Sunday, October 31, 2010

To Porn or Not to Porn

A lot of women have a problem with porn. I am not one of them.  Personally, I don't have an issue with my husband enjoying it.  You'd have to be delusional to believe a man who says, oh no, I really don't like porn.  Think about it. He's saying, oh no I really don't like watching naked women having sex...  Yeah, I don't believe them.

In my experience, Brazilian women have a tendency to be quite jealous about these kind of video friends.  One friend of mine exclaimed, why does he need porn when he has me!  That is the sentiment I, and my husband in the past, have gotten from most Brazilian women.

He's got me? Why does he need it?

First off, I do not look like that. Ohhhh, not even close.  Secondly, I will not do that, nor that, and I really don't even want to watch them doing that.  I'm a little curious about that other one but I wouldn't know where to get the equipment...

Anyway, my question is, is porn a deal breaker?  I'm living in a country where, apparently, 70% of husbands cheat, they sell porn next to kiddie magazines at the newsstands, and hookers are legal.  Yes, you can legally be a hooker here, just not a john.

I think the whole Brazilian my-husband-is-not-into-porn-but-real-women thing goes right along with the my husband doesn't cheat thing. If you insist hard enough on something, it must be true, right?

That being said, American men are FAR beating out (pun intended) the Brazilians when it comes to porn usage.  Maybe that's why I don't find my husband's healthy use a big deal. Not like the stuff is popping up all over the apartment and my son is asking me what a butt plug is.

It's one of those at it's time and place and within reason things.  I would not be ok if Mr. Rant was hopping off to the bathroom during babysitting duty to watch a little Anal Sex in the City and whack one off. Not ok.  But to do it at a grownup time, go for it. And it can't be an obsession.  It's not kosher to not be able to download pics from your trip to the beach because you or your spouse has just downloaded the new Big Bang Theory porn edition.

And let's be honest for a minute, we don't live in a squeaky clean entertainment world. As much as I love the dialog on True Blood, it's not the main reason I watch. Naked Eric is!  And I'm sure naked Sookie is making my husband just as happy.  We're people, we're curious, and everyone likes a little eye candy.  

So how about you? Are you ok with your spouse, loved one, significant other, cat, or whatever you call them watching the horizontal Olympics?  Why or why not?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In Honor of Halloween

In honor of Halloween : 

Keep in mind, I totally disagree with tootsie rolls. Those bad boys rock and school be at the top of the list, especially the fattie ones!  Mmmmm, candy.  I miss you.

What's your favorite Halloween candy?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Insert Foot Here

In the post Free Hug, I got all touchy feely about the Brazilian way of caring.  What can I say, it seems I've adapted after 4 years down here.

But there is a little bit of a backlash to that adaptation.  So let me ask you, what do you get when you take an ex-pat and evolve her into the Brazilian definition of caring? 

Answer: A very inappropriate ex-Pat indeed! 

The problem as an ex-Pat American is that I'm blunt.  Combine that with the Brazilian openness and you got yourself some foot in the mouth conversations. 

For example, it's not uncommon for your Mother-in-law to have mentioned to your husband's best friend that you have a bladder infection and then for him to ask you how that infection is going when you all meet up for beers.  Totally socially acceptable. 

Not acceptable is when I asked my husband's cousin why his wife hadn't come to the family lunch.  He was elusive, which is not normal down here and that should have been my hint to shut up. Of course I missed it and persisted, to which he announced their separation.  Ouch!

Of course there were no hard feelings.  Got to love the forgive and forget attitude down here! Of course, I think our friends and family really all remember and just think, 'oh that Rachel, putting her foot in her mouth again.'

You know, as long as my awkwardness is openly accepted and we all have a laugh.

Internet Girl in an Internet World

We are an internet civilization now.  There is no denying it.  I read a funny post on Ka entre nos that made me think... and laugh.  Oh, and practice my Portuguese!  It's like tricking your brain into learning science by reading the Magic School Bus books.

Brazilians are crack head addicted to the internet, so much so that they took over Orkut before Americans even knew what it was.  And I bet if you check out nationalities on Twitter, Brazilians would have a pretty damn good percentage.  I fit right in down here!

But that's not what I've come here to talk about. I came, inspired by Ká Entre nós, to talk about the facebook photo tagger. You know that person that is posting horrible pictures of you on facebook, the ones you have to untag and make you question your friendship with said person.  Yeah, well that would be me.  I am the notorious photo poster out of my friends here in Rio. It's a problem I have acknowledged and refuse to do anything about!  I love posting photos.

Well, a friend of mine got even...

I was a little drunk, Mommy night out, and I was mocking my friend for buying the Bump it. Of course, I let her try it out on my hair and posed for a photo. I should of known.   It was posted on facebook the next day. 

So, there you go friends who question my sanity after I post and tag unflattering photos of you in bikinis.  It's not that I'm a snatch, it's that I have no personal shame and thus don't get it. I hope this makes it a little better.

And got to love the random tags of blast in the past pics:

My husband and I in Curitiba pre-babies. I guess I really can't use kids as an excuse for letting myself go.  Apparently I was already doing it in my early 20s. 

Since, I do have a little bit of shame, I'm feeling just a tingle of it in my toes.  Here's a picture to show what I really look like:

Happy Friday internet people! Now that I got a much needed hit of my internet, I'm off to enjoy the Rio de Janeiro sun!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Free Hug

I've talked a decent amount about Brazilian families and their part in marriages, your roles within them, and how they work.

Well, I've had a different view of the Brazilian family these past couple of days.  It's a family I've always known but have never had the need to experience.

It's your extended Brazilian family.  Aka. Everyone you interact with on a daily basis.

So we are the gossip of the neighborhood because our youngest is in the hospital. Everyone knows via talk from everyone else.  But it's not just gossip, it's real concern.

The first morning after my little one was hospitalized, I got a call from his school.  They wanted to know how they could help. The school psychologist called and she said "We are not doctors. I know we can't help that way but we want to say that we are here if you need anything. Anything at all.  And we want to know how he is doing? blah blah our conversation blah Please keep us updated!"  They have checked in daily.

I have spoken with our building manager and our doorman.  My Mother-in-law has spoken with the doorman at our kid's school, the teachers, the coordinator, and the head of the pre-school area. 

My pediatrician has called me daily, if not twice daily, to ask me how I think he's doing and what the doctors told me.  He then tells me everything they told him as he called them first so that he could clarify anything I didn't understand.

Mr. Rant's Mother, Brother, and Brother's wife have picked my oldest up from school the past couple of days, taking him out, and treating him so this time would be one of excess as opposed to lacking.

I've had visits from friends and family.  And hospital even lets my son is visit, even though he's under 5.

And my Mother-in-law has been at my beck and call regardless of the fact that she has been dealing with everything going on with her mother.  Her mother, who we now fear may be brain-dead.  And with all that, she is picking up my son, playing his silly 4 year old games, and asking me how she can help me.

