Surprise! How to Bring Joy to Your Friends, Family and Colleagues

We all love a good surprise. Whether it is a surprise party of all our friends or an unexpected perk at work, there is something just wonderful about the whole process. But what is even better, is that you can use the power of surprise to bring joy to those around you every day.

The best surprises are not the most lavish or complicated. In fact, it is the small acts of kindness that we appreciate most because they usually show an honest interest that can’t be found elsewhere.

Here are a few ideas you might like to try.

Surprises at Work

For most people, work is a bit of a grind. You go in, you do your thing and then you go home. It’s the same most days. A surprise is just what you need to break the monotony and it doesn’t even have to be expensive to succeed. As you can see on the http://www.proweatherstore.com/, introducing a little surprise every now and then can feel empowering for employees and motivate them to do even better.

So what sort of surprises work here? Well, if you’re the business owner, you have a lot of scope from ordering in a stack of pizzas to announcing an early home time. As an employee, you should probably check your boundaries first but it might be fun to organize an office playlist for the day or take in some snacks to share.

Surprises for Family

Kids absolutely love surprises and there are so many things you could do that they would just love. Fun breakfasts always go down well and even the simplest soft cheese-topped bagel can be improved with a bit of food coloring and sprinkles! Starting the morning well is a nice way to set the tone for the whole week and makes a big difference.

For a bigger surprise, you could turn the lounge into a fort to jazz up your family movie night or even take everyone on a day out together. To be fair, ordering in a stack of pizzas works pretty well at home too!

Whatever you do to surprise your family, just make sure that the experience will suit everyone and encourage you all to bond. After all, enjoying each other’s company is what family is all about.

Surprises for Friends

Keeping up with friends between work and family commitments can be tough but a little surprise once in a while can help things along. Again, the surprise doesn’t have to be big – especially if you live quite far away from each other. A postcard is a lovely way to check in with an old friend.

Organizing a spontaneous night out is a fun way to catch up but don’t just do what you usually do. Spice things up by trying a new place or stay in and try something different like cooking together. Once again, ordering a stack of pizzas works wonders every time but go wild – make sushi, buy a chocolate fountain. Have fun!

Pics From Dad’s 80th!

Not posting pics of the folks at the function as I decided to protect their privacy and I won’t post them here without the people saying ok (unlike on Facebook, anyone can view the pics here) so here are a couple of pics at the venue.

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This was the outside of the hall that my sister & I paid for at the BTH Sarovaram in Maradu. It wasn’t expensive and it was airconditioned. A small hall that could fit 40 people easily with chairs and probably even 50.

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LOL, can’t show you pics of the people at the event but I can show you this. This was the stones they placed around the roots of this tree in the grounds. I kinda like these stones and would love to have this if I had a house and a tree in the property.

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Lunch is served and was the traditional Kerala vegetarian meals. And it was really good.

Home Birth Or Hospital Birth: Which Is Right For You?

When it comes to making the decision of where to give birth, there are many more options available to women today, but there are certainly aspects of each option to be taken into consideration, and what works for one may not work for another since giving birth is a completely unique personal experience for each woman.

You may have looked at your options already and if you’re stuck when trying to decide if a home birth or hospital birth is right for you, then in this post, we’ve given some things to consider for each option so that you can have an easier time deciding which one is right for you.

Home Birth:

You’ll be in your own surroundings: One of the biggest reasons that many women choose to have a home birth is because they like the idea of giving birth in the comfort of their own home and surroundings. This is something you’re not going to get in a hospital, although you can certainly bring some things from home to make the experience more relaxing and like home, but nothing will compare to the comforts of your actual home.

You’ll be able to tailor your experience more: When giving birth at home, you have more freedom to tailor the experience to be just the way you want, and although there’s always going to be something that doesn’t go to plan, you can definitely create the atmosphere more to your liking than if you were in a hospital. This includes things like having a birthing pool or even having a doula to assist you with the birth.

You could be at risk if there’s an emergency: The downside of giving birth at home is that there’s always going to be a risk involved in giving birth and even in the most healthy and normal of pregnancies there can be things that go wrong or happen without warning that require medical attention, such as needing a C-Section. If this is the case, then time is always important, so you’ll need to be attended to quickly and if you live far away from a hospital or medical center, then this could put both you and your baby at risk. It could also cause problems if you were to try and claim on your insurance for a birth injury lawyer, since the advice would always be to give birth in a hospital.

Hospital Birth:

It perhaps won’t be as personal or relaxing: Hospitals aren’t exactly the most relaxing of places, and they’re not really supposed to be – they’re there for a reason and that’s to provide care in a safe and clean environment, so often the decor and lighting will reflect this. Many hospitals will allow you to bring thing like music and some comforts from home to help you relax, but it certainly won’t be the same as giving birth at home.

