Saturday, June 12, 2010
This is me -THEN and NOW!
5:35pm - Well i, Maria, have just arrived to Elizabeth's house and mind you, i have never done a personal interview before so I'm a bit nervous. I have just arrived and have to say that i am impressed. I have not known Elizabeth for too long. As a matter a fact, i have known her for about 6 months. We met at the gym, and i hired her to plan my husband's 40th birthday party in which she did a FAB job.. Much to my surprise she asked me to conduct a personal interview with her and the cetch was- i got to choose the questions. So, of course i said YES! So here iam. Elizabeth answered the door with a robe on, welcomed me in and quickily ran off...i guess to get changed. She excused herself and asked for 2 minutes. There is a small stand infront of the couch where she has set up some choices of tea for me to choose from, cheese and crackers and a variety of mini chocolates. All in cute little bowls. I feel welcomed already. Her place is very cozy and ummm i must admit, i love her choice of designs....ok she's back. She changed into a pair of pj's. She's too cute and such a natural.
E- Sorry i was running late. I actually just got in from school about half an hour ago. I had to pick up Captain from daycare. Anyhow how are you? You ready for me? I'm excited to hear your questions so let's start.
M- Should i call you Elizabeth or Liz?
E- Which ever you prefer...
M- Any nick names?
E- Ummm no not really...well my husband use to call me "Chubby Toe Toes" but i do not think you want to call me that...(she laughs)
M- Okkk where did that name come from?
E- Well i have chubby toes (she laughs) and it's funny because when my 2 year old was born the first thing he said to him, besides "Your going to be a Captain" was "Ohh look you look just like the daddy...the only thing you have for the mommy is her her chubby toe toes" and then he started calling him Chubby toe toes too. Look, (she slips her sock off and shows me her toes. Hhhmm nice pedicure)
M- Uummm yes, you do have chubby toes hahah. That's so cute. Ok LIZ.....let's get started. Where were you born? Describe your childhood home and where was it?
E- I was born in Toronto, Ontario and raised in the projects in St.Jamestowne on Bleecker Street. My parents are both Portuguese and barely speak any English. We lived in an apartment building. Goverment housing actually. Most people who lived in that area or anywhere near there lived in goverment housing. We had a three bedroom apartment. One that my sister and i shared, one that my two brothers shared and the other, my parents used. We lived on the 12th floor and our place was very clean and tidy. We had crystal pieces everywhere. Ashtrays, lamps and chandeliers (she laughs) I know it sounds crazy. We lived in housing yet we had crystal accessories. Our couches were covered in plastic and we had burgandy carpet. Our curtains had flower patterns on them and totally clashed with the patterns on the couch. Our closets and clothes stunk of moth balls and we never ran out of Natella.
M- What was it like growing up?
E- Prodigous, fun, adventerous, daring, and very exciting. When i think of my childhood days and growing up on the Bleecker, Winchester, Cabbagetown, and Regent Park...all i think about and remember is LOVE and a lot of it. While i was out of the house, that is. But, at home it was painful. There was a lot of abuse in our household. However, despite the destruction at home, my siblings and i always made the best of it.
M- I do know you are a spiritual woman, however did you go to church as a child too? Do you go to church now?
E- Yes. My parents are catholic and we went to church often. My father and grandmother prayed daily. Mom was not as spiritual. Grandma read us bible stories almost every night. After each prayer she would say "O deus nunca o deixará" Meaning "God will never leave you" She called me "Ango" meaning "Angel" in Portuguese. Yes, i go to church. I attend services at New Life Community church located at Goreway and Queen. It is only a few years old. A beautiful place with a few hundread members. The word is powerful and i am really starting to feel at home there.
M- Describe your parents. What were they like? What did they do for a living?
E- Dad is and was born blind. As far back as i can remember, dad was an alcoholic. Very sweet when he was sober, but very mean while he was drunk. Like a totally different person. He was a professional musician/artist and was very well known in the Portuguese community. He recorded and sold many records. He was a provider in every way -for the family. Mom never worked a day in her life. Until the last year they were together. They got married when mom was 17 and dad was 27. Crazy huh? Mom had all her four children by the time she was 24 years old. All i really remember of mom, as a child, was that she was always angry, sad and crying.
