Saturday, March 31, 2012

Laughter is the best medicine

There are a lot of things in life that we can not choose. But there are plenty of things we can. One of the things we can choose is our mood. I personally believe that life is both too short and too long to be spent in a bad mood. It was my grandma that taught me that. And, hey, I am not getting any younger, so I will take the good mood over the bad.

I don't understand why some people choose to go through life miserably. Some people choose to go through life like this – complaining about everything. Seeing the worst in everything, and mulling over it as if they could actually make things better by worrying and complaining! Oh, life is not fair! Oh, people are so prejudicial! Oh, the social injustices! Oh, the rain! Oh, the snow! Oh, the heat! Oh! Oh! Oh!

When I was a teenager, Grandma used to tell me that I worried too much. Think typical teenagers. Those kids who are pseudo-revolutionaries and worry about all the problems in the world every single minute of their lives as if the amount of worry they do could actually do something for the world? Yup, that was me. Grandma used to say she was too old for these kind of worries.

Grandma is a model for me. She is a fantastic person. When I am old (which will never happen! Me old! Ha! I will always be 12!!!)

Grandma laughs a lot. She has always laughed a lot. She has gone through a lot of hell in life, but she keeps her good mood and she laughs at everything. She is not worried about solving all the problems in the world, and she doesn't pretend she can change the things she can't. The only thing she can change, she does – her attitude, her mood.

She is a great woman and she is very caring towards those who are part of her life. She will turn into The Incredible Hulk if anyone tries to harm any of us. But she is not constantly preoccupied with everything else. Because – it seems that she knows that – she can make her life better or worse simply by not pretending everything depends on her. Have a good time, even when things are not turning out the way you think they should. That's what she seems to say with the way she acts.

Chico Anysio (one of the greatest comedians in Brazil who passed away last week) once said that the Brazilian people are the only ones who can make humor out of their own misery. I am not sure whether or not we are the only ones. What I am sure of is that making humor out of things that are not so fun is a great way to deal with those things and a great way to be happier in life. Because it is here that we find ourselves changing the only one thing we can control in life – our attitude, our mood.

Why am I going on and on about how to be happy and how to choose your own attitude? Because I was impressed at how people can actually be unhappy all the time about anything and everything!

I was watching this hysterically funny video on an old friend's Facebook. The video showed a woman who couldn't parallel park her Smart car to save her life. The people recording the video were having a blast, commenting on the fact that the Spanish woman couldn't parallel park.

As it is usual on Facebook, an unhappy soul decided to poke in during the comments and spill his share of dissatisfaction and hatred. He had to let us all know how the video recorders were damned and stupid for making fun of the fact the person was a woman and a Spaniard.

I tried to lighten his mood. Me, always thinking that people actually want to be helped. Silly me! But, hey, one day I will learn. Here I went, “Hey, bro, chill. Don't we all make jokes about Portuguese and Hicks? Same difference! I am not mad at them and I am a woman.”

Why do some people choose to go through life living miserably and unhappily? This guy replied, in a very aggressive tone, that we only tell jokes about societal prejudices. No one jokes about whites or males. Jokes are against women, blacks, gays, children, etc. We should rebel against such awful injustices of society!

Can you imagine yourself in a circle of friends telling jokes and some freak starts blurting about how jokes are a form of prejudice? That's kind of the same thing that happened on Facebook.

Well, I've learned that trying to win an argument with a complete stranger that pokes on your friend's posting on Facebook by using reason is about as effective as shooting your own foot! It leads no one nowhere worthy! I figured I could choose my attitude – I could either be mad and start a Facebook discussion with a complete stranger, or just chill. I chose to chill. I replied, “Ok, bro. It's your choice. Stay in peace. I am just too old for that kind of attitude. I prefer to just laugh.”

I might have learned something from Grandma, and if that was not what she wanted me to learn, then I guess she did something wrong, because this is what I have learned – It is better to laugh that to cry in life, and I am the only one who can choose one or the other. Laughter is the best medicine!

That's all for now, gang! Come back next week! And chill!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Let's eat chocolate and popcorn!

