Sunday, December 29, 2013

How to rate your products so that I can benefit from your review

During this end-of-year shopping season, I went through very frustrating shopping experiences.
It would help a lot if people knew how to write product reviews. It is very frustrating when we are shopping for a product and we find all these bad reviews, then you go look at them, and they simply make no sense.

If you don't know how to write a review, I think I can help. Follow these very simple tips:

1- DOA, or broken parts on arrival, or broke after very short usage time:
If you have a product that is DOA, or arrived with broken parts, or broke after a week's usage, don't write a bad review about it. Every company will have its bad eggs. And every so often things go wrong with shipping safety. Go back to the store and exchange for a new one or a refund. Most online companies will let you return products that arrived broken for no shipping cost.
Once you get the new product - the new working product - use it and review it.

2- Container too small:
Electronics - If you buy a kitchen product (or any product meant to hold stuff) that says something like capacity - 3 cups, it is FREAKING 3 CUPS! Don't expect to fit the meal for a family of 5 and be mad about it when it doesn't. Give us a break and don't give the product a 1 or 2 star rating just because you didn't know that 3 cups would not fit the contents of that 5 quart vegetable puree you are trying to prepare. Anyway, if you usually cook for that large a battalion, buy an industrial size product.
Car- unless the manufacturer claims their car is big enough for your growing teenagers sports gear, your baby's 2-suitcase-load of toys, had plenty of leg room, and head room, don't be upset when you, a 7-foot-tall basketball player, can't fit inside your new subcompact, and your 2 children and their dates, take up all your rear window. It is the nature of the beast. When you are that big or have that big a group, you go for at least a compact.

3- Too noisy:
Unless you bought a blender, food processor (especially the manual choppers), paper shredder, pencil sharpener, vacuum cleaner, cheap/old car that claims to be quiet, don't give it a bad rating for the noise. It is the freaking nature of those products to be noisy.
If you bought a noisy computer or a set of speakers that crackle, that is a whole other story.

4- The item doesn't meet my needs ... because I didn't properly read the specs:
First of all - read the damn specs before you buy a product. Does it not specify what you are looking for? Talk to a salesperson (in person or by email). Don't buy a product unless you know for sure it is meant to do what you need it to do.

5- You want to alert people of typically overlooked specs. Maybe, you want to alert people in your review that the product indeed has a specific feature, that might be easily overlooked. Still, does that product deserve a low rating because it didn't have the particular characteristics you were looking for?


1- If you had to go to great lengths to find out the specs - for instance, you might have had to email the seller simply to find out whether your product will work with a 220 voltage. That is something that should be readily available.

2- If the product is unusually hard to use (i.e. must bang on the light fixture once or twice in order for it to come on)

3- If the product is unusually hard to figure out (counter intuitive) (i.e. the volume settings is hidden somewhere in the email settings)

4- If the product doesn't work to full (prescribed) potential or doesn't at all do what it is supposed to do (i.e. says it will keep water hot for 30 minutes, but water is cold after 5 minutes; noisy when it says quiet).

5- If the product has an unusual characteristic that makes its use a hassle (i.e. tablet dies after an hour of usage; hold down the lid during the whole process or else it won't work)

6- If the product was DOA or with broke parts and the company did not allow you an exchange - that means they don't stand behind their product. Give it a bad rating and tell all your friends on Facebook not to buy from that company - ever.

7- If the product you got for an exchange doesn't work as well. That means one of two things - (1) you are an extremely unlucky person who gets the only two bad products that company ever made, (2) chances are most of their products have issues.

8- If the product worked well until the day after the warranty expired. That to me says the company is setting you up for a long an tortuous live time of calling the maintenance man ... Wait! Maintenance man? Gee, in which century am I living? There are no more maintenance men? You buy a new one - that is called planned obsolescence and they really just want you to keep buying their next new product as soon as it becomes available - for lack of a better choice. That company does not deserve your trust. Give them a bad rating and tell all your friends on Facebook to not buy from them - ever.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Welcome back to the dark ages

We are not living in a world of tolerance. We are living in a world where no one is free to speak their minds, because that might offend someone. A famous main character of a TV is punished with suspension because he expressed his disagreeing with homosexual practice! A comedian apologized on his Twitter for making fun of people's accents! Meanwhile in our schools a 6-year-old child is charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate's hand!
We have lived in a civilized world for too long. We are now going back to tribal living. No one is allowed to disagree from the popular opinion - if that happens, we will kick this person out of our tribe, leave him up to die. Welcome back to a world in which free speech does not exist, comedy is not accepted, and disagreeing views are punished with social execration.
Welcome back to the dark ages.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bed time / Bad time?

Is it just me, or clocks go by way too fast in the evening?
I don't know about you, but making it to bed on time is the number one challenge of my week. What happens between 7 o'clock and 11 o'clock - where those four hours go in the blink of an eye - that is a mystery to me.
Last Friday was Friday the 13, I was planning a nice, cozy, scary night, in bed with my baby. I rented the scary movie a week ahead of time, so that nothing could go wrong.
Just that it did.
We didn't make it to bed till well past 10 pm, which is earlier than what we usually do, but too late if you're trying to watch a movie! And if you know anything about my movie watching abilities, you know that anything after 9 pm is, well, too late for me to stay awake for any significant period of time.
The movie was The Conjuring - the kind of movie that literally scares the soul out of you. Yeah, I was asleep within 45 minutes.
But why, you may ask, did you not make it to bed any sooner?
Well, really how much can you fit into one evening? A trip to Walmart, a little something to eat, getting some searches done in the computer, and getting ready to bed rituals seem to take so much longer than what they should take?
Last night I figured I wouldn't write my blog. I wanted to make it to bed in time to watch an episode of the OC. Really? When I looked at the clock it was already 10pm?
I have a feeling my clocks skip a few hours in their evening marks. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

And you're outraged because...?

