The Showdown

August 26, 2008

A dear friend of mine said, “Here, do you want some of this cake?” before I left his house today. I said, “Are you sure?” He assured me that if I did not help him out that it would go to waste. Wellllll, far be it from me to leave a friend high and dry so I brought a chunk home. Cake is nothing but love in sugar form. It spurred a desire in me to go ahead and try something.

I had tried a new recipe last week called “Banana Pudding Cake” where you add a box of banana pudding and mashed banana to the cake mix. It did not turn out well. The recipe said to bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. The aroma emanating from the oven was so strong that after 35 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore and took it out. I was right; it was done, overdone in fact, and beginning to blacken on the bottom. “Well, there went that recipe,” I thought and scratched it off the drawing board.

My friend’s generosity gave me an idea. I had seen a recipe for an upside-down banana cake. “Well, why not combine the two and see what happens?” I thought. I put slices of banana on the bottom of a cake pan and added brown sugar then drizzled melted butter over the base. I then added the yellow cake mix with the banana pudding and bananas added into the batter. I put it into the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. At the end of 35 minutes the top was browned beautifully but the middle was still fluid. I had to go to a meeting so I told my daughter to keep trying, not to check on it by opening the oven too much but to give it some time and to not worry if I ruined it. I told her that was not that expensive to try and sometimes we have to learn by making mistakes.

When I opened the door to the dining room, she smiled and said, “Mom, your cake came out.” I smiled back and said, “It did?” and it did, beautifully. Baked to a golden brown and flipped over to expose the golden brown sliced arcs of banana baked gently in a buttery brown sugar goodness the cake stood there in the light, the arcs forming little smiles saying, “Yea! I am a new creation and I am going to be good.”

Well, the first thing I did was have a cake-off. Yep, as spontaneous as spontaneous can be. I took the big chunk of pineapple cake that started this whole thing and cut it into three squares, one for each of us. Then I put a piece of banana cake next to the pineapple and took it to my husband. My daughter put a piece of banana on a plate and I put a piece of pineapple next to it while her back was turned and walked off with the plate at the same time she said, “Nooooooooo,” like an adorable Mr. Bill. Whoops, too late. I discovered that was her plate and her banana piece she had cut. She decided she was not going to participate in the cake-off.

So I made that disqualify me from having to serve her and she had to get her own plate then. I had such a hard time deciding which was the better recipe. I still can’t decide so I am going to take this to a picnic I have been invited to on Saturday and let the public decide. Pineapple upside-down cake will always be a classic as far as sugary, brown goodness is concerned, but this new banana-pudding upside-down creation is going to impress many, I believe, and compel people to make room on the table for this new treat.

My daughter said the secret to the cake is to lower the oven’s temperature. Here is the banana-pudding cake recipe. Remember to prepare the pan as if you were making a pineapple upside-down cake only substituting slices of banana for the pineapple before you put in the batter and you will have a new creation: a banana pudding upside-down cake.

Banana Pudding Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant banana pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup mashed bananas
  •  
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, water, oil and mashed banana. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake tests done. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To make glaze: In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and of a drizzling consistency. When cake is cooled, drizzle icing over cake with a zigzag motion. Sprinkle chopped nuts over wet icing if desired.

Always Keep Good Records

August 24, 2008

I received a strange phone call yesterday. My husband’s phone rang and when he said, “Hello,” they asked for me then hung up. Again, the phone rang. My husband said, “Hello.” They asked for me and then hung up.

I’m thinkin’ I’m lookin’ really bad right now. I said, “Honey, if I were having an affair, I’d be having the pool boy call me on my phone.” Then my phone rang. Fantastic. Would this happen were it anybody else’s life?

I answer the phone and a man said he was the D.A. I wondered, “What ticket have I not paid or what friend of mine is in trouble now?” He starts out with, “Mam, I think you have been the victim of fraud.” I said, “Oh, no. What do you mean?” He explained that some season passes to the local waterpark Schlitterbahn were apparently sold fraudulently. I said, “Are mine good?” He said, “Yes, but they are fraudulent. Could you please tell me where you bought them?”

