Tuesday, November 24, 2009

3 Months Late & Strange Food Craves

Is it weird that I've been overwhelmed with life to a point I can't keep up with my blog? I guess that's just a taken nowadays.

Anyways, it is a fact that I am 3 months late on my period (sorry to make you read this, if you're a man!), but it is also a fact that I've taken at least 5 pregnancy tests over this past period and all came negative. I have yet another appointment at the OBGYN next week to try a new pill and see if it'll make me normal again.

This is just one of the many things going on in my life right now. Another thing is, I am just recovering from a 1 month long illness. For the first time ever in my life I had an ear infection (viral, got it from a kid I babysat, just my luck), and for the first time in my life (as far as I can remember) I had to take antibiotics.
Let's just say my family has never been too big on western medicine so we always ended up with home remedies. But this time it was brutal, I could barely get out of bed and walk for a few days, when boyfriend decided to - literally - drag me to the Doctor.

Drama never comes alone, and as I got sick my grandma was admitted to the ER back in Brazil. I called my Uncle periodically to check on her, and as she got better and was moved to a room with a phone line, I got worse, and thus pushed back calling her. My illness had a peak on Tuesday Nov10th, when I went to the doctor.
As I woke up on Wednesday, alleviated by the drugs, my Mom calls breaking the news: Grandma had just passed away.

She wasn't that Grandma with whom we grew up with or anything, but she was Grandma, you know? And even though I only saw her once every couple of years when I was in Brazil, I miss the fact that she's not in this World.

I hate the tone of my blog lately, but does anyone else thing this year is being one of those years??? BLARGH.

While I was sick, I could barely eat and it feels great to be healthy again. But I started making soups, and although it's not such a weird crave like eating scorpions but with so many other yummy stuff to eat, why do I keep having soup cravings???
The days that I don't have soup for dinner, I end up craving it even if I have just had a juicy hamburger or a delicious pasta or korean bbq... it really doesn't matter what I eat, by the end of the day... I just want my soup.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Fail

This was the first Halloween that boyfriend spent here in the US. Back in Brazil, we don't celebrate Halloween like they do here... some people will go to costume parties between mid-October to mid-November, but I guess that's it.
Here in the US people go to town. They decorate their houses with lights, skeletons, graveyards, spiders, spiderwebs, mummies, zombies, pumpkins, scarecrows and so it goes... I decided to be part of that and I put out 4 pumpkins on my front door, a door crown with fall theme and a little scarecrow on the little garden in the front yard.



I was so looking forward to Halloween, I bought about 5 pumpkin carving sets, a booklet with pumpkin designs, and I thought this would be an experience boyfriend would like.

One week before Halloween I get sick, and although I take the week off, I take an extra job because hey - we need the money -, I spend the whole week running around sick, and when I finally stay home to rest I realize it's already Saturday, Oct 31st.

I wake up late, run to the store to buy some candy for the trick-or-treaters and also make some treat bags for my little ones, buy dinner on the way, take treats to my kids and run back home with about 7kg (15lb) of candy and 2 xtra large pizzas.
I was so frustrated that I never even got the time to carve my pumpkins, and on top of it all, boyfriend didn't seem to care at all.

Poured the candy into the cauldron and turned the porch lights on. Nothing. The house was silent, the street was silent. I go upstairs, and finally at around 10pm I hear someone knocking at the door and saying "TRICKS OR TREATS!!!" - it was Brett, our new roommate. He grabbed one piece of candy and went to his room.

What am I gonna do with 15lb of candy now?
Hey, Charlie Brown! You're welcome to come over :(

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Being 28




I've been thinking about writing this for a while, since it's been a few days since I had a birthday, I just never seem to get the time or energy to do it.

Typically, I'd skip commenting about this day since, unlike most people I know, it's not my favorite day of the year at all. I have to put up with a whole month of astrological hell before it, and then when it supposedly finally comes to an end, I get one year older.
My lack of enthusiasm over my birthday is actually problematic to the point that I sometimes fail to acknowledge that this might actually be a special day for other people, but I try really hard not to forget that.

This year, nevertheless, my birthday was surprisingly pleasant. Truth be told, I haven't celebrated my birthday properly in over a decade, and apart from the Sweden fiasco 4 or 5 years ago, birthdays have usually been a date to forget.

I guess because I have always been traveling and never really settling down, I never get to spend birthdays with who I really wanted to be... or I don't know. Facts: I haven't spent a birthday with my dad and brother in 11 years, with my mom in about 9 years, with my sis in 6 years... as closest friends go... I don't even wanna go there, since they're all spread in different parts of Europe, Japan and Brazil.

But I've been living in California for 3 years now and I guess I kinda adopted my own family here... 2, actually. They're people I care about and who care about me. I got to have 2 birthday dinners with my 2 families - and with my babies, and they were delicious meals as well.

Then there's boyfriend. I could clearly see he was making an effort to make that day a special day for me (I admit to have taken some advantage of that), and I really haven't felt this in a very long time... so instead of being a dreadful day, I cherished it to the fullest... boyfriend spoiling me, international phone calls, sms, e-mails, msgs on social networks... I guess I thought of my birthday as too much of an ordinary date, but this year, it was an extraordinary day :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

After A While...

Before I start with anything else, let me highlight something about the title of my post: I know this poem is not Shakespeare's, like most people tend to think (for some odd reason). The author of the original text is Veronica Shoffstall and it was written when Mr. Shakespeare was long gone.

Back to my life, I was shocked to realize it's been a month already since my last post. It's just been super busy, super hectic, super... astrological hell.
In a nutshell, we're still dealing with our roommate drama, I quit one of my jobs because I hated my project manager (to a point that I considered suing the company, and I would have a case, it's just not worth the extra headache), and I am job hunting again for extra income. Over the past week I've felt a little better and it seems like it's increasingly getting better. I'll keep hopes up :)

Other than that... not much has been going on. My dear stalker is still around, glad to know she misses me. I will get to her one of these days... One of the reasons I didn't post anything before was because I did not want to write yet another post nagging about how nasty my life was being.

