Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And Now for Some Random Thoughts

Mood: Calm
Listening to: Little Lion Man - Mumford & Sons. Just because the kids are outside. We can't have that many emphatic (or otherwise) F words thrown around when they are at home, even if it an excellent song. 

I was looking through the key words that people search for when they find my blog. One of them was Getting Rid of Daddy Issues. This made me laugh really hard because the one article I wrote on that was lamenting the fact that I don't think they ever do go away. I'm sorry whoever came looking for that. That must have been quite disappointing to hear.

Can anyone explain Instagram to me?  I totally don't get the draw and a lot of the people I follow on facebook are absolutely nuts about it. I was regretting my loss of touch with new technology and aging (ripe old 30 year old) when I realized that I've been like this almost forever. For the longest time, I didn't want a cell phone. After I got one, it took me 5 years to start texting, and let me tell you, I still don't text more than once a week. I still don't quite get the draw of Twitter. I'm not technology averse, I just am not one to jump on a bandwagon for something that I see as stupid or unnecessary. As I've talked your ear off about, I march to the beat of my own drum. I really don't care if 10 million other people think Twitter is awesome. I still look at it like an enabling device for people with ADD that need lots of attention and will say stuff just to having something to say. 

I've always been the get off my lawn type. I'm also deathly afraid of being sidelined by new things and turning into my mother in this aspect. New technology absolutely terrifies her. She hates computers. I'll give it a try so I keep up with all you young whipper snappers, but if I think it's stupid, I'm not trying again just to fit in. I don't want my kids to have a hold of technology that I don't understand. That happened when I was growing up with some very unsavory results. Parents should not let their kids get a hold of things like this unless the kids are grown. 

Yet another mysterious disappearance has happened at the G household. One of my milk containers has gone completely AWOL. In India, we have to boil milk. It comes in plastic packets that are useless for storing the milk after boiling, so you must go and purchase some containers for storing the milk in your fridge. I boil 2 liters of milk every. single. day. I had 2 containers and both of them get washed every 2 days. Sometime shortly before we left on vacation (but before the maid left for Chennai) the other container disappeared after it was washed. After taking apart the entire kitchen - and I don't have a large or complicated one - I am absolutely baffled at where this went. I asked my housekeeper, but she had no idea where it was, even though she washed it and put it somewhere. 

I am an anal type person about what we have in our house. Everything has a place, and I generally know where everything is. When things go missing (and we have had more small things go missing in the past 6 months than I have in my entire adult life), my brain short circuits and sparks start flying everywhere. The milk container should be on the ledge. Why is it not there? Did the housekeeper hide it like she does the pressure cooker weight? This isn't a tiny metal piece, it's a big plastic container. What. The. Hell?

One of the downsides of us having a housekeeper is that there is another person in our house. There is absolutely no way for me to assure myself that things are not going missing because she is taking them. If it was just the four of us, I would at least have the assurance that unless we took it outside, it is here somewhere. I have no idea why she would need a plastic container....but after taking apart the kitchen, where is it? Daddy G has warned me about seeing ghosts where there are none a few times in regards to Indira, which I have honestly tried my best not to do. I have absolutely no proof this way or that. The thing is, I have never had things disappear like this before. I like Indira well enough, but I'm not naive enough to trust her and rule out anything. 

Grr. Paranoia.

Backlash of going on Vacations

Mood: Aggravated. I hate when stuff disappears
Listening to: Stairway to Heaven  - Led Zepplin

I love going on vacation. It’s usually quite a bit of work before hand packing and cleaning the house. I HATE coming home to a dirty house. I will work myself into the ground before hand just so I can come home to a clean house that doesn’t possess a mountain of laundry.

I always seem to forget how hard it is to come home. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no other feeling in the world like walking into your own house after a time away, sleeping in your own bed, and eating your own food. I’m talking about the abrupt halt to your vacation relaxing ways.

I thought I did a decent job cleaning up stuff before we left for Sri Lanka. My housekeeper left for Chennai 4 days before we left, so I was somewhat overwhelmed by more work than I was used to, but I thought I did ok. I came back to black ants raiding an almost empty cereal box (as in 3 – 4 flakes of cereal), a mountain of laundry that I forgot, and yet another mountain from our actual vacation. I came home to almost 300 RSS messages from all of the feeds I follow daily. It was a bit overwhelming. I came home to general disorder that I just didn’t have time to go around and clean up. I came home to a trash back that was neglected in our hurry to get out the door on Saturday when I had to start another trash bag because we were home a day longer than planned.

