Friday, October 31, 2008

The Curse of Tia Virginia

The Curse…cont.’d.

No one could explain Virginia’s illness. It was just a few weeks ago that she was running about, excitingly discussing her plans with Armando, and now, there she lay in bed with a fever, unable to move out of her bed. Doctors came in from the city to see her, but still none of them could offer an explanation for her sudden demise. Of course it was very upsetting to everyone involved. Armando came to see her before he took his boat trip to Lisbon, knowing that he would probably never return to the girl he once knew. Needless to say, there were many tears shed, and many questions left unanswered.

Bewildered, and powerless, Virginia’s parents sought out help with a spiritualist. When doctors could not answer medical questions, in those days (as they sometimes do today-that is another story), people would seek the advice of psychics and spiritualistic healing from people on the island. These people were often called on for the unexplainable, whether it be sicknesses or matters of the heart. It was from one spiritualist they were informed that Virginia was a victim of a love triangle. It was learned that a jealous woman had put a curse on their daughter in order to win the affections of her suitor. Virginia’s parents were confused, and uncertain if this was really the cause of their daughter’s sudden illness. The spiritualist instructed them to beware of the person who did this to their daughter for they were capable of doing more evil towards the family.

Of course, Virginia’s family was more fearful than ever. They looked twice upon the people they chose as friends. Rarely did they leave home or attended social gatherings. They were often looking behind their shoulders, and learned to be suspicious of everyone they came to contact with. Virginia was now able to sit in a wheelchair now, but seemed to be in a state of depression. She no longer spoke the way she did, and she rarely smiled. She took pleasure at times, and often scared the younger people of the house by suddenly bursting into uncontrollable laughter, or screams. At times could be seen looking outside the window in tears. Virginia had lost it, and many thought she was going insane.

The family sought the spiritualist for help again. Unfortunately, the spiritualist told them that there was no cure for Virginia. She told them that in a vision she had seen the remainder of the drink that Virginia had tasted, and the herbs and intoxicants left from the drink, thrown into the ocean. To break a curse, these items would have to be retrieved, but alas they could not be now for they were at the bottom of the sea. She did however tell the family that there was a way of uncovering who had made the curse.

She instructed the family to bury a certain herb under a tree near her home. This would send the person away from the household. Virginia’s father, feeling rather silly, but feeling he had no other hope, planted what was instructed under a tree near his home. Once the holder of the curse passed the tree, he or she would faint or it would drive them away running. The identity of this person however, would have to remain secret in the family, for if the identity was discovered and disclosed, it could mean disaster to all involved.

To this day, I have no idea who these people are. This family secret was taken very seriously apparently. Lesson to be learned: never flaunt your happiness or drink or eat food from people you whom may be envious. ?? I know that seems a little off the wall, but you are what you eat, so they say.

So how did this all end?

One afternoon, there was talk in the neighborhood “venda” market. Witnesses had seen Lucia’s mother Manuela, running frantically down the hill from Virginia’s house. She was screaming and repeating over and over again to herself that she had forgotten to feed the chickens. Word was it that Manuela was suffering from a nervous breakdown. Nevertheless, Lucia and her mother never came to visit Virginia, or contacted any members of her family again. Armando never returned from Lisbon. A few years later, Lucia married the village drunk.

My mother has memories of Tia Virginia, sitting there on her wheel chair, silently looking out of her window. My mother and her cousin, Fatima would sometimes tip toe past her room, fearful that she would see them playing. Virginia was scary to the eyes of her little nieces. Sometimes she would blurt out to them, or stare at them with her steel blue gray eyes. At other times she would laugh at them when they were at play.

Avo’s memory of his sister still haunted him years after her death. He was heartbroken about his sister’s illness. In 1999, I visited the island again. I went looking for the family photograph in my grandfather’s old room. In the picture was Avo as a young boy, standing near his sister Virginia, who was already in a wheelchair. Avo must have been no more than eleven or twelve; his light hair was swept back, and his blue eyes were shining. He had his hand resting on his sister’s shoulder. Virginia was smiling; I hope they are both still smiling now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In the spirit of Halloween, here is previous entry from my family story archives.. Tune in later for part II, if you dare...
The Curse of Tia Virginia & Maria Picansa

Our step grandfather, whom we will always know and call, our Avo—(Grandpa), often warned us about the fate of Maria Picansa, as well as the ill demise of his beloved sister, Virginia, both of whom were victims of a curse of jealousy.

Maria Picansa was a “party” girl. Now, party, is not the description we may use in modern terms of today. We will just say, that Maria was a girl who never missed a “festa” or a bullfight. She was a very beautiful woman, who always smiled at all the men that would pass on the street. Needless to say, she was “easy” in the words of our grandpa. (The description of “easy” in Grandpa’s terms is that she smiled too much, danced too much, laughed too much, drank too much, and wore dresses that were at the knee.) Needless to say, most girls in the village did not like Maria because she stole away their boyfriends. The sad story is, however, because she was “easy”, she never took any of her suitors seriously, and therefore, none of them took her seriously, and she was left unmarried, and forced to live alone with her mother. In Grandpa’s eyes, this is a very sad story, and did not wish for any of his three grand-daughters to be left in that predictament. Of course, there is nothing worse for a woman to be alone---according to Grandpa.