M- Describe your grandparents.
E- Grandfather's both died before i was born. Mom's mom lived in Portugal. Still till this day. Dad's mom? Ohhh mannn, she was and will forever be my IDOL! She was our angel. When she passed away, our family fell apart. Dad was her baby and he pretty much, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually died shortly after she passed.
M- Who were some of your closest friends growing up?
E- Ohh gosh i had so many. We were like a family apart from our "blood" family. My closest friends were; Eusan,Tamara Malden, Yinka, Genera, Trinia,Alana, Lisa, Tina, Amanda, Patrick, Mike, Travis, Sheryl, Joanne, Lori, Shelley, Tracy & Shelley-they were sisters, Tasha, Tonya, Byron & sister, Cristine- on our good days, Wayne Bailey, Carol, Janet, Jennifer and this list goes on. We were all very close, but they were all my friends and not necessarily each other's friends. Most of us started JK together. There were 4 buildings right next door to each other and we all lived on these buildings. I moved out of St.Jamestown at 15, however i hung out there until i was in my early 20's. Sometimes daily. My closest out of the bunch, until this day, are Eusan, Trinia, and Tamara Malden. They were and are my friends for life, until death do us part (she laughs with a sweet look on her face)
M- Who was your first crush?
E- Ohhh gosh... Travis! (she laughs) He was everyone's "first crush" at least the girl's that lived on Bleecker. He was such a bad boy. Actually, Travis was my brother John's best friend and when my brother found out i liked him, he beat me up. Geeze talk about dramatizing a girl at such a young age.
M- What was your first job?
E- Ohhh boyyy...your going to laugh
(she puts her hand on her head)
I was a maid. Hahaha. Or nanny. Which ever you want to call it. I was 12 years old and met an older lady in her 70's who asked me if i wanted to make some money; cleaning her apartment. Of course i said yes. So for the following year i went to her place twice a week and let me tell you, did i ever clean my behind off. Her place was a disaster. She had about 15 boxes of files. Bills and junk. That alone took me about 5 hours to go through. Can you believe it? I was 12 years old. I even cooked for her once a week and did groceries once a month. I got paid anywhere from $20-$40 a visit. That was like a million dollars to me, back then.
M- Any pet peeves?
E- Dirty bathrooms and people who chew with their mouths open. Ohhhh and "Home Wreckers"
(she gives me this dirty look, so, i won't ask)
M- What do you do with your free time and career wise?
E- I work for Mississauga Transit part-time, I'm in school full time-5 days a week but for only 4 hours a day. I also run my own Event/Wedding Planning business, and I'm a Mary Kay Consultant. I'm a mother of 2 boys who are 2 and 17 years of age. I'm very active with my boys so i do spend most of my free time with them. Even if it means attending a children's event at Chapters so i can sit and do some writing. I especially include my 2 year old in my daily routines. We are never apart, unless i am at work or he is with dad. Free time? Well, i work out about 3 to 5 days a week. I spend quality time with my family. I go for a lot of walks and read at the same time. I make sure to make time for my close friends at least once or twice a week. I get to the nail spa about twice a month for "pamper me time" I offer some of my free time to community volunteer work. I love cooking and do so about 4 to 5 days a week. I recently purscahsed a cool barbeque and now i am hooked on it. I make the best seasoned grilled veggies, yummy... I try to write everyday. Either before bed, or i have more "me time" at Starbucks a few days a week. That is where i write my chapters for my book. Goshhh I'm just a "Busy Body" ohhh that's another nick name i have. But, my family calls me that. Truly i love every moment of my life...for the most part.
(she laughs- sarcastically)
M- Is there something you wish you could do again?
E- Hmmmm, yesss...take another family trip to Portugal. We all went as a family a few years ago but my big brother and wife could not make it. So it was not complete. We have planned for a trip for 2012 and have already paid down on it. Hopefully we all make it.
M- A time you will never forget?
E- My wedding Day, and the birth of my 2 boys.
M- Something you are really proud of and why?
