Wednesday, December 17, 2014

20th Anniversary Celebration Post 1

We wanted to have dropped the the boys off at school and then leave, but they had a dentist appointment scheduled six months ago that was too difficult to re-schedule. :-(

So I took them lunchbag school, took them to the dentist and back to school (they're staying at the house of the lady who does the after school care). Then we packed and are on our way now, way later than we wanted, but all is good. I'm thankful we're going to have these two nights away!

As my therapist said yesterday (and my younger son's teacher today), we've earned it! 20 years is no small feat! ;-) and I'm happy for that! 

Interstellar -- pretty Interesting! :-)

(pun intended)

So we saw Interstellar yesterday in an IMAX theater (that's why we had to drive an hour there and back) because K really wanted to see it.

I had read nothing about it before going, so it was fascinating and at the same time utterly frustrating to go into a movie not having the least idea of what it is about -- except for the title and the name of some actors.

It's not at all my kind of movie, so I was underwhelmed at times (especially with the storytelling in the beginning), but the images of space are stunning! The sound in the theater felt way too loud a lot of the time, but the contrast between the loudness of the action and the silence of space is AMAZING.

The organ (and orchestral) music was masterfully done, I must say, and while the plot seems weak and full of holes in the beginning, later on it becomes complex and full of layers, so much so that we so many unanswered questions that we had to spend quite a bit of time online reading about the plot twists and possibilities. (I do think it was less complex than Inception, also by Christopher Nolan and which I totally loved).

I think it was worth seeing it in IMAX -- the first feature film I've seen in IMAX! I did see all of the original IMAX documentaries in the Air & Space Museum back in 1993 and then over the years (e.g. Everest, Louis & Clark) and this summer all of the IMAX features currently playing in the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

 Here is the first trailer:
And the third:

I am DONE!!

Done grading and submitting grades, what a great feeling!

Now I can properly enjoy our 20th anniversary celebration that also started today. More about that later!

And, interestingly enough, even before I was completely done, my therapist told me this afternoon that I looked the most relaxed he'd ever seen me since I started seeing him last June! I wasn't surprised, given how relaxing my day had been up to that point (I'd been driven by K for 2 hours to see a movie).

Of course, I still need to work on the translation (I think I haven't actually blogged about this much, have, I?), but I'm not stressed out about it in the least (which maybe I should be).

All right... now if only the lower right side of my back could stop hurting!! I hope it will soon.

Going to bed now!

Monday, December 15, 2014

All it took for Pinterest to begin bombarding my inbox with emails today was...

... a private message/pin sent by a friend, and a couple of things I pinned as a result.

And now there are several emails from them in my inbox. One of them actually about something I'm fascinated with: terrariums and air plants.


The internet is scary & crazy & fun all at the same time!

And the grading hasn't started yet. GRRRR... (I did cook dinner, so that's a good thing, my family is thankful).

Helping & Laughing or What we remember about our students

In the end, I helped him, since I was just sitting here, not doing much. Too bad that now he's done and I still have ALL my finals from U#2 to grade! :-(

Here is the pile of exams (there were two of those!) whose student names and grades I read to K so he would input the data into the computer:

In any case, it was hilarious! I'd read a name and he would say, "Oh, that guy isn't doing well" or "That student has really improved throughout the semester" or "S/he won't pass!" "S/he is a really good student!" "He's got great handwriting -- can you see how neat it is?"

In many cases it was an ethnic comment: "Oh, that's a Korean guy."  "That's a Chinese-American girl, and that's not her actual name, it's ....".  "This guy is African, can't remember the country" (he said that one twice).

Or comments about their major, sport or other association: "This one is from engineering" or "That's the chemistry girl" and "that guy is from chemistry too." "She's the dance major I told you about, I don't know if she will pass." "That's the guy who plays a sport [couldn't remember which one]." "S/he is from the armed services and was worried about her scholarship."

Or about their physical traits: "He's got very nice blue eyes." "She has red hair, and these big glasses.""He's a little clumsy."

The funniest were completely random and K couldn't help but laugh every time I read a name and he remembered the random facts: "That guy broke his foot." "That one hit a deer with his car and couldn't come to several classes" (and then I'd ask "Did he break his foot?" "No! That was the other one!" and we'd laugh and laugh). And "He would always joke in class! When Friday came he would celebrate 'It's the last day of the week, YAY!'" "He sat with the Chinese-American girl." "That was the guy who played trombone in class once." "Ah, that guy came to every single office hours in the new building and he enjoyed it!" "That was the guy who complained about the grading and made me change the parameters." And so on and so forth!

