Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vali-ho Motel Is Hiring

Vally-ho Motel is now hiring. Anyone need a job?

Direct from their website, and I quote (not really, it's more like copy and paste):
   Welcome to Vali-Ho Motel. In the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, feel Texas at its very best. Weslaco is different than other cities in the Valley. You'll find more than friendly people and a relaxed atmosphere. You'll discover great shopping, golf and the best way to get to Mexico for an afternoon adventure. So come one and come all !
   At Vali-Ho Motel, our staff strives to make you feel welcome. 24-hour service means that you will always have a roof over your head. While you explore nearby attractions, our staff will take care of your room. We think you will like Vali-Ho Motel so much, that you’ll wish you could take us back home with you !
   Rio Grande Valley is filled with various attractions. One of the top attraction that draw people here is its variety of birds. Every year thousands of visitors floak the place to watch the spectable of nature. Besides bird watching, You'll discover great shopping, golf and the best way to get to Mexico. So what are you waiting for ?
   Tired of looking for directions ? Well, to reach us you won't be, because it is easy to find us. We are located on East Business Highway 83, between McAllen and Harlingen. If you coming for first time, use the interactive map below to find distance and estimated time from your place. If you feel stuck or need any help, we are here to assist you.
   Weslaco is different than other cities in the Valley and Vali-Ho Motel is different than other motels in the area. You will find relaxed atmosphere and friendly people at your service. We have a long list of happy customers and we look forward to serving you. We are the Weslaco, Texas preferred motel!
I've often wondered what is the best way to get to Mexico. So come one and come all (snicker, snicker). And along with thousands of visitors "floaking" the place to watch the "spectable" of nature they have a long list of happy customers.  I bet they do!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Buy 1, Blow 5 Of Your Fingers Off For Free

One of the few places open on Christmas day were several fireworks stands along Hwy 107.  This stand next to my home was still open at midnight tonight and all lit up, well, um, like a Griswold Christmas tree. There are several thousands of these stands all over south Texas. Most of the year they are boarded up but I've noticed twice a year they sometimes come to life just before Christmas and 4th of July.

I've been told, because I'm too lazy to do research, these fireworks stands are only allowed by law to sell a few days before New Years and 4th of July after which time they are forced to close. And that's only IF there is no drought which around here is about 95% of the time. Luckily we've had a fair amount of rain lately, the first in more than a year. Saturday the sky dripped all day like a leaky faucet. But how is it that this is a profitable business especially when you can buy 1 and get 5 free?  I imagine there is a 5,000% markup but I'd still suggest these sellers don't quit their day job.

P.S. I must be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because every time I hear the fireworks going off in the hood, I hit the deck and crawl like I'm trying to avoid bullets. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Uphill Battle and a LONG ROAD

I'm waiting for the moving company's call. It's costing me a fortune so I hope it all goes smooth.  Meanwhile my sister is cleaning out the brother-in-law's house of all broken and nasty furniture.  His bed (actually was my sister's bed) wasn't too bad, but I'd get the heebie jeebies knowing he slept on that bed so it has to go too. My furniture will go into the house at least temporarily. Whether the boys get to remain in their home is up in the air.

The boys will have a great Christmas thanks to my sister.  Some relatives seem to think that we've got what little money Alfonso had to cover our expenses. NOT TRUE!  Getting custody and rights to be administrator of the estate takes time. Nor have we received any social security benefits yet.  It is doubtful that Alfonso had mortgage insurance.  The mortgage must be paid monthly. My ex-husband came up with December's payment. My sister who is on FMLA so she isn't getting a paycheck will cover January. Andrew got his new glasses thanks to the school and my sister who covered some of the expenses. Along with food, transportation, piano lessons, clothes, and all general expenses in raising children.

I hope to be in Iowa by the New Years and I've promised the boys another celebration.  My youngest nephew is 7 years old and he has asked Santa if he could have enough money to go back to his own home. They've had their world turned upside in the past two years. Right now he is sharing a bed with his big brother at my sister's house, but you can't blame them for wanting to go home. To sleep in their own bed. To have access to all their toys. Being where they are familiar. Friends and neighbors.  Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hunting Students Is In Season In Texas

Apparently hunting middle school students is in season here in Texas, or at least at Harwell Middle School in Edinburg where I live. The school was having basketball tryouts for the boy's team. The hunters must have mistook them for ducks.  One of the students was sitting on a curb, the proverbial sitting duck, and the other was going for a layup making him a moving target.

Maybe they are practicing for the spillover violence from Mexico under the guise of hunting fowl. If more of these good ol' boys are thinking of using more human targets in this vicinity,  I may be heading for higher ground (Iowa) sooner than later. 

Zoo Anals

I'm back in Texas, temporarily, where running around in shorts and flip flops in December days are numbered. I guess I could still do it in Iowa if I don't mind frostbite and toes falling off.  The boys are in the care of my sister Deana who is impatiently (and rightfully so) counting the minutes until my arrival. Yesterday she started her day at 5:30 AM yesterday and finished at 10:30 at night while I write this... wearing shorts and flip flops. The cavalry is coming to the rescue.  OK, it's just me, my Mazda MPV, Miss Daisy Dog, and Mr. Sam Katze ashes.  Yes, I am bringing home my cat for burial in Iowa. When I get back to Iowa I need to do a serious blog overhaul and update to reflect my new life. Any ideas for a title?  It will probably include lots of cute and gushing mommy-like praise for things like this story my 7-year-old nephew wrote.  The translation is below the picture.

"If I caught a turkey I would take it to the zoo and the turkey will have a great good life. It will be a zoo animal."

This is a keeper. That turkey must have been injected with steroids or the people are midgets. And thank goodness for my teacher's training at the university where I learned how to translate 1st - 6th grade spelling plus two years of experience in Mexico for deciphering inventive spelling. Unless Alex really meant that the turkey should be a "zoo anal".

It's been a while since I raised young'uns. Ah, yes, my nephews will be new fuel for my blog writing but I still hope to sneak in some reminiscing about the good ol' days in Texas and Mexico.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Blog For Therapeutic Anger Management

It's been a couple weeks since I made an emergency trip to Iowa.  It's been a whirlwind.  First and foremost is caring for my nephews.  Life goes on and so does school, checking homework, making nutritional dinners, washing their clothes, driving them to piano lessons, birthday parties, and making sure they get to sleep early enough to start all over again. 

