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Closing Ceremony for the Golu games

Yes, today marks the culmination of 9 days of glorious (golu-rious) celebration in the Hindu calendar, aptly named Navaratri, meaning Nine Nights. While we have typically let other not-so-important priorities get in the way in past years and largely let this festival pass us by, we weren’t as successful this time. For reasons that were mostly made up and contrived, we decided to celebrate Golu this year after a reasonably long gap. 

Ironically, today is the 10th day of a Nine-day festival, called Vijayadasami (Vijaya – victorious, Dasami – 10th day) and that’s when the curtains come down on those Golu celebrations for the year. And for the record, its officially a festival for women, of women, and by women!

As I was putting the wraps on those dolls, I couldn’t help but wonder whether all of the effort that had gone into the Golu was truly worthwhile. I honestly think the event has lost its sheen, the celebrations have become passe. This time around, it was hardly a social event, which kinda defeats the whole purpose. There were folks trickling in every other day, but no real gathering as such. The Sundal, which is one of the few benefits that the guys get out of this event, has now just become boring! No, don’t get me wrong, its not like its gone down in taste or anything but expectations have gone up and the poor Sundal hasn’t kept up – even if it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes every day, it just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore for what has now become a greedy, International palate.

And to top it all off, the festival now has zero entertainment value for the vast majority of us. But despite all this, there is so much labor that goes into organizing the whole thing that it feels like you are hosting a Superbowl party every day for those nine days. Just 2 problems though: 1. There is no Superbowl and 2. No Chips and Salsa, or beer either. Sorry, this is still very much a religious, rich-in-traditions kinda gig, so we can’t have none of that.

But it wasn’t always like this. Looking back, I can recall times when the festival was actually a lot of fun. Clearly, it had to do with expectations back then when we were kids – pretty girls decked up in the finest traditional clothes, singing their hearts out for a bowl of Sundal and some freebies that got doled out provided the entertainment. Setting up the Golu itself used to be exciting, and you tried to get creative every year by weaving in the latest fad into your Valley of Dolls – sometimes it was a cricket stadium in town, or a fancy park, or the new Metro in town – basically, something folks could relate to. Yeah, that sure was a lot of fun! Simple expectations, Simple needs I guess?

In any case, I think the event needs some sprucing up, some spice added to the variety, and I am not talking about just the Sundal. Maybe they should consider having a theme for every night and have folks lend color to the theme.

A game night maybe? How cool would that be? Yeah, we have these dolls on these shelves etc, and you can take a good look at em, but really, lets get down to a nice round of Pictionary…or Taboo, if that suits your fancy? The food could use a face-lift too. Don’t get me wrong, Sundal is great and healthy and all that, but come on…in a world where are all frying our way to cholesterol hell, how can you not have some of those deep-fried bad boys? And throw some good dessert options for good measure. And they really should do something about the entertainment – maybe a Salsa night? Other variants? The ladies up north seem to have figured this out a long time ago – and thus was born the Garba.

So yeah, the southern cousins needs to act, and act quickly. The occasion is too good to pass up, and unless something is done, it’ll just wither away. And while they are at it, I hope they find some fun ways for the guys to get involved too, beyond just unpacking and packing dolls.

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Cravings!

You know how you walk past a Coldstone Creamery and the aroma of the freshly baked waffle cone blending with the sweet smell of ice cream and hot chocolate fudge comes wafting thru and your mind just starts pleading with the feet to step inside? Or the really strong urge to call Dominos and order that steaming hot large, double-crusted pizza with a side order of Garlic bread sticks with a tub of rich jalapeno cream cheese thrown in for good measure simply because you thought you smelt cheese melting in the oven? Or, for a more desi flavor, the temptation to stop by the mirchi bhajji store for a late afternoon snack, or for that matter, that sizzling, dripping-in-oil aloo tikki from the local chat wala? Yeah, those are the cravings I am referring to. Boy, aren’t those hard to ignore? And seriously hard if you are in the midst of a resolution to get back in shape – when you are not supposed to have something is precisely when you really, really badly need it.

