Snow Lake

“What’s after hiking Mount Si?” Murali and me were wondering the same, but I was surprised to find out that some of the friends who follow my updates on Facebook were also thinking the same. Frankly, now it’s kind of getting tough on expectations with my hiking updates. I should either stop hiking or stop updating. Ofcourse we chose the second option. But just one last time. Because ‘Snow Lake’ deserves it all.

We changed our hiking goal this time; Instead of hiking to a summit, this time we wanted to try something else. Like, hiking into meadows. Especially now that summer is kinda over here, this might be our last chance to see some wildflowers.  A friend suggested Snow Lake. Images on the web were breathtaking. It was not too far from our place and it seemed a perfect destination.

And it was definitely. Snow Lake is about an hour drive from our place. It is in Snoqualmie pass which is usually covered in snow except when its peak summer.  The parking place where we started our hike is actually a ski resort. Come winter, this place would be covered in snow and bustling with skiers. ( I would surely go back to this place in winter, definitely to compare the pictures with now).

Although this time of the year there were only small patches of snow here and there, the place was still breath-taking.  From the parking lot, we hiked about an hour up the mountain. There were not as many wildflowers as I was expecting, but whatever we could see was very very beautiful. Snow lake is on the back side of this mountain; Between couple of mountains. It’s decently big. Water is so serene. Plus the day we hiked was cloudy and it made the place look even more serene. 

To do justice to the beauty of this place and hike , I went to the trouble of installing Flickr plugins for word press, only to find out an easy solution. So please click on the above picture and enjoy the Snow Lake. 🙂

I am not sure if the trail would be open in winter. But I hope we can get back to this place to catch it in its original form. It would be worth the snowshoeing effort.

I am too sleepy to write any thing else about the place so I will leave you with the pictures. They tell a better story. Of course, tomorrow Murali is going to be very pissed off that I neither wrote about the mosquitoes all the way during the hike nor about how many of them bit him. Hey…there you go..I said it. 🙂

Good Friday!

Last Friday was Varalakshmi Vratam. I guess few of you might know about it. In case you don’t know, it’s the holiest friday of the sacred month of the year. To few ladies in India, (like my mom and my sis), it’s a new-saree-every-Firday sacred time. For others (like my friends), it’s the oh-my-god-I-am-tired-of-these-prayers time. And for me, it’s the virtual-vratam-and-lots-of-lies day. Today is the day I wear a virtual saree with biggest ever bindi possible and cook all those virtual exotic traditional dishes whose names I can’t even recollect properly. And I do so to please three people; My mom, my mom-in-law and my aunt.

Here is why each of them think that I should do what they expect me to do.

Mom:

        ♦ It’s for God.

        ♦ We get to wear a new saree every friday.

        ♦ Another occasion to buy jewelry. This is where I picture my mom, wearing all the jewelery I can imagine and then she says, very emotionally, “This is all for you”. Then the picture suddenly changes to me wearing all that jewelery and I start screaming.

        ♦ The little bit of exercise. i.e. the namaskaras to pati parameshwar lose a calorie or two. Plus it also makes the husband feel important.

Mom-in-law:

        ♦  It’s for God.

        ♦ Besides, its the sacred month of the year.

        ♦ Also, the holiest.

        ♦ Feed my son, at least today, at least once in a year.

Aunt:

        ♦ Ofcourse God.

        ♦ The younger and newer generations should try to, should, must follow <Fill in the traditions name here>.

        ♦ Please cook at least today.

I don’t really see any problem with their reasons for me to pray. It’s for my good. You see, new clothes, good food once in a while are not that bad. But the real problem, you see, is the almighty himself. Stepping back a little, there was once, a time in my life, when, what ever I asked for went in the opposite direction. It was like a baseline rule established in my life; If I ask it , I don’t get it. Okay, Initially I thought I was being tested. But I kept my faith. I continued to pray. And then things changed. The baseline rule changed; If I ask it, I don’t get it and in addition to not getting what I wanted, I would get the worst possible ever. Sigh. I said enough. I said to myself, when you think there is a God who can help you, you will keep looking for help. And I called it quits. I stopped praying, I stopped asking and eventually the small deities that were supposed to be in pooja mandir went into a safely packed box (Only to resurface, squeaky clean,before my parents landed here). 

