if oprah can have favorite things, why can't I?

I think it's always nice to share when one finds an invaluable product... here's my latest...

this stuff works miracles. I've been having some issues on the sides of my face and Dr. Burt's has really helped the situation, if you know what I mean. I've been really getting into Burt's Bee's stuff lately... maybe it's part of my move towards more natural, holistic living, I don't know, but I also like...

I personally have the "zesty red".

I've also found that I'm really in to beans right now. black beans. soup or with rice. lentil soup with sweet potatoes (oh yum!). I'm eating some homemade roasted red pepper hummus as we speak.

just thought I'd share.


bestest birthday ever.

in case you didn't know, today is my birthday. it started off super-good because it snowed and I didn't have to go to work at all! I stayed in bed until...hmmm...like almost 11am (sick right?), but I really needed the rest. I pretty much spent most of the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing. what better way to spend a birthday?
I had asked my husband to get me this very simple pendant of Srimati Radharani's feet from krishna.com about a month ago... of course he is a man, and totally forgot until I reminded him a few days ago. I suspected I wasn't getting my pendant. then he kind of acted like I wasn't going to get much of anything. I was just hoping it was going to be a nice surprise.

so when he came home from work he surprised me with a cute little ice cream cake made with my favorite type of ice cream. yum. then he told me to wait in the kitchen while he went to go get my present. as he was leaving the room he said, "don't cry this year, ok?" (that's a long story, but one year I cried because my birthday sucked so bad...) kind of making it seem like he completely forgot. so he brings in this little mushy package... I open it up and it's a pair of leprachaun socks. WTF?!?!!?!? I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Honey, you better go back into that room and get me my real present stat!" He started laughing, and noticing that I was about to start crying he brought me to my real presents....first madhavi got me this really cute india-looking frame from target. then I got a nice floral print that matches my bathroom. my husband picked out a nice pair of earrings and told me that yes, he had indeed forgotten about the Lotus Feet pendant, but it was on it's way (I knew it!). then he let me open my last gift... you know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words"... well, here it is:

my husband painted this most amazing watercolor portrait of Srimati Radharani and the gopi's for me... a complete and beautiful surprise. I've been begging him for months to make me a Radha and the Gopi's painting, but he kept insisting that he didn't have the ability, it wasn't his bhava, etc.... but he did it for me, and it's soooooooo beautiful. I love it so much.

don't get me wrong, I'm not all about presents. I'm indulging a little bit here because my life has been so crazy with work and school lately that I hard get to think about anything else. I like the devotee idea of birthdays being about giving to others, but again, as always, I am still human and like to receive. and come on people, who wouldn't love to get that painting as a gift?!?

my husband also made this clay relief for one of the classes he's taking this semester, so I thought I'd throw this in as well.

when madhavi saw how much I loved my husband's painting, she spontaneously decided she wanted to make me a krishna painting too... so she grabbed a piece of poster board and created this very sdg-esque painting...

all-in-all 29 isn't treating me bad so far. I can't say I'm looking forward to next year, but that's life, right?


I. need. more.

a few days ago I was sitting at my computer, wasting time, when madhavi came running into my bedroom, laughing to herself. she handed me this picture and said, "here, look I drew a picture for you. this is you!" this is exactly how she gave it to me. you can see on the side is a caption which reads, "I need more!" when I asked her what this meant she laughed and shrugged her shoulders and said, "I don't know, I think you need more hair in this picture." when I inquired about the quesiton mark next to my brain, my mind, she didn't give me a straight answer. I didn't want to push her... I've learned that sometimes when I push for an answer it becomes forced and not honest. I've found that her first reactions are generally the authentic ones. the innocent child ones. I also asked her about the red in the corners of my eyes - my first instinct telling me that this must be her sensing my constant underlying stress and anger... but no, she said it was just the inside of my eyes (duh!).

how can my daughter, at six, know me so well? I am constantly needing more... more from myself, more from others, more from life, more from Sri Krishna. there is never enough. I am never satisfied.

and how can she see my confusion... my doubt, my insecurity.

