Monday, May 26, 2008

48+ Hour Flu

I've got a nasty flu bug.

It started Saturday with this little annoying cough. By Saturday night I knew I was in for it. I've got a fever, chills, body aches and pains, sore throat, cough with sputum (ewwwwww), nausea and occasional vomitting (mostly in the middle of the night).

I stayed in bed from 7 pm Saturday until 9:30 am today at which time Gaupo had to go to work. Vanessa doesn't work on Mondays, so it's been a little rough around here today. Especially since Guapo had to travel this afternoon. I really don't think it's fair that moms get sick.

But, the kids are in bed now and that's where I'm headed.

I'll be back hopefully in a couple of days.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday's Random Notes


Boa Noche. *Make that Boa Noite-(thanks for the correction Emily-I was just trying to show off my tri-lingualness with my awesome "portunhol"). I've got nothing too exciting to write about but here're a few random thoughts.

New Header Photo

Yes, that is actually me sitting in the chair. My mom asked me yesterday if I had lifted it from a hotel pamphlet. Nope, it's me. It's a Guapo special, I didn't even tell him to take it.

American Idol

So I'm sitting here watching American Idol. Sheyesha's up next.

Huh? But it's just David and David now.

No, not here in Brazil. We are a week behind. Kind of a bummer. I really like both of the Davids. Little David is so cute in a geeky kind of way, and I really like Bigger David's voice. I think Little David will win. I just don't think you can compete with a bunch of hyper Mormons.

(*Ok, so I was wrong here. What the heck happened Utah??? Poor Little David.)

Mom Guilt

Today I was being used as a jungle gym by my two big boys. Exasperated, I asked, "Why must you climb all over me?"

Juan Carlos (5 yrs old) looked at me with his sweet, big, eyes and said, "Because we like you mom!"

Ok, how bad did I feel? (You have to cut me a little slack here though-I've been a single mom since Sunday and still have a couple of days to go.)

Your Average Joe

Every third guy on the street here looks like my brother Joe. It's the oddest thing. There is a whole slew of Joe look-alikes here:

  • tall Joes
  • short Joes
  • young Joes
  • old Joes
  • muscular Joes
  • skinny Joes
  • fat Joes
And it's not just in my head. Guapo is constantly pointing out Joes too. Odd.

That's all. Enjoy American Idol for me. I'll be catching it next week.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quick Get Away

Guapo and I both celebrate our birthdays in May (he's much, much, older than me). Instead of trying to find gifts for each other here in Brazil where everything seems to be ridiculously expensive (except, of course, for flip-flops , but they don't carry Guapo's huge size), we decided to instead go on a ridiculously-expensive overnighter.

We went to a beautiful place called Angra dos Reis:

We stayed in a swanky little place with private cabanas that were nestled into the jungle.

Our cabana:

Our view:

We had a hot tub on the deck and a sauna in the room. Have I mentioned how much Brazilians LOVE their saunas? It's quite odd from a foreigner's point of view. It's so hot where we live most of the year and that was always the first thing the realtors mentioned when they were showing me an apartment that had a sauna. Why would you want to go in a sauna when you are already sweating? I just don't get it.

Our apartment has one. It is currently being used as a storage unit.

But, back to Angra. We had the most relaxing 24 hours without the kidlets. It was just a peaceful place. There were only a few other guests as it is the off-season here (we are headed into winter next month). We ate great food, went canoeing, relaxed (as you can see from my new header), and I even went in the sauna a couple of times (I was kind of cold after canoeing!).

Good times, good times.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

This is a big week for me. Mother's Day and my birthday. I was actually born on Mother's Day, and sometimes it falls on the same day. I used to think this was pretty cool but now it sometimes all blends in to one holiday.

I really used to love my birthday. I would count down the months, then the weeks, and then the days. Up until I was about 27 and then I started to not love it quite so much. And now that I am entering my (gasp!) mid-thirties (agggggghhhhhh!) I'm really not loving it. Oh well. What can you do?

