A little less cake, but a lot more cows (that are alive)!

Hello, hello, hello, my readers!

There has been a change in my life that has to do with this blog, well, at least the title of this blog. And since I hate living two lives, I feel I must update whomever is reading to quell my conscience.

While my love for cake I hope shall never die, I am putting… attempting to put the love of its consumption on a temporary halt. The truth is: I eat too much dessert (both in terms of size and frequency). It’s gone from being a thing that is done occasionally to being something I’m okay with potentially partaking in at least once or even twice a day (the twice a day is not everyday or even frequent, but it’s happened more than once in the past few years). I think its origins were partly a natural reaction to my one-time disordered eating… but then it became disordered in the opposite direction!

As many of you know, I’m not one of those lucky naturally skinny people. I never have been and I probably never will be. Why that probably? I never will be. I sadly am not Benjamin Button, and my issues with weight are not going to get easier as I get older.

The truth is I’m not happy with how much weight I’ve gained in the past two years. Yes, I got married two years ago and that could explain why. But I am not blaming Mr. Rafia for this (and he should not blame me either!). It was mutual. I am new to cooking (I’m still learning) and we’ve had our fair share of eating out. I’m not going to stop eating out completely, but I have resolved to order salad if it’s an option. Most of the time, it usually is.

I know, I know, I know. I’m a food heretic. For years, I proclaimed I am not going to waste my money on salad. And even though salads ordered from outside are never as “healthy” as we like to think, they are definitely better than the other options. Besides, I realized sometimes the company of friends is more important than food.

That’s not to say I am cutting out cake completely (I did that before, didn’t go down well), but I also don’t have to eat it every time it’s available. I have to learn to accept my body for how it metabolizes and think about the damage that is done when I indulge at every whim.

Since I started this new plan (it’s not a diet) just this past Tuesday (Monday was the (cow)tipping point for me), I need to re-train my brain to make it believe that green things are good and that I really don’t need all that sugar.

It hasn’t been a full week yet, but I’m pretty proud of myself.

I went to my favourite place in Indy yesterday with a friend. I told myself I was not going to get cake – another friend told me that was cruel – but I really needed to test myself. In the end, I think I made a compromise. I wasn’t old-new Rafia who refused to order anything from the dessert menu; I ordered the smallest chocolate thing they had there (eating less cake does not mean I am giving up on my principles! Raspberries do NOT belong in a dessert). And I only had two bites! I brought the rest home and it’s still in the refrigerator. I have not touched it in at least 18 hours.

I know this is kinda silly, but you know what? This is a blog titled Cake & Cows for a reason.

Thank you for reading, if you made it to the end, and please wish me success in this very difficult endeavour.

Oh hey, I took a “detour” to visit my friends at the dairy barn on Friday. Cows make me happy. So to make up for the deficit of cake in my life, I will overcompensate with more cows :)

Because you are all dying to read the backstory of my visit…. These two cows were hiding in the barn when I first arrived. Then I heard some “Mooos.” I turned around and walked toward the gate. I started waving at them and proclaimed, “Hi cows. I came here for you.” I think they may have recognized me and slowly starting walking out. They probably came out to get a bit to eat, but they walked in my direction. I was like, “Yes, they love me. They really love me!” As soon as I started talking again, the cow on the left immediately showed her butt to me. But I did not take offense. Cow #2 continued to look at me for a while. When #1 was done giving me the cold shoulder, she began to walk toward the barn. #2, being the clear follower of the duo, proceeded to follow #1’s lead. But I didn’t take it personally. I knew she liked me.

It was a glorious day.

I think I can do this eat-less-cake thing. I have my cows.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

On the highs and lows of life and the evolution of this blog (i.e. Rafia likes to ramble)

I noticed that every time I write a positive or happy post, it is almost always followed by a melancholic one. I don’t plan on this, but it ends up happening that way.

But before I get into the sad stuff

For those of you who read my last post, my performance went well… I think. My cousin who attended the event made a video recording and sent it to all my family in India on Whatsapp. So if it sucked, he wouldn’t have done that, right? I don’t know. Maybe my family likes to make fun of me behind my back. I can never judge the worthiness of my own work or efforts, so if you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to catch a wind of my performance, you can let me know what you think… or not.

Now, onto the sad stuff!

Well, I guess it’s not really that sad. I’m still alive and everyone I know and love who was alive yesterday is still alive today, but I got some disappointing news this morning. I was melancholic for a while. Mr. Rafia said it was for the best and the rest of my immediate family assured me that God has something better planned for me. I do believe it, but I needed to take some time to sit on this news.

