Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Saving Money

I will be working towards this goal this summer. I would like to earn more than that, however. The money will go towards paying bills and going to school another semester or two. If I can find a fair part-time job, then the money would be there for tight spots until I graduate. I just need this as a stash for emergencies when a paycheck doesn’t cover my needs.

Writing a book

Writing a book is one of my goals in life. I do think that it is in my future. I understand, from other writers, that a book “has to be written”. Meaning that the writer is merely a conduit for bringing the book to fruition. You don’t sit down and say to yourself that you are going to write a book about X,Y, or Z. It’s the other way around. X,Y, or Z needs a book and you are the one to do it.

As soon as I come across such a situation, I’m all over it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Time with the family

Today was a slow day for me. My daughter went to school. My wife is on her summer vacation. Our son still stays home. We watched a movie, made some phone calls to get an idea of our situation before we leave. We went to my in-laws for a barbecue. We enjoyed peace and freedom.
Today, being Memorial Day, the History Channel showed Band of Brothers. I love that series. You can't help getting choked up sometimes when you watch it. For me, it's almost like watching The Passion of the Christ. You know what happened, intellectually; but you don't connect with the brutal reality until you see it. The series is probably not as graphic as the real thing, but it's still a good reminder of the sacrifice our soldiers endure for their country. I, for one, am grateful to our soldiers for what they do. I also understand and admire their mindset in accomplishing their missions no matter what, whatever it may be. It is this level of focus and dedication that I admire in our soldiers. Although some may not understand why they choose to fight and even re-enlist, what matters is that our soldiers do understand. For that, I will always be humbled.
Let us thank our fallen heroes for preserving our freedom. Let us remember that they have paid the ultimate price for liberty so that we do not have to pay the ultimate price in fear and oppression.
RGV Life Podcast

Monday, May 29, 2006

Idea in the Works

I like to listen to other podcasts out there on the Internet. One of my favorites is TWiT, a podcast about technology hosted by Leo Laporte. If you are the geeky type who used to watch ZDTV, which later became TechTV, or you read tech magazines, you know who Leo Laporte is. He's one of my heroes. In any case, he does something that I've been thinking about doing for a while for the podcasts. TWiT has a panel of experts go over some of the latest developments in IT. Regular guests include John C. Dvorak, Patrick Norton, Chris DiBona, and Amber MacArthur. What makes this show so cool is that the panel is not usually in the same room or city. Many of the participants of the show are in on an internet teleconference. The call is recorded, edited, and posted on the web. This is a much better format for a podcast than having one person, me, talking to a computer screen.
This is along the same idea that I have for a SpinRGV podcast, to have a weekly roundtable of bloggers go over the events of the week on a teleconference. It would be held on the Saturdays when everybody has free minutes on their mobile phones. This would give me enough time to make edits and prepare it for posting on Sunday. The reason why free minutes is important is because each participant would have to call in to a conference phone number, dial in to a room number, and then go at it. On my end, I would join the conference, moderate, and record it through my Gizmo Project account. I'm really keen on Gizmo because they are free for PC to PC calls and 1 cent per minute to any phone in the U.S. I use my Gizmo service to make my website business calls. For the weekly teleconference, the software also comes with built-in call recording, allowing me to record the whole event. Something to keep in mind is that if you also use Gizmo and are on the teleconference, you too could record the call to post on your website.
One of the benefits of setting up a weekly roundtable of bloggers is that it would, in some way, bring the RGV blogging community a little closer through weekly discussions. When you deal with somebody frequently, you can't help establishing some level of relationship. Another benefit for bloggers is that it would allow us to choose a weekly guest for the "show" and we could all ask the guest questions in a round-robin fashion (we would all take turns asking questions). We could all then take the interview as source for our blog posts. Despite being on the same conference call, I'm sure we'd all have different takes on the same interview. It would be interesting to see the different opinions. This would be particularly interesting during election season. Imagine having an online debate amongst candidates. The major difference between podcasts and traditional media is that we would not have time constraints. If a podcast goes too long, it could be broken down into parts for download. In short, there are so many possibilities.
Of course, there are some downsides to the project. For one, our guests would have to be willing to make a long-distance call to join the teleconference. This isn't so bad as anybody of consequence can generally afford to do it by a landline, through free weekend minutes on their mobile phone, or even by VOIP. Another disadvantage is that there may be the appearance of collusion on who gets interviewed. The biggest downside is that we would not be able to have anonymous bloggers in the mix without identifying their gender or, possibly, their identity. This limits the panel to "out in the open" bloggers.
I don't know how available high-speed internet is where I'm going; this project may have to wait until I come back. I thought I would throw this out there for my fellow RGV bloggers to consider. I could, technically, do the same show without high-speed internet, but it would be really frustrating to upload through dial-up. For now, let's consider file it under future reference. I am interested in learning about your thoughts on this project if you are an RGV political blogger. Please contact me at rgvlife at yahoo dot com with your thoughts and opinions.
RGV Life Podcast

