Friday, May 12, 2023

"This world was never meant for one As beautiful as you" - For Heather (and Vincent)

The news of Heather's suicide reached the internet on Tuesday morning, and I've been thinking not stop about it since then, and trying to process by reading different Instagram and substack posts and news articles (I'll come back to add links), but I didn't cry until tonight, when I remembered that Heather ADORED this song, especially this cover by James Blake. She must have shared it with us her readers back in 2017 when the video came out. It's a beautiful and heartbreaking song, very fitting for this moment. My heart is broken for Linda (most of all, a mother's worst nightmare), Pete, Leta, and Marlo. 

We will miss Heather so much, she was an inspiration, even amidst all her pain and sorrow.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

2022 was AMAZING and also SO HARD, 2023 is great so far

I really wanted to write about 2022. And if I don't write here, where else? I don't have the patience for journaling anymore, it's sad.

A year of awesome travels, wonderful concerts (including my own choir's!), family reunions, family visits, visits to friends we hadn't seen in years, photo shoots, a graduation, sending youngest kid to college and beginning empty-nesting having moved and getting used to a new area, community, and church. Planting hundreds of plants! Significant change. Life altering.

Where to start?

OK, some chronological info doesn't hurt, since I haven't blogged in so long. 

Let's go back to 2021. After looking for over six months, we found a house we really liked literally on the day before we dropped our son for his second year of college. I must say here, that the day we dropped him of for his first year (in 2020) was the same day his only remaining great-grandmother died of COVID (at 94 -- age was a factor -- in Brazil). His grandma was her first born as was my husband (who was born at her house) and our son (and I am writing this while my sons's orchestra plays Elgar's "Nimrod" Enigma Variation (No.8), which is often played at funerals and it's gorgeous and sad, I'm watching the live-stream of their concert in California as I write this).

So we found the house in August, bought it on October 12, put our house on sale (it was insane work), moved to the new house in November 2021, and sold the old house on December 2. Then we traveled to Brazil for the holidays.

So we started 2022 in Brazil with family -- my parents, brother and family, two of my husband's 3 brothers and their family, plus some aunts and cousins on K's side. It was a chaotic trip because my mom and brother had pneumonia after Christmas, and my dad, whose leg hurt a lot, was diagnosed with thrombosis (blood clot)! 😱 I even had to spend a night in the hospital with him. They recovered well, but we came back with the promise that my parents would have someone living with them from now on. 

The Spring semester of 2022 was hard in various ways. Our youngest, now a senior in high school, had a 50 minute commute to school because we had moved from our house 8 minutes away. My commute, however, which was160 miles round trip every other day for 9 years changed to be only 30 miles, which was amazing. Our oldest struggled in school which was heartbreaking for me. I spent part of his 20th birthday in March listening to Coldplay and crying because for worry, feeling super impotent. Sigh... We drove down to see his wind symphony concert in February and we drove to Montreal (after so many years!) during Spring break.

My parents came to visit in May for the music concerts and graduation of our youngest son. It was a short visit, but we had fun picking up our oldest son in Tennessee (after he came back from a music trip to the West Coast and got himself a girlfriend -- that relationship ended after the summer, but not until he had already bought several tickets to visit her in Colorado!) and visiting New York City to drop them off to fly to Finland. We had an awesome (if expensive) photo shoot in Brooklyn and a "whimsical" stay at the TWA hotel at JFK airport. I highly recommend it. Especially the rooftop pool facing the runway. I should post photos. 😉😉 

On our way back from NYC we went to the AMAZING Coldplay Concert in DC. It was a bucket-list item for me, to go with husband and sons, especially the oldest who's a huge fan. I sobbed through all of "Fix You" (and filmed it too). The only "downside" is that there were so many friends who were there and we only found out after the show.

The summer was great and brought about a wonderful trip -- postponed from the pandemic in 2020. Before the epic trip, we traveled to Massachusetts where my husband had a week-long conference and I had the opportunity to visit with friends we hadn't seen in a long time. Unfortunately, when we got back home and picked my parents up after their visit to my brother's family in Finland (followed by a week in London), I found out that I had COVID the day before my birthday and I was deathly afraid that I had transmitted it to my parents -- thankfully I did not! My parents went back to Brazil unscathed (but later caught it and did fine, it was super mild).

