I have visitors this month (actually from last Friday until just after Christmas).
I’ll try to continue posting, but you’ll see a huge drop on the frequency of posts.
The drop actually has already stated last week as I was preparing the house…
And most likely I’ll be posting more pictures than writing, as that’s easier and faster.
“Childe Roland to the dark tower came.” (Robert Browning)
So for about a year of my time on my when and where, I followed Roland on the many years on his many whens and wheres. Today our quest came to an end as I finished the last book of The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King.
I highly recommend!
I loved all of the books, but my favorite (I guess, so hard to tell…) may have been book 3, The Waste Lands.
My least favorite (if there is such a thing) was book 5, Wolves of the Calla.
But the entire series is very, very, extremely good.
I still have The Wind Through the Keyhole to read.
This one is about the same people and chronologically happens between books 4 and 5, but it was written afterwards and is not really part of their quest (sortof, I ken). I’ll have a break now, and then someday I’ll go back to Roland and his ka-tet to read his tales from that ‘extra’ book.
Below are some pictures that showed my own journey in instagram. I had some breaks reading different stuff and authors between some of the books, and in overall took about a year, maybe a little over. I can’t remember the date I started the first book, but Amazon tells me I placed the order to buy them on February, 14th of last year. So I’d guess it was somewhere between February 16th (Prime rocks!) and early March.
Long days and pleasant nights!
Big business meeting, more people than chairs.
I chose happily to sit on the floor. I can move more freely when need to change position. My legs, hip and back thank me for that.
Back from lunch, people insist on getting me a chair.
They don’t get it.
This post was written in response to the Miniature Writing Challenge, hosted by Art and Life.
I’m a foreigner myself, born and raised in Brazil, but leaving on the US for more than a third of my life now. So I’d have several stories to tell about being on a different cultural environment.
Today, when I saw the prompt, I was on a room full of people, and I believe only one or 2 were US born, meaning it was a room full of foreigners trying to make sense of each other.
But what struck me as something worth writing about had nothing to do with place of birth, but that still made me feel out of place in that group, like a foreigner.
He is crossing the desert after the man who killed his father. The crossing is though, but the need for revenge keeps him going.
After days in open desert, he finally reaches a village.
The story of the murder and his seek for revenge travelled faster than he did, though, and the townsfolk knew who he was as soon as he entered town. They’re a peaceful folk and afraid of gunslingers.
He came armed with 2 Colt pistols and an incredible amount of hatred.
They all run to hide inside their houses, waiting for him to pass and go on with his business.
When he entered the town’s Saloon, all he saw was an empty room. Not a single soul to serve him.
He poured himself a pint of beer, grabbed some jerky and sat down to eat before continuing on his journey.
“Coward pricks! It’s not them I’m after…. Well, at least I get free beer.”
This post was written in response to this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers , with photo prompt provided by myself, and contains 156 words.
The picture is of a saloon in Virginia City, Montana, which is an authentic wild west city, that had the buildings preserved to this date.
Today it’s more like a touristic attraction, but much more authentic than the “fabricated” ones.
The guys from our party all sat down and ordered beer.
They didn’t have jerky, though, just peanuts. And the shells were supposed to go to the floor. I guess it added to the spirit of the place. ;o)
Gunslinger is a word I learned recently. Having had watched the wild west movies all in Portuguese as a child, I simply didn’t know the English word, until last year when I started reading The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. And that’s what inspired the crossing the desert image
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
– Stephen King
To see other stories inspired by the same prompt, click the blue frog below.
I hope you all had a great holiday season. Be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever you like to celebrate at the end of the Gregorian calendar year.
For me the holidays were great. We stayed home and managed to do several projects. Christmas party was fun, with a visit from Santa and lots of happy kids.
But it all affected my blogging routine.
I’ve been silent for a few week now, due to office move mid December, followed by the 2-week break from work for me and hubby and from school for the kids.
I’m back to (a new) office and normal life now, but still slow in getting to full speed.
I’ll still try to participate on at least one, maybe 2 challenges this week, but not a promise.
Tree is shimmering. Santa shall come!
This post was written in response to the Sometimes Stellar Storyteller’s Six Word Story Challenge, with the theme Believe.
It was also inspired by my kids who picked the place for the tree so that Santa would see it and find the house to leave the presents on. The picture is the result of how we spent our morning today.
Today I guess I’ll go over and beyond with the NaBloPoMo and post twice!
But the subject that I want to write today, has to be today.
November 13th. That’s the date of my great-aunt Lygia’s birthday.
