Thursday, September 17, 2009

Year 2009

2009 proved to be a memorable year with a lot of hikes and camping with family and friends. This year I was able to document most of my experiences throughout the year on my blog.

I remember that one of the highlights of 2008 update was Prem’s asthma control. This year proved to be another good year for Prem, he had couple of episodes, but nothing which we could not control at home; visits to ER seemed to be a thing of the distant past. Again diet and some natural cures continue to control his triggers very well. And I am very thankful for that.

In tail end of 2008, I had an elbow injury, so I stopped playing tennis. This proved to be a big blessing, as I switched to hiking. Starting in January 1 of 2009, Rajesh who was my tennis buddy, joined me for the first time in hiking. Looking back in 2009-January album, I see that Raj Oberoi, Thomas, Deepu, Prakash, Jitu joined the group. And in the same month, Promila and Radhika started hiking too. In later months we were joined by a lot more people. There was a lot of energy in the group, and apparently hiking proved to be very addicting to most of us. People were itching to do more than Mission Peak; so we decided to do Half Dome in Yosemite as soon the cables were put up. Most of the group was able to do Half Dome on June 6. I did Half Dome second time, giving company to Som on father’s day, June 21. Hopefully, hiking Half Dome would become a tradition in the coming years. Most of you have read my blog for both the trips; if you have not, here are the links

In March 2009, Promila did Mission Peak for the first time, and I am hoping she would do Half Dome in 2010. Thanks to Promila, while I was hiking Half Dome, Prem made it to Yosemite Jr Park Ranger and Little cub. He also joined baseball Jr Giants, followed by soccer league Little Tigers. Promila accompanied Prem on most of the school trips, whether it was going to Oakland zoo or going to a play “Charlotte’s Web” at Chabot College.

Prem was finally able to climb all the way to Mission Peak on August 22. This was a very proud moment for the whole family. Prem again did it in December, a lot more easily the second time around. To read about Prem’s conquest

We went to Hiller Aviation Museum, Cal Academy of Sciences in April, followed by Prem’s favorite place, Snoopy town (in his own words) – Santa Rosa to see Charles Schulz Museum.

In May we visited Monterey Bay Aquarium and Chabot Space Museum. In June we visited Bass Lake with Maria and Mimi’s family and I was able to do Half Dome with Som at that time. In August we went camping with Raj, Ajith, Thomas and Renuka’s family at Little Basin. After that we went to New Jersey and New York for a week. I was able to meet two of my cousins – Garima and Vivek; and we were able to spend time with their families. We met Promila’s friend Jaysree and her family too, besides meeting briefly with Nidhi and her kids. Prem enjoyed NYC skyscrapers. We made a trip to San Jose Family Camp in Yosemite with Jose and Sathish’s families.

In November, I visited India for 3 weeks. It was great to catch up with family and friends. It was a great experience listening to mother’s sitar and father’s singing. I was able to do pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi with Tarun and Kapil. For that trip, see my blog at

Promila’s parents visited again this year. Promila and Prem was able to have some fun time with them. While I write this today, we are at Lake Tahoe resort enjoying snow on Christmas. We did some snow play and sledding with Sathish’s family. To steal from one of my earlier blog –
Somebody once said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” This was one such year, where there were plenty of such moments, literally, while pulling up the cables on Half Dome, being chased by the bear, looking at the Giant Sequoia trees, reading what Prem wrote for ‘Father of year’ entry, taking oath to become US Citizen, Prem & Promila completing Mission Peak hike, looking at tile mural at Charles Schulz Museum made from cartoon strips, listening to mother play Raga Yaman on Sitar, Papa sing, sliding down in snow on sled in Tahoe.

For year2009 in pictures, please visit

Happy holidays and we wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2010, filled with laughter and joy.
with love (Prem)
Promila - Maneesh

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

San Jose Family Camp

Thanks to Jose, we were able to enjoy the San Jose Family Camp. Do not confuse it with camping, as you are provided with tent, bed, electric outlets and great food with lots of selection. Yes, there was no cooking or cleaning involved at all. It was truly geared towards ensuring that you enjoy as a family.

With 5 boys ranging from 3-7, it was lot of fun for Prem. Camp grounds offer variety of activities for kids and adults, like Tetherball, Ping Pong, Archery, camp fire and hiking to Rainbow Falls. Of course, we did it all. Our team, Prem, Jonathan and myself won the Ping Pong tournament and were awarded with Ice Creams. I soon found out though archery might look easy and a lot of fun, it took me three tries to get a hang of it. On my first trial, I hit only 1 arrow, second try Zero and third 4 out of 5. For record, women did better than men here, which was not a surprise as they were better coordinated, flexible and more open towards learning something new.

Besides, there was a stream which went through the camp grounds, and this was where we spent a lot of our time. Again, thanks to Jose, we all were able to enjoy the boat and tube. And as you can imagine, it was a lot of fun to soak each other. Jose ensured that nobody felt left out and we were all drenched multiple times by end of the day.

After the campfire and marsh-mellows, kids slept quickly, and between 5 of us, we emptied 3 wine bottles; though women would naturally argue that between me, Satheesh and Jose we finished it. The discussion was very pleasant, when we started talking about drinking shots and throwing up. Jose shared some ‘throwing up’ photos at the right moment. Needless to say, we did not drink anymore after that.

Promila and Sebi failed to understand as why men drink shots and then suck on lime to overcome queasy feeling? Where is the fun in this? Is it just a typical boy thing to show off that one can do it or how much alcohol one can hold? Well, I know that it is more typical for boys to play and enjoy competitive sports; that’s the way they learn and relate. I would not be surprised, there may soon be Tequila Shot competition on ESPN, now that they have Live Poker on it.

Again there was confusion on as why certain people throw up but not others. It seemed that Satheesh had PhD in this area as he explained the science behind it, that it depended on a lot of factors, as what you had eaten before drinking, how long ago you had eaten, body temperature, intervals between the shots, air temperature, music blaring/spouse yelling and smell of trashcan/restroom. He further explained that drinking of oil before could increase your capacity to hold more liquor. Jose modestly concluded the discussion that it generally takes him one drink to get loaded. Trouble is, he can't remember if it's the thirteenth or fourteenth.