Tuesday, March 31, 2009

some fun...

How many chances do I have to exercise in the mornings looking at this?

Well, from now on, 2 classes a week in the morning and one class in the evening!
Yes, I feel lucky and know what a privilege I have for right now.
So my abdominals and legs are feeling the burn while my eyes take in the beauty of the beach....

Monday, March 30, 2009

hello, hello? are you there??

Yes, I am here!  Where have I been?
Well this past weekend, my son was involved in a great creative event that takes place around this time every year called Destination Imagination.

At the beginning of the year, the children form groups of either similar ages or grades and start to work on their Central Challenges.  This is a big event in the US, where they go to State finals and then Global finals.  We participate only in the one event for our country and then, if they win, they have a chance to go to Global finals.

My son's group was not that cohesive this year.  They chose one of the hardest of 5 central challenges that is the back bone of the DI program.  Every year, there are 5 central challenges.  The groups get to decide which challenge they choose and then work on it until the event.  I was hoping that they would have worked together more, but there are a few very strong willed children in his group.  Sometimes a hard head isn't what you need.  Another point of DI is to work together.  That is where hard heads run into a wall...(excuse the pun :)

Anyways, my son did his best, I think :)  I ran the store this year.  So, that is where I have been...and today, I am running around the city with some unexpected visitors we had come over the weekend.   

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the islands

As you sail away from Paraty you discover a magical group of islands...

mostly private, some rented where it seems like you could live unnoticed, no one bothering to check on you...complete solitude.  

There are islands where there seems to only be one house, and then others, that seem to have a few houses.

There was one that had a restaurant practically built into the rocks.  

The food was a yummy grill of seafood and fish, delicious potatoes, rice and beans (a staple here) 
and of course the sweet ciapiroskas.  This is a version of the drink that is called a caipirinha, only instead of the local liquor called cachaca it is made with vodka.  I prefer to have mine with strawberries but other versions include lime (the original), kiwi, pineapple and passion fruit.

The vegetation is amazing in Brasil in general.  You have lush forests and mountains covered in green ALL the way to where they meet the sea.

It is certainly a beautiful country and I feel quite lucky to have the chance to live in it!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend away

You know how sometimes you just need a little break from the day to day grind?  A place that is not too far away but just enough out of the city to feel like you are getting away from it all?
Well, that was what we did this past weekend.  We packed up the car and headed to Paraty.

This is a beautiful little town that has been well preserved.  It was once an important port when there was gold being found in the State of Minas Gerais.  
They have kept the old part of town in it's traditional style...with cobblestone streets, charming pousadas and such a colorful marina.

Our pousada was not right in the center of it all, but we enjoyed it's quietness and it's simplistic beauty. 

 The rooms were tastefully decorated and from talking with the owners in the big eat-in kitchen, it sounds like they put a lot of effort into refurbishing this place.
I felt like I was part of someone's house, instead of just a room number and "guest".
The artwork was tasteful, the pool refreshing and the plants so green and alive!

The first night we were so excited to go to what is supposed to be on of the best Thai restaurants in Brasil.  My daughter is not a huge fan of Thai, so we were going to get her pizza first.  Well, the pizza place was so cute that we decided to save Thai for Saturday night and enjoy the stone oven-baked pizza.  It was yummy!  
They had some fun pieces around the place, too!  Check out this old sign and this bicycle...I just wanted to scoop it up and decorate it for a backyard...(even though I do not have one of those right now :)

This reminds me of craft fairs and garden stores...
I have been longing for a house recently and I was picturing this set amongst some flower beds with begonias growing out from the basket!

This sign reminds me of a bygone era...
when Kerosene lit up a house lamp and oil was still pumped by a real person...who also washed your windshield and checked your tires
Well, I will write more about Paraty tomorrow...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Same trip, different week

Tomorrow we are off to Paraty...
Let's hope there isn't any major hinderance this time around!

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and we'll catch up whenever we return!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The younger you feel....

