Thursday, November 22, 2007

Grandpa times two!

Yes, Paulo surprised us arriving a little ahead of schedule, for everybody's joy!
He was born this afternoon in New York, weighing 3.075 kg (about 6 lb 13 oz). Congratulations to dad Victor and mom Juliana!
Grandpa can't wait to meet him, but this will happen only in March. Grandma will go before, in January, to give a little help.
Yesterday was a very happy day. Right after Victor called saying Paulo was arriving, Felipe called to tell he made his presentation and had his Master Degree approved. So, congratulations also to uncle Felipe!
We've only got one picture of Paulo, taken with dad's phone. As soon as we get others, of course, they'll be posted here.
I can't wait to see the two cousins together!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Children's Day

I was wondering if Children's Day (which is celebrated in Brazil on October, 12th) already existed when I was a child, since I recall getting presents only on my birthday and on Christmas.
I did a quick search and found that this date was officialized by a decree signed by president Arthur Bernardes in 1924, but that it only started being celebrated on the sixties, when a toy manufacturer decided to honor the children (and to increase sales, of course) promoting the date instituted by that decree.
Even knowing that this is just more a commercial promotion than a spontaneous celebration, how can we not give presents to the children, who expect them on this date? And specially, how not to give presents to a grandson who is celebrating his first Children's Day?
Guilherme got many presents today. He probably didn't understand the reason, but he surely liked it! And he also loved to cut his cake!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 17th

Today is Father's Day in the USA and in many other countries (in Brazil, Father's Day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in August).
I believe every father feels, like I do, that time went by too fast and that, no matter how hard I tried to participate in my children's lives, I failed to do much of what I would like to have done together with them. Parents must work, the hours they spend with their children are never enough; when we notice, they're not children anymore, and only them we remember everything we planned to do and never did. That's why we want grandchildren so much: as grandparents, we have lots of time to play, talk or just watch our grandchildren - and on this era of digital cameras, no pictures are enough!
The reason for this reflection is that today for me is the day of one son in special, because Victor celebrates his 30th birthday. It was a short time ago that he was that blue-eyed, angel-face baby;

and right after that, the boy that went with his mom to his brother's music lesson and suddenly revealed himself as the family's musical talent. And the graduation, the wedding, the move to the US, the news that I'll be a grandfather again: all this happened so fast, 1977 was just yesterday...
And in just another moment he well be a father too, and he will live all the happiness and all the worries that every father lives. Becaus this may be another era, another generation, another millennium, but fathers and sons will always be fathers and sons.

Happy Birthday, Victor!

Friday, May 18, 2007

It seems like just yesterday...

I was a computer maintenance technician - the old mainframe - and exactly 35 years ago today I went to Fortaleza to fix a CPU (today a CPU is a chip, but at that time it was a "closet" weighing hundreds of pounds) at the company's branch office.
When I arrived there I was introduced to the people that worked at the office, and I noticed that one girl was looking at me intensely.
That afternoon she sent me a note asking if I was in need of anything: coffee, water...

Only much later I learned that she had already told a friend that she was going to marry me...
The next day, after finishing the job, we had dinner together, and that became our first date.
I returned to São Paulo the next morning and we continued our romance by the company's internal mail, since the Internet wasn't even in the dreams of futurologists then...
In July I returned to Fortaleza on vacation, and we became engaged. In September, another few days there to fix another problem on the same computer. And in December she came to São Paulo, when we married without anyone in the family knowing.
It's been 35 years, 4 sons, one grandson, many joys, some fight, but above all much union, much understanding, much companionship and much love. Everything I had in life I owe to this outstanding woman, a fighter, stubborn, insistent, relentless at work, who loves parties like no one.
I don't know what she saw in me that day, but I know I was very lucky...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Through these pictures of three generations of mothers in my family, I pay my homage to all mothers worldwide. Congratulations for your day!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


In her blog, Leaves of Grass, Sonia wrote about her books and published pictures of here bookshelves, suggesting that her readers do the same.
My problem is that my bookshelves are never tidy, but since what matters is to encourage more people to show their books, here are the pictures of the bookshelves in my office and my sons' bedrooms. What's missing are grandma's cooking books and all those that are hidden in many closets and boxes...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Earth Day

