the wonderful world of veena.

21 December 2011

feeling a little incomplete.

Sunday will mark the first time since 2001 that I will be in the US for Christmas Day, and the first time since 2007 that I will not have spent it with the Devaraj family. Don't get me wrong, I have loved being in the States for the build-up to Christmas, reveling in the songs and the movies and the Tacky Christmas Sweater parties and the [very] light dusting of snow that we got a few weeks ago. And I'm so glad to get to spend some time with my parents and brother and cousin over the holidays this year. But I would be lying if I didn't admit to feeling a little out-of-sorts about the whole thing.

Christmases in Bangalore are so different and so wonderful. Midnight Mass at St Patrick's with all the 17-year-olds dressed to the nines for the Catholic Club party. Wine and cake and gift exchanges at Bern's house and not getting home until 3am. Christmas Eve dinner at Kamal and Tanya and Kim's. Sheilamma's mutton biryani made to feed an army. Christmas night dinner at Nelson's. Viji's cute miniature tree and her sweet attempts at decorating the office so the interns don't miss home. Homemade wine that lasts for months. Making 5 pounds of Christmas cookies at Bern's and another 7 pounds at Dorothy's house. Bottomless bottles of Old Monk.

I'm so lucky to have so many families around the world with whom I have had the opportunity to celebrate. I guess I'm just having a bit of a difficult time re-adjusting to Christmas-ing in the States. Give me a few days, and I'll be just fine.

At least here I get to watch A Christmas Story all day long on Christmas Eve.
woo pig.
xx

17 December 2011

for the love of projects.

You know how I love my projects. Particularly if I have a whole month off. I plan on spending most of it catching up on sleep and old tv shows on Netflix and Sidereel, but I do have quite a few other things that I want to get accomplished over the coming weeks...

read for fun. I've been saying it for months now, but I just haven't gotten the time I would like to read for fun recently. Between school, work, public programs, trips, and everything in between, I have read a whopping 1 book for fun this semester. 1! That is unacceptable. Meanwhile, the pile on my bookshelf continues to grow, rather than the other way around [come on, we all know I am a compulsive book-buyer. that's just not something that is ever going to change]. So for my 4-week break - which includes a few days at the beach over MLK weekend - I have set myself a target of finishing 3 books for fun. I'm pretty confident I can do it. First up is The History of Love [Nicole Krauss], followed by The Girl Who Played With Fire [Stieg Larsson], and concluding with Moonward [George Appupen, graphic novelist by day and drummer for Lounge Piranha by night].

learn how to work my fancy new camera. As a Christmas present to myself, I splurged and purchased a Nikon D3100 [in black]. It is by far the most awesome - and most expensive - thing that I own, and although I know the basics of it, I am eager to master it. I have been wanting an SLR for a while, and I finally told myself to just suck it up and do it [it helped that Best Buy ran an awesome sale the Monday after Thanksgiving that included an extra long-range lens and a Lowepro camera bag. officially a fan of "Cyber Monday"]. So I did it. And now I want to make sure I know all about how it works before I head out to Nepal for the summer.

clean out all my crap in my parents' house. I know that in the next 5 years, my parents will most likely downsize to a smaller house, and I will most likely not be in the country when that happens. I was at college the last time they moved, so all of my crap from growing up just moved with them and has never been properly sorted. I did a bit over the summer, clearing out my closet and most of the drawers in my room, but there are still boxes in the attic that have yet to be touched. My plan is to spend one whole day [two, if needed] and go through and purge as much stuff as possible.

catch up on the news. Even with getting the ny times headlines sent directly to my email every morning, I am still weeks - and possibly even months - behind on what is happening here in the US as well as abroad. I want to catch up on all the headlines and maybe even <gasp!> read an actual paper or two.

run. I am well on track for being prepared for my 10k in March, but I am hoping to make a little more progress over the break. My goal is to come out of the break being able to run at least 4-4.5 miles [wish me luck] at a decent pace and/or run for at least an hour. Those two are kind of interchangeable, so we'll see how things go. Between the neighborhoods around my parents' house, the track at Rhodes, and Shelby Farms Park, I should be able to get in a variety of routes and scenery. The tiny park near my house in Little Rock just isn't cutting it any longer.

weed through my facebook pictures. I realized the other day that I had a stupid number of albums [that included a stupid number of ridiculous pictures] as well as a stupid number of tagged pictures of myself on facebook and decided to start weeding through them. I've brought myself down from 800-something tagged pictures to just over 500, which is a promising start. More than that, however, I want to purge and merge my albums.

print pictures from the last 4 years in India. I toyed with selecting and printing pictures when I returned in July, but time ran away from me and I never got around to it. Turned out to be a-ok, though, because as part of my camera purchase from Best Buy, I also got a coupon for a free photobook from Shutterfly, which is really actually better than printing them out and sticking them in an album. So I need to go through all the stuff on my harddrive and choose which ones I want to include in my book. Which will mostly be pictures of the Peanut, let's be honest.

Those are the big things. I also have an appointment with an oral surgeon about my wisdom teeth, an appointment with the eye doctor, and various lunch and dinner dates, so I will hopefully keep myself busy.

Now to see how many of these things I actually accomplish.
woo pig.
xx

14 December 2011

done-zo.

First semester of grad school is in the books.

We had our last final this morning, and now that it is over, I am free for a month. That's right, a whole month. Granted, it's going to be a busy month, with work, possible wisdom teeth extractions, the Clinton Center holiday party, the Cotton Bowl, and practicum stuff, but still, it's a month where I don't have to worry about classes and - most importantly - I don't have to wear business casual.

I have a whole list of projects that I want to accomplish over the break, but that can wait for tomorrow.

Today, we celebrate!
Woo pig.
xx

13 December 2011

10k tuesday: almost halfway there.

I've run a few times since my last update, and I'm currently hovering right around 2.8 miles. My goal is that by Christmas I'll be up to 4 miles. Is that impossible? Most likely, but I'm going to give it my best shot. That month off from school should help me out quite a lot - being able to get up at 10 and go for a run is much more motivating than trying to get up at 6. Especially since these runs are only going to get longer from now on.

Probably my most exciting news is that I FINALLY got new running shoes! It was pretty much a miracle. I sucked it up and went to the mall yesterday and walked out with some silver Nike something-or-the-others. I ran with them today to start getting them broken in, and I guess it went alright. I'll really only know as I start getting into longer runs.

Hopefully once finals finish tomorrow, I can get into a rhythm of running every other day. We'll see how long that last for me. Wish me luck, regardless.
woo pig.
xx

09 December 2011

a finals update.

A few weeks ago, I posted about all the projects, papers, and presentations that stood between me and Christmas break. Well, I am happy to say that we are over the hump, and there is finally some light at the end of the finals tunnel. Here is my list from 2 weeks ago, with a few updates:

  • Nov 28 - Leadership Final Development Plan due ... done!
  • Nov 30 - Law & Ethics paper due ... done!
  • Dec 7 - Decision Analysis Final Project due ... done!
  • Dec 9 - Communication Final Memo due ... done!
  • Dec 9 - Law & Ethics Final Exam due ... done!
  • Dec 13 - Practicum Integrative Learning Paper due ... beginning tonight...?
  • Dec 14 - Decision Analysis Final Exam ... begin studying tonight...? ha!
Yes, that's right. There are now only 2 things standing between me and a full month of watching old shows on Netflix and reading for fun!