“Sure,” I replied, “I bought them at HEB. We had to go to the next town to buy them because this town’s HEB was sold out.” He said, “Let me remind you, ‘mam, that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” I said, “I know. We got them at the store.”

“Let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect in this case,” he said. “So can you tell me again where you bought them?” he asked. I said, “I told you we went all the way to the next town to get them because this one was sold out. It was the HEB on …” and I tried in vain to think of the name of the highway that I used to know as 802 but was renamed in honor of somebody who had lived some kind of remarkable life. He repeated, “Let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” I said, “I know. I am trying to think of which HEB it was. We bought it there are the store office.”

“They don’t sell this kind there, Mam. Could you please tell me where you got them?” he said.

“I told you, we got them at HEB in Brownsville because this one was sold out. We got in line at the customer service center and are on videotape buying them. We have to be. They have cameras everywhere there because it is the office.”

“Mam, let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect,” he reiterated. “Just tell me where you bought them.” I said, “I told you where I bought them… at HEB, in Brownsville, at the store’s office in line with everybody else.”

“Mam, they don’t sell those there. Could I remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” He went on, “We have it narrowed down to two people you probably bought them from.” I said, “I bought them at the store in Brownsville, in line with everybody else. We have to be on camera buying them. I know we bought them there. Didn’t we?” I turned to my family who was intently listening to my end of the conversation.

I looked at my family questioningly. Was I losing my mind? I asked them if we went to Brownsville to buy those Schlitterbahn season passes. They assured me I had not lost my mind yet. I told him, “My family remembers going down there and buying them,” then realized that would have no impression on him either. A family of scoundrels produces scoundrels so I’m sure he thought he was dealing with another Ma Barker. I pictured myself coming out on the 10 o’clock news in a few days, handcuffed and chained to the other people who were really involved in this.

I was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and so help me God this guy wasn’t believing a word of it. I was getting frustrated because the truth was NOT setting me free. I thought, “This is what it feels like to be accused of a rape, convicted of a rape and sent to prison for a rape you did not commit.” I dejectedly said, “Maybe we have some proof here somewhere,” and I hung up.

My better half said, “Maybe I have the receipt,” when I told him what was going on. I said, “Yeah, sure. Who is going to have a receipt for something from five months ago?” He pulled out his anti-Pandora’s box of important documents, started digging and lo and behold.. there it was. An HEB receipt that when unfolded almost began to glow with its power. I clutched it and said, “Thank you God!” I hugged and thanked my husband for saving me yet again from a hell I didn’t even bring on this time.

Redemption in hand, I called the detective and told him I had found the receipt and told him the date of the purchase, the time and even the name of the cashier. “I’ll send somebody out to get it,” he mumbled disbelievingly. I hung up and realized that I was going to be asked to hand over the only evidence I had of my innocence and that if the other authorities involved were as trustable as this guy, I’d better go protect myself and make myself some copies of this document vital to my freedom. We went to HEB, of course, where we told the manager of the brewing scandal, and asked her to make copies of our innocence. She gladly disappeared into the back of the office and came back with two copies, for good measure. We went home and waited, relishing in our redemption.

When the two lawmen came over, I invited them into our innocent home and sat at our innocent table where I showed them the copy of the receipt. He repeated assuringly, “I want you to know that you were always just a victim in this situation and not a suspect.” “Can it!” I wanted to tell him but smiled kindly and understandably and said, “I know.” Of course, I had to show him the original receipt which we ended up handing over because we had copies and witnesses now to the validity of our claim. The four of us in the room knew our involvement in this scandal was over.

The detective who so loved the phrase, “I need you to know that you are a victim and not a suspect in this case,” handed me his card and said, “If you ever need anything…” I countered by handing him my card and saying, “And if you ever need anything…” We shook hands and I walked them to the door gladly closing the door behind them and the trouble they had tried to bring into my world.

