Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two Campus Interviews!!

[deep sigh of relief]

K was quite stunned to open his email this morning and find requests for not one, but two campus interviews. We're so relieved! And more hopeful about his future prospects too.

Oh, and when it rains it pours, obviously: later today he's also sending his resumé and an application for a job in Big Pharma (his former employee). He's actually sending it directly to the hiring manager (his inside contacts got him the information). The job would involve moving, though, it's not in the same site he worked at before. Moving is not a problem for us, though.

Things are getting "hot" around here! I'll keep you posted, my friends...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Math

I didn't want to be negative and title this "Shiver," so you get the mathy title instead. :-)

Edited to Add: Talk about "redundant" blogging! Good thing I skipped that title, since I'd already used it for an earlier post on the same subject. Sorry about that, folks! I'll try not to repeat myself so much in the future. (sigh)

Before I begin: the heating in our older house is baseboard/oil and we have three thermostats, one for each level of the house (no heating in the basement, which does feel comfortable and is dry year round because of the furnace there).

K didn't re-program the thermostat after we got back home from Brazil yet and I got tired of fiddling with the "hold" button, having to press it for a long time before it would let me change the temperature. So I decided to simply bring the radiator space heater that we have (like the one pictured here from this brand) and turn it on in our study/school room which is where we are for most of the day and leave the rest of the house cold. I thought this would be a smart way to save money on the oil bill too. It's tough to use the bathroom and the other rooms of the house and at the end of the day I end up turning the heat up, but it's been working so far. We do have to dress warmer all the time, though.

So, here's the winter math in our house today:

Outdoors (corded thermometer sensor right outside the study window):
38.3 F/ 3.5 C

Inside of study:
68.4 F/20.2 C

Level 1 (right out the door of this room - family room):
55 F/12.7 C

Level 2 (kitchen, living & dining rooms):
56 F/ 13.3 C

Level 3 (bedrooms & upstairs baths):
57 F/ 13.8 C

(level 3 is slightly warmer because the heater goes on at 7:30 am so it's easier to get out of bed. We love sleeping in a chilly house and the boys have no problem wearing long blanket pajamas on top of cotton ones).

How high/low is the thermostat at your house?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I didn't know he was left handed...

... the president, that is. I guess this was a significant oversight of my part and a huge sign that I don't watch much TV (can this have been really the very first time I saw him giving autographs?!?).

In any case, I just watched the State of the Union address. I thought of live blogging it (as I've done with the Oscars before ;-)), but I guess I'm too incompetent a person to write tolerably interesting comments on politics. I am deeply interested in politics and I think I'm a politicized person, but I just don't enjoy discussing politics with anyone.* Particularly because most people around me either deeply disagree with my views or cannot fully understand them (respectively: church folks & Brazilian friends).

If I were I true political junkie I'd be watching the Republican response, but I'm not. I do not have much patience with "the other side" as it is... and It's over by now anyhow (as I was editing the above paragraph).

I wish I had live-blogged the speech if only to be able to record my favorite parts or the "one liners" that were most significant to me. I tried to remember three of them, but the second one is already gone now... :-(
Edited to add: What am I thinking! "live blogging" is so 2000's... Laura brought me to my senses and reminded me that it's on occasions like this that microblogging is so useful. Only if you already do it, of course, and as you already know, I don't twitter. Yeah, I was never a "cool kid" anyway. ;-)

The first was the incisive question: "How long should we take then?" Which was addressed at those who think he's too ambitious to try to tackle broad and overarching problems in the country.

I guess the second might have been something from his call to end bipartisan bickering and get the job done.

I did like his "I won't quit." at the end. I'm glad he won't, but I'm not sure how he's going to be able to do it. See? I knew that when all was said and done I wouldn't be left with enough worth writing... but I'm posting anyway. If you watched it, what did you think of it?

* Except with K since we share the same convictions. Oh, and I should say that I don't like to discuss anything with anyone. I'm not into arguments and arguing AT ALL. K is the very opposite -- he loves to argue for the sake of argumentation (and he's good at it, he can take any side and just go with it).

My Uncle: Long Overdue Update

Last summer, Uncle O -- my dad's younger brother who lives in the Washington D.C. area -- had brain surgery to remove a large but benign tumor (a meningioma). The tumor was discovered accidentally because Uncle O had fallen and broken an arm in an accident that suggested he might had had a stroke. We had seen him for the first time in two years the weekend before the fall and we were struck by how slow he seemed, particularly to walk -- he didn't lift his legs, just dragged them. These were all symptoms of the tumor which might have been growing for five or more years, but since he'd never had a sudden and powerful headache (like Jo(e)'s uncle), the tumor had gone undetected.