So, during the summer, when he would see me and my sister and cousin prancing about on our way to a festa, or a bullfight, or to town, he would warn us not to smile too much, giggle too much, or bring too much attention to ourselves, warning us the ill fate of Maria Picansa. We of course thought it was a joke, and we laughed it off. But, the story of Maria Picansa still stayed in our minds. Even my sister named her dog Picansa as a living tribute to grandpa. We all knew that the story of Maria was similar to a another story..the story of Tia Virginia.

Like Maria Picansa, Tia Virginia was a happy fun loving girl. She was one of the oldest girls in the family, and often spoiled her younger brother, our Avo. In her teenage years, like most girls her age at the time, she enjoyed going to the festas and the bullfights on the island. It wasn’t long until she had a handsome suitor who would come to her house every Sunday and Thursday to her window. Let’s call him, Armando.

Armando was a very handsome young man who came from a well to do family who lived on a hill. He was continuing his studies soon overseas in Lisbon, and his future was, let’s say bright. He very much enjoyed Tia Virginia’s company, and indulged to her and her family that he would one day marry her when he returned from Lisbon. Of course Virginia and the family were very happy to hear of these plans, and Virginia went on to tell all her friends about it—which proved to be a mistake. Virginia evidently had a friend who was madly in love with Armando herself…and, according to Avo, that is when it all began.

Lucia invited Virginia to her house to spend the night. They planned on making cookies that evening, do some needlepoint later, and take a walk near the ocean. (Highly social activities of the time). Virginia and Lucia had a good time talking, and giggling and discussing Virginia’s future. Little did poor Virginia know that Lucia and her mother had other plans. According to Avo, a curse was put into Virginia’s drink, a substance of various herbs that would change Virginia’s life forever.

Come again next time for the exciting and unpredictable conclusion of Virginia’s curse.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Call From Jesus

A Call From Jesus10:07 a.m. 2002-01-28 (Older post from an old journal.)

February, 1999

It had been a horrible week. Money was tight, my exhusband was threatening to leave the state and pay "what he wanted" for child support, and bills were not being paid. To make matters worse, my phone was not working. People could call in, but the phone would not ring...I wasn't able to call out either. Lovely. The phone company told me that they wouldn't be able to repair my phone line until the following Monday. It was Wednesday night. I would have to live like this for almost another week, and check for messages when I got to work.

I decided that since it was out of my hands at this point, I should just escape for a bit and take a nice long hot bath. The kids were in the living room watching TV so I wouldn't be bothered. I just sat there, watching the running water fill up my bath tub to the rim. A bath always made me feel better, and I could cry in my bath tub and no one could see me or hear me. It was my private place.

I sat there and wondered about all the problems going on in my life. And then it came again...more tears. I felt hopeless at this point. I wondered how it got to this level. I hated feeling this way...not in control of my life. I mean, the reason why I left such an horrid marriage was because I was not in control, and here I was, still not in control of anything. It was 6:45 pm...and there I was in the bathtub for what I think was a hour or so. I found myself praying to God for some answers. I decided to just give them all to him...because, I was getting sick of doing this all alone. I resolved to myself, as soon as I got out of this tub, things were going to get better. Let God deal with it now..I'm really geting sick of all this crap. The water got cold, and my son was knocking on the bathroom door. I got out of the tub, and went to bed early that night.

The morning came, and soon enough, I was back at work again. I went to check my messages from the night before. There was only one message. I listened to it...replayed it....listened to it, replayed it... Who was this I thought? He can't be saying that!?

The caller did not say who he was. If it was a telemarketer or a bill collector, he didn't tell me who he was calling for. At 6:50 pm, he left this message on my phone:

"Good evening Julie. God bless you, Jesus loves you."

I did not recognize the voice. He didn't have an accent of any kind. The background noise sounded muffled. I couldn't imagine any telemarketer who would be so kind as to leave a message like that one. Suddenly I realized the time that he had called; it was at the same time I was in my bath tub. As soon as I made that connection, I laughed, almost in tears again.

It was then that I excitedly let some of my coworkers listen to my special message. It was one of those "Time Zone" moments to say the least...a call that I would basically never forget. could have been ANYONE who left that message. It well of could have been a guy trying to sell newspapers subscriptions over the phone. It really didn't matter. Whoever it was, I feel it was a message...a message that I really wanted and needed to hear at the point of my life. I will always be grateful for that call, and to the person who made it...whoever it was--doesn't matter.

God works in mysterious ways...he has a sense of humor too.

The next day I got another call. My coworker, Glenda called me up and left a message. In a pretend, deep sultry voice, it said..."Hi Julie baby, this is Elvis, and I love you too." Jesus AND Elvis in one'm a lucky girl!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Personalized License Plates can Spell Trouble..& Poison Soup

The other day, I was driving to work one busy morning, and almost fell victim of what could have been a very bad accident on the highway. The reason? A personalized license plate that read:

Let's just say it caught a lot of people's attention. I guess that was the reaction the driver wanted. The driver was a woman as far as I could tell--I didn't get the view that the driver in front of me got apparently. makes you wonder.

A lot of people have personalized license plates nowadays---some are very cute and clever, and others are too hard to decipher what they are trying to say--it's like, why did you even bother, buddy. They are pretty much distracting sometimes.

Driving is distracting enough already. With people texting and talking on the phone, I've seen cars swerve off their lane, and go through stop signs. I've seen people get rear-ended right in front of me because some idiot wanted to get a better view of the blonde driving the white convertible. I must confess it was really hilarious to see the idiot get into the accident, because it made him look like a total dufus, but I felt sorry for the guy he rear ended. Of course the poor blonde had no idea she was causing such a stir, and probably laughed and drove off on her merry way.