Which is where I find myself these days. My life has been like a Laurel and Hardy movie over the past few years – sadly, I’ve played both roles! I was Stan for most of the early part of my life, and lately, I think I do ample justice to Mr. Hardy. To be clear, I am referring more to the girth factor here, not as much the mirth. And while the Ollie image has been very helpful from a road rage perspective in heckling and intimidating fellow drivers (clearly they were always in the wrong) on the not-so-friendly Indian roads, it does come at a cost – You no longer fit into clothes that normal people wear. Football is a game that you merely enjoy on TV or at the foosball table – none of that on-the-field stuff; Just looking at a soccer field was tiring! Climbing a single flight of stairs makes you feel like you just completed the Boston marathon. You are no longer sitting next to the fat guy on an airplane, you are that fat guy. And every time you walk, you feel like you were dragging a blue whale behind you, and truth be told, maybe you are! So yeah, life as Stan just seemed a lot easier overall and that’s where the cravings started to take center-stage.

But if the resolve is strong, that battle shall be won fair and square. Shower enough abuse on that blubber in the gym, and the cravings will start to go away; in fact, they become downright repulsive. It isn’t easy but when you push yourself to the limit and the body is running on just the fumes left in the tank, trust me, that melting Nutty Crunch in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone is the last thing on your mind. And thankfully, that state of mind lasts for several hours thereafter. Of course, I make it sound easy – putting yourself through that kinda physical punishment takes a lot of determination – I find myself constantly playing mind games with the calorie counter until I know I’ve gone far enough and inflicted a crushing defeat on that slimy treadmill, because that’s the only way I can keep the incredibly boring routine going. And no new pearls of wisdom here, but possibly reinforcement of the simple stuff that helps – and yes, this stuff does work:

  • Yeah, the cravings first, of course – need to be able to overcome them to begin with
  • Keep the diet simple. Just a disciplined roti + daal combo for dinner worked wonders
  • Forget about oily foods for a few days, and go easy on the sugar – these are constantly working in collusion with the eveil forces, so you are better off without em
  • Lots and lots of water – easier said than done, I know, but water works magic
  • Try and walk where you’d be driving before. Getting the legs some strength is important, and so is getting the stamina up

The first few days back on the battlefield are particularly painful, but thankfully, it gets progressively easier. And when its all over and done with, if the satisfaction of having vanquished the monster isn’t enough, the sweet sense of victory as you ride back into Stan-vile makes all that effort so totally worthwhile. Cravings, what cravings?

Curiosity spared the Dog?

We all know why the Cat died, right? Curiosity killed it, of course. That seems a little unfair though, no? I mean, its not just the Cat that’s curious? For reasons that’ll become obvious in a bit, this proverb has piqued my interest in recent times. So I decided it was time for some extensive research on the subject, which these days amounts to running about four queries on a Search engine of choice. And if that research is anything to go by, the experts tell me that the true origins of the proverb aren’t traceable. Go figure!

I guess it helps that the Cat has nine lives? I’d like to think that they get killed a few times, say 3 or 4, and eventually learn their lesson and stop being curious so they can live happily ever after? Maybe that’s why Cats were chosen as the victims here? Really, after having seen dogs and cats up close, it is quite obvious to me that Dogs are way more curious. If there was anyone that need to be taught a lesson for being curious, it would have to be man’s loyal canine companion. Anytime you walk in the door, Z will absolutely want to know everything you are carrying. It could be a bag, a box or even a ticking time bomb – does not matter, we will want to sniff it to death. And if the said subject is moving, then we will practically go crazy trying to figure out what it is, why it is where it is, how many different angles can we approach it from, will it attack, can I eat it etc – just an endless list of questions. It is why I think God gave Dogs their long snouts, don’t you? They really were meant to be probes that help to satisfy their curiosity. When was the last time you saw a Cat with a Snout? Good, so we agree?

