Wednesday, August 20, 2014

World of Words Wednesay - For the First Time in Forever.... goes the song....

Happy, Happy, Happy - These words seem to be 'frozen' all around (definitely a wonderful thing to happen!) - I keep hearing the lyrics to this and a couple other songs and I keep thinking, looks like the lil ones just cannot 'Let it Go' - these songs. And when I turn around, I see 'Happy' moves all around - as in the minions Happy being played and replayed over in so many different versions - teens from city a, b, c dancing to Happy, and the latest one is as leaving-the-seer-happy as the innumerable others before. For some reason, all of these songs, and especially Happy, do not get on my nerves as much. Just when I think I might not be able to listen to it one more time, the CD in the car is played or it is just played on the radio station we are on or someone hums the song and we are caught in the joy of the song - especially Happy. I am sure that hearing the word happy in an upbeat, catchy tune leaves listeners way happier than they were before! So, for the first time in forever, I have listened to a few songs many, many times (like forever) and each time brings back a smile on my face, just like it did the first time!

And after a long break, participating in memes once again starting with one of my favorites - ABC Wednesday. The little happy post above this as well as the photos below both go towards ABC Wednesday's letter F. These photos were taken by me at the always-awesome Lalbagh flower show held annually around August 15th (India's Independence Day) during our visit to India this summer. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Square One and All That

Back to Square One..In the case of posting on my blog this year, I am right there now - at square one. This phrase, according to The Phrase Finder, this is one of the phrases that people say they know the hows, whats, wheres, and whens of the phrases' origin, but they really don't! The origin for this phrase is attributed to BBC sports commentators, to the game of snakes and ladders, as well as to the well-loved evergreen playground game  - hopscotch.
Whatever the origin of this phrase, I find myself today back at square one - where I need to start blogging regularly. Sound familiar? I just hope NOT to land in this particular square again in the future. I tell my kids many a time, when they have had an "Oops! I am sorry moment" that it is OK to make mistakes, but just ensure that it is not the same mistake over and over again. New mistakes being made are OK (again, it is NOT OK to keep having Oops moments just because it is OK to make new mistakes!).
We just returned from our annual trip to India and are still in the jet-lag phase - especially the kids who spent the whole of last night awake (and trying their best to be quiet while I tried to sleep in the night to get over my jetlag and DH who did not travel with us just needed to sleep!). But this trip to India each summer is totally worth a week's worth of jet-lag. It is kind of like a Mastercard ad. Tickets to India - $ amounts in the four digits for each person; Jet-lag each way - about a week; packing chaos - endless; memories gained - Priceless!
Here are a few glimpses into the trip with details on a couple of the trips coming later. And today happens to be World Photo Day!
All the photos here were taken by me or mine! Photos here include glimpses of the Tungabhadra, Somnathpur temple, Harihareshwara temple, Bharachukki falls, scenes at a wedding attended, and the flower show at the beautiful Lalbagh gardens in Bangalore among others.

I just read this quote by Marcel Proust on a story:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in having new eyes.” 

And this voyage  to once familiar places in India (and some new ones) definitely was one of discovery just like in the quote above - of looking at things familiar with new eyes - in the sense that we are now changed (grown-ups now to the kids we were when we first roamed the familiar streets or viewed the wonders - both man-made and natural), and also that we viewed them this time through the eyes of our kids - their view of the places made us look at them in a whole different way, and it was a total joy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love is in the air..

I have been using Grammarly’s grammar check for the past couple weeks because, let me face it, I frequently write  posts full of run-on sentences way longer than this one right here - sentences that might be perfect for confusing my readers, where they might go, “Huh? What is she trying to say? Guess her proof-reader took the day off today!” and, honestly, I love grammar (though cannot profess to be perfect, discovering its quirks across languages, learning its rules, and knowing when and how to use them is always fun for me).

I will continue using Grammarly for a few more days as I have been offered a free trial for one month to try it out. I will then post a review of the tool. After the first couple of uses, I realized that I need to use the ‘casual’ or ‘creative’ options while putting my posts through Grammarly’s proofreading.

The above section of my post, for example, scored a 75/100 (and a 78/100 when I ran it a second time? - see notes below), when I picked the paper type as ‘Academic’  while the ‘Casual’ paper type option gave me a score of 90/100. So guess which one I prefer?

Paper Type: General - run 1: I got a score of 75 with 3 issues and I wondered why since two of the issues pointed to the same thing - use of passive voice.