Saturday I was shopping at the mall, and I noticed a car parked there in the lot with a license plate holder that read: "My other drive is your husband." Lovely. That is so wrong in so many levels. What kind a woman would choose something like this? Did she really want that attention from angry wives, and desperate men? Weird. Believe me, I've seen worse, but how crude. I confess, I wish I could see the woman who drove the car in person. I'm curious now on what someone like that would look like. I'm sure the person thinks it's funny-eww.

When I was single.. I repeat, when I was single I had a personalized license plate holder that read: "Romeo, Romeo where art thou?" I thought it was cute, and a little jaded. My name is Julie, and I was newly divorced. I bought it because I thought it was cute, not because I wanted attention necesarily from men. Every now and then however, I would get a few men get my attention to say their names were in fact, "Romeo". Yeah...right.. I of course never believed them. Well, when my Taurus wagon was leaking oil, and I had to trade it in for another car, the license plate went with it, and I decided to just keep it on the car. I had no regrets however because by that time I had already met my NOW husband, and although his name wasn't Romeo, it didn't matter. I found him.

This weekend just sped by like a blur...

My son came home from his religious education retreat and it was better than he had expected, and that is good. I spent the whole weekend hoping not to get that phone call: "Mrs. Langley, can you please come up here and pick up your unruly son." Nope, I didn't get the call. (Thank you, God.)

My mother came over on Friday night, and Tania and I had a little tea party with her. It was interesting. I learned more about the plight of Tia Mariquinhas, and CSI crime in the Azores, and more scandal. It was very interesting and educational. I learned that Tia Mariquinhas did indeed grant her a husband a divorce so he could marry her first cousin in California. Poor Tia Mariquinhas. I know this sounds terrible, but this husband of hers and her cousin, although they did get married and were considered wealthy, they did not enjoy a good life. Their lives were childless, and very unhealthy. Oh well, what goes around, comes around, huh? Divorce was unheard of in the 1920's and 30's over there. That is the number 1 reason why women would sometimes poison their husband's soup!

Saturday was a day of shopping with mother and a birthday at my brother's, and Sunday was a potluck at the church, and the arrival of my so from his retreat. By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and pass out in front of the T.V., and that is what I did. I'm way behind on my reading of journals. I promise to get to them soon..

It's Monday.. BLAH BLAH BLAH...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm Wearing My Granny Underwear Today!

Okay, that might be a little too much personal information to reveal, but I don't care..

This morning, when getting dressed, in the mirror I saw those dreaded panty lines! You ladies know what I'm talking about..those lines that can be seen under more clingly polyester/cotton clothing. Well, I went through my underwear drawer, when low and below I found a pair of those up to the waist nylon granny underwear my mom bought me like years ago, and you know what? After putting them on, those panty lines vanished! It was very magical, and very comfortable I must add.

Okay, they aren't very pretty...but hell, I don't care. NO one is going to see it but me, and hopefully I won't get into an accident, and have it discovered by a non-suspecting doctor my granny underwear. Would it be better if it was thong? No, I don't think so. Whoever invented those should be shot.

I bet you anything it was invented by a man.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10 Things..

I got this from Dawn:

List 10 things you love, but no longer exist-(or seem to no longer exist):

1. Flicks - Remember these? I used to LOVE these candies.. Apparently they still do sell them somewhere, but nowhere near me...

2. Handwritten letters - Remember those? Nowadays, everything is typed or emailed-they are practically extinct! The other day I sat down to write a letter, and my hands and fingers got sore! My handwriting just isn't as nice as it used to be either.. My fingers want to type on a keyboard. On the rare occasion when I do get a written letter, I put that letter away in a safe place so I can read it again. I have never thrown away a letter.. I have some that I've kept from high school---I love them.

3. Jland weekly assignments with John Scalzi! They were fun, thought provoking at times, and at other times, just fun to do. I also met a lot of Jlanders through the weekly assignments-probably you! Yep, I miss those...don't we all?

4. Skyview Drive-In.. This drive in was the drive in my parents would take us when we were children, and the same drive-in I would take my own children to. I remember hiding under blankets to get into this place for free. I also remember the night my father drove out of the drive-in in utter disgust in the beginning of the movie, "High Anxiety"--very embarrassing-thank God it was dark. For some odd reason, Drive-In's are getting pretty scarce nowadays... They closed down this one a few years ago, and I shall miss it. Where else can you take your kids to see a movie under $10?!

5. Free parking! Is there such a thing nowadays??!!

6. Easter & Christmas Vacation.. Now, to be politically correct, names have been changed to: Spring Break & Winter Break... What's next, I wonder...

7. My innocence.. Days when there were no worries in the world, no credit history; when everything was black and white-good and bad and nothing in between. The word "impossible" was never thought of or even used in my vocabulary. The only stressful thing to decide in the morning was what outfit to wear, and how to where to comb the part in my hair...or what type of fruit to put on my head.. Yeah, that is me posing in my mother's kitchen. I'm wearing a tube top--remember those??!! Do they exist anymore??!!! Perhaps it's best that they don't, huh?

8. School. I miss getting up in the morning with a backpack slung over my shoulders. I miss staying up until 1 or 2 a.m. to finish a paper.

