Monday, July 21, 2014

We're Going Green(er)!!! After All, we're not very Fit anyway! ;-)

I'm so excited! 

We're buying a Prius -- which we thought we couldn't afford -- and we're going to save so much on gas! And be a bit greener too!  

We saw a shiny, fairly new Fit (2010) with only 21,000 miles, but it was more than we wanted to pay (13K). The 2008 Prius has 75,000 miles, but it's only 11K, precisely what we'd planned to spend! YAY!!! 

I'll post a photo tomorrow -- it's blue, not my favorite color (green, rare on cars), at least it's colorful!! I hope the boys will like it! I'm sooooo excited! It's so fancy, all computerized. 

Welcome to the future, right!!? If only we could afford a Tesla! ;-) we spent a fun time looking at them at the super fancy mall when we were in "Mickey Mouth" in Florida on my birthday -- that wast husband's smart silly joke, can you guess the town's name?  

The Car Saga Continues... Better Fit or Prius?

We missed buying the two cars we saw on Thursday (only K) and Friday, both of us -- we were waiting to hear from the Friday car guy (we offered but he had already gotten another offer) before we made an offer to the Thursday one and, of course!!, both cars sold to other people. :-(

They were Fits, 2009 & 2010 and with 36K and 39K miles respectively and now the standards are SO high that I'm afraid we'll never find the right car in the next two weeks -- which is the window of time we have in order not to have to rent a car to travel to Montreal in early August!!

That's why we're also looking at the Prius. One with good mileage is more expensive than the Fit, but if we can't get the exact Fit (pun intended) we might as well go with the Prius which is also a car we want.

I hope we'll succeed, we were pretty bummed last night when we got the messages about the other two cars being sold! Wish us luck! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 18, 2014

46 Years Ago...

warning: this is the "exclamation mark" post, OK? I will try to use less of them as I finish writing, but you have been forewarned! ;-) parents got married in Curitiba, Parana (Brasil)! (one photo here)

My uncle Hugo married them on his birthday, he was turning 35 and today was his 81st birthday!

I was talking to my mom on the phone about their wedding earlier this evening and she said that my aunt Ofélia (the oldest of my dad's four sisters) congratulated mom on facebook and wrote "I never met someone again  that lost their shoes on their wedding day!" And my mom said that she didn't even remember that -- but it was a big (super stressful) part of her day!

The last time I heard the full story was years ago, but we should have her tell it to all of us sometime soon again. And we also need to have the 16 mm movie of that day turned into a DVD!!

In today's phone call I was asking if the lost shoe had made her late, but no, it wasn't that, something else delayed her wedding for an hour! I'll get to that in a minute, but first, a few anecdotes about that day.

My mom had purchased the shoe and left it inside her wardrobe, but one day her older sister decided to organize the clothes and she had the "bright" idea of hanging the shoe (which was in a stringed bag) from one of the hangers. Unfortunately when the wedding day came my mom just couldn't find the shoe and to her chagrin and stress she had to go buy another one!

Another funny story is that my paternal grandmother wanted to make her son, the groom, look beautiful, so she got this bottle of perfume and reportedly poured the whole thing on my dad! He then went and took another shower to try to get rid of some of the strong scent.

I'm sure there were many other things, but the real "scandal" according to my mom was that she was really late for the wedding ceremony (about an hour) -- something unheard of and very rude at that time, she told me. The problem is that they needed to be married by a justice of the peace first and my dad's uncle was going to be the notary public in the civil ceremony. It turns out that the notary uncle was told to go to my mom's brother Paulo's house for the civil marriage, but he didn't know that Paulo had moved so he went to Paulo's old house, waited for an hour and then went back home. It took everyone a long time to figure out where the notary had gone and by then the justice of peace had left! They signed all the papers anyway after the notary uncle showed up because there couldn't have been a religious ceremony without the civil one having taken place. My mom said that they could have annulled their marriage afterwards because no justice of peace had been present!

Needless to say they never did that and 46 years they are still very happy together. Happy Anniversary, mom and dad! I'm sorry there was so much stress on your wedding day!

Better Fit than Not, right? Car shopping adventures begin!

I briefly mentioned earlier this month that we're having trouble with our old minivan, so I wanted to do an update and let you know that we're actually car shopping right now, sigh...

We decided (last year, in fact) to buy a Fit & later on save to buy a Prius since we need  to cars -- for now we'll keep using the Hyunday Accent that we bought in 2012 & I never blogged about 'cause I needed to take a photo! I suppose we'll be done with the bigger cars for several reasons (mostly cost) and we will all miss our dear old Odyssey like crazy! :-(

K saw a car 1h30 from here last night and we're scheduled to see another one a little closer in about an hour. This guy put this car on Craigslist last night and he has FOUR people to see it today*, so... yeah, I don't know what our chances are. Maybe it's not meant to be! I'll keep you posted!