After his surgery he remained in the hospital for over a month and was then moved to a rehabilitation center. The next part of the story was the most outrageous and I wrote about it here. My mom was in really bad shape (clinically depressed) when my parents got back to Brazil after helping care for Uncle O for a month. She was treated and is much better now. At least I hope she remains well because they are caring for my uncle again.

The thing is, months before the accident, aunt and uncle had decided they were going to Brazil for Christmas and New Year's. After the disastrous aftermath of uncle's poor care here, she and her sisters decided that it would be a good idea to bring him to Brazil anyway and try to find people and facilities to care for him there. They went and during the holidays at my aunt's sister's house, her nephew, who is a physical therapist, started to do physical therapy several times a day in my uncle with the help of a young lady (who's a massage therapist).

Then, on January 4th, Uncle O came to spend two weeks a facility close to my parents' house (it's like a health spa, only with doctors, nurses, physical therapists and various hydrotheraphy and other natural treatments facilities). The young lady who was helping with the physical therapy came too, to help him, since he's still in a wheel chair, adult diapers, and does not move much. The intense therapy began to strengthen his muscles, but there's still a long way to go.

A week ago my parents took him to see a neurosurgeon who's a friend of the family. He saw the brain scans from after the surgery and examined Uncle O. He thinks that O will be able to recover most of his motor skills (such as moving and walking), but that it will take time for the brain to re-learn certain things as well for the muscles to recover from such extended immobility. My parents and my uncle were elated.

The biggest problem, aside from the physical disabilities is that Uncle O is usually quite confused. His awareness of the "here and now" is almost non-existent -- he doesn't know which day of the week it is, which year, etc. Sometimes he even momentarily forgets where he lives (in the U.S.), but his memory of past events and people is perfect. He can still speak Portuguese, English and French.

My parents decided that it would be a good idea for Uncle O to stay at their house for a few more weeks (or months) so he could undergo physical therapy twice a day. They hired a nurse's aide to help them during the day and a cleaning lady/cook. I hope they don't overdo it and, especially, that my mom doesn't get depressed again. They are happy to be able to help my uncle and I hope he can recover as much as possible.
~ ~ ~ ~

I was motivated to write this post when I read Jo(e)'s post about her own uncle's brain surgery. I was struck by one big difference in this case: how much harder it's been for my uncle to have family support. The biggest problem is the fact that he is an expatriate with no family nearby. His youngest sister lives in Nashville and he has a sister- and brother-in-law in Toronto, but all his other siblings and siblings-in-law live in Brazil. He has only one daughter who came to help for a month after the surgery, but who lives in Vienna, Austria. I couldn't really help because I have two young children. Thankfully my parents were scheduled to come visit us and arrived a few days after the surgery. They subsequently postponed their return for a month to be able to help more and now they're helping as much as they can in Brazil. Now I hope Jo(e)'s uncle can have full support from Medicare and/or his health insurance so he can undergo the needed therapy and fully recover. That is not happening with my uncle -- my aunt and her relatives are paying for the care themselves in Brazil, it's way cheaper and more efficient, though. Sigh.

P.S. Karen in NC asked about Brazil's healthcare in my previous post about my uncle and I'll try to write about it sometime.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beans, Clothing Retail, Weather: Some Random Observations

I suspect that comparably few people buy and cook dry beans (and lentils) in this country nowadays, am I right? Years ago you could find lots of different brands of them in the supermarket, today, I found only two at Giant, both Hispanic brands, Goya and MiCasa. Can one even get beans on wholesale stores? I don't know about Costco, but BJ's only has canned beans. Target has almost become a supermarket, but it doesn't sell dry beans either. I generally buy them at Aldi (my favorite store!) and Wal Mart, -- 'cause you may remember that I don't shop at regular grocery stores at all, today was an exception because I was looking for some hard to find items* and didn't find them there either -- but I haven't had time to go to Aldi &or WM yet (or both, they're next to each other) .

