Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Last Day

K just left for his last day (more like last morning) at Big Pharma.

I don't know how I feel about that. Except for the big paycheck and him getting early home from work, I think we won't miss this job. K is certainly very excited and motivated to go back to academia and begin his second postdoc in September. It was as rough "in-between" year for him with next to nothing accomplished due to the shaky situation at work, and I know he's looking forward to moving on.

We'll have him with us (well, with the house renovation projects) for a few weeks and then the long commute and long hours begin... :-(

It'll be OK, though. He's doing the right thing.

On Being Back

We've been back since late on Saturday night (K decided not to take his flight back here and drive with us, I was so relieved!) and although I've found time yesterday and today to catch up with most of my blogging friends, I have been postponing blogging for no good reason. Or maybe I do have many many reasons...

We're still overwhelmed with the messy house. Things have improved considerably as far as the renovations go, but the mess in the living and dining room is still pretty much the same as the previous post pictures show. The kitchen cabinets need to be fully sanded before we can put things back in them, and K just finished that tonight (Tuesday night since it's past midnight).

And on Thursday we'll have guests coming from Brazil to stay over the weekend. We love having guests, particularly this dear friend from high school that I haven't seen in ten whole years. And this is the year/period we've had more guests from Brazil in a period of only a few months. Too bad the timing has been just so catastrophic!! In April we had three friends coming, exactly when I was finishing up the dissertation and getting ready for defense, and now we have these friends coming this weekend, and more friends coming at the last weekend in August -- a veritable record! I'm not worried about the last weekend, I'm actually thrilled that my best friends' mom will get to visit us for the first time and we'll have a really nice house to show her (and my friend's husband, who is, how shall we say it, picky?). I'm a bit concerned about this weekend. I know these friends won't mind at all anything that is going on, they're just lovely and accommodating, but still, I love to have a clean and organized (as far as I can get it) house.

And you wouldn't guess in a million years what our dear Brazilian friends from church have decided to do this very weekend -- organize the wedding of two of our friends at a beach!!! And I'm in charge of helping with the music and the organization of the ceremony (I was also going to help prepare a beautiful table with fruit, but now other people will take care of that). It will be just like that show on TLC ([digression, bear with me] they don't have it anymore, I'm totally out of it, and everything else in TV and pop culture -- except for Project Runway, I got curious about it after Lisa V mentioned it in her blog and I got to watch the first and second episodes of the new season in the hotel, I really liked it! I wanted to have written a whole post about it, but a parenthetical remark will do), anyway, like that show on TLC in which a couple's friends organized their whole wedding with a budget of 1,000 or so. The only difference is that the bride will pick her own dress (as well as the outfits of the groom and their children, who will be the flower girl and ring bearer).

So... lots of things. As usual, very adventurous life that we lead. And I have yet to tell you about some minor changes that are coming up, etc.

I owe you pictures of the Boston trip, and, of course, of the renovations. Hopefully I can get some of those out of the way before the guests arrive on Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed, for me and for you. ;-)

OK, just one peak because I just can't help it:
I don't know how I can still feel fairly calm about the prospects of putting this house on the market. I think what my friend Articulate Dad says is very true -- things are not the most important thing in life. Very true. I write that, but suddenly I'm misty eyed and I have this hard knot in my stomach. I will survive, though, I know. You have no idea, though, how beautiful it's becoming, no idea...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

True Get-Away

(Feed readers: my apologies for repeated edits)

This is just to give you an idea of what we're "getting away" from with this trip:

(note: fuzzy photos from video camera, resolution of 2.3)

Our dining room:
Living room:
The kitchen (now mostly sanded and with brand-new floors):The only cooking implement we've had since last Thursday is the microwave. So, I miss stove cooked and baked foods and eating mostly bread, cheese, fruit, and other things we're limited to eating at the hotel, which does not have a microwave, doesn't help much my craving for them. (Note: we cannot afford to eat out -- we only did so tonight -- and besides, we're mostly used to that and living frugally has become almost a habit, one that I'm getting tired of, however, I could go on and on about this).

