This time I was sleeping and….

The witching hour. That’s when the baby would wake up every night. Every night for what felt like eons but was actually only a couple of years. The witching hour in this case was 5.30am. He’d wake, have milk and a diaper change and go back to sleep till 8. So lucky, people would say, you get to sleep till eight with a baby! I didn’t feel all that lucky, never sleeping more than five hours in a row, interrupted, night after night after night. But that day, I think, I got really lucky.

The baby cried and I woke up, I stumbled down the hall to his room in the dark. I heard a noise and thought it was the cat. Damn cat.

I fed the baby, and changed him, and made my sleepy way back to bed. At seven a.m. the housekeeper burst into my room: I think someone was in the house, she said. I don’t remember how, but in the next instant I was standing in front of the baby’s room, not yet having really processed the information just given. I had my hand on the door and couldn’t go in, my husband, behind me, stepped in front and went in. The baby was fine, sleeping peacefully in his crib, and I regained the ability to breathe. Someone had, indeed been in the house; they’d come in for the car. Stupid car. They searched the house for the keys, they came upstairs and went through the husband’s pockets. Thankfully he left his clothes outside our room, they most likely heard the baby crying and went downstairs. That was the noise I heard. They took the spare, opened the gate, and left with the car and a watch that was just lying around. The police told us they were probably specialized thieves, they had targeted that car, the husband’s car had signaled a flat a few days earlier and that apparently is another method they use to take cars, create a slow flat, or the appearance of one, wait for the car to pull over and then they jack it. That didn’t work so they came looking at home.

I was lucky that day, because they chose to come searching at the witching hour. I’m a very light sleeper, had they come at any other time I would have heard them and woken up, I would have gone downstairs to kick the cat out for waking me and I would have run into the two guys searching for the keys instead. The police had an idea who they were, and they’re not known for being very nice. Efficient, yes, but not nice. I pretty much stopped complaining about the baby waking me every night after that. And we installed an alarm system.

Linking up with MamaKat’s pretty much world-famous writer’s workshop today, with the prompt “this time I was sleeping and…”

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday Listicles – Ten (or so) Happy Memories about a man in our lives

This week’s listicle, courtesy of the lovely Kim Pugliano of The G is Silent, is a tough one: ten happy memories about a man in our lives. I had a hard time with this because I couldn’t figure out who I wanted to concentrate on, my dad, my husband, my brother, my son…. So I decided to give it a little twist, happy memories with the most important men in my life that taught me something significant.

1. parallel parking – as many of you, the morning of my sixteenth birthday started with me at the DMV to get my much coveted driver’s license. Now, I don’t remember how exactly it worked back then (way back then) but I remember my Dad took me to do the practical exam – not because he taught me to drive, both he and my Mom were way too neurotic and every attempt ended in hysterical screaming on their part and snotty, sobbing crying on mine (and this was in no way a reflection on my driving skills). The actual, productive, driving lessons were left up to the driving instructor and a series of friends and cousins. In any case, the reason my Dad proudly accompanied me to the driving test was that he was the only one who successfully taught me to parallel park. Surprisingly enough. I was pretty nervous during the test and my only memory of it is parallel parking, crooked and a mile from the sidewalk, with the image in the rearview mirror of my dad standing a ways off with his hands over his eyes, shaking his head, and laughing. Amazingly, I passed the driving test and I can now parallel park with the best of them (blindfolded and in heels). I can also, apparently, write the longest run on sentences ever, but my dad has nothing to do with that skill.

2. not judging (too much) – despite a five-year age difference my brother and I are very much alike in some ways, in fact, we’ve often been asked if we’re twins (which generally boggles both our minds, as fraternal twins mostly look nothing alike and also, I’m the oldest, although this just means I am exceptionally well preserved for my age), but we have wildly different personalities. My brother is extremely laid back (due likely in part to a healthy, occasional, recreational drug habit, but mostly to the way mother nature split our parents’ genes) I, on the other hand, am extremely uptight, in fact if uptightness were an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal. The first time my brother and I went to Rio together I witnessed him befriending everyone, from the taxi cab driver, to the hotel concierge, to our peers in clubs and restaurants (he gets this from my dad) and I learned that sometimes if you just let go a little and enjoy the moment you can meet some pretty fun and interesting people in the unlikeliest of places. Also, he taught me to roll a joint. Cigarette, I meant cigarette.

