Getting Back In The Groove

Finally, after almost 1 and a half years, since Eva’s arrival and the start of my health issues (both unrelated, of course), I am feeling like myself again. After such a long break, I have also started re-working on my 2nd novel, Sinister Town, with the kind of energy I always seemed to have before things started to get sour in regards to my health. Lately, I’ve even started with my fitness regime again, though that is coming along a bit slowly. But I’m in a kind of a happy place now where I am doing all the things that I love doing and I am not sick nor coughing my lungs out the entire time.

Though my medical tests are still pending, I’m positive whatever it was is long past and now all that remains is for me to conquer the world again (see, that’s how good I’m feeling.) And it’s not that I’m just feeling good now, or this week. This has been the case from last two month since I’ve recovered from my last allergy bout. And that is the reason why I’ve been able to blog again to my heart’s content in the last few days – I’m not only blogging on The Reading Bud and this blog, but I’ve also taken up cooking occasionally again and have started posting on The Baking Bud too.

Eva in our backyard

I guess my last sickness bout made me very appreciative of the life I have; my loving, caring and such a devout husband and my crazily adorable and loving cats, Eva and Katie, and also the ever-goofy and always smiling Max. With so much love around me, I guess I’ve not only bounced back to being well but that I’ve been able to come back in a much better frame of mind.

Katie lazing around

For now, my focus is solely on getting Sinister Town ready for my alpha and beta readers and then polishing the dark short story collection I’ve been meaning to work on for some time. I’m also trying to read more and incorporate cooking regularly, more and more, into my daily schedule.

I’ll try and post here more (at least once a week) even if just a life update kind of a post as I hate not being in touch with blogging here. I’ll also try and visit all my favourite blogs more often (haven’t done it in so long that I’ve almost forgotten how great it feels to read everyone’s posts.)

Ciao ❤

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Max Is Coming Back Home

Max Is Coming Back Home

Okay… so let me start from the beginning…

We got 40 days old Max home on 10th April 2019 and everything was going great until, after exactly 13 days, Vishal rescued Whisky, a 10-15 day old kitten that V found outside a bakery on the side of the road while getting some pastries. Because Whisky was suffering from severe malnutrition, Vishal and I dedicated most of our time to taking care of Whisky which somehow, unbeknownst to us, led Max to feel neglected.

He started to get needy and when, after a month, Katie – another rescued kitten whom I got home for fostering, arrived at our home (a day after Whisky was adopted) the same thing happened all over again, only more because Katie’s voicebox was ruptured having spent a rough couple of days on the road fighting with bigger cats (as per rescuer’s information.) Katie’s delicate age – 1 month, and her broken voice instantly led me to fall in love with her like a crazy protective cat-mom and I spent even more time with her trying to establish trust and a bond with her to bring her out of her shell (Katie was a tiny little thing who jumped and hid even at the sound of someone laughing.) That led to a disaster and Max, who adored Eva and even Katie started to get very needy and started barking at both the girls a lot. He also developed some anxious ticks such as barking obsessively to gain our (and whoever’s happened to ring doorbells in our neighbourhood) attention, obsessive chewing of rugs and furniture and overall he got overwhelmed because of being tied most of the day (that was because of Eva who was not yet comfortable with Max invading her space.)

 

Look at that adorable face!

On top of all this, the trainer who was training Max turned out to be a bad match for him as he was not able to train Max properly and it backfired very badly. So, overwhelmed, frustrated and helpless, Vishal asked his friend to keep him for a few days so that we all could get some time to recuperate and regroup. Vishal loved Max a lot and he hated to be parted from him, and so did I, but by then we had decided to adopt Katie as I had a feeling that only we could have taken care of such a young kitten with broken voicebox (I still feel that no one else can love Katie more than me and no one could have cared for her better.) So anyway, Vishal left Max with his friend, who also had a German Shepherd named Kaiden, for 15 days.

While at Vishal’s friend’s place, Max got along with Kaiden so well that we all thought that it was best if he was given more time with him. The best part was that V’s friend was a breeder a couple of years ago and knew how to handle and train dogs. He did a lot of work on Max and with Kaiden to teach him good things and ways to behave properly, Max got to learn a lot with them both. And now finally, we’re bringing him back home. This time we’re making sure not to foster any kittens and to give Max our 200% love and attention. We’re also planning to hire another trainer (someone who’ll be the right fit for Max’s crazy amount of energy) and to get him analysed by a pet behaviourist. We both are so happy that finally, we can do for him what we had wanted to do for these couple of months. I guess, sometimes doing the right thing for one being can harm someone else. So we’ll just pause the fostering for now and concentrate on Max for the next couple of months at least.