January and February come, the coldest months of the year, and I never cease to be amazed when I get into stores and see all the spring clothes for sale. What is this? Extreme positive thinking? (probably more like trying to maximize sales). I don't understand winter clothes for sale in August either. Whatever, that's the way things work here in the U.S. (sigh). At some places, such as Target, the first thing I see as I walk in the door is actually swimwear! (the image was borrowed from here, actually from April last year at that store). I feel very bizarre and, at the same time, thankful that I can buy winter clothes for a fraction of the price on the clearance racks.

Last, but not least, I just wanted to point out that the boys and I loved the 66 F (19 C) weather yesterday! It rained most of the day, but then the sun came out in the late afternoon and I let the boys ride their bikes outside (Linton got the back of his shirt all wet and muddy and had to change, but that's part of the fun ;-) . Today it's back to being cold and wintery. We are looking forward to a snowfall or two before it's all over, though, since we missed the December record blizzard.

Well, that's it for now, I've been busy with the cyber-schooling as usual. Oh, and with some much needed cleaning in this house, thanks to K's help! More about that some other time.

* If you must know what I was looking for: (1) a rust remover for a rug and one of the boys t-shirts. Unfortunately the only one the grocery store sells is SUPER toxic POISON stuff! and can only be used in white fabric. Any hints on how to remove rust from fabrics? I'll google it soon ;-). The second thing seems not to be sold anymore :-( Drew's Smoked Tomato dressing... It took me too long (like 6 months) to need to buy it again and now Drew's doesn't seem to carry it anymore. HA! The product's site still lists it, so I guess it's just that Giant is selling less varieties of it. BOO! I'll just have to keep looking or try to buy it online. Do you think that someday we'll be buying all of our groceries online?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Slipping Away?

In our first moments together in the car after dropping Michelle off at the airport last night K broke the news to me. He'd been carrying the heavy load for over 24 hours, poor thing. It turns out that there wasn't only one rejection on Tuesday, there were three. Two of them from universities K was most hopeful about his chances, which made the news all the more crushing.

A letter arrived in the mail from the North Carolina school and then K checked the colloquium speaker list for the Atlanta school and found out that it included a graduate student of his first postdoc advisor. His friend, the guy whose wedding we attended last October in Harvard. This is not the first time a close colleague was chosen to interview instead of him. As a matter of fact, it's the second time, at the same university, just two years later.*

Perhaps something will still come through, but K feels like he's hanging by the skin of his teeth right now as far as getting an academic job is concerned. He's checking the colloquium list for the Virginia school every day (even I almost tried to check this afternoon). If they post the names, he's probably done. And it's getting so late in the game that K thinks most schools have already chosen their short lists.

Having an almost "six year old" PhD helps even less. He thinks he's approaching his "expiration date" for an academic job. Sigh. I think the same about me, and it hasn't been two years yet. You know, having ONE "useless phd" is almost bearable for me, but TWO? Please, don't let that happen! That can't happen! The thought just fills me with despair.

K still has seven months to think of alternatives (his postdoc ends in August), so he's considering contacting head-hunters in Brazil and here, getting in touch with all his pharma contacts, throwing the net as wide as possible. Life is becoming more and more unpredictable and uncertain when all we want is to settle down. And we're getting tired, and feeling older, more jaded, discouraged. I don't want to become a bitter old woman someday, so I hope something happens. I hope K may not have really wasted the chance of a lifetime when he ditched the pharma job. I've been trying to write a post about this subject since April 13, but it's just too hard!

I thought that after the house situation had been solved the regrets about that fateful job would disappear, but K spent the day yesterday having second thoughts again about his rash decision to come back to academia. Do keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We're calm, but getting discouraged. I don't like to see K discouraged like that -- I already don't have anything going for me as far as academia or a job is concerned. This is all very hard. My apologies for the return of the somber tone to this blog. I wish I could say I was confident it would clear up soon, but I can't. I'll keep you posted. And thanks in advance for your support, it means everything to me.

* The close colleague is P, our dear Chilean-Brazilian friend who received no less than five job offers back in 2007 (and decided to stay here at Penn), which would have been utterly discouraging to K had he not gotten the unexpected job at Big Pharma. ha ha ha... and the rest is history. K talked to P today, but he didn't say that their former colleague A is interviewing in Atlanta.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prayers Over the Ocean, in the Dead of Night & The Loss of an Irreplaceable Woman

Both boys fell asleep even before take off, as I had imagined they would. I ate, watched a bad movie (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) and slept too. Six hours into the flight, Linton woke up for a while, so I turned on the map function on the screen. We were flying slightly east of Haiti at that moment and my thoughts turned to the unspeakable suffering of those people. I do not watch much, if any, television, but last week I watched several reports about Haiti on Brazilian television and I couldn't help but have those images and stories replay in my head as we flew over that country in the dark of night. So I prayed and thought of them.

