Friday, May 27, 2011

Tia Paula

You could look at us and say we are strong, as a family, as parents, as humans. Here we are a thousand billion miles from home and we're ok. We've said goodbye and realized that is really isn't, we've left our home and realized it really wasn't, we took our cozy lives, packed up our beach towels and our thousand bikes and turned it on it's head. Why? A lot of reasons I think, a few reasons I know, but one for sure: If we never did this, challenged ourselves, wrote down our dreams and followed them word for word, then how would we ever know? If we could do it, if it was possible, what or who we might have missed. We have one motto: "No Regrets." But, that doesn't mean it's always easy.

Today I dropped Sam off at school and the headmaster pulled me aside. She told me today would be her last day. I was sideswiped by my emotions, hiding big swelling tears behind my Wayfarers. She told me she'd be leaving for the United States next week, to begin to study English in Colorado. We could not be happier for her. You see Tia (Aunt) Paula is more than just the administrator at Sam's school, she was our hand to hold as we grasped the Portuguese language and indulged us with stories of each day in English so I'd know what was going on. She was our reassurance that is was ok to let go of Sam's hand as we left him each day that hers would stand gently by when we had gone. Some days Sam would report that he was "tired" or "sad" or just overwhelmed with a new language surrounding him. He'd tell us that Tia Paula lent him her lap for the morning, that together they torn paper for projects in preparation for the next days activity. She kissed and hugged him "Oi" and "Tchau" each and every day and always greeted him with a great warm smile. They'd hang his backpack and walk off hand in hand to start the day.

It takes a village they say and we are becoming believers that is for sure. Our village may be much larger than most and spread out throughout the world, but for each and every person that touches our hearts as a result of the chances we've taken, we are thankful for, and we'll never regret having had to face big changes to have included them in our story. My only regret is not having been able to write my thank you card to her in Portuguese after all the grace in English she extended to me.

Never Too Early to Have an Opinion

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tiny Brazilian Alarm Clocks

This morning Peter awoke at 4:30 am sweetly calling out for our Brazilian gardener.......over and over for an hour, as if perhaps he might appear from the next room instead of Paul or I to whisk him to the kitchen for a cup of milk. Finally he returned to sleep. I however had the echo of "Paaaaauuuuulooooo" ringing in my head until I finally got up at 6:30. If this is today's side effect from the three new teeth that sprung through yesterday, I'll take it over yesterday's hour of screaming.

The Garbage Bag Guy

There were a few things we had to get used to when we moved to a foreign country, even one as developed as Brazil: driving next to horse-drawn buggies, learning how to say "ice cream cone" in Portuguese (casquinha) and milk coming in plastic bags instead of jugs or bottles.

Yesterday, we ran out of trash bags. But unless you want to spend half your paycheck on trash bags, you don't buy them at the grocery store. There is a special guy that stands on the side of the road or at intersections, selling trash bags. For the last two days, he was standing at one of the main intersections on my drive home from work, right outside my window. Last night, when I actually needed trash bags, he was working the cars stopped at the other corner.

I had to loop around at a retorno (u-turn) three times and even then I had to honk my horn to get his attention, slow down and swerve into oncoming traffic and throw him 10 reais while he threw me a sack of garbage bags, all without stopping the car.

They come in one size. No pulls, twist ties or cinch sacks and they're pretty crappy quality, but everyone gets to have their own favorite garbage bag guy that they see and recognize as they are driving around the neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Relaxation and Other Words I've Forgotten

A relaxing bath, turned toddler interrogation:

Me: Rinsing my hair without apparent crying and screaming.

Sam: "Mommy, You be so good boy in the bath!"

Me: Reading my magazine quietly.

Sam: "Mommy? Why don't you play with toys in the bath?"

Me: Pretending that this isn't happening.

Sam: Pulling up his pajama pants and dipping his toes in my bath, "Mommy, Why you sneaked away to take a bath?"

Me: "Shhhh"

Sam: "Why you always keeping me quiet?"




