Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sweet Dreams and Good Night Folks!!!

In the past years, I have made a new friend. Her name is “Insomnia”. She insists on visiting me in the night, overstaying her welcome every night. Taking me to places I don’t want to go, talking about things that should be irrelevant and unimportant in bed – To-Do Lists, Little Ego Tussles, Health Related Worries, Deadlines, Planning for the week ahead, K2’s lunch box, the best use of the vegetables in my fridge…the list goes on. Finally, when she is ready to leave me, I fall into a tired restless sleep and wake up tired and with a constant crick in the neck (I blame that on K2, who insists on sleeping in the crook of his mommy’s neck…he gives a pain in the neck a new meaning).
Last week with K1 away on one of his many trips…I had K2 finish his routine and tucked him in and watched him drift away instantaneously to sleep. I got my computer out and started working for the next couple hours, walked the dog and was getting ready to go to sleep…suddenly Jinx (the cocker spaniel) set up an unholy barking for 15 minutes and I heard some creaks and noises in the backyard. The absolutely unflappable, will of steel suddenly became a bundle of paranoia and I ended up calling 911. A really nice officer came by and checked the backyard and concluded it was probably a raccoon rummaging through the garbage…anyway net sleep yesterday was about 3 hours…I think I closely resemble above said raccoon with deep dark circles under my eyes.
Anyway coming back to the topic of Sleep (or my lack of it), last month, I decided to take back control of my sleep patterns and here are some of the techniques that I have tried that have worked for me –
  • I am very caffeine sensitive. So I try to avoid anything with Caffeine after 1.00 PM in the afternoon. I don’t drink Coffee, so this means no green/black tea after 1.00 PM
  • I eat dinner by 8.00 PM.

  • I relax in bed and read a story to K2 and try to limit night TV in the bedroom

  • I tried drinking a warm glass of almond milk ( no luck with this one)

  • I have started taking a couple times a week a homeopathic pill Calms Forte’ and it seems to help me sleep restfully.
This weekend was extremely relaxed. On Friday, we had a simple dinner of White Beans Soup with a pizza from Whole Foods (Full of Life Flatbreads). K1 was not a fan of the pizza but I liked it. Saturday saw us having lunch in a new Indian Restaurant called Koriander. We both enjoyed the lunch immensely. Dinner was a Beckmann’s Sourdough Baguette toasted with some habenaro cheese and some Thai Vegetable Soup (With fresh corn, cauliflower, carrots and red bell peppers, laced with Coconut Milk)…it was a soul satisfying meal. Sunday was a lazy day with a trip to the Farmer’s market – I picked up some new potatoes, Shallots, Taro, Broccoli, Carrots and fresh crisp Somerfield apples. Ketan was enamored with an Afghani food stall and we picked up a sweet jalapeno relish. I have picked up two editions of “Vegetarian Times” and have a relaxed afternoon planned….How was your weekend?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In the quest for that perfect cup…

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. LewisI have a confession to make – Caffeine and I are no longer good friends. This happened about 5 years ago, after a cup of Joe or a chai tea latte I tossed and turned the entire night. Giving up on coffee wasn’t hard…I never did like that stuff much anyway but what broke my heart was giving up on the pure sheer pleasure of a hot cup of Indian black tea laced with milk and sugar and flavored with either ginger or cardamom – slowly seducing the senses to wake up and check out the sunshine outside, inviting me to walk out to the balcony and listen to the birds chirping and smell the wonderful fresh morning air…pure bliss!
I will let you onto another secret, despite knowing that Green Tea is good for me, I never did really get used to the taste of green tea – and yes I have tried many. In the past couple years I have gravitated towards herbal teas. I will go over my chronological favorites –

