Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Minus one, alas!


Well, c'est la vie, as they say in some parts - Candy managed to smother one of her pups during the night so the early morning saw some grave digging to my DH's disgust! It is a good thing dogs can't count, in fact I don't even think she noticed. We will have to keep a closer eye on her to avoid further 'accidents'! Here is a picture of her with the seven...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New arrivals



Well, they are here now - all eight of them!
I don't think Candy knew what was coming, however, they all seem to be thriving and she seems to be happy about them.
I guess I will have a busy forty five days ahead of me - cleaning out the kennel three times a day - I hope some of the teenage creatures around will come to my aid - wish me luck, my bloggy friends!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Odd things

I complained enough about August, that I felt guilty about posting in September I think! September, for me, is a lovely month, especially here in Brazil, as it is the beginning of spring. The weather begins to get nicer - clear blue skies, breezes and sunshine - it didn't work out exactly like that, though - we had some brilliantly summery days in the middle and I even dared put away the blanket, however I had to drag it out again last week. It is now October and everything is green and flowers galore - I enjoy watching the little monkeys gambol around on the branches in front of my office window, one of them has just had babies and it looks like a Notre Dame hunchback with two little ones almost soldered onto her back! even the tail seems to cling!! I didn't get to go sailing at all in September, much to my disappointment. We managed to sell the car and buy a (brand) new one and also settle up with the club, which means we can continue to go without the added embarassment of knowing that we owe a few monthly fees - it certainly does dampen one's spirits. I have also managed to start the process of renewing my visa and foreign ID card, so I am no longer at a danger of being deported to the UK! I now have concentrate my funds and efforts on renewing my driver's license and work permit. I hope I can get both done during this month of October. Our very pregnant Labrador is about to give birth any day now, I set up a lovely "nest" for her in the kennel, but she refuses to stay there, she insists on digging her own (in MY garden) and stubbornly laying there all night, the Rottweiler thinks that is fine, she can have a nest to herself in the dry - I suspect she has told Candy that "real" dogs do it in the wild, so she can have the kennel to herself! Candy, being the compliant feather head she is... It will be interesting to see what comes of this, as we have no idea who the father is - we have suspicions, but only wild guesses really.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another week of August

Definitely not my favorite time of year! I have many things to be thankful for in August, but the month itself never pans out to be much good... For one thing, it goes on for ages - I mean, next Monday, it will still be August! This year, the weather has been bad also - it has rained so much that I am beginning to feel water-logged. Where are the beautiful blue skies and sunshine?? I do live in a part of the world that is particularly beautiful most of the time. The weather is getting me down, I begin to mope about feeling that nothing is ever going to be bright and promising any more. The bank account doesn't help either - another 7 days before I even see the odd bit of change... and then another 5 days before some more!
I didn't manage to go sailing this month and I don't think I will be allowed close to the boat for another three weeks, if then!
I want to get on with solving my bureaucratic problems too - am no closer than I was at the beginning of July - I badly need to buy another car too - the car I have is beginning to stop me from doing a whole lot of things. I have to think twice about going further than 15 kilometers in it.
I hope this last week of August is better...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Teen angst -cellphone bills

