Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Before Sunset

OK dear readers. Jo(e) asked and I immediately complied.
I think you do deserve the photos, I was just too tired yesterday to include any more :)

This is the beautiful farm located right behind
the gas station (the ubiquitous [here] Wawa).
At least two cars stopped to take pictures
while we were there trying to fix the car.

Half smile, half yawn.

Walking on the picnic table with the farm in the background.

Nowadays if I want to take a picture with them,
I have to hold them tight, or else they'll be on the move, of course!
(Edited to add: I don't like very much how I look in this picture , so for some of you who may have missed a better one in the blog, here's the link :)

The boys tried to help fix the car as well!

Here's Kelvin, brushing his teeth for the 10th time
while jumping from one bed to the other.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny fall day (a little chilly, and windy, but nice) , following a rainy, stormy day on Saturday, so we went sightseeing with my parents. They help me out all week, taking care of the house and the kids, so we try to get them to do some "tourism" once in a while :)

While I'm at it, perhaps I should say that my parents love to travel, to walk or drive around and explore new places (so much so that my mom hates the American highways, she claims they all look the same and she can't really sightsee or explore at all) - and I totally incoporated these characteristics from them.

Anyway, we decided to go to Lancaster County ("Amish Country"), which is less than an hour and a half away. This time I let my DH look up places to visit, and decide where to go. We decided to start with something that would give us a "feel" for the Amish way of life, and the "Amish Farm" and "Amish Village" promised that. DH said that from what he read, the Farm was the a more accurate portrait, and an actual house and farm, so we went there. However, when we got to the place, look what we found:We were utterly disgusted!! Yes, a Target store has just been built right beside it.
Now I understand why they only have two dated pictures in their website (which I only checked today):

The first from 1957, the second from 2004.

They are working on the land in front of the house, it looks like a large construction site, but nothing can be done about the SIDE of the house and farm. The curb of Target's parking lot is like 2 feet from the house!!! I couldn't believe it! Look at the sign for the place, barely visible beside the retail giant's sign:
Maybe some people will be happy to park right behind Target on their way to visit a farm that showcases the way of life of the very simple and modernity adverse Amish, but we just couldn't bear to do it, and we visited the Amish Village instead. We then drove through Strasburg, where my son (a train fanatic) visited the ChooChoo Barn with daddy while and I, my parents and the napping "baby" drove around enjoying the scenery. We concluded we'd have to go back some other time to visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania because it couldn't be done in an hour (I guess my son's love of trains has contaminated all of us :)

When we were ready to drive home (after filling the tank with "cheaper" gas - 2.28/gal versus 2.68 around here), we noticed that there was a problem with the brakes in one of the rear wheels. Actually, I had already noticed a funny, rubbery smoke smell on our drive there, but DH had said it wasn't our car. DH and my dad took out the wheel and realized that the brake wouldn't "release" the wheel, remaining stuck at most times. While they did that, we enjoyed the view of a farm right behind the station and took many pictures of the boys in the beautiful sunset light (but enough pictures for this post, OK?).

We decided to keep on going, even though we knew that the wheel was getting extremely hot, when DH saw a garage/shop that was open. He dropped us off at a grocery store so we'd be warm (it was pretty cold by this time) and went there with my dad. I couldn't believe it when he called saying that the problem was serious and we wouldn't be able to drive home last night. We'd never been stranded before, much less with two kids and parents in tow! No rental cars were available, and the guy at the shop was kind enough to drive us to a motel with his friend. Even motels were hard to find, we stopped by two before calling and finding out about one that had room or was open. I had bought food and some first necessity items at the store (Kelvin loved his 50 cents new toothbrush and brushed his teeth, stopping once in a while to eat, some 5 times), but it's never fun to sleep in street clothes with excited kids who don't really want to sleep, just run around the bedroom and bathroom, enjoying their novelty. Linton nursed all night long...

This morning we rented a car and drove home (DH will return the rental and pick up our car tomorrow), and I was barely able to work this afternoon, I was so tired!! But it felt really, really good to come home, better than ever before!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Getting Feedback or... Dissertatin' - Update #2

Updated title (10/24) same content.
First, I'm all better from the cough, but still worried about getting a sore throat again... I hope not!

Second, many people in my blogroll posted not once, but twice today, and I'm kind of upset that I have been working on three or four posts without getting any of them out there, so here it goes... (this one I started on Saturday night, 10/15)
(end of preamble)

Is it just me or is it just as hard for anyone else to get feedback, particularly on their writing?

