Monday, December 17, 2007

Santa is coming and so is everyone else......

Yesterday was our first really warm day since we arrived in Bariloche, so we joined all the locals at the shore of the lake. Families sat on the beach with their thermos of mate (a local tea loaded with tradition and ritual), and children waded and tossed little rocks into the waves.
The kids immediately went wading
Naomi just wanted to swim, but the lake is way too cold!
Phoebe in her favorite pose for the camera.... We must have 15 pictures of her posing like this.
Here's Chloe after her freezing cold dip in the lake!
Here I am getting yet another sunburn... I have since bought a hat.
The beach was beautiful when we left at dusk.
This is downtown Bariloche, as you can see a storm is brewing...
This picture was near the beach looking uptown.
This is looking out the window of our condo. Mike took it on a fairly gloomy day.
School has ended here in South America and it seems everyone in this country (and many, many others) head to Patagonia. Traffic has increased A LOT and we're starting to hear more people speaking english on the streets, as well as portuguese, german, french and more. On the plus side we are signing the lease on our new apartment this week, and thanks to the 20 hours of spanish class the girls took this week we're finally ready for Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The kitty litter crisis and more...

Today we resolved many little and big problems. First we finally found more kitty litter. On Friday the cleaning lady (yes,this place has a maid....it's awesome!), cleaned out the cat box and put in the small remaining amount of litter we had in the bag. On Friday we started combing the supermarkets looking for cat litter with no luck. By Saturday it was incredibly urgent.... By Sunday we added newspaper (much to my cat's dismay)... And then today we gave up on the little markets and found a pet store with bags and bags of cat litter... I've never been so happy to see the stuff!
I've also found enough candles for the last two nights of Hanukkah. I think they're really Christmas candles and I had to hand carve each one to fit in the menorah, but they'll do.
Last but certainly not least we may have found an apartment. It has three bedrooms and an amazing view of the lake. It's next to the city center and on the seventh floor. I hope we get it, we're really excited. My two youngest thought it was great, but Chloe was bothered by the unusual smells you notice when looking at city apartments. Oh well not everyone can be happy....

Friday, December 7, 2007

getting used to it all....

Well, it's been over a week now since we've arrived and we're slowly adjusting to our new environment. Yesterday we went on a tour to a little town nestled in the Andes. It was great to get out of the city and even more amazing to return "home" to the condo. It made us realize we want to stay in this city and try to find something permanent here.

While we waited for the bus to pick us up Mike took this picture of the condo we're staying in for the month. It's the little wood building in the center.

This is a nice house nestled in the Andes. The bus ride to El Bolson was a beautiful one, but sitting in the back of the swerving shaking bus was pretty nauseating. Poor Phoebe lost her breakfast.

One of the many beautiful scenes outside the bus window on our ride.

Here's the girls on the bridge at a trout farm outside of El Bolson. They're over the pond with the adult fish, 6 to 8 months old. The kids loved this place.

Some of the juvenile trout at the farm. They are 2-4months old. They let us feed the adult trout. It was amazing how these huge fish would frenzy and jump out of the water to get the food.

There were so many dogs and cats at the farm and Naomi loved them all. This saint bernard puppy tried to follow the girls around.

 Phoebe at the trout farm.

This is a tree sculpture near the amazing artisan's market in El Bolson. The market was dusty, but not too crowded with good (and safe) food and a great collection of incredibly cheap crafts. El Bolson is at an elevation of 4000 ft whereas Bariloche is 7000ft so even though it's farther south, it's soo-o much hotter!

This is Rio Azul outside of El Bolson. To get to this vista the tour bus drove up a dusty dirt road quite a distance, through a "barrio" of the town with homes that were missing doors and windows. The tour guide joked that "all these people have such nasty homes with cars that are nicer than mine!"
This is really a beautiful part of the world. I just signed the children up for a week of Spanish immersion. The 20 hours of childcare will be useful while we try and find an apartment. ....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cerro Otto and Bariloche

Our first few days in Bariloche have been quite something. We've been learning about the city. Sorting out the food(the supermarket's very interesting), and doing some sight seeing. We also managed to pick up our cat, Pushy, at the airport yesterday. She traveled separately and wound up being boarded in Buenos Aires over the weekend. She came off the plane with her traveling companions of about 100 chickens and a lot of luggage (yes-she kept company with chickens in the cargo area!). She's a lot skinnier but adjusting well.