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Shaine Mata Audio Blog Podcast #1

raising kids
rio grande valley
Duration:29 minutes, 0 seconds
Date Last Updated:Sun 28 May 2006 02:12:01 AM CDT
File Size:6.96 MB

MP3 File

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Trip postponed

We decided, earlier this week, to postpone our trip to Wisconsin by a week. We had not considered that Memorial Day is this weekend. We prefer low traffic when traveling. Other factors influence the decision as well. For one, my mother still has not received her unemployment check, which will pay her gas. My wife and I are waiting to interview, over the phone, for a couple jobs. She's a shoe-in; I have a pretty good chance. If that job doesn't pan out, I have a backup job. My wife decided, on the spur of the moment, to migrate with me. She canceled her classes and financial aid for the summer. We'll take advantage of the next few days to make sure our van is ready for the trip. Of course, our daughter also has a couple days to go before school ends. We have our work cut out for this week.
There are some ramifications of my wife's decision to go up north with me. By going, our family will become migrant. There are programs set up to help migrants for which we would qualify. Of course, if she goes, the children go. This means that we would need somebody to watch over them. The boy might be able to attend the school where we'll be working. The girl may be able to stay with another girl a couple years older than her who is too young to work. We have a good idea how childcare will go. I mentioned in another post that she would be earning two paychecks this summer. One from Headstart and one from her summer job. Of course, I would be earning good money too. This means that I'll keep the van with me and my wife will bring a newer vehicle with her. I don't want to worry about her van breaking down with her and the kids on her way back, so we'll get her something newer. I'll stay on in Wisconsin for a longer period.
The place we are going to is about an hour away from Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota. We'll have the opportunity to visit the Mall of America. I've also never seen Lake Superior; I intend to visit this Summer. In any case, we are locked in to going this week because we have to go to Oshkosh, which is on the other side of Wisconsin, for training. The state isn't as big as Texas, but there are curvy roads with lots of hills and small towns to pass. Driving at night is also slightly hazardous with the deer. Many migrants smash the crap out of their vehicles when they hit deer. Once in a while it even kills the deer.
We have not set a route yet. One route takes us through Arkansas and Illinois. The other route follows I-35 all the way north and then hang a right. Since we should head towards Oshkosh, the first route may be best. Of course, it all depends on whether we get the job or not. Chances are good, but we need to be open to a different possibility in case things don't pan out.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Latest Pow-Wow

I had a pow-wow tonight with another family that is traveling to Wisconsin. Generally, when migrants travel, we like to travel with people we know or at least with another group of people. The reasoning is that we can count on each other in case something goes wrong. If you travel on your own, you're on your own if something happens to your vehicle. Let's face it, most migrants don't have the latest model of any brand of car. So, there is safety in numbers, even if it's two different families. In any case, they have shared with my family the opportunity to work together.

I'll make some phone calls on Friday morning to get more details. The reason why this is significant is that we may be able to have our moving expenses paid. If the lead pans out, we'll get $900 per person. This gave my wife reason to reconsider staying here in the RGV to take classes. She is considering the possibility of going with me to Wisconsin to work. This means that she would get $900 and I would get $900. On top of that, we would be paid for our work. In addition, there is an end of season bonus of roughly $500 and relocation stipend of another $900. Why the generosity? Well, the location happens to be in the middle of nowhere. However, there are migrants there who need to be serviced. Even amongst the social workers, it is preferable to work in the Waushara County area of Wisconsin because there is an established community of immigrants and migrants. When a new location crops up, there is no Hispanic community. At the risk of sounding like a militant Hispanic racist, we would be in an area surrounded by a bunch of white people.

I'll find out the specifics when I make some phone calls today. If it pans out, we have some cash and leisure time. As a Head Start teacher, my wife earns money through the summer. Any work she does is the frosting on the cake. This means, double pay. I am almost certain that she would be hired with her qualifications. I have reasonable certainty to be hired. Even if I'm not, I can still work at one of the plants in the area and earn even more money. The difference for me is to either earn easy money or bust it a little and earn more money. As a family, we can't lose. My wife's participation is not certain yet. She has to clear some things first. Even if she is not able to go, she would be working towards another goal that would result in an $11K raise thanks to the Texas Legislature's $2K raise for teachers. To sum it up, we are in the crap right now, but things for this summer are looking really good.

