The New Mattress Saga

December 4th, 2016

The fun and games of being out of the office for two weeks is over! Back to work – this is a busy time for us in passports since folks want to travel for the holidays. The office did take a pause for a local staff appreciation lunch one afternoon this week. John represented the Crippens and I stayed in the office to handle emergencies.

We hosted book club Thursday night. I didn’t read the book, but the discussion was interesting all the same!

Yesterday we went to a friend’s house for a lovely lunch. They live in a beautiful house with a library! John was in heaven. We enjoyed ourselves very much.

John and I have been wanting a new mattress for our king-sized bed for a while now, but king mattresses are different dimensions in Mexico. We ordered a “mattress in a box” from a company in the U.S., and had it delivered to Mike and Wayne’s house while we were in San Antonio. We cavalierly thought we could check it on the plane with us to take it home, but it was too big/heavy (in a box about the size of golf clubs). So – embarrassed – we had to have Mike and Wayne run to the airport last Sunday to retrieve it! They took it to UPS the next day and shipped it to us, and lo and behold, it arrived at our apartment on Friday! We are thrilled to have a new mattress and put an end to the quest for better sleep! Click the links below to see it expand – pretty cool!

Unpacking Video
Trying it out!

Texas!

November 28th, 2016
Mike and Wayne

Mike and Wayne

We were super-excited to see friends and family in Texas this past week! We stayed with Mike and Wayne for most of the week, but did some overnight trips outside of San Antonio as well. It was so nice to be back at Mike and Wayne’s lovely house and to catch up with them over the course of the week. We had several nice meals together, including lunch one day at their deli.

Monday John and I drove to Kerrville to check out the town. I had heard it might be a good place to retire, so I wanted to see what it was like while we were in the area. It’s a cute place, and John found a great bookstore there. It’s a little early to think about retirement, but fun to daydream a bit as well.

Wednesday John and I drove to Glen Rose, where we took a three-hour tour of Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. They have all kinds of exotic animals, and John got a giraffe to eat from his hand! Very cool place!

What are YOU looking at?

What are YOU looking at?

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We overnighted in Glen Rose, then drove to Carthage on Thanksgiving morning to have lunch at Brad and Marcia’s house, along with Pete and Ginger. It was great to see the family and of course we had a great meal. Afterwards, John and I drove back to San Antonio.

Family

Family

Pete and John trade glasses

Pete and John trade glasses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday afternoon, we drove to Bandera in Hill Country to spend the night with Jim and Joan. They have a beautiful piece of land, and have finished their house out there since the last time we visited. We had an excellent time together and really enjoyed seeing the house, too. Saturday morning after breakfast, we went for a walk around part of the property – so peaceful and beautiful!

With Jim and Joan

With Jim and Joan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we knew it, it was time to head home on Sunday. We had breakfast with Mike and Wayne at their favorite Mexican restaurant, then headed to the airport. Overall, it was a great week!

With Wayne

With Wayne

Return to Juarez!

November 19th, 2016

Our ACS Chiefs’ conference was in our old stomping grounds of Juarez this week and I had so much fun! I arrived on Tuesday and went to the Consulate in the afternoon to see old friends and attend a meeting. Incredibly, one of my favorite former local staff just happened to be in town, too, so we met for happy hour and got caught up, along with a few other friends. Juan is just the greatest guy, now living in DC. Here we are with Claudia B. and Claudia Z.

Good times!

Good times!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later that evening, the ACS group met for a bowling re-match – we had so much fun! Our dear friend Rick from Islamabad is now the ACS chief in Matamoros, so we were able to spend a lot of time together. Can you tell I was happy to see him?!

With Rick

With Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conference lasted for two days, plus we had dinner together on Wednesday night. My good friend Tammy was there, two great ladies from Washington, and the other usual suspects. We got some good work done and had a great time together.

Thursday after the conference ended, I went to happy hour with some of the Juarez local staff, then dinner with two of the ELOs who I knew from other posts, plus a local staff friend.

Friday morning I took advantage of being in the largest immigrant visa section in the world and spent the morning observing their operations in an attempt to refresh my memory on the process. I got to see a lot of old friends along the way.

It was just incredible to be back in CDJ after being gone seven years. Of course the first thing they all said to me was “Where’s John!?!” (especially the ladies), and the second thing was “When are you coming back to serve here?!” Who knows – it could happen!

Election Night

November 13th, 2016
With Tio Sam

With Tio Sam

Vote!

Vote!

John and I had fun on Election Night – the Consulate hosted a watch party with young leaders of Guadalajara. It was a fun evening, as you can see! Uncle Sam and I took a lot of selfies with the party-goers, and John gave an abbreviated version of his speech on the electoral college. A good time was had by all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday John and I drove to Chapala for their annual arts and crafts festival – it’s one of my favorites. I bought two lovely scarves, a fabulous tunic (from hand-spun cotton), and a poncho-type wrap, all from Oaxaca. It’s lovely work, and I loved getting to meet the ladies who made it all. Afterward, we had sandwiches at a friend’s food truck in Ajiji – the guy’s originally from Mississippi, so you know it’s going to be good! I had a fish poorboy and John had a pulled pork sandwich – delish!

Last night we went to a new gaming cafe where John and David played a game that took about four hours. I entertained myself by taking a stack of magazines to flip through – it was fun to get out and the place was packed! A couple of other friends were at the next table, as well.

John and David

John and David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather has been cold and rainy here – it seems odd to me to be cold and wet!

Happy birthday, John!

November 6th, 2016
Happy birthday, John!

Happy birthday, John!

We celebrated John’s birthday last night gaming with a small group of friends at our apartment – we had a lot of fun and John had a great time! We started in the late afternoon, and ate our way through bedtime – good times!

John and I were both tickled pink to accept handshakes on our new jobs in DC this week! John will be working in the office of policy, planning, and coordination for Western Hemisphere as a performance officer, monitoring and reporting on the outcomes of U.S. aid to Western Hemisphere countries. It will give him a chance to get out of the management role for a while and gain policy experience, so he is very excited. I’ll be a regional consular officer tending to several posts that are small and usually have an inexperienced consular officer there, visiting them and staying in touch to answer questions and offer guidance and mentoring. It was my top choice and I am super-happy that I was able to get the job. The travel will be tough – I’ll be on the road about half of my time, but it’s really good work and good experience.

We’re not exactly sure when we’ll be in DC, but likely late summer of 2017. Next up: figure out where we’ll live!

Last Sunday I went to a special Day of the Dead market – it was so fun to see all of the sugar and chocolate calaveras (skulls), plus all of the other things you need for an altar.

Little katrinas

Little katrinas

Pan de Muerto (bread)

Pan de Muerto (bread)

Earrings

Earrings

Dolls

Dolls

Little coffins

Little coffins

Sugar calaveras

Sugar calaveras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were off work Wednesday for the Day of the Dead, so John and I went to Lake Chapala to see what they were doing to celebrate. We had lunch in Ajijic at our favorite Argentinian steakhouse, then walked around the town square there and in neighboring Chapala to see the altars. Most of the festivities didn’t start until later that evening, but it was fun to see the prep work.

With a katrina

With a katrina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to see all of my Day of the Dead photos.

We hosted book club on Thursday and had the usual suspects here, this time discussing “Tribe.”