Friday, January 30, 2009

Tips for a Better Life in 2009

Found this in Meari's blog. Was too good to surpass.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.
4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'
5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2008.
7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
9. Dream more while you are awake.
10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured IN plants.
11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds, & walnuts.
12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk, and let new and flowing energy into your life.
14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, or issues of the past, negative thoughts, or things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.
15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.
18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
26. Forgive everyone for everything.
27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful.
32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
33. The best is yet to come.
34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
35. Do the right thing!
36. Call your family often. (Or e-mail them to death!)
37. Each night before you go to bed, complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.
38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life, so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.
40. Share this with those you care about. May your troubles be less.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Almost a week...

Since my last post. Amma's visit went off very well. As we are not allowed to take any pictures of Amma herself, I just managed to take a picture of the archway that was put up at the entrance of the ashram.

In Her 2 days' visit (21st and 22nd), Amma gave darshan to about 40,000 people. Amazing, isn't it. Wonder when I get to have Her darshan next!!!!

Now, back to our world (the material, mechanical one)!!!! I tried baking a cake on Sunday. Though I have baked the sponge cake umpteen number of times, I wanted to try the Swiss roll (is that what it is called?) this time. So, I just baked a very thin base. But unfortunately, the oven was at a higher temperature, and the base got a bit harder than it should have been :( So, decided to make (and call) them, chocolate fingers .

And finally, and update on my progress with the Peacock. The movie that kept me company this time was Erin Brockovich. Loved the movie and the stitching.
You might not be able to make out too much of a progress, as most of it is in ivory shade.

I just can't wait to finish the peacock and get on with my next project. Still thinking what to take up next .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mata Amritanandamayi, my Guru, idol, deity, has arrived in Chennai today for a 2 day program. This is the time of the year I very eagerly await.

The 2 days are the most refreshing part of the year. This is the time when I charge myself enough to last the rest of the year. Amma is also popularly known as "The Hugging Saint" outside India, also known as Ammachi.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The weekend

Was just too good. Wish it had lasted a bit longer. My weekend started on Friday with a trip to Prashanthi (a saree store), where MIL had been wanting to go for ages. But the collection was very disappointing. MIL did manage to find a saree she liked, proving she's my MIL ;) !!! She left on saturday afternoon, back to her routine, and we were back to just the 2 of us.

So, I decided to make something nice at my mom's place. It's too boring to cook for just the 2 of us. Made chapathis and Mutter Paneer for dinner and back home.

Sunday morning was the much awaited trip to the annual book fair. Vaishnavi has been wanting some books on Lord Krishna.

These are the books that we bought for her at the fair. Boy, was she delighted. She slept with these books by her side last night. And in the morning, she kept them carefully so that she could "read" it tonight!!!

I decided to try something interesting, but at the same time simple, no hassles. So looked around and found some slices of bread, a carrot and pizza cheese. So, made breadizza!!!

There it is, in the making. The bread is whole wheat bread, so not very un-healthy(?).

And now finally, my progress on the peacock. With so much happening, I did manage to do some stitching on saturday night.

Sat up till about 2am (Sunday morning) stitching. Am I crazy to be doing this? Maybe I am, but I need some time to stitch and this is the best time. SATC (Sex and the city) kept me company for a while, after which a hindi movie (Jaanam samjha karo, UGH!!!!!) kept me company. This is definitely not the best movie to be watching. But I needed some sound.

I realized that I never shared with you what the peacock would finally look like.

Here it is. I scanned this picture directly from the book, unlike my others, which I shoot with my handycam. Am sure you can make out the difference in the clarity.

Wow, that's a long post. Have a great stitchy week ahead!!! :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


As promised, here I am with a whole lot of pictures and all about pongal.

What is a better way than to post a picture of Vaishnavi, my daughter. She just loves to wear a salwar kameez, and definitely with a dupatta!!!

My mother-in-law is here to celebrate pongal with us this time. With Mohan (my husband) in the US on an assignment for a few months, her visit is a refreshing change for Vaishnavi and me. Hope she has an equally good time with us, before she gets back to her routine.

Below here is the sweet pongal that she made for us, and it definitely was as yumm as it looks. This is a sweet dish prepared with rice and jaggery.

Now to tell you about the actualy festival and its significance, here I go!!! Pongal is very popular in the southern part of India. It is called Sankranthi in some of the states.
The festival is split into 3 days:
Day 1 - Called Bogi. The significance is to get rid of all old stuff and bring in new things. People generally give away/burn old things on this day. But the actual significance is to get rid of all our old negative feelings and bring in new fresh positive feelings in our lives.
Day 2 - Pongal. This is for us to start afresh. Some states even consider this day as the beginning of their new year.
Day 3 - Maattu (cow) pongal. The cow is the celebrity on this day. This day, we offer our salutations to the cow. In India, the cow is considered as Goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth). So, we offer pooja to the cow. Though, in urban Indian homes, there are no cows these days, in homes that do have a cow, this day is very special. Also, on this 3rd day, we pray for the well-being of our siblings, especially brothers.

