Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Miss Daisy Dog's Eating Ritual

Picture this... you make yourself a meal, set the table, pour the drinks, dish out the dinner portions on your plates, and then using your mouth, scoop up a few bits and place them on the carpet to eat. OK, so my dog doesn't pour drinks or set the table, but she does have quite an eating routine.  It might start with the cat venturing too close to the food bowl.  The cat does not touch the dog's food, but this will prompt a feeding frenzy. "Grrr, grrrr", she says as Mr. Sam Katze gets too close the meal. Then Miss Daisy Dog scoops up 4-5 pieces of dog food, removes them to the carpet, and spits out the bits to eat one at a time.  I don't get it. The cat doesn't have a problem with eating over his bowl. 

But at least this habit isn't disgusting like a few others Miss Daisy Dog has committed in the past.  She's been called a few things like "tampon breath" and "cat shit breath" just to name a couple.  Eeeeeewwwwww!  I hope ya'll weren't eating or about to eat. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Mexican Open to the Public Pool

Ahhhhh, how do you spell relief from the relentless summer heat in Mexico especially since all the roads to the beach are closed due to flooding?   Well,  I'll tell ya.  Pay $40 pesos (about $3.50 USD) and go to a public pool where the RULES are so different compared to public pools in the USA.  I've been to a few public pools around the USA and the rules are fairly consistent.  Let's review the rules for public pools in the USA and then Mexico.

Public Pools in the USA:
1.  Must wear proper attire (no jeans, belts, shoes, and men must have a liner inside the shorts so body parts don't fall out)
2. No flotation devices (makes it hard for lifeguards to see drowned dead bodies at the bottom of a pool)
3. Unsafe behavior will ensure lifeguards activate their sound alarms (whistle blowing for back flips into pool, playing chicken, pushing others into the pool, etc.)
4. Bringing alcohol is strictly prohibited, let alone the pool selling alcohol.  Most who patronize a public pool in the USA are under 21 or mothers with their young children.  Can you imagine a group of mothers with margaritas in their hands watching their toddlers?

Public Pools in Mexico (or at least the one that I went to in Reynosa)
1.  Wearing bathing suits is optional. In fact, many do not use this option.  Many were wearing jeans, belts, t-shirts, or every day clothes.  Some of the women were wearing camisoles that when wet you don't need any imagination to see what is underneath.  One woman was wearing a bra, underwear and fishnet stockings.  Yes, I said fishnet stockings.  I wish I had taken a photo cuz I don't think anyone will believe me. I went to the pool with my friend Amanda and she's the one who spotted the woman in her swimming attire so I am the witness to the truth! 
2. They sell flotation devices.... cheap. And blow them up for you. 
3. Lifeguards? What lifeguards?  Swim at your own risk. I saw teenager playing chicken, people pushed into the pool fully clothed and below is a photo of a young man flipping backwards into the crowded pool.  Everyone better get out of his way.
4. Not only can you bring your own food, snacks or meat to grill, you can bring your own beverages.  And if you didn't, there is a full bar for your drinking pleasure.  I had 2 beers.  Next time, I'll have a margarita. 

Basically I am saying the public pools in Mexico are not as safe as pools in the USA, but a lot more fun. However, the pool was so crowded (it was a Sunday) and I rarely saw anyone go into the restrooms so I assume the pool was being used consistently as a giant toilet.  My legs were the only body part I allowed into the water. It still was refreshing, along with the beer.

Left: This young man was pushed into the pool, shoes and all.
Right: Back flip into the pool.
Below:  The entire crowded pool

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lasagna..... with jalapeños

Sergio and his daughter Angeles are here with me. That's another story and another long post for sometime in the future.  Sergio requested lasagna for dinner so I made it.  Mmmm, good.  Layers of pasta, hamburger, tomato sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.  Cheesy good!  Angeles made a good effort and managed to choke down some of it.  You might say it isn't exactly her favorite dish.

Making lasagna does require a little effort and dirtying a few pots and pans.  And I made garlic bread too.  It's not like I can run down to the local HEB and pick up a loaf of garlic bread. So if garlic bread is wanted with lasagna, it has to be created. I set the table, make a pitcher of mango juice and served everyone.  Ahhhh, the blessed part where I get to sit.   Then I hear, "Where's the jalapeños?"


Who eats lasagna with jalapeños?  That's just wrong.   And so is corn on the cob with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili, otherwise known as elotes.

My mom and dad arrived from Iowa last week to their home in Edinburg (about 25 miles away).  They brought some most EXCELLENT sweet corn and tomatoes from Iowa.  The first night Sergio and Angeles arrived, I made hamburgers with tomatoes and sweet corn.  I made sure they knew that this sweet corn was NOT to be eaten Mexican style, but only with butter and salt.  I totally understand why Mexicans eat THEIR corn with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili, because, as far as I'm concerned, Mexican corn (elotes) is gross and should only be eaten by pigs. The only way it can be eaten is with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili to cover up its nasty taste.  I may sound like a corn snob, but I am entitled.  The USA produces more corn than any other country in the world and Iowa is the state that has produced the most for the past 14 years.  (fact checking on http://www.iowacorn.org/default.aspx - the official website of Iowa corn). Heck, we even have a corn cam where you can watch the corn grow -  http://www.iowafarmertoday.com/corn_cam/   Yeah, we're never bored in Iowa.  There is always something to do.... like watch the corn grow.

