Archive for the ‘blogosphere’ Category

Shocks and Jolts from the Unplugging experience

May 7, 2012

After reading Sleeping Mom’s blog post about geing “unplugged” on “Sleeping should be easy,” I, too, thought that it would be a nice change to unplug. Actually, I admit that this is not the first time I thought of such an idea. A few months ago, I was listening to the BBC’s podcast and a Rabai and a Christian were teling how they unplugged every Sabbath to keep it Holy and family oriented. I mentioned it to DH and got a slight negative reaction. So, when I read “Sleeping Mom’s” post, I thought that this would be a good time. After all, I now have a baby and this will give us the opportunity to spend extra time with him. I don’t think that I am too addicted to my computer/IPhone, but I catch myself thinking: “I wish he’d just go to sleep so I could check my mail or write a blog.” I find myself wishing he would be quiet and still on my lap so I could get some web surfing done. My mind wanders off to my next research project instead of engaging with my Little one. I thought that DH would warm up to the idea, after all, his response pre-baby was only “slightly” negative. So, I asked him to join me.
*Shock1: Expect the type A computer geek person in your life to refuse the challenge, deem it the worst stupidest thing ever and in some extreme circumstances, try to sabbatage (ok, don’t want to look the word up b/c my LO should be up soon and just don’t have time) your efforts.
*Shock2: I sent an text message to all family members and told DH of my plans. The plan was only to be unplugged from 6:00 AM 05/06/2011 until 6:00 AM 05/07/2011. Not only would DH “not join me” but he described it as “paghal,” “Bakwaz,” (crazy and nonsense). when my mother called to ask me the meaning of the text, they both commiserated on the follies of such an action. They had different stances, actually, but the same resulting opinion. DH is a technology addict (yes, mistake 2 was calling him one) and my mother has no computer in her home. DH thought it was nonsense because I would have to turn off the stove, refridgerator, microwave and breastpump; for this to be truly authentic. Otherwise, it was nothing more than a nonsensical fad — and — “Who suggested such a stupid thing anyway, Your friend J?” [Don’t worry Sleeping Mom, I didn’t rat you out ]. and, obviously, he does not know J very well. she could not survive too long without TV or phone or book player to keep her company. My mother, on the other hand, said that it was like taking a short break from smoking. When it is over, you can pat yourself on the back and then return to your normal “plugged in and charged up,” state. She would know, she still has not kicked the tabacco monkey, even though she has been hospitalized several times: so she is just imparting her own experiences. So, for that reason, she saw no point in unplugging.
*Shock3: When you tell certain family members, they will accuse you of trying to exclude yourself from the “real world,” and “family.” Do I have an odd family or what? When I bring up the point that my goal is to spend “more” time with family and not “less,” they remind me that they are not in physical proximity, so, the only family member who will benefit is the baby — and, Aren’t I spending all day/ every day with him anyway??? and, DH chimes in that technology is allowing him to spend time with his family via skype video chat.
*shock4: I miss BBC documentaries that I never even saw and usually don’t have time to check: but now that my Iphone and computer are out of order, I nostalgically do want to see what good documentaries are on the site: as well as finding out all the educational kids stuff that I can get online that actually might be of some benefit.

As far as my “unplugging experience” actually went, I did rather well. I do need to get a braille watch, though. I lost track of time because I could not turn on my phone to check the time. And, while this might not be a big issue for most (and wouldn’t have been for me either, except) I have to time my pumping; [every four hours, for twenty minutes on each side]. I sang my own songs, instead of having Pandora accompany me. I thought about our soon-to-be new house and talked to my baby while I pumped, instead of listening to Stitcher. Twice I wondered about the discussion on certain Facebook message boards. I didn’t have a strong desire to “just check my messages,” or “check other’s facebook status.” Ironically, I caught myself several times thinking: “Oh, I’ll have to remember that so I can blog about it.” It made me think of how we approach experiences, nowadays. I am probably not alone when I say that we approach experiences as 1/2 participant and 1/2 observer. Sometimes, we are more focussed on “how we will blog about this experience,” than actually “having it.”
I did learn a few things from my experience, though:
*JOLT1: Keep it quiet. don’t tell people. Just tel the blogging community: who actually can’t encourage you anyway, because to reap such encouragement, you will need to “log on,” and isn’t that counterproductive???? Make it your own personal journey.
*JOLT2: Be specific about “what you will unplug from. I found myself vacilating about the book player. On one hand, it is electronic. Yet, it allows me to read books that others can read in print.
*JOLT3: Plan out some fun things to do so that you are not thinking about connecting and so that you might be making the most of your unplugged time. DH said that it was crazy, decided to try it with me for a couple of hours and then resumed his prior position with more zeal than before. I think that this happened because he is use to the thrill that technology gives him and … … well, he just got bored and didn’t know what to do without it. I had planned on taking the stroler (with the baby in it, obviously) out for a walk, but by 10:00 AM. DH had bounced bakc to his normal stage of paranoia and disgust.
*JOLT4: It might be a good idea to organize your internet using so that you get the most out of it in the least amount of time. I need to find a good accessible blog reader, only put in it the blogs that I will certainly read, maybe be able to export it to my IPhone and simplify the information/news that I want to read. some articles are interesting, but their content is not relevant or beneficial to my life.

I’d love to hear other experiences. these are just mine and I do admit that I have a very wacky family. I probably will do this again and heed my own advice!

