Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lost in Translation...

Wheww... I feel so silly!

Well, I finally went to the dentist--it's been a year. I know that is extremely thoughtless of me--but I had a BUSY year. But, I know--that still isn't a good excuse. Well, when I went to the dentist yesterday I was a little embarrassed that it had been so long, but even more embarrassed when I heard "why" my crown fell off.

It was only a temporary crown. It was supposed to last for not more than 3 weeks!!

I've had it for over a year.


Explanation: My original dentist is Vietamese. I liked her, and I understood her well. Most of the people who work there speak in Vietamese; and there were times I had no idea what they were saying, but I stayed with my dentist because I liked her and she was always very gentle, had little hands, and her office was open on Saturdays. Out of the blue, however, with my dismay, they switched dentists on me. This dentist was a man, who I could barely understand. I wasn't too happy, but I didn't want to search for another dentist, so I just went on seeing him. You would have thought that he would have made sure that I understood that I only had a TEMPORARY crown and that I should make an appointment in 3 weeks, but obviously---this wasn't apparently clear to me. I mean, you would think someone would have the sense to make a follow up appointment for me, right? Well, I didn't get the message.

Well they snapped and cemented my old temporary crown in my mouth, and I will have to go back to get my tooth re-built for a new temporary, and then I'll have my final, long awaited "crowining" sometime next month. Fun..fun...fun! At least my root canal is fine and that doesn't need to be re-done. On a happier note, I have another new dentist, who speaks English very well. I understood everything he said. This is good--no smiling and nodding was involved, with me thinking to myself (what did he just say?)--this is good.

As you may know, I sell Avon. During a Christmas faire at the church, I signed up two people as new representatives, and I am happy to say that they are doing well. A customer of mine that I met at the same Christmas faire contacted me on Friday to let me know that she too wanted to sell. Earlier that week I got an email from my sister-law asking me if I had any more luck signing up recruits. Apparently there is a deadline, and if I didn't make the deadline, my "leadership" status would be stripped away. No one wants to have their status "stripped away" right? So to save myself from the humiliation of the "stripping" I quickly called someone at the Avon 800#. The woman on the other line informed me I had until this Thursday to sign up two more recruits. Oh the pressure! I signed up my daughter last night, and I called a friend from work who was thinking of selling, to agree to sign up this week. For some reason, when I was reading the rules and regulations online at the Avon website, my situation didn't make sense to me, and because I couldn't get a hold of my sister-inlaw quickly enough, I called Avon again this morning. Well, low and behold, I almost got into a fight with some man at Avon customer service. He told me that I had until May to sign up 1 more representative. I was so mean to that man; he was contridicting what my sister-inlaw and the other lady at Avon told me previously. I feel so guilty now... I guess just because the fact he was a MAN I automatically assumed he knew nothing about what he was talking about. I later found out that he was right. I feel so stupid. I don't know WHY that lady I spoke with earlier said Thursday. I guess she didn't understand my question?

It's just been a STUPID week so far. Don't ask me any questions, or furthermore--don't even try to explain anything to me! It's FAT TUESDAY.. Yes, we are all fat & happy. Not to say all Portuguese people are fat. There are skinny Portuguese people out there--yes they do exist. Let me try and translate this to you. FAT & HAPPY translates to: Happy & Well Taken Care of.. Like a happy, fat cat; happy and content. It can also be translated as happy with a full stomach. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

I lost my crown!

I've been avoiding seeing the dentist for some time now, and I had good intentions to make an appointment earlier this year, when it finally happened: I'm sitting on the sofa, enjoying our new flat screen T.V., with a piece of chocolate in my mouth, when suddenly, I feel something else floating in my dark chocolate. Lovely. Nothing worse than losing a crown of a tooth in a river of chocolate in your mouth. So, I've been crown-less since Thursday night. My dentist who usually works on the weekends had this weekend off, so I'm at home today waiting for my appointment. Yesterday my head was starting to pound, but I don't think it was from my tooth, but rather a combination of staying up late to lisening to carnaval music at the Portuguese hall past midnight, my teenager, and the fact that my mother has been here all weekend. Sigh.. Oh, and I signed up a new Avon Representative yesterday! Yay! She had so many questions, and was so eager to start, that my mind was on complete overload. I'm feeling quite fried today. Don't even ask me a question please.