At the end of July, my husband and I flew to Denmark for a day and a half (I got to meet his friends in Aarhus and see the incredible rainbow exhibit at the art museum -- another bucket list item). Then we flew to London where we met the boys and stayed for four full day at my cousins' house. After London, the four of us joined my mother-in-law and a group of 70 people from Brazil and the U.S. in a wonderful tour through Turkey -- we visited all the seven churches, flew on a balloon at sunrise in Capadoccia, and enjoyed a 3 night Greek Island cruise before the boys flew to Tennessee from Athens (our youngest had no orientation, nothing, just got to the university the day before his freshman year started!). On the way back my husband and I flew via Denmark and spent a lovely day in Copenhagen where we saw so much in one day! 💓(I posted photos to Facebook)

In the summer, prior to the trip, the boys also worked a lot, and our oldest started counseling and medication, which made things better in the new semester at school. And all of a sudden, without much preparation, and no actual transition (dropping off the youngest son, etc), we were empty-nesters! 😱

I joined a local choir (we had two Christmas concerts!), and bought tickets to lots of local concerts. We also started attending a new church and meeting new people. We drove to see a few of our sons' (now both of them!) Wind Symphony concerts. My choir had two lovely Christmas concerts and then we all drove to Florida for my husband's family reunion. The first time all 17 of us were together since 2018! We were in a huge house in Orlando Florida, and my husband's aunt, a cousin and his family joined us, followed by another uncle. There were 22 of us at the house! 

After New Year's, all of use embarked on a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas that was partly to make up for a cruise we "missed" in January 2021 (although that one was a week-long cruise and my parents were going too) and it was lovely. It was hard to drop off both boys in Tennessee after spending such a long time with them, but we met up with them a week after in Portland, Oregon, where my  husband had a conference! It was just for the weekend, but wonderful to see them. 

We have also gone to three of their concerts so far this year (Kelvin is also playing in the orchestra!). I am still in my choir and we have continued to go to concerts. We saw a local production of Rent which was really great. This musical debuted in 1996, the same year we moved to the United States, but I had never seen it. 

So far, 2023 has been great, and I hope it continues this way. It can't be as epic as 2022 with all the amazing international trips, but we'll be going to Brazil twice (at least Kelvin and I), in June and in December. Seeing family is a priority since my parents are 82 amd 85 years old. 

I am glad I wrote this post!

P.S. I have to gloss over the "hard part" and we don't even talk to the family and friends about these issues to protect the privacy of our kid.

The Usefulness of Having Blogged Consistently for 13+ years...


I haven't blogged in ages. The smart phone has destroyed our lives and will be the death of humanity. hahaha NOT funny, actually. Sigh... (but for real, the internet is destroying the world. It had so much potential for good! It's divided us, polarized us, spread SO MANY LIES, it was supposed to be the age of information, not dis-information!).

First off, a shout-out the the incredible usefulness of having blogged consistently for 13 years (over 100 posts a year between 2006 and 2016 - WOW! Nearly 200 posts a year for 10 years straight). 

My freshly turned 21 year old son (OMG, this is insane, he was two years old when I started this here blog, TWO) is obsessed with tracking his travels, down to the days we departed and arrived back. And thanks to this blog, I was able to find out exactly the days we went to Brazil and came back. Thanks to me recording my life in an interactive way -- responding to my followers' questions, "talking" to them so they'd know what I was up to, etc -- I now have a very meaningful record of things we did and when. It BLEW my mind. 

When he started demanding dates, I turned to  my old journals and there was so little there! Then I dug up old passports to look for the stamps, but they were only marginally helpful because they only had dates and not the places of departure and arrival. And then I finally remembered the blog and... voilá, we had all the info we needed at our fingertips. It was super exciting! An amazing breakthrough! And I was reminded of fascinating things I didn't remember had happened as well. I need to go back and re-read this blog.

This was going to be the intro to a post about 2022 and 2023, but I reasoned that it should be its own post. Let's see if I write the other one. I'll be watching a Livestreaming of my son's orchestra concert in the West Coast, so I'll have plenty of time to write. I hope. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

18th Blogging Anniversary, Empty-Nesting, Deaths, and Being American during a Global Pandemic

18 years ago in a month minus one day... I posted a photo of my baby and I

This baby is gone off to college now, we're officially empty-nesters. 😱😮

I think I'm handling it well. In a way, it was harder when two years ago we left his older brother in college, on the very day my husband's grandmother died (of COVID, BTW, but she was 94 and declining).