The earthquake in Haiti was a great tragedy for Brazilians because it took the life of the pediatrician and humanitarian Zilda Arns (Neumann), the founder of Pastoral da Criança (Children's Pastoral) and also the Pastoral dos Idosos [Elderly], both grassroots/ volunteer community service and education organization linked with the Catholic church that has spread to over 20 countries around the world (according to McGowan's essay linked to below). Coincidentally Chris McGowan wrote yesterday on The Huffington Post about Arns (as opposed to Robertson). Zilda Arns's efforts helped reduce infant and child mortality in Brazil tremendously and she was in Haiti to train volunteers (religious workers) to expand the Pastoral's efforts in that country.

Brazil's army has also been present in Haiti for several years, serving as part of the peace-keeping United Nation's corps and at least 11 men perished as well in the disaster. The Brazilian networks paid homage to them by broadcasting recent reports including interviews with some the deceased servicemen and women, one from last Christmas, and showing their family. Tear-inducing television, for sure, but bringing the tragedy very close to home. Even the sports program of Globo Network (the main one in Brazil) re-broadcast a report on Haiti with the reporter in tears on screen (presenting the program). I don't know how the coverage was here, but I was proud of Brazil because they had nothing to regret -- the country had already been helping Haiti and showing its tragic poverty in the news before.
~~ ~~ ~~

If you're curious to know about us, the trip went well. There was a delay of over 1h30 for boarding and take off because the aircraft landed late from its previous flight. As for security, the line was insanely long, but my father-in-laws got us to go in the preferred line (senior citizens, pregnant women, special needs, and people with small kids). Later at boarding they did search every passenger, even the children, men and women separately, frisking each of us with that beeping wand as well as inspecting each bag (theme park entrance style) -- but that was not the major reason for the delay. This initial problem caused us to miss our 8:20 am connecting flight and we arrived in Philly only 1:30 pm. This was OK because a dear friend was in town just for the day (interviewing for a medical residency application) and we got to spend a few hours with her before dropping her off at the airport.

~~ ~~ ~~
Seeing Michelle again after over three years was wonderful and it brought my day full circle to its beginning in the middle of the night. Michelle's family is originally from Haiti and her mother still has family there. Her relatives are safe, but her presence with us for a few hours -- such a beautiful, tall, well prepared young woman, a few months short of becoming an M.D. -- made me think of what the children of that country could become if they had the same living conditions we have here. How could things be made different for the most miserable countries on earth? And how incredible the effects of immigration on only one short generation are, no?

I'm sure I could say much more about this, but an hour has passed and I have to unpack.

I'm glad to be on the other side. More on that later.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Leaving for the Airport

We're leaving to take the airport bus in a few minutes. I hope we have a good trip. I'm not looking forward to the lengthier security (they probably will inspect each U.S. bound passenger one at a time, which takes ages), but the boy and I are glad to go back home. It was a good stay in Brazil, but doing school here was nearly impossible in these last days.

No airport blogging this time, so I'll see you on the other side, OK?

First Formal Rejection + 2nd Phone Interview

I just got off the phone with K who had his 2nd phone interview this morning. It was more of a conversation with the chair, who wants to explain how the department works to prospective candidates. It's for the NJ post that ironically was close to the bottom of my list ;-).

Right after the interview, while we were still on the phone, he received an email from one of the top 10 schools (#7) in the list which was a rejection-with-a-dash-of-hope type of communication. He's not going to be interviewed at this point, but they may go back to the pool of applicants if they don't hire anyone by February. BLAH. And this was a post he had a personal recommendation for (and he knows one of the people in the committee). A bit discouraging.

The most discouraging thing of all for K was not having gotten any other emails or phone calls until now. I guess this means that perhaps he won't get any more interviews and that he won't have the be able to negotiate or even reject any offers. Well, if there ARE any. We're still waiting for any possible campus interviews at the two places with the phone ones.

