Thursday, July 28, 2005

It had to be you. It had to be youuu.



Feeling melancholy and I believe I now have my first migraine in over 7 months. Nothing is helping it. I had to stop my morning run way short and I am almost out of Tylenol. It's going to be one of those days...

When I first started this blog, I was fascinated by my Stat Counter. It was amazing to me that strangers from different parts of the world would want to read about my life. Nowadays, I can look at the location and know who has been visiting me. For example one particular England, London, United Kingdom is Jay. My Tamil Nadu, Chennai, India may be Rat, Lavi, or Grrl. Selangor, Subang Jaya, Malaysia is Box. Melbourne, Australia is Penny Lane. Illinois, Evanston, United States is either me or Beer-quiche.

However, there are some people who visit that I have always been curious about. For example who are you Veneto, Padova, Italy? Have a good day Georgia, Athens, US. Cyprus, you have been to see me several times...thank you so much. Waves to Ontario, Toronto, Canada. Care for a spot of tea Taranaki, New Plymouth, India? Glad you stopped by Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan and Singapore.

As I reach a blogging milestone I just wanted to give a heartfelt and sincere "thank you" to all my blogger friends.

Now I need to go lay down.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Some like it hot



Yesterday the temperature soared above 100 degrees and it was too hot to think straight. Having a dog forces you out into the elements. We asked the boy what he wanted to do thinking a DVD in the coolness of our basement would be in order. Instead, he wanted to go to the zoo. Um, no. Instead we took the kids to a nice air-conditioned, mega-pet store looking for a larger kennel for Chutney. I figure I could use photoshop to alter the pictures to make it look like we were at some exotic habitat that only had goldfish and birds and a few iguana thrown in for good measure.

Birds
The girl was mesmerized by the parrots

Birds2
There was a pseudo apartment complex for birds.

Fish
The girl looking at fish

Fish 2
A little photoshop magic and the price tags will be gone.

frogs
Not much of a reptile display.

The dog is good. We went over to my parent's house on Sunday and J and my mom showed us some simple training techniques that worked wonders.

Dog

garden dog

Downward Dog
Here's the girl pretending to be a dog for J's fiancé.

A thunderstorm has just moved in and with it comes cooler weather.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Mr Jones



One of our neighbors passed away on Friday. He and his wife were on holiday in his native Puerto Rico when he suddenly had an aneurysm and went into a deep coma. He never recovered and was taken off life support on Friday. As far as neighbors are concerned, this man was in the hall of fame. His lawn never had a blade of grass out of place. When you were outside working on a project, he was the first to come over and offer help or tools or just general support. His youngest just graduated high school and was off to college. He and his wife were just starting a new chapter in their lives when BAM.

As with all sudden deaths, you can't help but reflect on your own past, present and future. It's selfish in light of the loss but I'll chalk it up to human nature. I have some definitive goals for different milestones in my life. I have always been of the mindset that the world is better experienced rather than talked about. I know at some point you have no control over the universe, but still. There are general things I would like to accomplish by the time I'm 35, 40, 50, etc. Some plans involve my family and some are just for me, myself and I. I recently made some kick-ass plans for when I turn 50 and I will be really disappointed if I can't see them through.

If something were to suddenly happen all I can do is hope that the people closest to me will know how much I loved and appreciated their presence in my life. I know this post should be about enjoying the here and now but I'm not feeling particularly philosophical tonight. Happy-go-lucky Mint will be back tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Who let the dogs out?



Ladies and gentleman, meet the newest member of our family...

Welcome Home
Release the hounds of hell...

Chutney
What are you looking at?

Party Animal
Chutney, our party animal.

This addition to the (insert my last name here) household came without the 14 hours of labor and subsequent natural bith as with the boy. Nor was it the fanfare of twenty-eight (yes, I said 28!) hours of labor followed by an emergency cesarian section as with the girl. D had to drive a total of 5 hours during which he listened to music and ate McDonalds.

