Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Immigration Reform / DREAM Act?????

This is a copy not mine: The President gave a major immigration speech in Texas - and he wants a comprehensive reform bill from Congress. The excuses of those opposed have run out - border security, deportations and worksite enforcement are all up. It's time for everyone to come to the table and send the President a real immigration reform bill that addresses the economic and human costs of immigration. Tell Congress to make it happen.

Obama in El Paso
The time for reform is now
Almost 15,000 of you told the President that change takes courage.
Yesterday he renewed his push for comprehensive immigration reform painting a picture of a nation built on a rich heritage of immigration; a nation in which you can come to America and write the next chapter of our history.

Today, we’re a nation where DREAM students are being deported, families are separated, and enforcement is at all-time high. The President has given the other side the space to come to the table and they haven’t shown up.

Now is the time for Congress to give us a permanent solution. Congress needs to address the economic and human costs of the millions of people living in the shadows of society and the broken immigration system that has broken up countless families and communities.

Tell Congress the time for excuses is up – it’s time to act on immigration reform.

The President is right – we each have the opportunity to write the next chapter of our history and that opportunity is now.

Marissa Graciosa
Reform Immigration FOR America

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Obama speaks today in El Paso

I haven't had a chance to watch his speech, but since most of us are affected I have posted the link here.   

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Internet Friends

I started to ask if I am the only one who thinks of the people I have read about in their blog posts as friends, but then I realized that I have seen similar thoughts on those very posts. It just seems so strange when I am talking to someone in person and I say, "I have this friend who lives in Reynosa and the other day she had trouble with the police and the narcos just trying to get home." or "I have this friend who is pregnant with her second baby and just two years ago she was saying she couldn't imagine having one." Sometimes I quote this guy I know who studies Spanish and Chinese and is like a really cool teacher we all wish we had had in high school but never did. There are so many of you out there that I read and feel like I know. I used to wait for that wave of homesickness, of culture shock, to hit but it hasn't. I think one reason is that I have so many friends that are in the same boat.

Here in Texcoco I have only met one other American, and I have one student who speaks English well enough to speak slowly with me in English, my husband doesn't speak more than a few phrases in English, so all my English use is here on the computer. I talk to my oldest daughter almost daily, and my dad once a week or so, my mom doesn't chat so we trade emails a few times a month, and then there are all my friends- Leslie(food, farmville and kids), Rita(glad you are in Texas now), Lindy(she so looks like Chino), Amanda(s)(babies and babies), Melissa (really want a tat), Chrissy (and Keith), etc. and teacher Bob (love all your research). If I didn't read all these little blogs about you all I would feel really isolated, but as it is I feel like I am part of a really cool, caring group of friends who are so interesting. Just want to say Thank You all for sharing a part of your lives with me.

OMG the Mexican Government is just as screwy as the US Government!!! or how to get your FM2 and go crazy at the same time.

I promised Dad that I would let you guys know what happened with immigration. It is long and if you get bored skip on down to the end.

To start with I will retell (briefly) what happened in 2009. XX and XXX owed me quite a bit in back rent and when XXXX got his SSI back payment they sent me what they owed, about $2000. (this is dollars, all other amounts are in pesos) I talked to Kovy in Tuxtepec and we agreed that I would take a bus down to Tuxtepec and we would go to Veracruz which is the nearest INM (Instituto Nacional de Migraccion.) I left at an unGodly hour with Frank's Aunt More (Carmen) who works in DF. We took the bus from Texcoco to DF and when we got there I managed to leave the bus without my black shoulder bag. I noticed within minutes and ran all the way from one side of the terminal to the other but alas, too late. The driver or the man who cleans them had already managed to steal it. I vote for the driver, but who knows. We spent about an hour looking for it in trash cans and bathrooms, and when the bus arrived in Texcoco they supposedly did a thorough search. I think the driver hid it under his seat and then tossed it out the window on the drive back. I had about 16000 pesos hidden in different parts of it along with my medicine, driver's license, photos, etc. H
e also stole my cigarettes so two men ran to find the crying guerra cigarettes and coffee. Men are so nice to blondes here. So Frank's aunt lent me the money to come back to Texcoco. A little detour here- after about an hour of checking trash cans etc. the head honcho asked me what else he could do to help me. I explained that I wanted to check the men's room that the drivers, etc. use. As he walked me to the restroom he patted me on the shoulder and said, "No llores, ud. es muy bonita." What???? I don't care. I WANT MY MONEY!!! I didn't reply but when we returned Frank's aunt asked me "Que paso?" Guess my mouth was still hanging open. lol MEN!!!

I still had $6000 that I had left with my consuegra, so a couple days later I left again. Got to Tuxtepec without problems, got to Veracruz with Kovy, no problem. Left really, really early because INM is only open 9-1. Got to the INM (very long way from the bus station) and they were closed for Carneval. The guard outside said they would be open Thursday so we went back to Tuxtepec. Thursday we left really, really early and paid to take the city bus, and they were closed again. So we walked around and went home. So Monday, ditto... and they were open. The woman in the INM said they couldn't do it because we live in Oaxaca (idiot, it's federal and can be done in any INM office, but as you will see no one knows anything.) She said we could go upstairs and talk to some people there who were from Oax. I have no idea who or why, but we went. The guy there seemed to know what he was talking about, more or less, but they wanted my marriage to be registered in Tuxtepec although the paper he gave me had nothing about that
. I asked how much it would all be in the end and he said it would be about $5000. By then, with paying for travel, I had about $3000 left. Fast forward to this year. I have been trying to save for the past 2 years and finally have $5000. I had a friend call INM to find out how much my fine would be. The woman said she didn't know. I had him call and ask how they figure it and what I needed to have and do to get my FM2. Different woman, she didn't know. In all he called about 10 times over a few weeks, no one knows anything. Then his wife tried (different day), the woman told her I needed to fill out a form on the internet site or they wouldn't help me at the office and that it would give me a number when I sent it and with that number I should come to the office. I filled it out but no number. Kovy came to help me with the papers and to go to the office with me. He called and told them it didn't give me a number and the woman said "number? what number? just come in."