I need to get some time to check out what's been going on in the blogosphere... been more of a Twitter person lately. I actually need to get some time for everything lately.

Oh, boyfriend and I have just started going on a diet. We'll see. My goal is to lose around 40lb (believe me, I'm not overreacting), I just hope Thanksgiving doesn't get in the way.
Also, I have a new hairdo. I've cut my own hair since I was 11, I liked how this chanel style turned out, I just need to get it fixed on the back... the layers are kinda screwed up (very hard to cut layers on the back of your own head, specially short sized ones). I'll leave a picture for comments ;)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nagging, Part I - The Evil Bank (of America)

One of the reasons why I was feeling so overwhelmed lately was my banking issues. I've never been too bank-friendly and I cannot understand why people cannot lead a normal life if they don't have a bank account, credit, etc. In my opinion, this only exists to give you an extra hassle, and truthfully, I only use it because I absolutely have to - nowadays you can't do much without one.

If you ask me how to make a transfer - or anything else other than deposits and withdraws for that matter -, I am completely illiterate. I only put the cash in, take the cash out and try to keep track of my money via online banking.

A couple of years ago I had to open one because of work. A couple of friends told me to open one at Bank of America, a couple of friends told me not to. Reluctantly and foolishly, I did it. I opened a checking account with BofA.

Countless times I deposited checks and they would hold it for 5-7 days... and countless times I paid overdrawn fees because of that (which, technically shouldn't be my fault since the money IS in the account). They would tell me there was nothing they could do about it, it was the system, the computers did not allow it, etc etc... Until one day I was traveling to a different country, a teller who I had become acquainted with just pushed a few buttons on the computer and voilà. No more holds on my checks. And thousands of dollars worth of overdraft fees went down the drain for me, into BofA's pockets.

They have this thing called "overdraft protection program", which is apparently, nothing more than a waste of your time (setting it up) and a trap for them to use your money for investments and still charge you for overdrafts. Yes, that's right. I had it setup IN the bank, by one of their own people... and one day I needed to use it, so I confess I wasn't particularly worried about my balance since I knew I had overdraft protection with over $500 dollars in my savings. To my surprise, a few days later when I check my online banking, I am hundreds of dollars negative, and the money in the savings account remained untouched... they never used the protection plan, and I had to use all money in my savings to cover for the fees - had the protection plan been effective, it would've been only 10-20 bucks.

But what really got on my nerves was the fact that, in about a month period they managed to take around $1,000 dollars from my account giving me the lamest excuses and arguing with me and making me sound stupid.
It started with my rent check in July. I wrote the check, a few days later it was debited from my account, but my roommate never got the money in hers. The money was lost somewhere in the banking outer space. And then BofA decided it would be fair to charge me an overdraft fee for a bounced check. Not expecting the extra $35 off of my account (that's how much they charge), I went out for lunch with boyfriend, he had macdonald's and i had something else. Then we had ice-cream. Then I bought a couple more small items. I would've been fine, but the unexpected fee made my account negative, which triggered ANOTHER FIVE OVERDRAFT FEES. Because they charge per item, and not per day.
I started calling customer service and each time they would tell me something different had happened. I talked to an expert in these banking issues and she advised me to ask for an interpreter, regardless of my speaking English. I did that. What happened? The interpreter was clearly a low-class Brazilian woman (I could tell by the way she spoke) and she didn't know I spoke English, so she started mocking me to the BofA attendant, until I said "Excuse me, I can hear you, and I can understand you too." She was speechless and they disconnected me.

After almost a month struggling to get my money back, I ultimately gave up, I paid them what they wanted just to get it overwith and told boyfriend: Do not let the account go anywhere close to $0.

One Friday, I go buy some lunch at In N'Out (which resulted in pubic hair food poisoning), and then dinner at Pick Up Stix. Then before heading home I make a deposit just to make sure my account will be covered with a positive balance, since I knew there wasn't much money in it, and go grocery shopping.
I checked online banking at home before going to bed, probably between 12am-1am. I have a positive balance of $20 even with the pending debits from lunch, dinner, grocery and a couple of online purchases I made.

"Boyfriend, I have $20 dollars left in the account, let's not touch it until I deposit more, ok?"
So that was that and I didn't even look at my online banking since it was Saturday (and Sunday is not a banking day) and I had not touched my card. On Monday I needed to check something online, and to my surprise, my available balance is not $20 anymore, it's $0. I go to the statement page, and guess what? My account is now miraculously $151 dollars NEGATIVE. How can that be???
I'll tell you how. In the hours between Saturday 1am and Monday morning, they charged me 2 mysterious overdraft fees and pulled it down under my Friday purchases - on a positive balance -, which made my last transactions negative, which made them charge me MORE overdraft fees.



I went in 2 different branches, one of them the manager gave me a paper printed at the bank where the bank was overcharging me for the transactions, and she kept repeating herself which made me think either she was too stupid to explain it, or I was too stupid to understand.
A few days later I went to the second branch, the manager was on vacation and the person assisting me said there was clearly something wrong with it - and the statement that she had on my account was already different from what the previous woman had, and what I had on my online banking. She tried to give me a refund but she said she didn't have the authority in the system.

She gave me a number I should call (customer service), and my boss recommended someone from a different branch for me to talk to. I called this person first, but instead of talking to her, I was transferred to customer service. Good enough.
I talked to a girl named Stephanie, amazingly enough the data she had in her system was again, different from what the 2 previous ones had - and from the one I had on my online banking.

