Saturday, January 31, 2015

My New Kitty... :-)

...was a gift from my friend J -- we love to drink tea together (she got one for herself too). 
Isn't it cute? ;-) Thanks, J!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What's the Point of Mousetrap Car Projects?????

Please, please, please... People born & raised in this country, can you please enlighten me? 

Is this mousetrap car thing kind of a "cultural tradition" (like pinewood derby races)? A "rite of passage-type" required project of middle school? 

Why yet another LAME project that requires help and significant time from parents? One that a physics teacher from another country agrees it's lame and had never even heard of?


Because when your almost-a-teen (39 days to go) ADD kid (who doesn't want to be officially diagnosed) with two overworked parents forgets to even show them the rubric & instructions and does the project the night before (with dad who needed to prepare his classes), it's a recipe for disaster.

But how do you make your kid make a project that you believe is really lame? Why do these projects exist in he first place? 

I know homeschooling and unschooling would be/are the best, but we can't do it, so we have to put up with this!! For SEVEN more years because I don't know if it will be much better in high school... Sigh. (At least the high school they'll be going to).

Sorry for the rant, we're definitely getting fed up with 7th grade!!! :-(

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It's Finally Here! (Pre-Ordered Oct 25!)

I posted this from my phone last night at 11:11 pm (actually got out of bed to take these photos!!! see my pajamas there?) but my phone never published it until I fiddled with the blogger app this morning! BOOO!

Too bad I can't spend 3 days reading it and then, immediately writing the "definitive" comparison between Wilder and a Brazilian writer with whom she has in uncanny connection (can't say much more! It might lead to readers finding my name!)

I'm thrilled it's finally here. May all who ordered get theirs soon too!!

Speaking of books, look what else came in the mail today! 
Can't wait to read them all!! I love books!!! (particularly children's & young people's literature)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow Day for THEM, but not for me! Not fair! :-(

It happened again (including my husband and U#1)! But this time it wasn't that bad because I got to meet them at the ski slopes after my teaching! I skied an hour less than they did, but that was OK because my legs weren't in the best shape.

I had a wonderful time skiing this "Blue" slope today twice with no people whatsoever! I'm not very good, but I was going incredibly fast today (1) because it was more powdery than usually -- still mostly "fake" powder -- and (2) because I couldn't really avoid it, not enough strength in legs to zigzag down to slow down and!!! incredibly!!! not falling!!! I did fall exactly once, but it was a small fall from which I quickly recovered.

So I'm creating a new "Ski!"label right now, since it looks like I'll be writing about skiing again in the future (and have in the past -- it'll be fun to go label all those posts!).

OK, so this ended up not being as much about the failed snow day. I did leave about 40 minutes earlier, but it was ok, after I got farther away from home all snow turned to rain. (I still have some blizzard envy, but just a teeny tiny bit! ;-) And classes were good. I'm so thrilled I finally figured out the online quiz thing. Now I hope the students won't hate the quizzes and complain that there were technical problems! Sigh...

Now I'll go take a hot shower, yay!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week 2: Productive/ Blizzard Envy

Week 2 down, 15 more to go (discounting Spring Break, adding finals), 'cause unfortunately this semester is not 14, but 15 weeks long! :-(

Week 2 was great because it started with our only holiday year-round (that is not Thanksgiving) in both universities, which is the ONLY holiday that my kids' private school doesn't respect!! (boooh!) Can they even do that? For all the other Holidays (Labor Day, President's day, maybe another one I can't remember) kids are off & we work.

I miss my graduate institution. We had so many holidays and a full month off in Dec.-January! I want to go back to Massachusetts! (not really, we love it it there, but I'm happy with our lives here). I do enjoy starting early (in late August, & early January) and having most of May off and ending in very early December.

OK, back to last week! Because of the holiday I really made some significant headway in my freelance translation project. Too bad I was unable to keep it up past Wednesday (I got busy & productive with work) and today I went skiing with the family, so I couldn't do it either. Last night, however, I finally made an online quiz for my class, so the weekend hasn't been completely unproductive. edited to add that tonight I made another online quiz, yay!

