Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Accidental Academic

Last week, on Monday, the day we took my DH (Dear Husband, DH from now on :) to the airport for his trip to Brazil, I told our son the following bed-time story:

"Once upon a time there was a boy named 'Daddy', when he started high school, he found out about this thing called Physics, and he liked it a lot. He had a great teacher, and did really well. Then he moved to another school, but still enjoyed studying Physics and became well-known in the school because of his high grades in Physics and Math. He decided to try to get into a Physics program in the university, and he got in [in Brazil you have to pass an entrance examination to get into the university/ college you want - each school has its own exam]. He had been studying there for two years when he met this girl called Lilian, and almost five years later they got married. Daddy and Mama graduated, and, later, they both came to the United States. Daddy started to continue studying Physics, and some years later, you were born. Then, when Daddy finished his Ph.D. we moved here so he could do be a Post Doc, and now he's going to Brazil to give a talk at these two universities close to where each of your grandparents live."

We usually tell him true stories from our lives at bedtime, silly things about different falls and hospital stays, and stiches and broken bones, those are the ones he enjoys the most. But since daddy was away, I thought it would be interesting to go over the whole story, which would explain why he was now travelling. And, of course, when he's tired, he falls asleep quickly and it doesn't really matter what you're talking about, just that you keep talking. I told it to myself, to remind me of how more "certain" my husband's trajectory has been. When he started, he never thought very seriously about becoming an academic, a researcher, but as he progressed, he found out he simply loved what he was doing, and became more and more invested in becoming a good scientist. I felt really excited for him, but for me, the opposite seemed true. I had always been passionate about what I was doing, and kind of always knew I wanted to become an academic. But in it's different in the humanities, there are just way too many people, and very few jobs. I was never the same after I read Invisible Adjunct and The Chronicle's articles she linked to. And then, I'm a mother, I spend all my time and my energy caring for my boys, and I love that more than the prospect of struggling to find my place in academia.

The trip, by the way, went OK. DH learned a lot about the academic job market in Brazil, which is completely different from here. It is hard to get an opening because many of the job opportunities open up simply for the universities to hire people who have been working there, but not in a tenure track position. He went this time, for example because he sent his CV and a letter expressing his interest in a position that might open at one of the only universities he'd like to work. We paid for the expenses ourselves. Anyway, after he gave the talk, he asked why they did that, and they explained that they wouldn't even open the position and officially advertise for it if they didn't like any of the candidates! He also gave a talk at the university that is close to his parents' house (the first one is close to where my parents live). While he was there he also finished writing the application for the Florida school, and I mailed that on Monday night. It's really too early to try for a job, but we just thought he should seize each opportunity from now own... and, as I already said. I like the suspense, I like this not knowing where life will bring us.

DH is coming back tomorrow morning. Last night I tried to tell my story as a bedtime story to our son, but I just couldn't. It doesn't have a happy ending yet, I haven't earned my degree, and I don't even think of the job market or anything. I feel sad about all of this. I have thought about my story many times. It's not a bad story at all, I don't really know why I feel so negatively about it. I'll try to tell it sometime. For now, I'll just say I've been feeling like an accidental academic. Maybe this should have been my blog's name...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Where the Wild Things Are

(I started to write this on 7/18 – over a month ago – this is the promised “fun” post. I guess I was referring to the pictures and the subject of the text, more than the text itself. I’m not too excited by it, but I wanted to post anyway, mostly because it was too much work to upload all the pics :)

Oh yeah, the boys have been getting wild lately, unfortunately*, but, no, I’m not referring to them here! I just wanted to paraphrase the wonderful Maurice Sendak:

That very night in our front porch a forest grew
and grew –
and grew until its ceiling hung with vines
and the walls became the world all around