K was tempted to cancel his course here since he's leaving his job and there are tons of things to be done in the house if we want to put it in the market ASAP, but it had already been paid for, so we just came (to stay here). So, I'm looking at it as a mini-vacation for the kids and I and a true "get away" from chaos for all of us. Next week I'll spend some days at my brother-in-law's house in MD so K can work and we can continue "away" (it does help not having the children around to get work done around the house). So, that's what we're up to. I hope to post some (also fuzzy -- I NEED a camera!!!!) pictures of Boston soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And Then I Drove All Night Long...

... and got to Boston, I mean, Cambridge.

OK, it wasn't all night long, but almost that.

When: Sunday night.

Time I left home: 6:30 pm

Time I thought I'd get there: 1:30 am

Time stuck in traffic at the George Washington Bridge and beyond: 1h30

(then I decided to take the longer way via the Cross County Pkwy, 684, 84, rather than being stuck in the Bronx Expressway all night)

Times I stopped to sleep for a bit: two

Time I got to our hotel: almost 4 AM

Crazy, huh?

And except for a period of more or less half an hour when there was a treacherous thunderstorm with sheets of rain that made me slow down because the visibility was terrible, I was not scared or worried at all. Tired, slightly bored, yes.

The boys were champs, they slept, then watched a DVD, then slept again (a bit too late, at almost 11 pm). I'm glad I'm here, and I think I'd do this again.

More tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Flowers? Nah, Just The Irony of Ironies

Why, oh why did I have to go and cry about the flowers, of all things? So now I feel that a I am the butt of my own joke.

[insert sarcastic laugh here]

Two weeks ago when I was grieving about loosing this place I could not imagine what was and is yet to come... How terrible it would feel to watch the house being transformed under my very eyes in the ways we'd dreamed about when we purchased it, and to think that I may not get to enjoy all the wonderful new changes, that I'll just be forced hand them over to the buyer just because we cannot afford to live here. Yeah, I know, our own fault, buying this expensive house, BUT, on the other hand, had we not bought a house with great "flipping potential" we would be in much more trouble. We suspect that our other option, a 50K+ cheaper townhome, all redone (like we're doing this one) would be extremely hard to sell right now.

So, I know... positive attitude, blah, blah, blah, but when you see the new ceramic floors (no pictures just yet), these hardwood floors just uncovered in the living and dining rooms, stairs, and upstairs hallway:...the potential beauty of sanding and re-staining the kitchen cabinets, in addition to the 1200+ dollars just spent in brand new appliances for the kitchen (we're ordering them online -- much cheaper than buying in stores and much faster delivery)... it's all very painful. But I'm steeling myself, trying to feel a bit angry again so I'll have energy to go on, facing the endless cleaning, vacuuming, moving furniture and things around.

And these, BTW, are the flowers I was crying about (when I wrote that post, I didn't have a picture yet and used one from May): Pretty, right? But now, I look at them and can only feel the irony of the situation, so I go back inside to clean some more.

P.S.1 Please bear with me as I use this blog as a tool to cope and express my feelings as we undergo this period of transition that never ends. I know that it'll be all right in the end, but this thought doesn't make it any less painful, on the contrary.

P.S.2 In response to Prisca's lovely comment to the last post, I just wanted to clarify that we are obviously paying most of our friends (one of them, the most skilled and specialized refuses to be paid) and also helping one of them who didn't have any work this week. We cannot really afford any of this, BTW, but we need to do it, and of course helping our friends while paying less than we would for professional installation elsewhere makes much more sense (quite a bit of the money you pay for installation at these home improvement stores does NOT get to the installer. Two of our friends work as subcontractors under another subcontractor who is hired by yet another subcontractor representing the big chain store -- isn't that outrageous?).

