Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

After our thrilling first experience of camping and the encounters in the wild we were all set to camp more last year. But sadly couldn’t camp anymore last year. Partly because we were busy after that and also due to lack of availability of any better campground. All good campsites are booked 2-3 months in advance and we learnt it the hard way last year. This year we were determined to make most of the sunny weather by camping as much as possible. Come spring and Hubby made 2-3 different reservations over the month of April, May and June in different campsites.

Unfortunately we had to cancel the one in April. I thought that it was jinxed because i spoke about it to my colleagues at work. My colleagues are nice people but i have noticed that whenever I get too excited about any vacation or trip that I am taking in the future and talk about it to anyone, it gets jinxed. Out of nowhere circumstances develop which jeopardizes the trip. Like Hubby will have some urgent work that week or the weather will not be conducive. And a lot of times i have ended up canceling it.

So for the one in May i kept mum. I didn’t speak about it until after i was done camping. In fact, I wanted it to be a romantic experience for me and Hubby and so we didn’t invite any friends to join us. I called it the “Jungle Mein Mangal” experience… he he 😉

We had all our camping equipment from last year packed in the store room as is. That included the tent and its accessories, the propane stove and extra cylinders, torch and lanterns, tissue rolls sleeping bags etc.A couple of trips back and forth from the store room and we were all set. We stopped at our favorite restaurant for a quick brunch and picked up milk, bread and ice from a nearby safeway. The other food items like teabags, sugar, salt, onion, tomato etc I picked straight from my own kitchen.

The campsite was in a Redwood National Park about 50 mins drive from where we live. That was the first weekend the camp was opened for camping and we thought we were really lucky to have booked such a beautiful and sought after campsite. We reached there early by 1 PM. The regular checkin time is 2 PM. But the lady at the counter allowed us to checkin. We picked wood for campfire from the registration counter and went ahead to check our campsite. Ours was next to a cliff and there was a stream flowing down below. As we started clearing the ground to setup our tent we realized some of the cons of camping on the first day of park opening. The campsite was completely covered with fallen twigs and leaves that had accumulated over the entire fall and winter season. After about 15 mins of sweeping the ground was finally cleared. It didn’t take us long to setup the tent and by 2 PM we were done.

We had plenty of time and a lot to explore in the park. We set out on hike to the waterfall which was full of water this time of the year. The water was so cold that i lost sensation in my feet after just 2 mins of standing in the water. Still that didnt stop me from posing in the water for some pictures. There were kids and other groups who were also playing in water else I was all set to shoot my own Liril ad. The trail we took back to our camp was marked in a lot of sections but in some parts it was missing. We actually lost it after a while and unfortunately had to head back on the same path we came. Heading back on the same trail instead of completing the loop is a bit annoying but we enjoyed our time by clicking more pictures on the way.

Back at the camp we had cup noodles for dinner and made some corn. We still had plenty of time left before the sun went down and so we also caught up on some reading. That evening, was the most peaceful and relaxing evening I spent in past few months.We slept early, as soon as it was dark and after we ran out of fire wood to keep our camp fire burning.It was a bit cold, but I insisted we leave all the windows of the tent open. I love to wake in the morning with sun light falling on my face and to the sounds of the birds. And indeed what a beautiful morning it was. We went to bed with the sounds of insects and the soothing stream flowing below the cliff and woke up with the sounds of birds. We didn’t need any alarm to wake us up. We quickly made some coffee and headed on another hike/ morning walk.

This time we took a different trail. There were more trees fallen on the way and at some places we had to really struggle to cross over them. But I loved the wilderness this way… undisturbed.. in its most pristine natural form. We hiked for almost 2 hours before we reached the camp again. We made some breakfast which included omelets with bread and chai. And then started the most painful process. Dismantling the tent and packing everything up. On our way back we stopped at some turnouts on the road to click more pictures of the beautiful valley. It was so difficult to leave everything behind and head back. We just wanted to soak in more and more of what the nature was offering to us.

As we parked our car in our apartment’s parking lot and started unloading our stuff, a thought crossed my mind. Long time ago we used to live in caves and in forest and then we worked our way through it and built better houses for ourselves. And we thought that would make us happy and contented but instead we have to head back to our natural habitat to relax and unwind… hmmm…humans sure are the weirdest creatures on earth…

PS: This post was long due… since May actually. We went camping twice after that so more camping posts to follow in the coming weeks. Till then some pictures of this trip….

