Thursday, March 31, 2011

This is it! (?)

My 3 X 3 post was pointless, I admit it. I only wanted to write it so I could use it as a starting point for this one. You see, I wanted to concentrate on the new house on this post, but having previously written about the first three houses.

I'm excited to be buying a house, I really am, but I am also a bit... I don't know... apprehensive, perhaps? Because "this is it." At least for the next 5-6 years (in the highly unlikely event K doesn't get tenure) and perhaps for much longer than that.

It feels strange, almost "anti-climatic" to be finally settling down, especially after all the upheaval in our lives in the past 4 years. I think this house is perfect and I think we'll be very happy there, but I'm just so used by now to having to keep postponing things in life that it feels almost strange to think about permanence as far as a house and living in a certain place is concerned. (the whole "Georgia debacle" didn't help much either, sigh).

So...  last week we bought this patio set.

And today... the commitment letter from the bank was sent to the sellers. That means we are all set. The house will be ours in 21 days. This is it.

More about 21 years ago...

... here (when it was only 16 years! wow, I've been blogging for a loooong time! ;) and here too, plus last year's "mish-mash" post. March was a tough month for us back in 2009 & a bit in 2010. I'm glad everything is infinitely better this March!

Thanks for the well wishes, dear blogging friends!

I'm providing the links in case anyone happens to be a relatively recent reader of this blog. ;)

P.S. I'm really mad at the cold weather. I think it's torture when in early Spring the weather gets really warm, into the 70s for a few days and then goes back to freezing temperatures! :( I know Spring is almost here, though, but it's hard to wait.

P.S.2 The boys aren't any better and are home from school. K will have to cancel a meeting, but I have to go give my students a test. Gotta go now! I just hope it's not strep throat that would require antibiotics. :(

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

21 Years Ago Today...

... I met a young man at a bus stop and I knew my life was forever changed. Our lives, to be more exact, which have now engendered two other lives. I wish we could celebrate in style, but those two other lives have  high temperatures, sore throats and coughs. :( It's all part of life. ;) (in sickness and in health, remember?)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3 X 3

We've owned three houses from 2001-2010
we've lived for three years on each of them.

Three years in a two bedroom townhouse in Massachusetts;

three years in a three bedroom twin house in suburban South Philadelphia (a few miles off the city limits);

& three years in a four bedroom ranch single family house in Northwest of Philadelphia.

And now... we'll be in between our last house and next to last in size (both sq footage & acreage), which is probably good.

I can't wait! Only 23 more days.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friends' House Hopping

We're in PA right now, staying at the house of dear friends. We're going to another friends' house tonight and yet another tomorrow... we're "friends' house hopping!" ;)

In the next hour we're going to one of my favorite places on earth, Longwood Gardens. This is possibly our very last visit as season pass holders because we live too far away now and it's not worth to pay for it to visit only a few times a year. :( I will ask them for one extra month, April, so we can see the tulips one last time, we'll see if they'll help us out.

We decided to use at least one day of the boys' Spring break to travel and we're doing it today since I don't teach on Fridays (for now) and K is done teaching for the semester (he taught two sections of a "half" a class in the first two months of this semester and during his first year as an associate professor he's teaching only one class a semester, lucky guy).

OK, the boys (including K and our friend) are done playing ping-pong, so we're going now.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Discrete Joy

I wanted to be very loud about it here in the blog, but I can't. And the main reason is that some "real life" friends read the blog and I'm not supposed to talk about it to anyone yet. I promise to be more open about it in the future, OK? But for now I'm just discretely happy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Can't Wait!!

I can't wait to move to our new house. In a month we'll be home owners again and I can hardly believe it!

I drove by it last week and I was beyond delighted to find out that the yard has lots of bulbs planted, particularly in the backyard. It looks like most are daffodils, but I also saw some pretty crocuses. Isn't that amazing?

I really miss this:

and that:

 and those:

and, of course, him :(
I'm hoping to get a couple of kitties. If, and only if, the boys' allergies don't act up too much. :( Let's think positive. Cats or no cats, it'll be nice to have our own house again!

Friday, March 18, 2011

"But I'm American, mom, you know?"

Thats what my youngest son (6 years old) told me today when I asked, or, rather begged him, for the millionth time, "Please, can you speak in Portuguese!"


