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Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Blog Moved

See you at http://foreever-rationale.blogspot.com and http://foreever-a-foodista.blogspot.com

Posted at 12:18 pm by Rationale
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Friday, September 29, 2006
The Alaskan Summer

ts been a few months since I flew back from Anchorage and friends have asked me why I havent taken the time to write about it?

For the first few weeks I felt that I wasnt back home yet... it was almost like the home-sick feeling I got when I was first left on the hostel courtyard watching my Mom and Aunt walk away on the first dayof college.(That feeling was fleeting as I met them in a few hours, since my Aunt lived a few miles away!) But Seattle did not feel like my home anymore, it felt like I'd left my REAL home behind in Alaska.

I'm not even going to TRY to describe the landscape of the state.Whatever you have heard, read, seen in documentaries, book and pictures can not do it justice. When you climb upto and onto a glacier ice field, time does stand still. (Or maybe that was my watch battery running out...! Eitherways, it was deathly quiet until I decided that I would wear my sandals instead of hiking boots (since it looked sunny) and jump across 2 ft deep pools of melting glacial water! Going into the cavernous ice caves and whispering so as "not-to" cause the razor sharp icicles to pin us down took some effort on my part... the ice blue color is still vivid in my mind (and my digital camera memory stick)

I loved the idea of the 22+ daylight hours Alaska enjoys. The boundless energy it gave me compared to the no-effect-on-sleep it had on hubby! I was more restless than usual in the evenings. Hubby had to force me to relax by the fires we built, after scavenging for firewood along the Teklanika river. (He literally had to drag me bythe waist once when I caught sight of a campers stack of firewood!)Sweet corn never tasted so sweet until it was blackened by soot from the fire and spiced with cayenne from the pepper spray we'd bought to ward of bears! (Testing it caused my eyes to sting for hours... We'd forgotten to factor in the fact about wind-direction!)

And I thought I lived a simple life! The family in Joy, Alaska have a whole new definition for the word 'simple'. They moved to Alaska inthe 50's when they thought their children were troubled by 'normal' lifestyles. They couldn't have picked a better place.... You could get lost searching for trouble here! We spent some time with them on our way to the North Pole, they told me I looked like their adopted-Indian daughter. (I wondered if they could really pick out their kids from acrowd since they'd adopted 45 of them in a span of 30 years!)

That trip was a learning experience! Though hubby was visibly shocked to see the lack of 'the white stuff' at the North Pole, it thrilled us beyond measure when we felt the solid ice below the 6 inches of top-soil we were standing on. (Little wonder it was so spongy to walk on!) The Transatlantic Pipeline brought a whole new wave of people to Alaska and it was built with the outmost care so as not to disturb the delicate ecosystem of the place. I think they did a good job! At times it is difficult to spot the pipline from a mile or so away, as it blends into the brush and vivid fireweed of the tundra.

"Beary good bears!", is what I expected the Punjabi couple in our group to say when they ooh-ed and aah-ed over the mother bear and her 3 cubs. Boy! Did we waste a whole lotta time reading up on 'What to do if a bear ...?" They seemed almost unaware that humans existed!(Though I bet this was just after a feast of those huge salmon in theYukon river followed by luscious berry's for desert! Produce is abundant in every sense of the word here!) Oh and picture of the bears here isnt mine. (I was staring too intently at em to take a picture!)

My constant, "I hope we spot some bears" was soon replaced by, "Ok, so what else is new" afterthe 15th bear sighting in 3 days! Add Dall Sheep (not Daal), Moose(Yes, they ARE dangerous and huge!), Numerous kinds of animal which I can only define as "Deer", Artic Squirrels (not white please, if you thought along the lines I did!), humongous crows (I think they were called Ravens), Wolves and oh, did I mention bears, it was a veritable safari trip hiking in Denali.

Oh and we were'nt fortunate to see Denali in all its splendor, though we could see what the hype was about. (I refuse to refer to it as Mt McKinley, turns out this McKinley dude went ahead and named it after himself for no apparent reason! He hadn't even scaled it once!)

So what made me write all this now? I figured I'd better do it before I forget the details that made the trip so memorable. Like how it was hubby's chore to first figure out how to and then empty the 'waste' at the hookup stations for the RV each time! I ought not to talk bad about good ol' Winne (yeah, a not-so-original nickname for a Winnebago!) since she afforded us the luxury of choosing our picnic and rest stops with ease- On the banks of the Kenai River one day, the Alaskan Range the next and waking up to the sounds of the seagulls gliding along the waters of Portage bay.