The good thing is that I did not cry. That’s a positive sign that I take very seriously. I was somewhat shocked and had a bit of a chip to my ego, but after hours of routine, I’ve come to the conclusion that ya just never know. I think God has a sense of humour, an idea I’ve been toying around with for some time now. It takes me a while to get the joke, sure. But in retrospect, even I have to laugh at my naivety and desperation. You might think something is going to happen a particular way. You go to bed at night, dreaming up scenarios, practicing your lines (I cannot be the only one who does this)… but then when you finally wake up, it ends up not going the way you had envisioned it.

I am dumbfounded (at myself mostly), but I am not upset anymore. My only one lament is that I seem to waste my imagination on pointless endeavors. Why can’t I use my imagination for something more productive, like, say, writing a novel?

Today’s “situation” reminded me of a post I had written about 7 months ago – The Sting of Rejection. Pretty much the same issue. I thought about re-posting it, but decided that I would write a new post. I wanted to see if there was any change in me and my writing since then.

I think the jury’s out on that one.

But in another matter, I am beginning to see this blog as a really long conversation, which absolutely confounds me. It’s turning into a public “Dear Diary.” I don’t know if y’all are just humouring me (have you joined my family in making fun of me behind my back?). But why would you do that? You’re not getting anything in return! Nevertheless, for some reason or another, I feel compelled to continue this very strange conversation.

Maybe I am finally ready to write that memoir “The Girl Who Never Went to Disneyland (or World)”.

But knowing me, I probably won’t. I have to say though that it did feel good to at least write that I might ;)

2016, i.e. my first year of being married to a man I found on the internet

Since my track record seems to be 2 blog posts per month, this will most likely be my last blog post of the year. I wanted to make sure that I got a good “2016: Year in Review” post in before 2017 barges her way in and makes any attempt to do so a futile endeavour, so here goes:

2016 has been a life-changing year for me.

  • I started blogging again and have seen the most success this time around than I ever had in my 13+ years of blogging. So much so, I bought a domain! And now I tell people I am a writer whether they ask or not! ;)
  • I permanently moved away from my parents’ home
  • I traveled by myself (twice) to a destination that was not an immediate family member’s house. Sure, it was within the U.S. and the first time was to see a friend who my family knows. But still, this is me we’re talking about.
  • Oh, and yeah, I got married

Technically, it was in 2015. So that’s why I forgot ;)

In less than 5 days, it will be my FIRST year anniversary. My husband and I will be visiting my home country of Canadia to celebrate. 4 days in Montreal, a city I’ve been to for a few hours, and Toronto, the city that I was born in and later forced to leave when I was a child (okay, my entire family immigrated to the States in 1998, but it wasn’t my decision).

While I am certainly looking forward to having a second honeymoon, I’ve been in reflective mode for the past few days. I cannot offer a reflection here on all that has transpired in the past 12 months, mostly because it would be an infringement of privacy. But I have found myself in new territory many, many times and I was sure to make a note of it, somewhere. Those who follow me on social media have seen all the silly antics of Mr. Rafia and I – and there have been many great moments – but none of you have seen the many tears I’ve also cried.

Marriage, I have learned, is not for everyone. It’s not because I think some people aren’t capable of being married, but I do think that many have difficulty extending beyond their previous limits of sacrifice. It’s different for every couple, so I could never think to offer wholesale advice. I can say this though: no matter how prepared you think you are, you will be shocked. But you must learn to adapt. You may question your decision sometimes, but if you married someone with a good heart, you will find your cake at the end of the tunnel.

Compatibility is great – Mr. Rafia and I are both silly billies – but our personalities are different. I’m more quiet and like to write my feelings. Mr. Rafia, on the other hand, likes to talk his feelings and he’s very good at talking to pretty much anyone. I wasn’t used to this. In fact, Mr. Rafia is probably the first man I ever had a deep conversation with. It was a trait I secretly yearned for in my future husband, but I clearly wasn’t prepared for it. I’ve had to learn on the job, if you will, and I am still learning.

I know I could have just said that I married my soulmate and post a lovey-dovey photo montage of us, and though it’s true and I will, this is my blog, i.e. it is NOT Facebook. The truth is, no marriage is perfect. It’s the union of two imperfect individuals. If we are successful, we become a little less imperfect, but we never achieve perfection. If that’s what you’re looking for, let me ask you: DO YOU NOT LIVE ON THIS PLANET? Your life wasn’t perfect before you got married and it ain’t gonna get perfect after! Still, reminding myself that Mr. Rafia has and will continue to support my efforts in being a better Rafia (and I, vice versa – I’ve got my work cut out for me, folks ;) is what I shall take with me in 2017, as we enter our second year of marriage, God-willing.

 

Happy New Year! :)

With a change in scenery…

Tomorrow will mark one week since Mr. Rafia and I have moved into the new place.

All the boxes have been unpacked, our items neatly (for the most part) stowed away. I actually have room to store all my belongings in my closets and cupboards. Buh-bye, oversized Kohl’s bags!