While walking through the artisan's market place in Bariloche's city center we found a little troll that looks just like "Dobby".

While we waited for the bus in the city the kids climbed a tree.

We took a cable car to the top of Cerro Otto (one of the nearby mountain peaks).

Here are the kids waiting for the cable car to launch.

In the building at the top was a gallery dedicated to Michelangelo. This is a 3/4 replica of the David.

The girls looking out from the top. Searching for the lake monster!

The view from the top. Below is the lake.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

We're Here!

¡Hola! We made it! We arrived here at the condo in Patagonia, late last night. The kids were soooo excited that they stayed up past 1am (past 11pm New York time).

Our first challenge came with the rental car from Greenville to the airport. The only available car from ANY rental place in the Albany area was a sedan. So for the first time in almost four years we had to cram our family of 5 into a sedan with 10 pieces of luggage and 6 carry-on bags. So two hours after Animals Away came to pick up Pushy (our cat), off we drove with our knees to our chins to JFK International Airport in NYC, Wednesday afternoon. We did surprisingly well and arrived with plenty of time. By the time we boarded our flight at 10:10pm we were pretty wiped but glad to be really on our way.

The flight itself, other than being incredibly uncomfortable was fairly uneventful. The kids slept, though Chloe and I woke up at 3am (NY time) over the rain forest. The plane was shaking badly and I could see lightning flashing out the window past Phoebe's head. I hate flying through lightening storms. Whoever told me international flights were more comfortable and nice than domestic ones was obviously lying to make me feel better.

Traveling in Argentina with the girls is like having a VIP pass. Everyone here loves children. They cut us through the line at customs in Beunos Aires, and didn't open or inspect a single bag. Even though we managed to get through 27 lessons of Pimsleur's Spanish before we left, I seem to just say "Si" and "Gracias" all the time with a big grin on my face. All those phrases I know escape me at the worst moments.

Our first impression of Beunos Aires is HOT. It's summer here and there are palm trees so that means sub tropical. It reminded me of being in Manhatten in the summer, something I tried to avoid when I lived there. We stayed in a hotel on Avenea Florida (a pedestrian only street in the city center).

Immediately on arriving in our hotel room Naomi went into the bathroom and came out 45 seconds later drenched from head to toe. " Mommy there's a fountain!". I went into the bathroom to see she turned on the bidet and everything was soaked . All the toilet paper, and tissues, the floor, the walls.

Thursday evening we walked the kids to a beautiful park across the street. The kids played on the playground for two hours and I was so proud of Chloe, she made a friend right away. She took the little girl's address right there in the park and said she'd write. They teach english in the schools here and the girl was 12 years old and VERY interested in Chloe.

Friday morning we checked out of the hotel and went off to the airport, beginning our third day of travel. We arrived at the airport early for our flight to Bariloche. Unfortunately here in Argentina that doesn't mean we sat casually at our gate waiting for our flight. Domestic flights are often delayed (which it was) and they don't know which gate until boarding. This meant some false starts running from one gate to another. When we finally boarded we looked out the window to the where the tunnel ended and just didn't see a plane there. People were showing their boarding passes and just disappearing down the tunnel. After some jokes about taking Wonder Woman's invisible plane we realized we had to go downstairs and get on a bus. Which brought us to a new location to board. The kids really liked going up the steps into the back door of the plane.

Two and a half hours later we arrived in Bariloche and needed jackets again. We met Zach the owner of the condo we're staying in. He's a nice and helpful guy from San Francisco. The condo fee includes a phone with free service to the US so I think I'll be making some calls..... Ciao!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

packing, cleaning, saying goodbye

Well, we leave on Wednesday at noon. We've been in a packing frenzy. We're running out of space in our luggage and our storage space so nearly everything has become expendable.