I had a nice day despite the mid-30's thing.

I started out the new year right by going for a run. While running I saw the most curious thing.

A man, obviously in good shape, was running (much faster than I was running) towards me. He was wearing running shoes, black running shorts, and no shirt and was carrying something small and white in his hand that caught my eye. He proceeded to lift his hand to his mouth and take a puff of the white thing. IT WAS A CIGARETTE. He was smoking while he was running. Bizarre. Truly Bizzare.

Let's see. Then Ballerina Girl took me out to lunch and spoiled me rotten:

We walked around the mall making fun of all of the 80's style footwear that seems to be making a comeback.

Guapo came home early from work and fixed dinner (friend pork chops, mashed potatoes and salad). Margarita made me a cake. Everyone gave me presents and then, the sweetest thing, everyone watched Napoleon Dynamite with me. Guapo is not a fan, so it was a big sacrifice for him and I love him for it!

It almost made me wish my birthday was everyday. But then I'd be really old...

Oh, just one more thing, and this has nothing whatsoever to do with my birthday, but today I went to get a LONG overdue haircut. When Alexandre, my "stylist", saw me he said, "Wow, your hair has gotten really... ( long pause while he searched for the right word in English) BIG".

I had to just laugh and agree. I have been walking around for weeks now like Monica when she went to the Bahamas. Not pretty.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day-Brazilian Style

I don't think I've ever mentioned the amazing sand sculptures they do along the beaches here in Big City. They truly are works of art, usually consisting of local attractions (Christ the Redeemer, the Sugar Loaf gondola, or make-me-blush barely bikini-ed bottomed sand girls), or special "holiday edition" creations. The "sand sculptors" hang around their sculptures all day to spray them down and to accept donations.

I have never mentioned them because I have never taken any pictures of them before. This is because: a) there's a lot of petty theft at the beaches and b) big waves often come unannounced and soak everything in their path (Guapo lost a cell phone this way). I'm pretty sure it would cost me at least a thousand of dollars to replace my camera that cost me $350.00 in the States, so I leave it at home when we go to the beach.

But today I saw a special Mother's Day sculpture that I had to have a picture of, so I made Guapo drive me down to the beach in the rain (thus the funky drops on the photos-no time to photoshop them out).

Happy Mother's Day (even to those of you who aren't lactating)!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Best of Big City, Brazil: Havaianas

Once upon a time I lived in a place called Small Town, Mexico.

Living in Small Town was, hmmmmm, how shall I put it?

Challenging. (am I right, or am I right, k-squared's mom?)

It was basically a small, icky, boring, oil town. When I found out we were leaving Small Town to move to Big City, Mexico, I did a dance of joy...and I realized that Small Town wasn't ALL bad, just mostly. So, being the positive person that I am, I started blogging about the "best of Small Town" and the "not so best of Small Town" to help me see the good (while at the same time being realistic). These posts can be found in March-June 2006.

Anyway, I'm going to start doing that here in Brazil; not because living here is anywhere near as bad as Small Town, but because I won't live here forever and I want to remember what it was like, both the positives and the negatives.

So, tonight I will start with a positive. Havaianas flip flops. I love them for several reasons.

1) Comfort.

These Brazilian flip flops are SO comfortable. I don't know why they are so much more comfortable than other flip-flops, they just are. There is no between-the-toes-discomfort that I have, at times, experienced with other flip flops.

2) Price.

The basic model costs around $10.00 USD, metallic ones will cost you a couple bucks more and the "dress" model (see below) costs around $17.00.

3) Availability.

They sell these shoes everywhere. Of course normal places like sporting goods stores and shoe stores have them, but they are also sold at newsstands (that they have on every block), drugstores, and IN THE GROCERY STORE.

Ok. Maybe, just maybe, this could have something to do with my high grocery bills. But really, I can buy either two pairs of shoes or one thing of maple syrup. Sorry kids-no waffles this weekend. (If I don't teach them about sacrifice-who will???)