--> If you live in the area and need professional, knowledgeable and affordable tile floor/ bathroom tile, etc, installation, do email me because I heartily recommend my friends!! And I'm obviously thankful for them as Prisca remarked. They are just coming over later today to finish the kitchen!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


That's how the small bathroom by the our bedroom has looked for five days now.
Today our friends began to work there, but not after a big setback because a plumbing puzzle -- how to fit in the new shower drain as well as the new shower -- that took all day. The kitchen is also undergoing a huge transformation. I hope to post pictures soon, in spite of the fact that I'm only using our video camera (which takes 3.2 megapixel photos) to take pictures. These here come to you as a courtesy of my friend's camera (her husband is helping us and he brought her camera with him yesterday).

I asked another friend to take the boys for the day and she thankfully did. I had a most chaotic morning, trying to empty all the cabinets while they sanded the lower ones and put the new countertop. My previously nice living and dining rooms are chaotic right now, with kitchen appliances, food, pots, pans, plates, strewn everywhere. While they were installing the countertop the new ceramic cooktop arrived, so they installed it. Poor K spent the day running from one home improvement store to another...

The boys will soon be home and we cannot cook, only in the microwave. We can only enter the kitchen tomorrow, but that doesn't make too much of a difference because the cabinets (which right now don't have any doors) still need to be sanded so we can put the stuff back.

This picture was taken yesterday and it shows how sanding will totally transform these ugly brown cabinets: A dream come true -- which I won't get to live, most probably, but that's the subject for another post.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back on the Roller-Coaster

And this time, going down scarily fast...

Well, it turns out that less than 24h after my husband thought about that optimistic alternative that I blogged about, we found out that refinancing is not an option because K is leaving his job and won't qualify. The friend who warned us about this (and who used to be a mortgage broker) did tell us that there was another hopeful alternative -- talking to the bank and seeing whether something could be done, like recalculating the mortgage, taking PMI off, paying only interest, things like those. So... over the weekend we remained relatively hopeful about keeping the house.

Well, after talking to the bank yesterday, things look grim again. They're sending a package in the mail with the options (we don't know what they are, but probably not what we were looking for) and K called another number (for "loss mitig@tion") and the almost rude lady he talked to said bluntly that selling is what needs to be done. Nice. Helpful.

Last weekend, after I had already cried and grieved about the house, all I felt was anger and an urge to get rid of this place as soon as possible. I felt energized and wanted to get it ready to sell. On Tuesday evening, though, after a dentist visit with a friend whose son goes to school with our son, prompted K to think that we should keep Kelvin at the school he attends and thus, motivated him to think about ways to keep the house -- that's when he came up with the idea of refinancing that derailed us from our previous thoughts on preparing the house for sale and put our hopes and spirits up (I must say that this was good at least for having my party and also motivated us to spend Friday putting up photos and art on the walls -- my strongest wish since e moved in -- the photos wouldn't have gone up on the walls had we still thought that we were selling for sure because they're not very good for showings -- people will recognize you later which may feel strange).

Anyway... we're back to hurriedly preparing the house for sale. Major things have to be done, but I'll have to blog about this more later. Several other things and big decisions are going on as well... I'll be back later. Right now I'm neither angry nor broken hearted anymore, but I'm pretty sad, scared (of the many projects we have to tackle, fearing things might go wrong), and tired of having to live like this...

What about the positive attitude change that I "announced" a while back? Well, I am doing my best to keep positive. We have already found a nice townhome to rent and they do have openings coming up in August and September and I keep trying to think of how much easier and less stressful life will be if we live within our means. I am trying. Frustrating thoughts do come up more often than I'd like though... Hopefully blogging will help me deal with that. Thanks for listening.

Test Cleaning!

For some reason I really do enjoy cleaning the house, although the inertia to get started gets the better of me and I only do it in spurts. Well, this cool product that I'm about to review is supposed to help make cleaning much more convenient and hassle free and it does!!