On top of it all, my husband is only working part time because he is taking care of our oldest when he's not in school.  This is the husband who comes home from a long stressful meeting and deals with a phone call from a crying wife who lays into him basically because her nerves are fried.  Listening to you kid, who is on a drip, scream in pain every time he pees will do that to you.  There was nothing I could do. Thankfully, after about 12 hrs, it passed and he's feeling much better.

Anyway, the husband who took that bad treatment and understood where it came from.  He came to alleviate me from the hospital with a smile on his face and a hug for me.  No need to discuss, no need for an apology.  And I gave him more shit for being late. Yeah, I suck ass.  And he had all the patience and understanding in the world.  He told me he couldn't have handled the first two nights there but now, because it's easier, he could give me a break.  Wow! A man who can handle the world and then admits when he can't.  The balance of the world, my world.  I must give good head or something.

The thing is, this culture can be judgmental, overly intrusive, and sometimes a bit in your face.  But when you need some compassion, real compassion, and a get out of jail free card when things are tough, they give it to you before you even ask.  It's as if they have the important parts of humanity down.

The world would be a much better place if they would just learn from the Brazilians.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Copa D'Or from the inside

We are prisoners inside, well, inside one of the nicer hospitals of Rio de Janeiro. And, dare I say, the best in Zona Sul.  That's what people say anyway.  So I figure, hell, I'll give it a little review.

And guess what, I'm one of them! I'm agreeing with what they say.  And no, it's not to suck up! 

We have gotten some seriously great care here!  For starters, I can already see a new little muffin top forming at the top of my comfy jeans.  The food is good people, for the non-patient anyway. It's ok for the kiddies.  Regardless, they are trying fatten up my boy to be the Christmas ham or something. Of course, he's not eating it so I am, I hate to waste food.  Add in my 3 meals my insurance covers (we're talking carne assada stuffed with sausage, rice and beans, corn sufle, a salad, pudim, and fresh squeezed OJ for example) and you have got yourself a Thanksgiving Rachel Turkey stuffed and ready to go. 

We also have a governess.  I have always wanted one of those. It's so Sound of Music.  Sadly, she doesn't belong to only to me but to the entire floor. She prevides the kids with dvds and books, deals with our insurance company, and brings me fresh sheets and towels daily.  I also called her once to borrow a pen. She quickly informed me that I needed to call her when I was done so she could come pick it up.  I will say, it was a nice pen.

Let's also remember the Wi-fi (spelling?), pretty bathroom, cleaning service... am I missing something?  Hmmm, hospital... hospital... hospital... Oh yeah, Doctors! They have those here too.  And nurses. Actually, we have two kind of nurses and the whole deal includes specialists and palmades as needed.  Hell, the nurses even weigh pee diapers to make sure the children are staying hydrated. They measure what comes in and what goes out.  If that isn' thorough, I don't know what is. 

All and all, I have to say that this is a good place to be when you are feeling like crap.  People are attentive, nice, and have enough patience to deal with me and extended family... actually, the extended family hasn't fully been notified... well, the ones who don't read my blog or follow me of facebook that is.  Oh, and the ones that missed the plane with the banner flying over Copacabana. 

As for the penis, it is getting the highest level of care possible. It would be unheard of in a machismo country to let a penis go unheard.  Thankfully the pediatric surgeon came today, the one who also specialises in pediatric urology, and said everything is fine. He was the first who didn't look like he was going to barf when he saw it. 

Localized infection and highly irritated area that needs to be taken care of, but no emergency surgery needed.  No emergency procedures at all. Of course, to some of my readers' utter dismay, circumcision has been deemed 100% necessary. It's not because of the infection, as it is not totally uncommon for it to get this bad, it's because of his foreskin.  Apparently, the fact that its over 50% larger makes it even easier to tell, kind of like zoom on google map. 

But the important thing is that the penis will make a full recovery, as will the little man attached to it.  Fever is still strong but it's expected to improve in 24 hrs.

As for Copa D'Or, it's now my hospital of choice, why don't you make it ours. It's like that destination vacation resort with a hurricane warning. Sucks to be stuck inside but at least they are taking good care of you.

Chilling at the hospital

Still hanging at the hospital with the little one today.  I'll try to get on later if he sleeps... if.  Hard to sleep with nurses coming in and giving meds/taking temps and doctors checking out your swollen penis.  Poor little guy.  A boy's swollen penis is like a tri-pod with a bad leg. It just doesn't work. 

So sick baby and I'm on full Mommy duty.  All about the cuddles and questioning the good and patient doctors. I'm pretty impressed with them too (and the nurses) because I've been fairly annoying.  I know, we're all shocked. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Culture Shock from Across the Border

All of us, Brazilian and foreigners alike, know that a trip to the bank in Brazil is a pain in the ass. Heaven forbid you actually try to open a bank account as a foreigner! You'll be asked to jump threw hoops of fire, ice, and possibly rabid bums.  You really never know.

Imagine the shock my ex-student, and now proud LEGAL Canadian resident, felt when he went into the bank and opened an account with no problem.

Honestly, I had long forgotten how it is to open an account N. America, but when I think about it, it is one thing our banks do well. That, and charge us extra fees and take our money, thus the desire to open new accounts.

My student was shocked as he was ushered over to a nice desk right away, when he got to meet the bank manager, and when the manager asked him if the service was ok.  Say what? The bank manager cares if I am pleased with their service?!

Yes our new Canadian resident, they do.  Everyone does. This little thing is called costumer service.  It's all the rage up north.  It's a combination of salesperson desperation, commission incentives, and North Americans need to have their egos stroked.

And it rocks! There is nothing like having a salesperson actually listen to you and, get this, try to help.  It's amazing. And if you aren't satisfied, they actually attempt to fix it, most of the time anyway.  And return policies... you can always argue return policies.

I will say, customer service is a service I really miss and now my student knows why.  After his banking experience, he called his wife to exclaim that she should have been there! She should have seen how much easier their life was going to be!

That's the funny thing about being an ex-Pat, you never know what will bring you to the other side. Personally, I'm not quite ready to give up on Rio just because I needed to have two official copies of pictures of my left ass cheek just to open a savings account, among other things.  I still find other parts of the grass down here a little greener.

To circumcise or not to circumcise

Brazil is not as circumcise happy as the US of A.  They just don't feel the need to snip off that extra skin and I have yet to meet a Pediatric Urologist down here who is willing to do it to a newborn. They feel it's barbaric to strap a kid to a board and take a scalpel to an non-anesthetized kid's penis. 

When you put it that way, who wouldn't be against it!

But I am for circumcision. Call me old fashion, but I think it's cleaner. And as a Mom of boys, it's not as easy as it seems to get them to clean down there correctly.  Being a balanced person, I find the middle ground partial circumcision the most desirable.

