  Instead of hoarding an entire set of china for herself, she dispersed the set out to the rest of the family.  I love drinking tea out of this set and thinking of my great-grandma.  I also love that the set is getting USED and is not sitting around gathering dust.

Playing in the Springbreak Snow in Kansas

Enjoying Quiet Conversation

Arun and I were having a quiet, thoughtful conversation while eating breakfast.  Nothing special or earth-shattering, but I do enjoy hearing what is bouncing around in his little mushroom head.  The camera was nearby and I wanted to take a quick snap so that I can remember this Quiet Moment that would otherwise get lost in the Big Moments.  And those were the best parts of this past weekend, spending quiet moments with my family.  

Although, admittedly, the quietest moments were the ones spent having a Kid Free Lunch with Manoj on Saturday!

March 17, 2010

Reducing the Volume.

Lest you think I am some uppity bitch who lovingly toils away on her stove-top every night and then carefully ladles her delectable creations onto beautiful hand-painted china with matched, polished silver, think again.  We did eat out last night at our favorite Mexican joint.  Nice, greasy chips with nice, greasy fresh corn tortillas for the tacos.  And beef.  Oh yes, BEEF.  I do love beef, I just save it for eating out so that it is a treat.  I have cooked beef twice in this current house and I remember both instances specifically because it shocked me how beef smells when it is being cooked.

And then, tonight, for good measure I had my fair share of corned beef and cabbage with plenty of helpings of Irish soda bread.  Take that, 20 lb Weight Loss.  I'll show you who's boss.

Or not.


So, what the hell is up with Daylight Saving Time?  It seems that extra 60 minutes of precious sunlight has seeped deep into the brains of my children and activated an ancient Reptilian sector that had long lain dormant.   

Seriously, what the hell?

Last night, way PAST midnight, they were running around giggling maniacally.    Sure, they were happy.  But Manoj and I were not.  Co-sleeping traditionally defined, means everyone sleeps together and the kids were ruining the gig.

Also, there is no 's" after the "Saving", the word is supposed to singular.  I know...I know....  I am an uppity bitch about words.  Flog me now (be careful though, I might like it.)  Why is it singular?  Are we rescuing the earth ONE hour at a time? Huh?  I have always wondered.  We are not really saving anything - all we did is screw over Morning in a vain attempt to appease persnickety Evening. 

I am over-run with social media and am trying to pare down... down...  down.  Again.  Facebook?  I am culling the herd.  Twitter?  It is not worth my time to follow when it is not reciprocated.  I do not expect the likes of Alan Sepinwall, Jennifer Weiner, Finslippy and Shit My Dad Says to follow me back - obviously.  For sure, I know how my bread is buttered (speaking of which, where the fuck is my bread? Did one of the kids eat it?)  Anyway, those folks are entertaining and dependable for garnering a laugh or two.  So, they stay.  If a person is boring and does not even bother to follow me back?  Click.  Buh-bye.  After all, it is not like they will notice.

I have been using Friend or Follow.  The best part is this "processing message":

If you're popular, this might take awhile.

I have used this site a few times now and believe me, it never, ever takes awhile.  Message?  Received!

Cleaning out my Google reader is trickier.  I am trying to let go of some bloggers who I have read for years, but for some reason or another, I feel it is unhealthy to allow such negativity in my life.  But it is more difficult to let go than I thought it would be.   I do a fairly good job of keeping out things that make me feel bad - like the "review" blogs or the "perfect mommy" blogs that make me feel bad for not having a pretty, pretty home with streak-free windows and kids (Meagan Francis of Happiest Mom had an excellent, thought-provoking post on this topic the other day.  Also, her site should be called Happiest LIFE, because her site is relevant for all of us, regardless if we have children or not.  Why are you reading the crap I write here when you could reading quality words over there?)

No, I am not talking about those sorts the Life is Perfect blogs.  I am talking about run-of-the-mill identity blogs written by average folks where little things said get under my skin and I walk away wondering if the blogger meant to be insulting or not.  At times, Captain Subtext has a tendency to shout at me and furthermore, The Captain often over-reacts.

Obviously, the problem is mine.  And yes.  I know what I need to do. But it is hard moving on from places you have been reading for years.

