Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Rich Ban Babies!

So some people have their panties in a bunch because some Malaysia Airlines flights will not be allowing babies in first class. Can you blame them?

Babies are little poop, pee, smell, and tear inducing creatures. I can tell you this because I have two. And as a Mother, I do not find this offensive at all. My kids are great travelers but that doesn't mean I get excited about being trapped in a airplane with them for 12 hours. Why would anyone else?

On top of that, people expect to get what they pay for. Each and every time I get my meal in coach on an international flight, I have to fight the urge throw it into someone's face. My $1200 ticket bought me this crap?! Now think of the person who spent $4000 plus and has Mom shhh-ing her baby as they scream the entire flight.

This whole thing actually reminds me of a story a friend once told me of what she saw in first class one day. A woman was sitting in first class and her Nanny, baby, and dog were sitting in coach. The flight attendant informed her that she could not have both the baby and the dog sitting with the nanny. The woman was going to have to choose one to keep up front with her.

Most would think the Mother would choose her child. As a Mother, I totally guessed the Dog (not that I would make the choice but if the woman has her Nanny and kid already in coach...)

What did she choose? The dog! She left the kid in coach and brought the dog up with her! I just hope she put the money she saved on that flight right into a savings account for her kid's future therapy bills.

The thing is, I think airlines are going about this the wrong way. Instead of just focusing on separating the two groups of babies on the plane (VIPs and babies), they need to make planes more child friendly. For example, get bigger pillows that are just for children. That way they can get more comfortable and settle in better. Show cartoons as people are boarding. Have non-itchy blankets. Provide a mini-pack of crayons and a airline themed coloring book. Have two choices of snacks and meals for children. I know it's a bitch but if you win over the kids you get the entire family for life, whether you want them or not.

Let's figure this out people. Children aren't going anywhere. As long as sex is still fun, there will be babies.

Does this piss you off or does it make sense?

How to Make Your Own Bagels!

One thing has always bothered me since I moved to Rio de Janeiro, the lack of bagels. I'm not even talking about good bagels. I'm saying any bagel! Hell, I'd even pay inflated prices for Lender's bagels at this point.

I decided to finally take matters into my own hands! If being an expat has taught me anything, it has taught me to take practical and planned out chances. Oxymoron, I know, but when you live in Rio de Janeiro you plan your madness.

I used this recipe from the Food Network. It was my second attempt and the best so far. But you be the judge of that.  The top photo is of my batch! By the way, they are tastier than they look!

I'm now on a bagel making mission. I plan to master the art of the plain bagel and then move into my favorite, the sun dried tomato bagel! Do not be intimidated by all the random steps. It's actually quite pleasant to boil bagels. Who knew? And the dough is lovely to kneed. I found the entire process quite domestically liberating.

Do note though that I had to use double the suggested yeast here in Brazil.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rio de Janeiro is FREEZING!

This is what I am wearing this evening. Seriously! I just took the picture. If I had balls, they'd be freezing off just about now.

People, it's freaking cold. I can not explain how it's this cold here in Rio de Janeiro! It's technically only 19 degrees C (67 F). Logically, that is not cold. That's brisk or pleasant, not cold.

But here that is bone shattering. You know why? Because we go through such a long period of time not even remembering we have bones, we are distracted by the fact that our skin is melting off.

So when the weather creeps down to a normal level, and our bones twitch, we freak the hell out. I am so freaking the hell out.

And you are not going to believe this...

I'm even wearing socks! The flip flops were put away this afternoon and I'm actually going to wear socks and my converse.

Here's the crap part to adapting to a new place, their winter becomes yours! I never would have thought...

The Pneumothorax and cigarettes

My husband once had a spontaneous pneumothorax. For you layman's (as I was before the experience) that means his lung spontaneously collapsed.

The amazing part of the whole ordeal, because it was an ordeal, was we didn't realize right away. You'd think if one of your lungs collapsed you'd know. Well, we were busy moving. He felt like he was having a heart attack but that passed. The pain subsided but he was still short of breath. No biggie. Our son's 3rd birthday party was later that day. Had to keep moving. Death does not come before the 3rd birthday, at least not if you don't know it.

I tried to make my husband feel better. I assured him it wasn't heart attack. At least I was right about that. I put vicks on his feet like his Mother always does and gave him Mylanta. Yes, I gave my husband with a collapsed lung Mylanta. I am, and forever will be, a bitch!

Honestly, I thought he was being a whiny wuss. I was 5 months pregnant with our second, moved to a new apartment with only the aide of my Mother, was raising a 2 year old, and he was complaining. We were all exhausted. In my defense, he never said he was short of breath. Never. That is a BIG red flag.

So 2 days went by and he woke up on Monday with a fever of 40 degrees C (104 F). Mr. Rant never has a fever and even if he did, that was high for 7am! I told him he was going to the hospital, all this was too weird and this fever was not ok. He insisted on going to work.

