Saturday, December 31, 2011

In 2012...

... I want to exercise more* and to spend more time with my husband;

... I want to go to Brazil, my dream would be to go twice, but once will be good too;

... I hope to become better at teaching my classes and to make a difference in the life of my students;

... I wish that good health can be re-established for all those friends and family who are experiencing health issues;

... we'll travel a lot and I hope we can have wonderful trips, starting with South Africa in March and Brazil in the summer (winter there).

... my son will be ten years old, I can hardly believe that he's growing up so fast.

I'm sure there's more, but this is what I can think of now.

Happy New Year for everyone!!

* I know this is the most cliched new year's resolution there is, but it is something that I already started working on in 2011 because I started doing yoga.

The Best of 2011


  • My nephew's birth (my first wish for this year).
  • K's whole family's trip to Florida that is ending tomorrow (and which I knew would be a highlight of this year). We took some great pictures here, but I won't share them in the blog since there are too many people involved.
There were many other things and I'll try to write about them later, but I think these are the best.

What didn't happen in 2011

About a year ago I wrote a post about "what will happen in 2011" and one thing did not happen: my 7 year old did not lose his front baby teeth just yet... but I don't think they'll survive 2012. :( He's the one on the right:

I'm editing this post because there are more things that did not happen this year from my "wish lists:"
  • I did not get to see my brother and his wife at all -- I suppose the "every two years, from two days to two weeks rule" will continue, maybe forever. :(
  • Not everyone is healthy in the family (my brother-in-law had two surgeries to remove a tumor from his leg. My mother-in-law had a biopsy done in her thyroid, we're hoping the results will be OK -- she didn't get them yet because of her month-long trip here).
  • I didn't plant raspberries and grapes and I don't think I ever will. :(  I did plant lots of bulbs, though, and I can't wait for them to bloom in the Spring!
  • And, obviously, I didn't get to post 365 times in the blog, but I will be able to post more than last year as I wished to.

I'm missing them a lot...

they are my babies, after all:

Lighted



Isn't it pretty?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Christmas, Before & After

The other families were too busy enjoying their gifts to come play with the wrappings. :)


Two Days Left

To post a whole bunch and be done with 2011. I'll miss this year, it was positively great and about to end in great style with K's family reunion.

Tomorrow night I think I'll have more time to post and try to meet my own challenge.

K & I took the boys here yesterday and it was awesome, except for the crowds (which we mostly beat with the fast track tickets we printed) and for missing the fireworks (long stupid story). More later, then!! (sleeping at 2 am every night and waking between 7-8 when the little kids get up is pretty hard!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I don't know...

... if during this bustling week with family here in Florida I will be able to achieve my goal of posting more than last year, but I don't really mind if I don't make it. Blogging is important and meaningful for me, but way less than most everything else in life, as it should be.

I am enjoying spending time with K's family and we had a wonderful Christmas day yesterday -- I hope to be able to blog more about it, but if it doesn't, it's ok! Gotta go to bed now!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Our Old iPod 30GB Died...

... taking with it all the Christmas music we planned to play over the holiday. (Kelvin had transferred a bunch of music to the iPad, but then accidentally deleted it during an update and our laptop has no music and neither do our external hard-drives -- we'll change that soon).

Thankfully, Spotify saved the day and we were were listening to one of my favorite Brazilian Christmas albums when we opened presents this morning -- Ivan Lins' Um Novo Tempo (this link is only to one of the songs, all the others are also available in Amazon).

"Festas" is one of my favorites because is shows how Brazilians love feasts & celebrations (festas, which also means parties ;) and this album is the reason why now I really love "Feliz Navidad" (at least this version!) which I used to hate with a vengeance.

My other favorite Christmas album is the quirky Mercy Me: The Christmas Album and for me two classics are Amy Grant's Home for Christmas and A Christmas to Remember, both absolutely gorgeous.

OK, here's my short-list of Christmas music. I barely heard Xmas music this year, so I think I'll listen to some more during the rest of the week.  More photos to come soon, OK?

Merry Christmas!! (Before and Before photos :)

Well... I'm glad that being stuck in traffic on Friday evening didn't prevent us to from going to buy a Christmas tree before we made it to the rental house. Our car was horribly packed, but somehow we were able to fit a (live) Christmas tree inside it! I'm delighted we did that! 

There's no mantel in the rental house, so we had to improvise where to hang the stockings. Oh, and we're all putting stuff into each other's stockings... ;)
Before fully stuffed:

 After significant stuffing (but before opening them!):

And here's the tree before all presents were under/around it:
 After most were there (but before opening, right?):
This Christmas promises to be awesome!

Beach!!


We're having a lovely time here!

We spent some time at! the! beach! on Friday and that delayed our arrival in Orlando and we got stuck in traffic for a good while. :( But it was, oh... so worth it!







  P.S. I took only the first photo, I think. K is way better photographer than me! ;)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Safely Here in Florida

We still have a few more hours of travel from Jacksonville to Orlando and we'll probably drive down for a bit along the beaches! The weather will be beautiful this weekend, up to the 80s, so if we can dig into our suitcases in the car for swimwear, we might even go into the water for a bit!! And then after Christmas, it will cool off a little bit (lower 70s, still nice).

K's brother ("K2") and his family are at a hotel a few blocks from us, but I don't know if we'll meet up with them or if they're in a hurry to get to Orlando. We can't get into our rental house until 4 pm... We need to go grocery shopping and to buy a live Christmas tree, but we don't have any room in our minivans for those items! We'll be meeting up with K's parents, though, and we'll probably fill their rental car with stuff!

I didn't blog last night because I didn't want to bother my sleeping family with the computer's blue light. Well... I can't wait for the biggest Christmas in K's family history (17 people, including the "babies" [two 18 month olds]) -- there will be hundreds of presents under that tree! That's why our car is bursting to the seams!

Oh, last but not least, the in-laws, as well as "K3" and "K4" and families just spent 5 days in Cancun --  lucky them!

Hey, I just opened the curtains of the hotel room to let in the sunlight and Linton said, when Kelvin asked for some music and I said we should have Christmas music, "It's not Christmas, it's summer!" I suppose Christmas in Florida will feel similar to Christmas in Brazil, since it's summer in the Southern hemisphere now. We'll enjoy it for sure!

I'll be back, but let me send out my first with for a Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Leaving in a Packed Car...

... instead of a jet plane. Sigh.

Well, packing for flying is even more stressful, though way more organized.

OK, gotta go.

Traveling to Florida

I'm not 100% packed yet, but I need to go to bed because I can't keep my eyes open anymore! :(

I hope I don't forget anything -- this concern, coupled with my inability to decide or choose what to bring (these small decisions are the worst ones in life for me and they make me miserable at times) is the main reason why I can't stand the day(s) that precede a big trip.

OK, I have to go to bed now... am I even making any sense in this post?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Uncle Called Me!

Remember my uncle? Well, I guess that another update is in order, since I last blogged extensively about him nearly two years ago (post above).

Now that my brother-in-law moved close to my uncle, I'm seeing him and my aunt more often. We last saw them back in October and I even got to help care for my uncle by staying with him for one morning while my aunt went to talk to one of the ladies she works for (Have I already told you that she's been working for over 25 years for this guy's wife, so, consequently, at his house? She has an autographed copy of his book).