Oasis



Without argument, one of the biggest things (maybe the only thing?) we really miss about the US living in Brazil is....Starbucks. There are Starbucks in Brazil, but, to the best of my knowledge, only in Sao Paulo and Rio, not way out in the interior hinterland of the country.

To understand Brasilia better, you have to imagine if in 1956 President Eisenhower declared that the capital of the United States would move from Washington, D.C. to say....Lincoln, Nebraska. This is pretty much what happened when then Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek (the 'JK' in JK Bridge) moved the capital from Rio to Brasilia.

In the last 55 years, Brasilia grew. Now it has a zoo, five star restaurants and even a mall, Iguatemi, with a Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Zara. But, alas, sadly, no Starbucks.

Coffee is huge in Brazil. Sao Paulo, one of the largest cities in the southern hemisphere was built on the back of a tremendous coffee industry. The cafezinho is now integral to our way of life and the Brazilian culture. But much of the best coffee is exported.

Starbucks recently bought back controlling interest in Starbucks Brazil, and new stores are popping up (slowly) in Rio. Hopefully, one will open in Brasilia before we have to leave in December of next year.

Elise and I are not collectors. I have an LP collection and a pretty impressive run of Uncanny X-Men that I left in storage in D.C., but, other than that, we are not known to amass great quantities of material objects. We're kind of like nomads in that respect. We only keep that which we can carry (babies included). To understand better the picture above one must know that we do have a collection of Starbucks mugs from all the places we have lived in or visited that had a Starbucks, including D.C., the Bahamas and Paris. So, when I saw this picture, I knew we had to have one. And when I shared it with Elise, she responded, "And so we shall go."

We know people here who long for Ruffles, nachos, Taco Bell, milk that doesn't come in a bag, pizza without cream cheese in the crust, a grocery aisle with 50 different kinds of cereals. I can honestly say we don't miss much and can honestly say that we have the things close to us that are truly important. There is nothing that is really important that we don't have at hand and we wouldn't threaten to leave never to return just because we couldn't stroll the aisles of Target or use a drive-thru without wondering if what we had ordered is what we really wanted or were going to get.

Starbucks has always been close to Elise's heart for obvious reasons. Based in Seattle, Starbucks reminds her of her soggy, moss-covered Pacific Northwest home, both figuratively and literally. Starbucks is close to my heart, because even before Elise and I knew we would spend the rest of our days together, we would meet at Starbucks for coffee before either I went to work at the office or she drove down to school or went to work at the restaurant. It was our special meeting place. After Sam was born, he basically grew up in Starbucks for the first two years of his life, until the point when a daily pink 'sprinks donut was as much a part of his morning ritual as coffee or an iced latte was to ours.

At some point, we will have to find the Starbucks in Brazil, for no other reason than to get the mug. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Let Your Love Grow

You can't come along on date night sillies, but you can have a peek:





...then we made out over steaming pots of fondue. Enjoy!

Mundo Jurassico

Sam has been really into dinosaurs recently. He has two monstrous (no pun intended) compendiums of dinosaurs, both claiming to be all-inclusive (though one excludes flying dinosaurs, pterodons, and swimming dinosaurs, plesiosaurs) that we read and re-read constantly. His favorite is ‘ceratops’. But he doesn’t like ‘the roaring dinosaurs.’ He knows the difference between the meat-eaters and the plant-eaters. Both books are startlingly graphic for children’s books and depict dinosaurs ripping huge chunks of flesh from one another. I knew on some level it was only a matter of time before Sam had a bad dream about dinosaurs, and, sure enough, he ended up in our bed last week.

But the infatuation also reflects a level of knowledge-seeking heretofore novel for Sam and definitely transcends Thomas the Train, so I indulge him. Which is not to say, dinosaurs aren't really cool and I like learning about them, too. Parasaurolophus is my favorite. Elise doesn’t believe me that the long cartilaginous protrusion on the back of parasaurolophus’ head is a horn that he blows to warn the other dinosaurs at the watering hole when a roaring dinosaur is in the immediate neighborhood, nor does she believe that a paleontologist recreated the horn of a parasaurolophus out of PVC tubing to hear what it sounded like.