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Although I did save a few for future emergencies.

I am Desi; it’s in my blood. Seeing my mom plan ahead for unforeseeable crises has served me well. Like the time when our upstairs toilet overflowed down onto our dining table. As I watched in horror at the scene, my mom flew into action. Also, I now have space to store these bags in a place that’s not an eye-sore every time I open the pantry door.

I’ve been more obsessed than usual with home-ifying the new place for the past few days. I think that’s to be expected. Though I’m still far from realizing my ultimate vision (right now, “my study” consists of my giant Mickey waiting for my company), I need to get back to a more normal and sustainable routine. Interior decorating is not an activity I wish to turn into a pastime.

This weekend, I’ll be flying out to New Jersey to attend the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom’s Muslim Jewish Women’s Leadership Conference. When I signed up for it, it was upon Mr. Rafia’s insistence that I go. I was, of course, hesitant. With the exception of my trip to Miami earlier this year, I’ve never traveled solo to a place I’ve never been before (Actually, if the friend I was visiting in Miami did not have a car, I probably would have chickened out). I’ll have to use Uber for this trip, at least on my way back. But I have to say: if the last 11 months have taught me anything, it’s that it’s okay to venture out and “make a fool of myself.”

Actually, it might be necessary.

All those women I see (and know!) who are doing amazing things with their life, they didn’t pop out of their mothers’ wombs exuding confidence. They, too, made mistakes. They just happened earlier on in their life, before I knew them. Sure, I’m a late-comer. But that’s okay. Being “too late” is only a barrier if you make it one. If I want to change and achieve what seem like pipe dreams, I have to be willing to do some things that frighten me.

I’m in a better place now to face (some of) my fears. Is it because of the new home? No, these changes were underway even before the move. But I do feel more grounded now. Moving into a new home seems to parallel this need to embrace change. And the “it’s a sign!” in me is delighted at the fact that all this is happening right before the new year.

Yay for new ventures!

I bought myself a domain & other things

You may have noticed that my URL has changed. As of this morning, Cake & Cows’s permanent home address is now officially cakeandcows.org. I know .ORGs are typically reserved for non-profit organizations, but why are .COMs accepted as the default? Don’t they signify companies? In that case, I’d much rather be an organization, Canadian socialist that I am.

I resisted buying a domain for so long. You might even say this move was 13 years in the making. The main reason I resisted is because I didn’t feel like my blog was worthy of a domain. Domains are not free and while I understand that I live in a capitalist society, I don’t believe in buying things just because I can. I do believe that certain things (like my new not-a-tote tote) are investments, but I wasn’t sure my blog was. In the 13 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve been through the following names: Precious Barnacles, Precious, Whimsical, The Indecisive Planner – and those are just the names I can remember! If I bought a domain for Cake & Cows, would I regret it because the second I did the fickle pickle that I am would want to change the name to something like Ruff Draft?

I actually thought of this name the other day and was like “DAMN, that’s a good blog name!” I spend a lot of time thinking of names for things.

I’ve been different lately. It might be the hormones. But in the past week or so, I’ve been more impulsive. Usually, being impulsive is NOT a good thing. But I’ve spent a good deal of my life always second-guessing myself that maybe I’ve just gotten sick of it? I really don’t know what’s gotten into me.

I know that something is off though (and “off” in this case might not necessarily be a bad thing) because I kinda-sorta asked my way onto a panel. Yes, you read that right! Shy old Rafia who is afraid of public-speaking asked to speak in public! Did I really do that? Such hubris for me to think that people want to hear me talk! I’m going to regret this, aren’t I? 

I’ve been reading this self-help book that I received as a gift from a friend called The Artist’s Way. While I must admit some of the exercises were a little too new-age for me, I trudged through to the end. I didn’t gain any valuable writing instruction, but I did come away from my reading with greater confidence in my artistic interests, if you will. In the course of one particular exercise in the book, I realized something about myself: my deepest and most secret desire is to be on the stage!

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Not sure what I was doing here – pretending to be Mickey The Director’s Muse or something.

WHAT? It all makes sense now. All the fireplace singing and dancing that I used to do as a little girl! THAT’S ME! What happened? Where did that girl go? The Artist’s Way told me to unleash my inner child artist. And I guess that’s what I’ve done, unconsciously.

I think I have a tendency to shoot myself in the foot before I even get started. I have these whimsical visions, but then I hear those voices in my head and ultimately choose to play it safe. But maybe I’m not as bad/foolish/unworthy/etc. as I think I am? I guess that also partly motivated my decision to finally buy the domain. A domain, in a way, is taking ownership of this blog. It’s like saying, “I’m not going to give up on you. You are mine. You are a part of me. You deserve to exist. You deserve to flourish.”

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