Friday, September 30, 2011

Useful Exercise (or why I'm not really sedentary)

I'm pretty lazy, I must admit... and pretty sedentary... and not sporty at all... And I'm obviously always quite out-of-shape. Luckily, I'm skinny -- I know, this is a crime against humanity, I must pay for this genetic crime by never ever daring to mention to other people that maybe perhaps I'm not that tiny and that maybe they look just fine. No... being who I am body-wise is an insult to some people even though I don't do it on purpose, sorry!! Sigh. really, I do feel just like that sometimes... :(

Of course I end up using my body type as an excuse for not being more fit, but the truth is... apart from yoga, I don't enjoy other kinds of exercising and fitness classes! And I don't enjoy running or jogging or even walking (I know, I'm an annoying creature, am I not?). Sports that involve a ball? Oh please... me and a ball? Let's just say we don't get well along at all! I am so uncoordinated that I've never managed to play any ball games in my life.

What kinds of physical activities do I really enjoy then? Ice skating... roller-blading. Both quite tricky 'cause the first requires... well... ice, obviously, and the second requires relatively smoothly paved ground, preferably not a street. (there are no paved trails in most counties close to where I live -- oh how I miss Western Massachusetts and their awesome bike trails that I never used enough... :(  ). I also like skiing, but it's so costly and also requires lots of advance planning and... it is not very easy to do with small kids (I've skied 3 times in my life).

The major subject of this post is this: what I really enjoy doing is "useful" exercise: e.g. walking for hours and hours and many miles doing tourism (sight seeing, museums, landmarks, etc.). Hiking -- preferably to see a great view -- this is plentiful here, BUT... it requires quite a bit of planning, a large chunk of time and good weather conditions. And... I truly enjoy "useful"  physical work such as that done in gardening: hoeing, digging, weeding (with a hoe), mowing the lawn. So this week I mowed the lawn and loved it! There's nothing quite like sweating and getting something useful done at the same time! It feels good in various ways!

K has declared that now I have to mow the law all the time... and I think I will! Sometimes I think that I would truly enjoy working on a farm/farming. Now... I know that vacuuming, sweeping the house, moping, things like that also count as "useful exercise," but I need to confess that I don't enjoy those as much, but I think there's a good reason (excuse?) for it: these activities are done indoors, not out in nature.

Well, I'm glad that I finally found yoga (and a bit of pilates isn't that bad, but not great either) and I hope that next semester I can attend more classes at the university and... I'm hoping!... at a local yoga center in town. Meanwhile, I hope I can find "useful" physical activities at home to help me be more active!

What about you, what kind of physical activity(ies) do you enjoy?

Edited to Add: MemeGRL's comment reminded me that I forgot to mention that I enjoy riding bicycles too and I know we should do that more with the kids, now that they're older. The only problem is that riding uphill is not very easy and we live at the bottom of our (cul-de-sac) street. ;)

I'm getting old, really, really old! :)

I just found out (thanks to facebook) that one of the flower girls in my wedding* had a baby yesterday. She was seven and was my second grade student when I got married...

She was one of he first of my "wedding party kids" to get married and the very first one to have a baby, a few of others got married already or will very shortly and I know that they will have babies too, while I will be getting older and older. (and, eventually... have grandkids which is something I sooooo look forward to!).

In the end, it's actually kind of amusing! :) And right now I'm technically old enough to be my student's mother. Sigh... that one is not amusing, I must say!

A's baby is very very cute, though! And I'm so happy for her and her parents (she's an only child)! Too bad they live all the way in California... sigh... but I hope to meet this baby someday. He has the same name of my nephew who's "coming" in November.

*There were "only" 8 pairs of kids - girl/boy- in my wedding, 16 total -- photos here, she's the Asian [half-Japanese] girl

Sky-High International Airfares = Sheer Torture for Expatriate Families

I'm pretty depressed right now... In fact, this issue has upset me for a while.*

Once upon a time, it was possible to find round-trip plane tickets to Brazil for under 500 dollars (rare, but possible!). Then... the cheapest rates went up a bit to about U$ 700 and now... one cannot go for less than 1,200!!

Last time I flew to Brazil in December 2009, I had to pay U$ 1,100, but that was because I had to choose my flight based on the award travel (mileage) tickets that I was able to reserve for the boys. K & my BIL's family flew for much less on AirMexico (U$ 600 each, maybe?). This time, we may again have enough miles  for two tickets (60,000 per ticket as opposed to 50K in the past) and it turns out that the one ticket we will have to pay for so the boys and I can travel together will cost about U$ 1,600!!!!! Isn't that insane? And who knows what K will pay for his airfare, since he'll be going later and in the high season (July).