In my wife's case, she has a Bachelor's degree in History. She later went back to STC for an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Now, she's working to get certified as a teacher. I've been helping her achieve her goals. She still has some ways to go, so I am not free to pursue my goals 100%. Here's the rub. She only needs one class to open a daycare center. We haven't done that because we want to save up enough money to pay for startup costs. For now, if she becomes a public school teacher, it means a $9K raise. With the help of the Texas Legislature, she will have a $2K raise. Teachers make roughly $2K take home pay after taxes and other deductions. Yes, we know that Texas teachers are paid well below the national average. However, keep this in mind. Teachers make about $32K to start. The poverty line is $20K. The most I have earned is $16K. In my wife's job, she will earn $26K this year. Her take home pay after taxes and deductions is $1K. So, we are used to being broke-assed Mexicans. Any gain will go a long way.

Rod Santa Ana, III has it right in his latest article. A college education does make a big difference. He's wrong in only a geographical sense. A college degree makes a big difference only in the Rio Grande Valley. I don't have an explanation for this, believe it or not. I do know that my lack of a college degree has severely limited my options. Even with a Bachelor's degree, my wife had a tough time finding a job. She had to start at Head Start as a bus aid; which is a part-time, minimum wage job. She had to talk her interviewers into giving her a chance to become a teacher aid. Think about it, the arrogance of administrators considering whether a person with a BA in History would be a good TEACHER AID. And it gets better. Hidalgo County only pays teacher aids about $16K. This is one of those WTF moments. But my wife humbled herself and took what they offered in hopes that she could become a teacher. She did. And, due to a transition, she now earns more than most teachers in the Head Start program. She could not have done this without her college degree. Up north, where they need workers, it's easier to find work.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Still gathering info

Although my wife and I still have a few years before we can pull this off, we are gathering information so that we know what to do when the time comes. Here is the immigration site:

Looks like we may be able to get in as highly skilled workers. I need to look into job opportunities and cost of living to see how much we would have to earn.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Getting more readers

I’ve been doing more writing and improving my style to make my blogging more appealing. I do have a small group of regular readers. I will be doing a writing project this summer where I will document my experiences as a migrant worker. I think this may attract a small number of readers.

More Possibilities

We have been in touch with some of our friends and family up in Wisconsin. More and more, it appears that we will be going there. We are told that there are plants in Ripon and Markesan that have housing for their workers. The reason why this is important for this trip is so that we can save the money we would otherwise spend on rent. This makes achieving our financial goals that much faster and certain. It turns out that Ripon is the birthplace of the Republican Party. Wow! Hopefully we'll have a chance to work there.
There may be a setback on our departure date. There is a possibility that we may have to delay it for another week. If this is so, then I have time to make some money at a couple odd jobs. I have one wireless computer set-up to do today for a client and maybe some speaker rewiring. We'll see how it works out.

2 New Kick-Ass Beers

I'm no beer connoisseur; in fact, if I hadn't taken French for four years I wouldn't even know how to spell it. There are two new beers on the market that are sure to make an impact in the RGV. Let's not pretend we haven't seen the construction workers stop by the convenience stores in the morning to buy their breakfast beers. The new beers are the 24 oz. Hurricane High Gravity and the 211 Steel Reserve High Gravity beers. These weigh in at a whopping 8.1% alcohol content. Being the ever diligent worker for the public interest, I decided to try them both out. My analysis? They kick ass.
I expect that many of our less responsible residents who partake in the occasional beer per hour will find them irresistible. For $1.18, you get twice the kick of regular beer. When it comes to alcoholism, efficiency is key. So, while our workforce adjusts to the strength of the new beers, I expect that there my be more alcohol-related incidents on our roads. I suggest driving with caution as the DPS in the RGV focuses on enforcing the speed limit on Hwy 107 between Alton and Edinburg and some other areas where most people don't drive. Beware swerving work pickups and vans.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Brief visit with a friend

