Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays 2014 ! !

2014 has been a year our family will never forget, and I do hope you had a very big year too.

US-2014-Redmond-FamilyShots-141117-0133-ToWebA Bigger Year Than Meets the Eye, © 2014, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images) 

As per the usual, Sidd, Paul, Molly and I wish you the best in this Holiday time. We pray this note finds you safe, sound, healthy and happy. If life has gone sideways, our prayers are with you.

Our family has had its share of adventures.

  • The boys are in a good place.  Still the best of friends, still sinewy, still a deep source of goodness and light for Molly and myself.
  • Sidd is 11 (5th grade) and certain his future has 5 pursuits. I see this as the start of a lifelong path that creates one's legacy.
  • Paul is 12 1/2, (7th grade) and discovering, at times the hard way, the deep importance of clarifying your workload and staying ahead of it.  Grade 7 has been a surprise for him and it's never bad when something makes you up your game. One concern I have: for the first time, I don't really see school fundamentally inspiring him.
  • Molly has formally entered back into the “traditional” job market - that is, being a stay at home parent when children are very young is a demanding pursuit unto its own: now that the boys are older, she has taken a project management role at Allstom Grid, and likes the colleagues & new challenges.
  • I am in my 10th year at MSFT - and it continues to be interesting personally. At a macro level the company is materially, cohesively proving a clearer direction, gaining internal momentum, and finding its own rhythm, again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chuttumbee #2 Turns 11

Okay this is a VERY belated post and perhaps it is indicative of how time is so precious at the “start” and the “end” yet risks being commoditized in the middle by albeit pesky, urgent, trivial distractions.


Sidd @ 11 in his new fangled glasses, © 2014, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images)

Sidd, my precious 2nd son, turned 11.  A couple of things to share are as follows:

He still has a deep enjoyment in sports – he continues to dislike watching from the sidelines or frankly in a living room.  At some point he will say, “I am going out” to do what is shown on the TV

His long term goals seem to be crystallizing – for the past year, he has shared the following repeatedly… “I am going to be 5 things when I grow up… an inventor, paleontologist, writer, illustrator and painter”

He’s still an insufferable fan of his own verbal diarrhea – Sidd will prattle on telling one stale joke after another, or hypothesizing aimlessly and fully enjoy it.  So far it is pleasant at the least and occasionally very interesting

He LOVES hanging out with people – Sidd summed this up repeatedly over the summer vacation trip to visit my parents and sisters, “Dad, it’s about people, not places. Can we just stay home and not go anywhere?”

He is fiercely focused – I introduced him to making lists and now I can find little Post It notes lying around all over the place,  with items crossed off.  “Dad, they say 5th grade is really hard, it’s an odd grade you know, so I have to really try herd.”

The carnivore in his has to be kept in check – we noticed that his weight surpassed Paul’s, then realized, ah it’s all the meat and cheese dude!

He is still his brother’s confidante and ally I am wondering if and when they will go to a phase where they become more distant.  For now, that is not the case.

Ah I am deeply blessed.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Another Year Whizzes By at About Warp 4

Many adults no longer have a natural metronome to mark time skipping by.  For example, no formal undergrad, grad or vocational school programs, no children still in grade school.  Nothing to keep check of the passage of time.  In those cases, milestones like our own birthdays play a vital role.  Each “tick, tock” registers 365 days of living.

US-2014-SanFran-MithusWedding-140526-0019-1200pxDad and the Young Lads, © 2014, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images)

Without birthdays, decades could sneak by without us taking note, or worse, allow us to play along with the lie that time has not passed under our noses.  So today I look back and measure the year.  As always, it has been a rich one on so many fronts, and a grand test on others.

Start with carbs, & eat dessert first.  Said another way, focus on experiences that are non-trivial, that you can only get enjoy and accomplish “now”.

Use Occam’s Razor in interpersonal relationsLook for the simplest, most straightforward explanation that assumes the best of everybody.

Kids know their heroes, do you know yours? Learn from the people you admire the most, work for them, follow them.

Sometimes good health is only noticed when it is missing. My dad, who is has the healthy regiment of a young British soldier, fractured his ankle at a recent wedding.  Arguably, it was his unwavering schedule of walks and meditations that helped him avoid a more serious injury.  Yet seeing him in the following weeks made me VERY aware of how healthy he normally is.  How did I miss this otherwise?

Oh and count your blessings.  Take stock of every one of your talents, treasures and all the time given to you (so far).  I am amazed at how many times when people pray with our boys, and are asked to cite just 3 things to say thanks for, it is a royal struggle.  Three blessings?  You know it is a God full of unconditional love who can look down and smile on this, instead of fuming. 

  • Pop Exercise:  Take out a sheet of paper, write “Thank you for…” and see how many items you can list in one shot.  Repeat in a week.  Do it for a year.  Now compare today’s sheet and next year’s.  You will be amazed how much more nuanced and aware you have become.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chuttumbee #1 turns 12

Well an entire dozen years has flown by for Paul.  12 years?  Is it possible the infant I held just yesterday is now wearing shoes just 2 sizes less than mine?  The only thing more surreal is the consummate gift of getting to be his dad.

_MG_1167-1200px-2 Paul @ 12, © 2014, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images)

Some observations:

I see glimpses of a much older person in him at times - like in this look above, and perhaps it is his words that imbue that interpretation.  "I am going to be coder, definitely, when I grow up."  This is less ethereal than "making a dinosaur factory" - an intent from 5 years ago.

Perhaps all the exposure to da Vinci has had an effect - he has an equal interest in art (loved a digital media option at school) and science (has demonstrated a steady interest in robotics).

The introvert in him is translating into an empath - he is very tuned into how others may react, and as example will casually turn to me and say, "I don't think that would be good to talk about right now".

He is reliable like the sunrise - I get a text each day between 3:00 and 3:03 saying "I'm home now."

He's still a very engaged sibling - Paul shows concern and genuine interest in Sidd's pursuits.  The two can easily while away a day in long  meandering conversations.  “Connected siblings” is a deeply held goal of mine - I know too many people whose sibling relationships dilute over time, which is to lose the most precious of family heirlooms.

In a mere 6 years he will embark on new adventures such as college (if colleges are needed still) - -perhaps somewhere far away from my place of residence - - - and I for one am in no rush for that milestone.  The last 12 years have been nothing if not remarkable.  Needed is to triple my ability to savor the fleeting moments whizzing by me now.

_MG_1020-1200px-4 Paul, Take 2, © 2014, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images)