Every time I go out the front door I think of these lines (slightly changed here – “our front porch” instead of “Max’s room”) from Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and I can feel “the forest” growing and enveloping everything. Of course the forest only consists of several morning glory vines that I planted in large pots on each side of the porch. I was hoping that in time we’d have flowers too, not just pretty heart shaped leaves, and they’re finally here, as you saw (or can see) a few posts ago. But it’s quite amazing to behold how this plant grows, practically overnight, from tiny seedlings, to fast growing vine:

(6/14/05) (6/24/05)
(7/7/05) (7/19/05)

That’s how it looks now:

I thought I’d use this reference to Sendak to write about something I haven’t said here yet: I love children’s literature passionately. I was lucky enough that I got to teach a children’s lit class a few times, both as a T.A. and on my own (2 summers). Of course, I’m more familiar with Brazilian children’s literature, but as I was growing up I had a few American favorites as well – the beloved “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, that I knew (and still know) by heart, and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. I almost went on to write a dissertation about these “girl books” (comparing the characters of “classic” American books – the ones I mentioned above plus Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, to certain Brazilian books and their characters), but in the end I decided to change advisors and consequently my topic. My favorite picture book author in Brazil is Ziraldo, he’s AWESOME, but unfortunately, not many of his works have been translated, and one of my dreams is to translate or facilitate the translation of his books into English. I am writing a chapter of my dissertation on a children’s author, though, Ana Maria Machado, and her books translated into English.

I could go on and on writing about children’s literature, but I want to go back to my garden/ yard. There’s another children’s book author that I have been “bumping into” quite often lately when I go outside, can you guess who it is by looking at these pictures?

Don’t they look like Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, etc (minus the cute clothes)? I always think of Beatrix Potter when I see them. Ever since we moved here I realized that there were rabbits, or hares (I don’t really know how to tell the difference, I’m assuming they’re hares) who lived in our neighborhood and often came to eat the grass and other plants on our yards (first picture above). But now, we have an official “neighborhood” bunny rabbit (second picture)! Over a month ago my neighbor’s brother brought this rabbit (who was said to be abused by the kids in its previous house), and they decided to let it go loose outside. I privately call it Peter Rabbit. It’s quite tame, and sometimes we pet him, to the utter delight of Linton, my youngest, who’s a fervent animal lover.

* The very first version of this post actually said something like “No, I’m not referring to my boys, they’re not wild”. As I kept on postponing the post, my two own exemplars of “Max” started doing some normal but annoying “wild things” such as: Linton has broken most eggs from 2 egg crates I brought from the car and left (BIG mistake) on one of the low tables in the living room in two separate occasions – he thought it was loads of fun and cried when I screamed and removed them from him. When I had guests in the last weekend of July, and I was busy preparing for their arrivals, Kelvin pressed down the dough of the 3 loaves of bread that were rising nicely until that moment – I had a fit!!

Word verification on comments

Just a quick note... I know it's a bit annoying to have to do a word verification (typing weird looking words) when posting a comment, but please bear with me, because I've been getting spam in my comments and want to avoid that. I know I could just delete the comments and leave it at that, but I already get so few comments that I feel really annoyed by a comment that's spam and not a "real" comment.


And I know it's quite silly of me because this blog doesn't have much readership, but I added a site meter. I've just been curious about that :)

I'll write more later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Safe arrivals

Just a quick update on the travels in the family. My parents arrived safely today at 11:30 am. Our meeting with them was hilarious. I got to the airport at the exact time their plane was supposed to be landing. Then I had to park, get the stroller, etc, and go to the terminal. We found the elevator to go up to the gates, Kelvin ran ahead to press the button (he's crazy about elevators, escalators, etc) and we were waiting expectantly for the door to open, then, when it opened, lo and behold!, my parents were there. I think Kelvin was completely shocked, because we weren't expecting that at all. He became instantly shy, as he always is when meeting people we haven't seen in a long time, but he came around quite quickly. It was very funny, he kept saying on the way home "yes, we were there waiting for the elevator door to open, then it opened and grandma and grandpa [vovó and vovô] were there!! ha ha ha!"