When the scandal breaks and it comes out on the newspaper or on the evening news, I am going to know how close I was to being sucked into that horrible mess and how easily one can go from being a victim to a suspect… for lack of a tiny piece of paper. I am going to save all my receipts now, no matter how insignificant they may seem for it is alot easier to save a receipt for ten years than to do ten years.


SPI International Music Festival – Battle to the Beach Winners Announced!

August 20, 2008

Hand me the envelope please… and the winner of the “Battle to the Beach” is… Liberal, a Spanish rock band from San Antonio, TX. I must admit, I have been listening on each one of the bands that are participating in the music festival that is coming to the island on Halloween weekend and they are all good. Most have videos posted on http://www.youtube.com/. Different genres are represented and that is what is going to make this years festival appeal to everyone! If you like bluegrass, they got it. If you like country, they got it. If you like spanish rock, they got it. If you like reggaton, they got it. Techno, ditto. Soul-wrenching love songs, ditto. If you like big names, they got it. Ever since I clicked on Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla”, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. There will be such awesome groups there.

By clicking on the featured bands’ videos on You Tube and on their web sites, I found out alot about them. For example, I did not know that my friend, Albert Besteiro of “Del Castillo” had gone on to do what he has done and meet who he has met. I have known him ever since I was little and watched him get better and better and bigger and bigger, but I had no clue. My brother, Raul, and Albert have been bandmates ever since their early 20’s jamming out in Brownsville, TX. Both have gone on to bigger and better things in Austin, the seat of the music industry in Texas. They occasionally jam together so Albert has always been around and he came down to play for Steve Gomez, before he passed on. I feel Steve knew Albert was there and playing for him and Albert eased his trip to Heaven. Albert has gone on to play some major venues and won award after award after award with his bandmates. I am so happy for them. If you want to know more about their awesome music and their deserved success click here:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=del+castillo&search_type=&aq=0&oq=del+casti

Amazing, aren’t they?

Aside from famous people like Albert Besteiro, Foghat is coming and of course, the main man will be here, Willie Nelson. There isn’t anyone alive who doesn’t like Willie Nelson. There are so many great musicians slated to play, how am I going to see them all? I can’t wait for this year’s festival.

Hurricane Dolly came, looked around and said, “Hmmm, this place is really beautiful, better not mess it up too bad,” so she pushed over a few trees, kicked over some garbage cans and rudely left a trail of debris and let the door slam on her rear. She is gone. Time to enjoy what is left of the summer and look forward to doing all we can to make this music festival a success. I can’t wait to see all the bands! See you there!


Violets can be Found on a Tropical Island

August 20, 2008

I have a beautiful friend named Violet, Violet is not her real name, I chose it because she is as pretty as a flower and her stage name, Diamond, is worn-out. I am just kidding about her stage name, though she is sexy. She has the most beautiful face, dark, shiny hair and badass personality you could ever want in a friend.  She can be trusted and that is hard to find. So man people have hurt my by spilling the secrets I entrused them with. There are things she told me that I will take to my grave and I know that she will keep things between us just as confidential.

I met her when she came to work where I worked. I quickly noted that she knew the business and I was worthy of maybe cleaning her feet. She has “managerial” in her so I knew the right position for her was the one that luck had put in my expansive lap. I fully disclosed to her that she would be the perfect one for the managerial position, and I was shifted over to where I would be more productive and effective. I became “Bathroom Technician”, no, I am just kidding. I became my boss’s personal assistant and it was a challenge just to answer calls from him. “The GREAT and POWERFUL OZ” has nothing on this guy. Everybody tries to duck when he is coming down the hall. The good thing is that this man’s booming voice carries and that usually gave me enough time to disappearat least two floors away. One time I told myself, “What am I always ducking and running for? I have done nothing wrong.” and I courageously stepped onto the elevator when I knew he was already in there. In the time it took to go from the third floor to the ground floor, I was convinced that not only was it my fault that the electricians were late, the grounds outside were garbage-strewn and embarrassing but the plants outside were withering due to the global warming I helped create. Damn the truth!

