"The palest ink is better than the best memory" ~Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eighteen

Well, my precious tiny infant 7lb 4oz son is a man today. Pretty soon he will learn how to make a sandwich and do his own laundry. I kid. Sort of.


We will be going out for sushi tonight at the only sushi place I haven't gotten sick from here in Brazil. Another milestone without Mitch, but the end is sort of in sight, so that's something. No, we still don't have a handshake, but I do have a new prescription. Optimism in a bottle, yo.

It's cute how we drive in to work together every day. He's getting over the horror of seeing me in the chancery halls. He even said, "Hi mom!" to me the other day, but don't worry, I responded with, "Jack! Shhhh. Don't call me mom at work, YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME."

It's hard to believe he will be getting on a plane next month for college. I wanted to write about how he and his friends got duped at a nightclub a few weeks ago, but I don't want to embarrass him by highlighting his lack of street smarts. Instead, I will embarrass him by saying that his IB scores just came back and he will be able to skip almost a year of college now. I didn't even know that was a thing, you guys. That's a shitload of money!  I'm not going to run out and buy shoes, though, because I've been cleaning out my closet and I keep finding shoes I forgot about. Just kidding, I have some Frye loafers waiting for me in the mail room right now.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Yellow and Green

By now, if you have been following the World Cup at all, you will have noticed that Brazil got trounced by the German national team earlier this week. The morning of the game, every street corner was a riot of yellow, with vendors selling the Brazilian jersey like it was going out of style. I'm not exaggerating when I say about 90% of all cars sported Brazilian flags flying behind them and many had giant flags covering their hoods. Yellow and green every where you looked. And not just on game days, either. During this entire World Cup, the yellow jersey was everywhere. People waiting for the bus, in line at the grocery store, the servers in restaurants. Busness dress at the embassy became 'yellow casual'.  

Watching as Brazil sunk lower and lower during the match, I was amazed to see the Yellow Shirts actually rooting for the Germans. The next day, and every day since, I have seen no yellow shirts. No car flags. Nothing. The city is quiet and feels thick with something I can't quite put my finger on, but it is ungood. 

Just an ousider's observations from the inside.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday. It Comes After Sunday.

Nothing to report, except last week I got hit by a car again. This time the car rear-ended my car at a red light going fast enough that his car was totaled. My giant SUV had a tiny wrinkle on the bumper and no one was hurt. I also sort of broke two fingers being generally clumsy, but they are healing fast. The doctor I saw about the fingers suggested I not leave the house anymore. I concurred, of course.

I am loving the World Cup. I thought I would hate it, but when Brazil is playing the city vibrates. We live in fairly rural area, but when Brazil scores, the roar of cheering and fireworks is deafening, Even when I'm walking the dog on a country road. And how about the USA team still being in it? WOOT!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This is the Post in Which I Don't Complainnotreally

GUESS WHAT, YOU GUYS?!!!!!

Nothing is new! I'm not going to waste this precious corner of the internet complaining about how my husband VOLUNTEERED to go to a war zone and common sense would dictate that we would be rewarded for our sacrifice by getting posted somewhere. Anywhere? I'm also not going to complain about how, since we don't have orders, I can't even take my firstborn child to college or go visit my family and friends. Because nobody likes a complainer, y'all. 

Instead, I'm going to to write a few words about what's going on in good ole' Brazil these days:

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I. Just. Can't. Even.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hi!

Hey! We got our assignment! JustkiddingIhateeverything. The kids have settled into summer break pretty well, despite the fact that they are calling it "Mom's Summer of Pain" since we have no cleaner. In fact, in the past few weeks, Jack yelled at me for opening a new box of cereal when already had several opened in the pantry, and also for leaving said box out on the counter. He also got upset when Grace tracked dirt all over his freshly mopped kitchen floor.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Tomorrow is the first day of summer camp at the embassy. Jack is working as lead counselor and the girls are attending. Henry has nothing to do because no one gives a rat's ass about middle schoolers. Jack actually has a real job that starts in a few weeks. Full time employment! I don't think I could even be out of my bed for that many hours, but he's looking forward to his first Big Boy Job. He will be working in the financial management section at the embassy, which could not be more perfect for him.


