Monday, December 29, 2008

run, run Rudolph

I knew it was a little tricky to travel around the holidays. But what fun would it be if I wasn't running through an airport! As smooth as the flight from Brasil was, is as completely opposite on todays' flight, as my husband and I had to run at JFK!
It started off to be a wonderful day. It was WARM in Pittsburgh...going up to 70 degrees! We went and had a delicious lunch with my Brother and his family. He made a yummy calamari pasta and we had King Crab Legs... DELICIOUS! We get to the airport with plenty of time... no hassles checking in.We sit down and have a refreshing drink before we start a long haul to the Maldives.
The flight leaving was delayed due to ??? They say that there were problems in NY with traffic back up. Well, whatever it was, we were going to miss our connection to Dubai; which would also mean we miss our connection in Dubai to Male, the capital of the Maldives. So, I rush onto my computer to find the telephone number to United Arab Emirates and call them. They can't do too much, but they said there were flights for tomorrow. A small sigh of relief, but then.... the Delta agent came on the speaker and announced that we were boarding and we had to try to get on as fast as possible. We all ran!
So, it took F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to land the plane in NY...hhmmm, guess they were right about the traffic! We had an hour to get our boarding passes and find the gate. Now, do not ask me why the Delta agent couldn't give us the boarding passes in Pittsburgh, but none the less we were off and running! We ran from where we landed in Terminal 4 to the air train....then got off on Terminal 3...well... we had to run down stairs, out into the street to cross and run again through corridors and onto an to the ticketing agent...our flying angels were watching over us because there wasn't anyone in line, so he ticketed us and we ran downstairs to the security...AGH...didn't we already do that? and of course, the cardinal rule when you are late...they stop me to check out my bag filled with my dive computers and underwater camera housing. I was very polite and let them take as long as they want...but inside I was fuming! He asked what each piece was for and what did I take pictures of under water??? Are you joking me buddy? What would one take pictures of under water? FISH??? CORAL??? Just let me get on my plane!
We made it though...and there were even a few people coming on after us. I hope that our luggage made it, but really, that is not as important to me as US making it.

Now, here we are in Dubai's airport waiting for our next and final flight. The flight here was LONG, and I am used to long flights! I watched a few movies, though...(need to finish one on another flight), ate delicious curry chicken and rice (yes, delicious food on a plane!), read, slept...and finally arrived here in Dubai.
We have walked theairport full of beautiful stores and incredibly modern architecture. Here are some of the scenes here at the Dubai airport. Enjoy, and talk to you again soon from the Maldives!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Day after...

You have got to be kidding me. I mean, I knew full well before heading out that it was going to be a crazy day. The sales were listed in flyers in the paper on Christmas day, but still...
it was mass confusion. There were no parking spaces, people were in EVERY corner of the mall, lines were long for not only to check out, but also to even try the clothes on!

That said, it was fun! I found most of what I was looking for, got a few sales, and then again, not too many in my favor :( but being that I "needed" the pants and shoes (sh!!, don't tell), I just had to get them :)
When I came outside for the hike to my car parked in another city basically, it was pouring down rain!! AGH, WHERE IS THE SNOW???

OK, no more bad could it be when I found what I was looking for AND I got to eat a delicious, hot, cinnamon sugar Auntie Anne's Pretzel with a fresh squeezed lemonade?

Then we went for our normal Dec. 26th Thai dinner with my husbands family. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.!

and tomorrow we are off, just my husband and I to the Maldives! I will have my computer, but not sure I will be posting for a little while. I may have some fish to see, some beach to lounge on, some yummy food to eat, some private time just for my husband and I. I am so excited, but yet, so distressed about leaving my kids. We do this almost every year, but it never gets any easier to leave them. I am always so worried about them, but alas, we are on our way tomorrow! It is so exciting to be traveling so far away!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas at my Mom and Dad's

Come celebrate with me!

Here is where I am celebrating Christmas....where we always celebrate Christmas!

It would not feel like Christmas if we weren't here with family. My Mom decorates her house beautifully. My Dad decorates the outside with these beautiful lights.See the Rudolph and other deer? Notice the elves climbing the stairs?
Here are some of my packages. I have been wrapping since we got here and just finished tonight. I made some paper ornaments to decorate my packages this year. Every year I like to decorate the gifts with something special, whether it be a bow, ornaments or fancy ribbon.
Christmas is magical. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. May you have a blessed day celebrating in your home. I would like to thank God for all of the wonderful memories he gives to me, and the blessings he sends to my family and me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My rainbow

Your rainbow is strongly shaded violet.