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family expectations: the objective view

April 1, 2011

everyone talks about the added stress put on women when they meet their southAsian in-laws. This is a challenging issue and I am not trying to minimize any experience of any woman. In fact, as I plan my trip to Pakistan, I know that it is quite possible that I will be in the throws (all emotions included) of a similar situation. Yet, I am trying to be objective!
I do need to point out that there are certain pressures on the southAsian men that they might not otherwise have, had they married a southAsian woman and lived in their native country.
1. Financial responsibility. DH’s brother was married about two months after we got married. His family’s wealth is his own. N’s bride, N2, came to live within a family structure of a mil and fil and N’s younger sister. And, this, they admit, is a small family according to the members who could be present. In any case, N2 has yet to make a meal by herself, do a load of laundry or take note of the family finances. N, himself has never read his electric bill, haggled with AT&T over phone charges, searched for the best bargain for a specific product, contemplated the financial consequences of a purchase, reconciled receipts with his bank statement, filled out “head of household tax forms,” analyzed Health and life insurance plans, or comprehended and absorbed the specific tax deductions that are taken from the paycheck every two weeks. These activities and the worries that seem to accompany him has eluded N and is certainly not a part of his marriage experience. Yet, DH and I have to take on these responsibilities. These tasks are not optional and failure to take them seriously will have swift and heavy consequences. In addition, he has to deal with landlords, immigration, immigration lawyers and other government entities, filling out more forms in one week than he has ever had to do for his entire life.
2. DH must go to work everyday and he must be prompt. He also must arrange transportation. OK, now, of course, the transportation arranging part is not his responsibility alone. But, N’s work schedule is fluid and much more forgiving. Some of this is because N works for his father, so the work environment can be much more relaxed. N does not have to worry about time schedules or work policies.
3. There are certain cultural norms concerning expressions of LOVE and maintaining the relationship. This might not be cultural, but then again, who knows. I ask DH one day: “Did your Father ever bring your Mother flowers?” “did they ever want “date night” or some time for themselves?” “What about Valentine’s Day?” To DH and many of his friends and family, marriage maintenance is ridiculous. Sure, husbands should bring a gift to the wife upon return of their travels. But, in many cases, they didn’t date before the marriage, why would they do such things after? Furthermore, these “couples quizzes,” and “relationship checklists,” are just “Bukwas,” – “nonsense.” Early in our relationship, I wanted to subject DH to any “couples quiz,” that I could find and compare our answers. After twice indulging me (and he felt that he was being quite compliant) , DH put his foot down and committed never to do another. I guess, there is no “newlywed game” for us, although I would find it quite fun. In a strange turn of events, “preparing for our immigration interview” is working quite nicely as a stand-in for a “Couple’s quiz.” It does seem that the public wants to know all about your relationship and they want to evaluate it against their preconceived notions of what they feel a relationship should be.
4. In addition to DH’s work, my family (and I) expect him to pitch in with the housework. I admit that my family (like most Americans) sometimes scrutinize men’s (particularly SouthAsian men’s) actions to make sure that they are treating their women with respect and giving their 50% to the relationship. To some women, Not including myself in this statement, equity and equality are synonomous terms. Sometimes Americans (even Americans who are not close to our family) feel the need to sternly advise dh to cook, clean and sometimes (give her everything she wants). They are already under the assumption that he does not do these things and he is berated for what they assume he does not do. Is their any parcel of truth in their assumption? Sure. But, that is for he and I to work out. Before I started work, my mother would routinely ask me three questions.
A. Is he still working? My sister, the successful nurse who is going back to get her Masters Degree (even though she is pulling down a serious chunk of change, already) has four children from the ages 6-12 and a husband who finds working at home much more appealing than putting his degree to use; And my younger blue collar working sister who finds working a necessity (yet, is finally attending a technical college to get an office job) and who has four children from ages 16-3 and a husband who won’t remain employed for more than three months at a time; both must be the breadwinners of their family. Both husbands have the same first name and both husbands also inhail illegal substances which seems to enhance their laziness. My sisters are more alike then either of them want to admit, but I keep silent on this one. My mother was, herself, employed for most of her life either as a factory worker or a truck driver. For the most part, she doesn’t respect those who are able to work, but choose not to do so… … especially when they have a family to support.
B. Who’s doing the cooking and cleaning? Before I started working, my mother would constantly remind me that it was my duty to have everything in tiptop shape for Dh because he was working. Now that I, also, have a job,, she asks: “Is he cooking?” “Is he cleaning?” “What is HE doing to help?” My mother likes to be the boss, so she almost orders me to “make him cook and clean.” Actually, DH is helping out. I am certainly not giving him any excuses. But, since he is male, it does feel foreign for him to “consistently” do housework. I say “consistently,” because his father will cook and clean “occasionally.” But, certainly not on a regular basis. And, since he is blind, he feels like he isn’t sure what is involved in such tasks and these tasks just seem daunting. Admittedly, none of his blind male friends (especially Pakistani blind males – even if they do live in London) do any type of housework at all. Yet, he is learning to do more and more around the house. The key is that “we” work together. And, we both benefit when the housework is finished quickly. But, I do recognize that DH has pressure that his other blind friends don’t even experience. Our marriage and situation provokes DH to be responsible in ways that his Pakistani counterparts (brother or friends) are oblivious to and if they do understand such responsibilities, it will be much later in their marriage.
C. Are you pregnant? …. … different topic entirely, but while both of our mothers might request this particular piece of information on an equally frequent basis, their desired responses to this specific question are polar opposites. As of the last conversation, my mother has been quite content (almost gitty) with my routinely accurate response. It has only been six months, hardly enough time for DH’s mother to claim “patience” as a long standing virtue. Yet, it could happen.

I’m not asking you to ride the pity wagon for DH. I am just reminding everyone that when two different cultures come together, there are bound to be adjustments made from both individuals. Furthermore, family members who are firmly planted in either culture have expectations that feel strange to the spouse and in some cases seem harsh or frivolace.

