Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just Another Tall Tale

Earlier this week, I went to one of my son’s field trips at a local museum. I managed to get out of work earlier so I could meet up with him at lunch. I found a parking meter space behind the museum next to the park, and although it was a little far away, I was happy to get a parking space that wasn’t across the street near the highway off-ramp. When it was time to leave, and as we were walking towards our van, I noticed another silver, Nissan Quest van backing out of a parking spot, where I thought I had parked, and then drive swiftly away.

“Gee! I think someone just drove off in our van!”

Nicholas and I both raced up the sidewalk in a panic, until when we finally got a view of the rest of the parking meters, and OUR silver Nissan Quest parked right where I actually had it parked. What a relief! We both happily got into the van and drove for home, both laughing and joking about how scared we were. It was an exciting moment for Nicholas, and I guess he just had to “share” this incident to his teachers and classmates the next day.

Well, apparently Nicholas added a few embellishments to the story to make it more exciting for his listening audience. This morning I was greeted by one of the teachers who exclaimed, “Was your van really stolen on the day of the field trip?!” Yes, according to Miss Sara, one of Nicholas’ teachers, he had told the entire class that our van was stolen by a “gangster” and we had to take the bus home, and then had to go buy a new car. I looked over at Nicholas who had just got into the classroom. He was sitting there on the carpet, listening to us with a huge grin on his face. I explained to the teacher what really happened.

“Now, that was just a big fib on Nicholas’ part,” I explained.

“Yes, that was quite a tall tale!” Miss Sara exclaimed.

Luckily for Nicholas his teacher wasn’t too upset, nor was I. I guess it’s pay back time for the big tall tale I had told my own 1st grade teacher.

I still remember listening to my classmates talk about their younger siblings. I could not contribute to their conversation, because I was the youngest in my family, with an older brother and sister, until one day, I decided to make my life a little more interesting. I announced to everyone that I indeed also had a baby brother. I told them how my mom had recently had a baby, and for a few days there, I found myself the center of attention. Each morning my poor teacher, Miss Maxwell would ask me how my “baby brother” was doing. And each morning I would reply shyly, “Fine..” Finally I felt like I had something in common with my other classmates, and we exchanged “cute little stories” about our cute little baby brothers and sisters.

How was I to know that my teacher and my mom would eventually run into each other at the local TG&Y? I remember it like it was yesterday; there was Miss Maxwell cornering my poor unsuspecting mother in an aisle in the store, congratulating her on her “new arrival.” I remember hiding in the soap aisle, and running to the front of the store just when I heard my mother exclaim jokingly with a sweet Portuguese accent, “Baby!? What baby? I didn’t have a baby!” I rushed into the car where my father was patiently waiting and sat there with him in silence. My mother wasn’t very pleased, because she felt embarrassed for my teacher, and I avoided all eye contact with Ms. Maxwell for days. I never spoke of my “baby brother” again. It was a good thing because I was running out of stories.

Monday, January 3, 2011


It's January---a new month, a new year...hopefully one full of inspiration. Who knows, may be I'll be inspired enough this year to write more?

I've heard the questions: When, Julie, when will you be writing "that book?" I've been haunted by this question over and over again.. It's like a dog gnawing slowly on the same old leather shoe, everyday. The shoe laces are shredded, and that old poor hound dog is looking at me with those big soulful sad eyes, that tell me.. "Julie...enough already..I'm tired." I question myself. I wonder if I can accomplish it. I also wonder if I'm ever going to finish that black and white striped blanket that I started last year for my daughter Lizzy. (Another resolution of mine.) Sometimes I wish I had more confidence in myself. Bad excuse, I know. I hear my sister-inlaw, Otilia somewhere in the background of my memory, the last summer I saw her, asking that very same question. Her eyes and voice full of excitement, she asked me about the book I was going to write, years and years ago. She had not forgotten after all those years. Her question surprised me, and caught be off guard, and at the same time, it saddened me. After all those years, how could I have forgotten? All those years she had believed it would happen, and with life, kids, and the chaos of everyday life put it all in the background, slowly further down the list of "to do's". Driving down to the city of Angra do Heroismo, with the kids in tow, off to get an ice cream at the port of Sao Mateus, I drove with my sister-inlaw on a summer afternoon. Little did I know it would be the last day I would ever see her. Believe me, driving past her house this summer, seeing the windows closed, the curtains hanging there motionless, with no life inside was difficult to see. If I had known, there would have been more summer afternoons of ice cream and drives to the city.

I think changes are in the horizon for me this year. Good changes..not drastic go blonde changes, but I may come across a little bit more selfish to some people. I may surprise you, or I may not. I'm taking my priorities more seriously this year, so you may or may not see a change. But, I vow to say NO more often, and perhaps I may even drink more wine. So I raise a glass to you and yours. May this year be the year of resolved resolutions! May your year be filled with happiness and peace, and may you all have a good time!

Be good to yourself.