So all these crazy studies are coming out about how popcorn is actually healthy, or how chocolate is actually healthy, or how all sorts of food that were once the villains are now considered heroes.

Ok, so now everyone is now going to go around eating chocolate, popcorn and call it health food.

People!!!! Wake up!!! "Everything in moderation!!!" remember?! OMG! What is wrong with people?!

I remember as a teenager everyone used to say that chocolate was bad for your skin - it causes acne! Well, first of all, acne is a genetic condition and if you have it in your genes you'll get the darn pimples - so let me eat my freaking chocolate alone, ok!

Chocolate is not bad, neither is popcorn! And, hey those of you who love quoting Supersize Me, McDonalds won't be bad for you either... If eaten in (guess what!) moderation!!! Amazing, isn't it!

But if those foods are all you eat, everyday, day and night, non-stop, then, don't kid yourself, my friend - you will get sick one way or another, sooner or later.

Don't worry! Eat the stuff you like. Just not all the time and not only that.

Also, don't freaking sit in front of a screen all day long! Goodness gracious, you guys! No food makes miracles! Get outside! Move your muscles! Life is too short to spend it stationary anyway!

CocaCola - that's it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

I love nightmares

Some people hate having bad dreams. I love it! My bad or scary dreams all feel like a horror or thriller movie. And when I get really scared in them, all I have to do is remember it is a dream and then I tell myself to wake up. Then I wake up.

Last night, for instance, part of my dream was with The Walking Dead. That Rick guy had to shoot Lori, pq she had turned into a zombie. We had to keep redoing that scene, because I didn't like the way they were doing the scene. Hey!!! Man, I think I was the director of that episode!!!!

But then I wasn't in the TV show anymore. My baby and I were inside a house with a murderer child. I kept calling 911, but no one answered. The heck!!! Who has ever seen 911 not answer phone calls! But, no, they didn't. I sent Dean out for help. What the heck was I thinking!!! Now I was home alone with a mini psycho ... wait! Dang! ... I can't remember anymore of it! Shoot! The darn thing about dreams is that you have to wake up and say them out loud right away. I f you don't, the stupid dream goes away from your mind. There - gone. 

Now I had this dream last week that I woke up and told it to my baby right away. So I can still remember it - It was more or less like this: There was this guy who was about 60 years old locked inside this abandoned building. H'm... could it be Chuck Norris? Someone lit a bomb right next to him. So he jumped over a huge wall to the next room right before the bomb went off. Just when I was about to breath, relieved, someone else lit another bomb, so he ran to the next room before the bomb went off. Now I was already thinking it was all over when someone screamed that the whole building was about to explode. The guy started running out of the building right before the explosion.

Whew! I was so nervous already! But just when I thought it was all done, someone came along saying he had to do it all over again.

"Wait! Wait! Wait!" I yelled! "You crazy, bro?! You'll end up dying, old man!"
"But I have life insurance!" He said.
"Wake up, old man! Life insurance won't bring you back your life! When you're dead, what will you care about insurance?"
That's when two children show up. They don't look anything like each other. The girl is black and the boy is blond. "I am doing that for my children," he says.
Get real!  What a retard!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Whose last happy childhood ???