I am hoping to begin work on my Integrative Learning paper tonight as well as begin to trawl through the study guide that Dr Bavon gave us for our final exam. But you know what? If I don't, that's ok, too. Because sometimes it's ok to take a night off and recharge your batteries.

Almost there!
woo pig.
xx

06 December 2011

10k tuesday: excuses, excuses.

I have a slew of excuses as to why I haven't done any running between last week and today. Where would you like me to start?

It's been cold. I've been up late working on papers and projects and therefore haven't been motivated to get up early to run. It's been raining nearly every day. Now that I know I can run at least 3 miles, I'm not so worried. I know I'll have time over the holiday break to catch myself back up. Running for half an hour in that park is getting really repetitive. I still don't have new running shoes.

And yes, I know they are all only excuses. I know. I do also know that once tomorrow is over and I have completed and turned in this behemoth of a project, I will be in a much better mental frame of mind regarding the running. I wanted to use it as a break from the work, but I've not been getting enough sleep to also be able to include that into my schedule.

I will get back to it. And once I do, I will have much more intriguing updates for you. Until then, keep your fingers crossed I finish this project in time to turn it in tomorrow...
woo pig.
xx

05 December 2011

that brother of mine.

My brother turned 33 yesterday. 33. It's hard for me to imagine, because we both kind of like to pretend that we are still about 8 years old.

My brother is both my biggest fan and my greatest foe. He challenges me on a daily basis, and as annoying as it sometimes is, I know it is only because he expects the best of me and for me.

He is the one who had to follow behind me when I learned how to navigate steps. He is the one who patiently taught me the ins and outs of sports and allowed me to play with him and his friends even when it was obvious I shouldn't have been. He is the reason I have devoted the better part of my life to the Packers, and he taught me the importance of remaining loyal to your childhood teams, regardless of their ups and downs.

He is the one who first broached the subject of my going to boarding school, and, looking back, it was the wisest decision I ever made regarding my education. When I raised the idea of volunteering in India for 6 months, he was the one who encouraged it. And when I broached the prospect of moving back there on a semi-permanent basis, he supported me from the beginning and was the one who convinced my father that it was the best course of action for me.

My brother is my biggest protector and my greatest champion. He is my childhood hero, my idol, my strength, and my support. He's my big brother.

[we're pretty cool, if I do say so myself]
Hope it was a great day, brother. No one deserves it more than you.
woo pig.
xx

01 December 2011

this one time, i made thanksgiving dinner.

Last Thursday, I was somehow trusted with feeding my family for Thanksgiving. My parents were out of town and flew back only on Thursday afternoon, and since it was the first time I'm been in the States for Thanksgiving since 2006, I wanted to make sure I got my traditional Thanksgiving dinner: chicken biryani.

So since my mother wasn't around to wave her magic wand, the task fell to me to feed everyone. I looked through a few recipes online and watched a few videos to get some ideas for how I wanted to make it - eventually I chose one to use as my main guide and tweaked it a little to make it my own.

What follows below are pictures of my endeavor along with the steps I took to get there. Hope you enjoy!


Above you have all the ingredients for the chicken marinade:

  • chicken [I bought one package of drumsticks and one of thighs and cleaned them. with bones is better than without]
  • 2 green chillies, chopped [this was an addition of mine]
  • plain yogurt
  • garlic, chopped
  • ginger, grated [the recipe called for it to be chopped, but I prefer grating it]
  • turmeric powder
  • chili powder
  • garam masala powder
  • salt
  • coriander powder [again, an addition of mine]
Add all of these ingredients to the chicken, mix it up nicely, and let it marinate for an hour.

[winner winner chicken dinner] 
[close up of your green chillies, ginger, and garlic]
[your standard masala dabba to hold all of your spices]
[here's what it looks like all mixed up. I might have gotten a little over-excited about the yogurt]
After this, I washed the rice and soaked it in water for half an hour.
Meanwhile, I chopped some onions and tomatoes. Technically the recipe called for sliced onions, but I don't like slicing onions. Call me crazy.

[chopped onions, tomato, and cilantro]
[onions with some other stuffs]
At this point, I put some oil into a huge pot and heated it up with some cloves, cardamon, bay leaves, and some of those chopped onions. Once those started getting a bit brown, I added the tomatoes and then eventually the chicken.


I brought this to a boil and then reduced the heat to low and let it cook slowly, stirring every 5 minutes or so.


While that was stewing, I filled another large cooker with water, and heated it with some bay leaves, cardamon, and cloves. I then added the rice [after draining it from the water in which it had been soaked], brought that to a boil, and then reduced the heat and let it simmer.

I cooked both of these until they were thisclose to being done - essentially almost all the way, but not quite.

Then I fried the last of the chopped onions in some hot oil to use for the layers.

At that point, I got another large pot and started layering - started with chicken on the bottom, then a layer of rice, added some of those fried onions, some turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala powder, and some saffron that had been soaked in warm milk, then added another layer of chicken, another layer of rice, and some more of the spices.

This is what it looked like:


I then put the lid on, put the pot on a griddle plate [to keep it from getting direct heat], and heated it on low for about 15-20 minutes.

This was the finished product, after being mixed:


Next on my list: the ins and outs of tandoori / butter chicken.
woo pig.
xx

29 November 2011

10k tuesday: picking up steam.

Well, I have survived my first few 25-minute runs and am pretty happy with how things are shaping up. Or, at least as happy as I can be, considering I'm running.

Being in Memphis for Thanksgiving and running in my parents' neighborhood was good for me, because it provided a change of scenery. The park near my house was great for those short runs and runs with intervals, but in reality it is too small for when I get into upwards of 45-minute runs, so new sights were a welcome change. Also, it gave me a chance to run on some inclines, which worked a few new muscles for me.

Right now I am increasing my time so as to increase my endurance and not really worrying about distance; there is time yet for that to become my focus. My current goal is to be able to run for 60 minutes [God help me] by Christmas - to get there I am going to increase my time slowly over the next few weeks [5-10 minutes per week]. Once I hit that, I might consider changing it up a bit and rotating short runs with longer ones. We'll see how it goes and what kind of mood I am in by then.

The biggest factor right now is the weather. Now that we are into the end of November / beginning of December, mornings are getting cold. Like 40 degrees cold [that's 4 degrees to you fans of the Centigrade scale]. That's pretty chilly. And I have leggings and fleeces and gloves, but it's just generally difficult to motivate myself to get out of bed when I know it's that cold outside. My main motivation is that I hate running on treadmills and indoor tracks, so this is my only alternative.