Then there is the dealing with Alfonso's estate, getting a lawyer, getting custody of the kids, and getting rights as executor.  Holy cow, what a mess.  His filing system was to throw everything in a box, junk mail and all.  What I have discovered is not a pretty picture.  Since the death of my sister in February 2010, he has blown through $80,000, not including his yearly (before taxes) salary of $36,000 and $2000 a month social security (tax free).  Now I really understand why my sister was in charge of the finances. She had told me that he would spend all the money if he had free access. Hopefully, his life insurance will pay out because although his death certificate says it was accidental, the cause of death was listed as carbon monoxide poisoning and acute intoxication.  Do insurance companies pay out for acute intoxication, AKA extreme stupidity for shutting a garage door and passing out before shutting off a car? 

Here is a rough accounting of $80,000 all gone in 18 months (not including his salary and social security which is also gone).
1. $16,000 in Moneygrams to various individuals including $3200 to Dominican girlfriend Ana Luisa Lora since July 2011.  Alfonso was planning his 3rd trip in one year to the Dominican this December. He was planning on abandoning his boys for 3 weeks during Christmas to marry the girlfriend WHO the boys never knew existed until the day of his funeral.
2. Traded in the Mercedes plus an additional $6,696 to buy a Lincoln Navigator which he subsequently shipped to the Dominican last June. He was suppose to sell it there and, as far as we know, it is not sold yet. The boys will never see the money.
3. Paid $5000 down on a Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV a year ago (this is a man that makes $14/hr). Cost $500 in registration and $1000/yr for insurance. Still owes $27,000 on Escalade which about what we might be able to sell it for. It is going back to the bank.
4. Alfonso did not file his 2010 taxes correctly. He neglected to include the 1099R form for the early distribution of Lynn's IRA $18,000 that he cashed (money she earned before meeting Alfonso). His estate will have to pay the taxes, penalty and interest which will amount to about $3000.
5. And of all things, Alfonso bought a time share in the Dominican last summer. He put $1755 down, plus $200 for maintenance, plus $100/mo is being auto deducted from his bank. I don't know how we can get any of this returned!!! He has a reservation in December that he paid $527. I've called twice trying to cancel reservation and contract and all they want to know is if I will be taking over the contract. Yeah, right!
6. With Lynn's life insurance of $50,000, Alfonso was suppose to put down 20% on his home. He only put down 10% or about $15,000. Where did the rest of the money go? I am guessing Moneygrams and cars.
7. Alfonso has taken $3600 from Andrew's savings account and $300 from Alex's account. My sister set their savings accounts and he stole from his own children. 
8. After they sold their home in November 2009, my sister had $15,000 from the sale in her account. This went to Alfonso and it is gone.
9. Alfonso received $14,000 tax refund for 2010 taxes. It is gone.
10. Alfonso was never home. Either working or playing ball or out drinking and leaving his children home alone for hours. Andrew did all the housecleaning, laundry, a fair amount of cooking and caring for his brother. Andrew needs glasses, braces, and didn't even have a winter coat. 

The only family member for Alfonso to show up for the funeral was a nephew who lives in New York. I believe the only reason he came was to try to extort money.  During our first meeting with us, he asked us for $14,000 (in addition to the funeral expenses in Iowa) for a big funeral in the Dominican Republic because he was a local hotshot baseball hero (Alfonso played professional baseball for minor leagues in the USA).  He told us that if they didn't get the money, the family, who all live in the Dominican, will sue us for custody of the children. These people wouldn't even know the children if they passed them on the street!  Thank goodness the children's social worker is on our side.  There is no chance the boys are going to the Dominican Republic to live. Or visit. Ever. They are only interested in the children now because they think they can get some money out of it.  Well, they are welcome to come and inspect Alfonso's finances.  The man was up to his ears in debt and broke.
Yes, I am seething with anger. I will get over it, eventually, with the help of therapy.  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Life Changing Event

Where to start?  I guess the beginning is the best place.  Everyone who has read my blog a long time knows that my sister Lynn died in a car accident in February 2010.  She was separated from her husband Alfonso at the time and was planning on a divorce after she finished nursing school the following December.  After her death, he took on the responsibility of raising their 2 sons alone.  On Thanksgiving Day, the unimaginable happened.  Alfonso went out drinking Wednesday night and when he returned after the bar closed he managed to park the car inside the garage, close the garage door, and then passed out inside the car. What he didn't manage to do is shut the car off.

Around 8 o'clock in the morning, my 13-year-old nephew Andrew was awakened by the carbon monoxide detector inside the home.  Recently a new detector was bought at my nephew's insistence. Andrew is the most responsible and wise 13-year-old I have ever known. The first thing he did was open the windows of the house.  Then he went down to the garage and found his father. When he couldn't arouse his dad, he called 911.  The police and ambulance arrived but it was too late. The police called my other sister who lives in the same town.  Within 2 years, my nephews have lost both parents.

My nephews are orphans and decisions must be made.  Here are the choices and non-choices:

1. Live with family in the Dominican Republic.  All of his family live there except one brother in New York who is not in this country legally. The children have never met the brother and they are not going to live in the Dominican Republic, a place where they've only been to once to meet their father's family. Living with Alfonso's family is not a choice.

2. Foster care.  Nope. Not even going to rationalize why this isn't a choice.

3. Maternal grandparents that live in Texas.  There are several reasons why this is not a good idea. My nephews have already changed schools after the death of their mother. Uprooting them to Texas is too much for them to handle.  I believe Iowa is a better place to raise children than South Texas. Alex is only 7 years old and by the time he graduates from high school my father will be 90 years old.  Choice #3 is better than #1 and #2, but we all agree, grandparents included, that it would be too difficult for them to raise young children.

4. My sister Deana who lives in the same city as my nephews.  They could remain in the same schools. My sister has a big enough house.  But my sister is a nurse in a hospital and she works rotating days and nights plus weekends. My brother-in-law also works rotating shifts of days, nights, and weekends. Their own 2 children are in high school and very active. Plus my sister was recently diagnosed with a chronic illness and has not yet gotten it under control.

