Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another Great Weekend

The rains haven't let up and the weekend has been gray and soggy.   Yesterday we hung around the house and had the gardener helping us with yard work and the pool.   I had quite a long nap yesterday and when I woke up we decided to go downtown to the Rio Santa Lucia to see a free show called Fous de Bassin which is like Cirque de Soliel but on water.   It was unbelievable.  The traffic, mostly due to a new metro line being built, was a nightmare.  Once we did arrive to the riverwalk, the four story parking garage was almost full.   We took the elevator down to the ground floor and when we walked out to the river there was a maze of thousands of people.  I've never seen such a crowd in all my time in Monterrey.  So good to see that people are out and about and life is good here.   The show was difficult to see through the crowds and I imagine many people arrived hours before.   It was a bizarre show but truly delightful with fireworks at the end not to mention the music that was piped throughout the rivewalk sound system.

Sunday at the house is always our big breakfast day.  During the week I'm usually fed oatmeal and black bananas.  Today was the usually fantastic huevos rancheros with papas con chorizo and refried beans.  A slice of panela cheese on the side really topped it off.
I also have been working with some inexpensive LED lights Juan picked up here in town.  I want to make a pyramid lamp that we can use in the house and the rv.   These are small squares and it would make a very easy job and something kind of attractive too.  They really light up the room.

I spent most of the day working on my PowerPoint presentation for my talk at the convention in Puebla next month.  It is coming along well.  I'm trying to do it with all visuals and the least amount of text possible.  When there is text, teachers in the audience do a lot of note taking from the screen along with photos of my intellectual property and they don't seem to listen as well. 
We had our monthly beef dinner.  Two delicious rib eyes on the grill along with fresh veggies and a bottle of wine.  That's how it ends and tomorrow I have a list of pendientes (things to do) and I will give you a rundown after I am finished.  I have an appointment with the American consulate on Tuesday at 10:15.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Rough Couple of Days

I took my trip to Dallas on Tuesday and all went fine.  I arrived on time, picked up the rental car and headed to the hotel in time for the manager's happy hour.  I took a few minutes to drive by the school which was nearby to make sure it was easy to find.  The hotel room was pretty standard and I didn't get such a good night's sleep for some odd reason.

The event the next day was also pretty standard except for one thing.   I had 150 students in a fairly new school.  Too much politics today for me.    I noticed on this trip to the U.S., from the trip, the hotel to the school, being politically correct is even bigger than ever.   Everyone is on watch to make sure they don't make any comments, movements, or judgements that someone somewhere might find offense no matter if another person is right or wrong.   Kind of like losing your freedom of speech.   Also, on the plane, in the airport, the rental car shuttle, I realized how lucky I have been in my life to not have a corporate job.   I left that years ago and even then I could see it going on.  Being able to talk the talk, dress the walk, knowing corporate lingo and watching people walk over everyone else to get ahead.   I wouldn't want to be a 25 year old in today's business world.  Am I being politically correct here?

Bad news on this trip is I lost my passport.   I think it slipped through a slot in my computer bag that is used for sticking a doubled up newspaper into.   I boarded the plane with the passport and boarding pass in hand.  I put it into the zippered side bag but it may have been the part mentioned above.   Anyway, I continue to check with both airports and the airline and have an appointment next week with the consulate here in Monterrey.  The American Airlines lost and found department doesn't talk to you in person.  You are instructed to leave a message with your email.  If it is not found, they will not contact you.  So you don't know if they got your info or not.   Not a big deal, I had one year left on a 10 year passport.

The rv park is still a ghost town.   I took advantage of the gym and the jacuzzi over the last few days.  I need to get an adjuster to look at one of the slides on the rv.   I complained about a grapefruit tree next door that kept getting in the way and I think I may have been the top of the slideout on a branch.  It sticks out about half an inch at the top corner on one side.   Maybe my imagination.

Oh, did I tell you my return flight was delayed?  Original take off was 6:50.  The flight was delayed 45 minutes for lack of an on-time crew.   After getting up in the air, we returned to DFW because of a supposed hydraulic fluid leak.  We were on the ground for a couple of hours until they determined it was a faulty gauge in the cockpit but the mechanic assured us that the fluid levels were full.   Needless to say, we smelled something like oil or rubber burning in the ventalation system.  It went away after about 20 minutes.  

Back home here in Monterrey for two weeks before heading to Corpus Christi.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Harrowing Story . . . Of Survival

Yesterday, I received an email from our friends Pat and Mike in Simcoe.  We met them in the Rio Grande Valley a couple of winters ago.   They are fun people and have become friends.  Our visit with them in Simcoe this summer was the best.   I posted many pictures from our adventures together including a trip to the lake, visiting historic sites and hanging out together for some great meals. 
In her mail, Pat told me they were returning from a short trip in their Roadtrek.   All of a sudden, Mike was driving across the median and heading into the woods on the other side.  They slammed into a tree which stopped them from careening over a cliff.   Things came flying out at them from the overhead cabinets.   Mike was able to get out and call for help.   Pat suffered severe whiplash and Mike is now undergoing tests to see what caused his blackout. 
I just want them to know that we are so happy that they are okay and that the powers that be were on their side.   The Roadtrek is dust but it can always be replaced, but friends can't.  Well, we won't be seeing them this winter but I hope we meet up again soon.  Get well soon guys and get back out there on the road.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Made It To The RGV