If you like the "parent product" you will love this new option to clean bathroom tubs, sinks, vanity tops, and other washable surfaces in the house. You don't need to use paper towels and/or a brush or sponge, you just attach the product-infused "spongy" pouch to the soft scrubber, add some water and it will foam when you rub it in the surface to be cleaned. The smell is nice and fresh and the firm, yet soft, flexible, reusable scrubber (which is also green, my favorite color!) is easy on hands and helpful to clean tricky surfaces such as faucets. All you have to do when you're done scrubbing is rinse with water! I wish I could post pictures, but my camera is dead and I have to figure out how to download the photos from my video camera (I took some photos when I was cleaning my bathroom sink :-).

Oh, and last but not least, the product's website is offering a 2.75 off coupon this month!

This review was sponsored (with a gift certificate to this store) by:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Celebrating Birthday and Graduation -- Photos Galore!

Last Saturday night we threw a party to celebrate my birthday and also my graduation, since I had not been able to do that earlier because we traveled to Brazil soon after commencement. I decided to do it only last week so I didn't really plan too much, which was good. A good friend helped me by preparing sandwiches and I made salsa, a cake and other desserts. I had bought graduation decorations and we used those too. It was lots of fun and I'm sharing (thanks to another friend and her camera because we haven't decided yet which camera we want -- we're returning the one I got for my b-day) a bunch of photos. Enjoy!

We held the party outside in out back patio (we don't have central air conditioner and the house was hot as an oven, except for a window unite working full force in the dining room and helping cool the kitchen and living room). We moved the futon there, folding chairs, and our two folding tables. The weather was wonderful, cool, breezy and there were no mosquitoes!!

Here's a picture of half (OK, more than half) of the folks who were there:
The other half:(we had almost 40 people!)

Some of the food:
The cake:(I bought the pan months ago for 3.99 -- I figured it was worth spending that even if I was going
to use it only once. I'm keeping it for Kelvin and Linton's graduations, though! :-)
Oh, and that's my actual tassel!

Getting ready to blow the candle:

Being silly with two of my gifts:
(both given by a dear friend who is shoe obsessed -- the shoe is not my style at all, BTW, but don't go tell her, OK? I'll wear it a few times so she'll see it, I'm OK with that [wearing things that I don't much like]):
And here you can see some of the desserts better...... and the happy 37 year old who finally holds a Ph.D. (and a colorful candle whose wax she clumsily just sprinkled all over the cake)
It was lots of fun!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This Made My Day, I Mean, Night

I heart parodies, and I'm actually very good at writing them. I used to do it all the time with two of my best girl friends (who happen to be twins) during high school and even our college years. I actually felt like writing a parody of a Brazilian song by Chico Buarque on the day of my defense last May. Too bad I only had the idea, but not the time to complete it (song parodies were always our forte).

Anyway, I cannot believe I hadn't heard of this book until today (via Anjali, and by proxy, Laura -- thanks my friends!) because it's positively brilliant! Goodnight Moon is one of our favorites here at home (and you may, or may not know, sometimes I really do not write as much as I should about me as I should in this here old blog) and even more so because I'm passionate about children's books in general.

So, do check Goodnight Bush's website and its facebook photos. I was particularly tickled by the seal portrayed below (I'm also an ardent fan of Stephen Colbert, although I can probably count with my hands the number of times I watched his show -- we can only do it online).
I really want to buy this book!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We Have Other Alternatives!

I am thrilled to report that we are thinking of other alternatives to selling the house.

The main one would be refinancing it so we can lower the mortgage payment by eliminating PMI by paying more of the principal. The truth is that it would be nearly impossible to do all the renovations that still need to be done so we can put the house on the market until the end of the month. Moreover, if we lower the monthly payment, the difference between a rental and the mortgage payment won't be that great.

I feel very relieved. And I need to go to bed right now because it's much too late.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Unexpected Birthday Present

No, it was not the camera that K gave me (which did surprise me and we really need one because ours died)...

It was my third nephew, who gets to share his birthday with me (and with his great-grandmother, my husband's grandma) because he was born at 11:30 pm. I only learned now because in Texas where he was born it's an hour earlier and they just called my MIL who, in turn, chatted with me on Skype. Oh yeah, and my nephew also shares part of my name (the last few letters), which is also pretty cool!