Is it hard for you to unsubscribe from a blog you have been reading for years?  Is it only me? 

March 16, 2010

What's cookin', good lookin'?

I love Spring Break - I look forward to having Team Chaos all to myself for an entire week.  I have small things planned for us each day.  Nothing mind-blowing, but just some fun activities that we will enjoy doing together.

In the category of Good News, it seems I have lost 20 lbs since last summer, when I began a consistent exercise routine. The weight loss cannot be contributed solely to exercise, but rather to some small lifestyle changes that were made at the same time I began exercising - namely, the diminished consumption of pinot noir, Coke, parathas and eating out in general.  Sure, I still have the occasional pinot noir, Coke or paratha, but they are treats now.  And we do still eat out, but again, it is a treat and I have made specific reductions in my portions. 

In the category of Bad News, it seems the Week of Guinness and Irish Soda Bread is upon us.  I suspect I will be cutting into that 20 lb weight loss this week.  At least until St. Patrick's Day is over.  Oof.


I did not learn how to cook from my mother or grandmother.  At the precious age of 18,  I learned how to cook from my first serious boyfriend.  And he taught me what he had learned from his mother.  With his being Pakistani, my entrance into the world of cooking was probably a little different than most impressionable freshman girls at the University of Kansas that the winter of 1990. 

It struck me the other day, that I have been cooking this way for 20 years now.  20 years.  Most folks assume that I cook Indian/Pakistani because of Manoj.  And I usually let folks believe that fallacy because it is simpler and does not require explanation.  But truly, the cuisines of the sub-continent of Asia had longed burrowed their way into my heart and kitchen, long before I met Manoj in the fall of 2000.   Shortly after beginning to date Manoj, I bought a book on the cuisine from Kerala, which has nicely rounded things out to my usual North Indian take on things.  It also allowed myself further into Manoj's heart via his stomach because  I am nobody's fool.  Date a Malayalee, learn his food and you are Golden.  And ladies, before you know it, you could also be birthin' yourself a little demi-desi.


What is particularly awesome about Manoj is that he is a foodie.  Period.  And he is willing to try all sorts of cuisine.  I love buying cookbooks and trying new recipes on him.  Despite the stance of no beef or pork in our house, surprisingly, we can still mix it up in our house a bit.

I do not know if my children will grow up hating chicken caponata and chicken saag as much as I hate pork chops and spaghetti.  But I do hope I teach them to taste anything once and to be fearless in their cooking efforts.  Because that's what is so damned enjoyable about cooking - being fearless.  Trying a dish more than once, even if you screw it up the first few times.  Hunting grocery stores for odd ingredients.  Having not one, but two packed cupboards with spices for endless culinary opportunity.  Tweaking recipes for fun and to give them your own touch.

I am not a great cook, nothing masterful.  But I do enjoy cooking and without a doubt, it is far healthier for us to have control over the ingredients and preparation.  And that is one of the greatest gifts I would like to pass to my children.


This is one of my favorite raita recipes.  It is a cilantro/cumin based one, so it is a bit different than what you will find in most Indian buffets.  I have no idea where I got this, but I have been making it for as long as I can remember. When I made it last night, I took careful notes of measurements so that I could share it here.  This would pair nicely with a variety of White People Foods - for example, this would make an excellent side dish for just about anything you would serve off a grill.

My Favorite Raita Recipe
2 cups of yogurt
2 tablespoon finely minced onion
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Mix ingredients together and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

March 12, 2010


First! Last night when I was reading my book (John Irving's A Widow for One Year) a reader was described as being "avid".  Take that, Swistle sweetie.  If Irving, a master storyteller can say "avid reader", what could possible be the harm of it? 

Anyway..... on my last post, I realize that the faux-snootiness of my own little pet peeve did not translate well into writing.

Teh iruny.  It mawks.  Please to enjoy.

I have also noticed that certain topics will guarantee you a pretty, pompous Tiara of  Hoity-Toity.  Certain topics such as eating healthy, exercising, reading or drinking tea.  I have seen folks go rabid in a comment section over a particular blogger who liked to talk about her exercise routine, the comment section collapsed into bitter words decrying folks who exercise as judgmental towards those who do not.  Me?  I think the tea drinkers are the worst.  Bitches!  All of 'em. 