My mother had a lot of fun watching the carnaval dances at the hall. We got home at almost 1 a.m. and of course she wanted to bake cookies for my son. A hurricane could be coming, but if my son was hungry, she would stop everything and bake cookies. Sigh.. I never remember her wanting to make cookies for ME or any of my other siblings for that matter, at 1 a.m. I had to hide the cookie dough; I'm not kidding. For the record, my son wasn't even hungry, but according to her, he was because he is just too skinny, and I'm just an awful mother for denying my son a 1 a.m. freshly made out of the oven cookie treat. Sigh...

The carnaval dances were fun. Think Mardi Gra---with performances on stage, elaborate costumes, men in drag, women in drag, singing, dancing, comedy all done in rhyme: http://www.tvazores.com/ This link will take you the "dancas" directly from the Azores (Acores). People will go to their local "Salon" (theatre) and come with baskets of food with them and stay there for hours each day through Tuesday (fat Tuesday). Here is another: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIE5fCQugyo

I had good intentions of bringing my camera, but it got left in the kitchen drawer. I learned something interesting, that I did not know before. Terceira (the island in the Azores that my family is from, is the only island that really celebrates carnaval the way that we do. We are the only island that enjoy bloodless bullfights in the streets as well. We also consume more beer than all the 9 islands combined. I'm proud to say that my family comes from the "party" island of all of the Azores. We are a fat and happy and proud people!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Do Tea Bags Expire?

It's a chilly, windy and rainy day in San Jose, California. I decided to warm up the chill with a nice cup of tea today. I ran out of my favorite lemon and strawberry teabags and went into the cupboards to find some other tea bags when I encountered that white box of Colony Teas in there. Those tea bags actually came to the house from Rich's old condo when we moved in about 6 years ago, and that is when I asked him if there was an expiration. He didn't think so, but I checked the box and it had typed on it "Jan 1988"! Wow.. These teabags are older than my 1st born! Lovely! Is there an expiration for tea bags? Does anyone know? I found a newer box of Mr. Lipton, so I'm good, but I'm wondering about these old teabags. I'm contemplating if I should give them my daughter Liz or put them in her baby book or something.

I hope all of you had a great Valentines! Despite the rain, and some babysitting issues, Rich and I had a nice day. We went shopping, saw a good movie and had a nice dinner, (once we found a place to eat--another story) and nice alone time away from the children.

I have another question I'm going to throw out to all of you. I know most of you like going to the movie theatre to see a movie. Going out to see a movie by ourselves without the kids is kind of a big deal for us because we don't do it very often--it's like a treat. So, it was a little disappointing when the couple next to my husband decided to bring "dinner" to the movie theatre. I've never seen this happen, and we found it extremely rude. From the momment I saw the lady come in with a tall paperbag, I knew something was suscipious. I always thought there were rules against people bringing in their own "food", and I am guilty of bringing my own soda or candy on occasion, but a whole dinner?! The couple was chowing down (I mean chowing down from their plastic and styro foam plates, (making various grunt noises) for a good half hour. I'm not exaggerating. It was hard to listen and watch the previews while "Betty & Fred" were eating their chimichangas and Chinese food.

So, on my husband's side we had Fred & Betty, and on my side, there was a weird guy who told me: "Don't worry I am healthy." Before he sat down next to me, explaining that he is German, and that's what people said. Okay. I'm happy you are healthy. He was sipping Starbucks, and I was so jealous. They took all the coffee out of the theatre, and you had to go out in the rain next door to get coffee, but I didn't want to go outside, so I got to smell Starbuck breath from the healthy German guy. It was driving me crazy, and it made me crave coffee all night. I finally got my coffee at 10:30 pm and it never tasted so good. By the way, we saw the new movie: TAKEN. It was good!! :) Despite all the distractions, it was worth seeing.