“Violet” was a constant source of knowledge for me; she never made fun of me for not even coming close to the knowledge she had, but was able to teach me in an caring manner. She did not make me feel that “dumbass” was my middle name. Her face was a spot of kindness among the constant disappointment and frustration I felt with myself everyday there. My boss constantly put me down and I would put myself down too, because obviously he was right, he was so much older and wiser. He made me feel like it was a miracle I even could walk from the car to the office without tripping over my clumsy inept feet ad knocking myself unconscious. Seriously, I felt like I should have a finish line set up some mornings to show him that I could make it from the parking lot to the office successfully. There were times when I was really miserable and I looked forward to going to see Violet. I loved hearing what Violet had done that weekend or the night before. She was the bright spot of hope in a dark and hopeless situation.

Violet is a free-spirit. She reminds me alot of myself before I came plunging back to earth at 1,5648 mph and crashed. She can handle living life to the fullest and being a professional. Not too many people can do that. Violet is hilarious; I have never felt so comfortable with another girl talking about just any subject that comes to mind, even if it is a bit risque. Violet gave me self-confidence when I had none. I was stuck in a position where I just accepted being treated like an idiot and she told me, “Why do you continue to put up with it?” I was acting like a woman in an abusive relationship the way I was putting up with the way my boss was treating me. I found out that once a man discovers that he can put you down, he will continue to do so over and over, continually gaining the upper hand while you sink lower and lower in self-confidence until you feel you have to stay there, no one else would want your inferior, incompetent ass and you need that person to survive. I will never forget when Violet told me, “No job is worth the way you have begun to feel about yourself.” If I ever needed to leave an abusive situation in the middle of the night by grabbing my belongings, slinging them into the back of a truck and yelling, “GO! GO! GO! Before the m********* wakes up!”, Violet would be my girl and THAT is a true friend.

They say a friend is someone who helps you move,  but a REAL friend is someone who helps you move the body. That is Violet, my awesome true-blue friend. She is pretty, she is fun, she is confident and that is what makes her beautiful. This is another diamond in my circle of friends. Diamond does fit her because that was she is, a truly rare gem.


A Rose By Any Other Name Would Not Smell As Sweet

August 20, 2008

The most beautiful women are right here, right around me in my circle of friends. I have been so blessed to meet and keep actual diamonds where other people don’t have anything even close to the women I know.

My best friend I will call Daisy, no Rose, because she is just that. A rose is beautiful, outstandingly beautiful but sharp if you don’t treat it right. Rose will not put up with crap, doesn’t have time or is not stupid enough to. You know how some women are smart enough to know better than to waste their time listening to other people’s BS? Younger women idiotically listen to the crap people spew whether it be from a man, a repairman, a clerk, or some other idiot explaining why it has taken 4 days to do what could have been done in 2 hours. Rose is smart, beautiful, and experienced enough to live life because she knows that is what life is all about. Eliminating the crap and enjoying the good. She has a very good life. She is beautiful, funny and smart and her family and friends reflect that. She is proud of her family and rightfully so. She has come so far, from almost losing everything to having more than most people could ever dream of having. She has been my strength in times of weakness, my knowledge when I needed to learn, my comfort when I needed it, and my savior at times.