Scheduling, too, has become important to Sam, and I need to remind myself to share our plans with him. I think knowing what is coming will help manage his expectations and manage any anxiety that might come with not knowing what is coming. I know I’d be kind of anxious if I woke up everyday not sure of what I was supposed to be doing. Sam will ask before he goes to bed at night, right before or after we say our prayers, “What we doing tomorrow?” and when he wakes up in the morning, “What we doing today?” Last week, everyday he wanted to go see the dinosaurs.

O Mundo Jurassico arrived in Brasilia, and Sam was on best behavior all week so that he could go see the dinosaurs on Saturday. Mundo Jurassico is an exhibit of life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. I had previewed the dinosaurs online and thought that if the snarling T Rex were at the end of the exhibit or if there were some way we could see the herbivores without having to see the carnivore, we would be okay. Because most of the dinosaurs were pretty benign-looking.

We arrived at the mall and made our way over to the exhibit. Outside was an arch leading into the ticket booth and exhibit with the head of giant Tyrannosaurus Rex on it. This was as far as we made it. Sam was too scared to go any further. We told him he was smart for deciding it was going to be too scary (and I told myself it was smart of him to decide before I shelled out 50 Brazilian reais per person that it was going to be too scary). Later, as we walked back through the mall, he apologized, “Sorry, guys, I thought the dinosaurs were too scary.” He’s good at apologizing and taking fault for things, though he often apologizes for things that he has no control over and accepts blame for things that aren’t his fault. I am quick to not let him take the blame for that which is not his fault, i.e. “Sorry, guys, it is cold outside. That is my fault.” Umm, Sam unless you have learned to control the weather since nap, it’s not your fault.

We went and got haircuts at Happy Hair instead. Though Happy Hair was less than happy for Petey who wailed through his entire second haircut. We tried a new Lebanese restaurant for lunch, shwarma and kibe. Elise and I both discovered that neither of us are fans of warm lettuce which forced me to remark on the fad of grilled caesar salads. For a well-deserved and long-in-coming date night we had drinks at Devassa, a new cervejeria on the water at Pontao (It is almost the heart of winter in Brazil and the air was cool.) before going to fondue.

I couldn’t remember if Elise and I had ever done fondue together though I know hot bubbly cheese is one of her favorite things in the world. We showed up to Au Fondue without a reservation and were seated at a small table in the corner in front of the ventilation fan. It didn’t matter. It was dark and perfectly quaint and I don’t believe either of us much minded or were bothered by the fact that the smoke from everyone else’s fondue pots blew toward us and that the flame on our own fondue pot failed to lick the bottom of the pot for the violent suck of the ventilator fan.

Brazilians have a delightful regard for PDA, public displays of affection. Wherever we go, undoubtedly we run across a young couple necking on a bench or clinging to one another as if their lives depended on it at a bus stop. As we are wont to do on many occasions, Elise and I channeled our inner Brazilians at dinner. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the hot bubbly cheese talking. Maybe it was that we are made to feel that small adventures like this one remind us of the great adventure that our honeymoon was, and that we can still go on small honeymoons on date night with our children close at hand, safe and secure, even when we accidently leave their security blanket in the car and take it to dinner with us. oops. Sorry Sam. My fault.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Just in Case

So the freaks are at it again, or so we think. Rumor has it that today will be our last day on Earth, or not, depending on your "score." I should hope I'd be 'swept up' or 'beamed up' or more comfortingly 'gently picked up and cradled' perhaps in the arms of someone that would feel like being scooped up in the arms of your mom.

Paul swears (and is usually right) that these things make big news now due our obsession with "media," "constant updates," and "instant gratificiation" that play into our "addiction to rushes of adrenaline and endorphins that are fed by checking our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds a thousand times daily." Or something to that effect. And I want him to be right, because Paul's right makes me feel at ease. But, amidst my emersion in my crazy, happy, not so perfectly perfect life, I've had time I wonder. Could this freak be right?

