A story starter · A Walk to Remember · About me · Airport · Awaiting the weekend · Being honest · Lead · Morning Pages · New Experiences · Radiation · Security · Travel · Truths and Inspiration

Airport experiences

I was writing my morning pages today when I thought about an experience I had coming through a major South Indian airport. My husband being an ERCP- ist had ordered radiation protection glasses to be shipped to my Indian address. The glasses arrived duly and were packed among other things in my check in baggage. Emigration and check in went on like clockwork. I was in the airport hoping to have a good shopping experience having saved some spending money during the trip. I was in the Duty Free shop when I heard my name being called the public announcement system. As is usual for me, I thought they were calling someone else until something about the name sounded familiar and it clicked in my brain that they were actually calling me. So I hurried towards the airlines counter, from where a girl accompanied me to the innards of the airport. I say innards because she led me far below the airport in its underground places. I hadn’t known such places existed. It was a long walk. The girl told me I was likely to lose my iPad which I had packed into my check in luggage, not wanting it on the flight.

Soon the girl guided me to the place and left me alone to deal with a security person or police woman there, who stood guarding my open suitcase. Heart beating I approached her. She asked me if I had packed any hard stuff in my suitcase- I couldn’t recall having done so. She said there seemed to be something in my stuff which was in the shape of spectacles. Suddenly it struck me- it was my husband’s radiation glasses that were causing the issue. It was not seen properly on the security cameras as it was made of lead. I explained why I carried it and she let me go. Since we had gotten pally by then, I told her I was worried she was going to throw my iPad away as it had to necessarily come through the check in luggage. Reassured by her, I walked the long journey back to the upper echelons of the airport. Needless to mention, I lost my appetite for shopping by then.

On my recent trip to California, in the US domestic flight security check ins, I was separated out to be pat checked. It happened on two domestic flights and I wondered what the camera could not see in my innards that needed me to be patted fondly by hand. It seemed there looked like something was hidden in my groin. Every time I was given the green chit. Perhaps they thought I was smuggling drugs or currency or even a small weapon- who knows ?

I really appreciate airport officials for doing their jobs thoroughly though for the time involved, I did go through some moments of anxiety. Have you had any airport security experiences ?

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First snow experience

Last month, my husband and I visited family in Chicago. Three normal days and the last night of our stay there, it snowed. I was surprised my phone weather forecast was accurate. It started around 1 am- I was watching for it- it had been an exciting day, what with a visit to neighboring Wisconsin to see a professor of my husband’s just across the border from Illinois. And an outlet mall visit to buy a lot of things( which I actually didn’t need) and a few books for my onward trip.

So, it snowed and snowed and kept snowing till the morning, when we could see the whole place covered in the whitest of snow. So exciting!

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Way to Wisconsin

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House in Wisconsin

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Last days of autumn

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My first snow- the neighbourhood

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Little trees covered in snow- early Christmas

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View of the house from the car- last sight of snow

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Goodbye, snow ! 

A story starter · About me · Adolescents · As a Mamma · Being honest · Choices · New Experiences

Hard work does break bones

Some children( read that adolescents) take on too much. My younger daughter, recently admitted to med school seems to be on a job spree. She wants to do everything. She tells me,” I don’t want to feel later that I have missed out something”. When she was just a year old, I remember her pottering around our house just looking for “naughtiness”. Its the same now- 18 years later. She used to avoid going to bed to not miss out on anything going on at home and would only sleep if her body absolutely refused to keep up. Somethings never change, it seems.

 In college, she auditioned for a dance and she was selected for the main event. She did well and a lot of people praised her dance moves. ( she is not a trained dancer but has always loved dancing, so she used to learn dance looking at the youtube). Ever since she has been selected for every dance in the college. The dance practices go on till late at night, so much  that she has no time to read her books. She is tired most of the time. Today she is in a dance that accompanies a carol- what child is this ? It seems carols have to have dances accompanying them in their college.

And then she is house captain for the Cochrane house. The job of the house captain is to gather people to come watch the various matches and even substitute as a player should there be a deficit in the number of players. This takes up a lot of her evening time. She tells me she has no time to do her laundry.

