Sat, 28th Mar '09, 7:00 pm::

I bought a metal door for the aviary and put up the final post. Also laid down stepping stones all the way from the back porch to the aviary. I'm going to order the hardware cloth (wire mesh) tonight and hopefully nail it down next weekend. After that, I can hang the door and take care of the finishing touches.

School is back in session and I'm taking two evening classes. I already have homework assignments due so goodbye free time. We played with our new bunny last night and introduced him to all of our other critters. The cats are curious but not threatened. Chichi is really cute and will be happy in his new house once we're done with the aviary. Of course, every aviary needs birds and I'm sure we'll find a pair of lovebirds soon.

I've been working on a couple of small but exciting new projects lately and as I make more progress, I will share.

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Sat, 21st Mar '09, 6:10 pm::

I spent about seven hours outside in the backyard today digging holes, leveling the ground, and laying down stones. We're building an aviary. According to my estimate, it will take about five consecutive Saturdays to complete the project. Once it's ready, our three turtles, Koi, two sugar-gliders, and the soon to arrive bunny will all live in there together. Maybe a couple of lovebirds some day too. I'm so excited! I'll keep adding more pictures to this gallery as we make more progress.

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Forget about itFri, 13th Mar '09, 8:55 am::

I was talking to my friend Tony about a minor programming feature and he said "yeah, forget about it" to which I quipped "good, I like forgetting." About ten seconds later, I realized how true that statement was for me and how rarely we think of forgetting as a positive. Being able to forget means being able to let go of that which does not truly matter to you in the present and future. Having lived by myself in different places for most of the past decade, I met a lot of interesting people and had tons of wonderful and some not-so wonderful experiences. I do my best to remember the good experiences and actively try to forget the bad ones. It's pretty easy to remember the good stuff, you just have to recollect it every now and then.

Consciously forgetting information that you vividly remember is a whole different exercise. It is a process of self-control requiring continuous practice and goes completely against the body's psychological defenses. Remembering bad things is the body's way of protecting you against the same events in the future. "Fire hot. Fire burn. No touch fire." The people who learn from their mistakes, usually do not repeat them again. It is the people who do not learn from their mistakes that suffer repeatedly and you just need to glance over the local police blotter page to see a proof of that. The people who do not learn from their mistakes, basically "forget" the series of events that led them into trouble. Next time they are in a similar situation, none of the red flags go up to warn them of the impending catastrophe. But that's because they just "forgot" not "consciously chose to forget" and that's where the difference lies.

My method of consciously choosing to forget is so simple it seems completely ineffective and not even a method at all. But the very fact that I don't go to bed crying every night or wake up with regrets tells me that it is working for me. This is how I forget: Once I am over the initial shock of an unfortunate experience, I think honestly about what caused it. I accept all of my faults and those of others and tell myself that since I am still alive and in control of my thoughts and actions, no permanent damage was done. I may not forgive and forget everyone (I'm human after all) but I make sure that I do not hold grudges. After that, I recollect some of the good past experiences and then promise myself to never think about this particular unfortunate event negatively because in the end I learnt something out of it. And then I stick to that promise, forever. Hey, I never said it was easy, I just said it was simple.

No matter where you are from, all of us have our share of good and bad experiences. Everyone has loved ones who passed away and everyone can share a tale or two (or twenty seven) of unrequited love. Who in the world hasn't had friendships fade away or trust being shattered? Our experiences are personal but collectively the same. What makes us unique is how we reacted to them and how much we learn from them. You can keep mulling over an unfortunate series of events from the past and feel bad about them without actually trying to squeeze any lessons from it or you can completely ignore they even occurred. There are many ways to forget and each of us has an innate style of forgetting that we seldom think consciously about. My point here is that the very act and method of forgetting can affect your present and future so it is something we should not consider lightly. Or if you're like me, actually try to enjoy it. After all, the more garbage you forget, the more space you have to remember something worthwhile. Right?

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Thu, 12th Mar '09, 8:15 am::

Yesterday our super-helpful immigration lawyer in Tampa filed the paperwork for my US residency. It took months to get all the documents in order but finally it's done. It will be months before I get a travel permit to go to India. Till then, it's life as usual. School's going well, work is pretty exciting, and Juliet and I are planning on a small backyard project over the next few weeks. I think the biggest news of all is that I've decided that I want to get a haircut today after work.

We had a lot of fun last week when I took Thursday and Friday off from work. Early in the morning on Thursday, we went to the lawyer's office in Tampa to sign the documents. Then after a quick lunch at Cicis, Juliet took me on a surprise canoe trip down the Hillsborough River. It was such a gorgeous day too. We went to Busch Gardens after that and saw tons of birds and animals. We spent over an hour in the aviary with lories and lorikeets. She went on two rollarcoasters and I accompanied her on one. I find my fear of heights getting worse as I grow older. We had dinner at a nice sushi place near my work and then for the first time in months, I went shopping with Juliet and bought her a pretty pair of shoes for school.

Next up, we went to see Slumdog Millionaire and immediately after that, caught the midnight premiere of Watchmen. That was a long day from 9am till 4am. Rest of the weekend we took walks on the beach and relaxed around our house watching tons of movies on cable or chilling in the backyard on the hammock. That's when we both got antsy and decided that our backyard needs a special something. Once our little project is done, I will write more about it.

I have school projects to work on all weekend and then some. I haven't had a real vacation in a long time (no, wedding in Yellowstone doesn't count as a vacation and driving to NJ/NY in winter doesn't count either) so it felt good to just take things slow for a few days. I think I'm going to take a few more Fridays off while the weather is still nice. Till then, it's life as usual.

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Tue, 3rd Mar '09, 8:15 am::

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