I finally plowed through all of the blogs. As much as I love reading blogs, I don’t think I’ll ever skip a full week again. Even if I do, I’m just erasing everything and starting from that point on. It took me 3 days to get through all that stuff with new stuff piling on top!

The ants I’m still battling. Once ants decide to pay you a visit, it’s damn near impossible to get rid of them, even on the 7th floor of a building. I keep finding them in different places in the house. We generally are pretty neat and I’m a big fan of solidly sealed containers (damn you Chocos that I forgot to put in the cereal container!). I’m not quite sure why they’ve wandered into the bathrooms or bedrooms – we never eat anything in those rooms. I’m still hoping that eventually they’ll decide there is nothing to eat sitting around and will go looking somewhere else. Thank goodness they are the black ones. The red ones are bitey little bastards.

The laundry mountain is currently laughing at me. We are having a water shortage in our complex right now because a pump broke or some such nonsense like that, so we had to store water the other day for a few days. I managed to store drinking water, but my housecleaner complained today that there was no water for dishes, mopping and cleaning the bathrooms. Lesson learned; next time store water for that too. Because of the shortage, running the washing machine is pretty much out of the question, so the mountain will continue to grow.

I finally got my suitcases and all of our vacation stuff put away. That part is the worst for me.  I always wish there was a vacation fairy that would put all your stuff back where it belongs.

How do you deal with the return to earth after a vacation?


Austerity Measures

Mood: Aggravated. I hate when stuff disappears
Listening to: I Touch Myself – the Divinyls

As I mentioned in a previous blog, India has been extremely good for my waistline and my ass, along with other body parts. I have lost quite a bit of weight since I moved here. As I’ve also mentioned, we took a trip to Sri Lanka.

At home, I’m very, very disciplined about what I’m eating. I have no desire to gain any of the weight back and am very careful about portion size and what food I eat. I remember all too well how easy it was to get where I was when I was heavy. When I go on vacation, I don’t use it as an excuse to totally pig out, but I loosen my standards up quite a bit. For example, at home, I try to eat rice for only 2 – 3 meals a week. On vacation I can eat it every day. My body grabs and holds on to rice (especially when I eat too much of it) like it will never see it again. My skin (oy with the teenage skin!) and my waist line never quite look the same after I eat rice, but that’s why I don’t eat it more than twice a week. I much prefer whole grains/cracked wheat/brown rice. Since we just came back from vacation, I'm feeling a bit icky from all the unhealthy/larger portion eating.

I’ve also been aware of more and more chips/cookies/soda being at home. In the US, I was overweight because my portion sizes were out of control and I drank a lot; alcohol, soda, and sugary coffee drinks. We didn’t usually ever keep potato chips, cookies, or pop at home. In fact, the year before we moved into our house in Bangalore, I wasn’t drinking soda at all because I couldn’t keep it down to 1 – 2 a week and it was making me gain weight.  

Unfortunately, we have a cafeteria here at my apartment complex and it is continually a challenge for me to not go and spend 20 rupees (about 50 cents) on a small bag of chips, a soda or a packet of cookies.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to enforce some austerity measures. Hopefully I’ll be able to stick to them. 1 soda a week, 2 bags of chips a week, and only 2 packets of cookies a week. I’m also REALLY looking forward to going to my complex’s gym after my kids go to school this week. I went with my brother 3 times a week last year while my kids were in school and I haven’t felt that healthy in years, so I’m stoked to go back and help my body get stronger.

I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, but I don’t feel like I am quite where I want to be. I generally know how much weight I have lost, but I’m not a scale or a calorie watcher. I go by portion size, the fit of my clothes, and how my body looks in the mirror.  I’m down to a size 8, but I’m still a bit too jiggly for my taste, which I’m guessing has to do with the above junk that I’m eating. Since my portion sizes are reasonable, it seems to not be a problem of extra calories, but eating the wrong type of foods. I really would like to get rid of some of the jiggle and tone it up a bit.

Any other advice anyone has? 


Monday, May 28, 2012

Sri Lanka

If you are interested, you can read about my Sri Lankan adventures here: http://followingthemasala.blogspot.in/

That is all.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Brief Intermission

Hello Boys and Girls,

Today we will discuss why I am doing yet more procrastination when what I really want to be doing is writing my fingers off. I promise there will be more writing fun soon.

