Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crab Apple Flowers - Update to the 365 Blog

The first update since January 20!

It begins like this:
"Mommy! Mommy! You've got to come outside!" said my son excitedly last Sunday.

Go there to read the rest and see the photo, if you want. :-)

(It looks like I'm finally making good on my "fluff" promises, right? ;-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quick Update on Visit to Surgeon

I just remembered that I never told you what happened last Thursday when I went to the doctor (the surgeon specialist), so here it goes.

He saw me for all of 3 minutes (standard here even if outrageous for a foreigner like myself) and said that he thinks that it's nothing and that the lumps don't need to be removed. He wants me to do another ultrasound of the underarm one in four months just to see if it has changed and he recommends that I make an appointment with an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist regarding the lump in front of my ear. I was relieved.

(In his defense, the doctor was extra nice to my son -- I took him with me, didn't think that this quick visit warranted the trouble of finding a friend to stay with him) -- asking him about the Thomas train he was holding and talking to him. Linton enjoyed that so much that he later asked me what the name of the doctor was and he wrote it on a piece of paper, he's slowly learning to write the letters, but he generally only writes his name.)

The only annoying thing about all these doctor visits and tests is the copays that keep on adding up... good thing that at least I have health insurance (although it costs over 300 a month and we clearly cannot afford it right now).

So, I still have to schedule the ENT appointment... I'll keep you posted as usual.

The Chinese Family

So, last Friday there was a showing scheduled for 11:30 am and I had planned accordingly to get the house ready and leave by 11 am. Around 10:30 a car parked in front of the house and I began to get anxious wondering why they'd come so early. Upon more careful examination I realized it was an Asian woman, one of the realtors who had already been to the house before (they leave their cards, if you're not familiar with the whole house selling process).

I called K to check whether the scheduled time was really 11:30 or earlier and got more and more upset, because this is definitely a breach of real estate transactions' "etiquette" -- owners and sellers generally don't get (and don't want to) see each other. By then I was running around and trying to get the last things done (washing the dishes and putting them away, making sure the counters were clean, brushing the toilets one last time, etc) and I didn't even have time (and disposition, given my nervousness) to eat (I hadn't had breakfast) -- I even stuck my plate of cereal (with no milk) in the fridge before leaving -- that made for an extra refreshing cereal with strawberry pieces later ;-).

It was almost 11 when I walked down the driveway to pick up the recycling bin and the trash and by then the realtor had left her car. I told her that I thought it was scheduled for 11:30 and I guess she said something about 11. Then she started asking a lot of questions (with our list of disclosures in her hand) and I answered. The prospective buyer then came -- a Chinese woman also -- and started talking to me and and then I realized that it would be a good thing to talk to them because they were from a completely different culture and not inserted into the "American way" of real estate practices.

I don't really know the Chinese very well and please forgive me if I'm just doing a gross and rude generalization here. Based on my brother and sister-in-law's stories from their two years in China I gather that the Chinese (at least those that they interacted with in the smaller city where they lived that had very few westerners -- less than 20, perhaps) are a bit "nosy" and like to know about other people's affairs (particularly if they are foreigners -- my SIL didn't like it that they would always be looking into her bags to see what she had purchased at the hotel where they were staying). That might explain their curiosity and willingness to approach me, something that would probably be a breach of the unspoken "codes of behavior" for buyers and sellers here. And then, of course, there was the confusion of time which might (or might not) be related to cultural differences ;-).

In any case I enjoyed talking to them, answering their questions as honestly as possible but still trying to sound enthusiastic about the house. The lady was concerned by the lack of air conditioning in the main floor (there are window units in the bedrooms) because she likes to cook a lot. They have a two year old girl (who was sleeping in the car and then woke up) and a 9 year old boy. When the husband arrived, I drove away.

I talked to my SIL on the phone soon after (not the one who lived in China, the one of party decoration fame who lives in Maryland) and told her that I was hoping that the Chinese family would buy the house. She reminded me that I should want them to buy it house only if they made a decent offer (another stereotype is that they are a bit thrifty, I hear) -- well, that's true, but still, I was thinking that it would be interesting to have another immigrant family live here...
from the Brazilians to the Chinese.

I'll let you know if they make an offer (or if anyone does, for that matter). I'm reaching that stage in which in spite of my sadness in "losing" this house, I want it to just be sold already. So maybe all this waiting may turn to be a good thing after all. I'm also beginning to fret and wonder what is wrong with the house and whether we need to redo the two other bathrooms before it can be sold. That is something that would take money that we just don't have, obviously!

