Thursday, April 30, 2015

11 Years Ago Today! A Toddler, a Minivan, and... ? :-)

... a HUGELY pregnant lady  -- who happened to have precisely ONE MORE MONTH to endure being hugely pregnant, (good thing I didn't know back then that it would be a full month!).

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a sad post about saying goodbye to our minivan and then I remembered that we bought it eleven years ago and went to look for these photos to share them in the blog! I probably will delete or crop some of them later (don't want to show my face in the blog anymore), but I wanted to share them. It's so sad to see our now gone minivan so shiny and new (to us)! :-(

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I'm posting this June 2006 sequence of photos for my friend Lu because her son has a similar umbrella And she shares a cute photo earlier this week in fbook. Hope you like it Lu!
It's crazy to think it's easier to crop & edit photos on my phone than it is in my PC... Sigh.. I emailed them to myself and edited them on the phone and I'm also wiring the post from my phone. That's our "brave new world" -- tiny computers at our fingertips, not genetic engineering and safe drugs. ;-)

The Beginning of Summer Freedom (and Penilessness)

My last class at U#2 was Monday and my last one at U#1 will be tomorrow. But I still have five exams to give and grade (three starting tomorrow, two next week on Wed & Th), that's why I'm saying this is "the beginning" of my summer break, but not quite yet.

rant coming:

It's really, really irritating that people (acquaintances) always make a point of saying that teachers/professors have "all this time off" in the summer. I tell every single one of those commenters that, sure, it's great to have time off, but I also don't get paid a penny and I'm pretty much "unemployed" in the summer. And since my kids are off school, it's hard for me to get a job (which would probably be teaching a language class somewhere -- Ive given up offering summer classes here at U#2 -- no students register).

Another reason why I cannot get a summer job (because of the kids) is that my husband, who is the "real" (tenure track) professor has to work all summer because that's when he can get research done, grants written, etc. Most importantly, his students do research and he needs to supervise them  -- even if he has no grant and no summer salary to speak of like it happened last year and this year. He can take two- three weeks off in August (and a few days here and there), but he's busy the rest of the summer. If I ever get to have a "real" job too, I'm also supposed to be writing and doing research all summer too -- hopefully I can get grants and go travel and do research somewhere, but it's not "free" time -- it's research and work time!

So, yeah... hopefully someday I'll have a real job and maybe even summer job or a research grant summer thing... something! Someday! In the meantime I just have to resign myself for not having a paycheck until the end of August and the very end of September (U#2). I get pretty sad when I get my last paycheck in May -- it's pretty depressing. Sigh...

I know, first world problems. I know I'm lucky I at least have a 9 month a year job, right? or two  almost-jobs...

The "Cruellest Month" is Ending

Sometimes I think T.S. Eliot is right, but it's only when my mood doesn't match the beauty of Spring or when it's too cold and it feels like actual Spring and Summer will never come. Apart from that, I love Spring!

and also, forgive me for using words from a poem that have become more of a cliché than an actual literary reference (sigh...) this happens to many literary works, doesn't it? but I was an English major (In Brazil, no less) and studied this poem in class, if that brings any legitimacy to my usage...

I'm happy to see the month end, though, and for teaching to end as well (I have a half written post about this which I hope to post before the end of the day -- I have a scheduled "photo" post for tomorrow, how silly is that?). But whenever a month or a year ends I feel this gentle tug of nostalgia in my life, a feeling that something is over and I'll never live it again. This feeling is stronger in Spring because the flowers don't last long and they make me simultaneously happy and sad -- that in itself is cruel.

Oh well... I had more to say, but I need to get ready to go cook lunch at my sons' school. More later.

I'll come back to add some flower photos later, OK?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Under a Rock? (or a bottle?)

HA! I'd never heard of The Bottle Boys until today! I guess I was living under a rock or something...

Anyway, it's pretty cool what these Danish guys have been doing for the past 9 years, they even have a single on iTunes now. Good  for them!

