Monday, January 31, 2011

Let the De-Wintering Begin

The de-wintering and the re-beautifying have begun. I'm back in Rio de Janeiro and I need to get my stuff up to snuff.

People who live outside this city do not get it.  There are some stated rules for women. Of course, you can choose to follow them or not. There's not a Middle East Police force running around smacking ladies for not getting their nails done.  And thank goodness for that!  I'm constantly guilty of neglecting my basic requirements as a woman living in the City of God.

But I do like the feminine feeling of having my nails clean and pretty, hair done, and at least a little jewelry on.  So after this trip, I've started the process of cleaning the winter of my female body and bringing it back up to the summer standards of Rio de Janeiro.

First step to this process was removing the super duper old chipped nail polish from my nails. I think it was old enough to qualify as a historic landmark but no one complained.  In my defense, they've been hiding in socks for 2 months.

Step two would be shaving the legs. Again, winter, pants, and husband in Brazil. I had little to no motivation to shave the last couple of weeks. Gross you say.  Hey, deal with it!  Men complain about shaving their face, image knees. Shaving knees are a bitch, and I don't care how much practice I`ve had!  Thank goodness for cheap and fast Brazilian waxing.  Hair be gone!

That leaves me to actually managing to wear clothes while looking comfortable. That one can not be helped. It will take some adaptation.  My post winter extreme whiteness does aide in forced clothes wearing. There are some certain extra white bits that certainly wouldn't appreciate a sunburn.

What is your de-winter must? Toes? Tan? Hair removal? Working out? Or is it traveling to winter on the other side of the world and hiding out?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hail a Waiter

New Yorkers talk about hailing cabs. I live in Rio, therefore, I talk about hailing waiters.

I was bitching to my parents while in the US about how impractical the whole waiting system is in restaurants. So the waiters are supposed to read my mind and show up when I need them. That or essentially live up my ass the entire time I'm eating at their establishment. I mean, I know it's warm and cozy in there but it really is quite distracting.

In Rio de Janeiro, that is so not the case. You could practically throw a roll at a waiter without being offensive. Hell, that's what they get for flirting with the hostess as opposed to checking in with you.

But it works. We went out for lunch today, after a morning at the pool. I lifted my hand up and snapped. It felt so damn good. In the states, I was holding myself back like a 13 yr old boy in a PG13 movie. Finally, I got to let it out and hail the waiter.

People, I've got stuff to do and things to eat. Why am I waiting around for him to notice me. I never did it with boys, why do it with food.

And you know what, he hopped right over and took our order. No harm, no foul.  When we forgot to ask for the 900 ml bottle of beer and had to call him back, he smiled. Then again, my husband told him we had forgotten the most important part of the meal. I think it's a Brazilian thing.

Now if only people would come and serve me when I hailed them at home. A girl can dream, can't she!

Friday, January 28, 2011

To Pee or Not to Pee: But Where?

So how many of you have peed into a diaper as an adult?  I'm not talking about Depends or the elderly.

I, all 30years, peed into my bed wetting preschooler's diaper.  Not my classiest moment.

The funny thing is that after 40 hours of travel, sleeping in the airport with 2 kids, and convincing United Brazil to transfer us to another company to fly on to Rio, the diaper is the best part. 

You see, I stood my ground and told my 4 year old that he had to try to pee again. We were about to get into the car for the 2 hour drive from my parent's place to Washington Dulles International Airport.  Everyone must use the bathroom. Since I just had like 20 minutes earlier, I didn't feel the need to go.

Of course, by the time we reached DC, the rain had gone from sleet to snow.  When the flakes started to really fly, my urine was screaming out like a 13 yr old boy who just got hit in the jewels by a baseball. 

We were 11 miles from the airport exit.  11miles!  Of course, at that point, we had slowed down to 10 miles an hour.  

That's when math came into play. I could do an hour. So when about 7.4 miles until exit came up and we had slowed to 6 miles per hour, I had some things to consider.  Snow, God, and my bladder were starting to play some evil games with me. 

I had to make a choice. I could either pee into a diaper or wait and see if I could make it to the airport. If I should wait too long to make my decision, I would have too much urine to be able to manage an absorbable stream into big boy pants. You see, Rhinos don't pee into diapers for a reason. Therefore, I could not become one. 

It was time to choose.  Thankfully, I'm not a shy girl, although this tested that.  As you all know, I chose to ease a couple of ml into some fancy shaped cotton.  Breathing exercises, meditation, and focus were very much required for this task. I dare you, try to pee into a diaper. It's not as easy as it sounds. My mind kept screaming "Pee in the Potty! PEE IN THE POTTY!"  It's like retraining an old dog.  

I have to say, this was one of the few moments in my life where I have had penis envy.

