Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Symptoms of old age

A friend of my parents once told me "Being old is just a matter of point of view. In my opinion, old is someone who is 30 years older than me."

That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? When we're kids, teenagers even... a person who is 30-something or 40 is OLD. We think they're just so old they should be in a museum. And they're so old-fashioned and narrow-minded, and their taste in music is so yuck, and - hello??? How can they not like the music I listen to, it's just so kewl!

And when you're that young, you also think it's never gonna happen to you - you're never getting old, your body will never ache, your health and eyesight are always gonna be super, you're going to be a very hip and tolerant person, and life will be the same, party every day! Well... that's not at all how it goes.

I remember when I was 25 years old, life was a bliss. And I had a friend - who was 27 at the time - who used to take multi-vitamins  on a daily basis. One day I called her out on that, I thought it was unnecessary and exaggerated of hers to do that. She said she was just being cautious and that, with age, you start feeling the need to take extra care of yourself.
I thought that was just ridiculous that she would treat herself as an old lady. Until I turned 27.

It was around that time that I started getting joint pains, back pain, gaining weight... my body shape changed completely, I went from a size 4 to a size 12 (no kidding), and just didn't have the energy I used to.
I tried going on diets, many diets, the diet pills I took a couple of years earlier did not have the same effect anymore, it was just too hard.  Then I joined the gym.
Exercising is the best thing you can do for your body - really. Much easier said than done, I paid 6 months at my local gym, only went there 4 times. But back in California I used to go 3-4 times a week, I joined the 24h Fitness closest to my house and hired a personal trainer for the first month and it made me feel really good about myself and sure made a difference in my life.

I went down to being a size 8 now, although I weight exactly the same, but I'm not bloated anymore and have more muscle mass and a little less fat in me. Still have a long way to go though.

Yeah... we do get old, whether we like it or not, and it sucks. But I still believe we're never too old to make a change :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Men's brains

 Any married woman will come across a number of episodes in which she will ask herself "what was he thinking???"

Yes, we all know men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and we all know we think very differently.  But how can it be *so* different, and what is the logic that rules their brains?

I know I will be able to tell hundreds of stories about this, any wife reading this is welcome to share their stories as well. Here's one that happened just a few hours ago:

I got out of the shower rushing, listening to my skype ringing, while the husband was on his computer playing his nerdy game, as is his ritual everyday after work. It was my dad calling a video-conference.
As I said, I was fresh out of the shower with nothing but a towel wrapped around my head and underwear. So I quickly asked the husband "Hand me something to wear so I can take my dad's call!!!"
As I'm hitting the "YES" button, he throws me some clothing. A skirt. YES, A SKIRT. Really??? Why didn't you throw me a kitchen towel instead?

Seriously, my husband is awesome in many many ways. But there are some things, practical things mainly, that I just don't understand his logic. Some of them, I've learned to live with, but he still strikes me with surprise every now and then.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chestnut season out of season

My mom has this childhood friend who is an orchid researcher, and has the biggest collection of micro-orchids in the world. I went there a few weeks ago and fell in love with the place. But today we went back there on a different mission: chestnut picking!

Twenty-five years ago, when his elder son was born, he decided to plant a couple of chestnut trees. The result: 2 giant trees that produce more chestnuts than they can eat. And also, out of season, so they can't sell.

chestnut trees

When my mom told me we'd go picking chestnuts I thought, "great, and since it's so hot, I'll wear my yoga pants, a tank top and flip-flops!" But when we were going there, my mom, my grandma and my aunts were all gearing up with gloves, boots, hats and tools - I thought "How the hell are they gonna do it??? Where do they think they're going???"

In my head, we would get to this place with a beautiful tree and the chestnuts - as we know them, how they sell them in the supermarkets - would just be hanging on the tree, and I'd gently pull on them and they would come loose.

The thing is, chestnuts are a bit more complex than that. They actually come inside a very spiky cocoon, and you can't touch them with your bare hands - they're really sharp. So after they fall on the ground, most of them are already half open, we get two metal rods or screwdrivers or whatever tool you have at hand and crack them open so you can retrieve the chestnuts inside the cocoon. Wasn't I so glad I decided to wear flip-flops!...

inside the cocoon

For obvious reasons, I couldn't get my "hands dirty", so I decided to register the moment instead by taking pictures and climbing trees!

And at the end of the picking, a family of 8 monkeys decided to dazzle us with their presence... they were prancing around from branch to branch, 2 of them carrying their babies on their back, and making funny noises.

It was an awesome experience, as my aunt said - living and learning. I've eaten chestnuts my whole life and never had I imagined this is where they came from.
In the end, we had 30kg (66lb) of chestnuts to bring home, and the longing for the trip next year :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Survival - part two

I await, with much anticipation, the day my housekeeper is coming. That day is tomorrow. To me, it feels much like Christmas, and I receive the gift of a magically clean home.
The downside is that next week is Carnival week, and nobody works during Carnival in Brazil (as you all must know). Hubby is staying home, which means the house will get messy and dirty faster, and also... I'll have to cook.

I used to cook pretty much everyday up until a year ago, when he decided to go on a diet. Since he gets home kinda late, he decided not to eat dinner at home anymore, and he always has lunch at work as well. In the beginning it was frustrating going through the trouble of cooking a full meal and then it would just go bad for days in the refrigerator, so I just stopped cooking. And when I'm hungry I'll eat bread, scrambled eggs, fruits or sometimes - popcorn. Easy is good!

I don't usually do this, but today I just couldn't resist the temptation and I stocked up on frozen food. Two boxes of chicken nuggets, 2 boxes of veggie nuggets, french fries and polenta. I'm pretty sure we'll eat it up in 1 day but oh well. It's one day I won't need to cook.

