Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mobile audio blog entry by me, Shaine Mata, for RGV Life. Mobile entries are on the go blog entries whenever computer access is not available.

MP3 File

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Possible change of plans

Tonight was the last Parent meeting at the Migrant Head Start school where I work. Parents came in from Cumberland and we had the school bus bring in parents from New Richmond. We received word tonight, from the higher-ups, that we might stay to work an extra week. This, of course, is great for many of the parents as it saves them from having to pay for childcare until October 6th, the last day of work at Seneca. There is a need for the service, but we've already gone through our budget. The main problem is that the staff has already made preparations to leave next week. Many of us wouldn't mind a little last-minute income, but we don't have time to make the changes necessary. It took us a while to get this far during our lunch breaks.
In my case, I already gave written notice to my landlord that I'm out next week. My utilities and other services are scheduled to be shut off. In addition, we reserved a U-Haul for our trip. Other staff will be leaving this weekend. Some are paid up until the end of the month only. Suffice it to say, it would be a real challenge for the employees to live up to the change of plans without some serious expenditures. 
The way that this, staying another week, could happen is if the parents are able to find the center two new children to attend. Even if a child attends for one day, the school gets full funding for that child. So, two children would be sufficient to cover the costs of running the center for another week. I don't know how likely the parents are to find two children who have not attended a free child care service. In the event that such children exist and the parents are convinced to enroll them, I'll be in Rice Lake another week. Of course, it could be that nothing happens and we do end up leaving.
The RGV is so close in my mind I can feel the hot humid air on my skin. My wife was ready to leave last week. We are "transitioning" our son so he's ready to go home too. But, he's anxious for some grandma love and some time with his sister.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Looking for a New Direction

Upon returning to the Rio Grande Valley from my migrant adventure next week, I'll have some time to resettle myself and my family. There is much catching up to do. There will be job hunting to do. Personally, I don't know what direction I'll be going. For the sake of self-preservation, I've historically sought low-hanging fruit, jobwise. Unmetaphorically speaking, I've looked for jobs that I would have no problems getting for the sake of not being unemployed. Consequently, I've lived in poverty for a long time. When there is a job requirement written in a job description, I've taken it literally, not applying for stuff where I don't meet a requirement or two. I should probably apply for those jobs anyway on the chance that my other qualities will compensate. But, what shall I do? Retail? Call center? Maintenance? Writing? Perhaps a sales job? I would love a technical job. One of my favorite jobs was as a cable puller for a networking company. Computers are obviously a big interest for me.

There are very few jobs in the United States, let alone the Rio Grande Valley, that count being a blogger as any sort of job qualification. Very few people make a living at this. Those who do, have jobs doing something else. We'll see what "something else" pops up. More than anything, I expect that this hobby may very well result in being excluded from many jobs. Where can a blogger find a job with open arms?

On a similar tangent, what direction should this blog take? The original intent of this blog was to comment on what we have going for us in the Rio Grande Valley and what we ought to do to have a region that meets the needs of its public. For a while, I participated in a very well-run campaign. I am glad I got to witness such a great team in action. This summer, RGV Life took a different direction by documenting my experience as a migrant. This phase is almost over, so what next?

On occasion, I've taken the liberty of criticizing some of our public officials for their actions or failures to act. In other words, they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. I recognize that it is an unfair approach to encouraging our leaders to do what is necessary to move the Rio Grande Valley ahead. In the coming months, I will probably take a more diplomatic approach to presenting things that affect us in the Rio Grande Valley. Our region has so much potential and has some serious issues to address. We can't afford to be fractured by politics. Rather than fuel divisions, I want to blog with the ultimate goal of bringing ideas to the fore so that our leaders have a resource rather than a kick in the pants. Rio Grande Valley leaders need to recognize that they need to maintain good relationships with others in order to be able to accomplish their jobs. I think by being critical of leaders, I am merely driving bigger wedges between them and their public. One of my stated suggestions to our politicians is that they ought to blog so that they can be closer to their public. If they fail to follow the suggestion, the least I can do is be less critical of the politicos and more supportive of any good actions they take. We'll give positive reinforcement a try.

