Saturday, June 28, 2008

My first award!

My first blog distinction award!
Thank you to Marina for awarding me a blog of distinction.
She has been a blogger friend from the beginning of my blog, and I want to say thank you for her continued support for my blog.

Blogging is new to me...I have not even done for a year yet.  I really enjoy visiting new sites and "meeting" new friends.  I would like to thank you all for visiting me and listening to my roller coaster ride of a life!

I would like to pass along this award to a person that is not only the one who introduced me to blogging, but she is also a wonderful friend.  We have known each other for barely a year, but in that year, we have shared many ups and downs, many laughs, and even a tear or two.  Thank you for always being there for me.  
I pass along my award to Gabriela, of Living la vida loca!  

Thursday, June 26, 2008

one word

Friends, this is going to be a short post....
I have one word for all of you:


now I remember when it was only after the Fourth of July sale, or Labor Day sale, or after Christmas....
but in our sad economy every day seems to have sales...
and I mean huge discounts!
I am loving it

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RUN kids, RUN!

Here we go again....
funny airport story to start the US trip....

We get to the airport in plenty of time, have "dinner", (if that is what you can call airpot food) with husband/Papa...
go to the lounge, (yes a bit extravagant, but a lifesaver when living overseas)
Walk into the American Airlines lounge and give the lady behind the desk my gold card, forgetting that I can't get in just because I am gold.  I go to tell her that I made a mistake and she is all in a huff thinking I am trying to get in to their club without proper membership (goodness gracious these lowlifes wanting to get in our club!).
So she proceeds to not let me speak and asks only for my boarding pass, which I give to her knowing full well that this will not work either because the membership is in my husband's name and frequent flier number!
She looks at me all smug and says, "No, this is only for gold membership..."
I proceed to tell her
"Yes, I know, it is under my husband's name and XXXX number..."
She gets all huffy again and gives it to her assistant who proceeds to find it and all is better in frequent flier land...
(besides the looks of bitterness that I and my two extremely well behaved children are actually allowed in her club:)

We go down to the gate at boarding time and for the second time here in my city, Brazil the crew is stuck in traffic!
SECOND TIME this happens to us!
Crew lessons when in my city, Brazil:
1. There is always traffic, and a lot of it!  
2. Especially more if it is drizzling or raining!

I mean, how hard is it to know that?  It is a well known fact that you must leave early in my city because there is always traffic!
It was raining all day...
hello WARNING:
leave even earlier!
and if it is because you haven't had your allotted time between flights:
American Airlines:  get a different crew!
We had to wait almost an hour and a half (yup, told ya the traffic is bad)
for them to show up.
Which leads to #3 and #4!
We go back up to the lovely receptionists at the Admirals Club after guessing it was going to be a long time before the crew shows up.  I nicely ask her about my connection in Miami because we only have 2 hours.  It may seem like a long time, but when we were already late to leave with no crew in sight yet, then you have to through immigration, then get your bags to remove and go through customs, then re-check said bags and of course then actually get to the gate....
the 2 hours dwindles away....
What does the lovely lady say???
"sorry, I can't do anything because you have to talk to those in Miami.  It is not my problem."
What do I say, meanwhile trying not to let too many fumes escape from my head like in a cartoon???
"Well, it will be your problem and all of American Airlines problem whenever I write a letter and also have to find a new flight."
which leads to.....
The crew finally shows up and we take off close to 10 at night...supposed time to leave...8:45.
Nice flight attendant trying to help me, but they really can't do much 38,000 feet in the air.
So, we run to immigration, about a mile and a half, 
can't rush the immigration officer because he might just detain you....
run to get our bags....wait....wait...wait...
AGH, where are our bags...
ooohhh, look son, grab two carts!  there they are!  Luckily, all 6 came out together!
Daughter, take the two carry-ons, son push one cart and I'll get the other...
get through customs, luckily again, because this time they realize what a rush I am in and luckily though my eyes are extremely puffy from not sleeping, do not think that I am trying to smuggle something in, so we can go right through...
(could it have been the cute little blond daughter looking like she was going to cry because she might miss her flight to see her Bubba(my Mom), handing him the customs form?)
Hand off the suitcases kids...and what now
go through security AGAIN
and what else
Where is the gate?  THE FARTHEST AWAY!!!!
So, son goes running faster while I drag daughter and two carry-ons...
barely make the flight, but here I am now, sitting comfortable in another club lounge....and we had

BAGELS for breakfast!
YEA....almost to my childhood home!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

start with bad...

