Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking Forward to 2016 - 19/19

This is the last post -- Happy New Year!

Now everyone is packing and making sure they have all their cables and charges and games. So sad! :-(

In 2016 we will be all together for at least a week, when we celebrate K's grandmother's 90th birthday in July. It will probably be the last and a very rare time when the whole family of K's maternal grandma will be together.

I'm glad that this birthday is the reason why we're going to Brazil next year, after 2.5 years away. I wish I could go every year, but we can't afford that (and we also travel to other places, that's part of the reason why we can't afford it).

I have no idea where we'll be spending the holidays in 2016. If we can afford it, maybe we'll go to Egypt to visit K2 and family. If that doesn't work out, we may be getting together with the "Canadians."

We'll see!

I wish I were more excited about my "new" old job with the three year contract, but I'm not, really. And I'm sad that the grant rejection took some luster away from K's receipt of tenure. In any case, 2016 is a new year and it has the potential of being better than 2015. For most years of our lives together, K and I always feel that the most recent year is always the best one (with the exception of 2009).

"Visiting" 1993 while waiting for 2016 to arrive - 18/19

We are showing K's uncle and wife a video of our visit to them in Massachusetts back in 1993 during their first year in the U.S. and they are mystified because they don't have any video of this time in their lives.

It was our first epic family trip, the one that literally defined our lives today -- my parents-in-law brought their four sons to tour the U.S. and I, the serious girlfriend of their eldest son, came along because I was already fluent in English and wanted to visit the U.S. too (we got engaged six months late, my mom was a bit upset that we traveled before our engagement).

Three years after that trip, K & I moved to the U.S. His two youngest brothers followed to study a few years later, one stayed and married an American girl, the second brother joined the brothers in TX in 2001 and only the youngest went back to Brazil (and now lives in Canada). It's because of that trip that we are here today.

These moments are rare, when we are together with family members and can watch old home videos together. I'm glad it happened!

2015 in One Word - 17/19


That's the word I used to describe this year when someone asked on facebook.

2015 was in intense year, particularly as far as teaching is concerned. The boys were also very busy, we hardly had any time for anything that wasn't work or school. I'm glad it's over and I hope next year won't be as intense and stressful.

No more NSF grant writing, no more tenure package preparation, no more job applications. I'm sure there will be other deadlines, but hopefully not that tough.

The Yummy Brazilian Dessert I Shouldn't be Eating - 16/19

Five Posts to Go! - 15/19

Counting this one, only four, actually. ;-)

If everyone continues talking, I don't know how I'll be able to concentrate and write the posts. I ate a bit of dessert (strawberries covered with chocolate and with cream at the bottom) and I think that this is going to make me feel worse... Sigh... So I will try not to finish my bowl...

Everyone the women got up and they're cleaning the kitchen right now... We may play some games, but maybe not because those who want to leave early to go back North tomorrow want to go to bed early. A little bit anti-climatic this New Year's Eve, that's for sure! Maybe we should be going back as well, but I don't want to leave my in-laws by themselves in this big house for three more days, so we're planning to leave on Sunday morning.

Past Midnight in Brazil - 14/19

Written an hour and a half ago, but posted later. (original title "Almost Midnight...")

Christmas, with its "Northern" traditions,  feels strange in the Brazilian Summer, but New Year's eve always feels wrong to me here in the U.S. and I only enjoy it fully when I am in Brazil. Being in Florida helps, but it's still not the same. :-(

Of course New Year's is more fun in Brazil when you are at the beach, but no matter where you are there are always lots of fire-crackers at midnight (because most people cannot afford fireworks, but they still enjoy the noise). It's a tradition, really loud fire-crackers everywhere for soccer games and for New Year's Eve, or "Reveillon" as they sometimes call it there, using the French term.

We haven't eaten yet and the kids are hungry, but I don't know about the adults because we ate A LOT at the restaurant.  --> that was at 8:50 pm.

Now we already ate and kids are watching videos on their ipads as the adults talk... (and I blog).

A Bit Sick on New Year's Eve - 13/19

I've been sick for the past three-four days. Today I'm feeling slightly worse and I'm actually afraid to go to the hot tub and pool which were fixed and are nice and warm now. My throat is not hurting anymore, but I am coughing a bit and my chest feels tight. My nose is running slightly and while my head isn't aching right now, it hurt a bit earlier. I'm also sleepy, even though I had a good night of sleep.

I feel bad, but I didn't help cook the meal for tonight, I'm just sitting here with my laptop while they are putting the finishing touches on the dishes. Of course I have the excuse that I "need" to be blogging right now. ;-)

I'm also sad that early tomorrow morning two families are leaving to go to Maryland on their way to their final destinations (Montreal and Cairo) and K's uncle is leaving for Miami to go on a cruise.

Right now there's a small crisis going on, my SIL's iPhone is missing. We're calling it, and trying to find it, with little success, they can't leave tomorrow without it! I hope we'll find it before midnight. ;-)

It was found! Less than a minute after I published the post. In the middle of a bunch of folded clothes.

Matchy Clothes Selfies -12/19

Another photo post, I'll try to do some nicer ones with Europe photos, let's see if I'l have time (I need to get my husband's computer to do that). I took some of these selfies to share with friends I thought would like my matchy outfits or to save it for later reference. The next two, for example, I twitted to Jenna:
This one was to show how I bought the polish to match the outfit, but then returned the overalls because they were too tight:
Nail polish & clothes matching: 

Looking Back to 2015 - 11/19

I just read the Looking Forward to 2016 post and everything went as planned, down to the last paragraph (that I enjoyed the trips and all, but that I'm really looking forward to going back to Brazil next year).

Everything went OK with K's tenure process and with my three year position (in spite of the delay), too bad the grant didn't come through for K. :-(

6th and 8th grades were busy and the family is here in Florida, having taken the family photo. Now I have to think about next year, but I don't feel like doing that at all!

The one unforeseen negative event was the return of my BIL's cancer and subsequent trip to the U.S. and surgery. The good side was that we got to see them, my in-laws and the cousins spent a good amount of time together, but the bad side is that now we will all be worried about it coming back again. :-( Let's hope it won't happen. My BIL is leading an extremely healthy lifestyle, particularly in diet and exercise, so we're confident that his prognostic is good.

Frivolous "Firsts" of 2015 - 10/19

This year was the first time that I did two things:
1) used dark/colorful nail polish in my fingernails (the most I'd done in the best was French manicures);
2) dyed my whole hair dark blonde (NEVER doing this again!).

I loved the nail polish and I want to keep doing it, although I didn't do it at all this semester because I didn't have time :-(

Very first time, March 2, one of my "favoritest" colors, brown:
Same color and (cheap) polish, a few days later:
 Next color, aqua green, the same one I'd first used on my toenails in 2014:
 A darker aqua, this time from a better brand:
Second Essie polish I bought, Cartel Style:
"Butler, Please" from Essie, matches my colorful dress:
Bonus Photo, Ombré toenails, since I own too many aqua hues of polish:
It was a colorful year!

Most Spectacular "Firsts" of 2015 - 9/19

The most special "first" of this year was taking my sons to Europe for the first time! We landed and spent about 7 hours in Frankfurt, but only my youngest came to the center of the city with me (Kelvin was too tired from watching movies in the flight from the U.S. and wanted to sleep, so K stayed with him). This was our first glimpse of the Old Continent.