But I kicked my bladder's full ass and emptied at least half into the kiddie "panties" without leaking a drop.  I figured I could make it the rest of the way to fully relieve myself in a grown up bathroom.  

Moral of the story, Go pee before you leave the house or bring your penis.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Manservant

After all this packing, I've decided I really need a manservant. I mean, who doesn't.  I'm taking applications. Top applicants will look like this:

You know where to find me boys!

International Flying Goddess? - check

Bags are packed, kids are fed, and documents have been found.  We are heading out this evening for our long flight home.  2 hour drive to DC + check in and security + customs + 13 hours of flying time + stopover in Sao Paulo = Fun for the whole family.

I am armed with the same backpack of toys as in the picture. Yes, that Goddess you see there is me in my natural state of Damn Sexy.  I look my best when I fly internationally with children. Then again, who doesn't.

Rio de Janeiro, watch out! We're back, we're ready, and we're going straight to the pool to cool off!

I'm sure I'll find a good post on the journey.  That is, I will if I'm sane enough to remember once it's over.

Happy Hump Day and I'll see you on the flip side.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Note or a Tweet: is Technology stealing Memories?

It was only a matter of time until my parents asked me to get my crap out of their basement. You know, the old box of high school love letters, old photos, pom pom from pep rallies, and yearbooks.

Well, their prompting only encouraged me to spend time sifting through the boxes, enjoying the trip down memory lane.  Nothing was or will ever actually be accomplished. It's my God given right to leave crap in my parent's basement.  However, I have narrowed it down to two smallish boxes.  I think my work is done.

Anyway, I got to thinking about this ritual.  I have stories of my parents' that came out in these kind of boxes. Hell, I found letters to my Grandmother, all 86 yrs of her, in her closet.  It's awesome, amazing, and very very cool to read.

That's when I started to feel sorry for my children.  I know the internet is an awesome thing and without it, I would not be here today.  But what the hell are they going to do?!

Unless our kids start printing out text messages and aging the paper with tea bags, they aren't going to have jack in their box.

And that is the change of time baby. I'm only 30 and I already see it. My kids' box is going to be an external hard drive or two. Love letters are sent in 160 characters and notes are left on iphones.

What is happening to the youth theses day!?!?!

Ok, that was a little dramatic.  I'm sure they won't miss a thing. They may even find our old notes dirty and a waste of paper.

Personally, I love all my old letters and notes. I remember opening my locker to have that little folded square of paper from my boyfriend fall out.  It was always a surprise, even if it was there daily.  Then again, that was before the readily available cell phone.

Holy crap, either technology is moving far too fast or I really am aging!

Do you still have your old letters and notes?  Do you ever feel like this generation is missing out on something?

A visit with an Ex - The US that is

I'm leaving the day after tomorrow. I am currently packing as much of the things as possible that I love about my culture, aka. ziplocks.

Seriously though, there's a separation each time I leave.  It's kind of like your first love.  I have a lot of history with this country.  Wow, we really go back far.  The things we've gone through together... Things I'll never share with another country.

We have a history.

As much as I know that it just doesn't work, after visiting my country, I get a bit nostalgic.  I mean, I know I used to get really annoyed. We argued a lot.  And the sex, well, in the end it was really bad.  Then again, how good can it ever be with an entire country.

There I go trying to see the positive.  No. I'm done. I don't live here anymore. I've been happier since we've separated. I'm a better person now.

But one more walk won't kill me.  And that's exactly what I did this evening. I put the kids to bed, took my parent's car, and I did my last American grocery store run. I needed dill seed, don't bother asking me why.

But once I got there, I left the car slowly.  I felt the warmth of my winter coat. I felt the cold of the wind on my cheeks.  I felt that little chill up my spine when the two finally combined.  Oh winter, you Minx.  It'll be a while before I see you again.

And then I came home.  I had my moment with my ex.  As lovely as it was to travel down that little lane, I'm staying with my man.  He's Hot, he's Latin, and nothing is covered in a winter coat! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

I've Been Cheating on All of You

I cheated on you, my Dear Readers.  You see, I posted on other sites.  No, not about Rio.  I wrote for a Mommy site and an Expat in France blog too.

I know what you are thinking.  How could I do that to you? To us?

It was nothing personal. One thing let to another... And when the opportunity arose to "score" a post, I went for it.

At least I'm being honest with you. That should count for something. Hell, I'll even let you check out the little things I did.

Nobody Told me I'd Look Forward to a Quickie

Brazilian Holiday

The second link, the Expat in France one, is a repost of an old post of mine. So not quite as bad. It's kind of like sloppy post seconds. I know it doesn't make it any better per se, but I did pick you first.

And I always will baby...

So check them out.  Once you do, you'll understand why I did it. They are cool, witty, and pretty just like you.  