Our Campsite

The Waterfall

The Creek

Fallen Trees

The Trail


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Back On Track

I cannot get fancy with words, nor am I good at writing philosophical stuff that can get me classified as an A-list blogger. I am not very patient with exploring my writing skills, clearly explained by the long spells of absence from my very own blog. Nor I have the will to update my blog daily. But I so much enjoy the thrill of penning down sporadic epiphanies that occur to me from time to time. And just to know you have a place to turn to is really assuring.

Today I went to the gym after almost… hmm… I dont even remember how many days. Life had been too busy past couple of weeks and weekends were just as crazy. To start with my brother came to visit me for a weekend in Aug and then we went on a 3 day hiking trip over the labor day weekend and then the week after that one of my cousin from came from India. She is doing her masters in a university in South California and I insisted she come to my place first to stay with me before her school starts. So that weekend was spent sight seeing around the bay area and the week after that we drove to South California to drop her at her university. It didnt stop there. Our college friends who have been dating for like ever now decided to get married the next weekend, again in South California and so it was another 13 hr drive weekend. Oh! and BTW we had been to Channel Islands (again in South California) over the long weekend. So we had like 5 back to back weekends packed with minimum of 12-13 hrs of driving on each.

As much as a weekend full of interesting activities is desirable to de-stress you from your stressful workweek, it also adds a stress of its own and you end up trying to relieve yourself of the accumulated weekend fatigue and disrupt your otherwise normal workweek.

To begin with, your excercise routine goes for a toss since you are tired from all the driving etc and then in evenings you struggle with doing your laundry and other routine household activities like cleaning, arranging etc while simultaneously cooking dinner at home coz the extra junk you managed to push down your throat over the weekend starts showing on the scale by now. And then you realise that your recently reinstated home cooking regime needs to be supported with important items in your pantry and thats when the failure of planning a grocery list hits you and you find yourself making several trips to the grocery store to restore some of the basic items in your kitchen. Come another crazy weekend and before you realise you are in a vicious cycle and you start craving for that relaxing-do-nothing-but-chill-out-at-home type weekend. Thankfully I got mine and I am glad to find myself back on track finally.

Today while running on the treadmill I realised that as much as we crave stability in life, a montonous uninterrupted routine life can really make you dull. Imagine having to get up daily at the same time, go to gym, go to work, come back, cook dinner, cleanup and go to bed just to wake up the next day and start the same cycle again. Would you call this stable or boring? In reality no matter how much we hate our routine disturbed, life always finds ways to ensure we dont wear ourselves out in our propensity to stay on track. And as much as I feel these changes in your life are required, nothing feels better than being back on track after a long bout of craziness.