(long digression below)

I wrote elsewhere that on the day she left us, her oldest grandchild, born in her own house of her firstborn daughter, left her very first great-grandchild in college.

So many kinds of grieving in one short day, with more to come -- in the funeral the next day, we were blindsided watching on Zoom when my father-in-law's ashes (he died in 2016) were placed to rest next to his mother-in-law (they were really close). When my  MIL bought the cemetery plot a couple of days before her mom's death, this had been arranged and planned, but she forgot to tell us, so when we saw it happen without any warning, it was quite devastating and my husband cried and grieved for his dad all over again. It was a painful, but meaningful closure for my MIL. In a few days my husband flew to Brazil to spend 3 weeks with his mom while he taught his online

A month later my mom's oldest brother, as old as K's grandma, died suddenly and, since my  mom was turning 80 (and my dad 83), I decided to go spend three weeks with them as well, as I continued to teach online. 

Blessings in disguise, silver linings, if you will, of the global pandemic. And I was never so thankful for my American passport as in that moment! I could board an empty plane, walk out into an empty airport in the country of my first nationality, spend three weeks with my parents, and come back home on another empty aircraft, land in empty airports, with all their stores locked up with no problem. 

The home of the free, the land of the brave. Never was that more clear to me than during the pandemic. Unlike my Canadian brother- and sister-in-law who were stuck and couldn't even see friends, I was free to go because I was an American. (and life was pretty normal here in the rural area where we live, at least in the second half of 2020. Our kids' private school and private university were also in person -- although the college experience of my older son was not being great, but I shall not blog about that).

It took a global pandemic to reconcile me to my new nationality and -- perhaps? -- identity. 

The "in-betweeness" of this blog's still valid masthead is still my life. 

(end digression, I think it wasn't too bad, was it?)

I started blogging in the days of early motherhood. I had a baby and a toddler and blogging changed my life. I met new people, I was exposed to so many new ideas, I came out of my "bubble" so to speak.

I all but abandoned it in the past 10 years, never even blogged when I perhaps most needed it (the pandemic), but maybe being an empty-nester, who goes every school year day to teach "kids that could be my own kids" (this will end in 4 years and I am TERRIFIED of that -- how will I be able to teach when all my students will be younger than my kids, and I'll keep getting older and older and them younger and younger?? 

The past 18 years were pretty incredible. I have nothing to complain about. I do have a charmed, privileged life and I am thankful for every single thing in it. Even for this abandoned blog. It was such a great and important part of the past years. Maybe I'll come back and blog more? Especially when I have a pile of grading that I'm trying to avoid! 😆

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The 9/11 Babies Were the Class of 2020 - 9/11 21 years later and the pandemic

It took me 20 years to finally watch the Naudet brothers' 9/11 documentary. I saw it on YouTube.  

No wonder I didn't really know much about it when it aired on TV, CBS aired it on March 10, 2002. 

My oldest son was born on March 9, 2002.

And here, I will begin with a digression, which should be a post in and of itself, but I cannot say I'm a blogger anymore, so it will go here. I shared this thought on Facebook a few times, but writing stuff on FB is not the same as writing a blog post (and don't get me started on how frustrating the internet is nowadays with the stupid social media that is no substitute to what we had with blogging).*

Yes, The 9/11 Babies (in utero or newborns) were the Class of 2020

They experienced trauma before they were born when we were stressed out by all that was going on, and then, they had their graduation and first year of college experiences taken from them. I know because my poor son is still recovering from those traumas. Sigh... 

And all of a sudden, all that I wanted to say had kind of vanished from my head. COVID brain? :-(

As I was saying, I saw the 9/11 documentary film today. The one in which the two French-American brothers follow Engine 7/ Ladder 1/ Battalion 2 Firehouse. The one in which miraculously every single last one of the firefighters survives!!! I wanted to hear from each of them 21 years later. 

Why did it take me so long? I don't really know the answer to this question. 