Then, after our (amazing) trip to Egypt, Jordan & Israel, we flew to Zurich and then visited Switzerland, Chamonix/Mont Blanc in France, Geneva (where I was born), and Germany (Frankfurt, Rhine region, Hamburg and Berlin). We spent the last few days at our "aunt's" (MIL's cousin) house in Basel, doing some day trips. It was awesome! I hope I can take the boys again, but, frankly, I told them that I'd prefer that they go on their own when they're grown up because right now they don't like to go to museums, ao I don't feel like going with them anymore.

Another "first" is not as much a first as a unique event in life, my sons' baptism in the Jordan River by their grandparents (and my nephew by his dad, K's brother K2). It was so moving and special! In fact, had never had much interest in visiting Israel (and I do have very mixed feelings because of the situation Palestinians), so I was incredibly surprised at how moved I was when we arrived in Jerusalem.

After the baptism:

A Good Lottery - 8/19

My husband didn't get his grant, but a few weeks ago he received an exciting email from the university, saying that he had been selected as a winner in the faculty senate's technology lottery! It was not very hard for him how to decide to use his 500 dollars -- he put some more money (400+ that will be paid via paycheck deduction with no interest) and got an iPad Pro. And he used some grant money to buy the keyboard and the pen (100!!).

He doesn't use Apple computers, but a few years ago he used the university grant money to buy an iPad which is how he reads and annotates academic papers. He now upgraded to the Pro. He already wanted it, but then his colleague showed him his and he was sold. He didn't show it to the family and we put it with the other presents, then he opened it saying that it was a gift from the university to him. ;-)

Our son Kelvin already has an iPad mini, but he is smitten and won't stop using it. It has an amazing display and four speakers all around, so the sound is great too. I am supposed to "inherit" his 128 Giga iPad because we gave an iPad mini to our youngest son for Christmas (using some of his leftover birthday money).

Waiting for the 7 - 7/19

OK, this is a throwaway post... I was wasting a lot of time trying to find some photos for one of the "First" blog posts about 2015 and I got derailed.

So, since this is the 7th post I'll share that I am waiting for the iPhone 7 since 7 is my favorite number (I was born on 7/7!!).

We're waiting for the baby to wake up to go to a restaurant to eat together  -- Sweet Tomatoes, another family favorite, a bit healthier than Olive Garden where we ate last Sunday after the family photo session.

I forgot to mention that I'm a little sick, I caught a virus that settled on my throat (probably my larynx) and I had sore throat for a few days. Now I have nasty stuff coming up when I cough. No real fever, but I feel a little chilly with a bit of a headache.

Last random comment, the pool pump and heating weren't working in the last day and a half and they were fixed this morning, so more hot water to enjoy until we leave on Sunday! YAY!

Some of the Roller-Coasters (Photos) - 6/19

An International Family, 2015 changes - 5/19

Back in 2006 I wrote about our Family's Further "Internationalization" when my brother moved to China and K's uncle moved to South Africa. At that time my mother- and father-in-law were living in Massachusetts and K2 and K3 lived in the U.S. (only K4 and his wife were in Brazil).

In 2007, K3 and his wife moved to Turkey to teach at the International School, in 2009 my in-laws went back to Brazil and soon after K3 went to Brazil as well, while K4 and his wife immigrated to Canada! At some point (don't remember the year), my brother moved from China to New Zealand and K's uncle moved from South Africa to Mozambique. My brother returned to Brazil in 2012 and the uncle came back to the U.S. (to TX).

In 2014, after living 10 years close to us K2 moved to Egypt with his family and this year, K3 and family moved to Qatar to teach at the international school there and K's uncle moved to Tunisia!

It sounds funny, but right now, out of my in-laws' 4 sons, we are the closest to them, even though we are 9,000 miles away! K4 & family are in Montreal, K2 in Cairo & K3 in Qatar!

More about these days in Florida - 4/19

Last year on Dec. 31st I had to write 11 blog posts, to reach 214. Today, I am supposed to be writing 17 (not counting the one I wrote late last night), which I think will be a new kind of (meaningless) record for this blog (ha ha...).

So, more about these days in FL:

- W had another family photo session last Sunday (the last one was back in 2011), but the photos were not that great, which we already expected. Next time we should certainly hire a photographer and not just go to one of those photo stores.

- We had two "Secret Santas" -- one for the kids, another for the adults and that was fun. My husband got me and gave me the Blu-ray set of the two Star Wars trilogies which is what I've wanted for the longest time. (Oh, and we had no tree because the living room in this house was tiny and there was no room, kind of sad! -- K & I bought some lights at IKEA and colored balls at the dollar store and put them on a fake plant)

- The house has a pool and this year the heating really worked, so all of us had a great time using it day and night!

- It has been so much fun to have "the baby" (18 months) around because he's such a charmer, an extrovert and a cutie. He's supposed to be the very last grandchild and we are all "babying" him as much as possible.

- It's not easy to cook and clean for 18 people, but I think we did OK. The house has 7 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, so we were pretty comfortable.

Disheartening (Grants are Lotteries) - 3/19

K read the reviews this morning and he's very disheartened.

Last time, two years ago, he was a finalist with a much weaker proposal. He had five reviewers, got 3 excellent reviews, one very good, and one good/fair.

This time there were only four reviewers and three reviews were very good and one good. This feels like such a random process, not really fair, not really consistent.

I feel so terrible for him, but there's nothing I can do. The only positive side for him is that he feels that it would be tough to manage a postdoc, so maybe it's for the best.


It is still sad and disheartening, though.

P.S. And K won't say anything to his parents because they don't really know what a grant is and what it means to him. (It's funny that he barely mentioned to them that he got tenure).

No NSF Grant for K :-( 2/19

This was K's last chance for what they call a "career grant." Two years ago he was a finalist and they didn't tell him he'd gotten the grant very late in the Spring, so he missed applying in the Summer of 2014. This past summer he worked like crazy to submit the proposal

(because if you don't know already, writing a grant proposal takes hundreds of hours of hard work, not considering all the other hours of the work that is actually described there -- e.g. publications, research, etc.)

K is understandably very disappointed. What an anti-climatic way to end the year, no?

And this news means NO SUMMER SALARIES are guaranteed for the next 5 years (part of the grant money is assigned for 7K of summer salary for him) and K has to scramble once more to apply to small internal grants at the university to make at least 3K in the summer.

I'm NOT PAID all summer long, so it's pretty tough for us every summer (because it's hard to plan and save during the other 9 months when I do have a salary).

You know, that's why I feel so ABSURDLY ANGRY when politicians get it WRONG and say that the cost of tuition at universities is due to the faculty salaries.

GAH!!!! Academics make very little money, seriously.

All right, it's very late and we have to sleep. And K's family won't even really know what this means to him.

Sigh... it's not fun to start a new year like that, right? :-(

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things (Roller Coasters! Hot Water!) - 1/19

In the first day here last week I enjoyed two of my favorite things (which, incidentally, one can't enjoy while pregnant and which I missed a lot during my first pregnancy -- particularly because we had purchased a Six Flags pass the summer I got pregnant): roller-coasters and soaking in a hot spa!

