Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brazil in Paris/ Bucket List #25

The "Salon du livre de Paris" ended three five ago and Brazil was the "honored country" with 48 authors represented.

I wish that someday I could go to a prestigious book fair like that, particularly when Brasil or Brazilian authors are being highlighted.

In fact, one of the items in my bucket list* is to go to the Bologna book fair because it's the biggest one in the world for children's literature, particularly for "spreading" children's books around the world through translation. However, I would only like to go if I were there do to serious research or for work.

Hey! I just found out that the Bologna fair starts tomorrow! Sigh... And not only that, but a Brazilian illustrator, Roger Mello, illustrated the cover of their illustrators catalog!

Realistically, I don't think I'll ever go (particularly for work/research), but it doesn't hurt to think about it, right?

I must spend some more time finding out more about those 48 authors that the literary establishment in Brazil deemed worthy of representing the country in Paris. Of course I already know many of them (and have written part of my dissertation on one), but I need to know those that I don't! I already read all the names and even purchased a book by an actress turned author (Fernanda Torres) to check her out.

(I wrote this post last Tuesday and never found a way to finish it, so I'll share it as is now...)

*that I generally don't think much about because most items were checked off back in 2000 when I went to Europe for the first time. YAY! In spite of that, I just created a new label for my "Bucket List" items. I am going to try to randomly list them in the blog!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bank of America is Selling its Customers!


BOFA had sold us to another bank without even intending to close the actual branch that we use in the nearby town just because of our home address! And they were able "to take us out of the sale" (really? wow!) after we explained that that was the location we banked at and that we didn't want to be transferred to this other small bank.

It continues to be slightly puzzling that they hadn't sold my mother-in-law's account, who happens to have the same mailing address! As I've already said, the only thing we can think of is that she pays to have her account and sometimes she has large transactions due to her business.

So problem's been solved & crisis averted, not with some annoying stress. We're still considering ditching BOFA at some point, but for now we're staying put by inertia again (and the convenience of having a bank in which three family members have accounts -- if my BIL doesn't decide to close his account after this brouhaha).

Sigh... back to work on the translation now! I need to finish by May and I'm super energized to keep working now. It's boring, but there's a good paycheck at the end!

Monday, March 23, 2015


Thanks for the suggestion, Dana. I went online and chatted with a bank representative, but it didn't help much. Apparently they notified with a letter a month ago and it seems that it may be too late to keep our account!

What a tremendous hassle and headache! First, having to choose who to bank with (we had our first mortgage with our local Credit Union, Jo(e), but we've never had bank accounts with them, it's a good suggestion), then, after we open a new account, changing all the direct deposit accounts with our employers (we're worried about the timing -- we'll probably still have to receive your next paycheck in BofA), after that, changing payment information on our credit cards (that would be fairly easy, just entering numbers on computer screens).

But I think that I may have to call the gas and electric company and ask them to start sending paper bills again -- e-bills are just so convenient! :-(

Our lives are already overwhelmingly busy as it is, so the timing of this is just awful! :-(

OH, and there's one more detail! My mother-in-law doesn't seem to be affected and the reason why she wasn't affected may be because she pays to have her bank account! She did switch the address on the account to ours, but I think she only gets electronic correspondence from the bank.

If that is really the case, they're literally "throwing out" the accounts that had basically free checking (with a few catches -- direct transfer to savings accounts, for example) and handing them over to the local bank. Sigh...

I'm sorry to bore you to tears with our small baking tale of woe, but I'm actually thankful for the suggestions we received so far. Did that happen to anyone else out there? Let us know! And I hope it won't happen to your family!

How Could Bank of America Sell Our Accounts???

We knew that Bank of America was evil and that we should have left them long ago, but, by inertia, we stayed with it. After all, it was convenient not to do anything and also to have a bank that had branches and ATM most everywhere around the country. But now, it sold our accounts and there's nothing we can do about our bank account of nearly 19 years!! :-(

When we arrived in this country back in 1996 and we rented our first apartment, there was a Bank of Boston in our corner and we gladly opened an account there. Shortly thereafter, BayBank & Bank of Boston merged and it became BankBoston. 1999, Fleet Bank acquired it and the name changed. Lastly, in 2004, right around the time our youngest son was born, Fleet became part of the mammoth Bank of America and we just continued with them. (the Wikipedia entry has all that info, but I remembered most of the dates from our own experience)

A few days ago we received a big envelope in the mail welcoming us (and my brother-in-law) to a local bank and we were... "WHAT in the world???"