Chutney is cute and goofy and playful. He'll fit right in.

Friday, July 22, 2005

You're so vain...you probably think this song is about you.



Dear Person Whose Website I Refuse To Acknowledge By Name-

What is your problem? Why do smart, motivated, sometimes-opinionated, Indian women scare you? Can you think of no other way to bring traffic to your site than to begrudge the expressiveness of others? I'm contemplating having an affair??? I scoured my previous posts and the only thing I can think of is that I said I had a blog crush on someone whose intelligent writings turn me on. I will give you more credit than drawing such a conclusion from that line. Besides, after reading your post I realize that line must have added to your already overwhelming sense of inadequacy.

Thank you for sending blog traffic my way. *waves to the new readers* Sorry I don't feel the need to reciprocate. Instead, I would like to refer people to some of the amazing sites out there in blogland:

Bridal Beer
Intelligent 20-something female in Calcutta looking for a husband with the help of her parents and a few hundred relatives. Is it true? I don't know, but it's damn good.

Megha
Fantastic blogger in Boston. Humorous, intelligent, and has one of the best blog layouts I've ever seen.

Dwarf at Large
Site maintained by two intelligent women with fantastic taste in movies and music.

The Compulsive Confessor
Intelligent, witty, insightful, popular, cool... If we were in high school she would have been the head cheerleader and I probably would have hated her. Instead, she is one of my all-time favorites in blogland.

Smug Bug
brilliant blogger with so much soul. Her intelligence and sense of humor are just two of the reasons why I am President of her Chicago Fanclub.

Who is Buchu?
This woman has more intelligence and wit in her little finger than I will ever have in all my lifetimes. She's a freaking Rhodes Scholar who was at Harvard! She talks politics as easily as she talks about what she had for dinner. Don't personally know her but I beam with pride just knowing she's out there.

Wait a minute...I see a pattern in your hatred! You dislike smart, Indian women! Because you have lumped me with this phenomenal group, you must think I am intelligent (and Indian) as well. Thank you so much! I feel honored and humbled. Not that I needed your validation to prove my self-worth, but I feel so much better. The truth of the matter is that if any of these women lived in Chicago, I would invite them into the sanctity of my home and introduce them to my family and develop a friendship that goes beyond being intelligent or Indian. AND. If my half-mallu daughter even remotely turns out to be like any of them, well, I'll be a very proud mother.

Tongue firmly in cheek,

Mint Chutney

Good Morning Heartache...



thought we said good-bye last night.

Nothing like a sad Billie Holiday song to bring you down.

Don't feel like writing so will send you to my neighbor (literally) beer-quiche for one of the funniest posts I have read in a long time. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Nothin' much to say I guess...



Just the same as all the rest
Been tryin' to throw my arms around the world - U2

I'm blog-bored. I don't know if it's blogger burnout or the fact that I'm about as interesting as a stick of butter these days. I want my cake and I want to eat it too (and if you have ice-cream, then put that on the plate as well). I want to say so many things on my blog but I want to preserve my anonymity. I think this de-centralized office environment is the culprit. At my old job I had a great big circle of friends. I knew everyone's name at my company and just enough about them to have personalized conversations. My friends would add 15 minutes to whatever time we were supposed to meet for lunch because I was always delayed with conversations along the way. Now? Now I use my Vulcan mind control to will people into IM conversations. I feel dull. My project team likes me but I'm very careful to maintain my boss-persona. I've been in situations before where people can't separate the boss-Mint from the off hours-Mint and I don't want to fall into that trap at this company. I'm feeling tired and blah and alone.