So, this lady had a baby and,4 days later, she posted a picture of her sculptural body on instagram, causing almost universal outrage.

To me the real issues are far from what's been freaking out people around the globe. The real issues are - "Is it possible?" followed by "Is it real or photoshop? Or an old picture?"

Now let's go to the issues that are outraging people, and see how senseless and pointless they are:

Issue #1:
"OMG, that will negatively affect young girls, who are already struggling with body and food issues."
So if I have a perfect body, I can't show it off, because this will affect people that already have issues with the belief that their body isn't perfect.
H'm ...
So, that turns out great for me. See, as a young girl my face was covered with acne, which forever scarred my skin. To this day I have issues with the way my face looks. I try covering it up with make up, and avoid having pictures taken at certain angles, but the scars are still there. I can't make them go away. I hate them. I hate them. I would love to have perfect skin. But that's impossible.
Does that mean that girls with perfect skin should be forced to cover up their faces with a burka so their heavenly perfect skin won't negatively affect me?
I didn't think so.
Also students who get straight A's shouldn't let anyone know about their grades, because that will negatively affect struggling students, right?
Yeah, I didn't think so either.
So, why should one have to hide her body because others feel bad about theirs?
(go ahead - shrug)

Issue #2:
"Oh, yeah? Here's a picture of my disgustingly huge tummy 2 months after giving birth! Check out the stretch marks! In your face, b***h!"
:/  again.
so, if a lady shows off her beautiful body,  I should go ahead and show off my shamefully ugly body to somehow get back at her - as if to say, "Hey, look, I am a normal person, and you're just a freak."
It is almost as hysterical as if, after Superman posts a video of himself saving a little boy from falling in the Niagara Falls, some Joe Shmoke posts a video of himself almost drowning while trying to unclog the toilet, as if to say, "Hey, Superman. I am normal, and you're just a freak."
Or, it is almost as hysterical as if, after the Beatles post a video of themselves performing Yesterday (oh, sorry that was Paul McCartney), some Joe Shmoke posts a video of himself going out of key on Happy Birthday to You, as if to say, "Hey, McCartney. I am normal, and you're just a freak."
Uh, no, honey, you're doing this wrong. ... In the end, by posting a picture of your ugly tummy, what you're really telling young girls is, "See what happens when you have a baby? Don't stop taking that birth control pill!" Don't worry. I got your message. I'm not stopping.

Now, let's get down to what really matters, people.

Issue #1 - Is her picture real and current? Or is it old or photoshopped? if it is real and current, let her show it off. She deserves it. And it is her body, for crying out loud. If it is old or photoshopped, let her freaking show it. Wishful thinking never killed anyone. The problem will be (and I don't know if that is the case)  if she is using that fake picture to somehow promote a product or a lifestyle that is unrealistic. I can agree with anyone that criticizes her on these grounds.

Issue #2 - Is it possible? If it is, "Dang, lady! How do you do that? I can have a baby if you can teach me how to like that 4 days later." I mean, wow. Let me cancel that surrogate mother ad I posted this morning.

Here is a the news piece I read to write this post:

Soccer Player’s Wife Sparks Outrage In Norway After Posting A Sexy Selfie Three Days After Giving Birth

Caroline Berg Eriksen, a 26-year-old Norwegian fitness blogger, ignited a heated debate about body image after posting a selfie picture on Instagram three days after giving birth.
Berg Eriksen is married to Norwegian Premier League player Lars-Kristian Eriksen. They had a baby daughter on November 25th.
Three days later, she posted this picture on Instagram with the caption, “I feel so empty and not 4 days after birth.”
caroline berg eriksen
The backlash was swift.
Norwegian writer Suzanne Aabel responded with a takedown of the picture for the publication Dagbladet, with the headline, “I feel fat because Soccer Lady has given birth.”
Aabel’s argument is that the picture sets unrealistic expectations for the young women who read Berg Eriksen’s popular “Soccer Lady” website.
She wrote:
“I think it is dangerous. I work with 16 year old girls. They struggle with body and food at some level all together. And they look up to famous people, as adults we almost forgot that we did as teenagers.”
“Over 70 percent of young women are struggling with low self-esteem and body contempt because only people who look like that here like posting pictures of themselves half naked four days after birth.”
Norwegian politician Gry Larsen spoke out as well, posting a picture of her own stomach on her Facebook with the caption, “Two months after birth #NormalLady.”
gry larsen stomach
She wrote a column for Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, explaining that she wanted to bring “balance” the way the girls should view the post-baby body.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Real life terrors

Last week one of the topics discussed by one of my college groups was horror movies and why we watched them ( or not ) .
I never remember how to begin our discussions , but they always end up being fun.
One of my students said her daughter loves to watch horror movies, but then has nightmares .
I like horror movies too. But I rarely have nightmares. What happens to me is a little different . The movies stay in my head and whenever a similar situation happens I get paranoid. It's not fear. Like, who's afraid of the dark? Of course I'm not afraid of the dark . But after spending an hour and a half seeing ghosts appear out of nowhere in the dark , a trip to the washing machine (which is in the basement ) after sunset, is a little freaky. And when I have to leave home to teach at the college! I go out the back door and have to walk along the side of the house in the dark until I get to my car, which is parked in front of house. "It's just a movie, Vikinha, it's just a movie, " I keep saying to myself.
Now that I have a normal teaching job and I can come home at 3 in the afternoon, I spend my afternoon planning classes with Netflix on horror movies. I need the background noise so I can work, but the side effect is an overdose of terrifying images that are impregnated in my head. A day doesn't go by in which I don't have a fright .
Lately I've seen some movies of people get stuck in elevators. In my building , in Brazil , we had an elevator . The elevator was stuck frequently, and I have stayed stuck several times, but nobody ever got stuck for hours . Pretty soon someone from maintenance came to get us out. But I always heard stories of children who died with the severed head or cut in half,
because they tried to leave on their own.
The truth is that in many elevators around the world people get stuck for hours or days. The stories I've seen in movies have much of these elevator terrors, but with the aggravating factor that someone always has a terrible secret. I'll never get into an elevator with a peace of mind again.