They are speaking less and less Portuguese, my boys, and it breaks my heart. K and I always speak Portuguese to them and to each other at home and we try to read to them in Portuguese as much as possible and talk to family members in Brazil (and they visit too), but Brazil and the Portuguese language are getting more and more marginal in my sons' lives. And it doesn't help that we're not going (as a family) to Brazil this year. It breaks my heart and makes me feel very guilty because I knew we needed to concentrate on saving money to buy the house and didn't even look into getting award travel tickets when that was still possible. (there are other things too and I'll write more about this later).

Now... this whole bilingualism and biculturalism thing is hard, REALLY!!!! hard. I try to literally brainwash the boys, telling them that they were born here and, yeah, they are American by birthplace, but... in their blood, because of their families, they are undoubtedly Brazilian. They don't care too much, though. :(

Here's an example. Today was the last day of "School Spirit" week in school and it was "Sports Day." And Linton, who spent many days last summer (particularly during the World Cup) wearing one of  his several Brazil soccer team jerseys...:
(Kelvin has a vegetarian hot dog in his mouth, silly boy)

... Linton refused to wear his soccer jersey to school today (and Kelvin, who hardly ever does, 'cause he likes cotton t-shirts better -- he does have several "Brazilian" themed ones, like the one in the photo above -- happily wore his jersey, maybe to make me happy). ;)

Linton had a good reason, I must say: he said he wouldn't wear it because Brazil lost the world cup last year (sigh). Kelvin and I told him that (historically) Brazil is still "the best" with 5 world championships, but it didn't impress him -- I guess what he saw and experienced "talks louder." I also reminded him that he's going to start playing soccer in two weeks, but he said that he'd have another uniform for that (true). I think he felt guilty for not wearing his jersey to school, so he changed into it when we got home from school!

Well... I'll keep trying to get the boys to speak Portuguese and not to forget about Brazil. It doesn't help that Kelvin really wanted to go too (K says, jokingly, but it could be true, that Kelvin only wants to go because he LOVES the plane trip, and he does... My funny and lovely geeky boy, he's a riot at time! I have to share something he said yesterday, I wrote it down in my journal. He also loves going to the doctor and we had a good check-up visit last Monday).

Last, but not least, I have to spend more time browsing Multilingual Living -- a website I used to write a column for back when it was still called Bilingual Bicultural Family Network. I miss writing those columns and I often think that I'm totally falling out of the bilingual wagon, but I hope NOT! Edited to add: I went there after writing this post and it didn't help to read about Corey's (she's the website founder a good "virtual friend" of mine) experience homeschooling in two languages -- I know that I can't do homeschooling, and our problem with English actually began when I became involved in the boys' schooling, as you probably remember... :(

You know... parenting is so hard, so exhausting and we have to pick our battles -- that's what K tells me when I insist with him that we have to make Portuguese one of our battles. He disagrees and says that there's too much on our plates right now, that we have to try our best, but not really "force" the boys and go all "tiger parents" on them in the language department. We're leaving that for music and so far it's working great (I will post some videos to show you, OK?).

Well I hope we can figure out some ways to "revive" Portuguese in our family. My parents are coming, so that should be helpful!

P.S. (ha! I had forgotten that I had made a wish for the next world cup, and no, it's not for Brazil to win, it's for the boys to watch the games with us :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Angry about CRAZY and Wholly Undemocratic Politics in the U.S. right now or our Dystopian Present

If you (and I) thought that Wisconsin was bad, think again.

Have you heard about the stuff going on in Michigan? If you didn't, you should. Check it out:

In writing, this essay by E.D. Kain in the Forbes Blog: "Michigan Governor Plays Fast and Loose with Democracy, Invokes Radical New Powers;"

In video:

Other crazy stuff:
Missouri wants to eliminate child labor laws.

And... continuing on the depressing subject of corporate America (and the super-rich) detaining all the riches of this country:

E. J. Dionne Jr. of the Washington Post asks "What if we’re not broke?"

And Michael Moore's claim that "400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined" is proven true by PolitiFact "Truth-O-Meter."

yeah... we don't have to read dystopian fiction classics such as George Orwell's 1984 or Aldous Huxley's Brave New World to see where this country is going. Oh, and don't forget the way they're treating Bradley Manning, it comes right out of 1984, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sublime: Ravel Piano Concerto in G, Adagio Assai

I heard to this on the radio tonight and I was promply in tears, as I always am when listening to this piece.  It touches me so deeply. It's just incredibly beautiful. At 3:58 (Argerich)/3:38(Bernstein) when the orchestra comes in and from 5:40 on (both) and at 6:18(A)/ 6:57(B) when that oboe solo starts, I just about die, it's so beautiful that is hurts. I simply can't breathe...