I just wrote a super long comment in my friend Jamie's blog post in which I realized that maybe I could have blogged throughout the whole pandemic and tried to rebuild the fantastic community I write about the footnote below. Instead I journaled (A LOT), started reconnecting with friends over Zoom (heck, we even watched my husband's grandmother's funeral on Zoom, what a year! I also saw weddings on Facebook and Zoom) and I spent a lot of time on stupid Instagram and Facebook. Sigh... 

The Zoom meetings are still going strong over 2 years later -- it was incredible, really fantastic to connect with college friends who were like family, and seeing one another every Friday night has become a need. 

OK, I've lost steam. I need to go work out, something we also gained with the pandemic, starting in January 2021, we do the workouts of Caroline Girvan, an Irishwoman who is incredible. I hope she keeps on posting videos for us! At 51, lifting weights and exercising is a need, and essential to our health and well being.

In any case... I do think it was a missed opportunity, not blogging during the pandemic. OTOH... yeah... I don't know if it's still relevant. In spite of that, I'll hit publish. ;-P

* And the Millennial Influencers and YouTubers imagining that they are the first to create community online, don't they know that before they were making their videos and interacting with viewers we had blogs and actually made virtual friends online? We created many kinds of communities which were very important to us (for me it was especially interacting with other academic mothers, people who, like me, were raising babies and writing PhD dissertations). I met between 10-15 of these other bloggers in person, I am still on FB just so I can be in marginal touch with them. Sigh... What do these 30 somethings know of what we (15-20 years older) did 15 years ago online? OK, rant over.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022


 OK, so I didn't blog at all in 2021... so it's like the year didn't exist, right? [facepalm]

BTW, I have 3 students writing an exam (it's a class of 12, but 9 of them have asked to take the exam online the way it was last semester). So... I am not only getting back into blogging, but I'm doing something I've literally never ever done, which is blogging from work. From inside my classroom. It feels I'm engaging in incredibly risky behavior. LOL So funny! And obviously there is something I should be doing -- finishing writing my own self-evaluation because I'm the "chair" of the peer eval committee of the NTT faculty in my department and we are meeting tonight, and I obviously didn't submit my eval papers which were due last Friday. :-P

But, back to 2021. I wrote an Instagram/FB post in early January with 10 photos as a review of the year, so because I'm lazy, I'll copy it here (with some minor edits, I can't resist):

2021 — What we did because of what we couldn’t do

The Year in Review

2021 was the year of trying to do alternative things to kind of “make up” for all that was missed both in 2020 and 2021 itself. 


In late June, we visited San Francisco (shortly after things “opened” there which was nice!), did two hikes in Yosemite National Park, and visited friends and their super cute boys in Sacramento area + Lake Tahoe…


… because we couldn’t go to Turkey, cruise the Greek Islands, and visit London — neither in 2020, when first scheduled, nor in 2021. (We have no idea whether we’ll get to do it in 2022).


We visited Brazil twice (in July and December) because my parents are elderly and time with them is precious, and we saw my brother and family again after two years (3 years for Kle & Kel).


We spent a week with my husband’s family at the beach in Florida in July because we missed it in 2020, and then, in the week between Xmas & New Years’s (after a spectacular brunch offered by my mother-in-law’s cousins), we spent some days at a hotel in Brazil with my MIL, two brothers-in-law’s families, and aunts and cousins & families…


… because we missed a full family + extended family Caribbean cruise in January 2021, my parents (and maybe brother) would have gone too — this one won’t ever happen. [insert crying emojis here]


I know that, in spite of everything we had a wonderful year, and work-wise it was definitely way better than 2020, but still… life isn’t the same and will never be, and we are all still grieving. As you can see, the focus shifted strongly to our nuclear and extended family and to relationships rather than places and things, because people matter most. Children grow, grandparents grow old and, eventually, out of existence (we lost my husband’s grandmother to COVID, and several friends also died in 2020 & 21.)


P.S. In 2021 K & I also celebrated our 50th birthdays, bought a house, sold the other and moved. It was a busy year!

 ~   ~   ~   ~  ~

So this is the summarized version and it's missing SO MUCH. One thing I'm super proud of (and then a bit sad too, I'll explain), is that in January 2021, my husband and I, at the prompting of my "Canadian" sister-in-law (she's actually Brazilian, but we call them "Canadians" to differentiate them from the "Koreans" and the Marylanders ;-) --> where my other two BILs and families live) we started working out using an YouTuber's workouts -- her name is Caroline Girvan, she's from Ireland and she's crazy, but we love the workouts. 


