Friday, May 23, 2014


I had never painted my toenails any color other than doing a neutral Feench manicure, so a week ago when I bought this nail polish on a whim and did it, I was pretty surprised at how much I loved it. Green, my favorite color!
Now I want to try other colors. Maybe. :-) (cause it will be hard not to want to stick to green!)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

One More Thing!

I forgot that I actually have one more thing to do, but it's such a "useless" thing that I had totally pushed it off my mind until now.

I need to update my CV and make a list of my teaching & professional development activities of the past year and email that to the chair of the department at U#2. The same chair who is not doing anything to help me continue to be full-time.

Does this document even matter to U#2? Probably not much. They didn't even start asking for it until last year, when the number of lecturers increased.

Sigh... And of course the reason why I didn't finish it has more to do with my angst in relationship to me working there than anything else. I was also trying to do as much work for U#2 on campus and on the day I started working on my document I was missing my CV which was not in Dropbox, but on my laptop at home.

Needless to say that since that day I've copied the CV into Dropbox, but did I go back to working on the document? Obviously not!

Oh well. Gotta take my son to soccer practice and will try to send that later today. Even if I don't feel like it...


Out & In (Warning: TMI!)

I know this is probably be TMI,* but "that's what blogging is for," isn't it? Not always, but some of the time, at least, especially for "personal bloggers" like me. We kind of enjoy sharing a limited amount of TMI about ourselves. ;-)
* (too much information, in case you need help with the acronym, I used to be pretty bad at these texting and internet-age acronyms, such as IMHO or the ubiquitous LOL or ROFL, or even the business-like ASAP, but I think I'm slowly catching on!)

This past Monday I went to the doctor and this came out (my second one which was due to come out in July, since my son is turning 10 next week), because of that (results came in last month, it was effective).

After basically not having periods since mid-2001 when I got pregnant with my oldest son (I literally got pregnant again after my first period came back in 2003 after a year and a half of constant breast-feeding, and I didn't have them with the Mirena), I know I'll have them again soon after 13 years!

So I'm planning for this to go in. I'm really, really curious about it. Does anyone out there use the Diva cup? My doctor said that they have an excellent website, so I have to check it out! I first heard about it in a blog years ago, in the now gone Thin Pink Line, by Manuela. I'm looking forward to not ever using "feminine hygiene" products again!

Now I Fell Really DONE!

With work, I mean.

I was officially done turning grades in last week on Tuesday, but then I had professional development meetings I wanted to go to at U#1 -- I didn't have to, but I enjoy them so I went and they involved a few free meals and I'm all for free meals!

I also had to do "tons" of yoga last week which is not work and it's actually great, but I had to go four times because my class pass had already expired and I had to beg the studio to postpone it for two more weeks which ended this past Sunday. So I drove three times into town (we live 17 miles away) just for yoga classes, something I usually avoid at all costs (even though it's just a couple of dollars in gas to do the trip, I'm that thrifty, sigh, but I want to change that and just go more often for free yoga & other fitness classes on campus and also at the studio!).

Then there were two more things I needed to do and which I completed last night (OK, at like 2 am!). These weren't work related either, but they made me feel like "not done:"

1) I wanted/needed to take three of the boarding academy girls out to eat and to the mall because I'd wanted to do that for years and was never able to do it.* So I did that last night, from 5-9:30 pm, even though needed to finish item #2 below. We had a good time and the girls were also able to do some shopping (one girl is from Angola and she'd actually never bought/wore sweatpants and we found some for sale at VS yesterday and I also helped her pick a bra for a strapless dress as well as a cover-up little jacket). I need to do this more often because as a mother of boys it's fun to be out with these "daughters" that I don't actually have!**
*Our church, which is in the campus of a boarding academy, has this "adoption" of students thing in which we give students small gifts throughout the year, keep in touch, take them out for meals, etc., but had never managed to take them out to eat until last night!
**I'm so looking forward to my nieces growing up, I plan to spoil them rotten (take them shopping for clothes or things they want, etc.) Ahhhhh!!! I had one aunt that did that for me once I a while when I was young and I love(d) her for it! She still always buys me gifts -- two of my aunts do that, my aunt Esther in my mom's side (the one who took me shopping) and my aunt Ofélia on my dad's side. They're sweethearts!