So why write about it on my blog. Well, we've yet to circumcise our youngest as we are waiting until he's out of diapers.  It's easy to get infection when poop get smashed around an incision.  You asked, didn't you!   And for other medical reasons, it has been recommended he have one.

Well, those medical reasons bit me in the ass this morning when I went to change his diaper and found his penis swollen 3 times the normal size, and not in the good way!  Emergency room visit and bam, circumcision is needed as soon as the swelling and infection are under control. And NO, my kid is not dirty! They are Brazilian boys. They take like 2 to 3 baths a day for goodness sake!  And I do make sure those little hidden pieces are washed and clean thank you very much.

This situation only confirms two things for me, that circumcision is good and that the private Brazilian medical care is great!  I, yet again, had wonderful treatment at Copa D'Or in Copacabana. I spoke personally with my our pediatrician who also spoke with the Emergency room doctor. Our pediatrician will follow up with us tomorrow and we are being referred to a Ped Urologist asap.  I have to say Bradesco health insurance and their doctors ROCK!

And note to self, if you have a little boy and he's feverish and cranky, check the penis. I never thought of that. I looked at teeth, belly, throat, glands, toes, hair, and whatever else possible.  I never looked at the penis. Not until morning.  Oh the power of a penis.

I plead Vagina ignorance on that one.

* More available at : Copa D'or from the inside

** UPDATE** Emergency Circumcision was avoided and 5 months later, we have still yet to get the procedure done.  During the wait our son's pocket of smegma under his foreskin has grown to a point that you can see it very clearly from a distance. This makes the area a great place to grow bacteria.  As for poo poo-ers who want to automatically talk smack and compare me to a penis executioner, all extremists are bad. Just because everyone in the country where you are at gets an automatic circumcision doesn't mean that's how it rolls in other parts of the world. And just because too many people do it and it's rare to actually need one, doesn't mean it's impossible... not at all.  So instead of just being a pile of soapbox throwers, understand where this Mom is coming from. Heaven forbid I try to joke around about a penis and make light of a tough situation. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Anonymous Negativety Bomber

So I guess you can consider me a fairly successful blog as I have just got my first... not one... but 2! negative comments!  Just tie me up and roll me in butter, I'm as happy as a little piggy.

Ok, not so much.  The commenter was happy to talk hate, hiding under the pussy label of Anonymous. Easy to do that eh!  And was oh so quick to judge the entire basis of my blog after reading a couple of posts.

Do I make fun of Brazil sometimes? Yes. Do I make fun of everything, including myself, sometimes? Uh, yes again.  It's how I write.  I also have positive posts in their if Mr/Mrs/Ms anonymous would like to take a little time and actually read my blog.

And I'm the closed minded and judgmental one... sure...

Childhood Obesity hits Rio

I have been noticing larger and larger people in the streets of Rio de Janeiro.  No, I'm not talking tall people, I'm talking large, and it's not just adults.

I'm starting to think that childhood obesity is really becoming a problem in Brazil.  If I, an American, is noticing overweight children, it's definitely entered into the "Situation" category. 

Seriously though, it is.  The childhood population in this city seems to go between either normal/slightly skinny to quite large.  It's like the class system with a very small group in the middle. 
And apparently I'm not the only one who has noticed.  BBC News says, and I quote "the most startling figures come from Brazil, where childhood obesity has tripled over the last 20 years."

I can say that I have met at least 3 different families at my pediatrician's office who have their kid(s) on a diet because they are over weight.  The diet my pediatrician usually puts them on is, no more fried foods, no McDonalds (for example), more fruit, and take them to the park! 

It seems like common sense but I can see how the slippery slope could happen. For one, this is a culture where a lot is based around food. Saturdays and Sundays alone can be a dietary nightmare with family lunches that go on for hours and are full of fatty treats. 

At the same time, Rio de Janeiro alone is a wonderland full of outdoor activities to keep the entire family active.  Of course, as BBC says (since they are British and thus are obviously infallible): "The researchers comment that in the same period, Brazil's per capita gross domestic product has also tripled, and television use has greatly increased."

Oh TV, how you always bear the brunt of our bad behavior.  I will say though, TV is like alcohol, it takes balance and is highly addictive.  I love you both you bastards.  

And now food is right up there with them.  I will say, after procreating twice, my body just doesn't digest my fatty snacks the way it used to.  My body has turned into a squirrel storing nuts in his cheeks, only it's fat in my ass. 

Now, I have to actually... gasp uggg dear goodness, eat right AND work out on a regular basis.  I skip the fries and eat a salad.  Funny thing is, I actually prefer the salad now. I don't know what that detox did to me but it set me right in some way. 

Anyway, kids are the same. If you overfill them their ass will too turn into a panicked little squirrel hiding away nuts for a winter that never comes. Moderation and the ability give a firm NO you don't need a third box of McNuggets will do the trick. 

What do you think?  Childhood obesity a problem or overly concerned skinny people are ruining the world with their blabbering? 

I want that Carioca job!

I can't figure out, for the life of me, what a quarter of the parents of the kids at my kids' school do for a living. Seriously, it's mind boggling.  

It reminds me of weekday Ipanema beach goers. When my parents were visiting, I took my them there on a random Tuesday morning, around 11ish. My Dad turned and asked me if it was a holiday.  Nope.  Then why in the hell aren't these people at work or school?! 

That is a good question.  Any given beautiful Rio de Janeiro day, Ipanema, Copacabana, and Leblon will be pretty full considering it's a weekday.  They can't all be students or mooching off their working parents. They can't all have won the lottery, be software geniuses retired at 35, or only work nights and weekends. 

What gives? What is the Carioca secret no one is sharing with me?! 
That's what's throwing me off with about 1/4 of the parents at my kids' school.  Let me explain, school starts at 1pm, middle of the workday.  The majority of these guys get dropped off by extended family or a maid, a school bus, or are in school full time. There are also a few stay-at-home parents who bring the little rug rats in. 

Then there's the magical 1/4. Sometimes the Father drops off the kid at 1pm. Sometimes the Mother.  Sometimes it's both of them.  Sometimes I see the Mother dropping off the kid and then run into the Father just cruising the neighborhood. 

No, these are not stay-at-home parents. And I don't think there are that many independently wealthy families sending their kids to our tree-hugging, hippie friendly, Harvard school of finger painting. 

So where on Earth do these people work and can my husband work there?  My husband can sometimes get off early to pick the kiddies up but no, he's not doing drop off duty or anything close to that. And the job must pay decently if they can afford the tuition.  Even with a discount, it's nothing to scoff at. 

So here is our mission.  We must discover the secret to the wandering Carioca.  How do they make their livelihood? And are they hiring? 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Internation Plane Drama, Brazilian Style

Take a drunk wife of a Brazilian judge and add two Air Marshals and what do you get?  A husband trying to keep to the rules of a happy wife = a happy life. 