I had a computer job to do in McAllen this afternoon, so I made a trip out to the north side today. On the way, I stopped by the bank to pick up my passport and close out my safety deposit box. With all the recent brouhaha on immigration, I figure I need as much proof of citizenship as possible. You can't get any better proof than your passport. So, I did the job and on the way back, I stopped to visit my friend Jason at China Wok.
Things were busy for a while when I got there. I helped out and took an order for a customer, answered the phone, and folded napkins. After a while things slowed down and we got a chance to talk. In case you've never been there, you need to stop by. China Wok is one of the few Chinese restaurants in the RGV that prepares Chinese food for you the way you want it. They can add garlic, make it spicy, make it not spicy, just meat, just vegetables, ... whatever. If you're a buffet eater, then CW is not for you. They don't do buffet. Each dish is individually prepared. Anyway, as I was saying, we got a chance to chat when some tables left. Joe, one of the waiters, was telling me that an older lady chewed him out for not taking May 1st off to go protest. She made a scene in front of the other customers. She accused him of all kinds of things. Joe had no need to protest, he's a citizen. And as he put it, he'd rather have the money.
I also told Jason about my coming trip up north for work. Prior to working at Confetti, I did odd jobs for him. Then, when his wife opened the store, I was hired to set up their phone lines, point of sale system, and to network the computers. It was supposed to be a temporary job; it lasted three years. I stop by and visit once in a while. Jason's always busy, so it's tough to hang out there without volunteering. He has offered me work there as a waiter; but, I've declined. There is some weirdness working there after having left the store. Maybe when I come back. I'll let you know if I'm waiting tables. His waiters make pretty good money (which should tell you something about the experience). I'm thinking that rather than working until December, I'll work until around October and fill the gap waiting tables at China Wok.
One of the benefits of having Jason as a friend is that he has helped me learn a little bit of Chinese (which will be handy in the future). I've learned how to cook my favorite, sausage fried rice. It's not on the menu, but it's delicious. You use smoked sausage, the big horseshoe, white pepper, soy sauce, and rice. Mmmmm. And the 5 spice chicken, also not on the menu, droooool. He's an awesome cook and he has shared some tips with me. He's also one of those guys who doesn't measure his words. He can be brutal sometimes. I think that's why he has so many loyal customers. He talks to his customers. Like me, he's honest, although I'm more diplomatic.
One point that came up is that there is a good possibility that I will be a scarce commodity up north. The feds are still shipping busloads of illegals south, or so they have heard. Perhaps it was a good idea to pick up my passport. While I'm up in Wild Rose, where I was born, I'll pick up a birth certificate for added security. I've got one here, somewhere. Maybe I'll find it. I'm also hearing that in the towns where migrants work, bilingual workers are a needed resource. As the time comes closer, I'm beginning to think that this is the best time to undertake this trip. With respect to the immigration debate, I may gain valuable perspective on the situation. Increasingly, I am more convinced that my decision is the right one. Not only will I rake in some cash that I would not otherwise make here in the RGV; I also stand to gain from the first-hand experience of the effects of the immigration debate. Let's not pretend that many of the workers at factories up north are illegal. I'm sure readers of RGV Life are also curious about the situation of migrants and illegal immigrants. I will find out and share with my readers. If you have any questions, email me at so that I can find out what is on the minds of my fellow co-workers and migrants. They may or may not be illegal immigrants. If they are illegal immigrants, I hope you understand if I don't reveal their working names and call them by their real names. Even better, when interviewing, I'll favor anonymous audio recordings. There are readers who think that my calling illegals "mojados" makes me a bigot. Clearly, they know little of our culture. In fact, I'll ask mojados about it for you to hear. Stay tuned.