A couple of clips from their YouTube Channel, Coldplay's Viva la Vida (it features the Sugarloaf mountain cable car in Rio de Janeirio, Brasil!) and Michael Jackson's Billie Jean (the video a friend posted to Facebook today:

Monday, April 27, 2015

My "Baby" is Back!

I think I'm doing pretty OK in the "Letting go" department, especially because in this trip, Kelvin called me 5-6 times and texted me quite a bit, including a photo! ;-) Communicating with him more often made the separation easier to bear, especially after I talked to some other parents in church and they told me they had barely heard from their own kids!

I did miss him, though, and I was sad not to be home when he got back last night, 4 days +12h after leaving. So I was actually apart from him for 5 days and a few hours. I walked into his classroom this afternoon before his robotics meeting and got to talk to him a bit and give him a hug. I was so thrilled to see him and pleased that he seemed glad to see me too. We couldn't talk much, but he asked for a water bottle and I was more than happy to go to the car to get mine and fill it with cold water. Then I picked him up 1.5 hour later and drove him to and from soccer practice -- he generally bikes, since it's at a park half a mile from our house, but today he wanted a ride.

We haven't had time to talk because he has lots of homework, but I hope to talk to him more about the trip in the next few days and take time to watch the goofy videos he made. K thought it was good that I wasn't here yesterday because he thinks that the "re-entry" is difficult for Kelvin and that he needs lots of space to acclimate back home. I understand that, but at the same time, I was in touch with him through the trip so I don't think I would/will have much trouble reconnecting. Actually, after I had finished writing this post (before publishing it) I spent about half an hour talking to Kelvin and even watching some of the videos!

I hope we'll always have a strong bond, my sons and I. I think we already do. Four and three years of breastfeeding, respectively for Kel & L, help. I love to interact with them, to buy books for them and read the same books and talk about them, to encourage their interests and try to understand at least a little bit although I really don't care much for Clash of Clans or Minecraft and, even less, Nintendo's Mario games (sigh...). I also love to hear them practice piano or just play for fun and, on occasion, to play with them. Most of all, though, I love to just cuddle with my boys in the couch and laugh and share funny stories.

Being a mother was one of my biggest desires in life and my sons are the greatest, most precious gift I've ever received. I hope to take good care of them and educate them so they can be even greater gifts to the world, caring, generous, and loving human beings.

OK, I was looking at old photos of the kids this weekend, motivated by a cute frog umbrella photo a friend of mine posted on facebook (my sons had a similar umbrella and I had some cute photos), so here are some old photos of Kelvin (I totally got carried away in looking at his baby photos! We only got a digital camera when he was 14 months, so some of these are scanned):
About 6 months old (scanned photo)
About 9 months (taken with video camera, very low resolution)
11 months old (2003) - taken with video camera too
I took this sequence of photos by our bedroom window one afternoon after he'd woken up from a nap. I couldn't decide which one to include, so I have all three because I LOVE these photos! (they were cropped and "enhanced" for his first birthday party power point)
I think this is my favorite of the three...
Almost one (in 2003) -- also a scanned photo
taken on 03/09/03 (by a friend with a digital camera!) at Kelvin's first birthday party!

Very first photo with our very first digital camera! 5/28/2003 --> DSC00001 :-)
Taken in Colorado in June 2003

In a Central Park West playground, Aug. 06 - 4 years old

Friday, April 24, 2015

Shopping all done!

Edited to add: on Saturday evening I found out I was NOT all done and I had to run to the grocery store ('cause Costco was closed!) :-( to buy more flounder... sigh... Now it's Sunday morning and I hope I won't forget anything at home!! That would be a disaster. Sigh...

Finally my shopping is all done for all that cooking that I'm doing this Sunday!