I don't know whether to feel happy that there is still such a place,with its amazing landscape, rich culture and simple people so untouched, or sad that theres so few like it left ... If you haven't been to Alaska yet, I envy the journey that you have yet to seek ...

Posted at 10:56 am by Rationale
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Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Nick-Knack and my Neck!

Woke up early this morning
Made my coffee like I allllll ways do
Then it hit me from nowhere
Everything I feel about meeee and youuuu ...

-Vanessa Carlton's Eighth World Wonder

Thats how the song goes but for me its just a stiff neck this morning! It was literally an effort to get out of bed and not just the feeling. Called my doctor but she had no appointment available so I decided to go across the street from her to urgent care. (Basically like an ER where walk-ins are welcome)

So hubby decides to take the day off to take-care of me and whisks me off to the docs. Well maybe whisk would not be the correct word since I could barely walk a few steps at a time. And hubby stating that I look like an older version of his granny with my head to the side does not make it any easier to keep a straight face! (Yeah, it hurt to laugh too!)

We get to the docs office which is just around the corner from where we live. The receptionist takes one look at me and states that it will be a 2 hour wait at the very least. We go back home and every jerk and turn in the car make me feel like detaching my neck and resting it on my lap for a while!

Back at the doctor and further waits. My blood pressure, weight, height, reflexes, throat, temperature, pulse all seem "perfect". Further waits. I read this weeks Time Magazine as well as last weeks Newsweek. (Did you know that "Eddie" from Frasier died last week?)

Just about to doze on Bush' Immigration plans (No, no ..!! He's not leaving the country, sorry folks! I refer to his take on immigration reform) when Doc comes in and taps my spine asking me all these questions. He then gives me a prescription muscle relaxant and sends a nurse in to fit me with a ... collar!

In addition to keeping me from turning my neck unwantedly, it is also a source of much merriment. As proved when I came out wearing it. And making people laugh in the waiting room of an ER is not a mean feat! The situation wasnt made any serious by hubby gaffaw-ing when I walked out ...

And I cant look in a mirror too, since it physically hurts... to laugh!!!

Posted at 03:58 pm by Rationale
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Monday, July 10, 2006
Cows make Cheese and then Poop

Just back from a lovely holiday and I realise that I need to go shopping! My HR Manager is going away on maternity leave and we are throwing her a baby shower! Have to keep on the good side of HR you see, so I trudge to the mall...

It is then I remember the theme of the party.... Books! Suddenly there is a spring in my step when I realise my destination is just over the border. Well Borders to be more specific!

Buying books for a baby is something I rarely, if ever do. And for a baby I dont even know.... (or cant possibly meet to figure out what she/he would like?) I am just about ready to reconsider my thoughts on the whole idea.

One hour and counting...

I am searching for books that I recognise but find none. Some of the more memorable ones I see are, "Everyone Poops" (Borders assistant assures me this one is famous (I translate... notorious) among the kids!), "Moo Baa La La La" (picking this up elicits eager nod from assistant, I think no one has ever bought that one!) My hopes of buying (and perhaps reading before gift-wrapping and giving) Peter Pan or even Aesop fables are crushed when I see a "funny" take on the latter called "The Stinky Cheese Man" (Assistant tells me that kids today will read the classics only if they cater to their sense of humor!)

Who moved my Cheese?

Ready to give up. Am going to buy Borders gift card. (Oh! But what if HR decides that is uncouth and takes a chunk out of my bonus.) *sigh* Next aisle and a million unknown (to me) books later ...under some book titled, "The Wild Thing" (Err... have I stumbled onto a different category of books) I see ..."The Velveteen Rabbit"

(For those of you who havent read this one, please navigate to this site at once and complete your inner kids' soul) And no, its not about a rabbit who likes a certain type of cheese!


If you read the book, you know what I mean. Gifts are opened along with sheer delight by HR manager. Every book gives way to new "Oohs" and "Aaahs". But my gift brings out the most audible "Awww". :-)

Oh and someone bought "Everyone Poops" and "Moo Baa La La La" is gifted twice! The definition of humor is officially changed. Realization that I am in a whole new generation strikes .... in a very funny way. :-))

PS: I go back to Borders to read those 2 gems. If you want to buy it for someone check out this and this


Posted at 08:41 pm by Rationale
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Goodbye and Goodluck

Ever so often, I stop to think about my friends and how I have such a varied variety of them! Some of them are as complex as well ... a complex equation? While others are simple like vanilla ice-cream. :-)

The sun sets over the horizon as I type this piece out. My heart feels heavy as if its been pounded on, I can feel the beginning of a yawn churning somewhere within.... (where DO yawns start out from...?)