What would any woman married to a stubborn Brazilian man do? Call their Mother! I so called his Mother. She drove in, with his Father, from the country to take him to the hospital. Of course it was around lunch when they arrived and there's a hospital close to my place, so you can guess what happened. They walked to lunch, ate, and then walked to the hospital. Imagine everyone's surprised when he was immediately admitted and an emergency procedure had to be done.

Turned out, that day he felt like he was having a heart attack, his lung had collapsed. It had been collapsed so long that he developed bacterial pneumonia. His collapsed lung was also compromising his good lung and it was, at the time he went to the hospital, about to collapse. I was told if he had not gone to the hospital, he would have died in bed next to me that night.

What a lovely picture. I had a 2 hr long contraction after that news. Especially because the way the doctor told me was by slicing his finger over his neck and making a dead face. Talk about a special kind of bedside manner.

So what saved him in all this? How did he last so long, especially being so active?  He has never smoked. His lungs are strong and healthy, besides the whole collapsing thing.

While I quit smoking during my pregnancies, I returned later. I consoled myself with the fact that I didn't smoke around my kids. But after this happened, my view of smoking changed. It became realistic. Of course that wasn't quite enough. I still love the little nasty bastards.

Then I went to a get together at my friend's place. The other American in the room happened to be a Thoracic Surgeon. Guess what topic we got around to. And guess who put me in my place.  It's really hard to ignore good old medical facts/stories. That combined with my experience with Mr. Rant, I couldn't ignore the importance of the lungs any longer. They are sensitive beasts who will bite back if you don't take care of them.

And while I miss smoking, and love it, I have quite. It's been a week and a day now. No cheating, no sneaking around, no smoking. I think about it often but only really miss it about 4 to 5 times a day. And when I say miss I mean that I have to mentally talk to myself about why I am quitting. Seriously.

It's freaking ridiculous to "need" something like this. That is one of the main things that keeps me going. I shouldn't need it! So here's to 8 days and going strong!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

How NOT to Feed an Infant

The conversation started out innocently enough. My maid, who saves my ass twice a week, asked me what I did for my youngest's gas when he was a baby. She remembers that we had a terrible time.

I told her this and that and asked what was going on. Turns out, her friend's 2 month old, who was born premature, is really suffering from gas and cramps.

The subject quickly turned to milk. He is not being breastfed, hospital stay nipped that in the butt, instead Momma is giving him regular boxed milk made for 2 year olds!

Say what?!

Well, I guess we've figured out the pain issue! Oh yes, my maid continued by telling me that the Mother said the baby didn't take to formula very well. Well, let's just give him milk fortified especially made for older children. That won't cause problems. And seeing that he is two months old, you've really been trying to get him to like it, haven't you.

And this is not abnormal here. Another friend of mine had to intervene when she found out a neighbor was giving the baby goat milk straight from the goat. I know that has been done before and kids turn out ok, but we know better now. Or we should.

The desire to give small babies real food here is ridiculous. People will give a 2 month old porridge made of cornmeal. They give the caldo do feijao (sauce created from making black beans) to little little babies. It's insanity. I get gas from that. What do you think will happen to a 4 month old? But people say they like it. Of course they like it! It's the most flavor they've experienced in their little lives, aside from that sip of Coca cola you just gave them.

And this isn't just a poverty thing. Ok, maybe the milk is but not the food. I had to smack hands away that were trying to shove cake frosting into my 3 month old's mouth. My feelings, he's 3 month olds people! Boob is the cat's pajamas for him.

So what did I do about all this? I went out and bought appropriate formula, made for sensitive tummies. It's expensive here but I figure maybe a couple of days of a happy baby will make Mommy open up her eyes.

Happy Birthday Mr. Rant!

Happy Birthday to one of my all time favorite people, Mr. Rant! My darling husband is halfway to 70 today! I know it's easier to say 35 years old but that just doesn't have the same ring.

In honor of his birthday, I thought it would be fun for all of you to get to know Mr. Rant a little better. In order to do this, I am going to answer these randomly chosen "getting to know you" questions for him.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?
Rice, beans, farofa, and carne asada - made by my Mother. Only trumped by Cozido or feijoada made by my Grandmother. 

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?
Going to the beach, especially diving in the waves. I also love going to the stadium to cheer on Botafogo, so much so that it drives the Mrs a little crazy. You'd think she'd be used to it by now. 

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
All of the above. Ok, to be fair that is Rachel saying it because he doesn't do any. I'm not bitter. Nope, can't complain at all since he works fulltime, I'm at home, and I have a maid twice a week. Nope, can't complain at all and I never do... I swear! 