Yesterday, our debit cards arrived and today my husband called the bank and got the explanation that our local branches were sold to a local bank (WHAT? We opened our account years and years ago in Massachusetts). We're still working on processing the information and all that this unwelcome change entails, having to throw out all our checkbooks, having to change our bank deposit information with the employers and with all our electronic accounts!

I'm just FLABBERGASTED! This is too much of a hassle and the bank never bothered to send us a letter to warn us of this upcoming change?!

These things are annoying and problematic, but they have a solution. HOWEVER, my brother-in-law who moved to Egypt and changed his mailing address to our house had also had his account transferred and he cannot come here do do anything about that! My mother-in-law also has an account with BofA, but we don't know if her address is here, maybe she didn't change it, because we didn't receive a letter from the local bank on her name.

I've never ever felt more powerless in my life as a banking customer!! Being handed over to a tiny local bank that will charge me for everything without even bothering to let me know!!

Worst company in America, seriously! :-( I wish I were a bigger blogger & had a bigger presence on twitter so I could be heard by them. As if they cared about customers like us. Now we need to either stay with this local bank or go shop around for another bank. I like the convenience of a larger national bank because we travel a lot.

Sigh... As if we weren't bush enough, right?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Personal Shopper

You know, if that was a viable and existent career option, I think I would make an incredible personal shopper! ;-)

Years ago a friend in Brazil would periodically send me some money and a list so I would shop for clothing for her children, a boy and a girl, who are a few months younger than each of my boys and I loved doing that!

Today I had to buy a birthday present for one of my son's classmates who is turning 13 and is throwing a party for the whole class tomorrow. I asked her friends what her favorite color was and texted her mom to find out her size and I had a great time thinking of the girl and picking something that she might like!

Too bad one can't make a living doing something fun like that! 

P.S. I'll share a picture of the outfit later! 
Here it is:
Not my favorite color, that's for sure! ;-) I hope she'll like it!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Milk & Honey

There is a reason behind the fact that "The Promised Land" in the Bible was called the land that flowed Milk and Honey! One of my "favoritest" things to eat is bread (particularly my favorite bread from TJ's) with honey and cream, more specificaly crème fraîche. Yummmmm! If you haven't ever tried, you should! If you can't find crème fraîche you can buy Stonyfield's whole milk plain yogurt (they used to have one with the cream on top, I can't find it online!) :-( and collect the top creamy portion, it's the same thing! Heavenly food! ;-)


Sunday, March 15, 2015

After over 10 hours in the car...

... my 13 year old said, matter-of-factly when we stopped the car in our driveway this evening:

"I like car trips!"

I was sooo happy to hear that and promptly replied, laughing:

"Of course you do! We raised you doing long car trips since you were a baby!"

(and meanwhile I felt very very self-congratulatory, all that driving and traveling long distances both in the U.S. and in Brazil with my parents paid off! ;-)

About that grading

I was supposed to do some grading during Spring Break and I obviously didn't so it! (she says unrepentant)

I did grade some this afternoon in the latter part of our drive home, but didn't start early enough to finish the last page of the 5-page test before it got dark! :-(

We'll be home in about 40 minutes! And my poor husband drove the entire time. While I stressed about the laptop and then about scheduling conflicts in our sons' overbooked lives. Sigh.... 

Still don't know how exactly to solve the scheduling problems, but we'll try!

the switched laptops

We had a good short visit to our family and friends in Canada. 

This morning, shortly before we left, my sister-in-law was wondering if the laptop power cable I was packing into my backpack was hers or mine, so K went upstairs to her bedroom to check if hers was there (it was). So we left. It was snowing a lot and very pretty! 

(I'll add photo later to save data)

When we were four hours into our trip we got a message from my brother-in-law that I'd left my laptop there and that he couldn't find his! Of course not because it was safely stored away in my backpack! :-(

What a problem!!! I immediately panicked because I know it's impossible to mail things to Canada because of taxes and fees. We still don't know if our plan to mail it International Priority through the U.S. Postal service will work. Sigh...

It's not that serious as far as my laptop is concerned, we may be able to wait until April when a friend can hand-deliver it to another friend who lives 1h30 from us, but I haven't heard from them yet re. whether BIL uses the laptop for work or if he urgently needs it. :-( I hope it's not a huge disruption for them! 

What a hassle, right? I hope I'll never ever do this again in my life! :-(

edited to add: no big harm done! we're planning to exchange laptops in April when friends will be driving down to visit family for Easter. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

More than Ready to Travel

This is quite unprecedented for our family!