All I know is that I really, really want & need to see this performed live someday in my life.

Of course the audio quality of YouTube videos is very sad and bad, but if you don't own a recording of this, I'd urge you to check it out (well, unless you don't much like classical music). Leonard Bernstein is awesome because he's the soloist and conductor at the same time. Oh, and if you're a true connoisseur (which I unfortunately am not, I'm merely a "dilettante" in music -- my apologies for the French, and the Italian inspired vocabulary, supposedly, I'm a little better in formal writing ;) please let me know who is considered the best interpreter of this piece (or the best ones) and whether there's a recording of it that I really should have because I seriously want to buy it.

Oh, and I second the commenter to the Bernstein video: "how long has it been since a piece like this has been written. seriously." (mixmasterlees) Yes, seriously.

Without further ado the second movement of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G by Martha Argerich and Leonard Bernstein:

Oh, and one more before I go. I like the description they have for the movement: "Intimate dialog between piano, flutes and oboe, with a very sensitive and beautiful pianist:" Helene Grimaud, 2009. K and I think that the sound in this one is better than the other two (oh, and women rule in this one: the pianist and the English horn player are women):

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not a Yoga/Fitness Class Virgin Anymore

I had never, ever been to a fitness class in my life until today at noon.* And it was a yoga class too...

And now I have to tell you that I have to thank Nintendo
(aside: oh, what a horrible tragedy this earthquake in Japan! My BIL just shared this most horrific video on facebook. I hope it doesn't become a nuclear accident too.)

I am very thankful to Nintendo for enabling me to do great in my very first yoga class (of course it helps that the class we pretty easy, what they call "Yoga Fit" at our university) because I've done several yoga poses in the Wii Fit before. We got the Wii Fit (Plus) back in October and though I think I've used it exactly 5 times since then, it did help a lot! And I totally love it, but a real, live class is even better, obviously.

So, after years of reading about my virtual friend "Sarah"'s yoga classes and, more recently, Anjali's I've finally experienced one! I'll be back on Thursday! I'm so excited!


P.S. This is my second post tonight, that was the first.

* This is actually not what I was referring to in last night's post. Oh boy, I'm full of "references" today, right? Sorry about that! ;)

I saw the sun all right...

(I'm referring to what I wrote last night, more specifically, to the very first paragraph of that post)


Guess what?

Well, well, well...

We got home at about 7 pm, unpacked, got the kids ready for bed, changed the clocks, the one in the dining room, the microwave and the stove and went to bed.

Guess which clock we forgot to change? The radio alarm clock next to our bed. Ha, ha, ha!

Alarm goes off 10 of 8 and I can see the light outside peeking from under the curtain. We JUMP! right out of that warm bed and I bounced up those stairs like lightning, letting the rising sun into the boys' bedroom, waking them up (so warm! and flushed! I love to cuddle with them in the morning, but there was no time!) and apologizing for messing up and not setting the alarm. They were about 15 minutes late to school which, under the circumstances, was pretty good. phew!

Not the best way to start the week after the break, no? (our break, the boys' is next week... sigh).

Tomorrow, though, I will be VERY relieved to wake up and see it's still dark outside. I never thought I'd ever feel that way, but I know I will (at least for a day or two ;).

Spring Break is Over :(

The break is over and daylight savings is here. I usually don't mind it too much, I especially hate it when we switch back and the days get so short, but getting up while it's dark tomorrow will be really hard.

I need to tell you which brand new thing in my life I did during Spring Break, but I will write a whole post about it, I promise. Don't get overly curious, it's something pretty simple, but that I'd never tried. Something I really need to be truly healthy physically.

anyway... we had a good weekend in Maryland with K's youngest brother (whom we picked up at the airport on Friday night on our way there), his wife, their 8 month old baby (the only child apart from my own I've seen being born!) and our two nephews whose parents are traveling with my in-laws in South Africa.

I'm so glad it's getting warmer, but... it's a little bit cold at times too. And I can't wait to move into our new house.

I'm not glad I have to go back to grading and teaching tomorrow, but at least half of the semester is gone. Phew!

OK, I have to go to bed now. Waking up tomorrow will be HARD!!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

9 Years Ago...

... I became a mother when Kelvin was born. Here's the birth story that I wrote 6 years ago and that I probably should edit one of these days. In fact, I never finished writing the continuation of Kelvin's birth story because in order to do that, I'd have to revisit some of my darkest moments.