Paying tribute to oryza Sativa

March 18, 2011

There are some things that you *think* you will not mind, …. …. Until you marry. For me, it was my elevated consumption of RICE. To DH, a meal is not a meal unless it contains either rice or bread. Actually flatbread (or more specifically NAAN) is one of my favorites, but I am not nearly good enough in the kitchen (much less have the time) to make Naan. And, just in case you didn’t know, Flat bread is expensive, running about $2.50 for four pieces of flat bread. Tortilla shellls are a pathetic substitute. I can eat pasta, but its lack of nutrician usually makes it less appealing. Sure, I have cooked meals with Couscous and Quinoa (also expensive) trying to have something “similar in texture,” yet “a bit different in taste.” But, when it is all said and done; It is all about Rice. I even (since marriage) make a pot of rice when I make chilli. Certainly, I don’t necessarily have to consume and many times, I don’t. But, it is still there. Rice&meat, Rice pudding, Rice&peas, Rice&corn, Rice stuffed cabbage leaves, Rice&mixed vegetables, Rice&Broccoli, stuffed peppers with Rice, Rice&Lentils, Rice & fruit salad, Rice&beans and Rice&potatoes. The latter seem to break the codes of good nutrician by offering too much starch during one meal setting, yet somehow, rice sprouts its way into every meal. I have washed, soaked, boiled, baked, fried, steamed and fluffed the rice. We have eaten long grained, basmati, ttexmati, wehani, parboiled, glutenous, sticky, fluffy, sweet, spicy, white, brown and golden rice.
three weeks ago, as head chef (only chef) in our household, I decided to put a ban on cooking rice in my kitchen. I welcomed flat or fluffy bread, pasta, potatoes, couscous, quinoa or any substitute and/or impostor, but resolved that the authentic small grain was not permitted to drop or roll anywhere near my dinner table for at least two weeks. It was time for a “purifying” of sorts.
Then, I got sick. I rarely get sick. On the off chance that I do, it usually consists of a fever and headache. This time, however, I had a horribly inconvenient case of the stomach flu which made me declare the bathroom as the most important room in the entire house. I am surprised that Dh didn’t get jealous of the time and attention that I seemed to lavish on my household toilet. The common standard advice was to go on the “BRAT diet.” This consists of Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Crackers can be substituted for toast, but them it changes the acronym. (smile) . Although I was physically weak, I did not want to be seen as noncommittal, thus, I was fervently prepared to continue the ban on that wonderful most flexible grain. I followed this strange diet (excluding the rice, of course) and gulped pills and chugged medicine every four hours. DH didn’t need the latest fad of the BRAT DIET to tell him that rice is a staple food for when you are sick. While we, American children, were making “Campbell’s chicken noodle soup,” a common household medicine for the flu, his mother was feeding her children a kind of rice mixture that was even better. I will abashedly confess that nothing improved until I relented. When I yielded to RICE, My health improved. All hail to the rice deity!
STATISTICS:
• More than 90 percent of the world’s rice is grown and consumed in Asia, where people typically eat rice two or three times a day. Rice is the staple diet of half the world’s population.
• It takes 5,000 liters (almost 1321 gallons) of water to produce 1 kg(Roughly 2.2 pounds) of irrigated rice. Rice can grow from two to five feet long and can grow under water and in flooding areas.
• More than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice are thought to exist. more than 100 grow world-wide, but only around 10% are marketed and sold.
• Three of the world’s four most populous nations are rice-based societies: People’s Republic of China, India, and Indonesia. Together, they have nearly 2.5 billion people almost half of the world’s population. Hmmm, is rice linked to fertility??? I have heard about celebrations in Bali where they believe just that and apparently have some ground for their beliefs. (smile)
• The average Asian consumer eats 150 kg(330.7 pounds) of rice annually compared to the average European who eats 5 kg (11.2pounds).
• Rice provides 20% (that’s one fifth) of the world’s dietary energy supply.
• The Chinese devote an entire day of their New Year to the celebration of Rice and punctuate the New year by giving wishes of “May your rice never burn.”
• In Japan, people do not think in terms of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but rather morning rice (asa gohan), afternoon rice (hiru gohan), and evening rice (ban gohan). Also, Japanese auto titans are even rooted in the rice fields: Toyota means bountiful rice field and Honda means main rice field.
• In Singapore, a good job is an iron rice bowl, and being out of a job, a broken rice bowl.
• The Korean term “bap 밥” and the Japanese term “meshi めし” as well as the Chinese word “fan 飯” all have the double meaning of “meals,” and “rice,” demonstrating how significant “rice” is to eating.
• rice is a good source of insoluble fiber.
1 cup of white has about the same amount of calories as brown, but far less fat. (.8 grams per serving vs. 2.4 grams per serving) However, brown rice is much higher in fiber than the white variety, with 2.8 grams of dietary fiber per serving versus .6 grams. Most other nutritional values are similar.

One of the reasons why rice is enjoyed internationally is that it is easy to prepare, it’s inexpensive, and it possesses significant vitamins and minerals. Examples of rice include: Basmati – which is aromatic in smell, is grown in south Asian countries and is DH’s favorite; and glutinous rice, which is a sticky, yet sweet rice typically used for dessert. Brown rice is another example — which has a nutty taste to it – while Jasmine rice is pleasantly aromatic and grows only in Thailand.
Currently, there are five national rice foundations (NRFs), one each in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand.
The largest collection of rice cultivars is at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and there is actually a World Rice Museum, but my computer could not read the web page. There are also several rice cultivating organizations in the USA; usually distinguished by state.
And, I Dh’s favorite dish is Biriyani which consists of spiced long grained rice and either vegetables or chicken or both. In any case, I am feeling better and my battle with rice is over. The nonstick long grain is actually pretty good. I’ll not be purchasing rice flour, rice milk or rice wine anytime soon. i don’t even eat “Rice crispy treats,” or “Rice cakes,” which probably have a very minimum amount of rice in them. (smile) And, i most definitely draw the line at chocolate covered rice, no matter its nutritional superiority! .

