Saturday, June 27, 2009


So there was a fight at the Science Center...
not your most likely place to encounter one, but hey, put a bunch of science fiends together and sometimes it occurs.

My son had a great time, the whole week, thanking me for putting him in a camp, and enjoying his dusting of fingerprints, footprints and blood trajectory.
Alas, as they were putting their final project together, (which all of my family was so excited to see seeing as they never get to see anything of the kids since we live so far), a small out break occurred, my son was hit in the face and he was upset, wanting to come home. He and another child disagreed about something, my son chased him and then the kid hit him. Whatever, not really that big of a deal, except, that my son wanted to come home!

Well, I went there, and after a lot of conversation, a lot of cajoling, a lot of reasoning, he finally accepted that he was staying to finish his project through.
In the end, he was so happy he stayed and we (all 8 of us), piled into the forensic lab and solved cases. The kids were split into small groups and they each had a mystery for us to solve. My son's group had us match fingerprints and footprints to find the suspect. It was cool, and most importantly, my son felt proud that he saw the project through.

I like these camps, and am looking forward to next week's zoo camp with my daughter!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This and that...

Here we are, safe and sound, in the 'burgh.
The flights were smooth as silk, though you wouldn't have known it from looking at me!
I have never been so nervous as I was on that first flight out.
Only time will tell when it is our time, and luckily, last week was not our time.

My Mom is doing fairly well. She is much stronger than I expected. She is doing too much, of course, but it wouldn't be her if she wasn't!
I have a good feeling she will be returning with me, though she keeps saying that she isn't sure.

My son's camp has kept me driving a lot these days...
that's a good thing. I like to drive, and miss those privileges.

He has been learning about blood samples and learning how to take fingerprints, from dusting them to finding them on a cup!
Sorry for the blurriness...gotta look into a camera with macro! But can I buy a video cam AND new camera all in one summer?
Me thinks not...

My daughter and I have been out and about, a little bit of shopping, talking, playing....
enjoying the company of each other and family.

I got a new cell phone... The Blackberry Curve 8900.
It even sounds good doesn't it?! I like it! I enjoyed my last Blackberry, but this one is just way too cool. I really like the full keyboard; by far, the biggest improvement for me. The screen is really easy to read, and I have already downloaded ringtones and screen themes! I never really thought of myself as a techie, or cell phone junkie, but this phone is fun! I have been texting and calling my niece at every turn to ask how to do this or find is pretty funny!

Speaking niece is getting married next May. How exciting! I am going to design and make the flowers for her and her wedding party. We have been busy working that out...I need to get to a store here and make her a sample. Just gotta figure out where everything is here! It is so easy to go to the Flower Market in Brazil...just pick up whatever is available!

So this is our trip so far...not much excitement for all of you, just chatter amongst friends :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's here

Yep, today is the day....

Yesterday to today, here is the run down:
The kids finished school (both got straight A's!). I had a party in each of their rooms, ran around finding presents for my husband's Goddaughters, finished packing, baked chocolate chips for the trip, printed out papers that I need to do when I am there, got medical stuff together for doctor's visits, stuffed three suitcases into three others to make this leg of the trip shorter, continued with my never ending list, and finally..... had a manicure/pedicure :)

Now, I am just getting ready to take the kids to have lunch with their friends, take our tennis lessons, come back and take quick showers
and finally, at 10:45 tonight, (as long as the plane is on time), we will be headed to the
good ol' US of A

See you all on the other side, God willing :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

close to a record

My hairdresser.....
hhmmm, how to describe him. Quite eccentric, a bit neurotic, incredibly talkative..
but generally does my hair very well and as I like it.

Quite a few people I know now go to him on the recommendation of myself and Gabriela.
Gabriela knew about him first, and it has been 2 years of hair cuts and colorings.

It still amazes me that I can be his only client, minus a girl who got a blow dry while I was waiting for one of my colors to set, and have it take 4 1/2 hours.
Yes, you read that right...4 1/2 hours. and to think, that is without
"the treatment", which usually costs way too much and has to stay on your hair for another 20-30 minutes!!

Why do I do this and stick with this guy...
well, for one, he speaks English. Even though I can speak enough Portuguese, and even in Venezuela, where my Spanish is very good, I just like to explain what I want with my hair in English. I go in there and he does basically the same thing every time, with a tweak here or there, a bit of a color change...
He does really nice color, though this time, I added highlights, and they are a little too blond for me. But my motto has always been, it's just hair, you can change it, grow it, cut it, etc..

So that was the better half of my Sunday...
oh yea, see he doesn't work on Mondays, and the other days of the week he comes it 2!
Doesn't work on this last week of running around, packing, end of school this and that....

5 days and counting :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

One week

In one week from right now (Friday) we will be on a plane home.
It is time...
I am excited to see my family, especially my Mom who has been ill but is now home and improving. I am encouraged by her laughter yesterday, which I haven't heard for a while!
I am positive she should be able to make the trip back with me.
My Parents, Sister and her Son are scheduled to come back with me in July.

I have even scheduled my kids in sumer camps this year! They are really excited...
My son will be "Cracking the Case", a look into forensic medicine...
lifting fingerprints, checking samples, etc...
My daughter will be going to the zoo to understand more about the different relationships of the families of the animals.
I scheduled it on different weeks so that I can give some one on one time with the other child. How fun will that be?! I can't wait.

