Outer Layers

Today’s post is in response to the prompt over at Daily Post about what our familiar clothes/ accessories say about us and the associations they hold.

When I pondered over the prompt, I was intrigued by my musings. So, here we go:

  • Spectacles

I wear pink spectacles. My eye wear has always been a little funky. A deliberate deviation from my sensible personality but very much in keeping with my love of bright, bold hues.

  • Chain 

A gift when I went to junior college, it has been my companion all through my twenties and a lucky charm in my third decade.

  • Polished toenails

I stopped growing my nails on my first job. Working long hours before a computer as a software tester chips is not exactly conducive with long nails. Once our bundle of joy was born, I stopped painting my nails as well. First it was my fright of the smell harming her, then it was an unnecessary distraction that kept her from nursing. 

But never once did I stop painting my nails. While I did stop reaching for the flashy shades after my teen years, I always kept my toe nails nice and colored. My mom painted my toes even when I was pregnant with T and could not reach them! 

  • Handkerchiefs

I always carry one. As a kid I would carry two, just in case the first got soiled. After T was born, baby wipes have been my handy hack for everything. Color stains, oily skin, dirty surfaces, they are perfect for everything. 

What do your comfortable clothes and favorite accessories say about you?

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Stats and Thoughts

WordPress offers excellent analytics on its dashboard, and I love looking at my stats.

Here is a snapshot of my posting activity:

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As can be seen, Feb followed by December are my most active months. Feb is T’s birthday, and December is start of winter holidays; so, I have so much content that I can share. Blogging becomes so easy as I have huge pile of adventures and reviews and experiences to share!

I did discount Feb of 2013. T was born in the first week; and had an unfortunate stay in NICU. Naturally, blogging was the last task on my mind)

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It is obvious that I have not posted regularly; not even weekly. And I am yet to surpass the maximum views on that amazing day in 2014. I hope to excel that mark this year by becoming better at the art and craft of blogging.

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This is one statistic that I am surprised by! I mostly post on Fridays on this blog. My Mute Mondays posts appear on Mondays. Yet, the most popular hour is Thursday. Fascinating and useful! As can be imagined, going forward- I shall try and publish my posts on Thursdays! 🙂

The one insight that WordPress does not show me is how amazing the people who read my posts are! Followers or not, every Like, Comment and View fills me with delight and gratitude. I am humbled that you, dear reader, chose to spare time and energy on my work! So, a huge, heart felt THANK YOU for supporting me, and for being on this platform and making it the joyful, supportive community it is!

With a heart full of gratitude and cheer; I wish you all a happy (and warm) weekend!

[P.S.: I know the weather is forecast to be dismal over the weekend; but I’ve learnt from native Chicagoans to bundle up and be toasty and happy anyway! Plus, the last weekend was such a marvelous bonus- I am still counting my blessings!]

 

Criticism- Flurry of Thoughts

Today’s post is a response to the Daily Prompt : Criticize

These are my thoughts in no order of importance, just the sequence in which they occurred to me!

  • My inner voice is my biggest critic.
  • Most of my girl friends and female cousins also suffer from having horrid inner voices. These can range from mildly unkind to debilitatingly harsh voices! Sad, but true!
  • Motherhood has made me sensitive and more prone to worrying. Hence, I can ‘sense’; sometimes incorrectly, criticism in feedback or advice!
  • I try not to be critical after becoming a mom! Since, I have realized that what works for one family might not for another. Let’s face it, Hubs and I don’t see eye to eye on loads of topics when it comes to parenting.
  • Related Confession: I do judge people who insist that Hubs or I follow their parenting techniques. Do you know if it suits my kid or our family ideologies and values? Is it necessary? Will it work? How do you know we have not tried it? I mean sharing your strategies is great, I shall keep it in mind but insisting we follow it is silly!
  • While social media is a boon and the various technologies to connect are simply splendid; it also comes with a flip side. That anyone and everyone now has a chance to criticize others. The same platforms that make it simple for me to stay in touch with my geographically separated family and friends also inflict criticism from random people I don’t know and who don’t know me either! Thankfully, I am not famous; so, I don’t have many trolls in my (virtual) life. Plus, I know how to use the ‘Block’ options. But it still feels unfair and upsetting. Throw in points 1-3 and it can make a woman really miserable.
  • Whenever I think of criticism, I always remember my mom’s advise on my homework. I need to critique a literary piece of work for my English class. I do not recall the title of the poem, just that it was a very sombre poem. Hence, I had put an overly critical and mostly negative assessment. [because i liked happy texts; still do!] My mom looked it over and asked me how I would feel if it had been my poem.

I changed it. Sure, I included the flaws but used the Sandwich technique to insert them between the merits. And that changed the tone of my essay entirely. I aced the homework but more importantly I learnt a life lesson- how to deliver ‘a critique’ : with careful choice of words and empathy. (Like my mom did with my essay)

  • Talking about great ideas, I recently read about the technique of ‘feedforward‘ on Marshall Goldsmith’s blog! What a fabulous idea! I am definitely choosing this strategy for advising, critiquing or giving feedback!

On that note, please leave your comments and suggestions for improving this blog and my writing. Feedforward please!

