Friday, February 26, 2010

Drug Violence in Mexico

In the little towns in Mexico, bordering South Texas, there has been an ongoing gun battle the last few days involving the drug cartels. As a result, my hometown is on high alert and one of the neighboring communities was on lock down.

I grew up in Zapata, Texas, which is located on the Texas-Mexico border. Separating Mexico and Zapata, there is Falcon Lake, which the Rio Grande River runs into. There is not an international bridge in Zapata, but there is one a few miles down the road. However, there is still a lot of problems with drug trafficking, as there is such easy access to the area.

San Ygnacio is a tiny community about 15 miles up the road. When I say a tiny community, I mean a population that falls below 1,000 people. It is located directly on the Rio Grande, although there is no bridge for crossing into Mexico at that point. There is a very small town directly across the river from San Ygnacio, known as San Ignacio. Yesterday, gunshots were heard there, prompting the elementary school in San Ygnacio, Texas to be put on lock down. The children were forced to sit on the floor, to further protect themselves. With it being in such close proximity, and there being the chances of stray bullets coming in on the Texas side, they took no chances. According to the news, the little town was full of all kinds of law enforcement personnel trying to keep things in order, and maintain the safety of the town.

The gun battles are happening all along the border. In Roma, a town about 28 miles south of Zapata, a gun battle has been taking place. People in Roma are able to hear the gunshots and smell the gunpowder. There's always the chance of being caught up in crossfire, even on this side of the border. From Brownsville, upward, there is major drug cartel violence occuring. In the last few days, between the various towns, there have been 19 people reported dead. Scary.

This all saddens me greatly. This is an area that was "home" to me for so long. These were my old stomping grounds. We used to go to the border towns in Mexico and not think twice about our safety. That same liberty is unheard of these days. It's astonishing how things change over the years.

The people who live down there are scared, and understandably so. It is scary.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Life is unfair

My nephew and his wife got a divorce recently. A divorce is never easy, especially when there's an innocent child involved. In this case, there's a little boy... Landon, who will be two years old at the beginning of April.

His mother has custody and is moving from Texas to Michigan. Initially, she was going to California, but it has since changed to Michigan, where she is originally from. The life that Landon has ever known is about to change drastically. The people he is used to spending a great majority of time with will no longer be there to cater to his every need and/or want, or to spoil him like grandma and grandpa's are supposed to do. His daddy, whom he looks up to, will no longer be there to take him fishing, play video games together, or just do something as simple as staying home, watching tv and playing. All of these things, that so many people take for granted, are all but just cherished memories.

His daddy has visitation, but with over a thousand miles between them, the visits will not be as frequent as they could be, or should be. Visitation is ultimately in the hands of the mother, anyway. Who knows what will happen, regardless of what the divorce decree states. It's not unheard of that a divorce can sometimes tear a family apart, completely. We can all only hope for the best, at this point.

As a result, my heart is hurting tremendously for my nephew and family. My heart is breaking for that little boy who will be in a strange place, lost, until it becomes comfortable and familiar enough to be known as "home." No child should have to grow up without a consistent relationship with both parents; every child deserves to know the love of both mom and dad. No parent, or grandparent, should have to know what it feels like to be torn apart from their child or grandchild. It would be such a cruel, heart-wrenching hurt, and I hate that my family is being forced to experience such pain; I hate that anybody is ever forced to experience it. It happens far too often, however.

Today, I said goodbye to Landon until I see him again... if ever. Yes, I am serious when I say that. I can't help but cry thinking about the moment my nephew and family will be forced to say goodbye to their pride and joy...

Life is so unfair.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jury Summons... blah!

I received a jury summons notice, yesterday; I've been summoned for jury duty on March 8th, at 8:15AM. If I get picked as a juror, I sure hope it's an interesting case. Otherwise, I can only imagine how monotonous it will be.

I've been an alternate juror, in the past. Sitting through that particular case was such a difficult thing to do, and very heartbreaking, as it involved the death of a three year old child. It's something I have no desire to ever experience again.

While going to jury duty will give me something to do, I am not looking forward to it. I am dreading that day, more than anything. Jury summons... blah!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Sickies are Back

An unwelcomed visitor keeps making its way into my life and making its presence very well known; it's getting old really quick like. This latest episode will make the third time this winter that I've been afflicted.

My nose drips like a waterfall,
It just will not stop running,
I can’t really breathe at all,
The flu bug is pretty cunning. --Alice Balgarnie

Yes, the sickies are back.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chunky Monkey!

My niece, Zoe, turned six months old on the 12th of this month. She was going for her six-month immunizations today, so we had a quick photo shoot this morning. She wasn't very cooperative, while chilling in her bumbo, but I was able to get two shots that turned out well.

She is growing so fast, and turning into quite the chunky monkey!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What a Breakfast

All last week, Steve was in North Carolina for his job. According to him, a lot of people in that area had nicknames such as Catfish, Bobcat, and Sweet Pea. The stories he had to tell, about the way the people talked around there, were hilarious. One of the conversations we laughted at, in particular, went something like this:

Guy 1: Duuuuurn, whatchu give for dat? (referring to a camouflage jacket)
Guy 2: Nahh, I won it in a coon huntin' contest.
Guy 1: Dat's nice. It come wit your name on da back?
Guy 2: Nah, my granny did dat. (his name was in bright, hunter's orange)

You have to imagine that conversation taking place in the most southern accent, adding a long drawl to make some words more pronounced. Steve can mimic it perfectly and I laugh every time. We're not making fun of them, not at all, but it's sometimes comical to listen to people converse with one another... especially when a certain type of accent is making its presence very well known!

Anyway, one of the other guys that was there mentioned to Steve that they had cooked breakfast back in one of the break rooms. When Steve asked what they had, the guy replied:

Fried squirrel and grits.

Interesting. What a breakfast!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Steve made it home last night, just in time for Valentine's Day! We didn't have any special plans, but at least he was here, at home, to spend the day with. We haven't really celebrated the big day of love for the last couple of years, or there about. I guess that's what old, boring, married people do.

Instead of doing anything big or extravagant, we made a four hour road trip to my sister's house. Once we made it to our destination, I headed to the store to buy some steaks, and salad fixings. I cooked a big dinner for all of us... Steve and I, my mom, and my sister and nephew. It was delicious.

While we didn't do anything that broke the bank account, we still had an enjoyable day, leading into a peaceful evening. What is better than a good meal, shared with the love of family, anyhow?

Happy Valentine's Day!