What is your favorite form of exercise?
It was Capoeira but I haven't practiced in a while. I currently use stress and running around the entire city to meetings as my cardio. My strength training is lifting my small children and throwing them around, getting them totally wound up before bedtime. I do, however, manage to make this wrestling incredibly charming and sweet looking, even though we are play beating the crap out of each other. 

What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
Mornings when they are slow and lazy, which they never are anymore. Day of the week would have to be Saturday for obvious reasons. Month of the year... I'm going to take a stab at this one with January.  

What is your favorite body part?
This would have to be my wife's legs. You didn't say that it had to be on my body. 

What sound do you love?
The sound of Botafogo fan screaming GOOOOOOLLLLL. See a trend here people? 

If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint?
The sunset I saw in Greece. It was amazing! Rachel has heard two versions of this experience, one that I saw it with a female friend and the other that I saw it with my brother. Interesting. 

If you knew the world was ending in 2012, what would you do differently?
I would quit my job and start creating our home base out in the country. We'd start planting, get water, and train the family in fire arm usage. My weapon of choice is a machete, although that's more for zombies invasions. 

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would love to know how to play the violin and piano perfectly. I would also enjoy knowing how to read my wife's mind. I think she would benefit as much as I would from this, although I'm a bit scared to see what's going on in there. 

If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?
A home for street kids. This is close to my heart and one day I will open a place that will take them in, treat them well, give them a home, and help them start a life for themselves. 

If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?
Throw myself down some ridiculously difficult and high slope on my snowboard. 

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Pay off any debt of my parents and brother. I would also buy some really freaking cool gadgets. 

If you were reincarnated as an animal/drink/ice cream flavor, what would it be?
Wolf/Limonada Suiça/Vanilla 

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?
A young Richard Gere

What do you want to be when you grow up?
An independently wealthy, world-traveling philanthropist 

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?
I watch 30 minutes of a movie or Parks and Recreation. If I haven't already, I read about Botafogo. 

What would you name the autobiography of your life?
Who's Calling me Panties? 

What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
Foo Fighters Everlong, and many more. 

Is a picture worth a thousand words?
Depends on how good the picture is

The best part of waking up is?
Rolling over and going back to sleep

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bastard 4 Day Weekend

Four day weekends used to be my favorite thing in the whole world, and then I had kids. Ok, maybe it's not really like that but this weekend was. This was a 4 day weekend with great moments and really obnoxious ones.

For starters, my left contact is not cooperating with me. It refuses to stick to my freaking eye and is floating around everywhere. Talk about a tiny thorn in a paw causing issues for the lion. Add to it that it's been sunny. I have been choosing between one-eye sight and being blinded by the sun.

I also have gone a full week without one cigarette!! Yay! That also means that I am still have bitchy moments and that I have put on a full 2 pounds that I had just lost. Ah well, the ends do justify the means, especially with the end expanding like so.

My 2 yr old also decided that shitting on the floor and in his pants was way more fun than using the actual toilet. I have, however, learned a perfect game face! That and we have got him back on the potty! Oh yes, I have never celebrated someone taking a crap on the throne so much before in my life!

And both  my kids decided to get sick. Of course this happened after they shared Popsicles with their little friends. Talk about a parenting FAIL. Both got a virus, one is already feeling better, and they've both already passed it to Momma. Maybe the sore and swollen throat will aide in slowing my binge eating.

Mr Rant and I bickered like newlyweds all weekend. And it did not include the amazing makeup sex! 4 day weekends with the kids remember. Sadly, waiting until night for makeup sex doesn't really fly like it seems to on the sitcoms. We felt that it would traumatize the kiddos if we just had at it on the dining room table. Ok, after the whole poop and virus thing, I almost felt like doing it just to spite them. I am human. But we would all pay for it in the long run.

On the bright side, I did get to take my kids to CCBB and that rocked. We had an amazing lunch with some girlfriends of mine later that day. Mr. Rant took off Friday since he worked Thursday and him, his father, his brother, and his brother's wife joined us in Aterro in the morning. We all then went out for lunch.  And so on and so forth. The weekend was by far more fun than annoying.

Of course crap on the floor with roaming contacts, arguing spouses and sick kids have a way of distracting you from the good.

I'm just glad that it's over. I'm sure some memories were made, good and bad, and we will start over on Monday. Hopefully it brings constipated and yet healthy children, humorous husbands, and plenty of wine. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Slut Walk Rio de Janeiro!!

Slut Walk is coming to Rio de Janeiro July 2nd!! It should be an interesting one. Cariocas are not afraid of showing a little skin.

The slut walk started in Canada in April and has since come to 20 other cities. People are stepping out and saying that I don't give a F*CK what I was wearing, NO MEANS NO!

Everything started in response to comments made by Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto Police officer, who suggested that in order not to be victimized, "women should avoid dressing like sluts.

And they say that one person can't change the world. Look at this guy! He was an utter ass and created a world movement that says "Screw that!"