And then started the fictitious stories. No matter what we talk about, in our conversations with parents, we hit ‘Pooja’, ‘Temples’, ‘Prasadam’ etc. very often. When asked if I prayed before starting a new task, I would very casually say, ‘Yes’. So it went on. I made virtual kheer as prasadam, had fake head baths on friday mornings, wore mangal sutra every day, even polished it every 3 months and so on.

Considering the environment we all grew up in, I guess its difficult to stay that way. Now, slowly a feeling of guilt is seeping in . Not that I want to pray or believe in God now, but it’s that I am lying to the people who care the most about me. Besides, this time, out of no where, my dad got into this conversation. He said ‘Wear whatever you have. Just sit in some corner and pray’.

I was surprised to hear that. He knew it. He knew I didn’t have any thing like the small pooja mandir, my mom was expecting me to have. Yet, he didn’t say anything. That hit hard. All of sudden, I wanted to open up the box we safely locked and make the pooja mandir. But it wasnt just possible. May be, I felt guilty or I was scared that I would be disappointed again. I just couldn’t do it. But I so wanted to do what my dad wanted me to do. Even that I couldn’t. 

However, it was meant to happen. Our friends invited to Pooja at their house. So at 10.30 in the night, we went there. They were doing the pooja and without complaining I sat with them. I had my corner. I was wearing whatever new I could. More than wishing for some thing to happen, I was happy that I could do what ever my dad wanted me to do. And that makes it a good friday.

 

 

P.S: I know this doesn’t belong in here. But I can’t leave this post without telling you about my dream. So, whenever I am in this pooja session, I dream of this. Murali and me, doing the same pooja, at a beautiful house (which is ofcourse ours) and every person from the family is at our house. And there are also our twin girls, with us in the pooja. Yep. Twin girls. Okay, twins or not, it’s definitely two girls in my dreams, any time. Huh. One can only dream.

 

A Trip To Everett

Remember I told you last time about us stepping out of house and finding something beautiful each time. Well, last Sunday was one of the other type of days. Now that I think about it, I think we have an equal share of all kinds of days and trips. Yeah. Sorry guys, I got carried away. Anyway, heavily exhausted from hiking mount Si, things were running at a just born snail’s pace. By 4 o’ clock, we have used up all our regular activity ideas; including a movie, a trip to library and even an argument about something ridiculously silly.

Now was the time to actually do something. Murali already clarified that we had already finished our weekly quota of walking. (On a side note, I am the one complaining about aches all over the body, but Murali is the one saying no to walking. He must either care too much about me or simply, he must be lying. These guys, I tell you). So the next thing to-do, is implementing an idea from no where. That is a trip to Everett. Everett is about 25 miles from where we live. That is where we drove. Not that we had a plan to go there nor that Everett is a tourist destination. We don’t even have driving directions to the place. It’s totally an ad hoc thing to do and we are just two people driving on the high way. And this is what we did for the rest of our trip.

♥ Everett has good views of Mount Baker. May be our future hike destination. I am not really sure why would they call a snow mountain, Baker. It’s not like anybody can bake anything there in the open. Nor it is like it’s too hot that all apples are automatically baked into apple pies. Weird people, I tell you. On the other had, don’t you think Mount Dil would make a perfect name?

♥ Everett has a Wal-Mart. As usual, I jumped at the sight of Wal-Mart. It’s not like Wal-Mart is my Disneyland. But in general, I love the shopping areas where I can find something that I like and also be able to buy. Especially for home decoration. I love to have new decoration items, replacing them once in while (read every two weeks). And with just two pay slips a month, I can’t afford to do that with Pottery Barn and that’s why Wal-Mart. Well, looks like now-a-days I am losing that right too.

Me: Yayy! Let’s go to Wal-Mart.

Murali: Is there anything you wanted to buy there?

Me: No. But if we go there, I can buy something.

I swear, he almost took a u-turn to take me home. 

♥ Some of the architects in Washington do use their brains while constructing shopping malls. Others just don’t. These others construct outdoor shopping malls, where people must get drenched in the continuous rain, hop from one shop to another in the brutal cold wind. But the architects in Everett are not these stupid types. Everett does have an indoor(read usable) shopping mall. And the best thing is that this is on our way back home. Now that we have crossed the town without finding anything useful, Murali is now obligated to take me to the mall. (Going to Everett was his idea). Dhoom Taana ta Jhum ta na na na. Dhoom Taana.

♥ When you see an ice cream shop,especially as soon as you enter a mall, you use it. Does not matter if it is Coldstone or Baskin-robbins or Something-that-must-not-be-eaten-at. You go there, you ignore however it looks like, order the flavors you like and you get out with a cup in your hand and show-off your ice cream to all the kids in the shopping mall. (Sounds evil? yeahh..That’s me..)