Ok, nothing can be scarier to a girl who doesn't want to grow up than receiving a nostalgic email entitled “the last happy childhood,” referring to her own childhood. Why? Because I am too young to be nostalgic, that's why. When my friends start sending me emails with this title, I start thinking they are telling me that our childhood is over. Really? Darn it! You know what? I have a problem with that, because I didn't check that off my calendar!
Regardless of how I organize my calendar, however, I still have a problem with that kind of email. Come on, think with me – do I think my childhood was the best ever? Yes. Do I feel sorry that children today don't have the same experiences I had? Heck, yeah! But talk to my mom! She will say she thinks her childhood was the best ever. She will say she feels sorry for my brothers and I.
In my opinion, it's amazing how many kids today don't know Indiana Jones, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger! Some kids don't even don't Micheal Jackson was black! Some kids have know idea what videotapes or LPs are! Some kids don't even know what a CD or a DVD is!!! All they know are mp3s and movie downloads! They don't go to video stores or game stores – they download stuff on I-pods, I-pads, X-boxes, Play Stations!!! I mean, man! I loved going to a video store and sneaking to the horror movie section! Oh, there is one more thing kids today don't know! Kids today have no idea there was a time in which it was ok not to be politically correct. Can you imagine that kind of life?
Now ask my mom what she thinks! She wishes we could have played outside without worrying about crazy kidnappers, drivers, pollution. She wishes we could have walked everywhere and played in the streets. She wishes we could have known a time when TV had only one channel. And she wishes we didn't just know everything about everything. She thinks her childhood was the last happy childhood.
Wait a minute! But if hers was the last happy one, than what about mine? I did love my childhood! I mean, yes, I grew up locked in the eighteenth floor of a condo, in a big city. Walking anywhere was just too dangerous and the only safe thing to do was to watch TV all afternoon. Even riding my bike had to be under adult supervision, inside the gates of our condo. So, yes, my childhood, compared to my mom's, was quite a prison. But I had a very happy childhood in my own way. Regardless of what I didn't have, I had my make believe worlds, I had my invisible friends, I had super-powers, I had what every child in every time needs to have a happy childhood – imagination.
Teachers tend to say that children today don't have any more imagination because of computers. Really? Teachers used to say the same thing when I was growing up, just that they talked about TV. But I had plenty of imagination. I think TV actually helped me find even more make-believe worlds.
And I bet when my little brother grows up, he will look at his own computerized childhood and think it was the best ever – texting, virtual reality, downloads, Hannah Montana, High School Musical, blah, blah, blah. He will probably look at the kids of the future and think – poor children, they don't have what I had. He will probably think his was the last happy childhood. Wanna bet?
Your childhood was the last happy childhood – because it was the only one you had.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pure and simple Narcissism

Folks, I was thinking the other day, "But I'm about to see a more narcissistic bunch than those people from Bahia." 

"But why," you ask, "Why do you think Baianos are too narcissistic for their own good?" 

Oxente*Very simple, dear friend, have you seen anywhere else in the world a place in which virtually all native singers/musicians praise their city or state? Virtually everyone who makes music in Bahia has at least one song that exalts Salvador or Bahia! 

My king*, I do not find this kind of behavior anywhere else in this world. It may exist somewhere, but I do not know of it. True, there are some kiddos over in California that sing a couple of songs about California. There was Frank Sinatra who sang New York New York. And John Denver sings Country Roads about West Virginia. But nothing is as intense as Bahia. In Bahia it is a widespread thing. It is something endemic. Bahia has musicians up and down the road singing praises to Salvador. 

I say this full of narcissism and pretty shamelessly. I'm narcissistic all right, thank God who made me be born Baiana! Yes, Baiana with capital B indeed! And not because I forget adjectives in Portuguese are not capitalized. But because I speak of it as in the sentence, "I'm going to Bahia" said by a person from the countryside who heads towards the state capital - Salvador. 

I am Baiana! I am Soteropolitana! All capitalized! 

Soteropolitana, by the way, is actually a phenomenal wordOur adjective is so chic that has Greek and Latin etymology! Sotero - "savior" in Latin. And Polis - "city" in Greek. So Soteropolitana means "native of the City of the Holy Savior" (which is the official name of our city - Cidade do São Salvador) in both Greek and Latin. Nothing is more appropriate for a country of Latin origin language with many words of Greek etymology.

Do I live in the U.S.? YupLife brought me here. But life has paths that take us far away. It doesn't matter where the paths take us. What matters is where you came from. What matters is what your heart says. And my heart says: All I am today was created in Bahia! In the City of the Holy Savior! And, boy, do I like what I am! Wouldn't trade one of I for ten of anotherMom would agree to that!! 

PS. This post should be read with a Baiano accent. Oxente! 

*These are Baiana words I just couldn't bring myself to replace with standard English.
Oxente - some sort of interjection only Baianos know when to use.
My king- Man, Bro.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What has life done to our lives?