3. the glass is half full (even though it’s actually half empty) – when the Husband was diagnosed with leukemia the first time I was devastated, and I’m pretty sure he was too, but some of my best memories with him are of the afternoons spent in the hospital just talking. He was in a sterile room, he could only see one person at a time, and that person had to be completely covered up, with a mask and cap and gown and everything, he’d been given a terrible prognosis, he had a toddler and a newborn at home that he couldn’t see, or touch, or anything, and, as anyone who’s had high doses of chemo knows, he felt like complete shit, and yet every afternoon I went to visit him and he was dressed and working on his computer, connected to the office, we would sit and chat for the two hours I had between breast-feedings, and he was upbeat and positive and rarely, rarely, complained. Those two hours a day were like a breath of fresh air. He redefined the meaning of staying positive in the face of adversity.

4. love (and band-aids) cures all – my son is four, and in his very short life so far he has already taught me some very important lessons.  A few months ago, he and I were fighting about something or other of no importance whatsoever, and I was frustrated and being stern, he was tired and being difficult, plus it was bedtime, so world war three was in the workings. Anyway, suddenly he exploded into dramatic sobs and when I asked him what was wrong he wailed: my love, my love is gone, and I said, who’s gone, who’s your love? And he looked at me, despair in his eyes (also disbelief that I could possibly be such a moron) and said, you, you’re my love! And flew into my arms. Of course, I held him and cuddled him and loved on him for a while, and all was right again in his world, but this taught me to hug him rather than yell at him when we start going in meltdown mode and to be honest most times it works, it diffuses the situation and we don’t get to the point were his love is gone anymore. Oh, and if this doesn’t work, a fun, character, band-aid will.

5. Dinner makes the heart grow fonder – my Dad was the beating heart of our family, and for my entire life he always insisted we be home for dinner, I can count on one hand the times were I didn’t have dinner with my parents (unless they had some work related thing), Of course, I thought this was a terrible annoyance and I hated how “weird” and “eccentric” my foreign parents were compared to my all-American friends (or this was how I perceived them then, now I know better, all parents are weird and eccentric to teenagers). Now I’m thankful for that constant uninterrupted family time and I hope to replicate it in my own family. Dinnertime was the only time we were all in the house, it was a time to get to know each other, to fight, to laugh, to yell, to argue, to share, to just be a family, together, a few minutes a day.

I’m going to end it at five today, not because I don’t have ten memories but because I’m especially verbose and risk putting everyone to sleep if I keep going, that would be grossly unfair to all the other blogs you must read after mine. To that end, I suggest you go check out Stasha’s blog, where I’m linking up today with this abbreviated version on Monday Listicles.

Ode to a fine old broad

I went to Brazil last week to see my Grandmother. I usually go in February for her birthday, but I didn’t go this year cause I had just spent two months in Houston at my Mom’s and since she is slowly starting to decline I decided to take a last-minute trip to see her. Don’t get me wrong, she’s perfectly healthy, her body is just, well, old. And she’s starting to look like she may be getting done with the whole living thing… she’s started retreating into herself, not talking much, it’s like she’s in her own little world, which is fine, at her age she’s allowed to do whatever the hell she wants. And since the stars aligned just so, and I could leave the kids for a few days I decided to go see her, just in case. In case of what, I sometimes wonder, since I’m pretty sure she’s going to bury us all.

My Grandma turned 102 years old this year. 102. It constantly boggles my mind that she could possibly be that old. She was born in 1910. There were no cars back then, her preferred mode of locomotion was a horse. Seriously, a horse. There were no telephones (they existed, like cars, but nobody had them), no TVs, no computers, no wi-fi, no iPhones, no color photographs, no cameras for personal use, there were no washers, nor dryers, nor, well, electricity in the house where she was born, in fact. Because she was born at home, of course. She had something like fifteen siblings, but only eight made it to adulthood. She had four daughters from three separate husbands, only one of which died. This means she got divorced twice. Two divorces seem commonplace nowadays, but she was born at a time when women couldn’t even vote. She had my Mom when she was 43, which means she was practically decrepit for her time, and yet my granddad was ten years younger than her, At some point, for reasons beyond my understanding, she kicked him out of the house. She always worked for a living, she raised four daughters and buried three, she learned to drive, she used to smoke (and roll her own cigarettes, of course) and she quit, before the surgeon general realized that smoking was possibly not great for our health.