2) Our private elementary school's principal, his wife, who teaches 5th grade, and their four children are moving to California and we're throwing them a big farewell party next Tuesday. I, the photo fanatic, was responsible for making a photo book for them and I hadn't had time to work on it until this week, so I was crazy busy doing it during all day and part of the night in the past two days. I'm relatively happy with the results, but it was SOOOOO much trouble that I've decided to never use Shutterfly again and try out blurb and MyPublisher (that now owns Shutterfly or is owned by it) instead. We'll see how that goes.

So after I finished the book last night -- I was so tired I ended up laying down on the sofa around 11 pm and taking an unexpected nap until a little past midnight when my husband found me and I woke up scared and came back to work, finishing a bit after 2 am (I had a 50% discount that had to be used until midnight, California time) -- I was actually wide awake and never went to bed until 4 am!

I slept in this morning then, and was woken up by the school calling me at 9:30 am to let me know my youngest son is eating lunch there and won't need me to bring him food.

I should be working now, cleaning the house (which is a mess! K's been incredibly busy writing a grant and I was doing this photo book) because we have guests coming from Brazil today -- the parents of an academy student who came to spend her senior year here and who is graduating -- but I'm just enjoying my first day of summer break! I'll write more about our summer plans later. Meanwhile, I'll go eat something and start cleaning!

P.S. I didn't start working on the book until after Monday because I also had to plant three flowering plants/bushes I'd bought two-three weeks ago and which urgently needed to go on the ground and needed some serious digging. Hopefully I can share photos. And I'm glad I'm all "updated" now!

Monday, May 19, 2014

I don't know...

... why I am blogging so little this year.

If I make it past 120 posts in 2014 it'll be a victory, I suppose, unless all of a sudden I start posting a lot, but I don't know if it'll happen.

Maybe it's because I've been so busy? Or because I've felt so ambivalent and angst ridden about my work life?

As always, one of the reasons is that I take too many photos I'd love to share and I have to decide which ones to use and making small decisions like those is hard for me. And I also procrastinate and then I reason that it's "too late" to blog about this and that. (ADHD much?)

And, of course, the biggest reason is fact that blogging has declined as other social-media take over.* This leaves me with the sinking feeling that this little blog of mine has not made any impact and that even though I truly cherish the friends I made through blogging, many of them aren't blogging anymore or, most importantly for my own writing in this space, reading my blog. :-(

I didn't want to make tons of money off my blog (though I did make a little bit back in 2005-6) and become a professional blogger. (In fact, I am still really scared of not being semi-anonymous, I feel safer not using my name). But it's very disheartening to witness all this talking of 10 years of BlogHer and all the women bloggers out there who were/are so successful and to realize that I started blogging in 2004, which makes me kind of a "pioneer" of women & mommy-blogging, but that I'm pretty much a sad little "failed" blogger. OK, let's quit the whining.

On other news, I finally, FINALLY made an appointment to be officially "labeled"(just edited the post to add this link!). I don't know where this journey will take me. I don't want to take medication, but maybe I should when I have grading to do. I'm afraid of a "cognitive" therapeutic approach, I know I could use some help, but I don't want to feel I'm going to become someone else or something.

I found a local specialist in adult ADHD who is also Christian (a graduate of Fuller Seminary) and that sounds good to me, but I hope I will like this person. We'll see. At least I'm being proactive after so many years of just talking about it. I think my SIL (who encouraged me to do it back in January) will be happy with my decision to seek professional help. I'll have to wait for nearly a month, though, unless there's a cancelation, so I won't be able to use our flexible spending account for the many co-pays (I think we scheduled about 5 appointments, including the testing and follow-ups).

* I've been trying to write a post about that for a long time, but as I can't find all the links I'd love to include -- see, I'm always trying to be a good and "thorough" blogger and that actually keeps me from blogging more. Vicious cycle. :-( And the fifth paragraph above just kind of made that post moot... sigh...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Orchard in Bloom -- For Heidi!

I took these photos back on April 24 and never got around to posting them!
The orchard always reminds me of my dear friend Heidi & her husband because I found out they were leaving on our very first orchard walk in April last year. (There were about three, I think, we really wanted to follow the flowers closely, as it was her first and last opportunity!) ;-(

So in these photos I wanted not only to enjoy the flowers, but also document the orchard's development for my friend. You see, this orchard was basically abandoned for many years and last year was the first one in which it started to be cared for with pruning and other tree & orchard maintenance measures.