Having the car mostly packed the night before a long car trip. And the house mostly clean.

I suppose it couldn't be different because K & I are on Spring Break and we've had time to prepare.

As always, I'm not sleeping on the night before the trip. K wants us to leave in only three hours (at 4 am), so even why bother even going to bed?

I'm saying this, but I'll be going soon. I needed to write a couple of emails that I really don't feel like writing, that's why I'm still here.

Blogging, like chocolate, makes everything better, though, so I'm writing this post! ;-)

There are other things to share, such as the sad goodbye to a car of 11 years and a reflective "looking back" post I wanted to write on my rebelliousness, but which maybe I'll never get around to writing.

Being ready to travel is a big milestone, though, one that I'm thrilled about! I just wish the trip would be longer! (we drive tomorrow to Montreal and drive back on Sunday). :-(

Nothing is perfect!

Monday, March 09, 2015


My first baby turned 13 today! I can't believe I'm the mother of a teen!

I'll write more about this later, but I didn't want to neglect to share this today!

Spring Break!!!!!!

I'm on Spring Break!!!


I need to try to get some work done, though, before we travel to Canada Wed. night/Thursday. It's a whirlwind trip coming back Sunday because the boys are NOT on Spring Break, obviously. :-(

I don't want to complain, though, just be happy that I can be here to take frozen ice-cream & crushed oreo "cake" to school -- which makes me the most popular mom for the 7th-8th graders. ;-) And that I can do that precisely on my son's birthday and not tomorrow.

OK, I'll blog about the birthday shortly.


Sunday, March 08, 2015

ADHD forgetfulness sucks Vs. Great Skiing!

Edited to add: I won't delete this whiny post. But I wanted to say that the grumpiness only lasted for about half an hour, thankfully. They did make a mistake in my ski's binding which made me waste over 20 minutes and made my first descent scary (I was afraid the ski could come off) and only possible after my patient husband secured the ski to my boot. So we had a lovely few hours in the slopes after all!*

My family came to ski/snowboard  because of me, but of course, my ski jacket stayed home.

I'm still going to ski, but I have no pockets, not even a zipper to put the tag, and I better not fall, because I will be completely wet! 

How absolutely exasperating!!! Of course part of the problem is that my husband is the person who brought the stuff to the car, but I should have been checking, even if we were super late and in a hurry  to leave the house.

I'm a very unhappy camper right now! :-(

* I forgot to mention in the blog that last Friday was another one of those very unfair days (third one!) in which both my husband and sons had a snow day and I didn't and had to drive 152 miles to teach at University #2. :-( To add insult to injury we had almost 10 inches of snow on Thursday, so the snow was absolutely fantastic Friday & they loved it. :-( That's why we went today, also because it will probably be the last time this year. 

Thursday, March 05, 2015

My New Toy!

I'm a strange girl/woman/wife. Ok, not strange, but maybe unique 'cause I hear that most women don't like to receive "house stuff" & appliances as gifts, but I, on the other hand, not only enjoy it, but sometimes prefer it!

(You see, my husband has a hard time buying gifts for me -- mostly, because, typical guy that he is, he hates shopping with a passion! So, poor guy, he tries to get me pieces of clothing & accessories, but I have very particular taste & one could say I'm a "picky dresser," I suppose. In any case, I often dislike what he buys me, so I like it when he gets me stuff for the house instead, I really do!)*

All of this to say that I'm thrilled with the new "toy" I got, a Vitamix! (There was a promotion at Costco & I also used the money back certificate they send every year, so it was half off!)

Today I used it for the same time to make Tortilla and it was great! (except that I forgot to crank it up to high & it didn't get as hot as it should have, obviously!). Here are the photos! 
I added avocados to mine! It was yummy!

Do you have a Vitamix or some other power blender? We had the Ninja, but it was bad, not good at all. I'm thrilled with our new toy! 

Fresh almond milk, YAY!

* it's a completely different story to receive gifts of clothing from women. I generally like them and wear everything, particularly items that my mom, my SILs and my MIL get for me. I guess women "get" other woke more easily. 

Guess who's coming home tonight?

Yes! My husband!!! 

I just hope his flight won't be delayed & that it won't be too difficult for him to dig the car out of the snow with no shovel! :-(

I'll keep you posted.

ETA 3:40 pm -- he's flying now & will and early! YAY!

5:26 (early!) he landed, still snowing there 

6:30 he hadn't reached the car yet. Call cut off, I think his phone died :-( 

lost post

I dictated a post to the phone today. 

It was about being a bad writer & it was important to me.