School is winding down here, and really, it should have been over this past Wednesday. Their grades were turned in then, they had a day off yesterday for the Corpus Christi holiday, and now they just seem to be doing busy work. My daughter does have a field trip to see the dinosaur exhibit to complete that series they learned about, but still...
could have been finished :) darn 180 day rule!

The Pittsburgh Penguins play in the 7th and FINAL game for the Stanley Cup tonight!
Of course, my favorite is football, but the Pens come in a close second!

Next week is filled with end of the year farewells (many people leave in this crazy expat life, so we are always wishing a farewell and good adventures to someone!), end of the year parties, packing and the all important
As some of you may remember from previous posts, the LIST is the most essential item in my suitcase. Well, actually, it goes in my purse! I couldn't dare lose it!
This year the LIST is filled with the normal favorites...
Honey Nut Cheerios, pretzels, some sauces, some good tea, clothes and shoes(especially for the kids)....
then there are a few big ticket items that we need....
My favorite item this year is that I am going to look for a video camera.
I know, how could I have gone through all these precious child years without one, but alas, we have. I borrowed one this past week for the final presentations of our kids because my husband was out of town for work. It felt like he was there with me...and he really enjoyed seeing it, even if it wasn't live.
So, I am thinking of a Sony, probably the HC9...
any thoughts?
Remember, this will probably also be going underwater, so I have to take that into consideration!

Well, this is me, moving on...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Moving On

As you all know, we lost many people on this Earth one week ago.

This past Saturday, Gabriela, myself, my husband and many close friends went to the memorial of Kristian Berg Andersen.  May he rest in peace and may his family find the strength to heal a little bit every day.
It was heart breaking to see his wife, our friend, in tears, sobbing, yet trying to be strong for their two beautiful children.  They were also in a flux of tears and sobbing out loud, then turning and looking to their little friends for some sort of hope, grasping a teddie bear, holding on to their Mother.  

I need to move on.  I was still a mess yesterday, but today, with the beautiful sunshine, the sound of the waves, and my family, I feel stronger.  
Yes, it is easier for me, for you...this has not happened to us.  
What I have taken from it is that you must rejoice in your life, find the peace and happiness that the little every day things bring into your life.
I feel so very lucky to have the life that I lead....
I am the happiest when I am close to my family, and thank God, for now, I am blessed with still having everyone in my life.

We have some wonderful Scottish friends who are setting up a memorial fund for Kristian in Scotland.  They have a program called 
Trees For Life. (click on this name for more information)
In exchange for your donation, they plant a tree in the Caledonian Forest of Scotland.  What we are hoping is that the family may one day, be at a place, where they can accept what life has thrown them, and want to visit a beautiful part of this forest in memory of their dear loved one.
I think it is a beautiful and fitting memorial for someone who loved the outdoors.  Their family is from Norway, so it is close enough to visit and one day see acres of beautiful trees, flowers and animals growing strong in his name.

I am moving on, though not forgetting.  My heart is heavy, but full of spirit and life.  My dear ones are even closer and more precious, if that is possible, than they were a week ago.  I want to hold every day as a special extra day that we are all together and living this beautiful life.  For one never knows when that will end or be changed forever.

May all 228 lost ones rest in peace.  May their families find the strength to continue on and once again, some day, enjoy life again.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


These past few days have been unbearable...
tears, fear, memories..
they all creep up on you when you least expect them.

Gabriela and I, along with others of our friends, have been trying to support one another through these times.

I am not sure if the reality of it really is described well enough with words through our blogs.  I will try again to describe this...
not for just our readers, but also for myself.

Living overseas, as an expatriate, for a short amount of time...
that is what we have all been doing these past few years.  The perks are great.
The community is your support system, your friends, your acquaintances...
most of the people here, especially in an assignment where there are a lot of expats, are more just people that you pass by in school, at the clubs playing tennis, a birthday lunch where all have been invited..
just because you are a member of the expat community.

So this has hit the whole community.  We see people walking around our schhol who have been so affected that they just burst into doesn't matter if they were your best friend, they were still someone you know, who is living the same situation you are, and now they have to live it differently.  They have to live with a loss, a precious life has been abruptly halted...
and the lives of their families, utterly thrown into chaos.

So we all feel hit.  It makes me realize how precious and fleeting life really is..
and I must not take anything for granted....
most especially, the life of my family.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Update: A Sad Day

We never know when it is 
"our time"...
Today we learned of a few friends that were on the AirFrance flight that went missing from Rio to Paris.

One was a couple that lived life to fullest, always enjoyed themselves and the wife (who I knew more-so than the husband) always had a smile.  
My last image of them is dancing at an American Society Texas BBQ for St. Patrick's Day.  They were great dancers and looked so happy.

The other person is the husband of a lady that my kids play tennis with their kids, who are only 4 and 5.  He worked occasionally with my husband in the same line of work.  

I wanted to add here that I just heard of another British lady who had her 11 year old son, flying alone, back to his boarding school in the UK,
 also on the plane.
Also, another Brazilian gentleman that just got married this past year, who had celebrated his birthday this past weekend, and also worked with my husband occasionally, was also another on board.

May God bless them and their families, and help them to find peace in the coming days, weeks, months and years of their lives....