Anyway, physically, my uncle is doing pretty well, he can walk a little bit unassisted and he can have conversations with us and eat on his own. He sleeps a whole lot during the day, though. And during those 2 days in October, he was pretty confused. He was mixing up things he sees on TV with real life and the conversations we were having, but apparently he has good days in which his mind seems perfectly clear and he can talk to you normally.

Well, this afternoon he called me. I think it was the first time in over three years that I talked to Uncle O on the phone (he had his surgery 2.5 years ago). He wasn't confused at all on the phone, we had a lovely conversation about this time of the year, he thanked me for the Christmas card that they just got in the mail from us yesterday (I mailed them last Friday) and told me about their plans for the holidays (they're going to Ocean City). It was so nice to hear his voice and talk to him! I wish he could recover fully, but the likelihood of that happening is very low. :(

In any case, his phone call made my day! I have to see if my cousin (his only daughter who lives in Vienna now) will be still there when we return from Florida because I'd love to see her!

OK, I have to go back to packing and cooking dinner now, but I just thought I'd share this today.

15

I have to write 15 more posts before the end of the year to beat last year's posts. I hope I can make it, in spite of the busy times ahead with K's family in Florida. Had I told you that we're going to Florida? I probably did.

OK, gotta go to bed now.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Free!!!

Yeah... free from grading to go work some more, and more... Make packing lists, pack, pack, clean house and garage, get people in the airport (a favor for a friend), pack car... shop for the Xmas presents that I still didn't have time to buy. Host friends so we can eat some yummy food... and cancel lunch with friends because of going to airport to pick person up. :(

and K thinks we won't be able to leave on Wednesday morning to Florida, and he's probably right. :( Oh well... I wish I could work faster than humanly possible, but I went to bed at 3 am last night and I'm sooo tired!

Well, let's see what happens. I'll keep you posted. Grading take SOOO much time, but the truth is that I like to do it all concentrated in a couple of days like this. It's crazy, but I think that I go way faster. The good news? My students got tons of As!! Which is fine with me! If they fulfilled all their obligations and my expectations, why not As for those who earn them? Yeah... that's what I think.

OK, gotta go pick up the boys in school.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

17 Years Ago...

... K and I got married! I blogged about it before several times (16th - last year, 15th -- with photos!).

We were able to leave our sons with a friend and go out to eat some Italian food and I had very yummy tiramisu (I needed it to be awake grading).

OK, now I have to go resume the "regularly scheduled programming" of grading jail. Sigh... (that's why I wrote earlier that the timing for our anniversary will always be a little troublesome).

In Grading "Jail"

I have to grade everything today and I'm actually thankful for the deadline (tomorrow). It will be a glorious feeling to be free from that. Too bad the timing is of this grading period is not good and it will be the same thing year after year for me and K... (you'll see why at a later post today)

Let me get to work now!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ayrton Senna do Brasil

The year was 1994 and my job was teaching English for one class period (45 mins) a week for 2nd-4th graders. Maybe you'll think I'm lying, but it's true that the week after Senna's crash, I couldn't really teach my 4th graders. They spent all of our 45 minutes of class humming his name under their breath "Senna, Senna, Senna."

I watched the crash live with my dad, as I typed a paper on the computer next to the TV in our family room and from that day on, after 10+ years of watching Formula One races as a family nearly every Sunday, I never watched another race.

I just found out through wikipedia that Senna was the last pilot to die in an F1 race -- they changed many things in the sport to avoid another tragedy such as this one.

This is the song we heard throughout my childhood time and again on Globo television in Brazil during the "victory lap" whenever a Brazilian pilot won (I believe they still play it today, but I could be wrong) -- I have it on a CD and my boys are very familiar with the song (and other TV Globo songs from my childhood):


And here's the trailer of the Senna documentary (not yet released on DVD), which won the Sundance Festival this year and which I didn't even know existed until last night when I clicked on Michael Moore's twitter link to his theater in Michigan and saw their schedule. My lucky brother got to watch it on an IMAX screen in New Zealand:


I can barely wait until the DVD is released here to see it. The reviews say it's a riveting documentary, just like Senna himself. I wish I could fly to Michigan to see it in Moore's theater. :( And I wish I'd found out about it earlier, while it was still playing in more places.

Go see Hugo while you can -- this is an order, not advice!!!

Yesterday I had a lovely and oh... so rare! :( afternoon date with K. We had a nice meal at one of the great all-you-can-eat dining halls at the university (which -- horror! -- just reminded me of one of those buffets in Las Vegas [I HATE Vegas with a vengeance, BTW]) and went to see a movie completely by ourselves in the theater (it was 1 pm after all, on finals week).

I have seen movies in theaters so few times in my life that it was a unique and very enjoyable experience to have the whole place to ourselves for the first time in my life. Oh, the joy of commenting loudly, as often as I wanted, and in Portuguese too!

OK, I talk too much, don't I? How am I supposed to convince you to go see Scorsese's Hugo?

First... there was Brian Selznick's book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret which is great. Here's the book trailer (seriously, book trailers are WEIRD! Who invented book trailers?):


And then, Scorsese made Hugo, the movie:


And now I will have to buy this book (because of the previous post, get it?).

I have to write one more movie recommendation today and then I'll be off!

I've Got a Paper to Write (or... Accepted)

I still don't know the answer to that, and, at this point, I'm getting a little discouraged, thinking that maybe it's a "no," but... I have good news nevertheless!

Well, not groundbreaking news or anything, after all -- the MLA excepted -- insiders know that most everyone that submits a paper or a panel for presentation at an academic conference gets accepted, so... I was accepted and have a paper to write for a conference in the Spring. The timing couldn't have been more perfect, but I won't say much about that because I don't want to reveal too much about my eminently googleable paper topic.

I'm pretty excited, except that... saying that March and April next year will be CRAzy HECTIC months (I'll keep the small zy there, it looks funky) is a huge understatement. I better get started with my paper right now -- it's a great procrastination strategy for 100 papers that need grading (booo hooo!!!!!!).

OK, got at least to more posts to write, or else I'll never complete my race to "outpost" last year in the blog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Link Love: Best Picture Books, Climate Change & the Right, Poor Academics & More,

I've been collecting a bunch of links in the two browsers opened in my desktop. Generally, I just email them to myself when I decide it's time to shut down the computer so those pesky updates can get installed, but today I decided to blog them instead.

Shall we begin with the picture books? (And, as an aside, Library of the Early Mind, the great documentary about children's literature and its most celebrated Anglophone authors [most American, I think] that I blogged about back in June is available for order as a DVD and for renting online!)

Here's a list of the 11 Best Picture Books/Illustrated books of 2011 -- some of these are gorgeous!

Next, Naomi Klein takes on the disgust that conservatives have about climate change.

Rachel Wagner has a sad account of being an academic and still remaining poor (it has lots to do with having a child in graduate school and, well, also with taking loans to pay to get a graduate degree -- definitely a HUGE No-No!). She received lots of awful criticism, but I think her piece is pretty interesting and informative.

