31 October, 2017

Gratitude List - Oct 2017

This month has been the most satisfying month in terms of reading, writing and managing kids. I got more time to read and I have scheduled a lot of blog posts ahead for #WriteTribeProblogger Challenge. I could participate in teaching dance to other little kids and my kids behaved well when I am busy with dancing.


1. Write Tribe Problogger Challenge
I have participated in this writing challenge and chose to post 10 #TravelTales from #Colorado. As per the challenge, I could post weekly twice this October. I am very happy and satisfied to write my travelogues and read many other blogs. Because of this challenge, I could read many wonderful posts and this is one step towards learning to write better. My blog traffic has gone up and of course, I expected it with consistent writing and sharing my content. I am grateful for being a member of Write Tribe group.

2. Dance
After a long time (2 or more years) I am going to perform on stage in November. Though it is not a classical dance which is my specialty, I am very happy to dance 3 hrs a week. I feel weak by the end of it but I feel happy too. Dancing really lifts up my mood. I am grateful to my friend and choreographer L for this opportunity.

Did I tell you? I am also teaching young kids for a performance. Though it is hard to teach kids who cannot focus on their steps more than 30 mins, I felt satisfied after a lot of practices. I know, there is a lot more to prepare them for the stage but I am amazed by the way kids are enjoying their dance steps. I am grateful to teenager N helping me with this making my job easy.

3. Pencil sketching
I am inspired by my blogger friend Shilpa Halwe and Instagram friend Siri to start drawing again. I have learned pencil sketching in my childhood and couldn't work on this art for a long time. Last week, I got time to do a pencil sketch of a landscape with my kid. I want to try Zentangle too. Many blogger friends are experts in that, so would follow their art and start learning. Drawing is a good stress buster for me though I don't have any stress lately :-)


4. Reading books
I am not accepting books for review as I am busy with other activities but there are some books that attract me to read even when I don't have time. I am getting used to kindle slowly and now I feel comfortable reading a digital copy. I did a promo post for The Everette Exorcism as I didn't have time to review, but I couldn't stop reading it. My review is coming soon. I reviewed The Story of my second marriage which didn't meet my expectations. I am currently reading 'Letters from Kargil' by Diksha Dwivedi, which is excellent. I have "The Forgotten Room" by Lincoln Child and "Empire" by Devi Yesodharan in my next to read list. I am enjoying the variety of genres and stories.


5. Get together
October is the month of celebration. With Diwali, Karthika Masam, a get together at home and my son's birthday we enjoyed time with friends. I tried my hands on cooking too and fortunately,  the dishes came well. We had a get together at home which was fun as we tried different types of South Indian tiffins this time. Now, we are gearing up for Halloween parade for tomorrow.

So, how is your October month? I wish you a happy November.

Until next time,






Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne and #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury.



30 October, 2017

Colorful Geological formations - Interpretive Paint mines, Calhan, CO, USA

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Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers




For my last #TravelTale in October for #WriteTribeProblogger Challenge, I introduce you to an offbeat location in the Northern part of Colorado.
Hoodoos PC: https://www.flickr.com/photos/snowpeak/6214045985


Around 35 miles from Colorado Springs, there is a place called Interpretive Paint mines park in Calhan. This is one of the offbeat locations and not a busy tourist place. This place with weird geological formations and sandstone hoodoos made of colorful clay and sand was existing since 9000 years ago. The native Americans used to collect clay from here to paint their faces and horses during wars.


Overall  View


Another view

This park features stone formations including spires and hoodoos which are formed by wind, water, and erosion through several years. The park has 4 miles of trails. The parking area is not very nearer, so you might have to walk some distance to reach the park.
From Parking area


Colors are not much visible here


The natural sandstone formations come in different colors from creamy white to orange to pink to gray and chocolate brown. These formations are very fragile and so this area is a protected site. But, we see that many people are climbing on the formations irrespective of the signs. Gradually, the colors are fading out with time as this is a delicate natural phenomenon.


Sunrise at the Park. PC:https://www.flickr.com/photos/davesoldano/



You can see pink and orange colors


Windmills

We visited this place in the evening on a hot summer day. The colors of the formations look great during sunset. The windmills around are also eye-catching from the spot.


On the way to Calhan


Hurray! With this post, I completed #WriteTribeProBlogger challenge successfully :-)

It was not easy! I had to schedule some of the posts a week ahead, for some of the posts, I had to write in hurry but I enjoyed writing 10 #TravelTales about #Colorado. Hope you liked them too... What do you say?

Read my other #Colorado #TravelTales below:

1. A day with flowers and gardens, Denver, CO, USA

2. Hanging lake and hot springs, Glenwood springs, CO, USA 


3. Golden leaves and Gondola rides, Aspen, CO, USA


4. Rocky mountain national park #day 1



5. Rocky mountain national park #day 2 


6. Limestone caves and cliff dwellings, Colorado springs, CO, USA


7. Unique Statues and Ice Sculptures - Loveland, CO, USA




Until next time,

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.