I think I'm going to start applying for jobs again. Seriously. OK, that's it for now, I just wanted to share this little story...

Monday, April 27, 2009

So Many Showings, But Nothing Yet

I miss my cat. I saw him yesterday when we went to a birthday party at the friend's house where he's staying for now. It's hard to be just waiting for things to happen and to remain calm.

This coming Thursday will mark four weeks on the market for this house and although there have been many showings and some people who came to see it a second time, nobody made an offer yet. There was even one family who said that they were going to put an offer, but we don't know what happened... in any case, we're still waiting.

I'll write about what happened last Friday in another post, OK? Keep praying for us/ sending us positive energy, OK?

P.S. I really want to start posting photos, and I keep promising that too, right? And in the end I never do. I'll tell you one of the main reasons: it's faster to upload photos if I save smaller copies of them (they're all 5 mega pixels or above), but that's a big hassle, so... no updating to the nearly defunct photo blog and no photos here. :-(

Relief - Feeling WAY Better!

I don't have time to post right now, it's very late and I need to go to bed, but I just wanted to know that we're feeling much better. I think that we finally decided what we're going to do next year and we feel at peace with selling the house. K was feeling out of sorts and discouraged, but after receiving a phone call from a close friend last night and realizing that we were just "going with the flow" and not taking charge of certain areas of our lives, he decided that we need to find a new meaning and purpose and look forward to the future.

What a relief!

So now, hopefully, I'll have the time and energy to post some "fluff" to the blog! ;-)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

All I Want...

... is to be able look back at this time someday and know it all worked out for the best in the end.

Not in the near future, because that's unlikely, but when we're more settled down. Yeah, it's painful not to have settled down and begun life only two years short of 40 years old. No retirement plans or savings, no savings whatsoever for the kids' colleges. No future down payment for the next house. Harsh reality. In spite of all that, there's hope.

Thanks already, my friends. Your words are helpful. Right now we can't really be cheered up, it's not possible, but we feel more than reassured that we're doing the best we can, given the circumstances. And we know it'll be all right.

We just spent over an hour talking, K and I... it's painful to go over all the details, all of our lives, the past, and the uncertain future, but we're confident we'll be ok, it's just hard to think optimistically. Thanks again.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm in Desperate Need of Some Cheering Up -- which I think is impossible right now

Seriously. I don't think it's possible to cheer me up, I don't even dare ask you to try. I can't even begin... there are so many things I've tried to blog about and not been able to because I just can't overcome the emotions and get done with the writing.

Right now what hurts the most is a simple, straightforward truth that I will never ever be able to shake up from my mind. The fact that all that ever stood between us keeping this house and NOT was me getting a job and the painful truth that (for many reasons) I NEVER went after such job. I didn't really send applications, I didn't try (especially in the past few weeks after the house went on the market and it was "too late" anyway in my reasoning). Obviously I suck big time and I know it, I talk about this all the time, how useless I am in this respect (and please, I KNOW I'm not entirely useless, that I have two sons to care for which I do well, that I'm already working part time at the school, yada, yada, yada, but I REALLY don't send out the applications that I should be sending and THAT is entirely my fault, please, I beg you not to tell me it's not).

Anyway... In days like today I'm just crying pretty much the time (like in the car driving around with the kids, trying to cook in the kitchen, listening to music, looking at the flowers, etc), I can't even bear to look out the window to the sun setting and my sons riding their bikes on the street with their dad. They've been doing that a lot lately, especially my youngest (he spent ALL DAY last Friday riding up and down the driveway, so much that he got a little sunburned), and it just about breaks my heart into a million pieces when I think about them not having that anymore. The space to play outside, the looong driveway, the calm street. It seems that the closer we get to actually selling the house the more they get excited about playing outside (something that my oldest is not too keen of most days).

There are some VERY good reasons to move -- apart from the obvious money thing, it's just too long of a commute for K to be able to spend some decent amount of time with the boys on a daily basis. BUT, ultimately we're doing it because I DIDN'T DELIVER, I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. I basically purposefully didn't get the job at the online university because I truly hated it. Why couldn't I just have sucked it up instead of simply sucking? The house will sell, things will get better, but forgiving myself for this will be impossible, I think. K also has to forgive himself for his own decisions (I promise I will try to get to that post, but it's the one that just makes me too emotional), but I personally think that his decision was right (and he's aware of that, that's why he can ultimately be at peace) and he's pretty happy with work right now, which is great.

But I, I should be doing something and I'm not.