she is such a mirror of me. she is every thing in me that I fight. every thing in my that I love. every thing in me that I turn from, hide from, deny. she is every thing I have ever wanted, and so much more.

if you ask madhavi who she is, part of her answer will inevitably include "an artist". I prayed for this when I was pregnant with her. I wanted a great artist, singer, and dancer. I bowed my head and with folded palms asked the all-benedicting Srimati Radharani to please make my child healthy and talented. indeed, She fulfills all desires.

tonight, on the eve of madhavi's sixth birthday, I am refelcting on who she is, who she will become. I know that she is truly a special soul; I only wish I could be more for her.



there's always so much I want to write, but just no time to do it. and when there is time, I'm just too tired to try.

so friday night, my husband and I went on a belated valentines day date in manhattan. a month or so ago I called my huband from work... the conversation went something like this:
me: "hi honey, guess what? I got you a valentines day present! want to know what it is?"
him: "sure, why not"
me: "I'm letting you take me to see ingrid michaelson in new york on february 15th!"
him: "um, thanks."

yea, that's pretty much how I operate. so on friday we drove into the city and had dinner at red bamboo... we feasted on lots of gluten. my husband joked that they should call it "carb bamboo" instead of red bamboo.
luckily, the place where ingrid was playing was within walking distance from the restaurant, so we took a leisurely (and cold) stroll around washington square park over to webster hall....where we proceeded to stand for about 6 hours straight. despite our numb limbs, we both had a really nice time. ingrid was awesome...she sang all of my favorites, as well as some brand new songs - one she had never played before. her encore included a cover of radiohead's "creep", which I really appreciated... that song is one of those ones that I feel like marked a certain period in my adolescent years.... after that she proceeded to do a bunch of tv show theme songs, which is always a good time. it was just lots of fun all around. here is a video someone took at the show of her radiohead cover...

on the ride home we were talking about what it would be like to move to vrindavan. I was saying how it would be really hard. my husband said he thought that he could do without most of his material attachments as long as he had music and art and some service. I don't know if I could do it, honestly. it's hard to think about because I don't have any steady service now, and I pretty much just exist in my crazy mundane, material life. could I live without my ingrid michaelson and law and order re-runs? I guess in reality I could... but I don't know, honestly, if the desire is there.

this is turning into blibblab because I'm really tired and unfocused.

madhavi lost another tooth today. her birthday is on thursday... she's going to be 6!!! it's crazy. she's practically an adult already. and I'm getting older too... another year closer...


rotten cabbage

yesterday I had my very first one-to-one counseling experience. like a real life one. up until yesterday I had just been practicing with fellow grad students in class and with friends. I'm doing my practicum work now and I have to complete a certain amount of hours for the class. so yesterday I met with my very first real client. while I can't talk specifically about the session, I can say how overwhelming it was for me. there were moments where I felt like I was in over my head. moments when I felt like I just wanted to tell the client what to do ("are you crazy? how could you do that?!?!"), but couldn't as it's not my place. but there were also moment where I felt really confident, like I was doing something that I was meant for... like maybe, there was a chance I could really help this person. maybe.

I also felt super drained after the hour and a half session. I can see how energy transfers from one being to another. if my priorities were straight, if I had more time, if I was more krishna conscious, I would probably spend some time after a session chanting, decompressing. alas, none of those things are true, unfortunately.
I've been really productive lately... not slacking in any way, shape, or form, yet somehow I still have a ton of stuff to do. for each counseling session I do I have to complete a set of progress notes... I'm already behind on those. I have three classes worth of papers to grade (app. 20 students per class... times 3... ok, that's about 60 papers that I need to read word for word and make constructive comments on...). I have my comprehensive exam in three weeks and need to prepare my first question for my study group on thursday night... oh, speaking of thursday, my outline for the first chapter of my huge thesis project is due.


I was sick over the weekend and didn't make it to the temple on sunday. I felt like I had to choose between getting better or going to see my friends and the dieties. I was sad to not go. I wanted to be there. but if I had gone... driven for three hours...I would have been exhausted on monday, and probably would have felt really crappy. so in one sense I am glad I decided to stay home.