We have so much to do it's hard to think straight and we all seem to be coming down with something. My throat is killing me. I'm glad to be busy though, then I don't have to think so much about everyone we're leaving. It's been so hard to say goodbye...

Last week my old dog Enzo went blind and started falling down the stairs. My father-in-law and his wife offered him a home with them and we realized it was the kindest thing we could do for him. We left him with them on Thanksgiving.. Now I'm getting teary-eyed in the pet department at Walmart... I really hoped we'd ALL be going (except the fish). Even my cat, Pushy, misses him. They'll take good care of him, though.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Teddy Bear Birthday


Here's Phoebe with her cake at her "Teddy Bear" party. It was fun all the kids brought their teddies. We made honey comb necklaces for the bears, played "Pass the bear", I got out the parachute and we put all the bears in and tried to shake them off, the winner was the one who's bear stayed on the longest.... This didn't work so well all the bears stayed in a big clump, but we had fun trying.



This is my nephew "T" with a friend, Kaylee. "T" won the parachute game.





Here are my three girls and my niece and nephew later on that day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Three weeks and counting...

Well, we've taken care of moving all the heaviest pieces of furniture out of here. It's a huge relief, since it's just Mike and I doing everything. The last few moves we've always had help, but, of course we were always doing it all in one day. This time it's stretched out over a few months.

We went shopping this past weekend and I bought all three girls yellow shirts with chickens on them for the day(s) we fly. I read that bright colored shirts can help you keep track of your kids in a busy airport. The same article also suggested giving them emergency whistles... I think I'd rather NOT get kicked off the plane though.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lyme Disease

Well, we didn't get out of here soon enough, Chloe has contracted lymes disease. Of course it's the child that's allergic to three different antibiotics. This area is endemic, my neighbor's daughter was diagnosed two months ago, and her dog had it last fall. There are herds of deer in our yard all thru the winter and in the early morning all summer. I'm thinking of getting Naomi tested as well. I kept finding ticks on her a few months ago, but she had no rash or other symptoms.

South America has no confirmed cases at this time, and ticks are very rare at the altitude we're moving to. This is very good, since, now that Chloe has lymes she has to get a blood test whenever a tick is found on her.

I guess I should feel lucky that we're not all sick, but somehow that's not making me feel better.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No Wife Swap

True to our experiences with people who work in television, the "Wife Swap" thing is a no-go. To his credit though, Patrick warned Mike that TV producers like to change their minds... It was just incredibly fast this time.

Oh well, now we just have to throw a party, pack up everything we own and go to the other side of the world... cake :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Everything happens at once....

We're packing and packing .... and planning a birthday party for Phoebe (she's turning 6!)....and packing, and getting nervous,... and Mike's new book came out! ( a horror scifi graphic novel called "Wierdling" that he's been working on for years!) ...and more packing and throwing things out, and moving things into storage, ..... and a publishing contact , named Patrick e-mails, some crazy reality show called "Wife-Swap" is being filmed in the area and the father is an aspiring comic book artist. Will you as a professional artist interview this guy in your studio on national television next week?.... Of course! Our studio is half in boxes and the other half looks like a tornado hit it.... Crap!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

visas, puppies and packing and more packing....




As you can see, while we've been planning our big move to Argentina, my dog Enzo's found other things to do. He's the craziest mixed breed dog, but very cute. In fact he looks very much like his five sons in this picture. The mother (our neighbor's dog)is a pure bred American Eskimo. A pretty white dog that looks nothing like her puppies. Anyway we found homes for all five little guys.
We've also been running all over the region getting official copies of birth certificates, our marriage certificate, letters of good behavior from the local sheriff and a ton of other documents for our visa to Argentina. Then of course there's the packing and organizing of everything we own. Most things start to seem less essential once we realized the best way to get our possessions into the country was to carry them ourselves. So now it's down to two suitcases each and one carry-on (no problem-right?)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Update.... the plan evolves...

It's been quite some time since I wrote anything. We've changed everything in the last few weeks. Our plan, our destination and even the language we need to learn. It was an overwhelming and emotional decision, but we couldn't sell our house so we had to move forward.