So the next day we left early, took the combi to Texcoco, the bus to DF, and three transfers on the Metro, walked about 20-30 blocks (we are talking hours), got there and the woman said "Where is your number? If your don't have your number you have to go do it on your computer again." But I continued to ask questions, and questions, and questions until she finally gave us a list of what we needed to get and she did say to just go ahead and bring it all, not just the things for the "areglazacion" of my status. And she said that we needed to register our marriage with the Registro Civil in Texcoco who would want a notarized copy of the translation but that for immigration the translation I had was fine. So home again, home again, jiggedy, jig.

The next day we went to Texcoco, found a notary and got that set up. I said to Kovy, "Let's check that we really need to get it all notarized ($300) so we went to the Registro Civil (where Jen and Frank got married) and had to talk to the "big man."
He said notarized wasn't good enough for him, he wanted someone "reconocido" so I asked who was reconocido, he said he didn't know. (which is funny if you understand spanish) But he wanted a "perito" and he sent us to the procuduria, which I don't know exactly what it is but it is on the other side of town and a looooong walk and has absolutely nothing to do with civil matters or peritos traduceres. They did say that the Registro had the authority to accept whatever he wanted to with or without notarization or translation. I was not happy so I insisted that we walk back and ask the judge (?) exactly what the hell he wanted and where to get it. That is not exactly how we asked him, but only because I let Kovy do most of the talking. We asked him who he considered reconocido enough for him and he finally called a friend, a female judge (I think), who must have yelled at him from his responses. She evidently didn't know either and he finally told me to look on the internet for one in DF.

I spent the weekend, between classes, looking online, finally I found a list of Peritos Traduceres for DF. Since neither of us knows anything about DF we had no idea where any of them were. Kovy called a few and the ones that would give us a price said it would be at least $1000. Monday my friend Carlos came over and told us a couple were close to the Metro. We called one and she said we could send it by email; so Kovy ran to the cyber (internet cafe w/o the cafe part) and scanned the papers onto a flash drive. I emailed it and by that night she sent us the price-$300. Yea. They took until Friday to get it done but had it ready and waiting when Kovy got there Friday morning. She even gave us two cute calendars. Kovy even got back in time to meet me in Texcoco and we went to the Registro again. This time we had everything.

But, no. Mr. Pain-in-the-tush said he needed to keep my original marriage certificate and apostile. I gently explained to him that although I would give him an original marriage certificate and an original "perito package" with the stamped copies of each and stamped translation of each and stamped certificate from the perito all sealed together with the pretty purple ribbon and sealed, signed, etc. I could not let him have the only apostile since he knew the whole purpose was to do it for immigration. (Forgot the part where he told us the first time we were there that the federal laws don't apply in Texcoco since we have our own laws here.) He insisted and I gently refused. Again I explained that since the only way to get another apostile would be to get it in Indianapolis, we could not let him have it for his files. I reminded him that he had sent us all over town and had us spend quite a bit of money and time to get the certified translation, and that Kovy had gone to DF to get it at his request and that I didn't see any reason he would need more than a certified copy since he could see that it matched the original and that we were only registering the marriage not getting married. He had to have the original. At that point I asked him if there was any reason why it would have to be registered in Texcoco or if it could be done in another municipal. He said that it could be done anywhere in Edo. Mex., although I suspect it could actually be done anywhere in Mexico. Then I quit being my usual sweet self and said, "Que bueno, vamonos porque esta es una pinche porqueria."

Back to DF on Monday, again. Before we go I go get my pictures done. Little tiny pictures that are really expensive. $100! But they don't take too long at least. This time I decided to try without registering anything and see what happened. I had the copy of my tramite (the online paperwork) and it had a number. yea! Past the first gatekeeper. Stand in line for the people who "do" the papers. After about an hour we get to the next point. The girl was, like everyone else we have dealt with there, very nice. Why they have about 5 or 6 people and 15 windows I don't know but at least they are nice when you finally get to one. She checked our papers and I was glad I had the list from the first lady because several times she started to ask for other things, but checked the list I had and went back to checking everything else. My passport was issued 12-29-2005 and expires 12-28-2015, it is tiny and I read it as 12-29 & 12-29. Can I change it? No you have to resubmit online. We get to the door and the guard is locking it, it is 12:45. Can we run out and print the paper and come right back? No, the minute you walk out the door is locked.

Next day, same place. We wait in line and finally get to the front. Different girl but still pretty nice. She checks all the papers. Good, good, ah, where is your letter about why you are late? Ok, you mean the letter that was really long explaining everything in detail, that the other girl didn't want and Kovy was really upset about, the one I threw away last night? Can I add it on to the other letter I have about why I want my papers? No, it can be hand-written though. So I try to write what I wrote at the top of this email in Spanish, rapidly, standing at the counter with about 50 waiting people glaring at my back as I hold up the line. Give it to the girl and she puts all the copies in a folder and says thanks. Whoa! "Now what? How much is the fine?"  "I don't know.""How do I pay?" "I don't know." "How do they figure it? Do they do a flat fine? monthly? yearly?" "I don't know." "How can I pay it if I don't know how much it is?" "In 20-30 days they will send you a message online. Then you will be given a date for your interview and then they will tell you." So we left.