Chronology of An Addiction

It all started with the basic white model with the cute little Brazilian flag:

Then, I upgraded to my first pair of metallic flip-flops (gold):

Then I realized I was wearing them way to much and that they weren't really dressy enough to wear out to dinner so I bought the dress version (silver):

I was really liking the metallic thing so I decided I needed some bronze:

I know, you're thinking they look just like the gold, but really, they are quite different from one another. See?:

And here's my most recent pair, purchased last Saturday while I tried, unsuccessfully, to find Guapo something for his birthday (isn't me being happy really the best gift I could give Guapo?):

And lest you think this shoe fetish is all about me, check out Pedro's latest pair:

You can bet that when I finally leave Brazil, I will have an a lifetime supply of flip-flops somewhere in my shipment.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My Kids Are Pigs-OR-No More Leftovers

When I used to make things like spaghetti or tacos, or really anything for that matter, we always had leftovers.

I like leftovers. I don't mind eating them at all.

And now, I find myself leftover-less. Our kids are suddenly eating more than they used to. Tonight Julio had two stuffed-to-the-brim tacos and then asked me for a snack 30 seconds after dinner was over.

Not good with the rising cost of food. I know it's getting worse in the States, but I have to say whatever you are paying for food, I bet I am paying more.

Today in the grocery store I saw a little thing of maple syrup for $21.00 USD. Luckily a friend of mine in Venezuela taught me how to make homemade maple syrup. But, I did buy a can of refried beans for our tacos tonight that set us back $4.50 USD. That, my friends, is a travesty after having lived in Mexico. A normal sized pack of hard taco shells costs around $15.00 USD (we use these soft shell things that they call "wraps" but they are pretty much flour tortillas).

Canned veggies cost anywhere from $3.00-$5.00. So, we eat fresh. Which is great and all, I rather eat fresh, but that means I have to go the store more frequently which means I see other things I need and then I end up spending more money.

Don't even get me started on cereal. I've pretty much quit buying it all together because 1) they have no good cereal here, and 2) it costs $5.50 for a teeny-weeny box that my kids down in one sitting.

Oh well, what can you do?

Speaking of food, check out this very cool blog: Full Bellies, Happy Kids. It is full of yummy recipes and great pictures. I have tried several things and everything has worked!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Problem with Holidays in Expatlandia

Today is Labor Day here in Brazil. The kids don't have school, no one's (supposed to be) working.

Here's the problem. Because Guapo works for an AMERICAN COMPANY his comrades in the States are all at work on Brazilian (or Venezuelan or Mexican) holidays and therefore expect him to also be hard at work.

Well then, you ask, surely he gets American Holidays, right?

Nope, because we LIVE in Brazil and therefore he must be at work with all of the Brazilians (or Venezuelans or Mexicans).

See the problem?


Guapo, being the great guy he is, has found a way to keep me from freaking out on any and all national holidays where he feels it is absolutely necessary that he go to the office. Knowing what a frazzled mom I am, he takes Juan Carlos and Julio with him to his office. They make paper airplanes, run wild, play hide and seek, and guzzle all of the juices in the fridge.

He knows I can't say no a few hours of relaxation, and therefore I can't get on his case. He gets his work done and gets a happy wife.

But the gig will only last as long as Pedro continues to nap. As soon as he quits napping all bets are off.

I'll tell you who is really enjoying Labor Day. The Young Single Adults in our ward. We have offered to let them use our apartment for activities and they are taking us up on it. There are only about 5 YSA in our ward, but somehow we've got probably 50 people up on our roof right now, not all of them young nor single.

It's like Riverdance up there. They are dancing up a storm. And screaming. And laughing. And eating. They have brought us down 4 heaping plates of grilled meats in the last hour.

...strengthening my theory that Brazilians are just more fun than Americans (case in point: I'm down here hiding in my room blogging right now and not up there line dancing).