And although I always remember that everything is just a movie , suddenly a terrible accident like what happened with Paul Walker yesterday reminds me that not everything is just a movie. Real life is really full of terrors. And we are all just too lucky to make it to the end of the day alive. We're just beating the odds, aren't we?


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I can't figure out this crazy idea of having babies
The farther I get into my marriage, the more I fear the idea of pregnancy. I am supposed to start taking pre-natal vitamins. I have bought them. They are on my kitchen counter top, staring at me. I haven't touched them yet. I am freaked out.
I need to be completely honest and say that every time I hear people talk about all the misery of pregnancy and child-birth and child-rearing, and then put an idiotic smile on their faces and say it is all worth it, I can not help but think they sound pathetic.
Seriously, do people turn stupid after they had children? So you go through nine months of misery, plus the pain of labor, plus the endless sleepless nights with a crying baby that can't say what it wants, plus the fact that your body will NEVER be the same again, so that what? Your child can grow up and treat you like you treated your parents? Really? Is that what you want for your life? If human beings had any sort of self love they would not procreate.
On top of it, this child will blame you for everything wrong that happened in his life, while everyone else will talk about how their children would never get away with that. 
Oh, let's not mention sex. How often to post-baby couples have sex?
People say you should take advantage of it now, because you won't have much of it after the baby. Hold it, buddy! Are you trying to talk me into it or out of it? I love sex. I actually don't think I love anything more than sex. Maybe potato chips. And I already don't have enough of it. I don't need an aggravating factor to my already pitiful sex life.
I am quite honestly hoping for God's mercy to not allow me to bear children. This way I don't have to give up my body - which has never been a top model body to start with -, my trips, my life, but I don't have to be the one making that decision.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Yesterday I read a post from a friend. It was named "13 Skills Your Grandparents Had That You Don’t".
It was funny, but sad to realize that we have lost so much in so little time. And when you start thinking about it more deeply, how much we have lost of what our race has achieved and passed down for centuries.
Maybe our parents were right when they called us generation X, but our parents are also to blame for not passing down (because they themselves didn't value) the things they learned from their parents.

I started thinking about this when we had that killer Halloween storm 2 years ago and people were freaking out - most of us didn't know how to live without electricity - those who did did it kicking and screaming, not worried about expressing their anger.

It is scary to admit that but the countries like America (and countries like Brazil to a lesser degree) have lost the ability to live without electricity. Seriously - if, like  in the shows Revolution and American Blackout, suddenly power went out, and no one knew how to bring it back on - how many of us would have no idea of what to do?
To start with, most of our data - the kind we know how to use - would be gone. Most of our menial daily activities would not be able to be performed. Most of our food would rot. How many of us would survive?

The simple population that lives in the wilderness would. Those of us, city dwellers, so full of our arrogance and our progress, would probably all be dead in a few weeks - of exposure, starvation or just violence that would sprung from our own despair.

Isn't it sad how much of 5 millenia of progress we have lost (or abandoned) in less than 2 centuries of electricity?

Monday, November 11, 2013

The danger of Xmas cards

Saturday morning my Christmas cards arrived. Well, then I put myself to work in the dangerous task of enveloping Christmas cards. The worst part of preparing the Christmas cards is the dangerous manipulation of envelopes.

What? It's too early to worry about Xmas cards? Not really. I consider this an achievement. Previously I considered ordering cards before Christmas a feat. Now the feat is to order the cards with enough time to send them to Brazil. Maybe if I send them tomorrow, they get there before Christmas. No, friends, when it comes to sending things to Brazil, nothing is too early. Send them three months in advance and pray that they get there this year. If they ever even get there.

But as I was saying, the worst part of preparing the Christmas cards is the dangerous manipulation of envelopes. Yes, envelopes are extremely dangerous tools. And its rampant handling during the holidays is a threat to the physical integrity of people who manipulate them.
Tongue, lips and fingers, are all showing different sorts of damage caused by renowned paper cutting.

Paper is a very powerful sharp object . It cuts with such power that is requires only a slight rubbing of the cutting part of the paper on the skin in any unwary user.
The worst part of it is how much it hurts . The paper cut hurts like misery. I've cut myself with a razor blade before...

I am here obliged to clarify confusion in the boys' minds. Yes, women also use razors, guys! Surprised? Thought we only used Veet or wax? Okay, some of us even use those, but there are parts of our body that we can not go in and wax, and I would not dare use Veet. Then what do you do? How do you guys think we do to stay smooth? I can guarantee to you guys it is not because of our Indian blood. Most girls you know do not have much of that Indian heritage. In my family, to my disgrace, indigenous heritage was left there with my grandmother. The hairs that do not ever whiten, the skin that never gets old... My family turned white, and with whiteness came all the setbacks of the white race. The worst thing is not it... I was also left with the setbacks of the black race - the kind of stink that only black people have. yes, the setbacks of my rich colorful heritage was all that was perpetuated in my genetic make. I feel sorry for my future children - they will only inherit the trash of my mixed ancestry.