OK, I've got guests... I gotta go.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time Travel: 2003 & 2009

Alternate title: Same Boy, Same Place, nearly 6 Years later

When we were in Western Massachusetts two weeks ago we spent some brief moments on our last day there (4/9) in the playground where I used to take Kelvin in his 1st and 2nd years of life. While there, I had the chance of taking some photos in the same places I'd taken them when he was much younger. The results are in:
October 2003:April 2009:
October 2003:
April 2009:
Cool, huh? He's the same handsome and happy boy!
Will we go there again 6 years from now? If we do, I'll sure take photos and share them with you (it's highly unlikely that we'd do that with a 13 year old, though ;-).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I need CHANGE!

So I began with a small change my mast, or blog title background, putting one of my favorite photos (last one here too), which I took on October 17, 2006 through the screen in my front window. I hope to be able to make more radical changes in the future, not just to the blog, but to my hair (hi Kateri, I'm coming!). I think it's just a natural reaction to all the changes that we are going to have to face in our lives.

I tried to post this morning, but I was so overcome with grief and emotion that I became a sobbing heap and had to run outside and start sweeping the back covered patio, sobbing uncontrollably. I will try to come back and posts tonight, but it won't be easy. I think it'll be good to just share my pain so it can begin to get diluted in the thousands of words and experiences that I've already shared here...

This afternoon we have what we hope will be the second and last open house, that's why I was sweeping earlier. I still need to put some last minute touches into the cleaning and tidying up (well, the tidying up is actually taken care of, there's nothing out of place in this whole house, we've done it for a week already!). Anyway... that's it for now. The days have been beautiful, the weather finally warm, but I cannot really enjoy it wholeheartedly.

Hopefully I'll talk to you later today. Thanks for all those who have been commenting and giving me your support -- you don't know how much you comfort me and how much your words mean to me. I cannot say thank you enough!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Going Under the Knife

So, the other thing I needed to blog about is that the doctor called me on Wednesday to say that he thinks it's best to remove the lumps (here's the latest post on the subject), just to be on the safe side. I guess MRIs are too expensive (I've heard of one person whose co-pay ranged from 1500 to 1900 dollars, but I guess it may not be as high with other insurances) and it's faster and cheaper just to cut and remove... blah.

I've never had any surgery before, at least not the kind that requires an incision. I still remember when I had my tonsils out at 4, the anesthesia to sleep, waking up and having ice-cream. I also found it slightly interesting -- if unnerving -- to have anesthesia when I had the colonoscopy, but I generally dislike doctors and medical interventions. Of course it'll be only local anesthesia and outpatient surgery, but still... I'm not looking forward to it. Since one of the incisions is on my face, the surgeon will probably do it together with a plastic surgeon, which I certainly appreciate.

My mom has been very encouraging because she has had multiple surgeries and jokes that she's never afraid to go under the knife. ;-) She even had an elective biopsy of a small lump in her breast once, just for peace of mind. I still remember that, I must have been 10 or 12 -- I thought it was scary/strange that she was going to the cancer hospital (and by her own will -- in Brazil, depending on your health plan, you don't really need referrals, you just go to the specialist of your choice). Anyway... she says that it's better be safe than sorry and that a small biopsy is no big deal. The doctor has also reassured me that the removal of glands is completely harmless. OK, provided their growth is benign, I think.

I have an appointment with the surgeon next Thursday and I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

800th Post: Hope!

800 Posts Later, I'm Still Here!

There are other things I want and need to blog about, but I needed to get the 800th post out of the way first. In the past, I've "celebrated" some of them with a photo of my flowers (700th) and, before that, there was a huge coincidence of the 600th post and the news that our green cards had been approved. And I'm glad I waited to post the 800th post, because now I can celebrate with hope.

Our realtor just called to let us know that there is someone interested in the house and that they're probably going to put an offer on Monday. They saw the house this past Tuesday (the day I baked biscuits to make the house smell homey and get people to want to buy it -- it worked like a charm on our first house, the first person who walked in offered, but it was a big batch of whole wheat bread made by my mom and MIL), but the good thing is that they had seen the house before we bought it 2 years ago!! So they can totally appreciate the incredible amount of work and serious renovations (siding and roof) we put in, unlike any other prospective buyers.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. This will be a suspenseful weekend! If they could only offer a "fair" amount that allowed us to come out of this at least with some money... (the 20K of the renovations is most likely "lost" at this point). I'll keep you posted...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1 Mammo + 2 Sonograms + 1 X-Ray

Not in that order, though.