2006 – The year when we were waiting for K2 to appear, I was hooked on to Tazo Chai ( and my two favorite herbal blends were Refresh ( main note was peppermint) and Calm (main note was Chamomile). I liked to drink these teas with honey.
2007 – I was walking in the mall when my oversensitive nose caught a whiff of tea interlaced with blueberry…intrigued I walked into “Teavana” (…I was hooked on the sampler cup of the Blueberry Bliss Rooibos Tea. I absolutely loved the sweet nutty and fruity flavors singing to me … I ended up buying an 8 oz box for over $25 (the special tea tin was $10) and walked out of the store dazed…that was probably more than anything I had spent on tea in the past. I liked to enjoy this cuppa tea with German Rock Sugar Stir Sticks …it really made me feel like I was somewhat taking care of myself, after spending the entire day working, taking care of an infant, stressing about the above said infant’s food and “other” habits.
2008 – I discovered Mighty Leaves ( What grabbed my attention first were the beautiful silk pouches…my tea of choice was “African Nectar”…a robust Rooibos blend and it was a wonderful companion for almost a year.
2009 – This was the year where I introduced a little bit of Caffeine back into my life; what with early morning meetings and work overload…a girl needed some help. My go-to tea when I had time was “Society” ( Not really a spectacular tea but a tried and tested companion. It tasted wonderful brewed the Indian way with just a hint of ginger or cardamom and the best part…my mom made the tea for me ( and that my friends is the perfect way to drink a cuppa…over daily advise and chit chat with mom).
2010 – This is the year of experimentation. I am off Caffeine again…kills me when I have to get up early mornings for conference calls but I am surviving. The teas that I am experimenting with are green teas (infused with herbs). I recently purchased some of Zhena’s Herbal Teas ( The ones I am drinking right now is called Pink Tea for Women’s Health, Cacaoberry and Acaiberry (along with Green Tea, Rooibos is one of the key ingredients). I am not 100% sold on the taste but am getting there. I love the fact that its Fair Trade, 100% Organic, their tea tins while pretty are 100% recyclable.

I love to steep my tea exactly per instructions and then a minute more (I like it a little stronger). I add some honey and am ready to settle down for some downtime… How do you like to drink your tea?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

For Breaking Up is such a hard thing…

It takes a couple seconds to say Hello, but forever to say Goodbye…Anonymous

As Eric Clapton says it in the Song “Blue Eyes Blue” –
I thought that you'd be loving me
I thought you were the one who'd stay forever
But now forever's come and gone
And I'm still here alone ( truth is I found someone else)

It was the winter of 2002, a rainy day when I made that first call…the result was magically instantaneous…Cable TV and High Speed Internet from a ethereal entity called “Comcast”. The price was also right…I continued this relationship with Comcast for 8 long years…two years back I moved to their Triple Play Package – Phone, Cable and Internet. Initially it felt like the panacea to all my issues YET as the honeymoon period passed I felt pretty dissatisfied with the relationship. All promotions were geared towards new customers; the monthly bill slowly kept creeping up. I ignored it for a year, I was too lazy (or maybe too preoccupied) for a change. This month I finally made a change. We moved our phone service to Vonage World 2 weeks back ($25/month, Call 60 countries including India for free). Yesterday, we moved our Cable TV over to Dish Network ($30/for the first year). We have decided to keep our High Speed Internet on Comcast for the time being. Yes, it did take a little bit of juggling to get all the services lined up and get everything up and working. Even though saving money was not the main criteria, we did end up reducing our Cable/Phone/Internet bills by 50% a month (almost $100)

This week has been quiet…what with K1 traveling. K2 has been wonderful and we spent some time in the evenings working on alphabet puzzles. The progress has been slow but K2 is learning his alphabets. Dinner yesterday was food from a Sichuan Restaurant – Asparagus Fried Rice, Kung Pao Fish, Dry Cooked String Beans and Mu Shoo Vegetables for K2. K2 seemed to enjoy the spicy fish and asked for more which was very heartening. Saturday Weekend Lunch is Hot Parathas (Whole Wheat Flat Breads cooked with potatoes, broccoli and carrots), Salad (Persian Cucumbers and Baby Red Radishes) and Yogurt. I will be going over to the Farmer’s Market tomorrow to pick up some fresh produce. Monday is a vacation day for me, so I will probably take K2 to the zoo…what are your weekend plans?