My life is an open book with a sexy cover!

So this happened…

On Sunday, I woke up around 5:30 pm from a very satisfying afternoon nap. Immediately, I realized I was supposed to go shopping for a fancy dress to wear to the fancy annual office party the next day. At the same time I realized I was probably too late for that – because this was Sunday – the day the mall closes at 5:00pm in USA! Hoping that a few other stores would still be open by the time I got ready and got out, I staggered up from my bed. As soon as I reached the fish tank (which is about 3 steps from the bed) I noticed that the water seemed a little cloudy. In the morning, I had changed the water first time since I first got the tank. Worried about the health of my fishies, I decided to get that tested at Petco on the way. As soon as I stepped out of my room (still dizzy from that powerful nap) I realized I was supposed to do the dishes in the afternoon. But priorities! and dishes are never one, so.. eh! that can wait… thank goodness for understanding roomies 😀

I got hurriedly dressed up and rushed to my car – the first stop would be at Petco so that I could get the tank water tested by a fish expert. I also wanted to try and get some aquarium decor, especially a hiding place for my darling Cory Catfishes. The word try is the key – it seems that the aquarium decors does not get sold out frequently at the pet stores and, consequently, they are the slowest to move from the shelves. In fact, I have seen the same decor pieces st the Petco, PetSmart and Pet World stores near my home, for at least the last four months. Frankly, I don’t like any of them that much and so I have not got them yet, but now it looks like I have to select the best of the worst for my tank.

Mike, the fish expert at Petco is very knowledgeable and very nerdy about all things fishes (and may be other non-mammals, not sure) He will generally ask you a lot of questions and explain a lot of stuff in very great detail. Every time I talk with him, I always feel like I can do so much more for my tank… but then I remember all the things I studied about aquarium care on the internet and remind myself that everywhere it says “If you have too much stuff in your shelf for fish and water care, then that means you are doing something wrong with your tank.”

On this day, he informed me that the water in my tank was fine, only it had a comparatively low level of PH and a comparatively high level of ammonia. He suggested that I buy three different things to turn my fine water into ‘more’ fine (finer, anyone :P).  I knew that the ammonia level in my tank was high because I had myself added some bacteria starter to the tank when I changed the water to help in healthy bacteria growth. Plus, even if I bought all the stuff he suggested, I wouldn’t really know for sure if the water was finer because I had no means to test the water myself. The store would close in a few minutes, so there was also no way I could add all the stuff and bring the water back into the store for testing before tomorrow night (I had a party, so maybe the next day). But alas, I couldn’t say any of that to Mike. Instead, I took the stuff to the counter, paid the bill and came back quietly to my car.

By the time I got done at Petco, it was already around 6:30 pm. The next stop was to purchase that fancy dress I wanted to wear the next day. As soon as I entered Nordstromand looked at the rows of the petite dresses, I became conscious of the fact that less than 30 mins were not enough for me to choose, trial, decide and buy a dress. I decided to look for shoes instead, and once again reached the same conclusion. I came out of Nordstrom looking visibly dejected, but to my delight, I could see the lights of T.J.Maxx just across from there. I L-O-V-E T.J.Maxx. I love it because for me it is like a thrift store for new items, and every time you go there, things are very different, so never monotonous. I didn’t need anything but I had nothing else to do. So I decided to just go to T.J.Maxx and while away my time. Now the parking lot between Nordstrom and T.J.Maxx was huge, but it wasn’t that cold and I thought I could pump up the step count by walking that distance.

I went into T.J.Maxx without needing to get anything, and I came out holding two big bags containing several fancy coffee mugs. I was happy that I had bought something fancy after all. But I was even more happy to find big snowflakes falling from the sky covering up everything in a velvety white blanket.  Even though I have grown-up very close to the Tropic of Cancer, I have loved snow since I first saw a snowfall. I especially love the dry dusty snowfall in Nebraska which makes a crunchy sound when you walk over it. Massachusetts snow is often disappointing as it is more like slush with rain mixed in. However, this day it was big chunky snowflakes that made everything sparkle. As I walked to my car, got in and drove back home, I literally felt I was transported to the magical fairy tale world of Cinderella – everything was glittering like it was sprinkled with the fairy godmother’s magical star dust.  I am a big fan of all the fairytales, including the Shrek movies 😀 So much so that I have almost watched all the episodes of Once on Netflix. I think for me it is more about childhood nostalgia than believing in magical things. However, as Roald Dahl once famously said “those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”.