I really don´t know what possessed us to give post paid cell phones to our kids! We have royal fights over how much they spend - so we resorted back to prepaid, but that didn´t work because being so cash strapped, we never had enough to shell out for three cards at the same time. Well, for the second time round we had a serious talk with them and told them that we would go back to the post paid system but they would only have 30 minutes to work with, whatever exceeded that would come out of pocket money. Our big mistake was not following up that threat, I know, I know... be consistent. After some time we had a problem with our eldest who managed to spend more than his father on one single month - he had all the excuses, he had a friend who had had a motorcycle accident and needed help and cheering up, we were out of town and he had to call us (more expensive), he thought that he still had minutes left... then we had a problem with the youngest, she overspent herself incredibly with texting (and I thought she would never learn to read and write when she was in preschool - a few years earlier!), we talked to her and she promised NEVER to text again - not our imposition, though. Because of this, she was without a cell phone while we paid off the bills.Lately we decided to go ahead and change cell phone operator in order to cut costs - this new plan would give my husband and the three kids a 1000 minutes plus fixed phone for free and internet broad band access via fixed phone line for about a third of what we pay nowadays. Yesterday was the day that the migration was complete - also the day that we received three bills - my husband's, the eldest son's and the youngest's cell phone bills with the former operator... to our complete dismay and shock! Our baby girl´s bill (she is 14) was 15 times my husband's! yes - fifteen times - I read on internet that last year the average cell phone bill in the USA was about 78 USD, I asked around my friends at the office today, what kind of bills did their teenagers run up - the answer was between 30 and 50 USD... She managed to spend 831 USD in 30 days - she spent 22 or 23 hours on the phone! interstate fees - her friend lives two states away from us. I mean - what the .....??????
I am still shell-shocked - I have taken the phone away from her - I am threatening to take internet access too - my husband is still at the silent stage...
She said that she needed to talk to her friend (another girl, the same age ) because at least SHE understood her - her acquaintances here apparently do not - they rib her because of her taste in music and because she reacts badly to this - I questioned her on the necessity to be on the phone for over three hours - she said that if she had something better to do she wouldn´t do it, but
because I don't pay for guitar lessons she has nothing to do except spend time on the computer and on the phone - but WHY the phone and not skype or something like that?? Oh, she didn't
have that on her computer and her friend didn't either... besides her friend wasn´t always on the computer (her friend has to SHARE a computer). I reminded her that I am always asking her to help me round the house, but seemingly that doesn't count as something to DO!!
Oh, my poor sweet little baby - brat!
What would you do? Does anyone have any bright idea out there?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August

August is here. For me, this is the beginning of the second half of the year - maybe reminiscing when it used to be the beginning of a school year (almost). I know that July should mark the beginning, but it seems that there is so much to finish up in July and this year we even took a holiday in July...
Back to reality, back to work in earnest - last week didn´t really count - I just finished off things that were pending.
I hope that I am able to tackle some of the more serious issues awaiting me, lik
e renewing my visa, work permit , driving
license, legalizing and
selling my present car, buying a new(er) one and then thinking about Christmas - New Year. Gosh! Christmas is not far off... under five months now (the hairs on the back of my neck are beginning to rise...). I must find a way to earn more money and save more, maybe change the internet provider for a free one, change the cell phone provider (ooops, I need a new phone = more expense). I want to begin a count down for retirement, get back to embroidering, sewing and woodworking. More than all, I need to re-prioritize my daily schedule, find time for quiet time, exercise and one on one time with each of the three kids. I guess there are no miracles out there, just grace.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thoughts in the rain


When you live in Brazil, as I have over the last 36 years (!), you just can't get used to rain anymore. Just look at it! So, here we are - sitting on the verandah at the club, which has been turned into a Lan House!!! Some play games, others write their blogs and some actually work! I know it is winter and rain is to be expected, but I hope the sun comes out tomorrow and we can get on with the serious business of finishing the boat and we can get some sailing in! I thought this was to be a sailing holiday and I have only been out in my kayak! According to the innumerous weather sites, there is a good chance that the rain will peter out tomorrow and the sun will make its tremulous appearance sometime on Tuesday... The problems of living in a sunny country.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Silver Wedding

Now that we are definitely into our holidays, some of the anxiety has rubbed off! The worries are still trying to creep up on me with teenage interventions - Sunday evening, our eldest (very macho 17 year old) called to ask whether we had authorized the youngest (our baby girl at a lanky 14) to go out by herself; I asked - what do you mean? yes, she said she was going to meet a friend at the mall...
He replied: Well, she just got into a car with four "men"...
a cold chill starts down by back and I look fearfully at the father, almost willing him to be struck deaf and I quickly hang up on my helpful son and call the recalcitrant daughter.

- What is going on? Weren't you going out with so and so???
- Yes, mum, I am - we are going to the mall right now (a suspicious silence in tthe background).
- Who are you with??
- I am with so and so's (a neighboring boy) mother and friends.
- (a little calmer) Where is so and so (the aforementioned girlfriend)?
- (a little pause) she is here...
- Ok, can I speak to her?
- oohh, mum please...
- you mean, she isn't there??!!!
- she has already gone with her boyfriend...