Ok, so:
  • my bags are packed
  • we are all showered (very important when you know you won't have another shower for at least 24 hours!)
  • we have all eaten something
  • I baked chocolate chip muffins for the trip      
  • I went out to lunch with a friend that is moving away :(                                                    
and now I have an extra hour to just sit and relax.. So I thought I would tell you first about the worst part of the trip that we just took:

In Portuguese they are called Caravela Portugues and in English they are called
Portuguese Man-of-War.  

We all booked a snorkeling trip to a small pool in the ocean not far from our hotel.  My daughter and husband went out of the water early and my son and I stayed behind.  As we were swimming back to shore I felt something sting me on my back.  Now, I have been a scuba diver for over 14 years, and I know a little bit about these things...
So I picked my head up and saw what was kinda stuck in my long hair and right next to the front of me....
a jellyfish!
and worse yet, a Portuguese Man-of-War!
I knew how dangerous this jellyfish was (actually Wikipedia says that it technically is not a jellyfish but a 
siphonophore- a colony of specialized polyps and medusoids.)
They look like plastic baggies floating on the water...
not that it mattered seeing as I was swimming with my head down and never saw it coming!

So, I yelled to my son to swim away, pushed it a little away from me with my hand, (read:DUMB MOVE!)
and then batted it away with a fin.  All the while letting out a yell here and there!
I felt the sting right away on my face, ear and hand that I used to push it away (read: DUMB MOVE)
but as the day went on I was able to see everywhere that it's long tentacles got me:
both hands, my neck, upper back and of course my face and ear.  
The sting burns so much!  I was afraid that I was going to die really...
they are very poisonous, and depending on how much venom is injected into you, the worst case scenario is death! AGH!
Obviously, I am still here...
and we even got a laugh after the stinging went away from this...
Remember the old wive's tale?
Pee on a jellyfish sting?
Well, my son SSSSSOOOOOO
wanted to do that after he heard that it could help!
Luckily, there were little food stands nearby and I was able to put vinegar on it.
But from then on, my son was laughing at the thought of peeing on me!

  ok, onto the good in my next post.....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

home for almost 2 days then...

Hi everyone!
We are back from the northern was beautiful!  We had a great family vacation....there is so much to write about but as you can see by my title, I only have a day and a half before I am off the the US!!!!

We got into our house at about 5 Saturday night....and my grays were showing a little too much, so off I went to the salon at 6.
Little did I know that it would take 4 HOURS to complete my hair!  AGH, I do not have that kind of time right now....nor was my stomach too happy!
I don't ever know what happens with our hair dresser (our being Gabriela and me) We always end up spending way too much money on this treatment and that rinse and spending HOURS in the salon.  It looks good, but....

Then there is the washing and repacking which is what I started last night and continue on with today.  Not too bad because it was only a week, but it is all the same clothes that we will need in the US.  Luckily the weather is dreary here today so there isn't the temptation to go outside and enjoy the day!

Finally there is:


This list is never ending.  As soon as I return from the US from a trip, start to unpack, I realize that there is something that I forgot or just realize that I, or someone in my family, "needs".
There is a piece of paper magnetized to the refrigerator that I write on as things come to mind.  Then, on a day like today, (aka, the day before I leave)
I put it into the computer, sectioned off for places to buy the item, like Target, Costco, Best Buy or just a general section,
and I print it out on the computer.
Now, my list always has a few of the same products every year, such as, 
(ok, don't laugh)
Tide, (yes there is plenty of detergents here, but they are just not the same as my Tide!)
Toilet paper, you know, the "squeezably soft Charmin" me on this one, t.p. has a whole new meaning in your mind when you have to use the paper that feels like the sand paper that we used in high school art class to make our own frames!
Paper towels, once again, they just do not have the same type here!  The ones you find here seem to melt as quick as snow on a sunny day, leaving small annoying pieces stuck on your fingers.

Then there are the usual treats....
Honey Nut Cheerios, Nestle chocolate chips (in so many flavors now!), Peanut butter, disinfectant wipes, some candy for the kids, (ha, don't believe that "for the kids" part), Goldfish, pretzels (which you just can not find here nor in Venezuela!) ((and I am a Snyder's hard pretzel girl....I grew up loving
pretzels....pretzel rods, pretzel nuggets, the big hard type, AH, I just can't wait!))

