Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Avon Ladies Against Arnold-Unite!

I got an URGENT email from Avon headquarters last night-direct from Pasadena-California headquarters:

"You may have heard that the California Legislature is working to finalize
its budget. In doing so, it had proposed for companies to withhold tax on
independent contractors. Last week, Governor Schwarzennegger refused to
accept the tax package, containing the onerous language that the
legislators presented to him. Our intelligence is that a tax package is
still being negotiated and could be final as early as the beginning of next
week. We do expect the onerous language regarding withholding tax to be
included in the next tax package.

In the meantime we are being asked implement a grass roots effort to notify
the governor and key legislators of our opposition to withholding tax on
independent contractors. Our timeframe is quite tight due to the holidays
and the governor's desire to have a package approved within the next week.

Avon - Government Affairs Dept sent letters last week and the week prior to
California legislators and to Governor Schwarzennegger communicating our
opposition to this proposal. We will continue to make contact in
California to voice our opposition. However, it is critical that we send
as many letters as possible to the legislative leaders to show that this is
an issues that negatively impacts our industry / their constituents.

We would like both associates in the sales organization in California and
our California based independent Avon sales Representatives to send letters
as well. I have prepared a sample letter and will be working this week to
assist any way I can."

I've formed a new group: A.R.A.A. Avon Representatives Against Arnold! I can't say "Avon Ladies" because that would not be entirely correct. There are many men out there who sell Avon. I know it sounds a little strange, but it's true. Would you buy lipstick from a man? I would I guess. Seriously, there are many couples who sell Avon together. I don't see myself and Rich doing that (are you kidding?!) but many couples are very successful.

Our state budget is so bad, ole' Arnold is out to get Avon Ladies to shell out and claim ALL tax money collected from each sale.. For someone like me that really doesn't sell enough to claim, it really doesn't make sense. If this goes through, a lot of represenatives, including myself, will probably stop selling independently. Of course, this doesn't just effect Avon, but all other independent sellers: Mary Kay, Amway, Princess House, Tupperware...etc..etc..

In other words, Arnold is making a lot of people MAD at the moment. I'm just waiting to get an email from my sister-inlaw, Becky to join arms and picket the capitol building in Sacramento. I will be submitting the letter Avon headquarters has sent me. If you would like to join our Avon fight, feel free to cut and paste the following:

California Issue IC Withholding.doc (24KB), California Template IC Withholding.doc (25KB), California Legislature Contact Information.doc (28KB)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

All Through The House...Christmas Eve

Poor Lizzy, since she works in retail, had to work on Christmas Eve, but Lea packed her a Christmas Eve meal, so she was happy. Nicholas fell asleep in the car, which was good, because "Santa" still had a new bicycle to assemble. I was able to do some last minute touches before the morning arrival of Santa as well. Here are some pictures of our home.

"It was the night before Christmas, and althrough the house....not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse....":

Oh look! Santa arrived!

And he ate some cookies!

My diningroom:

The Christmas ornament Rich fixed. It's Lizzy's first ornament from the year she was born (1988). It makes a heck of a lot of noise because it rotates, but I love it.

Can you spot your Christmas card you sent me?

Our Christmas village. Nicholas has had a lot of fun with this little table.

One more day until Christmas... That picture was taken last year-the kids got it blown up and it as one of my Christmas gifts last year.

Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve we went to visit Rich's brother's house. He and his wife Lea made us a great dinner, and it was nice evening spent. Here are a few pictures:

Rich, Me and my sister-inlaw, Becky

Rich's brother Frank and his wife, Lea.

Frank's son, Frankie.

Frank, his son Brandon, and Becky's son Will.

Opening presents! My mother-inlaw, Bobbie, Dave, Will, and Matthew

Andrew & Will

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Visit From Grandma & Grandpa

Earlier this past week we got a visit from my husband's parents, Grandma Bobbie and Grandpa Dave. They drove all the way from Sun City West, Arizona to visit, through the weird weather conditions; snow in the desert.

Nutcracker Ballet

These pictures when taken during my niece's ballet performance of the Nutcracker. She was wonderful! I've never seen her dance before on stage, and she had a few impressive solo performances. My brother (her dad) got us front row seats--he was very proud of course-he was smiling during the whole show-very proud daddy. No pictures were allowed during, so all I have are before and after shots!