This Sunday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. March 22nd was Water Day. I must find out when Air Day and Fire Day will be... And I wonder if there is a "fifth element"day...
Jokes apart, these "this" and "that" days are useful at least to remind the media to discuss their respective themes.
This Sunday, then, let's stop for a few minutes and meditate about what we can do to keep all the menaces the scientists are predicting from becoming real. I want for my grandchildren a better world that the one I knew, and for this I must do my part for turning the table. No more pollution, deforestation, acid rain, global warming. I hope I'll still see the rivers of my city, the Tietê and the Pinheiros, if not crystal clear (I think they never were), at least usable and with fish.
I hopt to see our streets full of trees, the Atlantic Forest growing, Amazonia reforested, our smiling, beautiful fields with more flowers with more flowers, our woods with more life... *
In summary, Happy Earth Day for all!

(* - these is a translation of verses from the Brazilian National Anthem...)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Four months, and great news!

Sunday, besides Easter, we celebrated Guilherme's four months. And he's cuter and smarter yet!

And we heard great news just before Easter: Guilherme will have a little cousin soon! Yes, after waiting for the first grandson for so long, there's a second coming, and this one is "Made in USA"!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Happy birthday, dad!

Today Guilherme celebrates for the first time his dad's birthday, and he's even trying to clap his hands!

Although grandpa is away, I'm celebrating too!
Happy 33, dad!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Grandpa's trunk - VARIG menus

Menus from a time when VARIG's flight service was considered one of the world's best, and we woke up to a glass (real glass) of orange juice and watching a movie with beautiful sights and sounds of Brazil . The way things are going, soon airlines won't offer even free water...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lessons from nature

In December I told the story about the tree that fell across the street.
A few days later, city employees removed what was left of the tree, and sawed the trunk into several stubs. Grandma, always looking for materials she can use for decoration or crafts, asked the neighbor if she could have one of the stubs. It was very heavy, we had to roll it across the street and we left it on the garden.
Some days ago, I noticed there was a sprout on the stub. And it has grown to the size shown in the pictures.

Of course there's no hope for a rootless stub, but this fine effort is a lesson for anyone who quit at the first obstacle. Even when it seems there's no hope, it's always worth trying!

More than two years ago, I got from some friends a bonsai, a jaboticaba tree. I loved the present, of course, and since then I was always careful to keep its good health.
In January we traveled on a weekend, and I forgot to water the bonsai before leaving. It was a very hot weekend, and when we returned it was wilting. I watered it right away, but later the leaves dried completely. I put it in a bowl with water, to keep the soil always wet. Some days went by, and nothing happened. I insisted. Two weeks, and nothing. Every day I would look for some sign of life, but the bonsai seemed irremediably lost. But when I touched its branches I could feel they were still flexible, a sign (I thought) that they were not completely dry. I kept trying. Three, four weeks. I was about to quit, but something kept telling me to keep trying.
On Carnival we traveled again, and I left the bonsai in the bowl with water. When we returned, surprise: there was a sprout with four little green leaves!

Now I'm waiting for new sprouts. The plant is still very fragile, nothing guarantees it will keep growing. But it was worth not quitting on it.
This made me think that what happened to the plant can be viewed as an analogy to friendship: it must always be cared for, and many times a small mistake, a careless comment, an involuntary slip, causes it to wilt, dry and seem dead. It's better not to let it dry, because if thi happens it may take a great effort to revive it; but if it is dry, this doesn't mean it's dead - it's up to us to care for this little plant, to water it daily, to massage its trunk, to even talk to it, even if all this seems hopeless. If the friendship is true and strong, it won't have died, and one day the green will show up and it will recover its previous vigor!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Grandpa's games - points of view 2

Since many people liked the game (although few risked answering), here is the second edition. This time they're easier (I hope). You know the rules: these are pictures of common objects: the person who gives the first right answer for each photo gets one point. Let's play!
Update: I've provided the answers - just click on each photo to see them.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

First trip

Today our grandson took his first trip with Mom, Grandpa and Grandma. the occasion deserved it: it was great-granduncle Alberto's birthday.
Needless to say, Guilherme was a huge success with the uncles, aunts and cousins. In spite of the heat, he behaved very well. And after lunch, he enjoyed the pleasant shade by the lake...