A shout out: to the blogging community

February 24, 2011

OK, so ai read a few — more than a few blogs and try to post my comments.

Sara, at
http://www.alittleofthattoo.wordpress.com

and i have conversed often. I was so elated! She lives in my state too and it was one of the first positive responses.
I find Lucky Fatima’s blog:
Wwww.luckyfatima.wordpress.com
quite insightful and enjoy commenting.
and i want to thank her and Jubee at:
http://www.myusalife.wordpress.com
for their comments on my blog.
Sakina at:
http://www.sakina08.wordpress.com
also has some interesting blog topics and i enjoy corresponding with her.
The Dosa Girl:
http://www.thedosagirl.wordpress.com
and Andrea at “milwaukee Masala,”
http://www.milwaukeemasala.wordpress.com
have very interesting posts about food, great recipes and speak to the frugalness in me!
And, i visit Neokalypso’s blog “the Milano Has landed,”
http://www.neokalypso.wordpress.com
(even though i have not heard from her in a while).
But, there are many blogs that i just can’t comment on because of a variety of reasons.

for example,
when I try to check on Grace, I get the error:
“The blog http://badbhabi.wordpress.com was marked private by its owner. You need to be invited to view this blog.”
Ok, so she has not invited me!
Understood!
But,
Michelle’s blog “complicated,”
at:
http://crysmissmichelle.blogspot.com
is one that I regularly read. But, when i try to comment, i get this capcha “word verification” thing. When i type the numbers i hear, they never match and I can’t comment.
Oh, the many things I have wanted to say.
Same goes for
the Gori Wife life at:
http://www.thegoriwifelife.blogspot.com
and
Mandy and Shomic’s blog “India loves Texas,” at:
http://www.mandyandshomic.blogspot.com
and
http://www.southernmasala.blogspot.com
(At least, when she was posting)
and the Award winning and thoughtful:
http://www.susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com
Although, I have talked to her and she emails me her posts and we correspond through email. — {THANKS}
And Queen’s:
http://www.thewifeofabengaliwife.blogspot.com
and I have yet to comment on Kayla’s blog “Kya Dekh Raha hai,” at:
http://www.whitegirlindianboy.blogspot.com
or Heather at:
http://www.indianties.blogspot.com
….
do you see a trend.
Most of the wordpress blogs I can access, but the blogspot blogs, i can not.
Until I read Roshni’s blog at:
http://www.deadlylightshade.blogspot.com
From what I understand, she has disabled the word capcha part! Way to go Roshni!!
Now, Dh says: “that audio capcha thing is a joke.” The best thing is just to try Firefox. But, I can’t get Firefox on the computer here, anyway.
And, I can’t upload media and pics and other fun things to make my blog more interesting. Furthermore, changing the theme — does nothing for me, (so I don’t take time to do it much).
If I could get you all on a blogroll (I don’t even know where to find it) I would. That would not assist me in responding, but it would be interesting, anyway.
I can’t get Firefox at work. (Besides, We are not suppose to view and write on people’s blogs. But, I will occasionally do just that when my work is very slow]. The alternative is sleep.
And, I’m using my daughter’s computer at home and can’t install firefox.
So, I guess my thoughts, suggestions and well wishes will go unwritten. I read lots and hope that someone else says what I want to say, so at least, it gets said. Sometimes, it feels like a clique that I am only allowed to experience and observe from afar. Or, maybe like characters in a book: you can read about their lives, but you can’t actually enteract with them.
(ok, I read too much).
[side note: I’m starting “The Hindi Bindi Book Club.” And, need to have it read by Sunday for a book club discussion].
Just FYI for you blogspot bloggers, know that I am reading, even if you don’t hear from me. I’d like to respond. If you make it possible, I will! It is all up to you.
And, now that I have said my piece on the subject, I need to let it go and move on!

More rain checks than pay checks! … … ranting again!

February 6, 2011

Raincheck —
Due to unforeseen circumstances, a proposed offer or ticket to a sporting event is resended and will be renewed or reasserted sometime in the future. A promise that an offer or ticket (that was either bought or accepted) will be re-initiated or available for use at a later determined date.
This term comes from baseball, where in the 1880s it became the practice to offer paying spectators a rain check entitling them to future admission for
A game that was postponed or ended early due to bad weather or other circumstances beyond normal control. By the early 1900s the term was transferred to tickets for other kinds of entertainment,
And later to a coupon entitling a customer to buy, at a later date and at the same price, a sale item temporarily out of stock. Today, we often use a “rain check,” to postpone an offer until a later date.

Lions Club meetings… … Check check;
Pakistani General Shahid’s visit sponsored by III… … check;
And…. … It happened again. We, DH and I, were supposed to go to a “super game event,” (inspired by Super bowl Sunday). The event organized by the “Hindu Philosophy and Indian Cultural meet up group,” started at 2:00, which meant that we should have left by 12:30, but I scheduled to leave by 1:30. We would have gotten there after 2:00 (maybe even 3:00), but we were ok with being fashionably late!I packed my braille cards and scrounged around (to no avail) for the accessible chess board and pieces. DH would just have to secure another time to develop his atrophying chess skills. At 11:45, the group organizer sent an email ensuring us that the event was still on. At 12:30, she changed her mind. I did not find out until we got a call from the organizers, just as we got on the bus. In any case, we placed our spring rolls back into the freezer and had to reinstall ourselves into our desk chairs, busying ourselves with phone calls and computer activities. Lately, when DH and I play games with just us two, the end result was not very favorable.