9. Waking up mid morning to the smell of bacon and eggs, knowing that I could stay in bed until hearing the call, "Breakfast is ready!"

10. Chicklets! Where are they?! What happened to those chicklets!! Did you know that you can actually blow into the end of a box of chicklets and play it like a whistle?!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Playing Catch Up..

Gee, it's almost the end of October, and my daughter's birthday was over a month ago.. I better post these now before I start posting pictures from Halloween, huh?

Lizzy's birthday was spent on the beach. It was a beautiful day-the weather was perfect. The weather hasn't really changed since September--we have been continuing to get a lot of sunny days with only a few days of drizzle...

I'm not even going to bother to try and attempt to put these pictures in order right now.. It's already past my bedtime, so bear with me here..

Here is Nicholas trying to find another cookie. His face already has evidence that he has already had a few...
Here is the birthday girl, holding her pink cowboy hat she got at the Dollar Store...

Having some cake...I don't know why her hair looks so weird here...

Here is my niece Tara, with her doggy, Rosie..

Tania, Lizzy, my mom, and nieces Tara & Bonnie..

Nicholas having fun in the sea..

Having fun in the sand..

Our party goers... Oh, there's Tania and her fiance, Ruben :)

Lizzy and my mom..minha mae, Ana the Acoriana..

Lizzy & her boyfriend, Dillon

My son Andrew & cousin, Tania

Mom and her grand-daughters--even Rosie is in this one..

Lizzy loves her grandmother..

Where am I? I'm taking the pictures.. Oh wait, here is one....

Me and Tania.. Thanks Ruben, if it wasn't for this picture I would have no evidence that I was even there..

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fado, Amalia, Grocery Store & Pea Stew

I haven't posted for some time I know, and I've barely been able to visit other blogs lately. Forgive me.. It's been very busy at work (an alarming rate of a lot of domestic violence cases have been flooding through to my "in box"), and by the time I get home, get dinner on the table, and get some housework done, the thought of sitting in front of a computer AGAIN after a full day of work, is not very appealing. I have added music to this blog, and to my grandfather's, and that was fun. I was very happy to find some Portuguese music on even more thrilled to find Amalia Rodrigues music...

Amalia Rodrigues is the QUEEN of the fado. Fado is best described as our version of Soul/Blues, or according to Wikipedia:

Fado (translated as destiny or fate) is a music genre which can be traced from the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. In popular belief, Fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. However, in reality Fado is simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain structure.
The music is usually linked to the
Portuguese word saudade (that has no match in English but it could be understood as nostalgia felt while missing someone), a word describing a sentiment. Another similar English translation can be to pine for something or someone.
Some enthusiasts claim that Fado's origins are a mixture of
African slave rhythms with the traditional music of Portuguese sailors and Arabic influence.
There are two main varieties of Fado, namely those of the cities of
Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the most popular, while Coimbra's is the more refined style. Modern fado is popular in Portugal, and has produced many renowned musicians. According to tradition, to applaud fado in Lisbon you clap your hands.
Mainstream fado performances during the 20th century included only a singer, a
Portuguese guitar player and a classical guitar player but more recent settings range from singer and string quartet to full orchestra.

I tried to upload a video just now, but for some reason... It didn't happen! :(

Today, I'm having a lazy day. I went to the grocery store, and for some reason, it just wore me out. There were just too many people in the aisles. Do you know what really bugs me the most during my weekly visits to the market? People who step behind me in line with just a few items who expect me to stop what I'm doing and let them cut ahead of me because they are "in a hurry". Okay, I have generally a large amount of people to feed, and I like going to the grocery store once a week, and yes-my cart is full. Don't ask me, and walk over me when I'm putting things on the conveyor belt and don't look at me with sad eyes. There are four 10 to 15 items or less cash registers on each end of the grocery store!! I don't care if there is a line! If you want to ask to cut in front of me BEFORE I start loading my groceries on, that is no problem, but NOT when I'm busily putting them on the belt with my 4 year old! Have some mercy! Geesh!!

Okay, I vented. There was this very rude guy in back of me in line with his daughter who just stared and glared at me because I didn't let them cut in front me with his bag of lettuce and Red Bull. I was half way done loading my items.. You know, I'm in a hurry too buddy. Be a man and go to another line if you don't want to wait for me!

When I came home, I made lunch for the crew, and made Ervilhas (Pea Stew) for my daughter as promised. She has been craving it for a long time, and I haven't made in in ages. My husband isn't too crazy for peas (or any green vegetable) and he just picks out the peas, and eats the linguica. It's a simple recipe involving, linguica, onion, garlic, salt & pepper, wine vinegar, tomato sauce, eggs, and of course, peas. It's pretty simple, and tastes great served on bread. I grew up on this, and my mom loved serving it on two slices of bread for me-it kept very fat and happy:

Add a half an onion (diced) in a big pot and cook until yellow with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add, 2 cloves of garlic (diced), bay leaf, pepper (1/2 tablespoon), wine vinegar (tablespoon). Add cooked and diced linguica...combine for a few minutes. Add 1 large bag or small bags of frozen peas, and two small cans of tomato sauce. Stir ingredients together, and then add 2 1/2 cups of water (it should cover all the ingredients). Add two tablespoons of salt. Let it gently boil, and simmer. Stew is cooked when peas are tender/soft to touch. When the stew is boiling you may poach two eggs. Serve in a bowl or on bread-serves about 6-8.

