Monday, July 6, 2015

Sometimes We Have To Laugh At Ourselves

Too much going on around here including a weekend filled with baptism, birthday and quince├▒era parties.   We also have a ton of things to do here at home to get ready for two different trips.  Today is Monday and I am helping to pack clothes, get the trailer ready as well as cleaning, fixing, repairing, just about every little detail.  I hate leaving things behind.

One of the things on my list was to change a connector on an extension cord.   I replaced the connector a few years ago and now it's rusty and not functioning well.  I added that to my list.   Last week when I taught a course at a school in Monterrey I had a few minutes to kill and there was a Soriana in front of the school.   I went there to check out some school supplies as I had gotten a last minute idea for a team building activity.  As I walked the aisles, there it was hanging on an end cap.  You know how they disperse things not necessarily related to the aisle you on.   It was there before me and all I could think of was knocking one more thing off my list.  I grabbed that connector and walked proudly to the checkout.

Just a few minutes ago I was waiting for the laundry to finish.   My brother from Hawaii is calling me at noon so I wanted to be waiting.  I grabbed the extension cord and went to work.  Never ever dawned on me what I was doing.  I can say though, it was a job well done!  What do you think?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Canada Day

Thanks to Nancy B. for posting this on Facebook celebrating Canada.  It brought back unforgettable memories of our trip to Canada last summer.   There is a little bit of each of you in this video and we are so fortunate to have so many wonderful Canadian friends.  We miss you all and I hope someday, and someday soon, we will return for more "arrgh", "eh", "not bad" and all the other great things you shared with us on our trip.  

A day late but Happy Canada Day to all of you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How I Spent My First Day of Vacation

The next two weeks are activity driven school days and don't involve, to my dismay, learning in the classroom.   The Japanese, Chinese and Indians are kicking our asses when it comes to education and in the U.S. and Mexico we are cuddling each other to make sure everyone feels good.  Great, but that won't get us ahead in terms of innovation and creativity.

So, I decided to say goodbye until September.  I still have a meeting or two and a course to teach in Monterrey tomorrow but I'm pretty much free.  I got up at 5 a.m., and really enjoyed my coffee.   The gym could wait an hour so I went late and it was the best.  All on my own time.

I came home and showered, had a nice breakfast of rice and a banana.  I headed out to the most northern side of Monterrey to have the charge controller checked.   It isn't working and I may have done something to have caused it.   The guy wasn't there but I got the website and will call him tomorrow.   Monterrey is not the city it used to be.  It's grown, cleaner, bigger and brighter.  I wasn't sure I was in Mexico except for the fact everything was in Spanish.  

Our roof needs some work and I am looking for the teja (tile).   Regios (people from Monterrey) are truly good people.  I happened to see a place on my route that sold roof tile and bricks.  I went back around the block or blocks and pulled in.  I had a sample of our artisan tile which is almost non-existent.   She wasn't worried about selling me anything.  She said we could use the power washer to bring it back to life and she put me in contact with an installer who has a contact in town that manufactures the roof tiles we have.   This may workout to be a less expensive project than we had thought.

On my way home I knew I would be passing the building where Juan works.  I called him up and invited him to lunch at the Cafe Paris.  In Spanish we say the food "es muy limpia y sana", it's very clean and healthy.   In other words, it's all cooked fresh, not heavy in fats and a lot of condiments.  There are only eight tables and one waitress who is the owner and cook's daughter.   They run a great show and the lunch specials complete with soup and drink is 85 pesos.  Truly a full meal but you don't leave waddling out of the place because it was a large portion and heavy.   

We have needed a new vacuum for the last year.  We have been using vacuum cleaner bags that we have to mold and cut so that they fit.  Our upright lost its handle last year but I use it on the area rugs.   Funky but it works but no more bags not even "mexicanadas" (you know, tape, glue, gum, and staples).  The water vac petered out too and the motor is cost prohibitive considering the vacuum is going on 20 years.  Am I cheap or what!

There is a place down the street from the restaurant that has demo items cheap.  I found a new Shark that separates into two vacuums, upright and canister, for the price of 400 pesos.  I had him open it up, gave it the sniff test, fingered the hose, no dust, and all is new including the filters.  Has great suction and lots of attachments.  Looks like it will work out well.  BTW, I gave up using a broom years ago.  They just stir things up and trust me, I don't miss wall-to-wall carpeting.

Renewed the car insurance on the VW and took a short nap.  Hmm, I wonder what I'll do tomorrow?  Need to get the rv ready.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Should We Be Jumping Up and Down?

I'm not jumping up and down.  I've seen these ruling go haywire and decisions reversed.  First off, you know I'm conservative and will always be that way.  Yes, we're happy for those who want to be happy but there is an underlying current.

Take into account the ruling of 5 to 4 and the fact that any decision made by the Supreme Court could always be reversed.   Clarence Thomas made it very clear in his sermon that the constitution does not tolerate this type of change.

Also, what is marriage anyway?  For me, being a conservative, is an institution that protects families.  It has pretty much become an abandoned institution since the beginning of Vatican II.  Marriage, and I've said it before, is not about a couple.  It's not about the love between two persons.  Marriage is for those who have children and want to raise them in condition that improves society as a whole.  Vatican II not only destroyed that, but you can see the  societal deterioration that has followed especially in the Catholic church.

Marriage was never meant for two people who may or may not be together for any length of time.  Hence we have divorce at an alarming rate because the institution is not valued.  If marriage really were an institution, it would provide for women who have been impregnated by a man and force him to take charge of his responsibility.   That's why marriage doesn't work today.  It's too easy to get out of.  I know I'll receive flack for this but it is my blog and my space to say what I feel corresponds with my beliefs.