October 2006 will witness another change in direction for RGV Life. If you are a regular reader, thanks for your support. I hope that the changes are not too drastic and continue to draw your interest. Furthermore, I hope that whatever job I find will allow me to continue propping up the Rio Grande Valley.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

My wife and I took the opportunity to visit the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN on Sunday. She has been wanting to go to a Ren Faire for ages, but something or other comes up, or we're broke. We've known about the festival in Minnesota all month. Given that we will be leaving the region to go back to Texas next week, we decided to go to the festival. It was a three hour drive to get there and, obviously another three hours to come back; except, we got lost to and fro due, so it took a few minutes longer both ways.
The festival was great! It was definitely much better than we both expected. We thought there would be more tents. We were suprised to see that the festival has permanent structures and covers a very large area. In addition, the parking area alone was monstrous. The only thing that comes to mind to compare is the parking at Fiesta Texas. The big difference is that the parking area is unpaved; it's all grass. What is even better about the whole festival is that it's not like going to theme park in the sense that only the employees dress up. Both workers and the guests dress up in Renaissance costumes. My wife and I did not own any costumes until she acquired one yesterday. She chose a wench costume and will proceed to join the Wench Guild.
Some of the things we saw were jousting, fairies, people in elf costumes, plenty of crafts, and costumes galore. The festival has shops throughout. The image of the festival is like that of a Renaissance village or town. There was even a beggar! It was a fun experience. We would definitely visit again, if we ever are in the position to travel 1,000 miles for a vacation or we are working in this area again.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Making Preparations

Today, we reserved a U-Haul trailer so that we can take our stuff home. It's a little 4' x 8'. We don't have a lot of stuff, but it's more than can be held in an Aerostar. The stuff we have is too bulky for the van, but probably not big enough to fill the trailer. If possible, we'll take out a seat from the van and throw it in the trailer so that we have plenty of room in the van.
Other preparations we are making include informing the apartment manager of our intent to leave, getting our utilities and cable scheduled for disconnection, closing our mailbox, looking for boxes, and the usual stuff when you move. Most of the stuff we have, we bought under the assumption that we would discard it.
There are also preparations back home. My wife has already been in contact with Human Resources to get things underway to return to work. My son is already schmoozing over the phone for his return to his grandparents. In my case, who knows what awaits me back in the RGV. When I left, my prospects weren't so hot, to the point I fell into a minor depression over it.
Other families working at UMOS are also making preparations to go back home. Some of our co-workers are local, so they are preparing to find other work until next season. It's interesting that some of the teachers and other staff for UMOS's Migrant Head Start choose to return year after year.
By this point, many of the migrant families have made a choice to stay in Wisconsin until December. The season has not been so hot for many, so they will tough it out until right before Christmas. There is a company around here that makes Christmas wreaths and other holiday decorations. It's a similar type of monotonous, long-hour labor as working at the green bean plant. Some families with two workers and who have been frugal will be leaving for home. Others, will be going home with small coffers. Whether to stay or go is such a personal decision for everybody. There are so many things that influence such a decision. Such factors include: how much money a family has saved, whether or not they have children and if paying for childcare will be necessary, if there are job prospects back home, whether other family will stay, and so many other things.
In our case, we are heading home because the Rio Grande Valley is just that, home. Our friends and family are at home. Even though we are way out in the woods up here in Wisconsin, we still have friends from back home. They will be leaving too. So, what's left for us here until next season? In summary, we are wrapping up our stay in Rice Lake, WI. This week and next, we'll be counting the days until our departure.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Topics Affecting the Rio Grande Valley

