Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weekend Gala Event



Friday night we went to a gala event for the dance group.  If you remember, we had the 25th anniversary dance festival in August.   The gala was held at a ballroom or casino in Monterrey and all the dancers who were the originals or "seniors" were there along with the new group called "internacional" and the "juniors" or the newly formed group. 

It was truly a gala event.  We started out with a mass at the Purisma church downtown.  In fact, the priest was once a member of the original group.  We walked down the aisle in couples and sat in front where we were all guests of honor.  It was really something.
After mass, we headed to the casino where we had valet parking and a grand entrance.  There was a seven course dinner with wine and drinks and then awards were handed out to the original dancers.  All this was followed by a dance which lasted until 2 a.m.  I am posting this late as I was waiting for the pictures.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Think It Was A Sting

Started off the day early with a 45 minute run on the treadmill before heading out for my destination.  I headed up Hwy 77 towards Victoria and then beyond.  I'm not mentioning anymore town names as I will be driving back the same way.  However,  as I drove through one very small Texas town, I thought there were a lot of local police for such a small town.  Revenue generators!!!  They had two patrols pulling over cars as they sped through town.   I didn't think much of it other than the fact there were so many of them.  As I drove on I passed two state patrols in a parking lot chatting. You know, cars pulled up together but facing opposite directions so they are window to window.   At that moment I had a funny feeling, like the hair on the back of my neck did that wierd thing.
Off I went out of town and about two miles on the highway here comes one of the state troopers.  He pulls up alongside me and gives me a nod and a hello.  I returned a howdy-do an knew something was up.  He sped a way and took the turn around or so I thought.   Not 15 seconds later here comes his buddy racing up behind me and stays with me for about half a mile before turning on his lights.  I pulled over, put my hands on the wheel and waited.   He banged the rear end of the car with his hand and said, "driver's license, do you speak English?".   I did as he said, answered his question and then he wanted to know what I had in the boxes.  I told him books and the questions went on from there. 
His buddy comes back up behind him and continues to grill me while the first one is checking my license.   Then number one comes back and says, "So if you are working in this school tomorrow I suppose you have a contact?"  I told him yes and then gave him the person's name.   He laughed and said, "oh, my cousin Regie, hold on while I give a warning and then I will give you the short route there".  
Funny thing is, the warning was bogus.  They stopped me for following a car to close.  The supposed "red" car was in the lane next to me, not in front of me.  In the end, I busted them but they had the cards over on me.  I was still an hour and half from my destination.
Speaking of my destination, it is a town of roughly 5500, and very low income.  I drove by the school this afternoon and they are not receiving and state or federal funds based on the conditions of their facilities.  Kind of a scary place.   I went downtown for lunch, the area is just a shell of its former self.  Tomorrow will be interesting. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