Speaking of tea, I had a lovely blueberry rooibos last night.  It was heaven

I do not have time for segues, this will have to do............

Oh!  Hey! I do need to clear up something - it was not my birthday this week (No, that honor goes to Jenny!) (My birthday is April 20th! Mark your calendars in great anticipation) (Of nothing.  I really have no plans.)   No, what is happening is that Anjali has been carefully and meticulously planning her JULY birthday for nearly two months now.  She is still tweaking the details but as it stands currently, we are going to have it at the nearby Nature Center, all of her friends are going to sing Happy Birthday to her, we will have pretty plates and napkins (plain white is just not done), we will play games, and she will open presents (she is crystal fucking clear on this last part, folks.)  The guest list changes weekly, the gift list even more so.  However, one thing stays constant - she will have a Barbie CAKE.  No cupcakes (my usual cheat on parties.)  I have a scant 4 months to work on this, because I do not do cakes. 

Besides, in all of this Perfecting Parenting to which I am subjecting her, she needs something to grouse about with her therapist, no?

I made a joke the other day about loving Arun less than Anjali. None of you laughed. Of course, this is not true, I love my children equally!  No favorites!  Because they are exactly the same!  Carbon-copies, save for a Y Chromosome lurking deep in the genetic folds of one of them.  Otherwise?  Equal.


One of the reasons why I am feeling less compelled to talk about Arun is that quite simply, he is a boy.  I do not know adolescent boys very well, they are mysterious creatures with a language all their own. And I have no idea what will come forth from this blog to haunt Arun in his middle-school days. 

Girls? Are simpler.  If Anjali is to be subjected to Mean Girls, I doubt they are going to pull out quaint tales of that time when she played her game Mama Needs to Find Her Lost Baby with toy scorpions or how she has been carrying a piece of Styrofoam around, calling it Mr. Key and has declared it be her best friend.

No, Mean Girls will just go for the jugular and will call out one of her physical features.

It does not help that currently, Arun and I are in a nice little place - we get along well, we are having amazing conversations now.  He has SO many questions about everything. Everything!  I try to answer them as best as possible and am glad for my trivia hobby because I have a lot more answers than I would have thought.

But Happiness and Motherhood make for boring posts.  Folks want drama, tears and rent garments.

So, if I talk less about Arun here, it means nothing other than  I am not sure if blogging about his ardent adoration for Fancy Nancy and her mad vocabulary skillz will lead to him getting his ass handed to him in junior high.  That is all.

Besides, 2.5 year olds are just more quotable.  And that is not Arun's fault.

Definitely, we need to work on the HAIR before she hits middle-school.

March 11, 2010

Stolen Drivel.

The other day Swistle posted about a pet peeve of hers, which cracked me UP:
I'm tired of the words "avid" and "voracious" being used so surprisingly often before the word "reader." It's a pet peeve of mine.
How's that? Better?
While I love the irony that readers tend to use an over worn cliche to describe themselves, the lovely Swistle was irked.  Read the comments, they are entertaining.  I am quite sure I have used both words to describe my own reading habits and I commented as such:
I have probably used "avid" to describe me as a reader. Why? Because nearly everyone is a reader. Everyone, unless you are illiterate, is technically "a reader". When describing my other hobbies, I simply state I am a knitter or an animation buff, because not everyone knits and not everyone collects animation. But EVERYONE reads.

So, yes. I am "enthusiastic" when it comes to my books and as such "avid" aptly describes my attitude towards it. That is all, there is nothing more implied by that.

I suppose to avoid cliches, I will just simply state I am an "enthusiastic reader" from now on.
I also noticed there was some chips lounging on shoulders regarding folks who talk about how much they read. Maybe to a non-reader, it sounds like bragging when readers discuss what they are reading or how much.  For me, as a reader, I enjoy hearing which spines other folks have cracked open lately.  Quite simply, it gives me ideas.  I think most readers are constantly  perusing the market for NEW things to read - am I right?  For example, I am half-way through John Irving's "A Widow for One Year" and already, I have an eye on what I will crack open next.  In fact, last week, I finished "The Heart Was a Lonely Hunter", put it down and literally picked up the Irving book to begin.  And yes, I used "literally" in the correct manner. 