You’ll have emergency help on hand if needed: If anything were to go wrong, then you’d be fully cared for in a hospital and would receive urgent medical attention if needed, unlike if something were to happen at home and you needed to travel to a hospital.

Five Favorite Family Night Movies

What are your five favorite movies for a family movie night?

What family night? I am not married and no kids and no girlfriend(s) so it’s usually just me choosing the movie to watch. In this apartment it’s my dad, mom and me but it’s almost like it’s them and me sharing the apartment rather than us living together as the only things we do together is eat lunch or dinner together. I don’t watch their Malayalam tv shows and the rare movies that they watch.

And they don’t sit and watch movies with me. Anyways, I watch my movies & tv shows in my bedroom. So here is what I would pick as family movies, if I had a wife & kids:

  • Home Alone
  • Gremlins
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Goonies
  • Jurassic Park

How to Avoid Holiday Disasters This Year

If you are a family man or woman, you might already be excited about meeting your long distance relatives and friends and spending some quality time together. However, according to Murphy’s Law, if something can go wrong, it will happen at the worst possible time. If you would like to avoid disasters and make sure that you are relaxed and worry-free during the Christmas and New Year period, pay attention to these risks.

Safety

In case you are planning on spending a couple of days or even a week at your relatives, you will leave the house vulnerable to people with bad intentions. This is why you need to upgrade your security and safety around your home. It might be a good idea to ask one of your neighbors to collect the mail, or even park their car in your drive, so you being away is less obvious. Set up timers for your TV and your lights, so your home doesn’t look abandoned at all.

Appliances  

Next, if you are expecting guests over the Christmas period, you will need to make sure that your heating, air conditioning, and appliances are working correctly. There is nothing worse than having a broken heater or an oven that is only working when it feels like. You might want to get in touch with a hvac contractor before the holidays and get your appliances and heating system a good servicing and checkup.

Insulation

You are likely to spend more time at your home, which means that you will use your heating and your rooms more. If there are cold patches in your living room, this might be the time to get them fixed, so you don’t end up paying a fortune for heating your home for the couple of days you are spending there enjoying the company of your loved ones.

Trees and Branches

It is great to have a winter wonderland, but if you will have friends and family members visiting, you will need to tidy up your front yard and your driveway. Get rid of the fallen branches and the leaves that can get slippery when wet, so you can avoid accidents that will land you at the emergency services. If you haven’t had your trees and shrubs cut back or your old branches inspected, you can get in touch with a tree surgeon.

Weather

Before you plan any programs holiday fun, nights out, or visits to the local church, you should always check the weather. If you live in an area that has loads of snow, chances are that you will need to have the shovel and the snow chains ready, so you will not end up stuck in the middle of nowhere. Those in remote areas should always check the weather forecast and have enough food stored in the cupboards as well as a fully functional generator.

We all want a pleasant and carefree holiday season. Make sure that you check the risks and address them before it is too late.

Runs In The Family

What Hobbies Have Been Passed Down in Your Family?

Not so much as hobbie or a hobby but in my family we did get our earlier love for wrestling from my dad and a couple of uncles on my mom’s side. From the time I was a toddler we had wrestling in my life. Friends my age, family friends of my dad & mum and my cousins here all watched a lot of wrestling. I loved WCW & WWE for the longest time though it’s been over 10 years since I stopped watching them. But I still have a special place in my heart for the entertainment/sport.

Other than that in my family we loved Westerns, especially Clint Eastwood films and horror movies (though that hasn’t been the case for my parents since the early to mid 90s). Also the love for Arnold & Sly action movies. We watched them all at one time. Ah yes and also James Bond films, which my dad and I have a particular affinity for. Football is another and for a while tennis too. Watching them on tv that is.

It’s a shame I don’t share that much with my folks anymore. They have their interests and I have mine ever since I turned 20!

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Pet Or Companion?

You’re going to adopt a pet other than the species you currently own – what would you adopt and why?

I add this to the category “Family” in my blog as pets are family. If you have a pet, they are part of your family. Currently I don’t have any pets, well except for the fish that my dad keeps in the home. Mom or he feed the fish and sit for a little while staring at them going around in the little tank. Oh yeah at the crows and pigeons that come to our balcony and whom we feed rice too. And in the case of the two crows, we give them bits of breakfast too.

If I could keep a pet, it will definetely be a dog. If I had more space, 2 dogs. If I had a wife, I’d get 2 dogs and 2 cats. Perfect, hum do hamare do do! I’m not too keen on kids or being a father but I like furkids. Ah to be the loving human to a loving dog or dogs again. Cats too. Cause I had two cats when I was a kid and they share a lot of love too. And both are entertaining.

A dog will do. Loyal companion who I can shower a lot of love on and be loved unconditionally back.

