Saturday, April 28, 2012

Of Dips and Curves...

I feel like giving up. Almost everyday in fact. Not all day of course,  but there are I am not a manically depressed woman, venting every moment I get in blogosphere...this was the first sentence of a small  book that I started reading yesterday... here's how it played out -
I have been busy the past eight weeks, tired too and mostly not put together (which is unlike me)...Things got a little hectic this week and I forgot to sign K2 up for PTO (parent's night out) and we had no plans in place anyway...on Wednesday K2 asked me if I had signed and I sheepishly admitted to - not, his indignant look followed by disappointment (he believes it should be parents/kids time out vs. just PTO) was enough impetus for me to somehow wrangle him into the PTO...this left me and K1 with 5 unplanned hours -- initially our plan was to watch a Hindi movie (amc mercado if you are interested) and get some Desi food ...but once in the house, neither wanted to dinner was an easy naan pizza washed down with a Muscat while watching an offbeat German movie Soul Kitchen (on Netflix...). A and K got engrossed in a market discussion that I wanted no part of, so I migrated upstairs and started reading "The Dip" sole criteria for picking it being the size (76 pages)...and I was hooked. It wasn't an earth-shattering book yet it made me question my internal belief system...

For a person who lived with the mantra "failure is not an option" - hearing someone say -that you will never be the best in anything unless you learn to quit intelligently -- felt just wrong. However, I didn't stop reading the book and it started making a lot of sense - I started my career working at GE in India and Jack Welch was a legend there  - When Jack Welch remade GE, the most fabled decision he made was this: If we can’t be #1 or #2 in an industry, we must get out. Why sell a billion-dollar division that’s making a profit quite happily while ranking #4 in market share? Easy. Because it distracts management attention. It sucks resources and capital and focus and energy. And most of all, it teaches people in the organization that it’s okay to not be the best in the world. Jack quit the dead ends. By doing so, he freed resources to get his other businesses through the Dip.”... isn't that what quitting strategically is all about?  I am sure I will go back and read and re-read this came to me at  a time when I needed it.

How is your weekend turning out? I watched my little guy play a Tee-Ball game and the sun is shining brightly outside, a relaxed lunch of pupusas at Amelia ...maybe a long relaxed walk in the evening. No fixed plans for Sunday -- maybe sit in the library for an hour and a stroll down the Farmer's Market...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pain in the neck...and a bowl of soup

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
                                                                                                                        ----Winston Churchill
I have some grand illusions that there are people actually reading this blog and when there is no post for ten days someone actually misses it...reality check M..the only person reading your blog is probably you, your dad, K1 (after you remind him) and you ( already said that). Winter and the rainy season is not a good time for me -- the sun makes me smile while the rain makes me grumpy...and the last 3 weeks have been very generous with the water works. To make it worse my viral fever gave me neck spasms (think doctors, muscle relaxants, pain killers...and something called a Chiropractor...tried even that twice)...the pain in my neck continues (now you know why I was staring at you from an ackward wasn't you it was me). The sun has been out the past two days and I have been pretty laidback about getting dinner on the table, focusing on walks with the 2K's. So our dinner menu read something like :
  1. Monday : Annie Chun Udon Noodles with tonnes of vegetables
  2. Tuesday : Veggie Pizza from Costco (my first pizza from Costco and pretty damn good)
  3. Wednesday : Take Out from Tava Palo Alto (Thanks A !!!)
  4. Thursday : South Indian - Sambhar, Rice, Cabbage Poriyal, Bhindi Fry (all made by your's truely)
  5. Friday : leftovers I guess
Last weekend, I was feeling down and out and what perked me up was a super simple "Chinese Soup"...this is my version of it and it is awesome and awesomely simple to make (don't judge me for the shortcuts...) but I know you will thank me when you have a hot bowl of soup in front of you in less than 10 minutes.

You will need:
  • Half a red onion or handful of scallions ( I used what I had on hand which was red onions)
  • Chopped Fresh Garlic (about half a head)
  • Annie Chun's Chicken Pot Stickers 
  • Imagine Chicken Broth (low sodium, organic)
  • Shitake Mushrooms (about 4 oz)
  • Bok Choy (about 4-5 big ones or half a dozen little ones)
  • Shredded Carrots ( Trader Joes)
  • Rice Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Chilli Sauce (if you want it)
Saute the onion and garlic in a neutral oil.Add the mushrooms, bok choy, shredded carrots and fry for maybe 2 minutes. Now add in the broth  and the dumplings. Simmer for 5 minutes, add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to taste...go easy on the chilli sauce if you are recovering from a viral flu :-)...Take a huge bowl, spoon and start slurping...

This recipe goes out to The Spanish Wok for the The Soup Kitchen Event : Chinese Soup

What are your plans for Earth Day?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Morality tell me?

Life in my world is "black or white"....not too many shades of greys...either things are right or wrong --No two ways about it. Dan Ariely, the behavioral economist was incredibly insightful in one of his blog posts, he stated the results of a psychological test done by Joris Lammers and Adam D. Galinsky  - "when power (or lack thereof) was legitimate, the powerful also exhibited moral hypocrisy (being less moral themselves but judging others more harshly), while the powerless weren’t – just as before. But when power (or lack thereof) was illegitimate, the powerful didn’t show hypocrisy. In fact, the moral hypocrisy effect not only disappeared but was reversed, with the illegitimate powerful becoming stricter in judging their own behavior and more lenient in judging the others."

This week had been a slow journey to recovery...two visits to the Chiropractor ( this is a first !), endless hours in front of the computer working and mostly dates with ice packs and hot water bottles(blame it on a spasmed neck )...I was looking forward to the weekend with a lot more enthusiasm than most weeks...I spent Friday evening with K2 baking some amazingly light vanilla cupcakes (with almond milk and coconut butter). On Saturday morning after breakfast waffles made with an innovative "Batter Blaster"...I baked a batch of sinfully rich triple chocolate walnut this case it didn't matter if it was black or white...both tasted equally awesome.

We lazed around the house - our neighbors daughter J came over and played with K2 some and then for lunch we decided to head over to "Tava Indian Kitchen". A month back over a bowl of veggies and string bean chicken at Panda Express, A, K and I were discussing the "perfect" Indian restaurant that will fill a need in the US of A...almost an ala Panda Express or Chipotle...imagine my surprise when I saw that concept actually recreated by a bunch of young, enthusiastic and I think majorly cerebral did I say ...young uns ( they came by to ask us how the food was and for feedback : mine was add a kid's meal -- it's no fun sharing my bowl with K2). The food concept is fabulously simple...pick your base (rice bowl, salad bowl, bur-roti), pick your protien (paneer, chicken, lamb), pick your sauce ( tikka, lentils), add in the fresh veggies and your spice chutney (mild, medium, spicy, lava) --- if you so please make it a combo with (mango lassi or a soda) and naan chips. A and I loved the concept and the food -- K1 thought the food still needed more of an "Indian identity" and more indian flavors. K2 finished up all his mango lassi. While we were lazing around barking orders to K2 to drink less lassi and eat more food -- we watched the steady line of people streaked in Holi colors walk in for food...and then sitting behind us eating his rice bowl was no one other than Dan Ariely...was that predictably irrational or unpredictably rational...whatever it was, I was mighty happy to see one of the people I heard on Ted Talks in person enjoying a rice bowl at Tava just like is your weekend turning out? Isn't the sunshine gorgeous?