But I must confine myself to the subject of the razor . The question is - since most of us are not Indians - except on April 19 - shaving is necessary. So I have had my share or razor cuts. And I can say without fear of error that the paper cut is more painful than the razor cut.

Monday, November 04, 2013

from the bottom of the toy chest

This one came from the bottom of the toy chest. I was watching my soap opera from hell - the one that condones homosexuality and free sex... "Wait, " you say. " Which one ? All of them condone homosexuality and free sex. "


:/ < - My face looking back at you after what you said.

Okay. You won. So I was watching my 7 o'clock soap opera from hell , and remembering the days when you could still let the kids watch the 7 o'clock soap opera (today not even of 6 o'clock soap is safe any more...)  It was then that I also remembered the funny way we organized shower time at home.

At home we showered by commercials. You 'd have to be ready to enter the shower, by the bathroom door, wrapped in towel, waiting for the commercial break. Did the first block end?

"TV off! TV off! Quick to the shower! Hurry so we don't miss the start of the next block!"

And that shower was a rushed one. The whole family waiting for you to end the shower, so they could turn the TV back on. And when u turned off the shower, you'd shout from in there "I'M DONE!" So others could watch the next block of the novela. And if you wanted to watch it too, you'd run out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around your body, to the front of the TV.

Meanwhile, the next in line was already undressing, moving toward the bathroom door, to get ready for the next commercial break.

And so were the showers at home - from break to break, so we didn't cause a power outage. Whether it was truth or superstition, I do not know . Nowadays we do not do that anymore .

Memories of my childhood ... This was a good one.
I told this story to my husband and he burst out laughing - "What a terrible electrical system, huh!"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Evil evil Charlotte

Right outside my house door lives a monster - a huge ugly scary spider my husband refuses to kill, despite my constant begging and crying. He calls her Charlotte and he says she's our friend.
Our friend? I have no friend named Charlotte! I have never had a friend named Charlotte. And if I do ever have a friend named Charlotte, I will have her name changed to Carla.
I once read the story of Charlotte to my students at school. At end I asked them how they felt. So in return they asked me how I feel.
"Me? You don't want to know."
"Come on, Mrs. Winters."
"Fine. I am glad she is dead. I wish she had died before she the chance of making all those babies. If I ever find one of them, I will crush them under my feet. Spiders don't deserve to live."
The kids laughed. The kids of today are not as sensitive as the kids from Charlotte's day I guess.
Then we watched the movie, and I cried like a baby at the end. And the kids were like, "But, Miss, we thought you didn't like spiders!"
"Well, yeah, kids, it's a movie, ok!!!"

Monday, October 07, 2013

Goodbye, goodbye, see you someday.

Whenever September Ends I get one wanting more in the mouth.

The Big E Fair makes me so homesick. Do I miss the fair itself? Not so much. I like going to the fair to see people, see novelties, walk, go on rides (which I haven't yet, because I never remember to bring money for the tickets, and also bc my husband - who is always my date - does not like to go on toys (where's Léa Sylvia at a time like this?)

But the most nostalgic for me is the food.

I wish I could go back two weeks in time and buy one more cheese curd. Just another smoked salmon, plus a lobster sandwich, plus a Maine baked potato, just another little snack ... I miss it!!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

sick as a dog

IN my last post I talked about the un-lived life.

If anyone is wondering why I have been absent from my blog for the past week - I have been sick and I have been working like a slave to get all my lessons ready in time. Talk about un-lived life.

Next semester I might quit my college classes.

I had to cancel the classes I was registered to take, because I just had no time for them at all.

I also haven't started my language lessons or my guitar lessons, just because I can't find the time.

I am trying to find time to cook and do groceries ... after all we have to eat. I guess ...

Well, bot all is lost.

Baby and I have done 2 Big E dates where we ate like we have a hole in our stomach, and discovered a new sushi place.

We also went to see a scary movie and took a few drives to see land. I am not sure we are ever going to buy anything, but we are looking at a lot of them.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Un-lived life

The only certain thing in life is that we are going to die - and yet we live our lives as if this would never happen. Worse - we live our lives without having fully lived. When death comes to you, what will there won't be an extra minute to finishing up the unfinished life; there won't be an extra day to do the things you left for later. Nothing can be worse than meeting death without having truly lived.

(thought about that after watching a novela where this young lady finds out she only has 6 months to live. Made me think of my life, and what if that happened to me? What would I have to claim as my life really?)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Love my high heels and my new job

It's been a week and a half into the school year and I don't hate my job and don't dread going back to work. That feels so good! So different from my previous job that I almost feel like I am in heaven.

I also feel great about the fact that I am in a job where I can dress up and wear my high heels. I LOVE wearing high heels. The only caveat is that after 12 hours on top of those 3-inch tall things I want to throw them out the window. The solution is easy - don't spend the whole day out. I go to school in the morning, come home, then go to college in the evening.

It has been crazy, still, but I am getting my routine down, step by step.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

A man must travel

This is why there is a blog called

“The one thing that would have been worse than to be cold floating up and down the waves south of the Indian Ocean, would have been not having made this far, or never having left the warm and comfortable waters of Paraty – even if only to find out how warm and comfortable they were. I felt oddly well as I sailed around the ice that was so far away from home. Today I understand my father. A man must travel, on his own, not through stories, images, books or TV. He must travel himself, with his eyes and feet, to understand that which is his. So that one day he can plant his own trees and value them. He must know the cold so the can enjoy the heat. He must feel distance and displacement, so he can feel well under his own roof. A man must travel to places he doesn't know to break the arrogance that makes us see the world the way we imagine it, instead of simply the way it is or could be; the arrogance that makes us be teachers and doctors of things we have never seen, when we should  be instead students, simply going and seeing.” Amyr Klink (Endless Sea)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Woman vs Cat

Day 1
Decided to attempt putting that baby gate thing on the door.
Directions called for tools and holes on the door frame. But, as I thought, the gate was up and firmly held with no tools or holes on the wall.
Cat was a bit freaked out about it.
Husband guessed Cat would jump right over it.