Our house has a pool and spa and we paid extra to have the water heated and that was perfect (except that the pump probably broke yesterday so today the water was cool)! And we went to a park that has a few good roller-coasters on our very first day here (Tuesday 12/22) and another with even more this past Monday. I will add a few photos below (from my phone) in a later post.

9 days with 18 people (K's family)

Last Monday night we arrived at the seven-bedroom house that my in-laws rented in the Orlando, FL area to spend over a week with K's whole family -- his parents, his three brothers, and our nephews and niece.

We are having a lovely time, but today the first family left, K's brother K3 who lives in Qatar. We were sad to see them go, but tonight, my MIL's youngest brother arrived with his wife and daughter. He has often joined us for a brief time between Christmas and New Year's in the past 15 years and precisely a year ago we stopped for a couple of hours in Daytona Beach to see him and his family.

I'll write another post about the international adventures of our family, which I first mentioned on this blog back in 2006.

I don't know yet if I'll try to write 19 more posts in the next two days to reach 215. Nobody will ever read these posts, but I will, so I may decide to do it. ;-)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Done Submitting Grades!! Now to Finish that Pesky Translation!!

Six pages of legalese stand between me and freedom right now.

I started this never ending translation project in July 2014 -- during the World Cup, isn't that crazy? However, my absurdly packed scheduled prevented me from finishing it. These last six pages have been "hanging" since September, but I couldn't find head space and a block of time to do it before.

Now that we had to postpone our driving down to FL to be with family by a day so we both could finish our grading I will also go ahead and finish this translation! I will also go through the laborious process of Word Counts and coming up with an invoice that I will email them late tonight.

I don't feel relieved or accomplished, I just feel burnt out and NOT ready to drive 12 hours to Florida, but well... that's what will have to be done. Xmas won't be that great because there won't be a tree (no room in the rental house, I'm told) and there's only a lame "secret santa" to look forward to. Sigh...

OK, Let's see how long it will take me to finish the legalese translation!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

21 Years!

Our anniversary was yesterday, but we went out for dinner on Tuesday night because yesterday was a crazy-busy day.

In that dinner K gave me the gift that he brought all the way from Israel, a Swarovki crystal rainbow flower ring from Michal Negrin -- a designer I fell in love with during the trip. The next day I gave him his gift, a rainbow-colored shirt I bought at Stein Mart (later insert designer here). 

Perfectly matching gifts for a perfectly matched couple! ;-)
We tried some quick photos in the sunlight, this afternoon, but they didn't come out that great:

P.S. I don't really wear (or used to wear) jewelry, so this is actually the very first gift of this kind that K has given me. I suspect that purchased the ring unbeknownst to me after I took him into the Michal Negrin store at the Tel Aviv airport to show him how much I'd loved it, since I'm crazy for rainbow colors. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Offer Signed!!! & Musings about the Future

Finally, this morning, the offer arrived via email. Better late than never, I guess, but I will have to wait until the end of the holidays to talk to folks at U#1 about me quitting my part-time, poorly compensated, work there.

I signed it and already filled out the background check online paperwork that was sent my way.

The best part? This contract says that I am eligible for an expectation of "Continuing Employment" following my second review, to take place in 2021 -- by then my son might be going to school at the same university if he is accepted! My husband is already talking about moving there. Not so soon, though! Until our youngest graduates from high-school at the nearby boarding academy (where both out boys will be "village kids"), we'll live here.

The plan is to buy an apartment within walking distance of campus if Kelvin gets accepted there in 2020. He has been raised "the Brazilian way" and doesn't mind living with us during college. Of course I know he will feel pressure to go where his friends are going, but he is convinced that an in-state education will be more affordable and better quality than going to a private church-affiliated university.

We'll see! It's great to be able to feel that a more professionally stable future is in sight for me! Now we lecturers at U#2 need to keep up the good fight to have more rights, namely, assert our desire to also do research (in spite of not being TT faculty) and ask for support to go to conferences and to develop professionally. "The New Faculty Majority" needs to mobilize and achieve more rights!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Last Exams!!

I administered the last two exams this afternoon! Now I need to finish the grading and be done!! 

I'm slowly beginning to feel in the mood to pack the car and travel down to Florida for he holidays with K's whole family.

This is good because I've been so exhausted that last night I felt like I wanted and needed to be home for several days before I could be ready to travel. I didn't feel like my "normal self" last night, but I guess all I needed was a light at the end of the tunnel to restore my level of energy!

Let's see how it goes because our to do list is bottomless!!

New Haircut and Curly Hair Resources!

I had a haircut and new highlights and color done to my hair yesterday by this lovely hairdresser that was recommended by my colleagues at the university! The photo is not that great, but it gives a good idea:
And I bought this book and these products to see if they will help. 
I already love the book, which was written by the woman who launched the DevaCurl line of products. I'll report back after I start using the products! I'm excited! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I feel "done," but I'm only partly done

My students just finished the second exam of the day. It's almost all over but the grading... Oh, the grading! The online assignments are the most annoying, but I need to get to then ASAP! And to the emailed papers (shudder!). And e-portfolios! (Yikes!)

And I will, but I need to kick my son out of the computer and of editing his minecraft videos (sigh...). That is no easy task and my productivity this semester has been seriously affected by this new obsession of his. 

Well, good luck with grading to all of us!

A sad first

Today was the first time in my last 5.5 years teaching language that a student had the courage to bring his workbook for me to check and he had "fake" answered nearly all of the activities, mostly in English or unintelligible gibberish. For three whole chapters (out of four).

So sad! :-(  [Big sigh...]

Choosing not to do the work is one thing, buy attempting to pretend you did it just feels so awful to me! I couldn't yak to him in private, so I just quickly mentioned that he had not done the work and reminded him that it was 20% of the grade. He looked a bit upset and even slightly surprised/annoyed that he was caught. I also told him that I'll be on campus on Thursday if he decides to do the work.

I think I will send him an email. What do I say, though? I truly love these kids and want them to learn, but that was very upsetting. Did he think I would t notice? I also said to him the the activities are important and necessary and that's how one learns. And mentioned that his grade will probably reflect the lack of practice. 

Sigh... Sometimes it's hard to be a teacher! Especially at this university. I had the exact opposite experience at the other school. This young man simply disappeared halfway through the semester, but he came back two days before the final and took the missing tests and did great. He obviously did all the work. He is getting a zero for attendance (10% of the grade), but he'll pass with a good grade and a clear conscience.

I wish the semester had ended without this bitter experience!

The Last Day of Exams (not!)

Today was supposed to be my last day at U#1, but two students begged to take the exam on Thursday, so I'm not done! ARGH!! 

At least they are demonstrating they care about the class and want to do well, unlike their classmate. Sigh...

Monday, December 14, 2015

29 to go, maybe?

I will try to complete 215 posts this year, but I don't know if I'll be able to. The only reason I managed to do so last year was that we were home for both Christmas and New Year's and I just blogged a lot in the last two days of 2014.

This year will be more challenging because we will be in Florida with my husband's whole family, 18 people, 10 adults and 8 kids. This coming week will probably be insane because I have LOTS of grading to do and catching up on other things (the translation, hopefully?!), so let's see how this is going to work.