5. Me.

After much discussion, my sister and I have decided to ask the court to grant us joint custody of our nephews. I will move from Texas to care for my nephews full time. We are unsure of a lot of things right now. Tomorrow my sister and I will be visiting the schools and meeting teachers. We need to find out how to petition the court for custody. We need to find a family lawyer.  We have no idea if my nephews will be able to remain in their home with me living there to care for them. We need to find out how to become an executor of Alfonso's estate. We need to contact Social Security (Alfonso was already receiving monthly checks after my sister's death).  So much to do.  Too overwhelming.

We will take it one day at a time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Rio?

"In the United States cockfighting is against the law in all 50 states, but is not illegal to possess, raise, train, advertise, or trade cocks or accoutrements that could be used for cockfighting. However, actively participating in a cockfight in any manner is illegal: advertising, transporting participants or spectators, placing wagers, hosting an event, etc."

If one can legally possess, raise, train, advertise, trade, or have all the paraphernalia needed for cockfighting but not actually hold a cockfight (or even be a spectator at a cockfight in 40 states), what's the point? So why do I see these chickens tethered to their A-framed houses all over southern Texas if the actual act of cockfighting is banned?

Because it is not prohibited to bring these chickens into Mexico where cockfighting is legal. In fact, I lived close to a palenque (cockfighting arena) in Reynosa, or at least that is what I was told. Never went there. I've never been to a bullfight either. I'm not exactly a PETA poster girl or animal rights activist although I did recently donate money to the Humane Society. Sorry PETA, I love chicken fajitas.

But, wait! Here is a list of items that are prohibited to bring to Mexico which does not include live chickens.

Prohibited Imports
  • Soil
  • Bales of hay, natural straw or any straw decoration
  • Homemade food items
  • Meal of bone or meat 

This means I can bring chickens raised in Texas for the purpose of vicious and cruel cockfighting to the death into Mexico, but I better leave the homemade cookies behind.

Say What?

Do you know what they call a self-help group for people who can't speak English?  It's called school.  More people in the United States should take advantage of it. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hey Grandpa, What's For Supper?

A couple years ago when I went to Ciudad Valles, the family I stayed with cooked an entire pig in a big metal pot on an open fire outside. Just like on the farm in Iowa.  "Everything but the squeal," my mom used to say.  Even the head was cooked up in the pot. I may be from Iowa but I weren't no farm gal, thank God.  I don't think I would last 2 minutes on a farm.  Head cheese is a Czech delicacy made from part of the pig's head that I just never could get into eating.  Same goes for pig's feet that was sold at our local store in Iowa. Blchhh!  And chicharrones AKA pork cracklings in Iowa.  Double blchhh!

Here is a list of some vittles straight out of a Beverly Hillbilly's menu that I have tried and my reactions:

1. Snapping turtle out of the Mississippi River. My step-grandfather Butch was a butcher. His real name was Emmett, but you can guess how he got his nickname.  I was with him when he found this turtle. It took hours to prepare in a slow cooker, but, gosh darn, it was good.
Butch butchering the turtle

2. Crawdad.  They're OK, but a lot of effort for very little meat. And sucking juice out of the head is kind of gross.

3. Pheasant that my dad shot for Thanksgiving. Tastes like chicken.  We had more fun making head bands with the feathers.

4. Rabbit that my dad also hunted. I guess it tastes like rabbit.

5. Mushrooms from the forest across the road from our house next to Coralville Lake.  Morels in the spring and the goat's beard in the fall.  The true Czechs love mushrooms so much that we even have a festival called Houby Days.

6. Venison.  Duh, I'm from Iowa. Everyone from Iowa has eaten deer at least once. We got too many deer even in the middle of the city. They thought my tulips were their personal smorgasbord planted just for their eating pleasure.

7. Alligator.  It was fried up like chicken nuggets.  It was pretty good but a little tougher than chicken.

8.  Rattlesnake meat... just a couple weeks ago. I went to a party and this guy pulls a frozen skinned serpent out of the freezer and commenced to chopping it up for grilling.  He caught it on his ranch in South Texas.  It had a bit of a game flavor.  I couldn't choke down any more than one eensy, teensy,  itty-bitty bite because my brain rejected it based on the fact that it was RATTLESNAKE meat.
Rattlesnake meat
Freddy eating rattlesnake meat

Me, choking down a sliver of rattlesnake meat

You can imagine what I thought when this same guy pulls another bag out of the freezer containing a skinned and gutted ARMADILLO.   Do people really eat them things?  Seriously?  I gotta draw the line somewhere. Armadillo is that line.
skinned and frozen armadillo

What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tattooed Eyebrows - Ladies, It Is Not A Good Look

One evening a few weeks ago during the course of conversation with my sister who lives in Iowa, I asked if she sees a lot of woman with tattooed eyebrows. She said no, but she would keep an eye out for women who felt the need for a permanent displacement of their eyebrows.  She called me back a few weeks later and reported no sightings.  She stated that although she was not blessed in the eyebrow department herself, she would not be getting tattooed arched brows that look like they were drawn with a sharpie.

It seems to be epidemic in the Texas Valley and the Mexican frontier.  I implore anyone who is thinking of doing it PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON'T!!!!

Ladies, it is not a good look.

Disclaimer: I took (stole) these images off the internet because I am not comfortable going up to women and asking if I can take photos of their ugly eyebrows. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Am American and You Are Not

The title of this post might seem like I'm spoilin' for a fight but I am not so read on...

Twice it has been brought up to me, once by a Mexican and the other by a Honduran, that Americans (meaning born in the USA) feel we are the only ones to own the label American.  They felt they should be called American too. I chewed on this for a while.   Then it hit me one day as I entered Mexico. Bienvenidos a Estados Unidos Mexicanos said the sign.  Welcome to the United Mexican States.  Therefore people born there are Mexicans. And North Americans.  And if you were born in Canada (official name is Canada - I googled it), then you are Canadian and North American.   I was born in the United States of America so I am American and North American.  Earth shattering news, right?

