Avoiding Crisis

Archive for October 2007

they just grow up so darn fast

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Because I know my daughter and I know how excited she is about dressing up for Halloween I also know that as soon as she gets her costume on tomorrow she will be one huge ball of energy impossible of nailing down for a picture.  So, knowing how my daughter is, and knowing how my son is ALWAYS one big ball of energy and always impossible to photograph I had them put on their costumes this afternoon for a quick photo session.  It wasn’t too successful.  You see, today isn’t Halloween and Power Rangers was just about to come on TV, so there were more important things to do than play dress up for mom and get your picture taken.  Regardless, I was able to snap a few for memory sake.

So while the kids were upstairs watching Power Rangers and beating each other up I took a trip down memory lane via my external hard drive.

Here is Abbey at 10 months. Her first Halloween. She was such a cute ducky. Qua Qua goes the Patita.


One year later, she was a real live, walking and talking, Raggedy Ann.  What a chunk!  Just look at those wrists, or lack there of.

raggedy ann 1

Another year went by, Owen was born, we moved countries, and Abbey learned all about the wonderful world of Disney Princesses.  Unfortunately, this particular year, Halloween was accompanied by a high fever and nasty cold, hence the whole droopy eyes and completely worn out look.


And while Abbey was a asleep on the couch fighting off a 102 F fever, a very big 10 month old Owen (hence the reason he wasn’t wearing Abbey’s ducky costume from two years earlier) was having a fight of his own. With an ear.


12 months later and Disney still had a hold over Abbey (who dressed as Princess Jasmine) and seemed to be taking hold of Owen (who sported a Peter Pan costume) too. Either that or Mom and Dad hit the Disney Store on a trip to the United States earlier in the month.


peter pan

Which brings us to this year. Tomorrow Abbey and Owen will go trick or treating with some friends in one of the barrio cerrados (close neighborhoods) nearby. Abbey will be Sleeping Beauty and Owen, her knight in shining armor.



What happened to my ducky and tigger?  Where’d they go? 

Happy Halloween!


Written by nicolemarie

October 30, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Posted in crazy kids

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makes mouths happy

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I totally forgot how much I LOVE Twizzlers.  The commissary (the small grocery store that we have inside the Embassy) just got in a new shipment.  Yesterday afternoon they opened with restocked shelves.  A brought home some goodies, and among them was a big 1 pound bag of Twizzlers.  I didn’t realize how much I missed Twizzlers and just how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them.  I’m going to go hide the bag now before my kids get wind of the stash. Thankfully A thinks they taste like plastic.  His loss. More for me.

Written by nicolemarie

October 30, 2007 at 1:47 pm

Posted in crazy randomness

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presidental elections, american football and a nasty skin infection

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Voting is over. Cristina Kirchner, the current first lady of Argentina, has been elected the next president of Argentina.

I would write more about this but there is so very little to say. This had to be the most boring and completely uneventful presidential campaign in not only this country’s history, but maybe even in the world’s history. It was seriously a total non-event.


okay. so in other news. I know that the New England Patriots are good and everything, okay so maybe good is an understatement. But geez, a 52-7 win over the Washington Redskins! Who the heck ever scores 52 points in one football game! (And Super Democrat Boy, you can wipe that shit eating grin off your face right about now. Thank you very much.)


Owen has impetigo. What looked like a mosquito bite, and could have very well been, has turned into a nasty case of blisters and open sores that cover an area of skin underneath his right arm about the size of my open palm. He caught this icky bacterial infection from a friend of Abbey’s who came over to play last week, who had a case of undiagnosed impetigo. All I can say is that it is icky, nasty and gross. I feel bad for him.

Written by nicolemarie

October 28, 2007 at 9:32 pm


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…are my thoughts.

because of THIS.  because just when I thought we had made a final decision about whether or not he would even entertain the idea of going there, it gets thrown back into our face.  And just when i had started breathing a little bit easier, knowing that there were 10 potential places we could be sent to next, none of them being a war zone, we have to start to consider one very unpopular possibility.

and so a lump has formed in the bottom of my stomach and it is slowly making it’s way up to my throat.  My heart is racing and it feels like there is someone stepping on my chest restricting my breathing. 

i can’t much think of anything else.  wondering if he might not have a choice after all, wondering how I’d manage if he left for a year, where I’d live, whether or not I’d work.   Thinking, but trying so hard not to, about the danger. 

yes, he can make a lot of money.  and yes, we’d be able to buy that house and car that we want and maybe even put away for the kids college and our retirement.  but none of that matters, none of the perks matter, if he doesn’t make it home.

according to news reports this issue will all be resolved by thanksgiving.  Let’s hope that we have something to be very thankful for this year.