So to recap the lessons learned in this blog.
1. Lasagna is not to be eaten with jalapeños.
2. Sweet corn from Iowa is boiled and then slathered with butter and salt... NOT mayonnaise, cheese & chili.
3. Iowa produces more corn than any other place in the world and is so proud of this fact that they even have a corn cam.
4. Rita is a corn snob.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bed Potato and Random Thoughts

I did a spectacular backwards swan dive from a chair today.  If I were an Olympic judge, I'd give myself a 10. In some of the classrooms, the teacher's desk is up on a platform something like 8-10 inches.  I'm a little fuzzy about the details because I kind of blacked out for a second but I'm guessing one of the back legs of the chair was off the platform and, well, you can do the calculations about what happened when I took a seat.  I don't exactly remember hitting the floor but I do remember feeling like I had been tasered.  I felt paralyzed like the time I was 5 and stuck tweezers in an electrical socket and was completely unable to move for what seemed like an eternity.  Smooth move, Rita.  Even more embarrassing than crash landing in a classroom is being pulled out on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance in front of the all the parents coming to pick up report cards.  At least the students were not in class to witness my extreme klutziness. I was in too much pain or I would have done the "queen's wave" as I was rolling by the crowd.  The x-rays were fine and the end result... a pulled muscle. It hurts to breath, move and, especially, laugh. Don't make me laugh.

So here I sit in my bed, popping pills with pillows propped up behind the back and laptop on lap.  Not exactly doped up but relaxed enough to feel comfortable.  And write about silly things.  Like Bimbo shirts.  I've been around Mexico long enough that I don't snicker anymore when I see the men (or women) wearing shirts emblazoned with a huge BIMBO.  I believe it is a brand of the makers of bread and sweets something like Hostess Ho-Ho's.  It would be like a US citizen wearing a Wonderbread shirt.  But I was reminded of the English meaning of bimbo when my family came to visit in April and they snickered when they saw someone wear such a shirt. This is a public service announcement to anyone who owns a Bimbo shirt. Don't wear said shirt in Smalltown, USA because everyone would point, stare and then run you out of town after tarring and feathering.  However, I don't think I would wear a Ho-Ho or a Ding Dong shirt either.

I've blogged about potholes large enough to swallow cars in Reynosa before, but now that Hurricane Alex has passed I've been watching the roads disintegrate before my eyes.  Nobody drives in a straight line because we all play "Dodge the Pothole". Everyone who drives around Reynosa must be careful of driving through standing water because who knows what lurks beneath the waters.  I wouldn't be surprised to find alligators.  To be fair, there are areas on the Texas side that are almost as bad but it's not as likely to find a missing manhole cover with a tire stuffed in it.  I can only hope that the newly elected officials of Reynosa will do something fixing the roads around here. We can always hope, can't we?

The other day I was in line on the international bridge between Reynosa and Hidalgo where the signs clearly state "No Pedestrians" and "It Is Illegal To Buy and Sell Items on the Bridge".  Apparently the hundreds of Mexican vendors did not get the message.  OK, so they been around the bridge for like a hundred years selling bottles of water, peanuts, paintings of the Virgen, gum, sun screens for windows, or whatever makes a quick buck.  Usually you will get you window(s) washed whether they need it or not AND whether you say yes or NO.  They work their way well into US territory and the Border Patrol apparently do not try to fight a losing battle over this. Fine. No problem. Usually, I set my head into the automatic shaking mode of NO and they go away and leave me alone. Until the other day, that is.  These vendors have developed the motto "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, again."  Vendors knocked on my window. I shook my head no and went back to my phone call. They knocked again.  And again. After numerous knockings most gave up except one. I was talking on the phone and he started yelling at me after knocking several times. I looked up to see this angry seller of cheap bracelets and necklaces.  I shook my head no and pointed to the phone.  He actually yelled back at me, "Me vale madre", which the English equivalent is "I don't give a shit."  On US territory. Yes, he had crossed the international line to cuss at me in Spanish in my own country. Oh, yeah, like yelling at me like that is really going to make me want to buy his crappy jewelry.  I've got an idea. I am going to load up my car to sell items like, oh, let's say, $1 shoes from the Korea store. Then I am going to hawk them on the bridge for $2 or $3.  I'm going to wave them in the vendors face trying to force them to buy a pair. If they shake their head NO then I am going to cuss at them in English.  In Mexico.

And, so, here I lie in bed on meds, like a potato, with random thoughts in my head.  I wonder what I can think up tomorrow?