One of the perks of having a vehicle is that you get to choose (on a moment’s notice) where you want to go, when you will leave and return, how long you will stay and it is easy to adapt your schedule at your own convenience. There are many places that I thought about visiting. There is a tabla and percussion demonstration at the Indiana Percussive society. (Maybe I’ll get to try playing it for myself), various meetup groups hosting non-alcoholic activities, museums, festivals, etc. When riding paratransit, called “open door,” [a part of our public transportation system called IndyGo], it is not that easy. We have to schedule at least 24hours in advance. That means, I can’t just decide to go to Wal-Mart because I forgot to pick up a snow shovel or to the International grocery because I did not realize that I was out of ginger/garlic paste or to “on the spur of the moment” pick up some cream puffs as a surprise for DH, or replace my boots that just happened to come apart as I was walking. I can’t delay a return trip if the restaurant was abnormally packed and we just got our food or if we are involved in a rather pleasant conversation that was unanticipated at the time of scheduling. in addition, if we finish our business 45minutes earlier than we had expected, we must still wait to be picked up at the scheduled time. It also counts against us if we cancel more than four times in one month without giving at least 24hour notice. A round trip counts as “two cancelations.” If we have an appointment at 3:00, it is advised to schedule our pickup at 1:30. Last Friday, I needed to go to the bank. The driver picked me up at 4:25 and we got to the bank at 5:50 – 10minutes before the bank closed. The driver said that she would make use of her lead foot to get us there before it closed. We felt grateful. But, paratransit does not stay and wait. We have to schedule a pickup to be no less than 90minutes from the time we were dropped off.
I know that I am complaining about transportation again when most people are maybe grumbling about
shoveling their vehicle out of a place where weather mandated it stay, Getting snow and ice off their vehicle, tire traction and visibility on the road and increasing gas prices.
But, I really think that some people don’t realize the consequences that others face when they flippantly cancel an event. Now, maybe the cancelation was not as flippantly decided as it appears…. Yet, we were willing to endure the cold lengthy ride for socialization and entertainment. And, it seems that some people just don’t want to be bothered by a little snow to make their commitments!

And, I can’t remember who it is,
But a friendly Desi ring [at least I think that they are in the ring. At the least, they write on similar subjects]. Blogger (or is it Bloggee, for females), has a DH who is a taxi driver. In Indiana, taxis cost $3 to get into the cab and $2 per mile. I know that drivers have to pay a daily or weekly rental for the cab and they don’t have insurance through work and need to make a living. But….. … That gets awfully expensive for us!!!! So, to Mrs. Bloggee with a taxi driver husband: encourage him to give his blind patrons a good rate. After all, they are more likely to use taxis on a regular basis and they are likely to recommend him to their needy friends. The only downfall for the taxi driver is that they might have a guide dog and that will mean that there will be lots of dog hair left behind. (Sorry) [I try to remember to bring a sheet]. I have only been denied a taxi once (In Washington DC, no doubt) [It was almost exactly 1year ago], he did not want to transport my guide dog. Ironically, I was in DC to lobby for accessible legislation in technology and thought that the taxi issue was a “no Brainer.”

The day shaped up well and we just chilled (Am I too old to use that terminology???) at home.
We caught up with friends and calls. Even though his sister calls every day, he usually talks to her and not me. So, I got to talk (for hours) to my SIL, today. I was reminded how much alike we are – in our desires and personalities. I was going to say that she is shaping up to be lots like me! (But, she probably always has been like that). And, we do agree on quite a few things! It was good to connect with her.
I am just venting about paratransit, again.

Using Skiing techniques to get to work!

February 3, 2011

This post has nothing to do with interfaith or interculture or marriage and little to do with blindness
But, still should be written.
OK, it was my fault. I knew that we should have picked up
Ice melt, or at the least, an ice pick from a hardware store. Of course, this might have meant that “I” would be the one weilding the icepick, but who knows. In any case, I, like millions of people, was not prepared. And, when I called to find said de-icing assistive aids, all stores were out. Ace hard ware says that they will get some tomorrow. i guess i’ll have to schedule Public transportation for that. But, I won’t use salt because it burns my dog’s paws and it erodes the concrete that leads to our house. Yet, I hear that “ice melt,” is much more safe. I hope so.
From road to house description:
my house is not level with the street, it kind of sets on a hill about twenty feet from the road. (I hope that I got the distance right) From the road to my house there are four wide intermittent differently sized steps, before the three steps walking up to my very small concrete porch and then to my house. To the right of the three concrete steps that are directly before my porch, is an iron handrail which extends around the right side of my porch to my house. Below my porch, are the four varying steps. There is a strip of grass, maybe two feet wide, to either side of the wide steps, and on the opposite side of the grassy patches are sloping driveways that incline upward and lead to the doors of the houses. The driveway to the right is that of our neighborly homeland Security officer. Yes, we have a homeland security officer living right beside us! He doesn’t say much, but he likes my dog. And, i am not sure what kind of bond they have, but my dog almost breaks his leash trying to say hello to him. Anyway, My driveway is to the left. My three porch steps are tricky enough, but hold no danger compared to the four wide steps.