So this woman, flying from the US to Brazil, was not satisfied with the amount of liquor already churning and boiling in her blood. She needed more. Unfortunately for her, she was refused anymore of the drink. As any logical (aka. Drunk) and rational (aka. Crazy) person would do, she went ahead and raided the gallery herself! 

How dare they keep the drink away from the drunk!

Well, apparently this woman isn't used to hearing the word no. I blame her husband and you will soon see why. 

The Air Marshals were asked to step in because this high class lady was too much for the flight attendants to handle without losing their smiles and elevator music toned voices. 

Maybe she was a handful because the two Marshals had to cuff her and place her under arrest. 

I can still here her scream, or what I imagine she screamed " Do you know who my husband is!!" 

Finally someone who can back that statement up.  Upon landing, the poor Air Marshals were promptly arrested for, get this, assaulting the judge's wife!  They were just doing their job!

Shame on them for not knowing their audience.  They could have avoided the entire thing if they had just asked the woman for a bribe to get her another mini-bottle and let her drink herself to sleep.  It would have been very Brazilian Civil Police of them. 

Don't feel too sorry for them just yet.  The judge and his wife were all fat and happy thinking that the Marshals were stuck in Brazil, seeing their passports were confiscated, and waiting a decision on their actions. 

Oh no they didn't!  The Marshals pulled a fast one on these guys and skipped out of the country using other travel documents!  Why wait around for self-important diplomats and overpaid judges to decide that the one judge is pussy whipped and afraid of his wife.  Screw this, we're taking our ball and going home. 

Of course it'll all be smoothed over anyway and the judge will not even get a slap on the wrist... that is, unless his wife has too much to drink. 

For more information, check out CNN

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Ghetto Little Pony

Today I experienced a cross between the country of India and the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.  No, this was not an interesting culinary experience, although that would, in fact, be hell of a lot interesting if I do say so myself. 

The combination came to be in a little neighborhood plaza in Tijuca.  It was the cross between a country horse, usually used to take the husband into town to by morning bread and beer.  Keep in mind I was implying morning to both bread and beer. 

Anyway, country horse and rickshaw.  Oh yes. My family of four rode around the congested streets of Tijuca in a ricksaw pulled by a horse. Personally, I think it was a lot like Asia only planned a bit better by the driver.

In fear of sounding redundant, it was interesting to say the least. First off, I'm afraid of horses. It's not because I don't like them.  It's because I've seen their power used for evil instead of good and I have the utmost respect for it.  I felt like I was mocking the horse in that tiny rickshaw and that he could kick us over and cause hell should he deem it necessary. 

But the kids liked it. And let's keep in mind, my kids are city kids.  Hell, my oldest could hail a cab and a bus before he turned 2 years old. Yes, in Rio we hail buses. It's a beautiful thing and, at the same time, quite curiously alarming, if you ask me.  

I made a little note to myself, after my oldest asked me to write in his school notebook that he went on a horseback ride this weekend, get these boys to the country ASAP!

For your enjoyment, a real picture of the experience:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hoochie in the morning

"She ain't nothin' but a hoochie mama! HOOD RAT HOOD RAT HOOCHIE MAMA"

This song rang in my ears many times today. I can't help myself!  When I see a scantly clad woman marching her half exposed ass down the street, those two lines play in my head. Seriously, every time.

And I find that very humorous. I even laugh to myself a little. People must think I'm some crazy white lady who gets a secret thrill out of the hoochies of the world... I guess they would be right. 

So I try not to judge which, considering the first couple of lines of this post, may be hard to believe.  I just think we are all marching to the beats of our own drummer and that's just fine by me. 

But I am curious who some of these drummers are and what kinds of beats they are producing. I have a hard time imagining anyone who could choose a strapless push up halter and daisy dukes for a run to the bread shop at 8 am! Well, that is if spandex shorts with a jeans stamp can count as daisy dukes.

Sure, I can understand if you are doing the walk of shame.  Good for you if you have the confidence to stop at the bread shop mid walk of shame! But it's just too common for that to be the case. 

My head was singing the hoochie momma song so much this morning that I almost developed multiple personalities and went out and picked me up a studded corset top and some shiny shoes.

What do you think?  Could I use a little hooch up?  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rio loves your Toosh

I'm loving that more and more bathrooms in Rio de Janeiro are sporting the please take a seat, disposable seat covers. It just makes my toosh blush with pleasure.

And when you take them out you really feel the Brazilian love...

Leave it to the Brazilians to put a heart around what really matters in life.

Gold star for creative toilet decor!

Finding Masculine Halloween Costumes For Your Effeminate Son


Living in a machismo country, sometimes you just need to make fun of it. Check out:

 If you aren't already a fan, check out The Onion!

Rio de Janeiro Middle Class is Killing Me!

Middle class life in Rio de Janeiro is killing me, financially.  And they are doing it slowly.

My cross to bear is that I´m American. I have a particular definition of middle class and it just doesn't always fit.  Like two-ply toilet paper and non-powdered milk.  I thought that at 30 years, I'd be sitting relatively pretty, wiping my toosh with comfort and drinking my chocolate milk. It's proving to be a little more difficult than just that. 

For starters, I've made a couple of mistakes.  We bought a home on loan from Caixa and we procreated.  Basically I was screwed twice, actually three times, in this equation.  Once figuratively and twice literally. At least I got pleasure out of two of them.  I'll let you figure out which.

The interest rates at Caixa seem slightly shocking on paper and heart attack inducing in real life.  It's like, YEAH it's payday! Oh wait, taxes.  Ok, still good.  Oh crap Caixa... It's the baby Momma without the past action and no obnoxious stepchild.

But you know, you can survive. And we did purchase before the big upswing in real estate prices.  So when we finally own our home, after both my husband's and my death after our loooong life, our kids will be sitting pretty.  Thank goodness. That last sentence may or may not be sarcastic.

And how do our beloved joys add into the equation?  Well, diapers for one are highway robbery. I almost considered that crazy Gisele Bundchen idea of potty training your 3 day old.  From a living in Brazil standpoint, it's worth being in the bathroom every hour and all the extra laundry.  I mean, a pack of diapers costs as much as a decent meal out.  We're talking R$23 to R$30 a pack. 

No I don't buy the super cheap ones.  It's not because I'm prissy but because they are crap!  I might as well strap some of my precious two-ply around my kid's butt. Not pretty.I think my wood floors would up and leave me if I put them through that again. 

Then there's school.  You start at 2 yrs here.  Totally normal, unless it's public school. My husband won't let me do public school on principal. No, not the one you think.  It's because those spots need to be saved for people who really need them. People who really can't afford private school.  I love him for that. My purse does not.