She never said a word when my Mother went to live in sin with a man almost thirty years her senior and proceeded to have two kids with him. In the thirty-six years that I have known her I have never, not once, seen her without dyed hair and painted nails.

with my Mom, her youngest daughter

With me, last week in Sao Paulo

She was a hard ass, she was not a coddling grandmother, I couldn’t step out of line cause she was always there, ready to tattle. I resented the crap out of her as a teenager and yet the day I turned eighteen she changed completely. My life was then my own and she never, ever commented on any of my decisions. The day I got married, she gave me all her jewelry and her blessing and then visibly relaxed.

She told me the most wondrous, amazing stories when I was a kid, I wish I had written them down, and she always sang me to sleep.

And now? Now she is doggedly hanging on to life with tooth and claw. She had a hard life, but she loved it, she still loves it, and I believe, she will love it till the end.

Dancing on her birthday with one of her physiotherapists, whom she probably would have married had he been available…

Linking up today with Shell for Pour your heart out.

Monday Listicles – The one without a list

Oh boy, oh boy! This week Stasha is giving us a pretend allowance of $1,000 and asking us to list ten things we would spend it on, and it’s so HARD! For one thing, my resolution this year was to not spend any money on myself. I cannot buy myself anything. But of course, I added an amendment… I can buy toiletries when I run out, so I’m not going to be out of moisturizer, toothpaste or (God forbid) deodorant and shampoo (although I did do the no ‘poo thing for over three months last year, need to remember to write about it, in fact) I just can’t buy myself anything unnecessary. Mostly this means no shoes, bags, or clothes. If you see my closet you would understand this decision as it’s still bursting at the seams, despite many, many purges. So, now I get to (pretend) spend $1,000 and I can’t even buy any staples (and by staples I mean shoes, of course), this is so hard!

Ok. Here goes…


Ok. Sorry. This is pathetic…. I’ve been staring at the stupid blinking cursor next to the 1. for fifteen minutes and the only things I would buy are things like this Christian Louboutin pink patent leather pump.

or this Chanel purse:

(Anyone noticing a certain color theme going on?)

But frankly at an average of six to eight hundred dollars a pop (more for the purse) I wouldn’t have much cash left over for the other 8 items on the list. It’s an addiction, an illness, and unfortunately there’s no “compulsive shoe and handbag buyers anonymous”.

My brain went into a loop and I spent the better part of the week checking out old and new collections by all the major designers. I’m exhausted. But strangely sated. So maybe the cure for the shopping bug is just some harmless (compulsive, and slightly maniacal) internet window shopping? Anyway, sorry Stasha I overloaded and couldn’t write a list this week, but on the bright side I got the virtual spending out of my system and can breathe easier now. Also, I’m thinking I probably went way, way over budget so it’s definitely a good thing that I didn’t list all the items I’ve been coveting (and not buying… my closet is sad, my wallet, on the other hand, is ecstatic – as is my husband).

Linking up very late today, as I was on a flight back from Brazil all day, and without a real list, to Stasha’s Monday Listicles.

Fifty shades of do you need me to get you a thesaurus?

A few weeks back I had a hushed conversation I imagine many other women have had recently that went along the lines of: Have your read it? It’s the best book! Great for your sex life! Really hot! You must read it! My husband has never been happier! And, much like Moses parting the waters, this conversation opened up a whole new world to me of which I had gone completely unawares. Suddenly I started reading about Fifty Shades of Grey everywhere. Literally. My curiosity was piqued, I went on amazon and read the revues, my curiosity plummeted and I figured I had better things to do with my time than read second-rate BDSM erotica.

Who’m I kidding? My snobbishness lasted all of five minutes and then I downloaded the first book on my kindle. I have now read all three, and figured I’d put my two cents into the Fifty shades discussions.