Rat's friend Eirik had audio posts on his blog and that idea intrigues me. Will knowing what my voice sounds like take away part of the mystery of Mint Chutney? I mean, you guys already know that I hate broccoli and have had my heart broken once...is nothing sacred to me in blogland? (rhetorical question)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Under the table and dreaming



I've received some, um, interesting e-mails the last few weeks. Some are downright scary and have been forwarded to the proper authorities. Others are just plain nice although it's strange how much you are personified by the image assumed by your blog. Like a beauty pageant contestant, here are my answers to the Q&A portion of the contest:

  • Do you have an American accent?: Yes. I came to the States when I was 2 years old and although my parents spoke Malayalam (the language of Kerala, where I'm from) at home, I have a very American accent. If I called you on the phone, you probably wouldn't know it was a girl named Mint Chutney. If you want something scary, you should hear me speak Malayalam.
  • Does D know about your blog?: No. I don't think it's a secret, I've just never mentioned it to him. He asked about all the stuff I was buying for the CD packages and I told him that I was a part of a CD tree started on a blog. That's the truth. The funny thing is he already knows 99% of what's on here.
  • Do your parents like D?: (NOTE: This was asked by 3 different people). My parents LOVE D as if he were their own son and he loves them.
  • Why don't you post a proper picture of you or your family? : Um. NO. While I have trusted a few bloggers with true images of my family, I would like to keep that part private. Why don't YOU post real pictures of you and YOUR family.

There. Now you know even more about me.

Friday, July 15, 2005

It's the end of the world as we know it...



and I feel fine.

So D and I took the afternoon off yesterday and saw War of The Worlds. I was actually prepared to go by myself until D announced in the morning that he wanted to come with.

War of the Worlds. I won't spoil the ending for anyone who wants to see it but basically aliens come to Earth and use humans for target practice. Word of advice to my fellow earthlings: If stuff starts rocketing down from outer space and the core of the ground below you starts to crack, you may want to run. Don't stand around and go "Is that a crater. Oh, the crater is getting bigger. Wow. The crater just ate that car. Look! There are mechanical tentacles coming out of the crater..." After seeing this movie, my ass would have been gone before the first question was asked. Also, I will now be little more pensive during lighting storms (cryptic message only those who saw the movie will understand). The special effects were pretty amazing although I found some of the acting over the top. The other thing that annoyed me...everyone had their teeth whitened. Teeth whitening is all the rage in the US. Unfortunately if you are supposed to look like you've been dodging blood-sucking creatures for 2 days with little food or sleep, having teeth as bright as a solar flare is a bit distracting. The ending... well.. let's just say I was disappointed in the ending. All in all an entertaining afternoon.

One of the highlights of the movie was the trailer for Elizabethtown , the new Cameron Crowe film due out in October. I'm a huge Cameron Crowe fan. His scripts always give an added dimension to his characters that you can't help falling in love with. For those not familiar with the genius that is Cameron Crowe, his other films include Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything, Jerry McGuire and Almost Famous. I always buy the soundtrack to all his films because he has amazing taste in music. Elizabethtown stars Orlando Bloom and Kristin Dunst and looks good.

Tomorrow is D's b-day and I have a secret. In my Margarita-induced state the other night, my sister J (the Vet) finally convinced me that we should get a puppy. D has been wanting one for years but there has always been obstacles to overcome. Living in a no-pets-allowed condo. Having the Boy. Construction on the house. Having the Girl. I'm in an ideal situation working from home plus I have J at a practice closeby to take care of all my veterinary needs. So we are officially on Puppy Alert 2005. J is on the look out for a healthy hound puppy for adoption and thanks to the Girl, the kitchen is already puppy-proof. Unfortunately it won't be in time for his birthday tomorrow so until it arrives, he's getting new undershirts and boxers.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

She's a brick...house...



Sleep deprivation is a funny thing. Not like funny ha-ha. More like my-shoe-lace-is-untied-isn't-that-hilarious funny. I feel like I'm in a haze. I've been quite the social butterfly lately which is funny (i.e. ironic) as I usually prefer home-bound activities. Last night was dinner and drinks (vodka lemonades (yum)) with former co-workers. My former boss and friend, TL, has a new house that she and her boyfriend built together. Beautiful wood everywhere. Built-ins all over the place. A bathtub bigger than my entire living room. Modern and absolutely beautiful.

