Ta Quase (Almost)

Molly (forcefully) leading their Afonsina (renaissance fair) dance

Molly (forcefully) leading their Afonsina (renaissance fair) dance and Hank trying desperately to keep up.


Molly: Quero (I want) get out.

Pai: But it is dinner time, Amália. We are all sitting down to our nice meal together.

Molly: Quero (I want) get down. Ir pro chão (go to the floor). No quero (want) eat.

Me: MaGoo? Is that spoken with kindness?

Molly: No. Get down. No eat. Cartoons? (nodding, doe eyed, hands clasp in prayer) Um-hum?

Hank: Amália Sofia we are all eating. You don’t have to eat, but it is not time for cartoons.

Me: She did have half an avocado.

Pai: Are we giving in to her demands?

Me: That depends on how kindly Molly can ask for what she wants. In this house nothing is impossible when asked with kindness and respect.

Hank: Where are your pleases and thank yous, Amália?

Molly: You’re welcome.

(collective giggle)

Me: No, say: May I watch cartoons, mama?

Molly: Pode (you may).

Me: (facepalm)

Pai: (chuckling)

Hank: Amália, you can get what you want if you use please, thank you and you’re welcome when asking.

Molly: Okay.

Hank: Can you ask nicely?

Molly: Pode, cartoons obrigada. (You may, cartoons please).

Pai: Ta quase. (Almost)

Me: (cracking up)

Hank: How is this not working?

Me: No clue.

Molly: Quero (I want) get down. Ah-ah-ah, Posso (May I) get down?




Molly: (yelling) POSSO MAMA (MAY I, MAMA)?

Me: (at the point of surrender, wanting to enjoy my meal in peace) Pode, amore (You may, my love).

Pai: (lifting Molly from her high chair)

Molly: MANO (BROTHER), (walking over to touch his arm, whispers) Mano, anda ca. (Brother, come here) Cartoons? (pointing to the TV)

Hank: What do you say Amália? Where is your kindness?

Molly: (kissing gently her brother’s arm, before grabbing it and yanking him toward the TV then abruptly singing from Moana) YOU’RE WELCOME!



Our Little Lady Knight

So tired from her sword play that Our Lady Knight, Amália, abandoned her sword for her paige to sort out and fell asleep before she even reached her bed.

So tired from her sword play that, Our Lady Knight Amália, abandoned her sword for her page to sort out and fell asleep before she even reached her bed.


Molly: (dressed in full Afonsina (renaissance fair) regalia like a medieval garb) MAMA! Maaaaaa MA!

Me: You bellowed, chicken?

Molly: Mama, brinqua espada (play with the sword)? (pointing to the tall shelf, taking off her flower crown) No princess. Espada (sword)? (nodding) Please.

Me: Marvolous (fetching her sword), I shall be your page then.

Molly: (pulling at her lovely, long skirt) Take off. Mama, take off?

Me: Right, we loose the skirt. You’re a knight now! You need to move freely.

Molly: (wielding the heavy wooden sword, war crying) SO AMÁLIA! SO AMÁLIA! (I AM MOLLY! I AM MOLLY!)

Me: Cavalinha!

Pai: (popping his head into the bedroom) Um, what did you mean to say?

Me: She is a little lady knight! Uma Cavalinha!

Pai: A little lady knight would be pequeno cavaleira…

Me: (realizing my mistake) I called my daughter a little horse, didn’t I?

Pai: More like a pony.

Me: (laughing to myself) I really must remember to stick to English after 5pm.

Molly: (joisting with her crib bars) SO AMÁLIA! YAH! YAH! ARGH!!! (full attack mode)


Every year our beautiful city throws the best party.  Afonsina is my favorite time of year! If you are in the North of Portugal The Feira Afonsina goes on through Sunday, June 25th. 


Grieving, Obsessions and Tears

How they spend every morning and evening beating the heat.

How they spend every morning and evening beating the heat.


Me: Dinner! Ding-ga Ding-ga Ding-ga Ding!

Molly: (already eating) TUMBA TUMBA TUMBA TUMBA!

Hank: Mama’s ringing a bell and Molly is…

Me: Knocking on the door of a Dragon’s lair, of course.

Molly: YAH! (giggling, mouth full, humidity curls bouncing) Dragon door. (nodding)

Pai: Smells evil good.

Hank: What is this?

Me: Fair warning, I am incrediably emotional. This is emotional cooking. I am on the verge of tears at any moment. This was my favorite food when I was a kid before I stopped eating meat all together. Meatball subs with melty, melty cheese. Made possible by papa.

Pai: What did I do?

Me: You bought me a crock pot and you bought a bag of frozen meat balls and American hot dog buns while we were sick with the flu. These are things I would have never done.

Hank: Are you sad about the fire?