The drive back home was magical. The traffic was almost zilch. I guess everyone knew it was going to snow and they decided to stay in. I didn’t want the magical evening to end. I decided to stay out longer in the snow – I would clean my car. The left side of my brain kept telling me, it is going to snow tonight, there’s no point. But the right hand side was hardly listening to her. I had recently went overboard buying snow cleaning supplies for my car (I matched the color of each and every time with that of my car) and I was so excited to use them. Some of the supplies, like the snow brush and scraper were still in packaging. So I went back home to get my scissors. When I came back down, the scenery looked even prettier. Everything was sparkly, as it was not that cold. I spent a good thirty minutes cleaning and re-cleaning the car to my heart’s content. It was now time to go back.

As soon as I wanted to open the trunk to store my supplies, I realized that the car keys were not in my hand. I looked for them in my pockets, on the ground, searched in the snow, but it was found nowhere. It was then that I realized that I must have put my car keys in the trunk and locked them in while closing the trunk. The car was already locked from when I went to get the scissors. So my car was securely locked with the car keys inside it. I know I had my spare keys somewhere, but I had a pretty good hunch that they were inside the glove compartment of my car. What was a very nice evening was quickly spiraling into a anxious scary nightmare. My car was safe, I was not worried about that. I have so many friends in the same building that it was not an issue hitching a ride and then there’s of course Uber, making our lives easier. But since I was a child I had very selective memory. During my friends’ reunion, I would sit quietly at one corner, listening to them talking about things that happened in school that I didn’t remember.

As I grew older it became even worse. My friends and relatives would talk about incidents that have been totally erased from my mind. And sometimes, when someone would accuse me of something, I couldn’t go back and explain because frankly I didn’t remember that stuff. I think may be I read too much and keep only things I want to remember in my mind – may be some kind of coping mechanism that by mind has prepared to protect itself. So I never paid much heed until I watched the movie Still Alice. I was convinced that I will get Alzheimer’s. I spoke about my real concerns to someone I held very highly, but they disregarded my fear as paranoia.  So I consciously erased that thought off my mind. However, this incident brought all those fears back in a whirlpool.

I searched for my spare car keys, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I knew I have kept it somewhere very safe. I just didn’t remember where. The next day, when the AAA folks came to rescue my car keys, I found them lying in the trunk exactly where I thought they would be. However, I couldn’t find my spare keys in the glove compartment. This was strange because I had looked for them everywhere and didn’t find them; My explanation, since I had already made up my mind that both the keys were in the car, may be I did not put in as much effort in searching as I should have. I also realized that through this agonizing process of anxiety, search and rescue of my car keys, talking to dealers for extra pair of keys, paranoia about getting Alzheimer’s etc. I never once regretted my decision to be in the snow to clean my car. I guess if something gives you immense joy, then it becomes hard to be disappointed about it. In fact, I remember that night as a nice evening I spent with myself, being lost in my own world.

 

P.S. 1 I should probably clarify the title… The first thing I do when I wake up is I check my phone, and this was the first message I read today. I do have some hilarious friends 🙂

P.S. 2 I am reading about Alzheimer’s and if there are ways to delay getting it. My life deserves my best effort 🙂

 

Advertisements

Random House @ Night

Last night I was out grocery shopping with my friends. After coming back,  while they were busy unloading the car, I grabbed my cam and went on a rampage in their neighborhood. Ah! it’s a bliss to have what you want just when you want it! Now this place is not exactly where I stay, but this is where I spend most of my weekends and some of my week day nights. But I’m sure, my mother and especially, my sister would be scared to see such a spooky desolated place (Well, I’m from Kolkata, India. What else do you expect!!)


(click on the image to enlarge)

The place was dark and so I was taking the images with a very high ISO. Sadly, most of the images turned out to be too grainy to use at all. But I liked this one just for the reason I mentioned above, scaring my family 😀 Also partly because I was tired of posting blue and white snaps.
I couldn’t decide whether that flash of light from the street lamp was a good or bad thing and finally, decided to keep that unchanged. What do you think it does to the snap? – adds something or makes it ugly? I’d love to know. Till then, Keep Rocking!!