I'm not sure when it was that we grew up, but the girls told me we did.
I guess we did. After all, I am married, right?

But if we grew up, then what happened to the dreams we dreamed for our lives?

We should all be married and having children the way we planned, but I'm the only one married in the group, and I really don't know if I want children anymore. Who cares about children! I'm happy with my husband! But I wish the girls were too - happy with husbands. Why are things not working the way we planned? We were all going to get married on the same day, remember? One in the morning, another in the afternoon, and the other in the evening.

And as for me, I don't know where my brains were when I got into teaching little kids how to read. This was the last thing I wanted in my life. I wanted to be a housewife (and a writer in my spare time). How did I get here - teaching school kids to read and write?

When did we mess up our perfectly dreamed up lives and got stuck with the lives of the grownups we tried so hard to be different from?  It's just that when we are teenagers everything looks so perfect ahead of us. And then life gets in the way. "Well," says the poet, "we did want, after all, to be happy, but there aren't ways to return anymore ... and what has life done to our lives?"

There aren't ways to return?! Hold on a second! Says who I have to stay here? I got married like I always dreamed of, didn't I? Why should I give up on my other dreams? It's true I can't be a housewife anymore. My husband's income is not enough to support the lifestyle we chose. But I won't end my days as a school teacher just to support my lifestyle. I don't want to hate my job just so I can enjoy my vacations. I'll get into translation, accounting, administration, or even teaching, but teaching grownups. I will do anything that I actually enjoy and make that my career.

I'm glad I remembered I wanted to be a writer as well. I am not sure when I forgot about it.  I guess I forgot about it because I eventually had to pay my bills and, even as a teenager, I knew writers don't usually pay their bills with the money they get from their books.

But why did I forget I wanted to see my work published nonetheless? Not for fame or money, but for my own joy. I am working on a new book right now. The Little Girl From yesterday,which is about the Beatles, is ok, and I know it was a favorite in my school when I wrote it, but I was a middle school kid then. My writing has gotten much better since, and I can come up with better plots. Why did I really publish "the Little Girl..."? For one, I hope I can get a copy to Paul McCartney someday _ a dream I've had since I wrote the book in Portuguese. After all I only wrote it because of him. But also because "the little girl from yesterday" is the first story I ever wrote and I just wanted to see my book published just like the ones the teachers had us read. It was another dream I had forgotten about.

I don't want to forget about my dreams anymore. I don't want to wake up old some day and realize I left most of my dreams behind. And " there aren't ways to return anymore".

Sunday, March 18, 2012


"I'd rather be this moving metamorphosis than to have that good old opinion about everything," said the singer.
This is the year I register to vote. And I will register as an independent.
Why? Because I don't want to be labeled. I don't believe in labels.
Do I identify more with the conservative side? Yes, in some points. But do I really want the label Republican attached to people's idea of who I am? No!
I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I will never be either.

I question everything people seem to already know as right or wrong. "Question everything" is one of the mottoes posted on my classroom walls. That's because this is one thing I hope my students learn from me.
I believe it is healthy, so I try to question everything. If you don't see me questioning something right now it is either because I have already done it and arrived at a conclusion, or because I haven't thought of it yet. And I don't want people judging me on matters I have no idea what my say is yet. Don't tell me how I should think - let me get there on my own. Don't fight me - question me.

Another reason why I will register as an independent is because I feel that if I registered with one party or another I'd be sending the message that I believe that one side or another has it all figured out. I am not naive enough to believe that the Rs have the answer for the problems of this country, even though I identify with many of their views. You're kidding yourself if you think that any side has the answers. You're being extremely full of yourself to accuse the other side of hating the country and trying to destroy it. Maybe this is true of some people. Some people have made it clear that they do believe that. But it is not safe to assume that is what everyone who is not on your side wants. No one has the absolute answer, so accusing each other will only dig us deep into a hole. And no one man or party can save this country. Reasoning together and in honesty, without labeling, might get us up and running again.