I want to be terrified, but I'm not. We've spent this week doing what we always do the best we can. When the only fear you harbor is the fear of regret, you plant all your seeds each day that the sun comes up. I've spent days playing in the sand with my boys and laughing with my friend. I've laid awake at night with Paul talking about life and fallen asleep holding hands. I've spent less time in the kitchen and more time with my family after dinner, I've held my boys a little too long after they (should have fallen asleep) and after they have. I've run miles gulping deep breaths of fresh air, feeling the hot sun on my shoulders and tasting the cooling scent of eucalyptus in the breeze. I've driven with my windows down and my music up. I've brushed off the things that just don't matter. I caved to an unsually clingy Sam who just couldn't bear to be separated from Peter and I today and so we reloaded his backpack and walked right back out of preschool, all together, hand in hand, to play, to see Dad at work, to eat lunch together at McDonalds.

I've thought a lot about our changing world this week especially as I read Sam page upon page of dinosaur facts, nothing ever really stays the same, but instead makes way for something even better. And either way freaks be right or freaks be wrong, I am thankful for their speculations. They make us think, they make us reprioratize and throw all we've got into it each day and that's all we can be sure of, today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

He Said, She Said: An Evening at the Latvian Embassy

Elise:

"Just over a year ago we sat snuggled in our bed midmorning in treehouse/townhouse during an unseasonably cold streak of winter in South Florida. Newborn baby Peter close to my chest and Sam curled reading books at our feet we contemplated what picking all of this up and moving it to "God Knows Where, World" meant. Let's be real, we were throwing more than just caution into the wind. We may have been throwing it ALL into the wind. But, if anyone asked me to jump off a bridge with them, and I did it, you can rest assured it would only be with Paul. So we grasped hands, closed our eyes and jumped.

It seems as though we've landed safely. Just as he promised me we would.

I attended an event with Paul last night that he has volunteered to head up, the Diplomats Association of Brasilia. A monthly gathering of young diplomats held at a new and exciting (not to mention fabulous) digs of a new embassy each month. Gathered around food and beverages we met quirky and wonderful people from Nepal, Finland and Argentina.

Paul, normally quiet and reserved, spun me in circles as he greeted, shook hands with and introduced himself (and me) to fresh faces throughout the room. Paul and I, are usually not the ones to work a room. We are happier on the outside looking in, in subtle observation within our comfort zones in situations that involve a lot of "schmutzing," but not last night my friends. Our budding diplomat was on fire. He signed guest books, customarily "double-kissy faced" hostesses and colleagues, he interchanged Portuguese and English so quickly when needed that I had no time to manually reach up and flip my switch from Portugeuse to English as I normally do. He spoke Portuguese to diplomats from Guinea and English to Brazilians from Itamaraty all in one breath.

He looked incredibly handsome.

And when he was introduced as the new (co) president of the Diplomats Association I nearly tipped backwards into the pool with pride."



Paul:

"Last evening, Elise and I made our debut onto the diplomatic scene. We attended our first Diplomats Association event, hosted by the Embassy of Latvia. Zilda was kind enough to stay late, so I rolled up my sleeves and gave quickie baths while Elise got ready and Zilda helped wrangle Sam and Pete into their pjs, or ‘roupa da noite’, because I haven’t yet learned how to say pajamas in Portuguese, though I don’t doubt Sam will know it before I will, because as reported by Elise, he came home from school yesterday and asked to play with the ‘massilha’, which, evidently, is what they call Play Dough in Portuguese.

Our neighborhood is small and the drive to the Embassy is short, so we arrived nearly fifteen to twenty minutes early. In any culture—but even more so in the Brazilian culture—it is taboo to show up for anything on time, much less early, so Elise and I drove around, boning up on Latvian culture via Wikipedia on the iPhone. The capital of Latvia is Riga. “The Latvians are a Baltic people, culturally related to the Estonians and Lithuanians, with the Latvian language having many similarities with Lithuanian, but not with the Estonian language,” Elise read, the screen of her iPhone illuminating her face. “So, we’ll be careful not to speak Estonian,” I cautioned. “Lativa is a unitary parliamentary republic and is divided into 118 municipalities (109 counties and 9 cities).” Early on we decided not to bring up the Soviet occupation. The president of Latvia is Valdis Zatlers. Their favorite sport is hockey. Bingo! When in doubt, we’ll talk hockey. Hmm...I don’t really know anything about hockey...