I'm still tired, still overwhelmed, still stressed out. but things could be worse, right? I could be a one-armed, half blind leper eating rotten cabbage who didn't know anything about Krishna. that would be way worse... right? right???

today in the english II class I teach, we discussed raymond carver. he is the author of one of my favorite short stories, popular mechanics. I first read this story back in my undergrad days. my professor asked us to write a response to the piece and I did so through a poem. today I brought a copy of that poem to class and handed out it. I asked my students to comment on the value of the poem in relation to the story. I didn't tell them I wrote it. I guess that was kind of egotistical of me... I wanted to see if it did have any value. they all responded positively, pointing out how the minimalistic style matched the minimalism in the story. I eventually told them I wrote it... then of course they gave me the brown-nosing-it's-so-good-comments. I told them that it wasn't necessary... I wasn't looking for praise. ok, so I lied a little... is that such a crime? what can I say, I'm human.

picture so sweet
swiftly taken
grasped and grabbed
turmoil and torment
why is he leaving
sordid affair
or just an unhappy boredom
dark on the outside
dark on the inside too
she’s glad you’re leaving
glad you're leaving
picture so sweet
swiftly snatched
pulled and pushed
this way and that
both ways
the end
when crying picture
no more



my nose is pretty miserable right now, as is my brain. I hate to be such a debby-downer, but I think all of the stress is finally catching up to me. I have so much stuff to do and absolutely no time to do it (I guess I could be doing some now...) and it's giving me so much anxiety, and I woke up this morning not feeling so great. as the day has progressed my runny nose and aching head/body has gotten worse. friday's are my most hectic days too... I work all day, and then after my regular job I have to teach two classes for the college. I would have just stayed home, but I cancelled my friday classes next week for the ingrid michaelson show in the city. so I'm here, half dead, but here nonetheless.

it's funny how powerful the energy of the dham is. it's so powerful that you undergo lots of purification before you even get there and after you leave the effects of the spiritual energy stay with you for so long. but maya is also so powerful. she is so powerful that she can wave her wand (ok, I know, she doesn't really have a wand per-say) and cover that enlivening energy. I feel just as out of the loop now as I did six months ago. my vrindavan afterglow is gone, and I'm really mourning it. I miss vraj. I miss the vraj feeling. I wish every day could be a vrindavan day.

a vrindavan memory...
we walk into radha-damodar and are so excited that there is darshan. we all pay obeisances. maharaj looks at me and tells me to start singing damodarastakam. I think it's a good thing that I sang it every day during kartik, or else I would probably sound really foolish. then I start singing. then I think how lucky I am to be singing damodarastakam for Lord Damodar Himself. we get darshan on Krishna's foot print in the Govardhana sila... it's time for parikram. along the way we stop, maharaj talks. the day is unseasonably warm, but comfortable. this is a perfect day. this is what I want every day.


super fat ass tuesday.

I'm tired. I'm stressed. I'm overwhelmed.

so in case you've been wondering where I've been or what I've been up to, that pretty much sums it up. school has been ridiculously stressful. full-time work has been annoying. part-time work just is.

I went to the Philly temple again this passed sunday and I really like it there. I'm excited about going there...I'm even more excited that Kiriti said she was inspired and would come too.

other than just complaining about how tired I am or how overwhelmed I feel, I don't have too much to say. I spent $50 at target today on clothes madhavi doesn't need. that's what I do. that's where I'm at.

my husband and I were laying on our bed petting lali yesterday and he turned to me and said, "honey...I don't think you should go to school anymore. after you're done, don't go any more." it kind of felt like he was asking me to give up my crack rock (you know, if I was a crackhead, which I'm not, but I think my addicition to school could be easily compared...). how could I ever stop going to school??? I love school. school is my abusive relationship that I can't break off. how can I tell school I can't see it anymore? seriously.

oh, and I went to vote today. I don't want to say who I voted for, because what's the point? they're all demons, really. one thing that I did think was weird was that I had to declare what party I was going to vote for... out loud, in front of other people. weird. I just feel lucky that nj is a state that generally votes democrat... so kiss my ars john mccain. ugg, he makes me want to vomit.

on that note, goodnight!