We basically worked out (with weights and other contraptions, such as bands and yoga blocks) 5-6 times a week through the whole year until October when we bought the new house and our lives became utterly chaotic. And, after the move in late November, I developed painful and "chronic" tennis elbow in my right arm, which only began to heal now in late January and early February when I started taking massive doses of turmeric and... drum-roll! ... started working out again, yes, lifting weights. My arm is so much better!! I guess I needed to strengthen all the surrounding arm muscles for my elbow muscles to heal. I still have localized pain on the outside of the elbow, but nothing like I was experiencing before (I felt pain even when sleeping!). 

--> wow, now the "Aging (Strongly & Gracefully)" label I created I don't know when makes perfect sense. YAY!

OK, I need to do some work, so I'll hit publish. I have so so so many words in me and I definitely need to go back to blogging. I know there aren't many of you out there, but I will enjoy interacting with whoever is still around.

Monday, February 28, 2022

It's been so long...

     ETA: I did not blog once, not even ONCE in 2021! That is so so sad. 

... I don't even know how to write a blog post anymore. 

The cell phone has truly ruined a lot of things in my life, and the first and foremost was blogging. When the blogger app stopped being updated and I couldn't write blog posts from the phone and I needed to use the browser to read any blogs was the beginning of the end. I basically stopped coming to my beloved blog and reading the blogs of friends who kept on blogging. 

I started following people on Instagram instead and using stupid Facebook more -- particularly to keep in touch with all the people whose blogs I loved to read. Sigh...

Blogging changed my life, but those years are long gone. The very world is different from those "glory years" of blogging from 2004-2010. I feel very sad coming here and writing this "lame" post. All people care for now are good looking images and photos (Instagram style). Of short tweets -- but my ADHD makes it impossible for me to be on Twitter, it's too overwhelming. If I can't keep track of the posts I can't handle it. And with ads and tons of retweets it's way too much, I stopped trying to be on Twitter years ago. 

And it's sad because at least one of my remaining blogging friends, Jamie, uses twitter and shares her latest posts there. OK, I am actually writing this to procrastinate finishing two exams that I need to print/ copy, and edit online for Wednesday. Sigh... It's dark outside and I'm still in my office. 

But deep down, I miss blogging something fierce. It just doesn't make much sense to continue when the community that existed here is gone. I feel old and out of place in the digital world when 17 years ago I felt I was in the forefront. Oh well, that's life. 

P.S. The second half of 2021 was crazy - we bought a new house, prepared the old one to sell (hardest thing we've done in a long time, moved out in a slow, drawn out process, and sold our house of over ten years. We don't ever think about it, or miss it, it's like those 10 years are way in the past. Isn't that crazy?)

OMG, I miss writing so much. I should come back. Maybe I will.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

From Brasil! X Freaking out about the election

 This is a most useless blog. All the people who used to read me here are my friends on FB and IG. I still miss their blogs and their words, but I'm still connected to some of them. 

Obviously I blog more for me than for anything else, but sending words out into the great void for nobody to read is sad.

In any case, I came to Brasil and threw my mom a really really cute birthday "party" -- with about 10 socially distanced people who came at different times and my brother, his wife, my husband, my son, two of my mom's former students, and my cousin on Zoom. 

I rented and bought pretty decorations and hired a photographer, and later my brother helped pay for all that (not that it was expensive, the dollar [and the Euro for that matter, my brother lives in Finland now] go a long way with the Real, and stuff is cheap here).

The trip and trying to work online are doing a moderately OK job in distracting me from the election, but the truth is that I AM FREAKING OUT! I am very upset, I don't think there's a solution for "Trumpism" and how it's going to destroy America (even if he loses) and how if he is re-elected will simply pave the way for all kinds of injustice and the destruction of democracy.

Even if he loses things will be hard and dire. Sigh... 

I cannot believe he may win. I am so so so traumatized by 2016 that the thought of it happening again is just unbearable. I can't think about it. If it happens, then what? How do we keep on living. 