Each city in the Rio Grande Valley has its own issues with which to contend. Some have to deal with growth. Some have to deal with corruption. Some have to deal with budget problems. As a region, however, the Rio Grande Valley has some common issues. I gave some thought to some of the recurring issues that affect the RGV. I've identified the following: immigration, border security, health issues like diabetes and tuberculosis, education in public schools and colleges/universities, poverty, crime, flood prevention, and water. I'll go into greater detail.
Right now, one of the bigger issues is immigration. The way immigration affects the RGV is rather obvious to residents, but I'll spell it out. Given that the RGV is on the U.S.-Mexico border, we see a great deal of both legal and illegal immigrants. The main attraction for both types of immigrants is that of culture. Immigrants from Mexico are able to enjoy a culture very similar to their own while enjoying some of the better things that American culture has to offer. For some, the RGV is only a staging area before venturing further into the U.S. So, we have a growing immigrant population in addition to high traffic of immigrants who are just passing through. Any legislation or actions dealing with immigration, therefore, directly affects the Rio Grande Valley.
Related to immigration is border enforcement. Efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigration has a direct impact on our labor force and the price of goods and services. In addition, increased border security affects the flow of drugs into the U.S. There is debate as to whether increased border security does any good to stem the flow of both illegal immigrants and drugs. Whichever way those in power decide to go, it affects us in the RGV because the security forces will work and live with us.
Related to the flow of immigrants is tuberculosis. The Rio Grande Valley has a high percentage of TB infections relative to the size of the population. Houston has more cases of TB, but it is a smaller percentage of the population. What further complicates things is that the RGV has residents with multiple drug resistant strains. This obviously affects public health, but it also affects our indigent care programs as it costs our local governments a great deal of money to treat.
Another health issue that affects the Rio Grande Valley is that of diabetes. Mexican-Americans, which comprise a majority of the RGV residents, have a high rate of diabetes. The University of Texas-Pan American recently opened a research center to work towards solving this problem. In the meantime, diabetes is a problem that affects RGV families. For those who can afford treatment, it's a drain on their income. For those who can't, it's a drain on our public assistance. If you know anybody with diabetes, you know that there is always the possibility of blindness, amputations, heart disease, and other complications. Any of these can severely impact the economic wellbeing of families.
Education is probably the single best solution that the RGV has for many of its ills. This can refer to public schools or higher education. Therefore, any changes in school financing, requirements, testing, or other burdens on the education systems affect the future of the Rio Grande Valley. Big burdens, obviously, will slow down the RGV's progress. High dropout rates are also a big concern. Any major improvements in education can help alleviate the next big issue affecting the RGV, poverty.
The sad truth about the Rio Grande Valley is that poverty widespread. With a high population of legal and illegal immigrants, in addition to the native population, competing for the same jobs, wages are low. Although you may be gainfully employed, you may be having a tough time making ends meet. Education does help improve the circumstances of many, but there is still fierce competition for the good jobs. In any case, there is a large population of people whose income is much less than what is considered the official poverty level. Poverty, in turn, affects many other things that challenge the RGV: healthcare, education, housing, crime, and such.
Speaking of crime, the Rio Grande Valley has plenty of that. There is crime committed by residents and crime committed by illegal immigrants and by the drug smugglers. Of more significance is the drug trade. There is so much money involved in drugs that it affects our local governments. There are many instances of police, judges, city officials, county officials, and others who have been jailed for their parts in the drug trade.
In a different vein, other issues include flooding and water. In one case, it's too much water. In the other case it's not enough. The Rio Grande Valley is perpetually in shortage of water. We have on major source of water, the Rio Grande River. Our neighbors to the south often see fit to short their paisanos downstream and their neighbors to the north with their contribution to the Rio Grande River. Our reservoirs normally stay well below capacity as a result. It's not all the fault of Mexican watermasters. One can also blame nature for not providing enough rain upstream.
On the other side of the spectrum, if the RGV gets hit with a good hurricane that dumps a great deal of water in a short period of time, then the valley would be flooded. Flood control systems are in place, in the form of levees. However, like in the case of New Orleans, they have been neglected and would be inadequate to ensure the safety of the region. The remedy to the problem runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars. This is money that could go into solving some of the other issues affecting the RGV. However, if a good flood happens to occur, the other issues are moot.
So, you see, the challenge of our local governments and elected officials is how to manage the limited resources available, usually money, to best deal with these issues. Everybody has different opinions about what the priorities are. We can focus on a few issues and effectively deal with them, only to be overwhelmed by the other issues. We could also try to deal with all evenly and end up being ineffective at all of them.
Of course, it doesn't help when we get government officials who are in power to help themselves and their friends. Like parasites, they take and give nothing back. We could probably live with those parasites if there were some kind of symbiosis, but the relationship is pretty one-sided.
I suggest that you keep these issues in mind when somebody asks you for your vote in November. You need to decide where you stand so that you can choose somebody who best represents your priorities. Otherwise, you'll simply vote for whomever did a better marketing job. There is more to choosing leaders than who has the best ads.