The street that the Embassy was on was dark, though there was a full moon. We figured we were in the right place judging by all the blue diplomatic plates lining the street (not to mention X3s and Jaguars). We cautiously walked up to a small, white modern house with a flagpole in front. We had missed the flag from the street, owing to the lack of breeze. There was a large Brazilian guard at the gate. I asked in Portuguese if this were the Embassy of Latvia, as unassuming as it was, and he confirmed that we were in the right place.

On our way in, we were stopped by a woman from Guinea and exchanged greetings. We quickly found our host and her husband, interestingly enough a diplomat from Peru and were guided to a table of really good Peruvian food (with 2 cans of unopened Pringles, a box of Godiva chocolates, the omnipresent and obligatory plate of coxinhas, fried dough with pulled chicken inside and a six pack of Corona). So, after much encouragement from our host, I helped myself to a Corona and poured Elise a glass of Argentinean red wine, brought by a diplomat from Buenos Aires, who was, arguably, one of the more colorful personalities at the party. I gave him both my card and Elise’s card, and he definitely liked Elise’s card better, I believe going so far as to suggest that diplomats’ cards should be more colorful.

We met diplomats from Finland, Nepal, Brazil (of course) and Trinidad and Tobago, among others. I particularly respected the Nepalese. They brought two-thirds of their mission (okay, there are only three of them, including the Ambassador) and had taught themselves Portuguese in Sao Paulo. I asked one if he spoke Portuguese, to which he replied, “Mais ou menos (more or less).” He answered a lot of questions with “mais ou menos” which is only humorous in the fact that one of my language instructors also taught us that we could get a lot of mileage out of this one simple phrase combined with a noncommittal waver of the hand. He also just had his second child, a boy, one month prior. He seemed happy and proud, smiling wide as he sipped from his can of Skol, assuring Elise and I that Kathmandu would be a wonderful place to raise children and that you could see the Himalayas from the town most days.

Much to Elise’s chagrin, we had to go around the group, introducing ourselves and telling everyone where we were from, and despite the fact that she loathes doing so, I was never more proud to know her and have her as my wife than at that precise moment."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sorvete Truck

For the past few months now, I've stood my ground during nap-time when the ice cream truck rolls by blaring none other than "Fur Elise" from it's tiny ice-cream truck speakers, beckoning me to the roadside for an ice cold picola.

Until Saturday.....

When I could hold back no longer. I grabbed Sam by the hand, my tiny pink plastic cup of change and ran to the street giggling and shouting "Sorvete!" No Brazilian ice-cream truck, we would not resist your temptation any longer. This was too good of a mother-son experience to pass up again.....



We missed him on his way down the road, but spied him creeping back up from the cul-de-sac and jumped up and down a little (possibly jingling our change cup a bit) as we flagged him down. As he neared, we searched eagerly, the sides of the truck, for images of our desired frosty delights and the word "Sorvete", but we read only this: "GAS," which in any language, does not read "Ice-Cream."



Turns out Brazilians respond to the tinkling ice-cream musac sounds of Beethoven to entice them out of their homes to buy gas for their propane grills, not to buy frosty treats. Yet, I was the one who looked silly jumping up and down excitedly about to buy my baby a full tank of propane.



You win this time Brazilian gas truck man, but now we know how you get Brazilians out of their homes, we'll take your little music tricks and we'll make millions selling them ice-cream, American-style, when they least expect it.....