TL was my boss for 6 years. She and I have mutual admiration and respect for each other and during our final years together, became pretty good friends. It's because of TL I started working with weights at the gym (see picture below and you'll see why). In January, we both moved to the same company although we are not on any of the same projects. After a lot of heartache and disappointment, she and her boyfriend found each other later in life (in their 40's) and as cliche as it sounds, they complete each other. Despite having been together for a few year they still gaze at each other like they're on their 3rd date. *sigh*

Anyway. My camera ran out of batteries so the pictures I did get will not do the house justice.

Kitchen
The oven is the size of a small car

IMG_1128
Sink in Powder Room (that's what she called it)

IMG_1132
Fireplace in library (like in a BBC movie)

Sink(s)
Sinks in master bath

Bathtub
Steps up to the tub. The shower is on the other side and is enclosed in glass.

Yum
Yum!

TL
Check out the muscle definition of her arm. Ugh!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Send me on my way



My Good/Bad/Indifferent List for today:

GOOD:

  • The CD exchange. Nuff said.
  • Late night (and early morning) IM conversations with blogging buddies
  • Going out with former workmates. (We're going to the new house my former boss built in Chicago ($$$$$$$). Don't worry, I'll take lots of pictures.)
  • Warm summer nights
  • Last minute dinner plans with my sister
  • Non-work related e-mails in my inbox
  • Long drives at night with no particular destination. (I've taken to doing this after the kids are asleep.)
  • Flirty neighbors
  • Enjoying what you can, while you can
  • IM's like this that make me feel loved:


TL says: Can't wait to see you tonight. It's been an adjustment not seeing you everyday

Mint says: I was bringing a bottle of wine. Need me to bring anything else?

Mint says: sushi?

TL says: just you!

Mint says: I can't wait!

TL says: I am having appetizers and then we can grill brats if people want to

Mint says: ok. I'll see you in a few hours

BAD

  • Stupid arguments with your significant other
  • Missing people who are far away
  • 1-year olds who miss their afternoon nap
  • Your father stressing out over wedding plans
  • Generalized yearning that you can't put a label on
  • The baby fat not melting away as fast as the first time.
  • Flirty neighbors
  • Your best friend's knucklehead boyfriend

INDIFFERENT

  • Ummm...I've been trying really hard not to be indifferent

That's The Way Love Is



It is 12:08am and I am writing to you very buzzed. I actually feel fine less the small headache I feel coming on. The day started out pretty good. Went to bed late and woke up early but otherwise a pretty good day. After the kids had dinner, D and I decided to take them for a drive. We went to a beautiful rose garden not too far from us and had a nice time enjoying a perfect summer night (not too warm, not too cool). On the way home D and I proceed to get into an argument about driving. At one point he's not even paying attention to the road and nearly rear-ends the car in front of us. Anyway, the argument escalated to the point that neither of us were talking to each other. Well, at least I wasn't talking to D. Word of advice to anyone out there in blogland who may one day get into an argument with me. Give me some time. Anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes ought to assure that I've collected my thoughts and am ready to talk like a mature adult (or at least ought to assure that I won't take a swing at you). D has this habit of asking me a question and when I won't answer, he proceeds to go "what? Are you not talking to me?...Mint?...Mint?...are you just going to ignore me?...Mint?...you don't want to talk?..?...Mint?" Gee D, I would talk to you but I'm too busy trying to collect my fucking thoughts so I don't fucking yell and say things that I don't really mean! Anyway, my sister J happened to be in my vicinity picking up her wedding invitations so we decided to meet. One pitcher of margiritas later, here I am. D and I are fine. By the time I got home, all was forgotten. All I'm left with is a headache and the following pictures:

Margarita
Margaritas and empanadas

MintMix
The MintMix July05 CD cover had sequins decorations applied during a margarita induced stupor.