(I know you won't believe it but it's true!!! when I said cooking to my phone it interpreted it as cocaine -- twice, including this paragraph! So I guess even my phone knows that cooking is a drug for me!!! ;-)

This semester I was not as organized as I usually am, so I shopped here and there but nothing very purposeful until earlier this week and today. I hope I haven't forgotten anything! In the past two semesters I forgot one item and had to stop at the supermarket on my way to the dinner location. :-(

Enjoy your weekend everyone! Mine will be full of cooking (The phone got the word wrong again!) and grading.

A Joke that's NOT a Joke

I googled my name yesterday. I do that periodically to make sure that my name is not connected to this blog, but this time I was thinking of the job that I am applying for soon.

My dissertation and academic work is not showing up much anymore, which is something I need to work on, but on the front page, there was a result from a data mining site which made me laugh and laugh and kind of cry while laughing because it is that depressing! 

It disclosed my salary and compared it to other employees of the same institution and in the whole state. And the main point was that mine was one of the lowest salaries paid by the institution, nearly 20K less than the average, and still very low statewide. 

I laughed and laughed and then I saw that they also listed salaries of other lower paid employee here (I'm at U#2 now) and that they were all cleaning personell (custodians). That didn't stop my laughter, but made me a tad depressed...

I still couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, at the officious language of this site that told the truth of my life in such a matter-of-fact way. Sigh...

I can only hope this can change someday! Hopefully soon!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hope, Hope, Hope!

Hope is an insidious feeling and I'm hesitant to embrace it, but maybe I should. 

I just had three very encouraging 
conversations with three colleagues, one of which may actually be the chair of the search committee for the position I'm applying to. I have known her for five years thanks to my friendship with a (former) blogger! Small world, right? 

I'm taking all the steps to secure good letters of reccommendation and support and I'm getting really excited about this application.

Let's all hope my friends and I won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Long Overdue Confession: Cooking for People is my Drug of Choice

I know it's crazy language I'm using, but it's the only explanation I can find. I'm a junkie and it's a good thing that "my drug of choice" won't really kill me (only make me exhausted) and it actually makes people very happy.

BTW, this post is brought to you thanks to Jo(e)'s comment to my previous post. I've been meaning to make this confession forever, Jo(e), and I guess this time is as good as any other! ;-)

The statement from the title comes from February 2013, at a church retreat: it was close to midnight and I was in the kitchen making a HUGE bowl of salsa from scratch (pretty useless task, BTW, considering that it was winter & my friends in charge of the food had bought the cheaper horrid big tomatoes that are harvested green and hard and, therefore have no taste -- I personally only use Roma tomatoes from Mexico that Costco sells). Thankfully, my friend Matt was helping me and when someone came down to check on us, it finally dawned on me and I blurted out, quite cheerfully, to whoever was there: "Cooking for people is my drug of choice, that's why I'm here preparing this salsa!"

The truth is, Jo(e), I've been cooking for 50 or more people for years and years... it started back in college when we had spiritual retreats with our friends from the university. The first retreat, back in 1992 had only about 35 people, so it wasn't that hard to cook for that many people with my friends' help. Our last retreat in 1995, however, (after I was already married, before we moved to the U.S.), had between 50-60 people and I prepared the menu, shopped and cooked for everyone all by myself as always (with some minor help from everyone who was divided up in shifts).

And that was in Brazil, so we had no prepared foods of ANY kind (such as canned beans or fruit & veggies), everything prepared from scratch -- all vegetarian meals. And people brought their own plates, cups, and utensils from home -- no disposables, great for the environment!  Sample lunch menu: rice, veggie stroganoff, tabouleh salad, fruit juice, Brazilian carrot cake (simple yellow cake made with carrots blended into the batter with chocolate topping). For such a meal, plus some items for breakfast and dinner, I cooked for over 11 hours straight one Friday.

