Vegas…beyond the Strip (Part 1)

What do you think about when I say Vegas?  Glitz, glamour and gambling?  That’s the more publized side of Las Vegas for sure.

Did you know that there are a few National parks and State parks within hours of Vegas?

  • Red Rock Canyon
  • Great Basin
  • Valley of Fire 
  • Death Valley
  • Zion
  • Bryce

We managed to visit two of these locations last week – Valley of Fire and Death Valley.

Valley of Fire State Park is just an hour away from Vegas by car.

Here are just a few highlights of the beauty within the park…

Scene from a natural “cubby”


Petroglyph (rock carving) over 3000 years old!

 “Beehive” shaped red rock with little windows and “cubbies”

  Slot Canyon


Yucca Plant on a trail


Arch Rock


Balancing Rock    

Massive  red rock!

Which way did the river flow?

Climbing fun!


Chilling in a cubby! ๐Ÿ˜€


We originally thought we would be in and out in two hours but we spent five hours there!  What a fun way to spend time with  the family!

So the next time you are in Vegas, check it out!


Stay tuned for photos from Death Valley…it was out of this world!!



The News…spicy and saucy!

What do you look for in a News channel?

  • Truth in reporting?
  • Unbiased views?
  • Well rounded coverage i.e. National vs. International?
  • News-worthy events?

If you have found a news source with any of the above traits, please leave a comment for me. ๐Ÿ˜€

I am really  disapponted in all the cable news channels in the USA.  

I have been trying to see if any of them would cover the Chennai Floods that have been happening over the last four weeks…this week being the worst!  Absolutely no coverage!

In anticipation of your questions:

  • What is Chennai?  A city, in southern India (once known as Madras) and the capital of the state of Tamilnadu.  It is one of  world’s largest cities. It has also become a major technology and manufacturing hub.

  Image courtesy of Google Maps 

  • Floods?  Yeah.  Enough to shut down their airport.  

 Image courtesy of The Hindu 

  • People are being rescued by volunteers in boats.  Supplies are also being delivered via boat.

Image courtesy of Times of India:


  • People across religions are coming together to help each other. Strangers are helping people locate their families and reporting on their safety.  It is so refreshing to see such selflessness.
  • Celebrities are rolling up their sleeves and getting involved in rescues.
  • Power lines and cell towers are affected making it hard to reach family…in some cases, even the emergency hotlines have not been functioning!
  • About 200+ have died due to these floods

Note: While I was searching for images, I noticed a dinky little article on these floods by an american cable news channel..which interesting didn’t have any coverage the night I was trying to track my inlaws…hmmm! Instead, they covered the same story over and over and over again!

This situation didn’t get any coverage even though many companies have a significant number of offshore employees in Chennai.  Not to forget the families of onshore employees of the Global Delivery Partners. They all resorted to Facebook messages…which actually were quite effective in reaching people who could track and report on their loved ones.

Anyway, I guess this news is not spicy or saucy enough.  It won’t rile you up.  It won’t make you choose Right vs. Left.  It won’t provide a segue to political agendas…which end up remaining as just that…agendas…and flashy words (ugh!)…and empty promises! It won’t keep you wondering “What happened next?!”

News these days is more about what sells i.e. Ratings.  The dress code for ladies has absolutely gone down the gutter. Geez, I miss the days when anchors sat behind an opaque desk.  I miss the days when anchors looked respectable in a suit.  I miss the days when news felt “boring” and to-the-point.  Let’s not try make politicians and their wives look cool…it’s really tacky and annoying.  They will do anything to win over their target demographic…ugh…wise up people!!

Disappointed, disappointed, disappointed!  


PS: There is an interesting Spanish movie (with subtitles) called ” The Ultimate Dictatorship” which shows an exaggerated way in which politicians use media to promote themselves.  The ending definitely gives you food for thought…should you really believe everything you see…at face value?

    The sun will rise…again

    Inspired by the concept of impermanence.

    The sun will set…with beautiful colors…but fret not, for it will rise again

    Close friends will move on…leaving you with only memories…but fret not, for there will be many more people to meet 

    Relationships will go awry…leaving you confused…but fret not for this will make you grow (wiser and stronger)

    Babies will grow up…giving you fewer cuddles and kisses…but fret not for you can enjoy their teenage humor and shenanigans ๐Ÿ˜€

    You will have a really bad day…making you feel worn out…but fret not for work is only a minor part of your day

    You will mess up from time to time…and question your integrity…but fret not for your own forgiveness will give you a new beginning!

    Youth will slip away…enter botox?  OMG!!!…fret not for wisdom is the key to eternal happiness (and costs much less!)

    The sun will set…in all its glory…but fret not for it surely will rise again!

    The point being that sometimes things start to look grim beacuse we so badly want to hang on to a “status quo” where we feel really good.   But if we just understand that this feeling of despair is self-imposed (due to our “attachment” to a situation or thing or person) we will be able to move forward.  The happiness that once was is also around the bend (in the form of a new opportunity)…just make that turn…again๐Ÿ˜€


    A century of posts (featuring Ms. Deeva)

    This is my 100th blog post! 

    Since I started this blog because of Ms. Deeva, I thought I should dedicate the 100th post to her.