Rose is incredibly beautiful. On the inside, she is the most caring and generous person you could ever meet. Not one birthday has gone by where I don’t expect to hear from her or get a cake from her. At my age, birthdays have been narrowed down to a call from my brother and sister congratulating me for surviving another year, and my immediate family taking me out to dinner. So yeah, when your little circle is down to 5 people, way down from the near hundred you experienced as a child or when you were really doing well, that birthday friend means alot. Rose isn’t a steadfast friend only when it is an important calendar day; she is there when it is just another sunny day. She’ll come over and we’d pick chiles off my plant, or dive into a great snack or just talk about all kinds of stuff. She is so sweet, funny and pretty, I could just talk to her for hours and hours. I recently spent the night at her house and we ended up having a great time just doing jigsaw puzzles, snacking ALL night long, and spending good quality time together, the kind we should have been spending many many years ago instead of frittering time away.

On the outside, Rose is beautiful. Sometimes I will catch a glimpse of her and say to myself, “Wow, she is really beautiful.” She said she has Greek in her. Her mom was a stunner as well. I am not the only one who thinks she is spectacular; she won a beauty pageant once. The only thing I ever won was a drawing for some free gas, and that was fixed. (I stuffed the box myself.)

I look up to her like a big sister. She could sit Rachel Ray and any of those other women down and teach them a thing or two about how to put an incredible meal together whether it is for two or twenty-two. She can cook, clean, sew, be artistic, be a healer, be a friend, be a confidant, be a guide, be so many things all wrapped up into one. With beauty, too. Amazing isn’t it? She is. I thank God that I am blessed with diamonds like her in my life. During times of darkness in my life brilliant rays of light shine through. They are coming from the diamonds, diamonds which are my friends.


How to Find the Perfect Man in Five Easy Steps

August 20, 2008

Many women think that finding that perfect man will give them the one thing that is still lacking in their life. Many factors must come into play before you find that perfect man.

1. You have to be ready, emotionally, financially, and completely. This means not overwhelming him with your neediness, financial hardships, emotional instabilities and dependencies. You have to be ready to lose some independence should this man move in or become your husband. No longer will you be able to come and go as you please or do exactly as you please. As horrific as this seems, it is part of the give and take that is necessary to make a relationship work. As much as you want that phone number for that hot tight-bodied pool guy, you must remember you have something much better now, a committed relationship.

2. You have to not expect it or be looking for him. As crazy as this may sound, you will find the perfect man when it is right, not when you want it. A friend of mine is constantly aggravated due to her inability to find a good man. I suggested that maybe it was because when the time was right to meet one of them,(Yes, there are many, many great men out there), she was with a loser and lost out on her chance to meet Mr. Right.

3. You have to get out there. Get comfortable in your own skin and get out into society. There are many many ways to do it. Find out what chamber of commerce events are scheduled and go or volunteer for a welcoming committee. Join a book club, gardening club, support group or volunteer group. There are so many organizations and groups that have a dire need for volunteers that the animals that you walk, the beauty you create, the friends’ lives that you will bless are a direct result of you just getting out there.

4. Exercise. Get out and walk in the morning, afternoon, or take a calming sunset walk. Listen to your favorite tunes on an MP3 player or take your dog or a neighbor’s for a brisk walk to unwind or to get in touch with the beauty of God’s nature. You will begin to get toned, lose weight and feel more comfortable and pleased with your appearance. This will result in some new items for your wardrobe and a new jump in your step, a genuinely friendly smile that magnetically brings smiles to other people’s faces.

5. Be patient, don’t give up and remember that there is no perfect man just as there is no perfect woman. Everyone has hangups, baggage, quarreling families, insecurities, bad habits and gas once in a while. When you meet this friend whom you will discover is interesting, charming, funny, romantic, respectful, admirable, and at times, adorable, you will realize that he is not the perfect man, but he may be the perfect man for you. Give love a chance and you will realize that love makes things perfect.


Bigfoot Body Evidence proves to be a Hoax

August 19, 2008

It all started on July 9, 2008 when Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer placed a video on Youtube making the claim they had recovered the body of a Bigfoot body. This is what happened according to Steve Kulls, Executive Director of Suatchdetective.com and host of Sasquatch Detective Radio.