I no longer have that much energy (see? that's when hyperactivity comes in very very handy, plus hyperfocus from my ADHD -- I've always found useful ways to harness my super-powers and the most useful way has always been cooking!), but I can still cook a meal from scratch for 50+ people. That's how I do it, it's not that complicated -- and it's a gluten free meal too! Once I brought a meal for 40 students and they ate it there in the cramped classroom. I just absolutely love to cook for my students.

The menu of this Brazilian meal I cook for students is relatively simple (photos for most everything below): pão de queijo (sour tapioca starch cheese rolls), rice & beans -- Brazilian style; moqueca (Brazilian fish stew with palm oil and coconut milk) and tofu moqueca; OPTIONAL: friend cassava [yucca or manic], "farofa" (a toasted manioc flour "stuffing-like" side-dish); desserts: passion fruit mousse, sometimes cornmeal cake with guava paste pieces; Romeu & Julieta = guava paste + fresh cheese and/or a flan (which we call "pudim").
It doesn't look that great, but it tastes good!
pão de queijo - cheese rolls

Tofu moqueca
Romeu & Julieta :-)
bolo de fubá - cornmeal cake with guava paste
pudim - flan
I prepare the cheese rolls days ahead of time and freeze (I always have help from friends rolling them). What I also make ahead of time: I cook the beans, marinate the fish & tofu in garlic and salt, and chop all the veggies (all colors of sweet peppers). I prepare the cake & flan ahead too. On the day of the dinner I prepare the mousse, the juices, cook the rice, bake the cheese rolls, and assemble the moqueca. I always have help from several students, so it's not that bad -- except if I'm frying the yucca, that takes a long time.

I'm not very proud of myself because of this addiction, though, because I have a hard time cooking day to day meals for my family, I need to have the "external motivation" to cook for other people, sometimes even random strangers. The motivation is less than ideal, since the high I get from people's satisfaction with the food is pretty awesome. ;-) I do crash exhausted afterwards. Oh, and I hardly eat a bite, I'm always so stressed out and neurotic.

The students' thankfulness and reaction to the fact that I cook for them is worth it. Always.

Shouldn't they give me a job just based on the fact that I cook for students? I wish!!!

Trying to Cope...

The mental upheaval that comes with making a decision that could change the future in a significant manner (or not) is hard to cope with. At least for me!

I'm a bit surprised & taken aback at how much soul-searching happens when one applies for a job when one already has a job (however bad as is my case). I shouldn't be surprised because I've gone through this before (unlike my blog friend What Now? who wrote a few months back that this was a new experience to her), but every time is different.

What I'm beginning to fear now is the sheer disappointment I imagine I'll feel if I do NOT get the position I'm applying for and thinking so much about (it was tough for What Now? too). All those feelings mixed up with grieving and having to go through what could be my very last weeks at U#2.

So... I'm trying to cope and, in the meanwhile, things are extremely hectic.

Yesterday I drove back from U#2, did some quick grocery shopping and cooked dinner for six of my students. Today, I had to cook at my kids' school in place of my dear friend who had major surgery last week (a hysterectomy, though ovaries were left intact) -- I will also cook next week, the day before I volunteer to cook spaghetti as a fundraiser for my son's class.

If that weren't enough, next Sunday I'll cook for my students (30 + people and maybe 10+ of the other professor's students), but today I found out that an invitation had been sent-out to a listserv on campus that has 70 people on it!!! I asked them to RSVP and I've already received 7 confirmations. I cannot believe that I may be actually cooking all by myself for 50-70 people because my colleague sent out this announcement without telling me.

(if that was the only thing this colleague/boss had done without consulting me this semester, that'd be ok, but it wasn't -- GRRRRR -- see why I don't really feel remorseful or sad in leaving?)

and there's more that I've been thinking about, but really I need to do some grading tonight.

My apologies for not being a "happy camper" at the moment. Even I can't stand my own grumpiness! :-(

officially signed

Just a quick note to say that I received the offer of full-time employment for one more year at U#2 and I accepted. And I got an apologetic and appreciative (if much too late) email from the department chair. Compared to last year's nightmare I can certainly appreciate this and it's very ironic that I'm not really happy about this now...