What I learnt from this tree…

(click on the image to enlarge)

The tree photographed above taught me a very useful lesson of surviving in a place having snowy winters: watch out for your head (through the day) after you have had a heavy snowfall! Yes, I was struck a couple of times as I stood beneath this tree trying to catch a few snaps of a red fire hydrant by the snow (something which I have always wanted to do). Thankfully, the weather was warm, and the snow was mushy, and since it was late after noon the tree had already let go of most of its burden… I wasn’t that hurt! But could have been serious.. I also learnt to watch out for not only trees, but building and any kind of shade whatsoever. 🙂 Hope you enjoy the snap!

And when the snow starts to melt…

After a snowy blizzardy Friday and Saturday, Sunday was bright and sunny. And when I went around with my cam, I spotted many icicles formed from the melting snow. Most of them were high up from the ground and my 5’3″ frame couldn’t get a decent capture. However, I tried a zoom on this image and this came out pretty good (of course by my standards). The moss on the tree and the bark provide a beautiful texture to this image. And powder blue sky accentuates the white of snow and the green of the moss. I couldn’t believe when I found this one among the photos I had taken that day… Hope you’ll enjoy this image as much as I do.. 🙂

(click on the image to enlarge)

Feb Project :: And then there was snow!!!

Late last Friday and through bits and pieces of Saturday, Lincoln saw a snowstorm (my first) after a very long time. It was all fluffy and white outside but sooo cold… I was staying at a friend’s place and my camera was back at home. I have never missed an object so much in my life ever before. The only good thing (besides the company of dear friends) – finally my dream of constructing a snowman came to reality. But without a point and shoot cam handy and with the blizzard going strong, we had to be satisfied with a few snaps of Mr. Fat with just mobile cameras.
Nonetheless, the next Sunday was warm and sunny and it has been so ever since. I have been able to go out and around a few times with my camera and have been able to capture few good snaps of a snowy Lincoln. That’s why I’m declaring the February project – And then there was snow!!! (Also because without a deadline I’m no good)

 

(click on the image to enlarge)


This snap was taken at the parking lot of my residence hall. The weather was amazing, no wind, sunny and a little chilly. It was around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and there was only one person there trying to scrape the ice off his car. Yes, he did give me a weird look. 🙂
Hope you like the snap. Till next time then,

Keep Rocking!!
Sreeja

A windy day

Having never experienced snow before I was extremely apprehensive about the Winter in Lincoln, Nebraska. Especially because my friends here kept warning me because of my exceptionally low cold-tolerance. They also reminisced how brutal 2009-2010 Winter had been for them and that since 2010-2011 did not match up to its predecessor year, this winter might. But this one was unlike any other for Nebraska that I feared. In 2011 there was snow for around 10-15 days in December. The snow came in just ahead of my finals week and melted a day before my final exam. And since this was the first time living in snow for me, I enjoyed every bit of it. I thought I was spared the legendary Nebraska snow and thunderstorm………. till yesterday evening.

There was a wind alert on weather.com for Lincoln. Now how bad could a windy day be, so I dressed myself up in two layers and chose to forget about my winter jacket. Mistake! A ‘feels like’ of -3C felt much more like a -10C to me. And mind you, a wind blowing at 50mph is not a wind, it’s a S-T-O-R-M and I’m not overreacting!

Now I had to have a fresh something for my blog, so I was going around with the camera in my pocket. And then along with the wind came out a burst of tiny salt-grain size pieces of snow. I mean it was funny at first. The force they came in with, the sound that made against your clothing, the wave like gusts it created on the ground. I tried to capture that, but I was engulfed by the overpowering wind gusts, I realized, almost every attempt to capture a non-static object would be futile. So here is the most static living thing that I got to photograph – my arm!

And by this time I started feeling that my legs were going numb. So down below you’ll find an array of my attempts to capture nature on a very windy day. I neither had the patience or the cold-tolerance to take a decent snap yesterday. But with again temperatures in Lincoln falling down to a ‘feels like’ of -18C, I guess I will soon have it.

 

 

So long then. Keep Warm. 🙂