Well, I could go on and on, but I think you get the jist....
the US list is something that we expats (or at least a few that I know of)
are never without!

I will post more next week on our vacation to Salvador and all the goings on in the US!

Friday, June 13, 2008

off to the northern coast

Friends I just wanted to let you all know that I am off for a week to the Northern Coast of and stories to come soon!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Brazilian Valentine's Day!

Brazil, home too many cultural ethnic groups celebrates every festival in an extravagant way and Valentine’s Day in Brazil is no less than a mega social event. Gala carnivals and parades are an inherent part of this South American country which is diversified into various regions uniquely displaying the colorful historical heritage of the country. Though Valentine’s Day traditions in Brazil, are marked by a difference as in Brazil they celebrate 'Lovers Day' on June 12th, the eve of Saint Anthony's who is believed to bless people with good marriages and young couples thus celebrate their love in the same way as other people do in other parts of the world.
Valentine’s Day celebrations in Brazil is known as "Dia dos Namorados" when young lovers exchange gifts. Like other countries, people look forward the day with anticipation, for it ushers in an ambience of joy, happiness and gala celebrations every where. All over the country, hectic arrangements are marked to make this occasion a lot more special and eventful. Valentine’s Day festival in Brazil features the colorful samba dance, and lives performances by popular rock bands and singers. 

Hello my friends, this excerpt above was taken from a random info page on Brazilian Valentine's Day....
Just wanted to wish all my friends a life full of love because I feel that love is the center of my world!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


You would think that she was born and always raised inside a house with love and care....

not found in a club in Venezuela where she had to fend off about 8 other big cats, search long and hard for food (or just wait until I have some extra leftovers from our meals there), no mother in sight, only receive lovin' from me and another lady, and even get over a fight that left her with an open sore on her hind quarter!

Thank you to my husband for letting me bring her to where she belongs...
inside my home with a lot of love and care!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Our school

Now that there are only 3 days left of school, I just wanted to share some of the pictures from it....
It is in a beautiful location, set in the beginning of a forest...

My kids get to see beautiful flowers:


A Waterfall:


and even toucans amongst other birds, though I do not have any pictures.
We are looking forward to our weeks of vacation, but they are both excited about coming back also!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Hello All!  Marina has tagged me and this one seems fun and fairly simple!  Enjoy....

1. What was I doing 10 years ago:
  • I was ending my career as a professional ballet dance with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  
  • I was also 4 months pregnant with our son and moving to Houston, Texas...(better known as: our first foreign assignment :)

2. Five things on my "to do" list:
  1. Exercise
  2. Eat less junk-y food (see below)
  3. Get ready for summer (consisting of: packing for travels, going over my US list, (more to come on that in another post), etcetc
  4. Find a dance class that I like
  5. Read 

3. Snacks I enjoy: I have two categories...
  • junk-y: cookies, chocolates (especially Godiva), nutella, donuts
  • good for you: mango, nectarines, peaches, bananas with peanut butter, cheese with crackers

4. Things I would do if I was a millionaire:
  1. Put away more money for the kids college (read: afraid of the prices in 10 years from now!)
  2. Give to a charity that I really feel is worth it (to be disclosed later)
  3. Travel (even though we do not skimp on this in our day to day lives, I would really love to go diving in Australia, money and time not being an issue!) I can't buy time can I?

5. Places I have lived:
  • Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 6 weeks at age 16 in Philadelphia at a summer ballet workshop (trust me, at 16, 6 weeks living on your own, in a big city, it's worth mentioning :)
  • Houston, Texas
  • Maracaibo, Venezuela
  • and currently living in a big city in Brazil

Now I have to tag 5 goes:

Monday, June 2, 2008

time to make the donuts...

I felt like my Grandmother this weekend.  She always made everything from scratch and, wow, it was always so yummy!
When you live overseas, or anywhere that is away from whatever is your home cooking, you have cravings.  Not like: 
  • I want some Krispy Kreme donuts but am not going to because I am on a diet craving....or 
  • no, no Godiva today because it is a little expensive and we are trying to save this year...or
  • even though I am pregnant, I am not eating for two, but eeeeewwwwww, I want that fourth helping of ice cream
Cravings that CAN NOT be satisfied because you just CAN NOT get the item....
You just have to start making everything from scratch......
hence, my 3rd time making donuts!  Yummy, and we all love them! (there goes the diet!)

Look, Grammy, my homemade donuts :)