Tuesday, November 28, 2017

When you think you wrote something...

... and then can't find it.

I thought I'd blogged it, so I looked in my archives this year (easy peasy because, hello! only 62 posts, the most depressing number ever), part of last year (wow, what a depressing year 2016 was!) and came up empty.

It may be in my journal somewhere, that's what I'm hoping. If it is maybe I'll even post a photo.

Yesterday a former blogger I really like* and who often posts funny things on facebook that all her really cool friends comment on and we always have great interactions in the comment sections couldn't sleep and wrote a post with chapters of a "book" of self-condemnation items. People chimed in with chapter titles and appendices and what not, and I wrote a comment outlining my own very sad book of regrets & other negative things.

However, a while back -- a few months? half a year? a year? I was feeling like literally writing such a list of negative things, but I stopped myself and wrote a list of the things I'm best of.

That's what I'm looking for. I'll go look in my journal, maybe it's there.

* and one of a select group of bloggers I met several times in person, in her case and two others because of LLL!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Headed to the Big Apple!

We're headed to NYC later today. It's going to be the second time we stay in Manhattan.

The first time was only for ONE NIGHT and it was December 30, 2001 -- right after 9/11 and when I was heavily pregnant with my eldest son. We went to NYC with my husband K's three brothers, K2 and his wife, K3 and his girlfriend, and K4 who was still single then.

On Dec. 31st we stood in line for many hours to see ground zero with our very own eyes. :-( And while we were there, Rudy Giuliani and his girlfriend came to pay a visit on his last day in office. We took photos. Yuck, Giuliani!

Anyway... we ALMOST went to see the ball drop in Times Square, but I had a silly old backpack (I was pregnant and needed water & snacks) which I didn't want to toss in the trash -- maybe I should have?  So we drove back up to Massachusetts while K3 (who had his own car) and his girlfriend stayed behind to see it.

We're staying in a hotel close to the Brooklyn bridge. We are wondering if the cheaper prices downtown have anything to do with the latest terrorist attack (that unfortunately killed 5 Argentine men from Rosario, my dear Argentine graduate school friend's hometown. BTW, did you hear about the Argentine submarine that went missing? So sad!).

Then, on Thanksgiving day we will drive up to Montreal to visit K4 and his family. It'll be a short visit because it's not a holiday for them. We'll see them again at Christmas, which we're spending with K's whole family in a house we rented in the Poconos, PA.

I'll try to post from NYC!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Highly Curated Content versus Relatively Raw & Unflitered...

... or the Instagram/Pinterest versus the Blogger/WordPress generations.

Nothing like a scattered and hastily written blog post to dispel writer's block, I guess? ;-) ;-P

Yes, I know that smiley faces make me look less intelligent, but this is not a work email, and I don't care. Although I am bravely resisting the urge of adding emoticons to my emails to students. I still draw smileys on exams, though. ;-)

I have wanted to say this for a while and I wish I could write a highly edited and curated blog post, but a quick one will have to do, before the writer's block sets in again! (can you feel the despair in my voice?)

In any case, first of all, I think this is a generational difference... (that's why I added the "Aging" label -- I don't have one about different generations) younger people (and by that, I  mean folks 10-15 years younger than me) have a "thing" going. At least the sample of younger people that I know and interact with -- most are originally from Brazil, BTW. They are very intentional in the way they decorate their house, plan and execute their weddings, pose for photos, not to mention fashion choices. They also photograph everything daily life & events very selectively and at expert angles & lighting and post it to Instagram.

I guess it all started with Pinterest and the ability to curate content online (so people would find the same things cute & "fashion" would become even more uniform than it already is) and then Instagram made it easy to share one's highly photogenic choices and lifestyle.

There are some older people (although maybe still slightly younger than me) such as Dooce and other professional bloggers who have been very picture perfect in their online life, although not exactly like the younger people I know -- but those are the "professional" web content creators. Today, everyone looks perfect like that, I mean, at least the sample I'm exposed to.

One thing that is kind of scary to me is how fads and styles have become the same here and in Brazil. The style of wedding decoration and children's parties, for example... Wooden things, greenery, mason jars for drinking, naked cakes, hanging lights...


Can you tell I'm slightly irritated by all this perfection?

I miss words, many many words rather than pretty images. I miss raw feeling and relatively unfiltered thoughts. I still attempt to share them here, but I confess that I'm becoming more and more overwhelmed by the millennials that create such perfect content online now. I severely limit my exposure to such folks, only following a few people I know on Instagram, but even this small exposure already influences me.