San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Without the funds from a house sale we don't have the money for a Brazilian investor visa, but because of the auction house that deals Mike's work we qualify for a rentisa visa to Argentina. Our second choice city is called San Carlos de Bariloche. It's a beautiful place near the border of Chile, and next to the Andes mountain range. The city has an alpine style to it and is famous for it's skiing and it's chocolate ( this sold it for my kids). There are chocolate shops everywhere and a big chocolate factory that offers tours. There's also a three hour hike you can take to the top of the Villarrica Volcano and see the lava lakes inside!

We've been working on spanish this last week or so and it's muy bien! It's very close to portuguese, and I'm still hoping we'll get over to Curitiba to see the city and practice our language skills there. Our flight has been booked for Nov. 28th, out of JFK, and I've set up our temporary housing for one month ( hopfully that will give us enough time to find an apartment).

We've starting filling our storage space here and we're getting rid of whatever we can. The kid's start school here tomorrow. They'll stay long enough to finish one trimester, then when we arrive it'll be summer there. They'll start all over again when March rolls around (in spanish), in the local schools.

I'm not sure if spanish is an incredibly easy language to learn or if I'm just getting better at picking up languages, but in just one week we went through five Pimsluer lessons, (we did one a week with portuguese). It probably gets harder as we go along.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Plan B

Well, in light of the current housing market we've all but opted for plan B. Which is take out a home equity loan to cover our move and rent out the house till it sells. It seems that like everyone else we have to find a way to wait out this slump. In the mean time we're still waiting for Mike's passport (he applied over 14 weeks ago), then we can apply for the visas.... It's all fairly tedious.

I'm trying to get as much work done on my graphic novel as I can this week as I'll be quite busy next week, teaching my summer writing workshop at the library and reading Harry Potter (the final book will be here soon!). I signed up all three kids to go to a Harry Potter party on Friday night... It sounds like it should be fun they're running tons of activities, and the kids are getting dressed up.

Oh boy, I seem to be yawning uncontrollably. Chloe's in a fiction writing class that starts at 8am, so I've been getting up at 6:45am... I'm just not a morning person. It's my own fault, as usual I've scheduled my kids through the whole summer with various camps and activities. It's a compulsion I have to keep them busy (it also keeps them from the TV and from fighting with each other). Oh well, till next time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

House, FOR SALE!





Here is a picture of our house. We just lowered the price...again. I'm so tired of owning a house, I can't wait to just be a renter with a lease again. It's really a nice home, four bedrooms and two bathrooms on 3 acres of land with a mountain view.
Anyone interested?

On the plus side I've been getting a lot of work done on my book lately. I'm almost done penciling the pages for chapter 5 of my graphic novel, "The Horribles" ( a middle-grade gothic children's book). We've also been spending a lot of time at Zoom Flume water park (we got the season pass). It's really been fun, though I could see being quite sick of the place by August!

Anyway, it's the fourth of July and even though it's pouring rain, my children desperately need to see some fireworks. Should be fun...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

making cookies in a box

A week and a half ago, I found a brownie troop for Phoebe (my 5 year old) to join. Two days later they asked me if she wanted to join them on the camping trip that all the girl scouts in Greenville attend. So after a mad rush with paper work and mailing forms, off we went last weekend up to Lake George. I had to go as well, because of her age. My oldest, Chloe, was already scheduled to attend with her troop and was not exactly thrilled that her little sister and her mom were coming along.
I did this drawing by the campfire on Saturday. In the fire is two pans with burritos that were being heating up for dinner and inside the box they were somehow baking cookies. Despite the unsteady cot, the latrines and the serious shortage of available coffee, it was nice spending time with Phoebe.

This week we finally got our passports in the mail (all but Mike's). The passport photos look just as bad as when we sent them in. It's strange we all looked pretty good that day, and every photo came out lousy except Phoebe's. My theory is they want the photo to look like you will after getting off a long international flight. It must be something about that camera.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bear!