Day 2
Cat didn't try to jump.
By 1 the morning she made a fuss about it, crying and whining.
At around 1:30, husband gave in and let cat in the room.
Tonight,  husband will not be sleeping at home. I will try it alone.

Day 3
This cat is a f***ing psycho! She whined all f***ing night.
You'd think she'd give up and sleep on the bed I've set by the door. Wrong! It was 7 am and she kept on whining! Weirdo! Wacko! Psycho!
Now she is fast asleep on the living room couch. Getting rested to haunt me tonight, I suppose.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

tech clueless

A friend from work  seems to think I am some sort of techonology genius. That is because I am always helping her figure out some tech glitch in her iPhone or computer ...
The thing is: Most times I have no idea what I have done...
She goes like, "Wow! How on earth did you do that?"
I look back at her with a blank stare ... "I just moved my finger around."
Truth is, I get a lot of things done in the computer, but most of the times, if you ask me how I did it, I will have to say I have not a blipping clue.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Is this a made-up word?
Sorry, maybe it is, but that is what I call what I have.
And how relieved I was this past trip to Brazil when I noticed that grandma has a little bit of it too. So does my best friend Lua.

You can tell when someone has it: 
They stop and hesitate right before going on the escalator, 
they evaluate when to take the first step carefully,
 and, upon nearing the end of the trip, 
they focus all their attention on the exiting process.

Once when I was little, I was at the mall with mom, and, out of the blue, I froze at the top of the escalator. Mom took off and I froze. 
My brain was going like:   "How again do I do this?"   While I stood at the top and ... began to cry.


Sunday, August 04, 2013

ADHD is a pain

It is frustrating to realize that you're talking to someone and have no idea what the person is saying, not because you do not remember, but because something she said made ​​your mind travel to Mars.

Luana always used to complain that I never paid attention when she talked to me. But, yes, I did ... for about 30 seconds. Then I flew away.
"Vika! Pay attention!"
"Hi! Paying attention, dammit!"
But, really, Luana can spit more words per second than I can ... No son of God can handle that.

It is also frustrating to read a book and go back to the top of the page a thousand times. Because you read everything not paying attention to anything - or paying attention to everything, even the thing which is not there, but found its way into your imagination while your eyes saw the words in the book.

Welcome to my world.

Always wondered how all my classmates knew about the science fair, except for me? "When did Ms. say that? Where was my mind?"

And everyone went crazy whenever I changed the subject all the time? Went crazy? My husband would put this verb in the present.

Self-diagnosed? Yes, but I'm almost 100% sure I have ADHD.

Monday, July 29, 2013

airport sorrows

In June I traveled to Brazil on my own - carrying a backpack and a small hand suitcase.
And there I was, feeling sorry for myself because I had to go in the bathroom carrying 2 hand-luggage with me, when I saw a mother of four young kids leaving the bathroom - trying to keep them all under control.
That's when I realized how good I had it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

time to go back

There is not a single time that the plane takes off from Salvador that I don't cry like a baby.
How can I not? How can I not look down at the place where I grew up and see it disappear down below without letting my emotions take the best of me. 
I never cry in front of my family. I hold back as much as I can when we are saying goodbye. 
But I just can't help it when I look out the window and see everything being left behind. My beach. My people. My friends. My family... Everything I chose to leave one day. ...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Paul is playing in Boston tonight. I wish I was there.
Mom made fried plantains for breakfast.I stayed home all day waiting for a friend who promised she was coming  by. she didn't really.  JP had appointments in the morning- mom took him and I stayed home and ... tried to study. while I waited for my friend. I studied and and she the stuff mom bought me the day before -   candy,  yogurt, Taff-Man E, guava ...
this ain't gonna turn out well - sit down on the couch with a book and eat ... eat east eat eat eat...
then in had lunch, then I ate all afternoon again while I studied.

in the evening mom's belly dancing teacher came. we talked for a while. then we picked up JP and went out to ... EAT! we had moqueca!
Too much eating.
Came home and played War games till midnight.

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Studying in the morning. ... and eating snacks. After lunch mom drove me to Salvador. We met gramms and Lelas at the mall and had a snack at the Arabic place.
In the evening I went to the mall with Luana and met her boyfriend Tulio. We had dinner at  Bonaparte. We talked , talked , talked, talked, and talked. Then we had another snack at the cheese bread place. Talked, talked, talked, talked. when they were closing the mall, she drove me home and we talked, talked, talked, talked, talked, and talked.

Then I came home and studied till 3:30am.

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Up by 7. breakfast with Gramms. She made French Toast!!!!!!! Then out to the mall to get my married name ID card. Today was national strike day, but only union workers and businesses located around the demonstration route, like my aunt's place.

We sat down to eat s snack - cheese bread and black&white candy (casadinho) with a very rich cappuccino. We walked a little bit, then Aunt Lea came for lunch at Outback.  We walked in the mall till evening. home for dinner.

Friday, July 12th, 2013

beauty salon all morning - that's like torture... lunch at the theater lunch - typical Bahia Friday food, plus desert.
home and sat down to study. ... and ate snacks all afternoon. Evening - out for dinner with my generation part of the fam.

Saturday, July 14th, 2013

Tried to study in the morning. But really I went out with gramms to buy stuff for tomorrow's lunch. Also bought snacks. Aunt Lea picked us up, we bought more snack at the dairy house, and went home for.... LUNCH!!!!! Sat down to study .... chatted with Aunt  Lea about next year's trip. Lelas came with his wife and we chatted till midnight... and ate.
I did homework till 2:30 am. Had to stop at 2:30 am BC nothing I wrote made sense anymore.