Anyway, the entire exchange gave me a giggle this weekend.   And trust me, I will never use those words to describe myself as a reader again.  Still giggling here, folks.

My recent pet peeve?  Folks who use incorrect grammar who KNOW better.

YOUR grammar is atrocious and YOU'RE going to lose readers.  Trust me.

The whole obsession with using LOLCats as a fucking writing style comes in a close second.  Talking like one's cat has grown old and moldy, folks.

Suebob of ye olde Red Stapler Fame had a thought-provoking read this week as well.  It was regarding that notion of "equality" when it comes to women and men.  She provides a stellar list of things that were not so "equal" when she was growing up.  And the way she summed up what being "equal" means is where it all came home for me and is why I wanted to highlight her post here:
Equal doesn't mean "the same." To me, equal means that we all have a chance to live our lives to the fullest and to express our talents and abilities as best we can, without being stopped from that by outside pressures brought to bear because we are one gender or another.

Equality for women is good for men as well as women. It isn't about taking from one to give to another. It's about creating a world that works for EVERYONE.

The best places to live on earth are those where women have the greatest equality. Those aren't just the best places for women. They are the best places for men and children and transgendered people, too. They have the best education, the best health care, are the most properous and the most stable.

Dusting off your pretty hands and saying "Equality - it just isn't for me," is a silly thing to say when you haven't experienced true inequality. If you think you don't believe in equality for women, go spend a couple months in Saudi Arabia and then get back to me
That is the conclusion to her post, please read all of the post, it is worth your time.  I read her list of experiences and realized what an incredible advantages I had been given in life. I have in the past, been hesitant to call myself a feminist or associate myself with what I have perceived to be a group of man-hating, bitter harpies. 

Thank you, Suebob, for giving me a valuable, quite different perspective on this.

March 10, 2010

Yet More Drivel.

After nearly 2 months of being sick, I think I am done with being sick.  Done. It has been a little over a week now of feeling normal.

I hope I did not jinx myself just now.

Anyway - I am shooting for easy, trite posts this week and could not think of a better topic than some silly tripe called Things That Currently Make My Life Easy.

Here a few things have made my life easier lately - all of them were paid for by me at some point in time.  Some of them I have mentioned before, some I have not.  But the past 3 months have been really, really, really, really, really hectic and out of control.  This was a good moment for me to sit back and appreciate those silly things that help a bit.

What has been making your life easier lately???

My Thermos water bottle.

I rarely leave the house without a water bottle - it severely cuts down on my grabbing unhealthy drinks and food when I am running around (since thirst is often mistaken for hunger!) I hunted everywhere for a water bottle that fit all of my needs.  This one is easy to carry (I love the attached ring that folds down), easy to fit into my car's cup holder, easy to drink from the wide-mouth opening, easy for my kids to use and it is easy to clean (few parts are involved in this bottle.)  I will be purchasing a 2nd one for us as the weather grows warmer.

My weekly Pocket-Docket.

In January, I began using the Simple Mom's Daily Docket Concept and it has been life-changing for me.  Life-changing. There are two versions of the docket, I opted for the smaller one, the Pocket-Docket, that prints 2 per page. I print it on card stock for the work week Monday-Friday, cut the pages in half and staple 5 days together.  I put together a stack of several weeks worth (it took all of 5 minutes!)  Each Sunday, I spend 10 minutes thinking of what I would like to accomplish for the week.  And now? I put everything on this.  Even tasks that I would not forget.  Why? Because I need to give "credit" to myself.  If I take out the trash or clean the litter box, I want that activity to be noted since the "rule of thumb" is to keep scheduled tasks at around 6 per day (which keeps room for adding in the things that inevitably come up at the last minute!) What I love most about this system is the ease of mind it has brought me - I see something that needs to be done and instead of letting it nag at my brain, I can now tell myself "Put it on my Docket" or "No worries, it is on my Docket and will soon be done."  Things are not piling up in my brain now.  Overall, I like it because it is a little more than just a To-Do list.  And I really like writing my tasks down by hand - it is nice to get ink on my fingers for a change of pace.

My Greenroom notebook.