And my friend from Honduras?  I have news for him. He was born in the Republic of Honduras. He is Honduran and Central American (and Catracho because Hondurans are called that for some reason and, no, I haven't bothered googling it yet).   If he were born just a few miles away in Belize, he would have been Belizean and Central American.  But today I will label him Butthead because he is stubborn as all can get out. I like to get the last word and so I will say to my Honduran friend AKA Butthead.... "I am American and you are not. Nahhhh." (tongue sticking out).   

But it doesn't mean I am better than you.  Nor does it mean you are better than me because you are not American.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Article from The Monitor about my Reynosa experiences

I'm using the last minute of my 15 minutes of fame by self-promoting the article about my Reynosa experiences. It was in The Monitor, McAllen, Texas last Sunday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Texas DMV (Department of Motherf@#$ing Vampires)

I've been told that 2 major job requirements to work for the Texas DMV are one must pass a bitch test (both male and females) and pass a class on crabby-face making.

I recently purchased a 1999 Mercury Sable with a registration in Texas that expired a year ago. Not a problem in Iowa. I would just have to pay the registration to current, pay taxes, and get my registration transferred to my name.  Yesterday I went to the Texas DMV where they promptly rejected my application, confiscated the title, stated the title was bad, and gave me two phone numbers to call.  WTF?  Before leaving the building, because I knew that nothing could ever be done by phone, I called the numbers.  No answer to both of them.  Marching back to the desk of the confiscator and using my soft voice, I politely pointed out that no one answered and asked what should I do?  Feeling the steely eyes bearing down on me, she gave me an address where I may go to find a fraud investigator. Are you kidding me?  Holding up the line because I refuse to move until I am satisfied with the explanation as to what is wrong with the title, the woman lost patience and pointed to the empty space where a date should have been filled in..... TWO OWNERS AGO!!!!!   I should have seen this coming.  Back when I registered my old truck, I was given grief because the title was missing the dealer's ID.  That time I went out to the parking lot, made up a number, took it back in, was given more grief because THREE owners ago did not sign off the title using his middle initial. After several consultations, paper shuffling, hemming and hawing, they went ahead, probably against their better judgment, and registered my truck.  Not this time.  I would have gone to the parking lot and filled in the date EXCEPT they took away my title and gave me a photocopy.  They're on to me.

Off to another location (about 10 miles away) for fraud investigations I went to be informed that I could bring in the original offender and have them correct it.  Pointing out that it was 2 owners ago who didn't fill in the date and that the state of Texas had registered it even after the omission fell on deaf ears.  My other option (and this is where it gets complicated) is to pay $40 for a fraud investigation, fill out a bunch of forms, go to yet another location about 10 miles away, fill out more forms, get a rejection letter, go to my insurance office and purchase insurance for a bond, wait several days for the bond, and then go back to the same office of the fraud investigators. Make sure to bring license, proof of insurance, and current state of Texas inspection sticker.  All for a missing date.

I paid the bloodsuckers because my only other option is to make it a yard decoration. For $40 a man with a gun but no uniform (because car fraud investigations is a dangerous job) came out to the vehicle and looked at my door, the VIN, and glanced at the motor for a second. That's it.  Next stop 10 miles away is another DMV office where a sourpuss face woman shoved more forms at me and then shuffled papers for about a half hour pointing with her 10 inch nails information that I must fill in. Some of the questions were weird like "Was the vehicle manufactured for the United States?"  Uh, gee, I guess so.  Sourpuss told me that I must answer yes or no.  My favorite question, and I quote, "Address of where vehicle is currently located."  I ask Sourpuss if should use the DMV address because that is where it is currently located. Sourpuss looks grim as she informs me that I should not be driving a vehicle without plates. Really? No response from Sourpuss when I asked her if the fraud investigator with gun makes house calls.  Finally the paper shuffling is finished and she tapped the stack of papers to line up for stapling. AHA!  Finished at last. But, wait. NO!  She actually got the staple remover, removed the freaking staple, retapped everything to make SURE that the edges lined up perfectly, and restapled them.  Then told me to have a GOOD DAY.   I got even with her. I stole her pen.

Last stop was my insurance company to request a bond. It will take a few days, but these people are nice. Hopefully, by the end of the week I will have everything I need for registration. Hopefully, I will remember to take my tranquility pills with a couple shots of tequila before I go.  If I get booked for DUI, you'll know why.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sam (April 27, 1992 - October 6, 2011)

I remember the day you adopted us. It was a fairly nice October day in 1992. We were holding a funeral service for Barky, the hamster, under the big oak tree by the creek in our back yard in Iowa.  You showed up unannounced and did figure-eights around our legs as we laid Barky to rest.  You followed us home like a puppy dog.  You hung out on the front steps for three days eating the tuna the kids left for you. On the third day while I was cooking I saw a four-legged gray creature stroll across the kitchen floor.  I yelled at the top of my lungs (kids’ bedroom was upstairs), “Hey, what’s this cat doing in the house?”  Eric, then 6 years old, declared it was too cold outside and he begged to let kitty in. Uh, yeah, too late kid, you already did.  It was a cold, raw, rainy day just before Halloween.  How could I say no?  It just took an open door and you were home.  For the next 19 years.

I remember the days when you played Nintendo batting your paws to get at Mario and Luigi.  You earned many nicknames.  Mr. Sam Katze, Sammy, Samuel, Chester Cheeto, and my favorite, Samuel Satan Kitty. My sister Lynn gave you the last name because of the time you bit her on the ankle. I know you were pissed because we dared to go on vacation without you and left you home alone with Lynn tending to your needs. The name Chester Cheeto came from another time we went on vacation and Brian left a bowl of Cheetos in his room. We came home to piles of orange remnants all over the carpet from the Cheetos you consumed. You really did like people and didn’t like being left alone. Whenever the doorbell rang you were there to greet the company. 

Speaking of your favorite foods, besides tuna, how about all the cornbread you consumed?  Phil brilliantly thought he could cover the cornbread with saran wrap and keep your nose out of the pan. HA!  You sure showed him over and over again that saran wrap was no challenge to keep you out of that delicious treat.  How about the times I caught you stealing chicken wings and the kids’ pancake breakfast off the table? Oh, yes, we went around and around about you being on the counters.  I could hear you slinking about the counters, yell from the other room, and hear you plop your butt down. I tried all the tricks to keep you off.  Squirt guns, upside-down mouse traps covered with newspapers, sprays. Nothing worked. Even in your old age you still had the agility to hop up and look around for something delicious to eat.