This year, there was even more pruning (as the huge piles of branches demonstrate) and it looks like the freshly pruned trees are healthier and (hopefully!) will produce more. This orchard has different varieties of apples, as well as peaches and nectarines -- but I didn't photograph those trees, only last year, I think they were past bloom when I walked there this time -- so it's only apple trees & blossoms.  Enjoy!!
When my youngest son, who was actually with me when I walked around the orchard, saw the photo above and the ones like it, he said "these look exactly like the orchard photos I saw in a book!" ;-) Can you tell he's very much a visually oriented learner?
I don't think it's possible for this branch and the ones below to support the weight of this many prospective apples!! 
Another one of those "crazily populated" branches! I'll try to come photograph the apples in the fall for Heidi & for the blog!

I miss you my friend, I hope you enjoy these photos and that you don't get too wistful for the flowers here. :-( I'm glad I can always think of you when I see the orchard and lovely flowers, though, it's wonderful to have friends to share one's love of nature, right?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Breakfast in Bed II

Here's the photo I promised of yesterday's mother's day celebration:
Oh, and my gift was two Target gift cards!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Waiting for breakfast in bed! (and link-love)

It's taking a while (given that I was the first person up this morning), but I'm sure it will be worth waiting for my traditional mother's day breakfast in bed.

I just don't like being stuck in my bedroom while I wait. I have grading to finish, but I'm spending time online instead, why not?

This mother's day I wanted to link to two very important blog posts, "Open Letters to pastors on Mother's day" (they focus on pastors and what happens in churches on Mother's Day, but these posts are insightful for anyone).The first letter is from two years ago: "A Non-Mom Speaks about Mother's Day" and this year's is here: "Beyond the Surface of Mothering."

Mother's day is one more of those tricky holidays in which lots of people, women and men, feel sad and hurt. Many women wanted to be mothers, but it never happened to them, some women lost babies, others gave them up for adoption. And many people, women and men, have lost their mothers and grieve on this day. So it's a day to exercise sensitivity towards everyone. That's why Amy Young felt compelled to write these posts, the first of which went viral, according to what she writes in the most recent one. I think I'll forward the posts to my pastors! ;-)

OK, I think they're outside the door! I'll share photos later. :)

Friday, May 09, 2014

Nearly Done!

We're driving back from my last "final exam trip" to the third university, the one in which I only "tele-teach." 

My husband is staring a collaboration with a faculty member on his area at this university, so we found someone to stay overnight with the kids and he came with me! It wa awesome to grade almost very last exam from U#2 while he drove yesterday, but It was no date trip, however. After giving my exams and feeding my students Brazilian food (a great success as always), K went to have dinner with his colleague while I stayed at the hotel grading.  We wanted to have gone see a movie (The Great Hotel Budapest), but I had to grade until very late. I did get to eat K's Indian food leftovers which were amazing!

I still need to post some final grades today, but we're driving to see the end of the graduate commencement I which three friends are graduating. Hopefully we won't get there too long after it's over!!

I'm really looking forward to being really done, though!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

May the Fo[u]rth be with you? ;-)

Hahahaha, I had no idea that today was Star Wars day, or something...

Cool, I became an extremely late "adopter" when I finally watched the six DVDs (in the order of release) back in 2008 when we went on a trip to Florida to our friends' house (our friend Wally is a big fan, his wife is not. ;-)

I don't really have time to watch movies (and maybe never will), but I want to own the Bluray discs someday. Or maybe I can just get them at the local library, like most old movies. :-) I wonder if libraries are ever going to carry bluray* discs, though.

*spell check doesn't like "bluray"-- it wants to make it into blurry!


We are all stressed out because only a miracle can solve my brother's family's problem right now... (please pray if you do, particularly tomorrow morning!)

Only recently we found out that the engineer/contractor that my brother hired to finish his new apartment in Brazil may have swindled him! :-( I have difficulty breathing just thinking about it. They paid him ahead of time (all the money they had in the world about 40K) because the contractor was going to pay his employees, the carpenter, and also order and pay for the materials at the home improvement stores.