27 October, 2017

Breathtaking scenery and dangerous curves - Pikes Peak Highway, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

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Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers




I have written about some great places so far in Colorado, but there are many roads here which offer breathtaking scenery on the way.
Look at those curves!

We have been to some such drives - Trail Ridge road in Rocky mountain national park, Independence pass near Aspen etc., There are a few more drives in my wishlist like Million dollar highway near San Juan, Drive to Mt. Evans near Denver. One such a lovely drive was to Pikes peak summit by road. The train ride to the summit is excellent whose details you can read in this post. But, the drive by car is nothing less amazing.
Tollgate entrance

A line of trees

Pikes peak highway is a 19-mile toll road connecting Cascade to Pikes peak summit at an elevation of 14,115 ft above sea level. Along the way, you can visit North slope recreation area, Crystal creek reservoir, Historic Glen cove inn and the Summit house.
one of those turns

Scenery on the way

Admission to the highway as on 2017 is $50 per vehicle from May 1 to Nov 30 and $3 per vehicle between Dec 1 to Apr 30. Visit this site for latest information on toll fee.
View from the summit

The Summit house

The 39-mile round trip takes at least 2 hrs. There are approximately 162 turns and there is no gas station on the way. The temperature changes drastically from the base of the mountain to the summit. So, extra layers of clothing are recommended. We can spot a deer/ elk on the way. The view of curvy roads from the top looked beautiful.

The summit is famous for its delicious doughnuts. I love those doughnuts. The summit also has a gift shop and many areas to view the beautiful scenery with mountains and valley.


Pike peak summit house donuts - from Google images labeled for non-commercial reuse
On our return trip, we experienced a sleet - a rain with a mixture of water and snow pellets. It was wonderful.
Downhill in rain

So, how did you like this virtual drive?

Read my other #Colorado #TravelTales below:

1. A day with flowers and gardens, Denver, CO, USA

2. Hanging lake and hot springs, Glenwood springs, CO, USA 

3. Golden leaves and Gondola rides, Aspen, CO, USA

4. Rocky mountain national park #day 1


5. Rocky mountain national park #day 2 

6. Limestone caves and cliff dwellings, Colorado springs, CO, USA

7. Unique Statues and Ice Sculptures - Loveland, CO, USA



Until next time,









I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.




26 October, 2017

#ThursdayTreeLove - A flower that doesn't give up

Let me twist the #ThursdayTreeLove a bit. Can it be a #ThursdayPlantLove this time?

See, how beautiful this flower is! When snow drenched this plant and it is about to die, the flower didn't give up yet.

When the world says, "Give up." 
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." - Unknown


Linking this to #ThursdayTreeLove hosted by Parul.

Until next time,

The Story of my Second Marriage by Mahesh Sowani - [Book Review]

Book Details: 

Book Title: The Story of my second marriage
Author: Mahesh Sowani
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Blue Flower books
Length of the book: 146 pages
Source: A free e-review copy from the author

Blurb:
Marriage, does it really make a person happy? Or is it all about adjustments? Intense, haunting and evocative, The Story of My Second Marriage is a delightful rumination on marriage, adjustments and human nature.

My Review:
This is the story of Manjunath, a government officer hailing from rural Maharashtra. It is about his first love, marriage, problems, divorce, his friends, his second marriage to Yamini, problems, and adjustments. I have read many marriage stories in the perspective of women, but this is the first story I am reading from a man's perspective.

Manju is insecure, afraid to take risks in his life and afraid to take important decisions by himself. Even though I don't like this character personally as he forces his opinions on his wife, I can relate to this type of attitude in some men that I know. Manju divorces his first wife due to her dominating personality and fights and marries  Yamini who is also a divorcee. I didn't like that I couldn't understand the characters in the story except Manju's. Yamini lies consistently with Manju and loses his trust. Neither the reader nor Manju can understand her. Santhosh seemed like a person who uses Manju to make him marry Yamini and misguides his friend with the worst advice when Manju and Yamini have problems. But, Manju won't understand that Santhosh is misguiding him and considers him as his best friend. Manju's boss's character is also not portrayed properly. She disappears because of believing in one news about Manju from an outsider and never tries to learn the truth from Manju directly. Characterization is a major setback for this story. Another setback is grammatical errors and improper editing

The narration is ok but fluctuates between past and present without clear marking. The moral the author wants to convey is that a married couple has to reduce their expectations and forgive each other for their mistakes and move on. This is good but the author doesn't talk about the root cause of the problems between the couple.  

My Rating: 3/5

PS: I have received this e-book from the author and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Purchase Link:
 Amazon (free in Kindle as of now)

About the Author:

Mahesh Sowani is a writer, poet, book reviewer, speaker and a legal professional. He holds masters degrees in Law and Management. He was a faculty member for Master of Laws course at the University of Mumbai. He has a keen interest in yoga, meditation, English literature and financial management.

