Monday, November 30, 2015

Three minutes late

Oh well, I was reading blogs and other stuff and now I'm a few minutes late to post this.

It's ok. I had a good time and I'll post even more in December to make up to 215 posts. Last year it was crazy, I think I wrote about 10 posts on December 31st! I will try to avoid that this year.

In any case, I'm not saying it's "the end" for me because it's not! More blog posting ahead!

Can't believe December is here, time's flying this year!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Back to Work

This evening I went back to work. I will probably have to stay up late for a few hours to be done or get up really early, but in any case, I work better under pressure (grading, writing exams, etc).

The ends of breaks are really hard, aren't they? Sigh... at least I didn't have a whole lot of grading, most of it was done before, I just need to finish some things.

Just two weeks to go! (and one week with finals at U#1, finals are next week at U#2).

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Yummiest, Most Traditional Thanksgiving Ever!

It was really yummy and there weren't too many leftovers (especially because I took a plate for a friend of ours who was sick with strep). We ate the sweet potato & green bean casserole yesterday (for breakfast!) and now all that is left is the pies and cranberry sauce. Can't wait for next year!

Friday, November 27, 2015

A really good first: no shopping on Black Friday

Ok, I did get up at 7 am to purchase a gorgeous watercolor calendar and a print Ruth Simmons's Grace Laced Shoppe because there was a 35% discount and then went back to bed for a couple more hours! 

I didn't go to the stores last night, I don't need to buy anything, really. Maybe I should make a resolution of never going shopping on this date again. Sigh...

We are now headed to One of out "favoritest" places on earth:Longwood Gardens. It's far, we were late leaving the house, and we'll be there only a few hours, but it will do us good. We haven't been in there for a few years. Perhaps the last time was also on Black Friday back in 2012. Longwood brings us happy memories of the past 11 years, so it's a special thing to kick of our holiday season.

I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving, ours was yummy!! I hope to share some photos later!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

When you're curly haired & sleep with wet hair

Also, the dark brown (that covered the blonde blunder from the summer) is washing away a bit... In addition to the hair being thick and tangly and feeling tough and unhealthy at the tips. I'm never ever dying my whole hair again! Only highlights for me as I've always done. I wonder if any products can help or if only growing it out and cutting will solve the problem! :-(

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tomorrow's Menu

Edited to add new photo, now with all items: 

It's hard to see, but first item is "Veggie Loaf" and further down is gravy. Oh!!! I forgot the mashed potatoes! I'll go add that now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mockingjay Part 2 - Awesome!

This is the first time in my life I've seen a movie on the opening week! And I loved it, it was such a great adaptation! 

Of course there are some small changes, buy they didn't really interfere with the story. I was also happy that the movie was ok even though Philip Seymour Hoffman couldn't finish filming it. I wonder how they actually did it (I'll look for stuff online).

I guess this won't be the last time I'll watch a movie in the opening week or weekend!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I had thought of something to blog about today, thought of a title and everything, but now I am so sleepy that I can no longer remember... sigh...

So I'll write more tomorrow and just go to bed now! Good night!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The biggest compliment I've received as a professor

I almost gave it away in the title of the post, but changed my mind.

First let me tell you about the greatest compliment I received ever! (Until now, hopefully I will receive one or two more good ones in my life, and I kind of do, from my sons, once in a while)

Back in college my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I had this group of friends from our university and my high school years* [endnote, scroll down!] that was just great!  We got together nearly every weekend -- went to church, had Bible studies, hung out at my parents' house, sometimes went to the beach for the weekend borrowing my aunt's house (the beach is a couple of hours drive from the city of São Paulo). 

One of our friends had a younger sister, still in high school, but she often tagged along when he came to spend the weekends. This girl loved theater, was very extroverted and prided herself in being a little "crazy." One evening, when we were having a good time doing something (we had grand times with surprise parties and we once scripted and filmed a couple of hilarious home
movies) this friend turned to me and said: "L, you know what? You're actually crazier than me!" And I promptly replied that that was the greatest compliment I'd ever received! I love to be a little "crazy" and my sons sometimes recognize that and echo my friend's compliment.

Two weeks ago I had a student come to me at the end of class to ask me a general question, I don't even remember what it was. This poor guy is struggling a bit with various things (car accident, weird boil that appeared on his face) and I was really moved by what he said, later I almost started crying: "I'm asking you this," he said, "because you're the most approachable professor I have!" Oh dear... I'm so glad to hear that, I thought! And that's what I truly aspire to, being approachable, showing them that I really care deeply about not only their learning, but about them. I want to be even more approachable.