This is something everyone should support and if you can it goes from 2:00pm - 8:30pm on July 2nd and starts at POSTO 4 in Copacabana (Av. Atlântica).

For more info (in Portuguese) check out the Slut Walk Rio facebook event page:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

Rafael Lazzini looked gorgeous in every photo I saw of him and is very versatile. At moments I wanted to mount him, others I wanted to talk to him, and in others he was too cool for me to imagine either. He also has his own model blog:

Fernanda Lima is quite mainstream to be on my Hot Brazilians for your Friday but I couldn't help it. The girl is gorgeous! Fernanda also has her own site so you can enjoy her beautiful-ness easily:

US Gov Orders $80mil Payment to Brazilians

It's a typical Cinderella story. Brazilians get an under-the-table job at a pizza place. The American boss totally abuses their hourly rights as they are immigrants. Federal investigators start investigating said pizza place and orders them to pay back overtime payments.

I think this is one of the beautiful parts of our government, doesn't matter if you were illegally working or not, the law is the law. You work more than 40 hours a week, you get your time and a half. And that is how it should be!

Now this little pizzaria, which has probably shut down at this point and declared bankruptcy, will have to pay $341 million in back pay to all it's staff. That's a lot of slices and medium size sodas.

More amazingly, an old policy from the 90s has been renewed. No complaint given to the Department of Labor can be passed to the Department of Immigration. It seems that they are now doing their job, making sure everyone working in the US is being treating well.

As for those who think "they were illegal blah blah blah bitch bitch bitch", get over it. There are tons of thousands of cazillions of illegals in the US. They work. They are living their life. Hell, They are doing the jobs that we won't do. So if it bothers you so much, let them become legal. Do what just about every country does and have a mass legalization of immigrants. Legalize them and make them pay taxes.

And if that is not something that you would consider, try the Dutch method. They offer 2,000 euros to immigrants who leave of their own free will.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Art, Hoodlums, and Children

Loving the show

The kiddos and I went on a mini adventure today. In actuality, it wasn't a real adventure at all but did come with a lesson. 

You see, today is Corpus Cristi and thus a holiday in a very Catholic country of Brazil. Since the boys were off school but Mr. Rant still had to work, I decided to take them to CCBB (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil). It's an awesome place, is free to get in, and is only a metro ride and short walk away from home. 

Of course, that short walk was in a deserted downtown and a half empty metro. Combine that with my oldest's loud English speaking and you have yourself a bit of a concern. 

There I was, on the metro with my curious 4 yr old asking 3 billion questions and everyone staring. This didn't bother me too much but I decided to have a little chat with him about a new rule. New rule, when it's just him, his little brother, and Mommy in downtown Rio de Janeiro we speak in Portuguese. He was not stoked on it but went along anyway.

Well, he went along for about 2.5 minutes until he forgot or stopped caring or something. And this really isn't a big deal but we were at a spot between CCBB and the metro that was empty except for a few less than desirable potential conversation buddies. 

That was when we started to get checked out, and not in the sexually harassing way. For the first time in a long time, I felt vulnerable. There I was on my own with two little boys and at a point in the road where there was no one to see if anyone decided that I was a good mark. While giving up my purse isn't a huge deal by any means, I would prefer for my kids not to experience that less than secure feeling. 

I shushed the boys while scooping up my little one and pulling my oldest to walk faster. The looks I was receiving from one special male loiterer were less than comforting. That became double when he stopped another non-gentleman to discuss me and my child. Awesome.

But I could see workmen up ahead working on a building. Once I got near them I'd be fine. And I did and we were. I did, however, have to explain to my ever observant 4 yr old why the men were looking at us funny and if they were bad guys. Fun stuff. 

However, once we entered into the wonderful world of somewhat interactive art, all was forgotten. Although we did get a taxi home. 

My Building Manager is Big Brother

We have an insane building manager. Ok, maybe he isn't actually insane but I do think he's a little off.

First, he's a compulsive spender. The building actually had to block him from raising condo fees to do more little adjustments to the building. Honestly, if you have to block the building manager from doing his job, you have a problem.

Now he has found a loop hole. He's allowed to use the building's savings account. And you know what he wants to buy, cameras. 8 cameras for our tiny building.

While I understand that security is important, I don't feel we need quite this much. That and what is going to be the added cost? He didn't mention the price on the mass letter he sent out. He did, however, tell my husband that all the equipment would cost R$8000. Does that include installation? Upkeep?

I swear, the guy breaks into a sweat if he doesn't spend some building cash every month or two.

And what really pisses me off, royally pisses me off, is that he won't buy a freaking bike rack for the building. He won't put a simple rack out in a small, useless common area next to our garage. His thing is that we have to put in a roof to protect the bikes and this and that.