At the end K was laughing and saying "I've got something to say about every single one, right?" Except for one or two about which he said "He disappeared in the middle of the semester and came so few times to class that I can't even remember what he looks like/anything about him."

Yeah, it was fun! I will try to come back and blog about this one student of mine that blew my mind when he wrote a composition about his house. But that's for another time!

Teaching is fun sometimes!

One University Down, Another One to Go!

I have submitted the grades for U#1, on time this semester! Last semester I was so embarrassed to have to hand-deliver my grades to the registrar because I'd missed the deadlines, so this time I paid close attention to the deadline.

I don't know if my husband will make it on time, though! :-) He decided not to stay up very late last night and went to bed around midnight, so now he's still adding up his students' final exam grades and he still needs to put them online and calculate the final grade.

I can't really help him because I have my own pile of grading to tackle: all the final exam grading for U#2 which I obviously haven't started yet. Sigh...

All right, I shouldn't be blogging, I should just be grading! It's fun to take a break, though.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

All Over But the Grading!!!

Ah... The grading! :-(

My last exam was last night, from 7-10 pm :-( good thing I have a very dear friend who actually came with me so I didn't have to drive those 152 miles there and back by myself! Thank you so much, J!! 

I shouldn't complain about the grading, but it is a bit annoying! Especially because of the timing. But I'll blog about that later. Now I should go grade! Or, maybe, cook lunch/dinner? 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Tree!!

Well, I finally caught the decorating bug not too long after the bare tree went up & stayed bare for over 24h! 
Here it is, last night:
With room lights off:
And now with the super-fun topper I'd bought two years ago and completely forgotten about!
It matches my favorite ornament!
Now we're ready! 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Trying to work on the translation! And mail Christmas cards...

MS Word keeps crashing and I keep losing 10 minutes of work here, 7 minutes there and it's extremely frustrating! I'm trying to save the document as often as I can, but sometimes it crashes before I've saved.


And then I had to take a few hours of break to finish addressing our Christmas cards' envelopes and I still need to go just went to the post office to mail them.


I don't really like to go to the post office and mail things. That's the main reason why I can't/could never sell anything online -- having to mail a package would just kill me. I don't know why I hate it so much.

Every year I have been able to send a pile of Christmas cards to Brazil in person by my mother-in-law, but this year she didn't come for Thanksgiving (since K3 & family are not in the U.S. anymore, she always stayed at their house), so I couldn't do it. There are always extended family members going, but they live in the D.C. area and I neglected to mail all the cards to my husband's cousin in Michigan earlier (they're flying to Brazil on Thursday). So instead of uncertainly mailing them to Michigan express ($19), I spent 5 dollars more and mailed them directly to my mom in Brazil.

I kind of with I could afford to mail each Brazilian friends' card directly to them, but at U$1.50 a pop that would add up quickly. :-(

As I mailed all those cards all I could think was "I wish these cards could help 'save' the U.S. Postal Service!" I really do hope they can find a way to come back because I cherish getting mail and the work they do. Maybe if I sent more mail it would help them...

OK, I need go to back to the translation, with me luck!

Monday, December 08, 2014

I don't feel like decorating at all! What's wrong with me?

This year, I don't feel like decorating for the holidays at all!

Problem is -- we got a humongous tree yesterday afternoon (more about it later, I hope, I need to leave soon), so now I have to. And I'm feeling a bit more motivated than I did when I started this post two days ago.

I've always loved putting up some Christmas decorations and a tree, so it felt kind of "wrong" not to want to do it. I guess it's just a result of being worried about too many other things!

I'll post photos of the tree, though, as I have in previous years. In fact, in previous years I TAKE photos intended for the blog and end up not posting it. So, if I find the time, you'll have a deluge of photos this December as I try to write up to my goal of 214 posts. ;-)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

The More the Merrier!! Family's Coming!

A much expected visit has already been scheduled for the second week/end of January since March, when "K2" -- my brother-in-law -- and his family moved to Egypt. You may recall that we lived only a couple of hours from them for ten years and got together frequently. My youngest son and their eldest are only 4 months apart, so our children were very close and enjoyed the relative proximity of the cousins. So we've been looking forward to that precious week in January for months now -- too bad it will coincide with the boys' second week back in school and our first week of work! It will be CRAZY!! :-(

The great news is that last night we found out that "K3" and his family will be able to visit in January as well! This morning he bought their tickets to coincide with K2's family's visit!! YAY!! K3 and his wife* were blessed with the only girl in the family,** in addition to an older son who shares my birthday and the last three letters of my name. ;-) 

I can't wait for January and, most importantly, I really, really need to finish the translation so I can fully enjoy their visit. I feel much better about it after I worked on it some on Friday and realized that it won't be that hard! I also received encouraging emails from the technical writer of the company who hired me, so I think I can at least imagine (if not quite see) the light at the end of the tunnel! 