If the boys could travel by themselves, I'd send them alone with the award travel tickets and try to find a cheaper ticket for me on the same days -- that's not worth it, though because the difference will be only 2-300 dollars.

Gone are the days in which we can afford to travel to Brazil every year... :(

* NOTE: I know that this is totally a "first world" problem and that we are truly privileged to, first, be able to live in another country and, second, be able to travel to ours once in a while. I just wish the boys could go to Brazil more often so they could keep speaking Portuguese and be in closer contact with their families' culture as well as family members, OK?

Thursday, September 29, 2011


"Am I eccentric?" asked my 9.5 year old yesterday afternoon as we were walking together.

His question gave me pause. Thoughts were rushing through my mind and out came my "concerned mother" questions... one by one.

"Who said that you're eccentric?" (nobody, actually)

"Do you even know what this word mean?"

It turns out he does and he says he's known it for years (he's a voracious reader after all, who reads at 7th grade level). "Strange, a little weird," he said, after my weaker, more "positive" take on it ("peculiar").

"Why are you even asking this question? Do you think that you are eccentric?"

He evaded that one and kept pressing me for an answer. I didn't really know what to say because I wanted to try to know more about where the question came from. I finally started to answer with an emphatic, "No! Of course you're not eccentric! You're just unique, like everyone else in the world is... and, of course, we all know you're geeky!"

Later on he elaborated a bit more upon his opinion that he is "crazy" (in a good way, I suppose, and he's proud of that).

I almost turned things really sour when I asked him (while we were shopping at Target) with bad phrasing whether I could blog about his eccentricity or something... and he took that as a sign that "Yes, I am eccentric, you said so!" (Sigh... can I be more careful about what I say the next time?). Obviously I explained that I didn't mean he was, I was just asking whether I could talk about his question and stuff here in the blog (he obviously granted permission, or you wouldn't be reading this!) and thankfully he understood.

We had fun telling daddy about these conversations in the car and dad was emphatic in saying that no, he was NOT eccentric!

At bedtime, when I confirmed again with him about blogging this, I taught him another couple of words I love: idiosyncrasy and idiosyncratic (that mean peculiar way[s] of a person), and he had a good laugh over them. We ended up laughing together and I also asked whether he minded me saying to other people (in his presence) that he is "geeky." I told him that his dad and I are total "geeks" (used the cat names as a classic example) and that he's probably taken after us.

"No, I don't mind you calling me geeky, mom," he said.

"Yeah, that's why we call you iKelvin."

"That's my commercial name!" he jokingly answered.

And we laughed and laughed about that one. Geeky, Apple fanatic and many other fun things? Yes. Eccentric? Nah!... :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Too tired to blog...

Afterword: well, after I wrote this long and boring (how-busy-I've-been) post, I guess the title isn't really true, but I'll keep it anyway!

I am exhausted and need to sleep more than 6 hours tonight... I always stay up too late, first, reading some blogs and checking twitter or other sites, then answering email, preparing for classes, grading, etc...

And last weekend was hard too... after having friends over on Saturday we had to work in the evening then Sunday was a crazy-packed day. I cooked brunch for 4 of our friends so we could have a meeting about an upcoming event -- while trying to prepare for the boys' soccer games and get ready for the school picnic later that day. At 12:55 pm the boys an I were picked up by our friend (and Kelvin's soccer coach) for the soccer games that were 45 miles away. The games were great, Linton even scored a goal! Too bad that before we got in the car to drive back I put my chair in the back of the van and while closing the luggage compartment door slammed the door onto my head thus hurting it pretty badly (a cut that's about 2 inches long across the top of my head). Thankfully I had an ice pack with our water bottles and I iced it all the way home.

We had to quickly get ready to go to the boys' school picnic which included nothing less than a short triathlon! (crazy! I know!). We had planned to make a team with Linton (Kelvin formed a team with two classmates): Daddy would swim, Linton would ride his bike and mom would walk/run. And I did it (only .55 mile), with my head still bleeding a bit. 

So... yeah... crazy beginning of the week. So much so that on Monday I forgot to pack Linton's piano books and he missed this week's lesson. :( Then yesterday the boys had a half day at school -- K had to stay home to pick them up at 12:30, feed them lunch, drop off Kelvin at birthday party, drive Linton to the University where I picked him up... took him to adjust his new glasses, went to work at the CSA farm, picked up Kelvin at party and came home... only to, in a "fit" deciding to mow the law when it was nearly dark (subject for another post). 