First, it was the X-ray, taken to fill out a TB test form for teaching (any TB test that I take will come out positive because I was vaccinated against TB in Brazil, so I have to go straight to the chest X-ray).

Then, I had a very quick, awkward ultrasound of the lump in front of my right ear. It's very weird to have that cold blue jelly spread on the side of one's face and the wand by the ear. I wished it was on my belly (yes, I'm still insisting in wanting another baby even though I won't and can't and it's just a foregone conclusion that I shouldn't).

Next, I had the mammogram. It hurts, yikes! I had heard of how uncomfortable and painful it is to get one's poor breast squeezed and rolled out like pizza dough, but I was still a bit shocked at how annoying it is. After it was done the technician told me to wait in the next room until the radiologist could examine it.

I guess they couldn't take a good look at my underarm "lump," so I went back to the ultrasound room across the hall. The technician took the "pictures" and then I waited for a long time for the radiologist to come (good thing they had this Escher poster taped to the ceiling). When she came she said that there was no trace of breast cancer (as I already suspected) and that the lumps were well defined, enlarged lymph nodes -- just what I had suspected from the beginning (ah, how doctors are useless at times, e.g. so much money [from my insurance company, thankfully] was wasted in "diagnosing" an IBS that I had self-diagnosed months before).

She (the radiologist) said that the doctor may decide to have me do an MRI to verify if there are other such enlarged nodes around the body -- he had mentioned something like that in the last visit (together with the suggestion that a surgeon might want to remove the lump by my ear -- yikes!). So, I still might undergo further testing on this.

So far so good, though. It's better be safe than sorry, isn't it? (another cliche for you, courtesy of this increasingly annoying blog -- no?). OK, I have to go to bed.

There was a showing today (of the house). I'm feeling slightly less depressed... If only the house could sell soon! We're very spoiled because our first two houses sold in the first-second day of going on the market. It's going to be two weeks on Thursday for this one :-(

Please keep us in your thoughts/prayers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year"

You're supposed to read this listening to Carly Simon and Jimmy Webb's heartbreakingly beautiful rendition of the title song in her 1997 "concept" album Film Noir. At least, go here (Amazon link) and listen to the sample, it's such a gorgeous duet! I wish it wouldn't be c0pyright infringement to post the song here... what a complicated world we live in :-( I don't have the song in my computer, so I'm listening to Joni Mitchell...

I had an alternate, silly title: "This post's title was supposed to be a tired old metaphorical cliche, but you get this instead..." and I'm glad I remembered the song. And here's the ridiculous (but true right now) cliched metaphor: Spring is here, but as far as our spirits are concerned, it's still the middle of Winter. Yeah, that's what I thought when I was driving home on Friday, after 5.5 hours of driving.

It was still quite wintery looking up there in Massachusetts (especially Western MA), so when I pulled off the PA Turnpike into Germantown Pk. I realized that it was already very much Spring here, bright forsythias, . And then, I basically cried the 7 miles that separate from the Pike to our house. It was 7:30 pm, but there was still light and I could see my beautiful flowers, cheery daffodils and colorful and sweet smelling hyacinths.

I was surprised at myself... I didn't expect I would be just so devastatingly angry, so upset at coming back to my "perfect house" (thanks to my wonderful husband) knowing it's meant not to be ours anymore. As I drove home I had this almost "violent" reaction that after we sell the house, I never want to set foot in this area again. I want to move into the city and just forget that we ever lived here for almost two years. I want to move on and not look back. And I just felt angry. There's nothing to be angry at, that's the worst part. I will write later about how most of this suffering is of our own making (ah... regret, how bitter and caustic it is).

Anyway... I had two wonderful, beautiful weeks with my boys. I realized some small dreams -- I went back with them to the hospital where they were born, we visited this museum, went to the playground I used to take Kelvin in his first two years of life, and drove by the condo townhome into which I brought both of my babies from the hospital (Kelvin remembers it too, and he was 2.5 when we moved) -- our first house, the one we bought with 10K down -- the only money we perhaps will get back after 8 years of home ownership and two very profitable home sales.

I also stayed for a few days at my friend's house and the boys got to play with her daughters -- I had wanted to do that since last year and it was lovely! And before all that (in the previous week), I spent a lot of time with one of my best friends from childhood and her husband -- oh what a wonderful gift, after over 12 years of separation!!