I was sent this link in an email today.
I thought it was interesting, though how true...
well, one can only hope in my case!

My virtual age: 14.9
Life expectancy: 97.1
and I have approximately 
21,900 more days to live!

take the test HERE

Can someone please explain

Tonight I am watching one of the ONLY TV shows that I care to watch.
I know that I don't like saying this...but my addiction to this show is beyond comprehension.
 But I digress....

what I need explained is what is going on in the US?  The commercials are absolutely horrible!
There is a man dressed as a pregnant woman to bring cheap Mexican food into a ball game.
They have a recreation of Abe Lincoln as a wrestler, tearing off his shirt and suspenders.

These are the times when truly, no disrespect meant, but I am so happy that I am not living in the US to be subjected to this every time there is something that I want to watch on the TV.  Now, I know it is my choice to turn it on, but where does the absurdity end?

Monday, March 16, 2009

smooth sailing

So today was a fresh new start for me.  I wrote the letter, sent it to the headmaster and any future parents of field trip aged children (that are my friends of course) and feel much calmer.
Of course my lawyer helped me rewrite it to perfection ;)

I hope that you all had a great weekend.  and for those of you that do not already know, check out Nicole's blog from my list to the right.  She had a foto scavenger hunt.  I didn't know in time to participate, but it is really cool to see everyone's version.  

Lash took a rest today...thanks for calming me down Lash...I needed it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Well, we are still in town.  We didn't have the chance to leave for our weekend trip last night.
Why?  Well, first let me find Masked Lash....she is writing a letter to the school to complain about the lack of planning.  It is not a good thing to lack planning when traveling with 40 kids through dangerous parts of our city.

The children were supposed to arrive around 3:30 in the afternoon.  Of course, we can allow some time for traffic and what not, but what really happened?
The bus broke down.  Now, the first response that the bus company would be around with another bus in about 15 minutes.  

Ballerina Girl was ok with this, though she doubted it highly remembering what country she woke up in today. (yes, this is Lash talking and trying to calm down BG...)
She thought that seemed fishy, but the LS Principal assured her that the bus company was close and working on getting that extra bus. 
2 HOURS LATER, the children were still sitting there, in one of the MANY dangerous sections of our city.  They lucked out for two reasons:
1. there were many "high-profile" Brasilian children on this trip, which meant that one very prominent family had their security guards following behind the bus.
2. there is a family whose relative owns another bus company and was able to bail them out.

The children would have not gotten another bus from the original company because they DIDN'T HAVE another bus.  Here is where the school's lack of planning comes in.  So, what was their plan if this bus would have been farther from town?  The camp was 5 hours away, going through many small towns and mostly mountains....no bus companies around there usually.  What would they have done?  Why were there not immediate remedies being sought when the original bus company never showed up?  

The bus had to be towed off the road, with the children on it...VERY dangerous, but then again, they couldn't get off the bus because that was EVEN MORE dangerous.

Listen, I must go and clam down BG...she is still furious about this.  If some sort of longer window would have been given to her originally she could have picked up her son herself and gone on to have their weekend away.  
On  side note, just because she might not get around here until later, her son was great, had a wonderful time and is telling her stories nonstop about his week away.  and she feels really good because in his little journal he wrote how he missed her and was happy to come home and see her!  Though in person, he stated how he had a great time AWAY!!
She knows that is the most important thing here...but she is still fuming at the school!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jardim Botanico

There is a magical place in our big city where fairies dance 
and turtles have a place to lounge around.  

The Jardim Botanico is a beautiful garden set amidst the roar of traffic and horns; a quiet babbling stream with tall Palm trees lining the street and paths brings comfort to the soul.

There are some places inside the garden that look mystical,

 enchanting...with their fountains and statues guarding their

 treasures.  Look at the trunks of these trees...they are massive with a root system that must span the ground under our feet.

There are some sections that need a little more TLC, but as a whole, the tranquil Gardens are a nice respite from the craziness that lies outside it's gates.

