Saturday, March 27, 2010

Listing of Good Things about Mexico

My favorite things about Mexico are...

1. I don't pump my own gas.  In fact, I am not even allowed to pump my own gas in Mexico.  But I never put gas in my car when I lived in Iowa. My ex-husband tried to convince me that the "gas fairy" doesn't exist.  My car was always riding on empty because I DETEST putting gas in a car.  Magically, the car would be full of gas the next time I drove it after coasting home on fumes. The ex tried to convince me that he PUT the gas in the car, but I would cover my ears and run.  LALALALALA.  I'm not listening because I know gas fairies did and still do exist.  Nowadays I just pay the man at the Pemex gas station and, voila!, the gas fairy fills the car.

2. I don't wash my own car.  It only cost about 4 or 5 USD to get my car vacuumed, washed and dried, all by hand.  There is even a little shack where you can sit and buy a $1 beer while waiting. Cool!  The only thing getting me wet is my beer.

3. Yesterday while I was at hairdresser, I paid someone about $20 to sweep, dust, mop my 5 room apartment and clean the bathroom.  I know I should clean my own apartment but I don't want to do it.  Besides, that would mean less time for Facebook and blogging.  Or working on my resume.  I can easily find a million reasons to justify paying for a maid.

4. Parking lot attendants in uniforms blow whistles to help me back out of a parking spot.  I admit it. I have issues with putting my car in reverse. It started in high school when I took out part of the garage door frame. The attendants also take back shopping carts.  This is nice.  You never see parking lots in Mexico full of shopping carts like Walmart in McAllen.  My car has enough dings from my backing up problem.

5. Tacos.  All kinds of tacos.  Except tripas.  Those are just wrong. And so are sesos (brains).

6. The water truck.  They come down the street with a loudspeaker blaring their arrival.  The nice young man brings me 2 five-gallon jugs of water upstairs to my kitchen. Nice!  In fact, many different trucks drive around so you can shop from home.  In Ciudad Valles, the bread truck comes around a night. I've also seen a fruit and veggie truck and a tortilla truck.  The trick is learning to distinguish the arrival of which truck??  The loudspeakers are about as clear as mud to me.

7.  The buses are wonderful.  If anyone has ever taken a Greyhound bus in the USA, then you know it sucks. The seats are uncomfortable and barely recline.  Due to copyright laws, Greyhound is not allowed to play movies on the bus. And the Greyhound stops in every podunk town making a normal 24 hour trip into 48 hours.  I've tried several different bus lines in Mexico.  Omnibus is a favorite.  The seats are large, cushy and reclines to a nice sleeping position.  And they play 2-3 movies.  They are in Spanish, but I can follow a movie in Spanish.  (I still can't watch the news in Spanish because they speak too fast.)  I get on a bus for Mexico City at 8:00 in the evening, watch a couple movies, fall asleep and wake up in Mexico City in the morning.  Warning!  Bring along drinks and food because this bus barely stops.

What are your favorite things about Mexico?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Hope This School Isn't Teaching English Like This!

I was checking around on the internet for schools. I came across this English translation for a certain school's website that promotes their bilingual education.  Even though I am an English teacher, I am not the grammar and spelling police.  I've been known to end a sentence with a preposition.  Example: "I don't know where it's at."  I'm always telling Miss Daisy Dog to go lay down.  For you grammatical-challenged people I am suppose to yell at my dog to go LIE down.  Lay in the present tense is for placing objects some place.  Lie in the present tense is for a resting or reclining position, or the fib you tell your spouse that you didn't spend too much on the dress.  I have problems spelling certain words. Occured? Occurred?  Ocurred?  How about necesary, or is it neccesary. Hmm, that doesn't seem right. It must be necessary?  Cementery or cementary? Well, you get the idea.  I think all of us have mental blocks on how to spell some words.

However, this particular website promoting their education and bilingual program is just awful.  I can usually tell when someone has thrown a paper into an online translation program, but I am not sure about this one. I think someone may have actually written it.  I don't think a translation program can spell this bad. I hope the person who wrote it is not an English instructor at the school.  Read it and weep.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Saw a Firetruck!

I'm sick to death of posting about the balaceras (gun battles) so here's a different topic.   I saw a firetruck tonight.  An honest to goodness firetruck.  And not just 5 minutes before I was discussing with Linda (teacher from Canada) that in all of my time in Reynosa, I had never seen a firetruck.

I've had these strange things happening to me lately.  Ever since the death of my sister, I've been picking up vibes and sensing things.  A couple are too personal to write about involving my sister but here's a happy one, for example.  I was driving near my hometown in Iowa last week with my father when all of the sudden I thought of someone that I hadn't thought about in more than 20 years.  I was wondering where he was and what he was doing.  The last I knew he was in Colorado. Well, guess what?  When I returned to Reynosa this week, he emailed me.  He had done a google search and found me.  And he lives near my hometown in Iowa.  How strange is that?

Anyone have any tarot cards and a crystal ball to loan me?  I'm going into business.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm a POW

I am a prisoner of war.   

I returned to Reynosa last weekend after the funeral of my sister. I was thinking of blogging about something fun like the donkey carts on the streets.  Maybe next time.  I was sitting on the sofa eating dinner at 6:45 tonight and watching TV when I heard something that sounded like gun shots and explosions.  It was warm today so I've got all the windows and door open.  So I turned off the TV and listened for about 5 minutes.  I heard something like another explosion.  But around here you never know if it's a car backfiring.  Fast forward about an hour when I get a call from my contact who works for Mexican customs and claims to be in-the-know. He tells me to stay in the house and do not go out.  Geeeeeeezus!

