Friday, April 29, 2016

Pop!

"These are great pants! I love them!" Said the lady crossing paths with me at the university and smiling. 

"Thanks!" I reply, also smiling now. And I didn't even have time to say, "Yeah, I got them in the girl clothes' section at Target!" ;-)

I'm not afraid to wear bright colors, that's for sure! And while hot pink is not one of my favorite colors, I'll gladly wear it:
Written on Wednesday 4/27.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My "Baby" is Back Home & My Parents Arrived Safely in the U.S.

On Sunday night, my 14 year-old son returned from a six-day trip to Florida with his school's bell choir. We all missed him so much! (especially mama here, sigh...) He's a joy to be around and I'm thrilled that he's back, ready to experience his last month of Elementary school. His 8th grade graduation is precisely a month from today. I am so proud of the young man he is becoming, so responsible, so poised, so intelligent and determined. When they get their yearbooks I'll share here what I wrote to him there. It was hard to write only 150 words.

This morning my parents arrived safely in the U.S., flying into NY and then taking a connecting flight into D.C. I'm sad that they won't arrive at our house until next week because they will be helping my aunt with my uncle Oseas, my dad's younger brother. He was left permanently disabled by the removal of a benign brain tumor back in 2009 and needs around-the-clock care. My aunt is taking this opportunity of my parents coming to take a break for a week traveling with her sister.

It feels very strange to have them in the country and not to have even talked to them yet. My mom thinks it's unnecessary for me to go see them now, especially because we're horribly busy with the last week of our semester. I wanted to go see them on Saturday, but we have an event with our church, so maybe we'll go Saturday afternoon. Sigh...

I can't believe the semester is almost over!

Friday, April 22, 2016

I forgot to blog about Brasil...

Last Sunday, after a weekend of upheaval in the Brazilian Congress -- speeches ALL NIGHT from Friday to Saturday and all day Saturday, arguing pro and against impeaching the current president Dilma Rousseff -- they voted to begin impeachment proceedings.

I watched/listened to the voting live while I pulled weeds from my backyard for hours! It was very entertaining and very depressing, all at the same time. 

(Since I'm writing this on my phone, I was going to insert various sadness and frustration emoticons here, and then thought that those aren't really part of blog writing... Sigh! Texting and social media commenting are ruining our writing, no?) :-( 

It was depressing, almost alarming to watch the vote, because it was a true snapshot of the population of the country. Many uneducated folks, making errors while speaking, invoking the most disparate reasons for voting "Yes" and "dedicating" their votes to every member or their family in shameless family and self promotion (a very Brazilian thing BTW).  An analysis of their "speeches" would enable a researcher to find out the most popular baby names in the country for the past 10-20 years (Sophia is wildly popular).

The representatives against the impeachment, many from the president's party (the Worker's Party), and every single member of the Communist Party, were in the minority's and were, for the most part, very articulate, unlike the riotous majority. Oh, and it was a circus, the voting was!! Booing, screaming, crowding around the microphone, insulting the president of the Congress/Speaker of the House (also being indicted for corruption), not to mention the crazy "celebrity" representatives-- this guy who won the Big Brother Brazil competition who spat (yes, spat!!) on another guy who dared praise a horrid torturer from the military dictatorship years (the man who tortured Dilma Rousseff). 

Sigh... It was interesting to see the reaction of all my friends on Facebook, ashamed of the spectacle, of our country. I had friends who were very happy with the results (367 in favor of the impeachment, 137 against) and had actually gone to watch with the crowds in the center of the city of São Paulo. 

Now the Senate will decide whether to impeach her or not, but it's pretty much a fait accompli, it's a given that she'll be impeached. And nobody knows what is going to happen because the vice-president is also implicated in the corruption scandal as well as the "speaker of the house," Eduardo Cunha who was insulted countless times on Sunday, but still maintained a "Cheshire Cat-like" grin most of the time. 

Sigh... What will happen to our country? :-(

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Your own kind of beautiful

I couldn't resist and bought this for me a couple of months ago. It hangs right next to my closet!

Oh, and somedays, one's hair is just cuter than on other days! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

On being "cute"

I don't know what got into me, but I felt like writing this post.
 
I am kind of cute. You can tell me that I'm "beautiful" all you want, and I respect your opinion, but I know the truth.

There are "drop-dead-gorgeous" people (extremely rare), there are not-very-good-looking people and then there are millions of us in the middle, kind of cute, almost pretty, pleasant looking, but not really beautiful. 

I had a keen awareness of this from a very young age for two reasons (and I am being as vague as possible on purpose). My younger brother is one of those truly good looking people and everyone told me that I looked like someone and my honest assessment was that that person wasn't beautiful.

Sigh... this is not a big deal and I am very self-confident, I love my body (for the most part), my curls, my cute derrière and I know that, all things considered, I look pretty good. In addition being small and relatively skinny (and fitting into clothes sold to teenage girls) makes lots of people jealous (some of whom don't hesitate to tell me so to my face).

Oh, and there's this small detail, I'm EXTREMELY photogenic -- I am one of those lucky folks that looks really good in photos, always. But looking good in photographs (which is where some of you may gather your idea that I'm beautiful) does not mean that a person is indeed beautiful.

I don't know where I am going with this, so I know I shouldn't even be writing it (whatever!), but I've been thinking about this often lately. When I see people with gorgeous long hair, which I know I can't ever have or when I catch a glimpse of one of those rare gorgeous folks. Or when I wake up and look in the mirror and think I look "ugly" that day (I know, NOT true! But some days are harder than others).

I have also had these funny conversations with my husband, who is definitely also cute. When he praises my beauty I tease him a little and say that I'm merely "cute" and that I'm special to him for other reasons, not just my physical "beauty." And I joke with him that none of us could have married a truly "beautiful" person, that we're the perfect fit in terms our appearance.