We took off on time and it was pouring down rain.  I pulled out the VW so we could get the rv out and I put it close to the sidewalk.   I got the rv out, I was worried about all the water and mud but I pulled it right out no problem.  I slowly take off down the road and I don't see Juan moving in the VW.  He calls me and says the car is stuck in the mud.  I started to back up and then I saw him coming down the road.  He was able to get out.
A quick stop for gas and air and off we went down the highway to Monterrey.  Town was pretty empty with the rain and the fact that it is sort of a four-day weekend with the Independence celebrations and early morning.   Juan passed me about two miles before the convention center so he could go park the VW.  He was there waiting when I arrived.   You do this so much in your lifetime we forgot we were going to Reynosa and almost headed to Laredo.  As he got in the car we both said the same thing. 
Stopped for tacos and the rain stopped but the sky was still menacing.  I looked at him and said, "maybe we should take the libre".   Good in that we saved 50 dollars but the down side is that they are making the libre a four-lane highway from Monterrey to Reynosa to provide a high quality no-toll highway.   So we did have about 5 kms of rough stuff but it will turn out to be great.
Waited on the bridge for an hour and passed through with only a visual interior inspection.  Too many buses in the X-Ray line so they let us go.   I dropped Juan off to do some shopping at the Dollar Store and he headed home on the bus. 
Made it to the rv park after a quick stop at the HEB.   Nobody is here but a handful of full timers.  The storms here are worse than at home.  I got setup and took a nap and there was a heavy downpour.  The place is very nice but one downside.   Poor wifi.  I'm very disappointed.  I'm out by one of the pools in a cabana which is wonderful but I want to use the internet at home.
More later. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Heading For The Rio Grande

It's been raining since 4 p.m. yesterday non-stop.   Roads and streets out here are flooded.  I had to hook up the rv in the rain and get my things packed for McAllen.   We're looking forward to the next month or two traveling back and forth between Texas and home.  A change of scenery and doing some flea markets and thrift stores.  We'll head out around 7:30 in the morning.  
It is a bit complicated but Juan will go with me and then take the bus home.  We're dropping off the VW on the way through Monterrey so when he gets off the bus he can pick up the little car.   Reason?  He went to his pensioners meeting last Saturday and he needs to turn in a bank statement from Monday the 15th so that he can receive a pretty juicy retirement bonus.  One time deal and has to be done in person.   Why does he have to go with me?  U.S. border patrol is picky about us using our Mexican vehicles without the owner.   Mexican vehicles can only have one name on the title so the SUV is under his name and the trailer is under mine along with the VW.  I don't want to get there and then be turned back.
I'm also looking forward to flying some more for work too.  Dallas is a short trip but I like airports.   Great place to watch people and walk around.   
So it's been a pretty lazy day because of the rain and even the cats have taken a break.

Tomorrow I'll be posting pictures of the Victoria Palms Rv Resort which will be our new Texas home for a month or two.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's That Time Of Year - Mexican Independence

Today we celebrated Mexican Independence at the school in Allende.  All the students participated and over 150 parents showed up.  It was a great event reliving the history of Mexico along with each class performing folkloric dance from different states.  A kermesse (kind of like an ice cream social) followed with Mexican antojitos; tacos, tamales, nachos, sweet treats including algodones (cotton candy).  

Shirley was wondering exactly what I do in schools.  Here in Mexico I work freelance for publishers as well as the education department which includes training teachers, conferences at conventions, workshops to name a few.  The school above is a volunteer position although I do charge them for some projects.  

In Texas I teach a one-day prep course for the ACT/SAT test.  I have about thirty events a year and during the season (Oct-Nov, Feb-Mar) we take the rv to Texas and set it up in an rv park.  It saves a ton of money and I can deduct it from my taxes.   In between events I will come home to Monterrey.  It works out well and helps to build my social security.  

Some more pics from the event today:


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wow, What A Moon

 Pic of the Day

 This is Juan riding Nova Scotia's largest cock.  This cock was carved by Terrie.  When we went to dinner at Nancy and Terrie's, we were greated by this large cock as we walked in the door.  You can see Jerry smiling to the right!  (that was the night Nancy made chiles en nogada)

That was some moon last night.  We went out and had a look after Paula sent me a message to check it out.  We did and we toasted to our Canadian friends in Nova Scotia.  Then, just now, Juan pulled out a bottle of very special vodka that was a gift from Paula and Jerry.  We used it wisely and had enough for one more happy hour drink.   Very good vodka from the Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg,   That was a fun day.   I even started to write a song about that day trip.

This morning I went to school for a couple of hours and worked with 1st graders (primary) and 2nd graders (secondary).   Very hard to work with teachers using cooperative learning techniques when they don't want to or have so many years doing things in a certain way.   It was a fun day and watching first graders talk about their families is a real treat.  It took all of 30 minutes to get them going and then I left for the teacher to take over.  Pobrecita!

I booked our reservation at the Victoria Palms Rv Resort for a month.   It is still low season so the month will cost us $214 a few dollars less than what they quoted.   We get the largest lot across from the club house.  We'll be gone by the time it really picks up.   I haven't found too many specials this year like I did last year.  I'm not sure what I'll do for the Spring season.  If it's late March early April rates will start to drop again.   I think I'll start looking in earnest when we get there.   Next week as I am sure I mentioned, I will fly to Dallas for two days.  After that, we will come home and leave the rv at the park.  I have two events both in Corpus Christi in October.  Same schools two days each.   I will stay in a hotel paid by the company as well as expenses.

Our Independence Day celebrations are coming up and I think I will dress in Mariachi for the school event.  I love this part of the year, it really brings home why I love Mexico so much.