Written by nicolemarie

October 27, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Posted in crazy adventures

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So yesterday I hosted a breakfast here at my house for the spouses/partners of embassay American employees.  It’s a great way to stay connected to other Embassy spouses as well as provide a way to welcome newcomers. 

My reasoning for hosting was two fold.  1) After almost 2.5 years of being here, I thought it about time to be an “old-timer” and help out and 2) I have this wonderful friend who has started this really cool company and I wanted to give her a platform to share her work with members of the Embassy community.

So in addition to the typical meet and great, catch up with old friends, get to know knew ones, we were treated to a wonderful class on mate (pronounced /ˈma.te/).

In Argentina, mate is not only the national drink, it is an obsession.  Drinking mate is nothing short of a cultural institution. It is not just a drink, it is a social norm.  And for some, it is a way of life.

There are a lot of rules and customs that go along with drinking mate, from how to cure the mate, to how to prepare the yerba mate infusion, to how to share mate.  Drinking mate is an experience. 

Until yesterday, I had only been offered mate two time in my 2 1/2 years living here.  The first time was only a few weeks into our tour and I was completely clueless as to what it was so I kindly declined.  The second time was at a kid’s birthday party, the adults were not people I knew very well, and the whole sharing the mate didn’t really sit well with me at the time.  Again, I declined. In both instances, I was with people who knew that I was a foreigner and weren’t offended by my refusal of the mate, or at least I don’t think they were. 

Most foreigners I have talked to about mate have told me that they didn’t really like it.  Some Argentines even have told me that it is an acquired taste that even they had to get used to it.

Yesterday, I finally tried mate.  And you know what?  I actually liked it.  I really liked it.  I liked everything about it, the preparation, the sharing, and even the taste.  It wasn’t awful like I’d been told.  It didn’t taste like licking an ashtray (whatever that is supposed to taste like), as it had been described to me on several occasion.  It tasted like an herbal tea, but a with a more bitter and smokey flavor. 

Not only does mate taste good (to me at least) but it has many more health benefits than both tea and coffee combined.  It’s known to boost immunity, cleanse and detoxify the blood, combat fatigue, stimulate the mind, control the appetitie, increase stamina and reduce stress.  It gives you a caffeine like boost but without the jitteryness.

I tend to drink a lot of coffee and tea during the day.  Coffee to get me going in the morning or to keep me going in the evening and tea during the day when I need a boost or when I just need something soothing and warm. I’m thinking of switching some of my daily consumption of coffee and tea to mate. 

Just one more reason to love this country.  

Written by nicolemarie

October 26, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Posted in crazy argentina

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dumb blond

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A girl walks into a hair salon and says “It’s almost summer.  Let’s lighten things up a bit.”  Three hours later she emerges from the hair salon with much lighter hair and a few less brain cells.

If you’ve been around here a while you’ll remember back when I did this.  

Well, today, I decided I was in need of a change.  Again.

This picture was taken a few days ago.  This was the color of my hair until today.


This is what I currently look like. (Excuse the really bad photo but I haven’t yet perfected the self portrait via mirror shot.)


My daughter keeps looking at me and saying, “Mommy you’re hair is yellow. No wait! You’re not my mommy.  Where’s my mommy.  What did you do with my mommy!  But you look really pretty with yellow hair.”

At least someone likes it.  ‘Cause I’m completely undecided.

Written by nicolemarie

October 26, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Posted in crazy mommy moments

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i met this guy in a bar and….

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This morning, out of the blue, my husband told me that he had been lying awake in bed thinking about one of the first weekends we spent together in NYC and how it was at the moment when he had to say goodbye that he knew that I was someone very special in his life.   There is a whole crazy, this-shit-only-happens-in-cheesy-romantic-comedies-esque story that goes along with this particular goodbye, but you’ll have to wait for that. 

What he said got me to thinking about how we met and how we ended up together. 

I met my husband, A,  while I was still in college.  He had just finished a Masters in Forensic Psychology and was packing up to leave the city.  The fall semester was almost over.  I had a few finals left, but was taking a break from studying. 

I had been dating someone else.  It was a long distance romance that had its share of problems.  Still, I wasn’t actively looking for someone that evening.