Last, but not least, I love cute clothes and outfits, so I often look "cute" because of what I wear. I've wanted to blog about clothes and fashion forever and maybe someday I will. I'll let you know if I do!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

He skipped two whole sizes! ;-)

Two years ago, when my eldest son had turned 12, the pediatrician warned me: "Buy him only one pair of pants and one pair of shoes because he's going to be growing like crazy in the coming year!"

I laughed to myself because I have always bought my boys multiple pairs of pants, shorts, polo shirts (their school wear), but thankfully they generally have only one pair of sneakers and one pair of dress shoes (ok, until size 4 youth they also had another pair of brown or khaki color dressy shoes, I like them to look sharp in church every week!).

The pediatrician wasn't kidding. Once Kelvin started growing, he grew like ...whoa! Last year in the Spring he went through 3 pairs/sizes of dress shoes in five months, and because he was performing with his bell choir and school band & choir I had to get him new ones every time – good thing his younger brother gets to wear every single one!

This year it was pants that he outgrew at an outstanding pace. I bought and had to return several pairs, to Kelvin's great triumph and delight! He would try a brand new pair of pants and it would be tight! 
He went from size 12-14 khakis (which he mostly wears to perform with the bell choir) straight to 18 -- 16 wouldn't fit him! At least size 16 jeans are ok (for now). Well, I better check his black pants before he leaves on his Florida tour with the bell choir next week!!

This was written 2 days ago, & didn't publish for some reason.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Letting Go...

just a quick update to say I decided not to go to Ohio. (a few people asked me off blog about that)

:-(

It's hard to let go, but in this case I just had to. It would be too great an expense without funding from the university. Sigh...

Someday I'll go to Columbus and meet Dawn, Jenna, maybe even Amber! AND -- I really need to visit two other places in the same trip: Pittsburgh and Cedar Point!! I've always dreamed of going to Cedar Point.

Let's dream on.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

New Book! Catastrophic Happiness

[photo to be added tomorrow]
Gone are the "good old days" when I'd get books before their release date to review on my blog.

Sigh...

I was thrilled to find out that Catherine Newman (of Ben & Birdy fame) was going to publish a new book! I was a faithful reader of the Raising Ben (Then Ben & Birdy) Baby Center column and I loved her first book, Waiting for Birdy.

Catastrophic Happiness: Finding Joy in Childhood's Messy Years, arrived today and although I have only read for about an hour, I really love it.


I will write a proper review after I've finished reading it, but for now, I just wanted to register my happiness in getting a book on the day of its publication!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Watching Figure Skating! --> Silver!!

I don't know if the Americans will earn a medal and make "history" tonight, but I'm enjoying watching figure skating! 

 10:56 pm--> Ashley Wagner won silver! 

Oh no! Gracie fell, that's sad.

I don't think they can win because one of the Russians scored the highest free skate performance ever. 

Well, let's see! 

I'm glad that the 9 year "drought" of world championship medals is over for American women skaters! 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Really Hard Decision: Conference & Blogger Meet-Ups

One of the unintended consequences of leaving U#1 is losing my academic conference funding. It was one of the "perks" that I really enjoyed and didn't even take enough advantage of in the past few years when I was working at both universities (given my difficulty with not being able to find substitutes during the regular school year at U#2 & its lack of support).

I don't know what I was thinking when I submitted a paper proposal to one of my favorite conferences (the Kid lit one) without realizing that I wouldn't have funding to go. The deadline to register for the conference is tomorrow, so I have to decide whether I am going or not.

The saddest part is that I had decided to go to this conference no matter what because going there would enable me to meet up two bloggers/former bloggers that I really love (Dawn & Jenna), I was really looking forward to that! :-(

It's a hard decision to make because this trip will mean expenses that I probably shouldn't have. I also wish I could take my parents with me (that was part of the original plan) because they love getting to know new places... or, go with the family to Cedar Point and also visit Pittsburgh (which is on the way), since I've never been there.

Yeah, a hard decision and almost no time to make it. I kept putting it off too... :-(

(I truly hate money, I wish money wasn't such a "problem")

Monday, March 28, 2016

My car hit a bird! :-(

And I'm so, so sad! :-(

I could see its wings flailing desperately in the middle of the road through therearview mirror. I don't know if it died or not, but it probably did... :-(

First thing in the morning too...

I'm upset. May the rest of the day be better. For me, you, and everyone we love. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Busiest Craziest Semester

We are horribly busy this semester. It's all kinds of overwhelming! Sigh...

And soccer season just started (practices, games in a week), I don't know how we'll survive the next six weeks! My dear parents will arrive precisely when classes end for me and K and the craziness subsides -- good for them!!

K is teaching three classes instead of his regular class, so he has extra preps, an extra night class and no free time of any kind. He just had two back to back conferences and we're still recovering. So, what's the best way for recovering than to have ten people come visit for the weekend?

We had 8 come in 2014 and it was a record, but this will blow the previous record. BIL's family is coming from Montreal (can't wait to see my "baby" nephew!) and a childhood friend of mine is coming along, with her husband and three children. To top it off, my BIL who live in Egypt is defending his doctoral thesis today (YAY! Good for him!) in Michigan and will come tomorrow. I know it will be great, but it's not easy to juggle this with having to teach today and tomorrow.

Oh yeah, and our boys have their Spring break next week! :-( I suspect they will spend a lot of time playing Minecraft and -- good thing for my poor teen who has slept SO little in the past month --
hopefully getting lots of sleep. (He wasn't here last weekend -- he went to a robotics competition in TN and before that he spent a lot of time preparing for it with his team).

Well, Spring is here and I should rejoice that it's only six more crazy weeks!! (technically 5+ finals)