I'll try, but prepare myself not to be overly frustrated if it doesn't work.

Friday, December 11, 2015

This warm weather feels SO WRONG!

I am sweating right now in my cotton sweater, and tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70s -- this is crazy! 

I'm also upset because we bought ski passes and I'm hoping we won't have wasted our money! And of course it's scary that climate change is creeping into  our daily lives more and more. 

P.S. If you know me you'll know that I LOOOOVE warm weather, but not when it feels so wrong like this. 

Extrovert + Extremely Shy + ADD = Bad Party Goer


I hate parties in confined spaces with people I barely know. The noise is overwhelming to ADD me, then, because I'm shy I simply won't talk to strangers & I HATE small talk which is unbearably boring for people with ADD. The worst part is that since I'm an extrovert I actually really want to talk to people I know and I enjoy that, but my few friends are "normal" and, therefore, socializing with everyone else they know.


Yeah, that's why I HATE work parties. 

P.S. Another big problem is being contingent labor & feeling like I cannot even talk to same level with the TT faculty . (I'm tired of having too many chips on my shoulders... Sigh)

Monday, December 07, 2015

Last Day #1

I still have meetings and parties to attend, final exams to administer (at inconvenient times), but today is my first "last day" of the semester. My last day of classes at U#2.

In addition having to deal with another university, there is series of "last days" that comprise the end of a semester: last day of exams, last day to turn in grades. We live from deadline to deadline when working in an academic setting.

Today is my last day with a group of students I had for three semesters, though, and that's sad.
. . .

I taught the class in the morning and they clapped at the end. One of the students gave me cookies & a beautiful card! I don't feel sad anymore, it's simply over. I hope I was able to help them develop their Portuguese.

Now I need to drive back home... Sigh...

Three more times of mega-commute until next year. And I won't even feel relieved on Saturday night when I drive home after the last exam because I'll have tons of grading ahead. Oh well!

Sunday, December 06, 2015


Most boring post title ever, and post too...

Sorry, but I've got nothing better. I really am tired because I have been volunteering on a church-wide project for the past four nights for over four hours...

Sigh... it's fun, but very involved. Good thing that at least tonight the boys stayed home and took a break. Tomorrow is the last night and they'll be there with us.

Last day of class for me at U#2 tomorrow, we keep going until Thursday at U#1. Then finals for several days...

very tiresome.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Three minutes late

Oh well, I was reading blogs and other stuff and now I'm a few minutes late to post this.

It's ok. I had a good time and I'll post even more in December to make up to 215 posts. Last year it was crazy, I think I wrote about 10 posts on December 31st! I will try to avoid that this year.

In any case, I'm not saying it's "the end" for me because it's not! More blog posting ahead!

Can't believe December is here, time's flying this year!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Back to Work

This evening I went back to work. I will probably have to stay up late for a few hours to be done or get up really early, but in any case, I work better under pressure (grading, writing exams, etc).

The ends of breaks are really hard, aren't they? Sigh... at least I didn't have a whole lot of grading, most of it was done before, I just need to finish some things.

Just two weeks to go! (and one week with finals at U#1, finals are next week at U#2).

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Yummiest, Most Traditional Thanksgiving Ever!

It was really yummy and there weren't too many leftovers (especially because I took a plate for a friend of ours who was sick with strep). We ate the sweet potato & green bean casserole yesterday (for breakfast!) and now all that is left is the pies and cranberry sauce. Can't wait for next year!

Friday, November 27, 2015

A really good first: no shopping on Black Friday

Ok, I did get up at 7 am to purchase a gorgeous watercolor calendar and a print Ruth Simmons's Grace Laced Shoppe because there was a 35% discount and then went back to bed for a couple more hours! 

I didn't go to the stores last night, I don't need to buy anything, really. Maybe I should make a resolution of never going shopping on this date again. Sigh...

We are now headed to One of out "favoritest" places on earth:Longwood Gardens. It's far, we were late leaving the house, and we'll be there only a few hours, but it will do us good. We haven't been in there for a few years. Perhaps the last time was also on Black Friday back in 2012. Longwood brings us happy memories of the past 11 years, so it's a special thing to kick of our holiday season.

I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving, ours was yummy!! I hope to share some photos later!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

When you're curly haired & sleep with wet hair

Also, the dark brown (that covered the blonde blunder from the summer) is washing away a bit... In addition to the hair being thick and tangly and feeling tough and unhealthy at the tips. I'm never ever dying my whole hair again! Only highlights for me as I've always done. I wonder if any products can help or if only growing it out and cutting will solve the problem! :-(

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tomorrow's Menu

Edited to add new photo, now with all items: 

It's hard to see, but first item is "Veggie Loaf" and further down is gravy. Oh!!! I forgot the mashed potatoes! I'll go add that now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mockingjay Part 2 - Awesome!

This is the first time in my life I've seen a movie on the opening week! And I loved it, it was such a great adaptation! 

Of course there are some small changes, buy they didn't really interfere with the story. I was also happy that the movie was ok even though Philip Seymour Hoffman couldn't finish filming it. I wonder how they actually did it (I'll look for stuff online).

I guess this won't be the last time I'll watch a movie in the opening week or weekend!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I had thought of something to blog about today, thought of a title and everything, but now I am so sleepy that I can no longer remember... sigh...

So I'll write more tomorrow and just go to bed now! Good night!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The biggest compliment I've received as a professor

I almost gave it away in the title of the post, but changed my mind.

First let me tell you about the greatest compliment I received ever! (Until now, hopefully I will receive one or two more good ones in my life, and I kind of do, from my sons, once in a while)

Back in college my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I had this group of friends from our university and my high school years* [endnote, scroll down!] that was just great!  We got together nearly every weekend -- went to church, had Bible studies, hung out at my parents' house, sometimes went to the beach for the weekend borrowing my aunt's house (the beach is a couple of hours drive from the city of São Paulo). 

One of our friends had a younger sister, still in high school, but she often tagged along when he came to spend the weekends. This girl loved theater, was very extroverted and prided herself in being a little "crazy." One evening, when we were having a good time doing something (we had grand times with surprise parties and we once scripted and filmed a couple of hilarious home
movies) this friend turned to me and said: "L, you know what? You're actually crazier than me!" And I promptly replied that that was the greatest compliment I'd ever received! I love to be a little "crazy" and my sons sometimes recognize that and echo my friend's compliment.

Two weeks ago I had a student come to me at the end of class to ask me a general question, I don't even remember what it was. This poor guy is struggling a bit with various things (car accident, weird boil that appeared on his face) and I was really moved by what he said, later I almost started crying: "I'm asking you this," he said, "because you're the most approachable professor I have!" Oh dear... I'm so glad to hear that, I thought! And that's what I truly aspire to, being approachable, showing them that I really care deeply about not only their learning, but about them. I want to be even more approachable.

The poor guy didn't even stay for class yesterday... At the very beginning of class he came to me and told me he had just spilled water over ALL his things, including his computer and he had to go dry it. Sigh... I hope didn't lose the laptop!