The stage: As you can see we got to sit by the orchestra. Interesting bunch of people. There was a woman there playing the trombone who left puddles of spit under her chair--she kept on "draining" her instrument. I then noticed other puddles from more the the wind instrument section. Lovely. My mother was quite entertained by the guy who played the triangle. (You had to be there to fully understand.)

Waiting for it to begin:

Our ballerina:

Anyone spot the proud dad?

Getting some fresh air outside. Damn those chairs after a couple of hours of ballet viewing got mighty hard. My butt hurt, I cannot lie.

Nicholas' Christmas Assembly

The following pictures were taken at Nicholas' very politically correct Winter Assembly. (He goes to public school.) The only Christmas song that was sung was Jingle Bells. The rest of the songs were written by their music teacher. They did a song on all the elements. It was interesting, and the kids really had a lot of fun. It was great seeing Nicholas perform on stage-he was having a ball:

Nicholas is the boy in the blue striped sweater.

Here is Nicholas with one of his best friends.

Singing Jingle Bells:

Later at home with Snoopy in front of the tree.

Live Nativity Night

Ho ho ho!!!

How was your Christmas, boys and girls?

I hope all of you had a great Christmas. I haven't posted for days, simply because I have not had the time. It has been a very, very, busy month! Here is a review in pictures...as promised..

My friend Angela, and Nicholas at the live Nativity...it was sooo cold. Made you wonder, and remember how cold it may have on the day Jesus was born. Imagine being stranded in a strange town, in labor, and not having a place to rest and have a baby. The cold night was very humbling.

Oh yeah, and don't forget those Roman soldiers bossing you around, telling you to hail Cesar and to pay your taxes... Sound familiar?

These soldiers were very intimidating...they were really acting the part well.

Okay this picture above is the angel Gabriel, the white figure) telling the sheperds where to find the baby Jesus. This guy is standing on a pedestal, way up high--very frightening to watch.

No room at the Inn.

Humbling, and beautifully done. I know I've said this before. The one of whom we celebrate His birth-to be born in a barn-makes me cry. It also makes me think. If Jesus was to be born today, where would he find a place to lay his head? A homeless shelter? A garage? A old run down vacant building? Instead of shepards, who would be there first to greet him? Who would the angel speak to and call on first? He called the shepards-the poor, and trusting. They were the first to see their Savior. Would kings come later? Nobel Peace Prize Recipetents? Presidents? Celebrities? What would they bring him? Worthless material junk?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Personal Greeting----Just For You!!

Copy and paste the below link:


Yes, it is pretty slow here at work today. Go to the link, and you'll see.

We Have Snow!

Yes, this photo is a view of Mount Hamilton, in San Jose...

It is cold over here!! The temperature at the moment is about 38 degrees outside. That is considered VERY COLD around here. I've been wearing knit hats and gloves--it's hardly EVER that cold around here!

Yesterday we were suprised to see flurries of snow come down on our morning trek on Hwy 17 down to Santa Cruz. Nicholas enjoyed seeing all the snow, and it was quite beautiful. I really like snow-as long as I'm not in it too long. By the time I'm long enough in it to build a snowman, I'm done with snow; but it sure is pretty to look at. It makes the Christmas season even more...um, how do you say it-more Christmasy? I'm not sure if that's a word.

So far, it's been a busy week!

Sunday evening we went to see a live nativity scene. It was freezing cold, but it was so beautiful to see. A Baptist church in town renacted the whole story of the nativity, and I must say they did an awesome job. They had a whole little town of Bethelhem in front of the church. All the people involved were dressed in authentic looking costume-there were even some really intiminating Roman soldiers in full garb, ordering us peasants around the town. There were booths set up demonstrating different games and fun things to do for the children from that time. (From what I saw kids back then did not have much for fun-everything was work-related-like lets make a candle holder-that sounds like fun!) After the Roman soldiers demanded us to pay are taxes and hail Cesar, in come in Mary and Joseph on the donkey looking for a place to rest. The Kings followed later with real camels (yes they went all out), to the manger. And surprisingly, there was singing! It was beautiful, and it really caught Nicholas' attention, and I was glad. With all the commercialism of Christmas that is thrown on our faces, it really is easy to loose sight of the REAL story of Christmas. It reason freezing cold though, and it did start to rain, but I was glad we went. (Pictures coming.)