Packing up my Ziplocks and Heading Home

I'm going home in a couple of days and packing is in full motion.  All bags and belongings are downstairs and organized.

You see, when you are an expat, you have a tendency to stock up when you visit home. I have a list a mile long of random and very important items I have to bring back to Rio. # 1 on the list is taco and fajita seasoning packets.

Oh yes, you heard me right!  Those McCormick 89 cent wannabe Mexican food seasoning packets are gold for this expat American.  It makes it possible to make my very own medium quality tex-mex in the privacy of my own home.  This is much better than paying a fortune to get it outside the house. Hell, I even make my own semi sour-cream now.

Along with seasoning packets, I bring good peanut butter, licorice, lotions/potions, and the kitchen sink. Ok, the last one is a big of an exaggeration, but I did bring a facet back with me once.

Now add a half dozen items I found in the Target $1 isle, I'm a sucker for a deal.

You see, I'm a compulsive packer. If there's an empty spot, I must fill it.  I'm even bringing back tupperwear.  Tupperwear!

In my defense, it's the coolest freaking tupperwear ever. The lids snap to the bottom so you don't have to search around for them in your cabinet! Very practical, if I do say so myself.

Oh my goodness, I just turned into my Mother. Right now, at this very moment. But that's another post...

So here is your goal, fit it all in the alloted suitcases!  Don't forget the Christmas toys from Santa!

And GO

Really, it's not as bad as you think. You get very creative with your space. It's surprising how many ziplock bags (out of the box) can be stuffed into a Fisher Price toy.  You'll be covered for the year!

In reality, the problem is not the packing, it's customs.  No, not that they'll stop you. Brazilians normally bring in a stupidly large amount of stuff from the US.  I'm worried about physically getting there.

I have five 70 kilos (154lbs) suitcases to get from the carousel to the professional bag perusers.  Even with the "guys" that help out with bags in Rio de Janeiro's international airport, that's a feat.  Let us not forget that my Mother has 2 of her own.  So that's 7 bags of Christmas toys, Mexican seasoning packets, and ziplock baggies.

Eventually we'll get there, into the car(s), and back home.  Then the problem will switch from how to pack it to where to put it all! Whatever, I'll cross that beach when I come to it. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tiger Mother vs Monkey Mother

Tiger Mother is currently the talk of the town.  People can not get enough of her hardcore nature. It's kind of like a car accident, you can't look away. Only, it would have to be a highly organized and educated car accident. Violins must be involved!

It got me thinking about myself as a Mother and how my culture has inspired me. My children are obese, watch a lot of TV, and can't tell you where the United States of America is.  Whoa Rachel, low blow. I know. I just couldn't help myself.

Anyway, you all know this blog is a bit Rio/Brazil centric. What better than to compare Tiger Mother to Middle Class Brazilian Mothers?

For the sake of this post, I will be referring to Brazilian Mothers as Monkey Mothers.

So the Monkey Mother is just as playful as she sounds. She doesn't have what Tiger Mother would consider control over her children, but her children do laugh.  There's a lot of dancing around and fun to be had.  Monkey Mother's children throw fits but not too often.  That may be because the children usually get what they want in the first place.  Don't misunderstand me now, I'm not saying the Monkey Mother is a push over, although she is a little bit.

Monkeys are clever by nature, and Monkey Mother knows how to happily co-exist with her children. Sure, she may be drinking her cold beer with a baby biting her ankle at 10pm but to each their own.  You see, the Monkey Mother uses a little bit more finesse than the whole I'm the boss thing.  Personally, I think the monkeys live in a bit more of a democracy than a communist nation.

Of course, a democracy with pre-school aged monkeys gets as loud and messy as you would imagine.  But the kids go to school and take classes. Many of these little monkeys dance, play instruments, and speak a foreign language.  They may have never heard of a time out and no is almost as foreign as the Chinese Language itself, but that's just a cultural thing. It works like organized chaos and never ceases to be fascinating.

I find myself somewhere in the middle of this crazy jungle we call Motherhood.  But if I had to choose one of the two, I do believe I'd have to stick with my opposable thumb friend, the monkey.  I mean, if you've ever seen me groom, I kind of look like one. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Guest Blogger: American in France

I'm a big fan of the blog Sara in Le Petit Village.  I feel more cultured just by reading her blog. Imagine if I actually got to live in Provence, France!  Well, I don't know if that would work. I maybe be too drunk off great wine to become cultured.  That or high off cheese. Hey, this is not helping convince me to stay away...

Anyway, she has so kindly allowed me to use her as a guest blogger!  Without further ado, your expat in the beautiful South of France, Sara in Le Petit Village:


The Husband went for his annual check up and he phoned me afterwords...
(We had a a bet to see if he has gained weight since I moved in; he did, 1kg)

He was happy to report that the doctor told him he was perfect (but as he said, she didn't check his brain), and then he told me that when he took his shirt off, the doctor said he had a nice body.


