New Year’s Ramblings

Here’s wishing a very happy, safe and healthy 2012 and beyond to my 5 ardent readers, 3 of whom are family – take that, Huffington Post!

My mind is right now too cluttered with all kinds of ideas, thoughts, analyses, etc that I need to clear some of it out or will explode into a 1000 pieces like Vikramaditya’s head would have if he knew the answer to Betal’s puzzler and didn’t answer.

A year-end update from our family:

After a brief, but real scare, my daughter seems to be on the mend from her concussion.  She had to take an “Incomplete” on two of her finals as she was not allowed to study until completely free of symptoms.  But, she rocked in her other two classes with high A’s.  Michigan is a tough school to get B’s, let alone A’s!  We’re very proud of her.

My son seems to have adjusted very well to college life.  Brings home huge laundry loads, and unwashed dishes, found some really good friends and mentors, but still misses us when he goes back to school!  That’s all a mother wants for her children right?  Happiness mixed with a healthy dose of homesickness 😉

My husband is probably tired from taking care of all of us during December – and is back to work!

I have finally adjusted, I think, to being a well-balanced emptynester mom.   I felt sad when my daughter left, and didn’t get up from the couch for 4 hours after my son left yesterday, but have bounced back.  I am happy as long as I know they’re happy and safe.  It took me 3 years to get to this point!  Keeping my fingers crossed it sticks and is not a passing phase in my growth spurt.

The holidays were totally relaxed – no real plans and we took it one day at a time.  Played some carrom, watched movies, ate a lot, just hung out.  My son and I watched all 3 Godfather movies.  It’s one of our favorite things to do.  With my daughter, I like to watch classic chick flick (countless times of Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast), paranormal stuff (still can’t watch Paranormal though).  Started playing ‘Words with friends’ with the kids yesterday.

Raj and I were pleasantly surprised at a couple of dinners with our neighbors and friends – the kids totally enjoyed interacting with us on grown-up terms (I was going to say “adult” but I think that term has been permanently tainted for me growing up in Chennai where ‘A’ stands for ‘adult movies’.).  We watched, with wonder,  as they made jokes that were not based on body functions or bathroom humor, talked intelligently about all kinds of topics,  and entertained our friends!  Wow.  When did they grow up?

Had a great new year’s party – only Indians, specifically Tamils, can pull off a NYE party where the dress code was black tie, (but we saw everything from saris, salwars to cocktail attire), the food was Chinese and Thai with Indian appetizers, the drinks were punch and Margaritas, the theme Casino Royale,  and end up with a sensational party!  Great job, organizers!  You worked very hard.  As my friend said the next day, I now feel part of this community – only 3 short months ago, I knew not a person here!

Ah…how can this end without mention of ‘kolaveri’.  Let’s just leave it at that.  Yes, watched it, and a few remixes.  Personally thought the one with Shivaji clips was hands down the BEST.  But, whoever has that kind of time to sync it so perfectly?

Happy new year, all!  Mayan end of world predictions aside,  let’s all have a great year!

Totally Random Post

2000 hits on my blog as of today – 10/13! yay…

Watching a little bit of the Chilean miners being lifted out of the mine they’ve been stuck in for 60+ days – first question pops into my head is: What did they eat?  Caroline, my cleaning lady, who was watching it with me, told me they survived on 2 teaspoons of tuna, a cracker and sips of water every 8 hours for the first 17 days, and after that they were sent food.  They looked fresh, shaven, clean as they came out. 

Naturally, my next question: What did they do for a toilet? Caroline was stumped – didn’t know. 

I always wonder if I would turn into a carnivore if I were stranded in a desert with only meat to eat, or in a boat with a tiger, hyena and a zebra (…a la Life of Pi).   Would survival trump lifelong vegetarianism?

Started a new book ‘The Little Bee’ by Chris Cleave.  Rave reviews on amazon.com, my friend who lent it to me is undecided as to whether she likes it or not.  The story is pretty intense, and I love the style of writing.  Reminds me  a little of Arundathi Roy and David Sedaris.  Sad without being ‘in your face’ melodramatic.   Still haven’t reached the ‘beach incident’ which all the reviews are talking about, supposedly a horrific one.  Am a little bit scared to read it.  As I get older, having less and less tolerance for disturbing things.

Watched ‘The Social Network’ over the weekend with Raj.  (well I did warn you…this is a random post…my thoughts jumping all over the place).  Great movie, fantastic writing!  After reading the reviews, was expecting to really hate Mark Zuckerberg, founder/CEO of facebook.  And did hate him for some part of the movie, but at the end, found myself almost empathizing with him, and feeling sorry for him.

Jesse Eisenberg who plays Mark Zuckerberg, epitomizes the essential geek.  Great casting! Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay rocks!  Adapted from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 nonfiction book ‘The Accidental Billionaires’.  More info here.