    I met up with Ms. Deeva today.  This is how the interaction went:

    Me: Hi Ms. Deeva!

    Ms Deeva: Hi!  

    Me:  Guess what?

    Ms. Deeva: Wait, wait…don’t tell me!

    Ms Deeva: After a fraction of a second…Ok, I can’t stand it any longer.  Just tell me!!!  What is it?!

    Me: I have decided to dedicate my 100th post to you! 

     Ms Deeva:  Oh my goodness…I am so honored.  Thank you!

    Me:  You are welcome.  Thanks for, so far, letting me share the story of your transformation…and of course…falling in love with Elmo.

    Her eyes light up on the mention of Elmo.

      Ms Deeva:  Oh…yeah…blushing. My pleasure.

    Me:  So, I am thinking of adding a new character to my blog.  Her name is Usa Doll.  She’s right over there…  

    Ms Deeva: Uh…  

    Ms Deeva: Why do her eyes look so lifeless?? A little creepy if you ask me…


    After giving it a second thought

    Ms Deeva: But everyone deserves a chance.

    Me: Glad to hear you say that Ms Deeva.  I am proud of you!  You are becoming a new person.  I am looking forward to doing more blogs about you.  Until then…Take care and see you soon!

    Ms Deeva skipped off to find Elmo.

    Usa Doll just sat there. I bade her good bye.  She continued to just sit there.  I figured she was probably just in a meditative state.  “Lucky her”, I thought to myself as I drove back home.

    Thanks to all my readers for your encouraging words. 


    It’s a beautiful day

    In the voice of Bono from U2, “Don’t let it slip away…”

    I guess my interpretation of Bono’s words would be that the good moments should be acknowledged (in your head) before that momentary joy passes.

    Sometimes we hang on to those moments as a way of defining who we are…but in reality it is nothing more than a moment in our life. ย Who we are is defined by what we do every day. ย Some days, we will miss the mark but we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves if we have the intent to reel ourselves back in. Some days, we will exceed our own expectations of ourselves but that doesn’t mean we have graduated to sainthood…we are just taking a step in the right direction. ย Staying grounded is key.

    So why was it a beautiful day?

    • I finally had a chance to go on a Nature walk and take some Fall photos.

    ย ย 
    ย  I finally met the goal my son set for me when I was training for a half marathon i.e. A sub-10 minute mile!!! I never thought I could do this.

    I enjoyed every bite of my lunch…Ethiopian food. Hits the spot for sure!

    It filled me with joy. It filled me with happiness. ย It was a beautiful day.


    It’s too late to apologize

    I love this song by One Republic (not to be confused with One Direction ๐Ÿ˜€).  

    Up until a year ago, I had only heard the ‘Timbaland’ version, which is quite a catchy remix.  When I heard the original, I found it very pleasing.  The presence of the strings are more dominant and definitely evoke some emotion.  Then, there is Ryan Tedder’s singing. ‘The man has got range!’  Of course, I had to listen to it over and over and over again.

    In that process, I started to pay a little more attention to the lyrics.  As most ‘You broke my heart’ type of songs go…there is always a note of resentment attached (pun intended).  It made me wonder…is there a statute of limitations for apologies??

    1. If your friend messes up, but regrets their mistake…when does it become too late to apologize?
    2. If you let your emotions get the better of you…is it ever too late to apologize?
    3. If you are mean to another because they were the same to you…does that imply that it’s way too late to apologize?

    The simple answer is “No”.  Only your ego prevents you from apologizing.  Only your ego prevents you from accepting an apology. 

    It’s exactly the same feeling when you are hanging from a horizontal bar (for the sake of analogy) and you are trying to hold on for the longest time. Despite the pain in your arms, you keep holding on and making yourself experience more and more pain.  Then your body finally gives in and you ‘Let go’.  What a relief!  Life is good!
    If we let go, sooner that later, we make life better for ourselves!

    Remember, the only situation where it too late to apologize is when either you or the other have passed on. Then, it is really too late.

    So let go of the high bar and enjoy life!


    An act of love

    What is love??

    The song by Haddaway plays…

    (Visualize the Saturday Night Live interpretation of this song…๐Ÿ˜€)

    After a very productive day at a work, I rushed home to chauffeur my daughter to her soccer practice.  Yes, I live quite the life! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I took some time just to clear my mind by going for a peaceful walk.  Not only did that clear my mind, but it energized me to start preparations for dinner…chicken curry.  I am a herbivore but the rest of my family are carnivores. ๐Ÿ˜€. I was almost done with the prep for dinner when I had to go and pick my daughter up.  

    When I got back home, I found that my husband had neatly cut up the chicken for me…unsolicited!  “How sweet!”, I thought to myself.  It’s the small and unexpected acts of kindness that can renew the love in a relationship (especially if you have been married for almost 20 years)!

    When I saw him, I gave him a BIG hug and thanked him for his thoughtfulness.  Don’t get me wrong…he does a lot of nice things for me, but the surprise moments are extra special!
    So what was my act of kindness back to him? Let’s just say that I really buy into he old adage that “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.

    Chicken curry   
    Coriander crusted potatoes

    To conclude, I would say that “love” comes in many shapes, forms, sizes and spices…we just have to recognize it! ๐Ÿ˜€