My husband had a more bumpy trip. He was supposed to have arrived in Brazil this morning at 10 am, but he got there at 9pm instead. They had problems in the aircraft, and he had to stay overnight in Chicago and fly during the day (which is something I hate because it's boring and tiresome). His seat's tiny TV set didn't work, and happily there was an acquaintance in the flight, this guy we knew from back in college, and he was able to chat with someone to kill time. We just emailed each other and talked online -- oh blessed internet.

Now I have to go to bed, I'm really tired... The boys are OK, Linton has two more molars on the way... not fun. Tons of drooling, but he's still not that grumpy, which could change soon, of course. Lots of suspense in some blogs I'm reading (which aren't in my blogroll yet), this is always lots of fun! (this comment was supposed to be at the end, but I can't put it after the second link or it'll turn into a link itself :) : Leery Polyp and Thin Pink Line

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Blue... (not the feeling)

Sandra has posted some beautiful pictures lately, and I thought I was long overdue posting pictures. So, here it goes... these have been making me smile (and snap tons of pics) every single morning. They're some of my favorites too:

Beautiful, huh?


But not for long...

Hubby's in Chicago, staying overnight after a cancelled flight to Brasil (he flies tomorrow morning), and parents probably already flying for a few hours, due to arrive tomorrow at noon.

I'm glad their trips coincided so I'd be only 18 hours alone. On the other hand, I was kind of looking forward to spending some days with my sister-in-law (I was planning to go to my brother and SIL's house for a few days if I had to be home alone with the boys). The good thing about having my husband travel is that I feel happier that my parents are coming. It's not that I don't enjoy them coming, I do, it's just that of course it's not the same thing as just the 4 of us... but the fact that it's just me and the kids will probably make for a good transition this time (it's not just an abrupt disruption of our cozy family life). Besides, we do need them desperately right now. We can't keep up with the house and the kids (things are chaotic around here) and I really, really need to work on my dissertation.

That's the hard part. I have to work no matter what. I hope I find the strength within and without (oh, yes, there's plenty of strength without - I'm sure I'll get tons of pressure from parents and hubby)... and the wish, the desire to finish is very strong within me, it's just hard to start writing. Besides the fact that I love to do all the research, but hate the writing itself, there are so many other variables in dissertation writing! There's the advisor to deal with, and the other people in the committee... those can be more stumbling blocks than any help. Let's see how it'll be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Busy, busy, impending departures and arrivals

Just a quick note to say things have been kind of crazy over here. Hubby's travelling next Monday, my parents arrive from Brazil next Tuesday.

Last Friday my husband finally found out he was going to Brazil to give a talk at the university he's interested in applying to. We were waiting to hear back from the consulate, because he didn't want to buy a ticket without a date for his Visa interview. It's impossible to schedule an interview at the American consulate in Brazil without 2 months' notice, and he had to do it through their emergency service.

We were driving to Maryland/Virginia for the weekend when we found out the consulate had given the go ahead to schedule the interview. When we stopped for a few hours at my brother-in-law's house before continuing to Richmond, VA, he bought his plane ticket, and some other stuff he has to take along with him. In VA we had a good time with friends we hadn't seen for quite a while. It was good to have some "academic" conversations, since we stayed at the house of a doctoral student friend, and visited a post-doc friend and his family (all of them Brazilians). Kelvin had a great time playing with our friends' 6 year-old daughter and 10 y.o. son. Too bad our car battery died and had to be replaced, but at least we were not on the road, but enjoying the beautiful pool at our friends' apartment complex. Back home from the weekend, we're very busy with packing, hubby's even busier trying to prepare his talk, and, maybe, just maybe, the application for the Florida university. He may not have time to work on that, which is sad. Why is it that everything has to happen always at once?

My parents are coming. That means I have to make up my mind to let go of the kids for a while and work, work, work. Major problem -- I have nowhere to go. I'll try to work at the house, but if that doesn't work out, I'll have to find a good library to drive to. Our town library is only two blocks away and open most afternoons, but it's really really small. What should I do? It would be great if I could go to UPenn, but the price for commuting would be just too high.

