Eternity is in love with the productions of time. William Blake

Archive for October, 2009

Gosinhos e Bolinhos! (or, Playing Hooky!)

Today we played hooky.  There is a fair 1/2 hour north of here that Teresa loves; last year Thursdays were her day off from school but not this year, so she had to be a little bit of a bad example to her students (she is a junior high art teacher) and cut school.  We intended to have Kale’a back in time to be only a little late for her school (she has to be there 11-11:30) but, no surprise, that didn’t happen.  So it was a day off for all of us!

Depending on where you go, there are feiras, or markets, every day of the week.  In fact, the words for Monday-Friday are Segunda Feira, Terca Feira, Quarta Feira, etc, meaning second market, third market, fourth market, and so on (Saturday is Sabado and Sunday is Domingo).  Today’s market was in Malveira, and had a lot more than the feira we went to in Sao Pedro (part of Sintra) a few weeks ago.  We parked in a lot that had about ten vendors selling fruits and some vegetables out of their trucks.  We bought apples and three beautiful bright red lengths of chili peppers (they are now decorating our kitchen).  Right next to this was the small livestock area, and we browsed the multitudes of chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits.  Naturally, Kale’a was entranced by all of the baby animals, and had to be literally torn away, multiple times, from four little scraggly puppies.

The rest of the market was across a sort of plaza, and contained the myriad gypsy wares we had seen at Sao Pedro:  cheap plastic toys, random toiletry items you can find at any grocery market, various household goods, sunglasses, and lots of shoes and clothes.  My favorite image was of a tall and strongly built dark haired woman loudly hawking her wares while standing up and nursing her toddler.  We bought pantufas, or slippers, for Kale’a, pink shearling, and from the other vendors of plants we bought 50 strawberry plants, onions to plant, carrot seeds and 12 small lettuce starts.

I have to admit that being at the market with Kale’a is not the most relaxing shopping experience.  While she doesn’t have the wandering tendency that smaller kids have, she wants everything and can be very stubborn.  Oh well.  We did go to the small playground in the plaza as we were leaving, which was fun.  We had one last intense puppy pining episode (I would love to get her a puppy if I could, but besides the fact that we are only here until the summer, there are already three dogs here), which was quickly forgotten when Teresa made a last purchase of two goslings (gansinhos)!  Now, I’m not a huge fan of adult geese (gansos), as I am under the impression that they are not the nicest barnyard animals (I like ducks better), but baby geese are very cute, and sweet tempered.  The last thing we did was pick up one hazelnut and one olive tree (oliveira) on the way out.

Kale'azinha e os gansinhos

Kale'azinha e os gansinhos


Before we arrived home we got a pay-as-you-go card so that I can use one of the older cell phones (it’s much cheaper here!!) as well as food for the goslings.  Teresa was concerned about how the two existing geese would receive the babies, but to our good fortune they took to them in parenting fashion immediately.

Os pais novos (the new parents)

Os pais novos (the new parents)

Note the drooling dog.

Note the drooling dog.

The only small downside is that they are rather protective, and Kale’a has been dodging goose hisses all afternoon in her obsession to play with the goslings.  I planted the strawberries, lettuce and carrots, and Teresa finished making the tradition cakes, or bolos, for Halloween, o Dia das Bruxas:  they have pumpkin, raisins, walnuts and corn flour, are baked in the clay oven outside, and are soooo yummy!  I missed the baking of the cakes, as I was doing yoga, but Kale’a conveniently placed some bolo quente (warm) on the windowsill for me as I was finishing.

Strawberry plants, plus kale

50 strawberry plants plus kale

Planting carrot seeds

Planting carrot seeds




Note small girl posing as deer in headlights


The Master Cook and her oven. Note small girl still posing . . .

What a yummy day!

PS we ended the day by singing “On Top of Spaghetti” as Kale’a ate her spaghetti and meatballs and giggled hysterically.  I had to dig out my folk song book (?We Sing?) and when putting her to bed I sang a few more, including Scarborough Fair and Over the Rainbow.

PPS Here are a few more pictures of the lovely abundance here:


The geese always wanted a direct view of the palace.


Around the corner the ducks (os patos) stand at attention.


One of the many hydrangeas I pruned, springing to new life!


The mini garden, built especially to prevent the dogs from peeing on our food!




Coriander, aka cilantro. yum.


Batatas doces (sweet potatoes)


Kale'a's pumpkin to carve

Happy Halloween, Samhain and Day of the Dead!

Waiting for the Bus

The two buses sat in the parking lot of the Nashua Mall.  Around me milled other teenagers and a few handfuls of adults.  Truly, I only knew Tricia, a year older, who went to my junior high and my church.  I kissed my dad by and climbed on the bus.

A few months before I had joined an organization called S.T.O.P.P., Students To Offset Peer Pressure.  It was a grassroots, student run organization founded on a pledge to not drink alcohol or use drugs; however, it wasn’t so much about crusading as about providing a haven for teens who didn’t want to partake of the usual partying.  This bus was taking me to a retreat put on by S.T.O.P.P., amusingly called the B.U.T. conference, or Bringing Us Together (yes, there was a rampant sense of humor to be found in the group!).

I remember a sense of mystery, and wonder.  I didn’t know what the weekend was going to be like at all.  Instead of expectations, there was a sense of expansion, and excitement in my chest.  There was a little fear, too, since I knew so little people going, but I had already been enjoying going to camps during the summer, and was willing to trade a little fear for the adventure.

That weekend marked the beginning of a deep involvement with S.T.O.P.P., culminating in serving as organization president during my senior year of high school.  I also met one of my best friends there, Sarah, who turned out to be a friend from pre-school (we were too little to remember properly, in fact, we remembered each other with different names, but my father and her Gram remembered us).  And perhaps most lastingly, S.T.O.P.P. was the first forum where I began to explore my own empowerment, my emotions, my sense of leadership and integrity in the world, and my spirituality.   Most people who weren’t involved thought it was mostly about being sober; those of us on the inside knew that being sober was just the starting point to exploring being more alive.

Just as the year spins round its wheel, my life spins around, spiraling close to another moment of opening.  This weekend I am going to a women’s gathering with Ananda Marga, a tradition of yoga and meditation with centers here in Lisbon and Sintra (it’s where Bruno first began doing yoga).  I am hungry for a circle of woman, for time away from life and even the people I love.  I am curious who I will meet, and what soul connetions will be made.  A lot is being made as well as undone in my life.  Old fears replaced by living structures that support my creativity, joy and embodiment in the world.

After school today I took Kale’a to the beach.  It was low tide, and as we played in the water by the sandbar, I pondered what kind of place in nature does this feeling inside me look like?  Mountain?  Cliff?  Ocean? Forest?  And then I saw a field, wide and long, so long that all I could see was bright light at the end.  Only when you get in the field do you begin to see the fine details of what is there, all the small lovely details that make this life so good.

(This blog is dedicated to all the deep friendships I experienced through S.T.O.P.P./B.O.L.D., but especially Sue Haas, Sarah Gagnon, Kim Sweeney, Heather Dowey, Joe Potvin,  Allison Toom, Kristin Wormley, Jeff Goumas, Kathy Smith, Erin Harleman, Katie Lavoie, and all the other good folks.)

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