What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Something beautiful in this stormy weather (though I am still waiting for the snow!!!)

not this time, Steelers Update

I am home for a game, and they lose :( Steelers 14, Tennessee Titans 30
I am home during the winter season and it doesn't snow :(
The wind is blowing so cold, and my daughter isn't feeling well :(

All that said, I am still so happy to be home! I have been having such a good time with my family. We have been shopping, having dinners together, baking cookies.....celebrating the season :) !

Hope you all had a good weekend... 3 more days until Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas at my house

While I sit here and WAIT for the, it didn't come last night like predicted :(, I thought that I would share some Christmas fotos of my house in Brasil.I hope that you all are having a great weekend! and if possible, PLEASE send some snow my way :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

ornamental me

You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!

funny, seeing as I am waiting for the snow to fall!

Friday, December 19, 2008


It has been cold these past few days....I am NOT used to this weather...please let it snow, please let it snow, please let it snow...
for me, if it is going to be this cold, then at least let it look pretty with snow so white and powdery. I remember when I was a little girl the snow was almost up to my waist some I wish that my kids could experience that! It was magical and made me appreciate the true beauty of winter. The weatherman has advised us of snow for Sunday, so let's keep our fingers crossed :)

I want to say thank you to Cielo at the house in the roses for awarding me this blogger award of friendship.I am going to pass it on to all of my blogging friends in this Christmas season. This is such a special time of year to be thankful for all that we are blessed with....

so I will hope for snow and say a prayer for all of you to be blessed in this Christmas time...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

nothing, nada, nengum

I am happy to say that the trip went without a hitch...literally! There was not a single problem. The planes left pretty close to on time, the flights were not bumpy, the luggage all came....
hhhmmmm, so what do I have to blog about my trip then?

Well, there was one bloggable bit. This:
Yes, notice the label:
From the Islands of Fiji, natural artesian water.
Can anyone tell me that they would really buy this actually thinking it came from Fiji?
and what is artesian water anyways?

Hahaha, well, it at least gave me a good laugh as I was strolling on the layover in Atlanta! (and something to blog about my trip!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas travels

That is what my family, including myself, would say if we were not at "home" for Christmas! I am not sure that I could bear not being there... so alas, in the spirit of Christmas....
we are traveling today to the US. I will have my computer with me so I will blog at some point!
I am sure there will be airport happenings, as there always are with me, and now especially at this busy time of year.

This is what we are hoping for! Thanks for all the tips on how to embed these Youtube videos/songs.
I will talk to you from the States :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

50 seconds to go...or the usual, Steeler Update

I was not able to actually watch the game tonight...of our two Slingbox options, one is down and not functioning, the other was being watched by it's administrator.
So, I "watched" it play by play on the NFL website.
Seems like it was a battle of defense tonight, and luckily, I am assuming, we pulled it out by the skin of our necks AGAIN! This was an important division game where I believe we have now clinched the AFC North!
Steelers 13
Baltimore Ravens 9

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My blogger friend, Cielo at the House in the Roses, is having a party! Stop by her site to come and discover our treasures!

I will post the pictures of the Treasures that I love in my house, but my most valuable treasure is my family. I am supported and loved by an incredible husband and two amazing children. They give me the strength to smile, laugh, play, enjoy and TREASURE every day in my life. I love them with all my heart!

These are a part of our Cajamarquina mirror collection from Peru. They are from an area called Cajamarca. My husband and I started collecting them when we were first married. They are hand painted from behind and then sealed with wood.....and this is a vase from Murano, Italy. In 2000, my husband and I travelled to Europe, with a stop in magical Venice. This is what we took home as a memory of our time there. It is the "Millefiori" pattern with gold dust throughout. The Murano Glass Factories are world renowned for their beautiful blown glass pieces. The showrooms are filled with pieces that makes one feel like each piece is more beautiful than the next. This vase holds our memories of our time spent there, and I think it is probably my favorite piece in my whole house!

Friday, December 12, 2008

busy, busy, busy...