It Was A Great Week



Like all things, this last week comes to an end and this morning I head back to McAllen.  It was a fun week, mostly spent going to the gym and helping out with new project in a private school out here in the woods.  Did quite a few things around the house as well.
I should arrive  to McAllen around 1 p.m., pass by the storage for my materials I left behind and then go to the rv park.  I have everything ready so this afternoon is mine to piddle around and order some stuff for the rv.
Tomorrow I head out for Yoakum, Tx. which looks like a four hour drive.   Again, it will be a travel day as Wednesday I greet 200 students at the high school who will take my course.   The downside is after the event on Wednesday I need to drive back to McAllen, arriving around 8 p.m.  because Thursday I have another school in McAllen.  I'm not complaining, the money is great, it is a lot in two days.  I'll get over it.
Yesterday I went back to the book fair.  It was a blast.   Between the house and the convention center I ran into people I have known over the years.  Hard to escape from it anymore, I guess it comes with age.   I bought a book that I knew would be on sale as it was the close of the event.  I am a big fan of Howard Gardner who has written quite a bit about multiple intelligences.   A real shame we don't implement his methods and strategies in schools.  Students would love school and really learn something.
Next to the book fair in another exhibition hall was a giant sale of goods from Jalisco among other things.  The book fair was free and this was only 20 pesos.  It was packed as well.  I told you the other day I was in the market for a new juicer.  Lo and behold, there was a guy demonstrating and selling an attachment for your blender.   Sold! It works great.  I came home and made a spinach, carrot, celery juice.  Cost of the attachment, 150 pesos. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Not sure why, but I have been reading quite a bit about shelters, especially the underground kind.  Very interesting reads, lots of building types, lots of ideas and I wonder which is the best.  There is the fiberglass tank that can be placed underground in a short period, one made from a giant galvanized pipe that measures 10 feet wide and from 25-50 feet (I like that one), then the DIYers made of concrete.  Some have air-lock doors, generators, wired for 110v, etc.
What puzzles me though is I would want one for protection not from natural disasters but from bad people during hard times.  Maybe I have been watching too much YouTube.   Let's say you want it to hide in.  You could have solar power I suppose, an air shaft, but what would keep people from cutting off your power or putting something into the ventilation system?
Then there is the water issue.  Some of these shelters come with kitchens and full baths.   Sounds good but where do you get the water unless you bury a 10,000 gallon tank and then where does the waste go?   If your shelter is 10 to 20 ft underground, that would mean you would have to have a septic tank setup that is 15 to 25 feet underground, does that sound about right?
The manufacturers aren't telling the whole story at least not at first glance on their webpages.   Two years worth of food sounds like a lot, but what happens after two years and you crawl out of your hole to find the whole planet amok?  You have to have a very large garden space, seeds, and a way to protect it from all those crazed people looking for whatever you have.  
Sounds a bit nuts but it is interesting to investigate. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What A Night!

The weather here remains hot during the day and the last two weeks extremely humid.  I noticed the cats started scratching and with the weather I knew it was fleas.  I have had good luck over the years with the Front Line drops that you put at the base of their necks but it seems to have stopped working. 
I decided to nip it in the bud and took them to the vet for a bath and a new flea product called Revolution.   I dropped them off at 9:30 in the morning and went back around 6 p.m. to pick them up.  They said that Missy was still being dried, wierd I thought considering I had them there early. 
Finally they brought them out in their carriers and they were howling in a low voice, sluggish and I wrote it off to stress.  Imagine, most cats don't care for water and I have never given them a bath.  So I paid the bill and off we went for the quinta.
I then realized after letting them out of the carriers that they had been sedated.  That kind of pissed me off because nobody told me.  Had I known, I wouldn't have had them bathed.  Little Bit is 12 years old and the last thing he needs is stress.   I took them out and they just hung around oblivious to where they were.   I decided to put LB on the bed because that is where he spends most of his time.  I went to bring him some water and . . . . .  it was too late.  He was lying in a puddle of urine.  Oh S---!   Good thing the mattress has a plastic cover under the mattress pad for protection.  
Off came the sheets and the mattress cover and off I went to the washing machine.  By the time they were washed, it was dark outside and I thought if I put them in the dryer I might forget them.  In the meantime I pulled out another set of sheets and made the bed.   I took the sheets and the towels (that I used to soak up the pee) starting putting them on the line (my solar clothes dryer), I miss stepped and my foot went into a small hole in the grass.   I heard the crack as I went down and I knew I had done some damage to my ankle.   On the ground, moaning and groaning I realized no one was going to come to my rescue.   I got up and hobbled into the house and by the time I hit the kitchen there was a baseball size lump on my ankle.  Great!  I went to the bedroom and surveyed the damage.   I began to massage it and after about 15 minutes the swelling went down.   I woke up this morning and all was fine, a bit tender but I went running at the gym for forty minutes and did lunges without any problem.
Also, I don't know what got into me today.   I had an urge for a vegetable juice.  I used to be a juicer,  for about 15 years.   Everyday I made or someone made a juice for me.  I stopped by the market and spent a whole 3 dollars on vegetables and pulled out my old beat up juicer.  Still works!  I made celery, spinach, tomato, and carrot.   Delicious.  I guess I will begin again.   With my extra earnings I may just by a new juicer.   Sure do miss my idol, Jack LaLlane. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday At The Book Fair