Migration Flight Plan

Prior to flight, most pilots will file a flight plan. I'm not so detailed about our trip. We've traveled the roads to the north often enough that we have an idea how to get where we are going. The only time we need maps is when we enter cities or need to watch out for upcoming highway changes. We will probably make a stop by the Hope Migrant Mission Center in Arkansas. This is a place where migrants stop halfway for some rest and showers. They have small duplex trailers with bunk beds where you can sleep and large public showers for men and women. Across the street, there is a mission where parents take their kids for activities like coloring books, reading books, and worksheets. There used to be a place in Cairo, Illinois that provided fuel vouchers and had a few small trailers for migrants. I don't know if they are still there. Just to give you a general idea, we will be going to the area around Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have a cousin who lives out there. We will be filling out applications and visiting our family there. Afterwards, we will be heading to Wautoma, Wisconsin, or thereabouts. I have family there and my mom has some business to do. We'll apply for work there and then head to Rice Lake where we will apply for work at our target company. Afterwards, we will likely hang out in Wisconsin until production begins. I'll get a chance to visit family while I'm up there. Most of my father's side of my family lives there permanently. They are as pale as I am brown.
The reason why migrants apply to so many places is for added insurance that they will get a job. Also, the actual production season does not start until mid-June. If you arrive on time, you may have been beat out by early applicants. If you go early, you have to have enough money to get by, or find temporary work. There is plenty of temporary work. Water is not as scarce in Wisconsin. There are lakes and creeks all over the place. Wisconsin feeds the Mississippi river. Therefore, farming is more viable in the small scale; this means that there is plenty of field work available to get you by. Generally, farmers will pay on a weekly basis. So, keep reading RGV Life for posts about me working with a hoe or planting seedlings.
Once the plants open for production, things won't be so interesting. How energetic do you think I'll be working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week? My goals for the season include getting myself a little car, saving an undisclosed sum of money, paying for my next round of classes at UTPA, and, buying tech equipment for vidcasting and better podcasting. I expect to be back to the Rio Grande Valley around October, or December at the latest. I will continue to use RGV Life for blogging about my experience as a migrant because I intend to come back. As written in another post about RGV blogs, I want to provide historical content about my experiences as a resident of the Rio Grande Valley. One of the population segments of RGV residents is composed of migrants. With this experience, I hope to bring the experiences that migrants face to light for the public. With the current national interest on immigration and illegal immigrants, I know that I'll meet both on this trip. I'll interview them and write about their experiences here as well. There is a lot riding on this experience for me, more than just scratching out a living. I hope you come back to read about it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Visit to Workforce Solutions

I went to Workforce Solutions, McAllen's replacement for the old Texas Workforce Commission office, today. I went just to see what has changed and to explore any possibilities for a last minute attempt at finding "the perfect job", which means one that pays more than minumum wage. The last time I was there was 6 years ago when they were located out by the Plaza Mall.
It started with me signing in as a first-time visitor. I waited in the common area by the doors. They have computers along the cubicles and an island with computers, all with a broadband connection to make web surfing the job sites faster. They have a printed jobs paper that basically relists all the job classifieds in The Monitor. I'd already checked the Sunday paper, so there was nothing new there.
After a while, I got called to talk to one of the case workers. He pulled up my information on his computer, asked me questions about my work history, and made additions and corrections to my profile. I expressed that it was a last ditch effort at finding something that pays more than minimum wage before heading out of the RGV, just in case. He thought it was amusing and agreed that pretty much that is what's available here in the RGV. If I had unrealistic expectations, I would have been deflated at his revelation that good paying jobs in the RGV are few and far between. Fortunately, I'm not that naive and took it as confirmation of my observations. After updating my profile, the case worker asked me to follow him to a testing room where they have computers that administer basic skills tests. The test consists of 35 questions that range from knowledge of work site rules, personality questions, math questions, and spelling questions. I passed, embarrasingly, with a 94%. I can't believe I missed 2 questions.
After the test, I went back to my case worker's cubicle where he looked up some listings for me. I'd already looked and found two jobs that pay over $8/hr, except that they don't list the name of the company. He found the two jobs for me. Given my experience as manager of Confetti, he printed out openings for managers at AutoZone and Circle K. I don't recall the pay info for AutoZone. Circle K is paying roughly $24-26K for store managers. I'll go apply at their Palmview location. I'm going to have to press them to make a quick decision. I have a deadline of Friday to find a decent job; otherwise, I'll miss my ride and I'm stuck here.
One thing I don't understand about business is that people are expected to make quick key decisions with the understanding that "time is money". Yet, when it comes to hiring, nobody seems to want to make a quick decision. I blame the government, of course. If it weren't such a pain to fire somebody, it wouldn't be so tough to hire somebody. In any case, finding work in the RGV without a degree is easy if you are willing to compromise on your standard of living.
I decided to go to Workforce Solutions initially because the Sunday paper has plenty of listings. The ones that pay better are for work in South Dakota, Corpus Christi, Florida, and elsewhere. I'm not talking accounting, medical, or other degreed jobs. There's plenty of those here. The well-paying jobs for non-degree workers are elsewhere.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Struggle of the Early Catholic Church