* It seems like today is not our day, right? We also got this mysterious letter from the IRS indicating something may be wrong (like we didn't pay our taxes -- WHAT?!). I'm freaking out thinking "identity theft." Hopefully it's nothing!

Back to Real Contingency -- Full Time Employment is NO MORE

I received the "offer" letter just now from U#2's HR. I knew it was coming, but still, I shed a few tears and  I'm livid and I'm angry and I'm devastated. Most of all, I'm as angry as can be.

I had put off for as long as possible even contacting the chair of the department, but maybe I should have contacted hir.

It's a one semester contract for half of what they pay a full-time person a year. That means that if they change their minds due to enrollment and decide to "give" me three classes in the Spring (they're probably going to give me only two) I will have effectively have been full time for a year but WITHOUT BENEFITS.

In fact, because I teach two FIVE CLASS-HOUR meetings (4 credit) classes, BEING PAID FOR THREE CREDITS (their flat rate for a class), if I teach two classes in the Spring I WILL HAVE WORKED the equivalent hours of FULL-TIME at this university. (At least this semester I'm not driving 152 miles  every day because I'm not teaching five days a week for 50 minutes each class, I'm teaching 4 days with longer classes on Tuesday/Thursday -- still too many hours teaching for the pay).

Sigh... OK, I'm done, I can write no more without screaming non stop here. I know I will calm down very quickly and that I will write the chair a very calm email, but still... This is unfair and horrible and I knew it was coming, but I was still unprepared.

And the reason why I didn't even contact them was that I was pretty confident it wouldn't help at all.

Thanks for listening. And bear with me next semester as the "Working in the Margins" label gets filled with angst & a hint of despair.

Ha Ha...

I hate academia, why am I still in it?? WHY? (There is a short answer: because I don't want/can't have a 9-5 job and I want to do "kind of" what I prepared for with that useless phd I don't regret).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

From Gates to Jobs & back to Gates

Last week we finally broke down and bought a desktop computer -- our second Dell and our third desktop ever, the first one was a Gateway that we bought in 1998 and used for eight years! Our old Dell from 2006 was obsolete and had become useless since it couldn't go online after we moved to this house in 2011 (there's no phone jack in our office!).

After buying my very first Macbook Pro back in 2012 I thought that our new computer would be an iMac, but unfortunately we can't afford that. In addition, after two years as a Mac user, but not a Mac "convert," I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my inability to back up my photos (I still have 25,000+ photos that I have to dig from the dungeon that is iPhoto in my macbook and save into an external hard-drive and to another computer -- ARGH!!).

I enjoy a lot of features of the macs and I'm addicted to my iPhone, but, ultimately, I still prefer to use a desktop over a laptop (much more ergonomic and easier to type, etc) and we desperately needed a new computer in the house now that the boys are into Minecraft (we're very late adopters into most everything! ;-), so... back to PC-land!

I will confess that working on this desk with this old monitor again does bring some unpleasant flashbacks of those crazy dissertating days (hey, YEARS!)  from 2005-6 and 2008! The worst part, I suppose is that I still feel 100% like I would do it all over again!! Sigh...

Because of this latest project I will probably spend lots of time sitting at this desk and typing in this keyboard in the next week or two, so I think I'll have many more feedbacks. The truth is that I really really missed working on a desktop in these past three years! I had an iMac in my office at U#2 and I used it as often as I could, but I was pretty much tethered to the macbook at home.

I still want to own an iMac, but I don't see us being able to afford one any time soon. Sigh...

OK, last, but not least, I suppose my fondness for desktops can be compared to my preference for books over e-readers (not that I've ever used a Kindle), but I suppose that's a pretty uneven comparison. Gotta go do some more translating now!

P.S. hopefully now I will be able to post more photos. And let's see if I'll miss Apple!!

P.S.2 I had some trouble installing Office, but I must say that Microsoft's customer support is pretty stellar! And I don't think I ever have to pay extra for it, like with Apple Care. Ha! I'm sure I'll come back to this subject again, should I create a label for that?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I had to create a new label for this post -- translating!

I suppose it's because in the past 10 years since I started blogging I didn't do whole a lot of translations whereas in graduate school I translated  and interpreted a lot through a center in my university. I am not a certified translator, but I have lots of experience from those years translating professionally and think I do a pretty good job (sorry about the lack of modesty!).