Here at home again.  Came home Friday night completely bushed.  Those teens can really suck the energy out of you.  I did three schools three days in a row.  I loved it.  The kids overall are a lot of fun and make me realize that they are the future and if I can reach just one, well I have done my job.
I spent most of the weekend just hanging out.   Saturday I took the cars to the car wash and had them cleaned up.  Both were pretty filthy, especially the VW after carting around all my materials.  The good thing now is that the company found a storage centrally located just north of McAllen.  So Friday, instead of driving all the way back to La Feria, I dropped off all my materials, projector, etc. at the storage.  When I go back next week I will pick them up again.  Very convenient.
Yesterday I went to the convention center in Monterrey for the annual book fair.  Huge exhibition with over 600 vendors.  It is good to see so many people interested in reading.  They are expecting over 385,000 visitors this week.  I may just go to watch the crowds.   People of all ages and backgrounds picking up books, paging through them and many were buying.  I spent about three hours walking around and of course ran into several people I knew including a television personality who does a spot everyday on vocabulary in Spanish.  He lives out here by the house.
I have been really turned off by eating out lately.   Coming home on Friday I was starving and stopped twice, once in Reynosa and another along the highway.  Nothing enticed me.  I thought I could at least snack on something but that didn't do the trick either.   Then yesterday, after leaving the book fair, I stopped at a place where we get Chinese once in awhile.   Got it home, and it just turned me off.   The best food I had over the weekend was a plate of chorizo with egg tacos that I made when I got home Friday night.  Turkey chorizo and some nice yellow coarse ground corn tortillas.  Not sure what this is all about, but I enjoy cooking and not being disappointed. 
Have a good week!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Debate and Tacos

Not on either side of the fence but Biden beat the socks off of Ryan.  What a debate!  Romney and Obama take note!  I say Biden 63% and Ryan 34%.
Today after my seminar, I went to a Valero station to buy a diet Coke.  There were three people eating barbacoa tacos with pickles on top.  Only in Texas.
That's it for today!  Mission accomplished.  I have one more presentation tomorrow and then I may go home.  Saturday I have been invited to a birthday lunch here in Reynosa.  If I don't get an answer I will head home. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Another Twist

Well, I had a chat with my boss in Dallas and we decided it was best to blow off Eagle Pass.  I don't want to drive along the border for 280 miles by myself, not even on the Texas side in a Mexican car with Mexican plates.
Today I had another interesting situation.  A group of 200 students filled the auditorium.  They were great.  Some real downers but maybe they have some personal problem. 
So here comes the person in charge of PR for the school with camera in hand.  She went up to the top of the auditorium to take pictures.  When she came down, the students were taken a practice test so I went over to say hello and introduce myself.  I mentioned that she was taking pictures and she said, "I can only take the backs of their heads. If I take a picture from the front I will have to send out 209 permission slips before I can post the picture on the school website".  Now that is S-A-D.  However, and I reminded her, that she didn't need permission to take my picture.  Funny isn't it!
Anyway, it is all a learning experience and I am having a ball.  I am also thankful that I live in a country where we aren't tied at the wrists about rules, lawsuits, and little piddley rights.   No offense to anyone, but this is just way too much to digest.  No wonder nobody has any fun around here.
I know, bitch, bitch, bitch.   Rving is a lot more fun than this!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Heading Back In The Morning

Wow, it was a fun weekend.  Being back in Mexico was heaven.  I did all kinds of stuff including some work things as well.    I practiced my presentations again, now that I have a new one this week I need to keep up on the math and sciences problems.  Ouch! It has been so long.
I went to a birthday party Saturday night, I stayed until about 8:30 and then headed home.  I wanted to watch SNL but my laptop had been acting up.  Problems with the sound and microphone.  I did get them fixed but not until yesterday.
Today I took care of business. 
I dropped by my accountant's office to leave my monthly paperwork (in Mexico we file monthly via internet)
transferred some funds from here to there
made my medical insurance payment which went up about 9 dollars a month over last year
did some paperwork and scanned documents
went to FedEx and dropped off a contract for the publisher (new editing project)
stopped by Walmart and bought a headset that was on sale for 50 pesos
works great
waited for the exterminator who comes every month and paid the six month contract
and I went to the gym
I did a load of wash and ironed some things for my trip this week.  I leave tomorrow and have work on Wed, Thurs, and Fri.  I have just been asked to work next Monday in Eagle Pass.  Not sure if I want that, it is a six-hour drive one way and I would have to stay two nights leaving Sunday and coming back on Tuesday.  They pay me $375 just for the drive plus expenses, hotel and pay for work.  Is it worth it?  Not sure.
I don't know if you are keeping up on the news or not, they military is picking them up left and right,  big shots.  Looks like we are preparing for a change in November. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Trying To Make Sense of All This