Monday, Nicholas peformed in his first Winter Holiday assembly at school. He goes to public school, so they no longer say "Christmas" with anything associated to holiday. Everything is so politically correct in public schools nowadays-very different from when I was a child. It was very apparent in the content of the songs they sang-all of which were written and preformed with the music teacher who happens to be a professional "drummer". They sang songs about all the elements: silence, wind, water..etc. At the very end all of the four kindergarten classes say Jingle Bells. It was the only song everyone was familiar with. It was a little different to say the least, but it was great seeing Nicholas on stage with his classmates, singing and dancing-by the look on his face he really loved it. (Pictures coming.)

I spent Monday night up writing up Christmas cards until 1 a.m. Pheeww.. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to be on top of things. I had a potluck at the office yesterday, and the cake I was planning to bake simply did not happen. I ran up to the grocery store and bought store bought cookies. I didn't even try to impress, but they were eaten quite quickly just the same. I work with a very hungry bunch of people.

Tuesday night I was greeted with 8 Avon boxes at my door, so as you can imagine, it was another late night. This morning, I was tempted to call in and stay home, but I trudged out of bed anyway. All I need is coffee right now.

8 days until Christmas... Oh gosh..are you done with all your shopping? My inlaws are coming Friday, and I've got to write up a menu for Christmas dinner. My plate is full-but it is a happy plate!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Terra Do Bravo--by Carlos Manuel Enes--MY COUSIN

Something funny has been brought to my attention.

Awhile ago, I wrote an entry announcing a new film being made based on my cousin’s novel, Terra Do Bravo. Apparently, my cousin, Carlos Enes has been approached by several associates of his telling him how they ran across my story, asking him WHO IS THIS WOMAN who was writing about him. Apparently, they don’t know that their friend Carlos has family living in the U.S.

All this talk prompted my cousin Carlos to sneak, and check out my journal-I’m glad he was pleased. There will be more Carlos—I’m your film promoter here in the states… 

And this is for your friends on the mainland, Portugal: My name is Julie, and not only am I his PRIMA, translated to COUSIN (may I add I’m related to the dude on both my mother and my father’s side of the family) I am not crazy nor am I a stalker; I like to think as myself as one of my cousin’s #1 fans here in California. I’m already considering on forming a fan club here in the U.S.

Okay, para voces que nao posso ler em ingles; sou a prima de Carlos Enes. Sim..ele tem familia emigrante aqui nos Estados Unidos! E verdade. Sou a sua “COUSIN” de California. Are you really surprised by that?! Do you realize how many people from the Azores and their descendents alone live in this country!? Just ask Today’s host, Meredith Vieira!

There is rumor that this film may be released in the U.S. and I truly hope so.

Here is the article that explains it all. Sorry folks—it’s all in Portuguese:

GRAVAÇÕES COMEÇAM EM 2010 - Romance de autor terceirense motiva produção cinematográfica

Publicado na Terça-Feira, dia 16 de Dezembro de 2008, em Actualidade Sónia Bettencourt