I usually carry a notebook around with me.  I use it to jot all sorts of things - voice mail messages, random thoughts, blog post ideas, business ideas that Manoj and I discuss, random quotes from the kids that I would otherwise forget.  I try to keep ALL note taking in my notebook, which makes it handy to track down information later (as opposed to trying to find errant slips of paper or post-it notes.)

Currently, this thing makes my life SO easy - on school days, I flip open their boxes, fill the compartments and am DONE packing lunches.  There is no scrambling for containers. Cleanup is equally easy and everything stores nicely.  The plastic is of excellent quality that I have tested to the brink of destruction (Christmas Break 2008: 3 solid weeks of rotting pomegranate seeds!) I dread the day that Arun figures out this lunchbox is not cool.

Until Arun was about 18 months old, Manoj traveled weekly back to the DC/Virginia area. This meant that I was alone throughout the week and one of my greatest fears was getting locked out of my car. This stupid, ugly keyring has been one of the things that has given me the greatest peace of mind over the years. No, I don't wear it everywhere, but it is great for those quick little errands where you and are in and out of your car.  For longer excursions, I tend to put the keys out of my handbag, then pull them out just as we leave stores, etc. When I am juggling kids, shopping bags, strollers, handbags, whatever, it is nice to have my car keys handy. Yes, I look like a janitor. Whatever.

We belong to Prairie Life Fitness.  And no, this is not some sort of ad for our gym, this could be any gym, really.  However, this place truly makes our lives easier. It is easy to get in and out, it is close to our home.   It is a spot we go to as a family.  We hang out there, we have snacks, we can swim there, I can exercise there and the kids can play there.  It truly, has made our lives easier.  If I were to give anyone a suggestion for establishing a workout routine?  Make it easy on yourself.  If you do not look forward to an exercise routine, making it difficult will not induce to do something you already are dreading.  And if you have kids?  Include them and you will find it easier to get in your workouts.   It took a LONG time for me to get back in the saddle with an exercise routine.  One of the things that helped was re-thinking how I viewed the gym.  We added the kids as members and now it is something that we ALL do together.

Yes sirree, we paid a pretty penny for this pair.  After all, the Olathe Medical Center does not do birthin' for free.  I felt they deserved inclusion or at least some sort of credit, because lately, they have made our lives easier.  Oh sure, they bicker like siblings normally do, but overall, they get along so well and are each other's best playmates.  They have been very patient with Manoj and me as we have been working so hard getting our business running.  They are patient with us when often, we cannot run immediately to wherever it is they desire at that particular moment (they are learning the true meaning of "after dinner", "5 minutes" and "tomorrow".)  They hang out with me in the dining room and do "their thing" - providing me with hugs and a smile or two as I plow through some fairly boring tasks.  Last night, they decorated a "cake" (dog frisbee) with "candles" (colored paper clips.)  Then, they sang Happy Birthday to me and I blew out the candles.

All of my wishes had already come true.

March 9, 2010

Outdated Drivel.

Most of this post is about Anjali today.  Obviously,  I love her more than Arun.  DUH.  I mean, the poor kid is walking around in shredded pants while his sister wears the finest silks and ribbons.  If he hasn't figured it out by now, he will soon enough. Of course, one's blog is a firm testament to one's life.  Nothing one-sided about it.

Sorry, kid.  Hit the road.  The blog hath spoken.

We had an excellent week last week.  We took advantage of the nice weather by doing things OUTSIDE.  We capped the week off by going to the zoo.  On Sunday, we went to the KC Reptile Show where we saw all sorts of creepy-crawlies.  Holy crap, we saw the biggest tarantula I have ever seen in real life.  Its body was bigger than a newborn kitten. (Click here if you have the stomach for it. It is a Goliath Birdeater tarantula and looks pretty haggard because it was wild-caught.)

Both kids left the show crying  - Arun because we weren't buying a new pet and Anjali because she kept asking "When is the reptile show going to start?? When?"   While Arun came to understand that no pets would be purchased that day, Anjali never quite grasped that we would not be watching a reptile-laden TV show there.