I had been entertaining the idea of moving to Washington, DC after graduation.  So when A and I began to talk and I learned that he had grown up in Northern Virginia and was returning to the area, I was interested in hearing what he had to say about work and life in the nation’s capital.  I thought he seemed like a nice enough guy and since I didn’t know anyone in the DC area I figured it couldn’t hurt to get an early start on making new friends in what probably would be my new home.  We exchanged email addresses.  I wasn’t the type of girl to give out my phone number to random guys I met at a bar.

The semester ended, the holidays came and went, and with it, my previous relationship. 

Sometime in late January early February I got an email from A.  It was a very casual, what’s up? kind of email. I didn’t think much of it.  I responded. 

And so it began. 

Soon one email a day turned into 10.  I’d check my email before and after class, I’d find myself daydreaming in class wondering if he had gotten back to me;  thinking about all the things he might have written; wanting so badly for him to have written me.  We talked about everything and about nothing.  About his dog, Peanut, and how she had gotten a bag of Cheetos stuck on her head, which caused her fur to turn orange.  And about how we both loved Cheetos — the crunchy kind, of course — and how we were both known, from time to time, to be able to consume an entire big bag of the little orange crunchy things in one sitting.

Soon our emails turned into nightly IM chats and then marathon phone conversations.  While I should have been cranking away at my senior thesis, working on my resume, and networking for jobs, I instead found myself waiting to talk to him via email, IM or by phone.  

In the meantime, my ex and I were trying to patch things up.  Or maybe we had already patched things up.  I’m not sure, I think I was in denial at the time. 

Getting back to me and A.  We had developed this awesome friendship and yet we had only met once, and only for a few minutes.  And while this may not seem so out of the ordinary these days, with all the social networking sites linking people to each other and the frequency of online dating, at that time it did seem totally strange. And yet, at the same time, it made complete sense. 

In March, the Barnard Alumnae Club of DC and the Office of Career Development teamed up to host a reception and networking events in DC for seniors who were interested in working in the nation’s capital.  I drove down to DC from NY.  The events were scheduled for a few days prior to spring break so I decided to stick around the area for a few extra days afterwords to see some friends and then head up to Pennsylvania to see my kinda, sorta, I don’t know what you would call him at the time, boyfriend.  

From the time I had arrived in DC, A and I had been trying to get together for dinner or at least a drink.  Totally platonic, of course.  At least that’s what I was telling myself.  He was working and I was busy with Barnard stuff so it had to wait until the weekend.  Eventually we found time.  We decided to meet at the Tyson’s Corner Mall.  It was about half way between where he lived and where I was staying and it was this huge landmark that I couldn’t possibly miss — needless to say, I suck with directions.  

Having had only met once and for such a short time, the whole evening felt quite like a blind date, or what I would imagine a blind date to feel like seeing how I had never been on one.  Not that it was a date or anything.  Just two friends getting together for dinner.

So I parked the car.  We met outside Bloomingdale’s — another landmark I was familiar with and wouldn’t possibly miss.  We got in his car and went to have dinner.  It was but a 5 minute ride to a restaurant.  Nothing fancy, just pizza and beer. 

But in those 5 minutes there was this tension between us, an attraction that I hadn’t felt in such a long time.  I felt at the same time completely alive and unbelievably terrified. I guess that’s what people call chemistry.

We got out of the car and started to walk across the parking lot.  I stopped walking.  Balancing on one of those yellow painted concrete barriers that mark off the end of parking spaces.  A came over to see what was up.  I said nothing.  I stepped off the concrete block that i was standing on and stepped practically right into him.  I told him that I was sorry but that there was something I had to do; something that I just had to get out of the way before we went inside.  

I kissed him. 

And then I announced that I was hungry and that we should really go and eat.  We walked into the restaurant. 

We were seated in a booth.  I don’t remember what we ate or drank or even much of what we talked about that night.  What I do remember is asking him for his wallet and looking through it.  How rude of me!  I always think you can learn a lot about a person from the contents of their wallet and/or purse.  And I totally remember the waiter saying what a cute couple we made and saying something about how nice it is to see two people so happy.  We laughed it off, dismissing it with a “but this isn’t a real date” comment.

When we finished it was still early.  It was a beautiful early spring evening.  A perfect evening for a walk.  Unfortunately, Tyson’s corner is not an ideal place for a romantic stroll.  He asked if I wanted to follow him back to his house.  That there was this quaint old town down near a river that we could go for a walk and get ice cream.  Not wanting the evening to end,  and never being one to turn down ice cream, I agreed.

Written by nicolemarie

October 23, 2007 at 8:39 pm