As I mentioned, I went on a week long sweat fest to Sri Lanka. This is in no way hyperbole - Sri Lanka has some excellent sweating weather, along with other charms. I'll post a link to my other blog up here if you care to check out my adventures. Anywho, Sri Lankan resorts do not choose to offer lap top plug ins - seriously, not one outlet in the entire hotel room (or ones that fit my American laptop, which I have no problem finding in India), or wireless internet that is not WAY too expensive. Thus I have a metric ton of work that I just blithely ignored for an entire week (what do to??) that absolutely needs to get finished before I can indulge in any more written work.

Hang in there - I'll be back in a day or two.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

I’m Watching You Slovenia – Always Watching You

Mood: Pretty Damn Chipper
Listening to: IPL talking heads

So….my happy mood. The wonderful Lady in Red gave me a Liebster award over at my Masala blog. Please go check her out. Once again, much obliged. This made my week. I also just had a bowl full of butterscotch ice cream. Let me explain butterscotch ice cream for those not familiar. Indian butterscotch ice cream is not actually butterscotch flavored. It is cupcake frosting flavored (no joke, you can’t eat more than a small scoop it’s so sweet – well, I can’t anyhow) and has random….crunchies in it. I’m not sure what they are, but it’s yummy.  

IPL stands for Indian Premier League. It’s cricket time bitches. I have been converted. Not too happy to see Mumbai get spanked by Calcutta, but I’m a Bangalore gal anyhow, so it doesn’t matter.

Last weekend I went to my sister in laws house with the husband and monkeys to spend some quality family time. I disconnected myself from my laptop with much pain and suffering and left it at home.  When I came back, my Outlook kept being ridiculous about sending and retrieving emails. This is nothing new – my outlook officially hates me, possibly because it has to load so many blogs every day. I love me some reading blogs. When I tried to log on to Google mail online, I was told that my account was targeted by a hacker in Slovenia and I should definitely get on the changing my password thing.

Good save Google, much appreciated. I hate spammers. So glad I wasn’t made into one. Slovenia – I’ve got my eye on you.

The G is headed off to Sri Lanka for a week. I may or may not have time to update this blog this week. Check out the link above for my blog about life in India (Masala). There will be descriptions of Sri Lanka, along with pictures. Hopefully lots of them, I do love my camera. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go finish packing. Packing procrastination is my favorite kind of procrastination


P.S. 10 points for anyone who recognizes the reference in the title.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Goodbye Maurice Sendak

The world has lost another great. Maurice Sendak has died. This makes me sad on so many levels because his book Where the Wild Things Are was an absolute favorite when I was growing up. I loved the story and I loved the illustrations. I know he’s done many more things since then and he got a lot of attention when they decided to turn this book into a movie, but this is how I will remember him. I was 6, my father was reading this story to me at bedtime, and I was very happy imaging my very own place with wild things. Thank you Mr. Sendak.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An Intervention, or Not.

Listening to: Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals
Mood: Coffee.

As I’ve discussed before in this post, moderation is just not my strong suite. I’m not quite sure why people loved that post so much, but sure.

After we moved to India, my coffee habit was changed for a while. I absolutely LOVE Indian coffee. However, it just doesn’t have the same punch as American coffee does. Sometimes, I need the energy – I crave it. I’ve also said that with a smidge less discipline and more exposure to an epic friend of mine, I could easily be an alcoholic. I’m afraid the same can be said of coffee. Hello, my name is Becky and I’m a coffee addict. I’ve recently reverted to using strong instant coffee.

I’ve had a cup of coffee (mostly iced) every morning for the past 5 years. These days I find it hard to function and actually wake up if this doesn’t happen. As per my usual thinking, if one cup is good, 2 must be amazing for energy purpose.  This leads to some pretty crazy bursts of ideas and activity. The thing is, I like it. At the best of times, I tend to be a bit manic. I could give you a couple of reasons for this, but I would be boring myself even more than I would be boring you. I have my reasons for craving the intense burst of activity.

Since we’ve moved to India, I’ve been much less alcohol soaked. It’s just too expensive here to drink like we did in the US. I’m pretty fond of alcohol. It makes me relaxed, happy, and chatty. Caffeine is pretty much on the opposite end. It doesn’t make me mad or antisocial, but the energy and focus rush that come along with a few cups of coffee are amazing.  I feel like I can take on anything. I’m much less likely to have happy laughing conversations, but the ideas fly fast and furious.

The only thing I’m wary of is having too much. As with alcohol, I know my caffeine limits. I have had times when I felt like I needed to peel myself off the ceiling with a putty knife. The out of control pulse, shaking hands and brain that feels like it’s going to explode because my thoughts are running wild. Yes, as with everything else in life, I have found the outer limit.

What’s your relationship with coffee?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Asshat of the Week – Sean Harris

Listening to: Swing Swing – All American Rejects
Mood: Pissed.