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My First Camping Experience

Me and Hubby dear went camping last weekend. And boy what an adventure it was. This was our first time and I still cant believe we did it coz the planning, reservation and gathering the camping equipments all happened in just 4 days. The actual plan was to go on the weekend of 25th July with a bigger group but 2 friends (another husband and wife) were not able to make it so just the 4 of us decided to do it last weekend itself.
The adventure began with searching for a camp site to reserve and we were in for a big disappointment when we found none that we wanted to go to were available. After contemplating between reserving a KOA campground that was available in the middle of nowhere and state managed campground in a park unheard of and gazillion phone calls (between us and the friends) later we finally reserved a site in a State Park around 1.5 hrs from home. Then started the frantic shopping spree for collecting all camping equipments. We were shopping till the day of camping and in fact some items we picked up on our way.
We decided to make a quick stop for lunch since we would be reaching the campsite way past our lunch time. But little did we know that the quick was about to become long. I forgot my cell phone in the restaurant and we realized this when we were already on a bridge where the next exit was after 8 miles 😦 I was even okay to leave it there and pick it up on our way back the next day but the guy who found my phone wasn’t too pleased about it so we had to head back to get it. We had to travel that bridge for the third time in one hour and I was so sick of it that I swore never to take that route ever.
Later the GPS we were using screwed us even more. Somewhere between his “Keep Rights” and “Keep lefts” we missed an exit and the “Route Recalculation” landed us in a traffic jam.
Obviously we were late. Much late than the 2 PM check in time. And the worst part was the site was at a 5-8 min walking distance from the parking lot. Now that doesn’t sound far right? But add to that the 30 lb tent, 20 lb cooler box, 4 camping chairs, our luggage and other camping equipment we were carrying, along with the scorching heat of the sun who was busy tanning every exposed bit of my skin that he could lay his evil eyes on.
We laid all our stuff on the table and started setting up the tent. Almost everyone else on the nearby sites were already camping there since Friday. The campers next to us had about 5-6 kids of age between 3-4 with them and i thought they were quiet intrigued looking at us shouting “u hold this” and ” u hold that” and “come this side will u now” and “hey something is not right here”. We were all elated once we managed to get the tent up, kind of like a mini achievement. Tent
Once the tent was up we made some coffee on the propane stove that we were carrying and sat back relaxing as the day cooled off into evening. The camp site had coin operated showers and I was so glad we carried a pouch of 25 cents coins in our car. By the time we showered and were feeling fresh again, it was time for dinner since it had started to get dark.
After dinner it was campfire time. The park had provided fire rings for each campsite and wood was available for purchase. We lit the fire and sat around it talking and taking pictures. Everything was going very well till we heard someone walking behind our tent. The people who were camped next to us used the pathway in the front of our tent to go to the restrooms etc and we felt suspicious about who could be walking there in the dark. Moreover there was a small hill/slope behind our tent. So we flashed lights in the direction of the sound and found a raccoon who had walked up close enough that it scared the shit out of us. Though we were aware of the raccoons found in this park and well educated by the park ranger on how to protect your food from them at night, we didn’t actually think we would come face to face with one. Moreover none of us had seen this animal before in the wild and were least aware of its capabilities other than stealing our food at night. After all its an animal who knows what it might do. But flashing the lights in its face was enough to scare him away. We quickly wrapped up everything and took our stuff inside our tent. Kept all our food in the lockers provided and placed the cooler under the table and kept 6-7 heavy stones on it as instructed by the ranger. Then we quickly made turns to the restroom, in pairs off course, still shuddering by the thought that we could have been attacked by that raccoon had we not seen him in time. Inside the tent we played a board game brought by our friends, don’t remember its name, but it is similar to monopoly. In between I was still getting up to check if the raccoon had come back for our food. Wanted to get a picture of him in action. Later we thought that we should have deliberately left some food on the table so that we could get a better shot of the raccoon “that almost attacked us” safely from within our tent. CampTrail

Morning in the the state park was so pleasant. It was chilly and we went for a small walk into the park. We saw a deer on the way and this time i did not miss the photo opportunity.

By the time we came back and had breakfast it was 10:30 AM and time to start dismantling. It hurts so bad to see something you worked so hard to build come down the very next day. So we have decided to camp for 2 days next time. Hopefully things workout well next month and I am able to go out on another adventure and live to tell the tale of another survival in the wild.

Oh and BTW, raccoons are not known to attack humans but it sounds cool to tell people that we ventured in the wild once and were attacked by some wild animal, so I am going to keep it that way 😉

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1. Make dinner reservations in your favorite family restaurant for a party of 8-10.

2. Conspire to target one of your group members for the rest of the evening. Members who arrive late are easier targets. Coz this gives other members already present at the venue and waiting hopelessly for everyone to arrive, a lot of time to decide on their plan of action.

3. As soon as the target member arrives and starts apologizing for coming late, unanimously start singing “Happy Birthday” song for him/her.

4. Allow the late arriving member to get seated and when he/she starts making conversation with the existing group about what to order, start singing the “Happy Birthday” song again.

5. Try asking the late arriving member, his/her reason for being late. When he/she attempts to answer start singing the “Happy Birthday” song again.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5, throughout the evening, every time there is a pause in the conversations at the table or every time the late arriving member tries to speak and make his/her point.

7. Politely thank the other customers in the restaurant who are leaving after a satisfying dinner and dropping birthday wishes as they pass by your table.

8. Hang in there (in the restaurant) till it is very late evening and most of the other guests have left.

9. Ignore the restaurant staff that is cleaning the other empty restaurant tables and the floor for any leftovers etc. This is not a cue for you to leave. No matter how empty the restaurant is and how late it is, the staff is never rude enough to ask you to leave because it is closing time.

