Commentary on political happenings and social conditions

Why your children will be little copies of you–whether you like it or not

One of the cutest things I have overheard this week (and with three small kids at the farm, there’s lots of cute) was little Anésio learning to shout “Ayyyi!” in proper cowboy style at the correct crescendos of a musica serteneja song. As of yesterday Anésio (age 2)–god love him–digs this art form that involves shouting […]

Sexing the Banana*

The epitome of the feminine, the papaya, can only be planted by women. Heck, in some parts of the Spanish-speaking world it is another word for vulva, which in my opinion beats beaver any day. (By the way, I could talk at length at how both Spanish and Portuguese are far better a describing the […]

Root Survival

Yucca Mandioca Cassava Poetry in vowels. Survival in a root. Hairy, fibrous, dirty layer on the outside, White gold inside. Tall and scraggly on top. You are the garden’s nerdy child. Blown down by the your bones snap at the slightest wind, slightest movement, but when you touch the ground each part of you begins […]

On Happiness

Happiness is in the language here. You greet someone: “Como esta? Tudo belleza?” And the appropriate, automatic response is always “Tudo joya.” (How are you? Is life beautiful? Yes, it’s joyous). It is so very easy to forget that we are in charge of our own happiness. I’m in a country where most people, even […]

Traffic Signs

The road signs are like driving with your father. “Use luz baixa quando cruza os vehiculos.” (Use your low beams with oncoming traffic) “Evite accidentes. Respite a sinalização.” (Avoid accidents. Respect the traffic signs.) “Em chuva não ultrapasse.” (Don’t pass when it’s rainy) “Só ultrapasse com segurança.” (Only pass when it’s safe) “Use luz baixa […]

Trash Redux

I have a horrible time keeping track of which day it is.  Let’s be honest, I was never particularly talented at it.  I’d like to blame it on much international travel and lots of exposure to a non-Western time sense, rather than consider that it’s just a glaring character flaw.  Yes, let’s do that. To make matters […]


I get a lot of thinking done while swinging a scythe. Shamefully, today I spent most of my time mentally cursing out the in-laws who had dumped their trash among the bushes I was trying to clear. Bottles, lost shoes, tin cans–I never knew what I was going to hit. How could they be so […]