It felt very strange to sign that piece of paper because, obviously, I don't really want to teach there anymore if I can get the other job. I am worried about them having to find a replacement for me at such short notice, but I'm anticipating it will feel good to tell them I've accepted the offer, but have a better one (is that very bad??).

Friday, April 17, 2015

"Smart" Parents

My mom had big news for me on our phone call this evening -- my parents just bought a Sony smart phone in Brazil. Mom said that my dad was so excited about it that he didn't even think twice about spending the money  (something rare/exceptional for him) ;-) Dad has an iPad, but this is their first legit smart phone! Now we can have a family group in WhatsApp like my husband's family! ;-) 

My mom sounded happy about it, and a bit mystified at my dad's actions -- he also just bought this super expensive mattress that has some magnets inside or something. They really do need another mattress,'but he did that purchase almost on a whim. My mom was commenting that it's funny how apparently he doesn't think twice before spending on big ticket items. :-)

P.S. my parents are traveling to the Middle East and to Europe with us this summer, so they really don't have any money to spare right now, but they're paying for these in monthly installments (that's how people pay for things in Brazil).  

Peace, Gone

Just like that! :-( I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it in a blog post that I was finally at peace with my work situation... Sigh...

A disclaimer: I know everything will be for the best in the end, whatever happens (or doesn't happen), but I still feel anxious, out of sorts, unsettled and many other feelings, including grieving in advance for what could change. I wish I could help feeling this way. Sigh... 

(Hopefully I'll feel better in a few days, but "peace" again only after it's all resolved).

I'm sorry for the "suspense," but I want to give some of the context & background for this and share some of the things that have recently transpired.

K and I have what's called in academic circles "the two body problem," i.e. we both have PhDs and it's very hard for the two of us to find permanent employment in the same university. This didn't really bother me as much as it bothered K and two years ago, when he found out that his doctoral advisor had moved back to India because of this very problem, he became very very worried.

Then just a month ago he received the news that his closest colleague who has an office next door to his and with whom he collaborates in research is leaving. He found another position at an university that will also hire his wife who just finished her law degree. This news send K for a few days on a slightly frantic search for possible positions for me (and even for him), just to see what kind of jobs were out there that we could maybe pursue in the future.

He actually momentarily considered applying for a position in California because the small university in question also had a position in my area. He had already been consulted to work there before, back in 2004 and in 2007. However, the ad for the position in my area was taken down, nobody responded to my emails, and while I fretted and "lost my peace" for a few days because of this crazy possibility of wo tenure-track positions for us, it died down.

Well, well, well! Last night I went to a talk and met with some colleagues afterwards. Then, suddenly one of them looked at me and had a sudden realization! Two weeks ago this tenured faculty person suddenly resigned and my friend was thinking that I could be the perfect person to replace this person! My friends "wildly" talked about having me go straight to the dean and do a cold call and gave some other suggestions.

When I got home I promptly went online to look for the faculty person that had left and I discovered that the department had already posted a job ad for a visiting professor to replace this person. This job is pretty much precisely in my area of doctoral work. However, it is for a one year non-renewable position in my husband's university (where I have already been teaching language for five years). 

The conclusion? There is no way I cannot apply for this job. No way! It's a risky proposition, but it is also a chance to maybe get a permanent job in the future. It's a very "iffy" chance, however, because they will obviously do a search for a tenure-track person next year, and I have a strong feeling that they will not want to hire their temporary visiting professor for that position.

Sigh... What would you do if you were in my situation? I have decided to apply, but I am risking losing everything pretty much in this "gamble!" At the end of this year U#2 (who will have to scramble to replace me last minute) Will probably not be back, and they will have to beg around U#1 to let me continue in a full-time position.

Important note: my husband's university is pretty notorious for not doing a good job in spousal hiring for faculty retention.