I’m just happy that Max is coming back and that Vishal and I are getting back our fur-son and Eva and Katie are getting back their sibling 🙂

Will keep you guys posted on our progress.

Ciao ❤

My Writing Corner

Most of the writers don’t like to write in one place. And I am no different. I write wherever I feel like writing and it heavily depends on my mood as one day I find the living room very appealing and the next day I seem to find inspiration in the study room while at other times I prefer writing on the dining table in the dining area because I can see every corner of my house from there. But still, there is always one place in a writer’s home that is lovingly known as the “writing corner”, and for me, it is my home office – our study room.

My writing corner ❤

I have my very own desk which is actually pretty big and has two side extensions – two smaller tables with compartments – one for the desktop and one for the printer, I suppose. I keep my printer on the desktop table because I rarely use my desktop (and that too only as a hard drive for storing stuff that my Mac can’t store as it has got a massive storage capacity.) And I use the smaller table to keep my papers of the current project (god only knows how many papers I have scattered around the entire house!)

Also, I have a very snazzy and super comfortable chair that not only revolves but also reclines! Both, the desk and the chair were a gift from Vishal who himself has the same setup on the other side of the room (only his desk is pretty neat and has less of pens and papers and more of his layouts and designs and venue lists neatly stacked.

On the right-hand side of my desk (left side in the pictures) there a big window that gives me the view of the balcony outside the room and the gigantic Gulmohar tree that sprawls across our front garden. And the best part is that lots of birds, especially parrots, hang out on the lush branches of this amazing tree. We’ve also set up a small bird feeder right in the corner fo the balcony grill so they come there for that as well. And I cannot imagine a better place to sit in and think about and write my stories.

Reading Non-Fiction

Reading Non-Fiction

For a long time I’ve evaded reading Non-Fiction books because… well, to be honest, I gagged at the idea of spending my time reading something that was not even remotely related to fiction. But when I started writing, I had to, although a bit reluctantly (read – a lot reluctantly), start reading non-fiction books on writing to understand the finer points of the craft and to hone my skills. And that was when I understood that I was not avoiding non-fiction books, but the label itself, having judged an entire genre without even knowing it.

This revelation left me pretty stunned because it was the absolute truth. I crazily judged not only non-fiction but its readers as well. I generally have a very polarising tendency, so either I hate an idea or I absolutely love it. And, as I realized a while back, in this case, I hated an entire literary genre without even understanding it completely.

As you can imagine it was an ugly realization, so, in order to make amends, I decided to start exploring this old yet new genre. Yes, I, for the first time in my life started reading non-fiction books willingly. I started late last year and since then I’ve read a couple of non-fiction books that include guide-like books which always have something to teach in elaborate details and some food books (both TLC kind and the recipe ones) and a couple self-help ones – mainly on the topic of dealing with anxious/nervous/over-active mind. I’ve also come across a couple of good business books which were actually offered to me for review for my book blog (being the wife of a businessman who hates reading books, I feel obligated to read whatever I can on his behalf and share whatever good bits I can gather from these books that might help Vishal in some or the other way.) Some other books I came across were some random books on Female Vs Male stereotypes, books on jokes, travel diaries/travelogues, various books on mental illness and some poetry, memoirs and essays. And seeing all these books made me realize how wrong it was of me to generalize and judge a genre.

Finally, I’ve come to believe and acknowledge that non-fiction is a whole world of literature in itself with a monumental amount of potential and a vast ocean of knowledge, all on its own. I am still exploring, I’m just getting started to be honest, but if you are anything like I was, then I urge you to explore this genre and to try and find the right sub-genre in non-fiction for your taste. I’m sure you’ll discover a whole lot of new books in the beautiful sea of this amazing genre.

The First Furry Bud – Eva

I’d been MIA from last year so much that a lot of people have started thinking that I have stopped blogging altogether. That is not true! I love this blog and this is the main one I have so I am never going to stop posting here, no matter what. Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to share with all you guys, my beloved readers, the reason why I went MIA from last 12 months – our first furry baby, Eva.