Rich wanted to take me out to dinner to a "nice" place. We decided to go to this place we went years and years ago when we were dating. Well, we drove looking for it only to discover it was closed and taken over and now a Club Barcelona, nightclub. Then we went looking for another one--same scenario----the sign was still out posted on the highway, but there was a huge FOR LEASE sign in the window, along with a lot of graffitti all over the roof. Then we decided to go to this nice hotel for dinner. We drove by and it was now an empty lot. Kind of tells you we need to go out more often, hey?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Giving A Hand Up to Mary

You know Mary--who doesn't know Mary?!

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it's you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you're all alone
But it's time you started living
It's time you let someone else do some giving

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all

Okay, I got a little carried away there... Sorry, Mar! I mean, MARY!

I'm just so glad she is out there in Blogland, blogging again! She has also started another journal under the following name: GIVE..A Hand UP. Please go check it out if you haven't already: http://give-a-hand-up.blogspot.com/

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Night Out & Smokey Likes Banana Shakes

Happy Sunday!

It has been a fun and busy weekend so far, with some rain, but mostly a blue sky, cloudy weekend.

Friday night I went out with some friends of mine for "Dia das Amigas"---translated to Girls' Day/Night Out. We went out to dinner at the Improv and saw a few comedians. The first one I didn't care too much for (how many times can you say the F word and the word "like" in one sentence), but headliner, Arj Barker and the other cute guy with the guitar (for the life of me I can't remember his name) were pretty good.

Arg Barker, pretty cute, huh?

It was a nice night out, and I met a few other nice ladies. I still don't know too many women in the town I live in, so it's always nice to meet new people-I still feel like an outsider in big ole' San Jose. San Jose is BIG--not many people know it's a lot bigger than San Francisco. Surprisingly enough, I was the only woman who knew how to get to downtown San Jose to get to the Improv, and they've all lived here longer. The only reason I know the area is because I used to taxi my daughter down there all the time to all her art and theatre events through school. Lizzy on the other hand knows this town much better than I do.

Speaking of Lizzy, she is in South Lake Tahoe with her boyfriend and his family. She is having a real fun time in the snow-ice skating, and sledding around, making snowballs. She had a brush with a celebrity last night at the Fat Burger. Guess who she met?

Yep, she met Smokey! Apparently, her and her boyfriend were in the casino waiting in line at the Fat Burger in Tahoe, when she said out loud:

"I don't know what I want. The chocolate shake or the banana."

Suddenly from behind them came Smokey's smooth as satin chocolate voice:

"May I suggest the banana. It's my favorite!"

Lizzy almost peed her pants, and of course she called me right away laughing hysterically. I'm really glad Smokey prompted the call because I had been waiting for hours to hear from her yesterday. I just wish she had taken a picture of this chance meeting. Having a picture with Liz and Smokey holding their banana shakes together would have been a priceless edition to any photo album. I would have made Christmas cards with it---I would just cut and paste the rest of the family into the picture! Yeah, I like Smokey! So does Boy George; I read somewhere that Smokey was/is his idol. Oh well..

Saturday was a nice day. I cleaned the house, Rich took the boys out to see a movie, and I had a few hours to do some shopping and try a new recipe. I have been in a recipe slump. I am so sick of making the same thing for dinner everyday for my family, and they are getting sick of the same meals. I'm trying new recipes. I made the following last night, and it came out pretty good: (It comes from cooks.com


6 pork chops, browned
2 jalapeno peppers, cut in thin strips
1 can tomato sauce
1 can whole tomatoes (or 2-3 fresh ripe tomatoes cut in wedges)
1 lg. onion, sliced in rings
1-2 celery stalks, thin sliced horizontally
2 pods garlic, chopped fine

Brown pork chops. Remove from pan. Pour off all but small amount of grease. Saute peppers, onions, celery and garlic. Place pork chops back in skillet with sauteed ingredients on top of chops. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with little salt, if desired, lemon pepper, dash lemon juice, several dashes Worcestershire sauce, sprinkling of parsley flakes. Simmer about 45 minutes covered.
Serve with mashed potatoes. Yummy! Steak or chicken breasts may be substituted for pork chops.