Today I took the boys to the dentist & headed to the university library afterwards, only to realize that Kelvin had SIX homework sheets to complete! (he hadn't done his homework for the past 2 days -- I guess I didn't do a good enough job of pressing him to work... sigh). It took us nearly two hours at the library for him to finish 5 of the sheets... oh boy! And by then we were so exhausted and hungry that we just drove across the street to eat at Chipotle (our very first time, I LOVED it! Soooo tasty!! The boys loved it too and ate A LOT, almost finished their "bowls"), then shopped for groceries, filled the tank with gas, bought matching winter footie pajamas (they love being warm & cozy in them), jeans and gloves and, this all took so long that we were able to pick Daddy up after his meeting with the campus ministry friends. 

And... yeah, it's almost 11 pm, so I'm heading to bed now. My head wound is better, BTW, just a bit "crusty." :( (I had K take a picture on Sunday, but I'm sure you'll find it gross). Now I have to try to write two more posts, but I'll leave those for tomorrow.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zizi Possi - Sentimental (from Ópera do Malandro)

Tonight, looking at my sister-in-law's blogroll I found this blog by one of my husband's second cousins* and while reading the whole thing (less than 100 posts, spread over 4 years), I was reminded of when I started posting some of my favorite songs to this blog... (this was the very first post of that nature) and I have decided to continue this "trend." Maybe if I do I can write more blog posts than I wrote last year! (one of my "lame" new year's resolutions).

So, here you go, my second "Zizi" song. I will include the translation of the lyrics later, ok? Promise! (promise fulfilled today 02/08/12, see more below)

This song is part of Chico Buarque's Ópera do Malandro (in which Ruy Guerra's film of the same name is based) and it was recorded by Zizi Possi in one of the several versions of the "opera."

Why do I love it so much? well... for various reasons. The first one is similar to why I love the other "Zizi song" I posted: it reminds me a bit of how I used to feel as a teenager, hungry for life, for love and for happiness. This last word is also a reason -- I've always been drawn to songs that focus on "happiness" (felicidade) or joy and a song that conveys the feelings of a very sentimental sixteen year old girl who wants the world to stop because she hasn't been happy yet just touches me in a way that very few things do. I was absolutely delighted to finally find this song on Youtube (it's in a "rare/important" moments CD by Zizi that I own):

(Edited to add my own English translation on 02/08/2012: you can thank Joy Mars, for it. I don't know if you like this song, Joy, but I do ;)

Sentimental, sentimental                 Sentimental, sentimental
Um coração saliente                      A forward heart
Bate e bate muito mais                  That beats much more
que sente                                      than it feels
Fica doente mas é natural, natural   which gets sick, but it's natural,
Que num cochilo de agosto           that in an August nap
Surja um outro alguém                  there appears someone else
do sexo oposto                            of the opposite sex
Do sexo oposto outro alguém       of the opposite sex, someone else

Ontem vi tudo acabado              Yesterday I thought it was all over
Meu céu desastrado                   My clumsy heaven
Medo, solidão, ciúme                 Fear, loneliness, jealousy
Hoje contei as estrelas               Today I counted the stars
E a vida parece um filme            And life seems like a movie
Gemini, gemini, geminiano          Gemini, Gemini person
Este ano vai ser o seu ano          This year is going to be your year
Ou se não, o destino não quis    Or if not, destiny didn't want it

Ah, eu hei de ser                      Ah, I shall be
Terei de ser                              I will have to be
Serei feliz                                 I shall be happy
Serei feliz, feliz                         I shall be happy, happy

Façam muitas manhãs              Many mornings may come
Que se o mundo acabar           And if the world ends
Eu ainda não fui feliz                I haven't been happy yet
Atrapalhem os pés                  Confuse the feet
Dos exércitos, dos pelotões     of the army battalions
Eu não fui feliz                         I haven't been happy yet
Desmantelem no cais               Dismantle in the harbor
Os navios de guerra                the war ships
Eu ainda não fui feliz               I haven't been happy yet
Paralisem no céu                    Paralyze in the sky
Todos os aviões                     All the airplanes
É urgente, eu não fui feliz        It's urgent! I haven't been happy yet

Tenho dezesseis anos            I am sixteen years old
Sou morena clara,                 I am a light brunette**
atraente e sentimental...         attractive and sentimental...