If you don’t associate the name with the story/are an ostrich, this asshat is the pastor that advised punishing your effeminate sons and forcing your daughters to look pretty.  Yes, it’s an oversimplification of the situation, but it’s just so you get the gist of it.

Watch out ladies and gentlemen, I am whipping out the soap box again. I don’t want to be a blogger who just rants about stupid stuff I don’t agree with all the time, but I feel like this is one of those situations where you can’t just sit quietly and not say anything.

Pastor Harris (and I say that only out of years of it being drilled into me that the only proper way to address a minister is Pastor, even if you can’t stand them), may I ask you a question? Do you have an effeminate son? Do you have a tomboy daughter? If your answer is no, please shut the hell up right now. Even the very best parents among us wish for a training manual. Talking about a child rearing situation you have no personal experience in makes you a douche at best. Absolutely no one should listen to you spout off such damaging practices about things you don’t know about. Seriously.

If your answer is yes, you have my sympathy. Not because you have a sissy as a son or a boyish daughter, but because they will doubtlessly end up with a pretty deep seated disgust and anger at you not accepting them as they are. If I may remind you of a few small things: 1. You are a parent first and foremost in your life. Your job is to love and cherish your children. There are no guarantees that you will end up with the same life views as your child. Don’t waste a beautiful, natural relationship with your child over who they are. Your job is to love the hell out of that child and raise him or her to the best of your ability. 2. There is absolutely nothing in the bible about shaming your child for being different. I’m not even arguing the religious views on homosexuality. God specifically said love one another – this goes 6 fold for your family. Buck up and be the man your family needs you to be; a Godly one.

What this comes down to folks is religion. Now I’m not knocking religion – it definitely has a role to play for people with spirituality and human needs. What I really strongly object to is the sense of righteous morality that makes people judge others based on their singular view of the world and feel better about themselves. I’m not going to go into homosexuality in this post beyond a touch, because this issue could apply to almost any of the other Christian sins – homosexuality just seems to be a hot issue right now.

I am so tired of listening to people spout off a view that they know is ill informed or will stir up controversy for the sake of argument. You don’t talk to an atheist about how God requires us to pray in a church once a week unless you want an argument. Look, we’re all entitled to our own views on religion and existentiality. Everyone arrives at their own truth sooner or later. It is egotistical in the extreme to figure that you have thought more or arrived at a more correct conclusion than anyone else. You simply cannot make anyone else subscribe to your brand of religion.  Nor does your brand make you more righteous, spiritual, or moral.

I understand that labeling and sorting things into convenient parameters helps humans to deal with the world. It’s a scary, confusing, chaotic place. This is not an excuse to dehumanize those who are different than us. We need to call out this fear and start seeing things for what they are and start remembering that in spite of it all, we are all humans. If you feel the need, use religion to meet your spiritual needs, but do not for one minute think this makes you different or special in relation to the rest of the human race. Having a belief system does not in any way excuse you from respecting humanity. Belief systems and religion are a way for you to conduct yourself, not impose arbitrary rules on those around you.

Children are people too. Being children they need a lot of guidance, but they also need love, respect and acceptance too. It is criminal in my mind to tell a child that they are wrong in whom they are and that they should put on an act to be something else. How can you raise a secure, happy child if you can’t accept that they are who they are? It may work to subvert a child’s natural self when they are young, but it will come out with a vengeance when they get a little bit older and rightfully start thinking for themselves. They will then resent the fact that they never got acceptance from the only people in the world they have a right to expect it from and will think that there is something inherently bad with themselves that they had to be something else. The world is a brutal, nasty place. Helping your child to accept who they are and be proud of it is one of the best things that you can do for your child in order for them to be confident enough to navigate life – no matter whom or what they are.

What are your thoughts? Is it acceptable to do this for a lesser degree for other issues? For example, we use behavior modification to stop tantrums. Where do think the line is between changing who they are and helping them function in a society?


Thursday, May 3, 2012

For Your Listening Pleasure – Pitbull

Listening to: Pitbull/Marc Anthony – Let it Rain Over Me
Mood: Happy

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a thing for music. Some music just touches spots in my brain that nothing else can get to. I am such a sucker for a man with some pipes. May I suggest some ear candy for you?

The man of the day for me is Pitbull. I guess he doesn’t technically have an amazing set of pipes, but something about the man’s songs gets me going. That rough, sexy voice combined with the snapping hot Spanish/Puerto Rican accent. Mmmhm. If you’re listening carefully enough, the man has some naughty suggestions in his music too. I’ll take it.