Synergy Spanish

This system teaches you Spanish, the easy way - not the academic way. With only 138 words you will be speaking Spanish.


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My call to freezing Peoria, Illinois

They just don't make them like Liberace anymore!

They just don't make them like Liberace anymore!

Mexicali has been going through a very chilly winter for the last couple of weeks. Our home has no central heating, and with a cement block house, you can imagine how cold it can get when the weather dips into the low 30s at night. We have portable heaters in every room, and bathrooms. We turn them on full blast whenever we are in any of the rooms.

I called up my friend, Becky, who lives in Peoria, Illinois to see how she was doing.

“Hi Becky, Happy New Year-sorry I didn’t call earlier,” I said cheerfully on the phone.

“Hey MaryAnn, Happy New Year to you too! Well, it’s just freezin’ here. We are down in the 20s;  we got our central heating set at 65, we’re layered up, so it’s all good!” answered Becky with a boisterous voice.

“How are you doing over your end?” asked Becky.

“We’re freezin’…no central heating!” I wailed.

“Well honey, layer up and start a bonfire,” laughed Becky

“Very funny, hah hah,” I answered back.

“I’m still working at my nursing assistant job. Still fighting it out with the young imported Filipino gals; I get the jobs that they don’t want, which is nice. Means a little extra money for the holidays,” replied Becky.

“Hank’s fine and Tommy is playing basketball for his school. He’s 6′ 1″ now, and still growing. We had a great Christmas with the whole family. Tommy wanted cash for Christmas…kids these days huh?” asked Becky.

“So I’ve heard..,” I laughed.

“What’s happening at your end?” asked Becky.

“We’ve been real busy the last couple of weeks. Helped a friend get a boob job here in Mexicali, watched all the football Jim and Matthew wanted to watch,” I said eagerly.

“A boob job? Really? asked Becky, with a giggle.

“Yes, Becky, A lady friend wanted a boob job, and we helped guide her along here,” I answered.

“Even in retirement, there is never a dull moment with you hon!” replied Becky. “Maybe I can talk Hank into movin’ to Mexicali? He sounds tired with this winter. Who knows?”

“Once Tommy’s in college and it’s just us two, we just might hustle down to your neck of the woods,” laughed Becky.

“Hey, did you know Bette Midler was opening in Vegas at Caesars Palace on New Year’s Eve? Did you all go?” asked Becky.

“No, Bette Midler in Vegas? Oh now, I have to tell my Jim. We love her!” I said with a surprise. “How could I have missed that?”

“Yes, Vegas has never been the same since Liberace left. You remember when we all went to see Barry Manilow?” Becky asked.

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

“How couldn’t I? You went on stage and gave him a kiss!” I said.

“Sure did,” replied Becky.

Becky’s a riot but a great friend.

“Yeah,” I said, “they don’t make-um like that any more, like the Andrews Sisters, and Mel Torme.”

“And you know, Michael Douglas is going to play the part of Liberace in the movies!” squealed Becky.

“OMG! We’ve got to see it—it’ll be just great!” I exclaimed.

“So how’s your Spanish now?” Becky asked.

“I swear I would have picked it up when I was younger. Now, it’s just tryin’ to remember words and phrases! And I am watching Mexican soap operas on Telemundo, as well. Jim said I had to,” I sighed.

“I know you will do just fine. Jim and you could leave in the Sahara desert, and you both would create an oasis,” said Becky.

“Well thanks. We adapt real easy. Jim speaks Spanish, so life is much easier,” I said.

“Our neighbor lady Bebe just painted her house and she did all by herself,” I continued.

“No kiddin? She sounds real tough,” said Becky.

“Señora Bebe has lived here in Mexicali for 40 years. She’s a force to be reckoned with. Tells Jim and Matthew not to hose the porch, but to mop it,” I said. “She was fixing her roof in early November, the same time we were. Roof leaking you know. So Jim went over to give her a new can of that special glue that you smear over the leaks on the roof. Bebe didn’t want to take it, but Jim convinced her, so now our roofs are all good!”

“What else?” asked Becky.

“Well, we have a young family just next door to us. They have a live-in maid, 2 cars and 2 small trucks for their older kids—they got money,” I said.

“Really?…now that’s livin’ ain’t it?” said Becky.

“Becky, people have just the wrong concept of life in Mexico. Everyone’s the same, just that we live in different countries under different governments,” I said.

“So what do them there rich folk neighbors of yours do?” asked Becky.

“They do a great deal of outdoor entertainment, and all with their parents. Can you imagine my kids doing that with us? The husband’s father comes over and looks after their garden every week” I said.

“What else?” asked an even more eager Becky.

“Well, Jim’s been over for a couple of beers, and I made a boo-boo by dropping by for Christmas with my gift basket of cookies and wine,” I said.

“Why?” asked Becky.

“Well, Christmas here is for family only. But I just had my back surgery, 4 months into it, and Jim was laid up with a muscle spasm, Matthew didn’t want to accompany me, so I went,” I said.

“Anyway, Jim had beers with Felix and we’re all good,” I said.