And we had to put up, in the last two months, with a pastor basically preaching from the pulpit to vote for this trash in the name of religious liberty. So outrageous. 

I wish I could stop being mad at people and what they believe -- IN THE NAME OF RELIGION! Of saving unborn children, of saving individual freedom. Hordes of people brainwashed by Fox News and the lies the religious right constructed to make it possible for Christians to support the most anti-Christian president ever. 


So much hypocrisy. The Supreme Court. That lady. 

It seems it gets worse and worse every day... I'm only writing this so I can look back on it after the election. I cannot have any hope, however. 

Even if Biden wins, everything is so destroyed it will be hard to put it together. Very hard. I can try to dream he'll win and that Kamala will run in 4 years. We can dream, but how can the dream ever become a reality if in the name of "conservative values" people vote on an IMMORAL man who lies and who has been a con artist all his life? How? How can this be?

In the name of religion and of preserving the country's "whiteness" at all costs -- that ship has sailed, BTW. And I get ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY at latinos voting for him. How? Sigh... just because he's a "macho man" who appeals to their conservatism?

I'm mad at everyone... and this is not healthy, but it's just exhausting. 

Some good quotes from John Pavlovitz

From here (published in 2018): 

It isn't political disagreement, it's divergence on a fundamental level; as people realize they may need to let go of relationships in order to hold on to the deepest contents of their hearts, to be their truest selves, to use their most authentic voices.
From more recently (10/12/20) :
I don’t believe any good people are voting for this president a second time—or they are in complete rebellion against goodness as they do.

I believe that act is fundamentally antithetical to anything good.
Sigh... how will we be able to keep interacting with these people we fundamentally disagree with?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The First Case

 Well, well...

Today I got an email from a health department case investigator saying that one of my students who had attended class in person had tested positive for the virus. 

It didn't come as a surprise because one of my students had already told me they weren't coming to class anymore and had been tested because their roommate had been in touch with someone who had it. Another student went into quarantine voluntarily with their roommate when a cluster in their dorm was detected (they did it before they were told to do so).

I called the case investigator and this person told me (after asking lots of questions about the classroom) that it probably would be OK to continuing meeting -- since students are six feet apart and wearing masks, -- but I decided to not teach in person this week and reconsider next week. 


I don't want to feel guilty because I actually taught in person, but it's hard not to. I did what I thought was best for them and for me and I don't regret having tried it. There are some challenges with having students in the room and in Zoom at the same time that are quite unique, but OTOH it's nice to hear students talking, being able to answer their questions, etc. 

I will begin using this breakout room recommendation with all my classes, instead of only the advanced one.

In any case, I do have good reason to teach from home this week, so yeah... that's that. I really wanted to have given it a try, and I did, and now I feel kind of disappointed and despondent at having to go online for safety's sake.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

My husband is coming back from Brasil!!

This pandemic has been hard. 

I wish I had been blogging.

I wish I could be journaling the way I did pretty intensively from February and March until May. 

Instead, I waste, throw away, trash HOURS AND HOURS of my "one wild and precious life" (Mary Oliver in "The Summer Day") on my phone. 

And I don't even feel guilty. 

Oh, the stupid gloating & smugness -- it's not as bad as before -- all of the introverts so happy. All the extroverts dying inside.

And the awful, awful realization that the world will never be the same. This absolutely crazily unprecedented experience will change everything forever. 

It's no longer the grief for the lost things... the son's senior year experiences, the husband lost sabbatical months in Denmark, the younger son's lost months in Brazil. 

The wonderful and anticipated trip to Turkey, Greek Islands and London.

The family reunion week in a wonderful beach in Florida. 

The trip to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday (next month). 

Or the family cruise in January 2021.

All cancelled. 

It's no longer the grief for those, it's the grief for what will never be. 

The grief for the near certainty that Democracy in America (and Brasil) will die an ugly death. 


Anyway, my husband returns tomorrow. It was not as hard at all like the 63 days without him, from December 26 to February 27, sigh... but still, I am glad he's coming back. I love him and miss him. 

Yeah... maybe I'll start blogging again? After all, it's been nearly three weeks I now have a desktop computer. I love desktop computers and hate laptops with a vengeance. 