P.S. I do have a fair share of freshmen and the other day this girl came to me after class and apologized for being late and then she asked something I had to ask her to repeat 'cause initially I didn't get it: "What happens in college when you're late to class?" :-D I think I just shrugged off and said "nothing really" (I should have added that if a student is constantly late sometimes I write that down because I have an attendance policy -- it's part of their grade, since it's a language class). I think she replied something like "oh, so then all we have to do is to show up?" Kind of, kid! As a professor friend of mine says "just showing up is part of succeding in life" (gotta ask him for the correct quote!)

* this was in Brasil, where most people live at home while in college and close to their high school friends. I lived at home [until I got married!], but my future husband didn't because his family had moved to another state and he stayed to continue in the same university.

Friday, November 20, 2015

family blogging

I won't write much because we're sitting on the couch seeing really old photos and telling stories about our childhood to the boys...

We had dinner with two families of friends, it's a Fall tradition of four or five years... different soups (one of them always squash & served inside a pumpkin). (J, I have some caldo verde soup left for you!)

I'm really sleepy, but I need to bake some vegan lemon bars for tomorrow... (lunch with the same friends plus some others to celebrate a friends' birthday).

ok, let me post this. And include this cute photo of my hubby as a young child with his aunt (not much older than him):

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Rainbow Tree/ Rainbow Leaves

I'm I shouldn't be posting these photos without watermaking them for fear of the rainbow one being pinned & going viral (I'm sure there must be other ones people whose done the same thing). I'll try to come & edit the post later. I haven't backed up the photos or I'd watermak on my phone (haven't figured how to copy photos to edit one of them yet, I don't think it's possible)...

Ok, when I saw this tree I knew I could make a rainbow out of its leaves:
Look how many hues they have:
So I did that: (NO filter whatsoever)
Please don't pin until I've watermaked them!

Rainbow leaf:
Yeah, I don't like the fall, but it still brings me joy sometimes.

Bonus pic:
P.S. I did the same thing with photos from my backyard tree, but photos are on the Nikon. I'll try to share them later!

Why I don't want to be "Home for the Holidays"

Hmmm... First, because we don't ever spend them at home? And when we do its generally sad and depressing because it's only us and no family ever come anymore as they did in 2005-6 and 2008 (the only times we hosted Thanksgiving (05-06) and Xmas. 

Second, because as much as we need free time at home to clean and organize endlessly, who wants to do that in a holiday???? Not me!

So I'm really depressed at the thought of Thanksgiving at home (again!). 

P.S. We'll be in FL with my husband whole family in December!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What to do? Aimless Holidays

I really wanted to go visit my youngest brother-in-law and his family in Montreal, but K just doesn't want to drive that far and the boys also feel like staying home.

That means that we are AGAIN without a place to spend the holiday, unless we invite some people to come here (last year it was quite lovely with our house church pastor and his family, a last minute arrangement that worked well for all of us).

In any case, I love to travel and I don't like to be home when we have a longer holiday like this. Sigh...

OK, I should actually invite some extended family and see what they say. In any case, we will plan to be with my brother-in-law who is recovering really well, since his family went back to Egypt two days ago.

I'll let you know what we decide to do.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

broken browser

I'll blame the not blogging on the broken browser... :-) which is 100% true given that it just crashed again. You see, I have two (ok, actually five) Google accounts and I need two browsers, one to be logged into the blog's account and the other to my regular gmail. That is the problem and why I need two browsers (until now Chrome & Firefox, but I'm using Explorer right now -- this is a PC, BTW).

And I can also blame it on the fact that I was preparing a guest lecture on Brazilian music until 2 am. last night. (It turned out great, BTW... Brazilian music is truly one of my greatest passions, I wish I could teach it more).

I assure you that I tried writing a blog post yesterday, but the browser just wouldn't cooperate.

OK, boring tech problems out of the way... on to more posts!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

He got it!

Of course it's not "official" yet because it still needs to be approved by the dean, the provost, etc... but my husband's department decided to recommend that he be granted tenure!

I'm happy for him and for us! It goes very well with Friday's news, right?

Now, if only he would get the NSF grant!! That would be nothing short of amazing. But I think K deserves it. Remember years ago when he was discouraged in the job search and got to interview at an Ivy League school?

As I said back in 2009, I knew I'd married the right guy! :-)

Restful weekend, productive day

boring post, I'm super uninspired
We had a low-key weekend and we needed it after the tiresome week and positively exhausting last weekend. We spent time with friends yesterday and that was really nice.

Today I did four loads of laundry and line dried three of them. K and the boys worked on the yard. We collected most of the leaves by using the bag on the lawn mower and then Kelvin mowed the rest of the lawn (we've been paying him 20 dollars so he can have money to use on his gaming and video making).

I needed to have done tons more or at least planted the remaining 80+ bulbs that I bought, but I've been putting that off. I'm really really depressed with our garden and yard. We basically have no lawn, it's 100% weeds and the flower beds are terrible with weeds too (especially in the back). Bushes need trimming and we don't know how to do them. It's a disasters and I don't want to say more about this right now. :-(

I still need to grade A LOT and prepare to teach this week. So I have to post this and get to work. Sigh...

I want to post some photos later. I need to write a few extra posts to catch up.

Thursday, November 12, 2015



What a relief!! Oh, what a relief. 3 year contract. Decent salary. Now I have (and want) to ditch U#1 (where my husband works). I will miss it. Just one tiny bit. (the people a lot) Sigh...

Oh, thank you Lord!


The mega-commute remains, but I'm used to it by now. ;-)


I would have to post 52 51 more times to write 215 posts this year. I don't know if I really want to go through the trouble, as I've been doing in the past few years, just to give me a blogging goal to fulfill.

Maybe I'll try. We'll see! :-) All I need to do is to start posting photos right and left. Very easy, 'cause I take tons of photos and love looking at them & sharing them.

As you can see I'm doing NaBloPoMo very loosely this year, on my terms. I do everything on my terms, though, so that's not new! ;-) 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Traveling Mercies

I find this expression a little strange, but I use it anyway, because I strive to sound and think as "natively" as possible in English.

This has been an intensive week of traveling for our family members. My parents are probably traveling right now or perhaps have just arrived in my childhood town of Curitiba, Paraná, in Brazil (As I was writing this at 3 pm today). I am hoping they had a safe trip, hence the title of this post.

Yesterday my mother and father-in-law I arrived in Brazil from the United States. They had a safe trip, but the customs in Brazil forced my mother-in-law to pay taxes for a three-year-old computer that she had been bringing back-and-forth from the United States for three years, so she missed her connecting flight and was stuck for four hours before she could fly and join her husband who hadn't lost the flight. They got home only 10 PM, 32 hours after they started their trip.

Also yesterday, there was some serious traveling trouble with my brother and his family. They were driving from São Paulo to Curitiba (tomorrow will be the wedding of one of our second cousins) when smoke started coming out from under the hood of the car. They stopped, and there were actually flames (which thankfully didn't spread). As calmly as possible they took the children and all the luggage out of the car. The extinguisher didn't work, so my brother threw some water on the fire. 

A tow truck came and took them to a gas station by the road where they ate and waited for a long time for a taxi to come from the city, over an hour (60 miles) away. Then the taxi came and it wouldn't fit the kids' car-seats, so they had to wait for yet another taxi, so their trip also was very long. I hope the car can be fixed, or else it will be pretty bad for my brother.