Okay, I have some bathrooms to clean, laundry, and some floors to sweep, and birthday presents to shop for, Avon orders to submit..etc..etc.. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008, I'm not a song writer, and I'm not 111 years old..

Hello! Happy Wednesday!

I realized today that my hometown page on AOL for my grandfather was going to be deleted along with all the Jland hoopla, so I quickly copied and pasted the page on to Blogger... I edited the profile to fit his information, not knowing that it would change my profile... For a moment there my picture changed, and I was 111 year old song writer. It was kind of amusing. Yes, my grandfather, "Choico Roico" if he were alive would have been 111 years old; 112 years in December. He was born in 1896. Sadly, he died very young in life when my mother was only an infant, so we really never knew him. Feel free to visit this blog--now I have 3 on here. I still have to "fix it" but it will be fun to do later..

The picture of my icon is old.. I'm at work and I don't have any pictures of me..imagine that. It was taken when I was single, and moved back at my parent's home. must be over 6, or 7 years old. Aww..what the hay, I look basically the same.

Speaking of old pictures, take a look at this one:

This picture is for you, Manny! Your daughter told me you had fun reading the story about our Tia Mariquinhas, but did you leave a comment?! NOoooooo!!! Why didn't you?!

Yes, that's a picture of my cousin, Manny. Don't let the picture fool you. He is one cool dude!

Here is another picture from the past:

The quality of this picture is really bad....mostly because it's an old polaroid copy. Summer 1979: Do you see me? I'm at the bottom row with the hair on the far left, then my cousins Adelaide, Joe, and Avo (Grandfather) Machado. 2nd row, left: Uncle Manny, cousin Francisco Alberto (Tia Rosinha's son), my brother Eddy, my sister Joanne, and Mr. Cool Dude, Manny. Top Row: Lovely ladies starting on the left, Tia Aida, (my mom's sister, Prima Fatima & my mom, Annihas.


Anyway, it's official. My son Nicholas will be a chicken for Halloween. We tried on his costume, and the costume still fits. It's a little tight under the arms, but Nicholas is determined to be a chicken. I am volunteering that day in his kindergarten class, and I'm comtemplating if I should dress up as well. If only I had a chicken costume for myself, huh? I could be a hen with her baby chick. I just can't imagine myself driving in that kind of costume, although I think it would be fun. Does anyone out there have a women's size chicken costume I could borrow?

One thing I did not mention in my entry about Tia Mariquinhas was her love for her chickens. She loved them-they were her favorite pets. I also had a pet chicken-her name was Jenny. A relative brought it to our house one summer so we would have fresh eggs. She was a beautiful, brown hen.. Sadly, I couldn't take her on the plane with me, so I had to give it to my Aunt Aida. Apparently she was very tasty as well.

Friday, October 10, 2008



Today I got a surprise visit from Lolly.

All I can say is THANK GOD he didn't make his surprise visit yesterday!! Can you imagine how awful it would have been if he should walk in to see cupcakes and lollipops celebrating his departure?! Wheeww.. Thank you Jesus!

I am very happy to report that the women's bathrooms are now working. The carpet however, still looks pretty stained, and it smells, but the toilets are flushing!! The lease is up in a year, and we are all hoping that will be moving out of here soon. Apparently the owners of the building are wise enough to know that fixing this building would be a waste of money, and they are planning on tearing down the place and build a new one. In other words, you can never fix a turd well enough, so might as well start anew!

Speaking of Anew, I got some good news from the church yesterday. I have been approved to set up my Avon information booth. My sister in-law is going to be driving up and sit with me for awhile to help me get situated with it all. I have never set up a booth, and she thinks that I will do very well and sign up new representatives.. That would be nice, but we shall see. I'll be able to give out a lot of brochures, and hopefully make some sales. It's TWO whole days though.. Eeek.. Poor Rich will have to watch Nicholas all that weekend..oh well, he can do it.

It's finally Friday..and this is a good thing. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tia Mariquinhas (Aunt Mary)

Tia Mariquinhas (Taken from my previous journal)

This is the story about my mother’s eldest aunt, Tia Mariquinhas. When I was younger, I was known to be a very stubborn child (can you believe that?) and there were many times when I was compared to this particular aunt. I would hear it all the time: "You are just like Tia Mariquinhas!" I really didn't know about this aunt when I was a child, but I did sense that being compared to this particular aunt was not a positive attribute. However, the more I learned of her and knew her story, and some of the struggles she had in life, I came to realize that being like Tia Mariquinhas wasn't that bad at all, in fact I take as a compliment. She was not only a strong individual, but a bit of a rebel.

Tia Mariquinhas, as I remembered her, was a very small old woman who wore small round dark rimmed glasses. She wore a scarf over her head, which stayed neatly and tightly knotted under her chin. When she spoke, she would frequently adjust her scarf, as if the scarf was holding up her head to the rest of her shriveled body. She went no where without her walking stick which she used quite often.

Tia Mariquinhas was in her 80’s often walking miles at a time from place to place. Frequently she would walk to visit her sister’s homes. She had many younger sisters, so there were many homes to visit. During our summers there as children, my parents would come visit her at her home, and then sometimes drive her down to our home for the day. I remember listening to her as she spoke. She would speak, and then adjust her scarf, and she had a very distintive cackle for a laugh. The poor woman must have been pretty blind, because there were many times should stop in the middle of conversation, point to me, and ask who I was. I would get up, and bend down to where she was sitting, and let her examine my face. Sometimes I would be inches away before she realized who I was, and she would then say:

“Ahh….Julia…filha de Annihas, minha rica filha!” (translation: Oh, it's Julie, daughter of Annie (my mom), my wonderful child!)