The last scene was quite painful to watch where he keeps refreshing his facebook screen after sending a friend request to his ex.  Made me think we’ve all been there (desperate and lonely) at some point in our lives, in some way, shape or form – maybe not necessarily on facebook.   The movie is a fictionalized account of the creation of facebook, and its founders and has made a lot of assumptions.  But to think the guy who created a world of 500 million friends could be lonely, and not have a single friend…

On a related note, read somewhere that in this internet age, when we think of a person, we think in terms of ‘packets of data’ rather than visual, physical image (“x is tall, dark and handsome”).  Instead, what may come to one’s mind may be something like ‘relationship status: single,  likes seafood, 102 friends”.  Isn’t that curious?

Done with my rambling….back to my book.

Top 10 Signs you are middle-aged and restless..

10 You start to wonder what you have achieved in your life

9 You dust off old and forgotten dreams and half-finished projects (that carnatic music lesson you started and had to quit because a. you moved b. your teacher was a creep)

8 You have a renewed sense of panic and an urge to accomplish something – anything!!

7 You nourish delusions of writing the next great American novel

6  You believe you could have been the next Monet/ Lata Mangeshkar/ Jesudas(?!!) under the right circumstances

5 You lose the fear of speaking your mind to the extent that people may think you’re rude

4 You dream of drastic career moves (volunteering at an ashram in Pondicherry for example, or being a traveling reporter for CNN (?!)) without considering practicalities such as qualification, and a husband and kids who still depend on you somewhat

3 One day you are all fired up about getting that promotion, moving up the corporate ladder, and the next you want to retire, travel, see the world and in general, live the life of the bum

2 You aggravate your children by constantly asking they what they’d like for lunch/dinner right after they’re eaten (although this may be just an Indian mother syndrome)

1 You start a blog called Middleaged and Restless and wonder why the hell you started it

Tiger, Church and Scrabble: Rants and Musings..

I have to warn – there’s going to be some ranting in this entry.  So if you’re not in the mood to be at least mildly outraged, skip to the bottom…

For someone who hasn’t been paying too much attention to what’s going on in the world other than my family, work and friends, I was more than irritated this week by a few news items that I couldn’t avoid – unless I was hiding under a rock. 

In no particular order, here they are:

Tiger Woods – Golfer, not God:

Leave the man alone –  he just plays the game of golf really well.  That doesn’t automatically make him a saint.  Golf is apparently not about character.  It is JUST A GAME!   It irritates me to no end when all these sports and other public figures who are simply good at what they do,  are elevated to heights  that they’re not able to live up to by the adoring public.   Who then get outraged at the apparent falling down .   Seriously people – enjoy the golf, leave the personal life alone. 

This is my theory: if all the adulation hadn’t gone to his head, he probably wouldn’t have done what he did.  It was all a power trip.  Stop the madness, and just enjoy the game.  Don’t elevate a sports star to God status and then act outraged when he doesn’t live up to it.

Nike’s ridiculous ad this week had me scratching my head.  Is there anything that this country will not commercialize?  Here’s the ad played ad nausuem – of Tiger’s late father Earl Woods scolding him., i

(BTW, there were so many parodies on YouTube on this I had trouble finding the original Earl Woods one.)

And of course, left themselves open for all kinds of mockery on the latenight circuit and YouTube:

The Catholic Church: Boy oh boy….(no pun intended):

For those who are living under a rock, the gory details can be found all over the internet.   In essence, the church has been molesting boys – which had been brought to the attention of the higher ups – including the Vatican who all had turned a blind eye and let it continue unchecked, unpunished and unstopped.

Read Maureen Dowd’s excellent commentary in the New York Times here.

Again, it boils down to too much power in the hands of the wrong people.   This one seems to be a universal sickness – I am thinking of the Sankara mutt controversy, Nityananda and countless others. 

Leave the children alone! Don’t take their innocence and their lives away from them!

Can you spell OUTRAGE? (aka Scrabble for Dummies)

 My last irritant last week was this news item on the BBC news site.   This one is serious guys!  And has the potential to affect all of us, lovers of that classic game Scrabble personally!  Mattel is introducing a new version of the game that will change the rules of the game to allow proper nouns.  What?  And totally dumb it down?  Where’s the creativity in that? 

What will they do next?  This is the culinary equivalent of changing apple pie recipe to allow bananas.  Adding garlic to Parthasarathy kovil puliyodarai.   Thayir saadham with a side of paayasam.  Some things are best left alone.   Don’t fix it – it ain’t broken!

The good news is it’s only going to ruin the gaming lives of the Brits – who cares about them anyway ;).  Not North America or Canada.  So we’re safe now.  I will refuse to play with the new rules if it ever comes out here.

On a happy note….

And lastly, spent a fabulous evening with some friends last night.  A few friends are planning to meet once a month and just jam!  Priti, your dad has a soulful voice.  Super talented!  Loved, loved, loved his singing!  All that was missing was a harmonium!

That’s all for now, folks….happy Sunday!