Digital De-cluttering: Newsletters

Have you noticed that every store asks you for your email address as a routine part of their in-store payment process?

They claim they’re doing it because they’re going green – saving paper, trees, the environment and the Earth.

I call BS on that. You know why? Because, a week later, you will find that you have a copy of their monthly printed catalogue sitting in your mailbox. And suddenly, their email newsletter starts showing up like clockwork every week too.

I used to spend a few minutes each morning to delete all newsletters from my email inbox. I thought nothing more of it. It was part of my routine for a couple years now.

Then, as I started to look at everything in our apartment with a critical eye, asking myself the questions – What purpose does this serve? And, do I really use it? – I instinctively turned the same critical eye on my email inbox. Continue reading “Digital De-cluttering: Newsletters”

Digital De-cluttering: Newsletters

Food Log: August, 27, 2014

Yesterday I attended the start-of-year faculty meetings for Oak Hill Middle School where I am doing my National Science Foundation (NSF) teaching fellowship where I will be bringing some real science (projects) to 7th grade classrooms.

I didn’t know what my schedule would be, or what to expect, so I didn’t bring lunch with me…which, turned out to be a mistake, because I didn’t get any lunch (I’m proud to say I passed on the free supermarket cookies) until 3:00 PM. I was starving by then. It took every ounce of willpower to walk past the wonderful Jewish Barry’s Village Deli at Waban with their delicious and fatty pastrami and corned beef sandwiches to the Russian supermarket for stuffed cabbage rolls.


  • 1 chicken gordita (from local Mexican place, Antojito’s Cafe on Moody St)
  • wedding cake smoothie: 1 cup non-fat milk + 2 scoops cookies-n-cream Herbalife powder + cheesecake and white chocolate no-sugar pudding mix

Lunch: Continue reading “Food Log: August, 27, 2014”

Food Log: August, 27, 2014

Food Log: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Off to a good start. I was shocked to find out from the back of the box that each piece(!) of Haldiram’s frozen paneer tikka contains 210 calories (and 7g of protein). I unhappily put 2 out of the 4 pieces I had taken out for my snack away.


  • 1 fried egg
  • ½ cup black bean-tomato-cilantro salad
  • 1/3 avocado


  • 2 cups lentil soup (with spinach)
  • ¾ cup black bean-tomato-cilantro salad


  • 2 pieces paneer tikka kabab (420 calories)


  • ¼ cup cornbread
  • 1 Tbsp honey butter
  • 5 fries
Food Log: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

One Step Ahead and One Step Back: My Weight Loss Woes

At the start of the summer, 3 months ago, I had set up a personal weight-loss goal: lose 20 lbs through the combination of exercise and healthy eating.

20 lbs less would bring me to a healthy weight for my height and age. I did not want to be involved with any fad diets: no eliminating all gluten, or all-carb or all-fat, or all saturated fat. No South Beach diet or Mediterranean diet: nothing that I can crash and burn from.  My goal was to make good food choices and exercise portion control.

It is safe to say that I have failed – utterly and miserably.

The Fall semester starts next Tuesday, after the Labour Day long weekend and my weight has not budged. That’s not quite true. In the net, final score, my weight has actually gone up a pound and a half. It’s not that I tried to lose weight and failed. Each week, I lost some weight. My plan was working. I got cocky and became lax. And each weekend, I gained it all back. Or, I would eat more than I should have for lunch, thinking I will eat less for dinner and that it would all even out…but then, Keith would ask if I’d like to go to the local pub and I’d gorge down a burger and sweet potato fries. Continue reading “One Step Ahead and One Step Back: My Weight Loss Woes”

One Step Ahead and One Step Back: My Weight Loss Woes

Lost Cell Phone = Decluttering my Mind

A couple days ago, I thought I had lost my cell phone. I was already most of the way of the hour-long commute home when I realised.

I was wearing workout clothes and well, the sadistic people that design women’s clothing seem to all think that women have no need to easily access their ID cards, subway passes or even their cell phones. When I stuck my hand in that nifty backpack front pocket, there was no iPhone there.

I debated turning around and going all the way back. I wasn’t even sure when I had it with me last. Did I leave it in lab, in the ladies room on my floor, or lose it somewhere along the way from lab to the T-stop? A kind stranger let me call Keith from their phone. We decided that I should go home and when Keith got back from work, we would drive back into Boston and search for my phone. Continue reading “Lost Cell Phone = Decluttering my Mind”

Lost Cell Phone = Decluttering my Mind

Happiness is Home-baked Bread

I’ve been on a bread-baking kick lately, tossing out a loaf every day for the past week.

Flour, yeast, salt, water is all one needs to make a slim-n-trim baguette or a rustic boule loaf that can be hollowed out to make a bowl for French onion soup. So simple, so tasty and so much better than anything – even the premium bread – available at supermarkets, and for just a fraction of the price.

Flour, yeast, salt, water. What could be simpler? I suppose it is simpler to drive to the supermarket and buy a loaf of bread. But supermarket bread, even the more expensive, fancy loaves, don’t taste as good as a mediocre loaf of home-baked bread. Besides, Keith dotes on my home baked bread. He doesn’t mind one bit whether it was made the hard way with a starter and two rounds of kneading and two rounds of rising, or by one of the newer, no-knead breads that Jim Lahey of Sullivan St Bakery made so famous.  Continue reading “Happiness is Home-baked Bread”

Happiness is Home-baked Bread

Decisions, Decisions…Path after PhD

What do I do with my life after my PhD?

This is the question that keeps me up at night. I don’t know what the right path is.

Of course, it also means that I have options. I should be grateful. Keith didn’t have options when he joined his law firm at the peak of the recession in 2008 as a paralegal in a boutique law firm that specialised in intellectual property.

I could go the traditional route: become a post-doc for 2-3 years and keep my nose to the grindstone doing research, publishing papers and competing against tremendous odds for that tenure-track assistant professorship that will guarantee 7 more years (at the very least) of 17 hour days with few holidays in an attempt to get tenure.

I could join a big law firm as a technical specialist in their intellectual property department and eventually pass the patent bar to do the same job Keith does (and the same horrible hours) at a higher starting salary than what Keith makes 3.5 years in. Continue reading “Decisions, Decisions…Path after PhD”

Decisions, Decisions…Path after PhD