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2016 IATLH Commitment Award

19 Nov
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2016 IATLH Commitment Award. Bhanu and I are holding it just after the awarding ceremony at Lee Hall

 

2016 IATLH Commitment Award

Premier Cultural Event of India Association of Tallahassee

19th Annual Cultural Glimpses of India

Saturday, November 19, 2016 4:00 to 8:30 PM
1601 S Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Lee Hall Auditorium, Tallahassee, FL 32307

During the 19th Annual Cultural Glimpses of India (19CGoI) held on Saturday, November 19, 2016 between 4:00 and 8:30 PM at 1601 S Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Lee Hall Auditorium, the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of India Association of Tallahassee (www.iatlh.org) surprised me and my family.
During that event Santosh D., a Trustee announced about awarding the India Association of Tallahassee’s Commitment Award someone who was a former President of IATLH. As he spoke more about the awardee it became clear, he was referring to me. Neither I taking photos nor Bhanu who was sitting in the audience few rows behind were expecting the award and VtS was not even in the audience. Then one of the Trustees Dr. Viral B. gave me the trophy.
The committee members kept this as a secret and later I learned that the decision was unanimous. I was happy and shocked! Since I was not prepared I thanked Bhanu and Vivek and some of my mentors at IATLH. I asked everyone to support IATLH and ACT.
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Halloween Night

31 Oct

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2016 Halloween Night

Monday, October 31, 2016

This year Halloween came on a Monday night and since it was a school/work day there were very few kids doing the “trick/treat” routine in our neighborhood. Typically, we see the revelers come around 6:30 PM. However, today the first batch came only around 7:15 PM.

We had candy and distributed them until about 8:00 PM. VtS had a special costume and face paint.

Weight Training Try-out

29 Sep

Weight-Training Try-out

Leach Center @ FSU

Thu, Sept 29, 2016

Today, my colleague helped me to try-out some weight training at the Leach Center Gymnasium. So far I have been reluctant to try any the weight and strength training and instead choosing to do lots of cardio. Just last week or so I saw an article in Time Magazine (Sept 12/19, 2016 issue; The New Science of Exercise) about how it is better to mix cardio with weight and strength training.

So we started out with few simple machines. My friend who has been training for more than decade demonstrated some of them and after reading the instructions they were simple enough to do.

So, today I started out with the following four machines as a try out. Few minutes each for each of these machines.

lf-lateralraise

I started with Lateral Raise first.

cybex-armcurl

Then I moved to Biceps Curl.

eagle-row

Then we moved on to Row

eaglelinepulldown

Then finishing with Pulldown.

Then I went to did some cardio exercise too.

Impact of Hurricane Hermine

3 Sep

2016 Hurricane Hermine

Its impact on our neighborhood
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 1, 2, and 3, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Florida State University closed at 12 Noon today due to the impending Hurricane Hermine’s arrival around midnight. Most of the people left around 12 Noon. I and VtS had to finish some essential work and left bit later than 3 PM. The skies were clear most of the day but started to rain occasionally after midday.
We tuned to radio and TV and watched the Hurricane slowly approach the Gulf Coast and it was expected to cross the shore around 1 AM and becoming a Hurricane from a Tropical Storm.We went to bed with power and cell phones working.
When we tuned to TV at 12 Midnight, Tallahassee has already experienced power outage for about 35,000 households. We had power and cell signals.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Around 1 AM there were couple of power flickers and we still had power. But may be around 1:30 AM we lost the power completely. The entire neighborhood was without power. We could hear howling winds outside our home. The tall pine trees behind our house was shaking badly and small branches started to fall down. Our neighbors front yard trees were shaking very badly. The rain was coming down hard.
We woke up around 7 AM to find out our neighbors tree had fallen down taking a road sign but not damaging any vehicles. We started to help clean out the tree by cutting small branches. It was humid, hot and tiring. VtS and I did some help in clearing it. I needed some rest.
We had running water and gas service. So showered in the morning. We had to use either a match stick or lighter to start our stove. Bhanu cooked food using the gas stove and had nice hot meal

Hurricane Hermine fell the tree

Working on neighbors fallen tree

Helping the neighbor

Small limbs fell out of the pine trees in our back yard

After few hours of work the tree is cleared so that cars can safely pass

Finally, with several folks help, the road was passable. We then went to FSU to asses the damage to my unit and VtS’ work. Only some signal lights worked, so went very cautiously. Most of the people were polite and careful! There was no power in any of the buildings in FSU. Our unit’s generator and VtS’s building’s generator were working keeping essential instrument/samples safe. I noticed a lot of water leak through emergency doors. I cleaned up as much as I can in all four floors. I met with couple of people asses the damage and updated people via e-mail which was still working. I had good cell signal via T-mobile but spotty signal via Virgin Mobile. My home landline was completely out. FSU’s WiFI was working (as per my colleague). Even WFSU was (NPR) not working in the afternoon (it was working at least until 11 AM this morning).

Water leakage in my work Unit

We then went home by 4 PM. Since we had running water and gas stove we prepared the meal for the night. We opened the fridge sparingly to avoid the food from going waste. We had showers multiple times since it was sticky with no A/C or fan.
In the evening it became cloudy and started to rain again and so we had to finish all our eating by 7:00 PM. We kept updates via web using T-mobile 4G service  and battery operated radio. There multiple bouts of rain showers throughout the night. It became clearer around 12 Midnight.
We then heard people working on a tree removal around 8 PM. We walked to Weems Road and noticed the utilities crews were working on the tree that had fallen on the power cables along the East side of the Weems Road. So we hoped that power could be restored soon.

