Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Recap

Our first non-American Christmas was certainly different, but it didn't suck, so I guess it was a win. It was definitely the first Christmas we made salsa with mangoes, limes, and avocados from our yard (okay, the avocados were from a tree outside our gate, so technically not "ours". Don't tell.
 The best way to eat a lime is upside down.

Does this look like Christmas Eve?

The kids started getting antsy in the middle of the day, so Mitch and I told them to do something constructive while we went for a walk. Because when the going gets tough, the parents get going, or something like that. They wrote a song while we were gone. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a number one hit. You can totally tell they put a lot of effort into it. At least ten minutes, anyway.

And that outfit Grace is wearing? We like to get dressed up fancy shmancy for dinner on Christmas Eve (and when I say we, I mean me and Grace, but everyone plays along, despite Henry 'mysteriously' locking his closet door and not being able to get a handsome shirt out of it).  Here is an example of what twin sisters will come downstairs wearing when you tell them to get all fancied up:
 Olivia pulled that skirt out from the back of her closet, where it was wadded in a ball and stuffed in a toybox. But hey, it's the first skirt she's worn all year.

 Dayum, those bejewelled dangly earrings look good with that turkey leg.

The Dad carves the roast beast, then carrots for the reindeer and cookies and milk Skol beer are put out for Santa Papai Noel (I think that's what he drinks. It's hot down here, man.).

The kids woke us at 5:45 sharp since we told them we'd lock them in their rooms 'til noon if they woke us a minute before 6:00 (apparently they thought there was a 15 minute grace period), and the boys claimed their electronics and disappeared with them pretty quickly. Olivia tore into her first gift. IT WAS A.......A............A......toothbrush?  Um, thanks, Mom and Dad. It's just what I wanted.

Whew. This is better:

 The girls also got a set of walkie talkies front Santa, but they're having a hard time using them, because every time they turn them on, the guards in the neighborhood come on whatever channel they're on and start yelling at them in portuguese.

We spent the rest of the day blissfully lounging around in our pjs and snacking on leftovers. I may or may not have had a bottle of champagne for breakfast, but in the spirit of Christmas, I shared with the guy I've been shacking up with.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We Mustache You to Have a Merry Christmas

Remember when I told you about how I was sick with fever and ordered a bunch of mustaches?  Well, when I mentioned to Mitch to expect the order to arrive in the embassy mailroom, he stared at me for a long moment and said, "Sometimes, I think you are ACTUALLY crazy." And then, every day I would call him at work and say, "Did my mustaches come yet?"  The lucky bastid.  Anyhoodle, guess what finally arrived?

Unfortunately, this is it for our Christmas card this year. We just didn't get our acts together in time to get them made and sent out like we try to do every year, so consider this your Holiday card, and sent with love. Unless you've arrived on this blog by searching for 'mustache fetish', in which case, move along folks, there's nothing to see here.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Child Labor.

Our commissary got a big shipment this week and all hands were on deck to help unload. And when I say 'all hands', I mean even my underage, indentured servants were forced by their mean mother to help unload boxes and stock shelves. At first they did great, because manual labor was a novelty for them. Organizing and arranging little boxes of macaroni and cheese and taco shells and making them look nice was a favorite job of the girls. Henry had so much fun, he said, "Wow, I could do this for a living!" Whew, that's a relief. Now I can put his college fund towards my shoe allowance.

After a couple hours, however, the boys lost their enthusiasm and began complaining. "I'm so tired," Jack whined, every time I walked by him.  "I could go to sleep right on top of this box."  This went on for another half hour or so when I realized Henry was nowhere to be found. It turns out he was hiding behind a pile of boxes playing on an ipod. 
The girls remained excellent little workers (they still believe in being good the week before Christmas), but I felt like my pampered boys needed a little wake-up call. I outlined all the jobs they were going to have to do when we got home to make up for being lazy workers at the commissary, but I was foiled by Graca, who had cleaned the entire house including two refrigerators, changed all the linens, ironed and washed all the laundry, ironed my tablecloths and napkins, and swept all the patios  in the time we were gone.  Hmmm.  And I wonder how my boys got so lazy.

