Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I've gotten several sweet messages from strangers asking how I am recovering from my lady surgery, so here's a little update.  First of all, I should clarify that I still have my ovaries, which is lucky, because they are adorable and I'm not quite ready for menopause.  Besides, Mitch is planning on doing his required unaccompanied tour when I hit menopause, which should be about the same time the girls hit puberty.  He's always been a good planner.

Tomorrow is my six week post-op milestone. For anybody who's had a hysterectomy, you know six weeks is the marker the doctors use to tell you when you can get back to your regularly scheduled programming. So, starting tomorrow, I can drive a car, carry stuff heavier than a glass of wine (big whoop), push a grocery cart (bigger whoop), and, um, do other things (whoopie!).  Yoga.  I'm talking about yoga, people.  I was kind of drugged out when I was released from the hospital, but I'm pretty sure the doctor said no housework for a minimum of 12 months, so I will still have some restrictions. Obviously.  Tomorrow also marks the forty-fourth anniversary of my birth, so I'm pretty excited that I'll get to go grocery shopping by myself on my birthday. Yes, I'm 44.  I joke around that I'm 29, but I think I'm going to start telling people I'm 54, so I can hear that I "look so young" for my age. Hopefully.  Anyone?   Tap. Tap.  Is this thing even on?

I won't tire you with details of my recovery, other than to say it took way longer than I thought it would and I got really sick of resting.  It's really quite boring, especially after you've melted your glasses and none of your backups have progressive lenses with which to read by.  My family took excellent care of me, and so did my cleaner and my massage lady, who, once she learned that I had a hysterectomy and not "liposuction for my fat belly", spent a lot of time working on my abdomen to help prevent something in portuguese, but I'm pretty sure it's not desirable, because it happened to her sister.  Or her brother.  Whatever, my portuguese sucks.  When I wasn't resting, my lovely friend Katie drove me to important appointments, such as to get manicures and pedicures, and out to lunch, never once making fun of my ever-present yoga pants.  So, you could say that my recovery was pretty easy. I know I am beyond lucky to have all the help I do, and despite my wine-ing whining, I am really glad I had the surgery. I wasn't functioning well at all before , and I feel great now, so yay for the knife!

Anyway, from here on out, it'll be all, carrying the laundry basket, wearing pants that don't pull on, and driving to the grocery store.  And working.  At a job. Yes, you read that right.  As soon as I get my security clearance (which should be easy to get as I've been a hermit for the past 10 years), I will be writing and editing the embassy newsletter.  For pay!  Thank gawd they didn't read this blog before they hired me, although I'm pretty sure I took out most of the  F-bombs just in case. 

I am going to need some new fucking shoes before I start working, though.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

For the past few months, our house has been leaking.  At first it was just a little bit, but now it's leaking constantly, no matter if it's raining outside or not.  Most of the ceiling fans have a pretty steady stream dripping out.  In the TV room, the water rolls to the edge of the fan blades and flies all over the room. It's like a little rain shower in there.  Pretty cool, huh?

We've put in a work order for the leaks, but basically have been told there's not a lot they can do, and that it should dry out after the rainy season is over.  In May. 

And that is another fine example of the glamour of Foreign Service life. On the bright side, it's a beautiful day today, so if we need a break from the indoor rain, we can go outside and dry off in the sunshine. Gawd, I'm such a Pollyanna.  How can you stand my constant cheerfulness around here?

PS, Good news!  I finally found a turkey! For $100USD, but I'm sure it'll be delicious, and there's no leak in the dining room yet, so Thanksgiving is looking better and better.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rancho Canabrava

We took our three youngest kids to Rancho Canabrava yesterday, just outside of Brasilia.  We went with a bunch of embassy families and the kids had a blast doing an obstacle course a zillion feet off the ground.  There were tears of fear and sick stomachs from the girls when they started, but once they got past the first part, they loved it.  Mitch went with the girls, and Henry went with his buddies. I stayed on the ground (still in recovery mode), cursing my lack of Xanax. 
Thankfully, there was a puppy to help calm the nerves.

Henry handled the height like a champ.

Zipline to the finish!

The girls are grimace-smiling.  Both were scared, but insisted they wanted to do the adult course instead of the kids' course. And because in Brazil, kids get what they want, so they had extra guides to help them along. The workers at the ranch were amazing. Some spoke English, and they were wonderful with the kids. 

They're both smiling in these photos because this is the practice one to teach them how to clip their carabiners to the wires, and it was pretty easy.

Hole. E. Shit.

She kept it together.

This is where Olivia burst into tears. I wanted to shout to the guides to help her get down, but Mitch yelled at her, "Look straight ahead, stop crying, and just take one step at a time!", in what I thought was a pretty mean voice.  Just saying. However, it worked, and once she got over the initial fear, she loved it. I had to go away for a while at this point and take a lot of deep breaths and ask around if anyone had a flask.

This nine year-old was once inside my body.