Now that I know I can run 25 minutes without a hitch, I'm in a much better frame of mind as to what my abilities are. That usually puts me at just under 3 miles, which is almost halfway to a 10k. I know that with a bit more training, I'll be able to run the full race. It won't be pretty, by any stretch of the imagination, but I can do it. Being able to know that is pretty big.

And before you ask, no, I still haven't bought new running shoes. I suck, I know.
woo pig.
xx

[sorry I missed my 10k update last week - I was out of the house by 5.50am and not in again until I reached my parents' house in Memphis around 9.30pm. if you are one of the 3 people who read this update each week, please accept my apologies. I don't foresee missing any more in the coming weeks]

26 November 2011

oh christmas tree.




First time I've gotten to decorate one of these in 5 years.

Happy Holidays!
woo pig.
xx

25 November 2011

more kudos for bangalore.

It seems you can't turn around these days without reading something about Bangalore.

The other day, Maggie forwarded me an article about a group in India that calls themselves the ugly indians. They get together on the weekends and clean up different parts of the city, spending days picking up rubbish, painting, and putting dustbins in place to encourage Bangaloreans to stop throwing rubbish on the streets. It's something that is desperately needed, and I'm happy to see something is being done to clean up the city.

Then, yesterday, I stumbled across an article about the best music festivals in India. #2 on the list is the Fireflies Festival of Music, an all-night outdoor music festival that my dear friend Ananda and his friend Akshath organize every year. I attended the last two editions of Fireflies and have gotten to see tons of awesome performances by people and groups from all over India. In 2010, I got to see Lounge Piranha perform for the first time, and this year, I was right in the front for Something Relevant. [side note: the picture is of STR's performance this year, but you can't see me, because I am right on the other side of that super tall guy]

And, as I previously posted about, Bangalore has been named by Lonely Planet as the #3 city to visit in 2012, coming in right behind London and Muscat.

I'm glad to see my city getting so much attention. But every time I read something new, I miss it just a little bit more.

6 months until I get to see that crazy, cloudy, drunk, fat city again.
woo pig.
xx

24 November 2011

i am thankful.

Today, I got to spend Thanksgiving with my family for the first time since 2006, and it reminded me of all the things I have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my family. They have stood by me through all the ups and downs and all the crazy decisions I have made. They supported me when I wanted to move to India, and they supported me [and probably cheered a little] when I announced I was moving back to the States for grad school. No matter what, I know they will always be on my side.

I am thankful for Prakash. I know these months haven't been easy for him [nor for me], but he has toughed it out. I am so thankful that he loves me enough to let me go and that he has the faith that I will return.

I am thankful for all of my adopted families all over the world.

I am thankful for all the educational opportunities I have been given.

I am thankful for friends near and far.

I am thankful for food, for shelter, and for clothing.

I am thankful for being able to live my dreams.

I am thankful for freedom.

I am thankful.

Woo pig.
xx

23 November 2011

what the coming weeks will bring.

This is such a great time of year for so many reasons:

  • for the most part, it's getting colder outside.
  • college football games become more and more dramatic.
  • all the lights and decorations going up for Christmas.
  • holiday parties with yummy food.
  • people generally have a spring in their step thinking about the holidays and spending time with families.
...the list can go on for days. For grad students, however, this time of year brings many other things with it, such as finals and projects and presentations.

My calendar between now and Christmas looks something like this:
  • Nov 28 - Leadership Final Development Plan due
  • Nov 30 - Law & Ethics paper due
  • Dec 7 - Decision Analysis Final Project due
  • Dec 9 - Communication Final Memo due
  • Dec 9 - Law & Ethics final paper due
  • Dec 13 - Practicum Integrative Learning paper due
  • Dec 14 - Decision Analysis Final Exam
I'm hoping to get almost all of those first three things completed during this long weekend, but let's be honest, once those football games start on Thursday, my motivation and concentration fly out the window.

But once the 14th hits, I am free for a month.

A whole month. Just imagine.
woo pig.
xx

21 November 2011

room to read = awesome.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I am going to be working with room to read in Nepal for my IPSP next summer.

For those of you who don't know, Room to Read is an amazing organization that, amongst other things, builds libraries for government schools in ten countries in Africa and Asia and runs a Girls' Education Program to keep girls in school. I am beyond excited to be working for them, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can parlay my IPSP into a Capstone and a potential <gasp> job post-Clinton School.

A few weeks ago, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times wrote an awesome article about the work Room to Read is doing, and it made me even more excited about working with them next summer.

Happy Monday!
and Woo pig [#3 in the BCS poll!].
xx


20 November 2011

namma bengaluru, tourist destination.

Lonely Planet recently released it's list of the top 10 cities to visit in 2012. Number 3? Namma Bengaluru. The description couldn't be more accurate, particularly the quip about being "perpetually drunk on the good life". Just reading that short blurb made me completely homesick for masala dosa, mutton biryani on banana leaves, Old Monk, Rest House Road, and the good ole BMTC buses.

oh to be back in my city of boiled beans.
woo pig.
xx

19 November 2011

random rambles.

I realized it's been a while since I've subjected you to one of my random rambles, so here we go. Try to contain your excitement.

1. I'm going to the Arkansas / Mississippi State game today! First college football game in I don't know how long, and I can't wait.

2. My project for next summer is [mostly] confirmed. Looks like I'm going to be spending 10 weeks in Nepal working with room to read. [sidenote: Room to Read is also the organization I want to work for post-Clinton School, so this is uber exciting]

3. Thank goodness next week is Thanksgiving. Even though I have about 4 papers / projects that I will be working on, it will be nice to have an extended change of scenery.

4. Found out last night that Dylan Perry's mother is a cosmetologist - got myself a cheap lowering of the ears booked for next week.

5. Finally finished Little Bee and have moved on to The History of Love. Just wish I had more time to read for fun.

6. I really need to clean my room but have zero motivation. Anyone feel like helping me out? I'll pay you $5. Thanks.

7. We had Family Night last night and went to see Ides of March [yes, it's still playing]. Although the movie was pretty disappointing [except for you, Ryan Gosling], we had a blast, because we were the only people in the theater. Sometimes it's ok to not spend a Friday night doing work.

8. Still need new running shoes. Zero motivation to go to the mall. Maybe Monday...

9. I was lucky enough to introduce Ritu Sharma of women thrive worldwide before her Public Program on Wednesday. Experience of a lifetime.

10. Did I mention I'm going to the game??

Happy Weekend!
WOO PIG.
xx

16 November 2011

about time to get those ears lowered.

I go through weird phases with my hair. When it's short, I want it to grow quickly. When it's long, all I want to do is chop it all off. locks of love has come in very handy - whenever I would get sick of my hair, I would just chop it off, donate it, and grow it out again. It was a great cycle that served me well for a while.

And now the time has come once again. My hairs have grown ridiculous long and have lately become more unruly than I have the patience to deal with. However, because of the layers in my hair, I don't think I can cut off the requisite length for locks of love and still have enough hairs on my head to be satisfied. [sidenote: in 2004, the lady cut off 12.5 inches of hair from my head, and I've really never been quite the same since then] On top of that, because of my attempts at running, I want to make sure my hair remains long enough to pull back into a ponytail. At the same time, though, I want to make sure it doesn't get so long that it becomes too heavy and annoying to run with.