Well, we'll see what'll happen. The good thing is that I won't be alone while hubby's in Brazil!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Baby health update/ Another baby? NO WAY!

Linton is "back to normal". He probably had roseola, because as the rash vanished, he started eating ravenously again, and stopped being grumpy and clingy. Last night, for the first time in months (actually, I think for the first time ever!) he slept for 6 straight hours!!!!!!!!!! (then nursed quickly and continued to sleep) I could hardly believe it. Of course I didn't benefit too much because, you can see from the time I posted last time what time I went to bed : )

Yeah, I'm a night owl. And I'd like to sleep all morning if I could, but I've been getting up at 9 everyday (time my husband leaves for the train), and getting 6 hours of sleep a night on average (when my body usually begs for 9, yeah, I'm still a "child" in my need for sleep). And this morning, the bell rang at 6:40. I knew it was my next door neighbor, I'd woken up to her yelling at her teenage daughter (our houses are connected). It turned out she needed to use my computer to print a boarding passes for her daughter, who's flying to Hawaii today... She was SUPER thankful. My husband was a bit upset, but I'm usually happy helping people. Poor hubby let me sleep for 1 hour and a half more, and went in to work much later than he wanted too (thanks sweetie!).

I intended to comment on this essay from Literary Mama earlier (expatmama did too), but now seems a good time, I just won't write much, which is probably a good thing : )
I said in the past that I went through phases of really wanting another baby and phases of not really caring for one. Right now, I feel like there's no way in the world I'd want to start this all over again. Babies are cute, I love my babies, but it's just way too much work!!!!!!

See, I guess part of the reason is that Kelvin was a very easy going baby, not very independent, but then, he was the only one, and I had the time and patience to play with him, etc. But Linton, he's a whole different ball game. I know, I'm terrible at metaphors, but it's like, Kelvin's baseball (kind of slow) and Linton's basketball, very fast paced. I also thought things would be predictable, that is, I felt I knew how things were going to progress as far as how to get baby to sleep, to eat, etc. It turns out that even in these "basic" everyday things, they are so different!!! I've always loved that they have different personalities, but I thought it would not interfere so much in the "caring for the baby" process.

Well, maybe I'll change my mind again, but right now I'm too tired to think I want to do this again. And I need to record this, so I'll be reminded of it later. In the past two weeks Linton woke up every hour or too, after I put him down to sleep at night. Like a newborn!! I just couldn't take it anymore, so I'm very grateful for the way he slept last night. I hope it continues like that. If it does, I begin to see the light in the end of the tunnel, and blindly and trembing I will follow that faint glow.

100 things part II: 50 things about my personal life

I’m leaving the “baby part” of our lives out on purpose, that can make for more interesting posts in the future!

1. My parents, both of them Brazilian (dad of German descent, mom of mixed European), got married pretty “late” (he - 30, she - 27) for the late 1960s in Brazil.

2. After they were married for 9 months, they went to France to study abroad for 3 years.

3. My mom took classes in Geneva, Switzerland, which was only 7 km (4.3 miles) away from the part of France where they lived.

4. They accidentally got pregnant, and I was born in Geneva because my mom had free student health insurance from the University

5. She wasn’t able to finish her specialization with Jean Piaget because of me (but she claims she applied in me all the cognitive psychology she learned : )

6. I always hated having been born in Switzerland because there they don’t give (at least didn’t) the Swiss nationality to children of foreigners who are born there (“cats born in the oven aren’t bread” they said).

7. So, I am Brazilian, as if I had been born in the Brazilian consulate in Switzerland.

8. However, throughout my life when people learned I had been born in Geneva they would invariably say that I was Swiss.

9. When I was a kid I got extremely upset by this, and fiercely insisted, “No, no, no, I’m not Swiss, I’m Brazilian.”

10. To this day I don’t like to tell people where I was born, I only say I’m Brazilian. It’s annoying to have to tell them the whole story and have them say “Oh, really? You’re really not Swiss?” “NO, duh!”