Again, you don't have to do construction every time you add something. Not everything has to be a drama and cost a butt load of cash. Buy a freaking rack, put it out there, and people use at their own risk. If they don't want their bike rained on they will buy a weather bag or bring it up to their apartments.

While he's at it, angle one of the two cameras he's planning to have in our 14 car garage so it also gets the bikes. Or maybe I can just compromise with him. He gets the bike rack, from our savings money, and I'll suggest that he buys one more camera just for them. That should make him warm and fuzzy enough to go with it. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Favelas

Bahá'ís rally in Rio de Janeiro

Last weekend Rio de Janeiro held a rally for religious tolerance. This wasn't any old rally, it was a call for action from the Iranian government.

Brazilians, along with the rest of the world, are still asking for the Iranian government to free the 7 Bahá'ís who have been unjustifiably imprisoned for years.

A brilliant concept, organizers stuck 8000 photos of the 7 prisoners to represent the days they have spent in jail. Not only that, the photos were placed in the shape of a circle to represent the world.

Amazingly, Iran thinks we're still in the 1800s and no one is going to notice that they locked away 7 innocent people, "took care" of their two defense lawyers, and do not have a leg to stand on.

Personally, I don't get religious prosecution. I can't even begin to understand why it happens. Well, I obviously understand but I think it's all a bunch of crap. People need to get over themselves. I mean, didn't anyone else's Mother teach them "To each their own"??

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Can Take the Girl Out of the Trailer...

Did my grocery store run this afternoon. Since I have quit smoking, I figured I could now use my hands to bring my own eco-grocery bags.

Yeah, I have turned over a new leaf and it's not a tobacco one.

That's when it hit me, I let go of smoking. I was walking to the store in cute yoga pant and a little workout top. I was bringing my own eco-friendly bags!

OMG! I have turned into a Pod Mother! Before you know it I'll be doing yoga in Lagoa with my chic little group and having my maid go to the store with the eco-bags.

But then I stopped. I was still pretty far from that. You see, on my grocery list was coffee filters. We have been out for a couple of days now. This morning Mr. Rant folded a paper towel and busted out a homemade filter.

I found that hot.

I guess you can take the girl out of the trailer but can't take the trailer out of the girl. 

Carioca Drivers and Roads...

Driving in Rio de Janeiro has always been an entertaining sport, to say the least. While I'm not a huge fan of doing it, I will when I need to.

What always makes me laugh are the lack of lanes in some parts of the city. Seriously, the paint has worn off or something and the government decided it was a waste of money to paint them again. Let's be honest, they really are only a suggestion to the Carioca driver.

They have their reasons though. First off, they have to dodge taxis and motorcycles. After that there are the people illegally stopped in the left hand lane for some reason or another. Personally, I think those people are asses but that's another story.

It's just amazing how causal they are in Rio de Janeiro about driving rules. I remember when the government paved the main road out to the international aiport Galeão and there were no lanes. It was what would be 4 lanes of highway as one big piece of concrete. And you know what, it worked out better. Traffic flowed as smooth as butter.

You really can't blame the Cariocas though. They are such mellow and flowy types of people that they just can't be made to color within the lines.

So next time you drive in Rio de Janeiro, don't think of the street madness as that. I like to think of myself as part of a school of fish, swirling and flipping around with my fellow fish friends. Yes it's super lame but it helps keep me flipping at them in another form. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Norway, the Friend Maker

I have been such a bad little blogger. I know I posted Friday and this morning, but I have about 2 or 3 other posts waiting to be worked out.

The thing is, Norway makes really good people and I am lucky to say that I have a Norwegian friend. Turns out, my Norwegian friend is in town for a couple of days. That is why I feel like I am neglecting you. Actually, more like half-assed paying attention to you.

I couldn't tell you which is worse...

So here it is, my friend is here. I missed her. We are hanging out. The only reason why I'm writing is because she ran over to the gas station, we're classy like that, to buy another bottle of white wine while I put the kiddos to bed. 

Therefore, if we are opening a second bottle of wine, there is a good possibility I will not be posting here until early to late afternoon. You all know how that is.

So here's to meeting up with old friends from far away! If anything, it helps you figure out geography.

*My friend informed me that the picture is not in Norwegian. 

Not Brazilian in the Morning

There is a period of time when I am 100% American. That time is first thing in the morning.

Brazilians are social creatures regardless of hour. They get all excited when they see other people, start to chat, and basically have a party over pão de queijo.

Take my son's 7:50am soccer class. That is an un-Godly hour for me to be at a child's practice, dressed, and socializing. You get 2 of the three, although today it was basically just one.

You see, I went out in a night shirt and yoga pants. In my defense, I wore a bra!

See this is another way I am American in the morning, I just don't care how I look. You see what you get. Not Brazilians. They don't even go to the gym without looking nice. If a Mom does show up in workout gear it's cute, matching, and definitely does not have coffee stains on it.

