Roaming around

We’ve had a very uncertain spring weather so far : one day is cool and sunny (perfect), next day is grey and rainy (meh). It does not stay the same for long. It’s mid-June and I’m still not wearing my summer clothes. I’m actually wearing what I considered “winter clothes” in Brazil : short sleeve T-shits (as opposed to sleeveless shirts) and long jeans (as opposed to capris or skirts).

When the sun suddenly comes out, I have a switch in my brain that tells me that I have to go out and enjoy the weather. I can’t stay still.

On one of such days, I yelled at the men downstairs (most of the time dad and kids are now playing video games in the basement, aka the “man cave”) that I was going out, enjoy the weather, with my bike. Who wants to come with me?

Only Elias came. But that’s just as well, it’s easier to go around and be distracted when I have only one other person to worry about. And he is very pleasant to roam around with, maybe he’ll become my travel companion one day. 🙂

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Anúncios

In the same ‘hood

Hello lovely peeps!

Yes, we’ve finally moved (again). We are exhausted.

We despaired for a couple of weeks because we couldn’t find an affordable house for our family… I was starting to think that with our meager budget, we would have to rent a two-bedroom apartment. Not ideal at all for a family of five. The house market in our area is just crazy: very affordable to buy a house if you have enough savings for a down payment on a mortgage (which is not our case), but as expensive to rent as a big city like Montreal (I know, I checked)… Apparently there is a high demand for rental housing here because a lot of immigrants and students who first arrive elsewhere in Canada soon realize that winters are cold, and think that going to Canada’s southernmost city is a good idea. As a result the landlords can afford to be picky and crank up the rental prices. It creates what I think they call “a bubble” in the housing market. Ah, if I had the money, I would definitely invest in real estate and build a couple of rental properties… That’s were the money is.

Anyway, so I found a place not far from our previous house. It was the most frustrating move we had to do. We’ve had all the sweat and tears and work of moving houses, but it was not because D had a new job or because we finally bought a house… We moved because the landlord wanted to do renovations and sell the house. As a result we end up with an increase of $500 per month in rent for a house that is not that much better than the one before.

It’s a three-bedroom duplex with a basement. It’s feels like a house but we share a wall, the front porch, the backyard and the garbage bin with the side neighbors. So far so good, we’ll see how that goes.

The upside is that my recording studio is not in the basement anymore. I have my own little room with a window ! with a view ! of a park! (see picture above). Also, the kids’ playroom is in the basement now, with the ground floor in between us, so they can fight and jump as much as they want…

In the middle of all this (well, of course everything always happens at the same time), I just finished my sixth audio book  ! The best one yet ! 😉 (in post-production at the moment, it’s not out yet). It was one year ago, in May 2018, that I started with my first project as an audio book narrator, editor, producer. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks to produce an audio book, an average of 6 audio books per year. Not bad for a beginner. What I enjoyed the most about the experience so far is that I have been learning everyday about recording technicalities, and improving my skills at editing. Super interesting.

And today we’ve celebrated the twins’ ninth birthday. 9 years old! Crazy! Time flies when we’re having nervous breakdowns *cough* fun!

Tales of family, ice and winter

Yesterday, third Monday in February, was Family Day here in Ontario (a debatable statutory holiday across Canada, not national, some provinces have it, others don’t). Kids were off school and should have some winter fun with their parents… So, since it had conveniently snowed all Sunday afternoon, I planned to go sledding down the snowy hill of the park nearby on Monday afternoon. Kids tobogganing, us parents watching. The sky was a little gray, but otherwise perfect weather. Around -5°C or -10°C, not too cold.

The kids were out of the car in a flash, they had picked up they sleds and were on their way to the hill (in front of us) before we had time to close the doors of the van. As I was slowly following them and adjusting my gloves at the same time, I slipped and fell on the ice ! I fell on my whole back and did not hurt myself. D was laughing because it happened so fast. He was still locking the car behind me, and had just had the time to see me on the ground. We ended up laughing together as we walked toward the boys who were not up the hill, but still down by the (semi-frozen) pond…

What was going on?! What were they doing there!? Haven’t we said enough times NOT to walk on the frozen ice???!!! Sure enough, Uriel was drenched in putrid cold water and crying because it was very cold ! Being the youngest and skinniest of my boys, I thought immediately about hypothermia. So I told hubby to stay with the twins while I go back home with Uriel and have him shower and change his clothes.

So far so good.

We arrive to the house. I get off the car, and as I walk towards home, I slip on the ice (again), hear a “crack” (Is it the ice? Is it a bone?), feel my ankle twist in the wrong direction, and this time it hurts like hell !!! Shit, this is bad. This day is going from bad to worse.