This morning we met my neighbor and her kids at the bus stop for school, just like every other morning. After the bus came, she said she was going to walk her dog, so we parted company and I headed home. Five minutes later she called in a panic... there was a bear crossing the road in front of our neighbor's house, about 15 feet from the bus stop! She ran all the way to her house in a panic.

This never sounds like that big a deal to people who've never experienced it, but a bear in person, and NOT behind a fence, is really scary. We used to have bear troubles when we lived deep in the woods on our mountain in the Catskills. We even had a huge bear on our deck at the front door once. Our closest neighbor up there had a bear try to break down his door while he cowered in the corner with a stick. I had hoped we left our bear troubles back at the old house. At least today's bear was just a little guy, only 200lbs or so....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

School's ending...Clock is ticking....

There's only two weeks of school left for the kids, which means my head is spinning. What am I supposed to bring to this end of the year party, this last minute field trip, and don't forget all the teacher gifts. Of course next weekend Chloe's going camping with Girl Scouts so there's a huge list of things to remember for that as well.
Our kitchen is finished, so we're hopeful the next people who come through here will want to buy our house. On Wednesday our realtor is giving a brokers tour so we really need clean up and maybe pack more things. I also found a relocation consultant who will work with us in Curitiba. She'll help us find housing, settle the kids in school and maybe even meet us when we fly in.
Chloe tried out for an instrument at school and got trumpet! I think it's great she was chosen for a jazz instrument. I told her if she does well I'll buy her the pretty red one I found online for Christmas.
Next Sunday we'll make our first trip over to Zoom Flume. We bought a season pass this year, since I highly doubt we'll ever live less than 5 minutes from a water park again. We're really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hoje, eu ando com o cachorro....

That means today I walked the dog. On my (very slow) walk (Enzo is showing his age these days) I mulled over my goals for when I get to Curitiba.
#1 I'm writing a comic book series called "The People that melt in the Rain" I have five issues written and have at least that many to go, hopefully I'll get this done soon . It's a complicated mystery about a young girl trapped in a cursed mid-western town.
#2 I'm writing and drawing my first graphic novel called "The Horribles". It's a gothic children's book about a family of horrible monsters.
#3 I'm also hoping to work on my linguistic goals. I want to achieve fluency in Portuguese,and make progress with my understanding of french.
#4 and lastly I'm planning to get TEFL certified (teaching english as a foreign language) while I'm there.

Thank goodness our visa is for five years... maybe I'll get it all done :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Check it out.. I'm Superman

You Are Superman

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
And pretty cute too. No wonder you're the most popular superhero ever!
What Superhero Are You?

As I filled out this quiz, Mike said he's Spiderman (of course, he wore a spiderman costume to kindergarten under his clothes). He also said no one is ever superman!!!

CLUE #1 - I said I'd like to jump long distances (I've always wished travel could be instant)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

On the mower pondering our "rash" decision

Today I mowed our massive three acre yard. Perched on our careening mower, I felt like I was bulldozing the rain forest as everything from toads to mice to baby bunnies scurried from my path of destructive order. I hate mowing as the ground is extremely bumpy and filled with subtle inclines. This is not something I'll miss I muttered over and over all afternoon. Then I 'd cruise onto a nice even patch at the top of my yard where I could see a majestic view of the catskill mountains, and overhead an eagle cried out as it soared gracefully past....well maybe I will miss this.

We've broken the news of our planned move to some of our family and friends. There's been a huge range of reactions. Most of our friends have been supportive and encouraging. Some have suggested trying it themselves, others are just sad that we're leaving but have encouraged us none the less. Family members have been a different story. My father in-law's wife was very angry, and yelled at us. Mike's aunt doesn't think we can handle this and called us "rash". My Aunt and Uncle found my blog and told my other aunt and uncle.... They were excited for our adventure ahead and hoped to visit us in Brazil. You only live once! (Unless the Hindus are right).

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

the cat's out of the bag...