The writing is ABYSMAL. The plot is non-existent, you constantly feel like something is going to happen any minute, but nothing ever does, except for a lot of sex because apparently Christian likes to “fuck hard”. And while we’re on the subject, I simply cannot believe that the author couldn’t come up with any way to describe down there other than “down there” and every time I had to read that Christian “reached his release” I wanted to whack the author upside the head with the largest and heaviest edition of Webster’s English Dictionary. The writing was tedious. The characters were annoying. The sex was far-fetched, because honestly Ana, she was always ready. I swear to God. He looked at her and she was ready. Not even in the first five minutes of mind-boggling passion that is the start of any good relationship is the woman always ready. Four, five times a day. Every day.

At first I thought the author was a man, but it’s a woman. I couldn’t believe it. But then I thought, well, I wouldn’t mind having 4 or 5 (or more, as she often has multiples at each session) mind-blowing orgasms a day. But it’s unlikely, or rather unrealistic, so maybe the author’s just putting her own wishful thinking to paper. I mean, Christian, he’s like the sex master of all time, he always touches her perfectly, reads her minutest body cues and reacts appropriately, he tells her to come and she does, on command. Hell, I wouldn’t mind a partner like that (but without all the controlling, mind-fuck crap that constitutes the rest of the book). The truth, of course, is that in real life most women have more consistently satisfying relationships with their electronics than they do with their partners.

To say Christian is controlling is the understatement of the century, he makes maniacal stalkers look benign and friendly. Yes, he’s rich, and gorgeous (which we know because we’re told on every other page) but he is also completely psychotic, so there’s that. And Ana? Oh my God, the whining, the indecision, the ineptitude! She gets mad at him constantly, she never does anything about it, honestly, I never knew which character I wanted to stab the most all through the books.

So why, you may ask did I read all three books? Well, I really do have a hard time walking away from a series, generally I make sure I’m going to like the books before I start reading them, but there was so much hype around this one I didn’t think it could possibly be bad. Also, there’s the train wreck factor, once I started I simply couldn’t turn away from the train wreck. And I’m an optimist, I kept expecting it to get better.

Okay, I don’t want to seem shrewish, the books are readable, I managed to get through three of them. But don’t go in expecting a really good book. Some of the sex scenes are titillating, but they leave nothing to the imagination, so if you like to fill in your own blanks, you’ll want to skip over them, in which case you’ll be done with all three books in about thirty minutes. If you’re just looking for an easy beach read then go for it, but you need a high tolerance for annoying characters and bad editing, on the other hand since everybody’s talking about the Fifty Shades phenomenon you’ll be able to put in your two cents. These are mine, don’t be mad at me if you don’t agree, there are enough books out there to satisfy all our different tastes, these here just weren’t to mine.

Also, for a really hilarious review with a sentiment very similar to mine but much better expressed I suggest you head over to this site here:


Passport, ticket, bags, and a crap load of emotional baggage

I’m writing this on a Tam airlines flight from Milan to Sao Paulo, watching the Big Bang Theory, feeling guilty.Whenever I fly with the kids I dream about the days when I flew alone, just me and my backpack. Apparently, after you have kids you become physically incapable of flying light.

I’m on my way to visit my 102 year old grandmother in Sao Paulo (Brazil), I haven’t seen her in a year, and since she’s not doing as well as she was I decided to take an impromptu trip to visit her. I’m only going to be gone for six days (two of which are travel days), and yet I managed to board the flight with a suitcase (well, two in fact, but one is just a suitcase containing another suitcase that I borrowed from my Mom when I was in Houston) and a carry on trolley along with my purse. Jesus.

Also, along with the physical baggage, there’s an entire Louis Vuitton trunk of emotional baggage. I carry classy emotional baggage.

I feel guilty for leaving the kids. I feel guilty both for the physical act of leaving and the fact that part of me was happy and excited to do it. I get to fly alone! No wrestling toddlers and strollers and enough luggage to invade Germany through the airport, no dirty looks at security checks that take an hour and a half of stripping myself and two screaming kids practically down to our underwear, no singing and playing games and bribing and trying to make over-excited, tired, whiners go to sleep without incurring death glares from all those who surround me.