She keeps telling me I was charged the overdraft fees because I was indeed negative (when I actually know for a fact that 2 Fridays before, when they started charging the fees, I was positive), and I say "No, what I see here is that you charged me overdraft fees on a positive balance" and she says I can only be crazy to say something like that. AM I??? OH AM I???? The conversation went kinda like this:

Me: Ok, Stephanie, so I'll just send you a print screen of what I see here.
Her: I'm sorry but we don't take any e-mails or faxes.
Me: Oh really? So I'll just go ahead and e-mail this to the BBB, and I would also like to have your full name please.
Her: I can't give you my full name.
Me: So can I talk to your Supervisor?
Her: .... [pause] Ok... hold please.


I was on hold for 15-20 minutes more and then disconnected.
I had given up, but then the person my boss had recommended called her, and she passed the phone on to me. She was adorable, but couldn't help me at all. Instead, I had to listen to her lecture me about controlling my expenses. And yes, you guessed it right: The statement she had was different from all the previous others. And she kept telling me "But you started the day [on Aug 7th] negative!!! That's why you were overdrawn!!!"
Indeed, she was absolutely right:


(read it from bottom to top)

But what comes before the 7th is funny too:



As I said, overdrawn on a positive balance is something only BofA can do for you. I had a nervous breakdown because of this, and I do not want to argue with anyone anymore. When I said I wanted to close the account they told me I have to pay them $250 dollars to do that (the amount my account is negative now with extended overdrawn fees) and I am morally struggling to do that, but I might just have to in order to get some peace.

I googled "evil bank" and "bank abuse" and amazingly, the first few links on websearch and image search were all Bank of America related. If you're thinking of opening a new account, DO NOT OPEN WITH BANK OF AMERICA. They will eat your money away.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Living In The Cruel World




Ok.

I just noticed it's been over a month since my last post - that's quite a lot. Still, I have more followers and people are still coming back to check on me, so thank you.
I have to be better about this.

The reason why I disappeared for a while is just because lately I've been living in a cruel world. I have no time for myself, I'm struggling with work and money, trying to keep up with my own house, dealing with some housing-related stress... and a stalker.

The stalker stopped coming around about a couple of weeks after my last post. This has happened before, this girl started checking my every move on blog, twitter, social networks... and I stopped blogging because of this - it really really bothers me. But I don't think I should go out of my way because of this, right? So I've decided, back to my dear blog and if she bothers again, I'll just do something about it. For example, expose her - it's a good start.

Also, I got a second job, and I am struggling to get it right but I am being pressured (although this was part-time "work at your own pace and earn what you make" kinda thing), so that makes me even more stressed and tired...

And on top of that, my roommates decided to adopt a dog without warning us, and it's illegal in our complex. So not only do we have to hide it, but we need to put up with the constant barking and loud tv (starting at 6am), and shredded toilet paper all over the house. I kinda ignore it now, but a couple of weeks ago we got to a point that boyfriend and I were actually avoiding going home - it was that unpleasant.

Oh, and to spice up my very boring and unactive life, the evil bank decided to take about $1,000.00usd from my account just for no reason at all (they claim overdraft fees) leaving me with a negative balance of what comes now to -$250.00usd, and they won't let me close the account until I pay them another $250 to cover for the negative balance. I know, how can the negative balance we way below the amount charged in fees, sounds kind of impossible. All my statements show that they charged me overdraft fees on balances at least over $80, but apparently their system shows otherwise.

And when I decide to go release my stress with a nice hamburger, I find several PUBIC hairs attached to my french fries.

Yes, it's been hard living in the cruel world...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

California Drivers, Behold!!!



Ok, I know this is gonna sound weird, but this is for me a huge accomplishment. Probably the greatest one in a very long time.

I am about to turn 28 and I just passed today on my driving test and got my very first driver's license. Ever. And yes, I live in California, to be more precise, Orange County.
How I was able to survive these past 2 and a half years in Orange County without a car, only I know.

Back in Brazil, or even in Portugal, either someone in my family or my friends would drive me around all the time. Worst case scenario, there was always public transportation, or taxi cabs in emergencies such as leaving a shopping center carrying lots of shopping bags.
Here in Orange County... I have no family, the few friends I have don't really live close by and as for public transportation... well, the closest bus stop to the house where I used to live was about 1 hour walking from home. And there was maybe 1 bus per hour with a very short and strange route. If you wanna take a cab from a shopping center or a mall, there are none outside. You have to have a number and get a real physical address so they will pick you up within the following 30 minutes.

Boyfriend and I bought an older Toyota Corolla 1 week after we got here, but even so, he had to drive me around everywhere... I hated waking him up to take me to work. Now I can just leave and let him sleep in. We'll have to juggle with one car only though, hopefully until the end of the year we'll have bought our second car.

The big deal here is that up until the beginning of this year, I was terrified of driving.
When boyfriend or my sister were driving, I'd sit in the passenger's seat and be a good co-pilot (at least I think so), and I can see everything around... but when I sat in the driver's seat... I just blocked. I could see nothing, I had no perspective. The car was such a huge intimidating monster.

Boyfriend started taking me out to drive in Brazil, but I only felt comfortable after a few weeks driving here.
I'm pretty confident driving now, considering my fear before... but it truly is a big relief to finally get a driver's license!

I'll probably write a post later about the exams, since they were very marking experiences. Await...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dreaming My Dreams

Onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...

I just got an e-mail with this picture. It was taken about 5-6 years ago by my ex at his former house, where he spent his College years. I love this picture... it kinda brings back nice memories, to see me laying there sleeping so peacefully with... my plush dolphin.

Yeah, this was the reason for a tease during many many years by my family, friends and (ex)boyfriend.
You see, since I was little I've had this thing for dolphins. I think they are such sweet creatures and I guess it's impossible not to love them. I confess, I even have the most clichè tattoo of my time: a dolphin in the groin.

Anyways, I think I was about 14 or so when I got this plush dolphin for my birthday from one of my best high-school friends. We named him "Golfo".
Since that day, I slept with him every single night. I could not cope with not sleeping with him, even when I went to my (ex)boyfriend's house.