If you don’t, I am sure a walk with Z will put any doubts to rest. She will stick her nose in every possible bush and want to explore it inside out – I’ve actually followed her into some of these bushes myself, and I kid you not, there is absolutely nothing there. Yet, we could pass the exact same bush tomorrow, and I know we’ll go thru the whole ritual all over again, and with the same excitement and passion as our very first trip to that bush.

And don’t even get me started on any wet spots on the road. The rain is bad enough, but if the spots were left behind by another four-legged friend, then I might as well get a chair and sit down. The walk is about to come to a grinding half, and we aren’t leaving anytime soon. We will need to thoroughly analyze every single whiff and trace the family tree of the dog that had dared to relieve itself on the street. Yes, in a weird sense it is a tad repulsive but when she’s your own, its also somewhat endearing because you realize this is one of the few effective ways they have to relate to each other.

Yeah, so curious or not, Dogs are adorable after all! I am glad Curiosity decided to go after the Cat instead 🙂

Madras Masala

So this weekend was Masala Dosa time @ Corner House. And boy, do they make a mean Masala Dosa! I don’t know what they throw in the batter but that crepe is divine. I am guessing its the wee bit of salt and spice that they mix in that makes all the difference, but when I try the same at home, its just a salty, spicy dosa – who cares though, as long as they make it as well as they do and I live close by, I am covered. In any case, the discussion over the Dosa dinner veered to the topic of sambhar and one of my colleagues from Mumbai (she’s Tamil) had the audacity to tell me that Madras Sambhar sucks. Imagine that? But then again, she’s from Mumbai. She’s got Tamil roots, now lives in Bangalore and I am not even counting the dozen or so years she spent in the Bay Area. Of course she’s confused – my good side (yes, its small but I do have one) prevailed and I let it slide. But that got me thinking back to the wonderful eateries that I used to frequent in Madras (nope, sorry. I refuse to say Chennai because it was Madras when I lived there, and we shall stick to that) and how I missed them. Guess its time for another list? Given the Sambhar discussion, I am going to limit myself to native Chennai food here, so here goes…

Hotel Saravana Bhavan – For the religiously inclined, most good things start with saluting Lord Ganesha. But we’ll have to make an exception here, lets go with the younger brother on this occasion. It is the right thing to do. As long as you are trying any dish that’s native to Tamil Nadu, you’ve come to the right place. Some items on their menu that are worthy of a special mention – the ghee-dripping, sambhar-soaked 14 Idlis, their Chilly Parotta (not Paratha), the Spl Tamilnadu Meals (and you hit jackpot if the Rasam of the day is the Pineapple one) and a more recent addition, a Spl Kaara (Spicy) Dosa. Of course, no meal here is complete without a delicious cup of filter coffee…unless of course, you are here in the evenings and wanna try the Masala Paal (Flavored, steamed milk) instead. Some of us do both, one before and one after the meal. I’d provide directions but there’s a couple of problems there: They truly are all over town, so its hard to give directions. And more importantly, if you can’t find a Saravana Bhavan in Madras by yourself, you probably don’t deserve to eat there 🙂

Mylai Karpagam Mess – This is the one in Mylapore, across the street from the rear entrance to the Kabaleeshwarar temple. Its a totally nondescript place; be warned that things like ambiance, hygiene etc will be found severely wanting. They are not a hospital, so its wrong to expect a sterile facility but they do make some pretty amazing food. If you believe in the theory that the mess and grime that a kitchen houses add to the food’s taste like I do, you’ll enjoy your visit, and not just for the meal. They typically only have items that are classified as tiffin (I guess tiffin was meant to be a light meal but not here for it’ll be hard to stop with one dish). I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve tried here but the ones I would particularly rate at the top would be their Adai-Aviyal combo, their Rava dosa (has black pepper corns embedded in the dosa, and that is simply divine!). Its a mess, so the food is cheap, but try not to eat like you’ve never seen food before – you will get a lot of cold stares from the Mylapore mamas that frequent the place. And don’t forget to polish off your meal with a slice of Badam Halwa, for you might as well go out in style.