“Interesting…Who’s Felix?” asked Becky.

“Felix is our rich guy neighbor. He’s got a beautiful daughter, in her early twenties; one night when we went out to feed the cats, we found Felix sitting in the dark, waiting for her,” I continued.

“And..?” asked Becky.

“So she comes home and we hear Felix yelling at her inside their house. It’s hard to hear anyone; these walls are thick. But when furniture’s being thrown around, and Felix is making a real scene with his daughter… the argument went on way early into the morning,” I said.

“And, what happened?” asked Becky.

“Nothing, the beautiful daughter never came home late again. Isn’t that great?” I gushed.

“Yes, with girls, ya gotta to rant and rave these days. All those hormones going crazy. Ugh! Thank goodness we just have Tommy,” said Becky.

“I agree. We parents are all the same. I remembered Jim grounding Heather for a month, when she came home late. What a scene that was,” I said.

“Gosh, there’s so much going on with you. What else?” said Becky, with her ears glued to the phone.

“Well, when we moved in, just across the street, there was a tiny house, sitting on sand, covered with aluminum sheets. I felt sorry for the folks living in there. Well, now the tiny house has expanded and the owner has added in more rooms, sideways, you know. I see him putting up a wall, brick by brick, and he stops, to make more money. Now, his house is all brand new, windows, kitchen garage. He built it himself, with a couple of friends, and cases of beer! I mean it’s amazing!” I said.

“Lord, we had to remove our large cement lions from our garage entrance; the HOA was going to sue us for not conforming to their stupid rules!” said Becky. “We bought our lot, built our home, and the next thing we know, the HOA comes in-what a racket that is,” complained Becky.

“I know. These HOAs are even in some trailer parks now!” I said.

“No way!” said Becky.

“Anyway, Jim wanted to put in piped gas pipe for our place, so we wouldn’t have to keep getting tanks of gas. No can do from the landlord,” I complained.

“You know we needed a part for our truck, and we were told to go down to the “yonke” and ask the folks there. Well, now we got a louder car horn,” I laughed.

“What’s a yonke?” asked Becky.

“A junkyard. There are just fields of junkyards, and when you need a part for your car—say a door—you just mosey down and get one. Isn’t that great?” I said to Becky.

“Sounds like you have everything you need there. Our two cars need repairs; would be a whole lot cheaper to get the parts from those yonkes,” said Becky.

All this is so interesting..,” said Becky.

Yes, and across the street is a elderly lady in a wheelchair; she comes out with her son in the evenings, when the weather’s nice, and her friends come by; they all talk, and her son looks after her.. He also has two huge dogs, a Lab and a German Shepherd, and he just loves them,” I said.

“Hank and I have to come down and visit you guys. Not much happening in Peoria… hon,” said Becky.

“You can come on down anytime-you know that; maybe we can even go to Vegas to see Bette Midler and play the slots huh?”

“Heh…now ya talkin’ MaryAnn!” responded a laughing Becky.

3 comments to My call to freezing Peoria, Illinois

  • Jason

    Hi Again. Thanks for the information; it’s very useful. I actually remember you having mentioned that you switched from one ISP to another in a post way, way back, but couldn’t remember the details. One thing that had me confused was the difference between Telmex and Telnor but comparing their plans I now realize that they must be the same company. It’s weird that they have two different web pages.

    So it looks like it boils down to Telmex / Telnor -vs- Cablemas. (I also have to consider the possibility that Cablemas may not be available where I end up living, which is another useful piece of information that you’ve given me). Thanks again.


  • Jason: Thanks for the kind words. You can work from home on the Internet in Mexicali. Our connection is DSL via Telnor, the telephone company. There are two levels of service from Telnor – 2Mbps for about 500 pesos a month ($42), or 4Mbps for 900 pesos a month ($75). We currently have the 4Mbps service (which comes with unlimited calls to land lines in Mexico, but not cell phones). Usually we only get about 3.5Mbps. I just ran a speed test, and we came in at a surprising 8.4Mbps and .42Mbps upload. This happens, but usually we are at around 3.5Mbps. We do a lot of computer work and use SKYPE. Originally we were using the 2Mbps service, and we may return to it to save a little money. The DSL service is EXTREMELY reliable. There is another service, Cablemas, which is not available at our address, but which we used at our old place. It was no faster than DSL and was not reliable, and caused us to lose connection with the Internet frequently.
    You won’t have any problems with Telnor’s DSL. Mexical is the best of both worlds – low cost living with non of the visas and formalities you find in other parts of Mexico, and easy access to the US. We were there, just today.
    God Bless,

  • Jason

    Hi MaryAnn,

    First, I’ve been reading your blog almost since the beginning and enjoy it very much. I’ve visited Mexicali a bunch of times and think that it’s a great city. As someone who works from home I’m considering the possibility of moving down there. I’m a little sketchy though on the internet situation. I would need a reliable, fast connection. Can you (or any of your readers) give me some kind of idea about what the various options are? Even the competing company names would be useful so that I could research there websites myself to check out the plans. Googling around so far though I haven’t even been able to figure out where to start.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

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