Tia Mariquinhas did not have electricity or running water in her house. She lived in her father’s home, the home that she was born and grew up in along with her other 10 brothers and sisters. Although electricity and running water was available (her sister lived right next door and enjoyed these modern conveniences), she refused the electricity, and would rather wash her clothes in the little “ribeira” (small stream) that ran near the house, or in the stone washing board outside her back door.

Visiting Tia Mariquinhas was sometimes a scary experience. The house was old, and the stairs creaked. The house was drafty, and unkept sometimes, with chamber pots hiding behind some of the doors. In her younger day, she would cut sweet bread, and give us cherry liquor that she would pour in little tiny shot glasses. We would sip on it slowly, afraid to drink out of the glasses, for they were a little dusty. She also kept old religious statues that frightened me, and in a large room, hung on the walls were old family portraits. The pictures were just as scary to me, because none of the people in them were smiling. Instead, they all wore frowns, and appeared to be very stiff looking in bow ties and long, tight waisted dresses. The pictures were painted over with green gloomy hues, probably from the many years, and my ancestors all had piercing eyes and rosy cheeks-even the men with beards. She also had a large bed with a large mattress of straw, and hidden money.

In the backyard, there stood a large tall structure to dry her corn. When I was younger, I thought it resembled an Indian teepee. Tia Mariquinhas had a large piece of land there that she shared with her sister, Tia Rosinha. (Tia Rosinha was my mother’s youngest aunt. She was short and plump woman with rosy cheeks, always smiling) on this land she had chili peppers and sugar cane growing. We would often play there and find the little stream down below. The stream had stepping stones, and was often visited by geese. This was my favorite place in Ribeira Algualva, and apparently Tia Mariquinhas’ favorite as well.

Tia Mariquinhas could have been called a little eccentric. She longed for the old ways, and did not appreciate the modern times. She was known to be a strong and stubborn woman, a rebel even. If you got in her way, or messed around with her, she would hit you with her walking stick! One day we brought her home with us, but we had to drive into town. Tia Meriquinhas stayed at our home, and my mother left dinner for her in the oven to be kept warm. We didn’t arrive until later that evening, just when the sun was coming down. The first thing we saw under the moonlight, hunched near the bedroom window, was Tia Mariquinhas. It was quite a scary sight. She just stood there, with her glasses reflecting the moon, all dressed in black. She refused to open a light, and was too scared to open the oven.

The young Tia Mariquinhas was a thin, tall girl, with light hair and sparkling blue eyes. She was not only the more serious of her sister’s but was known to be the prettiest one. She married young to a very ambitious handsome man, whose ambitions took him to California. He promised his pregnant wife that he would return and make a better life for her and the baby. Her baby boy was born while he was gone, and died within the first year. Heartbroken, Tia Mariquinhas waited for her husband to return, but like many people who went to America at that time, he never did. The ambitious man found a new life, and new wife in California and never returned, not even to grant a divorce. Tia Mariquinhas would have never agreed to one, and she never gave up hope that her husband would return to her.

Maybe this is when Tia Mariquinhas got a little crazy, we don’t know.

She was very independent, and a strong and thrifty woman, who wore old, dark colored clothes, and never dressed up unless it was to go to church, which she attended every Sunday without fail. I am sure that some people from her time thought she was too modern in other ways. She lived alone, and she liked it that way. She didn’t need a man, though she held a candle to her husband, and we could never truly understand why. She was convinced, however, that someone was out to steal her money and gold. She had acquired some very valuable old gold bracelets from her grandmother who had lived in Brazil. She made it no secret that she did not trust her family members with her valuables, so she hid her treasures throughout the house—inside loose floor boards, behind pictures, and even inside her large straw mattress. When poor Tia Mariquinhas passed on, many of her nieces and nephews on the island had a field day looking for those lost treasures. I’m sure it was a real life treasure hunt.

The last time I went to see Tia Mariquinhas' house, it was locked and closed. One of her nephews had bought the land, and was hoping to one day fix the house and live there next to his mother, Tia Rosinha. Looking at the closed and locked windows, I kept on expecting to see her little face peering from the wooden shutters and lace curtains. We later found her walking stick firmly locking the back door. If that stick could only speak. So many stories it could tell!

I think I will take a nice walk today myself.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cupcakes & Lollipops!

It’s another beautiful day at my office, run down, old pipe plumbing, ghetto building..

Well, at least there are plenty of lollipops and cupcakes! Today is a day of much celebrating here in my office. I’ve got cupcakes and lollipops for no particular reason, of course. If you have been following along, you will know about that Lolly has finally left the building. Some of my co-workers got together at the office, bringing their Lollipop Guild dolls (from McD’s), and feasted on cupcakes and lollipops. I’ve been offering cupcakes to people who visit my office, but I haven’t sent out an email announcing my celebration. It might not make good office politics if some one should know that I threw a “cupcake party” after a certain someone left the building. So, when people ask, I just say “just because.”