Winter Texodus

Every year in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, the region is flooded with Winter Texans. A Winter Texan is the local term for visitors from northern states who travel South for the Winter season. They generally start arriving around September or October, depending on when the cold starts to set in. Winter Texans then stay until Spring and head back home. The whole reason for the annual trip is to escape the harsh cold of the northern states. The Rio Grande Valley used to be called the Magic Valley because local farmers could grow pretty much anything throughout the entire year due to its tropical climate. Our winters in the RGV rarely have freezing temperatures for more a couple of nights at a time. This is Fall weather for Winter Texans.
The signal for Winter Texans to start heading South is generally when the frosts start to set in. This week, we are expecting temps to dip into freezing in the evenings. The Exodus has started. Today, I went shopping at one of the local grocery stores. There were an extraordinary number of grey-haired locals shopping for groceries. Some are even sporting t-shirts and caps with the names of RGV businesses and towns. They are getting ready to go to Texas, Florida, and New Mexico.
It's interesting to see Winter Texans before their departure. You always wonder from where they originate. I know now that some originate from Rice Lake, Wisconsin and the surrounding area. Something that I failed to consider for my return to the RGV is that there may not be a U-Haul trailer available to rent, having all been rented by our annual visitors. Buen viaje!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

First Thing Upon Arriving in Texas

My wife and I have been discussing what we will do upon our arrival in Texas. I know that Texas is a large state, but once there, we are practically home. In any case, as soon as we see the first Whataburger, we are stopping. We really miss the occasional nice, juicy Whataburger with jalapeños. And there is always their delicious grilled chicken sandwich. In just a little over two weeks, we'll have the pleasure of savoring these delicious Texas classics. We can't wait.
Other things that we will do include going through all of our mail, making sure all our bills are paid, and just catching up with friends and family. On more practical matters, we have a rust bucket van that needs a few tweaks to get the air conditioning working. It isn't an issue in Wisconsin as the weather has been very cool. We also need to have some body work to remove rust. We'll probably have the work done across the border in Reynosa.
The Mrs. will be looking into getting back to work and starting her public school teacher certification process. She's a bit conflicted as to whether to land the safe, secure job right away or gamble a little on the teacher certification. The basis for her inner debate is that she'd have to take a couple of tests. Her ability to teach in public school is dependent on whether she passes the tests. So, she struggles between a definite and a maybe.
In my case, I'll probably visit my friends at China Wok and Confetti to see how life is treating them. There are some other notable people of interest I'd like to visit to find out what has transpired during our absence. Then, of course, there is always the job hunt. We shall have to see what kind of job I can land. Fortunately, many businesses will be gearing up for the Holidays, so I have a good chance at finding a job. Then, there are always jobs with municipalities, schools, and other public entities where I can apply. Whatever happens, my first order of business is a Whataburger. I understand that there will be a new Whataburger on the corner of Conway and 3 mile line in Mission. Life is good.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Respect for Ann Richards

Ann Richards had my respect. I am saddened by her death. I have two things for which I am grateful to Gov. Richards: South Texas College and The University of Texas-Pan American. Both of these institutions have been there for both my wife and for me to improve ourselves. That is something for which I am eternally grateful.
Even though she was a Democrat, I respected Ann Richards because she said what she meant. I like people who are candid. Perhaps I may have disagreed with the Governor on some issues, but I knew where she stood and why she was doing what she was doing. Others in public office should learn from such a great person like Gov. Richards and try to emulate her forthright manner. I am proud to have had Ann Richards as my governor.