Note: this may need revision, but here you go!

** "morena" can mean both light skinned Black woman and brunette. In this song it means the first because of the word "light" there, but I don't know how to translate this in a concise yet sensitive way. "light dark-skinned girl" is too cumbersome (and it makes no sense) and "light Black" is not good!
*The son of one of my mother-in-law's four cousins -- the families of K's maternal grandmother and her sister are quite close -- they were all at my wedding too, which was so cool and they sang together! Interestingly enough, almost all of these second cousins and their spouses have blogs! They are also accomplished (and recorded! One CD is coming out TODAY!!) musicians and one is also a published author. (!) Seriously, what an accomplished family!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lepton & Quark - August Pictures!

It's been a very rocky first month and a half of having my new "babies," but I hope that they will be part of our family for many years to come! And now finally I get to share some photos of their first days with us. I'm taking video too, and it will be fun to edit it at some point (they're so hilarious playing together!).

August 8, the day they came home (taken at the farm, sticking them into this huge bucket was the only way I could take a photo of them):
August 8, first minutes in our garage: Quark -- the outgoing one -- is already playing and exploring (my mom saw him live just like that from our iPad on Skype)...

... whereas poor Lepton, exhausted by the sheer stress of meowing the entire 25 minute drive home (well, he calmed down in the last 5 minutes), sleeps in the bottom of the carrier:

 August 9, first few minutes outside, Quark:
Both (their "play-fights" are just great, but hard to capture in still photos): 
Lepton, the shy one, but very brave:

August 21 - second time outside (after we came back from our trip to Canada) - Quark (the feisty little guy with the "bulging" eyes):

August 23 - on top of the freezer (which sits close to the door out of/to the garage), wondering "where is our delicious canned food?"

"Will you please bring it already?
What are you doing there with that strange black object and the blinding light?"
(they get canned food once a day in the evening)
More later, OK?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nickeled & Dimed - 10 years later/ Panic!!

Over a month ago I read the article "Barbara Ehrenreich, On Americans (Not) Getting By (Again)" thanks to a referral by Dawn Friedman and I've been meaning to blog about it since then.

I remember having heard something about Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America years ago, probably on NPR, and the excerpt of her new introduction (for the 10 year anniversary of publication) that I read in the link above really piqued my interest as well as made me even more depressed about our economy than I was before.

If you, like me, don't have time to read the book, you should at least read the article above! (And I realize that saying it may depress you is not the best recommendation, but what is not depressing nowadays?)

PANIC! is what James Carville said last week on CNN referring to "What the White House Should Do?"

And when I opened my mailbox and saw the cover of Time magazine last night I flinched. Panic indeed!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Soccer Mom Squared

 Exhibit I: 

Exhibit II:
And the best thing about Exhibit I is that my oldest didn't even like to run, but apparently running while playing soccer is not a bad thing at all for him! His brother, on the other hand, loves nothing better than to play ball. I'm not too excited about "soccer jail" (8 weekends with soccer games), but I'm happy to see the boys motivated and exercising too! Kelvin has practice after school twice a week and Linton once.

Kelvin was afraid his team wasn't going to do well, but it turns out his team is again probably the best in their age group (and in our elementary school). Our friend's son scored 11 goals, and another boy 1 more, to end the game at 12 X 0. Kelvin was elated! (his best friend is the best player). Linton's team continues to struggle a bit, but they're having fun, that's all that matters.

And the best part about last Sunday was that we were super productive, in spite of a couple of hours dedicated to soccer. I washed 3 loads of laundry and... amazingly... put it all away by the end of the day. And I did other things around the house I can't even remember (and K mowed the lawn). I felt way more productive and a thousand time less scattered than on that crazy Friday. I think that trying to work at home alone is a very bad thing for an ADHD person. Having other people around keeps me way more focused and productive. I just wish I could always have the whole family around (particularly K) when I have to take care of the house...

"And the seasons, they go round and round..."

Note: I use the same welcome door sign for Spring & Summer.

Brought to you by Joni Mitchell's song "Circle Game:"
P.S. (I'm not particularly happy right now by the seasons changing, so I'm trying to cheer myself up with little things like those above... sigh).

Edited to change the youtube clip: This 1970 recording of the song has an explanation of why Joni wrote the song (1min 47sec. long) and she sings it with James Taylor, lovely!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Adoption

First things first: to say that adoption is an incredibly sensitive topic is a huge understatement... People have strong opinions about it, particularly those who are personally involved in it (or "part of the triad" as some adoption bloggers say).