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Yam for breakfast!
Did the rest of my homework this morning while Aunt Inaja made my suitcase.
in the afternoon we sang karaoke and and snacks. Aunt Mima and Catarina came too.
Last day... I'm already missing my family time. But I have also gained six pounds ... when these are gone I won't miss them ... oh, dear....

Finally we played games and sang karaoke all night.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Thursday - July 4, 2013
Got to the airport where Aunt Léa, Aunt Inajá and Gramms waited for me.

Before anything, I stopped at the Duty Free to buy my brother Lelas special licqueur... But I could not recall the name of the thing.

 "Honey," I told the girl at the store, "it is something with M... Malaga, Maluga, Ma-something..."

"Where is it from?"

"Oh, I don't... Mexico?"

She let me walk around te store and look for it. And I looked around in absolute exhasperation as I had no clue what to be watching for.

Oh, there it was! AMARULA! From AFRICA! ... Yup, this is me...

Just as I thought, my checked in luggage didn't make it to Salvador. Good thing I had checked in an empty suitcase and brought everyone's orders in my hand luggage.

 After filling in the missing luggage paperwork we headed straight home for some fam-time:
- openning gifts
- setting up electronics
- telling jokes about each other

Aunt Mima, Mateus, Catarina, Mom, and of course my brothers Lelas and JP all came for lunch. Black Beans and ....

"Where's my Guaraná, people? You know I don't drink this Coca-Cola thing..."

As usual, Lelas and I had an argument over lunch. An argument that would never end...
As usual grandma got flustered about it.
As usual Mom said, "That's why every time they started arguing I left the room and only came back much later to check if there was any blood to clean and body pieces to collect."

As usual we all had lots of fun zapping each other with witty jokes - especially about Mom's ex-husbands ...

Good Old Fam Time...

By the end of the day I had a busted toe - my cursed second toe on my left foot - which kicks everything it finds in front of it and is in a constant state of pain. I tied bubble wrapt around it and became the joke of the rest of the evening.

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Trying to study all day ... Our out-for-breakfast plans were thwarted bc no one showed up on time. Lelas showed up for dinner and we finally drank some of his amarula drink.
More family time - zapping each other with jokes, teaching my aunts how to use some electronics, eating boiled peants, and... buyng songs for my karaoke and installing them on the device.

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

In the morning, I went up and down the 21 floors 3 times to work out ...
Bad idea ... 6 hours later my 2 calves were sore and my knee was busted - I tried to do the bottle top dance later that afternoon and could not hold my legs all the way down.

At around 8 am - Off to the Island with Gramms, Aunt Léa and Aunt Inajá. Mom and JP arrived later, bc JP had class in the morning.

In the evening we sang karaoke till 2 am.

When we arrived at the house we found it was surrounded by water - I had never seen it like that before. It had rained a lot, ok. But that isn't natural - all that flooding. Something is wrong with our plumbing or with the street plumbing. Gramms will have the handyman look at it this week.

Gramms also told me the plot next door, which I intended to purchase, is about to be built on soon. That's just too bad. I guess I can't buy that plot and extend our property.

That is our retirement home, you know. I'm investing on it.

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

We were up by 10... JP was up by 1 ... we ate breakfast at 12 and lunch at 3.

Mommy fried plantains for breakfast... oh, they smell so good! they taste even better!

We couldn't walk to the beach because the path was soggy and people had gotten stuck and lost their sandals trying to make it there.

While Gramms cooked lunch, I sang on the karaoke. I love singing! I stopped singing when one of my aunts reminded me I had to go study... argh!

Lunch was a bunch of left overs with fresh farofa and fried sun meat.
My fam is pepper crazy and that's how they eat it:

Late afternoon - We cleaned up and drove to the ferry. Back home by 9:30 pm and Gramms decided to order pizza for dinner since the food she cooked last Thursday was finally eaten up that afternoon...

Aunt Léa gave me her Claro chip to use in my phone so I don't have to buy another chip this year.

Not a problem to her - everyone in Brazil has several different chips of several different carriers. A case study, if you ask me ...

Monday, July 8th, 2013

On the road to Feira de Santana at 6am.
We got to Feira, dropped JP off at class and I had to walk downtown with Mom so she could go to the doctor's.
It felt like a blast from the past. The roads I knew so well (3 years of my teenage years spent there).
I really dislike the place. I feel like I have left nothing of importance in Feira to make me go back. But mom insists on my coming here every time I come to Brazil. I come to hang out with her ... but she can come to Salvador just as well and we can go to many places together. It's a sad thing that she still lives in Feira. It is a sad excuse to drag me there. I don't miss Feira, and I know that no one in Feira misses me.
Tried to study in the afternoon.
Completing my U.S. History I online summer class has been extremely hard since I set foot on Brazil. I am so not motivated. As much as the subject is exciting, I just want to hang out with the fam... Come on, Vika, you can do this.

I noticed the txt message I sent to Beta last night never went through, so I resent it. Hope she can till find a way to come visit.

Mom and I went to the store to by Brazilian snacks that I like. Bought Taff Man E - one of my favorite drinks growing up. Found out the darn thing has WINE in it!!!!! What? Really? And that´s a kid drink? ok, I drank wine throughout my childhood. Hehehe - alcoholic little girl...

Work from home

I love those announcements: This is your chance to work from home! Be your own boss! Make your own schedule!

Anyway - work from home. It seems that my idea of "work from home" is different than that of the people behind the announcements.