Enjoy the beauty of the flowers.... 

wonder at the arches and curves of the trees and leaves...

may your day be filled with the peacefulness that our souls call for.

I will return after the weekend with more pictures and comments.  We are off to another destination here in Brazil.  Have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Lily Pads...(with more to follow on another post)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The spice of life ;)

Your Icecream Flavour is...Neopolitan!
You aren't satisfied with just one flavor. They say variety is the spice of life and this shines through in your Ice cream of choice! Just don't eat all the chocolate and leave the strawberry and vanilla behind!

The funniest thing about this quiz? I so enjoy Neopolitan ice cream.

It was a favorite of mine when we went to my Grandmother's house. She would make sure to get all three colors in one scoop, top it with chocolate sauce..mmmm
I am missing chocolate a little bit (gave it up for Lent), but I am doing so well!  
I hope your day is filled with the spice of life :)

Monday, March 9, 2009


Since I am in this mood of posting about my children, here is what is going on this week.
Today, my Son leaves for a week long excursion with the school.  He returns this Friday.  I am trying to be strong and supportive of him.  I am trying to let him know that I will miss him without totally showing the true way I feel, (which is like this):

I feel like 10 years old is a little young for a class trip, but what can I say.  I would never not let him go.  He is excited to go and be without us!  I know that he will grow in this week.  And I especially know that he is ready.  He is a mature child and consistently shows us how responsible he is.

I was being strong and not crying until my daughter, who looks up to her big brother like he is the king of the world writes this note:

"I will miss you very much.  I will be thinking about you.  I love you."  She draws a heart at the bottom and then another little image of a girl and boy holding hands.

I lost it last night.  She is such a sweetheart.  
We are all going to miss him, think of him and we all love him.  

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Inspiring Sunday

They say that what comes out of the mouth of children is almost always the truth...
even to the point of brutal honesty...or in this case
the pure meaning of love!

I have a very thoughtful, caring Son.  He knows how to "push my buttons" but he also knows how to warm my spirit and soul, bringing out a smile that radiates from deep inside me, knowing that this is my Son and how proud I am to say that I am privileged to be his Mother.

The other day we were playing tennis...he was in his class, I was playing with three other ladies.
He knows my tennis...he often beats me at the end of my class when he joins in!

So, this was the day when he had had a disagreement with one of his good friends.  He was quite upset because this friend is leaving in a few weeks to live in Dubai.
We talked a lot about it.  I was very gentle with his emotions and tried to support him as best as I knew how.

And this is what I received as a form of thank you:

After I left the tennis court, he walked up to me with one of these flowers in his hand and said:
Here, Mom, this is for you because you are always a winner to me.

and the tear came, my smile widened and I felt so lucky to call him my Son

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dog Park Review

Not that everyone is interested BUT
for those that are...
the dog park was quite an interesting adventure.

some background first....
Bella is usually the one who is all over my other dog and cat.  She is always trying to play with them but to no avail.  My other dog, Coal, is 8 years old and a bit of an old, crotchety man...he would much rather just sit around and have someone pet him than play with a big feisty 8 month old that kinda took over his space. The cat, Tiger is always looking for trouble with Bella.  She is a mad woman when Bella comes near her, letting out these howls and hisses, batting at her like she is a punching bag.  Actually, Bella thinks that is an acceptable way to play, so she tends to try to bat Coal too...not a pretty sight!