I always have a notebook around.  I love scribbling ideas, notes to myself and the little things the kids jabber.  I am so glad that I have this notebook - these kids are always saying some cute (to me, at least) and if I did not jot quotes down quickly, they would be lost forever.  I often take a few minutes before or after workouts at the gym to scribble things to myself.  Sometimes,  I will be a stoplight, frantically jotting something down before the light turns. Most of my dribblings make it nowhere, but it is nice to just get them out of my scrambled brains.
Anyway, the Quotable Anjali and all of her Owen Meany ramblings has been in full-force lately.  She goes to sleep talking, she talks throughout the night in her sleep, wakes up talking and keeps guessed it, TALKING.  My parents speak of another little pixie who chattered incessantly throughout 1973 and then never stopped, but my parents?  Are liars.  I am sure of it.  Anyway, what could be more fun than a hyper-verbal 2.5 year old?  Not much.  Sure, she can speak in grammatically correct sentences, but often, her logic is pretty twisted.  Hilarity ensues.

The best part of her talky-talky is the reports I get back from school. I can still hardly get a word out of Arun about school, but Anjali?  Gets all Katie Couric on my ass when I ask.  I get full reports on who was on vacation, who was sick, which light bulbs were burned out and needed to be changed, who played with who at recess, which songs were song, who cried, who did not cry and usually a little book report on which story was read that day.

Recently, Anjali conquered the L sound - as in puh-LEASE, bah-LUE, suh-LEEP.  It is the first "skill" in which Anjali has completely hop-scotched over Arun.  And he did notice.  Now?  He has been consciously trying to pronounce them correctly as well.  As if he will not be outsmarted by his little sister.  And so it begins.

Speaking of Arun - the little twit has had the sheer audacity to turn into a little BOY who is fairly thoughtful towards his sister and willing to help me out around the house.  He also challenges me to the Wii on a daily basis and is consistently getting better and better at the games.  Before I know it, he will be kicking my ass.  He is also asking very thoughtful questions, I love his curiosity and try to cater to this whim as much as possible.  Even when that means I am sitting in the Costco food court explaining to him precisely how he digests his hotdog and he exclaims for all to hear "And then I POOP whatever I didn't USE ?!?!

My mom says I had kids just so they would entertain me.

She is right.

Many of the toy animals around here have the name of the animal printed on the bottom.  The ones that do not?  Generally say "Made in China"

Arun: Mama, why are ALL the toys made in China?

This led to an interesting discussion on cheap material and shipping costs (I left out the implications of cheap labor and the use of children.  Will save that heartbreak for another day.  Sigh.)  Later, I hear Arun explaining the process to Anjali and I'll be damned if he did not do a pretty good job.

The other night, we turned off all of the lights and went to bed.  Except for Anjali who loitered by the bedside.
Anjali: Mama?
Me: Yes.
Anjali: I am SAD.
Me: Come to bed and I will hold you.

She comes to bed and we snuggle close.
Anjali: Mama?
Me: Yes.
Anjali: I am still not HAPPY because I don't want to go to SLEEP.
Me: You and me both, sweetie

(One of the downsides to co-sleeping is that I have to pummel my night-owl tendencies into submission in order to get my kids down at a somewhat decent hour.)

Someone in our house is on the cusp of potty-training.  She has a full array of underwear.  Fancy, frilly, pretty underwear that COST MORE THAN MY OWN UNDERWEAR.

Anjali: Mama, I'm so SORRY.  I have a poopy DIAPER.  Do you totally SMELL MY POOPY BUTT?

(She did not look sorry in the least.  And yes, I totally smelled it.)

Anjali: Mama, I don't think I LOVE you ANYMORE because we don't have BLUEBERRY yogurt.

(Baby girl, you think you hate me now?  Just wait until you are a teenager.)

I was having a particularly bad day a few weeks back picking them up at school and shooing them up the stairs and out the door.  I mentioned that I was sick and that we needed to hurry.

Anjali: Mama, I think YOU NEED to take a REST.

Anjali: I need a new DIAPER. Even, there is one DOWNSTAIRS and NOBODY is USING it.

(She was right on all counts.)

I spy Anjali lying motionless on the floor.


Anjali: Mama,   I need HELP. I have a dirty NOSE and I am having ISSUES.

(Yes, she uses present progressive a lot.  I blame her South Indian genes.)

Anjali: Mama, you are the best MAMA in the WHOLE TOWN.