[I know I’m entering dangerous territory here, not having an anonymous blog, but if I don’t blog about my dissertation writing, what else is there to blog about? That’s all my life revolves around, these days…]

Anyway, I got the annotated draft of my first chapter back from the advisor last Saturday. It was a very rough draft, but the advisor had agreed to read drafts, and since I wanted to push myself, I decided to establish a timeline and send whatever I had achieved by the due date. My previous experience with the advisor’s feedback was not very good (lots of corrections concerning the mechanics of my writing, and not many comments/ suggestions about content and structure). Foreseeing the same kind of problem this time, I sent the advisor a long email the day before the draft was due, with this very polite talk about the kind of feedback I needed, blah blah blah. The response was, sure, I’ll give you feedback on content and structure, if that’s what you need.

Guess what? Déjà vu, all over again (from the first feedback I got when I submitted my prospectus two years ago): a lot of correction on mechanics, and almost no comments about structure and content. I had specifically asked for responses to my comments and questions between brackets - there were none. And not only that (which already infuriated me), out of 32 pages, only the first 8 pages and 4 pages at the end were annotated, then, 10 pages in the middle were completely blank, and a few other pages had a few annotations. I just feel like - if this advisor is not going to even read my work, why should I even send it? (OK, I know I need to get feedback, but with this kind of feedback, I feel I'm working alone).

Some background information on myself. I usually am a very sensitive person, the type of person who can’t be scolded without getting to the point of tears. Therefore, I’ve always tried to do everything right, so I don’t need to be corrected. That’s NOT how writing works, though, and I know that, the rational part of my brain keeps telling myself that’s how it’s supposed to be. I’m aware that good writing needs tons of revision, and constant rewriting, but that’s not how the other part of me feels when I get feedback (or at least certain kinds of feedback). It’s not that I think what I write is good; it’s just that it takes such effort to write that I feel sensitive about the writing.

Bottom line... this week I'm having a TERRIBLE time working. I just don't feel like writing, I just want to throw everything up in the air, give up. I've managed to pull myself together enough to go over the annotations very carefully, do the necessary changes, and then, I started working on the chapter again. But it's been going really slowly. I'm hoping it will get better, because if it doesn't, it's going to be a NIGHTMARE to finish this dissertation. Well, at least I know I will keep working until early December when I travel to Brazil. I will definitely keep my timetable and deadlines, no matter how bad the feedback. I don't think it can get worse than this, so it might as well get better, or I may just learn to cope and deal with this.

I'm sure there was more to say, but at least I posted, got it out of my system, and I feel relieved. Do you have any feedback to give me? :D

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cough, cough, cough...

Stopping by quickly to say I've been having a terrible cough for almost a week now. Nights are not easy, and I haven't been sleeping well (to top it off, Linton's teething again, and has been waking up more often at night, and crying too).

The weird thing is, I don't know if it's the cough, but I have been having trouble falling asleep lately - something which has never been much of a problem to me (except that I usually stay up late, and don't feel sleepy until way after midnight). What's strange is that I haven't slept in several days this week as I usually do to compensate the lack of night sleep, but I haven't felt tired at all. I feel wired, strangely energized. I guess it's just the "momentum" of working on the dissertation -- but that's another story, I'm still working on a post about what's going on in that front.

Oh, yeah, before I forget, the annoying part of being sick with my parents here is the advice. Old-fashioned advice. Things I hear all the time: "Go put some socks on, that's why you're coughing!" "You shouldn't go outside without a coat, it's chilly out there!" "What? Are you washing your hair at night? That will make your cough get worse!" "You shouldn't be drinking ice water, that's why you don't get better" (this because I like my water "just right" (for me): 2/3 room temperature filtered water, 1/3 ice water), and so on and so forth... Am I going to be like that with my kids? I hope not!

To end on a brighter note, Linton has been saying so many new words lately! I think he says around 3 new words a day. Today's are: "oto" (outro - other), "tudo" (all/everything), "mais" (more), "por" (put). It's so exciting! I have recorded about 65 words (he's 16 months and a half), not bad, huh?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Dissertatin' - Update #1

Well, since I started working in earnest, and I even have a timetable (I pasted it near my computer screen yesterday, I even added some "motivational" stickers :) I will be updating on my progress periodically.

Last Friday I emailed the first draft of Chapter 1 (Introduction and Methodology) to my advisor. He's sending it in the mail this week (yeah, I know, why not revise it electronically - but he read it very quickly, so I'm not complaining, I think I'm lucky right now). I'm working on a rough draft of Chapter 2 to be sent out this Friday.

Other than that, I'm still recovering from a sore throat and a cold I had last week (must have caught it from you ABDmom, through reading your blog :) I'm pretty hoarse, which I hate, and coughing a bit (which I hate even more).