The poor guy didn't even stay for class yesterday... At the very beginning of class he came to me and told me he had just spilled water over ALL his things, including his computer and he had to go dry it. Sigh... I hope didn't lose the laptop!

P.S. I do have a fair share of freshmen and the other day this girl came to me after class and apologized for being late and then she asked something I had to ask her to repeat 'cause initially I didn't get it: "What happens in college when you're late to class?" :-D I think I just shrugged off and said "nothing really" (I should have added that if a student is constantly late sometimes I write that down because I have an attendance policy -- it's part of their grade, since it's a language class). I think she replied something like "oh, so then all we have to do is to show up?" Kind of, kid! As a professor friend of mine says "just showing up is part of succeding in life" (gotta ask him for the correct quote!)

* this was in Brasil, where most people live at home while in college and close to their high school friends. I lived at home [until I got married!], but my future husband didn't because his family had moved to another state and he stayed to continue in the same university.

Friday, November 20, 2015

family blogging

I won't write much because we're sitting on the couch seeing really old photos and telling stories about our childhood to the boys...

We had dinner with two families of friends, it's a Fall tradition of four or five years... different soups (one of them always squash & served inside a pumpkin). (J, I have some caldo verde soup left for you!)

I'm really sleepy, but I need to bake some vegan lemon bars for tomorrow... (lunch with the same friends plus some others to celebrate a friends' birthday).

ok, let me post this. And include this cute photo of my hubby as a young child with his aunt (not much older than him):

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Rainbow Tree/ Rainbow Leaves

I'm I shouldn't be posting these photos without watermaking them for fear of the rainbow one being pinned & going viral (I'm sure there must be other ones people whose done the same thing). I'll try to come & edit the post later. I haven't backed up the photos or I'd watermak on my phone (haven't figured how to copy photos to edit one of them yet, I don't think it's possible)...

Ok, when I saw this tree I knew I could make a rainbow out of its leaves:
Look how many hues they have:
So I did that: (NO filter whatsoever)
Please don't pin until I've watermaked them!

Rainbow leaf:
Yeah, I don't like the fall, but it still brings me joy sometimes.

Bonus pic:
P.S. I did the same thing with photos from my backyard tree, but photos are on the Nikon. I'll try to share them later!

Why I don't want to be "Home for the Holidays"

Hmmm... First, because we don't ever spend them at home? And when we do its generally sad and depressing because it's only us and no family ever come anymore as they did in 2005-6 and 2008 (the only times we hosted Thanksgiving (05-06) and Xmas. 

Second, because as much as we need free time at home to clean and organize endlessly, who wants to do that in a holiday???? Not me!

So I'm really depressed at the thought of Thanksgiving at home (again!). 

P.S. We'll be in FL with my husband whole family in December!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What to do? Aimless Holidays

I really wanted to go visit my youngest brother-in-law and his family in Montreal, but K just doesn't want to drive that far and the boys also feel like staying home.

That means that we are AGAIN without a place to spend the holiday, unless we invite some people to come here (last year it was quite lovely with our house church pastor and his family, a last minute arrangement that worked well for all of us).

In any case, I love to travel and I don't like to be home when we have a longer holiday like this. Sigh...

OK, I should actually invite some extended family and see what they say. In any case, we will plan to be with my brother-in-law who is recovering really well, since his family went back to Egypt two days ago.

I'll let you know what we decide to do.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

broken browser

I'll blame the not blogging on the broken browser... :-) which is 100% true given that it just crashed again. You see, I have two (ok, actually five) Google accounts and I need two browsers, one to be logged into the blog's account and the other to my regular gmail. That is the problem and why I need two browsers (until now Chrome & Firefox, but I'm using Explorer right now -- this is a PC, BTW).

And I can also blame it on the fact that I was preparing a guest lecture on Brazilian music until 2 am. last night. (It turned out great, BTW... Brazilian music is truly one of my greatest passions, I wish I could teach it more).

I assure you that I tried writing a blog post yesterday, but the browser just wouldn't cooperate.

OK, boring tech problems out of the way... on to more posts!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

He got it!

Of course it's not "official" yet because it still needs to be approved by the dean, the provost, etc... but my husband's department decided to recommend that he be granted tenure!

I'm happy for him and for us! It goes very well with Friday's news, right?

Now, if only he would get the NSF grant!! That would be nothing short of amazing. But I think K deserves it. Remember years ago when he was discouraged in the job search and got to interview at an Ivy League school?

