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Archive for December, 2007

$20 well spent!

December 30th, 2007 at 06:42 am

I decided I needed a change...a BIG one...so, I went to have a haircut...it´s new, it´s modern, it´s medium-lenght, suits my face shape and hair type perfectly....and, it cost me $20!...actually, I paid $19.50 for a wash, haircut, hair treatment and styling...so it´s not expensive...(sis spends $20 just for cut and style)...
Niece came back into my room twice just to tell me how nice the cut was...and she´s a true fashionista, so....
oh, and it´s easy to style, too!! (it will require maintenance, though, but, I was starting to feel so unhappy with the other hair, it´s worth it!)

More medical bills!

December 28th, 2007 at 09:19 am

Ale is sick again....as am I! (and sis, and cousin!- we all catched the same flu bug! ugh!)...another trip to the doctor's office ($30) and another ~$90 in meds...well, I can't complain, I actually had the cash! (well, it should have been paid towards debt, but...it's worth it!-plus, I'll get SOMETHING back from the insurance!)
I hope we all recover before New Year's!!

Salvadoran delegation in the Rose Parade!

December 28th, 2007 at 07:17 am

10 months ago, a group of Salvadoran school marching bands was invited to participate in the Rose Parade...the kids have worked hard not only rehearsing, but also raising money to go...they even managed to get their US Visas!! (the association of Salvadorans living in LA agreed to be responsible for the kids return)...flying was too expensive, so they ended up going by bus...only to be stopped at the Mexican border because, since they had switched to ground transportation at the last minute, they did not request their Mexican transit visas in time...But, now they are already on their way again!
If you watch the Parade, watch out for them! They have gone through A LOT and, from what I hear, they're really good!

Fiona and Toño!

December 26th, 2007 at 12:19 pm

I write so much about them, I figured I might as well "introduce" them! LOL!

Surprise visit!

December 26th, 2007 at 09:49 am

one of my best friends is living in Panama...she managed to get 3 days off and came to ES with her husband, to spend Xmas with his family (hers is in the US now!...they are nomads, in a way!)...and, she kept her lunch/early afternoon time on Xmas eve free to come visit me!!!...that truly was a great gift! Smile


December 25th, 2007 at 07:30 am

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to youu,
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday....
Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuu...

Here´s a special present just for you!!
(I tried to make the color scheme as un-Christmassy as possible!..hope you like it!)

Christmas memories...

December 21st, 2007 at 12:56 pm

What I remember the most about Xmas in general is:

1. the smell of Xmas- to me, this will always be a mix of fresh pine, candle wax and spices (from grandma’s honey bread!)
2. the soft glow of a candle-lit tree…nothing really can compare…and, yes, I still chuckle at that time the tree caught fire…Sis and I and Dad run to the kitchen to get water in some buckets…of course, we filled them to the brim…of course, we splashed it all over…of course, we ALL slipped!...and, yes, Grandma to the rescue, she took the bottle of champagne out of the ice bucket and poured the water on the tree! (it was still a VERY small fire!)…nowadays, I put up a fake tree (but I made sure it looks “real”) and white lights only…I got one of those strings that have different “motions” and always chose the setting where the lights turn on and off one by one, really slowly…I’ve found this one is the one that closest resembles the candlelight!
3. The FOOD…Mom had a host of eating disorders (they weren’t called that, though, Mom had “a nervous stomach”, which either prevented her from eating or made her throw up if upset….so, food was all-important at our house!- and, believe me, she was a MARVELOUS cook!...we alternated turkey and ham for the holidays, either turkey for Xmas and ham for New Year or vise versa…of course, there had to be HUGE amounts of it…you could eat leftovers from Xmas at breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner right up until Dec 31st noon!...including dessert! – to this day, one of the things that make sis sad on Xmas is that we cannot have all the luxurious foods my parents used to have (not being a fan of caviar, olives or truffled pate, I really don’t mind!- although I did later learn to like the pate…but I didn’t touch it in my childhood!)
4. The ritual of it all…Dad would wake us up at 7:30 on the 24th, so we could decorate the tree…Mom would start cooking right after breakfast…at around 6:00pm, Mom, sis and I would leave to pick up the grandma’s (I was blessed with a grandma and greataunt, but we didn’t call either of them that, they were just Nanamia and Nina and, I think I was about 11 when I finally understood that they were sisters in law, not “real” sisters!)…when we got back, the house would be all dark, except for the living room, where Dad had lit the candles on the tree…he would have traditional German Christmas songs playing (Vienna Boys Choir)…and, SANTA had arrived while we were out!!!...so there were tons of presents under the tree!
5. We also had another big Xmas family get-together, which was held at grandma’s, at lunch time, on the 24th….the main dining room was for grown-ups only…the next generation had to sit on the staircase and have their lunch there!- we loved it!...and one of our favorite games was to slide down the stairs –no, not the banister, the STAIRS…ouchie!)
6. We were the only kids on the block that were not allowed fireworks on Xmas (Thank you, Dad! Thank you, Mom!)...while I love watching them, I hate it that here people buy them for their children…every year kids get maimed and even killed!...we already have 24 kids in the National Children’s hospital this year…. Frown
7. But, above all, what I remember the most was the LOVE we all felt for each other…
8. Do I remember any of the presents? Of course I do….I got a “grow up” Skipper doll…and I also remember a Xmas when I spent all my Xmas money on BOOKS!!!...it seemed (to me) there were hundreds of them!...I even remember that one of them was the Brehmen Musicians!- and there was an adventure book on miners in the Yukon!

ok, January '08 is taken care of!

December 19th, 2007 at 02:16 pm

...I just got told that our quotation for that $1600 translation got accepted...so, they already delivered the materials to my home...that means I have to start TONIGHT! as I only have 15 days to do it...that means we must deliver it no later than Jan 2nd, 4:00pm...
wish me luck!

Things I wish I had known when I was divorcing

December 19th, 2007 at 08:54 am

silly things I did during my divorce process:

*I agreed to let him keep our apartment for as long as it took for him to buy his own, provided he paid the mortage...
*I also let him keep all the furniture...for free! (should have asked for some $$$ to at least help pay for the stuff I was going to have to buy!--but he did later buy me living room furniture, and, over the years, I've gotten a lot of home decor items back!)

I know there are more things, but, can't really think on them right now...

The school said "no"

December 19th, 2007 at 07:21 am

the school were we usually sell school supplies did not give us permission to sell this year...part of me is relieved...I really don't like it that they force the parents to buy X or Y brand of crayons, colors, etc...and I don't like it that they think THIS makes them a better school...cousin did have the lists already, and she says this year they've gotten even more ridiculous:
1/4 gallon of white paint, to be bought at XYZ hardware store...
1 wooden box with sliding top, to be bought at store #X at Marketplace Y...
1 package of stickers- must be a package of 750 stickers, bought from ABC supermarket...

Hellooo?? both the Ministry of Education and the Center for Consumer Defense prohibit this...why no one has turned them in is beyond them!

So, cousin is bummed, but I'm actually quite happy that we are not going THERE!...we are looking into other schools, though, so it's not like we WON'T be selling school supplies!

Last translation $$ for the year!

December 18th, 2007 at 02:05 pm

my friend called (he still owes me $179; we hadn't been paid!...he's got the cheque!...) this will be the last translation $$$ I will receive in 2007....the translations I've made in Dec will be paid in January!...(these $179 go to my department store card!) ...


That feels good!