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Play

I've asked for a lot of "do overs" in my life. Wishing to rewind and get to try again, but I'm always happier when I get "rewind" mixed up with "play" and the show goes on, as it inevitably does. Eventually able to look back, I realize that my disappointments were just life's way of preparing me for something even better. Failed classes, lost loves, wrong turns, "uh oh's," "I just can't go on's" and crappy Mother's Days, they all turn out eventually.

I walked Sam into school this morning to be gifted the following belated Mother's Day gift (well this and a red velvet rose).



A book filled with blank pages, laid out "just so" to fill in with all my favorite new Brazilian recipes...and the on the cover, the most hilarious (hard to beat the Easter portrait, but I think it does!) photo of my tiny chef.

I've taken a lot of twisting turns in the past few years, ok the past 31 and 11/12ths years, but I know I'm in the right place now.

Elise

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fall in Brazil

Fall in Brazil does not mean leaves turning and falling from the trees, football on Sundays or cranberry sauce or stuffing. It does bring longer shadows when I walk out of the building at night and cooler mornings standing in the kitchen in my bare feet holding Pete way too early in the morning. It also, unfortunately, brings illness.

We’ve all been sick. I bounded around the house for the better part of two weeks acting as though impervious to illness as it befell first Elise, then Sam and finally Pete. I am bringing up the rear. We have been told by Zilda that it is the change in seasons, as we move from the rainy season to the dry season. It is still hard to believe that when we arrived in December, in the wet, soggy heart of the rainy season that there could possibly be a dry season at all here, but here it is. I am witnessing it firsthand. We have been told it will not rain again until September or October, nor we will have much of a chance of seeing a cloud before then, either. I have heard it will be dryer than the Sahara. I didn’t believe it, but I do now. Elise and I eschewed humidifiers. I always felt they were for the weak and infirm, for old ladies propped up in bed, watching game shows on black and white televisions, coughing into their handkerchiefs. Now, we have two. I don’t know how I would have slept the last three nights without one.

For Easter, I grew a beard. When I was working for my dad, every year I would grow what Elise and I dubbed the “July Beard”, because my dad left the office for the entirety of the month of July to summer in Aspen, leaving me to man the fort. The anticipation of a federal fiscal shutdown also prompted anticipation of a new opportunity to grow a new beard, a “Shutdown Beard”, but there was no shutdown and, therefore, sadly no shutdown beard. Instead, I took a week off (ten days, actually) when my mom (“Nanny”, to Sam and Pete) came to visit and promptly grew the beard anyway, discovering I really only needed a long weekend, maybe an extra day off from work, to get a sufficient enough start to grow a beard that looked like a beard instead of simply the byproduct of laziness or something that looked like a catfish or monkey had attached itself to my face. I think it makes me look more diplomatic. It definitely makes me look more Brazilian. So, now I am bearded.

Last Friday was my birthday. Not the big one. That one is next year. The beard didn’t come from turning 39 and it, in and of itself, hasn’t changed me. But I do sense changes. I am starting to feel like I am becoming that older person who is out of touch with new technology. I just don’t have the time for it. I don’t have the time to search out new music. I don’t have the time to find a new album, then do a first listening of it in its entirety from start to finish, A side and B side, transcribing all the lyrics, often having to stop, rewind, and replay certain refrains multiple times in order to comprehend and transcribe all the lyrics accurately, painstakingly deciphered like a WWII codebreaker, and transcribed for no one’s benefit except my own. I don’t have time to draw in colored pencils the covers of tapes of bands I would be in and opuses we would write, double albums with many flaps that folded in on one another, yet still fit in the plastic cassette case with the band name lining up perfectly with the spine of the plastic cassette case. I don’t have time for these things much less the time to figure out how iTunes works, or how to convert my entire LP collection to MP3s, or upload my CD collection to the “cloud”, or even have time to own or figure out how an iPod works so that all my music is at my fingertips, which is unfortunate, because—as Elise recently discovered—music…my music…specifically, Rogue Wave radio on Pandora…has the power to shift my mood after getting up with Pete at 4:50 a.m. for the better in a matter of seconds.