We all thought you would live forever.  We noticed the weight loss a few months ago but you had a good appetite until a few days ago. You knew it was time to go.  I still wake up in the morning thinking I better  get up and hand deliver your breakfast.  After 19 years it is hard to change the routine.  But you are in heaven now and we will all be together again some day.  I hope God doesn’t mind you jumping up on his kitchen counters, eating cornbread and Cheetos, and stealing pancakes and chicken wings. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hmmmm. Something To Think About

The following is an anonymous comment posted on Borderland Beat about Texas as a combat zone in the narco-wars.

Why can't the US get the money the smugglers are charging? $5000 sounds like a good fee to come and work. Allow them to come for 18 months if they can pass a background check, give them a temp tax number that they have to pay into if they want to come back, we can offer them temp drivers license for work, we know where they are, and if they don't go home you floor the shit out of them.

I would be interested in knowing what the general America public thinks of this?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Riding Mexican Style

I really wanted to post a photo of the man I saw outside the OXXO with his underwear on the outside of his pants, but my conscience got the better of me.

So, instead, here's a recent photo of public transportation, Mexican style.  I assume the the guard rails serve as well as seat belts.

P.S. The black & white photos are just to show you all how artistic I am, or the fact that I somehow changed my camera to take b&w photos and don't know how to change it back.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Too Much Alcohol = Bad Decisions

Here's a newsworthy item.  It turns out that I know I make bad decisions when I drink, but I just couldn't give a shit. So that time when I fell off the wagon back in '95 (and I mean literally I fell off the wagon), I can't blame it on the alcohol.  I really think it was the fault of the man with the chainsaw.

Monday, September 19, 2011


**Warning**  Cover the children's and dog's ears because some of the following language may be unsuitable for them.

I've been expanding my university learned Spanish vocabulary for about 3 years now.  And by expanding I mean the language that is used every day on the streets. For example:

University Spanish - Hola. ¿Como esta usted?
Street Spanish - Hey! Que onda guey!

In these years I've learned a fair amount of typical "chavo" or guy speak.  Chingado (chingada for the ladies) means fucker, not to be confused with "cogelon" ( again, cogelona for the ladies) which means one who likes to fuck.  I've learned that "huevon" means lazy ass and "que pedo?" literally means "what fart?" but actually translates better as "what's going on?"  A "chela" is a cold beer. My personal favorite is "cabron" which literally means goat but being called a goat in Spanish must be insulting. Try calling someone a goat in English and they'll look at you kind of strange unless you add "old" because that's what my grandma used to called Grandpa, deservedly, I might add.  I could go on and on about the finer points of the more colorful Spanish language but there are websites already dedicated for that purpose here and here.

So I would like to know how I managed miss something as simple as "sip" and "simon" for 3 years?  It's only been lately that I hear "seeeeep" and "seeeeeee-moan" all the time.  I finally figured out the saying "sip" is like saying "yup" and "simon" is like saying "yeah, man".  Do Spanish speakers say "nop" for no?

Speaking of the word "no" reminds me of a story that happened in the Czech Republic, where I have by my last estimation about 2000 Czech cousins.  I knew that the word ANO means yes in Czech, and a completely different meaning in Spanish (anus), but the Czechs shorten to it just 'NO.  Watching a couple of Czech speaking cousins have a conversation while one repeatedly says "no, no, no, no" while nodding their head up and down in agreement totally boggles my mind. Try it!  It will mess with your mind.

What it all boils down to is yeah, yup, sip, simon, 'no, ano, all equal YES. Sip? 'No?  OK, YEAH!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vinnie's Happy Teeth

Hate going to the dentist?  Don't worry, your teeth will be happy after a couple drinks at Vinnie's place in Progreso, Mexico. Just don't drool in my drink and, hopefully, I won't in yours.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Iowa I-80 Song

Check out this out if you would like to see a short video of my recent trip to my home state of Iowa.


I feel it is my duty to educate the people here in Southern Texas and Reynosa about how to eat corn from Iowa. We DO NOT put anything but butter and salt on our corn.  A little pepper (optional) is also permissible.  We DO NOT allow mayonnaise, chile, or cheese.  We also DO NOT allow guacamole as this young man slathered on my most excellent Iowa corn. After I took his photo, I took him outside and had him hanged from the tallest tree which around here is about 5 feet. Thank goodness he isn't too short or I would be in jail although I believe I would have gotten off for justifiable homicide.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Redneck Iowa Hunts Illegal Immigrants

If there is one thing I don't like about Iowa, it must be the rednecks.  I'm not talking about the good ol' boys.  I kind of like them. I have several cousins of the farming, hunting, fishing sort who love their trucks. They're all right. I'm talking about the narrow-minded, clueless idiots.  And none of my cousins slap stickers on their trucks especially like this one.

I found this bumper sticker for sale at Terrible's gas station next to the casino in southwest Iowa right next to the anti-Obama stickers. Behind it was the chewing tobacco case where the woman with multiple tattoos and piercings was standing. Kind of goes hand in hand, I guess. When the man working there asked me why I took a photo, I told him in a quiet and low voice, "I was going to buy a pop, but now I am too disgusted." And I quietly left the store. Too bad it was already after I bought my gas.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Food A La Potosina

Bocoles, carnitas, frijoles, flan, salsa toreador, chilaquiles, menudo, budin azteca, huevos a la mexicana, huevos con chorizo, papas, lasagna (OK, that one, which I made, is not technically in the food of San Luis Potosi category).tamales, nopales, arroz, pollo mole, topped off by a McDonalds sundae = I AM ON A FRIGGIN' DIET

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Toilet Ladies

I found the Toilet Ladies to go with the Toilet Horsemen in San Luis Potosi.  Ride 'em cowboy. Yee haw.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

116 Degrees But It Is Only 110 In The Shade and Update About My Breakup With Boyfriend Gregg

Who is crazier?  Me, who lived in Reynosa, or these guys playing golf in Tulsa, Oklahoma when it is 116 degrees?  The good news is it was only 110 by 8 o'clock in the evening... in the shade. The bad news is they are predicting it will be even hotter today.