Everyone wants to go back and bring Jack (who was home buried under schoolwork) next time. On the way home, the girls were wondering why there isn't cool dangerous stuff like that back in the States for kids to do, but then they decided theme parks were pretty cool, too.   I'm pretty sure I deserve some sort of award for keeping my shit together while my kids were merely a missed carabiner clip away from breaking their necks. Also, I got a sunburn.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Rain is Clearly to Blame

See this?
You might think it's a medieval torture device (you know, except for the electric part and the cheap plastic components and whatnot), and you would be right! Except for the medieval part.  See, I have this hair that turns into an afro during times of high humidity (for example, September-May in Brazil).  Now, I like afros, and would totally embrace my blonde afro, but it's only an afro in the back.  The front just goes all wonky and limp. 

So, I use the above torture device to smooth out my hair. Also, it's good for sizzling burns on the forehead and for melting stuff in it's general vicinity.  My long-suffering husband DESPISES my Instyler, because of the third-degree burns and the fact that it's always out on our tiny little bathroom counter.   More on this in a minute.

There's also been some glasses drama around here, because I'm an old lady with rapidly declining eyesight who can't see near or far.  A few years ago, I purchased my current glasses that I love.  They unfortunately were designer glasses and they cost as much as, oh, I don't know, like, a cow or something.  While I was in the States last month, the plan was to renew my prescription and get some new glasses, but due to my crappy eyesight, I couldn't get the glasses in time before I left.  I was secretly glad about that, because I couldn't find any glasses I love as much as my current ones, and I figured I could squint and stuff to make up for the declining vision. Also, I'm not allowed to buy glasses that cost as much as a cow again. Four kids to put through college, blahblahblah.

At this point, you're probably wondering, "What the heck does a non-medieval torture burning device have to do with Kate's glasses?"  And now that you just read that sentence, I bet you know.  Yes, kids, while I was in the shower, my glasses were busy getting melted by the Instyler.  They weren't even touching it (much), the glass lens just bubbled up from proximity. The melty part is right in the middle of the lens, so it looks like someone wiped boogers across the surface.   I know!  Imagine what that thing is doing to my hair!  So, I was kind of scared to show Mitch, who has had it with me complaining about not finding any cute glasses online and also with me complaining about forehead burns.  But then I remembered what Ralphie did when the Red Ryder BB gun broke his glasses in A Christmas Story.  He cried, and his mom was nice about it. And since I was so sad about my glasses, it was pretty easy to just let the tears flow when I went to tell Mitch about my glasses.  He thought I was dumb for crying over a pair of glasses I needed to replace anyway, but was disappointingly unmoved by my tragic loss of fashionable eyesight.

Anyway, I finally got online and looked at shoes for a few hours (no need to judge or question my methods), then I ordered some dumb glasses.

Related: The rainy season (obviously to blame for my glasses getting burnt) has also caused our ceiling fans to leak water.  Pretty sure that can't be good, but without glasses I can't see the puddles anyway.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween, Ball, and Birthday

We've been busy partying between my naps around here, so I'm just going to throw up a few photos from our week.  For Halloween, Grace and Olivia picked costumes that went together again this year, but that also totally reflected their personalities.  If you've seen the Hunger Games, you'll know who Effie Trinket is, but if not, here's a little photo of her from the movie.

The instant Effie came onscreen, Grace knew she wanted to be her for Halloween, and it naturally followed that Olivia would want to be Katniss, what with her love of getting dirty and archery and wearing her hair in a braid.  So, basically, Olivia didn't even need a costume. I did buy her a District 12 Tribute t-shirt, though, since she doesn't own any clothing without a baby animal on it.

This is not really a costume, but it IS proof that having a stash of mustaches always pays off.  Sometimes in the form of candy, sometimes, in the form of a disguise for a quick getaway, and sometimes to entertain yourself by making the dog look like Burt Reynolds. 

 Jack had a Halloween fundraiser at his school. This is his inspired costume.  Can this really be my kid? One should never be too cool to dress up, which Mitch and I proved by WEARING COSTUMES TO HIS SCHOOL AND EMBARRASSING HIM. Oh, yes, we did. All his friends were delighted.

Yesterday was my second born's 12th birthday.  Every year he plans some kind of elaborate thing to do on his birthday and always ends up disappointed.  This year, he told me he just wanted a new video game, and to play it all day without laying eyes on his little sisters.  And breakfast in bed. And Kahlua pecan chocolate chip pie.  And since I am the lamest mother on the planet these days with my constant resting, I was more than happy to accommodate his wish. Brazil helped by having a national holiday so he didn't even have to go to school.  At the end of the day, he said it was the best birthday of his life.

Last night was the Marine Corps Ball, which Mitch optimistically bought tickets for without knowing if I'd be home from the States in time to go to.  I combed my hair and he watched a youtube video on how to tie a bow tie, and off we went. 

We had a lovely time, despite the lack of sofas for me to lay down on at the venue and my navy dress matching the tablecloths.  Happy Birthday, Marines and Henry!