I am usually not part of this discussion because, frankly, I don't know enough about it, only what I've experienced from talking to a few adopted/ adoptive parents in my extended family and friends and... from the blogosphere, but I sometimes I am stupid foolish enough to share my feelings on the subject.

I suppose this is part of the reason my recent post on the subject drew such a strong reaction from Jennie, and that's why I decided to write this post, which I probably should not be writing, but which I will, nevertheless, write.

And let me first say that I miss your blog, Jennie, I really enjoyed reading what you had to say and interacting with you via our blogs' comment sections. I am sorry that my post upset you so much and I just wanted so say a few things more about the subject. I will try not to re-read the comment since I don't want to feel that strange knot in my stomach again... and that unsettling nervousness that comes when someone reacts so angrily to what you wrote. My dry mouth is enough for now.

Regarding my previous post, I don't think I was right in kind of "blaming society" for Steve Jobs's biological dad's inability to reach out to him (and I forgot to mention that fear of rejection may be one other reason why he doesn't do it). It's obviously the man's own fault. And I really need to refer you to Jenna's* post on the subject. I asked her on twitter what she thought of the article and she responded with this post, the gist of which is her strong belief that the biological father should for once do his part and contact the son before it's too late.

What I want to say in this post is not that, though... it's pretty simple. Like many things in life, including human beings themselves who are so different from one another and diverse in terms of origin, personality, ethnicity, etc., there are different types of adoption. International adoption, domestic adoption, adoption of newborns, adoption of older children, foster care child(ren) adoption, etc.

Adoption as the means of providing a home for children (international or from this country) who would not otherwise have a loving family is undoubtedly a wonderful, if still painful (because it still involves loss, with much greater gain, of course), solution to the problem of children without a home.

When I wrote my post, however, I was thinking specifically of domestic newborn adoptions, particularly of white babies. This type of adoption is one that the ethical adoption reform movement is most concerned about and in which there are sometimes some unethical practices since the demand for healthy white babies is way higher than the "supply." That's where coercion (or coercive tactics sometimes employed by the adoption agencies or unethical adoption lawyers) takes place -- young women in complicated situations (Jenna, for example had failing kidneys and had to stay on full bed-rest, so she couldn't work to support herself and the baby that was on the way) and who already feel unsure and insecure about their ability to parent are made to believe that it's in their and their baby's best interest to give him/her up when they could certainly have parented. There are also unethical lawyers that prey on such young women offering to pay for prenatal care, etc. and then they feel obligated to give up the baby in the end.

OK, I don't think I should continue, actually... and I won't. It is a depressing subject and one that cannot be merely explained -- I believe that one of the gifts of the internet is that we can grow as people by being able to learn other people's stories, "listen" to them and be touched by them and this is a subject that I learned a whole lot about and from various perspectives (including American Family's ongoing experience of having found her daughter's birth family in China -- you have to click for earlier entries at the bottom of the page).

So... yeah, I have nothing else to say about this topic because other, more experienced, people have much more significant things to say than I do (and I can't think of a way to make that last sentence sound any better... I guess I'm just too tired right now, sorry).

Oh, and my apologies if these ended up being more than "a few" thoughts!

*Jenna is a birthmother who has been blogging about her experience for many years, including for an adoption themed site and since 2006 in The Chronicles of Munchkinland. She and her daughter are part of an open adoption and she shares her experience (and her family's) very candidly in the blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

When the buildings I loved collapsed...

I thought K was joking when he emailed me that I had to turn on the TV because airplanes had hit the WTC and the twin towers had collapsed. I tuned in and I could hardly comprehend what I saw -- a huge cloud of smoke coming from Lower Manhattan and no more twin towers.

Instantly, I became histerical (particularly because of that) and I only calmed down somewhat when I went outside and hugged my neighbor. I thought the world was ending, literally.

I really loved those buildings and I had been up there twice (in 1993 and 1996). In addition, only a few weeks earlier we'd driven a friend to NYC and stopped next to the Brooklyn bridge in Brooklyn to take photos of the bridge with the twin towers in the background. I was really really sad and shocked that they were gone and that so many people had died. It felt unreal and surreal at the same time...