As I said back in 2009, I knew I'd married the right guy! :-)

Restful weekend, productive day

boring post, I'm super uninspired
We had a low-key weekend and we needed it after the tiresome week and positively exhausting last weekend. We spent time with friends yesterday and that was really nice.

Today I did four loads of laundry and line dried three of them. K and the boys worked on the yard. We collected most of the leaves by using the bag on the lawn mower and then Kelvin mowed the rest of the lawn (we've been paying him 20 dollars so he can have money to use on his gaming and video making).

I needed to have done tons more or at least planted the remaining 80+ bulbs that I bought, but I've been putting that off. I'm really really depressed with our garden and yard. We basically have no lawn, it's 100% weeds and the flower beds are terrible with weeds too (especially in the back). Bushes need trimming and we don't know how to do them. It's a disasters and I don't want to say more about this right now. :-(

I still need to grade A LOT and prepare to teach this week. So I have to post this and get to work. Sigh...

I want to post some photos later. I need to write a few extra posts to catch up.

Thursday, November 12, 2015



What a relief!! Oh, what a relief. 3 year contract. Decent salary. Now I have (and want) to ditch U#1 (where my husband works). I will miss it. Just one tiny bit. (the people a lot) Sigh...

Oh, thank you Lord!


The mega-commute remains, but I'm used to it by now. ;-)


I would have to post 52 51 more times to write 215 posts this year. I don't know if I really want to go through the trouble, as I've been doing in the past few years, just to give me a blogging goal to fulfill.

Maybe I'll try. We'll see! :-) All I need to do is to start posting photos right and left. Very easy, 'cause I take tons of photos and love looking at them & sharing them.

As you can see I'm doing NaBloPoMo very loosely this year, on my terms. I do everything on my terms, though, so that's not new! ;-) 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Traveling Mercies

I find this expression a little strange, but I use it anyway, because I strive to sound and think as "natively" as possible in English.

This has been an intensive week of traveling for our family members. My parents are probably traveling right now or perhaps have just arrived in my childhood town of Curitiba, Paraná, in Brazil (As I was writing this at 3 pm today). I am hoping they had a safe trip, hence the title of this post.

Yesterday my mother and father-in-law I arrived in Brazil from the United States. They had a safe trip, but the customs in Brazil forced my mother-in-law to pay taxes for a three-year-old computer that she had been bringing back-and-forth from the United States for three years, so she missed her connecting flight and was stuck for four hours before she could fly and join her husband who hadn't lost the flight. They got home only 10 PM, 32 hours after they started their trip.

Also yesterday, there was some serious traveling trouble with my brother and his family. They were driving from São Paulo to Curitiba (tomorrow will be the wedding of one of our second cousins) when smoke started coming out from under the hood of the car. They stopped, and there were actually flames (which thankfully didn't spread). As calmly as possible they took the children and all the luggage out of the car. The extinguisher didn't work, so my brother threw some water on the fire. 

A tow truck came and took them to a gas station by the road where they ate and waited for a long time for a taxi to come from the city, over an hour (60 miles) away. Then the taxi came and it wouldn't fit the kids' car-seats, so they had to wait for yet another taxi, so their trip also was very long. I hope the car can be fixed, or else it will be pretty bad for my brother.

I found through a comment my mom wrote on the latest facebook post by the bride that they had arrived safely, after 8 hours of travel. Sometimes social media is useful. :-)

In any case, I hope nobody else in the family has travel troubles in the near future! (my sister-in-law and nephews return to Egypt next Monday).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Two Lost Posts

I wrote two posts on my phone and didn't save them, so I they got lost, that is partly the reason why I didn't write posts yesterday and earlier today.

And now, obviously, I have urgent things to do and cannot write. :-(

I hope to catch up tomorrow. I have such a crazy life!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Great dinner!

And better yet conversations with friends afterwards!

The dinner went ok. The preparation was crazy and intense as always, but most students came and enjoyed the food! 

I'm glad it's over, though! I think next year I'm going to have my mom help me, if possible, but then it will have to be the day before he last day of classes and I don't know if that's a good idea. We'll see! 

Saturday, November 07, 2015

So far so good

I've survived the weekend relatively well until now. Now if only I can go to the dinner I'm going to cook for my students without forgetting anything, that will be awesome! sigh...

... the thought that I may forget something really important stresses me out so much!

I know it would be best to be making multiple lists, but I'm not convinced lists will really help me not to forget what I can't forget.

On Thursday I actually found a very thorough list for last year's dinner in my phone's notes, but, somehow, it disappeared completely, leaving me very upset and thinking I'm going crazy or something. But I am POSITIVE that I saw it! :-(

OK, gotta go to bed. I hope tomorrow will be an even better day!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Interview done

Yeah, on Skype, short & sweet. Now let's hope they don't go rogue & hire someone else! 