(Not) Calm- Daily Prompt

Today’s post is in response to the Daily Prompt challenge over at Daily Post- my favorite stop for inspiration.

Here are my thoughts on Calm:

I am not CALM! When you add up the facts: that I am quite diplomatic (yes really), have a good life; have always been comfortable with myself and only chased after stuff I want and not because it’s popular/ trending (thanks Dad! I know I get this trait from you!) ; you’d think I’d be in a nirvana state of mind, happy and calm. But I never am. Happy-mostly! Calm- rarely!

I am quite volatile! Maybe because I am a woman? Is it because I am a mom? Is my creative spirit to blame? Genes? Too much Internet? Who knows? I have never wondered and seriously, I can’t be bothered?

Moving on to things that do calm me down, a few pictures to illustrate the point:

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Sound of water, rustle of leaves- so calming!

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Babies! Who can resist smiling and gushing? Instant mood changers!

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Glorious sunsets, lush verdant grass, vast spaces- never fails to inspire tranquil emotions

I have to add here that I also find gazing at my painted nails rather fun. I know, I am obsessed with feet and painted toes! I wrote at length about it here.

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Vast imposing structures- makes you feel humbled and awed. Definitely rips away any negative emotions

 

At this point, I also have to point out that I rate being happy and feeling blessed and the ability to enjoy life far above being calm. Calm but boring, not bad, but not my cup of tea either. And for the record, I like coffee better. I also like lemonade and kokum juice!

(Kokum is a fruit for the uninitiated. Kokum syrup mixed with generous helping of water, with a dash of rock salt and lemon- ahh!!! Bliss! And when you have it in scorching summers, ooh! A taste of heaven in every sip!)

This has been quite a rambling sort of post- from my not being calm to pondering over the reasons, meandering to ways to calm down to finally a recipe. But that’s me- I think a lot. I opine even more. I care too much and probably share just as much. But that’s just why I will never be calm- too much going on, loads to do and enjoying every minute of it!

 

Press It

In answer to today’s prompt, I’d like to share three amazing blog posts I read this past week and why I found them amazing!

  1. My Least Favorite Child Today– the hilarious account of his twin sons’ reaction after his first trip away was hilarious and fun. I though we would not have the post ending with the author’s account of which child was less than perfect (since he was away) but no, we got the tally. Once again, it did not disappoint. Bonus: Every post includes a pic of Neil Patrick Harris (of Barney fame)!
  2. GameOfDiapers: I loved this blogpost. They say a picture says a thousand words. But this one says it all. Honesty, courage, Determination- these are just few of the words that come to mind. In a world full of Mommy wars, Photoshopping, I’mBetterThanYou mindset; this mom of three is totally winning it by her authenticity and priorities. Go girl, you’re my idol!
  3. My Favorite Things: Nostalgia and family are always wonderful. But someone else’s? In this brilliant post, we see the author leading us down her memory lane with some photographs that she has received. Short, compelling narrative of bittersweet memories make this blogpost captivating to read. I also admire this particular blog post even more, because it is a shift from the author’s usual on her travel blog. There are posts unrelated to travel, yes, but they are infrequent and so more exciting to read.

P.S. This post is in response to today’s Daily Post Challenge. Share the love and check these blogs out.You won’t be disappointed!

Day 1: I write because…

I write because…

  • I like writing.
  • I am opinionated and talkative. And I write like I speak- which is a lot! A blog is a great outlet for all those thoughts and opinions.
  • Writing makes me talk less. And that makes me a better listener. The significant word being better- way better than before.
  • Writing helps me sort my thoughts.
  • I can be as inconsiderate as I like- my blog, my rules, what I say goes. In a world of civility and conforming to societal norms and being nice (I am ToddlerT’s role model after all); it’s goood to have my own space where I can be a bear when and for as long as I want.
  • Writing is therapeutic.
  • I can try out different forms of writing.
  • The blogging community is so vast, I get to read the works of other bloggers. Some make me laugh, some make me think, some sentimental, some superior (we all need it at our low points) and some make me aware of my own unpleasant traits (like the judgmental bit – am working on it).
  • I like giving a channel to that nagging little voice at the back of mind- that is both the devil and my most trusty cheerleader. It’s nice to give it a space of her own than to be plagued by a constant double guessing. My inner voice is as chatty as my own! Sigh!
  • A place to share, to be seen and heard. Who doesn’t want a place to reign?
  • I love the feeling of exhilaration when I see a published post, when I receive likes, when fellow bloggers comment on my blog or reply to my own comment on theirs.
  • WordPress has a really good Stats page that fuels my achiever streak.
  • I always wanted to have a pen pal. Blogging is that and so much more!
  • It has improved my typing speed as well. Bonus!
  • Blogging is fun.

The Joy of Book Reading

I just love books and reading. So, I felt very remiss in not adding a page on this blog listing all the books I read or am reading this year. Better late than never, right?

So far I have read more than a dozen books, thus crossing my target of at least a book a month. I know, with me bragging about my high reading speeds, that seems paltry. But what with almost six months of traveling and catching up with relatives in India, potty training ToddlerT, our trips, and my varied interests, time is scarce. Hence, my lack of ambition in this regard. But now that I have crossed it with almost three months before the year ends, let’s see if I can up it to two dozen. Hurray! Happy Reading!