 On April 19th I check my online INM link and it says, "Please present yourself to any INM office." So on the 20th Lupe, Carlos' wife, and I go back. This time I have to go to a different line. Wait, wait, wait. I have to show my passport 'cause there are so many other people who look like me (they have a copy of my passport and my photos) and want to pay my fines or be arrested or whatever. She comes back with a bunch of papers and gives me three. Interview? That was it. Hmmmm. One tells me my case # and window "A"; one that says "blah, bl-blah, blah (but in Spanish) you need a letter from your husband saying that he wants you here, why, and that he will support you financially (which we gave them already, but do-able), blah, blah,blah, and you need to pay $2800 within 5 days and return with the receipt, blah, bl-blah, you need to pay $669 within 5 days and return with the receipt, blah, blah; last one says "blah, blah, blah, not a serious crime, blah, blah, blah, you need to pay $5380 within 5 days and return with the receipt." "Just step over to the cashier and he will give you what you need." Ok, I was still trying to read the papers. Lupe explained the gist of it and we stepped toward the cashier who isn't there. I asked Lupe what happens if I can't pay within 5 days. She doesn't know and the cashier isn't there so we step back to the girl and ask her(we waited a few minutes with a really weird guy who reeked of garlic and kept standing really close to Lupe and breathing garlic.) No problem, just write a letter and they will probably give me an extension. Address? No, just wait in the line to give it to the paper people again. So I find a blank sheet of paper, steal a pen from a waiting area and Lupe writes me a letter. Then we get in line. We waited at least an hour and a half.
Hahaha, fooled them this time, we are locked in and not leaving, hahaha. Finally we give it to a girl. How will I know if I get an extension? Go back to window "A" in the other area. The girl at window "A" says that she is sure they will give me an extension and it will be for 15 days. :(  Wow, big help, guys. And if I still don't have enough I can come back in person and write another letter and they may give me 15 more days. Ok, and how am I supposed to pay since the man who gives you the payment sheet is not in his booth (which she can see from her counter) because he is on vacation for Holy Week. "You can get it online." Just go to their website and just do like the poster beside her shows.  But it isn't at all like the poster. The first thing the web form wants to know is if I am a moral person or a physical person. I thought I was both and have no clue how to go from there. So here I am with all my papers finally in (and my marriage not registered) with $5000 in the bank and nothing in my pocket and they want $8849. At least I have another 11 or 16 days depending on how you figure it.

If you made it through all that go take a break and drink some tea. Love you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy 200th Birthday Mexico!!!

No time for a post. Later, 'gators.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What do you think about the "Arizona" anti-illegal immigrant law? 
Here is a poll that right now stands at 96% for and 4% against. Hmmm, I must know all the people in the 4% because the majority of people I know think it is bad policy, bad law, racist, unchristian, and maybe even unconstitutional. What do you think?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A little rant about animals and people.

I like animals, sometimes I like them more than people. That said, I am not an animal-rights type. I don't think animals are the same or equal to people. I have no problem with medical research, and I like steak and hamburger. But what I am dealing with right now has me really pissed. Warning: there are a couple of pictures here that may bother some people.

I live close to my daughter's in-laws or as they are call here in Mexico "mis consuegros." I find them to be very nice people, and they have helped me a lot, in spite of the fact that when my daughter was here and living in the same house with them there were major problems.

My consuegro, Pio, had a puppy. The puppy was gotten to guard the roosters that they have in a fenced-in area about 50 yards from their house. Their youngest son also lives in that fenced-in area, not to guard roosters but because it was cramping his love life sleeping in his parent's livingroom. Anyhoo, this puppy was kept there day and night for a couple of months. He had food and water and shelter, but no one played with him or spent time with him at all. The son works until late and usually is out and about when not working; and besides most Mexicans don't really do pets. They have dogs, which help guard the property, chickens that provide eggs and meat, etc.

When we rented across from this area I took my dog out a million times a day and we always stopped to play with Oso, the puppy. He is a medium-size dog and sweet-as-can-be and very much still a rambunctious pup. He is about 6 months old. Two weeks ago, my husband walked down to buy milk from the farmer a mile or so from our house and saw Oso down there. He was clearly injured and was bleeding from his eye and had blood all over him. Kovy thought he had been hit by a car. Oso followed him home and Kovy took him to Pio. And this is where I get MAD.

Pio, I think someone hurt your dog. He was way down the hill in the other colonia.
Pio (yelling at the dog):
AA, chingada madre, pinche perro, te voy a matar. Sacate!!! ( ah,^%^&;*, *&;^%$ dog, I'm going to kill you, get! (throwing rocks at the pup.) 
Pio (to Kovy):
I tried to kill that damn dog. He ripped open a bag of corn so I beat him with a board and threw him away.
Of course, by this time Oso had run away as fast as he could. Kovy came back to the house later and I insisted we go look for him. We found him hiding in a garden. He followed me home with fear. As we passed my consuegros' house I told Pio's wife, "Now he is mine!" She just nodded sadly.

At home I tried to look at his eye but it was very hard to get a good look, it was pretty swollen and bleeding from inside. Here is how he looked later.
He is in the cage because I didn't want him to wander off and I was afraid my big rottie mix would hurt him playing with him.

As you can see here, his eye was pretty messed up.

Here is what Boni (Bonita) thinks about her new brother. "Hey, dad, I was here first, why you looking at him? Me, me, me."

My husband ask me what I was going to do with him. I said truthfully that I didn't know but I couldn't just leave him in the street all bloody and injured. The next morning we walked with him to the Contrarabico (Anti-rabies) which is like the pound, but they also do cheap/free rabies shots and cheap sterilizations. All I could think was that maybe the doctor could at least look at his eye and tell me what I could do to help him, or if worse came to worst, they could kill him mercifully. Poor baby, he was glued to my leg except when he was running away from all the free-ranging neighborhood dogs that wanted to fight him. I explained what had happened to the girl who minds the frontdesk. She was so nice. She asked us to wait because they were doing the weekly extermination of all the dogs (yeah, gross and so sad, which is why they do the really cheap sterilizations that almost no one uses here.)
  • Mini rant inside bigger rant: Hey, folks, there are plenty of dogs and cats in the world. Yeah, you love yours and you want their babies, but they are not needed at all. Get all pets spayed and neutered. Don't care how great and special yours is. And don't let your animals run free. If you want more dogs and cats, go adopt one or more. 
Ok, back to the main rant. We waited for about an hour and a half, listening to the dogs being electrocuted one by one. OMG, it was awful. It definitely cleared up my thinking about having Oso "put down." The girl assured me that the doctor would look at him and they wouldn't charge me. Finally the doctor checked him out, said it really was as bad as I had thought but that he would give him an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory and we could see what happened. He gave him two injections and Oso was calm as could be, although he wasn't thrilled about the high, slippery table he was on. He told the girl it was $50 (about $4.50 US) but in the outer-office she said "Don't worry about it. "Which was good because I didn't have it.