So, this is a pathetic little post just to let you know that we're back and well, in spite of the fact that the night before I drove home (last Thu to Fri) was awful because Linton had an "asthma" attack (he doesn't have asthma, but was wheezing and coughing after a "coughy"cold) and I didn't want to just go to the emergency room, so I was up with him most of the night. We were able to have him use the nebulizer on Friday morning and I drove home uneventfully (he slept for three hours). I'm never leaving the house without that nebulizer and albuterol ever again!

Our friends are being very supportive and we know deep down that everything will be all right at the end, but it's still very painful. Having to leave the house looking perfect all the time is stressful, cooking is a hassle and a worry (won't the house smell bad?), but I must admit that it's an excellent exercice in "tidyness" for messy me, something I can use to improve in the future.

The stress is taking a toll on us, though. I'm snapping at the boys a lot, my voice has been slightly hoarse for over a month now (I don't have a runny nose or any other cold symptoms, but my throat just never fully heals), and at times I feel such sadness and despair that it's almost unbearable. It comes and goes, I cried while writing the post and Linton, who was watching some Bill the Science Guy YouTube video in the laptop with Kelvin in the same room, came to ask me what was going on and kissed me gently.

While I was writing the post, the bank called to check whether K would be making the mortgage payment tonight. He's delaying the payment to closer to the end of the grace period so that the bank will take seriously our request for a renegotiation of the terms of the mortgage. We do qualify for the plans that the government is trying to push the banks to renegotiate with struggling homeowners (we cannot refinance [not enough income], we can only renegotiate if possible), but the banks only do it if they are willing, or so I'm told. We don't know if ours is. And even if the payment could be dropped by 300 or more dollars, that would still not be enough for us to afford it unless I got steady work (not the uncertain adjuncting or lecturing, I guess -- not that I have really tried to go for those :-( ).

Anyway, this is getting really really l ong, I've been writing (on and off) since 5:30 pm and it's almost 9:30 pm, so I will just hit publish, OK? Without revising. We've been "revising" all our past right now, and it's just too painful.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

19th Anniversary of Being Together

After celebrating this date on the blog for several years, I just couldn't let it go by without a post (especially because last year I think I missed it because of the dissertation). I'm in Western Mass, using my friend's neighbor's weak wireless signal, so I don't know if it will work, but I'll try! :-) (well, the photo just loaded, so it's working ok -- I just have to let you know that I didn't ask K's permission to post his photo, but hopefully he won't mind).

If you want to read the story of how we got together, here's the collection of links. We took the photo below on the day of our 14th wedding anniversary last year (we were facing a whole wall mirror). I didn't get a chance to blog about it in detail, but he took me here. It was a surprise trip and I really enjoyed it! The 19th anniversary of being together is a nice milestone for us because of this. And the best thing of all is that each year that goes by is better and better! I wish everyone could have what we have, I really do.

Well, Happy Anniversary to us! It's just sad that we're apart today, but I have two living reminders of our love breathing softly right next to me in bed, and that is also a wonderful, amazing gift!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Before & After - That's Why It's So Painful

I can't look at these photos without crying, it's just too much to bear, so I need to share them with you. Maybe it'll ease the pain (just the work of uploading and arranging them within the post has already been helpful! ;-). Someday I want to have a slide show of the transformation (and one of those hardcover books -- I wanted to have it for the showing, but in the end I think I'll never print these out and make the book), but for now these will do.

I know that the change in furniture style makes a huge difference, as does wall color, but still, this is a completely different house.


Living Room:
Dining room
(I wish I had photos of the same angle -- I took tons, but they're all at home in the desktop :-( ):Master Bedroom (note: ceiling fan's still there):
And the most dramatic change - Family Room:So, what do you think?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"I Am Refused Entry to the Harvard Poetry Library" by Frank X. Gaspar

A friend of mine handed out this poem before reading his paper at the conference and I was totally moved by it. I felt like crying, but I was in a seminar room and just couldn't.

I hope it's OK for me to include the whole poem here. Here's the link to the book by Frank X. Gaspar in which you can find it: Field Guide to the Heavens (1999). I also found the poem included in a word doc anthology that can be accessed online (so I didn't have to type it, yay!). I highlighted my favorite parts in light green.