It's pretty hard, all this waiting. We have to start thinking of alternate Plans, B, C, D... Sigh.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Last Moments

The boys want to play outside non-stop and I don't blame them. I know what awaits us back home! That's why I'm letting them play, in spite of the fact that we're way behind on schoolwork. :-(

And I'm still managing to squeeze in some time with friends that I haven't seen in years. The trip has got to be productive "socially" too -- since that's one of the most important things for us Brazilians, personal relationships. In this aspect, the balance of this trip is beyond positive [saldo pra lá de positivo], it's really spectacular! I got to see most of my friends here, even if for a short time, and I got to spend significant time with people I hadn't had the chance to interact in depth for many years.

In spite of all that, I still think that I'm going "back home" right now. And saying this is no small feat or matter to "accidental" and even reluctant immigrants like us. I think it's finally dawning on us that we are, in fact, immigrants, committed to live expatriate lives until who knows when. I have tons to say about this, but it's hard to sort through the feelings and articulate the scattered thoughts. Perhaps more later...

P.S. Six minutes flat. That was the time it took to write this post. Not bad, huh?!

Anonymous Comments Are ALWAYS Negative

How nice, no?

Why do people have to hide behind anonymity to say something bad to you? I find this ridiculous. Why even comment? Just to make people feel bad? Why are they even reading the blog?

Of course I have to admit first and foremost that I'm an idiot for having a blog in the first place and writing boring an annoying things about my personal life. I should know better right?And I should actually be thanking the universe because I have had basically no trolling here. Of course... I'm not a famous blog, those bear the brunt of the trolling in the blogosphere.

Now, don't I already know there was NO PLANNING whatsoever and ridiculous negligence of our part already in this and that? Thanks for pointing the obvious out, anonymous WIMP.

P.S. I also know it's childish and stupid of my part to be annoyed by this, but it's a pattern -- this anonymous posting of negative things -- and I wanted to comment on it. However imature of my part...

Edited to add: Perhaps I should just ban anonymous commenting, right? Heather Armstrong did a good move when she created her community and had only members comment in her blog. I'm all for freedom of expression, though. I just have to get used to it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Should I Twitter? Please Respond :-)

Should I Twitter?

Why yes? Why not? (meaning: Why do you do it? Or why don't you do it?).

First problem: in which language would I tweet? Should I do it in both and have two accounts? This in-between life is just SO confusing! :-) I don't think many of my friends in Brazil tweet, if any, so I guess that kind of answers the question. I don't even blog in Portuguese!

Another thing that bothers me is that I think I'd be tweeting to NOBODY. I mean, only a handful of people read my blog, but who would read my tweets? And why?

I'm sure I'd start with adding the tweets of people I whose blogs I already read to my feed, but would they add me too? I really don't know if I see the point of tweeting. I think it's spectacular to see how the Maytag episode with Dooce went -- it demonstrated the power of the internet and Tweeter, but still... do non-famous people get heard in Tweeter at all? Well, maybe that's not the point, the point is to communicate with people instantly and share one's opinion.

Why would tweeter work better than blogging in the sharing opinions point? Because it's an ongoing discussion and because people get instant reactions and input from other people?

Ah! Last, but not least, if one doesn't use a smart-phone and is NOT online on the go, would tweeting still make any sense?

More Updates to 365 Project Blog

Just a shout out about my other blog. I recently posted some photos of K's cousin's wedding (the groom) and of other things (a cashew fruit, a lake, etc). I will try to post everyday, but I'm not promising anything.

This is NOT a New Year's resolution, OK?

I just talked to K on the phone for almost 2 hours, so it was easy to talk and post some photos to the blog. :-)

Problem Solved. Tab: close to 200 dollars :-(

It was frustrating and very very complicated affair to solve the problem that was a result of our forgetfulness, but last Friday it was solved. You know, I understand that it is important for a country to try to curb child traficking, the only problem is that there could be easier and still trustworthy ways to do it and not so much bureaucracy. The only way the authorization can be made, however, is with the authentication of the signature of the parent in front of a Brazilian government or official representative (such as a cartório or children's court judge or, abroad, the Brazilian consulate).

The bitterest consequence of this ordeal was the waste of money and time (two whole days of missed work for K -- Thursday and Friday, most of the day on Friday for me and a dear friend). $: over 45 bucks spent only to cross the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan back and forth (twice on Sunday) + the tolls. 70 bucks completely wasted for a global express mailing of the permission notarized in the U.S. (cannot be used here), 40 dollars paid to the consulate for the authorizations, parking in NYC, gas, etc, etc, etc.