You would think my child was attending Harvard finger painting school.  I sure as hell hope they come out brilliant and socially fabulous.  Of course when they do, I will take full credit.  I mean, 4 hrs a day can not do miracles. That one belongs to Momma.

I've decided it's come down to groceries. My poor boys are having their cookies and whole wheat bread taken away. We're going rice and beans all day every day baby... Ok, I can't do that one either.  I can't look at the same food twice a day every day. Just call me a princess.  Actually I prefer Princess Rachel Sassiest Pants of the whole world.  That is, if you insist on calling me a princess.

So I guess I'm not that bad off and I really am not planning on changing my lifestyle. Maybe I just wanted to share.  But, then again, isn't that what a blog is for? 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Gym or the Runway?

I´ve never been one to dress up to go to the gym.  In the US, I was far from alone in this. Only the extreme exercisers or the attention seekers wore hot clothes and/or makeup. 

Well, things are a little different in Rio de Janeiro.  The gym is a bigger meat market than any club.  You want to look GOOD.  You have to match.  And if you wear your husband´s grubby t-shirt with a pair of old soccer shorts, you will stick out. 

When I started to work out regularly again,  my husband convinced me to go buy something decent to wear to the gym.  In his words, the Brazilian workout clothes are made for the hot weather and thus far more comfortable.  

Oh yes, shiny spandex really does breath.

I all heard was, I don't want anyone to see my wife walking around looking like a mental bum who just rolled out of the gutter. 

Regardless of the sentiment, you don´t have to tell me twice to go shopping.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the store.  I saw a stylish, and uncomfortable looking, sports bar on sale. I´m a sucker for a sale. I asked if they had it in my size.  Oh, it was one size fits all. I literally laughed at the salesperson. I told her, bluntly, I have no breasts at all and that is too small for me. 

Oh no, it´s a push up sports bra...

Now, I´m no genius or anything but I don´t think Push up and Sports bra belong in the same category. A little contradictory, don't you think?  And besides the point, there wasn´t enough fabric to push up anything, much less support it. 

Of course, I bought it anyway.  I have no idea why.  I got a deal for it and a tight mesh tank top. Call me a sucker but it really does look better, even if it´s super annoying to wear.

But the best part is that whenever I wear them, I don´t just get to travel to the gym but also to the '80s!

For more on gym fashion, check out this post: Amerileira

My Maid, My Wife

I have a hard time asking my maid to do things.  Weird, right?  She works for me on the days she´s in my home and I find it demeaning to tell her what to do. 

I already feel like a lazy slob if I don´t have to work and she´s here.  There am I sitting on my ass while she´s cleaning my house.  I should be somewhere cleaning something too but then, doesn´t that negate the whole having a maid thing in the first place?

I blame my parents.  What? Well of course everything is their fault.  Yes, I am well aware that I will be bit in the ass by my own theory eventually. 

It´s their fault because I never had a maid growing up. I am not accustomed to having people work in my house.  I see Brazilians not batting an eye at giving instructions... Ok, I also see some foreigners who have gotten into the game. 

So what´s the big deal?  My maid does everything stupendously, what do I have to complain about?  Well, it´s the organization of the toys. 

See, even you rolled your eyes with that one! But there is logic in my crazy!  My boys have a decent amount of toys that we, or family and friends, have brought over from the states. Of course all the toys have all their particular pieces. I even bought little colored baskets to keep them organized.

Yes, I´m that Mom now. 

Well, my maid couldn´t care less. She is in the rush to clean and is throwing crap where ever it fits. Kicker, my kids won´t play with a pile of stuff. Not known to non-parents, you keep things relatively organized and you got yourself a lot of self play time.  Like, Imaginex there, instruments here, figurines in there, etc.

And I feel like a petty cow saying, really you don´t keep the toys where they belong. I mean, that´s a whole new level of anal. To make matters worse, I doubt she even knows what goes with what.

That is combined with the factor that Brazilian maids put EVERYTHING away. It makes the house look cleaner. Seriously! I come home amazed and then think, oh crap, where are all my English lesson plans I left on the desk??? Why did I leave something on the desk on a Monday?!

So long story short, I get so annoyed that every Tuesday I´m cleaning up the toys and getting them back into their place only to have to returned to piles a couple of days later.  I get even more annoyed over my making a mountain of a molehill.  Where are my balls and why do I need ball just to ask her to do something a particular way? 

But she gives me this look.  This oh I see how it is, you are one of them, treating me like a maid.  But she is my maid!  But she is also an amazing woman who´s company I enjoy, even when I´m cranky. 

Omg, I get it now! I don´t have a maid, I have a wife!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Commerce Day

So tomorrow is commerce day in Rio de Janeiro. To true Carioca style, the shops will be closed. 

What? No sales?  No come in and spend you money? 

Nope. This is Rio.  People would rather have the day off.  For example, all the hip clothing shops in Ipanema are closed on Sundays.  You´d think they´d stay open and get the street traffic from all the beach goers. Hell no! They are the beach goers! 

And do non-retail working Cariocas complain? Not at all. They understand the wanting of a day off.  They too enjoy days off. 

Of course, you can always go to the mall.  The mall is open, shortened hours but open. 

I have to say, I was originally annoyed by this. The thought that I can´t go to the supermarket because it´s commerce day was irritating.  Now I prepare. I went to the store this evening to stock up on the little things I´ll need tomorrow. 

In the end, I enjoy it. It shows the Brazilian´s priorities.  And they are right, it´s not about the money! 

I´m just surprised my kid´s school isn´t closed. 

Funny Emails

I got this email. I imagine you have all received it already but I´m going to post it anyway.  So there. It´s a list.  Just that. My favorites are numbers 2, 3, 7, 10, 18, 21, and 24. 

Enjoy and happy Sunday!

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.  
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.
17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.
24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Abortion in Brazil?

Abortion has been the topic of conversation ever since Dilma (presidential candidate) voiced her disapproval of the procedure. The kicker, 3 years ago she was quoted as being for abortion. 

The gossip is that she switched to gain votes as the population of Brazil is highly religious. 

The country does allow abortion under extreme circumstances and/or when the mother´s life is in danger.  That being said, there are places to have the procedure done if you are willing to pay. It´s a two step process where you pay at one location and then are given the address of the next.

This one is tough for me. I, personally, have never nor will ever have an abortion.  On the other hand, I´ve never found myself in a seriously difficult position in my life. Really.  My hardship was having to switch schools because my father was in the military. That´s quite different from not having enough food, being 13 years old, or something like that. 

Thus I feel it´s not my place to decide for a woman and, as much as I know it is a life, I can not imagine it necessarily being a good thing to bring a child into a home where they are not wanted, will not get the care they need, and will have to fend for themselves. Should that be the case.

Another on the other hand, I do not think that abortion should be a form of birth control.  Hells to the NO on that one! 