She’s not among us anymore for quite a while now (18 years???), but she’s someone the entire family always remembers fondly. Including myself.
Today she would be 102 years, had she lasted that long, and to honor her I posted in facebook a photo collage of me with her, in years long gone. Then I started receiving several comments from different people on the family. She never had kids of her own, but she loved them and treated all of her nieces and nephews and their kids like her own. To me, she always felt much more like a grandma than my own grandma.
My mom is the oldest of many nieces and nephews and says tia Lygia was the one who taught her everything she knows now. Including kindness and how to go over and beyond to help people who needs help.
One of my mom’s cousins remembers her as a very charismatic, good and energetic person, who marked the lives of everyone who crossed her path.
She was certainly one of the strongest personalities I have ever met (and believe me, I’ve met lots of strong personalities, so that’s saying a LOT). On her house, there were always rules, but we still felt free to do as we wish, on a way. She made sure to always make everyone comfortable at her home. And we did feel comfortable there.
She liked to have parties, and sometimes important people were present due to my grand-uncle’s job. The kids and the young would have a room for their own, and leave the grown-ups chatting at the main living room. When my mom and her cousins were young they used to have their own party on the ‘cousins room’. One of my uncles is a joker, always making people laugh. At one of the parties at tia Lygia’s the cousins were laughing so hard, that some ambassador decided to check on them and decided he wanted to be amongst the young instead. ;o)
I remember the menus on her parties very well. There were always sweet buns with ham and cheese, potato chips and ice cream. Probably other stuff too, that would occasionally change. But those were the staples.
In the day-to-day visits, that were not parties, I remember she would always offer soda (Coke or guaraná Antarctica) on little glass bottles, and the savory crackers from Piraque. My favorite was Presuntinho (‘little ham’, although if you look at the ingredient list there is actually no ham at all on it). I loved it (and her) so much that, as a child, every time I’d be angry at mom and dad, I would say that I’d run away to tia Lygia’s place. I don’t really think life would be that much easier there (much more rules…) but I would have certainly had consumed much more guarana and presuntinho than I had at home (thank god I didn’t go, that stuff is junk…)
Another funny story of her is from when I was 15 and was dating a boy whose dad was born in Ukraine (Soviet Union at that time). She was all excited about that information and at some point when I was on a different room (the cousin’s room?) she turns to my older sister and tells:
“Listen, she’s dating this guy from a Russian family, so you go and tell him that he needs to teach her Russian. Russian is a very important language and she can’t miss this opportunity, ok?”
“But tia Lygia, I don’t think he speaks Russian at all. His dad maybe, but not him or his siblings…”
“Well, I don’t care. That’s his problem. He goes learn it first and then he teaches her. It’s very important that you girls learn different languages.”
The boy had indeed never learnt his dad’s native language and obviously never taught me anything of it either. Today I know a few words in Russian, but it was certainly not because of him of his dad’s origin…
Later, when I was in college studying English to become a translator, she would have me pick whatever books I wanted from her huge collection of English books. I grabbed lots. She had always been very supportive of learning new languages and cultures.
Anyways, I could go on forever writing little pieces of memories about her here, but I guess this post is already pretty long as it is. (also because I’m starting to feel sentimental… )
I just hope that whatever she may be now, she knows that the entire family is remembering her today with lots of love and saudades.
Editing the post just to add what my sister wrote about her:
“There are people who changes our lives by simply being themselves and letting us be close to them, watching how it’s possible to be strong and yet generous. I know exactly how she would smile today when I entered her apartment to wish her happy birthday. I know where I would sit, the sandwich she would serve me, the topics we would talk about. Our intertwined hands were so present on my life that I thought I would feel it forever. I close my eyes and I know you’re here. Inheritance of love that time won’t take away. Saudades, Lygia Novaes.”
Seisyll shows a flier to Sineta, about a lantern festival to be held on October 24th.
“That’s on my 16th birthday! Just like Disney’s Rapunzel. I wanna see it!”
“That’s what I thought you would. We go together?”
“Yes! Of course! Wait a minute… you know what would be even more perfect?”
“Not too far from the festival site, there is that old castle ruins. How about we watch it from there? Then it would be exactly like Rapunzel. What do you say?”
On the 24th of October, they leave about an hour before sunset and head to the castle. They climb the broken up spiral staircases that leads to the top of the tower, arriving at the top just about the time the first lanterns are released.
They watch the spectacular display from there, his arms over her shoulders to protect her from the night chill. And that’s when and where their first kiss happens.