I have already posted some photos that we took at the WTC, as well as one of Rudy Giuliani visiting the towers on his last day in office, but I need to post this one (taken on July 15, 1993 by K) once more:
It's impossible to forget that chaotic day... And deep down I'm grateful that I didn't see the towers collapsing live. That would have been utterly unbelievable and even more shocking than it was learning about it when they were already gone. Feeling physically ill about what happened -- and scared to death for the baby inside me -- would have been even worse, I think, had I watched live. I made a conscious decision not to watch any images of that day again today... and I was a bit taken aback to find out that they showed them to my sons at school on Friday. I wish I had been with them (particularly my youngest) when they saw it. I think it's a hard event for a young child to understand...

I think it's sad that they were both born into the post-9-11 world, their childhood will never have the same innocence that mine did. The world is a different, scarier place (particularly living in this country). In that sense, it's important that they know.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Ten Years Ago TODAY!!!

I peed on a stick...

... and the rest is history, as they say.

Nothing can quite compare to the feeling of seeing those two pink lines on that stick and of course the nervousness and anxiety during that brief minute of wait are unbearable! I think apprehension is the first feeling afterwards, no matter how much you've wanted it to happen. (and I can only imagine how tough it is when it's not really expected/ wanted).

The only "small" and not so great detail is that four days later I thought the world was ending and it was just the hardest thing to live through while five days aware of pregnancy -- I was nearly 3 months along, but didn't know it before, that's how good my pregnancies are, I can't even tell it's happening. ;)

And ten years later I look back with wonder and joy at the moment I became a mother (though only a potential one for 6 months + 2 days*).

He is awesome and I'm so proud and delighted to be his mom!!

* And having a 6 months long pregnancy [when you don't know it is as if it weren't happening] with a nearly full term baby at the end was definitely nice. Too bad it made my next one reaaaally long at precise 9 months (and instant awareness of possible pregnancy versus 3 months of not knowing).

Lepton & Quark (thanks to Oxford University for the "sign"! ;)

Note: I wrote this whole thing on 8/11, nearly a month ago. Why didn't I post it then? Because I wanted... "needed" to include photos. ha ha ha. Here it is, finally, and without any photos in the end, because it'll just take me too long to select some and add them, etc. I will post photos eventually, though. 

I knew I needed to marry someone who liked cats, so I did and many many years ago (between 16 and 21 years ago, seriously)... before we were married, we'd picked out a name for a yellow/orange cat: Lepton (paying homage to K's discipline). I don't know why, but I felt that this name sounded and felt somehow like "yellow."

Fast forward to the adoption of our newest family members... We knew for sure one of them would be named Lepton, but what about the other? Well, "Quark" was my first thought, but in our future-pet-conversations-back-when-we-were-dating we'd both agreed that Quark was a good name for a smallish, sand colored, fat short-haired dog (which we'd never had because I think dogs are too much work).

Enter Oxford University -- thank you, thank you so much! -- which is the very first Google result when you type in "Lepton and Quark" and which I looked up even before we decided for sure we were going to adopt our "babies." The reason I'm so thankful is that I actually took the following statement as a sign that we should most definitely adopt these kitties:
The term 'quark' was introduced by Murray Gell-Mann, the word originating from the book 'Finnegan's Wake' by James Joyce in which the quotation 'Three quarks for Muster Mark' appears.
When I found out that the word Quark had actually been taken from a literary work I was just delighted! You see, our boys' names were also chosen for their respective connections to K's discipline and to mine (literature -- Linton is a last name in one of my favorite books, Wuthering Heights), so it's really cool that our new cats' names have these connections as well!

And so they were named... our Lepton -- which is much smaller, lighter and faster and daring than Quark, which is fittingly heavier and more cautious (think electron vs. neutron). Yeah... overly geeky like most things in our family! :)

Now all I need is the courage to break the news to BIL this weekend and then I can fill up facebook with photos of my cuties! ;)

I told BIL two weekends ago and he sounded like he already knew. Well, I said "oh, I want to show you guys photos of the new members of the family" and he replied "The kitties?" I wonder who told him. Whatever... They were here last weekend and fine with the cats, but of course that's because they still live in the garage.

I know I shouldn't care what others think of our decision to have pets and all, but unfortunately I'm very susceptible to worrying about other people's opinions of everything in my life. :(

So... what do you think of our geeky kitty names? What are your present & past pets' names?

P.S. I can't believe I've been blogging so little, I have to catch up. Even with November (NaBloPoMo), I risk not passing last year's number of posts. :(  Oh! but I just remembered I have another post today!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Car Troubles (Bureaucratic)

I may be late for work today because of car troubles.