My original plan was to just trim the split ends, let it grow a bit, and chop it off in January. But then I remembered the running dilemma, so I axed that plan. The new plan is cut a significant amount off - say 4 or 5 inches - which generally just makes it easier to deal with. Then I will re-assess after my 10k in March how I feel about continuing to grow it out or what I want to do with it.

Enter my second dilemma: paying for a hair cut. For the last year and a half, I have been getting Prakash's barber to cut my hair. How much does that cost, you ask? Well, I will tell you. It costs approximately $2.50 - $3.50, depending on how unruly my hair is on a given day. That's right, less than $5 to tame this mess. And I realize it is unrealistic to expect that here in the US. I know. But I still refuse to pay more than $12 - $15 to cut some hairs off my head. I mean, really. So I have to find a place that satisfies my needs.

I'm hoping to get it cut this weekend, so I might have some new looks to show off come next week. I'll keep you posted.

[how girly do I sound talking about my hair? yikes]
Woo pig.
xx

15 November 2011

10k tuesday: slowly getting back in the groove.

Well. I finally did it. I finally got off my bum and started running again. I ran last Friday as well as yesterday and finally made it through Week 5. Which is pretty crappy, considering how long ago I began this endeavor, but hey, I did it.

Yesterday I completed my first 20-minute jog. And I survived it. That was a pretty good boost to my confidence. I had to run at the park near my house, which is a pretty short loop, which is both good and bad. It's good because it's pretty easy to convince myself I can do another lap, and it also doesn't seem like I've run as much as I have. But it's bad because it gets a bit repetitive.

If I stick to my schedule, I think Sunday will be another long run, so I think I might drive down to Murray Park and jog on the trail down there. It will be interesting, because it will be the first time I've really run in "public" [my neighborhood at 6.20am doesn't count], but I think a change of scenery will do me good. I can't do those long runs through the neighborhood because of the hills, so I'm trying to think of alternate places so that I get to change it up a bit.

I also need to really make myself start sticking to my schedule, because we're now into the actual training portion that the LR Marathon people gave us, which has me needing to be able to run 4 miles by...oh...next week. No biggie.

I did realize a HUGE change in my attitude both on Friday and yesterday once I got back into my routine. I think one of the things that will keep me at it for the next month is the fact that it's a great stress-buster. I'm not usually one who freaks out too much about schoolwork, but I do know that the next month is going to be a bit crazy with trying to get everything taken care of, so I think this is going to be a great study break and stress break.

In other news, I did finally get some new music on my phone, which has come in handy.
I have, however, still not gotten new shoes. I'm terrible, I know. I was going to go on Saturday but then ended up leaving earlier than planned for Helena, so that didn't work out. It's looking like it might be this Saturday or Sunday before that gets done.
As for the fleece? Nope. But it was 70 degrees when I went for a run at 6.20am yesterday. So I think it's ok. This weekend? Who knows.

It's good to be back again.
Woo pig.
xx

11 November 2011

bitten by the traveling bug.

No matter how much I love a place, after a while of being still, my feet begin to itch to get out of town. It's not that I want to move, it's just that I need to get away for a few days to clear my head and see some new scenery. Even when I was in Bangalore, I made it a point to go somewhere - anywhere - every few months...it helped that I got to travel with the groups, so I had at least 3 built-in trips each year.

Since moving back to the States I had been doing pretty well. I got to go over to Charleston in July to visit the best friend, and I drove to Nashville in August to see Lindsay, Steve, Catherine, Drew, and Lizzie. And then nothing. The craziness of school engulfed me, and I was busy adjusting to homework, papers, presentations, parties, karaoke, happy hours, and the like. There was so much going on that I was ok.

And then it hit. I needed to get out of town, fast. Luckily, I had already planned to go to Ann Arbor to visit Shalini, and that coincided pretty well with my itchy feet. I got out of town for 2.5 days, had a great time catching up with her, and thought I would be alright. And then I got back, and those feet started itching again. I went to Memphis last weekend for my mother's birthday, and I'm going to Helena tomorrow, so I'm still getting out of town, but I want more.

I wanted to go somewhere new. Somewhere different.

Enter Lindsay and Catherine. They are planning Catherine's bachelorette party in Miami. Granted, it's not until January, but it gives me a lot to look forward to. The only problem is that, while booking my tickets the other night, I seem to have awoken a monster.

I suddenly found myself looking up flights to San Francisco, to New York, to London. I found another website and started looking up train prices from London to Italy. I can't get enough of looking up prices. I find myself checking almost daily to see if prices have gone down and to see if any new deals have emerged. It's really not a good thing. Especially since I don't have the money - right now - for all these endeavors.

The problem is that I know I will have the money, eventually. I will hopefully have my money from India in the next few weeks. I'm slowly earning money babysitting and have cut back - for the most part - on my expenses. I'll be getting back some money I loaned to a friend in the coming months. I get a stipend from school that covers most of my travel and living expenses for next summer. And while I know I should save the money for the future and blah blah blah, all I can think is that I want to travel to all these awesome places while I have the chance.

So here is my lineup at the moment:
I am going to Helena tomorrow. Memphis for Thanksgiving. Memphis for Christmas and New Year. [hopefully] San Francisco just after the New Year to see Miriam and Dave [haven't seen them in 2.5 years!]. Miami over MLK weekend for Catherine's bachelorette. Baton Rouge for St Patty's Day. [hopefully] New York for Spring Break. [still debating] Rio for the World Youth Congress in April [it's very expensive to get down there, plus the cost of the visa. it's still up in the air]. and then wherever I end up going for my IPSP.

That looks pretty solid to me. What do you think?
And knowing all of this awesome-ness is in my future should keep me pretty well grounded for the craziness that is about to be upon us.

Now to figure out how to break my obsession with the travel websites. Any suggestions?
Woo pig.
xx

10 November 2011

a little funkified.

I know my updates have not been particularly thrilling or exciting the last few weeks. Honestly, I've just been in a bit of a funk. I've not been sleeping well, I've not been exercising, I've been eating too much, people have been getting on my nerves, I've gotten itchy feet...the list goes on.

I know it's a cycle I'm in - I'm not exercising, so that puts me in a weird mood for the day, which means I procrastinate my work, and then I don't sleep well, so I then don't feel like getting up and going for a run. I know that. But I've just not been able to pull myself out of it.

I had hoped that these weekend jaunts would be good for me, and they have been, but the effects were not as long-lasting as I would have hoped. They keep me cheerful for a few days, and then I just get the blues again. My days have been getting longer, and with it getting darker earlier now, it's messing me up. For instance, I have stuff straight from 9am to about 9 / 10pm. I would love 2 days off where I don't have to worry about assignments or readings or projects or presentations or facilitations or any of the other crap.