I'll try to make a long story short, but I probably won't succeed -- you can just skip the post if you want! K went to the Brazilian consulate on Thursday and they told him they couldn't do the authorizations because they didn't have a certain seal that comes from Brasília and that would probably only be available the next week. He went back and tried to argue with them to no avail. He called our in-laws who in turn called us and we called my cousin who works as a "higher officer" (delegado) of Brazil's Federal Police (Polícia Federal, equivalent to Federal Marshalls, immigration officers and the FBI, up to a certain point) who then tried to contact the Guarulhos airport Federal Police officers. By the time my cousin got back to us, K had already notarized the document at a notary public in NYC and mailed it express to us. BAD MOVE -- useless!! That's why after he got the phone call from his mom about this he tried to get back into Manhattan (crossing the tunnel again) to go into the post office and try to stop the mailing. Too bad that particular P.O. closed at 3 pm! K had to drive all the way back home (2h) because he needed to print out new photos of the authorization and to fill the form again.

My cousin said that the airport officers told him that K had to go back to the Brazilian consulate the next day and that the consul would have to fax the document to the Federal Police. In addition, it would be best if I could go to the Federal Police at the airport and wait for the fax to arrive so they could process the authorization and hand it to me. Sweet, huh?

K left very early to NYC (6:30 am) and I, fortunately was "saved" by a dear friend who volunteered to drive me to the airport and to wait there with me so I could get the document. We kept in touch with K via her cell phone and my in-laws. We got to the airport before noon, but didn't leave before 4:30 pm!! K had a really hard time at the consulate -- they didn't want to authenticate the authorization and fax it to Brazil. He finally got to talk to one of the actual consuls and she finally did it, around 3 pm. We still had to wait for the delegado to get the fax and stamp everything and hand me the document...

Well, at least it worked out and we're ready to travel. New resolution: try to ALWAYS plan to have the whole family go back to the States together every time. WHAT A HASSLE!

Thing is, I'd always remembered to have this authorization before, but this year was just an unlucky one and we totally forgot. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The First One & Maybe House News (Edited)

K's first phone interview will begin in about an hour. I'm hoping it will be a good one because this is one of the jobs in Virginia that we'd like him to get. Send your thoughts/ prayers his way, will you? I'll let you know how it went.

In other news, a while back, one day (in November, I think) when K stayed home to help with the raking of the leaves, a man stopped in front of our house and talked to him for a long time. It turns out that he was one of the people who were interested in buying our house but who weren't able to make an offer because they needed to sell their house first. He's still interested in buying the house and he's left two phone messages already since last week. Maybe the house will sell. That would be great! I just wish we can stay in it at least until we know where we're going for sure...

I'm ready for all the changes. I really am.

Edited to Add:
The phone interview went well, let's see if he gets a campus one and, hopefully, an offer.
K talked to the guy interested in the house. He was just calling to touch base with us. His house is still on the market, but he continues to be very interested.
So we keep on playing the waiting game.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to My "Little" Brother!

Oh No! I almost forgot to post about this and I'll do it, in spite of the fact that it's already almost 2 am of the 13th here in Brazil and the middle of the day in New Zealand where he lives...

My brother was a cute baby and child -- he's still a very handsome guy. I wanted to have scanned other baby and childhood photos of him, but I won't be able to do it now. So, I'll have to be happy with these. Happy birthday brother, I love you!! And I really hope that this is the year in which you'll be able to have a baby as cute as you were.

The 365 Photo Blog is Back!

I was going to write about this only after I'd posted "the first 10 days of 2010," but then it would be a bit of an overdose, I think. 'Cause I post too many pictures, including almost a "photo essay" of Brasília, the capital of Brazil.

There are also fun weather photos (tornadoes anyone?) and some family photos at the pool, etc. It's only six days of photos, but we did quite a bit on those days. Check it out!!

If this is not a stupendous start to photo blogging in 2010, I don't know what is! ;-)

It's all our fault (and Brazil's bureaucracy's), but I'm still upset at the prospect of being stuck here longer

Ridiculous title, I know, you don't have to tell me.

Ridiculous situation to be in -- now I tell you. All because in the past some evil parent kidnapped his/her children and took them out of the country without the other parent's authorization. So now all parents need authorization to travel with their children without the other parent. Not only to leave the country, but also to move within the country using public transportation -- this I already knew, it was already like that when I lived here 13 years ago.