I needed to share this here because in the next few weeks, possibly even months, I have a HUGE translation job to accomplish. This local company contacted my department at the university many months ago and the chair gave them my email address so we began to talk about this project. We met, I gave them a quote and they decided to give me the job.

So, it turns out that I'll have a "summer job" that I'm hoping won't extend too much into the semester or else I'll go crazy! And I also hope that the IRS doesn't keep too big a chunk of the sum I am going to be paid... yeah, they'll probably keep a few thousand. :-( 

(I totally don't mind paying taxes, but it's way easier when they're taken from your pay check and don't have to be paid by myself as will be the case with this freelance project, sigh...)

I haven't started the project yet, but I will soon. It's hundreds of pages of a very technical user's manual. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Amateur Blogging is Dead & That's So Sad! (ironic, but sincere, silly rhyme)

My bloggy friend MemeGRL (or O whom I met IRL [in real life] at a "blogger meet up" dinner at Lauren's house before I read her blog, same thing with my friend Anjali) titled her post "Having No Readers is Freeing," but I don't know if I agree, probably not exactly, though I suppose it can be true! I can write anything if I'm "freed" from an audience, right? Nah...

For me, the feeling of having no readers anymore is depressing. I have decided, however, -- together with Jo(e) and then JaneB -- that I'll be one of "The Last (Amateur) Blogger Standing" -- before I even had the word Amateur to add to that sentence -- thanks O, I like to be called "amateur blogger!" ;-)

Here's what O wrote:
Ah, the end of the age of amateur blogs. It was fun to be here while the form morphed and I enjoyed it. I'm not stopping what I'm doing--it absolutely serves the purpose I meant it to serve. But it is strange watching my Feedly depopulate.
I love that first sentence and I borrowed the idea for my post's title. Anyone else wants to join our little band of "last amateur bloggers standing"? 

As for me, I simply feel sad to see the community that I had become part of when I started this blog disappear. It also saddens me to be posting so infrequently now that I don't get the feedback (however little) that I used to get. It's very comforting to think that at least two of my "IRL" friends and one family member read this blog (they are also bloggers -- sorry, too many links already in this post, I don't feel like adding more, just woke up from a nap, still exhausted from yesterday's wedding). It's also cool that once in a while I'll get a commenter that I hadn't seen before (like JaneB).

My need for blogging hasn't really diminished and like O says, it does still serves the purposes I want and need -- in this case, a space to reflect upon my life and to record significant events, a kind of public journaling (duh, pretty obvious, right?).

So I'm not quitting because I love it. And if I can have a small group still around, I suppose I'll be happy. But I will forever be missing those other relationships that were forged via blogs even though I'm in touch with a lot of those people on facebook. I miss you lots and lots everyday, M, Anastasia, Professing Mama, Dawn, Aliki, (and Anjali too), etc. Sigh... I'll stop or I'll get too nostalgic!

And I'm thrilled that those of you appearing weekly on my side-bar feed are still around for the ride!

I Missed the World Cup Final Game Because...

... we had to be at our friends' wedding that started at the same time as the game!! :-(

Well, maybe you wouldn't care, but for me, and for many people around the world who really love and enjoy watching the World Cup this is/was extremely exasperating!

When I found out the date of their wedding (the day after missing the engagement party which my family attended last December) I immediately texted both the bride and groom and told them that they should be aware that they had scheduled it for the day of the final!! How could they do that?

But they didn't care!! :-( And then, they got really, really lucky because Brasil (sorry, I will follow my practice on FB & will use the Portuguese spelling here) was not in the final after that devastating loss.*

We love these friends dearly, though, and because of some complex circumstances (her dad being against their relationship & marriage and not providing any financial support), they needed all of their friends to come together to help them, her mom, and his parents and family so they could have the wedding of their dreams. (she's in her first year of medical school and really wanted/needed to get marry this summer, precisely in the middle of her 4 week break)

So... yeah, not only were we at the wedding, but we and three other families (including my only local Brazilian friend) were "honorary families" and we were actually honored in the ceremony by being escorted by the groom and walking in (and then, immediately going to the cafeteria adjacent to the church to finish preparing the food -- we didn't even get to take photos with the bride & groom! ;-( ).

Sigh... I'm writing all this because I'm really, really exhausted after we edited their reception video until 3 am last night after I'd gone to four stores to buy ingredients to make punch. I was responsible for all the drinks of the reception and I didn't stop spooning sherbet into lemon-lime soda for about 3-4 hours. Sigh...

And I want to sleep, but my husband is watching the game online. An excellent game, a CLASSIC final with Argentina vs. Germany, so of course I'm blogging!