So if I were Brazil, which I´m not, I would open Planned Parenthoods in every neighborhood. Depending on the neighborhood, maybe 2. I would give out 6 months worth of free birth control pills at a time and that special free little baggie of condoms. Ah hell, let´s throw in some lube.

For those who say you are only encouraging them, have to seen the baby situation in Brazil? Baby´s babies are having babies. It´s out of control!  They are going to have sex. No one is making sure the kids are at home watching an after school special. We need to teach them how to protect themselves. 

Only when this is in place would I legalize abortion... but not late term. Nowhere in my head can I rationalize that one.

It hurts me to think about someone getting one. It breaks my heart now that I have kids.  But I´m not going to judge. I´m not that woman or that family. I have no idea what is going on in that home, in her heart, or in her head.  Everyone has to follow their path and sometimes it´s not a pretty one. Sometimes it just has a couple of clouds.  The thing is that it´s their path.  Their life lessons. I´m not one to tell anyone how to live or learn.

What are your thoughts?  How do you feel about Abortion and Dilma´s change of political heart?

Coffee: The Key to the Brazilian Heart

It was very serious going into the ICU to visit the Grandma. We all had to wash our hands and turn off our cell phone. 

And then we didn´t even get offered a coffee! 

Coffee?  In an ICU? Well, they had just taking the incubation tube out of the Grandma´s throat.  She needed something to sooth it. 

It was the last confirmation I needed to show that coffee is the center of the Brazilian life.  I would never have thought that a doctor would allow a patient in the ICU to have a cup of the good stuff. 

But now that I think about it, what´s the harm in it?

And that´s the thing.  I think coffee is to adult Brazilians as a warm breast is to a baby.  It´s comfort, home, and the only way to pass a decent stool after eating all that rice. 

You have it for a snack, you have it after lunch, and the day doesn´t begin without it´s presence.

Why wouldn´t you have it at the hospital?

So if that´s how things work, please note that if I should ever end up in there, I want Pop Tarts and licorice.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Great-Grandmother

So a little family drama today.  Actually, it started in the middle of the night last night. 

The Monarch of family had a heart attack. 

I´ve resisted getting truly personal on this blog for obvious reasons but I am compelled to tell you about this woman. 

She´s 83 years old but has more Sass now than I can muster at my feisty 30 years.  She married her love who was already married at the time.  Divorce was big NO NO then and they ran away.  He was an amazing piano player. His piano is on display in a museum their home town. 

They had 6 children, 4 daughters and 2 sons.  The third was born on the floor in their apartment.  It was during a war in Brazil and they lived in a small town. The maternity hospital was being used as bunkers for the soldiers so her and her maid were waiting for the midwife to show up.  Very unBrazilian of the baby, it couldn´t wait and the Grandmother gave birth into the hands of her maid.

Well, the maid freaked the hell out, and who can blame her. So, according to the Grandmother, she passed the afterbirth and got up to make the other kids their bottles.  In her words, 'They were crying and were hungry and the maid (I forgot her name) was just staying there in hysterics.'  The story goes that she took the newborn and started to boil the water. The maid finally calmed down enough to hold the new one so that she could finish the bottle process and pop them into the mouths of the other two. 

That is a wonderful picture of who this woman is. I bet she was berating the maid about not holding it together. 

Her husband died during the military dictatorship.  It seems that he was getting some hell in his job because he was sensitive to the other side. He had a heart attack.

She continued her job, raised their children, and took in other children and raised them.  Hello Super Star!

Her house was like a ship. She went to work, the kids were expected to do what they needed to do. My Mother-in-Law was the master of the child army.  Chores, homework, and housework had to be done by the time the Grandmother walked in the door from work. Not to mention dinner on the table. She pre-planned the menus and the older ones had to cook it.

Did I mention that the kids, now adults, of this family are AMAZING cooks! 

Some more fun facts.  At around 76 years old she broke her arm and had to have a cast put on. She tired of it after about 2 weeks and sawed it off with a kitchen knife.  She never got another cast and she has yet to complain about any after effects. 

She´s had a boyfriend for 20 years and refuses to marry him. She´s already had a husband.

She flies to her favorite festivals and to visit family alone. She was on her way home yesterday from visiting friends and attending a festival in Belém. 

She is constantly invited to visit people, begged even. Come and stay with us!  She is loved by everyone. 

Do not call this woman during the soap operas. She will hang up on you. 

She is the only honest to God direct person I have yet to meet in Rio de Janeiro. You always know where you stand with her. 

She is touchy feely. I`m a closet touchy feely person but I need permission from the person to be that way.  I met her, not speaking a word of the language, and she put her hand around my waist and didn´t let go.  I regularly come up behind her and drape on her like I´ve known her my entire life.

She reminds me of my Grandmother who died when I was 13. 

She is the kind of woman they don´t make anymore.  She can be hard and knows tough love.  At the same time, she is as soft as dolce de leite.  She makes a home just by being there.  She doesn´t expect anything of children except for them to be children. That includes occasional breaking of nice things, all by accident of course. 

And she laughs. She´s a picture of laughter for life, especially when it´s inappropriate.  

As for her condition, she is doing well. She is in the ICU and will be for a couple of days at the very least.  They have to wait for her to stabilize so that they can test how weak her heart is now.

And her hair and nails still look fabulous!

All in the Dress

Because the post on cheating spouses was such a big hit, I thought I´d share a little antidote. 

Back in the day, at the ripe age of 22, I went with my parents to a wedding of one of their friends. It was a late in life marriage and the guests mirrored that. 

And I was strangely popular at this wedding. Couples were asking who am I, how I know the happy couple, and complimenting me on my dress. It was an amazing dress, if I say so myself. One couple even wanted me to come up to their room so the wife could try it on. 

That was strange, especially since it wouldn´t have fit the wife. 

At the end of a long wedding, the quite drunk Rachel met up with the under 30 yr olds, aka my brothers and the kids of the bride.  I reached into my little purse to pull out a cigarette and I found a room key... and then another... and another.  7 room keys in total!

As it turns out, the new bride and groom were swingers, and so were their friends. I was being scouted and I didn´t even know! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Neurosis of a Carioca

I can´t speak for all Cariocas, but I can speak for my husband. I find that as mellow as this specific breed of Brazilian is, the Carioca has some really funny deal breakers.

1. Coconut water: My husband will not drink pre-packaged coconut water. He says it tastes dirty. Plus it´s just ridiculous to drink it out of a box when you can go outside and get it fresh.    It´s a good point. And as a processed food, everything comes in a box and loving it American, I never even thought of that. 

2. The dirty beach:  My husband hates dirty beaches. Funny because I consider any city beach dirty but there are degrees of dirty in the mind of my Carioca husband. For starters, you can not even step on the sand at Praia do Flamengo.  It will eat your feet right off. Ok, maybe not but it´s still not recommended. You can, however, walk on Praia Vermelha (Red beach) but can not go in the water. You get the point.