Eva’s pic posted for the ad by the foster parents.

We decided to adopt a kitten in late August and exactly within a week, on 3rd September we brought this amazing kitten we found a posting about on the internet. We had planned to have a cat for a very long time, just as we planned to have a dog, and already knew what was going to be her name – Eva. She was such a munchkin that we fell in love with her at first sight!

She is one of the most amazing things to have happened to Vishal and me after our marriage and that’s one of the reasons we love her so much more than we could ever love anyone ever!! Eva is tremendously smart, extremely intelligent and an adorable fur-doll. We love her so much that we even didn’t leave the house while taking care of her for the first 3 months as she was just a little cuddle baby of 47 days when we got her.

She is almost a year old presently (her birthday is on 13th July) and has grown into a feisty and charming little girl that we always knew she would be. My Instagram is full of her pictures but here are some I truly adore:

Camp NaNoWriMo April’18

Camp NaNoWriMo April’18

Hello world, I’m back from yet another break!

Like every year since 2014, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo April’18. For this month I don’t have a lot planned out, but just a basic idea of what needs to be done. I’m mainly going to go for 2 things this time – sorting out the ending of Sinister Town and writing the first draft of a story I’d started as a short series flash-fiction, Jessie.

Over the last couple of months, I’d have some really good, strange, outright hilarious and some really amazeballs story ideas and, strangely enough, I wrote them all down. I never really write down random story ideas anymore, I used to write them down very carefully when I started out as a writer, but after I heard the invincible, and my writing idol, SK mention in one of his many speeches, that if you can’t remember an idea for a year (or basically a long time) then it’s not worth

working on. That was the point where I abandoned scribbling down ideas and, now that I reflect on it, maybe that was one of the reasons for my major writer’s block. Anyway, so I’d been writing down random ideas, mostly because I’d been in a writing slump lately (for like a year and a half now) and so I just wanted something different to write about – something random that would help me in ‘pantsing.’

So I have those story ideas to develop too. One of them is a dark elf story and I can already feel it coming together beautifully as a full-length novel. So I hope I have enough things to write and meet my goal of 50K words as I really need to get back into my usual flow of writing, something that I dearly miss!

I wish all of you who are participating in Camp Nano April all the very best!

Ciao ❤

The Ticking Clock

The Ticking Clock

Lately, I’ve developed this (somewhat weird) obsession with keeping track of the time all the time… All. The. TIME.

And the weird part (even more so) is that it started out of nowhere!

I’d always been mildly time-conscious and have had an obsession about doing things on time, but never did I obsess over each and every hour of the day like this before. Now, I keep on checking the clock every 5-10 minutes while working on anything, unless I really get into doing something, like writing and reading, and forget to see the time. It’s very tiring and testing, to say the least.

If I get busy doing something and don’t notice the time for an hour or two, I start to feel disoriented, disconcerted and anxious. That may be strange to anyone who doesn’t understand how OCD works, but for someone who’s always had it, I know that this is the beginning of a very serious problem. If left unchecked, it might lead to a point where I’ll start wearing a watch at home trying to keep track of every single minute (if not second.) And that would be very stressful and would give me tons of unnecessary anxiety.

So before it gets out of hand, I’m trying to get rid of it altogether. For this I have started doing the following things:

  1. I am intentionally trying to lose track of time as much as I can by engrossing myself into whatever I’m doing at a particular time, even while putting Eva to sleep or listening to the radio.
  2. Practicing breathing exercises (2-2 minutes only) whenever I start getting anxious for losing the track of time (this is generally needed when I follow the above step.) It works well sometimes, but sometimes I start feeling low… talk about things that can stress out a person!
  3. I’m trying to stay away from clocks as much as I can. I’ve removed the ones on my desk (and I had two of them, right next to each other!) and the one on the wall in my study.

These steps sound simple, but are not, at least not for compulsive-obsessive person. So I’ll just try to be consistent with these practices and hopefully this OCD will surpass like the earlier ones I had.

I’ll post about my progress int he coming months to keep you guys updated.

Thank you for reading!

