Summer 2017

Another year is done. Another Summer is gone. Where is time flying? We usually always keep waiting for Summers around here, but this is probably the first time, we seem to be enjoying what ever time we have. And I think we have kids growing up to thank for that. As they get older, it’s getting easy for us to navigate the coldness and the inconvenience that comes with it.

Anyway, this post is about Summer, I need to stop ranting about other stuff. πŸ™‚ So our summer this year was busy too. My parents were here, which was good help. Kids were grown up a bit more. We had a full size car with us. And fate decided to not torture us too much, so we could keep our heads above water and enjoy the time we had.

Every year, good weather and outdoor trips begin with Murali’s birthday. This year was his 40th milestone birthday. We had some fun. Before my parents joined, we went to this Deception Falls and we just loved it. Just at the right season, water flow was awesome. Some of the trail was still covered in water. We did the complete trial loop with kids and I realized how a little more grown-up kids are. πŸ™‚

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We attempted a proper full hike to Twin falls, but didn’t complete it. πŸ™‚

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On cloudy days, we went to a Gold Creek Pond. There still was a bit snow. But the view was beautiful.

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Couple of more mini-day trips here and there, to just let us get out of the house. This year, good weather came late to us. We were stuck with many of cold/raining days.

One of the long weekends, Murali and I went on a hike together after a long time to Poo Poo Point. I forgot to write about what all we did that weekend, but it was such a fun weekend.

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We bought a small-sized pool for kids and even with the minimum water we had in there, they had fun. πŸ™‚

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My parents came over here then, and with kid’s school we enjoyed a good day trip a ferry to a Mukilteo Island. We celebrated my dad’s birthday here. And also we made our Friday night dinners a more regular thing, so I was looking forward to them every week.

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We loved Deception Falls so much, we took our parents there again. Scenery and drive was quite beautiful.

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A long drive to Grand Coulee dam and ultimately finding a Soap Lake was wonderful. We didn’t know about this place before. We don’t have any warm water lakes here. Even in peak summer, water is cold. So this one was a wonderful surprise. We will go there again, in the coming year.

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Kids also turned five this year. Again, where did the last five years go? πŸ™‚

Then came the memorable time of my year. My break from work. Two good months. Luckily, I got to write about these separately, but I need to still write about kid’s first hiking trips this year. It was another great aspect of our summer.

We went to Mt St Helens and as well as Mt Baker before my parents left. Both the trips were day long trips and so worth it.

I am sure there was more here than I can remember now. Evenings we spent in the backyard with my parents; Having good food available; Scooter and bike rides; Our walks; Murali’s trips to India, London and Paris; Kid’s play dates – all the crazy and weird things they said and did. It was a good summer. πŸ™‚

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Hawaii Trip – Oahu

Okay. If there is one post I must write this year, it’s about our most awesome Hawaii trip back in September. We have been waiting to go to Hawaii for don’t remember how long now, and it finally happened this year. After much of planning and discussions, we decided to head to Oahu. And it was the best decision ever. I think Hawaii is just such an awesome place, that no matter what you decide to do, where you go, you would love it.

We did this trip before I went back to work, so I had that thought in my head that when the trip ends, I need to go back to work, but as long as I was near water, I mostly forgot about the return trip. πŸ™‚

We chose to stay in a very busy Waikiki area, which was close to the beach, shopping, food etc and that was a great decision. We could step out of our condo, cross the street and head into water. Not to mention the awesome views from our place. We started with a 12th floor apartment, which wasnt good enough for me, so Murali got us moved to the 20th floor. Even more awesome view of the beach. We had a kitchen, lanai (balcony) with awesome views, some food we took over, and we had many fun moments in that lanai.

I can’t tell you what the best thing was. Is it the views or being in that warm water or having to wear what you want. I cant really decide. πŸ™‚

And because I am mostly writing this post for my memory, I will just copy paste my short trip memory here. We stayed there for 7 days, we did so much, so I wrote it all down in this form. We must have seen the pictures a dozen times. We are even getting special albums made, just for this trip. πŸ™‚

Β Day 1 : Thursday— Flight, check in, water Waikiki, walk around.

Β Day 2: Friday— water Waikiki, walk around, Tiki’s MaiΒ Tai, move to 20th floor.

Β Day 3: Saturday — morning walk groceries, Murali’s vankaya curry, car pickup, North shore drive, Waimea bay, Lunch by the beach, Waimea falls hike and swim, turtle bay resort, sunset beach park, Amazing food pickup.

Β Day 4: Sunday — Birthday breakfast, Wearing a romper :), Dole plantation, Waikiki water in the evening

Β Day 5: Monday— Waimanalo beach, Lanikai , Hanauma bay snorkelling,food pickup at the same Indian restaurant.

Β Day 6: Tuesday — Waikiki water morning, shopping,Β  Hula dance, Coconut water, Pizza dinner

Β Day 7: Wednesday — Waikiki water morning, parasailing, Cheesecake Factory dinner, Night walk and kids dancing on beach

Β Day 8: Thursday— Water morning again, checkout, shopping, Abhi in water, rest by the umbrella, Thai dinner, fly back.