Everything worked out just fine in the end, but the despair (exacerbated by the "baby blues") I felt during moments of that first week after Kelvin was born was just unbearable. In a nutshell: he was severely jaundiced and I had trouble breastfeeding him. I had to pump exclusively while "finger-feeding" him (and later using an SNS) for a whole month before he finally learned to latch-on. Phew! Happy ending. And those of you reading for a long time know that I only weaned him (from once a day quick feeding, I must say) the week after his 4th birthday.

Well... this is not what I was planning to write today, but I might as well start with that, since I've been planning to write about it for the past 6 years.

Apart from those troubles, becoming a mother was the most wonderful thing that ever happened in my life and I'm delighted that my son is such a fun, smart, unique person (like all other children in this world, I must say) and I'm really thankful to have him in my life.

My geeky boy's first words this morning (with his eyes still closed) when we went to wake him up to "Happy Birthday to you..." were: "There are 366 days until my next birthday, because next year is a leap year." I had to laugh and go up and kiss him. Very very "Kelvin!"

This year we were organized (and Spring Break helped), so this is the surprise we had waiting for him downstairs:
He was surprised indeed! It's still a little too big for him, but since he's been only riding my bicycle lately instead of his smaller bike, I thought it would be a good thing to get him.

Later that morning I frosted countless cupcakes and took them to his school where his and his brother's class enjoyed them (I'd made enough for Pre K-K too, but they were already having recess by the time I got there). Take a look:
This was Kelvin's:

In the shape of a 9:

Both the chocolate and the vanilla cupcakes are vegan, I took the recipe from the Vegan Lunchbox book.

The plan is to have a bowling party in two weeks, but we haven't hammered down the details. In any case, I have yet to post in this blog about his "Space" party back in 2009 and last year's "8" cakes, so I will try to do that in the next few days to continue celebrating Kelvin's 9th birthday.

I can't believe he'll be 10 next year! I want to share some more baby photos of him later too. Happy birthday Kelvin! You'll always be my first "baby!" I love you more than anything in the world.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

I **am** going to Brazil, I **HAVE** to go!!

This morning, for some strange reason I opened up my dissertation and started reading. Then I emailed a scholar I cite and whom I'd contacted once back in 2007 to tell her that I need to mail her an essay I copied for her in Brazil back in 07 (I'd actually written on a footnote that I'd made her a copy of the essay -- what a good way to remind me to do it!! 4 years later, phew!).

Half an hour ago I started looking at the dissertation again and began clicking on links to essays and other resources to see if they were still active/functioning and they were! Most important of all, I stumbled upon a conference that I just HAVE TO GO TO!!!

You guys, I'm almost in tears right now. Do you know how many days are left to register for the conference?

(Edited to add: actually, I got mixed up with the Brazilian dates and people can register to the conference up to the day before it starts, obviously there has to be some kind of deadline for registering to present -- that is April 15. It's still exciting, but it's good to know if I have enough time to plan properly, phew!)

But I found out on time in this instance when back in 2008 I realized several weeks and/or months too late that I'd missed an incredible opportunity in which several Brazilian women writers gave talks at a small event in New York city. I nearly had a fit that day... but today I'm rejoicing! I can hardly believe how serendipitous this whole thing is. And it's just what I needed -- a valid excuse, or rather, an important reason to go to Brazil since I want to go just so, so much anyway!

Wow. OK, now I have to go call my mom so she can make the bank deposit that will assure my participation in this conference (I have some time, phew!).  Oh, and call K too and give him the news that I'm going, yes, I am!!

I'll keep you posted, but I'm just SO, SO, SO excited! Every time I read/re-read my dissertation I keep on thinking that I need to get my work well known in Brazil, that I should publish it there. This will be a golden opportunity to interact with thousands of like-minded Brazilian (and even international) academics. WOW!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Photo Posting in February

I just finished posting photos for every day in February. I feel bad I didn't finish before midnight (and the end of the month), but I did it. You can check it out in my Project 365 Blog.

Do you know the main reason why I don't post in the photo blog as often as I could? Because I wish I could figure out a way to make the main part of the template bigger so the photos would be bigger. I will need to ask my friend Zee to help me, I'm sure she can.

OK, I have to go to bed now, but I thought I'd let you know about my photos. Let me know what you think of them! I just wish they could look bigger. :(

Have a great month of March, February is OVER!!!