"She said what?" (in a much gentler tone)

"It's OK, she's like 55."

(Apparently The Husband is not familiar with the species known as, la cougar.)

"I don't care how old she is, that's not appropriate."

"It's OK. she was being nice, she asked if I played any sports."

(Try to picture the "it's OK" part being said with that southern French accent. For some of you this may be difficult, but for others, you know what I'm talking about, it's slightly sing-song, irritated, and occasionally followed by a huff and puff).

Since he clearly wasn't understanding, I had to I turn the tables on him and break it down like this...

"If I went for my physical and the 55 year old male doctor said I had a nice body, would that be OK?"

"It's inappropriate"



Who to Fly to Brazil, and in What Position

As packing for our return to Rio begins, I started thinking airlines. Oh, the airline you pick is as important as the condom people. There are some things you just shouldn't skimp on when it comes to quality.

Take American Airlines's from the US to Brazil and vise versa for instance.  It blows like your slutty stepsister.  I don't have enough room in my blog to explain my distaste for this airline.  I know they are the cheapest, but sometimes you have to spend a little more just based on principal.

Where does my hatred for AA come from?  Well, their service sucks, their seats suck, and basically everything sucks without anyone getting off. I just don't see the point in partaking in that kind of madness.

But the straw that broke this camel's back was on a flight back to Brazil from San Diego. I had a stop off in Houston and a layover. No biggie.  Once we got flying again, I popped my international-I-was-childless-and-could valium and was ready to float home.

Imagine my surprise when we started landing.  I thought, "Wow, Either Brazil has gotten closer or that was some damn good valium."

Nope, upon questioning I was informed that we were landing in Miami.  I told the stewardess that she must be wrong because I was not informed of this in San Diego when I checked in, nor did my old fashion envelope sized tickets say anything about an additional stop.

Oh, but didn't I know that it's American Airline's policy that they can add a stop if it is not a significant change.  I'll ask you, do you think my having to deboard and wait through an hour and a half layover was a significant change?  I sure do.

I was informed by customer service that they were in their rights to make that stop. I said "Dandy. And I am in my rights as a client to never fly you again."

Yeah so, I don't fly them.  I had always been miserable flying with them but didn't have a real reason to jump up to the next level. Well, the lack of apology did it folks. That's all it takes. A little, I'm sorry Rachel.  FYI American Airlines: Now it'd take 4 free tickets, international, thank you very much.  Call it inflation. Call it being an opportunist. I call it giving a second chance because I got free tickets. Hey, my heart ain't made of stone people.

But, back to reality.  If you are going to fly from the US to Brazil or vise versa, you should fly Continental.  I like them.  Of course it'll take like 2,000 trips to become elite.  That or I haven't gotten the special favors memo that shows you how to get bumped up more efficiently.  Not that I'm interested. Who's going to bump up a family with small children anyway?  That's why people pay to fly business and first.

Also keep in mind that United and Continental are sisters from other Misters these days. You can use miles and such and they work together. Pretty nice. This trip, we flew Continental from Rio to Houston and then United from Houston to DC.  Not too bad at all. Minus the 7 hr layover, but we saved like $1000 dollars. I can run around an airport with my kids for 7 hours if it saves me that much.

I also enjoy Delta. I find that Delta is good at giving more direct flights from the US into Rio. I know the stop in Sao Paulo isn't a big deal, but it's pretty sweet if you can avoid it.

And we must not forget Varig! I mourn the death of Varig. I'm telling you, they had super comfy seats, the flight attendants just rocked my world with kindness, and the plane was like an all night party.  It was Brazil in the air.  Not to mention, the food was better.  Oh well. You can't have it all, especially when executives are stealing from the company.

What airline do you prefer when you fly wherever it is you go?  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Natural Birth Bullies You!

I get really irritated with the whole cesarean/natural birth argument.  And you know why, because I had to have a cesarean.  I know what you guys are going to say, no, no, you didn't.  And that's what pisses me off!

About 90% of the hardcore anti-cesarean peeps out there will automatically consider my c-section unnecessary. My medical history doesn't matter and I even had one person ask me if I saw my uterus to confirm it.  Um, yeah, I did not ask my doctor to lift up and show me my uterus.  I felt that would be slightly invasive for the both of us.

And I will admit that Brazil, where my children were born, has one of those super duper high C-section rates. You know, one of those countries where the docs normally schedule in the birth between their morning appointments and afternoon lunch date. Quick and easy.