Adjuncts versus Full-Timers in the fight to unionization.

OK, that's it for now... maybe more later!




Still Waiting...

... to hear about that. Maybe this means bad news. :(  Since there's nothing I can do about it, I might as well try to forget about it for a little bit and wait (before sending an email to the "grant-givers"). Sigh... I hope I can do that.

Edited to Add: well, I checked their website and the award will be announced this week, so I have to wait until Friday. That's OK, I can do that. It'll be my reward for finishing of all my grading.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Suspense

I applied for a travel grant for next year and I just remembered that we're supposed to be notified of the receipt of the grant by today... Now I'm pretty nervous and anxious about it. I hope I get it! If I do, my expenses to travel to Brazil next summer will be covered, so I can plan for an upcoming study abroad there. This will help me fulfill my dream of going again to Brazil for the holidays next year, to meet my nephew and have the four cousins (same link as above) together.

(I am planning to pay for the boys to go in the summer and use our mileage to go in December -- let's see if this will work).

I'll keep you posted about the grant! I just checked my email, but there's nothing yet.

10:42 am

I was able to sleep in this morning until 10:42 am!! YAY!!

I got up for a few minutes at 8 am to wish the boys a good day at school and make sure they had everything they needed (like books for the piano lesson) and then I went right back to bed.

It was LOVELY and just what I needed today! Now... on to grading and the last night of the Bethlehem tours (4 hours long in the cold... good thing there are fires & hand+foot warmers help too). More later.

Friday, December 09, 2011

breeze

if you read my earlier post and you're wondering how it went... well... I really couldn't believe what happened!

I had to miss my relaxing yoga class, but fortunately it was a breeze to get in and out of those stores, I even got to park right in front of the door in both Target & WM something that hardly ever happens on either place! Of course Costco was as crowded as ever (and I forgot to buy contact lens solution -- 'cause it obviously was not on my list! :p ), but it was ok.

There were only two problems: 1) I forgot that I had to recharge my store card to buy gas (put only 5 dollars to be able to go back home); 2) the traffic in the parking lot and surrounding streets after I finished shopping was horribly jammed, so I was late picking up the boys. :(

I'm beyond exhausted after 4 hours and saying my lines 19 times... sigh. And I'm still smelling like smoke, even after a hot shower. only three more nights to go. (I will have a substitute for part of Sunday, though, which is good).

dread

I cancelled the yoga class reservation (mopping and cleaning took too long on top of blogging) and I'm heading to town now. I DREAD going into the stores, though. I wish I could go to sleep and woke up after the holidays... I can't stand the crowds. I just need to buy food for our family and cleaning supplies and stuff. Sigh. I'll let you know how bad it was later, OK?

Busy, Relieved, Worried

Busy
Well, this word is a bit too weak to describe this week. Yesterday was the busiest day, by far, so, a quick summary: I arrived at the university at 9:45 and administered 3 oral exams before teaching ,my 2 last classes, from 11-1:45. Then, three more oral exams and a meeting of 1h30 with two students who need looots of help. I barely eat on Tu/Th because I teach right over lunch time (and I don't like/can't [IBS] have breakfast, so that's a problem for me. I generally eat a plate of food during my 11 am class). In fact, I've been so busy this semester that I've been buying frozen food, like the 1.50 pasta & vegetables on tasty sauces that I can find at evil-superstore-that's-open-24h-and-in-which-I-shouldn't-shop or the nice and yummy organic & vegetarian dishes of Amy's kitchen, which is what I ate yesterday (enchilada verde, my favorite).

I had to be getting ready for a performance in church (more on that in a second) at 5 pm, but I only left the university at 4:50! I ran home to put on a few more layers of clothing and to "grab" my family that was going to participate too. We were a bit late [it started at 5:30], but it was OK in the end. You see... we're doing this huge Bethlehem town representation for five nights. It involves hundreds of people and it's really nicely set up with a great script (it takes about 45 mins. to go through) and I'm a poor widow (with my youngest son), my oldest son is a school boy with a small speaking part and my husband will be the Inn-keeper for a few nights. The whole thing goes from 5:30-9:15 or later every night until Monday. Sigh... We've had several nightly practices in the past weeks (even before Thanksgiving), and the last was on Tuesday (and on Monday I cooked to help feed a group of homeless that is given shelter in various churches around town, so Wednesday was our only "free" night this week). It does feel good to be helpful, though.

If all that weren't enough, my mother- and father-in-law are coming tonight to spend the weekend, so K & I were cleaning the house until 1 am last night, mostly because today he has to work and go to a holiday party (until roughly 4 pm -- remember that by 5 we have to go to the performance!) and I have to go shopping for food and other necessities since I didn't have time at all the whole week! I should be mopping my kitchen floors right now and yet I'm blogging (I need some "therapeutic" me time to help  me keep sane in all the busy-ness). But... I'll try to have an hour for myself later today too.

Relieved
Remember those bad news? Well, they were about my brother-in-law and there's some good news to supplement those. He's had the first surgery (prior to the news), then a CT scan -- which scared him more than anything -- and which came back negative, no metastasis anywhere else in the body! Which is great news, since that makes it more treatable. His second surgery was on Tuesday and it was successful. He will undergo radiation therapy in January. The only thing is that it seems that he's feeling much more pain and other side effects of the medication (nausea) than he did after the first surgery, so I hope he can recover and feel better soon.

Worried
I'm really really worried about my sister-in-law, my brother, and the new baby (in that order). I think Andi Buchanan's phrase "Mother Shock" is too weak for what they're undergoing, really... and I feel sorry that there's nothing that we can do to help, since it's hard to even talk to them and just talking won't help relieve their sheer shock, exhaustion, etc. My poor SIL was diagnosed with acute anemia after the baby was born. She is being treated, but the extra exhaustion brought by that condition, added to not sleeping, etc, is just too hard on her. Then, she couldn't take the pain of breastfeeding and suffered greatly until she was given nipple shields.

We only talked to them last week on Saturday when they took & sent us some photos and skyped with us briefly. All I hear is through my mom, who's communicating briefly with my brother every day. Ever since the baby came, my SIL realized she cannot sleep -- she gets stressed out about the baby being OK. My brother is trying to help, but he's working full time and her parents are there, but they only help during the day... The latest I heard is that the baby is crying up to an hour a day -- they think he might be colicky!! -- :(  I hope that's not the case, but if it is, I just pray that they can survive. Of course we all know they will... but... I feel for them and worry. Especially because I had it so (comparatively) easy -- well, I never wrote in the blog in detail about the nightmare of Kelvin not nursing/latching on for a month and me pumping for that whole time. I will try to do that someday. It's always been too difficult to even remember.

So... yeah, I wish I could feel simply happy about the birth of my nephew, but that's not to be. :( I wish the birth of a new baby could be easier on the parents and family, but it never is. So many people (SIL especially), worry so much about the labor and delivery, but those are nothing, really compared to what comes after, there's nothing that can prepare you for a new baby, NOTHING. That's why there's this sharp division in the world between those who are parents and know and those who don't. There's no way the latter can ever understand the former, seriously.

All right, that's enough for now, I have to do some mopping and run to town for food shopping. (outrageously ridiculous rhyming, I know, and not on purpose, I swear!).