Ciao ❤

Word Of The Week #47

Word Of The Week #47
Word Of The Week (WOW) is a weekly prompt created by me, Heena Rathore P, in my quest to improve my word knowledge by learning a new word every week (or so.) Being bilingual and an English language writer, English serves as my main language. I also read in the English language which makes learning new, difficult and rare words in the English language not only one of my major interest but also an inevitable necessity.  
If you like learning new words and want to participate then simply do a post with a unique or rare word and leave the link to your post as a comment on one of my WOW posts.

Here’s this week’s WOW:

Word:

callow

Part Of Speech:

adjective

Derivatives:

callowness – noun

Pronunciation:

cal-low ; /ˈkaləʊ/

Meaning:

: lacking adult sophistication

: (of a young person) inexperienced or immature

used to describe a young person who does not have much experience and does not know how to behave the way adults behave

Synonyms:

adoloscent, green, immature, inexperienced, juvenile, unfledged, unformed, unripe, unseasoned

Antonyms:

mature, sphisticated, experienced

Phrases/Informal Synonyms:

wet behind the ears

Word Origin:

Old English calu ‘bald’, of West Germanic origin, probably from Latin calvus ‘bald’. This was extended to mean ‘unfledged’, which led to the present sense ‘immature’.

Usage Note:

Use In Sentences:

– They told a story about a callow youth who learns the value of hard work and self-reliance.

– The latest batch is full of callow undergraduates.


Hope you guys found this week’s WOW’s valuable and hope it’s useful to you in some or the other way. If you want to check out more words like this, then visit my favourite page:

Word Treasure

Word Of The Week #46

Word Of The Week #46
Word Of The Week (WOW) is a weekly prompt created by me, Heena Rathore P, in my quest to improve my word knowledge by learning a new word every week (or so.) Being bilingual and an English language writer, English serves as my main language. I also read in the English language which makes learning new, difficult and rare words in the English language not only one of my major interest but also an inevitable necessity.  
If you like learning new words and want to participate then simply do a post with a unique or rare word and leave the link to your post as a comment on one of my WOW posts.

Here’s this week’s WOW:

Word:

blandish

Part Of Speech:

verb

Derivatives:

blandisher – noun

Pronunciation:

blan-dish ; /ˈblandɪʃ/

Meaning:

: to coax with flattery or cajole

: to act or speak in a flattering or coaxing manner

: coax with kind words or flattery

Synonyms:

coax, blarney, palaver, wheedle, overpraise

Antonyms:

disparage, critisize, bug, harass, nag, pester, tease, browbeat, bully

Phrases/Informal Synonyms:

soft-soap, sweet-talk

Word Origin:

Middle English: from Old French blandiss-, lengthened stem of blandir, from Latin blandiri, from blandus‘soft, smooth’.

Usage Note:

Use In Sentences:

– They blandished her into doing their work for them by complimenting her shamelessly.

– Despite being nervous, Josh was able to offer just the right blandishment to Norah.


Hope you guys found this week’s WOW’s valuable and hope it’s useful to you in some or the other way. If you want to check out more words like this, then visit my favourite page:

Word Treasure

My First Bullet Journal – BuJo 2018

I fell in love with the idea of Bullet Journaling in December 2017 when I came across a couple of BuJo flip-through videos on YouTube. Before that, I did see a couple of posts on my Instagram feed on BuJos but they never really caught my attention the way some of these beautiful videos did.

So, once I was sure this was something I was interested in, I went on binge-watching 50 or so videos and made a list of pages I wanted in my BuJo and added the supplies needed for this in my Amazon cart. And the next thing I know, for my bday Vishal ordered my entire Amazon cart. So he gifted me everything that I needed for starting my own BuJo in December end.

Since then I’ve been obsessively doodling in my sketchbooks and figuring out hand lettering with brush pens and markers. Oh… I feel so alive brimming with the joy of drawing, colouring and painting again!

I made a practice BuJo too (a cheaper version of the real journal) just to make sure I don’t spoil my main BuJo that anyway arrived later than I thought. So as my January month is in the practice BuJo, I’m going to start the monthly logs from February in the new one.

Following is the glimpse inside the first few pages of my new BuJo 2018. Enjoy!

Pages 1 & 2: I did a minimalistic design (and a simple one too) for the main 2018 page (on the left). Page-2 is just a simple page with Happy New Year. This one seems a bit crude and unclean as I was just beginning to grasp hand-lettering and didn’t have enough practice.