One of my closest friends is going far away today... To care for her family, in their time of need. She left with laughter in her voice and (probably) a smile on her face. She seemed to be skipping to a rythmic tune, so upbeat about it all...

It is almost unbelievable... A Mother who attempted suicide (and a Mil who succeeded at it!), a sister who's made the scenarios of "The Bold and the Beautiful" sound life-like and like icing on a soap-opera cake... a Husband who will go down in the MCP Hall of Fame. Thats her life in a nutshell (pun follows...) and inspite of being through all this she comes out as a better-than-normal individual with oodles of spirit and enthusiasm for life!

She tells me what she feels about it all. But it is always in the past tense after she has come to terms with her feelings. And not missing a beat, she forces a laugh, talks about the weather, the latest styles.

It is almost believable...

Good luck my friend, my thoughts and prayers are with you... Now and Always.


Posted at 07:24 pm by Rationale
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
In the eyes of the beholder ...

"My dad is tall and strong" (Yes, the keyword is tall)

I would say that out loud sometimes at the playground, possibly trying to get the bully off my back, intimidate him into leaving me alone! Or maybe it was yet another way of idolizing the only person I looked upto at that point in my life (not literally, as I was only a few inches tall then!)

I dont recall when I realised that my Dad is not superman or any super hero for that matter. Like most daughters it was replaced by a feeling of envy (of my Mom) and then pride (Dad being smart, caring, loving, fun ... you know the adjectives here!)

Taking a cue from Calvin, (of C&H fame ...) I'm sure its tough when you realise that your Dad isnt the infallible person you thought him to be. (Or in Calvin's own words, "You better look for a new job, "Dad" ") I can imagine that it might be disappointing for a few too, depending on which angle you look at the scenario ... If I ever had thoughts about it, they must have been fleeting, as I dont remember them!

Just the other day at work, one of my colleagues (who I always thought was shorter than me atleast by an inch or 2) stated that he was 2 inches taller than I am! Oh, I'm not really concious about my height (or lack of it!) but this irked me a little. Why, why did I always imagine him to be at the same level as I was, or even shorter than me?

It's because ... now ... my Dad is just a few inches taller than I am. But to me ...it will always go like this, "My Dad is tall and strong."


Posted at 11:13 pm by Rationale
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Saturday, June 24, 2006
It's too short!

This could be the start of one of those kind of posts that talk about my short shorts or short skirts and how my Mom found them too short ... but lets leave that for another day. Today I am in a bit more pensive mood ... as its Life I'm talking about ...

I was witness to an accident where a life was (is) potentially in danger.

Crusing along the roads, we were enjoying the wonderful weather equipped with sunglasses and suncreen. I felt hot even in the thin knit tshirts made for a day like this! I remember we were talking about something inane like the latest summer fads and our plans for the evening when we noticed the traffic slowing down.

Its one of those things that really hit you hard. Some people even take it as a reminder ... to be more careful when they drive, more attentive and less pre-occupied. Life tends to weave itself through a maze of emotions sometimes. One moment you are carefree and theres not a (serious) thought in your head and the very next you are confronted with yourself, prodding you with all these questions about what you want from life.

And that ofcourse depends on ones perspective. Personally, I'm content when I'm happy. Yeah, but its not that simple is it? Big Smile Happiness is so under-rated. Think about it, everyone has different definitions of it! The ways in which we achieve peace, happiness is as varied as the colors of the rainbow and the shades in-between!

So please, drive safe and take care of yourself. Look 2 ways before you cross the road, whether you are in a car ... or not! And "Do what makes you happy, do what feels right" Shades



Posted at 07:46 pm by Rationale
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Thursday, June 22, 2006
When will I see you again?

So I live in the pacific northwest. Yeah! Lots of greenery and mountain air to go around. Sunlight is taken seriously here and this must sound crazy coming from a person who's lived all her life in sunny (sometimes TOO sunny) climes... but summer days in the North West are so full of fun! I think I've done more in a few weeks of summer here than I have ever done in ANY summer in my life!