Power and tree trimming crew working on the evening on Friday. The power would be restored next day early morning at 2 AM

Finally, around 1:45 AM on late Friday night (actually Saturday morning) the power was restored. It will be a lucky break for us.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Around 1:45 AM early this morning we got our power back. So essentially we were without power for almost 24 hours spanning two nights. I woke up and plugged all our phones and devices for recharging (our Anker 79AN7925 power bank helped our devices powered up during the storm).
We woke up around 6:30 AM and Bhanu had to go to EOC around 7:45 AM. We had our breakfast since we had now power. The skies were still cloudy with occasional bursts of sunlight.
As we went through the day we found out large swaths of Tallahassee residents were without power even as late as Saturday afternoon. FSU announced that they will resume operation only on Wednesday, September 7, 2016.
My unit didn’t have power as of Saturday afternoon. We requested refill of generator fuel and was delivered at 11:45 AM.
Hurricane Hermine's track

Hurricane Hermine’s track

The Ringling Museums at Sarasota

6 May

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The John & Mable Ringling Museums

Sarasota Bay, Sarasota, FL

Friday, May 06, 2016

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We visited the John & Mable Ringling Museums in the city of Sarasota (SRQ), Florida. Bhanu and I arrived around 11 AM after driving for about 45 minutes from Clearwater, FL where we were staying. The Ringling Museum is part of the Florida State University and since I am faculty at FSU, I got a special rate while Bhanu paid the full amount. We were met with volunteers who explained the places to see.
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The Ringling Museums are located on a 20 acre property off of the Sarasota Bay on the west coast of Florida peninsula has many individual museums: the circus museum, the Tibbals Learning Center, Mable’s Rose Garden, Ca’ d’Zan (House of John in Venetian dialect), Banyan Cafe, Center for Asian Art (opening in May 2016), Museum of Art, and Searing Wing.
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We saw many of the buildings including the Tibbals, circus museum, the rose garden, the Ca’ d’Zan, Asian Art, Museum of Art, and ate at the Banyan Cafe. The weather was perfect and unusually cool and dry (78F) for an early May.
 16SRQ-53
We spent almost 6 hours at the museums and left around 4 PM toward Palm Harbor.

Flora and Fauna of Aruba

18 Dec

Flora and Fauna of Aruba

We traveled to Aruba, an island nation which is part of the Lesser Antilles and part of Leeward Antilles located in the Caribbean Sea and ~25 miles off of Venezuelan coast. It is part of the Dutch Caribbean and one of the countries of the Kingdom of Netherlands.

We stayed in Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba and visited beaches and other areas where we saw some trees, birds, and animals which are unique. First in the beach we saw trees that are unique to the Caribbean.

Divi Divi or Watapana Tree

Divi Divi or Watapana Tree

Fofoti or Conocarpus erectus mangrove tree

Fofoti or Conocarpus erectus mangrove tree

Cactus_Coconuts

Cactus in foreground and Coconuts in background

We saw lots of iguanas. The young ones are in green color and older adults were ranging in color from blue to dark grey. We also some skinks.

Young green iguana on a palm tree

Young green iguana on a palm tree

Iguanas were plentiful and they were very shy and ran away if you even came closer than 10 feet.

Adult_Iguana

Adult Iguana on a Palm tree in Oranjestad, Aruba

We also saw lots of house sparrows,  black birds, and bare eyed doves.

Bare Eyed Dove Patagioenas corensis

Bare Eyed Dove Patagioenas corensis

We also saw lots of black birds called Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris that were roosting on the palm trees next to our hotel. They were lots of noise in the morning and took some time in the night before they settled down.

In the area near the Alto Vista chapel (past the Arashi beach) and the north eastern corner of Aruba also called Hudishibana, we saw a male Aruban whiptail lizard (Cnemidophorus arubensis) with its beautiful turquoise color. Locally they are called codoco or kodoco.

Aruban Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus arubensis)

Aruban Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus arubensis)

We saw lots of cacti too.

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Bushi cactus

Yatu Cactus

Yatu Cactus

Cadushi di Colebra

Cadushi di Colebra

Aruba currency Florin and cents

Aruba currency Florin and cents

 

 

Collards and Cornbread Gathering

12 Nov

Collards and Cornbread Gathering

November 2015 gathering

November 12, 2015, 1:30 to 3:15 PM @ Dunn Street Community Garden

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During the Tallahassee Forward meeting few weeks ago,  I met Nathan Ballentine, the Man-in-overalls. I was the moderator for a session titled “Addressing Health Disparities” and he was one of the Panelists. He is the co-founder of Tallahassee Food Network,  Start-up coordinator for iGrow Whatever You Like among other things. He invited me to join the Collards and Cornbread Gathering’s November meeting on Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at the Dunn Street Community Garden. I was happy accept the invitation and wanted to share some basic information about Thai Pongal (தை பொங்கல்), the South Indian farmers festival with Tallahassee Food Network and iGrow Whatever You Like movement.

iGrow8

I met many folks at the Collards and Cornbread Gathering  and all of us spoke about our food memories that reminded about why we were thankful to the food we shared with others. We had about 30 folks at the gathering. Karin from Mission San Luis spoke about historical traditions of our area. Then I spoke about Thai Pongal (தை பொங்கல்) and Mattu Pongal (மாட்டு பொங்கல்) and shared the information about South Indian food habits and festivals.

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