I made it home Friday around six.  It was good to be home.  I had a busy week working in Laredo on Monday and driving back to McAllen, working in La Joya and then in San Juan on Friday.
So many things I don't understand.   The schools are like prisons.  Huge places that seem to be like luxury living quarters with fancy carpets, and computers everywhere and yet none of these things will ever be paid for.  It is obvious it is all on credit, bonds and other things they have invented to bring in the money for their districts.  
Really sad though to see that people live this way.  Most of the schools I have visited have school populations of really poor kids.  Many of them come from Mexico and cross the border everyday.  All they need to have is a birth certificate and a visa and they can walk right up to the school door and cannot be refused access.  I wonder if that was part of Bush's "no child left behind" program. 
90% of all the kids are bilingual.  By that I mean they speak both English and Spanish but do poorly in English classes.   Once some of the kids found out I spoke Spanish, they refused to speak to me in English although two parts of the course are reading and writing. 
Metal detectors, fingerprinting, police with guns, all too bizarre for me.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Big Debate - Neither One Impressed Me

Nothing new, a lot of mud slinging going on.  What kills me the most is that neither one of them knows much about economics.  If you have a 16 trillion dollar debt you need to start making some cuts and that means everyone will be affected. 
They need to start from the top down. 
1) Set an example and congress takes a pay cut
2) Special programs for all levels, needy, homeless, education, etc need to take a cut.  Instead of sitting in shelters and twiddling their thumbs (and I have a family member who does that so I have first-hand experience) get them out on the streets and do a little work.  Stop the woe is me syndrome.
3) Stop spending needlessly, remember my example the other day of 11 firetrucks, four towtrucks,  and 10 hazmat men.  Do what we do in Mexico, send a patrolman, a firetruck with four men, and one hazmat.  How many government employees does it take to clean up a 20 quart oil spill?  (answer on tomorrow's blog)
4) Stop doing redundant road work.  Here in the valley, Hwy 83 has been under construction now for over 25 years and they still can't complete the stretch between Rio Grande City and Zapata, Tx.  I drove it on Sunday and Monday.  There is a 50 mile stretch that is limited to 45 miles per hour.  No wonder the valley can't grow, it turns business off if it takes that long to get something somewhere.
5) Bring home the troops and start closing bases.  There's enough trouble right here at home to keep all the troops busy.  One is to secure the borders.  Two, stop drug use in the U.S. Three, use military within the boundaries of the U.S. to bring crime under control.  The murder rate is at 16,000 a year and they're turning their nose up at Mexico.
6) End pork barrels for once and for all.  I don't need to be reminded of some lousy politician by seeing his name glorified on a street, bridge, library, or government building.  Stop, enough is enough.
7) Let doctors do their job and remember that they are human beings not gods and make mistakes.  Every f)=(&)(=/&  commercial on U.S. television is about a bladder sack, mesh vaginal net, or some other b.s. that has gone wrong.  They don't tell you how many went right, so let's just sue the s--- out of doctors until their insurance is so high they can't make a buck unless they charge $90,000 for a pacemaker only to find out that if you have no insurance they will give it to you for $35,000.  
8) It is the government who approves these rip offs, not the voting public.  Give the power back to the voter not the politician.
9) Reduce welfare immediately.  Stop giving things to people who need to get off their butts and get a job, stop making babies because they are so careless knowing they will be helped out.  B.S.
10) Eliminate the two party system.  All it does is keep things from getting done.  What has happened for the last thirty years is to see who can stalemate the other by sitting on their hands because they have the majority.
If you believe that the government or the politicians have your best interest at heart than this is not a country I wish to belong to. 
Good night!