Love, Faith, Peace and Joy

December 25, 2008

 BEAUTIFUL  1

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xmas-lights-095-1 CUTE!

ELEGANT!

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and … CREEEPY

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That is how you can describe some of the lights we saw in Brownsville, Tx.  this Christmas.

Remember the old-fashioned lights from yesteryear? Well, this is them on steroids.

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 Lit up, they looked beautiful.

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This was the side of somebody’s garage and their front window.

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 This was a very large Nativity scene.

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This trailer parked in front of a house made us wonder how they made the money to pay for their fancy country club house.

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 It was nice to see the ones who went all out.

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This Santa with the reindeer in mid-flight looked cool.

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This was a garden in someone’s back yard.

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This tiny ladder caught my eye.

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 These tiny creatures climbing a ladder to the roof had to have been the most adorable decorations I saw.

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 Some houses looked spectacular in just plain white lights.

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While others jazzed it up a bit with bright colors.

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 This house lit up one corner on Boca Chica Blvd.

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  This house was beautifully decorated.

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The girls put the reindeer’s size into perspective when they stood by it.

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This was the sight I longed to show them: Christmas lights reflected off a resaca’s surface. A resaca is the kind of bodies of water we have down here in this tropical area.

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We live in a tropical area so seeing a decorated palm tree was nice. This one was 40 feet tall. They had to have thrown the ornaments up there because they were waaaay up there.

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This was a regular tree but the lights created the illusion of a palm tree.

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 These girls were pooped and tried to sleep on the way back to Port Isabel.

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 Tried to, anyway. 

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The night I took this picture was the night the father of these beautiful twins was injured in a horrific 30-foot fall. His back was broken and he is paralyzed. Please pray for him, these girls and their mom and brother. If you can contribute to the fund that was set up to help them with the incredible blow that has befallen them, please donate whatever amount you can to the : “William A. Plouffe Fund” at Lone Star National Bank – gift account 2905004843. He is in critical condition and the family needs your help badly. If you and 99 other people give just $5.00 that would be worth a million to us. These girls are only 13 and their world has been rocked by this tragedy. Their daddy was the major breadwinner and now Mom has taken a leave of absence from her Walmart job to be by his side. There is no other income but what is donated out of the goodness of people’s hearts. Please help them for as time passes, people’s interest will wane but their dad’s condition will stay very, very serious. Thank you for your kindness and know that we appreciate everyone’s prayers. May God bless you and your family as well as the family of these beautiful girls who brighten up a room like a ray of sunshine when they enter it. Have a blessed Christmas.

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This One is for Sunclay

December 21, 2008

My best friend said, “Let’s go to the flea market,” and I agreed because there is not much else to do in Brownsville, Texas if you are not doing something that you are doing that is not on the TOP 100 THINGS TO DO IN THE SOUTH PADRE ISLAND/BROWNSVILLE AREA list. Someone recently implied that it must be a sorry place that announces fresh produce as one of its major things to brag about. I beg to differ. This place is paradise. My best friend has lost 150 pounds and if it weren’t for the fresh fruits and vegetables that are so plentiful here, her diet would have been outrageously expensive or so bland it would have been impossible to stick to. My best friend looks beautiful and is now doing some modeling.

 more-bottles-0231 I absolutely love my BFF. She is awesome!

She has invited me on her trip into Checkmeoutnowland and I have lost 3 inches at my waist and 15 pounds so far. I want to look good on the beach this summer. I have begun on my New Year’s Resoluting already because I can’t afford to waist time waiting for the 1st of the year. (I figure I need a headstart with all I gotta go.) My new resolution is to get in shape and stay there awhile instead of  just look good at the event I aimed for and then go back to my regular lifestyle of eating popcorn while I watch exercise tapes, riding my bike to the nearest ice cream shop, asking the nurse to weigh me again AFTER she takes a blood sample to see if it makes the number lower, ordering a bacon cheeseburger, fries and shake with a DIET Coke and so on. If there were not such a proliferation of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from, I would not be succeeding as well as I am now on this self-imposed deprivation or as you call it, dieting. These are some of the vegetables we have available here now a week before Christmas.

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A friend whose moniker is Sunclay informed me about what it is like up north and told me the ground is frozen up there. I can’t comprehend that. Frozen dirt? WTH?

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I haven’t traveled anywhere really and never up far up north so I can’t comprehend cold or the seasons of fall or winter. The seasons we have in Texas are: almost summer, summer, late summer, and winter where it may go down into the 30’s for a day or so.

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We are thankfully NEVER at a loss for incredibly sweet, luscious fruits.