And now for the latest news about my budding romance with boyfriend Gregg Anderson who was born at Utah.

  • Are you married? Do you have children? I have 2 sons but I would like to have more children some day.

  • Rita's note: I almost choked when I wrote the line "I would like to have more children". But in the interest of good investigative journalism, I had to lie. 

    • Hi Rita, I am not married and I am looking forward to starting something wonderful with you, something that can last forever and I do not have kids and don't mind more kids though am ready to take your kids as the blood of my blood and the flesh of my flesh. How are you and how is your Sunday going? I am really looking forward to getting to meet you and pass time together and I want something that would last forever and someone we can grow old together. Where are the kids presently and what are your interests? Looking forward to hear from you soon.

      • Hi Rita, Please find time to read my email to you on your G mail in-box as I have been shy to come out straight but I opened up and expressed myself to you in the poems I sent you on there. Thinking about having more kids, I don't think I would like you to go through the pains of labor considering your age. I just want our happiness together and want us to be a mirror of Christ to the world and grow old together.Really cant wait to meet and chat with you. Yours forever, Gregg

        Rita's note:  I think he just called me OLD so this romance is off to a good start.  I looked for the poems because you all know I am a sap for such lovey dovey stuff, but I couldn't find them.  

        • How did you find me? I've been praying to find someone who will accept me and love me even though I suffer from polydactyly (extra fingers and toes) and strabismus (crossed eyes). I am a widow but my husband had a very good insurance policy so I don't have to work. 

          • On your blogpage

            I wonder if he has figured this out yet. Stay tuned for more updates. 

            Gregg has broken up with me. You have to read the comments to see how he feels. My heart is broken, but we're still facebook friends. He did leave me this parting shot on an instant message...

            "All I wanted was just true love and someone to be happy with forever and I thank God that he revealed what you were made up of to me through my cousin"

Friday, July 29, 2011

More Weird Emails

I had this friend request on Facebook from this dude for a while.  I was thinking he might be someone from high school.  I remember the night of graduation whispering to my seat mates, ¨Who the hell is that?¨  We only had close to 500 in our graduating class and there were several people who walked the stage to receive their diplomas that I did not recognize.  Yes, this was in Iowa I say to the skeptics who don´t believe there are more than 500 people in the entire state. So I checked out the profile to discover there was very little information about this guy. He is self employed, born in 1961, has a total of 3 friends, and says this about himself...¨I am a gentle and easy going man, someone who knows what he wants and is very straight forward. I love worshiping the Lord and winning souls for him.¨  There is one photo of him fishing on a boat. So ya´ll are thinking, ¨Yeah, right.¨ Well, me too. I didn´t accept him as a friend right away. I was waiting to see what his wall might say. He seemed new to Facebook and I thought I would just do the wait and see approach.  About a week ago, I accidentally accepted his friendship (yes, it was accidental!) and I´ve gotten a flood of weird emails since then. No biggie. I am getting used to them.

Gregg Anderson
  • Hi Rita, how are you doing?
  • H iRita, Thanks for the friendship invite acceptance , could you add me up on yahoo so we could get to talk and know more about each other? I am really looking forward to know you more and hopefully get along with you. Stay blessed and I hope to talk soon. Gregg
Rita´s note: Seriously, who says ¨friendship invite acceptance¨and ¨stay blessed¨ unless they are from some other country let´s say like NIGERIA?  Or Germany?  I would prefer to pick on the French.  Ok, folks, read on.

  •  Where are you from?
  • Hi Rita, i am from Utah and I would like to get to know you more and hopefully even meet for us to get along. Are you a Christian? what are your interests and when are you normally online? I look forward to chatting with you soon. Do have a blessed night with sweet dreams. You are on my mind and in my prayers. Gregg
Gregg AndersonI
  • Hi Rita, How are you and how has your day been? Did you get my previous emails? I hope you are doing good, I have been waiting to hear from you. Could you please write me to let me know you are okay and doing fine? Gregg...

Rita Gervais
  • I am working on my dissertation focusing on linguistic features of African English.  Due to the spread of English to so many parts of the world which was triggered during the colonial era and by migration of English-speaking people, the importance of English not only as a language of commerce by swindling, but also as an international language of communication has been realized.
Gregg Anderson
  • Hi Rita, how are the boys doing and how did your evening go yesterday? I was hoping we could talk last night but guess we missed each other online. I would like you to send me some pictures of you and the kids and also let me know when we can talk.Looking forward to talk with you soon, have a blessed night with sweet dreams. Gregg..
Gregg Anderson
  • Hi Rita, I have your thoughts on my mind and just find it difficult to catch some sleep since i got up. I wrote you on your email sometimes back and never got a response from you. Could you please write me? mine is gregganderson45@yahoo.com and don't forget the pictures aiight. Want you to know you are always on my mind and in my thoughts. Really can't wait to talk with you and i hope we can figure out getting to talk soon.Sleep tight with sweet dreams. Gregg.. 

How long should I keep playing with this dude?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weird Emails

I´ve had the same email address since the beginning of gmail time. I got to pick what I wanted with my first name, middle initial, and first letter of my last name. Since I´ve had this email address for years, it is plastered all over the internet on my facebook, blog, genealogy sites, and probably in dozens of other places I don´t even remember. So why all the sudden am I getting a rash of weird emails?  I just posted on my blog an email I received about orange stunt scooter that I ordered, in Euros I might add, and then the follow up email telling me my credit card information was no good and would I please click on the link and fill in all my credit card information. I still haven´t received the scooter.

I still get a lot of emails in the form of the famous Nigerian scams about a rich widow needing help getting her 38.72 million dollars out of her corrupt country. I still haven´t been able to collect on any of the millions owed to me for helping. Besides the emails trying to give me millions of dollars, here are a few others that I have received recently.

