Creative Blogger Award

A huge thank-you to Rene (the blogger behind Periwinkle Pursuits) for nominating me for the Creative Blogger Award! I am very new here so I feel honored that my blog was acknowledged with the nomination! Rene has a wonderful blog herself, where she shares her creative pursuits as she makes her way through a life with fibromyalgia and raises awareness for the same.


Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Share five facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate at least 5 other bloggers and add their links.
  4. Notify the bloggers you included.
  5. Keep the rules in your post.


Five facts about me (that you probably didn’t know):

  • A long time ago, when I was in middle/high school, my mom wanted me to take self-defense lessons. So I trained in Shorin-Ryu karate. I am a black belt (1st dan).
  • Sometimes I have trouble making my left and right brain hemispheres talk to each other, even though they both work perfectly fine by themselves. As such, I don’t always understand the musical difference between punk rock and heavy metal, but I like one and not the other. I will also be able to hum a classical piece (so I obviously know it) but will not be able to remember the name of it.
  • I have a love-hate relationship with my hair. It is long and thick, and I love the way it looks when it behaves. Trouble is, it’s a problem child and doesn’t always behave. Then I just look like Joey Ramone (which I don’t mind either).
  • I may have had a past life as a fish. I absolutely love being in the water, and would like to train as a scuba diver one day. Between asthma and fibromyalgia, I am not sure if that will ever come true, but a girl can dream!
  • When I am stressed out, the mess that I live in suddenly becomes very apparent, and I go on a cleaning spree. This is about the only way the apartment ever really gets cleaned.


My nominations/blogs I would love for others to check out:

  1. Fruitful Dark
  2. Isabella El-Hasan
  3. All Things Chronic
  4. VisualAtelier
  5. Jill Millward Artwork
  6. The Doodle Chronicles Blog
  7. The Invisible F

Thanks once again to Rene for the kind nomination!!




The Spring of Joy

A few months ago, I took an online course called A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment, which (perhaps ironically) was taught by a business school professor. As a person who thrives on cognitive therapy, I thought this was one of the best decisions of my life.

One of the “habits of the highly happy” (as Dr. Raj puts it), is simply making the choice to be happy. Somehow that made an odd kind of sense to me. Happiness is, after all, a state of mind. You cannot be smiley-happy or excited-happy all the time, but unless you are in the absolute deep dark pit of depression (and I have been there before), there is probably a little spring of joy lurking somewhere just underneath your conscious judgement. All you have to do is choose to find it and then drink from it!

Today is one of those days when I need to consciously remind myself to look for that hidden spring. On days when it seems the farthest, it may be closer than you think. For instance, with Spring in full bloom, there is so much beauty just outside the building I work in! All I have to do is choose to really see it instead of just walk by it everyday and never quite notice my surroundings. The simple act of living in the moment can bring much joy with it just by itself. When I start to wonder what the point of it all is, the grand oaks remind me that perhaps there doesn’t need to be a point. They have simply existed through droughts and hurricanes for a century and a half or more! Beauty exists in its own right and for its own purpose, as does perhaps life itself. There need not be a rhyme or reason to find joy in the moment. The moment itself might be your spring of joy!



The Liebster Award


Can you imagine my surprise to have been nominated for the Liebster Award barely a couple of weeks into starting my blog?? Many many thanks to Life as a Spoonie for the kind nomination, and also for the wonderful blog! It is a refreshingly honest, unadulterated view into the true feelings of a chronically ill person.

This award has some “chain mail” set of rules:

  • The award goes to new bloggers (blogging for less than 2 years and have less than 1000 followers)
  • When you are nominated, display the badge, thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog from your page
  • Answer 11 questions about yourself
  • Nominate up to 11 other bloggers for the award
  • Ask your own set of 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate
  • List the rules in your blog, and provide the nominees with a link to it so they can learn more about it

Here are the answers to the questions I was asked:

Tell us 1 piece of odd info about you.