The ex shares a house with friends, so his friends also used to tease me a lot because of Golfo. The ex and his friends would hide it around the house or throw it around and place it on a very high place where I couldn't reach (I'm 5 feet tall)...
When I lived with my parents, and also later when Mom came to town, she'd sneak out with Golfo and wash it and hang it under the brightest sun, so it would be dry by the time I went to bed. Mind you, she had to do this even when I was 24 years old.

And that was when we split. I was 24 years old, I was extremely late to take a flight to Madrid, I had just paid a TAXI to drive me from Malmö(Sweden) to the Copenhagen Airport(Denmark), and started running to the Iberia booth... only to find out I had just missed the flight.
The woman told me I could catch the same flight the next day, so I decided to leave all my bags in the airport lockers. Here's the conversation that followed this, between me and Dani (who accompanied me in this crazy rush):

Me: So where did you put Golfo?
Her: What do you mean where did I put him?
Me: Well, I don't have it...
Her: I don't either!
Me: ...


And I never even had the chance to say good-bye! :(
He was left alone in the trunk of a Swedish cab. We ran out to see if we could still find the taxi outside, but he was gone... we called the taxi company, but we weren't even sure if that was the right one.

I loved him dearly, and boyfriend even thought of buying me a new one this Christmas, but it's so hard to find a perfect replacement :(

Anyways, for more pics, click here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Patch

So boyfriend is on the patch now.

He's been a smoker for a few years now and he has always found it very hard to quit. A couple of weeks ago I suggested he started using patches - at first he didn't even seem to be listening but then, one fine day, out of the blue he comes up to me and says "Let's go buy patches."

This is really nice for me. When I was visiting in Brazil, he was smoking about 1 1/2 boxes per day. That's just too much. And then there was the taste of cigarettes on each kiss, the breathing, the clothes...
After we arrived in the US, I told him he would have to reduce his intake drastically, and he was really good about it.

But even so... hours after he had his last cigarette, I could still smell it, and it was unpleasant. Specially for an ex-smoker (me).

So now I'm very proud to say: BOYFRIEND'S BEEN CLEAN FOR 5 DAYS AND COUNTING! :)
He says the patches are helping him a lot, he does not feel the cig cravings anymore, he feels his breathing is better, his skin looks better and even his alcohol tolerance is better! lol.

If you're trying to quit or know anyone trying... remember the patch!

Friday, July 17, 2009

7 Sides Of My Heart

I was tagged to do this by Manju at LittleM-o-holic. I think it might be a bit hard, but here comes:

"with as much creativity as you can muster, show your heart in: a picture, a poem, a song (or piece of music), a phrase (or quote), an item of clothing, a place, and (just for fun) a Disney princess. if you want to join in, tag 6 more blogs."



1. A picture
Boyfriend probably doesn't like this one, but I do. It would be hard to think of just one picture, even because I would like to have pictures of my babies here too. Anyways, this was a very nice weekend, we were in Brazil and went over to my Uncle's ranch in a small village in the uplands of Sao Paulo. It was the first time boyfriend traveled with me to meet relatives, so it was important to me :)

2. A poem
My favorite poet(ess) is a Portuguese woman who lived in the early years of the 20th century. I will write here one of my favorite poems, I wrote this once on a letter to my best friend... it's kind of a poem about unconditional and endless love :) So... if anyone understands Portuguese... enjoy!

FANATISMO

Minh'alma, de sonhar-te, anda perdida
Meus olhos andam cegos de te ver!
Não és sequer razão do meu viver,
Pois que tu és já toda a minha vida!

Não vejo nada assim enlouquecida...
Passo no mundo, meu Amor, a ler
No misterioso livro do teu ser
A mesma história tantas vezes lida!

"Tudo no mundo é frágil, tudo passa..."
Quando me dizem isto, toda a graça
Duma boca divina fala em mim!

E, olhos postos em ti, digo de rastros:
"Ah! Podem voar mundos, morrer astros,
Que tu és como Deus: Princípio e Fim!"


3. A song
That one is easy... "In My Life", but I like the version by Johnny Cash. It gives me chills... and it describes me pretty well.


4. A phrase/quote
This one is not one of those deep, meaningful ones but I like it:
"The secret for staying young is living an honest life, eat slowly and lie about your age."


5. An item of clothing
This is a weird one...
But anyways... I used to have some clothes with sentimental value... yes, that's right. I don't know if that is weird or not, but I did, or still do. I have a very colorful scarf by Benneton that I got for my birthday in my early teens... I love it and it still looks brand new. And I also have this little wool coat that my great-grandma knitted for me when I was about 10. It was very large at the time, and since I didn't grow too much, it still fits me. It looks very old, but I won't throw it away for anything in this world.
Other than that, I like dresses. And whatever I don't need to wear a bra with, specially during Summer time. I also like skirts. Last Christmas boyfriend gave me this Ralph Lauren skirt I had been flirting with for a while.

6. A place
Lisbon.
That's where I grew up, where I spend very important years in my life, where I can find my parents, childhood friends, where I have my own special shelters and hiding spots... I wouldn't like to live there again though. I took this picture last time I was there, in 2005. It was a very memorable Summer for me.

7. A Disney Princess
Hahaha this is definitely the weirdest thing ever.
I think my favorite one is Rose, Sleepy Beauty. I had the VHS when I was little, I used to watch it over and over everyday. I knew all the lines by heart and all. I also like Mulan, and I guess feature wise, I look more like Mulan too haha.


Ok, so here was my little list... I was supposed to tag 6 people, but I will just leave it here and if you like it and want to do it too, just let me know so I can check it out, ok?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

(Re)Connecting...

... is always good to.

I was very happy to hear from my ex this weekend, he lives in Brazil and says he wants to come see me here in the US.
That will be very nice, specially since this guy was a very important person for my maturing and we have always connected really well.