This story has 161 words and was written in response to the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.
Picture provided by Sonya, from Only 100 Words.
To see other stories, click the froggy below:
Today I just learnt that there will indeed be a lantern festival on the day of my own birthday.
I had already remembered Rapunzel in last week’s story, then the obvious reference with this week’s tower picture.
Then I remembered the Disney version of the story today again when I heard about the lanterns on the day of my birthday.
Simply couldn’t resist using both the tower and the lanterns here
And now just to brag a little bit about the little reasearch I did…
I also tried to pick names that made some sense.
Sineta means little bell in Portuguese, which is also the meaning of campanula, the scientific name for rumpian (or rapunzel) flower.
Seisyll is the acient Celtic variant of the name Cecil, which means blind, and that was the sad fate of the prince in the original story.
PS. No, I’m not 16. Have past that age long, long ago… ;o)
Sorry to use the blog for fundraising purposes, but it’s for a good cause…
Next week, my daughter will be participating on a Hop-a-Thon on her classroom to help raise funds to benefit children with muscular dystrophy and other muscle disabilities.
To help even more, we set up a fundraising page on their website and I’m coming to you to ask for your help.
Our personal fundraising page is:
A bit more information about the program:
Of the 43 muscles wasting diseases the MDA covers, more than half affect children. Some a present at birth, such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type I, the number one genetic killer of newborns. Others manifest more slowly, appearing in toddlerhood, adolescence or even the late teens. Over time, depending on the disease, children require leg braces, wheelchairs, feeding tubes, respirators, and other assistance to move, eat, and breathe. As the physical abilities decline, it gets harder and harder to “just be a kid”, which is why opportunities like accessible MDA Summer Camp are so important! Most children with genetic muscle disorders face shortened life spans. No medical cures exist for any of these conditions – yet. That’s where we came in…
So please, consider donating some money to the cause. Any value is welcome.
Thanks in advance for your support!
And I’m glad my trainer also agrees with it (I actually saw the post first on her facebook group a couple days ago).
Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me. She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over. “Come on! Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation! Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties! PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!”
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In the past 2 weeks I took off from cold and wet Pacific Northwest, to bright and warm Atlantic Southeast. Crossed the entire country in a diagonal.
Saturday we flew back arriving here really, really late, which means yesterday was a jet-legged-sleep-deprivation-hang-over day.
Today things are better.
I’m back to work, but there is almost nothing going on. Glad I came back on Thanksgiving week! 😉
The nice thing is that I realized I know nothing of the project anymore, and I can’t even remember how to use my switcher with the keyboard anymore. That is a sign that the vacation did what it’s really meant to and relaxed me to a point I really disconnected from work.
In the next few days, as Thanksgiving preparations allow me, I’ll try to post a few pictures from the trip.
The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage! Like the apparent distances in a picture, things have no reality in themselves, but they are like heat haze.
Buddha quotes (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)
written in response to Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Allure
When I was a teenager and lived with my parents, we used to have a manicure come to our house every week to do our nails.
In Brazil that’s very common, as this type of service tends to be pretty cheap.
And the whole processes included:
As a vain teenager I used to like having my nails done, but I used to hate (and I mean really hate) having my cuticles removed with the nippers. Maybe it was the manicure fault, that she was not so skilled and would always cut more than needed and hurt me.
After a while, I started doing it myself. It was a bit better as I was more careful with my own fingers but still not great.
Then I sort of gave up.
Having the nails painted was sort of cool, but never something I really, really couldn’t live without.
So I lived without it for many and many years.
In the past 15 years and until a couple of weeks ago I remember having them painted twice: for my own wedding, and for my brother’s wedding.
For my brother’s (7+ years ago) I even did it myself before my mom would try to drag me to a manicure, as to protect my cuticles.
But that ‘abstinence’ was mostly for the coloring part.
I did try several times to take care of nails and cuticles, by using cuticle creams and nail fortifiers.
My nails are very thin and weak and can break for anything. That’s why I have always tried fortifiers. The thing is that every time I tried, they would indeed get harder and stronger, but would also start to peel. And a peeling nail seems to me worse than a thin, weak one, so eventually I gave up on the treating too.
Until a few weeks ago, that is.
A few week ago, a friend was going to Brazil in vacations and my mom took the opportunity and asked me to send some nail polish to her. But it wasn’t any nail polish, it was one from a specific brand and specific color. I gotta tell you: it wasn’t easy to find.