By this time, husband is glowering in the background and I am trying to decide whether to threaten daughter with permanent grounding, or even worse - making her go and stay with her grandmother (that'll larn her!). However, I opt for peace and a halfhearted sermon over the phone, impressing on her that if she makes me come back from my holidays, there will be h**l to pay and that she had better call me again when she is home - so I get a call at about 11 p.m. saying that she has just arrived. phew...
The middle son arrived safely at his destination but found out that he had forgotten one of his essential (also one the most expensive) medicines back home, so that meant we had to fork out almost another airfare to cover the cost of a new bottle to tide him over. This was after having to argue (over the phone) with an airport attendant who insisted that she had to have an authenticated copy of his birth certificate (a simple photocopy wasn't enough) in order to allow him to board the plane - he did, but I had to send an authenticated copy by express post to my sister's to guarantee he will be able to come back - another "convenient" expense!
So... we are still here...
And it is pouring with rain...
We had a great dinner last night to celebrate our twenty-fifth at a local restaurant and afterwards, DH bought me a lovely wedding band with white and yellow gold and a tiny diamond chip - very pretty, just can't show it because it will only be delivered next week - they didn't
have my ring size.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Holidays

I am racking my brains to find a way of guaranteeing my holiday by trying to ship the kids off to other parts of the country without breaking the bank - the middle one has his heart set on going to the south of Brazil to spend 10 days with my sister and his cousins, he has generously informed me that this can be considered his birthday present! The youngest is hankering after going to a friend's house in the south too (also involves a plane trip), the only problem is that we don't know this friend and her family because she is an "internet" acquaintance. Her older cousin is planning to go there too which may save her or not - this cousin also has never met the girl in person either... So my sister and I are going to try and call this girl's mother and establish some kind of connection! I love the web, but it sure has made things a little difficult - sigh. The eldest has contrived to stay home - I suspect because of the girlfriend - he is going to do extra classes at school but will have a lot of spare time on his hands. I just hope that he doesn't decide to invite her over while we are away...
Of course this all doesn't help my DH's natural reluctance and pessimism... Over the weekend I had the distinct feeling that our trip was going to be trashed - "we can't really afford this...", "Are you sure the kids will be OK?" "TWO plane tickets - oh no, there is no way we can do all this", "be realistic - how long do you really think we can be away for?" "two days??!!" "We have to paint the boat hull - do you think we can really afford the paint?" "There is no way you(!!!) are going to stand sleeping on the boat the way it is..." and on and on...
Where is all the spontaneity, romance and adventurous spirit??

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Down in the dumps


Has anyone ever felt like they want to get off - right now!, and the train/bus won't stop? I do. I know it is too late for a lot of things I wanted to do, but there is a persistent feeling that if only I could stop, I could do other things. Things like: learn to put a zipper in properly; start an efficient exercise regime, do some gardening, de-flea my poor dogs (and the rest of the house/garden, I am told), study some more, blog more, be useful to myself and others, and the list is endless... I would like to study more physics (yes you heard that right!) to be able to help my sons with the subject at school, encourage my daugher over her "layabout" stage, help her through her uncertainties as young girl/woman and mainly incentivate her to keep her mind open and to make decisions that won't hamper her later. You see, I like to be free, I like to have a flexible timetable, do different things (sometimes quite different! LOL) and my present lifestyle is just cramping me. I know that I have it easier than many - I work a reduced schedule in a fixed job and then I can use my 'free' time to teach, translate, or whatever I want. I think the main issue is cash because I don't earn that much due to my job choices, so I can't afford to do the many things I want to. Even if I have the time I don't have the spare cash and all the rest of the time is used up working for a pittance to pay back the kind credit card companies and banks that have on occasion been useful to fund some creature comfort for myself or the family. I also have to think about my retirement and for that I have to become officially employed again (4 years without a register). Then I find out that my documents have expired... the joys of being an expat! Of course, that involves money and a lot of it. So I have to find a way of making a little extra to cover my document expenses in order to be properly employed again... My driver´s license is about to expire and my car documents are also slightly irregular - I have to pay this years road tax and have it inspected (this is a whole new problem - the car needs work done to it to pass the inspection). I think that all this affects my outlook on things, from my job to my down time! So, you might say, money is the answer! No, I don't think so - it is a bit like the plane crash - it is a combination of factors. That is why I feel like I want to get off!!!!!
Well, enough about that, I wanted to show a picture from the weekend (last). This is a picture of the beach in front of the club we (in) frequently spend our weekends at. It was a lovely weekend, weatherwise (except for Friday) and if it weren't for my husband's little black dog, it would have been perfect - we even sailed!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pondering...