The vet gave us the name of a medicine that we should inject him with once a day for 5 days and then we could bring him back. But we are in Mexico... So we went to town, and no one had the medicine, but at my usual "veterinaria" (pet store, animal pharmacy, vet?? office all in one) The Pulga (the flea) they had some eye drops that were antibacterial and anti-inflammatory for about $6 US.

Long story, short. He is doing pretty well. We even hoped for a few days the eye would recover, but it is now shrinking and kind of melting/rotting away. I haven't been back to the vet yet because of some other personal stuff going on, but I will probably go down Monday. He is having a ball with my other dog, Boni, they race around the yard knocking each other down. He is slowly learning to be inside instead of out all the time. All in all, pretty much a normal puppy, but one who is sure someone is going to hit him on his blind side so he flinches. He is protective of our house but super friendly with everyone. He was protecting me from the turtle in the fish tank a few minutes ago, growling at him to make sure he didn't do anything bad. 

Arnie the 3" killer turtle.

He is so sweet. And gets along well with everyone, including my cats. He still needs some house -training for night and when no one is home. If those of you in Mexico know someone looking for a great dog let me know. I would love to keep him, but have no money and no way to get more. I just can't afford what I have already. I also have a couple of adorable kittens that need a home. Anyone who is interested in helping pay for some spay/neuter services or wants to help the antirabies clinic let me know. They need all the usual -food, medicines, money, etc. for the animals.

Wow, I just reread this and I didn't even say anything about what I think of Pio or how I want to go beat him with a board until his eyes pop out. Or how lucky he is that my two daughters, who have less restraint than their mother, are not here. But that's cool! Next time, and thanks to reading my rant.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cute Giveaway (and I promise a real post this coming week or maybe today)

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year? my fm2, new mattress (ours blew this week), a plane ticket home, a table or two, a chair or two, nice pills for hubby or a swift kick in the ***.
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received? a big, stuffed "suede" horse with false eyelashes from my mom many, many years ago.
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle? I usually tackle them
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child? Don't remember just one
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year? Don't know since I haven't seen or spoken to him in a year and a half. Thanks dirtbag ex.
6. What is your favorite holiday food? hamloaf and persimmon pudding at my Mom's
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays? already made a few scarves for the folks back in Indiana
8. What is your favorite holiday movie? Changes with what I am watching, this year? just about anything in English
9. Favorite holiday song? Oh, Holy Night and Little Drummer Boy
10. Favorite holiday pastime? going to my parents with all my kids and g-kids

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I WON! Can you believe it? I never win anything and I won this cool necklace. (Actually, I win a lot but only when I enter for someone else- I have won tickets for Disney on Ice (older daughter), autographed Peyton Manning shirt that the mice ate (younger daughter), Colt's jacket (ex-husband), tool-kit (younger son), super makeover, new clothes and night out(younger sister) etc.) But this time it is in my name!!! I won. Picture slightly over-weight, slightly over-age gringa bouncing around here in Mexico giggling (I don't sing!) heeheheeee.

Here is what I won. It is from from MysticPieces. Cool steampunk jewelry. Thanks Shelly (MysticPieces) and Monica at  your designed life who sponsored the giveaway.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A couple of giveaways

 There are a few neat giveaways that I thought I would list today. Hopefully I will have time in a few to sit down and make a real post. Enjoy these:
Wildflowers-$35 gift certificate to The Vintage Pearl
Wildflowers: 100th Post & A Giveaway!!

Six in one Hand... Madness in the Other- $50 VISA gift card

If you like quirky for your house-

Saturday, October 24, 2009

English Classes

  • My daughter bought me (with my money) a new, cheap camera that should be here this weekend. I am so happy. I feel naked without my camera. My old cheap-but-loved one was lost on the bus home from Veracruz in February, along with the picture of a tree in a bikini. I won't say much 'cause it really pissed me off. Suffice it to say- if you find something and it has a name, address & phone number and you keep it, you are a thief. Anyway, soon I will be taking more pictures to put on here.
English Classes-

I have two English students. One I see thrice weekly for an hour, Uriel, and one I see twice weekly for an hour and a half, Rubí. They are cousins and almost everyone in the whole family is a teacher. It was a little hard at first, I was nervous that I wouldn't live up to the family standards, and I don't like teaching. Now I am fine doing it, but I have no desire what-so-ever to teach more.

I have read several posts from other bloggers that also teach or have tried to teach English. I have the same problems most of them have mentioned. Students don't show up or show up really late. I put an end to that rather simply. I charge for my time, not yours. If you aren't on time- too bad. Class is from a set time until a set time. When you come isn't important, it ends when it ends, regardless.And I tell them that. I am really flexible on the time. We can change it, but it is only that specific time. If you don't let me know that you are not coming and I wait for you, you pay. If you can't come, fine, but if you don't call first, you still pay. I was scared to do it at first, but I got tired of spending a lot of time running around, getting ready, and then no one came. Rubi just about drove me nuts. She wouldn't come and then she would ask for a class two hours or two days later. With the boy, the first class was fine, the second he was a no show. He decided to go to a community Sept 16 celebration. I didn't get to go because I was waiting on him. I told him, "This one is free. The next time you don't tell me that you aren't coming, you still have to pay." He hasn't missed another since.