After we broke up, we remained friends... until the maniac girlfriend of his started throwing tantrums because she was ridiculously jealous of me. Or insecure about their relationship, probably. I really don't understand all the jealousy. It is healthy to be jealous sometimes, but you gotta know where to draw the line. The ex and I had to go on a little hiatus and didn't talk for a while. Whatever it is that happened between him and the other girl, mustn't have worked since as soon as they broke up, he looked me up.

Men. They say women are complicated, but who understands men???

Anyways... it will be nice having him around :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

10 Random Facts

Finally!

I was tagged by the Toothfairy to write this, it took me a while but here it comes:

1. I procrastinate. As you may have noticed. And that goes for pretty much EVERYTHING. Activities, chores, plans, dreams... It's a terrible flaw and I hate it, and I really want to change it... but I procrastinate the change too. This post is a good example of this, another good example is my bedroom. I took a picture of it on the same day I moved, to show it to my family in Brazil. I said "it's messy cause we just moved in, but I'll send you the pics once we get it totally furnished and cleaned up!" - that was over 2 months ago.

2. I talk too much. Boyfriend complains a lot about this, he keeps telling me I need not to fill the silent gaps, but I do, I really do. People say I'm my mom's daughter, cause she talks a lot too. And so does my grandma. My sister is said to be the quiet girl in the family, but boyfriend complains that she talks too much too. Both my dad and my bro are very quiet, they stick to the basics. But my other grandma - dad's mom - says he's the blabber in the family. I guess all my uncles on that side of the family are mute.

3. I used to be a lot better with my writing than I am today. Writing used to be a therapy, I had journals, I wrote letters, I wrote articles and chronicles... When I took my CPE exam from Cambridge, I got "Exceptional Writing Skills". I wished I practiced more.

4. This blog is actually over 7 years old. It has had several different (and totally unrelated) layouts and titles. I hid the older posts, because some people like to spy on me (I think I'll write a post about them one of these days). I started writing this originally in Portuguese, and it was kind of like... unread letters to my high school sweet heart. Pathetic, huh?

5. I really wanted to live in Sweden. I was talking on MSN to my friend, she wrote "I wanna move to Sweden!!! Let's move to Sweden!" - My dad was sitting right next to me, I said "Dad, I think I'm gonna move to Sweden." He said "ok" and 3 months later my friend and I were having the best 3 months in our lives. I only stayed for 3 months due to visa status, she is there until today. None of us would like to live in Sweden now.

6. My coming to the USA was a trajectory's accident. I was aiming for Sweden, as I said before. I had been waiting for my new visa to arrive for over 6 months, it was getting me stressed and annoyed and unemployed. So I had a job offer here in the States, I thought I'd come since I had the visa already... just until my Swedish visa came out. As you may have noticed, I changed my mind.

7. My family is pretty international. I live in the US, my sister lives in Brazil, my parents and my brother live in Portugal. I used to date this guy in Sweden, now I live with boyfriend, who just came from Brazil. His sister lives in Taiwan.

8. For some reason, I was always a "popular" girl. Since I was a little kid. In school, I was always part of the "coolest gangs". I somehow hung out with many different gangs - pretty much 99% of the school knew me, that kind of pissed my BFF off, she was a bit possessive when it came to Elize time. When I grew up and moved to Brazil, not much changed. I used to go out a lot, had VIP passes to all parties and concerts... When I went back to Portugal, I was the new gang's sweetheart Brazilian hottie, they'd commute for 1h/day to pick me up and drop me off every single day. That whole popularity thing changed after I moved to the US.

9. My life used to be a lot more interesting. And I realize that in moments like these, when I have to say something and I can't think of anything. My life used to be pretty exciting, and everyone used to say they wished they had my life... now my life is just boring. I'm like a housewife with 5 kids.

10. I cry over spilled milk. It is very likely that, as soon as I hit "publish", I'll think of 25 better things I could have written, and I didn't.


Oh! I forgot something *kinda* important.
I have to tag 10 bloggers:

1. Segue a Linha
2. Noah Alexandre Chen
3. LitteM-o-holic
4. loveisdead
5. sweets and hearts
6. lifeis
7. glamour sacrifice
8. Her name is Noelle
9. Nipplelicious
10.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

(Wo)man VS Machine

So boyfriend has a new toy...

His old laptop was falling apart - literally -, the screen was breaking from the body of the laptop and it was hanging from the right side, besides it was quite impossible to use more than one application at a time - not to mention the memory of a pea.

So after a lot of anticipation (a couple of days), we finally bought his new toy. It was actually a present from his dad, kind of.

It's a really nice computer (although I don't think I could go back to using Windows), but there's a place where I draw the line, and that place is right there, where he stops paying attention to me and telling me to shut up so he can play with the new gadget.

Can you believe I actually had to sleep by myself last night? He crawled into bed at who knows what time (not even he knows), and this morning he wouldn't wake up. He had to drive me to work, when we got there, I left the car, and 1 hour later he comes in and goes "how long was I out?"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Growing Up In The 80's

I don't want to write another mega post on MJ, although I still have thoughts about him - in fact, I was telling my friend earlier today, I might be obsessing over his death. But let's not talk about him dead.

I thought it'd be nice to just remember some moments in my life in which MJ was somehow involved. And it pretty much started since I was born.

My mom is the oldest of 5. The 2 youngest aunts were teenagers when I was born, so I remember spending lots of time in my grandma's, and my aunts listening to music on the radio while cleaning the house. Thriller and Billie Jean were obvious hits, as well as Ricky Astley and Crowded House, among others.

When the second youngest Aunt got married, I used to sleep over a lot. They got my grandparents old house as a wedding gift, so we just kept hanging out there. I remember staying up late with Aunt and Uncle watching movies like "Clash of the Titans" and being totally ok with it (except for the Medusa part, I had nightmares with her), but everytime I watched the videoclip for "Thriller" I'd get totally freaked out.

In late childhood and early teenagehood I started with the boyband fever. So pretty much all I cared about was NKOTB, then Take That, then ultimately, the BSB.
But in between, I did listen to a lot of "Bad", "Dangerous" and "Black or White", that video clip was amazing, I recorded it on VCR and I could watch it and rewind it and watch it again for hours, just to see Macaulay Culkin and those morphing faces. It really was amazing.

I also remember as a kid wishing I'd be invited to the Ranch. I'd think "Aren't those kids lucky? Not only do they get to spend some vacation time in an amazing place with lots of luxury, but they do it with Michael Jackson!"
At the time, I thought only star kids would go (like Culkin), and I knew I'd never ever be picked.

In Portugal there was a tv show on channel 1 at lunch time that showed video clips. I watched it every single day before going to school, it was right after Tom Sawyer. It was kinda like a top ten chart, but the weirdest thing is, they played old songs all the time. So for a really long time, every single day I would watch the clip to "Billie Jean" while I was having lunch. That was right before they released "Black or White", by the way.

There was this girl in my class, her name was Ines. While me and pretty much all the other girls my age were digging the boy bands, she was a huge fan of Madonna and Michael Jackson. I thought that was very odd, but I owe it partially to her for having these 2 pop icons very present in my teenage years. She even taught me some of the choreography, but I'm just too uncoordinated to do it.
The other person I owe this to is a guy called Tiago. He wasn't in my class, but he was one of the school's hottie and a very good friend of mine. And also my highschool sweetheart's best friend.

Ever since I was a kid, I heard all sorts of rumors about MJ. He slept in a bubble whatever, he bleached his skin, he had a pact with whoever, he was an alien, he was immortal, yatta yatta yatta. Even today I hear absurd things about him. I read on a website that he was seen alive in London, and there was a "picture" to prove it. And another site said he was seen crossing the border to Mexico a few moments before they announced him dead.

Just like it happened with Elvis, he's the King, people are in denial and there will be all sorts of theories about this, for years to come.

When I was about 15, a friend of my brother's - who was actually a friend of the whole family -, commited suicide. I was the one who got the call about it, and I was the one who had to tell my brother about it. He got pissed, he called me a liar, among other more unpleasant things. He called our friend's house and no one answered, so he decided to go there personally and prove me wrong.

I knew there was no reason for someone to call me lying about it, but I was still waiting for my brother to come back and prove me wrong.
I waited and waited... I decided to turn on the tv to get distracted, I liked the German music channel Viva.
There are 2 videoclips that remind me of this moment. The moment my brother arrived, devastated, and I knew time had stopped, I could describe every detail in the room in those long silent minutes... and in the background, Michael and Janet singing. I do love this clip, but it does bring me sad memories.

As for his trial days... I was on a long vacation in Portugal, at my parents house. SNL was all about MJ and his trial at that time.
I used to watch it and I thought it was an OK show... until there was one sketch about Michael leaving Neverland or something like that... can't really remember, I remember they put a fake Michael inside a fence and they had helicopters over him... it was just a very distasteful sketch in my opinion, in light of the events at that time. That was the last time I ever watched SNL.

And I remember talking to my sister online one day, and she'd tell me "Why can't they leave him alone? He's innocent! Leave him alone!"

So yeah, let's just leave him alone... if that was at all possible.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The King Of Pop



I know it's cliche to keep writing about Michael Jackson's death but hey, writing about anything else would be like not talking about the big pink elephant in the room. It really is all I can think about - specially since I keep receiving tweets and e-mails and ims about it.

I spent most of the day reading news on his death and watching tribute videos (there are some really cool ones out there, you guys should look for the Philippino prision inmates at youtube.com), reading what random people have to say about it... and really, it makes me mad.

Not that anyone really cares about my thoughts on MJ, but hello??? I have never been an assumed MJ fan, but I have never talked shit about him either, even during his trashiest trial days. By the way, I do believe he was innocent.

One of the favorite things I read was a comment from Robin Gibb, one of the Bee Gees, quoting:

"This tragedy should teach us a lesson to value and praise those gifts while we still have them in the world.

"If even a small portion of the praise that is bestowed on Michael Jackson now in death was given to him last year in life, he might well still be with us."


I know he wasn't the most average Joe and all the plastics and scandals made him look like a freak and put him on the spotlight, but not in a good way. But I do believe he was a good person, I do believe he was innocent from the pedophilia charges against him, I do believe the people who did it were just stupid opportunists trying to take advantage of a great chance that was given to them (c'mon, if you think the million(s) dollars settlement sounded tricky, don't you think a person who has been sexually molested would settle for money rather than justice to feel peace? That just proves lack of integrity to me), and mostly, I do believe every bad thing that happened to him lead him to his unfortunate fate last Thursday.

I think he might have been too fragile and naive to stand up for himself, and I do believe there are people like that. The fact that he is talented and famous does not make him super in every other way.

And yes, he was very talented. Anyone who says otherwise is being a total hypocrite. I highly doubt that there is anyone from my generation who did not once tried to move like he did, and sang along to his songs and made that stereotyped yell of his "eeee-heeeee". I highly doubt that there is any so-called "music star" from nowadays who did not have MJ as inspiration or musical reference at some level, at some point in time. And I mean ANY so-called musician from today. And I say "so-called" because most of what we have today is not music, it's pure rubbish.

He freaking invented the moonwalk!!!

About 7-6 years ago I used one of his songs as inspiration for a class. I was teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to agricultural students from South America. It was very challenging since most of them had a lot of trouble just making it to "Hello, my name is _____", and I had to teach a foreign language to people who didn't even speak the same language (half spoke Portuguese, the other half spoke Spanish).

Anyways, after using about 3 different text books and all sorts of exercises I had used before, I ran out of resources to try to get my students to absorb any of the things I taught them. I even had one of the students look at me with the deadliest look and say "I have always hated English and all my English teachers, I don't see how that's gonna change anytime now." Ouch. Until I came up with this project.



Instead of trying to get English grammar in their brains with a 5% success rate (with maybe 2 students in a class of 35), I decided to talk about morals, and love, compassion, standards, life, values... things that mattered to them, and in the end I'd give them keywords in English to study and use them in the following class.
The best part of the project was the graduation presentation: I showed them the lyrics to "Heal The World", by Michael Jackson and they used a dictionary to translate it in group.

They were all touched by the lyrics and how it made sense to them from what we had been doing in class. They learned how to sing it (and believe it or not, for someone who doesn't speak English, it is very hard to sing in English) and they all stood onstage after they got their diplomas and the roses and it was beautiful and touching.
After the ceremony - and I don't mean to brag - the students gave me their roses and thanked me "for a valuable lesson" - Heal The World.

The guy who told me had hated all English teachers also gave me his rose and said he learned how important it was to communicate in English and he would pursue his English studies furthermore.
Amazingly, almost half of the class is now traveling around the world doing volunteer work.

And until today, all these students still write me and thank me for somehow making a difference and showing that their place and their work was to do what "I" had taught them - Heal The World.

I'm sorry, that didn't come from me, it came from Mr. Jackson. And I don't believe a freak, child molester, whatever-you-wanna-call-him person would be able to come up with this song. I don't think he could've written this song if he was that bad.

He was a brilliant man, I might even dare to say he surpassed Elvis - and believe me, that is HUGE coming from me, I'm a huge fan of Elvis.
He is an icon, his songs are icons...
I was watching the Ellen DeGeneres show today, which was probably pre-recorded early this week, and at the end of a sketch they started playing "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". That song is also the theme for one of the most popular/ancient/traditional Brazilian shows. A Brazilian version of Oprah, if you may.

He might have not been the average Joe, but that only helped making him unique. No one can sing like him, or dance like him, there will be no other Elvis, no other James Brown, and no other Michael Jackson. And unfortunately, I think everyone just took him for granted.

Anyways, here are some of my thoughts on Michael Jackson's life and death, if you care.



Also, he was the only one who could wear the outfits he wore and totally pull it off.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

10.000


I hadn't realized that the last post was supposed to be my 10.000th. It was the 10th, but had I not hidden the rest of this blog, it would be the 10.000th.

So I went through some old posts to reminisce a little and see how my life has evolved... I haven't been able to read everything yet. But I was sure my next post would be about this.

Until Michael Jackson died.

I know a lot of people in the USA dislike him and see him as a freak of nature. But I'm sorry, he's a huge part of my childhood, and I can't help feeling for this loss - and I know when I say this, I speak on behalf of many people from my generation in Brazil and in Portugal too.
He might have had all the problems he had, but his brilliance on stage is undeniable. I don't know a single person who can't sing at least one of his songs and I really have never seen anyone dance like him.

This is kinda like finding out Santa Claus doesn't exist at age 27.

I bet iTunes is gonna make a lot of money in the next couple of days off of MJ's songs, and I might be one of those to download them and dance to the sound of some of the 80's greatest jewels.

Today was such a weird day. Michael Jackson died, and so many weird things happened.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

Being a third culture kid living in a second foreign country like me is very different in many instances. Father's Day, as well as Mother's Day, is one good example.

I was born in Brazil (as were my parents), and there we celebrate Father's day in August. Nevertheless, I was raised in Portugal, and my parents still live there, where they celebrate Father's Day in March.
I live in California now. Father's Day was yesterday here in the US. It's funny that most people I know ask me kind of in a pitiful way "What are your plans for Father's Day?" because I don't have parents to spend these days with...

I used to care.
I actually used to care and be upset about it... nowadays I look at the glass half full. I get to "celebrate" Father's Day 3 times in a year. Mother's Day twice (it's the same here and in Brazil). And I guess the parents also like the extra attention. And when I'm here, I get to hang out with people who are taking good care of me while I'm here. So there's no reason to feel pity for me.

By the way, that's my Dad in the picture, Mr. Kawauchi, standing next to Mr. Koizumi, Japan's ex Prime Minister. My Dad was Mr. Koizumi's interpreter in his last visit to Portugal. Yes, it's good to have a Father to look up to :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Saturday!

Even if I babysit for a couple of hours today, it's still Saturday :)
Day to sleep in, no worries about what time I'm waking up, no worries about time at all :)

I still need to clean up the bedroom and do 2 loads of laundry, but not right now... it's Saturday afternoon and I wanna enjoy the weekend!
Find us at the pool!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Highschool.

I still dream of highschool. It's weird and my best friend from highschool - who is now a psychologist - says I have many unsolved issues, highschool is one of them.

I think highschool is pretty much the stage in life when we realize life is not easy. Before then, all we did was suck our thumbs, eat, play and sleep. The hardest things we ever had to deal with were going potty and accepting that we don't eat candy before meals.
But in highschool... we need to learn to cope with other people's expectations, and our own expectations... we need to learn to deal with affection, we need to learn to cope with rejection... we're constantly trying to make a point, to be noticed, to make a difference somehow... we're trying to fit in, we're falling in love...

Highschool was when I first felt love.
I still remember his name, his class, the clothes he wore... I even have his phone number somewhere and he's a "buddy" on one of those social networks. Did he know? Of course he did, the whole school knew it. Did he correspond? Of course not, it was highschool. He was in love with someone else who loved someone else who loved no one.
I still dream of highschool, and when I do, he's in that dream, sitting with me and chatting in the same place we used to when we were younger.

I also dream of my friends.
We had this closed group of friends that we hung out with a lot. There were 8 of us: 4 girls, 4 boys. And we were all "best friends". One of the boys is now a manager at a JP Morgan in London or something like this, the other one is a researcher for the Krakow University in Poland. They're still best friends, in fact, the latter was the first one's best man at his wedding last year. They all live in Europe, but they had a bachelor's party just 250 miles from here, and I heard about it from a third person who had attended the wedding the month before.
So yes, even the best friends gang fell apart... and yes, it upset me a lot because I still considered them very good friends.