Cutlet shop next to Adyar bakery – If you ever set foot in Adyar, chances are you know about this little outlet next to Adyar Bakery House. Started by a bunch of seemingly unemployed guys that decided to take matters into their own hands back in the 80s, the place has done exceedingly well over the years, and with good reason. They make the world’s best Veg Cutlets and Mirchi Bajjis. Made fresh and served piping hot on tiny newspaper sheets, I know people that are addicted to the place and will never move out of Adyar for this one reason, and I can’t say I blame them. Hell, I wish I could go back myself.

Pillayar Kovil Mani’s Sundal – yeah, a somewhat descriptive name but he can call himself whatever he wants as long as he continues to make that mean Sundal of his, and it wouldn’t matter. He only runs his shop for 4 hours in a day, from 4-8pm, parking his push cart right next to the Pillayar Kovil (Ganesh temple) in KK Nagar and selling hundreds of plates of steaming Sundal for Rs 2 a plate (this was back in the early 90s – I doubt Mani is still around, but if he is, you can bet he’s going to charge you a little bit more). The Sundal was usually mixed with a crushed vada – the crunchiness component was a crucial element and of course, chopped onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lemon on top. Even the atheist will start believing in God once he tastes Mani’s Sundal. A note of caution – back then, the digestive system could take the abuse and we survived on Mani’s offerings for years together; if I try the same routine now, I will probably not live to see day 3, so be warned.

Annalakshmi – so from the cutlet shop on a makeshift verandah and the sundal on a pushcart, its time to take it up a couple of notches. Annalakshmi is really the queen of the eateries for authentic South Indian fare in Chennai. The ambiance oozes class, the service phenomenal and the food simply heavenly – and their consistency amazes me, not once have I been disappointed (except when I didn’t reserve a table and was turned away at the door). Try any of their Thalis, and you won’t be sorry. If I may offer some advice, try not eating the previous day – you’ll need all the room you can find to put away all the food they serve. The place is right across the street from the LIC Building on Mount Road, and yes, please make reservations – they are extremely popular.

There’s more obviously, but I am going to do this in phases – this should work for starters, but feel free to suggest?

Miss the Mrs.

She had gotten in the cab and barely turned off our street, and I was already missing her. Its not like we spend every waking minute in each others delightful company – on the contrary, we hardly spend any time with each other thanks to the hectic work schedules that each of us has. But when it hits home that the significant other is not going to be around for the next couple of weeks, how much time you actually spend together hardly matters. The emptiness in the house suddenly becomes very discernible. You are thinking about all the little things that she does, says or reminds you of – seemed like small things then but not so trivial now, as it sinks in that she’s not around. And here, less than 24 hours later, I am already counting down to her return.

Of course, misery loves company – and I know I am not alone in feeling the way I do. As her cab drove away, Z sat herself down by the living room window, watching her leave. And maybe I was hallucinating, but I could swear the look in Z’s eyes was pleading and longing for the cab to come back, and for A to come home. I was secretly hoping Z’s wish would come true too, but of course, I knew better, so no such luck. Z refused to budge from that spot for the rest of the night, she dozed off right there. And since then, every time she hears the sound of a car door shut, Z runs off to the main door to see if her favorite person is back, and comes back disappointed of course. She is such a darling!