I have had lots of people want to set me up teaching a class. They say things like, "We can do it at my house and we'll pay you $10 (.75us) each child." Notice they don't say how much they will charge each child. And I am thinking, "I'll have to have about 20 students to make anything." ARRRRGGGGG! I have set a price now and we are all happy with it. I charge $50(about $4us)/hr or $130 ($10us)/weekly for 3 hours. The people who think it is too expensive don't bother me because they don't really want to do it, usually. It is a lot of work for me, and them. To learn English you have to have ganas (desire), I can't give English to you.

But... I had the boy this morning and he is driving me crazy. He is a sweet kid, 15 years old and tall and skinny. He doesn't talk. He doesn't bring his dictionary, or his notebook, or his homework, or if he has them, he hasn't done his work. We have been meeting 3 times a week since Sept. 14 and we are still doing the exact same thing that we did the first day. Admittedly, he has gotten a little better. After two weeks on the pronouns, he did an internet quiz and got 2/10 right. The other day he got 4/10.

Last week when he couldn't find any of the words he needed in our class I asked him to put all his vocabulary words on a single list in his notebook. The next class I asked to see his vocabulary list and he started pulling out all the loose papers again. Why didn't he have the single list? "well, it's, well, my notebook is at my house, and well, I was at my aunt's, and well..." For three days?

Monday I told him that I was going to give him a quiz Friday on the vocabulary I have given him. I told him I would type it all up and email it to him. Then I sent him home because he didn't have anything with him and I am tired of busting my butt when he can't even bring back what we are working on. Weds., I asked if he had gotten the list. "No, no ha llegado. (it hasn't arrived.)" "Why didn't you email me and let me know?" "Well, mumble mumble..." "Ok, well, let's see what's wrong. Sign on to your email, here!, now! on my computer...ummmmhhh...well, looky there, looks like it arrived now. Copy it! (by hand)"

Today we did his quiz (which was to light a fire under his butt) and I was pleasantly surprised. He got 22 right, 2 half-right and only 19 wrong or blank. Not great, but I thought I would be lucky if he got 3-4 right. I was so surprised I told him he could leave with no homework, which means Monday will be a waste of time, because he won't know what we are doing and I won't have anything to correct with him. (But he won't have anything to forget at home either. So maybe it will be about the same as usual.)

Tonight I taught the girl. I have been teaching her for about 4 months. While school was out we moved ahead pretty quickly, but now her parents are using me more as a tutor. It bugged me at first, but it is easier just helping her with her homework and studying for tests than actually working up lessons and testing her (for the parents.) And her dad brought us both little chocolate bars when he got home tonight, so I am happy.

I don't know how they learn anything in their English classes in school. Their books are poorly organized and in English. This is true for Mexico and Oaxaca states. There is nothing in Spanish, no instructions, explanations, nothing. They don't learn the alphabet, pronunciation, numbers, colors, days, months, vocabulary. They don't use dictionaries. Rubi's parents finally bought her one at my insistence and Uriel is using one of his father's from 35 years ago (this time I told the parents before our first class) but only with me.

This year my two students have teachers who speak at least a little English. Many of the teachers speak no English. How does that work? Books are only English; teachers speak only Spanish? Last year Rubi's teacher spoke no English. If their homework had words in English, it was marked correct. He had no idea if it was correct, and believe me it usually wasn't even close. This year Uriel has a teacher that comes to one class a week even though the class is twice weekly. And Rubi's puts on makeup and does her hair when she is there. I think it is the same woman. She gets fixed up at Rubi's school to go partying when she is suppose to be in Uriel's school. Neither have substitutes, if she isn't there the students just leave. These are private "prepatorias" (High Schools). In the States, the parents would be having fits, here it is just normal.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back on the Net, and a New Stove!

When a "Mexico" blogger is gone for a while and you hear nothing from them it is a good guess that Telmex got them. Telmex is the phone company in Mexico. Think AT&T before all the little guys broke up the monopoly, and then pretend their service was good, 'cause Telmex makes them look Great! Then realize that if there is a problem with anything you go to Telmex, and wait in line for hours. That is how you pay them also. For real, you can't call, or email. In person is all they do. And you can forget service, they don't do service. If you get connected, fixed, or anything else besides charged for service it was an accident, trust me. Recently while looking into contracts for a phone, I read part of their website. They have the government-issued "monopoly" for another 20 years. Thank God they have already used up 30 years of it. Crimey! You do not want to know how depressing that is. Those of you who are in Mexico already know.

Anyway, we are back online, and I won't say any more since I am sure I am now on Telmex's shit list and we will never get phone service in our own names.

We had a storm and it managed to take out phone service for only two houses on our street. And we were one of the lucky ones. (Actually, my landlady was the lucky one since we just mooch her wireless internet.) It wasn't the same storm that ate my TV. Electricity here is another story for another day. Suffice it to say, when you are hooked up directly to the lines on the poles, with nothing in between you and the power, and the power flexuates and comes and goes, and surges and wanes, your electronics don't last as long. Then zap them a few times and turn the power up and down a few times more. Not good.

Good news! I got a stove, a real stove. Oven and all. Wow, and on sale. It was the floor model (and the last and discontinued) so was marked down, and guess what, if you ask, but only if you ask, they look on the computer and there is almost always another discount they can give you. Luckily, hubby is a pain in the tush to shop with and is never sure if he wants to buy or what. After running the saleswoman all over and back, then running the really young, like 16 yr. old, guy that she dumped us off on all over and back, then leaving and coming back several times, and going to every other store in the whole city for two days, my stove was only $2500! The others the same size, etc. were about $3500. Unfortunately, hubby went back in this week, can you say obsessed!, and they now have a nicer one marked at the original marked-down price, so he is sure we were robbed. haha
But I don't care, I have a stove and an oven.