In case you're not aware of it, most if not ALL people in Brasil were rooting for Germany and against Argentina -- isn't that crazy? Brazilians are so "anti-Argentina" that it's almost annoying. The BBC published/posted an article explaining this phenomenon.

OK, I'm all over the place, as always! I want to try to post some photos of the wedding as well as more commentary on the world cup (interesting links), I hope I can do that!

P.S. It was a beautiful wedding and reception (though it was positively exhausting!)...

* I wanted to write more about that, at least share a bunch of links. For now I will just say that during our drive back on Thursday I thought more about the game, felt very very sad and shed a few tears. But my husband told me to stop and said I could only cry SEVEN tears, one for each goal, ha ha ha :-( really dark humor! In any case, I probably did cry only about seven tears, it was a pretty short-lived outpouring of grief!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Most Shocking Result Ever!

Or "the worst day in the World Cup ever" or something like that. Not my words at all, but those of ESPN's announcers.

Today experienced announcers who have been covering World Cups for years and years lost their voices, had no words, were momentarily speechless. There was no way to explain what happened -- it had never happened before quite like that! It defied World Cup history and peoples expectations, all at the same time!

And what could we say to our boys? Particularly the 10 year old who really likes soccer? "Son, this has never happened before, they've never played so badly!" "Don't be upset, there will be other World Cups, maybe they'll do better in the future!"

I was ten years old as well back in 1982, the first World Cup I remember watching. We cried and felt traumatized when Brasil lost to Italy in the quarterfinals. My little brother was inconsolable, poor thing! But there was a crucial difference! (Many, in fact) That team was absolutely wonderful! They played marvelously, artistically, beautifully and reminded he country of he team from the 70s. Zico, Eder, Sócrates, Falcão, Cerezo, were great!!!

This year we had no team, really. A few good players, but they were not a cohesive unit, with technique as well as talent. Utterly frustrating! Add to that a coach who prized emotion above all and used really bad techniques to try and motivate the team (like playing videos of poor orphaned children and saying that they were going to "save" the country and it's people). The pressure of playing at home was too great and they were ill prepared!

Yeah... They'd barely made it to the semifinals, that's the truth, but that still doesn't explain he humiliating defeat 7 X 1. My personal explanation has to do with lack of training and, particularly, nerves! I kept joking that While the German have nerves made of "titanium" Brasil has nerves of tissue paper! 

My brother thinks it was a sinister fluke that led them to suffer 4 goals in literally SIX minutes!! Fluke or no fluke, it was pretty embarrassing!!

And I hope that it never happens again!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

South American, European or Mixed World Cup Final?

I love the World Cup, but some negative interactions I had on the Facebook chat (messenger) on the eve of my birthday left a bitter taste in my mouth (it was this childish 60 year old guy from Church married to a Colombian lady who knows nothing about soccer and yet took upon himself to harass & annoy me insisting that Brazil had "robbed" Colombia... Sigh... I should just block this guy!).

Brazil, Germany, Argentina & the Netherlands are the four teams left in the World Cup, so there are three options for a final: all-European: Germany vs. Netherlands; all-South American: Brazil vs. Argentina or a mixed final with either of them. 

We'll see how Brasil (that's the Portuguese spelling) will do today! I'm pretty nervous! And I'm also leery of watching games on a hotel room! Back in 2010 we were in a hotel in Atlanta & Brasil lost to the Netherlands! :-( I hope it won't happen again today! It's not the same hotel chain, let's see if that helps!!

I don't know if I can enjoy posting on Facebook during this game if I don't block that guy... Sigh...

Wish us luck! ;-)


I had a lovely birthday! We drove 1,000 miles so I could be with one my my oldest and dearest friends and it was so worth it! 

We went out, spent time together, ate and our kids played together as well, it was great!! More later!

Oh, and my birthday is always on a pretty date which was prettier this year 'cause 7+7=14!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Beach Blogging!

It's a canal beach (safer for our friends' little kids), but still a beach! 

And we're thrilled to be here!! Photos to follow later when I'm using wifi!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Driving South towards... A hurricane? (edited!)

We have dear friends in Florida and every couple of years we like to visit them. I was already blogging when we started this "tradition," so I can actually add links for personal reference!