But again, what pisses me off is that I gave birth at a hospital where they don't do c-section unless they really have to. It's a "natural," aka. thrifty, Brazilian public hospital. I wasn't even allowed to bring a pacie into my freaking room. Not even nipple soother.  You went in, you gave birth in the factory line of birthing beds, and you breastfed. That was it.

Well, per my style, my uterus rebelled. It followed the beat of it's own little drummer right into the OR.

And you know what, I shouldn't have to feel bad about it. I gave birth to a baby and it's not any less of a birth! Actually, while you were up and around a day after your excruciating 24 hrs of labor, I was stuck in bed for weeks!  I got an infection, and I had a horrible time all around.  So you want to compare pain, I think I have some room to bicker with you.

And no, my birthing experience wasn't magical in that it was choreographed with Sade music and I chanted to the beat of bongo drums.  It was magical because I gave birth to my son!  So stop the Mom on Mom hate. It's fine to support your cause, and I too support avoiding unnecessary cesareans.  But just because you had one doesn't mean you didn't need it.  I don't get an automatic too posh to push sticker put on my chest.

So lay off, and please don't forget, that as much as the c-section is overused these days, it was created for a reason. Mothers used to die during childbirth. Babies used to die. And, shocking, sometimes both Mommy and Baby died.

I mean, seriously, you are all turning Gisele Bundchen on our asses and it is not pretty.

Yes, we need to get back to nature, but there are some cases in which nature would have sacrificed one or both of the people involved in the pregnancy.  In those cases, c-sections need to be performed.  And the Mother shouldn't be made to feel less of a woman because of it. Trust me, she feels that way already. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Preschooler is Taking Illegal Drugs??

When our pediatrician in Brazil recommends a medicine, it never crosses my mind to see what the United States thinks about it. I mean, a medical professional told me it is the best thing to give to my kid, can't be that different, right?

Wrong. I have given my children two different medications that are illegal in the states.  Say what?!  The first time this was pointed out to me was during a visit to the states, shocker.

My youngest had Infant Reflux and was on Motillium (Domperidone). He had pneumonia, awesome during vacation, and I had to inform the US doctor of all medication he took on a regular basis. Her response was that Motillium is not allowed in the US, she hoped I brought enough for the trip (I did, duh), and that it works wonderfully for gastrointestinal issues.  

Not too bad.  Of course, I got online to search why. And you know, it was nothing too shocking. Just the American system taking care of it's people and anything that may be questionable. Heaven forbid let the people it could really help use it. Of course not, we are not responsible, nor are our doctors, and nor are our pharmacies. No, I'm not being sarcastic.  The nation of pill poppers needs to be watched by big brother.   

The second medication is a smidgen more alarming.  My oldest suffers from fever seizures, still at 4 yrs old.  And it is a freakin' scary ass thing to see. Not to mention, how quickly his fever can go from 99 (37) to 103 (39.4).  It just shoots right up like Hugh Hefner after a Viagra.  

Our Pediatrician recommended we ditch the Ibuprofen and give him Nolvagina (Nolvagine).  Ok, I really didn't want to experience the fright again so I was on it. When my 4 yr old had one while we were walking home from school, we were sent to a pediatric neurologist.  

I was ready to hear anything she had to say. And you know, it was good. Tests came out clean. We just couldn't let him run a fever.  Give Nolvagina at 99 (37) and repeat it every 4 hrs if need be, every 6 if the fever stayed under control. 

So we're in the states for an extended vacation and low and behold, both kids get sick. No biggie but we have a fever situation for the oldest. Since it's not his first fever this trip, we are running low on our Golden Fever medicine. I figure, we must have it in the states, maybe it's just prescription or something.  

Oh no it's not prescription.  Nolvagina/Nolvagine (Metamizole) has been banned in the US since 1977. 30 other countries followed suit.  And while Brazil isn't the only country that still allows it, it is one of the top users.  

I bet you are wondering, well what's the problem.  The story is that Metamizole causes Agranulocytosis. Agranulocytosis is an acute condition involving a severe and dangerous leukopenia (lowered white blood cell count), most commonly of neutrophils, causing a neutropenia in the circulating blood. It represents a severe lack of one major class of infection-fighting white blood cells. People with this condition are at very high risk of serious infections due to their suppressed immune system.

Well there you go.  That's peachy with a side of pear.  With a little more Wikipedia research, I found that the incidence rate of metamizole-induced agranulocytosis is between 0.2 and 2 cases per million person days of use, with approximately 7% of all cases fatal 

Ok, nothing too shocking. Not 1 in 4 or anything crazy like that. 

What now?  I think I'm going to go with my doctors back in Brazil.  At the very least, both these medications were given as a last resort after other things didn't work.  And you know what, they do work well. Nolvagina kicks my kid's fever's ass every time, and that is not an easy feat.  