On all days of Pongal the houses are decorated with elaborate Kolams, also known as rangolis. There are even grand rangoli contests held during this time of the year. Here is the kolam that donned our apartment.

This specific kolam symbolizes the festival of pongal, with 4 pot on each corner, and sugar cane in between. The actual tradition is to wake up at about 4am and put the kolam outside our house. But now, we (modern Indians) have modified this slightly to our convenience, and do this the previous night. Imagine waking up at 4am!!! So, most of our apartment was up till about midnight on the 13th night, putting kolams outside their flats. Keeping Vaishnavi away from the kolam was a great task. She was at her "helpful" best, handing out the color powders to me. I was almost shrieking in the middle of the night, out of fear that she might drop some of the color all over my kolam!!! Just imagine, all the effort down the drain!!! Finally, I was forced to allow her to try her hand at it. I just allotted a space to her where she could draw her kolam. Thankfully, MIL was engaging her with it!!!
So, that's allll about pongal. I did manage to do some peacock in between. But the progress is too little to show. While I was stitching, Vaishnavi suddenly decided to be at her naughtiest best!! She just ran away with one of my green strands!!! I was at my wits' end. So, just wrapped it up!!

Hope to update you with some significant progress on my peacock this weekend.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pictures on the way

Sure Chiloe, I just wanted to get some good pictures before posting them. Wait for a whole lot of pictures and a post :d

Monday, January 12, 2009

A fruitless weekend...

In terms of working on my peacock!!! But I had a great weekend overall. How could it not be, with a birthday party on saturday and a family get-together at my aunt's place!!! I got meet a lot of friends and relatives over the weekend, whom I had not met in the past few years. So, I am sure you can imagine my delight.

I would not say that I did not touch the peacock at all, I did put in a few stitches. But not as much as I would have liked to. Hope to get some work done during the weekdays.

Also, this is festive season in Chennai (India), with Pongal on the 14th and 15th. This is a festival to celebrate the harvest season. So, we are all getting ready for that next. Other than the festivities, I get 2 days' holidays. Hope to get some work on the peacock.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Photo stitch

I was wondering if anybody has any idea how to go about converting a photo to a cross stitch chart. I have downloaded the trial version of PC stitch Pro. But I am not good at adjusting the brightness, contrast etc etc. Any tips on this are most welcome.

Monday, January 5, 2009

WIP and Stash

These are 2 kits, co-incidentally, both from dimensions, that I had bought on my first trip to the US in 2001!! This is just part of my stash. I have perforated paper, aida, coasters..... The list just goes on. Considering the color patterns in both, I guess I am going for the bookmarks next. I have 2 reasons for selecting that.
1. I love the colors
2. This kit has some speciality stitches in it too. Would love to try something new.

And finally a picture of my progress on the peacock.

Most of the branches are done now. I need to do some more filling in and the back-stitch.

Also, I managed to make Gulab Jamun (an Indian sweet) last night. Of late my cooking had dropped to almost zero, except the weekends. So, now do I have 2 resolutions for 2009? That I would do more cooking, more stitching and less shopping?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Incomplete Post

For some reason, the earlier post refused to get posted completely. Here is the complete one.

My blog now has a new look, thanks again for that Chiloe :d. I somehow like anything black and white. Hope it does not hit people who stop by on your faces. But I do like to experiment, so hope to keep making changes.

Thanks a ton to Aishu, Olenka and Yuko for stopping by. I was unable to participate in my (own) SAL, thanks to a terrible cold. Hope to make up for some lost time tonight. Again, everything depends on when my sweet little daughter decides to sleep :d.
Have a great weekend.

New Look

My blog now has a new look, thanks again for that Chiloe :d. I somehow like anything black and white. Hope it does not hit people who stop by on your faces. But I do like to experiment, so

Friday, January 2, 2009

Am I thrilled

Chiloe made my day and has given me a great start to the year!!! Thanks a lot for that Chiloe :d. I am sure inspired enough to move at a greater speed now with my peacock.
Also, thanks for showing me how to personalise my blog. Was clueless how to do that.

On the peacock front, I definitely did quite a bit of stitching the last 2 days, but yet to take a picture of the progress. Though I am not officially enrolled with the Let's stitch SAL, I try to stitch during those hours.

Have a great weekend and lots of stitching. Chiloe, thanks again and Wish you and your loved ones a very very happy 2009