Queen Isabella Causeway Collapse

I was reading The Los Fresnos - Port Isabel Tribune and I read a small piece about the Queen Isabella Causeway Collapse. This happened a few days after the terrorist attacks back in 2001. At first, it was thought to be another attack. Later, it was determined that the collapse was caused by poor navigation.
My wife and I got a chance to visit the causeway during reconstruction. We went to the fishing pier and watched as the construction crews worked to rebuild. They worked around the clock. For a while, they set up ferries to carry vehicles across the bay. We tried to ride the ferry, but the lines were really long. Instead, we hung out in Port Isabel and had a good time.
I feel sad for the people who died at the causeway and I hope that they and their families are able to find peace.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

All for nought

We were informed that the federal team sent to review our Head Start center would not come today. Our center is roughly 3 hours away from the nearest center and about 4 hours away from our regional office in Oshkosh. The distance made it too inconvenient to have the team visit us in person. They conducted phone interviews instead.
There are mixed emotions amongst the staff. On the one hand, there is relief that we are not going to be closely scrutinized. On the other hand, we've put a lot of work into the center and were prepared to show it off.
Well, this week is practically over. After this, there will be two weeks of work and then we will shut down the center. In October, we all head back home to the Rio Grande Valley.
We have a couple weeks to finish up all paperwork. That's all of our focus from this point on. Ignoring that sentence ending in a preposition, we have our work cut out for us in our remaining time. But it won't be quite as stressful as it has been in preparation for PRISM.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

RGV Life Podcast #20

RGV Life explained. Current situation.

Some things I knew. Some things I learned. What I am taking away from the experience.

MP3 File

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Rio Grande Valley Winter

We are currently experiencing a Rio Grande Valley Winter here in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. The temperatures during the day have been in the 60s with lows in the 40s. Obviously, it's nice to be away from the heat back home. However, we are beginning to worry that we may experience a frost or two before we head back home. There is always the possibility of an early snow. We are absolutely glad that we won't be here for the 50 below temperatures that Rice Lake experiences in the Winter. For now, we have the windows closed and the heaters on. The leaves are beginning to change colors. Where the sun used to rise around 4:30 am, it is now rising at 6:30 and getting later. We used to have sunlight until about 9 pm. It starts getting dark earlier too.
When we get back home in the RGV, it will be warm. Then it will start to get cool. Then it will warm again. Two RGV winters in one year.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Only 21 Hours To Go!

I did a degree audit earlier today. It's no big deal; UTPA has a feature on their website that automatically spits one out for you to check. In any case, I have 21 hours to go before graduation. It's all Senior level courses plus an hour of Kinesiology. Woohoo! That's nothing. That's a little less than 2 semesters. That's a couple summer sessions and a semester.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. On the other, I'm going to have to bust it a little to earn enough money to pay for the courses. When you go to school, it doesn't just cost the money you shell out. There is also the opportunity cost, what you must give up while you pursue the one option. An example of this is that it would be next to impossible to have a full-time job while taking senior level courses, unless you have some really flexible job or graveyard shift. Senior courses aren't generally held in the evening and don't offer too many opportunities. You take them when they are available and that's that. You can imagine telling your boss that you need a few hours off on Tuesday and Thursday, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for school. Most business is conducted from 8 am to 5 pm. That's why they are called business hours. There aren't that many jobs out there willing to do without you for so many business hours. So, the opportunity cost is the income you could have earned. You HOPE that you will earn more after graduation.