So, today is Sunday. The weather is a little overcast, but I hope to drive up to Santa Cruz and pick up my son from my mom's house. I may just take a walk near the ocean before I do. I took a nice 30 minute walk around the neighborhood last night and it felt so good afterwards. Must continue!

Have a great rest of the weekend!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rainy Thursday

Well, it's Thursday!

It's a cold and rainy day in San Jose. Nicholas did not want to get out of bed. In his words: "I have the sniffles. Can you please tell teacher I won't be coming in today?" So, since I'm a big ole' softy, I told him "okay" but he has homework to do today. He needs to work on writing his letters, and we have Valentines to work on. Do I really want to be driving out there right now after a first rain in weeks? To tell you the truth-not really. I also have papers to sign finally for this refinance loan that has been taking forever and a day to go through. Finally we got a call from the title company yesterday. Of course the loan is going through Wells Fargo. I guess they are FINALLY ready to get things moving through now that they aren't going to be spending all their vacation time in Vegas this month??

Anyway I'm home, and of course the older boys couldn't get out of bed either. SIGH. They are going to school both late today. My daughter however was out of the house by 6 a.m. on her way to catch a train to her classes in San Francisco. She is really loving art school. Oh, and Tania is home now-home in Terceira, Azores. We miss her already.. She called me yesterday at work to let me know that she was home safe, eating in the kitchen together with her family eating her favorite meal: Alcatra (Portuguese stew) and bacalhau (cod fish with potatoes) and bolocha maria pudding. Sigh... I love that pudding.

Lizzy & Tania at Christmas. With all these men around, it was nice having another girl around besides just me and Liz. Sigh..

My cousin, Manny (Tania's dad) is a regular reader of this blog, so the following is especially for him.

Manny-thank you so much for delivering that package to my sister-inlaw Otilia. Here are some pictures I got from her birthday party-I thought you may want to see!

My sister-inlaw is such a sweetheart-but she has always had a secret crush on my cousin Manny ever since he gave her a ride to church one Sunday so many years ago.) She is my first husband's older sister, and has always been especially sweet to me. I make a point of always sending her something special for her birthday each year.

Happy Birthday, Otilia!

She doesn't look 60, does she? See how young you can look if you don't get married or have kids?

Otilia with her family-my ex-inlaws-but still family; they still like me. :) See all the pretty girls? Those are my nieces.. My daughter looks a lot like her father's side of the family.

Manny, I promise to bring my camera to work tomorrow so you can see the porta poties outside of my office building. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day Pictures, Images and Photos

Well, the news is in: Sorry folks! Groundhog saw his shadow so it's another six weeks of winter.

Damn Groundhog!

Oh well..

I cannot believe it's February already! It's a busy month and I have a feeling it's just going to fly by. I cannot complain about the weather we are having over here. Despite the cold mornings, we have been really having some beautiful days lately-almost Spring-like days! We are due for some heavy rains tomorrow, but from looking outside today, you could never guess it.

Remember "Mother Nature" butter lady? How could you grow up in the 70's without seeing that woman?! I think she ran off with Mr. Whipple the toilet paper obessed guy.

That Mother Nature chick has really gone over board with the crazy weather. We all know it's snowing a lot, but believe it or not, it was even snowing in the Azore Islands a few days ago. It NEVER snows in the Azores--it snows sometimes on the island of Pico (there is a very large mountain top there) but on there other islands--NEVER. Very strange:

These pictures are from the island of Flores, courtesy of my cousin, Rute:

The weekend was fairly pleasant. We went out and took the kids out to brunch on Sunday. My cousin, Tania and her fiance was with us. She is leaving tomorrow for the Azores to see her family who are excitedly awaiting her arrival back home. We shall miss her of course, but she has a wedding to plan for next summer and she better get to it, because I plan on being there next summer to see it happen!

The kids!

Nick ate well at brunch--he is doing the happy, rub your belly dance!