I expected that we would have work today, so i thought that i would survey the situation, while taking Fallbrook out for his last “business break,” of the evening. The first thing i did was to chisel away a foothold (with my trusty white cane) on the last porch step. this would make it easier for us to descend the porch steps. I am not an engineer, but I knew that if we tried to tackle getting to the road from our house, “straight on,” we would surely fall and break something. I checked out the grassy patches on either side of the house and they were completely iced over. DH did not join me in this endeavor. Maybe he was too tired, too cold, too lazy, too frightened, too uncertain, too… … … whatever it was, he shrank back inside to his computer. UGGGG! But, the way i saw it, we didn’t have much choice. We couldn’t count on a benevolent neighbor to make our surroundings safe for us. And, as I had assumed, the bus driver was not going to make any attempt to scale our stairs to help us down. We are not as frail and helpless as people think. DH thought me foolish. But, i am careful. I am neither careless nor helpless! If someone had offered to help us, I would not have refused. but, I’m going to do everything i can do effectively and independently address the situation myself. I didn’t do it Wednesday because we did not need to go out. but, it was getting close to the time of work and i wanted to have a possible plan of exiting our house. Can you tell that I am quite annoyed with Dh’s passive “Poor helpless us, won’t someone come and clean our steps for us,” approach!!! .
Maybe i should not be surprised that he didn’t believe that I had the knowledge or skills to at least effect the situation; after all, he sets limits on himself, as well.

i want to stop here and thank Bob and Sheila from our Pioneer’s club (about twenty years ago) I can’t even remember their last names. and, i don’t know if the Pioneers Club even exists anymore. Included in the people to thank are my Science Teacher, Miss Heck and her husband and our former shop teacher Mr. Reynolds for giving us the opportunity to snow ski at “Ski World, which was in Nashville, Indiana.” “Ski World,” is no longer open. But, every Wednesday afternoon (In january and February) a group of us blind High School students would all pile into one car with Miss Heck and Mr. Reynolds (as chaperones) and head down to two hours of skiing at Ski World. Of course, the place was about 2.5hours away, so mostly, we were in a car doing our homework, eating cold sacked lunches and talking about almost anything. And, in a strange turn of Events, DH’s sister, who is also working in America, (But, an hour north of Chicago) went skiing (for the first time) over the weekend. I’m nostalgic for those heavy boots, the tole rope, chair lift, flakes falling on your face at the top of the hill, traversing the hill and even the hot cocoa after skiing. (i never got a soda, always hot chocolate). !!!! hmmm, i don’t think that I have any cocoa [hot chocolate] at home! But, drudging up memories isn’t all useless and/or just sentamental. Because,
If there is one thing that I learned from “snow skiing,” is that leaning forward is natural. If we go down headfirst, gravity will take effect. So, using our canes like a walking stick or ski pole, we descended. (DH’s cane is not as good because it has a rolling ball on the end of it) [I keep telling him that he needs to get a better cane]. We slowly made our way down to the bus this morning much like a snow skier climbs a hill. We crept along sideways, turning our feet inward to try and get some traction and using the cane to help steady ourselves. I didn’t even begin to slip or lose my balance at all. It was quick and easy for me. making a knowledgeable attempt silences fear every time!
But, this should have been a no-brainer for DH. He loves math. Did he forget his lessons about acceleration, inclined plains, friction, momentum, etc? Maybe I would have had a better time convincing him if I had put it in the form of a math equation. I probably should have found a way to tap into his ‘very logical mind’. Instead I said: “Cancel yours, if you want, but Don’t cancel my ride, I’m going to work tomorrow!” In the end, he reluctantly took my advice… …. complaining all the way down [Hence, no more calling him “OPTIMIST”]. . He had little choice.
Maybe this successful experience will be the momentum that is needed to accelerate his confidence level wich will in turn increase the faith that he has both in me and in himself.

A snow day (for all intense and purposes)

February 1, 2011

We have a “snow day.” DH was almost gitty last night when there was a possibility that we were going to have a paid day off. The ice is making the roads horrendous to drive on, so our company has taken a “snow day.” I think that snow days (even though, technically, this is an Ice day because it is about 27Degrese [ F] and not much snow accumulation thus, not really a Snow Day) turn adults into kids. They all channel their inner child. And, although DH has never had a “snow day” in his entire childhood, the inner child was channeled anyway. So, he was/is excited to have a day off. We are spending it being lazy and avoiding anything that feels like work which includes (but is not limited to) mini marathon workouts, dishes, cooking, laundry or straightening up the office.How long can those dishes be avoided???? We would spend the whole day inside, but:
The International Interfaith Initiative is hosting an event at our Indiana Interchurch Center.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011, 7:00 – 8:00 PM
“In the news today, we hear many stories—more negative than positive—about Pakistan. Please come and learn more about Pakistan from General S. P. Shahid (retired) as he shares his experience serving in the Pakistani military and working for the public good through non-profit organizations.”

I want to go. I don’t care about the weather. I want to go. Now, I must admit that I feel that most people are a bit over dramatic when it comes to weather and ice. I think that it is because I just have no reference. I don’t drive and I logicize [is that a word?] “It might be a bit slick, but with the salt, it is not that bad!” So, who cares about ice, I want to go. I have high expectations for the event and don’t want to miss it. Not only do I want to hear about the general, I want to meet others who discuss such subjects as cultures and/or interfaith. How exciting!!! I even called the director yesterday to make sure that they were not going to cancel it. He said that if so, there would be a report on the website by 10:00. It is 10:26 A.M. and no sign of cancelation. And, the director even said that he would call me personally if they canceled so I could change public transportation schedules. Oh, public transportation is still running. I think that if public transportation is still running, so should we! Actually, the public transportation drivers confess that they “always run,” no matter what the weather!
Honestly, I am not trying to be unsafe or uncaring to those who are afraid to drive on the ice! Many would feel that I am just being too flippant about this subject. Maybe so. But, my inner child is channeled; too, I’ll kick and scream: — I want to GO!
As 11:08 there was a call canceling the event. The director reported that General Shahid is quite excited to talk to people about his history and involvement in Pakistan and give people another prospective about Pakistan. Maybe they can reschedule tomorrow afternoon during the lunch hour. Would I be available! Sadly not! Guess those dishes are calling my name!