Mr. Rant met up with about 20 minutes into soccer practice due to a call of nature and us not wanting to be late. He approached me and offered me his sweater. I told him thanks but I wasn't cold, how sweet of him though!  He said not because of weather but because my shirt isn't legally allowed out of the house, or shouldn't be anyway.


And then we went to get an after soccer snack. All the parents stood around chatting and their kids snacking at the same table. It was all cute and nice. I, on the other hand, packed my kids up and headed out to the park. Sorry but I can only manage a small wave and a smile at 830am. And before 9am, I don't care about your weekend. No I do not want to hear the gossip. And if you try to touch me I may smack you.

The scary thing, I am the morning person in this house! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

Today we have Rafael Vega. Good afternoon to you!

I have the pleasure to introduce you to Ana Claudia Michels. 

I'm a Petty Wife

Let me ask you this: If your husband declared in the middle of the night that he was going to go sleep in the other room because he really needed his sleep, would that rub you the wrong way?

You see, the kids had invaded our bed and one youngest of the mini Ranters was in full whine mode. And with all that going on, it was Mr. Rant's statement that woke me up.

The thoughts that went through my head were "What the hell did you just say?!"  "You spoiled freaking brat!" and "Your parents..." I stopped that last one right in it's tracks. Must not blame the parents for Mr. Rant occasional holier or more important than thou attitude. They have nothing to do with the argument. It is not important that every time we see them they say he looks so sleepy and that he should leave the kids with me and take a nap.

Funny enough, Mr. Rant always looks at me at that moment with half hope and half mock. He knows when they say that it annoys the crap out of me. I think he also looks back to make sure I'm not in my pouncing stance ready to take them all out and show them who's really the tired one here! Fyi, they used to say the same thing while I was a nursing Mother with a newborn. "Poor baby, aren't you getting any sleep? Is the baby keeping you up?"

If they had asked me, I could have told them hell no he wasn't being kept up! I had to keep my oldest out of the bed as he was sleeping so damn hard I was worried he'd roll over and take him out.

But jokes on him. After last night's comment, and his full night of sleep, he's on Daddy duty this morning.

That's why when I heard my 2 yr old yell pee pee potty I told Mr. Rant that it was his turn. You see, I knew the tone of that innocent sounding yell and it was not innocent at all, that and he was already too late.

I'm incredibly immature but when I heard his "oh crap!" it made me smile. Just so you know, he wasn't speaking figuratively.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Realtors are Sneaky Ninjas

At least they are in Rio de Janeiro. That or they are spies. Currently, I am getting daily calls from random new realtors. They flock to shelling apartments like bees to honey. Actually, it's more like flies to another sticky substance...

Do they show up and say "Hey, I work in the industry and would like to leave my card with you?" Nope! They actually try to sneak past my doorman. Hello, if you were a good Realtor you'd know my doorman can smell you from a mile away. He's been doorman-ing for about 100 years now, at this building.

It still amazes me though when I get the intercom call from my doorman Mr. A. It goes like this:

A: "Rachel, are you expecting Pedro? He says you are expecting him."
Me: "Who's Pedro? I do not have an appointment scheduled with a Pedro"
A: "He smells like Realtor. Let me call you right back."

Two and a half seconds go by. RING

A: "He is a realtor all right. He said he already invited a client and was hoping you'd let him show them your apartment."
Me: "Would you please tell him that I do not show my apartment to people without an appointment and to Realtors who I have not contracted."
A: "I already have but I will tell him that you confirmed it."

It's really easy to be a bitch when you have a middle man doing the bitch part for you. But Mr. A is totally into it because it's about building safety. It's also about your relationship with your doorman. There must be open communication and you must back them up.

I will say, after all this I may just stay just for my doormen! Each and every one has seen through the weak tales and lies told by new realtors trying to get the lowdown on my place. I have actually been in the process of leaving the building while they rip a realtor's story to shreds. They didn't even give me a sideways glace. No one knows it's my place unless they make it in.

I'm kind of starting to feel like an exclusive club with badass bouncers!

The truth is, the real estate market here is a tough one. The competition is fierce and every real estate company is selling the same apartments as the others. The Realtors go around, on their own accord, and look for the freshest meat to throw out into the feeding frenzy.

And good luck to them, but this girl is going to do it the safe and secure way! 

10 Things They Didn't Tell Me About Rio

1. That when they said that there are a lot of hot people at Posto 9 in Ipanema they weren't exaggerating!

2. That living here would make me miss super lame things like quality Tupperware and cheap zip-lock baggies.

3. That some Dude with pineapples on his head selling, you guessed it, pineapples would scare the absolute crap out of me while sitting on the beach!