My brother & his wife bought a new apartment late last year, but in Brazil new apartments need to be finished: they need floors (wood, tiles), finishing the walls (and painting), putting in built-in wardrobes (houses don't have closets in Brazil) and kitchen cabinets, safety bars on the windows, among other things. They hired an architect to plan what to do and got various quotes. Then, they selected a builder who came highly recommended by my brother's colleagues in the company (this guy had built their houses/ remodeled their apartments, etc) and they signed a contract with him back in November last year, hoping to move into the apartment in March or April, by the latest.

However, the contractor never really started the work in earnest. There were many excuses, such as the electricity being turned off and them not being able to work for two weeks and then my brother (and a little later my sister-in-law) found out that this guy owes thousands of dollars (actually "reais") to a lot of people, has been sued by four previous clients and is, in sum, discredited and in deep trouble. Apparently the architect knew all along, but never told them until now (how mean is that?!).

The carpenter was actually paid part of his share already, but he needs the rest of the money so he can do the work. The stores where they selected the materials never received any orders or any payments.


Meanwhile they've been living at my sister-in-law's parents house (down the street from my mom & dad) with two very young children and without access to lots of their things which are still in boxes since they moved from New Zealand back in September last year.

Yeah, not good! :-( And my mom and sister-in-law are basically freaking out even though they're trying to have faith that things can still work out. My brother is meeting with the contractor (who's demanding more money because of the "lost weeks" due to the electricity) tomorrow morning.


Talk about the shock of going back to one's own country and finding out that you cannot trust anyone.    (although a similar thing happened to him in NZ regarding a possible car sale, obviously the loss was much smaller then. Maybe my brother needs to trust people less... isn't that a sad thing to say? Yeah, it's a mean world out there...). I'll let you know what happens. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

I Missed Him!

Kelvin was gone on a bell choir trip to Kentucky for nearly six days and I missed him! It didn't help much that we got him a phone partly so he could get in touch during his trip(s) (for now once a year with the bell choir), but he only called me/us four times! 

They left on Tuesday morning and he called on Wednesday morning (woke us up at 7 am, I was never happier to be awakened by a phone call! ;-), he called my phone quickly on Wed. afternoon as I was driving home from work, he called the house on Thursday evening (from a baseball game) and, again on Saturday afternoon when he was having a rest break.

I was happy that his teacher kept the students' phones with him at certain times (like when they were driving places) and only gave them to the kids at appointed free times, but I do wish he'd texted/called more! I guess I'll have to get used to this... sigh...

He came back saying it was "the best trip ever!" and I had to remind him that it was his very first trip and that probably every trip after this one would be the best again (hopefully!). He had a great time, he says, especially joking around with the boys in the car. His bell choir has 9 girls and only 4 boys and all kids are from 6th, 7th or 8th grades.

Since he arrived on Sunday afternoon and we barely had time to talk, this weekend I need to spend some quality time watching all videos he took on his phone (over an hour, I gather). I guess photos are too boring for this age group! At least I'll have a good glimpse of his fun times!

Wow, he really is growing up, his first long trip! My first trip, when I was in 8th grade, was AMAZING! I traveled with our school's concert band to the Center-West region of Brazil, including the capital Brasília. Unforgettable!

What I Did in April (with photos!)

to mitigate this month's lack of posting ;-)  together with the three posts I wrote on April 30 (scroll down to see them ;-)
(oh yeah, I went to bed early and couldn't post this one before the month ended!)

- I read a book! For pleasure! That felt so deliciously decadent. :-) A book I had purchased back in 1997 (year of publication) and about which I still want to blog (it's a biography of Jane Austen!).

- I watched my kids perform at their piano recital and do wonderfully well after having practiced many hours in the previous month! (and then we headed to my husband's departmental picnic)

- I helped in a Wedding Shower (and blogged about it);

- I was delighted to finally be able to go to the Farmer's Market again (it started its mid-week season in addition to Saturdays, when I don't go) even though they didn't have a whole lot for sale. Now I can eat delicious & authentic (veggie) Salvadorian pupusas every week! YAY!
I even bought some frozen pupusas this week and prepared them for dinner (I was having a very rare lunch date with my husband).  YUM!

- Hit my head really had with the car door while carrying 5 bags in a hurry (painful! forehead scarred for life!):

- I enjoyed flowers in public spaces:

and at home (hopefully I'll blog those photos later from my Nikon, not the iphone).

- We started an alternative "home church."

- and I missed my eldest son (blogging some other time about that too).

And of course I worked and did chores and took care of the kids, etc, etc...