See, when I think "work from home," I think, "get up at 6:30, tidy up my house, change out of my PJs? H'm... if I want to. Get a cup of tea, sit by my computer or phone and do the work I could be doing at the office - just that I will be doing it from home - while I watch the cat's obnoxious behavior."

Most of those Work from Home announcements - when you reply to them - turn out to be sales. "Work from Home" in their mind means, "go to other people's homes and demonstrate our products to them. Spend your whole freaking day going to other people's homes!"

How's that for a work from home situation?

Meh, I'll pass. I'll go to he office.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Vandalism there or here

Today in Brazilians news it has become fashionable to say that vandalism is stealing public money, vandalism is leaving people to die in the under-supplied and under-staffed hospitals, that vandalism is leaving public school buildings to fall apart and without minimal conditions to educate children for lack of funds.

Alright. It is all vandalism. I believe wholeheartedly that this indeed is vandalism.

But when that is used as an excuse for the people to make vandlism in the streets, burn and destroy private property, throw stones at cops, graffite city walls ... then we have a problem. One typ of vandalism can not be an excuse for the other. This is the place where u live. If th building is public it was done with your money. If it's private property, it was made ​​with the sweat of someone else.

Shouting words of order, cursing bad politics, displaying posters, and even (those who have money t afford the fruit) throwing tomatoes at politicians (except if they are coming to talk to you) is absolutely valid - freedom of speech and the right of a citizen to express his displeasure with the mess is backing up any of these actions.

But to damage and destroy? What are we? Irrational animals? Like mistreated dogs who only know how to act with hatred because of mistreatment? This is something for brutes - not for us, civilized humans.

To engage in street vandalism for me is to get down to their level.

To use the excuse that the people can not take anymore is just an excuse - it explains it, but it does not justify it. Nothing justifies violence.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

That's called being a girl - and why de we need guys?

That was the noise of the book cart I was pulling down from the school attic yesterday - going down the first step.

"Are you ok up there?" That was a guy's voice coming from downstairs.

"Me? I'm fine. Just pulling the cart down the stairs."

BANG! Went the cart again. Second step down.

The guy that talked to me came to see what on earth was making that much noise.

"I'm just pulling it down. It's just really loud. I'm almost done."

I wasn't almost done. I had to bring the thing down two flights of stairs. I just wanted him not to think I was dying and leave me alone to do my job. I needed the cart to clean up my classroom for the summer.

"Well, let me help," he said.

So he lifted the cart - LISTEN TO THAT - as if it were as light as a feather and brought it down the two flights of stairs in less than 10 seconds!

"oh! ... that easy, eh! ... well, thank you very much. You really didn't have to bother."

Then you wonder why God created man. To carry heavy stuff down the stairs, of course! Duh! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why not come to the World Cup?

I have asked people not to come to the World Cup in Brazil. Why? Me? Boycotting the World Cup in my own country? Unthinkable.

Growing up, I have always been a soccer fan. Like many Brazilians, this was one of two things that made me proud of my country. The one other thing - my hero Ayrton Senna. Everything else was pitifully chaotic:
- Inflation
- poverty
- corruption ...
- and that feeling that we were lesser beings bc were Brazilians ... except of course when the national team was playing. Then we were giants.

My family talked about Pelé and a time when he won us three World Cups. But every Cup of my life had been a failure played with crappy soccer.

Till 1994.

 I lost my hero on May 1 in a fatal crash in Italy's Imola. A day I will never forget. Just like you will never forget where you were on 9/11/01. No words will ever describe the pain of losing the one person that made me feel like I had any value for being born where I was born.
Then 2 months later Brazil brought home the World Cup. It seemed only fair - that in a year of such a great loss, we fought so fiercely and brought home the World.

So why today do I stand against the World Cup in Brazil?    Maybe this quote from John Adams will help explain that:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
John Adams
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)
Priorities - I have always set them in my personal life. Before the movie money, came the credit card bill and the savings for that trip I wanted to take. Even the money I earned as a teenager (renting my novel to classmates) was administered like this. So shouldn't I feel the same about my country? Before being champions on soccer, I want my people leading a minimally decent life. I think the rest of the country is beginning to wake up as well...

Some argue that it is too late to boycott the Cup, that the money has already been invested, that there is no way to recoup those loses. I say, fine, let's take the loss. Right now what matters is that we are sending a message - we are not to be quiet anymore, Don't feed us your nasty bread and circus.

We should give up on soccer as our national pride for now, so that our grandchildren can have a safe and just country to enjoy their soccer games. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Could it be?

In the past several days my home country has been experiencing a number of protests. The mainstream media has been giving it a skewed spin, showing the handful of troublemakers who destroy public property, and makes it seem that it is about the R$0.20 increase in the public transportation ticket.
It is not a violent movement for the most part. And it is not just about R$0.20.

A lot has been said on YouTube by people who are much more eloquent than I am. I am posting their videos below.

But i just wanted to write a couple of words about what is going on in my mind.

Twenty cents was but a last straw. The people are tired, angry and frustrated with so much neglect, excesses and irresponsibility, done daily by politicians, that jeopardize our future and that of our children.
The preparation for the World Cup (that TV has been faithfully transmittingmas if it were everything cared about, like if we were a bunch of mindless animals) has been a tasteless joke with the public money; while public services are left to rot, and the populace, as a Chico Anysio character used to say, "let them fudge themselves".
When I was in high school, I heard a sentence that I could never forget (spoken by a TV character in the mainstream media, what do you know?): "The people are just like the cattle - neither one is aware of how strong they are."
Could it be that the people are becoming aware?

