Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

New York transit

I told you about the surprising incident at Tom's restaurant. Here's another one about New York - but this is a good one.
Soon as we landed in New York, we took a subway from the airport to Jamaica. We purchased one metro card for $ 20 -which was the lowest denomination we could purchase at the vending machine as we did not have bills handy.
We did not realize then that you could swipe a card only once in half an hour. We kept swiping it again and again but the gate would just not let me out. Finally, a couple of security guards came to our help and managed to fool the machine and let us out. That was nice of them :)
But - our card with $15 balance wouldn't work any more. We thought we had lost the money and continued our trip but just before coming back, we found out that they might refund us with another card if we sent ours to New York transit. We did that for the heck of it - a couple of weeks back and 2 days back we got a cheque and a letter from them :)
I guess they sent us a cheque because we live in Minnesota and a metro card would be of no use to us. Isn't that cool!

Even though this is how things are supposed to be, I am still surprised because I still remember the times when me and my sister used to travel by PTC buses from school and the conductor would never give us back 5 paise change.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


We had been to the Farmer's market on Lyndale this week to do our weekly veggie purchase and I just couldn't resist but pick up these beauties...they are so gorgeous- my camera wouldn't do justice clicking them. They all are saying something to each other...some of them have such an attitude- they wouldnt even pose for my pictures...
but I love them all :) Look at them!

Oh my! they are blushing now

My cotton candies

I think that's enough promoting their vanity!

getting back in shape

I used to have winter as my biggest excuse for such a low fitness level, but now the sun is shining in all its glory and I cannot escape anymore. So for the past ten days I have been clocking one hour of "brisk" walk everyday. I did some googling about how many calories I would burn and what is the best way to go about this exercise business when I remembered about the 10,000 steps a day program that one of my friends had spoken about as a doctor-suggested cure for his back-aches. I found a lot of good material about this program on the net.
to give you some statistics:
The physical activity of adults can be classified into

Under 5000 steps/day ---- "sedentary lifestyle index"
5,000-7,499 steps/day (daily activity excluding sports/exercise)--- "low active."
7,500-9,999 (likely includes some exercise or walking and/or a job that requires more walking) ----"somewhat active."
10,000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as "active"
More than 12,500 steps/day ---highly active

And so I ordered myself a pedometer and today was the first day I used it.
I so love all the statistics!!
so far: 9683 steps ( I am hoping to touch 10500 by EOD)
8901 aerobic steps for a 76 minute walk :)
479 calories (boy!! )
and 5.5 miles
So that is today's achievement. Hopefully I don't fall out of love with my pedometer and I keep this up and get back in shape in a month's time. Let's see.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

happy being vegetarian

Am so happy to be a vegetarian and I am happy that I was born one and just had to hang on there with conscious choice of being one always. I did not have to give up much.
I would have been happier if I was born a vegan but then I wouldn't be able to eat even my favorite breakfast cereal. It is something I am going to start working on- so from today, I plan to atleast reduce the consumption of milk.

The simple act of denying animal products for ethical/ compassionate reasons puts us (me and hubby) in a corner whenever we step out of my house. We cannot go to any and every restaurant and grab a bite- we end up asking a hundred questions to the poor guy who serves us about the content of the food. We cannot go camping and set a grill or go fishing or have a bbq at home. We see each and every food label to check if it contains animal products and yet we do consume bleached sugar and cannot let go of pastries. I don't know how many times my screening has slipped and we have ended up eating gelatin filled curd or used a body lotion with animal fat.

We watched Fast Food Nation yesterday - many of the scenes nearly made me throw up and I kept wondering how people still eat the food they do and especially Fast food . You know that they are adding all sorts of chemicals to get the smell and flavor , then there is a good portion of animal faeces that conveniently gets mixed up in your food and it all comess with such low nutritional value. Why do you want to consume it?
If I make a side dish, keep it frozen for a week and take it out - it tastes like mud -but if you buy frozen entrees and microwave them, they taste just as good as newly made. Why is that and How's that? Why do Mc D's fries taste so good? The answer is so simple and is in fromnt of you-the "Flavor industry" and the Flavorists . We are not ignorant, we all have some information about it or are atleast know that something is wrong here and yet we keep doing the same things over and over again. We know about obesity and under-paid, exploited employees and all about the innocent animals getting chopped in the most inhuman way. Then Why?
well,that's my two pennies worth.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off the record...on tuesday

Watched L.A Confidential ('97) yesterday. We thought we would watch it for about half an hour and then hit the sack but we ended up watching till the end without pausing the video for a moment. "Awesome" is not good enough a word to describe this movie. Wonder how Titanic was given Oscar instead of this. It is definitely on my top ten list.
Don't miss it, that's all I've gotta say!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

memorial day weekend

And we spent two more glorious days in New York but it has been too long since then to write about that trip and so am going to tell you about our okie-dokie Memorial day weekend.