And if Z is missing her, clearly V doesn’t want to be left too far behind. Hardly a couple of hours after A had left, V promptly wakes up in the middle of the night and starts asking for the mom. Its like she senses in her sleep that A’s gone…she scans the room and realization sets in. The gentle ask for Mom gradually becoming a wail, a scream with increasing intensity. In my infinite wisdom, I try to sing to see if that will calm her down. What was I thinking? The screams only get louder, a very explicit signal from V asking me to stop – the cacophony is clearly more stressful than Mom being gone. Thank God for the iPod – Jack and Jill not only went to fetch a pail of water last night, they also helped lull V back to sleep. I owe you one, Steve Jobs! Her sleep was very disturbed for the rest of the night, and its clear that she can sense it. And today, she simply went and sat next to Z by the living room window, with the same longing look. They looked adorable together but I also felt really sad for them because I can see how much they miss her.

On the bright side, the cook and the maid are having the time of their lives – with the boss not around to tell them what to do or watch over them, work seems like a picnic as they chit chat way to glory. I couldn’t tell exactly what they were saying in Kannada earlier this evening, but I am quite convinced they were making fun of me as I sat there there drinking my tea. They probably see the dazed, lost look in my eyes and find it an entertaining topic to discuss and giggle over. Who knows, maybe the maid is blogging about it right this moment.

‘A’ holds the fort at home – juggling all of her work stuff and yet managing to keep things in order on the home front. I don’t know how she does it, I don’t know where she finds the energy to do it every single day, but she does. As for me, just commuting to work and back seems like a big accomplishment for the day. So I can only look on in awe and wonder as she goes about her chores and still manages to find the energy to hang out with the family at the end of the day. Clearly, we all appreciate having her in our lives and everything she does for us, which is a LOT. And on days like this when she’s gone, the difference she makes in our lives is that much more telling. Come back soon A, we can’t wait!

I am usually the one that does a lot of the traveling and its probably our first time with the kids and everything that the spouse is gone on such a long trip. And now that I have the privilege (?) of putting myself in her shoes and experiencing what she goes thru every time I travel, I can see that it is sooo NOT fun! So those of you that travel frequently, spare a thought for the significant others in your lives as you read this, we owe them big for more reasons than one.

And the angel turns 2!

Dear V,
You walked into our life (Well, more like crawled at that point) a little over 6 months ago, and since then, you’ve really been the center of it all. And how fantastic that change has been! Life seems to have a higher purpose now, a lot more meaning than academic excellence, corporate accomplishments and material gains – things that were so important at one point all seem so trivial in comparison now. I know I was told to always expect that, but actually experiencing that change has been very fulfilling (one of the classic ironies in life, I guess!) and humbling.

Well, today, my dear little angel, you turn 2 and A and I couldn’t be more thrilled that you have accepted us and allowed us into your life. You have given us more joy and satisfaction in these last 6 months than we have ever experienced, and for that, we can’t thank you enough. I know it was all very confusing when you stepped in the door – and I am sure you wondered who these strange people were, why you were in their house and when this ordeal was going to end. I truly hope those fears have now settled. I know the early months were a little rough, but I want to assure you that you are now in a safe and secure place, a home where we deeply care about you and where your mom and I plan to utilize every ounce of our strength and energy to give you the happiness and the joy that you so fully deserve. We are very proud of you, sweetie, you are such a pleasure to be around, so effortlessly bringing a smile to people’s faces. I am thrilled that you are not shy, that you mix so well with people. And I am speechless when I see how brave you are – whether it was feeling at home from day One, or allowing Zoey into your life, or even going off to school all on your own right from the start. When you trip and fall and hurt yourself, I am so overwhelmed that you are able to shake it off quickly and move on as if nothing happened. I sometimes wish I had the strength and resolve that you do – as you can tell, I am trying to learn from you on that front. I mean that will all my heart.

I know Appa has his imperfections, so trust him when he says he is working on those – but on the bright side, you have such a wonderful and caring Amma that more than makes up for all of that and more. And if that isn’t enough, you have an equally caring set of grandparents too – mummymma, paatti and the 2 thathas, and an amazingly loving circle of friends and family. You will soon get to know them personally and see how much they all adore you. And together, we all look forward to the many more milestones we will celebrate and cherish with you. Thank you for accepting us into your fold, dear V, and making our lives so much more meaningful and worthwhile. Happy Birthday, my darling!