When I vote, I will vote according to what I feel it is the less of two evils for that moment in time.

For instance, right now, I know I don't like Obama's economy policies. Obama's ego suffers from something called elephantiasis. He is extremely full of himself. But he is either an ignorant or an evil bad liar. He is a mess and he is turning the country into a bigger mess than his successor did. I will give an example. High gas prices. Obama has said himself he wants energy costs to skyrocket. He has said that because he wants to force America into an age of green fuels that we are not ready for and that is not cost effective yet. No, I don't want this in my future. I would love if green fuels were to be in humanity's future, but not at the wrong  moment. At a moment when it will cost me my ability to save for retirement or to go on vacation (something I work hard all year for), because every penny I make will go to pay for fuel. So I will definitely vote republican, because it's the option against Obama. I don't believe the republican guy will save the country, but if he does less damage to the economy than the current guy has done so far, that's good enough for me.

I fight my battles one at a time, on a case by case basis. So please don't judge me and don't assume I am on your side. I am on my conscience's side. Wouldn't it be nice if more people did that? It's not too late. Throw away the labels, question everything! Reason it out and make sense of it. Don't be satisfied with secondary accounts of history or news, go to the sources, use your brain. If you were lucky you had a teacher that taught you how to use it. Ask questions and keep your mind open to change, if reason leads to change.

Please don't trust your life to me

I was telling my husband he should have investigated me a little bit better before we got married.
I'm not a very trustworthy person. Seriously. Every time someone else and I were in trouble, I always made sure I'd get mine out of the line, I don't care whom I am leaving behind.
Example number 1:
Leandro and I at camp. We and our group of friends (we were all a bunch of 6, 7, or 8 year-olds) loved to hang out at this place we called thee-rosion. It was actually the way we heard grownups calling the erosion behind the dining hall, but we didn't know any better. We just liked to go jumping all the holes in it as if we were conquering the grand canyon. One day we found this ladder that was left there by some grownup. So Leandro and I and another girl decided we'd go down the ladder to the bottom of thee-rosion. The ladder, however, was old and decrepit, with a few steps missing and others half broken, so as soon as we got down there, the girl freaked out. "Oh, my gosh, we shouldn't be here! We're going to die!" She hurried back up. My brother and I got scared at her freaking out so we also decided to climb up, but before Lelas could touch the ladder I made sure I went up as fast as possible, breaking a couple of steps on my way up, enough to assure that was virtually impossible for any child to climb on whichever steps were left. Well, that means Lelas was now stuck at the bottom of the deadly thee-rosion. Yes, I felt extremely guilty and made sure I got my brother out of there safe and sound while the other girl was long gone, but if we were really in danger, I'd have been saved and my brother wouldn't.

Example number 2:
We were both in this river swimming. However we were both very near this spot where river and ocean meet and there is a certain spot right there where, if you get caught, you just drawn, no matter how well you swim.
Well, we didn't know that. we were swimming and we got caught in this stream. Lelas was right behind me. Just enough to not be able to step down.
I could still find land, so I am striving to get back to shore, while Lelas is grabbing me from behind. "Let go!" I'd say while I pushed his hand away.
Yeah, I could have killed my brother....

So, please, next time we are in a life and death situation together - run away from me!!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Everything changes!

Everything changes, I know. All the time. The poet said, "nothing that we we see is the same as we saw a second ago."
I know that.
But too many changes in a very short time is a little bit earthshaking.
My step-cousin, no more than 5 years older than me, died of cancer last month. I only found it out this week.
My best friend, 3 months younger than me,  broke off her 5-year engagement this week - a month before her wedding.
Wow! What else has to happen? Boy! Am I glad the week is over!!!! Beware of the Ides of March, eh!

My step-cousin - I saw him a few times in my life, when we were both little kids. Just after Christmas I found out he had cancer and was at the hospital. It was hard to picture that little guy, now a man, lying on a hospital bed, dying.
He passed away exactly three months after his diagnosis. It was too late for doctors to do anything for him.
Have I said how much I HATE CANCER before? No?
Too many people die of it, and you can do NOTHING to prevent it! What a disgusting disease!
And, as much as I think about death as something normal, something that could happen at any time to any one of us, including myself, it is really creepy to think that someone that close to me in age just died. I guess we just never really get used to the idea of death. I guess we just never get used to the idea that this thing called cancer can just come and take away our people!