I found through a comment my mom wrote on the latest facebook post by the bride that they had arrived safely, after 8 hours of travel. Sometimes social media is useful. :-)

In any case, I hope nobody else in the family has travel troubles in the near future! (my sister-in-law and nephews return to Egypt next Monday).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Two Lost Posts

I wrote two posts on my phone and didn't save them, so I they got lost, that is partly the reason why I didn't write posts yesterday and earlier today.

And now, obviously, I have urgent things to do and cannot write. :-(

I hope to catch up tomorrow. I have such a crazy life!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Great dinner!

And better yet conversations with friends afterwards!

The dinner went ok. The preparation was crazy and intense as always, but most students came and enjoyed the food! 

I'm glad it's over, though! I think next year I'm going to have my mom help me, if possible, but then it will have to be the day before he last day of classes and I don't know if that's a good idea. We'll see! 

Saturday, November 07, 2015

So far so good

I've survived the weekend relatively well until now. Now if only I can go to the dinner I'm going to cook for my students without forgetting anything, that will be awesome! sigh...

... the thought that I may forget something really important stresses me out so much!

I know it would be best to be making multiple lists, but I'm not convinced lists will really help me not to forget what I can't forget.

On Thursday I actually found a very thorough list for last year's dinner in my phone's notes, but, somehow, it disappeared completely, leaving me very upset and thinking I'm going crazy or something. But I am POSITIVE that I saw it! :-(

OK, gotta go to bed. I hope tomorrow will be an even better day!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Interview done

Yeah, on Skype, short & sweet. Now let's hope they don't go rogue & hire someone else! 

And on to one of the craziest busiest weekends of all time. 

Six family members at our house visiting, a 4h30 school harvest festival tomorrow night were volunteering at. Preparing food ingredients for 50-70 people & on Sunday loading the car, going to kids' piano recital, driving to U#2, cooking and serving food to students. 

Then I have to prepare two quizzes and finish grading an exam. I stay overnight in U#2 city & come back home Monday afternoon. 

Wish me luck. Crazy busy life. 

Missing Brasil like crazy

Now that it's guaranteed that we're going  (not that we wouldn't go), I took to missing Brasil like crazy. Viscerally, physically in a way that doesn't happen often (thankfully, or it would be impossible to be an immigrant otherwise).

Maybe it's also because of how unseasonably warm it is (looooove it!!!), making me feel like I'm there in early Fall or Spring. Or maybe because my in-laws are at our house and we're talking to them and "breathing in" some Brasil and 'cause I've been calling my parents almost daily to talk about one thing or another. (I always call them a lot, but generally not everyday)

I've been having these brief "hallucinations" in which I can almost feel I'm there, in specific places. Parking the car next to the city square and going to the bank with my mom in early December, ditschy, small town Christmas decorations on the grass. Going shopping for groceries, traveling to my home state of Paraná and marveling at how green everything is. Walking around the beautiful gated community where my parents love and admiring the houses. Doing all the things I do when I visit.

On one hand I know it would be impossible to live constantly feeling like that, but on the other hand, now that's these feelings come much more rarely, I cherish them and want to try to capture the feelings and hold on to them.

I am also constantly thinking about and visualizing the places we've visited in Europe, but that is different -- I hardly have any feeling associated with those beautiful views, we were there too briefly. That's why I'm not too sad that these thoughts and images from Europe & the Middle East are becoming less distinct and frequent, but I always feel I want and need to hold on to my country.


Oh-oh, just realized that I didn't post yesterday!

Now I am driving to work, so I will write more later.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

12-hour days, anyone?

Last week I had two 12-hour days, coming back home 12 hours after I had left. And still working more hours at home.

Today was another 12-hour day. :-(
Dislike! And it was a stressful one too. Hoping tomorrow (and the next two days) will be better -- especially Sunday when I get to cook for all my students. Sigh...

Brazil 2016 Guaranteed! :-(

Sigh... tickets were finally purchased, one more item to be crossed on the super-duper-important and never-completed to-do list.

I wish I could be happy about this trip, but I'm not. I know, I'm the worst whiner in the history of whining. Should I even share my reasons to be unhappy?

Nah... maybe some other time. Main idea: only staying a month and four days. Wish could stay longer and, most importantly be coming back later.


Yeah, we NEED to come back on Aug. 4 because any day after that and our tickets would cost 400 dollars more.

Games start on Aug. 5.


But that's not the main reason. Maybe I'll share later. Not safe to so it, though. Family troubles.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

I've got an interview

Thank God!

I thought this suspense would never end… 

Now let's hope it will all work out and I'll have the three-year contract.  

Next item on my agenda is to try to take a Spring semester off without pay (and without losing my job) so we can go to Europe during the spring/summer for my husband's sabbatical. Biggest bucket list item right now!!! Maybe a bit closer to happening. 

I'll keep you posted! 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Happy & Filled: Dumplings & Fried Rice

wrote this around 2 pm today

One of the food trucks at University #2 cells dumplings, but until last year they only had pork, chicken, and seafood ones. Today I stopped by because I didn't feel like eating any of my Amy's Kitchen frozen foods and, lo and behold!  They now sell veggie tofu dumplings!

So I ordered dumplings with some fried rice on the side and I happily ate as I walked all the way to my car! It was just what I needed and it he made me so happy!!  

My in-laws and nephews are coming back tonight to spend a week with us. I hope everything goes well. I should have planned a menu, but that's so hard for me! We'll figure it out as we go along.

If only I didn't have to plan a dinner for 50 to 70 people for next Sunday! :-( at least I know that my mother-in-law can help me with the preparation of some items.

I am under very strict orders from my husband not to complain one bit, because I do this by choice, nobody tells me to do it. ;-P 

OK, I'll blog more about this later.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Blogging daily.

I'm going to blog daily again in November. In fact, I'll try to blog more than once to see if I can reach 215 posts this year. That will be hard, but not impossible. I always have too much to say... And not enough time and, sometimes, courage. ;-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Second "Boot" Day & First Corduroy Day ;-)

I love corduroy pants, particularly colorful ones like this one (hard to find!) and I wear them all winter long.

The Most Racially Diverse Religious Faith!

Wow, I'm pretty excited about this figure right now, because diversity is something I value greatly -- and thankfully our own local church and school community has become incredibly diverse in the past five years since I moved here, reflecting the greater trends in the country.

My denomination is the most diverse in the U.S. according to the Pew Research Center!

I learned about this in an npr article about us and Ben Carson (who I happen not to support). The article does leave out one important difference between us and other protestants, the concept of death.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First "Boot Day"

I put off wearing boots for as long as possible. I do have to admit that on a rainy day about a month ago I wore a pair of short "army style" boots, but that was it. 

I know that I'll be wearing boots daily for over five months, so I wasn't eager to get started. But today was cold and raining and I just had to do it. :-(
I guess we can say that "winter" or the cold season has arrived to stay. :-(

My Only Exercise

I know I need more exercise, since walking to and from the parking garages and up and down stairs is my only exercise right now. And it is quite plentiful, in fact. 

But today I thought it was a bit too much! 
The top level of the parking garage? 
As we'd say in Brazil "nobody deserves that!" (Isso ninguém merece!) or, maybe in a better translation "I don't wish that on anyone!"

Since I am carrying an older laptop and a heavy textbook in my backpack, i'm guaranteed a good workout. ;-) now I just need to walk a little faster!