It even looks like a stove (like a US stove that is) although it is about as similar in reality as the ones your 3 yr. old has. Ok, the oven window isn't really a window, it is a piece of thin metal painted to look like the dark window on a US oven. It is a great paint job, we didn't even know it wasn't a window for three days. The one above is almost like mine. Although I think it has the real window. And there is no light for said oven. There is no broiler, that panel is fake and screwed on. And the knob has 1-5 not actual temperatures. And there is no insulation around the oven, nothing. I'm figuring for people who have been using an adobe wood oven outside this is a major step-up. I hope to get a thermometer so I can actually use it.

The picture above is how you can buy them. No oven, but a really nice little cabinet, made of really thin metal (tin? aluminum?) All the people I know here in Mexico who have an oven use it only for pot, pans, supplies and plates. It is a status symbol and nothing more. The cabinet makes more sense to me. (And cheaper, soy coda.) Maybe they should paint that window on them and put on false knobs.

Now we're cooking with gas. I just have to wait until next week to have enough money to buy food to cook.

Edit: I just realized I said people use their ovens for pot, that should be pots, but it is too funny so I left it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Help me cook...

Ok, I've run out of things to cook. Everyone talks about how great it is to have all this fresh produce, and I agree, but... How many things can I make with a couple of pots and pans, actually no pots just a couple of pans, and the same veggies every day. I love mexican food, really I do, but my friends here would have no trouble going on one of those 10 favorite food menu plans. I need some ideas.

Here is what we have to work with: fresh chicken, fresh beef (but not much that I know what it is since I have to ask for it in spanish, so think ground and "bee steak" which isn't steak at all but very thinly sliced who-knows-what-part), and sometimes, pork or fish. Chiles, tomatoes, tomatillos, calabazitas (little green squash), calabaza flowers, chiles, potatoes, chiles, onions, various herbs- epezote, cilantro, papalo, chiles, papaya, bananas, mangos, nopales, chiles. There are chiles, chiles and chiles- different colors, sizes, and types. Everything seems to be made with chiles, tomatoes and onion. Oh, and beans, beans, beans. There are also carrots, peas and beans but they are rather expensive as are the potatoes.

Sounds like a lot, but some how I am just not getting it. For one thing, my husband likes chile in everything. He is used to chile, tomato and onion. And beans and tortillas. And being from the south, he only wants black beans. (There is a "bean line" in Mexico, no kidding that is what they call it. South of Mexico City they eat black beans. North they eat the lighter beans.)

I am longing for a lasagna, a cake, some cookies, cinnamon toast, spaghetti, chicken and dumplings. I am not even sure what I want, or what I lack, but it seems so much harder here to make it. We don't have "normal" stoves. It is more gas burners on a metal stand. Maybe I just miss having an oven and a microwave. Maybe a nice budget gourmet frozen something, or a hotpocket.

I shouldn't complain too much, when we were in Tuxtepec I got really good at cooking over an open fire outside. Even had my own little "table" to cook on.

That is the "stove" in back. (My hubby is in front of it at another table.)
This is not mine, it is step-mother-in-law's, mine wasn't as nice, but my little grill-potholder thingy was better cause my hubby made it especially for me at a metal taller (shop).

I have been thinking about it a lot. Maybe it is the spices, and combinations of spices, that are not available here. I don't know. Maybe it is that I have to go to the store for everything, every day because we have no frig and no cabinettes. Maybe it is not being able to open a bunch of cans. Or a freezer. Or a box of mix.

Anyway, if you have any recipes that only use onions, tomatoes and chiles...

I feel like a flipflop

The children of Centro de Educacion Preescuelar Lic. Miguel Aleman in Cerro Armadillo Grande, Oaxaca, ready to dance at their year-end program. May 2008

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post, I just think they are cute. And this post is rather boring, but since I haven't written I thought I should up-date all the drama from the last couple.

The hubby came back. He seems to have a sensor that tells him when he has pushed just a little too far. Anyway, he is back and working! He came back the day after I wrote the last post. (No he doesn't read these. He doesn't read english.) And he really didn't get at least a couple of the messages I sent. We'll see what happens. So far, so good.

The landlady has now given us a 6-month (verbal) lease. She seems to have a sensor, too. Or maybe it was that I told her we had found another place and that, yes, it was just as big, and yes, it was the same price, and yes, they don't mind my puppy, and actually it is bigger and I would have my own patio. Anyway, we are staying here: 1. because all my "family" is here and 2. the other apartment doesn't have internet! (I didn't tell her that, she would probably want to charge me more.)

Tomorrow, a plea for culinary help...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alone again- naturally

Well, hubby has disappeared. Evidently into a "cauhuama" which I am not even sure how to spell. Just think giant bottle of Corona. (Believe it or not, there is actually one called the Family size. But in his family they don't share it, they buy one for each.) I have spoken to his niece and she says, "yes, I have told him to call" and "yes, he is drunk" and "no, I don't know why he won't answer his phone."

So... Adios, my love, adios my love, goodbye... as the song says. (Trust me it is good that you cannot hear me singing it.) I guess for once there is nothing left to say. I sent him a text message at midnight telling him God bless and goodbye. Text messages- what a way to end a marriage, huh?

I have been on the fence for several months about what to do with my 5-year marriage. I left last October after a year of abusive hell (and some good times). They must put testosterone in the water in Tuxtepec, 'cause it is Macholandia. But we had been working it out the last seven months. He has been trying so hard, and that makes me sad. But now he has taken the decision from me, and maybe that is easier.

####As I am writing this, he sends me a text message. He can't access the phone card I bought for him three days ago so he could call (because I put it on MY cell last night!) and wants me to call. I won't. I don't want to cry and I don't want to hear his excuses (because I would listen and believe- again.) So I will leave my phone here today and go with friends and visit my yerno's (son-in-law) grandmother. And eat, and laugh, and have a good time with "normal" people. And I will be a little sad.

Thank you, Frank, for lending me this great family of yours.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We are moving. Or maybe not. Well, definitely we are moving but may be not far. Who knows? Our landlady wants our apartment for one of her sons. But maybe he isn't coming now. Who knows?