And on to one of the craziest busiest weekends of all time. 

Six family members at our house visiting, a 4h30 school harvest festival tomorrow night were volunteering at. Preparing food ingredients for 50-70 people & on Sunday loading the car, going to kids' piano recital, driving to U#2, cooking and serving food to students. 

Then I have to prepare two quizzes and finish grading an exam. I stay overnight in U#2 city & come back home Monday afternoon. 

Wish me luck. Crazy busy life. 

Missing Brasil like crazy

Now that it's guaranteed that we're going  (not that we wouldn't go), I took to missing Brasil like crazy. Viscerally, physically in a way that doesn't happen often (thankfully, or it would be impossible to be an immigrant otherwise).

Maybe it's also because of how unseasonably warm it is (looooove it!!!), making me feel like I'm there in early Fall or Spring. Or maybe because my in-laws are at our house and we're talking to them and "breathing in" some Brasil and 'cause I've been calling my parents almost daily to talk about one thing or another. (I always call them a lot, but generally not everyday)

I've been having these brief "hallucinations" in which I can almost feel I'm there, in specific places. Parking the car next to the city square and going to the bank with my mom in early December, ditschy, small town Christmas decorations on the grass. Going shopping for groceries, traveling to my home state of Paraná and marveling at how green everything is. Walking around the beautiful gated community where my parents love and admiring the houses. Doing all the things I do when I visit.

On one hand I know it would be impossible to live constantly feeling like that, but on the other hand, now that's these feelings come much more rarely, I cherish them and want to try to capture the feelings and hold on to them.

I am also constantly thinking about and visualizing the places we've visited in Europe, but that is different -- I hardly have any feeling associated with those beautiful views, we were there too briefly. That's why I'm not too sad that these thoughts and images from Europe & the Middle East are becoming less distinct and frequent, but I always feel I want and need to hold on to my country.


Oh-oh, just realized that I didn't post yesterday!

Now I am driving to work, so I will write more later.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

12-hour days, anyone?

Last week I had two 12-hour days, coming back home 12 hours after I had left. And still working more hours at home.

Today was another 12-hour day. :-(
Dislike! And it was a stressful one too. Hoping tomorrow (and the next two days) will be better -- especially Sunday when I get to cook for all my students. Sigh...

Brazil 2016 Guaranteed! :-(

Sigh... tickets were finally purchased, one more item to be crossed on the super-duper-important and never-completed to-do list.

I wish I could be happy about this trip, but I'm not. I know, I'm the worst whiner in the history of whining. Should I even share my reasons to be unhappy?

Nah... maybe some other time. Main idea: only staying a month and four days. Wish could stay longer and, most importantly be coming back later.


Yeah, we NEED to come back on Aug. 4 because any day after that and our tickets would cost 400 dollars more.

Games start on Aug. 5.


But that's not the main reason. Maybe I'll share later. Not safe to so it, though. Family troubles.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

I've got an interview

Thank God!

I thought this suspense would never end… 

Now let's hope it will all work out and I'll have the three-year contract.  

Next item on my agenda is to try to take a Spring semester off without pay (and without losing my job) so we can go to Europe during the spring/summer for my husband's sabbatical. Biggest bucket list item right now!!! Maybe a bit closer to happening. 

I'll keep you posted! 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Happy & Filled: Dumplings & Fried Rice

wrote this around 2 pm today

One of the food trucks at University #2 cells dumplings, but until last year they only had pork, chicken, and seafood ones. Today I stopped by because I didn't feel like eating any of my Amy's Kitchen frozen foods and, lo and behold!  They now sell veggie tofu dumplings!

So I ordered dumplings with some fried rice on the side and I happily ate as I walked all the way to my car! It was just what I needed and it he made me so happy!!  

My in-laws and nephews are coming back tonight to spend a week with us. I hope everything goes well. I should have planned a menu, but that's so hard for me! We'll figure it out as we go along.

If only I didn't have to plan a dinner for 50 to 70 people for next Sunday! :-( at least I know that my mother-in-law can help me with the preparation of some items.

I am under very strict orders from my husband not to complain one bit, because I do this by choice, nobody tells me to do it. ;-P 

OK, I'll blog more about this later.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Blogging daily.

I'm going to blog daily again in November. In fact, I'll try to blog more than once to see if I can reach 215 posts this year. That will be hard, but not impossible. I always have too much to say... And not enough time and, sometimes, courage. ;-)