E- My book. I'm currently writing a book titled "If You Played In My Playground" It is a memoir about my life growing up and how i came to except Christ into my life. My teachers use to tell me i was going to grow up to be a famous author. I never took it serious. I have been writing a diary since i was 12 years old. When i got married i threw them all away. I just thought it was the right thing to do since i had stories in there about old boyfriends (she laughs) I totally regret it now because they could have been a huge help for my book. But that's ok. This book is going to be an amazing read. I have about 6 chapters to go. I stopped writing for about 6 months and recently started again. Why am i proud? Well, this book is my story on what happened in my life, How and why? Many friends and family have wondered how it all happened and i was to afraid to share my story. When i got married my husband encouraged me to share my story and not be afraid or ashamed. This book will inspire other girl's and women to "Never Give Up!"
M- Have you ever had your heart broken?
E- Who hasn't? But, clearly he had no idea what he was doing.
M- Have you broken any hearts?
E- Ohhh God yes (she laughs) It's probably why mine was broken (she laughs again) Before i got married, i never gave my heart away. Not once. I was that "Hard To Get Girl"
M- Do you forgive easily?
E- YES! I do. I always forgive. Always. However, you will never get another chance at my heart again. I will just love you from a distance.
M- What are some of the changes in society that you have seen in your lifetime?
E- Well there are 2 things; one, would be the way our youth speak to their parents and elders. I'm telling you if we breathed to hard, dad would right hook us in the jaw. That's right, blind or no blind, this man had perfect aim (she laughs) Two- would be the way our churches have turned into something like a club scene, dating lounge. I never in a million years would have ever thought that the biggest sinners are right in the church. I know for a fact, as i have spoken to many elders in regards to this, that this was not the case just years ago. I understand that church is for the "broken" however it is not a place where you go and spit in Gods face just because his word says, "God will always forgive" Yes, he always forgives, but that does not mean, you literally take advantage of it. There is just no fear of God anymore. This truly bothers me. I'm so afraid of upsetting God, that even when i say a small "bad word" in anger, i say sorry to him, and feel bad. This totally discourages the "unsaved"
M- What is a goal you are working on?
E- Hhhmmm.....as much as i want too, i can't say. Sorry. I know i said i would answer all your questions no matter what they are, but this one i can't. The word talks about not sharing your visions until they come to pass.
M- I will forgive you....this time only. Don't let it happen again.
(we both laugh)
M- Do you believe in soulmates?
E- Wow are you doing this on purpose? (she smirks) Your asking some deep questions Ms! Yes i do. However, i believe you only have one. Wether or not it works out, has nothing to do with him/her not being your soulmate. I had a soulmate, but he chose to hurt me, not vise versa. That does not mean he was not my soulmate. You can decide if someone is your soulmate by what you both share and accomplished together. Don't confuse "lust" for a man/woman being your soulmate. I do not beleieve people have more then one. Even if you end up marrying again or dating, or falling in love, that does not mean that person now becomes your soul mate. Getting married, dating or falling in love is just something you do. It has nothing to do with being with "your soul-mate" Besides, i don't even believe in second marriages. The word speaks highly against that. It's something you get one chance at. Funny you ask that.I know a man who got married twice and said to me the other day "I love my current wife, however my ex wife was my soulmate, but i lost her so i had to move on" Those were powerful words and i am sure many people can relate.
M- I see allot of pictures here of your sister and siblings, are you close to them?
E- Yes, very! My sister is my baby. I'm so sad, because she is moving out of town with her hubby and wont be 20 minutes away anymore. Her and i went through a rough patch a couple years ago. We allowed people to come between us. But, never again. There is nothing closer to you or loves you more then blood. Nothing and not one person. However, it made us stronger then ever. I sware we are addicted to one another. My brother's and i are also very close. My younger brother is my baby and my older brother....(she laughs) well let's just say i act like a big suck with him. He is the first to point out my mistakes and faults and i totally hate that! But, i must admit, he is always right. ALWAYS! We would all literally die if something happened to any of us. We have grown to except one another no matter what.
M- Do you have a best friend?
E- I hate that word. I only used it twice in my life. One was for the man i married and the other was for my friend Alana. I do not like that word though. It is often mis-used. I have a few close friends who i call my "soul sisters" which to me is even closer then a "friend" They are; Tamara Malden, Natalia Munoz, Trinia Lewis, Snoopy, Kel and Eusan. I will grow old with these people next to me. They each play an important, yet, different role in my life.
M- Are you a morning person?