The initial plan was to drive to Niagara falls along with another couple- it is around 16 hours drive from here and I didn't find the idea too practical -so- convinced hubby to drop the plan. He did so half-heartedly and we instead took a route well known to us- we drove to Chica-gooooo! This change of plan happened at around 6 pm on Friday evening (crazy us!) and then we did our hotel reservations, packed our stuff hurriedly and started the journey.
The thing about staying in EP is is all so beautiful, serene, blah and more blah but when it comes to travel, we have to add a good 30 minutes to the trip. This is not so bad when we travel out but...boy, does it get monotonous when we are returning back home. So we have nicknamed downtown Minneapolis as "the point zero". The number line for any journey starts and ends there for us.

For Friday night stay, we had made reservations at Janesville ( about 30 miles south of Madison). We planned to do some sightseeing around that area, but when morning came, it was raining badly and we could only head down south to Chicago.
We arrived at the Magnificient mile - walked by each and every fascinating shop and sipped a latte every hour. We were then off to Devon Ave - the South Asian shopping haven, for a "quiet" dinner. We only then realized that "quiet" canNOT be a word associated with Devon.
It competes straight-up with T Nagar Ranganathan street without losing any of the zing - whether it be the crowd or the noise or the merchandise. You can see hordes of women shopping gold like they do in Thanga maligai as if there is no tomorrow and the queue standing outside Saravana Bhavan is only more than what it is in T nagar. On this particular Saturday when we went, Patel was running special discounts like 4 maggies for 1 dollar and such- need I say anything about the rush now :)
We were totally beaten. We entered into one of the less crowded restaurants knowing that food was going to be bad (and yes, it was bad) but the items were priced less than half of what they are in Minneapolis and we didn't feel too bad about wasting.

The whole of second day we spent at Ohio street beach and Navy pier enjoying the sun.

We went around Chicago downtown and Millenium park a few times to check out the views and we were off to Palatine (where we stayed). The best part of our Chicago stay was having Caramel creme espresso at Oberweis . I did not know that having coffee made with organic milk was this heavenly.

Monday noon after having breakfast at Panera ( and coffee at Oberweis again :)) we left Chicago and reached Madison at around 3 pm.
It is a very small town famous for being the capital of the Dairyland state and of course for University of Wisconsin. We walked down the State street lined with restaurants,espresso bars and shops that reminded me of Dilli Haat and enjoyed the evening sun sitting by the shores of Lake Monona. We then headed back home and were in EP at 9:30 pm. This trip was tiring enough, I dont think we could have ever managed a 16 hr- 3day trip to Niagara. Now-back in sweet home!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New York nagaram: day 2

The second day started with us stepping out early to check out the Statue of Liberty. We went there, saw the HUGE queue of people waiting to get on to the ferry and realized that it we could never do it that day. We then said -"of course it a Sunday, what else do you expect. Let's do it tomorrow" and moved on to see the United Nations.

We took the guided tour to see the chambers of the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Economic and Social Council.The guide explained to us the functions, composition and current actions undertaken by each council, as well as the activities of the United Nations and my husband was right behind me continuously contradicting everything she had to say. All the same, he was very excited to be there as he had followed every bit of news regarding UN actions since the time he was born. I hung around hoping there would be something more exciting to see later on in the day than just gifts China and Thailand to the UN.

The Security Council

We then decided to visit the Central park and have our lunch at Tom's Restaurant made famous on Seinfeld . But thanks to a Flea market distraction on the way and an argument about fultile waste of money on cheap knick knacks, we ended up on the other side of the street in Riverside park. This was much more beautiful than the famous Central park but we found out about that only later. We got into a bus to cool off a bit and at about 3 o clock we came finally came to Tom's Restaurant. We ordered sitting inside one of the booths were Jerry and his friends sit all the time, a couple of bagels and the waiter very "politely" told us that each person should have a minimum order for $10. Now, after having argued half a day with each other, one doesn't need a "courteous" waiter telling you how much your bill or tip should be. We walked out of this place and entered into a crowded Haagen Dazs ice cream parlor. I got a sticky toffee pudding ice cream and my hubby, a strawberry cheese cake ice cream and we sat on the chairs in the middle of Broadway to patiently savour our mouthwatering treats.

We travelled back to Times square, this time in a bus so that we could enjoy watching the hustle and bustle of New york city.
Here we visited Madame Tussauds, took snaps with a whole bunch of celebrities and we were off to enjoy Times Square in all its neon glory. We went around gawking at each tall building and lighted hoarding -Good Morning America, Toys "R" Us, Virgin Records, NASDAQ, Ernst and Young, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Reuters, Viacom, m&m's and Hersheys -they were all there calling us out to have a look at them.

a roadside artist working on Newyork skyline

at the m&m's

There was so much of crowd, so many cops around and so much happening on the streets-it was a surreal experience just being there.

I think we were there well past midnight and somehow convinced each other about getting back to the hotel. I think we just blanked out when we came back.

it is just drizzling outside..

It is drizzling outside and you can feel the chill in your bones- it is not yet raining hard.
This moment, I feel like I am in a hill resort...this early spring, when the grass is lush green, the trees are just beginning to bloom and the sky is the color it always ought to be-time has stopped for me-everything seems alright and I feel so at peace.
I hold a book in my hand , sit in the patio and sip a hot cup of tea...