Two months ago she told me we would have to get rid of our dog or move. I told her we would move. Then after we searched for a new place for a few weeks she dropped it. Last month, as I paid the rent she informed me that she wanted the apartment August 26 when our month is up. Again we have been searching frantically for another apartment here in San Diego.

Tuesday she told me we could have it another month, but now I am tired of the game and want to move. Also, my husband left Monday to find a truck in his hometown so we can just move back there. I DO NOT want to go there again (long, whiny story), but we have looked and looked and looked here in San Diego.
We are in the back apartment top left of the picture, you can just see my livingroom window. And above, two of the water tanks.

Answer to the question "What is different in Mexico (from US)?
Note: I realize as I am writing this that there are certain things not normal in the US that all apartments/houses pretty much all have here. In Mexico, there is a concrete sink outside in the patio to wash dishes and clothing. No, there is not another sink in the kitchen.

Side of my brother-in-law's house showing where I launder and wash dishes, etc.

My sink in Tuxtepec
There is space, often on the roof, to hang clothing to dry. There is a big black plastic water tank on the roof for the days when we don't have water; in San Diego, we have water every other day 9AM - 5PM. But it depends on when the little man, sometimes late to turn on, sometimes late to turn off, comes and opens the tap under the street a few blocks from my house. Seriously, I watched him one day, he opens a lid in the street and turns on a tap with a big "key". In Tuxtepec, we have water, usually, every day, but only from 3 PM until 7 PM, and I don't know how they turn it on there.

In our apartment here we have bedroom, kitchen and livingroom, with a tiny water heater
for the shower (which I am fighting with at the moment because I want to shower and it doesn't want to give me lukewarm water) and a real shower (never any tubs here).

The apartments we have seen are (no pictures, because some one stole my camera):

1. three unfinished rooms on the first floor of a neighbor's house, with no doors and rough concrete floors, and sharing a bathroom with the owner, his wife and child, who live upstairs and whoever lives in the other rental room upstairs. (Was loaned to a nephew before we even got to see it.) $1000

2. the other rental room upstairs from #1, which is one room but we could use the small patio downstairs for the dog and one side of the kitchen for our "extra" furniture and things. Same floors, walls, and bath as above. Has a door! And I would share the kitchen with them. And- they have a refrigerator! $600

3. a cute little two room apartment, sharing a concrete patio with all the other residents. Kitchen and living room are combined in one long but very narrow room. The floors are tile and the paint is good. The killer here is the bathroom which is so small (less than 1m sq.)that you would literally have your foot in the toilet when you showered. Not sure how you would bathe at all to be honest. I told hubby that you could flush to wash one foot as you did the front, and flush to wash the other as you washed your back. $1500

4. another single room, although I am told it is large, but which costs $1400, $100 less than we pay now. The sink & clothes line etc. are on the roof. My aching knees.

5. another small room with a large bathroom, but no sink or shower and no hot water. We would need a big barrel to pour water for bathing. This one also has a very small room for a kitchen, and they are going to put in a window (there is a large window hole) if we want to do the work. Unfinished floors. It is the 3rd floor and has a tiny circular stairway outside to reach it. We looked at it when it was raining. Wet climb, wet kitchen. The view is great. $1200

6. a room (small) with a bathroom (large) with shower but no hot water. Unfinished walls and floors. There is also a separate room for a kitchen. Separate as in go outside and in other door. This one has a little dirt patio, but neighbors tell me there are a lot of rats in the patio. Big rats. $1000

7. one small 1/2 double that has (someone else's) space in front of it for the dog to run, bathroom finished, with sink, toilet, shower, small kitchen, tiny patio with laundry sink, large livingroom. Unfinished floors. We went to see it as soon as the sign was up, it was occupied, but were told the renters were moving Thursday, could we come back Friday as there were three others coming then to see it. Would it be ok if we came Thursday night when my hubby got home from work, didn't want to lose it since he worked until 7 PM. Sure. So Thursday about 8 PM, my very-tired hubby and I walked to see it. It is a ways down the road. "So sorry, they still haven't left. Maybe tomorrow you can see it." "We are pretty sure we want it, I will come by first thing in the morning." 8 AM Friday morning, there I was. No one home to show it to me. The 7-year old said his mom had gone to Texcoco. I checked out the house and told him I would be back at noon. At noon I talked to a daughter-in-law/sister-in-law/aunt? They rented it out Thursday night. After we left. ??? I was ready to cry as I left. This was when my hubby and I decided we would have to go back to Tuxtepec.

8. the last hurrah: my english student and her parents really don't want me to leave. They took me to see one more. Quiet street, a little far from the "area" here, loooong walks to buy food every day, but do-able. Closed gate like all houses here, private, owner a few doors down. Opened the gate and GRASS! Lots of space! And a room with broken window on one side. Long room with one window on the other side (we are talking about 10 meters away.) Bathroom (big) BUT... No water tank on roof, no shower, no water heater. No nothing, oh and the bathroom is attached to the long room but no connecting door, so you go outside and enter from another door. $1500. I told them that we would take it but at $1000... but she says no because of the space, and I, sob,sob, said no because of the water,
shower, bathroom...

So, hubby is in another state, looking for a truck to rent big enough for our things, and I haven't hear from him in two days and can't reach him. Maybe he forgot that he is not going to drink... The last I heard he had found a truck and they wanted $1000/plus tolls and gas (we hope not more than another $1000.) BUT... it doesn't have a gas tank. ????? They do have a 5 liter jug they use, but how far would that go? 20 kilometers? And how the hell does that work? Anyway, here I sit, waiting, waiting, waiting. Don't know what is going on, and need to leave before Weds. aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgh

Oh, well, enough whining, going to go shower- if there is any water.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My First Post- How Young Is TOO Young?

When I first thought about blogging and what to blog I had many ideas, actually I still do, but my first blog is different than I thought it would be. This is because something is bothering me. That happens a lot as you will find out.