Friday, February 16, 2007


I've never been much into Carnival. The noise, the crowds, the heat, the sweat, what's so funny about all this?
But when I was a child Carnival was different. Or was it me?
Almost every year we spent Carnival in Campinas, at my grandparents' or at my aunt's house. My mother sew our costumes herself, made of satin, always very well made. Sometimes we'd go to the children's ball at Dom Quixote, a small club of which my uncle was a director (I think). But usually we had fun on the street, with our many cousins, throwing confetti and serpentines (paper streamers) on each other. Not to mention the lança-perfume (a perfumed ether spray). Yes, children playing with lança-perfume was the most natural thing, that golden can, Rodo Metálico brand. And it was the most innocent game, we would spray each other to feel the cold sensation of ether, I never saw anyone even thinking about inhaling it directly...
But the highlight of Carnival was the corso at night. From the large window on the front bedroom of the house on Andrade Neves street, we would watch the big parade, with decorated convertibles, people in rich costumes, floats from the most diverse groups... One of my favorites, every year, was the float of some sort of hunting club, that was full of stuffed animals - unthinkable nowadays...
I was very small, my memories are few and not detailed. But I know Carnival was innocent enough to allow small children to have fun without fears or traumas. As everything else was innocent.
What is Carnival today, after all? A media event? Just another long holiday? A concentration of desperate joy of people who know that afterwards they'll have hundreds of Ash days?
Are there still places where children play with confetti and serpentines on the streets? What about the parade, where does it pass today? And the songs, who writes them, who sings them?
Although I begun by saying I'm not into Carnival, I miss those of my childhood. Or is it the childhood itself that I miss?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here in Brazil, June 12 is when we celebrate Dia dos Namorados (literally boy/girlfriend's day), but the costume of importing commemorative dates (usually, with commercil objectives) is making dates such as Halloween and Valentine's Day more and mor popular.
People here usually don't know that today's date, St. Valentine's celebration, is not just a celebration for boyfriends, girfriends and lovers; that schoolchildren write Valentine cards for their schoolmates and for their families; that family members also exchange cards; that friends send cards to friends...

This is a celebration of love, yes, but in all its meanings...
Therefore, I wish you all, and specially to my grandson, who is celebrating his first one, a

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

When grandparents become parents again

When our children grow up, we may even think that (paraphrasing John Kennedy) the torch has been passed to a new generation; and when our first grandchild is born, that from then on we won't need to be parents anymore, but just enjoy the sweet role of being grandparents.
But it's not that simple. Fathers and mothers will always be fathers and mothers, and will always worry about their children, no matter how old they are.
I'm saying that because of a scare we had this weekend. Guilherme's father was in the hospital with an appendicitis, and all of a sudden he wasn't Guilherme's father anymore, but our beloved son needing our care.
Fortunately, the surgery went without incidents and he's recovering very well, even bettar afeter watching today's soccer game!
We got good things even from this scare: the first one was to be with our grandson all afternoon on Saturday; the second was to confirm the love and dedication of our daughter in-law Paula for Henrique, and that our two families are now one. Thank you, daughter! Thank you, co-in-laws, great-grandma Frida, aunt Uli!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Grandpa's games - the inflation game

Using the bills from grandpa's trunk on the previous post, who can tell me, on each of the pictures, the chronological order when the bills went into circulation? For example, of the bill with the 100 denomination, who came first, the Duke of Caxias, Cecília Meireles or Dom Pedro the Second? One point for the first person who can tell the correct order on each picture. An extra point for the person who can tell, of all bills on all pictures, the last ones that were used.
I'm still waiting for answers to last week's game, nobody wants to take a chance? Only two objects were identified until now...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Grandpa's trunk - Brazilian money bills

I hope our grandchildren will never live in an inflation environment like we had in Brazil until 1996. And that it will be such a remote thing for them that it will be difficult to explain the large variety of bills we had to use during all those years. Different colors, sizes and themes, and values taht defy our imagination today: a 500.000 bill?