I had been getting emails about how I need to bring my BMW for servicing and take a survey about my new car from a dealership in Macon, GA. After several attempts of getting me off the list, I called their number and told them I was not happy with their service and could I please talk to the owner. I think they put the sales manager on the line and I repeated that I was not happy. I told him I could not take their surveys or bring my BMW in for servicing because I hadn´t received my car yet. He took my name and number and said he would get back to me. Never heard back. Never got another email. I still haven´t received my BMW.

Here´s one I got this morning. Using my excellent linguistic skills, I didn´t think it is a scam but I replied nonetheless asking Ms. Nielsen to please ask the Nigerians to deposit the money owed to me in my account. She did reply stating, in English, stating ¨sorry, this message was not for you.¨
Hej Rita

I skulle fremover få alle kontoudskrifter via Jeres netbank. (Noget, du har mailet til Jane om.) Med venlig hilsen
Helle Dahm Nielsen
Danske Bank
Seest Afdeling
Telefon +45 45 12 13 50

Also, this morning I received 2 emails about the hard drive I ordered from Novatech. This email looks legit except for two things... I did not order a hard drive and my name, the last I knew, is not Mr. Alix Dafar, the person to whom hard drive was being ¨despatched¨. (I checked online and despatch is one of those British deviant words like colour and favourite)  What is interesting is the followup email spells it dispatch and gives me a tracking number for Parcelforce. I still haven´t been told that my credit card is no good and could I please click on their link and put all of my personal information on their handy little form so they can bilk me out of thousands of dollars before I catch on I´ve been scammed.

Another email list from which I can not be removed is about politics..... in Argentina. I have enough trouble following politics in my own country. I´ll be dog-gonned if I will follow the politicians of Argentina. Marcos Fiori, if you read this, I may be calling the press and telling them about our years long love affair.  About as many years as I have been on your emailing list. The one you refuse to remove me from .

Of course, there´s all kinds of emails I receive from friends and family, especially the joke passers. I don´t mind an occasional joke, especially if it is a good one. But, geez, I know some people who will send me like 30 a day. I hope Mom isn´t reading this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walmart San Luis Potosi

Walmart SLP does not have:
1. Blocks of mozarella cheese. They do have little bags of mozarella cheese at $48 pesos each ($4.20 USD)
2. Ricotta cheese.
3. Any bra larger than a C cup.

Walmart SLP does have:
1. A Samsung LED 40" TV for sale for only $13,990.00 pesos which is about $1217 USD.  Sounds bad enough in pesos but over a grand for a TV of this size???? Seriously?
2. Lasagna noodles (not precooked) that fall apart when boiled.
3. Pot roast, but only 1 was available weighing .8 kilos (about 2 pounds) and cost $208.50 pesos which my handy dandy calculator tells me is $18.  That wouldn't feed me and my folks let alone the average Mexican family.

Overall I am not impressed with Walmart SLP. I prefer shopping at the local mom and pop shop located on every block and I'll just eat Mexican food. Except menudo.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Toilet Horsemen

Ladies, in case you ever see this on a bathroom door, you might not want to enter. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors where there are Toilet Horsemen?

OSHA Recordables in San Luis Potosi

One should never bite the hand that feeds you, but...

This is a shop that creates uniforms for schools and I needed to go to the bathroom.  First I trekked down the path between machines with moving parts. Then carefully tiptoed up the stairs bypassing the broken step. The bathroom is now at the opposite end of the building so I hugged the wall and walked sideways so I wouldn´t fall through the big gaping holes in the floor.  You can see my foot by one of the gaping holes.

And to flush the toilet?  I had to stick my hand inside the tank and pull the plunger up. Sorry, no photos for that one folks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Nigerman Email

Apparently I ordered something from Hockeyoffice.com and, darn, my credit card is no good. So, of course, I followed the directions of this following email.  I hope whatever I ordered arrives soon. I will be waiting impatiently by my mailbox.  I highlighted in red my favorite parts for ya´ll to enjoy.

fromHockeyzentrale TEAM info@hockeyzentrale.de


dateTue, Jul 19, 2011 at 1:56 AM
subjectyour order 60825
Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.

Dear Customer,
Unfortunatelly, your payment with the creditcard didn't work.
Please notice that we don't accept any debit card. We just accept Visa or Mastercard.
Please do the payment again by using the follwing link:
or pay by using another payment method. We also offer cash on delivery (we will charge an
extra postage of EUR 14,00) or pay in advance and transfer the money to our bank account.

Account owner: Image Sport & Event GmbH
Account number: 499811
Bank code number: 25050180
Bank: Sparkasse Hannover
IBAN: DE45250501800000499811, BIC: SPKHDE2H or SPKHDE2HXXX

Another way ist the payment with paypal. In this case you have to transfer the money to:
In this case you transfer to:

Please visit www.paypal.com for more information
We will send the ordered items as soon as we received the money.

Best regards,

Diese EMAILS bearbeiten ein TEAM bitte beachten Sie das sie den Mailverkehr
immer drin lassen! Damit wir die Kommunikation sehen können.
Hockeyzentrale.de Die Nr.1 im Inlinehockey

Image Sport & Event GmbH
Rendsburger Straße 14-16
D-30659 Hannover

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Outrageous - Woman Attacked By Dogs, Police Refuse To Charge Owner

A woman was attacked by the neighbor's 2 pitbulls in her own yard and will have scars for the rest of her life. Yet, incredible as it may seem, the McAllen police refuse to press charges as the woman wished. What does it take to have the dog owner charged?  Her death?  And I thought the police in Mexico were worthless. Now I will have to add the McAllen Police Department to that list. I'm sure this woman has had a dozen lawyers contact her by now to sue the neighbor.  An irresponsible pet owner needs to be taught a lesson and a woman needs to be compensated for her injuries and permanent scars.  Just for the record, I do not know this woman or the neighbor.  I'm just an outraged viewer of local news and couldn't believe it when the police did nothing. Please read the following story and tell me if you are as dumbfounded by the police's response as I am.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How To Give Your Cat A Pill

I took Sammy to the vet last Saturday.  He's been meowing like crazy especially at night so I googled what might be the cause. One of causes could be he is wanting to check out the neighborhood lady cat.  He's been neutered for 18 of his 19 years and even if he wasn't neutered, I think he would need Viagra for cats at his age.