OK, gotta go to bed. Nobody will read this, but still, it feels good to be posting after so long. Micro-blogging at Instagram is not the same. And FB is awful.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A Corona Virus Social Distancing Social Media Pet Peeve: The Smugness

OK, I don't have the courage to write this on Facebook, so I'm taking refuge in my blog! I've been writing updates there regularly because, given our unique circumstances*, our family was directly caught in the disorienting path of this pandemic before most people were.

There are two kinds of smugness I have found quite unbearable on social media (FB and Instagram) lately: the smugness of homeschooling parents (past or present) and that of academics who already work or have lots of experience with online teaching. Sigh... It's quite unconscious, I'm sure, especially the second kind when all they want to do is be helpful to other clueless academics, but it's still not fun to encounter either one. ETA: there is a third kind! The smugness of those who already work from home! :-(

I no longer have young(er) kids and the one year in which we "cyber-schooled" precisely ten years ago was AWFUL. My youngest is currently doing online school, but he works independently all the time and all I have to do is to proofread essays. In spite of that, I cringe reading some comments of folks who have lots of experience with this because it sounds like they're almost "bragging" that their lives haven't changed a bit! Sigh...

It's more complicated with the distance learning academics because it's good to have some support, but I still feel like I'm being "preached to" or something. I can't really explain too much, it's more a gut feeling. It's kind of funny because most of the academic friends I have on FB are all former bloggers, some of whom might even still be reading this blog -- most aren't! That's why I'm writing here.

ETA: This is not nice, but all of you introverts out there are also very very smug saying that this is your dream come true and stuff. Come on, do you just want to make extroverts feel mad at you and feel worse? ;-P

In any case, here is my short rant (edited twice now). I hope I get some comments!!

*My husband was spending his sabbatical in Denmark, came to the U.S. for two weeks for a conference which was promptly canceled (Ah! The blissful ignorance we experienced two weeks ago cannot be ever recaptured!). Then we traveled to Colorado (and I now regret that) to come home to news that I'd be teaching online and that Denmark was closing its borders and the whole country. My husband remains here. Now our son's boarding school in Brazil is being kind of cancelled and he's there with my elderly parents, so we are very apprehensive about that too!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

An Emma Overdose

Similarly to February 2011 and 2016, I was craving some Jane Austen this month, but it looks like I went completely overboard this year! ;-P

When I finally got to see Little Women in the theater last month I was thrilled to see the new Emma preview!
So, of course, I needed to prepare for this new film that seems to be perfection itself!

I re-read the novel over a couple of days two weeks ago. Then, I was determined to see the BBC/ WGBH series that I had completely missed back in 2009, I don't know why or how, considering I wrote several posts about PBS airing "The Complete Jane Austen"  back then (I lived blogged some of the adaptations). I must have missed it due to my crazy life cyber-schooling the boys last year. It features the delightful Romola Garai:

 I had to start a Hulu free trial to see it, and although I hated the stupid commercials, I went to bed 2 am last Monday night to see it. It didn't disappoint, and was quite delightful.

This afternoon, I saw Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma, and that was pretty ok too, but I still like the miniseries better. The film is a bit too rushed/ compressed and Mr. Frank Churchill (a very bad Ewan McGregor) is nothing, really. I must own that Mrs. Weston (Miss Taylor) is 100% better in the film, though.

I can't wait for the new Emma! March 5 cannot arrive soon enough! I will try to " force"  my husband and my son to see it with me! ;-)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

11 years ago TODAY, I posted a Lyle Mays song; Today, he died!

OK, this is a little bit too much of a crazy coincidence, but it's true! In fact, he died yesterday (2/10), but the news reached everyone only today.

How did I find out about my post? Someone (from Brazil!) posted a comment to that post on my blog, probably after finding the post when googling Lyle Mays, so I went to read the post (and the whole month of February 2009). I was reading when I decided to check the date of the post, and I was kind flabbergasted!

There are two musical deaths connected to my birthday (I'm sure there may be more, but I''m not about to Google that). Louis Armstrong died the day before I was born (so it was on the news on 7/7/1071). Then last year, the day before my birthday, João Gilberto, the most amazing interpreter and the "inventor" of bossa nova, died. :-( 

I don't really know Mays' works, apart from my favorite Zizi Possi song, but I sure will check him out now!

You can enjoy "Mirror of the Heart:"