Paper Type: General - run 2: One of the 2 issues mentioned above just disappeared (with no changes to my text so looks like there are things that need to be worked on)
Paper Type: Casual

First thoughts: while it might be a better tool for people writing books or papers (business/technical/thesis) than for casual or creative writers, it has definitely taught me stuff and is fun to use. So, while I am still the final editor of my posts and I decide which mistakes are OK to be included in the post, it is good to know proof-reading tools such as this (and hopefully keep improving with time) exist.  The explanations provided for most of the issues it finds are informative.

Disclaimer: Before I decided to try using Grammarly, I had to confirm that the first email I got inviting me to try it out was real so I went on their website and wrote to support asking them to confirm the genuineness of the invitation for me. This peek into Grammarly as well as my upcoming review in a couple of weeks will both be sponsored posts by Grammarly but the opinions – completely my own.

It is that day of the year again. When hearts are everywhere – literally! Love is in the air (I love this phrase!) and I am singing in the rain! The kids had a Valentine's day party at school today, and I loved being a part of that party.
There is so much more I wanted to include in this post so I am sure this will get an update later tonight, but for now, as Valentine's Day dinners are being enjoyed in the western-most parts of the world, here is wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Swoon-worthy or not?

The theme for Top Ten Tuesday this week over at The Broke and Bookish is books that make you swoon.

Per Bing, the definition of swoon is:
  • feel faint with joy: to be overwhelmed by happiness, excitement, adoration, or infatuation
  • fall in faint: to experience a sudden and usually brief loss of consciousness
  • rapture: a condition of overwhelming happiness, excitement, or infatuation
I have tons of books (and some other wish-would-be-books) that would fit into these categories.

  1. Historical romances by Julia Quinn(The Bridgertons), Stephanie Laurens(The Cynsters), Lisa Kleypas(The Hathaways), Eloisa James(The Essex Sisters), (and a few others too!)
  2. Books like 'Cutting for Stone' and 'A Suitable Boy' for just being what they are
  3. Cookbooks whose covers and photographs (and of course, the recipes) are swoon(drool)worthy, ones I have read like ‘Vegan Eats World’ or ‘Devnaa’s India’ and ones I want to read like ‘Messy Baker’
  4. Lola and the Boy Next Door (and more like this)
  5. Jane Austen/Thomas Hardy (granted, Hardy made me bawl but there were many swoon-worthy moments that made up for whole hours of tears)
  6. Gone with the Wind (and Scarlett too)
  7. The Night Circus for its own brand of magic that inspired me to write it's review in verse (and I have a few more that I would add here)
  8. Books about writing, language and books.
  9. Downton Abbey if rewritten into a book
  10. If movies like Roman Holiday get written into books, then I would be among the first to read them
For Teaser Tuesdays from 'The Vegan Cookbook', a drool-worthy photo:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Breezing through the memes of the week (again)..

Top ten books that made me cry is the topic this week over at The Broke and the Bookish.

  1. Black Beauty
  2. To Kill a Mocking Bird
  3. What Katy Did
  4. Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  5. The Sari Shop
  6. The Mayor of Casterbridge
  7. One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  8. Wonder
  9. Last Man in the Tower/Lord of the Flies
  10. Short stories including - The Rose and the Nightingale, The Last Leaf
Teaser Tuesday:
My teaser today is from the book 'Made you Look' reviewed on my blog yesterday.

ABC Wednesday Letter D – The letter D brought to mind the game ‘Dumb Charades’ – the name used in India for the more popular name Charades! Dumb in this context is used in its original meaning – 'lacking of speech' or the acceptable meaning - speech-impaired. I also learned how the word’s original meaning has been eclipsed by the more offensive meaning today. It stems from the German word ‘dumm’ that means stupid; as more immigrants came to the United States, this meaning replaced the other for the word 'dumb'. How languages influence each other in a melting pot of a ocean shouldn’t surprise, yet I learn new things every day.
Going back to my D post for the week – this game does not require much, and is perfect for a rainy day (which we are finally seeing a few of here in Cali). How much we can convey without speaking becomes painfully obvious when we try to play this game and the benefit – loads of laughter, using unused skills and brain cells trying to guess the gestures, and yes, building team spirit.  And, as I build a list of games to be played this time on ABC Wednesday’s 14th journey through the alphabet, I am learning too (and now I know what I need to do for my DD’s birthday party coming up soon – she wants to have it at home with a slew of games for her friends).

Theme Thursday – Thirsty – California is definitely that – thirsty – and we will take every little drop, every drizzle that comes our way. The last couple of days have finally seen a few mild showers (much needed ones) and it is wonderful. Our umbrellas finally see the light (well, not really) of day and they are overjoyed. They are feeling good – up in the air!