There is no reason for two persons, hetro, gay, and all the other combinations that exist not to have a legally binding contract.  I should have a right to see my partner in a hospital, institution, legal access to real estate, pensions, and bank accounts.  That's what the law should be focusing on and provide, not marriage.  Two very distinct concepts.  

The jury is still out and the debate is just starting to heat up.  Notice this was approved to land on a weekend and reduce the impact on both sides.  There is a lot of politics involved in this.   Flaunting your winning can do considerable damage in the end.   We shouldn't be shoving it down people's throats but being humble and giving it time to sink in.   Look what happened with civil rights.  Started out on the right foot and has now ended up with greater racism than before.  It's not about black people and it's not about gay people.  It's about the majority (society) and what they will tolerate. 

So I'm not waving a flag, marching in a parade, but hoping that this ends on a good note.  I've seen too much in my life and know what discrimination is and how these changes can backfire.  I hope I'm wrong but only time will tell us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trip To Ciudad Juarez

I received a call on Friday for a trip to Cd. Juarez in Chihuahua.  Sure, I get to go somewhere, work with a school, and earn Aeromexico mileage.

When I left yesterday for Mexico City it was almost a red eye flight.   I met my coworker at the airport and we traveled to Mexico City.   From there the flight didn't leave until 10:30 p.m. and we arrived in Cd. Juarez to the hotel after 1 a.m.  It was raining in Monterrey and hot and sunny here in Juarez.

Not what it used to be, Cd. Juarez has changed its image.  I think I mentioned that last time I was in El Paso.  People on both sides of the border travel back and forth freely without any worries like in the past.   I gave a presentation to parents at a school today and they were very excited to talk about how the city has grown, become safe and life is back where it was eight years ago.

The picture above doesn't do justice.  It was taken from my hotel room and it is the back side of the hotel and there isn't much to see.  The avenues are wide, good sidewalks with ramps for wheelchairs and the streets are clean and well kept.   

It was a fun day working with parents, teachers and students and they were happy for me to be there.  We had a wonderful lunch at a Chinese restaurant where I had the best lettuce (bok choy) soup, broccoli and mixed vegetables and rice.   Lots of conversation with the distributors and a couple of authors who were in town for other events.  

Tomorrow I do it again and then we are leaving early for home.  It's a two and a half hour trip direct to Monterrey if we can make the change otherwise it's back through Mexico City.  The school year is coming to an end.

An important announcement, Juan received a six-week scholarship to work at the University of Arizona in Phoenix.  I won't be going because it will be way too hot.  I checked at San Ramon rv park in San Miguel de Allende and they want 4500 pesos for a month in the middle of the summer.  Hell no!  I put out some feelers for a boondocking spot long term hoping I get some bites.  If not, I may just go and stay for a couple of weeks and then return home.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Regarding My Last Post

I mentioned racism and it was right on time.   The event in Charleston is pushing the envelope in terms of changes that need to take place.  This kid killed nine people in cold blood.  These people weren't criminals, cartel members, gang members or drug addicts.  Innocent people who had gathered in a church to pray.  The killer hates black people.  How can you hate another human being?  I just don't get it.

Slaves in the U.S. built the country and they did it for free.  The weren't given the opportunity to charge Americans anything, they never received a dime for their blood and sweat.  It was blood as they were raped, beaten, killed and abused physically and mentally.   It didn't stop with the Civil War either.  It goes on today.

It's not over, it's not forgotten and there is a large group of people who truly hate black people.  Someone taught this youth to hate black people.  He didn't pull it out of the thin air.  It is something that has been going on for a long time.  

Guns are creating havoc around the world.  They threaten the innocent,  are responsible for literally over 150 million deaths in just the last century if not more depending on how you count.  It's sick. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cardiologist and Racism In Mexico?

Yep, kind of a two for one today.  I had my cardio check up today.  My cardiologist is the best.  Very friendly, a funny guy and yet he really knows his job.  He works with his dad who is a heart surgeon as well in the same place.   

My checkup began at 9:45 with blood workup and an x-ray.  Unfortunately, they still wouldn't let me have a cup of coffee.   I went back upstairs to the cardio ward where they began with an EKG.   

Following were blood pressure analysis by the doctor as well as listening to my blood flow.  Scary because it sounds like you're in a submarine.

Stress test was next and he really up it until I was almost running.  He kept asking if you could keep going and I said yes.  The last 30 seconds were tough but he said I was like a professional soccer player.  I know he wants to make his patients feel good. 

I go back next week for the follow up on blood work and his consultation.   He says there are no blockages or other issues.   Total charge was 1500 pesos, or around $98 dollars.   Thank you Mexico.

Now on to racism.  Does it really exist in Mexico?  Some think so but most don't.  I think if it exists it is against indigenous groups because of language and cultural differences.  But color as an issue, I don't think so.  As you know we call people by color.  If you are black we all you negro.  If your very dark but not black, prieto, and as the scale goes down to moreno and then to guero.   They are even people's names.  People call me guero in public even if they don't know me. 

Here is a new product to hit the market.  I saw it when I went to buy my wonderfully strong cup of coffee after the four hours at the doctor's.  The sign said, "Bimbo El Negrito"  2 X 1.  I couldn't resist.  The product name is "Nito".   The cashier said they are selling like hotcakes.  I won't eat it but it is what we used to call a longjohn, long donut type, cream-filled with chocolate icing.