When we arrived in Brazil and I was faced with the challenge of how to unlock an iPhone, I froze. I didn’t know where to start. All I could think to do was ask for help, so I went to one of the locally-hired staff in the IT section downstairs who in the span of one short afternoon totally effed up one of our iPhones permanently. I’m a smart guy. I should know how to do this stuff. I should know how to set up a flawless WiFi network in our home with layers of security features. I should know how to supply millions of movies to my family through an online, streaming plasma TV. Why don’t I know how to do these things? I used to be able to program in Basic, saving my rudimentary programs that I wrote on our Commodore 64 onto cassette tapes. I was the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in the making. On some level, I know what happened. I started drawing. And after that I started writing, then swimming. Then waiting tables, running, cycling. Other interests interjected themselves and technology, honestly, to me, was never that interesting. I was much more in love with the patchouli-scents of vinyl, the damp smell of old books, an hour or four outside running and things drawn by hand instead of by machine.

Now, my time is filled in other, better, more productive ways.

I am also starting to feel I’m becoming that older person that is keenly aware of the precarious nature of life and the stability of civilization. I try to channel that into an appreciation of all the wonderful things life and modern civilization have to offer. I think it has more to do with my new job. It makes the world feel smaller and current events closer. I guess this isn’t surprising. Fortunately, I compartmentalize well. I know Sam and Pete don’t care about the partisan politics, the national debt, global warming, the Arab Spring, Dancing With the Stars or Charlie Sheen, so it is easy for me to not care about these things either. I am much more worried about when the new Thomas the Train DVD comes out, what is going to be the next Lego we build and what we’re going to plant in our garden now that Paulo pulled out all the cilantro. I know my dad lies awake at night worrying about his personal finances or commercial real estate deals gone awry. I don’t know how he did this when the triplets were younger. When you have kids you don’t worry about these things. You don’t have the time or the energy. Most nights, I’m twitching myself to sleep before Elise even has the bedside light out.

I’m looking forward to seeing what else fall in Brazil has to offer. I’m looking forward to not being sick anymore so we can reinstate Running Club (Elise and I are part of a 3-member running club that runs Saturday mornings in the Jardim Bot├ónico) and I can go to Oba and buy a Colorado Ithaca Stout and drink it without wondering if I was drinking more than beer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Late



Here we are, snot-nosed, fever-ridden, puffy-eyed trying to pretend like we aren't sick and are going to have a splendid day frolicking in the grass in our seersucker suits and linen dresses while playing croquet and sipping mimosas. Instead we spent the day trying not to hurt each other, laying on the couch in our sweatpants while blowing our noses and sipping hot tea. I demand a re-do.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Future Hairdressers of America

Paul thinks it's funny that I desperately want one of the boys (even both of them, who am I kidding) to be hairdressers. With no girl in my life (yet) I will need someone to keep me forever cool. I don't anticipate any problems, but a great hairdresser is hard to come by people. Living and learning this right now. The foreign service is kryptonite to my hair. For real. But, the truth is I always wanted them to be hairdressers. Ok maybe I just want them to love each other so much that they go into any kind of business together, but if they cut hair, well then I've scored. Until then, it doesn't take much encouragement for them to break into my curling iron drawer (yes I have a drawer full) and make believe they are fishing poles, or swords, or well, curling irons. Until then I'll be taking this opportunity to grow out my hair....and my highlights. PSA: Love your (good) hairdressers like your children.





Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why go out when you can eat at home for free?

As Paul, Celeste and I readied ourselves to go out to dinner this past weekend, Sam scooted in to the kitchen in his pajamas to ask where we were all headed. We responded, simply, that we were going "out to eat." With arms raised, palms up, he sensibly demanded, gesturing to us and then to the refrigerator,"Why you go out to eat? This is you house! We have so much food here!" We stifled our laughter, because, hey, he had a point and explained ourselves like scolded teenagers caught buying fast food when our mom had made our lunches, that sometimes grownups like to go out and eat at restaurants. To try new foods, to not have to cook, to finish our sentences and not have to wash dishes. He seemed appeased by this answer and scooted back into the playroom to read stories.