I have been thinking these past few days about this space, if it is serving a purpose or not, why is it that I feel the urge to write, but when I get here, I don't think it is worth the effort... Yet, I spend enough time here, reading other people's posts, making comments that are almost another post! Sometimes, I feel that I have nothing very interesting or relevant to say-most of the time really. Is it a kind of selfish, vain pride that stops me from closing it down completely? Maybe the everyday 'run of the mill' problems are so incpacitating that I feel dry. One of the solutions might be to learn how to add/insert quirky links or other attractions. Quite possibly, the lack of audience is why I hold back on posting. I am not confident that others would be interested in what I have to say, so I deliberately sabotage my own musings.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thoughts all over the place

Well, still pondering on the unfairness of DH taking a vacation and having to accept a 50% drop in the usual income on one hand and on the other, thankful that we still have enough credit standing to get a loan to cover the hole! It shouldn't be, but, c'est la vie, I suppose. I am in a mire hole at work too - in between translation projects and waiting for instructions on the next Golf championship. I wonder if they are finally going to formalize my contract... also a sticky issue... Too many unanswered questions flying around! All of them urgent and none very easy to be answered!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sad

Just sad about the unfairness of things!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On the plane home...

Edu has just called me from the plane (!!!) to say that in a couple of hours he will be home. I am looking forward to seeing him back - we have all missed him. I sense that he is still a little tense, maybe just because of the flight or anxiety over going back to work on Monday! LOL. Have I learnt something from this forced separation? that I can survive and run the house without him? I already knew that, I suppose. Life is pretty boring without him, I have been able to get a lot done because he isn't around to fill up the time. I feel very vulnerable to the kids demands also. However, in general, I would say that the sparkle of life just seems to be missing! I am hoping that the kids will do as they have arranged and go to this party tonight - it will mean some free time just for us!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Learning day to day...

It is not even half way yet and I miss him so much... Every day I face new challenges - today I had to clean the pool, first time ever - it worked! Ok, I had the help of my middle son. The kids are finding it difficult in the mornings, he isn't there to make their breakfast (and mine, too!). This has made me reflect on how difficult it must be to be divorced, widowed or a single mother. I have to feed the dogs, remember to put out the rubbish, lock the house at night, seemingly small things, but they loom so large to me, simply because there is no one else to do it - the buck stops here -   literally. The car is playing up, of course and the bank account is staring at me with hungry eyes, I know that if he came back, things wouldn't really change (except I wouldn't have to feed the dogs!!), it is just having to face it all - alone. Maybe it is the green eyed monster attacking again, that is a possibility. I do miss him, I need another adult to talk to, teenagers are fine, some of the time, but after a while, you run out of meaningful things to talk about. the empty bed also upsets me  - I find that his side of the bed is hardly ruffled, when usually he manages to untuck the bottom sheet as well as the rest! The kids miss him too, sidestepping around me when they sense I am stressed out! Oh well, tomorrow begins another week.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rambling on about changes