4. That I'd be less internet and tech savvy than my Brazilian friends.

5. Not to mention less stylish.

6. That I was supposed to look cute to go to the gym! Sorry, that is one thing I refuse to adapt to.

7. That it's actually comfortable to run on the beach in a bikini. I do have to thank genetics for that one as I sport smaller breasts just like many of the sporty Brazilian ladies.

8. That I can bring my kids to the bars. Hell, I can bring them to bars, restaurants, music festivals, art shows, and any other "adult" activity.

9. That rice, farofa, potato salad and meat make a complete meal. Personally it sounds like a gassy constipation making machine but it seems to work.

10. That I would fall in love and lose my will to leave. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Parent Connections Save the Day

Yesterday a member of the staff at my sons' school ended up at a public hospital. The problem, chronic obstructive pulmonary disability. 

He was in horrible condition and needed to be transferred to a hospital with an ICU. Bureaucracy in Brazil is not very friendly in times of emergency as speed is not in it's dictionary.  

That's where community came in. The school sent out a mass email to parents of children in the school as well as a message on the school's facebook page. It asked that if anyone could help, please contact the school. 

You see, sometimes all that is keeping someone from getting to where they need to be is a signature of the head doctor who is out of the office. Something as simple as that can keep a patient from getting specialized care.

Turns out that there are some people who know someone, or know someone who knows someone because it was taken care of. The message was sent yesterday just before 1pm. With a little help from our own school community, he was transferred at 5pm the same day. 

It just goes to show the idiocracy of the public medical system (although still better than no system at all USA), and how much a community can help.  

As for his current condition, we have no news as of yet. Visiting hours have just ended and his family should be letting everyone know shortly. 

Wordless Wednesday: Festa Junina

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Healthy Women like Girly Men?!

"New research suggests that women from countries with healthier populations prefer more feminine-looking men."

The population of Brazil is going to die off tomorrow! I think I've ran into about 3 feminine-looking Brazilians in my life. But in all seriousness, this is interesting stuff.

We all know about the theory of sexual selection and that you usually try to find the best mate to create a child who is most likely to survive. Apparently this is still in play. Men, you should be honored if a woman accidentally gets pregnant with your baby! Her subconscious must have poked a hole in that condom and demanded that she mate.

And I guess there is something to that. In nations where poor health is more common, women go for a manlier man. Obviously they don't say exactly that, but they will choose a wider-jawed and hairy man over a clean shaven leaner version.

Of course there's a but:

So how far would you go for good genes? There are plenty of ladies who are attracted to the "bad boy." Personally, I don't think high testosterone and being a good mate are mutually exclusive. Mr. Rant is not short on the chest hair (something I find VERY sexy) and isn't a bastard either. Well, not that I'm aware of anyway.

The thing is, maybe this is true in countries where physical health is still suffering, but I think it is different in other parts of the world. As a woman, it is much safer and smarter to choose a well educated man. Hell, I'm going to flat out say it, a nerd. Pick a nerd ladies. They are good guys! They usually have jobs. And they are far less likely to hit you when they are drunk. 

That brings me to another study where it' been proven that relationships are happier when the woman is more attractive than the man. I automatically thought of two things: 1. It's amazing how much money the world is throwing into random research 2. Duh. 

There is just something about a woman on a pedestal. I think we as a sex kind of like it up there. In my humble observations, I have also noticed that men like the women up there. So it makes a hell of a lot of sense that if a woman is feeling loved and adored (and not at risk of losing her mate) and the man still feels lucky to have her, they both will be throwing positive energy back into the whole relationship equation. 

Then again, I didn't think of any of this when I started practice mating with Mr. Rant. I thought that he was hot, we had great conversations, and the feelings were mutual. But there are many people who believe in powers bigger than us, whether it be God or nature. 

I think my readers are the best judge of this whole thing. What do you think? Do we choose, is it fate, or are our pheromones and other bodily functions doing the real talking?

Brazilian Cuties for your Tuesday

Brazil has more than just cute actors and models. They also have cute, and successful, athletes!

This is Jadel Gregório. Jadel competes for the Brazilian National team in triple and long jump. Fun fact, the Chinese hosts of the last Olympic games had to construct an extension for his bed to accommodate his height of 2.03 meters (6ft 8in)

This is Fabiana Murer. She is the 4th highest pole vaulter ever and holds the South American pole vaulting record for both indoor and outdoor! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Logic to Love?

A friend of mine reconnected with her ex. It was the pink elephant in the international chat room every time we exchanged instant messages.

It got me thinking about relationships. There's a part in the whole dating scene that doesn't seem to fit in with marriage.

You see, we are now being taught to see if our habits combine. Is living together annoying?

I didn't have that option. Anyone who has read my 'How I Got Here' tab knows that it was a fast union. But there is a benefit to that. You fall in love with the person, the actual person. You don't get a chance to find out if this or that habit is annoying. There is no separation due to the way one chews food. You are already there.