I didn't save it as a draft & lost it.

I'm sad. :-(  but I'll write it again...

Monday, March 02, 2015

Speed Grading!

On the upside, I graded 32 five-page exams from 10 pm last night to 11 am today!

I did grade a bunch of them while my other students were doing an exam and in between classes, but I got it done! Students had taken the exam a week ago, so I really needed to return them.

Now I have 20 more to grade… plus 50  exam rubrics that I need to complete and return to them. And then… I won't have any grading left to do spring break!

Alright, that's not true, that's for university number two, for the other one I will have a bunch of exams that I'm giving this Thursday, But that's okay!

I have to drive home now to pick up my son and so I'll publish this now so I won't be blogging while driving again!

Academic Single Parenting

Once, sometimes twice, a year my husband goes to a conference and I have to be a single parent for a week. Saying that I don't look forward to those weeks is an understatement!


This time, I even let my son's teacher know about it, so he could maybe cut us some slack! Because two ADHD-ers in the house can be a recipe for disaster!

Ignorance is bliss and sometimes I miss the years in which I didn't know that both me and my son have ADHD...

Alright, I'm driving to work now but I need to blog as a coping mechanism! More later!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Homemade Pippi Longstocking

Last night I went to a "Carnevale" department party and dressed as an improvised Pippi Longstocking. Apart from the lack of red hair, it was not too bad, wais it?
Selfie in the bathroom so you can see the pipe-cleaner enhanced braids better:
I have a feeling Bright * will like these. She can be a great Alice in Wonderland!

What a Week!/ A Mother's Greatest Fear

Friends who follow me on facebook will already know, but this was a horribly stressful week for our family!

On Tuesday afternoon an incredibly anxious message popped into my husband's family's WhatsApp group on my phone. It was from my sister-in-law who lives in Egypt and she exclaimed:

"Does anyone know what happened to Thata?! Deni posted something on facebook!" [Thata is my husband cousin's Deni's wife]

I went to facebook and saw that cousin Deni had posted an urgent, if vague, request for prayers for his wife, who was hospitalized in the ICU (Deni is a church pastor). You can see multiple photos of his wife Thaise in her website here. She's a freelance photographer, 30 years old and mother of two young children, a girl who is three and a boy who is nine months old!

The replies from my in-laws came quickly and were devastatingly scary. "She's in the ICU, they replied, she had a horrible headache and they did an MRI and she has a tumor in her brain!" We were not supposed to share the details with other people, but I immediately posted a request for prayers/thoughts in my facebook feed.

The next day (Wednesday) Deni shared on fb that she was undergoing a surgical procedure and I also shared with my friends, while receiving more detailed updates from my in-laws on my phone. The doctors decided to do a procedure to drain fluid from her brain to alleviate the pressure of the foreign growth. It was successful and we breathed more easily.

Word came from my in-laws about the fact that the growth didn't seem to be malignant, and that it wasn't in the brain, but in the cerebellum, which was good news (not too much would be affected afterwards in case of surgery). Of course we knew that it could still be bad news (i.e. cancer) and that she would have to have surgery.

On Thursday morning Deni wrote a long post on facebook revealing more details -- the his wife was going to undergo a very dangerous brain surgery that afternoon for a tumor in the cerebellum. He expressed incredible confidence and said he had surrendered the life of his wife to God and wanted that His will be done. It was a truly moving post that made me cry.

Mid-afternoon he posted an update saying that she had just gone into surgery and included a heartbreaking photo of his baby son sleeping. I know that I and thousands of other people in Brazil and around the world couldn't think of anything else for the next several hours, except of Thata's surgery and we were all praying that it would all go well. In the meantime, my in-laws shared privately that before the surgery the surgeons had concluded it didn't seem to be a tumor, but a blood clot, good news again!

Sometime after 10 pm Deni posted on facebook that the surgery had been a total success and that Thata had already woken up and he had talked to her! He also revealed that apparently the doctors had removed a blod clot and not a tumor.

On Friday & yesterday she was already eating and walking and it seems that she is going to be released from the ICU today. We are still waiting for the biopsy results, but hoping it will be good news again!
    ~  ~  ~         ~  ~  ~
Years ago I wrote for the first time about my greatest fear as a mother: dying and leaving my sons motherless. I wrote about it again almost precisely (by a day!!) a year later, and think that this fear is slowly getting weaker as my sons grow. This week I feared for Thaise's children, though, as did every family member and friend who knows them! I hope that this was just a horrible scare and that these beautiful children will have their mother for years and years to come.