1) The first trip was in August 2006 (here's the announcement and some photos of the boy, the sea and the sunset -- we did lots, went to a water park and to Sea world and to the beach a lot!);
2) in December 2008 we had a nice winter trip, but I was overwhelmed by my University of Phoenix gig and didn't post any more.
3) In November 2010 we spent "Thanksgiving at the Beach" after a Star Wars marathon watching and a visit to Sea World!
4) The fourth, and last, was K's family "reunion" holidays in Orlando in 2011-2, we went to the beach, to Disney (1 park, 1 day) and enjoyed time with family in a house with a pool!
The best trips are when we go come in the Winter and get to enjoy lovely warm weather, but we don't mind going coming in the summer, especially because our friends live near very nice beaches (photos here - I'll add later).

When we planned this trip we never imagined that maybe we won't get to enjoy the beach because there's a storm headed to FL! :-(
edited to add: it seems like hurricane Arthur is going up the coast headed North, YAY!

It will still be lovely to see our friends, though! After all we're traveling to see them and so I can spend my birthday with one of my best friends and her family!

I'm hoping we can still get to use all those beach clothes we packed, though! Let's see what happens!

P.S. after editing the post and adding links I'm convinced that we'll "have" to go to Sea World once more. Both boys can ride the roller coasters now, I think!

The World Cup, NPR & Facebook

I was thrilled to see that the U.S.'s World Cup game yesterday was all over NPR this morning!

I haven't been blogging much, but I've been extremely active on Facebook (which I otherwise don't like) during World Cup games & I'm having a blast!!! 

There's nothing like real-time interactions with far away friends to help me not to be so nervous during Brazil's games and to have fun during the other ones!

And because I truly enjoy soccer, it's a delight to be interacting with friends who are also fans! Every four years I fully enjoy  a month of soccer frenzy and this year it's better because the TV shows beautiful images of my country, a win-win situation!! 

OK, let's hope Brazil doesn't get eliminated (like the US) on Friday!

Monday, June 30, 2014

54 Versus 540

I just renewed my parking permit for U#1 online. So easy, YAY! (in previous years I've done in in person, so much more troublesome!)

Yeah, it's precisely 10% of what I pay for my U#2 permit which made me so upset a while ago. :-(

What can I say? At least one of the schools I (marginally) work for charges me a reasonable rate for parking! Sigh...

An Automotive "Sign"

You guys know that we own very very old cars. In fact, we're nearly "famous" for our old cars -- our mechanic says we are the clients who own the oldest cars of his whole clientele and that he actually does tell some clients about us (in positive terms, as in, "I know these people who have these old cars and they're fine!" ;-)

In any case, after driving all the way to South Carolina and then back up to Philadelphia with our beat up Honday Odyssey (292K miles!), we had decided to risk it and to drive to Florida with it. Thankfully, on Thursday we had a "sign" that this would not be a good idea!

The car has been making a strange "weak engine" noise when the air conditioning is on and we stop at intersections. When we turn off the AC the engine returns to normal. Last week, however, I turned off the AC but then the car died. When I restarted the engine now it was making that noise and feeling like it was going to die during normal driving (except on the highway when it was perfectly fine). It was a bit scary! It died a couple more times on Friday, so we decided we can't risk it and are renting a car to drive to Florida...

Oh well, it's better be safe than sorry, right? I'm excited we're going to Florida!! We'll visit friends and go to the beach. YAY!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Accidental 'World Premiere' Viewing - "The Pool Master"

Last Saturday night I wanted to watch "World Cup Tonight" and the compact version of that day's soccer games and while I waited for ESPN to start showing soccer, I started watching "The Pool Master" in the Discovery Channel (it's actually produced by Animal Planet). It was fascinating to watch this eccentric British man "talk" to boulders and have them removed in order to make a natural looking pool.

What I had no idea whatsoever is that I was watching the show's premiere! I decided to google it tonight and couldn't believe when I found that out! Another show I enjoyed last Saturday was Tree House Master. Here's a preview:
Too bad in a month we'll cancel cable and I won't be wasting precious hours watching a bunch of contractors led by a crazy visionary building pools for other people anymore! ;-)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

On the Road Again!

Now it's K's turn to have a conference and this time were headed to our old stomping grounds in Philadelphia. 

It was good to be home for 36 hours and for a brief period I felt like I wanted to stay home longer, but the feeling doesn't last long -- I was literally born and raised to travel and my sons have too! 

I feel slightly bad for our cats who are mostly confined to the garage when we travel (when we're home I let them out daily), but I know they'll be ok.

We had to leave by a certain time again (to go to a baby shower), but we're half an hour late. I just hope we get to Phily in time for K to register and go to the reception!

I'm excited we'll get to stay with and visit old friends and that I get to go to IKEA!!! ;-) and Aldi! And Christmas Tree shop! ;-) too bad I can't spend any $ (no summer salary -- maybe for K).

I'll try to blog more often this week!