I think it was very nice of him to come today because other boys in the family have refused for years to share birthdays with family members. His dad, "K3," was born one day after his paternal grandmother and my first nephew D was born the day after my mother-in-law's birthday. Linton refused to share his birthday both with his paternal grandpa and his dad (who was also born three days after his dad's birthday). Thanks!

So, my dear nephew, I love you very much already (I'm tearing up just saying that and thinking of that newborn baby) and I can't wait to meet you. Tomorrow (ok, today, it's past midnight) I'll get to see your photo and I'm sure I'll be moved to tears again. I know you're going to be very beautiful and I hope you have hair, but maybe you won't have any, like three of your cousins (only your youngest cousin M had hair). One day we'll play together and have fun because your aunt here loves her nephews so very much and she misses her baby sons already. In less than a month you'll meet us all and I can't wait to hold you and kiss you. And maybe someday we'll share a birthday cake and blow our candles together, OK? I'll give you the first piece.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Birthday Wishes

We're at my brother-in-law's house, so this will be a quick post. We drove here late on Saturday night and the boys are having a wonderful time playing with their cousins. The nasty virus is on its way out. Kelvin's rash is fading away. We have realized, because of a friend's suggestion, that the virus had a worse effect in Kelvin because he's taking antibiotics which may weaken the response of his immune system.

So, it's my birthday and my "bloggy wish" is to post some more pictures of me as a child and write a post about the birthdays I remember. I don't know if I'll get my wish or not, so I'm already posting this. I have already received two lovely blouses as gifts from my dear sister-in-law and K forgot my present at home, so there's more waiting for me. I have also bought several things for myself as "birthday gifts" (in Brazil and yesterday here -- cute ballet style flats). I guess we're going to have lunch out on our way back home and... that will be it. Let's hope I find the time to post later. It's just that we have so much to do at home that it's hard to take time to blog. I'm glad that yesterday we were able to sew three curtain panels (IKEA fabric) for my bedroom with the help of my sister-in-law's mother, who is visiting from Brazil. Too bad I forgot the fourth panel home, but they're going to visit us next week and we'll sew it then.

Well, that's it for now. Happy Birthday to me. :-)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Enter -- Red Spotted Rash -- What a Virus!!!

It looks like this is becoming a disease related blog, isn't it, with some house-related angst thrown in for good measure ;-) . Anyway, I'm sorry I didn't update earlier, it's just that we spent the day working on the house, as expected.

Kelvin woke up and soon was able to walk normally again -- thankfully! We were all relived, not that we were too worried to begin with, thanks to the "internets." The problem today is that he had (still has) a rash all over his body and more markedly in his face -- quite scary! This time Dr. Google was not very helpful because it directed me to the terrifying disease "Rocky*Mountain*Spotted*Fever" (I'm trying to be less googleable here) -- you can read more about it here and here. I began to freak out because the tick that transmits this disease is precisely the one that we found on Kelvin!!! (a possible hint that he may not have Lyme after all) And he had high fever! And now a rash! Granted, the rash didn't begin in the ankles and elbows and radiated to the arms and legs and there was no rash on his feet and hands. In addition, it has been well over two weeks since he was first bitten by the tick. (in case you're wondering, in his body he has tiny red marks, and his face is red and blotchy, particularly his cheeks and chin and the rash is a bit "raised" there. It doesn't itch at all).

Photos from Sunday, two days after I wrote the post (added on 11/10/08):
Well, I called the pediatrician's answering service and the nurse who was on call (the same one who saw Kelvin and prescribed amoxicilin for the possible Lyme a week ago) was very helpful. She explained to me that many other children in the practice have come down with a virus that causes a rash just like the one that I was describing. She explained that the rash (which is not supposed to itch) will go away from 3 to 5 days and that he's probably not very contagious at this point (one of my worries, since we're going to a party for my nephew's second birthday on Sunday -- my nephew, BTW, is recovering from had hand, foot, and mouth disease, what a wonderful viral party this will be! :-). The only problem is if the fever continues or goes up since with this particular virus the rash comes only after the fever, as the later manifestation of the virus.