Lolly left at a good time. The women’s bathrooms have not been working since yesterday morning. Yesterday, all three toilets over flowed into the office hallway in front of women’s and men’s bathrooms, and crept into one of the other offices. Lovely. I went in there, and innocently used the only toilet that seemed to be working, did my business, and flushed. It was not a good flush---the water did not go down, and I literally ran out of the bathroom to inform all women in the building to stay away. Today, the women’s bathroom is closed off entirely. We women have to either use the toilet at the gas station next door, or use the men’s bathroom with a chaperone, or go across the street into the main county building. No choice is very appealing.

The bathroom next door at the gas station is dirty, and also known to be a bathroom that is frequented often by people just getting out of jail. It’s also known to be a rendez vous area for “couples” who want to get down and dirty. Usually couples who just got out of jail and need some “love” if you know what I mean. Going into the men’s room with a chaperone is just plain wrong—I have no desire to see the urinals where my male co-workers use. Eww. To cross the street, if can either decide to risk your life and jay walk to dodge approaching cars, or you have to walk up the street and use the cross walk. If you need to go to the bathroom in a real bad way, this is not very practical. Worse case scenario, there are trees and some random bushes spread around on the way, where you can possibly relieve yourself, but who wants to do that? Men could probably pull it off, but us women, no way. Not to mention the sheriff’s office is right there, and you can be cited for public urination to boot.

I just consumed a rather large drink, and now I’m faced with the dilmena. I plan to dodge traffic and jay walk across the street. Anyone got a box of Depends on them?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hello Wednesday...

I'm getting more and more familiar with Blogger, and I'm getting to like it more and more.. The only thing I just can't get used to is the graphics. I tried posting more than two pictures, and no matter where my cursor is, it always wants to post on top... So, I guess you have to enter pictures BEFORE adding text? I dunno.. I have to figure this all out. I also want to add the music feature. There are so many neat features on here--so much better than AOL! Another feature I really do like is the accessibility for ANYONE who is not a "member" to add comments. I have a lot of relatives who weren't on AOL who could read my journal, but could never comment. Now they can. I haven't really told any of them yet, and I'm anxious to let them know now. Also, I'm meeting a lot of new bloggers! That's always fun...

I have been posting a few entries that were written previously from another blog at Diaryland. Ever since finding Jland, I kind of neglected the site, and I'm still undecided whether or not I should just shut it down. So... I'm going down the list and saving a few on here. The first one had so many errors, that I had to constantly go back and forth to correct. That is another feature on Blogger that I have to get used to--editing!

It's been pretty busy here at work, and I am happy to announce that Lolly has finally packed up his boxes and left the building! YAHOO!! Cupcakes and lollipops to all my fellow clerical buddies in the building--tomorrow--it's on me! All that negativity that Lolly carried with him it out of the building. His snobby, condescending attitude was getting a little too much. Meanwhile, the toilets in the women's bathroom are flooded. How lovely.... We get rid of one bag of _hit, and get thrown with another.. Isn't that always the way?!

Oh well, I got my radio playing, and I am a happy camper. I hope everyone is having a great day!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chip Boy

Chip Boy7:35 p.m. 2002-04-18 ---From Diaryland...

While I'm on the subject of potatoes, I might as well write about my own experience with a potato admirer I once had. I will call him Chip Boy.

I met this person during a very strange occurance of the moon a few years ago....I think it was on a cinco de mayo weekend, but I could be wrong. I thought he was a nice enough person, and I agreed to go out with him after he called a few days later. Unlike, my mother's sweet potato admirer, "Chip" didn't look like a potato. He was tall, not bad looking, and liked wearing baseball hats. But, it was soon discovered that he drove a Frito O'Lay truck.

For whatever reason, Chip never did indulge to me that he drove a potato chip truck and stocked bags of potato chips. I mean, sure, he wasn't an electrical engineer, but still...I really don't feel it was something to be particulary ashamed of. There were other things however about Chip that DID bother me.

Everytime Chip took me out on a date, he let me go through his coupon book. Yes...I was a coupon date. All dates that were planned revolved over his coupon book that he proudly kept in his glove compartment. Now, I have nothing against coupons. At first I was impressed, but EVERY SINGLE DATE?! All and all, I began to feel guilty..I felt he couldn't afford to take me out.
Still, there were other things about Chip that I did not like. One of his first questions to me over the phone was whether I preferred toupes versus baldness. Now, what kind of question is that? What am I suppossed to say anyway? I said I preferred seeing a bald man than a man wearing a head piece. I guess that was the right answer. I mean, it was no secret why Chip wore baseball didn't bother me. But, I gave Chip the right answer, because he continued to tell me facts about how everyone on the set of Bonanza (except Little Joe) wore a hair piece. Lovely...I hope I remember that for trivia.

Another thing I disliked about Chip was he liked talking about politics. I know nothing about politics of any sort, but I was impressed that he knew so much about it...I guessed he read a lot during his chip deliveries..I don't know. I always made sure that I never mentioned that I knew what he did for a living. But at the same time, I found his conversations on the boring side. Many times I had to actually take the phone and put my ear away from the ear piece, repeatedly saying..."oh,really, wow, i didn't know that..ooh..yeah..ok, ahuah.."

Chip always commented on how much larger my home was, but still never invited me to see his. For Christmas he came over with a photograph of his Christmas tree so I could see. Yes, a picture-never an invite.

The one thing that really bothered me most of all about Chip, was that he never ever even gave me a bag of potato chips.