Prompt from November Blog Prompts at Blog Paws.com

Spare Engine

This is a classic joke, but this version is the one my uncle told me :

In England a middle-aged woman had just bought a Volkswagon Beetle and while driving home she stopped at a gas station to fuel up. As she was doing so, she popped up the hood and saw that it was empty and cried out “Oh no, someone has stolen the engine of my brand new car.”

A sardar who had bought a Beetle from the same showroom was at the same gas station and heard this. He came to console her and said  “But don’t worry, I have a spare one in the back.”

We Lost Our Uncle

This morning my cousin called me from the US and informed me that his father, my paternal uncle, had passed away in the early hours of this morning. My uncle, lived in Wales for the majority of his adult life with his wife, but did live here in India from 1988 to 1999, and his two younger kids live in London. As my mother, her siblings and my cousins slowly come to grips to grips with the his death, it hits me that they all seem to get some comfort in the phrases and words connected to religion.

A lot of them are also convinced that they will see him in the afterlife in some variation of the Hindu concept of heaven. I have no such luxury and by the way my uncle had in his later years, well past the age of 70, revealed to my dad and me that he no longer believed in any sort of gods and was convinced that religion was a hoax.

As an atheist I comfort myself in having being lucky to have known him and have him as my uncle and remember the jokes he cracked, how he showered us kids with love and took us out for movies and days at the beach and ice creams.

I will miss him.

Friday The 13th

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday, which happens at least once every year but can occur up to three times in the same year. Today is a Friday the 13th!

The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: “triskaidekaphobia”; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greekwords Paraskeví (meaning Friday), and dekatreís (meaning thirteen). The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, “originating from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion” in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday. While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.

As a child I was frightened by the original movie of the Friday the 13th franchise, which came out in 1980 and have 12 films have grossed over $464 million at the box-office worldwide, and having seen it a few years later. My cousins made up all scary stories about Friday the 13th when we were kids to the point that we scared ourselves. I ofcourse love the film franchise and am watching it right now.

Minimum Contact

What does your family do on family night?

We don’t really have family nights per say but my sister and her kids do come over quite often. My parents and I live in this apartment and have lived here for over 10 years and my sister, her husband and their 3 kids, plus Barfi the Pug, live in a bigger apartment just 10 minutes away. So usually on a Saturday or Sunday my sister comes over to spend time with my parents and she will bring my niece over and if the boys are in town (my two nephews study in Bangalore) them too.

We usually end up ordering some food from a nice restaurant. I might have a beer or some vodka. Dad might drink a whiskey or two. We get fried chicken and burgers or some wraps. Or perhaps some fried rice, butter chicken, tandoori chicken or something of that sort. Lots of food and maybe Pepsi or some other soft drink for the kids. They usually watch some tv show or movie on our tv and sit and talk around the living room.

Me, I will be in my bedroom at my computer watching a football match or on Youtube. I will join them for dinner, check if I need to order something for us and if not I will lie back and watch a movie after they have left.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR MAY at The SitsGirls

Saturday Night Family Drinks & Dinner

Yesterday was the final rituals for my uncle who passed away on Monday. As I arrived late from work, I woke up late and after a coffee and a shave and a shower later, I left for Thrikkakara in an Uber. I reached there by 11:30 am and had a light breakfast as some of the other had just finished theirs. After a bunch of prayers and stuff which I never partake in at his house, we took my uncle’s ashes to the river banks of the Periyar where his brothers placed his ashes in a clay pot and dropped it in the waters.

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We came back to the house and setup the lunch for everyone. Me and my cousins also served our elders as well and we were grateful for the simple rice and curries as it was almost 3pm by then. We stayed there for a couple of hours more. My uncles wanted to get some drinks in the night and called my cousins and me for a discussion. One of my cousins has a small hall her can hire for the night at his apartment complex and made the arrangements. He also called a local caterer he knows to make fried rice, beef fry, chilli chicken, chicken roast, veggie curry, curd salad and chappatthi for dinner. Plus there was ice cream.

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Another two cousins bought Smirnoff vodka and signature whiskey. The caterer also arrange bottles of cold water, soda and lots of Sprite and ice ofcourse. We drank and we ate and we played some dumb charades. It was fun. It was a cool night in a scorching & humid summer. It was what we needed after the emotional week we have had. We had some fun for over 3 hours and then found Ubers to take us back home.

Saying Goodbye To My Uncle

I was off blogging and off from Social media for the past two days. My uncle, my mom’s brother who is one of her 7 brothers, passed away after coughing up blood and suffering a massive heart attack. At the time he was away in Gurgaon (New Delhi) visiting his daughter, my cousin. She had made a quick & unannounced visit to Kochi on Friday and took her parents to Gurgaon via flight so they could spend a few days together. That was on Saturday. On Sunday after dinner and having spent a happy time playing with the pup my cousin and her husband had adopted, he went to bed. Later he coughed up blood and apparently had the attack early Monday morning.