Well, now you know what's going on. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Longer in this House than in Any Other

Five years ago next week, in April 2011 we bought and moved to this house and I just realized that we've lived one year longer here than in the three previous houses we owned.

First one in MA
Feb. 2001-July 2004:
about 900 sq. feet
Second one in PA:
(where I started this blog!)
July 2004-Aug 2007:
about 1300 sq. ft.
Third one, also in PA
(our "Old New House" -- there are 25 posts in that label, including this one. The most fun is the before and after pics post)
Aug 2007-June 2010:
over 2500 sq. ft. (too big!)
Fourth & current house, "New 'Country' House" - very few lame posts on this label, I should change that!
We moved on Easter weekend, 2011 (April 21-24):
1700 sq. ft. (ok)
I guess that this constant moving is the reason why we have a minor itch to move to another one now. ;-)

P.S. To be 100% honest I don't like any of these houses (the outside particularly). I simply hate how houses are built on most of this country. I think they are a bit better looking in FL and out West, but still, it's one of those things that as an immigrant I will never get over and won't ever get 100% used to. I like the houses of Brazil. I've been photographing some of them for years and someday I'll post some of those photos to the blog!

A Sad Goodbye to our (Formerly) Trusty Odyssey Minivan

Back on Wednesday, March 11, we had to say goodbye to our van after it got a rejected sticker after inspection. My husband wrote this moving eulogy to his family's WhatsApp group and posted the photo below. I translated and also shared she text in Portuguese. I always lovey husband's writing!

Today was the day of goodbye. Our dear Honda  Odyssey, that took us all the way from "North to South" of the U.S. is gone. It traveled more than 200 thousand miles on the roads, [in] more than 10 years of service. Its seats carried out family comfortably all these years. Now, corroded by time and tired by long journeys, time has come to recycle it.  

At the end, as a thank you note for having served our family for so long, we received 220 dollars. A dollar for each thousand miles of service. 

Hoje foi o dia do adeus. A nossa querida Honda Odyssey, que nos levou do 'Oiapoque ao chuí' ianques se foi. Foram mais de 200 mil milhas de estrada, mais de 10 anos de serviço. Os seus assentos carregaram confortavelmente nossa família todos esses anos. Agora, corroída pelo tempo e  cansada de longas jornadas, chegou a hora de se reciclar.

Ao final, como nota de agradecimento por ter servido a nossa família por tanto tempo, recebemos 220 dólares pela sua aposentadoria: um dólar para cada mil milhas de serviço.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Suspense is Over (work next year)

So... they aren't going to open a three year position after all.


But instead of waiting until later in the summer, they are telling me now that they're renewing my puny one year contract.

Better than nothing/not having the job, right?

Yeah... it is.


And I'm glad that the suspense is over and I can plan for next year in peace.

I Dislike Rainy Days

Unless I can stay in bed for as long as I like & lounge at home all day.
Because having to get out of the car to go teach in a gray rainy day like today is just sad... 

Sigh... Can't wait to go back home (if only I didn't have to get gas & groceries before I can do that!) Another sigh...  ;-)

Reminder to Self!

Never, ever, under any circumstances, decide just "to take a quick nap" on the couch around 9 PM.

Unless it your plan is to sleep there until past 1 am, being too sleepy and unable to get up when your spouse tries to wake you up so you can go sleep in your bed... 

Not worth it! By the time you manage to make it to bed (after brushing teeth) you won't sleep well the rest of the night! :-(

Friday, April 10, 2015

He didn't change his mind...

... So he came with us to my aunt's house. 

He's still sleeping on a mattress on the floor, but he's got actual covers and doesn't need to sleep inside the sleeping bag (which he dislikes, much like his mother ;-) . Most importantly, it's quiet and there's just mom & dad in the room here, not about 20 other boys & two teachers! 