Well, as time went on, and we lost interest in one another. I guess Chip realized that seeing me, and stocking chips was too much for him to handle. One morning however, while stopping by at the Chevron gas station for my cup of coffee, I ran into Chip, as he was stacking his Frito O'Lays. I said, "Hi there!"...and he got redder than a bag of those flaming hot cheetos he had in his hands. He knew that I now knew what his true profession was, and he wasn't happy, and looked quite embarrassed, for some reason. I had a good laugh out of it at least. Eventually, his potato chip route changed it's rounds, and I never saw him again.
beach - bum

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato3:49 p.m. 2002-04-17 Sweet Potato
(Names have been changed to protect the "innocent").

This entry was written years ago in a previous journal I keep at Diaryland.

Tia Emma thought she had found the perfect man for my mother. Not only did he come from a very respectable family, his father owned a lot of land, he had gone to school, and he was of the perfect age for her niece. My mother thought differently.

According to my mother, Pedro looked like a sweet potato--(batata doce). He was short, plump, and very pale. Because of his light complexion, he was prone to sun burn making him look even more like a big sweet potato, riding his motorcycle up and down my mother's street to impress her. My mother was not impressed by him, his money, or motorcycle. But, Aunt Emma thought that her niece should be married by age 18, and was very disappointed that she didn't feel the same. One day, my mother flagged down Pedro, and informed him that she was not interested in him and stop riding his motorcycle up and down her street. Not only was she not interested in him, she went on to tell him that he looked like a sweet potato. Pedro was naturally upset and told his mom. His mom was not amused. One day after church services, Pedro's mother walked up to Tia Emma very upset, and informed her what had gone down the day previous. How dare her niece call her precious son a sweet potato! Apparently, Pedro's mother, and Tia Emma had a whole plan of getting the two together. Mission failed. Tia Emma marched over to my grandmother's home along Sweet Potato Mama and informed her that she was told that her daughter had called her son a sweet potato. My grandmother laughed, and said she was sorry, but she had to admit that Pedro did look like a sweet potato. Tia Emma was mortified, but apparently, my grandmother was thrilled that there would finally be an end to the constant motorcycle going up and down the street carrying Sweet Potato, aka; Pedro.

I hate to wonder what would have happened if my mother took her aunt's advice and marry the Sweet Potato Pedro. My life would have been very different. I would have probably been born and raised on a little island, and have a bunch of little sweet potato looking children. Fate is strange. If my father wasn't enlisted in the U.S. Army, and not stationed on the island, he and my mother would have probably never met. If he didn't have to pull out his tonsils during his time in the service, and if he was made to go to Korea, and not get stationed on the island, who knows whether or not he would have returned to California. My father unfortunately lost many of his army buddies in the war.

If my grandmother had never remarried after my grandfather's death, then, the likelihood of my mother meeting my father would have been very slim. (My step grandfather and paternal grandmother are cousins). All things happen for reasons.. Ironically, my father's parents owned a sweet potato ranch in California.. Now ain't that ironic. If my paternal grandparents decided not to sell the ranch, and move to the coast, I may have been raised on a sweet potato ranch! They may have been no escape from the sweet potato! My mother would have been constantly reminded of the sweet potato guy..

Okay..this could go on and on at this point. Bottom line though, I'm glad my mother didn't marry the sweet potato guy. He still lives on the island, and when ever he sees my mom, he still tips his hat. I've seen him, and yes, he still looks like a sweet potato!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday Ramblings...

I'm still in the process of working on this blogger site. I don't know if I'm entirely happy with what I have so far... I came across the picture when trying to "decorate" my new digs, and it strikes me so funny. This was taken last summer when we were vacationing in the Azores. It was taken at my mom's cousin's house. I can't get over how the kids look. Weird how much a difference a year makes; my daughter looks basically the same, truly annoyed as ever, and look at my son Andrew's hair! He is sporting quite a different "do" nowadays. Can you see Nicholas hiding behind him? He was not very happy. Firecrackers were being set off, and he did not like the sound of them . The other young man at the door was Andrew's pal who was also visiting from California. Unfortunately, he left only a week after they had met, which was a shame because they really got along well. They still keep in touch in care of Myspace. So many of my summers were spent at that very street window when I was a teenager. Sigh.... Seems like yesterday when I was the age of my children.

It's October, and in another month, Nicholas will be turning the big 5. He is enjoying kindergarten very, very much. Everyday, I hear: "Today was a good day! I had fun in school!"

I'll be volunteering in his class one day a month. Unfortunately, it's the only time I can volunteer...unlike some of the mothers. Oh well. I'll be volunteering on Halloween, so that shall be fun. I'll get to re-live Halloween again at my old school-may be even run into my kindergarten teacher, who by the way looks terrific. She is blonde now, sporting a very trendy, spikey hair do, and still wears 3 inch heels. You can't tell she is pushing 70--no way. We can only hope to look that good.

I have yet to save my blogs. Will try and do this now..

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Same Merda, Different Place

Hello -

Since the evil AOL Blogger Gods have kicked me out of their domain, I will now make Blogger my new home.

It ain't all that bad...

Change is good...

Time to start all over again - clean slate.
To all my Jland friends, the above graphic is for you. I'll still be around..

Life is good. Keep saying that, even if sometimes you don't believe it.


Repeat, take deep breath

Repeat again...

This will be a very short entry. I'm tired. Nicholas threw up his spaghetti dinner, and between that, getting him in the tub, cleaning the kitchen floor, doing laundry...etc.. My back hurts, and I'm ready to fall into bed.

I here Friday is coming.. It won't come soon enough--it's been a long week...

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