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

my greatest fear

It was early evening and raining when I entered the highway driving home from work today. I immediately thought that it was dangerous to drive under those conditions, but I hoped & trusted that everything would be fine. I felt that way because every time I drive I feel a keen awareness that driving is one of the most dangerous things we do every day and that there is a real threat of getting into an accident and getting killed.

That's why as I was driving earlier today I thought about my greatest fear as a mother. I don't know if I shared this here in the blog before or not, but after I became a mother my greatest fear is of dying and leaving my sons' mother-less. I'm not afraid of dying, not one bit (well, I'm sure I will/would be if I knew for sure it was happening), but in general I don't think much of it, but the idea that my sons won't have me anymore while they're still young and need me terrifies me.

I know the boys would be OK in the end (though it would be positively awful if both K & I died), well cared by any of our family members (yes, I think that my parents, my in-laws, any of my brothers- & sisters-in-law, my brother & wife and even extended family members such as aunts, uncles, cousins, would do a wonderful job caring for our sons), but I still feel sad to think that I wouldn't be around to comfort them and help them and mother them. And, believe me, this is not about me, but them.

Good thing they're growing and becoming more independent, etc. I think every year that goes by will make it easier for me, little by little, to let go. Because I guess that in the end this feeling has to do with my need to be needed by them -- especially since they don't need me even half as much as they did when their nourishment depended entirely on me as well as 100% of their physical care.

One of the saddest things I've ever watched on TV was a documentary about this young mother in Canada whose own mother had early onset dementia or an Alzheimer type degenerative disease and who had had genetic tests/ analysis done to determine whether she had the gene that would doom her to the same fate. Even not knowing, she already did lots of things that would help preserve her mind while it was still cognizant -- such as writing incessantly all her thoughts in a journal and recording audio tape messages to her children.

It turned out that she did have the gene and seeing her reaction was simply heartbreaking. She began to actively record tapes for every milestone of her children's lives and to try to prepare to lose all her mental ability and memory. This, in fact, sounds worse than actual death, doesn't it?

Well... I will stop here, my apologies for the gloomy subject. I do have one more post in me about a related topic, but I don't know if I'll write it now or later. And, hopefully, my sons will still have me for years to come!

the little bad things


I should be grading, but I'm just so tired after a very busy day that, obviously, I'm spending time online checking my twitter feed, reading friends' blogs and, before that, several minutes being really annoyed by the random stuff people post to facebook -- can't stand that thing!

In any case... I'm really frustrated by a few bad things that happened and one of them is not even so little -- I dropped my cell phone and it broke. It's still functioning, but I don't know how much longer since the little panel on top of the button to make/take a call and turn it off fell and now won't stay in place.

Of course our two year plan doesn't end until June next year!! :( The only option I know to hold off until then, and which we've used before (TWICE for K who ruined his phone -- and his is half ruined now too, just the touch screen), is trying to find a friend who had a phone from the same carrier that was discarded, but still works. Is that really the only option, though? I know some carriers offer to "buy out" your remaining time with another carrier, but I don't know if any carrier does it around here (Sprint was going to call me back if they ever decided to offer it).

I HATE HATE HATE the two year plan requirement! (when we joined T-Mobile years ago our plan was for only one year.. and obviously we ended up using it for over two years, so we didn't even take advantage of it. :( We have Verizon now (in spite of the fact that once upon a time I was the #1 google search result for "Verizon Sucks" [which it does]) because it's got the best coverage in our area.


OK, the second little bad thing is that one of my kittens vomited today and I'm hoping they are fine and that he (the one who did it) is not really sick.


Well, I'll try to grade a few things now... sigh...


Saturday, December 03, 2011

A Gift to Myself

Yesterday (or today, since it's after midnight on Friday and I just want to be accurate, for once in my blogging life ;) I had tons of things to do in town, including picking up an online order returning some stuff at a couple of stores and going to the university to take care of some stuff that I had neglected during Mon-Th (I don't teach or go to town or to campus on Fridays), but... I had told myself that I needed a reward this week: a yoga class.

You see, I have been unable to take the (free) yoga classes offered at the university this semester because I teach during the two classes I might be able to attend (I already changed one of my classes for later time slot next semester so I can go to yoga, woo-hoo!). My current schedule allowed for one "Yogalates" (yoga+pilates, pretty fun, in fact) class on Wednesday mornings, but I only went in the beginning of the semester, because later I was so swamped with trying to read the books and get ready to teach that I spent that time working instead. :(

I tried to get into the Friday noon class a few times, but I always remembered too late and it was already full (we have to register 24h in advance or less), but yesterday afternoon I finally remembered and registered! This morning, when I was running late, frantically looking for a lost netflix DVD (from last month) that I still haven't found :( I briefly considered cancelling the class, but changed my mind and decided to give it a try.

I rushed to town, stood impatiently in line at JCP to pick up my MIL's present, then wasted my time trying to return something at Costco (apples, K had already bought apples when I came home with more -- but the lady said they were going to destroy them, so I didn't return them in the end. I'm happy with my decision because they are very yummy honey crisps). I literally ran into my office where I had to email my students, print out stuff (printer out of paper! had to print it in the secretary's office since I didn't have time to go get paper, etc) and head out the door to walk 5-10 minutes to the class location.

Phew! I made it! And it was a lovely, lovely... too short 50 minute class that I really needed. I was so glad that I decided to try and go!

I'm considering another "gift" to myself next year in the shape of a once a week paid "real" yoga class to complement the free ones I get to take on campus, I think I deserve to take care of myself, right?

Getting Lazy

Well... after the obligation to post by midnight every day last month was over, I just relaxed a little bit about blogging, still confident that I have tons of things left to say and can easily pull off 33 more posts (minimum). I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing that I'm so confident about my ability to blog that much and... frankly, I don't care. One of my (always pretty lame) new year's "resolutions" was "to blog with abandon" and I need to take care of that before it's too late.

OK, I just remembered that I had a post planned for today, not this lame one so... let's get this one "published" and let's talk about something more interesting, shall we? :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

(Up)Rooted

Slowly, very slowly... I begin to really like our new house. Not that I didn't like it before, it's just that it is hard, nearly impossible, for me to imagine how it feels like to live in a place for many many years... and I am beginning to think that maybe we will live in this house for a long time (we will? really? the skeptic in me cannot reconcile to this idea).

You see, that never really happened in my life... I've never had a "hometown," I've never known what having a family home (where you spent your childhood) to go back to feels like. A good metaphor for how  "unsettled/unsettling" my life is and has been is my "birth country" trauma, caused by the fact that I was born in a country which doesn't allow me to have its nationality.* And then there are the many times I moved (either places or from one rental house to another. Five years was the most I ever lived in one house (I did live in the city of São Paulo for 12 years, but moved a few times during this period). For my husband's family it was worse. We calculated once that in 20 years K's family had moved, I don't know, 13-15 times (including a house or apartment a year in one city).**

A few months ago I was having a hard time thinking that we had finally "settled down" somewhere, but I didn't blog about it at the time because I didn't really know how to say this (not that today I'm going to be any better). In fact, the idea of settling down sounds nearly incomprehensible to me after so many years in my life -- actually, my whole life, all 40 years of it -- moving from place to place and not knowing where I would end up. Unconsciously I keep thinking that we'll sell this house again and move elsewhere and start from scratch once more... because this is just what "normal" is in my life.