Although I am a logical adult with black belt in karate and generally not afraid of much, the bathroom and closet doors (overlooking the bed) MUST be closed at night. Also, the lights in there MUST be off. The little gleam of light at the slit at the bottom of the doors somehow reminds of the gleam of an alien ship. All I can figure is I must have repressed (wiped out??) memories of alien abduction. Yes, I know it’s a logical improbability – that’s why it’s “odd”!

If you could live anywhere, where would that be?

A tropical island would be amazing… like Nevis or the Bahamas. Wouldn’t hurt to have a mountain on it either.

What is your favorite animal?

Fish. Does that count? Dogs come in a close second.

What type of film/tv do you like?

Mystery shows, mostly British

If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be?

Invisibility. The power of flight would be cool too. A nice combo might be if I were to become a ghost. Then I could float around without being seen.

If you could have a conversation with ANYONE living or dead, who would it be?

I can think of three: (1) The Dalai Lama, (2) Rosalind Franklin, (3) Rita Levi-Montalcini. They all achieved greatness against the face of all odds; the first as a spiritual leader, and the other two as scientists (though Franklin couldn’t get the Nobel Prize posthumously for helping to work out the structure of DNA). Their resilience and love for what they do inspire me.

Chocolate or Lemon?

Chocolate. All the way. Though lemon is nice in some things, like lemonade and chick pea curry.

If you could have any job, what would it be?

I would be love to be a professor with a genetic counseling practice on the side. I enjoy doing science and mentoring students/teaching. I think I would also like to do some outreach work as a professor. But a life in the ivory tower is not quite for me. While the job security is nice, I would like more human interaction and meaning in my work, and generally be able to feel like I can help people with my knowledge. With a Ph.D. in progress in molecular genetics and epigenetics, the genetic counseling would be an obvious choice.

If you could have a special skill, what would it be?

I would love to be able to foretell the future (if that counts as a skill). I could see that coming in pretty handy.

That, or be able to cook. I managed to go through over a quarter of my life without being able to cook anything past instant noodles and eggs. (Perks of being married to a man who loves to cook I guess!!!)

Where were you born / raised?

A small industrial town called Jamshedpur in eastern India, which has some sprawling greens and hills nearby.

If you could change 1 thing in the world (don’t overthink it, make it fun) what would it be?

(1) Make the world a less judgmental place. But that’s not very fun, so (2) Have more hotels on the sea floor with views of lovely fish and corals!

And I answered a “free” 12th question, just because I am sure almost everybody wonders about this:

Why did you start this blog?

Fibromyalgia can be a very frustrating condition in more ways than one. And developing it while in graduate school does not make it any easier. This blog is my way of taking back some control over something that can make me feel very powerless. It is also one more window into the outwardly invisible world of graduate students/scientists with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

My nominations to pass on the Liebster Award:

  1. Beyond the Masquerade
  2. Frankie Plus Me
  3. One Mountain at a Time
  4. Eccedentesiast
  5. Talking Through Life
  6. Nikki’s Confetti Life
  7. Light Everyday
  8. Loving Leisure Time
  9. Expressing the Silence of Pain
  10. jenn2dabennphotos
  11. Think Farris
  12. And a bonus 12th: Sunlight in Winter (yes, bonuses are theme for this post… somehow after teaching undergraduate freshmen for a while, you simply cannot escape the bonus bug)

And below are my 11 questions:

  • What made you start your blog?
  • Tell us a secret about yourself.
  • If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
  • What/who is your most favorite book/author of all times?
  • Think of (at least) one thing that you could be grateful for even on your worst day.
  • If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be?
  • If you could go on a date with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
  • Painting or Photography?
  • Name one thing that made you happy today.
  • If you could have a special skill, what would it be?
  • If you could change one thing in the world (don’t overthink it, make it fun) what would it be?

That’s it! Thanks again to Life as a Spoonie for nominating me. And I hope to learn more about my fellow bloggers.