I feel like I have no time these days....why you may ask? Well, here was my schedule today:

5-wake up with Bella to take her out
sleep a little more....
6-wake up and take a shower, get myself ready
6:30-get everyone else up, make breakfast, feed dogs, take dogs out, brush hair, reapply lipstick after slurping down the remains of the kids Honey Nut Cheerios (can't waste valued commodities like that!)
7:30-leave house
7:45-get to school for daughter's music presentation (and in the process of waiting and casually talking to another mom, getting pulled into doing the "store" for Destination Imagination this year :( I crazy?)
8:15-waiting for presentation
8:30-kids start presentation (such cuties singing a very international themed holiday presentation...)
*side note #1-there were also speaking parts...and the best was when a little boy said (and I will spell it as he said it), how the three maggie came to give their gifts...
yes, not magi, sounding like madge eye, which is the proper way, but more like the girls name Maggie...very cute
9:10-finish and wait for daughter, compliment her, buy her the LAST chocolate croissant from the Snack Shack (which is a true show of my love for her because they are SO good)
10-(take 45 minutes to get to the store) on my way with a close friend to show her the rock store that sells beautiful geodes in almost any color, type, size and shape you could want...all while looking for Christmas presents to take back.
*side note #2-this store is is amazing how many rocks can be in one store on two floors...and even more amazing, how when one is going to buy said rocks, how long it takes to make a decision (see leave time to be amazed)
1:30-on our way to grab SOMETHING, ALMOST ANYTHING to eat and check out small boom boxes for friend's kids for Christmas...(yes in the same store-electronics, paper products, grocery store, small luncheon counter)
* side note #3-I was in charge of ordering the sandwiches...we had seen some that were fine, but they were pre-packaged so we preferred ordering it fresh. After I paid for them, you move down the counter and watch someone make them....first, she took FOREVER putting on the rubber gloves to make the sandwiches, and we had little time left to make it back to school. then the ones I bought were DOUBLE the size of the pre-packaged ones. third, she starts putting on so much mayonnaise that it was almost a half inch thick and oozing out the sides. this is where I lost it laughing....I had to call my friend while she was paying for the other stuff (laughing so hard into the phone that I was crying, and doing it again as I am writing this), and tell her WAIT till you see these sandwiches.
2-headed back to "our side of town" (to be explained in another post because this is already getting too long and probably boring you) to leave me at our apartment (this friend and I live in the same building), and she was picking up the kids (my two and her two)
2:30-make it to the apartment and she goes for the kids because I am now on my way to pick up my son's new passport that had to be renewed before we left for the States.
side note #4-passport pick-up is ONLY on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 3-4...don't ask me, no clue!
3-make it to the consulate and then sit there, the ONLY one in the American Citizen Services part, waiting for someone to notice I was there, besides the armed guard trying also to get someone's attention, but not really allowed to leave his post!
3:45-finally leave the consulate with passport in hand and head to the club where both kids have been dropped off for tennis lessons
4:15-make it to the club, say hello to the kids, kiss, kiss, and then decide to look at the Christmas bazaar they are having.
5:15-leave club, come home, make quick dinner
6:15-take the kids and dogs for a walk on the beach
7:15-get back, wash dishes from dinner, put kids into the shower....and FINALLY sit down to blog :)

All that, purposely without any spaces between lines because that is how my day felt, absolutely no "space" for time or error! I will end it with a Jolly ol' St. Nick from my Christmas decorations just to end on a calm note!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Tell All

Today's topic: What is your favorite Christmas tune and why? Mine is:

Silent Night
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
'Round yon virgin mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Saviour is born
Christ the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

If you click on the name above it will take you to Wikipedia, which has an interesting article telling about the song and it's history. I think this song is beautiful and encompasses everything Christmas....
I love Santa, and buying presents and get all wrapped up in that aspect of Christmas also, but then I hear this song, and it brings me back to why we have a CHRISTmas.

Here is YouTube video of a Sinead O'Connor version....very pretty. If anyone would like to let me know how to get a YouTube video to post onto my posts that would also be a help! Thank you in advance ;)

Monday, December 8, 2008


Good Monday morning to you all... I hope your week is off to a bright and sunny day!
Here is my other nativity scene. This is Waterford crystal and one of my favorite pieces in my Christmas collection. May you all have a blessed day!