Pages 3 & 4: Year at a glance. I’ve highlighted (using colour codes) the various important dates, events and festivals. These I’ve noted down in detail in the Future Log.

Pages 5 & 6: Future Log on left (yet to be completed) and one of the sayings I really believe in on the right. The pen strokes are far better in this quote and I was quite happy with the outcome. I’m far from perfect (too far) but it’s definitely an improvement.

Pages 7 & 8: Ideal Day. This is one of the most important pages in my BuJo. This is what an ideal day looks like for me and I try to stick to it no matter how hard it gets or how late I sleep or wake up. I’ve also made sun and mood doodles to make the pages look more fun and colourful.

Pages 9 & 10: Again two very important pages and one of my personal favourites! On the left is Recipe Index, a page to maintain whatever recipe ideas come to my mind. I have a cook who comes to my home twice to cook meals and more often than not I run out of dish ideas. She’s an excellent cook and makes awesome food so this would help me remember all the different and not-so-common dishes I can ask her to make. Also, it would bring more variety to food, especially in the evenings when we have hard drinks, cocktails or wine.
If you’ve read any of my posts on any of my social media accounts then you’d know that Vishal and I are movie buffs. We watch 2-3 back to back new releases every alternate (if not every) week. And if we happen to miss some movie then we buy them from a contact Vishal has who sells amazing prints of movies (new or old.) So the right side page is dedicated to keeping a log of all the movies we watch and/or want to watch. At the bottom of the page, I’ve added a section for Series for all the series I’ll be completing or look forward to completing this year.

Pages 11 & 12: Left side page is dedicated to my yearly bucket list. Simply enough it’s a list of things I want to do this year. And on the right-hand side, I’ve done a Quote that I find quite inspiring.

Pages: 13 & 14: Vision Board, pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it. I’m a follower of The Universe and power of Attraction and Manifestation concept, so I’ve had a Vision Board on my wall from the last couple of years. This will be my first time having one in a notebook, so I’m really excited for this one!

Pages 15 & 16: Memory Lane is basically a kind of collection of every memorable thing that you want to remember. I’ll be adding memories next to the respective month’s board. The reason why I really liked the idea of Memory Lane page was that it is a way of being appreciative of good things and being appreciative means being grateful. And I’m big on being grateful. So this suits me perfectly.

Pages 17 & 18: On the left, I’ve done a Milestones page which is covered in various crystal doddles. I’ve made segments in these crystals and added numbers to them, the idea is to fill colour in the respective session as and when I reach the numbers. The first line of 3 crystals are for my personal Blog, Instagram and Twitter accounts and the second row is for those of TRB’s and the third one has only one big crystal for my Quora account that I have on my name (TRB is not on Quora and I’m planning to keep it that way.)
On the right side, I’ve made a Reading Progress page which is in sync with my Goodreads Challenge of reading 120 books. There are 12 boxes of 10 books each so I’ll be filling each box with colour as and when I’ll be completing 10 books.

Pages 19 & 20: On the left is my Earnings page to keep a track of all the work I do in the year. In case if I run out of place (which I’m pretty sure will happen considering last year’s work), I’ll be making another similar page in between the monthly logs. On the right side is my Investments page. This year I’m planning to invest money (however little I could spare) on a personal level. So this will help me keep track of my investments.

Page 21: And last, but not the least, a page that everyone needs. I need this page more than anything else because I manage more than 5 accounts for myself, my book blog and the publishing company I work for. I manage 7-8 email inboxes, can you believe it!? So this will help me keep a track of all the passcodes.
As you can see I messed up the passcodes spelling and had to add an ‘s’ in the little space between ‘s’ and ‘c’, but at least it’s better than spelling it wrong. Anyway, on the right-hand side, I’ve displayed the pens I used for making the left-hand side page. These are also the same pens that I’ve used throughout the entire BuJo, though there are several other black pens that I didn’t show here (maybe I can do a separate post on the supplies I used because I really did use a LOT of them…hmmm… maybe.)

So that’s it. I’ll be making the February monthly log after this so I’ll share it in my monthly round-up post. Hope you guys liked my BuJo. This was my first attempt at BuJo’ing so I’m sure that things will look better from here on 🙂

Ciao ❤