11. Now I joke that they “refused to have me and don’t know what they’re missing” or something kind of bitter like that.

12. (At least my sons are both American and Brazilian, I haven’t created that kind of problem for them)

13. (I used to get upset at my mom for not giving birth to me in France but then in 1998, when Brazil lost the World Cup to France, I was happy she didn’t : ) [soccer is a national passion for Brazilians, as you may know]

14. My parents went back to Brazil when I was 1 and ½. I didn’t even learn French (I heard them speaking it at home while I was growing up when it was supposed to be a secret, and started to pick it up after a while)

15. My mom was 30 and my dad 33 when I was born.

16. My younger brother and I always wanted to have kids much younger than that, because my parents used to say they felt too “old” to keep up with teenagers.

17. I was 30 when my oldest was born, my brother is 31 and he doesn’t have kids yet.

18. I think it’s not bad at all to have kids older, and my kids’ friends’ parents will probably be my age (not the case with me – e.g. my husband’s mom is 11 years younger than mine).

19. I moved a few times when I was growing up, mostly within the Southern state of Paraná.

20. The five best years (from 8-13 years old) were when my parents worked at a boarding academy in the countryside, in a farming area. I loved to see the different crops (soybeans, wheat – beautiful, corn), and to roam free in the woods with my friends or alone. It was perfect.

21. We then moved to the huge city of São Paulo, one of the largest in the world, and there I lived for almost 11 years.

22. I met my husband when I was taking the bus home from the university one afternoon (March 30, 1990). We took the same bus – he had recently started working at the school were my parents worked.

23. We both went to the same university (Universidade de São Paulo, USP, it’s the largest in Brazil, perhaps Latin America, I’m not sure).

24. I was in my 1st year when we met and he in his 3rd (We’re the same age, but he was 16-17 when he got into college, I was 18 ½)

25. He was my first boyfriend, and vice-versa. Yeah… I know… that boring “I’ve waited for the right person to come along” kind of thing.

26. We had a great group of friends, in the university and the school where we both worked. Those were 5 great years (it took us that long to graduate – in Brazil most young people work part time while going to college, and that makes it harder to do it in 4 years).

27. We were teachers, he taught math and physics (middle and high school) and I taught English, mostly to kids (elementary school).

28. We got married the year we graduated from college (December 1994). We were both 23.

29. Before we got married we already knew we wanted to travel abroad, so we didn’t buy expensive/good furniture or anything, just the basics.

30. We wanted to go to an English speaking country for my husband to learn it and because as an English teacher, a “living abroad” experience would be great for me.

31. Our first option was England, but that didn’t work out.

32. My husband’s uncle lived in the U.S. and gave us advice on what to do (get a student VISA for my husband to come learn English at a community college).

33. So, after we’d been married for 1 year and a half we sold most of our stuff in Brazil, stored the rest in my parents’ house and came.

34. We arrived on June 20, 1996.

35. That first year was tough. We basically spent most of 5 years worth of savings we brought from Brazil.

36. Then we were offered a sponsorship from a Brazilian college to get our Masters’.

37. After a year, we both decided to go for our Ph.D.s since we would be able get assistantships.

38. In 1999 I was able to spend a month and a half alone in France, studying French in the same place my parents were going to school when I was born.

39. I did a “pilgrimage” to the hospital in Geneva on my birthday. At least now at 28 I knew the place where I had been born. It didn’t make much of a difference in my life, of course : )

40. In 2000 we did an awesome backpacking trip in Europe. We mostly camped, and traveled by train. We got to visit 10 big cities (Paris, Barcelona, Geneva, Florence, Rome, Venice, Salzburg, Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam) and some other places.

41. We are total museum and historic churches/ places rats. We visited everything we had the time to cram into our days. It was awesome.