Monday, October 26, 2015


I kind of liked it, but I don't know if I'll be watching again.

I just don't do TV. But I'm sure glad that we have about 9 channels now, including PBS! I'll be watching Downton Abbey when it airs here!

This was the upside of our new & better internet. If only it weren't so expensive! Boooh :-(

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Random reasons why I don't like Fall

  • Waking up and getting up in the dark is hard, but having short days after the time change is even harder. It's totally a lose-lose situation.
  • I hate mums which is a weird name to give to chrysanthemums (the actual name of the flower and how it's called in Brazil, where I grew up -- crisântemos in Portuguese).             Tangent: Why do Americans love to shorten so many words? (Some pet peeves of mine: convo, legit, ammo. Some are not so bad, such as: app, info, memo)
  • I hate the colors purple and orange which seem to be the official colors of Halloween, oh and I don't care for yellow either. (yeah, and there are tons of yellow, orange, dark red or pink/nearly purple mums around, sigh...)
  • I loathe Halloween.
  • I don't live in Massachusetts or New England anymore, so fall is blah anywhere else after you've lived eight years there.
  • Is the season that ushers winter.
You may not believe this, but I've been writing this post for the past three weeks. First, talking on the phone, which is how most posts start out nowadays, and then editing on the computer for several days. I'm sure there are other "random reasons" that I cannot pinpoint right now, but I want to get this post out before Fall is over! ;-P

I also considered interspersing the items with gorgeous Fall photos, but I'll leave it as is. I don't have the energy to go look for photos right now. And they'd totally defeat the purpose of the post too...

I'm even more unhappy this particular Fall because I think the foliage was more beautiful than in previous years, but we did not have any time or any way (due in part to house guests) to go for even one hike or a beautiful drive out in the countryside. So sad! 

I don't think I have full-blown seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but Fall and Winter make me feel blue. I think the shortening of the days is worse, though. Once it's winter at least the days start getting gradually longer, so there's hope!! 

The things that aren't going particularly well in my life (like the 8 am class) and that of our family don't help, right? I'm not done yet with my series of "out of sorts" posts. In fact, this is one of them. 


Friday, October 23, 2015

It went well!

I've been so busy, with work, and my commute and nephews and in-laws at the house that I haven't  had time to do an update. Thanks for the question, What Now?

The surgery went well and my BIL is going home from the hospital tomorrow. Yesterday my FIL arrived from Brazil and spent the day with his son and my husband drove up with his mom to pick up FIL and see his brother.

Tomorrow we drive the in-laws and nephews (in two cars -- booo!) to stay with BIL for a week. We're exhausted, but we need to drive them. One option would be for me to drive them on my own and for K to stay home with the boys, but we're thinking we'll all go. K wants to come back home tomorrow... 

In two weeks we'll know how the healing is going. Let's hope it will be ok!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Shadow/ Perspective/Please Pray

I wrote this last week (10/14) and I am only posting it today.

A close family member had a rare form of cancer four years ago. This person underwent two surgeries and radiation therapy and went into remission.

The tumor is back, though, exactly in the same place, and now there will be another surgery and other treatments. The surgery is happening right now, please pray for the surgery and his recovery.

We are all worried, but also confident that The cancer can be treated and go inti remission again. And hopefully this time it will last for a long time.

There are two things that we are experiencing as a result of this: there is an enhanced sense of perspective, every other worry in life pales in comparison to The thought of possibly dying from a life-threatening disease. And the second, my husband describes as this dark shadow that permeates everything we do. 

This week Next week, we have family staying at our house because the surgery will probably be in the middle of next week. Please keep a family member in your thoughts and prayers. This person is only 40 years old and has two children.

P.S. This is actually my brother-in-law we lives in Egypt. When I wrote the post we had just found out and he had not gone public with his situation, but now everybody knows.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The 8 AM class

This early class is killing me!

No kidding, even a student in my 2 PM class said that to me last week.

It is only Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it's only 20 minutes from my house, but that doesn't make it any better. 

I have barely been able to get there on time for every class. Today I decides to come back home, but I generally stay in town for my 2 pm class -- on Tuesdays I go straight to a graduate class of Brazilian music which I attend to help my friend who teaches it (and because I LOOOOVE the topic, it's the highlight of my week!). 

I have this pathetic Tu-Th schedule because of the room availability and because I decided to leave the period from 9:30 am to 2 pm free so I can volunteer at my sons' school once in a while...

I never ever want to teach another 8 am class. It doesn't work for me! :-(

Out of sorts

I've been really out of sorts lately, so I'm going to write a series of out of sorts posts, which is probably not nice at all, but at least I'll get some blogging done, right?

Cheap therapy! Sigh...

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Naturalization Postponed (Again)

I really, really wanted to vote for president next year, therefore I had decided that I was going to become a U.S. citizen (we both were, in fact). However, we really cannot afford the naturalization fee right now (as we couldn't two years ago when we became eligible to apply).


Good thing to know that I'm not the only one, according to this 2013 Time online article. I know that 1,360 (for two people) is not that much money, but it's more than a ticket to Brazil and visiting my country next year is way more important to me. Not to mention that since we're running out of time to apply before our trip next June, it may be wiser to wait. After all, it takes roughly six months and then we still need to get passports, which could take several weeks.

The upside? That's one less item to worry about in my stress-inducing to-do list. I'm a little sad, but it does take some weight off my shoulders. And maybe I can sort-out my name situation (hopefully I'll write another post about that) before becoming a citizen.

So, two less votes in this "purple" state here for whoever the blue candidate will be. I hope the state turns "blue" again in 2016 despite lacking our votes!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Back to Brown

Today I got brown highlights (with some darker blonde) all over my hair, but the brown washed over the blonde, so my hair is pretty dark right now. I'll be buying clarifying shampoo & washing multiple times and I hope that'll help to bring the blonde highlights back.

The hairdresser, who had loved the blonde on me, was pretty disappointed, but I'm happy to go back to a more normal me! My older son just said "it is weird, but better!" 

The original results from back in May are here.
Before (today):
I will probably get highlights again in December for family photos, but I'll never ever go blonde again, that's for sure!

P.S. Later my son added the following: "You're not as cute, though." Yeah... I guess blondes are the cute ones . BLAH! (Sigh...) And I told him that I'll be soon adding some highlights to be "cuter." Oh well! ;-) 

Friday, October 02, 2015

What we did last Sunday -- Cool Time Lapse Video!

If anyone in your life plays Minecraft or Nintendo games (particularly in the WiiU), please tell them to check out and support my son's channel on YouTube!

And if you want to see a cool time lapse of us emptying, moving, and refilling a bookshelf, check out the first three minutes of this video:

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Sent (Application/ Tenure Package)

I'm still stressed out about some of the other items in my endless to-do list, but submitting the application is no longer one of them.


I'm feeling at peace about it. Today New Hire even called me into hir office to ask me (in a somewhat anxious voice) whether I was applying for the position or not -- and I said I'd to it tonight, that things were crazy at home with K submitting his tenure package.


He spent the night from Sunday to Monday working on it and came home only at 4:30 am. I'm glad that he's done, though. He's even telling a silly joke about it which I got his permission to share in another post.