Oh, and maybe you've heard that there's some kind of soccer event going on right now in Brazil. The entire city shuts down during the games. No one is on the roads. I've never seen anything like it. I wrote about it  for work, but mostly I just wrote about my lack of knowledge about the whole thing. We've also been busy preparing for another visit by the VPOTUS. You know you are in the Foreign Service when you tell you kids what is going on next week and they're all, "We have to go see Joe Biden AGAIN?"


Monday, June 9, 2014

Passages

Mitch came and left, and I pretty much missed the whole thing, but more on that in a minute. My little ladies turned eleven! It was a Cupcake Wars kind of birthday, and my kitchen will never be the same. 

\


They also graduated from fifth grade to middle school, which apparently requires badass footwear. I really don't know where they get it.


Last Friday was Jack's graduation ceremony. In the photo below, I was feeling okay. Two hours later, in the middle of the ceremony, I started getting chills. By the time I got home I had a fever of 103 and my skin and bones hurt so much I couldn't even blink my eyes without pain. The next thing I knew, it was four days later.I missed Jack's graduation dinner and his prom. I also missed half of Mitch's visit. The timing could not have been worse. Or better, because thankfully he was able to represent our family at Jack's events and run the house (side note: our new cleaner quit before Mitch got home, so it was all on him!). It was probably Dengue Fever, as I've had a flu shot this year, but I was too sick to go get the blood test, and there's nothing you can do for Dengue, anyway. 

We made a graduate! 

A big box of USC swag arrived and the girls have not taken off their slippers since. Did you guys know that USC is the fourth most expensive college in the nation? The more you know.

He did it! Can you see him? He's the one throwing his hat up in the air.
I crawled downstairs on all fours and took this picture of my brood all dressed up for the prom. It is just plain adorable that the prom in Brazil is a family affair.



This is the part of the prom where you are supposed to dance with your parent. Grace filled in for me.

The girls had a very good time at their first prom.








We are so proud of Jack. USC is a really hard school to get into, and when they didn't give him a big enough academic scholarship to make it comparable to University of Washington, he contacted them all on his own and they gave him more money. He already has his roommate lined up, a Brazilian friend so he can keep up with his portuguese. I'm on my way right now to pick him up at the airport from his Senior trip. He's been on some Brazilian beach for a week. 

Oh, and guess what? WE STILL DO NOT HAVE AN ONWARD ASSIGNMENT.  I know, right?!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Last R & R

Last week I told the kids I had to go to the airport to pick up a temporary duty officer arriving for the World Cup. It wasn't a total lie. Waking up to find their Dad in the kitchen :

Olivia had missed two weeks of school due to illness, so I made them all go, except Jack, who basically just plays xBox and sleeps now that he's done with high school. We've spent the last few days sitting by the pool and just generally hanging out. Boring, normal stuff that is better than Christmas after being apart for so long.

 Now, don't judge me, but have you guys played Cards Against Humanity? I win the Worst Parent Award for letting my kids play this, but it is horrible/awesome.

Selfie from bed.



My bruises are mostly better, but I will probably have some little scars on my legs. I forgot to cancel my massage lady last week and she just kept turning my arms and legs over looking for a place to massage and clucking her tongue. It was a terrible waste of money.

The mundane becomes flippin' sweet when we are all home together. We still don't have an onward assignment, but the State Department has beaten me down so much that I don't even care anymore. This week my youngest babies will turn 11 and my oldest baby will graduate high school. The day after graduation is prom, and the whole family gets to go. This is a South America thing. Pretty cool, no?

And you guys, can I just say how smugly happy I was to go to work today and leave Mitch home in charge of a sick kid, two loads of laundry, and a dirty kitchen?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Another Week Under Our Belts

Okay, so I sort of got hit by a car last week, but more on that in a minute. Look what Olivia made me for Mother's Day! Gluten Free Cherry Cupcakes. They were delish. Henry and Grace made me huevos rancheros in bed, and Jack ran to the store to pick me up some champagne (yay, Brazil!), which I drank with my friend Katie while her husband made tacos for us. All in all, not a terrible Mother's Day, even though I was missing my mom and my mate.


Jack has been studying non-stop for his IB finals. We haven't seen him come out of his room for weeks. As of Thursday, he will be a high school graduate. We're having a bonfire with his friends so they can burn their school work on Friday. 