Distance only makes the Heart grow fonder!

The better-half recently helped me realize that it has been 6 years since we moved back to India from the US. Wow, time sure flies when you are having fun! A lot has happened in those 6 years and those are worth a few blog posts, but it also got us thinking about all the stuff we miss in our lives now. Here’s a list for starters – not in any particular order

The Outdoors Not that we did this every day, or even every week but you could do it when you wanted to, and have a whale of a time. A fun back-country camping trip, a walk by the waterfront, weekend hike up the mountain trails, riding the ferry, or maybe just a scenic drive with the windows down – all of those count. And yes, I know you can do a lot of these in India as well, but it takes a lot more planning, effort and just isn’t the same.

Watching NFL games on a Sunday This is a big one. Yes, Lalit Modi and the IPL have tried really hard to compensate, and maybe even succeeded partially but the excitement of the NFL was just something else, especially the Playoffs. Irreplaceable loss, really!

Just getting things done What used to be an organized, take-for-granted setup for whatever tasks you needed to get done has now been replaced by chaos, disarray and rampant inefficiencies. Miss those times!

Drivers that can co-exist aah, The orderly roads, Drivers that follow rules, stick to their lanes and actually stop at red lights, and are just plain courteous to fellow-drivers on the road. It wasn’t always perfect but was a helluva lot better.

Cricket at Marymoor Yes, they consumed an entire day and the 40-over a side games tested your endurance but the passion and the spirit were infectious and made it all worth looking forward to. The NWCL and the Microsoft cricket teams rock, period!

Sunday breakfast at the crepe store @ Pike Place Market No, we didn’t do this every Sunday but the luxury of being able to walk down and get one when we felt like it was pretty awesome. Now that is reserved just for those occasional trips back to Seattle – sure wish they were more frequent.

The Jay Leno show Another classic. Yes, we can still watch him in Bangalore but they are really reruns and the timelines are out-of-whack. And when you don’t live in the US, its hard to relate to some of the stuff. In short, it just isn’t the same!

Starbucks coffee! I cannot believe I am surviving without it. The fact that I have so much of the java in my blood is probably why. One of the very first things I do after I land in the US is to run to the airport Starbucks store and grab myself a Grande Americano w/ room for cream. The South Indian filter coffee is awesome and I love it just as much, but Starbucks was special – and I am sorry, the Cafe Coffee Days and Baristas are just plain lame imitations!

My apartment in downtown Seattle Overlooked the Puget Sound with the Olympic mountains in the background. There is something very calming about looking out your window and seeing the water and snow-filled mountains first thing in the morning, even with the usually grey Seattle skies. Just makes the rest of the day go easier.

The International cuisines I miss the endless options. No matter what cuisine you fancied on a given evening, there were tons of options to pick from and they were pretty darn good. The options do exist in good old Bengaluru as well, but they just don’t cut it.

Circle of Friends And last but not the least, the truly wonderful circle of friends we had built over the years. They made life what it was and needless to say, are irreplaceable. I had made a commitment to do a good job of staying in touch, but sadly haven’t been able to do justice there. And the distance doesn’t make it any easier.

Don’t get me wrong, I love India and I love Bangalore – the crowds, the colors, the smells, the people, the chaos, the extremes, the seemingly mad rush for everything…I am sure I am biased, but life here is an amazing blend of so many varied constituents and just seems much more enriching for us, given our personalities. But that doesn’t take away from what we dearly miss. Every time we go back to the States for a visit, we try and experience a slice of that – and the rest of the time, the memories will have to suffice!

Damn Sudoku!

Every time I visit home, I get this incredibly special treatment from Mom. She treats me like I deserve to be treated (yeah!), and my wish is her command. The day begins with a nice, steaming cup of Mom-made Leo filter coffee and a copy of “The Hindu”, the local newspaper, to go with it. It is one of the reasons I enjoy coming home. Trust me, no matter how far you get in life, this is one pleasure you always yearn for.