December 18th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

There have been 4 cc statements delivered to our house the past 2 weeks...none of them mine!...I always pick them up and read the consignee name: they're sis'....while I cringe to think of her financial situation (I KNOW how bad it is, we are very open about it) it really feels good to know that I am in my last months (hopefully) of getting cc statements delivered...I have to wait for the $0 balance statement to come in before I can cancel them, though...I think I'll probably keep the one that has the lower interest rate (which, incidentally, has the highest limit) for MEDICAL emergencies...I'll probably give it to my sis for safekeeping (and, no, if I tell her it's for medical emergencies only, she WON'T let me have it for ANYTHING else!)...
Right now, we are still waiting for the latest toy payments to come in, so we can sit down and I can get my investment $$$ back + profit (cousin doesn't invest "real" money, but she's the one that has the 15-day credit with most of the suppliers, and she does most of the actual work - after all, she has the time and this is her main stream of income, while it is only a "side gig" for me!)

I'm alive!!!

December 17th, 2007 at 06:49 am

I survived the children's party!!!
We arrived at the place where the party would be held at 8:30am, to continue preparing the employee's packages and filling the piniatas and all that...we left at 7:30pm, after having written down the names of the people that didn't get a package (no problem, we had 3 boxes full of packages that peopel hadn't claimed...probably some of those will "match", but it really was too late to go over it again...especially since that is something we don't like doing "on our own", but would rather the company's HR in charge were there!)...so, I asked Ale what she wanted to eat (the HR secretary is new and she had problems with the tickets- we give the tickets to HR 2 weeks in advance of the party, and they are supposed to get them to the employees...again, in individual labeled envelopes!- and we kept getting calls that "so and so's tickets were not included"...we kept telling them Yes, they were...the HR in charge now realizes we were right all along, as the people that brought the food (pupusas) were giving people 2 pupusas per ticket and, they served 1,800 pupusas!!! -and there definetely weren't 900 people there!...AND, we didn't even get to eat (were too busy and, by the time we had time, there were no pupusas left!)..

anyway, Ale picked Mc Donald's...we finally got home at around 8:30pm (had to go get gas, too)

Sunday was a bit less hectic, we went to "visit" the Virgin of Guadalupe at 11, then to the supermarket to buy some stuff for a little celebration with my sister (her b-day was on Saturday) and that lasted 3-4 hours...we even got her a piniata!!! an Elmo piniata...(we call her Elmo because she dies her hair red, and once she picked this really bright red!!!)...and we made her hit it, too, it wasn't just for show!...niece has the pictures, have to ask her to send them to me...it'd be fun to post them! LOL!...

After that niece, Ale and I went to see "The Jungle Book" with the National Dance School....really impressive!...that would merit a separate entry!

ok, update is done, now I need to start WORKING!!!

Great news!

December 14th, 2007 at 09:31 pm

The place where the children's party we are organizing is going to be held allowed cousin to drop off the toys today...so she loaded her car and asked a neighbor (that has a van) to help her transport them all (it took 4 trips in total!) and she started sorting!!!...we only have 4 pages of names to go! (about 100 toys out of 500!) ...we have to leave at 7:30am tomorrow...the party starts at 3pm, but we have to set up in the morning and make sure everything-s ready...

One of our first-time customers called: she said the president of the coffee cooperative (who she says is quite snobbish!) was impressed with the toys we supplied!...she also says the people were very happy, as in previous years they have handed out toys that looked cheaper...)She spent the same amount, but the toys we sent her look nicer than the ones from previous years...so, we're guessing they'll come back next year, too!...

Also, on the translation front (no, I haven't finished yet, shame on me!)...
well, there are good news about a potential business venture opportunity there....still don't know much, and, of course, right now it's "top secret"...don't worry, I don't believe in "get rich quick schemes"...it's just an opportunity to have access to more customers...woo-hoo!...will let you know as soon as I know more about it!

Almost done!

December 14th, 2007 at 01:43 pm

ok, so I still have 12 pages of translation to go...
we are done with all the toy wrapping (yay!) and today all we have to do is load the cars to be ready for tomorrow (take the toys to the place where the party will be held, tag and bag there)

Then on Sunday night we load cousin's car for the last delivery on Monday (toys are already wrapped)...

almost done....almost, but not quite!