Eventually, as my youngest, my oldest won't have the seizure issue, fingers crossed. Then it won't even be the issue. For the time being, it seems the lesser of two evils. 

How would you feel about this?  Would it freak you out if you were prescribed a medication that is banned in your home country? 

Wordless Wednesday: Flying in Style

Yeah, I don't get to fly in style internationally.  With a family of four, we'd take a closet as a seat if it meant lowering the price.

But not everyone has to be, nor wants to be, economical.  I sometimes fantasize that I am one of those people. If it ever happens, here's who I'll be flying with!

And now, for how I travel, when I'm lucky:

That's style baby!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Signs You've Become a Carioca Part 2:

1.  Your children choose rice and beans over Mac & Cheese. Hell, they choose it over everything.

2.  You are "tired" of all the Carnaval stuff and yet go to all the blocos.

3.  You use ceiling fans not air conditioning

4.  You toast your toast in the oven or on a stove top. Heaven forbid you actually buy a toaster

5.  Everything, and I mean everything down to pancakes, is mixed in the blender.

6.  Bleach is your cleaning friend, buckets full of it.

7.  You actually know what they women are doing when the spread the bowl of white stuff all over themselves at the beach.

8.  You have a soccer team, even if you don't watch regularly.

9.  Your bathing suit is smaller than your underwear, for both men and women.  And you strut in it like you are on a runway

10.  You know better than to call your Grandmother in the evenings, her soaps are on. Hell, you're watching them too

For part 1: go here

What is Cheating?

What is cheating to you?  Watching the Golden Globes, I started thinking.  Take Eva Longoria.  Rumor is that her husband had partaken in hundreds of suggestive texts with another woman.  Apparently, nothing more happened.

So would that do it for you?  Is texting cheating?  The line is a difficult one to define and yet very easy to cross these days.  Things like Twitter, Facebook, and such, give us plenty of avenues to dip toes into different waters.  Innocent emails can easily turn questionable and bump people into an interesting situation, to say the least.

I talked about my stance a bit in my post about how 70% of Brazilian men supposedly cheat (see post here.)  I'm kind of a don't-tell-me-and-live-with-the-guilt-or-I'll-have-to-leave-you kind of girl.  But it's hard to judge until in the situation. And this kind of thing, with the texting, chatting, and messengering, has to have a different approach. 

I personally believe in time outs, taking away of privileges such as tv and internet, and/or guilt tripping. Underlying rule, it must stop.  Wow, sounds like I'm a Mother of a toddler...

That being said, I haven't really been in this situation before. No questionable texting or anything.  I have gotten cranky on Mr. Rant's ass about Facebook friendships with unknown women.  It was nothing, so the story goes. Damn Mafia game.  I do buy it though.

I also believe it's a fine line and better to mind the gap in the first place, as they say on the metro.  Why risk falling in when there's so much safe ground to stand on?

But everyone is different, so I ask, where do you stand?  What is your deal breaker?  Texting? Carrier pigeons?  Morse code?

What would make you bitch slap your significant other and walk out that door?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rio de Janeiro Carnaval 2011: Here We Come!

Carnaval is coming... Oh wait, it's already here. I know what you are thinking, Carnaval in Brazil is in March this year.

News flash, Carnaval is for like 5 weeks, not 1.  No, it's not official but is anything in Brazil ever official.  You see, Brazilians LOVE Carnaval so they start pre-partying weeks before.

Starting now, you will start seeing mini street blocos happening around Rio de Janeiro. There are also scheduled samba band practices that are more of a party then a rehearsal. And no, this is not just for the big samba schools your tour-guide friend loves taking people too.  The smaller bands have their own practices all over the city, and personally, those are the ones you really want to go to.

Anyway, if you aren't already partaking in the Carnaval Holiday Season, here are some things to remember about Carnaval:

1. If you are prude, stay home. There will be making out, sometimes more. Skin is everywhere and it's a-ok. Drinking is almost a must. Not a holiday for the born-again Christian.

2. You can always wear a costume. It does not matter if it's a costume bloco or not, crazy costumes are always welcome.

3. Men, if it's traditionally a cross-dressing bloco, cross-dress already! The Machismo men of Brazil go all out when it's socially ok to dress as women. Join the fun, women will still make out with you.

4. Blocos happen rain or shine.  Do not bring an umbrella.

5. They are arresting people for urinating on the street.  Crazy, huh.  You can urinate on the street any other time of the year but not when you are at a party with 300,000 people and there are only 2 port-a-potties.  Don't try to argue logic, just wait in line or hide behind a tree.

6. Condoms, condoms, and did I say condoms?  Wear them if you are getting it on. I don't care if it's with your wife. You don't know where anyone has been during carnaval!