Steelers Update

Yup, the LAST 2 minutes AGAIN...
intercepted and ran back for a touch down for the win...
WAY too nerve racking for me, but happy as can be :)
Steelers 20
Dallas Cowboys 13

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas at my house

Here is a foto of our nativity scene in wood from Venezuela...(we do not put the Baby Jesus out until Christmas)

I like nativity scenes...of all sorts.
There will be more fotos of our different ones (and I am pining for a new one that I really like and found here in Brazil, so it would be a good reminder of our time here, too! It is a little expensive, let's see if hubby goes for it or not ;)

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Force of nature

Sometimes we forget the power of nature...

we are reminded always by the tragedies such as flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other catastrophes...

but sometimes the forces of nature are also pure beauty.
The waves from last night until now have been enormous. The sun is shining brightly, but there must be something brewing in the sea.

The water is up to the steps that take you to street level in some places. The sound is so loud that it feels like I am sitting at the beach instead of in my apartment, on the 12th floor above it! This is my building, and these are some shells that I found there today. I felt like I wanted to take home a memory of the waves...the sound is always inside me and I hear it to sooth me...and the shells remind me of the mix of fragility and strength.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas shoes for a luncheon!

Yesterday was our Book club's Christmas luncheon. ( I say "our" because our bloggy friend Gabriela got me involved in this book group, so I feel like it is a "we" thing :)

There were only 10 of us but it was a great fun. Here are my Christmas shoes...I feel like I only wear these shoes around Christmas time because they are not all that comfy (nor is any closed pair after always wearing sandals and flip-flops!) and they just really remind me of Christmas! I do love them though, so uncomfy or not, I continue to wear them!

Here is my tree with presents under it! Why is this so special to me? Well, we are always in Pittsburgh for
Christmas to celebrate with our families. Therefore, the presents are under those trees! Doesn't it look pretty, too?!

and last bust not least, here is what I picked from the grab bag. Now if you all read Gabriela's blog from last Christmas, then you would know why I feel so lucky to have kept this present! We play the game where you pick a number, then pick a present or steal from another...the game goes on and I felt very lucky to end up with this: a beautiful non-rusting (very important when you live next to the salty ocean), frame. And a BIG thank you to Gabriela for not stealing it, though I know you wanted it :) That is true friendship!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elfin magic...

Just havin' a little Holiday fun while waiting for the plumber ;)

Your Elf Name Is...

Happy Twinkle Wink

Monday, December 1, 2008

As my Mother would say...

My Mom always had great sayings...and here is one that applies perfectly to my situation right now:

"Now that is highway robbery".....
So what could be so outlandish that would deserve this? How about the equivalent of $1,702.64.

That is the price that the kennel wanted me to pay to board my two dogs and cat over the holidays!!!
Granted we will be gone 24 days, but PUHLEEZE!!! I might as well not even go away!

I know it is a long time to leave my animals. Please DO NOT reprimand me for that until you have lived overseas for an extended period of time. I love my animals, and the place that I usually take them is quite unbelievable. I will add their link here, even though it is in Portuguese, just click through their site. The place is actually like the pictures. They let the dogs run free and it really doesn't smell or anything. I have been there unannounced before and it was amazing to have 20 dogs come running up to me yet no pee smell, no little packages sitting on the pathway or in the grass. They do take good care of them, even giving them a bath before they come home.

Yea, all nice and all BUT $1,702.64...
sorry furry friends, you will be staying in the house with the maid and her daughter! (and that is only going to cost me a camera, tennis shoes and a few football shirts! well, plus I will leave money for food and pay her, too! still doesn't equal $1,702.64~)

Steelers Update

Dominating win over the New England Patriots.. great rainy football weather..only could be better if it was snow ;)
Steelers 33
Patriots 10

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tree lighting

Last night was the annual tree lighting ceremony. Check out this site for more information.
Gabriela hosted us again this year. She has a great viewpoint from her rooftop patio and it eliminates all the worry about traffic, walking etc... She made a delicious BBQ beef with broccoli salad, potato salad and we had yummy desserts. I brought the Key Lime Pie!
Some of the pictures are is hard to catch fireworks and a lit up tree...but I included them here because I thought they looked like reindeers and.... well, using my imagination ok?!
Thanks Gabriela for another fun year! 'Tis the season!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday fun

I named 9 reindeer in 30 seconds Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? (In 30 seconds)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tree Tiger

What is a tree tiger you ask? Well, this is my Tiger "helping" us decorate....

So as you can assume with this post, our decorating has begun. Since we celebrated Thanksgiving this past Saturday, we took advantage of the days off of school to start decorating for Christmas. I especially like to do it a little early because we always go back to the States for Christmas. It is nice for the kids to have a little bit of Christmas in their own home, even though we are not here on the actual days...
I will post more fotos after I finish the decorating....