I'm cold and nervous right now because I just spent some time reading (for the first time in THREE YEARS) student evaluations.

I hate doing that. But I braved it tonight. And included only one class in my application packet. One of the most glowing ones.

I still can't believe one of my student wrote (a year or two ago) that "my attire is not appropriate" -- whaaaa? I cannot wear colorful cute clothes to work? I need to wear dark pantsuits? Or serious little black dresses. Really? Who says that?

I also drove my husband crazy editing the teaching statement. You know, I don't think I'm cut out for this after all. I don't have the thick skin, I don't have the desire to please anyone, much less other scholars. I'm too scatterbrained to do anything right.

Some students picked on my disorganization or "scatter-brainess" but, thankfully, most really "got" me and my enthusiasm, my compassion, my flexibility and my deep desire that they learn.

I know I should be reading these faithfully every semester and improving. I know. I'm BAD. I'm lazy and extremely ridiculously sensitive.

I need a new therapist, that's for sure, and I hope I can find one soon.

I'll write more about this later, but I realized something VERY depressing about blogging today. There are exceptions to the rule, but most of the people whose posts I really loved to read quit blogging because they wanted to be writers. And they went for it. Some actually did get published.

Who did not? Who is still blogging?

yeah... very very very depressing and very bad for one's self esteem. If I'm still writing here (with no audience whatsoever) it means I'm really, really bad.

Long gone is the day when blogging changed my life for the better. I wish it could still do me good.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Best (Relatively Useless) News Ever!

In our family we are all addicted to the internet. OK, someone of us actually uses it mostly for work and the others use it mostly for fun and a bit for work (maybe a lot for both in my case).

Problem is, for the past four and a half years, since we moved to this house, we've had really, really bad Internet connection -- DSL.

Yesterday we got a letter in the mail that told us that now we'll be able to have real high speed internet at our house!!!! For REALZ!!!

The bad part is that we have no idea how much it will cost, and we're wondering if it'll be an arm and a leg. Sigh... But we'll gladly pay it. I mean, those of us who use it mostly for leisure are happy to pay for it. :-P

We are truly happy for this, though. Especially my son the YouTuber. I will tell you more about his channel soon. Shameless son-promotion. Maybe he'll earn some money!

Friday, September 25, 2015


Continuing in the spirit of the previous middle-of-the-night post, other things are bugging me as well. 

The main one is the fact that on November 8 we are ridiculously over scheduled! First, at the request of my colleague, I scheduled the dinner that I prepare for about 50 to 70 students at University number two.  

Then, I realized that this day is also the boys' piano recital day! But I thought it might work to have them play at the 1 PM recital and then I can head off to prepare for my dinner.

However, I had not realized that this is also the very last day of soccer games! And it turns out that our 13-year-old son cannot miss any games because his team does not have any extra players! So we're  thinking we can make it to the 3 PM game, but it's going to be crazy! And I obviously won't be there because I will be headed in another direction.

So, there you go, a sample of our crazy overscheduled lives! :-(

Tired and Stressed out/ Dreaded (but VERY IMPORTANT) To-Do List

I should be grading, or sleeping, but I'm blogging instead...

After all, I haven't blogged in three weeks, and it's not for a lack of things to say (as usual!!), it's mostly because I'm a bit overwhelmed by my list of "VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO" and that makes me feel a bit sad and restless.

I haven't finished the translation completely yet, so I haven't billed them and we're thousands of dollars poorer (and still in debt) because of that. There isn't much remaining, but I can't find the time to force myself to sit down and do it. Especially because...

... I have to submit the job application ASAP and I haven't done that yet because stuff keeps popping up, random stuff (such as the free photo book offer that I needed wanted to take advantage of and which consumed for five days last week) and planned things: my in-laws' lovely five day visit (the longest in forever!).

Meanwhile, work keeps piling up relentlessly -- right now there are many compositions to correct and grade. That's why I should be grading, not blogging. But I should soon head to bed because I'm also exhausted from many days of going late to bed and getting up early to work (I have NOT written my planned blog post about having an 8 am class -- my LEAST favorite thing in the world is not having any weekdays to sleep in. :-( BOOOO!)

So, yeah. And there are other items in this super-very-important list:

I wasted over 45 minutes between writing the above sentence and the rest of the post because I went to check my email for a "to-do list" email I'd sent myself yesterday and then found couple of weird notification emails from facebook (I did NOT sign up for notifications from those two people, I'm 100% sure!). Those sent me down the stupid facebook rabbit hole. Sigh...

But here are the other items:

- apply for citizenship ASAP because #1(most important): we'll travel to Brazil next year and can't go out of the country before process is over and #2: I want to vote for president!

- book our award travel tickets (with our plentiful miles) for next summer to go to Brazil. We're already LATE because these go fast and dates are blocked out quickly a year in advance. We may be in trouble! :-(

So, yeah... it's impossible not feel stressed with all these really important things pending! And there are other smaller ones (e.g. sending conference paper or panel proposals).

OK, it's nearly 1:30 am. I shouldn't have napped in the afternoon. It will only make me more exhausted tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Big News? A More Stable "Work in the Margins" Job?


I apologize for sighing too much in the blog. It seems my life can be summed up in a series of sighs.

"Will I ever have a 'real' academic job?" (sigh...)

"Will I have to drive so many hours to/from work for the rest of my life?" (sigh...)

"Is there any other alternative for me work-wise out there?" (sigh...)

And these series of "sighs" are pretty much endless series of angsty posts that I write here on the blog to help me feel better -- it works! but just for me! :-( look! No readers! (nah... who cares, I've said repeatedly that I'll be the last blogger standing. I guess there'll be many of us out here, talking happily to ourselves online).

OK, rant/whining session over, on to the news at hand.

So, today the job ad was posted. The ad for the three year position that everything indicates is meant to be just an "internal hire" maneuver to keep me on board, but now with more stability and being better paid.

At least that's what I think it is and what I've been led to believe. Unless the people who did this to me last year (how I reacted, the swift conclusion) are monsters and out to get me, but I don't think that's the case. At least I hope it's not! In any case, we'll find out very, VERY soon (like, in two months, max).

I suppose that the early ad for this non T-T position should tip off people that's an internal hire, maybe? Maybe not? It's a good ad (hmmm... except for a little line in there that mentions something about teaching New Hire's specialty, which is not mine)

So, yeah, less than a month to apply. I should do it in the next week or so to get it out of the way.

I feel numb. Same old same old. Better pay. I could/should stop teaching at U#1 because I'll be making the same money I make working for both places right now.

What I really wish would happen (although that would be very mean on those people who treated me badly) is: I'd get the job, sign the contract, then apply for a TT job at U#1, get that one and then have to tell U#2 "Sorry, you have to get someone else! Why didn't you treat me better earlier?"

Is it bad to wish for such a thing to happen? Maybe it is, but a TT at my husband's institution (BTW, I heard NOTHING about the one year position I applied to last Spring, not even an email to say they'd filled it. I only heard through the grapevine that they'd hired an instructor that already worked for them. DUH)

I have a feeling this will go smoothly, no "roller-coaster" ride this time. That's good, 'cause now I'm 44, getting old, middle-aged, don't know if I can handle the ride (she says, tongue firmly in cheek, defiant look on her face).