Over the weekend, my friend and I had a garage sale together. I've never actually had a garage sale, because, you know, it's work. I'd rather dump my stuff off at a charity than do work. We hired a lady though, because garage sales are big business here. She did everything, pricing, collecting, and haggling. We just hung around watching to make sure nothing got stolen. On my watch, someone stole Henry's PSP because the snacks were inside the house, so that's where I was, yo. I made a ton of money. I'm not kidding. Thousands. Which really made my aching body not ache so much. I'm going to buy myself something pretty, like....legwarmers for my arms. You'll see why in a minute.

Garage Sale-fie. Get it? 

The worst thing about the garage sale was being on my feet for two days straight after my car...t accident. That's right, technically I was hit by a grocery cart. I was walking to my car with my groceries when the car in question hit my cart hard enough to send me flying over the top of the cart into a pile of gravel. You can actually kind of see the gravel-shaped bruises on my arm.  Pretty pretty?



My whole body is beautiful like this, except for my face, which I protected just in time to break out in stress eczema. Anyway, nothing broke except my pride. And my eggs. The guy who hit me tore off, but the grocery store people could not have been nicer. They got me all new groceries for free and helped me up like I was a little old lady. It made me sad a little, because I knew I would never be able to go back to that store again. Someone at work told me it was Leg Appreciation Day today, so here ya go:


My vow lasted until later that night, when I had to make a mad dash (and when I say mad dash, I mean gingerly tiptoeing) to get coffee beans so I could survive the garage sale the next morning. I wore a hoodie though, so I don't think anyone recognized me. I hope.

In other news, we still don't have an onward assignment, despite me trying my very hardest to get sent out of here by car attack. Also, the darlings of Afghanistan have begun their spring offensive, so there's that to worry about. At least I look totally hawt for when Mitch comes home to visit at the end of the month. 

*crickets


Monday, May 5, 2014

They Survived!

My girls made it home (sans baby turtles, sadly), exhausted, a little sunburned, and brimming with happy stories. Olivia filled me in on all the animal contact they had, while Grace filled me in on all the fifth grade girl drama. I'm pretty sure Olivia didn't comb her hair even once, but she didn't get sick or get a migraine, which is a small miracle. For about a week after they returned home they were a little prickly with me, as in, they weren't their usual cuddly selves. They were far too busy putting on lipgloss and writing in their journals. Finally, I called bullshit and told them they had to go back to being my babies and snuggle with me every day. It was a relief for all of us when they agreed. Especially Henry, who was stuck being the stand-in snuggler. 


The girls may have been fine, but I developed some kind of allergic reaction to something. Maybe I'm allergic to nuts all of a sudden, or maybe I'm allergic to being left by my loved ones, but you guys, these lips? They were about twice as big as they were in this picture.


Mitch did not seem at all turned on by my new look. In fact, he unromantically told me to increase my life insurance. Here is our messaging chain about my meeting with the insurance company:


Reeeeal nice. It took a few days and a giant shot in my ass for my lips to go down, but that didn't stop me and the boys from eating sushi every night the girls were gone. So what if food and water kept dribbling out of my mouth? I've got no one to impress.



Nothing else is new. Including knowing our next assignment. Our embassy wants us to pack out before the World Cup, but I'm sorry to say they are stuck with us. Oh! Something is new. My speeding tickets came in the mail:




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Tiny Infant Baby Daughters

I just dropped them off at the airport for a field trip with their class to a beautiful Brazilian beach, where they will be working at a sea turtle preserve for the week. They will be saving baby turtles! Baby turtles are soooo cuuuuuuuuute!


They will be staying in a hotel on this beach. Whatever.


They packed their own bags, and when I was going over them, I came across a plastic container with holes in the top. 

"Olivia, why is this container in your bag?"

"In case they let me keep some endangered baby turtles."

I just hope turtles are gluten free.

Jack's preparing for college, my babies are gaining independence, and Henry is, uh, still shooting blow darts into our concrete walls. And what am I doing? NOT PLANNING FOR OUR NEXT ADVENTURE BECAUSE UNCLE SAM HATES ME AND HASN'T GIVEN US AN ASSIGNMENT YET, EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LEAVE IN A FEW MONTHS. I'M SO UPSET I HAD TO PUT THE CAPS LOCK ON.