So, yesterday we walked to the dog park.  I have a friend that was going with her 2 year old black Lab so we decided to meet them there for our first time.
Bella was extremely hot and tired by the time we got there.  She does not do well walking in the extreme heat we have had the past few days.  Hence, why I walk her for her longest walk at 5:30 in the morning!
We finally made it there and I took her off her leash.  I thought she was going to run wild and free and feel the breeze through her ears...
alas, she put her tail between her legs (something I have never seen her do) and stuck by Mommy, I mean the Masked Lash.  Granted I was there for her, ready to protect my sidekick, but she didn't need it.  She held her own and figured out how to dodge the oncomers and play somewhat with them.
I think it was a good experience for her to be around others that are also dominating.  We will go back!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The adventures of the Masked Lash

Today, Masked Lash girl finds herself embarking on a new journey...
a journey that could unleash the beast that she keeps next to her side...


today, we are journeying to....
the dog park.  an enclosed large area for dogs and their owners.  a place where dogs rule and people follow
(or at least they sit there and watch how the dogs try to rule each other :)

More details to follow...though without fotos
(sorry, a little unsafe to drag along my camera and be oh so susceptible to theives.  on a side note....and why I am not taking my camera.... a close friend was riding her bike and a guy just literally stole it out from under her.  grabbed the handle bars, and yanked her bike away from her!)
it's not always so swanky to be an expat

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Masked Lash

I may have been a little lax these last few days for all of my blogger followers, but here I am:

Back in the action!  
I am ready for any action that comes way....

little boy that is so mean to my son, stay out of my way!
tennis ball coming at me, watch me smash it!
dogs out of control, watch me calm them with my magic whisper!

Look out world, Ballerina Girl, Masked Lash Superhero, is back in the action!

Thanks to Beth for sharing this website!
Make your own Superhero HERE

Monday, March 2, 2009

Carnaval 2009, our group

We started to get ready early....
we were the 4th group in the line up,

I didn't get to see much of the floats of our group, or even the other costumes!  Really, once we started getting ready until the time that we were shuffled out of the Coke box and to the craziness of, well, I guess I would liken it to a backstage...

but really, it is the closed off streets where the schools line up their thousands of marchers, floats and bands....
we were trying to figure out how the heck all the contraptions went onto our bodies!

There were leg pieces, bottoms that looked like huge balloon shorts, two arm pieces, head gear, shoulder gear...
and of course figuring out how the heck we would stay like this for hours!

Remember, we started to get ready about the middle of the group of the second group, left the booth during the third group and then had to wait for our section to go on~ the schools had 82 minutes this year...so we were standing/walking/samba dancing the whole time!

boy, it was fun!  I am used to being in the spotlight and on stage...
but this was something completely different.  The energy of the group's members when the school's music started was unbelievable!  They all instantly started screaming, singing and of course.....doing the SAMBA!!!

Then our section finally started moving and it was non-stop constant motion down the street.  We were supposed to sing, but of course, none of us really knew all the words!  Granted, the school can get points taken off for members not showing enthusiasm and singing, so we mouthed certain words that we knew!  This was quite funny....we knew that certain verses ended in words like amo(love), Portela(the school), etc...so we just all kept mouthing those words!  TOO FUNNY!
So, these fotos are of Portela either from the street (I took my camera of course!  and then hid it amongst the straw covering my arms/legs when we went past the judges booth) and by my Tia.
Enjoy the fun!

This year, the theme was love...in many different ways!  There was love of the internet, movie romances, the love of the sun and moon...and according to the school:
"when love is in the air, nothing is impossible!"

What a better group could there be for me to walk with?  This is how I feel about my life, and my loves....they are varied just as Portela's are...
and actually, I am trying not to use the word love so haphazardly...as in "I love that movie...or I love this color"...

I am trying to be more selective.  I do have my passions...my family first and foremost, the only true loves of my life!

 Then there are the other things that I truly enjoy...
diving, flowers, the beach, the sun, the beauty of the sky....

well, these are my thoughts...I have strayed from the Carnaval theme, but 
 theme got me on a roll!

Here we are in action!  and this is the float that we came before!  I am not quite sure how our African
 theme fits into the overall love theme, but hey, who I am to question :)

This is the last image that I have of walking the Sambodromo street called the Apoteose (where they also hold concerts, like the one I saw with James Blunt and Elton John!)  It was an amazing event and one that I will never forget.

Love conquers all