Looking at their neutral colors, extremely beautiful party decor, lovely assortment of picture frames arranged on walls, is making me feel ugly and old and too colorful and LOUD, even.

I LOVE who I am, I love my funky style, all the colors, all the flowers, but sometimes I feel like I want some of that stereotypically beautiful style that today's younger generation likes.

A prime example is the new Magnolia line at Target. I have also been photographing things in this style for a while on my phone and I'll try to illustrate my point with photos later.

For now I just want to say that I really, really, REALLY miss the community of bloggers that I was active part of from 2005-2009, maybe 2010. I have some more thoughts about this (that have to do with the openness that came along the advent of blogging and that has now waned), but I'll try to share those later.

Have you noticed this new Pinterest/Instagram trend? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gotta Write Something! (And a Xmas Card brought to you by... Lowered Expectations!)

OK, I have FIVE posts sitting in the draft folder right now, all my latest posts, and about 5 more in draft since June.

I'm tired of thinking of the draft folder. I also think that the internet and my phone are exacerbating my ADHD to such a point that I'm becoming a useless person. Really.

So I've gotta write and publish something. ANYTHING!!

It's cold and I think that now that I've been back from my trip for a week I'm finally back to "normal" -- especially today that I finally took my medication again (it had run out a few days before my trip and I had not had time to fill the prescription and did so only yesterday).

And back to normal is not especially pleasant since I feel HORRIBLY guilty that I have a HUGE number of compositions and online work from my students that I haven't read and graded since the beginning of the semester. Yes, I am a horrible person and a horrible teacher. Sigh...

I hate online homework. I don't know how I can make that better. All the "PTSD" from the horrible University of Phoenix gig (from like 8 years ago!) is still a factor.

Ok, what else can I say?

We've decided to go to Montreal next week to visit my youngest brother-in-law and his family. Oldest son is suggesting we stop for a night or two in NYC and get a hotel in Manhattan.

Youngest son is grumbling that he hates cities and it will be torture (this is the poor kid that was "forced" to spend his 12th birthday in Manhattan with us last year -- MoMA (which he loved, BTW) and Top of the ROK.

What else? Oh, yeah, Last night I ordered our Christmas Card at Costco and we picked them up today. This is the photo paper one that I send to Brazil to be mailed to all our family and friends. I order extra-early so my mother-in-law can take them to Brazil for me for my mom to mail them out.

We had NO nice photos at all, so I used a photo taken at a sunset at the beach in FL (and the light looks horrible in the print out) and -- GASP!!! -- a SELFIE! How low have I gone!? A selfie in a Xmas card? Talk about lowered expectations!! Then I added two more photos -- one of our youngest son and I in San Francisco and the other a nice photo of K and Kelvin on my new phone. It's not too horrible.

That should be enough for one post.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Back "Home"

Today was one of those days of literal "in-betweeness" in which I have to re-enter the country and face all the angst of my choice of living here. When I'm there, in the confusion and mess that is South America (Argentina is messier than Brazil, and I'm not referring to the soccer player here. I know, pathetic cliché pun), I have some feelings of longing to come back to the orderly U.S., but once I'm here, now that I'm going to become a citizen, I don't feel so sure.


I wish I didn't have to feel this uncertain, but, as my husband said to me on the phone, it's hard to come back to the country (on election day, no less, the anniversary of one of our worst collective nightmares) with this creature as president.

I just posted 185 photos of our trip on facebook. I bought an iPhone 7+ on purpose so I could have its top-notch camera on the trip and it was so worth it! Let me know if you want to be facebook friends. I'll try to post some photos here later, but with no blogging app it's hard.

I have another flight to take and then a 3 hour drive home. Thankfully I'm using a pass to be at the United Club, so I'm having hot drinks and I'm about to eat some fruit. Back to real life as soon as I land. Good thing in a month the semester will be nearly done!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Oh, Boy, it's November! But I'm in the Southernmost City in the World!

I could have possibly blogged last night, but I was EXHAUSTED! First night sleeping in a bed in three days! First longish night of sleep in four days.

My parents and brother arrived this morning and we are so delighted to be traveling together. This hasn't happened since... I don't know... many many years ago? I have traveled a lot with my parents ever since we left Brazil back in 1996, but I haven't traveled with my brother SINCE OUR CHILDHOODS ENDED! Years ago!! Sigh...

Anyway, I desperately need to sleep, so I have to stop. But I will try to blog more often, once a day or more, throughout this month.

Greetings all the way from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, the Southermost city in the world (only reason why Argentina HAD to "steal" half of this island from Chile -- they wanted the bragging rights!) ;-P