And to top it off - I am only told about it a month later. Trying to digest the whole thing, kind of screwed my romantic mood for the week.

Then, my best friend tells me over MSN that her wedding is off ... for good!
What??? Girl, you don't drop off that bomb over an msn message and expect me not to call you and ask for the deats. I mean, what on earth? Didn't you message me a few days before to tell me about this cool thing that you were going to do in your wedding? I mean, how on earth? Spit it out - you're not brushing that off with a simple, "I'd rather not talk about it."
Apparently Mr.Right was anguishing over whether or not he was supposed to be Mr.Right, whether he'd be able to continue being Mr. Right after the wedding, and hey, there is only so much questioning and fear a girl can take from a guy. I totally understand her side. Enough is enough. At the end of the day, you want to know your guy is there for you - 100% of him, not his blinker version (I'm on, I'm off, I'm on, I'm off). I feel really sorry that this had to happen to my best friend.
Well, I am through with this week. I'm glad it's over. Let's move on. Or, as we say in Brazil, "Kick the ball to the goal cuz it's playoff game!"

Sit down and plan!

Luke 14:28 - For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost to see if he has enough to finish it. 

My area of expertise is not theology. So most of my postings are not theology. THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT THEOLOGY. I just wanted to show through a biblical verse that was part of my pastor's sermon this morning how something is such a simple and obvious proof of common sense, that Jesus Christ himself used it as a comparison in one of his teachings. 
I'm not sure whether I read this verse too many times as a little or whether it was just the influence of my family, but I always had the idea contained in this verse as a guide for my financial life. For all my projects, past and future, I always sat down and planned. I always wanted to ensure that conditions would be there to do what I wanted, and if there were no conditions at the time, what was the right time and what was the better way.
It is sad that for so many people in today's world, this idea is not even far in their horizon. Some think that sitting down and planning is lack of faith. After all, "God will provide."
Many others believe that it is other people or the government (which ultimately are all other people) who should pay for their poorly/not planned projects. 
Friend, sit down and plan. Do the math! Can you can afford the cost of the endeavor you intends to undertake? No? So, do not do it. Be quiet and go back to the drawing board. It is a matter of common sense.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Old age never killed anyone

So, Davy Jones is gone. Some of you grew up watching him on TV, as new shows, as reruns, as VCR tapes, it all depends in which decade you grew up (60's, 70's, 80's or 90's).

I only got to know who Davy Jones was in the past 4 years, since I have been married. But last year I did see him, Micky and Peter in a Reunion Concert, and I am glad I did. And now I am grieving with all of you who grew up watching him on TV.

And as usual I turn to writing as a way of coping with it.

In these past 24 hours, since I heard the news, I have been thinking about the idea of death. Davy died at age 66. Some people on facebook considered that age too young. Well, when you are 66 you're not necessarily considered young. As a matter of fact, you are considered a senior citizen, but I am sure when I (if I) get to 66 I will still feel as young as 21. Just as a feel right now. And anyway, Paul McCartney is 69 and, had we both been single and he asked me to marry him, I'd say yes without a doubt. I'd not wait a split second. Just in case he might change his mind. And Paul said he will never believe he is already knocking at the 70's door.

So, seriously, what does age have to do with it? Old age doesn't kill anyone. What kills people are heart attacks, cancers(How many children are dying of cancer!), swine flus... Things that can happen at any age, really. To die, all one needs is to be alive. If we are alive, chances are we are going to die. Sooner or later. And we beat the odds everyday. We've been beating the odds ever since we were born. The older we get, the longer we have been beating the odds. But, see, that means that the older we get the more chances we take at dying. Eventually death will find all of us. One way or another. But age has nothing to do with it.

That is why I am, I will always be, 21!