Many of his writings have been published in leading English and Marathi publications like Hindustan Times, Outlook Traveller, Maharashtra Times, Yuva Sakaal, Kalnirnay etc. He writes on his blog http://maheshsowani.blogspot.in/ He is contributing author of the books Defiant Dreams, Winged Hearts, Love Stories Around Us, Friendship Bonds Beyond Time and Unbound trajectories that changed course of life

His twitter handle is @maheshsowani and facebook profile https://www.facebook.com/mahesh.sowani


Until next time,


24 October, 2017

The Everett Exorcism by Lincoln Cole - Book Spot Light


Book Description:

Something strange is happening in the city of Everett, Washington and Father Niccolo Paladina is tasked with investigating possible demonic activity. Nothing is as it seems, however, and things quickly begin spiraling out of his control.

When his path crosses with that of an old rival, they discover that things are worse in Everett than either of them could ever have imagined. As his world collapses around him, Niccolo will be left with one terrible question: what is my faith worth?

Book Links:

Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
074DXKXCF
Barnes and N

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Everett-Exorcism-World-Shadows-ebook/dp/B074DXKXCF

Barnes and Noble (Nook)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-everett-exorcism-lincoln-cole/1126893727?ean=9781945862052

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-everett-exorcism-1

Google Play
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Lincoln_Cole_The_Everett_Exorcism?id=3NMuDwAAQBAJ

iBooks
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-everett-exorcism/id1265793581?mt=11&uo=4

Author Bio:

Lincoln Cole is a Columbus-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his pugamonster and wife. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.

He has won multiple literary awards for his novels. He has also been a bestseller in multiple different categories.

Until next time,

23 October, 2017

A beautiful chapel and Aircraft exhibits - Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Air Force Academy is one of the offbeat locations to visit in Colorado Springs. We can spend 2 to 3 hours at airforce academy.

This is an institution for undergraduate students to get a Bachelor of science degree to be commissioned as second lieutenants in United States air force after the successful completion. This also attracts more than a million tourists every year. There is no entry fee to view exhibits and the Chapel.

The 150 ft Cadet chapel is a major attraction here for its beautiful architecture. This chapel is an all faiths house of worship and there are separate chapels for 4 major religions like Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Buddhism. The chapel structure took $3.5 million to build and it is recognized as CNN's most epic churches in America.

The exhibit area contains videos and displays about the Academy's history, a hometown map, significant features of Academy, a theater and a gift shop. The theater shows a 15 min video of Academy's history, campus and about a day in Cadet's life here. It explains the four pillars of Cadet training program: Character development, Academic, athletic and military training. This facility is opened in June 1986.


After visiting the exhibits and Chapel, we enjoyed walking through a place with the statues of Aircrafts and Falcon (representing Airforce academy).

One more benefit of being in the same city as Air force academy is to see an annual air show conducted here from our house itself. Here is a snap from Airshow.



Hope you liked this virtual tour.

Until next time,







 I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

Read my other #TravelTales from #Colorado here.
1. A day with flowers and gardens, Denver, CO, USA

2. Hanging lake and hot springs, Glenwood springs, CO, USA 

3. Golden leaves and Gondola rides, Aspen, CO, USA

4. Rocky mountain national park #day 1


5. Rocky mountain national park #day 2 

6. Limestone caves and cliff dwellings, Colorado springs, CO, USA

7. Unique Statues and Ice Sculptures - Loveland, CO, USA






20 October, 2017

Unique statues and ice sculptures - Loveland, CO, USA


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers


Loveland is not a very popular place to visit but a small beautiful town in Colorado. It attracts tourists in winter for skiing. I heard the news today that Loveland ski area is open now.
In love - ice sculpture 

That eagle looked ferocious with fire 

We visited this town to attend an annual festival celebrated in winter which is called "Loveland fire and ice festival". Interesting combination right? Fire and Ice. There are many ice sculptures and models with fire demonstrated in the festival. There are live music and fireworks too on the last day.
Butterfly and a heart on fire

Cool colorful penguins made with ice

The next day, we want to see something more in Loveland before leaving the place. One place that attracted me is 'Benson sculpture garden'.
Lively

See the clarity in face

I specifically don't like statues but the collection here is unique, lively and amazing. Honestly, it is very difficult for me to choose some pictures to this post from many beautiful statues that I captured.
Children playing

How natural it is?


There is also a lake in the town 'Loveland lake' which was frozen in winter but it would have been a great place to visit in summer. 'Loveland pass' near to this town is famous for breathtaking views of mountains and valleys.

Sometimes, we underestimate a few places if they are not popular. Loveland amazed me even though we went with fewer expectations.

How do you like this place?

Until next time,




 I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

Read my other #TravelTales from #Colorado here.
1. A day with flowers and gardens, Denver, CO, USA

2. Hanging lake and hot springs, Glenwood springs, CO, USA 

3. Golden leaves and Gondola rides, Aspen, CO, USA

4. Rocky mountain national park #day 1


5. Rocky mountain national park #day 2 

6. Limestone caves and cliff dwellings, Colorado springs, CO, USA

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