I Am Refused Entry to the Harvard Poetry Library

Rightly so: for who am I but a tired question
squatting, in those days, somewhere up on
Beacon Hill, snow equally tired, crusted and dirty,
crouching in striated piles along the ancient curbs—
such a homely winter. And so there should
be books at my elbow! And there were rumors
of that splendid room: imagine sitting in
the warm, thick air, among the sons and daughters
of the sons and daughters, among the thin spines,
among the soft chairs. I would not eat all
day but linger there and let the gray light slant
through the gothic windows, or the square windows,
or from brass lamps, or from fluorescent lights,
the exact details so impossible to imagine
that they roll and flicker and agitate
the manic breath and heart: walk to the T and lay
my coins down, count the stops, hunch in
the chill morning to coffee and sugar at the vendor's
cart near the square, then advance, certain I can
talk my way into the sanctified places, sure
I can find in my pocket some scrap of card,
some guarantee I might pass. And if the world
has its own ideas, and if they are not in accord
with my own wishes, and if the mild young woman
shakes her head firmly and explains how I in
general never have, and never will, live a qualified
day in my life, I must not be afraid of the cold gray
sky and the sprawling yard—I must walk among
the gay colors of the coats and scarves, the backpacks
of the deserving: there are other buildings open
for roaming, and though I might be regarded
with the sideways look reserved for my kind,
someone will soon lay down a book or some other
thing that will fit a hand, and swiftly it will be mine.

~~~ ~ ~~~

We were allowed entrance to several buildings. They even gave us free wireless access (too bad I didn't take my laptop :-( ), but still, PhD or no, we were still outsiders. My friend had a pass to do research in the library, but I only talked to her before reading the poem, so I didn't ask anything about how it is inside. I've entered the library at Penn several times,* but this poem describes quite well my feelings when I walk around that place. I don't belong, I may have some credentials, but I'm not "a daughter of the sons and daughters" -- not that this would guarantee me a job there, no... but, anyway, I don't quite belong. I felt completely neutral at Harvard, but still, the poem is very meaningful. "The sons and daughters of the sons and daughters" (George W. comes to mind) and "The backpacks of the deserving." yeah...

*And their library is NOT good in my area at all! The library in my graduate institution, a state school, is WAY better for Brazilian literature and most other literatures than the Ivy league place. Blah.

New "Career" Move: Doula!

I know I'm all over the place with this blog right now, but I need the distraction and, truly, there are always tons of things going on in my life, as you already know from reading this blog. So, let me tell you a bit about last weekend...

I went to the main conference of my discipline, at Harvard. Apparently, it was the biggest conference to take place there EVER. Not so good for the presenters, several of whom were stuck in tiny rooms with barely room for the seminar members, and NO room for other attendees. Other people had to get coffee and refreshments in tiny, crowded hallways. We were lucky to be in one of the nicest buildings (Barker). So, no, it was not a success with the conference goers. And there were nearly 2000 of us. I guess everyone thought: Harvard! I! have! to! go! BLAH. I want to post a poem about Harvard later, maybe even today, since I'm so prolific right now. :-)

Anyway, I went to the conference and stayed at my friend's apartment. One of my best friends from high school is living in Boston right now (since last October). Her husband is studying English, but they're mostly here to have an American baby. She's 3+ months pregnant and needs tons of advice and has a never-ending list of questions. So I obliged. And, most importantly, I know her really well. I know that she's extremely organized and systematic and that she will want to be ready well ahead of time and have everything she needs at hand. So I discussed all options with her into the night, from the fancy Bugaboos to the humblest umbrella strollers.

As I laid all options before her and learned of the particular situation (most importantly the fact that her husband will not be at the birth because he is averse to hospitals and won't even consider it and, if I know her mom, she might not want to be in the room either) I mentioned doulas and how useful they can be. When I talked to her in more detail about it, it occurred to us that I might be able to do it for her. Later I called K and he was enthusiastic -- "Not only can you do it for them," he immediately declared, "but this can be [he actually said "will be"] a new career that you can get started on!" Yes! So true!

I have already checked out how I can get certified and I almost certain that I'm going to do it! Most importantly, apart from my friend, I have three other friends who are expecting babies within the next 3-6 months! So, attending their births as a doula (even if almost an unpaid one in the case of two of the friends), will help me get certified!

I've already read online that it's not a job that pays very well, but it is most certainly something that I'd LOVE to do!! And I have some "extras" that might help me ($)! I can speak 4 languages, I can take photos and film if they want it. And I'm sure I could think of other things (like cooking after baby is born -- I'm a pretty good cook).

So, I'm quite excited at this new possibility! I'm already thinking that I will be homeschooling the boys in the Fall so I can come to Massachusetts for a few weeks with them (and stay at my in-laws) around my friend's due date. I just cannot believe I didn't think about doing this earlier!! The timing of this visit to my friend couldn't have been better!

What do you guys think?