He did have a good time, but was glad to see us! Finally, he's not very pleased about these blog posts, but I told him I was letting him know about the posts, but not changing them. I try to blog very rarely and as vaguely as I can about my younger son and I think this particular anecdote illustrates very well the point of my previous post. 

And I think that for some children, it's also hard to let go of the parents and of the familiarity of home!

Slowly Letting Go

Two and a half years ago, my husband gave me a stern warning on the eve of the day our eldest son left for three days away at camp for "outdoor education." He said that our 10 year old fifth grader would come back a completely different person. I was truly apprehensive, but that didn't really happen, although my husband did say that Kelvin didn't want to give daddy a hug when he went to pick him up. The process was much more gradual.

Kelvin is now 13 and he has been on a second outdoor ed, he spent a full week away traveling with the bell choir last spring (during which he called me exactly 4 times with this new cell phone), and now, he's not only going to travel for a week with the bells once more, but fly across the country with the robotics team to compete in California!

This past Fall, his 10-year-old brother went to his first outdoor ed and both of them are going to be away for two days at a music festival starting this afternoon (the reason for this post!). It still feels strange to have the house all to ourselves, or with only one child (for now, L should join the bell choir next year), but it's good practice to the empty nest that's a few years down the road!

My own parents allowed me and my brother, aged 12 and 9 travel for a few days with a choir back in 1983, and those trips were very memorable. Most importantly, I will never forget my first long trip with our band in my freshman year of high school, back in 1987. It was an amazing trip to the state of Goiás in Brazil that included a visit to the country's capital (Brasília, my first time there) and my first (and so far only time) at this amazing hot springs resort called "Pousada do Rio Quente" (Hot River Inn).

Going back to that resort, that now has a water park (Hot Park) and an artificial hot water beach, is one of the items in my bucket list!

Later on I/we had many unforgettable trips with our choir, but this wasn't meant to be a post about me, it's about my children and I'm going to end it in a bittersweet note (having spent most of the day today [Thursday] writing his post).

At 10 pm the phone rang. It was my 10 year old, calling from his teachers's phone. His first words to me?

"Mom, I didn't want to be here! I don't like it!  It's crazy! It's 10 o'clock and the kids are still going crazy!"

My dear boy. Always doing everything in such a proper way! He basically takes himself to bed every night at the same time, only calling me to tuck him in.

I could hear the noise of the other kids in the background, but my husband told me that I needed to be reassuring and not to pity him, protective "mama hen" style, so I did. I told him that everything would be ok and that eventually the kids would quiet down and he would be able to go to sleep. I hope he did and I'll know how it went tomorrow night. He already asked to spend the night with us at my aunt's house, but maybe by tomorrow he'll have changed his mind. Let's see!

Two years ago when we got there on Friday Kelvin acted pretty "cool" towards us, only happy to see us because his air mattress was deflated and we'd brought him another one. 

I hope my younger son will be feeling better tomorrow night! I'll let you know! Yeah... Letting go, like parenting in general, is definitely not for the faint of heart! 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

My laptop is back!

We picked it up last Saturday from the friend who had come from Canada to visit his brother & family. I was really glad to have it back! 

And I bought an aqua case for it and a rainbow keyboard cover! I don't ever want to get it mixed up with another laptop!!

Longest Chapter (Mostly) Done!

And now for some good news for a change.

I think the end is in sight for the never-ending translation job and now my husband can stop doubting that I can possibly finish this job by my self-imposed deadline of May!

I was reading all the posts in the "Translating" label (linked to above) that I created last year because of this job and I had to laugh at the post when I wrote about buying the desktop and saying that I'd spend "a few weeks" working on it. I started this translation over 8 months ago and I won't finish for another month or month and a half.

It's truly a "humongous" project, worth every penny they're paying me. Good thing I'm comfortable with the amount because it truly is labor intensive.

Now, back to work!

BOFA: Apparently we're OK, but still...