7. Have fun! Take pictures! Don't get the camera stolen or it'll be hard to post said pictures onto Facebook.

8. Get your costumes now and avoid Saara at all cost the 2 weeks prior to Carnaval. It turns into craziness personified.

Good luck pre-carnaval partiers and to those prepping to come in March. It is always a good time so I don't see why it would be any different this year!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I need your help! What Should I do?

I have hit the last 13 or so days of my vacation home and my guesstimate weight gain total is about 25 lbs (11.4 kilos).

Houston, we have a problem.

I'm no ok with this. I'm fine with some weight fluctuation but it's not ok to be a little disgusted of yourself in the mirror.  Hey, in my defense, I didn't know I was this vain either.

The thing is, I went head first into food upon my arrival. I had no idea that my metabolism had gotten the memo that I had turned 30 and had given birth to two babies.  There you go underestimating... or overestimating, your body again Rachel.

And while I'm doing "The Firm" videos quasi daily, which I am as embarrassed to admit as you are to read, it is not working.  Sadly, my DVD did not come with a lipo vacuum attachment.  Now that would help you firm, not the side step and the samba for 40 minutes.

Oh the insanity of it all. I'd be fine if I were staying here where the season allows for Moo Moo sweaters to be cool under the right circumstance, but I'm not.  I'm going home to Rio de Janeiro where I will have to wear a bikini.  I think my stomach is going to eat it... God forbid, maybe even my ass.

So what to do?

That is where you guys come in! In my full dramatic way, I want you to decide what to do and I want you to be honest with me. None of this, oh I'm sure you look great load of crap.  What would you do if you were feeling like I do now?

The options I give are:

1.  Say Fuck it, pardon my French.  I'm already screwed might as well eat as much as possible, even though I don't really want to eat that much at this point because I have been eating as much as possible.  Phewww, long one.

2.  Keep up the 80s video jazzercise and eat a smidgen better.  Upon arriving home, good diet and an active lifestyle will make your body return eventually.  Maybe once the boys are back in school, you can even join pilates once again.  FYI: this is very balanced, sound, and middle ground. I am none of the above. I am rash, irrational, and indecisive. I don't know if I can stick to this one, no matter how sane it may be.

3.  Do the Master Cleanse, but for 7 days max... maybe just 5.  Yes, I'm a gluten for punishment but seriously, not looking forward to this one. The weird potion you drink, no food, and all that.  Makes me nervous.  And I know I will gain back the majority that I lose. But I will say, the 3 days I managed to do the other cleanse gave me a great jump start.  I figure, if I can get the extra frontal baggage off, at least 50%, I can do the other half sanely.

4.  Spontaneously thought of idea by you.  This is the thing that popped into your head while reading 1 through 3.

Now, I know you think I've made up my mind but, once again, refer to the second to last sentence of option 2.  Indecisive to the core.

So you tell me, honestly, if you were me, what would you do? You are a bit out of control right now with your eating, you are not craving any food from here in particular at this point, you are a bit disgusted with the girth, and are totally irrational.

By the way, I also am aware that while I put on weight, it's not that big of a deal. I know I'm being a big poor sport about the whole thing. Just a little whine with my wine.  But seriously, I hate feeling this way about myself.  Such a little pity party and it's starting to get me down.

So, what's the verdict?

The Tall and the Short of it: What's Sexy to You?

I've been wandering around the web looking at information on height. I have no idea what awoke this current curiosity. Then again, who knows why I wrote an entire post about penis size.  I guess the mind just wants the information it wants.

Anyway, I'm a fairly tall girl, about 5' 10" (1.78m), and I have only dated a man that was significantly taller than me on 1 occasion.  The second occasion does not count.  Seriously, 2 dates and I had to sneak in a shot to get me through the last one. Nothing to be posting about on my blog.

So, height isn't necessarily a trait I consider when deciding the level of attractiveness.  It just never has been.  Don't get me wrong, a tall-drink-of-water of a man does get almost automatic points for the aw factor.  Those 2 dates are proof of it.  But I'd never refuse to consider someone just because he was my height.

But it really is a thing for some of you out there. The idea of your man not being taller is unacceptable.  You just don't feel like a woman, or so I've heard from some friends.

And apparently it goes both ways, only the opposite.  Men like their ladies a little smaller than them.  While that sounds obvious, I can't really say I'm buying it.

In my experience, I get a lot of short men barking up these legs.  I don't know, maybe short men have larger balls, future post, and thus hit on women more openly.  Maybe I'm not as attractive from up high. Maybe I should pay more attention to how I part my hair.