I somehow managed, very slowly, to breath deep, while trying (and failing) not to cry too much of pain, go up the few steps to the front entrance of the house (very bad idea these steps in front of the house, but they were not at fault this time), open the door, and give instructions to Uriel. Take off your wet stinky clothes. Go take a shower. Can you find me the bottle of Ibuprofen? The big white one with a blue label. Thank God, you know how to climb on the toilet bowl. (The medicine cabinet is high above the toilet bowl which is supposed to be too high for the kids… But hey, I won’t complain, since I wasn’t able to climb up the stairs myself).

After a few minutes debating what to do next (Should I try driving like this ? Should I call our friends and ask them for a big favor : go pick up D and the kids at the park ?). I ended up driving back to the park. I have never been so thankful for automatic transmission: accelerating was feasible with my right foot, but the brake pedal was harder, so I tried to brake with the left foot but it was a bit abrupt. I lack practice (ha ha).

In the end, we made it. We gathered the rest of the family and came back home. My ankle is only sprained, nothing broken (it has happened to me a lot). The noise I heard must have been the ice braking.

The most annoying thing is not being able to move around the house or getting out of the house. I won’t be able to go grocery shopping or walking the kids to the bus stop (D is taking care of that until I get better). I am missing my aquatic class too ! Aaah, so frustrating !

I’m starting to agree with D that houses with only one single level are great.

Conversational French Dialogues

Hey all!

I forgot to tell you about my latest audio book release: Conversational French Dialogues (US, UK, FR, DE).

That’s not the one I’m producing right now, it’s the previous one that I finished one month ago… Once I’m done, it takes about 2 weeks for Amazon to release the final project to the various platforms (Amazon, Audible and iTunes). Why so long? I have no idea. Plus, I don’t receive any notification when the audio book is finally out… So, I somehow have to find out by myself. Hence the delay in shouting out the news.

Any how.

This was another fun project. It’s a collection of over 100 short dialogues in both French and English, most of them being between male and female actors. I was asked to compile the audio files of the two male narrators (one in French, the other in English), record my voice for the French and English female parts, and edit it all (a lot of copy / paste, leveling and mastering). It was fun to interact with other narrators (I sometimes needed to ask them for “fixes”). Also, fun fact : I didn’t personally know the French-speaking  narrator who is based in Montreal, but it turns out (thx FB) that we have a lot of friends in common! Small world!

Fun, fun, fun.

 

Noise levels

The noise level here in Canada is nothing compared to what we had to endure in Brazil : the constant barking from the neighbors dogs every time someone walks by in front of their house, the noisy motorcycles, the vendors announcing loudly what they’re selling by yelling or playing their jingles on loudspeakers from their bike, car trunk, or pickup truck (eggs, cheese, bread, sweets, or gas canisters — they all came around at least once a week if not everyday) and, of course, the neighbors who honk the horn when they leave (to say bye?) and when they arrive home (to have someone open the gate for them). Those were the daily, constant, background noises. There were also the occasional days when a neighbor decided to a party and every one else, many streets over, had to enjoy whichever loud music was being blasted through (again) loudspeakers, for as long as the party was going. Brazilians are just loud people. All the time. I don’t think I ever got used to it.

During our last year in Brazil, we were living in a dead end street in a relatively quiet neighborhood. But even so, in contrast, when we arrived in Canada, here in the house where we currently live, which is not even in a dead end street, it was shockingly quiet.

And yet, when I started recording, I became aware of the many noises that I would unconsciously tune out: the train that blows his many whistles at the railway crossing some streets away on one side, the ships that blow their whistles too when they pass by the river (as they pass under the bridge, I think) on the other side, the neighbor that mows his lawn in the summer, the occasional airplane, etc. The house makes many sounds inside too: the fridge, the water pipes, the heating system, even my laptop fan makes a small humming sound!

So I had to find the quietest room in the house, which was surprisingly not upstairs where the bedrooms are, because I could hear too much noise from the streets (cars passing by), even with closed windows, but downstairs in the basement… Yes, the dungeon of the house. Small windows, very little light : not necessarily the most agreeable space, but indeed the quietest.

Besides, as I would learn soon enough, producing an audio book is : 10% of the time recording and 90% of the time editing. I absolutely need to have the best recording booth possible (which should ideally stay in the same condition during the duration of the whole project), but once I have the raw recording, I can bring my laptop/headphones/mouse upstairs with me and do the editing wherever I want in the house.

I don’t know why I can wax lyrical so much about something so… ugly? ordinary? boring? Maybe because to me, even if I had to set it up in the basement where it’s cold during winter and humid in the summer, my recording studio is functional, extra-ordinary, and far from boring (the job I get done with it is not boring to me anyway).