OK, so I should stop blogging and get to work, right? And I'll do that after I hang some clothes to dry (in the cold, but sunny and windy day) and do another load of laundry! 

* This is my adventurous SIL, who is incomparably more hard-core than me! ;-) [I wrote that because  for whatever reason I thought she'd be in an adventurous trip with her friend and wouldn't join us].

** My in-laws have 4 sons, 7 grandsons & 1 grand-daughter!

Friday, December 05, 2014

ADHD: Medicate or Not Medicate?

What Now? Asked an excellent question in a comment to my previous post, it's worth copying here:
This is a comment/question coming entirely from ignorance: Do you not want to take ADHD medication because it has side effects you don't want? Would there be benefits of such medication for your life in general? It sounds like you'd consider medication for a "real job" but not for your current work, but it also sounds like your current work is making you pretty miserable because of the ADHD. I'm not pushing medication, just wondering!

... The truth is that I don't really know the answer! :-(

I don't like to take medications in general to begin with. I was a very sick kid (with asthma, several bouts of pneumonia before I had my tonsils out at 4 years old), but my mom really tried hard to not only seek "regular" medical care for me (which she relentlessly did). but also to go the natural route.

I had a juice fast at 6.5 years old, followed by a 100% raw/ no grain diet for two weeks and that did WONDERS on my allergies. Unfortunately we didn't stick to a vegan diet (only ovo-lacto) after that, or I'd have been basically cured of asthma and allergies, but I went vegan when I was 18 and was very strict for about 10 years. I went back to eating dairy once in a while after I got pregnant and had the boys -- and I blame THAT for their asthma too. Good thing it's mild. Now we're vegan most of the time.

(I also had two unmedicated births and didn't even take painkillers afterwards. I don't like doctors, surgeries and the like and I'm delighted that I'm so healthy -- thankfully!)

So... I'm VERY big on natural treatment and prevention, BUT, I should say I'm not really taking any of the supplements recommended to people with ADHD (fish oil, Omega 3, 6, DHA, etc) and that I don't really believe the non-scientifically supported claim that going gluten-free helps ADHD. I'm also pretty scared of medication that would make me addicted, change me and the way I am/react, etc. I feel that  I don't know if I can really trust this medication, its side effects. etc.

Another problem is that diagnosis of ADHD was pretty rough (uncertain because my perception that I have it is 100% clear, but other people's responses to the questionnaires not so much), so I'm still dealing with that, and trying to convince myself and my husband that it's a real condition, that maybe I could/should seek medication.

So, yeah, it's super hard and I don't exactly know what to do!

Thank you so much for the comment/question, What Now? It heartens me to know that there are some friends out there still reading. I know Spanish Prof takes medication once in a while, I should talk to her more...

Working Through the Holidays

You know... I'm not sure I can write 44 posts in the coming days because I desperately need to work like crazy all through the holidays. I still don't know HOW -- because there are finals and grading and our children's Christmas program and our 20th wedding anniversary (we want to go to a beautiful hotel for a couple of days) and, of course Christmas and family to go visit in Florida.

HOWEVER, I need to translate hundreds of pages of a super highly technical manual. Because I need the thousands of dollars they will pay me after I'm done. :-(

Mercenary freelance work like this is hard and nearly impossible for ADHD me. :-( Seriously. I needed medication to be able to do this, but I don't think I'll go that route just yet (only for a "real" job which I won't ever have, most probably).

Anyway. Please wish me luck, please urge me on to go and work. "Think about the money!!!" you should be screaming at me -- please do!

Because I just can't get motivated, even with the money. I'm just a lazy creature, it seems. I know I should blame it on the ADD, but sometimes I can't. It's easier to think that I'm just a bad person. And my poor son feels the same way -- I don't know how to help him and how to help myself (sadly, therapy isn't helping me at all. I'm not very good at following suggestions, or even "orders" from anyone).

What a horribly written post, but I'll put it out there anyway. I'm sure that's part of the reason why nobody reads this old blog anyway -- horrible writing, too much talking from an annoying ADHD brain. Sigh... I know those who are still around don't feel that way, but it's hard not to think like that.