However things turn out, I am really close and can't wait to walk up to grab my diploma. I will graduate with a degree in Finance. I have no job prospects or specific interests for that diploma. I know plenty of people who work doing things that are way off from what they studied. I chose Finance for my own pleasure. If I could get a job in Finance, it would be great. However, it's the sort of career where you have to have good connections to be able to land a job in the field. I know plenty of jobless and underemployed Finance majors. Given my habit of blogging, most reputable companies can run a search on me and find volumes of disagreeable things. I simply want to graduate. I'll deal with the other nonsense later. Who knows, maybe graduate school is in my future. We shall see how my future unfolds.

Newsfeeds added to SpinRGV

 I've decided to add a couple of newsfeeds from Google and Yahoo! to These feeds search through news for any stories with Rio Grande Valley in the story. The searches also filter out stories about the rio grande valley in New Mexico to keep them out of the feed. There may be some redundancy in the stories, but it ought not be a major issue. This way, I hope that we get a wider base of contributors without using up much space on the front page.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Universal Problem of Migrants and Non-Migrants

There is one problem that affects both migrants families and non-migrant families. From my perspective, it is more pronounced because I get a first-hand look at the effects of the problem. Given the ubiquity of the problem, I'm sure that many readers of RGV Life will identify, or at least understand.

The problem for most families, both migrant and non, is that of raising children. None of us get instructions. We rely on what we know, instinctively, and what our families taught us. You don't need a license or special training to have children. Most of all, there is little agreement across cultures and even families as to how children should be raised. The only universal concept is that children must be taught. You teach them knowledge, emotions, physical development, culture, and even some wisdom amongst so many other things. My point is that our youth depend on us, society and parents, to teach them. Teachers are, no doubt, a big influence of children. Parents, or the lack thereof, are the absolute greatest influence on children.

I am seeing first-hand results of this truth in my current job. For a quick update, I have travelled from the Rio Grande Valley to Wisconsin as a migrant to both find greener pastures and to re-experience life as a migrant. On this trip, I have had the opportunity to see the children of my fellow migrants. The result is that many of these children are growing up without parents during the working season. In the long-run, this undoubtedly results in the high dropout rate amongst migrant children. This, however, is not limited to migrants. You also see similar problems amongst children of professionals who are too busy with their careers to devote time to their greatest product. In the case of migrants, long work hours are a necessity for survival. In the case of professionals, it is not.

Migrant families will fall into one of two categories. There are those who work in factories and those who work out in the fields. The jobs don't pay much at their base pay, but make up for it with long hours or volume. Factory migrants earn good money, enough for their needs, by working long hours during the season. Field working migrants make good money, enough for their needs, by working really hard to produce greater volumes of crops. Either way, the work is very physically demanding. The workers don't enjoy a great deal of leisure time before needing to get some sleep. During the work season, parents have little time or inclination to devote to their children. During this time, the children grow up unsupervised and without direction. It's a tough decision to work less and barely scratch out a living or keep working hard to live a fairly comfortable life.

To reiterate, this is not restricted to migrants. Amongst high-income earners, the same is true. Often, the stakes are high insofar as what the parents must give up in income if they wish to spend more time with the children. The concept is to work hard and play hard. Spending the hard earned money on trips, name-brand products, and the latest trinkets to help relieve the guilt of not being there.

It is not my intent to condemn parents for being inattentive. In my own case, I am seeing the result of both my and my wife's long hours at the school. This is my first non-working weekend in weeks. There are already some issues with our son. To many, this may seem minor, but we expect more from our children. The other day, he kicked a toy at us in anger. He slapped one of his friends during a disagreement. Up to now, he has never done things like that. He has also never been so unsupervised. We are friends with his teachers who tell us about his bad behavior. Even they were shocked to see it. We don't blame the teachers; there are two of them versus 14 children 5 years old and younger. If you divide up a 12 hour day, minus 2 hours of naptime, into all 14, that yields a grand total of about 43 minutes of attention a day per teacher. Multiplied by two teachers, it's a whopping hour and 26 minutes of attention. This is actually an overestimate because there are always those children who need constant attention. Mine is self-managing for the most part, which means that he is getting a few meager minutes of attention from both teachers per 12 hour day. This means that a major influence on our son at this time is a bunch of other preschool kids. Children aren't known for making the best choices for themselves or their behavior without adult direction.

