Tuesday, October 25, 2016

my closet

I have never considered myself a closet person.  Or really even understood why people on HGTV get so excited about closet space.  

Life in the Foreign Service has afforded me some pretty nice closets in the past.  (Here's looking at you, old house in Brasilia.)  And life in the Foreign Service has afforded me some pretty horrible closets in the past.  (Here's looking at you, Arlington, and that 2 square feet of closet space.)

This rental house takes the cake.  I have never seen in a real house, much less lived in a house, with such a grand master bedroom closet.  Honestly, there is room for EVERYTHING I own.  Including what we affectionately call "the Wal-Mart", which is our multi-year stockpile of stuff like Band-Aids and sunscreen, our luggage, sporting equipment, the dog's airplane carrier, etc. 

It is the best closet ever, and I am spoiled for anything that follows it.

Shoes...  and Leo... and two rows of baseball hats and visors.  

Wal-Mart, dirty clothes, sporting equipment, luggage and the dog carrier (in a blurry photo)

Closet, glorious closets.  And a make-up mirror with fancy lights.  Too bad I don't wear make-up.

Over there with that chair is Jimmy's closet.  His and hers closets.  The hers is bigger than the his.  (sorry for the blur.)

Leo in the reflection

Empty storage space all over this closet.  It really is a dream closet.  And those two pull-out drawers are black felt-lined jewelry drawers.  Except that I don't have any fancy jewelry to put in them so I have two fancy drawers full of Advil and Benadryl and Mucinex and stuff like that.  
a panoramic from the Wal-Mart corner

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Recommendation

I just finished reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. You can read all the reviews online for a synopsis so I'll save you from any spoilers.  All I can tell you is it's the most charming and poignant novel I've read in ages.  I laughed and cried and rooted for Ove through all his heartbreak and curmudgeon-y behavior and ultimately through the renewal of his life's purpose.

***** out of *****  

Now I'm off to download Mr. Backman's other novels...

P.S.  I was stuck in the tunnel yesterday for over 5 minutes yesterday afternoon.  Adele's "When We Were Young" had just started when I lost reception, but naturally it was long over by the time I got reception again.  This game is harder than you think!

Friday, October 21, 2016

my newest hobby

The late bus from school (for after-school sports and clubs) doesn't come to our new house, so now that we've moved, I have to drive to school three afternoons a week to pick up Mac after basketball. 

The shortest way from our new house to school is right through Rocinha, the largest (in population) favela in Rio de Janeiro.  (For context, the population of Rocinha is estimated to be between 100,000 and 300,000.  Our hometown of Moncks Corner has a population of less than 10,000.)

However, we're not allowed to drive through favelas, so I have to take a nearly mile-long tunnel under the favela and through the mountain and  then drive back up around the other side of the mountain.  If traffic is moving, time in the tunnel is relatively minimal.  But if traffic is slow or not moving (more often than not), it can take minutes to get through the tunnel.

In a mile-long tunnel that runs through a mountain, you lose all radio reception no matter how fast you drive through it.  My newest hobby is to try to keep singing whatever song is on the radio after I lose radio reception to see if I'm on the same part of the song as the radio when reception picks back up on the other side of the tunnel.

I lose the game every single time.  Every single time.  I'm very disappointed in myself and hope that practice makes perfect in the future.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

why does buying jeans have to be so hard?

Next to bras, buying jeans is the single hardest wardrobe staple to buy.  When we're in the US, my jeans-buying involves going to some jeans-selling store and taking about 12 pairs of the same cut/size/style of jean into the dressing room and trying on what should be exactly the same thing, getting frustrated that nothing fits right and leaving with no new jeans.

I came to Brazil with two pairs of jeans.  One is a beloved pair from Old Navy that I think I bought when Mac was about 18 months old.  I didn't wear them out of the house (at least not often), but they were worn and comfortable and fit like a champ.  But jeans that are over 11 years old only will last for so long.  One sad day recently I put them on and realized there was a giant rip in the seat so they got thrown away.

The other pair of jeans I brought to Rio are a pair from the GAP that are maybe four or five years old.  Because I buy jean so infrequently, I can remember the young, enthusiastic sales guy at the GAP on King Street in Charleston who told me exactly what cut I needed. And he was right!  Those were the best-fitting jeans I've ever bought, but they, too, were starting to look tired.

I decided that I needed two new pairs of jeans, but I just could not be bothered with trying on jeans in Rio.  It's traumatic enough for me to do it in the US, but to do it in a place where, by the looks of people in jeans here, they sell two sizes only (small and extra-small), would cause irreparable damage to the psyche.

So I ordered jeans online.  I checked the sizing in my well-fitting GAP jeans and found a pair online that I liked in that same size.  I also ordered a pair from Old Navy.

They arrived this week and I am very pleased to tell you that they fit perfectly through the problem waist, hip and thigh areas.

The issue is the length.  Apparently people who wear my size in the waist must all be professional basketball players who are at least 6'2" tall.  Who are the model-tall women that GAP and Old Navy are selling jeans to?  I ordered Regular fit and not Tall, so I can imagine how long the Talls would have been.

Off to the tailor this week, which should be loads of fun.  In addition to shortening the jeans, I'm going to have to explain why I don't want them tightened up all the way around....


Wednesday, October 12, 2016


People, are you watching This is Us?  If not, you need to start now.  You're not too far behind and it is worth it to catch up.  Seriously, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.  Just figure out how to watch the back episodes and get on it.

(I should say it's worth it to catch up if you like well-written, thoughtful, funny, poignant, a bit of sad, and a lot of emotional real-life family drama television.  And I get that not everybody likes that.  I was trying to explain the premise of the series to Jimmy and his eyes glazed over and he said I didn't need to bother.  It's sort of how I felt when he couldn't watch the end of the Carolina ballgame on Sunday afternoon and while reading the football plays in the car on his cell phone en route to dinner, he explained everything that was happening to me.  As if I cared.  But at least I never told him not to bother.)

Anyway, if you were a fan of Parenthood or Brothers & Sisters, you simply must watch this show.  You'll get all the feels as it literally covers every life topic from pregnancy, stillbirth, adoption, young marriage, old marriage, childhood and adult relationships among siblings, childrearing, obesity, living in the shadows of someone else, sibling rivalry, what motivates people to succeed, bonding with your children, postpartum depression, secrets that we keep, new relationships, relationships with our parents as adults, etc.

And that's only through episode three!

The writers have created this amazing story that flashes back and forward and is so thoughtful and heartwarming and saddening and beautiful.  The actors were perfectly cast and I just cannot get enough of it.

Do not miss it, peeps!

Monday, October 10, 2016

politics and presidents

I am dumbfounded, shocked, and embarrassed by how ugly this presidential election is.  It's an embarrassment to the great people of America, although I must confess that I'm not sure who all these people are that got one person on the ticket in the first place.  I have very defined ideas on this election and opinions on both of the candidates, but I'm taking the counsel that it is best for me to keep my mouth shut for a number of reasons.

What I will say is this:

I think one person is supremely qualified to be the next President of the United States of America by resume and history alone.  I would go so far as to say that this person is the most qualified candidate for President in the last umpteen election cycles.  

And I think one person is outrageously and morally and ethically and everything else-ly unqualified to be the next President of the United States of America by resume and history alone.  I would go so far as to say that this person is the least qualified candidate for President in the last umpteen election cycles.

I pray everyday that America chooses well and wisely on November 8.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

tough day on the western front

Some days parenting a teenager is really hard work.

Especially when math homework is involved.

It's a job not for the faint of heart.

And today I'm feeling a little faint of heart.