Looking at the Sky

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”  – Betty Smith, Joy in the Morning

We were driving to the barber’s today to get the boys hair cut. Along the way we opened up the sun roof and Adi shoot a whole lot of pictures of the sky and the clouds.

Looking at the Sky - Ambal Balakrishnan

Rainbow Days – Smile All Day

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.
– William Arthur Ward

The boys and I started talking about why our dog Rainbow doesn’t smile or laugh (although she seems to be very happy around us).

That led to a discussion about facial muscles.

That is when we all went crazy flexing our facial muscles to show different emotions.

Then, we made a pact that we are going to smile a lot.

Smile all day. Because you can. Rainbow can’t.

Togetherness in the Face of Adversity – Break due to the Brake

We made the mandatory annual summer trip to Yosemite.

Togetherness in the Face of Adversity - Break due to the Brake - 2 - Ambal Balakrishnan

 

It was extra special because the boys’ aunt Rema  (Kumar’s cousin) joined us. It was also the very first Yosemite trip for Rainbow and the very first time Ari hiked up to Vernal. The day was gorgeous. We had loads of fun.

Togetherness in the Face of Adversity - Break due to the Brake - 1 - Ambal Balakrishnan

On the way back from Yosemite, we drove back through a two lane highway that brings us down rapidly from 5000 feet to 0 feet. A car had fallen off one of the cliffs and the highway patrol started redirecting traffic to a lesser used and much  steeper detour path. We started taking the detour path and came down to a T-intersection.

Many people started waving at us. I yelled to Kumar to stop the van. We got out of the van and realized that our break pads were burning and letting out smoke (smelled yuck!). Same thing had happened to many other cars. We stopped and waited for the break pads to cool down.

Meanwhile, I went around and chatted with folks from El Salvador, Chicago, New York, Sacramento, Korea, China and of course the Bay Area.

And, guess what?! Everybody even humored me with some fun group pictures. Can you hear us yelling “brakes” in the pictures?

After 45 minutes or so, we tested our brakes and it worked. Unfortunately, some of my new found buddies brakes failed and they had to call a towing company. The family and I waved good bye, said a few of our favorite prayers and started driving again.

Can you spot the guy in the glasses and the orange color t-shirt? I thanked him and his family. He is the reason that I am alive to tell this story.

Please use low gear when driving on steep roads.

Summer Trip to Texas

1 Heart to take to Texas.
2 Eyes & Ears to soak up Texas.
3 Boys to give me company during the Texas trip.
4 Chatted each night with my cousin until 4am.
5 Days in Texas – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.
6 Families that we meet in Texas – The Chinni’s (my cousin), The Tony’s (my Cisco buddy), The Palaniswamy’s (Kumar’s college buddy), The Ebby’s (Kumar’s school and college buddy), The Venky’s (Kumar’s school buddy),The Rema’s (Kumar’s cousin).
7 Cities/Towns visited during Texas trip – Dallas, Irving, Plano, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin.

I had a great reunion with friends and family. I was overwhelmed with the hospitality and the love shared on us during this trip. I laughed till my guts hurt and cried till my eyes hurt. I fell in love with Texas…despite the 100+ temperature.

Thank you to my buddies for being such gracious hosts.

Thank you to my friends Lalitha, Ganesh and Abi for providing a loving, caring house for our dog Rainbow while we were away. Thank you to my friend Vandana and her lovely girls for watching over Adi’s betta fish named Little Guy Jr while we were away.