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Juicy citrus is the norm here.

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There was an episode of Gilligan’s Island where a crate of radioactive vegetables washed up on shore and the vegetables had extraordinary effects on the person who ate them. Mary Ann ate the carrots and could see for miles. Seeing the size of these carrots, bought today – Dec. 20th, at the local flea market reminded me of that episode.

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I placed the salt and pepper shakers next to these fruits so that your mind could be blown too when you find out that these are Valley lemons not oranges.

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These fruits reminded me of that catalog I loved to look at so much, Gardener’s Choice, where you can buy freak trees and plants such as this. I always suspected that the genetic engineers there came up with their freaky ideas after work at the lab while sharing a bottle of Jack.


Mexican Trip

November 22, 2008

A while back I posted pics and a story about a trip to Matamoros I took.

My daugher had the audacity to call us poor and I arranged to have us go on a trip to the Matamoros dump where people live without electricity. It was meant to teach her that cable, air conditioning, her cell phone and other things that we have are called LUXURIES and that even shoes are a luxury for some people. Now when it is cold, I think of that little community and wonder how they are faring in the freezing cold. I am cold in my socks because I have not bought slippers yet but I have a heater in my room and can slip under any of my warm blankets to warm up. These people can’t.

 

Cooking without electricity.

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No Maytag.

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I get mad when my cable or Internet goes out.

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I hope that now that the economy is worsening in the United States, people will not be so aloof to the poor and treat them as if they are lepers.


Happy Veteran’s Day

November 12, 2008

Today is Veteran’s Day. That means that I take the time to make an amazing meal for my husband, a Vietnam Veteran. For the last two years, it was turkey tetrazzini. This year it was wide egg noodles baked in a casserole with fresh carrots and onion and cubed chicken in a creamy sauce, served with fresh buttered French bread. I have to go all out. It is the least I can do for someone who so bravely risked his life. I wouldn’t. I’d be the first one waving a white flag giving the enemy island, peninsulas, continents, whatever the hell they wanted. I’d be screaming like a schoolgirl going, “HAYAY, watchu want? Swampland? Desert? Mountains? I got ’em all. Right heah. They are good to go.”

You won’t catch me on a front line risking my life for anything. I wear a round yellow pin that says, “Yellowbelly” on my lapel. Maybe after a bottle or two or four, but sober? Never. I have the upmost respect and admiration for men who have the bravery to stand up for principles or for their country. Risking their lives for others? My God. Strangers, even. Goodness.

Four women today celebrated their birthdays at an old folks home and each of those ladies was over 100 years old. How horrible to have to lose those you love. I still think of my deepest loves. I wonder if they are right with me in another form. Invisible, intangible… or is it my fancy? Who knows? My husband has unshakeable faith. He KNOWS there is a God. My mom did too. I have been shown over and over just by the sheer fact that I am here, yet still I am ungrateful at times and doubtful. I wonder how many times my mom and dad have had to intercede for me with God so that I am not burnt up in a flash of lightning. I was so bullheaded that I would have lit a cigarette off that lightning and kept on going. What a fool. I am thankful that I am surrounded by others with strong faith, like maybe it protects me. My little mustard seed.

OK, so maybe my choice of dessert would not go over so well in another household. I was craving cake, it is a holiday so therefore, reason to bake one but maybe I should not have chosen RED VELVET. I love colors and their symbolism but maybe spilled blood on veteran’s day for dessert was not such a good idea. Then again, maybe it could be in honor of those who gave their life. I just know this would not have gone over well in public. If I keep my mouth shut, I wonder if anyone would even make the connection between the color of the cake and the reason for the holiday. I am going to see, maybe it is me reading too much into things. It probably is. Like I like to tell people who do it too, sometimes a banana is just a banana. Quit reading too much into things.

OK, nobody said anything about the cake being RED. My daughter and I played Scrabble and she beat me. Nobody has beat me for like 25 years and I did not try or something but she beat me. Then I said, “Let’s play again.” She said, “OK.” I said, “My first word is going to be formaldehyde. Then “consciencious” followed by “stethescope” and then “cow.” We had a blast. She has good taste in music, my little one. I wonder what it is like for her to discover groups like Black Sabbath and Metallica, stuff that has been around for ages. Then she knows “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, which I had never heard of, or did but did not pay attention to. My husband walked in on us RIGHT after I had put on some OLD Pink Floyd, “Breathe” from “The Dark Side of the Moon.” I said, “I don’t know what the hell kind of music this child is listening to. Must be the friends she is hanging out with at school.” We laughed hard at that one because it was all me. I love doing that to her.