So, THE DUMB THING: we totally forgot to print out authorizations for me to travel with the boys and take them to a notary public where K needed to sign and have them notarized. We only remembered this past Sunday when we were taking K to the airport bus. We stopped and purchased some blank printing paper and he signed about 15 of them. Today I painstakingly assembled the authorizations (one for each boy, two copies of each, with printed color photos and all) and printed them on the signed papers. Then I took them to the notary public (one in which K already has his signature registered and "recognized" [firma reconhecida]) for notarization.

They couldn't notarize it, though. Because K needed to be there to sign in person. TOO BAD because he's in Philadelphia right now. HOW GREAT!

Now we're going to spend upwards of 100 dollars for K to drive to NY, pay the notarization fee at the Brazilian consulate and then mail the authorizations back express to us.

How fun. And the poor guy has his first phone interview tomorrow afternoon, so he won't even be able to pick up the authorizations and will have to go back to the consulate on Thursday and mail them only on Thursday! Unless we beg some kind soul to get the paper from K and retrive them in the afternoon. Or unless they are kind enough at the consulate to stamp and notarize the document WHEN HE'S THERE.

Bureaucracy RULES in any Brazilian government office or organization, though, so I don't know if they'd do this for him.

My apologies for the pathetic rant, it is all our fault after all... we should have remembered to go to the notary the day K got here. SIGH.

We're supposed to travel back home next Tuesday, the 19th. Wish us luck.

P.S. I was really really (pleasantly) surprised that I was able to travel with six-day-old Linton by plane from Connecticut to Texas and back. Here in Brazil this would NEVER EVER be possible. First, because one cannot travel using public transportation with a child in Brazil without the birth certificate. Not even the parents. Second, because as only one mother, I'd need the permission of the father.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ten More Days in Brazil

You know, I think I'm going to try to write a "10 first days of 2010" post, but meanwhile, I'm just popping in to say that K is on his way back home today (flying through Mexico again with his brother and his family) and that in ten more days we'll be flying back too. I now fully agree with K that it wasn't a good idea to be here while the boys need to "do school," but I have to face it and try my best so we can catch up and be up to date before we travel back home.

It doesn't help that I have a sinus infection and that Kelvin has a fever and is in bed with his iPod touch and doesn't want to work. Blah. Good thing at least Linton is doing well, after vomiting during the trip back on Friday.

The wedding was awesome and deserves its own post. I'll try... and maybe succeed since we are "taking it easier" today.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Poolside Blogging that Wasn't

it's become late at night, almost falling asleep blogging on the hallway, since our hotel room (without a view) doesn't get wireless.

Things are relatively ok, too bad I've just been slightly sick the whole time (abdominal pain/ cramps, constipation) and I'm not yet recovered (though on the mend). The boys have also been coughing, with earaches (too much time jumping in the water) and other minor ailments, so we're getting tired of all this and can't wait to be back to my parents' house. Too bad K returns to the U.S. on Sunday and we stay, having to do TONS of the boys' school work.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll have a good trip to the country's capital (Brasilia) and the wedding on Thursday night will be nice.

Oh, and the pools here in this only slightly ok (acceptable) hotel aren't bad. It's just a pity that it's so hot that we don't get to enjoy the hot water as we should.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

On the Road Again

I wish I could be finishing the selection of photos for a slide show for my wished for "2009 in pictures" site (I started last night and uselessly went to bed only 1 am), particularly now that my SIL wrote such a post.

In any case, I cannot do that now because tomorrow we travel again, an 8 hour trip to Caldas Novas, the hot water springs resort town smack in the middle of Brazil, not far from Brasília, the country's capital. K and I want to go there with the boys, let's see if we can make it.

I need to finish packing and to get as much sleep as possible because I don't want to sleep too much on the car and let K driving on his own. I'm not happy about this trip only because the boys' school resumes on Monday and we won't be able to do any work this week. Then, the following week will be CRAZEEE because of the backlog of work. Sigh.

OK, gotta stop whining and go to bed. I'll write short posts from the road. I just don't know if I'll be able to include photos :-(.

Here's one, taken at the water park last Tuesday: I had my son's goggles on because I was wearing contacts and wouldn't be able to open my eyes otherwise. It loaded so fast! Hmmm... maybe I'll post a few others.

Friday, January 01, 2010

My One Wish for 2010

I have one single wish for 2010:

a (good) job for K.

No resolutions (not that I ever make any, I can't stand resolutions), no other high dreams and plans, just this. It'll be more than enough if it happens.