Just yesterday morning, as we were getting ready to leave (we had to teach on Labor Day), K realized that both cars' inspection stickers were expired. Thankfully we came and went with no incident, but we can't risk driving with expired stickers for much longer, so this morning K went to get one of the cars inspected.

Guess what? He realized that the registration was expired too... Sigh...

He did that online for both cars, printed out the receipt and headed out to have the first car inspected. He hasn't come back or called me, so I'm about to call him and let him know that I'll be taking the other (expired) car and driving to the university because I have stuff to print before my first class (as always).

Well, wish us luck, I'll update later to let you know how it went.

Edited to add: 10:05, K got back with the inspected car. I won't be really late. Phew!

Friday, September 02, 2011

A Day in the Life of an ADHD Housewife

So many things to do... today I'm unable to sleep in after alarm goes off for hubby, before 7 am... I'm not teaching today and that's exactly why today is going to be a tough long day of active "housewifery." Brother-in-law & family coming tomorrow, I have to clean the house!

Gotta wash these bed sheets, out they go... and into the washer, but I need to put other things to do a full load... back upstairs.

Find older boy doing homework he forgot last night, cuddle with sleepy-head youngest one in bed and get him awake, but can't linger long...  because...

Oh, yes! I've gotta sort the boys' clothes, waitaminute, I need to wash their bedsheets and one is navy-blue, so perhaps I should do a dark load first... Rush to our bathroom's hamper and start sorting there too.

Wait! I need to make lunch for the youngest, and the oldest should eat some eggs this morning -- he's been complaining he's starving, dizzy and nauseous before lunch from hunger. Go find him and ask what kind of eggs he wants (fried, hard yolk), prepare them.

Maybe I should eat too, but this kitchen floor's so dirty, I can't even walk on it, gotta sweep it a little. Oh, OK, gotta go to the bathroom now...

Oh! I forgot I need to finish sorting those clothes (my hamper's in the bathroom) and I better get the dark wash in soon, but first I need to soak these grass-stained (from lawn mowing) socks! But wait! The boys's soccer socks could soak together with these... go get them in the boys' bedroom.

Since I'm donwstairs, let me check on the kittens. "Good morning, babies!" Oh, I need to feed them.

In the kitchen, get the cat food out and wash the empty can afterwards, feed cats. I need to read more on how to prevent/ eliminate fleas! Rush to computer and spend several minutes browsing, meanwhile, checking email.

Wait! I forgot to make a sandwich for my son and prepare his lunchbox.(& I need to eat, I didn't have any meals yesterday). Did I start the dark clothes' wash? Hmmm... maybe not. Before that, let me check our bedrooms for any missing dark clothing items.

Then I remember that I need to make sure the cats ate their food andI  go downstairs and spend sometime with them. Oops! The dark clothes. Finally get the washer going, think of this post and come to the computer to start writing it. But then I go check the cats in the garage again.

"Where is his backpack?" screams my husband from upstairs, and I also hear crying since someone had to be reprimanded for not coming to the bathroom quickly enough or something.

Find backpack and think again that I need to eat. Stress a bit more about cats and go back to computer to check some natural flea treatment websites. See that I have too many emails from Kohl's and decide to spend a few minutes deleting all older ones from inbox. (I swear that didn't take long). Go back to kitchen and think I need to eat.

Remember I need to call my friend because I want to invite her to eat with us tomorrow and invite  her kids to come over this afternoon, get cell phone to look up number, pick up house phone, look at the time (still before 9) and decide that it's too early to call her.

Go to kitchen to eat something, but the sink is full, the dishwasher needs to be loaded, and the cat food cans rinsed and put into the recycling bin. I hear a beep, dark clothes are clean... rush downstairs and empty washer. Spend some minutes rinsing grass-stained socks (I think: "45 minutes wasn't long enough soaking, but I have to get this wash going 'cause it's the heavy cycle which lasts 1h30"). Get washer started.

Open garage door slightly only to see kittens cutely playing on top of a booster seat which is on top of a shelf, weaving around a small soccer goal/net and play-fighting with each other. Rush upstairs to get camera, get back down to cute kitties only to find out that the battery needs to be recharged. Put charger in outlet and head to the office to get the old camera, but then, sit down at the computer to continue this post.