OK folks...it's 1:20 am and I'm off to bed.

Addendum: Now that I see Rat's professional cover, I almost feel like going back to the drawing board with my CD cover!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Blister in the sun



My weekend in pictures...

Asparagus
Vegetables at local Farmer's Market

legs
D's been getting sun...his legs are now white as opposed to stark-white.

Farmer's Market 1
Girl at Farmer's Market

IMG_1036
Fragrance Display at Art Fair

Bottled Happiness
My purchase from Art Fair. The Chinese characters on the bottle apparently say happiness. For all I know it may say "Idiot!" I purchased 2 scented oils; Aloha Orchid and English Lavender.

Basil
Fresh basil from the farmer's market. We used it to make a lasagna.

IMG_1044
Went shopping with my sister J. I want these lamps!

IMG_1056
Boys playing in the mini pool.

grill
Barbeque at the neighbor's house.

Dinner
Yummy dinner (despite burned appearance). Garlic chicken with grilled portabella mushrooms on a bed of chutney cous cous.



Saturday, July 09, 2005

Here I am, signed, sealed delivered



OK...this CD exchange is dangerous. Why? Because I have always been the poster child for kick-ass care packages. In college my friends and I, who were posted all around the country (plus 2 international ones), would try to outdo each other with packages to show how much we loved and missed each other. Nik and I were always tied as unofficial winners as our packages were coveted boxes of homemade cookies, mix tapes, books, etc. Even when Nik was in law school in Chicago and was only living 20 minutes away, I continued to send her postcards of exotic places with messages like "Hurry up and graduate...the beaches of Bora Bora await". I can't put my finger on when it all changed. Somewhere between university graduations and suburban existence, it stopped. The art of snail mail is dying. I miss handwritten notes. I miss the excitement of seeing an envelope with your name on it and knowing that it's not a bill.

Now. Now my basement is overflowing with CDs sprawled out on the floor. Like an Army general planning a covert attack, I study my potential playlist revising and changing to help convey the music side of Mint. In the end, I chose 17 songs (all a regular CD would hold). Does it truly reflect me? Perhaps not. But it reflects my mood at the moment in time I was making the CD.

So, for those of you nice enough to officially be a part of this exchange, the Mint Mix (7/05 edition) will be in the mail next week. Oh, and as a bonus, I'll add a few extras to the package.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Video Killed the Radio Star



MUSIC EXCHANGE-
OK. Although Jay was very sweet to offer his assistance, I think we should think generically.

I figure the easiest way is to make a mix CD of songs you like. Make a few copies. You exchange your mix CD for someone else's mix CD. I think this is a safer option than mailing any of our prized CDs to central people. The postage is a wash. You pay to send yours to me and I pay to send mine to you. Honesty plays into this. Don't say you're going to send a CD unless you mean it because we will mock you mercilessly if you renege.

Everyone should realize that by participating in this, you automatically lose some of you anonymity. People will know your real name and where you live or work. Thing carefully before you agree to participate.

E-mail me if you're interested. mint_chutneyATyahooDOTcom

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Overkill



I can’t get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications

Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be alright
Perhaps it’s just my imagination

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat, shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away


I love the CD Man@Work by Colin Hay. I'm learning to play Overkill on guitar. So far it sounds like crap but mark my word...one day I'll get it.

Anybody want to start a CD tree? We used to do it all the time in college (but with tapes). Basically, you make a mix-CD of a bunch of your favorite songs and you make copies of it for anyone who gives you a blank CD. I haven't thought it all the way through because the international postage may be high. Anyone interested should send suggestions on how we could make it work.

P.S. eM, your first one is complimentary seeing as I have it made and haven't sent it.
P.P.S Rat, I can send you Sweet Thing by Van Morrison!