Obviously, there can be a big backlash from it but if you look at it in the right light, it is brilliant. Let me ask you this, who goes to the restaurant for the appetizers over the main course? You never hear "The truffles and filet minion are amazing but the cheese platter sucks!"

That's what happens when you marry fast in life. I married the main course. Obviously, there are more than a few etcetera that I could do without. I'm sure Mr. Rant would say the same but he is obviously lying because I am as perfect as a Rio de Janeiro summer.

Seriously though, when you meet that someone, the etceteras almost come off as charming at first. They definitely become annoying later but the main course is so rewarding that you let it go.

And that is marriage. It's the thing people just don't talk about it. A lot of a successful marriage is letting things go. You let go ridiculous of the hobbies or stupid collections that annoy you. You let your spouse have that stupidly irresponsible friend that always gets them into a little bit of innocent trouble. Why? Because a part of your spouse needs it.

When you love the base, you get the whole. You realize the flexibility in who a person is. You love them for it because that flexibility is what adapts to the needs you have. You two work together. Did I just say it? Oh yes I did! You become a team.

It took me a long time to learn that. A failed long term relationship and a couple of attempts at getting there showed me my lack of understanding.

That is why, when this friend wouldn't say she was back with the ex, I asked. I asked her about it and I asked if she was happy. I quickly followed that with the fact that I am happy for her. And I am! If she is happy, if this is what she wants, I will be cheering for it 110% of the way.

Unfortunately, the rules of relationships are different these days. The moment it is hard is the moment you can break it off. If this didn't work out, you have to watch out for yourself.

But I ask you this, if you are always watching out for yourself, who is watching out for your loved ones? If your loved ones are always watching out for themselves, who is watching out for you? You see, the equation doesn't quite work. You have to give to receive and to give you have to take a chance.

The thing is that in a good relationship the person will still be there when it's not in their favor. Why? Because they love you. No other reason. No other reason necessary.

I know this may be an old fashioned to think this way. I've kind of already accepted that I am old anyway. But there is some logic behind it.


Update: Brazilian Firefighters

Thanks to Sarah for the pictures!

While everyone in Rio de Janeiro is rejoicing over the fact that the firefighters are free, they also realize that the fight is far from over!

There are a couple of things that have yet to be covered. The firemen have not received a raise and they want amnesty. Per awesome Brazilian law and distraction, there is speculation that the governor is waiting for Rio de Janeiro to lose interest in the story and then is going to process them. I, for one, would not be surprised at all.

In an act of comradery, 27,000 people gathered in Copacabana yesterday to show their support. Not only that, but you can spot red ribbons on cars and people throughout the city.

I guess you can say that Cariocas will let the government get away with a lot behind the scenes, but don't mess with their people!

So all you out there in the world, remember that this battle is far from over!

Celebrating Birthdays Brazilian Style

The Candy Table

I went to a Brazilian child's birthday party yesterday. These parties seriously put the little backyard parties from my youth to shame! No picnic table with cake and presents at this party.

What you have to understand is that children's parties are a thing here. People spend upwards of R$2,000. No, I'm not saying middle and upper class people, I'm say people! It is expected to at least have the cake table. The cake table must be extremely full of decorations. We're talking stuffed animals on mini spinning ferris wheels, lights, cameras, action, and even a cake. At very rich parties, the all the table decorations will be made of candy and everything edible.

There's also the balloons, food, drinks, and beer. Yes, beers. I think most parents have the understanding that if they have to deal with the sugar induced madness of a Brazilian kid's birthday party, they deserve a little alcohol.

Yesterday's party was no different. There was beer for the parents and a table of sugar for the kids. There was also a huge climbing maze tube thing, a climbing wall, a kid's dance club, a trampoline, a mini soccer field (aka. a room with fake grass and a ball), and a video game room. All this and food galore.

You see, yesterday's party was at a Casa de Festa (party house for kids). You pay so much per head, pick your food options, and everything is done for you. Very convenient, very popular, and very costly.

I will say though, my kids had a BLAST! I too enjoyed myself and ate enough to satisfy my caloric needs for about 4 days. It was a parade of yummy fried treats! Breaded shrimp, fried and breaded salted meat, little balls of fried cheese, and much more.

Honestly, it's hard thing to live up to. My poor boys are stuck with the American Mom who is used to a couple of ordered pizzas, ice cream cake, and some games of tag. Talk about culture shock.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Help Solve a Mystery!

A friend and I were walking up to Aterro in Flamengo with the boys. We suddenly see a man run off with two police men chasing after him. There was regular car (not cop car) stopped in the middle of traffic with both doors open. The police men were in uniform. The man ran from, what seemed to be, the vicinity of said car. When the police did not catch the man, they awkwardly entered and drove off in the vehicle.  

The above picture is of the car stopped in the middle of traffic. 

I have my theories but I want to know, what do you think happened?