O romance “Terra do Bravo”, de Carlos Enes, editado pelo Instituto Açoriano de Cultura, em 2005, será adaptado ao cinema pela mão da recém-criada Azores Film Comission (AFC).
Com a freguesia da Vila Nova, concelho da Praia da Vitória, como cenário integrante da acção, o filme pretende não só divulgar a ilha Terceira e os Açores a nível nacional e internacional, mas também potencializar públicos e motivar técnicos, jovens estudantes da área audiovisual e actores locais a trabalhar no sector cinematográfico.
No passado fim-de-semana o responsável pela AFC, Pedro Juliano Cota, reuniu na Sociedade Filarmónica Progresso Biscoitense com o realizador Francisco Manso e o autor da obra, Carlos Enes, e cerca de uma dezena de actores, depois de uma visita aos lugares com potencial interesse para as filmagens.
“Durante estes dias cimentou-se a vontade de prosseguir com o projecto. Todos nós estamos empenhados em trabalhar”, considera Pedro Juliano Cota.
A primeira produção da AFC, sedeada em Angra do Heroísmo, está orçada num montante que deverá ultrapassar os dois milhões de euros, e contará com apoio financeiro de diversas entidades institucionais, públicas e privadas.
Pedro Juliano Cota mostra-se confiante no sucesso do projecto, salientando que “este filme permitirá incluir os Açores nos circuitos cinematográficos nacionais e internacionais através da co-produção com outros países do mundo”.
Para o conceituado realizador Francisco Manso, a cidade de Angra do Heroísmo, Património Mundial, pela sua história, e a ilha Terceira, pela singularidade dos seus espaços naturais, têm toda a possibilidade de utilização audiovisual.
O responsável pela série televisiva “Garrett” para a RTP, sobre a vida e obra do escritor português Almeida Garrett, cujas gravações decorreram também em Angra do Heroísmo, em 2000, defende um projecto credível que inclua protagonistas com nomes sonantes e envolva recursos locais desde espaços, paisagens a técnicos e actores. “Os espaços interiores e exteriores deverão ser o mais natural possível, embora tenham naturalmente que ser adaptados. Em matéria de adereços, utensílios e guarda-roupa, à partida poderemos utilizar muita coisa que está cá e que é autêntica. Isso credibiliza o filme”, afirma Francisco Manso. E acrescenta: “Serão feitos castings e acções de formação para técnicos e actores com profissionais. Mais do que realizar um filme interessa também motivar os recursos locais”.
Ainda assim serão mobilizados muitos meios técnicos, vindos do continente e, provavelmente, do estrangeiro, e a equipa terá no total mais de uma centena de pessoas, sendo que 60 são actores principais e secundários.
“Há aqui bons actores, alguns dos quais eu já conhecia de projectos anteriores como é o caso do Belarmino Ramos. Vamos precisar de muitos figurantes, e o facto de conhecerem e viverem as coisas da ilha vai permitir muita naturalidade no desempenho do seu papel, o que só vai trazer benefícios para o filme”, garante o realizador.
Quanto ao romance, Francisco Manso diz que para si “foi uma redescoberta dos Açores” e que do seu ponto de vista “poderá ser muito bem explorado”.
De resto, a equipa de pré-produção do filme “Terra do Bravo” refere a abertura e o interesse da população em geral, contactada no decorrer da visita à ilha Terceira, em disponibilizar espaços e utensílios necessários para as gravações cujo início está previsto para o ano 2010.

“Quebrar fronteiras de insularidade”

Depois de o registo em audiolivro, gravado nos estúdios do Rádio Clube de Angra, em 2007, a história de "Terra do Bravo" vai passar ao cinema com guião de João Nunes, argumentista das Produções Fictícias.
Em conversa com “a União”, Carlos Enes admite que o seu livro alcançou uma dinâmica “pouco vulgar” e considera esse género de iniciativas “investimentos na produção regional”. “Vem revelar que os Açores estão investindo na produção cultural e que querem quebrar as fronteiras da insularidade. O meu acto de escrita vive muito de imagens e dava por mim imaginando muitas das cenas passando no ecrã. Em boa medida, a minha criatividade deixava-se levar por essa ambiência de espectador divertido no meio da plateia”, revela o escritor açoriano, natural da Terceira.
Sobre a obra afirma que “Terra do Bravo” representa “uma viagem ao meu e ao nosso mundo da década de sessenta”. “Recriando ambiências, comportamentos e as complicadas teias de relações entre pessoas. Nele procurei aflorar o que têm de bom e de mau, como qualquer ser humano. Escrito de forma despretensiosa e com ironia, julgo ser um bom retrato do meio rural daquela época, mas que ultrapassa o regionalismo”, sustenta.
Carlos Enes mostra total segurança nas eventuais “transformações” que a história ou os personagens poderão sofrer. No seu entender, “o realizador tem plena liberdade para “descascar” o romance ao seu gosto”.
Questionado sobre que actor ou actriz açoriano, ou mesmo do continente, gostaria de ver interpretar uma personagem sua, o autor garante não ter preferências. “Não tenho preferências definidas nem devo interferir na escolha. Acho que na Terceira e noutras ilhas existem actores que podem perfeitamente participar, porque têm qualidade já demonstrada em produções locais dos mais variados géneros, nomeadamente no audiolivro”, conclui Carlos Enes.

Ver todas as notícias Mantenha-se sempre actualizado com as notícias deste tema

Sunday, December 14, 2008



The above picture is one of 3 that were taken under 5 minutes. Elizabeth, (my daughter in the polka-dots) had to rush minutes later to go to work at the mall. Surprisingly she got out of that dress in record time. As you can see, Nicholas is being his misheiveous self--this is the reason why we were only able to take 3 pictures-he was not in the mood. My son, Andrew is the lost "Beatle", and yes, that is my step-son, Matt sporting a beard. Santa, please fill this boy's stocking with a razor!

I'm off to go see a live Nativity with some friends--hope to take more pictures!!

Christmas is Coming!!

Whewww... Christmas is almost here!!