They all rallied from their labor-induced exhaustion when they got home and played outside in a torrential downpour. Okay, maybe I locked them outside. What? There wasn't any lightning.
Look at that water splashing up on their feet. Now they won't need to take showers tonight. Bonus!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Spirit

It's really hard to get in the Christmas spirit this year, what with the tropical weather and flip flops and whatnot. It's not for lack of trying, either. Behold!
I know! It's groovy, right? When we first learned we were going to South America and a live tree would be out of the question, I immediately went out and bought a white artificial tree. My reasoning was, if I'm going to go fake, I'm going to go all out, much like the cast of Jersey Shore.  And I luuuurve it. It was a little sparse (what do you expect for a tree that was $15 on 75% off clearance?), so I filled it in with white feather boas. Did I mention I love it? My traditionalist husband, however, does not. That's why you see the dumb green tree in the background. It was supposed to go into storage, but the evil moving company sent it here instead of our bed, so Mitch and I each get our own tree the kids get to enjoy two trees. Mitch's tree has all our family ornaments on it. It's actually just the top part of our ginormous 9 foot tall tree we used to put up in the entryway of our house. When we had a house. This sucker weighs a lot (about as much as the mattress of a king size bed!) and won't be coming home with us.

Hanging ornaments is exhausting work. Let's end the series of tree shots with one more of Whitey:

Ahhhhh. That's better. What's funny about this tree is that when kids come over they always love it, and adults are all, "Oh. You have a white tree. That's......different."   And Mitch smirks because he doesn't love it. Oh, he'll love it soon, though. If he knows what's good for him.

We also got two boxes of garlands that were supposed to go into storage, as well.

See? Fake pine garlands just don't go with palm trees and sunshine.  We've been watching all the holiday DVDs we brought, and I got out our stockings, but this is the first time since we got married that we don't have a fireplace. What to do, what to do?  Aha! I spied an item we have no use for....

A coat rack. Mirror rack? Coat mirror?

Embassy pancake breakfast with "Santa", can you help me find my Christmas spirit?
Nope, especially since my teenager was home in bed and I had to bribe my 11 year-old with $5 to take this photo with his sisters.

Eggnog latte, can you help me find my Christmas spirit?

Nope. Since it's not even real eggnog, it's a mix I got from Amazon to try and simulate the real (and by real, I mean a carton picked up in the dairy aisle at my local Safeway) thing.

Christmas mix in my ipod, can you help?

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, can you help? And why are you lined up for class pictures?

Nope. How about the school holiday program?

Okay, I admit that I did have a little Christmas spirit after seeing all those kids singing their hearts out in English and portuguese.  And seeing all the fifth grade boys stifling their giggles at the phrase, "Don we now our gay apparel!" was pretty amusing. But you can also be sure I was concerned about all those Santa hats and the spread of lice  *shudder*. 

I'm sure I'll find my Christmas spirit soon. The kids are out of school on Thursday FOR FIVE WEEKS (sorry, I had to type that in all caps to convey my feelings about such a long break), so we'll have lots of time for holiday baking and being together. Every day. FOR FIVE WEEKS.  Anyhoodle, think of me, all you people in the frozen north, as you are scraping the ice off your windshields. I'll be down here in Brazil, sitting on my patio with my fake pine garlands, drinking my iced 'eggnog' latte, trying to get my Christmas spirit on as I rub sunblock on my shoulders and wait for the gardener to arrive. What? the shrubs are beginning to block my view of the lake.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I've been sick all week. Yesterday I wandered outside in my delirium and stepped on a lizard with my bare foot.

Surprisingly, I didn't even shriek, but I think I may have become desensitized to Brazilian creatures. And not only from the ginormous cockroach incident, either. The other night I poured myself a bowl of cereal, and when I poured in the milk, hordes of tiny ants tried to escape the flood up the sides of the bowl. I'm feeling a little better today, so I went online to check my Amazon account and see what items haven't arrived from the North Pole yet.

I was somewhat surprised to find that in my fevered state I'd ordered a 36-pack of fake mustaches last night. I was able to cancel them and get the 12-pack instead, because really, who needs 36 fake mustaches?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


When we lived in Seattle, a favorite haunt of ours was the Tropical House at the Woodland Park Zoo. There was an exhibit of Brazilian Cockroaches that would absolutely make your skin crawl, even if you were a bug lover. Well, suckahs, I don't need to shell out cold, hard cash anymore to see giant, creepy, crawly bugs. I just have to wait for them to crawl out of my shower drain.

Don't hate me.