I had a falling out with one of the girls 4 years ago.
Ever since we were about 10 years old, my mom would tell me she had a "feeling" about this particular girl, and that I should not trust her. I ignored mom, I had fights with mom, so I could stand up for my friend.
We remained friends over the years even though I moved back to Brazil... she visited me once and we had a great time, 18 years old and by ourselves during carnival in Brazil? We had it all.
But 4 years ago, when I went back to Portugal, my mom gave me the same speech. I remember my exact words were: "Mom, you couldn't break us apart when I was a kid, what makes you think you can do it now that I am 24?"
And a couple of months later, the falling out. Well, long story short, she was a real ungrateful back-stabbing b*tch. Moms know better, always listen to your mom.

It's sad though. I really thought we would all grow old together.
I still talk to a lot of people from highschool... but our lives are so much different now, even if I try fitting in again, I don't think I ever will.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stubburn

I can be a real pain. I know that.

So today boyfriend and I were picking up dinner (Costco pizza, best deal in town!), and he starts going on about how unbearable I've become. I guess he misses hanging out with someone else rather than just me 24/7. And I get that, but you should see him in the morning! He can get worse than me on my worst day of PMS.

Anywho, after saying that, he told me not to talk to him because he needed not to listen to my voice until 4pm tomorrow. So now he's getting the silence treatment.

We do this in a very friendly way though, for those who don't know us... we just try to give each other a hard time every now and then, for laughs. Today while he was taking a shower I turned off the hot water, so he had a freezing jet straight on his back... it was fun to hear him scream, and he couldn't really say anything since "we're not talking".

Let's see if he'll last until tomorrow at 4pm :)
Oh. Don't mess with me, ever.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy Meal

Photobucket There is nothing like a good to meal to heal our pain. I know I should be saving money and I know I should be on a diet, but to hell with it, I failed the DMV driving test today.

I bought a nice juicy tender top sirloin steak and had a really nice dinner at home with boyfriend. Do you know how to prepare a very simple and yet, tasty steak? Just pour a little bit of soy sauce on it (I like the less sodium one), and then sprinkle a bit of thick salt over it... melt the butter on the frying pan (ohhh the sinful butter), cook the steak both sides for about 3 minutes on each side and voilà! Don't forget to burn the sides, to kinda melt the fat (if there is any) on the sides.

Ideally I'd have it with assorted veggies... broccoli, zucchini, green beans... but today we just had mini portobellos. And my potato salad, which is very different from any potato salad in American restaurants:



It looks a bit like this, only I use the potato skin. Also very easy to do:
Wash the mini potatoes, boil them to make them soft and then deep fry them. Or you could just boil them, if you peel it. Pour some olive oil, vinegar, add salt and some parsley. If anyone ever tries this, let me know how it turned out.

So it's like I say... a full tummy takes away all misery :)

Rebecas

All my life, I've had issues with the Rebecas I met. There's one more in my list now: Rebeca from the DMV.

If you go on any of the driving tests DMV booklets, they will say "THE DMV WANTS YOU TO PASS THE TEST, THE EXAMINER JUST WANTS TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE DRIVING SAFELY."

Hey, I know I drive safely, ok? In fact, I know I drive a lot better than a lot of people out there. So how come I can't get a license???
Before taking the exam for the first time, I read this website on behind-the-wheel tests, Bobsaid.com. I quote:
Remember - the examiner is not out to get you. The examiner is not prejudiced against your age, gender, race or religion. If you flunk the driving test, you deserved to flunk it.


Oh really, Mr. Bob??? How enlightened of you to say that. After reading this, there I went all confident that I would pass the test, until Becky, on my first attempt, instructed me to make an ilegal lane change, a left turn past the left turn lane entrance, made me stop in the middle of a right of way right turn and marked me off for that, among other things... and her comments on some of my "mistakes" were "I bet could pull this off, but are you sure you could? I think it would be dangerous."

Today I saw Becky once more, for my delight. The exam went very smoothly, she didn't say a word except for the instructions, and on the corner before we turned back to the DMV parking lot, she looks down to her sheet and suddenly starts marking random mistakes on the sheet, including a critical driving mistake (which, from what I recall, should immediately terminate the exam, if she didn't do it, it didn't happen - and really, it didn't). After I parked the car, she doesn't give me any explanations, just says "you had 18 mistakes which is unsatisfactory" and walks out of the car. Seriously?

I do wish I get her one more time, and regardless of the results, I will present a formal complain to the DMV. I know I can drive well and I follow the rules.

This is me in a few years from now...

The Proposal


I wanna watch this. I asked boyfriend if we could go to the movies on Friday and he said he'll do it only if I pass my driving test.

By the way, my driving test starts in half hour. I should get going, wish me luck!

Blog Statement


One of the reasons why I go on such huge hiatus from my blog is because I care so much that I put a lot of thought into what I should write.

So I decided to make a statement here:
I give up making an effort to make this as funny as it once was (my life was ridiculous, thus amusing to other people), or corny (I've had my days, ok? and they were loooong) or whatever it is that makes people wanna read it.

Pretty much the only person who will want to read this is me (deal with it), and maybe my stalker ex-boss (I'm smarter than you think) and my stalker ex boyfriend's ridiculously jealous girlfriend (will you ever let go?). And I pretty much just wanted to say: I KNOW YOU'RE STALKING ME.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Updates:


So if you care, here are some recent updates on my life:

- I came back to Orange County.

- I might as well be married with children.

- I live with my Chubbs in a lovely townhome in Dana Point.

- Tomorrow I am taking my behind-the-wheel test at the DMV in San Clemente for the second time.

- This picture was taken yesterday, that's the most recent you'll get.

- I just butchered my hair.

- No more pictures for at least 2 months.

A New Page

For a while now I have been giving this a thought, and today I decided I should get back to writing in my blog. Not really "getting back", I want to start it over... from page one.

If you want to browse through old pages, sorry, you can't. But every now and then I might have something interesting going on in my life.

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