42. (Traveling, that’s how I plan to spend all our money whenever we have some again : )

43. Last year my husband got his Ph.D. and we moved from MA to PA after 8 years there.

44. In all these years abroad, I’ve gone back to Brazil a lot.

45. Three times with hubby: Dec. 97-8 (his brother’s wedding), June 99, Aug. 01(my brother’s wedding); Twice by myself: Aug. 98, Jan. 01; with hubby and Kelvin: Dec. 03-4; me and the two boys Feb-March 05.

46. We have another wedding this year in December, and this trip will make 8 trips to Brazil in 10 years for me, not bad!

47. Our parents visit quite often, particularly in the last 3 years because of the grandchild(ren)

48. Almost every time I went back I had to get/renew a student VISA, a TERRIBLE hassle, not to mention expense. (I can’t believe I have to do it again in December).

49. Being an expatriate is not easy, but I enjoy every minute of it (except those spent in the American Consulate).

50. My parents only did it for 3 years, but I they ended up setting me up for it, and boy, don’t they probably regret it! (They want us to go back, of course…)

What next? I don’t know… and I like this not knowing, it keeps us young, and dreamy. Except that one day we’ll have to settle down in either country, and start living more than dreaming, and getting old… ah, that, we already do, whether we know what we’re doing with our lives or not : )

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

100 things part I: 50 things about blogging

I first saw this seemingly common "100 things" post a few weeks ago in Wet Feet, then, last week I encountered it again in the archives of American Family. Those are the only two I've read.

First I thought I'd write only about the boring topic of "things I learned reading blogs, blogging and thinking about blogging". After I got started, I decided to write personal stuff as well, more in the way of the original 100 posts I'd read. So I divided the list in two, since it's ridiculously long anyway. I'm too prolix, unfortunately. And I use too many adverbs, it's pathetic. Really.

Without further ado, here it is:

1. Blog reading and blogging are addictive.

2. Blogging makes you live composing blog posts in your head, like Dawn quoted from someone else here. “If, as you live your life, you find yourself mentally composing blog entries about it, post this exact same sentence in your weblog.”

3. I keep composing these “entries” in my mind, but never get to post them.

4. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to do this 100 things list.

5. I’ve learned so much from blogging that it’s hard to list.

6. A second strong reason to do the list post!

7. The first blog I ever read was Invisible Adjunct, but it didn’t get me blogging.

8. Then I read a former teacher’s blog about his experience in Japan (Found in Translation) and got curious.

9. Reading This Woman’s Work fascinated me and soon after I started the blog.

10. I read all the blogs in my blogroll, that’s why it’s not a really long list.

11. Before adding someone I usually read or browse through most of their blog archives first.

12. The obvious (though it took me a while to realize this): there are “cliques” or niches in blogosphere (even inside the “mama blogs”). E.g. adoption, infertility, academics, politics (never read those), etc.

13. People in cliques usually blogroll each other, but not very often other people

14. I like to be “eclectic” in my tastes, and not to try to hang out only with “the likes of me” in blogosphere.

15. That way I can learn something too, even though I know some people from “other cliques” will never care to read me.

16. I just updated my blogroll, trying to classify the blogs I read into some of these “cliques” or areas out there (in my own way, of course).

17. It may, or may not be true, but I have a feeling that “Typepad” people tend to prefer/attract other typepad people.

18. I find the tiny piece of “blog gossip” I’ve come across fascinating (i.e. Dawn said that Chez miscarriage withdrew her archives because of a “secret” book deal – as a result, I started reading her blog – I had already read the great “mommy drive-by” thing, but not gone back)

19. At first I was a bit taken aback by her “celebrity status” in blogosphere, and the hordes of faithful commenters who believed everything she said, but then I “got it”. I mean, she’s really insightful, and her wry, sarcastic humor is refreshing (if not depressing at times). I’ll read her book.

20. (As some of you know, I’m the biggest fan of Catherine Newman and her “column”. I bought her book and went to a reading. I have yet to read the two books by “Philly mamas” Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz, I check their blogs once in a while)

21. One of the things, I learned the most about in blogosphere is adoption.

22. I had “lightly” considered adopting in the past but now, in light of all I know I think it wouldn’t work for our family.