“B” is for “Ball”

January 26, 2011

A is for “ALWAYS”,
B is for “Ball.”
Before we get into the post, DH is now worried about identity. I was responding to someone’s post about “cultural identity,” while he was waxing eloquently on internet identity and security. So, I can’t refer to him by name anymore.
I can’t rightly call him the optimist”
Because lately, he is at best “security obsessed,” and at worst: “showing early signs of schizophrenia or paranoid personality disorder” without the visual or auditory hallucinations, of course.
He doesn’t realize that only about 4 people read my blog and he is not working for the CIA; so no boss is going to look up my blog to see what they can find out about him….. … But, in any case:

I am excited about the Athletic twist that our lives are taken. I use to be a runner and avid sports enthusiast. I went to a residential school – kind of like a boarding school for blind people. We were encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. I joined almost everything. I learned to play the piano and was in music contests. I joined the track team and … … ok, I’ll admit it, I was a cheerleader. That does not mean that I was good, though. I think I got put on the cheerleading team because 1. I was good in track and had pretty good stamina and 2. I had decent rhythm (yet, not a pre-requisite for our cheerleading team). [Smile, but true] Yet, truth be told, I was pretty good at running. One Highlight of my teenage years is when I got to go to Sweden to participate in the Blind Olympics (with USABA [United States Association for Blind Athletes]) and ran the 400 and 800 (2nd and 4th respectively. Actually, I preferred long distance, but they needed me on the sprints. To put it into prospective, I joined our school’s swim team and did so miserably that I made 0 points for the team the entire season and was forgotten several times by the coaches. My best friend and I made a pact that both of us would try it. She quit after three days. But, I made a goal to make at least one point for the team. A goal that was never accomplished(Blush blush), yet I stuck it out the whole season. Did you know that many blind people don’t swim straight? It is just hard to follow the rope or wall and swim at the same time. , that was a long time ago. Yet, my family has always been a bit competitive and athletic. Over the years, my children have participated in tennis, soccer (because we all know that Soccer is its true name), American football, wrestling, track, basketball and volleyball. I enjoy tandem cycling, but it is pretty expensive to do.
Actually, in 2009 i wrote a piece for Associated content about adapting sports for the blind and visually impaired. If you are just a real sports enthusiast or really want to read more of my stuff (hahaha) you can check it out at.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1857737/adapting_sports_and_recreational_activities.html?cat=14
Keeping with our family tradition, DH is running the mini marathon—something that he needs to start workout for. I’ll try to work the water station when the marathon approaches, so I can cheer them on. It is not just for DH, but i am excited to help out. Besides, i want to see all of the fun that goes on there. Supposedly, there is a man who dribbles three basketballs, simultaneously, the entire 13.2 miles. (I wish i had a pic of that to show — but even if i did, I could not upload it here! – smile)
However, one sport is just not enough.
There is another sport in full swing. It is “Beepball! Now, Beepball is kind of like a blind man’s version of Baseball. Because there are different degrees of blindness (from those who might need glasses/other corrections to drive to the totally blind athlete), everyone wears sleepshades to be equally competitive. the object of the game is to bat a beeping ball, then run to either one of two buzzing bases. If the player in the field catches or finds the ball before the batter reaches the base, it’s an out. If not, the batter scores a run. the field is broken up into five sections and sighted people called “spotters,” broadcast the section of the field where the ball is coming. Actually, I could have done a better job at making the game blind friendly without needing the assistance of sighted volunteers…… But, no one asked me for my suggestions. Some colleagues in his department are also playing. This makes it more fun for him.
So, we had a bowl-athon to raise money for his Beepball team, “X-TREME.” Yes, he bowled so he could bat(haha). Funds are needed for uniforms, balls, sleepshades and expenses when they go to out-of-state tournaments. the blind players have to pay a fee for playing. But, the volunteers (who are spotters or helpers) pay nothing and get to go to the tournaments for free. Anyway, bowling was interesting and he met tons of people. I think that he liked bowling, but he (WE) won’t join the “blind bowling league,” because it is $15 a week plus other fees. …. …. Where do all of these unemployed blind people get the money????
Anyway, He will play against blind individuals from other states.
You can go to
wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Beep_Baseball_Association
or
http://www.nbba.org
To learn more about beep baseball.
He is a very good fielder. he says that the “spotters” just complicate things and he could do better if they would just be quiet. He tunes his ear to the ball. Soon, they will be playing in different tournaments at different states. I am excited for him. I would post his picture and tell you that he is always looking for sponsors; but I might expose his true identity. (Shame shame). Hmm, wonder how we can fund raise. I am just not good at asking people for money for anything! Maybe dh knows some of those Pakistani doctors or engineers. (MAYBE). (smile)
DH has been to a few practices and (although he thought that he would find it boring) he does enjoy the game. He was a bit disappointed that it was not more energy/strength intensive – like blind cricket. [did you notice that I left out a link to “the Blind Cricket league,” as if anyone really wants to check it out anyway — smile]
I can tell you that beep baseball is not as long as blind cricket. It takes only a few hours to finish a beep baseball game. The start of the game and the results of the game happen all on the same day. And, speaking of cricket, it is playing (on the laptop, of course) lots this week. I think that he misses playing blind cricket and even watching it with his father. I am no replacement for his father… … Just in case you were wondering. I think that India lost to South Africa, which made my DH quite content. (Smile) Although, in India’s defense, it took South Africa several hours just to win the game!!! (I think that Cricket is the longest game ever invented).
DH is also talking about getting a “goal ball,” team started. This is kind of like an indoor soccer court with people diving on the floor to stop the harder than basketball, with bells in it, ball from getting into their goal. The ball has three pea-sized holes and some large bells in it and it is kind of a rough sport because the ball can travel 50-60 MPH coming down the court toward your goal. For a link about goal ball, check out
http://www.usaba.org/Pages/sportsinformation/adaptations/goalballadapt.html

I am feeling nostalgic for basketball. I stopped when so many guys on the Pacer team were traded and it just got way too confusing. I followed IU and Purdue college ball for a while, but could not keep up with the player changes, either. I have been out of touch for a while, but I think that I will have to add my own “ball to the court,” so to speak.
In any case: whether the ball has bells, beeps, bounces, is bowled or is batted, it is getting X-Treme attention from the members of this house.