That made me spend quite some time walking around nail treatment aisles in drugstores, and on this exercise I sort of looked at a few fortifiers.
Then I found one that looked like would help me, as it claimed to make nails harder, stronger and also to stop peeling. Yay. I bought it! And also bought a cuticle cream.
On the same subject, but on different people, my daughters, who are 5 and 3, are all into make up and nail polish (not sure who they inherited that from… maybe grandmas????). So sometimes I do need to go and buy nail polish for them.
Mix it all up: the came back of treating my nails with the nail polish buying for family members, I must confess I got a bit excited about it.
After all… you know… if you’re there anyways applying some fortifier, why not have a second coat for color…
The color didn’t happen immediately. It may have taken me about 2 weeks, maybe 3, to start adding some color, but I did!
So far I have used 3 different colors: 2 from Mineral Fusion that I bought recently for myself and 1 from O.P.I. that’s about 7+ years old (remember I mentioned my brother’s weeding? yep… that very same one. Still good! Amazing!)
In chronological order of usage:
Of course, being lazy as I am, the process for me doesn’t really look much like the one above. It may take a few days actually: I remove the old one one day, apply the fortifier the next day and may add some color the day after… No finishing with a stick at all. So they don’t look as nice as professionally made nails, but they’re not bad either.
And today I have golden nails.
Wait! Not just me! My daughters too! Hands and feet! To a total of 60 golden nails in the household (I don’t think my husband would like to make it 80, though…)
I have many cousins. My mom was the oldest of 6, out of which 5 had 2 or 3 kids. My dad’s brother has another 2. There are also the kids of my mom’s cousins, who are also cousins. And the older half-brother of some of my cousins and their cousins from the other end of their family. And finally the parent’s best friend’s son, who is also their godson, and had always been considered a cousin to us. That makes about… 18? 19?
Of all of them, some I don’t care much about, some are ok, some I like very much and there is a couple I consider my favorites.
I know it may sound harsh to talk about having favorite family members, but reality is that it happens everywhere and with everyone. It’s a matter of affinity, more than a matter of love.
So one of my favorite cousins just came to visit me last weekend. It was soooo nice!
He’s about 7 years younger than me, so on my teenage years he was the cute little boy that used to make everyone laugh and his parents go crazy.
Then when he was about 10 or 11 his dad passed on a car accident where all family was in the car, but all survived except daddy. He didn’t cry much at the time.
A few years latter, when he was a teenager already I was there so see his first time of being drunk. And OMG! That was when the pain for having lost daddy came out. I felt like crying too. For him, for my uncle, for everything. But I didn’t want to show my pain, so I left, went to the bedroom and cried there, quietly, not letting anyone see me.
Then when he was 19 he got his girlfriend pregnant and was a daddy himself at 20. They tried to work it out together, but it didn’t work, so they have separate lives, but still get along well and share the joy of being the parents of their amazing son (now almost 13!)
Career wise, he tried a few different things, until he decided to be a cook. Or a chef. He went to culinary school, which my mom helped to pay, since he had no money and my aunt was not doing too well with her crappy salary and no husband to add to the household income.
Since then he’s a chef and a cook. He has worked for many years on a restaurant in a seaside town in the south coast of Rio de Janeiro. Then he joined sodexho to work on platforms.
But one of the things that were always on his way to get the jobs he wanted was his English skills.
So a couple of months ago he moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada, to spend 6 months there, from which the first 3 would be studying English and the last 3 using the English he learned on a real job, immersed on the workforce so he practices and learns even more from usage, rather than classroom and hanging out with other students.
But enough of his personal life history!
The point of this post is just to tell how happy I was to have him here. Out of all of the family members, he’s one of the ones I thought I’d have less chance to receive at my home due to lack of money to travel around the globe.
But he still made it! He’s here, just a few hours and a border away from me! And the past weekend he actually crossed the border and came down to see me and my family.
It was only a few days, as he arrived on Friday and left on Monday, but it still made me really, really happy.
Next time, we’ll be the ones going up the border to see him there.
This morning I was participating on a meeting with 7 other people, to a total of 8 people in the room.
Subject wasn’t the most interesting of all, so at some point I found myself with some very odd and weird thoughts.
I like owls and I have a collection of owls in all shapes, sizes, colors, media…
Long time ago (about 15, maybe?) I was at a shopping mall in Rio de Janeiro and I stopped by a kiosk that used to sell esoteric stuff to buy an owl pendant that I though was cute.
Then the seller turns to me and asks if I like owls. I say ‘Yes, I do, I actually collect them’.