I also know that I have probably over-committed myself. It's not that I can't do all that I've signed up for; it's more that it's probably not sensible. But then again, I've never put much stock in being sensible. I always do better when I'm busy, but it's been many years since that included homework. My brain shuts down by about 10pm, and I prioritize my 7-8 hours of sleep, but many times that means I don't have much free time during the day, or my schoolwork wouldn't get done. I've spent many Friday nights doing homework, and I'm going to be spending part of Saturday and most of Sunday doing work as well.

It's not that I can't do the work. And most of it is interesting to me. It's more that the work piled on top of everything else is beginning to take its toll.

So tonight, I am re-prioritizing. It is currently 10.08pm [coincidentally, I was born at 10.08pm. I thought it was interesting]. I am going to finish this post, brush my teeth, get into my bed, read some Rules for Radicals [it's for class. not one I would choose of my own volition], and have lights out no later than 10.30pm. And tomorrow, come rain or shine, I am getting up at 6.10am, I am going for a run, and by gosh, I am going to be in a good mood, I am not going to let people irritate me, and I am going to have a good, productive day.

And so it shall be true.
Woo pig.
xx

08 November 2011

10k tuesday: the week that wasn't, round two.

Once again, I have been lazy and have not run. First I was tired when I returned from my trip, and then I had a lot of sleep issues last week. As in, I didn't get any. It really threw me off my pattern, and honestly, I was in a pretty bad mood by the end of the week. But tomorrow! Tomorrow I will be back to my routine, and I will give you full updates next week. Veena-promise.

My main issue is that I know one of the reasons I've been in a grumpy mood is because I haven't gotten any exercise, but I also know that the longer I go without exercising, the lazier and less motivated I become. I went back and read my post from when I first signed up for the 10k, and reading the part about the registration fee kind of kicked me back into gear. So hopefully tonight will bring sleep and tomorrow will bring a good run.

Until then,
Woo pig.
xx

06 November 2011

my mother the magnificent.

Yesterday I drove down [over?] to Memphis to hang out with my mother for her birthday. It's the first time I've been in the country for her birthday since 2006, so it was really nice to be around and to get to spend some time with her.

For those of you who are not aware, it is a widely known fact that my mother is the greatest mother in the history of mothers.

Growing up, my mother worked full-time and still made dinner - home-cooked Indian meals - nearly every night. She never missed any of our sporting events, plays, awards ceremonies, or other school-related happenings. Every weekend she fed a horde of hungry boys who tromped through our house, and she wouldn't have had it any other way.

I know these past few years have been difficult for her, especially realizing that we are most likely never going to live on the same continent again [hey, it's been hard for me, too], but I know that no matter what, she will always support me following my dreams, wherever those may lead me.

One of the greatest moments of pride in my life was the first time someone told me that I was just like my mother, because I cannot think of anyone else I would rather grow up to be like. She is my role model, my inspiration, and my hero.

Happy Birthday, Ma.
Woo pig.
xx

03 November 2011

cultural taboos.

We had a panel at school today about the taboos that exist in different societies. It was interesting to hear about taboos that exist in China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it was also very amusing to listen to Sophia's tales of translating taboos from Pakistan into life in the United States.

Here's what I would have said about India:

  • Remember always to eat, give and receive money, and generally do everything with your right hand.
  • Never touch someone with your feet/shoes [this is one I have to remind my girls of every day].
  • Also, always take off your shoes when you enter someone's house. To this day I get on to my brother's friends who don't take off their shoes once they come into the house.
  • Public displays of affection are not acceptable in the villages; in the cities it can go either way.
  • Women are not advised to purchase alcohol themselves [never stopped me, but I've also never been one for rules].
  • No bare shoulders or short shorts in the villages; they're acceptable in the city center.
  • At most roadside shops, you are expected to bargain. Shopkeepers will never respect you if you pay the first price they say - it's more of a suggestion, anyway.
  • Remember that in India, many people live at home until they get married. After marriage, the son often continues to live with his parents, and his wife moves in.
  • If you are white, you will most likely be asked to pose for pictures everywhere you go. My advice to my interns was to charge people; that usually got them to go away.
There are tons of others, but those were the ones that came to me off the top of my head. Feel free to chime in with any others you can think of!

And keep those feet away from me.
Woo pig.
xx

01 November 2011

10k tuesday: the week that wasn't.

This is a sad update for me, because I have not run from last Monday to today. There were a few reasons for this:

1. I had a pretty bad cold last week. Normally that wouldn't slow me down too much, but I decided to take it easy and get rest, because...

2. I went to Michigan last weekend and did not want to make myself sicker by running in the cold prior to my trip.

3. a minor point, but my ankle, although having held up well during my run on Monday, bothered me a bit on the following days.

So all of that added up to Veena not doing any exercise last week. I didn't do yesterday because I needed one night of solid sleep after my crazy weekend. Although I have quite a bit of work to do tonight, as well as a long day tomorrow, I am hopeful that I can get myself out of bed to get in a run in the morning. I'm afraid that if I am lazy for too long, I won't get back into it until it's too late. So wish me luck.

In good news, I did finally get some new music on my phone! So that was a plus. Hopefully I will actually get to listen to it in the morning.

Here's hoping I have a better update next week.
Woo pig.
xx

31 October 2011

112,000 people is nothing to scoff at.

This past weekend I ventured up to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to visit Shalini and to experience a game at the Big House. It was so nice to see someone from "home" and to have an excuse to use all of my Bangalore slang for a few days - people in Little Rock just don't get the beauty of being able to call someone "macha". It's tragic, really.

I got into Ann Arbor around 10 on Friday, so we headed down Main St to grab some grub and a few drinks. Over pizza and beer/cider, we reminisced about Bangalore days gone by and caught up on the last few months. I'd forgotten how nice it is to be able to walk places - I did not set foot in a moving vehicle from 10pm Friday night until 2pm Sunday afternoon.

Saturday we bought hoodies and a few other game-day necessities and traversed the block and a half from Shalini's house to the stadium. It's pretty cool to step out the front door and see the giant M on the stadium. The game was pretty awesome, and it certainly did not feel as though there were 112,000 people there. Of course, being me, I managed to stand in front of a fellow Arkansas fan from Memphis. What are the odds.

[walking into the stadium]

[that's what 112.000 people look like, in case you were wondering]

[Niall kept attacking me with my own claw. how rude]
After the game, we wandered around a bit, had some lunch, picked up Halloween costumes [I was a doctor. creative, I know], and just chilled out. We went to one of Shalini's classmates' houses for pre-party drinks, where I found out that my $8 bottle of wine actually had a screw top. What did that mean, exactly? Well, it meant that I spent the evening drinking straight out of the bottle. Classy, I know.

From Lauren's we met one of Shal's classmates at her school and headed over to another classmate's house. Holy crapy, so many people. It was ridiculous. So of course we found some random Indian kid and became friends with him. Approximately 4 hours later, we realized we needed food, so in lieu of an IHOP, which apparently doesn't exist in Ann Arbor, we ended up at some random Indian joint that was open at 2.30 in the morning. And boy, was it good. We finally stumbled into bed at about 5 in the morning. It's been a while since I've had one of those nights.