Who knows, but I found a little ditty of a graph I liked. Heights men find more attractive:

5.41% (4)
17.57% (13)
55.41% (41)
21.62% (16)
6.76% (5)
1.35% (1)
0% (0)
12.16% (9)
4.05% (3)
1.35% (1)

Significantly shorter than meShorter than meA little shorter than meAbout my heightA little taller than meTaller than meSignificantly taller than meDon't usually pay much attention to height in this contextHave never thought about itIt's hard to say

Shocker.  Thank goodness I'm already married because my dating pool in Brazil just dropped to about 3 men.  Then again, I think a Brazilian man will do just about anyone.  Do not date... At least it's something.

And another shocker, we women have our preferences too:

0% (0)
0% (0)
1.01% (1)
12.12% (12)
37.37% (37)
46.46% (46)
10.1% (10)
11.11% (11)
8.08% (8)
1.01% (1)

Significantly shorter than meShorter than meA little shorter than meAbout my heightA little taller than meTaller than meSignificantly taller than meDon't usually pay much attention to height in this contextHave never thought about itIt's hard to say

In my personal statistical opinion, we ladies are still giving you men a little more wiggle room.  A little taller than me could be pulled off with a pair of Tom Cruise pump/loafers purchased at about any shoe store.  But to play fair, both sexes seem to prefer the obvious woman shorter than man, and not in a dramatic way.  

Personally, my husband is about my height, maybe an inch or so taller.  Of course, he counts that inch and I really don't care.  When I put my big girl shoes on, I win, so there. But it's not a contest, and I do find him very sexy at the exact height he is.  But out of curiosity... (you guys so saw this coming)  

Where do you stand?  How important is height for feeling the ZA ZA ZOOM?   

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Time to go Home

It's time to go back home.  No, it's not because of the small town my parents moved to.  It's not due to the unusually cold weather.  It's not even because I'm bored. I'm not. Well, not enough to desire an overnight, international flight anyway.

The thing is, I miss it.  I miss home.  I say that phrase with caution because, in three words, it says so much.  Rio de Janeiro is my home. I may be American, but my heart no longer belongs on this soil for an extended period of time.

I used to have trouble saying we would never move back, even though I thought it wasn't likely. I couldn't hear that, even in my head.  These days, my head says it all the time, and it's not just economics.

Not only am I not on the same "life path" as most Americans, I don't agree with it anymore. I can't even watch the news without getting annoyed with our petty concerns.  I can't imagine how people in such a fortunate national situation can sit around and fight and bitch about such petty little things.  How can you use the reference of shooting someone because you disagree with legislation which, if you ask me, isn't even comparable to life or death .

Ok, now I'm getting into politics and that's not the point.  At the same time it is, I don't get the picking at each other. I don't get the hate. I don't get the overall pettiness to people's nature, the mine mine mine quality.  I have a hard time understanding the lack of patience for others and yet, I am completely lacking patience here.

I just don't like myself here anymore.  It's not a me I relate to.  And that is a problem.  I can't remember having more then one me.  It's uncomfortable, like two people trying to fit into the same jeans.

So where does that leave me?  I'm not 100% American at heart anymore and I'm not even 1% Brazilian.  Hell, I can't even say I'm totally fluent in Portuguese.  As I say to my English conversation students, the first goal is to be understood. Check.  The second is to perfect it.  I think I've passed the statue of limitations on that one.

Not so shockingly, the kicker is my kids.  With my first, I mourned the loss of my country, the fact that he would not grow up knowing the norms I knew.  Once I became a Mother twice over, that changed.  It became less about what I thought and wanted for my children and more about what is best for them.  Where do they thrive? What embodies my so-called requirements for their life?

Rio de Janeiro, as I can not speak of Brazil as a whole in this situation, is a conundrum, with something to learn and figure out at every corner.  My children will be raised knowing they are fortunate, at the same time not too fortunate.  They will see the blurred line between right and wrong, law and outlaw.  They will experience routine and lack there of.  They will be surrounded, constantly, like it or not by friends and family.

On top of it all, I've only raised my boys in Brazil.  All those things I thought I'd teach my children vanished with what I actually taught my children. The traditions I felt were lost were replaced with the traditions we made.  In the place of the home I missed grew a home I didn't know I had.

Anyway, it is really time to head back.  I will miss my family but I always do.  I will also miss my friends but that is just how it is.  Thankfully I have my friends and family in Rio who help fill the void of both.

To top it off, a little musical inspiration.  This song is the perfect description of what Rio de Janeiro feels like to me.  I can't explain it but it just feels like this song.

So here's a little Nando Reis for your viewing pleasure:

Oh Nando, sing me back home.  Let the charms of Brazil make me forget the amenities of the USA.  Let the churrasco fill the place of good high chairs in restaurants.  May the beautiful weather make me forget the affordable shopping.  And hopefully the quality ingredients will make me forget the luxury grocery items from here.   Then my transformation will be complete.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011