It's just because we need to be given tiny jolts of adrenaline once in a while, I suppose, to keep us awake, ;-P but apparently the account was taken out of the sale.

There's only one phone number at the bank that gives us this information, however... (and yesterday K had received a notification of the transfer upon logging into his account, -- I never got that -- but today it's gone).

At least this will buy us some time to get the state tax return (600), pay the federal tax we owe (1,500+) and then decide which course of action to take as far as our day-to-day banking is concerned.

So, taxes are done! One more chore out of the way.We need to make sure to pay more to the government next year, lest we want to pay again.

(we've never done our taxes with a CPA, I wonder: would it cost more or less than 100 and would we get more back possibly? any thoughts?)

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Bank of America Fiasco is Still Ongoing! :-(

How outrageous and annoying!! :-(

Apparently the problem was NOT solved as we thought it was and Bank of America has really sold our accounts to a tiny local bank. We'll call them tomorrow morning once more, but it looks like they told us we could keep our accounts and everything was ok, but it seems they flat out lied. Sigh...

In spite of the fact that the branch we use is NOT closing.

I think we're done with BOFA and we're probably going to open an account with our mortgage holder (Wells Fargo) tomorrow.

As if we weren't busy enough...


P.S. and K is really annoyed that it's getting more expensive every year to file our taxes online (100 this year). And how do we file taxes not even knowing if we're still going to have our bank account when the return comes?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

25 Years!!!

Twenty-Five years ago K and I became a couple!!

I'll add some links later, for now I just wanted to mark the date!

Edited to add  (on 4/9)
OK, here are the links:

Some of the story of the Day we Met (March 30, 1990) and the Day We Became a Couple, written in 2006, sixteen years later.

Most every year after that I posted about it and linked to those posts, so I won't include those "secondary" links.
     ~    ~ ~    ~
For the academic blogger, linking is like writing footnotes/endnotes and providing bibliographic references. Fun Stuff!! :-P

Food (for Thought)

Three weeks ago, on March 18, I shopped at two places, a book "outlet" and a grocery store, and I had to take these photos to share on the blog. My husband is used to me taking photos of everything with the excuse of posting to the blog, but he did think I was crazy when he saw this when he got home from work (click on photos to enlarge beautifully):
We're trying to be mostly vegan at home and the grocery shopping reflects that. Some weeks (like this week), I buy yogurt [which you can actually see in the photo!] and cheese and, to my husband's chagrin, we don't stay "plant strong" (as the folks from the Forks Over Knives facebook group like to say).

I went to the book "outlet" because my son and I are about to start reading The Giver and I knew they had two of the three sequels. Then I bought some poetry, a few classics and some non-fiction/realistic fiction for my young son who doesn't like fiction. As for the audio-book [book on CDs] up top, it was on clearance and I'm absolutely loving it (I'll blog about it separately).

OK, more about both food and books later!!

Sunday, April 05, 2015


My silence is not exactly on purpose
Words fail me lately because I feel overwhelmed
By the uncertainty of future work
(At times by the uncertainty of the future. period.)
Some days struggling, the next ones in peace
Then momentarily "freaking out" again
Even though I know I should not worry

My silence is not entirely on purpose
I am busy or, after busy days with hours of driving,
Tired, physically and mentally
Exhausted and sleepy, thinking of writing, but
Only reading (or listening to books in the car) instead
The urgency of writing and sharing mostly gone
Since nobody seems to read anymore
(or at least to comment)

I write for myself, though,
So the silence must be broken
Words are therapeutic and heal
Or at least help make sense
Of thoughts and feelings

So here I am, breaking the silence,
Trying to find the words again
Because I must

Words are have been my friends
And when they fail me it hurts
& I don't like this dulling pain,
So I use them again

(even though what hurts the most is the keen awareness that I'm not as good with words as I wish I'd be
that, for me, is the heartbreaking part.
I write because I must, but with a painful sense of failure already)

that's why this will be unfinished
I hope to finish by living