We took it easy on Sunday, grabbing some food and wandering through the U of M campus to see some of the sights. It's a very pretty campus, but so huge. It was a shock for my small-campus senses to see just how large their campus is. I would be lost for days if I ever tried to go there on my own.

[outside the Weill Building, home of the Ford School of Public Policy]

[strolling through the U of M central campus]
I had a great time, and I will definitely be heading up there again at some point. Most likely post-February, when the temperatures become bearable once again.

But for now, it's back to the grind.
Woo pig.
xx

26 October 2011

commuting.

How long is your average commute from your home to work/school?  When I first moved to Little Rock, I was astounded that it only took me 12-15 minutes to get from my house to school downtown.  15 minutes! For the better part of the last 4 years, I have spent an hour and a half each way to and from work.  An hour and a half!  That's right, I would spend nearly 3 hours on buses every day.  The thought of only spending about half an hour in the car was incredible to me.  I couldn't get over it.

Well now I'm kind of over it.  It's not so bad in the mornings, but when I've been running around for the better part of 12 hours, that 15 minute drive home can seem absolutely endless.  Particularly because Little Rock drivers seem to be getting worse each day.

I think it's also partly because most of my friends live closer to downtown, so it takes at least 12 minutes to get to any of their houses.  And also because if I have a 45-minute break in my day, it's not enough time for me to come home, so I end up hanging around school and not getting anything done.

It's funny how something I was so excited about 3 months ago is now something that I dread.  Never satisfied, that's me.
Woo pig.
xx

25 October 2011

10k tuesday: the good and the bad.

The bad news: I'm coming down with a cold.
The good news: I'm confident that with my stellar immune system I'll kick it in a few days.

The bad news: I twinged my ankle a bit at our kickball game on Sunday.
The good news: I managed to make it through my run yesterday, so it doesn't look to be too bad.

The bad news: My arches are beginning to act up now that I'm on to longer intervals of running.
The good news: It's motivating me to get off my lazy bum and get some new running shoes.  Coming soon!

The bad news: Still the same old music on repeat on my phone, and I don't have the proper wire to connect my hard drive to my new computer.
The good news: I have nothing to do this evening, so I'm going to pull out my old computer and transfer some music on to my phone tonight.

That's pretty much my week in a nutshell.
Woo pig.
xx

24 October 2011

look who's famous.

The Clinton School posted a brief write-up about our participation in the Race for the Cure on Saturday, which includes a picture of yours truly with some of my classmates.  Go check it out!  Kudos to Maggie for being the catalyst for this.

Also, Maggie and I have generally been around the Clinton School blog a lot recently since we've had a lot of speakers in town these last few weeks.  Check them out if you have time - you can read all about Pervez Musharraf's visit last Thursday.

Happy reading!
Woo pig.
xx

where have i been, you ask?

Well, in all honesty, you probably don't, since you're one of about 3 regular readers of this.  But I will answer your question anyway.

I've been at the fair.  I've been at Electric Cowboy.  I've been walking downtown Little Rock [and North Little Rock] to "Race" for the Cure [I say "Race", because there were so many people that it took us 80 minutes to walk a 5k].  I've been stuffing my face with wonderful food and cheering on the Hogs at DBuff's house.  I've been attempting to read ahead for the week.  I've been playing kickball.  I've been watching the Packers dominate.  And I've been hanging out with Jordan and his mother.

And all of those activities were absolutely fabulous.  I didn't get as much work done this weekend as I would have liked, but I don't care, because it was a great weekend.

And now it's back to the grind.  Another week starts today.
Woo pig.
xx

20 October 2011

really makes that 10k look like a piece of cake.

I'm sure most of you have heard about this already, but one of the big stories this week was about the 100-year-old Punjabi man who set a Guinness Record in becoming the first centenarian to complete a marathon.

I've been spending so much time thinking about the 10k that I am running - in March, mind you - and trying to figure out how I'm going to run for what could end up being an hour and a half, and here is a man - a 100 year old man - who ran 26.2 miles [completely off my radar] and who ran for 8 hours.  8 hours!  At this point, the thought of running longer than about 20 minutes kind of annoys me; forget about 8 hours.

So needless to say, I've put a curb on the cribbing after reading his story.  I'm pretty sure my 28-year-old body can handle that 10k come March.

Woo pig.
xx

18 October 2011

10k tuesday: round four.

This week's update is a bit all over the place.

Last week I finally completed 3 workouts in one week!  I ran on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, making it through Week 3 and the first day of Week 4.  On Thursday I decided to challenge myself a bit and, instead of just running in the park, decided to run through the neighborhood, which includes a few hills.  I survived, but just barely.  I needed it, though, because obviously the entire 10k in March won't be on flat roads, but it hurt.  I think it was also because it was later in the week, and I am usually running on less energy by Thursday than on Monday.  I do however think it is good to do the third day of each week on the road, as it's good practice.

Because of the run on Saturday, combined with three - yes, three - kickball games on Sunday, I took Monday off.  My legs were seriously hurting after that weekend, and I realized the need for some rest.  I took today off also, because I had to meet my Practicum team at 8.30am, and we were supposed to spend the morning gardening.  I realized last night that it would not be prudent to wear out my muscles and then go work in the garden at Mabelvale, so I refrained.  I'll get back into the flow tomorrow, but that means I need to be in bed by 10pm.  On the dot.  It's only Tuesday, and I am already exhausted, which is not a good sign.

If I can get in runs tomorrow and Friday, then I will complete Week 4 this week and be back on a schedule of one week of the workout correlating to one week in real time.  We'll see how that works out for me.

No new aches or pains to report, which I count as a success.

The mornings are getting cold, so I'm going to have to start wearing my fleece and probably carrying some water with me to keep my throat from getting too dry.

I really need some new music on my phone.  The same 10 songs on repeat are getting old.  I'll figure it out one of these days.

Tomorrow I WILL wear my arm weights for my run.  Really.  If I don't, you have permission to never speak to me again.  But seriously, I paid for them, so I need to start using them.

Fingers crossed I wake up in the morning.
Woo pig.
xx

17 October 2011

possible capstone?

It seems like every day I find a new organization that I want to work with for either my IPSP or my Capstone.  Today was no exception.

Adult illiteracy has been a big problem in New Orleans, so Big Class has been working to get illiterate parents more involved in their children's education.  I read about it today over on good and now want to go work with them next year for my Capstone.  Working in New Orleans for a semester - or a year - on education and literacy.  I can't really think of anything better.  Except for being in Ladakh.  Or working for Room to Read in Bombay.  Hmm.


I wonder what tomorrow's IPSP / Capstone find will be...
Woo pig.
xx

16 October 2011

just the weekend i needed.

After a slew of crazy weekends, I needed a calm one, and that's just what I got.  Other than Arkansas Puzzle Day yesterday and kickball today, no real commitments.  No Razorback game Saturday, which freed up a good 3.5 hour chunk of the day.  No assignments due on Monday that I needed to break my head over.  Just a nice, calm, relaxing weekend.  Just what the doctor ordered.