Well, we told the kids about the move. Chloe cried a little, but then became incredibly excited. She's very concerned about learning portuguese, and has borrowed my CDs. Phoebe's slowly getting used to the idea, and Naomi's mainly concerned that there are spiders in Brazil.
They all immediately told their friends, who didn't believe them, but my kids are persistent and their friends are coming around to the idea.
This week we had our neighbor Joe paint the bathrooms and the stairwell (he's a painting contractor). He did a great job and is moving on to painting the kids rooms tomorrow. We're also getting an estimate on the kitchen. Hopefully these final touches will sell this house!
Anyway, the kids have told everyone they know about our move. It's a little overwhelming for Mike and I. We've kept it to ourselves for so long that we got used to it being a secret... I still have to tell my family though.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Journey to Boston

Here's my three girls at Boston Harbor! For some reason they were acting really silly when the camera was pointed at them.

When I woke up last Saturday (the day of the trip), I couldn't move and my throat was on fire... I told Mike to forget it. Forget all the snacks we packed, forget the tickets we prepaid. I'm not moving. Then about ten minutes later I changed my mind and we raced out the door to meet the bus.

The trip was great, I loved not having to drive. The kids behaved well and seem to really like the Boston Aquarium. Naomi, my three year old, had an annoying habit of dropping to her knees every few feet to play with broken glass, or peer down manhole covers trying to see the sewer. I guess she's just a country kid, ... that'll change.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Just one extra day....

Well, it happened again... A Nor'easter hits on the last day of my kids' eternal school break, and they're still home. At least they're not trying to kill each other today, and I did actually made some significant progress on plotting and illustrating my graphic novel this week.
I walked down to the end of my driveway this morning to get the paper. Really I should say I waded down, through a foot of really wet slush that was up to my shins in some places. It's such a disgusting mess outside. I had to change my clothes when I got back... The paper wasn't even worth it.
Mike's birth certificate has come and he applied for his passport on Friday. I think I'll be holding my breath, though, till I have all five passports in hand.
One of the goldfish already died this week (I think it was Goldie). I went out and bought them a big fish bowl with a filter so of course one of them immediately kills itself by swimming in the filter and getting stuck. The kids were sad but got over it quickly...
We're going on the Boston bus trip with the Girl Scouts next week. First stop is the Boston aquarium and then to Quincy Market. I've lived in the northeast my whole life and have never been to Boston (except to drop off Mike's mother at the airport). Anyway we're pretty excited. I'm glad we'll see some of the city before we leave for Curitiba.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Simple Things

When you're planning an overseas move the simplest things can stress you out. Our portable dishwasher is making strange noises, and leaving grimy dishes, but we can't buy a new one for just seven months. In fact buying anything is an issue. I want a second electric pencil sharpener for the studio, but even the one we have can't come to Curitiba, the voltage is different over there.

This weekend my daughters went to a "Finding Nemo" birthday party. They had a blast and were so-o excited when the little boy's mom gave them a bowl with three goldfish on the way out the door. By the time I pulled the car into our driveway, they were official members of our family, and newly named "Sparkles", "Goldie", and "Bubbles".

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Making progress...

Today felt very positive. We submitted our passport applications. Everyone, but Mike's. The Office of Vital Records in Los Angeles is very slowly searching for his birth certificate and should send it any day now. If necessary we'll pay extra to expedite his application. We also finished our last lesson of Pimsler's Basic Portuguese and have moved on to Pimsler's Conversational Portuguese. I can now have a very lame conversation in portuguese, as long as the other speaker sticks with the small collection of words I can respond to. Still, it's something to build on, and it's kind of fun.

This week we found a Brazilian lawyer who's agreed to help us with visas and finding a realtor in Curitiba. We also lowered the price on our house and Trish (our realtor here) has placed an ad in the local papers. This is all getting pretty real.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

An afternoon at McDonalds

We brought the kids over to the play place at the McDonalds this afternoon, while a realtor showed our house. Mike and I sat there with our noses in our portuguese book ready to endure the fabulous McDonald's ambiance. Instead we found ourselves talking to Janice at the next table who was keeping her two young boys busy while her husband was laid up with the stomach flu.
It turns out her oldest son was born while they were living in Hong Kong, they came home on her mother's request when she became pregnant with her second. It was great to talk to someone who's lived as an expatriate. She was so enthusiastic (and jealous) about our plan. We actually had a lot in common. She's reformed Jewish like Mike and her husband is really into comics. I hope we get to meet him. She said they've been talking about New Zealand, I hope they get to go! I guess you never know who you'll meet in McDonalds, that is where we found Enzo (our dog).