3. You do not, unless it´s completely unavoidable, go near the ponte on the last day of a holiday weekend. This is just insanity and will cause your spouse to call in the professionals. Of course if you are returning from Buzios or something like that, it´s ok.  Then again, I´m sure my husband would say there are even better routes. 

4. You can not plan to meet someone on a beach without getting their cell phone number. It does not matter if you designated a spot, are going to put up a sign, or will have a plane circling. It´s madness to not have the person´s cell! We had this discussion yesterday when I, oh dear goodness the sanity of it all, didn´t get my friend´s cell number.  By the way, we found each other just fine.

5. Sit on your bed in your street clothes:  He will not sleep well if he sees me do this. Seriously, the microscopic germs he imagines transferring from the butt of my jeans, through the blanket, and into the mattress will keep him up at night.  He´s not the first person I´ve seen with this rule.  The entire family does it.  People in the family wouldn´t hold my newborn because they had just been outside, on the street. I was like, then unless you move in with me, you´ll never hold the kid. Apparently, just walking outside makes you a dirty sack. 

Just a few little things that make me laugh every time.  I wouldn´t even notice these things if it weren´t for the people closest to me.  Got to love their little crazies.  Goodness knows they love mine, or at least are good at faking. 

By the way, the great image highlighting this post is from the book I am Neurotic.  The brilliant Lianna Kong composed a book of people´s random neurosis.

What are yours?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Momma, Give a Kid a Little Boob Please

I saw something on my walk to the metro this week that stuck in my head. It´s nothing out of the ordinary in Rio de Janeiro. On the contrary, it´s quite common.  It was a Mother breastfeeding her child. 

I did not say baby here people, I said child. The kid was at least 3 years old. She sat down on a bench and put him on the boob. 

Now I love how breastfeeding friendly Rio de Janeiro is. When my boys were still on Momma´s good stuff, I would pop the girls out anywhere for a feed... Up to a point.  Of course there are situations where it´s just easier to pop them onto the chest, I get that, but at 3 years old for heavens sake!

It reminds me of that smoking toddler in Thailand or where ever it was at. No, I´m not comparing extended breastfeeding to smoking.  I talking about the usage of time. It´s a way to occupy and calm the kid down for a minute.  They are not getting a meal at that age, they are getting a mini liquid snack. I don´t get why you don´t get a bottle of water or a snack pack.

I just don´t think that a 3 year old needs boob on demand.  I mean, way to raise the bar for his future wife. He´s going to be sucking on the poor little thing while she´s sleeping.  Get him a juice, a bottle of water, or just tell him to wait a second. It´s unnecessary. 

So why am I making a big deal out of nothing. Not my kid and not my body. True enough but it just weirds me out. When a kid is old enough to ask for a time out on the soccer field to run over for a suck, it´s time to cut the guy off! 

How do you feel about extended breastfeeding on demand? When do you think the cut off point is?

Happy Children´s Day!

November 5th, 1924 was the birth of another excuse to spoil your children, in Brazil at least.

I used to ask my Mother on Mother´s Day and Father´s Day why they have a special day and we kids don´t. She always hugged me, smiled, and said 'Because every day is Children´s day'.  

She´s just wise but I obviously disagreed at the time.  

Oh how the tides change. I totally agree with her now but I live in Brazil so what can you do.  This is the first year my oldest has noticed the tradition and I felt the need to comply.  Plus I love buying them toys. I know, enabler.  

In my defense, a good toy equals 20 to 40 minutes of independent play which, in turn, equals a sane Mommy.  

But before you go get your pitch forks and hunt down President Bernardes, or his kin should he not be around any more, he only made it an official day.  Surprisingly, kids and parents were not jumping and giving high fives before the ink was even dry on the paper. It took the genius marketers at Johnson & Johnson and the campaign 'Week of the Robust Baby' to get it marked on every childs´calendar.  

So Happy Children´s day to you and yours! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is your Husband one of the 70%?

A new Brazilian study says that 70% of Brazilian men are either cheating or have cheated on... I didn´t quite get if it was ever or their current partner. 

Basically it is says what a lot of people already assume. 

So a lot of questions come to mind when you see statistics like this, such as, is this at one party and why am I not invited???

Seriously though, where and how are this much of the population screwing around... Oh wait.

1. Motels with hidden garages:  Yeah, you need to have an underground garage because your kids are going to get embarrassed that you and your wife still have an active sex life. Sure, that´s the reason for that one.

2. Culturally ok beers with friends after work without calling the wife or worrying about helping with the kids:  I´m not talking about going out with the guys once or twice a week. It is quite common for men in Rio de Janeiro to go out and get drunk every single night with their buddies.  Sometimes the wife goes to babysit, often she is not invited.  I ran into the drunk doorman of my old building one evening and he told me he was celebrating the birth of his babies.  I exclaimed twins! No, too easy.  His wife had their baby 4 days earlier. Another woman he met at the bar just had the other that morning.  His reply to my speechlessness was that it´s ok because he can support them both. Sure, that makes the whole situation just dandy.

3. Traveling for work:  Travel is necessary for a lot of jobs in this country. To Brasilia, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, hell they could have a girl at every port.  This doesn´t mean much but the sheer frequency of trips between Rio and São Paulo, for example, could open a lot of windows if you were looking.

4. Or while living in another city all together because of your job while your family stayed behind in your home town: This one totally caught me off guard. One of my first students worked in Rio and went home every weekend to his family in Victoria.  His wife didn´t want to uproot the family because of the new job.  That was not the last time I encountered that type of arrangement.  I don´t want to say that you´re asking for trouble there but you are asking for trouble there!

Doe that mean your Brazilian mate is going to be bringing you home a present in the form of something that requires a shot? No no no.  You still have a 30% chance right?  What on Earth can we do?! 

Well, we have a few options:

Castration. But then there´d be little to no point in staying around after that. 

Swinging, not at the playground.  This lands in the whatever floats your boat category.  Personally, I don´t have the maturity or lack there off (depending on how you look at it) to jump into this boat. I´d end up trying and then reverting to option number one and no one would be happy. 

Role playing.  Now this is fun for the whole family... if you take out the children because that´s just sick.  No your costumes can not double as dress up cloths thank you very much. 

In all honesty, I don´t think it has anything to do with sex, or in very few cases.  It´s a thrill of the catch or a new cow/old cow situation.  It´s a glitch in the personality.  A need to plant their seed. 

Personally, this Stat doesn´t bother me in the slightest. I have a very strong, almost delusional, trust in my husband. I see no point in marriage without it.  I figure innocent until proven asshole.  That and I studied statistics and know that most of them are about as reliable as a Brazilian bus schedule.

And you know what, I wouldn´t want to know.  I think the vast majority of the wives/partners of those men feel the same way.  I don´t think I could forgive him. It´s not my nature to forgive.  It´s in my nature to buy a hatchet. 