For regular readers of RGV Life, you know that I recently read the Da Vinci Code to prepare to watch the movie. The movie, by the way, sounds like it's bombing. I agree with Denise that the story was predictable and the writing was a little weak. I read it partly to satisfy my curiosity about all the fuss. The book is fiction, and it does take some elements of truth and twists them to make an alright story. I think what freaked a lot of people out is that it made them, despite it being fiction, question their faith a little.
For me, I decided to read about the Gnostic Gospels. As you may recall, the Mrs.. is a History major, so I was able to pick up a book by Elaine Pages. It's interesting to read about the gnostics. They had a different understanding of the nature of God. I haven't finished the book yet, but it is bringing back memories of the impression I got when I read the bible. Yes, I started at page one and kept going. After graduation from High School, I went to Europe. While in Rome, it seemed like a good idea to buy a bible for myself. A lot of the bible is history. Plenty of begetting going on in the first books; they didn't have cable back then. I especially like the books of Psalms, Wisdom, Proverbs, and Ecclesiasticus. Once you get into the New Testament, it's like Groundhog Day. Anyway, reading through Pagels's Gnostic Gospels to the point where I am, chapter 2, I'm reminded of the impression that I get from having read the bible. Now keep in mind that Jesus never read the New Testament. As a rabbi, he would have been familiar with the Old Testament and whatever other works traditional to a good Jewish lad. I think I understand what the gnostics knew. I can't explain it. I recommend you read the bible, either you get it or you don't. It's like Ritalin, it helps or it doesn't. To give you an idea, without any training and without interference from somebody to "help" me interpret, it seemed to me that... this is going to shock you... that the God we are told about is not the God described in the Bible. I get the impression from the good book that God is wisdom.
Try to forget all about your New Testament knowledge. That stuff gets in the way of understanding the God of the Old Testament, Jesus' Heavenly Father. It just seems to me that you could interchange the words God and wisdom all wily-Nelly and not lose any meaning whatsoever. The book I am reading tells about "secret knowledge" that Jesus passed on to some of his disciples that was hidden in parables for the general public. While reading, the text seemed to speak to me. God is Wisdom. If you disobey wisdom, you get nailed. I still have some more chapters to read, but I thought I'd share where I am, currently.  We have another book about the gnostics when I'm done with this one.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ya mero

It’s easier to do 35 push-ups now. It’s still a struggle to get there. My muscles just don’t want to give that little extra to exceed 35. This isn’t so bad. A while back they struggled to hit 30. I used to be able to do 40 push-ups back when I weighed 118 pounds in high school. Now, at a little over 150, I have more work to do. So, knowing that it’s more of a challenge now because of the extra weight, I feel better about it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cutting it close

Yesterday, I got a call with a job offer in McAllen. I've called back to accept the offer and am trying to get more details about it. I will be teaching robotics. I start orientation on Monday morning. This is great news and a great relief. I have great ideas for the job that I can't wait to put to work. I love jobs where the rules are not yet written. Usually, when a job is defined, you get stuck doing one little thing over and over. You get thumped on the head if you try to do more. I don't get that impression with this position. I'll be breaking ground in a brand new direction. Already, I have ideas for seeking funding and resources to help make the class a success. I'll tell you more about it once I sign the dotted line.
This was a close call. I had pretty much already decided to pack up and head out of town next week for greener pastures. I had come to accept that I would be missing some important moments in the lives of my children. In fact, thanks to the Internet, I had started getting online applications for companies up north. If the deal falls through, I have a couple days to pack up and leave. I have that less desirable option viable as a contingency. In the meantime, I'm walking with a smile and a spring in my step.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It starts

I’ve begun working towards this goal. I’m not running 21 miles yet. I’ve started out by run-walking 2 miles. Last night I walked 7 miles. I ran through a couple neighborhoods just so I could get to better lighted areas, but it wasn’t major running. I will try to walk longer distances and add more running.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Closer still

I can do 35 with some effort. I’m really close to my goal.

Going to vary the routine

I’m planning on adding walking and swimming to my exercise routine. Currently, I’m biking. With summer coming up, the water should not be so cold at 6 am. Perhaps I can change from walking to running later.

Of course, cutting calories helps too.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Pretty Good

The story was good. The author’s style could use some improvement.

Improved Style

I need to improve my style. I’ve found my “voice” but my writing is disorganized. I also need to stop the broad generalizations. For my personal blog, it’s not so important. I do have regular readers to my blog and I should make an effor to write better.

Down to 151

I weighed myself this morning. I’m down to 151 from 155. I did not lose too much weight as a result of biking. So, I’m fighting on the other end by limiting calories. I’ll eat a bowl of cheerios in the morning, a small lunch, and a regular dinner.

I’m also varying the routine. Today I walked 5 miles and biked 5 miles.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Immigrant protests
plans include finish bathroom job, get paid, find local job. Do finals next week. Free. Alma is sick.

MP3 File