Driving home from work is always an anticipated treat for me! (Yeah there IS something other than the fact that I am leaving work for the day!) My commute is like a non guided tour of the Olympic and Cascade ranges and Mt Rainier! Well, actually more like a distant observatory viewing. But nevertheless, every day that the sun is out, I walk out of my work place with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

The hills are alive, did you say? Sometimes I think Mt Rainier cant be a REAL thing. I mean, heres this huge, white, almost-perfect mountain. (Lets not go into specifics here, that might make it sound real!) I like to think that its a 'ghost'. (No, I am not 5!) Let me explain ...

On a sunny day we cant be certain that Mt Rainier will grace us with its presence! Its like it appears just out of no-where. (Could be due to the elevation I have to cross over to actually view it on the interstate but I rather fancy my theory) So if you saw the big R while you visited Seattle, you are lucky!

Theres something very meditative about watching it, sitting on the cool grass, the sun shining on your face. At that moment, all you can think of is when will you see it again ...




Posted at 08:44 pm by Rationale
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Somewhere I belong...

A recent barrage of comments to a post, got me thinking... where do I actually belong?

I always thoughts that I "fit" in with most around me, get along with all kinds of people because I embrace "In Rome do as the Romans do". For the most part, I still feel that way but at the same time theres this new feeling ...

Born outside India, being of Indian 'origin' but a non-resident all my life, I always knew that there were times when I was looked at in a different way. This was when I visited India. People just assumed that I was used to luxury and probably could not 'adjust' to the elements that is India. On some parts, they were right. When I was a child, it look me a long time to get used to the food (especially the breakfasts), the smelly toilets and ofcourse the language. My skin still reacts in a bad way to mosquito bites, but no where near as bad as my first visit to India, when I was 6! (I got elephantiasis!)

During the Gulf War in '91, I watched as other "NRI" kids threw tantrums when asked to use the school toilets as they were 'dirty'. I probably felt the same as they did, but I never showed it. I enjoyed what the country had to offer. Yes, life was different but I picked out the positive.

Now being in the western part of thr world, things have changed... We have friends and colleagues from all over the world. Relatives scattered and family far apart. But even in such a varied culture, other Indians still see me as 'different'. Some choose to elaborate on it in the simplest of terms:

- You dont show up at any social Indian gathering (meaning associations by state, culture etc)
- You dont speak hindi (or Telegu, or Tamil, or Kannada, or even your "Mother" tounge...) (And I havent even told them that my mother spoke a mix of Malay and English till she was 24!)
- You dont seem excited about India's booming economy
- You dont watch cricket (!!!)

I'd always take the above comments with a grain of salt. Flick it off my shoulder and never let it stay long enough to become a chip. Never thought of explaining the why's and how's.

But now its something more... there are a whole flood of authors, showcasing Indian life, the modern vs the traditional. I've read them, appreciated them but... dont connect with most of them.

At the other end of the spectrum, growing up in the western hemisphere is pretty different too. But from what I hear from my home(s), the gap is decreasing every nano second! This may be a good thing. Granted its not a big deal but we probably wont have any 'confused' individuals anymore! :-)

Globalisation has become a force, pushing its way through cultures and bridging gaps, ever so often leaving a crevice untouched. So if I had to pick a side, if there were some kind of invisible category... where do I belong?

Posted at 09:27 am by Rationale
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006
At-Home Spelling Bee

I've never been good at spellings. My Mom always charted this down to lack of practise! And I think she had something right there, cos now a days I find that my spelling has improved... drastically!

Dont get me wrong, I'm not consiously trying to improve on my spelling. God! I'm not a geek! But its been 6 months now that I am living with my new hubby and heres how it went when he needed to send an email out just this morning...

H: Rationaaaaleeee, Whats the spelling of "occasionally"
Me: (I was actually in the bathroom with my mouth full of foam... from the toothpaste! and not because I'm crazy!)

H: <Repeats himself>
Me: Umm 'O' 'C' (This much I was sure of!) 'A' 'S' 'I' 'O' 'N' 'E' no 'A' 'L' 'L' 'Y'!

H: Arent there 2 s'?
Me: Err... Umm... use spellcheck!

So in effect every time hubby needs to send an email from home, he enlists someone whos better at him at spellings! (FYI, that could be ANYone!) Granted the words are easy compared to even the most juvenile spelling bees, why just today day he called out, "Hey, how do you spell 'Laury', she sent me an email and I need to reply" !

PS: A penny for each wrong word spelt here! :-)

Posted at 11:36 am by Rationale
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