I think this is a what would you do post.  Would you forgive and forget?  Does this kind of statistic bother you? What color panties are you wearing? Oh wait, that last one is from the 70%.

The future Jello Shots of Brazil

The nice people at My Jello Americans: The Future of Jello Shots came up with a Jello shot right up a Brazilian´s alley.

Yes, it´s the flan jello shot. Now not only a dessert but a method to get under-aged people wasted.  FYI, flan is not Brazilian. We call it Pudim down here. Basically a Potato/Potatoe situation.

This is the very complicated recipe:

Caramel infused Vodka
Congelli caramel custard
Sweetened condensed milk
Check out their site for some other interesting ideas, including vodka infused Oreos...

Attack of the Mommy Brain

I so have little motivation to write. Actually, I have a lot of motivation to write but little to write about. I´ve been on full Mom mode since Tuesday. Mr. Rant was prisoner in a hell of a place called São Paulo working.  He was then stuck working in an even worse spot this weekend, Barra!

Yes, I do suffer from Zona Sul elitism. Actually, it´s worse. I bascially enjoy my neighborhood and the surrounding ones best.  You can even count Leme.  I like Leme. They have pools on the beach for my boys.  I mean, pools on the beach! That´s as evil genius as you get!  The sand of the beach with the convenience of a kiddie pool.

See, see where my mind is. My head is wrapped around juice boxes and poopy diapers, kiddie toys and parquinhos (parks).  You really can´t get that sarcastically sassy when you are searching for a shovel.  What can I say, my hands are tied with Playdoh and bristle blocks.

Not to worry, it´s Monday and a new week! Oh wait, the school will be shut Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.  It´s closed Tuesday for whatever the hell Catholic Saint´s day it is and on Monday because Tuesday is a holiday. That just burns my butter. What the hell is that? You can´t just make Monday a holiday because Tuesday is one!  Then the school looked at me, put up a talk to the hand hand, and asked me what the hell I was going to do about it. 

Well I´m going to bitch on my blog! So there! I´m taking my ball and I´m going home. 

Yeah, basically I took it where they wanted to put it. They are also closed Friday for Teacher´s day. That is another load of poop.  I consider Teacher Day like Father´s Day. It´s a day for them to spend with the kids. Now Mother´s Day is also a Day for Dad to spend with the kids.  Like that, don´t you?

Daring to sound fuzzy and positive, I have been enjoying my little monkey. Not a derogatory term, I did, in fact, give birth to little monkeys!  We´ve gone to every playground imaginable, cooked together, finger painted, regular painted, played everything possible, and snuggled.  I´m not stupid, I know they are at the age where Mommy is cool and they want to hang with me. Soon enough they will get delusional and think I´m not cool. Crazy, I know! 

Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rio de Janeiro Weather is bi-polar

We are having some seriously bi-polar weather this winter.  It´s starting to get under my skin. I´ve heard of seasonal depression but never of actual seasons having manic depression. 

I just looked into my living room and saw that there was some far overdue sunlight shining in. Oh glorious sun!  So I look out the window and the sky is, oddly, covered in black clouds. Well way to literally rain on my parade.

Ok Rio de Janeiro, which is it going to be?  The Gods of the city of God were not answering this morning so I checked the forecast online. 

Apparently, Rio is trying to get it all done today. Scattered sun and scattered showers with a 50/50 chance of rain. What the hell is that?  They should just say what they really mean....

Aka.  Damned if I know!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Embarrassing your Master will get you Extra Spanks.

It´s not always fun being the foreigner, especially when you are trying to say something. 

Other times, it´s hilarious to the non-native speaker!

Take today for example. I went to pilates class and was faced with a new teacher. A new, not bad looking, charming, and very male teacher.  Whatever, happily married with babies (but not dead thank you very much).

It was the beginning of class and I was being uncomfortably stared at... in my head.  It is his job to make sure we are doing things correctly.  He basically gets to put us in very unforgiving and sometimes sexual positions and then watch us struggle. What my immense enjoyment in this sadomasochistic exercise says about me, I do not know.  Maybe I´m just must be a pervert.

But before you judge me, what would you think if you saw me holding a bar hanging from the top of a table where I am laying down. Now I put my feet on the same bar, legs slightly spread apart, and start doing some sort of sit up right into my crotch.  I mean, my ass was just up and hanging out there.  I`m horrible but, at that moment, I really did think that this kind of table should double as a motel toy. 

Anyway, during one of my stretching exercises, I apparently didn´t do something correctly.  He asked me about holding something while I breathed out.  I had no freaking clue what he was talking about. My abs? I know I have to do a snazzy little thing with them but I thought I was already. He told me no no and then said the PC Portuguese words again.  I was still drawing a blank.

He then thought it was a good idea to point at what he was talking about.  Midway to my vagina, he decided it wasn´t a good idea. 

I was really curious after that! Am I supposed to tighten my vagina?  That really wasn´t going to help my view of pilates!

He finally seemed to find a path he was comfortable with and told me I´m supposed to tighten the thing that holds my bladder and muttered sphincter in English.

Ohhhhhhh, I totally know what that is! 

Alas, it was too late. The poor man was just as embarrassed as a 13 year old girl who got her period at the school dance.  Amazing too because, in my experience, Brazilians do not embarrass that easily. 

It took all the 2 ounces of maturity that I have not to laugh every time I thought of it. I couldn´t help myself. I would breath out, stretch, and think don´t forget your vagina Rachel! 

Hey, I said I only have 2 ounces of maturity, didn´t I! 

Pão de queso or pedra?

I decided to try to be more economical with my supermarket purchases this month. Against the advice of many Brazilian family members, I bought... gasp... generic products. OMG!  The world is ending. 

Cariocas are notorious brand whores. Even my maid is quite particular about it and gives me endless amounts of crap for buying unknown brands to save a R$1.  I can´t help it!  Milk is milk, right?  All of them are full of hormones and crack anyway. 

I stuck my neck out big time this month and bought generic pão de queso. My Mother-in-Law would disown me if she found out. Actually, she would probably try to lend us money if it came to generic pão de queso. 

And it´s not that it´s come to this, if you know what I mean. It´s that it´s a junk food and I hate spending R$6 on a pack that has maybe 2 servings. Call me what you will but it´s annoying.

So I put the other brand in and baked it exactly how you are supposed to, no corners cut.  You see, my oldest had a friend sleep over so I wanted the breakfast treat to be just perfect. 

Guess what, no one ate them. So I "saved" R$2 on the purchase but then threw the lot out.  I guess that would mean that I actually wasted R$4 and proved my Mother in Law right... again. 

You heard it here folks, there is a difference!  As per the advice of both sides of my husband´s family, only buy Forno de Minas!

At least the things were of some use this morning. My youngest used them as extra boulders for his toy quarry.