the wonderful world of veena.

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.

26 October 2011


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

02 October 2011


I think the picture says it all.

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