Me: So sad about the fire. I was on social media for all of twelve seconds today and there were a flood of photos of (voice cracking) families with small children who were on ferias (vacation) in the area who are still missing. Then the news started reporting… (shaking off a wave of grief)

Pai: (hand on my back in comfort and support) Portugal has declared three days of national mourning.

Hank: The fires are all we talked about at school. I told my class about the time we drove through an incêndio (wild fire) on the highway once.

Me: (tilting my head back trying to get the tears to flow back inside my broken heart)

Pai: (rubbing my back) Let’s listen to music.

Hank: Yes. Mama, knows the song I want to hear.

Pai: (joking) A song from Eurovison I assume.

Me Nope, a classic. (queueing up The Weather Girls, It’s Raining Men)

Hank: I am totally addicted to Eurovision.

Me: You aren’t addicted. You are obsessed. There is a clear difference.

Pai: An addiction is something that you emotionally and often times physically can’t live without. You start out only needing manageable doses but rather quickly with an addiction you need more and more and it is never enough. If you were addicted to Eurovision you would start with one hour, but then you would find you weren’t satisfied so then you would find yourself watching two hours, then three, then four but you still wouldn’t be satisfied. This is why an addiction is so damaging. You need so much of a thing that you would go to any length to get your fix of the addiction.

Me: You have obsessions, Hank. You always have. Your first obsession was Elmo, then cars…

Pai: Cars was a long obsession.

Hank: I still love cars.

Me: Then it was stop animation and Play Mobil, then…

Pai: Minecraft.

Me: YES! I almost forgot about Minecraft. And then it was YouTube in general and now it is Eurovision.

Hank: I didn’t know I was like that. Is it bad?

Pai: Not at all.

Me: It just shows you are passionately interested in things. There is nothing wrong with that.

Pai: And maybe with Eurovision and your love of The Weather Girls we can help you become passionately interested in Music from the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Me: OH fun! I bet Hank would like Roxy Music and maybe Donna Summers and my favorite…

Pai: Chaka Kahn.

Me: YAS! You know me so well.

Hank: WAIT a minute. Hold on. I like this song. This one. I am not saying I am going to like all the old songs in the world. Calm down.

Me: But Chaka Kahn was like the Adele of my life. And Prince! If you like Conchita Wurst from Eurovision 2015…

Hank: Eurovision 2014.

Pai: Or maybe Aretha Franklin or Keely Smith.  Ballad makers.

Me: Whatever, then you would love Prince. And Simone de Oliveira!

Pai: She was in Eurovision.

Me: Really?

Hank: Yah, like the first ever one.

Me: So doesn’t that fit the criteria?

Hank: I like the pop music Eurovision not the old school formal, like, first shows.

Me: I have already reconciled that we have completely contradictory music tastes but your killing me, Smalls.

Pai: Face it, no matter what we suggest he listen to he will hate it because we are lame old parents.

Hank: You’re not lame… you’re just not my style.

Me: WHITNEY HUSTON! Who doesn’t love Whitney. You have to love Whitney if you love pop music and you don’t have to choose her early albums.  Some of her later songs are fantastic, too.

Hank: She died of addictions of drugs, didn’t she? A lot of musicians do that.

Me: Creative, sensitive, artistic people so often get swallowed up by addiction.

Pai: All addictions begin seemingly harmless until they reach the point where more and more is needed and then they become dangerous and isolating and all consuming.

Hank: I’m never doing drugs.

Pai: You can become addicted to more than just drugs.

Hank: You can become addicted to the internet.

Pai: True.

Me: Let’s become addicted to THIS. (pushing play on Chaka Khan I’m Every Woman) Chaka could have totally won Eurovision. Hands down.

Pai: Your mother wanted to be Chaka Kahn when she was little.

Me: I wanted to be Diana Ross first and then Chaka Khan with a dash of Tina Turner with the soul of Laura Nyro. I Didn’t really jive with the New Kids On The Block generation.

Hank: (shaking his head) I have no idea who any of those people are.

Pai: Your mother was always a contrarian.

Me: And this was all before the 90’s when I full shifted to the Riot Grrrl scene.

Hank: I don’t hate this song, but it still isn’t my thing.

Pai: You were also obsessed with ABBA!

Hank: I like ABBA.

Me: I TOTALLY FORGET! YES! ABBA was the bridge between Elmo and cars.

Pai: ABBA it is.

Molly: YAH! (dancing in her chair to Dancing Queen, mouth stuffed, happy with our choice)

Me: (looking around at my happy, funny tribe and I just can’t hold back the tears any longer)

Pai: (hand on my back)

Hank: (focused on his meal, humming along)

Molly: (wiggling, giggling, curls bouncing)

Me: (crying into my napkin, so grateful for the safety of my beautiful family, extremely aware of what has been lost, holding the families not sitting down to dinner tonight heavy in my heart)