♥ Showing-off and making kids jealous; I guess ice cream alone was not enough. While I was walking by, a lady handed my a balloon. That’s right. She asked if I wanted a balloon and I said yes. Bingo, ice cream in one hand and balloon in another. Now you kids better come to me.

♥ Now, what’s the deal with this hi-fi shops that sell a tie for $195? Again, I am never a brand’s person. What has it done to us wearing the expensive watches Tiger Woods wears, I ask? Uhhh.. I better move to another point, before any of you start answering that question.

♥ Craftsman DOG BONE™ Metric Wrench is a good product. It’s swivel head allows easy access and fits any angle. It has Cr-Mo Steel for strength and durability and is ideal for oil drain plugs. It’s triple chrome plated with full polish finish makes it really easy to clean. Good to know so, but the only problem is that I don’t need one now. I bet neither do you. LOL. I can’t believe, I made you all read that. Oh my god. I am all evil tonight.

♥ Insert some dinchak dinchak dances and drums here because after typing all this, I finally learnt that the right spelling of Everett is Everett and not N-ever-ett.

Hiking Si…

8 miles, 4120 feet elevation, six hours hike..That’s Mount Si; Our latest accomplishment and our weekend hike. By far, this is the highest elevation we hiked to and also the toughest. It’s not that 8 miles is too tiring for us. 8 miles on a flat trail is fairly easy. But 8 miles of steep elevation, starting right from the parking lot is tougher. 

The other part of this hike is Little Si. Little Si is a similar and smaller version of Mount Si. Its only (notice only? 🙂 ) 5 miles and also a steep  hike, but not all the way up to the summit. Little Si is less harder than the Mount Si. We hiked Little Si the week before Mount Si and so I cant help but compare. 

Cloudy skies on Little Si
View from Little Si

More than the hike and view of Little Si, what was amusing was how we were taken hostage by this dog. When we started our descent, we stopped for a minute at one point to take some pictures and there was this dog, very cute. It kept pushing the little stick you see in the picture towards me, obviously signalling me to play throw and fetch with her. That was the first time, ever (a dog wanted to play throw and fetch with me 🙂 ).

I was a little scared that the dog would jump on me and kill me if I don’t throw the stick, so I kept doing as she wanted. At least 10 times, she would go fetch the stick wherever I threw it. I had to be really carefull while throwing because we were surrounded by the valley. The dog was running so fast that it wouldn’t even look before it would jump into the valley. Finally, I didn’t know what to do. I silently tricked the dog and got away and now, Murali was taken hostage. I was standing away, laughing out loud, looking at Murali’s face. I was just waiting to see, how Murali would handle the dog. And suddenly he said to the dog, “Go away” and the dog just did. I couldn’t believe it. Either Murali has the super powers to talk to animals or the dog went to college and studied english.  How come I didn’t know that talking to the dog will make it go away? Huh. I need super powers. 

Hiking Mount Si, we had also seen couple of dogs, trying to make it to the summit, some of them just gave up because it was too hard. But it was worth all the effort. The view from the summit of Mount Si was just breathtaking.  We started our hike in the afternoon and reached the summit by 4 pm. The sun was not too sharp, although there were clear skies around. The views were very clear. 

Mount Rainier view from Mount Si

  

That’s how high we were

Snoqualmie Valley
Rattle snake Ridge lake

We could even see Bellevue downtown and as well as the Seattle downtown from the summit. The small center piece of blue water you see in the above picture is the rattle snake ridge lake, looking as beautiful as the last time. 

We stayed for an hour at the top of the mountain and started our descent, back to the parking lot. Coming down the steep hill is always easy, at that time. We try to walk fast and as well control ourselves to not go too fast. But what we don’t realize is how much pressure we put on our knees. While walking up, we slow down when we need to. But going down, we just don’t realise how painful it could be. Not until you come, get some sleep and wake up. And then the first step feels horrible. Legs super sore, calves so stiff and now, I wish I dont have to walk for another 10 days.

And That’s Why It Ends..

It is happening. That is for sure. Signs are everywhere. Here are my top reasons world is coming to an end soon.

♣ Thanks to the magic bullet (If you don’t have one, you should get one..and if you don’t know yet..Magic Bullet is a mixer-grinder), I have cooked regularly. By regularly, I mean, 3 continuous days in a week. (Sabash Gabbar…Sabash….)