I get to spend time with my Grandma and my Mom (who’s meeting me there, hence the returned luggage) like an adult, I can drink, go out to dinner, and go shopping at a moments notice. I am responsible for no one and nothing. And that makes me happy. Ah the wracking guilt, though. For the first time in years I packed the day I was leaving, I forgot half the stuff that I wanted to bring, and I didn’t care. Lately, a trip down the road entails the organizational preparation of a military incursion into hostile territory. It was just so liberating to not give a damn that I forgot my jacket.

I’ll only be gone a few days, the kids have their Dad, the Nanny and their Grandma will move in on Thursday, when they’ll probably really start to miss me, as an added distraction. I’ve even got an aunt on standby in case they get hit by the blues; plus the Husband has fun activities planned for the weekend. I’m positive they’ll be fine. And yet I feel guilty. Guilty that I didn’t take them with me, guilty because I didn’t want the expense and the hassle, guilty because they’re so little and I remember missing my parents when they were gone, guilty because I’m not doing my job. I’m basically taking a vacation from my family. And yes, I know in my mind that I’ll come back more relaxed, more patient, more fun, but in my heart I feel a little bit like a traitor.

Linking up with Shell today at Things I can’t say for Pour your heart out.

Things that make you go hmmm… Monday Listicles

It’s Monday, and I just couldn’t resist Stasha’s listicle this week, courtesy of Erin, one half of the Sisterhood of Sensible Moms (the other half is Ellen): ten things that make you go hmmmm… Go check out the post in which she announces the topic, there’s video, and though she said not to watch it, or rather, because she said not to watch it, I did, and guess what I’ve been humming all day now? Thanks Erin, I’m stuck in the nineties and it’s my own damn fault!

So 10 things that make me go hmmmm…

1. the dog stroller. Really?

2. old ladies with pink hair. Why?

3. a child’s inability to understand the word no, despite the fact that for many of them it’s the first word said.

4. men driving fiat 500s. Don’t they want to have sex?

5. thongs. If I’m wearing panties, I’m wearing panties, if you definitely can’t see a panty line chances are I’m not wearing any, it just feels more honest this way.

6. vanilla ice cream with lots of hershey’s syrup. Hhhhhmmmmmm

7. a cold coke on a hot day.

8. Fifty Shades. I read all three, I simply cannot tear myself away from a series; I hated every one, whilst simultaneously desperately lusting after Christian Grey and wanting to stab him repeatedly (and not in a sexy s&m way). They are really, really bad, don’t read them. (if I’ve offended you with this opinion I have a review coming up that explains my sentiments)

9. my bed. It’s my haven, it’s perfect, I never want to leave it.

10. Ryan Gosling. He actually makes me go hmm, hmmm, hmmmm

Now, if only I could get that damn song out of my head!

I’ll marry you

The other day I had the following conversation with the Boy as he was sitting on my lap cuddling before bed:

Mama what’s in that box?

It’s Sister’s christening outfit, you have one too.

Oh… what’s christening?

Long explanation here, which I won’t relay cause frankly I can’t remember anything other than the fact that we seem to be stuck on religion lately and I ended with: then there’s your first communion and your confirmation if you decide to do it and then you can get married and these are the sacraments (yes, I decided to leave the last sacrament out of the conversation with a four-year old).

Get married?

Yes one day when you’re old like daddy you could fall in love and decide to get married (notice what I did there?)

Okay, well, I’m going to marry sister.

Oh, baby, you can’t marry your sister.

Why not? (indignantly)

Because you can’t. (please don’t make me explain this!)

Okay, then I’ll marry you, Mama.

I’ll marry you, Mama…. How many little boys have said this in all innocence to their mothers, and how many of them have actually ended up marrying their mothers?

Oh, don’t be gross! Of course I meant women who were very similar to their mothers! I’m thinking just as many as girls who realized well into their marriages that they have, indeed, married their fathers. Life is a cliché sometimes, isn’t it? And yet my heart melted just a little bit at those words because for now, for just a short time, I’m still the center of his universe (after Sister, of course).

Linking up with Bits of Bee today for Quotable bits.