The Truth

November 10, 2008

If you are visiting this blog due to my invites from all over the web, welcome. Yes, life is really like this here on BEAUTIFUL South Padre Island, Texas. We are at the southernmost point of Texas where it is warm all year-round. The people are perty and genuinely nice and the food is GREAT! If you have time I invite you to look at just a few of the things there are to do in the area here: http://www.todopadre23.blogspot.com/ and my sister sites for viewing the beach: www.southpadrebeachcam.com and for weddings: http://www.southpadreweddings.com/ There is no reason why you should be in the cold, if you are viewing this from up north somewhere, when you could easily be down here in this 89 degree weather. The Island is a great place to visit, or even better -to live on. The good thing about the Internet is you can see it with your own eyes http://www.southpadre.travel/ and not have to rely on somebody else’s opinion. What is cheap to somebody else, may be out of my league financially.  What somebody else finds exciting (bungee jumping) might scare the hell out of me enough to cause a heart attack. What somebody finds as boring, I might enjoy immensely. We all have our different interests which is why I like to offer so many different activities to people on our things to do list. Birding may kill people with boredom but others can really identify birds and be thrilled that they see some here they will never see anywhere else. This weekend was a birding festival and I must admit that we live in such a beautiful area that I have a great blue heron that comes to our back dock every morning. There are so many opportunities to really get into something positive and in accordance with God’s will here. I can honestly say I have never been as happy, fulfilled, healthy or content as I have been since I moved to this tropical paradise.  My friends are the best people you could ever want to be with or to know. As the readers of this blog, continue to increase in number, my hope is to spread the joy of God’s love and his blessings through this medium. I hope to continue to make you laugh and smile and stare in wonder at some of these images from down here in beautiful South Texas. They are real. I do not know how to photoshop. I am lucky to even be able to post some images. I just learned how to add images to posts about a month ago. There are some I haven’t been able to post and that is what is holding back the list of things to do on the other Todo Padre site. Boy what a blessing that assignment has been. My greatest fear is how I am going to be able to afford featuring all those activities but one by one each feature is working out perfectly.

We went to Anzaldua’s park to feature the beauty of the park and one guy sitting on the bank fishing with his family talked to us for a while. it turned out he was a descendant of one of the original owners of the land the park was on. He directed us to the church where I had not been able to find the way to get in. There we were able to find out some of the history of that incredible area and get pictures of an earth-stone oven. I don’t know what you call them. They are the ovens the Indians used to use. I have to post those yet. There is so much history, interesting stories and opportunities for learning around. These ladies were telling me about a graveyard that was behind a building and that the land I live on was also all cemetary. Last week, they cleaned up the area behind that bldg. and what do you know? There were gravestones everywhere. It reminded me of one of my favorite lines in any movie… “YOU MOVED THE HEADSTONES, BUT YOU DIDN’T MOVE THE BODIES!!!!!”  If I ever have to say that line in real life, I am moving immediately.


Dieting

November 9, 2008

My sister just called. She has lost ten pounds on the Atkins diet. You can eat alot on that diet so I said I would try it. The theory behind it is : your body burns carbohydrates, restrict carbohydrates and your body must turn to its fat reserves when it needs energy. You can eat LOTS so I decided to go for it except this morning, my daughter made pancakes… and bacon. Then for dinner, my husband surprised me with making a pot of chili… with beans and crackers. So much for no carbohydrates today.

I am so tired of all the guilt with everything I eat. I have NEVER been satisfied with how much I weigh, even when I manage to whittle it down to something I can say in public, very quietly, though, to another fat girl. I bought some energy in a bottle, “Guaranteed to lose 36 lbs in 6 weeks,” the bottle said. Well, that worked for like a day. Now it’s like I’d have to eat a box of them to get an effect. Nothing works except constant deprivation, exercise, and rewarding yourself with fruit. Everything sugar-free costs at least double of what the cheap sugar-laden stuff costs. That is the problem with diets. You have to go out of your way to get the special food. One Winter Texan told me they had to go to the neighboring town 70 miles round trip for her Jenny Craig food. I am afraid I am going to turn out like that girl from Cheers, Kirstie Alley, strategically placing her purse and vases on her Pier One and Jenny Craig commercials to hide her body. All they focused on was her face and eyes, in those commercials.