Wasn’t it packed? Since we were staying so close, we did the Waikiki beach water many times. This pool was just so awesome. We sincerely thanked the inventors of floaties. They are awesome. πŸ™‚

Two things that didn’t go well were that because of the time difference, we were so tired. We would wake up early, but then stay late by our time standard and we just felt exhausted. As much fun as it was in the water, that tired us out too. Second thing, Abhi got sick on day 2. Poor thing, he is a water baby. He had a gala time on day 1, but until the day we came back, he was little hesitant to go in. He had fever + cold and it made it little hard for us to clean and change two kids when they were cold.

I also celebrated my birthday during this trip. Kids made me breakfast and we got to enjoy it in our amazing balcony. That was great.

I will leave with some pictures, and hope I will come back and write more about each day.

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This was the view from our balcony. We spent many good and memorable moments here.
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One of the many times we had so much fun in the water. You got to love that view. πŸ™‚
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One beautiful beach. One of many many. πŸ™‚
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Hula Dance by the beach.
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Murali and kids drew everyday of their view. Of course, Murali drew the right version. πŸ™‚

I am waiting for our printed albums. I do want to come back and write more then. πŸ™‚ This is one such amazing trip and we cant wait to go back. πŸ™‚

Books 2017

So when I decide to come back here and finally force myself to write something after a long gap, it’s a good idea to write about whats on my mind right? Luckily its something I am proud of because I have done better than I did in the last couple of years. I read more than I read in years. And I think, I have my break from work to thank for that.

Like I mentioned in my break post, during the months of August and September, reading a book was my go to activity. I could never make the time or mind before. Sometimes, I would have time but I would be too distracted with what was going on. Fortunately, my mind seems to have realized that reading itself is a distraction from other things going on. Some people can read books easily, some cant. It took some time and effort to get into that later routine.

So, don’t ask me about what I read before August. I looked at my library borrowing history and remembered Dune and 1984 that I was trying to read. I couldn’t finish Dune because I was too distracted back then. 1984 because, I honestly didn’t like it. It was too dry and depressing for my taste. Sometime starting in August, I started keeping my list updated and I am so proud of that fact that, in the last 4 months, I have read 8 books. Not too bad with all that is going on with my life. πŸ™‚

I read a combination of classics and easy reads. I also tried non-fiction books. One of the books, I made some progress on, but couldn’t finish was Cosmos. It was such a good read. I saw the latest TV series couple of times, but it was nice to read the original version. Another classic I didn’t finish was Anne Frank – Dairy of a young girl.Β  I really wanted to know more about their life during the time, but felt if I read this book years ago, I may have liked it. Some of the stories were really petty, given she was a young girl and I didn’t want to continue reading. Maybe it got better later on.

Now, the books I got to finish: Girl On The Train – Easy read. Kept me going. I guessed who the murderer was, before the ending, so it was just a matter of confirming that. πŸ™‚ His Majesty’s Dragon –Β  Very interesting story, but the storytelling wasn’t that engaging for me. I read the same author’s Uprooted later and liked it much better. It was a simpler story but I liked it better.

Then came the classic Fahrenheit 451. I guess when people start calling books classics, I immediately set high expectations. πŸ™‚ The story and the times of the books were really great, but again, I didn’t feel like the story was developed much. I am glad it was a short book. πŸ™‚ So, I picked next Murder on the Orient Express.Β It was an easy read again, I was flipping pages back and forth trying to remember the characters. Ending was unexpected, which was nice. I wanted to watch the movie if the story was great, but skipped the movie. Reading was enough.

Next came a classic that was highly recommended by my dad, Good EarthΒ : a book he read years ago. I am glad this book was also an easy read. I initially really liked the story. But the way women were treated felt so wrong to me. I know it was a different time, but still I couldn’t get myself to empathize with the protagonist and the society’s treatment of many things. But I could see why this was a classic.

I seemed to have followed a pattern here. πŸ™‚ Classic followed by my type of genre. My next read was Ready Player One. I had high hopes,Β especially after I saw the movie trailer. I did think the book would probably be liked more by young audience. I liked it just okay. But I do want to see all the actions on the scene. That will be cool.

Alright, my last book of the year and the one I loved the most – The Book Thief. Here is the book I started reading knowing it was a classic and loved it so much. The way past was pictured, as well as the life back then; Different characters in the book – it was awesome. For the first time in years, I stayed up really late and woke up early to read and finish this book. I swear, the book made me. πŸ™‚

I do have Broken Earth: Five Seasons sitting on my night table now. I have to return it in 10 days, so I know I wont be able to finish it. But it will be the book I hope I will get to finish. I really loved how I could read 2 books a month, but being realistic and knowing my work expectations for next months, I hope I can read at least one book a month. πŸ™‚