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The desk with the bright light (it’s my light therapy lamp — I had to lessen the intensity for the picture) and the microphone is where I record. The surrounding soundproofing is done with moving blankets. The structure holding them are 3 clothes racks (1 at the back  that I found for $5 on Kijiji, and 2 better ones on each side that I bought at Ikea), topped with a piece of plywood that was lying around the house and some cardboard (to prevent sagging), all topped with another layer of blanket. D was thinking of building me a real solid wooden frame, but it would have been heavier and harder to take apart when we need to move again.

I covered the table top with a small blanket too and I put a carpet on the floor to absorb as many little noises as possible.

The white desk is where I usually put my laptop, a bit further away from the microphone to avoid picking up the hum of the fan (very small noise, but the less sounds I need to edit, the better).

Bullet Point Week

  • The aquatic “river walking” class started out very easy: walk 3 loops with the current. The instructor informed me that I would be the youngest in the group, but reassured me that he would adapt the class to my needs. I looked around me in the water and saw that there were indeed older ladies ahead of me. The class description in the booklet said “medium to high intensity”, oh really!? It does not look that way to me. What did I get myself into?
  • When I was done with the warm up, the instructor told me to walk 3 loops against the current… Ah. Ok. Now we are talking!
  • One hour of this (and variations) was painful, but oh so fun. (One more reason I love the water: I don’t want to know how much I sweat!)
  • The boys were supposed to start their new swimming session today, but the first lesson was canceled “because of technical difficulties”. Whatever that means.
  • The twins were invited to a playdate at their friends house this afternoon (twins too), but the mom called me this morning to cancel because one of the boys woke up with fever. Better telling us now, than having the whole family sick for a week. Thank you, fellow twin mama.
  • There are 3 sets of twins in the twins’ classroom. Two girls, and two sets of two boys.
  • I took advantage of some down time between two projects to rearrange my recording studio this week. I’m loving it so far. (It’s the kind of thing that I can’t be doing during a project because so many little things change the quality of recording).
  • My computer mouse died two days ago. It was a small and simple, wired black thing, but I liked it. It wouldn’t click anymore.  D says in his many years of repairing computers he’s never seen that before. So I ordered a new one (white, rechargeable, wireless). I am using a big black hamster until the cyborg arrives.
  • We’ve had a little bit of snow this week, but so far this winter has been more gray than white. Not fun.

Spanish Short Stories

Hellooo, I’m baaack!

It has been a whirlwind around here:

We’ve been sick in the house (again). This time around it was Natanael, and then hubby, the two who had escaped the flu two weeks ago… As usual, the kid was back on his feet in a couple of days, the adult was coughing his lungs out for a couple of WEEKS. I am re-learning to be more Canadian and I try very hard not to hug or kiss my kids when they are sick (it’s very hard, but I had to tell them it’s for our own good). In Brazil the concept of germs is very theoretical, and people hug everyone right and left, sick or not… Over here most people are less touchy, and will actually THANK YOU if you explain that you don’t want to shake hands because there is the flu in your house! (As a contrast, Brazilian people get very offended if you don’t want to hug them for whatever reason!)

And now, during Advent season, I’ve been hunting the thrift stores to find white shirts and black pants for the boys’ Christmas concert at school (plus 3 Christmas hats from the dollar store) and a winter coat for myself. One of the great advantages of living in a First World country among the over-consumerism of others is that I find a lot of very cheap clothes that are in very good shape or sometimes new! (with the tags on and everything). I can’t tell my mom that I buy clothes at the thrift store though, she is horrified, but for me it’s 1. budget friendly 2. earth friendly (hey, it’s recycling!) 3. totally worth it because the kids just destroy their clothes anyway, might as well let them roll in the mud in their 99 cents pants if they want to. I don’t want to care about it.

I’ve been busy with work. My current project is French Dialogues, from the same editor/author of the French Short Stories. I like to work for that person because he wants me to be the last beta reader, and let him know about the typos/errors if I find them. The two other authors/editors that I worked with did not ask me to do that, but I did it anyway.  I always find some errors when I read, specially now as a narrator, because I actually have to read over the same passages many times (when I record AND when I edit). In answer, what I like to hear from the author/editor after I signal a mistake or send the whole list at the end of the project is, “That’s great!” or “Good catch!”. Because it means that he will correct whatever needs to be corrected, and the final product will be of greater quality. I like a job well done. How disappointed was I when I received emails such as “Well, thanks but whatever, we can’t make any changes now, no work is ever perfect…” (I am not looking for perfection, but better is a start, no? How frustrating…)

Also, *drumroll* my Spanish Short Stories book is out! Yay! No reviews yet, so if you reside in the US or UK, and want a free Audible.com download code for the audio book, just let me know… I would love to send one to you in exchange for a (hopefully) good review! 😉