(I wonder for how long I can continue to fool her.)

Oh, whatever! Here you go.  Another snap of Arun.  See? I do like him.  Sorta.

March 4, 2010

Mulled mullings.

I have not felt compelled to write lately.  Recent events left me uninspired, but hey!  Here I am writing anyway.  Do you feel that sense of foreboding?

Last week, I was introduced to Pediatric Projectile Puking.  Normally, my kids have iron stomachs, this is the first time Arun and Anjali have each done a proper puke. And they went all out for the occasion.  ALL OUT.  It was as horrifying as I had always imagined.  I was then left to plow through a good 7 loads of laundry.  7!  In a normal week, I do 3-4 loads (high-capacity washers rock) and as I HATE doing laundry, that simply added yet another hellish tinge to the week.  Speaking of 3-4 loads a week, I have never understood why folks do so much laundry.  My stuff is a  load, Manoj's stuff is a load.  I buy 2 weeks worth of clothes for the kids (each kid gets about 15 outfits per season) and two weeks' worth of their clothes is a load.  The extra loads are towels, sheets, whatever.  I hate laundry SO MUCH that I am faithful about doing it every Sunday.  Hating laundry is bad enough, but piled up laundry?  Is even worse and physically makes me want to puke.

Hey, wait a goddamned second.

Frauditor, At Your Service.
And the fraud.  Ah, the fraud.  In past lives, I have done such things as data security and auditing.  With those activities comes "on-the-job" training in fraud.  Knowledge that I am now using again.  Except this time, the fraud comes from my own damned pocketbook if it is allowed through. 

If your credit card is stolen, do you think your card company just graciously erases the charges and eats the cost?  Hell, no.  They pass the buck to the merchant.  For example, Snapgifts (*cough*SHILL*cough*) Listen, I understand that to a certain extent, it is completely fair.  Absolutely! As a merchant, we should hold some responsibility for preventing fraud.  Definitely! We are the first line of defense.  Literally!

However.  When I call a credit card company, navigate a veritable jungle of  voice recognition commands,  speak to not 1, not 2, but 3! different people to report possible fraud for one of their clients and I am told the fraud is OUR responsibility and that NO, they would not be contacting their client?  I see credit card companies in a very different light. 

I am not impressed.

We did NOT ship the order out, but there is a person out there with a stolen credit card who has NO idea and his credit card company did not even want to bother to CALL HIS ASS.  What really boggles my mind is that American Express has all these fancy celebrity-laden commercials claiming they care about their customers.  I am here to tell you they really do not.

The best part of these tales of fraud, is how the fraudsters must think we are stupid.  In this most recent case, we received a nonsensical set of emails where the fraudster did not even play the proper character role in his little scheme.  He pretended to be the purchaser of the gift, when he should have pretended to be the recipient (i.e. Uncle Joe gives Nephew Bob a gift card.  Therefore, UNCLE JOE would be the one contacting us to see about the card.  We only have Uncle Joe's "email" on record, after all.  However, all of our communications were from the "voice/standpoint" of Nephew Bob.  It made absolutely NO SENSE in the context of the order.) 

And we are supposed to ship out over $500 based on a set of instructions that made no sense??  I was not born yesterday (or the day before) (actually, it was 1971.)  (which was a great year, come to think of it.)

That's So FLY
You know the story about the little boy whose daddy was a big bad air traffic controller?  And the little boy got to go work with daddy and the daddy let the little boy talk to pilots? Yes, that story.  What is killing me about the story is the outrage from folks that the FAA might be a tad upset over the incident. What's the harm!  He's just kid! The dad was there! The pilots knew!

You think?  Really?

I don't care if it is "take your child to work" day or not.  You still need to act like a goddamned professional.  My dad is a respiratory therapist and you did not see him dragging my ass to the hospital to teach me how to intubate patients.  But he would been there right by my side!  He could have told me exactly how to do it!  And the patients would have obviously KNOWN I was a kid!  Duh! What's the harm??

Listen, when my ass is in a big metal tube, hurtling through space at a squillion miles an hour, a squillion miles above the fucking ground, I damned well expect the air traffic controllers to act all professional-like when they are pushing tin.

I'm a bitch like that.