They used to call me Kirstie Alley in high school, because of our similar eyebrows. Then when I had my daughter, everyone used to mention that SHE looked like Kirstie with her blue eyes and beautiful eyebrows. Now if anyone tells me I look like her, I would not eat for a week. I am getting my Trikke any one of these weeks. I cannot wait. I hope it gets here before the cold, ugly, nasty weather. I believe I am an enigma… somebody still not moved enough by all the sunshine and great weather to go surfing or bodykiting or whatever the hell is new now. There is body surfing and body skimming, how about I invent bodyleaving and leave it the hell alone? That would be great, if we could just leave it the hell alone and look good. For now I am just going to get a popsicle and go surfing. Channel surfing. That is all I feel like doing right now. They say we have the highest incidence of diabetes in the nation down here in the valley. We probably do. I am a good cook, Mexicans have a diet high in starches, fats, sugars and all that is good, and we are so lazy sometimes we wouldn’t get up off a railroad track if the train was coming. THAT is why so many Mexicans get killed on train tracks all the time. It is not because they are lulled to sleep by the vibrations as is theorized. It is cuz we are so hungover we would rather risk having the train pass over than get our lazy asses up off the tracks. How do you think they got to sleeping on the tracks anyway? Tequila. Water from the gods.  I’d better go. I need to rest. This cold is getting me delirious. I have lost six pounds twice this week and have not gained it back for the second time.

Before I go, WTH was that? I lost six pounds in two days, eat a cracker the third day and the six pounds is back. Ok, it wasn’t a cracker, it was a meal, but WTH was that? Reminds me of Oprah when she lost that wagonload of lard, ate a burger and put it all back on. Man, life is really messed up for some of us. Damn, skinny-ass models walking around, ruining it for the rest of us. I’m gonna go lay down and dream of ice cream and fried.. whatever.. I don’t care as long as it’s fried. Probably fried ice cream, leave it to me to come up with it, too. God help me.


South Padre International Music Festival

November 7, 2008

This past weekend was Halloween AND the South Padre International Music Festival. I was blown away by this group – Ideophonic (from Brownsville). They were sitting there quietly sipping lemonade when we sat at a table next to this nice-looking group of young men. They smiled amiably and only when they got up to do their sound check did I realize we had been sitting right by the band. I had sampled so many groups’ music that my brain was befuddled by then and I did not know what kind of music they were going to play.

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The singer strummed his bass. My daughter and I felt the vibrations through the brick in the floor and through our shoes. We both smiled at each other, knowing it was going to be loud, at the very least. They started belting out the jams right away and felt like I had listened to it for ages, it was so good. Kind of like when you hear, “Renegade” by U2. The drummer wailed on those drums like there was no tomorrow. He had everyone in all three sections of the place captivated.  I smiled and continued to relish in this, my most excellent find, the whole weekend long. You could not ignore this band. I wanted to get up and dance but I was with my daughter and it was the early afternoon and I was drinking tea. I had to fight the urge to dance for fear of embarrassing myself and my daughter, that is how good they are. You put these guys in a larger venue, at a later hour and you have  the ingredients for an incredible show. I was not the only one fighting the urge to get up and dance. EVERYBODY was keeping the beat and soon they had people yelling and clapping after every single song.

These kids were so young, polite, and modest… full of courtesy. I hope they never lose it as they are so talented and sound so good. I seriously hope they continue together as a band because they have nailed the genre perfectly.

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The drummer was charisma at its finest and the singer, Joey’s voice was perfect in pitch, tone, volume, and whatever else you could want. They nailed it!

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Milton, on drums, was awesome! He had everyone mesmerized! I had to smile as I watched them play because THIS is what it is all about – doing what you love and being DAMN good at it!

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http://www.myspace.com/ideophonicmusic

I absolutely LOOOOOOOVED them and I have seen many a band in my time. They need to be back and in a larger venue. They were ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT!!! We bought their CD’s and buttons, stickers and whatever else they had to offer to show them our support. These were young men and it was the least I could do to tell them how ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT they are at what they do. For the genre, they are PERFECT! I hope they never lose their grace, graciousness, and above all I hope we never lose them for this was a GREAT talent!

Later that afternoon, with my ears still buzzing from the Ideophonic show, Del Castillo played the bay stage. They are also from Brownsville and are much more experienced.

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There is a reason they are so beloved down here.

A guy with a guitar is so sexy.

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TWO guys with a guitar are even sexier.

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Throw in a singer with a 1/2 open shirt and you have Latin heat.

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 Rick and Mark Del Castillo tore it up on guitar!

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 Alex Ruiz had the crowd jumping.

 He exuded sensuality.

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 Albert is the only reason I went. He is awesome and has won six SPI wet t-shirt contests… blindfolded… in the snow.

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 A great time was had by all. What a great day!