♣ I am writing this in office. Can you imagine? For the last one month, I didn’t even have time to check my email and suddenly, one day I get time to write this. I can’t be too happy anyway, because that was the end of it.

♣ For about 15 days, it didn’t rain in Seattle. Do you know what that means? People are calling it Summer, but I say, pack-up folks.

♣ One of the last Saturdays, I woke up at 9:30 am, got out of the bed at 9:31 am, was in the kitchen by 9:45 and by 10:30 I made steaming hot, edible, tasty, pongal, even with chutney.

♣ Lost internet connection at work yesterday. and it felt very weird; like people would stop talking, birds would stop flying, trees would start walking and those little LED lights on my hub would stop blinking..

Now I am out of ideas, out of words…never mind..we are going to be out of this world, anyway…

 

Rattle Snake Park

Do you know how many times have we stepped out of the house without a destination in mind and yet landed in an awesome place? Answer is many times. Well, it’s not that we are too lucky, it’s just that there are too many beautiful places, if we go looking. And this was one such day. The day was sunny. We were (Hmm..I was) awake early. (Please note, these two events are connected. Because they happen only once or twice in six months). 

So we took off from house, wearing good clothes (good weather, remember?) and took I90. We know this is a picturesque route and has a lot of things to offer; Hiking trails, snow passes, water falls, river trails etc. etc. Our goal was to find new hiking trail and enroute we found a ‘Rattle Snake Ridge’ trail. The trail was beautiful, challenging, but the best thing was the lake in this beautiful weather. Given the hiking freaks we are, we decided to take a break from exercising. It was time to relax, and enjoy by the lake side. And even take a dip. 🙂

Ahh..Isn’t this fun??

 Or this….

 

A little birdie sent me this flower..with lot of love.. 🙂

 

Murali invented a new fishing rod. It just what looks like in the picture. Three twigs tied together. There are two problems with this fishing rod. First, there are no fish in this lake and secondly, even if there were any, they are not stupid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this would be the hill we would have hiked if we had taken the trail. May be next time. There is no chance we are deliberately going to miss it. 

 

 

Another interesting thing at the Rattle Snake Ridge Park was the water conservation center. What better place to talk about why we need to conserve water. A little more amusing was this drums producing music with coordinated water drops.

 

Okay. Now it is baselined. This is amount of water you need to have in your body to be as smart as Dil. :p

That’s beautiful Rattle Snake Park folks. To sum it up, get out of the house, enjoy the weather, drink enough water and conserve a lot of water.

The Time Travellers Wife

Ladies and Gentlemen, please stop what ever you are doing, put your hands together and clap for my accomplishment. Okay. Now, please continue to read. Yes, you deserve to know why you needed to clap. When a person, who is so devoted to sci-fi, action, thriller and murder mysteries kinda books picks up a book like ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’, don’t you think she should be appreciated? (may be even a $100 cheque from each of you..What say?)

By picking up, I just don’t mean I checked out the book from the library. Although, I swear I got atleast a dozen of looks from different people. Hmm..wondering how did they know? Anyway, I read it, without losing interest, enjoying the light events. Although, I kept imagining how good a thriller based on these lines would be. Ahh. An action adventure in time travel. Murder in 2000. Solving it by going back to 1980. Ahh…Sigh. That would be wonderful. Oops..No..No..I am back. I am not going there again. Remember, my goal is to read all kinds of books.

So, simply put, I liked it (Yeah..you see..not loved it 😦 ). This is probably the first time I have read a love story. As I havent read any other , I am assuming that this is not as totally romantic as the others. But ‘Time Travellers Wife’ is more of story of two lives, known to get married in future. Ahh. Clare is so lucky. She know who she is going to marry, when she was 10 or so. Isn’t that nice?

But coming to time travelling, I was totally excited about it and wish I had that power. But after reading Henry’s story and about his life, I probably don’t want to do that now. Ah. What the hell. It’s still worth it . :).

I am happy to have read (read completed ) this book. And satisfied that it was worth my effort.

Oh. Btw, this book is not the reason, I have disappeared from my blog. But its my job again. Hey. Its been a long time I cribbed about my work life. 12 posts, precisely.

Oh..Oh..Also, completing  reading ‘Time Traveller’s Wife’  and watching Inception on the same day was… quite… interesting. Fourth level of dream, then time travel to first level, and idea incepted to bungee jump or sky dive, wake up in the middle..oh no…