I don't know what will happen from now. I don't know if all the protests will really be the beginning of something, or if they will all be remembered as this one time that the people went to the streets and then kept on living their poor sad lives.
I don't know. But I  have never seen so much mobilization, even back when I was a little girl and the teenagers went out to the streets to cry for impeachment. That was a bunch of nothing.
But this? This could be the start of something new, like the American revolution was. Could it be?

But it can't stop with street demonstrations. It has to continue with something else. With education (self-education works too, ,so that we don't depend on the precarious public school system), with the way we vote, with the way we live our daily lives (honesty in the little things, guys?), with the way we deal with the rotten bread and circus they feed us everyday.

Maybe something could happen.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rain, rain ... and no spanking!!!!!

When we grow up we learn to dislike rain. But then we come across a photograph like this:

Then we remember what rain is all about. Absolute and irresponsible fun, not caring a bit for the fact that we WILL get home and get a spanking on our wet butt! And the threat that if we get a cold, we'll get ANOTHER spanking!

That picture made me do the craziest thing yesterday. I just parked the car in the farthest parking slot from the store and walked from the car to the store in the rain. 

All the time I was thinking:

"No Spanking when I get home. And if I do get sick, no spanking either. Heck! I'm in heaven!"


The weekend before last Dean and I used our rental voucher to go get a car and spend the day in the New Hampshire.are of Keene.

In Keene, we found a Scottish Import store that made Dean curious. What could be coming from Scotland other than kilts? Well, we soon found out that not much more. Kilts and other wardrobe products made in the different tartans (that what the patterns are called).

There we met the store owner, a certain, Mr.McGrath, who is a 76-year-old vegetarian, and a firm believer that all the good things we use in the world today are to be thanked to a Scottsman, Graham Bell, Alexander Flemming ... and I think, the first radio or something to do with electricity, whoever invented it wrote his thanks to a Scottsman (whose name I don't recall) for having given him the master plans.

When I mentioned I was a fan of Paul McCartney and would like to see if his clan could be traced back to Scotland, he got us a family name book, found that McCartney was related to the McKintosh can and charged, "That is why he loves Scotland so much he even wrote a most beautiful song about it."

He then proceeded to tell us stories of his youth and how he and his young wife ended up in America forty-something years ago. His stories were most amusing. Stories from a time when young people actually lived life and didn't waste it on facebook. 

This man, at age 16, left home in Edinburgh with a gang of friends, took the ferry over to Ireland, pedaled the whole perimeter of the Irish island, and took the ferry back home. That's nuts! Now that's a story to tell your grandchildren!

What is my generation going to tell our grandchildren? "I posted some cool pics on facebook."

Our future looks sad right now.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Soft hard candy

So when I was a kid, in Brazil, there was this hard candy called Soft.
Soft? Yeah. It was everything but soft. It was hard candy, for goodness sake.
Soft had the shape of a lifesaver candy, but a bit thicker, and covered with a sugary layer.
I, for one, loved Soft. Which child didn't? It was yummy! Especially the red one! Who didn't like the red one?

And, who, in their sane state of mind,  didn't love to arrive at an office or an aunt's house only to find a little crystal bowl filled with Soft?

In this case, you'd greedily take one - no, two! Nah, get three! - eagerly unwrap one of them, put it in your mouth and suck on it. You'd suck on it until it turned into a supper skinny blade-like shape that you would then break down and swallow. ...
Unless of course, way before you could suck it to blade-like thinness, the thing slipped past your tongue and got stuck on your throat.
In this case, my friend, despair would fill your soul.
To my personal knowledge, that thing never killed anyone. But for a few seconds (which felt like eternity), you really thought you had been scheduled an early appointment with death. Until the thing slowly slid down your throat.
And you could feel it all the way down.
And you'd swear to never touch that candy from hell again... Until you found the magic crystal bowl filled with Soft at someone else's home.

Monday, June 03, 2013

US history

US history summer class online. Big mistake. There is so much reading, so little time, and I am ADD, so can you imagine how many times I have to re-read it. Can I have a 48-hour day this summer? I WANT MY MOMMY!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

boy who wanted to die

Today I almost got out of my car to spank the bottom of a kid who was riding a bicycle in the middle of the street.
There I was, in my car, on my street, going toward the intersection with Main Street. And here came the kid crossing Main Street on his bike in the direction of my street.
You'd think the kid would see my car coming and would steer toward the sidewalk, right? But the kid is not coming my way, the plague.
When I realize that the little pest is in oblivion to the fact that he is about to enter a frontal collision with my car, I decided to move to the middle of the road to give him more space alongside the curb.
What did the kid do? Directs the bike well into the middle of the road, in the same direction that I was!
Oh, brother!
When a car gets a pest like this and kills him, who is to blame? The driver!

But this type of plague is not the only problem infesting the American traffic (or that of anywhere in the world, for that matter)
I am sure you are familiar with the phrase, "You are a special kind of stupid," aren't you?
In Brazil we say someone has entered the stupid queue twice.
This is especially common in traffic.
Last week I turned on the left-turn signal to enter my street. The car in front of me did the same.
We were both slowing down and pulling our cars to the middle of Main street, so that we could turn left.
Then, when the opposite direction cars passed, the guy in front of me turned left and entered my street. ... And, my friend, I say this with all sincerity and awe, the most preposterous thing happened. As he entered the street, he stopped the car - right there - at the corner - as soon as he made the turn.
And there he stood, blocking my entry for almost a minute, while I, in a state of complete shock, tried to understand wtf. When I realized that the creature wouldn't shit nor get off the bush, I decided to touch on my horn.
I said touch! If u consider the state I was in, consider it a miracle that I have not laid my hand on the horn with a passion.
To the sound of my beep, the car just went into motion and into the parking lot of the building on the corner!
Are you freaking kidding me!