I am an American living in Mexico; stay tuned and you will get a glimpse of my life south of the border. That said, today I want to talk about my neighbor.

I was here in San Diego about 8 years ago, visiting my daughter and her husband and their family. While here I met a
neighbor and friend of the family, he had a wife, but they were separated. She was living in Mexico (City) and would come down to wash the clothes, etc, and see her sons, every couple of weeks. My daughter and I both found that fascinating. They were NOT together. And she came and cleaned his shit. How weird, or not maybe if you are Mexican.

When I came back to San Diego in October of '08, being that I am nosy and "una chismosa" (gossip, buttinsky), I spent my time watching the neighbors. Don't go there, you know you do it, too! I asked about the people I knew from before, including Mario, the neighbor. (Oh, boy, there are a lot of new babies, and that means gossip. But you will meet some of them another day.) I was told by my consuegra (co-mil) that he had a new "wife"* and that she was very young. This is a man who is about 60. I
recently met her, finally, after almost a year!

Everyday, at 6 AM, I can go get in line and get a bag of "government" milk. It is cheap at $9 nm/2 liters, since whole milk is at least $11/1 liter in the stores. Since it is "government" milk, we who don't have "cards" to get it stand in a line on the side of the building waiting until the others have passed. There I got talking to a young girl who is always in the "other" line with me. She gets it for her 8 month-old baby. She is Mario's new "wife". She is young. She doesn't have a card because their baby isn't registered yet.

After several days of casual conversation, I, being the nosy one, asked her how old she is. She is 14!!! She is a sweetie, but my God! 14!!! What in the world is he thinking? What kind of man takes a 13 year-old for his "wife"? Ok, ok it is a little different in Mexico. But even here that is illegal!

In Mexico a girl is considered a "woman" at 15, that is when they have a big coming-out party- the quinceanero, and after she is considered fair game for all the men. (My husband and I fight about this, since I say they are still girls, and he (being Mexican) says they are women and available.) Many parents then treat them as an adult, but many protect them
as if they were a child until they get married.**

But 13?
My granddaughter is 12, and my son is 12 and they are still kids, not even big kids yet, although maybe getting really close. They still act like kids, still play like kids, still think like kids, they are not even close to grown.

This bothers me, I know, I know - it's not my problem- but what kind of man would do this? I know it is not her personality, shared interests, etc. that have attracted him which leaves only sex. Are you f-in' crazy? Why would you want sex with a little girl, albeit one with breasts, but still a child? What kind of mom allows this? Her mom evidently has no problem with it all, as she was living in Mario's downstairs apartment until last week. Some say she sold her to him, I don't know. (I'm nosy, but asking the poor girl that is just a little crude, even if I do want to know.) His kids are in their thirties and forties, and now he has an 8 month-old with a girl young enough to be his granddaughter or even his great-granddaughter. Pisses me off!

She invited me over the other day. She was so happy to have someone to talk to. Most of the girls her age are just not into her life, and the older women shun her or just aren't interested in her. Her sil is almost 70! They live in two rooms upstairs, no "niceties". The stairwell is just a huge, open, concrete pit with no railing, no handrail. On the wall over their bed is a very large poster of 25 women in thongs and nothing else- lots of boobs, a poster of Gloria Trevi in a thong and a lot of cutesy animals hand-traced and colored on notebook pages. This is where a 14-year old and her baby have to sleep. A 14-year old with mommy breasts and a stretch-marked mommy belly. (Yeah, it isn't just us old mommies who get that.) I wanted to cry. I wouldn't allow a poster like that in my house, much less over my bed. There is no crib, no playpen, nothing for that baby. She is on the big bed or in her mommy's arms all day while she cooks, and washes, etc. How dangerous. I would be nuts!!!

I drive my husband crazy because I just can't bring myself to call her Mario's wife. I call her Gabriela (always when I talk to her), I call her "la muchacha de Mario"- Mario's girl, I call her "la nina que vive con Mario"- the little girl that lives with Mario, and sometimes, when it's really bugging me, I call her "Mario's granddaughter with the baby." My husband thinks I am loca.

* I use wife with quotation marks because it is used differently here. I am sure Mario is still married to his first wife. The 1st will always be his wife. Gabriella is not the only woman he has had since he split with his wife, but they don't count once they are gone. Gabriela will
be only "the mother of his baby" if they split-up. (I was thinking how sad for her, never to have the chance for a wedding, etc., but he will probably die of old age in a few years- about the time she is old enough to marry someone for real.) Few people here divorce. Many never marry. If you live with someone you are marido, esposo, esposa, vieja, mujer. If you only marry civilly, that is not as good as if you marry in the church, if you really mean it you marry civilly first, then in the church, which is legal and traditional.

If you have a baby when you are "with" the father, you are married. People will call you his first wife, forever. If you have a baby and you are not "with" the father or he dumps you, you are a slut. And men are usually free to find another, but women are forever "his wife." So there are all kinds of marriages here. People often ask me if my husband and I are really married and he repeats the popular saying- "por la iglesia, por el civil y por el pendejo"- for the church, for the civil, and for stupidity (jackass-ity). Which isn't quite true since we married in the states where it is illegal to marry civilly and in the church, but close enough.

** This seems to be a class thing in most cases. If you don't expect your daughter to finish school, go to college, or have a career you probably don't have a problem if she leaves with her boyfriend at 15 or 16 to start her "married" life. (My husband's niece moved in with her 14 year-old boyfriend and his family when she turned 16. The couple downstairs are 15 & 17 and they live here in their own room, but with his mom and dad.) If she lives at home, she is a child until: 1. she gets a man and moves out, 2. she gets a career AND moves out (which doesn't happen much, just the career- still a child), or 3. her parents die.

A friend at 28, couldn't go with me to another state because her dad, who hasn't lived with the family in 15 years (and lives with his mom in Texas), wouldn't give her his permission.