When I finished work on Friday, I headed home, did a bit of reading, had some food, did a bit more reading, and eventually headed over to Dylan Perry's to chill out for a while.  Sydney brought a board game, so that kept us entertained for a little while.  I was still home and in bed by midnight, which was nice.

I started off Saturday morning with a run [Week 4 Day1!] before heading down to Sturgis for Arkansas Puzzle Day.  It is exactly what it sounds like it is, and even though I didn't win a prize, Laura and I automatically won the student gift certificates to Boulevard since we were the only two students who showed up.  $25, which is roughly the equivalent of 4.5 meals at Boulevard, is nothing to shake your head at.

After that I came back home and caught up on my blog posts and a few other housekeeping things before crashing out for about 2 hours.  That's right, I got in a 2-hour nap on a Saturday.  And it was magnificent.  Then I spent the afternoon and evening reading ahead for next week and making 7-layer dip.  I met Dylan and a few of the Class 6-ers at Town Pump for a few drinks followed by the yummy awesomeness of Waffle House.  Thank goodness for that nap, or I would never have made it to 2am.

Today I slept in [hurray!] before heading over to Interstate Park.  We had a doubleheader today with games at 1.15 and 5, so I decided to go early to watch the intermediate team's game at noon.  They needed a fourth girl to bat, so somehow I ended up playing on their team as well.  We won, in case you're wondering.  And then the novice team won our first game, after which a few of us decided to just hang out down at the park before our next game.  We had a nice spread of cookies, 7-layer dip, and chips, and we kept ourselves entertained for a few hours before our second game.  We lost that one, unfortunately, but word on the street is that we should still make the playoffs.

So although today was a bit long - and I missed the Packers game because of all the kickball - it has still been a fantastic weekend.  Other than the fact that my body is feeling a bit run down - I'm definitely not made to play 3 games in one day.  Here's hoping I can finish up my reading for tomorrow quickly, because I have every intention of being in bed by 10pm.  Week 4 Day 2 is looming in the morning.

Happy week ahead!
Woo pig.
xx

15 October 2011

where will you educate your children?

Yesterday, this article ran on the New York Times website.

Education has long been a passion of mine, starting when I was in high school and extending into my life today.  I've spent most of my life learning, tutoring, teaching, or some combination of the three.  It's also something I think about nearly every day:

Where will I educate my children?


Will I send them to schools in India?  Will I enroll them in schools in the US?  Do I chuck both of those ideas and send them to school in Finland?  [hey, don't knock it, they've supposedly got the best education system in the world]

This is something that is readily on my mind.  Schools in India focus more on academics, forcing students to have good study habits, something I wish I possessed.  Schools in the US focus on being well-rounded, forcing students to be able to have good social interactions and to participate in a variety of activities.

In India, most of the good schools are single-sex schools, and I have vowed my entire life never to send my children to single-sex schools unless they explicitly asked to go.  In the US there are cities that have great public schools and cities where private schools are better - it's all a matter of where you live.

I like the structure of schools in India, but never having attended one and only seeing them from the outside, I feel that they are too rigid and in many ways expect too much of their students academically.  If you read through the article above, you would have read that there were some universities in India who were only accepting students who scored above 99% on their exams.  That's nearly impossible, and yet children in India will forego sleep, food, and many other things to get those results.  And if they don't get those results, they don't know what to do, because academics is all they know.

In the US, academics are important, but so much more of a child's education comes from outside the classroom - from playing on sports teams to acting in plays to being part of a community service group, each little bit adds up to a whole, well-rounded person.  Universities here certainly take grades into account, but they also look at how much was done outside of class.  I got accepted to Rhodes not because of any outstanding academic achievement but because of my commitment to the Community Service program at Baylor.

I think because of the opportunity I had to go to Baylor, I want nothing less than that for my children.  There are a few "alternate education" schools in Bangalore, but nothing that can rival the facilities of my high school, except for maybe the international schools.

Although I know it is way far off in the distance, I have spent a lot of time contemplating how I will fit my thoughts into the school systems in India.  My vague idea is to put my [hypothetical] children through international schools and then board them at Baylor their final 2 or 3 years of high school, if they want.  I know the idea of sending your children across the world is scary, but I also know they won't be alone over here.  And above all, I think that it would be a great experience for them.

Of course, thinking all of this, I also realize that there will likely be a lot of changes that occur in the schools both in India and in the US by the time I have children and they are ready for school.  But that doesn't mean that it's not something that is constantly on my mind.

I know that no matter what, I don't want my children to become part of a system that requires perfection from its students.  I want them to do well, certainly, but I also want them to enjoy the best parts of being in school - spending time with friends on weekends, attending school events, being part of theatrical productions, exploring their artistic side, volunteering their time, and getting to know the world around them.  I want to set them up to succeed.

How about you?
Woo pig.
xx

11 October 2011

10k tuesday: round three.

Well this week's installment is certainly a bit more upbeat than last week's.  I am happy to report that I finished Week 2 as well as Days 1 and 2 of Week 3.  Victory is mine!  [almost]

I managed to get in runs both Wednesday and Friday of last week as well as yesterday, so I have at least not fallen further behind.  I thought about trying to catch up, but I am not going to run on back-to-back days again just yet [I learned that lesson a few weeks ago], and we have a kickball double-header this weekend, so I figured it might be a bit much.  I'll think about keeping Saturdays and Sundays as possibilities once the season is over.

Once I decided not to do the back-to-back workouts again, my knees haven't given me any trouble at all.  In fact, they've felt great.  I'm a bit worried about what's going to happen once the training kicks up a notch at the end of November, which requires me to run 5 days a week, but we'll cross that hurdle once we get to it.

I still haven't purchased new running shoes.  I know, I know.  Last week was a bit hectic and all over the place because of midterms, so I just didn't have time.  I'm hoping to maybe get that taken care of this weekend.

Otherwise I don't have much to report.  I am still deciding on my timed run this weekend, because that would mean doing Week 4 Day 1 on Friday, running a timed mile Saturday, and then a kickball doubleheader on Sunday.  I like to pretend I can do everything, but I'm pretty confident that doing all of that might be the end of me.  I'll re-assess Friday evening and see what I feel up to.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Woo pig.
xx

09 October 2011

a long time coming.

If any of you can remember the last time I posted pictures on here, you're doing better than I am.  There are a few reasons for that:
  1. I've not taken that many pictures.  A travesty, I know, but I think taking so many pictures those last few months in Bangalore left me a bit burned out.
  2. I've not taken the time to upload the few I had taken onto my computer.  With my old computer, it used to take ages for the pictures to load, and I never had the time or energy to deal with that.  Of course, I forgot that I now have a super fast computer, and 200 pictures transfer likethat.
  3. I'm lazy.  We all know this.
So here I am, with a few months worth of pictures to share with you.  I'm warning you now that there are a lot.  Hope you enjoy.