OK, I'm just trying to get myself motivated to work. I will come back later and let you know how it went. Maybe it will help. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayer. You don't know how hard it is for me to try to work on something that is so boring and tiresome. :-(

P.S. And the worst thought is that I'm so tired, I work so hard, I deserve to have a break and to have holidays, but I just CANNOT because I was hired to this job, I'm many months behind schedule (for many reasons, the main one being my incapacity of just getting down to working on this) and I need to do it to help my family financially. Thankfully my husband says he will help -- but he is also busy and should be writing academic papers, not doing this. Sigh...

BTW. the last day of teaching was yesterday, but I can't even sleep in, I need to work.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Last Days!

I can't believe we're at the last days of classes! And if by any chance next semester I'm no longer teaching at university number one, today would be my very last day of teaching in two schools!! That would be so awesome! 
To be able to teach only at one University!

We'll see!

So tomorrow will be my last day at University #2. Ok, so let me start what could potentially be my last drive of teaching in two (technically 3!) universities on the same day! 

Monday, December 01, 2014

46 Posts in December

I really want to reach my goal of 214 posts in 2014, so there are 46 posts to do. If you thought it might have been a lot to write 30 posts in November, what do you think about that?

The bad or maybe the good thing is that I'm pretty sure I will have no shortage of things to say, even if it's mostly "me talking to myself!" ;-)


Having too many things to say at all times is a heavy burden, let me tell you! That's why blogging is so therapeutic for me.

OK, gotta go finish cooking now. We always have a very late "European" dinner-time these days (around 8 pm).

Sunday, November 30, 2014

An Accidental Discovery

I had been keeping a secret from my sons for all these years! Once in a long while, after they'd gone to bed, I'd make myself some instant "ramen-style" noodles (we call them "Miojo" in Brazil). This was one of my few guilty pleasures, since I am aware that these noodles are very bad for one's health and can be considered a "junk food" because they are deep-fried and the seasoning packet has lots of MSG in addition to too much sodium. I ate it very sparingly and I knew I would not want to feed that to my boys!

I did it on the sly because I knew that once my sons tried it, they would absolutely LOVE it and I was 100% right! Last Friday we met some Korean friends at the ski station and because they had to leave early, I told them that their son (my son Kelvin's good friend) could stay and that we'd drive him home later. At around 1 pm I stopped and texted Kelvin to say that we should have a snack and he informed me that he was already eating inside with his friend. When I got there, he was finishing off this bowl:
and of course he absolutely loved it (even because he really really likes spicy foods). My youngest got to try a bite and he liked it, in spite of the fact that he thought it was a bit too spicy.

My husband gets mad at me for these things, but I immediately confessed to the boys that I loved instant noodles too, but that I thought they weren't very healthy so that's why I had never served it to them and that was that.

Today during dinner Kelvin turned to me and said: "Mom, could you please allow us to have those noodles once every two months or something?" (thankfully my boys are pretty health-conscious! ;-) and of course I had to say yes. Apparently they sell those noodles at Costco, so I guess I'll buy a package and let them eat it sparingly.

In fact, after he asked me that, I reached into the pantry, dug around so I could find and show them this:
which is the noodle I ate every couple of months. We had just finished eating a pretty liquid kale soup and coincidentally, my husband had just asked why there wasn't any pasta in it. Since the boys are going to have that soup for lunch tomorrow I decided to add the noodles to the leftover soup for them to try it. At least it will be mixed with healthy potatoes and kale! ;-)

Yeah, so the secret is out and now I won't be able to indulge in my "guilty pleasure" without sharing it with the boys. Oh well... On the other hand, now we have one more very easy food to eat during trips.

P.S. the boys have eaten instant noodles before, but they were healthier versions such as this rice noodles one from Trader Joe's (or the miso one):
NOTE: I hope it's not a problem to use images of these products taken from the internet. I think that products are like "book covers" which can be legitimately reproduced for reviews or commentary without any copy-right violations. Am I wrong? Worst case scenario, I'll photograph the items myself later and replace the photos!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

the double parties quick post

OK, I want to legitimately post before midnight today, so this will have to be a few sentences long at the most!

Tonight we hit two birthday parties simultaneously -- the boys went to their friend's and we went to another's. Then I picked them up and we all stayed at the second party until past 11 pm because they were learning to play Settlers of Catan from my hubby and son.

Let me publish before midnight!