I have just read a super inspiring post by a dear friend whom I have never met in person, but is very close to my heart. Mimi Avery is a cancer mom - there, I said it! Unfortunately, this is a bond that many mothers share and I am also a cancer mom, albeit one of the "luckier" ones. She wrote a beautiful post about how difficult it is to reconnect to old friends after cancer - in her case, she is the mother to angel Julian.
While we were looking for psychological help for our son João after his medical treatment was over, we were concerned in finding a professional that could relate to his situation and we found a good person who attempted to guide him back into to the "normal" world. You see, my son has been "cured" and shows very few outward signs of the ordeal he went through. Something that most people think should make us joyful and ready to put the whole disease behind us - it is not that easy, you cannot really just pick up and move on after cancer. As Mimi says, some people do not realize that you can't go back to the "old" you, your life has been changed, you have suffered losses and experienced a lot more than most. My son wanted his "old" life back, life before cancer, but has found that many of his friends have become distant or are a little afraid of associating with him. The girls are "sorry" for him and that's it - he told me that when he goes to a party he ends up talking to the older people there, the birthday person's mother or grandmother and doesn't really have a chance to get in "on the action"! And this is a healthy fifteen year old who is good looking, articulate, smart, friendly, affectionate and apparently no serious hangups - His therapist gave him carte blanche and said he was able to deal with his issues and I think he is too, but I observe the difficulties he has in fitting in. He often wants to cling to us and spend more time with us than with his peers. One of the things I told him while he was having therapy was that I felt that he shouldn't be yearning so much for his "old/normal" life and that he should try to find a way to go forward without wanting to go back. I also wish that we never had had to go through this and pick up our "old" life, however, it is very clear to me that this is not to be - cancer is part of our life fabric now for better and for worse. This is the link to Mimi's enlightened post: http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JuliansWorld/updates/2079695

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Clearing the air

It is essential to clear the air sometimes - I have let my significant other know how frustrated and envious I am of his condition in life. Although I am sufficiently sane to know that I have made my choices and must face the consequences I STILL wish I could just leave the house, the kids and pets, and get on that plane to Porto Alegre on Friday to bring Walkon http://www.walkon43.com/blog to Ilhabela or Angra dos Reis, without a care in the world. In itself, I couldn't anyway, as I wasn't invited. I know that he is concerned about us and is not being irresponsible at all, but BECAUSE I am a woman, wife and mother I somehow don't think it would work the other way around, would it?? Maybe I should paint this post green, LOL!
This morning he told me before leaving for work, that he felt sorry for me and guilty (!!!) - oh dear, that will me make me feel guilty for confessing my darkest feelings to him. I wish I were that selfless person that surrenders all for the well being of those whom I love - I am afraid I have a long way to go...
It is now less than 48 hours before he leaves for three weeks - at least! I must make something positive of this, but what?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Full house!!

It must be a historic moment - there are nine kids in this house who are grandchildren to my parents! Maria doesn't know which way to turn - she served chicken and roast beef and jerked beef for lunch! The kids loved it. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sailing - a little!


The weekend was good - I only added two bruises to my collection, which, considering that I always beat my self up badly when we go sailing, wasn't too bad :-)
The lack of wind was quite another story, though - we did manage to finish and not exactly last either!
It was great spending time at the club with friends - Tony, who was our host this weekend did a great job of keeping us all entertained and happy! The food was good and we were able to re-install the day-night fan on our boat - let´s hope that it dries out now and next time we can attempt to do more work on it - it certainly needs some attention, I think the hull painting will be next on the list!
Here is a picture of Tony at the helm of his boat:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

One track mind

I guess I have a one track mind...

Disappointment

Well, it didn't work. We didn't get to go sailing - a tremendous thunderstorm and an über depressed hubby. It is so hard to push against... to carry on being cheerful confronted by black clouds of gloom. My heart is heavy and my mind is muted, I wish I could roll up into a ball and stay like that until this all blows over - it just has to! The kids are upset too, João, because he wanted to go and Pedro and Isabella because they sense something is wrong and were looking forward to a more relaxed weekend by themselves at home. Oh God of peace, please bring peace to my husband and our family.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Anticipation