The boys are OK. I should post some pictures, shouldn't I? I'll think about it. I didn't have time to work on my promised "upcoming" posts, but I'll try to this week.

I feel very energized because I'm being productive. I never thought I'd ever feel positive about writing the dissertation, and I'm surprised by it. I can't help but have a vague dread that this positive outlook will change soon. But, perhaps, if I keep on working and don't let negative thoughts and feeling of guilt get hold of me, I'll be able to 1)feel energized and positive and keep working; 2) eventually finish!
I can't even believe that I may actually finish next year. I hope with all my heart that finishing, defending and graduating (if I can make the April 30 deadline) will feel as good or even better than "getting to work" feels now. I fear that the endless rewriting and revision that lie ahead after I'm done with the first drafts will suck the energy, joy and hope out of me, and then, when I get to the finish line, it will be anti-climatic. How was it to other people I wonder? (anyone reading this is done? how did it feel? Should I hope for a "happy ending" feeling or is it really as anti-climatic as I think it must be?)

I just wish I knew ahead, but I guess I just have to live through it. One step at a time.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Fall is here - my first "quiz"

You Are Changing Leaves

Pretty, but soon dead.

I decided to put this one here because it's pretty. And I do love fall leaves!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Arguing with a 16 month-old... useless

Speaking of milk (see Kateri's comment on previous post), two days ago Linton decided that what he gets when he breastfeeds (my milk) is "água" (water - he pronounces it perfectly too!).

He's at that phase when he uses "general" names for different categories of things, e.g. because he loves dogs, "au-au" (bow-wow or barf-barf) is his name for all animals; he calls every single fruit "banana"; "piu-iiii" (pew-eeee - train noise) is his name both for trains, trucks and buses, etc.

But I did take an issue with my milk being called water, and decided to argue with him at teach him to say milk ("leite"). So, now, whenever he wants to nurse, our conversation usually goes like this (and today's post finally makes this blog's name make total sense, since here I am -- finally! -- translating my interactions with my son):
"Mamá!" [Nurse! - it's pronounced like mother in Spanish: mama'] he exclaims, pointing to my breasts.
"Oh, você quer o leite da mamãe?" [Do you want your mama's milk?] I ask.
"Água, água!" [water, water] he replies.
"Não!! é leite, não água! Leite, sim!" [No, it's milk, not water! Yes, milk!]
"Não! Água, água!" [No, water, water] he insists, shaking his head to emphasize the "no".
"É leite, sim!" [Yes, it is milk!] I insist.
"Água, água!" [Water, water!] He insists...

and this goes on and on... etc, etc, etc.
I give up!!

Oh, I forgot to mention that he has been drinking water in a regular cup for a while, and that "agua" was the very first word he said (referring to his bathwater). Last night I even took him to the sink, and showed him the water, saying "This is water, mama has milk" but it didn't make any difference to him. He knows what water is, but for him at this stage, any liquid is called water. Eventually, he'll figure out the difference, I know. Meanwhile, we'll keep arguing... it's fun :)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A couple of firsts

Just a quick note to say I just attended my first LLL (La Leche League) meeting. I enjoyed it very much, it feels great to be in a room full of mothers, babies and toddlers, several of whom are nursing right there and then. I actually missed my sons, who were napping in the car with my parents outside (they did come in at the end, though). I will certainly be an assiduous participant from now on, and will become a member as well.

The second "first" was meeting a blogger I read and enjoy a lot in person for the first time. It was really nice to meet you Kate, and Naomi too!! I hope to see more of you in the future :)

Well, that's it for now... I NEED to work, since I already missed the whole morning (I say this as if I worked the whole morning, I usually don't start until 11 am, because I always stay up REALLY late, and sleep in until 9:30-10. So, I missed some 3 hours, that's it).

My mornings are glorious

I haven't posted lately because I'm working on the dissertation, yes, I am. It's not been easy, writing never is, but I think it's even worse for me than for most people, given my greatest-procrastinator-in-the-world fame. But I have been writing everyday, and will submit the first draft of the first chapter to my advisor this Friday. Wish me luck.

So... I thought I'd show you how my "wild things" are doing. With the cooler (and actually splendid) weather, we've been enjoying our morning glories during the whole day lately!

OK, take a look:They have completely overtaken the right side of the porch
(the vines on the other side didn't do too well because of the poorer soil in the pot)

Their color matches the sky's.
This picture was taken through my living room window screen.
I like the effect.
This is Blues, our cat.
I can't believe I never wrote about him. He's beautiful, isn't him? I'll include more pictures of him in the future. Promise.

Sneak preview: pregnancy, birth and breasfeeding experience posts coming up!!