23. From Dawn (This Woman’s Work) I learned that a domestic open adoption is a very complex thing, which can also be profoundly beautiful (in spite of the sadness).

24. I learned from Kateri (Wet Feet) a bit (just the tip of the iceberg, I’m sure) of what being a birth-mother feels like.

25. I have been deeply touched by these women’s stories and feel grateful they have shared them through blogging.

26. I also learned about the pressure young mothers feel to give up their babies (and found/read Allison’s Crews beautiful essay), felt broken hearted about it, and saddened by her death.

27. I gladly found out about other expatriate moms/ multicultural family bloggers and felt/feel enriched by their experience.

28. I finally felt “part” of something when some of them started to read (comment on) my blog (big thanks to you, Kate, Stella’s mami, “Sophie”, and Sandra).

29. This is probably the small “clique”, or “niche” I belong to. Oh, and because of them I got encouraged to comment on other blogs as well.

30. I sought after some academic mama blogs, and started to read them, but I don’t really “belong”, I guess, at least not yet.

31. Part of it is probably because of my ambivalent feelings about academia, as I have already posted about. I usually care more about personal matters than academic ones

32. (and I have to finish writing a dissertation, instead of keeping a blog, I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I hope I can : )

33. I am aware now that I may not get a job in academia because I blog (or, if I’m a nanny and my employer reads my blog, I could be fired : )

34. Oh, yes, and I know now that being fired for a blog is to be “dooced”

35. I wonder everyday whether I should edit my blog and make it anonymous. (should I even use my kids’ names here? I don’t know)

36. I definitely like non-anonymous blogs better, though. Why hide?

37. This is no reason to stop reading anonymous blogs, I realize.

38. In spite of the apparent threat, I don’t actually fear for my future employment or anything like that because of blogging.

39. What I am a bit afraid of is “trolls”, or being attacked via comments, but I doubt that will ever happen.

40. (I’ve found it is a “mixed blessing” when that happens, because it can bring tons of attention and readership and to one’s blog)

41. I’ve always been an over-sensitive person, and I might feel really hurt, even though it’s just stuff going in on in “virtual space”.

42. That’s probably why I’m always careful not to share too much, to try to choose my words carefully.

43. I’m already “the other” being a foreigner, why risk being attacked?

44. Risk what? Perhaps it’s just foolishness to be afraid, I should be able to speak my mind, talk more about myself here.

45. I’m afraid of not having things to say, or not having good arguments… or something to “contribute.”

46. It’s the academic in me who’s feeling the pressure to be always doing “new” things. But isn’t that true for “creative writing”, literature, in general (not just academics)?

47. I wish I could be a good writer, but I earnestly don’t think I am.

48. I’m not concise enough, I just “blabber on” (you know that thing about “showing, but not telling”? I only tell everything. I explain too much, can’t be artistic enough)

49. (All right, that’s why I am a “comparatist”, after all, and not a “Fine Arts” writing major)

50. I guess blogging is not completely useless. Here’s a “funny” thing my husband said to our best friends from Brazil about my blog: “We’re so busy that I have to read her blog so I can ‘talk’ to her.” So I’ll keep “talking” to whoever wants to listen.

I’m sure there were more things I had to say about blogging, writing, and what I learned but I’ll stop here, and move on to the more “juicy” personal stuff : )

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mama worries/ Afraid of what?

Quick update on baby's health. I think I figured what he has, since he's brother had it and we only found out weeks later: roseola. This common baby illness goes like this: a high fever for 3-5 days with baby cheerful and normal, then, a mild rash that lasts for 24 hours and then disappears, with an incredibly grumpy baby (I'm almost quoting from The Portable Pediatrician :) Thing is, his fever wasn't that high, and lasted for 2 days. He does have a rash, and has been very grumpy. I just hope it disappears by this afternoon, then it will have been roseola. I know, I could just call the doctor, but... if he does have roseola, there's nothing that can be done. He looks OK, just doesn't care too much for eating (nurses a lot), and can't play by himself for too long (is clingy).