The funny thing is that when I met K, my biggest desire in life was to be able to have what I never had -- a stable place, give my children a "childhood home" and roots. However, in these 21 years together, I seem to have changed and become just like K was/is: he has always said that after the first traumatizing move he remembers in his life -- when he was 6 years old and followed by many others -- he just can't stand living in the same place for too long, that he needs new adventures. I had a hard time adapting to that kind of thinking, but when we left Brazil and moved here, I think that changed.

So... as I contemplate many years living in this area, having the boys grow up here (OK, they're pretty grown up by now, poor things, having moved a lot too), I feel torn between that old desire I had of putting down roots somewhere, and the impulse to experience new things.

Ultimately, I don't know what will happen (and sometimes I fantasize about K getting an offer to go somewhere after he gets tenure, but that's sooooo unlikely!)... so the best I can do is to enjoy this house, this region and let those roots grow... after all, we should "bloom where we're planted," right?

* I probably blogged about this before (at least in my 50 things about me posts), but if you don't know the story, I was born in Geneva, Switzerland when my dad was studying in France (right on the border) and my mom was doing an specialization at the University of Geneva. There's only one small detail... Switzerland refused to give anyone born there their citizenship... they're just "too good." As a result, I spent my whole childhood being told "Oh, you're Swiss" and replying angrily -- no, I'm not!! I'm Brazilian!" Sigh...

** Of course I know that it's even worse for "army families" because then it's around the world...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I like teaching, but grading...

... is a pain.

edited to add -- I'm sorry, folks!! I'm totally, 100% repeating myself in this post! I already wrote most of this rant on 11/7. Please blame it on NaBoPloMo, OK? (I do have an "extra" here, the link to a previous post about my traumatizing experience of online teaching).
-------------------------

Seriously. Grading papers is SOOO subjective that it drives me nuts! I feel like all I do is "justify" the grade I give in my comments. I can't stand writing comments... I think I sound so hollow, so untrue!

Sometimes I wish I could simply give everyone As, but that wouldn't be honest, that's not part of my job. I need to help students get better at what they're doing.

But when I don't grade and give them back their assignments in a timely manner, I'm NOT helping them!! So... there you go. I'm officially the less helpful professor in the face of the earth (OK, maybe not, I returned one of 4 papers and most of the 2nd paper. A student [not mine] told me today that one of her professors didn't return/grade ANYTHING yet, and it was pretty tragic how hearing that made me feel less awful about myself).

Just for about 2 minutes, though.

The reality is that grading is hard, no matter what. And for me, using a rubric doesn't help much. In addition, electronic feedback -- which I think is ideal -- is a pain for me because of that horrible, no good, very bad experience of online "non" teaching. (I totally have some PTSD from that). (I re-read that post just last week and I was surprised at how strong my feelings were, so many months later... yeah, I was definitely traumatized).

The good thing is that I don't think there's anything traumatizing with teaching in a real classroom and dealing with live, flesh-and-blood "kids." I enjoy that, and I hope the students can sense that. And... maybe, forgive me for procrastinating so much the grading. :(

I'm so lame!! (and "faking" the date today, the first time in over a week, really, so I should be forgiven for that too).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Here he is!

Isn't he precious?! I will try to come back and write more later, but I need to finish a grant proposal and do some serious grading before tomorrow.

I am also worried about baby, mommy & daddy because they are exhausted, he cries a lot, she feels her milk hasn't come in and is very anxious about that (she seems to feel very insecure and anxious in general as new mothers often are, poor thing!). Keep her in your thoughts and prayers, OK? I wish it weren't so hard to have a new baby. :( 

(and, seriously, the second time around is WAY better, that's the truth!)

Locked Out

We've been inside our cozy house for less than an hour now, in spite of the fact that we arrived about 11:30 from Maryland.

Today was one of those (fortunately) rare unfortunate occasions in which the stuff nightmares are made of come true. On Wednesday when we left, I made a fatal mistake: I suggested we bring an extra set of keys for the car, one that didn't have the house key in it. K was using that key to drive and had left the other key in the car (between the two seats, on the floor). On Friday, however, when the car was full of my Black Friday shopping stuff, I decided to bring the other key inside the house -- after all, it's not very wise to leave your car keys inside the car, right? RIGHT?

Except that tonight K used the spare key to drive to church, left it in his pocket and reused it again in the evening -- so he never had to pick up the key from the key hooks at brother-in-law's house.

We realized we didn't have our house key until we'd driven half way home. I remembered that we had the garage opener in the glove compartment and didn't stress too much. And then, we often forget one of the back doors unlocked, so I thought that those could be an option.

Well... guess what? Everything that could go wrong went 100% wrong. The garage opener wouldn't work. The other garage opener (inside our other unlocked car, parked in the driveway) didn't work either. ALL doors were locked. There's a balcony off our bedroom and I thought that maybe that door would be unlocked. K climbed on the trash can and hoisted himself up (getting hurt in the process), but NO, the door was locked as well!

We went to the two convenience stores in our small town looking for batteries for the garage door opener, but they didn't have any. We even bought a Phillips screwdriver to try to open the opener, but it was too big and I finally opened it with a paper clip. It was one of those tiny 6V batteries. In the end, we drove all the way to a Wal Mart Supercenter (20 minutes away) so K could buy the batteries. I was napping in the car (while the kids, who woke up when we got home, talked) and when K came back, he asked, what if the neighbor (who was looking after the cats) locked the door from the garage to the house? Oh no! I truly hoped that wasn't true. I slept on the way home and jumped out of the car as soon as we got here. The opener worked and the door was unlocked, PHEW!!!

What a night! K was joking that at least it would be an unforgettable night for all of us and that this would probably never happen again.

Seriously, besides sticking extra house keys in each car, I want to install one of those keypads outside of the garage, it's how we got out of situations like this in our rental house and our last house in Pennsylvania.

Good thing I got to talk to my brother on skype, though! It helped that we were still up. I will write the post about their experience (pretty interesting, as a matter of fact, more cultural differences in maternal and newborn health care) tomorrow. And it might even include a photo of the baby!!

Well, good night (for me)... good morning for my readers!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Baby!

I wish I had a photo to go with this post, but my brother hasn't seen one yet. My nephew was born today at 10 pm (5 am here) in New Zealand and everything went well (except the need for an episiotomy). Dani weights 3.5 kg -- 7.7 lbs, or, in the stupid (sorry, I really think so)* system you use here, 7 lbs 11 oz and it looks like he's nursing well, has dark hair and is calm (for now!).

My mom is reporting back what she hears from my brother -- who called her as soon as the baby was born and then again at 9 am their time [on Sunday] (4 pm Saturday here), while his wife was resting -- but I hope I can talk to him in the next few days. My sister-in-law's mom and dad couldn't be at the birth (or... I don't know, maybe they didn't want to?) and by the time my brother called my mom the second time, they hadn't yet seen the baby. (I understand that some couples want that, but I have the impression that these were probably requirements of the hospital there and not my brother and SIL's choice). My brother also said that he won't give anyone the telephone number of their hospital room just yet because his wife is very tired and a bit stressed out.