Lately however, things seemed to have changed. My mom has this fascination for something that is getting much more of her attention than I ever did – the daily Sudoku puzzle in the paper. Thanks to this monster, I neither get the paper (she will solve every Sudoku puzzle she can get her hands on before she lets go of the paper – the rest of the stuff in the Newspaper is irrelevant apparently) nor my early morning coffee. To say she is addicted to Sudoku would be an understatement. And if she steps away for a second and I so much as glance at the paper (I could be looking at some old issue from the previous week, and it still wouldn’t matter) and she will reappear with a fury that can shake the bravest of men. All you would hear is a “Don’t you even think about touching my Sudoku!!” Yeah mom, THAT is what I was planning to do. Please, give me a break!

Really, whats with the whole Sudoku craze? Don’t get me wrong, I do like solving those puzzles, and I think they are fun. But the kind of excitement I see around me – is it for real? What is it about this puzzle that’s driving this frenzy? I wonder if someone is making any money on this addiction. There has gotta be some compelling business proposition in there. I can’t wait for crazy contraptions to show up at Pondy Bazaar that are based on it. The day that happens, I’ll have to start foregoing my lunch and dinner at home as well, not just the Coffee. Poor mom will be so buried under all of it and we’ll probably end up getting the local Saravana Bhavan to deliver our food every day. Come to think of it though, that might not be so bad after all 🙂

Dogs – Get yourself one!

So, we’ve had a bunch of visitors at home lately, and surprisingly, a lot of them seem to be absolutely terrified of dogs. The reason that matters is because we have a 16-month old black Lab at home, Zoey. She is the effusive kind, and simply loves to show her affection by jumping all over you – clearly she means no harm, but the passion and energy with which she chooses to express herself, she can easily unnerve the strongest and bravest of souls. So I can understand the fear in their eyes when the first see her, the hesitation in their step as they enter the house – and I find myself telling them, “Oh don’t worry, she means no harm…she is a real softie.” Judging by their reaction, I think its safe to say that they aren’t buying it. I wouldn’t say it if I don’t believe it, and so it pains me that some of these folks insist on having us lock Z up in a room while they are around – its like asking me to lock up someone that we treat as family, but what do you do? I guess I can understand their fear – after all, I used to be terrified of dogs until we got her home and can distinctly remember having asked one of my friends who had a pair of dogs to confine them behind closed doors while I was visiting. I was “uncomfortable” around dogs – really, that just means I was afraid, and I felt it right to have them locked up so they wouldn’t devour me alive. Now, looking back and after my experience with our own, I am ashamed that I had acted that way – I really should have made an effort. I think what changed was having Z grow up with us – she was 2 months old when she came home and having her around all the time and watching her grow from the tiny baby that she was certainly made things easier.

Now, I feel pretty good about myself that I have made it to the other side – and I have my wife to thank for convincing me that we should get a pup home and for helping me wade through the initial days of uncertainty, but after having crossed over, I can fully appreciate what a phenomenally life-changing experience owning a dog is. The constant supply of selfless love, the “i-dont-care-how-mad-you-get-at-me-i’ll-still-love-you-the-same” look in their eyes, their obvious euphoria when they watch you step in the house (even if you’ve only been gone 10 minutes, they act like they’ve missed you for years – it does wonders for your ego, I assure you), their innate ability to make you feel good no matter how gloomy things are, those are all just the perks. Having her around has so enhanced the feel-good factor, I highly recommend those of you that are considering adopting a pup going ahead and actually doing it. And for the rest of you, give them a chance – you won’t regret it, you will be quite surprised at how much a part of you they become and wishing you had actually done this a long time ago. Trust me, you’ll absolutely enjoy the attention they give you

On a somewhat unrelated note, here is a cool iPad review video that I thought a true dog-lover might enjoy. I know I did!