Well, here I am, willing the minutes to go by (and they crawl)getting closer to spending a weekend sailing! I know it will probably rain, but who cares? I am just hoping that DH's mood will improve over the weekend, that would make it perfect. The best thing is that it will be two weekends running - oh bliss! I just need to find out a way of making a little money on the side to help finance this indulgence. The kids are being good, at least two of them are staying behind and shouldn`t cost me a fortune in food at the club and João generally doesn`t break the bank. I don`t know how we are going to get there, though - I have no news from the mechanic, as yet, so we may end up asking for a ride down, which would be quite a good idea (saves on the gas!!!). I am really beginning to wonder whether, given the present credit crunch, we can really afford to keep the boat and all the expenses it entails... It would break my heart if we had to give it up - I can think of lots of things I would more readily give up, but when one lives in a family, I suppose we have to think of other people's comforts too. Part of DH's depression is due to that. Our next adventure will be finding out how to take the Laser down to Angra without incurring in traffic violations - why is it so difficult to find a rack that will support the boat's weight and won't ruin the car roof? I am happy we are going sailing!!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Carnival blues

I stepped on the scales this morning... why is it that rest always seems to mean a two kilo gain??? I cooked, and therefore ate, all through Carnival (and drank too). What were my accomplishments? I made two cushion covers, I hemmed two pairs of trousers, I helped load and unload and wash down a laser boat (Rothina), I made the cover for the foot rest, I moved my bedroom around, I took the chest of drawers out of Pedro's room and moved it into my closet, I put the towel shelves into my bathroom and I swept, and dusted, and swept again. Doesn`t look very impressive - oh and I washed and hung out (and brought in - didn't exactly fold it all) three machine loads of washing. Five days holiday! Oh well...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stagnation


What stops me from going forward? Laziness? Procrastination? Or, maybe I am trapped... I suppose I could break free, but it would be at an enormous cost and probably not worth it! I just think it would be nice to be able to make plans and work on the execution without having to depend on other people (kids to grow up, mouths to be fed, husband to get over depression, employers to do the right thing) and all the little stuff... It seems that one becomes so entangled in everything, I know that I would not want to live without all the personal links I have - I just wish they didn't interfere so much with my space. Perhaps, if I took up exercise again, that might make me feel freer, at least it would be time legitimately away from everything. I am feeling enroached upon, crowded and unable to breathe - even the uniform I am obliged to wear at work bothers me...
I DO feel trapped - if laziness and procrastination are part of this or a consequence I am not sure.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reminiscing (sp?)

I was just checking up on some things I wrote in other spaces and I found this:
02 de outubro
As time goes by...
As time goes by... it seems that not only time goes by, but that life also is dragged by, running me over, leaving me to wonder what it is all about. There is a feeling of not being able to redeem time, especially pleasurable, meaningful moments. Where have they gone? Is this all life is about? surviving from day to day? As much as I try to live the moment, focus on what is [should be] important, I still have the feeling that I am being left behind and that it is increasingly difficult to catch up. Maybe my expectations are too high, maybe I am dissatisfied too easily and cannot live the moment which hides behind a cloud of disapointment that I have allowed to drift into my line of vision. We must be content with our lot, yet strive for higher things, count our blessings and fight on, being courageous in the face of adversity - it is all so contradictory, or so it seems to me.

This was posted on 02/10/2007! I regret to say that I still face the same issues... I wonder what it is that stops me from going forward...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

At work

I am bored... I need a vacation. I know I should be grateful for a job, but I am so tired, I have so many other things to do - the kids are going back to school this week and next, I need to buy uniforms and school material and find out what can be used from last year, I need to build Pedro's wardrobe - I have the plans, but I need to buy the wood and discover how to put it all together. I need to buy material and make new curtains and fit them in João's room. I want to get Isabella's wardrobe fixed too. So many things to do and so little time to do them!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama's Inaugural Speech Washington USA January 20, 2009

A bit late, but worth re-reading!!
Full transcript as prepared for delivery of President Barack Obama's inaugural remarks on Jan. 20, 2009, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.
My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.
They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.
We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Pictures from Isabella's Churrasco

Isabella January 25 2009

Welcome

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Some of my favorite things

  • Excellent food
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  • Light clothes and flip flops
  • Beaches
  • Dogs
  • Flowers
  • Good books
  • Sunshine
  • Wind in sails