We'll be glad when the federal review is over so that we have weekends and afternoons to spend with our son. One of the benefits of being "overearners" is that we don't qualify for afterschool child care. This means that one of us will have three extra hours off each day to spend with the boy. When we go home, we will have somebody with the boy and the girl (our code names for our children). It will be us or family. Always somebody with time and understanding of the importance of our two greatest products.

I urge anybody who is giving it all to the company or career to rethink what you are willing to trade off. In today's world of tough competition, lawsuits, downsizing, and whatever other business-related catchphrase, nobody at work will remember who you are or what you did for the company. You may be a star this year or have a successful business that is making money hand over fist. As soon as things start to slow down, you'll be tossed aside and replaced by somebody just as good who will work for less money. You'll be forgotten. Your children, on the other hand, will always be there for you if you took the time to lay the foundation to be there for them. If you bail on them now, they'll never learn to value your relationship. They will learn that family is just a hobby on the side rather than your most important commitment. Your business partners can't have faith in you if you don't value something as basic as your own family.

We all have this problem. We have to weigh the choice between being home and being at work. For some, the choice is crystal clear. Either business is all that matters, or family is. For the rest of us, we have to find that middle ground. Migrants are going to suffer poverty no matter what. The choice for them is to what degree they want to suffer poverty, a little or a lot. For those of us who are able to earn better, it's a difference between a weekend in San Antonio or a weekend at home watching movies. If you are a high income earner, it's the difference between a weekend in Vegas or Disneyland versus having a family barbecue. It's the same concept.

For the love of your family and your community, spend some time at home with your people. Teach them the difference between right and wrong. Teach them to value each other. Just spend time with them. Many of the ills in our lives come from not being home.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Quick Podcast

-dry conditions
-migrant jobs are slow

Plans for the future:
-go home

MP3 File

Monday, September 04, 2006

New Podcasts added to SpinRGV

Mission CISD has created new podcasts to share the district's news. I tried using the existing script on SpinRGV to add the podcast feed, but was not able without some reprogramming. Given my limited time at the moment, I chose to use FeedBurner to format the feed publication on SpinRGV. You can go directly to the district's website to download the latest podcasts. Or, you can download directly from

Sunday, September 03, 2006

New Addition

I've added At the Museum to SpinRGV, tonight. Of course, I'm always looking for blogs that deal with the political landscape of the Rio Grande Valley. There are a couple blogs that are more personal than political. In any case, I hope that the new addition brings more discourse to SpinRGV visitors.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Another Working Saturday

Here I am listening to my Yahoo! radio station, ready to crash out. Today is another working Saturday, the fifth in a row. I'm looking forward to another day of work tomorrow. There is a good chance that I'll have a 6th working weekend as our deadline draws near. Once the federal review team is gone, I may have a free weekend before heading back to the Rio Grande Valley.

Last night, we visited one of our co-workers who had a bonfire going. They basically light up logs and sit around drinking. This is cool because evenings are starting to dip into the 40's already. The bonfire is, therefore, very handy. We stayed out there for a while and had fun chatting. I've been invited to go duck hunting next weekend. My critical thinking skills weren't in effect after a couple beers, so I agreed to go. I guess the trip shall have to be postponed. I've never shot a shotgun or gone on any kind of hunting trip. If it happens, it should prove interesting. I understand that duck hunting is similar to fishing in that whether you catch anything or not is besides the point. You're out there to have fun and drink beer. That sounds achievable. Maybe I'll even get a duck.

I understand that it gets damn cold out here in winter. The snow drifts get chest high. Temperatures drop to 30 below zero. At this temperature, you could pour hot water out of a pot and it would be frozen when it hits the ground. I considered, at one point, staying here to work until December to head home and go to school. On second thought, I'm getting my Mexican behind back in the Rio Grande Valley ASAP.
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