10. Stay calm even if the restaurant staff decides to switch off lights in the area where you are seated. Do not panic and don’t ever shout at the staff.

11. Because a server will soon be coming to your table with a popular dessert on their menu and a lighted candle in the scoop of ice-cream that tops the dessert.

12. Hide your mortification and politely accept the generosity of the staff and also thank them generously.

13. Make the late arriving, already embarrassed member to blow the candle and sing the Happy Birthday song again.

14. DON’T ever think of mentioning anywhere inside or near the vicinity of that restaurant that it was not his/her actual birthday that day.

PS: If you actually manage to get a free dessert after following these steps, please tip generously.We did 🙂

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When You Are Busy and Lazy

When you are too busy or lazy to post anything new on your blog and have a lot of ideas but just not the write one to convert into a blog and you are feeling extremely sad about not posting anything, then post an interesting email you got as a forward. This one is very special. The title goes like ” How to handle anger management”. But I use it for a quick laugh on days when nothing interesting is happening or when i am feeling sad. It manages to squeeze out a smile out of me every time I read it. So thought of sharing this wonderful piece with all you guys. Some of you may have come across this before or different versions of this, but never hurts to laugh again 🙂 So here it goes:

How to handle anger management….

For all of you who occasionally have a really bad day, and you just need to take it out on someone, don’t take it out on someone you know, take it out on someone you don’t know.

I was sitting at my desk when I remembered a phone call I had forgotten to make.I found the number and dialed it.
A man answered, saying, “Hello”.
I politely said,
“This is Fred Hanifin. Could I please speak with Robin Carter?”
Suddenly, the phone was slammed down on me. I couldn’t believe that anyone could be so rude.

I tracked down Robin’s correct number and called her. I had transposed the last two digits of her phone number. After hanging up with her, I decided to call the ‘wrong’ number again.
When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled, “You’re an asshole!” and hung up.

I wrote his number down with the word ‘asshole’ next to it, and put it in my desk drawer.
Every couple of week! s, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I’d call him up and yell, “You’re an asshole!”

It always cheered me up.

When Caller ID came to our area, I thought my therapeutic ‘asshole’ calling would have to stop.
So, I called his number and said, “Hi, this is John Smith from the Telephone Company.
I’m just calling to see if you’re familiar with the Caller ID program?”
He yelled, “NO!” and slammed the phone down. I quickly called him back and said,
“That’s because you’re an asshole!”

One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking spot. Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I had been waiting for the spot. The idiot ignored me.

I noticed a “For Sale” sign in his car window – so, I wrote down his number.

A couple of days later, right after calling the first asshole, (I had his number on speed dial), I thought I had better call the BMW asshole, too.

I said, “Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?”

“Yes, it is.” “Can you tell me where I can see it?”

“Yes. I live at 1802 West 34th Street. It’s a yellow house, and the car’s parked right out in front.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“My name is Don Hansen,” he said.
“When’s a good time to catch you, Don?”
“I’m home every evening after five.”
“Listen, Don, can I tell you something?”
“Don, you’re an asshole.” Then I hung up, and added his number to my speed dial, too.
Now, when I had a problem, I had two assholes to call.

But after several months of calling them, it wasn’t as enjoyable as it used to be.

So, I came up with an idea. I called Asshole #1.
“You’re an asshole!” (But I didn’t hang up).
“Are you still there?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Stop calling me,” he screamed.
“Make me,” I said.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“My name is Don Hansen.”
“Yeah? Where do you live?”
“Asshole, I live at 1802 West 34th Street, a yellow house, with my black Beemer parked in front.”
He said, “I’m coming over right now, Don. And you had better start saying your prayers.”
I said, “Yeah, like I’m really scared, asshole.”

Then I called Asshole #2.
“Hello?” he said.
“Hello, asshole,” I said.
He yelled, “If I ever find out who you are?”
“You’ll what?” I said.
“I’ll kick your ass,” he exclaimed.
I answered, “Well, asshole, here’s your chance. I’m coming over right now.”
Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I lived at 1802 West 34th Street, and that I was on my way over there to kill my gay lover.

Then I called Channel 13 News about the gang! war going down on West 34th Street.

I quickly got into my car and headed over to 34th Street.

There I saw two assholes beating the crap cut of each other in front of six squad cars, a police helicopter, and news crew.

NOW I feel better!!!!!!!

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