Then she asks to see my ears and declares I was a witch on a past life.
I ask her how come and she explains that the fact that I liked owls was one indicator, then when she saw that I had my earlobe glued to the base (as opposed to hanging) she was sure. According to her everyone that has a glued earlobe had been a witch (or wizard) on a past life.
I remember I asked her if that was a good or a bad thing and she answered that this depends on how I used my powers…
This morning I was participating on a meeting with 7 other people, to a total of 8 people in the room.
Subject wasn’t the most interesting of all, so at some point I found myself with some very odd and weird thoughts.
I happened to have noticed that all of the people who was sitting on my right had glued together earlobes, just like me, then I decided to check the others and, in the end, out of 8, we were 5 with glued lobes and 3 with hanging lobes.
So the memory of the seller came to my mind and I started to try to imagine what kind of wizard or witch each of the other 4 people had been.
One of the guys for some reason looked like Voldermort of Professor Snape kind. I have no clue why I thought that. The guys is nice, I have absolutely nothing against him at all, he’s very helpful and kind, but still he ‘looked’ like a bad wizard one.
Then I started to think Harry Potter definitions and concluded that maybe:
The funny thing is that if we look at the movie (maybe it’s the actor’s fault, not the wizard, but da heck, if we’re talking nonsense let make no sense at all!), Voldermort, who was a half-blood had a glued lobe:
while Snape, who was also half-blood, had one that’s somewhere in between behind all that hair…
Then, when I was trying to define the image of the second wizard on the meeting room, it was my turn to talk and I had to send those thoughts away and concentrate on the subject matter we were discussing.
But I still plan to give a bit more thought to it… hehehe
(and btw, I also realized that out of the 4 girls, only one had ear piercing, which was awesome because I always tend to think I’m one of the only ones that did not fall for the whole ear-piercing thingy… ;))
Now I bit of my own…
At a friends place, watching final game of a soccer championship, my home country is winning the game, my host is very excited, to the point that the kids come to check what’s happening with every shout of her. But I feel bored.
What happened to me? I used to enjoy watching soccer…
30 more minutes to go…
From my Fresh Paint.
Last week, my daughter got home asking my husband about where did the very first person in the world came from. He started trying to explain the evolution theory and she kept asking and seems very interested. So that same night we decided to search for children books on evolution and ended up adding a book on hold in a library about 2.5 miles again from my office.
I must confess it was the first time we ever used the hold feature of our library system, so out of ignorance I assumed the next day the book would already be there for me and I walked all the way there, just to find out it takes about 2-3 day for the hold to happen.
Then, on Saturday we finally got the email that the book was on hold for us and it could be picked up until a week later.
So, to take advantage of an easy week at worked, I planned another walk to the library to pick it up on Thrusday (today!).
But this time, when I was about half a mile into the walk already I realized I had forgotten my library card and my id in the office… so I come back again, which added 1 mile and 22 minutes to the total walk.
Then after getting all I needed, off I went again heading to the library.
The walk is actually mostly on a trail that goes along a river, so very pleasant and ‘express’ (or in other words, not many stops at lights to way for cars… )
During the 2 hours that the walk took me I had the company of snails, slugs, dragonflies, geese, ducks, small birds, big eagle birds being scared away by medium crow birds (second time I see that this month; crows are tough!!!), blue herons, big yellow butterflies flying away, small white butterflies flying along side with me for a few yards, fat black and yellow bees sipping juice from beautiful colorful flowers, and a camera whose batteries decides to die right when I’m focusing on the blue heron. (lesson learnt: always check your camera batteries before leaving. If they’re not full enough either replace them or don’t bother to bring the camera, as to avoid extra little weight and extra big frustration… ;o)
The second time I also decided to use a different device for tracking…
On my playlist, on the way to the library, I had to struggle with the app that streams my songs from Skydrive, but in spite of the struggle I heard a bit of everything: Cassia Eller, Jelena Tomasevic, Extreme Party Animals, Chico Buarque, Elsa Soares, Matti Caspi, Caetano Velloso…… Then on the way back, tired of fighting the app, I decided to go for Jake Owen streaming from Xbox music – much more reliable.
It was a nice long walk. The biggest problem of this route though it that the first 3/4 of a mile is a steep downhill, which means that the last 3/4 of a mile is a steep uphill. And THAT is not too much fun.
But I still enjoyed and plan to do the same when the time comes that I need to return the book. With fully charged batteries and some songs copied directly to the phone! ;o)
And now, for the big star of the post: