Friday, February 25, 2011

J.S. Bach + Bossa Nova = Sublime

Eu sei que vou ter amar [I know I am going to love you] is a marvelously touching bossa nova song composed by Tom Jobim with lyrics by the poet Vinicius de Morais [site with sound!] (some facts about the song here). A couple of weeks ago my brother, who lives in New Zealand, asked me to purchase an instrumental mp3 file of this song on Amazon for his friends who are getting married and want to use the recording in their wedding.

When I began to listen, I was startled and wondered: "What is Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring  doing here in this Bossa Nova song?" It feels strange, out of place, but then, the more you listen to it, the more beautiful and sublime it sounds.

Thanks to my now, oh... so dear, YouTube, I can share the song with you without having to try to figure out how to share a music file (phew!). The Portuguese lyrics and an English translation by Paul Sonnenberg, can be found under the embedded video. Enjoy!

Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Morais:
Eu sei que vou te amar
Por toda a minha vida eu vou te amar
A cada despedida eu vou te amar
Eu sei que vou te amar
E cada verso meu sera
Pra te dizer
Que eu sei que vou te amar
Por toda minha vida
Eu sei que vou chorar
A cada ausencia tua eu vou chorar
Mas cada volta tua ha de apagar
O que essa tua ausência me causou
Eu sei que vou sofrer
A eterna desventura de viver
A espera de viver ao lado teu
Por toda a minha vida
English translation by Paul Sonnenberg (found here, you can see him singing it here):
I Know I'll Love You So
        English adaptation by Paul Sonnenberg
I know I'll love you so
As long as I'm alive, I'll love you so
With each goodbye I know I'll love you so
Relentlessly and desperately I'll love you so
And every verse I'll write will say just this:
Will say: I know I'll love you so
As long as life is in me
I know that I will cry
Each time you leave, I know that I will cry
Tears falling from the time you say goodbye
'Til you return and wipe them from my eyes
I know I'll suffer so,
An endless misadventure, yes I know
Just waiting to be at your side once more
For all my life, I know it.

My Jobbity Job (or a Job is a Job is a Job, Part 2)

(Part 1 here, if you need a refresher, and thank you so much for your great comment, Laura/Geeky Mom!)

First, a self-administered pep talk:

1) I do not need a full-time job;

2) I do not want a full-time job;

3) I enjoy research and I think the work I did on the dissertation is valid, but it was never central to my existence, quite the contrary. Therefore: why even consider a tenure track job that I never wanted?

4) I have a feeling that this current "job" of mine really does have a lot of promise if I just work enough, get the language establish, create a need for it, etc. It's definitely not uncertain as typical adjunct work goes.

All that being said, I'm pretty pumped up about work this week. In the past few weeks I've been thinking of proposing a class to the department chair and when I talked to her she said yes. Then I talked to some colleagues and figured out my options and talked to the chair again. On Monday the class was added to the Fall line-up. (I am also going to be teaching my other two "regular" language classes).

It will be a cross-listed class taught in English as both a Gen-Ed (200 level) and a language department 400 level class, depending on whether the students can read the works in the original or in English translation. It will entail lots of work for me because I will have to read tons of things I've never read to prepare, but these are things that I need to read at some point in my career as an "expert in my country."

So... I'm excited! The only problem is that I need to quickly assemble a sizable "library" of Very Important Books (VIBs) in Portuguese and in English and I simply cannot afford it (if I could, I would own these books already. It's pretty sad to see how few books I bought in grad school and even in my undergrad years. I did buy more for the dissertation although only the strictly necessary ones, oh, and  in the end I had to use some of the little money I made from book reviews in this blog to buy scholarly books -- I wasn't that happy about that).

Note: I don't want to use library books and I don't even know if the university library has them, certainly not in Portuguese. In any case, these are books the I really do need to own if I want to claim any expertise in my country. I will probably get desk copies of the books that I adopt for the course, but I will still need to consult many VIBs to prepare.

I off-handedly suggested to my mom in an email last night that maybe she could ask my rich uncle for a donation for a poor scholar in need... let's see if she will have the courage (or "cara de pau" [wooden face] as we say in Portuguese) to mention it to him! ;) ("Ask and you shall receive," right?)

As I've often shared my struggles with this "job" issue here in the blog, I thought you would appreciate to learn of these new developments! And I'm sure I'll be able to figure out something so I can get the books I need. Thankfully there is a really good online used-book seller in Brazil now and both my parents and in-laws are coming to visit so they can bring me the books. I think I'll be really busy next Fall!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trying to Catch Up (again)

I've used this blog title before (the browser actually brought it up on its own once I started typing, as if it were reading my mind -- scary, no?), but I'm so uninspired that I just don't care.

This meta-blogging post is to let you know that I'm trying to catch up on the photo blogging before the month ends as well as here, so I'm planning to write shorter posts with various updates in the days to come.

The first update is that in the end there won't be drastic changes for the extended family who lives relatively close to us and this is a relief.

OK, more later...

Monday, February 21, 2011


That's how I've been feeling lately vis-à-vis blogging. For one, I'm not getting enough sleep (I've started a post about that and hope to "publish" it at some point), and then, on Mondays and Wednesdays night I always feel apprehensive about the next day's class. It's my lower level class, the one I felt bad about last semester. It's way better now (some students left, two new ones came), but I still worry about a couple of students who are not doing well and every class there are at least two students (of 12) missing. Sigh. 

So, I'm trying to break the lethargy by posting this lame post to the blog.

So much stuff I think of blogging about: current issues, the relevance of blogging, fluff, my February photos (yes, I have been taking photos day, but I feel so hesitant posting them. I'm annoying myself to no end right now with my inability to just do something already and get blogging, post photos to the blog, or at least to facebook or picasa albums so my brother in NZ can see them.), thoughts about the new house, paint colors, gardening plans, lots and lots of fun stuff that I could be  blogging about all the time.

Meanwhile. some changes for family members who live nearby may be coming and those are letting me sad and anxious. I keep thinking (and dreaming at night) about them. Good (or bad) thing they're coming to visit this weekend and we'll talk until exhaustion about the possible impending changes. Sigh. My brother is also facing some tough job decisions in New Zealand and I hope everything turns out OK for him.

So... yeah, there's stuff going on.

Oh, and I'm growing happier and happier here, but... some days those two improbable, crazy dream-like days in Georgia come back to me in technicolor. ;) í have to dig for energy to blog that. the title is easy (the song title. again).

glad everyone is enjoying the new Radiohead album. I don't really do pop music much. Sorry! í probably should, but I have my reasons. One has got to choose to focus on some things in life and I guess I've chosen a narrower focus.

OK, writing this was painless enough -- maybe the reason why it's probably poorly written, but... at this point I don't care, as long as I overcome this annoying lethargy. All righty, that's it!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Parents Are Coming! (& the In-Laws Too)

Well... we already knew that my in-laws were coming to the U.S. in May -- they generally come a few times a year ever since they moved back to Brazil back in 2009 after living here for three years-- but yesterday my mother-in-law* found incredibly cheap tickets on AA (U$ 350 round trip per person, all taxes/fees included) and she convinced my parents to come visit us this Spring as well!

So they arrive in April, together with my brother's parents-in-law (who are coming to visit their son who just moved to Michigan -- he's the one who came to visit us on Xmas time with his family) and they'll be here to help us move into the new house. I'm so excited! Last year it was a nightmare to move doing most of the packing by ourselves, K and I. And K kept repeating as we worked non-stop, into the night(s): "If only we had two more people to help we'd spend just half the time working!" Very true! So now we have double the help! And since we're moving only 6 miles, it won't be too much trouble anyway... I'm thinking we'll try to do it slowly, and only do the big furniture at once, with a rental truck and the help of local friends.

I still haven't decided whether the boys and I are going to Brazil this year or not. I really wanted to, particularly to spend my birthday there, but we'll see... Right now we need to concentrate on buying the house. So, it's just perfect that my parents are coming! If in the end we don't go, they got to come and spend time with us and the boys.

The only downside? The boys will still be in school most of the time they'll be here, except in the last five days. We're planning on really enjoying those last days, though -- since my parents will fly back to Brazil from NYC, we plan on staying there for five days before they travel. I've wanted to do that with our family for a long time now, so I'm glad it looks like it'll finally happen! Big Apple, here we come!

*Who owns and manages a small travel agency -- they're going to South Africa next month with a group from Brazil and maybe next year K & I will get to go too!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Out in the Quad

Today the weather was so warm that when I left around 1:30 pm to go to the car and come home the quad was crowded with students... I'd never seen it quite that way because even full of people in the fall there's a "busyness" about the university that cannot compare to the relaxed demeanor of the students today.

The weather was just perfect, with the temperature reaching 70 degrees and people were just laying in the sun with blankets, talking to friends, some even brought their dogs. Several people were playing frisbee and the atmosphere was joyous, it felt like a park.

Spring is almost here!! YAY!!

One of these days I will plan to teach a class outdoors!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Jane Austen Valentine's

I really enjoyed Valentine's day because I got to spend most of it reading this:

Persuasion is Jane Austen's last novel and my favorite one. On Sunday night I couldn't sleep before I picked it up and read several pages and yesterday I read all afternoon long and into the night. I only went to bed after I finished it. Ah... there are few things as satisfying as finishing a Jane Austen novel! ;) (at lease for a Janeite like me).

That's why I wasn't online yesterday at all. I should take these reading breaks more often!

P.S. I bought a collection of Jane Austen book's novels from the Book of the Month Club many years ago just because I thought the books were just so so pretty. I spent 44 and now it sells for 77, not too bad!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Murphy's Law

If, after a couple of weeks, you finally decide to launder your child's bed sheets one afternoon and put them back in the bed right before bedtime....

Rest assured that this is the night that your child is going to have an accident and get them wet (after several nights in the previous two weeks in which this has happened only to their underwear which were changed sometimes twice a night, requiring an emergency load of laundry to replenish the underwear drawing last week).

Well... I cannot say I hadn't been forewarned!

P.S. And next time, I should think again before giving my child that measly 1/4 glass of water when he gets up to pee at 11 pm and says he's really thirsty and begs for water with a pitiful face. Sigh. That's one of the things I definitely don't appreciate about forced air heating -- how thirsty it makes you (we had baseboard in our "old" old house).

Edited to add: This all means that I'm waiting for the washer to do its job so I can put the clothes in the dryer before I leave for the university. A good excuse to blog first thing in the morning, no? :)

A job is a job is...

... a job!? Even when it's not really a job?

If I had written this post a month ago it would definitely have had a more uplifting beginning.

I've been repeating this silly title in my head over and over again since the first week of classes. After a few weeks at home, sometimes not leaving the house, even, for three days at a time (this happened during the week the boys went back to school and K went to the university everyday but I stay home for various reasons...), I was just happy and relieved to go back to my adjunct teaching.

"A job is a job is a job!" I told myself cheerfully. I can get out of the house, I see people (not any people, but young college students), I do some (slightly) interesting things preparing to teach and I can feel happier.

This is all true, except that I'm constantly in conflict with myself. I walk to the bathroom upstairs and on the way back I see an open door and peek into the office of a full time staff member (not a tt professor in this case) and I think of the "office of my own" that I'm unlikely to ever have. I come back from class and see this other (part-time) faculty member across the hall, talking to a student, typing on her computer or eating her lunch. And I wonder who she is.

I feel so isolated! Sure, I interact with some of my office mates (those from Iraq) and I've even made friends with two women who teach Spanish, but mostly, I don't feel part of anything. Unlike the original "invisible adjunct" blogger (2003-04, ages ago), the dept. secretaries know me and are very friendly. Why do I have to feel so ambivalent about this?

And when I mention anything to K, he just asks me -- practical-minded man that he is -- "What do you want to do, then?" "Quit? Try something else?" That's not the point, I try to answer back weakly... but don't actually say anything. I know his take on this: blogland has poisoned me irreversibly and there's nothing that can be done to make me happy about this situation. Not that I'm exactly unhappy... it's just that I keep thinking it's unfair and that something needed to be done, but I know that things won't change. That's how the Ivory Tower works.

So... yeah... I have to stop now. Not only because it's past midnight and I really need to sleep, but also because this conversation is just old and boring. And I'm just an incorrigible whiner. Sigh. I will try not to write about these depressing things every week, OK?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

But Wait, There's Good News Too!

That was today's bad news.

The good news is that as of today our whole down payment is in our bank account which means that things are falling into place for our closing on April 21st.