E- Yes!! 100% Yes! I'm naturally a very out going and happy person. When something is bothering me, you will know because it will effect the way i look, walk, talk etc. Last year was one of the most challenging years of my life and it really messed with my moods. Jan of this year, i decided after a trip to the Domenican republic with my 2 year old that i would never allow that to happen to me again. Because it's just not me; to be unhappy. I'm loved for my personality. It's why people fall in love with me to begin with (she laughs)
M- Tell me something others may not know about you.
E- Hhhmmm...ok there are 2 things. Unless you are very close to me, you would not know or believe this. I'm a tough girl on the outside, however very soft on the inside. I'm very sensitive and emotional. The other is, I'm very BOSSY! Hahha.. Especially in business. Hey i am a Leo, what do you expect. (she laughs)
M- Your biggest regret?
E- I don't have any.
M- Ok, your biggest fear?
E- Disappointing my children.
M- Do you have a mentor?
E- Yes i do.....GOD! I may not always listen to him, but i don't know where i would be without him. I always look to him. When i do things according to my own understanding, i usually mess up.
M- Biggest accomplishment?
M- Favourite famous person?
E- Hhmmm those who know me..have already answered this while reading this...(she laughs) I will name a few for different reasons. Juanita Bynum, Joyce Myeres, Serita Jakes, Maya Angelou, and Iyanla Vanzant. There are a few others. Such as; authors, singers and artists. Now of course, i will tell you who everyone already guessed. Ok, don't laugh.... Jennifer Lopez. My oh my... I Luuvvvv her (she laughs) I met her twice, while working on a music video as a wardrobe stylist, and i love her for the obvious reasons. She is latina, her business ethic, her fashion sense. I love her as a mother and wife and of course because she is a BOSS! She never quit when the world expected her too. She is also a leo...actually born a few days before me and she is just a power house. My friends and family joke about this a lot. I had a birthday cake designed one year with JLO's picture on it.
M- Okay that is serious!
M- Tell me something you have not mastered but working on it or would like too.
E- Love! I don't know if anyone ever does.
M- What is the most interesting or educating thing you have ever done?
E- Hmmmm (she has her head down while thinking)
E- I studied Islam a few years ago. I read the Quran and many books on Islam. I had a few friends who were Muslim and i was very curious about the religion. It opened up my eyes to so much. Especially the discipline involved in Islam. I have a lot of respect for Muslims. I went as far as studying Arab and visiting the mosque many times. There is so much unity and respect between them. Just like every religion, there are the ones who give them a bad name. We will never escape from that.
M- What is something you dream of doing and will do no matter what?
E- That would definitely be "fostering" I fostered 5 teen boys up until last year July. I'm still very close to them and they often visit me for dinner and movie nights. I truly loved being a mother to those boys. They brought me back to my childhood days. I lived in and out of foster care for a few years as a young girl and can relate to these boys in so many ways. They taught me so much and brought meaning to my days, nights and life. They shared everything with me and made me feel so special. Their aspirations, fears, desires, and secrets. Some things were a little to much for me, but hey i have a 17 year old, so nothing surprised me (she laughs) Once i accomplish what it is i am working on, i will definitely foster a couple boys again. Without a doubt!
M- Okay we are wrapping up here. I have chosen this question because i know you will have a great and exciting answer. Any crazy fads you and your friends went through?