I hope for I will be able to post a Christmas card picture by tonight. Please wish me luck. It may be hard. My daughter has to work this afternoon, and I have race up to my mother's house to get Andrew. Yesterday I spent the entire day dropping off Avon orders and shopping with my mother at JcPenny. I don't know if all of you have a Penny's where you are. It's her absolute favorite store, and she doesn't have one near her, so she spent the night on Friday just to shop on Saturday. OMG..what a mad house that was. It's quite cold over here, so of course she wore her long purple overcoat, and of course the store was hotter than hell inside, so I ended up following her around with her coat over my arm. I felt like I was following the Queen mother. My mother LOVES to shop, but she refuses to wear low heeled shoes. She is 75 years old. She does not look her age, but she wears 3 to 4 inch heeled shoes! It makes me nervous, okay? Sure most 75 women wear flat shoes, or those really unattractive orthopedic shoes, and they look their age, but at least if she wore those shoes I wouldn't worry as much... Oh well. She claims wearing low shoes hurts her back. What am I to say? I can't argue with her-it doesn't work. If Grandma's not happy, NO ONE around her is happy.

Let's just say I was feeling pretty exhausted yesterday. I did get a really good deal on pillows though. Husband and I got such a nice restful sleep with our new King Sized fluffy pillows! "I just love this pillow!" Rich exclaimed in the middle of the night. It's the simple things you know..

I got a call from the furniture place. My new sofas are due to arrive next Saturday. So much is scheduled for next Saturday. My inlaws are coming, I'm going to see my niece, Bonnie dance in the Nutcracker, and now the sofas are coming.. Wheww.. Well, hopefully they will come in the morning. I'm just glad they are coming before Christmas. I have over 25 people coming over for Christmas dinner-I don't people sitting on pillows on the floor.

I'm happy to say however that I am almost completey done with shopping-thanks to the internet. I would rather shop from here than go back to the zoo at the mall. The only way I like shopping is when I'm alone; it is just so much easier-no distractions, and no dealing with parking lots, and extremely rude people. My daughter works in retail, and she says that yesterday was pretty nasty. I felt pretty bad myself yesterday-while I was knocking down various mittens and hats, while lugging my mother's enormous purple coat-or should I say her "royal robe". Can you feel my frustration? Yesterday was a very stressful day. It's Sunday, and tomorrow is already Monday... URggg... Weekends are never long enough for me..

Thanks Lisa Jo for the tag below! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Every morning I go next door to the gas station to get my morning coffee. I stopped going for there awhile because of the creepy guy that used to work at the register. We called him Slimy Steve. Slimy Steve brushed his teeth and picked his dirty nails with a knife over the cash register. He also made really rude and inappropriate comments to his customers, including me and my supervisor, and a number of other females in the building. When I was pregnant, I stopped going there during the last months of my pregnancy, and one day afterwards he asked me why I didn’t come by during that time. He asked me, “Were you leaking or something?” After that comment, I chose never to go next door again, until I learned that they changed his shift next door and replaced him with another cashier in the mornings.

Now I go there because of the new girl. She is nice, but really has dirty hands all the time. I don’t know if it’s because she is working with money all the time at the register (after working in retail for awhile handling money, I must say that money is DIRTY). She doesn’t pick her fingernails with a knife or anything (thank God) like Steve so this is good. I try not to think about it too much when I get my coffee. Poor girl though deals with a lot of weird and strange people at times. This particular gas station is the nearest one to the county jail. Sometimes this gas station is the first place people visit after being released from jail. You’ll see them lurking about with their jail issued paper bag filled with their belongings they were booked in with. She has a lot of stories, and a lot of gas station trivia. Here are a few fun gas facts I’ve learned today!

I asked her today how many times people drive away from the gas station with the pump still in their tank. Surprisingly, it happens quite often-with men and women-in fact it happens most of the time with men. The big difference is men are “runners”-they will speed off and just leave the pump sitting on the ground. Women stop. Now, we all know we are the more responsible sex-right? Sure, but get this: the old gas pumps generally can get fixed by an employee at the station, but with the new pumps they can’t, and you’ll be charged at least $500 on damages. Now, I’m not suggesting we women take example from the men and run off, but just wanted to put that out there. I’ve never had it happen to me fortunately. There are stations that have cameras out there at the pumps who will take pictures of your license plates, so my recommendation is to make sure to put the pump back out of your tank, or be ready to shell out some major cash! So, with the holiday rush, and all the driving over the hill to Grandma’s house we go, remember, at the gas station, remember to take that nozzle out of your tank!

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