After hearing their experience, my mom is simply delighted with how my births were here in the U.S. -- she was with us both times (in addition to a family friend when Kelvin was born), we were all nice and comfortable in the birthing room, listening to the music we brought from home, and friends and family (including my 2 year old) were able to come see me and the new baby very soon after he was born (I don't know how it is in New Zealand, but in Brazil children don't go into hospitals -- I don't know if they'd make an exception for a sibling). When Kelvin was born, K stayed with me overnight in the hospital, but when Linton was born, my mom stayed, because K was home with Kelvin who was still pretty young 2 years 3 months).

In any case... I'm really happy my nephew was born, but a little impatient because I don't know much about him and how it went. I can't wait to see his little face! After each of my births, we called my brother from the birthing room and I have photos and video of me talking to him and telling him about how it went. Oh well... he has his wife and son to worry about, I know how those first few moments and days are, so I shouldn't be frustrated, right? My apologies if I'm coming across that way.

* Seriously, I think the metric system is way better, I've learned to live with lbs, oz, miles, Fahrenheit (the worst!!), but I can barely stand it. As for babies, everyone I know who is Brazilian American gets their babies' pounds/oz wrong when reporting back to their anglophone friends because it's just so complicated -- the geek in me goes crazy when people assume that the .7 pounds equals 7 ounces because they don't. Now, as my husband says, you guys really know your fractions because of your system (and we know our decimals).

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nephew Watch 2011 -- Contractions Started

All the way across the globe in New Zealand, my nephew is coming!! My brother emailed us about an hour ago to let us know that the contractions have started.

We're all praying that all goes well. My sister-in-law is really apprehensive, particularly about feeling pain. Her mom and dad are there with them and my mom wishes she could be too.

I'll keep you posted!

Crazy Tired from Shopping

I have to blog now because later I may be too tired to do it.

My sister-in-law and I went to the stores (Kohls & Target) at 1 am. Then we headed to JC Penney at 4 (I bought next to nothing there) and came back home close to 6 am. I got up at about 9 am and left again, this time for Costco and Trader Joe's. Then I went to the mall (crazy crowded) where I shopped at Gymboree, got lost walking around and came back home.

Now my sister-in-law and my husband (who stayed home and slept all night -- but according to him he woke up very often) are napping and I'm here trying to stay awake. Sigh. My brother-in-law (who had his own shopping spree this morning at Macy's -- beautiful and really affordable suits!) took the boys to the park and I'm really thankful for that!

What did I buy? At Kohls, a couple of big throws for our new living room (solid brown & caramel), a blazer for my husband, some gifts for the boys and a few other things... and going to Target was pretty much useless (I wanted a fire-pit, but an hour after opening, they were all gone. :P At least I bought a nice immersion blender -- which I thought was the one one sale, but which it wasn't. Booo... At JCP I bought a pair of red gloves & some funky tights and waited for my SIL to do her shopping.

I'm calling my aunt now, we want to go there and see her and my uncle (the one who had brain surgery two years ago).

I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was great... I'm just awfully exhausted, but I think it was worth it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I LOOOOOVE Thanksgiving!!

After a rather unusual Thanksgiving last year (we went to the beach!), I'm delighted to be back to our Thanksgiving tradition of years back -- spending the holiday with K2 (Klebert's younger brother) and his family.

Exceptionally, this year we were ready with the food ahead of time! And we're just waiting for our guests, a Portuguese family celebrating their very first Thanksgiving in the U.S. They're bringing a codfish dish (bacalhoada) which we can't wait to taste!

Our four boys are downstairs playing the Wii and we are all very hungry, awaiting the best part of the day.

Well, the guests are here, and I will write another post later.


42

Only 42 posts more and I will reach my goal of posting more than last year! That sounds imminently feasible now, YAY!

Now... if only my nephew could decide to arrive into this world! This suspense is not very easy for my sister-in-law and brother to deal with.

The pies are baked for tomorrow already, and I made the sweet potato praline dish too! Gotta go to bed so we can be thankful for all the food tomorrow! ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting Better

Lepton, the kitten that was still sick is getting better. He still vomited once more this morning, but has been fine after taking his medicine. My friend is coming to give him medication tomorrow and I'm absolutely elated that my neighbor across the street happily agreed to look after my "babies" until Saturday night when we return from my in-laws! What a blessing! Look at them, sooo cute!
I love Lepton's tongue in this pic:
And Quark's sharp "embrace" in this one:

" 'Cause it's his turn, but his brother won't let him try..."

wow... this sentence is half of my life as mother of two young boys.

but it was the beginning of the song that moved me (the part above it's very close to the end, which is also the same as the beginning):
it's like forgetting the words to your favorite song,
you can't believe it, you were always singing along
it was so easy, and the words so sweet...
you can't remember, you try to feel the beat
....eet.... eet.*
* sorry, I can't embed it.

The previous post sent me looking for cool stuff in Youtube since I'm woefully out of touch with contemporary pop music -- very loosely defined in this post as "music people are listening to now that is popular and/or good" -- with very few exceptions (e.g. Adele & Cold Play). Youtube is OK and all (lots of trash too), but I'm delighted that Spotify came along -- now I can listen to lots more great music without having to sift through bad resolution or cover videos.

In any case, I'd heard of Regina Spektor a while ago, probably through a post in my my sister-in-law's blog (she has great taste in music -- BTW, I'm glad you liked the brownies and other food [scroll down for photo] I cooked! As you know, I really enjoy cooking for company, not so much for only us ;) -- I'm looking forward to Florida already!). But I'd only heard one of her songs, I think, the great "Laughing With." So a couple of days ago I listened to a lot of her songs, both in Youtube & Spotify and though I don't really like many, some are awesome, e.g. "Samson":

I love the Narnia books and have been enjoying the movies (didn't like Dawn Treader too much, though :( ), but I didn't know that Regina Skpektor's "The Call" appeared at the end of Prince Caspian!

I still haven't bought any of her music, but I hope to be able to listen through Spotify and maybe someday I'll buy it too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drip, drip, drip

It's raining here and today, because of the rain, I was reminded of how one of our "crumbling Hondas" -- the "younger" one, the Odyssey -- is leaking oil. Every spot I parked, even if just a few minutes, had a shiny "rainbow" colored stain mixed with the rain water coming from under it when I came back to the car.

It wasn't my imagination either. When I got home, I opened the garage and moved the car inside for a couple of feet so I could check the oil (we try to check often and constantly add more). I moved it out after less than 10 minutes so I could close the door and let the cats out of their carrier (I put them there so they wouldn't run our of the garage) and when I came inside and closed the door, there were a few drops of dark oil on the garage floor.

:(
Part of our big financial worries right there. I keep hoping, against logical thinking and hope itself, that these cars can last until we can afford to get new ones. Maybe they can, maybe it'll all be fine in the end, who knows.