December 13th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

with the translations I'm doing this week, I already have $800 due for January...that is so wonderful...I don't think there will be much more after this week, but, we'll see...one of my goals for next year is going to be to match my salary through translations...(so, I should be making an average of $1014 per month, after taxes- in translations)...wouldn't that be nice??

orders delivered!

December 13th, 2007 at 06:42 am

cousin sent another order yesterday, and we got another one ready to be delivered today...we still have the large order and then another one which the customer said won't be needing until next Tuesday, so that gives us some time....
whew! I finally feel like we can make this! (two days ago I felt overwhelmed and had this awful feeling we were going to let someone down!)


December 12th, 2007 at 11:16 am

Ok, part 1 of the translation is done...that was 20,001 words!(or $800.04, whichever you prefer!) ...now there's another law I need to translate!!!...

At least, I got niece to help with wrapping gifts for a while today (called her at 10am, but she needs to pick up Ale at 3:00 and then leave for work)...still, it's help!...

The customer with the additional 187 toys just called...he missed ANOTHER 24 toys!...ugh! and to think I still haven't wrapped MY gifts for family!...will get to it next week!...I hope!

::breath in, breath out::

I'm leaving for lunch now! (it's 1:14!)...brought some spaghetti from home!

Go away, Murphy!

December 12th, 2007 at 06:48 am

....we already have our hands full as it is, and, yesterday, one of our suppliers told us that the 30% off promotion had expired...we actually had a large order on toys from them...so, cousin ran downtown to find another supplier (she found one, yay, cousin!), but, it took her all morning...AND, the office get-together was yesterday night...(no way I could get out of going...we are only 9 people!-counting the spouses and 2 consultants!)...and, today, one of the people coming to help pack presents is sick!... AND, I still haven't finished my translation!!! (the good thing is, I was given an extension, because the end customer is NOT going to arbitration just yet-they might not go at all, but they want to have the documents just in case anyway!)

::breath in, breath out::

you've got to be kidding me!

December 11th, 2007 at 08:48 am

one of our toy customers- who's having the children's party on saturday- called and said they had missed "a few children" in the first list, and would we come get an updated one (why they don't send an electronic version, I don't know, but I hate it, because we have to input everything in the computer to work the labels and stuff!)...well, it turns out they missed 187 kids!...187!!!...that' s not "a few"!!!...and, while it is good moneywise, workwise it's the pits!...I mean, we haven't even BOUGHT these toys, and we have to wrap them, tag them and separate them by parent (we make a bag with the employee's name and then we fill it with the gifts for his/her child/ren, as appropriate)...it's crazy!...we only have 3 days...and it's not like we don't have OTHER customers!!!...

woo-hoo! $1,025 paid!

December 9th, 2007 at 09:04 pm

So, the last translations from company 1 were paid...after taxes, $1,025...I used $425 today for the toy business (I should get all my money back, plus profit, by Dec 15th, as we have an agreement with all companies that we get paid when we deliver the toys!)...

Now I only have to survive this week! (I have an awful cold...Ale, too!)... Frown

I give up!!!

December 7th, 2007 at 10:11 am

I'm not going to try to do the whole translation!...in anticipation of this, and in agreement with the person who contracted me, I had asked them to tell me what parts of the Laws were MOST URGENT...so, I'm skipping on doing the whole thing and going for the Most Urgent part first...IF, once I'm done, I still have enough time, I'll do the rest!!

panick mode!

December 7th, 2007 at 09:28 am

I'm overcommitted for this weekend!...
these are the events:
1. Ale's church meeting (yes)
2. Embassy's Xmas festival for children (don't think we'll be able to make it!)
3. gift-wrapping/order preparation fest with cousin (definitely YES!)
4. Xmas get-together with translation agency folks (VERY difficult)
5. 20-year anniversary class reunion (also VERY difficult)
6. 35 pages of translation....