They called an ambulance to take him to the hospital but he passed away while on the way to the hospital. After a full day at hospital, meeting with the cops for the death report, getting certificates for taking his body back home to Kerala, getting an autopsy done at another hospital and arranging the flight back, my cousin and her husband had to go back home and break the news to my aunt who was devastated. But she kinda knew that he would not make it back.  On Tuesday we arranged the funeral. On landing in Kochin, he was taken to his parent’s home in Mattancherry and then brought to his home in Thrikkakara.

I wish I could tell you all how much my uncle meant to me. He was a really awesome uncle. When my sister and I were really young, as kids when we fell ill or got hurt, we asked for our Vijayanuncle. My sister was very clingy to him as a young child. He doted on us. He cared for us just like a good uncle would. I spent many evenings with him and my aunt because they liked having us around. I especially remember one evening in Kuwait, where we all lived, and my uncle had taken 5 or 6 year old me to a shop to buy samosas for the evening snacks with tea/coffee and on our way back we sat at this little park area for a while. Many years later as we all moved back to India and lived in Thrikkara, we would sit and watch football or WCW / WWE Wrestling together and talk about sports and stuff. I remember watching a few World Cup football matches with him. The last few years, after my family moved to the city area my visits to my uncle and aunt were very less and I think the few times I saw him were when he made a quick visit here or at a family function.

And now that he is gone, all I can say is Thank you. Thank you for being a great uncle to me and my sister and to our cousins. Thank you to being a great dad to my cousin sister Shalini. We will all miss you for the rest of our lives.

Unforgettable Trips

What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you.

I haven’t been on a holiday in many many years. I just don’t do them. But if you ask me what my favourite holidays were, its the two trips my extended family took back in 1988 and 1989. During the summer everyone pooled and got a couple of 14 seater vans and a couple of cars and went on extended trips to a few cities in India. Mostly in the south. Bangalore, Mysore, Madurai, Coimbatore and a couple of others.

It was days of fun and enjoyment. It was rip-roaring laughter, laughter so hard that tears would stream down our cheeks and yet we learned so much as well. I have a bunch of photos from those days some where in my boxes of stuff. I have to dig them out someday and get the pics scanned and keep them safe online somewhere. They were some of the best moments of my life.

Stuff like that just never seems to happen anymore.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

It’s All Relative

How would you get along with your sibling(s), parent(s), or any other person you’ve known for a long time — if you only met them for the first time today?

I guess we all have problems with our family members including uncles, aunts and cousins and other assorted creatures who just happen to be somewhere in the mix of relatives either related by blood or marriage to someone in your family. And it’s not possible to be happy-happy joy joy and like everyone all the time. It’s just not possible. Having positive relationships with as many people as possible is good.

However are we close and spend time with some of our relatives, if not all, just because we have known them for so long and because they are our relatives? It seems to me that it is true. Certainly you cannot care to be around all of your relatives that much if you had the choice. Some of them might be assholes. You do not choose your relatives, they happen to be thrust upon you.

If I met some of my relatives now for the very first time, I might not want to spend time with them once I know a bit about them. I might stay away and say that I am not interested in them. But what can you do? You are related!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Birthday Cake

Well we had a nice birthday dinner. My sister and her two younger kids (oldest is away at college) came over to join my dad, mum and me. I ordered a bunch of chicken fried rice, naan, chicken tikka masala and butter chicken from a restaurant named Aangan. It’s a new place and I had never had food from there before but I have only heard good reviews about them. The food was really delish. My sister and the kids had bought me a cake, red velvet with raspberry glaze on top. Never had that flavour before either. It was good.

Family Party @ Lotus Club

So last night we had a family get together at the Lotus Club on Warriam road. This party was planned 2 weeks back and finalized for the 14th as everyone who attended were free on this particular day. Initially it was supposed to be on the 10th (which most of us had off due to it being a holiday) but Saturday was preferred as a bunch of us were bound to have hangovers.

So my parents and some of my aunts and uncles had reached the club by 6pm but me and most of my cousins reached there only by 7:30 pm and gathered in the large room that the club rents out for functions like this and which my family usually books for our family parties. I met my relatives and my cousin Raju poured me a white rum and mango juice cocktail. Which wasn’t that good by the way and I switched to rum + Spirite & then two rum and Cokes.

There were a few snacks available including egg bajji (which was so hot and I burned my throat), beef fry, French fries and veggi pakodas. Dinner was chappathis, vellaappams, fried rice, beef roast and chicken curry followed by caramel custard. We spent a lot of time talking and drinking and laughing and it was fun. We all left by 11:30 pm, back to our homes with promises of another family party sometime in the next coming month or so.