In order to have an easier financing application process we have been instructed by the broker to have the money in our account for a month before we apply.

Now the only thing I'm hoping for is that we can get a low interest rate and that rates don't go up before we can lock ours.

This makes me very happy and for a little while I can stop thinking about the nephew or niece, the beloved and desired [grand]/child that we're hoping for so much.


This didn't work out and my brother sounds very disappointed as well as discouraged (over email). I hope they keep on trying and are able to get the right kind of help. The problem is that there are certain procedures that the doctors in NZ say that they don't do, or maybe the insurance won't cover. One of them is the more invasive procedure to try to diagnose/treat endometriosis -- sorry, I don't know the name of it... Hysteroscopy maybe? Yep, that's it. So I'm sure it's pretty frustrating to be trying to conceive for 2.5 years and not to have access to all the necessary  medical resources and procedures. I suspect they're better off in NZ than in China, however, since this was the main reason for them to move to NZ in the first place.

My brother and I have a cousin who owns a fertility clinic and is an university professor of reproductive endocrinology (he earned his doctorate in Italy). The only problem that he lives in (Southern) Brazil. In the worst case scenario, my brother and his wife will have to go to Brazil for her treatment.

I've read my share of infertility blogs to know how complicated and nerve-racking their situation is. I wish I could direct them to some good online resources, including personal blogs, but I suspect that my SIL and my brother aren't that interested in blogs.

Well... let's see what happens. Apparently SIL wants to try IUI three times before they move on to other treatments, including IVF. Meanwhile, my brother said that maybe they're going to adopt a dog to help fill the void in their hearts/ lives. :(

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Snow all over the country, and gorgeous day here

This is what I really wanted to have posted today, accompanied by some nice photos taken with my phone on campus. I don't have the energy to go find the adapter for the tiny memory stick, so I'll just jot these words down before heading to bed.

In any case... my dear husband has been following this latest storm for days in the weather channel online and this morning he even did something we NEVER ever do -- he turned the TV onto the weather channel to check the local forecast before breakfast.

All of this to say that today millions of people woke up to blizzard conditions or lots of treacherous ice and we had a sunny day with temperatures in the 50s. The sky was blue, it was windy and it smelled like Spring! What a wonderful way to begin the month of February.

You know... I think I may get to enjoy living below the Mason-Dixon line after all! ;)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Tooth is Out!!

Well... the things in my "will happen" New Year's list are beginning to take place!

(My apologies for the delay in posting. This happened last Friday night during dinner time, but I wanted to include the photo, so I waited until I had uploaded it). 

The best part of it all is that it was so easy (I was worried about that)! Thanks to the hard crunchy ciabatta bread rolls we used for our sandwiches that evening, the tooth unexpectedly came out almost painlessly and we just had to instruct the happy boy to go rinse his slightly bloody mouth. 

The only think I have been unable to do is to properly document the milestone because the moment I approach my boy with a camera, this is what happens:

This was the closest I got, but I'll keep trying.

If I succeed, I won't share the photo in the blog, but I still want to take a photo "for posterity," after all, I celebrated and photographed a lot when these baby teeth first appeared (even letting him cry so his mouth was wide open & we could see them, I know... mean mama). Anyway... I promise that no crying will be involved this time! :)

After 8 Years, I'm Hitting the Slopes Again...

I've skied exactly once in my life. For two days (Dec. 23 & 24, 2002) when my baby was 9 months old, he's almost 9 years old now...

I loved it, but never went back. Tomorrow, however, I will!

I hope I can ski OK. The boys are taking a class, but I'm not. We're going here.

I have to be up at 5 am, so that means I'll have less than 6 hours of sleep. Sigh.

I will try to take pictures...

P.S. This is totally unrelated. Heather (Dooce) tweeted about this collection of photos called The Julie Project. Heartbreaking. Wow. That's why I'm still awake.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February: 28 days, 28 photos

I have just decided to join my dear online friend Zee, who is, I must say, a very talented photographer (check out her Etsy photography store!) in her challenge to take and/or post a photo every day in February to the blog. 

Hopefully this will help bring to life my abandoned "365 Project" blog! (cross posted there).

P.S. I won't post the photos here, but link to there everyday, OK?