It was pretty good to go to my therapist on Monday afternoon and report that I'd been so productive. I have to find a way to keep it up because it's HARD! Especially with the grading I need to do. Graded a quiz last week and have about 30 compositions to grade. Good thing the online quiz will be automatically graded!

The holiday made it tough to go back to work last week (it felt like we were starting the semester all over again), but Friday arrived quickly and we were exhausted as usual.

I'm not looking forward to this week AT ALL. Tomorrow and Tuesday people will have tons of snow up North & hardly any will fall here. Having lived 8 years in MA, I love me some blizzards! ;-)

And I know for a fact that U#2 probably won't cancel anything because I don't think it'll snow there. BUT there may be snow on my drive. So I'll leave at 7:30 am with the standard gear car. :--( A very inauspicious beginning to Week 3.

I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Guess Who Was Unhappy Again this Morning?

My eldest son, of course! My students, on the other hand, loved my lipstick earlier this week. 

My husband was jealous of my lip photography & he wanted to show of his pout:
(It's not, BTW, a reaction to my own lips, he's doesn't object to them as I've said earlier, he just wanted his [sillly] picture taken!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Goodbye! :-( My Husband's Beautiful Vovó Maria is No More

After nearly three months in the hospital she rested yesterday. 
 But we all cherish the hope of seeing her someday again.
P.S. The sad part is that my father-in-law, one of her twin sons, the youngest of four kids, is in Egypt on a trip and will miss the funeral. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

First Week Over, 14 More to Go

15 if we include Spring Break, 16 if we include finals +Spring break.

This is one of those semesters I'm looking forward to ending. It's going well so far, but there's so much I absolutely need to do (particularly the translation project for the money we so desperately need) that I'm not looking forward to it at all!

I hope I can get productive, a Herculean, nearly impossible task for me! :-(

Maybe I should start by trying to get a good night of sleep, right? Sigh...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Honesty of Kids/ I like lipstick

I walked into the kitchen where my sons and husband were eating breakfast this morning, and this is what I heard from my disgusted eldest son:

"Oh! Your lips look horrible!"

My boys hate strong lipstick, they think it looks weird...

My husband, on the other hand, reminds me every single morning to put on some lipstick and says, "If you don't wear it you look too pale and 'dead'."

I understand that my children are very sensitive to how I look and they want me to look the same always, I suppose... To be the motherly figure that they're used to. ;-)

They also complain about their classmates' use of lipstick, particularly the 12-year-old, but there's another aggravating factor!

I kiss and hug my boys A LOT, and their worst nightmare is to be kissed by lip-sticky lips!!!! :-D

Well, they'll need to get used to seeing women wear lipstick, I suppose! Their future girlfriend & wives will most likely wear it too!

Monday, January 12, 2015


I don't like the first day of classes... it's impossible not to be nervous. :-(

Especially when you have a full house (there are 12 of us right now) and you've skied all day with them the day before and haven't had time to prepare the schedule so you can give your students the syllabus. And instead of working on the schedules I'm here blogging to help calm me down (hahahahaha...).

Anyway, I'm sure it'll go well, but it's still tough no matter how long I've been teaching.

Friday, January 09, 2015


OK, the new year is getting "old" already (since when is 9 days old? ;-) and I need to write a post like this one.
[BTW today is my grandfather's birthday, I've marked this day here before (7 years ago!)]

I had three separate posts with these titles in 2011, this year I'll put them all here (at least I'll try to come up with items for each one):

2015 Will Be the Year...
... In which we'll have our first teenager. I'm a bit apprehensive about that! ;-)
... I'll take my sons to Europe -- a longtime dream of mine!
... I'll go to my birthplace with my parents for the first time since my birth and first year of life and probably the last time.
... in which my husband's family will all get together again for the holidays (we're doing that every two years now, since 2011!)
... in which I'll travel with my parents, in-laws and lots of extended family to the "Holy Land"

And many other things...

2015 Has to Be the Year...
... in which ...?... I think I'll skip this one!

I Wish in 2015...
... that I can sort many more of my issues in therapy, in conversations with dear people, in my relationship with God...