Finally, two days back all the stress got to her and she broke down while sitting on the sides cheering her Cochrane team during a volleyball match. The seniors sent her to to her room and advised her not to show up at the field for any match as she was doing too much. She got a good night’s rest that day. 

Where she studies is my alma mater too and I knew how things work there but children being what they are never listen to their mother’s-that is the rule of nature. So I kept quiet and let her learn to prioritise her duties and work on her own. Seems like she is learning a hard lesson.

 

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These exercises are too tough

I am keeping at those back- breaking, knee crunching, taxing, vexing things they call exercises these days. Since I am part of the group that does these 45 minute work outs each day, I need to keep going.  Seeing others do their part makes me want to become like them. It is a competition.

I am the slowest, weakest, painful -est person in the group. Yesterday, we were told to run two rounds around the gym.To be fair, I ran one round and walked through the second. But I completed the rounds.

He split us into groups of 4, doing 6 exercises, by turn.

At first there was the roller.  The trainer told us to run with the roller across the room. It seemed very easy. Don’t be deceived. It is so easy to lose one’s balance doing this exercise and my 49 year old body can ill afford to break bones at this stage. So of course, I cheated. There is always Susie’s way of doing the roller workout. A few steps walking, stopping, huffing, puffing and with extreme care I did one up and came back huffing and puffing even slower until the 5 minute whistle blew. I got away with doing just two ups and downs.

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Next were press ups- which anyway I can’t do- no point even trying. How can my fragile arms lift up a 90 kg body ? Impossible ? I have not been brought up to carry heavy weights. So I got down on my knees to try to give an impression of a modified press up( women’s press up). Of course, I cheated there too. I went through the motions of the press ups, without pressing or upping.

After 5 minutes of press-ups, the next set were burpees and bench jumps. Ok, burpees, I seem to be getting better at. At least I can get on the floor like a four legged creature- and that is something for me. A short miniscule jump sufficed for the burpee jump and then I did a walk step up on the bench, which is the only exercise my ancient knees would tolerate.

Two runs around the gym wearing 10 kg weighted vests was next. And again I walked. My partners were waiting for me- huffing and puffing in their turn- because I was so late coming to hand over the vest to them, so they could do their runs.

Jumping rope is something I am familiar with- so I was happy that was next. Even here, I showed how inexperienced I was. All in all the exercises were a flop.

Why am I doing these ? I like something new and the gym is quite close to my house and the charges are affordable. So…

What hurts most ? My ego or my knees ? I am still deciding.

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Gratitude

Waking up early this morning. Feeling fresh and refreshed. It has been a good night. One in which I woke up only once to go to the bathroom( that is a big plus for me).

  1. For the computer, internet and wi-fi that are available 24 hours a day and let me have a virtual world apart from the real world. The virtual world helps me escape from reality for a good while.
  2. For ability to get access to books that help me improve my knowledge of things I thought I knew but actually didn’t and new things I learn every day. For recipes I am learning, creating and perfecting through these readings.
  3. For lowered blood sugars and blood pressure readings and the joy of seeing my husband happy and relaxed. The blessing of seeing this can’t be described in words. I never imagined my life to be so run by the happiness of another person but it is so, it has come to be so after 25 years of being in another person’s life. It comes to me that I have lived more years with this one person than with my parents.
  4. For 20 hungry cats that wait at my door each morning and evening and sometimes just hungry for a pat or a word from my mouth( I talk to animals). For each day I have with them though the thought that they won’t be much longer with me does bother me, I am determined to live in the moment.
  5. For a supervisor who has cooled down and is able to take time off from her worries and enjoy life at work. Her happiness transfers to us too and it is a blessing not to hear the tap of her shoes on the stone floors outside our rooms as she runs to get things done. For the slower pace of things this summer.
  6. For the ability to look at the better side of things at least when it involves others. I am trying to incorporate this in my life too.
  7. For smiles- for the smiles I see each day, for the smiles that remain in the world still. For people who give their smiles freely still. For people who don’t expect anything in return.
  8. For smart world leaders who do their job in their own characteristic way in spite of all the obstacles in their way. For the leader of a certain party who went out of his way to give a bear hug to his bitter critic opponent in parliament and who is ridiculed for it- for his guts to do so and not to keep grudges.
  9. For two legs that allow me to walk at will and that are under my control. I need to appreciate this ability more when I have them rather than wait for when I don’t.
  10. For eyes that see and ears that hear and a skin that heals fast even when injured. For a body that keeps me in one piece despite all the injuries I inflict on it.
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Thoughts for Tuesday

I have been wanting to share inspiration from the book I am reading now for a while. It is a book that is available in many book stores and many would have read it and been inspired by it over the decades since it was first written. It is ” How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie.