So, the viral fun never ends at this house. Meanwhile, walls are getting painted and plans are being made for further renovations. I promise to post pictures, maybe soon.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Benign Acute Myositis

Have you ever heard of the condition above? Well, I never had either, until today.

Kelvin woke up this morning and told us that he could not walk because his legs hurt. After having to carry him to the bathroom and couch, and seeing him get around on all fours and only being able to stand for a few second on his toes, I decided to investigate with "Dr. Google's" help. I was feeling all apprehensive about these symptoms (muscle pain) being a consequence of Lyme disease, but after googling the correct combination of words (leg muscle pain in child "cannot walk" low fever), I got to this definition here:
Benign acute myositis
In benign acute myositis, a young child suddenly develops severe leg pain and cannot walk normally. These symptoms are dramatic and frightening, but they usually disappear within a few days. Benign acute myositis usually occurs in children who are recovering from the flu or some other respiratory infection caused by a virus. Doctors are not sure whether the child's muscle symptoms are caused by the virus itself or by the body's immune reaction to the virus.
So, there you go, this is what Kelvin has, I'm sure. I also found an academic article about it whose description further assured me of it.

The site mentioned above (which coincidentally seems to be sponsored by our health insurance company) also further describes the symptoms which match exactly Kelvin's situation right now:
A child suddenly has trouble walking and complains of severe leg pain. This pain is often worst in the calf muscles. In most cases, the child also has a history of recent fever, runny nose, sore throat and other upper respiratory symptoms.
The duration and treatment:
" Patients usually recover within three to seven days." "Your child's doctor will prescribe medication for pain. No other treatment is necessary, because the illness usually gets much better within a few days."

I don't think Kelvin needs medication for pain because he is not complaining of any pain, only when trying to walk, so I didn't even call the doctor, but maybe I should have because the site adds: "
Call your doctor immediately if: (. . .) Your child complains of severe leg pain and has trouble walking" -- too late, I only saw this now. Oh well, I think he's going to be fine in a few days like they say. In any case, I'll keep you posted.

No, my friends, life is NEVER, ever boring in our family! And I guess we're going to have a very low key holiday (we were planning to travel and stuff, but now we're only going to Maryland on Sunday for my youngest nephew's second birthday (he's the youngest for now -- our family is on "Nephew watch 2008" for the TENTH boy on my mother-in-law's life: one husband, four sons and four grandsons so far).

And, watch this space and the neglected photo blog. I am going to start posting house and house renovation photos ASAP! These will be part of my farewell of the house.

Oh, yesterday both boys went to the doctor (Linton coincidently had his yearly check-up) and, OF COURSE their fevers were GONE by the time the appointment came. The doctor examined them and said that they are fine (no throat, ear, lung problems) and that it was most certainly a virus. The bad thing is that both boys are still slightly feverish (101) today. I'm very annoyed at this awful virus!!

Why Can't I Stop Thinking About the Flowers?

And crying?It's the little, seemingly superfluous things that bring me into a dark place.

As for the flowers, well, I know why they bear the brunt of my grief. I planted them and they are a great comfort to me, so the prospect of losing them is overwhelmingly painful.

We've decided to put the house on the market because of plain and simple reasons: we cannot afford to live here after K leaves his current job for the postdoc and we'll be a happier family if we can live within our means. I know all that, and rationally I understand it's the best thing to do, but this doesn't lessen the pain one bit. I know, and I hope it'll get better, but right now it's so intense I can hardly bear it.

Judging from how much I cried in the last 18 hours -- as many times as I cried during the "black hole" period from October 21-December 18 last year -- there will be much more crying now that we'll have to face the consequence of our decision to buy this house than there ever was during that unfortunate time. The flowers prompted the crying, but, as I was watering them last night,
there was one really poignant moment infused with metaphoric resonance...