And I will have to go back and edit this later if needed because I started this post 22 hours ago (went to bed nearly 3 am last night!).

I'm looking forward to this year, that's for sure!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


I'm glad to report that my uncle is better.  The infection is somewhat controlled and doctors said that it's mostly in the lungs now (though it's not pneumonia).

My aunt and my youngest cousin (who is divorced and lives with his parents now) visited him earlier tonight and my mom spoke with them.

I hope he'll recover!

My Uncle May be Dying


He's got a general infection and because he's already 80+ years old, it will be very difficult to get rid of it. He's just been admitted to the the ICU.

You can see him in this photo with my aunt Ruth, my mom's older sister. I found out through facebook when my second cousin, his granddaughter posted about it. I already called my mom too.

Please pray and keep him and his family in your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5 Opening

I love Downton Abbey and for once I will watch when it's being broadcast. Unfortunately our antenna doesn't catch PBS (yes, we do have an antenna, the Mohu Leaf), but thankfully PBS does make the episodes available on its website!

I just wanted to make a few comments about Downton Abbey's most recent episode/season.

First, I think that the pace is much faster than it was in previous seasons, did anybody notice that too or maybe I'm wrong?

I wrote that sentence after watching only the first half of the episode, now after I finished watching it, I do think that the pace is pretty vertiginous, but I suppose that it's necessary in the first episode to capture the viewers and make them come back week after week, season after season...

That's what's so annoying about these kinds of works (and it's the same in book series), they "trap" you so you become addicted and keep on watching. Oh well... I wonder how many more seasons this show is going to have! It is so popular that maybe it will take years until it finally ends. And I guess that the actual owners of that magnificent house are delighted that they can have more income to keep the place in the family. ;-)

Well, maybe someday I'll add to their income in a more direct manner by visiting Highclare Castle! I'll do that only after I visit all the Jane Austen sites and more, though. ;-)

His Foot is Bigger than Mine!

Kelvin is not taller than me yet (though he's passed my nose), but his foot (on the right) is bigger than mine!
He grows way too fast (up to an inch a month at times... Sigh...)

A Snow Day with hardly any snow...

What a lame snow day! :-(
It snowed less than an inch and school was going to have a delay, starting at 10 am, but then they went ahead and canceled it because of the slick roads. 

That's what our street looks like now at nearly 11 am: 

Not bad, right? Good thing I'm not working this week or else the boys would have to stay home by themselves today for a few hours. 

What I don't like about these lame scxo days is that the school year can be longer because of them if there are many other real snow days. Sigh...

Updated to show that's what it looks like out there now at 1 pm:


Monday, January 05, 2015

My Great Grandmoter "Pombinha"

This is one of my maternal great-grandmothers, she was nicknamed "Pombinha" (Little Dove):
I never got to meet any of my great-grandparents, but thankfully all four of my grandparents, so I was thrilled when one of my mom's cousins posted this photo to facebook today. This great-grandma and her husband are probably my only two great-grandparents born in Brazil, the other six were all born in Europe (France, Austria and Germany). She is the mother of my dear Grandfather José (I will need to edit that post, some photos are gone!), my mom's dad and I have a feeling she was a very loving woman.

And I'm creating a new label for the blog "Family History" -- I will have to add this label to lots of old posts!

Thursday, January 01, 2015


We finally found the long lost photos!! YAY!!

They were sitting in a big box in the garage for the past nearly five years (it would be five years in April) and since the stuff at the top of the box was pretty irrelevant (old school materials from the boys) I had never bothered to dig inside.

If this is not a GREAT omen for the new year, I don't know what is! ;-) OK, this whole omen thing is baloney, success has more to do with working hard and accomplishing things which is what K and I did today. We finally began the long desired and needed project of cleaning the garage! We had ordered shelving back in November, but obviously hadn't had time to work until today.

In this case, as we say in Brazil, we're staring the year "with the right food" (com o pé direito) -- no resolutions, only action! I hope it continues this way.

I write more about goals for 2015 in another post. I can't believe 2015 is here, that's the reality!
I missed them!