I am now on the computer tuned into our only news source.... Twitter.  Everyone is twittering that there is a gun battle down at the SMart on Morelos, just a few blocks from here.  Yup, I am sure I heard it. 

We kept hoping it will get better.  It isn't. I am polishing my resume.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Note To All...THANK YOU!

I shouldn't write this while I am so tired because I am afraid I am going to forget someone.  There have been a lot of wonderful people who have been awesome helping our family during our time of sorrow.  To everyone who wrote, emailed, called, blogged, facebooked, came to the visitation, funeral or stopped by the house I want to say THANK YOU!  There are too many of you to thank individually.  The amount of food that people dropped off could have fed an army.  We didn't need to cook much all week.  Lynn had many friends and family that loved her.  There are literally hundreds of people that were personally touched by Lynn.   

Thank you Judy Avis and daughter Paulette Hearn.  You both are true friends through thick and thin.  I know it means a lot to my mom that you both were there for her during a most difficult time.  To Lynn's friends that have been there forever like Amy Adams-Whitaker and Teresa Beers, you guys are the best.  The memorial at Buffalo Wild Wings was very touching. Thank you Amy for helping me pick out the music.  The song "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me will always be a special memory for me.  I don't know if I can listen to the song in the future without crying.  I didn't know Amanda Tandle but she is the creator of the facebook page RIP Lynn Culberson-Mota and Amy and Teresa are the administrators. So many message have been left on Lynn's facebook page and her tribute page, I still haven't had time to read them all. Andrew's friend, Sarah Rosales, age 10, sang the most beautiful version of "I Will Remember You".  Girl, you have a beautiful voice. When you are old enough to quit your day job, go for it.  You can sing professionally. Thank you to my cousins Sherry, Candi, Dona and Jordin for coming from Missouri and Pennsylvania.  Everytime we are together I laugh and laugh.  How many Culbersons does it take to figure out how to set up a television?  The entire class and several instructors from Northeast Iowa Community College came for the visitation and funeral.  Wow!  Thank you to Kimmy Sloman who read the beautiful poem that she posted on Lynn's facebook.   Thank you Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Dean for finding the poem on Lynn's facebook and bringing it to our attention. A special thank you to Scott Reggentin, Lynn's study buddy and close ally in the nursing program.  Your stories about Lynn will keep me going for a long time. Please keep in touch.  

Last, but most important, my nephews Andrew and Alex, you deserve the biggest thank you. You two have been very brave facing the death of your mother.  Remember, your Aunt Deana said your mom's spirit will live on your hearts. Nothing will ever take that away from you. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Five Stages of Grief

My B.A. is Elementary Education but I have a minor in psychology.  I've always said I know just enough about psychology to make an improper diagnosis of my family members' problems.  Examples include OPD (obnoxious personality disorder) and LDS (laundry deficiency syndrome).  The latter came from my ex-husband's inability to do laundry.  He used to throw our sons' bunched up socks along with untreated stains in the washing machine.  I finally begged him to stop washing clothes when he threw my very expensive Amana wool coat that was to be dry cleaned ONLY into the washing machine. One thing I remember from my psychology classes is the Kubler-Ross model, AKA the 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  

I AM PISSED.  There are a lot of idiots in this world.  Here are a few examples of them.

Example #1 -  Youdonut wrote in response to the Cedar Rapids Gazette's article about my sister's fatal accident:

February 25, 2010 at 4:36 am Glad to hear that none of the bus occupants were injured. It would be interesting to find out if it was a distracted driver though. Pretty hard not to see a stopped bus with lights flashing. Not to be pedantic, but that looks like a 2000 or 2001 Saturn L series station wagon. I've seen it around town before.

Dear Youdonut, Thank you for your condolences.  Your words are so comforting.  I will agree it is good news that none of the bus occupants were injured. My sister would have never hurt a flea let alone school children.  One time my sister found baby bunnies in the backyard.  She made my dad build a box around the bunnies so the crows wouldn't kill the bunnies.

Example #2 - Tetra021 wrote in the Des Moines Register:

Replying to nokrapt:
That is a horrifying photo. Prayers to her family.
At least you don't have to see what the aftermath on her was. Hopefully she's not too messed up to be an open casket funeral.

Dear Tetra021,  I am a little more concerned about the 2 motherless boys, age 11 and 5, that my sister is leaving behind than whether or not we can have an open casket funeral.  

Example #3 - Dajones wrote to the Des Moines Register:

OK, I'm game.
 Assuming she wasn't drunk, what would distract you to the point where you would miss a big, bright yellow school bus with big flashing yellow lights?
 I think it would be a great idea to check the cell phones records of people involved in wrecks to see if they were texting or talking on their cell phones when the wreck occured

Dear Dajones,  My sister did not drink so you can safely assume she wasn't drunk.  It was 3:30 in the afternoon and she was coming home from a long day at nursing school. She was a hard working mother trying to make a better life for herself and her boys.  And the state trooper did check the cell phone record.  She was NOT texting or talking.   It seems you and several other idiots ASSUMED she was using her cell phone.  I could have told you she was a very responsible driver and never used her cell phone while driving, but the state trooper's report is conclusive.  It is public report.  Check it out if you don't believe me. 

Example #4 - Verymad wrote to the Des Moines Register:

Was the phone call worth it?
2/24/2010 9:12:44 PMDear Verymad,  I dare you to say that to my face, you fucking coward. I've got a diagnosis for you. If being an asshole is a disease, you probably can get your insurance company to pay for an assholectomy.  I'll be at the visitation today and the funeral tomorrow.  You know where to find me.  Say it to my face.  It'll be the last thing you ever say.