From the Odor Destroyer website: Excessive meowing and your cat’s health

When cats get old, they may meow more because they’re disoriented, confused, or feeling needy. Some old cats may meow excessively. This usually happens when they begin to lose their cognitive functions. If they’re meowing more loudly than they used to, they could be losing their hearing and be unable to hear themselves as well at their normal volume. If your cat’s excessive meowing is possibly because of a health problem, take your cat to a veterinarian to have your cat checked for any problems.

Basically, he is either going senile or has some health related problem. Senile cats?  My mom seems to think so because he is chasing things that aren't there. He seemed to be eating and sleeping enough and the sandbox is always needing to be cleaned. So off to the vet we went. Sammy has always weighed 10.5 pounds his entire life. What a shock I got when he weighed in only at 8.8 pounds. How could I not notice the weight loss?  He goes back next Monday for a checkup.  The cost?  $30 including medicine because his vet is in Reynosa.  For many things, the cost of living is not cheaper in Mexico. But, thank goodness, the vet isn't one of them. Every time I took him to the vet in Iowa, it was a $100 dollars. I think his Iowa vet's cash register is stuck on $100 because that's what everything costs at his place. Mr. Reynosa Vet said his teeth are in bad condition and gave me pills to shove down his throat and a paste to stuff in his mouth. Sammy has always been fed the Science Diet but now I am supplementing it with soft food twice a day.  I remember getting a joke a few years ago about giving a cat a pill so I searched the archives of my email.  I pasted it here for you all to enjoy what I've experienced this week.

  1. Sit on sofa. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your elbow as though you were going to give a bottle to a baby. Talk softly to it.
  2. With right hand, position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. (be patient) As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow. Drop pill into mouth. Let go of cat, noticing the direction it runs.
  3. Pick the pill up off the floor and go get the cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process. Sit on floor in kitchen, wrap arm around cat as before, drop pill in mouth. Let go of cat, noticing the direction it runs.
  4. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away. Scoot across floor to pick up pill, and go find the cat. Bring it back into the kitchen. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten. Drop pill into mouth.
  5. Pry claws from back legs out of your arm. Go get the cat, pick up half-dissolved pill from floor and drop it into garbage can.
  6. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of closet. Call spouse from backyard. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.
  7. Retrieve cat from curtain rod, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered Doulton figures from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
  8. Get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
  9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
  10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with rubber band.
  11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw T-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.
  12. Call fire department to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take another pill from foil wrap.
  13. Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed, force cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour one cup of water down throat to wash pill down.
  14. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call at furniture shop on way home to order new table.
  15. Get last pill from bottle. Go into bathroom and get a fluffy towel. Stay in the bathroom with the cat, and close the door.
  16. Sit on bathroom floor, wrap towel around kitty, leaving only his head exposed. Cradle kitty in the crook of your arm, and pick up pill off of counter.
  17. Retrieve cat from top of shower door (you didn't know that cats can jump 5 feet straight up in the air, did you?), and wrap towel around it a little tighter, making sure its paws can't come out this time. With fingers at either side of its jaw, pry it open and pop pill into mouth. Quickly close mouth (his, not yours).
  18. Sit on floor with cat in your lap, stroking it under the chin and talking gently to it for at least a half hour, while the pill dissolves.
  19. Unwrap towel, open bathroom door. Wash off scratches in warm soapy water, comb your hair, and go find something to occupy your time for 7-1/2 hours.
  20. Arrange for SPCA to get cat and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wanna Buy My Ferrari?

On the way to work Friday morning (which really sucked, by the way, cuz when I arrived I was stuck in a 4 hour BORING meeting all in Spanish so that's why I wrote this blog on a piece of paper to make it look like I was taking notes but I got this cool piece of paper that says I concluded the program), I saw a truck with a big red chicken decal on the back window. No words. Nothing to explain why the owner placed a big red chicken on his truck. Inquiring minds want to know.

Some car decals make sense. A very popular one is a tribute to some loved one who has died including their name, dates, and epitaph like "En las manos de dios" which means "In the hands of God".  Some are silly like the boy from Calvin & Hobbes peeing. I've read in the newspapers that the Mexican drug cartels use decals like John Deere to identify each other. Sorta puts a whole new meaning in John Deere's slogan, "Nothing runs like a Deere."  The latest trend is to sticker up the car, SUV, truck, and maybe even the John Deere tractor with Ferrari decals. This I don't get. Do they believe they'll fool me into thinking their Dodge truck is a Ferrari?  Well, if that works, I'm fixin' to slap a bunch of Ferrari stickers on my old pickup truck.  Maybe I can fool someone into buying it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Big News Day

I can't decide which is bigger news to lead in the big news day so I will start in order in which things happened.

Mexican soldiers are taking over police duties in Reynosa.  I saw them today.  The soldiers are fashionably dressed in black and riding around in municipal police trucks.  I'll have to check with my sources to see if the Vista Hermosa neighborhood and its drug cartel members are still being guarded by members of the new police force.  I'll also check if the infamous drug corner is still paying out members of the police force to remain in business.  Maybe I'll drop in to the local municipal police substation to find out if the police commander is still extorting requesting donations to pay for his daughter's quinceañera.  Er, nope, on second thought I'll scratch that last one off the list.

And the other big news today is it rained the first time since September. I was confused at first when I saw wet stuff falling from the sky.  Long term memory recall took over and I remembered that it was called rain. Buckets of rain. I thought that the ground would be so parched it would suck it up faster than it came down. Nope. Even the earth around us forgot what to do with rain and the water just sat there in giant lakes all over the valley. Our school yard became the school swimming pool.  The evil plan I had concocted was foiled by the rain.  Today was the last day of school for students and I bought a bunch of candy for bingo prizes.  I planned to sugar-up the kids and send them home to their parents to drive them crazy. Muahahahahahaha.  My plan backfired when the thunderstorm rolled in and the electricity was cut off at 1 PM for the rest of the afternoon.  Without electronic gadgetry or even sufficient light to play board games it was tough to keep the sugar-filled kids from bouncing off walls.  I was ready to send them out to the swimming pool while it was thundering and lightning.  I created my own monster but I survived another day to make it back to Reynosa tomorrow.  Unless the former police commander is out looking for me.