Meanwhile... I feel guilty every day for polluting the environment and filling our waterways with horrible oil. (it seems that the leak cannot be fixed, unfortunately) :(

P.S. Thanks for your lovely supportive comment, Aliki. It's precisely what I needed to hear. I am at peace with the expenses and 100% sure that my "babies" are worth every penny. It's just that I have horrible anxiety & issues with money and K & I always have the hardest time talking about it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Children of Deported Parents & Pepper Spray

nothing like checking the news to put things into perspective, right?

I had always asked myself what happened to these children and this organization gives the heartbreaking answer. (see video below if you want)


In addition, I hadn't checked my Twitter feed since Friday and hadn't listened to/ checked the news so I didn't know about the pepper spraying of students at UC Davis -- how awful! Here's the interview of a victim and a discussion of how strong pepper spray is.

Last, but not least, Jo(e) wrote a great post about social media and the OWS movement. It's good that the world is watching, what effect will this  exposure have?

can't

I can't really blog today.

I mean, I'm a big over-sharer, but I need to stop it at times and this is one of them. I will just say a few things, but not discuss them.

My cat (I think it's only one now, but I can't know without spending significant time with them in the garage) is still vomiting, in spite of the fact that the vet thinks they're both fine and after I spent several hundred dollars there today (b/c I decided to go ahead and the the whole feline leukemia thing. worried mother preyed upon).

My mom is worried about my dad's health and I don't like that.

Spending money I don't have on the cats that I shouldn't have in the first place has caused me too much grief today (after I talked to K).

bye

P.S. (I can curb the over sharing, but not the prolix tendencies) and I have to go to bed early b/c I woke up at 4 am worried about the cats and spent the rest of the night in the garage with them (I brought in a mattress & blanket, but there's a heater in there, so it's nice & warm)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sick Kitties

(sigh)
My cats (who just had surgery last Wednesday) are vomiting and I'm pretty stressed out. I'm glad they are still playful and acting normal, so it shouldn't be too serious, but still... it's a worry.

To make it worse, I found out (and I'm so upset at myself for not having paid more attention earlier -- I did feel a lump after the surgery on Wed, but didn't look closely) that there's a huge tick on Lepton's neck. :(

Thankfully, I called our friend and vet and she called me back and gave me advice -- their office is actually open tonight and I can take them in!

(too bad that we may miss a Nutcracker concert we were planning on going, but I will try to go anyway!)

So, yeah... it's not easy to "parent" pets. Easier than children, for sure, but still stressful at times.

P.S. In a sense it's OK that K left early this morning for a conference, because he's always quick to remind me of the consequences of my choice to have pets ("See? I told you it would be a problem!") in typical "guy" fashion. Not very supportive at times. :(  And I will tell him all that, BTW, I generally don't write anything in the blog that I wouldn't say to anyone's face (at least I not anymore!! ;).

Four Cousins and a Dream

Today (technically yesterday, since it's after midnight), my mother and father drove a 2 hours to the city of São Paulo's international airport to spend a few hours with my cousin Denise (by my side, above) and her husband, who were flying back home to Arizona after visiting Brazil -- Deni's first time in the 21 years since she'd come to the U.S.!!

My parents and I reconnected with Deni back in 2003 when 10 years had passed since we had last seen here -- it was so nice! I last saw her six years ago when she briefly visited us in PA, but I want to plan to see her again soon.

I really want to some day be able to write a sensitive, moving and, hopefully, beautiful account our childhood together, but I will try to quickly summarize the events that brought the lives of my cousins Deni & Joce and mine and my brother's together for the sake of this post.

D & J are the children of one of my dad's sister, the one that was always closest to my mom. D is a couple of years older than me, J is only four months younger than me and was my classmate from 7th-12th grades. Coincidentally D, J & I were all born on the seventh day of the month!

When J & I were six and D eight, their father died in a horribly tragic car crash and as a result of that, D & J spent nearly all their vacations with our family in the years that followed and then in 1985 we moved to São Paulo where we were, literally, their neighbors. They are like brother and sister to me and I love them dearly.

I have a dream... a dream of taking another photo like the one above. Of having the four of us together again. Just thinking about this makes me want to cry tons.

Well... today I found out that D is planning to go to Brazil for Christmas next year. My brother is going as well with his family and I'd been planning and dreaming of going so I could meet my nephew, but now, I have even more motivation to make an effort to go (in spite of the fact that we're going to Brazil in July/August next year and airfares are super expensive). I hope I can make this dream come true!!

Note: I wrote this post listening to Pat Metheny because back in 1996 Joce gave us their CD Still Life (Talking).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

51 - uma boa ideia :)

Since I have 51 posts to go 'till I reach my goal of surpassing last year's number of posts*-- not counting this post, obviously, so it is actually 50, I thought I'd write this post about Brazil's most famous brand of cachaça (pronounced kah-shah-ssah) or hard liquor, also derisively nicknamed as pinga.


I thought it was "a good idea" (this drink's famous slogan), in spite of the fact that I never tasted the stuff & never intend to. It's part of my country's culture, so I always tell my students about it. In addition, cachaça is used to make the famous Brazilian lime-based drink "Caipirinha" (if you want it with vodka, it's a caipiroska).

So, there you go... one more useless piece of information for you, courtesy of this humble Brazilian person's blog!

* by one, I can try to add a little more if I can.

South Africa, here we come...

 It is certain now, our family is going to South Africa for nine days during our Spring Break next year to accompany a small tour group led by my mother-in-law (who owns a small travel company in Brazil). She is sponsoring the trip for K & I because we will be translators/interpreters to the group on the tours we do there (last year K's brother "K2" and his wife did that too).

In spite of the fact that the boys' Spring Break doesn't coincide with ours (it's two weeks later!) we decided to bring them along since we think this is a unique opportunity for them to go to Africa -- especially because my parents will be going on the trip as well (on their way to New Zealand to meet my new nephew). In addition, Kelvin's 10th birthday will be right in the middle of the trip, on the day we'll be arriving at a lodge in Kruger Park. I think it'll be an unforgettable birthday for him!

Now we just need to work hard to getting used to the South African accent so we can be effective interpreters. Last night when I talked to my brother on Skype he and his wife recommended that we watch movies set in South Africa and I think it's a good idea. Any suggestions? My brother said he's email me some links, I'm thinking that we can start with an older film such as Cry Freedom and maybe Color of Freedom and Invictus -- although these last two have mostly American actors, I don't know if that would be helpful. My brother & SIL also recommended what they said was a weird "alien"/scifi movie, but in which the accent would be great for us (meaning, authentic ;): District 9.

I guess it will be nice to try to be prepared. And also talk to the boys about the painful history of that country before we go (maybe we should try to find children's books about South Africa). Sigh... it's easy to say all this, but doing it is harder. I guess I'll go edit my netflix queue right now!!

Note: The lack of the exclamation point at the end of the post's title is due to the fact that the boys' airfare that I just charged to my card yesterday will be added to our current debt and I'm not too thrilled about that (MIL is reimbursing us for ours this week), but like the commercials say... it'll be priceless (I just didn't pay with MC, but with V ;).

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Nephew is Coming!

I'm late posting today because we just spent a couple of hours talking to my brother and sister-in-law on Skype. When we said good-bye, my nephew was moving around in his mama's uterus and I talked to him a little big.