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Storm

Right now we're getting hit with another "Nor-easter" , the paper said to expect 10"-12" of snow. The snowflakes are very small and sting your face when you walk outside. Just walking from the car to the house my face and hair got pretty wet and frozen. From inside, the storm makes our house seem cozy and safe. I like how a blanket of snow cleans up my yard, and the multitude of scattered sand box toys disappear from sight. I've lived with snow storms like this one my whole life so far, it's strange to think this could be the last one for a long time. So far this winter's been really easy so I can't complain, or could I? Isn't that why most people blog?
We're almost done with our basic portuguese CD's only one (and a half) lessons left, then it's on to conversational. It's great to be making progress, I only wish the kids were more interested. A few years back I decided to get the Muzzy DVDs in french. We bought some french children's books and even found some dolls that speak in french. The kids picked up a few words, and Mike and I learned a lot.
Ever since we started portuguese they've been asking Why? Do we have to? Why are we learning this? Since we're waiting till two months before the actual move to tell them, all we can say is "Just in case we go to Brazil some day". I guess this isn't a good enough answer, last week Chloe told Mike that she was working hard to "ignore the portuguese". Oh well, they say kids pick up languages quickly once they're immersed in it. I guess we'll be testing that... If only they would try.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Chloe's Play

My 8 year old, Chloe, has been working on creating a boat for the "Boston Tea Party" play she was involved in with her friends at school. We had the giant cardboard boat in our studio for a couple of weeks. Then we brought it up to the school on Friday, and set it up. It looked great and all the kids were really excited. Her teacher invited us in today to see Chloe and her friends perform, but it was at the exact same time as the pre-school art class I teach, so just Mike went.

When he got home he told me Chloe had written and directed the play as well and the whole class was in it! Now I desperately wish I could go back and cancel my class. Lame Mommy of the Year award goes to....

Monday, March 12, 2007

The latest...

There was an article in the paper yesterday about Global Warming and the news was so dire. Food and water shortages for billions within the next 20-50 years. It was of course on page three and when I picked up the paper today, I noticed there was no mention. Mike said sarcastically, "Well, that was yesterday's news."


It's really brought me down these last couple of days. Today I mentioned it to my friend Julie Anne, who runs the story time I bring my three year old to. She was so relieved to hear someone else was as affected by it as she was. Her husband could care less and her brother called her a "Gore Lover" (I image Al's wife would be thrilled to hear that particular term).

I'm so tired of these "flat-earthers", even president pin-head has admitted global warming is a reality. I guess on the plus side it's all moving fast enough that no one will deny it in a few more years.... That's a really lame plus side, I wish I could let myself be a "flat-earther"

Friday, March 9, 2007

New Beginnings

My name is Carolyn Watson Dubisch, and if you're reading this I'm simply amazed.  I currently live in the tiny town of Greenville, New York in the shadow of the Catskill mountains.  My husband, Mike Dubisch, and I are both commercial artists and teach children's art classes out of our studio. We have three little girls, an old gray dog, and a young gray cat. 

I decided to start blogging about our latest journey.  The biggest thing we've ever decided to do.  We're moving our life and our family to South America.  We have many reasons, not the least of which is the cost of our health insurance, which is now more than our monthly mortgage. 

The city we've decided on is in Brazil. It's called Curitiba, and is situated on a plateau in the southern part of the country. The city has good public transportation and is very focused on recycling.  Recently they even found a world famous painting in the trash thanks to their careful sorting!  We think we'll be able to get the visa, but Brazil is tricky. They have a reciprocal program.  Whatever your country's immigration policy is for Brazilians, that is the process that you must go through to enter Brazil.  Unfortunately since 9-11 it hasn't been easy for Brazilians or anyone from the Third world to get in this country.

Anyway this is the beginning of our journey and the beginning of my blog.
"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut

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