Wednesday, February 27, 2013

All that's going right with me...

"Let's stop focusing on all that is wrong and focus instead on all that's right; let's stop cribbing about what we don't have and look instead at what's there for us; let's take the time to appreciate people for what they are and what they can do, instead of focusing on their defects" 

                                                                                    --The Speaking Tree

When I lost my voice the last couple weeks I thought I was on the path to recovery...on calls croaking, working my spreadsheets, reiterating designs yet mentally exhausted. Unfortunately the body was a willing accomplice to the mind, on Sunday night I was down with a fever and finally dragged myself to a doctor this Tuesday and she diagnosed me with "acute sinusitis" and of course took out the big guns - Antibiotics. I have been on the Antibiotics just one day and almost feel human again.

I wallowed in negativity in my limited spare time : why me? why should I be driving myself to the doctor? making my own meals?... blissfully ignoring the emptied dishwasher, the folded laundry, the bathed kid, homework finished (all of course done by K1)...and then my brother sent me a "cryptic email"...Daddy wants you to read this with the scan below (a bit of perspective - my father has been in the hospital since Feb 11th mostly in the ICU ). I did a quick search on Google and found the article for you 

I was ashamed. I was focused on all that was wrong in my life vs. looking at what I had going right - 

  • A kick ass dad who  knew when to kick me and make me stop wallowing in self-pity
  • A supportive husband who said - I'll be there for you no matter what decision you take
  • A sunny cheerful albeit snotty nosed K2
  • Kendra's yoga class@ Oracle Gym today and Keith's yoga class tomorrow
  • A strong dose of Antibiotics :)
I decided not to be the victim but the victor and I turned on my Instant Pot.

007 Mission  : Red Curry Udon Noodle Soup

Supplies from Q : Whole Grain Udon Noodles, Mae Ploy Red Curry Paste, Light Coconut Milk (Whole Foods), Vegetables (Cabbage) Garlic (half a head), Red Onion (Roughly Chopped), roasted peanuts
At the Mission Base : 
  1. Turn Instant Pot on to Saute. Add some sesame oil (or whatever oil you feel like using)
  2. Heat the Oil, when it starts shimmering - Add the chopped Onion and Garlic, as it is half cooked (slightly browning) add a bit of brown sugar for caramelizing.
  3. When the mixture smells fragrant, add the red curry paste (to taste) and let it fry for a while. 
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the Fish Sauce (optional -- I have a full Asian pantry, so I always have it handy)
  5. When the Spice mixture has cooked through (About 2 minutes) add the cabbage and cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. Now add the 8 Oz of Coconut milk and another 20 Oz of Water and the noodles
  7. Cook in the Instant Pot on Manual for 4 minutes, NR 
  8. Stir, If you have chopped Basil or Cilantro add that in, Sprinkle the roasted peanuts on top, Salt to taste and you are ready to rumble.
  9. Take a Bowl, Plate - Ladle, Smell (I couldn't smell anything) and then taste (spicy and hits a spot)
So tell me about all that's going right with you...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lost my voice...found my mind !

Did you know "low sodium" makes a person disoriented and hallucinate...I didn't. My Bapa is back in the hospital since Monday (low platelet counts, high potassium, low sodium)...and things are not going that well with him (and being so far away is hard). To top that off  K1 has been travelling the past 2 weeks  to China and then India (back home today...TG!). Add to that equation K2 was down last week with a flu and an ear infection and this week there was his mom who caught the flu but it progressed on to get the picture, not a happy two weeks. It has been a blur of work stuff,  homework, dinners, some kiddie activities, nyquill, heavy duty prescribed cough suppressants  some sinus spray and infrequent watching of Grimm - Season 1 when the young one is fast asleep...yup that is how exciting things have been around our block...and Happy Valentine's Day to you too...