I hope he arrives soon! (due date's on Monday, 11/21) My sister-in-law is really afraid of the pain and of giving birth, so I'm praying that all will go well.

I need to sleep now, more tomorrow!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mildly to Outrageously Ridiculous 80s Music

OK, I'm beginning a (hopefully short) series of posts that will probably only interest readers my age (which I suppose are the majority of my tiny readership anyway): posts about music that I listened to when I was growing up (in the 80s, obviously).

I grew up in Brazil, but I'm pretty sure that the English language songs we listened to there were popular here (and maybe in the U.K.) too. I'd be really curious to know whether you ever listened to any of these songs. I'm beginning with the more ridiculous ones and I'll have another post (or posts) for those I consider "cooler" and still like and can listen to.

Today I was looking through an old stack of piano sheet music I have (most of which I was never good enough to play anyway) and in the middle of a pile of old/classic film scores ("New York, New York," "Lara's Theme" from Dr. Zhivago, "The Pink Panther," "Theme from Love Story," "Tara Theme" from Gone With the Wind, and some gems such as "As Time Goes By," "My Way," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and even the awesome "California Dreaming") I found this (Italian) song called "I Like Chopin" by this guy ridiculously named Gazebo (I realize that the name probably doesn't sound bad in Italian). Here's the video clip. I don't recall having ever seen it, but my cousin Denise loved this song, so I liked it too and bough the sheet music.


George Michael is not as bad, is it? Tell me please if in 1984 or 85 you were not absolutely crazy for this song as I was:

I liked this one too and I was really disappointed when I learned some years later that he was gay ;)
(Edited to add: wow, I just found a news article from May this year in which he actually apologizes for "letting down" the gay community and then I found out that... he's only SEVEN years older than me? Is that for real? So he was really young back in the 80s. Wow, I'm feeling super old now!Sigh...):



Even back then I thought that this other Italian song, translated into Portuguese, was positively horrid so here you go... CRINGE, a thousand times cringe!!!
Here is it in Italian:

And in Portuguese -- and I just found out that this song had a ressurgence in Brazil in the past decade -- unbelievable! This performance is actually recent (here's the original recording in Portuguese):



I think Madonna should deserve her own post (were you also "Crazy for You" like I was?), but she's so ubiquitous that I probably won't get to do it. Lionel Ritchie too... "Say You, Say Me," anyone?!

What did you listen to in the 80s?

P.S. I loved Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors." I just wanted to say that in case I forgot.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I wish cats would watch TV!!

Our kitties had surgery* today and the post-op instructions call for keeping them calm and avoiding physical exertion such as running, jumping, etc. They were supposed to be groggy from the anesthetic, but no! They were actually pretty crazy after I let them out of their carriers in the garage.

It had been a while since I'd seen them so excited about chasing each other (especially each other's tails) and also play-wrestling. Both probably not very safe after their surgery. If they were little boys, I could just plop them in front of the TV and... voilá, instant calm and quiet. Too bad they're merely irrational animals. ;)

* My students laughed a whole lot when I talked about it saying "off with their balls."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Goodnight, iPad!

I'm a big, HUGE fan of smart parodies, particularly of beloved books, such as Goodnight Moon (I thought that the Goodnight Bush parody was hilarious), so here's another one for me, this one really really relevant (good thing we don't do TV at our house. It's mostly the laptop, the iPad & iPod touch). I have a hard time letting go of the computer... and the boys spend more time than t hey should in their iPad, so I guess we need to watch and internalize!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seven!! I can't believe I've been blogging that long!

Seven is my "favoritest" number, after all, I was born on 7/7! So I thought that this year my blog anniversary should be more special, or "specially celebrated" in the blog.

First, I decided to try to reproduce (closer than last year) the very first post photo (I asked permission of my 7! year old to do that -- he's the one who is very private and doesn't like me to blog his life much):
 4 month old L & Mama:
7 years 5 months old L & Mama (taken today):

Then, I want to talk a little bit about the anniversary posts that preceded this one.

(I had most of the post done when I realized that last year I included previous year's post titles too... after having posted the photo above. boo!!... not original, but, now that the post is done, I'll leave it).

Year 1 (2005)  "Happy Anniversary, Blog!:"
My blog continues to be "a little nothing," but I've made so many more friends since then! And it still is "a happy space for me. It makes me feel more alive and connected to the world."

I am no longer "a mother of young children" and my life is not "very tough and isolating," anymore, but I am still "an expatriate mother, who just moved to a new city" (a hear ago). I do have friends, family 3 hours away and a bit of a support system of sorts, unlike 7 years ago. And the "looming dissertation" was finished three years ago!! This is still very true, though: "Blogging has been helpful, even therapeutic," so several things have changed, but not the essence. ;)

Year 2 (2006) "Two Years and Counting!:"
I like this that I wrote on year 2:
I can confidently say that I am a much more open, empathetic, accepting, and conciliatory person after all that I have experienced online. I have now a greater respect for other people's (particularly mothers') experiences and have become much less judgemental as a result.
I was still bothered by not finishing the dissertation and I wasn't particularly happy that day (I don't remember why).

Year 3 (2007) "Three Meaningful Years:"
In this post -- which I wrote 5 days too late -- I started the "new" tradition of posting a photo of myself to celebrate the blog anniversary. I outlined four points about how blogging changed my life and my favorite is the last: "Most of all, meeting all of you has enriched my life beyond measure." This is still absolutely true!!

Year 4 (2008) "Four Great Years":
Six days late this time, because of NaBloPoMo (again!). I really like the photo in this post. It is still my profile photo on my main email account. My regret in that post continues the same "I never changed the template like I wanted to have done long, very long ago." Sigh... good thing it's a minor issue!

Year 5 (2009) "Five Glorious Years!":
Ha ha ha!! These post titles are so awfully cheesy! ;) actually :( (no, not really, this one was totally tongue-in-cheek). The photo is not my favorite, but I think it reflects well my 2009 life. This here is still very true:
It's been wonderful, though, it truly has. I haven't really made a "mark" in the Blogosphere, or Blogland, or, should it be Blogville? I'm just a drop in an ocean, but blogging has made a huge difference in my life. The friendships I made are priceless and the things I learned cannot be measured. So, yeah, I'm glad to be celebrating this "milestone." :-p

Year 6 (2010) "Six years seems a long time, but it's not, really":
I think all I've got to say about last year's post is this: I hope, against hope, that blogging (the personal kind) will NOT become obsolete as I wondered about in that post.


I'm 21 minutes late... and I'm blogging while listening to K talk to K3 (fun stuff! I'm really looking forward to our 10 days in Florida with the whole family!).

And these... are my life

This too... (part 2)

... sums up my day (part 1 here):


Saturday, November 12, 2011

happy days, filled with people, and music and friends

So... I'm again pretending it's before midnight because it was lovely to go see a musical performance in which our dear friend was conducting and then, at the end, go out with him and his wife to eat... there was no way I could have posted earlier, see?

And tomorrow, even better, it's family members we haven't seen in a long time who will be here. YAY! So I better go to bed so I can wake up energized to make sushi and bake delicious pumpkin swirl brownies!! I love guests!!