[this little guy was eating up all our tomato plants]

[boys cooking]

[our fabulous feast]

[downtown little rock]

[pedestrian bridge downtown]

[how many guys does it take to put a grill together?]

[love crowder's swag]

[me and my boo]

[me and my other boo]

[these guys]

[getting those letters ready for kickball shirts]

[full seriousness going on here]

[me and the dubz]

[I'm pretty sure that one went in]

[sniffing the toast? really?]

[with the birthday girl]

[family picture. be on the lookout for our christmas card]

[busch model]

[13-year-old female drummer. she's my hero]

[with britney at the blues fest]

[cherry street banners]

[still haven't gotten over my obsession with funny signs]

[mural on cherry st]

[attempt at getting a crowd shot saturday night]

[I was really hoping they'd supply that naked body, too]
Happy week ahead!
Woo pig.
xx

08 October 2011

the greatest show on earth.

Nope, I'm not talking about the circus.  I am speaking of the King Biscuit Blues Festival, the greatest staple of my childhood growing up in Helena.

The Blues Fest, as we locals like to call it [although I'm not sure if I'm still allowed to refer to myself as a local, considering I've not lived there in 13 years], is hands down the best weekend of the year.  Three days of nonstop performances, vendors selling everything from jewelry and clothing to funnel cakes and sno cones, a bbq competition, and wrapping everything up with a stop at Pasquale's Tamales at the end of Cherry Street.  I also have vague memories of riding an elephant in the middle of crowded Cherry Street during one Blues Fest of my childhood.

As much as I love and adore Blues Fest, I have unfortunately only been once in the last 11 years, and it was raining that weekend, so we didn't even spend very long downtown.  While I was in college it always clashed with volleyball tournaments that I had to work or with Homecoming - sometimes both - and then I've been out of the country the better part of the last half decade.  I tried my best to get down there last year, but it was too close to my return to Bangalore, so it didn't work out.

But this year is different.  I made it a priority from the beginning of the year to make sure I would get down there for Blues Fest this fall.  Luckily it coincided with a relatively light weekend for us, so 4 of my classmates and 1 girl from Class 6 are joining me for a giant road trip down to Helena [-West Helena, for those of you who are already acclimated to the new name] to enjoy the blues.

I can't wait.
Woo pig.
xx

06 October 2011

citizen of the world.

One of the questions that I have found the most difficult to answer since arriving at the Clinton School is also the one I am most often asked:

Where are you from?


Mine, like many others', is a complicated answer, and I never quite know how to respond.  Yes, I lived in Helena for 15 years, but I've not lived there in 13, so it doesn't really qualify, especially since my parents also have not lived there in 7.  They now moved to Memphis in 2004, just after I finished my 4 years at Rhodes, so I guess that was "home" for about 6 years.  But then I've been in Bangalore for the better part of the last 6 years, so that's more like home at this point.  [in case you're trying to do the math and are coming up a few years short, it's because of my 2 years in Chattanooga, which is probably the place in the US I consider home above all the others]

On top of which I continue to claim loyalty to Arkansas for the Razorbacks, to Memphis for Graceland and bbq, and to India for pretty much all things awesome.

So where does that leave me?  Either having a long-winded answer to what should be, in most people's eyes, a very simple question.  Or else with a response like the title of this post.

It's a question I'm asked all too often, and one I've come to dread above all others.

Where are YOU from?
Woo pig.
xx

04 October 2011

10k tuesday: round two.

To tell you the truth, I had hoped to have more updates for you this week.  In an ideal world, I would be finished with Week 2 as well as Day 1 of Week 3 [does that make sense?].  Unfortunately, I live not in an ideal world but in a graduate school world where things do not pan out the way we [I] hope.

In the first week, I missed completing Day 3 that Friday because I had to get breakfast for my Law & Ethics class.  Last week, I did Week 1 Day 3 and Week 2 Day 1 back-to-back, which in hindsight was not the best decision I've ever made.  Because of that, I had to take a few days off before I could finish Day 2 on Saturday.

I was all set to complete Week 2 yesterday [Monday] until I realized that I had to be downtown half an hour earlier than usual to print out my paper and get it turned in.  I know it just sounds like an excuse, but running in the pitch black at 6am in 40 degree weather is just not my ideal scenario.  So then I decided I would complete Week 2 today, until I spent about 3 hours tossing and turning like a madwoman last night. When my alarm went off this morning, I couldn't even open my eyes to turn it off, so that quickly got shot down.

So here I am, getting more and more behind in my training.  I'm hoping to be in bed early tonight anyway to rest up for my Decision Analysis midterm, and I think a nice little workout might be a good way to get me up and about in the morning.  And that will put me back on my M-W-F workout routine, with kickball [sort of] filling in on Sunday - at least for a few more weeks.  I'm trying not to run on the weekends, partly because I am going to be out of town pretty much every other weekend for the next 2 months, but also mostly because those are my only days to sleep in, and I crave that.

I can, however, update you on the first 2 days of Week 2:

I could definitely feel myself moving a bit faster on the second day.  I think the first one I was being cautious since the intervals increased, and I just wanted to make sure I would survive it, so then on the 2nd day I knew kind of how far I could push myself.

I am, however, a bit confused on how the phone tracks my distance.  I run in the park down the street from my house, and I usually count the laps as I go.  I'm pretty sure I did more laps on Day 2 than on Day 1, but according to the gps on the phone, I actually ran a shorter distance.  So I'm confused.  But whatever, I'm surviving.  That's my biggest goal right now.  I'll worry about distance and time and whatnot at a later time.

Also, purchasing an armband for my phone was definitely a great investment.  It is so much easier without having to carry my phone in my hands.  Plus it keeps me from checking the time constantly.

If I were still on schedule, this weekend would be my first timed run, but because I've gotten behind, I think the earliest I'll be able to do it is next weekend.  I'm a little bummed about that, but right now midterms and papers take precedence.

Things I need:
  • a new pair of running shoes, as decreed by my brother.  he claims that should help take care of my potential knee issues [the knees did NOT like the back-to-back workouts last week.  at all]
  • a good running fleece.  these mornings are getting a bit chilly.  any suggestions?
  • more music on my phone.  I put a few songs on there, but all of my music is still on my external harddrive, and I honestly haven't had time to transfer it onto my computer.  potential Wednesday night plan following Bavon's midterm?  possibly.  but honestly, I'll probably get distracted and forget and then only remember when I go for my next run.
Other notes:
  • eating healthy has been difficult since I have NO food in my house, and no chance of purchasing more until probably Thursday.
  • I keep forgetting on mornings I don't run to do my weights and abs.  it's very intermittent.  I'm hoping that if and when I get into a proper schedule, that will also fall in place.  we'll see.
  • I haven't yet been brave enough to take my arm weights with me on a run.  maybe tomorrow?  depends on if I grow my balls of steel overnight.
And there you have it.  I can tell you're thrilled to know so much about me and my running habits.
Woo pig.
xx

02 October 2011

besties.

I think the picture says it all.


[photo Jacob Slaton / Jacob Slaton Photography for Clinton School]