Yes losing my voice in the past 2 days has been a wake up call of sorts for me - a time for me to shut up and listen (listen to others and myself) - Quieten the monkey chatter in my head and put the fears to rest...and listen to that "little" voice which is trying to make sense of all this nonsense. This article by Beth Comstock (CMO, GE) helped me at work quite a bit...I had the luxury of not talking and listening gave me a different perspective which was refreshing. A book - Heal your Body A-Z- I had read about a year back gave me another interesting said Pain in the throat can potentially mean - a situation or a person you can't swallow or make peace with. In my case it's not a person, it is a situation and I am trying hard to make peace with the situation, its one well out of my control and I am having a hard time rationalizing things in my head. Yet there are three key learnings for me :
  • Losing my voice, made me listen to that little voice inside that has been trying to express itself. Listening to that little voice is making me confront my "fears of cancer"...I am not saying I have 100% rationalized things...but I am in the present rolling with the curve balls being thrown my way today vs. trying to plan for the curve balls tomorrow
  • Losing my voice made me read a lot more and I caught up on quite a few books on my book list the past 2 weeks.
  • Losing my voice has made me embrace silence  with a fervor previously unknown to me...Why in the world do I think I need to talk so much when I can get so much done with such few words?
So how has your week played out so far...anything lost or have you found something?

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Tentative Parenting : Being Nice a Competitive Advantage?

    It is not new news that being nice really pays yet it was heartening to read this article by Hyken today. I was a little "leery" when I saw K2's progress report from school in December - he was below on reading and writing. What his teacher did say was - he is "just so nice" and "just so kind"...he got a solitary VG (very good) for respecting other kids and his environment. Need I say I was an unhappy mom for a few days stewing over the need to teach my kid to be "street smart" India it was intensely competitive...too few kids fighting over scanty resources i.e, school/college seats...K1 told me to take a "chill pill" (whatever that means).

    K2 in the past 2 months has improved leaps and bounds on his reading, writing and handwriting...he read a whopping 1097 minutes in 2 weeks (which my mathematically inclined mind calculated at almost 1.5 hours per day consistently for 14 days) - To say I am proud is an understatement!

    The important lesson I learnt from my son in this journey is the following -- knowledge and skills are acquired but what stays with us at work and in our personal relationships is -
    1. Showing Respect
    2. Doing what we say...lip service is following through on a commitment is critical
    3. Being polite - with our please's and thank you' becomes almost second nature
    At the end of the day you both get more work done and "actually have" friends by being nice...I mean it would be so easy at work to always use 4-lettered words, throw our weight and attitude around and just bang on tables to get things done...I don't think it works in the long run. Fear builds relationships based on transactions which by their very definition are short-term. Now let's hope I can practice this one with K2 - I tend to "not be nice" when under extreme stress ( and more often than not I do bring external stress back home :-( ...)...don't you agree K1, Bapa and Ma ;-)

    Have you been nice today?

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Simple Gratitude : Traveler's Journal

    "We are all travelers in this world. No matter where we are now, we can't stay.
     Nonetheless, every living being in this world makes a home somewhere, When constantly moved on when one wants to stay is deeply disturbing. In fact, the word, "travel" derives from the word, "travail," which comes from the Latin, trepalium - "instrument of torture."
                                    An Email I received today from a Krishna Bhakti Group

    Jan 16th - Simple gratitude that I got a direct flight to Pune with an aisle seat
    Jan 17th - Simple gratitude that I have a supportive husband who managed 12 days without me with a first grader.
    Jan 19th (lost a day to time change) - Simple gratitude that I had the energy to take a shower and get to the hospital the moment I landed in Pune (3.30 AM)  and see Bapa.
    Jan 20th - Simple gratitude that I got to attend a satsang session where the discussion was (what-else?) - Who am I?  I got to see a vendor make steaming hot masala dosas and ate a few bites to no dire consequences

    Jan 21st - Simple gratitude for the Monday evening hug from my pretty niece and a relaxed yoga class with my teacher in India - HariOm
    Jan 22nd - Simple gratitude for a soft balmy day...perfect for the 30 minute Auto ride to the hospital and for that hot cup of  cardamom chai (so what if it was machine made) at the hospital canteen

    Jan 23rd - Simple gratitude that my father had a birthday what if it was in the hospital. I also had a wonderful darshan at Dagdusheth
    Jan 24th -Simple gratitude to the two young men from Helpshift who came forward and donated blood for my dad's transfusion
    Jan 25th - Simple gratitude to A, my sis-in-law for ordering desi chinese - it hit a spot.
    Jan 26th - Simple gratitude for the 12 years of married life with K1 and all the learnings it brought along. Did I mention it was India's Republic Day ( here is a rangoli, I saw a woman handcrafting outside the hospital)

    Jan 27th - Simple gratitude for rising platelet counts
    Jan 28th - Simple gratitude for a home cooked hot meal eaten at home cooked by Ma and a wonderful wonderful pedicure.Time to say goodbye to Bapa and Pune. The doctor did say Bapa could go home tomorrow....