HELP!!!....oh, and here I am, instead of trying to reduce those 35 pages..I'm blogging!

oh, no, ANOTHER toy sale!

December 6th, 2007 at 09:32 am

we're going into panick mode!...we had another call from someone wanting more toys...not that we are complaining, but, it would have been better if it had come 2 weeks ago! (more time to do everything right!)...

and, speaking of wasted time...cousin was asked for a few extra toys for one of the companies that bought toys in Nov...when she went to deliver the toys, she saw they were UNWRAPPING our toys!...they didn't buy ALL their toys from us, just some...they asked us to wrap the toys because they thought the other companies would wrap them too...but, those companies wanted to charge them an additional $0.13 per package....(we offer to do it "at no additional cost"...truth is, the cost is already considered in the price, so if the buyer doesn't want it, it's actually additional income for us!- but, most of OUR customers are OUR customers because of the convenience!- we wrap, tag and even group them together in bags with the employees' names! so all the HR dept has to do is check for accuracy and hand them out!)

...and MORE translations!!!

December 5th, 2007 at 10:47 am

this is a Law they want translated...fortunately, this is one law I'm quite acquainted with (acquisitions by govmnt entities)...but, it may be quite extensive...most probably, I'll agree to do only a PART of it, as it is quite urgent and I wouldn't want to overcommit!

oh, wow, ANOTHER toy customer!!!

December 4th, 2007 at 07:49 pm

they want toys in our cheaper range (up to $3), but, they want 600!!...cousin had to rush to put together a "real life" sampler for them and is showing it tomorrow...and I haven't even been able to help her because I caught whatever it was that Ale had and have been sleeping all day today (could not sleep last night due to high fevers...stayed home today all day...except for taking Ale to school and picking her up...) I'm still a little dizzy, but hope to feel better tomorrow!..........

$20 challenge for 2008?

December 3rd, 2007 at 10:29 am

I'm wondering whether I should keep the translations as my $20 challenge next year or, if I should start considering that "recurrent income" and looking for something else to become the $20 challenge....

Truth is, with translations I've already covered most of my free time...and I honestly don't want to use the hours that I have actually left "blocked" as that is my "Time with Ale" ....

my turn to do the grocery shopping today...

December 2nd, 2007 at 06:56 am

supermarkets are already packed...I hate grocery shopping around the holidays...the worst thing is, since we buy every week, and we alternate with sis, that means my next grocery shopping will be around the 15th....which is payday!!!!...AND, Xmas bonuses here are paid between the 12th and the 20th...can you imagine what THAT'll be like???...

oh, well, at least it will be sis' turn on the 23rd!!!...

Eventful day...and I'm beat!

December 1st, 2007 at 09:17 pm

Yesterday, my niece's uncle (married to her aunt on her father's side) was killed...we went to the wake today...so ironic that he was a soldier on one of the "Immediate Reaction Batallions" during the war....survived that and ended a victim of violent crime 20 years later! ...the family thinks they might have tried to steal his car... Frown Please ad the family to your prayers...there's his wife, 2 daughters, ages 21 and 19 and a son, aged 5.... Frown
After the wake, we went to see a friend's new baby..."some are born, some die" as the song says!...in the afternoon went downtown with cousin, but was already feeling emotionally drained...then got a call from the translation company that they had some $$$ for me...so I went and met them at the bank (there's one that's open until 9pm!)...then went to the pharmacy to buy some medicines for Ale, since she's had a runny nose again...then came back home to discover that Ale was running a very high fever (39 degrees)...gave her some medicine for that, also, and put her to bed...I've been monitoring her temp every half hour (I feel like I'm channelling my Mom!)...at least the temp is coming down, and her breathing is normal now...time to check on her again...hopefully, her temp will be normal again and I'll be able to go to bed and get some sleep, too!...her next dose should be at 5:30am...Grandma always said you shouldn't wake a kid up to give her medicines (unless on antibiotics)...

I'm not making too much sense anymore, I know....