As I was thinking that I had just been plunged into a dark place again, I accidentally killed a firefly and saw its crushed body slowly fade and I thought, "I killed the magic, the magic [and the light] is gone." And I cried some more, harder this time.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Continuing the subject of the previous post, my husband just sent his letter of resignation by email.

That's all I'm going to say about this now.

"Done," he just said. Yes, Done.

REALLY Big Decisions and Changes

The previous post about "attitude change" was meant as an introduction to this one, so if you haven't read it, read it first.

While we were in Brazil K and I talked about our options and decided a couple of things:
  • We are not going back to Brazil just yet and will stay here for now.
  • K is going to quit his job at big pharma and go back to pursuing an academic career (applying for a postdoc either locally or in MA).
Now it's all settled for K to begin another postdoc (locally) in September and he has already given notice that he's quitting his job.

What's still up in the air: the housing situation and where to live.

What I/we really wanted was to continue living in this house, but with a 50% paycut, the only way we could afford to do that would be if I had a job (at least a 40K job). If i had a 9-5 or even a 8-4 job, what would we do with the boys????? K will be gone for almost 10 hours a day due to the commute of at least 1h15 and how would I drop Kelvin at school and pick him up as well as dropping Linton of at pre-school/daycare? The more convenient thing would be a teaching job, but it's quite late in the year to get one. Besides, I don't have certification to teach high school (I am aware that some States do hire Ph.D.s without certification, but I don't know if PA is one of them -- besides I know NOTHING about the educational system here, and, again, it's much too late, probably). The advantages of staying here would be - Kelvin can go to the same school and we don't need to move. We can also try to continue our home improvement projects so the property value may go up.

The most rational option would be selling this house (we might break even or lose some money) and moving to Philly, close to a train station so we could have only one car again. This would allow me to stay home with Linton and only teach piano (and even English as a foreign language to our Brazilian friends) and we would be able to save K's severance package for the future instead of possibly spending it to pay our mortgage and/or on home renovation projects. At first I was adamantly against this second option, but now I'm almost convinced that we should try to sell. I won't deny that it's a heartbreaking decision and that I can already feel I'm back in that roller-coaster of grief, sadness, and disappointment...

More on all this later. The boys STILL have fevers and the pediatrician's office told us to bring them in only if they still have a fever tomorrow. Coincidentally, tomorrow is Linton's yearly check-up, so we'll see.

I am surprisingly calm given the situation. Well, what use would stressing out have? None.

Becoming Jane

Ah... I really missed continuing to write about the Jane Austen adaptations (I ended up not watching the last two because of the dissertation), but I guess now it's time to come back to that lovely conversation.

I cannot believe it took me so long to finally watch Becoming Jane! And, thanks to a defective DVD from Netflix, I had to watch the last two thirds of the film on YouTube...

What a lovely film! Which now makes me very curious both to investigate this very intriguing hypothesis about Jane Austen's early life as well as eager to see the recent TV film Jane Austen Regrets (which I old-fashionably taped, but will probably get on DVD). Of course Becoming Jane does have the requisite biopic touches of giving several "previews" into the author's works based on her life, several of which may feel a bit forced for a true Austen connoisseurs like me ;-), but it is certainly very enchanting being able to take a peek at Jane's family life and imagine how hard it must have been to be a poor gentlewoman at that time.

I liked Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy (I guess it's the first time I've seen him -- similar thing with the new Pride and Prejudice actor) and the actress who played Cassandra was particularly nice. Jane's mother reminded me a tiny bit of Mrs. Bennett, but she seems much more sensible and loving, of course. I wonder if anything like that really happened to Jane -- what a heartbreaking experience to go through, but definitely something that would make a person grow and mature immensely. I find the parts of the film in which Tom encourages her to learn more about the world (particularly about sex) quite intriguing. Meeting Mrs. Radcliffe was another fascinating event -- did Jane ever meet her? Perhaps. Now I have to go and find out the answer to some of these questions.

Well, I'd really love to hear your thoughts about this movie if you've seen it and you're a "Janeite" like me! ;-)