On July 14th, 2008 an article was published where Whitton released a statement to his local newspaper, the Clayton Times Daily stating that they had recovered the body of a Bigfoot.

The afternoon of July 28th, 2008, Ricky Dyer asked if I would call him and after interviewing him using various forensic interviewing techniques, which I have been trained on, I could not get an accurate read on him as I was seeing deception on numerous things, but insisted he had a body in his possession. At one point he asked me who Tom Biscardi was. I immediately surmised however their motive was financial.

After concluding my one plus hour long phone call with Dyer I called the CEO of Searching for Bigfoot, Tom Biscardi, and we discussed the matter. We, at that time decided it best to turn the investigation over to Mr. Biscardi and his team. My involvement in the remainder of the process was as an independent observer.

The following are my observations and the facts as I understand and know them:

On August 1st, 2008 Tom Biscardi traveled to Georgia and on August 2nd was given a sample, allegedly, from the corpse, for DNA testing. The DNA was hand delivered to Dr. Curt Nelson of Michigan and a chain of custody of the said sample was maintained from the time it was received from Ricky Dyer and Matthew Whitton.
On August 4th, 2008 both Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer entered a legally binding contract with Searching For Bigfoot, Inc .recognizing the fact that Searching for Bigfoot, had absolutely nothing to do in the demise or storage of the corpse until such time as it was transferred to Searching For Bigfoot for the benefit of scientific study, marketing and promotion.

On August 10th, 2008 Tom Biscardi received an email from Dr. Nelson that after the amplifications of two of the three samples, that the size of the DNA was consistent with human/ape DNA.

On or about August 12th, 2008, Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer requested an undisclosed sum of money as an advance, expected from the marketing and promotion, and as a good faith gesture of the contract.

On August 14th, 2008, after signing a transfer receipt for the amount money requested and counting said money, Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer led the Searching for Bigfoot Team to a location and turned over a freezer with something appearing large, hairy, and frozen in ice.

On August 15th, 2008, Tom Biscardi, Ricky Dyer and Matthew Whitton held a press conference at the Cabana Hotel in Paolo Alto, California, announcing that the corpse of a creature fitting the description known as “Bigfoot” had been discovered. A police officer of seven years, on medical leave, labeled as a hero for being wounded in the line of duty, got up in front of the world and told the world of how he and Ricky Dyer uncovered this creature. This has since been proven a lie. It is notable that Rick Dyer insisted on this press conference and told Tom Biscardi he would not release the “body” unless the conference was held on this specific date.

On August 16th, 2008 the freezer containing the alleged corpse arrived with the Searching For Bigfoot Team. I arrived on location at 6PM to provide initial verification examination, biohazard control and consult for security measures at the location. At that time the ice was being thawed slowly without aid, to prevent any decomposition of the alleged corpse. We estimated that the freezer and its contents weighed over 1500 pounds and it would take several days or longer to thaw completely.

On August 17th, 2008 Searching for Bigfoot Team Director of Field Operations, TJ Biscardi and myself, were up early to discover that some hair was now exposed. I extracted some from the alleged corpse and examined it and had some concerns. Bob Schmalzbach arrived and concurred. We burned said sample and said hair sample melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair.

At that time we contacted Mr. Biscardi who gave us permission to begin an expedited melting process. We set up a salamander heater to heat the freezer. Within one hour we were able to see the partially exposed head, as I was now able to touch it, I was able to feel that it seemed mostly firm, but unusually hollow in one small section. This was yet another ominous sign. Within the next hour of thaw, a break appeared up near the feet area. As the team and I began examining this area near the feet, I observed the foot which looked unnatural, reached in and confirmed it was a rubber foot.

At that point we immediately contacted, Tom Biscardi and advised him of the situation and he began to take action on his end. Later that day, Tom Biscardi informed us that both Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer admitted it was a costume. They reportedly agreed to sign a promissory note and admission of what they had done, and set a meeting in their hotel room in California for 8AM on August 17th, 2008. They have yet to show.