Yesterday at work, we had an issue. As we vet reports for our funding agency, we need to look through the report to see if things are done correctly. Technically we don’t or can’t understand the report so no one bothers to read it through those technical sections but we go through the personnel and expenditure to see if all of those sections are filled in. In the personnel section, they report all the researchers who worked on the project since the last report and account for their work. Some of our investigators, the people to whom the grant agency gave the money to conduct research, have a habit of bringing professors and academicians from universities from around the world, into positions like post docs, or research assistants or other such for a few months at a time. They are paid off the project in this capacity, though they contribute to the project as investigators.  Yesterday the grant agency found out that in some cases people were reported as investigators and the very same people were reported as post docs or research assistants in other reports- they questioned my supervisor about this discrepancy.

As I left office yesterday, my supervisor still hadn’t returned from her emergency meeting with the Research head because she needed to provide an answer to the grant agency and she feels her head is on the block now. Today we will all meet to see how to report to the grant agency in a way that does not jeopardize the fund and the project.

One of the first things  is to ask us who work as coordinators about why we didn’t look more carefully to see if people were in dual roles- one as investigator and the other as researcher. There might be some  passing the blame around during today’s meeting.

I have been reading this first chapter of the book and the first principle mentioned is “don’t criticize, condemn or complain”- all three words are applicable to me. I am trying to apply it during our meeting today. A person of true strong character is one who ” has the self-control enough to be forgiving”. Whining, complaining and condemning are easy to do. Self-control over words is the most difficult of things to do.

 

” I will speak no ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody”- the book quotes this from Benjamin Franklin.

” A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men”, the book quotes Carlyle.

” God himself does not propose to judge man till the end of days- why should you and I ?” Dr. Samuel Johnson

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Gratitude

Monday is the day set apart for being grateful. Honestly this morning I am not finding many things to be grateful about but let me try. Let me see what makes me grouchy first this morning.

  1. Grateful for the Air Conditioning in the house for without it and the power supply we would not be able to live in arid conditions. Thank you.
  2. For family that has returned safe after more than a week of busy travel and activity.
  3. For the Thai boys who got rescued last night from the cave and for the remaining 8 boys who are still alive.
  4. For the cool wind that brought cooler weather in some parts of the world and did not bring harm.
  5. Oh, now that I am counting, there seem to be so many. For a friend who is busy at work but still writing and I know she is well somewhere.
  6. For the guts to face up to someone I needed to forgive.
  7. For sleep and hunger that plague me through the day. There are many people who do not feel these basic instincts of life. I am often not grateful for my hunger for food and cravings for crunchy stuff. I am grateful that I seem to have gotten over my sugar cravings.
  8. For a sister who works hard at work and at home with her children and her ill health. She has been looking after my husband and children every time they visited her city over the past two months.
  9. For the woman at the visa counter because she set me off on an alternate path of life, one that I never thought I would be going on this July. For new times and new experiences.
  10. For a spare car that in spite of my car being silent and still in the garage works well and takes me in comfort to work.
  11. For the chapel service that went well last night – that elder daughter sang in the choir for- it was her first experience singing in a choir and for appreciation. For the younger daughter who was kept safe through weeks of travel back and forth to the home country and the church service she attended here yesterday.
  12. For peaceful times at home and the cats outside. For peaceful neighbors who live their lives quietly. For a neighbour girl who put on 5 kilos of weight after a battle with extreme starvation. It made me happy to see her almost like her old self yesterday. I hope she gains her body image back- is that the correct way of putting it ?
  13. For the monthly times for both my girls. I have come to appreciate this with their lives as they have often missed these cycles in their lives but this year, seems to have brought regularity in their rhythms.
  14. For the change in mood from when I started this post, that I don’t want to write what was bothering me at the beginning of this writing.

Thank you for this day and for the challenges this day will bring.