Hear the Call of III (International Interfaith Initiative)

January 25, 2011

For the last year, I had tried to find interfaith resources and people in interfaith marriages. I found a wonderful group of Muslim/Christian couples. The problem is that their meetings are in Southall, London. Obviously, that is not going to work. I have written on interfaith issues in previous posts and if I was more technically savvy like most of you, I would point you to their links. SORRY! I just don’t know how! And, dh is not interested. (smile)
I even thought about starting a “meetup group” or something similar for
‘intercultural’ couples. This came from a desire for both of us to feel strong in our faith. I wanted a place where we could unabashedly explore and express our faith with others who held similar desires, yet were open to their partner’s faith. But, I had to “find” the couples, first.
There were a few problems with finding interfaith couples that live in Indianapolis or the surrounding areas.
I could not find any interfaith couples at all. Now, I found the Dovetail magazine which talked about interfaith families. But, there was no ‘interfaith family’ in Indiana that I could talk with. And, even if there were: it is most likely one might be catholic or agnostic or atheist. In this case, they don’t have the same challenges as a Muslim and a Christian might have. I have also discovered that
1. just because one is a part of a minority faith, does not necessarily mean that they will accept others from less prominent faiths. Now, I say this, but I know that there are more than six million Muslims (maybe 8 million, my reporting might be off; but at least, six), in the USA. [So, i guess “minority faith status” might be kind of relative], Yet, as I have reported, imran and I have not made lasting connections with either the people at a mosque or at a church. Is some of this disconnectedness due to our status as an “interfaith family?” I don’t have enough experiences with mosque going individuals to make a definitive guess, but I do know that in the case of church going people, the word “interfaith,” is rarely spoken and definitely somehow not applied to Christian/Muslim couples.
2. this is the Midwest, people don’t really like to talk about their faith, unless they are certain that they will be supported. Interfaith is kind of a taboo subject.
3. did I mention that we have trouble with transportation? so searching the state is just not an option for us.
4. ‘faith’ is so subjective. What might be important to me in my faith, might not be as important to you in yours.
5. We are talking about “Muslim” here. At best, his religion is ignored and at worst, it is criticized.
So, here we sit!
And, when Rev Michael and Barb Slater from editors of the “Together magazine and who are CoChairs of the National Association of InterChurch and Interfaith Families
http://www.NAIIFOnline.org
Posted a desire for a Muslim/Christian couple to join the board, I was thrilled.
Now, of course, DH and I are newly married, so I did not suggest us, specifically. But, the thought of another couple bringing their wisdom to bear on such a sensitive subject and the fact that they actually were open to such a Christian/Muslim couple frankly, thrills me to no end. Before now, they had focused more on varying cultures and traditions within more similar faiths. Some will argue that Christianity and Islam are similar, but let’s not get into that debate.
And, to my Hindu, Buddhist and other faith friends (I can’t spell sorry), I realize that, as of yet, Hinduism and other such faiths are not included. I am not sure of the reason, but as of now, the farthest I have seen “interfaith initiatives” go is to Judiism.
So, here’s my Q:
Is there any interfaith couple “Specifically Muslim/Christian,” who would be willing to serve on their board? I have just received information about membership and specifically board membership. We (due to our zealousness concerning interfaith issues and probably because they don’t know any other Muslim/christian couple [passionate or not]), have been extended an invitation to be a board couple. It sounds quite intriguing (to me) and not too burdensome (to DH). yet, I still wonder if “we” are “qualified” to do so.
Whether it be “US” or “SOMEONE ELSE,” , this is an opportunity for the Christian/Muslim couple to be heard. Hey, why not throw a bit of culture (Pakistani) and disability (Blindness) into the mix. I am all for diversity. And it would be a great learning experience and opportunity for us! But, honestly, I admit that another couple might be more qualified for the position and might do a better job at being an effective mouthpiece to show the positive side of an interfaith(Christian/Muslim) marriage, present an objective viewpoint concerning the struggles that an interfaith family faces and give suggestions and tips for those contemplating such an endeavor. They also might be able to dispell the myth of the spiritually stunted confused child; similar to the stereotypes you hear about when people talk about bicultural or multicultural or biracial children. The myth lives on despite the many who can prove its obsurdity!
… …. …
And, just as I was about to post this, DH sends me an email detailing plans from the International Interfaith Initiative to host some seminars at our Indiana Interchurch Center.
What????
We have an Indiana Interchurch Center?
There are five upcoming events in Februrary, alone. Hmmm, maybe February is “interfaith month,” which also happens to be the month in which DH has a birthday. (smile) He received this information from a Muslim email list that he belongs to. It seems that the members of the Muslim Email listserv are a bit more open to interfaith initiatives than their Christian counterparts. Now, I am under no illusions. “interfaith,” does not always mean “interfaith families.” And, I remember how much “interfaith dialog,” and “interfaith celebrating,” went on at the last “interfaith event” that was held close to the Thanksgiving holiday. But, it is a start!

B is for “Ball,”

January 24, 2011