It's 9:44 and I still haven't eaten anything. Or hanged the clean dark clothes in the line to dry. I head out to do that, but first get camera and see if kittens are still in cute position. They were still there, look (one jumped down as soon as I got the camera out)!
The day is partly cloudy, feels a bit humid, but I hung the clothes anyway. It's 10:10 and just because I'm blogging I will try and eat something (and call my friend)... before I completely forget. Itchy legs from bugs or stuff outside.

Guess what? I'm starving, it's 10:30 and I'm still at the computer, first, looking at photos of a little cousin (K's cousin's daughter) who was born yesterday, then, the gorgeous photos of a friend's wedding shower. delicious foods... sigh... hungry!!! (did I mention that yesterday I didn't have one meal, I just snacked & ate one Luna bar all day?)

Ate some fruit (a fig, a nectarine), called my friend and while we talked, ate a banana with Nutella and swept the hallway and some of the kitchen. Talking on the phone is the only thing that allows me to "concentrate" on menial housework tasks such as sweeping, putting away my clothes, etc. Too bad the talk wasn't that long and I had to concentrate & feel stressed just a bit when talking about cats with her so I didn't sweep as much as I should have...

Beep! Second load of laundry ready. Brought the kittens outside for a bit while I hung the clothes, but then was combing through their fur afterwards anxious about fleas (found none). At least the family room situation is sorted out -- my friend's kids are coming over in the afternoon to see and play with the train-track, that way we can pull it a part and put the pieces away so I can vacuum the first floor (it's been 3 weeks...). The boys won't let us dismantle the track without these particular friends seeing it. Sigh...

 Now, if I can just concentrate long enough to clean the rest of the house... Sigh. I wish I had more people to call. (12 pm now). I hear car noise outside. It's the mail! Gotta go get it!

Time magazine is here, but I will be strong and resist and not open it, and neither the Land's End catalog & Costco magazine. More free address labels in the mail (St. Jude's Hospital). 3 so far in K's name and only 1 in mine. I guess these marketers know who the "head of the household" is. ;) K's calling... he agrees with my plan not to cook lunch for tomorrow and eat at the academy's cafeteria instead, yay!

(before moving on to cleaning some windows, particularly the front glass door, I spent 15 minutes checking new blog posts in my feed. i know, I'm really bad)

Confession: I browsed Time as I ate a plate of leftover rice with scrambled eggs & sipped lemonade. First real meal in, maybe 36+ hours. On to do some more cleaning. It's 1:12, gotta pick up the boys (and their friends) at 2. I hope it's not a disaster to have those 4 kids this afternoon. ;)

Swept floor of laundry "closet" and downstairs bathroom,cleaned sink and started dishwasher before heading out to pick up kids at school (stopping at hardware store first) -- today they get off at 2 pm. Before leaving, had to rearrange stuff in the back of mini-van to bring  the back seats up.

Classic example: Got back home with the kids, friend's daughter went straight to the garage to see kittens with Linton. I was there with them for a while and then decided to change their water. On my way into the house I spilled some water on the hallway and had to dry it. As I was drying, I got distracted by the boys playing with trains and as I walked into the family room and looked out the back door window, I remembered that the clothes were probably dry outside. I headed out and collected the kids' bedsheets. Good thing I came back in through the garage because on my way in, I saw the cats' water dish still waiting to be refilled... I refilled it, brought a big toy to store upstairs and now I'm here, but I have to go back and make the boys' beds...

The infuriating thing is that these little lapses & distractions happen hundreds of times a day, and concentrating
long enough to get anything actually done is a minute by minute challenge which I often lose.

By 4:30 I finally got the boys' beds done, but with some significant detours... I went to clean the litter box and realized that it would be good to simply get rid of the old litter, wash the pan and put fresh one in... to make a long story short, I ended up sanitizing and washing (outside with a hose) our tall trash container, because its smell was so awful I nearly puked! Then I filmed the train track which we're pulling apart today.. and did other things I can't even remember. (like putting new refills in my wall flowers)

I think it's about time I publish this post. I still have TONS of things to do today, I have to collect the rest of the clean laundry from the line and try to fold & put it away, I need to figure what to cook for dinner (poor K didn't have lunch), clean the kitchen, vacuum the house, including downstairs after we dismantle the train. Good thing K is coming home... oh, and I have to put away the foods he's bringing, the clean dishes from the dishwasher... Sigh. And I think this is the most boring post ever. :)

P.S. people are talking of a long weekend (e.g. my friend Aliki), but K & I don't have one (the boys do). :(  I'm still glad it's Friday, though...

One last thing, if by any chance you don't know, what ADHD is, see here.