E- Ohhh my goshhhh there are too many. Are you kidding me..i grew up in the projects (she laughs out loud) Which one do i tell you about Maria? Ok i will tell you the most exciting, yet scary one. My sister and i went to ATL to plan a birthday barbeque for a friend. It was a huge barbeque though. We were expecting about 150 people and as our gift to him, we offered out cooking services. The day we were up prepping and seasoning all the food, we decided to play a prank. One that almost cost our lives. While my sister and i were downstairs chatting in the room we stayed in during our visit, i came up with a clever idea (she laughs -covering her face) oohhh Gosshhh, i still can't believe we did this. We decided to dress up as thugz, gang bangers. So we went into our friend's closet and put on about 3 pairs of pants each, 3 or 4 sweaters, each! gloves and Timberland Boots. So we were a lot heavier then usual and to be honest, we could barely move. I put white powder all over my face and with a black eye liner from my sister's make-up bag, i drew thick black lines under my eyes and on my lips. My sister found a tuque that covered everything but her eyes and mouth. We made a huge mess in the closet. This was before i was saved, so we had a few drinks, not that i have not had any drinks since, (she laughs) so anyways, we were obvioulsy not thinking. Well, the living room was filled with guys playing video games and they had been drinking as well. Okay now keep in mind one of these guys were nick named "Killa" and he had just got released from prison. Yeah...i know....(she says; raising her eyebrows) They were not young boys either. They were all over 30 and most of them had lived a hard life and would not hesitate to kill what ever and who ever stood in their way. Well, my brilliant sister and i were all ready for our mission but we needed a weapon or something to complete the task. My sister looked at me and said "wait, theres something missing on you...we need to do something" I was like "Girl, are you crazzzy? Look how scary i look? ohhh wait i know...go get some foil paper" "what?" she whispered back. "How am i gonna get it?" So i was like "i saw some in the garage by the barbeque stand" So away we headed to the garage and found some. I took two pieces and made myself some gold teeth hahahah by placing the pieces on my teeth, pressing it down to make sure it wouldnt fall off. My sister and i were laughing so hard that i sware i peed my pants a little. Then, we saw some other treats we could use to scare them. My sister found a plastic gasoline bottle...like the ones you buy at the gas station when you run out of gas. It even had the nuzzle or what ever you call it still attached to it. I found a tool in a tool box that looked like a gun. Ohhh my Gosshhh Maria (she is shaking her head laughing) Ok, so now we were all ready for our mission. Now were both standing at the bottom of the stairs and could hear them in a deep conversation. They were talking about a gun dispute that apparently just took place outside. Mind you, they lived in a poshy upscale area, so my sister and i were a bit confused and hesitated for a minute. But, we were too hyped to cancel. As were both standing there looking at each other, my sister said "OK, let's go....but you go first" hahahahahha (she is laughing out loud) I could not believe her. She wanted me to go ahead of her. Hahahah. So i did. We both started banging on the walls on the way up the stairs, which were only about 7 steps before we got to the living room, and yelling something or another. All the guys ran to different sides of the room. While one guy jumped over one that fell to his knees while running, to get to the back porch to jump off, "Killa" jumped up on the coach backwards like a ninja and attacked me. My sister was standing there with the gas tank thingy up in the air to show that we were going to set the house on fire...so maybe this is why they all scattered to the back porch to jump off, despite they would have broken a leg or both. Right as "Killa" was about to put his hands on me, i screamed out "ookkkkayy okaaay its me..its me...LIZZZZ" Maria i can't describe to you in words exactly how this scene looked. When they all realized it was my sister and i, who they barely knew. They laughed soooooo hard and one guy said, pardon my french "Mannn these 2 short mother#$%@'s just rolled up on us like that mannn...dammmmm y'alllll" Maria, my sister is the exact same height as me. Another guy just sat on the floor where he was to begin with; with the game controller in his hand staring at us. He said his heart had stopped beating and that he wanted so bad to get up and run but he could not move..hahahahha...(she is laughing so hard) For that entire day we laughed and joked about it and every person who attended that barbeque that day got to hear the story. If there was one thing they got to know about us, is that we were def from the streets.
M- Ohhh my goodness is this a true story? I can't believe this.
E- Yes and we were told later that day that they dude "Killa" always had his gun on him. So truly we were very lucky. Because had any one of them had one at the time, we would have been dead!
M- That was a good one. I can't wait to read your book. Finally, where are you going with D.e.v.a?
E- Where ever D.e.v.a brings me (she smirks)
M- Liz, thank you so much and myy oh myy i can't believe this is the sweet lady i work out with at the gym and chat about business and our kids together. You can truly never or should never judge a book by it's cover.
E- NOOOOOOO!!! Don't ever do that! Wow did you eat all those chocolates? you did not save me one???? Ok Ms remind me to conduct our next meeting at a coffee shop (we both enjoy a last laugh together)
M- I think to myself "What a sweetheart"
Ok, ladies, there it is. I have answered all but one question LOL! Maria submitted the interview to me via email. As much as we wanted to do a live recording...my video camera was not working. But, i promise i have not altered the words, one bit!
Stay tuned for our next interview.