So a couple of weeks ago hubby started watching a new show. It's pretty entertaining, but I wonder if I should take a hint from that...

Has anyone ever seen this? It's about this world-class chef that leads 12 aspiring cooks into becoming a top chef and managing their own restaurant. Pretty much the kitchen version of "The Apprentice", only more fun.
I recommend it, sometimes when I watch it I actually get some new ideas and inspiration for cooking. But only sometimes.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Need milk for babies

It is known all around the world that Brazil is kind of a poor country. If you go out on the street you're likely to bump into a few beggars every day.

Beggars annoy me (I guess they annoy everyone, actually), but I get specially annoyed with lying beggars, and today I came across one which has just gone up to the top of my list of ingenious beggars in second place, just behind another one I had an encounter with some years ago. I thought I'd share the stories with you.

As I said, ingenious beggar #2 happened today.
I was in the subway on my way home, and this girl, who seems to be 18-19 years old, walks in pushing an old stroller all covered up, no one can see inside it. She's wearing jeans, sandals and a black Ecko t-shirt, that seemed to be brand new (you know how black washes away). In one hand she had a bunch of slips of paper, the other, a Quicksilver bag.
She starts handing out these slips of paper to everyone in the carriage, and I'm thinking "She might be selling something" and looked away so she wouldn't come bother me... even so, she left a slip of paper on my lap and poked me to look at it. I did. The paper read:
I really need money to buy milk and food for my little brothers, so anything you give me will help.

Really??? How about I give you some advice??? Go to school, get a job and stop spending money with branded clothes!!!

[ just for reference, here in Brazil an Ecko t-shirt costs around R$80-100BRL (≈$50-60usd), which I think is pretty expensive for a t-shirt; quicksilver is also a pretty expensive brand, since it's imported. ]

Okey, ingenious beggar #1 is ingenious!
T'is the year 2001, and Brazil is broadcasting a soup opera that made a lot of success and touched a lot of people's heart, since it talked about a girl who had leukemia. (the plot of the soup opera is very much like "My Sister's Keeper")
It was kinda "trendy" to talk about leukemia, and bone marrow transplant, and there was a scene where the girl is shaving her head that was very emotional, so everyone talked about it.

One more time, there I was taking the train home, this was just a couple of days after the episode where the doctor told the mom her daughter would need a bone marrow transplant aired, and this woman in rags walks in carrying a chubby 2 year old baby. She stands in the middle of the carriage and starts her speech, at the top of her lungs:

Guys, I'm here today, because I need your help. You see, my daughter, that I'm carrying in my arms, is sick. She lost her bone marrow! When I noticed it, I took her to the doctor, and he said it costs a lot of money to get her a new one, so GUYS, I NEED YOUR HELP. HELP ME BUY A NEW BONE MARROW FOR MY SICK DAUGHTER.

Again, may I help with some advice? Try selling your tv, maybe that should cover the cost of all new bones she will ever lose in her life.

Here's a video of the so famous scene when the girl gets her head shaved.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Where's the "i" in "will"?

I guess there are few people in this world who are over 25 years old and have never gone on a diet. Even when we're thin, we insist we should go on a diet to lose those disturbing extra ounces.

For me particularly, going on a diet is just evil. I've never been able to find enough will to pull it through.
I can go a week eating super healthy, salads and fruits... maybe a grilled chicken breast one day... but then there's this ONE day that I go "ohhh I've been so good about the diet, I think I deserve this break" - and then I eat THE WORLD.

And you can work out all you want (although I actually NEVER want to work out, so...), but bottomline, the key to losing weight is to just stop eating.

Girls always tell me "the hardest part of diets for me is to stay off chocolates". Now there's a chocolate diet for all those girls! Seriously!!! There actually *IS* a diet where you're supposed to eat a piece of chocolate every 2 hours, and then BAM, you lose weight. My friend lost about 15kg on that.
Now, my food sin is just snacks and junk food. I don't care for chocolate at all, in fact - in 30 years, I've never been able to eat a whole chocolate bar in one take. I eat one row, 2 at the most, and I'm sick of it, it's just too sweet.

So I guess today's message is: please, nutritionists of the world, invent a junk food diet and I will happily follow it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Survival - part one

When we're kids living at mom and dad's we take so many things for granted. Paying bills is the main one, I'd say. It's pretty amazing how we think money just floats in and out of our lives, no effort needed - and of course, the bank account is bottomless.

But parents should also take credit for every other little things. I've been on my own for a while now, and been in and out of places, living with different people... and when you're single, you *really* are on your own. You have to pay for your own bills, make your own food or starve, clean up after yourself or live in a dirt hole. But married life brings things to a whole other level and - pardon my insensitivity - especially if you're a woman.

I'm not on my own anymore, I don't have to worry about cooking for myself, or cleaning up after my own mess... I actually have to cook for two, do 3 times as many laundry loads (yes, he gets more clothes dirty than I ever did!), collect all 5 half-empty glasses sitting on his desk, among other things.

I'm not complaining, even because there are so many bright sides to it (otherwise we wouldn't be in it, right?), but it's just hard sometimes. It's hard to keep up, it's hard to please, it's hard to cope... (how did my mom keep our house spotless for all those years???)
I do get help once a week, hired a housekeeper and so my house is clean ONE day each week. I usually try to plan guests to come over on that day.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


This should be my middle name. I'm the queen of procrastination, for just about EVERYTHING. I've been putting off starting a new blog for months, for a number of reasons... time, inspiration, design, a title... my blog doesn't even have a title.

Not going through with things is another one of my flaws, but I figured this was the perfect year to do these sorts of things... rumor has it that the world will end soon.

Anyways, just thought I'd throw in a little something, then gradually add more to it. Adding a title might be the next step.