Change of subject. I have spent several hours in the past two days writing an insanely long "100 things" post (I've seen it in a couple of blogs and thought it looked interesting). Now, however, I don't know if I really want to post it, I'm chickening out. I just don't know what is it that I'm afraid of. I feel so silly! Blogging is a funny thing, we do it because we want to, nobody is forcing us to write about ourselves, but sometimes it feels weird, it doesn't feel "right" in a sense. I hope I can bring myself to post that soon, in spite of the fact that it is way too long.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I did it!

OK, I know nothing of HTML, but I edited my blogroll, yay!!

And it doesn't look that bad either, does it? I just need to put a line or space between each title, but I'll do that later...

Mad at blogger

Just a quick rant...

I had just beautifully edited my blogroll, with categories, etc... (I'm an addicted "classifier", I wish I could classify my posts too, but here in blogger I have to do it manually)

Anyway, I lost it all, because I didn't realize I wasn't logged into Blogger (the window had been open since last night). I know, partly my fault, but... I'll blame it on blogger, of course :)

I have been working on several posts. Hopefully they'll come out of the oven soon...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Teething baby, helping a friend, high heat and humidity

That's what's been going on here. Linton has at least one tooth (a molar) coming through, and I think (and hope, at least) that this is what's causing the fever he's had on and off (but mostly on) for 48 hours. He's also nursing a lot, not eating much, and very, very clingy and whiny. I guess we just need to hang in there, Stella's mami :)

I've also been helping this Brazilian friend we met at a local playground almost a year ago. She has twins, a boy and a girl, only 5 months older (but MUCH taller :) than Kelvin (my 3 year old). She can't speak much English, can't drive, doesn't know any other Brazilians in the area and now that her(American) husband has to be 6 weeks away working (alternating with 6 weeks at home) she needs a lot of help. Her husband's relatives and her neighbor often give her a hand, but this week I bought groceries for her, and took her and her kids to the store -- it was "fun", 4 kids (running and screaming) and two moms. Today we also spent part of the day together. It's good for Kelvin, since he doesn't have many friends, and even better for the twins, since they just spent 6 months in Brazil and miss their friends and school from there.

It continues to be TERRIBLY hot here, and we haven't been outside very often, only late in the evening (right when the mosquitoes want to eat us alive :) The good thing is the delicious tomatoes we're getting from our garden! Once in a while we do get to go out. This evening, for example, we went to the Scott Arboretum, at the Swarthmore College, which is not very far from us. We often go to the beautiful Longwood Gardens, since we have a season pass (one of the best "investments" we made in our tight budget this year, because it's a gorgeous place to go with the kids, and it even has concerts free thoroughout the year, not that we've been able to catch many of them :) The other great thing about Longwood is the chance to take tons of beautiful pictures, one of which you've seen below . (if any of you would like to see a lot of pictures of our family, you can email me and I'll send you the links) Putting pictures online for family and friends to see is one of the most addictive things in my life -- of course now reading blogs is another, perhaps even "worse" addiction. There is a good post about this problem here. Academic coach also has a recent post about the "Voyeuristic Intimacy" experienced in blogging -- very interesting.

Last but not least, hubby's been working hard due to prospective applications. He's not feeling very confident, though, which is OK -- both are very long shots anyway. Conversely, I've been feeling highly motivated with my dissertation. I've recently found out other academics in Brazil working with the same subject, and we're getting in touch through email. Very encouraging! I'll keep you posted.

I'm still working on the promised "fun post", and I've been thinking of writing a bit about "social class and blogging", or doing one of those "list posts." I will soon update my blogroll -- I'm thinking of adding categories, this time. Will definitely have one for "Expatriate and/or Multicultural Family Mamas" -- any suggestions for a more fun "name" for this category? Speak quickly, because I think I'll do it soon! (I can always change it later, though :)